Just got home from Detroit (….rock city) and a great trip, eventhough there were some little mishaps, but all in all I had a great time!
I finally – FINALLY managed to catch Rob Zombie this year. My god, I’ve had the worst luck this year when it comes to that. Show in Rome was cancelled, show at Sweden Rock I missed because I had to do another interview and yeah, basically, I figured I’d give it ONE last shot. If it didn’t work, then I would have to listen to the Universe that was trying to tell me something!
I drove to Saginaw from Detroit early in the morning and it was a beautiful, warm and sunny day. Once I got there, I got in line and was among the first 20 people. Everything seemed great, yes it’s boring standing in line but listening to the two teenage girls in front of me was entertainment enough. ;)
At 7, they started letting people in. It was an outdoor gig, general admission, no seats. So, I really had to get in the front to even see anything. I handed over my ticket to the lady and continued on my way – I just wanted to get to the front row. She was shouting after me – “ma’am! Your ticket has been refunded!”
Uh…say what? NO, it has NOT been refunded, I came over here from SWEDEN to see this show! Are you kidding me???
I had to go to the box office across the street, where the lady was very nice, but oh so slow… Took forever before she got her shit together. She couldn’t explain why I had had problems with my ticket and gave me a piece of paper with a stamp on it, to use as my ticket. Sweet…only, I could forget about getting in the front. Once again I was Zombie-screwed. :-//
Other than THAT – the show was amazing! It was absolutely worth the trouble and the trip, Rob Z knows how to handle a stage and a crowd, and the whole band is fun to watch. I loved it.
Not that many bands around nowadays that put up a real SHOW like that, it’s awesome. Zombie himself moves like a cat across the stage, has total control of his body and his stage presence, it’s a total treat!
Drove straight back to the hotel after the show, couldn’t WAIT to get into the jacuzzi. I had booked a room with a jacuzzi, been to Target earlier in the day to get some bubbles and spa-products to just spoil myself. After a day in the sun and the dust it would be a perfect way to relax and unwind before getting some sleep.
But the Zombie-spell continued. The cardreader on the door didn’t work, I couldn’t get into my room. It took them a while to figure it out, they said they had never seen that before. Why, of COURSE….
I finally got in, took that tub, listened to nature sounds that I had on my laptop and just drank life like an alcoholic! :)
Slept like a baby. The next morning I checked out and headed back to Detroit where I was supposed to meet MADAM X and listen to some new songs in the studio where they’re recording.
What I’ve heard so far is great, I absolutely love it!! I was really looking forward to meeting Maxine as well, especially since we discovered that we’re “almost twins”. We were born on the same day, the same date – and the exact same TIME! A few years inbetween but everything else is exact, it’s unbelievable! There has to be a purpose, so it was great to meet the lady!
The band’s creative force Chris “Godzilla” presented new music, new songs, new ideas, showed the studio and told the story about The Return of Madam X‘ – along with Maxine of course!
It’s all on VIDEO and as soon as it’s been edited, it’ll be up here and on YouTube for you guys to enjoy. It’s a pretty funny and spontaneous interview and studio report, you’ll love it. :)
Also met Kevin Sharpe, who’s producing the album – an old friend who’s been a fan of the band as well for many years. After all, Madam X is the pride of Detroit. ;) We were even interrupted by an eager and excited fan who pretty much had little twinkling stars in his eyes when explaining how much he LOVED Madam X and what an honor it was to meet them – and his friend, who was right outside, would also drop dead if he could just meet them…!
There is something about that band that makes people remember them and admire them, even all these years later. Some bands simply HAVE that star quality and Madam X is one of those bands. It doesn’t even matter if you like them or not – most people remember or have heard the rumors!
Got myself a goodiebag with Madam X-merch, which is absolute luxury cause I remember what it looked like at the merch booth at Sweden Rock back in June. Two guys almost got in a fight over the LAST Godzilla t-shirts! The stuff was flying off the shelves and I never got anything, but I saw people walking around with those shirts all over the festival area. Save the 80’s! Hell yeah.
Now I got it delievered, personally and all, I’m honored. :D
Two short messages from the ladies and gentlemen for you all:
Kevin Sharpe, producer of the upcoming Madam X-album, shares his thoughts about the new record:
Godzilla and Maxine saying helloooo world!
More Madam X coming soon!
And me…I’m off to my next adventure – GUS G & MATS LEVÉN acoustic in Ioannina, Greece!
See you all soon!
I was online all evening yesterday, trying to figure out how to make the logistics work for the Gus G/Mats Leven tour in Greece in October. It was pretty frustrating because nothing was going the way I had hoped.
Flights that took 30 hours (with layovers), flights that cost more than it would cost me to fly to the States, cities where the nearest international airport is 4 hours away and basically – nothing went my way. Yet I really want to catch at least one of those gigs.
I’ve been following Gus G’s every move for the past three-four years, so it feels strange to suddenly NOT be able to make it to even ONE show that’s after all in Europe. Shouldn’t be too difficult. But as it turns out, it can’t be done, can’t get the parameters to fit… :-(
I’ll also be missing the US-shows because of bad timing – I’m over in the States for Rob Zombie and meeting up with Madam X in Detroit the week before and don’t have enough vacation days to stay there and wait for the Gus-tour.
And then I’m missing the Metal AllStars South America-shows too because I’ve already booked a few gigs with Billy Idol at that same time!
And THAT would have been a great reason to go to South America, as I’ve been wanting to go there for quite a while, but just needed a good reason to go.
Gus G is my “random travel-generator” and I love that. He tours everywhere, all the time – the perfect artist for someone like me.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s a cool guy who I enjoy hanging with as well – and the same goes for his crew and band members. Super sweet people, the lot of them. All of that is a bonus.
In my Facebook status the other day, I mentioned that I was slightly annoyed that I couldn’t make it to some of those shows, cause I really want to go. One guy left a comment saying: “It sounds like you’ve got a crush on Gus, Daniela”.
I can’t say that I was surprised to get that comment. I can imagine that to the outside world, that would be the only explanation why someone would act as “crazy” as I do. I’ve heard that for every single band that I’ve followed. Even going way back to my days in school, hanging “with the guys”. It was interpreted as “she’s got a crush on so-and-so“.
But that’s not what it is. Not like that. It’s a combination of music, travel and friendship. To me, that’s the ultimate kick.
Another guy replied to that first commenter with the words:
“Daniela is in love with good music! Many great and long lasting relationships”.
That was SPOT ON.
I love the life that I have chosen for myself. Sometimes I can just walk down the street and smile, because I suddenly remember a really great gig or a trip that lies ahead, or a journey that I’ve made in the past – and all the interesting people I’ve met along the way, places I’ve seen, experiences I’ve had… It’s a lifelong love – no doubt about it. But it’s not the kind of “love” some people may think. :)
I’m in love with life, with music, with everything that surrounds it. Sometimes I might even be attracted to some people for about two seconds, but it’s nothing I’ve ever acted upon. Some awesome people I meet along the way catch my interest every once in a while, but it usually doesn’t last very long. What DOES last long however, is all that other stuff. LIFE – that’s what. :)
Seeking happiness in individuals is one thing, but I think that seeking happiness within yourself and the kind of lifestyle you want to live, makes you happy in the long run and is not as fragile as “regular relationships”. Or at least that’s my take on it.
So – am I in love? Do I have a crush? Hell yeah – I love my life and I love my music, and that’s a marriage that’s going to last forever. :D
I had barely landed in Sweden after the Guitar Universe tour, before I started feeling restless again. Yes, there’s Sweden Rock Festival next week, but that’s “home”. Then there’s Rob Zombie in Rome, Italy later in June. But after that… jesus christ, there was NOTHING.
But…. when you least expect it – The Random Destination Generator, Gus G, tweeted something that I just read as “Ozzy” and “Korea”. BAM! There you go! Problem solved! THAT shall be my next destination!
Much to my surprise, it wasn’t that expensive with flights there either. And with the miles I earned with Emirates for the business class trip to Australia back in November, I’ll get it even cheaper! :D
Can’t WAIT to fly with Emirates again, the best airline ever!
Also, really really stoked about seeing Ozzy solo again, with that lineup. I think they have such a great chemistry on stage: Adam, Blasko, Tommy and Gus. Nevermind the fact that I’ll be seeing Ozzy with Black Sabbath in a few days, it’s not quite the same.
So, it took me all freaking evening to figure out how to get a concert ticket for the event, as everything was in Korean and the website was designed in a way where most of the text was in pictures, which means that you can’t run Google translator on it. But I’m hopelessly stubborn, once I’ve decided on something, it’s just gonna work. So, after clicking on everything, ten times over I finally managed to get myself a ticket to that festival. Awesome!
Next thing was finding a hotel near the stadium. Turns out that HOTELS in Korea aren’t quite what we expect over here. Most of the hotels were small, privately run and most of all – lots and lots of dormitories and bunkbeds to choose from…! The one I eventually found was less than 1 km from the stadium, only 3 minutes with the no 6 subway line. Had great reviews, so eventhough there was no private bathroom, I’m okay with that. Some of the places I’ve chosen in Europe before with “shared bathroom” is all good, it’s just outside your door and usually clean.
I even went on Youtube to learn a few tourist phrases in Korean, might come in handy!
Like I’ve said before, I’m not a tourist traveller. If I’m gonna travel, it’s for music. And I doubt that I would ever have ended up in South Korea just to look at houses or whatever. So this is perfect – VERY different, exotic – and exciting. A little scary too because it’s so far different from anything I know (travelling to Australia is no big deal, it’s just like going to the UK, only farther away… People know the language and it’s the same type of western society as here). But THIS – requires guts for a solo female traveller. I’m taking on the challenge and looking forward to the adventure, once again! :D
The Guitar Universe Tour 2014, with Marty Friedman and Gus G ended in Nuneaton two days ago. My last destination on that tour was London, the day before.
It hasn’t even been as intense for me this time as it was two years ago when I did one date after another for two weeks in a row. This time, I chose to pick a few shows here and there. But now that it’s over – there’s an empty feeling.
It’s ALWAYS like that. It sounds strange, I’m sure, cause this is something that you hear from the musicians usually. That it’s a weird feeling coming home after being out for weeks. But it’s the same for me.
The only difference is that I choose other ways of transportation and I’m on the OTHER side of the stage (as opposed to being ON it) but other than that, I’d say that my reality is pretty similar to theirs.
And I often feel that my life is divided in different realities. A total Twilight Zone.
There is what I think of as my REAL life – which is the music. Just all the situations where I’m in an environment where there are musicians, fans, crews….Simply people who share a passion for music. THAT is my home and my true reality, the place where I belong.
Then, there’s that other reality, the life we all have to live, surrounded by people who don’t understand this at all. And I suddenly feel like a stranger.
When I came back to Copenhagen and Malmo after the London “Metal God trip”, people asked me who I went to see. And I was still like an enthusiastic teenager wanting to share that amazing feeling of having met Rob Halford again (doesn’t matter it’s been many times, EVERY time is special to me).
But that enthusiasm just dies instantly when somebody goes: “Oh okay. Well, I don’t know who that IS but I’m sure you had a good time.” It’s not their fault, they want to hear about my trip and they are genuinely curious, but it always reminds me that there are places where I feel right at home, and there are places where I feel like an alien sometimes.
When I come back from a tour, my head is spinning, it’s filled with memories, I’m processing all the faces, places, feelings, experiences… It just makes me feel so alive…!
And it’s not even necessarily the musicians that I remember the most, it can be anything or anyone. I remember specific faces/people that left an impression, maybe at the front desk in some hotel, or maybe a cool cab driver, or someone I met outside the venue or whatever…. So many different people, different countries, yet so similar.
It just makes me more aware of my own place in this world. It gives me the right perspective on life.
Music is what’s running through my veins, I couldn’t live without it. So, for me, staying at home is like taking away my oxygen.
A friend of mine asked me a while ago, how I could even keep up with the constant travelling and then going straight back to work after landing at the airport, only to go work late and go back to being “a slave to the grind”. Don’t you get tired?
The thing is, I would get tired if I WASN’T doing this. :) This is my energy, my passion, my love in life. I would be extremely unhappy if my life was spent in front of a TV watching other people live their lives. I want to live my OWN – my way. And this is it.
Next up is Sweden Rock Festival – my second home. It even helped me getting through the shock and the grief after losing my father last year. As weird as it was at first, to be there so soon after his passing, it was the only right place to be, and it really gave me the comfort I needed.
After that, Rob Zombie in Rome, Italy. I had been looking forward to seeing Megadeth as well, as those two bands were touring together but they just cancelled all their June-dates so I don’t know who’s filling in.
Either way, I can’t wait.
Being back from a tour is good for five minutes, cause I get to catch up on my sleep and with my friends. But it also feels empty somehow. I’m not into being “static”. I hope that some band or artist that I like, announces a tour soon so I can start planning. Life is just way too short to be doing nothing…!
New post coming up, from the Guitar Universe gig in London!
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!