Tag Archives: International Music

Putting the FUN back in DysFUNction – Second Edition Book Launch

(October 12, 2017, Cutting Room, New York City) Vicky Hamilton invites all to the launch of the second edition of her all-access, kiss-and-tell life story ‘Appetite for Dysfunction: A Cautionary Tale’ in New York City on October 12.

Aiming at “putting the FUN back in DysFUNction” Vicky has added a self-penned poem and new chapter she has entitled I’m A Thunderstorm.

Leaving her hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, at just 22, Vicky arrived on the famous Sunset Strip as a wide-eyed blonde with an ear for rock n’ roll.

“I was back home interviewing Tom Petty for Three Rivers Review,” says Hamilton, “He told me I was a ‘real California girl,’ and that’s all it took.”

It was 1981 and Vicky had arrived at the center of Hollywood, where the scene was erupting in spandex, sex, cocaine, hairspray and madcap visionaries.

Hamilton discovered Guns N’ Roses and became their first manager and surrogate mother, living in her apartment as Axl Rose ducked a rape charge. “I was basically harboring a fugitive,” she says, “Axl ended up crashing on my couch for six months.”

Hamilton then negotiated GNR’s contract with Geffen Records. In 1986, she was let go and forced to sue the band to recoup the $25,000 she’d borrowed to bankroll them.

She now continues to share her stories in an explosive memoir of the woman who rode the crazy train with some of rock’s wildest frontmen, and matched their hard-partying ways.

Sober for near 20 years, Hamilton spent that last seven excavating her private collection of photos, flyers, contracts, letters, and interviews to create a revealing look into her fascinating life.

The book includes details of her turbulent relationship with Axl Rose and Poison’s Bret Michaels, her experience as an A&R Rep. for Geffen, and, above all, it’s the story of her rise and fall, and how she regained her life by becoming a Grammy Award winning executive that helped relaunch the career of June Carter Cash in 1999.

Steven Adler (Guns N’ Roses drummer) said: “Vicky was probably the best thing that happened to us in the early days. She dealt with us when nobody else would, and made everything happen for us. I’m grateful for that.”

NOW UPDATED Vicky has added an extra chapter as, going into her sixtieth year, she is still tearing up the rule-book and still putting names on the map with Love Past Blue, Diane Meyer, Damian Sage, and London’s Matt Adey at the forefront of her exploits.

“I’ve written a new chapter for the second edition which brings the book up-to-date,” added Vicky, “Appetite for Dysfunction has had a life of its own and I’m so grateful to all I’ve met on this journey.

“A little rock n’ roll heart, definitely goes a long way.”

October 12 will see Vicky Hamilton and Friends at the fabulous Cutting Room, NYC where she’ll be doing readings from her memoirs, signing (not singing, although she could be tempted on stage), and several of her acts will also perform on a night not to be missed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vicky Hamilton is a Grammy Award winning music industry executive and manager who oversaw the early careers of Guns N’ Roses, Poison, Faster Pussycat and Mötley Crüe (to name a few). She is considered one of the most successful music industry executives of her time. Appetite for Dysfunction is her unbelievably true story, told for the first-time alongside stunning images and first-hand accounts of a music executive with nearly four decades of rock & roll stories to tell.

Limited edition autographed pre-release editions and other merchandise may be ordered through Vicky’s WEBSITE 

FEATURE: All Roads Keep Leading Back ‘Home’ For Fordham

Born in Portsmouth on the south-west coast, and having emigrated from blighty to the west coast of America and now residing in California, you’d start to wonder what international soloist, Julia Fordham, has as connections to the north-east of England.

Ms Fordham’s mother still resides on Hayling Island, across the Langstone Harbour from Pompey, family heritage traces its way back to the heart of the north-east, with Tyneside values instilled in her, with Gateshead and Newcastle very much running through the family veins.

Now in her fifties the delightfully humorous, ever-smiling, blonde bombshell saw her early career, under the name of ‘Jules’ Fordham, be a backing singer for the likes of Mari Wilson (the Neasden Queen of Soul) and Kim Wilde during the eighties, going on to sign her own recording contract in the latter stages of the decade.

Working with stars of that calibre meant that the British-born star was able to make it on her and some seventeen albums later, Julia Fordham was released in 1988 and The Language of Love in 2014, are testament to the strength of character and test of time an artist is willing to endure for success.

Julia is now preparing for a trip back to the UK, and a 13 date tour in November where she’ll begin in Worthing, take in Gateshead’s Sage, and finish in Portsmouth, an intentional stopping point for her family showing that, although a million miles away, home is never far from her mind.

“My mother was born in Gateshead, Emily Street to be precise, and went to St Cuthbert’s School as well,” began Julia, who only recently found out her family heritage.

“Gran is also from Newcastle before moving over to Fleetwood and when we talk to each, there is always a hint of Geordie slipping into conversation on the phone.

“I was here two years ago as well (for the 25th Anniversary of the Porcelain Tour) so when I knew of this tour I wanted to get Gateshead in immediately. I love it here and always take in some of the sights when I come back. With mum now living on Hayling Island I’ve intentionally finished the tour there, for her.”

Often likened to Canadian singer-songwriter, and her own inspiration in Joni Mitchell, Julia has seen her career move constantly upwards since that debut album was granted platinum status and made the Billboard 200 chart; her second album, Porcelain, in 1988, was afforded a gold certification by the British Phonoraphic Industry (her only album to make the top 100 in America).

Her success on stage has seen Julia gain spots on BBC1’s Wogan chat show (April 1988) and BBC Radio 2’S Richard Madeley on Sunday show (July 2013), the latter coming a week after singer Michael Ball played her single ‘Skipping under the Rainbow’ on his own Sunday night radio show.

“Going on Madeley’s show was such a wonderful thing for me and it put me back into the spotlight,” continued an ever-beaming Julia.

“It was wonderful to be able to do that, and do something that I love; it’s because of that I will certainly be looking at making some radio appearances this time around as well, although I will be rehearsing from November 5.

“It’s been 28 years now since the first album so I’m thinking of something for the thirtieth anniversary (in 2018) but this is certainly a fickle business which we call show business but I have a very loyal and dedicated fan base and it still surprises me that they come out as much as they do – it’s nothing short of miraculous though that I can do what I have done without being with a major record label.

“It’s not tiring, and it’s not glamorous though, it’s just something that I love doing and really enjoy; coming back to Britain (she toured in 2014 on her Porcelain Tour taking in the Cadogan Hall in London, The Sage in Gateshead, and the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool, before closing at the Tivoli Theatre in Wimborne).

“I love touring the country as it’s so beautiful, it’s stunning.”

The key aspect of her upcoming tour is that it is ‘Julia Fordham – Live by Request’ and that her ever-adoring fans have been given the opportunity to, by her choosing to do something different, perform what they want to hear so they were invited to choose their favourites as she’ll “play all the hits, and throw in some surprises.”

FEATURE: Jammin In The Toon

A long history with the north-east, and one of its flagship bands, The Longsands, brings Bruce Foxton and From the Jam back to Newcastle early next month.
Consisting of Bruce Foxton, Russell Hastings, Mike Randon and Andy Fairclough, the quartet have seen From the Jam go from strength-to-strength over the past decade which has included hit albums ‘Back in the Room’ and ‘Smash the Clock’ will come to rock out the O2 Academy on their ‘A & B Sides Tour.’
Now, having been promoted by Steve Wraith in Newcastle for what is a fifth successive year, and The Longsands having been their chief support on their tour in 2009/10, their ongoing success has often been accredited to an incredible, and increasing fan-base.
“The success was made possible by you the public getting involved, for which we can’t thank you enough,” began Bruce.
Russell and I are incredibly proud to be in the charts. It is a great achievement all round; it’s just simply good music that is ageless and timeless.”
Tracks have included down the years which will be belted out on the night include: “‘Just Who Is The 5 O’clock Hero’, ‘Carnation’, ‘Aunties and Uncles’ and ‘Life from A Window,’” continued Bruce.  
“The band are also looking forward to playing ‘The Dreams of Children’, the B side to ‘Going Underground’ that was originally intended to be an A side, were it not for a mix up at the pressing plant,” 
With a tour that starts in Birmingham on September 30 at The Institute, takes in Newcastle’s O2 Academy on October 2 where they’ll be supported by The Longsands and Charlie Campbell, through places like Manchester and Edinburgh, Nottingham and Sheffield, Leeds, London and Southampton before finishing in Exeter in mid-December.
In guitarist/vocalist Russell Hastings it’s been a surreal journey alongside someone, Bruce, who is more like a twin brother than a colleague, the pair often finishing each other’s sentences, knowing what the other is going to do next, even holidaying together, well except for next year, at present at least.  
The band have actually recently returned from a tour down under as well, jet lag is often a factor with the bigger bands and something they have to get used to quickly – they’ll go back next year, the same with a return to Newcastle, after all it’s the Jam’s 40th Anniversary. 
“Yeah, we’ve been on tour in Australia for a couple weeks, we performed nine shows taking in places like the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth,” began Russell.
“The majority of the shows were sold out as well which was amazing and somewhere like Sydney, that’s just incredible really.”
Performing tracks of the last two albums, as well as the old favourites keeps the fans wanting more and, as Bruce imitated, it’s because of them that The Jam name celebrates its fortieth in 2017.
“The two albums have been really successful indeed,” continued Russell.
“We’re fortunate that people are continually raving about the music and wanting to hear us play. When I began playing myself I was only about 12 and have been in bands since I was about 14 so I’ve always played, always known music.
“I’ve played with some great guys as well, Mark (Brzezicki) and Rick (Buckler) being two of them (both former members of From the Jam). Mark is a great guy and friend of mine and we just had a really great time with it all.
“Bruce though, well I think it’s about 11 years or so we’ve known each other. We have many things in common and often go on holiday together, share a lot and often found speaking for each other for we know what the other is like.
“I actually with From the Jam because of Rick though as he wanted some help and we just went from there and the fans love it, as do we.”
Coming to Newcastle though, on October 2, is something which the band are looking forward to and, performing their A & B sides, with a few surprises, will certainly one not to miss for music fans alike.
“Newcastle is certainly a favourite venue of mine and I love going there and seeing the people,” Russell continued.  
“They’re always up for it from the word go. It can be quite daunting being in the dressing room hearing them but once we start, it’s great. I love the place and it’s a really vibrant city – we can’t wait.
“It’s not just those A’s and B’s which we’ll be playing though as this give us a chance to put on some surprises as well on the night.
“We’ve got a lot of ammunition to work with and get the crowd going so we’ll aim to start off with a big bang and just keep it going.”

Blues Legends Visit Stockton

Fast closing on their fortieth anniversary, London Blues legends, Nine Below Zero, are heading to the north-east this weekend to take on the sights and sounds of The Arc.

Formed by Dennis Greaves back in the heady days of the late seventies only three members of the early line-up remains, Greaves being flanked by Mark Feltham, who talked him into reforming the band after a brief hiatus in the mid-eighties, and Mickey Burkey.

The band you see now though are an incredible eight piece, compared to the quartet that hit the London club scene back then and it was during the inaugural years they were known as Stan’s Blues Band, playing mainly at the Thomas A’Beckett Pub on the Old Kent Road before being managed by Mickey Modem and persuaded to change their name “to something sharper,” Greaves going with Nine Below Zero after a tune penned by American blue soloist, Sonny Boy Williamson.

Successful outings, and the subsequent name change, proved beneficial, being picked up first by A&M Records, releasing their first album in 1980 entitled Live at the Marquee; twenty-odd albums later and they are still going strong, especially after playing in and around the old London suburbs saw sessions with The Kinks, The Who, even going on to headline at the Hammersmith Odeon alongside respected bluesman, Alexis Komer.

“I thought we were the only people playing blues, but when we got on the circuit I discovered there were other bands out there”, Greaves remembers. “There was Red Beans and Rice, The Blues Band, The Little Roosters, The Inmates, Dr Feel Good – it was quite a big thing.”

 

They persevered, took the capital by storm, made sound-waves that continue aplenty today.

That is, in part, down to the incredible fan base they’ve garnered down the years and, having moved with the times themselves, moulded into the Blues band that appears today.

“We went to Woolworth School and the Thomas A’Beckett club backed onto that,” Greaves continued.

“It had a lot of music and boxing shows on and we managed to get a residency with them (in those formative years). We were paid £25 for each night that we did, usually a Tuesday, but there’s been many highlights since then.

“I was asked recently what the highlights have been and you can look at the twelve nights with Eric Clapton at the Albert Hall, playing with ZZ Top, the Kinks, the Who, appearing on the South Bank Show and the Old Grey Whistle Test and The Young Ones, there’s been many a highlight.

“Then we kind of went our own way a bit. Mark (Feltham) went off and did some amazing session work for seven years and I went Los Angeles with The Truth – all I did was eat Mexican food and write songs, getting lost in the band, getting ensconced into reading and writing music.

“Then Mark called me up and said we should all get back together, which we did, so it’s his fault.

“It’s different now though, a lot different and we’ve doubled the size of the band to cope with that, now taking around an RnB extravaganza. It’s something we’ve always wanted to do and felt as though the time was right with the extra material we have.”

With an impressive back catalogue Greaves, Feltham, Burkey et al take pride in working in an ever-changing music industry and, knowing that some of the roots, that club feel, has been lost in transition, aim to keep the sounds going.

He added: “We’re just about the music and getting that club intimacy right, but we can also float in our own little ocean and be able to deliver; so long as we can do that then the fans will be there. As for the new album (13 Shades of Blue) and coming back north, we love Stockton and the venue is great, has a fantastic vibe about it.

“We’ve always done something in the area as we love what it’s about so it’s a privilege to be able to do these and we certainly think they love their RnB as well.

“As for the album, it’s dedicated to those Blues singers who have slipped under the radar and is the versatile colour and styles of the Blues.”

 

FEATURE: Global Rock Star Returns To Tyneside

Last year rock legend, Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, appeared at Newcastle’s O2 Academy where he was ably supported by Twister; the former Guns N’ Roses guitarist appearing onstage wearing a Newcastle United jersey, playing ‘Local Hero.’

Twister’s then drummer, Kyle Hughes, made that much an impression that he parted ways (on good terms it needs saying) with the band, becoming a session drummer working with Aurora Dawn and the Screamin Skulls whilst keeping in touch with, and having occasional dates with destiny, with Ron – it is a friendship that sees the duo re-unite in Newcastle as part of a mini-tour.

Ron has played music since his school days and now, forty years on, he’s still touring, as a soloist and with his own band, Art of Anarchy, playing with some of the biggest names on the planet (he’s just finished a tour with the ‘Platinum Rock All-Stars,’ with Carmine Appice (drums), Rudy Sarzo (bass), Geoff Downes (keys), Gene Cornish (guitar) and vocalist Phil Naro), as well as nine years with ‘the most dangerous band in the world.’

“I started playing very young and if you go by my first original song demos and gigs at the age of seven, it’s nearly forty years,” began Ron.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same. I’ve found that the roads to get from point A to point B have changed due to technology and business economy, but points A and B haven’t changed. It’s still about giving people something a real piece of yourself and giving people an experience that juices up their spirit.

“In those first gigs forty years ago, I’d cut up pieces of paper into home-made confetti and give out cups of it to the audience to throw in the air at the end of the show. Thirty years later and I’m standing on a stage in an arena with ‘confetti cannons’ spraying confetti it high in the air, colours raining down on a cheering audience of tens of thousands. And I think to myself, ‘Man, I’m glad I didn’t have to cut up all THAT confetti before the show.’”

The more things change, the more they stay the same, words which relate to all within an ever changing music industry, whether locally, nationally or internationally.

The same can be said of ‘that’ band, relationships Axl Rose, Dizzy Reed, Richard Fortus et al had en masse, Ron joining guitar greats with Guns like Tracii Guns, Robin Finck, Tommy Stinson, Buckethead, and DJ Ashba.

He joined as an experienced guitarist following recommendation by virtuoso performer Joe Satriani, officially to fill Buckethead’s previously vacated slot, making his ‘debut’ at the Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC, in May 2006.

Staying until 2014, Thal was involved with the Chinese Democracy album in 2008 and the video release of Appetite for Democracy 3D, along with numerous high profile tours, also partaking several solo projects before announcing in late 2014 that he would be leaving to focus on his solo career.

It was a solo career that had seen ‘The Adventures of Bumblefoot’ released in 1995, re-release as a 15-year anniversary issue in 2010, garner lots of reviews, and had Thal on the newcomer lists in many magazines.

He added: “That album got a good reception when first released in the mid-’90s, making ‘Best Newcomer’ lists in guitar mags, lots of positive reviews.

“The good thing about the re-release is that I had a transcription book of the album that I was able to release, 200 pages of extreme detail of every track played on every song, including music notation, tablature notation, including fingers used and picking details.

“I did all the transcribing and type-setting myself, it was 12 months of work. Early next year will be the 20th Anniversary of the follow-up album “Hermit”, which I’ve re-mixed and re-mastered this past Summer.”

It adds to what has been a rollercoaster ride that’s not only seen solo performances and a spell with Axl, but also release Art of Anarchy onto an unsuspecting, ultimately pleasing world, a band set up with John Moyer (Disturbed) with Jon and Vince Votta.

Five years on and they’re as strong as ever, and on the verge of releasing their second studio album after their self-titled album, ‘Art of Anarchy’ was released last year. The new album will be done with former Creed vocalist, Scott Stapp providing extra kick.

“Art of Anarchy was born out of a long-time friendship with Jon & Vince as I used to produce their bands in the late ’90s and we remained friends throughout.

“In 2011 they wanted to record ‘the album they always wanted to make’ ad we started doing that. Over time it grew wings and became something more, it became a real band, and despite many challenges it’s made it to the recording of its 2nd album and the beginning of live shows.

“Things have definitely fallen into place now though and you can hear the personalities of the band members in each song.

“Scott’s distinct vocals, Moyer’s grooves, the Votta’s metal sound, and I bring in some eccentricity. Put us all together and it balances into songs that wouldn’t happen the way they do with anyone else.

“We’ve all been busy with our own touring but it’s getting there, we plan to have the full-length album out in March 2017.  Our first single and video “The Madness” from the upcoming album was released October 7.”