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. :)
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]
I sat down last night to write a summary of my year 2011. I was amazed to find how just one year, can feel like ten. 2011 has been a fantastic and memorable year for me.
I have travelled all over Europe, squeezing in a short visit to the States as well. I took the interviewing to a new level, by introducing video-interviews for this blog.
Speaking of the blog – it’s hard to believe that I launched it in February 2011, less than a year ago. Since then, it has established itself faster than I thought was possible.
Maybe because some readers who have followed me online since 1996 continued to follow my scribblings here, and it kind of went from there.
The past few months, I’ve ended up on Blabbermouth several times, which automatically drew a few thousand readers more than usual.
But, here’s how I remember my rockin’ year of 2011:
New Years Day 2011. I was browsing the web for info on gigs w. Gus G, who I had seen with Ozzy at Madison Square Garden in NYC a few weeks earlier. He totally blew me away. I found his MySpace-page and saw that Firewind had a gig in London only 7 days later.
FIREWIND in London – first gig of 2011
I found myself taking off to a rainy London a few days later, for the first gig of 2011. It was great, and also what started the Gus G/Ozzy/Firewind-galore of 2011, where I deliberately, and undeliberately, ended up seeing mentioned super-guitarist no less than 19 times… All of which could be followed in the separate blog Setting The World On Fire.
[Front row, Relentless Garage, London, UK – some blonde girl (=me), and a bunch of dark-haired guys…!]
TSO (Trans Siberian Orchestra) & JON OLIVA – no goMarch included a few concerts, but also a planned but missed one. I was supposed to go to Zurich to see the TSO (Trans Siberian Orchestra)-gig because Jon Oliva was going to be a part of that tour, and as JOP (Jon Oliva’s Pain) hadn’t toured since the fall 2010, I wanted to see him. Was curious to see the US-phenomenon TSO at the same time, on their first tour to Europe. Due to personal issues, Jon couldn’t make it and I decided not to go either – money spent on the flight ticket went down the drain, but shit happens.
BAD HABIT – the first video interview for In The Rearview Mirror
One of the best classic AOR-bands in Sweden, Bad Habit, announced a release-party and gig at Club Stairway To Heaven in Malmö. I’ve been a big fan of these guys since 1987, so I called the “band boss” Hal Marabel to set up a time for a video interview.
I’ve done TV-hosting, but video-interviews for the web was completely new to me.
My friend Henrik Hansson, former bassplayer of the band Hollywood, is good at filming and editing, so I asked him if he was in. He took it as a new challenge that he was happy to take on. Since this first “test-round” with Bad Habit, we have continued doing more and better video interviews throughout 2011.
Bad Habit kicked it all off, and they played a great gig that night, on the 11th of March 2011.
MEGADETH & SLAYER – Aarhus, Denmark
I took the day off to go to Aarhus, Denmark, a three hour long train-ride, to see Megadeth on March 21. Oh, headliners were Slayer, but I must be the only person on the planet who isn’t a huge fan of Slayer. I LOVED Megadeth’s performance, they kicked ass, had so much energy, it was just top notch. When Slayer went onstage I stayed for one song, then I had more than enough and went down to the train station to catch the night train back to work…REVIEW HERE.
MIKE TRAMP – I remember you (interview and release party at The Rock, Copenhagen)
Only a few days after the Megadeth-gig, it was time to head back to Denmark to meet Mike Tramp, former singer of White Lion. Before the interview, I had e-mailed a photo taken at the last interview I had done with him in The tivoli in Helsingborg, Sweden, a few years before.
Funny enough, he remembered me. So, he took time to do the video interview during sound check the day of his release party for his new album “Stand Your Ground” on the 24th of March.
He is a very easy guy to interview, talks a lot, is very open and easygoing, every journalist’s dream. He is also a skilled artist and frontman, definitely enjoyed the gig later that evening.Funny enough, I enjoyed the slightly “different” in-store gig that he did in a record store in central Copenhagen two days later, even more. More about that in the blog from that day: http://lita77777.posterous.com/in-store-gig-the-way-music-is-supposed-to-be
DORO – The Metal Queen visited Malmö
April was a pretty slow month by my standards. One of the highlights was Doro visiting Malmö on April 9, for an acclaimed concert at KB (Kulturbolaget).
Was also glad to see Chris, the merch guy, there. I first met him on tour with Jon Oliva, then with W.A.S.P and now with Doro. He was going out on the road with Arch Enemy as well but I never met him on that tour. Always nice to meet people you know, he’s a really cool guy.
There wasn’t enough time to set up an interview with Doro, but her record company and management were nice to deal with, so hopefully it can be arranged next time she comes to this part of the world. :-)
REVIEW & VIDEO HERE.
K.K Downing left Judas Priest
April was the month when one of the legends in the world of metal, announced that he was calling it quits. K.K Downing left Judas Priest under the most strange excuses and curcumstances. I got the news on Facebook April 20th… It was just two months before their Farewell tour was supposed to start, and I for one was shocked and pissed off all at the same time. The frustration didn’t go away until I actually saw Richie Faulkner on stage with Priest, and got a chance to ask him a thing or two at the press conference at Sweden Rock. But more about that later….
Matt LaPorte – guitarist of JOP, R.I.P……
Terrible news reached me on April 21st. A friend from the band (JOP) sent me a message so that I wouldn’t have to hear about it online. Matt LaPorte, guitarist with Jon Oliva’s Pain, and an important part of the “JOP-family” that I have so often described, had passed away in his sleep.Nobody knew at that point what had happened, his room-mate found him when he came home, nothing more was ever mentioned. It suppose that the details didn’t really matter, it was sad news. He was my age, a life ahead of him and a very talented musician.
But, something positive comes out of even the most tragic situations. A tribute-concert was held for him in July, which gave his friends and bandmates a chance to get together and remember…. R.I.P Matt.
Blogs about Matt: Matt 1 — Matt 2 — Matt 3
AMARANTHE – best debut of 2011
I was sent to interview this band in Gothenburg for Sweden Rock Magazine, but the article ended up being so short and isignificant in the mag, that I decided to give them the exposure they deserved elsewhere – on YouTube.
The first time I saw them was when I went to meet up with my friend Hanneke, light tech for JOP who was out with Kamelot (or possibly with the other act on the tour, Leave’s eyes) in Gothenburg. (Mentioned HERE)They played Trädgår’n and it’s one of the few times that an unknown opening act gets my attention. Amaranthe were amazing. I’ve never seen such perfectionism on a stage by a “debut band”. I didn’t know at the time that the members were anything but new in the business.
Henrik and I drove to Copenhagen and Amager Bio on May 15th, to talk to this kick-ass band (whose debut album had pretty much just been released. I wrote a very positive review in SRM, which guitarist Olof later on mentioned had helped a lot in the initial stage of promoting the band).
I predicted a very bright future for this band, and it turns out that I was right. In a very short time, they have definitely gotten a LOT of exposure for their deathmetal pop. 2011 was Amaranthe’s year and I’m really happy to see that they have done so well. Not only are they talented, they are also damn nice people, so – thumbs up and the best of luck in 2012 too guys!
ARTICLE AND VIDEO INTERVIEW HERE.
HELIX – Brian Vollmer talks about the ups and downs of stardom
My Canadian friend Sean e-mailed me one day and asked if I would be interested in doing an interview with Canadian band Helix. They had a few things going on, so I figured why not. Just like most rockers out there, I only associate the band with “Rock You” and “Heavy Metal Love”. As it turned out, there was a lot more than that to this band. It was published in this blog May 14th and can be found HERE.
JUNE was a crazy month. That’s when the ball REALLY started rolling. So, I’ll stop right here and continue this New Year’s blog 2011 with a part 2 – stick around! :-)
Found an old press conference with SKID ROW from when they played the Donington Monsters of Rock-festival back in 1992.
It’s probably been on my show at Radio MCB since there’s music in there too (don’t remember anymore, feels ages ago).
A very short clip from this press conference is in the “Roadkill“-video, for you old Skids-fans and collectors. :-)) The reporter who sat right next to me was from Spain or something and had a funny accent, so when she asked Sebastian “Have you calmed down?” she said it in such a strange way that he thought she said “Have you got a condom?”. Not that I’m surprised he interpreted it his own Baz-way! :-)
This was such a crazy day. The bands were staying all over the place and there were press conferences here and there around the Donington Park area – not to mention individual interviews, so it was hell getting from one place to another.
I was scheduled to do an interview with Blackie Lawless in… I don’t remember exactly, might have been Milton Keynes. Skid Row were about to kick off this press conference at the same time – in Nottingham. At the time – I was more interested in hanging with the skids than with Blackie, so I rushed off to Nottingham and asked my friend Ozzie to do the interview with Blackie for me. It was damn brave of her to do that, she had never done that before, and on top of all, she was a big W.A.S.P-fan and was dead nervous. Her interview turned out great. :-)
In the meantime, I was in Nottingham, attending this circus. Cause it was usually a circus when Skid Row were involved. :-)
However….it got late, people didn’t want to go even long after the press conference had finished.
It was just like that with Skid Row – there was always something happening, always some kind of party going on. And if there wasn’t, they could turn any boring joint into a Party-Central.
My hotel was in London and well…. I didn’t know back then that trains don’t run late in the evenings in England, so I was stuck. I ended up paying a CAB to take me from Nottingham to London – and then when I got back to Sweden just slid the bill to my editor…. He never said anything, just paid it, no questions asked. Pure luck!
Donington rocked, great memories from there, I remember how everybody was there in the backstage area. K K Downing (Judas Priest) was walking around, the Magnum-guys, the dudes from Venom, the bands, other familiar faces… If I only knew where I have those backstage-photos right now. I’ll post them as soon as I rememember where they are. :-)
But for now – enjoy the press conference from August 1992. Here is what the press/backstage/artist itinerary looked like…..Funny with the actual names of the artists in there, to clarify things for the backstage crew.
Took the day off to go to Aarhus, Denmark and see Megadeth. I keep saying Megadeth eventhough Slayer were headlining. But the only reason I went was for Megadeth. I stayed for 1 song with Slayer, that was quite enough for me.
Took the 3,5 hour trainride from Copenhagen and arrived to a nice, sunny Aarhus. Followed my printed directions and walked to the venue. It was one of the most unusual venues I’ve seen.
It was more of a congress-center, everything was glass…! So, during sound check I thought the windows were going to crack, down to the last one!
I spent all day listening to and watching the sound check, but it quickly got old and they were more than an hour late opening the doors – and then another hour late with the concert. I wondered if I had accidentally ended up at a Guns n’Roses gig.
But when the band walked out on stage, accompanied by the extatic roar from the enthusiastic crowd, it was well worth the waiting!
I’ve seen Megadeth live countless times over the years and as much as I love Megadeth, they used to be the most boring band you could imagine on stage. I always went to see them anyway, because I loved hearing the songs with all that amp-power behind them, that you can’t get from your stereo system at home, no matter how much you try to blow up your speakers (and your neighbors’ ears).
But Megadeth 2011 kicks major fucking ass!
I was blown away when they opened for Judas Priest on their last European tour, and yesterday’s show was still as good as I remember it from the last time. I don’t know what happened, but there is so much drive, so much “F U!” in this band, they deliver the goods!
There’s something primal about Megadeth and their music, I was thinking how super-masculine it is in a way, and there’s a reason why 99% of the crowd is male. But it feels so frikkin’ great when that heavy, aggressive music, the pumping bass and angry, distorted guitars hits your eardrums – it’s like a spring-cleaning for the soul. Whatever might be stored in there, whether you’re aware of it or not, it just goes away. Amazing.
Here’s Mustaine & co yelling “take no shit!”, I don’t know, it just feels fantastic when you’re right up front with the craziest fans, watching Megadeth doing their thing.
And another thing – they don’t age!!
WTF, when Dave Ellefson walked over to our side of the stage with a bright spotlight right in his face, I was thinking to myself that I met this guy back in 1991 and he looked EXACTLY like that! No wrinkles, no nothing.
When most “regular” men tend to lose their hair in their 40’s or somewhere around that time, rockers just seem to grow MORE of it!
Basically, they all looked great. I love Dave Mustaine, he’s just such a unique character. I laughed to myself when half-way through the show he goes:
– I forgot to say good evening…! I’m having to much fun that I forgot to say hi, forgive me!
Only minutes prior to that statement, I was thinking to myself how nobody can look as grumpy as Mustaine. And then he says that he’s having “so much fun”? :) I shouldn’t be surprised. :-D
I like his sarcasm. When I saw Megadeth in Las Vegas back in 1999 (Marty Friedman was still with the band) a girl was flashing her boobs and Mustaine just stood there, not particularly impressed. Then he went: “You know… if you water them, they might grow!” Ouch!! :P
Musically, Megadeth is better than ever. The way the two guitars work together in “Countdown to Extinction” for instance or the contrast between “A Tout Le Monde” and “Peace sells….but who’s buying?”, you get everything from the most raw, caveman brutal metal, to classy guitarwork and an amazingly tight rythm section.
The band interacts perfectly with the crowd, and they are better than they’ve ever been – it’s impossible NOT to raise your fist and yell.
And when it’s all over, and you walk away…. you feel like you’ve just been born again.
From the “good old days” – Marty Friedman and me:
We had a fellow friend – Anders Johansson from Yngwie’s band, now with Hammerfall. They lost touch and I helped him get back in touch with Anders. Once again, this was WAY before internet even existed. :)
And Dave “Junior” Ellefson and me backstage Stockholm early 90’s: