CONCERT Review: ALICE IN CHAINS – Back on all Cylinders

ALICE IN CHAINS – Back on all Cylinders
Patriot Center, Fairfax, VA.
All Access FAN Review:  A

Having seen Alice In Chains over a dozen times, and seeing every tour since William DuVall assumed the microphone, I can say that this performance was the culmination of the band working their way back up the ladder to achieve greatness once again.

The event began with myself and a friend showing up at 4:15PM to get our VIP laminates and having the meet and greet in a small conference room at the venue. It was very coordinated and orderly. The assembly line of fans first walked along the table getting items signed and saying their hellos. I spoke with William about the various DC shows over the last year and we agreed that the show this past spring at DAR Constitution was odd on many levels (that is just not a good venue for a proper rock show). After shuffling through the line and having a polite chat with each of the guys, we made the second lap to get our pictures taken with the band. The fans were either stiff, or amusingly animated for their photo snaps, which is a fun thing to watch. After all of the fans had their pictures taken, we were let go to kill some time before the show started.

The show began a little after 7:00PM. As far as the support performances, Mastodon was a lot of fun to watch, but as with most support acts, their mix was very muddy. Deftones were also on their game and I was beginning to get excited for the main event.

AIC hit the stage with an almost perfect sound mix and light setup. They blazed through most of their popular repertoire and pulled out a few old school favorites like “We Die Young”. As is their new standard, they always take a minute to praise their fallen brother, Layne Staley. They said their peace, and went into a beautiful performance of “Nutshell”.
The rest of the set was peppered with tracks from the new record, and they absolutely shredded what is my favorite AIC song, “Dam That River”. The encore included “Got Me Wrong” and “Rooster” which had the audience singing along as loud as their throat muscles would allow.

Seeing the slow build since the 2007 acoustic tour, and watching William and the band gel over the last few years, I can say that the band has never sounded better and that they are clearly enjoying performing and interacting with the fans.

The only downside to the experience was that the company handling the VIP packages (Artist Arena) needs to work on logistics of the package. We were to receive a limited edition vinyl release and a t-shirt as part of the deal, however, about two weeks before the show, a stock email revealing instruction on the meet and greet indicated that those items may not be received prior to the show date. Given that tickets were purchased in June and the show was in September, I feel they should have better expedited these items…it would have been nice to get the vinyl signed by the band.

-Doug S.

Artist Links: 

This review was submitted by a Backstage Auctions VIP. If you have a great story to tell about a recent concert experience, let us know. 

DVD Review: Electric Light Orchestra Live: The Early Years

DVD Review: Electric Light Orchestra Live: The Early Years 
Eagle Vision
All Access Review:  A-

No retina-frying, rainbow-colored lasers, no massive orchestras, no “Independence Day”-like space ships or fog machines … this is the Electric Light Orchestra in the raw, stripped down to the essentials. All of that other stuff was simply window-dressing, as this new DVD, packed with a trio of electrifying, if low tech, live performances from ELO’s good old days, proves.

From the start, in the late 1960s, ELO set out to be different, vowing to pick up where The Beatles of “I Am the Walrus”-style experimentation left off. That is flying pretty close to the sun, but this hairy, bearded Icarus didn’t burn to a crisp. And it’s a testament to the incredibly sophisticated, dynamic pop sensibilities of Jeff Lynne and company – much of the cast changing from year to year in typical revolving-door fashion for the bnd - that the crazy idea ELO started with, that classically influenced strings and wind arrangements could envelope rock and roll in mystery and magic without cutting its amplified power, actually kept them flying high on the charts throughout the ’70s.   

Beginning in 1973, with a blazing four-song segment of an ELO show at Brunel University in the U.K., “Electric Light Orchestra Live: The Early Years” traces the band’s development as a wonderfully bombastic concert act. Full of bravado, a rambunctious and rowdy ELO, its string section energetically sawing away against Lynne’s bedrock guitar riffs, stomp through “Ma-Ma-Ma Belle” and a cover of Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Great Balls of Fire” with vim and vigor, while “King of the Universe” and the classical masterpiece “In the Hall of the Mountain King” boldly surge and whirl about in a dizzying displays of adventurous virtuosity.

Then it’s on to German TV’s “Rockpalast” show for a six-song set from 1974 that features ELO joyously covering “Orange Blossom Special” in an unexpectedly countrified hoedown and showcasing one of their most recent hits, the sweeping wide-screen panorama of sonic delights that is “Showdown.” The pristine camera work is far more professional, with a good variety of shots, than the gritty, oddly colored and somewhat amateurish filming of that Brunel University performance a year earlier, and ELO hams it up, especially electric cellist Hugh McDowell, who is all over the stage and at the end, he’s seen wildly playing his instrument above and behind his head during another, even hotter version of “Great Balls of Fire.” Filmed before the release of ELO’s Eldorado: A Symphony, ELO performs no songs off that album, preferring instead to plumb On The Third Day for half of this short set list.

And seen in this context, the “Rockpalast” performance nicely bridges the wooly, almost unhinged glory of the Brunel University gig and the DVD’s grand finale, a blissful, mesmerizing performance at London’s New Victoria Theatre that the “Fusion” TV series captured. A little back history: 1975 would find ELO blowing up in the U.S., with its Face the Music LP blitzing the American Top 10 for the first time. “Evil Woman” and “Strange Magic” were big hits in the U.K. and the U.S., and in 1976, ELO made a triumphant return to London - the New Victoria Theatre providing the setting.

Here is the ELO we know and love, still missing all the big stage production bells and whistles that would come later, but playing in a such a way as to allow the gorgeous pop craftsmanship of such classics as “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head,” “Strange Magic” and “Evil Woman” to positively glow, as does “Eldorado Overture.” The performance is more subdued than Brunel or “Rockapalast,” but there’s a sense that ELO is more aware of its own artistry at the New Victoria and that there’s a time for wheeling around the stage while vigorously jamming away the violin, as Mik Kaminski does so brilliantly elsewhere on this DVD, and playing cellos over your head and there’s also a time for letting touch and feel and beautiful tonality of voices and instruments come shining through without all the blustery madness getting in the way.

All the performances are great in their own way on “Live: The Early Years,” and this is an amazing document of the different stages of ELO’s career, the growth and maturity of New Victoria clashing with the youthful frenzy and gleeful rock of Brunel. If this isn’t essential, it’s pretty damn close.

Peter Lindblad

Start a revolution: The Scorpions help bring down Communism

Herman Rarebell talks about his life in heavy metal

By Peter Lindblad

The Iron Curtain lifted ever so slightly in the late ‘80s to allow The Scorpions access to a Soviet Union empire that was in the death throes, only it didn’t know it yet.

Herman Rarebell
With a wary eye, the Kremlin coldly and dispassionately watched as the hard-rocking, hard-partying Germans from the other side of the Berlin Wall performed to massive, rabid crowds across the vast Communist empire.

Something about The Scorpions’ wolfish mix of searing power chords, piercing guitar solos,  polished pop-metal hooks, and liberating, often animalistic lyrical philosophy – not to mention their sexually provocative album covers – tapped into a growing desire among Soviet bloc youth trapped under the thumb of repression to experience the freedom of the West. Herman Rarebell, the Scorpions drummer at the time, could feel that a revolution was coming.

“When we came to the Soviet Union for the first time in 1988 [their concert in Leningrad marked only the second time a band from the West had played there, Uriah Heep being the first], it was communistic,” remembered Rarebell. “And a year later, we played the 1989 Moscow Music Peace Festival together with Jon Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue … it was a big thing. And we got invited that night to the first hard-rock concert in Moscow, and you could feel the wind of change actually in the air and on a night in November of the same year, the wall fell down. And we had an invitation six weeks later to go and see the most powerful man in the Soviet Union, [the last General Secretary of the Communist Party] Mikhail Gorbachev. A few months later, after that, the complete East could come into West Germany. They could live like us; the days of Communism were finally done.”

History will credit Ronald Reagan and perhaps other political figures with exerting so much international pressure on the crumbling Soviet Union that it had to “tear down that wall.” But you could make the argument that it was The Scorpions, in particular, and other monsters of heavy-metal that had more to do with fomenting the wave of dissent that overwhelmed authoritarian Communism and knocked down that damnable Wall than Reagan ever did, as Rarebell was to find out later.

“Nowadays, yes, we felt that we were responsible for it, especially the song ‘Wind of Change’ was on all the news at the time, and also you know, Gorbachev, President Gorbachev, called us,” related Rarebell. “He made a joke about it. He said, ‘What was the biggest mistake the United States did?’ Well, we said, we don’t know. He said, ‘Well, they let The Beatles in in 1964. That was when rock and roll took over.’ And he said, ‘My biggest mistake was when I let you guys in.’” (laughs) Gorbachev was, perhaps, only half-joking. The Soviet government actually took The Scorpions very seriously.

“I mean, I don’t want to compare us with the Beatles, but with the Soviet Union, probably we did a lot of things, because when we played the year before [1988], in Leningrad, we sold out 10 shows with 20,000 people each night,” said Rarebell. “So they came from all over, because [it was] first planned [we would play] five shows in Leningrad and five shows in Moscow. But it was so close to the First of May, so they thought there would be revolution in Moscow. They said you couldn’t play there. And they said, oh, now you have to play 10 shows in Leningrad, which you know is now St. Petersburg.”

Paranoia was running rampant within the Kremlin, and like many Soviet citizens, the Scorpions had the feeling that the walls had ears and eyes. “It really was strange then,” said Rarebell. “All that you knew was you had the feeling they were watching you. Maybe there were hidden mics in the room. It felt like being in one of those [spy] films, you know, like an old James Bond [movie]. I’m sure until this day that they went through my clothes and looked at stuff.”

The government had good reason to worry as it turned out. Rarebell witnessed firsthand how hungry young Russians were for freedom and what impact the Scorpions’ performances were having, even though, as Rarebell admitted, they were not a political band.

“I remember when we played the stadium in ’89 at the Moscow Music Peace Festival, they put in the middle of the stadium about a few hundred soldiers there to take care and control of the people there so they didn’t riot,” said Rarebell. “But the soldiers themselves were throwing up their hats and singing along with the songs in Russian. Then I knew something was going to happen. They were singing along to ‘Blackout,’ they were singing along to ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane.’”

And it wasn’t like state-sponsored media was blasting Scorpions tunes across the platforms it controlled. Kids discovered Scorpions hits like “Loving You” and “Rock You Like a Hurricane” in other ways.
“When we came there in 1988, we were aware that there must have been a huge underground population playing the music, from one tape recorder to the next tape recorder,” said Rarebell. “All of the radio stations played it. I know that ‘Loving You’ became a big hit before. This is probably how they became aware of the band – ‘Loving You’ and ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane.’ Those were the songs that were played there, and then somebody underground spread more. And more people heard the music. Suddenly, we were very popular in the underground, which is huge there. And suddenly all of our concerts were sold out. And yet, we were going to the #1 position in Moscow and I remember [going] to the record companies and [asking], ‘How many records did we sell?’ And they said, ‘Oh, we don’t know yet. We have to see.’” (laughs) There’s no control, no nothing, and there was nothing you could do about it. It was just on the radio you hear ‘Loving You,’ and the record company tells you we haven’t sold any records.”

Information about record sales in the Soviet Union was sketchy, but it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the Scorpions were more popular than Lenin there. When Rarebell, born in November 1949 in Saarbrucken, Germany, was banging on his mother’s pots and pans as a young boy, such a situation would have been unthinkable. By the age of 12 or 13, Rarebell had graduated to drums.

“Well, basically, I was attracted by physical fitness, you know,” said Rarebell. “And banging on the drums and going around the house and doing all this, this was like the perfect instrument in order to get out all my aggression and my youthful power. It was just … I tell you, it felt immediately right. And I always had a good rhythm feel. This is basic to have as a drummer, you must feel the rhythm. If you don’t have that, the whole instrument is pointless.”

There was nothing “pointless” about Rarebell’s early training. His first band was the Mastermen, “ … which was a school band, which was when I was around 14. And we played basically on the weekends, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, being in pubs, you know, playing in gasthauses, as we say in Germany, where we played like four sets a night, 45 minutes, 50 minutes, that kind of thing.”

At age 17, Rarebell joined his first professional band, Fuggs Blues. “We played in Germany the American airbases for the American soldiers,” said Rarebell. “And basically, what we did there was also four sets a night of Top 40 material. In those days – this was ’68, ’69 – we played songs like ‘Wipeout,’ for example, you know, Sam & Dave’s ‘Hold On, I’m Coming.’ We played Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Hey Joe,’ stuff like this. So for us, this was perfect training to get the necessary routine for me as a drummer; playing every night, four sets, it gives you a perfect routine.”

Now well-drilled in keeping time, as any drummer should, Rarebell set out to make his mark on the world. At about age 18 or 19, Rarebell told his parents he wanted to study music, and then, he went to England to try to catch on with a heavy-metal band. Opportunity didn’t knock right away. “Of course, reality came and after my money was gone, I was a gardener, a taxi driver, a barman, until finally I became a studio musician and got into this thing,” said Rarebell.

Meeting Michael Schenker, then in UFO, changed everything. “One day he said to me, ‘My brother is coming over here looking for a drummer,’” said Rarebell. “It was in the spring of ’77. So I went to an audition. They had probably 40 or 50 other drummers. And we each had to play three songs. Then the famous ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’ came. I thought I’d never hear from them. The next day, they called me and said, ‘You got the job. We want to take your drums to Hanover, from London to Hanover. I said, ‘Well, hang on. I have to talk to my girlfriend first.’”

Ironically, Rarebell had gone to England only to find himself in a German band, and now, he was heading back home. It’s funny how things work out. Still, even though this wasn’t exactly how Rarebell planned it, he had stumbled upon the group of individuals who were going to make all his dreams come true.
“Well, we had the same tastes,” said Rarebell. “I remember when I met Rudolf the first time, in the speakeasy together with his brother, we talked about music. So we were on the same wavelength. We both grew up with bands like the Kinks, Yardbirds, later on Led Zeppelin – the kind of music we wanted to do. We could feel it, you know?”

There were lingering apprehensions, though. Living in England, Rarebell was a regular in the London club scene from the end of 1971 to the spring of 1977. One of those establishments was the famed Marquee Club.
“It was a club, but the atmosphere there was unbelievable,” said Rarebell. “I mean, I saw Hendrix there, I saw Taste there, I saw The Who there … imagine, a small pub like this, you standing directly in front of them.”

With room for about 300 customers, the Marquee was not the biggest of venues, but what it lacked in size, it made up for in star power. Even the Scorpions played there … lots of times, even before Rarebell joined up. He saw them when guitar wizard Uli Jon Roth was in the band and Rudy Lenners was The Scorpions’ drummer. Rarebell cops to not being very impressed.

When asked what he thought of them, Rarebell responded, “Terrible. I said to myself, ‘Half of them are playing like Uriah Heep, and the other half plays songs like Jimi Hendrix.’ I said that to Rudy. He looked at me like I was coming from the moon. I said, ‘You guys have no direction. One guy plays like Hendrix, the others play like Uriah Heep. You don’t have in mind what you want to do.’ And as you know, a year later, Uli left to make Electric Sun and go this Hendrix direction, and the Scorpions took Michael Schenker and went on to do melodic hard rock.”

And the rest is history. It wasn’t long before Rarebell found himself assuming a key role in the band. For one thing, he spoke the best English of them all. So, understandably, he was tapped to provide some lyrics on the first album he recorded with the band, 1978’s Taken by Force.

“Rudolf asked on the first album when we did the song ‘He’s A Woman, She’s A Man,’ do you have an idea for the lyrics?” said Rarebell. “And at the same time, we made a visit to Paris for promotion, and I remember we drove around Paris, of course, at night, as a young man driving a car, we ended up in the red light district. And we looked at all those beautiful girls, as we were passing by, Rudolf said, ‘Oh, look at this beautiful girl there.’ So, I said, ‘Come on, drive over.’ So he drove over, put the window down, and this girl came nearer to the car and she put her head into the car and she said (in a deep, manly voice), ‘Hi, guys. Just wanted to tell you I’m a guy.’ So, we were all like shocked. But I went back to the hotel room and wrote my first lyrics then, ‘He’s A Woman – She’s a Man.’ I remember that.”

Following a tour in support of Taken by Force, Roth left the band, the classic live album Tokyo Tapes serving as his farewell. Free to pursue a new, and more commercially viable, path, the Scorpions, with new guitarist Matthias Jabs in tow, the Scorpions created their landmark LP Lovedrive. Michael Schenker returned to the band briefly during the recording of the album, contributing to three songs.

While tracks like “Always Somewhere,” “Holiday” and “Loving You Sunday Morning” cemented a formula of charged-up rock and tender ballads that the Scorpions would utilize to reach great heights in the world of heavy metal, Lovedrive was also remarkable for its suggestive album cover. It wouldn’t be the first or the last time the Scorpions would stir up controversy with their album art.

“This was a very famous album cover [the creation of Storm Thorgerson of the design firm Hipgnosis],” said Rarebell. “It showed a woman sitting in the back of a car with a man, and on her breast was chewing gum. Of course, this is ’79 now. This cover was banned immediately … it became gold immediately, because everybody went out and bought it. I mean, Playboy made it cover of the year, and that [resulted in] even more copies [being bought], and then the music and the cover together, you know, did the rest. This was basically the first gold album we had in America and a breakthrough, the Lovedrive album. But the next one was just as provocative; it was the Animal Magnetism art, which everybody said, ‘Oh, this girl is kneeling down giving the guy a blow job.’ And we always answered, ‘Well, this is your dirty mind.’ You know, we see a girl looking as a dog.”

1981 saw the release of Blackout, which continued the Scorpions’ string of hit albums as the band overcame the throat problems, which eventually required surgery, of singer Klaus Meine. Featuring the title track, “Dynamite” and “No One Like You,” Blackout expanded the Scorpions’ mass appeal. They played Day 2 of the US Festival, performing in front of 375,000 fans. But the Scorpions were only getting started.

In 1984, the band unleashed Love at First Sting, the LP that made the Scorpions international superstars, thanks to the behemoth hit “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” Once again, the Scorpions courted controversy with the Helmut Newton photograph of a man kissing a woman while stroking her tattooed thigh that graced the cover. But nothing could derail the Scorpions after “Rock You Like a Hurricane” slammed into the shores of America, the post-coitus afterglow of its lyrics crafted by none other than Rarebell.

“I wrote the lyrics for that, and I’m very happy about that, obviously, you know, because when I get my publishing, I can see how many times the song has been played,” said Rarebell. “It’s ridiculous. I can tell you it’s played all over the world, as we speak right now, it’s probably on somewhere – at least 100 or 150 times every day.

As for the inspiration for the lyrics, it’s pretty obvious where they came from.
“Well, this is where the timing hits, because the music and the lyrics [came together],” said Rarebell. “As you can imagine, ‘ … it’s early morning and the sun comes out. Last night was shaking and bloody loud.’ What would that be, huh? ‘My cat is purring and scratches my skin. What is wrong with a night of sin?’ Of course it was about sex, where you get up in the morning, her room is smelling of love and sex, and you open up the curtains and the sun comes out. We’re sitting down, immediately, and I wrote those lines. And this is basically a song, you know, about the wild ‘80s, because you know, in those days there was no AIDs. It was party time every night, and this is what happened. That’s how the song was created, the lyrics at least.”

Hits flowed from the double-platinum Love at First Sting, with “Bad Boys Running Wild,” “Big City Nights” and the ballad “Still Loving You” all finding chart success, thanks to the series of MTV videos that accompanied them. In the aftermath, the Scorpions released the too-slick pop-metal disappoinment Savage Amusement in 1988. Though some fans were turned off by the record, the Scorpions’ juggernaut rolled on, as the band made that fateful Soviet Union tour that may have helped changed the Eastern European bloc forever.

They rebounded with Crazy World in 1990, as the Scorpions changed producers for the first time in years, losing “sixth Scorpion” Dieter Dierks and welcoming Keith Olson. Thanks to “Wind of Change,” Crazy World put the Scorpions back on top of charts around the world, the song’s hopeful socio-political message striking a chord with music fans everywhere. The sting of the Scorpions was being felt everywhere, and the band helped Roger Waters perform The Wall in its entirety in Berlin. Within the Scorpions’ ranks, however, things were about to change.

Veteran bassist Francis Buchholz left after touring for Crazy World, and after a series of lukewarm records, Rarebell departed in 1996 to start a record label. Interestingly, it was Rarebell who became the first Scorpion to venture out on his own and do a solo record while still with the band, 1982’s Nip in the Bud.

In 2010, Rarebell, recording as Herman Ze German, his longtime nickname, offered up another solo LP, Take it as it Comes, along with an engaging audio book, “My Life As A Scorpion.” Since leaving the Scorpions, Rarebell has involved himself in various interests, including art and humanitarian efforts in addition to music ventures. Now in his early 60s, he shows no signs of slowing down.

Herman Rarebell Official Site:
Herman Rarebell on Myspace:

The Rock Gods & Metal Monsters Auction: Click Here for Info

After 35 Years - A KISS is still a KISS

KISS - The Hottest Show On Earth
All Access Concert Review: A

KISS Concert: Houston  9-17-2010
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t quite as ready to ‘Rock ‘n Roll All Night and Party Every Day’ as much as the overly excited "never seen KISS live before" fan in the seat next to me at last Friday’s KISS concert in Houston. Maybe it was because it was his first KISS show and while he was easily pushing 60, he had the stamina (and matching behavior) of a teenager. Or maybe it was because this was approximately the 30th time I was going to see KISS and started to wonder (doubt even) if – after 35 years – the time was nearing where I no longer would enjoy seeing and hearing “The Hottest Show On Earth”, which is how their current tour is aptly labeled.

Don’t get me wrong, a KISS concert (or KISS experience is perhaps the better word) still beats the pants off, well, just about any other band. Few will give you as much bang for your buck as these guys do and you just can’t help but to get caught up in the madness of it all. You’ll get the blood and fire breathing theatrics, explosive fireworks, hit after hit, a smashed guitar and about a ton of confetti. Oh, and did I mention that these guys can flick a guitar pick with ease, precise aim and well past row ‘P’?

Tommy Thayer
So, here I find myself again watching Gene and Paul doing what they’ve been doing for 37 years now. Sure, Paul’s voice isn’t what it used to be and Gene has become a little bit more static on stage over the years. That however is largely compensated by the energy and quality delivered by Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, who – like it or not – have made KISS a better band than their original predecessors.

Judging by the demographics of the audience, it’s easy to conclude that KISS has truly become an event for all ages, all walks of life and possibly a family affair. From toddlers to retirees, from rough rockers to soccer moms, it seems that everyone wants to be "puckered upon" tonight. Each song goes down like a smooth glass of "cold gin" and sitting is not an option. It’s bombastic, theatrical, somewhat predictable but – and this is the only thing that in the end matters – it sure is entertaining.

Paul Stanley
As I looked around and saw that the fan sitting next to me was having the time of his life just like the other 15,000+ in attendance, that’s when it hit me…..I was observing the audience as much as I was paying attention to those 4 guys on stage and realized that the sheer joy and pure pleasure I witnessed around me was no different then when I got bitten by the KISS bug at an early age. The KISS Army is still very much alive and signing up new recruits every night. With so many bands struggling to keep up and sell out shows, it is understandable why a band such as KISS could easily keep rockin another 10 or 20 years.

Me? I was getting my satisfaction from the little things. If I never hear a live rendition of “Beth” anymore I wouldn’t loose much sleep but to see them play their biggest (radio) hit as a band – with Paul and Tommy playing acoustic guitars – was a first for me….and I loved it. Another nice touch was bringing out 3 Marines and reciting the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’, after presenting a check worth well over $400,000.00 to the ‘Wounded Warrior Project’ ( Also, I can’t remember seeing a band doing an encore that lasted nearly an hour, again - that whole “bang for your buck” thing.

Gene Simmons
Going to see KISS is very much like going to your favorite restaurant. You know what you’ll get, you know it’ll be great, you also know you’ll be coming back and after a while, you enjoy seeing new patrons come in and discover why this place is so special. I wasn’t sure how hungry I was last Friday night but I left with a full and happy tummy.

Nearly 70 years ago, Humphrey Bogart serenaded Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca” with the words “a kiss is still a kiss”. He couldn’t have been more right. And if you have never seen a KISS concert, I’d recommend that you put it on your bucket list and prepare to be "puckered upon". After 37 years KISS is still KISS. 

By Jacques van Gool, 
Backstage Auctions, Inc.
Jacques van Gool (Backstage Auctions) & Gene Simmons (KISS)
Brussels (Vorst Nationaal) 1983 Tour

CD Review: Pantera – Cowboys From Hell (anniversary edition)

Pantera – Cowboys From Hell (anniversary edition)
Rhino Records

All Access Review:  B+

Just when it seemed it could not get any more Metal than Metallica and Megadeth, along came Pantera. It was 20 years ago. Pantera took the fluffy, makeup wearing wussy rock called Hair Metal, pulled it down to the toilet and gave it a swirly. Cowboys From Hell was, at the time, the heaviest Metal ever written and released. This album became the watermark for all other Metal band’s to aspire to achieve. Dimebag Darrell and brother Vinnie Abbot took the Texas slogan of everything being bigger and applied it to Metal music and the world has never again been the same.

The title track and “Cemetery Gates” are both revered as classics of the genre right aside classic tunes such as “War Pigs” and “Run to the Hills.” The debut album, however, was more than just those two tracks. “Psycho Holiday,” “The Art of Shredding,” “Message in Blood” and “Domination” all inspired guitarists, vocalists and songwriters around the globe to listen, learn and put their own stamp on Metal music.

Rhino Records is doing the 20th 
Anniversary Edition justice as a second live disc from two shows, one recorded in 1990 and the other in 1991. There is a third disc of demos for the band’s hardcore fans. Later on, the label will release a box set that will include the three discs plus replica memorabilia from this most awesome era of Pantera.

This is a fitting tribute to a great band, a great album and a late and great guitarist.

By Jeb Wright - Classic Rock Revisited

The Rock Gods and Metal Monsters Auction in October will feature amazing Pantera memorabilia from the personal collection of Walter O'Brien, Co-founder of Concrete Management and Manager of Pantera.

See our Auction tab at the top of the page for more information.

DVD Review: Eric Clapton "The 1960s Review"

DVD Review: Eric Clapton "The 1960s Review" 
Sexy Intellectual
All Access Review:  B-

The deification of Eric Clapton didn’t happen overnight. Hours and hours of obsessively studying the blues – at the expense of everything else - as a merely mortal teenager gave him an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject. Just about every note the greats ever put to record, Clapton could replicate.

Building off that self-taught education, Clapton grew increasingly more fluid as a guitarist and his phrasing was so authentic and so uniquely brilliant at the same time that a discipleship was forming, even as he toiled in relative obscurity with acts like The Roosters, his first band, and then the sort of goofy Casey Jones & the Engineers, an outfit that, according to a new Clapton documentary titled “The 1960s Review,” used to jump on a trampoline on stage.

It wasn’t long before “Clapton is God” graffiti could be found on industrial ruins and railroad overpasses everywhere. And “The 1960s Review” explains, in great detail, how Clapton became divine. Long-winded and lacking any real excitement, with the exception of some rare and classic live performance footage, although much of it isn’t exactly fresh or new –that familiar clip of Cream playing “Strange Brew” that everyone has seen a thousand times is rolled out once again – “The 1960s Review” does just what the title indicates. It traces Clapton’s activities throughout the decade, following his work with bands like The Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream and Blind Faith and detailing how and why Clapton joined and then left each of them.

Deeply analytical and following a linear timeline, “The 1960s Review” looks at the ‘60s British blues boom and explains Clapton’s role in igniting it. It’s an impressive historical accounting of Clapton’s most creative era, with plenty of discussion of his growth as a player and how his deep understanding of the blues carried over into his own work. A good deal of attention is paid to how Clapton embraced psychedelia and his time with Cream, while probing interviews with people like Mayall, the Yardbirds’ Chris Dreja and Top Topham, Cream producer Bill Halvorson, Neil Innes and other British ‘60s rock luminaries paint a complex picture of an artist grappling with his duty to blues and his desire for innovation.

Dry and academic, what “The 1960s Review” lacks in cinematic ingenuity and thrilling new footage, it more than makes up for it by telling the Clapton story with vintage interview material from the man himself and newer talks with those who either played with him or closely watched his ascent. There’s a lot to digest in the more than two hours it takes to tell this tale, but to those wanting to drink in everything they can about Clapton and his messianic drive to stay true to his belief in the blues and become the kind of guitarist Robert Johnson would admire, this film is treasure trove of information and insight.

- Peter Lindblad

Eric Clapton Fan Club Magazine: Click Here (great site)
Search the Backstage Auctions Store for Eric Clapton memorabilia.


Collectors still feel plenty of love for Elvis memorabilia

It’s good to be The King — or at the very least, to collect him.
The prices that Elvis’ fans are happy to pay for his albums, posters and memorabilia show he’s still alive and well in the collectors’ market.
“There’s sort of an expiration date on artists, and I think artists that, let’s say, have their peaks back in the ’50s and ’60s, for them to still be collectible and highly collectible to date is really unusual,” said Jacques van Gool of Backstage Auctions.
Elvis collectibles stacks up extremely well with the likes of The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd and others, which is impressive when you consider that his roots go back a solid 10 to 15 years before those other artists made it on the scene, van Gool said.
The Beatles probably do outrank Elvis in overall collectibility, largely because The Beatles are a global phenomenon among collectors, while most Elvis collectors are here in the U.S., he said. That said, Elvis is no shrinking violet, particularly when it comes to personally owned pieces, such as one of Elvis’ cars, jumpsuits or autographed pieces.
“You’ll see some mind-blowing numbers when it comes to Elvis, the same types of numbers you’d see for the The Beatles,” van Gool said.
There hasn’t been a lot of change in the Elvis market in the last 10 to 20 years, he said, and the market for Elvis-related collectibles remains strong and steady.
“The fact that they’re still, every year, coming out with new merchandise is a very healthy sign that the market is there,” van Gool said. Toys, calendars, T-shirts, vinyl records, movie posters, books, commemorative plates, DVDs … the list of Elvis-related collectibles is almost endless.
“I know that Graceland draws a lot of people every year, and just about everyone will walk out of there buying something,” van Gool said. “I truly believe that collectors are born in the gift shop. Graceland is very important.”
If you’re wondering where to get the most bang for your Elvis buck, look toward the elite items, where demand far outstrips supply, such as Elvis’ autograph, a piece of his jewelry or clothing, or any of the first five Sun Records singles, van Gool said. Items from the 1950s command the best prices, followed by those from the 1960s and 1970s, he added. Just be careful to choose authenticated items, as everything from Elvis’ jumpsuits his signature have been replicated.
If you’re just getting started collecting Elvis memorabilia, the options for collecting can be overwhelming, as Elvis had so many different eras in his career. The rule of thumb is that items from the 1950s are the most expensive, followed by those from the 1960s and 1970s.
“With Elvis, if you want to start working your ways backwards, start with everything from 1977. When he passed away, there must’ve been 50 different magazine specials and 100 newspapers that wrote about him, and commemorative coins and commemorative everything. That can be a great point to start,” he said. From there, you might want to look at old tour programs or Vegas pieces.
Whatever route, van Gool recommends following a basic rule of thumb.
“I would rather spend $10 on something that’s 30 years old than spend $10 on something that was released yesterday,” van Gool said. “Everything that was released today comes out at a premium, and for the next 10 years, the price will drop.”
By Susan Sliwicki
Backstage Auctions Elvis Memorabilia: New Store Items

The ‘Phenomenon’ that is UFO

Q & A with founding UFO member Andy Parker
By Peter Lindblad

Through lineup changes, substance abuse, health problems, the occasional breakup and just plain burnout, UFO has persevered, producing album after album of chugging, powerhouse hard-rock. Originally named Hocus Pocus, UFO, re-named after a defunct London club of the same name, evolved from charged-up blues-oriented blasters into hyper-driven space-rock explorers. But more changes were on the horizon.

Andy Parker, the band’s original drummer, having formed UFO with vocalist Phil Mogg, guitarist Mick Bolton and bassist Pete Way in 1969, has been back in the fold for the last two UFO studio albums, 2006’s The Monkey Puzzle and 2009’s The Visitor. Both records featured recent addition Vinnie Moore on guitar, replacing iconic six-string shredder Michael Schenker, the ex-Scorpion who first joined UFO in 1974, stepping in for the departed Bolton. It was with Schenker in the mid-1970s that UFO peaked artistically and commercially, as the band cranked out such stone classic LPs as 1974’s keg of dynamite Phenomenon (featuring perhaps the band’s biggest hit, “Doctor, Doctor”), 1975’s Force It, 1976’s No Heavy Petting and 1977’s Lights Out, which included new keyboardist Paul Raymond. Next to arrive was Schenker’s initial swan song, 1978’s Obsession.

Adding Paul Chapman in Schenker’s stead, UFO charged ahead with No Place to Run, but even though the band, in its various incarnations, kept on recording throughout the next three decades, UFO’s salad days were behind them, even though the records they made post-Schenker remained remarkably consistent. But, after 1983’s Making Contact, UFO called it a day, only to reunite in 1993, as Parker, Mogg, Schenker, Way and Raymond recorded 1995’s Walk on Water. Again, however, UFO couldn’t keep from splintering. Mogg and Way would continue working together, though, and then, in 2000, Schenker made a triumphant return, along with drummer Aynsley Dunbar.

When Schenker and Dunbar departed after 2002’s Sharks, Moore and Jason Bonham jumped into the fray. Soon, the new UFO returned to more of a bluesy sound that recalled their earliest work, which had given way to the expansive space-rock the band explored prior to Schenker’s 1974 arrival. A new compilation, the SPV/Steamhammer release Best of a Decade, due out Sept. 28, testifies to the band’s newfound affinity for the blues, while at the same time, proving the band has lost none of its metallic power.

Parker took time out to talk to Backstage Auctions about the band’s history (see a previous blog for the lowdown on UFO’s Best of a Decade release).

What was it that made you want to rejoin the band?
Andy Parker: What brought me back? A phone call from Paul Raymond, that’s what (laughs).

It’s as simple as that, huh?
AP: Yeah, the thing is, they’d asked me several times over the years. I mean, it’s difficult because life doesn’t always go the way you plan and this is my third stint in the band. I quit in ’83 for pretty much personal reasons. And there was a lot of stuff going on with the band, a lot of problems within the band, and we were just pretty much burned out from constant touring and studio work, and you don’t have any time to deal with your private life. I left and I had a very young daughter when I left in ’83; she was only three years old, and I wanted to spend some time with her. That was the first time. I came back in ’94. The guys asked me to rejoin. I did the Walk on Water album, and that was great. It was a great experience. But there was still a lot of stuff going down in the band that I didn’t really want to deal with. They still had a lot of inner kind of tension going on there, and I chose not to tour, which, in hindsight, turned out to be the right choice. And I’ve said this before, as much as I love and admire Michael, he’s an amazing guy, there was a lot of problems with him and stability-wise with the band. I just didn’t feel like I wanted to be in a band that was that unstable at that time. They asked me to come back in 2005, and I knew that Vinnie was in the band, and initially I came back and did one show for them, because Jason had left and they had a show booked in Spain. So the moment I did that show and got to play with the guys again, and with Vinnie, it was just such a pleasurable experience that they asked, “Will you stay?” And I said, “Yeah.” You know, this is really what it’s all about, what I remember UFO being and how it should be, so …

That seems to be the history of UFO. People leave and then return. What keeps everybody coming back?
AP: Well, you know, I think the whole thing is, when that band is good, it’s the best band in the world. That’s just like anything, you know. If anything’s good, you always want to go back to it. And like I said, my reasons for leaving … they certainly weren’t musical. I mean, I just loved the guys. We’ve spent so much time together now we can pretty much read each other’s thoughts. That’s a great feeling to be onstage and kind of … it really helps when you kind of know how the other guys play. Having said that, of course, Pete [Way] isn’t in the band right now, which is somewhat of a shame. I mean, obviously, we miss him gravely. I mean, he’s such a huge part of UFO; he has his own problems to deal with right now and obviously, we’re hoping that he’s going to get himself sorted out and be back some time  soon.

What was UFO like in 1969 when you guys first formed? Was there a real close friendship between the guys?
AP: Well, [we were] a lot younger (laughs). I think, obviously, it was ’69. I mean when I joined, Phil and Pete and Mick, the original guitar player, knew each other already. I don’t know how long they’d known each other. Probably not that long, a year or so. So we were all pretty new together … in ’69 to ’83, we’re talking 14 years of just being close to those guys, especially Phil and Pete. Michael left fairly early on, but I know of so many situations and so much stress, you know, good times, bad times, you can’t help but get close. You either get close or you get distant, you know what I’m saying? So I think the fact that we’re still buddies today and still doing it speaks for itself. You know, through the ‘70s with Michael, we were together so much of the time all those rough corners rub off. Now it’s just so easy. And there’s a very deep friendship there. I mean, it wasn’t always kind of noticeable, but you know, you can feel it. There’s a real good bond there deep down. It’s very comfortable these days.

When Mick Bolton left the group and you were experimenting with a couple of different guitarists, you settled on Michael. What did that do to the band’s sound?
AP: Oh well, I think from the very first time we saw him, we realized that this guy was something special. And you know, obviously, the band was hungry back then. We were looking to make a name for ourselves. When you see a person of that caliber, there’s no doubt. That’s the guy we wanted. I mean, I think it took us in a great direction. I think we really kind of found a direction for ourselves when Michael joined. We started off, like I said, in a kind of bluesy style, and we’d gone through our kind of space-rock era, and then Mick left – that’s Mick, not Michael, so we don’t get them confused - and then we had Larry Wallis, who ended up with the Pink Fairies and had a very different guitar style, and Bernie Marsden, [who had] a very blues-rock kind of style. He ended up with Whitesnake, as you know. But when we hit on Michael, all of a sudden, we said, “Yes. This is what we’re looking for. This is the sound.” And it really worked, as you can tell. We enjoyed a lot of success with Michael; just basically a lot of the problems were just our schedule. I mean, it was just constant touring and the rest of the time in the studio. So people had put their lives on hold, and that can only go on for so long I think.

You talked about going from blues to space-rock, and then with Michael stepping in, you got more of a heavy-metal sound. So much was happening musically at that time in Britain in the ‘60s. How much were you guys influenced by what was going on around you?
AP: Well, that’s an interesting thing … I never remember us being … in other words us listening to something and saying, “That’s how we want to sound,” or “That’s what we want to do,” or “This is where we want to go.” I said this before, with UFO, it was pretty much … I mean, obviously, you’re influenced. I mean, you listen to people. Like my biggest influence has always been John Bonham. I just loved the way that guy played from the first time I heard him. And that kind of changed my way of looking at the drum kit, you know. Before that, I listened to Ginger Baker, Mitch Mitchell, Keith Moon – all the great British drummers. And they all had an influence, but when I heard John Bonham, I said, “That’s the direction I want to go.” But obviously you don’t consciously try to play like them. It’s just you listen to those influences and I think that’s the same with the band. I mean, Phil obviously had influences from vocalists and Pete from bassists. But, you know, as I said before, we never tried to follow a trend or sound, or actually manufacture our sound. It just was pretty much take your influences, mix them all up and see what you come out with.

Early on, in the very early ‘70s, you had albums that didn’t fare so well in your own country but did in other countries – France, Germany, Japan. What was it that changed with the mid-‘70s albums – Phenomenon, Force It, No Heavy Petting?
AP: You know, Peter, that’s a difficult question. I think it’s just right place, right time. We still don’t know why those first couple of albums were so successful in Japan and Germany. I tend to think it was because the record companies got behind them more than maybe they did in England and America. And of course, once we signed with Chrysalis, those first three albums … that was a really up-and-coming company. They had some clout and they had a great guy running the show in the States. And I think they really got behind them after that. And for a release, back then, it made a helluva lot of difference. You know, you got airplay, and that’s really what it was all about. I mean, we managed to get out there and play gigs. I mean, that’s what I would put it out to. Other than the fact that we were playing the kind of music they wanted to hear back then, which was obviously a great part of it. But if nobody hears it, it’s not going to become that popular, is it? So, I think at that time, I will put it down to the record company, and that’s maybe why those early albums did better in some countries than in others.

Why did you guys name yourself after that London club of the same name? Was there something special about that club?
AP: I think it just looked great. When those posters were up everywhere in the last night of that club … and it just looked really good on the poster; I mean, there were just these posters all over. And then we were driving back from a gig somewhere; I can’t even remember what we were called then. But it wasn’t UFO. We were looking for a new name. We weren’t happy with the name we had. And we were just driving through London late at night and there were these posters up there saying UFO. And we thought, man, that looks really good. And so we stole the name (laughs). It was as simple as that. But it was great. It really catches your eye, you know, if you see it on a poster. It really jumps out at you – simple and to the point.

Did you guys ever get to play that club?
AP: No. Well, I didn’t because I was kind of younger than the other guys. I think Phil spent some time there. It was kind of one of these sort of underground music clubs. So, no, because I didn’t really stay until it was closing, I actually never played there. But I believe Phil … I don’t know if the band ever played there, but I know he used to go there.

When you guys recorded that first album with Michael, Phenomenon, what was the recording process like for that record? Did you find it easy to record that record?
AP: Yes, because of Leo, Leo Lyons. It was great. I was a huge Ten Years After fan. To me, that was such a treat, getting to have Leo as a producer. And he’s just a fabulous guy. He made it so easy, you know. He had great ideas and he was really easy to work with, and of course, you know, who could not like it? You had a great record company, great producer and a budget, and you’re making an album with an excellent band. We had the world at our feet, as it were. So, yeah, I mean that was one of the highlights of my life. 

And that time, that mid-‘70s, that was really a peak for you guys.
AP: Oh yeah, it was. That was a great time. Up till the end of the ‘70s, I mean, when Michael moved on. Saying that, we did some great stuff in the early ‘80s too with Paul Chapman. You know, he had some big shoes to fill and he did an admirable job. And sometimes, people forget that, with No Place o Run, Mechanix – you know, there’s some great stuff on those albums.

That’s always been the case with UFO. There’s always somebody that’s been able to step in and fill a void and has always had big shoes to fill.
AP: Yeah, yeah. It’s difficult, because there are a lot of great guitar players out there, but it’s not just the music, is it? You’ve got to be able to get along, especially in those days when we spent so much time together. And that’s one of the great things about Vinnie. Not only is he an amazing player, but he’s also a really great guy. And that really does make a difference. You know, I think a lot of great bands have suffered because the people just couldn’t get along.

What was it do you think about that mid-‘70s lineup that just had that certain magic?
AP: I don’t know, but it just did, didn’t it? It was just like I said, right place at the right time and like I said, we were hungry, you know. We wanted to make a name for ourselves. But you know, you had this great vocalist, this incredible guitar player and this maniac on bass strutting around the stage with his arm flailing. It was just … and you know, and Paul Raymond, I still sometimes look at that guy today and go, man, he’s just so underrated. But you know, I don’t think people realize what a great job he does. I mean, he’s there playing keys, singing, playing guitar. I mean, playing guitar upside down for starters, being left-handed. He’s just a real solid guy to have in a band. He and I work so well together. I’ve got the greatest admiration for him as a musician. I think it was just an excellent band, and like I said, we were in the right place at the right time.

Do you have a favorite album among those?
AP: You know, Strangers [in the Night]is probably still my favorite, not because I don’t like the studio albums, but I think I always felt that if you wanted to see the real UFO, you’d see ‘em live. I always felt that we made great studio albums, but this band [always] was really a live band. And of course, Strangers was to me, and still is, one of my favorite UFO albums because it really just summed up UFO to me.

Among the studio albums do you have a favorite?
AP: Um, you know what? That’s difficult. I’m pretty happy with the last one, The Visitor. Yeah, because, you know, I love them all. You know, the fact that we can still turn out and play that good now, and I really enjoyed making the last one. It’s a different experience, these days, you know. It’s a lot quicker, and a lot more efficient, but I just think that after 20 studio albums to be able to turn out an album of that quality … and there are some great songs on it. I’m really happy with it.

That is an amazing accomplishment, to have turned out 20 studio albums. Looking back on it, that’s got to fill all you guys with a sense of pride.
AP: Absolutely, yeah.

After the 2000s, you were kind of looking at the band from afar until you went back with them. Did you hear any of the early 2000s music the band was making?
AP: You know, I have to be totally honest with you. I was completely out of the … I was working a job for my family. I was very deeply involved in the industrial side of the world, and I wasn’t really listening at all to music of any kind to be honest. Having said that, I’ve gone back now and listened to it now, like I said, Showtime and You Are Here, and Sharks is another one, because we played some of the songs when I rejoined the band. We were doing some of the songs from those albums, so I had to go back and have a listen. There was some great material there. I mean, they had Aynsley Dunbar playing drums at one point, who has always been an idol of mine. He’s a great player, and Jason, of course. So I did go back and listen, and yeah, there’s some good stuff. And I don’t think these guys have ever turned out any bad material. Obviously, it changes over the years, and some people did like it better than others, some people don’t, you know. But I think it’s certainly an incredible body of work.

Do you have a favorite moment from your touring days in the mid-‘70s?
AP: Yeah, you know, I think if I had to decide, I think the Day on the Green in Oakland with Bill Graham [a concert series the famed promoter put on]. You know, that’s the kind of thing that makes you think you’ve arrived. I mean, he was such a great guy. It was such a tragedy for him to lose his life that way. But he was always great for us, you know. He really treated us well and doing those shows with him, they were just incredible.

As the ‘70s went on and you guys completed Obsession, did it seem like Michael was ready to pull away at that point?
AP: Yeah, well, I think we pretty much knew I think that Michael was … but Mike, like I said before, everyone was pretty much burned. We had just been working hectic for years. I think everyone needed some space, Michael especially. I know that … well, we had warning that Strangers would be his last tour with us. Yeah, you know, it was a shame because I think had he stayed with the band we could have gone on to bigger and better things. We were really doing well up to that point, although like I said, we went on with Paul and we made some [great] stuff. You know, I think we kind of lost the momentum when Michael left, and you know, a lot of people felt that. It was a shame, but hey, you know, no point worrying over it. It is what it is, you know. And the band did some great stuff afterwards, so in hindsight, it was a shame because the band was doing so well then. But if people aren’t happy, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of point to it. That’s always been my theory. If you don’t enjoy doing it, then you shouldn’t be doing it.

You mentioned the burnout factor, was part of it to that Michael wanted to stretch out a little bit musically?
AP: Maybe, but I think he didn’t want to tour as much. And UFO has always been a touring band. You know, that was difficult for him. He didn’t … and it’s tough. When you’re on the road that much, away from your family, away from your friends, it’s very difficult and it does take its toll on you. Some people are more cut out for it than others, you know. I just don’t think it suited Michael that much. He wanted to be more of a studio musician for a while and put down some roots. And I can see that. It was very tough. My first marriage ended from that, and maybe two of Pete’s (laughs). He’s on his fifth or sixth now, I’ve lost count (laughs). I mean, it’s difficult. Any guy in the band will tell you how difficult that is. And [there were] no hard feelings. Michael had to do what he had to do. I just think in hindsight it was a crucial time for the band. We were just … we were on the back of some successful albums, and I think we could have pushed it over had we stayed together. Like I said, you know, water under the bridge now.

Being a band that did tour a lot, what did you guys like about it?
AP: Oh, I mean, you can’t beat playing to people. That’s the thing. Studios are great. You can sit back and listen to something you created, but it’s that feedback you get from the crowd when you’re in form and they’re enjoying it … there’s just no substitute for that. Even nowadays, I love that, the fact that we’re still able to go out and play, albeit smaller gigs now than maybe we were playing in the ‘70s, but that has its upside too. They’re a lot more personal, you can get to really enjoy the crowd rather than being sort of separated from them by large space. You know, there’s just no substitute for playing live to people.

What do you guys do to get through … the boredom of the road. What did you do to get through that?
AP: I never really thought about it. Read, watch movies, play and then you go home I guess. I mean, to be honest, the logistics of the thing take up a lot of the time. We sleep a lot because you’re up early traveling and up late playing, so you never get some time to sleep. That’s always good, but I think we just keep busy, just like you would as anyone else does. Obviously, not so much with stimulants and things these days, that kind of thing has passed. In the old days, I think that was a lot of the problem with bands. There was always so much time and boredom [that] you tend to end up drinking and whatever. That’s kind of calmed down a lot these days. So we’re just normal people who do normal things (laughs). I’m sure that’s boring. Nobody wants to hear that, do they? (laughs) We do watch a lot of movies on the bus when we’re traveling and listen to a lot of music. And we’ve got computers nowadays too. I mean, Vinnie’s online a lot of the time.

I suppose that has changed how you tour?
AP: You know he’s got kids and they’re on the web cam. That would have changed things a lot back in the ‘70s if we’d had that technology, to keep in touch and see your family.

How did you guys tour back then, van or bus?
AP: We had a bus. I mean, the very early couple of tours we flew everywhere because I guess you could then. There was an awful lot of flying, flying and rental cars in secure airports. Security was a lot easier then, but we pretty much soon graduated to a bus and that’s the way to go. It’s like a little home on wheels, and it’s lot less stressful, especially nowadays with the airport security. But yeah, and nowadays, we don’t tend to take the whole show, the lights and the PA. They’re pretty much provided at the venue so we don’t have a trailer with the backline. That’s kind of nice and easy.

What is the future of UFO?
AP: More of the same hopefully. I mean, you know, like I said, the band’s playing great and sounding great, so I just hope it continues for as long as possible. Everybody’s happy to be back and I think the band still has a lot to offer. We’re getting ready to start work on material for another album, so hopefully, in the new year, there’ll be something out again – no. 21. So that’s something to look forward to, but yeah, as I said, I mean, we’ve got the greatest fans. They’re so loyal and they’ve stuck with us over the years. Hopefully, we won’t disappoint them.

Andy Parker Official Website: click here 

Memorabilia market makes room for Punk collectibles

When staunchly classic auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s host sales related to a popular culture era, you know the market is on to something.
Of course, when that something is punk rock, more than a few traditionalists were scratching their heads. But with a handsome sale result of $747,300, the Christie’s Punk/Rock sale in late 2008 confirmed what rock and roll memorabilia collectors and auction houses like Backstage Auctions already knew: Punk is hot.
“Punk, at the time, was not a musical genre that was meant to be collected,” said Jacques van Gool of Backstage Auctions. “Punk was an expression, and punk was a statement, and punk was something you lived. Punk wasn’t something you put in a plastic sleeve and put in a display case.”
Collectors today want to do just that, and they are willing to pay handsomely for the privilege. But finding a mint-condition punk collectible is a bit like finding a needle-toting unicorn in a haystack.
“Punk collectibles were not necessarily handled with care, so to find anything for that matter that is still in pristine condition is an exception, rather than the rule,” van Gool said. “If you had a punk T-shirt, the first thing you would do is rip holes in it. If you had a punk poster, the first thing you’d do is tape it on your wall and put stickers on it and write on it.”
But the other reason it’s tough to find top-shelf, mint-condition punk collectibles comes back the golden law of economics: supply and demand.
“I think what makes a mint punk collectible so rare is it wasn’t meant to be kept, and because there was a very small quantity, the survival rate is low,” van Gool said. “We can all ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ about the first Beatles album on Capitol Records from 1964, which is still worth a lot of money in mint condition, but what people forget is there were hundreds of thousands of copies. When you’re looking for a punk single, you’re lucky if they pressed 200 or 1,000 copies.”
Our Market Watch feature has hosted a variety of hot-selling punk records in recent months.
As for punk memorabilia, there’s one thing that van Gool will always associate with the punk movement.
“When I think of punk, I think of buttons,” van Gool said. “You couldn’t walk the street and see a punk rocker without 20 or 30 buttons.”
In the eBay collectible world, punk buttons are an easy buy — not to mention a great choice for collectors who may be strapped for storage space, or even funds.
A single Clash pinback recently sold for $52, but that kind of premium tends to be the exception rather than the rule in online auctions.
By comparison: A collection of 100 metal, punk, hardcore and ska buttons and badges sold for $16.99; a group of The Cramps’ pins sold for $11; and a group of Iggy Pop and The Stooges pins sold for $8. Collections featuring Screeching Weasel plus Sloppy Seconds, The Ramones, Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer and NOFX each sold for about $6.
Another hot collectible these days? Vintage T-shirts. “That entirely has to do with the fact that 5, 6 years ago, vintage concert T-shirts became fashionable, so they were all of a sudden in style, and it was cool to be seen with a 1976 Peter Frampton T-shirt or a 1974 Blue Oyster Cult T-shirt,” van Gool said.
A collection of vintage T-shirts that featured a 1984 The Clash “Out of Control” shirt, as well as shirts from Scorpions, Billy Squier, ZZ Top and Quiet Riot, recently sold for $225 online.
-Susan Sliwicki - Goldmine Magazine