Monday, April 2, 2012

The Amazing Spiderman

Spiderman. Need I say more? He’s one of the most iconic superheroes out there. A favorite because he is both super and smart but he’s not invisible. Now, I don’t think it needs mentioning, but the idea of a character like this, who swings from webs, propelled from his hands, around Manhattan, is not something one would expect to see in say…a theater. Not a movie theater, but Broadway. Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark is a hit on the stage, bringing in millions of dollars a year. Why all this build up about the show? Well, good question. Let me explain. Kristen Martin, understudy for Mary Jane Watson and various characters, contacted MAG about shoes for her boyfriend, Matthew James Thomas, one of the actors playing Spiderman.

MAG, of course, agreed and even had them on a rush order since Kristen needed them by Christmas. To thank him, Kirsten arranged for MAG and one guest to actually go to the show and a backstage tour. She gave the shoes to Thomas shortly before Christmas and contacted MAG after that about tickets. Box seats with a great view. MAG took his youngest daughter and they both loved the show. The way they did the stunts and flying around it was like nothing they’d ever seen. Not an easy feat to bring a superhero to the stage with full web-slinging action, but they manage to pull it off night after night. Nearly every show is sold out and still selling out and I’ve heard nothing but good things.

Once the show was over it was time for the backstage tour. All the behind the curtain stuff: the sets, the pit, the props, costumes and certain special effects. They also got to see the orchestra room, a giant room where a full orchestra plays live music for the show. After the tour Kristen brought them to see Thomas in his dressing room. He was really tired from doing the performance and all his own stunts, but he graciously showed them the costume and even let MAG and his daughter try on the mask. Needless to say, that would be an amazing moment for any Spiderman fan. To actually try on the mask, which I was told was not just some cheap piece of fabric.

After that they took a few pictures, went outside for the autograph signing and that was it. It was a pretty cool night with lots of good company and once in a lifetime experiences. Once again, more to come soon so keep an eye out for updates.

Quick note: We just got a picture of Ricky Warrick lead singer for Thin Lizzy with his chucks while on European tour. Pretty cool.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Black Label Society Concert

It probably goes without saying that Chad Szeliga has become good friends with MAG and has come through for some exciting events and opportunities. Just recently it was announced that Chad would be taking over as drummer for Zakk Wylde’s, formerly lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society. Chad informed MAG of this great news over several conversations. For some perspective, Zakk Wylde is widely considered one of the top rock guitarists in the world. It was an excellent opportunity for Chad and so well deserved, as he is one of the most talented drummers MAG has ever seen.

MAG had seen Black Label Society when he painted shoes for Nick Catanese when Chad was drumming for the band, Hourcast. And being the awesome guy that he is, Chad invited MAG to one of Black Label Society’s first concerts of 2011-2012 tour with Chad as drummer. Of course, this included the entire back stage treatment and just generally hanging out with Chad before and after the show. As a way of thank you, MAG painted a special pair of Harley Davidson boots for Chad, which turned out amazing.

The concert, held at the IZOD Center in New Jersey, would include Thin Lizzy, Black Label Society, and Judas Priest. Chad met MAG outside and gave him a full tour backstage. This included dressing rooms, stage, and being invited to a Black Label Society meet and greet with their fans. There were even some Punk Your Chucks fans who knew that MAG would be going and were even asking about the boots he had painted for Chad.

MAG was able to get an autographed Punk Your Chucks t-shirt, signed by all the members of Black Label Society, which would probably go for big bucks on ebay, but he told me he wouldn’t be selling it…I tried people.

To list all the people that MAG got to meet or hang out with during this experience, would probably take awhile, but I’ll give it a go. Being a long time fan of Thin Lizzy, MAG was especially excited to meet the band including new lead singer, Ricky Warwick, who had replaced the late Phil Lynott, who had passed away in January of 1986. Warwick was originally part of the Scottish band, the Almighty, and also did some background vocals for Def Leppard. MAG got to meet a few original members, Scott Gorham and Darren Wharton as well as new member Damon Johnson, formerly from Alice Cooper and Brother Cane, and Marco Mendoza formerly of White Snake. I was told they were all really good guys, friendly and easy going.

While there, he got to say a brief “hello” to Eddie Trunk, host of “The Metal Show” on VH1. As for the show, it was as expected—awesome! Thin Lizzy was amazing. Black Label Society was quote, “crazy awesome.” Chad was unbelievable on the drums, always making it look easy. MAG hung around for some of Judas Priest, one or two songs before spending the rest of the time hanging out with Chad backstage.

So, another amazing concert experience with full access and amazing meetings, all thanks to Chad Szeliga. More more more to come, not all of the news being for concerts, but no less amazing. So stay tuned. I will try to update as often as I can, but it is so much easier written here than done…

Friday, January 27, 2012

Collection of Concert Stories

With life carrying on as it does there has not been much of an opportunity to update. So this will be a short compilation of stories as the title suggests to fill in all I’ve missed. There has been a lot going on and I have been slacking. Much excitement to come, or so I have been told, but that’s all I get to say on that. Spoilers.

First in line is a pair commissioned for the lead singer of Alien Ant Farm, Dryden Mitchell. MAG handed Mitchell the pair at their show at the Gramercy Theater in New York City. The famous NYC theater that has been around since 1937 as a theater hall, then to movies, a revival for the classics of Hollywood, and even temporarily as an Off-Broadway play house. Now it’s the stage for live concert venues and shows. Alien Ant Farm put on a great show and was just as great to meet in person.

Around October, MAG was contacted by a good friend, Debbie Martin. Martin, being a former customer turned friend, is a HUGE rock and roll enthusiast and is good friends or acquainted with names like Johnny Winter, Bob Dylan, and Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. And, no less, the Ramones. Yeah. That’s what I thought, too. I may not have been that generation, but I don’t know anyone who can’t name at least three of Ramones' songs. I was the kid in high school with a Ramones t-shirt and head phones in their ears. So, it was pretty exciting when I heard that Punk Your Chucks was going to be painting a pair for Marky Ramone and his new band, Blitzkrieg. Martin arranged the meeting and for MAG to paint a pair of Pro Keds for the legend. He also got to see the band at the Gramercy Theater, and I’m sure they were “forming in a straight line” for that one. Apologies, had to put at least one reference in there. Seriously, “the kids were losing their minds” about it. Okay. Now I’m done.

Finally, is an amazing opportunity found by none other than MAG’s close friend and sensei of all things that rock and roll, Chad Szeliga. Once again we return to the Gramercy Theater for a show with Scott Ian, formerly of Anthrax, and now guitarist for The Damned Things. The show included Hourcast, with Chad filling in as drummer and played an excellent show. Fair to Midland also opened and I was told they were really impressive, just amazing. MAG was

given the opportunity to meet with a lot of them, like Darroh Sudderth, lead singer for Fair to Midland. With a bit of persistence, they were also able to get a quick “hey” to Scott Ian. MAG brought a pair of Horror chucks for Chad and also did a pair for lead singer of Hourcast, Patrick McBride. I was told it was an unbelievable performance and that I really should have been there. At the show, a few Breaking Benjamin fans showed up and were rewarded by almost an hour of talking and signing from Chad. From all the stories I hear, I wish every celebrity could be half as obliging and humble.

If that wasn’t enough star gazing for one night, outside the theater Aaron Neville of the Neville Brothers happened to be strolling by. MAG was able to say “hi” and get a few pictures. Only in New York, am I right? I’m lucky if people even know what state my city is in.

So, I’m all caught up…or not even close, but that’s okay. There are a couple more stories I still need to update and then I’ll be posting them as well. Exciting stuff and I can’t wait to share. Look forward to more soon. Seriously, I’m actually going to update this time.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Epic Concert Stories

Epic concert stories. Everyone has at least one, that one concert experience that stands out above the others. They are stories you write about, and that is what I’m here to share with you. For some time now, MAG has been in contact with Chad Szeliga, drummer for Breaking Benjamin and OurAfter. They’ve exchanged phone calls and emails and have become long distance friends. Chad was to substitute for the drummer of Hourcast for their concert in Irving Plaza, NYC. MAG would have the opportunity to hang out backstage during the show featuring: HourCast, Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society, Anchored, and Rev Theory. Any rock fans dream come true.

Two days before the show, MAG gets a call from Chad asking if it was possible to get a custom pair of Chucks for Black Label Society’s guitarist, Nick “Evil Twin” Catanese. Even though two days seemed like a daunting task, MAG didn’t want to let Chad down. He had the pair done and painted in time for the show. Because this wouldn’t be a complete story without someone getting an awesome pair of custom made sneakers.

On the day of the show, MAG met up with Chad in Jersey to hang out with the band for the day. That’s when he actually met Chad Szeliga for the first time and he described it as “like they were the oldest of friends.” How cool is that? A rock star, famous rock star, coming up to you and giving you a hug like you’ve known each other for years. It’s rare to find people of fame that are still so down to earth, and from what I heard, that was the general attitude of the rest of the band members. Not what you would expect and extremely cool.

When it was time to get to the show, they realized they couldn’t get the buses through city traffic. But it’s okay. Everything was fine. Tour manager Becky Hunt had a “connection” that would be able to take them to the show. The contact, and this is extremely weird and coincidental, turns out to be PJ Gasperini, the drummer for Sugar Red Drive. There was a moment of “Wait, who now?” Because MAG also keeps in contact with the band Sugar Red Drive, most notably, their drummer, PJ. So we hear a chorus of “It’s a Small World,” and they spend the rest of the time before the show killing time. Talking Chucks, music, nerf guns…

Laughing all the way to the show, they arrive in the late afternoon and wait for the techs to finish setting up. While waiting MAG got to meet, John DeServio, bassist for Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society and drummer Mike Froedge, and finally Zakk Wylde himself. Former lead guitarist for Ozzy Osborne. Yeah, it was that kind of ‘WOW.’ Zakk asked about the shoes and when Chad told him they were for Nick. Zakk threw them on the ground. Chad explained that it was all a joke and not to take it personally, but MAG was too star struck. “Dude, Zakk Wylde just threw my shoes on the ground. AWESOME!”

Finally, Nick arrives and he is presented the shoes, which he loved. He put them on immediately and posed for pictures. The concert opened with Anchored, who I was told were incredible. They were followed by HourCast who were also outstanding. And Chad was exceptional. MAG made it a point when relaying this story to me that he had never seen a drummer play like him before. Like a machine, with a dozen twirls and flourishes without missing a beat. Next was Rev Theory, another good show.

Black Label Society was up next, but MAG only got to hear two of their songs before he had to leave with Chad who hitched a ride on Anchored’s tour bus. For the song, “Crazy Horse,” Zakk came out in an old fashioned Indian headdress looking like a Native American Viking. It was an awesome performance and MAG really wished he could have seen more. He is going to check them out the next time they’re in town so he can see their full show.

On the tour bus with Anchored, Hourcast, Chad, drum and guitar techs, they headed back to Jersey to chill and bust out the XBOX 360 for some innocent Fight Night Boxing and football…except they forgot the lead singer of Hourcast …he made it back on his own. Nice.

We come to the end of this adventure and all I can say is that I often heard the phrase, “You should have been there.” One of those rare moments were you get to hang out with generally cool rock stars. It was described as one of the coolest meetings MAG had ever encountered. Good show with good people. And there were even kinder words about the one responsible for everything, Chad Szeliga. According to MAG, he is one of the nicest people he’s ever met. After the show a kid, teenager, came up to Chad with a pair of drum sticks and asked if he could show him how to do a special trick with them. Chad stops right there and doesn’t even hesitate to give the kid a run through of exactly how to do the motions. You could tell he wasn’t just talk, but a genuinely outstanding guy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Fateful Rainy Day

It all began one dark and stormy night. Amidst a torrential downpour, MAG finds himself traversing the dark streets of New York City. Despite the blinding water obscuring his view, MAG observes a man in a red beret. Closer inspection reveals that this is none other than Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels and radio host of AM970/The Apple. I know, right?

And so, naturally, MAG introduces himself. But, alas, Curtis at that very moment, receives a phone call. Technology, psh. Now, this might seem like the end, but no. Curtis tells him to hold on a minute, and MAG waits. Phone call ends. Cue pleasantries, maybe just a tiny bit of brown nosing, and the pitch. Curtis says it all seems cool and that he’ll give him a call.

Next day.

Director of Promotions, Eric Krauss, contacts MAG and they set up a meeting at none other than the radio station for AM970/The Apple located in the Empire State Building. Everything is going so perfectly, wouldn’t you say? With the shoes finished and no doubt a certain spring in his step, MAG gets ready for the meeting. But wait. Another setback. Curtis has been called away and they have to reschedule. A new date was set for April 1st. To make an already long story not quite as long, MAG gets to the studio and runs into to a rather familiar foe. He can see the looks and the uncertainty that follows, so he decides to start off with the shoes. Once in Curtis’s hands it is apparent that this is not just some weirdo off the street. This is an artist, with talent and, in hindsight, a very normal off-beat style. Talent can come in any shape.

After the initial shock, Curtis confessed to his preconceived opinions. “A lot of people contact us, and I thought you were just some schlog off the street, I didn’t realize how awesome the artwork and shoes were.” What followed were pictures and a ten minute interview. The interview information will follow in the next post, right now they are still editing and all that fun techno stuff. And more importantly, he loved the shoes.

For those who don’t know, this is really big. Sliwa’s fan base is huge, and it is just an added pleasure that he turned out to be such a nice guy. I was told that the entire experience was very cool and exciting. Which I can believe, but I would also add well deserved. More to come on this story, we will be adding links and all that to the video later. Looking forward to more exciting things to come. Until then.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shoots and Scores (Haha, get it?)

Okay, so the concept of professional sports has always eluded me, but I will give this a try. With that being said, and hopefully your understanding, had the awesome opportunity to paint for Chris Andersen of the Denver Nuggets.

A special bonus was that Andersen hooked MAG up with tickets to a game in Madison Square Garden. Nuggets vs. New York Knicks on March 23, 2010. At the game, which I assume was a blast but I wasn’t there, MAG got to hand Andersen the sneakers personally, and they even posed for a few pictures. Also available for pictures were Punkass and Skyskrape from TapouT, the world’s leading mixed-martial arts apparel, gear, and lifestyle brand on the market.

So, basically awesome! And that’s it for this entry. More to come, always more…

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Twilight Cover Comes to LIfe: Kimbra Hickey

So, we’re still catching up on old, but no less awesome, news. has had the great privilege to paint custom pumps for Kimbra Hickey, the hands of Twilight. The picture to the left, taken by Steve DeCanio, is Kimbra and her shoes.

It’s an iconic book cover, which I’m sure even those who are not fans, would recognize. The two hands extending an apple toward the reader, the apple representing forbidden fruit and, as the author Stephenie Meyer claims, to her it speaks, among its many implications, choice. But what most readers, myself included, rarely consider is what lies beyond the image. What went into making that cover instantly recognizable as Twilight. Thanks to Heidi Bennett, who runs the largest official Twilight facebook fan site, came into contact with Kimbra Hickey, a hand, leg, and arm model who posed with the apple for the cover of Twilight.

Kimbra, who has done a number of things since and before Twilight, even brought MAG in for a photo shoot with her and the apple. Well, probably not the same apple I assume that one is well past its sell by date. Needless to say, you bring an NYC bred graffiti artist/painter and put them in front of a camera, a few high jinks are bound to ensue.

This awesome picture was taken by Bill Diodato, and despite MAG’s consumption of the apple needed for the shoot, they were able to continue. The rest of the pics are on MAG’s facebook page for those who want to check it out. How cool is that, though? Well, opinions are always varied, but to me that screams way cool.

You can check out the shoes painted for Kimbra at and a visit to her website is highly advised. You’ve probably seen Kimbra a hundred times before on a billboard or in a magazine, although it might have only been her hand or foot. With the growing popularity from her work with Twilight, which she had no idea was going to blow up so huge at the time, Kimbra has went on to create her own product designs and they’re totally worth checking out. Big things can come from the smallest opportunity. I think that’s why they tell you to open the door when it comes knocking.

We’re bringing this new post to a close and MAG, as far as I know, is still in contact with Kimbra so this might not be the last we hear of her at It certainly won’t be the last we hear of her in the Twilight community and beyond. More to come, oh so much more…a blogger’s work is never done, I guess.