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  • John 9:31 am on July 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bindon, britain, darke, england, john, led zeppelin, , rock   

    The Amazing John Bindon (Meets Led Zeppelin) 

    John Dennis Arthur “Biffo” Bindon
    (4 October 1943 – 10 October 1993)

    John was an English actor and bodyguard who had close links with the London underworld. The son of a London cab driver, Bindon was frequently in trouble as a youth for getting into fights, and spent two periods in Borstal. He was spotted in a London pub by Ken Loach who asked him to star in his film Poor Cow. Other film and television productions followed, with Bindon sought after to play gangsters or tough police detectives. He played a violent mobster alongside Mick Jagger in Performance and a London crime boss in Get CarterPhilip Hoare described Bindon as “the archetypal actor-villain, and an all-round ‘good geezer'”.

    Late 60s with Princess Margaret (note the Enjoy Cocaine t-shirt)

    He was also known for having a large penis and many socialite girlfriends, such as Christine Keeler, the former Playboy “Bunny Girl” Serena Williams and Vicki Hodge, who had a 12-year abusive relationship with Bindon.[2][3]Through Hodge, Bindon gained access to British aristocratic circles, which culminated with him meeting Princess Margaret in the late 1960s, at her home on Mustique in the Caribbean. Bindon claimed he had sex with the princess, whilst Margaret later denied the meeting ever took place despite photographic evidence.

    Bindon lived his hard man persona on and off screen. He was believed to be running protection rackets in West London pubs and have alleged connections to the Kray twins and the Richardson Gang. In the late 1970s in addition to acting work he provided security for actors and musicians, most notoriously for Led Zeppelin on their 1977 US tour, where he was sacked for brawling backstage. In 1978 Bindon was tried for the murder of London gangster Johnny Darke. Bindon pleaded self defence and was acquitted, but the case damaged his reputation, and this coupled with being seen as difficult to work with by directors meant his acting career declined. In the 1980s Bindon became reclusive and died in 1993 from an AIDS related illness.

    Led Zeppelin Era

    In early 1977, Bindon was hired by Peter Grant on advice from tour manager Richard Cole as security co-ordinator for English rock group Led Zeppelin during their concert tour of the United States. He had previously provided security for actors Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. Bindon took his job to the extreme, developing an addiction to cocaine and heroin during the tour and much violence occurred behind the scenes directed mostly at journalists, bouncers and concert staff. The band did not realise the extent of what was happening until their concert at the Oakland Coliseum on 23 July 1977, near the end of their US tour. Upon arrival at the stadium, it is alleged that Bindon pushed a member of promoter Bill Graham‘s stage crew out of the way as the band entered via a backstage ramp. As a result, tension had been simmering between Graham’s staff and Led Zeppelin’s security team during the day, and as Grant and Bindon were walking down the ramp near the end of the concert, words were exchanged with stage crew chief Jim Downey, which resulted in Bindon knocking Downey out cold.

    Bindon in a suit

    Just minutes later a separate off-stage incident occurred. Bill Graham’s security man Jim Matzorkis was accused of slapping Peter Grant’s 11-year-old son Warren for taking a dressing room sign, and the ensuing argument escalated into an all-out brawl. Led Zeppelin’s second Oakland show took place only after Bill Graham signed a letter of indemnification, absolving Led Zeppelin from responsibility for the previous night’s incident. However, Graham refused to honour the letter and assault charges were laid against Grant, Cole, Bindon and John Bonham when the band arrived back at their hotel. The four received bail and later pleaded no contest, receiving suspended sentences. Bindon was dismissed by the band and returned to England. Grant later said that allowing Bindon to be hired was the biggest mistake he ever made as manager.

    In 1978, Bindon became involved in a fight with John Darke, a London gangster, outside the Ranelagh Yacht Club, in FulhamLondon. Darke was stabbed nine times, resulting in his death, and Bindon managed to flee to Dublin with his own knife wounds covered up. He gave himself up to police and in the subsequent trial at the Old Bailey in November 1979. The prosecution claimed that this was a £10,000 contract killing over drugs, with the fight as a cover for the death. However, the defence argued that Darke’s death was in self-defence, saying Bindon was in fear of his life as he was being blackmailed about losing drug money and cocaine worth thousands of pounds (though his defence might have been hindered amid allegations of bragging to a cellmate that he was a hitman while on remand awaiting trial). Bindon was acquitted of Darke’s murder. It was reported that the “substantial appearance” of actor Bob Hoskins as a character witness at the trial helped sway the jury’s verdict and that the judge Sir William Mars-Jones “had been sympathetic towards Bindon in his summing-up and unhappy with the ragbag of witnesses produced by the prosecution”.

    Media reports of the trial, along with the Oakland incident, seriously damaged Bindon’s reputation (there were other various allegations of a similar violent nature against Bindon) and he found it increasingly difficult to find work in the entertainment industry. This was partly attributable also to his reputation for being difficult to work with on set, as much as his alleged connections to organised crime.

    His Legend

    Bindon acting in Poor Cow

    In 2002, a Carlton Television documentary of John Bindon’s life entitled Real Crime: Starring John Bindon was screened in the UK on ITV. It featured archival footage of Bindon behind the scenes and interviews with Angela BowieVicki HodgeBilly MurrayGeorge Sewell and James Whitaker. Bindon also featured in the Carlton documentary for ITV, The Secret Life of Princess Margaret, broadcast in 2005. Bindon’s relationship with Princess Margaret was the further the subject of Channel 4‘s documentary The Princess and the Gangster which was broadcast on the 9 February 2009 and repeated on 17 August 2009 when hits to Bindon’s Wikipedia page peaked at 6,100 on that day as against a daily average of 100 viewings. The Princess and the Gangster was part of the Toffs and Crims series.

    In 2005, Wensley Clarkson published a biography of Bindon entitled Bindon: Fighter, Gangster, Actor, Lover – the True Story of John Bindon, a Modern Legend (London: John Blake. ISBN 1-84454-116-9).

    On the inside sleeve of the LP Maladjusted the singer Morrissey had printed, “John Bindon 1943–1993”.

    A book on John Bindon

    Bindon was reportedly the inspiration behind Vinnie Jones‘s character in Guy Ritchie’s film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

    The 2008 film The Bank Job is based on the 1971 robbery of Lloyd’s Bank in London to steal photographs kept in a safe deposit box, and subsequently hushed up by MI5. The photographs were rumoured to be of Princess Margaret in a compromising position set on a Caribbean beach with Bindon,although Bindon was not specifically named in the film. Another theory has it that Bindon, aware of an ongoing investigation into his involvement in a serious crime, arranged for clandestine photographs to be taken during one of his London trysts with Margaret. He then had the negatives stored in a bank safe deposit box, intending to use them as a bargaining tool in the event that he was ever charged.

    A biopic of John Bindon, entitled “Mugs”, written by Christopher Brand, is currently in development by Gateway Films.[citation needed]

    In September 2010, Franklyn McCabe’s play, ‘Ten Men: The Lives of John Bindon’, with Matthew Houghton playing Bindon, was staged at the Open House,Brighton. It was later presented at the Old Market, Hove, in November 2011.

     
  • John 1:48 pm on July 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , hyatt, led zeppelin, rock star   

    “Riot House” – Legend of the Hollywood Hyatt Hotel 

    The Andaz West Hollywood is a 257-room Hyatt hotel located at 8401 Sunset BoulevardWest Hollywood, California (at Kings Road).

    The hotel opened in 1963 as the Gene Autry Hotel. Sold in 1966, it was renamed the Continental Hyatt House. In 1976 it became the Hyatt on Sunset until February 1997 when the hotel was renamed the Hyatt West Hollywood. In January 2009 the hotel was renovated and renamed the Andaz West Hollywood.

    In the late 1960s and 1970s the hotel became the preferred accommodation in Los Angeles for travelingrock bands, due largely to its close proximity to popular clubs such as the Whisky a Go Go. It was during this time that it was given the nickname Riot House on account of the wild antics carried out by band members there, most notably those of English rock groups such as Led ZeppelinThe Who and the Rolling Stones.

    Notable Events at the hotel:

    • Led Zeppelin rented as many as six floors of the hotel in the mid-to-late 1970s for the band members and entourage. Drummer John Bonham was reported to have driven a motorcycle along the hallways (some say it was tour manager Richard Cole). In the film Rock Star, the character Izzy Cole does this.
    • Room 1015 bears the distinction of being where Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards dropped a TV out the window. The Who’s Keith Moon was also reported to have dropped a TV out of one of the hotel’s windows. In the film Rock Star also, the character “A.C.”, played by Jason Bonham, son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, throws a T.V. off the window in rage, after he is told that his wife ran off with Peter Gabriel.
    • Lemmy wrote the song “Motorhead” on one of the hotel balconies in the middle of the night, using Roy Wood‘s Ovation acoustic guitar.
    • Scenes in the film Almost Famous which depict the hotel were filmed at the actual hotel. Parts of the hotel were refurbished with exactly the same decor as existed there in the 1970s.
    • The scene from Almost Famous in which Russell Hammond cries out, “I am a Golden God!” is a reference to Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant who allegedly said the same thing while looking over Sunset Strip from one of the hotel’s balconies in 1975.
    • The two-part pilot episode of The Rockford Files, Backlash of the Hunter, had a scene where character Sarah Hunter (Lindsay Wagner) lured the killer of her father into room 1426.
    • The end-of-tour party scene in the film This is Spinal Tap was filmed on the roof of the hotel.
    • Slipknot Frontman Corey Taylor attempted suicide by jumping from an eighth floor balcony on November 14, 2003, but was stopped.
    • Little Richard lived in room 319 at the hotel through much of the 1980s and 1990s
    • Jim Morrison lived there until he was reportedly evicted by management for hanging out a window by his fingertips, dangling over the pavement.
    • Warren Zevon references this place in his song “Poor Poor Pitiful Me“.

    Robert Plant, probably imagining all the groupies in L.A.

    The hotel at dusk

     

     

     
    • Every Record Tells A Story 3:55 pm on July 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I think Plant was saying “I am A Golden God!” in that photo…

      • John 10:39 am on August 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        You are correct! That is the famous photo, and incident which lent itself to the movie, Almost Famous.

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