12.26: On this day in 1963, Napster’s arch nemesis and Metallica’s beat maker, Lars Ulrich, was born. As one of the founding members of the biggest thrash metal band of all time and, perhaps, the biggest metal band of all time, Lars' career of the past 30 years is quite different from his intended career: tennis player. Believe it. Lars "Drummer For The Biggest Metal Band In The World" Ulrich wanted to be a tennis player. Now, to put this in context, Lars' dad Torben was a professional tennis player in Europe, so the thought of Lars yearning to reach the top of the tennis world isn't entirely out of the realm of reality, but we're kind of glad that he instead gravitated toward the world of metal instead, eventually hooking up with one Mr. James Hetfield, via a classified ad in a musician magazine, and the rest, as they so often say, is rockin' awesome history.
12.19: On this day, the Kiss Army celebrates the birth of one of its generals. Peter Criss, the cat's meow behind the Kiss drum kit, was born George Peter John Criscuola today in 1947 in Brooklyn, New York. Beginning his love of music with jazz, Criss moved on to rock, eventually placing an ad, after stints in a few different bands, in the back of Rolling Stone, extolling his skills as a pounder of skins, which elicited a call from a couple of fellow NY lads by the name of Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. With the formation of Kiss in December of 1972 came gobs of wacked-out makeup, rock 'n' rollin' all night, and the theme song for every Beth in the world. "Beth" became, and remains, Kiss' biggest hit. Peter was the only member of the band in the recording studio for that song. "Beth" is Peter Criss and wouldn't exist without him. While his first stint in Kiss only lasted until 1980, his work in the group's canon is yet held in high regards by the army of followers, old and new alike.
12.21: Frank Zappa, one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, was born on this day in 1940. His influence among musicians is as widespread as the ignorance of his work amongst most other people. From Black Sabbath (the progenitors of heavy metal) to John Frusciante (red hot guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers), from Bill Frisell (modern jazz composer) to George Clinton (latter and modern day funk master), from his son Dweezil to his daughter Moon Unit, Zappa's prodigious influence continues to be explored, 18 years after his death. The month of December saw his birth and his death, bringing his life full circle, or as circular as the life of someone so left field, so known/unknown could be. Happy birthday, Frank. We miss you, sir.
A HUGE “SHOUT OUT” to the Hard Rock team at the Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana who took the time to provide literally 100’s of meals for hungry children to our local charity partners in the Dominican Republic and for their continued commitment to LOVE ALL – SERVE ALL.
The Hard Rock team was able to see the good work in action at all of our partners – at CONAMUCA (WhyHunger/IMAGINE partner), where we learned of the challenges in the DR with regard to land ownership and agriculture, the local Punta Cana school (HRH Local Ambassador Program feeding program partner) where our donation will help fund their ability to host a healthy, happy Christmas gathering for the children, and the Orphaned Starfish Foundation Orphanage in La Romana (a second time visit for the HRH Hard Rockers), where we were educated on the good work that can be done to provide a safe place for children of all ages who have suffered from abuse and starvation in their lives, and the value of education and employable skill development to allow an opportunity for a successful future.
This entire journey the Hard Rock team was joined by our partners from WhyHunger and Orphaned Starfish Foundation, allowing us a greater understanding of the “behind the scenes” challenges our philanthropic partners face on a daily basis, and ways we can help in the future.
ALL IS ONE.
Hard Rock Cafe Budapest Now Open in Vörösmarty Square
Budapest, Hungary, December 14, 2011 – They have wowed crowds in London, shocked the masses in Paris and entertained fans in New York – now Hard Rock Cafe makes its debut in Hungary! Hard Rock International today announced the opening of its first cafe location in the heart of Hungary’s capital and bustling metropolis. Hard Rock Cafe Budapest is located at the corner of Vörösmarty Square and Váci Street. Located in the epicenter of the city’s most famous shopping and business district, the new Hard Rock Cafe Budapest is poised to become a must-see for both visitors and locals. The Budapest cafe is owned and operated by Bigosz Kft.The four-level, 1097-square-meter cafe includes seating for 220, a vibrant bar, a live music area and Rock Shop. Memorabilia from Hard Rock’s iconic collection adorns the walls of Hard Rock Cafe Budapest, including items from legendary musicians from around the world, as well as today’s top contemporary artists. Key memorabilia items featured include: handwritten letters penned by Madonna, Michael Jackson’s platinum award for his Thriller album, an autographed grey suit jacket worn by Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, as well as clothing from Christina Aguilera and Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora and a concert poster The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
On December 11 the Cinema for Peace Foundation and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court hosted THE JUSTICE Gala in New York. Artists and filmmakers helped to bring attention to injustice and motivate people to support change. On the occasion of the anniversary of the Tenth Session of the Assembly of State Parties in New York, the Cinema for Peace Foundation and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), partnered to promote the work of the ICC by hosting the Justice Gala on December 11, 2011 in New York City. To learn more on The Justice Gala click here.
The event featured a performance from Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier who promotes peace and justice through his music. To support Emmanuel's "Lose to Win Challenge" click here. Lose to Win works with individuals and communities around the World to help overcome the affects war and poverty. To learn more about Emmanuel click here.
12.12: Jerry Lee Lewis, mad man on the flaming piano, married his 13-year old cousin (?!) on this day in 1957. Effectively beginning his downfall from popularity, but never to be counted out, the marriage and its subsequent uproar led to Lewis' blacklisting from radio and television. We'll never question Jerry's motivations simply because there is no use in trying. The man did, and continues to do whatever the hell he wants. That's one of the things that make him a rock 'n' roll icon, one of the best rock performers ever to take a stage.
12.13: On this day in 1949, rock got one of its more "beloved" musicians and the NRA got an outspoken member when Ted Nugent was born. Some people love to hate The Nuge, choosing to focus on his political stances, but know he's a rock 'n' roller like no other. Going against the grain is nothing new for Ted, as he's remained steadfastly anti-drug and booze throughout his life (unlike most every other rocker ever), instead putting his energies into, ahem, other pursuits (ie., women, money, guns, and guitars). Probably best known for his '70s arena anthems "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Stranglehold", Ted still rocks out to this day, doing what he does best, prowling the stage like the Motor City Madman he is, was, and shall forever be.
On December 10th 1948, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for all people and all nations. In the UDHR, the United Nations stated in clear and simple terms rights that belong equally to every person. These rights belong to you. Familiarize yourself with them. Help to promote and defend them. To learn more click here. For ways you can help click here.
Would you expect any less? Of course not. If there's one thing we've learned and experienced and come to know very well over the years, it's that Hard Rock knows how to throw a party, no matter where in the world that party might be. Whether it's Bali or Chicago, Florence or St. Maarten, we like to have fun. Combine that with excellent food, great music, and incredible people and you have yourself one heck of a party! This is a central tenet of Hard Rock. Believe it.
In support of our newest Hard Rock locations in Australia, Matt Sorum stopped by the local Morning Show "Down Under" to talk about the IMAGINE THERE'S NO HUNGER campaign and few other fun topics. To see more click here. For ways you can help support the IMAGINE campaign click here. ALL IS ONE.
Man, it must be nice to be Sammy Hagar. Not only is he one of the hardest working guys in rock for the past 40 years, but he's an extraordinarily successful businessman, too. Now, those two things are usually mutually exclusive, but in Sammy's case they go hand-in-hand. From his solo success in the '70s and '80s to his chart-topping work with Van Halen (or Van Hagar, as many like to call that incarnation of the band) to Chickenfoot, his new supergroup, Sammy just keeps going and going.