MY YEAR IN ROCK – retrospect 2012 (Part 1)
Every year when I look back on what I’ve been doing, it seems like it’s been longer than just a year. 2012 was no exception.
Even just the Firewind-tours were enough to fill a lot of space and bring back great memories – you’ll find those in this separate blog: http://firewindtour.posterous.com/firewind-tours-of-2012-recap
But there have been plenty of other highlights that I thought I’d take a look back on, now when there are only a few more days left of this year…:-)
TONY IOMMI DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER – AND OZZY & FRIENDS….
The year started with bad news that shook the whole heavy metal community – one of the godfathers of metal, Tony Iommi, had been diagnosed with cancer. The Black Sabbath reunion with Ozzy that had been announced and that had been so highly anticipated, was off. However, not to disappoint the fans too much, Ozzy decided to do the scheduled dates as “Ozzy & Friends“, bringing Slash, Zakk Wylde and Geezer Butler on tour. And of course his own band, which made a lot of people happy – myself included, as “the new kid on the block”, Gus G, was with Oz on those dates. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have bothered.
FIREWIND IN ATHENS
Speaking of Gus, my first concert trip of 2012 took me to Athens, Greece where they kicked off their year at the Fuzz club, and also recorded a video for the single “Wall of Sound” that was released later in the spring.I remember Athens as easy to navigate with the metro going all through town. I was guided through some must-see’s, such as the Akropolis, by Jon, a good friend of Jon Oliva’s Pain (they were the ones who recommended him when I was looking for a contact in Athens – just in case). He’s also a singer in the band Need and we had lots to talk about, so it was a great guide! :) Always nice to get to know new people.
As for the Firewind-show (which was on January 14th, by the way), it was one of the best or worst, depending on how you look at it – their Greek crowd is absolutely freaking NUTS! I must have lost ten pounds at least getting crushed against the barricades before and during the show. My god. But – as always – worth it, ten times over! :)
STEVE STEVENS & SEBASTIAN BACH AT THE IRIDIUM JAZZ-CLUB IN NEW YORK CITY
At the end of January, on the 27th, I left for New York City. This time it wasn’t a major arena-gig, quite the opposite. Steve Stevens, one of the coolest guitarists alive (known from Billy Idol, Michael Jackson, Vince Neil etc…) and Sebastian Bach were performing together at this small jazz-club somewhere on Broadway.
The whole idea seemed so bizarre that I had to see it. I had also scheduled an interview with Steve through his wife Josie. Josie rocks! People look at her and judge her by the way she looks, it’s way too easy to think she’s just some bimbo, but I loved that girl. She was very professional but at the same time also very friendly and open. She had never even met us, but greeted us with a hug and made sure that we felt welcome. I wish all interviews could be planned through people like Josie.
I got a great interview with Steve after the two sets at the Iridium (with a seated audience). My friend (and photographer) Beatrice and I were lucky to get absolute front row seats – right at the stage. I remember when Sebastian walked out on stage, he dropped his jaw and started doing sign language and grimacing kind of to ask “Did you fly over just for this?”
He shouldn’t be surprised, after 23 years he should be used to seeing me anywhere in the world, so why not a jazz club in New York?
Anyway, the backstage story, the review, the interview, photos and all from that can be found here:
WHITNEY HOUSTON PASSED
After the Stevens/Bach show at the Iridium, I took it easy during February. The music world was hit by more bad news, not specifically metal, but one of the great voices in modern music, had passed – Whitney Houston. It shocked a lot of people, including a lot of rockers. Whether or not you were into her music, I think most of us would agree that Whitney’s voice was one of a kind and it was a tragic fate. This was on February 11, 2012. R.I.P Whitney.
STEEL PANTHER INTERVIEW IN COPENHAGEN
Next on the schedule of 2012 was Steel Panther. I heard that they were coming to Copenhagen, and I actually hesitated whether or not I would request an interview with them. They are funny, but that’s exactly the thing – how do you interview a band like that?! It would certainly be…different.
It was actually my friend Kevin, from JOP, who talked me into it. “What’s the worst that could happen? If you don’t like the result of the interview, don’t post it!” True enough. So, I contacted Universal in Copenhagen and set up an interview with these crazy guys.
It was a pleasant surprise. They were absolutely “normal” before the cameras went on, and especially Michael Starr who we met down in the lobby 30 minutes before the interview. But the minute the cameras were rolling, they became the out of control Steel Panther that we all know and love.
I had it all figured out, or so I thought. However, they wouldn’t let me finish a sentence, so they missed some of the jokes that I was hoping they would pick up on. But, I realized that the best way to deal with these dudes, was to just shut up and let them do the talking! :))
The interview has passed 24 300 views, that’s crazy. :))
PART TWO OF MY YEAR IN ROCK COMING UP………..!
Rock’n’roll Travels 2012
2011 is coming to an end, and I’m already planning my rock’n’roll travels for 2012.
The biggest challenge right now is the preparations for my trip to Russia. Or maybe I should say my “possible” trip to Russia, cause I had no idea it would be so complicated to go to a country that’s not that far away and only for a short visit.
I’ve found myself in a paper-mess with visa-applications and special insurance instructions and what have you. To top it all off, they aren’t exactly helpful at the Russian Embassy, so if I can’t figure things out on my own, I’ll have to skip the trip.
But I would love to go for at least two reasons: Because I’ve never travelled in that direction before, I’ve always gone to the west, never to the east (if you don’t count Eastern Europe such as the Czech republic). So, Russia feels a bit exotic. :-)
Second reason being visiting my friend Vera, who I met at Sweden Rock Festival that she’s been visiting a few years because she’s been covering the festival for the Russian edition of Classic Rock Magazine.
It would be very great to visit her and go see a cool show. The band playing (I rarely go anywhere unless there’s a show, as I’m sure you know by now :-)) is Judas Priest.
I saw them in Tallinn, Estonia back in 2006, it was a pretty weird concert. The security guards looked like an army, very intimidating. The opening act was some embarrassing, goddamn awful local band… Just one of those places you never forget.
And now – maybe, St. Petersburg, Russia, if I get my papers in order!
But before that – Athens, Greece in a few weeks. Firewind playing. Check out my Firewind-tour diary from this summer here.
After the past summer, it has become my “house band”, and seeing them from now on is like coming home. I liked the gigs with Mats Levén singing and I liked the US-shows as well with Apollo back as the frontman.
Firewind may not be a Motley Crue-sort of entertaining band, but for a music-nerd like me, they give me kicks just by being amazing at what they do – each musician in his own right.
I love the new drummer Jo, he kicks major ass, unbelievably talented. Nobody cares much for bassplayers unless it’s Billy Sheehan, but only watching Petros‘ fast fingers gets you dizzy, fucking hell that guy can play...! Don’t even get me started on the Virtuoso-Duo Bob Katsionis and Gus G (keyboards, guitar)…!
[Instrumental “SKG” – amazing if you’re into virtuosity…!]
The reason why I even started going to all those shows was Gus G. He is unreal. He’s not just another guitar geek, he’s a true old-school ROCK STAR on stage as well, I could watch him do his thing every week.
Somebody said that “there’s a lot of Gus in your videos” after watching my uploads on Youtube from this summer. Of course there is. There is no reason why there shouldn’t be. The guy rules.
But I’m slightly nervous going to Athens. When I went to Thessaloniki back in July, I got lost after the show at the stadium – and took for granted that there would be buses back to the city after such a big event. Never been anywhere where there haven’t been buses after a sports- or music event at a large stadium.
Well, apparently, it wasn’t self-explanatory in Greece so I ended up wandering the streets in the middle of the night looking for the ONE bus stop where the LAST night bus was supposed to leave. Cause THAT particular day, taxi’s were on strike…..
[Link to the Thessaloniki-adventures…]
It didn’t make things any easier that the signs were all written with Greek letters that I couldn’t understand, so I couldn’t get help from a Greek friend who tried to guide me over the phone. I got back to the hotel eventually, but it has taught me to be WELL prepared when going to Greece next time.
I got a tip from my friends in the JOP-camp, to contact a guy from Athens that they know from the last Oliva-tour. I’m lucky to know people in road crews, as they know the world very well – especially gig-related stuff. MY kind of “stuff”. :-) Let’s see how it goes.
And another thing that keeps me occupied right now is finding a fairly cheap flight to NYC at the end of January, because the coolest “poser-guitarist” ever, STEVE STEVENS is playing – with special guest SEBASTIAN BACH. Two guys I adore seeing live, sharing the stage?! Damn, I don’t want to miss THAT!
I’m out of vacation days until May, so I would have to go just over the weekend, see the show and then head straight back to work. Looks like the tickets aren’t even on sale yet. Guess I could ask Sebastian’s management, but when I’m traveling far, I still feel a lot better having a ticket in my hand, than the stress that always happens when you get to the box office and they go: “Hmmm I can’t see your name here…. what did you say your name was?” The classic. Happens even with bands I know very well, I guess I can always call someone, but sometimes there’s no time for that. So – old-fashioned tickets works fine for me.
Guess I’ll wait for the tickets to go on sale first – and THEN I can start looking for flights.
Started updating my tour-schedule for 2012, check it out, maybe I’ll see you there somewhere out in the world next year! :-)
My tour schedule for 2012….so far.