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!

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, 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!

Lukas Rossi at the Viper Room

I got the opportunity to shoot Lukas Rossi at the Viper Room last night for ROCKBANDLOUNGE.COM, and it was such a great show!

Lukas is sounding better than ever. His voice has always been extremely expressive, but I think some of that got lost on TV. But live, on his own, with just a guitar and one other musician onstage, you really get the best of Lukas. It was a very memorable night!

Lukas Rossi at the Viper Room // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsLukas Rossi // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Lukas Rossi // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsLukas Rossi // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Lukas Rossi // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsLukas Rossi // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Lukas Rossi at the Viper Room // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Lukas Rossi // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Lukas Rossi // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Discuss this Photo Essay at ROCKBANDLOUNGE.COM

Big News! I sold ROCKBAND.COM

A little over a decade ago, I bought a domain name to help promote some unsigned and indie bands I was working with. At the time it felt like a totally frivolous thing to do. And it was expensive – seventy dollars to reserve the name for just two years! And since it was the mid-nineties, most people had no clue what I’d just bought.

I actually wanted – since the site was known as Unsigned Rock Bands at the time. But was taken. So I tried – obviously taken. So I sighed, and thought okay, I’ll go with – even though it’s ridiculously long. Conventional thought in the circles I ran in, was that the good domains were three letters long, okay domains were four letters long, and you should never buy a domain with more than five letters. Well guess what? Even was taken. At that point I was convinced ALL the good domains were already taken. So I settled on and figured it was better than – at least I had that! But a few weeks later, as I started to talk up the site, I realized was actually a much better name than – it just sounded better. And less than a year later I knew just how smart a purchase it had actually been.

Lots and lots of bands registered, and many sent me their demo CDs. I interviewed the best of them and shot bands in LA and San Diego, and New York. In 2000 some of the bands I shot in NYC put together a tour of the East Coast, and promoted it as the ROCKBAND.COM Tour.

In 2005 CBS launched the TV show, Rock Star, and I launched a new and improved forum on the site to talk about music and bands, and this brand new show. And wow, it really took off! By the end of the season we were known as the best place on the web to get info about the show. In 2006 it got even bigger and better. Good times! And really great people! We threw a big bash in Las Vegas at a major hotel even – so our members could all meet up and party in real life. I got to shoot a photo essay backstage at a taping of Rock Star. Several of the singers on the show started posting on the board after the show ended. It was a total blast! Every single part of it.

ROCKBAND.COMAnd then I got an offer…

Harmonix, the creator of Guitar Hero was developing a new game with MTV and Electronic Arts – set to debut this Christmas – and they were calling it Rock Band. They weren’t interested in the site or the community, they only wanted the name. So I sold it to them!

RockBandLounge.comIn 1996 I was convinced that all the good domain names were taken, but guess what? I just registered – it’s longer, but that doesn’t bother me anymore, and it’s very descriptive and VERY memorable.

I think I just got lucky again…

If you’d like to read about the reaction at the new RockBandLounge, go here. I announced the deal there last month – but waited to announce it here until after the sale was final.

Juke Kartel at the Viper Room, Hollywood

I thought I *got* Toby Rand. He’s cute, he’s fun, he’s wholesome, he’s young, he’s talented. Yeah Toby! And I did love him on the Rock Star: Supernova.

But last night? Whoa! I saw Toby with his band – Juke Kartel – and they were phenomenal. You can’t help but be turned on when you watch them onstage – all of them. They just burn up the stage. It was amazing.

Toby is a monster. He just slayed the women around me. He has so much talent he never got to show on the TV show. His voice – well I always loved it – but it’s better than I knew.

Tommy, the bass player really knows how to play – and how to hold a bass guitar. I loved it when TLee talked about low-slung guitars on Rock Star because it’s a huge deal with me! It’s gotta be low, or it’s just not sexy. And can Tommy play? It was active and vital playing – hard to explain, but he makes the band in some ways. He’s great! And he’s fun. And he’s fun in the way he interacts with Toby and Todd.

Todd is so cute – I love the hair. And I loved the way his guitar sounded. Talk about fullness…

Dale played a guitar solo – so he’s okay in my book! I was mere inches from his fingers. He could do no wrong after that.

I couldn’t see Eddie, the drummer much during the set, but I got to talk to him after the show, and he’s very very cute. He was completely baffled by my friends – but he was very patient with them. How can you not love that? He also told us about how he gets his hair to look that way – it’s a combination of wax and hairspray.

Oh, and one of the best parts? When Dale and Tommy sang backup on a slower song. It was beautiful.

The photo to the right was taken by a friend – it’s me and Tommy after the show, in the downstairs bar. It was a fun night!

For more reviews on Juke Kartel, go to:
Or go to the ROCKBAND.COM Juke Kartel Lounge!

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!

Yeah, I love Mark Burnett…

I admit it, I love Rock Star and I’ve gotten really attached to the singers on the show. I felt this way last year too – I’m a big softie when it comes to artists fulfilling their dreams!

And I know it’s a reality show, and someone has to go home each week, but it’s tough to see it live – especially when the singer going home is as completely gracious in their goodbye as Storm. It was something to see! And I’ve detailed it more fully in the Episode Thread on ROCKBAND.COM.

After the taping this morning, I was walking down a hallway lined with people, and I was STILL all teary, and I saw Mark Burnett coming from the opposite direction, and I tried to look away because it’s not exactly cool to have your emotions so out there on display, but as we passed, he paused with a concerned look on his face, stopping me in my tracks, and then he gave me the sweetest smile. It was real and genuine and just very very sweet. And it hit me how much I love this man for giving me this show. So yeah, I love Mark Burnett!

Backstage at Rock Star: Supernova

On Sunday, August 13, 2006 I shot a photo essay backstage at Rock Star: Supernova and it’s huge, but I think it’s definitely worth viewing. You may even learn something! I spent about two hours backstage before the show started, and it was a lot of fun!

Here are a few of the images, the rest can be seen at

To see the rest of my photo essay, go to:

If you have any questions about what you see in the images, ask them here and I’ll do my best to answer.