Written by Adam Troy (SONIC X)
In my last chapter of “My Rock and Roll Journey,” I gave you a little teaser for this chapter where I mentioned an armed escort, girls, booze, drugs and a $1500 bar tab. What I didn’t mention was the Kenny Rogers lookalike, the “Mind Eraser” and the phone call from “The Welcoming Committee.” Before I get to that, keep in mind that all of the names and places have been changed to protect the innocent (as well as the guilty).
The following story is one of my favorites because it’s about a part of being a musician that I particularly love…touring. Some like it, some hate it. I LOVE IT! Everything about it appeals to me. The sights, the sounds, the people and the places. For me, everything makes sense on the road. You can tell immediately if a song works or not, and for that matter, whether your band works or not. The road will tell you many things about yourself, and those you choose to travel it with. To me, it was (and is) just fun.
Below is diary of a day in the life of a touring musician. And so it begins…
“Tuna Fish,” Idaho…summertime in the 1990s. We are playing one of the premier clubs in the area, one of the shows in our weeklong run.
Day 1 started like any other travel day when you are on the road. Arrive at the hotel (or in this case the “band house”). Go to the venue for sound check, get a quick bite to eat then get ready for the gig. After the first few hours into this trip, I quickly realized that this one would be different.
9:00am – 3:00pm: Five grown men packed into a 1976 two-door Ford Thunderbird on a long drive to “Tuna Fish,” Idaho. A horrible smell is wafting from the back seat as various arguments about the heat and lack of air conditioning are taking place. Stories of conquest from the previous night, and of course, the burp and fart contest is in full bloom. That is how this tour run started.
3:00pm: Upon arrival at the “band house,” I notice it had a phone. Pretty odd, given that there were no cell phones at the time, and providing lovesick road musicians a free phone was not a good idea. After stowing my gear and inspecting our less-than-stellar accommodations, the phone rings.
Girl: “Hi I’m Kelly, are you in the band Bag of Bagels?” (remember, the names are changed).
Me: “Hi Kelly, yes I am.”
Kelly: “Well, my girlfriends and I are the ‘welcoming committee’…”
Me: “The ‘welcoming committee’? Ok…well, the guys and I are going to sound check in a few minutes. We’ll catch you at the show. How will we know you all?”
Kelly: “Oh don’t worry, you will know us!” (Click…the line goes dead. Off we go to the venue.)
4:00pm: Annoying ride to the venue in an already-hot Thunderbird. Bitching, moaning, and…WHAT THE HELL IS THAT SMELL!?
4:30pm: Annoying sound check, as I find out one of our crew members loaded in wearing a pair of flip flops and gashed open his toe. Off to the hospital he goes. Luckily, he only needed a few stitches. A short sound check was all we could get.
6:00pm: Time to eat as we argue about the gear. Back to the car. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT SMELL COMING FROM THE BACK SEAT!? Nobody knows anything. I’m suspicious.
7:00-8:00pm: Showers, calls to our agent, and an ever-spirited question from Carcass (our guitar player). “Where the hell is my suitcase?” No one knew the answer to his question. We find out later that his suitcase was left on the elevator in the previous town’s hotel (8 hours away). He is NOT happy!
8:30pm: The Carcass suitcase disaster was temporarily averted with clothes shared among the band brothers to get him through until we figure where his suitcase is. Off to the show. Carcass is still not happy!
9:00pm: The “welcoming committee” arrives at the show in various states of undress, and with great enthusiasm for the band. They were hard to miss. Pleasantries and numbers are exchanged with band and crew. Smiles all around (even from Carcass).
9:05pm: I have a pre-show drink called a “Mind Eraser” with some fans. I’m told that “you have drink it fast!” I comply, and the four of us begin to drink ….I pass out, from brain freeze or the “Mind Eraser” (hard to say which). For those that don’t know, a “Mind Eraser” is Jagermeister and club soda in a beer bucket with four straws. You have to chug it with three other people. I won! NOT!
9:06pm: I’m back up on my feet…big laughs all around. I go to tune my guitar, feeling lightheaded, but what the hell, I’m the singer in a band. I’ve got this.
9:15pm: We hit the stage. The band, the lights and the sound are all kicking hardcore ass. About an hour into the set, a very attractive mature woman is giving me “the eyes.” I give her my best rock star glance and then move to the next. The “welcoming committee” is living up to their name. The audience is jumping, as is the band and crew. We are in the zone!
11:00pm: The show ends; the people leave the venue. As I’m on my way to settle with the promoter (accompanied by my sound engineer, Sven), I run into the very attractive mature woman who was giving me “the eyes” earlier. As I greet her, she is giving me her best “I want to fuck you!” look…
Me: “Thanks for coming to the show. I hope you enjoyed it.”
Her: (smiling) “Yes, very much so!”
Me: “Could you please excuse me? I have some business to attend to. It was very nice meeting you.”
Her: (smiling, but disappointed) “You as well.”
12:00am: I secure the band’s fee for the show. Sven and I are laughing it up with the promoter when the promoter says…
“That attractive mature woman you were talking to…well, her husband is not happy.”
Promoter: “The Kenny Rogers-looking dude. He’s pissed. You’d better protect yourself. He carries a gun. Watch out!”
Me: “WHAT? Whatever!”
12:20am: I have a pocket full of cash, a head full of “Mind Eraser” and “Kenny Rogers” wants to take a shot at me. What the fuck! Sven, on the other hand, is cool as a cucumber…
Sven: “I’m carrying, so no worries.”
Me: (shocked) “Carrying?”
Sven: “Yeah” (he calmly opens his brief case to reveal a chrome 45).
Me: “Holy shit, Sven! I had no idea!”
Sven: “Now you do. Let’s go. I’ve got this.”
1:00am: After a few more drinks and talking to some fans, I grab my guitar and head back to the dressing room. As expected, there is a bit of “crazy” going on in there, so I head for the van with Sven.
1:15am: Walking outside the venue to our crew van, I see “Kenny Rogers,” and he sees me. Seeing this, Sven steps right in front of me and gives Kenny the “I don’t think so” look. By the way, Sven is a very intimidating dude. I’m thankful he was willing to be there to cover my narrow ass. Kenny gives me a dirty look and leaves. Sven and I laugh, and head to 7-11 for some beer, where we run into a few more fans. Good times! We head back to the band house.
2:00am: The “band house” is lit up like it’s Christmas with a ton of people. There’s a poker game going on when I get inside. There’s one stripper on the card table and another one dancing by herself snorting God-knows-what off of the counter top. There’s “that smell” in the air. One of the ladies from our crew was seducing some young, nervous-looking guy on the nasty couch. Some random guy was wearing sunglasses and a sun visor, speaking what sounded like Spanish on the house phone. The “welcoming committee” had come and gone before I got there, so I missed that freak show. No matter. I see Sven retreat to the closet under the stairs as I stood there taking in the scene. I couldn’t help but think to myself…“what the hell happened tonight?”
Laughing out loud, a lot of questions ran through my mind about that night…
“Did I pass out before we went on stage?”
“Did I almost get shot by a Kenny Rogers lookalike?”
“What IS that smell coming from the backseat of the car?”
“Why did Sven sleep in the closet below the stairs in this decrepit band house?”
“Was the ‘welcoming committee’ really welcoming?”
“Where was Carcass’s suitcase?”
So many questions, but the thing that I never questioned is whether I would want it any other way.
We rolled into “Tuna Fish,” Idaho on gas fumes. The week before, the band went without pay, due to one of our brothers running up a $1500 bar/food tab that we had to cover. We didn’t care because were out on the road.
As for Carcass’ lost suitcase, it was retrieved a few days later along with a $100 shipping bill. He was happy and angry all at the same time when he got it back.
I found out that the smell from the backseat of the car was from chocolate milk that somebody poured into the backseat pocket. I still don’t know why.
The “Kenny Rogers” incident turned out to be an overly jealous husband who was pissed that his wife was giving me the “I Want to Fuck You!” eyes.” Scary!
I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to Sven. If you’re reading this, you know who you are!
This was Day 1 of 7. Days 2-7 were equally eye-opening, and chaotic as the first. That trip is still burned in all of our minds as being one-of-a-kind. We didn’t really care about the drama because it was all part of the journey, one we all saw through different lenses. For me, it was one step of many on “My Rock and Roll Journey.”
Join me next time on Chapter 4 to hear how I got the gig with Sonic X, and moved to Canada to get an American record deal. WHAT???
Till next time…..Cheers!
MORE “MY ROCK AND ROLL JOURNEY” STORIES
Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 1/19/17
Each Thursday, Hard Rock Music Time Machine takes a journey back in time to feature a variety of songs that date back as far as the ’70s, the ’80s (the glory days of hard rock), hidden gems of the ’90s and hard rock/metal songs of the new millennium (as recent as a few years ago).
Whenever possible, it will also contain interviews from featured artists discussing the inspiration and meaning behind their songs. On the last Thursday of each month, we will be doing special themes that feature songs based on specific categories or years.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Hard Rock Music Time Machine can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
IRON MAIDEN – “2 Minutes To Midnight” (1984)
Back in 1984, I remember pumping my fist and banging my head as Iron Maiden played “2 Minutes To Midnight” on the Powerslave tour, never giving a thought to the meaning of the lyrics. It was the year that people were mostly talking about George Orwell’s famous work. And though the Cold War was still a threat, it certainly wasn’t top of mind. Nor was the Doomsday Clock (which is what this song is referencing).
As a teenager, there is a feeling of immortality, and concern over the events of the world took a back seat to typical high school life. It was easy to avoid current events back then, as you had to deliberately watch the news or read the papers. The ubiquity of social media and 24/7 news channels have made it impossible for the teens of today to enjoy such blissful ignorance.
The 9/11 attacks robbed citizens of the United States of our innocence, but once things settled down, it didn’t feel like time was running out on the Doomsday Clock. With a much different perspective today than 1984, it feels like “2 Minutes To Midnight” may be something that we reminisce about. Of course, this feeling only applies to those who believe in climate change and arguably the most dangerous group of world leaders in our lifetime. These days, when I listen to my favorite track off of Powerslave, it is not with my fist pumping or my head banging, just a sense that this song may be more relevant than many are willing to admit…
“As the madmen play on words and make us all dance their song to the tune of starving millions to make a better gun.”
JUDAS PRIEST – “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll” (1984)
It’s purely coincidental that my second selection also comes from 1984. Back in 1984, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden were among the biggest names in metal. Their music provided the soundtrack to the youth of many Gen Xers. Like Maiden, Priest wasn’t shy about writing thought-provoking lyrics that questioned power in the wrong hands.
Like “2 Minutes To Midnight,” “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll” was just a song that made you bang your head and pump your fists when it was played live on the Defenders Of The Faith tour. Fast forward to today, and the song’s lyrics take on an entirely different meaning.
Judas Priest had its share of government interference with the PMRC, but I never realized just how prophetic the lyrics to “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll” were at the time. Check them out as you listen to the song to see what I mean…
“If the man with the power can’t keep it under control, some heads are gonna roll.”
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
RAMMSTEIN – “Ich Tu Dir Weh” (2009)
Rammstein, in my opinion, is the best reason to learn German. These industrial metal giants from Germany made it big in the States with their single “Du Hast,” and has had quite the following since that time. “Ich Tu Dir Weh” comes from their 2009 album, Liebe ist fur alle da, and boasts the Rammstein signature heavy groove and Till Lindemann’s baritone vocals. When the band plays this song live, they use a ton of pyrotechnics. Interesting side note: the song was banned in Germany for its lyrical content. My German isn’t very good, but that’s not going to stop me from singing along when I see these guys in June.
SUPERJOINT RITUAL – “Fuck Your Enemy” (2002)
After Pantera’s disbanding, the remaining members of the iconic metal band formed their own projects. Dimebag Darrell and Vinny Abbott formed Damageplan. Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown formed Down. In between recording and touring with Down, Anselmo decided to continue with another project called Superjoint Ritual. Of all the side projects during this time, Superjoint was the only band that I felt captured the spirit of Pantera (even turned up a notch). Superjoint took Pantera’s groove and embellished it with hardcore punk, and sprinkled in a little death metal as well. The result was a heavy, fast and furious metal masterpiece. “Fuck Your Enemy” comes from the band’s first release, Use Once and Destroy. Give this song a listen. I dare you to not move along with the groove!
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
ALLEN LANDE – “Just A Dream” (2005)
Allen-Lande sees two consummate metal vocalists pairing up and singing brilliantly against each other to the backdrop of melodic metal. Russell Allen (Symphony X) and Jorn Lande (Jorn, ex-Masterplan) made their team debut in 2005 with The Battle, which included this favorite. The songs were co-written, produced, and performed together with Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear, Starbreaker, Last Tribe), who would also contribute heavily to the collaboration’s next two albums, before being supplanted in 2013 by guitarist Timo Tolkki (ex-Stratovarius).
JORN – “Song For Ronnie James” (2010)
In 2010 the metal world mourned the loss of one of its superstars, Ronnie James Dio. There were numerous tributes to the legendary vocalist, but perhaps none so poignant as Norwegian vocalist Jorn Lande’s 2010 release, Dio. In addition to some excellent covers of Ronnie James’s work with Dio, Rainbow and Deep Purple, the album included this moving original.
HRD RADIO REPORT
The HRD Radio Report showcases the weekly Active Rock Mediabase Charts (compiled by AllAccess.com), and appears every Tuesday on HardRockDaddy.com. The HRD Radio Report digs deeper into the weekly Active Rock charts, providing commentary, reviews, recommendations and predictions. It also features opinion pieces on chart action and the music business in general.
Many of the artists featured on the Active Rock charts have already been reviewed on HardRockDaddy.com.
The following is the Active Rock Mediabase Chart for the week ending 1/14/17. All exclusive HRD content is featured below the chart:
|THIS WEEK||LAST WEEK||THIS WEEK|
|2||1||HIGHLY SUSPECT||“My Name Is Human”||2003|
|3||5||GREEN DAY||“Still Breathing”||1816|
|5||3||VOLBEAT||“Seal The Deal”||1708|
|6||6||AVENGED SEVENFOLD||“The Stage”||1617|
|7||7||SHINEDOWN||“How Did You Love”||1491|
|8||8||RED SUN RISING||“Amnesia”||1269|
|9||10||BREAKING BENJAMIN||“Never Again”||1005|
|10||9||DISTURBED||“Open Your Eyes”||876|
|13||12||CHEVELLE||“Door To Door Cannibals”||818|
|14||15||SIXX:A.M.||“We Will Not Go Quietly”||727|
|15||16||IN FLAMES||“The Truth”||688|
|17||13||A DAY TO REMEMBER||“Naivety”||660|
|18||18||POP EVIL||“If Only For Now”||625|
|19||23||PRETTY RECKLESS||“Oh My God”||573|
|20||19||KINGS OF LEON||“Waste A Moment”||516|
|21||20||RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS||“Go Robot”||494|
|22||21||METALLICA||“Moth Into Flame”||423|
|24||25||SICK PUPPIES||“Where Do I Begin”||373|
|26||24||DEVOUR THE DAY||“The Bottom”||336|
|27||27||ADELITA’S WAY||“Ready For War (Pray For Peace)”||308|
|28||30||BLINK-182||“She’s Out Of Her Mind”||274|
|29||31||FROM ASHES TO NEW||“Breaking Now”||254|
|30||32||ART OF ANARCHY||“The Madness”||230|
|31||33||GOODBYE JUNE||“Oh No”||217|
|32||34||AMITY AFFLICTION||“All Messed Up”||216|
|33||28||AVATAR||“Night Never Ending”||209|
|35||44||TWENTY ONE PILOTS||“Heavydirtysoul”||158|
|36||38||3 DOORS DOWN||“The Broken”||141|
|37||37||ONE LESS REASON||“Break Me”||140|
|38||41||CROWN THE EMPIRE||“Weight Of The World”||123|
|39||40||LAMB OF GOD||“The Duke”||122|
|40||47||K.FLAY||“Blood In The Cut”||112|
|42||43||THREE DAYS GRACE||“You Don’t Get Me High Anymore”||97|
|43||52||WOVENWAR||“Lines In The Sand”||88|
|46||53||MEMPHIS MAY FIRE (f. J. Shaddix)||“This Light I Hold”||85|
|47||46||TWENTY ONE PILOTS||“Stressed Out”||81|
|48||50||LIKE A STORM||“Pure Evil”||76|
|49||59||HALESTORM||“Still Of The Night”||68|
|50||56||JUDAH & THE LION||“Take It All Back”||67|
PUBLISHER’S PICK OF THE WEEK (By Adam Waldman)
WOVENWAR – “Lines In The Sand”
Wovenwar certainly seems to have their finger on the pulse of the mood in America, where the country is more divided than ever. Because people seem to be drawing “Lines In The Sand,” the chasm grows more by the day. The melodic parts of the song take on a neutral, observational stance, while the tortured growls embody the rage being felt by many (at least that is my interpretation). A perfect storm of unlikely events and shifts in mindset has taken us to a tipping point where compromise and debate has been replaced by finger-pointing and judgment. The lyric…“to build a wall, between us all, it’s our downfall” speaks volumes about where we are as a society. Wovenwar perfectly captures the frustration that many people are feeling these days with the thought-provoking “Lines In The Sand.”
PUBLISHER’S PREDICTIONS (by Adam Waldman)
It took quite some time, but Ghost finally ascended to the top of the chart, replacing Highly Suspect after a lengthy run (that was extended by radio going on auto-pilot around the holidays). No songs in the rear view mirror have much momentum, so unless Ghost reverses course, they will enjoy a decent run at the top. Green Day seems to be next in line for yet another #1 single. It doesn’t look like Metallica’s “Atlas, Rise!” will have enough momentum to challenge Green Day for the top, but that can change at any moment. The hottest song rising up the charts is “Oh My God” by The Pretty Reckless. Could this trio once again occupy the top 3 as they did for an extended period in 2016? It certainly is a possibility at this point, although The Pretty Reckless would have to leapfrog a number of bands to get there. Stay tuned…
HRD SPIN CONTROL (by Adam Waldman and Jon Loveless)
Each week, we will share the songs that we think should be added to rotations, alongside the songs that we feel should be dropped from rotations, either because they are a bad fit for the format, or because they have run their course and it’s time for a new single from the artist.
SEASONS AFTER – “Fighter”
SHALLOW SIDE – “Renegade”
ART OF DYING – “Torn Down”
AS LIONS – “Aftermath”
LETTERS FROM THE FIRE – “Worth The Pain”
CHRYSALIS – “My Eternity”
MEMPHIS MAY FIRE – “This Light I Hold”
FIT FOR RIVALS – “Novacaine”
Twenty One Pilots – “Stressed Out”
Twenty One Pilots – “Heavydirtysoul”
K-Flay – “Blood In The Cut”
Judah & The Lion – “Take It All Back”
Kings Of Leon – “Waste A Moment”
Blink 182 – “She’s Out Of Her Mind”
Highly Suspect – “My Name Is Human”
Volbeat – “Seal The Deal”
THE BREAKDOWN by Jon Loveless
KING OF THE HILL
It was a long way to the top (17 weeks in this case), but Ghost finally claims the top spot on the Mediabase Active Rock Airplay chart. Highly Suspect falls back to #2 while Green Day rises to the #3 spot.
NOTABLE CHART MOVEMENT
The only change in the content of the Top 20 is the arrival of “Oh My God,” the latest from Pretty Reckless…
From Ashes To New and Art of Anarchy reach the Top 30…
Three new songs for the Top 40 this week, highlighted by Crown The Empire finally getting some broader airplay, some five months after the song entered the rotation on SiriusXM’s Octane…
Three songs debut in the bottom portion of the Top 50, including Halestorm’s cover of a Whitesnake classic.
THREE UP & THREE DOWN
Green Day – “Still Breathing”
Pretty Reckless – “Oh My God”
Bleeker – “Highway”
Volbeat – “Seal The Deal”
A Day To Remember – “Naivety”
Avatar – “Night Never Ending”
TRENDS AND OBSERVATIONS
Signs of life at rock radio, or at the very least, indications that people have returned to work. Among the victims of the prolonged lack of activity appears to be Volbeat, who appeared to be headed for a #1 song, but will instead likely have to settle for a 16-week stint in the Top 10.
That’s all for this week. Tune in to HardRockDaddy.com every Tuesday for the HRD Radio Report. \m/
Music Discovery Monday – 1/16/17
Music Discovery Monday shines a light on artists that are not getting the radio attention that they deserve, while also showcasing new singles by established bands that are likely to get airplay in the future.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
AS LIONS – “Bury My Dead”
Children of highly accomplished people in any field take a risk when they follow in the same footsteps of parents that have achieved great success (especially those that are household names). I must admit that had I known that Bruce Dickinson’s son Austin was the frontman of As Lions, it would have inspired me to check out the band. However, I only discovered the familial connection after being instantly drawn to “Bury My Dead” as soon as it came on the Octane, and then doing follow-up research about the band.
While Austin followed in his father’s larger-than-life footsteps, he is to be commended for doing his own thing, with his own sound, in a band that doesn’t even remotely resemble Iron Maiden. As Lions more than stand on their own as a band that blends a variety of influences to develop a sound that is an ideal fit for today’s active rock scene.
Many younger bands strive to just become relevant, but the one thing that may have been passed down from one rock generation to another is the desire to be much more than relevant. From the beginning, the band has had high aspirations. According to their bio…“We had a mission statement to each other and to the music. And that was to create the biggest, baddest, hard rock we could, and on an almost cinematic scale.”
If “Bury My Dead” is an indication of what’s to come from As Lions, their goal certainly seems attainable.
NIGHT RANGER – “Somehow Someway”
The opening notes of Night Ranger’s latest single, “Somehow Someway,” have a classic Motley Crue vibe before transitioning back into the more melodic, AOR sound that they have become known for since they began 35 years ago. Nicely blended into the song is a Journey influence on some of the vocal runs and the harmonies. It’s fitting that L.A. is mentioned in the song, as it was once the hub for melodic hard rock. Some people may classify this incredible, feel-good song as “nostalgic,” but I’d prefer to call it timeless. If you have an appreciation for musicianship, melody and harmonies, you’re going to love this track as much as you did the early work that turned you on to Night Ranger in the first place.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
SOEN – “Sectarian”
Being a fan of original Opeth drummer Martin Lopez, I was thrilled to hear a new Soen single from their upcoming new album, Lykaia. Much like Opeth, Soen is progressive metal at its finest. It combines the drumming chops of Lopez with the style of metal he excels at; progressive, heavy, and intricate. Borrowing his influential playing from Opeth (with a Tool-esque sound), Soen soars to new heights with a great first single. I am excited to hear the rest of the album when it is released.
WHITECHAPEL – “Mark of the Blade”
Deathcore titans Whitechapel returned in 2016 with a new album, Mark of the Blade. Fans of the deathcore genre will find this album a pleasing saga of the continuation of the Whitechapel sound. Typically, the band screams and growls through every song with a frenzy, but this album boasts some clean vocals by lead singer Phil Bozeman. The band also features three guitar players to add to the chaos of heavy, fast riffing. You want chaos with death metal vocals? Whitechapel is your band.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
HEVIDENCE – “Dig in the Night”
Hevidence produces melodic metal with virtuoso guitar work that shifts effortlessly between neoclassical speed and classic rock. Guitarist Diego Reali and his brother Stef founded the band Evidence in 2010 and released their debut album the following year. They’ve since changed the name slightly and switched out some band members, returning with their second album, Nobody’s Fault.
NITERAIN – “Don’t Fade Away”
This Norwegian glam metal band’s debut album, Crossfire, was a hit with critics and fans in 2013. They returned in late 2016 with their sophomore effort, Vendetta, and have crafted another fun melodic album with heavy Motley Crue influences. This catchy number is one of the more laid back tracks (and the lone ballad on the album), with a chorus that really stays in your head long after the last note is played.
To be considered for Music Discovery Monday, please e-mail a link to the song being submitted on YouTube and an artist bio to – submissions@MusicDiscoveryMonday.com
Written by Tony Housh (Seasons After)
As I mentioned in my last installment of “My Rock and Roll Journey,” after living in a small area and searching for my spot, eventually I began looking for a new place to call my musical home. I knew that if I didn’t somehow find my way to a larger area with a more happening music scene, that I would surely never find the musical situation that I needed in order to grow myself as a young vocalist and frontman. I began slowly setting my sites on Dallas, TX. I just couldn’t help thinking about a trip I had once taken to Dallas several years earlier to visit my cousin Mark and family.
My cousin Mark had extended an invite to me to come to Dallas and chill for a week or so after I had just gotten out of high school, so I took it. I had already given college a run, and to be honest, I sucked at it. I would sit in my classes and think to myself… “Why am I here? I didn’t like going to school in the first place, and now I’m paying for it??” Naturally, it didn’t work out in the end because the college route never felt right to me.
I found myself getting off of a Greyhound bus in downtown Dallas at the age of 18 to meet my cousin Mark for a short stay. He immediately began showing me around the city after picking me up from the bus station.
Dallas was huge to me! I could feel the energy pulsating through the air. There was something about that city that made me feel electric. Even the traffic was amazing. I loved every aspect of it! It honestly felt like I had been missing this fast-paced environment my entire life. Coming from a small town, Dallas was truly amazing.
One of the first places that my cousin took me to was the historic Dallas entertainment club district – Deep Ellum. It was only a few miles from the bus station. As we made our way down the one-way streets in downtown Dallas, I stared out of the windows of his red Chevy short bed hotrod at the towering buildings, each one casting a shadow over the streets. I was amazed and blown away during the entire ride through the downtown area. Keep in mind that it was only around noon on a Saturday when Mark picked me up, so Deep Ellum was relatively quiet.
He looked over to me and said…“Hey cuz, I’m going to take you into the area that I am bringing you to tonight for a concert. I want you to see it during the day. Once I bring you back tonight for the show, you will be floored by the transformation that happens when the sun goes down.” And boy, was I ever!
Later that night, he brought me back to Deep Ellum. I was fascinated by it all…the large crowds moving from club to club, the well-dressed men standing at club doors overseeing the entry of patrons, the tattoo shops, the beautiful women and the cars wrapped around (what appeared to be) blocks of traffic with everyone partying to the max! It was my first time seeing all of the colors of personality and insanity that can be humanity…each person doing and being what they wanted to be at that very moment. I freaking loved it!
Mark took me to my first, second and third rock show ever…all in one night! Our first top was Trees, a live music venue that it still killing it in Deep Ellum to this day. We watched a band from the Dallas area called Stinkbug. I just stood there in awe of the band. I was mesmerized by the frontman. He was so in control of the crowd, and brutal with the delivery of every phrase. Even in between songs, he was an animal. I just stood there, not even bobbing my head, just watching, thinking and dreaming about that being ME on stage. It felt like my place for some reason. That dark club and those crazy streets outside somehow made me feel like I had a direction.
After leaving that show, we bounced over to another local kickass spot called Deep Ellum Live. Once again, I stood there in awe while watching a band called Fishbone. I just knew that I needed to live in this city, but it would be another six years before I would call it home.
Over that six-year period, I would end up doing a lot of things that had very little to do with music. The occasional jam session here or there would happen with friends from time to time. I even drove back and forth to the Dallas/Fort Worth area from Abilene just to jam with random guys for a night before heading back home to the family life. It was my little way of fulfilling my urge to sing I guess.
During that time, I ended up getting married and having two wonderful kids. I even began building some sort of career for myself outside of music in trucking and route delivery. But as they say, all good things must come to an end (I suppose). The “Big D” was just around the corner for me, and I don’t mean Dallas. That “Big D” would come a little later.
At the age of 23, I was facing a divorce. I was super bummed about the entire thing (as you can imagine). By the time the situation had found its way to finality, (almost 5 years later), I had begun trying to find my way back to Dallas to play music in the places where I had stood and dreamed it all up years before. After all was said and done, I began looking up bands in the Dallas area on the internet and setting up auditions. I had nowhere to live and no job, but I decided that I was going to go to Dallas no matter the cost of the journey.
It wasn’t very long after (on September 9, 2001) that I threw my belongings in my car in West Virginia and set sail for Dallas and a new beginning (without even having a place to live or a job to feed me). I didn’t care. I was going to make a move no matter the consequences!
Once I arrived in Arlington (a Dallas suburb), I immediately began attending auditions. I like to joke that I had a band interview before I even filled out a job application, but it’s the truth. Within a week or so, I had contacted a very good friend of mine who allowed me to have a bed in his efficiency apartment’s kitchen. I would call that home while I searched for my new band. The search would continue for just a few weeks before I ran into a band called Havoc; they were looking for a singer. We would eventually be known as Flip 44, and later as MyMotive.
In Chapter 4 of “My Rock And Roll Journey,” I’ll tell the story of Flip 44 and MyMotive, and the twists and turns through the Dallas music scene that set the course for my journey of today.
MORE “MY ROCK AND ROLL JOURNEY” STORIES
Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown for the week of 1-14-17.
1-14-17 Big ‘Uns Countdown playlist can also be found on www.HardRockDaddyNetwork.com (the HRD YouTube channel), in addition to archived playlists dating back to 2013. Links to reviews of songs from the countdown are featured at the bottom of the page.
#15 – “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore” – THREE DAYS GRACE
#14 – “Take Me” – KORN
#13 – “Doomed” – BRING ME THE HORIZON
#12 – “Breaking New” – FROM ASHES TO NEW
#11 – “Breathe” – THROUGH FIRE
#10 – “Ready For War (Pray For Peace)” – ADELITA’S WAY
# 9 – “Monster” – STARSET
# 8 – “We Will Not Go Quietly” – SIXX:A.M.
# 7 – “Hated” – BEARTOOTH
# 6 – “Never Again” – BREAKING BENJAMIN
# 5 – “The Bottom” – DEVOUR THE DAY
# 4 – “How Did You Love” – SHINEDOWN
# 3 – “Remember We Die” – GEMINI SYNDROME
# 2 – “My Name Is Human” – HIGHLY SUSPECT
# 1 – “Square Hammer” – GHOST
By Adam Waldman
Friday the 13th…a day that the superstitious fear, but it is also one that people like me embrace. After a long wait, the day has finally come for the debut EP from a band that has been featured prominently over the past year or so on Hard Rock Daddy. Every song on Ugly Melon’s EP is outstanding, but that is a story for another day. Today, we celebrate the debut of a track that is near and dear to my heart – a brilliant cover of “The Rose,” which was made famous by Bette Midler in 1979 when it was featured in a movie with the same name.
So what makes this more special than any other exclusive world premiere that we’ve done? To fully appreciate what this moment means, we must travel back in time to the ‘80s, when I had dreams (like many) of becoming a rock star. The only problem is that I didn’t play any instrument, and was never more than an average vocalist (at best). My strength was always in lyric writing and the ability to hear things in my mind that I knew others would appreciate if I was somehow able to have someone with true talent interpret my ideas. That’s where Ugly Melon comes in – more specifically, vocalist Tony LaSelva and guitarist Lu Cachie.
It feels like a lifetime ago that this dynamic duo sent in a cold submission for a feature on Music Discovery Monday, but the truth of the matter is that it was less than a year ago. Since that time, Ugly Melon been featured a number of times on Hard Rock Daddy – including as the #13 song on our recently published Top 100 Hard Rock Songs of 2016. The music is what drew me to the band, but over the course of the last year, we have become friends with a mutual trust and respect.
When I heard Bette Midler’s version of “The Rose” while driving in the car one day with my family, I instantly said that Ugly Melon has to do a cover version of the song. I knew that LaSelva’s soulful vocal style would bring the emotion of the song to an entirely new level, and that Cachie would do the same with his poignant guitar arrangement. The trick was conveying my vision to a band that wasn’t even looking to do a cover song. Because of our relationship, this duo got to work on one of the most inspired hard rock cover songs that I’ve ever heard.
Because we connect on a level that goes beyond music, I was able to use shared personal tragedies as an inspiration to get LaSelva to tap into exactly what I was thinking for the song. He did what I would have done if I had his vocal gift. Cachie took the references that I gave him and delivered something truly memorable. It’s as if he had experienced the same pain as us.
I have listened to this song dozens of times (often times playing it on a loop). It continues to get better with each listen. You don’t have to be familiar with the original to appreciate this masterpiece. Those who are familiar with the original will find that all of the elements that made the song emotionally stirring are still there. Ugly Melon has brought out the bittersweet beauty of “The Rose” in a way that no one else could have. I’m honored to have my friends be the ones to bring my vision to life in such a meaningful way.
Without further ado, I present to you the exclusive world premiere of Ugly Melon’s interpretation of “The Rose”…
By Ian Liberman
2016 ended as it began, with the death of another rock icon. Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, died of cancer at the age of 69. ELP was one of the first progressive rock bands to receive critical attention in the ‘70s. Lake was also member of King Crimson.
NEWS & NOTES
The Epiphone Revolver Music Awards returned to North America this year. For the first time ever, the awards were held in NYC. Check out the full Hard Rock Daddy recap.
LOUDER THAN HELL – Katherine Turman
Last summer, I finally got around to reading Jon Weiderhorn and Katherine Turman’s Louder Than Hell, a New York Times Best Seller that I had been anxious to read. The book features a number of top hard rock and metal stars discussing the history of the genre. Some of the artists featured include Axl Rose, Rob Zombie and Tom Morello discussing their respective roles in the history of rock. This book is a 5-star read for rock and metal fans!
Artists like Axl Rose, Rob Zombie and Tom Morello explain their roles in the history of rock. I guarantee it is a five star read!
The following is my interview with Katherine Turman….
IAN: Why did you limit your market to just hard rock and metal when you decided to write a music book?
KATHERINE: While both Jon and I love many genres of music, as journalists, the majority of both of our experience, over two decades, has been interviewing and writing about hard rock and metal bands like Metallica, Pantera, Lamb Of God, Black Sabbath and hundreds of others. We are both very passionate and knowledgeable about metal. So, we had the credibility, insight and contacts to cover metal from top to bottom. Plus, at more than 700 pages, there’s no way we could have included other genres in the book. We had so much more to put in about metal, but ran out of room! But Louder Than Hell is not only for metal lovers; it’s for music lovers and people interested in subcultures of society, and for everyone who likes to read great stories straight from the musicians’ mouths.
IAN: Which artist was the most transparent and revealing about their life, and in what area?
KATHERINE: Many of the artists gave us hours and hours of time. We had especially good interviews with Philip Anselmo of Pantera, Rob Halford of Judas Priest (who wrote the book’s afterword) and Scott Ian of Anthrax (who wrote the forward to Louder Than Hell). Philip was open about his drug use, as was Halford, who also spoke about coming out as a gay man. Don Dokken spent hours on the phone and delved into dirty details, while Ministry’s Al Jourgensen liked his interview for Louder Than Hell so much that he commissioned Jon to write his book – The Lost Gospels of Al Jourgensen. But our goal was to get different stories and different sides of stories already told, which is why we tracked down people like Terry Glaze (the singer of Pantera before Anselmo) and Neil Turbin (the first Anthrax singer). We’re so glad that people enjoy Louder Than Hell. It took us four years, and sometimes we wondered if we’d ever finish, but we couldn’t be more proud and happy with the final result!
Thanks to Harper Collins, Jon Wiedernhorn, and the amazing Katherine Turman taking the time to talk with Hard Rock Daddy’s Inferno Of Rock column.
MUSIC’S UGLY (BUT SUPERIOR) STEP-SISTER – ROCK
Since the inception of the Grammy Awards in 1958, the sound of rockabilly and blues were dispensed with as a major part of the musical part of the platform. Unfortunately, even when rock exploded in the mid-‘60s, with its creative genre and sub-genres, the trend continued. This despite the fact that sales of rock, hard rock and metal continued to outpace pop by four or five times. In 2012, the Grammys finally capitulated, and created ten rock categories (including Metal). The Grammy Association found a way to pervert those rock classifications by getting rid of the hard rock groups, while trying to place pop artists in the rock categories as often as possible.
What followed next were the horrors of Jethro Tull and Tenacious D being listed in the Metal category. This year, Beyoncé , appeared in the rock category. The band Trapt has complained that there has been a conspiracy to destroy rock, and based on the evidence, they are probably correct.
The rule was to maximize the shelf-life of pop artists, because once their songs dropped off the charts, they were out of the eye of consumers. They also knew that rock music sold its self without the benefit of high promotion. This story was broken wide open by an insider author, Henry Schipper, who wrote Broken Record in 1992.
Don Harris of the Daily Press stated…
“Schipper’s book shows that, from its inception, the Grammy’s have been remarkably short-sighted, and were created by big label interests and “pop” songwriters in an angry response to the popularity of rock ‘n roll music. That explains why, to this day, the Grammy Awards virtually ignore rock music.”
Further evidence is provided in The Song Machine (by John Seabrook), which shines a light on this theory.
Take a look at this year’s nominees in the rock categories to see for yourself.
INFERNO OF ROCK TRIVIA QUESTIONS:
JANUARY 2017 TRIVIA QUESTIONS
 Which Metallica album helped to inspire the band’s latest release – Hardwired To Self Destruct?
 What do Skillet and DevilDriver have in common?
DECEMBER 2016 TRIVIA QUESTIONS
Which band has been criticized for appearing on the X Factor TV Show in Australia? Disturbed
The Vigilante Classical Music Orchestra in Belgium will do their first non-classical tour using metal rock tunes. Which band and tune will they use?
[a] Led Zeppelin – “Stairway to Heaven”
[b] Pink Floyd – “The Wall”
[c] Tool – “Stinkfist”
An award winning metal band has said that their 2017 release will have “the return of the deity.” Name the band…