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  MONSTERS OF ROCK BOAT CRUISE - THE EVENT OF THE YEAR
By Brian Vollmer of Helix


2nd April 2013

sabbat
Brian Vollmer of Helix

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Guest writer Brian Vollmer, lead singer of Helix, gives us his lowdown on last month's Monsters Of Rock Cruise...

*******************

Well, we're finally back from the Monsters of Rock Boat Cruise, and I must say, it was an experience I'll remember the rest of my life.

Aside from the fact the U.S. border guards wouldn't let us take in our instruments (even though we had all the paperwork together that the Musician's Union told us to) the whole tour was pretty much stress free. In fact, it was like going on the vacation of a lifetime, as our cabins were top notch, we met so many great people (band stars and fans alike), the weather was great, and the hospitality from promoters Larry Morland and Harland top notch.

Before we even got on the ship, Jeff Miller, our U.S. agent, picked us up and drove us to Nicko McBrain's restaurant in Coral Springs, (Rock and Roll Ribs) where we met up with the famous Eddie Trunk, who was just finishing off his meal with a couple of the guys from Y&T & Bang Tango. Nicko is an old friend of Lynda's, so it was hugs and kisses all 'round and a frenzied conversation to catch up on the last 20 years. The last time we saw Nicko was backstage at Maple Leaf Gardens, where E.M.I. presented the band with a slew of gold and platinum albums in the early 90s.

Nicko commented on how he had just been looking through his old photo albums and had come across a picture on Lynda at his first wedding. He laughed at the irony of it all.

Article continues below...

 
 


Most of the bands on the cruise had been put up at The Hilton in Fort Lauderdale. From the Friday morning until we came back that night from supper at Nicko's restaurant bands were arriving at the hotel-The London Quireboys, Femme Fatale, Stryper, etc. You could feel the excitement in the air and the anticipation we were embarking on something very special. We boarded the S.S. Poesia the next day (Saturday) and the boat pulled out of Port Everglades at 7.00pm. We said hello to everyone we could on the boat and took pictures with some celebs.

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Brian with Nicko McBrain

The next couple of days flew by. We had an autograph session with Lita Ford, Femme Fatale and Saxon on the Sunday. On Monday, after spending the day in the sun of Coco Cay watching Terry Ilous and Great White play a dynamite acoustic set on the beach, we played that night in the Pigale Room on the ship to an enthusiastic audience. The next night (Tuesday) we played the Zebra Room. By Wednesday morning we were home.

Our last week was spent primarily in St. Petersburg, staying at a rented trailer with Dee Lander and her boyfriend Nick Ciccone in St. Petersburg. Dee is the mother of Morgan and Mercedes Lander of Kitty. Nick is an actor and restaurant owner. While in St. Petersburg we visited with Dave and Jillian LeBon and family. We also visited Stett Howland, former drummer for WASP and Lita Ford while cruising through Fort Meyers. By Thursday we were home in the cold.

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Brian with Eddie Trunk

I thought the boat cruise was better this year, but primarily because the deal I had with the promoter was better this year and saved me a lot of running around...

The boat cruise itself was terrific. The best group (in my opinion) was the London Quireboys. Lynda and I made friends with them all and attended both of their shows. The best was their acoustic show, where you could really hear Spike sing. He's got one of those Rod Stewart voices that always seems like it's just on the verge of breaking. He also had a fantastic raport with the audience.

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Brian, Eddie Trunk, Nicko and Bang Tango

Tom Kiefer had to cancel because of pneumonia, so various members of other bands got together to jam instead; a special treat. Great White had Terry Ilous singing for them. He's just as good as Jack Russell and sings like a motherfucker. The songs from their new CD sounded just like the songs you know them by. Saxon played on the top deck of the ship. At first fans were a little standoffish, but once the band got going they picked up people in the audience. This was one band that obviously does better in Europe than the States, although by the end of the set the fans were loving it. Their new single 'Sacrifice' made a good impression on the crowd (and me). It really stood out - a good thing.

I heard that Loudness was terrific, especially the guitar player. I missed them but there was a great buzz on the band. Lita Ford was another performer that I heard good comments on, but I also missed the show. She didn't wander the ship like the other performers; never saw her out and about once, although we did do an autograph session with her and get pics.

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Brian with Femme Fatale

Some other acts I also didn't see were XYZ, Femme Fatale, and Ronnie Dio's band. Keel was good and I got up for 'The Right To Rock'. Stryper played the upper deck stage as well and went over well not only with their old fans but with fans who had never seen the band before.

Russell Graham (Russ Dwarf) played twice with just himself and a guitarist, but he held up well and by the third song into his set looked very comfortable. John Corabi played an acoustic set to open for KIXX and also was involved in the Cinderella jam - as usual very entertaining, with a beautiful strong voice and great guitar playing. Steve Whitehead (my second favorite frontman after Spike) ripped up the stage during the KIXX set. He's like Mick Jagger on steroids.

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Brian with Guy Griffin and Matt Goom

For anyone who has never been on this tour, there's a HUGE difference between it and say, The Sweden Rock Cruise. First of all, very few drunk people, unlike the SRC where they have to clean out the showers for puke when they return to port. Everyone was orderly and having a good time.

The promoters purposely set the price a little higher to discourage drunks getting on the ship. The cabins are also a notch up from the SRC, the food is great, and the weather - where would you rather see a band - The Bahamas or off the coast of Finland? LOL.

Not that I don't love Finland, but it ain't the warmest sun bathing country around... LOL.

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Brian with Jamie St James

Bands walked freely around the ship, and for the most part mingled with the fans for pictures, autographs, or just to shoot the breeze. That's the whole attraction of these things - to meet the people in the bands you grew up with during the 80s. Fans who were broke teenagers in the 80s are now middle aged with disposable incomes and they have no problem shelling out the money for something like this. I believe this tour was sold out months in advance.




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Brian with John Corabi

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Russell Graham and friends

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Brian with Scott Snyder of Great White

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Brian with Spike

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Brian with Stett Howland in Great Meyers

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Terry Ilous











 
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art of anarchy PRESENTING ART OF ANARCHY FEATURING SCOTT WEILAND, BUMBLEFOOT, JOHN MOYER OF DISTURBED AND JON AND VINCE VOTTA
Poised to become one of the biggest new bands of 2015, Art Of Anarchy is redefining the rock supergroup...

jettblack JETTBLACK RETURN WITH A BRAND NEW SINGLE AND VIDEO
Jettblack get serious in 2015, kicking things off with a headline tour and new single in February...

dead kennedys DEAD KENNEDYS FANS PERFORM PUBLIC SEX ACT LIVE ON STAGE
"This was something definitely different to see at a punk concert..."

evil scarecrow EVIL SCARECROW'S MISSING TRACK FINALLY RELEASED! A MESSAGE FROM DR HELL!
Evil Scarecrow have just released a new, old version of 'Robototron', which they feel is the definitive version of their most popular track...

eddie and the hot rods BREAKING NEWS: ORIGINAL EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS LINE-UP REFORM FOR 40th ANNIVERSARY
This will be the first time all original members have played a full show together for over thirty years...

carthagods CARTHAGODS TO RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM WITH SPECIAL GUESTS INCLUDING TIM "RIPPER" OWENS, RON THAL AND MARK JANSEN
"It's been a long time that we look for this occasion to finally satisfy our fans..."

paddy goes to holyhead EXCLUSIVE: PADDY GOES TO HOLYHEAD ANNOUNCE FINAL CONCERT FOR ST PATRICK'S NIGHT
Sadly it's the end of an era as Paddy Goes To Holyhead have announced that they are to play their final gig...

grateful dead BREAKING NEWS: GRATEFUL DEAD TO RE-UNITE FOR 50th ANNIVERSARY FAREWELL CONCERTS
The reunion, billed "Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead", will feature the band's surviving members...

nazareth BREAKING NEWS: VOCALIST LINTON OSBOURNE LEAVES NAZARETH
"I am no longer a member of Nazareth. It didn't work out, for me, or for the band..."

lordi LORDI ANNOUNCE UK DATES FOR TOUR FORCE ONE
Lordi bring 'Scare Force One' to the UK for ten dates in the Spring...

nightwish NIGHTWISH REVEAL TRACKLIST & FORMATS OF 'ENDLESS FORMS MOST BEAUTIFUL'
The new studio album, released on 30th March, is available in several tasty formats...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN LEADER STEVE HARRIS' MANSION BACK ON THE MARKET AT KNOCKDOWN PRICE
The mansion boasts its own pub called the Horse and Cart as well as an indoor swimming pool...

pete way EXCLUSIVE: ALL PARTIES IN BATTLE BETWEEN FIN MUIR AND PETE WAY OF WAYSTED GIVE A RESPONSE
"I can confirm that this appalling defamation is completely without foundation..."

death angel DEATH ANGEL ANNOUNCE UK HEADLINE SHOW AND DATES WITH QUEENSRYCHE AND ARMORED SAINT
Los Angeles Heavy Metal legends Armored Saint will join both acts for a special London show at the Electric Ballroom...

udo dirkschneider U.D.O. TO PLAY ENGLAND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DONKEY'S YEARS
Germany's favourite rock god Udo Dirkschneider has announced three exclusive shows for the UK...

california breed CALIFORNIA BREED HAS GONE THE WAY OF BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION
After a great first album, the departure of a superstar drummer, and very little touring, California Breed is extinct...

kamelot KAMELOT SIGNS TO NAPALM RECORDS; NEW ALBUM AND TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED
In support of this highly anticipated release, Kamelot will hit the road for select UK shows, followed by a massive North America Tour...

the gentle storm ARJEN LUCASSEN AND ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN'S NEW BAND THE GENTLE STORM REVEAL TOUR DATES AND ALBUM DETAILS
"We'll perform some Ayreon classics together and premiere a couple of songs that will be on our upcoming album..."

jimmy page JIMMY PAGE IN FIGHT WITH ROBBIE WILLIAMS OVER HOUSE RENOVATION
The pair are neighbours and have fallen out over Williams' plans to revamp his multi-million pound mansion...

hard rock hell SAXON ANNOUNCED FOR HARD ROCK HELL 9 WITH ROCK GODDESS, PIG IRON AND MORE
Hard Rock Hell, aptly titled 'House of Horrors', are pleased to welcome Heavy Metal Titans Saxon back into their realm...

dark funeral DARK FUNERAL TO RELEASE 7INCH & DIGITAL SINGLE 'NAIL THEM TO THE CROSS' IN FEBRUARY
The single is available as a hand-numbered 7inch limited edition of which 500 copies are on black vinyl and 500 on blue vinyl...

santa cruz SANTA CRUZ TO RELEASE BRAND NEW SELF-TITLED ALBUM ON MARCH 9th VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS
Santa Cruz will also play five UK dates as main support to Amaranthe...

tygers of pan tang TYGERS OF PAN TANG TO HEADLINE GARAGE DAYZ RE-VISITED ALL DAYER IN LONDON
A mouth watering bill not only from bands that were a huge influence to bands like Metallica and Megadeth....

truffle TRUFFLE TO PLAY SPECIAL SOUTH COAST GIG WITH SIEGE, TOLEDO STEEL AND KODIAK JACK
Tickets are priced at only $7.50 for a night that promises to be full of faces from the area past and present....

ensiferum ENSIFERUM UNLEASH TWO NEW VIDEOS ON EVE OF LAUNCH ON NEW ALBUM
Today Ensiferum unveils the official new video for 'One Man Army''s title track as well as an in-depth "making of" clip...

autograph AUTOGRAPH RELEASE FIRST NEW SONG IN OVER 25 YEARS
Simply put, a reunion was both inevitable and essential...

steve hackett STEVE HACKETT ANNOUNCES NEW SOLO STUDIO ALBUM 'WOLFLIGHT' OUT ON 30th MARCH
The ten tracks take the listener through a journey in space and time looking at the different faces of the endless fight for freedom...

adrian smith IRON MAIDEN'S ADRIAN SMITH ROCKS UP IN CHISWICK WITH DOOGIE WHITE, ANDY BARNETT AND DAVE 'BUCKET' COLWELL
MetalTalk's first Gig Of The Week for 2015 turned up two major surprises as a great night was had by all...

sabaton SABATON ANNOUNCE "SABATON OPEN AIR" WITH POWERWOLF AND CIVIL WAR
Tickets are on sale now for this special event in Germany in July...

pig iron PIG IRON ANNOUNCE RELEASE DATE FOR FIFTH STUDIO ALBUM
'Sermons From The Church Of Blues Restitution' will be released worldwide via OYR on 2nd March and will be preceded by a high value four track EP...

sonata arctica SONATA ARCTICA ANNOUNCE EXCLUSIVE LONDON SHOW FOR 'ECLIPTICA OVER EUROPE TOUR 2015'
"On these shows we'll perform 'Ecliptica' in its entirety as well as assorted hits from our catalog..."

skalmold SKALMOLD UNVEIL NEW SPRING TOUR DATES WITH ELUVEITIE AND WIND ROSE
For those who didn't catch the Viking/Pagan Metallers live on tour, here's another chance...

tony iommi BLACK SABBATH LEGEND TONY IOMMI TELLS ALL ABOUT HIS CANCER BATTLE
"In the good old days there was cocaine everywhere. This time we had tea and coffee and health drinks..."

def con one DEF CON ONE ANNOUNCE CRUSHING HEADS TOUR
British Metallers Def Con One can be seen across the UK in 2015...

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