Four Tales Of Shocked Rockers
Catching a few extra volts is an occupational hazard for those in the rock n’ roll business. Here are 4 more unfortunate victims of electric accidents.
Catching A Bad Buzz!
Nick Lowe (1972) - According to a story he told years later, British rocker Nick Lowe made contact with an ungrounded mic while fronting the pub rock band Brinsley Schwarz. The shock knocked Lowe to the stage and actually stopped his heart. Lowe claims to have actually died for a short while and realized it was happening. His guitarist kicked at the electrified mic stand and managed to hit Lowe in the chest, restarting his shocked heart.
Keith Relf (1976) - Keith Relf first came to attention of rock fans as the lead vocalist and harmonica player in the Yardbirds. By the mid-70s he was playing in the prog-rock band “Armageddon” and had built himself a home studio in his basement. Keith went downstairs for a late night solo jam one evening and never came back. At some point his ungrounded amp shocked him and, with no one to break the circuit, he was electrocuted with his guitar in his hand
Ace Frehley (1976) - KISS had just finished “Detroit Rock City” at the Lakeland Civic Centre in Florida when the Spaceman formed a circuit between his ungrounded guitar and a metal railing. The shock held him in place for a few seconds and was enough to knock him out, causing him to fall down a set of stairs to the stage. He lay behind the amplifiers for 10 minutes while the audience chanted his name and then, despite not being able to feel his hands, he somehow finished the show. He later memorialized the incident with the song “Shock Me”.
Les Paul (1941) - The father of the electric guitar almost didn’t make it out of his basement. While monkeying around with one of his prototype “log” guitars and a homemade amplifier Paul took a blast of electricity that nearly killed him. Only the timely intervention of his bass player broke the circuit and saved his life. Les was in hospital for several weeks and spent the next 2 years trying to recover.