Tagged: halford

The true love for rock’n’roll

This kind of got me thinking of exactly how much I love rock’n’roll.
Was talking to a guy the other day and he said he was into “all kinds of music“, and was trying to convince me that Ultravox (new wave band from the 80’s, playing electronic music) were far better than any metal band – and he was going to make it his mission to make me realize that.

I thought he was kidding, but the dude was dead serious. :) Oh boy. Talk about wasting time and breath for nothing. :)

I can see and appreciate the qualities in other kinds of music, for whatever it may be. It could be good musicianship or a taste for well produced albums or just memorable sing-along songs or whatever. But my HEART is wherever rock’n’roll is. That’s something that people who aren’t IN it, will never understand. Especially not those who say that they listen to “all kinds of music”. I think most of us do, but rockers will always state rock as their favorite music when asked, as opposed to people who don’t passionately love anything, they just listen to “everything”….

Rock’n’roll touches my heart simply because it’s genuine. And I’m not just talking about heavy metal, I’m going back to the 60’s in my trail of thoughts right now. There was all that rebellion going on back then, that paved the way for pretty much all artists today. You had John Lennon – the rebel, you had Stones, Hendrix, Janis, Morrison, The Who… You name it. Mentioning Ultravox in the same breath as those people is just ridiculous. :)

When I listen to Janis Joplin for instance, it’s almost as if she’s transferring her thoughts and emotions directly to the listener, it’s that intense. She was just so amazing and definitely a rebel and a pioneer as no women were doing what she was doing back then. It’s impossible to listen to her sing and feel indifferent.

As far as metal…. It’s got everything that I love about music. It represents strength, power, truth, sex, love, passion, freedom, living life to its fullest (yes I know there are bands in the genre that represent the exact opposite, but generally speaking).

When I first heard Judas Priest, it just knocked me off my feet. There were loud, screaming guitars, loud screaming vocals, pounding bass and drums that just punched you in the face in the most amazing sort of way, the whole combo grabbed my heart and it’s kept that firm grip of it ever since.

The reason why people love bands like Motley Crue for instance, is because they didn’t care about anything, they just did whatever they felt like doing, regardless what was considered tasteful or acceptable.

I’m not saying I agree with all their choices in life but a part of me admires their absolute disregard of what an “acceptable lifestyle” is. Most people are stuck in their everyday lives, being told what to do by their boss, their spouse, their government…whatever other authority you can think of.

Everybody dreams of being able to tell all those authorities to piss off, but most people are not in the position to do that. So, Motley Crue were kind of doing it FOR them.
Societies all over the world also usually tell you to surpress your sexuality, Motley Crue (and most hard rock/metal bands I can think of) are telling you the exact opposite. Embrace it, live it, love it. 
It’s YOUR life, nobody else’s. Do whatever you want, as long as you’re not hurting anyone else. That’s why they’re still around. The bad boys dared to just not give a rats ass.

Having said that, I still don’t agree with a lot of shit that they’ve done, but that’s a different story.

The feeling I get from a really great live-show or a crazy good song/album, is almost indescribable. I can’t think of ANY chemical drug that could do a better job. Not in a million years. It’s the same type of euphoria that you experience when you have a crush on someone. That short period of time when you’re up in the pink clouds, can’t eat, can’t sleep and you just walk around with a silly smile on your face. THAT’s what good music does to you.

I’ll never forget that Whitesnake-show at Sweden Rock Festival a few years ago when David surprised everybody by bringing out Bernie Marsden on stage – and then also Adrian Vandenberg…! THAT, combined with the music, oh my god, I was crying like a baby! It was just so incredibly powerful, so touching, I couldn’t stop the tears for HOURS after that…!

One of my colleagues from Sweden Rock still remembers that, he met me right after the show and I looked like Alice Cooper cause my makeup was smeared all over my face from the tears.

I had the same reaction when Rob Halford was playing in Malmo many years ago, at the local rock club KB with his band HALFORD. When he sang “Victim of Changes” something just burst inside and I was just bawling my eyes out. I could not believe that my hero was that close, on a club stage, singing THAT song!

A friend of mine met me outside after the show and I was still crying. She thought I was sad, I had to explain that I was just so goddamn happy that crying was the only way to get it all out of my system.

[Not Victim of Changes, but another one of my fav Priest-covers, Diamonds and Rust!]

I’ve been walking around with Tony Martin’s various recordings in my Motörheadphönes for days now. After all these years….I could listen to that voice over and over again, every day, for 30 years, and I would STILL not get sick of it. In my book. Martin is the embodiment of vocal perfection!

I just feel that “high” every time I hear him. Jesus, he was unreal. He’s always been compared to Dio, but as much as I love and respect Ronnie, and think that he was outstanding, he just didn’t have the same range as Tony. If he did, he wasn’t using it the same way. Tony Martin has this HUGE masculine voice that suddenly just takes detours out into the stratosphere. That voice had a spell on me since 1989 when I first heard him with Black Sabbath.

[Tony belting it out with Mischa Calvin, fantastic album!!]

And lately I’ve been picking up Apollo Papathanasio’s extensive back catalog as well. Vocally, he’s like a Swedish/Greek equivalent to Tony Martin, he’s got the same kind of wide-range voice, deep and sensual, while also being able to hit you with those powerful, strong vocal lines that so few singers have the ability to do. When this song comes on, with one of his many projects, Sandalinas, I just want to kick back, close my eyes, listen and let that voice take me to foreign lands..! :)

Metal is of course also about aggression, which I guess is the one part of it that most non-metalheads have picked up on (and focused on).

But it’s the best way to get all those aggressions OUT. You don’t need expensive therapy or Prozac when you’ve got MEGADETH for example. This is what I wrote right after their show in Aarhus, Denmark back in 2011:

“It feels so frikkin’ great when that heavy, aggressive music, the pumping bass and angry, distorted guitars hits your eardrums – it’s like a spring-cleaning for the soul. Whatever might be stored in there, whether you’re aware of it or not, it just goes away. Amazing.”

Dave Mustaine is an angry man and I love him for it. I love his sarcasm and his grumpy face, I love his fuck you-songs, especially when he has a very intelligent way of approaching whatever issues he’s got with politicians or society. He’s got something to say and he’s certainly not afraid of voicing his opinion, loud and clear.

Megadeth calls to the absolutely most primal sides of us all and hearing those pissed off, aggressive songs is like fucking ANGEL CHOIRS in MY ears! There’s another “high” that metal brings, no doubt.

Rock’n’roll is the love of my life. I’ve pretty much dedicated my whole life to it. I’ll let Lita Ford express it with this song – Rock’n’Roll Made Me What I Am Today.
To have some random dude thinking that he will get me to think that ULTRAVOX is better than rock… lol!

I wouldn’t count on it. ;)

If you’re not on Facebook – you don’t exist

It’s interesting how Facebook has become so much a part of our everyday cyber-lives that we probably can’t even remember what life was like before it existed.

I sent an e-mail to the guy who’s arranging the Swedish Metal Exhibition here in Malmo in October, to ask about Sebastian Bach’s schedule. Figured it would be way easier than trying to get in touch with Baz himself. Sebastian uses Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and his website for posting stuff more than reading his emails. It’s pointless trying to get in touch with him personally and I didn’t want to bug his manager (yet).
 
Anyway, I got a reply almost right away, where the guy greeted me with my full name (which I hadn’t used and it’s not even included in my sender-info). He said he had been trying to find me on Facebook but couldn’t find me there. He had wanted to ask me if I had any ideas, feedback or interesting contacts to share.

It dawned on me that this Facebook-thing is worse than I thought. If you’re not on there, you don’t exist. It’s pretty spooky actually.
I heard something similar about a year ago when I bumped into a guy who had just kicked off a rock club in town. He said he had been looking for me on Facebook to send me an invitation to the premiere, but since I wasn’t there, he “didn’t know how to find me”.

If I hadn’t known him for years, I would have thought that it was only a lame excuse for having forgotten to send me an invitation, but he was dead serious.

Come on, people?! I’m STILL in the freaking phonebook – and THAT is available online and public in Sweden. I STILL have my e-mail addy and if everything else fails, go through Sweden Rock – I’m still a member of their writing staff. It’s not like I fell off the map.

I just don’t like Facebook.
I DO have two accounts on the fucking thing. One public page (that complements this blog – In The Rearview Mirror, which can be found here: IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR ON FACEBOOK and another “private” one that I quite honestly don’t even have my very best and closest friends on.

There is a reason for that.
I don’t think it’s good with too much openness. People share EVERYTHING on Facebook, it’s so implemented in everybody’s everyday life, that they don’t even think about it anymore. It could be personal joys and disappointments, trivial thoughts and episodes, pictures, links, political and religious views… Everything. And it’s the perfect arena for drama and even blackmail. I’ve seen it happen and heard it from others. I don’t want to be a part of it.

My friends are my friends – in real life. I know how to get in touch with them by phone or e-mail or other ways. I don’t need Facebook for that.

I have less than 20 people on my private Facebook-page. Most of them actually in one way or another associated with Jon Oliva, because they are in a way, “family”. They are my friends but for the most part of the year, we don’t have anything in particular to share, everybody’s doing their own thing. But by staying in touch through Facebook, at least I know if anyone is coming to this part of the world as a part of some other band’s crew. That way we can meet again.

Or, like recently, when they put together the Matt LaPorte Memorial Concert. I couldn’t be there and I so wish that I could. But by being connected to them all, I found lots of great photos from there, videos and comments, messages from people who attended or participated, and in a way it was the closest thing to actually being there.

Other than the Jon Oliva’s Pain-family, I’ve got my sister and two-three other friends on there that I obviously could get in touch with easily by phone that are on the page because I or they wanted to share something that was only available on FB.

But frankly, I don’t want to know too much about people’s personal lives. It’s gotten out of hand. I want to hear what’s new directly from them, and I prefer to hear the “long version” in a friend-to-friend conversation on the phone or face to face over a glass of wine or a cup of tea. It just feels more right that way.

It’s way too easy to misunderstand the cryptic short comments on FB. Sometimes people can write something like: “Some people are just total assholes, fuck you!”. And you end up wondering: “Did I do something?? Or was it somebody else?”

Or you might be in a bad mood yourself, interpret it to fit your current mindset and end up going “Well fuck you too if you got pissed just because I forgot to call you last night!”. You know what I mean? There’s too much room for misunderstandings on that site and I don’t want to get too mixed up with the Facebook-lifestyle.

I share stupid things on there if I’m bored. Mostly videos or links. Or if I’m out travelling somewhere, maybe a short comment of joy or frustration, but that’s about it.

When there was only MySpace, it wasn’t as easy to find people, because you didn’t really use your own name. Not necessarily. And eventhough you could search by e-mail, it still wasn’t as easy as with Facebook. It was a challenge and maybe at the same time a test – how eager are you REALLY – honestly – to get in touch with this person? Because if you truly ARE, you’re gonna Google like crazy to get info about that person and how to get in touch with him or her. It’s not impossible.

The Facebook-generation has made it too accessible, too easy, you add people like it’s a contest. But it was the same on MySpace – people sent requests left and right just to show off who had the longest “friends”-list.

And once you have someone on your Facebook-thing, you are somehow fooled to believe that you are now “in touch” with them and that you know what’s happening in their life, so you don’t call them as much anymore.
So I have to wonder- is it really a network for socializing, or is it in fact more for one-way communications?

Neil Murray (bassplayer extraordinaire with everybody, if you’re not familiar with this legendary musician. He’s played with Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Brian May and many more, to name just a few) had a good point this morning when he left the following message for his friends on FB:

Neil Murray
I apologise (-ize) to everyone who wants to be my Facebook ‘friend’ that I can’t say yes to, as I’m near my limit. I have a ‘fan page’, Neil Murray Bass Guitarist, but that’s not really the same thing. Sorry also to the people that I quietly ‘unfriend’, but I think a lot of them won’t notice as there’s no particular connection between them and me.

He got comments along the lines of: “Yey! I’m still here!” and “Please don’t delete me, we used to talk in the 80’s!”  Well, that’s nice, that you used to talk in the 80’s? But do you have anything to share NOW?

I used to talk to Neil when he was with Black Sabbath (the Tony Martin-era) and he was always a very kind man, a perfect gentleman. Quiet and classy. When he comes through Sweden every once in a while, I text him and he takes time to come and say hello and talk a little before he continues on to his business and I to mine.
In a sense he is a friend, but one that I don’t exactly call every day to ask abut how his day was. If he removed me from his friends-list, I guess it wouldn’t kill me. If I wanted to see him when he’s here, I can just call or text him. But I never use his number for any other reason.

Maybe I’m just old-school. I realize that you have to be on that stupid site nowadays, because “everybody else” is. It’s mandatory. But I don’t like their “American style” rules. Their opinion about nudity for instance. Nirvana’s cover for the album “Nevermore” was REMOVED from the site because it had a naked baby on it! After massive protests, FB put it back up.

I remember uploading a pic from an Egyptian exhibition and it was removed because it was a wooden statue of a naked man or woman, don’t remember. Is Facebook going to censor out history too or what the hell…?!

And all the info they want about you – phone numbers, addresses, they know EVERYTHING about you. In the wrong hands, that could be potentially dangerous. So again, I’m not totally OK with FB, eventhough I know that it you want to market yourself, that’s the only place to be – at least for now.

Things will probably look different 5 years from now. EVERYBODY used to be on MySpace too, then everybody disappeared from the site just as quickly – NOW it’s totally dead. Same thing could happen to Facebook. Things change a lot faster than we might realize in cyberworld.

So – guess there are good or bad sides to everything. I’ve got a thing or two to say about MySpace and Youtube as well, guess that should be saved for another blog. :-) 

 HALFORD – Cyber World

Youre trapped inside my Cyber World
Consumed up as my web unfurls
No secrets left for our mankind

My virus lurks throughout your veins
Im spreading there inside your brain
A Trojan Horse that eats your mind

Cyber World
Cyber World
Ive got your power

Cyber World
Cyber World
I will devour, yeah

At speed of lies I will connect
I search and surf as I infect
Computerized catastrophe

Your informations what I steal
I scan you till you are unreal
Transmit your power into me

Cyber World
Cyber World
I’ll steal your mind

Cyber World
Cyber World
For all mankind, yeah

you’re dying in my Cyber World
you’re lying in my Cyber World

SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL – MEMORIES

Only a few days before the madness begins again: Sweden Rock Festival.
Sweden Rock is HOME to me. I’ve been there every single year for the past 17 years.

I remember the first festival I went to, that was in 1994. Back then, it was a small event in the city of Karlshamn and it was only a weekend-festival. But it was nice because we didn’t really have any other hard rock festivals in Sweden back in those days.

[My pass from 1995, can’t find the one from 1994…Note that the festival used to be called “Karlshamn Rock Festival”]P1020487.jpg

Things have changed since then. They have REALLY changed. In 1994 there was no Sweden Rock Magazine and the festival was called Karlshamn Rock Festival. As far as I remember, it wasn’t a big deal to anyone back then – not like today when you have people from all over the world showing up at the camping days before the festival begins.

In 1995 I was there to talk to Black Sabbath, and had a great talk with Cozy Powell and Tony Martin at the hotel in Karlshamn (the audio file from that interview has already been published in this blog). Cozy was great, he was joking all the time and when I think about Cozy I just see a man with a big smile.

[Just my luck! The ONE photo I’ve got of Cozy and me, and of course I had to blink!]

Had dinner with Tony Martin in the hotel restaurant as fans were interrupting every five minutes. I was a huge Martin-fan, and I was really glad that he took time to talk for a while that day. It’s different asking questions for a magazine and asking questions as a fan, he took time for both and I was really grateful for that.
There was always a good vibe at the hotel those first few years. All the artists were staying there and fans usually knew about it, but it was still a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

[Tony Martin (Black Sabbath) in hotel lobby 1995]

Well, years went by and the festival just grew. I have great memories from every single year, I could probably write a book – but this is as close as it gets to being a book. :)

It went from being over just a weekend to being 3 days…to 4 days… Of course it moved from Karlshamn to “the middle of nowhere” a field in Norje Boke – Solvesborg, Blekinge, Sweden.

Nowadays it’s the biggest festival (or one of them) in Sweden, bands from all over the world know about it, fans from all over the world are coming to attend the 4 days of metal madness.

And me, well… it feels like coming home. I love Sweden Rock Festival, it’s just everything that I love:
I get to see my favorite bands over a few days, I meet friends, bands, colleagues – people I don’t usually see unless it’s Sweden Rock (photographers, record company people, management people, people working for the festival…). It’s metal in its most compact form, everything in one place. Music 24/7 – I’m in heaven.

Sure, you get tired, your feet are aching, you don’t get enough sleep, food is freaking expensive, and there are drunk assholes every here and there… but even with all that, it’s still worth it. :)

P1020482.jpg

Partying with Dio’s band at Karlshamn hotel…. not sure what year it was, but they were truly having a good time!

P1020485.jpg

I could probably pick at least one band or artist from every year 1994-2010 that I have some kind of memories from. So, there would be a lot.

One of the first things that comes to mind was the year when Rob Halford and his own band Halford headlined the festival. I had been at the hotel hanging with the band the night before. Well, I had actually been hanging in the bar alone, thinking that I couldn’t/wouldn’t disturb the guys who were sitting at a table pretty much right behind me.

But one of them recognized me from a few months back when I had been at a meet-and-greet thing and invited me to come and sit at their table. They were wild, the manager left his credit card and asked them to pay for his drink because he needed to get some sleep. Needless to say, that credit card ended up being used for more than just ONE drink…! :)

In the morning, I saw said manager in the lobby, upset because he had missed the shuttle that drives artists and crew to the festival site. The next shuttle was due in about an hour and he needed to get to the festival area asap. I just told him that I was driving down there anyway so he was welcome to join me if he didn’t mind riding in the small Renault that I had back then. He had no problem with that, so off we went. 

Man, that man could TALK! He went on and on about everything that had to do with Rob and I thought to myself that if I had been one of those sensation-seeking journalists, that would have been perfect! However, what’s off the record IS off the record as far as I’m concerned. I guess my morals won’t get me far in this business. Others are willing to cash in on anything, as long as they are exposing others.

[Rob Halford, backstage about an hour before he hit the stage with HALFORD, 2002]

 When we got to the festival, he wanted me to take him all the way to Rob’s dressing-room. I told him I couldn’t go there because I didn’t have a car pass. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of this!” he said.

Sure enough, when we got to the first gate, the security guy stopped the car and I opened the window. Halford’s manager leaned over me and looked at the guy going: “Do you know who I am? I am Rob Halford’s manager. She is taking me to the dressing rooms, okay?”

The guy didn’t question anything – he just nodded and opened the gate. It was like Open Sesame all the way through, and next thing I know, I’m parked right outside Rob’s dressing room…

Manager walks off, comes back with a laminate that he gives me. I was welcome to walk around freely. When I checked, I saw that he gave me the best pass you can get – the artist pass. Works everywhere. I could have walked up on stage if I wanted to.

Then there was the year that Sebastian Bach was supposed to play. Those of you who know me, also know that Sebastian is an old friend. That year, I had Kevin from Jon Oliva’s Pain visiting me and since he and Baz are both from Canada, pretty much from around the same area, I figured they would probably hit it off. Either they would become great friends or they would hate eachother’s guts. I wasn’t sure which, but we drove to the festival early that morning to make it on time.

While we were still on the motorway I get a text from my friend at the production office, who informed me that Sebastian had cancelled. He was stuck at the airport, wouldn’t make it on time. So… this is a pass for a meeting that never happened. I had met Baz a few years before when he played Sweden Rock, but this was such a bummer…. another “classic” Sweden Rock memory.

I guess I could go on and on…. there is a lot more... I’m sure there will be more stories here whenever I take a walk down Memory Lane again.
But for now, all I can say is that I can’t wait to see all those great bands – and meet new and old friends for a Rock’n’roll Extravaganza de Luxe!