You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I have always loved classic rock. It started in high school when I discovered my cousin’s collection of Janis Joplin and Rolling Stones records. Whenever I had the apartment to myself I would turn the music up and lip sync to “Ball and Chain”. I had to keep this a well hidden secret as I was a chubby, pimply, over-protected, Jewish girl whose love of a genre that was clearly too cool for her would have been met with hostility and ridicule had it been discovered. Although I didn’t dare make an attempt to attend a heavy metal concert or wear the big hair, eye makeup and spandex trousers that are required clothing at metal events, I always was intrigued by their world. Something about the rebellion and anger of rock and roll resonated with me in spite of my undeniable geekiness. Having been picked on I understood the need to fight back.
So, when Wickid Pissa Publicity owner Josh Mitchell invited me to a press conference for Matt Sorum’s “Rock N Roll Allstars” at the Roxy, I jumped at the chance.
Rock N Roll All-stars will tour South and Central America in April and May. The band is comprised of an dazzling array of rock legends including: Gene Simmons (KISS), Joe Elliott (Def Leppard), Matt Sorum (Velvet Revolver, Gun N’ Roses), Duff McKagan (Velvet Revolver, Gun N’ Roses), Gilby Clarke (Gun N’ Roses, Rock Star Supernova),* Glenn Hughes (Black Country Communion, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath), Ed Roland (Collective Soul), Sebastian Bach (Skid Row), Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), Mike Inez (Alice in Chains) and Billy Duffy (The Cult). The best thing is that they will all be playing on the same stage at the same time. The tour begins on April 19th, in Lima, Peru.
I braved an endless ride from Long Beach on the MTA to get to the conference (it ain’t easy being green.) As the bus inched its way down The Sunset Strip I was reminded of a night, three years ago, when my then boyfriend, Chris and I had driven down the same street to meet a man for whom I was circulating petitions. I was unemployed and near homeless and this particular individual kept putting off paying his circulators. I was down to my last two dollars. My vision was impaired from a mixture of cheap vodka and hysterical tears. The famous clubs had flown past us in a nightmarish blur. It seemed so astonishing to me that I was about to go to one of the clubs as an invited guest of a real publicity company and everything. It reminded me what an incredibly brutal city LA can be at times and what a curious wonderland it can be at others.
I arrived at The Roxy to find a crowd of reporters and photographers milling around the entrance. I felt pretty cool standing there with them as people drove by, undoubtedly wondering what was going on. We all went inside and I chose a seat in the corner where I could watch everything. A sound man rushed about yelling at his crew. He ran the cables literally behind my chair and I was a bit afraid I was going to lean back and cause some sort of technical disaster.
I felt almost like a real journalist sitting in this crowd. The tiny club was packed with cameras; Reuters was there! I was amazed at how successful Josh and his publicity company had become after just a few months in LA. I know people who’ve been here for ten years and have never gotten anywhere.
The conference started and several of the stars were there. Gene Simmons (OMG), Matt Sorum (Yowza), Duff McKagan, Gilby Clarke, Sebastian Bach and Glenn Hughes all came walking out on stage. It was surreal to see them all sitting next to each other. It was like Wayne and Garth’s heads exploded onstage. Gene Simmons wore a glittery jacket and most of them wore shades. I found this a bit unnerving. You can never really pinpoint where someone is looking when they are wearing sun glasses.
I swear Gene was looking at me. I imagined he was thinking, ‘who is that gross woman’ or ‘who let the dorks in’, or something.
They said the band was the brainchild of Matt Sorum who is also the only drummer. They said they were all looking forward to touring South America and that they had no plans for a live album.
Sebastian Bach broke out into song a few times. When asked what songs they would play he said, “All the hits, man!”
One reporter asked if there would be a meet and greet with the fans after the concerts. The official answer was no. I laughed a bit at this; you have to admit, this line-up is every groupies dream.
Gene Simmons answered questions in several different tongues (ha) including Spanish, German and English.
As the conference ended Simmons said that he was, “looking forward to having a vacation on stage with my best friends.”
The next morning I sat in my cube at work, chained to my phone by headset answering endless diarrhea questions from slow-witted customers. I couldn’t help but envy those few people who get to do what they love.
Oh, well, at least I can still go home, turn down the lights and drown my sorrows in rock and roll!
Here is a schedule of the tour:
April 19 – Lima, Peru
April 21 – Sao Luis, Brazil
April 22 – Sao Paulo, Brazil
April 24 – Asuncion, Paraguay
April 26 – Buenos Aires, Argentina
April 28 – Santiago, Chile
April 30 – Guatemala City, Guatemala
May 02 – San Jose, Costa Rica
May 4 – Panama City, Panama
May 5 – Bogota, Columbia