You know how sometimes, when you have a secret crush on someone, you create all those wonderful fantasies in your mind, of what that person is like?
And then, one day, when you actually get to KNOW that person, and you see all their flaws, the fantasy dies right there. It was all in your mind. You created that perfect person. There ARE no perfect people, and the disappointment is very real.
Well… it’s the same with rock stars.
I’ve had the opportunity to get to know some of my teenage idols on a more realistic, human level, and it didn’t always go down too well.
It’s no wonder when you think about it. Because their music means a lot to you, so you think of the person who created it, as someone extraordinary.
When I was a teenager, rock stars were freaking GODS! They were larger than life, they were aliens, they were simply not regular people. Heck, I couldn’t even imagine that they went to the toilet like other human beings. They were from another planet and much like Wayne and Garth I would be like this:
So the leap from THAT to reality can be pretty harsh.
Suddenly you get to see the human side of these “gods”.
The primadonna behavior, the sad alcoholics and drug addicts who can’t even make it to the bathroom without the help of someone who drags them there, guys acting like pigs, treating women like trash, or even worse – treating their fans like trash.
Like one who shall remain nameless, who totally ignored a 10-year old boy who’d been waiting for him all day long with a poster he was hoping to get signed. There was nobody there, and the “Rock Star” didn’t as much as look at him. He walked right past him and treated the kid like he was invisible.
There was another Rock Star who I had idolized for a while, who I got to know as a friend over the years, and realized he was a whiny bastard who thought the whole world owed him something.
He accepted no flaws in other people, but expected everybody to accept and forgive him for HIS.
I was disappointed and for a while there I couldn’t even listen to his music because it had been somehow ruined by the realization of who he truly WAS. I would have been better off if I had never found out.
Same with another dude who I thought was a fantastic performer, whose records I would play over and over again… We got to know eachother well cause I was on so many tours, press conferences and interviews, it just naturally got that way.
And although I liked his personality sometimes, he could quickly and easily transform into this terrible egoistic asshole who I wanted nothing to do with.
The friendship had its ups and downs but I couldn’t stay a “fan” after that. When he was on stage he was a friend who was living his dream with his pals, the band. Not the Larger Than Life unobtainable Rock Star. Far from it.
These experiences taught me something. The Fantasy is better.
They can be whoever you want them to be. They can mean whatever you want them to mean to you, because you create their personalities in your own mind, and that way they remain the amazing Stars whose music means the world to you. They can never disappoint you, if you never get to know them.
Learning this made it easier to make my own decisions on who I wanted to befriend and who I would deliberately keep at a distance as much as possible, so that I could enjoy what they and their MUSIC has meant to me, without ruining it by getting to know them.
Rob Halford of Judas Priest would be one of those people. He’s the ultimate god because he and Judas Priest have meant so much in my life, it’s beyond what I could even explain. I wouldn’t be sitting here today writing about my life in the music biz, because without Priest it wouldn’t even have happened.
I’ve met Rob several times since that very first meeting back in 1990. I’ve talked to Rob on the phone many times. And I’ve been at hotels, backstage and on tour buses with Priest and with his own band Halford through the years. BUT, I’ve made sure to keep it on a very, very professional and manageable level. I didn’t want to even attempt to make friends with Rob on a level that I would consider a “real” friendship, because I want to keep him on his Metal God status forever.
It’s a conscious choice. I like Rob Halford a lot. I think he’s a great man and I have nothing bad to say about him whatsoever. I haven’t seen any bad sides of him, on the contrary, he’s been a very kind and inspiring man to talk to.
Others have been keen on telling me the “nasty details” about him, as if I wanted to hear about it. I’ve even told people NOT to tell me anything bad, if it’s truly bad, because I don’t want to know. It doesn’t bring anything I want to my life.
The way I look at it is this… Rock stars are two different people in one:
The STAGE persona – the side that the world gets to see, the person whose lyrics and music can be interpreted any way you want, and have it mean anything you need or want it to be. That’s the ROCK STAR side.
Then you have the PERSON, the human being, the one who might disappoint you because he/she doesn’t fit YOUR image of them. The person whose personality might be the exact opposite of what you see on stage. And in most cases, the stage person is NOT who you will meet once the spotlights are off.
Sometimes they’re better people in real life than they want the world to see when they’re playing the act of the Rock Star they want to be. Sometimes it’s the opposite. If you can’t handle the truth, then don’t seek it. That’s how I’ve dealt with it.
It’s not that I’m naive by any means. I know exactly how it is and somewhere in the back of my head, I also know that some of the “bad” things that people have told me about my “idols” are true – I just choose to block it out because I want the positive side of them to brighten my life.
Take David Coverdale for example. I’ve heard from so many people through the years how mean he can be to people, how egoistic and unpleasant he can be. Some of the stories have shocked me, why would someone BE like that at all?
But then I shove it aside because he’s been nice to ME through the years. ALWAYS. He’s made me feel good with his music, his voice . and the way he’s treated me every time he’s seen me – whether it was at an interview, a press conference, at a hotel or in a crowd – he has always had a smile to spare and a few lovely, kind compliments. So I simply choose to love THAT David Coverdale. Not that other person that other people have been unfortunate enough to experience.
Or Lita Ford. Twenty years ago I was talking to two guys who had been on tour with her, and they had a few select stories to tell about the chick I thought was so badass. She wasn’t badass, she was simply not a person you wanted to be around, apparently.
They weren’t the only ones who were less than impressed by miss Ford, to say the least, I’ve heard it a few times, so I’m aware of that too.
However – she’s played a BIG role in my life as well, serving as an inspiration and role-model in a world that was reserved for men. NOW people can’t understand what I’m talking about, because the scene has changed so much since the early 80’s, but back THEN it was a different ball game. There was no one to show you who you could be, what you could do, what you should look like as a young, female rocker.
For a teenager who needed “guidance”, Lita Ford was the heavy metal goddess. Regardless who she was behind the scenes, what she did, who she treated badly or who she screwed – to ME she was the icon who showed that you COULD be in charge of your own destiny, you COULD be respected in a male dominated world, you could be sexy and feminine without being a stupid slutty bimbo, and you could be in metal without looking like a dude (all the other girls looked like dudes – Joan Jett, Girlschool, Rock Goddess, it was just very much jeans and t-shirts, whereas Lita walked around in high heels and fishnet stockings. Somehow that appealed more to me than the “dude style”).
When I finally met her, for that interview in Malmo a few years ago (I was happy to find a pic of that meeting in her biography recenty!) she was just the way I imagined her and I could relate to so many things she said. The IDEA of her, and MY experience of her in REALITY was the same.
That doesn’t mean that she isn’t a pain in the butt to deal with, like some have mentioned, maybe she is. But again, I have no reason to focus on that aspect, I make a choice when I want to – to see the side of her that works in my life and serves as the inspiration she’s always been and continues to be.
It is what it is. But one thing is for sure. The FANTASY is always better than reality. Cherish it. :)
I was inspired by a friend to remember some of my fondest metal moments. Those that truly put a smile on my face when I think back on them.
A lot of those memories have to do with mutual appreciation. No matter where we are in life and what our roles are in the music biz, we all started out as fans. You can play cool and pretend that you don’t care, but I’m not kidding myself. If it’s an artist that I’ve admired since I was a kid, he or she will still make me feel like a star struck teenager to some degree.
So…. These are some of those “smile”-moments. :D
1. DAVID COVERDALE
David always puts a smile on my face. I consider the interview I did with him on the “Farewell tour” the best interview I have ever done. The circumstances were perfect. When it comes to David Coverdale, I was a fan first and foremost, and I always will be.
I was the last person on his interview schedule that day, so there was no stress. He was in a great mood, very open and incredibly easy to talk to. We talked about everything: Serious things, funny things, deep things…
The interview took place in a luxurious suite at the Sheraton in Stockholm. It didn’t feel like an actual interview. It felt like a conversation with a friend. Looking back on that today makes me feel so privileged and it was a day I will never forget.
But even apart from that interview (and a few other conversations with him), David always makes me smile. There has not been ONE single gig or press conference where he hasn’t spotted me within minutes, smiled up to his ears and adressed me by name. Or from the stage in front of thousands of people (several times through the years. Sometimes he’s had little dialogs with me from the stage, the last one being at the Graspop festival a few years ago, and of COURSE I had turned off my camera just minutes before…).
At press conferences he’s sometimes treated me like I was the only journalist present, or explained to the others, while pointing at me: “SHE will know, cause she’s followed my work for a long time…“.
I’m sure he does what with other, select people worldwide too, he’s just that type of person, but from my perspective it’s pretty darn fantastic because I’ve always looked up to David Coverdale.
So – he’s my #1 source for smiles in the metal world. :D
2. ROB HALFORD
A few years ago, I had been assigned to write the Judas Priest cover story for Sweden Rock Magazine. Since it was an in-depth piece, I ended up calling Rob several times that year (and also speaking with K.K and Glenn). In the end, he started joking and talking to me like we were the best of friends.
He’s always been one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, but particularly after those conversations things have been very relaxed and down-to-earth with Rob.
When I went to London earlier this year for an exclusive interview with Rob at Sony Music‘s offices, I was the only reporter who was privileged enough to get a one-to-one interview with The Metal God that day. And he was happy to see me. I’m no longer some anonymous nobody, he knows me by name.
Yes I’m like a kid. Judas Priest is the reason I’m even here in this rock’n’roll circus, Rob has a huge part in who I am today and the kind of life I’ve had. I’ve got a million Priest-stories from hanging out with the band through the years, but it’s enough to just say that every single one of those occasions makes me smile and feel incredibly lucky!
3. SEBASTIAN BACH
Baz is not an “idol” like that. It started out that way, when I was a big fan of the energetic, amazing Skid Row. But he and I are the same generation and had a lot in common (especially our love for Priest!) so we became friends. There are many “smile on my face” memories from the Skid Row-days but one of the more recent ones (even if it was a few years ago) was when Sebastian returned to Sweden to play at Sweden Rock Festival back in 2005. He hadn’t been in Sweden since the Subhuman Race Tour in 1995. I was really looking forward to seeing him again.
So, a few friends of mine and I were at the hotel Ronneby Brunn, hanging out, having a few drinks, when the band started coming in through the main entrance. I went over to Metal Mike, who I’d met with Halford, a really cool guy, and he said that Sebastian was outside collecting his bags, he’d be in soon.
I didn’t want to just stand there like an idiot so I went aside, figured that I’d let him check in in peace and quiet.
When Sebastian walked in – it was in the middle of the night, maybe 2 am, he looked tired and he was carrying a shitload of bags. One suitcase in each hand, bags on top of those and more bags hanging from each shoulder. At first he was just scanning the place with no particular goal or focus, but the minute his eyes landed on me, his reaction was so priceless that I’ll never forget it.
He screamed, in his typical Sebastian manner: “DANIELA!!!” and literally just dropped both those cabin bags so they just landed on the lobby floor, then dropped the bags hanging from his shoulders, so it was all in one big PILE right there on the floor, in the middle of the main hotel lobby – and with two steps he walked over to me, hugged me so hard that I thought he’d break my ribs.
“It’s been ten years!” he said and was sincerely happy to see a familiar face. I’ve honestly never felt more longed for or appreciated in my life. :) That was just such a sincere, happy reaction and I’m still smiling when I think about those bags just lying there in one huge pile on the marble floor.
There have been many similar occasions though. In New York, when he was performing with Steve Stevens at the jazz club Iridium, he dedicated a song to me which I never even noticed, and asked me backstage afterwards if I had heard his dedication. Basically, he can be the most appreciative person on the planet, then again, sometimes he barely notices one’s existence, it all depends, but all in all, this guy knows how to make me smile for the most part! :)
4. LITA FORD
That was a meeting I never thought would even take place. Lita has been my #1 female rolemodel since I first got the Out for Blood-album. I missed her when she played in Sweden or Denmark a few times either because shows were cancelled (she was supposed to come here with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow but the show was cancelled because the venue was too small for Rainbow’s…uh, rainbow-prop. :)).
Second time she was here with Bon Jovi I couldn’t go cause I had a gig of my own with my band. Then she disappeared to a desert island, literally, with her family for years and I guess we all thought that was it. Lita Ford, as we knew her, was gone.
However, last year she got on a plane and toured Europe. When Sweden Rock asked if I wanted to do an interview with her, I danced around the apartment like an idiot. FINALLY!
When I got to KB in Malmo, my home town (yeah, even THAT!) she was sound checking and I waited for her to finish. She came over, said we could go upstairs to the backstage area and do the interview. It was a hot day in July and we were DYING up there, it was unbearably hot. But, it was the most relaxing, unpretentious meeting I’ve ever had with an artist. Lita was down to earth, open, funny and very easy to talk to.
There were moments where I even forgot that I was sitting there with an artist that I’ve admired since I was a teenager. It was a great chemistry and she didn’t hesitate to speak about difficult or personal things. Much like with David Coverdale, it wasn’t one of those usual “come in, get out after 20 minutes“-type of interviews. We sat there for over an hour and she was in no hurry at all. On the contrary. Even after the cameras had been switched off (it was a video interview as well – still not fully edited…) she kept talking.
One thing you’re always worried about when you meet an artist you grew up with, is if they’re going to disappoint you IRL. She didn’t. Fantastic meeting, great person and a really good interview situation. And I got those old vinyls signed too (better late than never!)
5. TONY MARTIN (Black Sabbath)
I got to know Tony Martin when he was touring with Black Sabbath all over Europe. To this day I think he’s the best heavy metal vocalist ever, and the most underrated one for sure.
When Sabbath came to Copenhagen, I headed over to their hotel to get a chance to hang out a bit with Tony. I remember Tony Iommi and Geoff Nicholls (keyboards) coming out of the elevator with big smiles, letting me know that Tony was on his way (then we kept passing Tony and Geoff on the pedestrian street Stroget a few times, later on that day).
Tony came down and pretty much needed a guide to show him where he could buy a new leather jacket and he also needed to find an exchange office. So, off we went. It was a slightly chilly and cloudy day, so I remember telling him that if he wanted to walk into HMV to check if they had Sabbath’s latest album, he might want to take his sunglasses off if he just wanted to blend in. :) Luckily for HMV, they had all the Tony Martin-Sabbath albums. ;)
He visited a few leather-shops but couldn’t find what he was looking for. It was just nice walking through Copenhagen talking. I was a huge fan of his voice, and I thought he was a cool person to hang out with so that day is stuck in my mind to this day.
He was starving so we went to this Italian restaurant. I hadn’t counted on that, so my wallet was pretty much empty. Oh, well, I thought I could always find whatever was cheapest on the menu. Us Swedes aren’t used to the guy paying unless it’s a date, and this wasn’t a date. So I assumed that I would be paying for my own food and drinks.
I got a glass of cheap wine that tasted horrible. Tony immediately noticed my expression and asked if the wine was ok. I lied and said that it was fine, but he didn’t buy it. So he called the waitress and went “the lady doesn’t like her wine. Do you have anything else?” I was panicking because whatever else they had was out of my price range that particular day.
Anyway, as we were waiting for that wine, I said that one of my favorite songs, where I really loved his vocals, was a song from the album Eternal Idol, the title track. Next thing I know, he starts singing it, right there, a capella in the restaurant…
“No one said it had to be this way
Why are we the victims of their
Dying world is killing us so slowly
I believe no god may save us now
Can’t you see what I see
Sinners say your prayers tonite
Your judgement day is here”
I was in seventh heaven. Having your favorite singer in the world singing especially for you like that was beyond any expectation. Will never forget that. What an amazing moment that was.
[There’s no actual video to that particular song – but listen to this, this is amazing!]
This was pretty recent, but still one of those things I know I will look back on in a few years and think of with a big smile.
I was in Seoul, Korea for that one-off Ozzy show and had spent almost an hour trying to get my backstage pass that Gus G had asked the tour manager to leave for me in the VIP booth (apparently I was the only guest too. I’m guessing they didn’t know anyone in Korea. :) ).
That whole “going backstage“-thing seemed unthinkable to most of the security people I spoke to. Their attitude was “you can’t just go back there and meet the band?!?!“.
Yes I can, that’s what this pass is for – and if you show me where to go. :)
It took forever, involved a whole bunch of people and so finally I was escorted through a private steel elevator by two security guys on segways – one in front of me and one behind me (in case I would try to…run away??). Through doors and more security – I was finally let in to the backstage area and they went to go find Gus. I was so incredibly happy and relieved when I finally saw him – a familiar, friendly face in a far away land. :D
After watching the Korean superstar Psy, we went to the dressing room (Blasko, Tommy Clufetos, Billy Morrison, Adam Wakeman, Gus and me) and just sat there, talking while Gus was warming up. Ozzy was on his way and it was a little bit as if the president was coming, the crew very anxious to make sure he would be pleased with everything.
But Ozzy is a simple guy. :) Instead of sitting alone in his own dressing room, he suddenly showed up in the doorway of the band’s dressing room with this HUGE boyish smile that we all know and love, and immediately cracked a joke that had everybody laughing.
I was sitting on this 2-seat couch and he just crashed right beside me, going “You’re Gus’ manager, right?” I tried to explain that I was just a friend but he was already on the next subject (I’m smiling even as I’m writing this right now).
It was totally relaxed and simple. It didn’t really dawn on me until afterwards, that I was sitting backstage in Korea (of all places!) with Ozzy and his band, being the only guest there. I never expected that, cause I was there to see Gus.
People pay big bucks for those meet & greets with Ozzy, so I had ruled out the possibility of bumping into Ozzy at all.
The smile-factor was simply that it was so normal and so “every day-ish”. No big deal, no cameras, autographs, selfies, people running around adoring anyone. Just a bunch of people relaxing, cracking jokes. You can never plan that, when it happens it happens. And I cherish those moments more than anything.
I have no idea how many times I’ve seen Whitesnake, I stopped counting a long time ago – but after every tour I can’t wait to see them again. It’s a “feel-good” type of band. You ALWAYS leave a Whitesnake concert with a smile. So, you keep coming back for more. Year after year.
I took the flight from Copenhagen to Manchester early in the morning and walked from Picadilly station to Printworks, Arndale, Hard Rock Cafe – just the area around the MEN/MCR Arena. It was freezing cold, wasn’t prepared for that. It was warm and sunny back home. And I got lost.
I was walking all over the place, couldn’t find the hotel. Went to Park Inn and asked for directions. They told me it was hidden BEHIND the Crowne Plaza, no wonder I passed it three times without seeing it….
Thanks to that I finally found my hotel and couldn’t WAIT to kick off my shoes, take a nap and just relax.
[Labelled pillows – do you prefer firm or soft?]
The hotel had free WiFi so I quickly updated my Facebook status, mentioning that I was going down to Hard Rock Cafe later on to grab a bite. Before I knew it, I had two responses from two fellow Whitesnake-fans who were in the neighborhood and said they would try to make it down there as well.
I like social media for that reason, it gives you the opportunity to meet interesting people from all over the world.
Went to Hard Rock, ordered the BBQ chicken and was served by a pretty boy with long hair, can’t complain. :) Just as I was in the middle of massacring the chicken (with that reddish BBQ-sauce, it looked like I had slaughtered the chicken myself…!) I heard a voice going: “Daniela?”
There was Ania and her boyfriend Alex. It was the first time we met, and there I was, leaving a wonderful first impression with my mouth full of fries and a massacred chicken on the plate – must have been such a classy sight…! ;)
They joined me for dinner, and it was a really great afternoon. Really nice people, easygoing, interesting to talk to. One of the greatest things about travelling and meeting people through Facebook or Twitter, is that regardless what profession people have, their age or what country they’re from – we all share the same passion for music. So I truly enjoy meeting people and hearing their stories. :)
On our way out we met Jen, the other girl who I thought had changed her mind about Hard Rock – but she had been down at the bar, we never even saw her from where we had been at.
Ania and Alex went back to their hotel and I went to the arena to check what was going on. I’m used to there being people hours before, but there was not a SOUL…! On top of all, it started raining. I never travel without my rain poncho- especially not England, so I was prepared.
Found a McDonalds at Victoria Station, and killed time with their free WiFi. That is the best thing about McD, no matter where you are in the world, you KNOW that you will at least be able to get online at McDonalds. :)
Ania showed up shortly thereafter and we went in. Much to my surprise, the arena was almost empty when we got in. Never seen such a big arena so empty when the doors open!
[This is what we walked into… Impressive arena, but totally dead at 5.45, fifteen minutes after they had opened]
She had a spare ticket in her section, it was closer to the stage than my original ticket reservation and it was defnitely a lot nicer to be able to sit and chat a bit than being alone trying to kill time (which is my usual deal. I don’t mind but when I’ve got the choice it’s not hard to decide :) ). Thank you for that Ania.
The arena was filling up slowly but surely, when after a little while, a friend of Ania’s and Reb (Beach) came out for a short chat. I was pretty much minding my own business, observing the activities on stage and in the arena in the meantime. A guy walked up to Reb and asked him if he could wave to his girlfriend “up there” (and pointed in her direction), cause she could not believe it was actually HIM.
Might have been because Reb looked like “the guy next door” in his blue hoodie, just being very “normal” and blending in perfectly with the audience. Reb not only waved, but he also offered to come over and say hello. I think that’s very sweet, cause I’m sure that the girl now has a great memory. Great attitude, I like that.
I saw Jen briefly as she was passing by our section on her way to her seat. And Ronnie was sitting two rows behind me – which I learned AFTER the show as my cellphone delievered all his text-messages the next day, when I was back in Sweden…!
The intro of AC/DC‘s “Thunderstruck” started playing (very loud) and the lights went out. First out on stage – THUNDER.
Okay… So I haven’t seen these guys since the days when they still had HAIR (Donington 1992 to be more precise…) so when these men with short, gray hair walked out on stage (with two exceptions to be fair) I was wondering who the hell that was. But the minute Danny opened his mouth and started singing, there was no doubt that it was THAT voice..!
In short (no pun intended) – they blew me away. What a brilliant live band. Absolute perfection with heaps of heart and soul in their performance. I absolutely loved it!
It’s not often that you see a band that doesn’t rely on any of the usual “props”: looks, image, lasers and bombs, no schtick, none of that stuff – yet manages to get the crowd ecstatic!
Great songs, great musicians, a sincere love for that they’re doing and a great sense of humor. That takes them all the way to people’s hearts! And it goes not only a long way – it goes ALL the way.
I enjoyed every minute of it – and already looking forward to seeing them at Sweden Rock Festival in about a week!
Danny Bowes – what a powerful voice, he was just belting it out, not missing one single note! I’m still looking for my jaw that I dropped on the floor somewhere at the MCR in section C…!
And, Manchester got to enjoy this epic song as well. Make sure you watch the whole thing for the sing-along…:
When Thunder left the stage, I was convinced that Journey were up next. I should have checked first I guess, but it never occured to me that Journey would be considered a headliner when Whitesnake was on the bill.
Yes, yes, I know, I know – it was a shared headliner bill and somebody has to go first but still – it never even crossed my mind for two seconds that Whitesnake would NOT finish the evening.
So I sat down, thinking that I could relax for another hour or so while Journey were on….
When the lights went out and the music started playing it took a few seconds before I went… “Wait a minute… I recognize that…!” Next thing I know, the spotlights lit up the band and a VERY familiar figure in a white shirt..!
I flew out of my chair like a catapult and got the camera rolling, jesus christ, I nearly missed the intro…! That’s what you get when you don’t bother checking things in advance.
I’m not going to review Whitesnake. I can’t. When I go to a Whitesnake-concert, I know that I’ll either be smiling till every muscle in my face starts aching, or I’m going to be moved to tears.
When Bernie and Adrian were the “secret guests” that walked out on stage to join David and the others, at Sweden Rock Festival a few years ago, we were all surprised.
And I don’t know why, but it moved me so much that I was bawling my eyes out for hours. I just couldn’t stop the tears, I thought it was just one of the most powerful, touching things I’ve ever seen on a stage.
With Whitesnake it’s just always an inspiring experience – it’s a celebration of life, love, the past and the future, music, friendships, just all the good things in life. You leave your troubles at the door (if you had any) and you walk out of there rejuvenated, with a big, fat smile on your face.
That’s what Whitesnake is about to me.
Yes, the critic in me still hears the flaws, and yes, maybe David doesn’t sound the same in 2013 as he did in 1983 or 1973, but it just doesn’t matter – he makes up for it with his charsma, and he’s got TONS of that! He makes every single person in a 23,000 seat-arena feel like he’s singing just for them.
And you look at the guys – they are in great shape and they look great. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – rocker’s don’t age. They mature like a fine wine. And frankly, where else but in rock’n’roll, do you get to see men in their 50’s or 60’s looking like Doug Aldrich or David Coverdale?
With Whitesnake you know that you will get the very best of whatever you came to see or hear. Tommy Aldridge always reminds me of “Animal” of the Muppet show! He’s a fantastic drummer, the ultimate wildman who KILLS his drums every night. His playing is powerful and entertaining.
A video of Tommy for your viewing pleasure:
Two guitarists with their own distinct styles, among the best at what they do – the bluesy Doug Aldrich and the technical Reb Beach. It’s all covered for all guitar nerds out there to enjoy. :)
Bassist Michael Devin and keyboardist Brian Ruedy are not taking up as much “space” as the others, but with that many people on stage fighting for attention, somebody has to keep a lower profile, and those two guys are cool enough to be perfectly fine with that.
And David – there is a reason why millions of people worldwide love that man. He is so passionate, so vivacious, just full of energy and LIFE! He is one of the people in this world that I find extremely inspiring.
I will say one thing about their show though – without giving anything away – it was a great and surprising set list. Some of those songs I’ve never heard him perform live (I think my first Whitesnake show was in 1990 at the Monsters of Rock tour, but I’m not sure) so it was a treat to hear so many classics from the earlier Whitesnake years as well!
Speaking of which – Bernie Marsden walked out on stage to play on two songs, and it was great to see the two “old snakes” on stage together, once again. Bernie looked almost overwhelmed when he saw the crowd’s response. It was just a great moment.
After THAT, I really didn’t have ANY desire whatsoever to see ANY other band. I don’t care who they put on that stage, it just couldn’t compete, and I wanted to leave the arena with “THAT” feeling of joy. It was the perfect show and the perfect ending. Thank you for the music, my dear snakes. :)
Spoke briefly with Ronnie and his friend before leaving. I was starving so I dropped by this place on my way back to the hotel:
Ania and Alex also went to “meet some friends” so we parted ways :))) And next week it’s time for London and Wembley!
I prefer Manchester when it comes to concerts though. And I might even write a little more about that pretty soon. It’s the perfect city for visiting concert-travellers!
Two more Whitesnake-shows to go! Wembley and this one, in Zagreb, Croatia. I guess it’s time to start excercising those “smiling muscles” in my face again. :)
Photos from the show: http://www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror
I did film a lot of the show but as David has explicitly asked people not to share too much info and ruin someone else’s experience, I’m not posting anything more for now. Maybe in a few months time. :) There is 1 clip on the Facebook-page though, check the timeline/wall!
The times they are certainly a changin’.
The record industry is struggling with poor record sales and illegal downloads, but there is one thing that they can still cash in on, something that will never go out of style: The magic of LIVE SHOWS.
There are people in less famous bands and in local bands that “have IT” : that spark, that natural ability to work a stage and a crowd, that makes you come back for more time and time again. It’s not a competition and you can’t really compare musicians because they are all so different – it’s not the Olympics of Rock – but these are some of my personal favorites. Note that this is 100% a list of people who I think are outstanding LIVE PERFORMERS (which is not necessarily the same as favorite musicians or bands)
When this man walks out on a stage – he OWNS every single person in the crowd.
He has a unique quality of making every individual feel noticed and a part of the show. Although he is a larger-than-life rock star who works best on the biggest stages of the world, he always makes it feel like he’s playing just for YOU.
He mixes a sense of humor and self-distance with sex, confidence, authority and pure professionalism. Not to mention the way he moves on a stage like a rock’n’roll-emperor, using the micstand as his #1 tool. There is only one David – Coverdale be thy name. :)
When he’s about to hit the stage, he’s like a missile! The man oozes of pure, raw energy and rock’n’roll, nothing and nobody comes even close…! I’m not the biggest Twisted Sister-fan in the world, I don’t even have all their records, but watching this man on stage is a kick beyond belief! He is genuine and a real punch in your face.
If you could take everything that rock’n’roll is all about, and transform it into human shape – Dee Snider would be IT!
The ULTIMATE frontman. The one and only King of the Stage. The energy and the raw frenzy is beyond what I’ve seen ANY other artist produce on a stage – ever! He is the only frontman I can think of that was truly BORN to do this. If you took it away from him, he would languish, stop breathing, cease to exist. In 23 years I’ve only seen him suck ONCE. Don’t even ask how many shows I’ve seen with either Skid Row or Baz solo, but it’s more than enough to state that this guy is very unlikely to let you down if you’re looking for an action-packed show.
Entertainment personified. It’s enough to just mention the name David Lee Roth and people will immediately start thinking of a rock’n’roll strutter with his body as his main tool. He was THE sex-symbol back in the day, moving in a way that would make the ladies blush.
He would impress us all with the martial-arts high kicks while at the same time looking like a kid in a candy store who LOVES what he does. His sense of humor is contageous, and even to this day he hasn’t lost much of all that. He’s never been the world’s greatest singer, but it’s safe to say that he’s most definitely one of the world’s greatest entertainers!
The one and only ULTIMATE guitar hero – and probably the only one who turns a prolonged guitargasm into a show unlike anyone else! He was (and still is) WILD on stage!
Like a super-model, he will strike 30 different poses in one minute, yet continue playing that guitar like nobody’s business. How can you do all that running and posing and headbanging and still play making it look like a piece of cake??? The man is a guitar god and a top notch live performer in every sense of the word!
Those are my Top 5 live performers, but the list goes on – and on…Joe Elliot of Def Leppard had an amazing charisma on stage, he just caught your attention from the word go and kept it there for as long as it took. I was mesmerized the first time I saw Def Leppard. Fantastic frontman. I don’t know what happened though, because the last few times I’ve seen Def Leppard, the magic wasn’t there. I guess there’s a peak in every band’s career and a fall – sooner or later. After 30 years of kicking ass on stage, I guess they are entitled to lose the spark.
Same goes for my #1 hero Rob Halford (Judas Priest). He was never a “run-around-the-stage-like-a-marathoner” type of singer, but he had “IT”. All he had to do was stop and LOOK at his crowd and they would go freaking CRAZY! He just had what most entertainers don’t, it’s within your personality and he would make me forget that there was even a world outside whichever arena Judas Priest would be playing….However, just like Joe Elliot, Rob Halford has lost some of his magic. I can still see it when he’s with his own band Halford, but it’s like he’s a parody of himself when he’s with Priest nowadays.
There is a reason why this man has been on the top for more than 4 decades! It’s not because he’s Pavarotti, but because he has this wonderful way of truly loving what he does, just being OZZY.
Watch this and try NOT to smile! :-))
Speaking of Ozzy automatically leads me to another, fairly new, aquaintance and favorite performer: Gus G (guitarist w. Ozzy & Firewind, in case you’ve managed to miss it)
I was stuck after the first time I saw him with Ozzy. He walks onstage and becomes a true old-school Rock Star!
He owns the stage in a very natural sort of way, with a charisma that few “new” musicians possess. This guitar wiz handles Madison Square Garden just as well as the smallest, tiniest little dark club in the middle of nowhere.
The posing, the hair-fan, the guitar-hero moves all that stuff makes Gus a true arena-entertainer.
Another kick-ass live-performer is Kevin Rothney (Circle II Circle, JOP) who played bass with Jon Oliva’s Pain on the 2006-2010 tours, when I saw the band countless times.
Jon Oliva might be the songwriting genious, but Kevin was the one who brought rock’n’roll to the live performances of JOP.
I’ve always been impressed with Kevin. When you see musicians like that, you realize that the music business is all about being in the right place at the right time, there are amazing showmen (and -women) out there that don’t get the recognition they deserve.
Moving on to a more local level, where singer Andy Pierce (Nasty Idols) without question, makes it to my list of favorite performers. It was his natural talent as a frontman that made me notice the band in the first place – 25 freaking years ago! He was a real rock star before people even knew it and he will be till they have to roll him out on stage in a wheel chair!
Went through a PILE of old cassettes this evening. You know, one of those things you tell yourself you’re gonna do “someday“. But there is no such day as “someday”. There is Mon-day, Tues-day, Wednes-day, Thurs-day, Fri-day, Satur-day and Sun-day. But no “Some-day”. In other words, if you won’t do stuff right away, it’ll never be done. And this is one of those things.
Every interview and press conference I’ve ever been to, I’ve recorded. So you can imagine the ridiculous amount of material that I’ve got laying around here.
I was searching for the interview I did with Dimebag as it was a tribute show for him a few days ago (Dimebash) and I figured it would be good timing to find it. Nobody’s ever heard it. It would be the premiere – 20 years overdue… I did the interview back in 1991 when they were touring with Judas Priest on the Painkiller tour. And I have no idea where it is. Still haven’t found it.
Anyway, as I was looking for THAT, I found something ELSE. The WHITESNAKE press conference from Midtfyn Festival in Denmark 1994.
I went there with a photographer, also a Whitesnake-fan. The press conference was to be held in a tent, as usual at these festivals, and the place was PACKED.
I had been one of the first people to get there so I had the front row seat. It filled up and you couldn’t fit in one more person by the time the band arrived. This was the great comeback of Whitesnake, as David had just been involved in the Coverdale Page project. Until then, nobody even knew if Whitesnake was dead and buried forever. And with the “Greatest Hits” coming out, the interest for the band was huge.
Before the band arrived, there was a lot of noise in the tent, people talking, laughing…
When David walked in, it was as if someone just pushed a button and for a few seconds, the place turned completely silent. I’ve never experienced anything like that before. When he passed me, I could even smell his cologne. It smelled good – definitely something that stuck in my mind.
My photographer was so nervous that the first photos she took turned out totally blurry. And me… I dropped my jaw and forgot to turn on the tape recorder. Jesus, and we were supposed to be professionals. Yeah, right. Luckily I remembered to turn it on in the last minute, just as the conference began. :-)
It’s not a “real” video – back in 1994 there wasn’t even internet as we know it. Very few people had a PC with a modem at home and it wasn’t a normal part of life for most people. There were no digital cameras either. So, I just put a few photos from the conference with the actual cassette-audio file together in this very humble video.
I hope you like it. :)