I would be remiss if I did not address what’s happened in Moore, OK. My heart goes out to the entire community devastated by what had to be one of the worst tornadoes to hit that area in years. Several rock artists took to Twitter to express their shock and sorrow over the destruction and death wrought on yesterday (May 20th) by a mile-wide tornado that struck the suburbs of Oklahoma City. At press time the death toll was over 100, and expected to rise further, with a number of children at an area elementary school and patients in a local hospital among the dead. You can help: text STORM to 80888 to give $10 to the Salvation Army. Text REDCROSS to 90999. Or contact these sites directly: www.unitedwayOKC.org or www.tulsaCF.org.
Slash: “Horrible what the people in Oklahoma just went thru. The devastation they’re facing now. & the lives they’ve lost.”
Shinedown: “Take a moment… If you can… To tell the ones you love, just that… That you love them. Remember that life is so precious. God bless #OKC”
Papa Roach: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the mile wide tornado in Oklahoma.”
David Draiman: “My thoughts and prayers go out to the residents of Oklahoma who have been ravaged by the recent swath of tornadoes.”
And now on to the news: I have to begin with our weekend in Columbus at Rock on the Range. (Many thanks to organizers Joe, Gary, Melissa, Chamie, Danny and Del!) It was definitely their biggest show to date! Lou Brutus and I go in there like commandos! We are on a mission! I schedule the interviews with the bands and Lou goes off to tackle them! (I only did two of the interviews: Bush’s Gavin Rossdale & Three Days Grace On Thursday, when I arrived at my hotel, I saw all these tour buses and wondered if Korn were staying in my hotel. Sure enough, YES! I saw Head in the lobby being interviewed by some video guys while he was skype-ing with his daughter. Later that night, I texted JD‘s bodyguard and was invited onto the bus to hear to some of the new (as yet unmixed) music! HOLY CRAP! I was freaking out! ( As I was listening on the bus, JD texted Head, Munky & Fieldy to say “Roxy’s going ape sh&t !”) I heard like 5 or 6 new songs. I loved it all. It’s heavy, still has electronic overtones on some, and then some great old skool stuff. All I can say is get ready! JD’s new love is “trap” music. Ya know, Jonathan’s a DJ too, so that’s where the whole dub step influence came from. Meanwhile, Korn was traveling with a group of fellas from Dallas (Scott, Condy, et al) who were doing a documentary on the band, mostly having to do with Head’s return. But as Korn’s “oldest fan,” I was also invited to be on camera to talk about the band and their history. Lou was filmed while interviewing Head and Munky. It should be cool once it’s together. The band perfomed on Friday night. Not since Woodstock ’99 have I seen such an electric performance from the band! (That was in front of 100,000, this show clocked in at around 27,500.) Head is back in full form and the energy now is explosive! I got to stand right on the stage and loved to see Jonathan turn and smile after one of the songs! The crowd response was so off the hook and at one point, their manager and I walked from the side of the stage to the sound board, where he asked Marco the sound man to turn it up! It was AMAZING! They did all the hits starting with “Blind,” and even pulled out a deep track from the first album I didn’t recall called “Lies.” Other performances over the three days I got to see were: Halestorm and Bullet For My Valentine, who never fail to kill. We had breakfast on Saturday with Lzzy and Joe. Unfortunately by the time I could get over to the side stage where Young Guns were playing, it was the last note of “Bones,” their last song! Wah! But got to hug the very sweaty boys! Gonna miss them when they leave, but they are planning to record their next album in NYC, so I am sure I will be seeing a lot of them come fall. Saw a second of Hollywood Undead, but hung out with them in the parking lot backstage on Friday. They are a riot! Played dice with them on their bus too. Saw Mindset Evolution, who included their new song “Burn It Down” in their set. They won last year’s Battle of The Bands at the Rockstar Uproar tour. Sorry I missed Cheap Trick, and Rick Nielsen also joined Buckcherry on stage. I saw Beware of Darkness just rip in on the Jager stage on Sunday. On Saturday, I really was sorry I missed Motionless in White, who I think have some great things in store. On Saturday, I interviewed the guys in Three Days Grace: Neil, Barry and Brad. They’re getting ready to take a well deserved break. Neil said he plans to be out on his boat most of the time. Was with Lou when he interviewed Stone Sour’s Josh and Corey. Corey did mention next year, Slipknot would converge to begin tackling new music! YAY! They also have some more shows to do this year. Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix had his son Jagger out with him. He’s 8 and sports a similar haircut as Dad and has some cool green frames on his glasses. I sat with him while he ate lunch and we watched part of the hockey game (Blackhawks lost to Detroit!) on the bus. Then we had meet and greets with our HardDrive Live Contest Winners Lance, Louis and Bailey. They got to meet Bullet, Young Guns and Halestorm and got pictures and stuff. Was cool. While walking around I got to meet Randy Blythe of Lamb of God. Told him the message he posted last week was so poignant. He is still in the midst of all this stuff, but did say he’s relieved this is nearly over. It has been a nightmare to say the least. Phil Labonte of All That Remains (their bus was very cool) had his dog with him, a beautiful pit bull mix. Let’s see, talked to David Draiman on the Device bus. Needless to say, he can’t wait for his son’s birth! (Samuel Bear is named after David’s grandfather.) Was bummed I missed their set (we had to be ready in front of Alice in Chains’ dressing room for the interview when they stepped on stage, so we missed the show!), especially when In This Moment singer Maria Brink joined Device onstage on Sunday (May 19th) to perform Device’s cover version of the 1988 Lita Ford/Ozzy Osbourne classic “Close My Eyes Forever.” Fan-filmed footage has been posted online. Lou also spent time in the Artist Lounge doing interviews, especially when bands didn’t have a bus or dressing room, where other outlets like Fuse and Revolver were doing video stuff. We went to Alice in Chains’ dressing room and Lou interviewed Jerry Cantrell (who looks so great with his new haircut. Even commented he can go out more now that he’s less recognizable!) and William Duvall, who told me about this amazing documentary he is doing on jazz drummer Milford Graves (see link) which centers around the theory that the heart is a drumbeat and amazingly, music helps stem cell growth. So the film will follow the efforts Graves is making along these lines with cardiac patients. It’s a remarkable tale. Anyhow, while walking through the parking lot backstage, I saw Alice in Chains bassist Mike Inez and walked up to him. Turns out he was having a cigarette with Soundgarden‘s Chris Cornell. So we chatted for a bit. I was sad to hear Alice In Chains drummer Sean Kinney is suffering from hearing loss. 80% in on ear, 20% in the other. It’s just the hazard of this job. And reminds me how important it is to protect your hearing when you are at shows! Wear EAR PLUGS! Our final interview of the festival was while Alice in Chains were on stage. Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron. Kim commented he is looking forward to making the next album with the band. Then I ran back to the Alice in Chains stage (we were fortunate to be one of the 10 people that got special passes to watch the band from the viewing platform.) I love them so. One of my favs. I always think of the first time I met the band, back in like 1992 I think when they were in LA making the Dirt album. Had them on a celebrity softball team. I recall Layne Staley being an excellent slugger! His hair and goatee dyed green in those days. Sigh. Anyhow, that’s what I can immediately recall from the weekend. And lemme tell ya, my body still wants to be in bed right now!…Happy Birthday today to my partner & love of my life, my homie, Dwight, Happy 35th to Adam Gontier, and rest in peace to Ray Manzarek of The Doors who passed away yesterday in Germany. Ray was 74.