Tagged: JOP

I miss the tour! (2007….)

I’ve only been home for a little over a week, and during that time, I’ve been thinking about touring and travelling – a lot. I miss it, I wish I could be out there all the time. I want to just get on a tour bus right now and not come back for a month, at least.

I went back to an old blog that I wrote on MySpace after the Jon Oliva’s Pain tour back in 2007. It pretty much says what I’m thinking in this very moment as well.

One thing is for sure – one of my goals in life  is to do this thing at least one more time before I die. Probably sounds weird to most people but as much as it can be a pain in the ass to be on a stinky bus, it can also be like a drug, which is why I guess so many “road dogs” who have been on the road their whole lives, can’t get it out of their blood. I understand where they’re coming from…
Life now is pretty much about working to finance what I love doing more than anything. :) And it works. For now. I hope it does for a VERY long time!

___________________________________________
MY SPACE BLOG 
Friday, May 11, 2007
I miss the tour. A LOT…! :-(

It’s only been two weeks since I got home from the Oliva-tour and I STILL don’t feel like I’ve quite acclimatized myself to my normal life.
I know – it sounds absolutely ridiculous. I should be more used to THIS than something I did during a limited time. Yet, that felt more right than this. Maybe it has to do with the kind of person I am. To me, that kind of life contained all those elements that makes me feel good.

First of all – it’s an environment where people know and understand music. Well, that’s self-explanatory. You could hear someone start talking about some obscure old album by Tom Petty or whoever, or sharing some kind of music-trivia, stuff that you never do when you’re around people who don’t know or don’t care about music.

Everything was simply breathing music, rock’n’roll. That’s what I live for and have lived for all my life.

There’s no other place that would make me feel like more at home than being surrounded by musicians and people who love and understand that passion. Cause they are the same. You’re not an outcast on a tour-bus, you belong.

And just the fact that I was on something that was on its way somewhere… I love that!

Sometimes people ask howcome I volunteer to drive here or there as often as I do, and that’s because I love the road. To leave something behind and head to something new. To cover a distance, well, I don’t know how to explain it. I just love to watch things pass by when I look out a window.

I love watching those white stripes on the motorway pass by so fast that they end up looking like one long, white line if you look at it long enough. It’s like you’re hypnotizing yourself somehow, your mind starts to wander, you drift away in dreams and thoughts… There’s nothing else quite like it.

I was just there as a spectator on that tour, as a “fly on the wall” there to experience the vibe and then write about it. Yet I felt like a part of the whole thing,.
But I can understand a musician on the road, why he (or she) gets bummed out when they come home after a tour.

Cause being in a band and being on the road is like being a part of something. You are creating something together, everybody is important and what you do is appreciated by a lot of people. So, you MATTER. It’s as simple as that. You can’t just call in sick like you would with any other kind of job. No matter what happens – the show must go on. You are damn important. That has got to be a feeling like no other.

With a band like Jon Oliva’s Pain, there’s not much difference between the guys in the band and the crew. Everyone is important. It’s like one big family, they all have an assignment, something that needs to be done. Nobody’s more important than anyone else and that feeling of being friends, family and co-workers all at the same time is stronger than in most other workplaces.

Being a part of something that brings big smiles to so many people’s faces has got to be the most wonderful feeling in the world. Again, I wasn’t up on stage but I understand it so well. I have been up on that stage, long ago, but once you got a taste of it, you never forget it.

That kind of life is not bound by rules like so many other jobs and places. Yes, there are a few things you mustn’t screw up.
You need to be on the bus before it leaves, you need to be in shape to get up on stage and play every night, things like that. But as long as you can do what you’re supposed to, and not get anyone else in trouble, you can do pretty much whatever the hell you want.

Party till you drop, sleep all day, behave like a ten-year-old if you feel like it, just be whoever you want to be. Feel free. Then again… that’s only true to a certain extent but that’s a different story.

I would hear people talking and laughing all night long until I fell asleep. Sometimes I didn’t even want to crawl into my bunk because I wanted to stay up and socialize as long as possible. And even those nights when I was  too tired for that, I just wanted to be there.

I remember Chris, (Kinder – the drummer), asking me a few times why I didn’t just go to bed, I looked tired. Well, yeah, I was, but I also knew that soon I wouldn’t be on that bus anymore so I didn’t really care if I slept or not. I can sleep when I’m dead. :)

There was only one evening, in Gothenburg, when I was so beat that I could barely focus, everything was spinning. So when Kevin walked up on the bus, happy as a fiddler, and asked if I wanted to go hang out with him and his friends from Crucified Barbara, I said no. Can’t believe I was so anti-rock’n’roll that I went to sleep in my bunk while everybody else was partying!
But that was that one night. I got up to socialize later, like three or four in the morning after I had slept like three hours… That’s crazy too. Nothing is considered to be a “normal” time in a touring-situation.

You are up when most people at home would be asleep, you sleep when most people would be at work – everything is upside down. And I love that. Go figure. :-)

Then it’s all the people – new people every day. Fans, other band members that either just happened to be “in the neighborhood“, other musician-friends that drop by to say hello – people who work at the venue or pretty much anybody… You see new faces every single day. Mostly smiling faces.

If you are a social kind of person, that is a privilege. And I am. :) People I had only seen on My Space or on the JOP message-board that I check every now and then, suddenly became “real people” – not just nicknames on the Internet.

With JOP many of those fans have become friends more than fans. Frode for instance, the “Big Viking” from Norway, has been around for so long that he’s considered to be part of the “family”. And there are many others like that. People who show up year after year, who help out with little things… they are friends more than anonymous faces in a crowd.
I just love that whole vibe that surrounded JOP. People are generally welcomed with open arms, there’s no rockstar-attitude to be found as far as the eye can see. It’s easy to understand why people like those guys.

I was never much of a Savatage-fan before. My ex-boyfriend was. Many of the guys in the bands I sang with through the years, were Savatage-fans too, but I, for some reason, never took the time to listen to all their albums. Don’t know why, really…
Heard a song here and there, that was it. Last year my magazine sent me to Germany to interview “Savatage-frontman Jon Oliva who has a new band now”… I still remember when my boss asked me if I wanted to do it.

It could have been just a job like any other. I could have just went down there, done the interview, went back home, written the article and never given it another thought ever again. That’s how it usually works.

But with JOP it was so easy to feel like they were old friends in some strange way. They made themselves available, opened the door. Such great people in every aspect.

It’s funny… Here I am now, nine months later – seven shows seen in six different countries (the first one in Florida, back in November last year).
I’ve been on the road with them and gotten to know band and crew – and people who are fans and friends. It’s unique. Has never happened before and I’ve been working in this business since 1988. That’s a long time.

It has happened a few times that I became really good friends with someone I interviewed. But that was still different from this.
Skid Row was a band I knew very well back in the day. Sebastian Bach and I were in touch for many years. But other than that, the situation with JOP is so different from anything else.

I’ve learned the music by hearing it during the soundchecks and at all the shows, not by listening to the albums first. Well, except for Maniacal Renderings.

I miss waking up in the morning, being somewhere else than I was the day before.

I miss the vagabond kind of life where nothing is ever to be counted on. You can’t be SURE that you’ll get a decent meal one particular day. You get food once a day, cause breakfast usually consisted of a cigarette and a beer for some – and I neither smoke nor drink beer so I got used to not eating much at all. Great diet. I kept it after I came home – and let me tell you, I’m losing weight!

If the bus stopped at some gas station one could get a burger or something in the middle of the night, or you grabbed a sandwich during sound check (the venue would usually have bread, butter, cheese, juice and stuff like that somewhere on a table for those who wanted a snack) or if you were lucky, the food was ok that the venues would serve for dinner… Which was not always the case. The food at Pestpop in Belgium looked like, to quote a bandmember, “catfood“.

You couldn’t even be sure that you would get a chance to take a shower. The BAND could. But as for everybody else, it was a matter of time and luck. Particularly being a girl meant that you had to forget about being prude. But then again – the GUYS could get a bit embarrassed too.

In Gothenburg, there were only 2 showers – and with two buses full of people, you can imagine what it was like.

And trying to make your hair or makeup look decent was nearly impossible so I looked like shit during those few days.
That’s why I was almost allergic to people taking pictures all the time, cause I really dooooon’t want to be seen in pics where I look like a female bum. It’s bad enough I had to look like that at ALL, I didn’t want it immortalized and put on the web. God!

10271560_1535768473339764_6641359583472269375_n

So… it’s a strange life I guess, but it made me feel great.
April 2007 will go to history as one of the best months of my life. I’ve had a lot of fun in my life- but this was something that suited me like hand in glove. I would give anything to do it again.

Right NOW I’m mostly sulking because I hate this “normalness”.
I don’t want to be alone in my empty apartment.
I don’t want to wake up in the same place and the same city every single day. I mean, that would have been okay if I didn’t have to spend 8 hours every day staring at this goddamn COMPUTER SCREEN when there’s a world out there to be explored, when there’s music to be played and people to meet.

Yes, I get to do that that stuff now too, but it’s still not the same. What I do now is routine, it’s the same shit day after day and I really feel like I want to get out of here.

That month of travelling made me realize what I DON’T want in life. I don’t want to spend most of my time indoors. I want to get out a lot more, travel more, meet even more people.

Who would have thought that an assignment last year (“Go and interview Jon Oliva in Düsseldorf!”) would lead to all of THIS?!

Life has its strange ways sometimes. All you can do is just try to do whatever you can to be happy. Nothing else matters, cause life is too short to worry about much else. Be happy and accomplish your dreams.

Never settle for second best – and if you can’t change the things you’re not happy with, change your way of thinking. There are no truths, only interpretations of the truth.
And right now, I’m starting in one end – if that doesn’t work, I’ll have to change my attitude. But, one thing at a time…

I’m just grateful for what I’ve been given a chance to experience. It will stay in my memory forever.

[When you need to dry your clothes on the road, sometimes you need to be creative…!]

10881706_1535768550006423_7562567372068622133_n

[Jon reading Sweden Rock Magazine (well, I had to do a little PR for my mag!)]

olivareadssrmonbus

olivabussfolk

[On the road!]

bussenpass

[Yup…passed out – eventually!]

10882240_1535767736673171_5984361368835939060_n

[It’s a tough job being a rock star, but somebody’s gotta do it…. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz………..]

10421515_1535766570006621_4936105606534975985_n

AMAZING PERFORMERS – the best of the best

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.

No hi-tech technology in the world can ever recreate the real deal – forget the live-DVD’s, HD-YouTube, advanced sound systems, 3D or whatever stuff there’s out there – you can NEVER copy the experience and the KICK you get from a great live show. 

That’s why arenas and festivals are still attracting thousands of people all over the world. Some of us have even made it our lifestyle to travel everywhere to get our “fix” of loud guitars, thundering drums and bass and fantastic musician- and showmanship. Nothing can beat the natural “high” you get from that!

The YouTube-clips can’t substitute a live show. It just gives you a hint of what you might have missed or what you’re about to experience.

So these days it’s more important than ever before to have something that impresses a crowd, to stick out and present something that separates you from the competition. Which led me to the topic “amazing showmen“….

I go to shows all-the-time, to say the least. And I go see bands/artists for different reasons. Sometimes solely because I love their music. Sometimes because they impress me with their musical skills. Sometimes because I’m simply curious – and sometimes because the artist or the band has that unique talent to get my attention and keep it for two hours straight.

There are some absolutely amazing artists out there, on ALL levels. It doesn’t have to be well known superstars.
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)

INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS – in no particular order

David Coverdale (Whitesnake)
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. :)

Dee Snider (Twisted Sister)
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!
Sebastian Bach
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.

David Lee Roth (Van Halen)
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!


Yngwie Malmsteen

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. 

And then, there’s of course – Ozzy!
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.
He might have changed his style onstage through the years, but the past years he’s been better than ever. I would pay for ten more shows just to see that sincere SMILE and his boyish enthusiasm when he hoses the crowd with that firehose, or sticks his head in a bucket of ice-cold water like a mischievous kid. There’s something liberating about Ozzy and his total disregard of rules for men “his age”. He doesn’t give a fuck and we love him for it!

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.

There was nothing he wouldn’t do to give the crowd a good live-experience, I remember him even getting injured a few times in the process. He could be sick as a dog, yet when it was time to get onstage, he would rock till he dropped, sometimes literally.
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!

 

PART TWOTHE BEST LIVE BANDS!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

GRASPOP METAL MEETING 2012 – Last Day memories and reviews (Part 5)

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.

Smoke

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:

GRASPOP METAL MEETING 2012 –  memories and reviews (Part 1)  

 

 

GRASPOP METAL MEETING 2012 – memories and reviews (Part 2)

 

GRASPOP METAL MEETING 2012 – MEGADETH memories and reviews (Part 3)

 

GRASPOP METAL MEETING 2012 – TWISTED SISTER memories and reviews (Part 4)

GRASPOP METAL MEETING 2012 – Last Day memories and reviews (Part 5)

 

Next up – Bang Your Head festival in Germany……….!

Graspop-here I come! :-)

It’s a little bit frustrating when you have so many things to tell – photos, memories, videos, all that, to share – and you just don’t have time…! :-(

It’s been work, work, work this week, you get home feeling totally beat, pass out early almost every day…
But I have everything in my head – I just need the time, peace and quiet to write it all down. Soon – when I have a whole weekend without any other obligations, there will be tons of shit on here!

Tomorrow it’s time for GRASPOP METAL MEETING in Belgium! Three days of non-stop rock, lots of great acts – and my “family” Jon Oliva’s Pain. So looking forward to all of that. Vera is joining me this time too, at least Saturday and Sunday. Then I haven’t planned anything until July when I’m off to Thessaloniki, Greece again to see Firewind. :-)

So – the Satchel-story and the day when we spent all day on somebody’s stage (Ugly Kid Joe‘s, Motorhead’s, Twisted Sister‘s….) hanging with Hell’s Angels and what not – all that will end up here eventually.

Just stick around. :-)

Belgium, here I come!

 

From one of the many Jon Oliva-shows I’ve been “paparazzi-ing” – ProgPower Atlanta, 2008 – featuring Zak Stevens (Savatage/Circle II Circle) :

“The Savatage-thing needs some kind of closure” [Chris Caffery]

First of all – Happy New 2012 everyone, hope you had a great start of this new and exciting year in Rock! :-)

On New Year’s Eve, there was an announcement on Blabbermouth that former Savatage-guitarist Chris Caffery was joining Jon Oliva on stage in Europe later this year – read more HERE.

That made a lot of Oliva-fans happy. :-)

It’s not the first time after the “breakup” of Savatage that Chris and Jon have shared the stage though. The last time I saw it was in Belgium, the indoor-festival Pestpop back in October 2007 when I joined Oliva & co on their European tour. Caffery and Zak Stevens (ex-Savatage vocalist) were both at Pestpop festival playing their own sets (Zak with Circle II Circle and Chris doing his solo thing).  

Chris and Jon have played together after that in FL, but as far as I know this was the last time they shared the stage in Europe. Correct me if I’m wrong. :)

Sorry about the sound in the beginning of this video – I think I was standing a little bit too close to the stage monitors…It gets better a few minutes into the song though.

There is an unmistakeble comradery still when these guys get together. I was sitting in the dressing room after the show that night in Wieze, Belgium, when Zak and Chris came by to say hi to Jon. Lots of laughs and hugs, I just sat there quietly, smiling to myself. You just don’t see that kind of affection in bands anymore, there’s definitely something special about Oliva. :-)

2012 will be an interesting year for Savatage-fans, I’m sure. So…. In the name of that – I dug up an interview I did with Chris Caffery at Sweden Rock Festival back in 2009 – another one of those recordings that I never used for anything, so this is the first time anyone will get to hear it. 

He was visiting the festival with Ripper Owens that year, and his solo-album House of Insanity, had just been released . The interview was supposed to be about that, but ended up being a lot about his feelings for Savatage.

He stated that he would gladly play in a garage for no money, if he got a chance to play with his friends (Savatage) again, because the band was his life. He was doing solo albums simply because “his band” wasn’t playing and he had to do something. It’s as if he was waiting for Savatage to wrap it up at some point, because as Oliva himself stated in an interview I did with him that same year, Savatage never officially split up. It’s been on hold for many years. And in the interview with Chris, you will hear him talk about how he feels about that:

“The Savatage-thing needs some kind of closure….”

So, there’s no question that Savatage really is what’s closest to Chris’ heart, so what you’ll get to see on stage this summer will certainly be sincere. 

You can listen to the whole interview here. My apologies for the bad sound, it was a very windy day and we were standing in the backstage bar at Sweden Rock Festival, with all the noise coming from everywhere. It’s a miracle that anything was recorded at all. :-)

I truly enjoyed talking to Chris, he’s cool guy.

1,52The reason for me doing this is because my band is not playing. If Savatage was playing, I would not be doing solo records…

2,23 My band, my life, my whole soul, is with Savatage.

7,25  Even if the band played in this TENT for five minutes, I don’t care what the circumstances are, I don’t care what the reason is, or the money… I just wanna play with my friends, play that music again. I really miss it.

8,00 Jon Oliva is one of the best songwriters that Ive ever seen, he’s a genious. 

8,10The Savatage thing nees to get some kind of closure.

 

[Savatage from back in the day – one of my favorite songs, and one of the craziest drummers! Check this out!]