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Show Review: Raiding the Rock Vault in Las Vegas, NV

March 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Concert Reviews, Daily Music News


Raiding the Rock Vault
Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, NV
Reviewed by: Jessica Messina

Several years ago, a musician friend of mine once told me “Music is like smell. Sometimes it takes you right back”. There’s also a saying that if you remember the sixties (or 70s or 80s) then chances are good that you weren’t actually there. Whichever of those lines applies to you, the newest Vegas show, Raiding the Rock Vault, can accommodate it! Starring what could be the newest supergroup to end all supergroups, comprised of John Payne (Asia), Robin McAuley (MSG, Survivor), Paul Shortino (Quiet Riot, Rough Cutt), Howard Leese (Heart, Bad Company), Jay Schellen (Hurricane, Badfinger), Tracii Guns (LA Guns), Michael T. Ross (Lita Ford band), and Andrew Freeman (Offspring, Lynch Mob), and several guests throughout the year, beginning with Bobby Kimball from Toto, followed by Joe Lynn Turner from Rainbow, it is a show suitable for anyone over the age of four years old who wants to take a two-hour long journey through modern history with pop culture references sprinkled throughout via actors or the giant video screens on either side and the back of the stage. (Random six degrees fact: “All Right Now” by Free was cowritten by Paul Rodgers, who went on to join Bad Company, a band which RTRV guitarist Howard Leese can claim on his resume! BAM! You’ve just been Kevin Baconed!)    Read more

John Payne Talks “Raiding The Rock Vault”

February 25, 2013 by  
Filed under Interviews


Ever wish you could have seen rock legends in such a room like Elvis played in his heyday? Well, now you have a chance to! In the world-famous room in what used to be called the Las Vegas Hilton – now named the Las Vegas Hotel or LVH – where the likes of Elvis, Liberace, and Barry Manilow have graced the stage, there is a new show beginning a one-year residency.

Named Raiding the Rock Vault, it is billed as the story of classic rock. Featuring classic rock legends from some of your favorite bands.  I recently had the opporunity to speak with John Payne, bassist and frontman from Asia (you started singing “Heat of the Moment” just now, didn’t you?) and he gave us the skinny on how this show came together and what the audience can expect. Read more

Three Minutes With….Keri Kelli

DPP_0033-LWith a resume a mile long and an even longer discography, you possibly know Keri Kelli’s work best from his tenure playing guitar in Alice Cooper’s band – once upon a time sharing the stage with former “Three Minutes With….” record-holder Brent Fitz.

I managed to get Keri to give me Three Minutes recently after he played a show in Vegas with Faster Pussycat/Motochrist drummer Chad Stewart, Eric Dover of Jellyfish, and former Ratt bassist Robbie Crane. We get to learn something about Keri here….  Read more

Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp – Behind the Scenes in Sin City

October 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Music News

Have you ever thought about being a rock star? You don’t need to answer that – of course you have! Who hasn’t dreamt of selling out Madison Square Garden or Wembley Stadium or holding court like Lemmy at the Rainbow? Well, now you can be one – even just for a day. After scattered camps around the globe since the late nineties, Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp has made its permanent home in Las Vegas – in collaboration with the MGM Grand hotel – and the inaugural camp at the new Sin City home base was held October 10-14, 2012.

In true Vegas fashion, the purple neon sign at headquarters is so bright it can be seen from the Strip, which is several blocks away. Offering three and five day camp packages and ‘Rockstar for a Day’experience packages on monthly basis (No camp in December 2012 though), as well as corporate team building events (picture your boss rocking the stage like a member of Kiss or Motley Crue!) and you don’t even need to have any musical talent to sign up! The only restriction is, they would really prefer you to be over the age of 21, just because this IS Vegas. Campers are grouped by experience level, but if you claim Expert level? Be ready to cough up an audition video to prove it. If Kip Winger doesn’t think you’re an Expert player? You get bumped down to Intermediate or Beginner.

Past campers have learned from and worked alongside counselors such as  Zakk Wylde, Gene Simmons, Slash, Ace Frehley, Lita Ford, Steven Tyler, Bruce Kulick, and Vince Neil, among other notables.  Future headliner counselors include John Popper from Blues Traveler, Warren Haynes from the Allman Brothers, and Jack Bruce from Cream in November, Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction) and Roger Daltrey in January, Alice Cooper and Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Adrenaline Mob) in February, and the Red Rocker himself, Sammy Hagar (and the Wabos) in March. (Let’s not even discuss the plethora of other counselors who come in! Rudy Sarzo. John Moyer. Vinny Appice. Eddie Trunk. The list goes on!) This isn’t a situation where you get a few minutes of watch and learn and then you’re on your own. You spend full days with your counselors, learning some of the stuff that made them famous, or rewriting lyrics to one of their tunes, or just playing alongside them. Founder and CFO David Fishof told a story of how campers rewrote lyrics to an Aerosmith tune with the songwriter’s help. If you think this whole thing is akin to jamming in someone’s garage, you need to think again. The headquarters boasts twelve separate practice studios outfitted with state of the art equipment from companies such as Roland and Cakewalk. (DW drum kits were also seen in the practice rooms and the performance studio.) If you have your own axe, they’re cool if you bring it. Just make sure it is clearly labeled with your info.

After you spend all day learning from your counselors, you get to start out just the way most rockstars did too – playing a gig in a club! Okay, it’s not the local dive bar down the block, the nightly showcases are at Rouge nightclub in the MGM Grand hotel. (Next stop? The Whisky a Go-Go?) But if your stage fright is SO bad that breathing into a paper bag won’t save you, you won’t be left out….Whats rock ‘n’  roll without groupies? Every band needs them! According to CEO David Clontz, the October camp had about 20% of their attendance as groupies.

Think you have what it takes? Go to or call 888-762-2263 and sign up. Packages start at $299 for Rockstar for a Day and the multi-day packages include your hotel room. Who knows? You might turn out to be the Next Big Thing.

Three Minutes With…Trent Anderson

Three Minutes With…
Trent Anderson

You may not be familiar with his name, but you are more than likely familiar with some of his projects in one way or another. He currently plays drums for Bang Tango, but has also played with Chicago glam band D’Molls and played in a band called Blackbone with former Saliva singer Josey Scott. Trent and I caught up by phone a couple of months ago and he gave his thoughts how fans are somewhat gypped nowadays comparatively. Check it out! Read more

Three Minutes With…Shannon Larkin

Three Minutes With………..
Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin

 If your music collection spans several decades, as mine does, go flip through it, and you may find  at least one album that Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin has played on with his previous bands – Candlebox, Wrathchild America, and Ugly Kid Joe are what I found in my collection…. He has also appeared on a Stone Sour track and played live with Black Sabbath.

 Shannon gave me Three Minutes when the Boston-based band Godsmack made a stop to play the Pearl at the Palms hotel here in Vegas recently, and I think he has done the only semi-themed interview. Check it out! Read more

Three Minutes With…Chad Stewart

Three Minutes With………..
Chad Stewart

You’ve seen him play drums for Faster Pussycat, and Tracii’s version of LA Guns, and with previous giver of Three Minutes, Gilby Clarke.

He also has his own band with Faster Pussycat bandmate Danny Nordahl, called Motochrist. (I personally have seen every of the previously named projects!)

He also has another new project in the works with former Alice Cooper guitarist Keri Kelli. I caught up with the extremely busy Chad at one of the NAMM after parties in Anaheim earlier this year, and he let us in on what he has been up to. Read more

Three Minutes With….Paul Shortino

Three Minutes With………..
Paul Shortino

OMG! He’s DUKE FAME!! If you have seen the required rock viewing film This Is Spinal Tap, then you know exactly who Paul Shortino is. (If you haven’t seen it? Never admit to me, but as soon as you’re done reading this interview, go to Netflix or something and watch it!)

Paul has also sung for Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot, and currently, King Kobra. I managed to catch Paul at NAMM, in between tours and other projects, and he gave me the lowdown on all the stuff he has coming up, as well as an awesome vacation spot! Read more

Three Minutes With….Anniversary Trifecta! Rowan Robertson, DJ Ashba & Jonathan Montoya

February 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Music News, Three Minutes With....

ThreeMinutes With………..
Rowan Robertson

At a mere 18 years old, he was catapulted on the world stage playing with the late, legendary Ronnie James Dio in Dio. (And yes, I remember the press release from that announcement!) Since then, Rowan Robertson has done session work, played in bands like Violets Demise with Oni Logan of Lynch Mob (but unless you read magazines like Metal Edge back in those days, you are probably more familiar with the name the label released the record on – Logan-Robertson.) Now he plays in the LA-based DC-4 with a couple of the guys from Armored Saint. I was introduced to Rowan by a mutual friend at NAMM this year, and he was kind enough to give me Three Minutes in a crowded hotel lobby!

The question you drew is, what artist(s) – could be plural – do you think have had the greatest impact on music? State your case.
I would probably have to say Charlie Patton because he was one of the two first musicians to ever popularize the blues, Delta Blues style of music in 1927/1926. And they were the first rock n rollers. That’s one. Another one? How about Louis Armstrong? Because he would be the first one to popularize….. Well, where would David Lee Roth be without Louis Armstrong?

Very true! And now you’ve gotta promote whatever you’ve got going on!
I’ve got to promote DC-4, which is my band, its me, Jeff Duncan, the singer, and he plays in Armored Saint as well. He’s a fantastic guitar player. We’re on our second album now, as the four of us. We’ve signed our new album with Metal Blade Europe. Electric Ministry, that’s our new album. Hopefully we’ll get to do some festivals there this year, over in Europe. Were really proud of the new record. LIKE them on Facebook / Follow on Twitter

LIKE Rowan’s musician page on Facebook


And on with the show….

ThreeMinutes With………..
DJ Ashba

Currently pulling double duty playing in Guns n Roses with Axl and with Nikki Sixx in SIXX: A.M., former Beautiful Creatures guitar player DJ Ashba also has his own line of self-designed guitars by Ovation, a guitar-tuning app for iPhone, and other swag. (In addition to moving base from LA to Vegas at the time this interview was conducted!) I was lucky enough to get DJ to stand still at NAMM for about  Three Minutes….

Is there one song that defines who you are – and it doesn’t have to even be yours?
Yes. ‘Life Is Beautiful’.

Elaborate, please?
Elaborating…. because a lot of people in life take life for granted and ‘Life Is Beautiful’ is one of those songs where…. Don’t take anything for granted. When everything couldn’t be at it’s worst, stop, breathe, and take it in and realize that there is a lot in this world to be thankful for. No matter how bad your life is, no matter how bad your day is, it could be a lot fucking worse out there! So, just thank God for what you have. I love you, and Elvis Presley is the best! And…. I love Skittles.

Now, plug whatever you want:, Facebook, and I have a Twitter.

And here is the record-breaking number three……. Check out the special offer at the end!

ThreeMinutes With………..
Jonathan Montoya

Possibly best known for his tenure in Saliva, former Full Devil Jacket guitarist Jonathan Montoya has two new ventures…. Not only does he have a new band, but also a clothing and jewelry design business. (Check out his signature bullet bracelets!) Jonathan accomplished what several others have attempted to do before – (Spoiler Alert!!) He has broken the record Brent Fitz set last Spring with the Sack o Questions! Here it is:

So, the question you drew is….. If you weren’t doing this (music) what would you do?
Oh! Clothes! <laughs>  Yeah, yeah, of course. Jewelry and clothes!

Didn’t you see me roll my eyes when I saw the card? Would you like to draw another question?
Sure. I’ll draw another one. That one was too easy!

Exactly. That’s why I rolled my eyes when you handed it to me. OK. Ever had any real-life Spinal Tap moments?
Oh my God. <laughs> Ya think? Every one of them! Getting lost on the way to the stage. Of course. Like once a day. In Cleveland, of all places, and Josey thought it was Cincinnati. So, he says, “Hey! What’s up Cincinnati?” I was like, The ONE time you get to say “Hello Cleveland!” you fuck it up!

Nice! Well, you have a ton of time…. Want to do more?
Yeah, I’ll draw another one….

What is something that would surprise people to learn about you?
That’s a good question…. That I’m smarter than my accent. <laughs> That I’m not actually stupid. Oh! I know! That I’m not as good a guitar player as everybody gives me credit for! I’m more of a performer, not a guitar player. I would rather sing. I would rather be a singer. I just play guitar because its kind of what I got roped into doing.

Nice! Well, you could actually tie somebody’s record a do a fourth question……

Is there one song that defines you as an artist? And it doesn’t necessarily have to be one of your own.
Yeah, ‘Kickstart My Heart’, Motley Crue. That’s how I like to live life. By the seat of my pants. That sums it up. Kickstart My Heart. Nikki Sixx wrote that on my arm, and I tattooed it in. He also signed my arm.
There ya go. I’ ll beat the record.

Now I gotta break the news to Fitz. Go for it. Allright. What is your best tour story?
Nahhh… <laughs> I’m sure it deals with illegal.

Everybody has one of those! I could possibly get sued for mine!
I can’t even say what they are! I’m sure it has to do with girls….. that cliché…. Girls… Drugs…. It happens. Oh wait! Every time I get to go home. That’s the best part of touring. And I like packing. 

I HATE packing!
I know…. But I know I get to leave for something exciting.

Allright! And now you can promote whatever you want to talk about! Go to it. Check out my clothes and jewelry! And I have a new band! Called A New Rebel, basically Full Devil Jacket with Saving Abel. Our guitar player is from Saving Abel. I guess you could call it a Supergroup, but not really a supergroup, more like a right-timing group! Got an EP out that you can download from iTunes.

LIKE Monstar Designs on Facebook / Follow Jon on Twitter /  Check out A New Rebel on Facebook

NOTE: At the time this interview was conducted, was barely 36 hours old and had already gotten more than 42,000 hits!

SPECIAL DEAL FOR MY READERS!!! Jon is offering a very special deal for you for reading this interview. If you order from he will give you 10% off your purchase. Just put TWRY in the comment section on the order page after you register. And, as always, this offer can be revoked at any time without warning. I would recommend doing it sooner rather than later!

Side note to my readers: See? Its my anniversary, and you get the gift! But in all actuality, I honestly appreciate each and every one of you. (Just don’t ask me to sign your boobs, okay? I will sign almost anything else though!)  I could not keep this column going without all of your support, and it really wouldn’t be much fun without all of you, so I send big huge love and kisses to each of you! Let us see who else we can squeeze three minutes out of now!! (All suggestions accepted!) And, most importantly, PLEASE support your local music scene! They need you!

Follow ME on Twitter: @MouthySmurf.

Are you or do you know a musician coming through Las Vegas that wants to give the shortest interview ever with probably the shortest interviewer ever? Forward me contact info or put them in touch with me. Do you have a query for the Sack O’ Questions? Email me at (Sorry, I can not guarantee any question to be asked to anyone specific, because it’s literally the luck of the draw, but if your question gets drawn, you’ll get props – make sure you note how you want to be thanked!)

Super huge THANKS go to Randy Myers for setting up the Rowan Robertson feature!

Three Minutes With…Dave Rude of Tesla

Three Minutes With…
Dave Rude of Tesla

This guy is living proof of the benefits of social media! While fronting his own band, The Dave Rude Band, he was spotted via Myspace by Frank Hannon of Tesla. The rest, as they say, is history. He became an official member of Tesla in 2006, replacing Tommy Skeoch. We caught up with Dave via phone from the band’s stop in Phoenix, the night before they hit House of Blues in Las Vegas. He passed along the best advice he was ever given, which really could be heeded by anyone, anywhere, anytime… Check it out!

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Be ready! Be ready to take advantage of it when an opportunity arises. A guy I knew back in the Bay Area told me that years ago. At the time, they had just signed this big huge deal with a big major label and you just have to be ready for it – have all your ducks in a row and have everything you need practiced, have songs, have whatever it is. So when that one lucky break happens, you can just grab it!  That was really, really good advice to me. I still tell people when they ask me for advice. It’s kind of how I joined Tesla. It definitely rang really true and is a good piece of advice, and can be applied to any situation.

Speaking of that, even though I know that Wikipedia isn’t always the most accurate source of info, I saw that you got the Tesla gig via MySpace, right?

Yes, I did. It was 2006, and my solo piece The Dave Rude Band had put up a demo. Myspace had only been up for a few months, and Frank Hannon from Tesla just randomly found it. That was kind of my opportunity. He said, “Hey, you wanna come jam, in like two days from now?” “Yeah! I’ll be there!” “Cool!” And my life was kind of structured for my band to make it, its not like I had some 40-hour a week corporate job. I had my whole life structured so I could just kind of leave. About two weeks after I met Frank, I was on tour with his solo band.

Social media rocks!

Yeah, it totally does!

What is the one thing you can not live without on tour?

You know….I’ll be virtuous and say exercise equipment. Which is true. We are out on a mini-run right now and I forgot to bring it with me so I was working out with a shower towel. I do like to work out a lot. On the last tour I went and bought a tiny set of weights and an exercise mat. Sometimes you get a cool gym or if you have enough time you can go get a day pass at some local actual gym around town but most of the time I end up working out in the dressing room or in the hallway or something.

What is the best rumor you’ve heard about yourself?

You know what? Recently I’d heard from a friend of mine back home in Oakland that I’d been kicked out of Tesla for my “bad attitude”. That’s hilarious, considering that I’d just come home from a tour and me and the guys are like the best of friends. That was pretty funny! I was like “What???”  But you’ve got to consider your sources out there! That was a pretty funny one but I normally don’t hear any rumors about myself, but that one definitely came to mind.

The last one I have is – have you ever had any real-life Spinal Tap moments?

I can’t really recall anything too dramatic offhand, but definitely I have been lost in arenas many times. It’s not really funny, but it’s true. That scene is so true to life, when they have the arrows going around and you still get lost. Nothing truly hilarious that I can think of offhand though. 

And now you can promote whatever you want!

Well, my obvious plug is my band – We’ve got videos and stuff up that’s pretty fun. too – you can check all that stuff out. We’ve got another acoustic tour in February and end up on the Monsters of Rock Cruise, at the end of February. That should be pretty fun!

 Follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveRude and LIKE his band on Facebook:

Are you or do you know a musician coming through Las Vegas that wants to give the shortest interview ever with probably the shortest interviewer ever? Forward me contact info or put them in touch with me. Do you have a query for the Sack O’ Questions? Email me at (Sorry, I can not guarantee any question to be asked to anyone specific, because it’s literally the luck of the draw, but if your question gets drawn, you’ll get props – make sure you note how you want to be thanked!)

Follow ME on Twitter: @MouthySmurf.

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