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. :)
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
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. :)
It seems that my schedule has been a little too hectic to stop and post a blog after every concert and/or trip. But, I’m home sick today, feeling pretty crappy, so I have a second to catch my breath and recap at least a few of this month’s happenings.
November was the month where I had something planned for every weekend – but two of those plans fell through. Was supposed to go to Amsterdam to see Billy Idol. I had my flight booked and everything but I didn’t go due to jetlag after visiting Madam X in Detroit and also battling a slight flu. Something had to go.
The next weekend however, I was on a plane to Milan, Italy to see Billy Idol. I met up with my friend Ania and had a great time in Milan. Also met Daniela (nice name! ;) ) who follows this blog, it’s pretty amazing how you meet people from all over the planet that you have something in common with thanks to the internet. :)
The venue was very cool, apparently it’s mainly used for techno-dance events, stuff like that, but it was a perfect concert arena with a light show you don’t usually see elsewhere. Billy was amazing as always, and Steve Stevens is simply the coolest guitarist there is. What a perfect combo.
The weekend after that was supposed to be Metal AllStars-weekend in Leipzig and Berlin, Germany. Once again, flights, hotels and the whole works, booked and planned… but the whole thing had been postponed until 2015… At first I wasn’t sure if I should cancel my trip once again, but then I thought – I never do the “tourist thing”, why not take the opportunity to go and just enjoy not having anything planned at all, just go with the flow.
It was the right decision. I ended up going to Neues Museum and the Nefertiti-exhibition (I love anything Egyptian and if there is a museum with an Egyptian exhibition in the city I go to, I try to go). I also managed to find the Halford rock cafe. Of course, it was closed when I got there but at least I kind of visited it. :)
Spent my Sunday walking around at the Christmas fair at Alexanderplatz, which was pretty amazing with all its unique foods and drinks, the Glühweins, the smoked salmons and all kinds of “wurst”.
I finished my Sunday in the TV tower where I had reserved my VIP table with a guaranteed window-view. You can see all of Berlin from up there and it rotates, so you REALLY get to see every corner of the city from up there. The food was fantastic too. I ordered a glass of slightly more expensive red wine than usual, but I figured that since I was deprived of a good concert, I might as well comfort myself with a glass of nice wine. :)
A few days ago I was invited by my friend Maj-Louise to the Pretty Maids annual Christmas concert at Vega in Copenhagen, Denmark. That was a great gig, that band always delivers.
Another nice surprise was that they invited a guest on stage, mr Soren Andersen. That guy has played with everybody. Last time I saw him was at the Marshall 50 years of loud show in London, sharing the stage with Yngwie, Paul Gilbert, Zakk Wylde, Joe Satriani – the whole creme de la creme of guitarists. He’s played with Mike Tramp, Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa – you name it. So that was a cool surprise.
(I forgot my own camera so this is the only video clip from that show that I’ve been able to find on Youtube)
December will be a quiet month though. Then in January, I’m off to Detroit again and Madam X.
Like I mentioned in my last blog, I’m not even in the band, but I’m really happy and excited to see how well their comeback has been received. 6000 views in about a week and not as much as one “dislike”, that’s pretty rare and says a lot!
The song is great, the video rocks and we’ll see what comes next. It’s different with this compared to most bands, this is a band that gets a second chance after so many years, and it just seems that the timing is perfect because the songs are better, the musicianship is better, everything is simply better than it was before, so this will be great to follow.
It’s been less than 6 months since I wrote the blog below – and things have been happening at a rapid pace with this band ever since. I promised to reveal who it was in due time – and some have probably already guessed it. The band I was talking about was MADAM X.
Sometimes you just KNOW.
I’ve had that feeling a number of times in my life and it has never, ever failed me. The only times I’ve been “wrong” is when the bands have decided to break up/quit, but evenso, they’ve always done something to leave a mark.
When I went to see Madam X early that day at Sweden Rock (June 7, 2014) I basically went because I never miss an opportunity to see a metal band with female musicians. That’s always been a source of inspiration for me. Also, Madam X – they were in the Swedish music magazine OKEJ all the time back in the 80’s, who ever thought we’d get a chance to see them live – 30 years later?!
I was watching their sound check and preparations when a few fans asked for picks, and Chris “Godzilla” jumped off the stage, went over to the guys and handed out whatever he had – finishing the “pick-distribution” with a smile and the words: “If I dig any deeper in my pockets I’ll end up handing out my hotel key! That’s all I’ve got guys.”
I remember it clearly because it showed that this was a band with a good attitude. I made a mental note of that.
And the show? Loved it. Much like Skid Row back in the day, there was a passion and an energy that came across so clearly and I ended up staying the whole show. Usually at Sweden Rock I go from stage to stage and listen to a few songs, then move to the next stage/band. Unless it’s one of my favorite bands of course.
Madam X kept my interest and attention from beginning to end and it was love at first sight, to say the least!
They looked great, they sounded good, they were being themselves, not making any excuses, I loved that too. It was just genuine, you can’t fake that.
I took a few rounds in the VIP area after the show thinking I might bump into them and have a chat, but instead, I kept hearing from my friends that they had met Godzilla back there, showing me pics of those meetings on their mobile phones.
So I went to the signing session instead. The line went on forever, there were tons of people waiting to meet the band, it was insane!
Some of them never even got to meet the band because the SRF-crew had to cut the line to make room for the next signing session, leaving lots of disappointed fans with unsigned records and photos…
I didn’t get to talk to the band that day, but they left a lasting impression, so after the festival – June 9th, I just left a short note to Chris on Facebook, saying that I had a few decent pics and videos in case they wanted to use any of it – and said that I had enjoyed the show – a lot.
Started talking about the band and their plans and shortly thereafter he sent 3 songs that they wanted to use when looking for a record deal and wanted someone else’s honest opinion. Was the material good enough?
Like I wrote in that blog back in June – I didn’t expect it to be more than okay, maybe decent, but I didn’t think it would be so good that it would totally blow me away. All three songs were absolutely brilliant!
I’ve had those demos in my cellphone ever since, listening to them on my way to work, in the car, playing them on repeat. How often do I hear anything nowadays that makes me want to hear MORE, like back in the day when I was a kid? Not often. This is so rare, and I’m so thankful that I discovered I could still get kicks like that, even after 25 years in the business.
The rest is history. Today it’s December 5 – and I’ve been in Detroit twice, visiting in the studio in Rochester, following the recordings of the coming Madam X comeback album.
I’ve gotten to know the people involved – the band, whoever was in the studio that weekend, producer, friends, husbands, what have you – and they were all freaking cool people.
I’ve clicked with a few bands and their crews before, but this was different, this was truly like we had known eachother a lifetime. I liked them instantly, felt right at home from the word go. That’s a great feeling.
2015 is going to be Madam X’ year! And yeah, this is where you heard it first. Could I be wrong? Absolutely not. :)
It feels great, I believe in this 110%, and judging by the reactions from fans worldwide, the band has never really been forgotten. The anticipation and the excitement is through the roof!
I feel like an enthusiastic teenager – it’s going to be a blast. Not only do I think that they will continue where they left off back in 1984, I think they’ll do it better and beyond people’s expectations. Want a preview? Here’s the first single. :) Enjoy!
A few months ago, I conducted an interview with Chris “Godzilla” Doliber of Madam X, and during that interview he mentioned that one of the things on his bucket list, was “to have a chat” with his childhood hero – Ian Hunter (Mott The Hoople).
I uploaded the interview and that was that. One day I was on my way home and passed our local rock club KB, KulturBolaget, and saw posters of Ian Hunter outside, advertising an upcoming gig – and got an idea…! :D
I contacted Ian’s management and got a very kind and immediate reply. I wanted to try something new that could be interesting – and got the green light.
Ian Hunter and band were actually going to be in Malmo the day before the show which gave him the time and flexibility to do a video interview without the usual stress of scheduled sound checks and all that.
Next, I contacted Chris and presented my idea. Would he like to ALMOST “have a chat” with Ian Hunter – through video?
It would be two generations of musicians “talking” through the help of modern interaction. I loved the idea and it seemed to be the perfect opportunity to experiment.
It would show that no matter where you are in your career as a musician, or how much older and wiser you get, we all still have heroes that have left permanent marks in our lives.
This would truly show how one generation passes the torch to the next – keeping the musical fire burning, sometimes without even knowing it.
The original thought was to do a video interview with Ian, show every reaction and expression, and cut these two clips together as a Q & A type of thing.
My camera guy was standing by, I had everything planned out in my head already, the only thing that was missing was the actual talk with mr Hunter.
However, things don’t always go according to plan. On the day of the interview, I was informed that Ian hadn’t been feeling very well and for that reason he prefered not to be filmed.
He was kind to agree to doing the interview anyway, if there was a way to make it work without any cameras involved.
Well, anything works, if you MAKE it work. I’m glad and grateful that he took the time at ALL. So I headed down to his hotel with my little audio recorder, just like back in the good old days.
When Ian came down to the lobby, he looked very cool and was wearing a hat and his signature shades. He would have looked absolutely perfect in a video, but I’m not one to talk. I know how it is when you’re just not in the mood to get a camera in your face.
There was a small little room there on the first floor, a bit secluded, comfortable couches, tables, rugs, very cozy.
When I explained to Ian that the interview was going to be conducted by another musician – through video, he was worried that he might not hear the questions because of all the background noise, but I had forseen that and brought a pair of headphones.
That’s the scenario – a laptop, a video, a rock star with headphones, hat and shades and a journalist recording his answers…. :)
It was new to him to be interviewed that way, but he seemed to find it interesting. He looked pretty amused while watching the video.
After the interview, we were joined by the tour manager and Ian’s very sweet wife Trudi and chit-chatted a little bit after the interview was done. She had just been sight-seeing in Malmo a bit and brought everyone coffee from a coffee-shop nearby.
When I left the hotel, I was smiling to myself. Ian Hunter is 75 years old, but not for one second did I ever think of him as anything but a passionate young man who loves music but hates the business. Words I’ve heard from several musicians before him actually. Love the music, hate the business.
He was incredibly cool, almost slightly intimidating but I have no idea why, cause he was very kind and polite. It’s just that badass-attitude that IS Ian Hunter that shines through, that’s all.
I enjoyed this whole experience. It might not have turned out exactly the way I had planned, but it was fun and interesting to try this slightly different approach.
So, without further ado, here’s Godzilla interviewing his musical hero Ian Hunter – enjoy!
(If you wish to skip directly to the actual interview, it starts at 2:52)