Blog Entry, 11.26.12 •
Stringz & Wingz|
It was cold as ice outside as we arrived in Streetsboro this past Saturday night. This was our second trip to Stringz & Wingz this year and we hoped to build on our last performance with an even better one this time around.
It's a very intimidating feeling to walk into this place with its cavernous feel enveloping us. All of the accommodations here are great and filling the room with rabid KISS fans is a challenge that we look forward to when we're there. We were all set up and ready to rock by 7 so we grabbed a quick bite then began our make up process. Slowly we could hear the room begin to fill with the chatter of voices. An opening band called "JFK" took the stage to warm up the room with a collection of songs from the Toadies to Black Sabbath.
We hit the stage just after 10 PM and showed why we were the headliner. Our show last week was a good one but this time with everything that was in place we were once again hitting
our stride. Standout tracks were "Crazy, Crazy Nights", "Lick It Up" and "Calling Dr. Love". There are times when a stage this size can feel overwhelming but we rose to the challenge making good use of it with out antics. Danny and Joe both were exuding "The Demon" and "The Spaceman" while Andrew controlled the center of the stage perched atop his drum kit. Over 400 fans stayed with us throughout our two hour performance. Quite a few familiar faces blended in among even many more unfamiliar ones creating an incredible energy for all of us to feed off of. We felt satisfied with our efforts. They were convincing, passionate and real.
The show concluded in its usual style and another victory was won. We stood on that stage and delivered a really enthusiastic performance. The crowd was incredible and we've already booked 2 return dates for 2013 when we can look forward to doing it all over again...even better!
Blog Entry, 11.17.12 •
FFR-DSI, Inc. Sales Meeting - Private Event|
This past Monday evening we came out from under the cover of darkness and performed a private show for my company. The performance was part of the annual FFR-DSI, Inc. sales meeting held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Twinsburg, Ohio. I didn't mention this on our site or even tell that many people about it before it happened. Hell, I barely talked to the rest of the band about it. So we set up the show on Monday afternoon in one-third of the ballroom at the hotel. We used everything but the staircases. Andrew put together a set list of mainly the hits and just after 7 PM we hit the stage.
All told there may have been 65 people in attendance. Many of them didn't know what hit them. To say that they were reserved would be an understatement. The general feeling in the room was that most of the employees were a little tentative to let their hair down with their bosses just a few feet away. I definitely had my work cut out for me with this crew. At one point I asked if this was considered a "G" rated or an "R" rated show. I was trying everything that I could think of to get them engaged in what we were doing. Just before "Lick It Up" I asked "how many people like to give it a lick"? That did the trick. You could almost feel the tension just leave the room at that point. Before long, one by one they began getting closer and closer to the stage. By the time we began "Rock And Roll All Nite" people were up on top of chairs, dancing with one another and basically just having a great time.
So much so that they called us back for not one, not two but three encores! We hadn't performed in well over a month and this show gave us a chance to knock some of the rust off before we blow the roof off of the Sly Fox this Saturday night. Thanks again to all involved with our private show. We really had a great time and we're proud to be a part of something that will hopefully help to bring more success to the FFR-DSI team in 2013.
Blog Entry, 10.06.12 •
Viaduct Bar & Grill|
Every once in a while things in your life come as they say full circle. Last night we pulled into Tiffin, Ohio to put our show into the Viaduct Bar & Grill. The last time that we were in this same building it was way back in 1999. Then the place was called the M & R Bar. In those thirteen years the only thing that changed was the name of the place. It was still the same corner bar with a history steeped in local and regional rock and roll.
Upon entering we quickly realized that the show that we now have to use was going to be scaled back...a lot to fit into this room. So we got right to work, removing some temporary staging that had been set up and in no time at all we transformed a cramped, tight area into a rock and roll stage. Mark, our sound man for the evening was very cool and accommodating to us. He soon realized that we weren't joking with our tribute and before long we were set up for our sound check. It took a short while to dial things in the way that we were comfortable with and we ran through a few tunes to get it just right. There was the possibility of an opening band working with us on this show but that turned out to
be not true. After a quick bite to eat for dinner we began the make up process. Now those of you that think what we do is so glamorous our dressing room for the night would do wonders to dispel that truth. Every band that has been to the Viaduct has put their name with a sharpie on the wall within that room. Even guys that were promising to come back and rescue a damsel in distress were proclaiming their conviction to those that bothered to stand and read each one. So of course I found a spot...on the ceiling to add our name to the list.
Joe, Andrew and I withstood the overwhelming smell of something similar to urine in the air amid an attack of fruit flies to complete our make up process. Danny used a room adjacent to ours that was much cooler and darker to create his persona. Right around 10:30 PM we hit the stage. The crowd was very small. Maybe at best 80-100 people. Many of which
made the trip from right here in Cleveland to see us. For me it took a few songs to get my stage legs back after the few weeks that we had off. Once again opening with "Love Gun" into "Deuce" got this rock and roll party started. To be honest we seemed to reach those that were there for the show. Not everyone was there for the same reason but for the most part everyone was having a really good time. Over the past few weeks we had been working on a few new tunes for our show. Tonight seemed for whatever reason the perfect time to unleash them for criticism. A gem of a track from Love Gun called "Got Love For Sale" made its debut along with what we're calling the "Solo Medley". Fragments of four songs from the Solo albums. The response was very favorable. The bottom line was that we loved playing them. The work that we had been putting into each one seemed to really pay off. It's always great for us to play new tracks that we love and ultimately find that you love too.
The show came to an enthusiastic end with "Rock And Roll All Nite" and the those that remained were wanting at least one more song. As much as we would have loved to played a little while longer we packed it in and called it a night. A few fans remained afterwards to talk to us. Some with great things to say and some with their personal agendas trying to take control. In the end the music did the talking and Tiffin was put to bed. If at least one new fan was made then we did our job. Time will tell if this small Ohio town needs another dose of classic KISS to cure what ails it.
Thanks to those of you that came out to support our show.
Blog Entry, 09.03.12 •
Pineville Labor Day Festival|
Over the river and through the woods...and past pools of green we go. That's an inside joke for those in the band. Saturday had us up and out early heading down I-77 towards Pineville, WV. Our stop that night was the Pineville Labor Day Festival in a small coal mining town that was starving for something new. So we put this show together in about three weeks time and hoped that one more time we could bring the classic sounds of KISS to a market where we've never been.
After a 5 1/2 hour drive over interstate mountains and twisting, winding, narrow two lane roads we reached Pineville and the small festival that would be our home for the night. The stage was set up in the parking lot of the Pineville Elementary School which from the looks of things has seen many students come and go through its halls over the years. Immediately getting to work with the help of a few local firefighters we had our show up and ready very quickly. Just past 4:30 PM we finished up our sound check and went to the dressing room to cool off and relax for a short while before the normal make up process began. Everyone associated with the festival from the Mayor and his wife, to the stage hands and sound crew were very friendly and helpful to us. We really appreciated their consideration on our behalf. One of the funniest parts of the day for us was using a pre-school
room as our dressing room. Danny, Joe and Andrew found extra time to clown around with a few of the toys that were laying about. Andrew even took a ride on a tricycle once he was ready to go. Our normal routine had us start at 7 PM and we were ready to go by 8:45 PM. The Mayor then escorted us through the hallways of the school to the back of the stage. Throughout the afternoon we were keeping an eye on the local radar for the possibility of any rain that might come our way. As luck or lack there of we did hit the stage at 9 PM to a light rain shower but that didn't stop us or the small crowd that had gathered.
Some times it takes a few songs for us to kick things into gear. From the looks on the faces in the crowd I'm not sure that they knew what hit them. Everyone was standing a
respectable distance from the stage so we encouraged them to come closer and make it feel more like a concert than a recital if you will. It was funny for us because just one night earlier in Medina we had what felt like the best of everything. Here we were dealt about half of that and it really makes you dig deep to give it the best that you can. The rain lasted only about 30 minutes, soaking some of the gear towards the back of the stage. We used as much caution as we could, hoping that "Shock Me" wouldn't really become literal by the shows end. Speaking of "Shock Me" Joe delivered a stage engulfing solo as the fans roared their approval. Danny splattered blood everywhere but on the garment that we lay down at each show, which was very cool to see. Even though the crowd was right around 300 people for the most part they were very receptive and enthusiastic about what we were doing. We really gave them something that they definitely weren't used to and something that I think they won't soon forget.
We met with quite a few fans afterwards, signing shirts, hats, photos, arms and sneakers. We sold out of our reminder bands and most of our t-shirts too. I heard from the agent that I booked the show with just this afternoon and he told me that he's back in Pineville for a show there tonight. Everyone is still buzzing about our performance. What more could we hope for. We went somewhere that we've never been and left behind a memory that we can all hold on to for some time. Thanks to everyone that came out to the show. You made our first trip there one to remember and we hope that we'll get the chance to do it again...
Blog Entry, 09.02.12 •
Rally in the Alley|
Friday Night...I gotta rock! Last night we brought our show back to my hometown of Medina, OH. The weather is always a factor with outdoor shows but we knew early on that Mother Nature was going to be kind to us. This year we were finally a part of the BIG weekend with the Rally in the Alley series. This was Labor Day weekend and we were kicking it off on Friday night. That meant that we were getting the bigger stage, the better lighting and sound and we knew that the fans would be coming out to rock and roll for the extended weekend.
Things progressed slowly throughout the afternoon as we prepared the show. We grabbed a quick dinner right around 5:00 PM. By 6 PM we were finally finishing our sound check which consisted of "Hell or Hallelujah," "Plaster Caster" and "Strange Ways". Typically we would retreat to the back room of Woodsy's Music right next to door to prepare for the show. But this year our dressing room would be the basement of the Main Street Cafe. It actually worked out better for us in that we could leave straight from the dressing area to the stage without anyone really noticing us. We jammed to the latest Shinedown record while we prepared our make up and costumes, anxiously waiting to step on stage and take care of business.
A huge thrill for us was finding out just prior to sound check that our good friend Jim Neff had made the trip from Cadillac, MI to see the show. I've always promised Jim that whenever he makes it to a show that he has the dubious distinction of introducing us. He always does a passionate job for us and we are only too glad to have him kick off any show that he's there for.
When show time arrived we were greeted by a massive crowd that stretched all the way from the stage to the street. This may not seem to impressive but we were told that of all of the shows that they've had this year our show was by far the most attended. An ocean of faces stared back at us as we blew through a 2 1/2 hour show. We gave them everything that we had. All the hits and some rare tracks in between. We even dusted off "Sure Know Something" and "C'mon & Love Me" for this show. We haven't performed either of those for some time. On this hot summer night there was no stopping us from giving everything that we had. We filled the Medina County air with one track after another. As I mentioned earlier we added "Strange Ways" and even "Sure Know Something'" back into the set which allowed us to fill the void that the extra time to our set required. Fists were pumping skyward with thunderous tracks such as "War Machine" and "Makin' Love". The interesting dynamic to this event is that each band must take a break after the first hour of the show. So from 8:30-9:30 we met with fans for photos and autographs which we do at every single show. By 9:30 we were back on stage and headlong into the second half of the set. There really wasn't a person there that didn't appear to be having a good time. Once again the connection between us and the fans was unmistakable and it climaxed with the KISS classic "Rock And Roll All Nite". The call and answer section towards the end of the song was really impressive. The crowds response was loud and proud for sure.
I promised the many fans that were seeing us for the very first time that by the time the show was over, they would be really glad that they came. They were. There was no denying that everyone had a great time with us. You simply can't beat classic KISS played MR.SPEED-style on a warm summer night in northeast Ohio. The combination was simply awesome. Thanks to everyone that came out. You really made us feel amazing and creating a memory such as the one we created that night will live with us for years to come.
Next stop...Pineville, WV!
Blog Entry, 08.23.12 •
Broad Street Bash|
Once bitten, twice shy is usually applied to experiences in your life that you hope to learn from. Last night we hit the stage in Middletown, Ohio at the Broad Street Bash for the second year in a row and we learned that this small town can really rock. Last year when we pulled into town the temperature was closing in on 100 and it didn't drop too much by the time we began our show. This year the temperature was in the mid-80's at 7:30 PM and the crowd was off the hook in welcoming us back. We hear that other acts that perform at this event have good crowds that sit very politely during the performance as they take it all in. For our show the crowd is pressed up against the concrete steps of the stage, from stage left to stage right, all the way back to the sidewalk and spilling into the street and beyond. Based on what we witnessed last night both during and after the show we can't wait to return next year...we already know that we're coming back.
Load-in commenced right around 2 PM as we transformed the wedge of concrete and cement into our stage for the night. The only prop that we didn't use were our staircases as space just did not allow us to. By 4 PM we were staring our sound check right in the eyes. We worked through "Hell or Hallelujah," "Deuce," "Crazy, Crazy Nights" and "Nothin' to Lose". We weren't really thrilled with the way our sound check was coming along, having problems with our stage monitors was the issue yet we succumbed to the time frame that we were working with and headed towards the dressing room for dinner and make up.
During the pre-show prep we listened to a little Lenny Kravitz and Motley Crue while we applied our make up and costumes. By 7 PM we were being picked up and driven to the stage where an amazing crowd was enjoying the summer evening and waiting for our arrival. This never gets old for us when we arrive on stage to a sea of smiling, inquisitive faces above tattered or lightly worn KISS t-shirts. Many fans have no idea what to expect from us and we feel the same about them. If the band and the crowd synchronize from the start the show is going to rock. That's exactly what we got from Middletown last night. Every song was an example of the passion that was flowing through the center of town as the day slipped into darkness. Children were just as enthusiastic as the adults and we held onto the crowd for the entire 120-minutes that we had their attention. Stand out tracks from the show were "Hell or Hallelujah" and "Hide Your Heart". Danny drew out his blood solo before "God of Thunder" and splattered a few lucky fans with fake blood to boot. Joe and Andrew both delivered in their respective solo spots in "Shock Me" and "God of Thunder". This was one of those shows that we didn't want to end but we knew that we couldn't turn back time. As the show climaxed with "Rock and Roll All Nite" the crowd put their stamp on the performance with their participation near the end of the song. The call and response of the chorus to close out the song was deafening and will resonate with us for some time.
Afterwards, we met with a tremendous number of fans for photos and autographs. We can't thank each and every one of them enough for taking extra time to come and talk to us. Some pouring their hearts out to us with topics that at times seem unrelated to why we were there. Nonetheless we are touched by the heart-warming sentiment that many of you expressed to us. Whatever the reason we hope that your experience with us gave you strength and reignited in you the reason why you love listening to KISS music in the first place...because it makes you feel good. Thanks to everyone that came out last night. Those who have seen us before...those that we met for the very first time...and everyone in between. You know who you are and we are grateful for your passion and generosity.
We'll hope to see you all again soon.
Blog Entry, 08.07.12 •
Rock the Lock|
Hot & Humid was the order of the day as we pulled into downtown Akron this past Friday. We were hoping that by the time our show was over that the city would be in ruins from the heat that we were generating from the stage. Over 5,000 strong attended our show, many of which had seen us before. It really doesn?t get much better than this for us. Any time you can look out over a sea of faces, some painted and many smiling you know that something cool is happening.
Load-in was completed by 4:30 PM as scheduled but we had to wait until 5:00 PM before we could make any noise. The local businesses in the immediate area aren't the biggest of rock fans and tend to complain but isn't that the true essence of rock 'n roll?to piss people off? Our sound check was over before we knew it. We managed to run through "Love Gun", "Nothin' To Lose" and a portion of "Deuce". Danny was struggling with a bout of strep throat so we wanted to make sure that he was ready to go come show time. Once everything was ready to go on stage we retreated to the cool comfort of our air-conditioned dressing room beneath the Akron Civic Theater.
We had quite a bit going on for this show which included the show being filmed and photographed. So I had to coordinate as best that I could a quick photo opportunity for us before we took the stage as well as making sure that we played to the cameras during the show. Our pre-show preparation was completed by 7:30 PM and with less than an hour to go before we were to begin we met up with Karen to grab as many shots as possible. We used the vacant, dark and historic stage in the Akron Civic Theater to accomplish this task. I haven?t seen any of the shots but I hope that one turned out that we can in turn use on our site. By 8:15 PM we began our walk to the stage. T.K. O'Grady from WONE in Akron was the first to greet us there, congratulating us on our victory in Las Vegas back in January. Soon guitars were tuned, cues were in place and we cocked and unloaded our "Love Gun" into the hot, steamy Akron air. There isn?t a better feeling being in a band than having a crowd like this one rocking with us to just about every single song. The connection is at times indescribable. Half way through the performance we took a short 15 minute break to allow some contest give-aways to take place. We met with fans, signed drum sticks, photos, t-shirts, sweaty hats even arms. Before we knew it we were being ushered back on to the stage for the second half of the show.
We opened the second set with "Hide Your Heart" which sounded great. I can?t quite remember the reason but we ended up adding the brand new KISS song "Hell or Hallelujah" from the forthcoming release called "Monster". The new KISS album is due out on October 16th. There are actually two fan filmed versions of this song on Youtube right now. As the show plowed to its conclusion the energy was off the hook. The fans couldn?t get enough and we didn?t want to stop. But all good things must come to an end as they say. So right before "Rock And Roll All Nite" Karen hopped up on to Andrew?s drum riser and snapped off a couple of shots of us with the crowd pounding their fists in the air behind us. Classic. I introduced the members of the band to the crowd one last time and then climbed on top of the speakers in the front of the stage. The roar that I heard from the crowd was unbelievable and the electricity that ran through me could have lit up a small town for sure. Pure, raw energy at its best.
We came, we saw and we conquered. What a night. It really doesn?t get any better than this and it was just what the doctor ordered. Akron really knows how to rock and we?ll look forward to coming back once again next year to bring the city to its knees one more time.
Blog Entry, 07.16.12 •
Delta Chicken Festival|
Hot on the heels of our last performance in New Philadelphia, Ohio this past weekend took us just west of Toledo. Our destination was a small farming town named Delta, Ohio with a population of about 3,000. The sun was beating down once again, burning the already burnt fields that surrounded the stage to an even crispier state upon our arrival on Saturday. To be honest it wasn't quite as hot as the weekend before so we were thrilled. After a quick assessment of the stage we got right to work. Two tractor trailer beds were placed next to each other to serve as our stage for that evening's performance. It was unique in a way that there was quite a bit of metal and chrome used in their construction which added to the danger of rocking in 6' platform boots.
Our sound check was interesting at this event for one reason. As we worked everything out through a few songs a small group of onlookers were drinking and having a good time under a tent a short distance from the stage. As we tuned up and shared a few licks one of the women yelled "my kid can play better than that". Well, what she hadn't heard was the full
throttle assault of the four of us playing together up to that point. So I began a short conversation with her and assured her that she was in for a treat. Within a few moments we ripped into "Deuce" and she began dancing and waving her hands in the air. When that song was over we hit her with "Hell Or Hallelujah" from KISS' upcoming release "Monster". As predicted after that song was over she was cheering for us to play more and some of her friends made their way over to the stage to fist pound with us and express their appreciation for our efforts. That'll teach her.
We took in a few of the sights within the festival itself around 5:30 PM as we had dinner provided for us by the event. After dinner we entered our dressing room which was set up in the middle school on the grounds of the event. They transported us to and from the stage on golf carts and really made our accommodations better than most for the make up process. By 8:30 PM we were all set to go and we took a few pre-show photos with some women from a local bank that was affiliated with the festival. Soon after we were driven to the stage and the crowd that had begun to gather. Some were in KISS t-shirts, some even had make-up on their faces. As our intro CD concluded we hit the stage with another crack of
KISS thunder that only MR.SPEED can deliver. Before too long a crowd of over 800 fans were standing before us rocking right along. Strong storms began to roll through the area and the wind picked up about half way through the show. It got a bit nerve-racking there for us but we never did see the full storm that we could have or so we were told. The musical highlight, if you want to call it that, happened to be our first live performance of "Hell Or Hallelujah", the new single from KISS and the upcoming release "Monster" due out on October 16th. True to form that is what MR.SPEED is all about. Trying to spread our wings a little bit and try new things to give the fans the best experience possible. The remainder of the show was nothing but the "hits". All in all the show was a good representation of our tribute to KISS. A few minor equipment glitches tried to stop us but couldn't really bring us down. We ended with "Rock And Roll All Nite" and the crowd was wanting more. That's the best. We always want to leave them wanting more.
A good number of fans hung around to say "hello" to us afterwards. We did really well with our brand new t-shirts and even our new "Reminder bands". We're off for the next two weeks. Time enough to fix a few costume problems as well as a few equipment problems. By the time our next show rolls around we'll be chomping at the bit to rock it all over again. Thanks to everyone that came out and supported our first visit to Delta, Ohio. We'll hope to see you all again next year.
Blog Entry, 07.08.12 •
First Town Days Festival|
As we rolled into New Philadelphia, Ohio yesterday afternoon the line "out on the streets for a livin'" came to mind. Quite the contrast was the fact that very few people were out anywhere. The hot summer temperatures had everyone seeking shelter so the concrete jungle that is New Philly was a desolate wasteland upon our arrival. Having been a part of this event for many years now the scene was dramatically different as we pulled up to the stage. The bustle of the midway was non-existent with the pool area at near capacity by 12 noon. Sure we were concerned that anyone would brave the elements to watch our show later in the evening but we had a job to do and so we got busy.
We set up everything except our own drum riser for this show. Even just setting up our back line had us drenched in sweat and reaching for water or Gatorade to combat our thirst. To be honest, I'm really not complaining. Over the years I have been on both sides of the spectrum with performing outdoors. James Taylor may have written about seeing fire and rain but I've seen snow and 113* degree temperatures too. We just took our time, got everything ready to go, completed our sound check and got into our dressing room as soon as we possibly could. The cool thing about our sound check was that we attempted the new KISS single "Hell Or Hallelujah" for the first time. Would I say it's "show ready"? No. But it was fun to try it our on stage with a decent sound system and get a feel for where we're at with the track. It won't be too long until we're adding it to our "live" set.
After a quick dinner that consisted of chicken fingers and fries we relaxed for a short while and then began our make up process. The Teen Center that acts as our dressing room is very accommodating. There is plenty of room to spread out and not feel cramped during the process. While applying the make up I made arrangements with a local limousine company to make sure that we made it to the stage in style. So at 7:45 PM we climbed into a white stretch limo and made the short drive to the stage area and the crowd that we hoped would be waiting for us. Modest at first we climbed on stage and got ready to rock. As we strode towards center stage with "Love Gun" the crowd began to pick up. The sound echoed through the park and alerted people to our presence on stage. Sweat was pouring off of our bodies as we did our best to engage the crowd with our passion. However, the heat may have been to blame for the lackluster response that we seemed to be getting with each song. But in true fashion the more that we played the more the crowd fell in love with what we were doing. At one point late in the show I did experience the disdain of one heckler in the crowd. I understand that everyone has a voice and that not everyone likes KISS but to stand there and watch us...then comment that the last song we just played "sucked" made me wonder why he was even there in the first place. So those of you that know me I don't appreciate those kind of people and of course I made him part of the show. I hoped that he enjoyed the rest of his evening being miserable somewhere else. Shortly before 10 PM we stopped the show as usual at this event and fixed our eyes skyward as the fireworks display lit up the darkness surrounding the stage. As the thundering sounds of the last few detonations
reverberated in my ears with slid our guitars on one more time. Finding ourselves with a few extra minutes to spare we added some songs with the help of the fans. Not scheduled but certainly performed were "Tears Are Falling", "Do You Love Me", "Strutter", "Parasite" and believe it or not a rough first verse of "Hell Or Hallelujah".
By this point of the night everyone, including us were feeling the effects of the entire day. The crowd that remained which was considerable to our credit moved toward the stage for the end of the show. We finished and waved goodbye to those that remained. A short meet 'n greet took place and we accommodated those that had some energy left. With everyone satisfied and physically drained we once again climbed into our limo and headed back to the dressing room. Another successful show and another page turned in our story.
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has supported our performances over the years at the First Town Days Festival. This was our last show in association with this event. We have come to really love being a part of the success of this festival and hope that in the future you are treated to the same quality of entertainment that you show us that you deserve. Continued success and all the best to you New Philly.
Blog Entry, 07.01.12 •
Weekends on Webster - North Tonawanda, NY|
Last night we kicked off the first of four weekends for a new concert series outside of Buffalo, NY. A local restaurant called Crazy Jake's is sponsoring the "Weekends On Webster" Concert Series and our show was the first of the four to be held. Last year we performed about one block away from where we would be on this night. The crazy part was when we arrived in town we discovered that the building that we used for our dressing area last year had burned to the ground.
For this years show our stage was larger with additions added on to both sides. Larry and Mark and everyone involved with the event and our
accommodations were top notch. They treated us extremely well and made our short stay one that we won't soon forget. We always comment on our shows that take place outside that "if it wasn't windy, it wouldn't be a MR.SPEED show". Let me tell you that the wind was in full effect all day long. At one point during our set up a wind gust blew over one of the full amplifier stacks on my side of the stage...on top of my head! I never saw it coming. We quickly grabbed some cinder blocks and placed them inside of our dummy cabinets to secure them a little more from the elements. I was glad that it didn't hit anyone else and after the smoke cleared and I calmed down we finished our set up. Our set up for the show looked great. We used our entire back line and our KISS sign was flown from the roof top above the stage which looked amazing. Our sound check went well and everything seemed to be ready to go. A quick dinner around 5 PM and then it was time to transform in the dressing room.
A local tribute to Iron Maiden called "2 Minutes To Maiden" opened the show.
We settled into our pre-show ritual as usual and threw some Kid Rock onto the Ipod to get us in the mood. A good crowd was forming as the Iron Maiden tribute finished up their set. Estimates put the crowd between 600-700 people for our show. We hit the stage at approximately 8:15 PM. Joe was excited about using his brand new Gibson Ace Frehley '77 Budokan model guitar. The guitar is absolutely beautiful and sounded great as we put the pedal to the metal. The sun was falling slowly behind the buildings across the street as the sweat began falling off of our bodies with every song. At first the crowd seemed a bit reluctant to engage with us but as the set wore on they felt more at ease and soon began to let themselves have fun with what we were doing. Originally we had "C'mon & Love Me" in the set but we replaced it with "Crazy, Crazy Nights". Our mood during the show was great. The more we gave the crowd gave just as much back. So much so that as we closed the show with our last song we were told to do an encore. We were a bit surprised but without much restraint we tore into "War Machine". Again thinking that the show was over we headed for the dressing room but were called
back again. This time we added "Strutter". I finally caught on that I better stay put on the stage until someone dragged me off of it. Wouldn't you know it they called us back for a third time. One song from our show that we did not do thinking that we were running short on time was our third and final encore..."I Was Made For Loving You". The vibe on stage was great and the crowd was eating it up. No one wanted the show to end but we knew that we couldn't play forever.
Afterwards we met with a small group of fans, signing a few photos and t-shirts and talking with those that felt inclined. By 12:30 AM we were packed up and on our way back to the hotel. The promoter was thrilled promising to bring us back again next year and for us that's the validation that we need to know that we did our job. We played great, made some new fans and left North Tonawanda in ruins...just like the building that I spoke about earlier. Thanks to everyone that came out and supported our return visit to the Buffalo area. We will see you all again...
Blog Entry, 06.26.12 •
Ever hear of the "sophomore jinx"? I couldn't help but think about it as I arrived at the site of our performance this past Friday night. You go into every show with the intent that you're going to win over new fans, play and sing your ass off and maybe sell a t-shirt or two. If you create a few memories along the way then you've done your job to the best of your ability. That's just what we did at our second performance in Garrettsville this past Friday.
To say things got off to a slow start would be an understatement. When we arrived the stage had just begun to be set up. Sounds crazy, right? But that's the way they do it there. So we waited...and waited...and waited. When we could finally begin our own work it didn't take us very long to complete what we needed to do. The stage dimensions were less than what we're used to at festivals so we scaled everything back a bit. Hoping to have our sound check done by 6 was a fleeting wish. A crowd had begun to gather at about that time and the evenings ceremonies were about to begin. At the very last minute we were able to rehearse one song, hoping to get things sounding just right. Always aphrehensive after a sound check we left the
stage area and ducked into a local restaurant for dinner. At about 7:15 PM we grabbed our costumes and headed to a nearby apartment that would act as our dressing room for the night. It gave us a bird's eye view of the street below and we could see just how many people were waiting for us to begin.
Almost 2 hours later, just before 9:30 PM we slowly descended the stairs from our dressing room and made our way through the crowd to the stage. I wouldn't exactly say the excitement was building as we slithered through those that we met but they must have been saving for us to really begin.
Once we hit the stage and fired off with "Love Gun" the response was deafening. Only having last years performance to compare to this one as far as the crowd was concerned was much better. Every song was met with an uproarious response. I mentioned earlier that we were unsure of the sound when we left the stage after sound check remember? Well...it was a constant struggle to hear ourselves throughout the show...just a hazard of the job I suppose. It didn't matter to the fans as they ate up everything that we threw at them. We had all the "hits" and even managed to drop "Crazy, Crazy Nights" in at the last minute.
Afterwards we unveiled our brand new t-shirt design and did gangbusters with them. The fans loved them. We posed for a handful of photos and signed quite a few shirt and photos before calling it a night. I'm not sure if we'll be back to Garrettsville next year or not. What I am sure of is that we put that sophomore jinx to bed with one hell of show.
Blog Entry, 06.10.12 •
Stringz & Wingz|
Saturday night's all right for fighting'...but it's also just right for classic KISS every once in a while too. We pulled into Streetsboro at 3 PM sharp and found a gem of a club in Stringz & Wingz. Positioned in the elbow of a small shopping plaza just a stones throw from the Ohio Turnpike this place has everything a band like ours is thirsty for. A giant stage, plenty of floor space for the fans and a dressing room right next to the stage! We had two opening bands in front of us so we got to work right away on setting up our show.
By 6 PM we were set up and sound checked. Everything seemed to be in perfect working order. After a quick meal in the restaurant section of the club we returned to the dressing room to relax for a bit before make up. I've mentioned this in a recent blog that it's always satisfying for us when we can set up our entire back line at a show. This is especially true when it comes to a club setting. During our sound check the opening two bands arrived. It became pretty clear to me right off the bat that they were a bit...uh, irritated maybe with how much room we took up on the stage. Nonetheless we were the headliners so the "opening band syndrome" was in full effect as far as we were concerned.
We were originally scheduled to perform from 9-11 but when we arrived the owner asked if we would mind moving our start time back one hour. He told me that he had advertised the show time at 10 PM even though our contract stated 9 PM. We really didn't see a problem with it and got down to business with our make up. The crowd began to grow and the opening bands did their best to do what it is that they do. By 10 PM we were pacing around our dressing room like animals in the zoo. A few fans began to gravitate towards the front of the stage and as the embers of Lenny Kravitz' "American Woman" dissipated into the club air we ripped it up with "Love Gun". We had heard that the crowds that had been supporting recent shows at this club were kind of lame but the one that stood in our face was anything but. They were loud and crazy and completely into what we were doing. During "Shock Me" Joe had to use a little bullying tactic to get his Les Paul to smoke at just the right time. When it finally ignited the smoke engulfed him like that of a sulfuric suit of smoke, billowing upward as he bounced the guitar off of his thigh. We did have some audio problems that made a few moments of the show hard for us to accept but like the Rolling Stones once said...it's only rock and roll but I like it. New York Groove was probably the lowlight of the evening for all of us. It just wasn't there. Out of tune guitars and missed harmonies were the culprits. But the crowd didn't seem to care. Classics like "Detroit Rock City" and "Black Diamond" served us well with enough bombastic fidelity to make any KISS fan punch their fist in the air.
Even though "Beth" was prematurely started I saw many fans slow dancing with someone they knew while Andrew did his best to bring the 1976 classic to life. As always we ended the night with "Rock And Roll All Nite". A good show is usually always gauged by the hopeful proclamation of "one more song, one more song". That was surely the case with Saturday night's crowd. But we knew enough to leave well enough alone. It's always better to leave them wanting more than leaving before the show is actually over. We'll be back to Stringz & Wingz again. I'm sure of it. Thanks to everyone that came out to see us. I want to thank everyone that wanted to come out but couldn't...we'll see you all once again very soon.
Blog Entry, 05.26.12 •
Our first festival performance of 2012 took us to New Straitsville, OH. Whenever I mentioned that it was the Moonshine Festival the reaction that I would get was always the same. Raised eyebrows and a chuckle thinking that we would end up crawling out of town after sampling too much of the festivals namesake. Sorry to disappoint you but your pre-conceived notions didn't come to fruition. We did however leave with a great memory of the staff that helped us and the crowd that cheered us on. So here we go.
A 3-hour drive from Cleveland thru Columbus and into New Straitsville brought us to the self-proclaimed "hillbilly town" that would be our home for a few hours. Sweltering temperatures baked the street where the stage was set. Our pre-show preparation had us all sweating well before the performance even began. Just setting up our lighted KISS sign had Joe and Danny soaked due to the restricting height of the roof over the stage. We were unable to use all of our stage props but somehow transformed the stage area into a variation of a KISS show within 90-minutes time. Our sound check was great. We ran through a couple of songs, you might even say "standards" for our sound check. They were "Hide Your Heart" and "Rocket Ride" along with "See You In Your Dreams". Everything sounded great so we removed our trailers from in front of the stage, tightened up a few things on stage and disappeared to our dressing room for the evening...the Mayors Office. Here we had air conditioning and some room to spread out. We had a light dinner, relaxed a bit and then began our make up process.
As dusk laid its shadow upon the street and time ticked away towards the show the crowd began to increase. I snuck a few peeks through the blinds to keep an eye on how things were progressing. At about 8:40 PM we were driven on a golf cart to the stage where a wide-eyed crowd began cheering at the sight of us. After a few announcements our intro CD began. I made friends with a few of the younger kids on my side of the stage by handing them guitar picks. I even posed for a few photos taken by smart phones rather than cameras. Andrew then unleashed four cymbal crashes as we unloaded our "Love Gun" into the muggy evening air. As is usually the case there was a feeling of awkwardness as the crowd began digesting what it was that they were looking at. This was diffused rather quickly and before too long the connection was made and the show took off. I'm not a betting man but my estimate had the crowd at 500 strong. They were loud. They were passionate and they were loving everything that we were giving them. All of the solos brought an increase in the crowds response. We didn't add anything new as far as songs to this show except for we replaced "I Want You" with "Do You Love Me"...a personal favorite of mine.
As we brought the show to an end the crowd was off the hook. We were told just before we started "Rock And Roll All Nite" that in the 42 year history of the event that no other act had commanded such a crowd as the one that we shared that night. That's an awesome fact for us to share. There's a lot of history in this small town and to know that our show packed the most people for any one performance is extremely satisfying. Afterwards we met with almost 100 fans for a meet and greet to the right of the stage. We sold out of all of our remaining merchandise. We signed everything from jeans to caution tape to scraps of cardboard. The response was overwhelming to say the least. So if this performance is any indication as to what we can expect from the crowds this summer we are in for one rock and roll party...everybody's gonna move their feet, everybody's gonna leave their seat!
Blog Entry, 05.14.12 •
Cedartown Performing Arts Center|
This wouldn't be a typical trip for us as we headed south to Cedartown, GA. In all of the years that we've been traveling this is by far the most miles put between us and home since 1994...by car that is. So by 7 AM we were on our way. There's not much to tell seeing as we spent pretty much the entire day in the car. What I can tell you is that we used a lot of gas, spent 2 hours rewinding through a detour outside of Knoxville, TN and didn't reach our destination until after 10 PM. Sleep was the first order of business after we arrived as Saturday would be a busy day.
On Saturday we met up at 12 noon with Shawn, our contact for the day and began a short PR trip on our way to the Performing Arts Center. First up, believe it or not was a stop at McDonald's. You heard me...that McDonald's. The one with the golden arches. One of the local McDonald's was a big sponsor of our show and so we pulled into their lot and went inside to visit with the staff. Upon entering we found a giant poster of our show flyer behind the counter! Now I don't eat at McDonald's...ever...but it was cool to see our image on display there. So we grabbed a few photos and even signed the poster for the manager. After leaving the McDonald's we went across the street and grabbed lunch and then proceeded to the Arts Center for
the remainder of the day. We didn't have far to go and before we knew it we were unloading the show on to the stage. We had lots of extra hands helping us to move our gear into the facility so everything went very quickly. Unfortunately, we ran into a huge time delay with the sound crew that day. For whatever reason there was some confusion about miking the drums and whether or not we needed monitors for our vocals. Forgive me but I've been doing this for some time and these are two key elements in making a band sound their best so I'm not sure why the guys on Saturday found it unusual that we were adamant about both. After over 2 hours we finally got our sound check. We ran through "Hide Your Heart", "Rocket Ride" and "Watchin You". After we were through we fine tuned a few things on the stage and then grabbed a quick bite to eat across the street. Back inside each of us took some time to kind of relax before we began the make-up process. There was an opening band on the bill, Mr.Meanr (If you think about it it really sounds like "misdemeanor"). They played a short 45-minute set to get the crowd warmed up.
By 7:45 PM we were making our way to the stage. I paced around on stage left making sure that all of my things were in order. Joe joined me shortly thereafter. Andrew and Danny weren't far behind. By 8:15 PM we were ready to go and the rhythmic assault of "Love Gun" was soon piercing the Arts Center air. A crowd of about 200 people had joined us for the show. It was far less than what we expected and even hoped for but I'll take nothing away from them...they were loud! Our back line looked great on stage. With everything that we had been through in sound check everything seemed to come together as the show progressed. We pulled out all the stops. Of all of the songs that we performed we felt that "Hide Your Heart" and "I Was Made For Lovin' You" were two of the standout tracks that night. Joe filled the stage with smoke during "Shock Me" and Danny showered the stage with blood before "God Of Thunder". I went back to 1984 with a little of my intro to "Black Diamond", recalling Paul's intro on the Animalize Live Uncensored video that was shot in Detroit.
As the show came to an end we pulled the crowd close to us and fed off of the energy. Of course we ended with "Rock And Roll All Nite" and those in attendance were pressed against the stage with their fists in the air. Afterwards we met with a small number of fans for photos on the stage. Each one of them had something very nice to say to us and most appreciated that we made the trip to play for them. We're not sure if we'll be back in Cedartown but if those that were there have anything to say about it...we will.
Blog Entry, 05.06.12 •
Our second trip to Wilmington, Ohio this weekend was more than a labor of love to pull off. Many of you will never know exactly what goes on behind the scenes with many of our shows. You merely see the end result, the show. From time to time there are demons that show themselves and really push us to see how badly we want to put on a show. Saturdays show was one for the books. But I'm only going to tell the good parts...that makes for better "copy" as they say, right?
The Murphy Theater is a classic, character-filled venue that was built in 1918. We were thrilled to add our name to the list of acts that have stepped onto it's stage. Our load-in and set up took the normal 90-minutes to accomplish. However, the stage hands were caught a little off guard by our stage set up and were somewhat unprepared to handle a few of the requirements that we find to be simply "normal". Some time had past before we were ready to give a few songs a try. We ran through "Snowblind", "Hide Your Heart", "Love 'Em & Leave 'Em" and "Black Diamond". Cautiously we agreed that things were to our liking and we descended to the dressing room area beneath the steeped history of "The Murphy". Each of us set up in our own room. With the age of the building some of the normal luxuries such as lighting were a challenge especially when it came time to apply our make up. But we soldiered on and finished about 7:15 with show time minutes away.
We changed things up a bit with the opener for this show having replaced "Detroit Rock City" with "Love Gun". We entered from stage left, which was reminiscent of KISS' Rock the Nation Tour. The crowd was intense to say the least. The show was moderately sold in my opinion but those that were there provided plenty of enthusiasm for our efforts. More people at this show had never seen us before, a small percentage had seen our previous performance in September just a few blocks away. There were fans of all ages in attendance, some even did their best to arrive wearing make up of their favorite KISS member. The crowds response to each and every song was extremely heartfelt and we fed off of it. Our adrenaline was pumping for sure as the first set wore on. We called out the doctor and ended the first half of the show with "Hide Your Heart"...a personal favorite of mine to perform.
During our intermission we met with many of the fans in the lobby for photos, autographs and merchandise sales. We'd like to thank everyone that helped to support our band by purchasing a t-shirt, band photo, cup or simply wanted to take a photo with us.
The second set picked up right where the emotion of the first set left off. Emotion was not in short supply during this show. Each one of us was pouring our hearts into our performance and the crowd was paying us back. Their was a distinct feeling in the air during the show that a connection between the band and the crowd was definitely being made. The majority of the second set consisted of "Deuce", "Shout It Out Loud", "War Machine" complete with an impromptu drum solo from Andrew prior to the song beginning. "Beth" and "Black Diamond" brought the crowd to their feet for the climactic "Rock And Roll All Nite" which traditionally ends every one of our shows. After the show concluded we once again met with many of the fans in the lobby for more photos, autographs and t-shirt sales.
As we loaded out just prior to midnight one of the stage hands passed along a comment from one fan that attended the show. He told me that when the individual entered the room he stopped, listened and asked if we were using tapes to create the music that he was hearing. After learning that the only pre-recorded music accompanies "Beth" he said "they sound incredible". Enough said. The show was simply a rock and roll party...MR.SPEED-style.
Blog Entry, 04.22.12 •
Front Row Bar & Grill|
After what seemed like forever since we were last on stage together we met up again last night at the Front Row Bar & Grill. So much has happened since the turn of the year and yet this is only our second show. This room has lots of demons, so to speak, working within so each time in is an experience.
Having played here for a few years now we pretty much know what to expect. The stage is small and cramped. There is very little room to move and somehow we manage to make the limited amount of space resemble a KISS show. The dressing room is directly behind the stage, a storage room for the overflow of alcohol and condiments that stand waiting for the call to the big show. As usual our sound check was time spent working out the kinks in the sound system and playing through a few tunes to warm up. As we prepared with our make up the low din of conversation began to build. By the time we hit the stage shortly before 10:30 PM we were pleased to see a very good crowd waiting for us.
Remember earlier I mentioned the "demons" within the club? Well one presented itself during the very first song and knocked out the lighting that was illuminating the stage. So we stopped momentarily as the problem was looked into. Before long we were back on track with "Deuce" and then into "Shout It Out Loud". Tonight presented the second opportunity for us to perform "Rock And Roll Over" in its entirety. We've been struggling with this concept in as much as we're not sure that it's being received the way that we really feel that it should. To be honest there are so many good songs on that record that should be performed we merely feel confused by the reaction of the two crowds that have heard it so far. Towards the end of the first set we mixed in a few more well known tracks such as "War Machine" and one that we've rarely played "I Was Made For Lovin' You". Mercifully the first set came to an end. By that I mean that we were having quite a few monitor issues and performing mostly in the dark had our emotions a little amped up. We needed a break.
The second set got off to a great start with "Detroit Rock City" and things just seemed to right themselves from the start. The sound and lighting issues were gone and it was a really good set. Sweat dripped off of us as if the temperature outside had risen to an unprecedented height. Each song began to take hold of the crowd. A few had left by this time but those that remained were transfixed to the stage. We added a new track from Ace's 1978 solo album with "Snowblind". The reaction was curious at best but for us it was great fun to play something new. "Hide Your Heart" and "Cold Gin/Strutter" were solid as well. With time running out we managed to add "Parasite" for one fan that has been coming to see us for years. He asked me during the break if we would play it and to me it was an easy request. In the end the show tried to jump the tracks early on but we managed to stay committed to giving it our best and I feel that we succeeded.
So even with fans crawling on stage to grab guitar picks, the lights blowing fuses and the monitors sounding like they were submerged in mud we finished the show. Not the best performance by our standards but then again you're only as good as your last show. Thank the rock and roll gods that we've got a few more chances this year to get it right.
Blog Entry, 03.15.12 •
KISS by Monster Mini-Golf Grand Opening|
We arrived in Las Vegas on Wednesday evening around 7 PM. Soon after we were checking into RUMOR, our swanky home away from home for the next 2 days. After check in we walked across the street to grab dinner and then it was off to bed.
Thursday morning we woke up to an absolutely beautiful blue sky and warming temperatures that would reach into the low 80's. We had breakfast and made our way to the site which was right next door to our hotel. Preparations were still underway inside but we snuck in to catch a glimpse of what was in store. There was a vintage KISS pinball machine.
There were mannequins with costumes on and concert photos on the walls. But the coolest most eye-catching prop was a giant fish tank surrounded by mini Marshall amplifiers! Inside of the tank was a giant KISS logo! Now that's not something that you see everyday. We milled around outside in the parking lot while the stage was being constructed. Eventually we met up with the sound crew for the day and put a plan together to prepare for our show. We soon found out that it would be some time until the gear that we would be using would arrive so we went back to our hotel and started our make up preparation.
Around 12 noon I received a call from one of the stage hands and he asked me "how many guitar amplifiers do we need"? What? For a split second I thought he was kidding...but he wasn't. This is shocking due to the fact that I needed to submit an equipment list three weeks in advance of the show which itemized everything that we would need. I followed up to make sure that our needs would be met but my messages were never returned. Funny that I didn't see the writing on the wall. Only one guitar amplifier was delivered and it would be another hour until a second one would arrive. We were set to go on stage at 2 PM. Thankfully we started our make up when we did. When the second amp finally arrived we played
through a few songs which all sounded really good. Things seemed to be back on track. We went back to our hotel to finish our make up and get ready for our first set. Back on stage the crowd that had gathered was anxious for us to begin. With another slight delay behind us we opened the show with "King Of The Nighttime World". This set would be shortived. Only four songs in we were asked to stop. The reason...a film crew was inside and KISS were being filmed for something and they couldn't have any noise while filming was going on. So we had to stop. Our next set was due to begin at 4 PM. So we once again found ourselves passing time. We entered the building to hopefully see the band who were in the middle of a Q and A session. We couldn't even get close.
After the Q and A we moved a little closer but to no avail. Before we knew it we needed to be back on stage for our second set. So we ripped into "Modern Day Delilah" and everything seemed to be right again. Until we were told that more filming was now taking place inside and we had to stop. What was going on? So we took some of the time to meet with fans but by this time we were a little frustrated so I decided to slip away to my hotel room to relax a bit. Our next set was scheduled for 6 PM. Sitting in my hotel room
I received a phone call telling me that the other three guys just had their photo taken with Doc McGhee. So I put myself back together and made my way back over to the facility. Once inside it was hard to move. So many people had arrived and the band were spread out throughout the building signing autographs. We ran into our friend Keith for a brief moment. We thought that maybe we could get some time with the band but it wasn't to be. We waited for a short while until of all people Eric Singer approached us. He looked at me and asked why we were standing here when we should have been playing. We told him that we thought we might have a chance to meet Paul but it wasn't to be. Eric said he felt that we should not wait around any longer and go play.
He was right. It wasn't meant to be so we headed back to the stage. Once on the stage the frustration of the entire day seemed to manifest itself in our playing. We opened our third and final set with "Detroit Rock City" and never looked back. Each song seemed to flow from us and the stage with an intensity that was nurtured through missed opportunities.
By this time things were winding down inside and we had heard that the band would be leaving soon. We had hopes that they would at least hear us as they left. The parking lot was cooling off now that the sun was setting and the biggest crowd that we had all day was waiting for our last set.
Each song felt better and better as we rolled along towards the end. Halfway through that final set we brought a young girl named Alexey up on stage decked out in her best Peter Criss outfit. She climbed up behind the drums and led us through "Strutter" and "Do You Love Me". The crowd loved her. She has a ton of talent for an eight year old rocker. Andrew then rejoined us for the remainder of the set. All of a sudden through a back door in the building the band appeared. First it was Paul, then Tommy and then Eric. I never saw Gene leave. They climbed into two stretch limousines but for some reason did not leave. We later found out that they could not locate the driver of one of the cars. So for a few songs at least I know that KISS was listening to us perform.
As we got to our last two songs "Lick It Up" and "Rock And Roll All Nite" we noticed that Doc McGhee was standing on the side of the parking lot watching us. With a big smile. We pulled the crowd as close to the stage as possible and let everything out of the cage for the finish. As the song was coming to an end I spoke to Doc and told him that he was watching a band that truly believes in what it does. I told him that I hope he and everyone else enjoyed what we had done and that we were thankful for his efforts in helping to keep KISS going for all of us to enjoy. He smiled and gave me two thumbs up. We were told that he really enjoyed us as a band and apologized that we couldn't spend any time with KISS.
As the show came to an end we quickly broke down our gear and disappeared into the shadows. We got cleaned up back at the hotel and by the time we returned later that evening the stage was completely gone and so was the crowd. The dust had settled and the grand opening was now a memory. Bittersweet but one that we are proud to say that we were a part of...at least for a while.
Blog Entry, 02.19.12 •
UNBELIEVABLE! I don't know what else to say. Last night at the Sly Fox in N.Olmsted was beyond our expectations. I knew something was blowing in the wind when we came out to do our sound check and there was pretty close to 100 already in the room. This was over an hour before we even were scheduled to go on! What really surprised me was the number of kids with their faces painted like their favorite KISS member. I came to find out later in the evening that they along with their parents drove in from Columbus, Ohio! That's pretty cool. I'm also aware that we had fans from as far away as Buffalo, NY and Toledo, Ohio make the trip too. Please don't tell me that there isn't a connection between what we're doing and how it's impacting you as fans...that would be a tough sell. Let's talk dirt...
We made the "Elvis walk" at about 10:15 PM. I can remember one other time at the Sly Fox when we had to fight through the crowd to get to the stage and tonight definitely beat that. I literally had to hold on to fans so that I wouldn't trip as I made my way through. Once on the stage I was then overwhelmed with an impressive increase in temperature that was embracing the room. It may have been cold outside but it really was heating up inside for sure. So with a new year comes a new intro CD. This year it's Lenny Kravitz "American Woman" and Ozzy Osbourne "Over The Mountain".
This was the first show at which we were performing the entire "Rock And Roll Over" album...every song. It may not have been received as well as we would have hoped but it was a great challenge nonetheless. We started with the original audio recording of the television commercial to kick it off and then when right into "I Want You". I really enjoyed performing "Love 'Em & Leave 'Em". That's become a favorite of mine. I'm sure that we'll get better with the routine of playing the album at each show as the year goes on. The first time is always the most challenging and I felt that it was a good change and that we handled it well. The first set ended with a few of the more well known tracks like "Shout It Out Loud" and "Black Diamond".
The second set was nothing but the hits...for the most part. We didn't lose very many people during our break. It was quite difficult at times navigating through the mass of fans but I tried to accept it for what it is. One fan that I've seen at quite a few shows told me that they were almost
denied entry into the club because of the number of people that were already inside! I wish we always had that problem. I was thrilled to know that they did get in and seemed to be enjoying the show immensely. Another of my favorite tracks is "Crazy, Crazy Nights". That is always a lot of fun for me to play. The usual tricks were played out as Joe's smoking guitar ignited and cracked presenting a billowing cloud of sulfuric smoke into the faces of those in the front row. I'm pretty sure that Danny even projected a few splatterings of blood onto a few in the very front as well prior to "God Of Thunder". All in all we felt that our first full show in a few months couldn't have gone any better.
The crowd, the heat, the passion, the support, the energy, the memories...cannot be faked. The best KISS tribute band in the world showed up and was welcomed by the best KISS fans in the world. Together we created an unstoppable force last night at the Sly Fox.
Blog Entry, 02.02.12 •
Typically we would just be leaving a club show or arriving back at the hotel at 2:30 AM but this was not your typical day. You see, we were appearing on the local Fox 8 News morning show and typical just didn't apply. So only after a few hours of broken sleep we were up and on our way to the station by 4:30 AM. Hot off of our dream win in Las Vegas a few days earlier we were a little anxious to tell our story and jam a few KISS tunes for good measure. Once we arrived we unloaded what we were able to fit on to the floor of the studio that would be our home for the next few hours. We really scaled things back but still were able to give the illusion that a KISS style show would be taking place.
The entire time that we were setting up the live newscast was going on only a few feet away. Normally we wouldn't be too concerned about making noise while setting up. But this time we had to do things very quietly so as not to disturb the anchors at work. Periodically we would have a minute or two to check the drums or a guitar. Once everything was in place we went to our dressing room and began to apply our make up. Space was at a premium so I
chose to head down the hall and use a bathroom as my own private dressing area. This proved to be an efficient move as I was done in under an hour. However, once I made my way back to the dressing room I soon discovered that I had left my bodysuit behind at home. So we platooned our only option...that being Tina to make the trip back to get it. Originally we were given 5 spots with which to perform but my absentmindedness eliminated one of those spots very quickly. So just after 8 AM we made our way to the set.
We got a few levels set with the sound engineer and waited for our cue to perform. The way it works is they give you a time limit, say "30 seconds" and we get ready. Then someone tells us to begin playing and then the cameras come back "live". Our cue to stop would be the same person lowering their hands and we would come to slow and grinding halt. They asked us to perform a few of the more well known KISS songs to ensure that their audience would enjoy what they were seeing and hearing.
We did bits of "Detroit Rock City", "Calling Dr.Love", "Shout It Out Loud" and "Rock And Roll All Nite". What's crazy is that we spent more time setting up than we actually did playing. It didn't matter however. The five minutes of "air time" is priceless and the response from our fan base has been tremendous.
We finished just before 9 AM. A few of the people on the morning program wanted a photo with us afterwards which we obliged. Then it was off to the dressing room to remove our make up and then load out. We really enjoyed the brief experience and were told that the producers at the station were thrilled with our appearance. As with every one of our shows we hope that something else will come to us as a result of appearing on their program. If not, it was still fun for us and something that we won't soon forget.