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 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! :-)
Got an e-mail from a dear friend today. Rig, the Italian drum-tech who is part of the Jon Oliva’s Pain (JOP)-family. Haven’t seen him or talked to him in a long time, I was so happy to hear from him.
He just wanted to touch base and see what was going on in my corner of the world.
I said that I was trying to decide which TSO (Trans-Siberian Orchestra) gigs I would go to. He mentioned that he was going to Zurich (Switzerland) to get together with Jon Oliva.
I miss Jon, haven’t seen him since the Zwarte Cross festival in Holland last summer. He is a quite unusual man. Fans call him “The Mountain King” – I think that Ronnie Dio and his crew gave him that name years ago when Savatage was out on the road opening for Dio. And he is like a king.
People respect him. He is cool, always smiling, also one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.
He has been extremely good to me, I love him dearly. I remember once after their gig at the Z7-venue in Pratteln, Switzerland, I drove him back to the hotel and I don’t know exactly how the conversation went, but I guess I just wanted to know if he was okay with me being around them as much as I was, given I wasn’t part of the band or the crew – I was there just as a friend basically.
He said, in his cool Oliva-sort of way: “Daniela, you’re part of the family now...You are always welcome to join us anywhere“.
The “Family” being that unity band+crew+fans. In Jon Oliva’s case, it was all one and the same.
There has never been that feeling that he thought of himself being better than anyone else. The band and the crew were all equally important, everybody was hanging out – it wasn’t band and crew separately like with so many other bands. Everybody’s on the same bus, sharing the same experience. I’m extremely lucky, happy and grateful for having been invited to be a part of that. It’s something I’ll never forget, four of the best years of my life.
Fans weren’t treated as “fans”, you know, there has never been a “you are less worth than me because you’re standing there with a CD asking me for an autograph“-attitude. Jon has always taken time for that, I’ve seen him sign tons of albums, photos without complaining and some fans have become part of the unity and well, the biggest of them all has gone from fan to friend to employee. It’s just a very warm and welcoming atmosphere around Jon Oliva, I’ve never seen anything quite like it anywhere else.
So anyway…. Zürich is next on my “tour schedule”. Most of all I’m very glad that I’ll get to meet Rig. A few years ago, when JOP were playing ProgPower USA in Atlanta, Rig, Hanneke (light tech) and I flew in from Italy, Netherlands and Sweden at the same time. We hooked up at the airport and went straight to the hotel where the band arrived shortly thereafter. :)
The trip to Zürich is not so much about just music. It’s more about meeting people that I really love and have missed – Rig and Jon.
Curious to see the TSO-production too, it’s huge in the States and I was going to see it last year in Nashville but missed it, don’t remember the reason why.
Want to go to Japan too – saw the Firewind-dates and checked flights. It wasn’t THAT expensive, but I can’t go cause I don’t have more vacation days until May. Next time.
Maybe if they tour in the fall/winter. Or if Priest decide play there on their Epitath-tour. Unleashed in the East!!
I’m just so excited. I love this life. I simply do. :)