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Kip Winger: Solo and Acoustic

kingsings2_wm.JPGIt isn't so often that national touring acts come to little Centerville, Ohio but last night Kip Winger stopped by for a lively solo show.

Kip and his 12 string appeared at Centerville's Soft Rock Cafe, a place he's played in the past.

Venue management sold about 150 tickets at $15 each, so the show was very intimate.

Yellow Sky opened the evening of music.

The male/female duo performed a lot of really famous songs. Some were expected like "Gold Dust Woman" and "Heart of Gold." Others, like "Man in the Box" and "You Oughta Know" were more adventurous for an acoustic set.

Yellow Sky were on stage for more than an hour, and the crowd really enjoyed their performance.

Overall, I would say the duo have a bright future.

Just minutes after Yellow Sky left the stage, Kip Winger appeared with a green twelve string in hand.

Immediately, he started in with a set of nearly 20 songs, and the crowd loved him.

Kip sang a collection of both Winger and solo tunes including "Headed for a Heartbreak," "Blue Suede Shoes," "Runaway" (from a forthcoming release), "Daniel," "The Lucky One," "Madaline," and "Seventeen."

Last night, Kip proved that he can still hit the high notes and sing the hell out of his songs.

As the crowd grew more rowdy, Kip performed the favorites "Down Incognito," "Easy Come, Easy Go" and "Miles Away."

The talented Kip also sang "Hungry" twice: once during the show, and once during the encore.

kipsings4_wm.JPGAt one point, Kip asked the audience for requests.

All night, one man kept screaming "Four Leaf Clover!" Kip would immediately quip "No!" or "I don't know that song!"

So, as the man continued to drink, he became more intent on hearing "Four Leaf Clover."

Kip finally started laughing at the crazed fan.

Toward the end of the show, the drunk man screamed "Four Leaf Fucking Clover!" to which Kip screamed "God Damnit!'

Mr. Winger himself eventually explained that he felt guilty for not knowing the riff well enough to play solo.

He also said he "sucks."

This was met with screams of "You don't suck!'

Kip threw up the devil horns, and said that would be his new slogan: "Kip Winger doesn't suck!"

When it was time for the encore, Kip asked for requests.

kipssings_wm.JPGHe got a lot of suggestions including, of course "Four Leaf Clover" and anything by Slayer.

In the end, we got a reprise of "Hungry" and "How Far Will We Go."

Most people in the crowd were die hard Winger fans as evidenced by classic tour shirts. Still, I think Kip won over a few people on the fence about his music.

The show was more than worth the $15 investment.



Warden Threw a Party in the County Jail...

elvis_presley_on_stage.jpgIt was 30 years ago today that Elvis died.

For many, the jury is still out on Elvis' death. A coroner's report determined that Elvis died from a heart attack. Others point to prolonged drug use. No matter the cause, the life and death of Elvis remain an obsession for many.

Elvis is the only performer to be inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, Country Music Hall of Fame and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

The star recorded some of the most popular songs in history. Many of those songs have been famously covered by other musicians.

My favorite Elvis song is "Jailhouse Rock" from the 1957 movie of the same name.

Turns out, notorious glam bands like Elvis, too. In 1990, Motley Crue performed "Jailhouse Rock" with special guests Tom Keifer of Cinderella and Sebastian Bach and Snake Sabo of Skid Row. It's a pretty cool - and rare - clip.

Tell me, what are your thoughts on the King of Rock n' Roll?


Inside Looking Out

Sometimes the best look into history comes from those who actually documented the events. Gerry Gittelson might not be a name you instantly recognize from the glam Metal scene, but he definitely had a role in shaping the acts on the Sunset Strip in the late 1980s. In the past, Gerry was a rock journalist and band manager. These days, he's returned to his writing roots and also covers sports in Los Angeles. Gerry found Bring Back Glam! and wanted to share a few personal stories. Transcription follows.

Bring Back Glam!: Gerry, tell me about your behind the scenes history of the glam Metal scene.

gerry.jpg.gifGerry Gittelson: I started out writing for Rock City News. I was the first columnist for them. Glam was my specialty. Later, I started my own magazine Hollywood Rocks. That’s how I met Pretty Boy Floyd and stuff. I went on tour with Pretty Boy Floyd, came back and met Kerri Kelli and Kit Ashley, they were just stating the band Big Bang Babies. They had a few songs, and they were writing new songs, Kerri Kelli was so talented, even at that level. So, I managed Big Bang Babies…and then I managed Queenie Blast Pop. I’m well schooled in glam!

BBG: How did you make a jump from journalism to band management?

Gerry: It was from meeting Kit Ashley outside of a club. The Red Light District. Kit had a lot of money. He flashed a bunch of hundred dollar bills at me and said “We want to be on the cover of Hollywood Rocks!” I thought he was kidding. Still, I thought I could sell him some advertising because the band (Big Bang Babies) was just starting. He came in, we met and I listened to their stuff…and I eventually got to manage that band. They were like the biggest band in Los Angeles, but they were just a little too late. The last platinum bands through the door was Warrant and Slaughter. Big Bang Babies was like six months to a year too late and they never got signed. Still, great music. Big Bang Babies music will live forever in underground circles. That pink CD we made sells for $100 dollars on eBay. I wish we would have made more of those! I also managed a band named Angel, but that didn’t work either. They wanted to make a comeback but didn’t want to play in clubs. After all that I went back into journalism, and started writing for the Los Angeles Daily News, which is the second largest paper in L.A. I still cover rock, and I do a little sports, too.

BBG: What are some of your crazy backstage moments?

backyardbabies.jpgGerry: What really got me into music was a backstage moment involving Guns n’ Roses. The band was playing a club called the Street Scene. This was way back in 1987 when they were just starting to become popular before Appetite (Appetite for Destruction, debut effort) really broke. You’ve got to understand this was 20 some years ago and the political times were a little different. People were also a little more crazy back then. Anyway, a girl was with Steve Adler…she ripped down her shirt, showed Steve her breasts and was like “sign them.” I was standing like next to him, 23 years old and Steve was so cool and I thought “Wow, this is much different than sports!” The parties are better and longer and I thought what made me a good columnist is that I was willing to live just like those young rock stars that were willing to make it big. I did the whole bit, including dressing up on Friday and Saturday nights. Didn’t have a lot of money. None of us did…it was the style to live off the kindness of friends. I did a lot of drinking and a lot of drugs, just like everyone else did back then (Editor’s Note: Gerry is now sober). One of the memories that is truly special was partying all night long with John Entwistle of The Who. The Who and the Rolling Stones are in a different class, but it was the classic “right place, right time” moment. I was with a lady and her friend, and John Entwistle liked the friend and the next thing you know I’m hanging out at the Sunset Marquee, and he’s playing bass, we’re drinking and doing lines until seven in the morning. He was telling me to call all my friends, invite them over. I had a lot of good times with Warrant, too. Jani Lane was a really good friend and I really loved the guys in Warrant. I have a few gold records from the early days when I helped bands, and they were the first band that ever gave me a gold record, saying thanks for helping them out. By then, I was writing for a few national magazines. We put them in Hits magazine and it really helped their career, when “Down Boys” and “Heaven” were breaking. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Warrant and Pretty Boy Floyd. Those guys were like my best friends. I’m thanked on all those records. I came a little late, just like Big Bang Babies. All the bands I was really tight with…never quite made it that big. They were my best friends, the people I was most loyal to. I was too young to be that involved with Poison and Motley Crue. I’m very happy and healthy, and just glad to enjoy the music and look back because…when glam was so big, and the Strip seemed so wild, we never thought it would be a momentary thing. These other clubs starting popping up…business changed, and grunge came in. There was nothing like prime-era Sunset Strip of the late 80s and early 90s.

BBG: Do you think grunge killed glam?

Gerry: In some ways. It was popular. I just think it was so cool for bands to dress up, put on a huge show and sing. Bobby Blotzer of RATT explained it so well: “We sang about girls, cars and having a good time and the grunge and rap sing about killing and hate.” [Like Bobby] I can’t understand why that is a better topic to write songs about… I kept saying glam would come back…it sure is slow! I guess Vains of Jenna is carrying the new torch.

BBG: What’s your educated opinion on modern Metal?

Gerry: I’m not that into. I did sort of like Creed, but a lot of people seem to hate them. Its hard rock, it’s melodic. I like songs where I can understand the words: songs that have a great chorus, great singing and good guitars. There are very few of those around any more. When I was coming up, in high school and college, it seemed like there was a great new song every week. You could watch MTV for an hour, see new videos and it was great. I think that the music from those years (the 1980s) will last longer than all that disposable pop from now. You’ll see. All those bands like Motley Crue, RATT and Poison will still be around ten more years from now.

Photo credits: Gerry Gittelson.
Top, Gerry with Jani Lane. Bottom, Gerry with Big Bang Babies.


Only 331 Days Until Rocklahoma 2008


With nearly 100,000 fans in attendance at Rocklahoma over the pre-party and three-day concert, organizers are already planning the Second Annual Rocklahoma Eighties Festival, scheduled for July 11-13, 2008.

"The artists and the fans came out and enjoyed the party in record numbers," said Dave Giencke, Director of Operations for Catch the Fever Music Festivals. "Over 1,000 fans have already renewed their V.I.P. seats for next year's Rocklahoma, which will continue to feature the major rock artists from the music of the eighties.

"Artists worldwide took note of the response of rock fans at Rocklahoma this year. Although the line-up for the Second Annual Rocklahoma in 2008 hasn't yet been finalized --- and the possibility is hard to imagine after the success of this year's event --- fans can expect an even bigger eighties line-up next summer and an even better show," Giencke said.

Organizers say the phenomenal success of this year's Rocklahoma was noticed around the world, as fans from all 50 states and six continents were in attendance. The success of 2007's Rocklahoma guarantees that next summer's event will be even bigger!

Also, great news that following there resounding success at this year's event, the Gypsy Pistoleros have been invited back next year and given a better time slot on the main stage.

Please visit





Cocked and Reloaded

cockedandreloaded.jpgShock of shocks, I love L.A. Guns. Over the weekend, I picked up Cocked and Reloaded for eight bucks. I still don't know how I feel about the album.

Turns out, there are several different covers for this album, depending on the distribution deal (I own the version pictured). Also, my track listing doesn't match the actual song line-up, which is more than aggravating. Perhaps I ended up with a defective disc. The track list (should) look like this:

Letting Go
Slap In The Face
Rip And Tear
Sleazy Come Easy Go
Never Enough
The Ballad Of Jayne
Give A Little
I'm Addicted
17 Crash
Showdown (Riot On Sunset)
Wheels Of Fire
Rip And Tear (Spahn Ranch Remix)

Cocked and Reloaded isn't a necessity by any means, but it's good for fans trying to complete a collection. When Vertigo Records refused to give Tracii Guns the masters to their massively successful 1989 release Cocked and Loaded, the boys went back into the studio and re-recorded the entire album.

If anything, Cocked and Reloaded proves that Tracii Guns can play a guitar and the other members of the L.A. Guns support him well. Still, Phil Lewis doesn't sound as good here as he does on the original recordings. I can also do without the unnecessary changes to the musical arrangements. "Malaria" is my favorite L.A. Guns song, and it was perfect the first time around. When it comes to Cocked and Reloaded, I usually just skip this track because I don't like the changes in voice flection or the way the band tried to "update" the modern guitar tones.

Good news is that L.A. Guns give every songwriter their credit on Cocked and Reloaded, and that includes original members Paul Black and Mick Cripps (for my exclusive interview with Paul Black, please see "Roll the Dice").

Finally, a note about the remix version of "Rip and Tear." When Cocked and Reloaded was recorded in the late nineties, dance music was pretty popular and getting in on the craze was probably overly intoxicating for L.A. Guns.

Give me a break.

I don't want the techno version of L.A. Guns anything. I want it sleazy and raw, thank-you. L.A. Guns should stick to being straight up rock n' roll. Otherwise, what's the point?


Kidd Havok - Roll the Dice

kiddhavoklogo.jpgKidd Havok were one of those bands that was poised to make some Metal magic until grunge swept the nation, sending everyone to the nearest pharmacy for a healthy dose of Prozac. The band was working hard, developing a pretty decent following in their native Florida. During their early days, the members of Kidd Havok were also recording demos for a future release. Now, so many years later, that debut album is finally available through Suncity Records. Roll the Dice features everything a Glam Metal fan needs and wants: guitar solos and catchy vocals.


Like many up and coming bands, Kidd Havok weathered quite a few member changes. The liner notes for Roll the Dice feature credits for a revolving door of bass players and drummers, with guitarist Scot Marcs and singer Johnny B. remaining constant forces in the band. Today, the Kidd Havok line-up includes Marcs, Johnny B. and Tommy Pinello on bass and Jim McCourt behind the drum kit. Pinnello’s bass playing is featured on many Roll the Dice tracks.

Roll the Dice opens with “Too Sadd” featuring a nice electric guitar/drum combination. The song is very upbeat, setting the tone for the entire work. Immediately, the listener knows this is prime cut, late 80s glam. Entering the scene at the end of Glam craze, Kidd Havok is influenced by Motley Crue, RATT and Poison. It’s pretty easy to notice these influences in every song, but especially on “1 Push.” The riff is very Poison and Pretty Boy Floyd-esque and so are the lyrics. No, Kidd Havok are not reinventing the wheel here, but they are playing music that works for them.

If a radio-friendly chorus is what you are looking for, then “Lady Luck” is probably for you. Yes, the lyrics here rhyme quite a lot, but the layered guitar portions are excellent and eerily reminiscent of Randy Rhodes-era Ozzy Osbourne. In fact, the guitar solos are so good on “Lady Luck” they demand a louder mix. Instead, producer (and ironically guitarist Scot Marcs) opted to leave the vocals more dominant on this track.

“Cold Sweat” is probably the strongest track on Roll the Dice, featuring vocals and guitars closer to Whitesnake than your average Florida bar band. “Cold Sweat” is in your face, stand-up-and-swagger rock n’ roll. Again there is a formula here, but it works, so why complain?

A little bit deeper into Roll the Dice is “Rumors.” Again, a high point of the song is the lengthy guitar sections. Still, vocalist Johnny B. has a pretty good range, and this is evident on “Rumors.” Johnny B. shows his chops on “Candy Store,” too. A frivolous song with some good riffs, Kidd Havok plays to their strong suit which is entertainment first, everything else secondary.

For more information, please visit:


Carnival of Sins: Live

carnivalofsins.jpgEven though F.Y.E. is a corporate giant that is probably contributing to the decline of modern music, I still shop in the store from time to time. The bright spot to F.Y.E. (or Coconuts, or Sam Goody or about half a dozen other names under the music chain) is that the store buys and sells used titles. Occasionally, this means a great deal.

Yesterday, I picked up Motley Crue's Carnival of Sins DVD package for ten bucks.

The DVD isn't horrible and it isn't great. I was immediately impressed with the packaging, which is more akin to a sitcom DVD than music release. The sound quality on Carnival of Sins isn't great, but to be fair, I didn't try to adjust levels on my television either. The mixing is good, courtesy of super-producer Bob Rock.

A production crew using 20 hi-definition cameras taped the 2005 Motley Crue performance in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The people at the show that night seemed to have gotten their money's worth, because the band played a very long set.

The track list looks like this:

Shout at the Devil
Too Fast for Love
Ten Seconds to Love
Red Hot
On with the Show
Too Young to Fall in Love
Looks that Kill
Louder than Hell
Live Wire
Girls, Girls, Girls
Wild Side
Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Primal Scream
Without You
Home Sweet Home
Dr. Feelgood
Same 'Ol Situation
Sick Love Song
If I Die Tomorrow
Kickstart My Heart
Helter Skelter
Anarchy in the U.K.

The DVD also features worthless solos from Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee. Why worthless? Nikki plays keyboard and some sort of welding contraption and Tommy does a good job behind the kit but then jumps around, making beats way too close to techno for my liking.

Overall, Vince Neil and Mick Mars do a pretty great job. Mick is one of the most underrated guitar players in all of rock and Vince actually sings in tune. Still, in tune doesn't always mean accurate, and there are plenty of times on Canrival of Sins where Vince screws up the words to songs he's been singing for 20 years.

The stage show is impressive, and the carnival theme fits Motley Crue perfectly. 

The DVD includes lots of crowd pans, courtesy of giant boom cameras. This helps show the size of the crowd, and adds a bit of enthusiasm to the performance. Still, I'd rather see Nikki, Tommy, Vince and Mick than 19 half-dressed women rubbing on each other every ten seconds. Of course, female fans definitely have their place at Crue shows, but we see the same women over and over again on Carnival of Sins.

For the set-list, I think it was a interesting choice by the boys to include so many classic songs early and then encore with "Helter Skelter" and "Anarchy in the U.K." Perhaps they didn't save "Dr. Feelgood" for the end, fearing Vince would be winded, or the band too tired? At any rate, I may have moved the songs around a bit. Still, opening with "Shout at the Devil" is perfect.

To be fair, I didn't have time to watch the extra features DVD, which includes footage of Tommy's boobie camera, plus some music videos and a time lapse of the production set to "On With the Show."

Here's the opening to Carnival of Sins: "Shout at the Devil."