2015 left the building a few hours ago (here in Sweden) and when I look back, the “slow year” I thought I had, because of the upcoming cruise that made it harder, financially, to travel all over the place – was in fact less boring than I felt it was. ;)
MARCH: The year started out with the GUS G tour he did in early March (with JEFF SCOTT SOTO as special guest) that I was doing PR for, so lots of work there but was nice to make myself useful as a professional this time.
The month before that, FEBRUARY, I also went to see his former bandmate APOLLO in Halmstad, Sweden, doing a cover gig with “TRIBUTE TO DIO” an all-star band. Great evening.
BRYAN ADAMS played at Forum in Copenhagen, an unforgettable experience and a last minute-decision to go.
Went for a short visit to Detroit to see my friends from MADAM X, hear some new music and also catch a gig with MICHAEL ANGELO BATIO at the Diesel.
APRIL: I didn’t stay away from Detroit that long, cause in April I was back there again – this time for the MADAM X gig with AUTOGRAPH and KOUGARAN, also at the Diesel. Great gig, great evening!
That same month – April – took me all the way to Sao Paulo, BRAZIL, for the MONSTERS OF ROCK festival. I went to see OZZY solo but ended up being absolutely floored by YNGWIE MALMSTEEN and UNISONIC!
Other bands that played were Judas Priest, Manowar, Primal Fear, Kiss, Motorhead (Lemmy cancelled, Sepultura filled in), Steel Panther, Rival Sons, Black Veil Brides and Accept.
MAY: After that gig in Brazil, in April – I had to see MORE, so I got on a plane to Bucharest, ROMANIA, to see the Maestro: YNGWIE MALMSTEEEN. Bucharest was a fantastic surprise, I loved that city and will go back as soon as I get a good reason. :)
JUNE was, as usual SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL-time and my personal highlight was meeting IAN HILL of JUDAS PRIEST for an interview after the press conference.
Right after Sweden Rock, literally the day after the festival ended, I got on a flight to the US again, this time to Florida to do a studio report with TSO (Trans-Siberian Orchestra): Met up with PAUL O’NEILL, JON OLIVA, AL PITRELLI, KAYLA REEVES and JEFF PLATE. Were there for two days with a non-stop busy schedule, but very very interesting and most of all, was glad to see The Mountain King again! :D
BILLY IDOL played in Varberg – HARDCORE SUPERSTAR opened on a great summer day, very cool outdoor venue.
JULY was a non-metal month, but cool gigs nevertheless. LADY GAGA with TONY BENNETT at Tivoli Gardens (amusement park) and ELTON JOHN same place, two days before.
AUGUST: ROB ZOMBIE, Vega, Copenhagen. I was supposed to see him again at a festival shortly thereafter but cancelled because one of my best friends was getting married. One of few good reasons to cancel plans of going to a show. :)
SEPTEMBER: GUS G came back to Scandinavia, this time with KOBRA AND THE LOTUS and KAMELOT in Copenhagen and Gothenburg. Kobra and the Lotus was a nice surprise, didn’t like them on record, but enjoyed the shows!
W.A.S.P with opening act DYNAZTY played in my home town Malmo later that month, met up with my friend Taz (lights for W.A.S.P), which is always a pleasure! :D
OCTOBER: No gigs. Ended up in the hospital for an emergency appendix surgery and was told to keep still for a few weeks. So I did. Kind of.
NOVEMBER: WHITESNAKE played in Denmark with openers DEAD DAISIES. The place was packed. Mostly remember the hassle with the backstage passes, those things can be a pain in the ass and never worth it.
Anyway – later in November, I took a little trip over to Detroit again to see the MADAM X boys and girls and listen to some new songs from the upcoming album in the studio.
Producer Kevin said I should go see the band POP EVIL and pulled some strings to get me in on the guest list – on the worst day of the year…! It was snowing like crazy that evening, but in the end it was a good choice, I liked the opening act KALEIDO better than the headliners, to be honest. :)
A friend, Maj-Louise, “kidnapped” me on a spontaneous trip to Gothenburg for a meet-and-greet with TOBIAS SAMMET of EDGUY & AVANTASIA, and listening party of the new Avantasia album. Also playing that night was HAMMERFALL.
And in DECEMBER, I had two busy weekends visiting Dublin and Birmingham for WHITESNAKE/DEF LEPPARD/BLACK STAR RIDERS. :D
So I’m not sure the year was a total disaster, it turned out pretty good after all. :)
Just got home – after having been “on the road” for well… 29 hours in total – including hanging at airports just waiting and waiting for the next flight. The destination was São Paulo and the reason for the trip was of course the annual MONSTERS OF ROCK festival.
I went there to see Ozzy, that was my initial reason for going. And he didn’t disappoint me, he never does. But I’m happy to say that TWO bands/artists totally made my entire festival, and one of those bands was totally unexpected.
The first artist that totally blew me away was The MASTER: Yngwie Malmsteen. I’ve been a fan of his since the 80’s, and I always get a smile on my face when remembering the meetings/interviews I had with him back then, including a very spontaneous, informal radio interview live on the air when he was visiting Sweden back in the early 90’s and he just got engaged to his then girlfriend Erica Norberg.
Anyway, I’ve loved his music since god knows when, but I don’t get to see him that often, and so when he ran out on stage at the Monsters of Rock in São Paulo it was a treat like you wouldn’t believe. But what shocked me, was something that happened that was totally out of my control: I felt how I got all teared up….before I knew it I was crying like a baby!
I just don’t cry in public EVER, it totally ruins my image. :) And it freaking ruins my makeup too. Yet there I was in a crowd of a few thousand people, bawling my eyes out cause it was just so beautiful, so amazing, just so ridiculously BRILLIANT that I couldnt help myself. It touched me. One thing is for sure – that doesn’t happen often at ALL.
The last times I remember it happening was back in 2000 when Halford came to Malmo to perform with his own band Halford – and he started singing Victim of Changes. Somehow that just made me snap, hearing my greatest hero sing THAT song, in my home town, only an arms length away. I was crying like a kid – tears of joy. :)
Second time was Whitesnake at Sweden Rock Festival when Coverdale had a surprise. Well TWO actually. First he brought out Bernie Marsden on stage, which only THAT was enough to make me feel moved. Then he brings out Adrian Vandenberg as well and oh boy I cried and cried like a total FREAK and probably looked like a bad version of Alice Cooper with my makeup running down my face…! It was just one of those moments that grabs your heart. And now, it was Yngwie.
I don’t care that people call him “sloppy” when he plays live, cause even on his WORST day he’s better than anyone else, he simply doesn’t have ANY competition! There might be technical wizards out there, you’ve got the Steve Vais and the Paul Gilberts, and I love those guys, but when it comes to the WHOLE package – the music, the technical skills, the songs, the performance, the unique sound, the heart and soul in every single note he plays…
There is a reason why Yngwie is worshipped by every guitarist out there, and has been for decades. He’s just the Master, the One and Only and the best of them all. The biggest dream of any Strat must be to end up in the hands of Yngwie Malmsteen, that’s the ultimate honor. :) Basically – if ANYTHING touched me deeply and for REAL at that festival, it was Yngwie. He’s amazing and he brightened my day! I can’t wait to see him in Bucharest, Romania soon!
[Not sharing any of my own videos, as I hear that Yngwie is one of those artists that has “people around him” who love to report YouTube videos and get accounts closed down. I’ve had enough of that shit with Manowar, thank you very much. So, I’m stealing a video from someone else :D]
The absolutely biggest surprise though, was UNISONIC with Michael Kiske on vocals. Why was that such a surprise? Simply because I’ve had a Kiske-allergy most of my life, since I heard him with Helloween and developed an absolute resistance against that German galoping-style metal and Dickinson-wannabe vocals. And his vibrato got on my nerves, I just could NOT listen to Kiske or Helloween, not my cup of tea at ALL. That, of course led to that I ignored anything he did, cause I already “knew” that I didn’t like the guy.
Well… He totally turned me around. I have now officially resigned and can willingly admit that Michael Kiske is unbelievable. OR should I say EXCEPTIONAL?? :D
Somebody jokingly commented on my sudden change of mind with: “He just needed a couple of decades to mature and get over the helium phase for you, eh?” And yeah, I guess that pretty much sums it all up. :)
I love what he does now, his voice is a pleasure for the ears, and it’s impressive what he can still do – and nail it effortlessly LIVE! I found myself sitting at the airport in São Paulo digging through interviews and videos on YouTube to learn more about the vocalist that I’ve spent the last two-three decades being allergic to. ;) I’ve got some catching up to do!
Not only did I get blown away by Kiske’s vocals and presence on stage, I was also impressed to learn more about him as a person through interviews and essays he’s written. Holy cow, he’s not an airhead, that just adds to the plus side. I’m glad I was stuck there in the front row and I’m glad I got to see Unisonic’s show.
Kiske is a great commander of a stage and a big crowd. There is a Halford-element there, the very cool, laid back style that still exudes strength and confidence – yet also shows a great boyish sense of humor and self-distance. The whole band came to São Paulo, rocked a few thousand crazy metalheads, and could leave with a sense of pride and accomplishment! THAT, ladies and gentlemen, was just AMAZING!
I don’t need to sit here and talk a whole lot – just see and listen for yourself. This kicks major ass, and I can’t wait to see these guys live again, wherever and whenever! Alright…. “I Want Out” got over 12 000 views, but THIS is the song I want to share first, because I absolutely love it! Holy f***!!
And…the video that most people have wanted to watch cause it’s a classic…
There will be plenty of material from the Monsters of Rock festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil. But today, I was thrown RIGHT back to the 80’s with a bang.
You know the time, like 30 years ago, when there was something called “bootlegs” that was HIGHLY illegal, that you had to buy from your local record store, somewhere in a dark corner when nobody was watching? Cause GOD FORBID that the artist might maybe not make a buck off of it? Like ANYONE would rather buy a shitty audio-bootleg instead of the real deal? Like it wasn’t for FANS who only bought bootlegs because they already HAD everything else?!
Talk about being absolutely clueless about your own fans… That was the 80’s – this is 2015. Today YouTube is a MARKETING TOOL. Blabbermouth picks up on my videos, and select artists and bands have gotten that extra exposure and free publicity that bands desperately NEED these days.
By sharing videos in social media, they are being seen by thousands of people who maybe wouldn’t have given two fucks about them otherwise- and they don’t have to pay for advertising either. With the way the industry works today, that’s exactly the kind of PR you NEED as an artist.
This (see pic below) is what I found when I logged into my YouTube account today. Not a civilized message asking if I could be so kind to remove the video because the band thought they looked or sounded bad or whatever. No – a report that threatens to close down my channel.
For 1 (as in o-n-e) video that I thought would be beneficial to the band. Why I would even bother, I should have known better. It’s MANOWAR…?
So – ALL of you out there who have happily wanted to share your Manowar-experience with others, make sure you remove it from YouTube right away, or you will have these dangerous WARRIORS killing your accounts with their swords – or something. WTF?!
So, in translation, this is what it says – my account, that has been of good use to modern bands and artists that USE YouTube as a TOOL, is now in “bad standing” and I’m unable to use some features. Thank you so much Manowar. If anyone wants to buy my Manowar-CD:s they’re now for sale.
I’ve talked about this whole YouTube-bullshit in other blogs before. It’s 2015 – you have a SEA of thousands of cameras and cellphones in front of you. Are you going to declare war against ALL of those people? THOSE are the people buying your merch – is it a smart move to alienate those people?
Many years ago, I had a similar experience when a video of Pretty Boy Floyd – and a really GOOD one too I might add, had been online for OVER A YEAR – suddenly got one of these “strikes” out of the blue.
I contacted one of the members of the band and asked him what the f*** he couldn’t just have sent me a message for – I would have taken it down in an instant. The fact that it was even up there was because it was a good performance and it was a clip with good audio (I hate the shitty cellphone-videos with distorted sound) it’s for the bands to use for their own pleasure, music is my passion.
Turns out that he had no clue what he was doing – their attorney had recommended them to report EVERYTHING that was Pretty Boy Floyd-related on YouTube, INCLUDING their own fans performing covers of their songs. The reason being that they were planning on releasing a DVD and didn’t want ANY other material to be available out there.
Well, I guess you don’t need to be Einstein to understand that if you’re pissing off the people who are your potential buyers, you might not be doing the right thing. Did they even release that DVD by the way..? I don’t know. In all honesty, the guy apologized for getting me in trouble, it wasn’t his intention and he was only following orders.
Manowar – a band from the 80’s, still living by the 80’s rules. It was stupid to think for a SECOND that they would appreciate being seen and heard – something that most bands want.
So, I’m writing this just to warn others – do not share anything Manowar-related, or you will get freaking SUED. Warriors – and all that. It’s just that “Hail and Kill” in their book is now about striking down videos on YouTube.
Found an old press conference with SKID ROW from when they played the Donington Monsters of Rock-festival back in 1992.
It’s probably been on my show at Radio MCB since there’s music in there too (don’t remember anymore, feels ages ago).
A very short clip from this press conference is in the “Roadkill“-video, for you old Skids-fans and collectors. :-)) The reporter who sat right next to me was from Spain or something and had a funny accent, so when she asked Sebastian “Have you calmed down?” she said it in such a strange way that he thought she said “Have you got a condom?”. Not that I’m surprised he interpreted it his own Baz-way! :-)
This was such a crazy day. The bands were staying all over the place and there were press conferences here and there around the Donington Park area – not to mention individual interviews, so it was hell getting from one place to another.
I was scheduled to do an interview with Blackie Lawless in… I don’t remember exactly, might have been Milton Keynes. Skid Row were about to kick off this press conference at the same time – in Nottingham. At the time – I was more interested in hanging with the skids than with Blackie, so I rushed off to Nottingham and asked my friend Ozzie to do the interview with Blackie for me. It was damn brave of her to do that, she had never done that before, and on top of all, she was a big W.A.S.P-fan and was dead nervous. Her interview turned out great. :-)
In the meantime, I was in Nottingham, attending this circus. Cause it was usually a circus when Skid Row were involved. :-)
However….it got late, people didn’t want to go even long after the press conference had finished.
It was just like that with Skid Row – there was always something happening, always some kind of party going on. And if there wasn’t, they could turn any boring joint into a Party-Central.
My hotel was in London and well…. I didn’t know back then that trains don’t run late in the evenings in England, so I was stuck. I ended up paying a CAB to take me from Nottingham to London – and then when I got back to Sweden just slid the bill to my editor…. He never said anything, just paid it, no questions asked. Pure luck!
Donington rocked, great memories from there, I remember how everybody was there in the backstage area. K K Downing (Judas Priest) was walking around, the Magnum-guys, the dudes from Venom, the bands, other familiar faces… If I only knew where I have those backstage-photos right now. I’ll post them as soon as I rememember where they are. :-)
But for now – enjoy the press conference from August 1992. Here is what the press/backstage/artist itinerary looked like…..Funny with the actual names of the artists in there, to clarify things for the backstage crew.
Donington – the classic metal festival that was THE festival back in the 80’s… It was an absolutely crazy festival for me personally, where it would have been easier to just have a camera crew to follow me around to get all the details. In some way I guess I did…. But that is a different story. :-)
This is only one of many stories from the Donington festival 1992. There will be more – and there will definitely be more clips from the interview with Bruce Dickinson. Right now I won’t have time to upload more because Doro is playing tonight, but I’ll be back with the rest of the Iron Maiden-story.
THIS interview with Bruce Dickinson has a pretty unusual story behind it. I didn’t get it “the usual” way. Far from it.
The day before the actual festival, I was at Donington and the backstage area. There was lots of stuff going on, interviews, press conferences, preparations of all kinds… I went to the big catering tent to see if there was anything good to eat, cause I was starving.
A bunch of people in there as usual, and somehow in that crowd, cause we were all looking at the table, someone accidentally bumped into me and spilled his coffe (or maybe very black tea) all over me. What the…?! My first reaction was exactly that. “What the f…. you stoooopid……” – something along those lines.
I looked up, and at first, all I could see was somebody with a cap whose face I couldn’t see cause he was looking down trying to make sure I wouldn’t get more of that coffee on my shoes or something.
He apologized very politely and when he looked up again, I saw who it was. It was Bruce Dickinson.
Talk about LUCK, just the person I had been looking for! :)
I had been trying to get an interview with Iron Maiden for my radio station, but Maiden’s schedule was so tight that we DID get one for the TV-show we were also doing at the time, RockShow, but not for the radio.
So I figured, what the hell, it couldn’t hurt to at least ASK. Bruce was most cooperative and said he wasn’t doing anything in particular in THAT moment or the coming few, so if we could find somewhere to do the interview, he would be happy to do it. Maybe he felt he “owed” me that for having marinated my t-shirt in black coffee.
We found one, a small room in the back, right next to the production office or something, and I had to do this VERY improvised interview. I’m just glad that I had my recorder with me that day!
Bruce was very nice, then again, he usually is. This short clip is from the radio (Radio MCB which we changed the name of during the summer months, and called “Sommarpuls” as in “Summer Pulse”). And like I said, there will be more from that interview.
Next time I’ll also tell you the story of the Cameraman from Hell who went to Donington with me to do the Iron Maiden interview the day after this. So check back for that. :)
[Bruce Dickinson, from a small barrack backstage Donington 1992 after he had spilled coffee over me. One of those more rare, spontaneous interviews :-)]