- December 19, 2005 -
Happy Holidays to you all! I had a very exciting November and December, so here goes with a report on my travels to Europe with UNION and Mexico with Eric Singer.
We started in a town called Sion, Switzerland which is in a valley of the Swiss Alps where my friend and tour manager Nicolas lives. First time for John Corabi, Fred Coury (Cinderella) on drums and Chuck Garric (Alice Cooper) and they were quite impressed. I have been there so many times it was great to show the guys around. We rehearsed courtesy of our opening act Crystal Dusk. It was very cool to get to hang out in the town, and the guys from Crystal Dusk helped show the guys around. After Sion, off on a regular touring schedule which is very hectic.
Off to Zurich for our show at Alpenrock, and we really had a great first show. I love that venue as it is quite unique with its "in the Alps look." Next day off to Germany for our two shows. We had a travel day on Thanksgiving, and a meal that was fit for a king when we finally arrived 6 hours later. Heike the promoter was very sweet to prepare such an amazing feast for us Americans long from home. That night we saw snow, and living in LA of course, I don't get to see it often. My hotel room had a heated water bed!! The next night in the city was show day, but Fred and I got to walk around a bit and see the beautiful German City of Babenhausen after sound check. Bought German pastries and pretzels. They rule!
The show was affected by the snow as some fans could NOT get there. First blizzard of the year for Europe and the next day going to Witten, was quite scary. Snow, freezing rain etc., and we got stuck for a while, but by the time we slowly got to the city, it turned to rain. Great show in Witten and the fans kept us warm with their excitement to see us perform.
Next morning we had a long journey to England, and we fortunately missed the snow again driving to Frankfurt, and then flew into London. I love England, and we were to play three shows. First was in the Midlands and we had a great time with Nick Smith who is a terrific artist. He promoted the show, and we got to give him a cool cake with UNION on it! Thanks Nick for all your support.
Next day off to London to play a cool place in Camden Lock Yards area which is where you have great shopping. I had fun looking around and finding vintage Elvis vinyl and cool funny clothing. The show was fun, we were all excited to play in England and John and I did lots of press. The Brits know their rock n roll, so that was insightful.
I got invited to the Hard Rock Cafe as one of my vintage KISS guitars is on display, and the bonus was the fact that they have a room called "The Vault" which as you may have guessed has some very famous rare guitars. I PLAYED JIMI HENDRIX'S FLYING V!!! My heart was pounding. I tried on an Elvis Japanese Kimono that RCA presented him, and I got to play to a Gibson SG that belonged to Jeff Beck. Jimmy Page also used to play it. So I was in heaven. Thanks to Mojo magazine's David Berrec Loth for the photos of that night!
Back to the Midlands for one more UK show. The British country side is so amazing. We had a wonderful hotel with that huge famous "Full Monty" style breakfast that Americans are so impressed with... (eggs, bacon, beans, toast, more toast, tea, more tea etc.)
Off to Geneva for a day off, and that was restful, but traveling is always tough. Fred got to take Nicolas out for Sushi in Geneva! I rested in my hotel as I have been there before.
We were off to Copenhagen in the morning and we got in town to do laundry. That was like a Monty Python adventure. Rock band at crazy Laundromat. The venue called The Rock is a great club, and we had a terrific show for the fans. Next morning off to Spain for the first of two shows. Madrid was wonderful. The crowd was so loud, singing songs to us and joining us for the big choruses. Next day off to Bilboa, a really beautiful city in the northern part of Spain. We played at a cool rock club in the mountains almost an hour away.
But the next day was the tough travel day. It would take us 12 hours to get to Italy. I promised the promoter Debbie a show from UNION there, so we did our best. Flew to Barcelona, took two cabs 100 kilometers away to catch the next flight to Venice and drove again to the beautiful city of Bassano De Grappa. The club there La Gabbia, is very cool and the band was so happy to be in Italy. We had an amazing meal at the club and then got to shower, do the show, pack and finally make our long journey back to the US. [Click for more photos from La Gabbia]
We only got an hour sleep before traveling back to the US, so I must say, on the long flight home, I was nearly in tears over how much my body said what the hell are you doing!!!! And of course if you knew my schedule, I had to rehearse the next few days with Eric Singer for the trip to Mexico City! ESP committed to shows in Mexico City. Before I could even adjust to the US time zone, we were boarding a Mexicana flight to Mexico.
Kiko from the KISS lounge in Mexico City, and his partner Conrado were very accommodating to us, and after a long sound check we finally checked into out hotel in the city. They fed us great Sushi (!!!funny in Mexico right!!!) and the lunch on the day of our first show was really delicious. They got me a little cake and in the traditional Mexican way, the beautiful waitresses in Santa outfits sang a birthday song to me, and then creamed me with some whipped cream! I was so exhausted anyway of course I was fine with it all!
The KISS Lounge is very impressive and the Mexican fans are very passionate. We had two successful shows and we hope to return to Mexico again to perform for the fans. It is always great to play with Eric and the KISS songs really go over great. A big thank you to all my friends and fans in Europe and Mexico who looked after me and supported my difficult journey.
I was home in Los Angeles just in time for my birthday and I kept it mellow. Had a nice Italian dinner with some family and friends and was glad to finally be home. Of course now is the crazy season for gifts, parties and traffic. At least here in Los Angeles! I treated myself to a nice birthday guitar that I love.
I want to wish you all a safe and cool holiday season, and remember I will be busy all of next year as well touring with Grand Funk again, going to Japan with Eric as ESP in Feb, and doing the Fantasy Camp again like last year. I hope to visit Europe again and make it to Australia as well this coming year. I will finishing up a new CD of my solo music and will have a great new instructional video coming out as well in 2006.
So much to do, so keep watching the site for updates.
All the best to you all.
PS - More picts from the Europe and Mexico trips are up on my Photo Album page, so be sure to check them out!
PPS - Special thanks to the following for sharing their photos: Al (Mexico), Sootyade (UK), Anna and Andy Frieemann (Germany), Rose and Santi, Missi Kadison, Santy, Johann Kasper, Eija Virtanen, Adriana, Daniel Fiala, Kiko and Conrado from Mexico, Alex Ruffini (Italy), and Dean Torkington and Niclas Lidholt.
[NOTE: Click here for (written) examples of the Set Lists played by UNION in Europe and ESP in Mexico]
- October 26, 2005 -
A lot to catch up with, so let me first start with Grand Funk. The season has slowed down for our shows, but it has been a great summer of touring. We got to play in Little Rock and Governer Huckabee who plays a mean bass in a cover band opened for us again! Always fun to see politicians rocking out. We also were in Mobile Alabama, our first show in the Gulf region since the Katrina Hurricane. You can still see signs of the damage of course, but the show and crowd were amazing. We had Loverboy on the bill, and they are all friends of ours. Mike Reno the singer got up on stage and sang "Closer to Home (I'm Your Captain)" and "We're An American Band" which was amazing. He is a great singer and a great guy.
When Grand Funk was on the West Coast for some shows, Tim Cashion our keyboard player and my close friend in the band did some sightseeing in Los Angeles. Of course I wanted him to go to Guitar Center in Hollywood to show him my KISS handprints and the vintage room that is so awesome. Of course the guitars there always amaze me so thanks to their vintage department for making me smile. Tim met some of the pros in that department in Charlotte for a vintage guitar show I made him come to. As you know, in my book guitars are totally cool.
We were in Memphis again for the State Fair this time, so of course I had to visit Graceland again. Elvis has been a bit fancinating to me for the past few years, and I was not bored at all going to see all the stuff again. They have kept his personal effects in such great condition. A friend of mine got me a cool picture of Elvis from an estate sale, so I framed it. Here it is, and the guy with me in the picture is my friend Thomas Ian Nicolas. He is best known for acting in the "American Pie" movies. He is a great singer songwriter, and when his co-producer Jeremy Rubolino asked me to do a session on guitar for him, we all hit it off and have been writing songs for his new CD which should be out next year. I am very excited about the songs, and I have played guitar on a few things already for him.
Of course when I can, I have been writing new songs for my next CD, which is shaping up very well. More info on that when I have begun recording next year.
Most recently GFR was in Las Vegas for a show and since Alice Cooper with Eric Singer on drums and Chuck Garric on bass were in town a few days later, I stayed to see them perform. I wasn't aware that VH-1 was doing a Golf tournament called "Fairway to Heaven" that day as well but because of that, I got invite to hang with their crowd. So the backstage was full of friends from that event, as they were there to party with Alice Cooper. The show was great, and I always enjoy Alice in concert.
Watched from the VIP seats upstairs which was sweet, and hung out with Jack Blades (Nightranger) and his wife Molly, Michael Wilton and Eddie Jackson from Queensryche, and Nico McBain from Iron Maiden. Saying hello afterwards was fun! Eric and Chuck and the band were great so I am really happy to have stayed (even in the strange Vegas rain storm) to see them at the Hard Rock. We all had a great time. Chuck of course is coming to Europe in November with UNION so we got to go over a few things in his hotel room. A working vacation and truly Vegas is a city that never sleeps.
A few charity things came up recently. Of course the one I couldn't attend in Indy but which an ESP guitar I signed and was auctioned off for. There is more about this event on my News page, as well as on KISS Asylum. Great job by Keith Leroux and Eric Singer and his friends for doing that event.
Last weekend I attended one that the ABC Trust sponsored at the Hard Rock in Los Angeles. This one deals with the street children of Brazil and was also helping with the Katrina Disaster in New Orleans. I donated a beautiful Hard Rock Cafe leather jacket that I got over 10 years ago. Hope it keeps someone warm. Of course I was asked to jam so I picked two Queen songs with a terrific tribute band as that material is so much fun to play. We covered "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and "Tie Your Mother Down". Thanks to Vin and the band for making it fun. You can check out more pix of the event by clicking here. We really rocked the house I would say!
So GFR has another show on the East Coast. New Jersey to be exact. I am looking foward to that one, being the last of the year and then I prepare for my journey to Europe. Here are the dates for UNION:
- November 23rd at Alpenrock in Zürich, Switzerland
- November 24th - open date
- November 25th at Stadthalle in Babenhausen, Germany
- November 26th at Burnout in Witten, Germany
- November 27th at Rock Cafe 2000 in Stourbridge, UK
- November 28th at Lock 17 in London Town, UK
- November 29th at Queens Hall in Nuneaton, UK
- November 30th - open date
- December 1st at The Rock in Copenhaven, Denmark
- December 2nd at Ritmo y Compás in Madrid, Spain
- December 3rd at Jam Club in Bergara, Spain
- December 4th at La Gabbia in Bassano del Grappa, Italy
More shows may be added on the open dates, and the current schedule is subject to change. So, make sure to keep checking the Tour Dates page for the most up-to-date schedule. Fred Coury from Cinderella, will join John Corabi and myself on drums and Chuck Garric from Alice and ESP will be on bass this time around. Looking forward to playing for my European fans. When we get back we pick up Eric Singer and as ESP go to Mexico for two big shows.
So a busy winter season, but at least I get to be with my dog Joe for while this fall. Here are some pix, as he loves to pose. Remember his personality is much larger than the 10 lbs he weighs.
Be well ... all the best to you all.
PS - Thanks to Holly Hodson for the pictures of me and Vin at the Hard Rock.
- September 16, 2005 -
Hello everyone. Sorry for the delay in a new message, but so much traveling with Grand Funk in June, July and August did not give me alot of time to update my website.
I have some great photos of GFR from Orlando earlier this year, cool pix from Reno, a Moondance Festival in Minn, and some of us recently in Lancaster, CA. You can check all of them out in my PhotoAlbum. We have done shows with the Doobie Bros, Kansas, Nightranger, REO, Loverboy, Cheap Trick, Edgar Winter and Rick Derringer and everyone is out there rocking hard as far as I can tell. Fans of classic rock really have a treat when you get to see these bands. Our shows have been great and our crowds very responsive. We sadly lost two shows from Katrina, and of course wish our friends and fans well in getting their lives back on track after such a terrible disaster.
So to recap my summer, had a great birthday celebration for my Mom around July 4th, as my Mom turned well.. lets keep her at 80 forever now! She loves this same cake and I aim to please, so she gets the same one everytime. Very glad to have both my parents close to me. Took my Dad to get new hearing aids recently. Spooky to know, with all my loud guitar playing, I wonder what they will be selling for me when I am in need of amplification! Anyway his new DIGITAL pair rocks and he is a different person. So if you have parents with hearing issues.. don't delay. Get them hearing good again and their quality of life will improve.
Now on to my dog Joe who is small, but has a huge personality. Got him a hat and sunglasses that are called Doggles! Of course he only puts up with this for a short period, but he can stop a train with how he looks in them, so here he is for you to all see. Tim Cashion from GFR got to hang with me at my home for a bit after our LA show, so Joe got to have a seat with him. Tim's got cats in his home, but his Mom has always been a small dog fan.
At our Lancaster show in LA, my friend Bernadette who breeds champion Alaskan Malamutes, presented me an award in regard to Electric Warrior, who is co-owned by Eric Singer and myself as well. What an amazing dog this boy is! He is in the top 10 in the country but sadly has NOT met Joe. I am sure he would just lift a leg and tell Joe who is boss!
Been happy getting some new guitars of course, as ESP Guitars always has something interesting lying around. Nice Candy Apple Red one here that is sold only in Japan, so that is a treat for me. The name they use is NOT! Called a Snapper! But ESP in the US may make a model like this for sale here, but with a better name for sure.
Also went to a Guitar Show here in Los Angeles. Met Jackson Browne, who is very interesting and saw James Spader walking around from the hit movies and TV shows. He is into music and guitars. Had to go home with something, so besides a new tamborine for my GFR shows, (if you saw a show you would know what that is about!) I found a nice 1973 Precision Fender Bass. Black with Maple neck. Like a penguin! Very cool Bass, and everyone should know that I have been doing some Bass work on Paul's solo disc that is still being written.
Spoke to Paul recently, as I had to tell him about meeting Tony Bennett on a flight to Cleveland this summer. Tony is a hero to Paul and I, and I even was able to tell Mr. Bennett who is 80 years young, that I read his biography. Amazing talent and an amazing human being.
Upcoming for me in the fall is the UNION tour in Europe. All the dates are not set yet, but I will announce that Fred Coury from Cinderella will play drums with the band. Joining us on bass will be Chuck Garric who played with ESP in Europe this spring. As dates are firmed up I will announce them. ESP (Eric Singer, John Corabi, Chuck, and myself) will play two shows in Mexico City as well in December. So I am looking forward to that trip as well.
I have been able to start writing new songs for my next solo disc. Very excited about the music and I promise some real good surprises for this solo effort.
So keep an eye on my site as I promise more news will be coming shortly.
Stay well, and all the best to you all.
PS - Very special thanks to Tracy Nixon (Orlando), Kaori Hashimoto (Lancaster), and Steve Loftness (Moondance) for the use of their GFR photos.
- July 13, 2005 -
Hello everyone! Hope you are all enjoying your summer. I certainly have been, with so much traveling, but playing alot and I love that of course. But it the season as you know. Rock n Roll and barbeques and fireworks. Hope you all had a great July 4th. I saw some great fireworks here in LA. Sadly my dog Joe was freaked! OK back to the news of the last few months...
In June I was in Toronto for a few shows at the famous Casino Rama, and have an old friend who lives there visit me and the band. I used to tour with him back in the 70's so that was great to see my keyboard player from the Andrea True disco days.. (long story with that gig!) but Joe Bersani owns some fine restaurants around Toronto. He brought some old pix to show my fellow Grand Funk bandmates! What a laugh they had.
The day before the Rama shows, I did a very successful clinic at Revolution Music in Oakville, Ontario when I was up in the area. Great crowd. And a terrific store. Thank you Jamie and Geoff for all the help with that ESP guitar event.
As you can tell from this photo I have been having fun with the GFR shows. We really got into our "season" and I have been ping ponging around the country doing gigs. This past weekend I was in Wisconsin, and did a show with Night Ranger. Caught up with Jack Blades, Kelly, and Michael who all were counselors on the fantasy camp from Feb. 05. I will have some news on next years event soon. Last weekend we did a show in the Kentucky, West Virginia area. Really beautiful part of the country. The show was near the Ohio river I believe, but backstage was a Barney Fife impersonator from the old Andy Griffith show. He was a riot. We all were goofing with him backstage.
Back to my days in GRACELAND from the last report, I had to buy a Gibson Black Dove like the man himself played and wow what a beauty. Want to thank Musicians Friend for helping me get an awesome acoustic guitar. Thanks Steve and Eric. I also had a few days in Palm Springs around Memorial Day, and me and Joe got a pix taken by the Elvis star on the main street downtown Palm Springs. It was around 110 everyday but I still had a good rest from the road. I hope to visit Graceland again when GFR goes to the state fair in a few months. Thanks for all the emails in regards to the KING. Funny how many KISS fans love Elvis!
In September in Norway a KISS tribute disc with a track by a band that is VERY popular in Scandinavia will be released. Wig Wam is the band, and they opened for me in OSLO last year when I did a solo tour in the spring. They are cool, kind of like The Darkness. They will release "I Was Made For Loving You" and the lead guitar and vocal intro is none other than by yours truly. So look for that on the KISS news in Sept.
Some fans always ask about my parents and they are doing great thank you. My Mom was just 81 on July 4th and my Dad in late May. Here is a great pix of my father from his birthday with his fave cake.
So enjoy the summer, and watch the site from time to time. Be sure to visit the GFR pages for the dates in your area.
- May 19, 2005 -
Hello everyone! Well with SUMMER cooking already across the country so is Grand Funk. We will really be getting busy as that is our season to play around the US. Just came back from Richmond Virginia and we had an amazing show there. Great weather, great crowd at Innsbrook. Thanks for the return show!
Then we were off to MEMPHIS TN, and of course home of GRACELAND. We had a day off, so me and the crew guy from Indy, Don Baker, took in the Graceland tour. Home and resting place for Elvis Presley. It was "Elvis week" as you may remember as TV shows on his life were shown, and I loved all of that. But being there, was just incredible. I was never a big Elvis fan growing up, but in the last 5 years or so, I really got into his music, voice, band players, life story etc. Very facinating person, and he truly was the KING of Rock n Roll.
I hope you can look at the photos Don took on our trip. We could NOT use a flash so some are not as detailed as we would liked, but they still look amazing. So sad seeing his gravesite too. He died way too young at 42. Got lots of gifts for my friends and family as they really do love Elvis as well. My dad looked particularly wild in his new "Lady Killer" Elvis sunglasses. I had Grand Funk guys posing with those glasses before going home last Sunday!
The show a few hours out of Memphis in Pickwick was a bit wet, but wild as well. Hot and humid, but it is summer now for sure. They fed us with some great southern hospitality after that show, so I am still on a diet! Check out the GFR site for dates in your area.
I filmed a really cool instructional DVD before this last trip, that will be called "KISS FOREVER". I got a chance to teach 5 great KISS songs from my era. So watch my site for more news on this soon. Also did some more work with Paul. His music is powerful and I know he will have a killer new solo disc out this year. Always fun working with him.
OK.. gonna have some relaxing time now, as the busy schedule is coming.
Be safe and have a great Memorial Day Holiday.
PS - More news on UNION will be coming soon as well.
PPS - Click over to my Photo Album to see more pictures of my Graceland trip!
- May 9, 2005 -
Hello everyone! Happy to be home in the States, but I do miss my fans in Europe already.
My trip started with a great KISS expo in Cincinnati. The weather was bizarre, snowy rain etc, but the fans were passionate and happy to party with the KISS clan. Next day I was off to Sweden to join Eric, John and Chuck as ESP. I arrived after a long layover in Paris' Charles DeGaulle airport (7 hours - ouch!) in Stockholm, Sweden where the weather was exceptional. Funny how Ohio had the typical Sweden weather! Anyway, got to the hotel, and after freshing up, off to the Hard Rock Cafe for some interviews and meet and greets with some special fans. KISS means so much in Sweden, so I always get alot of press there. (Thank you Erik from Expressen and Dr. Rock, your support is welcome).
Next day the entire band went to do a radio interview and we were quite the comedy show... calling ESP means some nasty things as opposed to Eric Singer
Project. Apparently you can use words not allowed on US radio in Sweden so we had some fun with that. Next we went to check out the gear and soundcheck for the show at Mondo. Great club, and the gear was choice. Only a few hours away from the show, and we were all very excited to play. First show was long, we played almost 2 hours, and had some friends come up and jam in the encore. Tommy Denander from Sweden is a friend of mine, who has a long list of session and composing credits in rock including some work on Paul's solo disc, and Ryan Roxy, of course from Alice Cooper, came on and rocked with ESP. We hung out and did a meet and greet and felt relieved our first of 6 in row was a success.
Off to Copenhagen the next day, and a very good crowd showed up for our gig. Everyone was crazy after the show with the signing and we had a great dinner with the club owner in their kitchen. We laughed alot over the food and wine. Next day early in the morning off to Holland. As it was a holiday there, traffic to the city of Helmond was quite annoying but we kept ourselves amused as usual. We saw lots of friends from Amsterdam etc, and did alot of press as well. (Thanks Erwin and KISS podcast). For playing in the middle of nowhere, we had a great crowd.
Off to Germany for our show outside of Frankfurt. Our weather was just amazing. Warmer than Los Angeles! The hall was very cool and our sound check was quick. The show was well received and we saw fans from Poland and Slovakia. Amazing how they drive long distances to see us play. We love that. Long meet and greet after that show... but worth it to see our fans. Next morning.. very early sadly as the bed was quite comfy (btw if you think we got more than 4 hours a sleep a night you are dreaming!), off to SPAIN. I have not been in such a long time so I was very excited. We flew into Bilboa from Frankfurt, and drove a few hours to Pamplona. Beautiful country side in Spain. We sound checked and got ready for the show, and what a passionate crowd we had there. The Spainards are VERY into rock.
We rocked very well, as tired as we all were, and felt relieved only one more to finish the tour. No rest till LA! Off to Barcelona. Amazing city, and the club was walking distance from the hotel. Sound check was great and we did tons of press for the various rock mags there in Spain. Thank you all for the questions. Last show was amazing and we felt great knowing we accomplished so much. I hadn't really played much with Eric since KISS, and John and I who have great chemistry always feels great. Add in Chuck and you have a great band. Chuck was our secret weapon. He sings and plays like a monster and what a pro player and performer. Alice Cooper is lucky to have him.
Well we sold lots of UNION DVD's, even though we only did a few UNION tunes. The ESP tour T-shirt sold out at the last show, so don't ask for those! Of course the 8 X 10 of the band was popular as well. So I would like to thank our tour managers, Nicolas and Rikk for all their help with the shows, and of course all the friends of the band who made life easier for us. You know who you are. The promoters as well, for believing in us, and most of all of our FANS! Really truly amazing the reaction and it means so much to all of us.
I don't know really what other dates ESP can commit to in the future as we all have commitments with other bands right now, but we will do it again. I hope as well in the future to get UNION some shows as well.
Keep watching my site for the news.
THANK you all again.
PS - More great photos from my ESP European Tour 2005 are available in my Photo Album, so click over and check them out!
NOTE: Special thanks to the following people for providing many of the great photos you see above: Erwin Zinger, Rose & Santi, Tamara, Chriss, Killercamera.com, and Bjern Madsen.
- April 6, 2005 -
Hello everyone! Hope spring is treating everyone well. I know Los Angeles has finally dried out from all the rain this winter, if I can call it a winter.
As you all know I have been busy with trips for Grand Funk, and also was able to appear at the Indianapolis KISS expo with Eric Singer and John Corabi. Great event as we jammed and had some of our friends from Japan there as well to visit the US. You all know the UNION DVD "Do Your Own Thing Live" has arrived and is in stock and please send in your reviews. Everyone is excited about the reaction, and I can't promise anything yet for UNION in the future, but over two hours of us on the DVD should help your curiousity!
Coming up this month (and remember to always visit www.grandfunkrailroad.com/ for the info on my shows with them), is a trip for ESP. In this case I don't mean the guitar company, I mean ESP the band. Eric Singer, John Corabi, Chuck Garric on bass (Alice Cooper and Dio) and my self. We have booked 6 shows for Europe that begin April 27th, in Stockholm. We will be in Denmark, Holland, Germany and Spain. The night before the first show in Sweden, Eric and I will be at the Hard Rock Cafe, Stockholm for a meet and greet and some interviews. We will play songs from KISS, UNION, MOTLEY CRUE, and various covers of bands we love. So check out all the dates:
Sweden - April 27, 2005 in Stockholm at Mondo.
Denmark - April 28, 2005 in Copenhagen at The Rock.
Holland - April 29, 2005 in Helmond at Plato.
Germany - On April 30, 2005 in Babenhausen (near Frankfurt) at the Stadthalle.
Spain - May 1, 2005 in Pamplona at Artsaia.
Spain - May 2, 2005 in Barcelona at Bikini.
Regarding meet and greets, the band will do our best to sign and meet the crowd, usually AFTER the show. As our schedule with travel has not been completely worked out, I can't commit to how long etc, but we will attempt to get to meet our fans.
Some of you may know that KISS recently was involved in a show for the troops here in the US, (visit www.kissasylum.com for the news). I do want to mention that the show in Germany which is in Babenhausen, near Frankfurt, we would like to invite any of the troops who are stationed there. We know how much they love KISS and rock music, so please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are 23¤ in advance or 26¤ at the door. To order tickets in advance they only have to contact Heike at that email.
The summer is really filling up with shows for Grand Funk, but I do want to mention that I will be at the Cincinnatti KISS Expo on April 24th. Looking forward to that event, and please know that I will have the UNION DVD with me for sale. The same for Europe of course.
So hope to see you all on tour this summer and fall. More updates coming after my trips.
- February 25, 2005 -
HELLO everyone! I have to share the most incredible week with you all! I was asked by Jack Blades from Night Ranger to be a counselor at David Fishof's Rock n Roll Fantasy Camp this past week in Los Angeles and what an amazing event it turned out to be. I never worked so hard, and I never had so many chills performing with and meeting artists that I grew up listening to.
Let me start with rehearsal last Wednesday. We needed to be familiar with about 30 songs in order to jam for the campers and back up the special artists. Little did I know that Sir Roger Daltrey from The Who would appear and we were not really ready for him. We had to perform a set with him that would end the week long events at the House of Blues on Sunset Blvd.
After a long 6 hour rehearsal, I got little sleep to be ready for "camp" at 9:30 in the morning that Thursday. That was the day the campers would check in, and be evaluated for their talent so that we can put them all in bands and learn and compete by playing a cover or original song, and learn a WHO song for Roger to sing with them.
Well the pressure was on, as after about number 30 I was toast! Really hard to judge so many various styles and abilities, but in the end by mid afternoon we jammed or judged them all. But the counselor band, featuring Jack Blades, and Kelly Keagy on drums from the same band, Elliot Easton from the Cars, Michael Lardie from Great White on keys, and Simon Kirke from Bad Company/ Free on drums, Vince Melemed from Jimmy Buffet helping out on keys as well, and Gary Burr guitarist songwriter for many huge hits, on rhythm guitars. What an amazing band! We also had Jeff Pilson from Dokken to help out, and Jimmy Renino from the Monkees, to fill in when needed.
With all this talent our first artist to support was Dicky Betts from the Allman Brothers band. Those jams on "Blue Sky" and "Ramblin Man" left everyone speechless because as soon as he finished his first solo he pointed to me and told me GO! WOW, I felt like I was in the Allman Brothers Band. What a thrill to play with him and the campers loved it all. He was very happy with his backing band, and I felt honered to trade licks with him. After dinner (all meals were excellently catered) we had Colin Hay from Men At Work in to do his performance. Had a blast with his infectious songs like "Land Down Under" and "Who Could It Be Now". That ended the first day of camp!
We had already choosen our respective bands and mine had a family theme. I had two brothers, Pat and Mike Kane, and a family, the Jones. Father Chris on keyboards and his sons Ryan and Mason. Mason, 15, looks like a future mod rocker star! I had him doing Pete Townshends as much as he could. And he drew blood in real Pete fashion for it! On Bass I got my Doctor Monty was a rock on the 4 string Black Fender P Bass, and his wife was there to cheer him on. My drummer, August a retired business man was having the time of his life, even though I was trying to get him to kill the snare drum everytime I got near him. My singer Shari was a total hippie love child. Brought up on the Grateful Dead. Her husband was by her side getting everything signed he could. They had a blast. I also had one more guitar player a true KISS fan, Jim. He was so happy to be in my band and I have to thank him for some of the pictures featured as well as Shari.
I had to rehearse with them on Friday, Sat, and Sunday, and we got "Surrender" from Cheap Trick as the cover song choice and our random pick for the WHO song was "Substitute". Great song and I taught my guitar army of 5 to be an orchestra. We had a lot of strings, so it was a big sound as I had 9 in the band. Oh by the way, we were called "Gods of Thunder"! As the days went on we reheased, sweated ,got rained on and was treated to jams from the likes of Jon Anderson from YES. The core band backed him up, and to quote Jeff Pilson, we all had a tear in our eye from doing the classic YES song "Your Move" from Fragile. WOW. Jon was a sweetheart to everyone and I asked him some questions about his sound engineer from YES as I worked with him as well.
Doc McGhee, KISS manager came in for a Q and A and he was great with the campers. Very honest and to the point. Told some great Motley Crue stories. Nils Lofgrin came in on Saturday and did a great clinic and a wonderful performance. He is the guitarist of Bruce Springsteen, and I know why the Boss loves him. Very talented.
Saturday night my friend Bret Michaels from Poison appeared and we did some great versions of his Poison classics on acoustics, and then brought down the house with "Your Momma Can't Dance". He was very cool with the campers and we all had fun having them join us on stage with Bret.
Everyday was 14 hours, and wonderful interactions with the campers and artists. We were so exhausted but everyone was committed to a great time of rock and roll. We were filmed by the Learning Channel for a documentary and VH-1 Classics was there to cover the event. That was wonderful to be on camera doing what I love. Music. Many of the campers knew me but were unaware of what I was up to lately with Grand Funk and my solo discs. Roger Daltrey was a real trooper and he visited the campers to see them preparing their WHO song for the big day.
The big performance at the House of Blues was the culmination of an amazing week. First the campers where rehearsing at 10 AM and by noon, everyone after lunch had to get ready and over to the HOB. 3PM sharp the event started by the band warming up the crowd with a few classic songs. "All Right Now", with Simon singing and a Car's hit. Roger appeared and now it was time for the 10 band to compete. My band was number 5 so we all had to judge the bands. They would play the cover song, and then Roger would sing the WHO song. Some of the bands really had either one or both sounding great, but sometimes things were crazy, and what a good time the crowd had either way. I was excited for my band, I knew we weren't the best, but we had heart and soul, and we won the award for most improved and hardest working band! Roger looked nervous but they pulled off "Substitute" as I was only playing tamborine and guiding the band.
After all 10 played, the winner and winning catagories were chosen. Now for the big performance by Roger. We played a few more tunes from our set list and Roger joined us for our mini WHO set. What a thrill to jam with him! I love the WHO so you can all imagine what it was for me to rip on my guitar for him. We played "Behind Blue Eyes", "See Me Feel Me" into "Listening to You" and a full version of "Won't Get Fooled Again".
Roger made a comment to me after "Wont Get Fooled" as he knew how much it meant for me to be his Pete Townshend. So after that performance one more thing to do which was bow the crowd and have a big after camp party at a club in Hollywood. My band was there for the catered event and they presented me with a great gift. A framed Beatle photo that was totally amazing. Thank you all!
JBL was a sponser so the counselors got a bonus of a 7.1 surround speaker system which is awesome to say the least. Lots of memories from the week, too many to share, but I will say that was an experience I wont forget for quite some time. I want to thank Jack Blades and all the other counselors for making my experience wonderful and to making new contacts and friends with the lucky campers who got to join us for this week in LA. David Fishof and his team (thank you Linda for jamming with me and looking out for me!) were great to us all.
Now back to reality. BLAH! Anyway, the UNION DVD's are being shipping to me now so I will be getting them in the mail in the next two weeks. Can't wait for you all to see them. I also will be in Indy next Sunday and have a few cool Grand Funk shows for the next three weekends so go to the site for the details.
I am planning some European shows with Eric Singer and John Corabi in late April so look for those dates soon to be announced.
PS - Be sure to click over to my Photo Album to check out all the photos from the Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp!
- February 9, 2005 -
Hello everyone! Sorry for the delay in my message, but so much has been happening. I will first start with my trip with Eric Singer to Japan.
The two shows and KISS expo's went GREAT, and since I hadn't been in Japan in exactly 10 years, I was very happy to return. Eric of course had been in Tokyo more recently with KISS, and the fans were very happy to see him playing with me. Having John Corabi and James Hunting from UNION along made for two super shows, and we were all proud to jam for the Japanese fans. We filmed a few songs for a music show the first night and I cant wait to get a copy of that. Check out the set list! Of course I debuted the new UNION DVD, called "Do Your Own Thing Live!" I will be taking orders for that product now and thank you for all who have been patient waiting. Some cool new Chikara/UNION shirts were brought along as well, so look for them on my site as well.
I want to thank all of my friends from the past and the new ones for making the trip a success. A special thanks to ESP guitars and MI (Musician's Institute) as well, as they asked me to make appearances at their craft and music schools. I was shown custom made guitars built by students that were quite impressive, and for MI I wound up jamming with students to the songs "Forever" and "Domino" from KISS. Really fun playing with them as after the jamming I had to give them tips on their performances.
I ate great Japanese food, visited a HUGE electronic shop and of course went to a famous music store owned by ESP guitars called Big Boss. I love guitar stores! Went home with some little items, and gifts for my family and friends. In conclusion, I love Japan, with all the culture, food, and electronics, and the fans are so polite and cool.
The weekend before was the big NAMM show in Aneheim, CA, and ESP guitars was celebrating 30 years of making great instruments. They had a excellent party with Megadeth and George Lynch, and of course all the important ESP people were there from Japan. The meet and greet at the Saturday Namm show was huge! Sat next to Dave Mustaine from Megadeth. We had some good chats as he now has a signature model out. I also had the opportunity to take pictures with some friends, such as Steve Lukather from TOTO, Chris Jericho who has a killer band called FOZZY (you all know him as a famous wrestler in the WWE), Seymour Duncan of the guitar pickup company, good friend Eric Singer.... and Paul Stanley, looking stiff!
On the Thursday night of Namm I was invited to jam with Gilby Clarke of Guns and Roses at the VAULT in Long Beach. It was billed as a night of guitars as Michael Schenker and others were on the bill. I jammed an old Humble Pie song that rocked and the KISS fave "Strutter". The crowd ate it up.
So as you can tell I have had a busy January, and very soon I am to be a "camp counselor" for the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp in LA. It is sold out, and at the conclusion of the week of camp, I jam with such greats as Roger Daltry (The Who), Jon Anderson (Yes), Dickey Betts (Allman Bros.) etc. So I should have some great stories for you all soon.
You can now order the new UNION DVD, as I will be shipping end of the month or sooner. Visit my merch page for the info, and the new Chikara/Union shirts like the one sold in Japan. These are limited and excellent quality.
I again want to thank Eric Singer for helping out UNION for these shows in Japan. And I hope to do some future shows with him this year. Thanks to all the UNION fans who came out for the warm up show in LA, some flying many miles to see the band! I don't really know what else will come of UNION, but I know the DVD will blow you away.
On another note, wanted to share the news that the gunman who shot me and one other man back in Oct 2003 on Sunset Blvd got 10 years. Justice is slow, but I know alot of my fans were curious to hear what happened with the incident.
Oh yes, my parents are doing well.. and settled in much closer than before so I can more easily help them out. I am blessed to have them, and to see them thrive again after so much stress the past year, is wonderful.
PS - Be sure to check out my Photo Album page for tons of photos from my January adventures!
MESSAGE FROM BRUCE ARCHIVES