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.