Category Archives: 1980’s
Since forming in Germany in 1965 the Scorpions have become one of the most successful international hard rock bands of all time; selling upwards of 75 million records worldwide while playing more than 5,000 concerts in over 80 countries.
Known for colossal hits that include “Rock You Like A Hurricane,” “No One Like You” and “Wind of Change”, the band was ranked #46 on VH1’s “Greatest Artists Of Hard Rock” special, while “Rock You Like A Hurricane” came in at #18 on the channel’s list of “Greatest Hard Rock Songs”.
In 2010 the band announced a final studio album, “Sting In The Tail” that would coincide with an epic Farewell World Tour. It’s a tour that to the delight of fans has been going on for more than three years. Late in 2012, just as the band was finishing up their final show of the year, they were approached about doing an intimate, all acoustic project they had never done before. The result: Scorpions MTV Unplugged.
Taken from two dynamic acoustic performances from the Lycabettus Theatre in Athens, Greece, this deluxe CD + DVD package and Blu-Ray features new acoustic versions of the band’s best-loved classics as well as five brand new songs.
The Scorpions is Klaus Meine (vocals/guitar), Rudolf Schenker (guitars/vocals), Matthias Jabs (guitars), Pawel Maciwoda (bass) and James Kottak (drums). Additional musical support on MTV Unplugged includes contributions from Swedish musicians and producers Mikael Nord Andersson (guitars, mandolin, lap steel, vocals) and Martin Hansen (guitars, harmonica, vocals). The duo is also responsible for the arrangements on MTV Umplugged.
I spoke with Matthias Jabs about MTV Unplugged and got an update on the band’s current activities. We also discussed the 30th anniversary of the band’s monumental album, “Love At First Sting”.
What made the band decide to undertake an unplugged project?
It was something that we had never done before and something that we had missed out on in the 80’s because we were so busy. Now that we had the time, we went to Stockholm and worked with Swedish producers. They’re also great musicians and ended up being on stage with us.
How was it arranging the songs into an acoustic format?
In some ways it was easy, but for some of the songs that everybody knows it presented a much greater challenge. We also chose some songs that we had never performed live before. We really wanted to make it special for the fans with the acoustic guitars and classical orchestra. The end result is quite good. It’s interesting and different, especially with all of the guest musicians.
Did you find it more challenging performing songs this way?
Playing in an acoustic setting is very unforgiving and the arrangements were done in such a way that you couldn’t just pick up one guitar and play the entire set. There were many different tunings and capos that we used. And the deeper we got into the project, the more instruments and tunings would come out. We ended up adding piano, mandolin, accordion and even a harp. We also had close to 56 acoustic guitars on stage with us!
Why did you choose this particular venue?
MTV originally wanted to release the album in the late fall before Christmas. Summer is always vacation time in Europe so to be outside in September, we decided to go to Greece. They have the best climate and great audiences. The temperature was so perfect you didn’t even have to think about it. The amphitheater actually sits on top of the highest mountain in Athens. From the top, you can look down at the city and see the millions of lights below. it’s almost like looking down into Los Angeles from the Hollywood Hills. It’s a stunning view.
Is the band planning any U.S. tour dates this year?
Yes, we’re working on playing some U.S. shows maybe in late summer.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of “Love At First Sting”. When you think about that album, what comes to mind?
We knew we had something special. Even though “Blackout” was very successful and our first major success as a headliner in the U.S., “Love At First Sting” topped it. Songs like “Rock You Like A Hurricane” and “Still Loving You”, which became a big hit in Europe. “Big City Nights” was another song that was played on the radio a lot. There are so many good songs on the album that made it so strong. I remember it was a bit hectic recording and we almost missed the deadline, but once we heard the first mixes we had a very good feeling about it.
How did Rudolf come up with the riff for “Rock You Like A Hurricane”?
Rudolf and I were actually talking about it before hand. I had told him to try to find riffs that used pauses and accents. Not ones that just play continuously through all the time. So we talked about it, and that’s when he came up with that riff. At the time, I remember being more concerned about writing the lead guitar intro for it, which was something I had already done for “No One Like You”.
What was the process like for building the intro?
The rule was find a riff, then put a melody on top and then play it in harmony. I still remember the first time I played it for the producers and band when we were in the studio. I played the first line and then the harmony part and everyone went, “OH, YES! HERE COMES THE SUN!” [laughs]. We knew we had something great. I felt the exact same way with “No One Like You”. It instantly sounds like a hit, even when you hear it for the very first time.
In the 80’s, new bands like Def Leppard, Iron Maiden and Bon Jovi supported Scorpions before making a name for themselves. What was your criteria for choosing them?
Good songs are what made the difference. All of the bands you mentioned that supported us, starting with Def Leppard in 1980, Iron Maiden in ’82 and Bon Jovi in ’84 all became huge, but we chose them because we liked their song material and attitudes. That’s what was the deciding point.
What can you tell us about the band’s new album of unreleased 80’s material?
While we were digging into the archives we found a lot of unfinished songs that we didn’t use for various reasons. Mostly material from the Blackout and Love at First Sting era, which was our most creative time. We now have 12 basic tracks down that we’ll finish recording sometime this summer and maybe even include a few new songs as well. The ideas are from then, but the album’s from now. We’re hoping to release it next year.
What are some of the biggest highlights of your career?
The US Festival in 1983 was amazing because it was so unexpected. All of a sudden, we were coming out of the studio to play in front of 300,000 people. Then there was Rock in Rio in ’85, the Moscow Music Peace Festival, Monsters of Rock in ’89 with Van-Halen and Metallica. There are so many highlights, it’s hard to find a dull moment. But I think the biggest highlight is that we’re all still together and are still friends after creating this great career. We’re still having fun making music both in the studio and playing live. That’s the real highlight.
In retrospect, do you think that “Sting In The Tail” and The Farewell Tour might have been a bit premature?
The original idea was that this was going to be the last studio recording. For the last 35 years we’ve been recording an album, going on the road for 2 1/2 years, coming back home, recording an album…. It’s become routine, but we never wanted to stop making music. We just wanted to scale it down a bit. We also said that we’d be open for special projects, like MTV Unplugged and digging down for older, unreleased material. Those are things we don’t do everyday. The fans love it, and that’s reason enough to do it.
For more on Scorpions, check out their official website by Clicking Here!
I’d like to use this topic whenever I stumble upon something cool or unique from my past. Not only will the nostalgia of finding these treasures remind me of a much more innocent time, but writing about the things that I discover will really help put in perspective what my goals in life were at the time.
During the mid to late 80’s I kept semi-regular journals describing what was going on in my life as well as the things I had in mind for when I made it to the big time. One of the things I often liked to do in my journal was pretend that someone was doing an interview profile of my life for my fans to enjoy.
This one was from ironically enough, 25 years ago today. A journal entry from February 8th, 1989. In it, I ask myself questions and answer them. Enjoy!
Rocker’s Profile 1989
Rocker’s Name: James Edward Wood
Birthdate: October 5th, 1969
Instruments: Guitar, Vocals, Piano
Years Playing: 3 years
Date Started: May 24, 1985
Favorite Guitarists: Phil Collen (Def Leppard), Randy Rhoads, Van-Halen
Favorite Bands: Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon
Unfavorite Bands: Slayer, Megadeth, One hit wonders
Favorite Songs: Dust In The Wind (Kansas), Armageddon It (Def Leppard), All of Hysteria & Pyromania, Too many others to list
Favorite Album: Hysteria, Pyromania, Blizzard of Ozz, (Ozzy Osbourne), Appetite For Destruction (Guns n Roses)
Favorite Food: Cheese Fries, Country Club Melts
Band Experience: Silent Rage Mar 11, 1988 – July 6, 1988
Favorite Guitars: Gibson Les Paul, Gibson Explorer, Fender Stratocaster
Hobbies: Songwriting, Teaching Music
Current Goals: Become respected for music
It’s interesting to see how much things have (or haven’t) changed in a quarter century. Obviously, you could tell that I was (still am) a huge Def Leppard fan. It’s also worth noting that at the time this interview was taken I had only ever been in one band. As of today, I’ve been in six. And in 2006, after more than twenty years of waiting, I finally was able to purchase my very first Gibson Les Paul.
But if you were to ask the dude being interviewed if he ever saw himself working a 9-5 job in the 21st century, I’m sure he would have laughed in your face. Because the truth is, all I saw at the time were gold records, tour buses and a sea of women calling my name. Responsibility? HA! That was the furthest thing from my mind in 1989.
Such was the naivety of youth.
Do you remember where you were when you first heard it? I do. It was June of 1982 and I was sitting in seventh grade music class during one of the last days before summer vacation.
The school was one of those two-story brick structures that had no air conditioning and by mid-morning temperatures in the classroom had risen to almost unbearable levels. The open windows and portable fans that circulated hot air throughout the classroom provided little relief to a bunch of teenagers waiting for that final bell to sound.
As a sort-of end of year gift to the class, the teacher allowed students to bring in some of their albums to listen to while we cleared out our desks. That was when this kid named Danny put it on the turntable. As needle met vinyl and the crackling hum and hiss began, it was the first time I heard that now infamous guitar riff and opening line:
“I never meant to be so bad to you. One thing I said that I would never do …”
“Heat of The Moment” became the coolest thing ever to me on that apropos day. The day I joined the eventual 8 million other people who bought the band Asia’s debut album.
Since then, I’ve been a fan of keyboardist Geoff Downes. Not only for his experimentation of all things keyboard, but also for his songwriting ability. In addition to having the best selling album of 1982 with Asia, Downes also holds the coveted distinction of being part of the very first video ever played on MTV (Video Killed The Radio Star).
Today, in between his work with Asia and Yes, Downes finds time to work on other projects as well. His most recent, New Dance Orchestra’s “Electronica” features the phenomenal vocals of Anne-Marie Helder (Panic Room, Mostly Autumn) and utilizes sounds from the latest computer technology. The result is a collection of virtual orchestrations that defy standard definition. Blending elements of classical, new age, pop and electronica, Downes uses rich textures to take the listener on a journey of spiritual enlightenment.
I spoke with Downes about Electronica as well as the forthcoming Asia album Gravitas, which features founding members Downes (keyboards), John Wetton (bass) and Carl Palmer (drums) as well as new guitarist Sam Coulson. He also tells me about some of the most memorable moments of his career.
How would you describe the sound of Electronica?
It’s a good combination of a lot of the influences I’ve had over the years. From my time with The Buggles to session work and some of the other projects I’ve been involved with like Yes and Asia. It’s a nice variety of music and an amalgamy of many of the things that I’ve been through over the course of my career.
How do you approach songwriting for a project like New Dance Orchestra as opposed to one for Asia or Yes?
When I create songs for New Dance Orchestra, there’s a lot of experimentation that I like to do. Some of the material comes from me tinkering with the latest sounds on computers. I’m very much into the technical aspect of the keyboard and like to experiment a lot with them.
How did you connect with Anne-Marie Helder?
I had worked with Anne-Marie on the Icon project I did with John Wetton. She came in and did vocals on a few of the tracks. She’s one of the top prog-rock vocalists and is very much in demand.
To listen to samples from Electronica, Click Here
When Steve Howe announced his retirement as guitarist for Asia, was there ever a moment where the band thought about slowing down?
The rest of us always felt that it was worth continuing. Steve has his reasons for wanting to move on and concentrate more on his solo material. He’s pretty much been on the road for the last seven years doing solo material and his trio in addition to having the extra pressure of Yes and Asia. He felt it was time to try other things, which is fine.
We brought in Sam (Coulson), who was recommended to us by Paul Gilbert. He’s a different type of player from Steve and brings with him his own sound. The actual emphasis was never to change direction but to evolve.
What can you tell us about the new Asia album, Gravitas?
We finished the album just before Christmas and it’s going to be released the last week of March. The cover was once again designed by Roger Dean. It’s another Asia album with songs written by myself and John Wetton.
What’s the writing process like when you and John get together?
Generally, we’ll both come in and open our ‘war chests’ of musical ideas. Whenever we get together in a session, it’s rare that we don’t come out of it with at least one or two songs.
Can you tell me the origin of “Only Time Will Tell”?
That one started off with what became the chorus part. It was something I had actually written for a jingle company. I had the basic idea for what became the chorus and I played it for John. That’s when he said “Hey, I think I’ve got something that might go with that” and started playing me the first verse. Originally, the song was going to be called “Starry Eyed”. It was a very in-depth collaboration with a very proggy, sentimental arrangement. It’s one of my favorite pieces that we’ve ever done in terms of Asia’s history because it has such depth and texture to it.
When The Buggles released “Video Killed The Radio Star” did you have a feeling of how special it was going to be?
We knew that it was a great song and a great record when we finished it. Trevor Horn and I both thought that if we were ever going to have a hit, this one would be it. I remember we presented it to Island Records and they were a bit skeptical. They didn’t even really like the name “The Buggles” either, but it ended up being our first major hit in the UK.
Have you ever given thought to writing a book chronicling your life?
I’ve been thinking about that recently. It really has been an amazing journey and is something I’ll definitely be looking into… when I have the time [laughs].
With all of your success with The Buggles, Yes, Asia, New Dance Orchestra and all of your other projects, is there anything that stands out as most memorable?
There are so many. Obviously, you have to look at the first Buggles album because it was the one that introduced me into the business. The Drama album is very satisfying because more and more die-hard Yes fans can relate to that album as time has gone by.
Then of course there’s the first Asia album.
I’ll never forget sitting in the car with John Wetton. We had just arrived in the States shortly after the album had come out and “Heat of The Moment” was playing on the radio. I remember we changed the channel and at that exact moment another station was playing “Only Time Will Tell.” To have those tracks both playing simultaneously on two different radio stations in the same city was surreal. At that moment we both knew what we had was going to be something really special.
For more on Geoff Downes:
Michael Sweet, frontman for the multi-platinum rock band Stryper, will release a new full-length solo album, I’m Not Your Suicide, and his first autobiography, Honestly: My Life and Stryper Revealed, on May 6, 2014, via BIG3 Records.
Sweet is best known as the singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer for Christian rock pioneers Stryper, selling over 10 million albums worldwide. In addition to Stryper, Sweet has had a successful solo career, and he served as the guitarist and co-vocalist for the legendary classic rock band BOSTON from 2007-2011.
The future remains bright for a man who has endured heartbreaking tribulations throughout his life and career, including the 2009 passing of his wife of more than 22 years, Kyle. In 2010, Sweet remarried to Lisa Champagne-Sweet, a woman he describes as “a Godsend and the one who fits perfectly by my side.”
Sweet continues to record and tour with Stryper, as well as touring and recording as a solo artist, all the while making frequent trips to Nashville where he is writing with some of the biggest music writers in the business.
“After 30 years in this business, I feel honored and blessed to be able to continue doing what it is I love, making music,” said Sweet. “I’m extremely thankful to have the greatest fans in the world. God has blessed me with this talent and I plan to continue on this path as long as I can draw breath.”
Fans can get a sneak peak at the album courtesy of the all-new lyric video for the song, “The Cause” below:
Sweet’s autobiography, Honestly: My Life and Stryper Revealed, chronicles an amazing 30-year career and includes endorsements from Eddie Trunk, Dave Mustaine, Larry the Cable Guy, Jeordie White and Chris Jericho. Among the topics covered are:
- How Michael Sweet formed the first Christian rock band to hit #1 on MTV, paving the way for an entire genre of music.
- First-hand stories of the Sunset Strip, with never-before-told stories that include friends and musical peers such as Poison, Motley Crue, RATT, Whitesnake, Metallica and more.
- How Jimmy Swaggart and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker played a role in Michael’s life.
- The temptations and ultimate low-points of a notable Christian rock star.
- Never-before-revealed stories of life behind the scenes in Stryper.
- Why so many people have declared Michael Sweet a significant influence on their lives; from Larry the Cable Guy to professional wrestler Chris Jericho to Haitian musician and politician Wyclef Jean and more.
- Losing his wife to cancer and re-marrying shortly thereafter.
- An honest look at Sweet’s often tumultuous family relationships.
- The unlikely relationship between Sweet and national radio personality Don Imus.
- What led to the decline and fall of Stryper in 1992, and subsequent reunion and re-birth in 2001.
The new Michael Sweet website has also launched with a free preview of Chapter One of the upcoming book.
With the upcoming and long-overdue solo album, Sweet is finally delivering the project fans have been patiently waiting for. Self-produced, I’m Not Your Suicide includes special appearances by Tony Harnell (TNT), Kevin Max (dcTalk, Audio Adrenaline), Chris Jericho, Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake), Electra Mustaine (daughter of Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine) and Stryper bandmates Robert Sweet and Timothy Gaines. Legendary drummer Kenny Aronoff played on the record as well. Track Listing for I’m Not Your Suicide:
- Taking on the World Tonight (featuring Tony Harnell)
- All That’s Left (For Me To Prove)
- The Cause
- This Time (featuring Kevin Max)
- I’m Not Your Suicide (co-written with Blair Daly)
- Coming Home
- Miles Away
- How to Live (featuring Robert Sweet and Timothy Gaines of Stryper)
- Heart of Gold
- Anybody Else (featuring Chris Jericho and Doug Aldrich)
- Heart of Gold (featuring Electra Mustaine) **Bonus Track
You can read my most recent Guitar World Interview with Sweet by Clicking Here!
For more information on Michael Sweet visit www.MichaelSweet.com.
I wanted to write this post well before tonight’s NFC Championship; lest anyone think that I might be one of those phony bandwagon fans who only jump on board when a team is doing well and then disappears when the wheels fall off the bus. That’s hardly the case with me. I’ve been an east coast Seattle Seahawks fan for thirty years.
That’s right, I said thirty years.
It all began back in the early 80s. I was one of those disappointed Philadelphia Eagles fans lost in the wilderness and looking for a new home after a bitter, painful defeat at the hands of some dude named Plunkett and the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XV. Ok, I’ll admit I was one of those creeps who ditched the ship when it sank, just like the ones I opened this post talking about. But in my defense, I was only twelve years old at the time and didn’t know any better.
Yeah, let’s go with that.
It was a cold Monday night a few years after that Super Bowl when I first saw the Seattle Seahawks on television. At the time, I had absolutely no idea who they were. They had some left-handed quarterback (Jim Zorn), a wiry, fast as lightning receiver (Steve Largent) and this rookie running back from Penn State named Curt Warner. A “hometown” connection.
I couldn’t even tell you the team that they played that night. All I remember is that the Seahawks lost the coin toss and started the game out with an on-side kick. An on-side kick!!! Something almost unheard of in the NFL.
The Seahawks wound up getting the ball and scoring on that drive….and the seed was planted.
As you can imagine, the 1980’s were a time before the Internet and satellite football games became common place. So getting to see my new team was nearly impossible. About the only time I ever saw them on TV was when they played against the Eagles or New York Giants, and considering that the Seahawks were in the other conference at the time, those games were even rarer.
The Seahawks actually almost made it to their first Super Bowl the first year of my fandom, but lost to (ironically enough) the Oakland Raiders in the conference final. But this time, instead of ditching I stayed a fan. Reading updates in the newspaper about loss after loss. Some years good. Some years, very bad.
In 1992, we were so bad that we were awarded the #2 overall pick in the NFL. A time when we were in dire need of a quarterback. We wound up with a bust named Rick Mirer, while the New England Patriots got this guy named Drew Bledsoe (the “parent” QB to Tom Brady).
More years of mediocrity would follow, but I stood tall.
I was there when Seahawks owner Ken Behring tried to move the team out-of-town to California in the dead of night. That attempt failed and Behring would eventually sell the team to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. With Allen on board, the team hired Green Bay Packers coach Mike Holmgren and a slew of other talent, planting the seed for a run to greatness that came to fruition in 2005.
During my time as a 12th man there has only been one low point, and that was Super Bowl XL against the Pittsburgh Steelers. As any fan of the NFL will tell you (and even Steeler fans too, if they’re honest), the referees decided that game. For me, it was stinging. Imagine waiting 23 years for a shot at a Super Bowl and then being cheated by a bunch of turds in pinstripes.
The thing is, in the NFL there are no guarantees and the days of dynasty left once the salary cap was initiated. You only have so much time to make a run before players and coaches leave for other pastures. Unfortunately, that’s what happened to my team following that “defeat”.
It’s taken eight years for the Seahawks to get back to the NFC Championship game. Eight long, often-times miserable years. But I never lost hope. I watched as Marshawn Lynch caused an earthquake with one of the greatest runs in NFL history and knew that the stars were aligning again….
I even took a weekend 2,856-mile trip to Seattle by myself two-years ago just to see them play the Atlanta Falcons. The first time I was ever a part of the 12th man.
I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for this game. I’ve even been having dreams at night this past week where the game is on and I am sitting around checking the score. Every time I looked, the score was changing. Thankfully, we were winning.
I don’t know what’s going to happen when it’s all over. Hopefully, dreams do come true. But all I can ask is that the refs let it be settled on the field. And may the better team then kick the sh$t out of the Patriots or Broncos.
It’s been nearly 25 years since the members of Autograph completed their three-album deal with RCA records and mutually decided to go their own separate ways.
For guitarist Steve Lynch, that departure also meant the opportunity to get more involved in writing, teaching and hosting guitar clinics. Eventually, Lynch made his way back to his native Seattle and opened the Federal Way School of Music, where he continues to demonstrate, among other things, his legendary two-handed technique.
After a long hiatus, Lynch and bassist Randy Rand have reunited Autograph in 2014. Together with new singer Simon Daniels, the band plans to tour extensively — with shows that already include the Monsters of Rock Cruise, M3 and Firefest — before returning to the studio to record new material.
I spoke with Lynch about the reunion, his music and Autograph’s unique first gig in 1984.
GUITAR WORLD: It’s been 25 years since we last saw Autograph. What sparked this reunion?
In 2011, I saw Randy down at the NAMM show, and the two of us started kicking around the idea of doing a reunion. We saw a lot of bands out doing a “weekend warrior” sort of thing, and since I run a music studio and teach during the week, I thought it would be a great way to do it. We got our original drummer Keni Richards involved in early rehearsals, but he had to back out due to health issues.
Read the rest of my Guitar World Interview with Steve Lynch by Clicking Here
Guitarist Tim Butler’s love of music goes back much further than the twenty years he’s been performing in the Philadelphia area. From his early years singing in boys choirs, to his stints in high school musicals and teaching himself to play the instrument he loves, Butler is the pure definition of singer songwriter.
His catchy, hook ridden original songs have received lavish praise and his tasteful renditions of songs by such artists as Crowded House and Mister Mister have been pleasing audiences for more than two decades. But the thing that really makes Butler unique is that he’s just as comfortable performing solo as he is with a full-band; both of which being a must see.
Butler took a bit of a hiatus in 2013, but will return to his native Lehigh Valley for a show at the Nazareth Center for the Arts on Saturday, January 18th. In addition, he’s also been working on a CD of brand new material that’s expected to be released in February. I spoke with him about both and more in this exclusive interview.
Tell me a little about your upcoming show.
The show will feature 2 performers. Opening will be a musician by the name of “Not for Coltrane.” He’s local to the Lehigh Valley and has a very cool alt-folk-rock type of sound. Due to some of the constraints of the venue, I will not be playing full-band and instead will be doing a duo performance with my long time bass player, Rick Delana.
How would you describe the sound of your music?
I have really been described as many things: rock, pop, alt folk, alt country, folk rock, it goes on an on. Hearing that entertains me, but it also makes me realize that listeners can hear a lot of different things. I will tell you that I cut my teeth on pop and rock. Structurally, most of my songs are pop tunes. I love hooks and big choruses! But there is definitely a “rock” sound to many of my tunes, especially when I’m playing with the full band.
What are your thoughts on performing cover material?
I’m primarily an artist that does original music but I do enjoy sprinkling in some covers. Sometimes I’ll play something because someone asks me to, but 90% of the time the covers that I do really mean something to me or sometimes its just because I like the song or band.
Can you give us an update on your new CD?
It’s likely the new recording will be ready to drop by early to mid February. Most of the tracking is completed. There’s still some lead guitar work that needs to be done and then we are on to mixing and engineering.
Is there a particular song from the new CD that excites you?
One of my faves from the new CD is a song called “We’ll Be Happy.” It comes from a place that is my bread and butter: pop, with lush harmonies. It may sound a little “Beach Boys”, but I’m ok with that. I went in that direction with the instrumentation and harmonies. I didn’t fight it at all. In fact, with this CD I decided at the outset to just let the songs go wherever they wanted to go. Every song on this release I just let happen.
What’s your songwriting process like?
I am primarily a music first kind of guy. Sometimes a song will start with just a riff or a chorus structure or sometimes it might just be a “sound.” From there, I usually work through melody lines, etc. By that time, I’ve typically created a theme in my head and create lyrics based on that. It’s really worked well for me.
When did you first get bitten by the music bug?
I started singing at a very young age. I was in a touring boys choir starting in 5th grade and sang in choirs and in stage performances for a very long time. I took piano lessons for a short while and didn’t pick up a guitar until my senior year of college.
Tell me a little about your music experience in high school.
I have a lot of very fond memories of high school. It was there that I decided that I wanted to stick with music. It solidified that I would have music in my life in some organized fashion even if I didn’t major in it in college.
Coming into EAHS [Easton Area High School], I was actually all “choired out” and avoided singing all together. I remember people were always trying to get me involved, but I just wasn’t into it. Then one day, Ed Milisits [EAHS choir director] tracked me down and “drafted” me. I remember he was very persuasive about it and I ended up joining the Concert Choir and also being in a few school musicals. Those years were a big part of my life.
What are you most looking forward to in 2014?
I have been doing this pretty much non-stop since 1994 and last year decided to take a bit of a break (although I did perform a few random shows and at fundraising events). I discovered that I really missed making music, so getting back in the studio was GREAT! I’m very excited about 2014. Although I won’t be setting out onto a full-fledged tour, I will be doing more shows that give me the opportunity to share some music. For me, I’m blown away with everything I’ve been blessed with over the years and am just so thankful! Musically, I hope to continue to do something that I really love to do. If someone likes it, loves it or it can mean something to them, then that’s a huge win for me.
Tim Butler Will Perform at the Nazareth Center for the Arts
30 Belvidere St. Nazareth, PA 18064
January 18th, 2014 @ 7:00pm
Tickets are $8 in advance / $10 @ door
For more on Tim Butler, check out his ReverbNation site by Clicking Here!
She’s been a model, video vixen, rock star wife and a reality TV star. But Bobbi Brown has taken things to an entirely different level as published author. The ex-wife of the late Warrant vocalist Jani Lane is dishing the dirt about the LA scene in her new tell-all book, “Dirty Rocker Boys: Love And Lust On The Sunset Strip.”
In it, Brown talks about her journey from Louisiana beauty queen to the glamorous life of LA. From her early modeling career and time spent on TV’s Star Search to how she became the infamous “Cherry Pie” girl in the Warrant video of the same name.
Brown also pulls no punches when it comes to detailing her sometimes stormy relationships with Lane, Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe), Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction) and even a young Leonardo DiCaprio; often going into vivid detail about the sex, drugs and debauchery that ran amok in the 90’s. Her book is a roller-coaster ride of emotion and a refreshingly quick read. More importantly, it’s an open and honest look at the life of a Louisiana girl who’s come full circle.
In addition to the release of Dirty Rocker Boys: Love And Lust On The Sunset Strip, Brown’s reality show along with other fellow rock ladies has just completed a second successful season. I spoke with her about the book as well as her relationship with Lane and the close circle of friends that’s become known as the Ex-Wives of Rock.
What made you decide to write a book?
I had read about a dozen or so rock books that I had been mentioned in. As I was reading the stories I just remember thinking, “Well, that’s not exactly right.” I felt the stories were more serving the ones who wrote them and weren’t really being accurate or honest. So I thought I would do a retort, but also have it be what life was like on the scene from a woman’s perspective.
What was the writing process like?
Caroline [Ryder] and I met and hit it off right away. She really got my sense of humor and what I was looking for and came back with the best perspective of my voice. There would be times where she would come over and we’d stay up all night just talking stories. I couldn’t have asked for better ghost writer. I wanted it to be realistic and for the reader to feel like they were one of my friends and I was talking to them about it.
After you arrived in LA, did you think that you would be immune to the drugs, sneaking around and cheating?
I think that when you get into a situation like I was in, you always sort-of believe in the back of your mind that somehow you’re “special” and that’s not going to happen to you. But that’s delusional. And the thing is it’s not even personal, but I think it’s the nature of the beast when it comes to dating a musician.
It’s been discussed that Jani’s time with Warrant was strained due to his addiction. What was his relationship like with other members of the band while you were with him?
They all got along well and never really had any serious rifts. It was “party scene-ish” and just very social. There were no serious emotional bonds or loyalties that I witnessed. In the same respect, they had known each other for quite a while and had history together. That’s why I was a little bothered after Jani passed that they didn’t make a bigger deal about it. I took that personally. I do know that he put them through a lot of grief, but I think that was part of his illness and addiction.
You mentioned your regret for not being there much for your daughter Taylar while she was growing up. Is there anything else you regret?
You know, I could actually sit here and say that I have a little bit of regret about all of the decisions that I’ve made. Looking back, you can always say things like ‘”Hey, maybe I should have done this differently or tried a little bit harder.” But I’m really grateful every day for what I have and I think that has a lot to do with the way things are going for me now. I’ve also learned that the more grateful you are, the less sad you are.
Did you discover anything else about yourself after you finished writing the book?
It was very cathartic. I didn’t go into it imagining that it would end up being therapeutic, but going through all of these stories opened up a lot things that I had suppressed over the years. Some of which I never really had any closure with. It was a nice release.
Let’s talk a little about “Ex-Wives of Rock”. What’s your relationship really like with the girls on the show?
Believe it or not, it’s exactly what you see on camera. We’ve known each other for more than 20 years so it’s very much like a family. We may have our battles, but it’s never a situation where one of us will say “I hate you and I’m never going to speak to you again!” We may fight and argue but at the end of the day, we all care for each other.
Have any of the people you talked about in the book approached you to refute your side of things?
Knock on wood… Not yet! [laughs]. What I will say though is that it’s my own perspective of my story and I was very honest and open about it. I might have said things that some people didn’t want discussed or talked about, but it’s my life too. It is what it is. My favorite thing to say is “If you didn’t want anyone to find out about it, then maybe you shouldn’t have done it!” [laughs].
What advice would you give to people who might want to follow in your foot steps?
Don’t just think that you’re going to go out to LA and “give it a shot.” That kind of attitude just won’t fly. That’s when you can get caught up in the mistrust and be side tracked by opportunists. Make sure that it’s something you’re really passionate about and driven to do. It’s a crazy city and everyone here is here for a reason.
Is there a message you’d like people to take from reading your book?
I don’t want people to come away from it feeling sorry for me. When they finish the book, I want them to feel that my life has come full circle and maybe say “Good for her!” I want them to feel good about what they’ve read. I also don’t want them to feel like I was a victim, because I wasn’t. All of my life experiences were my own choice.
No one made me do any of the things I did. But in the end, they all made me the person that I am today.
It was a cold winter’s night back in 1985 when I braved the frigid February elements and drove my beat up rickety Toyota station wagon to a local college gymnasium to see REO Speedwagon. I was just a wiry, sixteen-year old at the time. A novice of the live band brouhaha and attending one of my very first concerts.
I’m not sure whether it was REO’s performance that night, or the fact that I was in the thick of what would one day become known as the “classic rock” era of music [more likely a combination of the two], but that night still reigns as one of my favorite shows ever.
Now almost thirty years later and with 40 million albums sold world-wide and thousands of more shows under their belts, attending an REO Speedwagon concert isn’t just an event, it’s an experience [and trust me, I've seen many of them]. I liken it to being witness to the opening of a time capsule of classic rock goodness.
A lot of people seem to forget that it was REO Speedwagon’s mid-west work ethic in the early 1970’s that paved the way for bands like Styx, Kansas and Cheap Trick. They’re also one of few bands from that so-called bygone era who still continuously tours year after year. And why not? The band’s blockbuster album, “Hi Infidelity” sold more than 9 million copies alone and spent an astounding 15 weeks in the #1 slot. A feat that’s simply unattainable in music today.
REO’s new album/DVD, “Live at Moondance Jam” was recorded in 2010 at the annual mid-summer festival in Walker, MN and once again showcases the band at its absolute finest. A performance that begins with a superfecta of songs from the Fidelity album before bounding around the Speedwagon catalog of hits that include “Roll With The Changes”, “Time For Me To Fly” and “Ridin’ The Storm Out”. Every song on this live album package was at one time or another burned out on a vinyl turntable or cassette deck.
Consisting of lead singer/guitarist Kevin Cronin (who’s penned not one, but two #1 hits; both of which are performed here), Neal Doughty (founding member of the band); Bruce Hall (Bass); Dave Amato (Lead guitar/Vocals) and Bryan Hitt (Drums), REO Speedwagon continues to prove that real rock is alive and well and hard work pays off.
“Live At Moondance Jam” is a concert experience you won’t have to brave the elements to attend, but one that’s a must have for your collection.
CD: Don’t Let Him Go; Keep on Loving You; In Your Letter; Take It on the Run; Keep Pushin'; Golden Country; Can’t Fight This Feeling; Like You Do; Time for Me to Fly; Back on the Road Again; Roll with the Changes; Ridin’ the Storm Out; 157 Riverside Avenue.
DVD / Blu Ray: Don’t Let Him Go; Keep on Loving You; In Your Letter; Take It on the Run; Keep Pushin'; Golden Country; Can’t Fight This Feeling; Like You Do; Time for Me to Fly; Back on the Road Again; Roll with the Changes; Ridin’ the Storm Out; 157 Riverside Avenue. Bonus : Interview with Kevin Cronin
Neal Doughty – keyboards, organ, piano, synthesizer
Kevin Cronin – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, keyboards
Bruce Hall – bass guitar, vocals
Dave Amato – lead guitar, vocals
Bryan Hitt – drums, percussion