Tagged: New York
MY YEAR IN ROCK – retrospect 2012 (Part 1)
Every year when I look back on what I’ve been doing, it seems like it’s been longer than just a year. 2012 was no exception.
Even just the Firewind-tours were enough to fill a lot of space and bring back great memories – you’ll find those in this separate blog: http://firewindtour.posterous.com/firewind-tours-of-2012-recap
But there have been plenty of other highlights that I thought I’d take a look back on, now when there are only a few more days left of this year…:-)
TONY IOMMI DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER – AND OZZY & FRIENDS….
The year started with bad news that shook the whole heavy metal community – one of the godfathers of metal, Tony Iommi, had been diagnosed with cancer. The Black Sabbath reunion with Ozzy that had been announced and that had been so highly anticipated, was off. However, not to disappoint the fans too much, Ozzy decided to do the scheduled dates as “Ozzy & Friends“, bringing Slash, Zakk Wylde and Geezer Butler on tour. And of course his own band, which made a lot of people happy – myself included, as “the new kid on the block”, Gus G, was with Oz on those dates. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have bothered.
FIREWIND IN ATHENS
Speaking of Gus, my first concert trip of 2012 took me to Athens, Greece where they kicked off their year at the Fuzz club, and also recorded a video for the single “Wall of Sound” that was released later in the spring.I remember Athens as easy to navigate with the metro going all through town. I was guided through some must-see’s, such as the Akropolis, by Jon, a good friend of Jon Oliva’s Pain (they were the ones who recommended him when I was looking for a contact in Athens – just in case). He’s also a singer in the band Need and we had lots to talk about, so it was a great guide! :) Always nice to get to know new people.
As for the Firewind-show (which was on January 14th, by the way), it was one of the best or worst, depending on how you look at it – their Greek crowd is absolutely freaking NUTS! I must have lost ten pounds at least getting crushed against the barricades before and during the show. My god. But – as always – worth it, ten times over! :)
STEVE STEVENS & SEBASTIAN BACH AT THE IRIDIUM JAZZ-CLUB IN NEW YORK CITY
At the end of January, on the 27th, I left for New York City. This time it wasn’t a major arena-gig, quite the opposite. Steve Stevens, one of the coolest guitarists alive (known from Billy Idol, Michael Jackson, Vince Neil etc…) and Sebastian Bach were performing together at this small jazz-club somewhere on Broadway.
The whole idea seemed so bizarre that I had to see it. I had also scheduled an interview with Steve through his wife Josie. Josie rocks! People look at her and judge her by the way she looks, it’s way too easy to think she’s just some bimbo, but I loved that girl. She was very professional but at the same time also very friendly and open. She had never even met us, but greeted us with a hug and made sure that we felt welcome. I wish all interviews could be planned through people like Josie.
I got a great interview with Steve after the two sets at the Iridium (with a seated audience). My friend (and photographer) Beatrice and I were lucky to get absolute front row seats – right at the stage. I remember when Sebastian walked out on stage, he dropped his jaw and started doing sign language and grimacing kind of to ask “Did you fly over just for this?”
He shouldn’t be surprised, after 23 years he should be used to seeing me anywhere in the world, so why not a jazz club in New York?
Anyway, the backstage story, the review, the interview, photos and all from that can be found here:
WHITNEY HOUSTON PASSED
After the Stevens/Bach show at the Iridium, I took it easy during February. The music world was hit by more bad news, not specifically metal, but one of the great voices in modern music, had passed – Whitney Houston. It shocked a lot of people, including a lot of rockers. Whether or not you were into her music, I think most of us would agree that Whitney’s voice was one of a kind and it was a tragic fate. This was on February 11, 2012. R.I.P Whitney.
STEEL PANTHER INTERVIEW IN COPENHAGEN
Next on the schedule of 2012 was Steel Panther. I heard that they were coming to Copenhagen, and I actually hesitated whether or not I would request an interview with them. They are funny, but that’s exactly the thing – how do you interview a band like that?! It would certainly be…different.
It was actually my friend Kevin, from JOP, who talked me into it. “What’s the worst that could happen? If you don’t like the result of the interview, don’t post it!” True enough. So, I contacted Universal in Copenhagen and set up an interview with these crazy guys.
It was a pleasant surprise. They were absolutely “normal” before the cameras went on, and especially Michael Starr who we met down in the lobby 30 minutes before the interview. But the minute the cameras were rolling, they became the out of control Steel Panther that we all know and love.
I had it all figured out, or so I thought. However, they wouldn’t let me finish a sentence, so they missed some of the jokes that I was hoping they would pick up on. But, I realized that the best way to deal with these dudes, was to just shut up and let them do the talking! :))
The interview has passed 24 300 views, that’s crazy. :))
PART TWO OF MY YEAR IN ROCK COMING UP………..!
“The guitar sleeps with me in the bed” (Steve Stevens)
Picture a cold and dusty backstage-area, no furniture – looks like an abandoned restaurant kitchen. A few steps behind us though, is the real dressing room, that in this particular moment has Sebastian Bach entertaining his guests from the band Nightranger, and some other people.
Steve Stevens has just finished his second set at the jazz club Iridium on Broadway, New York, and is ready to talk to me. I pull out an old, scruffy office-chair that looks a bit dusty, and Steve finds another one for himself. At least there’s nobody bugging us. I decide to make this short so he can go relax and hang with his band.
The whole idea of you and Sebastian was really interesting. Can you paint a picture of when and where this came about?
– Sure, yeah. I play with an All Star band in Los Angeles, called Camp Freddy.
Camp Freddy is Matt Sorum on drums, Dave Navarro is usually on guitar, but Dave’s been busy last year with Jane’s Addiction, and their new record, so I ended up playing the whole show, Billy Morrison on second guitar, who’s also in Billy Idol’s band now, and Chris Chaney, the bassplayer who’s also from Jane’s Addiction.
So the whole Camp Freddy thing is that we have guest singers. On any given night, we’ll have Corey Taylor from Slipknot, Billy Idol, and the last year Sebastian has been guesting us. So every time we were doing Camp Freddy I was going “We should do something together“, because we have SO many mutual friends and a lot of our fans are the same – we came through the same era, you know.
I came over to the Iridium last year to do the Les Paul night, which is on a Monday night, it’s a totally different thing. It’s the Les Paul Trio – we do traditional stuff. So they asked me to come back and do three nights of my own, and I said that’s great but I don’t sing and I’d like to bring a singer. They said: “Got anybody in mind?” And I said: “Yeeaaah, well it just so HAPPENS that I know this Sebastian Bach guy – he’ll sing ANYTHING!”
Which is true, the guy can sing absolutely anything.
So I called him up, asked if he wanted to go to New York to this Iridium club and now we’re talking about continuing on doing something else and taking it a bit further…
Oh, you’re gonna do more together? Live or recording?
– Yeah, a little bit of both actually. I met him when his most recent record was just coming out. So I said; “Look, in the future, I’ve got this little studio, if you wanna write, or if you’re out in LA and you just wanna hang, let’s get together”.
So you guys met just recently?
– Yeah, within the last year.
Did you ever listen to Skid Row back in the day?
– Absolutely! The funny thing is… and this is a pretty funny story: When I left Billy Idol back in 1988, I did my own record for Warner Brothers, Atomic Playboys, and we were looking for a singer. He was in a band called Madam X, and I got this photo, he looked amazing, and then I heard the tracks, he’s really, really good. Really good singer. I had known the guitarplayer in that band, Maxine, and I said: “Heey, I’m doing a record, what’s your singer doing?”
She never gave him the message.
So potentially, we could have worked back in 1988. But it all worked out for the best cause right after that, I think it was literally 6 months later, he left and joined Skid Row.
Very interesting, because of all singers you could have worked with, this seems like an unusual choice…
– Yeah but at the same time, I like a lot of classic rock, and we’re talking about doing Zeppelin-stuff and some other stuff where the singer’s vocal range has got to be really good. So, I’m like a kid in a candy-store, cause he can sing anything. Most singers, if you say “do you wanna do “Dazed and Confused” by Led Zeppelin, most singers are gonna say “no fucking way, I can’t sing that!“. And he’s up to the challenge, it’s great.
The concept of doing two sets a night…?
– That’s the club’s thing. They always do that here, yeah.
How does that feel for you, as you’re used playing the world stages…?
– It’s a whole different headspace. It’s great, because your audience is…I think this place only holds like 200 people, so people are right there, you know they can hear every note that you play. But the two sets a night is a little strange, yeah. Cause you’ve gotta pace yourself. During the first set you’re thinking “Do I give it everything or will I be wasted for the next set?”
You’ve worked with many charismatic singers with strong personalities. And it’s often said that in order to be a good frontman, you need to have a big ego. What kind of personality do you need to have in order to be a guitarist playing with these big egos?
– Um, it’s funny cause from the time I was a little kid and I picked up the guitar, I naturally gravitated towards the guy behind the singer. Even seeing old footage of Elvis or something you know – I was like… who’s that guy?! And then obviously with Led Zeppelin, I identified with Jimmy Page because he was more quiet.He had the mystery thing.
You once said that you’ve got great respect for singers because they’re standing there, “naked” without an instrument to hide behind. Are there any singers in particular that you feel are like that…?
– I think ANY singer. It’s tough, it’s a lot of pressure. And obviously, the longer that you do it, if you’re really a ROCK-singer, it can take its toll on your voice. But Billy Idol takes care of his voice – we might have abused everything else but the voice is sacred.
You’ve been around for a long time and you seem to be curious to explore different areas all the time. Is that something that you do actively or you just happen to stumble upon stuff?
– I do actively look for new music. Yeah. And I’m fortunate enough to have friends that are…. There’s a band I work with that are called The Juno Reactor and it’s techno-music, right? They have six African percussionists and I’ve gone and toured with them in Japan and done shows with them in Los Angeles, and it’s cool for me because…
It’s a challenge, I mean, I’ve had a 30 year career now, and if I can’t challenge myself as a musician and just sit back and play the stuff that I already know, I’m gonna get stale as a musician.
So by working with Juno Reactor, it enabled me to learn how to do progamming and work on programs, get into the whole computer world and listen to things that I ordinarily wouldn’t be exposed to.
You’ve been in the business for such a long time… Do you still get your kicks or is it more “another day at the office”…?
– It’s never… I mean, if I felt like that, I’d really start to worry. I still love playing guitar, one of the first things I do in the morning is pick up a guitar. I have my coffee, answer my e-mail, put the guitar on and I’m still fascinated by the instrument. I don’t know why that is, but it’s still…
I’ve gotten things like… a new car or something, and I have no excitement about it. But getting a new guitar for me is like – I can’t wait to open the box, and the case and you know – the guitar sleeps with me in the bed.
It’s something about that instrument that I just think I was born to be with. It’s a part of me now. It’s never betrayed me. Playing guitar has never done anything but helped me out and enriched my life.
If you look back on Steve Stevens in 1984 and Steve Stevens 2012 – what differences would you say there were?
– Hopefully I’m a better musician now, I’ve been doing what I do this long…
But have you changed your attitude…?
– I’m more humble. Back in 84 I think that Billy and I really felt like there was a lot of stale music around. When I first joined Billy Idol he had released “Dancing With Myself” and they wouldn’t put them on the cover because because radio stations wouldn’t play artists with spiky hair.
It’s crazy to think now, but anybody affiliated with punk rock or anything like that, couldn’t get on mainstream rock radio. And now, you hear Billy Idol next to Journey or Styx or any of those bands on Classic Rock or something. But when we started it certainly wasn’t like that.
I think we had this attitude like we were gonna do something different, we were utilizing … we were doing things like dance-remixes and used drum machines and technology and all this… So I think when we did “Rebel Yell” we were pretty militant about “we are the new rock heroes” or whatever.
But you’re not into the whole limousine glitter LA sort of lifestyle…?
– I don’t really care about that stuff. I was always uncomfortable about that kind of stuff. I was never that kind of guy… I’m from New York so it’s a bit different, I live in LA now but we were never really part of the scene, whereas the LA bands – the hairmetal bands that came out of LA all got kind of crazy with eachother, tried to top eachother.
“You wanna see how much coke I can snort?!” and all that. We were from New York so the musicians that we hung out with were the guys from Suicide, Alan Vega, you know…
I remember Duran Duran – Andy and John Taylor came to town to do that Power Station record, so we hung with a lot of those guys. I think because Billy and our producer Keith Forsey are English, I got to hang a lot more with the English musicians.
I noticed that you played Van Halen tonight. Are you gonna see them on this tour?
– Yeah, actually we just got invited to a friends and family rehearsal. I’ve known Eddie for years, and Pete Thorn, our other guitarplayer tonight, he’s friends with Eddie. So of course we’ll go and see Van Halen.
I got this interview through your wife Josie. When I spoke to Ozzy many years ago he said that he felt it was confusing because he never knew if Sharon was talking to him as his wife or manager. Do you feel the same way?
– It’s just naturally gravitated that she’s… You know, she’s really diligent with her internet stuff. She’s on Twitter all the time and Facebook and all that. She’s always on my case. “You gotta update your thing…” I’m okay if I just check my e-mails and move on, you know.
So, more and more people have been contacting her for business stuff, and she’s really good at it. I said, “look, if you’re comfortable doing it, by all means, go for it“. It’s been great, it’s been really cool. We enjoy working together.
She comes on tour with me, and I think from the time we did that TV-show, Married To Rock, it became stronger, the work thing. We’ve been together for 10 years, so we liked working together on that show. We have a good, natural chemistry. You know, it works.
People always say that you gotta give eachother space, be away from eachother and do other things. You never felt that way then?
– No, she’s a rocker. You know. She packed up her bags and moved to Los Angeles when she was 16 years old, she’s been on more tours than a lot of musicians that I know. She’s always been a rock chick. She loves it and she knows a lot about rock’n’roll. And I value her opinion. She’s got really good instincts.
You once said that you’re never 100% satisfied with any record that you’ve done. Does that go for live performances as well? Have you ever gotten to a point where you’ve said to yourself that “this was so fucking cool“?
– Yeah, I mean… You know when something is good. When we did “Rebel yell” it was no mystery to us. As the songs were taking shape, and as we started to record it, and got closer to completing them, we were like… “Wait a minute, this is really cool, this is not just another record. This is a really big step for all of us“.
So you know when something is good. I know when I’ve played a good show. But I’m really hard to please. I’m a picky fucker.
You’re involved in so many different projects – could you give a quick summary of what you’ve been doing in 2011 and what your plans are for 2012?
– On the Billy Idol front it was a little bit quiet in 2011, because Billy is writing his autobiography. So we only did a brief tour in November. I kept busy with my Camp Freddy stuff – with those guys it’s a CRAZY schedule. Because you don’t exactly know who the guest singer is, so two days before you find out “oh it’s gonna be Ozzy” or whoever. So that kept me on my toes.
And then Josie launched a clothing line this year so that gave me an opportunity to plan a clothing line launch party. Billy Idol played, all the Camp Freddy guys…
And in 2012 – Billy and I have tourdates planned, we’ll be in Europe in July, and then November and December we’ll be in South America.
And we’re writing material for a new a new record. We’ll be out this year cause they want to hold the record until the autobiography comes out. We’re not just writing songs, we’re writing songs that are gonna coexist with the autobiography. So it’s a whole different thing.
At this point it’s time to wrap up the interview, as Sebastian is getting louder in the background :-). The Iridium-cat has been strutting around during the whole interview, trying to get some attention, so photographer Beatrice asks Steve if he would mind being photographed with the cat.
I just loved his response, delivered with a smile:
– I’m not taking a picture with the cat…! I can just just imagine the comments: “Oh, look at the pussy! And the cat!”
Bizarre backstage night at the Iridium
A few minutes before the show ended, the waitor brought us the check. We didn’t have time to wait to pay with our credit cards, so we just dug deep into our wallets for the last cash. Then, after the last song, we grabbed all our stuff and went straight to the door on the left side of the stage where Josie (Stevens, Steve’s wife) had said she would pick us up to escort us backstage.
Funny enough, before she showed up, another guy came over and asked “You’re here for the interview – right?”
“THE Interview”? It wasn’t “You’re here for an interview, right?” So, apparently, people knew we were coming. That’s nice, makes things a lot more easier than when you have to deal with people who are trying to throw you out because they think you’re some fan sniffing around the backstage door.
Anyway. Josie came out to pick us up, just like she had said. She had already warned me that it would be a small dressing room, but when I saw it, I still couldn’t believe how super-mini-small it actually was…! You walked through a short hallway, then right in front was this tiny little area with a table and two chairs, most guests had to stand up. The hall/corridor continued to the left and around the “dressing room” then out to something that looked like a restaurant kitchen.
– It’s a little crowded, friends and family is here. He’ll be with you guys in a few minutes, ok? said Josie and walked off.
Man, it was really packed back there, to say the least. The family and friends-meet-and-greet didn’t take long, probably because there were fans waiting outside for the “official” meet and greet where Steve was to sign stuff and have his picture taken with people.
One of the guests backstage was an older gentleman with grey hair that might have been Steve’s father or some other close relative, they had very similar features. Who knows. I didn’t ask. :-)
When there’s friends and family, I’d rather stay out of the way until the timing is better. I just feel that when musicians get to meet their closest friends and family members, the last thing they want to have around in that particular moment, is some reporter wanting to do an interview. :-)
Sebastian’s cousin was there, she was talking with Beatrice, I just overheard the conversation being something about museums, but don’t ask me what, I didn’t pry. :)
Sebastian was talking somewhere in there, you can never miss Baz, he’s not exactly the quiet type. :) He looked happy to see me. “Daniela! You’re fucking WILD! I knew that if anybody was gonna sing Youth Gone Wild with me, it’d be you!”
Well – me and the other big fan from Jersey who had been freezing his ass off outside the Iridium since 4 in the afternoon. :)
He was complaining about his hair being messed up and asked Josie if she had a dryer, but she only had a flattening iron – so he went for that. He plugged it in, and then had to go get something, so he gave the iron to Beatrice, to hold til he got back.
You’d have to smile a little at the absurd situation. Backstage in a jazz club on Broadway, with Steve Stevens and Sebastian Bach – and the photographer ends up holding a flattening iron for no apparent reason. When the guitarplayer, Pete, walked in, he found her standing there with the iron and no Sebastian was in sight.
– You need to fix your hair? he asked her.
– Oh well you know… After all that headbanging and all, I felt I had to straighten it out…! she joked.
Not sure if he believed that though. :) Sebastian came back and started fixing his hair, when I suddenly spotted a black CAT! I guess it wasn’t weird enough already. Let’s throw a cat into the equation as well. The kittie was very friendly, wanted to be petted so I didn’t mind things were taking a while.
[Black cat in the dressing room at the Iridium – checking out the gear..! :-)]
Beatrice pointed out that it was already 10.20 PM,
20 minutes past the start of the second gig actually. It didn’t look like the interview was going to happen right there and then. So when Josie and Steve came back, I suggested we’d give it a try after the second set.
– Yeah, I think that would be a lot better, I’ll be more relaxed, said Steve.
Josie took off to see how she could arrange for us to stay and see the second set too. It took her five minutes tops, and she got back to show us to our seats. She apologised that we “had to” see the second show as well. I for one couldn’t be happier because I LOVED the concept and the show, this was a bonus and a treat. Never mind the table was right next to the ladies room, and people kept running back and forth all the time. Apart from that – perfect seats! In only a few minutes…!
Once again a waitor approached us and went: “You were here for the interview, right?” There we go again – “THE interview”…… We didn’t have to spend another 10 bucks which was the minimum, so that was a relief at least.
Second show was even better than the first. Relaxed, yet energetic, fun and inspiring. Loved it.
After the second set, we went to the stage door again. Sebastian was entertaining in the “dressing room” again and Josie pointed at Steve who was way in the back, in that “kitchen” talking to somebody. I figured we’d wait until he was done.
There were some old, dusty chairs back there, no table, no nothing, very humble to say the least. This is the kind of place that any local band knows only too well. It’s cool to see that Steve doesnt have a problem with this stuff, no snobby attitude whatsoever.
The cat was purring during the interview, buffing and puffing, wanting more attention. Steve was superduper-nice, very down to earth, very easy to talk to. Very likeable person. He seemed to be enjoying the interview, cause when I said I was done – when I heard Baz yelling in the background, probably getting the party started – I didn’t want to keep Steve from joinig them.
But Steve was comfortable with the situation. “Noo, no it’s no problem, keep going!”
I knew there would be very little time so I had picked only the most important questions, I was done. In the meantime, Josie came in to let Steve know there was a LONG line of people outside waiting for him. He asked what my plans were for my New York stay. I said that I was leaving next morning, I was only here to see this gig.
He stopped, put his hand on his chest and with a small little bow he went: “I’m honored….”
Another nice gesture. No bigshot attitude to be found anywhere. Just a humble and nice guy. Same thing with Josie, she looks like this glamour girl you would expect to be stuck up and full of herself. She definitely wasn’t. Some people you just automatically like – and I spontaneously liked Steve and Josie. They left and Sebastian was out there talking to the guys of Nightranger who had dropped by.
– Hey Daniela! I sang for you! Did you hear it!? Fuck I can’t remember which song, but did you hear it? he asked.
I honestly hadn’t. I thought he meant that he sang it “for me”, as in dedicating to by looking or something like that. But Beatrice explained to me later that he had changed the lyrics in one of the songs to contain “Daniela”. I never heard that.
When we had packed our stuff, I just stuck my nose through the crowd to say bye to Sebastian.
– Bye Baz – see you at Sweden Rock!
It wasn’t easy plowing through the crowd outside. Josie wasn’t exaggerating when she said there were a LOT of people waiting for Steve. They were both posing with fans, so they were busy to say the least when we left. I just said thank you and waved to them as we left the building.
I feel that this was one of those evenings I’ll never forget. It was just so unique, had a great vibe on- and offstage, cool people everywhere, great show – unusual venue…. I loved everything about it.
And I got a great interview too. It was a pleasure talking to Steve – planning on having the interview done this weekend. :)
But just as a little “teaser” – here’s Steve telling the story about how Sebastian and him COULD, potentially, have been working together already back in 1988……!
STEVE STEVENS & SEBASTIAN BACH – photos by Beatrice Bring
Photos from the first set on Saturday at the Iridium:
Photos by Beatrice Bring (copyright 2012)
from the show can also be found on Facebook:
Steve & Sebastian @ The Iridium, NYC (review)
Back in Sweden. It’s been a hectic and intense weekend in New York City and most of all, I had a blast. I am so glad that I decided to go see this unique gig with Steve Stevens and Sebastian Bach, because it’s just one of those things that you won’t get to see too many times. At least not in Europe. When I did the interview with Steve after the Saturday shows, and he realized that I only came over for this particular gig, he stopped, put his hand on his chest and went: “I’m honored“.
It’s mutual mr Stevens, believe me. There is so so much to tell, there will be a story and an interview, photos and everything else, but I will not have time for all of that today. I’m still trying to shake the jetlag.
For now, let me just tell you about the show. Actually, why not just link the whole thing here for you first (if you can spot the blonde down in the front, that’s yours truly ;) ):
The jazz-club was small, even smaller than I thought. Someone there said it only took about 100 people. Steve said it could hold about 200. Either way – if you wanted an intimate gig, this was definitely it.
Different – to say the least. I was seated right in front of the stage, so close I could probably see the guys’ nosehair if I looked close enough. :-) Cool place though, it was like a mini-jazz version of Hard Rock Cafe.
My friend and photographer Beatrice arrived shortly before the show began, we had barely finished our cheesecakes when the band walked up on stage.
At first glance, you’d probably go “so, who are THOSE dudes?” – you know, the “not-so-rockstar-looking” other guys in the band. But you’d drop your jaw trying to plow through those guys’ discographies and bios.
Anton Fig – drums (Joan Armatrading, Sebastian Bach, Blackmore’s Night, Joe Cocker, Ace Frehley, Peter Frampton, Mick Jagger, Journey, Kiss, B.B King…..) I’m not even half-way through his list!
Neil Jason – bass (John Lennon (!) Kiss, Art Garfunkel, Mike Oldfield, Diana Ross, Cyndi Lauper, Mark Knopfler, Céline Dion…..) And about 4 more pages of legendary names that he’s worked with.
Pete Thorn – guitar (Chris Cornell, Melissa Etheridge, Alicia Keyes, Dread Zeppelin).
Steve Stevens – in case you didn’t know, is the guy who’s been standing next to Billy Idol the past 30 years or so. You’ve heard his solo in Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana”, he also played with Robert Palmer, Joni Mitchell and Vince Neil and got a Grammy for the Top Gun-anthem:
Sebastian Bach – the one and only. If you don’t know who he is, you’re in the wrong place. :) Brought Skid Row to super-stardom, performed on Broadway as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar and Mr Jekyll/Mr Hyde. Has released solo-albums, done acting and everything/anything under the sun.
When he walked up on stage Saturday night, he spotted me and a guy from Jersey that I’d been talking to while standing in line outside the club for a few hours. He was doing some sort of stage-charades when he with a slightly surprised face tried to figure out what I was doing there.
“What are you doing here? Did you fly over??”
The show was so much more than I even anticipated. I got on a plane to New York City because I was curious. I had no idea what to expect. You could easily say that it felt very exclusive being that close, in such a mini-club hearing these incredibly competent musicians play a selection of their favorite songs.
I’ve seen Sebastian many – MANY times throughout the years, and it was so obvious that he loved being a part of this. His face was the face of a little boy at Christmas Eve, he’s never had much of a poker face. :-)
It was a winning combination. Steve has a sincere respect for Sebastian as a vocalist and frontman, and Sebastian gets that extra kick from performing with these guys – because he’s got some high standards to live up to. It always brings the best out in him when he’s working with people of that caliber.
Steve is amazing. Even after so many years of playing, he still has a sincere love for what he does. It’s interesting how both he and Baz admitted to how scary it was, to be playing for such a small crowd, though. You can look every single person in the eye at that little club. It takes guts, even for people who’re used to playing for screaming masses.
I loved their bold choices of songs for these intimate gigs – most of all I loved the fact that they didn’t play it safe.
They picked songs that they loved but that weren’t necessarily the usual crowd-pleasers. They played AC/DC but not “T.N-T” or “Back In Black”, they played Led Zeppelin but not “Whole Lotta Love” and most certainly not “Stairway To Heaven”. And they played Van Halen but not “You Really Got Me” or “Jump”….
I rarely hear bands play what they ACTUALLY want to play, they usually do what they think people want to hear, so just the fact that they took the tough road, was enough to impress me.
It never got boring because nothing was predictable – the next song could be pretty much anything. Because were playing their personal favorites, they gave their all, in a natural, sincere kind of way. Very unpretentious, and damn cool.I truly loved seeing the smiles on their faces. It wasn’t just another day at the office – they were enjoying this just as much as we did.
That’s what I want to see when I go to a show. I had a blast.
Of course, some songs could not be left out of the set – something by Billy Idol and something by Skid Row. So we got “Rebel Yell“, “I Remember You” and “Youth Gone Wild“. People LOVED it! The energy in the room was on top – as much as it could be when you’re seated at long tables in a jazz-club. ;-).
I can still see and feel that back-to-the-roots vibe when I think back at the Iridium-gig. Apart from the impecable musicianship, we also got some hilarious, spontaneous stand-up from the guys who were cracking jokes between songs.
To sum it all up:
It wasn’t Madison Square Garden (that was taken by Megadeth and Motorhead, this particular night) it wasn’t bright shiny lights and glitter-glitz, bombastic stage production. It was the exact opposite of all that – and probably for that very reason, it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever attended.
Can’t wait to hear more from Steve and Baz – and according to Steve, there will be more. Stick around for the interview in the next few days!
FIND PHOTOS BY PHOTOGRAPHER BEATRICE BRING HERE
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