The Bobby Rock Newsletter #31 (10-28-2021) - The Nightmare Returns...
The Bobby Rock Newsletter #31 (10-28-2021) - The Nightmare Returns...
Man, it seems like the longer you’re on this planet, the more anniversaries keep cycling back around... and the more daunting they seem by the numbers. This week marks a special Halloween-related anniversary from the VVI/Alice Cooper tour that I will recount for you in a fun but quick excerpt from my last book. We also have a couple other goodies for you, so let's jump straight in:
- The New Bobby Rock Store is Live, complete with some bells and whistles you might find interesting. Here’s the quick overview.
- Down and Dirty: Is this one of the world’s most potent herbs? No doubt. Let’s take a closer look at another of the eighteen all-star superfood ingredients in Dragon Dirt and see what it can do for you.
- "The Nightmare Returns:” ...and we are so glad he did. Here’s a brief excerpt from The Boy Is Gonna Rock, detailing that harrowing Halloween gig I did with VVI, opening up for Alice Cooper in his hometown of Detroit. (One of the scariest Halloweens ever!)
Oh, by the way, anyone near Chicagoland this weekend? I'll be at the Genesee Theater with Lita Ford on Saturday:
Reward Music Website and Store
Wanted to mention that there is a new Bobby Rock store at my bobbyrock.com site. It’s similar in aesthetic and function to my regular store, but this one has a couple cool features worth noting:
1) It’s a Reward Music store, which means it’s designed to interact perfectly with the rest of my Reward Music site—which you can sign into with a name, email, and password on the upper right corner of any page. This is a member-centric experience where you acquire credits and “status” as you interact around the site (read stuff, fill out your profile, buy shit, etc), and then are able to access discounted price points in the store, based on your status: one to five stars. It’s kind of like the airline frequent flyer mileage programs in that, the more you “fly,” the more status you acquire.
2) We are now able to offer a monthly subscription deal on Dragon Dirt, where you can receive free Priority Mail auto-shipping on your order at the same time each month. No need to ever reorder! (But you can easily cancel or pause your subscription at will.) It’s pretty cool.
3) We have also added Apple Pay and Google Pay to payment options, along with our usual all-major-credit cards capability. (PayPal will remain available at our original store until we integrate it into the new store, FYI.)
My intention behind this whole Reward Music website platform is simply to be able to connect directly with my peeps (that’s you guys), without all of the typical third-party algorithm bullshit dictating any aspect of our interactions. This is just one of many reasons why I’m not a big social media guy… but also why I’ve been so steadfast in doing these Newsletters every week, and also working at expanding the bobbyrock.com website so diligently. (We just uploaded 12 new articles to the Health section last weekend, for example.)
I’m just trying to build a cool community, and I find that the Reward Music ethos aligns perfectly with this idea. And hey, if I can say “thanks for the support” via discounted merch… I’m all for it.
By the way, Reward Music is the brainchild of Steven Volpp, who many of you might remember as the inventor of the Radial Bridge drums… which I still play to this very day as part of my massive “alphabet” kit. Steven partnered up with Dweezil Zappa on the venture and launched Reward Music a year ago. Volppy and I have remained close since the Peavey days back in the 90s, so it’s great to be working with this “mad scientist” on another game-changing project.
Hanging with Volppy at a Lita Ford show
Also, as yet another full circle attribute of our long-time friendship, Volppy’s daughter, Andrea, has been my assistant since April and, among many other things, has been handling all fulfillment duties with the Bobby Rock Store. If you’ve ordered anything over the last six months or so, that’s Andrea taking care of your order, keeping the postal service or UPS in line, and probably dropping you a note. She kicks ass!
That’s the overview. Check out the site or store when you can. Will be continuously updating both…
Down & Dirty!
Earlier in 2021, I launched my very own custom-blend superfood powder called Dragon Dirt. In this section, we offer tips and insights for our kick-ass new DD community. Our Ingredient Spotlight provides info into the why, what, and how much of our ingredients in the Dirt.
Meet Ashwagandha… a renowned medicinal herb with quite a track record:
For more than 3000 years, Ashwagandha has been one of the most revered healing agents in Ayurvedic medicine. Also known as Indian ginseng, this adaptogenic herb offers a wide range of benefits. It helps the body cope with anxiety by balancing stress hormones (like cortisol) and boosting adrenal function; improves brain health and bolsters sleep quality; reduces blood sugar levels while decreasing certain inflammation markers like C-reactive protein; and remains one of the only plants proven to enhance thyroid function. There is a full 600 mgs of ashwagandha in a single serving of Dragon Dirt. Find out about all 18 ingredients at www.drinkthedirt.com
The Nightmare Returns: 35 Years Later…
"The Nightmare Returns" was the name of Alice Cooper’s 1986 “comeback tour,” which commenced 35 years ago to this day. Vinnie Vincent Invasion was selected to open for Alice on the first leg of this thing, and man, was it ever an experience for my 23-year old self. Here’s a bit of insight into what it was like to open for Alice on one of the biggest shows of the tour. From The Boy Is Gonna Rock. We pick it up from a point in the story where I was detailing the inexplicable amount of distraction, chaos, and inefficiency in our rehearsal time, just prior to hitting the road:
+ + + + + + +
The sad lack of actual band practice became VVI rehearsal culture. And a week or two later, as the gear was finally loaded into the truck and we all piled into our tour bus out there on Santa Monica Boulevard before driving that bitch all the way to our first gig in Lansing, Michigan, something incredible occurred to me: we had never managed to make it through the entire thirty-five to forty-minute set, start to finish, without stopping—not once! We even dropped into an empty Royal Oak theater near Detroit the night before the tour opening to set up all of our gear and take a dry run through the show. And still we weren’t able to make it all the way through the set without having to stop for some reason or another. Unbelievable.
Showtime on the Alice Cooper Tour
Our first two shows on Alice’s The Nightmare Returns tour were a bit on the loose side, which was to be expected. But shows three and four had to be spot-on bangin’. We would be playing in Alice’s hometown, on October 30 and 31, at the infamous Joe Louis Arena. Yes, Halloween. In Detroit. With Alice! This was epic shit I will never forget. And it was especially kismet for me, given the fact that at twelve years old, on Halloween night, I took off my shirt, put on a black wig and face makeup, draped a six-foot rubber snake around my neck, then paraded around my neighborhood as Alice Cooper. That’s for real. (A photo of this exists somewhere in the world, but I’ve yet to find it.)
On the night of the show, as we were making that long walk down the chilly concrete corridor from the dressing room to the stage, the vibe in the arena was overwhelmingly electric. You could feel it—something wild, violent, and supernaturally thick in the air. And I remember actually being concerned for how Alice’s hardcore tribe of 20,000 hellraisers was going to take all of the pretty-boy shit we were about to hit the stage with: our dual pyramid walls of pink amps and cabinets; Vinnie’s pink guitar and girly accessories; and all of our sparkly glam clothing, drag queen makeup, and Aqua-Netted manes of hair. God help us.
But as we arrived at our holding place a few feet from the stage stairs and the house lights went out—boom! The place erupted, and I could feel my pulse pounding out of my neck. And in the frozen moment or two that we had to take it all in before heading up the stairs to do our set, I distinctly remember a single image flashing through my mind: me, thirteen years prior, studying those rad photos on Alice’s Killer album, knowing on an absolute bone-marrow level that I was somehow destined to be a part of this madness called hard rock. Knowing it. And now, as we followed the glow of the flashlight beam up the stairs toward that massive, steel-framed stage, I would savor the stinging elation of the “impossible dream” actualized... if only for a moment.
Now it was time to deliver.
A typical newspaper ad from this tour...
We walked onto that darkened stage and could hear the swell of yells and whistles ripple through the audience as they spotted our shadows getting into position. I took a seat behind my drums and surveyed the colossal, blue-black expanse of the venue, with pin-light specs of cigarette lighters, sprinkled about the floor and balconies, like stars. I drew in a final deep breath through my nose—filling my lungs with the classic arena stench of weed, stale beer, and hot dogs—and then, I four-counted Mr. Vincent into the opening guitar intro of “Boyz Are Gonna Rock,” which sliced through the air like a fighter jet engine. The stage exploded with light to an even more frantic eruption from the masses.
As I launched into my opening groove, I could feel the heat of those lights hit my skin, and I pounded my drums with violent intention: headbanging on the downbeats, torso rocking back and forth, and arms in constant motion, like a boxer. I could feel my kick and snare locked in with Dana’s bass line, as Mark’s high-pitched wails cut into my eardrums from a stack of monitor cabinets that had more collective power than entire PA systems I used to play through. A quick glance of the first twenty rows revealed an almost choreographed assemblage of pumping fists and “devil horn” fingers, rising and falling in metronomic unison with the groove. All was well.
And the Boyz rocked it pretty good in Detroit.
PS. Here’s an added Halloween treat for you: a pic taken from a couple months later, backstage on the Iron Maiden tour. It’s Kirk Hammett (Metallica) and I, with two super cool VVI fans who had a baking business where they made these elaborate, macabre desserts, this one a severed head cake! It had divinity fudge skin, with Gummy Worms woven in and out of it. Very edible, I recall, but so sweet that a single slice of this bitch would put you in a sugar coma for several hours! But that didn’t stop me...
Thanks again for being here, everyone! Catch you next week...
For Your Quick Reference:
My main website at www.bobbyrock.com is constantly updated with cool new stuff. Be sure and take a moment to sign up in the upper right-hand corner of any page on the site. It only takes a minute. This will give you a much more customized experience, and also grant you access to various members-only areas, events, etc.
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The Bobby Rock Store: Books, Music, BR drumsticks (stage-played and brand new), T-shirts, Signed 8x10s, Dragon Dirt and more...
Dragon Dirt: My brand new custom superfood powder. Scope the site for tons of info!