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Metal Rocker Willie Basse to Perform Free Concert Tuesday Night at The Viper Room on The Sunset Strip

Battling Cancer Has Brought Changes, He Says

By DONNA BALANCIA

Willie Basse, who has given a boost to many fellow musicians over the years, will headline a fan appreciation concert at the Viper Room on Tuesday.

The popular Basse, known as “the cultural ambassador to The Sunset Strip,” says he wants to give back to the people who have been helping all along the way.

Willie Basse at the Whisky in April - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Willie Basse at the Whisky in April – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Cancer Diagnosis

Basse was diagnosed with cancer a little more than one year ago and is fighting back brilliantly. A metal rock innovator, he cut more than a few impressive tracks with his band Black Sheep.

“I am a completely new and different human being,” Basse said. “I believe in love, and the disease has been a huge blessing. It demands that I change, connect with God, myself and my spiritual values.”

The Money Grind by Willie Basse – Photo courtesy Willie Basse

Keeping It Real

After a year of prayers, meditation and searching, cancer research, doctors, treatments and many serious lifestyle changes, Basse says he’s coming back. He has been keeping the energy up and getting support from friends and family.

Willie Basse and pal Slash – Photo courtesy Willie Basse

Viper Room Lineup

Basse’s musical lineup Tuesday features Italian virtuoso guitarist, Patrick Abbate, Scott Warren on keyboard, Troy Patrick Farrell on drums and Mitch Perry on guitar.

The bands Stonebreed and Brittney’s Rage will also perform. Doors open at 8 p.m.

You can donate to support Willie Basse Cancer Treatments via PayPal to rockscool@icloud.com

Check out the event page on Facebook 

Video courtesy of Patrick Abbate:

Richie Ramone Plays Paladino’s for New Year’s Eve – No New Resolutions in 2016, Just Good Music

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Richie Ramone – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA – Richie Ramone will play a New Year’s Eve show that kicks off a new album and a European tour in 2016.

Ramone will play Paladino’s on New Year’s Eve, supported by Cairo Knife Fight, Kyle Gass Band, Kill My Coquette and Fatal Error.

Tickets are still available

Ramone, who played with the legendary group in the 1980s, has a new album, tentatively called “Cellophane,” which will feature nine new, unrecorded songs.

NYEPALFLYERv3“I’m really proud of this record,” Ramone said. “We’re writing the songs right now and we’re touring Europe.”

He’s written songs for the Ramones, probably the most well-known of which is “Somebody Put Something in my Drink.”

SEE ‘RICHIE RAMONE AIN’T NO VALLEY GUY’ on ECR

Europe has been a welcoming region for Ramone, who with Clare Misstake, Alex Kane and Ben Reagan, have nine upcoming stops in the U.K., a few Ireland shows and then hit Germany, Italy and Holland.  They’ll be back in the USA in the spring.

“You know, it’s half and half how we travel,” Ramone said. “We’ll take the plane, use the van. Touring is what we live and breathe.”

The reception to anything Ramones is huge overseas and over the years, Richie has built a reputation here in the US as well.

“The Ramones have devoted fans and I’m a piece of that,” Ramone says.

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Alex Kane – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

“And it’s always great that the people come out to the shows.  After the show, I talk to people and I’ve heard more than once —  or more than 10 times really — ‘I didn’t know what to expect.’  They get a good show and then they come back.”

Ramone is recording new material for the album now.

“This album is great I loved my first record, but on this is the bar is raised, I really love this record.  a lot of fast stuff.  I didn’t re-do any of the old songs.  The first record I did four or five songs from before. But these are all new songs – they’re still being written.  They’ve been around less than a year.”

Richie’s using his faithful band on the record. Clare has been with Richie three years and Alex has been with the group for two years.

“I’m using the band on the record,” Richie said. “They’ve been with me a while now.”

Some song titles include “Just To Be Clear,” “Cellophane” and “I Fixed This.”

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Richie and Clare Misstake share a laugh at Hi Fi Rockfest last summer – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

“We were touring Sweden that’s what they would say,” Ramone said. “If I say ‘I’d like a cheeseburger,’ they’d say ‘I fixed this.’  Funny things happen like that, and  I always put my personal experiences into my music.”

‘The fans lift me up and give me energy’

“‘Cellophane’ is all about how I feel.  We perform night after night.  I feel when I come to these shows I’m kind of tight or worn out.  The fans lift me up and the fans give me energy night after night.”

Right now it’s record time.

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Richie Ramone – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

“They used to say June Carter Cash would say, ‘Ok honey let’s go make some history,’   and when I heard that I always remembered it,” Ramone said.  “It’s amazing. Music lives forever, until the end of time there will be a copy somewhere.  I’ll see a single with my old band for hundreds of dollars, a little 45.  The stuff lives forever.”

As for the what’s coming up?

“All I can say is I’m really excited about 2016,” Ramone said. “I think it’s going to be a great year.”

Little Caesar And The Rise of Biker Rock: Interview With Ron Young

Ron Young of Little Caesar - Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Ron Young of Little Caesar – Photo for California Rocker © 2015 Heather Harris

Photos © Heather Harris; Donna Balancia asks Ron Young, the dynamic frontman for Little Caesar, the important questions.

DB: Your band put on a great show last week at Paladino’s. What are your touring plans for the summer?

RY: We are headed over to Europe mid-June. We start out in Spain for a Motorcycle rally. Then we head to Holland, Belgium, France, Germany and then back through Spain.

DB: Is there a new release we can look forward to?

RY: We are working on new material we will hopefully finish when we return from tour. We will probably release an EP online … actual CDs are a way of the past. It also helps us get new material out faster and directly to our fans. Things have changed!

DB: How are the new guys working out with the band overall?  What talents do they bring?

RY: The new guys, Carey Beare on guitar and Pharoah Barrett on bass are working out great. They are both incredibly talented and have a long touring and recording history.

Ron Young of LIttle Caesar - Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Ron Young of Little Caesar – Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Carey plays with Deanna Carter as well and that country blues sensibility fits us really well. His influences in blues-based rock really helps as well. Pharoah is a killer bass player and singer. I toured with him up in Canada when I did a tour with the Four Horseman years back. 

DB: How did you ever develop your style?

RY: I always loved Blues, R&B, Soul and the the Rock and Roll it influenced. The combination of guys in the band bring  such great elements. Loren is the “punk rock” Keith Richards in the group and brings a great edge to our songs. We emerged in LA during the “hair band” explosion and it really wasn’t any of our “cup o’ tea.” We were gritty dudes riding motorcycles and loved more traditional blues and soul based Rock…which was not the mantra of Pop Metal bands on the Strip in the Eighties. We put the band together to not lose our minds and to pay tribute to the type of Rock we grew up on in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s.

DB: What is the significance of Detroit in your history?

Loren Molinare of LIttle Caesar photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Loren Molinare of Little Caesar – Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

RY: Loren is from Detroit and was a big part of the scene back there. He was in a seminal Punk/Hard Rock band there that did shows with Bob Seger, the MC5, and the Stooges. Mitch Ryder and his take on RnR was a big influence as well.

DB: Who are some of the bands you used to follow in your the formation days of Little Caesar?

RY: We loved to do shows and listen to bands like Junkyard, Rhino Bucket, Little Kings, Bulldozer etc. They were very honest and gritty bands that side stepped the make up and hairspray like we did. We all played in great joints like Raji’s, The Scream, the Shamrock etc. There was a great communal scene in those days.

DB: Why did you cut your hair?

RY: For me, long hair became a parody. As I grew older it felt like leaving it long was a desperate attempt to cling to my youth. I have silvery curly hair and I would have looked like Santa if I let it stay long. I’m not a big fan of hiding my age behind L’Oreal blue black hair dye. RnR should exude confidence, and when you age and dye your hair it looks obvious and insecure to me. 

Pharoah Barrett - Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Little Caesar at Paladino’s – Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

I cut my teeth on the great innovators of Blues and Country Rock like Johnny Burnette, Elvis, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent.  Short slicked back hair looked very cool to me and was a tribute to the real roots of Rock music….plus, it’s not a pathetic attempt to try to convince our fans that I am still 29 years old. This isn’t 1988 anymore.  Our fans know that too and have evolved in life and fashion….except if you hang out at the Rainbow four nights a week. That place is in a great time warp lol.

DB: How do you come up with song ideas and what inspires your songwriting?

RY: I write all the melodies and lyrics. I will take a guitar riff or chord progression and do my thing over it. Will we openly say things like, “let’s write Bad Co feel type tune, or a “Stonesy” song. We make no claims to be innovators. We have such a love for great Rock that was innovated by earlier bands, if we can capture an essence of some of our idols and hybrize them all together, we figure it will be a song that’s good to listen to.

Little Caesar Set List

Little Caesar Set List from Paladino’s

DB: If you four dream bands for whom you would open who would they be?

RY: Bad Co, AC/DC, The Stones and Skynyrd … Who we did have the great honor and pleasure to open for in ’91 with our buds Junkyard.

DB: How does living in California influence your style and the band?

RY: I hate what the music scene has become in California. “Pay to play” has ruined live music in LA. It’s very hard to do a good show with other good bands that people want to come and see. Now if a band has $500 to get on an opening slot, the promoter takes it and doesn’t care if the bands sound good together or if they have talent. We rarely play in LA because of it … But the weather is great if you want to go see something like that!

DB: I hear that you are an amazing talent also when it comes to fabricating, engineering and creating. How did you ever get involved with making cool things? Did you make the microphone you were holding the other night?

Ron Young of Little Caesar - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Ron Young of Little Caesar – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

What makes that microphone you had different and/or better than others?

RY: I DO love to fabricate. I build custom cars and bikes, I do custom metal work like gates and architectural pieces and I’m building a custom home as we speak. I did “make” that mic. It’s the next level in an evolution of various designs of my vocal mic. The mic capsule is a Telefunken M80 mounted inside a chromed Shure Beta 56a housing with a Sennheiser ENG wireless block transmitter. It’s a very crisp yet warm mic … similar to a condenser … but with really good rejection … Too nerdy and techy for ya?

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