Blog Entry, 12.22.13 •
Slim & Chubby's|
Another year of performing came to an amazing close last night on a soggy, rain soaked unseasonably warm night in Strongsville, Ohio. Rolling into Slim & Chubby's while the neighborhood streets and homes were flooding in the immediate area we unloaded our show one final time and hoped that the elements wouldn't keep the fans from coming out. We were excited about our last show in a year that has been more than eventful for us as the months peeled off of the calendar.
As we joked around and kept the attitude light a few fans began arriving in time to catch our sound check. We ran through "Take Me" and "Shout It Out Loud". After the check was complete we sat and talked about a few things that we needed to pay some attention to and then ascended to the clutter filled room that we've used as our dressing room for years now. While we apply our make up we can hear if the crowd is growing larger basing that on the amount of noise that we can hear through the floor. By the time we made our way to the stage by weaving our way through the crowd it seemed like a moderate amount of people braved the elements to come out and rock with us. Once on stage the crowd swelled to almost near capacity and I'm not sure where they came from. We really let it all out knowing that it would be a few weeks before we would start our new year with our first show in late January. There weren't any unusual suspects in our set list as we concentrated on our normal set but we played it with what I felt was really good emotion. What I found to be curious was that Danny, Joe and I all had trouble with lyrics at different points in the show. The crowd stayed with us the entire night. The rock 'n roll animals that remained until the very end made us proud and we left the stage satisfied and a little bit better than when we had arrived.
To every fan that supported us throughout this past year we want to thank you. It doesn't matter to us whether or not you saw us once or more than once you are the reason that we are here. So let's wave goodbye to 2013 and get amped up about 2014. We're already booking shows at a fevered pitch and heading to Columbus, Ohio in two weeks to secure even more. Not to mention our "live" television appearance on AXS TV on April, 21, 2014 from Hollywood, CA. Have a safe and healthy holiday season and we'll see you all again in 2014.
Blog Entry, 12.08.13 •
Front Row Bar & Grill|
Icy, bitter cold was the order of the day and night as we rocked the Front Row Bar & Grill last night. This was our second to last show of the year. It's days like these that make us realize how much we take for granted when we can load-in and load-out with relative ease. As always the end result is one that makes us feel fulfilled and proud of the work that we accomplish. The frigid temperatures only slowed us down, never capable of stopping the machine that just keeps rolling.
These club shows as we call them are a work out for all of us. We play longer than a normal festival if you will and yet set up less than half of the gear. Tonight was no different in that we needed to add a few extra songs to the show in order to maximize the amount of time that we were on stage. At first the crowd was far less than what we expected due to the Ohio State, Michigan State football game but as the game drew on the crowd got better and better. So we added "2000 Man" and "War Machine" along with "Take Me" and "Rocket Ride". Fans were shouting out that we play something from "The Elder" and we would've loved to play "The Oath" or "I" but it just didn't happen.
We'll see how our new year unfolds. We have great things to look forward to and if it's meant to be we'll be back at the Front Row sometime in 2014.
Blog Entry, 11.30.13 •
Rodeo Music Hall, Austintown, Ohio|
There are some great areas surrounding our hometown of Cleveland that we can't seem to crack for some reason. This year however we've been able to kick the door open in the Youngstown, OH area with shows in Warren, Ohio this past summer and last weekend in Austintown, Ohio at the Rodeo Music Hall. Now I know what you're thinking...that sounds like a country bar. You would be right. Tucked back into the corner of a shopping plaza the Rodeo Music Hall is a great room where there isn't a bad seat in the house. The stage is close to 5' off the ground and the ceiling is close to 25' above the floor. Two bars are placed on the dance floor with a balcony upstairs in the back that doubles as the sound board area as well as a VIP seating area too.
The load-in process was quite a task. We needed to bring everything in through the front door and across the dance floor and up a flight of stairs onto the stage. The dressing room was a side bar that was lacking heat of any kind. Keep in mind the temperature outside was in the 30's last Friday night. But aside from these minor annoyances we really loved performing at this venue. The staff was great and the two opening bands were respectful and good people to hang with.
A crowd of just over 400 were in attendance which for our first time in I felt was very respectable. It's certainly something that we can build upon in 2014. We played a two hour straight set with everything you know and love about a classic KISS show being represented. The only unusual track of the entire show was "Outta This World" from Monster. The crowd was very receptive to us. They didn't discriminate in age either. There were young children and older fans just the same rocking right along with us. It was very unique performing on a stage that was set up so much higher than what we're used to. The vibe was one like that of a real rock show that we've all attended but this time we were the main act. Venues like this are a rare gem and we are excited about building upon our first trip in for next year.
Overall I felt that we played well and the crowd was very much into our performance. We met with a small group of fans afterwards to swap stories, take photos and sign a few photos. Thanks to everyone that came out to support our show and we'll look forward to bringing our steel horses to the Rodeo Music Hall in 2014 with a brand new show.
Blog Entry, 11.07.13 •
Will Call - Miami, FL|
What could be better? A beautiful blue sky and 85* was the order of the day as we rolled into downtown Miami. But our sunny disposition was soon clouded by the vision of one of our trailers sitting behind the stage. Would be thieves tried to start their own KISS Tribute by attempting to break in to one of our trailers. Thankfully they gave up before they acquired anything that didn't belong to them. Frustrated, we used the emotion to get the work done that we were there to do. Piece by piece, prop by prop was carried to the stage and placed where it belonged. In an hours time we had most of the set up complete. We waited for the sound company to finish their end of the deal and by 1 PM we were ready to go with our sound check. We ran through "Rocket Ride" and "Calling Dr. Love" to get things to our liking. Then we turned the lead guitar spot over to Bob Kulick. We hadn't had a chance to rehearse with him and we needed to make sure that we were all on the same page. So Bob wanted to make sure that we had done our homework and we ran through "All American Man" and "Goodbye". With everything feeling pretty good we took in a quick lunch and then disappeared to begin our make up preparation.
Fans were arriving to gain admission to the event by mid afternoon and there was quite a buzz circulating the grounds outside of the club. Food was being prepared in the parking lot on giant bar b que pits and coolers were iced down with different types of beverages to keep everyone fueled for the evenings festivities. Sophie Tweed Simmons herself even made an appearance and greeted fans for a few hours prior to our performance. There were multiple prize give aways and other celebrity guests mingling with fans right up until we hit the stage.
Our show time was pushed up to 9:30 PM and we were delayed by fifteen minutes so at 9:45 PM we unloaded 10 months of preparation on to that stage. Within the set list that we had prepared were quite a few gems that we had been rehearsing up until that point. Fans had made donations to Sophie's charity "Sophie's Place" to have their favorite KISS song performed by us. Those 5 songs were "Danger, "I Was Made For Lovin' You, "Hate, "All Hell's Breakin' Loose" and "The Oath". We laced the set list with those five songs in amongst all of the other KISS classics that are a staple of each and every show. The fans loved the songs. Fans from all over the world were seeing us for the very first time. Many of them had told us that they follow us religiously on YouTube but had never seen us "live". It was great for us to meet these fans, many from all over the world. We met fans from Japan, Holland, Germany, England and Canada to name a few. We threw reminder bands into the crowd at different points in the show. They read "MR.SPEED Rocks Miami" on one side and "Kiss Kruise III" on the other.
The highlight for us was the opportunity to jam with Bob Kulick. Bob was originally in the running to be the lead guitarist in KISS back in 1973 but was overlooked for Ace Frehley. He also toured with Paul Stanley in 1989 on Paul's solo tour and recorded most of the guitar work that is heard on side four of KISS ALIVE II. This was a big thrill for us to be able to perform "All American Man, Larger Than Life, Lick It Up", "God Of Thunder" and "Goodbye". The fans loved it and so did we.
All in all the performance was one that brought us together as a band and gave us experience of performing in front of a true world-wide audience. We proved to ourselves and to them that we can stand on the big stage and rock with the best of them.
Blog Entry, 10.21.13 •
Quaker Steak & Lube|
Back again to Quaker Steak & Lube in Sheffield, Ohio this past Saturday night. Seasonal rain and winds weren't going to deter us from bringing our best show to the sound proof room as the last warm up show for our gig this coming Sunday in Miami. We took out quite a few stops with the set list including "The Oath", "Goodbye" and "Larger Than Life". During sound check we ran through "All Hell's Breakin' Loose" which actually sounded quite good. That will definitely make its first "live" appearance this weekend. Fans in both KISS tees and make up stood toe to toe with us for 2 straight hours as we performed countless KISS classics. We finished our two show run at this location with a very good show, lots of excitement built up for Miami and the promise of no end in sight for us as shows are being booked weekly with great things on the horizon.
Blog Entry, 10.15.13 •
The Sly Fox|
Back yet again to one of our favorite haunts on the west side of Cleveland, the Sly Fox. Always a good time when we roll into this place and we were hoping that this show would be just the same. Unfortunately for us the sound system in the room failed us with tremendous feedback and audio problems so this issue turned a long night of rock 'n roll into a longer night of frustration.
We realize that most people may not hear what we hear but it bothers us nonetheless. For those of you that may not be aware that is why we do a sound check. To make sure that any sound issues of any kind are worked out in advance and all that anyone hears is a great band playing great music. So for those of you that were aware and found this to make your experience with us less than what you were hoping for...we're sorry. I promise to have it worked out the next time we are scheduled to make an appearance there.
On the plus side we debuted a number of songs that we've never performed "live" before at this show. All in advance of our upcoming show in Miami we pulled out some real treats. Specifically we unleashed "Hate" from Carnival Of Souls for the very first time. A lot of work has gone into this song and it's without a doubt the heaviest KISS track that we've ever performed. Other rare tracks that we performed included "Danger" and "Larger Than Life". Back from the grave was "All American Man" which I believe that we did perform once or twice in the past. A few more are still in the wings but not quite ready for the local stage.
All in all it wasn't a bad show, we just wish that in our minds we didn't have to deal with sound issues. They can tend to bring you down as an entertainer and make for a long night. Over 30 songs were performed and still there were fans that wanted an encore. We must have done something right.
Blog Entry, 10.06.13 •
The ghosts of a rock 'n roll past couldn't scare up a big enough crowd for the Foundry in Lakewood, Ohio last night. Yet we took the stage and rocked for the 35 or so people that did come out well into the morning hours.
A room that once was graced with some of the heaviest names in metal is barely hanging on with it's spirited past but we dug up a few skeletons from the KISS graveyard to surprise those that came. With our pending performance in Miami just weeks away we have been working on 4 new songs just for that show. So we decided after sound check to add them into the set last night. First up was "Danger" from Creatures Of The Night. A high energy rocker from an album that too brought Kiss back from an early grave in 1982. Next up was "Larger Than Life" from KISS ALIVE II. This song still needs some work but we'll have it ready in time. Lastly we pulled off "The Oath" from Music From The Elder. What a great bonus to the show to add seldom if ever heard versions of KISS songs that should be heard more often. These were mixed in with all of the usual suspects from our standard set list. We even had time to throw in Dynasty's "2000 Man" to take things into outer space if even for a moment.
The show came to a close just around 1:00 AM. We cleared off the stage and packed up the show. We buried some good memories from our third time in this room...thanks to those that stuck with us and stayed to the end. You rock!
Blog Entry, 09.15.13 •
Slim & Chubby's|
Last night we took our show indoors for the first of our final run of gigs remaining in 2013. We were very used to our set length being 90-120 minutes but for this show that would change. So we added a number additional tracks to the set and got busy. Among he many additional songs added were "2000 Man" and up from the grave from the latest KISS release Monster was "Hell or Hallelujah". We didn't stop there. We also threw in "I Stole Your Love" for one fan that was relentless in his pursuit of hearing the song. Also back from the dead was "Shock Me" and "War Machine". All of these songs added color and a more diverse overall selection of songs that were performed and really kept us on our toes with our overall set list.
The crowd for the most part was made up of many fans that we've never seen before. Winning them over was of course important to us and we did it. As always when the fans faces are smiling back at us it's very gratifying. This show wasn't about selling merchandise or signing photos. This show was about getting back to what got us to where we are. This show took us back to the beginning when making a connection with the fans was what it was all about.
3-hours of classic KISS is by any fans standards a great night. We took the stage, created an energy and left the ashes on the floor for the next band to sweep up.
Blog Entry, 09.01.13 •
Rally in the Alley|
Everything fell into place for our final outdoor performance of 2013. We went unscathed through the entire season without having to cancel any performances due to weather and for that we're very grateful. With a number of Rally weekends falling victim to the elements we created a storm of our own this past Friday night with a packed house in attendance. Front to back and side to side we stepped on stage just before 8 PM and cranked it up.
The weather was incredible and being on a big stage with good sound and lighting enabled us to put the pedal to the metal. So many friends and familiar faces were staring back at us, waiting to take a trip through Kisstory...one song at a time.
From the opening riff of "Detroit Rock City" through "Strange Ways", "Outta This World" and "Hotter Than Hell" the all too familiar connection was made yet again between the band and the audience. Two young girls sat atop their fathers shoulders with their faces painted beautifully as Gene and Peter. Fans of all ages were pressed up against the stage. Other fans were on one side as well as the back of the stage clamoring to get a good view. To our credit we held the crowd for the entire night. I'm sure that even now you can still hear the crowds response during "Rock and Roll All Nite" whispering in the wind around the square in downtown Medina.
After the show we met with many fans wanting photos or autographs or both. Many had exceptionally nice things to say to us. Many were seeing us for the first time. Others were wanting us to know that we were giving them joy in ways that we couldn't imagine. Families come together and friends share moments that shape lives all because of our love for KISS. That's pretty magical.
As the crowd wandered off and all that remained was an asphalt wasteland littered with cups and cans I knew that we had won. We took our show up on to another stage and stared our reputation in the face like a bully in a playground. Once again the bully backed down and we showed him who was boss...classic KISS done in MR.SPEED style.
Blog Entry, 08.20.13 •
River Rock at the Amp|
So how could we top last nights show? By headlining the River Rock at the Amp Concert Series in Warren, Ohio that's how. What a beautiful venue. The
amazing weather would continue all throughout the day and into the night falling onto the bandshell where we performed in front of 3,000 people. What a feeling to hit the stage and Know that so many people were eagerly awaiting our arrival.
I'll be honest, they were a tough crowd. One
that typically sits in their chairs or seats and watches the emotion pour from the
stage. Well we gave them the emotion but we also got them out of their seats. It's easy to hide in the darkness if you're not right in front of the stage.
By the time the show was over we had them standing in the bleachers, on the lawn and in our face. What's even more satisfying for us is bringing our show into a venue like this. One that resembles a real rock show atmosphere and delivering the goods that make people love what you do. There was no denying that the ghosts of KISS tributes past were exorcised on that stage during our show.
Fan favorites and some seldom heard tracks rang into the summertime air. Two and a half hours after we started we closed the show with a thunderous
version of "Rock and Roll All Nite". A few days after the show was over we were still receiving emails from fans that were there. One woman told us that she had recently lost her job, was a single mother and hadn't had much good fortune come her way recently. But she took her son to the show and had a blast. She was able to forget her troubles for a short while and had vowed to make every effort to see us again. To us that's the power of music and a big part of why we continue to do what we do.
In summary, what an amazing past to weeks of shows. Six to be exact in the past thirteen days. Warren, Ohio was the cream on top of a very sweet run for us. We hope we can do it all over again next year.
Blog Entry, 08.17.13 •
Rockin' on the River|
So I had a little skepticism about how we would follow up our show on Wednesday with last night's show. Skepticism is overrated. We rolled into Cuyahoga Falls and found our stage lying in wait beneath a clear blue sky with no rain in sight. The staff at this event was top notch, from Bob Early on down. They made us feel like rock stars even if it was just for a brief moment in time. We took a simple sized stage and transformed it into a launching pad for a great moment in our history.
All of the normal proceedings were in full flight. A band meal, costuming and make up and even an impromptu appearance at a 50th high school reunion were in order just moments before we hit the stage. Once there the incredible crowd, many of them pressed right up against the stage were raring to go. Not even dead batteries in my guitar wireless system could stop us. Devan stepped in and changed them out like a member of the world's best pit crew. LED lighting was flashing and at times blinding us as we pulled the crowd in. Those who had never seen us before outnumbered those who had so we rose to the challenge. A short interlude after the first hour and we were right back on stage again.
This time everyone was in sync with each other and by the time the show was over we had transformed a small concrete slab draped with metal and wires into a slice of rock and roll heaven. Smiles were adorning all of the faces as we brought everyone to their feet during "Rock and Roll All Nite". We even had time to add "Hotter Than Hell" and "Firehouse" along with "Shock Me" into the set. We sold out of every bit of merchandise that we had with us and with another show tonight that's a good problem to have.
This was a great show. Here's to the show this evening...we've got to turn it up even more. We can do it and we hope that you'll be there to help us.
Blog Entry, 08.16.13 •
Parade of the Hills|
We rolled into southern Ohio on Wednesday afternoon for another show. The quiet, unassuming town of Nelsonville, Ohio would be our stage for the evening and another chance for us to improve upon our history.
We found a good size stage nestled in the parking lot of a local drug store. There was plenty of room for all of our bells and whistles. Everything was up and running by 4:00 PM and after a quick sound check we were ready to relax before the show.
A camper setup right next to the stage would serve as our dressing room. We completed our make up preparation by 8:00 PM and were anxiously pacing outside of the trailer as the sunlight slowly gave in to the cooling temperature of an unseasonably unique August night. Blasting our way through the standard KISS classics the crowd swelled before our eyes. This would be the largest opening night crowd in their festivals history...that's 64 years! From the very beginning we could sense that this town was hungry for something new and we were giving it to them right between the eyes. It sometimes seems surreal to me but I know when we're reaching the crowd with our performance and this would be another example of when that happened. There was a great energy in the air and by the time we unloaded "Rock and Roll All Nite" into the cool, crisp air we were all unified in the power of music once again.
A tremendous meet 'n greet followed with us signing fans clothing, photos, back packs and arms. A great night in Nelsonville to be sure. A great way to set up our weekend of shows back home.
Blog Entry, 08.11.13 •
Ah...the east side of Cleveland. Such a hit or miss part of town for our band. Last night's show was at a location that was familiar to us but by another name. A few years back we visited this place that was then known as Rock City. Now it's called Maracas. What struck me about this room is how clean it is. Its also a Mediterranean restaurant too. A unique combination to say the least.
The show was a good show for the most part. I was a little nervous about my voice going into the evening and my fears manifested themselves during our first set. I wasn't really hitting my higher parts as well as I am used to and I let frustration set in. The crowd was by all intents and purposes a good one, I'm guessing around 200 or so. That's pretty good for the fact that the club didn't utilize their social media to our advantage. Our set was a little longer than we had become accustomed to so we added "Watching' You". After a short break we stepped on stage for the second set. Typically we would have started with "Love Gun" but we dropped it in lieu of starting with "Deuce". To my surprise my voice came around a little better in the second set and where I thought I would have to back off of singing I still did my part. Songs like "Outta This World" and "Lick It Up" really didn't miss a beat.
This was our third show of the week with three more staring us in the face starting again this coming Wednesday. We're really working well with one another and hitting a stride that feels pretty comfortable. We did manage to abuse Danny with a hand held set of lyrics for "God Of Thunder". During our last show he found himself out to lunch when he began to sing the first verse of the song and proceeded to mumble words that we're not sure anyone had a clue as to what they were. Good fun nonetheless and another lesson learned to be sure...?
Next stop...Nelsonville, Ohio!
Blog Entry, 08.08.13 •
Mason County Fair|
Another hot summer night unfolded for us last night in Point Pleasant, WV. Set in a quiet West Virginia town we unfurled our stage set up once again to slay the rock and roll dragon that was the Mason County Fair.
Legend has it that Point Pleasant is also known as the home of "The Mothman". A movie called The Mothman Prophecies starring Richard Gere brought the story to the big screen some years ago. I won't dilute the facts surrounding the story, you can look it up yourself but the locals there accept the series of events as part of their history with somewhat of a quizzical grin. On with the show.
Another dirty field and another stage set upon it. This stage was huge. Capable of holding our entire back line and giving us ample room to move around. At 9 PM we began the show. A great crowd, I'm guessing close to 1000 if not a few more met us head on. The set was the same as with most of our recent shows. In the end the result was what we've come to expect from our crowds. We had made the connection between the stage and the crowd and those that remained up until 11:00 PM were rocking to the very end. A band like ours doesn't get the chance to visit this fair if at all. It's usually country from start to finish. We showed up, showed them that it's ok to rock and roll and by the time the show was silenced the mayor of Point Pleasant was making plans to bring us back again next year.
A meet 'n greet followed the show with many fans proclaiming their appreciation for what we gave them a short time earlier. With all due respect to the Mothman...there's a new legend being seen by the locals...the legend that is KISS done by MR.SPEED.
Blog Entry, 07.29.13 •
Shelby County Fair|
Another weekend, another county fair. What a summer we're having! Every week it just keeps getting better and better. Three short hours from home we landed in Sidney, Ohio. Beneath a white and yellow striped tent we set up shop and prepared to leave another county fair in ruins.
By 3:00 PM we were underway. Not long after everything was ready to go. A quick sound check followed by a home cooked dinner and then it was off to a local hotel to prepare for make up and costumes.
Show time was 8:00 PM so we got right to work. The fair president arranged to take us back and forth from the hotel in a limo which was quite nice. Until we got to the stage for the show and the other three left me cramped behind the drivers seat wedged in by their costume and make up crates. I'm glad they were comfortable. A few photos later and the show began. Usually I don't have anything unusual to write about but for this show I do. The crowd at this fair was amazing. Without a doubt the loudest crowd we have had all year. The nights crowning moment came when Andrew made his way to center stage to sing the KISS classic "Beth". I had retreated like I normally do behind my wall of amplifiers to catch my breath but I couldn't remain there. As he began singing the song the crowd grew increasing louder singing right along with him. I've heard this song performed many times but never with a response like this one. Truly a moment that has set the bar for all shows to follow.
Afterwards an amazing number of fans stayed to get their photo with us or grab a t-shirt or 8 x 10 to take home. As we ended the month of July with our performance at the Shelby County Fair we're smiling like a butcher's dog at the possibilities that await us in August...our busiest month to date.
Blog Entry, 07.28.13 •
A French KISS|
This past weekend Andrew and I traveled north into Canada to see KISS. Specifically we stopped in London, Ontario at the Budweiser Gardens for a Saturday night show as part of their 2013 Monster Tour.
This was a cool weekend to say the least having played a show of our own on Friday with MR.SPEED then seeing our favorite band KISS the next night. Once inside I was waiting to hear from my friend Keith Leroux with KISS. Keith and I had talked months ago about the possibility of doing something special if we did in fact make it to one of the Canadian dates. During the afternoon I began conversing with Keith about meeting up with him and it appeared as though something cool was about to happen.
Once inside I grabbed some merchandise and we made our way to our seats. The seats we had were really good, the last row of the first section on the floor. The opening act was Shinedown, another one of my favorite bands so this bill was a great one for me. Soon after their set began I received a call from Keith. I was taken backstage past the road cases and dressing room to an area that would be used for photos of the band with fans that had paid for the experience. At just about 8:30 PM I met up with Keith and I was added to the line of fans waiting to have their photo taken with the band. This was purely a surprise. So as I approached the band Eric shook my hand and said "hello". The others readied themselves and I turned between Paul and Eric and the image was frozen in time. From there I was whisked away by Keith to the stage. First stop was Eric's drum kit! I actually ascended the stairs and sat behind Eric's kit and met his tech Paul Bassett. Keith snapped off a few photos and we were on the move. Next stop, KISS' stage. Here I positioned myself next to one of the arms of "the Spider" lighting rig. A quick turn to my right and I was now a few feet behind Paul's microphone. I grabbed the mic and smiled as Keith continued to snap away the moments for me to remember. As I unclenched my hand from the mic I couldn't help but peel away one guitar pick from the stand as a souvenir. Now on our way down from the stage we stopped by Tommy's guitar rig and I posed with his array of Les Paul guitars. I met his tech who quickly threw Tommy's guitar strap across my shoulder as another image was captured. From there we ran behind the stage over to Gene's lair where his basses stood in a military pose awaiting his arrival. I met his tech Jason, posed with a few of the basses and then quickly moved back to an area just outside of their dressing room.
By this time most of the organized chaos that had consumed the backstage area only a few moments earlier had dissipated and a calmness was falling over those that remained. Within what seemed like seconds the dressing room door opened and out walked...Bruce Kulick! Talk about a weird moment to witness. I'm not sure why Bruce was there. Maybe Grand Funk was performing close by so he was able to make the show. I was then asked to stand off to the side as the band was now on its way to the stage. Keith and I stood together, chatting about this and that and there they were. First Gene then Eric followed by Paul then Tommy. Led Zeppelin's "Rock And Roll" was being pumped through the house sound system as Paul sang along just a few feet away. With 90 seconds to go the band readied themselves to hit the stage and away they went. The crowd erupted and it was cool to hear what the band hears as they climbed the metal staircase to continue their legacy.
With everything that was happening around me I didn't even hear their famous intro of "You Wanted The Best..." As the stage exploded with what seemed like an explosion at a fireworks factory I found myself watching KISS with Bruce Kulick on my right. That was surreal to say the least standing there with an ex-member of KISS while watching KISS perform.
So as my backstage experience was coming to an end I quickly made my way back to my seat for my 56th KISS show. What a way to remember the show. Thanks to Keith for giving me something incredible to remember. I'm grateful and proud to call him my friend and to be a member of the KISS Army...eh!
Blog Entry, 07.22.13 •
Perry County Fair|
Almost 3 hours south of Cleveland, amongst the rolling corn fields and narrow country roads sits New Lexington, Ohio. We rolled into town and more specifically the Perry County Fair just before the sun was at its hottest and it didn't let up. The temperature was over 95* at show time and I for one succumbed to the elements with my make up. A concrete stage sat 3' above the floor that was full of fans for our show. No stairs, no drum riser. Just our sign and dummy Marshall cabinets acted as the supporting cast to us as the main event.
Lately we've been hitting our stride with each performance. This show added to that string of success. Fans young and not quite that old enough were rocking with us. Sweat was the order of the day and lots of it. My bodysuit was still damp the following day when I removed it from my suitcase to wash it.
I asked the crowd if our kind of act was normal at their event to which they replied "no". They had never even seen a KISS tribute band before so we were setting the bar as high as we possibly could for anyone that dared to follow. Sure the heat took its toll on quite a few fans as the show wore on but in the end a strong contingent remained, giving it their all.
The standard set, the same result. We blew the aluminum roof off of thePerry County Fair. Rumors abounded that we will be brought back next year...we can only hope that they'll be ready for the show again. Nothing says a good time at a fair like moto cross, demolition derby and classic KISS.
Blog Entry, 07.14.13 •
LaPorte County Fair|
Cleveland to LaPorte is just under a 5-hour drive. Miles of endless asphalt stretched and curved out in front of us as "the unofficial" blue sky of rock 'n roll enveloped the horizon. Once in LaPorte we arrived at the massive stage set upon a dusty patch of land near the back of the fair. Our agent and sound crew whom we are meeting for the first time at this gig were top notch. All that was left was for us to set up the show and get ready to have some fun.
The midway was full of countless vendors selling everything fun and unhealthy that are staples of the environment. We took time to get lost in it for just a short while then it was time to prepare. We actually had about an hour to relax before our make up routine which is quite unusual. Fans began arriving an hour before the show. We hit the stage at a little past 8:00 PM. Over 800 fans from Chicago, South Bend, Lafayette and even Cleveland made the trip to see us. The typical apprehension between the stage and the crowd filled the air but was soon laid to waste as we unloaded our show on the crowd. The smiles on the fans faces were endless throughout the entire show. Danny's "blood routine", Joe's smoking guitar and Andrew's drum solo filled the cavernous space that we were sharing. Out for this show was "Hell or Hallelujah" being replaced by "Crazy, Crazy Nights" which we knocked out of the park. Great fun.
Once the amplifier hum was silenced and the show was being dismantled we met with an amazing array of fans at our merchandise tent. Countless photos and hand shakes made us feel even more connected to the crowd there in LaPorte. I do believe that we made believers out of many that were there that we are for real and we mean business. We'll hope to do it all over again next year...even better.
Thank you LaPorte!
Blog Entry, 06.12.13 •
Put-In-Bay...party central. You haven't lived until you've been to Put-In-Bay...or so I've heard. Those that aren't aware this place is an island near Cedar Point and everyone's heard of Cedar Point. The only way on or off the island is by ferry. So Joe and I packed up the show into my trailer for the trip. We arrived on the island mid-afternoon on Friday for our 2-day stint at the Boathouse. A scurvey looking joint that calls to mind the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow.
We brought more than we needed to for this weekend so we scaled down the stage even more from what we anticipated. Our dressing room was the attic of the venue. There we were, in the middle of the room nestled amongst the Christmas and Halloween decorations, the unused glasses, shelving units, ladders and countless spiderwebs overhead. Somehow we managed to emerge from all of that resembling KISS and hit the stage.
The highlight of Friday nights show was when two local girls decided that they wanted to be the center of attention...by requesting that we play Led Zeppelin. I would have loved to have heard some Zeppelin but not played by us. After two failed attempts to gain access to our stage they decided to let it rain so to speak with a fistful of one dollar bills. Now I'm sure most of you are thinking how cool this must have been. I on the other hand was not. After a brief interlude with the main culprit who I'm pretty sure couldn't tell me the names of the first four Led Zeppelin albums I told her that I would collect her money and give it back at the end of the show. Annoyed by my reaction she then summoned her employer who confronted me and asked why " I don't like it when girls throw money at me". I politely told him that I don't like it when others try to make themselves the center of attention at our shows. Not quite what he wanted to hear he vaulted himself up on to the stage and asked if "this was my first time at the Bay" to which I responded " yes". He replied " I hope it's your last". Aw...someone was angry.
After this break in the action we eventually did resume the show and finished in our normal fashion. Not quite what we had in mind but they did tell me that rock 'n roll ain't pretty or polite.
Saturday's show was more to our liking. Lots of people out just having a good time. We weren't going to let the the ghost of the night before scare us into having another haunted show so we exorcised that spirit quickly and let it rock. Our show time was cut back just a bit so we cut out three songs but still left in the guts of every MR.SPEED show. To our credit we held the crowd in a room where just one night before was not so easy to do.
After all was said and done we once again did what we set out to do. That is, give our very best under the circumstances and try to improve what we do along the way. Not sure if we'll ever traverse the waters of Put-In-Bay ever again but at least we can say that we did it once...and lived to tell the tale. Rrrrrrrrrrrr!
Blog Entry, 05.08.13 •
Following the huge success of our Wild Turkey Festival performance we rolled into Streetsboro, Ohio on Saturday night to once again rock the Z-Plex.
This room offers us the chance to set up our entire show, flexing our muscle a little more than we normally can in Cleveland area clubs. We blew the lid off of the joint at precisely 10:30 PM. This is a very big room but 450 strong gave us the energy to give it our best. A little longer of a set with the additions of "Rock Soldiers" and "C'mon and Love Me" had fans reliving memories of their first KISS experiences. One fan in particular told us how he had seen KISS the very first time they came to Cleveland. The following day he even sent me 5 photos from that first show at the old Cleveland Agora.
We ended the night with our usual meet and greet, chatting with fans and taking photos. We'll hope to return to the Z-Plex in 2014...unforeseen circumstances have cancelled our November 2nd date there.
Blog Entry, 05.08.13 •
Wild Turkey Festival|
Our first festival of 2013 took us to Vinton County and more specifically to MacArthur, Ohio for a Thursday night show. Fans packed the midway even before we took the stage. It was nearly dusk as we ascended the ramps onto the stage and took our places to let it rip. A barricade of yellow caution tape had been strewn across the front of the stage to prevent fans from getting out of hand. We took care of that right away. I explained to everyone that there was concern that things would get out of hand but all everyone really wanted was just to have some fun. And fun they had.
Nothing the likes of us had ever been a part of this event before and we were aiming to set the bar for anyone to follow. Fans in KISS t-shirts were scattered about. Many of the locals were not sure what to make of us at first but by the time the night was over we had converted the small town of MacArthur into a KISS wasteland.
Missing from the show was Danny's blood routine due to the concern over how some may have viewed its nature. But we made up for it by adding "Rock Soldiers" along with one or two other tracks that added to the frenzy. We even used the dimensions of the stage to set up our back line completely different from the way we normally do.
Afterwards it seemed like just about everyone wanted to meet with to say hello. We posed for photos and signed 8 x 10's for what seemed like an hour after the final notes were played. The evening was a complete success. We were even invited back next year before we had even played a note...that's pretty cool.
Blog Entry, 04.28.13 •
Front Row Bar & Grill|
Last night we were back in the Brook Park groove at the Front Row Bar & Grill. No strangers to this room we were bringing our Nothin' To Lose Tour back with a renewed energy. New ownership gave us a reason to be excited about this show, hoping to prove to another pack of KISS fans that we mean business.
All coincidences aside we paid particular homage to Ace Frehley's 62nd birthday with this show. "Shock Me" and fan favorite "New York Groove" rumbled from our amplifiers with "2000 Man" giving way to "Strange Ways"...a seldom heard Frehley-penned rocker. Everything that you would expect was there from the blood and the smoking guitar to new stand out tracks like "Outta This World" and "Hell or Halleujah" from their 20th studio release Monster.
As an added bonus we unveiled "A World Without Heroes" which missed the mark musically but told us where we need to go to capture the inner feel of the song for future performances. A packed house stood with us all night long. Mixed within were many newer faces that are sure to be staring back at us in the not too distant future.
We signed the hallway next to the stage, the first band to do so under the new regime and were proud to do so. We'll be back in December to melt the Front Row one more time.
Blog Entry, 04.15.13 •
Quaker Steak & Lube|
Tonight's show was a unique combination of hot wings and even hotter rock 'n roll. We transformed the brand new indoor setting into our own stage for the next few hours while KISS fans slowly assembled.
Confidently we started the show but had to hit the brakes after just one song. Unfortunately my Marshall amp decided to take the night off but quick thinking by Danny and Joe saved the day. Having to succumb to running direct instead of wireless hindered my performance a bit. Danny, Joe and Andrew picked me up and we slowly but surely won over the cautious crowd.
The set was classic and the crowd went from a slow simmer to boiling by the time the night was over. Many rose to their feet during "Lick It Up" and stayed there to the very end. We even had a young fan in Gene's make up and noise reducing headphones mesmerized by us right up front. Overall a good show, setting us up for our return in October.
Blog Entry, 03.27.13 •
Slim & Chubby's|
This past weekend was reminiscent of seeing an old friend. We took our show back to Strongsville, OH and Slim & Chubby's. It had been a year and a half since we were last there if not longer so we were curious as to how things would be for us.
Everything felt the same when we arrived and the stage even felt larger to us for some reason. So we set up and plugged in for our sound check. I warned the few groups of people that were there that we needed to run through a song or two and that we were sorry for any inconvenience. As we got about 3/4 of the way through "Outta This World" we were told to stop by a surprise birthday party that was there...REALLY? So with the abrupt end to our sound check we gathered our things and ascended to the upstairs loft that would act as our dressing room. Before too long we were once again morphing into our on stage characters and ready to hit the stage.
Right about 10 PM we hit the stage and the crowd was eager for the show to begin. We tore into all of the classics that you would expect. We really weren't firing on all cylinders right out of the box and we really weren't very comfortable with ourselves. It kind of felt as if something was working against us but we soldiered on. The only newer track that we played was the aforementioned "Outta This World" from Monster. I was struggling with my voice and we really weren't feeling good about things. But we knew that we needed to push the envelope for the fans that were there, especially the ones seeing us for the first time.
During our break we met up with a great number of really cool people. Everyone was really enjoying the show. The break seemed to energize us and when it came time to hit the stage for the second set we were a better band and ready to rock. Song after song seemed to work so much better and we held the crowd up until the very end of the show. "Lick It Up" into "Rock And Roll All Nite" capped off the night and we could finally call the show a success.
We'll be back to Slim & Chubby's before the year is over. Now we have something to build upon for the next show. We will see you there.
Blog Entry, 03.10.13 •
The last time we played at this venue it was called the Breakfast Club and it was two years ago. Now we were returning to the same place with a different name but the same great rock 'n roll vibe still intact.
We arrived with snow lightly falling all around and the temperature well below freezing. This always makes the load-in and out process more tedious because everything seems heavier for some reason when it's colder. We were scaling the show back due to the size of the stage but we had every intention of delivering the same energetic performance that you have come to expect. Sound check was brief but we ran through "Outta This World" off of Monster and "I Was Made For Loving You" to get things dialed in.
Oddly enough our dressing room for tonight was the very same room that we used back in the fall to record "Sure Know Something" as the basement of the Foundry is also home to Studio Hi-Fi. I forgot my mirror so Joe gladly let me use his while he and Andrew shared one to put on their trademarked KISS make-up designs. Just after 9:30 PM we hit the stage to a modest crowd that slowly swelled to roughly 150 by the time the show was in full gear. The usual tracks made the show along with "Hooligan" as an added bonus to the die-hards that wanted something a little left of center. The best part of the night was learning that quite a few fans had driven from hours away to see us. For us this really is the true testament of the power of KISS' music and maybe to some degree the level to which we reach our fans. Nothing really stood out about the performance to be honest. It was a good representation of our passion for KISS and those that were there were just as passionate about making their voices heard as well.
By the shows end we were told that we were being invited back for a return date this coming September. That's all the reward that we need to know that we once again took our show on the road and conquered yet another stage with our tribute to KISS and further cementing our reputation as the best...at least for one more night.
Blog Entry, 02.17.13 •
Old man winter tried desperately last night to put his stone cold grip on our first show of the year but to no avail. There was no way that the KISS Army was going to be denied even with the onslaught of snow and ice enveloping the small club right up to show time.
We used as much of the time between our last show of 2012 and this show to attack some new songs and get reignited for what we have in store this year. We opened the vault once again to rehearse some really cool tracks, some of which we've never even attempted. So we were excited about trying these songs in a live situation. It may have been bitterly cold outside but the temperature inside was almost tropical with the crowd that was there.
So we hit the stage right around 10:20 with "Psycho Circus" as our new opener, testing the waters with the first of our newly unveiled tracks. Beyond that we mixed in all of the classics that you come to expect but for us and we hope for you too a pinch of really cool tracks like "Rockin in the USA", "Hooligan" and "Outta This World". The latter in my opinion was a stand out track during the show and I believe that we'll keep this one in the set throughout the remainder of the year.
We really left nothing in the tank so to speak as we roared through the show. I felt the connection between the stage and the crowd which can never be beaten. We really want to thank our loyal fans that come out to see us religiously and an even a debt of gratitude to all of our new fans that came out. The true power of music was talking to fans that drove in from Detroit and Cincinnati to rock out with us...some traveling 7 hours to see our show...you all rock!