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! :-)
Went to Stereo Studio – a record store right in the heart of Copenhagen, after work. Mike Tramp was doing an in-store gig and a meet-and-greet signing session. I figured it could be cool to just go and check out.
Beautiful sunny, early spring-day, a little chilly but lots of people out strolling down Stroget, Copenhagens main pedestrian street. You couldn’t miss where the in-store gig was. You could hear it from miles away. Some people stopped and looked through the window, curious to see who was playing in there.
Walked in and there was a small crowd that had heard about the signing. The band sounded surprisingly good. I say “surprisingly” because I wouldn’t expect miracles from a small low-profile gig like that with a mini-PA and the band standing in a corner, still it sounded great. :)
[Keep your eyes on the KID in the corner, the aspiring new future guitarist who stole the whole show!]
What a wonderful feeling it was to be there. THAT is what music is all about! Just being in an actual record store, surrounded by CD’s, vinyls, merch, books…. like a music-temple. I remember what it was like going to record stores all the time. Flipping through albums, trying to discover something new, reading sleeves, or just checking out new versions of records I already had…
Music feels more…real. There was a band, there was a crowd, and there was a real record store. I forgot how cool it is to be in a record store, cause we live in the modern age of downloading now. You never meet other music fans like that, you mind your own business and download your music from your couch, you just lose that whole feeling of interaction.
The in-store thing was all about being part of loving music. :)
I miss all those record stores that used to be on every corner back in the good old days. This was almost a trip down Memory Lane and I really enjoyed it. Some things can’t be replaced by the convenience of downloading music from iTunes…
Today is the official release of Mike Tramp‘s new album “Stand Your Ground“.
I met Mike for a chat right before sound check the day of his release party Thursday night. Actually, this interview was made during sound check, so consider that whole “live” feeling with the noise in the background, a bounus. ;-P
Met up with Mike Tramp (ex-White Lion vocalist) yesterday.
Last time I talked to him was exactly 10 years ago, and I could not believe that he actually remembered me.
I don’t even remember people I met last week, and he manages to remember a person he met once – ten years ago. Amazing.
So stick around for that. :)
[Mike Tramp – live, release party @ The Rock Copenhagen last night March 24, 2011]
The show was very intimate because 99% of the crowd appeared to be close friends of the band. After all, we were in Mike’s hometown, Copenhagen.
He was joking, communicating in a very personal way with the crowd, genuinely enjoying every moment.
I have to be honest and admit that I’ve never been a White Lion-fan or Mike Tramp fan per se, it was a bit too polished for my personal taste, but I was pleasantly surprised when I heard the new album (official release date on Monday)
The evening began with the new CD “Stand Your Ground” blasting through the PA. Most of the songs were heavier than I expected and Mike’s voice has improved a lot compared to the “good old days”. It has a lot more depth and power now.
Cool riffs (maybe the work of multi-musician, songwriter, producer etc, Soren Andersen that has been with Mike for a while now) and a very solid overall sound.
When the band entered the stage it felt like you already knew the songs, eventhough they were brand new. A very effective way of presenting a new album.
I liked the warm atmosphere Mike created, he made it feel like we had all entered his living-room for a special private gig. Yet it had the quality of an arena-show. All very nicely done, great energy and balanced choice of songs.
We got everything from “Don’t Let Them Put It On You” from the new CD (great song) to old classics such as a very stripped down and heartfelt “When The Children Cry” or the cover “Radar Love“.
He also performed the Ronnie James Dio-tribute “Hymn to Ronnie” that he dedicated to Ronnie and also another hero that we lost recently, Gary Moore.
“It’s okay if you cry”, he said, and when I looked to my left during the song, a guy took that literally, probably hoping that nobody would see him as he subtly dried the tears from his eyes there in the dark…
Mike Tramp has been around for over three decades and he knows his business. He’s never been more confident with that he does.
Like he also stated in the interview, everything he’s done in his past has finally led him to a good place that he feels he deserves.
He most certainly does.
Pics and video-interview soon!
I went to Gothenburg recently to talk to a new, exciting up-and-coming Swedish band, which I’m sure you’ll hear more about in the future.
I cannot reveal who it was yet, since the interview was made for Sweden Rock Magazine so it will remain a secret until the mag is published.
It’s just a short piece this time, but I’ve scheduled another interview with this band for May – specifically for this blog. I love their unique style and look forward to presenting them to other (open-minded) music-fans in the coming few months. :)
Other than that, I’m off to Aarhus in Denmark on Monday for the Slayer/Megadeth combo. Can’t wait, I’ve been a big fan of Dave Mustaine and Megadeth for years. I even “converted” a guy at work to start listening to the band. He was reluctant, and admitted that he thought of Mustaine as the Metallica-reject who wasn’t “good enough” for Metallica.
He also thought that Megadeth was just some sort of annoying speedmetal that he wouldn’t like.
I had him listen to “Holy Wars” and “Countdown to Extinction” and a few other Megadeth-albums.
A week later, he walked up to me and said he was actually very pleasantly surprised when he heard the stuff I had given him. It wasn’t at all what he thought it would be.
– It’s more like traditional heavy metal with an edge, more like NWOBHM than speed or thrash. I like it!
It’s such a kick to be able to “convert” someone – and even more find people who are willing to BE converted. More often than not, I find that people make up their minds and stick to them, even in cases where they don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s a matter of pride or something, I don’t know.
Well, I’ve changed people’s minds before – or presented music to them that they thought they wouldn’t like, but ended up being big fans of.
Pop-fans that ended up buying Judas Priest Best-of CD’s and friends whose musical taste I already know, who I suggest new bands to – and they end up big fans of those bands. I love that. :)
Anyway…. really looking forward to the Megadeth-gig.
I hope Dave is feeling better now, he ended up in hospital the other day, so hopefully he’s back on track by the time he gets to Denmark.
Speaking of Denmark: Mike Tramp (ex-White Lion) coming up next week. If I manage to get an interview with him or not, remains to be seen. He will also be doing a little in-store surprise, which I hope I’ll be able to attend.
Doro next month and one of my favorites, although it’s not exactly hard rock (but this guy DID produce Jon Bon Jovi’s first demo, and Jon is a big fan of this dude):
Southside Johnny & The Jukes. Extremely impressive live-musicians, fantastic crowd-communication and energy.
I’ve seen them live every time they’ve been through town, and I get such a kick from this band. If you ever get the chance to check them out – don’t miss the opportunity!
Coming up next – tomorrow – the crazy things FANS do. Feel free to send in comments or mails to email@example.com – if you are a “crazy fan” yourself or know someone who is beyond the ordinary!