Category Archives: Beyond The Stage

Rock Stars Beyond the Stage: Dan Donegan – Disturbed / Fight Or Flight

dan donegan disturbed fight or flight

Who among us hasn’t fantasized about how cool it must be to play music for a living?  The perception of the glamorous life of a rock star is one that has existed since the dawn of rock and roll.  However, because of social media, every once in a while we get to peel back the curtain and take a look at the life of a rock star beyond the stage, and when we do, we inevitably find out that they are not larger than life.  They are real people, dealing with real emotions and real problems just like the rest of us.  Dan Donegan of Disturbed and Fight Or Flight fame is one of the most refreshingly honest rock stars today when it comes to sharing his life on social media.

Social media is both a blessing and a curse.  It allows the average fan to make a connection with the rock stars that they idolize in ways that were never thought possible less than a decade ago.  Unfortunately, the up-close-and-personal access also has its downside; it allows the squeaky wheels among us to stand on their virtual soapboxes and spew their negativity to anyone who will listen.

The value that is placed on music by the younger generations has greatly diminished over the years due in large part to the digital revolution and technology.  Sadly, for many younger people, music has become disposable, for lack of a better term.  This doesn’t mean that they don’t have a passion for music.  Quite the contrary!  There is, however, a sense of entitlement that music should not have to be paid for to enjoy.  While many in the music business may bemoan this mentality, they have only themselves to blame for creating an environment that is more focused on songs than artist development.  The bottom line is that artists must work harder than ever to make a living playing music, and very few live the rock star life that many people envision.

One of the sacrifices that must be made by all aspiring and successful rock stars is time with their families.  Many hard rock acts, including some very recognizable names, have not only made this sacrifice, but also have turned to their fans through crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to finance their albums and stay on tour.

There is no more loyal audience than those in the hard rock and metal communities.  Beyond the fans, there is a genuine brotherhood that exists between many bands in the genre today as well.

Dan Donegan made some interesting observations recently on social media, and then offered a follow-up to explain himself after the squeaky wheels started spewing their negativity.  Please take a moment to read Donegan’s thoughts and feel free to share your own in the comment section below…

“Something a lot of people don’t realize about musicians/crew is most of us are father’s/husbands too & it never gets easy to leave our families behind! Not easy seeing my kids off to school yesterday and seeing them cry cuz’ I have to tour.It is a great life to travel & play music but it can also be very lonely. I’m NOT in anyway complaining about the life I have cuz I’m very fortunate & blessed. Just saying most of you who may enjoy a break from your kids, you get to return home from work & tuck them in bed every night. We drive further away to the next state. Our wives have got to be the strongest people I know, to have to handle all duties with the kids,school,home,bills & also being lonely. Yes it can be glamorous but there’s a price to pay! I’ve missed weddings,funerals, birthdays (including my son’s first b-day), kids school events,etc…There’s lots of great bands busting their asses that are happy just to make enough money to have gas to get to the next city. They put blood, sweat & tears into giving you their music or a show to help
you feel good too!Do me a favor and it doesn’t need to be my band (Fight or Flight/Disturbed) but if you hear about a new band, go buy their cd, knowing that all the sacrifices I’ve mentioned, that they are going thru similar things and missing their families too! We in Disturbed appreciate you the fans who have given us a career & have become our extended family & you know what, when we are away from
you, we miss you too! So that being said, we have every intention of returning someday as Disturbed & seeing all your faces again. All bands do what they can to find balance for our love of music & family. Songs help people heal so find a new band, buy a cd/ download it & help spread the word. Keep rock/metal alive. Enjoy your weekend!Much love & respect- Dan Donegan”

Follow-up post…

“Let me be clear about my previous post! Most of you get it & unfortunately there’s always a few missing the point! This is not a sob story! This is not comparing who makes a bigger sacrifice. Obviously anyone who knows us knows our support to the troops and how hard it is for them & what they do.I also know truck drivers have it hard being away from family. The list can go on with
many occupations. The point is that even though you may view us as rich rock stars living the dream that there is a human side to us that is our kids, family & friends. We post important things about our personal lives and share with you cause you are important to us. A lot of you enjoy that we take the time to talk to you as friends. it’s not always gonna be about music. I’m sharing a human feeling of how hard it can be to leave our families to go tour. That’s not complaining about what we do it’s just showing that our lives as glamorous as it can be at times will always need some balance between work & family. I am
also trying to make the point that bands go out and work hard & most with not much to show for it but their love for music is what keeps them going. We all need music because we all find songs that have been therapeutic. I was trying to shed light on the human element of us all that when all musicians walk out the door to bring you music , a lot of us leave our crying kids & wives that have to be without their father for sometime. Yes it’s our choice & music helps keep us sane. I could not live or function without family or music. This is not a pity party. It’s just reminding you that we all are alike and all of us make sacrifices in life. I’m asking you to find some new band ‘a and remember that they are giving you everything they got trying to make enough to go to the next stop. They to make those same sacrifices So so go out and buy another bands cd, go to a small venue & discover someone new. Share your comments about some new bands you discovered early & spread the word & keep metal & rock alive! Much respect-Dan Donegan”

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Dan Donegan Archives

“KISS-tory” Is Made: Legendary Rock Stars Bring Professional Football Back to L.A.

LA KISS

Ever since the Rams and Raiders packed their bags and headed out of Los Angeles in 1994, there have been numerous attempts to bring a professional football team back to the number two television market in the country.  For nearly two decades, NFL teams have used the threat of relocating to Los Angeles to get new taxpayer-funded stadiums built in their respective cities.  The wait is finally over…well, sort of.  Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, who have attached the KISS name and logo to virtually every imaginable item (including KISS caskets), are bringing professional football back to L.A. with an expansion Arena Football team called – you guessed it – the L.A. KISS.

Simmons and Stanley are not the first rock stars to own an Arena Football team.  That distinction belongs to Jon Bon Jovi, who was a majority owner of the Philadelphia Soul until 2010. Bon Jovi’s bandmate, Richie Sambora, also held a minority stake in the team at one point. However, while the boys from Bon Jovi may have been the first rock stars to own a professional football team, Simmons and Stanley are the first to actually make it an extension of the brand that they have built up through the years.

“As a fast-paced, high-action band, this partnership with the AFL was an obvious fit for us” stated Simmons.  “Attending an L.A. KISS game in 2014 will be similar to a live KISS show, with thrilling, heart-pounding action.”

The L.A. KISS are not likely to quench the desire to bring an NFL team to Los Angeles, but it should make things interesting until that day finally arrives.

RIGHT NOW…Sammy Hagar is Helping Those in Need

sammy hagar and friends

Sammy Hagar is an incredibly successful rock star and businessman who wasn’t always “standing on top of the world.”   Quite the opposite!  Hagar grew up as one of four kids in a poor household held together by a single mom.  “Right Now,” Hagar is in the process of helping others that find themselves in a similar predicament, by donating to local food banks around the country.

“My mom was always half on welfare or food stamps and would get in line during Thanksgiving or Christmas when people were giving away free turkeys.  I grew up like that, and remembered how it made a big difference in our life,” says Hagar.

During this summer’s Four Decades of Rock tour, Hagar is donating money to the local food bank in each city where he performs.  While many wealthy people simply write a check, Hagar’s approach to donating is more important than the actual dollar amount because he is raising awareness of a problem that is more prevalent in the United States than many people realize or choose to believe.

“Food banks in local communities are the biggest bang for the buck in my search for the simplest and most reliable way to help others,” states Hagar.

Red Rocker fans who attend the Four Decades of Rock tour this summer will be learn about their local food bank during the concert.  “I redid the video for ‘Right Now’ to bring it up to date.  I’m putting in information from each local food bank” states Hagar, who will also be showcasing video footage of people collecting food.

On August 31st, 10,000 fans will attend Hagar’s concert in St. Louis with free tickets that they received in exchange for a donation to specified St. Louis charities, including the local food bank.  There was no stipulation as to how much each person had to donate to receive the ticket.  According to Hagar, “You could pay $4 for those tickets, or $4,000.”  The concept clearly resonated with fans, as all 10,000 tickets sold out in a matter of 20 minutes.

Although these charitable donations are tied into the tour supporting his upcoming album, Sammy Hagar & Friends, Hagar regularly donates proceeds from his Beach Bar & Grill restaurants to various charities through The Hagar Family Foundation.

Kudos to Sammy Hagar for being one of the good guys of rock & roll beyond the stage!

Rock My RV with Bret Michaels: Travel Channel – Sundays 9pm

Rock My RV with Bret Michaels

In the 1980s, Bret Michaels was the poster boy for glam and hair metal with Poison.  Many of his hair metal brethren enjoyed success similar to Poison, but few, if any, have been able to reinvent themselves time and time again to remain just as relevant to this day.  His latest project, Rock My RV is another innovative way to keep Michaels in the public eye, while at the same time reinforcing his good guy persona.  Whether you are a fan of his music or not you can’t help but like him as a person.

Michaels has become an inspiration to many people.  In 2010, he dealt with some major health scares, but he refused to let anything stop him from living his life to the fullest.  Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as a child, Michaels has achieved all of his success in the face of adversity.

Rock My RV is not Michaels’ first time at the rodeo, so to speak.  Aside from a very successful and enduring music career, he has carved out a niche for himself on reality television with Rock Of Love, Bret Michaels:  Life As I Know It, and Celebrity Apprentice 3, where he emerged victorious and earned $640,000 for the American Diabetes Association.

Celebrity Apprentice may be an ego-driven reality show for Donald Trump, but Rock My RV with Bret Michaels is the polar opposite.  Michaels’ RV knowledge is clearly apparent, but it is his passion for helping other people, his can-do attitude and his incredible creativity that makes the show so entertaining to watch.

Rock My RV is engaging mainly because of Michaels’ ability to come across as a regular guy even though he is a tremendously successful rock star and businessman.  He makes you believe that you too can live the rock star life, at least where RVs are concerned.

The first family that Michaels helped left them overjoyed with the end result, but the more intriguing story of the night was the makeover that was done on the touring RV used by the company TapouT for charity events around the country.

TapouT founders, Dan “Punkass” Caldwell and Tim “SkySkrape” Katz have already cashed in on their idea to create a clothing line around the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) lifestyle, but they continue to tour the country to give back to the community.  Their primary mission is to visit children with cancer and members of the military (Wounded Warriors) in an effort to inspire them in their respective fights.

The reveal of the updated RV took place in the dark of night to showcase pyrotechnics that are usually reserved for hard rock concerts.  With a great deal of pride, Michaels took Caldwell and Katz on a tour of the RV which was outfitted with a custom spiral staircase leading to a rooftop party deck and an air-compressed, water-cooled, Gatling gun to fire t-shirts into crowds.  Already in awe of what Michaels help to create, Caldwell fought back the tears as he was shown the name of his departed co-founder, Charles Lewis, inscribed on the headrest of the passenger seat.

You don’t have to have an RV to be fascinated by Rock My RV.  After watching the show, you’ll probably want to go out and get one for Michaels to “rock.”

Rock My RV airs on Sunday nights at 9pm/8pm Central on Travel Channel.

Mas Tequila at Cabo Wabo: Celebrating Cinco de Mayo…Sammy Hagar Style

Sammy Hagar Cabo Wabo Tequila

Aside from some hard rock artists with Mexican heritage, there isn’t much of a connection between hard rock music and Cinco de Mayo.  However, there is no shortage of tequila lovers in the hard rock community, Sammy Hagar in particular.  The Red Rocker – one of the most successful hard rock artists of all time – has amassed more of his fortune from his Cabo Wabo brand of tequila and his Cabo Wabo Cantina restaurant chain than he has from playing music.

Hagar has done an incredible job of branding Cabo Wabo, so his success should come as no surprise.  Cabo Wabo is not just tequila, it’s an invitation to a Cinco de Mayo party that never ends. The lifestyle that Hagar has created around the Cabo Wabo brand even makes non-tequila drinkers want to join the party.

Hagar’s passion for tequila has inspired two hard rock party anthems that are ideal for any Cinco de Mayo celebration – “Mas Tequila” and “Cabo Wabo.” Take a shot (or two) and crank up the speakers to kick your Cinco de Mayo party into high gear…Sammy Hagar style!