I had no choice in the matter. I had to go to Philly. Don’t get me wrong…there’s a lot of great people and things to do in Philly, but I’d just rather be in Jersey. Hell, I love New York too, but ultimately I’m a big fan of my surroundings. Not many things would entice me to visit a neighboring state, but the Bruce Springsteen exhibit at the National Constitution Museum was definitely one of them.
Yesterday I spotlighted New York City’s The Dirty Pearls, and today it’s New Jersey’s own Scarlet Carson. The Dirty Jersey Rock and Rollers were ready to open for KISS, as were The Dirty Pearls, but since Eventful’s contest is clearly predetermined it doesn’t look like that will be happening, even though both bands deserve the shot. The bands at the top of the contest rankings literally came out of nowhere and have double the votes than the other top bands. Most of my friends and concert freaks that I know have never heard of the bands that have taken over the lead for the opening slot at the KISS show on 8/20/10 at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ.
Scarlet Carson have an ad out in the local music newspaper The Aquarian to help rally some new votes, and in the top left I was stoked to discover that they quoted from The Sexy Armpit’s review of their latest album! To a guy who has been writing since he knew how to hold a pencil, that is quite a high honor and I greatly appreciate them doing that. I remember when Matt from X-E wrote about how his quote was used on The Ghoulies DVD, and I just thought that had to be the coolest thing in the world and indeed it is!
For one of the best rock shows you will see, you MUST check out Scarlet Carson if you are in the area. The Stone Pony will be welcoming Scarlet Carson opening for Skid Row on Saturday August 28th, 2010. Once again, a big thanks to Scarlet Carson for quoting The Sexy Armpit!
It’s been 2 years since NJ rockers Scarlet Carson made their debut and they’ve been gaining huge momentum ever since. This month they have quite a schedule lined up for themselves. On April 17th, they’ll be playing the legendary Stone Pony for The Break Contest for the chance to play at this year’s Bamboozle Festival, and the day after on April 18th, they’ll be opening up for Papa Roach at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ. As if that weren’t huge enough, they also have the opening slot for Saliva in New York City’s Highline Ballroom on 4/27.
Instead of letting Los Angeles get all the glory, Scarlet Carson label their style of rock “Dirty Jersey Rock n Roll.” Their latest album Burn It All is available now, so go check out a few tracks at their Myspace page! Reviews of both of Scarlet Carson’s albums are forthcoming here at The Sexy Armpit, so stay tuned! Go to www.scarletcarson.ning.com for more.
The Sexy Armpit will now take you back to April 14th, 1990 courtesy of RustyBlade69, the awesome person who posted this super rare KISS footage on YouTube. These 2 performances are from the Hot in the Shade Tour which made its second stop at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ! At this show, KISS performed “Betrayed,” a track written by Gene and Tommy that has rarely (if ever) been performed since. The audience at The Pony that night were treated to an intimate KISS show full of classic KISS songs, and unknowingly Eric Carr’s last tour. Eric Carr will always be my favorite drummer and one of the best of all time. I’m thankful that concert footage like this will always be available so I can experience his thunderous drumming at my whim.
It feels pretty awesome that Butch Walker chose the legendary Asbury Park, NJ as the locale to film his most recent video for “Here Comes The…” “It’s pretty fun and we shot it in Asbury Park, NJ, which is the coolest little city I’ve seen in quite some time…” said Butch in one of his latest blog posts.
“You sunk my battleship!” That’s what the mannequin said after her human boyfriend beat her at the game, or at least that’s what he imagined she’d said. No, this is not Lars and the Real Girl, this is Butch’s music video about a guy who copes with his girlfriend leaving him by hooking up with a mannequin wearing his ex-girlfriend’s dress. They do all the silly relationship stuff like take pictures in the park, sip Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee, and fall asleep on the couch.
Pink assists with vocals on the track from Walker’s latest album Sycamore Meadows, which has proved to be one of the most successful singles of his solo career thus far. Butch has reached heights on his own that bands can’t even do with a full staff of PR people and record execs behind them. It wouldn’t matter if Pink sang backup vocals on this track or not because the song is so well written and enjoyable to listen to. In any normal musical climate this song is a mega hit just like the majority of Walker’s other music.
The New Jersey backdrop is a bonus but the video is truly imaginative, and tells a story. All of Butch’s videos have been entertaining and a throwback for me. They remind me of videos that I would’ve seen on MTV countdowns when I was a kid, and NONE of his videos had heavy cable TV airplay. “Here Comes The…” fits nicely in line with the videos for “Bethamphetamine” starring Avril Lavigne and “The Weight of Her” starring Taryn Manning. Check them out and stop by Butch’s website to see all the stuff he has going on: www.butchwalker.com
Could it be possible? Does history really repeat itself? I never thought it could happen, but after the rollicking good time I had at ROCK OF AGES on Sunday October 26th at The New World Stages in New York City, I really think it does.
When I was a little kid, tearing through issues of Metal Edge and plastering my walls with posters of GNR, Skid Row, and Poison; I dreamed of the sinful aura of debauchery, sleaze, and mayhem that the L.A sunset strip rock scene evoked. Meanwhile, my sister, in her teens at that time, sang along to all the songs that old worn out VHS tape of Grease cranked out incessantly.
Even as a kid I knew better than to believe life actually resembled how it was depicted in Grease. Anyone who’s gone to high school knows, that compared to the film Grease, high school could be a nightmarish, bleak, and horrible place. To my surprise, I graduated high school without engaging in one group hand jive, without ever having been stranded at the drive in, and my old 4-cylinder ‘87 Chrysler LeBaron didn’t, by any means, drive like “Greased lightning.” Life’s never as “peachy keen” as it is in the movies or on stage for that matter. I never thought for a second that the explicit, raunchy rock scene that was my obsession would ever be “Grease-ified.” Grease was originally a stage musical and just as it pulled from late ‘50s high school nostalgia, Rock of Ages embodies the excess and broken dreams on the ‘80s Sunset Strip. I was petrified that the attempt of glamorizing my beloved hairband era would be catastrophic. Would the play condescend and poke fun at the age of lipstick, plastic, and paint? Could Grease’s cigarettes, cheerleaders, and black leather biker jackets be interchangeable with the ‘80s themes of drug abuse, aquanet, spandex? I would soon find out!
After I took my seat, I immediately basked in the authentic set design by Beowulf Boritt, who also worked on The Toxic Avenger Musical. The stage was created to look like the interior of the fictitious Bourbon Room, which is reminiscent of the Whiskey or the Rainbow in L.A. The walls of the theater were plastered with concert posters while billboards hung from high above. A Jack Daniels advertisement asks “I did what with my sister?” and another one points out, in case you haven’t heard, Arsenal’s new CD “I Want Your Cans” is in stores now.
Pink lights drenched the inside of the Bourbon room. Rock memorabilia adorned the walls. There was a Pink flying V, collages of rock stars, and framed pinups of Motley Crue, Guns and Roses, and Poison among others. The main focal point of the Bourbon Room was it’s small stage where a lot of bands began their rock dreams. (Stone Pony anyone?) Onstage there was a dingy bathroom that served as the butt of a few jokes, and center stage featured a revolving room that provided background for various scenes. Oh yeah, I know you’ll like this part…there was a stripper poll on each end of the stage. I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is YES! Did they get used? What kind of a question is that? A good question actually, because now’s a good time for me to mention that when I’m reincarnated in my next life, I’ve signed a definitive, definitely happening, contractually binding, legal document that professionally and law abidingly states that I will come back as one of the two brass stripper polls on the Rock of Ages stage. Triple Stamped. For the honor of Grayskull. And that’s the bottom line cause I just said so!
Right about now a message over the P.A system states there should be NO flash photography unless you’re willing to show your boobs! YEAH BABY! I won’t spoil too much for you, since the Rock of Ages marketing team utilized the “less is more” idea and it worked. All online and print ads tout the play’s great tunes. It seemed as if name dropping the bands was enough since the house was PACKED! The vague propaganda turned out to make the play an unexpected blast.
At the crux of the play there’s a love story between Drew (Constantine Maroulis) and Sherrie (Kelli Barrett). It’s the typical story of a couple of ‘80s L.A dream chasers who fall for each other. Boy works at a bar and hopes to make it big as a rock star. When boy gets noticed by a talent manager, he suggests that boy change his whole look and go on a “mall tour.” Girl dreams of being an actress but plans fizzle out and works as a waitress, then climbs ranks to become a stripper. Even though the story is simple and reminiscent of others you may have heard before, I dig the message of the play. Even if you don’t get exactly what you want on your quest, it doesn’t mean your dreams are necessarily broken, you may just find that you have better dreams.
When we’re off cloud 9 with the two lovebirds, the city government is attempting to clean up the Sunset Strip and make it more family friendly. One of the establishments that would be effected is the Bourbon Room, so it’s manager Dennis, (the skilled Adam Dannheisser) does his best to stop this insanity. Like the good natured hippie he is, he doesn’t want his bar to close or his staff to be out of jobs. Dennis comes up with the idea to call in a favor from Stacee Jaxx, a Steel Pantheresque lead singer of a wildly popular band called Arsenal. (CD just dropped) I laughed deliriously at Will Swenson’s flashy performance which reminds us of how pompous, arrogant, and egotistical many of the great ’80s hair band frontmen were. Other superior performances include the refreshing Kelli Barrett as Sherrie, the over the top hysterical Mitchell Jarvis as Lonny the narrator, and Wesley Taylor as the gay German (ok so he’s not gay just German.)
The ensemble cast featured some hot dancers who weren’t afraid to show some butt cheeks and rock skimpy lingerie. Don’t be a prude, that’s how it was in the ‘80s! The ‘80s hair band era was instrumental in providing me with a template of the ideal woman. White leather jacket, short skirt, crimped hair, high heel boots, and stockings, don’t you remember? Duh. Rock of Ages featured an immensely talented actress, dancer, and singer Angel Reed. I definitely had a crush on her like a little kid watching Dial MTV during the hair band days and seeing that girl with the white leather jacket on. Or maybe it was Club MTV, it escapes me. Either way, she was hot, and she has her own exotic dance DVD that all you women should pick up and let her teach you how to dance for your man. While you’re at it check out all of Angel’s other projects like her music and modeling gallery! You really need to experience Rock of Ages just to watch some of Angel’s moves with the aforementioned poll that I will become in my next life. Yay! I never thought I’d say it, but I can’t wait to die!
I didn’t go into the play with too many expectations since I managed to avoid reading reviews of the show. Although I could imagine what’s being said, since for the past several years it seems like shitting on ‘80s bands is the trendy thing to do. But now is the time that the up and coming bands are citing bands like Guns, Motley, and Poison as major influences. (rightfully so!) It’s time that this era got some credit! If it becomes known for anything, Rock of Ages, pays tribute to the ‘80s rock era in a monumental way. The classic songs that help the play rumble on become even more transcendent. (u shut up now)
Bo Bice sucks and Constantine should’ve been runner up on Idol in ’05. Some of the notes he hit in Rock of Ages almost exploded the Bourbon Room, which would’ve sucked cause he was trying to help save it! His mastery of this style of rock truly wins the audience’s approval as his character Drew shows off his rock chops.
In Rock of Ages some of the songs you hear are taken right from the hair band era, while others are simply pop rock, but all of them work into the show’s plot. Songs from the following artists are featured in the play: Asia, Bon Jovi, David Lee Roth, Poison, Extreme, Mr. Big, Night Ranger, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Warrant, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Steve Perry, Pat Benatar, Quarterflash, and even Survivor!
Even though the music gives the show its gusto, it’s actually responsible for my only complaint. The musical is made up of storm trooping assembly of songs that only a late night CD box set infomercial with Bret Michaels could envy. The massive list of songs are finely weaved into the plot like the hairs on Bret Michaels head. Some of my favorite rock classics are featured in the show, so what’s the problem here, Jay? Some of the songs seem to be overused. I heard enough of Warrant’s “Heaven” when I sang along with it daily back in ’89. (By the way people get with the program! Jani Lane is OUT of Warrant again! That news didn’t interrupt your local affiliates broadcast of the last presidential debate? That’s weird because on my TV Riki Rachtman broke in just before McCain said “Joe the Plumber” for the 68th time and broke the news) Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock,” and a few others seemed to be utilized several times at points when an original riff would feel more natural. Rock of Ages might benefit from sprinkling in a few original tunes in between the massively popular ones. How about an original Arsenel song? Arsenal, for those who don’t know, are the ‘80s rock band that is asked (blackmailed) to play at the Bourbon room to save the bar. (CD in stores now)
I’m a sucker for a T-Shirt, especially those emblazoned with a logo for a fictitious band. If the band happened to be from Jersey then I might just spontaneously combust. Whenever I go to a show or concert I look for that specific T-shirt that jumps out at me literally, and seduces me with a one liner like: “I wanna be on you…” After the show I strolled by the schwag station and almost yelped like a fat girl who can’t keep a secret and got a hand over her mouth. I then blacked out for a moment and came to. In my hands was a sparkling, magical, authentic ARSENAL concert T-shirt. Of course, the logo rips off Anthrax and Metallica but c’mon, what do you expect from a fictitious band! It was brought to my attention that if I looked at the back of the shirt, all the stops listed for their Cocked and Loaded tour are in New Jersey towns!
How RAD is that? And I don’t mean that in the Rock Against Drugs type of way. (That line I just ripped off was courtesy of Drew, Constantine’s character) Is Arsenal supposed to be from New Jersey? Perhaps that’s why Stacee Jaxx, while adorned in white spandex, unleashes a perverted, priceless rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”? I’ll take it!
After you check out Rock of Ages, you’ll be thanking me. You too will come to appreciate the many facets of “Rusty Trombonering,” Warrant’s “Heaven,” and the atmospheric appeal of the Fogmaster 5000. Your arms will be super strong after holding up that keychain flashlight in place of a lighter during ballads. Oh, and you’ll also be thanking me because you scored points with your girlfriend. Theater tickets are a better gift idea than the run of the mill stuff, so buy her a pair of tickets for the holidays! For you ladies out there, your boyfriend will be elated that he can bring beers and adult beverages into the theater. That satisfies the alcohol lovers and those yearning for a true ‘80s sunset strip vibe.
Writer Chris D’Arienzo, Director Kristin Hanggi, and Choreogrpaher Kelly Devine are responsible for making Rock of Ages a play that feels like the kind of movie you watch a million times and remember all the dialouge. Keep in mind that you can only own a DVD for several generations, Rock of Ages the musical is off-Broadway NOW, so don’t miss out! Oh and some advice from Lonny the narrator: before you head to the show, if you’d like to make your experience more authentic you may want to set yourself up with an eight ball of crystal meth and get a sixer of Diet Shasta. Dude, it’s amazing.
I admit I was enticed by hearing that there was finally a horror movie about a Dark Ride. Who doesn’t love Dark Rides? If it was up to me, when you walk into my condo you’re automatically invited onto a boat and take a dark ride through the place. The only catch is that the only way to get around the condo is to take the dark ride. I’d wake up in the morning with my pajamas on and my eyes half shut and take the boat over to the bathroom. I’d do my thing, wash my face, and then hop on again over to the kitchen for breakfast as I narrowly escape some robotic monsters trying to kill me. What? It’s time to go to work? This boat is damn slow and we aren’t even passed the walking corpses and the Pinhead animatronic display! I hope I make it to the front door in time! I know, I know…keep my feet and hands in the ride at all times. Forget that, we can do it cartoon style and I wouldn’t even have to take a real shower anymore. I’d hop on the boat and have water jets and soap spray me down after I go through the Dr. Satan exhibit. Shit, I may as well make the upstairs into a fountain of youth ride. Anything’s possible in dark rides, except for making a good movie about them.
OK, I feel like I’m being too harsh. Dark Ride does have some redeemable qualities but what stunk most about this film is that it could’ve been so much more. Being from Jersey, I was blessed with some of the best haunted houses and dark rides ever. Take Castle Dracula in Wildwood or the haunted castle at Six Flags Great Adventure for instance would make great stories. Because of lame producers, filmmakers are constantly dumbing things down. This movie is not one that a fanboy, or an X-E fan would enjoy.
After having minor surgery to my lower back on Monday April 2nd I hopped onto the Garden State Parkway and headed south. It was time to go to the Stone Pony for the Butch Walker and the Let’s-Go-Out-Tonites show. It was a cold, foggy night down the shore but I had a feeling what was in store for me in the next few hours. That special Asbury feeling was present although it’s weird to see half the town under construction. I actually prefer the dilapidated buildings and ruins because it reminds me of Jersey’s version of ancient Rome. I admit that I do look forward to the day that Asbury Park regains it’s prominence.
As always there were annoying people I overheard on line who were discussing that Butch somehow has done special shows only for them and how much they love Butch because they liked him for X amount of years, and they saw him X amount of times. Oh man, it kills me to be on line with some of these people. They complained that the doors weren’t opened yet and it was too cold out. They even asked Butch if he can get them to open the doors as he stepped out of his tourbus for a minute to get a water. Leave the freakin‘ guy alone, Jeez! Is he the f’n doorman? Through the utter disgust I was experiencing, I kept in mind that Butch puts on an awesome show so I kept freezing my ass off waiting in line, being pelted with sporadic drops of rain, and standing through 2 opening acts…yeah that was all great.
The first opening act, Rocket, from L.A were actually pretty enjoyable. They are an all girl band that seemed like a mixture of The Go-Go’s, The Ramones, and The New York Dolls. They appear very youthful and had tons of energy. The lead singer, Lauren Rocket (all their last names are Rocket), equipped with a red keytar, seemed like a Lindsay Lohan on Courtney Love’s crack. Pretty cool stuff. The next band up was The Honorary Title who merely deserve the title of “honorary,” rather than an actual title. It took them like 9 hours to setup their equipment and do their sound check. They were bland and their music did not leave an impression on me. You can hear some emo, The Killers, and U2 influences in their music. Most of their set list was pretty slow and somber but I prefer upbeat.
Butch blasted through a ton of fan favorites from his Marvelous 3 days as well as a bunch of songs from his latest album, “The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and the Let’s Go-Out-Tonites.” Butch apologized to the Stone Pony staff and to anyone else for seeming too cliche before ripping into a big mother cover of Bruce’s Born to Run. The place exploded for Butch and his ballistic assault of “Light’s Out” during the finale. Then he ran into the crowd and sparked the audience into a frenzy. Butch Walker turned a dreary, cold Monday in the ruins of Asbury Park, feel like a Friday night in a legendary shore town.