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The fact that Davis was aware that Jimi Hendrix was repeatedly dalliancing with his wife (the Funk/Diva legend Betty Davis) must have had an affect on the direction of his groove. In any case, this is an absolute monster of an album, an unrepentant middle finger to jazz snobs, and a down-on-the-corner statement that throbs and wobbles and ultimately refuses to resolve itself in any context.It’s one of the most towering musical statements of the 20th century, a composition of 70’s black street life, the madness, the drugs, the hustle, the humanity. It sounds like every 15-year-old’s room in 1970–black lights, bongs, riffs, solos and Zap-boogie arrangements with plenty of guitar noodling to shore up the tweaked lyrics.Each song sounds gargled and twitchy, run through a filter of back-of-the-throat gak.And yet the choice here is if only because it was recorded in Berlin, where Bowie and Iggy went to clean up, trading powder for midgets and sex clubs and random Prussian decadence.RAMPANT MADNESS, cheap powder, and the whiskey river: below are the 50 most debauched, sodden, and certifiable records in music history.The rules are simple: being merely eccentric while swathed in outlandish clothing fails to qualify.There’s a reason Neil Young called Cale and Jimi Hendrix the “best electric guitar players I ever heard.” And that reason is because Cale managed to make every single song he ever recorded sound like 2am in downtown Tulsa, standing outside a bar that serves free hot dogs. Nick Drake – The final studio album recorded by Drake, it is the only one of the three without a backing band, and the stripped-down quality of the songs palpably reflects his mental state at the time, one of harrowing depression.



Is there any more powerful drug than unfocused teenage sexuality?One of the least scrutable albums ever recorded, the kind of thing that could only have made sense on the high wire of Elliott Smith died at age 34 of two stab wounds to the chest, which was ruled a suicide but is still inconclusive by many accounts.A heavy user of drugs and alcohol, as well as a sufferer of mental illness, Smith nevertheless put out six albums before his death, many of which are now acclaimed by cognoscenti as among the best of their generation.Having done an epic amount of street powder while getting handjobs in the groupie van is not enough.

Hell, Steven Tyler claims to have spent $3 million on cocaine over the years, but would Aerosmith have sounded one iota different if they’d been straight edge? Skip Spence – to start, essentially the Rosetta Stone for drug-induced madness, this is an archive of excess.

No, to make this list, the music on a given album has to chemical influence while also leaching a very specific brand of desperation and/or madness. Roll it, pour it, cook it, crush it, or just get stone-cold crazy; the needle will drop into the groove either way. Everyone had a piece of Spence but Spence, who spent the rest of his life in one institution or another. Spacemen 3 – You’d have to figure when it’s spelled out so blatantly they’re probably pure-veined Mormons pulling off an elaborate inside joke. This fuzzed-out squeamish throb of an album begs for either Jesus or rehab in every other line, each of which is held uncomfortably long, the vocal equivalent of a mescaline freak staring at the wrinkles on their palm: is notoriously hunkered in a blizzard of cocaine of the quality usually reserved for Bolivian generals and Du Pont heiresses.