All Access Rock Music Magazine Mon, 23 May 2016 20:42:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 48th Annual Fiesta Days Fri-Sat-Sun August 7, 8 9 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 22:56:07 +0000 fiesta


Friday, August 7; Saturday, August 8; Sunday, August 9

(Frazier Park, CA) – The yearly Fiesta Days celebration in Frazier Park is so much fun for the entire family, it lasts an entire weekend! Reflections Of Summer: 48th Annual Fiesta Days  returns to Frazier Mountain Park, 3801 Park Dr., Friday, August 7 (1pm-10 pm); Saturday, August 8 (10 am-10 pm); and Sunday, August 9 (10 am-6 pm). Admission is free (rides and game tickets can be purchased; some family contests have entry fees). Free Parking. Info: (661) 623-2340 or log onto Vendor applications available online. Presented by Mountain Memories Association.

Fiesta Days holds the distinction of being the longest-running, multi-day celebration in the mountain communities, with people from all over Southern California making the three-day event a regular, yearly pilgrimage.  Show off your pets in the Pet Show, test your luck in one of the many family games, enjoy live music all weekend long, shop a wide variety of vendors, and taste an assortment of culinary delights.  Come to Fiesta Days to see old friends, make new friends, and keep building your mountain memories!

The Chimpz: High-energy rock-rappers as heard on “The Sons of Anarchy” FX TV show, perform Friday at the 48th Annual Fiesta Days.

48th Annual Fiesta Days – Live Entertainment Schedule

Live entertainment starts at 3 pm on Friday, 12 noon on Saturday and Sunday. Kicking off this year’s Fiesta Days on Friday is Lancaster’s own Illusion, along with sets by local musician, Andrew Lemberg; rising stars out of Hollywood, Badflower; and the return of The Chimpz (as heard on the hit FX TV series, Sons of Anarchy; and known for their hits “California”, “War Machine”, and “Victim” among others). Saturday features Frazier Park-based groups Bandit (and) Wyndsong; Barstow’s Katfish; San Fernando Valley faves, Wild Ride; regional faves/”SoCal’s Hardest-Working Blues Band”, Bo & the Bluesdrivers; and Bakersfield’s Brant Cotton and the Outliers. Sunday’s music is provided by Frazier Park locals 2 Drink Minimum and Orange County’s Southland Jukes.

So Many Family Attractions at Fiesta Days!

Among the numerous family-friendly attractions at Fiesta Days: Pet Show; Parade; Talent Show; Art Show;  Artisans and Commercial Vendors; Opportunity Drawing; Kid’s Games; Fishing Derby; Log Sawing; Food Booths; Sunday All-Faith Sermon; VFW Pancake Breakfast; Family Contests; Carnival and Amusement Rides; and the Houchin Blood Mobile. For the adults there’s a Budweiser Booth; Men’s and Women’s Horseshoe Tournaments; and more. New attractions for this year include  Mikie’s Manly Mustache and Beard Contest and the Invitational First Responders Log Sawing Challenge.


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Fantasy Springs Casino Hotel Resort Bringing Big-Name Talent To The Low Desert Tue, 30 Jun 2015 22:44:12 +0000 Move Over, L.A.: Is Coachella Valley The New Epicenter
Of Live Music In Southern California?
Fantasy Springs Casino Hotel Resort Bringing Big-Name Talent To The Low Desert, Furthering The Coachella Valley’s Growing Music Reputation

Frontman Robin Zander of Cheap Trick, who played
Fantasy Springs Resort Casino Special Events Centre
with Peter Frampton recently. (Photo by Kathryn White-Esposito)


(INDIO, CA) – As we sat in our seats taking in the recent Peter Frampton/Cheap Trick show at the Fantasy Springs Casino Special Events Centre in Indio, it occurred to me that the Coachella Valley has quite possibly begun to give the mighty metropolis of Los Angeles a run for its money as the Entertainment Epicenter of Southern California. To wit: the biggest, most important rock festival in the business takes place here each April (Coachella, now over two weekends), followed in May by another big country music festival, Stagecoach (both co-produced by concert juggernauts, AEG and Goldenvoice).
Not to be outdone, the many first-class casino properties in the Low Desert/Coachella Valley area have also been regularly presenting top-notch entertainment. At the top of the list is Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, who, in addition to the Peter Frampton/Cheap Trick show, also have rock legends Deep Purple and ex-Van Halen frontman scheduled for August 15 and September 5, respectively, along with many other A-List acts. Owned and operated by the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, Fantasy Springs is absolutely worth the 100-mile drive from virtually anywhere in the Southland (we drove from the High Desert and it took us less than two hours on a Saturday morning).

As for the concert itself: The Baby Boomers were in the house on this night, they being people in their fifties and sixties. Nice to see for a change, as opposed to younger “millennials” who often are too busy talking or doodling on their smartphones during the show. Cheap Trick led off the evening with a solid hours’-plus worth of mainly very recognizable songs from their vast hit catalog – “Dream Police,” “The Flame,” “Surrender,” and “I Want You To Want Me,” to name a few – plus some tracks from their most recent album, aptly titled, “The Latest”. Since forming in America’s heartland (Rockford, Illinois to be exact) back in 1973, their overall popularity has ebbed and flowed; but they’ve always enjoyed a loyal following, many of whom came out adorned in their Cheap Trick t-shirts for this show. The band currently consists of three founding members (Robin Zander, lead vocals/rhythm guitar; Rick Nielsen, lead guitar; Tom Petersson, bass) and drummer Daxx Nielsen, who has replaced longtime drummer, Bun E. Carlos. Zander – in top hat, tight spandex-style pants and boots – looked like a frontman and sounded as good as he looked, rarely failing to hit the high notes that many vocalists in their fifties have a hard time with (can you say ‘David Lee Roth’?). Nielsen, ever the consummate showman and ‘the man of a million guitars’ (at least it seemed that way – he changed guitars with virtually every song!), played to the crowd and knocked off a couple of serious solos as well, showing why he remains one of the most underrated rock guitarists in the business. Overall, a thoroughly satisfying set from an American rock institution.
After a short intermission, longtime British rocker Peter Frampton took the stage (or was that James Taylor? They’re both only several strands of hair from being bald. Certainly not the Peter Frampton with the long curly, flowing locks that I remember from Back in the Day!). Indeed, this may be at the root of Frampton’s “no-photos” obsession on his current tour; there was even a big brouhaha in the news recently about him taking a fan’s camera from them and throwing it in the air, where it then crashed on the ground, to which Frampton half-heartedly apologized and lamely said, “that’s rock ‘n’ roll). So my theory here is that, ‘Ol Peter wants fans to remember him as he looked during the height of his popularity, circa 1976/”Frampton Comes Alive” days. Hence, the camera ban at his shows (and the reason there are no photos being used here for the purposes of this review). Frampton still sounds as he did back in the seventies – that high falsetto voice and “wah-wah” effect he does with his mouth on the microphone haven’t changed – although they do seem a bit more unusual from a fellow his age (currently 65). If you came to hear the hits, you weren’t disappointed: “Something’s Happening,” “(I’ll Give You) Money” (nice extended version), “Doobie Wah”, “Show Me The Way,” “Do You Feel Like I Do” were all in the set list – but one big difference between Frampton and Cheap Trick was obvious: Whereas Cheap Trick always seemed to be performing FOR their audience, Frampton seemed much more immersed in his own persona, less so in playing for the crowd. Hey, my girlfriend noticed it, too. Going forward, maybe he’ll be happier if he goes to Bosley Hair Replacement. Just a thought.

While you’re at Fantasy Springs, make sure to check out their cool outdoor venue, The Rock Yard. We caught a set by L.A. band Judge Jackson, whose rhythm section, bassist Brian “Chewy” James and drummer JJ Garcia, also currently play with Bo and the Bluesdrivers. Busy guys!

Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick playing one of his countless guitars
(Photo by Kathryn White-Esposito)



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Excitement Building For 10th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival Thu, 09 Apr 2015 20:28:12 +0000 Excitement Building For 10th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival



Saturday, April 25, 2015  – 11:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.

(MOORPARK, CALIF) – Excitement is building for Southern California’s longest-tenured Blues festival, the 10th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival, taking place Saturday, April 25 on the grounds of beautiful Moorpark College, 7075 Campus Rd. in Moorpark, California. Gates open 10 a.m.; music begins at 11 a.m.

“The tenth year is truly a year of celebration of this charity event with repeat performers who supported our festival the very first year, in addition to multi-award-winning acts,” says festival founder/Ventura County Blues Society President, Michael John Basowski. “Also new this year: a Second Stage to insure a full day of continuous live music. Proceeds go to the American Cancer Society along with community charities.”

Scheduled to perform on the Main Stage:  The VCBS All-Stars;  Delgado Brothers; BB Chung King & The Buddaheads; Deanna Bogart; John Nemeth; and the legendary Coco Montoya. The all-new Second Stage features top SoCal talent including Guy Martin Band; Barry G and Grease Fire; Chase Walker Band;  Jim Gustin and Truth Jones; Kelly’s Lot; Crooked Eye; Blues Bullet;  and additional special guests. Also avaialbe that day is a wide array of food vendors, artisans, and much more.

This year also features a special Benefit Ride for Mickey Jones, longtime VCBF Festival Emcee and the “face” of the festival the previous nine years. The well-liked musician-turned-actor has always been there to lend a hand to help so many in need, and now needs a little help himself. His recent bout with a prolonged illness has taken a toll on his finances. Due to insurance restrictions, the next crucial step of his recovery will be impossible without some outside help.

The 10th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival is both family-friendly   and affordable; a Pre-Sale ticket amounts to paying less than $2.00 per band! Pre-Sale tickets online are $26.00 (includes $1.00 convenience fee). Tickets are $35.00 at the Gate. All Pre-Sale ticket purchases available for pickup at Will Call – bring Confirmation Email and your ID. An amazing deal is the all-new VIP Experience at $125.00 per ticket (with no additional fees) that includes early festival entry at 9:30 am; your own private shaded seating area with tables and chairs; catered lunch; private bar; private restrooms; (2) drink tickets; (1) event t-shirt; (1) event poster and complimentary bottled water. These VIP tickets will sell out as there are only a limited amount -  now is the time to go online and purchase yours at: Festival Hotline: (805) 501-7122.

10th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival  – Music Itinerary

11:00AM – 11:45AM /VCBS All Stars: A gathering of top SoCal blues musicians showcasing their talents. Featuring Mikey Mo; Ray Jurique; Sandy Scott; Tommy Marsh; Michael John; Eddie Z; Mark “Pocket” Goldberg; Kelly Z; Perry Robertson; and many others.

12:00PM – 12:55PM/Delgado Brothers: Driven by fierce independence, unified by family, and fortified by the brotherhood of music, the L.A.-based Delgado Brothers deliver the musical goods with topical anthem-worthy songs complemented by call-to-action lyrics, and East L.A. Soul.

1:10PM – 2:10PM/BB Chung King & The Buddaheads: Grammy- nominated song writer, producer and one of the hottest rockin’ blues guitarists on the planet.  The Buddaheads’ songs have been featured in several movies and television shows. They put on a live show you will not want to miss!

2:30PM – 3:45PM/Deanna Bogart: Multiple award-winning multi-instrumentalist and multifaceted musician whose fans value the diversity of her genre-free zone.  As a bandleader/singer/songwriter/producer/pianist/sax player, Deanna combines the best of boogie-woogie, contemporary blues, country and jazz into a splendid blend she calls “blusion.”

4:05PM – 5:20PM/John Nemeth: Celebrating six BMA nominations and a new CD titled Memphis Grease, Nemeth is a celebrated electric blues and soul harmonicist, singer, and songwriter. “Classic soul and R&B styles have been revitalized in recent years by a cadre of young and relatively young artists such as James Hunter, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, and Sharon Jones. You can include John Németh on any list of the best of them.” – Nick Cristiano, Philadelphia Inquirer

5:40PM – 7:10PM/Coco Montoya: Legendary guitarist who played the festival during its first year is coming back to celebrate our tenth year. Guitar One Magazine calls Montoya “the hottest southpaw in the blues” and raves about his “master touch and killer tone.” Montoya earned his status through years of hard work and constant touring, starting with a chance meeting in the mid-1970s with legendary bluesman Albert Collins, who offered Montoya a gig as his drummer. Albert took an immediate liking to Montoya, becoming his mentor and teaching his new protégé the secrets of Collins’ “icy hot” style of blues guitar. Five years later, British blues icon John Mayall happened to catch Montoya at a jam session and was blown away. Mayall recruited him as his guitarist in the legendary Bluesbreakers, and Montoya spent the next ten years touring non-stop, proving himself to be a world-class guitar master in one of the most renowned blues bands in existence. Coco and his band will close the festival.

10th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival Media/Photo Passes Available.

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Spring Wine Walk & Street Fair Thu, 09 Apr 2015 20:25:37 +0000 Presenting ‘Champagne On Main,’ Spring Wine Walk & Street Fair

Champagne On Main, A Spring Wine Walk & Street Fair

Saturday, April 18, 2015
Street Fair: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wine Walk: 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
(Rain or Shine)


(Ventura, CA) – The Producers of the Ventura Winter Wine Walk & Holiday Street Fair are proud to introduce Champagne On Main, a Spring Wine Walk & Street Fair. The event will take place in Downtown Ventura on Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 10 am- 5 pm. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Downtown Ventura Organization to foster a vibrant commercial and cultural district. VIP Chocolate Lounge Tickets (Check-In at  Mini Park on Main St.; includes Chocolates, Desserts, Champagne, Sparking Wine, and Craft Beet Tasting, along with Live Entertainment): $70,; Regular Tickets (Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Wine and Craft Beer samples at any of the forty General Admission Tasting Locations throughout Downtown Ventura, along with Live Entertainment): $50. Check-in locations: Bombay Bar & Grill; Winchester Saloon; and Clocktower Inn. Purchase tickets/info at:



Start your day with the Spring Street Fair starting at 10 a.m. on the 300, 400 & 500 blocks of Main Street, with a variety of vendors and live entertainment. Shop local artists, crafters, non-profit organizations, and commercial vendors. The Street Fair and entertainment are free and open to the public starting at 10 a.m.


Champagne on Main Wine Walk begins at 1:30 pm sharp. The Wine Walk showcases Champagne, Sparkling Wines, and Craft Beer samplings at many of Ventura’s most popular downtown businesses. Each guest receives a Wine Walk wristband, tasting cup, and a map of participating tasting sites. All tasting sites have a designated area set up for Wine Walk guests to sample! Wine tasting ends at 4:30 pm.
LIVE ENTERTAINMENT by L.A. reggae/rock band Kalyde will fill the streets as you stroll through the Spring Street Fair until 5 pm. Come enjoy the blossoming of Spring in Downtown Ventura!


Package rates starting from $239.00 (includes one-night stay on April 18 with two tickets to Champagne on Main. Call (800) 228-9290 to book.

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Introducing Bo & The Bluesdrivers Thu, 18 Dec 2014 08:10:11 +0000 Making Their Mark In The SoCal Music Scene

Bo & The Bluesdrivers“I’m out on the streets again/I’ve been sleeping in my car/I got these worn-out shoes/ Just smoked my last cigar,” drawls the St. Augustine, FL, native known simply as Bo in this blues-rock chestnut, buttressed by a stinging guitar and a sturdy rhythm section held down by longtime musical partners, Bluesdrivers bassist Brian “Chewy” James and drummer J. J. Garcia.

That’s right, Bo & the Bluesdrivers play it like they’ve lived it, paying those hard-living dues, forming from a chance meeting after joining forces at an open jam hosted a decade ago by Chewy and J.J. Ten years after, they’re still together and tighter than ever.

“From the streets of New York/To the streets of L.A./It seems all the same/Day to day/I’ve been through the darkness/I’ve walked through the light/The streets are all the same/Night after night.”

The band have performed on special occasions in the L.A. area over the years at clubs and parties of friends, but more recently have started to develop a strong following that has seen them with consistent bookings all over Southern California.

All Access Publisher Debra Stocker recently sat down with the band to discuss their growth as a band, past individual histories, and their plans for 2015 and beyond.

AAM: How and when did the three of you decide to form Bo and the Bluesdrivers?

J.J.: Some years back Chewy and I hosted a jam at Pat’s Cocktails in Studio City. We met Bo after he had just moved from Florida and came in to jam. Funny thing is, he signed up and waited almost the whole night patiently to play. By the time he got up to play, he floored us and lit the place up and became a regular at the jams. After that, we started to play together from time to time, performing here and there around L.A. In the last couple of years, we have really started to get things going playing, writing, recording and taking the show on the road!

Chewy:  We decided to form the Bluesdrivers after playing together many times at open jams back in 2002.  We had Instant chemistry the first time we jammed and became great friends. We bonded over our mutual love of the blues and rock and roll.

Bo: We have been playing together since 2000 but we decided to take it to the next level in the past few years. We’ve always played several times a year – you know a party here a bar & grille there – but after we recorded our demo, we have decided to take it to the next level.

Bo & The BluesdriversAAM: What do each of you feel that Bo and the Bluesdrivers brings to the music scene?

Chewy: The Bluesdrivers play great blues and rock with powerful grooves. The band has its own sound and great original songs! Bo’s guitar playing is outstanding and gets the crowd’s attention. We’re a three-piece band that looks and sounds huge!

J.J.: A strong musical work ethic and always striving to deliver!

Bo: I have a natural rhythm to my playing style and as a three-piece it’s only enhanced. Practice pays off!  I’m passionate about my playing and try to play every song as though it is an encore.

AAM: To your credit as a band, it seems you’re doing well in the area of booking gigs and festivals, which is very difficult in today’s live music climate. To what do you attribute your success?

J.J.: A big factor is that we are willing to play anywhere and everywhere that makes sense. Live music is alive and well; we seek venues and clubs that are willing to book us and like the style of music that we offer. We are all hard-working, down-to-earth guys that don’t have any exceptions or feel we are owed anything. Last year we played a variety of great clubs, mostly in California and Nevada. This year was our best yet, branching out into casinos and festivals and planning more in 2015!

Chewy: Our success comes from playing lots of shows and kicking ass live! We have great original music that people are loving when they hear it the first time! The success also comes from being great friends and loving the music we play!

AAM: Let’s talk about your music itself. What kind of overall sound is the group going for?

Bo & The BluesdriversBo: I believe it’s in the name. Bluesdrivers . We are a blues-based rock band or maybe we’re a rock-based blues band. I don’t  (laughs). We haven’t really gone over that. We just know what feels good to us when we hear it.

J.J.: If I had to pinpoint it and label the genre, it would be in the Blues/Rock style. We never said, THIS is the type of band we need to be. We just put a lot of our influences of all styles together and this is what came out.

Chewy: The sound is blues and rock. Bo has amazing blues tone and feel;  J.J. and I add a heavy rock groove. We strive for making powerful and exciting original music. We have a great jam vibe live!

AAM: Bo and the Bluesdrivers have got to be one of the tallest bands we’ve seen in a while – in fact you guys all could’ve been basketball players if you weren’t musicians (haha). But in all seriousness, if you weren’t playing music, what do you each think you might be doing, career-wise?

Chewy: I would have been a pro wrestler!

J.J.: I think just what I have been doing forever, but with a lot less drums. Haha!

Bo: I’d love to be a chef/owner of gourmet BBQ restaurant if I couldn’t play music anymore.

AAM: What’s new on the recording front for Bo and the Bluesdrivers?

Bo: We are going to be back at it in the studio in 2015 and hope to have an EP ready by spring. I’m excited to see what the new year brings myself quite frankly.

J.J.: We did an EP last year with our good friend and amazing engineer, Patrick Burkholder, at Pawnshop Studios here in the San Fernando Valley. It sold roughly a few hundred copies just at shows. We put a track (from the EP)  “Out On The Streets” on ITunes and CD Baby and all the streaming sites. In the Spring of 2015, we will have the EP for sale at all digital outlets and people can buy a physical CD directly from us.

Chewy: Plans to record more in 2015! We have lots of songs to work with.

AAM: Parting shots/thoughts for our readers?

Bo: As a band we are an evolving right now at a fairly rapid speed, so stay tuned to all the latest Bluesdrivers news on Facebook.

J.J.: Please “like” us on Facebook and download “Out On The Streets” for only .29 cents this month at! Hope to see ya at the shows and thanks for your support! Happy and Safe Holidays to all!

Chewy: We look forward to a lot cool gigs in 2015. Merry Christmas!

Live Dates for 2015:

  • 1/3 – Cooks Corner / Trabuco Cyn, CA
  • 1/10 – Ponderosa / Menifee, CA
  • 2/7 – Sue’s Tavern / Frazier Park, CA
  • 2/20 – Arcadia Blues Club / Arcadia, CA
  • 2/21 – Lakeside Sports Club / Helendale, CA
  • 3/7 – Harry’s Night Club / Pismo Beach, CA
  • 4/2-4 – TBA / Laughin, NV
  • 5/30 – Indian Hills Blues Festival / Tehacapi, CA
  • 8/8 – Fiesta Days Festival / Frazier Park, CA

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Metal Reigns In ATX Thu, 18 Dec 2014 08:06:23 +0000 Slayer performs at ACL-Live - Austin, TexasHard rock was on the menu at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater on November 18, 2014 when Slayer paid a visit to Austin as part of their fall tour with friends Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies. Mosh-pits and metal were the order of the night as the Grammy award winning heavy metal legends thrilled the sold out venue filled with enthusiastic fans.

Slayer had some lineup changes in 2013, including the passing of founding member Jeff Hanneman, and the firing of founding member, drummer Dave Lombaro. Slayer is now comprised of bassist/vocalist Tom Araya, guitarists Kerry King and Gary Holt, and drummer Paul Bostaph.

Slayer performs at ACL-Live - Austin, Texas

Slayer played a selection of both old and new numbers during their set, keeping the multi-age audience very happy. During their performance of “Angel Of Death” a new backdrop was revealed honoring Hanneman, who actually penned the song. The audience responded with a standing ovation and raised metal horns.

Opening on the night was Exodus with guitarists Gary Holt and Lee Altus, vocalist Steve Souza, bassist Jack Gibson, and drummer Tom Hunting. Souza successfully performed his job as a warm-up act by encouraging the audience to form a mosh pit.

Slayer performs at ACL-Live - Austin, TexasExodus was followed by another high-energy band, Suicidal Tendencies. Their lineup includes vocalist Mike Muir, guitarists Dean Pleasants and Nico Santora, bassist Michael Morgan, and drummer Thomas Pridgen. This hardcore group was successful in keeping up the moshing going until Slayer took the stage.

Review by Margy Moore
Photographs by Scott Moore/ Limelight Imaging

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Celtic Metal Queen Leah talks about Kings & Queens and her music influences. Thu, 18 Dec 2014 08:04:54 +0000 Leah

Interview by Craig Newman

Her fans call her the “The Metal Enya”. Her debut self-released album “Of Earth & Angels” received international critical acclaim, landing her on “The Best Symphonic Metal Album” Metalstorm Awards for 2012. The new symphonic album is to be one of the symphonic metal albums of 2015. Inspired by Celtic and world music influences such as Clannad and Loreena McKennitt to European symphonic and progressive metal, LEAH creates something magical and refreshing  in Celtic Metal music.

AAM: Hi Leah, thanks for taking time you talk about your new album and your first album & EP. Your music, album art by Jan Yrlund and photos are fabulous!

L: Hi Craig, thank you :) And I agree, Jan did a great job!

AAM: Two years ago you released you first album Of Earth & Angels on your label Ex Cathedra records your label. Was harder than you expected it to be?

L: No, it was surprisingly simple. Back then I had yet to build an audience, so I started from ground zero. It was as simple as making the album, releasing it, and promoting it through social media.

AAM: On your EP Otherworld, the single “Dreamland” has Eric Peterson from Testament singing with you. Have you and he been friends prior to him singing with you on the song? How or who asked whom to sing on the song?

L: Yes we’ve been friends for over ten years now, and met through mutual friends and past band mates. We ended up jamming together had some cool vibes going musically, so just kept in touch since then. We’ve always wanted to collaborate, so Dreamland was just the beginning of that. I am also featured as female choirs and back-up vocalist in his upcoming Dragonlord album.

AAM: When did you start you music training and your influences?

L: I’ve never had much professional music or vocal training at all. I think that has it’s pros and cons. Musically, I’ve been inspired by all kinds of things; whatever moves me and I’ve not had any bias or judgement towards what resonates with me. On the con side, I have felt limited in scope, knowledge and skill at times for lack of training and exposure. But life is a journey, so there is still time for that :)

AAM: When did you focus on the Celtic music and the music from the Middle East that goes back to the Persian Empire and Rome? That is has been influential to other music over the centuries.

L:  It was when I was exposed to Loreena McKennitt as a teen that really did it for me. All the sudden I fell in love with any sort of exotic-sounding instrument. There are so many rich timbers, textures and scales that intrigued me which felt much more satisfying than the boring pop and rock music that was on the radio.  Also, I have a celtic family heritage, which pulled me in even more.

AAM: When I and others listen to your music it is fresh with visions to be at Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, France and other parts of Europe. Do you read from others who research and write on the Celts, Norseman and the Norman Vikings for your songs?

L: I confess I haven’t read nearly as much as I would like! But I did very much enjoy the book “How the Irish Saved Civilization” in recent years.  Fascinating read.

AAM: Did you know the Celts and the Picts, the Romans called them cross a land a bridge to what is called Ireland from Western Europe/ Scandinavia / Russia? And even the origins even go back to south that was called Persian Empire. They also covered the land now known as France, Spain, Brittany and other areas.  And a tribe called Scotties from Ireland went to the land that is called Scotland so many of these people mixed together. Okay enough of the short history lesson and back to your music ?

L: Haha, yes history is fascinating. And to learn how many different tribes of people have a common ancestry :)

AAM: Kings & Queens is to be on sale on February 2015. It has fifteen songs.  Talk about the album cover and the songs?

L: Well the physical CD has 14 songs, which includes an acoustic version of Siúil a Rún and the digital download has the acoustic version plus a bonus rock version of Siúil a Rún.  Thematically, the album cover was meant to capture the essence of all the songs in a nutshell. I think once someone takes a few listens to the album and gets to know the songs and lyrics, they will agree the cover is very suited for the theme of the album.

AAM: The first song you released on your site is “Enter the Highlands”. Is that also the song to be released to radio first? And why you chose that song first to be released?

L: I’ve never been concerned much about radio release, mostly because the types of radio stations that play my music aren’t mainstream music, and tend to play whatever they want! And I chose Enter the Highlands because it’s dynamic, upbeat and is longer in length. I wanted to give my listeners something to chew on until the release of the album.

AAM: What label(s) is your new album on?

L: I have partnered with Inner Wound Recordings, a Swedish label, this time :)

AAM: Are the Kings on the cover reference to certain Kings?

L:  No, not in particular, it’s more a reference to the general theme of the album.

AAM: And how did Timo Somers and Sander Zoer of Delain, and Barend Courbois of Blind Guardian and Vengeance get involved?

L: I met them through Christian Moos of Spacelab Studios, who mixed this album and my last EP. I mentioned to him that I was looking for the right musicians for this album and he had Timo in mind. After that, it was Timo that helped me find the remaining guys who were perfect for this project.

AAM:  Who are the other musicians you perform with on this album?

L: There are additional orchestrations and keys by Brent Heflin McHenry and Oliver Philipps.

AAM: The music business is changing in some areas.  Your fans are supportive of your music and to contribute to your albums to be made. Have you had offers for major distribution for United States, Canada and to other countries?

L: Yes, the music biz is definitely changing. I still see a major role for labels, especially when it comes to the distribution end of things. That’s why I’ve partnered up with Inner Wound this time around. I knew the workload was going to be more than I could handle on my own. They’re doing a great job at helping me and are a great support.

AAM: Are there plans to release music videos of your songs and shows?

L: I would love to do some music videos, perhaps in the new year. As for touring, I don’t currently have any shows planned, but never say never :)

AAM: Will you be inquiring to get your music to be played on movies and television shows such as Vikings and Reign?

L:  Well hey, if anyone knows the right people, I hope they pass on my music to the music supervisor!

AAM: The drums and music recorded and mix at Spacelab Studios to Germany and Mastered and Eroc’s Mastering Ranch at Germany. Did you record your vocals there or send the tapes or files from home to mix there?

L: I recorded my vocals locally and sent them to Spacelab in Germany.

AAM: Are you and the band doing shows and if any plans if financially possible to do some shows at United States, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England?

L: There are no current plans. For the time being, my family is my main priority and I consider myself more of a recording artist than a live artist. But I would love to tour one day, so it’s a matter of the right doors opening financially for that to happen.

AAM: You inquiring to get on other bands tour for support?

L: Not yet :) I’m sure when the time comes it will be a great line up!

AAM: Thanks again for your music that others enjoy and to answer the questions?

L: Thank you so much for the questions and I hope everyone loves the new album! Cheers from Canada!

For more info on her music and merchandise go to:

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This Is M.E. Rocks ACL Live Thu, 18 Dec 2014 08:04:08 +0000 Melissa Etheridge performs at ACL-Live - Austin, TexasDecember 4, 2014 found Austin, Texas rocking out to some great music from one of rock’s most dynamic performers as Grammy and Academy Award winning artist Melissa Etheridge took to the stage at Austin City Limits – Live at the Moody Theater. Etheridge is on tour in support of her latest studio album, “This Is M.E.” “This Is M.E.” is Etheridge’s first album released on her own label, ME Records.
During her set, Etheridge performed some of her biggest hits, including “I’m The Only One” and “Come To My Window,” as well as nine tracks from her newest release, including her first single off “This Is M.E.,” “Take My Number.”

The introduction of so many new songs in one show might have caused problems for other artists, but Etheridge’s gamble proved to be a major hit with the always music-savvy Austin audience. Etheridge showcased her guitar skills on most songs, but she also showed her musical diversity by playing tom toms during “I Won’t Be Alone.” All in all, this show was the prefect mixture of a talented artist and some great music.

Melissa Etheridge performs at ACL-Live - Austin, TexasSetlist:

  • I Won’t Be Alone
  • I Want to Come Over
  • Take My Number
  • A Little Hard Hearted
  • Come To My Window
  • Do It Again
  • A Little Bit Of Me
  • Chrome Plated Heart
  • Ain’t That Bad
  • I’m The Only One
  • Like A Preacher
  • All The Way Home
  • Bring Me Some Water
  • Like The Way I Do
  • Encore:
  • Monster

Photographs by Scott Moore / Limelight Imaging

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Accepting Submissions For “Lexington’s Got Groove” Thu, 18 Dec 2014 08:00:55 +0000 Accepting Submissions For “Lexington’s Got Groove”

Great White

(LEXINGTON, KY) – Accepting submissions for “Lexington’s Got Groove,” a wintertime talent competition debuting at the Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center on Saturday, January 24, 2015, from the same people that present the yearly “Give Into The Groove.”

Auditions for “Lexington’s Got Groove” take place on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at ArtsPlace, 161 N. Mill St., in Lexington. Tickets for the main event on Saturday, January 24 can be purchased at the Lyric Theatre. An esteemed panel of judges including Edd MacKey, Duane Lundy, Meredith Lane, Bo List, and Emily Hagihara will select Lexington’s best.

Your submission fee is 100% tax-deductible and will be divided equally between our non-profits. People can apply and pay to audition via Remember to print your receipt and bring it with you to the audition.

Also launching at “Lexington’s Got Groove” is a contest where students can contribute to an online art exhibit at The contest is based on participation and merit and runs through the end of March. The winner of the Virtual Quilt competition, open to each Lexington area school, will have their quilt displayed at unique Lexington locations, including the Lexington Library and monies will be awarded to Fayette County Public Schools in June.

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Meeting a Monster: Mr. Lordi Tells of Monsters and Ghosts Thu, 18 Dec 2014 08:00:42 +0000 Mr. LordiI woke up bright and early to call Mr. Lordi, creator of the Finnish Monster Metal Band Lordi, to catch him (in the evening) for a fun, interesting, and educational conversation. Being such a huge Lordi fan, I was deeply honored to spend thirty minutes on the phone with Mr. Lordi himself and really enjoyed experiencing his personality and hearing him laugh as he told me stories of the band’s inception, musical influence, costuming practices, and even ghosts.

Lordi released their seventh studio album, ‘Scare Force One,’ on November 4th, 2014 in the States, with a Halloween release in Europe and a 26 November 2014 release in Japan, which included a bonus track. Some interesting things I learned about Mr. Lordi are that he is not a devil worshipper or a religious person. He doesn’t care either way. He owns twenty snakes, and his family actually has lived in a “House of Ghosts.”

Metal Babe: I read that you have said if it wasn’t for Kiss there probably wouldn’t be Lordi. Tell me about what an influence Kiss has been on your career.

Mr. Lordi: Kiss was the first rock band that I ever heard. My first album that I got was Kiss ‘Destroyer.’ The funny thing is that I actually heard the music of Kiss before I saw them. And when I saw them, they already had taken off the make-up. I had some friends that would show me pictures of Kiss, and I was like, what the hell? I thought, oh my God, this monster thing could be born. When I first saw a picture of Gene Simmons… That was it. Without Kiss… I don’t know. I think it’s pretty obvious. Lordi wouldn’t look the way we look. We got the platform boots and the whole costume thing. I think Kiss was the main influence on the band and Kiss has been a big part in the birth of Lordi in so many ways.

Metal Babe: What was the defining moment when you decided to create the band Lordi?

Mr. Lordi

Mr. Lordi: I was ten, eleven, maybe even nine… I don’t know. Up until the time I was like 16 or 17, it was, either I wanna be a horror movie director or I wanna be a rock star.

Metal Babe: You can combine them both this way!

Mr. Lordi: Yeah. At that time, I was playing with bands in my hometown, and at that the same time I was doing short films with my friends. I wanted to do both of them, and I loved both of those things. I went to film school in 1991 and what happened is that the music world started changing again, and my then bandmates didn’t wanna play my songs anymore because they thought it was yesterday’s stuff. I was influenced by bands like Scorpions, Kiss, WASP, Twisted Sister, Megadeth, Metallica, and Anthrax. Then for a few years the grunge thing was happening, which I did not like one bit. I wanted to play melodic heavy metal. The birth of Lordi was to get these songs out of my system. My current band members refused to play that stuff. They wanted to do something modern. When I started to do the demos under Lordi, which was my nickname, I realized that this is the sh*t, and that I am my own boss now. There’s no one else that can tell me what kind of songs I can do, and stuff I should like and shouldn’t like. That was 1992… Twenty something years later, here I am.

Metal Babe: I’m with you. I didn’t like the grunge either. I’m glad you’re doing what you’re doing. (Mr. Lordi Laughs.) You said Lordi was your nickname. How did you get it?

Mr. Lordi

Mr. Lordi: Lordi is a Finnish word for Lord. It’s not like the Lord Almighty. It’s like an English Lord. In Finland if you call somebody Lordi, it’s really putting them up on a pedestal. My best friend’s mother started calling me Lordi. ‘Here comes Lordi again.’ It stuck. Actually, when I was in film school, my classmates would call me Lordi Hardcore, because I love a lot of hardcore porn. (Laughs.)

Metal Babe: Great explanation and story! You actually change your costumes with each album. That’s amazing. How do you come up for the idea of each theme and how do you actually create the costumes?

Mr. Lordi: Well, you know what, it’s getting harder and harder every time. I wanna change more than I can in a way because… How can I put it. I can’t dye my hair red, or I can’t make the Lordi costume white, or blue. Well, I guess I could, but then the trademark would be pending. (Laughs.) So it’s a bit difficult. It’s really, really hard, for my own costume, or for Amen, (guitar) or Oxnard (bass). It’s already been seven costumes for Lordi (himself) and seven costumes for Amen. There are certain things that make Lordi, Lordi, and Amen, Amen. That make the characters them. And I kind of change them and tweak them, but I can’t change them too much, because if you lose them, then it’s not Lordi. It’s not the character that the fans know.

Metal Babe: Do new members have a say in their character’s costume or is it already determined??

Mr. Lordi: Yeah, they do. When a new guy joins the band, I always ask “Hey, do you have any ideas?” I asked both of them, (Amen/Oxnard) which I have done for many people before, what kind of a monster or character would you want to be?

For example, if somebody is really small and quiet, it’s hard to make a really small and quiet giant. The drummer, (Mana) cannot be like a raging werewolf, for example, because that’s not his character. That’s not who he is. The character and the costume are extensions of their own personality.

Mana is not really quiet, but he is a really calmed down kind of guy. He’s not running from anyone. He’s taking his time listening to everybody and he speaks slowly. We spent a lot of time thinking about his character because he’s a drummer, which is the most critical in the band. We have to come up with a character for him that really fits his personality. And that’s where the whole pastor, and the unholy priest came about. He’s calmed down and he’s just cool. I forgot the original question that you asked. (Laughs.)

Metal Babe: (Laughs.) You were saying that their costumes are an extension of them, and that you work together to create the best fit.

Mr. Lordi: Every time we stop to think about new costumes, we consider the physical thing that we want to change. If it’s something really technical, that relates to the drummer’s playing style, like having to hook his hair underneath the mask in a ponytail, we can do that. When we put the drummer in a noose in his first costume, his drumsticks got stuck all the time, and that’s really bad. Because he played in a certain way, he cannot have any kind of thick spikes or anything interfering on the costume. If you go back two drummers, (or something) he had all different kinds of neat little spikes on the costume, and they didn’t bother him one bit.

With Mana, you know, he cannot have any kind of extensions on the costume. And it’s funny when I see how fans are reacting to the new costumes, and they are really, really strict about how they should be. They’re like, why is Mana so plain, and why doesn’t Mana have this and doesn’t that? It’s because human beings are supposed to play drums. This human being happens to play in a certain way, so it’s either he’s gonna play right or he’s gonna look good. So which one do you wanna take? (Laughs.)

Metal Babe: You need both! Tell me about the meaning behind “Hard Rock Hallelujah.” I saw a Finnish documentary, ‘Promised Land of Heavy Metal,’ that made it sound like it was about a rock church in Finland (that I accidently found when visiting in 2008).

Mr. Lordi: The whole “Hard Rock Hallelujah” has nothing to do with religion. I mean… I used some Biblical references to tell how cool it was to do pop rock. But there were so many people who took it either pro-religion, or anti-religion. It’s funny because it doesn’t really matter what you say because people have some sort of idea before they open their mouth. On our first album we had a song called “Devil Is A Loser.”

Metal Babe: I love that song!

Mr. Lordi: And that song… (Laughs.) Even though we have a song called that, there are so many people accusing of us of being devil worshipers. No devil worshipper would ever title a song or do a song called “Devil Was A Loser.” Then there are people who think that that title proves that we are devil worshippers. I’m not a devil worshipper and I’m not a religious person. I don’t care either way.

Metal Babe: To me it’s a creative play on words… Everyone has their own interpretation.

Mr. Lordi: For me, and with the lyrics I write for Lordi, there’s no subject in the world that should be so sacred that we cannot either write a song about it, or talk about it, or even joke about it. There’s not a single issue in the world that we cannot touch. “The Devil Is A Loser,” to me, is just so funny, because it’s ridiculous how many… I call them ‘teen Satanists,’ those darkened spirits who are 16, or 17, or 18 year’s old, and they are so (in weird voice) evil/Satan. They are so… (Laughs.) It seems that they are so deep in that world that they know everything. Those people are so orthodox. They are using that… Like, badmouthing Jesus, or whoever. But, don’t you dare say anything about our dear devil. I’m like, come one. Grow up people.

Metal Babe: That is so crazy. I really love your catchy and memorable lyrics. What is the writing process like for Lordi, and what gives you inspiration?

Mr. Lordi: Usually it starts with the full title. Although, a lot of times I write the music first, and then I come up with the title. Because I write so much faster that way. If there are ten songs on the album, it means there are 30 songs on the album, of 40, that I left out. I just come up with the titles. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Usually the ideas come from the horror genre in general. Sometimes I get really excited in my own mind and can write a horror story which actually has another message that’s involved.

Metal Babe: What is the title track about?

Lordi: I find it really hilarious that the title song “Scare Force One” is
actually about the power of Judas Priest. It’s like, how would Judas Priest do this album? What kind of release would they have? Of course, if you have half monster, half machine, half… I don’t know, whatever. This song calls for this real heavy metal, traditional Judas Priest kind of lyrics.

Metal Babe: I don’t think people would know that unless you told them. I have been listening to the CD since it came out and I love it. Is there a specific concept for this album?

Lordi: We already knew the name of the album ‘Scare Force One’ before the last album came out. We were thinking about doing a concept album. Like a theme album of ‘Scare Force One.’ Along the way, somehow, I said that maybe we are not ready for that yet. I don’t think I have the balls yet to try that. Like, it’s easier to write one song. But if you have to have a full album of songs that have a story line… I can write the story line in 10 or 11 sections, but the actual songs should work on their own too. That’s the difficult part. Maybe someday… I know that our A&R have been asking for that for the last three or four albums. Now! Now! Now! You know. (Laughs.)

Metal Babe: I love the entire CD, but I have to say “House of Ghosts” is definitely one of my top favorite songs on the album. What’s the story behind this song?

Lordi: Good question. It’s a true story. I am living in the “House of Ghosts.” It’s all real as far as I know. It’s my grandparent’s house, that me and my wife started renovating four years ago. It’s at least 79 years old; built in 1935. My dad was born there. No one knew what the house was used for until recently. My grandparents bought the house when my dad was young, maybe six or seven years old. The Second World War was going on. The wallpaper has been on those walls since 1939 or 1940. When we started renovating the house, we started taking off the wallpaper because we wanted to remove the old wood. What we found under the motherf*cking wallpaper is that there are actually written messages in Russian on the walls! I didn’t know any Russian, so I called my friend who knows some, and she came there and she said, oh my God, these are cries for help.

We had discovered that the house that I’m living in, that is my home, was actually one of the Nazi’s radio controlling centers! I had no idea. Nobody ever told me. My relatives never told me that.

Metal Babe: Wow.

Lordi: When we talked to people a little bit more, it turns out, like I said, it was the Nazi’s radio control center and also they had Russian war criminals there. There are so many weird things that were happening while we were renovating the house. Those lyrics are in the song. I could have written an hour and a half song of “House of Ghosts.” The ghosts are following somebody that we do not see. You see somebody sit in an empty chair, for example. There are talks, whispers… There are sounds, there are shadows… All kinds of weird sh*t. (Laughs.)

Metal Babe: Oh my gosh. That’s crazy.

Lordi: I consider myself to be a sane person. Even though I have been a fan of horror and monsters since I was a little kid. This stuff is really happening. It’s scary. Weird things are happening in that house.

Metal Babe: I’m sorry to cut our call short, but I only have one minute left on my calling card. Last question, do you have any plans to come back to the U.S.?

Lordi: I hope so. I hope so. I always keep my fingers crossed. It’s been way too long since we’ve been there. There were actually two times in the last year that we got asked, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. So maybe this time.

Metal Babe: You have a lot of fans here in the United States that love you so we hope that you come back here soon!

Lordi: (Yells) And we love them!

Metal Babe: Thank you. I’m going to hang up before the calling card hangs up on you. Thank you so much for your time.

Lordi: Cool. Awesome. Thank you. Absolutely my pleasure.

For more information on Lordi:

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