This road report was originally written for a magazine, but was never published for various reasons. I think part of it had to do with that the editor at the time, had a different idea of what he wanted a tour report to be. He prefered interviews on the bus instead of the “fly-on-the-wall“-approach. Either way, it was never used.
To me however, it is still, to this day, one of MY favorite pieces. And now, in 2012, it’s also a piece of untold history.
Two people who were on the 2007 tour are not with us anymore. Greg Marchak (sound engineer and producer) passed in September 2007 from a brain aneurism. Matt LaPorte (lead guitarist) passed away in April last year.
When this was written, Jon Oliva’s Pain was still a family well held together in a way that I’ve never seen or experienced with any other band ever before. It brings back some great memories.
So here it is – tour of 2007, Scandinavia, on the road with Jon Oliva’s Pain.
ON TOUR WITH THE MOUNTAIN KING
Text & photos Daniela P
It’s an early, damp and chilly morning in Halmstad, Sweden. Jon Oliva’s Pain, band and crew, have just enjoyed a day off and now it’s time for the equipage to start heading to the next destination: Oslo, Norway.
The band’s bassplayer Kevin Rothney is helping me get my heavy, bulky Sweden Rock Magazine-bag up on the bus. When I finally get my ass up on the bus, I’m greeted with smiles that make me feel right at home, like an old friend.
One of the first things a first-time visitor on a tourbus must learn, is how to use the toilet.
Well…if it’s absolutely necessary to use it at ALL, that is. Cause you don’t go unless there’s just no other option. Somebody starts laughing and mentions the word “pissfoot” and everybody seems to know what that is. I’m about to learn that as well.
The bus-toilet must have been designed for pygmies, cause whoever tries to get in there will have to grease their hips and practice advanced yoga to get in and out.
Some of the guys ended up standing OUTSIDE trying to aim, well you get the picture – and with a bus that drives 90 km/h on the highway, brakes and passes other cars, you can probably figure out what happens. The piss doesn’t end up where it’s supposed to. So, whoever enters the loo next, can expect an unpleasant surprise. SPLASH! Sock + cold piss = Pissfoot.
Then, when the piss dries on the sock, it spreads a certain…odor on the bus. So, that was the very first introduction I got to “life on the road”. Might as well be informed of the worst parts right away and get it over with.
The bus starts rolling, and the two Italians – drum tech Rig and guitar tech Fabio, start yapping in Italian, while eagerly filming everything through the bus window.
THE KING LIVES IN THE “ELVIS ROOM”
The curtains of one of the bunks are drawn to the side and a sleepy light tech peeks out – the Dutch girl Hanneke. Suddenly drummer Chris goes: “HEEY!” while looking at something behind me. I turn around and there’s the man himself, mr Jon Oliva. The guy who’s been the face and voice of Savatage for over 20 years, whose fans worship the ground he walks on. He smiles. He’s cool and he’s damn funny. You can’t help but instantly like the guy. He sleeps way in the back of the bus – in the Elvis room. There’s much more space back there than in any of the other coffin-like bunks that the rest of us are sleeping in.
We are approaching Oslo and the video cameras are rolling, everybody’s admiring the stunning view. Jon is just smiling. He doesn’t look particularly impressed. He’s used to this.
When we reach Oslo, and park outside the venue, it’s like somebody hit a button. Everyone knows what to do, and like worker ants they unload everything in a matter of minutes. People are running back and forth, pushing anything with wheels on it. Inside the black-painted rock club Johnny Dee, things are going very quickly. It doesn’t take long before everything is up and running and the sound check is ready to commence. Efficiency, that’s the word of honor. Tour manager Anett is all over the place, making sure that everything works. She is like a school-teacher telling the students about things they need to know and remember – anything from dressing rooms, showers, food, schedule….
Someone put a veggie-plate in one of the dressing rooms. The guys are looking sceptically at it. You can probably die from veggies. So, broccoli and all that other stuff, ends up being used as ammunition in a food fight. Jon Oliva however, is sitting in his own dressing room with a viking helmet on his head. He is just taking it easy, greeting journalists with that Oliva-smile that we know so well.
The club is jam packed when it’s time for the band to hit the stage. The craziest die-hard fans are already hanging at the barricades. As expected, the classic Savatage songs are the ones that gets people to sing-along, But it’s also clear that the Oliva-fans are loyal and they keep buying the records no matter what name is on the label.
After the gig it’s full speed again. The crew is rolling out the gear fast, The bus has a deadline to meet, so gear, band and crew all need to be ready for “takeoff” on time.
The noise level on the bus is all the way up to eleven, you can hear roaring laughter and hi-fiving all over the place, The adrenaline is still pumping through everybody’s veins after the successful show. But the bags need to be packed and that’s done while the chatter with the guests backstage continues.
[One of the guests in Oslo – from Pagan’s Mind]
When it’s a few minutes past midnight, everybody’s on the bus cracking jokes, laughing. Some are a little buzzed, others are crawling into their bunks falling asleep pretty much right away. It’s easy to tell the crew from the band at this point. The “foot soldiers” are the ones who have a tendency to be in bed way before the band.
FIRST COME FIRST SERVED SHOWERS
It’s five thirty in the morning, and there are still people up partying. Soundguy Greg and a few more people from the crew, have crawled into their bunks and drawn the curtains. It’s cozy in the bunks, there’s a little lamp in there and everything. The kind of place you would have loved to have as a kid. But you have to twist and turn like a rubber-circus to try get your clothes on or off, cause there’s not exactly lots of space in there.
It’s like a cradle – a dark, humming bus that just rocks you to sleep in no time. Perfect. Well…If it hadn’t been for the fact that musicians aren’t exactly the type of people who are known for keeping their mouths shut and even less for sleeping at any time of day – at all.
Those who decide to go to bed and get some sleep, will do it to the sounds of laughter.
The next morning, I get bright sunlight in my eyes, even through the curtains. We are in Gothenburg, apparently. The guys in the other nightliner, opening acts Nostradameus and Dionysos, are running back and forth like a shuttle service to the two showers that are on the second floor, near the dressing-rooms. Two bus loads of people means that time and shower facilities aren’t always enough. It’s simply the first come first served rule that applies.
In the meantime, it’s totally dead on the Oliva bus. People were up all night last night, so it will be quiet most of the afternoon. The only ones that are up and about are the people in the crew who went to bed early last night.
Breakfast is a luxury. Someone made coffee, you can smell it throughout the bus, but if you’re looking for actual food – forget it. People simply grab whatever lies on the table from the night before, which could be anything from chips to chocolate. Breakfast in this context usually means a smoke and a beer, or, in best case scenario, coffee.
One after the other they are waking up, and it doesn’t take long until the front part of the bus starts looking like it’s being populated by characters from “The Night Of The Living Dead“.
Keyboardist John Zahner is standing with his newly purchased digital camera ready to be tested. He announces that he’s going out for a little sightseeing tour.
BEER IS NOT ONLY GOOD FOR YOUR HAIR…
Once back on the bus, there’s a grunt from one of the bunks and it’s Kevin who’s come to life. He’s about to give a lesson of how to take care of your dental hygiene on the road. He takes out his toothbrush, squeezes out a bit of toothpaste on it, whips it around in his mouth then takes a mouthful of yesterday’s Heineken, gargles and….swallows. All done! Dental hygiene á la tourbus!
Everything is set up and ready inside the club, it’s time for sound check. Soundguy Greg is angry because the sound board is crap, some junk that looks like something you would find at a recreation center – it will be a challenge to make anything sound good with what he’s got to work with.
Light tech Hanneke is shaking her head also, the stuff she’s got to work with is a joke too. It basically consists of THREE buttons that a three-year-old could handle. She laughs and says that it’s easily earned money that night.
There’s a sign in the dressing room that says something about smoking being prohibited and no alcohol. Jon’s eyes are as big as plates, he starts laughing. I had to explain that it wasn’t a joke, it’s for real. Welcome to Sweden!
NO REST FOR THE PARTY ANIMALS
It’s party time again on the bus after the show. Half of the working force is totally beat though, so they crawl into their bunks and fall asleep pretty much instantly. At four in the morning there’s still a lot of noise in the front of the bus, which makes some give up the idea of getting any sleep anyway, so they decide to crawl out of their bunks to join the others – which results in them not getting back to bed before six in the morning…
Three hours later, tour manager Anett starts kicking people out of the bus and up on the ferry. She doesn’t care who’s hungover, everybody must leave the bus right now. There’s a lot of grunting and grumbling, but they all eventually get out and light up when they see and smell the coffee in the cafeteria.
Bassist-Kevin, the band’s party animal, plonks down on the nearest couch and passes out again. That guy can fall asleep anywhere. The others are sitting there crosseyed, trying to perk up. Musicians don’t like being up at this hour, that’s for damn sure.
When the bus arrives at The Rock in Copenhagen later that morning, nothing is working as planned. The promotor doesn’t know which band he booked, the elevator is out of order and the gear has to be carried down steep steps, the sound system is not the one that has been promised, and the irritation is noticable. Anett is pissed off, Jan is shaking his head. But they are all professionals and used to this sort of thing. They have learned how to work miracles with whatever is thrown at them.
All the problems have been fixed by the time the doors open several hours later.
But guitarist Matt LaPorte gets the very sad news only minutes before he’s due on stage… His father has passed away. It lowers the mood of the whole band, it’s tough to be so far away from those that are close to you. The band is the only family you can turn to in times of crisis. But the crowd won’t notice anything, because Matt goes up there and he plays, just like he does any other night.
Because the show…must go on…
[Greg Marchak and Jan Janvier trying to get the best out of the sound equipment at The Rock, Copenhagen, 2007]
[On the bus to Oslo, beautiful view, crew filming]
[1:14 – Probably the biggest Oliva-fan in Oslo!]
I sat down last night to write a summary of my year 2011. I was amazed to find how just one year, can feel like ten. 2011 has been a fantastic and memorable year for me.
I have travelled all over Europe, squeezing in a short visit to the States as well. I took the interviewing to a new level, by introducing video-interviews for this blog.
Speaking of the blog – it’s hard to believe that I launched it in February 2011, less than a year ago. Since then, it has established itself faster than I thought was possible.
Maybe because some readers who have followed me online since 1996 continued to follow my scribblings here, and it kind of went from there.
The past few months, I’ve ended up on Blabbermouth several times, which automatically drew a few thousand readers more than usual.
But, here’s how I remember my rockin’ year of 2011:
New Years Day 2011. I was browsing the web for info on gigs w. Gus G, who I had seen with Ozzy at Madison Square Garden in NYC a few weeks earlier. He totally blew me away. I found his MySpace-page and saw that Firewind had a gig in London only 7 days later.
FIREWIND in London – first gig of 2011
I found myself taking off to a rainy London a few days later, for the first gig of 2011. It was great, and also what started the Gus G/Ozzy/Firewind-galore of 2011, where I deliberately, and undeliberately, ended up seeing mentioned super-guitarist no less than 19 times… All of which could be followed in the separate blog Setting The World On Fire.
[Front row, Relentless Garage, London, UK – some blonde girl (=me), and a bunch of dark-haired guys…!]
TSO (Trans Siberian Orchestra) & JON OLIVA – no goMarch included a few concerts, but also a planned but missed one. I was supposed to go to Zurich to see the TSO (Trans Siberian Orchestra)-gig because Jon Oliva was going to be a part of that tour, and as JOP (Jon Oliva’s Pain) hadn’t toured since the fall 2010, I wanted to see him. Was curious to see the US-phenomenon TSO at the same time, on their first tour to Europe. Due to personal issues, Jon couldn’t make it and I decided not to go either – money spent on the flight ticket went down the drain, but shit happens.
BAD HABIT – the first video interview for In The Rearview Mirror
One of the best classic AOR-bands in Sweden, Bad Habit, announced a release-party and gig at Club Stairway To Heaven in Malmö. I’ve been a big fan of these guys since 1987, so I called the “band boss” Hal Marabel to set up a time for a video interview.
I’ve done TV-hosting, but video-interviews for the web was completely new to me.
My friend Henrik Hansson, former bassplayer of the band Hollywood, is good at filming and editing, so I asked him if he was in. He took it as a new challenge that he was happy to take on. Since this first “test-round” with Bad Habit, we have continued doing more and better video interviews throughout 2011.
Bad Habit kicked it all off, and they played a great gig that night, on the 11th of March 2011.
MEGADETH & SLAYER – Aarhus, Denmark
I took the day off to go to Aarhus, Denmark, a three hour long train-ride, to see Megadeth on March 21. Oh, headliners were Slayer, but I must be the only person on the planet who isn’t a huge fan of Slayer. I LOVED Megadeth’s performance, they kicked ass, had so much energy, it was just top notch. When Slayer went onstage I stayed for one song, then I had more than enough and went down to the train station to catch the night train back to work…REVIEW HERE.
MIKE TRAMP – I remember you (interview and release party at The Rock, Copenhagen)
Only a few days after the Megadeth-gig, it was time to head back to Denmark to meet Mike Tramp, former singer of White Lion. Before the interview, I had e-mailed a photo taken at the last interview I had done with him in The tivoli in Helsingborg, Sweden, a few years before.
Funny enough, he remembered me. So, he took time to do the video interview during sound check the day of his release party for his new album “Stand Your Ground” on the 24th of March.
He is a very easy guy to interview, talks a lot, is very open and easygoing, every journalist’s dream. He is also a skilled artist and frontman, definitely enjoyed the gig later that evening.Funny enough, I enjoyed the slightly “different” in-store gig that he did in a record store in central Copenhagen two days later, even more. More about that in the blog from that day: http://lita77777.posterous.com/in-store-gig-the-way-music-is-supposed-to-be
DORO – The Metal Queen visited Malmö
April was a pretty slow month by my standards. One of the highlights was Doro visiting Malmö on April 9, for an acclaimed concert at KB (Kulturbolaget).
Was also glad to see Chris, the merch guy, there. I first met him on tour with Jon Oliva, then with W.A.S.P and now with Doro. He was going out on the road with Arch Enemy as well but I never met him on that tour. Always nice to meet people you know, he’s a really cool guy.
There wasn’t enough time to set up an interview with Doro, but her record company and management were nice to deal with, so hopefully it can be arranged next time she comes to this part of the world. :-)
REVIEW & VIDEO HERE.
K.K Downing left Judas Priest
April was the month when one of the legends in the world of metal, announced that he was calling it quits. K.K Downing left Judas Priest under the most strange excuses and curcumstances. I got the news on Facebook April 20th… It was just two months before their Farewell tour was supposed to start, and I for one was shocked and pissed off all at the same time. The frustration didn’t go away until I actually saw Richie Faulkner on stage with Priest, and got a chance to ask him a thing or two at the press conference at Sweden Rock. But more about that later….
Matt LaPorte – guitarist of JOP, R.I.P……
Terrible news reached me on April 21st. A friend from the band (JOP) sent me a message so that I wouldn’t have to hear about it online. Matt LaPorte, guitarist with Jon Oliva’s Pain, and an important part of the “JOP-family” that I have so often described, had passed away in his sleep.Nobody knew at that point what had happened, his room-mate found him when he came home, nothing more was ever mentioned. It suppose that the details didn’t really matter, it was sad news. He was my age, a life ahead of him and a very talented musician.
But, something positive comes out of even the most tragic situations. A tribute-concert was held for him in July, which gave his friends and bandmates a chance to get together and remember…. R.I.P Matt.
Blogs about Matt: Matt 1 — Matt 2 — Matt 3
AMARANTHE – best debut of 2011
I was sent to interview this band in Gothenburg for Sweden Rock Magazine, but the article ended up being so short and isignificant in the mag, that I decided to give them the exposure they deserved elsewhere – on YouTube.
The first time I saw them was when I went to meet up with my friend Hanneke, light tech for JOP who was out with Kamelot (or possibly with the other act on the tour, Leave’s eyes) in Gothenburg. (Mentioned HERE)They played Trädgår’n and it’s one of the few times that an unknown opening act gets my attention. Amaranthe were amazing. I’ve never seen such perfectionism on a stage by a “debut band”. I didn’t know at the time that the members were anything but new in the business.
Henrik and I drove to Copenhagen and Amager Bio on May 15th, to talk to this kick-ass band (whose debut album had pretty much just been released. I wrote a very positive review in SRM, which guitarist Olof later on mentioned had helped a lot in the initial stage of promoting the band).
I predicted a very bright future for this band, and it turns out that I was right. In a very short time, they have definitely gotten a LOT of exposure for their deathmetal pop. 2011 was Amaranthe’s year and I’m really happy to see that they have done so well. Not only are they talented, they are also damn nice people, so – thumbs up and the best of luck in 2012 too guys!
ARTICLE AND VIDEO INTERVIEW HERE.
HELIX – Brian Vollmer talks about the ups and downs of stardom
My Canadian friend Sean e-mailed me one day and asked if I would be interested in doing an interview with Canadian band Helix. They had a few things going on, so I figured why not. Just like most rockers out there, I only associate the band with “Rock You” and “Heavy Metal Love”. As it turned out, there was a lot more than that to this band. It was published in this blog May 14th and can be found HERE.
JUNE was a crazy month. That’s when the ball REALLY started rolling. So, I’ll stop right here and continue this New Year’s blog 2011 with a part 2 – stick around! :-)
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…!]
Like I said in the last Sweden Rock Memories-post, there is a LOT more where that came from.
I found a whole bunch of photos and videos that I thought I’d share with you.
This one, for instance, is a classic…! It’s from Sweden Rock Festival 2006.
Venom had just finished their set and they had actually left the stage maybe 10-15 minutes before this was filmed. THIS Venom-fan apparently never even noticed that. He was TOTALLY into his headbanging, whether or not it was accompanied by the soothing sounds of…Venom:
Or this – Skid Row were doing a spontaneous photo-shoot outside the press-tent. They were actually posing for the photographer when I walked by and Scotti just walked out of the group-shot cause he was so happy to see me…! :-)
These guys are really like old friends, we “grew up together”. I met them for the first time in 1989, we were all in our early 20’s and our careers had just begun. I love them, the most wonderful guys one could imagine:
Rachel Bolan on stage before the show:
So what else have we got here…. On stage during Lita Ford’s set. Jon Oliva’s Pain played that year, I think it was 2009, and their dressing rooms were right next to Lita’s.Since JOP’s bassplayer Kevin is a good friend, he knows that I am a HUGE Lita-fan (well, check out the URL for this blog “lita77777” – guess where the “lita” part comes from ;-)). So, he just grabbed me by the hand and pretty much dragged me up on stage during her show. There I was, as close as I’ll ever be during a Lita Ford-concert. :) Thank you Kevin, one of those things that will definitely stay in my memory for a long time! :)
Kevin behind the stage, about to go up there and rock people’s asses off:
Jon Oliva’s tour manager Anett on the stage during early sound check:
And why not a few clips from some of the press conferences…. there is just so much more, I need to find all that stuff – press conferences with Ronnie Dio, Sebastian Bach, Heart…. Every band that’s ever had a press conference at Sweden Rock Festival… Well, pretty much. It’s all here somewhere.
Judas Priest-short clip from 2008:
Blackie Lawless (W.A.S.P):
And just some random photos of artists, fans, stage area, backstage area and just other…stuff!
Guest pass (for Alice Cooper), typical Sweden Rock fans, Spike (Quireboys), Suzi Quatro, backstage-bar, stage (Heaven and Hell), Meatloaf, Nightwish, Wilson-sisters of Heart, Judas Priest, Dio, Sebastian Bach, Rudy Sarzo…
And a few snapshots from the camping-, food-, and merch areas taken by my friend Beatrice in 2005 (I think, might have been 2004):
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…