Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Almost a Year to Date.

Monday, November 18, 2013

RUSH - Clockwork Angels DVD Screening 11/18/13 AMC 25 Theater - Times Square, New York City

On the eve of the DVD release of the "Clockwork Angels Tour" Fandango Tickets gave us an opportunity to attend a screening at select theaters across the country of the concert film. I arrived one minute late due to technical difficulties retrieving my ticket from the AMC ticket machine and the screening had already begun at seven p.m. sharp with no coming attractions. 

The film began with the Watchmaker intro film and then onto "Caravan" as I thought to myself but "Subdivisions" was the opening number, I quickly surmised they were screening set 2 of the show which took place after intermission at the actual performances and made sense as the second portion of the concert and promised "tour documentary" would be a 2 hour experience all its own and give the attendees something to look forward to as we would be getting the complete DVDs on the very next day. I have read conflicting reports concerning the sound quality at these screenings but that is down to each theaters acoustics and speaker systems (more on that below). AMC 25 has a superb audio system and crystal clear projection system at least in theater 17, to get a little technical here there were High Highs and Low Lows and the decibel levels were just right, no audience members yelling "Louder Please" in this crowd.

The photos here were taken off the "movie screen" with an iPhone 4 (flash off), and here's a nice pic of Geddy. AMC 25 was nicely filled to about half capacity with the audience in rapt attention, we cheered at the end of most songs and laughed during the watchmaker films (the intro film opened the show and "Office of the Watchmaker" closed the concert portion) and at the appropriate moments in the tour documentary which was shown afterwards as a nice extra. There was certainly a friendly buzz and excitement in the air as will be common in a room full of RUSH fans and the adoration we all have for our favorite Canadian trio made for the most comfortable viewing experience.

There is currently an unrelated film called "Rush" out and whomever programmed the marquee for theater 17 dropped the ball on this one, I doubt if most even noticed and being the good natured goofballs (no offense to the serious minded fans) that make up a large portion of the RUSH community we would only find this humorous, I certainly did.

I was the last one out of the theater as I wanted this photo op, well here it is. Some theater seats and projector glow.

Earlier in this post I had mentioned the individuality of in-house audio and projection systems inherent to each movie house and room and this goes without saying. I did not notice if this was played back in 5.1 surround yet I am sure it was, the audience was too busy enjoying the intense performance and were not there for a "Dolby" demonstration. Some years back I attended a screening of the T. Rex concert film "Born To Boogie" which had been remastered into 5.1 and after its conclusion Producer Tony Visconti was on hand for a Q & A and began by stressing that "If you get a chance you must hear this in five one, I think what we just got was two one", this was completely good natured and most endearing but just goes to show that all theaters are not equal.

I think that these one-off DVD screenings are a great opportunity to see this footage for those of us without a private screening room in our homes and I applaud whomever came up with the idea. It has always struck me that these would be great events to sell the actual DVD at but most are premiered before release date and that might tip the "soundscan" video sales chart ever so slightly. Virgin Megastore did set up a merchandise table of CDs/DVDs and the "RIO" DVD at the screening for "RUSH IN RIO" in 2003 but that was in agreement with Atlantic Records. The WEA (Warner Elektra Atlantic) rep came to my job at around 7 that night and handed me a promo copy of the DVD, I was so grateful and said "Thank you so much" to which he replied "you never ask for anything".

Upon arrival in Times Square off the D train and headed for AMC 25. 

I think Mickey is going through that young woman's purse.

Elmo and Cookie Monster lament that they missed the Clockwork Angels screening, too bad they had to work, the watchmaker is also a taskmaster.

Filmed off the screen.

Jamies b'day

Monday, November 11, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

STEVE HACKETT - Selling Programs 9/25/13 Best Buy Theater - Times Square, New York City

I tend not to post set lists or even write about concert experiences on here out of sheer laziness but this was a little different as I volunteered to sell tour programs in the lobby in generous exchange for a Steve Hackett t-shirt of my choice. So two months after the event let me get what I remember down.

Gearing up for the upcoming show i would browse the Steve Hackett Facebook page almost daily and a call came out for two volunteers to sell tour programs at the venue on the night pre-show, I concluded that it would make the night that much more interesting and I would rather do it than not and awaited a confirmation that I was picked, picked I was and Stephanie got me in touch with Adrian. I was instructed to arrive at the Best Buy theater at 6:30 p.m.a half an hour before doors opened. Oddly a Chinese Maneki-Niko "Good Luck" cat was facing me on the stairs outside of my apartment to wish me luck. 

I got to times Square with time to spare and having only been to the Best Buy theater (when it was called NOKIA) once to witness King Crimson in 2008 I activated my Google Maps for directions, so up 44th street I go approaching the west side. As I neared 8th avenue I began to worry, Nokia was right off Broadway and there was no Nokia in sight. It is now about 6:50 p.m. and one panicked phone call to Jamie and I am back on Broadway, I asked a flyer distributor if she knew where the Best Buy theater was and she said "right over there on 45th street", Now there is a Big difference between 44th and 45th street. I get to the ticket window and they refuse me"You are not on the guest list" I explain I am not a guest I am here for merchandising, one walkie talkie call and I am let in (after showing my ticket of course) and the doors are open as the crowd enters, down the escalator I jog and make my way to the merchandise table, I apologize for being late and the dude says "it happens" and hands me 10 programs instructing me to wander around. My other fellow volunteer (I forget his name, we did say hello) is at the bottom of the escalator selling programs so I try to find a different spot, there really isn't any so I set myself up at the bottom of the escalator near the bar as I was given no change and figured if anyone did not have exact change they could make some at the bar.

"Steve Hackett Programs, Steve Hackett Tour Programs" I proceed to announce but my partner is already doing that so I take the soft sell approach without being fake at all, I am amongst like minded fans after all. People browsed the programs and bought some too, I only sold 8 copies in 45 minutes but these were nice programs and priced right at $15 whereas most are priced at $20 and up. I had some nice conversations based on people's t-shirts and one young woman had a very nice "Foxtrot" tee, just the Genesis and Foxtrot logo on white. One guy took the program off me and started chatting with his friends about Lou Reed and other artists yet he still had the program in hand, with my New York eye I kept watch on him and then he started walking away, I caught up with him and said "Dude, Dude" (which I never say) and it turns out he thought the program was free (or so he said) he handed it back to me. 

I get back to the Merchandise table ten minutes before showtime and its a different person there. I hesitated to hand over my 2 remaining programs (actually I bought one of them) and the one hundred and twenty dollars cash but this man's smile and British accent won me over, it was Adrian who actually designed the t-shirt I had chosen and had had my eye on for months on the Hackettsongs website, I also purchased a copy of "Sketches Of Hackett : The authorized biography of Steve Hackett" and it wound up being a signed copy. Here is my email back to Stephanie.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

SMOOCH - Rehearsal Pics 8/10/13 Mode Music/Phrygian Studios Staten Island, New York

Our first gig accomplished the band begins the woodshedding process at our current home base Mode Music/Phrygian Studios on Staten Island using the orthodox method of running through the set then working on new material. We have added three new songs to the repertoire, The Klassic "Firehouse", Deep Kut "Parasite" and Alive ll favorite "Rocket Ride". Brian and Vlad were in-house for a Black Death rehearsal prior to us and Vlad snapped some photo's which I proceeded to pilfer from Carl and Sal's Facebook pages respectively, Would have gotten Brian's as well but he is anti-Facebook and frankly I could not fault him.

The "P" on Carl's cap stands for Paul,... O.K. maybe it doesn't but for this Blog's purposes it works.

Sal Ace's the lead guitar parts in these parts as part of the band.

Rock drummer's lead the band in their own way and it's imperative to hit the accents, signpost's and Marx to keep it all together.

And in the foreground the elusive Brian, Just yesterday after rehearsal we mentioned how for someone Not on the internet he is "All Over The Internet !!!", Well, we are certainly working on it. Brian has also bought me several Dr. Pepper's and bags of Dipsy Doodle's both within this project and without, Thanks Brian.

From examining this photo it looks like Sal is singing,... Oh never mind I can't read that small.

Thanks Very Much to Vlad "The Viz" Vizener for taking these photo's and hopefully not taking me into litigation for using them.

- Spike

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

SMOOCH - Debut Gig 7/27/13 Three Jolly Pigeons - Brooklyn, New York

The Debut gig of SMOOCH happened at Three Jolly Pigeons as we landed an opening spot for The Good Yeggs, you would think me being a member of that band I would have gotten us the slot but Brian was on the phone with Thomas practically before our first rehearsal. We had 4-5 rehearsals prior to the night to get our 10 song set together and it being Vlad's (Black Death, Subway Serenader) Birthday party that evening Sal elected we perform one of Vlad's favorite songs "Fox On The Run" by the Sweet, we did Ace Frehley's version of course making it an 11 song set.

The show went very well from the applause I could hear but to quote Bill Bruford "A Drummer's Life is a series of asses" so for the 30% of the time I was checking out the crowd I mostly saw my bandmates backs but I am told people were "bugging out" because after all people So Love KISS.

As far as SMOOCH is concerned from a Smoochpoint of view we all played very well, no glaring mistakes and the extended guitar solo's after "Shock Me" worked out exactly as planned. Brian did a very funny Gene pastiche throughout the show keeping everything "under contract" and "legally binding" and after all the first thing he said to the audience was "First I would like to thank the Good Yeggs for letting us use Peter Criss" how could you not love this guy.

The set list of KISS KLASSICS on the night was.

1.) Deuce

2.) Strutter

3.) She

4.) Black Diamond

5.) Shout It Out Loud

6.) Calling Dr. Love

7.) Shock Me

8.) New York Groove

9.) Let Me Go Rock And Roll

10.) Rock And Roll All Night

Encore (Dedicated to Vlad)

11.) Fox On The Run

Sal/Ace wielding his Epiphone Ace Frehley Budokan Limited Edition (#182 of 1000) with 3 (non-smoking) Dimarzio pickups.

Brian/Gene used his Longhorn Bass, Carl/Paul played his Peavey T-60 and Spike/Peter performed on Ludwig Accent CS Custom Drums with Sabian and Zildjian Cymbals.

This photo was taken right after our set. I could not get a Peter Criss shirt in time but Sal lent me then gave me that sweet "Sonic Boom" t-shirt, thanks Sal, and what's in that glass Carl ?

Brian with the guest of honor and his bandmate from Black Death and the Subway Serenader Vlad.

This Is Show # 1

- Spike

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Good Yeggs 7/27/13 Three Jolly Pigeons - Brooklyn, New York

There was indeed a festive atmosphere for tonight's performance from the get go because it was our friend Vlad's (Subway Serenader, Black Death) Birthday eve celebration so spirits were high and The Yeggs played exceptionally well tonight. Thomas played some Excellent Blues Guitar and we were a well relaxed outfit performing to some of our 3JP peers (Box Of Crayons, Joe Filosa, MC Too Tall) who were there to see the bands but also for the festivities and some bar patrons whom had not previously seen our show highlighting some good old Blues and Country Music that is become scarcer on the Brooklyn scene.

Premiered tonight was "Jumping Jack Flash", "Hey Good Looking", "Till The End Of The Day", "Baby, Lets Play House" and a new original tune from Thomas "Unfaithful Lady".

Thomas brandishing his 2005 Custom Shop 1968 Les Paul Custom Reissue, He also brought his guitar along as well.

My main Drum Kit, Ludwig Accent CS Custom with Ludwig and Tama Hardware, Sabian AAX and Zildjian "China Trash" Cymbals played with Pro-Mark 747 Nylon Tip Drumsticks. LP Cowbell and Vater stick holder included.

Joe rocking it with his Ibanez Art Core semi-hollow body Bass with double cut aways and F-Holes finished in an Amber Brushed finish. Jeans by Levi Strauss.

Supporting The Good Yeggs tonight were SMOOCH a KISS tribute band of which I am also the drummer. This was our debut gig and went very well, Brian made sure all contractual obligations were met and obeyed. Brian/Gene and Carl/Paul have previously played with us in the Subway Serenader band.

Box Of Crayons performed between our two sets and proved once again that if you aren't Irish you might want to become one. Featuring the incomparable Fran Powers on vocals along with Brian Dillon.

Setting up Vlad's Birthday Feast, this photo was taken before the Bagel Wheel came out. The Good Yeggs missed the Bagel Wheel as we were performing at the time but a high time was had by us in the "Green Room" between our sets. It was discovered that I only had my first Rice Krispie treat maybe 5 years ago and me and Jennie discussed how the Cheddar Cheese on offer was an excellent Mild variety but a crappy Extra Sharp depending on what the packaging advertised, the packaging never showed itself so this shall remain an enigma.

Brian/Subway Serenader/Box Of Crayons/Pocket Monster/Black Death/Gene from Smooch with the birthday boy Vlad.

I may have missed the Bagel Wheel but I did succeed in making my 3JP sojourn down the block to Pancho's Restaurant for a few Taco's. Pictured here is (1) Bistec/Steak Taco and (1) Pollo/Chicken Taco, I wanted a Tinga/Spicy Chicken Taco but that was not on the menu.

This Is Show # 10

- Spike

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Why Is Bon Jovi Not a Superhero ?,.... He Doesn't Spew Blood as a Demon Axeman.
Why Is Bruce Springsteen Not a Superhero ?,.... He is from New Jersey but not a Space Ace.
Why Is John Cougar Not a Superhero ?,.... He is not a cat and does not play the Drums.
Why Is Prince Not a Superhero ?,.... He is not the first "Starchild" that wore Purple.

KISS were Rock Stars to us but maybe even more.

Right Place, Right Time, Smack Dab between The Beatles and Star Wars.

I was 13 years old in 1978 and me and some friends (Marvin/Ace, Bobby/Paul and Angelo/Gene) started miming to KISS tracks for fun and decided we were going to put on a show called "KISSAMANIA" in my friend Bobby's basement. The show never happened (we spent too much time
"pre-internet" pondering the purchase of Dry Ice and wondering if that would even be safe in a closed environment, try though we did) but I also was never asked for a refund on the $2.00 admission fee for the few tickets I sold to my 6th grade catholic school classmates.

I was also 13 years old in 1978 and like so many decided I wanted to be "The Drummer" from admiring in awe one Peter Criss, I was checking out the other drummer guys too but Peter was The Man.

So here we are 34 years later and I am getting the chance to sit in/play my "Soundtrack" in a band, on the drums along with three other like minded fellows of whom this is also a big part of The "Soundtrack" and by chance (the other guy could not commit) I got the gig.

This is Carl's/Paul brainchild possibly due to previous rehearsals with Brian/Gene (The Subway Serenader) when we discussed KISS between songs just by chance and perhaps sparked interest in Playing These Songs in a band setting, "I" Spike/Peter also opinionated that KISS (Psycho Circus) was the Best Show I have ever been to (Rock concert or otherwise) and then we add Sal/Ace who might be our most stoked member to perform these "Anthems" to a crowd and you kinda wind up with SMOOCH.

Rehearsing our 10 song repertoire at Mode Music.