Blog

We've Got Cool Gigs the Next Five Weekends - by Colin Gawel

Heads up, yo. I’ve got a bunch of different shows coming up this spring, so here is the run down. Hope you can catch one or all. Also, it’s always helpful to fire up Spotify playlists featuring: Watershed, Colin Gawel and The League Bowlers. Or all three.

Friday April 5th - I’ll be riding shotgun with Brian Phillips on the CD1025 Morning Show. Tune in or stream it at www.cd1025.com

Saturday, April 6th - Colin & The Bowlers at the CD1025 Big Room Bar. Two Sets. Free. Music 8-11 pm

Friday, April 12 - Watershed at Slim’s Downtown, Raleigh, NC. special guests: The Bleeding Hearts. Our pal and Slim’s owner Van Alston is throwing a big bash to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of this venerable establishment. To do something a little different in honor of the occasion, we plan on performing the set in chronological order. So if you want to hear some tunes from Twister, don’t be late.

Friday, April 19th - Colin & The Bowlers at Peaches Grill, Yellow Springs, OH. Do you know what is a tough gig to get? This one. I think I have booked the Mercury Lounge in NYC twice before I even got a response from Peaches. That’s because Yellow Springs is a gem of a town and I am personally very excited to finally have the opportunity to grace Peaches’ stage. Bowlers play all night so reserve a hotel room or rent a party bus and make a night of it.

Saturday, April 27 - The PBR 10K: Woodlands Backyard (NOT the tavern - 668 Grandview Ave). Join 1,200 of your best friends as they try to drink 10,000 PBR’s between noon and 6 pm outside Woodland’s Backyard. Bowlers play 3:30 - 5 pm. All proceeds benefit Directions for Youth & Families.

Friday, May 3rd - Terry Anderson and The Olympic Ass Kickin’ Team w/ special guests The League Bowlers at Ace of Cups. Terry Anderson is my favorite songwriter. The OAK Team is my favorite rock n roll band. DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. That is all.

Concert Review: KISS / The End of The Road / Live in Pittsburgh, March 20, 2019 - by Jeremy Porter

My history with KISS started around the age of 9 years old with KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park and the HBO special. I was all in. Double Platinum and Alive! were my first two KISS albums. I was an Ace guy, but loved Gene, and Paul and Peter after that. I lost interest when Unmasked came out, briefly bought back in for Lick It Up, saw them a couple times in the ‘80s out of sheer convenience, then checked out again until Unplugged aired. Since then the old stuff has again been in regular rotation. I married a girl who grew up on “God of Thunder” and (in) “Detroit Rock City.” I regretted missing the reunion with Ace and Peter, especially the first show in Tiger Stadium, but I didn't lose any sleep over it. I had better things to do with my time and money. As members came and went, money kept coming in, YouTube evidence of Paul's deteriorating voice or his artificial ways of masking it surfaced, and the announcement that this it - THE END OF THE ROAD – was made, I was indifferent, if not mildly annoyed. Still, those early records were in rotation.

Detroit was a huge city for KISS, second only to New York, and maybe even equal. The city embraced them early and often, and it was Alive!, recorded (*cough*) at Detroit's Cobo Hall, that broke them. The morning of the Detroit show my wife was in a funk, tickets pulled up on StubHub, looking for someone to be her partner in crime for the concert. Hell, she was even willing to spring for the tickets. I couldn't go, and her friends didn't exactly rally behind her with Starchild grease paint on, so she missed out. The subject came up again a couple times over the next week & a half as she moped around the house humming classic tracks and asking me which album they were on. Until this past Friday night. An hour earlier it wasn't even on the table, but now we had tickets and a hotel room walking distance from the arena. In the morning we would leave for Pittsburgh. If I'm being honest, I was kinda dragged to the show, but when I clicked “Purchase” on the tickets I made the decision to approach it with an open mind, and regardless of my gripes, have fun. By the time we started pre-gaming I was legitimately pretty excited. 

018.jpg

The PPG Arena is your standard, modern hockey arena I suppose. Long lines to get in, but a pretty smooth operation. If you put the work in you can find a decent whiskey in a plastic Penguins cup, and there's no shortage of merch-booths and food for every palette. We walked down to our seats, about 12 rows back on the Gene-side. Tickets said 7:30 pm. We'd heard about a painter who did a short bit to open the show, but the ushers were talking about a 30-minute film that would start at 7:45, then KISS at 8:30. There was no painter and no film, just a looping 2-minute video commercial for the KISS KRUISE.  At 8:45, 75 minutes after the advertised show time, the lights went down. Mildly annoyed that we could have used that hour-fifteen in a few other ways, we stood up to “YOU WANTED THE BEST YOU GOT THE BEST!”  This was it.

005.jpg

They went into “Detroit Rock City” and it was pretty clear from the start that this wasn't your average concert. We could feel the heat from the pyrotechnics and the band was clearly fired up too. I quickly took out my ear plugs and realized that it wasn't that loud at all and sounded better without. We were loving the set-list as we got “Shout it Out Loud” and “Deuce,” but the stinker “Say Yeah” four songs in was the perfect opportunity to get a drink.  I made it back for most of “I Love it Loud” and stayed put for the rest of the set. Highlights for me were “100,000 Years,” “Dr. Love,” and “Let Me Go, Rock 'N' Roll.” The encore included an unnecessary “Beth,” with Eric Singer playing a sequined piano that would have made Liberace blush, followed by an unexpected “Do You Love Me?” before they wrapped it up with “Rock and Roll All Night.”

015.jpg

It was possibly the least boring show I've ever seen: an explosion here, a laser show there, platforms elevating and Paul flying out to the second stage for “Love Gun” and “I Was Made for Loving You,” not to mention the blood-spitting, fire-breathing, tongue-wagging antics of The Demon. The guitar solo (mostly stolen from Ace's Alive II “Shock Me” solo) and the drum solo (largely lifted from Peter's Alive! “100,000 Years” solo) were a bit cliche, but whaddya expect? Somehow we survived into the next tunes. 

017.jpg

There's a lot you can say about and against KISS, and in my book it's mostly valid, but you can't say these guys are phoning it in. They came out on their game and didn't stop until it was over. At 67 years old, Paul Stanley is as good a front-man as there is, and even though his raspy, hoarse, between-song banter didn't exactly match the healthy, vibrant signing we heard through the mains, he deserves a nod for the work he put in. Gene was great - I've said for years that he's an under-rated bassist and singer. And other than the fact that they're hired guns wearing the makeup of members long belittled and forgotten by the bosses, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer are top-notch musicians who not only held their own, but added some youth and excitement onstage.  

It was nearly midnight by the time we got out of there. As we walked back up Liberty Street toward our hotel I had to admit that it was a damn good time and I was really glad I went. It was everything KISS said it would be, and it was nothing they said it wouldn't. No political rants, not even any cussing from the stage, just a super high-energy show, a whole bunch of great songs, a celebration of one hell of a run, and an arena full of satisfied customers. I might just have to go back for the next Farewell tour.

 

Pittsburgh Set List:

Detroit Rock City
Shout It Out Loud
Deuce
Say Yeah
I Love It Loud
Heaven's on Fire
War Machine (Gene breathes fire)
Lick It Up
Calling Dr. Love
100,000 Years (with drum solo)
Cold Gin (with Tommy Thayer guitar solo )
God of Thunder (with bass solo)
Psycho Circus
Let Me Go, Rock 'N' Roll
Love Gun
I Was Made for Lovin' You
Black Diamond
Encore:
Beth
Do You Love Me
Rock and Roll All Nite

 Jeremy Porter lives near Detroit and fronts the rock and roll band Jeremy Porter And The Tucos - www.thetucos.com

Follow them on Facebook to read his road blog about their adventures on the dive-bar circuit -
www.facebook.com/jeremyportermusic 


Twitter: @jeremyportermi | Instagram: @onetogive | www.rockandrollrestrooms.com

 

Motley Crue "The Dirt" Review - by Kevin Montavon

Motley Crue "The Dirt”

As I type this, I am viewing the Netflix biopic on Mötley Crüe, The Dirt for the FIFTH time. As they say, only God can judge me. I will fully admit that even by my sometimes obsessive standards, that's excessive. Even more so because as recently as last Friday, when I hit play on the Netflix app on my phone to watch it for the first time, I was convinced that this movie was going to SUCK. Like, I thought it was going to be really really bad. How bad you ask? Well, have you ever seen the made-for-VH1 biopic Hysteria? The one about Def Leppard? The one with Anthony Michael Hall as Mutt Lange? Yeah, THAT bad. So to say my expectations were set low is an understatement. The Dirt crushed those expectations and left them in the dust.

First, some backstory: my history with Mötley Crüe starts at the age of thirteen. I was a Catholic school kid with an ear for music that set my religion teachers' Spidy-senses a'tingling – Ozzy, Kiss, AC/DC, Van Halen – but The Crüe was something new..something even more “risky.” I had read about the band in Hit Parader magazine for several months, maybe a year or more, and their bass player Nikki Sixx seemed like an interesting character. I hadn't heard any of their actual music however, because I grew up in a place where the latest Heavy Metal records weren't so easy to come by. Usually, it involved a 20-minute car ride to the “big city” of Portsmouth, Ohio, and a trip to the one record store there, which was called The Record Shop. But then one day I walked into our local Rink's department store, went to the music section, and saw a BLACK album, with an even BLACKER pentagram emblazed on the front, with a small red Mötley Crüe logo above it, and the words “Shout At The Devil” below.

I can't remember what album I went there to buy that day, but I only had money for one purchase, and I left with the Crüe. I took it home and played it, and the music blew me away as much as the album cover did. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that my first hearing of The Beatles song "Helter Skelter" was through the cover version on this album. Over the next few months Mötley Crüe leaped to the top of my favorite bands list, along with the other bands I've mentioned already. They took the Van Halen “LA vibe” and combined it with forbidden Satanic imagery and a seemingly obsessive need to fulfill every rock band cliché in the book. They were everything I wanted to be when I grew up! That's right. My biggest dream as a teenager was to jump on a bus when I turned eighteen, and head to Hollywood to start a band – a dream that was pretty much envisioned in the video for Guns 'N' Roses' “Welcome To The Jungle” years later. But Mötley Crüe had already done all that, and I worshiped them for it.

I rode the Crüe train hard throughout High School, but by the time college rolled around, I was starting to dig into more “serious” music like Thrash Metal and Alternative Rock. I finally gave up on them musically after the Girls, Girls, Girls album, in no small part due to bands like the opening act for my first Crüe concert, Anthrax. That show, at the legendary Buckeye Lake Music Center (so legendary that it was once called Legend Valley) was one of my first experiences being part of a festival size audience. The Crüe, Whitesnake, and Anthrax packed 50,000 people onto that hillside, and every single one of them rocked their asses off throughout the day. It was the greatest thing I had ever been a part of. I had recently cut my hair for a job, and I made a vow that day to grow it back out again, this time for real and not in the mullet style I had worn before the cut.

I saw the GGG tour an additional time (no Anthrax this time), and I would see the band a few more times over the years, including their “Carnival Of Sins” tour, and their Farewell Tour (note: as of this writing they are one of the only bands to stay retired after a Farewell Tour), but I really was barely even a casual fan anymore. I may have paid attention to their press, and that's it. Due to a string of bad decisions made by various band members, it became almost as much fun to bag on them as it was to have once been a hardcore fan. For better or worse, they had a long-term appeal, where it was fun to love them, and it was fun to hate them. But in the end, no one can really take away the massive success the band achieved through years of hard work and by just sticking around. They carved their spot on Rock Mountain, and they did it their way.

When the band released their best-selling “autobiography” (probably as much fiction as fact) called The Dirt over a decade ago, the chatter began immediately about the eventual movie adaptation. Through the years various directors, producers, and actors have been attached to the project. It became somewhat of a lasting meme that the movie would never get made, and if it did, it wouldn't be any good. Fast forward to 2019. The movie did get made. And what a treat it turned out to be.

The film adaptation turns out to be a somewhat generic, but sort of timeless rock & roll story of four misfits who somehow find each other and end up creating something huge, sometimes in spite of themselves. Throw in a healthy dose of 1980's movie tropes like “The Party Film,” “The Buddy Flick,” and yes, even “The After School Special,” and you end up with a movie that captured the period in a fun time-capsule sort of way, paying homage to many of the pop-culture elements that made that decade so much fun to begin with. The casting is outstanding, especially Machine Gun Kelly's performance as Tommy Lee. I don't know if Mick Mars in real life is anything like the way that Iwan Rheon (of HBO's Game Of Thrones fame) portrays him, but if he is, then he's my new favorite rock star (cranky old men unite!).

And the actor playing Vince Neil reminded me so much of a local singer that I used to go see on a regular basis that it was somewhat distracting. But even in that, what was entertaining to me is that I witnessed club shows involving said local singer that strongly resembled the band's early club show in the movie. Just another element that triggered memories of my own musical experiences in the 80's. I think more than anything, that is what I loved about the movie. It really does “take me back.” All this is not to say that the movie is just a big Feelgood film...ahem. It's plenty serious at times, even if it falls into the aforementioned After School Special territory. And it's most definitely NOT safe for kids. Especially if you as a parent haven't had “the talk” with them. The sex, drugs, and rock & roll quotient is off the charts in this movie.

There are valid criticisms that I have seen leveled at the movie. The timeline is off (cue Bohemian Rhapsody comparisons), there's a ton of the story left out, some characters are missing or are caricatures of their real-life selves, the drug use and promiscuous sex is glorified and played for laughs at times. But how else do you tell the story of this band? With a Netflix series? Interesting premise, but in the end I think that may have been too much of a gamble for the network. Based on the attention that the movie has received, I think the producers are vindicated in their choice to make it a standard two-hour film. And regardless, none of the criticisms have spoiled my enjoyment of the movie. In fact, I think in the long run this movie is going to be seen as a stroke of genius. No, I'm not saying it is Citizen Kane, but it's the right movie for the right band. You want to know what my biggest issue is? It's that the inevitable Van Halen biopic, which I have been waiting for my whole life, is going to look tame - or worse - like a knock-off of The Dirt. I will go even further and say that any band with an “LA Story” to tell is going to have their biopic measured against this one.

I guess in the end I'm still a Homer for The Crüe.

Google: Kevin Montavon Pencilstorm - for cool results.


Strange and Bold MLB Predictions, 2019 - by Brian Phillips

The best day of the year is here! Opening Day! The Pencilstorm staff will be hunkered down at the world famous Bier Stube on High in time for 1 pm first pitch. Last year they had free hot dogs too!

Before the 2019 season unfurls itself over the next six months allow me to get some strange and bold predictions down:

National League

Arizona Diamondbacks

Three years after a World Championship the 2004 D-Backs won just 51 games. The 2019 Arizona club won't be quite that putrid, but they won't win more than 65 games either.

Atlanta Braves

Weary of his weak bat the Braves bench and then demote Dansby Swanson by June in favor of Johan Carmargo.

Chicago Cubs

With his bum shoulder healed Kris Bryant returns to his MVP form hitting over .300 with 32 plus bombs and 110 plus RBI.

Cincinnati Reds

Often compared to Joey Votto for his superior plate skills, a healthy Jesse Winker logs an all-star campaign and ends up with across the board better numbers than the Reds' first baseman.

Colorado Rockies

With his new plate approach Ryan McMahon hits his way to an NL Rookie Of The Year award.

Los Angeles Dodgers

A broken down Clayton Kershaw only makes 10 starts for the Dodgers.

Miami Marlins

Trevor Richards makes 33 starts and finishes top 10 in Cy Young voting.

Milwaukee Brewers

Realizing Mike Moustakas is a terrible second baseman the Brewers rush #1 prospect Keston Hiura to the show by mid summer.

New York Mets

Oft injured outfielder Yoenis Cespedes does not play in a single 2019 game.

Philadelphia Phillies

Shifted to death, and spooked by his mega contract, Bryce Harper is booed mercilessly when he finishes April hitting .160.

Pittsburgh Pirates

His efforts to elevate the ball paying off, Josh Bell launches 27 home runs.

San Diego Padres

With an exciting influx of great young talent and behind newly signed Manny Machado, the Padres contend into September for a playoff spot.

San Francisco Giants

The Yankees see Greg Bird injured again, and Luke Voit is exposed with every day at bats. New York swings a deal with the Giants to acquire Brandon Belt for prospects. Belt hits 15 home runs for the Yankees in August and September.

St. Louis Cardinals

In the thick of the playoff hunt the Cards realize they can no longer afford to have Dexter Fowler in the every day line up. Fowler is DFA'd and Tyler O'Neill becomes an outfield regular.

Washington Nationals

While Bryce Harper struggles all season young phenom Juan Soto is in the running for NL MVP.

American League

Baltimore Orioles

The Vegas over/under is 59.5 at last check. This club will win no more than 40 games.

Boston Red Sox

Going into the season without an established closer the Sox turn to David Price by the All Star break.

Chicago White Sox

Eloy Jimenez has a better year than Vlad Jr and wins the AL Rookie of the Year.

Cleveland Indians

Finding themselves 5 games back of the Twins at the deadline the Tribe ship Corey Kluber to the contending Padres for outfield prospects.

Detroit Tigers

For the Tigers it's a long year, but a mostly healthy Miggie makes one last run at a batting title.

Houston Astros

Justin Verlander misses two months after injuring his back having sex with wife Kate Upton.

Kansas City Royals

The Royals run so much Billy Hamilton is only third on the team in steals as he loses playing time with his continued struggles at the plate.

Los Angeles Angels

A shell of his former self and with Justin Bour enjoying a surprisingly productive season, Albert Pujols is DFA'd and asked to take a position in the front office. Refusing that offer he is traded to the Cardinals for a single A relief pitcher.

Minnesota Twins

The surprising Twins win the AL Central by five games over the Tribe and then lose four straight to the Astros in the division round. A healthy Justin Verlander pitches a shut out in game one.

New York Yankees

Miguel Andujar's defense becomes such a liability that the Yanks ship him back to triple A and acquire Kyle Seager from the Mariners.

Oakland Athletics

Never able to get their ragged pitching staff right the A's finish third behind the Astros and Angels.

Seattle Mariners

In a wholesale sell-off Seager isn't the only one traded. Edwin Encanarcion and Jay Bruce are also dealt for prospects.

Tampa Bay Rays

Fueled by young stars Blake Snell, Brandon Lowe and Willie Adames along with a career year from Tommy Pham, the Rays take the second wild card and shock the Red Sox in the wild card game.

Texas Rangers

Joey Gallo reaches a new career high in batting average by hitting .212.

Toronto Blue Jays

With the collective bargaining agreement looming and players concerned about a possible salary cap, Vladimir Guererro Junior signs a ten year $200 million dollar deal with the Jays.

Tribe Musings - by Scott Goldberg

For me there are basically two types of Cleveland sports fans: 1) This is the year--no matter how bad the last two decades have been (Browns—lately, Indians—‘60’s and 70’s) or how many tragic failings (Indians—lately, Browns—the fumble, the drive), this is the year we reach the mountaintop (for the Indians that means win the World Series, for the Browns that means finish above .500); and 2) This team will definitely break my heart.  There are the rare fans that can combine the two, but I have generally been in category 2 since the year Sports Illustrated put Joe Carter and Corey Snyder on the cover of its baseball preview issue circa 1987?? Geez, I am old. 

This year feels like when you ate that carry-out even though you probably should have thrown it out sorta year.  Gone are the bats of Encarnacion, Brantley, and Alonso, and bullpen arms Andrew Miller and Cody Allen.  I'll admit I'm not going to miss Encarnacion--his numbers look good, but it always felt like his homers came when we were already up 5 runs and struck out when the game was on the line.  It also feels like Miller and Allen's best years are behind them--like 2016 when we should have beat the Cubs in the f-ing World Series.  Brantley is going to have a big year.  Hidden somewhere in the middle of the Astros lineup, he probably ends up having champagne poured over his head as the Astros win the World Series.  Alonso seemed to have a lot of big hits, but my guess is the return of Carlos Santana will be about a wash at first base. 

Other than bringing Santana back, the Indians have done little to improve their roster.  The theory seems to be that the AL Central is so weak that they need to do little to solidify their position at the top of the division.  This gives the Tribe the luxury to find out if some of their young players are ready to be every day contributors or go out mid-season and find a piece or two for the playoffs.  I trust the front knows stuff I don't about the make up of this team, but I thought the half burrito in the fridge from last week was still good and I was wrong, very wrong. 

Lindor and Kipnis won't be available opening day.  And although, the Indians survived most of last year without Kipnis (and could again this year), we need Frankie.  It's not just his bat (he is a fantasy stud) or his glove (at least above average--he's no Omar), but mostly it's his smile.  He is the leader of the team along with Tito and makes sure everyone is loose and having fun.  He is a joy to watch and it's clear his joy is infectious for both his teammates and the fans.  Then this week Jose Ramirez gets carted off the field.  Thankfully, the injury seems minor, but the Indian’s prospects change in a heartbeat if Jose isn't in the lineup. 

The bright spot should be starting pitching.  Apart from the Tribe shopping Kluber and Bauer this offseason (what the hell was that about) and Bauer's dissatisfaction as to how he was treated in arbitration, the rotation looks to be perhaps the best in baseball.  Let's just hope Tito can save them so they have something left for the post-season.  The bullpen was shaky at best last year, doesn't feel like they added much to improve, but my sense is they won't be any worse than last year. 

Couple of guys I see stepping up this year: Leonys Martin and Greg Allen.  Not totally sure why I feel this way, but tried to pick them up late in my fantasy draft and missed on both, so that tells me others might be thinking the same thing.  

 

It's spring--let the games begin.  Go Tribe.  Oh, and did you here the Browns got Odell….

 

Corona's Covers For a Cure: Saturday, March 30th, CD 102.5 Big Room Bar - by Ricki C.

I’ll be playing a set at the third annual Corona’s Covers For a Cure cancer benefit at the CD 102.5 Big Room Bar this Saturday, March 30th, right around 5 pm. The show runs a full eight hours, 4 pm-midnight, details and a full schedule can be found here.

Corona’s Covers For a Cure is a cause that’s kinda near & dear to my heart. Two years ago – late-winter 2017 – I was leaving the Zangmeister Cancer Clinic where my sister Dianne was receiving chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer and I used to go along to hang out with her during her treatments. As I was driving home I heard a commercial on CD 102.5 for the inaugural Corona benefit show, detailing the idea that local rockers would be doing covers by artists lost to cancer. “Hey, I know some Velvet Underground songs,” I said to myself in the car. (Velvets guitarist Sterling Morrison had died in 1995 of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.)

I contacted the station to cadge my way onto the bill and they kindly accepted. That first year Colin Gawel’s League Bowlers also played the show. Bowlers drummer Jim Johnson and myself had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in previous years, so that was another compelling reason to give back to the cause. What none of us could have known in March 2017 was that Mike Parks – the genius lead guitar player of The League Bowlers – would be diagnosed with a particularly virulent strain of stomach cancer in July of 2017 and be taken from us in January 2018, before the SECOND Corona’s Covers For a Cure show even took place.

Dianne passed in November 2017 and my brother Al from complications of congestive heart failure in February 2018, so that second benefit in March 2018 was a tough one to play. But I worked up an original tune to honor all those passings, and deployed my usual helping of Velvet Underground and Mott The Hoople covers. This year will be a little easier, and I’m happy that CD 102.5 and Corona have again given me the privilege of being able to honor the memories of the musicians AND relatives & friends that we’ve lost.

The show is eight hours long, the money you’re gonna pay at the door will help people, you’re gonna get to down some Coronas and kill a few brain cells to aid a good cause for once, rather than just for the hell of it, so you should come out. I’ll see you there. – Ricki C. / March 26th, 2019.

 CORONA’S COVERS FOR A CURE SCHEDULE, 2019

4:00 Doors

4:30-4:55

Dave and Leanna Buker - The Bee Gees

5:05-5:35

Ricki C. - Ramones/Velvets/Mott The Hoople

5:45-6:30

Gregg Molnar - David Bowie

6:40-7:25

Sean Woosley - The Tragically Hip

7:35-8:20

The Kosher Salamis - The Ramones

8:30-9:15

Methmatics - The New York Dolls

9:25-10:10

Loud Pedal - The Beatles

10:20-11:05

Electro Cult Circus - The Beastie Boys

11:15-12:00

Brian Clash & the Coffee House Rebels - The Velvet Underground