A few weeks ago, we ran a story about working on some legendary guitars in anticipation of a feature article in a major music publication. On Wednesday, the editors of Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines, Brad Tolinski and Tom Beaujour, came in for a visit and the opportunity to get some trigger time on these incredible axes. It’s always a blast to see peoples’ reactions when they first visit our warehouse, but when it’s a couple guys like Tom and Brad, we know we’re going to be in guitar nerd nirvana. To up the ante, Rick Gessner and Jeff DeHollander of Valvetrain Amps were kind enough to bring in some of their incredible custom amplifiers. Check it out:
L to R: Guitar World’s Brad Tolinski with Jimi Hendrix’ ’69 Stratocaster, Hard Rock’s Jeff Nolan with Billy Zoom’s ’54 Gretsch Silver Jet, and Guitar Aficionado’s Tom Beaujour with Country Joe MacDonald’s ’62 Gibson ES 355
Tom puts Paul Kossoff’s ’57 Les Paul Jr. through its paces. This guitar sounds amazing!
Have you heard of Anvil? If you have, then you know what we're talking about when we say that they absolutely tore up the stage at Hard Rock Cafe New York last night. If you haven't, then you need to find out about these heavy metal veterans right now. Go on. We'll wait.
Alrighty, now that you've familiarized yourself with the band, we just wanted to let you all know that they played Hard Rock Cafe New York for a reason. They were taping an episode of a great show on VH1 Classic called That Metal Show, which is hosted by none other than Eddie Trunk, long-time hard rock DJ and a living encyclopedia of everything metal.
You can check out the Anvil episode of That Metal Show this Saturday night, Oct. 3, at 11:30 EST, right after the premiere of the documentary about the band, appropriately titled Anvil: The Story of Anvil. Here's a few pics from the show to hold you over until then.
Check out "Artist Ambassador" Melissa Etheridge on Good Morning America this morning, helping to kick off PINKTOBER!
Tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 29th, Melissa will be taping Live With Regis & Kelly and be performing live on Sirius XM "Artist Confidential" on The Pulse.
09.28: On this day in 1991, the jazz world lost a legend when Miles Davis passed at the age of 65. Innovator, improviser, student, and mentor, Davis' massive influence on jazz musicians and fans alike proves formidable. His Kind of Blue album ranks as the best-selling jazz album of all time, while his Bitches Brew album is considered a masterpiece not only in the history of jazz, but in the history of modern music, as well. Davis’ life in jazz mirrors jazz itself, as he lived through or led every major movement within jazz from the ‘40s until his death. 09.28: 1968, this day, saw The Beatles biggest single hit the top of the charts. "Hey Jude" sat at #1 for nine weeks and has, to date, sold over 7.5 million copies. It also hit #1 in 11 other countries. Considering that the Beatles had 16 other #1 hits (!), "Hey Jude" ranking as the tops says a lot. Yeah, these guys had some talent. 09.29: Jerry Lee "Great Balls of Fire" Lewis, with a whole lotta pushin' and screamin', came to be on this day in 1935. The early rock 'n' roll pioneer introduced piano to the genre, telling one producer, who suggested he switch to guitar if he wanted to make it in said genre, "You can take your guitar and ram it up your ass!" Yeah, Jerry Lee didn't mince words or stray too far from controversy in his life. When he married his 13-year old cousin (first, once removed), his career spiraled down pretty quick, yet he is still regarded today as one of the greatest performers ever to set a piano on fire and play it with his butt. 10.01: Jimi Hendrix found his bass player, Noel Redding, on this day in 1966. Joining Hendrix and Redding, shortly thereafter, Mitch Mitchell rounded out The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Though they would only put out three official albums and last for less than three years, the band remains one of the most influential of the '60s rock era, in no small part because of Hendrix himself, but also due to the rapport between Hendrix, Redding, and Mitchell. 10.01: Coming full circle, Jimi Hendrix was buried on this day in 1970 in Seattle, Washington, where he was born. His death was the first of three that would effectively end the '60s bright glow. All dying from drug- or alcohol-induced causes, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison each only made it to the tender age of 27. Hard to believe, with the way their influence still holds today, that they didn't even make it three decades in this world. R.I.P., Friends. 10.01: A new music-related TV show debuted on this day in 1971. Soul Train showcased R&B and soul artists and, as the '80s kicked in, was one of the first to showcase hip-hop artists. Introducing many people to music they might not have otherwise been exposed to, Soul Train continued on the air for 35 years, until 2006 when production of new shows shut down. 10.03: Rock 'n' roll got an infusion of talent on October 3rd. Stevie Ray Vaughan (1954), one of the greatest guitar players ever, Tommy Lee (1962), one of the greatest drummers ever, and Gwen Stefani (1969), one of the greatest wives of Gavin Rossdale ever, were all welcomed into the world today. 10.03: Sinead O’Connor took on the Catholic Church, and lost, when she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II during a 1992 performance on Saturday Night Live. The singer’s popularity waned following the incident, and she was booed off stage of many performances, including Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary Tribute Concert at Madison Square Garden in New York. To us, however, this does nothing to take away either the power of her voice or of the mesmerizing and haunting video for “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Watching that video still gives us chills. 10.04: On this day in 1970, Janis Joplin, a stellar blues voice in rock 'n' roll, died of a heroin overdose, alone, in a hotel room in Los Angeles. Known just as well for her hard drinking and flamboyant style, Joplin had nearly completed a new album at the time of her death. That album, Pearl, which included "Me and Bobby McGee," would become the best-selling of her short career. From her work with Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Kozmic Blues Band, and The Full Tilt Boogie Band, Joplin left behind a collection of inspired blues and funk inflected rock tunes. Though many consider her to have been an unhandsome woman, those kinds of superficial things mean squat to us (for real, most musicians aren’t that good looking), as she possessed a singular voice, through which she conveyed more emotion and depth and beauty than most singers before or since. 10.04: One of Pink Floyd's best albums, which is saying a lot, really, hit #1 in the States on this day in 1975. Wish You Were Here, the follow-up to the massive Dark Side of the Moon, has sold over 10 million copies since its release, and, at the time, further solidified Pink Floyd's place in the pantheon of rock and roll. Wish You Were Here only contained five songs, but oh what great songs. From the Syd Barrett tribute, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" to the sweet lament of the title track, the amazing songs belied the extreme distance between band members during the production of the album. Dark Side of the Moon's success drained the guys both physically and mentally, but even in this state, they still put out a follow-up album ten times better than most bands could even dream of.
Hard Rock's Pinktober campaign for breast cancer awareness officially kicked off last night in Orlando, when The Bangles dropped by for a stellar set of classic hits and good times. Once a month, Hard Rock Hotel Orlando hosts Velvet Sessions, "the city's only rock 'n' roll cocktail party." Yeah, it's a big ol' party, each and every month. This month, however, was bigger and better than ever. (Did you know? The Bangles went through a few names before they decided on their once-and-forever nomenclature: Colours, The Supersonic Bangs, and The Bangs.)
Before their rip-rockin' performance, the gorgeous girls in the band, Susanna, Vicki, and Debbie, found some time to hang out and donate a few items to Hard Rock's biggest-in-the-world memorabilia collection. Susanna donated a pair of black patent leather boots and a black velvet mini skirt, Vicki donated a pair of hand painted black leather boots, and Debbie donated a fringed black leather jacket.
The band also helped with the check presentation, as the entire evening raised funds for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Here, the band hangs out with Carlton, the manager for Hard Rock Hotel Orlando, and Hamish, Hard Rock's CEO, and one really large check.
Next, came the performance everyone had been waiting for, The Bangles doing what they do best, wowing everyone who comes to their shows. Opening the generous set with their hit cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade Of Winter," the girls never let up, rolling through hit after hit. Yeah, they played "Eternal Flame" and even "Walk Like An Egyptian." How could they not when it gets people moving so much, even after 20 years? In case you're wondering, yes, they still rock. Better than ever, in fact. They've definitely grown into their role as veterans of the music industry, but don't let that fool you into thinking they've gone soft or don't give every performance 100%. Believe us, they definitely do. Last night rocked and Pinktober officially kicked off in style!
Tiki Barber and Brandon Jacobs (former and current NY Giant running backs, respectively) brought the 3rd annual "Tiki Rocks The Sqaure" benefit show to Hard Rock Cafe New York last night in support of The Children's Miracle Network, an amazing organization that raises funds for more than 170 children’s hospitals. With friends Justin Bieber and Fabolous, Tiki and Brandon helped raise money and awareness for a great charity, which annually helps more than 17 million children.
Co-hosting the celebration, Tiki and Brandon could barely hold back the crowd as Justin Bieber hit the stage. A true internet phenom (he was discovered on YouTube), Justin brought his amazing voice for a set of exhilarating pop tunes. And the crowd went wild. It's amazing that this kid gets a word in edgewise. At times, it seemed like the heydays of The Fab Four, all girls screaming and the music barely audible. Despite the noise, Bieber brought it.
Next up, Fabolous brought his southern-influenced East Coast-style to the stage, proving, once again, that he is a master of his domain. Where many rappers need back up, need other rappers onstage to help out with the rhymes, Fabolous proved that he doesn't need any of that. He can hold the stage all by himself, thank you. The evening's success owes to the hard work of all involved. We just wanted to thank Tiki Barber, Brandon Jacobs, Justin Bieber, Fabolous, the amazing Hard Rock Cafe New York team, and everyone who came out for such a great cause. You all rock!
Black Eyed Peas finished up their Ambassadors of Rock tour of Japan last night at Tokyo's Saitama Super Arena, concluding a cross-country trek that took them to Hard Rock Cafes for meet & greets and even to Hard Rock Cafe Tokyo Roppongi for a post-show after-party with Poet Name Life, their tour DJ.
Along the way they also hit up Hamamatsu Arena in Hamamatsu, Nippon Gaishi Hall in Nagoya, Makuhari Messe in Tokyo, Osakajo Hall in Osaka, and World Hall in Kobe. Bringing their funky hip-hop and dance to Japan bridged the gap between cultures, proving, once again, that music really is the international language. The audiences say along in chorus with Black Eyed Peas, taking part in the call and repsonse that is essential in hip-hop.
Fergie, wil.i.am, apl.de.ap, and Taboo brought it every single night, showing the good people of Japan how a proper arena show should play out. That is, with big sound, big lights, and big love for the audience. Truly a great set of shows, Ambassadors of Rock, Hard Rock's global series featuring top artists and bands, and Black Eyed Peas blew away those fans lucky enough to be there. Rock on!
Last night, Gatlinburg rocked with an anniversary party heard far and wide throughout the Great Smoky Mountains. Okay, maybe they didn't hear it in North Carolina, but we can assure you that Hard Rock Cafe Gatlinburg celebrated their 10th anniversary in true Hard Rock style, with good times, great people, and excellent music. What a gorgeous night!
About 250 attendees, including state and city politicians, radio outlets, news organizations, Hard Rock CEO Hamish Dodds, and all-around awesome G'burg citizens hung out for some killer food and one high point after another. One of the highlights of the evening came when three married couples renewed their vows on their own 10th anniversaries. They celebrated their 10 years right along side Gatlinburg's 10 years. How cool is that? Pretty damn cool, we say. Another highpoint came when Hamish presented Rolex watches to staff members that've been there since the beginning. Here's some of the Gatlinburg Hard Rockers doing what they do best, being awesome:
The biggest part of the night, however, came with a special acoustic performance of blue-eyed soul from Marc Broussard, including an improptu jam session accompanied by a blues harmonica player. Yeah, it rocked. The entire evening helped raise money for Friends Of The Smokies, a great organization that helps preserve and protect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We want to thank everyone who came out for the party (really, how could they turn it down?), all the Hard Rockers who worked the event, Marc Broussard for sharing his gifted voice and music for the evening, and all who helped raise funds for the charity. You all rock!
All photos ©SaundersProductions
Straight from the brand new Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas, Hard Rock's brand new flagship cafe, comes some of the most kick ass technology around. From the in-booth interactives to the Microsoft Surface tables in the waiting area to the one-of-a-kind Rock Wall, this Cafe has some of the most amazing tech you can experience anywhere. Check out all the videos below.
Hard Rock Booth Interactive from Duncan/Channon on Vimeo.
Hard Rock memorabilia app for Microsoft Surface from Duncan/Channon on Vimeo.
Rock Wall at Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas from Technomedia Solutions and Obscura Digital
Orlando, Fla., September 23, 2009 – Hard Rock International’s global Ambassadors of Rock Tour is heading to “Sin City” for the Grand Opening of the new Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas! On Thursday, October 15th, rock icon Chris Cornell will perform at Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas, located on The Strip, as part of Hard Rock’s Ambassadors of Rock Tour, a global concert series featuring top artists and bands. GRAMMY® Award-winning Native American musician Micki Free will kick off the event with a performance, followed by Chris Cornell, who will rock the stage with some of his greatest hits, as well as songs from his latest solo album Scream. That evening, Chris Cornell will also donate memorabilia, which will become a permanent addition to Hard Rock’s world-famous collection. The event will benefit Opportunity Village, a not-for-profit organization that serves people in the community with intellectual disabilities to enhance their daily lives and the lives of their families through job training, employment opportunities, recreation and advocacy. Best known as the acclaimed lead singer and songwriter for Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog, Chris Cornell’s two decade, 14-album career has heralded deafening praise and milestone accomplishments. The multi GRAMMY-award-winning Cornell has been heralded as the chief architect for grunge. After recording the last album with Soundgarden, Cornell continued to shine as a critically acclaimed and versatile solo artist. "Can't Change Me," the first single from his 1999 solo debut Euphoria Morning, was nominated for a GRAMMY Award, while a reworked version of "Mission" was included on the soundtrack to the film Mission: Impossible II. The most critically awarded of Cornell’s big screen hits is "You Know My Name," the theme song for James Bond’s Casino Royale, which he co-wrote and performed. Chris Cornell is the only American male solo artist to date who has ever been commissioned to write the theme song for the Bond franchise. In March of 2009, Chris Cornell and Timbaland collaborated, on a groundbreaking solo effort entitled, Scream, which debuted in Top 10 on the Billboard charts. Keeping in line with Chris’s previous work, Cornell continues to defy genres and push the envelope of sound.“We are truly excited to have Chris Cornell, one of rock’s most iconic artists, be one of the very first musicians to perform at our newest Hard Rock location and also join our Ambassadors of Rock lineup,” said Hamish Dodds, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hard Rock International. “Chris also performed in London in 2007 on our global concert tour, and we are thrilled that he will be an official Ambassador of Rock once again!” In addition to an unforgettable live concert, the V.I.P. grand opening celebration will include a star-studded red carpet and guitar smash to commemorate Hard Rock’s new cafe on The Strip. The event will also feature appearances by representatives of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, owners of Hard Rock International; Hamish Dodds, President and CEO of Hard Rock International; local celebrities, professional athletes and more.
Rockin’ Around the Globe! For the fourth consecutive year, Ambassadors of Rock will bring together Hard Rock Cafes, Live venues, Hotels and Casinos around the globe to help spread the universal language of rock. Nine Inch Nails joins an eclectic group of artists on Hard Rock’s 2009 Ambassadors of Rock Tour, including O.A.R. in Orlando, Kenny Chesney in New York and an all-star lineup at Hard Rock Calling in London with Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, The Killers, Dave Matthews Band, Ben Harper and Relentless 7, Fleet Foxes and The Gaslight Anthem. For more information, please visit www.hardrock.com.
About Opportunity VillageOpportunity Village is a not-for-profit organization that serves people in the community with intellectual disabilities to enhance their daily lives and the lives of their families through job training, employment opportunities, recreation and advocacy. Opportunity Village is dedicated to helping people with severe intellectual and related disabilities become the very best they can be. Through vocational training, employment, day services, advocacy, arts and social recreation, people with severe disabilities are able to find new friends, realize future career paths, seek independence and community integration and unleash creative passions. For more information, please visit www.opportunityvillage.org.
About Hard Rock International With a total of 159 venues in 52 countries, including 129 cafes and 12 Hotels/Casinos, Hard Rock International is one of the world's most globally recognized brands. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world's greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise, Hard Rock Live performance venues and an award-winning website. In addition to the two flagship Seminole Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, Fla., Hard Rock Hotels/Casinos are located in Las Vegas, Biloxi, Orlando, Chicago, San Diego, Tulsa, Pattaya, Bali, Macau and Penang. Additional hotel and casino projects have been announced in Singapore scheduled to open in 2010; Palm Springs, Atlanta and Panama, scheduled to open in 2011; Hungary, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, scheduled to open in 2012. Hard Rock International is owned by Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment, Inc. For further details on Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos, visit www.hardrockhotels.com. For more information on Hard Rock International, visit www.hardrock.com.