One of my long-time friends gave me a letter that I had written to her back in 1992 after I had met my guitar hero (right up there with Yngwie!) PAUL GILBERT for the very first time.
She figured it could be cool for me to have it now, all these years later, and maybe use it as material for my blog.
If she hadn’t given me this letter, I wouldn’t have remembered that I even got a kiss from Paul GIlbert (a very innocent one, but hey – still)!
FROM A TYPED LONG LETTER (over 20 pages!) after meeting MR BIG
at Circus, Stockholm, Sweden…..
April 29, 1992 (bits and pieces, that letter was crazy long! Slight changes also so that it makes better sense. :))
I couldn’t sleep, I had only ONE thing in mind: I HAD to meet Paul Gilbert. When I called my friend Lena she had suddenly changed her mind and didn’t even want to go! She said she had already seen and met Mr Big. She had tons to do, had no money and a whole bunch of bad excuses. I told her to cut the crap, get off her ass and tag along! She did. :-)
When we got to Circus (the venue) a limo with tinted windows pulled up just as we arrived, it was the band.
There were lots of fans there and the security guys exaggerated their attempts to keep people away from the car. So when Eric Martin stepped out, he grabbed one of those red roadsides and started yelling into it, making fun of the security guys: “Alright alright people! Move it, move it!”
The guards didn’t find it amusing, but he was just laughing at them, with that boyish smile of his.
[Jumping to the part where we are hanging out after the show, trying to figure out how to meet the band…]
We met Helen from WEA and a girl I knew, asked her to leave a message for Billy Sheehan. She had met him in the States and he had told her that she should look him up anytime & anywhere and he’d get her in on the guest list. So – she asked Helen to just give him the message.
Helen looked reluctant, saying something like “yeah, maybe“…. But probably not. She would be back “in a minute“. When she came back, she said she would catch BIlly AFTER the show. Yeah – right.
Oh and by the way, I found out that Paul goes to the same hairdresser as Vixen. Not that it has anything to do with anything, but, just a bit of trivia.
ANYHOO…… After the show, it was the same old shit as usual, security kicking everybody out, clearing the premises. I was convinced that I would have to accept that I would NOT be meeting Paul GIlbert this time. Yet I didn’t want to leave.
We told the security people that we were waiting for Helen from WEA, so they let us stay. Helen finally came out, shrugged her shoulders and just left. Not that I expected anything different anyway, but it was worth a try.
Lena was tired and wanted to go home. I didn’t, so I just went over to the groupie-section and joined all those chicks. I might as well sit there and wait.
Then a MIRACLE happens…!
A guy from EMA Telstar (concert promotor) walks up to the bunch, barely looks at anyone because he’s got his nose in his papers, and goes: “Would you follow me please!” and waved for us to follow him. We just walked STRAIGHT IN – without passes!
Apparently they didn’t expect anyone to be sitting there without a pass, so they didn’t even check!
I was super excited and whispered to Lena: “Can you believe that we are on our way to meet Paul?!” She just yawned and said she wanted to go home. Very inspiring indeed.
We were shown to this corridor and given free beer. A lot less groupies than usual by the way. Not like Skid Row’s backstage area. Mr Big only had maybe 10 groupies and they weren’t as slutty as Skid Row’s.
Pat came down and greeted everybody with a smile: “Good evening, ladies!” One of the girls yelled: “Nice ass!” – and he strutted his stuff all the way to the dressing room haha!
Up next, was Billy, who looked dead tired after the show. He stopped, looked at everyone and went: “I’m feeling better already!”
He walked on. “If you follow me, ladies….” and suddenly he had ten chicks following him like a tail. He yelled through the dressing room door: “ARE YOU DECENT??” and got a loud “YES!” from Pat, we all walked in. There was only Pat in there – and lots of food and drinks.
Eric walked in, mr Hyper! He was singing, joking, just attracting attention. I don’t know why, but I started talking with him and I asked if he wasn’t worried that people would start thinking of Mr Big as a ballad-band, because they released two ballads in a row as singles?
– Don’t you want us to be successful? This is obviously what people want to hear. We released “Daddy, brother…” and “Green Tinted Sixties Mind” as singles, so we’re not a ballad band!
He kept going on and on about it, I never meant it THAT seriously, it was just a thought.
While he was talking away, I saw Paul’s shoes walking in our direction, and next thing I know, he’s standing right next to me. Lena gave me a look and a wink, as if to say “THERE he is!” Geeezuz.
Suddenly Eric yells:
– ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? with a “what the fuck“-smile.
Lena quickly leaned over to Eric and explained: “GOD just entered the room…!”
Eric looked at me – looked at Paul and yeah, he got it! He gave me a wink and a smile and left.
I was shaking like a leaf as I was trying to get my Racer X-CD’s and the “Guitars That Rule The World”-CDout of the plastic bag .
I walked up to him, he greeted me cheerfully and started talking. A lot! I had had this idea that he was a shy type of guy, but… far from it!
He hadn’t even SEEN the “Guitars That Rule The World“-cover before! So he was very curious. He had only heard Zakk Wylde’s song on that album and said he liked it.
Then he saw that godawful pic of him and Billy and just laughed out loud. People were turning their heads just to see what was going on. He held the pic up in the air yelling: BILLY!! HAVE YOU SEEN THIS??! JESUS CHRIST!!!
He wanted to know if I REALLY wanted that horrible picture signed, and yeah I did – so he signed it, but giggled for minutes after that. He gave me a pick as well.
I told him that I loved his little tune, and he said thanks, and explained that it was mostly meant as a joke, to make fun of that whole guitar-hero myth. I asked if he would ever consider playing it live, and he replied that it would be almost impossible because the song consisted of 5 different solos mixed with acoustic guitar,
I laughed and said: “Hey, people call you a genoius – you should be able to rearrange it and play it live!”
He laughed, said it was a fun idea, he would definitely consider it and see what he could come up with. So – if he ever DOES play it live, I will know where he got the idea from. ;)
Lena started talking to Paul, so I went over to Billy Sheehan instead. What a super-nice guy. He shows a genuine interest in every single person he talks to. He was very down to earth and easy to talk to. I asked him if it was possible to get a pass for Copenhagen as well and he said it could absolutely be arranged.
He was so impressed that I was going to see them twice… If he only knew how many times I’ve seen Skid Row…!
Went back to Paul after a while, cause none of the chicks gave a shit about him, so he was alone. Perfect – for me.
I asked a little about his education, considering he became a guitar hero already at the age of 16. He said that he finished high-school and after that he’s been educating himself to the best of his ability.
Then he got up with a smile on his face and went to get his bag.
– I’ll show you what I’m reading right now!
I thought it would be something silly, cause he had that look on his face, but it turned out to be a book about PHYSICS!
– I NEVER thought that you’d be reading a book like this! I said with eyes as big as plates.
– Well… I haven’t finished it yet, but…
His attitude was that, just because you’re a musician, it doesn’t mean that you have to be STUPID.
I asked him what kind of music he was listening to. Once again, he walked over to his bag, grabbed another bag and handed it over to me.
– You can see for yourself. I think I’ve got everything in there.
There was some “J.O Bach” (not J.S Bach!), Dee-Lite, AC/DC, Motown soul… All kinds of stuff. He wasn’t kidding when he said that he had “everything”…!
I asked him about his opinion of female musicians.
– Bonnie Raitt is one of my favorites. And Lisa, from Wendy & Lisa, Have you heard her?
I nodded and he was just about to ask me if I had heard this song…but I had to stop him there cause I didn’t own her record, unfortunately.
He loved Lita Ford (yey!!) and his favorite Lita-song was “Gotta Let Go“. And he liked Diana Ross as well.
Kept asking him stuff like there was no tomorrow! I wondered howcome he stopped writing for Guitar Player, and he just said he didn’t have time and that he had run out of ideas. He looked surprised, probably didn’t expect someone like me to be reading Guitar Player.
The band had to leave, so he got up and was about to give me a hug, when I jokingly said that if he hugged me, I would probably drop down dead. So he kissed me instead!
Uhhh – YES, I definitely hit the ground right after that. Lena went: “Miracles DO happen, huh?”
Jesus, yes – you could say that.
[there was a part two of this letter too – a LONG part two, but I will spare you.
Billy remembered the passes for the Copenhagen show the next day, bless him. :)
And yes, I met Paul there too. Awesome guy! I’m still a big fan of his – he rules!]
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………..!
Finally Saturday and the first day in weeks, it seems, that I’ve had a fair chance to actually get enough SLEEP. That little detail, sleep, is luxury most of the time around here…
Graspop 2012 is now over. Once again it has been a kick-ass festival, I love it! I went there as a friend of Jon Oliva’s Pain band/crew three years ago and I’ve been coming back ever since.
I love the CROWD– it’s an amazing crowd that really LIVES, eats and breathes rock’n’roll and they are giving the artists all the love and energy that is the substantial fuel needed to create a FANTASTIC show. Without that crazy, dedicated crowd, there would be no magic.
Also, I rarely have good things to say about SECURITY, but I think that Graspop’s security crew deserve two big thumbs up for their hard work and their amazing great attitude. Usually you see the gorilla-like shaved-head, gym-sort of guys with their arms crossed looking like they totally loathe heavy metal audiences.At Graspop they are professional and efficient. They gently escort crowd-surfers and others out with a pat on their back – “take it easy, man“…. No judgement, no power-abuse. Judging from the looks of some of the security guys and girls, they seem to be metalheads themselves. :-) I wish all festival/concert security crews were like that.
CRAZY GRASPOP CROWD:
There’s just a very relaxed atmosphere in general at Graspop, you can feel the love for metal in the air everywhere you go.
I like the set-up with ONE main stage and three tents. That way you know where to go for the major acts. No digging after MAPS or need for impeccable planning to get from point A to point B. It’s all made simple.
AND – I like their pioneer spirit. Instead of the usual “cameras are not allowed“-bullshit, they have solved it the most logical way: They offer the BEST videos either through live-broadcast and/or out on YouTube. So there’s no need for bootleg-videos when the best quality footage is already out there on the official site. Regularly – not once a week or once a month. Sweden Rock festival have something similar but still not quite as extended as Graspop.
The backstage area is nice, clean, quiet and everything works. At many other festivals you are running around looking for stuff, there’s nobody to ask, no signs no nothing… At Graspop everything is clearly displayed and the backstage crew is nice and helpful.
Basically – I LOVE Graspop Metal Meeting!
Three days and lots to tell – I don’t even know where to begin. But I guess reviews are the most logical place to start. :-)
I came pretty late to the area, because I had been out for dinner with Vera and Ronald, a photographer friend of hers. So when I passed the entrance gates I saw that Swedish band SABATON were on stage. They were just wrapping up their set so I wouldn’t be able to review it properly, they sounded great from afar. :-)
Then came the part where I had to get in the front row – suffer through a band that I wouldn’t normally choose to see – in order to get a good spot for the evening’s headliner OZZY & FRIENDS.
I had to survive SLAYER first.
It’s no secret that Slayer is not my cup of tea at all. I’ve seen them a million times it seems, since the 80’s, yet their stuff never appealed to me. The coolest thing about their gig was that it was so clear that Tom Araya enjoyed every minute of his time on stage. As “dangerous” as he was trying to look, you could still see little twinkly stars in his eyes when he was looking out at the worshipping crowd.
And there was an incredible comeradery in the audience, crowd-surfing, hi-fiving, big smiles, just a great feeling. However, it was tough down there in the crowd (my muscles were aching really bad the next day). I was saved by a guy in the front who moved to offer me room at the barricades and then kept asking me if I was okay. Things like that made all the difference when you’re trying to survive a wild crowd.
Regardless my personal taste, I’ve got to hand it to them – they know what their fans want and they are still around because they genuinely love playing.
Managed to get ONE fairly OK video clip from Slayer’s show – with crowdsurfing fans included… When the camera dives down, it’s because I’m about to get somebody’s shoe in my head…! Enjoy:
There is also a SLAYER-photo album on my FB-page: www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror
I was lucky I got there during the Slayer gig, because nobody moved after that. The front row was packed and it remained that way.
When Ozzy finally hit the stage I was all smiles. I can’t help it, but that man just makes me SMILE. Every time. I don’t even care if he sounds good or bad, he always knows how to entertain people.
I’ve read some pretty nasty comments from people about his Graspop peformance. “He sounded like shit“-kind of comments. It seems like the whiners aren’t reading the news, or else they should have been happy and grateful that Oz showed up at ALL this year.
Only two days prior to the Graspop-show, he had to cancel a show in Germany due to vocal issues. LAST year he cancelled Graspop due to laryingitis and Judas Priest had to step in as headliners and extend their show to cover up for Ozzy. He couldn’t cancel Graspop again.
So he got up on stage and gave his crowd all he had, good and bad. :)
The man is 64 years old! How great will most people sound in general at that age?! Fuck the whiners, Ozzy ROCKS. Yeah, at times he couldn’t command his voice – but the man is a trooper! He showed up and he KICKED ASS! I was there to see a good show, and I got what I came for – a great show!
There’s an amazing love and warmth in Ozzy that he projects to the crowd, he sincerely seems to enjoy what he’s doing and the smile on his face is contageous. If you could sell that smile and its effects in a bottle, I would buy it! :-)))
Personally, I prefer Ozzy with his own band. All the bling-bling with Zakk and Slash may work as a PR-sort of thing but basically I’d rather see Ozzy do his thing with his own guys – and Slash and Zakk do their own thing with their own bands. I did, however really enjoy seeing Geezer Butler on stage with Ozzy, would have wanted to see more of that. At least it made more sense than Slash.
It was fun to see the bunch on stage together as an All-Star event but if I had to choose, I would want to see Tommy, Adam, Blasko and Gus with Ozzy on stage any day. There’s a chemistry between those guys that works really well and as much as I understand why people want to see Zakk with Ozzy again, it’s a thing of the past now.
Regardless, Ozzy put up a fantastic show – even with his sore throat. I didn’t upload the whole thing on YouTube because I know how cruel people can be. Others probably did, but this time I chose not to. I made ONE video public – you can watch it below (also adding a bonus unlisted video for the readers of this blog):
WAR PIGS (unlisted video – with Geezer Butler & Slash):
GRASPOP DAY 2 – coming up. [Adrenaline Mob, Primal Fear, Thin Lizzy, Megadeth, Twisted Sister]
Alright, so the madness really began in June. It kicked off with Sweden Rock Festival, which is my second home. I’ve been to every single festival since 1994, with the exception of 1996 when I lived in the States. Working for the magazine (Sweden Rock Magazine) has made it a natural place to be every summer, doing reviews and interviews.
This year there was ONE main assignment, and it was altogether in my own name, for this blog and for YouTube.
After a few months of contact, I asked Gus G for an interview. I didn’t think he would be able to do it when he was out with Ozzy. I know that time is rarely the musician’s own when he’s a part of a huge machinery like Ozzy’s. However, he assured me that he’d be happy to do the interview and after a few messages back and forth with his manager, it was settled.
THE GUS G EXCLUSIVE SWEDEN ROCK INTERVIEW
That day was crazy. Cellphones never work on the Sweden Rock premises, so when the manager texted me to ask where the cameraman and I were, I couldn’t get my message through to him.He wanted us to get to the backstage area – and I know what that means. That means breaking into FORT-fuckin’-KNOX…! Are you kidding me?!? All the way back to Ozzy’s own backstage area, without the very exclusive pass that allows you through all the guarded gates to “the holy grail”? Yeah, that would be interesting.
But I was not about to let that stop me. After a few stressful minutes, I finally got hold of someone who had the right credentials to escort us all the way back there, so even with the extremely tight time-schedule it could be done.
We set up the cameras and lights while they went to get Gus. The timing was perfect. JUST as I had said the last finishing phrases to wrap up the interview – Thin Lizzy hit the Rock Stage. Some things are just meant to happen. I was very pleased with the interview (eventhough some internet trolls who don’t like Gus (Zakk-fans?), have done their best to “dislike” the video – f**k them, lol!)
WHITESNAKE WITH SPECIAL GUESTS BERNIE MARSDEN & ADRIAN VANDENBERG
The festival was definitely memorable for many reasons. The exclusive Gus G-interview was one of the highlights. Another one was the historic, fantastic performance by Whitesnake (that for some reason did not impress the colleague who reviewed their show, as much as it impressed me).It was an extremely emotional experience for me. When Bernie Marsden walked up on stage joining David, I couldn’t believe it. It was amazing, could barely believe it was happening. And as if that wasn’t enough – there comes Adrian Vandenberg as well! FOUR Whitesnake-guitarists on stage together at the same time…! How many times will I ever get to see THAT again?!
I uploaded a shaky video of it on YouTube that night before I passed out on the couch, and it’s one of the most viewed videos on my channel with its almost 18.000 views. Here’s another, shorter clip of are guys taking a bow:
JUDAS PRIEST – THE PRESS CONFERENCE
My main purpose with attending the Judas Priest press conference this time, was to get a feel of the chemistry between the “older priests” and the “new kid on the block” – Richie Faulkner. I was in the press-tent long before anyone else got there, securing my front row chair. That’s where the Russian girl from Classic Rock Magazine, Vera, found me. She remembered me from a few years before when she had seen me in the exact same place – also waiting for Priest. :-) This year we became friends and she visited me in Malmö a few months later.
As for the press conference, I got a very positive impression of Richie and it helped me to shake that frustration of K.K being out of the band. And although I, quite honestly, wasn’t that impressed by Judas Priest’s show at Sweden Rock, Richie did a great job. I hadn’t expected that – but he turned out to be a valuable addition to Priest with his youthful energy.
SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL 2011
JOAN JETT: The press conference was one of the best not only this year, but the past few years. I always imagined Joan being this moody badass “whattafuck”-kind of chick. But she was very warm and intelligent, and most of all the had a refreshing self-distance and sense of humor.
Once she got onstage, she showed why she has been on the top since the 70’s. She’s genuine and 100% rock’n’roll, there’s no question about it. The lady is impressive in every single way, all I can say is…RESPECT!
LEE AARON: Couldn’t believe how great she looked and the energy she had after all these years. Maybe I didn’t expect the “poppy” outfit, but she still had her powerhouse-voice and she definitely worked the stage when she entered it around noon, the last day of the festival. The biggest disappointment was that I LOST the video of her press conference!! I asked her a few questions that she really took time to answer, and then something went wrong during the transfer from the SD-card to the computer and it just disappeared. :-(( Gah!
MR BIG: I’ve always loved Mr Big. Call them whimpy or whatever, I don’t care. Paul Gilbert is a genious, Eric Martin is one of the most gifted singers in the business, Pat Torpey is a great but very underestimated drummer and Billy Sheehan – hey… There’s only one Bassplayer DeLuxe, and that’s Billy. Everybody knew their songs, they played like gods, and basically – my face ached afterwards cause I had been smiling way too much and too long!
Queensrÿche sounded terrible. I’ve never in my life heard them sounding so bad. Or maybe I should just say that Geoff Tate didn’t have a good day… Zakk Wylde left a very good impression at his press conference. He was cool, yet respectful and I think he handled the press very well. :-)
ROADTRIP TO OZZY – Germany & Luxembourg
After Sweden Rock Festival, I had a few days to prepare for my next trip – down to Munich in Germany to see Ozzy. It was a beautiful, sunny day in Munich, that I had a chance to drive around in, as I rented a car at the airport because I was going to continue down to Luxembourg as well two days later.
Anett (Jon Oliva’s European tour manager) and her husband Marcus, had invited me to come and stay with them on my way to Luxembourg, so after the Munich-gig I drove down there. It has its advantages to get a rental car, you get to see beautiful sceneries, so the drive to the little village was definitely worth the trip. :-)
After a really nice stay, catching up with Anett and Marcus (and meeting their rock’n’roll Dobermann-dog Slash! :-)) I continued on my way and drove down to Luxembourg. I stood in line outside Rockhal for several hours, cause I had nothing better to do, and when you travel like that to see a show, you don’t want to risk not seeing anything, so…
I stood there pretty much all day – then when the doors opened somebody told me that my “kind” of ticket had to be picked up somewhere else (WTF!!!) so I lost my place in line and was so pissed off, that people just moved out of my way when I walked back into the arena with black smoke coming out of my ears.
I made it all the way to the front row, much with the help of a really nice girl who let me have her spot, because she thought I “should” have it as I had travelled that far. That’s the kind of people you remember with thankfulness when you go on these road trips. :-)
Blogs from the Germany/Luxemburg roadtrips:
GRASPOP METAL MEETING in Belgium
The week after Munich and Luxembourg, I took off to Belgium with my friend Bianca, to my other favorite festival: GRASPOP Metal Meeting.
Bianca wanted to see Ozzy, because she’s never seen him before, and for me it would also mean a double-dose of Gus G because Firewind were also playing. Well… Ozzy got sick and the show was cancelled. As if that wasn’t enough, the rain was pissing down.
But… I got to see Firewind at least, and also discovered a freaking great band from Belgium, Channel Zero, that normally wouldn’t be the kind of band I’d listen to, but their energy was hard to miss…! Especially their front man Franky was impressive, his aggressive confidence fit the music perfectly and the crowd went wild!
THE CHANNEL ZERO BLOG HERE.
[This is what I tried to film during their set – as you can see, it was pretty wild, lol…!]
Dispite the mud and the very drunk rockers that we had to zig-zag to avoid stepping on, it was a great festival.
[Bianca and me being super-sexy in our blue rain ponchos, lol! ;P]
THESSALONIKI (GREECE) – Stop That Sound-festival
I went back to Sweden for a short break, before heading out on my next trip – all the way down to sunny Greece. Stop That Sound-festival in Thessaloniki, with headliners Judas Priest and Whitesnake, and of course home-boys Firewind. THAT story is way too long to even attempt summarizing, so I’ll just direct you straight to the blogs from that visit:
SONISPHERE FESTIVAL – England
Straight after that, I headed from Thessaloniki airport, to London – for the SONISPHERE festival.
Metallica headlined it, and I bet I must have been the only one who didn’t give a shit about Metallica. I never have, I never will. Never understood their greatness. However, I wanted to see Firewind and MEGADETH, most of all. I wasn’t disappointed by any of those bands. Megadeth always delivers. So did Anthrax by the way. :-)
JUDAS PRIEST in Manchester, UK and OZZY in Gdansk, Poland & Smukfest, Denmark
The weekend after Sonisphere, I took off back to England again. This time to Manchester to see Judas Priest. I loved the city, so much that I decided to choose Manchester in favor of London for concerts in the future. The show at Manchester Apollo was the best I’ve seen Priest do in a long time. Also met up with Ronnie, an internet friend that has been reading my diaries and blogs online since the very early days of Internet. Always nice to meet people in person too.
Next stop was Ozzy in Gdansk, Poland. I was really sick and should have been in bed, but there was no way I was going to cancel the trip. I slept everywhere I could. Spent the first day in bed at the super-cool designer hotel La-La-La, and most of the day of the show. It was raining anyway and of course I had forgotten to bring a rain-poncho, which I normally ALWAYS bring with me.
No matter how sick I was, it was worth it. Ozzy rules. And the Polish fans were definitely hardcore. I’m glad I went, eventhougI got lost and all that, but it goes with the territory. :-)
[OZZY played Ergo Arena in Sopot/Gdansk, Poland]
I only had one day to recover before I drove to Smukfest in Denmark to see the last Ozzy-show of the European tour. It was PISSING down all day, I had mud up to my knees! Crazy! The stage and the festival itself was kind of…different, and I suppose I expected something extraordinary because it was the last gig of the tour. But when Ozzy walks offstage – he’s done. So, no encores, no fireworks, no nothing. Yet, that was worth it too, I had fun!
[Ozzy finished his European tour on the left stage at Smukfest, Skanderborg, Denmark]
FIREWIND, FIREWIND AND MORE FIREWIND
Most of September was commited for Firewind. I spent most of that month on trains, buses, in taxis and on planes. Three gigs in England (and Scotland) – Manchester, Glasgow, Reading. Reading was Gus G’s birthday and he was celebrated with a cake onstage. Video was, of course, posted. This was also the tour where they had a “stand in”-singer, Mats Levén (who’s also fronted Yngwie’s band, almong others)
Then I took a break for a short while, before continuing down to the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany with yet another rental car (that I got at the airport – that roadtrip was described in the Firewind-blog, too much to tell for a short summary – check it out HERE).
You would have thought I would get sick of seeing the same band, travelling to some godforsaken places and sleeping in a car to save money, but no – I loved it! They are brilliant, I would do it all over again!
MEETING UP WITH CROATIAN TALENT – Vili Kovac in Split
The day after I came home from the Benelux/Germany-Firewind-tour, I only had time to re-pack my suitcase and head down to see my dad in Croatia for a REAL vacation. It was a vacation so much that I got restless, I’m not used to doing nothing.
But the vacation was saved by a meeting with a great, talented young Croatian singer, who I had first discovered the year before when I was on vacation, as he was competing in the Croatian version of American Idol. I thought he was great, one of those that stands out – not only with his voice but also with his personality.
He came to Split just for one day, so I got to meet the guy. Really nice dude, he played some of his own unreleased stuff for me and also some Croatian and Bosnian bands that I hadn’t heard before that were actually worth checking out.
Most of all I was a bit frustrated to learn that he might not be able to record something in English and reach a wider audience outside of Croatia – which I think he should. But – the modern world is shrinking so you never know. Maybe one day. Even on vacation I managed to squeeze in something music-related, thank god! :-)
[Ripper Owens and Vili Kovac]
And then when I came back to Sweden – there was reuniting with old friend SEBASTIAN BACH (video) and some other stuff… In part three which is coming up!
Back at the hotel after a long day at the Graspop festival. Actually, it wasn’t half as bad as I had anticipated. It rained, but it was just a little, there was very little mud (no more than usual), no bands sucked, except for maybe Priest but I will need to clarify that later, people were generally nice and I like this festival – simple as that.
What made my day today was David Coverdale – again. The past fifteen years or so, he has always recognized me anytime, anywhere – press conferences, shows, whatever. Same thing happened today.
He smiled, walked over to “my” side of the stage and then I heard him say: “Well hello Daniela, how are you? Looking hot as always!”
That was my ego-kick of the day, thank-you.very-much. I’m easy to please, ;-)
So, I choose to smile like a 15-year old girlie about it, OK? :-D
Didn’t even get it on video, would have been a nice memory. I was going to record the show (yes, I know, I’m a horrible criminal and I’m going to hell) but then I decided that I wanted to enjoy the show instead so I just figured “fuck it…”.
It’s always when you make those decisions that you wish you had made a different choice.
Ozzy’s cancellation must have been a bad thing for Ozzy himself, but I didn’t notice anything in particular at the festival, people were enjoying themselves as if nothing ever happened – and a Belgian band that I’d never heard of, Channel Zero, were asked to play mid-day to fill out the schedule, and that turned out to be the craziest performance of all! Not necessarily the band – but the crowd went crazy! The crowd-surfing was ridiculous! I haven’t seen that many people flying through the air even at a Megadeth concert..!
Fans of Ozzy-guitarists had a double-treat today as well – first Gus G and his Firewind, then Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society. I’m more of a Firewind-person, not particularly into Zakk or his thing, never have been. And I can’t stand his solos, I know that I’ll get shit for saying that, but never in my whole life have I heard such boring guitar solos. When he starts doing that, all I can think of is “please just shoot me now!”
I’ve got videos from all of the above, but not now, it’s time for toothbrushing and maybe a few hours of sleep. The way I look right now could scare crows and children – or I could fit right in with any of the characters in The Night Of The Living Dead. Gah!
Sleepy time, more when I get home.