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

Battling Cancer Has Brought Changes, He Says

By DONNA BALANCIA

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

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

Willie Basse at Ultimate Jam Night in April - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Willie Basse at Ultimate Jam Night in April – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Cancer Diagnosis

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

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

The Money Grind by Willie Basse – Photo courtesy Willie Basse

Keeping It Real

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

Willie Basse and pal Slash – Photo courtesy Willie Basse

Viper Room Lineup

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

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

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

Check out the event page on Facebook 

Video courtesy of Patrick Abbate:

The Stitches, The Talented SoCal Punk Band that Out-Punks all the Rest: The California Rocker Q and A

The Stitches at The Viper Room - Photo Donna Balancia

The Stitches at The Viper Room – Photo Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA

The Stitches are one of the best loved and most appreciated punk bands in Southern California.  The longtime punkers Michael Lohrman, Johnny Witmer, Pete “Action Man'” Archer and Craig “Skibs” Barker recently opened for The Dictators NYC at The Viper Room and stole the show. Johnny Witmer of The Stitches answered the important questions for CaliforniaRocker.com

CR: What is the best gig — or two — The Stitches ever played?

JW: So many good ones. I’d have to say in the early days (the mid-90s) at The Purple Onion in SF, and that show we did in London in 2013. The two shows we opened for Green Day were pretty interesting…

CR: Did The Stitches ever tour?

JW: Yes we did, and still do. We’ve been to Europe four times, and to to various parts of the country a many times as well.

The Stitches one of LA's most well loved punk bands - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Stitches one of LA’s most well loved punk bands – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

CR: Do you have any new music being recorded?

JW: We’ve had a new LP musically written for about 10 years now, but are still waiting for lyrics to be written. We will have a our Singles Collection LP (all of our rare 7-inch recordings, 1994-2010) released on Burger Records in 2017.

CR: What are the top selling records released by The Stitches

JW: 8×12 is probably our most famous record. We released it ourselves with no distribution, but still did really well. Twelve Imaginary Inches probably sold the most when it was released as TKO records had a good team back then.

The Stitches - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Stitches – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

CR: Any significant band changes?

JW: Not really. We’ve been the same members since 1994 except for drummers. Our second drummer, Skibs, is now our fourth drummer, and he’s been with us this time since the 2003 or so. We recently added Jim Kaa (from The Crowd) on second guitar last year (so Mike’s not the oldest guy in the band anymore)…

CR: Who writes the music?

JW: The Action Man, or myself usually write the music. Mike usually writes the lyrics.

The Stitches - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Stitches – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

CR: What are the topics you discuss in your music?

JW: It used to be about drugs, and prostitutes, but now 2 guys are sober, and 4 guys are married…

CR: Any upcoming gigs?

JW: We’re booking for 2017 now. We’ll play some local gigs, plus we’ll be in the Midwest, Texas, SF and the NW. Hopefully Europe again soon as well.

Ross The Boss Friedman: Dictators ‘Amazed’ By Influence on Young Bands – California Rocker Interview

The Dictators NYC Perform at Viper Room Nov. 11

Ross the Boss Friedman, founder of The Dictators talks new music, tour and music biz with California Rocker editor Donna Balancia

CR: What kind of influence did The Dictators have on music, Ross?

RTB: The Dictators influenced so many bands. Our original fans all became band guys, they went on to form bands. It’s like a family tree: Monster Magnet, Stone Temple Pilots, Turbonegro, Helicopters and Nomads, all these bands were mentored by us. When you’re hearing songs and you hear the riffs you know our influence.

Ross The Boss Friedman says Dictators NYC are busy - Photo courtesy Dictators NYC

Ross The Boss Friedman says Dictators NYC are busy – Photo courtesy Dictators NYC

CR: What’s the legacy of The Dictators?

RTB: You know we were too punk for metal and too metal for punk. It makes us feel amazing that people go to school on us. A good percentage of the people who come to see us are band guys.

CR: How is the band doing these days?

RTB: Really, we’re better than ever. We just did a tour. And I was in Europe with the new Ross the Boss Band. The Dictators NYC did 21 shows in 22 days in Europe recently.

The Dictators NYC are legendary around the world - Photo courtesy of Dictators NYC

The Dictators NYC are legendary around the world – Photo courtesy of Dictators NYC

CR: Why the new name?

RTB: I renamed them Dictators NYC as a matter of respect. I insisted on it. We want to let everyone know it isn’t the original lineup. Daniel Rey, the Ramones producer and Dean Rispler on bass. We wanted to have some sort of closure and respect for the old lineup.

CR: Why do you like California?

RTB: I’ve always enjoyed California, it’s really spread out, I love California. I like Northern California and I like the San Diego area.  My sister lives there. As far as New York, I’m Giants, Mets, Rangers and Knicks. There are tons of transplanted New Yorkers in Califiornia. They’ll say, ‘Hey Ross I went to Dewitt Clinton High School!’ It’s a small world, it’s big, but it’s small.

RTB: In California, we’ve been made to feel very welcome over the years. The fans are great everywhere. I’ve been in the music business since 1975, I’ve made 31 records. The new “Ross The Boss Band” has been doing well.

supply-and-demand-dictatorsCR: What’s the key to success?

RTB: I’ve been playing professionally for a long time and every time it amazes me — If you play your heart out you can’t lose, people pick up on that. The Dictators play 150 percent; we don’t care if there’s 10 people or 10,000 people there.

CR: Anything new?

RTB: We’ve written a new song and it’s a single called ‘Supply and Demand,’ a story about the new band. The demand is there and we’re gonna supply it.  Dean produced it, he plays bass, he played with a lot of bands like Murphy’s Law. We have this new single, and we’re working on new music.  And with my new band we’re working on a new CD, we don’t have working title yet.

CR: What are you guys like in concert as Dictators NYC?

RTB: The band generally performs all its hits, including “Next Big Thing,” “Weekend,” “Tree Tub Man,” “I Stand Tall,” “Stay With Me,” “Let’s Twist.” You gotta give the people what they want.

Dictators NYC

The Dictators with Handsome Dick Manitoba continue to draw crowds – Photo courtesy Dictators NYC

CR: How has the music business changed since the 1970s?

RTB: Music has become an impossibility. You’ve gotta play live. People have to come see you live. Certainly the money end has been stolen by the record industry. If you don’t have a live thing, forget it. Every single night you have to play your ass off. A lot of young bands are. You can make money at the gate, on merch, you can sell your stuff. You have to be hands-on. You have to be willing to expect the word ‘No’ as an answer from a lot of people.”

CR: How was it for you guys when you started out?

RTB: When we first came on, they said, ‘Whoever signed these guys should be shot. What is this wrestling hamburgers, cars and girls, what is this insanity? Why the leather jackets?’  Then all of a sudden they said it was ‘Punk Rock.’ Then The Ramones came out. All of a sudden, it was ‘The Dictators influenced us.’ MC5, Flamin Groovies, Iggy and the Stooges all had their roots in punk.

CR: What’s gonna happen on Nov. 11?

RTB: We’re gonna play a mind-blowing show, you’re gonna be happy as shit and you’re gonna hear the best.

 

The Dictators NYC “Supply and Demand” in Barcelona

Video courtesy of BilligPeopleBooking
 
Joey Ramone Joins The Dictators for ‘The Kids Are Alright’

Video courtesy of Harold Kramer

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