From the Brain of Robert Mason
Friday, 21 November 2008 16:00 The Voodoo Lounge
Well, rock fans, now I've seen everything. Nestled in an unassuming industrial complex in the evidently not so sleepy town of Riverside, CA stands one mans' vision of the ultimate fun, cool hang out. An intimate venue; a "Tiki Bar" for several hundred of his friends and associates. His name is Mark Herbert. The place, you ask? The Voodoo Lounge.
Some of you may know Mark from Wild West Guitar, the business he owns which is located in the same building as the VL ( I love acronyms I am the self proclaimed KOA). It's a "one stop shop" for rare, new & vintage guitars, basses, boutique amps, etc. (The VL is a private, members only establishment…Members Only jacket not required ).
Let's move on to the chronological play by play, shall we?
Firstly, we endured a long and arduous load in & sound check (our friend, producer Ryan Greene brought out both his assistant/intern Justin and a mobile ProTools rig to record our show, which took a bit of time tweaking and connecting to the existing PA/monitor systems). This gave yours truly ample time (hours, in fact) to peruse the venue & check out cool guitar gear. And what a sight; the Voodoo Lounge is an indoor tropical jungle complete with generous tree cover, several well-stocked bars & various combinations of comfortable seating, all in perfect view of the pro stage, suitable for rocking. And rock we did…let's move on, shall we?
Afterward, we were all released for the remainder of the night, left to our own devices (I'm not saying anyone has any specific devices; I operate on a strictly don't ask/don't tell policy). I enjoyed a relaxing night at the Joey Allen Bed & Breakfast (many thanks to the Allen clan & menagerie for their hospitality).
Morning; show day. Breakfast; hearty. Egg whites; undercooked. Waitress; notified. Omelet; re-prepared. End result; perfect start to a damn fine day! But enough about me & breakfast…
The rest of the day just flew by- a little pre-show mixer in the formal ballroom of Chez Allen set the proper mood.
Arriving at the VL around 8:30-ish, I saw tons of cars, a few Harleys, & heard loud music. Perfect. Once inside, I enjoyed along with at least few hundred new friends the one and only Big Ball Stars band. Brent Woods (our "go to" guy for guitar reinforcement when our boy Joey is called away to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or whatever he does when he cannot perform with Warrant ) , Teddy Zig Zag ( how proud Mr. & Mrs. Zag must be of their talented son cause he rocks! ), Rob Crane ('nuff said ), Robin McAuley ( see Rob Crane ) & my old NJ bud Brian Tichy ( insane talent ) just motoring through some cool classic rock chestnuts we all know & love. Great way to open the show!
After a quick change over of equipment & a few pleasant exchanges, the stage was ready for us & vice versa.
Opening with the sounds of a dramatic thunderstorm recorded outside Jerry's house one, well, stormy night, Joeys opening riff brought us into Mr. Rainmaker. I've got to say, it's one of this reporters' favorite songs to sing, & it makes a KILLER opener. From then on, honestly, it's all kind of blurry. It's difficult for me to descriptively articulate the song by song, play by play of our show; I am so focused on the performance itself, the experience is more trance-like, punctuated by moments of specific visual & aural pictures I retain. For example, I have a memory of Erik riffing heavily on what looked like Eddie Van Halen's actual 1 "Frankenstein" guitar…could that have been possible? Did anyone get pictures of that? Does Ed even know? Also, I remember Steven harmonizing perfectly with me while playing the verses of Blind Faith for the first time live in I don't know how many years ( thanks man, I don't know what I'd do without you there ). It was the first time for me & that song publicly, that I know. Glad it was recorded! OK, here's another; Jerry head banging like the "ol' days" just in time for me to barely miss his noggin while flinging around my new custom mic stand. Talk about intuitive teamwork!! Completing the night for me is my memory of Joey, leaned back just letting a note ring out in all his silver sparkle guitar glory. Damn.
Best of all for me, the VL that night was full of Warrant fans that made me feel welcome. I am, after all, the "new guy", & it's of paramount importance for me to earn your respect. I want fans all over the world to know that the 5 of us can come to your town & do our best to rock your respective asses off. No excuses, no filler; all killers.
Until next time,