The good, the bad and our big mouths - Rocklahoma 2008
Welcome to a new segment called "The good, the bad and our big mouths". Theis where Bob-vinyl and I will discuss various musical topics. We decided to have our debut focus on Rocklahoma since the announcement of most of the bands was made this week. So let's get into the bands and what we think of them
-Here are the main stage bands.
Thursday Night acts are:
L.A. Guns featuring Tracii Guns-
MM-They are the better of the two versions of this band, but that’s like saying losing a finger isn’t as bad as losing your whole hand.
BV-These guys weren't great 20 years ago. I liked them more than most bands in the genre at the time, but certainly not enough to see them rehash their 15 minutes of fame now that they're old.
Enuff Z nuff-
MM-An okay band, but they played last year. Seriously how many people are going to flock to this festival for these guys?
BV-I never thought this band had anything going on back then. You'd think they would take the advice implicit in their name and just all it quits.
MM-These guys kind of got lost in the shuffle twenty years ago. I actually think they might come out with a bit of a chip on their shoulder and put on a good show.
BV-If they couldn't make in the days when the majors were signing every band worth their weight in hairspray, why should we expect much from them now?
MM-Hey, remember us we were sort of somebody for about two minutes back in 1989.
BV-I think you're generous with the "sort of somebody."
House of Lords-
MM-About as stiff and boring as their band name. I think I have their first album and have still never been able to get through the whole thing.
BV-Ouch. I actually kinda liked the name, but their music was so forgettable...that I forgot it.
Bret Michaels (solo) is the headliner for Thursday night.
MM-Is this going to be like “Rock of love: The musical”?
BV-I don't think anyone should expect his set to go better than his love life.
Friday acts are:
MM-I saw them twenty years ago and I remember them standing around very still and wearing sparkly purple clothes and uh…. oh, yeah they sucked donkey balls too.
BV-If I want to hear Led Zeppelin (as I often do), I listen to Led Zeppelin, not some thinly veiled fake.
MM-One of the most underrated bands of the 1980’s. They will easily blow away most of the marshmallows on this bill.
BV-This is easily the best shot at getting something good on the main stage. Even if they can't live up to their past, they should be much better than most of these bands were in their prime.
MM- The only metal band on the main stage. You know what? I’ll bet the majority of the fans of these other fluff acts will choose this time to go get beer or whatever. They don’t want to hear “headbanger stuff” that wasn’t played a million times on the radio in 1987.
MM-I remember them as being okay, but kind of like second rate Dokken only with an even worse band name.
BV-I think Dokken is pretty forgettable, so second-rate Dokken might actually be memorable...in a bad way.
MM-Oh, I thought this was Rocklahoma not Lameassapalooza.
BV-You might still be able to rock in America, but don't hold your breath for Night Ranger to be doing it.
MM-I liked them enough back in the early 1990’s, but nowadays I would guess they would be far more limp than anything extreme.
MM-The band that has spent their career being referred to as “that other hard rock trio from Canada”
BV-Considering their middling success, their name might be one of rock n roll's great misnomers.
Pretty Boy Floyd
MM-Forty some year guys wearing make-up and copying the Crue and Poison. Yet they are still one of the better bands playing on this day.
BV-You know it's bad when the best thing about your band is that its name lent itself to parody for a band that was only slightly better.
Every Mothers Nightmare-
MM-An alright band, but they got lost in a sea of hair bands years ago. I think this is when a lot of people will be taking their potty break.
BV-I bet they could be renamed Every Fan's Nightmare.
MM-They might be a wildcard. They did two good albums, but “Wild America” was 16 years ago and some of the members have not stayed in music. I think they might be alright, but I doubt they will capture the spirit they had in their prime.
BV-I saw them in the early 90s and they put on a good show. I doubt any of the boneheads dumb enough to go to Rocklahoma will be so lucky.
Black N’ Blue
MM-Jaimie St. James sounds like his voice is going out on him. Then again you don’t have to be that good to sing “From the school of hard knocks we’ve come to rock your socks off”.
BV-Wow, hair metal poets. The only bigger morons are the people dumb enough to enjoy this crap.
MM-The band after them will benefit from this band’s sure to be worthless performance. Then again a monkey beating on a drum with a stick would sound spectacular if he played after Trixter.
BV-Trixter was one of the worst the genre had to offer just before it thankfully died. What makes anyone think time has been kind?
MM-About two months ago vocalist Steve Whiteman’s other band Funny Money played in my hometown at a dinky little hole in the wall bar that’s basically the basement of a Greek restaurant. Yet I am still not sure if playing Rocklahoma is a step up or a step down for Steve.
BV-I still can't believe that Kix was able to break out into the national arena even for a short time. When they do "Don't Close Your Eyes," atleast that still leaves open the possibility of closing your ears.
Warrant (with Jani Lane)
MM-Wow, Jani Lane is back and I still don’t give a shit about this band.
BV-Warrant is perhaps the best example of how business generally makes for bad music. Even though the money isn't there anymore, the music hasn't improved. They are easily one of rock's worst bands of all time.
MM-Even if Tom Keifer’s voice isn’t what it used to be and even though they have not played together in two years I still say they will come out and play a good show.
BV-Other than Armored Saint, this is probably the best main stage band, but I still wouldn't pay money to see them.
MM-Everybody passed them by even when this style of music was in it’s prime. I guarantee very few people will know who these guys are.
BV-Unknown or not, they'll be better than Warrant.
MM-This probably works better for Joe Leste than when he played as Bang Tango last year. Their albums were this decade and the sound is decent enough.
BV-I can certainly deal with this better than I can Joe Leste using the Bang Tango name. This should be one of the better acts on the bill and I still bet they're old and dull.
MM-Another Zeppelin knockoff although far better than Kingdom Come. I think their prime was too early for most of the people that will be at this festival.
BV-I don't care who's behind the door so I long as I can walk through it to avoid listening to this.
MM-Are we going to more impressed by George Lynch’s guitar solos or by the fact that he hasn’t developed skin cancer from trying to make his body look like a bronze statue?
BV-I'll go with the latter. Lynch is grossly overrated. In a sense, the fact that he's a little bit more talented than most of his peers yet no more creative makes him worse.
MM- Okay, they will likely be very solid and along with Cinderella they were one of the best hard rock bands of the late 80’s-early 90’s.
BV-Another of the handful that might be decent, but I think I can live the rest of my like happier having never seen them than to sit through their set now.
-Here are the Second Stage line-ups
The Retrospect Records stage includes the following bands: Jester, Sidekixx, Pair-A-Dice, Front Runner, Tommy Had a Vision, Valor, Gypsy Blue, Whitefoxx, Blue Tiger, Wild August, Messang, Paul Shortino, Mariah, Warryor, Lorraine, Nasty Nasty, Real Steel, Cuttlass, Vyper, Mass, Bad Candy, Oney, Strikeforce, Herazz, Reckless, Heartless, Ron Keel, Warryor and Alibi.
MM-I know a few of these bands, but most of them are old guys that never made it or only made it for a second back in the 1980’s. I remember Mass being pretty good and they had an album out on RCA, but it’s been twenty years since I heard them. I liked Vyper quite a bit, but they broke up in like 85-86 so I don’t know how they managed to dig these guys up. Obviously Retrospect signs bands based on their ability to come up with annoying misspellings for their band names.
BV-There's only a couple here that are even remotely familiar. Ron Keel should really knock 'em dead (or at least make them wish they were dead) with his great voice. With most of these bands, I have to wonder how interesting their music can be with names like those. Not that the name makes the band, but these guys have chosen very derivative names which tells me that they are neither creative nor clever.
-The other stage has Texas Hippie Coalition, Karnevil featuring Dario Lorina, Dirty Penny, Crooked X, Gypsy Pistoleros, Sweet FA, Banshee, Gods of Kansas, Lipstick Magazine, Pownd, Shadowside, Mindflow, Warmachine, Asphalt Valentine, Krucible featuring Lance King.
MM-Gypsy Pistoleros are the best thing to happen to glam in years. They have been touring steadily since playing last year’s festival so I think they will be great. Dirty Penny are not doing much original, but they are fun and still young so they will likely be good too. Shadowside singer Dani Nolden has an incredible voice like a cross between Rob Halford and Andi Deris of Helloween. She is probably the second best singer at this whole event next to John Bush of Armored Saint. Never heard Banshee and their CDs go for big money on eBay. I have always heard good things about them though. Not a bad line-up from what I know so I just hope enough fans are willing to push their way over to give these bands a chance because this is where the most up and coming bands are.
BV-The Gypsy Pistoleros are fantastic. They're the only remotely important band at the event. Even the handful of main stage bands that might be decent are reliving the past. The Pistoleros are the only band I've heard that presents any real future for this music. Dirty Penny isn't on par with the Pistoleros, but they aren't bad and they're enthusiastic. Shadowside, from the little I've heard, have the potential to put on a decent show. I have to say I'd make it a point to check out Texas Hippie Coalition and Gods of Kansas. Crazy names that don't seem to fit in with everything around them always arouse my interest. I'd also be curious to find out if Sweet FA is going to be a Sweet rip-off or some kind of glammed up Love and Rockets rip-off (I'd bet on the former). All in all, I'd say the only real possibility of seeing anything really interesting is on this stage.
***There are still four slots to be filled on the main stage. However we know most of the bands so the big question is what do you think of this year’s Rocklahoma line-up?
MM- My thoughts after last year was they needed more legitimate big name acts, more up and coming bands and less filler bands crowding the early hours of the day. Okay, they got Cinderella, Tesla and Armored Saint so already that’s more good bands than they had on last year’s line-up. Then bands like Jetboy and Tora Tora might be decent enough. There are a few decent bands on the second stage and some are up and coming bands however just about the whole Retrospect stage is not has-beens, but never weres. Other than Ron Keel and Mass it’s a bunch of bands that couldn’t break through at the peak of this kind of music. So that’s actually more pathetic than last year. Thinking back I would say Trixter and Kingdom Come are worse than anyone on last years Rocklahoma so the earlier bands are not that much better. My take on this festival is that it was a celebration of hard rock and not just hard rock of the past. I understand you need some big name bands to draw people, but there are so many up and coming hard rock bands that could use the exposure and I am sure them would explode at a show like this. Instead they spend their time and money bringing in a lot of old relics who suck in their guts, straighten their wigs and try to pretend it’s still the 1980’s. It’s a celebration of the past and it feels like they are giving up on hard rock having any kind of future. I have heard enough good CDs by young bands to tell you there is a future for this style. It’s just that the promoters of this event are not willing to gamble on unknowns so they track down a bunch of geezers and hope they hold up long enough to pull this train wreck off.
BV-Like most festivals, Rocklahoma wants to make money. But the better festivals are also a celebration of art and music and community.Rocklahoma isn't about any of these things. It's just about nostalgia and, as such, it can't be anything other than a money-making endeavor. It's kind of sad to see that tens of thousands of people are willing to travel to this thing because they have given up on music having a future. Rock n roll isn't dead, but Rocklahoma would make you think it is.
Bob-Vinyl writes Rock and roll and Meandering nonsense.