SKOGSRÖJET – festival-of-loud-guitars&screams time! :)

I didn’t go to Sweden Rock Festival this year, my “home” that I haven’t missed one single time since the mid 90’s, but this year I had to for personal reasons. I had to go to Croatia to take care of a few things that couldn’t be postponed any longer.

So I’m really glad that I’ll get to experience THIS festival, SKOGSRÖJET instead, cause it’s brand new to me.

Some of my favorite artists and bands are on the bill, so it’s like Christmas! I originally only got myself a ticket because they announced YNGWIE, my guitar hero since I was a teenage rocker. He hasn’t played in Sweden since god knows when, so that was a major treat! Then they announced APOLLO – Sweden’s Tony Martin, the man with the massive voice.

Then came all this other stuff, it’s gonna be a party-weekend to remember!

Not only that, but some of these acts bring old friends, Loudness with a long-time friend Anett from the Jon Oliva-days, Apollo from the Firewind and post-Firewind days, Pretty Maids with “little brother” Chris Laney on the keyboards and guitar…

And kickass live acts within their respective fields – THUNDER is an AMAZING band! I first saw them at the Donington Monsters of Rock back in the early 90’s with Iron Maiden, The Almighty, Slayer and W.A.S.P among others. They kicked ass.

Then I made a reaquaintance with them when they played with Whitesnake on their UK tour a few years ago – and then played Sweden Rock Festival. Incredibly solid band, great songs, just a wonderful vibe all the way through. And now they’re back in Sweden – then, if I feel that I STILL haven’t had enough of them, they’ll also be rockin’ the boat at the Monsters of Rock Cruise next year!

[this is from the Whitesnake tour a few years ago]

AMARANTHE kick ass at what they do, they’ve done their own thing from the very start and whether people loved it or hated it, they still carried on with their unique style.
Never mind the fact that all guys go goo-goo-gaa-gaa over Elize, she’s an incredibly talented singer – all three of them are. And there’s fireworks, laser and stuff, enough to feast your ears and eyes. :)

And D-A-D…! There is not a festival, gig, stage, ANYTHING that won’t start rockin’ to the CORE when these guys plug in their guitars and turn everything up to eleven! I love, love, love them to death! It’s genuine, it’s rough, it’s tough, it’s rock’n’roll the way it’s supposed to be, it’s a show, tons of humor and there’s just nothing not to like about these guys, Denmark’s greatest pride and joy!
If you haven’t heard them or seen them, it’s never too late and I can’t imagine anyone not having a fantastic time at their shows! :D

Hardcore Superstar, another one of those solid bands that have so much energy on stage it’s exhausting just watching them. :) It just hit me that a lot of these great acts are all from Gothenburg, Sweden – and Liv Sin is another one to add to that list.

When I first saw Sister Sin, they were opening for some major act, don’t remember who it was, but I remember thinking when I saw that petite, little leather-packaged chick in fishnet stockings: “…probably another one of those wimpy girlie singers that focuses on image and can’t sing for shit“…

Boy did I regret thinking that for even one second! SHE was the real deal – no doubt about it! She had a powerful rock’n’roll voice, like she’s been eating barb wire for breakfast, she was ALL over the fuckin’ place, rockin’ like the 100% pure rock chick that she is!

She’s never disappointed me since – she delivers at every show. Some people were just born to do what they do, and Liv was born to rock the asses of everybody.

And Yngwie – well… he doesn’t need an introduction. Just call him Maestro. :) Nobody comes close, he is simply amazing. Yeah, he’s mister Attitude and all that, but strip away all the bullshit and it comes down to the greatest guitarist I’ve ever heard. There might be others that are technically better, but Yngwie’s got the whole, complete deal – the melodies, she showmanship, the “feel”… It’s a zillion notes per second but it’s not ONLY that, unlike most other shredders. Love the guy. For his playing. I mean listen to this and tell me he’s not fantastic!

Second day – Apollo, Ugly Kid Joe, Pretty Maids, Backyard Babies, Black Star Riders…and old school NWOBHM heroes Saxon. :)

APOLLO – you’ll hear his voice on so many records, he’s one of the most sought-after vocalists in the country and there’s no doubt why. Apart from being an impressive singer, he’s also a super nice guy. This clip is from his days with Evil Masquerade. A favorite of mine. :)

PRETTY MAIDS – been around for ages and they’re only getting better!

What’s not to like?! I can’t wait for this weekend, that’ll be my dose of rock’n’roll for this month! :D

No terrorist will ever stop me from living

Music, life

I wasn’t going to write about the Manchester terrorist act, because I just don’t want those who do it to get more fuel and more attention. It seems like that’s their way of getting their message across, in a sick sort of way.

But I will say this.

I’ve been asked: “Aren’t you at least a little bit scared?”

I go to concerts all the time. It’s my life. It’s what I live for.
A wise person once said that you should live for something you’re also willing to die for. And music is exactly that.

I’m not afraid at all. I’m not saying that to convince myself or anyone else or because I want to pretend to be cocky or whatever, I simply just…am not scared.

There is not one sexually frustrated, mentally disturbed terrorist on this planet that will make me stop going to the next concert – or the next. And if they blow me up, well so be it. Just do the job properly asshole. I’m not going to spend my life at home, being scared of traveling or going to an arena to see my favorite band. If I do, I might as well shoot myself right away, because that is no way to live.

I’ve been a “railrider” (all the way up front at concerts) since I was a teenager. At times, it’s been very tough standing there in the front row. You think you’re going to be crushed to death, suffocate or be beaten by some drunk or by someone who’s high and thinks you’re in the way.

My friend and I went to a W.A.S.P-concert in the late 90’s and it was ruthless. She decided to give up, cause she had bruises all over and couldn’t breathe. I didn’t blame her. But I stayed. My attitude at the time was, that if I die here tonight, at least I will have died happy.

And that’s what it’s all about.

I will probably be scared if someone shoots me and doesn’t do the job properly, but nothing will scare me from going to concerts, that’s my point.

I just read that Kiss cancelled their show in Manchester, and I understand that it’s just not the right time or place – eventhough it’s for other practical reasons as well. I’ve been to that arena, because I prefer Manchester to London for gigs. It could have been me.

To think that some confused individual who believes in fairy tales and is convinced that blowing up people is mega-cool, killed CHILDREN… who know nothing about political or religious beliefs…

What can you even say? 

I’ve already seen enough hatred and speculations in social media, I’m not going to add more to it since it really makes no difference what anyone thinks. This shit will continue, cause there are enough airheads out there who have nothing better to do with their worthless existence than blowing themselves up.
I just wish they could do it somewhere far away from other people.

All we can do is set a statement by what we choose to do and how we choose to live.

And I choose life – and living it to the fullest. That’s what rock’n’roll has taught me. It gave my life meaning and I will stick to it.

Until the very end.

STEVE STEVENS: “I’VE SEEN IT ALL”

Steve Stevens – always a pleasure to meet and talk to. As much as I love Billy Idol, whenever I went to Billy’s shows, I ended up being a lot more fascinated by the guitarist than the headliner himself.
They are the perfect combo, much like Mick and Keith (hey, Keith over Mick anytime, Keith is just insanely cool!), Steven Tyler and Joe Perry (Perry – thankyouverymuch!) well you get the drift – Steve was simply the cooler of the two. :)

After meeting Steve at a little jazz club at Broadway with Sebastian Bach a few years ago, I was even more floored – not only by his genuine love for his craft, but also for his warm and positive energy. You feel at ease around that guy. Same thing with his wife Josie, big smile, big heart.

I instantly liked them and it’s simply a pleasure to see them both again. Was glad that they could squeeze this in, eventhough Steve was in high demand, especially that weekend. Thanks guys!

Check out the 2012-Iridium-interview here.

But for the most recent interview from Musik Messe in Frankfurt, check this out. :)

 

Monsters of Rock Cruise 2018, it’s ON! :)

The Monsters of Rock Cruise, MORC, last year was a memory for life.
I’ve always loved the sea, so being out there, surrounded by the Carribean sea with a light breeze blowing through my hair was wonderful.

There was music and good times everywhere from morning to evening, but at night, it was all peaceful and quiet.

I had a balcony cabin and I felt incredibly privileged when I fell asleep watching the bright moon light up the water surface like a mirror, and then woke up early in the morning to almost complete silence, only the sound of waves splashing against the ship, to watch the sun rise. It was spectacular.

Apart from that, I’m at home on a boat full of rockers. That’s my “tribe”, that’s where I belong. :)

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I was there for Madam X, first and foremost, I love their passion and energy, and they’re just simply great people and great musicians.
They rocked that ship.

Then of course there was another good friend, Gus G and “his boys”, all of them great guys that I’ve gotten to know through the years. He kicked ass as well.

I didn’t think I would get to do it all again, until the announcement for 2018 Monsters of Rock Cruise was made recently. The lineup made me lose my breath, pretty much. It’s like tailor made for me. :)

Madam X again – don’t miss it! They have the most dedicated fan, there were people from all over the planet who came to see them on the cruise. And they didn’t disappoint anyone, those shows were loud and freaking awesome!

Lita Ford – my number one role model, inspiration, idol. She had a lot to do with the person I am today, because she was the only female rocker back in those days who was successful but embraced her femininity. All other female rockers all looked like dudes and I couldn’t quite relate. Lita was different and I loved her for it. I still think she kicks ass – and I’m still stoked that she included a photo from our interview – that was in this blog – in her biography. :)

The Quireboys – the BEST live-band I can think of. I’d say that the only competition they’ve got would be Whitesnake/David Coverdale. Other than that, they blow me away, every single time. There’s something genuine about this band, a love for what they do and a spark that never dies. Spike is the ultimate frontman, he’ll probably die on stage. I was so impressed when he managed to engage a whole audience all alone, a capella at Sweden rock – sitting on a chair with a broken leg! Well, he moved everything else that he was able to move, and did it with the biggest grin ever. That band is a GUARANTEE for a good time and I’m so excited that they’ll be on the cruise!

Pretty Maids – another kickass liveband that never disappoints their audience. After almost four decades of kicking ass, they KNOW their business better than anybody. And I happen to know that it’s 100% genuine, it’s a love for rock’n’roll that shines through. As if that wasn’t enough, my “little brother” Chris Laney joined the band last year and he’s handling the keyboards, guitar and vocals. I’ve known that guy since he was a teenager and he’s got music running through his veins, incredibly talented musician and a wonderful guy, so that’s a band I won’t miss on the cruise, for sure!

Thunder – wow and wow. The finest of the finest of British hard rock. Amazing musicians, great songs, great live performances… They opened for Whitesnake a few years ago, and gave the snakes a good run for the money. The hair is shorter and “greyer” nowadays but you forget about all that once they start doing their thing. I love this band!

Doro – she’s adorable, a powerhouse metal queen with a love for rock’n’roll that you just can’t miss. I admire her in so many ways. She’s really dedicated her whole life for music and she lives it, one hundred per cent. Won’t be missing her this time either.

L A Guns is one of those bands I remember from wayyyy back in the day. I met them for an interview in London once when they were opening for Skid Row – sat with Phil Lewis and Kelly Nickels and both left such a bad, arrogant impression that I couldn’t stand them for years. However, I can’t deny that they’ve done some pretty great songs, so I’ll bury the hatchet and go check them out. :)

Loudness kicked some good ass at Sweden Rock, that will be cool to see again. And, yet another friend of mine is handling booking and management for this band so I hope to see many familiar faces on this cruise as well. :)

It’s the ultimate escape from everyday life. You get all this fantastic music, all this “let’s kick ass and have a great time“-energy, all day and all night, you let it charge your batteries, fill your heart & soul with love and joy, while the sun is burning your skin on pool deck. :) What could be better than that?

It’s really like being in a dream for a few days, and in case anyone wants to know if it’s worth the money: Hell YES! 

I can’t wait to do this again. :) Miami, Haiti and Jamaica, can’t wait to see you! :D

 

MY YEAR IN ROCK – 2016

2016 is coming to an end and, being true to my habit, it’s time to do a 2016 recap.

Compared to previous concert-years, this year has been less busy. I haven’t flown to 50 cities all over the world to see whoever, but instead, it’s been about TWO main events that were both something out of the ordinary, a lot more expensive than the usual gigs (which is why I couldn’t go all in with everything else) but that brought memories for life:

1. MONSTERS OF ROCK CRUISE (Shredders Of The Deep, February 22-26)
[Miami Florida – Nassau Bahamas – Great Stirrup Cay Bahamas]

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2 . DESERT TRIP – Indio, California (October 7, 8, 9)

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It’s hard to beat those experiences – ESPECIALLY Desert Trip that has left such lasting, fantastic memories that I feel extremely blessed and privileged for having been there. All those legends one after another, the camaraderie that quickly built between perfect strangers was nothing short of amazing.

Paul McCartney has always been a “god” in my life, since I was 8 years old, so that night was such a strong experience that I couldn’t stop bawling my eyes out, I was just to taken by the whole thing.

Stones – and especially Keith Richards, coolest man on the planet – is the ultimate band, there is nobody that can compete with these guys and their 50+ years in the business. There is a reason why they’re still performing the biggest arenas in the world.

Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Who, Roger Waters… all of them had something important to say and they all still have a passion and a fire inside of them that I admire them for cause you rarely see that in artists nowadays.
I wish I could go back in time and do it all again. :)

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Just checked in, ship about to depart – having a Bacardi & Coke! Cheers!!

The cruise was something to remember as well. Apart from being on a ship where there was a great band playing somewhere almost 24/7 was like having died and gone to heaven. Not only the music, but the whole setting.

I had picked one of the nicer cabins with a balcony, and I remember waking up really early a few mornings looking straight out over a vast ocean that seemed limitless, watching the sun rise.

It was so quiet, so beautiful, cause at that time, the whole “party boat” was fast asleep. I also remember being on deck late at night when it was pitch black, taking photos of the crystal clear moon, while listening to the calming waves splashing alongside the sides of the ship.

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I’m ready for the weeklong rock’n’roll extravaganza to the Bahamas!

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One night I went a little out of control, which I haven’t done in a very, VERY long time, and ended up in the pool with my clothes on while Steve Vai was getting ready to hit the stage. I ruined my favorite pair of jeans, but I got the whole Gus G-band laughing cause nobody’s ever seen me in that condition. :D

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Madam X

Anyway – apart from those two experiences, there were a few more that added to my yearly concert junkie experiences!

Sylvain Sylvain (New York Dolls) that made a guest appearance at the Rock’n’Roll Residency in Nashville when I was over there visiting my friend Blackie.

I was introduced to a number of really cool people that night, including Lizzy Hale who was really sweet, and Stacie Collins who has since visited Sweden a number of times and is one badass rockin’ lady! Go check her out if you get a chance.

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Lobo Lee, Stacie Collins and me.

Avantasia in Hamburg, Germany. That was QUITE an experience! I was staying with my friend Su and she got sick that day so she couldn’t join me, but I went to Große Freiheit alone and when I got there there was a loooooong – I mean LOOOOONG line that filled the whole street and continued on and on forever! The place was PACKED!! I haven’t seen that many people in a club in ages, I thought they were gonna tear the place down, literally! The concert was amazing and I guess the crowd contributed to it with their enthusiasm.

Whitesnake – there is no other band I love to see live over and over and over again without getting tired, and this year was no exception. First stop was when I was in Detroit visiting the my lovely friends from Madam X. As a last minute decision, we went to see Whitesnake at the Fox.

Pic: Me, Roxy Petrucci and Gary Gura
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Then, as if ONCE was enough (duh?!) went to see them again at Vega in Copenhagen:
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Went to a few Spiritual Beggars shows, a band that normally doesn’t play in their home country of Sweden, but that “broke the rules” this year and did it anyway. It was nothing short of total SUCCESS, especially in their home town of Halmstad where I remember showing up about an hour before the show at Kajskjulet, only to find the longest line of people I’ve seen for a Swedish gig in ages! You would have thought it was the ticket line for some rare gig with Guns ‘n Roses or something!

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They also did a mini-tour stopping in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo, with openers SAFFIRE. Those guys also totally blew me away. Talk about high quality musicianship, that was quite a pleasant surprise!

Apollo (singer of Spiritual Beggars) did a solo appearance with Saffire later in the summer, on a very VERY rainy day, and of course I went there to check that out as well.

Another favorite, ROB ZOMBIE played in Berlin a few months ago, so I went there with my friend Henny. We froze our butts off waiting in line for hours, but there was no other place than front row in our minds, so you just do whatever you gotta do. It was worth it ten times over! I’ve never seen Rob Zombie do a bad gig, ever. It’s ALWAYS top-notch.

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Henny and I also made a last-minute decision to go to Belgium to check out Gus G‘s solo project a few weeks ago. Well, the show itself was kind of a last minute gig that was decided only a few weeks before it was to take place, and I found out about it during a phone interview I did with Gus so I had a little more time planning for that, thank god. :)

He brought US-singer James Paul Luna from Holy Grail – one badass singer that impressed the hell out of me, wow! Had a good time hanging out a little with the guys before and after the show, before heading back to Sweden.

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That wasn’t the only Gus G show I’ve seen this year – of course. He played at the Guitar Gods festival in Miami in February with Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen, then at the Monsters of Rock Cruise and later on with the project Allegiance of Rock (with Europe-bassist John Leven, Hammerfall/Yngwie-drummer Anders Johansson and Candlemass/TSO-singer Mats Levén) at Hojrock in Västervik.

It was a drag getting to that little godforsaken town, but it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited this year and I hope I’ll have a good reason to go back there next year. :)
And Allegiance of Rock at the Stockholm Rocks festival at Debaser Medis, also featuring Inglorious, Grand Magus and Avatarium. Blabbermouth shared my videos from there, as usual. :)

The street fest Malmöfestivalen presented some great acts this year, most of them on the RockStage and one major act on the main stage at Stortorget, the biggest square in Malmö.

RockStage gave us great bands such as Dynazty (these guys are simply brilliant, with a kickass singer that blows me away every time he opens his mouth!), A.C.T (fantastic progressive rock band that call their style “art rock”, they’ve been awesome for the past 20 years or so) female fronted Frontback with the rockin’ chick Anlo Front who’s so full of energy, it’s always a pleasure to watch her go!

And last but not least, Monoheads, consisting of female rockers from bands Modesty Blaise (my first experience of managing a band, had a blast with them years and years ago) and Cat Calls. They all kick ass, the finest of the finest at their instruments, these ladies know that they’re doing!

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Tough guy DANKO JONES and his dudes, took the main stage and rocked it – big time! That guys is intense and a true rocker. He makes it impossible to leave, the energy from the stage just sucks you in somehow, just a great concert, as always!

Sweden Rock Festival is my second home. I just love it there, I haven’t missed a single year since 1995, except for 1996 when I moved to the States, and it’s just like being “home”, for real.

This year I was happy to meet up with old friend Anett, who used to be the tour manager for Jon Oliva’s Pain – this time she was out on the road with Loudness. Was good to see her and catch up a little. :)
I also got my Lita Ford biography signed by Lita – on the page where she had used one of my photos from this very blog. :D And yeah, she remembered so it was a little different than the usual stand in line-get shit signed-leave situation. :)

Queen played. Megadeth, Avantasia, Twisted Sister, King Diamond, Glenn Hughes and the list just goes on and on. I was mostly looking forward to Scottish band GUN and the band that got me super emotional, surprisingly enough, was the Hooters! What a show, I was totally taken by it – they just kicked everbody else’s ass. Just fantastic!

Apart from the gigs and travels, I also took a trip to Italy/Switzerland to visit Gotthard-guitarist Leo Leoni. I had a great time there, was welcomed with open arms by Leo himself, their friend and assistant Claudia and everyone I met that day.

Had lunch at his and his sister’s restaurant GrottHard Cafe and spent the rest of the afternoon at his house talking about deep subjects. Very interesting and very inspiring. The day ended with a visit in his studio in the basement where the new Gotthard album “Silver” had been recorded , where we listened through the whole thing. It sounded great! I loved the trip too, very beautiful countries. :)

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And last but not least, the book about rock club Kulturbolaget, KB in Malmö, where ALL legends have played, was published a few months ago. I ended up being in 3 or 4 different segments of that book which is a great honor.

So that wraps it up, pretty much. 2017 is going to be just as busy as always, with the exception that I won’t be going alone on all my trips and gigs, something that I’ve been doing for years. I’ve just gotten used to doing things my way since most people I know aren’t as crazy and usually not willing to do what it takes to get that front row spot and all.

But now I have that so it will be a lot of fun and I’m very much looking forward to 2017 which will include Bob Dylan, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, ZZ Top, Rob Zombie and much, much more! Thanks for a great time 2016 – now let’s top this in 2017!!