Tagged: Tony Iommi

My fondest moments in metal

I was inspired by a friend to remember some of my fondest metal moments. Those that truly put a smile on my face when I think back on them.
A lot of those memories have to do with mutual appreciation. No matter where we are in life and what our roles are in the music biz, we all started out as fans. You can play cool and pretend that you don’t care, but I’m not kidding myself. If it’s an artist that I’ve admired since I was a kid, he or she will still make me feel like a star struck teenager to some degree.
So…. These are some of those “smile”-moments. :D

1. DAVID COVERDALE
David always puts a smile on my face. I consider the interview I did with him on the “Farewell tour” the best interview I have ever done. The circumstances were perfect. When it comes to David Coverdale, I was a fan first and foremost, and I always will be.
I was the last person on his interview schedule that day, so there was no stress. He was in a great mood, very open and incredibly easy to talk to. We talked about everything: Serious things, funny things, deep things…
The interview took place in a luxurious suite at the Sheraton in Stockholm. It didn’t feel like an actual interview. It felt like a conversation with a friend. Looking back on that today makes me feel so privileged and it was a day I will never forget.

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But even apart from that interview (and a few other conversations with him), David always makes me smile. There has not been ONE single gig or press conference where he hasn’t spotted me within minutes, smiled up to his ears and adressed me by name. Or from the stage in front of thousands of people (several times through the years. Sometimes he’s had little dialogs with me from the stage, the last one being at the Graspop festival a few years ago, and of COURSE I had turned off my camera just minutes before…).


At press conferences he’s sometimes treated me like I was the only journalist present, or explained to the others, while pointing at me: “SHE will know, cause she’s followed my work for a long time…“.
I’m sure he does what with other, select people worldwide too, he’s just that type of person, but from my perspective it’s pretty darn fantastic because I’ve always looked up to David Coverdale.
So – he’s my #1 source for smiles in the metal world. :D

2. ROB HALFORD
A few years ago, I had been assigned to write the Judas Priest cover story for Sweden Rock Magazine. Since it was an in-depth piece, I ended up calling Rob several times that year (and also speaking with K.K and Glenn). In the end, he started joking and talking to me like we were the best of friends.
He’s always been one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, but particularly after those conversations things have been very relaxed and down-to-earth with Rob.

When I went to London earlier this year for an exclusive interview with Rob at Sony Music‘s offices, I was the only reporter who was privileged enough to get a one-to-one interview with The Metal God that day. And he was happy to see me. I’m no longer some anonymous nobody, he knows me by name.

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Yes I’m like a kid. Judas Priest is the reason I’m even here in this rock’n’roll circus, Rob has a huge part in who I am today and the kind of life I’ve had. I’ve got a million Priest-stories from hanging out with the band through the years, but it’s enough to just say that every single one of those occasions makes me smile and feel incredibly lucky!

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3. SEBASTIAN BACH
Baz is not an “idol” like that. It started out that way, when I was a big fan of the energetic, amazing Skid Row. But he and I are the same generation and had a lot in common (especially our love for Priest!) so we became friends. There are many “smile on my face” memories from the Skid Row-days but one of the more recent ones (even if it was a few years ago) was when Sebastian returned to Sweden to play at Sweden Rock Festival back in 2005. He hadn’t been in Sweden since the Subhuman Race Tour in 1995. I was really looking forward to seeing him again.

So, a few friends of mine and I were at the hotel Ronneby Brunn, hanging out, having a few drinks, when the band started coming in through the main entrance. I went over to Metal Mike, who I’d met with Halford, a really cool guy, and he said that Sebastian was outside collecting his bags, he’d be in soon.
I didn’t want to just stand there like an idiot so I went aside, figured that I’d let him check in in peace and quiet.
Well…
When Sebastian walked in – it was in the middle of the night, maybe 2 am, he looked tired and he was carrying a shitload of bags. One suitcase in each hand, bags on top of those and more bags hanging from each shoulder. At first he was just scanning the place with no particular goal or focus, but the minute his eyes landed on me, his reaction was so priceless that I’ll never forget it.

He screamed, in his typical Sebastian manner: “DANIELA!!!” and literally just dropped both those cabin bags so they just landed on the lobby floor, then dropped the bags hanging from his shoulders, so it was all in one big PILE right there on the floor, in the middle of the main hotel lobby – and with two steps he walked over to me, hugged me so hard that I thought he’d break my ribs.
“It’s been ten years!” he said and was sincerely happy to see a familiar face. I’ve honestly never felt more longed for or appreciated in my life. :) That was just such a sincere, happy reaction and I’m still smiling when I think about those bags just lying there in one huge pile on the marble floor.

There have been many similar occasions though. In New York, when he was performing with Steve Stevens at the jazz club Iridium, he dedicated a song to me which I never even noticed, and asked me backstage afterwards if I had heard his dedication. Basically, he can be the most appreciative person on the planet, then again, sometimes he barely notices one’s existence, it all depends, but all in all, this guy knows how to make me smile for the most part! :)

4. LITA FORD
That was a meeting I never thought would even take place. Lita has been my #1 female rolemodel since I first got the Out for Blood-album. I missed her when she played in Sweden or Denmark a few times either because shows were cancelled (she was supposed to come here with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow but the show was cancelled because the venue was too small for Rainbow’s…uh, rainbow-prop. :)).
Second time she was here with Bon Jovi I couldn’t go cause I had a gig of my own with my band. Then she disappeared to a desert island, literally, with her family for years and I guess we all thought that was it. Lita Ford, as we knew her, was gone.

However, last year she got on a plane and toured Europe. When Sweden Rock asked if I wanted to do an interview with her, I danced around the apartment like an idiot. FINALLY!

When I got to KB in Malmo, my home town (yeah, even THAT!) she was sound checking and I waited for her to finish. She came over, said we could go upstairs to the backstage area and do the interview. It was a hot day in July and we were DYING up there, it was unbearably hot. But, it was the most relaxing, unpretentious meeting I’ve ever had with an artist. Lita was down to earth, open, funny and very easy to talk to.

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There were moments where I even forgot that I was sitting there with an artist that I’ve admired since I was a teenager. It was a great chemistry and she didn’t hesitate to speak about difficult or personal things. Much like with David Coverdale, it wasn’t one of those usual “come in, get out after 20 minutes“-type of interviews. We sat there for over an hour and she was in no hurry at all. On the contrary. Even after the cameras had been switched off (it was a video interview as well – still not fully edited…) she kept talking.
One thing you’re always worried about when you meet an artist you grew up with, is if they’re going to disappoint you IRL. She didn’t. Fantastic meeting, great person and a really good interview situation. And I got those old vinyls signed too  (better late than never!)

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5. TONY MARTIN (Black Sabbath)
I got to know Tony Martin when he was touring with Black Sabbath all over Europe. To this day I think he’s the best heavy metal vocalist ever, and the most underrated one for sure.
When Sabbath came to Copenhagen, I headed over to their hotel to get a chance to hang out a bit with Tony. I remember Tony Iommi and Geoff Nicholls (keyboards) coming out of the elevator with big smiles, letting me know that Tony was on his way (then we kept passing Tony and Geoff on the pedestrian street Stroget a few times, later on that day).

Tony came down and pretty much needed a guide to show him where he could buy a new leather jacket and he also needed to find an exchange office. So, off we went. It was a slightly chilly and cloudy day, so I remember telling him that if he wanted to walk into HMV to check if they had Sabbath’s latest album, he might want to take his sunglasses off if he just wanted to blend in. :) Luckily for HMV, they had all the Tony Martin-Sabbath albums. ;)
He visited a few leather-shops but couldn’t find what he was looking for. It was just nice walking through Copenhagen talking. I was a huge fan of his voice, and I thought he was a cool person to hang out with so that day is stuck in my mind to this day.

He was starving so we went to this Italian restaurant. I hadn’t counted on that, so my wallet was pretty much empty. Oh, well, I thought I could always find whatever was cheapest on the menu. Us Swedes aren’t used to the guy paying unless it’s a date, and this wasn’t a date. So I assumed that I would be paying for my own food and drinks.
I got a glass of cheap wine that tasted horrible. Tony immediately noticed my expression and asked if the wine was ok. I lied and said that it was fine, but he didn’t buy it. So he called the waitress and went “the lady doesn’t like her wine. Do you have anything else?” I was panicking because whatever else they had was out of my price range that particular day.

Anyway, as we were waiting for that wine, I said that one of my favorite songs, where I really loved his vocals, was a song from the album Eternal Idol, the title track. Next thing I know, he starts singing it, right there, a capella in the restaurant…

“No one said it had to be this way
Why are we the victims of their
Final word

Dying world is killing us so slowly
I believe no god may save us now

Can’t you see what I see
Sinners say your prayers tonite
Your judgement day is here”

I was in seventh heaven. Having your favorite singer in the world singing especially for you like that was beyond any expectation. Will never forget that. What an amazing moment that was.

[There’s no actual video to that particular song – but listen to this, this is amazing!]

6. OZZY
This was pretty recent, but still one of those things I know I will look back on in a few years and think of with a big smile.
I was in Seoul, Korea for that one-off Ozzy show and had spent almost an hour trying to get my backstage pass that Gus G had asked the tour manager to leave for me in the VIP booth (apparently I was the only guest too. I’m guessing they didn’t know anyone in Korea. :) ).
That whole “going backstage“-thing seemed unthinkable to most of the security people I spoke to. Their attitude was “you can’t just go back there and meet the band?!?!“.
Yes I can, that’s what this pass is for – and if you show me where to go. :)

It took forever, involved a whole bunch of people and so finally I was escorted through a private steel elevator by two security guys on segways – one in front of me and one behind me (in case I would try to…run away??). Through doors and more security – I was finally let in to the backstage area and they went to go find Gus. I was so incredibly happy and relieved when I finally saw him – a familiar, friendly face in a far away land. :D

After watching the Korean superstar Psy, we went to the dressing room (Blasko, Tommy Clufetos, Billy Morrison, Adam Wakeman, Gus and me) and just sat there, talking while Gus was warming up. Ozzy was on his way and it was a little bit as if the president was coming, the crew very anxious to make sure he would be pleased with everything.
But Ozzy is a simple guy. :) Instead of sitting alone in his own dressing room, he suddenly showed up in the doorway of the band’s dressing room with this HUGE boyish smile that we all know and love, and immediately cracked a joke that had everybody laughing.

I was sitting on this 2-seat couch and he just crashed right beside me, going “You’re Gus’ manager, right?” I tried to explain that I was just a friend but he was already on the next subject (I’m smiling even as I’m writing this right now).

It was totally relaxed and simple. It didn’t really dawn on me until afterwards, that I was sitting backstage in Korea (of all places!) with Ozzy and his band, being the only guest there. I never expected that, cause I was there to see Gus.
People pay big bucks for those meet & greets with Ozzy, so I had ruled out the possibility of bumping into Ozzy at all.
The smile-factor was simply that it was so normal and so “every day-ish”. No big deal, no cameras, autographs, selfies, people running around adoring anyone. Just a bunch of people relaxing, cracking jokes. You can never plan that, when it happens it happens. And I cherish those moments more than anything.

Sweden Rock Festival – where people never age!

Four days of LOUD! Sweden Rock Festival is now over and this is when work begins for me (and many others). Reviews to hand in. Articles to write. Videos and photos to upload. Blogs to write.

All of that, just not enough hours in a day to do it!

But I will be back as soon as I’m done with the Priority One assignments. Mainly the Rob Halford interviews that I did recently – face to face in London and by phone during the festival, that I really want to do my best with.

One of the most lasting impressions of the festival this year, is that ROCKERS NEVER seem to AGE!
I guess one can always speculate in what the reasons might be that a 50-year old rocker usually looks way younger and cooler than a 50-yeear old non-rocker.

My guess is that when you have a passion for something, when you have something that you love to do – you forget to grow old. The grandfathers of metal, Black Sabbath, dispite living tougher lives than most (drug- and alcohol abuse, deadly diseases and what have you…) they look cool as hell and they’ve all still got their HAIR!

Tony Iommi is 66 years old, it’s hard to believe. Very classy, still looking good.

Billy Idol is easily the sexiest 58-year old dude I’ve ever seen…! And I don’t even like blonde guys (or guys older than me for that matter!). But come – ON…! Are you kidding? Most people his age look older – Billy Idol never got the memo.

Last year the festival had Rick Springfield visiting. He is 64! Yes. Sixty-fucking-FOUR!!!

Madam X reunited after 30 years and I remember their “outrageous” look from way back when. That tall, monster-looking bassplayer guy Godzilla was, in my teenage mind, a metal version of Chewbacca with that crazy “fingers in the socket”-do.

Now, all these years later, when he’s passed 50 with one, two or six years,  he looks like THIS:

Doesn’t look like a “fifty-something” to me.
Some people seem to age in the opposite direction and just look better and better as the years go by.
These dudes are more fit than some guys in their freaking twenties! Man…!

And it’s not only the MALE rockers. The FEMALE ones are not getting a day older either. Since we’re on the subject Madam X – this is drummer Roxy Petrucci, 52 – and cooler than ever! Her sister Maxine never let herself go either.

And last but not least, for now – Robin Beck, 59 (!!!!) years old. Yeah right?!

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They sold their souls to rock’n’roll… For eternal youth!

 

Euro(ck)vision Song Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest 2013 is being held in my home town Malmö, Sweden – and there’s no way you can miss it! There are giant mirror balls and purple spotlights at the train station, there are stages and official ESC-merch in the heart of Malmö, people walking around with t-shirts and bags with the slogan on them: “We are one”.

I used to watch this so called “music contest” when I was little, it was a family thing. But back then there were only 12 countries, maybe up to 20 tops, butnow it feels like every little godforsaken mini-country wants to be a part of it, and even countries that aren’t actually in Europe. It’s lost its appeal – it did years ago.

But this year, there’s a bit of rock’n’roll involved, which makes it slightly more interesting! :)

Two Black Sabbath-guys involved in one way or another.
Ex-Sabbath singer Tony Martin shared this pic earlier this morning:

Photo: I'm gonna be supporting my friend Bonnie Tyler In her Eurovision attempt this weekend. Wish ya the best of luck Bonnie ... Go get em!!!!! .. Love ya!!!

His caption: I’m gonna be supporting my friend Bonnie Tyler In her Eurovision attempt this weekend. Wish ya the best of luck Bonnie … Go get em!!!!! .. Love ya!!!

Bonnie Tyler’s song is written by no other than Desmond Child (does he even need an introduction???) and produced by David Huff – known from the 80’s hard rock band, Giant (I loved their “I’ll See You In My Dreams” and “Believer“).

Competing for Armenia is the band Dorians, with a song written by no other than the mighty Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath).

The Dutch rock-chick Anouk is competing for Netherlands of course, with her song “Birds“. We all remember her for THIS mega-hit:

And Iceland is sending Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson who’ll be singing “Ég á líf” (I am alive). He’s a singer in an Icelandic progressive rock supergroup called Todmobile.

So – on stage or behind the scenes, there are rockers everywhere, even in the seemingly dorky Eurovision Song Contest.

Maybe gives it at least a little bit of cred…! :)

MY YEAR IN ROCK – retrospect 2012 (Part 1)

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.

Jon:

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 JacksonVince 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. 

Josie Stevens:

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:

BLOG: http://lita77777.posterous.com/first-day-in-new-york-tomorrow-steve-stevens

REVIEW: http://lita77777.posterous.com/steve-sebastian-the-iridium-nyc

PHOTOS: http://lita77777.posterous.com/steve-stevens-sebastian-bach-photos-by-beatri

INTERVIEW: http://lita77777.posterous.com/the-guitar-sleeps-with-me-in-the-bed-steve-st 

 

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. :))

BLOG: http://lita77777.posterous.com/getting-together-with-steel-panther-in-copenh

INTERVIEW…..

 

 

PART TWO OF MY YEAR IN ROCK COMING UP………..!

 

Black Sabbath news and drama

I guess everybody’s heard the news by now – the Black Sabbath reunion tour is off. Covering for the gigs, is “Ozzy & Friends“. I can’t imagine that anyone could possibly be surprised to hear that. I was talking to some friends just the other day, and I said just that – I can’t see it happening. Touring is tough, it’s certainly not for a man in his 60’s who’s battling a serious disease. He might recover but to think he would be able to go on the road so soon, would have been naive. 

The “friends” are, apparently, Geezer Butler, Slash and Zakk Wylde. I would have hoped that after all this bullshit that’s been going on with Bill Ward’s “to be or not to be”, he would be on that “friends-list” as well. Especially since Sharon Osbourne said just the other day that she is not managing Black Sabbath, she is managing her husband. Well – in that case she should have something to say about who tours with her husband and his friends…. Let’s hope and pray for miracles.

Most of us think it’s ridiculous that the original heavy metal band can’t get along at this point in time, with Ronnie being gone and this probably being the last chance for them to do one last thing together. But it’s all about money and politics. It always was, even in the early days of Black Sabbath. Nobody’s going to do anything for free – screw all that romantic nostalgia, your idols don’t care about that stuff. And I can understand that after a lifetime-achievment, they feel that they deserve to be paid what they are worth. Either everybody gets paid or nobody does. Or, there’ll be all that drama that we are witnessing now.

1,000,000 Black Sabbath fans say yes to Bill Ward” on Facebook is now up to 40,889 members, and 39,185 of them are talking about this. I hope that it can make SOME sort of change.

I spent all morning digging through old cassette tapes, trying to find a Black Sabbath press-conference from 1989. I was absolutely sure I had already posted it here, but I just can’t find it. Searched my computer for the mp3-file and nothing… I guess I must have THOUGHT about it but just never converted it. It was from the KB-hall in Copenhagen, Denmark, 1989. 

The lineup was Tony Martin, Tony Iommi, Cozy Powell, Neil Murray and I think Geoff NIcholls, but I’m not 100% sure if he joined later… It was an interesting press conference, I’ll see if I can find it and post it.
As I was friends with Tony Martin at the time, I met Tony Iommi and the others several times when they toured in Europe. Just very pleasent and nice people, it feels personal on some small level to be reading about all the stuff that’s going on.

I hope Tony Iommi recovers and maybe someday there will be a real Sabbath reunion. As for Ozzy and friends – I’m not sure I’m that into the “All star band”-idea. I would have prefered to see him do his own thing – with the band he had on tour last year. They killed it on stage. But maybe people out there prefer the “special guests”-thing, I don’t know… Either way, I’m glad he’s doing this, because either way, it would have sucked if the scheduled dates would have been cancelled. 

Let’s just try to see the positive in all this and with Tony a speedy recovery!