Sunday, May 30, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Today ThisAintTheSummerOfLove turns 2. This is our 694th post.
Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to stop by and check out what we are doing here (whatever THAT is!?!) Extra special thanks to those who have offered friendship and words of encouragement as well, old friends and new - you know who you are.
Wishing you all a great, long and safe Memorial Day holiday weekend...
Friday, May 28, 2010
Eric Emerson performing in Jackie Curtis' 1971 Off Broadway stage show "Vain Victory." Thanks to Jackie Curtis biographer Craig Highberger for uploading the video.
Please take a moment out of your busy day today to have a look at Magic Tramps.com if you have never done so. Tramps drummer Sesu Coleman has put together an amazing site full of memories, stories and images from one of the most influential yet undersung bands of the early 1970's NYC pre-punk scene. You will also find plenty of material there centering on vocalist Eric Emerson who passed away under mysterious circumstances 35 years ago today. You can also read the somewhat lengthy biographical post I did on Eric last year HERE.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)
I was fianlly able to attended my first Kiss concert 20 years ago today in Duluth, MN. I was 20 years old at the time and I'd already been a fan of the band for 12 years at that point. I was too young to have seen the original lineup of Simmons/Stanley/Frehley/Criss in their 70's prime, a fact I agonized over for years. In early 1985, when the band came through Duluth on their "Animalize" tour, I had tried to sneak around my parents back and go to the show with a friend of mine and his older sister. One of my other buddies, who didn't know this was a no-no, stopped in at my Mom's bookstore on the afternoon of the concert and let it slip that I was going. My mom promptly closed up the shop early, raced over to my friends house and caught us just as we were about to leave. And worse yet, I'd been drinking Strawberry Schnapps and had a nice buzz going. I was in deep shit and was lectured all the way home and for what seemed like hours after on how I was forbidden to drink and I was also forbidden to attend a Kiss concert. I think I was grounded too for a while...my parents were not big on being lied to about such things. Anyway, as the 80's wore on and all my friends seemed to have seen the band a few times, I still didn't get the chance. Finally, in the late spring of May 1990 I had my chance and I was excited to say the least.
It seemed like nearly everyone I was friends with at that point was going to this show. I caught a ride to Duluth with a female co-worker and her boyfriend and we had a few drinks on the way to the show. Once we arrived in Duluth I met up with a bunch of my good friends and we were soon inside the Duluth Arena making our way across the floor of the to get as close to the stage as we could. Slaughter, who were all over MTV just then with their infectious brand of pop-metal were the first band on and they were actually really good. The ladies sure seemed to be digging them as there was a virtual shower of bras and panties rainging down on the stage - and this was only the opening band. During their set, in all the commotion that always goes on right in front of the stage, I was pleasantly surprised to run into a few friends from the town I'd lived in prior to moving to my Dad's during my Jr. year in high school. We high-fived and continued to rock out, really enjoying the fact that after all these years we were finally all together at a Kiss show.
Faster Pussycat was the second band on the bill and they were great. I'd just seen them just a month and a half before this, opening for Motley Crue. Their set was almost identical to the set they'd played opening for the Crue, but they seemed to be even better this time around. Being on the road playing several gigs a week for a few months was definatley good for them as they were just kicking the shit out of the nearly sold-out crowd of rockers assembled on this evening. Their set was probably about 45 minutes in duration, then the house lights came up and huge black curtain descended to obscure the stage while Kiss' road crew went about setting up for the main event of the evening. A few of my friends and I decided we wanted to watch the show from the upper deck so we could see "the big picture" (and so we could smoke without being hassled by security) so I said my goodbyes to my old friends and we headed upstairs. The set change seemed to take forever and I was about to crawl out of my skin with excitement. The moment I'd been waiting for since I was 8 years old was just a few minutes away. "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who came blasting over the PA and then the house lights went down, the black curtain dropped and the crowd went nuts...and Kiss took the stage and my long-time dream was finally realized. I couldn't believe I was actually here, about to witness Kiss in all their non-makeup glory.
When the curtain dropped and the stage was revealed , a giant Sphinx (as seen on the cover of the band's latest album cover "Hot In The Shade") sat behind the band, dwarfing them. Green lazers shot out of it's eyes and swept around the arena. Later in the show, during "God Of Thunder", the mouth of the Sphinx opened and there were more lazer lights in the mouth and it appeared to be singing the chorus of the song along with the band. The overhead light show was huge and the whole production was very, very impressive to say the least. The day after the show, I was inspired enough to grab a pen and do an ink drawing of the stage as best as I could remember it. I've saved the drawing all these years and present it here exclusively. This is the first time I've put up any of my own artwork here on ThisAintTheSummerOfLove.
My ink-pen rendering of the Kiss "Hot In The Shade" stage set. I drew this on 05/28/90.
Click HERE to see a larger view.
The show was amazing. A lot of Kiss Army members had abandoned the band after Criss and Frehley left in the early 80's. Even more left when the band took of their makeup in 1983. There were guitarist issues, with Vinnie Vincet coming in, then leaving. Mark St. John came in, recorded the "Animalize" album, played a few gigs with the group and was forced out by a wrist injury (that was the official story anyway) and was soon replaced by ex-Blackjack/Good Rats/Meat Loaf/Michael Bolton guitarist Bruce Kulick. Through all these changes my status as member of the Kiss Army never wavered and this show was my reward for all my years of loyalty. The band looked like they were enjoying themselves and played a great set of old classics and newer songs and it all sounded great in the concrete bowl/echo chamer that is the Duluth Arena.. With hindsight, I'm also glad I got to see the band on this tour as it would be their final tour with powerhouse drummer Eric Carr. He would pass away in November of 1991 and I was so glad I was able to see him in concert at least once.
During the early 1990's, I got heavily involved in the underground tape trading scene and was building quite a large collection of bootleg audio and video Kiss concert recordings and one day I received a list of shows from one of my trader buddies and there on the list was a recording of this Duluth show. I couldn't believe it. I quickly ordered up a copy and eagerly awaited it's arrival. A few weeks went by and one day it finally showed up and I couldn't pop it in the tape deck fast enough, anxious to relive the first time I'd seen the band. The sound quality of the tape is actually pretty good and I still listen to it every once in a while, still thrilled to own a recording of the first Kiss show I attended. Then, some time in 1993 or 1994, I stumbled across a guy who was selling "Hot In The Shade" tour books for a fair price so I picked up one of these as well as I had not purchased one at the show. In July 1995 when Kiss did their "Kiss Conventions" tour I brought it with me and had the front cover signed by Gene Simmons.
I still have the crappy quality bootleg "Hot In The Shade" t-shirt I bought from some guy in the parking lot of the arena after the show. I think I paid $10.00 for it. In the years since I have also managed to pick up a few "authorized, official" t-shirts from this tour as well.
Now, 20 years later, I've seen the band in various lineups, including the reunited original lineup several times from 1996 - 2000. I've seen them about a dozen times and out of all those shows there was only one bad one, 2004's "Rock The Nation" tour.
I'm sure some of you who have been reading this blog for any length of time feel like I've reviewed 100 Kiss shows here, but it's only around a dozen, honest! And a few Ace Frehley solo shows. And a few Kiss tribute band shows. But I think I've finally gotten to all of them so there won't be any more for a while, much to the relief of some of you I'm sure. But there WILL be another one in early September after I see the band again on September 4th at the MN State Fair.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
(Images via NYCDreamin Archives)
16 years ago today I finally got to see, for the first time, my all-time favorite guitarist, Ace Frehley, in concert in Minneapolis. I'd never had the chance to see him on stage with Kiss in their 1970's glory days, so I was very excited to finally be able to see him in concert. And the tickets were only $10 on the day of the show. Unreal and almost hard to believe, but there it is in black and white on the ad. This would be the first of two times I would have the opportunity to see the Space Man from the Bronx in the year of 1994. Arriving way too early, I spent most of the day hanging out in the parking lot of the Mirage club in Minneapolis, with several other die hard fans who also apparently had nothing better to do with their day, like say, go to work, hoping to catch a glimpse of my hero and maybe even get a chance to meet him. No such luck, but I was able to meet his other guitarist, the immensely cool Richie Scarlet and his drummer, Steve Werner. I would have to wait until I saw Ace again on October 31st 1994 to meet the man himself. Ace was calling this the "Just For Fun" tour as he was just out on the road, playing gigs, not supporting a new CD release or anything.
Notice how his last name is mis-spelled as "Frealy" on the ticket. I thought that was kind of amusing. Then there were the radio ads that ran to promote the show. You know how they sound...
(Guy with a DEEP voice:) "MINNEAPOLIS. Get ready for the return of legendary Kiss guitarist ACE FREHLEY! One night only! May 26th - In concert at the Mirage in Minneapolis. Playing solo material and all the great Kiss songs you love so much!!" (Or something similar to that.)
All the while, in the background playing snippets of several songs from Ace's solo CD's and some Kiss tunes. But the funny thing was, in amongst the snippets of Kiss songs played in the background was "Lick It Up," which everyone knows (or should know) that Ace DIDN'T play on - he had been out of the band for a few years by the time that song was recorded. I just remember thinking the people who were doing the promotion didn't know too much about the artist they were promoting. They couldn't even spell his name correctly.
The Mirage was packed with Kiss fans on the night of the show and Ace and his band gave a face-melting performance. But I am admittedly biased - he could have come up on stage and belched into the microphone a few times and left and I would have been thrilled to witness it. OK, maybe not, but you get my drift - I was gonna be impressed no matter how good or bad the show was. Fortunately it was a good one and that was not always the case on this tour with reports in Kiss fanzines from fans in other cities on the tour that Ace was "loaded," "drunk," or "wasted" during performances. For anyone who was a long-time fan, this news came as no surprise. For the show here in Minneapolis anyway, Ace and his band seemed to be at the top of their game and I walked out of the club a few hours later, partially deaf (Ace likes volume. Lots and lots of volume) and and on cloud nine from finally having had the chance to see the man up close and to hear the amazing things he can do with a Gibson Les Paul.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
(Image via: LapDogTerror.com)
Let me start by saying I was never a Slipknot fan but I have plenty of friends who like them and I do recognize their contributions to the world of metal music over the past fifteen years and their huge and undeniable influence on younger up-and-coming metal musicians.
The bands legions of fans are no doubt in mourning this afternoon with the news that bassist Paul Gray was found dead in a hotel room in Urbandale, IA at 10:50am earlier today. Gray was 38 years old. Police said there was no evidence of foul play and an autopsy will be conducted on Tuesday to determine the cause of death. More details, including stories of self-admitted prior drug problems can be found at Blabbermouth.Net.
Also from the Blabbermouth.Net story:
In April 2010 it was announced that Paul Gray had joined HAIL!, the supergroup featuring mainstays Tim "Ripper" Owens (BEYOND FEAR, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, ex-JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH), David Ellefson (MEGADETH) and Andreas Kisser (SEPULTURA). He was supposed to replace the group's original member, David Ellefson, who was unable to take part in HAIL!'s upcoming touring activities due to his renewed collaboration with MEGADETH.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)
Two years ago tonight I was in St. Paul to see Rush for the third time in just under a year and fourth time over all. The band was on tour supporting their "Snakes And Arrows" CD and the show was a real mind-blower each of the three times I saw them. Here is a clip shot here in St. Paul of the band playing their classic "The Trees".
Friday, May 21, 2010
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)
I meant to put this up a few days ago but I have been slacking a bit this week. But since I'm going out tomorrow to pick up a pair of tickets to see the band YET AGAIN in August, here is a bit on another Kiss concert I attended...
So ten years ago this week, on a sunny May 17, I took the day off from work so I could hang out all day in somewhat amused anticipation of that evening's scheduled Kiss concert in Minneapolis. The band was on tour, again, and announcing that this was the "Farewell Tour". They "were hanging it up" they said. Well, we all know that's not exactly what happened. So anyway, I arrive in downtown Minneapolis in the early afternoon on the day in question. I am not the first one to arrive - several members of the Kiss Army could be seen lurking around the Target Center, no doubt crushed, crushed, that this would be the final show. I was taking it all in stride and managed to amuse myself for a few hours. Around 5:00pm suddenly, this guy came walking out to the doors of the Target Center with these flyers that he began taping to the doors leading into the arena. "Kiss Concert Postponed until 05/18/00" the sign read. "What the Fuck?!?"
Well, word got around pretty quickly that there was some very severe weather in Chicago, rain, hail and winds and the threat of possible tornadoes. Kiss were in Chicago and had decided not to fly to Minneapolis. It gave them an extra night off and caused some moaning and groaning by fans in Minneapolis. But we'd all be back again tomorrow. I went home and when I got up the following morning, I called my boss and explained what had happened the previous evening and that I would require another day off. He said no problem and I decided to head down town pretty early in the day to enjoy a full day in the city before going to the show.
I remember thinking seeing Skid Row without Sebastian Bach wasn't so bad really, I thought they were pretty good. Ted Nugent came out with his band and absolutely destroyed. I saw this tour two times and both times Ted gave Kiss a run for their money. Kiss were publicaly holding up a good face, but inner-band turmoil and personality clashes were ensuring that the original line up of Simmons/Stanley/Frehley/Criss would not tour again. You couldn't really tell that from the show that I saw, but there was definately a different feeling coming from the stage on this night than when I'd seen them on the Reunion Tour back in 1996. They were good but they were not "on fire" as they'd been in '96.
(See LARGE) - Click To Read.
Patti Smith was also in town that night across the street at First Avenue...
Jon Bream reviews the show in the Star Tribune...
Just nine days after the concert, this small item appeared in the Star Tribune signaling the band would come back at some point. They arrived back in Minneapolis again on 07/13/00 - you can see what I have on that show by clicking HERE.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
It's a crazy world we're living in
And I'm leaving it today
For another institution
We crazy people play
I promised me that I'd move on
And I will.
So, someone give me blessings
For the times you say I've sinned
So I can crawl inside myself
And ride into the wind
On Strange Highways
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
(Images and videos via NYCDreamin Archives)
Ratt returned to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area last night playing to a packed crowd at the Medina Ballroom in Medina, MN. Despite rumors that new guitarist Carlos Cavazo would be "out of the band for the month of May", he was there and made a good fit with the band - and it's cool to see him doing something since Quiet Riot is no more. And he doesn't seem to age much. Anyway - Robie Crane was his usual crazy self, and this was actually the first time I'd seen Ratt with Pearcy on vocals so that was cool to finally see after all these years. Blotzer and DeMartini rounded out the lineup of this "mostly" original members lineup.
Ratt has released a new CD, "Infestation" (released back in April) and has been touring in support of it since it's release. Opening up for Ratt was long-time local classic rockers "Knight Crawler".
I was lucky enough to get a spot near the front of the stage to the left, just under the PA hanging on the side of the stage. Let's just say my left ear is a bit "ringy" this morning as I write this. Ratt played good and loud - but not too loud either where it gets all fucked-up sounding, so they sounded pretty good. And the spot where I stood made for an excellent vantage point to shoot some pretty good video of the show. The band rocked their way through about 17 or 18 songs in the course of about an hour and twenty minutes, and I managed to film 14 of the songs.
Here, for your listening and viewing enjoyment, I present to you, most of last night's show...the problem with heads in the way is a little more prevalent in the first few videos. Most of these videos are really great though - I have to say I'm kind of impressed with my camera work overall and that's certainly not always the case in a live setting - but these look pretty good and sound pretty good as well.
(You’re In Love/Lay It Down)
(Lack Of Communication/Take A Big Bite)
(I Want A Woman)
(Slip Of The Lip/Eat Me Up Alive)
The band played about 5 new songs from the new CD and they seemed to go over well with the crowd. The material is certainly "classic Ratt" and has a timewarp kind of feel to it - like it really still could be 1985 somewhere.
(Lovin’ You’s A Dirty Job/Last Call)
(Nobody Rides For Free/Way Cool Jr.)
*Problems with this video (F'n Youtube tells me this video is too long now.) prevent me from showing it at the moment. I hope to have it shortly...
(Best Of Me/A Little Too Much)
The band just kind of plowed through the set with no real extended breaks of any kind and after the show closer of, you guessed it, "Round And Round", it was all over. The lights came up and the band took a bow and left the stage.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Promotional trailer for DEMO benifit screenings. First Avenue: Hayday is a concert documentary made up of footage shot at First Avenue nightclub, in Minneapolis, from 1985-1992. Produced and Directed by Rick Fuller. Edited by James K. Lambert. First Avenue "Hayday" was produced as a benefit for the Minnesota non-profit DEMOmn.org. Rights to the footage are represented jointly by First Avenue and DEMOmn.org. The artists within the film were contacted about the two Mpls. screenings and were aware that the screenings were to benefit DEMOmn.org. If a DVD is ever considered, the artists will be contacted and publishing issues will be addressed. No plans for a DVD release are in the works. There may be additional Mpls. benefit screenings for DEMOmn.org, but nothing is scheduled.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Tony Iommi - Guitars
Tony Martin - Vocals
Laurence Cottle - Bass
Cozy Powell - Drums
Geoff Nichols - Keyboards
Special guest guitar solo on "When Death Calls":
Saturday, May 8, 2010
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)
22 years ago today the infectious sounds of 80's keyboard driven Contemporay Christian power-pop filled the "Big Gymn" at the Grand Rapids Middle School. I'd seen Bash 'N' The Code a few times previously over the past two years and knew it would be a good time. Besides, it wasn't every day that a band you actually knew of came to play in Grand Rapids. And not alot of people would even know or remember who this band was - unless you grew up with a mother who was pushing Contemporary Christian music at you as a way to lure you away from W.A.S.P., Kiss and all those other soul stealing rock heathens of that time. It of course didn't work, I still listened to all those bands, but also Slayer, Posessed, Venom - things 1,000 times more "controversial" than my Mom even knew about. But, mostly through her insistance of my "just checking out this band" I'd also developed a taste for some of these Christian pop bands and then there was Stryper, Barren Cross, Bloodgood and a few others who rightfully could compete for musical talent right up there with any of the contemporary metal bands. Anyway. I wish I had a flyer for the show as it might tell me who the promoter/sponser was - I'm guessing a church or Christian youth organization of some kind. A flyer would also tell me the name of the opening band - there was one - going by a name I've long since forgotten. By this time I'd been living in Grand Rapids for just over two years with my father. It was nice to have my Mom drive up to Grand Rapids and attend this show with me and a few friends - she was always excited to see some good Christian-based rock and roll and try to keep in touch with what I was up to.
The autograhed 8X10 below is for illustrative purposes only - to show what the band looked like. I did not get it at this particular show - I got it almost two years prior at the 1986 Son Shine Festival in Willmar, MN where I'd seen the band previoulsy. You can read about the Sonshine Festival HERE.
And after a brief look around Youtube here is one of the few Bash 'N' The Code songs to be found there, here is a clip for something off their first LP, which I no longer have actually. This is not an official video or anything - just something someone threw together to go with the audio of the song. This just takes me right back to the 80's. You may like it (I do), you may not, but I remember when this was what alot of music sounded like and these guys were just as talented or more so than many of the bands who found fame doing the exact same style of music during those years.
Friday, May 7, 2010
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)
Seven years ago tonight I dropped what I was doing, which was probably nothing anyway, and headed over to the Star Bar in Minneapolis to catch former (and current) lead singer of Ratt for the bargain basement price of only $10.00. Even for this monumentally low price I could not drag any friends with me to attend so I headed off to the show on my own. As was usual when I got to the venue a bit early I had to have one of their great cheeseburgers. Anyway, I don't remember much about the opening band Touched. I guess I'll get a chance to remember when I see them open for Ratt here one week from today - (more on this next Saturday).
Pearcy was in great form and did a cool mix of a few new songs he and his youngish band had been playing recently, tunes from Stephen's post-Ratt group Arcade, and of course a healthy dose of Ratt 'n' roll. I remember being pretty impressed with it all. Stephen has one of those voices you just know when you hear it who it is weather it be with Ratt or Arcade, in fact the uniqueness of his voice makes the two bands sound similar.
Cool 8X10 promo photo I picked up that night. After the show Stephen announced he would hang and sign autographs and I just happened to have a few Ratt albums with me just in case this happened. I was hoping for at least one but he was very cool and signed everything I brought and was cool and funny while he did it. The only complaint? Could this man have a WORSE looking autograph? You cannot see "Stephen Pearcy" on any of these...it just looks like some really bag tag on a wall somewhere.
1983 - Ratt: Out Of The Cellar
1985 - Ratt: Invasion of Your Privacy - On this one Stephen stopped, looked at the hot chick on the cover and shook his head and wrote "Nice ---" something, again, I cant make it out.
1986 - Ratt: Dancing Undercover
1988 - Ratt: Reach For The Sky
1990 - Lovin' You's A Dirty Job 12" Single
As I mentioned at the top, one week from today I'll be seeing Ratt, who along with Pearcy who has rejoined the band and new guitarist Carlos Cavazo (formerly of Quiet Riot) have released a new album which has been getting good reviews from fans. I've seen Ratt several times over the past ten years at this point but never with Stephen on vocals, so it'll be fun to see him back in his old band again. I hope to have some good photos and/or video to share the day following the concert which is next Friday in Medina, MN. You can probably still get a ticket at MedinaEntertainment.com.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
The guard gate for the lumberyard sits empty. Over the past few days (May 04 & 05, 2010) we've had some unusally strong and sustaind winds. Apparently, at some point on the 5th, one of the lumber storage sheds sustained some wind damage. It was visible from the highway out in front so I decided to stop and take some photos.
I spotted this headless Indian doll figure laying on the ground behind one of the rear building as I had a look around and inside a few of them.
I found part of the old Chaska Home Center Logo laying on slabs out back on the West side of the property. The Camaro had been parked near a fence that was visible from the highway until recently. I think it was moved so it couldn't be seen by passing traffic.
Then there is all the trash and leftover rubbish that litters the grounds throughout the entire property. It's all crap, some of it potentially hazardous...old paint and chemical cans, pails and barrels, what look to be burnt out electrical transformers, rusting steel, bales of cardboard, abandoned equipment and pieces of abandoned equipment. I'm sure there are worse sights than this in other places but this has been sitting here for nearly two years now just slowing rotting. The redevelopment can't come soon enough in my opinion. And as I looked around I was surprised to notice absolutely no tagging or graffiti.
The worst part about all of this is that right behind this property, there exists a wooded area with a walking path and a small creek that runs through it. We walk this trail frequently and each time we do we walk past this property and much of this rubbish is plainly visible from the path. It makes the experience of walking through the woods near this property a much less enjoyable one. Like I said previously, the redevelopment of this property can't come soon enough.
If you are interested in seeing any of the photos from this post in a larger format, just click HERE to see the entire set.