Blog Entry, 09.20.15 •
Bogart's - Cincinnati, Ohio|
Last night in Cincinnati saw us go back-to-back with headlining performances two weeks in a row. Bogart's was our home as we took our show to the Queen City, in a hall where the voices and melodies of shows gone by are still lingering. You could feel the ghosts of rock 'n roll spirits that I'm sure were energizing us for our very first show there. We arrived at 3:00 PM and by 6:00 PM we were set up, sound checked and ready to rock.
To say that you could cut the tension in the air with a knife would not be straying too far from the truth. There were multiple reasons that we were a bit edgy heading into the dressing room to prepare, one of them being what type of draw would we be. It's always important for us to make a better than average showing going into a venue for the first time. Through the ventilation system deep in the bowels of the basement we could hear the increasing clammer of fans settling in above us. Louder and louder their voices grew until 7:25 PM when we climbed the staircase that so many before us had done. An enthusiastic crowd of 500 plus were waiting...what a thrill. As our intro of Motley Crue's "Live wire" came to it's rocking end we unloaded our show once again into the eyes and ears of the unsuspecting. To be honest I felt that even though there were roughly 300 fewer people at this show they were louder than the previous weekend in our hometown of Cleveland at the House Of Blues. The stage stands a few feet above the crowd, guarded by a metal barricade with a security pit of 3'-4' in depth. Fans were pressed up against it, some more than likely getting bruised in the process to get a closer look. Musically we didn't change anything from the previous show, even adding a few songs such as "Hotter Than Hell" and "Firehouse" back into the set. I can attest that this Cincy crowd came out to rock and they love their KISS. Our stage set fit like a glove into this venue and the fans that were there complemented our performance with just the right amount of unbridled passion that KISS fans are known for.
Like every first date this one ended with a lip-quenching climax drenched in confetti too. One of our machines was missing a piece so we employed only one as "Rock And Roll All Nite" closed yet another rocking performance. Our meet and greet took just shy of an hour as we met with fans both old and new. Every one of them wasted no time in giving us their opinion of what they had just witnessed. On the way home however, we received an email from someone that felt qualified to criticize one member of the band and then be too weak to accept a response...pity.
In the end good triumphed over evil. We brought our love of KISS to Bogart's and dug our heels into the steeped history there. We will return...will you? We'll hope to see this room again, more than likely in 2016. By then we'll be another year older and another year stronger so that we can all share in our pride of the hottest band in the land...KISS!
Blog Entry, 09.13.15 •
House Of Blues - Cleveland, OH|
The machine just keeps on rollin'! Yesterday afternoon we pulled into the loading dock at the House Of Blues in downtown Cleveland for our first headlining show there. All of a sudden the weather has turned crazy with much cooler temperatures and lots of rain. But that still wasn't enough to keep almost 800 fans from packing the main room of this great venue. Upon arrival we learned that the roof had begun to leak the night before and not only was the floor flooded but the sound equipment used for each performance was unusable as well. So another system needed to be brought in and a local flood recovery company was already on sight drying up the floor in order for the show to go on.
This show was largely made possible for us by our good friend Pete Menyhart. A member of the House Of Blues he has been lobbying for years to get anyone there to give us a shot. Last night was that chance. We were also working with Wanted, a Cleveland based tribute to the music of Bon Jovi. So both bands were set up and ready to go by 6:30 PM with the doors opening at 7:00 PM. I felt a bit of added pressure with this show in that I wanted to make sure that we gave it our all and showed the corporate world of live entertainment here in Cleveland that we're worthy of shows like this.
Of course we used our entire set up on this stage. Unfortunately, we weren't able to employ our vertical fog machines as most fog machines in general have a tendency to cause issues such as turning on the overhead lighting as crazy as that sounds. Joe's smoking guitar was even kept in its case as there was a problem with what it might set off when ignited. Plenty of KISS and MR.SPEED tee shirts were proudly on display and even a few fans took the time to add the make up of their favorite member to their face for the show. We hit the stage running with the ferocity of a '75 Corvette and tried not to take our foot off of the accelerator. Two songs were swapped out for this show with "Hotter Than Hell" and "Firehouse" making way for "Strutter" and "Do You Love Me". Each of the solo segments were shortened due to the length of the show having to run concisely due to time limitations with the venue. The crowd was unmatched with tremendous applause ringing out after each and every song. The confetti storm at the end of "Rock And Roll All Nite" lit up the faces of everyone in the room. Both the band and the audience were showered with thousands of strips of paper as the song drew to its climax.
As always we were greeted by quite a line of fans in the lobby for our meet and greet. Some fans were seeing us for the very first time and some for only their second. It didn't matter to us how many times they've been to a show. Last night's cherry poppin' performance lit the wick on a fuse that we plan to keep flickering for some time. This is a town that wants to sink its teeth into great live rock and roll. Thank God we're a band that believes we have what it takes to get the job done. Thank you Cleveland for being there for us when we needed you...let's do it again real soon.
Blog Entry, 09.06.15 •
Rally In The Alley|
We woke up on Friday morning to the first rain we've had in the area in a few weeks...figures. Of course our show tonight at the Rally in the Alley concert series would be outside so we were
concerned. So as the morning wore on the rainy skies gave way to another beautiful umbrella of rock 'n roll blue and we made the most of it.
With every show we need to complete a sound check, making sure that everything on stage is working properly. We knew we were in for a great night when a Medina police cruiser pulled up to the stage as we were running through "Shout It Out Loud" and they asked us to stop.
This show was going to be a bit longer than what we've been used to throughout our year long tour so far. By that I mean that we were going to have to play a bit longer than we have at many of our shows. This adds a unique dynamic since we only have so many songs prepared to perform "live" at this point. We are talking about the ones that we want to add and even working on them when time permits but typically we don't perform anything unless we feel its ready to be unleashed. We hit the stage at just past 7:30 PM with a really good crowd waiting to rock out with us. By the time the show was in full flight we had once again pulled in one of the biggest crowds of the entire summer. The entire parking lot was jammed packed. Young kids in the front had their faces painted as their favorite KISS members, some were even on their parents shoulders to get a better view. With each song that we performed the crowd grew bigger and bigger. At 9:00 PM we took a short break which every act is asked to do at this event. Before the band starts again the crowd is asked to sing the Star-Spangled Banner as a salute to the US Military. Now I've seen a handful of these events over the years and been privileged to have been a part of a few as well. Never have I heard a crowd sing so loudly and represent themselves so proudly as I did on Friday night...it was truly inspiring and I'm proud to say that it was our crowd!
The second set was going to be a challenge for us since we needed to fill up a bit more time to make it all the way to 11:00 PM. We started with a bang by performing "Love Gun" and then immediately slowed it down with one that we pulled out of the vault. The guys asked me if I could do "Shandi" off of Unmasked on my own so not wanting to disappoint them or myself I did just
that. I'm not sure that many people knew the song but I didn't have anything thrown at me so I'd say that it was a success. We also added two other tracks to the second set, those being "Parasite" and "Mr.Speed". In true fashion the show came to a climactic end with our confetti launchers blowing a snow storm of confetti down on the crowd. The air was filled with fog and our KISS sign was a beacon of everything that had united us all in the common bond of classic KISS rock and roll for this one night. We really do love being a part of this event. We love that we can help the fans and the community bring summer to a rocking end with our tribute to KISS. We'll look forward to being invited back in 2016 and if we are you can bet that we'll grab Medina by the throat and give them what they're thirsting for...a big wet KISS.
Blog Entry, 09.01.15 •
Warner Park Amphitheater |
Are you kidding me? What an amazing trip this was for us. I challenge any one in a band to not get goosebumps being associated with an event like this. There is so much to talk about and so much to say but I'll do my best to condense it here for time's sake.
An early AM flight on Friday took us to LAX and the start of our weekend preparing for our show at the Warner Park Amphitheater in Woodland Hills, CA. Our hotel was right next door which made it super convenient on the day of the show. The weather was incredible and being amongst the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles for two days was an intense experience to say the least.
Show day arrived and we rested up a bit in the morning by grabbing coffee at the Starbucks in the lobby...what a blessing. Each one of us took time to do something different with the little bit of time that we had before we needed to get to the venue. Once we made our way there we were amazed at how much time and effort had been devoted to creating a KISS style atmosphere on stage. There were stacks of amplifiers and staircases engulfed in lights. Our KISS sign was prominently displayed above the drums and flame throwers were being positioned to light up the night sky. The staff and crew on hand that day were second to none. Some even told stories of days gone by working on the Revenge Tour with KISS in 1992! Being so far from home and out of our comfort zone we soon realized that we were in the best of hands and our extended family had just grown by leaps and bounds. Every effort was made to see that every detail leading up to our show time was taken care of. By 4:00 PM we were done with our sound check and preparing to put on the war paint in our dressing room. This facility was one that makes all of the others pale in comparison. I mean to say that we really felt like a professional band. There was catering and a green room and amenities that most places do not have to offer us. So when we get to a place like this it makes all of the hard work and sacrifices that we make so much more worth it.
Once we were in our battle gear we sat down with Mark DiNatale, an area videographer who was putting a story together on tribute bands. We set up in our dressing room and he asked us some questions regarding what its like in the tribute band world along with questions about our fanaticism for KISS. We hope to have that available soon so that we can share it with you on our web site.
Show time was finally here and we took our places on stage in front of 5,000 people. What a rush! The only drawback was that due to the pyro the crowd was kept at a safe distance so for us it felt as if they were miles away. Nonetheless we went for it, like a 16 year old teenage boy kissing a girl for the first time. The response from the crowd was amazing. When the "whoosh" of the fire went up for the first time however this show felt special, different...a bit unlike anything that we had ever done before. All of the effects and the time taken to get them into place paid off tremendously. The atmosphere was one of a real rock and roll show and we were the icing on the cake. Playing for an entirely new crowd is an incredible feeling. We get the chance to show fans that never get to see us what we can do and feed off of their energy which I feel makes us better. It's really challenging to put into words exactly how it makes us feel but imagine a few Christmas mornings rolled into one...that should do it.
As always the show came to climactic end with "Rock And Roll All Nite," complete with more bombast than we could ever hope to have. Not only were there columns of fire but a shower of confetti rained down on the first few rows throughout the entire song. The roar of the crowd as the final notes rang out was deafening. Once again we were on top of the mountain and the fans put us there. Our meet and greet afterwards was special too. We met with an eclectic group of both young and old, thankfully they all had very nice things to say to us. This show was a year in the making and it was extremely satisfying to know that the end result was one that we all had hoped it would be...a rock and roll party, MR.SPEED-style.
Blog Entry, 08.23.15 •
Parade Of The Hills Festival|
In the shadows of the Hocking Hills and Ohio University we took our show once again to the small town of Nelsonville on Friday. The stage is set in a parking lot on a street corner in the center of town. All around are the familiar sights and sounds of a summer festival swirling through the air, inviting new memories to be made. As the summer sun fades into dusk sooner than we would like to accept our stage is set, the sound check is complete and preparation is underway to once again bring Nelsonville to its knees.
A cool breeze set the tone as we made our way to the stage. A crowd of close to 1,000 were ready and waiting, some in KISS face paint and tee shirts, fists in the air and ready to go. A unique perspective to this stage is a metal railing that is placed along the edge. Fans are unable to gain access to the stage and we fight to see their faces through it. Yet each time we play here the reaction is always the same...we both have saved up all year to go crazy for one night! Being more than half way through our year long tour the set list is more familiar to us now. Cues are met with better precision and a flow to the entire show is becoming seamless. Alex's blood routine before "God Of Thunder" comes complete with enough thunder and lightning strikes that would make Boris Karloff green with envy. Children were reaching for guitar picks and one fan in Starchild make-up removed his shirt to swirl it through the air during "Love Gun". The crowd near the front of the stage was amazing. However, there were those in the back, sitting on bleachers that felt safe at their distance and quite possibly out of sight. My job is to engage them in the show. It took a while but I did it...with "Rock And Roll All Nite". We always dedicate that song to the US Military and I ask that if they won't stand for me that they stand for those who make it possible for them to be there. With everyone on their feet we brought the roof down, complete with a confetti storm to boot.
As the amplifiers were turned off the crowd was not yet ready to go. "One more song"..."One more song"..."One more song" was coming from those that remained. However, due to time constraints we were unable to perform another song and the show came to an end. We then met as always with those fans that couldn't get enough and still wanted to celebrate their love of KISS. Always a great time in Nelsonville this night was no different. If the future does bring us back next year or the year after we'll do our very best to give them all that we have. One thing is for sure...we know they'll be ready.
Blog Entry, 08.16.15 •
Cuyahoga County Fair|
Friday was the day that we rolled into Berea, OH and our first appearance at the Cuyahoga County Fair. We had heard that our performance was getting quite a bit of advance promotion through local media outlets such as radio and television leading up to the show. So we were optimistic about the fact that we would have a huge crowd and continue our summer tour thrilling hundreds of new fans. Doors opened at 6:30 PM and we were already in the dressing room getting ready for the stage call. This stage was the perfect canvas for us to paint another original portrait to our musical heroes and we made sure that we used every color available.
At 8:00 PM we climbed the stairs to the stage and got into place as "Raise Your Hands" by Bon Jovi, our battle cry on this tour poured forth from the PA speakers filling us full of adrenaline. A moderate crowd filling up both chairs in front of the stage along with bleachers in the grand stand. It didn't matter to us that the crowd wasn't as large as we had hoped and so we went for their throats with each and every song. Thankfully we were working with Vertical Sound for this show and the overall sound on stage was great and made it easier for us to hear and get more into character being able to hear ourselves better than we normally can. So with each song we got stronger and stronger turning in one of our better performances of this years tour. All of our respective solos resurrected the spirit of our heroes with all of the smoke, blood, pounding beats and sweat that makes the experience come alive. We really brought it home with "I Was Made For Lovin' You" and "God Of Thunder" both of which rose above the rest from the set on this night. As we drew the show to a close we unleashed our new confetti canons on the unsuspecting crowd down front. We're still working things out with this new effect and before too long we'll have it as polished as the staircases that adorn the drum riser that they protect.
A short golf cart ride after the show ended just outside the grandstand was where we met up with a small number of fans. Many of the fans were newcomers to our show. It's always gratifying for us to meet new fans...full of amazement and shock having never seen anything quite like us before. Their inspiration fuels us for the next show and even those further on down the line. We cleaned up, packed up and got out of the fairgrounds as lightning lit up the sky all around us. We really left nothing in the tank and now we turn our attention to our return to Nelsonville, OH this coming Friday and the Parade In The HIlls festival.
Blog Entry, 08.05.15 •
Concert In The Park - Mentor, Ohio|
We rolled into Mentor, OH yesterday afternoon around 2 PM. Once we found the "Pavilion" where we were going to perform we were a bit skeptical. How would this small piece of concrete with a very low rooftop act as our stage for the night? As is the case with a good number of our shows we were early and everyone else was late. This typically pushes our schedule behind and we end up playing catch up to make it to the stage on time. But in true MR.SPEED fashion we did just that.
At 7:00 PM we hit the stage to the biggest crowd this concert series had seen all summer. During the day we were a bit concerned that the wind might be a factor but it died down enough just to cool things off while we warmed up. We were told that not only was this the largest crowd for their series but that we held the crowd until the very end. From the very first song the fans couldn't wait to get up close and personal. It took some time to get used to the low ceiling for Alex, Joe and myself but we made the most of it. Trying to capture the mannerisms of our characters while also trying not to slice our hands open on the lights hanging from the ceiling was a trick at first. It took some coaxing to get the crowd to loosen up but once they did the energy created transformed the setting into one they'll be talking about for some time.
Standout tracks from the set were "Deuce" and "Rock And Roll All Nite". Both of these received the largest crowd responses of the night. By the end of the show fans were pressed up against the stage from one side to the other. Everyone was on their feet for the last song and many were cheering on for an encore. However, the show was over and the meet and greet commenced with close to 75 fans in line to meet us for photos. Afterwards I shared some time with our contact for the event whose name is Nick. He told me that hands down we stole the show for the summer series. He was thrilled with having us be a part of it and looks forward to bringing us back in 2016 for not one but possibly two events in the Mentor area. We couldn't ask for anything more.
Blog Entry, 07.28.15 •
Streetsboro Family Days|
We don't spend a lot of time in Streetsboro any more however, this past Friday we had good reason to return. The Streetsboro Family Days Festival was in full swing and we were headlining the main stage that night. It's always great for us when we have the chance to rock a stage that we've never been to before. Especially one where the amount of tribute acts is three or less in the history of the event as was the case on Friday.
We had everything ready to go by 4:00 PM and hit the stage right around 9:00 PM. A local rock/cover band warmed up the crowd for us a bit and we took the ball and ran with it for 2 straight hours. This show was unique in that there were just as many people that had not seen the band perform before as there were that had. Lots of kids, many with their faces painted as their favorite KISS member. Quite a few fans were shouting out really great KISS song titles that they wanted to hear us play. Unfortunately, we can't play all of them (to be honest we have over the years...where were you)? This was Alex's 6th show and I'm sure in time we'll be able to add more songs to our show that will be fun for all of us to hear. I'm trying to recall if we performed anything that really stood out from our set list...nothing really jumps out to me. The crowd on the other hand was amazing. I've said it before that when the crowd and the band make a connection you can feel it. I don't know how it is for other bands but for us it's always the best when fans are singing along with us, smiling at us and cheering us on...it's the inspiration that we feed off of.
A short meet and greet afterwards took place and then we were on to tearing the show down and moving it to Celina, Ohio the next day. Thanks to everyone that came out on Friday night.
Blog Entry, 07.05.15 •
Brunswick Summer Celebration|
For the 7th consecutive year we rolled down Route 303 on to the grounds of Brunswick High School for our performance at the Brunswick Summer Celebration. All eyes were on the weather since our previous weekends performance was cancelled due to just that. This day would prove to be the exact opposite with beautiful skies, lots of sun and a cool summer breeze filling the air. We had everything ready to go by 4 PM and finished up our sound check with run throughs of "Calling Dr. Love", "Shout It Out Loud" and "Firehouse".
Fans began arriving during our soundcheck which was a great sign for us and the evenings performance. We disappeared into our dressing room for dinner and show preparation at 5:30 PM. By 8:15 PM we were making the short drive from the Brunswick Recreational Center to the stage and the 500 fans that had assembled to cheer us on. Things got off to a disappointing start with breakers being blown by the amount of current that we were producing at the start of the show. It took three attempts at "Detroit Rock City" to get the show finally off the ground. Even then we weren't out of the woods. Alex almost dropped his bass during one song as the strap came undone and we had to hastily throw it back over his shoulder without missing a beat. Joe found an unsettled section of the stage a challenge as his ankle gave out and Devan (our stage hand) almost took the plunge off of the stage after misjudging the edge. Nonetheless we rocked on. The crowd was a unique bunch to say the least. We couldn't get a good beat on them and felt as if we really weren't making the connection that we strive for at each show. Sure...by the time that we were nearing the end their responses had become a lot more adrenalized but by then we were questioning whether or not we had won the battle.
Some would argue that the call and response during "Rock And Roll All Nite" would prove our theory incorrect and even the number of fans that assembled at our merchandise tent seemed to validate that victory was ours. For us it says that our next performance will be a better test of how well we can take our passion for KISS and make that connection between the crowd and the stage. I know we can do it. We're excited for the opportunity to prove it. We hope that you'll be there to be a part of it. Until then...we'll look forward to once again returning to Brunswick next year for an unprecedented 8th appearance at the Brunswick Summer Celebration.
Blog Entry, 06.15.15 •
Litter Propane Concert Series|
A 2-day affair was the order of business as we rode into Chillicothe, Ohio last Thursday. A full day of press and appearances had been arranged for us starting with an on-air radio interview at WBEX. We met up with Dan Ramey at the station and answered a vast array of questions about both KISS and MR.SPEED. It really was an enjoyable way to spend some time and spread the word about our tribute to KISS. From there we moved across town to the Shoemaker Center, part of the Ohio University campus for a sound check in full costume and make-up, a press conference and photo shoot with area VIP's. After all was said and done we returned to the hotel and then took in dinner at an amazing BBQ restaurant called the Old Canal Smokehouse...highly recommended.
On Friday we relaxed during the day and headed to the venue at 4:00 PM for final preparations to the stage and other incidentals. We enjoyed a relaxed dinner and then disappeared into our dressing room right around 6:00 PM as fans began arriving for the show. An interesting note about this show was that we found out late on Thursday that a local hospice patient wished to attend our show. We were really touched by this after learning that he hadn't left his facility in close to a year and the fact that he wanted to catch our show gave us a real sense of pride in what we do and reaffirmed also how passionate KISS fans are. He didn't arrive shortly after the show began and laid in a bed on the left hand side of the stage. We met with him after for photos and we made sure that we outfitted him with a MR.SPEED gift pack of souvenirs from the show. What I will always remember is watching him tell me "thank you" for visiting with him during the show. Honestly, I thanked him for inspiring me to give more than I thought I could that night and going forward.
The show itself was attended by a little less than 400 fans. This number was a bit disappointing but nevertheless those that were there were completely into the show. We enjoy it so much more when the fans get up close and personal with us, many with cameras and cell phones grabbing images of their favorite moments. Musically we played pretty well. I can't pinpoint any one or two particular tracks that stood out above the rest as the whole show felt good in that regard. Having never been to Chillicothe we were extremely pleased with our performance and felt good about a return date in the not too distant future. After the show fans were able to meet with us for photos that were immediately given to them once they were taken. This was a great souvenir made possible by Matt Litter and his entire staff.
When the stage fog had cleared and the sound had dissipated we left the Shoemaker Center with a feeling of a job very well done. The fans of Chillicothe and everyone associated with Litter Propane gave us memories that we won't soon forget. We're pretty sure that we gave them the same in return.
Blog Entry, 06.06.15 •
Rockin On The River |
All I can say is that you blew it if you weren't at our show last night in Lorain, Ohio. What a great turnout and what amazing energy from the crowd from start to finish. This show also marked the first page in a new chapter with Alex Lords on bass as "Gene Simmons". The setting for this show was incredible and with the temperatures in the mid-80's during the day we knew that we had to keep it just as hot on stage as night fell.
After a local band did their best to warm everyone up with a set of covers we took the stage shortly before 9:00 PM. The air had begun to cool but we did our best along with a great sound and lighting crew to heat things right back up. Opening with the Destroyer classic "Detroit Rock City" then into "Cold Gin" and "Strutter" we set the tone for the remainder of the show. Fans were pressed up against the concrete stage bursting with enthusiasm that we haven't seen like this so far this year. Leading up to this show we tried to prepare Alex for how intense one of our shows can be but he soon realized that he had never been a part of anything like he experienced on this night. After "I Love It Loud" it was time for a pep talk back stage to get him refocused on the task at hand. I think he found himself watching us instead of being one of us! The pep talk worked and he came around in time to spew his first blood solo during "God Of Thunder". I can't talk enough about the energy that we felt on stage from the crowd. It was very evident in songs like "I Was Made For Lovin' You" and "Lick It Up" and "Love Gun" where the crowd response was equally as loud as the sound coming off of the stage.
Our return to the Rockin On The River series that we last played at the old location in Cuyahoga Falls was another testament to the power of KISS' music and the passion of the MR.SPEED Army. Families were there with everyone in make up. Fans that we've seen for years returned along with an even larger number of people that had never seen us before roaring their approval with each song. Once again as the show came to an end those that remained weren't ready to call it a night. Shouts of "one more song, one more song, one more song" rang out from the cool, damp air. However, we had played to our allotted time limit and needed to be off stage not by our choice but by that of the management.
So with back-to-back shows last weekend and last night's show still ringing in our ears we head to southern Ohio next weekend for another set of back-to-back performances. We're pumped to be playing for two new crowds that we're sure are going to push us even harder to give them what they deserve. So once again...thanks to everyone that came out last night. You gave us a memory that we won't soon forget. We hope that we returned the favor with what we left on that stage...
Blog Entry, 05.31.15 •
Quaker Steak & Lube|
Last night we rolled into Sheffield, Ohio after rocking the Dunkirk Glass Festival the night before. Originally we were supposed to rock the stage outside in the parking lot but a number of impending storms moved us indoors. We were thankful for this change in plans as it allowed us to not feel limited by the size of the stage area as the one inside is a bit more spacious than the one outside. The major drawback to this though would be that we could not employ our lighted KISS sign due to the lack of a strong enough support to hang the sign from. So we streamlined the amps and drums, added a few fog machines and beacons and the stage was set.
This show was unique for us in that we would be closing an abbreviated chapter in our story when it was over. Jim Seda who had been supporting us since the beginning of March as "Gene" was playing his last show with us. As we went through another member change within the band we employed Jim and his vast experience in the KISS tribute world to help us out while we searched for a replacement. During this time we worked with Jim and welcomed him into our band as much as we could. We are grateful for all of his efforts and contributions and we never missed a beat in the process. As a fitting end to this chapter we played the best show of our time together on this night and have great memories of the time that we spent together on stage.
The room was full of a unique blend of KISS/MR.SPEED fans to say the least. I can't recall another show in recent memory where I had to work as hard as I did to get the crowd to respond to my requests. The usual suspects in front were obviously raring to go. Towards the back however it seemed as though everyone was glued to their chairs and unwilling to get on their feet. So we moved on with the show and blew the roof off of the joint. Literally Jim blew four balls of fire at the end of "Firehouse" and the crowd loved it. After a few shows where Joe's smoking guitar refused to cooperate he ignited the pick ups during "Shock Me" and stumbled back and forth across the stage squeezing licks from his Les Paul to finish the song. Jim once again showed true attitude during his blood solo in "God Of Thunder" which segued into Andrew's newly improved drum solo that brought the crowd to their feet. One stand out track that was added to the show was "Take Me" from Rock And Roll Over. We replaced "Got To Choose" with it for a slight change of pace to the set.
As the show ended the crowd was not the least bit ready to call it quits. They demanded that we play an encore and after a little consideration we obliged with "Do You Love Me". A fitting end to a weekend of shows which has set us up for next Friday's appearance at Rockin' On The River in Lorain. Thanks to everyone that came out with the true spirit of rock 'n roll in their veins...you know who you are.
Blog Entry, 04.19.15 •
Rivers & Spires|
Hard to believe that four years had passed since last performed at the Rivers & Spires Festival but we were sure glad to be back. An 8-hour trip to this proud southern town had us once again on the main stage of five stages being used for the 3 day event. After arriving in town having spent the night before outside of Cincinnati we grabbed a quick lunch and got to work shortly after 2 PM. It wasn't the smoothest of load-ins but we stayed the course and had everything ready to go by 4 PM. Our nemesis this day would be the lighting guy, what a piece of work. After our sound check we relaxed a bit and then got to work on our make up. Show time was fast approaching and we needed to get ready.
At 7:45 PM we made our way to the stage. A Steely Dan tribute band opened the show for us. I know, we thought the same thing too...kind of weird but they were good and it was great to hear those great songs as we prepared in our dressing room. Once their gear was cleared we finalized our stage set up it was time to unleash our thunder upon Clarksville. A good crowd, not great was waiting but energetic nonetheless. A barricade kept them a good 15' away from the stage but we drew them in. Jim unfurled numerous balls of fire to climax "Firehouse". Andrew pounded out a drum solo that combined all of the KISS drummers spirit while Joe called another solar system for control during "Shock Me".
We added two videos to our YouTube Channel from this performance. The first is a rare glimpse of Andrew playing "Strutter" from behind the kit. The second is our version of "Firehouse".
As the night cooled off and the crowd started to dwindle we ended as always with "Rock And Roll All Nite". Afterwards we met with a good number of fans at the merchandise table for photos and tee shirt sales. We want to thank those that stayed after to chat with us and pick up a tee. Your energy and enthusiasm for KISS made the trip a memorable one for us and we hope to return before too long to once again rock the streets of Clarksville.
Blog Entry, 03.29.15 •
Slim & Chubby's|
What a night! What a show! What a return!
Who could ask for anything more than to pack a club with rabid MR.SPEED/KISS fans for a hot night of rock 'n roll. That's exactly what we got last night as we took the stage at Slim & Chubby's for our third show of our Sticks & Stones tour. Getting back into our routine has been unusual to say the least but we always rise to the occasion.
Our set up and sound check was quick and to the point. The Visionaires, a local band that pulled their influence from Paramore and Flyleaf opened the show. Their high energy set lit the spark that we ignited when we hit the stage just past 11:00 PM. Our two shows in Seattle two weeks ago set us up for this show and in a great way. Built on the classic catalog the set included "Deuce", "New York Groove", "Love Gun" and "Black Diamond". I can't pick out any songs that really stood out...the entire show was great. Without hesitation the highlight of the show came in "Firehouse" when Jim filled his mouth full of fluid and confidently strode to the center of the stage. In his hand was a steel sword capped off with an orange flame that swayed back and forth heating the air just beneath the ceiling. With beacon lights warning of an imminent occurrence Jim leaned backwards then forward with seamless precision and blew an enormous fireball upward that engulfed the ceiling. Not once, twice...but five times! Andrew, Joe and I emphasized each burst with an emphatic accent of guitars and drums.
The crowd was really amazing. We haven't missed a beat even with a four month lay off and our fans are the testament to that fact. Passionate, rabid and energetic best describes a great many of our fan base. The response to our performance last night was nothing short of incredible. Loud and proud is how I would best describe it.
So with the memories of last night's performance still resonating with us we now take our show and the support of our fans to Clarksville, TN. We're really looking forward to the Rivers & Spires Festival and the pride of the community in Clarksville. This will be our second time performing at this event in the past 5 years. Till then thanks to everyone that showed up last night and rocked the paint off the walls with us.
Blog Entry, 03.18.15 •
Auburn Avenue Theater|
This past weekend we kicked off our Sticks & Stones Tour in Auburn, WA a suburb of Seattle. What a trip it turned out to be. These shows were two years in the making and in the end the experience proved to invaluable.
We left Cleveland at 5:45 AM on Thursday morning and arrived in Seattle at 3:30 PM. Having never been to this part of the country for any reason we were excited about the opportunity and optimistic about what lied ahead. The weather couldn't have been more pleasant Thursday evening as we settled in for the weekend. Friday was even better as the weather was unseasonably warm with trees in full bloom and Mount Rainier watching majestically from 90 miles away. The Auburn Avenue Theater sits in downtown Auburn, a proud community that is blending days of old with contemporary allure.
We met up with Jim Kleinbeck and his crew who could not have been more supportive and considerate to us. The venue was intimate and everything they promised was delivered as scheduled. After setting up and getting comfortable we ran through a few songs including "Creatures Of The Night" and "Deuce". Along for the ride this trip was our new friend Jim Seda. Jim brought his vast experience with numerous KISS tributes to our show and gave us the demonic boost that we've sorely missed. Jim's intro to "God Of Thunder" was the best ever on a MR.SPEED stage...he gets it. It took some time, even into Saturday nights show to find our platformed legs again on stage but once we did we picked up where we left off last year. You find yourself maybe a bit out of shape having not played since November and little things can create tension on stage. Joe was now incorporating in ear monitors for the very first time. I had just experienced a week long bout with vertigo. We had a new bass player. These are dynamics that can either deter or empower a band...we used them to our advantage.
The crowds may have been small in number but not in heart. KISS fans never cease to amaze us with their passion for the music and the spirit that the music creates. A few fans even attended both nights which was a testament not only to us as a tribute to KISS but also to their passion for KISS. In the end we won over the crowd on both nights. We orchestrated meet and greets after both shows meeting with fans for photos and t-shirt sales in the lobby of the theater. Once Saturday's show was over we cleaned up and went to a local bar for a small get together to wind down. The shows may not have been a financial windfall for the Auburn Avenue Theater but the seed has been planted for MR.SPEED to grow its ever expanding fan base across this great country. We spent the following day taking in a few sites as the rain and thick cloud cover fell over the downtown area.
Seattle was an absolute blast. It was a great way for us to exercise a few demons from our past and start our year on an extremely high note. We're looking forward to really kicking our tour into high gear and proving to our fans and even ourselves that the sum of the parts that make up MR.SPEED are greater than the individuals that are contained within. We want to thank Jim and his staff for believing in us and to all of the fans that came out to support our first trip to Seattle. We won't forget you.
Next stop.. Slim & Chubby's in Strongsville.