Archive for the ‘ Mar ’ Category

RONNIE JAMES DIO REMEMBERED

Photo by M. Stoller ©2010

On Sunday afternoon, May 30, 2010, a public memorial service was held for the late Ronnie James Dio at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood, California. Approximately 4,200 people were in attendance at the memorial. There were almost 1,200 family, friends and fans in the auditorium at The Hall Of Liberty and an overflow crowd of close to 3,000 people outside who watched the live feed on a huge screen with an awesome sound system.

Eddie Trunk, of “Eddie Trunk Live” on XM Satellite Radio and VH1′s “That Metal Show,” served as the master of ceremonies. Having known Ronnie for several years, Eddie had many personal memories and amusing stories to share about he and Dio during the afternoon agenda on Sunday.

The memorial was a retrospective of the career and the life and times of Ronnie James Dio. We saw a great deal of video footage showcasing Dio throughout his career from his very first band “Ronnie And The Red Caps” to the many famous bands for whom he served as the frontman for over the years; Elf, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Dio, and Heaven & Hell. There were many great photographs projected on the big screen as well as rare video concert footage from many tours with his many bands and band mates. We heard him belt out hit after hit on some of his signature songs and it was a reminder of why he was so revered as the ultimate heavy rock/metal singer and frontman who will forever be incomparable and never forgotten.

The four hour memorial ceremony included many friends and family who spoke, including Dio’s son Dan Pandavona and Dio’s personal assistant Willie Fyfe. Numerous musicians also spoke including Scott Warren of Heaven & Hell, and David “Rock” Feinstein – formerly of Elf. Simon Wright, former AC/DC drummer recalled some humorous stories of he and Ronnie over the years. Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, who was playing a festival in Europe, spoke about his good friend Ronnie via video. Nick Jackson (the pyrotechnics guy) recounted a very funny story about bombing holes in the stage at The Hammersmith Odeon in London while testing explosions before one of Dio’s Black Sabbath performances. Every person who spoke made some kind of reference about how Ronnie was one of nicest guys you would ever want to meet. Many of them told stories of how much Dio loved his fans and how he would often stand outside the tour bus for hours and hours (even after the crew had dismantled the concert stage) and how he would sign autographs until the last fan had gone home. The fans were very important to him and he made sure that everybody knew it. He treated everyone with love and respect and always was a very caring soul.

There were many acoustic performances throughout the memorial service. Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot) sang a very emotional version of John Lennon’s “In My Life.” Geoff Tate (Queensryche) performed a haunting rendition of “Hallelujah.” Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, etc) – who was Ronnie’s favorite vocalist – performed twice, singing a favorite song of Ronnie’s called “Coast To Coast” and Glenn also sang “Catch The Rainbow” with fellow musicians Scott Warren (Heaven & Hell) and Craig Goldy (Dio). Joey Belladonna (Anthrax) did an acoustic version of “Man On The Silver Mountain.” John Payne (Asia) performed the song “Heaven & Hell.”

Everyone who attended received a Dio “button” to wear and we also received a souvenir memorial booklet which features photos, quotes, well wishes and stories from close friends of Ronnie James Dio. The souvenir button and the black and white book cover features the same reverse silhouette image of a famous Dio photograph. Quotes in the book are from actor/musician Jack Black, close friend and musician Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Brian May (Queen), Lars Ulrich (Metallica), Craig Goldy (Dio, Guiffria, Rough Cutt), Doug Aldrich (Dio, Whitesnake), Vinny Appice (Heaven & Hell, Black Sabbath, Dio), Scott Warren (Dio, Heaven & Hell), Chuck Garric (ex-Dio, Alice Cooper), Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead), Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell), Ritchie Blackmore (Rainbow), Roger Glover (Deep Purlple), Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, etc), David Coverdale (Whitesnake), and Judas Priest.

Everyone who spoke at the memorial made reference to Ronnie’s long time partner/manager and wife of approximately 40 years or so, Wendy Dio. Wendy and her management team were responsible for every aspect of Ronnie’s career. Wendy, of course, was by his side until the end – a relentless cheerleader for his fight with stomach cancer, the monster that he finally succumbed to. Wendy attended the memorial and at its conclusion managed to grace the podium with enough strength and tears to thank everyone for their love and support. She received a very appropriate and well deserved standing ovation.

Photo courtesy of http://www.RonnieJamesDio.com ©2010

Also talked about at the memorial service was the charitable work that Ronnie was involved in. Ronnie James Dio was instrumental (excuse the pun) in several charities throughout his career. He supported and helped build the Los Angeles based “Children Of The Night,” helping to save run-away teens from forced prostitution and to get them off the streets. Wendy Dio is currently chairman of “Children Of The Night.” Ronnie was an organizer of “Hear N’ Aid,” the metal music answer to raise relief for famine in Africa, inspired by the charity awareness of “We Are The World,” “Band-Aid” and other musician-collaborative songs which came out in the 1980′s. “Hear N’ Aid” raised over $1 million within the first year. Now there is a new charity, “The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund.” The fund is committed to the early detection and prevention of cancer through facilitating access to medical screening and medical educational programs. It supports programs designed to integrate medical knowledge into local communities such as cancer screening programs, education on nutrition in cancer prevention, exercise and overall wellness. The goal of the fund is to reduce the risk of developing life threatening cancers by offering access to preventative medical services. To donate to “The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund” go to the official Ronnie James Dio website at http://www.ronniejamesdio.com/ . People who donated at the memorial service received a commemorative Dio T-Shirt in exchange for their $25 donation. Many people donated and wore the their T-Shirts during the memorial service.

Photo by Phyllis Pollack ©2010

At the end of the memorial service everyone in attendance, including the fans and the audience outside, were invited into The Hall Of Liberty to pay their respects and to view Dio’s flower-laden casket which was present during the entire memorial service. “It’s the way Ronnie would have wanted it,” said Eddie Trunk.

The private funeral was held the day before the public memorial, on Saturday, where family and close friends were able to say their goodbyes in a more personal way without an audience present. Ronnie James Dio will be buried privately this week.



RONNIE JAMES DIO R.I.P.

Ronnie James Dio and Mar (Photo from Mar Archives 2001)

On Sunday, May 16, 2010 we lost a hard rock/metal icon and an incredible vocalist.  Ronnie James Dio, 67, (formerly of  Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Dio, Heaven and Hell) died peacefully at 7:45am in a Los Angeles hospital from his battle with stomach cancer.  Dio may have been small in stature but he had one of the biggest musical voices on the planet.  He was a powerhouse and the ultimate frontman.  He was also a heck of a nice guy!  He will be dearly missed, but never forgotten. Dio’s tour manager and best friend Roger Summers told me: “All I can say is that in those 16 years that I have known Ronnie I never saw a person like him, humbled, nice and caring. He treated his entire crew like family. I just want to say that Ronnie and Wendy Dio changed my life in a positive way and showed me real friendship. Everybody who met Ronnie knows what I’m talking about. On Sunday a big part of my heart broke. He lives forever in our hearts.”



ALICE COOPER, ALICE COOPER & ALICE COOPER

On October 28th I attended Alice Cooper’s Theatre Of Death Tour at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. What a great show! Alice did not disappoint, as he opened the show with “School’s Out” and followed it with a bombardment of hit after hit. The entire show was a theatrical explosion of everything that reinforces Alice as the inventor of theatrical shock rock. There were new props; a giant syringe, a chamber of swords, a new guillotine and new gallows where Alice was put to death with each new prop, and he died, four times during the show. He gave us lots of musical tricks and threw treats to the audience. During Dirty Diamonds he threw beaded necklaces randomly into the crowd. He shook “Alice money” into the crowd during Billion Dollar Babies. The band was tight and kept us rocking until the very end of the show when, for the encore, Slash joined Alice on stage for a rocking rendition of “Schools Out”. Then class was dismissed with Alice hollering “Happy Halloween”. We all left the Nokia theatre as if we just got a “A” on our test – an “A” for ALICE!

Did I mention I am a (part time) professional Alice Cooper impersonator? Here I am on the left with my friend Kevin. We went to see Alice as Alice and Alice.

mar-alice

From left to right: Mar as Alice Cooper and Kevin as Alice Cooper

See more of Mar as Alice Cooper: http://www.AliceCooperImpersonator.com



M.J. R.I.P

Marlene & brother Bryan Michael Stoller at the MJ Memorial

GhettoBitch (aka Marlene Stoller, host of Ghettoradio’s “The ROCK Show”) and filmmaker brother Bryan Michael Stoller in front of one of the many MJ canvasses at the “friends and family” entrance to the Staples Center.

On Tuesday July 7, 2009 I attended the Memorial Service for Michael Jackson at The Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.  My brother Bryan Michael Stoller was a very close friend of Michael’s for over twenty years.  He asked me to attend the service with him.  In the mid 1980’s Bryan wrote and directed a parody of Michael Jackson’s Pepsi commercial.  Jackson saw the parody on TV and contacted the TV station asking how he could contact Bryan.  Bryan received a phone call one day and the caller said “Hi, this is Michael Jackson”.  Bryan says he almost hung up because he thought it was a prank call. Good thing he didn’t because that phone call launched a friendship that lasted over 20 years.  In the years to come Bryan would spend many days and weeks at Neverland with Michael.  In Bryan’s 2004 Feature Film “Miss Cast Away And The Island Girls” Michael Jackson is featured as “Agent MJ”.  Bryan and Michael had plans to co-direct a feature film with Mel Gibson’s company called “They Cage The Animals At Night”.  Bryan was scheduled to mentor Michael and his children about filmmaking after his 2009 London Tour.  Bryan last saw Michael about 2 months ago when he visited Jackson for a week in Las Vegas.  They spoke on the phone 2 weeks before Michael passed away.  Since then Bryan has been featured on many news programs talking about his late friend Michael.  Woodiewood did an impromptu live phone interview with me the evening of the memorial.  So rather than write an article describing how it was to be inside the Staples Center, I have chosen to post this interview because it is more descriptive than anything I could post here and it would be pages long.  It is very informative, so please give it a listen.  Unfortunately the very beginning of the interview was not recorded so what you will hear is “already in progress, raw and unedited”.

[mp3player height=20 config=fmp_jw_widget_config.xml file=http://poprock80s.com/wordpress/mp3/mj_memorial_interview.mp3]

MJ Souvenir Booklet

I have also posted some links below of some of the articles about Bryan and MJ, as well as news clips for the Bryan Michael Stoller interviews:

Parody of Michael Jackson’s Pepsi commercial:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhO9-MvOkU0

“They Cage The Animals At Night”  http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1453757/20020502/jackson_michael.jhtml

NEWS VIDEOS:

(These videos may be replaced on the web by the news source and may not be available here soon.

Please let us know if these links no longer function)

FOX News “Geraldo At Large” Interview with Craig Rivera – 06/27/09
Scroll the page to:  ”Enemies Within
Allegations persist that Jackson’s new inner circle contributed to his demise”.

FOX News “On The Record” Interview with Greta Van Susteren - 07/07/09
Staples Center, Post Jackson Memorial
Scroll the page to: “ Growing Up Jackson
Close friend gives insight on ‘King of Pop’s’ relationship with his children”.
Text version:  http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,530604,00.html


NBC’s “Today Show” Interview with Meredith Viera, Post Jackson Memorial - 07/08/09



Led ZepAGAIN And Steve Z. ROCK Hollywood’s House Of Blues

LedZepAGAIN & GhettoBitch

The (Led Zeppelin approved) phenomenal tribute band Led ZepAGAIN, rocked Hollywood’s House Of Blues on the Sunset Strip Friday, Aug. 29th, 2008.  The house was packed as Which One’s Pink (Pink Floyd Tribute) opened the show, featuring Led ZepAGAIN’s Steve Z. on guitar.  Steve Z. (“Z” for Zukowsky), an amazing guitar virtuoso, is a regular member in both bands. I first met Steve almost 20 years ago.  Steve formed his first tribute band in 1993.  It was a tribute to Queen called Sheer Heart Attack, and the band got rave reviews from fans as well as the LA music press.  I saw the now retired Sheer Heart Attack many many times and they were amazing, with their dynamic front man Enrique Segura and the incredible Steve Z. making Brian May proud.  Since then Steve has lent his guitar talents to no less than 8 of LA’s top tribute bands as a member or a substitute player.  In fact one night at the House Of Blues I watched Steve Z. play guitar back-to-back in all three A-list tribute bands playing that night: a David Bowie tribute, a Rolling Stones tribute and Led ZepAGAIN.  The real Jimmy Page saw Led ZepAGAIN in concert in 2007 at the Hollywood House Of Blues , and was blown away.  If you want to read the whole, long, fabulous Jimmy Page/Led ZepAGAIN story click here: http://www.zepagain.com/jimmy_page2.html .  During the recent Led Zeppelin reunion concert in England, Led ZepAGAIN was invited to sit-in during the real Zeppelin’s rehearsals and they were given back stage passes for the reunion concert.  To read about their reunion concert experience click here: http://www.zepagain.com/reunion.html . (btw:  Wigs for ZepAGAIN’s Steve Z. and Jim K. by GhettoBitch and http://www.celebritycharactercreations.com/ )



Honors in Hollywood for Alice Cooper And Slash

Unlikely heroes?

Alice Cooper and Slash were honored in Hollywood, Ca. on May 9th, 2008 at The Fourth Annual MusiCares MAP FundSM Benefit Concert, sponsored in part by The Gibson Foundation.  Alice and Slash both performed at the benefit concert.  Proceeds from the concert will benefit The MusicCares MAP Fund, which provides members of the music community access to addiction recovery regardless of their financial situation.  Cooper received the “Stevie Ray Vaughan Award” for his dedication and support of the MusiCares MAP Fund, and his devotion to helping other addicts with the recovery process.  Slash received the “MusiCares From The Heart Award” for his unconditional friendship and dedication to the mission and goals of The MusiCares Foundation.

See GhettoBitch (a.k.a. Mar) “as Alice Cooper”: http://www.AliceCooperImpersonator.com