Feeling the love… Tod Burr, Lara Johnston & Casey Abrams

I want to post some support for two people I know, and one I don’t – but all three have some very cool footage on national TV this week!

First up is Tod Burr, also known as drumtech! I first became aware of him while he was on tour with INXS – and more recently I saw him with one of his own bands, Merle Jagger, out in a dusty bar in the middle of the desert. It was so much fun! He’s brilliant, and talented, and hot – which is a pretty good combination. And he’s in a new commercial for Lexus! When I first saw the finished commercial I thought it was all faked, but turns out it’s real – and he’s part of the team who made it happen. And he’s wearing black nail polish in a Lexus commercial, which is a whole new level of hotness!

Second, I have to give a shout out to Lara Johnston! I shot her backstage at Rock the Cradle, in 2008, and at the time she was just the freshest, sweetest thing – and a true talent! Well she’s back! She was on last night’s American Idol, and she got a golden ticket, which means we get to see her again at the next level. The footage of her is a little short, but hopefully that just means they’re saving her for better things later in the season!

And third, here’s another American Idol contestant – one I’ve never met – but he lives in Idyllwild, and attended Idyllwild Arts, and he’s talented, so I’m feeling the love for Casey Abrams…

Twitter Rocks My World!

Earlier this week, a couple of Tweets from Brooke Burke @brookeburke appeared in my Twitter stream. Dancing with the Stars was about to start, and at 45 minutes until showtime she was tweeting, that her daughter wouldn’t get out of her makeup chair – and then she posted a photo of said daughter in said chair. Then she retweeted a photo from her wardrobe stylist, asking which earrings she should wear on the show. Then she tweeted links to the stylist and her hair and makeup artists, and thanked them all, calling them the best glam squad in the world. And earlier in the day she tweeted about her pre-show meal, about her daughter meeting Taylor Swift at rehearsal, and watching Rod Stewert rehearse – it was a continual stream of backstage news.

Then right after the show, she tweeted… “Shocking show tonight! DWTS! Very emotional. Don’t miss it!!!”

And it was then that it hit me how much my world, and the world in general, has changed in the last five years.

A little over five years ago I was all wrapped up in Brooke’s previous show, Rock Star: INXS and covertly writing teasers for ROCKBAND.COM. Doing it secretly because I didn’t want the producers to know who I was, and not allow me access to the tapings. I hooked up with other “spoiler” kings and everything took off! It was a fabulous ride! 50,000 unique visitors a day coming to my site was great! All those people wanted the scoop, and the spoiler gods and I gave them something they couldn’t get anywhere else. We wrote about the music, about the performances, AND what happened in between. We wrote about what you saw on TV, and about what you didn’t. The next year the traffic doubled, I got backstage access, and I shot a backstage documentary. I remember it all – and it was fabulous!

But guess what? Only a few years later, Brooke Burke is doing my old job. Now she’s the one posting teasers and backstage images, and giving the world that glimpse behind the scenes at a favorite TV show.

Twitter has seriously changed the world. It’s easy to underestimate its power – it seems so trivial and superficial at first glance. But you can bet, if there’s breaking news, the very first place I’m looking is Twitter. Real people tweeting in real time – how much closer to the ground can you get? And even minor local events get coverage on Twitter. It’s not just the big things, deemed important enough by the media to make the cut – it’s a little bit of everything – major and minor, important and not-so-important.

I loved 2005 and writing about Rock Star: INXS and in 2006, Rock Star: Supernova. But if the show was still on today, things would be very different. Every single member of the studio audience could conceivably tweet in real time, after each performance. There would be no spoiler gods, but rather a rambling Twitter stream of comments from many voices – one of which would undoubtedly be Brooke Burke. And how cool is that?!

As much as I loved 2005, I think 2010 is even better. And I certainly didn’t see Twitter coming – so while I don’t know what comes next, I’m excited to see what does!

Biggest Dreams & Worst Nightmares

I think it’s interesting how often love and fear collide. And I guess it makes sense, since if nothing is at stake, then what would there be to fear? And truly, what is the absence of love? It’s fear. And if love and fear are connected, then obviously so are our biggest dreams and worst nightmares. Unfortunately dreams and nightmares go hand in hand, far too often.

When I was younger my biggest dream was to be on the silver screen – in a movie. I also wanted to do TV, but movies were the pinnacle for me – the biggest dream I had! But then I discovered photography, and my passions turned toward art, and my dreams evolved – and it happened long before I even got close to seeing myself on a movie screen. I got on TV in a couple of VERY minor ways – once as an extra in a crowd scene in 1989 on Simon and Simon, a cop show on CBS set in San Diego. And then in 1992 I was on the local San Diego NBC News on election day – dressed in royal blue, making phone calls for my candidate of choice, I got the full treatment with the microphone cord under my shirt, and I was instructed when to start and what to do – it was more “making” news than anything else, but I thought it was great!

But I never made it to the big screen, until this year. It started with an interview for a local cable program called Life in California. I had shot a photo documentary of the Fallbrook Film Festival, and this TV show was doing a segment on the festival, and somehow it ended up that they wanted to interview me. Cool! So I show up for the interview dressed in my most flattering best, with my hair as fabulous as is possible, and I tried hard to forget how I looked, and focus on what I had to say. I mean who cares what I look like? It’s my images that count – right? Not my looks. But for anyone who has ever been an actress, that’s hard. It’s hard for anyone, but for an actress, even harder. And just because I’m now an ex-actress, doesn’t mean that the old fears don’t still exist. And when I saw where they wanted to do the interview, I cringed inside, but didn’t let it show. What could I do? They planned to have the camera placed below me and the interviewer, pointing up, which is the best way to make me look fatter. Oh, and I was to be in profile, which is the second best way to make me look fatter. And to top it off, we were to be seated – which is of course, the third quickest way to make me look fatter. It was my nightmare scenario. Truly! But I had two things going for me. One, deep inside of me, the actress part of me who had the big dreams still exists, and two, I have great passion for the subject matter – my art – so I just plunged right in and did it. And it was fun!

The interview ended up lasting close to thirty minutes – it was really in-depth, and it’s fun to talk about art, especially your own art. I did panic a little the next day, and called the producer to make sure I’d done okay – that I wasn’t too gushy, or too dorky, or too over-the-top enthusiastic. He told me I’d been “great” but that didn’t reassure me much, since I’m sure they tell every trainwreck/hot mess/loser who appears on every reality show just how “great” they were – good TV doesn’t always mean yes, you came across as classy, talented and hot. Sometimes it means you were a total mess, but hey, it was entertaining!

But even with all the worry about how I looked and how I sounded and how I came across, I was still actually looking forward to seeing it on TV someday. On TV.

Then I found out they were going to have a premiere of that particular episode at the local movie theater. And that’s when the fear really stuck me down. Appearing on a little TV screen was one thing, on the big silver screen was just another thing all together. The idea of me, looking ugly and fat, on a HUGE screen? It terrified me. At that point I didn’t even care what I said. I could have been spouting off pure nonsense and I would not have cared. All I could focus on was ugly, fat, and thirty feet high on a movie screen.

I came so close to not going. I wouldn’t let my family go, and none of them could understand why? Who could understand? But it was my worst nightmare – I just knew it!

But…. somewhere deep inside, I was still aware that it was also one of my biggest dreams about to come true. And if I missed it, I might be missing the only time I would ever see myself on a movie screen. Did I really want to miss that? Yeah, it might be awful, but still, it was a dream come true…

So on the big day I went with my mother, who would not be dissuaded, and the theater was much bigger and much fuller than I would have liked. We took seats near the front – I figured that if this was IT for me, the big dream come true, then I wanted to be really close and get the full experience. Even if it killed me! But surprisingly it didn’t kill me. They showed lots of my images from the Film Festival, I sounded fairly smart and what I said made sense, and while I did look fat, it was okay. I started to breathe again, and to actually enjoy it. The segment on me went on much longer than I expected, and my mom kept squeezing my arm, she was so happy. Experiencing that with my mother was very very cool, and it made me sad that I’d denied the rest of my family. What was I thinking? It was a fun and cool thing, and they only wanted to share that with me. I kept the little ticket stub from that day as a memento, and I came away feeling really glad that I’d made myself go, and made myself face that huge horrible nightmare, because honestly it wasn’t so bad, and seeing myself on a movie screen, talking about art? That really was a dream come true!

My mom called me last night – she’d been flipping through the channels on TV and came across the episode with my interview, except that it was different than the version we’d seen in the movie theater. This version featured some of my images of rock stars and musicians and models, instead of just images from the film festival. And she said they showed different parts of the interview, and matched what I said up to particular images. We saw the premiere back in October, so I’m surprised her memory of it was that detailed – for me it went by in a big blur of stress and love and fear and happiness – I don’t remember the specifics of what I said! But she’s my mom, and she did!

It’s blows me away to think about how close I came to giving up something that had been one of my biggest dreams, just because it collided with what could be my worst nightmare. And I certainly haven’t kicked that particular nightmare – I’m still fearful of looking ugly and fat and all the rest. I fear that on a daily basis! But I don’t want that fear, or any other fear to stand in between me and my dreams – even an old dream that I’d nearly forgotten. It may have been an old dream, but seeing it come true was pretty sweet…

Rock Star: House Band?

Yeah, you read that right! How about Rock Star: House Band?

If you watched any of the performance shows, on either season of Rock Star, then you may have noticed the musicians backing the singers each week. And if you watched the reality episodes, then you saw the singers interacting with the House Band, as they prepared their songs. And if you watched the performance shows AND the reality episodes, then you most likely fell in love with Paul Mirkovich, Rafael Moreira, Jim McGorman, Sasha Krivtsov, and Nate Morton. They were of course talented – that’s a given – but they were also opinionated, interesting, fun to watch, and smart. Smart people on TV is always a good thing – especially smart musicians!

So is it any wonder that so many people have suggested the next Rock Star find a singer to tour and record with the House Band? This week that idea came up again, and if you’d like to voice your opinion, go to RBL and spill! We always love a good conversation…

Rock Star: Led Zeppelin?

TVweek.com just published an article about reality shows that should be renewed, and guess which show is leading the online voting? Rock Star is far in the lead, currently with 79% of the vote!

Seriously, if we want the show to come back, we need to show CBS how popular it is – and the best way to do that is to VOTE, and leave no doubt that Rock Star is the show most deserving of a time slot in the coming year.

The current buzz is that Led Zeppelin is considering doing the show. How do you feel about that? Would you watch? Would it be a smart move for the band? Do you have a better idea?

However you feel, make your voice heard! Take a minute to go vote and to post a comment or two. It’ll be worth it when our favorite show comes back next year! After all, once Brooke Burke wins Dancing with the Stars she’ll need her “regular” job back!

From the article…

Adalian Column: No New Reality Ideas? Bring Back Some Oldies

…some had a quick impact, but then faded just as fast. Others never broke through at all, or were halted before they got to the air. Many attracted cult followings and decent ratings, but somehow didn’t manage to survive.

Like, for example, “Rock Star”—aka, the most bad-ass show ever to air on the CBS television network.

Produced by Mark Burnett, “Rock Star” was sort of the anti-“American Idol.” While it shared the same goal as Fox’s iconic series—finding musical superstars—“Rock Star” took a grittier, less Disney-esque approach to the process.

David Goffin, who ran “Rock Star” for Mr. Burnett, said the series gave music fans a peek into “a world that TV had never shown them. And it was real. A real band, real music, a real passion for their craft. Our fans flat-out loved the show.”

CBS gave “Rock Star” two seasons in 2005 and 2006 to find an audience. The first was devoted to finding a new lead singer for INXS; the second summer was spent searching for someone to join a made-up supergroup headed by Tommy Lee.

“Rock Star” generated very nice ratings among younger viewers who don’t normally watch CBS, but some executives at the network just never got the show. Maybe there were too many long-haired folks with tattoos.

In any case, CBS opted not to renew “Rock Star” after its summer 2006 run. But given how little success the network has had with new reality concepts since then, network reality chief Jennifer Bresnan ought to consider finding a way to revive the show. Mr. Goffin even has some ideas about who might topline the show if it came back.

“I understand Led Zeppelin, or at least Page, Jones and Bonham Jr., want to tour—but [Robert] Plant does not want to sing,” he said. “They say they are looking for a lead singer to tour with. The home-run would be ‘Rock Star: Led Zeppelin.’”
Something tells me viewers would show a whole lotta love to that idea…

Backstage at MTV’s Rock the Cradle

Lucy Walsh, backstage at MTV's Rock The Cradle.
Lucy Walsh, daughter of Joe Walsh, guitarist for the the Eagles.

Lucy Walsh, backstage at MTV's Rock The Cradle.
Lucy Walsh

Crosby Loggins backstage at MTV's Rock The Cradle.
Crosby Loggins, son of singer Kenny Loggins.

Dee Snider of Twister Sister, and father of Jesse Blaze Snider.

Lara Johnston backstage at MTV's Rock the Cradle.
Lara Johnston, daughter of Doobie Brothers’ singer Tom Johnston.

Rafael Moreira, lead guitarist in the House Band, backstage at MTV's Rock The Cradle.
Rafael Moreira, lead guitarist in the House Band.

Nate Morton, drummer in the House Band, backstage at MTV's Rock The Cradle.
Nate Morton, drummer in the House Band.

Jesse Blaze Snider and Dee Snider backstage at MTV's Rock The Cradle.
Jesse Blaze Snider and Dee Snider

Lucy Walsh

Lucy Walsh

Live taping of MTV's Rock The Cradle.

Nate Morton, drummer in the House Band, on set at MTV's Rock The Cradle.
Nate Morton

Chloe Lattanzi, Executive Producer David Goffin, Lucy Walsh, and Jesse Snider.
Chloe Lattanzi, Executive Producer David Goffin, Lucy Walsh, and Jesse Snider.

Chloe Lattanzi, on set at MTV's Rock The Cradle
Chloe Lattanzi, daughter of singer Olivia Newton-John and actor Matt Lattanzi.

MTV's Rock The Cradle

Rafael Moreira on the set of MTV's Rock The Cradle
Rafael Moreira

House Band on MTV's Rock The Cradle.

Matt Lattanzi, Suzette Snider, Dee Snider, Olivia Newton-John, and Kenny Loggins // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
The parents of the three finalists – Matt Lattanzi, Suzette Snider, Dee Snider, Olivia Newton-John, and Kenny Loggins.

Live taping of MTV's Rock The Cradle.

The finale of Rock the Cradle is this week – Thursday night at 10PM – and it’s live! The final three singers in the competition are Chloe Lattanzi, Crosby Loggins, and Jesse Blaze Snider – three VERY different performers – so it looks to be a really fun finale!

The images above are just the highlights, for the full photo essay go to:

And the discussion thread is here:

Innkeeper Wanted

Tori & Dean are Gone

I’m posting this just because I think it’s fun!

For those who don’t know, the reality show Tori & Dean, Inn Love was shot here in Fallbrook, at Oak Creek Manor Inn, which they renamed Chateau La Rue after her dog – but that was just for the show! Once they stopped filming, it reverted back to Oak Creek Manor.

The ad above appeared in our local newspaper, and it just strikes me as funny that when a monetary value was placed on the job Tori Spelling was doing, it’s only $1100 a month? No wonder she bailed on the project!

Rock Star: Season Three

Rock Star: Season ThreeGot some lovely news yesterday! Rock Star III is still a very real possibility! In an interview with thedeadbolt.com, Mark Burnett said…

“Yes, it’s funny… you look at these online studies and one of the most requested shows to come back, from anything I’ve done, is Rock Star. And yes, I’m in discussions with various bands. But there is one flaw as a business in that you have to find a suitable rock band that actually wants to find a new lead singer. So you’ve got a barrier to entry, but yes, we are in discussions and people do want to see that series again.”

He’s looking for a band? He’s in discussions? Such GREAT news!

Mr. Burnett, this is a direct plea to you! Please listen to those who are telling you they want the show back! And don’t worry if you can’t get a band – we WANT you to find a band, but if you can’t find one that’s no reason to discard the show… Just do like we did with All-Stars and let the public decide. We had a lot of fun, and had a GREAT ending with All-Stars, and I firmly believe you don’t need a band for this show. And if you feel you need the star power, invite Tommy Lee and Tim Farriss back to join Dave Navarro as judges, and give them a say in the decision, but make the “prize” for the winner, a record contract and solo tour with the House Band. It could work…

And to anyone who loved the show as much as me, this is a direct plea to YOU! More letters! More letters! More letters! If Mark Burnett is considering it, let’s give him even more reasons to go for it!

Join our Big Letter Writing Campaign at RBL! It’s clear that the public is being heard, so I’ve decided to split my letters between CBS and Mark Burnett Productions. In the past it seemed smarter to concentrate on CBS, but since Mark Burnett is the one talking about the show right now, and he has serious clout, I wanted to throw half my letters directly to his company.

Ghen Maynard
Executive Vice President
CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group
7800 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Conrad Riggs
Mark Burnett Productions
640 North Sepulveda Boulevard
2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Just do it. Just write a letter or two. When your favorite show comes back it’ll feel really good to know you were a part of the reason it’s on!

The List

Back in July, at the INXS concert in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, there was a TV crew shooting for an upcoming TV show. Some in the audience recognized one of the featured backup singers as she came onstage, and I vaguely remember the name of the show being The List – but since I don’t live in Canada I never expected to hear anymore about it.

But thanks to the web, I got to see part of the premier episode of this new show – the episode that features an average person fulfilling a life-long dream to sing with a rock band. It’s a cute show, and I love the premise. I wish it was shown here!

And it was fun to see part of that concert again. I had front row for that show – and there were cameras everywhere and I recognized a lot of people in the crowd! Then again, I knew nearly everyone in the front two rows. We’d all gone to the concert in Ottawa the night before – it was an definitely an INXS weekend!

Would I like to sing with a rock band? At one point in my life it was definitely on my list – and now it’s just as definitely not. Funny how things can change. But sing with INXS? I’d do that if given the chance. They’re not your typical rock band, and it would be fun. So yeah, I’d sing with INXS, but they’re the only band I would even consider.

Watching the show made me think about other things on my own personal list. I’ve gotten to do some really fun and interesting things lately, but there are still items on my list to do yet!

The images above are screen shots from video of the show. For more on The List, see http://www.slice.ca/Shows/.

Hummers, keys, and Dave Navarro

I was in the middle of a conversation today, and we happened to be standing on the street next to this big black Hummer. Suddenly I see Dave Navarro heading toward us with Cell Phone up to his ear and head down, ignoring everyone around him. I was about three feet away from him, but he didn’t look up – and I completely understand why. I wouldn’t make eye contact with strangers in LA if I was him either!

But then he couldn’t get his key to work, so he told the person on the phone to hold on and without looking up, he said to us, “Is this my car?” As he fumbled with his keys I said his name and he ignored me, so I said it again and he still ignored me, but at that point I figured I might as well go for it, so I said “I own ROCKBAND.COM and you mentioned it on the air a while back. Thank you for that.”

And at that point he sort of half turned and said “I did? When did I do that?” and I said “You did! And thank you very much.” and he looked up at me finally and gave me a little smile with a tiny little bit of a sparkle, and said “You’re welcome.” It sounds totally innocuous, and it was, but it was still fun to see the recognition in his eyes!