C O L U M N S
ROCK GODZ HALL OF FAME: "A Hall of Our Own"
Vamp'd, Las Vegas
March 25, 2015
"I hadn't realized I had been nominated," Kelley Keeling described about his nomination to be inducted into the second annual RockGodz Hall of Fame, "They said, 'You have an award to receive and you're nominated' and I'm thinking, 'Well, I'm nominated, does that mean I'm getting the award'?" He added, "What does it mean?"
And essentially, from the outside looking in, that was the question: "What is this award? What does it mean?" Sure, most of us have heard of Vinnie Appice and Doug Aldrich. Some of us may be familiar with Bumblefoot, and perhaps more than a handful may know of a Mitch Perry, or a Brian Tichy, or maybe that "Fretless Monster" person, Tony Franklin. How about Les Warner? Jason Ebs? Janea Chadwick Ebs? Are these "Godz?" Did Olympus paint their temples purple and black? Did we miss something?
Yes. Apparently, we did. That's why we're here.
"Tonight is about celebrating the supporting artists of the stars who still kept rocking and writing, and playing and touring long after they stopped working with them," producer, musical director, and Director of A&R For Rock Godz, Jason Ebs explained. And indeed, though their names may not immediately ring any bells, their resumes can give you tinnitus:
Vinny Appice - Black Sabbath, Dio, Hear 'N' Aid, Kill Devil Hill
Bumblefoot - Label owner, guitar instructor, producer, solo artist, philanthropist, and a stint in this band called Guns and something
Janea Ebs - Jet Velocity, Ecotonic, solo artist Joe Cocker, Kenny Loggins
Tony Franklin - Blue Murder, Quiet Riot, Kingdom Come, The Firm (Jimmy Page)
Kelly Keeling - Foundry, Baton Rouge, MSG, Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Mitch Perry - Michael Schenker, Lita Ford, Billy Sheehan, Edgar Winter, Sweet
Brian Tichy - Whitesnake, Foreigner, Billy Idol, Ace Frehley, Ozzy Osbourne
Taylor Carlson, free lance reviewer for ZrockR, author of "HAIRcyclopedia" Volumes I and II, and staple supporter of the Las Vegas scene for over five years, summed up the principle of the evening as, "giving recognition to deserving artists that the so-called rock and roll hall of fame neglects, while the 'real hall' inducts people that are not even rock artists." Indeed, for years, the "real" Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been riddled with scandals, politics, and questionable choices for so many years that allure to be inducted has become more novelty than honor. So, in response to the fading legacy, Cynthia Landeen and journalist Steven Rosen, took matters into their own hands and formed Rock Godz Hall of Fame. They brought in Jason Ebs (ECOTONIC, Jet Velocity, Foundry, Peter Criss) last year to produce the first live awards show at Vamp’d with his all-star band Jet Velocity providing the musical backdrop for the inductees to perform. An event that celebrates achievement, dedication, and talent for the sake of celebrating achievement, dedication, and talent.
And though there may have been about a 100 attendees, celebrate they did, as if there were a thousand. Every performance worthy of divinity, without exception. Each and every artist proved their worth, enjoying the hell out of giving us heaven.
The host band, Jet Velocity All-Stars, led by Jason Ebs & Janea Chadwick Ebs, also included Les Warner, Mikey "Bones" Gerbino, Gregg Fox, and Kimberly Barnhill embraced the stage with the inductees in between charming, unavoidable technical glitches, which gave the event an especially intimate atmosphere. Vamp'd became a glorious garage where the neighborhood gathered to see the commotion, support friends and each other, and join the party. The performances resonated with such energy, Fox, a classically trained rock veteran keyboardist, described, "Had a level of artistry the recipients, the inductees, had a level of musicianship that was so high, so intense, so emotional, so magical, that it was a very, very special evening."
It was especially emotional for vocalist/guitarist/songwriter, Janea Chadwick Ebs, the only inductee who was not expecting to win an award. This night she became the second female artist out of 16 in two years, after publisher Sally Steele, to be inducted. Presented to her by her partner-in-crime and love of her life, Jason, the recognition was as spiritual as it was moving. Of the three most important men in her life, two had passed on Joe Cocker and her father Thomas E Simmons-- and their memories were resurrected by the overwhelming gift. "I really saw the image of my father's face and Joe's face right there in front of me. I felt them so strongly." She explained, "It wasn't as much that I was getting the award, it was that by getting the award brought up all these feelings and I felt them. So, that for me was the highlight. Not getting the award, but feeling their presence."
"And you know, I just love to be happy. The audience seemed very happy, all the recipients were happy...so, it was all just so great!"
Yes. If the RockGodz Hall of Fame was genuine in its intent, then yes, the evening was unquestionably a success. The event was clearly not about deifying anyone or making a political statement. Nor was the award about establishing itself as a destination, but a very metallic sign that said, "Your light still shines," long after arduous journeys through years of living rock's triumphs and tribulations, even if others' had shined brighter. The eclectic Bumblefoot unknowingly spoke for the general vibe of passion this troupe emanated, and shared wisdom, "If your goal is to become rich or to get famous, go do something else. There are easier ways to get rich. It's not about that! It's about giving someone something so special that you received Why do you love music? What made you want to play music when you were younger? It wasn't to get rich, it wasn't to get famous. It was fucking love, the way it gave you everything in every possible emotional, spiritual way -- the way it spoke for you when you didn't have the words. Music gives people life. And that is what you need to do for people. That is what you need to pay forward. That should be your only goal. You could die broke and starving, but if you can do that for people, then you are the biggest fucking success in the world."
http://dougaldrich.com/ [Maximum Metal Interview]
http://www.greggfox.com/ [Maximum Metal Interview]
**special thanks to Paul "Rock" Santos for photos
RANDOM ACTS OF METAL