Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Jacki and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary today and are off to continue the celebration in Las Vegas. We are road tripping it tomorrow and will spend the weekend in Vegas with Darian.

We are staying at TheHotel at Mandalay Bay and have a suite for the weekend. We hope to get in some much needed relaxation and will be seeing the Beatles' Love Cirque Du Soleil show Saturday night.

It should be a fun weekend.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Annual Top Ten List

Here is my annual top ten list that I've now been posting for the last several years. No real surprises in my list this year, although it is nice to see one newer band on the list.

These are the most listened to of my 2008 purchases.
Sebastian Bach - Angel Down
The Sword - Gods Of The Earth
Mudcrutch - Mudcrutch
Zappa Plays Zappa - ZPZ
King's X - XV
Metallica - Death Magnetic
Guns N' Roses - Chinese Democracy
David Gilmour - Live In Gdansk
Cheap Trick - Budokan! 30th Anniversary Edition
Rush - Snakes And Arrows Live

I'm seeing that new material isn't standing out for me year after year. I must say Metallica's Death Magnetic is a return to form and has probably been my favorite album of 2008. Sebastian Bach and King's X come close behind. As for reissues Cheap Trick's Budokan! including a DVD of the show and live recordings from both nights of their legendary Budokan performance has been great. Jacki and I were even able to see Cheap Trick a couple of times.

Top Concerts
Queensryche / Don Dokken - Feb 24 - House Of Blues / Anaheim
W.A.S.P. - March 8 - Key Club / LA - March 8th performing The Crimson Idol in its entirety
Ace Frehley - March 25 - HOB /Anaheim, with an honorable mention for March 24 in LA when I got to meet Ace in his dressing room.
Eddie Vedder - April 12 - Wiltern / LA
Mudcrutch - April 26 Troubadour / LA
Rush - May 8 - Nokia Live / LA
Iron Maiden / Anthrax - May 30/31 - Verizon Wireless / Irvine, CA
Liquid Tension Experiment - June 27 - Downey Theater / Downey, CA
Bob Schneider - Oct 17 /18 - Key Club / LA / Wavehouse / San Diego
Zappa Plays Zappa - December 12 - Roxy - LA
Metallica / Machine Head / The Sword - December 18 - Forum / LA

Looking back at the concerts I think this was one of my best years for concerts. I saw Ace 3 times, Maiden twice, Bob Schneider twice and experienced some unique shows including Liquid Tension Experiment and Zappa Plays Zappa at the Roxy where Frank's live album from the Roxy was recorded 35 years to the day at the same venue.

Now it's time to look forward to next year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In The Studio With Spidersuit

This past weekend it was time to go back into the studio. I recorded 4 tracks with Spidersuit earlier in the year and we wanted to build on those 4 tracks and round out a full release.

Saturday December 20 10:20am
We started early on Saturday doing load in shortly after 10am. After setting my drums up, setting up mics and checking out sounds it was a little after noon. By about 12:30 the full band arrived and we set to record. We are using the same producer as last time so I had to prepare myself to record without a click. Fortunately I've been practicing to a click track for another band I'm in so it wasn't nearly as stressful focusing on tempos this time around.

It was now 1pm and were ready to record my first track. Since we record without a click our producer prefers the dynamic of capturing a live performance in the studio. During the recording process only my drums are recorded and the rest of the band can only be heard through headphones. So if you sat in the room where we recorded you would only hear me, although all of us are playing.

The first track up was Tchopotoulous, which to me sounds like a great name for a dinosaur, but I was told that it was just a street name in New Orleans. So a cajun dinosaur it is.

We did three takes. First take was good but not exciting, second take was in the pocket, third take was also good but I think I drifted and forgot about the tempo. On listen back we can use either take 2 or take 3.

Between takes we jammed a little Zep and worked up a piece of Over The Hills And Far Away.

Next up was Devil Went Down To Pedro, in reference to a small coastal town called San Pedro just outside of LA. This song is the closest thing to a ballad we will have and is very different from our other songs. We did one scratch take for rehearsal and then I think I nailed our very first take of this song. Things were moving much too easy but I was about to get the studio payback on the next track.

Pete's 5/8 special. The 5/8 references the intro section of the song and a middle break that are preformed in 5/8. This song gave me some challenges where we originally learned it and now in the studio the goal is to perfect a performance. Well let's just say it took quite awhile to perfect. We must have done 6 takes of this song when we decided to give it a break. After the hour plus of recording this one song I was pretty sure we weren't going to capture the killer performance today.

Moving on we worked on our Beach Boys meets punk song called Isaac Newton A Go Go. A fun song that feature the drums. We did three takes of this one and we liked the third take the best.

At this point I had been working for about 5-6 hours on drums and was ready to call it a day. After some urging from Pete we went back to his 5/8 special. Two more takes and then we nailed it. We were so confident we didn't even listen back to it. Fortunately when we came in the next day all was good and was probably the best the band had ever performed that track.

We called it a day around 4:30pm.

Sunday December 21 10:30am
First thing we did Sunday morning was a listen back to Pete's 5/8 Special. I couldn't believe how strong it sounded. I was about to fall apart on Saturday and digging just a bit deeper pulled out one of my best recorded performances.

Now it was on to record a few more tracks. I woke up Sunday with a sore throat so I didn't feel great. Throughout the day I lost focus rather quick but we were able to complete 3 more tracks.

First up was Farstick. Oh and yes all of these titles are working titles. No telling what they will be called. This song is so new we don't even have lyrics for it yet. We did a scratch take and decided to work on the intro a bit. After coming up with a build of guitar, bass and drums we all appreciated we did 2 more takes. On listen back either take 2 or take 3 will work. It will be up to the band to decide which take they want to use as the foundation for the other instruments.

We had been working on a new song in rehearsal so we gave it a go but quickly realized that we are not ready to record. We'll save that for another session.

The next song up was Brown Saturday. This is cleverly titled as an ode to Black Sabbath, and during the recording our producer mentioned that it sounded as if I was channeling my inner Bill Ward. Bill Ward was the original drummer for Black Sabbath. Once I heard this I knew I was doing my part. This song is really 2 songs in one. A straight ahead rock song that breaks and builds as a triplet feel in the vein of Fairies Wear Boots off of Paranoid.

After a few takes we ended up liking the first half off the fourth take and the second half of the third take.

Last up for these sessions was Ding Dong Ding. This came out different than I expected and is turning into a heavier grungy song complete with a Kurt Cobain style guitar solo. When we originally worked this up in rehearsal I was expecting a song with a bit of a lighter touch such as Pedro, but once we finished I told Pete I think my playing may have been a little too heavy. Given the new grungier direction he said that heavier worked.

We recorded 4 takes but on listen back the band preferred my very first take. So although it was the last song recorded I was done on my first take.

We wrapped up and I was home by about 3pm.

So there you have it. Two days in a studio, 7 completed drum recordings and one sick drummer.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Spidersuit performance THIS WEDNESDAY

Spidersuit just got a last minute gig this Wednesday night. The bad news is we will go on a little after midnight Wednesday night / Thursday morning. The good news is you can listen from home! We will be on the radio doing a live broadcast from the studios of KXLU 88.9 FM in LA.

If you want to come out and see us perform then send me an email and I'll give you directions to the studio. They encouraged us to bring our own live audience.

Listen in!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dr. Pepper's Chinese Democracy

If you hadn't heard Dr. Pepper jokingly said in the press earlier this year that if Guns N' Roses released their album Chinese Democracy this year, then Dr. Pepper would buy a free drink for everyone except, Buckethead and Slash, two of GnR's guitarists through the years.

Well that day finally came. And how could you blame Dr. Pepper for taking a bet they didn't think they would have to pay out on. Chinese Democracy has been some 15 years in the making and has been rumored as coming out by the end of the year for the last 7 years.

It took some patience but I was able to get my coupon from Dr. Pepper for a free drink. I also picked up GnR's Chinese Democracy and I must say that after a few listens I'm impressed.

Thanks Dr. Pepper, thanks Axl. This drink is on me you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Six degrees

Today I'm in NJ as part of an executive management training program through Columbia University. Tonight we had a great treat and were able to see Chris Washburne and the Sytos Band, a Jazz combo, as part of the program.

Tonight was part of our leadership training and the Jazz combo was used to illustrate team dynamics. Some of the questions we asked centered around how does a Jazz team prepare, what happens if you don't like your team members, how does the team recover from mistakes, along with questions to the band regarding the popularity differences from country to country of Jazz worldwide.

Chris Washburne and the Syotos Band
November 11, 2008
The Heldrich Hotel
New Brunswick, New Jersey

Epistrophy (Thelonious Monk)
Killer Joe (Benny Goldsoon)
I Thought About You (Frank Sinatra / Miles Davis)
Caravan (Duke Ellington)

This combo was as good as it gets, and the environment in which it was presented were ideal including the setting of a hotel bar, 20 ft high ceilings and carpet with only 30 people. This made for the perfect acoustics although in an imperfect environment.

Over dinner the band sat with us and by a stroke of chance I ended up sitting by the drummer, Vince Cherico. We had a fantastic conversation and talked about his experiences, my experiences, and some of his friends including Kenny Aronoff. As we talked I discovered that Rufus Philpot was a bass player that he played with in his past and is someone that I'll be playing with in Seven Seraphim in Feburary. It is such a small world. I can't believe that as part of an executive training course through Columbia University that I met a Jazz Drummer from New York CIty that has performed with a bass player I'll be performing with in Los Angeles. This makes me only 2 degrees of separation from the band tonight. David -> Rufus (1) - Rufus -> Vince (2).

Vince and I exchanged information and I hope to meet up with him next time he is performing in Los Angeles. In addition to seeing him perform I hope that I'll be able to take some Jazz / Latin drum lessons from Vince.

The band was extremely generous with their time and even gave us CD's. I can't wait to hear it when I'm back home.

This week has required significant focus and a lot of work, but after an evening like tonight I feel that I've been rewarded through music which is so important to me, and I've made a connection with many of my team mates that are part of the organization I just joined.

I have one more day left in NJ but I don't see how it can get any better than this.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I am in NJ all week. On the flight in I had a great view of the city and was able to see the Statue Of Liberty on the approach.

I am not sure if I will get to see the city this week but it reminds me of how much there is to see and do herem

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

President Elect... presented by the KISS Army

KISS has been running on their website a Choose Or Lose campaign to encourage people to vote. As part of the campaign they have been selling Obama and McCain KISS Army shirts and will be publishing the winner of the KISS Army vote by the number of T-Shirt sales.

In recognition of the President Elect here is Obama presented in Paul Stanley makeup by the KISS Army!


PS. Mom - there is always 2012 :-)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Celeb sighting at Molly Malone's

Tonight Jacki invited me to her regular after work hangout Molly Malones. She had a tip that a special guest would be performing there tonight. I was getting in from San Francisco and drove straight from LAX over to Molly's.

Jacki and I were sitting at the bar eating and we saw Dennis Quaid walk in. A few people walked up and talked to him. He was just a couple of bar stools down from us. After our celebrity spotting we headed into the live music room.

The band that was playing was called Ghost Hounds. They were a good blues rock band and the lead guitarist had a very Rolling Stones type style. About half way through the set they even covered Gimme Shelter which was dead on.

They finally announced their special guest and it was Dennis Quaid. He gets up on stage and leads the band on guitar and vocals through a couple of songs. Not who we were guessing would be the special guest but it made for an entertaining night.

I voted

I just completed my absentee ballot and will drop it in the mail tomorrow.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Now on iTunes!

The Superlatives are now on iTunes! Buy it now.

Cover Art
The Austin Avenue Recordings
The Superlatives


Release Date: Aug 15, 2008
Genre: Rock
℗ 2008 The Superlatives

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Announcing Seven Seraphim at the Keyclub

Seven Seraphim announces their first ever show for Wednesday February 18, 2009.

I joined this band earlier this year, and although I didn't play on the CD that was released I have been asked to be part of the performing band. If all goes well we will record a live CD that will feature me on drums.

Andrew Szucs is an amazing guitar player and is the mastermind behind Seven Seraphim. So if you enjoy guitar virtuosos and like your music progressive then come check out Seven Seraphim at The Keyclub.

I have always set little goals in my sparse music career. Earlier this year I accomplished a big one with the release of my first CD with The Superlatives. This show knocks out several more of my music career goals. This will be the first gig I've booked on the legendary Sunset Strip. A place I made my Dad drive me through when we were out in LA on vacation in 1988. This is the first time I've opened for a national touring act. In fact I have a couple of Powerman 5000's cds. For those that don't know the singer in Powerman 5000 is Rob Zombie's brother.

And this is the first time a band I'm performing with has tickets sold through Ticketmaster. Look at the ticket! I can't believe my band is on the official Ticketmaster ticket. And to make things even better The Keyclub is my favorite venue in LA.

As we approach this show we will be playing some warm up shows and Andrew will be re-releasing the Seven Seraphim CD Believe In Angels through your favorite digital stores (iTunes, Amazon, etc...) soon.

If you can make it out to the show then hit me up for discount tickets. Ticketmaster sells for $27 with service fees. I'll be selling them for $15. So come check out Seven Seraphim and get your discount tickets to Powerman 5000.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Been too busy to post

All though I haven't posted much lately things are good. One of the bands I'm in just landed a big show on the sunset strip. Details will come shortly. Work is good, although extremely busy. It is better to be busy than wondering what's next but I've been working some long hours.

I just returned from Korea, and have been traveling back and forth between the NYC area and San Francisco areas quite a bit.

Once things slow just a bit I'll post more.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Superlatives release The Austin Avenue Recordings

It's official. My band from Atlanta has released our first and only EP. It is now available as an mp3 download on Amazon.

I recorded these songs with the band in early 2005 right before we moved out to California. We recorded in a home that was converted into a studio on Austin Avenue in Marietta, Georgia. Three years later we are finally able to release these recordings.

Click the below link to buy it now. The Austin Avenue Recordings will also be available on iTunes soon.

The Superlatives
The Austin Avenue Recordings
Release Date August 15, 2008

1. All About You
2. Can't Say No
3. Kiss Me Goodbye
4. The Weather Song
5. Mr. Knowitall
6. The Lonely One

Helio is now Virgin Mobile USA

Today brings a close to the chapter in our lives of Helio. As of today I'm now officially part of Virgin Mobile USA. I'm very excited about my future and Virgin Mobile's future however the day is bittersweet knowing that something I helped to develop from an idea is changing into something not originally envisioned.

With that said change is good.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

LeRoi Moore - RIP

I just found out that LeRoi Moore from the Dave Matthews Band passed away in Los Angeles today. Coincidentally DMB was on tour performing in Los Angeles tonight although LeRoi had sat out this tour due to complications from an ATV accident earlier in the summer. Due to long work schedules this week I had passed at the last minute on tonight's show.

I've seen DMB numerous times (10+) through the years and I always enjoyed what LeRoi brought to the music. My favorite sax part was LeRoi's bari sax on "So Much To Say" off DMB's "Crash" album. It grooves in a way I've never heard a sax groove.

LeRoi will be missed.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Birthday D

Darian and her friend Laura at D's birthday lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In The Big Apple

I'm in NYC for a couple of days for business. I'm pretty sure this is the first time since I've been to NYC since 9/11. The last time I was here was with Jacki in early 2001.

Taking a cab to the hotel I was able to see the Empire State Building and take in some of the skyline. I took a walk this evening grabbed dinner at a small pub and was able to listen to some of the local regulars talk around the bar. The bar was very Cheers like, but the clientele was much older. They definitely got worked up over politics and after the instigator left the bartender said she was going to cut people off if they get out of hand like that again. Great dinner entertainment.

Now I'm back at the hotel watching the Olympics and getting prepared for tomorrow's meetings.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


We just had a 5.8 Earthquake. The building I'm in shook for about 15 seconds and my stomach got queasy. This was the biggest one I've felt since being out here.

Magnitude 5.8 - local magnitude (ML)
Time Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 11:42:15 AM (PDT)
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 18:42:15 (UTC)
Distance from Chino Hills, CA - 3 km (2 miles) SW (235 degrees)
Diamond Bar, CA - 8 km (5 miles) SE (127 degrees)
Yorba Linda, CA - 9 km (5 miles) NNE (23 degrees)
Pomona, CA - 11 km (7 miles) S (178 degrees)
Los Angeles Civic Center, CA - 47 km (29 miles) ESE (103 degrees)
Coordinates 33 deg. 57.5 min. N (33.959N), 117 deg. 45.1 min. W (117.752W)
Depth 12.3 km (7.6 miles)
Location Quality Good
Location Quality Parameters Nst=144, Nph=144, Dmin=8 km, Rmss=0.42 sec, Erho=0.3 km, Erzz=1.3 km, Gp=18 degrees
Event ID# ci14383980
Additional Information map with fault names
Google Earth KML (Requires Google Earth.)
Did you feel it?
24-hour Aftershock Forecast Map
SCSN Moment Tensor Solution
Tsunami Information Statement from the WC/ATWC

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Spider Show

I had my debut performance with Spidersuit last night. For a first show it wasn't too bad, and the one song that I thought was rough sounded fine when I listened back to the recording. We had the first slot of the night and went on shortly after 8pm. Not a big crowd but definitely enough for a first show.

Club Good Hurt
July 19, 2008

Trouble With Cars
Pete's 5/8 Special
Isaac Newton A-Go-Go
The Owl
New Year's Dissolution

The songs are short so I'm sure we were on stage less than 30 minutes. So far the songs I enjoy most are Tchopitoulous which was only added into rehearsal very recently, Lovesick, and New Year's Dissolution. There are a couple of other songs that we've been rehearsing that I hope we will be able to add into our next show.

After the set I received the finished product of the 4 recordings I did with Spidersuit back in March. I'm not sure when this will be released but I believe this will be available on vinyl and digitally on places like MySpace and iTunes.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sunday Rocklahoma 2008 - Setlists

Here are the setlists for Rocklahoma I documented for Sunday day 5. The first band of the day we saw was Zebra. They played their hits including Who's Behind The Door, Tell Me What You Want and The La La Song. Similar to Triumph I had high hopes for this band. They had a few technical difficulties and weren't able to connect to festival crowd so early in the day. However they did get people on their feet for Who's Behind The Door. I do give Zebra the distinction as having the coolest guitar pic at the festival. How cool a guitar pic is that!

July 13, 2008

Mother Mary
When Daylight Goes To Town
Hard Being Me
This Kids
Only You Can
Baby Blue
Too Hot Too Handle
Lights Out
Love To Love
Rock Bottom

The first set I documented was UFO. I had always enjoyed the song Lights Out but didn't know any of their other material. Watching their set was a bit mixed. At times they sound like two bands, one from the classic rock era of the early 70's and one from the hard rock era of the late 70's. Needless to say the hard rock material was my preference. Highlights from their set were Baby Blue, Lights Out and Too Hot Too Handle.

Ace Frehley
July 13, 2008

Rip It Out
Snowblind -> I Want You (ending)
Rock Soldiers
Into The Void
Shout It Out Loud
New York Groove
Shock Me -> Solo (w/ She live ending)
Rocket Ride
Love Gun
Cold Gin

I had high hopes for Ace, especially after the challenges of Saturday and I had been disappointed with the line up this year compared to last. Ace delivered and the KISS Army was in full force during his set. I was surprised by the heavy selection of KISS that Ace didn't sing on or write, but Ace knew how to deliver these hits to a festival crowd. Ace had the last day light performance and across the 5 days Ace had the best set during this time. Ace was reusing his KISS Farewell tour pics. He couldn't even spring for an event pic like Zebra did.

July 13, 2008

Comin' Atcha Live
Into The Now
Gettin' Better
Hang Tough
Mama's Fool
Heaven's Trail (No Way Out)
Love Song
Little Suzi
Edison's Medicine
Modern Day Cowboy

Tesla was the breakout set for me on the mainstage at this year's Rocklahoma. They came out, blew everyone away and left the stage much too early. I would have liked to have seen them get an extra half hour in their set.

July 13, 2008

Operation Mindcrime

Walk In The Shadows
Take Hold Of The Flame
Jet City Woman
Silent Lucidity

I left the Queensryche set near the end of the Operation Mindcrime performance so I could catch Ron Keel and K2. I saw the Mindcrime performance in Los Angeles a yaear or so back and this was a tour I didn't enjoy. I enjoyed their performance better at Rocklahoma but would have preferred a rock concert as opposed to a theatrical performance. I listened to their encores while sitting at the North Tent. Great band and normally a great show but I'm ready for them to move past the Mindcrime theatrics.

K2 - featuring Ron Keel
Final North Stage (Tent)
July 13, 2008 - (actually July 14 Monday 1:30am)

American Thunder
Rock And Roll Outlaw
Evil, Wicked, Mean And Nasty
Sombody's Waiting
Becuase The Night
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
Give Me All Your Love Tonight
Tears Of Fire
The Right To Rock
Lick It Up (KISS)

The K2 set was one of the best shows for me at all of Rocklahoma. I was able to meet Ron Keel in the VIP food tent on Friday and after the storms knocked the side stages down I assumed that K2 would not be able to play.

On Sunday they put up two small tents to replace the fallen North and South Stages. Ron and K2 went on stage after Queensryche's set, the last act on the main stage. When Ron started the show there was just a few of us and by the end of the set he had nearly everyone in the tent right at the front of the stage with him. I never thought I would get to hear Keel songs performed live again and hearing songs like Tears of Fire, Somebody's Waiting and The Right To Rock were incredible moments for me. Ron added two songs to the set that weren't planned and he finished off his set and Rocklahoma 2008 perfectly when he closed his set with KISS' Lick It Up.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Spidersuit at the Good Hurt

I'm not even back a full day in LA and I found out Spidersuit has their first gig with me as their drummer this Saturday at the Good Hurt. The Good Hurt has so far been my favorite venue to play in LA and I'm looking forward to debuting with Spidersuit. We will be playing some new material that I had a hand in creating along with a couple of Spidersuit classics from their album The Owl.

We will play at 8pm sharp so come out early and stay late. I will be loading in at 7pm and will watch one or two of the bands afterwards (as long as the bands aren't bad).

See you at the show.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Rocklahoma is over

Its 3:30am and we are just now getting back to the hotel after the 5th day of Rocklahoma. I'll do write ups when I get back to LA but I have to say I just saw K2 featuring Ron Keel. And to top off a perfect performance he ended his set with KISS' Lick It Up. Awesome!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Terry and I are still at day 4. It has been raining for over 5 hours. The only set we saw in its entirety was Lynch Mob. They started over an hour late but were great. We have seen most of the big stage acts tonight but think we may blow off Lita and Warrant.

When the storm blew in it got ugly. We went to the vip tent and rode out the worst of it but it looked like the tent might not stay up. The two side stages were toppled and we heard there were injuries when the south stage fell.

I doubt any of the side stage bands will play tomorrow.

Hopefully day 5 will deliver.

Sent via Helio Ocean

Rocklahoma Day 3 - 2008

We have made it past the halfway point and are getting a late start today. Yesterday was good, bringing Rocklahoma back to the levels of last year both with performances and crowd size. The attendance still seems a little lower than last year but it is hard to tell with the side stages evenly splitting audiences to different sides of the fair grounds.

Armored Saint was on stage when we arrived and we caught the last 3-4 songs of their set. John Bush sounded great and at the end of their set I was able to get a guitar pic from their bassist Joey Vera. I will need to keep my eye out for some old Armored Saint CDs.

Next up was Kingdom Come. I had no expectations and enjoyed their set. Back in the day many joked by calling them Kingdom Clone, due to a couple of their songs sounding like Led Zeppelin rip offs. They made reference to this controversy during their set. This was their first show on US soil in over 15 years.

We made it over to the VIP tents for some food and I was able to get a picture and speak briefly with Ron Keel. I was surprised I was able to recognize him but after watching him for a few minutes and looking at the tattoos on his arm I approached and confirmed it was Ron. I am looking forward to his new bands set K2 on Sunday night.

Living Color was the musical highlight of the day for me. Great musicianship although the crowd didn't know what to think of them and the band really didn't know how to work a festival crowd. Corey Glover came out into the audience during Cult Of Personality which made for one of the more memorable performances. I had never seen them before so I was hoping to hear more material but by keeping the set short and sweet they were able to leave a lasting impression.

The best performance of the day was Night Ranger. Heavy on hits including one Damn Yankees song. After watching these guys I've got a new respect for Brad Gillis. Note perfect solos, lots of emotion and a great performer. The crowd was really into them and gave the band the best response of the day.

The last two acts of the night were the highly anticipated reunions of Extreme and Triumph. Extreme was a great show and Gary Cherone is an amazing front man. I'll likely be seeing Extreme later in the year in Hollywood and for a first performance of the tour they already sound tight and Nuno sounds amazing as ever. I enjoyed their rockers much more than the ballads. The only negative comment is they tried to play the show like a headlining concert with a beginning, middle and end. The moodier middle of their set lost the festival crowd, but should make for a dynamic headlining performance for their own tour later this summer.

Last up was Triumph. My very first concert Texxas Jam 1983 featured Triumph as one of the acts and I remember as a kid being amazed with their set. I think my expectations may have been too high for Rocklahoma. It was a good set but the setlist left something to be desired and the extended versions of a couple of songs just felt a bit excessive to me. The audience seemed mixed on Triumph with a lot of the crowd clearing out before their set was over, but for the people that were Triumph fans they couldn't stop talking about how amazing a set it was as we were walking out.

We roamed the grounds after the Triumph set and caught parts of 4 more after party bands. Gypsy Pistoleros, The Banned (a cover band), Dirty Penny, and an all female hard rock group. The after parties ended at 3am and by the time we got back to our car and to the hotel it was a little after 4:30am. A very long day.

Off to Day 4.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Rocklahoma Day 2 - 2008

Yesterday started with a morning of rain making for very muddy grounds. Fortunately the clouds kept the temperatures down. I'll keep this brief and will detail sets later. We arrived during the middle of the Vain set. I had never heard any of Vain's music and their singer looked like an emo kid that was 20 years too old. The last few songs of the set were decent and Eddie Trunk was rocking out on the side of the stage for most of the Vain set. One of the few times we've seen Eddie enjoying a band on stage. With that said I don't see myself buying any Vain material.

Next up was Enuff Z'Nuff with Donnie Vie back out front. This was a highly anticipated set since last year didn't feature Donnie Vie, but they didn't deliver during their main set. Donnie looked healthy and had fun with the large crowd but the band didn't seem to have the band camraderie you hope to see. The changed things up by bringing out Steven Adler from Guns 'n Roses to play covers of The Beatles' Revolution and Dylan's Knockin' On Heaven's Door played GnR style. Joe Leste and Tracii Guns joined for the last song.

L.A. Guns came out next and played the best show of the day. They had a new singer, Marty Casey, from Rock Star:INXS fame. He had a great voice and lots of energy. They even did one of Marty's songs, Trees, which may have been the highlight of their set. I'll have to see this line up when they play LA again in the future. Let's hope they can keep this lineup in tact. They announced their new album would be out in March of 2009.

The band I was most looking forward to seeing was Dokken. Don came out with only the same guitarist as last year. It was odd to see Dokken without Mick Brown on drums. Dokken delivered a spectcular set last year but they were not able to deliver this year. It wasn't bad but it wasn't magical like it was last year. I had spoken to Don Dokken earlier this year after a show in Anaheim and he said last year's Rocklahoma was a 1 in a 1000 for them.

Next up was Sebastian Bach who earned the hardest working front man of the night. The sound guy was asleep during Bach's set so the mix wasn't great but that didn't stop Sebastian. Sebastian closed with Youth Gone Wild which has got to be one of the best hard rock songs from the late 80s. The new material he played off Angel Down went over well but I'm still hoping for a full on Skid Row reunion. Sebastian is in top form and ready for it.

The last act of the night was the Bret Michaels Poison cover band, I mean the Bret Michaels Band. They sounded like a sloppy Poison and other than playing the unnecessary Bret Michaels solo material the set was nearly identical to Poison's tour last summer with a couple of different covers thrown in. We only stayed for about 1/2 of Bret's set and headed back to the hotel early.

We are off to get some lunch and headed to Rocklahoma Day 3 and get to see a full day of acts that weren't part of last year.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rocklahoma Day 1 - 2008

Terry and I just wrapped our first day of Rocklahoma 2009. We got checked into our hotel late afternoon and made it to the Rocklahoma grounds around 6:30. It had rained earlier in the day so things were a little wet, a little muddy and very humid. We did a cursory walk through the VIP area and found our seats from last year and then headed to the merch booth. I bought a Ron Keel cd which was next to a side stage. We walked over just as the side stage was getting started and saw Bang Tango.

I had never seen Joe Letsé live and he played a short set of Bang Tango with a couple of Beautiful Creatures songs thrown in. Last year they didn't have these large side stages so it was nice to see a smaller crowd in a GA environment right up against the stage with some big name talent, or at least big in Rocklahoma terms. It was a good start for the fest prior to a big act on the mainstage.

Bang Tango
July 9, 2008

20th Century Boy
Dancin' On Coals
Love Rejection
Dressed Up Vamp
Attack Of Life
Ride (Beautiful Creatures w/ BC bass player)
Kick Out (BC w/ bass player)
Someone Like You

After the Bang Tango set Terry and I walked over to the main stage area to watch Firehouse. Last year Firehouse was one of the surprises and played a great set. This year their set was just ok and even though the singer tried to work the crowd they didn't win over any new fans. The Wednesday line up was added at the last minute and the crowd was a fraction of what it will be this weekend so maybe the bands were having a harder time feeding off a crowd so early in the festival.

July 9, 2008

Overnight Sensation
All She Wrote
Oughta Be A law
Shake & Tumble
Love Of A Lifetime
Reach For The Sky
Don't Treat Me Bad

Just as their set ended we headed back to the side stage where we saw Bang Tango perform. Just as we got in front of the stage the curtain dropped for Faster Pussycat. They played a short set that skipped many of their hits. This band still sounds good live, but time has not aged these rockers well.

Faster Pussycat
July 9, 2008

Power And The Glory Hole
Slip Of The Tongue
Number 1 With A Bullet
? (lyric - turn you on... turn you up...)
House Of Pain
You're So Vain

At this point the sets were perfectly timed, so as the second stage ended Eddie Trunk was on the main stage announcing the next band. Jackyl was up next. I find Jackyl very entertaining although I didn't need to see their entire set. They played the usual hits and capped off the set with a flying chainsaw routine which included pyro concussion bombs. I forgot my cord for my digital camera so I'll post the chainsaw pics when I return home. Since we missed some of Jackyl's set I didn't take set list notes.

Ratt was the last band of the night and they alone were the reason we made an extra effort to come out to the Wednesay date. The band sounded great and didn't disappoint. They played their entire first EP and mixed up the set a bit from their tour last year. Being the final headliners they added an extra few songs to their set. I taped their performance and after a quick listen in the car back from the hotel I think I'm going to have a bootleg worthy of sharing. Stephen's voice was better than last year's performance although the energy of the band wasn't as high.

July 9, 2008

Tell The World
Sweet Cheater
Walkin' The Dog
U Got It
You Think You're Tough
The Morning After
Back For More (Ratt EP Version)
Wanted Man
I'm Insane
Lack Of Communication
Lay It Down
You're In Love
Lovin' You Is A Dirty Job
Dangerous But Worth The Risk
Slip Of The Lip
Way Cool Jr.
Body Talk

Givin' Yourself Away
Round And Round

One day in and it is now 3:30am local time. We capped off the evening at Waffle House and consider the first day a good start. We'll wake up around noon tomorrow and lather, rinse, and repeat.

Monday, July 07, 2008


Rocklahoma here I come. I fly into Austin tomorrow to make the drive with Terry. Music kicks off Wednesday night. The next post will be from the road.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The new Outlaws

We had our first rehearsal with Vik last night and things sound good. He is on board for our upcoming shows.

Broken Ocean at the Viper Room

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Mom's 60th

I'm a little late on this but my Mom had her 60th birthday on June 2nd. Our good family friend hosted the party for my Mom and many of her friends. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it to the party but my sister Lisa passed along some pictures for me to post.

Happy belated birthday Mom.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Outlaw Engine crashes into The Derby

Last night Outlaw Engine played the world famous Derby. It was a cool venue and has quite a bit of Hollywood history. Back in the late 90s on a trip out to LA I saw Big Bad Voodoo Daddy play at The Derby at the peak of the retro swing movement. So this was the first time I played a venue in LA that I had been to previously as a concert go-er.

I had a good turnout of friends from work and since so many bands were playing The Derby that night there was a fairly good built in crowd that were able to see us for the first time.

This was our final show with our current bassist Presi, but hopefully not our last as a band. We are working on potential replacements and if all goes well we may even be able to keep our previously booked shows. I think we will know within the next 3-4 days the fate of our remaining summer shows.

Outlaw Engine
The Derby
(Los Feliz) Los Angeles, CA
June 26, 2008

Born In East LA
This Woman
Sweat Out The Sin
The Palace Of Pleasures
I Know Why
Guerrilla Radio (Rage Against The Machine)
The Four Horsemen (Metallica)

Thanks to all who came out and supported us, and hopefully Outlaw Engine will see you again soon.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Outlaw Engine drama

I had my first set back with Outlaw Engine this week. It looks like our bassist is quitting the band, just when we were gaining some momentum. I'm still unclear as to what happened but it looks like Presi took on too much with both his personal and professional life and something had to give. I'm uncertain as to what this means for the band but I'm hoping things continue since I really enjoy the music.

Our next show and possibly last if we don't continue is this Thursday at the Derby.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Seven Seraphim

Tonight was the best rehearsal to date for Seven Seraphim. This is the progressive / neo-classical / metal project I've been rehearsing with for a couple of months. The music is by far the most challenging I've ever played.

Our bass player wasn't able to make tonight's rehearsal but this gave time for Andrew (guitar), Sam (vocals) and myself (drums) to really work through some of the songs. I was able to nail the arrangements for a couple of the songs for the first time tonight with Andrew.

The goals for this band are to
1. Perform Live
2. Record a live album of the material Andrew previously released on the Seven Seraphim cd.

We haven't put a time line on when we will do the above but based on tonight's rehearsal I think we are less than two months away from performing in front of an audience.

I found out when we talking afterwards that Andrew almost toured with Neil Turbin, the original singer for Anthrax. How cool is that! He said he had to turn down the gig because of the touring commitment.

Monday, June 02, 2008

RIP Bo Diddley

I just read that Bo Diddley died today. Just the other day I was thinking about that classic Bo Diddley beat. Through the years as a drummer I've been told numerous times... "Just play that Bo Diddley beat"... He will be missed.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Iron Maiden and Anthrax in Irvine

Last night was my first of two back to back Maiden shows. I took the day off from work and rested up for the long drive and headed out about 4pm for an 8pm show. As I was headed down there Friday rush hour was picking up and the 60 mile drive ended up taking close to two an a half hours. The time went quick, I was jamming out to Maiden and Anthrax psyching myself up for the show and then when I saw a car on the road that had IRON MAIDEN! 666 on the back window I knew I was not making the trek from LA to Irvine down the 405 alone.

Once I had a quick bite to eat outside the venue I headed over to the parking lot and was parked and in the venue by about 7pm. The show time wasn't scheduled to start until 8pm but Lauren Harris (Steve Harris' daughter) and her band got an early start at 7:30. Not sure she was a good fit for the show and although she and her band were adequate I've heard much bands that are unsigned.

Now I was ready to see Anthrax. I wasn't a big Anthrax fan as a kid but as I've gotten older I've gotten into the band quite a bit, first with the John Bush era material and then later becoming familiar with the Belladona era. I had only seen the band once with John Bush back in 2000 and I missed out on the entire Belladona reunion. Anthrax was debuting their new lineup featuring their new singer Dan Nelson. As they hit the stage the seats filled and you could tell they had quite a few fans at the show. The best part was when Maiden announced these two shows in Irvine, Anthrax were not part of the bill. A very nice after the fact surprise.

The band was loose and having fun. This was their second show with Dan and he was working the crowd like he had been fronting Anthrax for years. His voice was almost a blend of Belladona and Bush but he could also do more of the deeper modern metal vocals as well. I think his voice sounded more like Bush, however he sounded better on the Belladona material. They didn't play any of the new songs they played at their first show in Chicago, but the greatest hits set suited me fine since this was the first time I saw them since I've become familiar with the material. By the end of the set the band was fairly tight and I'm anticipating they will be great tonight.

Irvine, California
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
(Formerly Irvine Meadows)
May 30, 2008

Got The Time
Caught In A Mosh
Room For One More
Safe Home
I Am The Law

Ever since moving to LA Iron Maiden was one of the bands I wanted to see out here. They recorded their monumental album Live After Death in Long Beach, and I thought how perfect would it be to be at a show where Bruce yells "Scream for me Long Beach". Although I was slightly disappointed that they didn't play Long Beach, Irvine is just a short 30 minute drive away and Bruce humored the crowd and yelled "Scream for me Long Beach" and the crowd went wild.

I've been checking out quite a few bootlegs from the recent tour and on the first leg of the tour back in the Spring the band played loose and the drums always sounded sloppy to me. Not last night, 6 months of touring has made Maiden a touring machine. You could hear each of the three guitars independently, the solos cut through, and Nicko was in top form.

One interesting series of events occurred right before The Trooper. Steve Harris saw a fight break out and proceeded to pause the show for about 2 minutes as he cussed out this unruly kid. Bruce not knowing what was happening since he was behind the stage for the set change yelled out I feel a Foreigner song coming on, and sang the line "I've been waiting... for this song to start". Shortly thereafter they launched into The Trooper and Bruce got the background on what happened after the song.

The show was great and at first I was worried about going back to back nights since I doubt the setlist will change, but now I'm anxious for tonights show. The one thing that surprised me is how chatty Bruce is. Through out the show he gave long winded intros but seemed sincerely in awe at the size of the crowd. I'm not sure if last night was sold out, it sure looked like it, but Bruce announced that tonight's show was sold out so if you didn't already have a ticket then you won't be able to see Maiden again.

As they wrapped the set Bruce said a new Maiden album is in their future and they will be returning to Southern California. Up the irons!

Iron Maiden
Irvine, California
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
(Formerly Irvine Meadows)
May 30, 2008

Pre-show Intro Music - Doctor Doctor (UFO)
Intro Movie
Winston Churchill's Speech
Aces High
2 Minutes To Midnight
(Scream For Me Long Beach)
The Trooper
Wasted Years
The Number Of The Beast
Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
Heaven Can Wait
Run To The Hills
Fear Of The Dark
Iron Maiden (Big Eddie)
The Clairvoyant (Walking Eddie)
Hallowed Be Thy Name

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Recording Engineer for hire

This past weekend I was asked to record my friend Tad's new band, Broken Ocean. It was the first time that I recorded a project that I was not a performer on. We got a late start Saturday night and realized that we were a bit unprepared with the necessary equipment to do a proper recording. With a little improvisation I was able to record some very basic tracks.

The challenge we faced was we were in a tiny room, had no instrument isolation, and didn't have enough headphones, or cords long enough to properly set up and record against a click track. We ended up tracking the music live with no vocals into Protools. 4 songs later we called it a night.

I feared the worst so I didn't listen to the recording for 2 days. Last night I sat down and began roughing out some mixes and was surprised that the material I had to work with was recorded fairly well. We had a couple of minor issues, one issue being we left the monitoring PA on during one of the tracks so you can hear some PA interference in the low frequencies, but other than that little mistake the recordings were usable.

The recording was dry and clean, and each instrument's track had very little bleed from other instruments. I couldn't believe this considering the room we recorded in was no bigger than 12'x12'.

The fidelity of the recording and the performances captured aren't appropriate for an official CD release but it is suitable for a demo CD and/or the band's MySpace page. As I learn more about microphones, different audio treatment effects (outboard and plugins) and become more efficient with engineering I think each recording I work on will get progressively better. I think in a couple of weeks we will try to do a fuller recording, layer in vocals and some additional guitars.

I was pleased that this very fast and rough recording rivals in sound quality some of the very early recordings I did with The Superlatives.

If the recordings get posted online by the band I'll be sure to link to them.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Two nights with Rush

This past week I was able to see Rush twice at the brand new Nokia Live Theater in Los Angeles, or as Neil Peart may say, a very "large mobile phone manufacturer" Live Theater in Los Angeles. Both shows were great but ended up being entirely different experiences as my concert karma continues to be at an all time high.

Tuesday night I went with Greg, a co-worker of mine. He had picked us up tickets shortly after they went on sale. Once we found our seats we realized we didn't have the closest seats in the place and determined that the seating chart on Ticketmaster was slightly misleading. Nevertheless we enjoyed the two and a half hour show.

For Thursday night I had bought a single ticket right as they went on sale and was able to score a 12th row center. The seat was much better, the sound was much better and this was the closest I had been for a Rush show in over 10 years.

The show starts and the seats next to me end up filling up. Shortly before the intermission I saw a group of people walking down the aisle who had asked security to help them find their seats. They ended up having the three seats next to me and forced the seat squatters who had been there most of the show out of their seats.

During the intermission the group struck up a conversation with me asking how much I paid for my ticket. I told them and then looked at their ticket and pointed out that their ticket was free and was labeled complimentary. Making a small talk joke I said unlike me, you actually know important people. At this point they reveal that the gentleman in their group is named Rupert and produced a couple of Rush's albums. I asked if this is Rupert Hine who produced both Presto and Roll The Bones and they were impressed both with my knowledge of Rush and the fact that I knew who Rupert was. I ended up talking to them through out intermission.

Fast forward to the end of the show and as the crowd is leaving they told me they had an extra backstage pass and asked if I wanted to join them to meet Rush! With no hesitation I said yes, thanked them, then told them that I had to run to buy merch and that I would be right back.

About 5 minutes later I joined the group and was able to get a true backstage experience. Once in the hospitality room they had hors d'oeuvres, wine, beer and other assorted drinks. A bit more upscale then most back stage areas I've been to. I just had a bottle of water. Rupert his ex-wife Natasha, and their friend Jacqueline stayed with me the entire time and I was able to hear numerous stories about Rupert's time with Rush, meeting the band, having Neil petition him for nearly 7 years to work with them, moving temporarily to Toronto to work in the studio, and hearing about how great the three guys in Rush were so great to him and his family for the few years they worked together.

After about 10 minutes Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson join the group to do the after show meet and greet. Geddy immediately sees Rupert, and says hi to our group first. Geddy tells us to stick around awhile so he can make the rounds and come back. Rupert graciously introduced me to Geddy as a friend.

Being backstage was a bit of a who's who in the LA music scene. Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), and someone I've become recently familiar with Jason Falkner (Jellyfish), a couple of guys from Vertical Horizon, and other industry types like personal managers such as Stewart Copeland's (The Police) personal manager.

Unfortunately Neil Peart does not join these types of events so Rupert and Natasha were taken to a separate room to talk to Neil privately. When they returned they said they had a great visit and Natasha had told Neil how the end of his drum solo reminded her of when she saw Max Roach and which delighted Neil. Once they return I had worked my way over to Alex Lifeson. Rupert once again introduces me as a friend and I'm able to get autographs and a great picture with Alex. This is one funny guy, if he hadn't done music he probably could have done stand up. Everything he said was hilarious.

Geddy finally made his way back to us and I was able to get his autograph and a picture with him as well. To top everything off when we leaving both Geddy and Alex shook my hand, remembered my name and personally told me that it was nice to meet me. Who would have thought that these guys would ever know who I was, even if only for a short moment in time.

I must thank Rupert, Natasha, and their friend Jacqueline for giving me such a memorable night. You just don't see this type of generosity given to a complete stranger. Thank you.

May 6 & May 8 2008
Nokia Live Theater
Los Angeles, CA

Digital Man
Ghost Of A Chance
Main Monkey Business
The Larger Bowl
Red Barchetta
Between The Wheels


Far Cry
Workin' Them Angels
Armor And Sword
The Way The Wind Blows
Natural Science
Witch Hunt
Malignant Narcissism ->
Drum solo
The Spirit Of Radio
Tom sawyer

One Small Victory
Passage To Bangkok

Even though my concert going experience was very different I found both performances to be very consistent including identical setlists. The first night Mission and Red Barchetta were my personal highlights. The second night Mission remained a highlight with the addition of Far Cry off their latest album. On both nights Subdivisions seemed to get one of the largest crowd reactions. I enjoyed the performance slightly better Thursday and in talking to Geddy he thought the band performed better as a whole on Thursday and said the sound seemed better as well.

What a recap. Now I'm off to listen to Presto and Roll The Bones!

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