The year was 2003, and I was enjoying myself immensely at an after-show party at Lit Lounge in NYC’s East Village, partying hard with the members of Ministry and their entourage, having just seen the band kill it at the late, great Roseland Ballroom. That’s where this photo of me and Al was taken, probably by Paul Barker. I had become friendly with Paul and Al at the time, and you can see the love on Al’s face in this shot and he wraps his arm around my shoulder and smirks for the camera. I was fortunate to interview Paul and Al several times back in the day and they were always fantastic guys to speak with. Good times indeed. Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more celebrity Rock Star stories from the vault!
Great News: After being shuttered since 2019 — initially to undergo major renovations, with the closure extended by the Covid pandemic — legendary concert venue Irving Plaza is reopening later this summer, with its first concert of this decade scheduled for on August 17th. You can read more about the history of the club, and what to expect inside post-renovation, as well as see a line-up schedule, at This Link!
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Hey, do you hate Donald Trump? I sure do. I hate him sooo much, just being serious. If you feel like I do, and you also enjoy performing Karaoke, let me tell you about a fun event happening this Friday. On January 27th, The Occasionalists, a wildly talented, Brooklyn-based cover band will be hosting Post-Inauguration Live Karaoke at Union Hall in Brooklyn. Tickets are only $10, with all proceeds benefitting Planned Parenthood, and other Rights organizations.
The Occasionalists will play all of the songs live and then you can just sing along – super fun! Come let your voice be heard — on stage, in the crowd or at the bar! Have some fun and relax in safe place filled with other sane people who didn’t help to get us into this mess!
Proposed Set List for the Evening Will Feature All of Your Favorites, Including:
It’s the End of the World As We Know It – R.E.M.
Revolution — The Beatles
Get Up, Stand Up — Bob Marley
Refugee — Tom Petty
Life During Wartime — Talking Heads
You’re So Vain – Carly Simon
Crazy Train — Ozzy
Freedom 90 — George Michael
London Calling — The Clash
I Will Survive — Cake
Eve of Destruction — Barry McGuire
Should I Stay or Should I Go — The Clash
Creep — Radiohead
Seven Nation Army — White Stripes
Anarchy in the U.K. — Sex Pistols
Come Together — The Beatles
Won’t Get Fooled Again — The Who
Highway to Hell — AC/DC
Fight the Power — Public Enemy
Road to Nowhere — Talking Heads
These Boots Were Made for Walking — Nancy Sinatra
Say It Ain’t So — Weezer
Hallellujah — Leonard Cohen
Psycho Killer — Talking Heads
Redemption Song — Bob Marley
What I Got — Sublime
Sympathy for the Devil – Stones
The Dirty Waltz Band will warm up the house starting at 7:30 PM, with The Occasionalists hitting the stage at 8:45 PM. Union Hall is located at 702 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11215 (N R Q 4 And 5 Trains). If you happen to get hungry, Union Hall also serves delicious food! Further show details can be found Here, and on the FaceBook event page Here. Purchase Tickets in advance Right Here.
Above Image Courtesy of We Are X Film Dot Com. All Other Photos By Gail
When the most popular heavy metal band in Japan came to New York in October of 2014 to play a show at Madison Square Garden, they managed to sell out the legendary arena, despite being virtually unknown in America. X (known stateside as X Japan), got their start in the 1980s as a glam metal band, doing their best to shock audiences with their outrageous stage show and equally over-the-top, gender-bending physical appearances that included flamboyant rock fashions, wildly theatrical hairstyles and Kabuki-esque make-up. But what critics who initially dismissed the band as all style and no substance didn’t realize was that these guys could play their asses off, and were selling the type of rebellious image that repressed Japanese audiences couldn’t wait to buy. Now, an award-winning documentary, We Are X, aims to bring the myth and enigma that is X Japan into your consciousness.
Critics say that the mark of a good documentary is when its story is accessible to, and can be fully enjoyed by, audiences who are completely unfamiliar with its subject matter. Using the career-milestone Madison Square Garden concert as a jumping off point, and circling back to that show (which I attended) at the film’s end, Director Stephen Kijak (Stones in Exile, Scott Walker: 30 Century Man) has succeeded wildly at crafting a career-spanning Rock & Roll fable that will surely hook those who’ve never even heard of X Japan right from its opening credits.
Told primarily from the viewpoint of founding member Yoshiki; X Japan’s drummer, composer and charismatic leader, We Are X is both the story of the band’s groundbreaking 30-year career, and also the life story of Yoshiki, who turned to music as a child as a means to cope with the suicide of his father. Forming X as a teenager with school friend Toshi, who became the band’s lead singer, Yoshiki was driven to succeed by existential questions that haunted him from his father’s death; namely “What is my purpose?” and “why am I here?”
Embracing a ‘Do or Die’ sensibility, X Japan became not just an innovative and successful rock band, but a cultural force as powerfully influential as that created by The Beatles decades before them. Not only have they achieved phenomenal record sales and concert attendances, but band members’ personal brands are associated with products as diverse as credit cards, wine, comic book superhero alter egos, and dolls made in their own likenesses. X Japan is also credited with spearheading the uniquely Japanese Visual Kei movement.
The band’s great successes, however, were tempered with equally great tragedies. As a counterpoint to the celebratory moments, the film carefully explores the suicides of two seminal band members, Hide (in 1998) and Taiji (in 2011), which shattered the lives of both X Japan’s surviving members, and devastated their fans, one of whom was driven to suicide because of the news. We Are X is a true life Rock & Roll story that really has everything.
Despite the intense personal/personnel drama, career challenges and many heart-rending moments, We Are X is also good fun, and thoroughly entertaining. One of my favorite parts happens towards the film’s end, when Yoshiki and Toshi are reunited in 2007, ten years after the singer abandoned X Japan to join a mind-controlling cult. Yoshiki recalls hanging out at the Palladium in Hollywood, where the friends were approached by two guys looking to buy drugs. One of the men asked the duo if they knew where they could score some X (meaning the psychedelic drug, Ecstasy). Yoshiki, whose grasp of the English language is obviously much better now than it was back then, laughs when he recalls replying to the guy, with complete sincerity, “We are X!” Hilarious.
We Are X opens in theaters nationwide on Friday October 21st, 2016.
NOTE: As of September 29th, 2014, Escape music Festival has moved venues to Governor’s Island Beach Club. Visit This Link for details and to purchase tickets!
Escape Music Festival, a highly anticipated live electronic and indie rock music festival, is proud to announce its first interactive concert experience October 11 – 12, 2014 at Pier 9 in Brooklyn, NY. The festival plans to showcase 30 performances and attract a crowd of more than 16,000 people over the course of two days. Featured artists include Placebo and Yeasayer, along with Ra Ra Riot, Bakermat, ASTR, Tesla Boy, Basecamp and Follow Me, as well as DJ sets by The Crystal Method, Neon Indian and STRFKR.
The Festival will also host North America’s first El Row performances from resident DJ’s Oscar Aguilera, Marc Maya and more. Coming off its extremely successful summer residency at Space in Ibiza, Spain, the experience-based performances will combine top-notch underground talent along with interactive art, roaming theatrical performers, and a fully immersive state-of-the-art production design.
The full lineup, along with more information about the interactive elements will be released over the next few weeks leading up to Escape Music Festival. A limited amount of Early Bird 2-Day weekend passes for Escape Music Festival will be accessible to those ages 19 and up and are available now at Escape Music Fest Dot Com for $80.00 while tickets last.
Escape Music Festival will be providing ferry service from Manhattan and shuttle service from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. For more general and transportation information and to purchase tickets, visit: Escape Music Fest Dot Com.