4/23: A RECAP OF THE MONSTERS OF ROCK CRUISE 2015
Back from a great 4 nights on board the Monsters Of Rock Cruise I once again had the honor to host. You can’t imagine the non stop party this thing is! I was averaging going to bed around 6A and waking up around 9A! To say I am fried would be an understatement! Just a TON of music and a TON of my fans and I can’t thank you all enough for the support and kind words. I swear I took a photo with all 3,000 plus on the ship! So cool, thank you thank you! This is a pretty exhausting event for me. There are so many bands and getting around takes time. Sadly I actually don’t get to see many of the bands that play because it is a working event for me and I am pulled in many directions. There are SO many bands of every level on board. Some I don’t see at all, some a few songs, some I do an intro and then have to run to an interview. Of what I did see here are a few comments (all bands played twice):
Europe: Their new album War Of Kings is a favorite. Band sounded unreal. Tempest’s voice spot on and John Norum is a cross between Schenker & Blackmore. Great to see them again and look forward to catching a full show if I can at M3. Interesting to see all the crew on the ship (which was European) come out to watch this band who are much bigger with that fan base. Thanks to Joey for adding “Second Day” from the new album into the set and sending it out to me. New album may be their best.
Black Star Riders: New album another early candidate for album of the year. Band was on fire. Changed the set a bit in their two performances. A few Lizzy classics and mostly stuff from their own albums as they become more of an original band. So good! Europe and BSR are together on tour at some dates, GREAT bill!
Faster Pussycat: THE party on the ship! Just great fun dirty rock n roll. These guys are the real deal and really bring it. I even jumped up with them at 2A at the pool set, did a shot of Jack with Taime and Danny and sang (badly) the chorus of Bathroom Wall! Too much fun! They are on tour for the next month. Was cool to chat with Riki Rachtman for a bit who did a Cathouse themed night with Taime that I never made it to.
The Winery Dogs: Two stellar performances. These are just a couple warm up gigs before the band heads in to do album 2 which is written and recording starts soon. They did one new song that opened the set. Mind blowing as usual. They will also be at M3 and Rocklahoma. Mike Portnoy had a birthday Monday night and I led the crowd in a sing along. Good to have TWD about to start up again and prove this band does have legs.
Richie Kotzen; RK played with his solo trio and like last year blew peoples minds! If you never saw this guy solo you can’t imagine how insane it is. There are great players all over the place but this guy is just next level, and he sings great as well. How brilliant? Well lets just say Nuno Bettencourt sat front row with his jaw on the floor watching Kotzen play. Yes a bad ass like Nuno! He was so blown away that he walked up and grabbed the mic when the set was done and told the crowd they just witnessed true greatness and that if Hendrix was still alive he might be like what he just heard. He also compared him to Jeff Beck, and then said that wasn’t fair because he was his own style too. Then he jokingly proclaimed he hated him for how good he was. This was from NUNO! Could not be prouder of my friend RK and the new converts he makes every day by just doing what he has been doing. The difference is there is just way more attention on it now due to the success of TWD.
Extreme: On fire. Much of the focus on Nuno for good reason, but I have said many times what all of these guys do is incredible and the vocals are all real. People were raving!
Tesla: Sounded great. First set mostly new album, second classics. When I kicked off the cruise they were the first band to play. Huge tour with Def Lep this Summer. They have always been one of the best of the era and still are.
Night Ranger: Only saw their acoustic set. Sounded good as always and did some Damn Yankees too. Kerri Kelly replaces Joel Hoekstra.
Y&T: STILL amazing. Dave has to be among the worlds most underrated players and singers and is still amazing. He said this may be the best lineup the band has ever had too. They will be doing a doc on their history I will be a part of. More soon.
Lita Ford: Barely made the cruise due to issues with her paperwork and passport but it all worked out and she rocked as usual.
Frank Hannon Band: Another very underrated player and his solo band was heavier than I thought they would be. Frank always getting better as a singer also.
Queensryche: Sounded strong and wrapping up a new album. I hosted their Q&A as well.
Krokus: Hosted their Q&A but barely saw them play sadly. Hopefully at M3. Marc and Chris are very excited to be back in the US and hopefully restart a following here. However some fans upset the band would not play MTV hits from albums like The Blitz. Chris explained he feels that’s the bands glam period and was never really what they were about. But there was some grumbling about the lack of Midnight Maniac, etc. Otherwise people I spoke with said they sounded good.
Tyketto: An example of a band that never had huge success in their day but through events like this cruise are gaining fans late in their history, and many new ones. These guys are old friends and it was good to see them.
Tom Keifer: In fine voice once again and the band sounded punchier than it ever has. Tom is fully committed to his new band and latest album. Something rare to see in an era where everyone is always pushing 5 things at the same time.
Mike Tramp: Another old friend that plays solo acoustic these days with some backing tracks for drums, etc. Mike has found his niche doing this vs trying to front a big loud rock band and seems happy mixing White Lion with other stuff.
Again if I didn’t mention them it’s just that I didn’t see them. Truly every band sounded great and it was a blast! Was also fun hanging and having my TMS partner Don Jamieson on board for the first time. He and Craig Gass were among the comics that did stand up. And good to see my SiriusXM buds Luc Carl and Keith Roth, Nikki from The Bone in SF, DJ Will and all my other friends and co-hosts. Next cruise will be the Def Leppard Cruise I will host Jan 21-25, then MOR East and West! Honored to host these great events and I want to thank Larry Morand and the entire On The Blue Cruises staff for being such pros and for making me a part of them. Most of all thanks to the MANY bands and fans I met and who are so amazingly supportive. Tons of photos coming to my Twitter and FB and maybe I’ll make a page to post them here as well from my friend and photographer Ron Akiyama. M3 next week, details to come on that but I will be back hosting. All confirmed events on the home page.