It’s that time of year again – when it’s time for me to look back on the past 12 months to summarize what I’ve been up to. It’s been a rockin’ year for sure, although it didn’t start out that well.
My year in rock started tucked down in bed at my friend Blackie’s house in Nashville, Tennessee. I had a bad fever and a touch of the flu after visiting another friend in Florida two days before, Kevin from JOP (Jon Oliva’s Pain).
[The first blog of 2014:]
I missed the gig I had planned to go to on New Year’s (Blackie and her bf Ronnie, both from a band called Liquid Courage), but at least I got to see former Savatage-frontman Damond Jinya do his thing with his tribute band Kuzin It in a club before I left.
[Left – Damond with Savatage Right: Blackie, me and the ladies, at the club]
I loved this!! Great cover, well sung, awesome!
It was a fairly slow concert month in January, as always. I did an interview with Gus G for Sweden Rock in January and I think that was pretty much about it, musicwise. Yes, a VERY slow month.
February served the rock’n’roll table at Amager Bio in Copenhagen – first with the PARTY BAND number ONE: STEEL PANTHER (February 14th)!
A week later it continued with ROYAL HUNT taking on the stage. I went cause I love the drummer’s style, Allan Sorensen. He’s absolutely amazing. As it turned out, so was the singer – D.C Cooper. Holy shit…
March was the month when things started to move a bit. Gus G had just released his first solo-album “I Am The Fire” and was kicking off his solo tour with a few shows in Greece with Uli Jon Roth and Jorn Lande – and Mats Levén fronting his own band. I flew down to Thessaloniki which I almost consider as my second home nowadays, met up with my friend Suuded from Germany, and checked out the show.
Had a great time in Greece – as always. Was great to see Gus and the others, we went to this rock bar after the show which is almost a tradition every time he plays in his home town.
But the loud music makes it almost impossible to hear what anyone is saying so after maybe 2 hours everybody left to get some well deserved sleep.
A few days later I was on a plane over to Manchester, UK, to check out the Steel Panther show there. That was all I did – for a change. No interviews, no parties, no nothing. Just fly in, see show, fly home.
The week that followed was graced by the super awesome Danish rockers D.A.D! My friend Henny and I made a roadtrip to Gothenburg and had a great time, getting slightly intoxicated at Hard Rock Cafe – and I hit on the Swedish prince, Carl Philip, literally. I wasn’t looking, as usual, and he and his “gorillas” were passing me on the sidewalk where there was a construction area and not much room. I wasn’t looking and thought “why do I always have to be the one who moves??” so I pretty much shoved the prince, when my friend whispered to me who it was. Whoops…
The cool thing was that he went to Hard Rock as well – and ordered a burger that he enjoyed while Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society was playing from the video screens all over the restaurant! The Swedish prince ROCKS! :) And he’s handsome too – for a short haired prince. ;)
THIS is what I call rock and f***in’ ROLL!!
In April, I got a message from Iréne on Facebook – she used to sing with female rockers Modesty Blaise, a band I used to manage back in the day, and that was reallyyy a long time ago. We lost touch but reconnected thanks to social media. :)
She invited me to come over to the studio where they were recording a tribute to our old friend Andy Pierce from the band Nasty Idols who passed away last year.
It was so great to see everyone again. Sometimes it’s like time stood still, we all had a great time and Andy’s positive spirit was with us the whole time.
And that takes me to MAY and the months that followed that were super-busy concert- and travelwise! Let me catch my breath a little bit here before continuing to part TWO of 2014, cause there’s a lot – a LOT more where this came from. :D Keep checking!!
When the clock striked midnight on New Year’s Eve and we entered 2014, I was in Nashville with a bad cold… And what’s more, I only had one flight ticket for ONE gig in 2014 (Steel Panther in Manchester in March).
THAT hasn’t happened since… well, 2006 I think. I’ve simply made concert travel my thing. But no interesting tours have been announced until now. But, things are beginning to shake, rattle and roll!
Gus G has just announced that there will be a Greek solo-tour in March with Mats Leven, Jorn Lande and Uli Jon Roth – and suddenly 2014 is looking a whole lot better! Unless, of course, it happens to coincide with the Steel Panther weekend in the UK! :-/
I’m all out of vacation days too until May, so every gig-trip I do the coming few months (February, March and April) has got to be on weekends or during the Easter holidays (any day that I have time off anyway). That is a weird feeling. I’ve gotten so used to being out all year round, going to different places that it’s strange knowing that maybe I won’t be able to until May…!
We’ll see what happens. I just need to have stuff to look forward to or I start getting restless. :P
On a more local level, I’ll be going to the Royal Hunt-gig in Helsingborg next month. The main reason being that these are basically the same guys behind CORNERSTONE (with Doogie White on vocals) which I love. Most of all because of the DRUMS on those albums.
The Cornerstone-albums are so well mixed and mastered, everything is done with absolute perfection – it’s just so elegant and so well made.
And the drummer, Allan Sorensen, is without a doubt one of my favorite drummers. He’s the only drummer that made me listen through four albums focused on the DRUMS as if it was a lead instrument (usually it’s the vocals or guitars).
I just automatically sorted out the drums when I listened to that stuff, because I think that his playing is interesting and colorful – he’s steady as a rock, powerful like the “Thing” and I enjoy all those little details, he just has a cool, playful style. Kind of the same stuff that makes me love Paul Gilbert. Technical skills – but still has the ability to present those skills without putting people to sleep! It’s the subtle touch of fun that does the trick!
So, although I haven’t listened as much to Royal Hunt as I have listened to Cornerstone, I’m looking forward to a pleasant surprise. :)
There’s not much Cornerstone-stuff on Youtube, which is really annoying. Some of what was once up there is gone. But if you like Gotthard and Rainbow (Joe Lynn Turner-era style) then you will most likely like Cornerstone.
Arrival – 2000
Upon Our Yesterdays – 2003
In Concert (2 CD) – 2005 [recommended!]
Human Stain – 2006 [recommended!]
Two Tales of One Tomorrow – 2007
(continued from http://lita77777.posterous.com/my-year-in-rock-retrospect-2012-part-2 )
OZZY & FRIENDS IN DORTMUND, GERMANY
The Ozzy & friends gig in Dormund was a memorable experience for good reasons and bad. I got to know a new friend, Suuded, and we had a great time. Remember a fantastic dinner in a restaurant right behind the Westfalenhalle, but I also remember the sky just opening and it was pissing down all day! We were forced to stand out in the rain by a sadistic power-hungry security person who made sure nobody was under the long roof in front of the entrance (there would have been PLENTY of room there for a lot of people). Anyway, we got in the front row eventually. Both Steel Panther and Ozzy were well worth the wait and the rain!
The story can be found here: http://lita77777.posterous.com/ozzy-sweden-rock-festival-part-1
Photos from that are on my Facebook-page: www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror
SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL….
Only two days later, it was time for the next annual event: Sweden Rock Festival.
This time I was joined by Vera, my Russian colleague that I got to know after bumping into her several times at press conferences at Sweden Rock. She was going to camp with her friends though (wild horses couldn’t get ME to do that camping-thing).
The full story: http://lita77777.posterous.com/sweden-rock-festival-2012-part-2
The next day I ran like crazy to make it to the first signing-session of the day, which was Satchel from Steel Panther. I had found this great tent where musicians hung out and various guitarists were doing signing sessions. But it didn’t seem like it had been widely announced anywhere, so thank god there weren’t those insanely long lines as to the “regular” signings.
When I walked in, it was still Andreas Kisser from Sepultura who was signing. I was first in line for Satchel, and I got my hoodie signed, and some pics. The message he left was of course very “Satchel-style”…! ;)
Vera and I also met a nice dude from Adrenaline Mob’s crew, who invited us to be his guests, so we spent the day hanging backstage and on various stages. That was perfect, if for no other reason than because it was raining all day, and we didn’t have to be out there getting soaked. Watched Ugly Kid Joe, Motorhead and Twisted Sister up on the stage for instance.
Press conferences I didn’t want to miss included Steel Panther and Sebastian Bach – but then I happened to walk in on a few more by coincidence. There is activity 24-7 at Sweden Rock, it’s nearly impossible to try to sum it all up. But check out the pics on the Facebook-page (URL mentioned somewhere above), that will give you a quick tour of what was going on on stage and back-stage at Sweden Rock Festival 2012!
Way too much to mention, I think I kept updating in real-time on Facebook because I wouldn’t have time to write an actual blog. Busy summer! :)
Next up was my other favorite festival: Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium!
[to be continued….]
Every year when I look back on what I’ve been doing, it seems like it’s been longer than just a year. 2012 was no exception.
Even just the Firewind-tours were enough to fill a lot of space and bring back great memories – you’ll find those in this separate blog: http://firewindtour.posterous.com/firewind-tours-of-2012-recap
But there have been plenty of other highlights that I thought I’d take a look back on, now when there are only a few more days left of this year…:-)
TONY IOMMI DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER – AND OZZY & FRIENDS….
The year started with bad news that shook the whole heavy metal community – one of the godfathers of metal, Tony Iommi, had been diagnosed with cancer. The Black Sabbath reunion with Ozzy that had been announced and that had been so highly anticipated, was off. However, not to disappoint the fans too much, Ozzy decided to do the scheduled dates as “Ozzy & Friends“, bringing Slash, Zakk Wylde and Geezer Butler on tour. And of course his own band, which made a lot of people happy – myself included, as “the new kid on the block”, Gus G, was with Oz on those dates. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have bothered.
FIREWIND IN ATHENS
Speaking of Gus, my first concert trip of 2012 took me to Athens, Greece where they kicked off their year at the Fuzz club, and also recorded a video for the single “Wall of Sound” that was released later in the spring.I remember Athens as easy to navigate with the metro going all through town. I was guided through some must-see’s, such as the Akropolis, by Jon, a good friend of Jon Oliva’s Pain (they were the ones who recommended him when I was looking for a contact in Athens – just in case). He’s also a singer in the band Need and we had lots to talk about, so it was a great guide! :) Always nice to get to know new people.
As for the Firewind-show (which was on January 14th, by the way), it was one of the best or worst, depending on how you look at it – their Greek crowd is absolutely freaking NUTS! I must have lost ten pounds at least getting crushed against the barricades before and during the show. My god. But – as always – worth it, ten times over! :)
STEVE STEVENS & SEBASTIAN BACH AT THE IRIDIUM JAZZ-CLUB IN NEW YORK CITY
At the end of January, on the 27th, I left for New York City. This time it wasn’t a major arena-gig, quite the opposite. Steve Stevens, one of the coolest guitarists alive (known from Billy Idol, Michael Jackson, Vince Neil etc…) and Sebastian Bach were performing together at this small jazz-club somewhere on Broadway.
The whole idea seemed so bizarre that I had to see it. I had also scheduled an interview with Steve through his wife Josie. Josie rocks! People look at her and judge her by the way she looks, it’s way too easy to think she’s just some bimbo, but I loved that girl. She was very professional but at the same time also very friendly and open. She had never even met us, but greeted us with a hug and made sure that we felt welcome. I wish all interviews could be planned through people like Josie.
I got a great interview with Steve after the two sets at the Iridium (with a seated audience). My friend (and photographer) Beatrice and I were lucky to get absolute front row seats – right at the stage. I remember when Sebastian walked out on stage, he dropped his jaw and started doing sign language and grimacing kind of to ask “Did you fly over just for this?”
He shouldn’t be surprised, after 23 years he should be used to seeing me anywhere in the world, so why not a jazz club in New York?
Anyway, the backstage story, the review, the interview, photos and all from that can be found here:
WHITNEY HOUSTON PASSED
After the Stevens/Bach show at the Iridium, I took it easy during February. The music world was hit by more bad news, not specifically metal, but one of the great voices in modern music, had passed – Whitney Houston. It shocked a lot of people, including a lot of rockers. Whether or not you were into her music, I think most of us would agree that Whitney’s voice was one of a kind and it was a tragic fate. This was on February 11, 2012. R.I.P Whitney.
STEEL PANTHER INTERVIEW IN COPENHAGEN
Next on the schedule of 2012 was Steel Panther. I heard that they were coming to Copenhagen, and I actually hesitated whether or not I would request an interview with them. They are funny, but that’s exactly the thing – how do you interview a band like that?! It would certainly be…different.
It was actually my friend Kevin, from JOP, who talked me into it. “What’s the worst that could happen? If you don’t like the result of the interview, don’t post it!” True enough. So, I contacted Universal in Copenhagen and set up an interview with these crazy guys.
It was a pleasant surprise. They were absolutely “normal” before the cameras went on, and especially Michael Starr who we met down in the lobby 30 minutes before the interview. But the minute the cameras were rolling, they became the out of control Steel Panther that we all know and love.
I had it all figured out, or so I thought. However, they wouldn’t let me finish a sentence, so they missed some of the jokes that I was hoping they would pick up on. But, I realized that the best way to deal with these dudes, was to just shut up and let them do the talking! :))
The interview has passed 24 300 views, that’s crazy. :))
PART TWO OF MY YEAR IN ROCK COMING UP………..!
A video says more than a thousand words – or something like that. ;)
Feast your eyes on THIS – from last night’s STEEL PANTHER party at O2 (Apollo) in Manchester, UK!
(review/blog here: http://lita77777.posterous.com/you-wanted-the-best-you-got-steel-panther)
More to come…. :)