Archive for May, 2013
Today is the 30th Anniversary of the 1983 US Festival. The US Festivals (US pronounced like the pronoun, not as initials) were two early 1980s music and culture festivals sponsored by Steve Wozniak, formerly of Apple Computer. The first was held Labor Day weekend in September 1982 and the second was Memorial Day weekend in May 1983. The 1982 US Festival was the first major festival since Cal Jam II that was not a charity concert—it was intended to be celebration of evolving technologies; a marriage of music, computers, television and people. That continued in 1983, even though Wozniak had lost millions on the first US Festival. The festival also had large air-conditioned tents featuring the US Festival Technology Exposition— a dazzling display of then-cutting edge computers, software, and electronic music devices. Also making a debut were installations of "out-door rain" - perforated pvc nozzles that sprayed water to fight the fierce hundred degree heat.
I attended Heavy Metal Day in 1983 with my friend Robert and arrived on Saturday May 28 during New Wave Day. There was a sea of cars, miles of them, and thousands of people milling around everywhere. School buses would take you back and forth to the entrance to this new make-shift venue. I do remember shortly after finding a spot to park some guys in a panel truck backed in asking if the spot was taken opposite of us. We said "no", they parked and then opened up the back of the truck, loaded with two kegs and the party was on.
There was small creek within walking distance near by, and we walked over there to cool off since it was close to 100 degrees that day. There was a hillside with a sharp incline on the other side of the creek, and many people scaled (or tried to scale) it during the day and in the time we were there. There was plently of poison ivy around so you weren't going to catch me scaling anything. I saw a few people walk right through or fall onto poison ivy, I could imagine that probably made the concert the next day really fun. I also remember hearing Oingo Boingo, English Beat and Flock Of Seagulls during the day when we were within the vicinity of the venue.
Steve Wozniak paid for the bulldozing and construction of this new open-air field venue as well as the construction of an enormous state-of-the-art temporary stage at Glen Helen Regional Park near Devore, San Bernardino, California. This site was later to become home to Blockbuster Pavilion—now San Manuel Amphitheater. Apparently the festival stage has resided at the Disneyland theme park in California since 1985 and had operated under various names and functions as the Videopolis dance club, the Videopolis Theatre, and the Fantasyland Theatre. On that day it was soon to have some of the best rockers of the era on it.
As darkness fell and more and more people arrived for Heavy Metal Day, one big night-time Rock Festival within itself started. KMET and KLOS blarred from car stereos, as well as music from the cassette decks and boom boxes of the bands we would be hearing the next day. The smell of BBQ's and marijuana billowed into the air. We walked around in this small city of rockers that seemingly extended forever. It definitely was one huge party, with bonfires everywhere and virtually no supervision. We partied that night, and went to sleep in the car eagerly anticipating what was to come the next morning.
We woke up, stretched out from sleeping in odd postions in the car, and made our way the few miles to the entrance to the venue. It was early in the morning, probably 8am or so, and there was already thousands of people waiting to get inside, looking to get as close to the stage as possible. Once we got inside concert goers had layed blankets down, taking claim to their spots. Somehow a few got in, considering there was no coolers, outside food, chairs or towels being allowed. Those with blankets, ect., lasted for awhile, but slowly but surely, as the day progressed, so did the intensity of the crowd. Needess to say, no one was sitting down or laying on a blanket and all of that was swallowed up in this mass of people.
Here was the lineup and times:
Sunday May 29th:
Quiet Riot [12:10 - 12:50 pm]
Motley Crue [1:20 - 2:20]
Ozzy Osbourne [2:50 - 4:00]
Judas Priest [4:30 - 5:40]
Triumph [6:10 - 7:20]
Scorpions [7:55 - 9:10]
Van Halen [10:00 - midnight]
Finally the time had arrived with the first rock act hitting the stage: Quiet Riot. Randy Rhoads (who left to play with Ozzy in 1979) had passed away by now, and Quiet Riot had long since found Carlos Cavazo to play guitar. The Los Angeles metal scene was taking over, and Quiet Riot as well as Motley Crue were the two biggest new bands to come out of L.A. at this time. Quiet Riot was raring up the charts with the "Metal Health" album, which ultimately became the first metal album to go #1 on the Billboard charts. The late Kevin DuBrow instantly got the crowd fired up, and it didn't stop for hours! Heat exhaustion to go around!
"It was the day new wave died and rock n' roll took over" - Vince Neil, in a famous quote regarding the overwhelming attendance on Sunday, "Heavy Metal Day", at the '83 US Festival. It set the single-day concert attendance record for the US with an estimated 375,000 people. Showtime recorded the event and aired a 90-minute special for each day of
the festival, which is where most of this footage comes from. Motley Crue had not yet released "Shout At The Devil", but it was due out soon, and the band performed songs from the album. Motley really was coming into their own at this point and their following was growing and growing nation and worldwide.
Ozzy Osbourne rocked the US Festival with the first live performance with guitarist Jake E. Lee, who shined in this huge first gig. The head dress Ozzy wore during the show was well publicized and photographed, even though it only lasted for a few seconds before he tore it off. Ozzy's band at this time included Jake E. Lee, Bob Daisley on Bass, Tommy Aldridge on drums and Don Airey on keyboards. Ozzy released "Bark At The Moon" later that year.
It was blazing hot during his set, with the crowd looking for the "out-door rain" stations to cool off, before heading back into the madness! The concert organizers actually gave away water to the crowd, something that would never happen these days.
Judas Priest hit the stage next and thankfully near the end of it, the temperature started to cool down a bit. The Metal God and the rest of the band were at their peak in 1983, a fully confident unit, effortlessly rocking everyone and everywhere they played. The "Screaming For Vengeance" album was just huge, and when the band played "You've Got Another Thing Coming" the crowd went absolutely fucking nuts!
As Canadian trio Triumph got ready to hit the stage next, the crowd got a second wind, as the temperatures dropped and the rock kept on coming. Rik Emmett, Gil Moore and Mike Levine were ready to put on the show of their life, and they didn't disapoint. The band had a great core of material to work with at this point, and had released the album "Never Surrender" earlier in 1983. Great set as the sun set! The band released a live DVD of the US Festival set back in 2003, so there is all of their full set here. They were smart to retain the rights to the video for their set. Awesome footage:
The Scorpions were up next and just fucking blew doors! They were another band who I really felt were at or close to their peak of impact. Sure, they still released "Love At First Sting" a year later, but played the US Festival with a full arsenal of rock from the "Blackout" album and their past catalog. Just an awesome set!!
Before Van Halen hit the stage, there was a fake UFO flying around. It looked so fake, it just seemed stupid and I didn't really see the point in it, somebody was trying to be creative I guess?
Van Halen received an upfront sum of $1 million to headline the 1983 US Festival. It was then upped to $1.5 million after it was discovered that David Bowie was to be paid $1 million. Van Halen had a clause in their contract that they would be paid more than any other act performing at the festival. In contrast, on New Wave Day, The Clash refused to play unless some donations were made to charities or other such noble causes by Wozniak and some of the other major bands. Before the Clash began their set they made angry comments about the barrio conditions in Los Angeles. After The Clash performed, the DJ began speaking right away and Clash guitarist Mick Jones attacked the DJ, believing he was trying to prevent an encore.
This and The Clash's ironic criticism of the festival in the press conferences and in interviews prior to the event caused an argument backstage between Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth and The Clash singer Joe Strummer. This may have also been started by a comment guitarist Eddie Van Halen made in Rolling Stone magazine one month prior regarding the punk movement ("...that's like what I played in my garage when I was a kid, man."). A clearly intoxicated Roth compounded this rivalry by insulting The Clash on stage early during Van Halen's headlining set with his comment, "I wanna take this time to say that this is real whiskey here... the only people who put iced tea in Jack Daniel's bottles is The Clash, baby!" This was Roth's only mention of The Clash on stage that night. Many people in the audience thought Roth was way too drunk and the show suffered because of it. I stayed longer than most however, as it had been a long, long day. We heard "Happy Trails" as we were heading out. Looking back on the video, I wouldn't really change anything about their performance though, because it was Van Halen history!
Here's an interview with David Lee Roth from MTV with Mark Goodman:
The set kicked off with "Romeo's Delight". Here's the whole set with great clips of 'Runnin' With the Devil', 'Pretty Woman' and 'You Really Got Me/Happy Trails' that is the best footage I've seen of the band at Glen Helen.
We after we made our way back to our vehicle, partied a bit and mellowed out while recollecting about what an amazing day it had been we crashed and got ready for the trek back home. My one last memory of US Festival '83 goes like this: I became separted from my friend Rob after hopping out of his vehicle to retrieve something from someone while in line to exit. I then couldn't find his car in the sea of vehicles. Don't ask me why I got out of the car..anyway, I was lucky enough to find a couple of guys who I had met before that lived in Pismo Beach, near my hometown. Yeah, I had to ride in the back seat for hours in a Trans Am with virtually no leg room (my knees were up in my face), and couldn't walk when I got out, but these guys gave me a ride to my front door. Looking back, I can't believe my parents let me go to this show, since I was a sophmore in high school, but I am glad they did. My daughter would certainly not be going away to a music festival as decadent as this one, although they don't do festivals like this in the U.S. anymore. It was insane fun and it was my Woodstock and I'll never forget it!
Here's an Artisan News Report from June of 2010 about that years Ozzfest, where Ozzy, Judas Priest's Rob Halford and Motley Crue reflected on the last time they had all played together...it was at the US Festival:
Jeff Hanneman of Slayer will be commemorated in a new series of tribute t-shirts, dubbed "South Of Hanneman". Jeff passed away on May 2nd at the age of 49. A first run of t-shirts will be created, so place orders by June 6th to ensure delivery, with the possiblity of more shirts printed "After that, we'll see". Artists Justin Bartlett, French, Mark Riddick, Farron Loathing and Antichrist Kramer have created five different t-shirt designs to be available. Check out the trailer below.
All proceeds "to whatever Jeff Hanneman would have wanted", TBD. Suggestions welcome. #SouthOfHanneman. Order and get more details at www.southofhanneman.com
After firing vocalist Scott Weiland from Stone Temple Pilots this past February, guitarist Dean DeLeo, bassist Robert DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz have now announced their new singer and debuted the new lineup at this past weekend at KROQ's anual Weenie Roast in Los Angeles. The new vocalist filling the shoes is none other than Chester Bennington of Linkin Park!
This past Saturday (May 18), the band played a 40-minute set performing well known Stone Temple Pilot tracks and premiered a new song, "Out Of Time," the group's first track since 2010. By the sounds of it, Bennington will be a perfect fit for the new STP. Get the recorded version of "Out Of Time" as a free download here: www.downloads.radio.com/stone-temple-pilots
"Chester has a one-of-a-kind voice that we've admired for a long time," says guitarist Dean DeLeo in a press release. "We know Linkin Park will always be his priority, but we thought it would be cool to try something together. We managed to find the time to record a song and we're all really happy with the result."
"I’ve loved STP since I was 13 years old and they’ve had a huge influence on me," explained Bennington. "When the opportunity came up to do something creative with them, I jumped at the chance. The guys in Linkin Park have been incredibly supportive of me undertaking this project while I’ve continued to work on new music with LP."
The band are slated to perform at Club Nokia in Los Angeles on May 30 for the MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit Concert, which will be honoring Bennington and legendary skateboarder, surfer and musician Tony Alva. The event will raise funds For MusiCares' Addiction Recovery Services. Slash, Duff McKagan, Tony Alva's Chicken Noodle Project, Ida Maria and presenters Anthony Kiedis, Mike Shinoda and Andy Dick will also be a part of the show. Get tickets and more details on the show here: www.axs.com/events
A customized VOX electric guitar played by both John Lennon and George Harrison sold at auction for $408,000 over the weekend (May 18) at the annual Music Icons auctions held at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City's Times Square. The guitar sold for double the expected amount at
The auction house, Julien's Auctions stated, "The rare offering of a VOX guitar played by both John Lennon and George Harrison is what rock & roll legends are made of. Julien's also noted that the sale offered "collectors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own one of the rarest pieces of Beatles memorabilia ever to be offered."
Harrison apparently practiced "I Am The Walrus” on the guitar, with Lennon using it in a video session for the song "Hello, Goodbye." The auction house said the custom guitar was made guitar by Mike Bennett and Dickey Denney, and was given as a gift in 1967 to "Magic Alex" Mardas, who was an engineer at Apple Records and a close friend of the Beatles. The instrument was displayed at a museum in Ireland recently after being sold a few years ago by Christie's Auction House for more than $100,000. Get all the details at: www.billboard.com
Rock Picks of the Week: Pop Evil, Joe Satriani, Tom Keifer, Airbourne, Charm City Devils, Spiritual Beggars
"Trenches", the new single from Grand Rapids, Michigan rockers Pop Evil is up first in this edition of Rock Picks. The top 10 track comes from the band's album, "Onyx", which was just released on May 14th. The band is back with another album of kick ass rock ready for the masses, and looking to build on the base they already have after the success of the last album "War Of Angels" and the constant touring behind it.
According to the band, the message of "Trenches" applies to the world of art as well as the world of sports, the military, or anyone struggling with the economic downturn, like Pop Evil's home state of Michigan.
"It's about our battles," Pop Evil frontman Leigh Kakaty says. "Not focusing on the things we can't control, if we really want to be a band that stands the test of time we have to write the music that connects. We have to dig our way out of the trenches."
During a slump in the music industry, Pop Evil is living proof that you can still make a living following your dreams. "It's a matter of time before rock and roll is in the forefront again and we want to be part of that," Kakaty says.
Pop Evil have dealt with quite a bit of adversity in this cutthroat world of music and record labels, but have come through like champions and truly appreciate their place in the music business today. I appreciate what they do and wish them continued success as they embark on the next phase of their careers.
Joe Satriani is back with another album of guitar mastery called 'Unstoppable Momentum' and the first great track from it, 'A Door Into Summer.' One of the hardest working guitarists in music, after much of 2012 with Chickenfoot and touring with his G3 entity, Joe has recently released another stellar album full of great music.
Joe assembled a new studio band for the record, with Mike Keneally on keyboards, Chris Chaney on bass and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, recording 16 tracks with engineer/producer Mike Frasier at Skywalker Sound. Joe will be on the road all summer playing tracks from the record and all of the best of his solo stuff with a touring band consisting of Mike Keneally on keys and guitar, Bryan Beller on bass, and Marco Minnemann on drums. Currently touring in Europe until mid June, the band will start a U.S. tour on August 29th in San Diego, California. Get all the dates here: www.satriani.com/road .
Cinderlla frontman Tom Keifer has released his solo effort 'The Way Life Goes', with 14 tracks showing a diversity musically, with organic, acoustic tracks to driving hard rock, blues, and country influences. Tom recently told HuffingtonPost.com, "The idea for a solo record started in the nineties when the band parted ways and we left Universal," he said. "There was just a changing of the guard in the industry at that time and I started thinking about a solo record. I wrote for it for many years and the songs just kept going on the pile and I never got around to actually making a record...We started cutting tracks for this record in 2003 and I went to the pile of songs that had been building up and picked some that I liked and I've just been working on it ever since. It was produced independently of a label, because the idea from the beginning was to just work and record until I was happy with it. I wrote with a lot of different people--my wife, Savannah, who's a great writer, co-wrote a lot of the songs on the record and also co-produced the record with me, and a good friend of ours, Chuck Turner who's a great engineer and producer. So from the beginning, the attitude was, 'Let's have fun and just make a great record and it'll be done when it's done.' Little did we know it'd be nine years later…it's done and we went through some crazy stuff and mixed and remixed and reworked things over and over and probably made a lot of mistakes along the way, but finally got it where we were all happy with it, so here it is."
The solid rocking track 'Solid Ground', has a modern Cinderella feel, continuing the evolution and showcasing the talents of an artist thriving and surviving in the world of music today. Tom is currently on the road with his solo band, making their way through the U.S., before wrapping up in Chicago on June 14th. Get all the dates and hear samples from the album on Tom's site here: www.tomkeifer.com
Australian rockers Airbourne are back and ready to 'Live It Up', from their new album 'Black Dog Barking', which will be released on May 21st. If you want party rock at its best, with adrenaline and attitude to spare, Airbourne will bring it.
The guys continue to make inroads in America, and that continues with the slot on the Rock Allegiance tour later this summer with Volbeat, HIM, and All That Remains. Before that, Airbourne will be making multiple major festival appearances across Europe and the UK before they return to Australia, including slots at Rock Im Park, Rock Am Ring, Sonisphere, Metalfest, Novarock and Download. The Rock Allegiance Tour kicks off Aug. 24th in Twin Lakes, WI. Get all the dates here: www.rockallegiance.com
Baltimore, Maryland's Charm City Devils have released another track and video from their fantastic 'SINS' album.
'Devil Is a Woman' showcases vocalist John Allen's vocals, along with the stellar work of Vic Karrera and Nick Kay on guitar, Anthony Arambula on bass, and Jason Heiser on Drums.
After touring behind the album for much of 2012 and the early part of 2013, the band have a few live dates coming up this summer before beginning work on their next album. It is going to be interesting to hear the next album from these super talented guys who deserve all the success they have gotten and more!
'No Money, No Love' is the new track from the new Heaven & Earth studio album 'Dig', which is out now on Quarto Valley Records. Bassist Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot, House of Lords, Giuffria), who has played with many, many illustrious artists over his career, says about the new album: "If you love rock like it used to be, you’ll love this album!" I love it and I think you will too. I am truly excited about the band and their future.
With many comparing the sound to classic Deep Purple, Rainbow and Paul Rodgers, the album surely has a classic 70's rock feel. Band leader and originator Stuart Smith was mentored by legendary Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, has played in bands with iconic ELP keyboardist Keith Emerson, and, more recently was the guitarist with an American version of 1970s glam-rockers The Sweet. Smith played in the Sweet with Heaven & Earth vocalist Joe Retta, who replaced Joe Lynn Turner in the current incarnation of the band. The band then found industry veteran Chuck Wright on bass, and were joined by Richie Onori on drums (who Smith played with while in a band with Keith Emerson), and Arlan Schierbaum on keyboards. Ed Roth will join the band on keys for their upcoming tour, as Schierbaum was only available for the recording of the album.
The band are currently rehearsing, with hopes to line up an opening slot for a major act this summer. The band had a fantastically produced showcase on April 10th in Los Angeles at the Henry Fonda Theater, with the video recap for your viewing pleasure below.
The CD was produced by Dave Jenkins, who's worked with everyone from Metallica to Tower Of Power, and features special guests Howard Leese (Heart, Paul Rodgers), Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi), and David Paich (Toto).
Stuart Smith says this about 'Dig': "I feel that with the crafting of the songs on this album, the incredible band we've put together, especially with powerhouse vocalist Joe Retta and the unwavering support of Quarto Valley Records' president, Bruce Quarto, we really have a shot at getting Heaven & Earth the attention it deserves. This album is by far, the best thing I have ever done in my life. All the pieces are in place. We're ready to make this our year."
I hope it is, as the music is just phenomenal!
'Dig' track listing:
2. No Money, No Love
3. I Don’t Know What Love Is
4. Man & Machine
5. House of Blues
6. Back In Anger
7. Waiting For The End Of The World
8. Sexual Insanity
9. Rock & Roll Does
10. A Day Like Today
11. Good Times
12. Live As One
Sweden's Spritual Beggars wrap up this weeks Rock Picks with 'Turn The Tide'. The latest lineup of the band features Arch Enemy guitarist Michael Amott and bassist Sharlee D'Angelo, along with vocalist Apollo Papathanasio (ex-Firewind) have released their eighth studio album, 'Earth Blues', via InsideOut Music.
In regards to the album cover, Amott said: "I had the idea for this artwork from my time as a child, seeing posters of two young lovers watching a romantic sunset on the beach — just your typical tacky bedroom art in the '70s, really... Also, growing up in what is now referred to with some nostalgia as the Atomic Age — the threat of nuclear war was always looming over our heads it seemed. I wanted to combine these two images of my youth in one paradoxical image and Per Wiberg of Hippograffix (and Spirtual Beggars keyboardist) really managed to capture the melancholic feeling perfectly. Earth Blues, indeed."
Regarding the making of "Earth Blues", Amott said: "We started the recording process of 'Earth Blues' with an eight-day-long session at Fat Guitar Studios (Sweden) with knob-twiddler Roberth Ekholm, a truly great dude who really knows how to capture a band jamming live, sadly a rare quality in recording engineers nowadays! We continued with some overdubs at various studios in Sweden, and it's all come together super easy this time. Sonically, I think this might be our finest hour yet. It's a raw, heavy and honest record."
Spiritual Beggars have yet to announce any plans for U.S. dates behind the latest album, but will be playing Mexico City on May 25th, and have a slot on the Hellfest Festival on June 23rd in Clisson, France.
Spiritual Beggars 2013 are:
Michael Amott (Arch Enemy, Carcass) - Guitar
Ludwig Witt (Firebird) - Drums
Per Wiberg (Opeth) - Keyboards
Sharlee D'Angelo (Arch Enemy, Mercyful Fate) - Bass
Apollo Papathanasio (Firewind) - Vocals