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.
(continued from http://lita77777.posterous.com/my-year-in-rock-retrospect-2012-part-2 )
OZZY & FRIENDS IN DORTMUND, GERMANY
The Ozzy & friends gig in Dormund was a memorable experience for good reasons and bad. I got to know a new friend, Suuded, and we had a great time. Remember a fantastic dinner in a restaurant right behind the Westfalenhalle, but I also remember the sky just opening and it was pissing down all day! We were forced to stand out in the rain by a sadistic power-hungry security person who made sure nobody was under the long roof in front of the entrance (there would have been PLENTY of room there for a lot of people). Anyway, we got in the front row eventually. Both Steel Panther and Ozzy were well worth the wait and the rain!
The story can be found here: http://lita77777.posterous.com/ozzy-sweden-rock-festival-part-1
Photos from that are on my Facebook-page: www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror
SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL….
Only two days later, it was time for the next annual event: Sweden Rock Festival.
This time I was joined by Vera, my Russian colleague that I got to know after bumping into her several times at press conferences at Sweden Rock. She was going to camp with her friends though (wild horses couldn’t get ME to do that camping-thing).
The full story: http://lita77777.posterous.com/sweden-rock-festival-2012-part-2
The next day I ran like crazy to make it to the first signing-session of the day, which was Satchel from Steel Panther. I had found this great tent where musicians hung out and various guitarists were doing signing sessions. But it didn’t seem like it had been widely announced anywhere, so thank god there weren’t those insanely long lines as to the “regular” signings.
When I walked in, it was still Andreas Kisser from Sepultura who was signing. I was first in line for Satchel, and I got my hoodie signed, and some pics. The message he left was of course very “Satchel-style”…! ;)
Vera and I also met a nice dude from Adrenaline Mob’s crew, who invited us to be his guests, so we spent the day hanging backstage and on various stages. That was perfect, if for no other reason than because it was raining all day, and we didn’t have to be out there getting soaked. Watched Ugly Kid Joe, Motorhead and Twisted Sister up on the stage for instance.
Press conferences I didn’t want to miss included Steel Panther and Sebastian Bach – but then I happened to walk in on a few more by coincidence. There is activity 24-7 at Sweden Rock, it’s nearly impossible to try to sum it all up. But check out the pics on the Facebook-page (URL mentioned somewhere above), that will give you a quick tour of what was going on on stage and back-stage at Sweden Rock Festival 2012!
Way too much to mention, I think I kept updating in real-time on Facebook because I wouldn’t have time to write an actual blog. Busy summer! :)
Next up was my other favorite festival: Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium!
[to be continued….]
Christmas is almost over and before you know it, we’ve rocketed ourselves into a brand new year, 2013. For many people it’s an absolute anti-climax to hit January. All the pre-Christmas activities and festivities, the decorations and the anticipation (or even just the stress) keeps people busy. Then in January – there’s not much to look forward to for many people, Everything kind of dies out for a few months.
I for one can’t wait for 2013 though, because there are already gigs planned, concert tickets bought, hotels booked, trips being planned…! And new tours being announced.
Yesterday Love/Hate announced a UK-tour in March/April. I certainly know what I’ll be doing in March/April then. It won’t be the same as in the 90’s, but the music is still great. I remember the first time I heard of Love/Hate, they were opening for Skid Row.
I liked their music, but honestly thought they were just another poser-band. There were tons of them back in those days. Nice to look at, sometimes they even had a decent song or two, but most of them were better at looking good than sounding good.
Then I did an interview with singer Jizzy Pearl in Copenhagen, and he totally blew me away. He was anything but some stupid rocker-idiot. His answers were well thought through, he was a very intelligent guy in many ways. I wish I knew where I had that interview, would have loved to listen to it again now.
That’s a whole other story, every interview I’ve ever done the past 20-something years, is on some old cassette here somewhere… But after I had used them for either an article or the radio, I just put them in a box somewhere, without as much as labelling the tape. Never thought I would need it again. You live and you learn. ;)
Then in May there’s the Whitesnake/Journey/Thunder tour that I’ll be attending (of COURSE!) and let’s not forget the summer festivals. Sweden Rock Festival – this year being visited by one of my absolute favorite live-acts Firewind among others. Or Graspop in Belgium, which unfortunately is a bit TOO good this year, as Iron Maiden and King Diamond will be playing right after eachother, on two different stages, so you have to choose which show you want to hang in the front row for… But then again, I’ll get to enjoy Iron Maiden – one of the best live bands in the world for sure – at the stadium in my home town Malmo.
And inbetween all those BIG BANDS, there will be all the smaller bands that I still love to see, that I admire for their passion. You really need to be passionate about what you’re doing when you’re in the music business nowadays, cause as we all know, people don’t get rich playing music anymore. Those who do, who sacrifice so much to play their music, definitely have that fire in them and I can relate to it as much as I respect and admire it.
The concert year of 2013 begins with a festival, mostly because a friend is part of the package and it’s nice to meet up with people you know. Might also go check out one of the dates of Visions of Atlantis in the spring. Their singer Maxi Nil guested Firewind at their anniversary shows in Greece recently, and she was also a cool chick to talk to, so I’m curious to hear more of their stuff.
Basically, I’m excited to meet the new year. There’s already so much to look forward to and that’s the most important thing. So many people get depressed in Sweden in January and February because of the gloomy weather, the dark, and summer being so far away. But I think it’s all about a change of attitude. Why wait until summer to do something?! Start off your year right away – then keep the ball rolling!
Sunday – last day of the festival – started out as a total nightmare. The last thing you want when you’re in a field in the middle of nowhere – is rain! And it was pissing down. Vera didn’t even have a rain poncho or umbrella or anything, so we had to wait until the worst rain passed to we could go and get her a poncho asap. She would have been soaked without it.
And this last day we didn’t get any VIP-treatment, no backstage passes like the day before. Well – I had my press pass, I had that all 3 days, but Vera didn’t so we were out in the rain. I wanted to see Sebastian Bach but as the rain kept getting worse, even I wondered if I really wanted to see that show that bad…
The minute he got on stage, I knew what to do. I didn’t want to watch it. Actually, I was pissed off. No disrespect to Sebastian as an entertainer but the “problem” in this case was that I’ve seen SO many shows with Sebastian since 1989, I lost count already in 1992… He has ALWAYS been this bundle of energy, TNT dynamite on stage – I’ve come to expect that. When it was pissing down like this at Donington 1992 he ran out on stage, slid and fell on his ass – but continued singing! That’s what a true artist does.
But at Graspop he looked like a primadonna who didn’t want to get his hair wet! I’ve NEVER seen Sebastian act like that before. In 23 years this was the first time he had that attitude and I was disappointed.
When he just stood there, doing nothing, looking like he just wanted to go back to the backstage area it felt like it was anything BUT rock’n’roll. And when he stated “Belgium! This SUCKS!” I was even more pissed off because I was thinking to myself, as the water kept running into my eyes and my clothes were about to get soaked even through the rain poncho – “It’s not YOU standing out here getting soaked mothertrucker! I’m not gonna stand here if you’re not going to make it worth the trouble!”
[Seriously – what the hell was THIS all about…?]
THESE VIDEOS (each was less than a minute long) WERE REMOVED FROM YOUTUBE BY “GET OFF MY BACH PRODUCTIONS INC” (=Sebastian Bach).
Further comments not necessary…..
So I left. The first time ever that I walked out on a Sebastian Bach or Skid Row show. Later on I heard from somebody who had stayed through the whole thing, that it got better towards the end of the show… Well, too bad my patience or the lack thereof, got the best of me in the rain and the cold. The last thing I need is an artist with a bad attitude.
The Marquee tent was a lot better. I had no idea who was playing in there, I didn’t care. I just wanted to stand somewhere where it wasn’t raining. The only problem was all the SMOKING in there. I felt like I was gonna puke. I get sick from cigarette-smoke, I really can’t handle it, it makes me panic. And people were smoking EVERYWHERE.
I couldn’t hide from it, it was the same outside actually. Every time I wanted to take a deep breath of fresh air, I got a cloud of someone’s SMOKE in my lungs instead, which almost made me faint a few times. Smokers just don’t understand what it’s like to be subjected to their smoke. Some chick at Sweden Rock told me that “this is a festival, we SMOKE here!”. Okay – people pass out in their puke on festivals too, so what’s that got to do with anything?!
So I had my nose stuck in my jacket the whole time, the only way to avoid taking a deep breath of nicotine when I least expect it… Shouldn’t have to be that way. Maybe someday smoking will be a thing of the past.
Jan from JOP showed up, they had just arrived. Had a short chat with him, then he took off to check out the sound board the would be working with. I texted JOP’s former tour manager Anett to ask if she was there cause I knew she was going to the festival. She texted back saying she was up on the stage (Ugly Kid Joe’s stage).
Everybody’s impressed with UKJ – it’s like time stood still with those guys. They are still as cool and as valid as they ever were. There is still the naughty boyishness in them, the middle-finger teenage punkish attitude. They sound great and most of all I’m super impressed by drummer Yael Biz. She is freaking amazing!
Here she is with Alex Skolnick in a different project, she kicks major ass:
Whitfield Crane sounds great still, so all in all it was great seeing them live again. It was raining when they were playing Sweden Rock Festival as well, but at least this time they were in a tent. :)
When they finished their set I RAN out of the tent cause I could hear that EUROPE had started playing. It was still raining but I absolutely wanted to see them. Here is my shaky video of the powerwalk from the tent to the main stage – prepare to get sea sick! ;))
To be honest, I haven’t seeen Europe in many years because I chose NOT to. I remember them from their hayday, from the “hair-days” when they were on top and I didn’t want to ruin my good memories by seeing a bunch of old(er) family-guys with short hair. Just didn’t feel right. However, seeing them at Graspop was different somehow, it was a festival so I decided to go check it out.
Now I regret that I wasted so many opportunities the past few years to go and see them. They REALLY made me proud to be Swedish! There was nothing about them that felt “old” in any way, they are still great on a big stage.
Joey Tempest was strutting – owning that stage. Unlike Sebastian he didn’t give a fuck about the rain. He put on a show like there WAS no rain! And he looked like he loved every second of it!
It sounded great – Europe is a perfect old-school arena-band. They know how to handle a large crowd and a big stage. I’m glad that I went to see them and it was WORTH standing in the rain for! Joey Tempest still knows how to entertain, I’ll be back for more.
[Still kicking butt!]
After their show, I met up with Anett for just a few minutes and took a walk around the area. It was cold and damp so I decided to go back to the tent. Jon Oliva’s Pain was coming up.
Jan was busy working, Hanneke (light-tech) as well but she was so glad to see me, she jumped down to give me a hug. “You are welcome to join me up there if you want“, she said, so when she show was about to begin, I went up there. Hanneke rocks, always happy always up to something, it’s impossible not to like that girl. :)
Saw guitar-tech Fabio on the stage, haven’t seen him in ages, hoped to be able to get together with “the family” later and catch up a little! That didn’t happen though. I don’t know why, but at least I got to hang with the funniest bunch in the backstage bar afterwards – Fabio, Hanneke and Anett. We were laughing and having a great time, always a pleasure to hang out with them! :-D
The Jon Oliva’s Pain show…. Jon lost a lot of weight since I last saw him, he looked good. The new band sounded good but… I’m not sure why the band (or Jon) has chosen to just play songs from one album (Hall of The Mountain King).
Personally, I think it’s a step back, because this band has created some great music under the name Jon Oliva’s Pain since 2005 and I missed hearing those songs. Going back to the Savatage years feels unnecessary and wasn’t my cup of tea at all. Maybe it pleases the hardcore Savatage-fans but evenso they must have followed Jon’s work the past few years and learned to appreciate what he does now, so I don’t know who this was for, really.
But that’s only my personal opinion, it has nothing to do with the execution of the songs or the quality of the musicians. That is, as always, top-notch.
A bit sad and disappointed that I didn’t get to meet Jon this time. Maybe some other time.
Instead, I went to check out the merch, it had stopped raining. Met up with Vera, grabbed a bite and got ready to see Motorhead. But by the time they went onstage, it was raining again. I went to the VIP-bar and for the first time noticed that they had direct streaming of the show on the TV:s back there. Couldn’t be more perfect! I was under a roof and I could still watch the show! :)
What can I say about Lemmy…? Not too many surprises there. He is cool. He is very cool. He sounds like Lemmy and he gives the crowd what they want. Motorhead is a sure thing. You always know that they’re gonna deliver and WHAT they’re gonna deliver.
After Motorhead, I met up with Anett, Hanneke and Fabio in the backstage bar and nobody was particularly eager to see Guns n’Roses. First of all, we all expected them to be late as fuck, as usual. Then – we expected them to suck, like they have the past few years. Everyone I talked to that day hadn’t planned on seeing GnR. “Maybe the first two songs or something…” – that was the general attitude. Nobody had high hopes for Axl & co.
No wonder, he’s screwed up so badly so many times that people just got tired of it. You can’t act any way you want nowadays because there’s always gonna be some other band that will steal your fans. Not even if you’re Axl Rose, will you get away with just anything.
We were just taking it easy back there when suddenly we heard this BANG and music from the stage. We all stood there with puzzled faces. “They started – already???” It was 20 minutes too early..???
I went out there to check if it was indeed GnR or something else. It WAS Guns…! They had opened with Chinese Democracy. I still didn’t think that they would deliver anything that would be worth staying for, so I stood there, far away from the stage with no intention of moving closer. I was sceptical.
The set continued with Welcome To The Jungle. At this point I was beginning to realize that Axl sounded freaking GREAT. He looked a lot better than the last time too – he lost weight and was actually MOVING on stage. Whooah!
A few songs later I was hooked. This was a different Axl than I remembered, and definitely a different Axl than I expected! It was as if he was pissed off at the criticism and had something to prove.
So you think I’m fat?
You think I can’t sing anymore?
You think I can’t deliver the goods?
WELL – TAKE THIS MOTHERFUCKERS!!!
He was on a mission and I was blown away! I’ve never even been a GnR-fan ever. Never in a million years did I think that Axl Rose, of all people, would get my attention and even have me contemplating to miss the early flight home…!
We had to leave but first Vera wanted to see “just one more song“. And then I ended up thinking the same “just ONE more song…”. And Anett, who was supposed to go with us so we could drive her to her hotel, didn’t want to leave at all..! She said she would grab a shuttle or something – at the time nobody cared HOW they would get back to their hotels or airports, it was just a show that you didn’t want to walk out from…!
It dawned on me, for the first time ever, why Guns n’Roses once became the biggest rock band in the world. THIS was the reason. Axl had a fantastic evening – he created magic!
I read a review in Metal Hammer UK that said he “had the passion of a dead sheep” at some other gig, and I had to wonder if this show at Graspop was just ONE great show that we would see in years…? Cause if the band would continue to sound like THAT and Axl continue to sing flawless – and communicate with the crowd – I would GLADLY travel to see GnR again.
But I guess you never know with that man. I’m glad and feel privileged that we got to witness a great GnR show that actually made people STAY and enjoy the show! I dragged Vera away from there somewhere after “Civil War” cause we HAD to beat the crowds and get out of there before all those thousands of people started heading for the exit.
We could hear Knockin’ on Heavens Door, Whole Lotta Rosie and Patience as we were walking to the parking lot.
The PERFECT ending to a PERFECT festival.
THE GRASPOP BLOGS:
Next up – Bang Your Head festival in Germany……….!
When it was time for Twisted Sister, the crew-guy Rob (who had invited us as his guests) showed up with a funny smile on his face. “Come on, I wanna show you something!”
So we followed him to the right side of the stage where he had placed a road-case on wheels right in front of the sound guy, yet still so perfect that we weren’t in anyone’s way. The BEST seats in the house! “This is reserved especially for you guys!” Jesus, I had to laugh, Vera couldn’t believe it either, that was just so great.
It didn’t end there. Only a few minutes before Dee & co were about to enter the stage, someone PUSHED the case so hard that I thought we were gonna end up ON the stage in front of all those thousands of people! I’ve got it on video – when I start screaming, that’s when the case is being pushed!
It was Twisted Sister’s manager Danny Stanton – a guy that I think everybody knows. He’s also managed Sebastian Bach, Lita Ford, just a bunch of bands over the years. “You can see EVEN better now!” he laughed. My god – crazy dude! :-))
Dee showed up and I could tell he was totally psyched. He was jumping and by the concentrated look on his face it was like a bomb ready to explode. “Let’s DO this!!”
And off he went – like a missile! When Dee enters a stage, it’s full speed ahead and he never stops!
I don’t know WHERE he gets all that energy from, but he’s amazing. Dee Snider is the epitome of rock’n’roll – he is the last genuine rocker out there. He will join anyone on stage if invited, because he LOVES what he does. Other rock stars won’t do shit unless they’re paid or unless they see a huge PR-value in their participation. That’s not rock’n’roll. Dee will do it because he honestly and truly LOVES being on stage and my god how we love him for that!
Not only is his VOICE better than ever – it’s strong, clear and powerful, but he also has an endless energy, at 57 he is in far better shape than dudes half his age!
Watching the crowd was also a fantastic experience. I almost got tears in my eyes, it was mindblowing. Dee had every single person’s attention. Such total control of thousands of people, that’s something that you don’t see every day.
You can see some of it in this video for instance. First he introduces Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, now with Adrenaline Mob, among others…) – we were all standing there watching the show in awe. Mike P had his family with him, his beautiful daughter Melody and his son Max, and their mother. :) They were sitting right next to me on the road case, and I thought it was so cool to introduce the kids to the world of rock’n’roll at such a young age. :)
So anyway, after Mike & band were introduced, Dee barely even got a chance to start singing. Thousands of people started singing “The Price” with their hands and cellphones up in the air. At THAT point I was really glad that I had the privilege of being up on stage! What a sight that was! You don’t see that every day.
I got to hear some of my favorites – You Can’t Stop Rock’n’Roll (and nobody sings it with more conviction than Dee Snider!) Stay Hungry, Burn In Hell (another big favorite!) S.M.F and of course the Twisted Sister anthems that no TS show could ever be without: I Wanna Rock and We’re Not Gonna Take It.
The Graspop-crowd loved Twisted Sister – so much that when he introduced the headliners of the evening – Limp Bizkit, people booed…!
We went backstage after the show cause Limp Bizkit apparently didn’t allow anyone back there when they were preparing for their gig. Rob escorted us back to the artist room and the Twisted Sister band+crew, plus the Adrenaline Mob-guys had just ordered pizza – so there was a PILE of pizza boxes in there!
Vera stopped Dee as he was passing by, cause she felt she wanted to tell him how much he had affected her life with his writings and his music. Dee was super-cool, really took time to listen. There’s just something with his whole persona that makes you like him and respect him. He is tall and walks straight, he is confident without being arrogant, and he’s very bright.
One of the Twisted Sister guys brought me a glass of white wine in a champagne-glass, but I couldn’t drink it – I was driving. :-( I tried a little sip though and regretted even MORE that I was driving because the wine was fantastic! So the guy got up, went back to the room where he got me the glass of wine and came back with a whole bottle of it. “Here you are, you can have a bottle. Nobody’s gonna drink that now anyway, we’re leaving as soon as they’re done here….”.
[Gift from the Twisted Sister-guys – we couldn’t even keep it]
At first I was happy about the gift – then I realized that I couldn’t take it home because I wasn’t checking in any luggage and you can’t bring a bottle of wine on board in your carry-on. So…. we had to leave that great wine to whoever cleaned the AVIS-rental car the next day! :-(
We couldn’t even get out to the buses and vans because the whole area was closed until Limp Bizkit started playing. So we were just hanging there, and I was checking my Twitter on the Graspop artist-WiFi. Mike Portnoy was doing the same. Suddenly one of his Tweets showed up on my Twitter-timeline. I laughed and said “You just Tweeted!”. He leaned over to check my phone “Oh, it’s up now? Can I see how it looks on your cell?” Total nerding, lol!
If you think that people are partying and taking drugs and screwing groupies backstage in 2012 – forget it. They are TWEETING and updating their FACEBOOK-statuses! :-)
[Empty backstage-area, everybody’s leaving for the next gig]
When they finally opened the parking we went with everybody to the buses and vans to say goodbye and then continue on our own way back to the hotel. Said byebye to Rob who was really a cool and generous guy – we had a great time thanks to him. AND – he had worked for Lita Ford too, that gives him a few extra points in my book, lol! :)
The NEXT day (Sunday, last Graspop-day) was just RAINY – I’m surprised I didn’t get sick after that ordeal:
SEBASTIAN BACH, UGLY KID JOE, JON OLIVA’S PAIN, MOTORHEAD, EUROPE, GUNS N’ ROSES
THE GRASPOP BLOGS: