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? 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…

Quietdrive at the Glass House in Pomona, California

Quietdrive at The Glass House // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

On Tuesday one of my favorite bands, Quietdrive from Minneapolis, Minnesota, released their latest CD and launched a new tour at the Glass House in Pomona, California. The image above was shot after the show in the lobby, with a group of their fans watching – so it’s more a quickie than a serious band portrait – but it’s still fun!

But the real fun was shooting them live – they’re a great band to see in concert! I’ve posted the slideshow from the concert on RBL and it’s big and bold and beautiful – definitely worth watching. And if you’ve never seen a violin at a rock show, then you really need to look!

Quietdrive is currently on tour across the United States and the United Kingdom – so catch them if you can. Watch the slideshow above and listen to their music on MySpace, and you’ll understand…

Quietdrive // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Stars Down in Los Angeles

I posted a little tease last week, but here’s more from my session with Lukas Rossi and Stars Down for RBL. We shot it in late June on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles – so if you know the area, you may recognize some of the locations…

The full slide show is at – and it’s definitely worth viewing there! It’s big and bold and beautiful! And if you have any comments or questions, there’s a discussion thread on RBL at

Stars Down // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Stars Down // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Jon Jamieson of Stars Down / Photo: Cheryl Spelt

Stars Down // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Lukas Rossi of Stars Down // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Stars Down // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Stars Down // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Stars Down // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Marty Casey on the Sunset Strip

If you watched my favorite show ever, Rock Star: INXS, this singer/songwriter may look familiar. And even if you didn’t watch the show, you may recognize him from the commercials that were all over CBS that summer. Marty Casey was the fan favorite, and millions of people voted for him – he’s an amazing musician!

We shot this session on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood – but not at night, when the strip is at it’s most recognizable… We shot during the day, and were gifted with soft hazy light for most of the session, and then brilliant sun for the balance. Perfect!

Marty Casey | Pay Phone

Marty Casey | Silvery

Marty Casey at Whisky A Go Go

Marty Casey | Reflection

Corner of Clark and Sunset

Marty Casey at the Roxy

Marty Casey on the Sunset Strip

Marty Casey on the Sunset Strip

Marty Casey | In the Sun

Marty Casey on the Sunset Strip

Marty Casey | Flower

And there’s more! To see the whole session, go to Rock Band Lounge!

Or to discuss it on RBL, go here!

Hammerfest 2008 in Chicago

When I interviewed the Lovehammers back in early 2006, I remember being impressed by the way they talked about their fans and the huge shows they put on in their hometown of Chicago. And I sort of decided then that if I ever got the chance to shoot one of those big shows, I’d take it! I’ve always wanted to go to Chicago…

The opportunity came last weekend – two years after that interview – some things are worth waiting for! Hammerfest is a big deal and this year it was at the House of Blues in downtown Chicago. Great venue! All brick, two balconies that circle around the floor, and it feels small and intimate yet holds a LOT of people. I went with five friends – two who live in Chicago, and three others that flew in for the weekend. We spent the whole weekend together, but they were good sports when I abandoned them during the show.

Shooting any show is always intense – but the Lovehammers multiply that intensity by ten. Their shows are incredibly passionate and vital, and there’s movement and color and action everywhere. It’s an amazing thing to see live – and capturing some of that magic in a still photograph is one of the most satisfying things I can think of to do. They create magic onstage, and I tired to tap into that vein, and mine some of their magic in my images. It was a blast!

This image is one of my favorites because of the orange and violet lighting – the colors of RockBandLounge – and to see Marty Casey, our RBL Ultimate Rock Star bathed in those colors was great fun!

To see more images from the show, go to:

RBL Rock Star: All-Stars

Back in July of 2006 I was lucky enough to get to go to the party MSN threw for Rock Star at the Roxy. Tommy Lee, Jason Newsted and Gilby Clarke were all there – and all the singers in the cast. That was the night that Dilana told me she loved ROCKBAND.COM and had been reading the posts before she left for the show, and she mentioned specifics that made me know she really had read it all!

The entertainment for the night was Dave Navarro’s band, The Panic Channel and my favorite band, the Lovehammers.

So the Lovehammers are finally up on stage, and it had been almost five months since I’d last seen them live, so I’m really looking forward to it. And then lead singer and season one contestant, Marty Casey, makes a comment about how he might have been better suited to the current season – which makes sense on the surface since his music is harder than INXS. So maybe he would have been a better fit on the year with the harder rocking band? And the crowd cheered and Tommy Lee nodded in agreement and the singers all clapped enthusiastically. Yeah, I can buy that.

But later I kept thinking about it, and Marty was the top vote-getter in season one. INXS chose JD Fortune to be their new lead singer, but the public made Marty the top vote-getter. You can’t really do better than that! So it got me thinking – what if they did a show with no band, and the winner truly was the popular vote-getter? It’s was an interesting premise. And guess what? The exact same thing happened in season two. Toby Rand was the top vote-getter, but Supernova wanted Lukas Rossi. I am ALL for the band choosing who they like best – no disagreements from me on that process! But it is still interesting to consider what would happen if there was no band.

In 2007 CBS failed to renew Rock Star, so at RBL we started the Big Letter Writing Campaign – and I believe we sent in a pile of mail. But still no more Rock Star. Then at the end of the year with the writer’s strike looming, it seemed like there was perhaps an opening to get Rock Star back into production. Plus I was looking for a little fun… So we cooked up RBL Rock Star: All-Stars! The premise was to pit the nineteen favorite singers from both seasons against each other in a competition that would last fourteen weeks, and with no band and no judges, it would be the people voting who would select the Ultimate Rock Star.

We’ve been watching videos and voting like crazy for fourteen weeks, and we’re now down to the finale week. And it’s been a blast! Our finalists are…

JD Fortune
JD Fortune from Canada, winner of season one and lead singer of INXS.

Toby Rand
Australia’s Toby Rand, the top vote-getter in season two, and lead singer for Juke Kartel.

/ Photo: Cheryl Spelts
And finally, the top vote-getter in season one, and lead singer of the Lovehammers, Marty Casey, from Chicago, Illinois.

If you have time on Sunday and Tuesday, stop by and vote! And write a letter to CBS – I want Rock Star back on my TV!

Marty Casey & Lovehammers



These have never before been seen in public – but they’re fun, so why not share them?! I was going through some old work last night, and found these, and decided to share them in the discussion thread for our Rock Star: All-Stars – more on that later! But for now, just enjoy the Lovehammers, circa 2006…

And if you’re wondering where the inspiration came for these shots, take a look at Harry Benson’s shot of the Beatles in the middle of a pillow fight is one of the most iconic images in rock photography – and a personal favorite!

One Million Posts!

ROCKBANDLOUNGE.COMIt’s official! ROCKBANDLOUNGE.COM just hit one million posts.

We have 7000 members – with 4700 participating and the rest only reading. And we’ve been going strong for a little over two years now, so that’s an average of about 1350 posts a day. It’s a lot! Last summer we were getting 100,000 unique visitors a day – all coming to read about Rock Star: Supernova. It was a heady time!

But reaching our one-millionth post is also a big milestone. Over 400,000 of those posts still exist.