California Rocker

Award-Winning Online Music Magazine

Sound Barrier Performs at Whisky A Go-Go, Set to Release Music Through Tom Morello’s Firebrand Records

By DONNA BALANCIA

The Afro-Metal band Sound Barrier has reunited and will release their music through Tom Morello’s Firebrand Records label, Morello announced during a blowout night at The Whisky A Go-Go.

Hold the phone, Sound Barrier is back - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Hold the phone, Sound Barrier is back – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Sound Barrier and its members put on a great show with special guests and performed their new single “Just A Man,” which will drop April 28.

The legendary band inspired the likes of The Bad Brains, Fishbone and Living Colour. Corey Glover, the dynamic frontman from Living Colour was on hand to celebrate the occasion at the Whisky A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip.

Tom Morello and pals like Corey Glover, DJ Will, and Dug Pinnick celebrate the return of Sound Barrier - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Tom Morello and pals like Corey Glover, DJ Will, and Dug Pinnick celebrate the return of Sound Barrier – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

“In the 80s there was apartheid in music, where if you had a certain color skin, you could only play a certain kind of music,” Morello said in introducing Sound Barrier. “I realized that as a brown-skinned heavy metal guitar player I confronted a thing called ‘The Jimmy Hendrix Curse’ and every single gig that I played somebody would yell ‘Foxy Lady dude,’ or ‘Burn your guitar dude,’ or ‘Play some Hendrix’ because that was the only reference point they had.

Stars of metal and rock celebrate at Whisky - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Stars of metal and rock celebrate at Whisky – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

“Cut to some years later I’m attending a stuffy Ivy League university putting on my spandex and heading into downtown Boston for Wednesday metal nights where we’d watch metal videos all evening long and I was blown away by a video I saw it looked to me like a black Judas Priest and the name of that band was Sound Barrier. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

Sound Barrier’s Bernie Kimball is an original – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Others in attendance included former God Forbid musician Doc Coyle, Dug Pinnick from King’s X and KXM, and Sin Quirin from Ministry. In addition, awards were given to several rock influencers including Willie Basse, musician and producer and one of the influencers of the Sunset Strip and producer Bill Metoyer.

Bernie Kimbell ripped up the vocals, Spacey T Singleton plays guitar, Stanley E. is on bass and Eric Valentine is on the kit. Valentine took over for Dave Brown, who died from cancer in 2013.

Lemmy Statue Unveiled, Motorhead Rocker Honored with Celebrations at the Whisky and The Rainbow

Motorhead Rocker Honored at His Sunset Strip Hangouts

The crew celebrates the Lemmy Statue - Photo by Donna Balancia

The crew celebrates the Lemmy Statue – Photo by Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA

If Lemmy Kilmister were alive, he would probably would have been overwhelmed by the love of fans at events held in his honor on the Sunset Strip.

On Wednesday night hundreds gathered to see the unveiling of a statue created in Lemmy’s image. That statue now has a permanent residence at Lemmy’s favorite place, The Rainbow Bar and Grill.

The night before, there was a Lemmy Tribute night, complete with musicians and a few special guests including Tracii Guns and Dug Pinnick.

UJN-26-Tracii-Lemmy-UJN-wtmks (1 of 1)

Tracii Guns performs at Whisky A Go Go – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

“I’m here because I loved Lemmy’s music,” said Debby Cincianella who came from New York City for the unveiling. “Lemmy meant a lot to a lot of people and we want to honor him.”

John Hammer drove all the way from Bakersfield to get the event in time for the presentation.

“I drove like crazy to get here,” he said. “I had to see this.”

Most of the attendees came from the Los Angeles area and came dressed in their rock n roll finest, many wearing Lemmy-style hats, leather and some form of Motorhead T-shirts, jewelry or jackets.

When the time came to unveil the statue, people were poised to take pictures and get a selfie with the life-size bronze replica of one of the most beloved rockers of our time. There were plenty of photo opportunities with the bronze Lemmy.

The Lemmy statue is in the back of the Rainbow patio area and permanently rests in what many said resembles a black marble upright open tomb.  The likeness is appealing and rest assured there will be plenty of photos around with your favorite pal by the bronze Lemmy’s side.

“It’s been a wonderful way to celebrate the life of one of our favorite musicians,” said Sandy. “I love the Lemmy statue and I went to the show last night at the Whisky. I’m here tonight because this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.”

Lemmy's widow, Cheryl, gives a kiss to author Sonny Donato - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Lemmy’s widow, Cheryl, gives a kiss to author Sonny Donato – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Whisky on drew a big crowd, proving the popularity of the “Ace of Spades” musician.

Even Lemmy’s girlfriend, Cheryl, was on hand and she was touched that the musicians performed his songs throughout the night.

The concert event was live-streamed on Facebook so that people around the world could see the show. It’s been a tough year for rock lovers.  David Bowie and Glen Frye were among the other major rock stars to pass away this year.

lemmy-statue-15-wtmk (1 of 1)

Kitty Cadillac and Ruby Carrera at The Rainbow – Photo by Donna Balancia

lemmy-statue-19-wtmk (1 of 1)

Courtney Cox of Iron Maidens at The Whisky – Photo by Donna Balancia

lemmy-statue-7-wtmk (1 of 1)

The cool guys turn out for Lemmy – Photo by Donna Balancia

lemmy-statue-2-wtmk (1 of 1)

Kenny Kweens and a couple of dolls – Photo by Donna Balancia

lemmy-statue-11-wtmk (1 of 1)

He didn’t drive from Bakersfield – Photo by Donna Balancia

UJN-17-Lemmy-wtmks (1 of 1)

Pharoah Barrett of Kraterface – Photo by Donna Balancia

UJN-36-Lemmy-UJN-wtmks (1 of 1)

Carla Harvey and Tracii Guns – Photo by Donna Balancia

UJN-30-Lemmy-UJN-wtmks (1 of 1)

Walter Ino and Howie Simon – Photo by Donna Balancia

UJN-28-Lemmy-UJN-wtmks (1 of 1)

Seann Nichols – Photo by Donna Balancia

UJN-39-Lemmy-UJN-wtmks (1 of 1)

Carla Harvey gets the approval of Cheryl, Lemmy’s widow – Photo by Donna Balancia

MC5 Founder Wayne Kramer, Stooges’ Mike Watt, Headline at Famous Whisky A Go-Go on Sunset Strip

New Music Brings Fans to The Sunset Strip

Sean McNabb and Joe Retta perform at jam session at Whisky - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Sean McNabb and Joe Retta perform at jam session 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 the Whisky A Go-Go Tuesday night.

“This is the Whisky A Go Go, where (the jam session) 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 - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

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

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.”

“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.”

 

Dick Dale Rips Up The Crowd; Mick Scott and Se7en Reasons Why Swing from Rafters on New Year’s

Dick Dale performs on New Year's Eve as wife Lana Dale looks on - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Dick Dale performs on New Year’s Eve as wife Lana Dale looks on – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Dick Dale Hosts Modern Day Surfer Stomp

By DONNA BALANCIA – Dick Dale still gets the crowds swooning with his cool surf style, bringing a rockin’ show to the Sunset Strip on New Year’s Eve.

“This was the most fun I’ve had on a New Year’s Eve,” said concert-goer Kathy. “I came with my friends and my heart is beating to see Dick Dale.”

See CALIFORNIA ROCKER PHOTO GALLERY BELOW

The mixed aged audience who came for the legendary Dale as well as opener Mick Scott and Se7en Reasons Why got their money’s worth on a chilly LA night to ring in 2016.

Se7en Reasons Why - Photo © 2016 Donna Balanci

Se7en Reasons Why – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Opener Scott, a veteran performer, kept the Whisky A Go Go audience engaged, doing everything from dropping to his knees to acrobatic kicks.  His band has got some chops with a unique grouping of drummer Anjilla Piazza, guitarist Jason Stalk and violinist Hiro Goto.

Scott is a local favorite who clearly is a showman, doing everything from high kicks to leaping up to the balcony at the Whisky, overcoming microphone problems and near-misses with audience members.

Dale’s physical appearance at 78 is remarkable and he has overcome many hurdles in his health, which he credits mainly to the love of his wife, Lana.

Dick Dale drumming on Sam's bass - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Dick Dale drumming on Sam’s bass – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

But the legendary Dale played some of the favorites, including “Let’s Go Trippin,'” and “Miserlou,” from Pulp Fiction.

He is at home on the stage, keeping company with Sam the bassist and Gary the drummer, and under the ever-watchful eye of his devoted wife, Lana Dale.

Still with the same sparkle and love of the performance, Dale kept the crowd hopping, tantalizing the veterans and younger people alike on a New Year’s Eve not to be beat.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”31″ gal_title=”Dick Dale NYE 2016″]

‘I Am Thor’ To Screen at Whisky A Go Go With Live Performance by Thor, Locals and Luminaries Alike

12186604_1047475365276843_7641683604968494320_oBy DONNA BALANCIA – “I used to be a serious bodybuilder, I’m a serious rock n roller right now.”

And with those words, so began the downward — and then upward — spiral of one of metal’s favorite giants, the performer known as Thor.

The documentary “I Am Thor” has been lauded for its honest approach and insightful look at one of the world’s most well-liked underachievers, born Jon Mikl Thor, who takes the audience with him for his overdue shot at greatness.

“I Am Thor,” is touring complete with a troupe of performers and Thor himself, giving a musical show to top off the screening of his acclaimed documentary.

Thursday the craziness comes to Sunset Strip’s Whisky A Go Go; then the film and live performance move on to San Antonio’s Housecore Horror Film Festival (Nov. 14); Chicago’s Reggie’s Rock Club (Nov. 16); Detroit’s Small’s Bar (Nov. 18); Philadelphia’s PhillaMOCA (Nov. 20) and Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Nitehawk (Nov. 22)

“I Am Thor” has screened at film festivals around the world, including the New Zealand International Film Festival; the Brooklyn Film Festival; Helsinki’s Night Visions Film Festival and the Slamdance Film Festival last January, where it made its world premiere.

“I Am Thor” was directed by Ryan Wise and Produced by Wise and Al Higbee.

But there’s more to the story than what’s on the screen. There’s a new album, Metal Avenger and the recent re-release of Thor’s 1983 Unchained.

12045318_1039655952725451_2584982075776453677_oLocal musician-producers Bruce Duff and Frank Meyer have had a hand in the rebirth of Thor, mainly out of respect for the larger-than-life performer. They got involved with the Thor band while producing Thor Against The World, which came out on SmogVeil in 2004.

“We then sort of became his defacto band whenever he plays Los Angeles,” Bruce said. “I now, in fact, have played bass, guitar and even keyboards in his band.”

Duff and Meyer produced the latest album by Thor, Metal Avenger, which was released a couple of weeks ago. Those on the record are Henry Rollins, Motorhead guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke, Dead Boys’ Cheetah Chrome, Twisted Sister axman Jay Jay French, Christian Death guitairst Rikk Agnew, DOA’s Joey Shithead plus Ritchy Stotts of the Plasmatics, Betsy Bitch and others.

“This is my most ambitious and best album in the history of my career,” said Thor.

With Duff and Meyer, the group began writing new material about overcoming overloards from other planets, as well as more common mortal obstacles.

Joining Thor, Duff and Meyer on stage Thursday are Mike Knutson on drums and Dino Everett on bass.

Meyer said it’s a pretty wild experience working with a musician he liked as a fan since the 1980s.

“As a heavy-metal loving teenager I was a big Thor fan, so it was an honor to work with him on this project,” Meyer said. “Thor explained the concept behind the album and we started writing song after song, soon enlisting all sorts of cool guests to join in on the fun.”

For more information go to Thor’s Facebook page

Owl, Philm, Lend Avant-Garde Sound to Metal Scene on Legendary Sunset Strip

Owl guitarist Jason Achilles-Mezilis grabs a lens from photographer to use as a slide during performance at Whisky - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Owl guitarist Jason Achilles-Mezilis borrows a lens from a photographer to use as a slide during performance at Whisky – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Chris Wyse Bass, Dave Lombardo Drumming, Take Center Stage at Whisky a Go Go

By MALIA BALANCIA — Lead singer and bassist Chris Wyse is pretty clever.

Maybe that goes along with having a band called “Owl,” but Wyse and his group certainly have interesting ways to make music.

Wyse has played for a number of influential bands, probably most notably the Cult and he takes his bass playing to an entirely new level.

Owl debuted songs off The new album, Things You Can’t See, at the Whisky A Go-Go and did it in unique style.

Dave Lombardo's drumming takes front and center position at Philm set at Whisky - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Dave Lombardo’s drumming takes front and center position during Philm set at Whisky – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Wyse is the main singer-songwriter of the band he put together with longtime pal, drummer Dan Dinsmore, and guitarist Jason Achilles Mezilis.

Things You Can’t See drops Tuesday and can be pre-ordered HERE

Wyse started writing Things You Can’t See after leaving The Cult and while transitioning to The Ace Frehley Band. Wyse and his Owl bandmates jammed in the studio and cultivated the music of Things You Can’t See right in the moment.

Owl supported Philm, the band assembled by drummer Dave Lombardo of Slayer.  The band goes non-stop through its songs, as Lombardo brings his no-holds-barred, full-charge drumming to front and center stage.

Owl's Jason Achilles Mezilis rips it on guitar at Whisky © Donna Balancia

Owl’s Jason Achilles Mezilis rips it on guitar at Whisky © 2015 Donna Balancia

It’s no wonder Lombardo is considered one of the premiere drummers in the world of metal music — or any other music for that matter.  His sticks are a blur and it’s remarkable he isn’t skin, bones and muscle from the tremendous performance he gives.

Lombardo’s bandmates in Philm, Gerry Nestler and Pancho Tomaselli, are the ultimate in professionalism and bring their diverse talents to the ensemble.

See Philm’s Facebook Page for more details.

Owl at the Whisky - Chris Wyse Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Owl at the Whisky – Chris Wyse Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

 

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”12″ gal_title=”Owl and Philm at Whisky”]

 

%d bloggers like this: