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Words by Mr Tim Rice-Oxley, pictures by Mr Rob Sinclair. UPDATE: You can now add comments to this and any other story if you’re registered with this website!
Yesterday was the VH1 Rock Honors ceremony in Las Vegas. Quite an occasion. Host Bam Margera set the tone by kicking things off with the inevitable, “Those who are about to rock, we salute you,” which was met with much devil’s horning of fingers and general rawk-ness. It was a major honour to be on the same stage as Ozzy, ZZ Top (it was a day of many Zs), Genesis, Heart, QOTSA and so on. We were the only band of our generation chosen to perform – presumably because of our impeccable heavy rock credentials – and we endeavoured to hold our own amongst badass rock’s finest.
Big TV shows like that are always pretty nerve-wracking for everyone, but we had a lot of fun bashing through our cover of Genesis’ 1983 ridiculously catchy classic ‘That’s All’, Tom strutting up and down the ego ramp with his suitably black guitar and looking thoroughly Brando-esque in his leathers. Several women (and a couple of meaty men) swooned and had to be carried out.
We hung out a bit with the guys from Genesis – always good to get the inside knowledge from people who’ve been doing this for thirty-odd years – plus, Phil Collins soundtracked my first torrid love affair (aged 11) so I had a nostalgic curiosity to meet the great man. All in all, it was a very pleasant evening – we did what we came to do, drank mojitos and contributed generously to the Mandalay Bay Hotel’s casino takings.
But perhaps the highlight of the day came just before we went on stage. We were sitting around chatting and grabbing a bite in the dressing room when we became aware that two almost-naked women had shimmied into our midst. What little these bronzed supermodel types were wearing consisted of garters, leather tassles, fishnets and other trimmings unlikely to have come from the Littlewoods catalogue.
Richard was the first to retrieve his jaw from the floor and question the intruders – it turned out they were two of ZZ Top’s pole dancers, who would shortly be lowered from the arena’s ceiling in cages, writhing and generally looking wonderful, while the copiously bearded brothers traded what felt like very long guitar solos. Anyway, turned out the girls were insanely huge Keane fans who wanted to say hi, so we chatted and did photos and so on. It was odd that during those few minutes most of our crew suddenly remembered that they had burning questions for the band that required them to come into the dressing room.
Geoff (hi-tech wizard) in particular seemed suddenly to have become a huge fan of ZZ Top and was consequently very eager to converse with our visitors. Adam Wakeman (Rick’s son, Ozzy’s keyboard player, and a friend since we met him playing keys for Travis back in 2004) was hanging out at the time and was clearly impressed. “Blimey,” he commented, “I like your rider. We’re lucky if we get a piece of sliced mango in our dressing room.”
So it was a fun night all round. We felt very privileged to be welcomed into the bosom of American rock, and left Vegas with synapses appropriately frazzled by the glittering lights, and pockets suitably emptied by the surly croupiers.
Tonight is a night off, so it’s a nice opportunity for a big dinner with the whole touring party, out on the balcony overlooking the gorgeous Colorado River as it passes through the red rocks of Utah. Then the high-brow film buffs among us will retire to the tourbus for a viewing of the greatest film ever made. “Broadsword calling Danny Boy. Father McCree is waiting.” Anyone recognise those immortal lines…?