What Was New - 2001

November 13, 2001
Last night I caught the "Music As A Weapon Tour" - featuring DISTURBED, DROWNING POOL, ADEMA, STEREOMUD and SYSTEMATIC. Every band mentioned their music being a weapon against pop and terrorism, with many songs being dedicated to Osama. Only saw last couple songs from SYSTEMATIC so I still have no opinion on them, but they had a surprisingly large crowd going totally sick for them. I was impressed by STEREOMUD, it is always tough to get into a band live not knowing their stuff at all but these guys rocked and I even realized they had a tune on the radio - "Pain". ADEMA didn't do anything for me. Then it was time for people I did know - DROWNING POOL. Everyone knows their big hit "Bodies" - 'let the bodies hit the floor...' but their whole debut CD really kicks. They did all the right things to prove themselves to me - came on stage to IRON MAIDEN'S "Die With Your Boots On", did a little Gene Simmons traditional stage banter and a chorus of KISS's "I Love It Loud" and quoted lines from Fight Club. Finally it was time for DISTURBED - and they did not disappoint. This is by far the best of the current crop of new rock acts. They played their entire debut CD and one new tune called 'Prayer' I think. Check out Boston Globe review.

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October 31, 2001
Well U2 was phenomenal, I've never heard anyone sound better inside the Providence Civic Center (now Dunkin Donuts Center!?!) and it was a great place to see them since it is about the smallest place they play. The set list was a great mix of hits - going all the way back to their first single "Out of Control" - and new material. U2 has just finished a week of shows in NYC and are still riding high on the emotion, Bono commented on have 47 firemen on stage at one show and was surprised how close he could ever feel to men in uniform. This show featured more American flags than Irish and Bono even said "Osama bin Laden can kiss my royal Irish ass" at one point. The most moving moment was during the second encore, they played "One" while a seemingly never ending list of names of victims from the flights of September 11 and the NYPD and FDNY members who were lost scrolled behind them. There is not a better band you could see during these times - so many of there songs take on new meaning and importance, most of the latest album seem like they could have all been written on Sept 12.
Click here for the set list and Boston Globe review.

October 30, 2001
We took a quick vacation to Orlando, Florida last week. We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and hung around Universal Studios and Islands of Advenutre mostly. Also saw Cirque Du Soliel and Disney's Animal Kingdom. Of course Larry The Lizard joined us - check out his photos.

October 3, 2001
Saw Neil Diamond last night at the Fleet Center in Boston. An amazing 2 hour and 15 minute show by a guy in his 60's who can still belt out the tunes. He is still as good live as his fans have claimed for many years. Read the review from The Boston Globe.

September 30, 2001
After so many people told me I had to see it, I finally saw "Rock Star". And I liked it much more than I expected - yeah, all the Hollywood cliché crap happens before its over but I loved the ride from fan to star. I'm such an 80's metal head I even liked the "Steel Dragon" original tunes. "Steel Dragon" is the fictional band in the movie - as opposed to Judas Priest, which is the real basis of the story. Saturday night I saw "Zoolander" and thought it was hilarious and original. Ben Still and Owen Wilson are both a riot and Will Ferrel follows up his great supporting performance in "Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back" with another killer role.

Two great flicks, plus Bernard Hopkins beat Felix Trinidad, and even the lowly New England Patriots won! What a weekend.

September 25, 2001
On Saturday September 22nd, we completed principal photography of the first short movie from PlasticVille Productions - "We've Got Johnny." You can learn tons more by visiting the official web site - www.GotJohnny.com. Also be sure to check out what that patriotic lizard - Larry is up to.

September 14, 2001
I had tickets to see John Mellencamp last night, but after all the horrible mayhem hitting this country since Tuesday, including one of my friends losing his father on American flight 11 - I didn't think going to a concert was the proper thing to do. I was surprised the show wasn't canceled. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go, wasn't sure if I should go. I didn't think anybody would be going. But I realized that a concert hall is the closest I have to a place of worship, and it might just help everyone feel a bit normal again, so off we went. In fact, everybody went. The Tweeter Center was packed. Packed with an upbeat crowd that looked more like it belonged at the Boston Pops 4th of July show. American flags of all sizes were everywhere and most people were wearing red, white & blue.

I've been at plenty of shows were chants of OZZY, OZZY, OZZY erupted and it isn't uncommon for crowds at shows in New England to burst into "Yankees Suck" chants. But this is the first time I've been at a show where the crowd just keeps bursting forth with USA, USA, USA! With the house lights on and long before Mellencamp took the stage - the crowd spontaneously sang the National Anthem. Everyone on their feet, singing, screaming, crying - it was amazing.

The show itself - fantastic. They opened with a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" and they never stopped. The crowd chanted USA between every song and John didn't talk at all - just cranked out the music. His songs were sung like new patriotic anthems - "Jack and Diane", "Small Town", "Authority Song", R.O.C.K in the U.S.A. and "Pink Houses". I would have bet my soul that you would never find me screaming the chorus to Pink Houses at the top of my lungs with tears in my eyes - but there I was, loving it.

"Oh but ain't that America for you and me
Ain't that America somethin' to see baby
Ain't that America home of the free
Little pink houses for you and me"

At the end of the night he thanked everyone for coming out, thanked us because he needed it too.

August 8, 2001
Yesterday, despite temperatures in the high 90's, was the BEST OZZFEST EVER! Saw 13 bands through the course of the day. They used three different stages this year - all equipped with revolving floors so it was only 5-10 minutes between bands. Went in to the show about 12:30 - way earlier than I ever bothered in past years. We could hear NONPOINT playing as we walked in, but by time we got to the second stage NO ONE was playing - and they were no one to me so we wandered around. Went back to stake out a position in front of the second stage for the afternoon and saw full set of new band BEAUTIFUL CREATURES - traditional hard rock reminding me of L.A. Guns and Skid Row. Next up was DROWNING POOL, whose debut CD I own and like, so I was psyched. The second stage is in a nice wooded area offering much needed shade. After a few moments I heard someone cranking up some Drowning Pool - then I notice lots of people going right by the stage I was at. Finally I go take a peak around the bend and see an entire other stage has been set up in the parking lot - and there is Drowning Pool playing right now! I run back to where I thought they were going to play to grab Lori and we head out into the packed parking lot third stage in the 95 degree heat. We only get to see three songs by the time we get close enough, but thankfully the last tune was their current hit "Bodies", and it rocked. Kid near us even passed out landing flat on his face just as the the lines "Let the bodies hit the floor" was being chanted. Awesome. Then came TAPROOT (they did nothing for me), UNION UNDERGROUND ( I love their tune - "Turn Me On Mr. Deadman"), they got the crowd moving again and sounded a lot like PowerMan 5000. Next was MUDVAYNE - a band I don't know well at all but whom lots of "the kids" were there to see. They wear full head makeup and were fun to watch and the mosh pits really kicked into gear. Could even see lead singer of DISTURBED rockin' out on the side of the stage. I did recognize one tune - "Dig" from WAAF.

Next the action moved to the main stage for ZAKK WYLDE'S BLACK LABEL SOCIETY - Zakk is Ozzy's old guitarist from before he "retired", but I didn't pay much attention. Then was CRAZY TOWN who should have been playing at 10am to an empty field as far as I'm concerned. Then came someone I was really looking forward to DISTURBED. They get my vote as THE band of the day. I love their debut CD "The Sickness" and they sound great live. They had everyone on their feet with powerful renditions of their tunes like "Down With The Sickness", and "Stupify". They even cover Tears For Fears' "Shout" and pulled in singers from earlier bands for a little tribute to last year's OzzFest with a cover of PANTERA's "Walk."

Next up LINKIN PARK - a mix of rap and rock. I hated the tunes that rapped too much, while their rockin was ok. Their big hit "One Step Closer To The Edge" was great. PAPA ROACH was the next band and they are way better live than on record. Much more hard rockin - every song a little faster and ballsier than on their CD. Their lead singer Coby Dick is really a great front man, he was quite funny. Today was also my first introduction to SLIPKNOT, probably the most wacked out band I've ever seen - 9 guys in matching jumpsuits, all wearing masks. At first I thought they were just freaks making noise, by the end of the set they were freaks making noise that I liked. Next another highlight, MARILYN MANSON, this was my third time seeing Marilyn and they opened with my two favs off Antichrist Superstar, "Irresponsible Hate Anthem", and "The Reflecting God". They just ripped through a nonstop, tight hour long set including "Dope Show", "Sweet Dreams", and "Beautiful People". Marilyn was in such a giving mood he even shoved the face of one unlucky female fan into his G-string wearing crotch during "Sweet Dreams".

By the time BLACK SABBATH came out I was wiped out - they sounded good enough but after all day hearing all the 20 plus year old songs I've already heard live before just didn't energize me much. Ozzy was still fun with his soaking of the crowd via buckets and water guns and his little shuffle steps around that stage and quickly running back to center stage so he could see his teleprompter for next lyric. We took off when they still had about 15 minutes of show left. But since we still sat in line trying to get out of the parking lot - many people had had enough and tried to leave early.

And the next morning - no voice and ringing ears. A sure sign of a kick ass time.

August 4, 2001
Continuing my musical Year of Diversity - I grabbed tickets to OzzFest for next Tuesday and Neil Diamond (Shut up, I bet the old man will rock!) for October. I didn't really care about OzzFest this year - but over the course of the summer I've gotten into Disturbed, Drowning Pool and lots of other new stuff on this year's bill.

The reviews are very mixed but I did like "Planet of the Apes". Thought it was fun from start to finish - unlike "Jurassic Park II" which I only liked parts of. The best movies you can see this summer are still "Memento" and "Moulin Rouge".

July 23, 2001
Saw Brian Setzer last night and he totally rocked. Saw him a few years ago with his full orchestra, but current tour is just a trio, dubbed the '68 Comeback Special, playing lots of smokin' rockabilly tunes. Highly recommend the show and his latest CD "Ignition".

July 20, 2001
Metallica's James Hetfield has entered an undisclosed rehab facility to treat alcoholism and other addictions - the band has cancelled all activities, including work on their new album and a July 29 launch party for the website - see the statement from Metallica.

July 9, 2001
Saw Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers last night and they were fantastic. Just out on tour for fun with no new album to push they cranked through tons of classics and some fun covers including "Dirty Water", which I'm surprised more bands don't cover when they visit Boston. Jackson Browne opened the show and he sounded great too.

Was supposed to have seen the Poison Glam Slam Metal thing Saturday but did a bachelor party debauchery day of paintball, booze and strippers that was much cooler.

June 28, 2001
Larry The Lizard has already taken another trip - he just got back from Greece. Check it out at www.LarryTheLizard.com

On Sunday night, July 1 (My Birthday!), VH1 is premiering a new documentary - KISS: Beyond the Makeup. The two hour documentary features new interviews with the band in full make-up. Plus, we got to venture into their tape vault. So tune in to witness rare footage, never-before-seen by the public.

By now you've probably heard of the latest and ultimate KISS collectible, the KISS Kasket! The price is $4500.00 (unsigned) and $5000.00 (signed).

The "KISS® Kasket" is completely covered with a specially laminated photomural that features the KISS® logo and the images of the band members. The words "KISS® Forever" are imprinted on the side of the casket. In addition, "KISS® Kasket" can also be used as a Giant KISS® Cooler, enabling fans and their friends to enjoy ice-cold sodas and beer served directly from the ice-filled, completely waterproof "KISS® Kasket."

"This is the ultimate KISS collectible, " said Gene Simmons. "I love livin', but this makes the alternative look pretty damn good."

In other KISS news: Gene Simmons is set to publish his autobiography, Crown has bought the demon's memoirs, "Kiss and Make Up," and will publish 100,000 copies of the book next January. Simmons, who was born Chaim Witz in Israel, is the Yeshiva-educated son of a concentration camp survivor. "Kiss and Make Up" will recount his poverty-stricken childhood, the rise and fall of KISS and his romances with such women as Cher and Diana Ross. In an unusual collaboration, Simmons has enlisted Ben Greenman, a writer for the New Yorker, to help with the writing.

June 17, 2001
Saw "Moulin Rouge" today and it is just a flat out awesome film. An amazingly energetic musical fantasy combining pop songs of today with Paris of 1899. The sets, art direction, and costumes are all stunning and the film has many hilarious moments as well as romantic ones. The music covered everything from Whitney Houston and Madonna to Nirvana and KISS. I can't remember this much sheer fun at the movies. From the very first frame it creates its own world - melding time, cultures and film styles. If you are an open-minded, adventurous movie goer see "Moulin Rouge" (and "Memento"), if you have the typical American mall mentality, you can stick with the standard Hollywood summer schlock of "Pearl Harbor" and "Tomb Raider."

June 7, 2001
We made it back from Alaska. Here are a few photos for now. Lots more at www.LarryTheLizard.com. That Larry always seems to get his site updated before me.

May 22, 2001
Heading off for vacation in Alaska. We will be doing a glacier trek and adventure cruise. This will be our first vacation since our honeymoon where we will have electricity every night and people will be speaking English.

April 2, 2001
Saw an awesome movie this weekend that you all should make sure to see - "Memento." It is an independent film that has been complete for some time, but has finally been released. It is a film noir about a guy suffering from a condition that leaves him with no short term memory. The film is structured so that the audience has no memory either. A very fun and challenging film that you can debate for days after seeing it.

March 31, 2001
VH1 has a cool show premiering the weekend - Top 40 Hair Bands of All Time. Hosted by Dee Snider, its a great trip through the 80's. Coming in at #31 - TESLA. Who I am very psyched to be seeing next week in Boston. In my book they are one of the most under appreciated bands of the 80's. They were better musicians than bigger bands, wrote some great songs and didn't bother with any image or shtick.

My 2001 Concert Season

March 3, 2001
Saw GODSMACK and STAIND last night in Worcester. Each time I see GODSMACK I like them more and I was surprisingly impressed by STAIND. The show was special because it was filmed for a DVD release this summer. The whole audience was lit and the floor broke out in multiple pits with people trying to show off for the cameras.

February 11, 2001
Larry The Lizard now has his own web site, check it out - www.LarryTheLizard.com

Starting tonight at 9pm ET and finishing on Wednesday at 8pm - the rock star version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" on ABC. Look for Gene Simmons and Lars Ulrich.

KISS has confirmed that Eric Singer will appear in Peter Criss's makeup and costume when he takes over drumming duties. This is really making everyone involved look like total tools. Earlier this week Peter Criss released a statement saying that he left the band because they nixed negotiations with him to complete the Farewell Tour. "It is unfortunate that Gene and Paul chose to terminate their association with me," Criss said. "I am healthy and will truly miss performing."

Gene Simmons recently stressed that Peter is out for Japan and Australia, and understood fans being upset, but did say he truly hoped Peter would play the final couple shows ever with the band, rumored to be in NYC in April/May.

Saw "Hannibal" this weekend - great sick flick. Anthony Hopkins plays a great evil genius.

February 2, 2001
From the "never ceasing to amaze me department", KISS (aka the Paul & Gene show) have dumped original drummer Peter Criss and replaced him with Eric Singer to complete the current Farewell World Tour. Ace and Peter are just back in the band as hired guns, their contracts ended at end of 2000. I guess Peter wanted more to continue and Paul & Gene called his bluff. If I get more details I'll pass them on.

METALLICA will once again use producer Bob Rock for their next album. Hottest rumors regarding new bassists include Duff McKagen - originally from Guns N Roses.

Tonight is MOTLEY CRUE on VH1 Fan Club, 10pm ET.

January 28, 2001
Well the biggest news of course is the fact the JASON NEWSTED has decided to Leave METALLICA after 14 years of kicking ass on bass. This blows. More on METALLICA.

LARS ULRICH and GENE SIMMONS will take part in a special rock star version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire". Rock episodes will air during sweeps Feb. 11 & 14. They will be playing for charity - other supposed "rockers" will include some Back Street Tools, Sisqo and a Dixie Chick or two.

"Unbreakable" will go down as my favorite film of 2000. In the last week I've finally caught "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (amazing and beautiful martial arts), "Traffic" and "Snatch" (pretty much the English 'Pulp Fiction'), - and I heartily recommend them all.

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