This article contains spoilers for Episode 4 of POKER FACE.
Peacock's Poker Face makes a powerful music industry case: Song pluggers should check their cables before plugging in. Especially drummers, who are surrounded by metallic conductors, are able to transform the group's dynamic and take center stage. Electricity like that should be channeled.
Charlie Cale's (Natasha Lyonne) case-of-the-week, "Rest in Metal," was written by the drummer. It now serves as the closing song for the metal band Robin Ruin's (Chloe Sevigny) tune, and it's just the thing to change the playlist.
Keith Relf was the founding lead singer and harmonica player for the influential British invasion band The Yardbirds as well as co-founder of pioneering prog rock ensemble Renaissance. Relf died tragically, while performing electric guitar in his basement, after a gas pipe was struck, sending a severe shock through his entire body. He suffered from chronic, and sometimes life-threatening asthma as well as emphysema, which may have contributed to the tragedy.
The possibility of a few painful seconds if your fingers touch a string while your mouth brushes the mic is a health concern for live-playing musicians. In the film Let It Be, George Harrison of the Beatles sees his hair changing several times. It's probably the reason Eric Clapton had curly hair for a year. The more voltage the act requires, the more dangerous the consequences.
Keith Richards, the seemingly indestructible guitarist of the Rolling Stones, was knocked backwards in an explosion of blue sparks during a 1965 concert at the Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento, California. Many people were surprised to learn that he'd get up. KISS guitarist Ace Frehley was stabbed against a railing while standing in water from a leaky dry ice machine during a concert in 1976. He composed the song "Shock Me."
Agustn Briolini died of a serious injury caused by poor microphone wiring. During the opening set of a show at the Theatre of the Sun, in Villa Carlos Paz, the 21-year-old guitarist and lead singer of an Argentinian rock band the Krebs received a massive electric shock.
Keith Relf, who died of an unharmed guitar on May 14, 1976, was 33 years old. He was playing guitar and harmonica when he was 13 years old, and his insinuating harmonica made The Yardbirds sound darker and bluesier than the other bands that emerged from the British invasion.
The Yardbirds are well-known for launching guitarists Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page, but Relf formed the group and renamed it. He'd previously played with guitarists Chris Dreja and Top Topham, and drummer Jim McCarty in a May 1963 performance at Kingston Art School.
The Yardbirds were named the house band at the Crawdaddy Club, and the Stones were the next group to be named for their jazz and rhythmic music careers in October 1963. Crawdaddy Club owner Giorgio Gomelsky managed the band and secured them the backing of blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson II for the 1964 live album Sonny Boy Williamson and the Yardbirds. Five Live Yardbirds was released in August 1964 by Columbia. It didn't sell very well, but the industry noticed
Clapton's time with the band was short. The first two singles, "I Wish You Would," and "Good Morning, School Girl," both from Graham Gouldman, failed to make the charts. "For Your Love," written by Graham Gouldman, ranked No. 1 in the United Kingdom, and No. 6 in the United States, suggested the Yardbirds replace him with Page, who handed the stage to Beck, who found the pulse two days after Clapton's departure.
Beck's distorted tone boosted the song "Heart Full of Soul." Both songs were recorded at Memphis' legendary Sun Studios with legendary producer and Elvis discoverer Sam Phillips on the dials.
"Shapes of Things," a protest-infused song, was released in February 1966, the first psychedelic rock classic, three months before the Beatles' "Paperback Writer"/"Rain," and a month ahead of The Byrds' "Eight Miles High." Relf and McCarty wrote all of the material for the following albums: Over Under Sideways Down and Roger the Engineer.
Relf released the solo single "Mr. Zero," backed by "Knowing," which topped out at No. 1,210 on the UK Singles Chart. The psychedelic follow-up "Shapes in My Mind," backed by "Blue Sands," finished the day at No. 1.
Samwell-Smith left the Yardbirds after going to Queen's College in Oxford. Page played bass for the show and remained with the band until Beck became ill during a tour. Dreja switched to bass, allowing Page and Beck to explore the dual lead guitar styles that defined the band's final period.
The Yardbirds renamed the New Yardbirds in 1968, after Page turned into Led Zeppelin. Relf and McCarty continued to collaborate. Renaissance formed, with Keith's sister Jane Relf on vocals, would evolve into one of the most innovative prog rock bands of the next decade. By then, Relf was producing other artists and interested in playing heavier music.
Relf was engulfed in authentic blues when he formed The Yardbirds, but he never accepted a pop sound. In 1974, he formed another prog rock group, Armageddon, with drummer Bobby Caldwell, who had previously played in Johnny Winter's band, guitarist Martin Pugh, who also played on the Rod Stewart album, and bassist Louis Cennamo, who also played in Renaissance.
Relf, who was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, was a producer as well as an artist. He was always on the lookout for new music. For years, rumors have persisted that the accident occurred in the bathroom. Even if it did, the experimental sound purist may have been testing acoustics rather than the alleged accidental death assertions.
Relf's body was reportedly discovered by his eight-year-old son, who later said he thought his father was asleep because he routinely worked through the night. When Relf was discovered, he still had his headphones on.
Peacock's first four episodes of Poker Face can be streamed now. New episodes premiere Thursdays.