Dozed off on the train on my way home, and when I woke up, just a few minutes before my station, the girl next to me smiled and said:
– I remember you from junior high!
I looked at her and I could have sworn I’d never seen her before. But I generally suck at remembering faces, which gets me in trouble as people probably think I’m a stuck up bitch for not remembering them…
She turned to my colleague, pointed at me and said:
– She was the only girl in the entire school, who was into heavy metal.
Well, okay then. Apparently she DID know me. :D
– So… I guess you’ve grown out of it now, huh…? she said and smiled.
Grew out of it? Of what? Being a metalhead? Are you kidding?
– No way, I’m still a rock chick, always were, always will be. Well it was nice to see you! I said, still not knowing who she was.
She said she used to be in a grade above us. Okay, that makes it even better. Back in those days you definitely didn’t socialize with anyone YOUNGER, that was very uncool. So, I must have left quite an impression if even one of the “older chicks” noticed and remembers me – from 1983!
My mind just wandered off to those days, when I started my walk home. 1983. Junior high.
I don’t remember much from that time really, other than being intensely crazy about heavy metal.
I was still a kid, trying to find my identity – which was especially hard being the only girl in school who was into metal. I had no one to share that with and I didn’t really belong anywhere.
I used to hang with the guys, which of course the other teenage girls in my class didn’t do, unless they wanted a boyfriend. So, I guess I was just…different. :)
There were very few female role-models for me. I remember getting into Rock Goddess but they were pretty much like guys… Same thing with Girlschool, guys with tits.
Then Lita Ford came along and that changed my whole world. She became my “guiding light” through the jungle of metal where girls simply didn’t belong back in those days. She was a tough woman, but still a woman. Not a dude-chick.
I was so in love with the whole heavy metal scene that I couldn’t focus on ANYTHING else. It was ALL about hard rock/heavy metal.
I would go and buy those cheap LP’s with cut-outs from Spain, cause I couldn’t afford anything else. I remember buying Scorpions “Blackout” and it had all the titles translated! Hang on, I’ve still got all that shit here…. Yeah, this is what it looked like:
I would sit and carve the names and logos of the bands I liked, on my school desk with a sharp pencil – leaving permanent traces of where I’d been. I guess you could call it an obsession, cause it really was.
My backpack was decorated with the same thing – the Judas Priest logo and a bunch of Van Halen and Def Leppard-buttons and patches.
I read everything I could get my hands on, any metal magazine – which of course would be from the UK or the US cause we didn’t have anything like that in Sweden. Until the music mag OKEJ came along.
I used to hang outside the newsstand every Wednesday morning when a new issue of OKEJ would come out, right before going to woodwork class. Then of course, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else all day, I would read that freaking thing, cover to cover, not missing a WORD! :)
And it had all these cool posters too. This was my first Judas Priest-poster, that was from OKEJ. ME – I looked dorky as hell, but the whole world of rock’n’roll was all still new to me. Before I “converted” to metal, I had been a BEATLES-fan…! Quite a transition to say the least.
My parents worried. This was not supposed to happen, they wanted big things for me, I was supposed to go to university and make something of myself. Not listen to that….noise.
Dad used to say that music wouldn’t “put food on the table” and I needed to focus on the IMPORTANT things in life. Well… When I got my first job writing about metal 5 years later, he couldn’t really use that as a motivational speech anymore. ;)
Eventually my parents accepted that this was my call in life. I loved the music, it was very important to me and I incorporated it into my life with a passion.
[14 years old, just started decorating my walls with ugly longhaired men dressed in black leather!]
And no – I never “grew out of it”!
I told the girl on the train, that there is nothing to “grow out” of – because metal is the ULTIMATE music in my book. There is no higher level.
Many are always going to think that classical music is fancier but when it comes to complexity, you will find a lot of those influences in metal as well, only modernized and better suited for electric guitars and amps.
She looked surprised but I walked away with a sense of pride. Yeah, I have to say that I actually felt proud to be remembered by someone, 31 years later, for being the only female rocker in junior high – and STILL BE that girl! :)
I don’t know what my life would have looked like if I hadn’t fallen in love with metal, but I’m so glad that I never had to find out, because I’ve really lived a life I could never have dreamed of when I was a kid- and I owe it all to rock’n’roll.
It’s the love of my life and will be in my heart & soul till the day I die. :)
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!
Then, of course, there are the BANDS that create live-magic on stage (not just individual musicians, but as a whole)……..
AC/DC – the ultimate live band! Wherever they go, there will be PHAR-TEY!
Skid Row (1989-1995) PURE energy, if you weren’t fortunate enough to experience it, words or videos can never do this band justice….!
Steel Panther . the best of all worlds! You’re having a good time from the word go, they sound good, they look good, they are funny and great musicians, what’s not to like?! I LOVE this band!
Iron Maiden – Oh, boy! If you ever wondered what a real LIVE experience IS, go see Iron Maiden!
Def Leppard (-2006) God knows how many gigs they’ve played in their lifetime, obviously they were the BEST at what they did for many, many years.
Quireboys (London Quireboys) – I still regard their show at Pumpehuset in Copenhagen, 1990 as one of the BEST live gigs I’ve seen in my life!
There was something magic about this band that is hard to describe, but it was as genuine as it gets, I remember us all leaving the club that night with sweat running down our smiling faces and sore muscles from all the jumping. Absolutely unbelievable.
Mötley Crüe – THE number one live act for two decades. They had all the props, the party songs, the cool glittery stage outfits, bombs, fireworks, glitter, strippers, Nikki Sixx…! The WORKS. Then something happened – I haven’t seen them do one decent gig after 1999. But when they were good – they were the BEST.
So – which ones would be on YOUR list?
One of my colleagues at work was asking people, quite randomly, what their plans were for the weekend. He got replies along the lines of “I’m just going to take it easy...”, “I’m going out with a few friends...” – then he turned to me and went: “So, Daniela, where in the world are you going THIS weekend?” with a big grin.
Guess it’s been like that back and forth since I ran out of vacation days. I’ve had to do everything on weekends!
Athens, Greece the first weekend in January (for Firewind), New York City two weekends later (for Steve Stevens and Sebastian Bach on Iridium, Broadway), Tampa, Florida for just one day to see Van Halen… And probably some European dates inbetween that I already forgot about.
I didn’t do this a few years ago. I guess that the general opinion is that you “can’t” do crazy shit like going overseas for a weekend, unless you’re a millionaire with nothing better to spend your money on.
But then I realized that you CAN.
Maybe it’s crazy, but really, the only “crazy” part is the short time-frame. Nothing else. And if you think about it, it’s not that crazy at all, because usually HOTELS cost a lot more than the actual trip, so going for a weekend is SAVING money, not the opposite. Two hotel-nights equal a flight ticket, most of the time. For that, you get to visit more countries instead of just one. :)
And going several times a year means that you don’t have to squeeze in everything you want to do in a few days and then think that you’ll never come back. You do what you need to do – well knowing that you WILL be back, and probably pretty soon too. :-)
There are different ways of making it possible – apart from living on crispbread and noodles.
I just applied for an American Express card with flyer miles. If you get approved, you get 20,000 miles as a welcome-bonus, which is enough for a roundtrip somewhere within Europe. With my 10,000 current miles on the bonus card, that makes 30,000 miles which is enough for an upgrade to business class. Never flown business class but always wanted to – and so for my next overseas-trip I’ll use the miles for that! :-)
The best thing about a credit card that offers miles for everything you buy, is that it’s effortless! I need food anyway, I will buy concert tickets abroad and trains, flights, buses, whatever, every 100 SEK gives 20 flyer miles (100 SEK equals 1 loaf of bread, butter, milk, a piece of cheese and a pack of chewing gum – now you do the math how fast you get to collect miles to get free flights!).
But for now… A “regular” vacation in Split, Croatia. Three weeks of getting pissed off at crappy internet-connections, no car, no cable TV (just regular, standard TV which is like 4 channels I think….) expensive phone, so I can’t call friends anywhere else in the world like I’m used to. And most of all – no rock’n’roll. GAAH! It’s going to drive me NUTS!
The highlight last year was hanging with this dude – the only person I got to talk music with during my stay in Split last year. I hope there’ll be an opportunity to hang out this year as well. Was nice of him to travel all the way down to Split eventhough he lives in the north part of the country, I think maybe about 4 hours travel or something like that.
[A Justin TImberlake-song never sounded this cool, lol!]
I’m just not cut out for “regular vacations”. If it doesn’t include music in one way or another, I’ll most likely not going to enjoy it. Maybe a week, tops.
Was checking tour dates for Ozzy, Steel Panther, Billy Idol, Firewind, Lita Ford, and wrote them all down in my calendar. And all the festivals of course. That’s the only way to keep track of the bands I want to see. Otherwise I have no clue what day it is, yet alone who plays where!
But I’m getting pretty good at this, I get away with the travelling fairly cheap, simply because I’ve learned how. I wrote a few tips last year, but I might write a little book about it someday. :-)
Here are the travel-tips blogs from 2011:
An internet friend e-mailed me the other day asking if I was going to see Ozzy in Dortmund, Germany in June, cause she wants to go and figured we could split hotel costs and go to the show. It’s never difficult to persuade me to something like that. :-)
I wanted to go to that gig anyway because it’s at Westfalenhalle, a venue that I remember from my very early days, beeing a teenage rocker in 19something….. [mumble….].
Ozzy, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard…. Those are only a few of the bands that were playing there back then, and it was aired LIVE on TV at the time. It was a big deal when something was aired live back in those days, so I remember it as a big event.
[Def Leppard back in the day when they were really cool:]
As it’s only two days from the Ozzy-gig in my home-town Malmo, I need to know when my friend Bianca who’s visiting me for THAT, is going back home, so I’ll have to wait before I book any trains or flights. I’ll probably take that whole week off and go to Germany and then to Sweden Rock Festival two days after THAT.
Yeah, the madness is about to begin. Soon. Very soon. :-D
I love my life. :)
Geez, yeah I guess it’s been a pretty busy year. So, here’s the last part of the 2011-blog – part 3. :-)
I left Split, Croatia very early in the morning on October 1, think I got up around 4 am that day. With a stopover in Zageb, I landed in Copenhagen, Denmark early afternoon, took the train to Malmö, Sweden, went home, threw my suitcase in the hall, picked up my recorder and practically ran out the door while calling a cab on the way out because I didn’t want to waste any time on finding a parking space….
SEBASTIAN BACH visited Malmö, Sweden
Rockmässan in Malmö had a special guest: Sebastian Bach. He is an old friend, and I was glad that he finally came to my home town. He was glad to see me too, Baz is one of those people who I’ll probably be running into when I’m 80 somewhere in the world, and everything will be as if it was still 1989 and we just met yesterday!
[Baz and I 20 years ago… anything but sober, but definitely having a great time!]
And Baz and I – 2011 :-)
I had about a week off after the Baz-interview, living my “normal” life (whatever that is in my case…) before I got on a plane once again, and landed on the other side of the Atlantic – New York City. I just spent the first night at Hilton, then got on the first domestic flight to Tampa, Florida – a place I know very well, as I’ve visited it at least once a year for the past five years. It’s the home base of Jon Oliva’s Pain and a place where I’ve got good friends. Felt nice to be “home”.
FIREWIND kicked off their US-tour – and YNGWIE MALMSTEEN just kicked ass!
This time I rented a car and drove to a nice little hotel close to State Theatre where Firewind was kicking off the US tour. Much to my surprise, I found the guys of Nightrage staying at the same hotel. They were one of the opening acts on the Frets of Fury-tour. Really cool guys, drummer Jo played double duty on that whole tour – with Nightrage and Firewind, pheew! The guy is amazing though, he’s now officially the drummer of Firewind.
Singer Apollo was back for the US tour. Things back to normal for the FW-fans, in other words.
It was a tough tour for me though, dealing with a bad jetlag and very little time to get any sleep whatsoever, as I was flying from city to city three days in a row. Tampa – Atlanta and NYC. Zzzzzzzz…………
But once again – totally worth it! Here’s from the last Firewind-show I saw this year, at Gramercy Theatre, NYC:
Two weeks now, until I see these guys again, in Bob Katsionis’ (mr keyboard player) home town Athens. :-)
Anyway, after the three Firewind-shows, I stayed in New York an extra day because another one of my favorites was playing – the one and only YNGWIE MALMSTEEN! I havent seen so many people show up for a club gig in ages! One of the guys in front of me in the long line just said: “There are a lot of guitarplayers in New York City”.… No shit. :-)
Fantastic evening, Yngwie was my big idol in the 80’s and he still kicks ass! I filmed pretty much the whole thing – here’s from that show:
A classic guitar hero, how can you not love this man?! :-))
WRAPPING UP 2012 WITH WHITESNAKE AND THREE GIANTS IN THE UK
That was mid-October…. jumping straight to November and the WHITESNAKE-gigs. That wasn’t too long ago, so if you’ve followed this blog you’ve already read all about it. Whitesnake is probably the ONLY band I haven’t grown tired of. I could see them over and over and over again – and I HAVE for years. If you want the best of the best, go see Whitesnake. I just love everything about that band, so sue me. :-)
Another great thing is meeting new, cool people – Whitesnake-fans are super-nice. Three ladies that I met up in Kristianstad also came to Vega in Copenhagen and we shared a cab home in the middle of the night. I’m sure I’ll see them around somewhere as soon as there’s an interesting concert around here again. :-)
Last but not least…. Went to London/Manchester with my friends to see Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe and Steel Panther at MEN Arena. Steel Panther stole the show, no doubt about it. But Tommy Lee’s drum-solo and Nikki Sixx‘ Happy Birthday-singing crowd wasn’t half-assed either. :-)
That pretty much sums it up. It’s definitely been an interesting year and I’m convinced that 2012 won’t fall too far behind…! I’ve already planned a few things (check “My Concert Dates 2012” – maybe I’ll see you out there somewhere!).
Black Sabbath reunited, probably the first and the last time I’ll see THAT, and it’s going to be absolutely amazing. I know what they can do, separately (seen Sabbath a number of times when Tony Martin was fronting the band) and Ozzy solo, I have a pretty good hunch what they can do when they let the MAGIC begin!
Not to mention VAN HALEN hitting the road in 2012….! Holy shiiiit!
But first…. January with Firewind in Athens and Steve Stevens / Sebastian Bach in New York City. The rest will come as I go along… :-)
I hope you all had a wonderful 2011 too and I wish you all an even better 2012! :-))
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!!!!!