STEVE STEVENS: “I’VE SEEN IT ALL”
Steve Stevens – always a pleasure to meet and talk to. As much as I love Billy Idol, whenever I went to Billy’s shows, I ended up being a lot more fascinated by the guitarist than the headliner himself.
They are the perfect combo, much like Mick and Keith (hey, Keith over Mick anytime, Keith is just insanely cool!), Steven Tyler and Joe Perry (Perry – thankyouverymuch!) well you get the drift – Steve was simply the cooler of the two. :)
After meeting Steve at a little jazz club at Broadway with Sebastian Bach a few years ago, I was even more floored – not only by his genuine love for his craft, but also for his warm and positive energy. You feel at ease around that guy. Same thing with his wife Josie, big smile, big heart.
I instantly liked them and it’s simply a pleasure to see them both again. Was glad that they could squeeze this in, eventhough Steve was in high demand, especially that weekend. Thanks guys!
Check out the 2012-Iridium-interview here.
But for the most recent interview from Musik Messe in Frankfurt, check this out. :)
Three G’s as in Guitarists
Just hit me that the topics that have been on my mind lately, in one form or another, were somehow related to GUITARISTS…
First of all – Matt La Porte’s Memorial Benefit that took place Saturday, at Ferg’s, St Petersburg, Florida. For those who don’t know Matt, he’s known for having played with Circle II Circle and Jon Oliva’s Pain.
[Matt in an early Circle II Circle-video.
Vocals: Zak Stevens (ex.Savatage). All the guys in this band later became JOP…
Matt LaPorte – guitar, John Zahner – keyboards, Kevin Rothney – bass, Chris Kinder – drums]:
I was thinking about how I even got to know the great people in JOP and their friends/crew… The first two people I ever got in touch with that day, were Greg, “Super G” Marchak, producer and engineer, and Matt. I had just arrived to the hotel in Dusseldorf, Germany to attend a meet-and-greet weekend with Jon Oliva’s Pain, an interview and a listening-party of the new album “Maniacal Renderings“.
It was a small hotel and there was a computer down in the lobby. Greg was sitting there when I walked in. Sadly, he is not with us anymore. He passed on September 8, 2007, suffered an aneurysm and never recovered.
The other guy, who took over down at the computer that day in the lobby, was Matt. He is not with us anymore either. He died in his sleep a few months ago, only 40 years old. I think that what most of us remember, apart from his musicianship, is his sense of humor. A bizarre sense of humor that took me a while to “get”, I eventually did. His passing left so many in shock and grief, but I was so glad to see the musicians getting together to celebrate his life. He lived for music and he must have smiled when he saw what had been put together for him.
Members from JOP, Crimson Glory, TSO and others, got together Saturday evening for this special occasion which I so wish I could have attended. From what I’ve seen so far, it was a beautiful day/evening, with everybody gathered. And I miss them all, haven’t seen the “JOP family” in a long time, I think it must have been a little over a year now. Used to be at least once a year. Then again, things are not the same and never will be. But I have great memories for life.
Here’s one of the most beautiful songs ever, played at Matt’s memorial (Jon Oliva vocals and piano):
The other guitarist who is “Not Dead Yet” (which is the name of the benefit festival where the proceeds are going towards medical supplies as well as a trust fund to provide for his future security) is the amazing Jason Becker.
The more I see and the more I read about Jason, the more stunned and amazed I get. What a fantastic guy, I’m speechless. I really wanted to get involved somehow and so I ended up donating to the making of the documentary “Perpetual Burn: The Story of Jason Becker“.
I can’t wait to see the finished movie and for those of you out there who have at least 5 bucks to spare – make it happen: http://www.jasonbeckermovie.com/help-get-involved
All you need is a PayPal-account. Simple, quick, easy, and for a good cause.
The goal is $50,000 and as of right now, funds raised are up to 49,715
It’s CLOSE – so go and make your contribution!
This is a trailer for the movie that’s in the making:
Moves me to tears every time I see it. At the same time it proves what the love for music can do – it can even to some extent conquer death. There are others out there who are still living proof that the passion for music can overcome any obstacles: Rick Allen (Def Leppard) and Mick Mars (Motley Crue) for instance – then there are the guys from Anvil that aren’t exactly sick, but they have sacrificed everything to the point of stupidity, for their rock’n’roll dream and love for music.
I totally get where they are coming from. Only others who feel the same way for music can understand,
(Funny, just after I had posted this blog – I saw this on Twitter, from Mick Mars. Thought it fit pretty well: http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=161178 ]People like Jason Becker have my deepest respect and admiration. I hope he will still be around by the time the movie is finished. I’m sure he will be.
Last, but not least – a more positive note :) In the middle of planning my US trip, where I’ll get to enjoy seeing and hearing the talents of two fantastic guitarists: Gus G (Ozzy, Firewind) and the ULTIMATE guitar hero: Yngwie Malmsteen.
I was going to see Firewind in Florida because they’re playing in St Petersburg (Tampa-area), which is where my JOP-friends are from so it seemed like the best place to go. Then I saw that Yngwie was playing in NYC a few days later – actually the day after Firewind have played there, so there’ll be a double guitar-virtuoso treat, two days in a row, in my favorite city in the world – NYC!
Only two more months and I’m off to the land across the pond! :-))
[My interview with Gus G from Sweden Rock Festival, back in June:]
[The #1 GUITAR HERO in all categories – YNGWIE MALMSTEEN…!]
Matt LaPorte – our final goodbyes
There are 135 photos in the gallery
Matthew David LaPorte
September 11, 1970 – April 20, 2011
Saturday, April 30, 2011 | 3:00pm
Moss Feaster Funeral Home
13401 Indian Rocks Road, Largo, Florida 33774 | 727-562-2080
LaPorte, Matthew D. 40 of Seminole, FL passed away on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at his home. Born on Sept. 11, 1970 in Clearwater, FL. Matt was a professional musician,guitar instructor and composer. Matt was a guitarist in the Jon Oliva’s Pain Band and toured with them worldwide. He graduated from Pinellas Park High School in 1988 and attended Professional Guitar School in Minneapolis, MN and the St. Petersburg Jr. college. Survived by his loving mother Sharon (Richard) Paul of Largo, FL, a brother Lawrence R. (Colleen) LaPorte of Manhattan Beach, CA and a sister Laura LaPorte of St. Louis Park, MN and 5 nieces and nephews. Matt was preceded in death by his father Kenneth D. LaPorte. Matt will be missed but long remembered by his family and many friends, students and music lovers all over the world. In lieu of flowers, the family is establishing the Matthew LaPorte Music Scholarship fund. Memorial services will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 3 pm at the Moss Feaster Funeral Home, 13401 Indian Rocks Road, Largo, FL 727-562-2080 727-562-2080 . Further information may be located at www.mossfeasterlargo.com.
My god, it’s tough to see it like this. His picture should be on a new album somewhere, not next to his obituary…
When someone dies, you suddenly see people all over the place claiming to have been close with the person who passed away. I can’t claim that Matt and I were close, by any means, but this is a man that I’ve talked with, joked with… and I’ve seen him play so many times all over Europe for the past five years.
Eventhough I never had any long conversations with Matt, I remember how he used to light up and smile when he saw me. A smile, a “hi” and maybe one of his silly jokes, that was always “on the menu”.
My point is that of all the people in the JOP-family, I found Matt to be the quiet one who it took a little longer to get to know compared to the others. He loved to joke around though – and he knew how easy it was to gross me out. So he would do anything he could think of to make me go “eeeewwww!”.
I found this short clip for instance. Florence, Italy, Viper Club – I think it was 2008. The two guitarists are talking – Tom and Matt. Matt notices my camera and immediately thinks of something to do that might gross me out. I guess I couldn’t help smiling at times either.
I sat here most of the evening last night, going through old photos and videos from the past JOP tours. I shouldn’t have. Just feels sad to realize that it’s all in the past now. The band lost Greg (Marchak, producer and sound-wizard on the JOP tours…) a few years ago. It hit everyone hard. And now Matt.
It feels so wrong when a talented guy who’s only 40, passes away… I’m sure he is in a better placec now, talking old times with Criss Oliva, Greg and maybe a few of his passed heroes as well.
Nikki Sixx called death a graduation. You’ve earned your right to go to the next level, wherever that may be. I think that might very well be true.
Jon Oliva’s Pain sent out a bulletin earlier this evening, that said “We look forward to seeing you on Saturday to celebrate his life together.”
I suppose that’s the way it should be, a celebration, a respectful celebration, and it’s a good way of looking at it.
The band in the sky just got one hell of a player to join the jam…