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Monsters of Rock Cruise – Day 1

As Dee and I sat outside of our hotel with our luggage (Yes, her luggage FINALLY made it!), Big John from Rock of Love walked up and said, “The first 52 people to the bus are getting a ride to the port!” Dee, Monique, Liz and I all ran for it. As we found our seats and sIMG_3706ettled in, I started watching all the people getting on the bus. One by one…they were all members of bands. We were on a bus full of rock stars, and not in the notorious way: Winger, Tyketto, Firehouse, Kix, London Quire Boys…it was surreal.

Once we made it on the boat, we had enough time to run to our room, freshen up and then go to the dreaded, required safety drill. Who happened to be in our group? Our new friends Rita, Pixie, Julie, and…Billy Sheehan looking as cool as ever in his life jacket.

The first night of shows on the boat certainly set the bar and set it high. The first three shows we attended were probably the best three shows we saw on the entire cruise. Tesla started the evening off as we sailed away from Miami. The pool deck was PACKED for this show and for good reason. Tesla never disappoints. Never. They got the crowd pumped and they sounded stellar. The Monsters of Rock crew couldn’t have picked a better band to get things started.

Next up were the Winery Dogs. They actually played in my hometown a few months ago, but I wasn’t able to make it to the show. Boy oh boy was I kicking myself in the ass for missing them after the show we witnessed on the cruise. It’s honestly difficult for me to put into words how phenomenal they were. With the talents of Richie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy, you know there’s no way possible this band could suck. You just can’t possibly be prepared for how fucking incredible they really are. And I’m sorry to use curse words in this but damn it, man…IIMG_3709 need you to understand the true power of the Winery Dogs and only the intensity of curse words can convey this. Shit. Damn. They blew my fucking mind. Dee and I just kept looking at each other in total and complete awe because we honestly couldn’t believe the musical genius that we were hearing. Our jaws dropped at the very start of the show and we were never able to pick them up off the ground. Seriously. That shit was fucking INSANE. There aren’t even enough superlatives in the English language to describe how utterly incredible they were . So what I’m trying to tell you is the Winery Dogs are awesome, and you’re totally missing out if you’re not listening to them.

After that whirlwind, Dee and I dragged our still open jaws over to see Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel. This was another band we were super excited to see because…well…it’s Jake E. Lee.  I heard the drums to “Ultimate Sin” and started screaming and jumping up and down like a school girl. Dee probably would’ve looked at me like I was insane except that she was freaking out like I was, so…there we were freaking out. Singer DJ Smith came out guns blazing and just killed it. And Jake E Lee is still as kick ass as ever. They played some songs off their new album, “Deceived” and “War Machine.” And then…then…they did it. They did something that I totally and completely wasn’t expecting. As they started into the fourth song, the crowd went nuts. I’m standing there trying to figure out what was happening. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. They were playing Badlands. This, my friends, was something I thought I’d NEVER experience in my life, so to be there witnessing this was absolutely a dream come true. Dear god, as if this night couldn’t get any better, next they played Badland’s “Rumblin’ Train.” I’m telling you, the cruise could’ve ended right then and there, and it would’ve been worth every penny I paid. They played more of their originals and a little “Bark at the Moon.” Seriously. Kill me now. I can die happy.

We ended the night on the pool deck with Winger. For its 25th anniversary, they played their debut album in its entirety. Winger sounded good…really good. Kip’s voice sounded better than ever. Reb is still one of the most badass guitarists around. Listening to them perform that album brought back so many memories and was the perfect end to a perfect night.

It was a helluva first night. If it was this good the first few hours on the cruise, it couldn’t possibly get any better, could it? Well, of course it could!

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Monsters of Rock Cruise Eve 3/28/14

To say this was a trip of a lifetime would be an understatement. Since we’d both been on the Lynyrd Skynyrd cruise before, Dee and I knew we were in for a really good time. But the Monsters of Rock cruise was just…more meaningful, at least for me, because these bands were all a little closer to my heart. They were all bands that I grew up listening to but never got the opportunity to see live because I was just too young. So to be to stuck with all of them on a magnificent cruise ship for four days was a dream come true! And the fun started even before we even set foot on the boat!

For a trip like this, you know that not even my plane ride could be boring. I had a three hour layover inRita the Atlanta airport (which is the most insane airport I’ve ever been to). I decided to get some lunch, so I went to an airport restaurant. Right after I was seated, the cutest lady came up to me and said, “Are you by chance going on the Monsters of Rock cruise?” I said, “Yes! What gave it away?” She replied, “Your Quiet Riot tshirt! My name is Pixie. You should come sit with me and my friends.” So I did exactly that. I sat with Pixie, Rita and Julie who were all from Kansas and were so incredibly nice. As we were chatting about how excited we all were, Pixie said to Rita, “Oh! Show her your book, Rita! Show her your book!” Rita digs into her carry on and pulls out her book: Once Upon a Rock Star. As I flipped through the pages, I said, “You’ve got to be shitting me.” If you haven’t guessed already, it’s a book about Rita’s exploits with some of the most notable rock stars from back in the day. When I got to the picture of her with Nikki Sixx, I looked at her and said, “And now we’re no longer friends!” Ha! I asked her if she brought copies to sell, and of course she said yes. I bought my copy from her after the cruise as I was leaving Miami and I ran into these ladies at my gate…because they were on my flight! It’s an amazingly easy read, and for a girl who wished she was old enough to live the rock & roll life in LA in the 80′s, it was great to read it and live it vicariously through Rita.

The ladies left to catch their plane, and I left to catch mine. Once I landed in Miami, I grabbed a cab and headed to my hotel. As the cab pulled up to the front of the Hilton, I looked out my window and just started laughing: Firehouse were standing outside among tons of other people. I checked in, went to my room, fell on my bed and laughed some more. Why? Because if you would’ve told me when I was 14 years old that I’d pull up to a hotel and Firehouse would be standing outside or that I was going on a cruise with some of my favorite bands, I womorc1uldn’t have believed you.

Unfortunately, Dee’s trip to Miami was adventurous but in a much more terrible way. The airline lost her luggage. Screw you, Southwest Airlines! After a  truly strenuous time at the airport, we decided to skip the Kix/Firehouse pre-party and stay low key at the hotel and have dinner and drinks. Well, our hotel wasn’t that low key since quite a few bands were staying there and everyone showed up at the hotel bar after the pre-party…and that was A-OK with us! My friend Monique and her sister Liz arrived early on. We drank and chatted as more and more people strolled in. Monique introduced us to Eric Brittingham of Cinderella and his lovely wife, Inga. She also introduced us to the lovely Nikki Blakk, DJ for San Francisco’s 107.7 The Bone, and one of the hosts on the cruise.

By the end of the night, we made a few new friends, had a wonderful time, and Dee got the call from Southwest Airlines that they found her luggage and it would arrive at the hotel in the morning. Yeah! So we called it a night and went to bed. We had to try to get some rest…because we had a BIG four days ahead of us!!!!!

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Get Ready…..

MORC

YEAH! We’re about to get this rock n’ roll vacation started!!!!!! Dee and I have over packed our suitcases and are getting on planes to head to Miami tomorrow….so we can board the Monsters of Rock Cruise on Saturday!!!!! Once we land, we’ll be headed out to the pre-party featuring Kix and Firehouse. Then we’re up bright and early (well, not that early) to board the boat for four days of sun and fun and music! We’ll do our best to update you daily (please let this boat have a decent internet connection). So make sure you check back here and at www.hardrocknights.com for all of our ridiculous stories and concert reviews.

Which bands are you interested in hearing about? Let us know and we’ll do our best to check them out. We’ve only seen the schedules for the first and second days and the schedules are pretty tight, but we’re truly going to try to see as many bands as possible. No rest for the wicked!

MORC

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Rock on the Range – Bands to See: One OK Rock

I’m not going One OK Rockto lie. I totally picked One OK Rock because they’re Japanese…and so am I. Well, at least half of me is.

Then I checked them out and was pleasantly surprised. It’s not a band that I’d expect to show up on the Rock on the Range lineup; they strike me as more of a Vans Warped Tour kind of band (and they’re on this year’s Warped Tour). But I don’t think they’ll have any problems playing to or pleasing the metal crowd at Rock on the Range.

One OK Rock definitely have a more pop punk vibe. Their tunes are catchy and easy to sing along to…if you know some Japanese. Yeah, that’s right. They sing in English AND Japanese!

So maybe my affinity for my other home is showing here, but I honestly think you’ll get a kick out of these guys. They’re young and fresh and fun. Plus…they’re super kawaii! :)

 

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Rock on the Range – Bands to See: The Pretty Reckless

The-Pretty-Reckless-The-Pretty-Reckless-EPI know. I know. I said I was going to try to stick to bands that you probably haven’t heard of, but here I am telling you about The Pretty Reckless. Why? Because I don’t want you to make the same mistake I did.

When I heard that actress Taylor Momsen (Gossip Girl and How the Grinch Stole Christmas) had a band, I laughed. Little Cindy Lou Who has a rock band? Why of course she does. A young, dumb, blonde, talentless, Hollywood actress is going to get an instant recording contract because she’s already famous. Just great. Did I bother to listen? Absolutely not because I knew it would be garbage just like every other actor/actress’s attempt at a music career has been.

Years go by and I don’t pay any mind to The Pretty Reckless or anything that they do. Then the Rock on the Range lineup is announced, and I still don’t pay any attention. As I’m driving to work one day, my local rock station plays the new Pretty Reckless single, “Heaven Knows,” and I decide to actually listen to it. Wow. The Pretty Reckless are actually…good.

After spot checking songs off of their first album, Light Me Up, and their EP, Hit Me Like a Man, I realized what a terrible, stupid assumption I had made about this band. Momsen wasn’t stupid or talentless and The Pretty Reckless aren’t garbage. They’re honestly a good, solid rock band. Momsen’s voice is really mature and sultry. There are some pop-ier moments that you hear sporadically, but they never last too long.

The moral of the story: Don’t judge little Cindy Lou Who by her first career choice.

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I AM OFFICIALLY A MAKEUP JUNKIE!!!!

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It is official.  I have hit the makeup junkie status.  With today’s purchase at Ulta, I hit platinum rewards status for 2014.  You may be wondering, “What the hell is platinum status?”  Well, friends, it means I have spent $400 at Ulta so far this year.  IT IS FREAKING FEBRUARY, AND I’VE ALREADY SPENT $400 AT ULTA!!!!  And that doesn’t even count the money that I’ve spent at Sephora.  I seriously need to find some way to stop myself!!!

How did this even happen?  A couple of years ago, Christine dragged me into a Sephora store in Columbus, Ohio.  It was the worst thing she ever did to me……or so I thought at the time. The products there seemed to be extremely high priced compared to Maybelline and Cover Girl, and I couldn’t see myself investing that much money in makeup.  But I thought I’d try out some eyeshadow just to see what all the fuss was about.  I quickly understood all the fuss, and I walked out of there with a Too Faced eyeshadow palette.  Soon after, I realized that the worst thing Christine ever did to me turned out to be the biggest favor she could have done for me!!!!

So what’s the big deal?  When you start buying high end makeup, it becomes HIGHLY addictive. Why?  The pigmentation is SO much better than what you will find in any of the drugstore brands.  So you can actually use LESS makeup (which means that your products will last a long time), and you get a much more amazing look than you do with drugstore brands.  Additionally, most high end brands include ingredients that are actually GOOD for your skin.  That’s right, kids…..not only do you see immediate benefits (thanks to things like optical blurring technology), you also see significant long term benefits as well.

One note on the pigmentation of these products…..they allow you to create some wicked cool looks for all your concert outings.  From the perfect smokey eye to voluptuous red lips, using high end makeup will help you look like a rock goddess!!

My personal favorite brands?  Urban Decay is my ultimate favorite.  UD’s products are smooth, easy to blend, highly pigmented, and provide true staying power.  I wrote a piece on UD’s 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils a few weeks ago, so be sure to check that out to find out why it’s the best eyeliner in the history of the world.  Additionally, I don’t have the best skin thanks to severe acne in my teens and sun damage from being a beach bum.  Throw in huge pores and enough daily oil production to provide an oil change for my Camaro, and….well, let’s just say it ain’t pretty.  But UD’s Naked BB Cream, Foundation, and Ultra Definition Finishing Powder make my skin look damn near flawless.  I also like products from Benefit, Tarte, and Too Faced.

I would encourage you to visit an Ulta or Sephora store and check it out.  They have cosmetology experts at each store who are there to help you.  Not only will they help you find the brands, shades, etc, that are best for your skin type, but they also show you how to apply the makeup and give you all sorts of tips and tricks.  Another great benefit of shopping at Ulta or Sephora – - If you buy something, get it home, and realize that you don’t really like it or it isn’t exactly the right color, you can return it!!

No Ulta or Sephora in your home town?  NO WORRIES!!!!  They have great websites which are easy to navigate and include lots of product reviews.  They often offer online only specials, and they’ll send lots of free samples along with every purchase.  The samples are awesome, but they’re also a double edged sword, because they make you want to go back and get the full size products!!

Happy spending!!

–Dee

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Rock on the Range – Bands to See: Crobot

CrobotA lot of musicians make the trek to Los Angeles to try to make a go at a successful musical career. The smartest thing that Paul Figueroa and Jake Figueroa ever did was was not move to LA. Instead they left New Jersey and headed to Pennsylvania to join Brandon Yeagley and Chris Bishop to form Crobot.

Their sound has retro, funky undertones with a very heavy edge. They describe themselves as “groove heavy riff rock” and I can’t say that I disagree.

The first thing that grabbed me was this voice…this voice that could pierce your soul with it’s brightness and distinctness. Brandon Yeagley’s vocals are un-freaking-real; they’re so pure and powerful and precise. Along with his charismatic on-stage persona, he’s a powerhouse of a front man that really just can’t be messed with. Watching him is exhausting, and I honestly have no idea how his head hasn’t ripped off of his shoulders.

I don’t know what else to tell you except that Crobot is just killer. They blew my mind. They’re definitely in my top three bands I’m most excited to see at Rock on the Range.

Find Crobot Online: www.crobotband.com

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Rock on the Range – Bands to See: Wilson

WILSON_HiRes_2013Fuckery. I don’t know if there’s a better made up word to describe Wilson. When I read their biography on Facebook, I was intrigued…and I also laughed so hard that I almost pissed myself.  You really must read it for yourself; it’s hysterical. And if it doesn’t compel you to listen to and buy their album immediately, then these guys will probably drive to your house and punch you in the mouth.

If their music is proof of how well endowed they claim to be in real life, then ladies…you’d better watch out. These dirty, bearded rock and roll heathens from Detroit Rock City will rock the panties right off of you. Don’t worry guys, Wilson rocks hard enough to appeal to your super macho side; listening to them will probably help you attract more ladies. The vocals are tough. The guitars are loud. The bass and drums are heavy and hard. Wilson is everything rock and roll should be. Their latest album, Full Blast Fuckery, is so good and so heavy that it’s going to knock you right on your ass.

Pretty sure Rock on the Range won’t be the same after these guys play: “When that Wilson van cruises into your town that shit is REAL. Real MUSIC. Real LIFE. Real LOUD. Real SWEATY. And real fucking FUN.” Ohhhhhh…they’re going to be so much fun. I can’t wait.

Find Wilson Online: www.wilsonpartyanimals.com

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Rock on the Range – Bands to See: Monster Truck

Monster TruckAs you can see from our previous post, this year’s Rock on the Range lineup is pretty kick ass. And when you’re surrounded by all that great music, it takes some serious prioritization and planning to decide which bands to put on your “Must See” list. We’re hoping we can help you with that.

Every other week, we’ll be featuring a band whom you should add to your “Must See” list (and they will definitely on ours). We’re not talking about the headliners or the bands that get tons of radio play. We’re talking about the bands that maybe you haven’t heard of or maybe those bands that you’ve heard of but just never listened to. Whatever the case, we want to make sure you don’t miss out on good shit.

This week’s feature is Monster Truck. Hailing from Canada, this quartet started out in life as a side project but that quickly changed once everyone heard how badass they were. They put out a couple of EPs and toured relentlessly, opening for some guy named Slash and some band called Deep Purple. No big deal. Eventually, they went home and worked on their full length album that is out now, Furiosity.

I can tell you this: I didn’t even listen to the entire preview of “I Am Freedom” on The Brown EP before I hit “Buy” and downloaded the entire EP immediately. After listening to the EP, I bought the full length album. Their name actually gives you a pretty good indication of the sound that’s about to tantalize your ears: big, loud, dirty, heavy, crushing and dirty. Did I mention dirty? It’s sooooo dirty in that stoner rock kind of way.

So definitely make a spot on your Rock on the Range list for Monster Truck. I’m pretty sure you’ll regret it if you miss them. I already regret not finding out about these guys four years ago. I lost out on four years of killer music, but I’ll be sure to make up for it now!

Find Monster Truck online:
www.ilovemonstertruck.com

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Makeup Must Haves: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

UrbanDecay247eyepencil

Listen up, rocker chicks!  We all know that we desperately need eyeliner just about as badly as we need oxygen.  I mean, really, do you ever leave the house without eyeliner?  It rarely ever happens!!

About a year ago, Christine and I were getting ready for a show, and as it normally is, our makeup was spread out all over the hotel bathroom counter.  That’s when it happened – - Christine introduced me to Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner, and my life has never been the same!  Seriously, this stuff is like crack.  Once you use it, you will kiss your other eyeliners goodbye.  This stuff is UNBELIEVABLY soft, rich, and creamy.  You know all the tugging and pulling you’ve experienced when you apply most eye pencils?  You don’t have any of that with Urban Decay 24/7.  It truly does glide onto your eyes.  It will stay creamy for about 30 seconds so that you have plenty of time to blend.  But once it dries, this stuff has some SERIOUS staying power.  It doesn’t budge!!  For someone like me with oily skin and watery eyes, waterproof eyeliner is a non-negotiable.  Ladies, let me tell you, this formula hits the mark!!  I can wear this stuff for AT LEAST 14 hours without ever having to touch it up.

Now, if you’re typically a Maybelline or Cover Girl user, you may find this eyeliner to be a bit pricey. It runs around $19 per pencil.  But I promise you, it is well worth every penny.  I have found that each pencil lasts a long time.  Plus, because I’m not tugging and pulling while applying my eyeliner, and because the waterproof formula contains 50% moisturizing ingredients, I am actually protecting my eyes from fine lines and wrinkles!!

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils come in 40 different amazing shades which include your basic neutrals as well as lush tropical hues and metallic variations.  The next time you’re out and about, do yourself a favor.  Stop into your local Sephora or Ulta store and pick some of this stuff up.  You know with all of the festivals headed our way, you’re gonna need to stock up on waterproof eyeliner, so why not give this a shot?  You won’t be disappointed.  And when you decide that you won’t go back to your old eyeliner because this stuff is like crack, you can’t say I didn’t warn you!!

- Dee