Last week, I was given the opportunity to attend Crue Fest and interview one of the opening bands. While I’m not the biggest Crue fan, or any of the bands on the bill, really- I decided that it would be fun, plus I wanted to test out doing video interviews as a new feature for HRC.
Traffic was terrible, but we made it just in time to catch Charm City Devils, the band I would later interview, take the stage. Though the audience was still sparse at this point, they rocked the arena and got those who were there on their feet. CCD’s sound is very organic rock-n-roll. They’re the first band signed to Nikki Sixx’s record label. Their single, ‘Let’s Rock-N-Roll’, has striking similarities to ‘Highway to Hell’. They strutted their stuff on stage, telling the audience to please go spend $10 on their CD- hey, that’s what they’re there for, right?
Our comped seats were in 202, Row K. I’m not complaining…but damn I’ve become spoiled! I had third row seats for the last two shows I went to here- NIN/JA and Mayhem, so this seemed like I was a world away from the action. That said, it gave me a new perspective on the audience, and a definite appreciation for my luck with getting those great tickets before!.
We had peeled off out passes- pink Motley Crue ones- and went for a drink in the VIP bar. I didn’t even try to use the passes to get to the regular backstage area. Someone asked to take a picture of me- on account of my shirt- which kinda freaked me out but my friend Gina talked me into it. Probably a bad idea in hindsight.
We went back out to watch Drowning Pool. As a Texan, I was familiar with them from the early 2000’s, but then the singer died and there was a long hiatus before he was replaced. I got kinda sentimental seeing the state of Texas on the banner up there- WTF is wrong with me these days?! Their set was pretty fun- I only knew the last two songs- ‘Tear Away’ and ‘Bodies’- but they were actually kind of fun to hear live and especially because the crowd had filled out and they were going bonkers at this point.
This is when I realized that the people surrounding me when I have close seats may dress better, be less intoxicated, and more well behaved….but the party is really happening up in the 200’s section. It was fun to watch people climb into their seats, high five each other, and just generally look ecstatic to be there. However, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I was missing important elements about the show from way up there- I couldn’t tell you what the band members even really looked like, if someone tripped or gave one member a weird look….I just can’t do it. I just have to be closer.
After the set we went back to the VIP bar just to have a place to sit away from the rowdy ‘regular’ crowd. It was during this re-entry that the guard checking passes said something that made me laugh- “flash your pink and you’re in”. Yes, the passes were pink, but….hahaha.
We didn’t go back out to see Theory of a Deadman as my interview with CCD was set for 7pm. I got a call promptly at 6:55, telling me to meet one of their people at the Lucky bar, giving me a physical description of himself.
We went over there, and I walk up to a guy who I thought fit the description- wrong guy, but got one of those funny, “I’ll be him if you want me to” responses. Another call, and I see Doctor Detroit, who greets us in a very charming way and escorts us out of the venue and into the bus area. Apparently Doctor Detroit, who has his name tattooed across his fingers, got this name from working with Crue, loving Dr. Feelgood (he was wearing a Dr. Feelgood shirt at that very moment), and being from Detroit. I love these kinds of characters.
These guys are traveling in a tour van- so we didn’t have a quiet bus to do the interview on and had to make due outside. The band walked up promptly in time for the interview, and we find a spot near the Gibson bus.
Now, I have my little Sony camera for Gina to film with, and it works just fine normally, but another crew with a legitimate setup were waiting to interview them right after me, so I kept it short. Theory of a Deadman’s sound reached out into the lot and made it a bit hard to hear them. Below you’ll find a barely edited video of the whole ordeal, because the mess ups are the funny part, right? They were really nice though, and I wish them the best of luck!
After we shut the camera off, we hung out with them a bit, where I did manage to pull some interesting Tommy Lee info out of them- apparently there is a tent set up in the backstage area with a Jagermeister drip. This area is called….’Tommyland’. Exclusive access is only granted to those who are gifted special wristbands. Interesting! I also found out that Vic the guitarist’s wife is/was a hardcore NIN fan- she even paid a visit to Mercer “before they were married”. That was awesome to hear!
Back to the venue to watch Godsmack. You know, I had heard a lot about Crue Fests not selling well, but this place was packed, and not with ‘meh, it’s a free/cheap ticket so I’ll check it out’ people, but with real fans. I know the look on the faces of these people- they were in heaven for this Godsmack set. I, on the other hand, was downward spiraling at this point. I’ll admit ‘Voodoo’ was cool, with choreographed pyro that went off to great timing for this seductive song. But the rest, I just couldn’t get into their stage presence. Even when the drum kit automatically moved up and over, and out came a second drum kit that the singer played for a very long extended drum duo. Even when they played a bit of Pantera’s ‘Walk’. I expected them to look different as well- from way up where I was, it seemed like they were pretty clean cut guys.
That set left me feeling weird, so we made one final trip to the bar, where we had a hilarious run in with this huge guy, who is apparently a bodyguard, and his friend- a ‘famous’ competitive eater. The bodyguard one was practically offended when we didn’t recognize the friend, and had never heard of his show ‘Man vs. Food’. So the guy was definitely not the host….if it was all a lie it was the weirdest attempt at a pickup fake story thing EVER. Guys- competitive eating = not sexy under any circumstance, especially to a girl with a past history of eating disorders!
Motley Crue hit the stage while we were back there. I have to say, they came out to Dr. Feelgood in the most unique use of stage space I’ve ever seen. They were in some kind of white room in the middle of the stage- everything was hospital themed. It was cool! That set up, that song; you couldn’t not get sucked up into the glamor of it all. They played the entire album to a ready and willing crowd, tearing up the stage. Vince Neal sounds really really good! Nikki Sixx seemed pretty dynamic, Tommy Lee was a bit less impressive than I expected, and Mick Mars confused the hell out of me…in a good way. I never realized he was so goth looking…kind of intriguing, but made me scratch my head at his fit with the others.
The back up singers/dancers were fun…but the high production show wore me out after awhile, as did the band banter. It was when they launched into the second ‘greatest hits’ portion of the set that I had an aha moment- kind of a dumb one, too, but here you go. I’m not mainstream. I always think I’m borderline- maybe I am- but because I surround myself with ‘music nerds’, I always feel like people are throwing out bands I’ve never heard of to me all the time, so maybe I’m only into popular music. But being at an event like this- you can just feel the easy lyrics, the simple riffs- the general dumbing down of art. There’s a place for it, don’t get me wrong! But by the end of the night I was ready to sink my teeth into something with substance. Also- where was the drum cage? And the tit cam! I wanted to see those notorious things in action!*
So, what’s the moral of the story?
-I’m a seat snob
-I’m a music snob
-I’m a jaded bitch
-I need a better videocamera
*yes, I realize that I just asked for substance and a tit cam in two adjoining sentences…