Monday, December 31, 2007

The Best Of 2007

As an annual passing I've been listing my favorite music and concerts of the year. Here is my 2007 recap! Music wise this wasn't the strongest year for new releases but this was one of the best years of concerts I've attended, although no KISS this year :-(

Favorite CDs of 2007 (in no particular order)
1. Kings Of Leon - Because Of The Times
2. Rush - Snakes And Arrows
3. Valient Thorr - Legend Of The World
4. Eddie Vedder - Into The Wild
5. Stone Sour - Come What(ever) May
6. Ian Moore - To Be Loved
7. Robert Plant and Allison Krauss - Raising Sand
8. Heaven & Hell - Live From Radio City Music Hall (CD/DVD)
9. Led Zeppelin - The Song Remains The Same (CD Reissue)
10. Chris Robinson & Rich Robinson - Birds Of A Feather (CD/DVD)

Best Concerts of 2007 (in order!)
1. Rocklahoma - Pryor, Oklahoma- July 13-15, 2007
2. Van Halen - Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA - December 14, 2007
3. The Wildhearts - Key Club, Los Angeles, CA - October 21, 2007
4. Bob Schneider - Hotel Cafe, Los Angeles, CA - November 3, 2007 (sorry no review - trust me this was Bob solo on acoustic at his absolute best)
5. Mike Keneally - Rosalie and Alva Performance Art Gallery, San Pedro, CA - July 5, 2007
6. Rush - Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA - July 23, 2007
7. Foo Fighters - The Groove. Orlando, Florida - March 27, 2007
8. Great White - Key Club, Los Angeles, CA - January 27, 2007
9. Dream Theater - Gibson Amphitheatre, Los Angeles, CA - July 27, 2007
10. Valient Thorr - Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA - November 8, 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Rockband and Rock Bands

Today I picked up Rockband for Xbox 360. Guitar Hero has nothing on this game. Rockband has all the guitar of Guitar Hero, Drums and even karaoke style Vocals. I played for a little bit this afternoon and Darian even sang Blitzkreig Bop. Hopefully this will be fun for the entire family.

And as I get my virtual rock band on I'm now getting active in the LA music scene. It looks like I'll be in 2-3 bands. The first is a singer-songwriter named Eric Levai. He has a number of good songs and I'm helping him put together a band as well as do some recording. Tad Ro a friend from work has played bass and then tonight we are heading to Dean Truitt's studio to do some demo recording and possibly have Dean play guitar.

The second band is a garage alternative sounding band. A little punk, a little rock and a very garage. This band is called Spidersuit and at this past weekend's rehearsal they pulled down the looking for drummer flyers. So I'm officially in that band now. They have 3 cds up on iTunes. We are focused on learning new songs but we are playing some of the older material of their album called The Owl.

The third band I may end up joining is a hard rock band based in the Valley. They are called Outlaw Engine. I auditioned this past week and they emailed me to tell me out of all the drummers they have auditioned they like me best. So the next step is for me to learn their set of originals plus their two covers of CCR's Traveling Band and Metallica's The Four Horsemen. They invited me to come out and see them perform on January 4th with their old drummer for one of his final shows with them.

I'm looking forward to working with some new musicians after nearly 3 years of hiatus from The Superlatives. My only expectations are to play some gigs in LA, hopefully on the Sunset Strip, and maybe even record some material with the different groups. And in the meantime I can play with my virtual rock band on Xbox at home!

Friday, December 28, 2007

We're Back

We made it back to LA about 1am Wednesday morning. We had a full Christmas weekend seeing Jacki's family in Port Lavaca, meeting my Mom, Marvin, and Lisa, and I was even able to drop by my Dad's on the way back to the airport on Christmas. Jacki's friend Janice even stopped by briefly to drop off barbecue from Austin.

On Monday we made it to Victoria and ended up spending most of the evening at Jacki's sister's house. We had a good time, had good food and even sat around a bonfire for a few hours.

Here are some of our pictures from the trip.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Texas, here we come!

We are now officially on our Christmas vacation and only hours from our red eye into Houston. Yes, a red eye. Hopefully it won't hurt too bad tomorrow. We will be spending most of the time in Port Lavaca visiting Jacki's family. See everyone soon!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Van Halen

Last Friday the family made it out to see the Van Halen reunion with David Lee Roth in LA. Being a Friday afternoon traffic can always be tricky to deal with so Darian met me at my office and then we picked up Jacki from her office on the way to the show.

After scoring $7 parking we made it into the venue and met up with a friend of mine from Helio and his girlfriend. After some quick food in the concourse we headed in right at 7:30pm for the opening act, Ky-mani Marley.

Yes, one of the Marley kids. He played an ok set of reggae if that is your thing. It wasn't mine. A few reggae standards and a couple of what I suspect were originals and then his 30 minute set was over.

Between the set changes the VH crew launched two blimps that flew around the arena. The crew was flying them via remote controls throughout Staples center. This kept the crowd entertained. Shortly before 8:30pm VH hit the stage for a two hour set.

Right before the show we saw Jerry Cantrell, and William DuVall from Alice In Chains. Darian spotted John Mayer walking in front of us and then it turns out Steve Vai was sitting just a few rows in front of us. When Steve was looking for his seat he walked by our row and I was able to quickly say hi to him. And to think David Lee Roth's guitarist after VH didn't have seats any better than ours, although he did go down to the floor once the show was underway.

I've been asked by many people how was the show. The show was great, however I expected it to be great. DLR was a fantastic front man and not the awkward Vegas-like act mess he was when he did the tour with Sammy Hagar. Yes, he was over the top, flamboyant and grinning from ear to ear but that is exactly what I wanted to see.

This reunion featured Eddie's son, Wolfgang "Wolfie" Van Halen on bass. Darian immediately attached to him considering the two of them are both 16 years old. His vocals were great and he played bass well. You could tell he was a guitar player first. He held and attacked the bass like a guitarist and was able to nail the classic VH songs. He even enhanced some of the parts above what was on the original albums with some extended breaks and even some finger tapping.

This was the second of 4 sold out shows in the Los Angeles area and I don't think anyone left the venue disappointed. They played a great selection of hits and deep tracks. I hadn't seen Jacki have this much fun at a concert in years.

If you ever liked Van Halen then go see this tour. This is one not to be missed, and considering the personalities involved there is no telling how long this line up will continue.

As far as the music went the songs I was looking forward to hearing "Unchained", "Hot For Teacher". Although they didn't catch me like I was hoping, however hearing Dave say the line "Heard you missed us, we're back!" from "Hot For Teacher" was priceless. Some of the deeper tracks "Romeo Delight", "So This Is Love?", "I'm The One", "Little Guitars" proved to be the highlights of the night. The band also stretched out a few of the songs adding a line from The Who's "Magic Bus" and even using the "Smoke On The Water" riff at one point.

The only moment that didn't work was during "I'll Wait". It was as if the band couldn't hear the keyboard track on stage. The beginning of the song sounded like a narrow miss of a train wreck and the middle of the song also had some rough moments. I've heard some live versions of this song and it seems that this is a common problem with this song. Maybe rearranging without keyboards might be an option. Jump on the other hand sounded fine.

Van Halen
December 14, 2007
Staples Center
Los Angeles, CA

You Really Got Me
I'm the One
Runnin' with the Devil
Romeo Delight -> lyric from Magic Bus
Somebody Get Me A Doctor (w/ DLR on harmonica)
Beautiful Girls
Dance The Night Away
Atomic Punk
Everybody Wants Some!!
So This Is Love?
Mean Street
(Oh) Pretty Woman
Drum Solo
I'll Wait
And the Cradle Will Rock... -> Smoke On The Water riff
Hot For Teacher
Little Dreamer
Little Guitars
Jamie's Cryin'
(Dave telling story about growing up in Pasadena just down the freeway)
Ice Cream Man (w/ DLR on acoustic guitar)
Guitar Solo (w/ 316, Cathedral, Eruption, etc)
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love


Monday, December 10, 2007

Metal night at the Rhino Store

Tonight was Metal Night at the Rhino store. It was fun for the entire family. The Donnas, Darian's favorite band, were DJs for the event, and then many of metal's icons were there to autograph cds. The only downside was they wouldn't let us take pictures so Darian and Jacki tried their best to sneak some.

f you are in LA and like music you need to check out the Rhino store. The store is only open for the month of December and so far it has been very good to us. The day it opened they gave Jacki a free shirt, I was able to get the Heaven And Hell Rhino Handmade edition of Live At Radio City Music Hall (now autographed by Dio), and I even won last Tuesday's Old Release Tuesday contest. The winning item was a box set collection of 70's soul titled Can You Dig It? The best part is the box set has a faux cover in the shape of 8 track tapes.

Tonight Darian got a couple of pictures with The Donnas and one of her items signed. I was able to get autographs from Jay Jay French (Twisted Sister), Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Warren DeMartini (Ratt), and Ronnie James Dio on my recent Rhino purchases.

I told Jay Jay and Geoff I saw them at Rocklahoma. As Jay Jay was signing my Twisted Sister DVD he asked what my favorite part was and I mentioned the live concert. He said he had fun doing the interviews. He said maybe they will release an uncensored version of that concert in the future, they just found a copy on Laserdisc and they are contemplating future release. He also told me to come see them this Thursday at the House Of Blues. Jay Jay was also Jacki's favorite so she was excited to see how much he talked to us.

A fun night out which we capped off with breakfast for dinner at the Grove.

Friday, December 07, 2007

My Birthday

Well today was my birthday. I had a pretty good one getting many great birthday wishes at work, in emails, calls, SMS, and myspace messages. Thanks to everyone who helped to make this a good day for me. Tonight Jacki, Darian and I had dinner and when we returned home Vh1 threw 24 hours of KISSmas, for my birthday of course!

I think this next year is going to be good one. Now the question is how many years can I get away with being 29 :-)

Sunday, December 02, 2007


My Aunt Shirley passed away very early Friday morning. All of us were able to travel to Arkansas in October to see her. We were able to spend time with family and say our final goodbyes. She was in good spirits and stood strong knowing she had little time to live. We knew this day was very near but it is still hard to know you will never get to share a new moment with them.

Aunt Shirley - We loved you dearly and we will miss you.

Shirley Rose Howard Litchford
(June 12, 1946 - November 30, 2007)

Graveside services for Mrs. Shirley Rose Howard Litchford will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, December 3, 2007 in the Rush Chapel, Glenmora with Reverend Gary Richerson officiating. Interment will follow in Amiable Cemetery, Glenmora under the direction of Rush Funeral Home, Oakdale.

Mrs. Litchford, 61, of Horatio, Arkansas entered eternal rest on Friday, November 30, 2007 in her residence.

Shirley became an educator late in her life and thoroughly enjoyed her new career. She attended the Horatio Assembly of God Church. She was a devoted mother, grandmother, wife, aunt, sister, daughter, cousin and friend. She leaves all of us too soon and will be greatly missed. Heaven has acquired its’ newest angel.

She was preceded in death by her parents, John Lois and Crecie Bond Howard; one sister, Judy; her paternal grandparents, James David Howard and Susan Adeline (Addie) Wiggins Howard and her maternal grandparents, Joe Vander Bond and Hattie Bond.

Survivors include her husband, Earl Litchford of Horatio, Arkansas and his children and grandchildren; her daughter, Donna Krissette Langford Kotler; her grandson, Greg McCarroll; her granddaughter, Katie Kotler; one brother, Billy Ray Howard, Sr. of Houston, Texas; her beloved nephews and niece, Billy Ray Howard, Jr. of Horatio, Arkansas, John Lee Howard of Florida, David Christopher Howard of Santa Monica, California and Lisa Erin Minor of Houston, Texas. She is also survived by former husband, Benny Langford; special sisters-in-law, Paulette Langford Nelson and Martha Anne Bonner (Howard) Pierson; aunts, Lucille Wiggins and Marlene Bonds Fergurson and many cousins. Her extended family and friends mourn her passing.

Friends may post online messages of condolence for the Litchford family by visiting

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