Tagged: billy sheehan
He’s got the fire
Since the first time I saw this guy dazzle a crowd with his string-acrobatics at Madison Square Garden with Ozzy, it’s been an interesting ride to follow his whereabouts and his undying fire and passion.
There was the Ozzy thing. Then the Firewind thing with numerous lineup-changes. During the 3 years that I’ve travelled all over the globe to see Gus with Firewind, there have been at least 3 vocalist changes, a bassplayer- and a drummer change.
And every little detail reinvented the band. There was a different dynamic for each change that kept things fresh and interesting.
When Gus started having thoughts about trying his wings as a solo-artist, it sounded like the perfect timing. He’s pretty much always been a “solo artist” in one way or another, but now was the time to make the world discover what he can do.
He’s not just “Ozzy’s guitarist” or the leader of Firewind.
He’s Gus-fuckin’-G! :-)
I’m pretty sure that “I Am The Fire” with its melodic, heavy sound will find its way to an even broader audience than Firewind.
There will be plenty of reviews of this Gus solo-debut out there, so I’ll skip that for now. However, I was very curious to hear more about the journey that led to the “I Am The Fire”.
So here it is – straight from “the horse’s mouth”:
G: I’m flying to Sweden tomorrow to shoot another video with Patric and then I go on a European press tour in England, Germany and France. All the interviews are starting on Monday.
Are you getting bored yet, getting the same old questions…? :)
G: You know, no not really, cause this is different. It’s a new album, a new project – I can still take it, I can still answer shit another thousand times, haha!
When I talked with you at Sweden Rock a few years ago, when you were with Ozzy, the question about a solo album came up, and back then you seemed pretty reluctant to the idea of making a solo album. What happened along the way that made you reconsider?
G: A lot of people have been asking me about a solo album, and I’ve been thinking about it because my A&R at Century Media was on my ass about it for years. After the Ozzy-gig a lot of people around me wanted me to capitalize on that. You know… “You should do something with your name when you take a break from Ozzy”.
And I thought about all these things, but to be honest with you, it didn’t really hit me until I started writing songs with Mats after the Firewind-tour that we did with Mats back in 2011. Him and I go way back and we always talked about writing together. So when I started writing a few songs with him I thought…. “Hey…this could be a solo album…!”
I was just thinking that the songs you wrote with Mats, are the best ones on the album. You have a great chemistry and work well together. There’s something about those particular songs that sticks out.
G: Oh, I definitely agree! All the stuff that me and Mats did is really good material and and it’s surprising cause they came together really fast. I would send him stuff when I was on the road and he would send me back a melody or a chorus to my missing riff or whatever, and the song would be there. It was a really good chemistry from the start with him.
Obviously there’s a bunch of people on your album, and you can either do it the Yngwie way and write everything from beginning to end or you can actually collaborate…How did you do the rest of the album?
G: For me, the big question was…what do I want to play if I do a solo album? What’s the music going to be like? Cause it’s not going to be called Firewind. I realized from the start that I didn’t want to do an instrumental album. The way that I always wrote, even in Firewind, was that I always have the music, and then I gave it to the singer and they’d come back with the vocal line and the lyric, you know. That’s how it worked with Mats and Jeff Scott Soto for instance, on this album.
So you don’t usually write that yourself?
G: No I don’t. I mean, I have ideas and I will sing them the ideas, but a lot of times I just want them to surprise me. I like that. I guess that’s kind of my motivation. When I have a cool riff, I just want somebody to put something good over it and make it a great song. I guess that’s a very old-school way of writing.
When I listen to My Will Be Done, I’m thinking… you might as well have written the lyrics to that.
G: The thing is… I didn’t write a lot of the lyrics on the album but most of that stuff really is like statements of mine. I know it’s a bit silly but it’s statements of where I am today and stuff that I went through. I’m not sure if it’s all simple coincidence, but…
When I talk to the singers what I want to write, I will tell them that maybe the song should be a love song or it should be a breakup or this and that, and give them ideas. Sometimes even song titles. And they will write around that.
Actually, the song with Jeff Scott Soto, I had the music and the working title for my demo was Summer days and that’s because I wrote the song on the last day of summer, in 2012. I had moved into my new house and I remember I set up my studio that day and picked up the guitar – and wrote that on my 12-string guitar. We were gonna call that Summer Days. It was summer, you know, August 31st or something and then Jeff wrote the lyrics around that title. It’s like a nice summer anthem!
He’s a great singer- I love the mix of everything on the album!
G: Yeah, actually Jeff was the first guy on board and once I had that and the materian with Mats, it gave me the idea to do a slashed type of album with different people.
How did for instance Billy Sheehan end up playing on this album, and some of the other musicians?
G: A lot of the people, I actually didn’t know. They came either through the label or through Jay Ruston. I had Mats and Jeff, and obviously I knew Tom Englund from Evergrey, from the days I lived in Gothenburg and stuff, but I was missing a lot of musicians – bassplayers and drummers…
I first wanted to play bass on the whole record myself cause I love playing bass, but the next thing for me was “I need to find somebody to mix this album and talk to him about ideas”.
Cause it was hard for me to produce this record myself as I didn’t know what I was gonna do. It’s not like I was making another Firewind-record, I’m learning as I’m going along. It’s just myself now. I had no label, no bandmates, no nothing…
So when I met Jay, and he started asking me “do you have like a drummer and stuff…?” I was like “uh…no…”
So he suggested people like Jeff Friedl from Perfect Circle, and I met many of his friends, musicians: Jacob from Steven Adlers band, Marty O’Brien… And going back to your question about Billy Sheehan, he was another guy that he brought up. “What do you think about Billy?” And I was like “Fuck yeah!”. So he hit him up right away and Billy was like “Yeah, let’s do it!”.
There was a lot of stuff like that, a lot of stuff came through Jay. He’s kinda like an executive producer, I’d say.
You just brought up two things I was going to ask you about, one of them being the question about producers. What’s your take on producers in general? Cause you have a history of doing stuff yourself – is it a financial thing or you just don’t trust other people to interfere with your music?
G: It wasn’t a financial thing, especially not now. If I wanna do something, I just do it. But the thing is that I’m so used to doing my own records and I’ve worked with producers, so I know that sometimes… You know, when you give a job to a producer to produce your album, he will take initiative and do things that HE feels is “the right way” to go about. And… I’m not like that at all! Lol!
I mean, as you know, I’m the kind of guy who … Well, to put it this way, I know what I want and I know what I like or don’t like. So I knew from the beginning that I needed a guy to make a killer mix but not really tell me what he thinks of it.
The idea with that album was to be totally free of any sort of advisors... People that I have to please, people that think it’s their project… you know. That’s why I didn’t search for a label until later, cause I didn’t want any A&Rs or label bosses telling me what they think. It was just like… I’m gonna do this album – and whatever. If somebody wants to put it out, cool, I just didn’t give a fuck.
You never felt that a producer might bring out the best in you, stuff that you might not have thought of yourself, especially at this stage..?
G: As a producer myself, I know that selfproducing is obviously a hard thing, but this record was a bit easier in terms of the musical part because I pushed myself to write different things. I asked myself: “Should I have any heavy stuff on there, or maybe just a lot of acoustic stuff, or what if I do mellow stuff and see what comes out of that…Do I wanna do a groovy, mid tempo kind of song? Something a bit more “Zeppelin-ish”? I just wanted to do it like that. Stuff came out that I wouldn’t have put on a Firewind-record, necessarily. I guess… I’m not really a producer but I went along with it and produced myself that way.
OK, I understand. I figured maybe it was was another statement, that producers can’t keep up with you or bring something to the table that might be useful to you in this new situation.
G: Oh, no no! I mean, the only song where I used a producer, that we produced together and co-wrote, was Long way down, which I went to Vegas and did with Kevin Churko. But again, I didn’t go in there with a song. We just went in there and started from scratch. It was not an “all me” type of song, it was a combination of four writers. That’s cool too, I wanted that experience as well, going into a studio and writing a song in a day with two or three different writers you know…. Kind of like they do on pop records. It was an experience.
You and Dave Ellefson are playing on eachothers records. Did you do that in the same session…??
G: Actually, David was the last guy on board, cause I had already played bass on that track, but then one day I got a text from Jay during the mixes of my album, and he said “Do you wanna play a song on Bello’s and Ellefsons project?” and I was like “Fuck YES!” and he asks“What do you want for it?” I said: “Nothing – I want David to play on my album!”
So that’s how that happened.
We did another one of those things with Jeff Scott Soto, he co-wrote a song with me on my album and I gave him one of my songs, for HIS album.
Everybody wins – cool! :)
G: Yeah – it’s kinda like…the brotherhood of heavy metal.
Have you used real drummers on all songs?
G: It’s all drummers. It’s Jeff Friedl, playing on the whole record, Daniel Erlandsson of Arch Enemy is playing on the instrumentals and….actually, Long Way Down – that is a drum machine.
There’s a lot of programming nowadays…
G: Yeah, I think Kevin does a lot of stuff like that, programmes a lot, but the rest of the record is Jeff Friedl playing.
Obviously, every time an artist puts out a new record, people are gonna ask what’s your favorite song on it? But, maybe there’s a song or a few songs, that have been particularly fun and/or challenging to record. Is there anything on it that you thought “that one was really fun to do”?
G: It was just a fun record to do in general. For me, I wrote all my parts and composed 95 percent of the stuff when I was doing my demos. So basically what I did when I went into the studio is that I just replayed everything through a proper amp.
But if we’re talking about CHALLENGING, I think the instrumentals were very challenging for me. I kinda outdid myself this time. I pushed myself to play harder, more difficult stuff, I even had to practice all this stuff when I went into the studio to be able to play it.
And when I had to learn these songs NOW I was fuckin scared shitless! How the fuck am I gonna do this live?! And then I started practicing those songs just standing still. Cause it’s easy to play when you’re sitting down, but when I stood up and tried to play those songs, it sounded like a fuckin’ five-year old kid who had grabbed the guitar for the first time! Lol! Oh my god, I’m horrible! I ‘ve got to get it together!
Those are pretty technical, those two instrumentals, they have definitely pushed the boundries for me as a player. I mean, NOW I can play that stuff very easily, but that’s just because I practiced a lot. I liked that.
Are you gonna avoid playing those songs live?
G: Nooo! Hell no! We’re gonna be playing those! I look forward to playing it because now I can do it! Now I’m gonna start playing them even harder because now I’ve mastered them. I can take it to the next level now.
That’s funny, so many people probably think that Gus G can play anything easily – and you’re telling me that you were scared shitless playing your own songs. :)
G: Those instrumentals… I mean, you know how Firewind sounds, those two songs are probably closer to Firewind and what Firewind sounds like, and when I wrote those, I thought I was gonna save those for the band later on. But then in the end, I was like… What the fuck, it’s a solo album and I should be allowed to have whatever the hell I want on it. If I want a fucking country song on it, I should be able to!
Hahaha! I’m looking forward to that – that would be interesting!
G: Yeah – Greek country songs…!
Were there any artists that you asked to participate that for any reason couldn’t or wouldn’t do it?
G: The only guy that I was talking to, and he really wanted to do it, so we are saving this for later, cause we want to work together, is James LaBrie. I just caught him in a very bad time cause he was finishing up not one but TWO albums, at the same time. He was really up for it, but he had to finish his solo album and another one with Dream Theater, but we talked about doing something in the future together. You know… there will be another album.
That’s another thing that maybe Firewind fans are wondering – if this goes well, are yuou ditching Firewind?
G: No, the band is always there, I mean, that’s never gonna go away, as long as we wanna keep playing, keep doing this and we have a lot of love from fans around the world, I don’t think we’re gonna let that thing die, ever. It was just time… You know, after Apollo left the band we had all these contracts to go out on tour and stuff. We had to finish the tour and I don’t like to quit or cancel, so that’s how we got Kelly on board to help us with the tour. But now, after the tour ended it was time to take a break and think about the next step of the band. And that actually gave me a step to do this for real-the solo album.
So the guys are behind you, and cool with you doing this solo adventure…?
G: Well, I didn’t ask for permission haha!
Nah, but I guess you can tell sometimes by someone’s reaction.
G: Yeah! No they’re all cool with it and I think everybody was looking forward to this break. We’ve gone through a lot of singer changes, and all that stuff, and it’s been a lot of good things with that band but also a lot of …everything has been done the really HARD way. So I think everybody felt a bit more relaxed with the idea of taking it easy for a while. I mean, there was no rush for us to go back to the studio this time.
I’ve been wanting to ask you this a long time ago but I never got around to do it. The whole FIRE theme has been with you throughout your whole career….
G: Jesus Christ, yeah I know! And it’s not even done on purpose!
Really? It’s not?
G: No, it’s not! It’s like… Cheesus in my veins hahha! I realized that and thought fuck… I have a song called I am the anger and now the album is called I am the fire. Then I have a bunch of, I don’t know, maybe 15 songs that have the word “fire” in them..
Yeah! I thought that was the idea, or your concept!
G: Not really, no! I mean, obviously I like the whole symbol of fire and it being a powerful, badass thing and everything, but honestly, when I got the lyric from Devour The Day for that song in, I thought…
As usual I’m struggling with album titles, and I was looking for a title. When I saw that I thought “this is really cool” and it kinda connects the missing link for people who might not know that I play in Firewind. I thought… maybe this could be the album title.
I actually thought there was a significance or a symbolism behind the fire thing.
G: Well…obviously, I don’t know if I told you before but I got the name from Electric Sun, Uli Jon Roth’s second album after Scorpions. That second album was called Fire Wind and I love those albums. When I was a kid I thought Firewind would be a great band name and that’s why I named my band that. And of course, we’ve played around with that theme in Firewind for years but NOW this time… when the guy wrote the lyric I was like… I wonder if they KNOW about Firewind…? Or is it the flame tattoo that they saw and thought it would be cool? But I like the lyric and I thought if I’m gonna go out with a solo album – if people know Gus G but they don’t know Firewind, then you kinda have a little bit of a connection there.
It’s almost like an “accidental” marketing thing there, I guess you could say that.
So…now what’s happening? Another video?
G: I’ve actually shot 3 videos already, and we’re gonna be releasing them. The idea was, I didn’t want to stream songs just as audio. I figured, why don’t we just do videos instead? They’re good professional videos, which Patric always does. I thought it would be great to put a visual behind the music. And then we’re going out on tour in Europe – me and Marty Friedman…
Is it gonna be the same band at all the shows or are you bringing in guests?
G: No, actually what I’m doing is we’re gonna be using the same backup band for both of us. It’s kind of a situation for me where I like the freedom of not having a band. I like the idea of just jamming with people. And the songs are pretty easy and rockin’ to learn. I’m gonna do another tour and then have my own band and stuff but these are like co-headline dates so we’re sharing the same band.
I LOVE Marty…!
G: Me too. He’s got a new album out called Inferno how funny is that?! I am the fire – Inferno…?!
I’ve known Marty for ten years, I met him in Japan at one of my tours and he’s one of my heroes. Great guy.
…and here’s where the interview ends. The other things we talked about has since this conversation took place, already become “old news: The “new” I am the fire-video, the Uli Jon Roth/Jorn Lande-dates in Greece and other things that are already in the past.
With this guy, there’s always so much going on all the time, that it leaves your head spinning. Make sure you pick up a copy of I Am The Fire if you’re into cool guitars, hard rock with great sing-along choruses and a modern sound. You know it’s a good album when you can sing at least two or three songs after only hearing them once. :)
Personally, I’m eagerly looking forward to the Marty Friedman / Gus G co-headline tour. What a treat!
Met Mr Big by posing as a groupie…!
One of my long-time friends gave me a letter that I had written to her back in 1992 after I had met my guitar hero (right up there with Yngwie!) PAUL GILBERT for the very first time.
She figured it could be cool for me to have it now, all these years later, and maybe use it as material for my blog.
If she hadn’t given me this letter, I wouldn’t have remembered that I even got a kiss from Paul GIlbert (a very innocent one, but hey – still)!
FROM A TYPED LONG LETTER (over 20 pages!) after meeting MR BIG
at Circus, Stockholm, Sweden…..
April 29, 1992 (bits and pieces, that letter was crazy long! Slight changes also so that it makes better sense. :))
I couldn’t sleep, I had only ONE thing in mind: I HAD to meet Paul Gilbert. When I called my friend Lena she had suddenly changed her mind and didn’t even want to go! She said she had already seen and met Mr Big. She had tons to do, had no money and a whole bunch of bad excuses. I told her to cut the crap, get off her ass and tag along! She did. :-)
When we got to Circus (the venue) a limo with tinted windows pulled up just as we arrived, it was the band.
There were lots of fans there and the security guys exaggerated their attempts to keep people away from the car. So when Eric Martin stepped out, he grabbed one of those red roadsides and started yelling into it, making fun of the security guys: “Alright alright people! Move it, move it!”
The guards didn’t find it amusing, but he was just laughing at them, with that boyish smile of his.
[Jumping to the part where we are hanging out after the show, trying to figure out how to meet the band…]
We met Helen from WEA and a girl I knew, asked her to leave a message for Billy Sheehan. She had met him in the States and he had told her that she should look him up anytime & anywhere and he’d get her in on the guest list. So – she asked Helen to just give him the message.
Helen looked reluctant, saying something like “yeah, maybe“…. But probably not. She would be back “in a minute“. When she came back, she said she would catch BIlly AFTER the show. Yeah – right.
Oh and by the way, I found out that Paul goes to the same hairdresser as Vixen. Not that it has anything to do with anything, but, just a bit of trivia.
ANYHOO…… After the show, it was the same old shit as usual, security kicking everybody out, clearing the premises. I was convinced that I would have to accept that I would NOT be meeting Paul GIlbert this time. Yet I didn’t want to leave.
We told the security people that we were waiting for Helen from WEA, so they let us stay. Helen finally came out, shrugged her shoulders and just left. Not that I expected anything different anyway, but it was worth a try.
Lena was tired and wanted to go home. I didn’t, so I just went over to the groupie-section and joined all those chicks. I might as well sit there and wait.
Then a MIRACLE happens…!
A guy from EMA Telstar (concert promotor) walks up to the bunch, barely looks at anyone because he’s got his nose in his papers, and goes: “Would you follow me please!” and waved for us to follow him. We just walked STRAIGHT IN – without passes!
Apparently they didn’t expect anyone to be sitting there without a pass, so they didn’t even check!
I was super excited and whispered to Lena: “Can you believe that we are on our way to meet Paul?!” She just yawned and said she wanted to go home. Very inspiring indeed.
We were shown to this corridor and given free beer. A lot less groupies than usual by the way. Not like Skid Row’s backstage area. Mr Big only had maybe 10 groupies and they weren’t as slutty as Skid Row’s.
Pat came down and greeted everybody with a smile: “Good evening, ladies!” One of the girls yelled: “Nice ass!” – and he strutted his stuff all the way to the dressing room haha!
Up next, was Billy, who looked dead tired after the show. He stopped, looked at everyone and went: “I’m feeling better already!”
He walked on. “If you follow me, ladies….” and suddenly he had ten chicks following him like a tail. He yelled through the dressing room door: “ARE YOU DECENT??” and got a loud “YES!” from Pat, we all walked in. There was only Pat in there – and lots of food and drinks.
Eric walked in, mr Hyper! He was singing, joking, just attracting attention. I don’t know why, but I started talking with him and I asked if he wasn’t worried that people would start thinking of Mr Big as a ballad-band, because they released two ballads in a row as singles?
– Don’t you want us to be successful? This is obviously what people want to hear. We released “Daddy, brother…” and “Green Tinted Sixties Mind” as singles, so we’re not a ballad band!
He kept going on and on about it, I never meant it THAT seriously, it was just a thought.
While he was talking away, I saw Paul’s shoes walking in our direction, and next thing I know, he’s standing right next to me. Lena gave me a look and a wink, as if to say “THERE he is!” Geeezuz.
Suddenly Eric yells:
– ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? with a “what the fuck“-smile.
Lena quickly leaned over to Eric and explained: “GOD just entered the room…!”
Eric looked at me – looked at Paul and yeah, he got it! He gave me a wink and a smile and left.
I was shaking like a leaf as I was trying to get my Racer X-CD’s and the “Guitars That Rule The World”-CDout of the plastic bag .
I walked up to him, he greeted me cheerfully and started talking. A lot! I had had this idea that he was a shy type of guy, but… far from it!
He hadn’t even SEEN the “Guitars That Rule The World“-cover before! So he was very curious. He had only heard Zakk Wylde’s song on that album and said he liked it.
Then he saw that godawful pic of him and Billy and just laughed out loud. People were turning their heads just to see what was going on. He held the pic up in the air yelling: BILLY!! HAVE YOU SEEN THIS??! JESUS CHRIST!!!
He wanted to know if I REALLY wanted that horrible picture signed, and yeah I did – so he signed it, but giggled for minutes after that. He gave me a pick as well.
I told him that I loved his little tune, and he said thanks, and explained that it was mostly meant as a joke, to make fun of that whole guitar-hero myth. I asked if he would ever consider playing it live, and he replied that it would be almost impossible because the song consisted of 5 different solos mixed with acoustic guitar,
I laughed and said: “Hey, people call you a genoius – you should be able to rearrange it and play it live!”
He laughed, said it was a fun idea, he would definitely consider it and see what he could come up with. So – if he ever DOES play it live, I will know where he got the idea from. ;)
Lena started talking to Paul, so I went over to Billy Sheehan instead. What a super-nice guy. He shows a genuine interest in every single person he talks to. He was very down to earth and easy to talk to. I asked him if it was possible to get a pass for Copenhagen as well and he said it could absolutely be arranged.
He was so impressed that I was going to see them twice… If he only knew how many times I’ve seen Skid Row…!
Went back to Paul after a while, cause none of the chicks gave a shit about him, so he was alone. Perfect – for me.
I asked a little about his education, considering he became a guitar hero already at the age of 16. He said that he finished high-school and after that he’s been educating himself to the best of his ability.
Then he got up with a smile on his face and went to get his bag.
– I’ll show you what I’m reading right now!
I thought it would be something silly, cause he had that look on his face, but it turned out to be a book about PHYSICS!
– I NEVER thought that you’d be reading a book like this! I said with eyes as big as plates.
– Well… I haven’t finished it yet, but…
His attitude was that, just because you’re a musician, it doesn’t mean that you have to be STUPID.
I asked him what kind of music he was listening to. Once again, he walked over to his bag, grabbed another bag and handed it over to me.
– You can see for yourself. I think I’ve got everything in there.
There was some “J.O Bach” (not J.S Bach!), Dee-Lite, AC/DC, Motown soul… All kinds of stuff. He wasn’t kidding when he said that he had “everything”…!
I asked him about his opinion of female musicians.
– Bonnie Raitt is one of my favorites. And Lisa, from Wendy & Lisa, Have you heard her?
I nodded and he was just about to ask me if I had heard this song…but I had to stop him there cause I didn’t own her record, unfortunately.
He loved Lita Ford (yey!!) and his favorite Lita-song was “Gotta Let Go“. And he liked Diana Ross as well.
Kept asking him stuff like there was no tomorrow! I wondered howcome he stopped writing for Guitar Player, and he just said he didn’t have time and that he had run out of ideas. He looked surprised, probably didn’t expect someone like me to be reading Guitar Player.
The band had to leave, so he got up and was about to give me a hug, when I jokingly said that if he hugged me, I would probably drop down dead. So he kissed me instead!
Uhhh – YES, I definitely hit the ground right after that. Lena went: “Miracles DO happen, huh?”
Jesus, yes – you could say that.
[there was a part two of this letter too – a LONG part two, but I will spare you.
Billy remembered the passes for the Copenhagen show the next day, bless him. :)
And yes, I met Paul there too. Awesome guy! I’m still a big fan of his – he rules!]
The unmasking of Steel Panther
I spent almost two full days just clicking my way through Steel Panther history. I wasn’t really looking for anything to begin with, but as I started finding stuff, one interesting fact lead to another and it became an obsession…!
I mentioned to my friend Mari that many people have found my blog by searching for terms like “Lexxi without wig” or “Steel panther no wigs” or “Does Satchel wear a wig?“.
I can’t believe they haven’t already found all this stuff! Her only response was: “Most people don’t have the patience for that sort of thing. It’s the journalist in you that comes out“. Maybe.
I truly get a kick from this stuff. Who ARE these guys?
It’s like Kiss back in the day – everybody wanted to know what they looked like before 1983. The mystery would drive people crazy.
Well, since the Steel Panther-guys are basically always in character during their interviews, you won’t get anything out of them. So if you want to know what lies behind the wigs, the spandex and the jokes, you’ve got to find out for yourself.
I’ve visited some pretty godforsaken, forgotten places on the Internet Graveyard today.
MySpace proved to be an underrated museum of interesting stuff. There were old blogs from 2004 that invited fans of The Thornbirds (also named The Ducks) to gigs for free or to five or ten bucks at the door. Little did they know, I’m sure, that tickets to their future band Steel Panther would go for 40 bucks a piece in the UK eight years later.
There were all these old home-made homepages that people used to create before there was any social media out there – even before the days of MySpace or Facebook. It’s been an interesting journey today! I still don’t have ALL the pieces of the puzzle, lots of things I still don’t get. Like whether or not there is an affinity between the band’s manager Glen Parrish and Russ Parrish (aka Satchel).
They sure look a lot alike if you compare photos – it’s the same jawline. Just speculating – I don’t know, but I’m sure there are people out there who DO know. I just haven’t stumbled upon anything yet that would confirm it, so I’ll just save that for another rainy day. :-)
[Steel Panther manager Glen Parrish – family or just pure coincidence…?]
I started at Twitter, clicked on an interesting name, which took me to a personal webpage, which took me to a personal Facebook-account – which took me to….everywhere…!
Next thing I know, I’m looking at family- and vacation photos and old band-videos, photos, MySpace stories and blogs and old webpages and cool stuff on YouTube!
So….. This is not even half of it, but who knows, maybe there will be a “Part two” in the future. For now, if you ever wondered what Steel Panther looks like “incognito” – here you go!
Still very cool guys -wigs or no wigs!
STEEL PANTHER – UNMASKED
Travis Haley – Russ Parrish – Ralph Saenz and Darren Leader.
Better known as… Lexxi -Satchel – Michael and Stix
This is what they looked like then this whole thing began….
And sounded like this (Love Rocket):
MIX OF PIX – click your way through them all – live pix of Satchel’s and Stix’ former band The Thornbirds and more. This first pic is of Travis and Russ (Lexxi and Satchel):
There was plenty of info on Satchel’s musical past, in the form of videos and old interviews, yet he is the only one I haven’t found on any social media sites. So, if you’re digging for personal stuff on him, good luck – it’s not exactly under your nose if you’re looking for it.
Seems like he really prefers his privacy when he’s offstage, respect to that.
But if you’re curious of his “old sins” music wise – here’s some old shit for you to enjoy…! :-)
The Atomic Punks (Van Halen-tribute band that included Michael Starr as “David Lee”) at the Velvet Jones, Santa Barbara, CA – October 22, 2005. Includes former guitarist Russ Parrish – tuning problems with his Frankenstrat.
THE ELECTRIC FENCE – with PAUL GILBERT (around 1991)
The Electric Fence – Paul Gilbert, Russ Parrish, Jeff Martin
Notice at 0.49 where Lexxi’s future “hair flip” probably originates from! ;)
This also includes Billy Sheehanwalking out on stage with a birthday-PIE. :-) Great stuff, I LOVE Paul Gilbert!!
THE ELECTRIC FENCE – with PAUL GILBERT and guest ROB HALFORD
The Electric Fence – Paul Gilbert, Russ Parrish, Jeff Martin
And there’s the HOT dude Russ in FIGHT – too pretty to fit in really. :-)
And last but not least…. just a few interesting links – I wish I had saved all of those I discovered today, but like I said – maybe in a part two. :)
Russ Parrish – Ratchet 2002 – Metal Sludge
Danger Kitty – Michael Diamond
BAND WAR AND PEACE
Welcome to visit www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror
My Year In Rock – retrospect 2011 (part 2)
CONTINUED from http://lita77777.posterous.com/my-year-in-rock-retrospect-2011
Alright, so the madness really began in June. It kicked off with Sweden Rock Festival, which is my second home. I’ve been to every single festival since 1994, with the exception of 1996 when I lived in the States. Working for the magazine (Sweden Rock Magazine) has made it a natural place to be every summer, doing reviews and interviews.
This year there was ONE main assignment, and it was altogether in my own name, for this blog and for YouTube.
After a few months of contact, I asked Gus G for an interview. I didn’t think he would be able to do it when he was out with Ozzy. I know that time is rarely the musician’s own when he’s a part of a huge machinery like Ozzy’s. However, he assured me that he’d be happy to do the interview and after a few messages back and forth with his manager, it was settled.
THE GUS G EXCLUSIVE SWEDEN ROCK INTERVIEW
That day was crazy. Cellphones never work on the Sweden Rock premises, so when the manager texted me to ask where the cameraman and I were, I couldn’t get my message through to him.He wanted us to get to the backstage area – and I know what that means. That means breaking into FORT-fuckin’-KNOX…! Are you kidding me?!? All the way back to Ozzy’s own backstage area, without the very exclusive pass that allows you through all the guarded gates to “the holy grail”? Yeah, that would be interesting.
But I was not about to let that stop me. After a few stressful minutes, I finally got hold of someone who had the right credentials to escort us all the way back there, so even with the extremely tight time-schedule it could be done.
We set up the cameras and lights while they went to get Gus. The timing was perfect. JUST as I had said the last finishing phrases to wrap up the interview – Thin Lizzy hit the Rock Stage. Some things are just meant to happen. I was very pleased with the interview (eventhough some internet trolls who don’t like Gus (Zakk-fans?), have done their best to “dislike” the video – f**k them, lol!)
WHITESNAKE WITH SPECIAL GUESTS BERNIE MARSDEN & ADRIAN VANDENBERG
The festival was definitely memorable for many reasons. The exclusive Gus G-interview was one of the highlights. Another one was the historic, fantastic performance by Whitesnake (that for some reason did not impress the colleague who reviewed their show, as much as it impressed me).It was an extremely emotional experience for me. When Bernie Marsden walked up on stage joining David, I couldn’t believe it. It was amazing, could barely believe it was happening. And as if that wasn’t enough – there comes Adrian Vandenberg as well! FOUR Whitesnake-guitarists on stage together at the same time…! How many times will I ever get to see THAT again?!
I uploaded a shaky video of it on YouTube that night before I passed out on the couch, and it’s one of the most viewed videos on my channel with its almost 18.000 views. Here’s another, shorter clip of are guys taking a bow:
JUDAS PRIEST – THE PRESS CONFERENCE
My main purpose with attending the Judas Priest press conference this time, was to get a feel of the chemistry between the “older priests” and the “new kid on the block” – Richie Faulkner. I was in the press-tent long before anyone else got there, securing my front row chair. That’s where the Russian girl from Classic Rock Magazine, Vera, found me. She remembered me from a few years before when she had seen me in the exact same place – also waiting for Priest. :-) This year we became friends and she visited me in Malmö a few months later.
As for the press conference, I got a very positive impression of Richie and it helped me to shake that frustration of K.K being out of the band. And although I, quite honestly, wasn’t that impressed by Judas Priest’s show at Sweden Rock, Richie did a great job. I hadn’t expected that – but he turned out to be a valuable addition to Priest with his youthful energy.
SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL 2011
There is a whole blog about that (to be found HERE and HERE) so there’s no point repeating it all, I’ll just mention some of the highlights in addition to the ones mentioned above:ROB ZOMBIE: The most pleasant surprise. I’ve never been a big fan of his “industrial metal”-style before, but he blew me away! I loved it! I hope he comes back, that kicked major butt!
JOAN JETT: The press conference was one of the best not only this year, but the past few years. I always imagined Joan being this moody badass “whattafuck”-kind of chick. But she was very warm and intelligent, and most of all the had a refreshing self-distance and sense of humor.
Once she got onstage, she showed why she has been on the top since the 70’s. She’s genuine and 100% rock’n’roll, there’s no question about it. The lady is impressive in every single way, all I can say is…RESPECT!
LEE AARON: Couldn’t believe how great she looked and the energy she had after all these years. Maybe I didn’t expect the “poppy” outfit, but she still had her powerhouse-voice and she definitely worked the stage when she entered it around noon, the last day of the festival. The biggest disappointment was that I LOST the video of her press conference!! I asked her a few questions that she really took time to answer, and then something went wrong during the transfer from the SD-card to the computer and it just disappeared. :-(( Gah!
MR BIG: I’ve always loved Mr Big. Call them whimpy or whatever, I don’t care. Paul Gilbert is a genious, Eric Martin is one of the most gifted singers in the business, Pat Torpey is a great but very underestimated drummer and Billy Sheehan – hey… There’s only one Bassplayer DeLuxe, and that’s Billy. Everybody knew their songs, they played like gods, and basically – my face ached afterwards cause I had been smiling way too much and too long!
Queensrÿche sounded terrible. I’ve never in my life heard them sounding so bad. Or maybe I should just say that Geoff Tate didn’t have a good day… Zakk Wylde left a very good impression at his press conference. He was cool, yet respectful and I think he handled the press very well. :-)
ROADTRIP TO OZZY – Germany & Luxembourg
After Sweden Rock Festival, I had a few days to prepare for my next trip – down to Munich in Germany to see Ozzy. It was a beautiful, sunny day in Munich, that I had a chance to drive around in, as I rented a car at the airport because I was going to continue down to Luxembourg as well two days later.
Anett (Jon Oliva’s European tour manager) and her husband Marcus, had invited me to come and stay with them on my way to Luxembourg, so after the Munich-gig I drove down there. It has its advantages to get a rental car, you get to see beautiful sceneries, so the drive to the little village was definitely worth the trip. :-)
After a really nice stay, catching up with Anett and Marcus (and meeting their rock’n’roll Dobermann-dog Slash! :-)) I continued on my way and drove down to Luxembourg. I stood in line outside Rockhal for several hours, cause I had nothing better to do, and when you travel like that to see a show, you don’t want to risk not seeing anything, so…
I stood there pretty much all day – then when the doors opened somebody told me that my “kind” of ticket had to be picked up somewhere else (WTF!!!) so I lost my place in line and was so pissed off, that people just moved out of my way when I walked back into the arena with black smoke coming out of my ears.
I made it all the way to the front row, much with the help of a really nice girl who let me have her spot, because she thought I “should” have it as I had travelled that far. That’s the kind of people you remember with thankfulness when you go on these road trips. :-)
Blogs from the Germany/Luxemburg roadtrips:
GRASPOP METAL MEETING in Belgium
The week after Munich and Luxembourg, I took off to Belgium with my friend Bianca, to my other favorite festival: GRASPOP Metal Meeting.
Bianca wanted to see Ozzy, because she’s never seen him before, and for me it would also mean a double-dose of Gus G because Firewind were also playing. Well… Ozzy got sick and the show was cancelled. As if that wasn’t enough, the rain was pissing down.
But… I got to see Firewind at least, and also discovered a freaking great band from Belgium, Channel Zero, that normally wouldn’t be the kind of band I’d listen to, but their energy was hard to miss…! Especially their front man Franky was impressive, his aggressive confidence fit the music perfectly and the crowd went wild!
THE CHANNEL ZERO BLOG HERE.
[This is what I tried to film during their set – as you can see, it was pretty wild, lol…!]
Dispite the mud and the very drunk rockers that we had to zig-zag to avoid stepping on, it was a great festival.
[Bianca and me being super-sexy in our blue rain ponchos, lol! ;P]
THESSALONIKI (GREECE) – Stop That Sound-festival
I went back to Sweden for a short break, before heading out on my next trip – all the way down to sunny Greece. Stop That Sound-festival in Thessaloniki, with headliners Judas Priest and Whitesnake, and of course home-boys Firewind. THAT story is way too long to even attempt summarizing, so I’ll just direct you straight to the blogs from that visit:
SONISPHERE FESTIVAL – England
Straight after that, I headed from Thessaloniki airport, to London – for the SONISPHERE festival.
Metallica headlined it, and I bet I must have been the only one who didn’t give a shit about Metallica. I never have, I never will. Never understood their greatness. However, I wanted to see Firewind and MEGADETH, most of all. I wasn’t disappointed by any of those bands. Megadeth always delivers. So did Anthrax by the way. :-)
JUDAS PRIEST in Manchester, UK and OZZY in Gdansk, Poland & Smukfest, Denmark
The weekend after Sonisphere, I took off back to England again. This time to Manchester to see Judas Priest. I loved the city, so much that I decided to choose Manchester in favor of London for concerts in the future. The show at Manchester Apollo was the best I’ve seen Priest do in a long time. Also met up with Ronnie, an internet friend that has been reading my diaries and blogs online since the very early days of Internet. Always nice to meet people in person too.
Next stop was Ozzy in Gdansk, Poland. I was really sick and should have been in bed, but there was no way I was going to cancel the trip. I slept everywhere I could. Spent the first day in bed at the super-cool designer hotel La-La-La, and most of the day of the show. It was raining anyway and of course I had forgotten to bring a rain-poncho, which I normally ALWAYS bring with me.
No matter how sick I was, it was worth it. Ozzy rules. And the Polish fans were definitely hardcore. I’m glad I went, eventhougI got lost and all that, but it goes with the territory. :-)
[OZZY played Ergo Arena in Sopot/Gdansk, Poland]
I only had one day to recover before I drove to Smukfest in Denmark to see the last Ozzy-show of the European tour. It was PISSING down all day, I had mud up to my knees! Crazy! The stage and the festival itself was kind of…different, and I suppose I expected something extraordinary because it was the last gig of the tour. But when Ozzy walks offstage – he’s done. So, no encores, no fireworks, no nothing. Yet, that was worth it too, I had fun!
[Ozzy finished his European tour on the left stage at Smukfest, Skanderborg, Denmark]
FIREWIND, FIREWIND AND MORE FIREWIND
Most of September was commited for Firewind. I spent most of that month on trains, buses, in taxis and on planes. Three gigs in England (and Scotland) – Manchester, Glasgow, Reading. Reading was Gus G’s birthday and he was celebrated with a cake onstage. Video was, of course, posted. This was also the tour where they had a “stand in”-singer, Mats Levén (who’s also fronted Yngwie’s band, almong others)
Then I took a break for a short while, before continuing down to the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany with yet another rental car (that I got at the airport – that roadtrip was described in the Firewind-blog, too much to tell for a short summary – check it out HERE).
You would have thought I would get sick of seeing the same band, travelling to some godforsaken places and sleeping in a car to save money, but no – I loved it! They are brilliant, I would do it all over again!
MEETING UP WITH CROATIAN TALENT – Vili Kovac in Split
The day after I came home from the Benelux/Germany-Firewind-tour, I only had time to re-pack my suitcase and head down to see my dad in Croatia for a REAL vacation. It was a vacation so much that I got restless, I’m not used to doing nothing.
But the vacation was saved by a meeting with a great, talented young Croatian singer, who I had first discovered the year before when I was on vacation, as he was competing in the Croatian version of American Idol. I thought he was great, one of those that stands out – not only with his voice but also with his personality.
He came to Split just for one day, so I got to meet the guy. Really nice dude, he played some of his own unreleased stuff for me and also some Croatian and Bosnian bands that I hadn’t heard before that were actually worth checking out.
Most of all I was a bit frustrated to learn that he might not be able to record something in English and reach a wider audience outside of Croatia – which I think he should. But – the modern world is shrinking so you never know. Maybe one day. Even on vacation I managed to squeeze in something music-related, thank god! :-)
[Ripper Owens and Vili Kovac]
And then when I came back to Sweden – there was reuniting with old friend SEBASTIAN BACH (video) and some other stuff… In part three which is coming up!
PART 3: http://lita77777.posterous.com/my-year-in-rock-retrospect-2011-part-3