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Remembering David Bowie

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David Bowie performing in Los Angeles 2004

It’s taken me a long while to be able to put my thoughts into words since David Bowie’s death in early January.

I’ve tried to describe how I feel and the best explanation I can come up with is that I feel as though a martial arts master has come at me full force, kicked me in the chest with both feet and sent me flying through walls and crashing to the ground. My chest physically aches, the world, at times, seems to be moving in slow motion, my brain goes in and out of a foggy coherence as I process the loss of David Bowie, one of, if not, the greatest influence on my life.

Yes, I’ve long lived in that delusional camp that always believed he was so magical he had to be immortal. In life, one generally only meets a handful of people (famous or not) who exude such charm, humor and genuine talent that they seem to sparkle to those around them. You rarely come across a person who is so innovative and willing to constantly try new things just to see what they come up with. He touched so many facets of art – music, theater, acting, painting, and producing.

My first memory of David Bowie is hearing the song “Changes” when I was about 8 or 9, the year I lived in upstate New York with my biological father. I have an image in my brain of sitting in the living room of this big, old, white house and the song is playing. I think the ch-ch-changes bit along with the phrase “and these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds…” stuck in my young mind. What? Spitting on children? That was it. I’ve loved him ever since.

He is literally a part of me as I had his initials tattooed on my ankle (as part of a bigger tattoo) nearly 20 years ago. I was “detained” once, a long time ago, so he is also part of my permanent, legal record, a means by which I can be identified. I take him with me everywhere I go.

As Carrie Brownstein (@Carrie_Rachel) mentioned on Twitter, “It feels like we lost something elemental, as if an entire color is gone.” As if suddenly helium or aluminum is no longer part of the periodic table, yellow doesn’t exist anymore – lemons, bananas or the sun are void of color.

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David Bowie and I in Arizona 1995

I was fortunate enough to have a couple encounters with him over the years in addition to the times I saw him perform live. Once, when he was on tour a friend and I got to meet him and take photos with him. A couple years later in Los Angeles, another friend got us VIP access for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno when David was going to be a guest. For some reason I got the idea to try and take our 8×10 photos with him into the studio. They usually made you check everything at the door and retrieve it when filming was over. I decided to stick them inside a Vogue magazine hoping they’d let me take the magazine in as something to glance at during the downtime in between takes. It actually worked. We had been placed in the front, center seats. During the commercial break, when most TV hosts and guests usually pretend there is an invisible wall between them and the audience, Jay asked David something then turned to the audience and asked if we had any questions we’d like to ask them. I quickly grabbed our photos and held them up. Jay sent a stagehand to collect them. Then it became a bit humorous. In the photos with David, my friend has her natural red hair and I had my natural medium brown, mousy hair. But sitting in front of David and Jay in the audience there was now a platinum blonde (my friend) and a nearly platinum blonde (me). They looked at the photos, looked at us and looked at each other with quizzical expressions and asked if it was really us. They were quite surprised and it made for a funny interaction. David signed our photos and then had them returned to us. I also lifted up my pant leg in an attempt to show David his initials which had recently been branded upon my ankle. He obliged by turning his leg toward me, and lifting up his own pant leg to show me the tattoo he had on the back of his calf.

Oh, and the fact that I’d called in sick to work so I could go only added to the humor when the next day 3 coworkers told me they saw me on TV the night before. Oops!

For me, watching a band I adore perform live is one of the very few things in life that truly makes me happy. I thrive on the energy and chaos of a live show. I marvel in the bumps & bruises obtained through frenetic dancing and singing. A My Chemical Romance show where my ribs still hurt nearly a week later after being in the front of the happy mob counts among my favorite memories. But seeing David Bowie perform was simply on another level. It transcended me into a euphoric state unlike any other. He always surrounded himself with amazing musicians who were so well suited to his sound & style. He was so beautifully handsome with an amazing smile and fantastic sense of humor and so immensely talented.

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An artistic shot of David Bowie and I in 2004

 

For one show, my friend Kim and I spent an entire cold, rainy, February day waiting in a line to see him perform a rare general admission show in Los Angeles on a tour that was mostly seated venues. I recall us being woefully under dressed for the weather while we huddled together under one umbrella for about 9 hours until they let us into the venue where it all paid off and we managed a coveted spot in the front row. The frozen toes & fingers are long forgotten. I don’t recall much of the set list, only that I was able to play with the strings coming off his purposefully frayed jeans; touch his beat up black Converse while he sang on the high stage above us. My friend Alison took this “artistic” photo of David & I because that’s all we could manage due to the height of the stage. We were close enough that when he held a long note I could actually see the texture in the roof of his mouth. It was magical & memorizing and one of my favorite nights.

To some degree I have been able to share him with my kids. When my son was about 8 I was able to take him to a few shows on the Earthling tour. At the time, he actually liked the seats that were farther away because he could better see when David launched this giant eyeball balloon into the audience where it was instantly pulled to pieces. My daughter is much younger and never had the honor to see him perform live but Labyrinth has always been one of her favorite movies and she understands how magical he was.

On January 8th, I happily downloaded Blackstar when I got into work and made my annual Happy Birthday post about David on my Facebook then gleefully plugged an ear bud into my ear to absorb the new music without any clue he was about to leave us shattered and heartbroken.

I’m blessed to have many international friends who graciously gathered up newspapers from around the world to send to me.

I’ve always been so biased in my opinion of great admiration and love for David Bowie, that I never really stopped to think about how many other people might also feel that way in varying degrees so it was mind blowing to the senses when he died to see the world react the way they did. My own life has been in flux the past couple years and the majority of my belongings currently reside in two storage units. I’m hoping soon I will be unpacking everything and perhaps, then I’ll have a Bowie fest and create a gallery of cherished items to come back and share with you.

My heart goes out to his family and friends. I thank them for sharing the public version of him with the rest of us. I’m grateful my time on this planet coincided with his.

I will always love David Bowie. He will always be my hero and one of the greatest influences and inspirations in my life that shaped who I am as a person.

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Heading Downtown With Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Today, Vanity Fair unleashed an exclusive set of behind the scenes and candid images of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis filming their latest video, Downtown. The images were shot by longtime Macklemore and Ryan Lewis photographer, Zoe Rain.

The exclusive photos show a fantastic range of moments including Macklemore enjoying time in between takes with new wife Tricia Davis and baby daughter Sloane, Ryan Lewis giving directorial guidance to the film crew and great shots of the ensemble cast in action. Click on the link below to visit Vanity Fair’s website for the slideshow.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis by Zoe Rain for Vanity Fair

Downtown is the first new official single from the hip hop duo as a follow-up to their smash album The Heist. Downtown is available now on iTunes . The single is racing up the charts with appearances by old school rappers Eric Nally, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee, Grandmaster Caz, & Big Daddy Kane. The video has had nearly 11 million views since it’s release at the end of August. The next album (title not yet revealed) is expected later this year. Life on the Scene is looking forward to some more fun, live shows from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis in 2016! You can check out the video below.

 

 

#AppleEvent

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Billy Idol Launches Book Tour For Dancing With Myself

Billy Idol Dancing With Myself (Touchstone), Billy Idol performs live © 2011 Life on the Scene/Cindy Robinson

Billy Idol Dancing With Myself (Touchstone), Billy Idol performs live © 2011 Life on the Scene/Cindy Robinson

Singer Billy Idol has written his memoir, Dancing With Myself (Touchstone, available now!), recorded a new album called Kings & Queens of the Underground (out Oct. 21), and is set to tour the world with his band. Before he heads out on the road with his band, Idol has done a handful of book signings across the United States, starting in New York this week and he’ll make a stop at Hollywood’s favorite book store Book Soup, this Saturday, October 11th at 4:00 pm! You’ll need to buy a copy of the book from Book Soup and hang on to your receipt.

 

 

In an excerpt from his book, Idol writes:

*Recording with Keith Forsey was exciting for me, though Tony didn’t really get on too well with him. They would bicker all the time, and I could see the two of them might not want to continue together after the record was finished. I thought Keith was doing a great job. It was the best-sounding album we’d made so far. He didn’t let events rattle him, and he could shake himself from an unhappy to a happy mood easily.

When we finished the album, I was the only one to seek him out at his hotel on his last night in the UK. I had dinner with him and his wife, Karen. I told him I liked how he worked and hoped we might do more, if I was ever given the chance to make another record. After all, my future was certainly up in the air at that moment. Keith had really tried to make my concept for the record work, and I appreciated that a great deal. Most important, we had a finished version of “Dancing with Myself” in the can. Would it be my bridge to the future?

During the recording of the album, Perri and I had been on a non­stop, twenty-four-hour drug-and-sex binge without sleep. We made love in bed all day and night, high on heroin, grass, and hash. With that particular cocktail, as orgasm boiled over, we would pop an amyl nitrate (commonly known as poppers) and send our bodies to the sweet spot that intensifies the growing explosion of chemistry between two lovers entwined like vines, curling together, disappearing into each other . . . writhing, sighing, and groaning, soaring into heaven, only to slowly burn out and return to earth, spent but somehow wanting more.

Heroin is a dangerous and addictive drug. If you take it enough, it returns you to the place that is as comfortable and all-encompassing as your mother’s womb. After three days, you’re hooked. When you come off, you’re debilitated, to the point where you feel like your skeleton is trying to get out of your body; you’re dying for more. And unless you want to go on feeling bad, you need a continuous supply. If you take enough to not get sick, you can maintain a semi-regular life­style. Thanks to Bill Aucoin’s renegotiation with Chrysalis, I now had enough money to fund my habits . . . and he, unbeknownst to me at the time, had enough to fund his.

The Stony-Eyed Medusa and I lived in a twilight world of drugs, sex, and rock ‘n’ roll friends. We roamed the London night in a small tools minivan I bought from my dad, dubbed “Power Tool the People.” The slow-burning nights spun into a web that trapped me in its em­brace until unconsciousness delivered me back to a moment of en­forced sleep. Waking up on different floors and beds, I was surrounded by the ubiquitous reggae music, which we always played while we were “block up,” a phrase we used for getting stoned. There had to be guardian angels looking silently through the hash fumes just above our heads. Why else would I still be here today, alive and well, to tell the story?

On one occasion, Perri and I took acid and went to see Apocalypse Now, then made love all night to George Faith’s Lee “Scratch” Perry– produced album, To Be a Lover. It was amazing I was able to get out of bed long enough to record our album, but I was.

I continued going to Perri’s gigs, where I ran into David Mallet, the director who shot Generation X’s ’77 Marquee performance. This meeting would prove fortuitous for the future.

Living twenty-four hours every day with Perri back then was quite the experience. We had a connection that was deeper than any I had ever known. It was a great trip for me to have a counterpart with whom I had so many interests in common, including fashion, music, movies, and the like. Perri had become my constant companion throughout this life of love, lust, and insanity. Only later did I realize that I had not paused to consider that my intense love affair with her, the heroin, hash, and other drugs were unraveling the constraints of my punk past and helping to further widen the gulf between me and Tony James.

Billy Idol, Steve Stevens and the band will hit the road in November for their European tour with newly unleashed plans for North America in January and February. Dates are listed below (with more dates to come so don’t fret if you don’t see your city listed just yet) with presales happening now, general public on sales happening October 10th in most markets with Idol and Stevens offering meet and greet packages for the shows! Let Life On The Scene know what you think of Billy Idol’s new book and what shows you’ll be attending in the comment section below.

North American Tour Dates:

January 21 (Wed)                                New Orleans, LA                             House Of Blues

January 22 (Thu)                                 Atlanta, GA                                      The Tabernacle

January 24 (Sat)                                  Philadelphia, PA                              Tower Theater

January 25 (Sun)                                 Washington, DC                             Lincoln Theater

January 28 (Wed)                                New York, NY                                 Beacon Theater

January 31 (Sat)                                  Boston, MA                                     Orpheum Theater

February 3 (Tue)                                 Montreal, QC, Canada                  Metropolis

February 4 (Wed)                                Toronto, ON, Canada                   Massey Hall

February 7 (Sat)                                  Chicago, IL                                      Riviera Theater

February 9 (Mon)                                Denver, CO                                    Paramount Theater

February 12 (Thu)                               Vancouver, BC, Canada               Queen Elizabeth Theater

February 13 (Fri)                                 Seattle, WA                                     Paramount

February 15 (Sun)                               Oakland, CA                                   Fox Theater

February 18 (Wed)                              Los Angeles, CA                           Wiltern Theater


*Book excerpt from
DANCING WITH MYSELF, by Billy Idol. Copyright © 2014 by Billy Idol. Published Touchstone, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. 

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Living in Broken America

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By Cindy Robinson

The United States of America is broken. We live in a country that is failing its citizens. Growing up I learned about the different political parties representing our country, that each has its own ideals based on their moral beliefs. We learned the purpose of having a fairly equal representation of those parties in our governing offices is to work together, to compromise on issues affecting our country and its citizens – things like healthcare, wages, housing, and protecting our population.

However, our political parties of today have long forgotten the art of compromise, their primary goal is only to further their own agendas and keep the pockets of those already rolling in wealth well lined. Our parties no longer work together to help the American people. They merely work against the opposing party to prevent any positive change for the American people without any regard for the impact these decisions will have on Americans.

An article recently posted on PBS.org pictures hunger in America, showcasing how a variety of families survive on their meager earnings and the small amount of government assistance each receives.  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/picturing-hunger-in-america/#the-rundown . The article also highlights how those in need spend endless hours waiting to get any assistance they are applying for. How is an unemployed person supposed to effectively search for a job that will sustain them when they spend half of one day waiting to turn in paperwork to apply for food stamps only to be told they need to wait further to actually receive the aid if they are approved? Then that person spends the better part of another day waiting to turn in paperwork for the next type of assistance they may be applying for.

Back in December Congress voted to end the extension of unemployment benefits for more than one million Americans. The rug was instantly pulled out from under anyone on unemployment. Instead of receiving a bi-weekly unemployment claim, they were mailed a surprise letter indicating their claim had ended, even if they had money remaining on their claim. While I understand, and support one of the opinions behind this move – to get those off unemployment that are just milking the system, its overall effect has been to send more Americans into the system of applying for benefits, increasing the burden on our already overtaxed economy.

I am one of the more than one million Americans affected by this vote. I was laid off by my employer of nearly 8 years in 2013 when they decided to close their California office and move operations east. In addition to constantly applying for as many jobs in my field as possible, I have spent the better part of the last two months seeking assistance of every kind possible that I could locate with almost no results. I started with dialing 211, the United Way, which is supposed to be a collective listing of resources that a person in need can contact in their area. The people that answer the phones are woefully under trained. I called twice in fact and each time they looked up resources by my zip code and simply told me there wasn’t any rental assistance available in my area and they also weren’t helping with gas bills right now. They neglected to tell me that there is an entire list of resources available on my county website and that while some agencies are approved to offer rental assistance, they are out of funding right now and the same goes for utility bill assistance. I only discovered that these resources existed because I am a tech savvy person. What happens when an elderly person or anyone who isn’t tech savvy calls and receives the same answer? Does that person just give up because they were told there aren’t resources available?

America-BrokenWhile I am finally being called in to interview for some great companies in Southern California, those who are hiring are also being very thorough and going through long lists of applicants to decide who is right for the job. Long gone are the days when you’d interview and be hired on the spot or within a couple days, organizations are now taking weeks to make a decision.

During my research for great resources to help sustain my household during these challenging times, I entered a contest on 102.7 KIIS FM, Los Angeles hit radio station hoping to win a $1,000 prize. I discovered there is also a Ryan Seacrest Foundation and sent in my information to them. I never heard back from them, even though I provided information on the deadline I was facing.

I’ve reached the point where I am losing everything. The long list of resources who’s primary goal is listed as preventing homelessness don’t have any assistance to offer, decisions on jobs applied to are moving forward slowly so I am losing my rental home of six years.

I’m a college educated administrative professional with strong computer skills combined with great social media and freelance photography skills looking for a job in the Inland Empire area of Southern California along with a needing a new home that will accept me, a child, cats, dogs and an alligator lizard.

download It seems the only true assistance out there today is community, people helping people as our government and assistance organizations continue to fail us. Today’s headlines focused on the story of Shanesha Taylor in Arizona, a homeless mother of two, who left her young sons in the car while she went into a job interview. While I don’t condone leaving young children unattended, why aren’t there more readily available resources in this situation? How is she supposed to get a job and take care of her family if there isn’t child care to support her so she can go on an interview? Luckily for Shanesha, Amanda Bishop stepped in and set up a fundraising effort on youcaring.com and quickly raised $70,000 for the mother of two.   http://ktla.com/2014/04/01/homeless-mom-arrested-after-leaving-kids-in-car-during-job-interview/#axzz2xhHpgbUy She’s one of the lucky ones who had a kind stranger step in to help her during her time of need.

So I’m asking each one of you that read this to please help those in need around you, even if you don’t know them. We’re all battling something but if more of us work together, lives can be saved, lives can be improved. Be grateful for what you have and share your extras with those who need it.

 

 

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Jonas Brothers Release Pom Poms and Announce Summer Tour

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 The Jonas Brothers are back in full swing in the United States after a hugely successful tour of South America. Today, the trio consisting of brothers Kevin, Joe and Nick stopped by 102.7 KIIS FM, in Burbank, CA to world premiere their new single “Pom Poms” with Ryan Seacrest. The band spoke about their new single, unleashed a host of summer tour dates and performed a few acoustic songs live on the radio including a cover of Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You”.

Tickets for the Jonas Brothers tour, which kicks off on July 10th in Chicago, are available for the Fan Club Pre-Sale on April 9th and public on-sale April 13th!  For a complete list of dates see below and for ticket information head over to the Jonas Brothers fan club by clicking here! Don’t wait, get those tickets the instant they go on sale because it won’t take long for these shows to sell out.

The new single “Pom Poms” is available now on iTunes! What are you waiting for? Go grab it! The video will premiere tonight on E! with a behind the scenes look at the making of the video.

Did you buy the single today? What did you think of it? How about the video with all the cheerleaders and the amazing horn section? Let us know what you think of the latest release from the Jonas Brothers in the comments section below.

Check in with the guys on Twitter for the latest links to watch the full video tonight. You can follow Kevin, Joe and Nick for all the latest Jonas Brothers news! #POMPOMS #JONASBROTHERS

JONAS BROTHERS LIVE TOUR DATES

10 JUL 2013 – Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island, Chicago, IL, US
12 JUL 2013 – Klipsch Music Center, Indianapolis, IN, US
13 JUL 2013 – DTE Energy Music Theatre, Detroit, MI, US
14 JUL 2013 – PNC Pavilion, Cincinnati, OH, US
16 JUL 2013 – Blossom Music Center, Cleveland, OH, US
18 JUL 2013 – Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, Toronto, ON, CA
19 JUL 2013 – Darien Lake PAC, Darien Lakes, NY, US

20 JUL 2013 – Nikon @ Jones Beach Theatre, Wantagh, NY, US

22 JUL 2013 – Bank of America Pavilion, Boston, MA, US

23 JUL 2013 – Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT, US
25 JUL 2013 – PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ, US
26 JUL 2013 – Borgata Event Center, Atlantic City, NJ, US

27 JUL 2013 – Mix Tape Festival, Hershey, PA, US

29 JUL 2013 – Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, VA, US

30 JUL 2013 – Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, US
31 JUL 2013 – Red Hat Amphitheatre, Raleigh, NC, US
02 AUG 2013 – Cruzan Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach, FL, US
03 AUG 2013 – Live Nation Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa, FL, US
04 AUG 2013 – Chastain Park Amphitheatre, Atlanta, GA, US
06 AUG 2013 – Gexa Energy Pavilion, Dallas, TX, US
07 AUG 2013 – The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, Houston, TX, US
09 AUG 2013 – Comerica Theatre, Phoenix, AZ, US

10 AUG 2013 – Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, NV, US

13 AUG 2013 – America’s Cup Pavilion, San Francisco, CA, US

14 AUG 2013 – Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, US
16 AUG 2013 – Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk, Los Angeles, CA, US

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The Jonas Brothers Announce South American Tour Dates

I feel remiss in the fact that I never completed my review of the Jonas Brothers concerts that took place at Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre just after Thanksgiving. However, anytime seems like a good time to discuss the former Disney darlings doesn’t it? Before I pontificate on the merits and possibly demerits of the Jonas Brothers, let me disclose that one of the many, many hats I wear in life is that of a parent to a nearly twelve-year-old daughter who adores the Jonas Brothers.  So while I have covered their events in the past as a member of the media, I am pretty much always looking at them from a dual perspective – photographing and/or reviewing their live performances or latest CD while simultaneously watching the experience through the eyes of my daughter.

Let’s get down to business then, the Jonas Brothers are back! It’s been more than three years since their last studio album, 2009’s Lines, Vines and Trying Times. The Brothers have been hard at work in the studio on their as yet untitled fifth studio album scheduled for release in early 2013. Individually the brothers have been busy during the past 3 years with Nick releasing his solo effort, Who I Am as Nick Jonas and the Administration, testing out the waters in the theater world with performances in Les Misérables, Hairspray and Broadway’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Joe Jonas  released his solo effort, Fastlife. Both brothers did some touring with their solo releases while older brother Kevin got married to longtime girlfriend Danielle Deleasa and enjoyed life with his new bride. Eventually they brought their newlywed adventures to a TV screen near you in E!’s reality show Married to Jonas which has just been picked up for a 2nd season.

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The boys that ruled the Disney airwaves grew into young men, and parted ways with Disney during their hiatus from being a band while Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and One Direction took over the world of teen angst in their place.  2012 saw the Jonas Brothers return to the touring world, offering fans just a smattering of tour dates around the globe including places like Moscow, Russia, New York City, the Philippines and finally a stretch of sold out shows at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, CA along with an appearance at KIIS FM‘s annual Jingle Ball.

The question that comes to mind – do the Jonas Brothers still have what it takes? Fickle teen hearts moved on to worship Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Justin Bieber and One Direction. Would they return to the fold to see what Kevin, Joe and Nick have to offer now? Will they still dance to those “old” songs? Will they embrace the news songs debuted at these live shows – “Wedding Bells”, an ode to ex-flame Miley Cyrus penned by the younger Jonas, Nick. A track called “First Time” which Joe joked was about “the first time, you, uh, eat food” at the Pantages show. The answer so far is yes, for the most part, the fans have flocked back to the trio of brothers and the shrieks still threaten to break the sound barrier as the screen goes up to start their show.

The thought that has bounced around in my head though is the age-old game teenagers play with their peers. Why is it that teenagers must “hate” on each others musical tastes? Does it stem from the lack of confidence, struggle to fit in, the need to be popular or some sort of jealousy? I have friends who grew up in the 1960’s and described to me how it was either the Beatles or the Stones, you were an oddball if you liked both. I experienced it as a teenager in the 1980’s when the kids at school teased you for loving Duran Duran or Depeche Mode because those bands sucked in their opinion. How long does it take for one to mature enough to simply respect their friend’s choice in music? Personally, I’m happy that so far my daughter doesn’t change her mind on which bands she likes to listen to with the day of the week. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this teenage phenomenon in the comments below.

In conclusion, for those that do enjoy seeing the Jonas Brothers live in concert (which we certainly do), they have just announced the first of their 2013 tour dates – a trek through Latin America that kicks off in February. Fan club tickets and VIP packages are available now via the Jonas Brothers website with public on sales to follow through Ticketmaster. Here are the dates:

February 24, 2013: Simon Bolivar University USB, Caracas, VE
February 26, 2013: Vina Del Mar Festival, Vina Del Mar, CL
February 28, 2013: Movistar Arena, Santiago, CL
March 2, 2013: Carlos Paz Summer Event, Cordoba, AR (free concert!)
March 3, 2013: Estadio Ferrocarri Oeste/Atlanta, Buenos Aires, AR
March 5, 2013: Estadio Tahuichi Aguilera, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, BO
March 10, 2013: Credicard Hall, Sao Paulo, BR
March 12, 2013: Citibank Hall, Rio De Janeiro, BR
March 14, 2013: Pepsi on Stage, Porto Alegre, BR
March 17, 2013: Yacht Club Del Paraguay, Asuncion, PY
March 19, 2013: Velodrome, Montevideo, UY
March 21, 2013: Paseo Cayala, Guatemala City, GT

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Four Kings & An Ace at the London West Hollywood

Mending Kids International hosted their annual Fall fundraiser, Four Kings & An Ace Celebrity Poker Tournament, on Saturday night at Gordon Ramsay‘s restaurant inside the London West Hollywood. The evening’s proceeds benefit children in over 51 countries around the world in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa and Southeast Asia to give children access to critical surgeries that they would otherwise not be able to receive due to lack of medical or financial resources.

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Longtime Mending Kids International supporter Mel Gibson hosted the evening along with celebrity friends like Gene Simmons, Robert Downey, Jr., Sean Penn and Jodie Foster. Among other celebrity guests were World Series Of Poker Winner Jamie Gold, Madeleine Stowe, Emily VanCamp and most of the cast of “Revenge,” Danny Trejo and Chuck Zito from “Sons of Anarchy“, actor Quinton Aaron from “the Blind Side”, Olympic diver Greg Louganis, comedian and “Iron Man 2” actor Garry Shandling, Patricia Arquette,  and World Poker Tour players Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten.

These celebrities were able to raise enough funds for eight missions to provide almost 200 children around the world with life-saving surgeries. Mending Kids International (www.mendingkids.org) is a California-based non-profit that provides surgeries to children otherwise unavailable to them in developing countries, and surgical training to medical staff to build long-term sustainable surgical programs.  92% of every dollar received goes directly towards helping children.

Will Hartman walked away with the night’s poker trophy. Those who didn’t play poker enjoyed casino games and entertainment provided by The Commodores Band, American Idol Winner Lee Dewyze, and Dominic Scott Kay.

MKI is a tremendous charitable organization that ran an amazingly well-organized fundraiser. Life on the Scene is always on board to help out this charity in the future!

The only real snag in the evening was the fact that while KISS frontman Gene Simmons gave very generously of his time to the event, his personality was sorely lacking as he wouldn’t give the time of day to most of the attendees that paid a top dollar donation to attend this wonderful event.

Sponsors for the event include ICON Films, The London West Hollywood, The Sher Group, Morgan’s Jewelers,Variety, Marich Premium Chocolates, Polanti Watches, BERYLL, Smile Sciences, El Cartel Tequila, Akvinta Vodka, Atlantico Rum, Paul Smith, Floral Crush, and GrapeVine Productions.  MKI is already planning the 2ndAnnual event for Fall 2013 and sponsorship opportunities and player slots are available. Please visit them at (www.mendingkids.org) to donate or sign up to sponsor an event.

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INXS Confirm End to Their Touring Days

In a statement released early Tuesday in Australia, iconic rock band INXS announce the end of their touring days after 35 years in the music business. From INXS.com,  “We understand that this must come as a blow to everybody, but all things must eventually come to an end. We have been performing as a band for 35 years, it’s time to step away from the touring arena”.

The confirmation comes after a confusing weekend that included a surprising teary goodbye on stage in Perth, Australia by INXS drummer, Jon Farriss at the end of the Matchbox 20/INXS tour of Australia which caused speculation of  a band split picked up by news outlets everywhere. Fans & friends of the band were further confused by personal emails and texts from band members to people around the globe denying the end of the band.

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The statement continued, “Our music will of course live on and we will always be a part of that.”

“We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the friends and family that have supported us throughout our extensive career. Our lives have been enriched by having you all as a part of the journey”

INXS forged their reputation as one of the world’s greatest live bands, relentlessly touring the US, Europe, South America, and the Far East constantly throughout the 80’s and early 90’s, fuelled by the success of records such as Listen Like Thieves, Kick, X, and Welcome To Wherever You Are.

That hard earned and hard won live reputation took INXS to the very pinnacle of the live world touring circuit with such memorable performances headlining iconic venues across the world …  in the UK [Wembley Stadium 80,000], the US [Texas Stadium 60,000] and Rio De Janeiro [ Rock in Rio 120,000].

But with the high, came a bitter and cruel blow … the loss of their charismatic and irreplaceable front man Michael Hutchence in November 1997.

‘It’s been 35 years for INXS as a live touring band and unbelievably it’s been 15 years ago since we lost Michael’ said Jon Farriss.

We lived for each other in the trenches and we loved each other. It was the six of us against the world and then suddenly and inexplicably we were but five. We were lost right at the moment we were on top.’

The band struggled to deal with the enormity of it all and the easy solution was to just call it a day.

‘We never took a soft option, it was the adversity, the challenge and the struggle that forged us into the live working band we became. And this was as big as it could possibly get when it came to a challenge’ said Andrew Farriss, ‘and in the end we decided for a whole bunch of reasons to march forward. To us there was no other option . families always move forward’.

To live to 80 plus is a life well lived. To lose Michael so young was a tragedy for all of us. But with this band, their legacy, their music was just so damn good, it was always destined to live beyond all of us.

The last 3 years has seen a resurgence of INXS with their songs being hammered on radio and a rise in audience numbers with the live show. The song ‘Original Sin’, with Rob Thomas on vocals, reached number 1 on the Billboard dance charts.

As Jon Farriss says, ‘INXS’ touring days could never last forever. We wanted it to end on a high. And it has’

Music critics and fans alike have chided the band for years in their decision to continue making music after the death of Michael Hutchence. For the remaining members of INXS, it was the only job they had ever done, the job they truly loved and excelled at. Michael’s decision to leave this world didn’t mean they had to stop doing the only thing they had ever done – rock as an amazing live band. The band tried a succession of different singers in the last 15 years including Terence Trent D’ Arby, Noiseworks Jon Stevens, rebuilt a great fan momentum and had a hit with Rockstar INXS winner, J.D. Fortune  and the song Pretty Vegas and the last year with Irishman Ciaran Gribbin at the helm.

On a more personal note, I hope they choose to continue working in the music business in some fashion and remember to call their old friends if they visit the USA because hanging out with these Australians for drinks and laughs are some of the best times I’ve had.

INXS images courtesy of Cindy Robinson, Ciaran Gribbin images courtesy of Esther Oliver

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John Taylor In the Pleasure Groove

Bass Player Live! 2012 hosted Duran Duran‘s John Taylor in an interview with journalist Tom Sykes followed by a reading, Q and A session and book signing in support of his just released autobiography, In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran at SIR Studios over the weekend in Hollywood, CA.

From Dutton, “With Duran Duran, John Taylor has created some of the greatest music of our time. From the disco dazzle of debut single ‘Planet Earth’ right up to their latest number one album, All You Need is Now, Duran Duran has always had the power to sweep the world onto its feet.

It’s been a ride – and for John in particular, the ride has been wild, thrilling… and dangerous. Now, for the first time, he tells his incredible story. A tale of dreams fulfilled, lessons learned and demons conquered.

A shy only child, Nigel John Taylor wasn’t an obvious candidate for pop stardom and frenzied girl panic. But when he ditched his first name and picked up a bass guitar, everything changed. John Formed Duran Duran with his friend Nick Rhodes in the summer of 1978, and they were soon joined by Roger Taylor, then Andy Taylor and finally Simon Le Bon. Together they were an immediate, massive global success story, their pictures on millions of walls, every single a worldwide hit.

In his frank, compelling autobiography, John recounts the highs –hanging out with icons like Bowie, Warhol and even James Bond; dating Vogue models and driving fast cars – all the while playing hard with the band he loved. But there were tough battles ahead – troubles that brought him to the brink of self-destruction – before turning his life around.

Told with humor, honesty and hard-won wisdom, and packed with exclusive pictures, In the Pleasure Groove is a fascinating, irresistible portrait of a man who danced into the fire… and came through the other side”

Below is a selection of images from the event.

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The book is available now via Amazon in hard cover, paperback and Kindle versions. Barnes & Noble also offers an e-book for Nook and of course Apple offers it for every “i” device known to Duran kind – iTunes, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch. Don’t forget the independent book sellers in your city either! I grabbed my copy from the historic Hollywood book seller, Book Soup. Why not pick a few copies for friends and start crossing items off the Christmas list?

John Taylor continues his promotional tour for the book this week in Los Angeles with additional stops listed below. Don’t miss your chance to have this tale of rock & roll signed by the author himself!

10/24- Los Angeles, CA @ Book Soup at Cinespace (Book Signing, Interview and Audience Q&A, with book co-author Tom Sykes)
10/25- San Francisco, CA @ San Francisco Art Institute (Book Signing, Interview and Audience Q&A)
10/26- Austin, TX @ The Scottish Rite Theater (Book Signing, Interview and Audience Q&A)
10/29- Toronto, ON, CAN @ Indigo Bookstore (Book Signing, Interview and Audience Q&A)
10/30- Chicago, IL @ City Winery Chicago (Book Signing, Interview and Audience Q&A)

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2011 in Photos – A Look Back at Bruno Mars, Duran Duran, INXS and U2

by Cindy Robinson

Here we are at the end of the first week of 2012 and I wanted to do a post on my favorite photos of 2011 from the various rock & roll events I attended last year. While the list was small in comparison to years past, I still had the opportunity to see some great live bands.

I feel like I’ve conquered the technology mountain to get to this little post I want to share with the world. Laptop software issues continue to plague me as do the internet connectivity issues (do we hear a New Year’s resolution here?? Solve the tech issues in 2012!) and when I finally made it over these hurdles, I learned that WordPress blogs typically don’t support embedding slide shows from Picnik. Say what? I battled computer issues, stayed up until wee hours working on my slide show and my blog won’t host it?

Thankfully the information superhighway quickly led me to information that allowed me to solve this issue. I discovered Vodpod which allows you to embed your Picnik slide show into your WordPress blog. Shazam! It isn’t perfect, it’s much smaller in scale than the original so I feel some detail is lacking but I’m happy I was able to embed it and share with readers.

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Let’s get down to the subject at hand – 2011 in photos. Wow, narrowing down a plethora of images shot over the past year turned out to be a daunting task. I intended to pull just one image from each event but soon found that impossible as image after image drew me in. So I grabbed my favorites and went from there.

For me, 2011  included live shows from the likes of  My Chemical Romance, Bruno Mars, Brian Setzer, Duran Duran, Honor Society (a band my daughter really enjoys who rose to fame as the opening band on the Jonas Brothers tour in 2009),   INXS , a book signing by Guns n’ Roses Duff McKagan and the long postponed U2 at Angels Stadium show finally came to fruition!

My Chemical Romance were incredible as their live show is always an intense throbbing mass of music loving people. This was our first time seeing Bruno Mars and it definitely won’t be our last. His live show was amazing, just non-stop energy from start to finish. The audience was also amazing – a complete mash-up of every type, size and age of concert goer imaginable. Brian Setzer always puts on a great live show too!

Duran Duran are my favorite band so my opinion of them will always be biased and I always enjoy seeing them live! Their Unstaged performance directed by David Lynch at the Mayan Theatre in Los Angeles in early 2011 really kicked it up a notch though when they added a list of special guests for their show that included Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, Beth Ditto of the Gossip and super producer Mark Ronson.

INXS breezed through the USA for a short summer tour before singer J.D. Fortune departed the band for a second time. INXS look to be back on track for 2012 though with their new Irish singer, Ciaran Gribbin. Youtube footage shows his performances to be of a more mellow variety with awkward dance moves but I’ll wait to fully assess the new line up until I see it for myself. He’s got big shoes to fill and it takes time to grow into a role of that magnitude.

Then there was U2! I think there are few people who would dispute the awesome spectacle that is a live U2 show. This show seemed especially sweet to me as I had originally purchased my tickets in November 2009 and the show ended up being postponed due to Bono’s emergency back surgery and subsequent recovery. Finally, in June of 2011, they rolled back into town and blew us all away. U2 with Lenny Kravitz were worth the wait!

It’s always hard to narrow down the list of favorite shows, to choose just one for the top spot. Even though my list was much shorter than normal for 2011 (darn bad economy!) it didn’t make things any easier. I know I can cross My Chemical Romance off the contenders list because their record release show at the House of Blues in Hollywood in November of 2010 was their best to date that I have seen.

After thinking long and hard about it, I narrowed down my top choices to U2 and Bruno Mars. U2 live is so much more than just a rock & roll concert but ultimately I’d have to award the top slot to singer Bruno Mars. It was refreshing to see an artist I hadn’t seen before and to be thoroughly excited and energized by the set.

What were some of your favorite shows you saw in 2011? Who are you looking forward to seeing live in 2012? Are we all jazzed for the return of Van Halen in 2012? 80’s icon Adam Ant is due to tour the USA for the first time in 15 years! Preliminary tour buzz shows his fans are coming out of the woodwork like crazy. INXS are set to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their iconic Kick album. 2011 breakout band, Foster the People are scheduled to hit the road hard during 2012 moving up to larger venues as they trek across America. And it’s almost time for the big Coachella announcement! Who will they get for 2012?

2011 in Photos, posted with vodpod

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