California Rocker

Award-Winning Online Music Magazine

PHOTOS: An Evening With the Photographic Greats Richard Young and Chris Cuffaro in West Hollywood


They have captured greatness, these rock photographers, but tonight Richard Young and Chris Cuffaro were the center of attention. Young’s show, “Rebels” was held at the Leica Store in LA and Cuffaro held an exhibit at Gibson’s Tower Records.

© Donna Balancia

From Rebels to Greatest Hits

Ranging from Marvin Gaye to The Sex Pistols, Young’s exhibit showed the inner rebellious spirit of the musicians he shot primarily in the early 1980s.  It was a time of transition for many with music moving into the disco era, as his photographs — taken in the dance clubs of New York City  and beyond showed.

As for Cuffaro, whose event was punctuated with performances by emerging bands and appearances by other photographers notably Henry Diltz, the 1990s was his heyday. In addition to Pearl Jam, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and NXS, Cuffaro captured a range of artists whose legacies continue on.

Sweet Relief was supporting and President Bill Bennett and Executive Director Rob Max were on hand.

For more information on Richard Young, check out his page.  Chris Cuffaro has a website where all his work is displayed as well.

© Donna Balancia


© Donna Balancia


© Donna Balancia


© Donna Balancia


© Donna Balancia


© Donna Balancia


© Donna Balancia


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© Donna Balancia


© Donna Balancia


© Donna Balancia


© Donna Balancia

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

California Rocker Wins Three Awards at 2016 NAEJ


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


HOLLYWOOD –, 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, 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 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

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


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.

“ 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

Morrison Hotel Gallery Presents ‘Parental Advisory: Explicit Images,’ Photos of Hip Hop’s Greats

Morrison Hotel Gallery And The Sunset Marquis Hotel Presented Parental Advisory: Explicit Images: A Hip-Hop Photography Event and Exhibit.  Many of the photographs of MHG partner Timothy White were on display.

Timothy White - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Timothy White – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Morrison Hotel Gallery came together with the Sunset Marquis Hotel and PledgeMusic for the unique event, which combines all cultural aspects at the renowned Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood.

Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The exhibit featured iconic images of Jay Z, Run DMC N.W.A., Snoop Dogg, Tupac, NAS and more, by photographers Timothy White, Clay Patrick McBride, Danny Clinch, Jake Chessum, Janette Beckman, Lawrence Watson, Lisa Leone, Lynn Goldsmith, Mike Miller and Travis Shinn.

Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Out by the pool there was a 30-foot screen showing iconic and some never before seen hip-hop footage from films. Morrison Hotel Gallery recently formed a partnership with PledgeMusic.

Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Lance Lopez and All-Star Friends Rock Monday Night Blues at the Valley’s Hot Spot, Maui Sugar Mill

By DONNA BALANCIA – Lance Lopez has more in common with late friend Johnny Winter than a love for the blues.

Like the great Johnny Winter, Lance gives it his all while jamming with pals.

“I really had a great time tonight,” Lance said after a night of All-Star blues presented by Cadillac Zack at Maui Sugar Mill. “This is a great place to play and the fans are super.”

Dug Pinnick fronts for Lance Lopez; Kenny Aronoff on the kit - Photo by Donna Balancia

Dug Pinnick fronts for Lance Lopez; Kenny Aronoff on the kit, Fabrizio Grossi on bass – Photo by Donna Balancia

Lance Lopez Influenced by Johnny Winter

It doesn’t take much to be a super fan when the guitarist who’s performing is one of the hottest blues musicians around.  Lance, who recently released the hot album Lance Lopez Live in NYC, was mentored by Johnny Winter and it shows.

“It touches me to mention Johnny,” Lance said during a conversation about the legendary Johnny, who passed away two years ago at age 70.

Read the California Rocker interview with JOHNNY WINTER

One performance, and it’s easy to tell that Lance is one of the most talented young blues guitarists around. Period.  At the Maui Sugar Mill he brought on some of the most prolific musician pals, including Kenny Aronoff and Guitar Shorty. Dug Pinnick of King’s X also made a special appearance, fronting for Lance.

Lance Lopez and his all-stars - Photo by Donna Balancia

Lance Lopez and his all-stars – Photo by Donna Balancia

Supersonic Band

Lance has a band called Supersonic Blues Machine and Maui Sugar Mill patrons got a taste of what the band’s all about as Aronoff took his spot behind the kit and Fabrizio Grossi played bass. The band debuts album West Of Flushing, South Of Frisco featuring Billy F. Gibbons (ZZ Top), Warren Haynes (Allman Bros./Gov’t Mule), Robben Ford, Walter Trout, Chris Duarte and  Eric Gales

Lance’ latest work is the hot album called Lance Lopez Live in NYC that rips. Check out his website and the photo gallery below.


Cruefest Hollywood 2016: Rockers Give Back and Give Fans a Great Show at Whisky on LA’s Sunset Strip

By DONNA BALANCIA – A range of rockers take part in this charity every year and 2016 was no different. Featuring bands from all over the world, Cruefest Hollywood rocks.

Bands on hand were Mick Scott and Se7en Reasons Why; 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 Blacklist Union, Lunden Reign, Westfield Massacre, and L.A. Story; all of whom are from Los Angeles.

“This is an event that I really enjoy,” said fan Tom Haggeny from Los Angeles. “We love the raffles, we like winning the T-shirts, you get a chance at some killer guitars and it’s all for a good cause.”

Cruefest Hollywood is held each year to raise funds for cancer research.

“This is our second year and we’re really happy to play Cruefest Hollywood,” said Erik Hatchett of LA Story. “We like to connect with the fans and we really have a good time.”

Bad Boy Eddie, from Northern California, said they made the journey south because they wanted to help out a good cause.

“I love it,” said founder Dave. “We’re having a really good time and meeting really fun people.  We want to help out.”

Bad Boy Eddy from Northern California - Photo by Donna Balancia

Bad Boy Eddy from Northern California – Photo by Donna Balancia

LA Story gets the crowd going - Photo by Donna Balancia

LA Story gets the crowd going – Photo by Donna Balancia

Dave Pirner and Soul Asylum Celebrate Their ‘Change of Fortune’ at The Whisky A Go Go

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum - Photo by Donna Balancia for California Rocker

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum – Photo by Donna Balancia for California Rocker

Soul Asylum Opener Wild Roses Also Impresses


Dave Pirner and Soul Asylum gave an electrifying performance at the Whisky A Go Go promoting the album Change of Fortune.

The show proved that Pirner and his band that rose to fame in the late 1980, embrace the twists and turns in their own careers.

Change of Fortune

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum at Whisky A Go Go - Photo by Donna Balancia for California Rocker

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum at Whisky A Go Go – Photo by Donna Balancia for California Rocker

Promoting Soul Asylum’s 11th studio album, Change of Fortune, Pirner is happy to be on tour, telling the audience “Thank you, you’re too kind,” after the applause with each song.  It’s a different Soul Asylum than back in the day when Soul Asylum came to prominence, but lots of things are different today.

With the new album, Pirner takes his familiar sound, made famous from “Black Gold,” and “Runaway Train,” and has ratched it up a few notches.

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.

Dave Pirner and Soul Asylum

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum at the Whisky A Go Go - Photo by Donna Balancia for California Rocker

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum at the Whisky A Go Go – Photo by Donna Balancia for California Rocker

Change of Fortune was a Pledgemusic project and more than a few contributors were in the audience during the U.S. tour, which started off on a bill with The English Beat and wrapped as a solo act.

The lead single off Change of Fortune, called “Supersonic,” is a fast-paced rockin tune, and when performed live brings out the best of a more mature, but very physically active Soul Asylum. Mixing other cool cuts off the new work and blending in some of the famous Soul Asylum songs, frontman Pirner and his group put on a terrific show.

Pirner’s pretty down to earth and his personality rings true no matter what. The audience is faithful, with a diverse age range of attending his shows, or at least that was the case at the recent show at the Whisky.

Enduring the Changes

I can't hear you Dave Pirner says during Soul Asylum show at Whisky A Go Go - Photo by Donna Balancia

‘I can’t hear you,’ Dave Pirner says during Soul Asylum show at Whisky A Go Go – Photo by Donna Balancia

As for Change of Fortune, the name of the album is appropriate.  Pirner has endured a lot of changes since the band started, and one notable change was the loss of his bandmate and pal, Karl Mueller, who died of cancer in 2004.  He dedicated a song to Karl during the show.

But Change of Fortune has its dynamic driven songs and mellow tunes — it covers a range of emotions one can only expect from Pirner, one of the most prolific songwriters of the last 35 years.

Change of Fortune, which is co-produced by John Fields and the band, is a classic and is testament to Pirner’s persistence. Other than “Supersonic,” other standout cuts on the new album are rock anthem “Can’t Help It,” “Make It Real,” and electro-ballad, “When I See You.”

If you missed them in the day, it’s not too late to add Soul Asylum to the bucket list of great performances.

Wild Roses to Open for The Living End

Marc Orrell of Wild Roses - Photo by Donna Balancia

Marc Orrell of Wild Roses – Photo by Donna Balancia

Another high point of the evening was opener Wild Roses, a band led by frontman Marc Orrell and bassist pal, Jeff Roffredo; these guys crank out some great music.

Orrell who’s got a great rock n roll voice, was guitarist with Dropkick Murphys and still has a good relationship with the band.

They’ll be opening for Australian punkers The Living End at the Roxy on Aug. 19; and the Glass House in Pomona on Aug. 20.

Get Tickets to The Living End.

Brian Wilson at the Hollywood Bowl: ‘Pet Sounds’ Still Rings True 50 Years After Release

Brian Wilson at Hollywood Bowl - Photo by Craig Hammons

Brian Wilson at Hollywood Bowl – Photo by Craig Hammons

‘Good Vibrations’


Good vibrations were in the air at the Hollywood Bowl on a cool summer night.

Brian Wilson along with his ‘boys,’ Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin, with a 12-piece band full of woodwinds, keyboards, guitars and percussion, brought us the 50th Anniversary of Pet Sounds and a dozen or more timeless classic hits.

‘Our Prayer’ as the Opener

The magic and celebration began with the beautiful vocal harmonies of “Our Prayer” a wordless hymn released in its proper form from Brian’s 2004 GRAMMY Award-winning album “Smile.”

This opened the door for 1967’s “Heroes and Villains” and soon the hits would just kept on coming. It didn’t take long for the capacity crowd to get up on their feet dancing to “California Girls,” “I Get Around” and “Dance, Dance, Dance.” Not long into the set it was evident just how many of these songs were the soundtrack to our lives. These All American tunes about cars, girls and surfing brought back many memories as we all sung along and still knew every word.

The music slowed a bit with such classics as “Surfer Girl,” “Hushabye,” “Don’t Worry Baby” and the beautiful song “One Kind of Love” from Brian’s 11th solo album “No Pier Pressure.” Brian was up front and center sitting behind a white grand piano. He seemed cool and calm.  His vocals may be a bit worn by time, but are still solid for a 74-year-old who seem happy to be playing the songs he wrote for a whole generation.

‘Wild Honey’

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

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

Just before going into Pet Sounds the band played the single “Wild Honey,” from 1967.  Back then, the tune had a unique new sound and during the Hollywood Bowl rendition, the song earned a round of applause for sax player Paul Mertens’ solo.

Brian brought out his long-time buddy and collaborator Blondie Chaplin to sing and play guitar on “Sail On, Sailor.” Blondie’s vocals seemed a bit weak, but he made up for it in his guitar playing.

‘Pet Sounds’

With the opening chorus of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” we knew it was time for the musical wizardry of Pet Sounds to be done in its entirety. Pet Sounds was recorded over a half a century ago in an extensive recording session just down the street from the Hollywood Bowl. The band was bringing life back to these songs showing just how much Brian’s music was changing at that time.

The five- and six-part vocal harmonies were amazing with Al Jardine’s son, Matt Jardine, nailing the high notes. There were couples dancing in the aisles during “Don’t Talk Put Your Head on My Shoulder” and “I’m Waiting for the Day.”

‘Sloop John B’ Gets the People to their Feet

Brian Wilson at the Hollywood Bowl - Photo by Craig Hammons

Brian Wilson at the Hollywood Bowl – Photo by Craig Hammons

Once they got into “Sloop John B,” everyone was singing again. Next was an emotional rendition of “God Only Knows,” one of the best songs ever written. We were all on our feet in admiration and Brian requested we all have a seat during the slower and more obscure tracks like “I Know There’s an Answer” and “Here Today.” Ending the set with “Good Vibrations” put us all in our way back machine to a better time of going steady, the beach and hanging out with our best friends.

At the end of Pet Sounds, Brian thanked the crowd and slowly walked off the stage to thunderous applause. More than 17,000 strong came to see the man who got out of his sandbox to regain the crown of musical genius.

‘”All Summer Long” Brought Tears to The Lady Next to Me’

Brian came back out and sat down at his piano and introduced each band member one by one before they would launch into some of the Beach Boys greatest hits. An upbeat “All Summer Long” brought tears to the eyes of the lady next to me because she said she felt “so happy.” Then it was “Help Me Rhonda,” and now everyone was rocking out and singing enthusiastically. Without stopping they went right into “Barbara Ann,” “Surfin’ USA,” and “Fun, Fun, Fun.”

They ended with “Love and Mercy,” a song that rings true to the times we’re living in today. Brian said: “There’s a lot of people getting shot out there and it really scares me; Love and Mercy is what we need tonight.” The evening ended with the final chorus “Love and Mercy to you and All your Friends Tonight.” We felt it as we all exited the Bowl knowing that we all saw musically history made this evening by the man who first played the Hollywood with his brothers, cousins and band mates, the Beach Boys, back in 1966.


English Beat Tour the U.S., Europe, to Promote New Album Featuring Ranking Roger, Called ‘Bounce’

The English Beat to Release First Studio Album in 30 Years

english-beat22-wtmks (1 of 1)By DONNA BALANCIA – The English Beat gives the fans their money’s worth, as Dave Wakeling and the boys play their 30-something years’ worth of famous hits to packed houses throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Promoting a new album, called Bounce, which is due in September, The English Beat will tour the U.S. After the release of the album, The Beat will then travel through Europe.  See Tour Schedule here.

Ska ‘Entombed in Lore’

Wakeling takes the stage and brings back some good memories for those old enough to remember seeing the innovative punk-ska innovators who came to fame in the 80s. The English beat also attracts some young fans who appreciate the band — or more appropriately Wakeling and his sometimes bandmate Ranking Roger — in a historical sense.

After all, The English Beat really did find something then only known to most people in Europe and the U.S. as Calypso or Mento, and presented a story in addition to the great music with the great punk style.  It was Ska and it was The English Beat that revived a music genre that had long been entombed in island lore.

Bounce by The Beat features Ranking Roger

Ranking Roger Bounce

The English Beat released a new video to support the new album, Bounce

It is mainly Wakeling the founder of The English Beat – known simply as The Beat in Europe – who carries the ball for the band. But, really, it doesn’t matter what they’re called because it’s the songs they created and perform that have made them legendary.

The English Beat - Photo by Donna Balancia

The English Beat – Photo by Donna Balancia

In concert, The English Beat play almost every one of their big charted hits including “Tears of a Clown,” “Twist and Crawl,” and “Tenderness.”

Set List: 1. Rough Rider; 2. Tears of a Clown; 3. Hands Off She’s Mine; 4. Twist and Crawl; 5. I’ll Take You There; 6. I Confess; 7. Click Click; 8. Save It For Later; 9. Too Nice to Talk To; 10. Whine and Grind/Stand Down Margaret; 11. Best Friend; 12. Can’t Get Used to Losing You; 13. Two Swords; 14. The Love You Give; 15. Tenderness; 16. Rankin Full Stop; 17. Mirror in the Bathroom

Cherie Currie, Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs and GayC-DC to Play a Benefit Concert at Viper Room Tonight

Highway to Help to benefit Orlando Victims

Highway to Help to benefit Orlando Victims by California Rocker

By DONNA BALANCIA – Cherie Currie, the lead singer from The Runaways, will headline a benefit for the victims of the Orlando shooting at the Viper Room tonight.

All proceeds from the event, called Highway to Help, are expected to go to Equality Florida. The Streetwalkin Cheetahs and GayC/DC will also play to help raise funds.

Currie fronted The Runaways with Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Sandy West, Jackie Fox and Vicki Blue.  Her book, Neon Angel, is available through HarperCollins.

GayCDC, the well-known, all-gay ACDC cover band, and Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, a nationally renowned, local punk rock band, will play.

For more information go to the Highway to Help Facebook page.

Second Annual Ride For Ronnie Draws ‘United Nations’ of Bike Enthusiasts, Sons of Anarchy Stars

Sean McNabb and Gilby ride on - Photo © 2016 Jesse Silva

Sean McNabb and Gilby ride on – Photo © 2016 Jesse Silva

Emilio Rivera Joins Ride to Support Cancer Research

Photos © 2016 JESSE SILVA; Story by JOHN DALY

The second annual motorcycle ride and concert to benefit cancer research, Ride For Ronnie, drew devoted friends and fans of rocker Ronnie Dio to Los Encinos State park Sunday.

Among the hundreds on hand were celebrities and motorcycle enthusiasts who rode and attended a concert in the late heavy metal rocker’s name, put on by The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, which benefits cancer research.

Sons of Anarchy actor Emilio Rivera and rockers Sean McNabb and Gilby Clarke were among the riders, who came together to raise money for cancer research in the name of Ronnie Dio.  Heavy metal rocker Dio fronted Rainbow, Elf, Heaven and Hell and Black Sabbath.

Sponsored by Harley Davidson of Glendale, a good group of celebs, rockers and regulars were on hand to pay tribute with a ride and concert. Rivera frequently rides for charity, see his charity ride here.

“If there was a United Nations of bikers we would totally be in,” said photographer Jesse Silva, who documented the event.

It is the second time the event was put on by The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, which supports research and education that furthers early detection, prevention and treatment of prostate, colon and stomach cancer.

The charity says it has raised almost $1 million for research. The money has been been committed to the cancer research work of the T. J. Martell Foundation for Cancer, AIDS and Leukemia Research, the gastric cancer research unit of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where Ronnie was treated for gastric cancer during the last six months of his life, and other cancer research projects.

The Mayans return? Emilio Rivera and friends ride - Photo © 2016 Jesse Silva

The Mayans return? Emilio Rivera and friends ride – Photo © 2016 Jesse Silva

Modern English: All These Years Later, Legendary New Wave Band Does More Than ‘Melt With You’

Robbie Grey of Modern English - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Robbie Grey of Modern English – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Robbie Grey: ‘I’ll Melt With You’ is ‘The Song That Pays The Bills’

By DONNA BALANCIA – Modern English may look a little different than back in 1981, but the music is better than ever.

The British band known for superhit “I’ll Melt With You” is tight and gave a stellar performance at The Echoplex Sunday night.

The iconic band performed its 1981 LP Mesh and Lace in its entirety to celebrate the 11th-Year Anniversary of the excellent Part Time Punks program. Underpass, Soft Kill and Sextile brought diversity of alt rock sounds prior to the headliner.

Mick Conroy on bass, Gary McDowell on guitar and Robbie Grey on vocals set the pace as Colchester, UK’s first punk band, The Lepers, back in 1979.  When keyboardist Stephen Walker and drummer came on board, they became Modern English and took on a more new wave-style sound.

Gary McDowell of Modern English - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Gary McDowell of Modern English – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Still Together

It’s fantastic the band is together again after some ups and downs, unlike many of their colleagues from the era like Joy Division, Depeche Mode and Gang of Four.  Hugh Jones, who also produced Echo and the Bunnymen produced Mesh and Lace and had a good deal to do with the band’s post-punk sound. The UK produced most of the well-known punk/new wave bands in the late 1970s-early 1980s.

And while they may look a little older, a little more heavily tattooed, Modern English band members have a young appearance and a lot of stories to tell.

The members of the band who have broken up, gotten back together, tried to go separate ways and tried different music projects realized they’re cherished by not only the generation they’re from, but also by today’s younger fans.

Bassist Mick Conroy gets the handoff from Robbie Grey during Modern English performance at the Echoplex - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Bassist Mick Conroy gets the handoff from Robbie Grey during Modern English performance at the Echoplex – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Advertising Income

That could in part be because of the popularity of the group’s 1982 superhit “I’ll Melt With You,” which has had enormous commercial success and has been played in everything from U.S. TV commercials pitching cheeseburgers, chocolate and tacos, to feature films.

But the band says the new wave song is really about a couple making love as a nuclear bomb is dropped. No matter, the song closed out for the evening as Robbie called it “The Song That Pays The Bills.”

Favorites of the night taken directly from the Mesh and Lace album are the classic upbeat songs “Smiles and Laughter,” “Gathering Dust” and “Swans on Glass.”  The songs were badass in the day and still hold up today.

With Modern English you get what you expect. It’s refreshing in that they call themselves what they are.  With the exception of drummer Roy Martin, who handled the kit with amazing agility and blend, the band is comprised of all the original members.

Gary McDowell of Modern English - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Gary McDowell of Modern English – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Long Run

In the never-ending quest for to make a living, there are many bands out there with only one remaining member who call themselves the name they used to go by when they were four.

But it should be determined at what point would it be considered false advertising to call a band with departed anchor members by its original name.

Joy Division evolved into New Order, then split into two bands, New Order, and Peter Hook and the Light. Let’s hope Modern English will never have to endure a similar fate.

But it’s clear that Modern English has their colleagues on the brain — with Robbie sporting a Joy Division T-shirt and changing into a David Bowie T-shirt to honor the departed musician.  And he performed happily — even when a gal came on stage and started hugging him. But Robbie is a good reflection of the band — seems Modern English will withstand the test of time and simply shrug and carry on.


Iggy Pop at The Greek: While Not a Tragedy, He Took The Long and Uncompromising Road

Iggy Pop and the Stooges - Photo © Heather Harris

Iggy Pop and the Stooges: All The Right Moves – Photo © Heather Harris


LOS ANGELES – Iggy Pop wrapped the U.S. segment of his Post Pop Depression tour at The Greek Theatre with a few more fans than he had — and maybe that was the simple idea.

Iggy is a master of appearance and that 69-year-old appearance is holding up well.  He has the stance of a confident but undervalued pugilist who has paid the price for his uncompromising artistry.

But these days, his signature has been teaming with younger rockers to keep current, keep himself in the press and to stay sharp.

He’s learned a thing or two after being knocked around on the ground. And maybe his time has finally come.

“I love Iggy, he really won me over,” said a 20-something fan who was among the thousands at The Greek Theatre Thursday night. It was a sold-out last night of the Post Pop Depression tour he’s shared with prominent band mates Josh Homme, Matt Helders and Dean Fertita, Troy Van Leeuwen and Matt Sweeney. Now it’s on to Europe.

Iggy’s Revolution

These days Iggy’s goals are not as lofty as they were when he started a music revolution in the early 1970s.  The excesses of success are for those younger than him, he’s accumulated a great deal of wealth and he has a beautiful wife and home life in Miami.  He doesn’t party and he sticks to a regimen to make it through at least this one last big push on touring. And he could always use a few more fans.





The David Bowie Songs

It’s no coincidence Iggy’s band mates are at least 30 years younger than he is. The prolific punk rock progenitor was looking for a shot in the arm and just maybe a new raison d’etre.  Yes he’s been doing an amazing job as D.J. on BBC6 with insightful thoughts about a range of music. And he’s been going through the catalogues of others.

But since the death of former collaborator David Bowie, Iggy has dusted off the classics from The Idiot and Lust For Life, which Bowie produced for him.  While most Pop fans know “The Passenger,” his beautiful tunes “Everything Will Be Alright Tonight,” “Here Comes Success,” and his own, less well-known rendition of “China Girl” have long been overlooked by the masses.  These are songs that have gotten a lot of us through the tough times for a long time. So hearing them live is a treat; it’s remarkable that Iggy is singing those songs in concert only now that Bowie is gone, and there is probably a reason.

Overbooked Star

During the days leading up to his outstanding show at The Greek, Iggy must have been overbooked as he made a harried appearance at Mr. Musichead art gallery in Hollywood, across the street from Guitar Center and the Sunset Grill.  Many people arrived before the 6 p.m. start date for the showing of American Valhalla, the photos of Post Pop Depression.

Iggy Pop and Don Was - Photo © Heather Harris for California Rocker

Iggy Pop and Don Was – Photo © Heather Harris for California Rocker

Around 70 percent of the people who bought the $30-something ticket were disappointed to find out that by the time they walked through the gallery doors, Iggy, his wife, Nina, and Josh and his family had vamoosed out the back. After all, how much mugging for the cell phone camera can a guy do.  He had to have had 22 different two- or three-word conversations with those in line, after all.

We didn’t have the heart to stand there and stare and bother him with questions, seeing how Iggy looked a little drained from the experience.  When we offered him some water, he responded with a decidedly polite “No thank you.”

Then came the  “How much longer?” to his manager.

And with that, the group was gone from the makeshift tent that held a range of black and white photos of Iggy in his Post Pop desert days with Homme boy and pals. The photos are lovely but clearly Iggy was the attraction here.


Connie, a friend of Iggy from the old days, said she wanted to see Iggy and didn’t get the emailed update that came to ticketholders warning them if they wanted to catch a glimpse of King Pop, they had better arrive at 5:45 p.m. The email said Iggy and his team would be leaving for The GRAMMY Museum precisely at 7 “for a nomination.”

And yes, while deserving of a nomination, we’re not so sure that was entirely accurate.  We’re not aware The GRAMMY Museum gives out nominations for anything.  Nonetheless, those who bought tickets to the gallery showing were bummed when Iggy and crew were not there.  It’s free admission to Mr. Musichead on any normal day.

Wayne Kramer talks Super Group - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Wayne Kramer talks Super Group – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

A major positive: At Mr. Musichead, we got to have a good heart-to-heart with Wayne Kramer, founder of MC5 and that made the event well worthwhile.  MC5 was the “big brother” band to The Stooges back in the 1960s Detroit.  Wayne is a gem, who spoke to us at length about his charity work.

He’s truly got a big heart and he’s a remarkably humble guy, especially since Wayne and MC5 are arguably the true creators of that Detroit punk sound, as “Kick Out The Jams,” is still the battlecry of every garage rock punk rocker wannabe, or never was, and even a dead music superstar or two.

Iggy and his crew piled into their black SUVs and jammed on out of the gallery. It’s probably not Iggy’s fault he was over boooked and that he and his crew tried to grab as much gusto from the Post Pop Depression tour push and the merch and monetizing opportunities. After all, Iggy came right out and said this would most likely be his last tour ever and possibly last album as well.

Iggy’s not an easy one to get along with, say his pals.  He’s a perfectionist and a little hard-headed — possibly even a – gasp – Republican.  Except for the Republican part, his idiosyncracies all probably come as a result of many years of leaping off the stage and sometimes not getting caught.  He innovated an entire niche of rock music in the 1970s that those hippies and others just didn’t understand. And it took a gargantuan effort to get where he is today.

We’re talking about a guy whose first claim to fame was walking on the audience like Jesus walked on the water, and smearing himself with peanut butter.  Even his bandmates, Ron and Scott Asheton and Dave Alexander, didn’t see the peanut butter coming.

Iggy Pop - walking on the crowds, use of peanut butter among memorable practices

Iggy Pop walking on the crowds and innovative use of peanut butter among memorable practices – Photo courtesy Midsummer Rock TV

Iggy Pop, Gadget User

Iggy has come a long way from recording vacuum cleaners and blenders for that authentic sound of Detroit, from whence he hails.  And The Greek Theatre is just about as far away as any performer could get from Detroit, on many levels.

You hear stories of rock stars and celebs donating money secretly to charities in their home towns, only to find out their benevolence upon their death.

Something tells us this will likely not be the case for Iggy, but he has definitely left an undeniable legacy of music.

“Iggy Pop feels underappreciated,” said one longtime acquaintance. “People are coming to his shows now and that’s wonderful. But even when ‘The Passenger’ had a modicum of success on the radio, Iggy couldn’t grow the fan base.  Maybe it was the marketing or something.  I never thought the Halloween-style drip-letter posters at The Ritz that said ‘Come see the Bizarre Iggy Pop’ were going to draw them in.  Especially when The Clash were playing up the street. It’s like even though Iggy’s one of the best performers in the world — and he was back then too of course — he couldn’t reach the audience that today has come to appreciate him the most — and that’s those people who are in their 50s now.”

Iggy Pop at last Stooges gig - Photo © Heather Harris

Iggy Pop at last Stooges gig – Photo © Heather Harris

Commercial Appeal

But Iggy Pop is certainly making up for lost time.

In the last 10 years, Iggy has done more to promote himself to the mainstream than he did collectively over the course of his life.

He’s headlined a record number of music festivals. He’s a perfume model.

He was a pitch guy for a British insurance company teaming with a puppet that bears his name — a gig that brought him a hefty dose of ridicule but lots of money. Iggy’s done voiceovers on kids cartoons and he even made then-judge Jennifer Lopez gaze admiringly when he performed on “American Idol.”

Then there’s the music. The classic “Search and Destroy,” the anthem of every punker that ever lived, written by Iggy with longtime collaborator James Williamson has been featured in several movies including “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” several TV shows including “Lost,” and “Dexter,” video games like “Guitar Hero,” and “Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland,” as well as the the new ad campaign for the Audi A4.

Iggy has some hi-falootin’ famous friends, and hangs around with Henry, Johnny and Jim. Kings and queens. He even sat down for a meal with Tony Bourdain, who now uses “The Passenger” as the theme to his CNN show “Parts Unknown.”

Iggy and Tony - Courtesy Tony Bourdain

Iggy and Tony – Courtesy Anthony Bourdain


Iggy Pop and His People

Iggy said one of the reasons he likes to team with young people is because it keeps him fresh but he also said that when he partners with people like Kesha or Best Coast, he also gets a bit of free recording time also.  But the Post Pop Depression album is by all accounts a self-funded project produced by the likeable desert rat Homme, who cuts a striking if not gigantic appearance, particularly when holding hands with the 5-foot-something-inch Iggy.

Mr. Humble, Mike Watt - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Mr. Humble, Mike Watt – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Iggy apparently doesn’t discard his friends for no good reason, as at The Greek we ran into several old pals of his whom he’d invited to attend.

Mike Watt said he was honored to appear at The Greek, “Iggy asked me to come,” Watt said.

One of the guys who have been there the whole time, Watt is a humble sort who simply loves the music. And he misses The Stooges. “I loved that band,” Watt said emotionally.

Meanwhile, Iggy’s new band is sharp, young and extremely cool, looking dapper in lounge jackets and dancing around him on stage. Successful musicians in their own right, the guys clearly enjoy reciprocal benefit of touring with the veteran Iggy.

Tossing the Mic

On stage at The Greek, Iggy still showed with great bravado the shades of the anger issues that got him here in the first place. With his advanced age, they come across as funny and cute today compared to the days when he really was an angry young man with issues and wild performance antics.

Iggy mic stand pulverizer - Donna Balancia California Rocker

Anger issues; Iggy beats up on the mic stand at the Greek – Photo 2016 Donna Balancia

During the triumphant performance at The Greek last Thursday — a show that was completely entertaining and gave hints of what it must have been like to see him at The Ritz in the old days — he dropped F-bombs, shoved his hand down his pants, jumped into the crowd and beat up a microphone stand.  Then a song or two later, he went and brought it back and cursed at it.  When he stood it upright, it was bent in the middle and that got a laugh from the adoring crowds.

And maybe through his fits of celebrity, Iggy feels vindicated for all those years of starving, sleeping on other peoples floors and living a hard life — the most difficult life: That of an artist who won’t compromise his work.  On to Europe and a hearty Bravo to our own truly and uniquely American musician, and nevermore to be known as “The World’s Forgotten Boy.”


Pat Todd, Lights Out Levine, Rock Out at Hot Venue Maui Sugar Mill

Pat Todd and The Rankoutsiders - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Pat Todd and The Rankoutsiders – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA – The Maui Sugar Mill was rockin with the likes of Double E, Johnny Travis Jr., Lights Out Levine and headliner Pat Todd and the Rank Outsiders.

Double E and The Great Western Cattle Co. has a cool country sound, not overdoing it, and was a good warmup for the night.

Lights Out Levine -Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Lights Out Levine -Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Johnny Travis Jr. is a heartbreaker in his own mind, handing out signed 8 x 10s of himself to the girls. Special guest Adam Bones of The Two Tens joined the band onstage for a song.

Lights Out Levine debuted his solo act, he’s a member of Prima Donna, the well-known group that has a pop appeal.  Lights Out didn’t disappoint and enjoys himself when performing. We will be hearing more from this talent.  Prima Donna has a gig at the Echoplex on Jan. 22.

Johnny Travis, Jr. signs up a storm for the girls - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Johnny Travis, Jr. signs up a storm for the girls – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The headliner, Pat Todd and The Rankoutsiders are a great group of rockers, they’ve been around the block and their grizzled presence and talent shows it.

Pat Todd has a new record out that is pretty amazing.  One thing for sure Pat and his pals get you up and going. The band is comprised of Pat, Rick Rock, Nick Alexander, Kevin Keller and Bob “El Bingo” Deagle.  Pat Todd and The Rankoutsiders will be playing Loaded on Jan. 16, 2016.

Asia Muka was the talented promoter/booker on this show and we look forward to more from her.

Holiday Parties Bring the Love Across Los Angeles, Some of the Biggies in Biz Share a Laugh and a Tune

© 2016 Donna Balancia

Party up in the hills © 2016 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA – Holiday parties attracted all kinds of musicians with a range of industry people making the LA scene.

Charity functions and private parties raised funds and toys for children.  The band, HUDSON, brought in toys for children at the Gibson showroom in Beverly Hills, Rock N Roll Christmas for MusiCares raised funds for charity and there were parties in private homes.

Trevor McShane and his bandmates took the center stage recently, bringing in some top musicians.

© 2016 Donna Balancia

Trevor McShane with Albert Lee © 2016 Donna Balancia

Albert Lee was seen at more than one holiday event, gladly playing with a range of different musicians. Also seen out and about were Barry Keenan, James Lee Stanley, and multi-tasker Dan Marcus, whose main line is book editor.

Well-known attorney Tom Girardi of Girardi Keese and Brian Ray (Paul McCartney) also made conversation at some holiday parties.

PR and media honchos were also out in force with heavy hitter Carey Baker, media man Dan Warren and promoter Irene LoConto running events and greeting pals.

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.”


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.

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

richie ramone-hi-fi-new-years-2016

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.”


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.


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.”


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.


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.”

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.


“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.”


Halo Circus featuring Allison Iraheta to Headline ‘Say It Loud’ Concert at Troubadour on Dec. 14

SayItLoudNEWLoRezThe Halo Circus Debut Album is Expected to be Released in 2016

Halo Circus, powered by “American Idol” Season 8 fan favorite Allison Iraheta, will headline the Troubadour on Monday, Dec. 14.

The show called “Say it Loud! A Night of Cultural Disruption,” is expected to spotlight multicultural music influenced by Iraheta’s childhood growing up in South Central.

Halo Circus is comprised of singer Iraheta, bassist-producer Matthew Hager (Duran Duran, Scott Weiland, Simply Red), drummer Veronica Bellino (Jeff Beck, DMC of Run DMC) and guitarist Brian Stead.

Halo Circus has played with Heart, Adam Lambert, Emmylou Harris, Orianthi and others.

See related story on ‘Bunny’ record release updated June 25

Tickets to Halo Circus at Troubadour Available Now

Halo Circus is a bilingual alternative rock band with powerhouse vocals.  The group is releasing a new album in 2016.

“It’s a bilingual concept album about life seen through the eyes of a girl who was raised by El Salvadorian immigrants,” said Iraheta. “She achieved the impossible to become a witness to a world that she didn’t know existed (from) where she grew up.”

The record was produced by Hager and mixed by Craig Bauer (Kanye West, Ed Sheeran, Smashing Pumpkins).


“Say It Loud!”  kicks off at 7 p.m.  Bands on the bill include:

— Project N-Fidelikah (featuring Angelo Moore of Fishbone, George Lynch, members of WAR)

— David Garza (famed storyteller and Austin favorite)

— Heliotriope (featuring members of Ozomatli, WAR)

— KC Porter’s Cruzanderos (featuring multi Grammy-award winning producer-songwriter Porter)

Sentimental Show at The Troubadour

Iraheta, whose claim to fame has been “American Idol,” says she feels a bit sentimental to play at The Troubadour.

“Halo Circus played our very first show three years ago at the Troubadour, so it’s a dream come true to have our own night there now,” she said. “In our search to fill out the bill with artists that inspire us, we were humbled by the level of talent that wanted to be included. We discovered that there are geniuses living among us.”

Iraheta said she has noticed a trend in the industry to return to cause-based songwriting.

“Artists are desperate for a return to meaningful lyrics and songs with purpose,” she said. “We’re excited to be a part of ‘Say It Loud!'”

Rock-N-Roll Christmas Show on Dec. 13 Brings Together Musician Friends to Play for MusiCares

Freebo with Chad Watson - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Freebo with Chad Watson – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA – Freebo, Carnie Wilson and Albert Lee are among the musical stars that headline The Rock-N-Roll Christmas Show to benefit MusiCares at Cal State Northridge on Dec. 13.

The Rock-N-Roll Christmas Show brings together some of the best known names in music and will be held at The Plaza Del Sol Performance Center at Cal State Northridge.


Jim Nelson, the well-known DJ from sponsor station KCSN will emcee the event, which raises money for MusiCares, a charitable giving arm of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.  MusiCares helps connect musicians with health and medical programs.

Carnie Wilson - Photo © Gage Skidmore

Carnie Wilson – Photo © Gage Skidmore

Rock Cellar Magazine is another presenting sponsor. The show is produced by The Get Together Foundation.


Participating musicians include: Debbi Peterson (The Bangles); Albert Lee (Bill Wyman, Emmylou Harris, Everly Brothers, Eric Clapton); Carnie Wilson, Rosemary Butler (Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt); Freebo (Bonnie Raitt); Ken Stacey (Ambrosia, Michael Jackson); John Wicks (The Records); Lois Blaisch (Neil Young, David Foster); Marky Lennon (VENICE – the band); Gary Griffin (Brian Wilson); Rob Bonfiglio (Wilson Phillips); Marc Mann (Jeff Lynne, Concert for George); Kiki Ebsen, The Honeys (Marilyn Wilson); Gary Stockdale (Randy Newman) and MB Gordy (Doobie Brothers); John Pratt (vox); Tom Jacob (vox); Dave Pearlman (pedal steel); Chad Watson (bass & bone); Henry Arias (percussion); Eric Mayron (keys) and John McNeely (vox) among others.

MusiCares® Rock-n-Roll Christmas Show is produced by the Get Together Foundation team: President Kevin Wachs, Michael Stern, Jay Cohen, Lauri Reimer, Gary Griffin (Brian Wilson, Jan & Dean). Organizer and promoter is Irene LoConto.

A similar event held last summer raised more than $20,000.


TICKETS are also available through the Plaza Del Sol box office 818-677-3000

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

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

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

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


Got Soul?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Tighty Whities - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Tighty Whiteys – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

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

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

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

Tighty Whities Kevin Lawrence - Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Tighty Whiteys Kevin Lawrence – Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Dave Schulz All-Star Jam Brings Rock and Roll Thursday to New Venue Mrs. Fish in Downtown LA

The Dave Schulz All-Star Jam - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

The Dave Schulz All-Star Jam – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA – Thursday nights won’t be the same in Downtown LA as The Dave Schulz All-Star Jam brings a rockin’ new show to Mrs. Fish.

Schulz’ All-Star Jam plays a great range of dance music, funk and rock covers, and a couple of originals or two thrown in the mix. Schulz, who is perhaps best known for his work with bands like Berlin and The English Beat, has put togther a group of musicians who can really lay it down.


Mrs. Fish is an interesting establishment with a futuristic and upscale “hideaway” feel, located on Hill Street, in the center of DTLA.  Schulz and his band are expected to bring in a new crowd for the growing social scene in the area: People who want to kick off the weekend a little early, or those who hang around for a night of fun after work. There’s no cover charge.

The Dave Schulz All-Star Jam - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

The Dave Schulz All-Star Jam – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

On the first of the Thursday night sessions at Mrs. Fish, last week, Schulz and his group of musician pals took the stage in the center of the room, and performed a range of blues, rock and familiar tunes. Friends in the industry and those celebrating the birthday of Nancy Hilton were on hand to rock n roll.

“This is one of the coolest places I’ve been to in a while,” said Ronnie, who with Celeste, grabbed a seat in one of the neo modern chairs around the band. “There are fun people here and that fish tank is amazing.”

Indeed, overhead is a coral-filled fish tank with tropical species jumping to the music. Apparently, those Fish above the crowds have something to do with the name of the bar.  The furniture in Mrs. Fish is cool and there are plenty of private and semi-private areas to hang out in the double-decker area.  And from no matter where you care to kick it, you can see the band.

Enjoying the music: Nancy Hilton and friends at The Dave Schultz All-Star Jam - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Enjoying the music: Nancy Hilton and friends at The Dave Schultz All-Star Jam – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

To call this venue a bar is really not adequate. There’s a good menu with reasonable prices, and Mrs. Fish boasts a nice list of mixed drinks.

And then of course there’s the music.

Bringing Schulz and his band in on Thursday nights was a good idea as the resume of the well-respected keyboardist is impressive. He’s worked with Bo Diddley, Fuel, Dave Wakeling-English Beat, General Public, Berlin, Ryan Cabrera, Phil Upchurch, The Rembrandts, Eric Sardinas, Fastball, Glenn Hughes, The Fizzies, Jay-J, Bran Van 3000 and One Tribe Nation.

Mrs. Fish is a cool new place to have a drink, dinner and see some of the hottest musicians in town when in Downtown LA.

Mavis Staples is Awarded The Woody Guthrie Prize at LA’s GRAMMY Museum

Mavis-Staples-Photo © Donna Balancia

Mavis Staples performs at GRAMMY Museum – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA — Mavis Staples was awarded the Woody Guthrie Prize at the GRAMMY Museum in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday night.

Among those on hand for the prestigious event were Bob Santelli GRAMMY Museum executive director, and Deana McCloud, executive director of the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Okla.

“Music can be a great tool for social justice,” McCloud said. “We want to change lives and change the world. In this country our history isn’t necessarily pretty but we’re looking for ways to do better.”

Megan Ochs, the daughter of Phil Ochs, accepted the Woody Guthrie Legacy Award on behalf of her father.

“As  patriot it’s not only the right but the responsibility to challenge the government,” Ochs said. “My father found a way to interpret political times through music.”

Staples said she was honored to receive the Woody Guthrie Prize, particularly since The Staples Singers — comprised of patriarch Roebuck “Pops” Staples, Cleotha, Mavis and Pervis Staples — always loved Guthrie’s songs.

Mavis-Staples-Photo © Donna Balancia

Mavis Staples performs at GRAMMY Museum – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

“I was a teenager when I heard Peter, Paul and Mary sing “This Land Is Your Land,” and we loved the song so much that we recorded it.”

The lively leader of The Staples Singers, Mavis gave an audience of GRAMMY members and guests insights into her inspiration to sing and record freedom songs.

The Staples Singers had a history of gospel, but it was during the time of the preachings of Dr. Martin Luther King that they found their calling.

She said until the Staples Singers came along, gospel had not previously been blended with blues and it was something that made her family unique — even though their sound was met with a degree of resistance.

Staples said some things have improved, compared to the day and age in which she was raised.  She said her father was 18 and her mother was 16 when they married and that her father was proud of her mother’s cooking.

“My father would invite people over for dinner,” she said. “Ray Charles, Nancy Wilson… Ray tried my mother’s Sweet Potato Pie and said, ‘We should franchise,'” she recalled. “We could make big ones, little ones,'” she recalled. ”  My father would bring sweet potato pie to the disc jockeys,” she said. “They would say, The Staples Singers don’t need payola, they have ‘Pie-ola.”‘

Mavis-Staples-Photo © Donna Balancia

Mavis Staples discusses civil rights at GRAMMY MUSEUM -Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Staples said she was influenced by Guthrie and a host of artists like Joni Mitchell and others who used the guitar.  She told her father she wanted to learn the guitar.

“Pops had me cut my fingernails,” she said. “He gave me three lessons it was too much for him, I wasn’t learning fast enough. I wanted to pick I wanted to strum.”

Staples said she was flattered to be included in the Martin Scorsese film, The Last Waltz.  By the time the film was actually going into production, she had formed a strong bond with Levon Helm and The Band as well as Bob Dylan.  She said Dylan was always close to her brother Pervis.

Pervis is living in their parents’ house in Dalton, Ill., and he’s doing well, Staples said.

“He’s still frisky at 80,” she said. “He thinks he’s a player.”

As far as finding their successful niche, Staples said it was the sermons of Dr. Martin Luther King that influenced the Staples Singers.

“Pops had been hearing Martin Luther King on the radio and said he has a church and he would like to go to the 11 o’clock service,” Staples recalled. “We were ushered in and greeted by Dr. King who said he was glad to have Pops and the Staples.  After service, Dr. King used to shake hands. Pops shook hands and spoke to Dr. King for a while.  When we got home Pops called us in and said listen, y’all, if Dr. King can preach it, we can sing it.”

Staples said she was disappointed there aren’t more singers singing songs of freedom today and said she remains hopeful someone would come forth.

Staples sang a selection of songs and closed out the night with the GRAMMY-winning 1972 hit “I’ll Take You There,” which she said was initially scorned in the church because of its rythmn.

Mavis-Staples-Photo © Donna Balancia

Mavis Staples and GRAMMY Museum’s Bob Santelli discuss her Woody Guthrie Prize – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

“They said it was Devil’s music,” she recalled. “I said, ‘The devil ain’t got no music, all music is God’s music.'”

Eventually, when she proved her point and was asked back to the church, she said the first request was “I’ll Take You There.”

Staples said she has felt fortunate to have worked with some of the top names in music.

She joked that after seeing all the memorabiliia in the GRAMMY Museum that’s devoted to Taylor Swift, she decided she would like to sing a duet with the young songstress.  “I would make more friends I think.”

In addition to collaborating with some of the greats, including Ry Cooder, and Curtis Mayfield, Staples said she enjoyed her recent work with Bruce Hornsby and Galactic.  The work won’t stop, she said.

“I’m not retiring as long as I have a voice,” she said.

And the best advice she ever received?  She said it was from her father.

“He said, ‘Sing from your heart, be sincere,” she said. “He said, if you’re singing from your heart, you’ll reach the people.'”

Morrison Hotel Gallery To Represent at The 2015 Photo Contemporary

MHG: A Relaxed Respite for Snappers and Songsters

By DONNA BALANCIA, WEST HOLLYWOOD — The Morrison Hotel Gallery — one of Los Angeles’ most respected photo galleries — has become the place to see iconic photos by rock’s most talented artists.

From May 1-3, the Morrison Hotel Gallery will participate in the 2015 Photo Contemporary Art Fair, at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood.

Morrison Hotel Gallery - Peter Blachley, Alison Mosshart, Jamie Hince, Henry Diltz

Jamie Hince’ photo gallery show celebrated by pals Alison Mosshart, Peter Blachley and Henry Diltz – Photo © Donna Balancia

Former recording executive Peter Blachley and his team have taken a passion for music and turned it into a visual tribute to some of Rock and Roll’s greatest musicians and photographers.

The music afficionado should be happy for Blachley’s passion.

Morrison Hotel Gallery, which has locations in New York and Los Angeles, hosts a range of exhibits and openings, and works by the most well-known names in music grace its walls.

Founded by music executives Blachley and Richard Horowitz, and esteemed photographer Henry Diltz, Morrison Hotel Gallery has succeeded in part because of relationships.  And if the warm-hearted founders continually add new friends the their illustrious list of famous pals.

The Morrison Hotel Gallery has hosted events featuring rare photos from musicians and photographers including Stevie Nicks, Danny Clinch, Lynn Goldsmith and other noted artists.

One recent event featured Jamie Hince of The Kills, whose exhibit, Echo Home, reflects his well-traveled life as founder of the beloved and creative musical group.

Morrison Hotel Gallery Peter Blachley, Alison Mosshart, Jamie Hince, Henry Diltz

Peter Blachley, Alison Mosshart, Jamie Hince, Henry Diltz at Morrison Hotel Gallery – Photo © 2014 Donna Balancia

Blachley’s relationships and his partnerships — in particular, his friendships with photographers like partner Diltz — have been key to success.

“We have plans to expand and we want to always have a presence in the art community,” said Blachley, a San Francisco native. “We’ll be at Art Basel in Miami this year and we really like Nashville.”

Morrison Hotel Gallery is well-known among photographers and musicians and Blachley said a goal is to make the gallery the resource for collectors of photographic works.

Morrison Hotel Gallery Peter Blachley, Alison Mosshart, Jamie Hince, Henry Diltz

Peter Blachley, Alison Mosshart, Jamie Hince, Henry Diltz at Morrison Hotel Gallery – Photo © Donna Balancia

Blachley’s fiance, Susan Brandt brings her flair for fun, and love for working with charitable groups to the gallery.

She works with the group Rational Animal and ties the charity into various events, like the Echo Home which helped to raise money for the animals.  Hince and The Kills bandmate Alison Mosshart support the charity.

“It’s a great cause and we’re happy to help,” Hince said at the VIP reception at Morrison Hotel Gallery Saturday night following the band’s Halloween performance at the LA Forum.

Few are fortunate enough in life to blend their passion and their work and earn a living at it.  In addition to always planning events and exhibits for the gallery Blachley and his Morrison Hotel Gallery group have other passions.

Blachley recorded an album, Nevada Sky, that was featured in East Coast Rocker.   READ THE REVIEW HERE



James Williamson’s ‘Re-Licked’ Show: ‘Alternative Music’s A-List’ Brings Raw Power to New Project

Lisa Kekaula with James Williamson at Re-Licked show Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Lisa Kekaula with James Williamson at Re-Licked show Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Alison Mosshart, Jello Biafra, Cheetah Chrome Bring It to Bootleg Show


SILVER LAKE — There was a kitchen drawer at our house that had all sorts of cool things: From screwdrivers to Scotch tape, gumballs to love beads. My dad called it “contained craziness.”

It was like that the other night for James Williamson’s Re-Licked concert at the Bootleg.  Set against a ambient backdrop, the show was a powerful reminder of punk rock’s past, and an exciting sign of the future of the genre.

Accompanied by what could only be called The A-List of Alternative Artists, Williamson amassed a show that was one of the most action-packed we’ve ever seen.  Williamson may have been known as producer and guitarist before, but now he can certainly claim the title of talent scout and promoter.

Calling on his relationships with people like Dead Weather’s Alison Mosshart, Jello Biafra, Joe Cardamone, Lisa Kekaula of the Bell Rays, Cheetah Chrome, and Frank Meyer and the Street Walkin’ Cheetahs, Williamson took a one-off show and turned it into a screaming social event of great success.


James Williamson with Jello Biafra - Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

James Williamson with Jello Biafra – Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Band Street Walkin’ Cheetahs and ex-Dead Boys guitarist Chrome lent support as opening acts and joined in the action during the main show, as did “new guys” The Richmond Sluts, who were the young standouts.

The Richmond Sluts’ music and appearance were reminicent of a true 1970s rock n roll band. The charisma, stage presence and white go-go boots of frontman Shea Roberts is really something to appreciate.  Roberts is clearly the new sex symbol of Rock N Roll.

Williamson said he selected Carolyn Wonderland to sing “Open Up And Bleed,” because he was looking for a Janis Joplin-type style for the song.  She breathes new life into a great classic with a feminine touch and vulnerable but commanding stage persona.

Meyer of the popular Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs has a fabulous personality, cool performance style and he did an excellent job running the show, introducing performers and keeping people laughing with his jokes. He gave super energetic renditions of “She Creatures of the Hollywood Hills” and “I’m Sick of You.”

Mosshart’s performance is always something to see — unique and relaxed — her body twisting with each word and wild hair seemingly with a life of its own. She knows how to keep the audience hanging on every motion.

Her crooning “Till The End of the Night” captured the audience as she is both flirtatious and powerful in her delivery. With Malin on “Wild Love,” she shows a gregarious and giving nature in her performance. She clearly enjoys collaborating with established as well as up-and-coming musicians.

Ron Young with James Williamson - Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Ron Young with James Williamson – Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Ron Young of Little Caesar was a breath of fresh air with his hard rock style.  He delivered a solid performance of “Rubber Leg.”  Young’s the kind of guy you want to be in the trenches with, as he is a real team player with a great attitude and cool swagger.

Joe Cardamone of The Icarus Line taunted the audience with “Scene of The Crime” and “Pinpoint Eyes.”  This Los Angeles artist has been working with The Icarus Line and previously fronted Kanker Sores. Kekaula’s wild energy turned “I Got A Right” into a hopping punk revival, soul style.

The opening song was a predictor for the superband performance: Biafra’s “Head On The Curve” was a wild shout out to both Iggy Pop and his Dead Kennedys days — he is still a wild man and compelling to the point where you can’t keep your eyes off him.

For show-enders “Search and Destroy” and “Louie Louie” it was like controlled chaos erupted on stage, and it was calamity on whom to focus the lens.

There was so much action at once it was like a three-ring circus with people running all over the place — Malin whipping his microphone cord around, Cheetah Chrome’s bald pate gleaming, Biafra waving his arms around, and Kekaula relieving her fellow musicians by fanning them wildly.  Yes, with a fan.

Meanwhile, Williamson, who assembled the crazy crew of alternative’s wildly talented, kept his cool, calmly playing his well-recognized guitar in the corner of the stage.

When we asked him, “How did you keep a straight face?” he responded with a cool chuckle and the whole reason for the show: “It was a lot of fun, wasn’t it?”

Yes It Was.   See The Entire Show HERE



Frohman to sign Photo Book on Kurt Cobain at Morrison Hotel Gallery

Kurt Cobain by Jesse Frohman

Kurt Cobain photo © Jesse Frohman

Kurt Cobain: The Last Session

WEST HOLLYWOOD — Jesse Frohman’s photo shoot with Kurt Cobain in July of 1993 will always be the 30 minutes of his life he will never forget.

Cobain was three and a half hours late and asked Frohman for a bucket.  The shoot had all the indicators of a classic.

Frohman’s book, Kurt Cobain: The Last Session, is the result of that fateful day, when the photographer and the rocker teamed up for a very real connection.

This Saturday, Frohman will sign copies of his book, Kurt Cobain: The Last Session, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Morrison Hotel Gallery in West Hollywood.  The event is open to the public and the books can be purchased at the signing.

The book is published by Thames and Hudson.

The Morrison Hotel Gallery is located within the Sunset Marquis Hotel at 1200 Alta Loma Road in West Hollywood.


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