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Cheetah Chrome Snarls His Way Through SoCal Swing at Whisky A Go-Go and Alex’s Bar in Long Beach

Cheetah Band Brings Life to Dead Boys Songs, New Tunes

By DONNA BALANCIA

Cheetah Chrome and his band got the crowd going at the Whisky A Go-Go and they’ll probably light up Alex’s Bar in Long Beach in much the same manner.

Cheetah, known as one of the original Dead Boys is single-handedly keeping punk alive with his cool demeanor and enthusiastic interaction with the fans.

Frontman Jake gets air during Whisky show - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Frontman Jake gets air during Whisky show – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Let’s face it, Cheetah’s no stranger to change, as he has played in a few extremely well-known punk groups and has introduced a cast of characters to his audiences time and again.

This time, enter via flying leap, Jake from the Undead Boys who took over fronting duties on Cheetah’s current tour.   The frontman really knows how to grab and hold the attention of the crowd who ate up his every move.

Cheetah and his undead band swing through SoCal - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Cheetah and his undead band swing through SoCal – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

It was hard to hold on to your spot on the floor as moshers took over the Whisky, colliding with everything and everyone in sight.

But Cheetah takes it all in stride and played a range of favorites and a couple of new tunes as well.  After all, this is a guy who was one of the original punks, and still today snarls his way through sets to the delight of the fans.

The band - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The band – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

On hand for this gig were some great friends of Cheetah, including Evita, Heather and Bruce Duff and his wife.  And we can’t forget to mention James Ames, his trusty roadie, who has a talent when it comes to creating cool punk clothes, all with the theme of each tour.

CHECK OUT THE CHEETAH CHROME VIDEO:

 

 

 

Best LA Concerts of 2016: Big Stars in Small Venues, Young Trailblazers, and California Rockers

Bob Weir, Desert Trip, Eagles of Death Metal, The Cure, Make Beautiful Music in 2016

Jesse Hughes and Eagles of Death Metal put on a high-voltage show - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Jesse Hughes and Eagles of Death Metal put on a high-voltage show – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Eagles of Death Metal at The Teragram Ballroom

The band members in The Eagles of Death Metal have coped with a lot and keep going. The most recent excellent performance was a benefit for Dave Rosser, held at Teragram Ballroom. Frontman Jesse Hughes AKA Boots Electric, is one of the most compelling performers — or poseurs — today and holds the audience spellbound with his wild maneuvers, great voice and excellent guitar work. We got an extra bonus on this night: Josh Homme debuted a new song.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Eagles of Death Metal

 

 

The Reluctant Apostles with Katey Sagal: An impressive crew - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Reluctant Apostles with Katey Sagal: An impressive crew – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Reluctant Apostles at Molly Malone’s

The Reluctant Apostles have come a long way in a short time.  The Katey Sagal and Bob Thiele-fronted band like to play at Molly Malone’s and was formed based on their teamwork during Sons of Anarchy.  The Reluctant Apostles are an offshoot of The Forest Rangers, which came to prominence during the uber successful run of SOA. But new things on the horizon from this star-studded cover band: A new Pledgemusic album and more shows to come.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of the Reluctant Apostles

 

Dick Dale gives his fans all he's got - Photo © Donna Balancia

Dick Dale gives his fans all he’s got – Photo © Donna Balancia

Dick Dale and Se7en Reasons Why at Whisky A Go-Go

Where would modern rock and roll be without remarkable performers Mick Scott and Se7en Reasons Why and the ultimate surf guitar master Dick Dale?  Dale’s varied health issues seem to fade away when Dale is on stage, never far from the watchful eye of his wife, Lana.  New Year’s eve at the Whisky A Go-Go has never been better. Dale comes from an era when you performed no matter what ails you. He led the way in the development of the California sound and he’s a true California Rocker.

The CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Dick Dale at the Whisky A Go-Go

 

The mystical Robert Smith and The Cure are enduring - Photo by Craig Hammons for CaliforniaRocker.com

The mystical Robert Smith and The Cure are enduring – Photo by Craig Hammons for CaliforniaRocker.com

The Cure at The Hollywood Bowl

On one of three sold out nights at The Hollywood Bowl, The Cure would cover over 37 years of Cure songs including the hits, rarities and two unreleased tracks. Reviewer Craig Hammons noted that the set list changed each night with The Cure digging deep into their catalog of impressive material.  Robert Smith and the crew would cover 35 songs in just under 3 hours.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of The Cure at The Hollywood Bowl

 

Nick Waterhouse fuses jazz blues and rock and roll, he's depicted here performing from his Never Twice album - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Nick Waterhouse fuses jazz blues and rock and roll, he’s depicted here performing from his Never Twice album – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Nick Waterhouse at The Regent Theater

We can’t say enough good things about Nick Waterhouse and His Tarots.  Every time we see Nick, the performance gets better if that’s possible, as was demonstrated at The Regent Theater a couple of weeks ago.  A multi-faceted musician, who writes, performs, and produces others, Nick is a California Rocker on the rise. Openers Sad Girl and Cutty Flam impressed.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Nick Waterhouse, Sad Girl and Cutty Flam

 

The Black Angels were among the bands at Desert Daze - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Black Angels were among the bands at Desert Daze – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Desert Daze

Desert Daze, the enduring fest where up-and-comers and veterans alike kick around in boots, bandanas and shorts still reigns supreme.  An eclectic mix of newbies and veterans, the fest offers a chance to hear new music and gives veterans a chance to show their stuff. Television, Primus and Thee Oh Sees mingled with Brian Jonestown Massacre, L.A. Witch, and Thee Commons.

The CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Desert Daze

 

Gavin Rossdale of Bush on a speaker at The Observatory - Photo © Donna Balancia

Gavin Rossdale of Bush on a speaker at The Observatory – Photo © Donna Balancia

Bush at The Observatory

Gavin Rossdale is a high-energy performer, leaping into the audience and jumping on speakers.  Bush performs all the favorites and this particular show at the Observatory was extremely interactive. After a few rounds of hugs and kisses among his fans, Rossdale jumps onto a speaker and finishes “Monkey” from high above.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Bush at The Observatory

 

Robert Plant - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Robert Plant – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Robert Plant at Theatre at the Ace

Robert Plant and his audience share a special bond and that was illustrated clearly at the Theatre at the Ace.  Bringing flowers, love letters and gifts, Robert still has the gals on the edge of their seats.  Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters put on a show that is Led Zeppelin inspired, but takes us to a new and earthy place.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters

 

Soul Asylum takes off at Whisky A Go-Go - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Soul Asylum takes off at Whisky A Go-Go – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Soul Asylum at The Whisky A Go-Go

Dave Pirner keeps going. Whirling around with his guitar and speaking honestly to the audience, with little regard for his sweaty appearance, Pirner is happy to be on stage.  If nothing else Pirner and Soul Asylum are truthful in their performance and the crowd appreciates it. Soul Asylum’s tour started with The English Beat and wrapped solo.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Soul Asylum at The Whisky A Go-Go

 

The English Beat draws the crowds with great performances - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The English Beat draws the crowds with great performances – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The English Beat at The Canyon Club

The English Beat hits a home run every time.  There is not one song from all their famous hits that goes unheard at an English Beat concert and the crowds are devoted.  Dave Wakeling drives the band that has undergone some changes over the years, but the musicians on board are top talents.  Fortunately, The English Beat plays a lot of dates and 2017 shows are all set.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of The English Beat at The Canyon Club

 

Michael Franti and the Soulrocker tour - Photo © 2016 Craig Hammons

Michael Franti and the Soulrocker tour – Photo © 2016 Craig Hammons

Michael Franti and Spearhead

Michael Franti and Spearhead at the Pacific Amphitheatre spreads the message of love and compassion for all. The show was such a warm experience that reviewer Craig Hammons said he felt like he left the stadium with 7,000 new friends.  The crowd interlocked arms, danced and sang songs of inclusion and love.  What’s better than an uplifting performance?

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Michael Franti and Spearhead

 

Fartbarf puts all the electronic bands to shame - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Fartbarf puts all the electronic bands to shame – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

FartBarf, David and The Curse at El Cid

Who would think with name like Fartbarf this band would be amazing?  Something must have happened along the way for three guys in caveman masks to call themselves something so silly but play so good.  The electronic music we heard at El Cid blew us out of our shoes.  This is a talented group that does the creators of the Moog proud.  Opener David and The Curse shows how it’s done as this young veteran gives us a new sound that blends Americana with pure rock.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Fartbarf and David and The Curse

 

Kam Franklin and The Suffers triumph at The Echo LA - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Kam Franklin and The Suffers triumph at The Echo LA – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Suffers at The Echo

The Suffers bring you to your knees, they’re that good.  Whether you call it, “Gulf Coast Soul” or good ol’ rock and roll, Kam Franklin and the band bring a blues-influenced power sound to the masses. We caught The Suffers at the Echo, one of our favorite venues, and the place was busting at the seams trying to contain the adoring fans.

The CaliforniaRocker.com Review of The Suffers at The Echo

 

Sad Lovers and Giants - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Sad Lovers and Giants – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Sad Lovers and Giants at The Echoplex

Sad Lovers and Giants put on a show for a lifetime at our well-loved venue the Echoplex, bringing 80s new wave to a young, enthusiastic crowd. It’s sad for fans that this beloved British band may not return to the U.S. any time soon, but we are thrilled to have caught Garçe Allard, Tony McGuinness, Nigel Pollard, Ian Gibson and Will Hicks at least once.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Sad Lovers and Giants at the Echoplex

 

The Who - Photo courtesy of Desert Trip for CaliforniaRocker.com

The Who – Photo courtesy of Desert Trip

Desert Trip

Reviewer Bob Busby called Desert Trip one of the best experiences of his life.  That comes from someone who has been to thousands of shows and festivals. Aside from Roger Waters’ rantings, the moon appearing during Neil Young’s performance of “Harvest Moon,” was a highlight.  And how can you do much better than Sir Paul McCartney sharing the stage with the pop princess Rihanna? Stay tuned for next year.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Desert Trip

 

Mike Campbell and Jason Sinay - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Mike Campbell and Jason Sinay – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

The Dirty Knobs at The Echoplex

Mike Campbell and The Dirty Knobs put on a fun, upbeat show, complete with cover songs you haven’t heard in a while. Jason Sinay and Campbell play off each other as “Gator” and “Ape” in a band where nicknames are abundant as dolphins in Florida.  The Dirty Knobs is a band to check out when they play their few gigs every year. They haven’t recorded anything so go live or go home.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of The Dirty Knobs at The Echoplex

 

Bob Weir on tour with 'Blue Mountain' album - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Bob Weir on tour with ‘Blue Mountain’ album – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Bob Weir at The Wiltern

The well-worn co-founder of The Grateful Dead only gets better as the years go on. He introduced a new album and played to a crowd at The Wiltern that was comprised of not only Grateful Dead veterans but young, rainbow-clad and dread-sporting fans. Bob still has the verve and enthusiasm and the sounds ring true.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Bob Weir at The Wiltern

 

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In leaps into the air during a performance at the Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In leaps into the air during a performance at the Hollywood Palladium – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

At The Drive-In at Hollywood Palladium

It’s a rare treat to get to see At The Drive-In, but frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala is one of the most entertaining performers in the business. It’s clear from his leaping at The Hollywood Palladium last summer that he’s got a background in skateboarding and he’s a no-holds-barred, balls-to-the-wall musician, saving nothing for himself and giving the crowd his all.  See our award winning-shot of Cedric Bixler Zavala.

The CaliforniaRocker.com Review of At The Drive-In

 

Teri Le Butcherettes Photo by Donna Balancia

Teri of Le Butcherettes surfs the crowd – Photo by Donna Balancia

Le Butcherettes at Hollywood Palladium

Teri Gender Bender is the most physical female performer out there and her shows at The Regent Theater, The Echoplex and opening set for At The Drive-In prove it. There are few who can compare to this precious young rock and roll veteran whose demeanor after the show is remarkably calm compared to her rebellious and taunting onstage persona.  Despite personnel changes over the years, one thing remains a constant: Teri’s talent.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review for Le Butcherettes

 

Joe Bonamassa performs during celebration of B.B. King - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Joe Bonamassa performs during celebration of B.B. King – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

GRAMMY Foundation Honors BB King at Wallis Annenberg

BB King may be gone, but The GRAMMY Foundation hosted a bevy of blues slinging rock stars to honor him at The Annenberg: Slash, Tedeschi Trucks, Joe Bonamassa and a heavenly host of blues performers sang and played the blues in BB’s honor.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review for B.B. King at the Annenberg

 

Wayne Kramer and Marshall Crenshaw - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Wayne Kramer and Marshall Crenshaw – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Wayne Kramer’s Jail Guitar Doors at The Ford Theatres

Wayne Kramer, Don Was and pals put on an amazingly entertaining show at The Ford Theatres to raise money for their charity that serves those behind bars.  The show featured Marshall Crenshaw and a slew of talent to help Wayne raise money for the charity that is close to his heart.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Wayne Kramer and Jail Guitar Doors

 

Bad Boy Eddy - Photo by Donna Balancia

Bad Boy Eddy Rocks Cruefest – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cruefest 2016 at Whiskey A Go-Go

Cruefest Hollywood 2016 brings the kindest hearted metal performers to the Whisky A Go-Go stage each year.  It was a Who’s Who of metal with  Heartbreak Heroes from Oklahoma and Los Angeles; Snake Bite Whisky from Brisbane, Australia; Bad Boy Eddy from Northern California; Stonebreed; Wreking Crue from Detroit, and Mick Scott and Se7en Reasons Why; Blacklist Union, Lunden Reign, Westfield Massacre, and L.A. Story; all of whom are from Los Angeles.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Cruefest 2016 at the Whisky A Go-Go

 

Brian Wilson and band at Hollywood Bowl - Photo by Craig Hammons

Brian Wilson and band at Hollywood Bowl – Photo by Craig Hammons

Brian Wilson at The Hollywood Bowl

Brian Wilson never disappoints and his performance at reviewer Craig Hammons said his performance at the Hollywood Bowl was one of his best.  Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds, considered a unique collection at the time of its release, Wilson held the Hollywood Bowl audience enraptured.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Brian Wilson at The Hollywood Bowl

 

Iggy Pop destroys the mic stand during his show at The Hollywood Bowl - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Iggy Pop destroys the mic stand during his show at The Hollywood Bowl – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Iggy Pop at The Greek Theatre

At a time when most people are slowing down, Iggy Pop is going strong, having his best year yet. The “world’s forgotten boy” has a GRAMMY nomination for Post Pop Depression, there’s a Jim Jarmusch movie out about him, and also a new book released about his life.  He’s a 69-year-old anomaly in the world of rock, proudly resplendent in his hard-earned success. Via his partnerships with the young and hip, Iggy continually adds new admirers to his list of longtime fans. It doesn’t hurt to have the “Ginger Elvis,” Josh Homme and the rest of the crew on stage with you.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Iggy Pop at The Greek

 

Burning Spear, the legendary reggae rocker - Photo by Craig Hammons

Burning Spear, the legendary reggae rocker – Photo by Craig Hammons

Burning Spear at The Hollywood Bowl

Reviewer Craig Hammons says Burning Spear is one of the best shows of the year simply because Burning Spear is a solid reggae performer.  The legendary musician among a sea of young upstarts bid adieu to his fans as “I Man” takes a step down from the stage. Over the many years, with grace and dignity Burning Spear has brought new fans to the reggae flock.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Burning Spear 

Jackson Browne at Lucky Strike Live - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Jackson Browne at Lucky Strike Live – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Jackson Browne at Lucky Strike Live

It was a pleasant shock to find Jackson Browne appearing at Lucky Strike, which hosts mostly metal-style rockers every Wednesday night during its weekly Lucky Strike Live events.  Browne is a good-hearted type who shows up for a good cause and for the fun of the performance.  At Lucky Strike Live, he gave the regulars — plus about 600 others — a thrill, jamming with some regular players and he had fun to spare.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Jackson Browne

 

Glam Skanks release new album, "Glitter City" - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Glam Skanks release new album, “Glitter City” – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Glam Skanks at MIME

Where are the young women in rock and roll? Answer: The Glam Skanks are right in Los Angeles and they put on a terrific show each and every time. Climbing on speakers, throwing glitter, taunting the audience. Their show at MIME in Echo Park put on by Echo Box heated up the room and had fans screaming for more. There’s a new album and they’re going on tour with Adam Ant.  Stay tuned!

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of The Glam Skanks 

 

Smash Mouth duo Steve Harwell and Paul DeLisle hang together - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Smash Mouth duo Steve Harwell and Paul DeLisle hang together – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Smash Mouth at The Canyon Club

Say what you will about the in-your-face frontman, but Smash Mouth has made it in a tough rock and roll world. When Paul DeLisle teamed with Steve Harwell, as odd a combination as that may have appeared it worked.  With a little help from a hit animated movie, Smash Mouth reinvigorated “I’m a Believer” from The Monkees and a whole new generation was jumping at The Canyon Club. Openers Paper and Strange Case lit a fire.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Smash Mouth, Paper and Strange Case

Editor’s Note: The “Best Concerts of the Year” coverage only includes the performances CaliforniaRocker.com staff attended during 2016.

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.

CaliforniaRocker.com Nabs Four Finalist Nods for Arts and Entertainment Awards by Los Angeles Press Club

By JOHN DALY, CaliforniaRocker.com

HOLLYWOOD – CaliforniaRocker.com, a music industry website and fanzine published by Donna Balancia, received four National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards finalist designations, it was announced by The Los Angeles Press Club.

The finalist selections all came in the area of photography: Three images were in the Action Photography category and one finalist selection came in the Photo Essay category.

Suzanne Allison Witkin scored a Los Angeles Press Club nod with her photo essay, "On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires" - Photo courtesy Suzanne Witkin

Rock photographer Suzanne Allison Witkin scored an LA Press Club nod with her photo essay, “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires” – Photo courtesy Suzanne Witkin

“Our work reflects our commitment to the highest quality music journalism,” said publisher Donna Balancia. “Our independent website and fanzine strive to give up-and-coming as well as established musicians a voice amid the overwhelming coporate clatter.”

Winning Images: Hollywood Vampires, At The Drive-In

CaliforniaRocker.com, which first went live in 2014, dominated the photography categories, with photographer Suzanne Allison Witkin scoring for her Photo Essay called “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires.”  The project included a diary with exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos of Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry and all of The Hollywood Vampires.

Los Angeles Press Club Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In leaps into the air during a performance at the Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In leaps into the air during a performance at the Hollywood Palladium: A winning image – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

California Rocker Dominates Action Photos

CaliforniaRocker.com also scored a record three finalist designations in the Action Photo category. The photos, taken by Donna, captured Fishbone’s “Flyin’ Jay” Armant launching himself into the audience at The Roxy Theatre; Cedric Bixler-Zavala of the band At The Drive-In leaping into the air at The Hollywood Palladium, and the 80-year-old Dick Dale, “King of the Surf Guitar,” revving the audience with his upbeat music.

Los Angeles Press Club Suzanne Allison Witkin captured images of The Hollywood Vampires on their historic tour - Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison Witkin for CaliforniaRocker.com

Suzanne Allison Witkin captured images of The Hollywood Vampires on their historic tour – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison Witkin for CaliforniaRocker.com

 

Los Angeles Press Club Keeping Journalism Alive

“We are honored to be selected as finalists for the National Arts and Entertainment Awards,” Donna Balancia said. “The Los Angeles Press Club strives to keep journalism alive. We too not only support independent journalism, but through our stories and images we also help musicians at a time when the music business is extremely challenging.

“CaliforniaRocker.com has the best reviewers, writers and photographers in the music world working together with us, and we are delighted with the finalist designations.”

Los Angeles Press Club Fishbone image has been named a finalist in the action photo category of the National Arts and Entertainment Awards - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The remarkable ‘Flyin’ Fishbone’ image was captured by Donna Balancia at The Roxy Theatre – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Lemmy Statue to Be Unveiled at Rainbow Bar and Grill Public Celebration on August 24

By DONNA BALANCIA

The much anticipated memorial statue of rocker Lemmy, the Motorhead frontman, will be unveiled at the Rainbow Bar and Grill next month, it was announced.

The Rainbow made the announcement on its Instagram page, with a poster announcing a celebration for the iconic rocker.  The establishment was Lemmy’s favorite hangout.

The life-size bronze sculpture is the work of Travis Moore, who was commissioned to create the honorary figure after a kickstarter campaign started by Katon De Pena reached its $20,000 target for a total of $22,771.

Lemmy died last December.

The Rainbow will hold — what else — a celebration of the unveiling of the patio-bound statue on Aug. 24.  The party is open to the public.

 

The California Rocker Interview: Soul Asylum Founder Dave Pirner Talks ‘Change of Fortune’

New Orleans Resident Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum Rolls to Whisky A-Go-Go July 21

Dave Pirner sits down with Donna Balancia of California Rocker

Dave Pirner sits down with Donna Balancia of California Rocker – Photo courtesy Dave Pirner

By DONNA BALANCIA – Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum has put a lot of time into the new album, Change of Fortune.  He’s had some major changes in his life and the album reflects that.

“It’s got loose architecture to it; it strives to be filthy and accurate at the same time,” he told CaliforniaRocker.com in an exclusive interview. “The rythms are tight, and I got some stink in there.”

SOUL ASYLUM WEBSITE

Dave, 52, has been living in New Orleans, raising a son, and playing music.  He looks basically the same, he’s still strictly anti-commercial and won’t sell his songs for TV ads.  His band is ON TOUR this summer with groups like The English Beat and The Fixx.  Soul Asylum plays Whisky A-Go-Go on July 21.

‘Runaway Train’

Change of Fortune album cover Soul Asylum

Change of Fortune album cover Soul Asylum

Yes, it’s a different Soul Asylum than in the days of the band’s 1994 superhit “Runaway Train.”  Soul Asylum 2016 consists of Dave, Michael Bland on drums, Winston Roye on bass, and Ryan Smith on guitar.

“We enjoy playing together and we’re having fun,” Pirner said.

“Runaway Train” reached number 2 on the U.S. Top 40 mainstream and sold 600,000 copies in the United State en route to being certified gold.

Soul Asylum had previously been called Loud Fast Rules with guitarist Dan Murphy, bassist Karl Mueller, and Pirner who had been on the drums – Murphy and Pirner were taking turns on vocals.

Dave moved from drums to lead vocals and rhythm guitar in 1983 and the band became Soul Asylum.

A lot has happened in the years since “Runaway Train” hit the charts and won a GRAMMY Award for Best Rock Song in 1994. Dave’s had a family, he survived the death of his best pal and bandmate Karl Mueller, and he evacuated for Hurricane Katrina to Minneapolis only to return to a devastated New Orleans.

“New Orleans is resilient,” Dave said. “They’re true believers here. There’s a real pride and you could see it when the Saints won the Super Bowl.”

And yes there’s been a lot of change all around. But he said he’s undergone one change that is truly unfortunate for someone living in New Orleans: “I lost the ability to eat spicy foods,” Dave said.

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum photo courtesy Dave Pirner for CaliforniaRocker.com

Dave speaks like a guy with a swagger looks. He pauses when he speaks, he’s thinking, and he’s uncensored.

The album and title track off  “Change of Fortune” were influenced by living in the Big Easy, Dave said.

“The drum rythms are inspired by the parades or the syncopations that are so fundamental and intimate to New Orleans,” Dave said.

Did a lot of people leave New Orleans?

“Whenever I’m in Houston, musicians ask ‘How’s the scene back in New Orleans,” Dave said. “So I think people relocated.

As far as playing the old haunts of New Orleans, Dave initially was taken with the appearance of history on the walls of the joints there. The changing face of New Orleans brought some initial trepidation.

“Tipitina’s has always been the place to play,” Dave said. “So when House of Blues came in I was resistant, but for the musicians that live here, they were like, ‘Wow a good lighting system,’ ‘A good sound system,’ Wow a clean bathroom,’ so in that respect it’s good. But I’m here in New Orleans where the legends are.

Dave Pirner’s Film work

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum

Dave’s been longtime friends with filmmaker Kevin Smith, since Smith directed the video for Soul Asylum song “Can’t Even Tell” which appeared in Smith’s comedy, Clerks.  Pirner then scored his next movie Chasing Amy.

“Kevin’s been lecturing at Kent State,” Dave said. “Kevin asked for a song he liked and ended up making a video on the roof where Clerks was shot. I did the Chasing Amy score and now I’m working on a documentary about a magic shop that I know from my childhood. That’ll be directed by Dave Roth who directed Artificial Heart our Black Gold video.”

And he may be working in films, but he won’t do ads, Dave said.

“I’m not putting my music in commercials,” Dave said. “It’s almost problematic that I’m not interested. I won’t even play on a stage that has a beer sign on it. I’m not interested, but If Greenpeace wanted to use my music I might reconsider. Or if a bullet train from California to New York, I would consider letting them use ‘Runaway Train.'”

The industry today is a little different than when “Runaway Train” went off the charts.

“Today, it’s impossible for me to support my own band,” he said. ” They would love for us to license a song for an Advil ad to feed their children.

“But as George Michael said, “You got to have faith.”

Dave paused for a few seconds.

“I can’t believe I’m quoting George Michael,” he laughed. “But Soul Asylum would not be around if we didn’t have faith.”

The Soul Asylum Tour

Dave Pirner - Photo courtesy Woohoo120

Dave Pirner – Photo courtesy WH120

Last summer the band toured with the Meat Puppets. This year they’ll be touring with English Beat and it’s a different crowd. They’ll be playing Whisky A-Go-Go July 21.

Dave said he likes playing the smaller venues.

“You know, it’s a fact that the bigger the venue the more impersonal it is,” he said. “I remember some of the festivals in Europe, before Lollapalooza, you could look out and see the crowd goes on forever, you couldn’t see the end of the crowd.”

Dave said he’s been fortunate enough to have a wide range of performance experiences and a few come to mind as standouts.

“We opened for Guns N Roses in England,” he said. “Then there was the time we played the White House. One time we were playing ‘Runaway Train’ on a baseball diamond and a train went by right at that moment. We’ve been really fortunate.  And we’ve done a lot but there’s a lot more ahead.”

Little Caesar Hits Europe to Promote New Double Live Album, ‘Brutally Honest’

Veteran Band Debuts Tunes at Ultimate Jam Night at Whisky A Go-Go

_-4-3By DONNA BALANCIA

For Little Caesar, Honesty is the best policy.

The new album, Brutally Honest, is a double live CD recorded while on the road in Holland in DIY style.

“It’s real, it sounds good and we’re proud of it,” said Ron Young, frontman for the band, which departs next week for a European tour.

Brutally Honest is the latest album from the legendary Little Caesar and like the band, it’s smooth with some rough edges.

“We didn’t want to put out a fake live kind of record, we’d rather stand there with blemishes, and fortunately there aren’t too many on this record,” said Ron, whose band was a headliner at Ultimate Jam Night at the Whisky A Go-Go last night.

The group was tasked with following Dee Snider of Twisted Sister who made a surprise appearance.  But like usual, they handled it in bold style and captivated the packed house.

“We enjoy what we do,” Ron said. “We don’t get thrown by a lot.”

Little Caesar has a lot going on. They have a new band member, Alex Kane, a regular at Chuck Wright’s weekly Ultimate Jam Night. Alex rounds out the group, which is comprised of guitarist and co-founder Loren Molinare, bass player Pharoah Barrett and drummer Tom Morris.

The band is ready to hit the road in Europe, where they recorded Brutally Honest, a live, no-frills recording that is charming in its raw presentation. Standout tunes on the new record are “Rum and Coke,” “Chain of Fools,” “In Your Arms,” and “Dirty Water.”  The record is distributed through Unison Music.

“We have some talented people in the group – more than just musically talented,” Ron said. “Our bass player Pharoah is a talented sound engineer, he’s won some Emmy Awards for his work.  When we go on the road, I bring my own mics, that I build myself. Well, we did this one show in Holland, and this engineer there was as weirdo techie as I am, he had a hard drive he ran everything from. So we recorded in Holland, with just a hard drive that all 16 channels ran through. It’s amazing. You used to need a mobile recording truck now you just a need a laptop and a few grand worth of equipment.”

Ron’s views are worldly and at the ripe ol’ age  of 50-something, he says he’s fortunate he can still play music and give back to the fans.  The new album is an example of that.

SEE DEE SNIDER PERFORM ‘WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT,’ ‘HIGHWAY TO HELL’ LIVE HERE

“The music scene in the U.S. is different than in Europe. In Europe, they embrace music, they don’t do the downloads, they have CDs, music is more integrated in the culture, it’s unfortunate that we’ve lost that. Europe traditionally has held on to music, blues-based music and reveled in it native forms of American music are more revered in Europe than here.

original“The music represents social and cultural interactions more over there than here,” Ron said. ” These are friends from towns they go to pubs and shows and this is the reason to stay in each other lives and music is the central hubs.

This “techie nerd” didn’t have plans to be a rock n roll frontman, in fact he had a tendency towards mechanics and science.

“I grew up in Queens went to college on Long Island, at Stonybrook, I was a biology major pre-med and found out there were girls and bars in close proximity,” he said. “That’s when I said, ‘I’ll grow up in a decade.'”

Ron came up in the time of the great rock n roll-punk and new wave time of 1979 to 1982.

“Max’s was just closing down, and CBGB was still going, The Ritz, Danceteria, then the hip hop exploded there. After getting held up at gun point I left New York.  I knew that there’s still a music scene in LA and came here and just went for it. I started working the door at Club Lingerie, started meeting good musicians, and by late 1987 put Little Caesar together.

He’d been in a band with Tom the drummer called Smilin’ Jacks, and they met Loren through an ad in Music Connection.

“We did it as an anti-glam anti-hair metal project.”

The frontman is still very much about the music and not about what he calls the “Look At Me” factor that permeated the metal movement of the 1980s.

“I’m still kind of anti-pomposity and anti-grandiosity music that was trying to impress rather than move people,” he says.

Little Caesar has a new addition with guitarist Kane, who has been a working musician in Hollywood.  Alex has played with Richie Ramone’s band and is a fixture at the popular Ultimate Jam Night at the Whisky A Go Go. Ultimate Jam at the Whisky A Go Go is the kind of positive music event that brings the community together.

_-1 LC 2016 promopic poster“They put a good live diverse palette together with Ultimate Jam Night,” Ron said. “I wish some other clubs in LA would do this. They need to be more selective and I think after 20 years of the pay-to-play we’re loaded up with bands. That doesn’t help build a scene or clientele. When you have really quality music even if it’s diverse, people they appreciate the whole palette.”

Alex joined Little Caesar through a connection with Loren, who works for Blackstar Amplification.  Alex has a sponsorship with the company.

“Alex played in so many bands that we know, he’s so professional and has a good work ethic, he comes from the same vein of appreciating the same music,” Ron said. “He blended right in.”

So what advice does the veteran Little Caesar rocker give the up-and-coming musicians?

“It used to be the musician had this dream of getting to make music for a living so they could do what he or she could get offered a professional distribution deal, but that model is gone,” Ron said.  “What that means is each musician has to be good with Instagram, Photoshop and video and interaction. The whole “creating a whole persona” is over. They want to know what you’re wearing, what you’re eating, and really, you could become overexposed, so it’s a double edged sword.”

As for the future?

“I know we have a great tour ahead, we’ve got some great people to see in Europe and lots of music to make.”

MC5 Founder Wayne Kramer, Stooges’ Mike Watt, Headline Ultimate Jam Night at Whisky

New Music Event Brings Fans to The Sunset Strip

Sean McNabb and Joe Retta perform at Ultimate Jam Night at Whisky - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Sean McNabb and Joe Retta perform at Ultimate Jam Night at Whisky – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA – Wayne Kramer and Mike Watt are among rockers who gave the Sunset Strip a shot in the arm at Ultimate Jam Night at the Whisky A Go Go Tuesday night.

The UJN has been welcomed on the strip, where the weekly night of all-star jamming got a new home and new night, relocating two weeks ago from its previous location at Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood.

“This is the Whisky A Go Go, where Ultimate Jam Night belongs!”  cried emcee Paulie Z, who along with the rest of the “regulars,” perform a high-energy show to tear the house down, week in and week out.

“This is one of the most fun nights of the week,” said Jesse, who drove down from Ventura to see some of the most talented side men in the business.  And a few women contributed to the success of the night as well including Debby Holiday who has become a fixture in the festivities.  Holiday knows how to bring the house to its collective knees and she did not disappoint Tuesday.

Punks at the Whisky: Wayne Kramer and Mike Watt at Ultimate Jam NIght - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Punks at the Whisky: Wayne Kramer and Mike Watt headline Ultimate Jam Night – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The new room is a perfect fit for the event, which draws and over-21 crowd that appreciates current as well as classic rock.

Ralph Saenz, known for his wild glamrock sendup as lead singer in the big-haired, babe-bustin’ musical comedy troupe Steel Panther was on hand to sing Van Halen as a burlesque artist did her thing.

“I used to be in a Van Halen tribute band,” Saenz admitted.  Honestly the guy can do anything and make it all funny.

Paulie Z and the house band; The Disreputable Few; Joe Retta; Micki Free; Alex Kane; Mitch Perry; Chuck Wright; Joey Malone and a host of all-stars move on and off stage during the four-hour evening.  It’s a free night but even if they charged, it would be well worth a ticket to see this kind of talent. One moment to note: Paulie Z. asked for a moment of silence for the recent passing of Rainbow chef Miguel Murillo.

Joey Malone, Chuck Wright, Matt Starr, Walter Ino, Debby Holiday and Mitch Perry - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Joey Malone, Chuck Wright, Matt Starr, Walter Ino, Debby Holiday and Mitch Perry – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

“It’s great to see these guys jamming and the fans digging the music,” said Little Caesar frontman Ron Young in an upcoming interview with CaliforniaRocker.com . “It’s a cool jam night and it’s great to see the Sunset Strip get people jammin’ again.”

But the first set belonged to special guests Watt and Kramer who in the late 1970s set the tone for punkers yet to come.  Kramer is a founder Detroit innovators MC5 and Watt was with The Stooges.

Vionlinist trio, known as V3, were featured on Love Reign O'er Me and I Am The Walrus - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Vionlinist trio, known as V3, were featured on Love Reign O’er Me and I Am The Walrus – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

With their frontman, Mike Doughty of Soul Coughing, the trio put on a rave-worthy performance of “TV Eye,” “Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating,” and the raucous “Kick Out The Jams.”

“The Ultimate Jam Night is great because all these super musicians get together and have fun,” said Loren Molinare of The DoGs of Detroit, who doubles as a rep for Blackstar Amplification, a show sponsor.  “This is a great addition to the Sunset Strip, the audience and music fans really want this.”

 

California Rocker Names Top Shows of the Quarter: Pandoras, Marley, Hearts

Veterans and Young Performers Whose Recent Shows Brought Out The Best

By DONNA BALANCIA – There’s so much to do in Los Angeles – let alone the state of California –  no one person can possibly see every great band or memorable performance.

California Rocker has hand-selected some solid performances of the last four-to five months (a fiscal quarter give or take a month) that may possibly have flown under the radar.  The talent didn’t escape us.

 

The Pandoras and the Woggles

Photo © Donna Balancia

Kim Shattuck – Photo © Donna Balancia

THE SATELLITE — The Pandoras have undergone a host of band member changes but the current lineup is tops in our books.  Kim Shattuck has got what it takes as a powerful and compelling front gal; she’s had a lot of experience having played in a host of great bands including the Muffs.

In theory, girl bands shouldn’t be differentiated from guy bands — or mixed gender bands — but they are, let’s face it.  We don’t know when it became a crime to use your good looks to help propel the music.  But in an effort not to be sexist let’s just say it’s an attractive group of fun people who play some great tunes. Women or not these are true musicians who have a natural affinity for one another and a love of the performance. (See the Pandoras’ Facebook page)

The Woggles have been around for years, but it’s amazing how they never fail to delight the audience.  Tamborine-banging perpetually tow-headed front man Buzz Hagstrom leaps to the highest heights and drops to the lowest lows in his performance.  Physically. It’s hard to keep your eyes off these guys and even the squarest of square can’t help but groove to the beat. Learn more about The Woggles at their page.

 

Tommy Keene and Eyelids

Tommy Keene - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Tommy Keene – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

THE SATELLITE — Tommy Keene is a perpetual favorite and has amassed an impressive collection of fans who have remained faithful through the years. He’s a perfectionist with some great upbeat powerpop tunes that get you grooving.  His latest album is a great listen with some high energy hits done in great Tommy Keene style. See Tommy Keene’s website

Not to be outshone in the same night at the Satellite were The Eyelids whose avant garde but extremely melodic songs knocked out the crowd.  Onstage antics, like flying hair and guitars on the ground keep things interesting.  Can’t say enough good things about Eyelids.

The Eyelids are John Moen Chris Slusarenko, Jonathan Drews, Jim Talstra and Paul Pulvirenti. They really pack a punch as their lively show is full of surprises! See Eyelids website.

The Flamin Groovies and The Zeros

Flamin Groovies © 2016 Donna Balancia

Flamin’ Groovies © 2016 Donna Balancia

THE BOOTLEG — The Flamin Groovies are an example of longevity and success. Cyril Jordan Chris Wilson George Alexander Victor Penalosa put on a show that’s fun and uplifting in purely American fashion.

(See the Flamin Groovies Facebook Page)

They’ve toured the world since the 1960s in one iteration or another, but they are all-USA in their approach.  The Flamin Groovies have had their share of hits, notably Shake Some Action and they’re still going strong.

 

Daniel Bambaata Marley and Fishbone

Daniel Bambaata Marley - Photo © Donna Balancia

Daniel Bambaata Marley – Photo © Donna Balancia

THE ROXY — Daniel Bambaata Marley has more going on than being the grandson of Bob Marley. He is a musical talent with wit and — despite his young years — he shows a good deal of wisdom. A singer-songwriter, Marley has a range of topics he covers in his music and he takes us with him through his life’s journey. (See Marley’s Facebook page)

At the Roxy, warming up for Fishbone, he showed a mixed-age audience his musical capabilities and the crowd reveled in the experience.

See our Fishbone coverage in the story ‘Fishbone Takes Stage Diving to New Levels.’

Marley has the lineage as the grandson of Bob Marley and the son of Ziggy — but he is carving out a style all his own.  Marley marries the enthusiasm of hip hop with reggae and the results are compelling.  He’s got the right stuff and We expect more to come from this young talent.

 Space Cream

Space Cream - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Space Cream – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

THE VIPER ROOM — With a voice like a rock n roll angel, Savannah Pope of Space Cream belts it out like few others can. Pope has a flair for the theatrics and puts all her passion into the songwriting and the show. Space Cream marries rock and roll and glam, but adds a Gaga-esque front woman who can actually write interesting songs. Pope is surrounded by top musicians –Dizzy Joan on guitar, Saul Slotnick on bass and Zak Ryan on drums — and has a new album, Pterodactyl Sky (see their website). We’re not alone in our fandom for this band: SpaceCream won the gold medal at 2014’s LA Battle for Vans Warped Tour at House of Blues Sunset.

 

Turbulent Hearts and Barb Wire Dolls

Turbulent Hearts by Donna Balancia

Suzy Moon of Turbulent Hearts – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

THE WHISKY A GO GO — Turbulent Hearts is one of the best up-and-coming bands in the L.A. area and you can expect a lot out of this group. Suzi Moon, Mark Johnson and Jay Skowronek put on a wild show and bring back the excitement of a true frontwoman-led punk band reminicent of the 80s.  Suzy Moon will go to great lengths to get a reaction out of her audience and the crowd swoons over her looks and talent.  Turbulent Hearts (see their website) has a new album out, check out their Facebook page.

The Barb Wire Dolls (see their Facebook page) has a solid gig with Whisky as the house band, but is taking a break in their native Greece.  Must be nice. Comprised of Krash Doll, Isis Queen Doll, Pyn Doll and newest member JJ Doll, the band is expected to return in October.

 

 

Guitar Legend Dick Dale to Play Whisky A Go Go on New Year’s Eve – The California Rocker Interview

The Original California Rocker: Dick Dale, King of the Surf Guitar, to play the Whisky A Go Go on New Year's Eve

The Original California Rocker: Dick Dale, King of the Surf Guitar, to play the Whisky A Go Go on New Year’s Eve

Creator of Surf Music, Dick Dale Still has Many Waves to Ride

By DONNA BALANCIA – Surf Guitar legend Dick Dale says his purpose is to inspire.

Dale, who is drawing more crowds than ever at 78 years old, is one of music’s greatest innovators. His surf guitar sound inspired a range of bands from The Beach Boys and The Surfaris, to The Cure.

And on New Year’s Eve, Dale will be inspiring people to ring in 2016 stronger than ever.  He headlines New Year’s Eve at the Whisky A Go Go in an all-ages show.

GET TICKETS FOR DICK DALE AT THE WHISKY 

“I love playing the Whisky,” Dale said in an interview with California Rocker. “And New Year’s Eve is always special. But I really want families to celebrate together, that’s why I always play an all-ages venue.  Parents bring their kids as young as 5 years old to come and see me.”

The band Se7en Reasons Why will support Dale on New Year’s Eve.

Dick Dale at the first Hollywood Surf Revival, The Hollywood Palladium, 1973 - Photo © 1973 Heather Harris

Dick Dale at the first Hollywood Surf Revival, The Hollywood Palladium, 1973 – Photo © 1973 Heather Harris

Dale, who the media tabbed “King of the Surf Guitar,” named after his second album, has enjoyed a diverse and fulfilling career.

Dale is the innovator of many of the things our culture takes for granted.  He is the creator of the surf rock genre, giving guitar performances a reverb sound that hadn’t been heard in 1960.

He created the “Surfer Stomp,” a phenomenon that started on Balboa Island and caught on throughout the nation.  It is said that Dick Dale and His Deltones drew so many surf-crazed teens in 1961 who jumped around in their sandals and sixties style, the noise was deafening.

Dick Dale’s Innovations Beyond Surf Music

He played his new-style surf music so loud, that he was brought in by the James B. Lansing speaker company to devise a more powerful amp than had ever been heard.  But Dale feels there’s still a lot he has yet to accomplish.

California Rocker Dick Dale: 'Music is my Medicine' - Photo © John Rudolph

Dick Dale: ‘Music is my Medicine’ – Photo © John Rudolph

“They say ‘Why don’t you retire, Dick?'”  Dale said.  “Well, there are two reasons I don’t retire: Playing music keeps me alive, and my music helps others.”

His hit, “Misirlou,” was the theme for the film Pulp Fiction, bringing his music to a new legion of young fans.

Dale said he has a special place in his heart for the Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip.  It’s always been considered The Big Time.

“In the ’60s I performed there and it was exciting,” Dale recalled. “The night was unbeliveable, the owners said they’d never seen a crowd like that. That was the night the late Keith Moon came to see me and we collaborated after that.”

Dale, who was born back east, traveled the world with his guitar and still graces the stage, despite his serious health issues.  While onstage, he plows through the pain.

He has learned to control the pain through his martial arts training.

“I’ve been doing martial arts all my life,” Dale says. “And I would ask, ‘Master, why can’t I be the greatest; Why can’t I be ‘unbeatable?’

“The master would answer: ‘You can, but you must give up your life, my son.’

Dick Dale and his Del-Tones

Dick Dale and his Del-Tones Greatest Hits 1961 – 1976

“So I have to tell you, if you’re a master of one, it’s awfuly dull,” Dale said. “You wouldn’t be able to talk to other people about a range of topics.”

‘Music Is Medicine for King of the Surf Guitar’

Dale still has the will to pursue his music — and his hobbies as well.  Maybe he might have had a wonderful career as an engineer, he says, as he loves to work with designs and blueprints — for everything ranging from homes to appliances — and he loves to putter around his humble Palmdale home.

And while he doesn’t brag, he is indeed a master of the sound of the Surf Guitar.  And in many respects he has —  as his martial arts master said he would have to — he devoted his entire life to that music.

Dale’s health concerns have made it all too clear to him that he is “merely human,” though his music — especially in the day — was out of this world.  He admits he has surpassed his own expectations.

Dale believes the good times are good, but don’t be too worried about the low times, he advises.

Dick Dale still rippin' - Photo © 1994 Heather Harris

Dick Dale still rippin’ it on the surf guitar – Photo © 1994 Heather Harris

“Don’t worry about yesterday and don’t worry about tomorrow,” he says. “Don’t worry about yesterday because it’s used. It’s either good or it leaves you feeling bad.  And don’t waste time or energy worrying about tomorrow.  I could have a stroke and be dead. That’s why they call it the present.  It’s a present.”

“I don’t go on stage to say Whoopie for me, I go on stage to play to the people,” he says. “If I see a country hat in the audience I’ll play country; if I see dreadlocks I’ll play Jamaican style. I play for all walks of life.

“Every note I play is to address the people I’m playing to,” Dale said. “There’s no better feeling than bringing the music to the people.”

TICKETS TO DICK DALE’S NEW YEAR’S EVE SHOW AT THE WHISKY

L.A. Guns — And Rock’s Young Guns — Play for Fair Pay at Whisky a Go Go

L.A. Guns Among Bands That Rally for Radio Royalties

L.A. Guns bassist Kenny Kweens, left, Michael Grant, right. - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

L.A. Guns bassist Kenny Kweens, left, Michael Grant, right. – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA — L.A. Guns and a range of bands performed at the Whisky a Go Go Friday night to support the Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015.

With a lineup mixed with veteran and young performers, musicians got out the word that radio needs to pay if they play. As things stand now, musicians don’t receive any money from AM-FM radio play.

Sponsored by MusicFirst and artists rep SAG-AFTRA, L.A. Guns headlined the awareness event, supported by bands Vudu Fly; Mr. White; Takin’ Nam3z; The Wyldz; Ithaca; and Ashes Of Eagles.

MusicFirst, with the support of SAG-AFTRA, is promoting and looking for support for a congressional bill that enables musicians and artists to be paid when their music plays on the radio. It also is looking for parity across music platforms via Internet and satellite.

Vudu Fly Featuring Aaron Quick on Washboard Slide Guitar - Photo © Donna Balancia

Vudu Fly Featuring Aaron Quick on home-made Washboard Slide Electric Guitar – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

“We have a music economy, if you love music you want people to take a chance and develop,” said Dan Navarro, SAG-AFTRA vice president, recording artists. “They can’t do that if they’re not getting paid.”

The Fair Play Fair Pay bill closes the AM/FM performance rights loophole, makes all radio services pay a fair market rate for all music (including pre-1972 music), and streamlines payments to music producers. Please support the act by signing HERE

Navarro said with so few ways for musicians to earn a living today in view of new technologies, and illegal downloading and file-sharing, radio plays an important component.

“To earn a living from making music is their dream, it’s every artist’s dream to be successful in the art that they love,” Navarro said. “Radio isn’t paying royalties, it’s not promoting the artists any more, this must change.”

Ted Kalo, executive director of MusicFirst said, “We’re asking people to write their congressmen and support this bill that enables artists to earn their fair share when their music is played on the radio.”

Nick Brodeur of the Mr. White band - Photo © Donna Balancia

Nick Brodeur of the Mr. White band – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

For more information go to the MusicFirst website.

As for the rockin’ music on Friday night, the youngsters arguably outshined the veteran musicians at the Whisky.

“We love playing here, we’ve played here a lot,” said middle-schooler Maxx Henry, the drummer for the band Mr. White, a three-piece group from Irvine.

Supported by their parents and friends, the guys really have some talent with lead guitarist Nick Brodeur electrifying the audience, supported by his amazingly composed bassist brother, Will Brodeur and wildly talented drummer, Henry. If you added these guys’ ages together it wouldn’t be more than 45.

Mr. White the band clearly has a story to tell. Stay tuned.

Another young band, Takin’ Names, supported the evening with some rockin’ tunes, some familiar, and some originals, that the audience enjoyed.

Alex Dhee of The Wyldz is among the most compelling international rockers - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Alex Dhee of The Wyldz is among the most compelling international rockers – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

The rest of the lineup brought originality, as Ithaca showed off their chops as well as their long hair and toned physiques; Wyldz came all the way from France to show how it’s done, and Ashes of Eagles kept the audience engaged and did it with a smile.

San Diego County-based Vudu Fly has an interesting sound, complete with a lead vocal guy who doubles as a slide guitarist — only this slide is made from a cigar box.

“My dad and I make electric guitars out of cigar boxes,” said Aaron Quick of Vista, Calif. He played one of his prized instruments to close out the Vudu Fly set.

For more information on Vudu Fly, check out their Facebook page.

The Wyldz probably were the most visually compelling of the bands during the night.  That’s not because of creative costuming, but solely because of guitarist Alex Dhee, whose guitar play and wild athletics steal the show. It doesn’t hurt their appeal to the girls that The Wyldz have French accents.

L.A. Guns - Flexibility, Not Mystery is Key to Success - Photo © Donna Balancia

L.A. Guns – Flexibility, Not Mystery is Key to Success – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Headliner L.A. Guns certainly bring the stage presence of a veteran group. With two of the early  members remaining from the 1980s band, guitarist Michael Grant and bassist Kenny Kweens bring a new flavor to a fun act from the past. The band has seen its share of members come and go, and for them, flexibility has been the key to financial longevity.

“As artists, it’s important to have as much control over our music as possible and to be compensated for our work at all times,” L.A. Guns said in a release. “The current AM/FM loophole takes advantage of not only bands like ourselves with deep music catalogs, but also up-and-coming artists who are just entering the industry. By forcing radio stations to step up, this bill levels the playing field. So let’s get it passed in Washington and support the next generation of rockers.”

See more at on the Fair Play Fair Pay Act here.

The current lineup of L.A. Guns consists of Phil Lewis on vocals and Steve Riley on drums as well as Michael Grant on guitar and Kenny Kweens on bass.

## #FairPlayFairPayAct

CrueFest Hollywood 2015: Metal Shows its Golden Heart at Charity Event

Graham Bonnet Band rockin' at CrueFest - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Graham Bonnet Band rockin’ at CrueFest – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

CrueFest Hollywood Raises Cash to Help People With Cancer

By MALIA BALANCIA – Rock and Roll may never forgive, but it knows how to give back.

The stage at the Whisky A Go-Go was rockin’ at Cruefest Hollywood 2015, featuring bands including Downtown Attraction, L.A. Story, and the Graham Bonnet Band.

Steve Talbott of Gutterboys at CrueFest - Photo © 2015 Donna Balanci

Steve Talbott of Gutterboys at CrueFest – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

The event is a charity fundraiser to benefit Letty’s Angels of Hope Foundation. See CrueFest Hollywood for more information.

Steve Talbott of the Gutterboys was emcee and became everyone’s favorite guy, as he threw T-shirts and guitar picks into the all-age audience that came to rock and raise money.  His band is fun and he’s got a hard-charging attitude.

There was too much talent to mention with highlights of the night including Downtown Attraction’s Jack Cash and Matti Jade teaming up with Buckcherry’s Stevie D. in an amazing set that blew out the Whisky.

Cash is remarkably agile and he is practiced at his performance.  Downtown Attraction moves forward in its success in a low-key manner but these guys are bound to break out in a big way.

Frontman Erik Hatchett and L.A. Story at CrueFest - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Frontman Erik Hatchett and L.A. Story at CrueFest – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

L.A. Story is one of the new bands on the scene with a fabulous theatrical appeal.  Frontman Erik Hatchett and his partner in crime, Jason Barajas, are a team for the ages with onstage antics that compel the audience to join in.

L.A. Story puts on an interactive performance, simultaneously taunting and charming the crowd.  The band is headed out on tour throughout the midwest to wrap up the summer.

A highlight of the night was the Graham Bonnet Band.  The guy still cooks along after all these years and brings the audience to a howling pitch and concert-goers cheer on the performance.

CrueFest Daisy DelaHoya and Black Star Electra - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

CrueFest Daisy DelaHoya and Black Star Electra – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

An unlikely if not mezmerising hit was Daisy DelaHoya, the sexy frontgal of Black Star Electra.  She’s best known for her reality TV stints, but this woman can belt it out.  Her moves are amazing and she had more photographers snapping her than bees around honey.  She’s one to watch — on several levels.

CrueFest 2015 was a hit and well worth the $20 admission for an all-day-long affair with plenty of chances for giveaways and live auction.  Appreciation to the Whisky A Go Go and the many who gave donations and product giveaways.

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