2015 left the building a few hours ago (here in Sweden) and when I look back, the “slow year” I thought I had, because of the upcoming cruise that made it harder, financially, to travel all over the place – was in fact less boring than I felt it was. ;)
MARCH: The year started out with the GUS G tour he did in early March (with JEFF SCOTT SOTO as special guest) that I was doing PR for, so lots of work there but was nice to make myself useful as a professional this time.
The month before that, FEBRUARY, I also went to see his former bandmate APOLLO in Halmstad, Sweden, doing a cover gig with “TRIBUTE TO DIO” an all-star band. Great evening.
BRYAN ADAMS played at Forum in Copenhagen, an unforgettable experience and a last minute-decision to go.
Went for a short visit to Detroit to see my friends from MADAM X, hear some new music and also catch a gig with MICHAEL ANGELO BATIO at the Diesel.
APRIL: I didn’t stay away from Detroit that long, cause in April I was back there again – this time for the MADAM X gig with AUTOGRAPH and KOUGARAN, also at the Diesel. Great gig, great evening!
That same month – April – took me all the way to Sao Paulo, BRAZIL, for the MONSTERS OF ROCK festival. I went to see OZZY solo but ended up being absolutely floored by YNGWIE MALMSTEEN and UNISONIC!
Other bands that played were Judas Priest, Manowar, Primal Fear, Kiss, Motorhead (Lemmy cancelled, Sepultura filled in), Steel Panther, Rival Sons, Black Veil Brides and Accept.
MAY: After that gig in Brazil, in April – I had to see MORE, so I got on a plane to Bucharest, ROMANIA, to see the Maestro: YNGWIE MALMSTEEEN. Bucharest was a fantastic surprise, I loved that city and will go back as soon as I get a good reason. :)
JUNE was, as usual SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL-time and my personal highlight was meeting IAN HILL of JUDAS PRIEST for an interview after the press conference.
Right after Sweden Rock, literally the day after the festival ended, I got on a flight to the US again, this time to Florida to do a studio report with TSO (Trans-Siberian Orchestra): Met up with PAUL O’NEILL, JON OLIVA, AL PITRELLI, KAYLA REEVES and JEFF PLATE. Were there for two days with a non-stop busy schedule, but very very interesting and most of all, was glad to see The Mountain King again! :D
BILLY IDOL played in Varberg – HARDCORE SUPERSTAR opened on a great summer day, very cool outdoor venue.
JULY was a non-metal month, but cool gigs nevertheless. LADY GAGA with TONY BENNETT at Tivoli Gardens (amusement park) and ELTON JOHN same place, two days before.
AUGUST: ROB ZOMBIE, Vega, Copenhagen. I was supposed to see him again at a festival shortly thereafter but cancelled because one of my best friends was getting married. One of few good reasons to cancel plans of going to a show. :)
SEPTEMBER: GUS G came back to Scandinavia, this time with KOBRA AND THE LOTUS and KAMELOT in Copenhagen and Gothenburg. Kobra and the Lotus was a nice surprise, didn’t like them on record, but enjoyed the shows!
W.A.S.P with opening act DYNAZTY played in my home town Malmo later that month, met up with my friend Taz (lights for W.A.S.P), which is always a pleasure! :D
OCTOBER: No gigs. Ended up in the hospital for an emergency appendix surgery and was told to keep still for a few weeks. So I did. Kind of.
NOVEMBER: WHITESNAKE played in Denmark with openers DEAD DAISIES. The place was packed. Mostly remember the hassle with the backstage passes, those things can be a pain in the ass and never worth it.
Anyway – later in November, I took a little trip over to Detroit again to see the MADAM X boys and girls and listen to some new songs from the upcoming album in the studio.
Producer Kevin said I should go see the band POP EVIL and pulled some strings to get me in on the guest list – on the worst day of the year…! It was snowing like crazy that evening, but in the end it was a good choice, I liked the opening act KALEIDO better than the headliners, to be honest. :)
A friend, Maj-Louise, “kidnapped” me on a spontaneous trip to Gothenburg for a meet-and-greet with TOBIAS SAMMET of EDGUY & AVANTASIA, and listening party of the new Avantasia album. Also playing that night was HAMMERFALL.
And in DECEMBER, I had two busy weekends visiting Dublin and Birmingham for WHITESNAKE/DEF LEPPARD/BLACK STAR RIDERS. :D
So I’m not sure the year was a total disaster, it turned out pretty good after all. :)
I haven’t posted anything in a while – and it’s not because nothing’s been happening. Quite the opposite. When too much is happening, I don’t have time for blogging, other than very short updates in social media at best.
This past week I’ve spent at Sweden Rock Festival, followed by three days in Tampa, Florida meeting up with the Savatage/TSO guys Paul O’Neill, Jon Oliva, Al Pitrelli and Jeff Plate. Had a chat with Chris Caffery over the phone when I got home, and have spent three days transcribing 3 hours worth of interviews. And listening to Gus G’s new album “Brand New Revolution” for review as well…
Everything has been about music. And it strikes me that THAT is where I’m home and that’s where I belong. I find it very hard to relate to people who don’t share that passion. Or rather, who don’t like music particularly at all.
I do wish that I was on tour all year round, that would be my idea of a perfect life. Not because it’s easy or anything – I do know the pros and cons, but it’s where I’m supposed to be. I can talk about music, listen to music and watch gigs day in and day out, and never get tired of it.
Anyway, there will be photos, videos, stories, interviews, the works, but it might be a few more weeks until I’ve handed in the articles that I have a deadline on and had a chance to breathe. :)
No rest for the wicked! :D
Continued from part 1: https://intherearviewmirror77777.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/my-year-in-rock-2014-retrospect/
This is a screenshot from my Outlook e-mail. That’s where I organize all my trips. Every single event has its own file. That way I can keep track of things more easily, and also remember where I’ve been. I couldn’t fit everything in this shot but you get the idea…
So – moving on. MAY was a busy-busy month. That’s when the Gus G/Marty Friedman Guitar Universe tour kicked off. It started in Tampere, Finland on May 1st. I remember it well, because I took the train from Malmo to Stockholm the day before and was flying from Stockholm to Tampere on the day of the show.
When I woke up at my airport hotel that morning, it was snow all over the place! In MAY…!?
I remember walking around in the freezing cold city of Tampere, where I wouldn’t get access to my hotel room until late in the afternoon, and it was some sort of stupid automatic hotel without a front desk or PEOPLE to talk to, so…
I decided to just screw it, lose the money for the room I wasn’t going to use, and got myself a room at the Scandic hotel right next to the train station in Tampere instead. That was the best choice I could have made. WHAT a room! I loved it! Still remember it as one of my best stays this year.
It was good to see everyone when I was picked up by Andy, the tour manager, just as the sound check was about to finish. Gus and his crew, and band – it’s always great to see familiar faces no matter where you go in the world. :)
One thing that became pretty apparent already at that first gig, and that was that the “guitar geek” crowd wasn’t exactly the type of crowd that would blow the roof off a place. Some fans more than others perhaps, but it wasn’t a party animal type of crowd, for sure. Nevertheless, they WORSHIP their guitar heroes, they just show it in a different way. :)
The first round of this tour for me looked like this: Malmo – Stockholm – Tampere – Helsinki – Stockholm – Malmo (as supposed to be Gothenburg as well but that show was postponed and will take place in March this year instead).
Took a few days off the Gus/Marty tour but went to Copenhagen to see Reckless Love because I had seen them at the same festival as Gus/Marty (Stockholm Rocks) and though they were a great live band. They didn’t disappoint me in Copenhagen either, cool party band!
A few days after that I headed off to Germany for a new round of Gus and Marty shows. I started in Munich, travelled by plane and train, some great places, some less great places, but what I love about those trips are people I meet and places I see. Not the tourist thing but just everday things, everyday people. I don’t necessarily need to do tourist things, I can soak up the vibe of a place just by walking down the street – any street. Even just walking into the nearest grocery store. Doesn’t require more than that to experience a city the way I see it.
Met up with my friend Suuded again in Hannover for the show at Musikzentrum (which appears in the “Blame It On Me“-video, by the way :) ):
I came back home only to do a bit of laundry, work and maybe sleep a little. Then I was off on the next flight to London. This time it was at somebody else’s expense, namely Sony Music’s.
Judas Priest had invited a select few to listen to the new album, Redeemer of souls, at the Sony Music offices in London. I also got to meet Rob Halford again, always a pleasure. The album was great, the meeting with Rob was great. It was just a very memorable experience, the whole thing. :)
The Halford-blog can be found here: https://intherearviewmirror77777.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/hello-again-metal-god/
The next day I just moved from one part of London to another, to see Gus G and Marty Friedman at the O2 again. If I remember it correctly it was the last show of the tour. At least it was for me.
Marty recorded his video there and it was a great day and evening. Herman Li from Dragonforce joined the guys on stage that night.
As always, I hate it when a tour ends. While you’re in the middle of it, it’s always fun, exciting and always a new destination to look forward to (for a travel junkie like me). When it’s over, you go home and then you have to start all over again trying to find another interesting tour, festival or gig to attend…. I’m not much for sitting at home watching reality-TV. I’d rather live my own “reality TV”. :)
Anyway, the last Gus/Marty show on my schedule was May 21st. I had about two weeks to catch my breath before the next event was to take place: SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL. My second home, the yearly tradition that I can’t imagine a summer without. THIS year was memorable in many ways – not only for the gigs but also for the people I met and got to know, that have made some pretty significant marks in my life ever since!
All about that in part 3…….. Stick around.
It’s been less than 6 months since I wrote the blog below – and things have been happening at a rapid pace with this band ever since. I promised to reveal who it was in due time – and some have probably already guessed it. The band I was talking about was MADAM X.
Sometimes you just KNOW.
I’ve had that feeling a number of times in my life and it has never, ever failed me. The only times I’ve been “wrong” is when the bands have decided to break up/quit, but evenso, they’ve always done something to leave a mark.
When I went to see Madam X early that day at Sweden Rock (June 7, 2014) I basically went because I never miss an opportunity to see a metal band with female musicians. That’s always been a source of inspiration for me. Also, Madam X – they were in the Swedish music magazine OKEJ all the time back in the 80’s, who ever thought we’d get a chance to see them live – 30 years later?!
I was watching their sound check and preparations when a few fans asked for picks, and Chris “Godzilla” jumped off the stage, went over to the guys and handed out whatever he had – finishing the “pick-distribution” with a smile and the words: “If I dig any deeper in my pockets I’ll end up handing out my hotel key! That’s all I’ve got guys.”
I remember it clearly because it showed that this was a band with a good attitude. I made a mental note of that.
And the show? Loved it. Much like Skid Row back in the day, there was a passion and an energy that came across so clearly and I ended up staying the whole show. Usually at Sweden Rock I go from stage to stage and listen to a few songs, then move to the next stage/band. Unless it’s one of my favorite bands of course.
Madam X kept my interest and attention from beginning to end and it was love at first sight, to say the least!
They looked great, they sounded good, they were being themselves, not making any excuses, I loved that too. It was just genuine, you can’t fake that.
I took a few rounds in the VIP area after the show thinking I might bump into them and have a chat, but instead, I kept hearing from my friends that they had met Godzilla back there, showing me pics of those meetings on their mobile phones.
So I went to the signing session instead. The line went on forever, there were tons of people waiting to meet the band, it was insane!
Some of them never even got to meet the band because the SRF-crew had to cut the line to make room for the next signing session, leaving lots of disappointed fans with unsigned records and photos…
I didn’t get to talk to the band that day, but they left a lasting impression, so after the festival – June 9th, I just left a short note to Chris on Facebook, saying that I had a few decent pics and videos in case they wanted to use any of it – and said that I had enjoyed the show – a lot.
Started talking about the band and their plans and shortly thereafter he sent 3 songs that they wanted to use when looking for a record deal and wanted someone else’s honest opinion. Was the material good enough?
Like I wrote in that blog back in June – I didn’t expect it to be more than okay, maybe decent, but I didn’t think it would be so good that it would totally blow me away. All three songs were absolutely brilliant!
I’ve had those demos in my cellphone ever since, listening to them on my way to work, in the car, playing them on repeat. How often do I hear anything nowadays that makes me want to hear MORE, like back in the day when I was a kid? Not often. This is so rare, and I’m so thankful that I discovered I could still get kicks like that, even after 25 years in the business.
The rest is history. Today it’s December 5 – and I’ve been in Detroit twice, visiting in the studio in Rochester, following the recordings of the coming Madam X comeback album.
I’ve gotten to know the people involved – the band, whoever was in the studio that weekend, producer, friends, husbands, what have you – and they were all freaking cool people.
I’ve clicked with a few bands and their crews before, but this was different, this was truly like we had known eachother a lifetime. I liked them instantly, felt right at home from the word go. That’s a great feeling.
2015 is going to be Madam X’ year! And yeah, this is where you heard it first. Could I be wrong? Absolutely not. :)
It feels great, I believe in this 110%, and judging by the reactions from fans worldwide, the band has never really been forgotten. The anticipation and the excitement is through the roof!
I feel like an enthusiastic teenager – it’s going to be a blast. Not only do I think that they will continue where they left off back in 1984, I think they’ll do it better and beyond people’s expectations. Want a preview? Here’s the first single. :) Enjoy!
As promised, the not-your-average-interview with Madam X bassplaying madman, Chris “Godzilla” Doliber.
It’s a fun look into the thoughts, life and antics of this anything but subtle showman – and there will be YET more, as we went a little more in depth with some of the topics here below, in a phone conversation a few days after this was done. So, if you’re a Madam X-fan, subscribe to this blog, like my Facebook-page InTheRearviewMirror or follow me on Twitter, and you’ll be the first to know when it’s up!
Back to the roots: Can you remember the moment when you realized that music was going to be your life? (what band, album, concert or other event triggered it?)
I was very young and my father screamed “everybody come here quick!“. The family gathered around the television to watch The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. The Rolling Stones, The Doors. I asked for a guitar for my 6th birthday. I suppose seeing my father and mother so excited about music somehow fueled my desire to play.
Can you recall your very first gig, the first time you had to face a crowd?
My first gig was playing a High school dance. I remember the girls swarmed around like bees. Music, Money, Pussy. I was hooked!
When you joined Madam X, it was during a period when many were sceptic as to if women could play rock’n’roll. Was that ever an issue for you? Did you ever question if Roxy and Maxine could play or if you even wanted to be associated with women in a heavy metal band?
I never thought of it as playing in a band with women nor did I ever give a fuck what anyone else thought. They are very accomplished musicians. Both had scholarships to the University for Music. They can talk circles around me about music theory. When they auditioned me I was blown away by their musicianship! After several hours of foreplay they gave me a call back. Ask the cat from Skillet, Evanescence, Smashing Pumpkins. I’m sure you’ll get the same answer.
Did you ever think, during all these years when you were busy doing other things and playing in other bands, that Madam X would get together again?
(You did a reunion gig in the early 90s but was the band dead as far as you were concerned or were you always hoping there would be a new beginning for Madam X?)
You know, you move on in life. I don’t live in the past. I always have songs ideas running through my head. Like, damn this would be perfect for the X if we were together. I pretty much thought Madam X would never play together again. I thought they all hated me. At least for now it seems their skin is tough enough to put up with me for a little while. Okay, so I hit myself in the head with my bass. They hate that. Why? Because I have knocked myself out before, and most recently Sweden Rock, I got vertigo and had to leave the stage to go vomit during Maxine’s guitar solo. Why do I do it? Because that’s who I am!
So now, what do you see in your crystal ball – what are your hopes and plans for the future, both for the band and for you personally?
My crystal ball is in the shop. But I’m looking forward to releasing what I feel is the best music we have written. We have a fresh renewed feeling. The weight of Madam X 80’s is off of us and now we are producing some great songs that cross over from who we were to who we are.
On a personal level, I’m looking forward to taking a ride on the Vomit Comet that is the plane that trains the astronauts. As the plane performs a parabolic maneuver the occupants become weightless. Yes, you can get a ticket for that ride, but it is a bit pricey. Also I am working on a website that will connect all strip club DJ’s worldwide, stripclubmusiconline.com
If you are an artist and have a song that is suited for the strip club industry, sexy, dirty… Maybe you’re the next Skrillex, Buckcherry, Nickelback, Melleefresh. Upload today and your music can be played worldwide tonight!! That’s a captive audience of over 1 million people a day in strip clubs. stripclubmusiconline.com is the largest strip club DJ data base in world.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
20 RANDOM QUESTIONS
What are some of your hobbies (apart from playing)? What are you passionate about and how do you get your kicks?
My # 1 hobby is scuba diving on ship wrecks in Lake Superior. My max depth so far is 232 feet on air, that was on a beautiful little ship called the Comet. I like to surf.
What’s the craziest thing Godzilla has ever done?
That is really hard to answer. To a crazy person nothing seems crazy. Things I might regret doing? Smashing a 1965 Fender P bass, value $10.000 plus. Pushing over a stack of Ampeg SVT’s, a total of 4 heads then not having anything to play through the next night. Breaking my bass techs jaw bone. Spitting on Sebastian.
[there will be more on this topic soon, as we went a little deeper in that whole discussion during a phoner a few days later]
How did the name Godzilla become your nick?
On stage I tend to have a short fuse, it doesn’t take much to set me off. Bret named me Godzilla because of my bad attitude. However the rumor is because my manhood is large, green and scale Y.
What’s the biggest difference between Chris Doliber and Godzilla?
I am a Gemini, 2 people 1 skin. Chris will help an old lady cross the road, anonymously buy elderly persons a meal in a restaurant. Godzilla will set himself on fire to get attention!!
Whats the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Keep your dick in your pants.
What do you do to keep fit? Diet, excercise, and how disciplined are you?
I try to run everyday at least 2 miles. I do pushups, squats… things I don’t have to go to the gym for. I eat everything but prefer red meat, chicken , fruits and lots of vegetables. Salmon when I’m feeling freaky.
What makes you angry?
Wow. This is going to take a while. Someone driving the speed limit in the inside lane. In the U.S that’s the passing lane or the fast lane. Look, I’m in a hurry. It’s my ticket, I will pay it if they can catch me, so get the fuck out of my way. Abuse of animals, children and the elderly. All others “fair game”.
If you could put together your favorite band, consisting of any musicians – dead or alive – who would you pick?
Well, this band will have the most musicians ever on a stage together. Look, just because a musician is notable doesn’t mean he or she would be a good fit in just any rock combo. That’s what band chemistry is, all the right ingredients to make explosives. It’s highly likely they have surrounded themselves with musicians that will compliment his or her style.
Okay, here we go – but I will narrow it down to keep payroll in check. You know, too many mouths to feed. Let’s start with the meat and potatoes.
Rob Halford– vocals. Dimebag Darrell & Zakk Wylde – guitar. Cliff Burton– bass. Bill Ward – drums.
Freddie Mercury and Ian Hunter – vocals. David Bowie – vocals and sax. Brian May & Jimmy Paige – guitar. John Deacon or John Paul Jones – bass. Cozy Powell or John Bonham – drums.
Oh yeah, that motherfucker Godzilla to clean the stage when their done being brilliant.
Bret Kaiser on vocals. Maxine Petrucci on guitar. Roxy Petrucci on drums, and yours truly.
Whats your first thought upon waking up?
NOT AGAIN! Just kidding. On many occasions I feel like I won the lottery. I love my house, it sits on 4 acres, it’s a big old place that looks like a castle, but it’s home to me.
Aside from food, water, and shelter, what one thing could you not go a day without? Your smartphone? A sentimental keepsake?
My family and friends. All in all, I’m pretty much okay without all that shit. I’m an artist so I will beat on hollow logs and make pictures on cave walls .
Are you a good liar?
I don’t think I’m a good liar. I think I would like to be a better liar, but liars are not thought of in a good way, so disregard that 2nd comment. I was lying when I said that.
Are you a good judge of character?
I would like to believe so, but my track record proves different. As many times as I’ve been screwed on deals, I’m surprised I haven’t gotten pregnant.
Do you have a “things to do before I die”-list?
Most definitely. People or things? Skydive, see the great pyramids in Egypt, fly a Jetfighter, have a chat with Ian Hunter. Punch a bully in the mouth.
In everyday life, what is your number one pet peeve?
Wow, so many so little time. I always put my left sock and shoe on first. Even if my felt shoe is across the room and my right shoe is within arm’s reach. Don’t touch my tooth brush, EVER!!
If you could go back in time to change one thing what would it be?
Only one thing? I would give Adolf Hitler’s father a condom.
If you were a super hero what powers would you have?
Aside from X-ray vision. I would stand 300 feet tall and breathe radio-active bile. Not really a super power but that’s just who I am.
Do you find yourself attractive?
No, I don’t find myself attractive. However, I have a good heart and a charming personality. I really don’t care if someone finds me attractive, as long as they find me. I definitely look better in the dark.
If you had a warning label, what would yours say?
Godzilla: Extremely Hazardous, Highly Toxic. Avoid contact with skin and eyes. Prolonged exposure could cause paralysis or loss of life. Chris Non Toxic, use as directed.
Your favorite alcoholic drink? (and non-alcoholic)
Yukon Jack on the rocks. Gin and tonic with a twist of lime. Cafe Patron on the rocks , Mint Julep, Wine, Water, Coffee , Tea. Any fruit juice.
If you could change anything about yourself what would it be?
I have always been comfortable in my own skin. Although I have many flaws, I don’t think I would change a thing. It’s just who I am.