California Rocker

Award-Winning Online Music Magazine

California Rocker Wins Best Photo Essay, Best Action Photo at Prestigious LA Press Club Awards Gala

California Rocker Wins Three Awards at 2016 NAEJ

By DOTTIE PARIS

California Rocker, the online music magazine, won Best Photo Essay and Best Action Photo categories Sunday night at the National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards by the Los Angeles Press Club.

The awards were presented to California Rocker producer Donna Balancia at the annual awards gala that honors the best of entertainment journalism.  The event was held at the Millennium Biltmore in downtown Los Angeles.

California Rocker Wins Best Action Photo

Donna Balancia Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In - California Rocker Wins

Donna Balancia won Best Action Photo for this image of Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Best Action Photo was awarded to Donna Balancia for her image of Cedric Bixler-Zavala, the high-energy frontman for At The Drive-In, leaping into the air at the Hollywood Palladium.  California Rocker wins included third place in the same action photo category for a beautiful image of the legendary surf guitar master Dick Dale performing to an adoring crowd at The Whisky A Go-Go.

Best Photo Essay for Suzanne Allison Witkin

Suzanne Allison Witkin - Vampires California Rocker Wins

Suzanne Allison Witkin took first place for her photo essay “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison Witkin

Renowned rock photographer Suzanne Allison Witkin won Best Photo Essay for “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires,” a photographic documentation of behind-the-scenes with the supergroup featuring Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry.

The gala was attended by hundreds of writers, editors, producers and photographers and honored renowned songwriter Diane Warren, actress Angela Lansbury, and late-night talk show star Chelsea Handler.

‘Voices of Independent Artists Heard Tonight’

Dick Dale at the Whisky A Go-Go California Rocker Wins

The photo of Dick Dale taken at the Whisky A Go-Go was honored with a win in the action photo category – Photo © Donna Balancia

“I started California Rocker three years ago to give independent artists a voice,” Donna said. “Their voices were clearly heard tonight as our work was selected over that of the corporate media.  We will continue to work with up-and-coming and established musicians, writers and photographers so talent and truth can shine through.”

Previous wins include the work of Heather Harris in the LA Press Club’s first-ever Photo Essay category, for her images of musician James Williamson’s all-star concert at the Bootleg, and Donna’s image of Flyin’ Jay Armant, of the band Fishbone, launching into the crowd at the Roxy Theatre.

California Rocker has had several finalist designations and this year was no exception. California Rocker took three finalist designations among five in the action photo category and Suzanne’s Photo Essay was among three finalists.

EXCLUSIVE: On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires: Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry on a Mission

The Hollywood Vampires Bring Rock ‘N’ Roll to the World

vampires-johnny-depp-bruce-witkin-suzanne-california-rocker

Johnny Depp about to take a bow following a Hollywood Vampires show. Fellow Vampire, Bruce Witkin, is to his left – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Witkin

PHOTOS AND STORY
By SUZANNE ALLISON

HOLLYWOOD – Touring with The Hollywood Vampires — those legendary rockers Alice Cooper, Joe Perry and their pal Johnny Depp — is much more than merely playing concerts.

The tour gives people in Europe and the U.S. a chance to see musicians from an era that, like the vampire itself, is pure legend.

One would think all those egos couldn’t fit inside any of their many tour buses that hit the highways.

‘Regular Joe’ Vampires

Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry - Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison

Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison

In reality, while like any vampire, these guys live for the night, they actually each have a down-to-earth persona when in their group travelling from city to city.  They’re professionals on a mission, devoted to each other and to their fans.

The Hollywood Vampires just wrapped up a European tour and now it’s on with the U.S. tour, to bring the famous rock show to people living in upstate New York to the West and everywhere in between.

Alice Cooper ‘School’s Out’

Alice Cooper takes center stage with the Hollywood Vampires - Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison

Alice Cooper takes center stage with the Hollywood Vampires – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison

Music is a very personal experience for the fans and they love to see Alice, whose Billion Dollar Babies and School’s Out were among the top albums of all time.  It’s an opportunity for fans to see musicians who are not only legendary but brought a new type of Rock ‘N’ Roll to the world.

“They’re just as great today as ever,” ticketholder Bobby Smith of Northern California said.

“I’ve always wanted to see Alice Cooper and I’ll finally have the chance.”

From Guest to Collaborator

Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper - Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison

Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper with Bruce Witkin in background – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison

Smith isn’t alone.

Across Europe fans clamored around The Hollywood Vampires, hanging over the rail to hand them something to sign, to touch them, or just catch a glimpse of the rock idols.

The Hollywood Vampires came to know each other when Alice worked with Joe and Johnny. Alice had guest musicians on a record and the guys went from guest artists to collaborators. That’s usually the way it works, of course, but this is a supergroup of very large proportions.

Johnny Depp and The Kids

Longtime friends, Johnny Depp and Bruce Witkin - Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison for California Rocker

Longtime friends, Johnny Depp and Bruce Witkin – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison for California Rocker

Johnny brings movie star fame to the show, but he started out in music before nailing the life-changing role on the 1980s TV hit show 21 Jump Street.

He’s built a successful film career that includes the “Pirates of The Carribbean” films. But Johnny’s first love was always music.

He was in a band called The Kids with fellow Vampire, Bruce Witkin.  I know because I was there — as Johnny’s friend and I ended up marrying Bruce.

The Hollywood Vampires Record

Bruce Witkin consults with Alice Cooper - Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison for California Rocker

Bruce Witkin consults with Alice Cooper – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison for California Rocker

The Hollywood Vampires released the self-titled album and toured to promote it. The fans love the album and that’s something that makes the guys happy.

But for the guys it’s really about the fans. It’s amazing to see the reaction of the fans across the country when they see Alice Cooper or Joe Perry.

We take it for granted because we live in Los Angeles and we get to see the big names. But The Hollywood Vampires played county fairs and smaller venues where they brought the music to the masses. The fans are so excited to see these cherished Rock N Rollers in person because their music means so much to so many.

It’s music from an era that may or may not endure with the advent of EDM and computer generated sound dominating music creation today. What the Hollywood Vampires bring is a glimpse into the workings of the the guys who are the cornerstone of rock music.

Hangin’ With the Vampires

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Johnny Depp wraps his arms around legendary musician Alice Cooper during a Hollywood Vampires show – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison

And the Hollywood Vampires enjoy the interaction with the fans. They prefer playing the smaller venues — the smaller the better and that’s because it’s more intimate and they like the more personal performances.

With all these guys who have such a dynamic background and type A personalities when it comes to music, they all admire each other and it’s pretty rare.

That’s not to say each of The Hollywood Vampires don’t have their own individual quirks.

Junk Food Lover

Joe Perry made it a successful show every night - Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison

Joe Perry made it a successful show every night – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison

Alice Cooper is a an admitted junk-food lover and his favorite candy is Red Vines.  When he’s on his own tour, his wife and daughter are almost always with him and he tries to get in a few rounds of golf where he can.

Meanwhile, Joe would never touch a Red Vine – he’s the opposite – he’s health conscious about what he eats,  and he’s an avid sun worshipper. He brought along his wife Billie and they adore their pup, Bella. Joe takes such good care of himself.  He has a daily regimen, he watches his weight and he watches what he eats.

Focused But Relaxed

legendary-joe-perry-suzanne-allison-vampiresJohnny loves to read and practice guitar. Bruce is the musical director always trying to improve the show.

Tommy Henriksen is the one who makes everyone laugh, keeping the good feelings going, and Robert Deleo has some impressive dance moves. Matt Sorum, the drummer, was planning to bring his French Bulldog with him on the U.S. portion of the world tour, I know he spends lots of time with her.

But as much as these guys enjoy each other, they really love their audiences.

And to some people it may seem like this rag-tag band of ritzy rock stars are on the road to get their last licks, but that’s exactly why the tour is so important.

Representing An Era in Music

The Hollywood Vampires - Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison

The Hollywood Vampires – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison

The Hollywood Vampires tour represents a rare opportunity to see our popular culture in action.  These musicians are treasured and they are loved by the fans overseas as well as in here in the U.S., where the music started.  It’s gratifying for the band.

The Hollywood Vampires bring these valuable musicians and their music out to a younger generation. The young people, so inundated with electronic music and digital production need to see and appreciate music made by the masters.

 

GRAMMYs 2016 – Dearly Departed Musicians Upstaged Those Still Here

Full List of Winners Here; Lady Gaga, Hollywood Vampires Mesmerize

Justin Bieber - Photo courtesy of CBS for CaliforniaRocker.com

Justin Bieber – Photo courtesy of CBS for CaliforniaRocker.com

By DONNA BALANCIA – It was a rough year for the music business and the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards reflected that, as dead musicians took the spotlight from today’s performers.

Lady Gaga honored David Bowie; Bonnie Raitt, Chris Stapleton and Gary Clarke Jr. performed in honor of BB King; and The Hollywood Vampires, alias Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry, played in honor of Lemmy Kilmister.

As for the awards, Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and even Justin Bieber got GRAMMY awards Monday night. And while many may have a hard time with Bieber, we have to admit he has a great voice and he does play guitar.

GRAMMYs: Rigged and Antiquated

CaliforniaRocker.com takes the position that the GRAMMY Awards event is a rigged and antiquated marketing function. The GRAMMY awards are highly irrelevant to 90 percent of aspiring musicians of today.  For established musicians, attending a GRAMMY Awards event and getting on national TV boosts recognition and sales.

Lady Gaga gave a fitting tribute to David Bowie during GRAMMY Awards - Photo courtesy CBS for CaliforniaRocker.com

Lady Gaga gave a fitting tribute to David Bowie during GRAMMY Awards – Photo courtesy CBS for CaliforniaRocker.com

But, big bucks are invested in the GRAMMY Awards. The annual event, and events like it, are important to musical instrument manufacturers who are having a very rough time getting young people to play traditional drums, keyboards and guitar.  The GRAMMYs can put a dream in a kid’s head, a guitar in his or her hands, and money into the empty coffers of today’s music schools.

So the industry props up Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and all the others, whether they have true talent or not, regardless if autotune is in their DNA, or whether they have truly “made it on their own” or not.

So congrats to the winners.

As for performances, a strong showing of the evening was that of The Hollywood Vampires, who busted their national TV cherry, putting on a tribute to Lemmy Kilmister. This Sunset Strip supergroup is so appealing and influential it could possibly single-handedly keep rock and roll alive.

The music business owes a vote of thanks to Johnny Depp and The Hollywood Vamps who make Rock N Roll Cool - Photo courtesy CBS for CaliforniaRocker.com

The music business owes a vote of thanks to Johnny Depp and The Hollywood Vamps who make Rock N Roll Cool – Photo courtesy CBS for CaliforniaRocker.com

CaliforniaRocker.com covered Johnny Depp’s compelling performance with The New Basement Tapes at The Montalban Theatre; Alice Cooper is an all-time original, whose “School’s Out” was a national anthem, and Joe Perry is pure class. And if we’re going for full disclosure we’re biased because we’re fans of not only outstanding producer Bruce Witkin, who is the bassist in the band, but also his beautiful and creative family.

Gwen Stefani, formerly of The Voice, debuted her single “Make Me Like You” via a high-dollar, one-take, but ultimately cheesy Target ad. Her record bows March 18.

Foo Fighters Still Together?

Foo Fighters, whose existence is in question since their long email note to the fans a few months back indicating they would stop touring, lost out to Alabama Shakes in the best rock performance category. The “wrap it up music” cued not only Alabama Shakes, but others during their acceptance speeches.

Gwen Stefani's Target commercial hit the airwaves during the GRAMMY Awards - Photo © Donna Balancia

Gwen Stefani’s Target commercial hit the airwaves during the GRAMMY Awards – Photo © Donna Balancia

Adele, What Happened?

Adele, whose chart-topping album, 25, was a multimillion seller, had some challenges. She missed the high notes during her performance of “All I Ask,” and the best we can figure is she has the walking pneumonia that’s plagued everyone in LA recently. Extremely talented and appreciated, it wasn’t her night, but she can take comfort weeping into her millions. She blamed a microphone causing a clanging sound. Rihanna canceled her GRAMMY appearance because of that LA flu. Smart move.

For the people who were actually there, it was good to see those who had passed were honored by the likes of Gaga, and Jackson Browne and Joe Walsh.

Browne and Walsh led their version of “Take It Easy” in tribute to Glenn Frey who also passed away a few weeks ago. Gaga, who seems to be every old musician’s favorite pal — she is godmother to Elton John’s children and hangs with Tony Bennett — put on a ripping performance to honor David Bowie through the years.

The Hollywood Vampires - Photo courtesy of CBS for CaliforniaRocker.com

The Hollywood Vampires – Photo courtesy of CBS for CaliforniaRocker.com

Stevie Wonder led the the tribute to Lionel Richie singing “That’s The Way of The World;” his voice is still amazingly clear and he appeared in good nature.  He made a brief but poignant statement on helping to enable people with disabilities.

With fashion, short undergarments with draping skirts were the style of the night (for the gals) as many picked gowns with thigh-high slits or outfits that flashed short shorts. Wonder actually slayed in the fashion department too, wearing camouflage in introducing Song of the Year. For the men, the print shirts and black and white tuxedoes were the flavor this year.

Among those who received a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award was Run DMC. Reverend Run (Joseph Simmons, brother to Russell Simmons) with all his advice and words of wisdom said his story and music was always told from his heart.

Original Wrapper

East Coast Rocker readers remember the night Run DMC warmed up for Lou Reed during his Original Wrapper show at the Capitol Theatre in Pasaic, N.J. and they had a very rough time with the audience. The audience was having none of this rap warm-up band and was calling out “Lou! Lou!” and catcalling “Boo!” while Run DMC was performing and scratching. OK it was 1986.

Mavis-Staples-Photo © Donna Balancia

Mavis-Staples-Photo © Donna Balancia

Speaking of rap, Kendrick Lamar’s performances were spot on and interesting at least, if not costly — and hot! — with fire burning right in the middle of Staples Center.

And lest we forget, a special congrats goes out to the grande dame of rock music, Mavis Staples, who was awarded the American Roots Award.

GRAMMY AWARD RECIPIENTS:

Album of the Year – 1989, Taylor Swift

Song of the Year – “Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran and Amy Wadge

Record of the Year  – “Uptown Funk,” Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

Best Rap Album  – To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar

Best Country Album – Traveler, Chris Stapleton

Best Musical Theater Album – Hamilton

Best Rap Performance -“Alright,” Kendrick Lamar

Best Rap Song -“Alright,” Kendrick Lamar

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration -“These Walls,” Kendrick Lamar featuring Bilal, Anna Wise, and Thundercat

Best Rock Performance -“Don’t Wanna Fight,” Alabama Shakes

Best Music Video -“Bad Blood,” Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar

Best New Artist -Meghan Trainor

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical – Jeff Bhasker

Best Country Song – “Girl Crush,” Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, and Liz Rose (Little Big Town)

Best Country Solo Performance  -“Traveller,” Chris Stapleton

Best Country Duo/Group Performance – “Girl Crush,” Little Big Town

Best Pop Vocal Album – Taylor Swift, 1989

Best Pop Solo Performance  -“Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran

Best Rock Album – Drones, Muse

Best Alternative Album – Sound & Color, Alabama Shakes

Best Rock Performance – “Don’t Wanna Fight,” Alabama Shakes

Best Rock Song – “Don’t Wanna Fight,” Alabama Shakes

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance – “Uptown Funk,” Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

Best Metal Performance – “Cirice,” Ghost

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album – “The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern,” Tony Bennett and Bill Charlap

Best Traditional R&B Performance – “Little Ghetto Boy,” Lalah Hathaway

Best Dance/Electronic Album – Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü, Skrillex and Diplo

Best Dance Recording-“Where Are Ü Now,” Skrillex and Diplo with Justin Bieber

Remixed Recording, Non-Classical-“Uptown Funk (Dave Audé Remix),” Dave Audé (Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars)

Best Urban Contemporary Album-Beauty Behind the Madness, the Weeknd

Best Comedy Album-Live at Madison Square Garden, Louis CK

Best R&B Album-Black Messiah, D’Angelo and the Vanguard

Best R&B Song-“Really Love,” D’Angelo and Kendra Foster

Best R&B Performance-“Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey),” the Weeknd

Best Blues Album-Born to Play Guitar, Buddy Guy

Best Folk Album-Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn

Best Reggae Album-Strictly Roots, Morgan Heritage

Best New Age Album-“Grace,” Paul Avgerinos

Best Surround Sound Album-“Amused to Death,” James Guthrie and Joel Plante (Roger Waters)

Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media-Birdman, Antonio Sanchez

Best Song Written for Visual Media-“Glory,” performed by Common and John Legend

Best Music Film-Amy, Amy Winehouse; Asif Kapadia, video director; James Gay-Rees, video producer

Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media-Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me

Best Spoken Word Album-A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety, Jimmy Carter

Contemporary Instrumental Album-“Sylva,” Snarky Puppy and Metropole Orkest

Best Improvised Jazz Solo-“Cherokee,” Christian McBride

Best Jazz Vocal Album-“For One to Love,” Cécile McLorin Salvant

Best Jazz Instrumental Album-“Past Present,” John Scofield

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album-“The Thompson Fields,” Maria Schneider Orchestra

Best Children’s Album-“Home,” Tim Kubart

Best World Music Album-“Sings,” Angelique Kidjo

Best Regional Roots Music Album-“Go Go Juice,” Jon Cleary

Best Bluegrass Album-“The Muscle Shoals Recordings,” The Steeldrivers

Best Americana Album-“Something More Than Free,” Jason Isbell

Best American Roots Song-“24 Frames,” Jason Isbell

Best American Roots Performance-“See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” Mavis Staples

Best Latin Pop Album-“A Quien Quiera Escuchar (Deluxe Edition),” Ricky Martin

Best Tropical Latin Album-“Son De Panamá,” Rubén Blades with Roberto Delgado and Orchestra

Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album-TIE: “Hasta la Raíz,” Natalia Lafourcade and “Dale,” Pitbull

Best Regional Mexican Music Album-“Realidades, Deluxe Edition,” Los Tigres Del Norte

Best Roots Gospel Album-“Still Rockin’ My Soul,” the Fairfield Four

Best Contemporary Christian Album-“This Is Not a Test,” Tobymac

Best Gospel Album-“Covered: Alive in Asia [Live] (Deluxe),” Israel & Newbreed

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song-“Holy Spirit,” Francesca Battistelli

Best Engineered Album, Classical-“Ask Your Mama,” Leslie Ann Jones, John Kilgore, Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum, and Justin Merrill, engineers; Patricia Sullivan, mastering engineer (George Manahan and San Francisco Ballet Orchestra)

Best Producer, Classical-Judith Sherman

Best Orchestral Performance-“Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow — Symphony No. 10,” Andris Nelsons, conductor (Boston Symphony Orchestra)

Best Opera Recording-“Ravel: L’Enfant Et Les Sortilèges; Shéhérazade,” Seiji Ozawa, conductor; Isabel Leonard; Dominic Fyfe, producer (Saito Kinen Orchestra; SKF Matsumoto Chorus and SKF Matsumoto Children’s Chorus)

Best Choral Performance-“Beethoven: Missa Solemnis,” Bernard Haitink, conductor; Peter Dijkstra, chorus master (Anton Barachovsky, Genia Kühmeier, Elisabeth Kulman, Hanno Müller-Brachmann, and Mark Padmore; Symphonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks; Chor Des Bayerischen Rundfunks)

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance-“Brahms: The Piano Trios,” Tanja Tetzlaff, Christian Tetzlaff, and Lars Vogt

Best Classical Instrumental Solo-“Dutilleux: Violin Concerto, L’Arbre Des Songes,” Augustin Hadelich; Ludovic Morlot, conductor (Seattle Symphony)

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album-“Joyce & Tony — Live From Wigmore Hall,” Joyce DiDonato; Antonio Pappano, accompanist

Best Classical Compendium-“Paulus: Three Places of Enlightenment; Veil of Tears & Grand Concerto,” Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Tim Handley, producer

Best Contemporary Classical Composition-“Paulus: Prayers & Remembrances,” Stephen Paulus, composer (Eric Holtan, True Concord Voices, and Orchestra)

‘Tighty Whiteys,’ Featuring Frontman Ron Young, Bare Their Soul With Upcoming Malibu Gigs in 2016

Tighty Whities Pictured here: Joey Malone, Ron Young and Bruce Witkin - Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Tighty Whiteys Pictured here: Joey Malone, Ron Young and Bruce Witkin – Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Renowned LA Musicians Pay Their Tribute to the Soulful Sound of the ’70s

By DONNA BALANCIA

Got Soul?

You can get some as The Tighty Whiteys, with frontman Ron Young and some stellar musicians, will be the featured band at Casa Escobar Malibu in 2016.

As the name might indicate, the Tighty Whiteys are not just a bunch of white guys with some rhythm.  The band is comprised of some of LA’s most well-known talents: The gravelly voiced Young of Little Caesar fame; Joey Malone on guitar; Bruce Witkin on bass; Rob Klonel on drums and Kevin Lawrence on keyboards.  For those who love funk and soul of the early 1970s, this is the band to see.

Formerly called The Blue-Eyed Devils, the talented Tighty Whiteys will jam at the happening Casa Escobar, located inside the Malibu Inn, on Jan. 16 and Feb. 13.

tighty-whities-escobar7-nov7

“We changed the name because there was a supremist group out there with the same name and we didn’t want to be associated with that,” Young told CaliforniaRocker.com “We’ll change the name as soon as I can figure out how to do it on Facebook and still have folks receive our notices.”

Young and his Tighty Whiteys are not alone in the name dilemma as others have had issues with identity related to Facebook lately.

See California Rocker Story: Facebook F***s Cheetah Chrome

Selections include hits from The Temptations, Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder and other greats.  The music has a special place in the hearts of the guys. The Tighty Whities share a passion for funk and soul but various projects, other bands, and life in general, have sidetracked the group.

Tighty Whities - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Tighty Whiteys – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

“We’ve been playing together off an on for three years,” Young said. “We’ve been on hiatuses for tours and projects sometimes derail us. The bass player, Bruce, plays in the Hollywood Vampires and that held us up a bit, so things like that play a role in how often Tighty Whities can play.”

“Since we are ‘Back on the horse’ again with playing, we’ll be looking for additional dates …we’ve committed ourselves to do more as it’s so much fun for us.”

Young is known for his work with the band Little Caesar, which has a strong LA following and recently returned from a European tour.  How did the Tighty Whiteys get together?

Tighty Whities Kevin Lawrence - Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Tighty Whiteys Kevin Lawrence – Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

“We got together after Little Caesar worked with Bruce on our American Dream release,” Young said. “Bruce produced it and we released it on his Unison Music label. We wound up becoming very close friends. Bruce has played with Joey Malone since high school.”

Coincidentally that’s the same high school attended by their other pal, none other than Johnny Depp.

“That’s where the Hollywood Vampire connection comes in,” Young said.  “Bruce, Joey and Johnny grew up together and played in a band together in Florida in the ’80s.”

Young, who seems to know almost everyone (and he is continually swarmed by people who know him too) had a drummer in mine in Rob Klonel, an old friend of both Witkin and Young; and keyboardist Kevin Lawrence was a friend of Witkin as well.

“We all were heavily influenced by the players, songs and grooves of early Soul, R&B, Motown and Funk and wanted to pay tribute by covering the material we do,” Young said.

“All that music was so influential to so many great rock n roll artists,” Young said.  “And we’re no different in that love and adoration.”

 

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