Last week our art editor Marina Galperina prepared for New Year’s Eve with an excellent survey of how to throw a party like various famous artists throughout history. This week, with our NYE hangovers largely conquered and our party appetites pretty much replenished, we’re revisiting the idea with a similar feature — only this time we’re focusing on the music industry, because, as pretty much everyone knows, no one throws a party like rock stars (and rappers, for that matter). From Freddie Mercury’s novel use for people under five feet tall to Richard D. James’s Miami beach nightmare, it’s all here… Or is it? Let us know if we missed anything.
All you really need is a bottle of Bacardi, along with a creepily leering and possibly homicidal drug dealer to give you a hug. This one should be pretty straightforward. Assuming, of course, that it’s your birthday.
Difficulty: 3/10, unless there’s a drive-by.
You could always tell when The Who’s drummer and resident pyrotechnician had been at your party or stayed at your hotel. How? Even if he hadn’t left a car in your swimming pool, he’d probably blown up the toilet. Moon had a long-lasting fascination with stuffing explosives into bathroom facilities, one that started when he threw a cherry bomb into a hotel lavatory in 1965 and ended up costing the band about half a million dollars in repair bills. And who says rock stars are just kids who won’t grow up, eh?
Difficulty: Depends on how hard it is to procure suitable explosives (and not get arrested under the Patriot Act whilst attempting to do so).
The Beastie Boys
If you happen to have two nerdy identical twin friends who like soda and pie, then you’ve got it made here. If not, you could always improvise by crashing a suitably lame party with the aid of several fellow troublemakers and a bunch of cream pies. Pro tip: dry ice should achieve that nice “smoking cauldron” effect in the punch. We’ve always been a fan of how the Beastie Boys — who wrote this song to satirize the same bros who subsequently adopted it as an anthem — effect a Breakfast at Tiffany’s-style exit from their party, too.
Get a bunch of friends, rent a very big house in the country, set up a big faux game board in the middle of the living room, grab a bunch of hay bales from the shed, and spend the weekend chasing pigs around in circles. Sounds like fun, no? The marching band might be a stretch, though.
Difficulty: 3/10, although you might end up with a whacking great damage bill from whoever you rent the house from.
Now we’re getting into pro territory. This is going to be tricky, mainly because you’re going to need a very well-supplied coke hook-up and you’re also going to need to emulate the producers of The Wizard of Oz by procuring the services of a battalion of, um, little people. The legend of the notorious 1978 party in New Orleans to celebrate the release of Queen’s Jazz album has grown over the years, mainly because neither Mercury nor the rest of the band ever confirmed or denied that they really did hire a bunch of vertically-challenged types to walk around with platters of cocaine on their heads. Either way, this is some next-level shit right here.
Difficulty: Depends on how well-connected you are with high-level dealers and casting agencies, but we’re calling this at least a 9/10.
It wasn’t just Freddie Mercury who was pushing the envelope of excess in the 1970s, mind you — Elton John’s legendary parties were the scene for all manner of debauchery, and perhaps his greatest moment came when he had a bunch of baby-oiled naked men parachute into one of his birthday parties at midnight. You could probably actually reproduce this effort, should you so desire, so long as you can procure the services of some open-minded skydivers.
The story of Happy Mondays’ notorious recording session in Barbados has become the stuff of rock ‘n’ roll legend — basically, Shaun Ryder sold his clothes and most of the studio equipment to buy crack, and then tried to hold the master tapes from the recordings to ransom. We suggest that any attempt to emulate this effort will be potentially fatal, mainly because there’s basically no way that you can take as many drugs as Shaun Ryder. No, really, you can’t. You could, however, just decamp to Barbados, then demand a ransom to go back to work. Let us know how it works out for you.
Difficulty: 2/10, although the job hunt will be the hard bit.
Quite how seriously Led Zeppelin embraced Satanism is probably only known to the band themselves — the legend and the religious hand-wringing about subliminal messages and occult symbolism and other assorted piffle are pretty much impossible to separate from the truth. One thing’s for sure, though — Jimmy Page’s abiding fondness for Aleister Crowley is no myth, and it permeated the band’s notorious parties during the 1970s. If you get a shitload of drugs, rent a spooky castle, light some candles, sit in a circle, hold hands and wait for something weird to happen, then you’re probably most of the way there. Unfortunately, going the full distance will require willing a steady supply of groupies and, possibly, a red snapper. Eeek.
Difficulty: 7/10, possibly higher if your ‘hood isn’t well-stocked with castles and/or willing groupies. Or fish.
This is so non-specific that it pretty much demands fulfillment — if you do what you like, and you like what you do, and you’ve got a party going, then you’re partying in the Andrew WK spirit! (If you really want some sort of external criterion, you could go with “Party Til You Puke,” which doesn’t actually sound like that much fun at all.)
Difficulty: 1/10 (or about 4/10 for the “Party Til You Puke” angle.)
Umbrella? Check. Dapper white pants and snazzy shoes? Check. Vaguely offensive dance moves? Check. Lots of champagne? Yep. Block-long limousine? Um… maybe. Pneumatic hookers with weird mutating monster heads? Er… yeah, OK, this one might be a struggle.