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Ask 411 Music 7.21.11: The Collaboration Edition

July 21, 2011 | Posted by Ron Martin

It’s Thursday and that means it’s time for your weekly dose of musical Q &A. Welcome back to Ask 411 Music, the redheaded stepchild of all “Ask 411” columns!

This week I will by dining on Tostitos (Restaurant Style) and lemon lime Gatorade. Yeah, they really don’t mix well, but when you’ve just woken up and really don’t want to leave the house right away, you have to make good with what you got.

CAT STEVENS, or YUSUF ISLAM if you prefer, turns 63 today…

JIM MARTIN (no relation), former guitarist for FAITH NO MORE turns 50 today…

EMERSON HART, songwriter and lead singer of TONIC turns 42 today…

I’m going to go with a period piece today. This weekend one of my old running buddies from high school passed away in an accident. The situation has brought up lots of names and memories I haven’t thought about for years. High school is when most people develop their musical taste and the era of time you went to high school usually has a lot to say about what kind of music you listen to the rest of your life. In light of this, five songs from my iPod that always remind me of high school. For the record, I’m old and attended high school from 1992-1994. Yes, I graduated. It was a three year high school.

1. “Loser” by Beck
2. “November Rain” by Guns N Roses
3. “Burn” by the Cure
4. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
5. ” Jeremy” by Pearl Jam

Time for


First up an anonymous guest really likes the “Engel” video by RAMMSTEIN. It’s a pretty good video, check it out…

Who’s the chick dancing with the snake in the video?

You know, I think I saw Rammstein at one of the early OZZFEST concerts. I was too messed up to remember, so I could be mistaken. Taking some inspiration from SELMA HAYEK’s character in From Dusk Til Dawn, we have a dancing lady with a snake. That never ends well. According to the making of Lichtspielhaus DVD, the woman’s name is CECIL DUETSCH. I can’t find her having done anything else, so my guess would be she is a local model or dancer. It’s a nice visual. I certainly wouldn’t kick her out of bed for eating crackers.

Are the 2 kids seen in the video the children of any of the band members?

Though I can’t seem to get it from a primary source, it seems as if at least the little girl who “sings” is the daughter of guitar player, RICHARD KRUSPE-BERNSTEIN. It would make since that the boy with his head on her shoulder would be her brother, but that doesn’t necessarily make it truth.

JON CYPRUS stops by with question about the King…

Knowing that Led Zeppelin were huge Elvis fans and Elvis himself was a fan of Zeppelin, is there any truth to the story that the band proposed a collaboration that the King agreed to only to be stonewalled by Elvis’ manager Tom Parker?

Like THE BEATLES before them, LED ZEPPELIN were huge ELVIS PRESLEY fans. One of their main goals when coming to America was to meet the King. This was finally set up for them on May 11, 1974. According to an interview with ROBERT PLANT, Zeppelin (minus JOHN PAUL JONES – left out again) attended Elvis’ concert in Los Angeles and even got a shout out on stage from Elvis. After the show, Elvis agreed to meet Zeppelin in his hotel room because he wanted to meet the boys who were outselling him. The Zeppelin-Elvis meeting went very much like the Beatles-Elvis meeting with the boys from England nervous and quiet until Elvis breaks the ice, then let the fun begin.

While Led Zeppelin claimed to be huge fans of the King (Plant even did an impersonation of Presley for Presley), Elvis admitted to only ever having heard “Stairway to Heaven” because his stepbrother played it for him. He claimed to have liked it. Plant admitted to walking down hotel corridors singing Elvis and supposedly when he did this later that night, Elvis popped his head out of his hotel room and joined in. The concert in question has recently been released along with a book of 200 photos called Elvis Live in LA.

Don’t cry for John Paul Jones, however, as he also got to meet up with Elvis. He and Zeppelin manager RICHARD COLE got to meet the King later at Elvis’ house (I am assuming a house in LA, not Graceland). The story there is that Elvis switched watches with Cole, giving Cole a much more expensive watch than he got back. Legend has turned the watch into a cheap Mickey Mouse deal, but according to the Book Me and A Guy Name Elvis, it was a watch given to Cole and the band members by Atlantic Records. They spent the evening performing Monty Python sketches and at one point Elvis offered to switch pants with someone, but had no takers.

Though those stories of various meeting between Elvis Presley and members of Led Zeppelin are fun and interesting, there doesn’t seem to have ever been plans for collaboration between the two. This rumor may have come from the dislike of COLONEL TOM PARKER some people have. Hell, there were lots of times where Elvis, himself, wanted to fire Parker only never to go through with it.

What other unlikely pairings do you know of that almost happened? I know about Neil Young/Rick James, Kurt Cobain/Michael Stipe, and Jimi Hendrix/Miles Davis.

As a GUEST suggested last week, NEIL YOUNG and RICK JAMES did play together in THE MYNAH BIRDS, which also included members of what would become STEPPENWOLF. The Mynah Birds were around from 1964-1967. The band signed a seven year deal with MOTOWN RECORDS in 1966, but fell apart once James was arrested for going AWOL from the Navy. Motown shelved the project and the band split up moving on to bigger and better things.

As for MICHAEL STIPE and KURT COBAIN, they were good friends. Good enough that Stipe is the godfather of FRANCES BEAN COBAIN, Kurt’s daughter. Just before Cobain’s death, Stipe understood what was going to happen and offered to collaborate with him on a song in an attempt to get him away from his home and his heroin addiction and thus, save his life. Stipe even went so far as to send Cobain a plane ticket and a driver. Cobain ignored both, and we know the final result.
A similar situation occurred with MILES DAVIS and JIMI HENDRIX. The two admired one another, talked of collaboration, but Hendrix died before the sessions could take place.

There are lots of “almost” collaborations that could have taken place but haven’t. In the music industry, it’s common to piece different sounding musical acts together. If you have a rocker and a rapper together, you’re getting the best of both worlds as both sets of fans are going to buy the album. It’s a musical slam dunk. Add to that that most musical artists can at least appreciate musical talent no matter what the genre is, and it’s usually pretty easy to piece these things together.

Though I wouldn’t call it “unlikely” one musical pairing that I hate never happened was the proposed pairing of MICHAEL JACKSON and PRINCE. Two of the top five selling artists of the 80s were supposed to get together and record what eventually became Jackson’s “Bad.” Allegedly, after hearing Jackson’s part of the song, Prince backed out telling the King of Pop that this was already a smash hit record and he didn’t need Prince’s name on it to help sell it. While Prince was correct, I wonder if maybe he was a little intimidated with having to keep up with Jackson.

Two diva icons, MADONNA and BARBRA STREISAND were set to collaborate at one point, but the two couldn’t agree on where to take the project. As you can probably guess, Madonna wanted to go down a much raunchier road than Streisand. Agreeing to disagree, the project got canned.

Perhaps the strangest collaboration that we almost got was one between the late AALIYAH and NINE INCH NAILS, well TRENT REZNOR at least. Aaliyah was a huge Nine Inch Nails fan and had asked Reznor to collaborate on a song with her on what would become her last album, Aaliyah. There was some discussion, but scheduling conflicts prevent Reznor from the collaboration. In August 2001, the collaboration was prevented from ever happening as Aaliyah died in a plane crash. Like others taken too soon, Aaliyah’s career seemed limitless at that point as she was supremely talented and naturally beautiful.

On the odd collaboration front that might just actually happen, PAUL MCCARTNEY and THE GORILLAZ have been in talks to collaborate together!

That’s it for this week kids. I’m about to go collaborate with my shower and then the possibilities are endless. As always, feel free to leave questions in the comments or drop me an e-mail

I must leave you now.


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Ron Martin
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