The Bobby Rock Newsletter #59 (5-21-2022) - The Ones that Got Away
The Bobby Rock Newsletter #59 (5-21-2022) - The Ones that Got Away
Hey Everyone -
Welcome back for #59! This week’s edition is centered around something we can all relate to... this idea of both new opportunities, missed opportunities, and the destiny lines that extend from each. Let’s take a look…
In This Issue:
There’s a new guy in the mix… scroll to scope it.
(Pic by Teddy Allison)
Introducing: New Lita Ford Bassist…Marten Andersson!
The “new guy” at rehearsal in LA this week… kickin’ ass!
Yes, friends, as I alluded to last week, there has been a personnel change in the Lita Ford line-up: we are proud to announce the addition of the one-and-only, Marten Andersson on bass. Many of you may know Marten from his work with George Lynch, Lizzy Borden and, for the past six years or so, Steelheart. He is definitely a bad mo-fo, and we had a blast rehearsing with him this week as we prepared for our first show together this Sunday, then continue on through the summer and beyond, rockin’ a ton of dates.
Meanwhile, our bro-for-life, Marty O’Brien, has found a new home with Daughtry and has already been touring with them for several weeks. We are sad to see him go after nearly 10 years on the gig, but hey—the Daughtry gig was a GREAT opportunity, and for that reason, we’re thrilled for him.
Plus, I just have to say, the Marty-to-Marten transition that has occurred over the past 6 weeks or so could not have been more amicable, harmonious, or professional—on all fronts. No drama, no weirdness, just the breathing in and breathing out of reinvention and evolution. It’s a beautiful thing… and, ultimately, it’s an inevitable thing. This is simply life doing what life does.
Which brings us to... the other side of this coin:
I have lost out on way more auditions than I ever got. In fact, it seems like for most of the gigs I’ve had, I was just hired, minus any auditioning. Nonetheless, here’s a (slightly edited) excerpt from my book, The Boy Is Gonna Rock, where I talk about a few key missed opportunities, as that inevitable, ultimate question rings out in the aftermath: What if things had gone the other way?
Close Encounters with the Infamous
In the months following the VVI demise, but before the Nelson thing kicked in, there would be a handful of memorable encounters. Here are a few:
Alice Cooper: Yes, I would have the chance to audition for the main man himself for the Trash tour. The audition was set up through Alice’s management, as they all remembered me from the VVI tour a couple years prior. Man, I fucking wanted this gig, for all the reasons you might imagine.
Alice was in the room, along with a couple of his band guys who I was jamming with. It seemed like things were going well. Towards the end of it, Alice asked me to play a drum solo, a request I happily obliged. It was an adrenalized “slugfest” where I basically went apeshit and wound up a breathless, sweaty mess. Afterward, I remember Alice jokingly said something like, “Excellent! Can you do that again?”, in deference to all of the effort I had just expended. It was a cool, light moment.
As I was about to split about five minutes later, he said, “You sound great, man… but we already knew that.” So again, I thought it went well.
And yet—I never got a call. Not sure why, but that’s how it goes in this wacky business. And it’s interesting to note that, sometimes, your career can be defined as much by the auditions you didn’t get, as it is by the ones you did. Still, I must say: Alice is the coolest, and it all worked out for the best.
+ + + + + + +
W.A.S.P.: One afternoon, I got a message on my answering machine from VVI engineer Mikey Davis. It was fairly concise:
“Bobby. How would you like to be in W.A.S.P.? Call me.”
I was all over that shit. W.A.S.P. was about to do a European tour for their new album, The Headless Children, and Frankie Banali—who had played on the record—had some scheduling conflicts with Quiet Riot, so he wasn’t available. I auditioned for W.A.S.P. at an LA rehearsal hall a few days later. It was me, Blackie Lawless, and Chris Holmes, with Johnny Rod on bass. Things went well and I felt like I would get the gig. And perhaps I did… kind of.
I heard back from the W.A.S.P. camp a few days later. They said they were able to work things out with Frankie’s schedule after all. However, since Frankie was going to be tied up initially, they wanted to hire me to practice with the band for a week, because Blackie wanted to get a jump on tour rehearsals. It felt a bit like a consolation prize, but how could I refuse?
+ + + + + + +
Here’s one other potentially interesting fork in the road that would never materialize: the Paul Stanley club tour of 1989. Paul hired Bob Kulick to play guitar, Skull singer Dennis St. James to play bass, and was still looking to fill the drum chair. Bob and Dennis both went to bat on my behalf, telling Paul, “You’ve gotta hire Bobby Rock! We just did a record with the guy. He would be perfect for this!”
But apparently, Paul was reluctant to bring me on board since the VVI thing was still so recent, and there had been a lot of animosity, aired out publicly, between Vinnie and the Kiss camp. Perhaps he felt like hiring “Vinnie’s drummer” might be an unnecessary liability from a public or press perception. Instead, Eric Singer would get the gig… and then go on to replace Kiss drummer Eric Carr a couple years later after Carr’s devastating cancer diagnosis.
Do you see where I’m going with this? I just couldn’t help but speculate through the years… what if? What if I would’ve done that Paul Stanley tour and all went well? Would I have been the one invited into the Kiss fold a couple years later? It’s impossible to say, and a million variables might’ve dictated otherwise. And, of course, Eric Singer has been great on the gig through the years. But still… what if?
(End of excerpt)
Speaking of which, here’s some me-as-the-catman artwork by artist Nash Bandit (posted on social) in response to this "what if?” scenario after she read the book. Kinda cool, especially given my love of cats!
But again, what if? Always an interesting question, and one that we all can pose to ourselves in multiple scenarios.
The “Devastation” Continues!
In my upcoming memoir, Will Drum For Food, I detail several other “ones that got away.”
1992 - Cher (European tour)
1994 - Foreigner
1996 - Vince Neil (Summer tour)
2002 - Tommy Lee (tour for his solo record, Never a Dull Moment.)
I remember the specifics of each of these auditions and, by all accounts, they went well. And yet, I didn’t get the call. Did a “better drummer” get it? Well, “better” is, of course, a subjective distinction. The “best” guy or gal for the job is based solely in the eyes of who’s hiring, and these factors extend well beyond one’s musical abilities. Still, if I’m being honest, they all hurt. The prospects of each of them seemed like a gift from the heavens at the time and, therefore, really stung when the call never came in.
But… as I’ve always maintained, I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. A new gig is a big deal to a musician’s life. For “normal” folks, it would be analogous to moving to a new city to start a new job. Your life path trajectory is forever altered. Your inner circle shifts and expands. New opportunities appear, while other opportunities dematerialize. And the longer you have a gig, the more of your legacy is handed over to it, for better or for worse. A long-term gig is “not just a job, it’s an adventure,” as the old army slogan goes.
For me, I’ve gotten lucky. Every audition I didn’t get made room for something really important to happen, that probably otherwise wouldn’t have. And every gig I’ve had has become a deeply-rooted part of my evolution as both a person and a player. I wouldn’t want to change anything about my past that could possibly affect where I’m standing right this moment.
Drum Vid Vault: From the Beginning
We are making progress on the Vault! Page one describes the evolution of the Alpha kit, starting with one of the oldest clips I could find on it: a series of 3 or 4 takes of me playing just the "timbale" side of the kit on the original configuration before the 360-degree version. I was fucking around one night and happened to film it. I posted one or two of these on YouTube with not much thought... but would never wind up posting another playing vid from the big kit for nearly a decade! No idea why… but here we are.
From there, Page One proceeds sequentially through the years, featuring a few different configurations (as well as other kits). Kind of interesting (I hope). More to come here. Beyond that, we continue to chip away at the other pages of the Vault… a work in progress.
Scope it here: https://www.bobbyrock.com/pages/drum-vid-vault-1