(continued from http://lita77777.posterous.com/my-year-in-rock-retrospect-2012-part-2 )
OZZY & FRIENDS IN DORTMUND, GERMANY
The Ozzy & friends gig in Dormund was a memorable experience for good reasons and bad. I got to know a new friend, Suuded, and we had a great time. Remember a fantastic dinner in a restaurant right behind the Westfalenhalle, but I also remember the sky just opening and it was pissing down all day! We were forced to stand out in the rain by a sadistic power-hungry security person who made sure nobody was under the long roof in front of the entrance (there would have been PLENTY of room there for a lot of people). Anyway, we got in the front row eventually. Both Steel Panther and Ozzy were well worth the wait and the rain!
The story can be found here: http://lita77777.posterous.com/ozzy-sweden-rock-festival-part-1
Photos from that are on my Facebook-page: www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror
SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL….
Only two days later, it was time for the next annual event: Sweden Rock Festival.
This time I was joined by Vera, my Russian colleague that I got to know after bumping into her several times at press conferences at Sweden Rock. She was going to camp with her friends though (wild horses couldn’t get ME to do that camping-thing).
The full story: http://lita77777.posterous.com/sweden-rock-festival-2012-part-2
The next day I ran like crazy to make it to the first signing-session of the day, which was Satchel from Steel Panther. I had found this great tent where musicians hung out and various guitarists were doing signing sessions. But it didn’t seem like it had been widely announced anywhere, so thank god there weren’t those insanely long lines as to the “regular” signings.
When I walked in, it was still Andreas Kisser from Sepultura who was signing. I was first in line for Satchel, and I got my hoodie signed, and some pics. The message he left was of course very “Satchel-style”…! ;)
Vera and I also met a nice dude from Adrenaline Mob’s crew, who invited us to be his guests, so we spent the day hanging backstage and on various stages. That was perfect, if for no other reason than because it was raining all day, and we didn’t have to be out there getting soaked. Watched Ugly Kid Joe, Motorhead and Twisted Sister up on the stage for instance.
Press conferences I didn’t want to miss included Steel Panther and Sebastian Bach – but then I happened to walk in on a few more by coincidence. There is activity 24-7 at Sweden Rock, it’s nearly impossible to try to sum it all up. But check out the pics on the Facebook-page (URL mentioned somewhere above), that will give you a quick tour of what was going on on stage and back-stage at Sweden Rock Festival 2012!
Way too much to mention, I think I kept updating in real-time on Facebook because I wouldn’t have time to write an actual blog. Busy summer! :)
Next up was my other favorite festival: Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium!
[to be continued….]
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………..!
Finally Saturday and the first day in weeks, it seems, that I’ve had a fair chance to actually get enough SLEEP. That little detail, sleep, is luxury most of the time around here…
Graspop 2012 is now over. Once again it has been a kick-ass festival, I love it! I went there as a friend of Jon Oliva’s Pain band/crew three years ago and I’ve been coming back ever since.
I love the CROWD– it’s an amazing crowd that really LIVES, eats and breathes rock’n’roll and they are giving the artists all the love and energy that is the substantial fuel needed to create a FANTASTIC show. Without that crazy, dedicated crowd, there would be no magic.
Also, I rarely have good things to say about SECURITY, but I think that Graspop’s security crew deserve two big thumbs up for their hard work and their amazing great attitude. Usually you see the gorilla-like shaved-head, gym-sort of guys with their arms crossed looking like they totally loathe heavy metal audiences.At Graspop they are professional and efficient. They gently escort crowd-surfers and others out with a pat on their back – “take it easy, man“…. No judgement, no power-abuse. Judging from the looks of some of the security guys and girls, they seem to be metalheads themselves. :-) I wish all festival/concert security crews were like that.
CRAZY GRASPOP CROWD:
There’s just a very relaxed atmosphere in general at Graspop, you can feel the love for metal in the air everywhere you go.
I like the set-up with ONE main stage and three tents. That way you know where to go for the major acts. No digging after MAPS or need for impeccable planning to get from point A to point B. It’s all made simple.
AND – I like their pioneer spirit. Instead of the usual “cameras are not allowed“-bullshit, they have solved it the most logical way: They offer the BEST videos either through live-broadcast and/or out on YouTube. So there’s no need for bootleg-videos when the best quality footage is already out there on the official site. Regularly – not once a week or once a month. Sweden Rock festival have something similar but still not quite as extended as Graspop.
The backstage area is nice, clean, quiet and everything works. At many other festivals you are running around looking for stuff, there’s nobody to ask, no signs no nothing… At Graspop everything is clearly displayed and the backstage crew is nice and helpful.
Basically – I LOVE Graspop Metal Meeting!
Three days and lots to tell – I don’t even know where to begin. But I guess reviews are the most logical place to start. :-)
I came pretty late to the area, because I had been out for dinner with Vera and Ronald, a photographer friend of hers. So when I passed the entrance gates I saw that Swedish band SABATON were on stage. They were just wrapping up their set so I wouldn’t be able to review it properly, they sounded great from afar. :-)
Then came the part where I had to get in the front row – suffer through a band that I wouldn’t normally choose to see – in order to get a good spot for the evening’s headliner OZZY & FRIENDS.
I had to survive SLAYER first.
It’s no secret that Slayer is not my cup of tea at all. I’ve seen them a million times it seems, since the 80’s, yet their stuff never appealed to me. The coolest thing about their gig was that it was so clear that Tom Araya enjoyed every minute of his time on stage. As “dangerous” as he was trying to look, you could still see little twinkly stars in his eyes when he was looking out at the worshipping crowd.
And there was an incredible comeradery in the audience, crowd-surfing, hi-fiving, big smiles, just a great feeling. However, it was tough down there in the crowd (my muscles were aching really bad the next day). I was saved by a guy in the front who moved to offer me room at the barricades and then kept asking me if I was okay. Things like that made all the difference when you’re trying to survive a wild crowd.
Regardless my personal taste, I’ve got to hand it to them – they know what their fans want and they are still around because they genuinely love playing.
Managed to get ONE fairly OK video clip from Slayer’s show – with crowdsurfing fans included… When the camera dives down, it’s because I’m about to get somebody’s shoe in my head…! Enjoy:
There is also a SLAYER-photo album on my FB-page: www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror
I was lucky I got there during the Slayer gig, because nobody moved after that. The front row was packed and it remained that way.
When Ozzy finally hit the stage I was all smiles. I can’t help it, but that man just makes me SMILE. Every time. I don’t even care if he sounds good or bad, he always knows how to entertain people.
I’ve read some pretty nasty comments from people about his Graspop peformance. “He sounded like shit“-kind of comments. It seems like the whiners aren’t reading the news, or else they should have been happy and grateful that Oz showed up at ALL this year.
Only two days prior to the Graspop-show, he had to cancel a show in Germany due to vocal issues. LAST year he cancelled Graspop due to laryingitis and Judas Priest had to step in as headliners and extend their show to cover up for Ozzy. He couldn’t cancel Graspop again.
So he got up on stage and gave his crowd all he had, good and bad. :)
The man is 64 years old! How great will most people sound in general at that age?! Fuck the whiners, Ozzy ROCKS. Yeah, at times he couldn’t command his voice – but the man is a trooper! He showed up and he KICKED ASS! I was there to see a good show, and I got what I came for – a great show!
There’s an amazing love and warmth in Ozzy that he projects to the crowd, he sincerely seems to enjoy what he’s doing and the smile on his face is contageous. If you could sell that smile and its effects in a bottle, I would buy it! :-)))
Personally, I prefer Ozzy with his own band. All the bling-bling with Zakk and Slash may work as a PR-sort of thing but basically I’d rather see Ozzy do his thing with his own guys – and Slash and Zakk do their own thing with their own bands. I did, however really enjoy seeing Geezer Butler on stage with Ozzy, would have wanted to see more of that. At least it made more sense than Slash.
It was fun to see the bunch on stage together as an All-Star event but if I had to choose, I would want to see Tommy, Adam, Blasko and Gus with Ozzy on stage any day. There’s a chemistry between those guys that works really well and as much as I understand why people want to see Zakk with Ozzy again, it’s a thing of the past now.
Regardless, Ozzy put up a fantastic show – even with his sore throat. I didn’t upload the whole thing on YouTube because I know how cruel people can be. Others probably did, but this time I chose not to. I made ONE video public – you can watch it below (also adding a bonus unlisted video for the readers of this blog):
WAR PIGS (unlisted video – with Geezer Butler & Slash):
GRASPOP DAY 2 – coming up. [Adrenaline Mob, Primal Fear, Thin Lizzy, Megadeth, Twisted Sister]
Yesterday really put my patience to the test (not that I have a lot of that to begin with…).
Ozzy & Friends in Dortmund, Germany. Steel Panther opening. Perfect gig.
Except for having to stay awake through an entire Black Label Society dead boring gig, but that’s the deal, what can you do……
I hadn’t decided whether or not I was gonna go, until an online friend asked me about my plans. She wanted to go and figured we could share room and go to the gig if I decided on Dortmund. Sounded cool to have company for a change and meet a new fellow music fan, so it didn’t take a lot of persuading to get me to decide. I was going!
So, after working out our plans on the phone, I went straight to Westfalenhallen’s own website, as they were the only ones selling tickets at face value.
I spent TWO (yes 2, two, zwei, två, deux, dos, due) freaking hours, trying to buy an Ozzy ticket!
The Van Halen ticket-hell that I went through a few months ago was a walk in the park compared to this.
So, this is what you’ll have to deal with, if you ever feel like ordering tickets from Westfalenhallen’s website:
The website is not available in any other language than German. Great.
There is a link that says Tickets. When you click on that, you get three other links that sound similar, and if you don’t speak German very well, it’s pretty hard to understand the difference between the link “Tickets“, “Ticket-Store” and “Ticketing Westfalenhallen“…….. So, I clicked on the first one. Took me to some sort of search-page. Typed “Ozzy“. Got one result – just some sort of info-page about the artist in German.
The page didn’t include a link to any tickets. It just said that you could purchase tickets by clicking the link/button “Ticketinfos“. Just my luck that neither the link or the button was on the page yesterday. :-( (they had fixed that the next day, no wonder I was going nuts for not finding it!
I was searching everywhere on the page and it took me an HOUR only to find some kind of ticket-store on that page!
I FINALLY tried clicking on any other artist on the page and it opened some outdated, old Java-applet that looked like it was left from 1987 or something…. After clicking my way through THAT I finally got to the last stage where I could buy the tickets (HALLELUJAH!!). Right.
First I had to REGISTER as a new customer. Fair enough. Then it wouldn’t accept the password – so I kept requesting new ones. I ended up with a mailbox that had no less than SEVEN new passwords!
NONE of them worked! (black smoke coming out of my ears at this point…)I started over, registered again, used another mail address, realized that you couldn’t print the ticket and it cost 15 euros to get them to send the tix outside of Germany, so… *sigh* I had to go back and change my customer info and use Nadine’s address instead.
And after TWOOOOOOOOOOOO HOURS I had the effing ticket!! I was ready to throw the PC out the window, one of the most frustrating online ticket-purchaces I’ve ever experienced!
But now it’s finally done. Trip booked, hotel booked, concert ticket taken care of, so the show better not suck. :-) Not after the ordeal I had to go through to GET the ticket!
Somebody asked me why I didn’t just request a press ticket. Because – as good as it is with freebies, they never send you those tix in advance. And the list gets there in the last minute, usually. So, you are always risking ending up way in the back because you have to WAIT for it.
I don’t have the patience for that. I want my ticket at hand when I get in line.
I’m still into the music and the gigs – I’m not and I never will be, the bored journalist who’s standing way in the back with a glass of wine talking to colleagues or just checking out the show from the soundboard looking slightly blasé.
I want the experience, the sweat and being part of a jumping, wild crowd – the actualADRENALINE. That’s what I live for. So, no freebies for me if it’s a band I really like (unless of course, it’s a laminate that will grant me access to anything or I’ve seen the band lots of times already and need to just write a review). :-)
A month from now. June will be a kickass-month! So looking forward to it.
[From one of last year’s OZZY-shows. This one is from Ergo Arena in Poland. I was sick as a dog, 39 degrees C fever, had spent all day in bed at the hotel trying to recover. Yet I forgot all about it at the show – it kicked ass!]
Finally got in touch with the Steel Panther-camp. Their US promo-guy and then their label in Copenhagen, Denmark. Better late than never. :-)
Both have been very courteous, so even if it should turn out that the interview for whatever reason doesn’t happen, it’s nice with easygoing people. I appreciate that.
I admit I was a bit doutful about Steel Panther a few months ago when we went to Manchester to see them with Motley Crue and Def Leppard. But it only took them a few minutes to win me over 100%.And now – I love sitting on the train between Malmo and Copenhagen watching their interviews on Youtube, it’s just cracking me up! I love their exaggerated vulgar parody…thing. Once you get it, it will keep you giggling for hours! :)
I so hope I can get an interview with these crazy mothertruckers, just for the sake of for once not having to ask the same type of questions, but just be totally on their level, asking about howspandex works in cold Danish weather and shit like that. ;)
I’m keeping my fingers crossed!
Other than that – after a very slow period of almost no travel or gigs, it’s coming together bit by bit.
Steel Panther playing in Denmark on Thursday, got my ticket to Tampa, Florida in mid-April to see VAN HALEN, can’t WAIT for that! A week after that – Judas Priest playing in Sweden.
Then two weeks of vacation on Croatia in May, hopefully meeting up with the singer I had the pleasure of talking music with an afternoon last year, and then when I get home – OZZY & FRIENDS in Stockholm and Malmo.
Much like last year, that’s where it all begins, because then it’s time for Sweden Rock Festivaland Graspop and even a Firewind-gig or two in August…. Maybe Billy Idol in the fall, that’s what Steve Stevens mentioned in NYC, so I’m hoping that happens.
Just tons of stuff happening in the near future, I doubt it’s going to be as hectic as last year, but you never know. It all depends wh goes on tour and who doesn’t. :-)
It’s been way too quiet lately, I’m bored out of my mind. Something needs to happen. Oh yeah,Nasty Idols new CD should be out soon. But trying to get singer Andy to remember to get back to me has always been a challenge. Sometimes you really need patience when you’re dealing with musicians! :) Luckily I know him pretty well, enough to know he’s not dissing me, he just forgets stuff as quickly as any bassplayer..! ;)
But for now…. just the thought of a party-evening with Steel Panther live in Copenhagen next week is enough to put a smile on my face!