Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Marquis Des Barres: Crowleyite Aristocrat Rocker
Lord Michael Philip Des Barres (AKA Marquis Des Barres) is a British actor and rock singer.
Michael Des Barres is a descendant of a 13th century French knight and the son of the 25th Marquis Des Barres (French aristocratic title dating back some 800 years), Augustus, who blew his fortune on opium and ended up behind bars. His mother, Marchioness Irene Des Barres, was a British jazz singer. Michael was brought up in a gothic castle and raised from the age of eight by a retinue of strippers after his mother was institutionalised for schizophrenia
A leading role in The Dirtiest Show In Town (The first all-nude musical) Led to a meeting with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Michael persuaded the maestro to grant him an audience.
"I went to Lloyd Webber's house wearing a green bowler hat and played him a song I'd written that morning called 'Will You Finance My Rock'N'Roll Band'. And he did! Lloyd Webber was a mentor. He was enamored with me. He could see both a public school boy and a street urchin in me."
Michael formed the band Silverhead in England in 1972. They recorded two studio albums, Silverhead (1972) and 16 and Savaged (1973), and were a part of the glam rock music scene of the 1970s before disbanding in 1974.
"There was the same response to Silverhead in the US as there was to the Sex Pistols-sheer fucking hatred. Well, to be honest, the hatred came from the boys and the love came from the little girls. 16 & Savaged was very much a Hollywood album-it was blood on the Sunset strip. The scene with sequins, teenage girls and absolute mad, decadent sex wherever you looked", said Des Barres.
After moving to Los Angeles, he formed the band Detective in 1975. They recorded two albums that were released on Led Zeppelin's Swan Song Records label, before breaking up in 1978.
He was part of the band Chequered Past from 1982 to 1985, which included Steve Jones from [The] Sex Pistols, Clem Burke and Nigel Harrison from Blondie, and Tony Sales of Iggy Pop and Tin Machine fame and future David Bowie collaborator.
Chequered Past "Underworld" lyrics:
"I was taught in the finest schools
Raised to be arrogant and cruel
It makes no difference what you thought of me
Good old England hypocrisy
Daddy was an aristocrat
A black sheep would be more accurate
Like father like son
Tried to finish what he had begun
I'm in over my head
What have I inherited?
We are underworld"
He joined The Power Station after Robert Palmer left the band, appearing in front of billions at Live Aid.
De Barres married The GTO’s Miss Pamela, whom he had met on the set of the movie Arizonaslim when he was a last-microsecond replacement for Keith Moon. Pamela wrote about her first impression of Michael in her first memoir I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, calling him “a degenerate drug-taking sex-dog toting two bottles of Southern Comfort, wearing two dozen silver bracelets on each arm” and “...a well-bred lunatic with an abundant vocabulary who drank like a school of fish.”
Pamela had once purchased an annotated Alister Crowley manuscript for Jimmy Page. Pamela Des Barres: “[In a bookshop] I found a hand-written manuscript of Crowley’s tucked away. I remember feeling honoured to be sending Jimmy something so important to him. I imagined him reading it, flapping around Crowley’s castle in his cape.”
Michael said of his relationship with Jimmy Page, "We were both interested in Aleister Crowley, the black arts and all that bollocks."
Michael said, "Suddenly it was all crushed velvet, hashish and Lindsay Kemp. I transformed into the bastard child of Aleister Crowley and Marilyn Monroe. I came to many realizations, the main one being that I would do as many drugs as I could and stride the stage dressed in the most spectacular outfits."
"My son!!! Without whom, I would be a footnote in Aleister Crowley’s autobiography."
"My idol's Crowley, not Brian Connolly" Of Crowley Des Barres also states: "The only person with power who had a sense of humour-he was the greatest force behind me then"
Des Barres has appeared in over 100 different TV shows and almost 30 movies in his career. He first started acting at 8 years old as 'The Nux Bar Kid' on posters all over England. He appeared (uncredited) in the 1966 film starring Tony Curtis, "Drop Dead Darling". His first credited film role was as a supporting cast member in the classic 1967 film To Sir, with Loveplaying an East End pupil who always wears dark sunglasses indoors and out, followed by a few other minor roles before he decided to pursue a career in music instead. He later concentrated his energies on acting again and was quickly cast in Ghoulies(1984) as cult leader Malcolm Graves,and Nightflyers (1987) as a charismatic empath. He worked opposite Clint Eastwood in 1989's Pink Cadillac. His other film roles have included Midnight Cabaret (1990), Under Siege (1992), Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992), A Simple Twist of Fate (1994), and Sugar Town (1999). He also appeared in the 2004 film Catch That Kid and had a brief part in David Lynch's classic 2001 film Mulholland Drive.
On television, besides the role of Murdoc in MacGyver, Des Barres was also a lead cast member of The New WKRP in Cincinnati during the 1991-92 season as part of a husband-and-wife morning team. He had previously appeared on the original WKRP in Cincinnati as the lead singer of a fictional punk band, Scum of The Earth. During this same time, he played a gay man (Leon's boyfriend) in two episodes of Roseanne. He also played one of Darlene's baby's doctors on one of the final episodes of the series. Some of his dozens of television appearances include Seinfeld, Renegade, ALF, Ellen, Nip/Tuck, Just Shoot Me!, Hart To Hart, My Sister Sam, Lois & Clark (which reunited him with another MacGyver recurring-character alumna, Teri Hatcher - the two had even appeared together in two MacGyver episodes), JAG, Melrose Place, Nash Bridges, Northern Exposure, Rockford Files, Sledge Hammer!, Sliders, St. Elsewhere, 21 Jump Street, The Pretender, Dead Like Me, Frasier, Hawaii, Bones, and NCIS in the Season 10 episode, "Phoenix".
He played a role as an eccentric record producer in Four Kings. He has also done voice work for several animated television series.
On 23 October 2013 Michael joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the world premiere of 200 Motels – The Suites by Frank Zappa, where he appeared as "Rance", the narrator.
According to this interview...
Des Barres is a supporter of President Barack Obama. Michael said, “Our country, the US, is built on big and interesting ideas.” Therefore the Michael Des Barres Band has recently donated $1,000,000 to Barack Obama to record, promote and support a CD of Sam Cooke cover songs with lyrics rewritten by President Obama to reflect his vision for our country.
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