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.”
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.
From left to right: Mar as Alice Cooper and Kevin as Alice Cooper
See more of Mar as Alice Cooper: http://www.AliceCooperImpersonator.com
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”.
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“They Cage The Animals At Night” http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1453757/20020502/jackson_michael.jhtml
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/ )
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.