Friday, October 13, 2006


I'm at Incheon airport just outside of Seoul and getting ready to head back to the States. The timing of this trip made for an interesting week. North Korea tested, or at least claimed to have tested, a Nuclear bomb while I was in the air on my way to South Korea. I wasn't too worried but it was odd reading about this situation as I was in the air over the Pacific.

The day I landed there was quite a bit of discussion but no one seemed too distressed by the news. The papers and local press were going crazy and the international press based in Asia issued numerous editorials about who to blame and where accountability should be held. Needless to say opinions ranged from North Korea being a country that continually tests the limits of what other nations will tolerate to this being a direct failure of the Bush administration.

One of the days at lunch I started to ask the locals what they thought of the news. I was quite surprised to hear that they unaniomously said the US should talk directly to North Korea. They said the 6 party talks won't work, because North Korea won't let them, and that the US is the only country that is in a position too give North Korea the audience they want. When I asked them what do they want, they suggested that all they want is the ability to a respected worldwide power. And until they feel they have the respect of the world they will continue to put out these challenges.

I equated this to North Korea being a 2 year old throwing a temper tantrum. Surprisngly they all agreed and they added the key is to figure out what the 2 year old really wants. A very interesting conversation. To be in a country when world history is being recorded and to get local insight was quite an opportunity. They all said they don't see any threat to South Korea from North Korea and that all North Korea wants is attention. However the table of people were not in agreement on how South Korea's government should respond regarding sanctions, or suspension of the "Sunshine Policy". They just wanted the US to come in and lead the diplomacy.

The rest of the week quickly returned to business as usual and by Friday there was hardly a mention of the crisis on TV or in the papers.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tower Records

Driving through Sunset Strip we saw signs that Tower Records was having a clearance sell, everything must go, store closing. A very sad day for music. We went by the store and the sign said something to the extent of "It is the end of the world as we know it."

They already had a for lease sign on front of the video annex store. Looks like the last great music chain has died.

From an article I found online it looks like the Sunset property will be sold for approximately $12M. The property is definitely worth more than the business.

Here is a link to the article

On a positive note this wifi on a plane thing is pretty cool. I'm posting this from halfway over the Pacific on my way to Korea.

Friday, October 06, 2006


I just got back from the Queensrÿche show at the Gibson Amphitheater at Universal. I've seen Queensrÿche many times dating back to their first tour opening for KISS in 1985. The show tonight consisted of the band playing Operation:Mindcrime and Operation:Mindcrime II back to back.

I saw them perform Operation:Mindcrime live in its entireity back in 1991 on the Empire tour. That was a great tour, a huge arena show, they had just finally captured the hearts of the mainstream and even had a hit single with Silent Lucidity. It was a full on rock show, no gimicks, just a band on stage performing.

Tonight's performance was not a rock show and was instead a theatrical performance. The entire band dressed in black and had virtually no interaction with the crowd or each other. Geoff Tate was fron and center and performed the show with actors on stage to help create the scenes of the story. A very ambitious effort and you must respect them for trying to pull this off but I wanted a rock show and I didn't get one.

Mindcrime II came off as much more inspired than the original Mindcrime. The band looked to be going through the motions on Mindcrime 1 but appeared enthused about the new material. Mike Stone their new guitar player looked to appreciate the new material the most.

The highlight of the show is Ronnie James Dio performed "The Chase" with the band. He looked great and sounded even better. It left you wishing he was involved with more of the material. Pamela Moore who sang the parts of Sister Mary was also a primary performer throughout the show and allowed the band to authentically recreate the material live.

I'm glad I went to see the experience but I think they need to stick to putting on a rock concert. For the final encore they played "Walk In The Shadows" and closed the show with "Jet City Woman". Fortunately we got a mini concert at the end of the show where the band interacted with the crowd and moved around. Geoff Tate looked more comfortable as a frontman than he ever has and it was good to close the show this way.

Before the show I ate at the Saddle Ranch and met a guy that worked at NBC named Mitch. We were both sitting at the bar and begin talking. He also was going to the show and had an extra backstage pass that he gave me. This meant you got to hangout in a VIP area and get free beer and snacks. After the show the band was supposed to come out but after 30 minutes of waiting I decided to leave. Although I was able to get a picture with Rudy Sarzo. He was hanging out like everyone else. If I can figure out how to get the pictures off my Helio I'll post them.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Juke Kartel

Last Friday Jacki and I made it out to the Viper Room to see Juke Kartel. The band features Toby Rand from Rock Star:Supernova fame. Jacki really enjoyed him on Rock Star so I knew she'd like to see him live. My expectations were set extremely low, but his band was really good.

I almost think that if he had performed more in the vain of Juke Kartel on Rock Star I would have liked him much better on the show. This will defintely be a band to watch for in the next year. Toby mentioned they are currently in the studio recording and album.

On the way out Jacki dropped her Helio and the door man made a comment about losing her Helio. We laughed and as we walked out I walked back and asked how he knew about Helio and he pulls out his Kickflip. First time I saw someone that didn't work at Helio with a Helio. Jacki showed him her Helio tattoo and by the end of the conversation we had made a new friend. Its always good to know the door man at a Hollywood club.

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