We’re a few days into 2014 already and I never really had time to do the usual look in the rearview mirror to summarize what 2013 was like for me.
Compared to the past 5 years, it was less eventful than usual, and a lot of it has to do with my father’s passing. I cancelled some gigs I had planned to go to and well, just wasn’t in the mood for anything really, but there were still a few highlights in 2013.
January started with Gothenburg Sound Festival where I met up with FIREWIND-drummer JO NUNEZ who was playing with NIGHTRAGE.
Shortly thereafter, I went to the US to see a few FIREWIND-shows and meet up with the new singer KELLY SUNDOWN CARPENTER for an interview at the Gramercy in NYC. Went to Atlanta and the Masquerade as well, pretty cool venue.
Got stuck in a blizzard the day I was supposed to fly home from JFK via Toronto, and made it home in the very last minute. Drama!
Swedish bands CRAZY LIXX & H.E.A.T played at KB, show got interrupted by the fire alarm and the club was evacuated.
Went to beautiful ICELAND with my friend Henny, that was a trip I won’t forget anytime soon – Iceland is a fairy tale country and I hope they never let the ways of the “outside world” change what they’ve accomplished. It’s amazing.
[This isn’t even Photoshopped – it actually looks like that!]
Gigs, there were a few. IRON MAIDEN played at Malmo Stadion, I spent all day in line to get a front row spot. Well worth it!
MEGADETH played at Vega in Copenhagen, they had just released Super Collider and played the title track from that album live for the first time. Dave Mustaine also brought a kid up on stage, not a usual sight at Megadeth shows. :)
STEVE HARRIS and his British Lion played at KB in Malmo, and although the attendance was low, to say the least, it was insanely cool to see a musician of his caliber that up close! I got dust from his sneakers in my face when he stomped on his monitor, he was THAT close. It wasn’t as bad as people say, the band had a good time and that’s what I remember the most.
Another memorable gig was PAUL GILBERT in Gothenburg, at Sticky Fingers. Been a fan since forever, Paul is amazing. There are some fantastic shredders in the world, but Paul is unique. I love his goofy style, his dry sense of humor, his playing, his way of interacting with the crowd… It was a great show.
After Apollo Papathanasio’s departure from Firewind, I decided to keep track of his other projects, so I went to Hamburg, Germany to visit my friend Su and see Apollo with SPIRITUAL BEGGARS. A few months later made a last minute decision to see the band in Thessaloniki, Greece as well.
Apollo also visited me in my home in Malmo for a video interview and a nice lunch. Awesome dude.
Of course, there were a bunch of FIREWIND shows this year as well. Rock in den Ruinen in Germany, SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL, and of course, the tour of AUSTRALIA. I opted out of all other shows because I needed the $$ for Australia.
SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL was a weird festival this year, it was only days after my father’s passing, but I had to go to fulfill my duties to Sweden Rock Magazine and also to my friend Su who was visiting from Germany, SRF was her bachelorette party.
Memorable interviews: DAVID COVERDALE (WHITESNAKE), love the man, he rocks!
[A short clip from that interview]
And finally meeting LITA FORD for the first time ever. She was great, I’m glad she didn’t turn out to be a bitch.
Also saw her shows in Gothenburg ad Sticky Fingers and Malmo, KB.
Went to the UK twice in May to see WHITESNAKE, Thunder and Journey. I could see Whitesnake a million times and it still never gets old. :)
GUS G came to Malmo for the SWEDISH METAL CONVENTION, had a great time with him and Andy R, thanks to Pontus for bringing him to the convention. Also met Tallee Savage and her sister Amanda, Jorn, Anders Johansson (YNGWIE, HAMMERFALL) and a bunch of other people.
(Anders Johansson (Hammerfall, Yngwie), Pekka and Gus in the VIP-room)
Gus G and Paul DiAnno:
Straight after that…business class with Emirates to Sydney via Dubai, went on a safari, met koalas, saw the first Firewind show of the Australian tour, continued to Brisbane, met up with Clint, flew to Adelaide and then finally Melbourne. Stayed there for a week after the band had left. Met a few more koalas and then some really nice people at his BBQ party.
The free BAR in business class at my Emirates-flight to Sydney. :) It didn’t suck. ;)
Came home, got another tattoo and saw BLACK SABBATH in Copenhagen.
An old friend, singer of the Swedish sleaze-band NASTY IDOLS, Andy Pierce, passed away at the age of 45, something that I still can’t quite grasp…
Finished my year in the US visiting friends and checking out two gigs that I wrote about in my previous blog, both Savatage-related.
That was it – in a nutshell. Less travel than usual 2013 but I’m already looking forward to the Steel Panther European tour in the spring and Gus G’s solo-debut! Welcome 2014!
One of my long-time friends gave me a letter that I had written to her back in 1992 after I had met my guitar hero (right up there with Yngwie!) PAUL GILBERT for the very first time.
She figured it could be cool for me to have it now, all these years later, and maybe use it as material for my blog.
If she hadn’t given me this letter, I wouldn’t have remembered that I even got a kiss from Paul GIlbert (a very innocent one, but hey – still)!
FROM A TYPED LONG LETTER (over 20 pages!) after meeting MR BIG
at Circus, Stockholm, Sweden…..
April 29, 1992 (bits and pieces, that letter was crazy long! Slight changes also so that it makes better sense. :))
I couldn’t sleep, I had only ONE thing in mind: I HAD to meet Paul Gilbert. When I called my friend Lena she had suddenly changed her mind and didn’t even want to go! She said she had already seen and met Mr Big. She had tons to do, had no money and a whole bunch of bad excuses. I told her to cut the crap, get off her ass and tag along! She did. :-)
When we got to Circus (the venue) a limo with tinted windows pulled up just as we arrived, it was the band.
There were lots of fans there and the security guys exaggerated their attempts to keep people away from the car. So when Eric Martin stepped out, he grabbed one of those red roadsides and started yelling into it, making fun of the security guys: “Alright alright people! Move it, move it!”
The guards didn’t find it amusing, but he was just laughing at them, with that boyish smile of his.
[Jumping to the part where we are hanging out after the show, trying to figure out how to meet the band…]
We met Helen from WEA and a girl I knew, asked her to leave a message for Billy Sheehan. She had met him in the States and he had told her that she should look him up anytime & anywhere and he’d get her in on the guest list. So – she asked Helen to just give him the message.
Helen looked reluctant, saying something like “yeah, maybe“…. But probably not. She would be back “in a minute“. When she came back, she said she would catch BIlly AFTER the show. Yeah – right.
Oh and by the way, I found out that Paul goes to the same hairdresser as Vixen. Not that it has anything to do with anything, but, just a bit of trivia.
ANYHOO…… After the show, it was the same old shit as usual, security kicking everybody out, clearing the premises. I was convinced that I would have to accept that I would NOT be meeting Paul GIlbert this time. Yet I didn’t want to leave.
We told the security people that we were waiting for Helen from WEA, so they let us stay. Helen finally came out, shrugged her shoulders and just left. Not that I expected anything different anyway, but it was worth a try.
Lena was tired and wanted to go home. I didn’t, so I just went over to the groupie-section and joined all those chicks. I might as well sit there and wait.
Then a MIRACLE happens…!
A guy from EMA Telstar (concert promotor) walks up to the bunch, barely looks at anyone because he’s got his nose in his papers, and goes: “Would you follow me please!” and waved for us to follow him. We just walked STRAIGHT IN – without passes!
Apparently they didn’t expect anyone to be sitting there without a pass, so they didn’t even check!
I was super excited and whispered to Lena: “Can you believe that we are on our way to meet Paul?!” She just yawned and said she wanted to go home. Very inspiring indeed.
We were shown to this corridor and given free beer. A lot less groupies than usual by the way. Not like Skid Row’s backstage area. Mr Big only had maybe 10 groupies and they weren’t as slutty as Skid Row’s.
Pat came down and greeted everybody with a smile: “Good evening, ladies!” One of the girls yelled: “Nice ass!” – and he strutted his stuff all the way to the dressing room haha!
Up next, was Billy, who looked dead tired after the show. He stopped, looked at everyone and went: “I’m feeling better already!”
He walked on. “If you follow me, ladies….” and suddenly he had ten chicks following him like a tail. He yelled through the dressing room door: “ARE YOU DECENT??” and got a loud “YES!” from Pat, we all walked in. There was only Pat in there – and lots of food and drinks.
Eric walked in, mr Hyper! He was singing, joking, just attracting attention. I don’t know why, but I started talking with him and I asked if he wasn’t worried that people would start thinking of Mr Big as a ballad-band, because they released two ballads in a row as singles?
– Don’t you want us to be successful? This is obviously what people want to hear. We released “Daddy, brother…” and “Green Tinted Sixties Mind” as singles, so we’re not a ballad band!
He kept going on and on about it, I never meant it THAT seriously, it was just a thought.
While he was talking away, I saw Paul’s shoes walking in our direction, and next thing I know, he’s standing right next to me. Lena gave me a look and a wink, as if to say “THERE he is!” Geeezuz.
Suddenly Eric yells:
– ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? with a “what the fuck“-smile.
Lena quickly leaned over to Eric and explained: “GOD just entered the room…!”
Eric looked at me – looked at Paul and yeah, he got it! He gave me a wink and a smile and left.
I was shaking like a leaf as I was trying to get my Racer X-CD’s and the “Guitars That Rule The World”-CDout of the plastic bag .
I walked up to him, he greeted me cheerfully and started talking. A lot! I had had this idea that he was a shy type of guy, but… far from it!
He hadn’t even SEEN the “Guitars That Rule The World“-cover before! So he was very curious. He had only heard Zakk Wylde’s song on that album and said he liked it.
Then he saw that godawful pic of him and Billy and just laughed out loud. People were turning their heads just to see what was going on. He held the pic up in the air yelling: BILLY!! HAVE YOU SEEN THIS??! JESUS CHRIST!!!
He wanted to know if I REALLY wanted that horrible picture signed, and yeah I did – so he signed it, but giggled for minutes after that. He gave me a pick as well.
I told him that I loved his little tune, and he said thanks, and explained that it was mostly meant as a joke, to make fun of that whole guitar-hero myth. I asked if he would ever consider playing it live, and he replied that it would be almost impossible because the song consisted of 5 different solos mixed with acoustic guitar,
I laughed and said: “Hey, people call you a genoius – you should be able to rearrange it and play it live!”
He laughed, said it was a fun idea, he would definitely consider it and see what he could come up with. So – if he ever DOES play it live, I will know where he got the idea from. ;)
Lena started talking to Paul, so I went over to Billy Sheehan instead. What a super-nice guy. He shows a genuine interest in every single person he talks to. He was very down to earth and easy to talk to. I asked him if it was possible to get a pass for Copenhagen as well and he said it could absolutely be arranged.
He was so impressed that I was going to see them twice… If he only knew how many times I’ve seen Skid Row…!
Went back to Paul after a while, cause none of the chicks gave a shit about him, so he was alone. Perfect – for me.
I asked a little about his education, considering he became a guitar hero already at the age of 16. He said that he finished high-school and after that he’s been educating himself to the best of his ability.
Then he got up with a smile on his face and went to get his bag.
– I’ll show you what I’m reading right now!
I thought it would be something silly, cause he had that look on his face, but it turned out to be a book about PHYSICS!
– I NEVER thought that you’d be reading a book like this! I said with eyes as big as plates.
– Well… I haven’t finished it yet, but…
His attitude was that, just because you’re a musician, it doesn’t mean that you have to be STUPID.
I asked him what kind of music he was listening to. Once again, he walked over to his bag, grabbed another bag and handed it over to me.
– You can see for yourself. I think I’ve got everything in there.
There was some “J.O Bach” (not J.S Bach!), Dee-Lite, AC/DC, Motown soul… All kinds of stuff. He wasn’t kidding when he said that he had “everything”…!
I asked him about his opinion of female musicians.
– Bonnie Raitt is one of my favorites. And Lisa, from Wendy & Lisa, Have you heard her?
I nodded and he was just about to ask me if I had heard this song…but I had to stop him there cause I didn’t own her record, unfortunately.
He loved Lita Ford (yey!!) and his favorite Lita-song was “Gotta Let Go“. And he liked Diana Ross as well.
Kept asking him stuff like there was no tomorrow! I wondered howcome he stopped writing for Guitar Player, and he just said he didn’t have time and that he had run out of ideas. He looked surprised, probably didn’t expect someone like me to be reading Guitar Player.
The band had to leave, so he got up and was about to give me a hug, when I jokingly said that if he hugged me, I would probably drop down dead. So he kissed me instead!
Uhhh – YES, I definitely hit the ground right after that. Lena went: “Miracles DO happen, huh?”
Jesus, yes – you could say that.
[there was a part two of this letter too – a LONG part two, but I will spare you.
Billy remembered the passes for the Copenhagen show the next day, bless him. :)
And yes, I met Paul there too. Awesome guy! I’m still a big fan of his – he rules!]
Marshall – 50 Years of Loud….
Wembley Arena, London. Saturday night.
Guess it took me at least two days to have the whole thing kind of… “sink in”.
That show wasn’t even just a gig, I wouldn’t be able to sit here and review it – cause it was just way beyond that. It was MUSIC HISTORY IN THE MAKING. It was a once in a lifetime experience. I am so glad that I got a ticket (and such a great seat too) because I could probably never get over it if I hadn’t.
My main reasons for going were Yngwie and Paul Gilbert, long time heroes, both of them. But I also discovered artists that I thought I didn’t like. That evening they decided to show something else that I haven’t seen before, and I’m open for more in the future.
The greatest surprise of the evening for me personally, was Joe Satriani. Never been a fan really, don’t know why, I simply never got quite into his music. But of all the guitarists trying to outdo eachother that night, he was the only one who played (Always With Me, Always With You ) with such emotion, had us hear and feel the beauty of the guitar, the sounds you can get from that instrument… It was just so classy, so beautiful, I was in heaven. Amazing.
I had a few minor “heart attacks” during that Wembley show, like when Yngwie was presented and he made his rockstar entrance. The man IS an old-school true ROCK STAR, he is the GUITAR GOD of guitar gods, the embodiment of guitar hero, I mean…. I’ve admired that guy since I was a teenager pretty much. Met him, interviewed him several times but he never became a “normal person” to me, he always remained the Star, and I like that. Not too many have that quality. :-)
[One of my “heart attacks, Yngwie entering the stage!]
I simply love what he does. I hear people complaining about him being “too much”, playing too fast or calling it guitar masturbation, but I subscribe to his simple philosophy – More is more! Damn right it is.
I’m just not worthy. You hear that it’s Yngwie the second he plays his first note, you will never ever mistake him for anybody else. Nah, I’m lost for words. Oh and he tweeted out one of my videos of him this morning, which made me feel like a happy teenager, yeyyy right on!
Then, of course, there’s Paul Gilbert. The other guitar hero in my book. He’s the most unique rock guitarist I can imagine, basically because he’s got the groove, he’s got the sense of humor and he can be as nerdy and dorky as he damn well pleases, because nobody can do what he does. I’m sure it has something to do with his ridiculously long fingers, which I’m sure makes it easier to do a lot of the crazy stuff that he does.
Kind of like this pic – which might just as well have been Paul! :)
So, Paul walks out on stage with those headphones, joined by Drummer Extraordinaire Mike Portnoy and mrs Gilbert on keyboards – looking like any guy from the crowd… and just starts doing his thing. And you never want him to stop, the guy is simply brilliant!! He can do anything, yet he knows when to not get “too much”, it’s fun and impressive. Wow.
[Pardon my shaky filming, couldn’t decide on whether to watch through the camera or “irl”. :)]
I could sit here all night and just reflect on each and every artist and artist-combination that we saw that magical evening at Wembley, but there’s no point really. The best way to try soaking in the atmosphere and the GREATNESS of all these fantastic musicians playing together for the first – and probably the last – time, is to watch it for yourself – in these videos.
My favorite combo? Yngwie with Glenn Hughes and “the Whitesnakes” Doug Aldrich/Brian Tichy teaming up with Ripper Owens in “Slide It In” – THAT’s never to be heard in that version ever again…! :) Freaking COOL!
And – this might surprise a lot of people who know my usual taste in metal, but… I thought that this combination of Slipknot’s Corey Taylor kicking ass with Slayer’s Kerry King in the Pantera-classic “Mouth For War” was the most aggressive, cool and most METAL performance of the whole evening!
Just seeing all of those BEST OF THE BEST musicians teaming up, playing together – songs that they would never have a reason to play anywhere for any other reason – was so huge and so unbelievable, that I actually left the arena seriously thinking that if I got hit by a car, I would die happy.
I mean – watch this and you will understand. That’s all I can say. :)
I spent almost two full days just clicking my way through Steel Panther history. I wasn’t really looking for anything to begin with, but as I started finding stuff, one interesting fact lead to another and it became an obsession…!
I mentioned to my friend Mari that many people have found my blog by searching for terms like “Lexxi without wig” or “Steel panther no wigs” or “Does Satchel wear a wig?“.
I can’t believe they haven’t already found all this stuff! Her only response was: “Most people don’t have the patience for that sort of thing. It’s the journalist in you that comes out“. Maybe.
I truly get a kick from this stuff. Who ARE these guys?
It’s like Kiss back in the day – everybody wanted to know what they looked like before 1983. The mystery would drive people crazy.
Well, since the Steel Panther-guys are basically always in character during their interviews, you won’t get anything out of them. So if you want to know what lies behind the wigs, the spandex and the jokes, you’ve got to find out for yourself.
I’ve visited some pretty godforsaken, forgotten places on the Internet Graveyard today.
MySpace proved to be an underrated museum of interesting stuff. There were old blogs from 2004 that invited fans of The Thornbirds (also named The Ducks) to gigs for free or to five or ten bucks at the door. Little did they know, I’m sure, that tickets to their future band Steel Panther would go for 40 bucks a piece in the UK eight years later.
There were all these old home-made homepages that people used to create before there was any social media out there – even before the days of MySpace or Facebook. It’s been an interesting journey today! I still don’t have ALL the pieces of the puzzle, lots of things I still don’t get. Like whether or not there is an affinity between the band’s manager Glen Parrish and Russ Parrish (aka Satchel).
They sure look a lot alike if you compare photos – it’s the same jawline. Just speculating – I don’t know, but I’m sure there are people out there who DO know. I just haven’t stumbled upon anything yet that would confirm it, so I’ll just save that for another rainy day. :-)
[Steel Panther manager Glen Parrish – family or just pure coincidence…?]
I started at Twitter, clicked on an interesting name, which took me to a personal webpage, which took me to a personal Facebook-account – which took me to….everywhere…!
Next thing I know, I’m looking at family- and vacation photos and old band-videos, photos, MySpace stories and blogs and old webpages and cool stuff on YouTube!
So….. This is not even half of it, but who knows, maybe there will be a “Part two” in the future. For now, if you ever wondered what Steel Panther looks like “incognito” – here you go!
Still very cool guys -wigs or no wigs!
STEEL PANTHER – UNMASKED
Travis Haley – Russ Parrish – Ralph Saenz and Darren Leader.
Better known as… Lexxi -Satchel – Michael and Stix
This is what they looked like then this whole thing began….
And sounded like this (Love Rocket):
MIX OF PIX – click your way through them all – live pix of Satchel’s and Stix’ former band The Thornbirds and more. This first pic is of Travis and Russ (Lexxi and Satchel):
There was plenty of info on Satchel’s musical past, in the form of videos and old interviews, yet he is the only one I haven’t found on any social media sites. So, if you’re digging for personal stuff on him, good luck – it’s not exactly under your nose if you’re looking for it.
Seems like he really prefers his privacy when he’s offstage, respect to that.
But if you’re curious of his “old sins” music wise – here’s some old shit for you to enjoy…! :-)
The Atomic Punks (Van Halen-tribute band that included Michael Starr as “David Lee”) at the Velvet Jones, Santa Barbara, CA – October 22, 2005. Includes former guitarist Russ Parrish – tuning problems with his Frankenstrat.
THE ELECTRIC FENCE – with PAUL GILBERT (around 1991)
The Electric Fence – Paul Gilbert, Russ Parrish, Jeff Martin
Notice at 0.49 where Lexxi’s future “hair flip” probably originates from! ;)
This also includes Billy Sheehanwalking out on stage with a birthday-PIE. :-) Great stuff, I LOVE Paul Gilbert!!
THE ELECTRIC FENCE – with PAUL GILBERT and guest ROB HALFORD
The Electric Fence – Paul Gilbert, Russ Parrish, Jeff Martin
And there’s the HOT dude Russ in FIGHT – too pretty to fit in really. :-)
And last but not least…. just a few interesting links – I wish I had saved all of those I discovered today, but like I said – maybe in a part two. :)
Russ Parrish – Ratchet 2002 – Metal Sludge
Danger Kitty – Michael Diamond
BAND WAR AND PEACE
Welcome to visit www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror
Alright, so the madness really began in June. It kicked off with Sweden Rock Festival, which is my second home. I’ve been to every single festival since 1994, with the exception of 1996 when I lived in the States. Working for the magazine (Sweden Rock Magazine) has made it a natural place to be every summer, doing reviews and interviews.
This year there was ONE main assignment, and it was altogether in my own name, for this blog and for YouTube.
After a few months of contact, I asked Gus G for an interview. I didn’t think he would be able to do it when he was out with Ozzy. I know that time is rarely the musician’s own when he’s a part of a huge machinery like Ozzy’s. However, he assured me that he’d be happy to do the interview and after a few messages back and forth with his manager, it was settled.
THE GUS G EXCLUSIVE SWEDEN ROCK INTERVIEW
That day was crazy. Cellphones never work on the Sweden Rock premises, so when the manager texted me to ask where the cameraman and I were, I couldn’t get my message through to him.He wanted us to get to the backstage area – and I know what that means. That means breaking into FORT-fuckin’-KNOX…! Are you kidding me?!? All the way back to Ozzy’s own backstage area, without the very exclusive pass that allows you through all the guarded gates to “the holy grail”? Yeah, that would be interesting.
But I was not about to let that stop me. After a few stressful minutes, I finally got hold of someone who had the right credentials to escort us all the way back there, so even with the extremely tight time-schedule it could be done.
We set up the cameras and lights while they went to get Gus. The timing was perfect. JUST as I had said the last finishing phrases to wrap up the interview – Thin Lizzy hit the Rock Stage. Some things are just meant to happen. I was very pleased with the interview (eventhough some internet trolls who don’t like Gus (Zakk-fans?), have done their best to “dislike” the video – f**k them, lol!)
WHITESNAKE WITH SPECIAL GUESTS BERNIE MARSDEN & ADRIAN VANDENBERG
The festival was definitely memorable for many reasons. The exclusive Gus G-interview was one of the highlights. Another one was the historic, fantastic performance by Whitesnake (that for some reason did not impress the colleague who reviewed their show, as much as it impressed me).It was an extremely emotional experience for me. When Bernie Marsden walked up on stage joining David, I couldn’t believe it. It was amazing, could barely believe it was happening. And as if that wasn’t enough – there comes Adrian Vandenberg as well! FOUR Whitesnake-guitarists on stage together at the same time…! How many times will I ever get to see THAT again?!
I uploaded a shaky video of it on YouTube that night before I passed out on the couch, and it’s one of the most viewed videos on my channel with its almost 18.000 views. Here’s another, shorter clip of are guys taking a bow:
JUDAS PRIEST – THE PRESS CONFERENCE
My main purpose with attending the Judas Priest press conference this time, was to get a feel of the chemistry between the “older priests” and the “new kid on the block” – Richie Faulkner. I was in the press-tent long before anyone else got there, securing my front row chair. That’s where the Russian girl from Classic Rock Magazine, Vera, found me. She remembered me from a few years before when she had seen me in the exact same place – also waiting for Priest. :-) This year we became friends and she visited me in Malmö a few months later.
As for the press conference, I got a very positive impression of Richie and it helped me to shake that frustration of K.K being out of the band. And although I, quite honestly, wasn’t that impressed by Judas Priest’s show at Sweden Rock, Richie did a great job. I hadn’t expected that – but he turned out to be a valuable addition to Priest with his youthful energy.
SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL 2011
JOAN JETT: The press conference was one of the best not only this year, but the past few years. I always imagined Joan being this moody badass “whattafuck”-kind of chick. But she was very warm and intelligent, and most of all the had a refreshing self-distance and sense of humor.
Once she got onstage, she showed why she has been on the top since the 70’s. She’s genuine and 100% rock’n’roll, there’s no question about it. The lady is impressive in every single way, all I can say is…RESPECT!
LEE AARON: Couldn’t believe how great she looked and the energy she had after all these years. Maybe I didn’t expect the “poppy” outfit, but she still had her powerhouse-voice and she definitely worked the stage when she entered it around noon, the last day of the festival. The biggest disappointment was that I LOST the video of her press conference!! I asked her a few questions that she really took time to answer, and then something went wrong during the transfer from the SD-card to the computer and it just disappeared. :-(( Gah!
MR BIG: I’ve always loved Mr Big. Call them whimpy or whatever, I don’t care. Paul Gilbert is a genious, Eric Martin is one of the most gifted singers in the business, Pat Torpey is a great but very underestimated drummer and Billy Sheehan – hey… There’s only one Bassplayer DeLuxe, and that’s Billy. Everybody knew their songs, they played like gods, and basically – my face ached afterwards cause I had been smiling way too much and too long!
Queensrÿche sounded terrible. I’ve never in my life heard them sounding so bad. Or maybe I should just say that Geoff Tate didn’t have a good day… Zakk Wylde left a very good impression at his press conference. He was cool, yet respectful and I think he handled the press very well. :-)
ROADTRIP TO OZZY – Germany & Luxembourg
After Sweden Rock Festival, I had a few days to prepare for my next trip – down to Munich in Germany to see Ozzy. It was a beautiful, sunny day in Munich, that I had a chance to drive around in, as I rented a car at the airport because I was going to continue down to Luxembourg as well two days later.
Anett (Jon Oliva’s European tour manager) and her husband Marcus, had invited me to come and stay with them on my way to Luxembourg, so after the Munich-gig I drove down there. It has its advantages to get a rental car, you get to see beautiful sceneries, so the drive to the little village was definitely worth the trip. :-)
After a really nice stay, catching up with Anett and Marcus (and meeting their rock’n’roll Dobermann-dog Slash! :-)) I continued on my way and drove down to Luxembourg. I stood in line outside Rockhal for several hours, cause I had nothing better to do, and when you travel like that to see a show, you don’t want to risk not seeing anything, so…
I stood there pretty much all day – then when the doors opened somebody told me that my “kind” of ticket had to be picked up somewhere else (WTF!!!) so I lost my place in line and was so pissed off, that people just moved out of my way when I walked back into the arena with black smoke coming out of my ears.
I made it all the way to the front row, much with the help of a really nice girl who let me have her spot, because she thought I “should” have it as I had travelled that far. That’s the kind of people you remember with thankfulness when you go on these road trips. :-)
Blogs from the Germany/Luxemburg roadtrips:
GRASPOP METAL MEETING in Belgium
The week after Munich and Luxembourg, I took off to Belgium with my friend Bianca, to my other favorite festival: GRASPOP Metal Meeting.
Bianca wanted to see Ozzy, because she’s never seen him before, and for me it would also mean a double-dose of Gus G because Firewind were also playing. Well… Ozzy got sick and the show was cancelled. As if that wasn’t enough, the rain was pissing down.
But… I got to see Firewind at least, and also discovered a freaking great band from Belgium, Channel Zero, that normally wouldn’t be the kind of band I’d listen to, but their energy was hard to miss…! Especially their front man Franky was impressive, his aggressive confidence fit the music perfectly and the crowd went wild!
THE CHANNEL ZERO BLOG HERE.
[This is what I tried to film during their set – as you can see, it was pretty wild, lol…!]
Dispite the mud and the very drunk rockers that we had to zig-zag to avoid stepping on, it was a great festival.
[Bianca and me being super-sexy in our blue rain ponchos, lol! ;P]
THESSALONIKI (GREECE) – Stop That Sound-festival
I went back to Sweden for a short break, before heading out on my next trip – all the way down to sunny Greece. Stop That Sound-festival in Thessaloniki, with headliners Judas Priest and Whitesnake, and of course home-boys Firewind. THAT story is way too long to even attempt summarizing, so I’ll just direct you straight to the blogs from that visit:
SONISPHERE FESTIVAL – England
Straight after that, I headed from Thessaloniki airport, to London – for the SONISPHERE festival.
Metallica headlined it, and I bet I must have been the only one who didn’t give a shit about Metallica. I never have, I never will. Never understood their greatness. However, I wanted to see Firewind and MEGADETH, most of all. I wasn’t disappointed by any of those bands. Megadeth always delivers. So did Anthrax by the way. :-)
JUDAS PRIEST in Manchester, UK and OZZY in Gdansk, Poland & Smukfest, Denmark
The weekend after Sonisphere, I took off back to England again. This time to Manchester to see Judas Priest. I loved the city, so much that I decided to choose Manchester in favor of London for concerts in the future. The show at Manchester Apollo was the best I’ve seen Priest do in a long time. Also met up with Ronnie, an internet friend that has been reading my diaries and blogs online since the very early days of Internet. Always nice to meet people in person too.
Next stop was Ozzy in Gdansk, Poland. I was really sick and should have been in bed, but there was no way I was going to cancel the trip. I slept everywhere I could. Spent the first day in bed at the super-cool designer hotel La-La-La, and most of the day of the show. It was raining anyway and of course I had forgotten to bring a rain-poncho, which I normally ALWAYS bring with me.
No matter how sick I was, it was worth it. Ozzy rules. And the Polish fans were definitely hardcore. I’m glad I went, eventhougI got lost and all that, but it goes with the territory. :-)
[OZZY played Ergo Arena in Sopot/Gdansk, Poland]
I only had one day to recover before I drove to Smukfest in Denmark to see the last Ozzy-show of the European tour. It was PISSING down all day, I had mud up to my knees! Crazy! The stage and the festival itself was kind of…different, and I suppose I expected something extraordinary because it was the last gig of the tour. But when Ozzy walks offstage – he’s done. So, no encores, no fireworks, no nothing. Yet, that was worth it too, I had fun!
[Ozzy finished his European tour on the left stage at Smukfest, Skanderborg, Denmark]
FIREWIND, FIREWIND AND MORE FIREWIND
Most of September was commited for Firewind. I spent most of that month on trains, buses, in taxis and on planes. Three gigs in England (and Scotland) – Manchester, Glasgow, Reading. Reading was Gus G’s birthday and he was celebrated with a cake onstage. Video was, of course, posted. This was also the tour where they had a “stand in”-singer, Mats Levén (who’s also fronted Yngwie’s band, almong others)
Then I took a break for a short while, before continuing down to the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany with yet another rental car (that I got at the airport – that roadtrip was described in the Firewind-blog, too much to tell for a short summary – check it out HERE).
You would have thought I would get sick of seeing the same band, travelling to some godforsaken places and sleeping in a car to save money, but no – I loved it! They are brilliant, I would do it all over again!
MEETING UP WITH CROATIAN TALENT – Vili Kovac in Split
The day after I came home from the Benelux/Germany-Firewind-tour, I only had time to re-pack my suitcase and head down to see my dad in Croatia for a REAL vacation. It was a vacation so much that I got restless, I’m not used to doing nothing.
But the vacation was saved by a meeting with a great, talented young Croatian singer, who I had first discovered the year before when I was on vacation, as he was competing in the Croatian version of American Idol. I thought he was great, one of those that stands out – not only with his voice but also with his personality.
He came to Split just for one day, so I got to meet the guy. Really nice dude, he played some of his own unreleased stuff for me and also some Croatian and Bosnian bands that I hadn’t heard before that were actually worth checking out.
Most of all I was a bit frustrated to learn that he might not be able to record something in English and reach a wider audience outside of Croatia – which I think he should. But – the modern world is shrinking so you never know. Maybe one day. Even on vacation I managed to squeeze in something music-related, thank god! :-)
[Ripper Owens and Vili Kovac]
And then when I came back to Sweden – there was reuniting with old friend SEBASTIAN BACH (video) and some other stuff… In part three which is coming up!