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The Rock News Blog
October 28, 2006
Paul Stanley & Gene To Be On TRL
Mood:  not sure
Topic: Misc.
KISS members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons will make a "surprise "visit to the MTV show "Total Request Live" on October 31st to promote the "Kissology: Volume One 1974-1977" DVD collection. They will appear in full makeup and costume!

KISS, VH1 and MTV want the KISS fans there in the "TRL" pit area, which is the area outside right in front of the window. They are requesting fans also come decked out in makeup and if possible costumes.

After their appearance on "TRL," Paul and Gene will come down to the pit before leaving.

As previously reported, Stanley and Simmons will be at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square on October 31st to sign copies of "Kissology: Volume One 1974-1977". The autograph session begins at 11 p.m., but only those who buy a copy of "Kissology" at the Times Square location that day will get a wristband allowing them into the meet-and-greet.

"Kissology: Volume One" is a two-DVD set with six hours of live footage, including four complete shows and rare and unreleased material from the band's early history with the original lineup of Stanley, Simmons, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss.

Volumes Two and Three will be released next year.


Written By The Rock News Blog at 7:28 PM EDT
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October 27, 2006
Rudy Sarzo Writes Book
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: QR, Whitesnake, Ozzy & Dio writes a book about his days with Ozzy & Randy Rhoads.
Topic: Misc.
Rudy Sarzo's name has long been familiar to fans of '80s-era hard rock and heavy metal. After all, he was a member of Quiet Riot and Whitesnake and currently holds the bass position in Dio. But it was his stint with Ozzy Osbourne from 1981 through 1982 that fans ask him about most, because the late guitarist Randy Rhoads was his band mate.

Wanting to set the record straight about this time period, Sarzo has wriiten a book, "Off the Rails -- My Adventures in the Land of Ozz," which will be released in September via Cherry Lane.

"I kept a diary, like a journal," Sarzo tells Billboard.com, "And I have the details of all those [tour] dates, mainly because my accountant at the time requested that I did. I would keep records of my travels for tax purposes. There's so much misinformation about that period on the Internet. I think somebody probably grabbed an old itinerary, and just went by that as 'These are the dates.' At the time, there were a lot of cancellations and rescheduling, especially after the accident."

That accident remains one of the most tragic in rock history. On March 19th, 1982, Rhoads, then only 25 years old and being heralded as rock's next guitar hero, boarded a small plane piloted by the band's bus driver (while the rest of the band slept on the bus), in Leesburg, Fla. In flight, the plane clipped the bus and crashed into a nearby house, killing Rhoads and two others.

"The spookiest thing looking back at it, I got a chill when I got to March 19th [in the journal and] it's missing," explains Sarzo. "It was like, 'Wow.' Having to go back in my head and walk down those corridors, because a lot of this stuff, it still is hard to talk about it, because people ask me about [it]. Every time I tell the account of what happened that day, I have to relive it. And it's so hard. That's one of the reasons why I wrote it, so I don't have to talk about it anymore, you know what I mean? If you really want to know what happened, just read that chapter, if anything."

But the book does not focus solely on the tragedy, as Sarzo was on the road with Osbourne and Rhoads for a year beforehand. "There was so much joy -- as a matter of fact, it was basically a very joyful journey up until the crash," he says. "Randy meant so much [and] still means so much to everybody, that it changed all our lives. And this book is not only written for Randy but it's also written for the fans. This book is for every single fan that has ever come up to me and asked, 'What was Randy Rhoads really like?' or 'What was it like playing with Ozzy?' I just cannot put it into a couple of sentences. I had to put it into many, many chapters."

The book will also include many candid, previously unseen photos of the band. And while Rhoads only played on a pair of Osbourne studio albums (1980's "Blizzard of Oz" and 1981's "Diary of a Madman"), fans have long wondered if there are any unreleased Rhoads-era gems or demos gathering dust in a vault somewhere.

Sarzo sets the record straight: "No, nothing. Nowadays, everybody carries some kind of recording equipment with them on tour. In those days, we were limited to those little micro-cassettes. Walkmans did not record then, at least the ones that we had -- we're talking 1981/early '82."

source: Greg Prato of Billboard.com

Written By The Rock News Blog at 8:04 PM EDT
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October 26, 2006
Sebastian Bach Interview
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Sebastian Bach: "You know that episode where I quit drinking? I lied."
Topic: Misc.
The U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine spoke with former Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach. A couple of excerpts from the interview follow:

Metal Hammer: So about that "AIDS Kills Fags Dead" t-shirt you wore in 1989…

Sebastian: "I never usually talk about this but I read so much misinformation about it that I'm gonna set the record straight. I never wore no fucking anti-gay t-shirt to an MTV press conference. It's not true. I wore that shirt once in my life. I came off stage in Irvine Meadows in California after Pantera had opened up for us. When we finished, I was totally hot and sweaty. The guys from L.A. Guns were all backstage, so I said, 'Gimme a fucking shirt to put on.' Gerri Miller from Metal Edge magazine is there asking for a picture of all of us, so I just pick up this hideous fuckin' shirt that some fan had thrown up onto stage and put it on. We all knew it was the worst shirt of all time. It wasn't some campaign that I went on."

Metal Hammer: How did the media react?

Sebastian: "Kurt Loder from MTV, who's gay (and I don't think I'm outing him) got hold of the picture and put in on MTV as a news piece with all the other guys cut out: 'In the land of homophobia, if Axl Rose owns the restaurant and PUBLIC ENEMY are the diners, we have a new bus boy.' It was like I was the anti-Christ. Then Revolver magazine in the States said, 'The most appaling moments in rock: even though Axl Rose got more press, generally Sebastian Bach behaved worse.' Then they said I wore this shirt at a press conference on TV. That's way different to being backstage with L.A. Guns all drunk and shit and sticking this hideous shirt on. It's complete bullshit."

Metal Hammer: Why did Skid Row fire you?

Sebastian: "When it came to the mid-'90s, rock was totally at the bottom of the barrel and Snake [Skid Row guitarist] wanted to change Skid Row's image. He wanted us to cut our fucking hair and shit. [After 'Subhuman Race' in 1996] I spent all this time on the phone calling them, saying, 'Let's fucking do something.' I was fucking bored with the two- or three-year gaps between records. They didn't want me to be a songwriter anymore, so they sent me a demo they'd written and it sucked balls. I called them and said, 'I'm not singing this,' and they said, 'Well, that's a drag, because you're gonna have to quit the band.' So I said, 'I'll never quit this fuckin' band. Let's just go into the basement and write a good album.' So he screams at me and I just put the phone down. Then KISS asked us to open for them in New Jersey on their reunion tour. Rachel [Bolan, bassist] had a side-project with the road crew — the pyrotechs and stuff — called Prunella Scales, and he said he couldn't do the KISS show because he had a gig with his side-project. I lost my fuckin' mind. I rang him up and said, 'Let's fight' and 'I'm gonna kick your ass.' Then I did the same thing to Snake. I just wanted to play with fucking KISS, dude, excuse me!"

Metal Hammer: You made some new friends on the set of VH1 reality show "SuperGroup" — notably giving up drinking under Ted Nugent's wing. Would you ever do another series?

Sebastian: "You know that episode where I said I'd stopped drinking? Well, I lied. Ted is so militant in his views. I lived with him for 12 days and it's hard to imagine ever doing anything that would truly look good in his eyes. Also he said some stuff online about Dimebag which I thought was really not cool. I'm not going to repeat it but you can check it out online. But Scott [Ian, Anthrax guitarist] and Evan [Seinfeld, Biohazard bassist/vocalist] are awesome dudes. I don't know if there'll be another series. I think Scott would be into it and I know I'm well up for it."

Written By The Rock News Blog at 6:21 PM EDT
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JBJ Named Ambassador For Habitat For Humanity
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Misc.
AMERICUS, Ga., Oct. 24 - Rock icon and philanthropist Jon Bon Jovi has been named the first Founding Ambassador of the Habitat for Humanity Ambassador program as part of the international-nonprofit organization's new advocacy outreach initiative.

"From their relief efforts in the wake of the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, to the thousands of houses they construct around the world, Habitat for Humanity builds homes, lives, and dreams," says Jon Bon Jovi. "I've worked with Habitat in partnerships with my football team, The Philadelphia Soul and with my band over the past year. Handing over the keys to the families who have worked to earn them has afforded me some of the proudest, most uplifting moments of my life. As a Habitat for Humanity Ambassador, I now have the opportunity to help this work continue and I encourage others to become involved and share in the rebuilding of their communities as well."

Bon Jovi has been raising awareness with Habitat for Humanity since 2005 when he provided the funds to build six homes in Philadelphia and built the homes alongside the homeowner families, as well as with members of his Philadelphia Soul Arena Football Team. The construction site also served as the video shoot location for his band's chart-topping single, "Who Says You Can't Go Home." In 2006, Bon Jovi made a $1 million donation to build 28 Habitat homes in Louisiana in partnership with low-income families on the hurricane-stricken coast. Earlier this month, Bon Jovi announced a project that will rehabilitate a block of 15 homes in north Philadelphia. Bon Jovi spearheaded the groundbreaking partnership that will join Habitat for Humanity, Project H.O.M.E., Saturn and The Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation.

"We couldn't be more pleased that Jon Bon Jovi has agreed to become the first Habitat for Humanity Ambassador," said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. "Jon's shining example of advocating on behalf of people around the world who lack decent housing will help call others to action in this effort to eliminate substandard housing. Jon exemplifies qualities that we all aspire to emulate ... he is a leader ... compassionate, articulate and credible. His commitment to our mission is both appreciated and inspiring. As a result of Jon's kindness and generosity, numerous families now have a warm and safe place to call home."

The newly created Habitat for Humanity Ambassadors Program is an advocacy initiative that is a joint effort between Habitat for Humanity International and the entertainment-industry-support organization, Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity. Its goal is to engage celebrities and entertainment industry leaders that can bring heightened awareness to the worldwide-housing crisis and to Habitat's effort in providing safe, decent and affordable shelter.

Ambassadors are chosen to recognize the work that they are already doing on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, and because of their active interest in poverty housing issues and their willingness to serve as influential advocates for affordable and decent housing. Ambassador work may include building with local Habitat affiliates in the United States or in one of the more than 90 countries where Habitat for Humanity builds worldwide. Duties also may include participating in targeted public service announcements and campaigns, using their high visibility and profile to raise funds and awareness for the organization and mobilizing volunteers globally.

Founding Habitat for Humanity Ambassadors will be involved in the Jimmy Carter Work Project 2007 in Los Angeles by participating in building and awareness-raising activities. Habitat's Jimmy Carter Work Project 2007 will kick off with a gala luncheon in March in Los Angeles honoring President Carter for his lifelong Humanitarian efforts.

About Jon Bon Jovi

Musician, singer, songwriter and actor, Jon Bon Jovi is most recognizable as the voice for the band Bon Jovi. Since the group's formation in the early 1980s, Bon Jovi has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and at more than 2,700 shows in 47 countries more than 32 million fans have seen Bon Jovi in concert.

The band's latest album, Have a Nice Day, includes the smash hit "Who Says You Can't Go Home," which made history as Bon Jovi became the first rock band ever to have a No. 1 hit on the country chart. The tour that followed was one of the top grossing tours of 2005-2006, playing to more than 2 million concert-goers worldwide.

As the co-owner of the AFL's Philadelphia Soul, Jon Bon Jovi introduced a new model of sports ownership. From the inception of the franchise, the mission was to use the team to give back to the local community. Heading into their fourth season, the Philadelphia Soul organization has given away $2 million to local causes.

Bon Jovi's charitable works focus on the issue of homelessness and include the creation of the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation; the launch of a limited edition outerwear collection with Kenneth Cole New York (with proceeds benefiting HELP USA); partnering with Project H.O.M.E. in Philadelphia; and a sustained partnership with Habitat for Humanity that has thus far provided 49 families with a place to call home. For more information visit
http://www.bonjovi.com and http://www.philadelphiasoul.com.

Courtesy of
www.prnewswire.com

Written By The Rock News Blog at 6:17 PM EDT
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October 20, 2006
A Night At Church
Mood:  cool
Now Playing: Heavy metal... at a Canadian church. I like it.
Topic: Misc.
Canada's CTV News reports that high school metalheads gathered in a Moncton, New Brunswick church this week — not to pray, but to fight it out in a deafening battle of the bands.

Organizers at the Moncton Wesleyan Church hoped to reach out to youth who would normally stay far away from the place of worship, by mixing in a brief sermon with the heavy metal concert.

But it didn't go exactly as planned. About 800 screaming teens packed into the church, vandalizing and knocking over pews that hadn't been removed beforehand.

One person was even slightly injured. Still, organizers called the concert a success.

"A church pew can be replaced," youth pastor Mark Moore told CTV News.

"It's not something we're worried about and in the big scheme of things — in God's eye's — I think it's more important that 800 kids experienced last night."

Some teens admitted they would never have entered the church if not for the concert, and were thankful for the venue.

"It's just that they'd let us come here, for like, a free show," said one teen during the show. "We don't have to do anything. Everything's here for us."

Moore said he has no regrets about the concert, because he was able to reach out to youth by creating an environment they found comfortable.

"It's easy to be an arm-chair critic and sit at home if you're 40 or 50, and say, 'I can't believe this is happening,'" said Moore. "But I challenge you to consider."

During the concert, Moore gave the teens a sermon that highlighted the church's relaxed approach.

"Jesus Christ loves you. He does not care what you've done," he told the crowd. "I'm not trying to convert you to my religion. I'm not trying to tell you to put on a suit, get a bad comb-over, and send you off to the Christian factory."

It's unclear how many of the youth cared about — or even listened to — the sermon. But the church's senior pastor, L. D. Buckingham, said it was important to take a chance.

He admitted the approach was unconventional, but argued that was necessary to make the church relevant to a younger community.

"We're never going to do in this church what I like. We're going to do what connects with the culture and the people outside the church," said Buckingham.

www.blabbermouth.net

Written By The Rock News Blog at 6:27 PM EDT
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October 17, 2006
The Death Of An Era
Mood:  blue
Now Playing: Tower Records has gone out business. Blame iTunes.
Topic: Misc.
Tower Records, the 46-year-old music retailer, has been sold to a liquidator that will close all the stores.

"I feel very sad about it," Ladd Fraternale, shopping in the country section at Tower's East Village store in Manhattan, said Wednesday. "I think they have a great selection here and the service is good."

On Oct. 6th, a federal bankruptcy judge in Wilmington, Del., approved the sale of Tower to Los Angeles-based liquidator Great American Group for $134.3 million.

While no firm date has been set for the stores to close, "Going Out of Business" signs went up this week at Tower's 89 stores in 20 states and the chain's 3,000 employees have been told they will be laid off.

The company owes creditors about $200 million and filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in August. In its filing, Tower said it has been hurt by an industrywide decline in music sales, downloading of online music and competition from big-box stores such as Wal-Mart.

CDs were 10 percent off this week, still not a bargain. At 10 percent off the list price of $18.99, Beyonce's "B'day" was selling for $17.09, compared with $9.99 on Amazon. Great American President Andy Gumaer said the discount will increase over the six to eight weeks it takes to close the stores.

At the New York store, Larry Kirwan, lead singer of the Irish band Black 47, was scouring the rock bins and mourning Tower's imminent loss.

"It's a bad day for music," Kirwan said. "It's a bad day for independent bands. ... Right from the beginning, even before we were signed with labels they carried us. They've been good to musicians."

Kirwan said taking music off the Internet is not the same as buying a vinyl LP or even a CD.

An LP or CD is "something real that's not virtual," he said. "It's like music itself. I'm not sure music is virtual. It's real and it's powerful, and I don't think you quite get the same thing from downloading."

Russ Solomon founded Tower in Sacramento, Calif., in 1960 and opened the company's landmark store on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard in 1969. As part of the bankruptcy auction, the Sunset property will be sold for $12 million.

Outside the Sunset Boulevard store, a marquee with a message and REM lyrics said it all: "It's the end of the world as we know it. Thanks for your loyalty." A mock gravestone and Halloween decoration had a single word scratched into it: "Tower."

Norman Labby, who for 20 years drove across town to go to Tower for jazz and classical albums, said he was "frustrated, angry and depressed" that Tower was closing.

"I don't own a computer, I don't know how to work one and don't plan to buy one," he said, holding a bag full of CD's and tapes. "I'm disenfranchised for the umpteenth time."

News of Tower's sale to Great American plunged workers into "immediate sadness," said Ramsey Jones, manning the third-floor cash register at the New York store.

"Business hasn't been great," Jones said. "Downloading, competition from Virgin and your Best Buys and your Wal-Marts. But the thing that people will miss is the deep catalog that Tower has. They can come here and find anything they want."

Jones, a 15-year Tower employee who also plays the drums and has worked with musicians including Vernon Reid of Living Colour, said he has made connections at Tower and met famous customers like Carlos Santana and jazz great Ornette Coleman.

"Customers are going to miss walking into a store and speaking to someone that is knowledgeable," he said. "It's like losing a family member, working here for so long."

Rock critic Robert Christgau said Thursday that Tower often attracted workers who knew about music because they were musicians themselves.

"It doesn't make me happy to see places like Best Buy and Circuit City selling records," he said in a telephone interview. "I'd much rather records were sold at a music store."

source: Karen Matthews of the Associated Press

Written By The Rock News Blog at 7:45 PM EDT
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September 22, 2006
Paul Gilbert Discusses Almost Everything
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Influences and a little history come oyut when you interview ex- Mr. Big and Racer X guitarist Paul Gilbert.
Topic: Misc.
Blasting-Zone.com recently spoke with former Racer X/ex-Mr. Big guitarist Paul Gilbert. Several excerpts from the interview follow:

Blasting-Zone.com: Is there any chance of Racer X releasing any new material?

Paul: "With Racer X, whenever we have time, we try to put a record together. And that's always fun because the guys in the band are great friends and I don't think I ever laugh as hard as I do when I'm with the Racer X guys. When we started that band, none of us were really known and we just sorta built it from nothing into something. That sorta made us friends for life. That was a great experience…coming up through the L.A. scene and being a band that nobody really knew about. Mr. Big was amazing, too, but by that point, we had all done albums and were known somewhat in our various areas. It was a little easier. We instantly had a high power manager and a major record company. It was probably the most amazing ride for me because I was the youngest and hadn't done a lot of that stuff before. With Racer X, we really did it together and it was a great experience. It was a lot of fun back then."

Blasting-Zone.com: Who first came up with the idea (for Mr. Big) to record an acoustic track? Was it a mutual decision?

Paul: "Initially, it was us because the songs were Eric's. When we Eric played them for us, we thought they were great, but we knew we still wanted to be a big, heavy and powerful band. …So we put 'To Be With You' last on the record after an album of huge, hitting the snare drum as hard as you can songs. We figured we could get away with putting a quieter song at the end. And that song went on to become a number one hit and this giant song. People would come to see us expecting to hear an entire set of stuff like that and would end up watching us play guitars with drills. In general, it was nothing but a blessing. It really exposed us to a lot of people. And after the initial shock, I think a lot of people enjoyed the guitars being played with drills, so it was alright."

Blasting-Zone.com: I definitely grew up with a lot of people that never would have picked up a Mr. Big album had it not been for "To Be With You"…

Paul: "It was a good billboard for us and I still like the song. It had good harmonies…it was a good Beatles-y tune."

Blasting-Zone.com: What was the main motivation behind you leaving Mr. Big?

Paul: "The music started to suffer because we couldn't get along with each other. We held on for a long as we could, but it got to the point where…we weren't writing together or really doing anything together anymore. We were trying to figure out how to make records without seeing each other and I thought that was just ridiculous. It was good while it lasted and I'm still really proud of the music that we did. And now some time has passed and we're much more civil towards each other. It's good that it ended well."

Blasting-Zone.com: Other than Van Halen,musically, what are you influences?

Paul: "Just about every rock band and every guitar player from 1964 to 1984. To me, that's the golden period of rock. From the first Beatles album hitting America to the last VAan Halen album with David Lee Roth. That's where all my favorite rock exists. More specifically, for guitar players, it would be Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Robin Trower, Pat Travers, Alex Lifeson, Angus Young, Tony Iommi, the guys from Def Leppard, the guys from Aerosmith…Nancy Wilson, Johnny Winter…the list just goes on and on and on."

Blasting-Zone.com: At first I was going to ask you why your list stopped at 1984, but I guess I already know the answer to that one…

Paul: "Sammy Hagar was good, too, but there was a certain intensity in the early stuff that was just unmatchable. Also, Bon Jovi came out then…and to me, that was the end of metal… …And I love pop, but to me, pop should be more like Beatles-influenced. To me, you had to have at least a couple of ugly guys in the band. That's why Saxon was great. I remember seeing Saxon and I had no idea who they were. They were opening up for Triumph and they just sounded great. …They sounded great, they were really ugly and I didn't care. Maybe I was just jealous because all the girls were into Bon Jovi. Plus, I could never get my hair that cool. It took me years to get my hair right…after years of perms, conditioning…Nirvana came out and it wasn't cool to have big hair anymore. It was just a horrible injustice."

Read Paul Gibert's entire interview at http://www.blasting-zone.com/PaulGilbert1.htm.

Written By The Rock News Blog at 10:38 PM EDT
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September 20, 2006
Vince To Rock Carnival In 2007
Mood:  bright
Topic: Misc.
MOTLEY CRUE frontman Vince Neil will call the Carnival Cruise Lines "Fun Ship" Fascination his Home Sweet Home in January 2007. The four-day, three-night rock and roll cruise sets sail on Friday, January 12 from Miami, Florida, to Nassau, The Bahamas, and returns to Miami on Monday, January 15.

In addition to a live concert by Neil and his band, a wet and wild shore excursion is planned, and several on-board activities will help to raise money for his Skylar Neil Memorial Fund and the TJ Martell Foundation.

"I can't wait to rock the Carnival boat with my favorite fans. It's going to be a blast from start to finish, and will help support a cause that's very near to my heart," said Neil.

In true Vince style, there will be plenty of bikini-clad babes on and off the ship. Hooters will send thirty of their most beautiful models to compete in The Hooters Girls Girls Girls Bikini Contest, as part of Vince Neil's Tres Rios Tequila Beach Party. South Florida's finest Gentlemen's club, Pure Platinum, a long-time supporter of Neil's charitable efforts, is sending a bevy of Platinum beauties to be caddies for the Pure Platinum Miniature Golf Challenge, which will help to raise money for charity.

Vince Neil's Motley Cruise passengers will also enjoy a slew of other Rock Star Style amenities and events, including a custom Motley Cruise Survival Kit, Vince Vineyards Wine Tasting Party, a one-of-a-kind live charity auction, photo and autograph session with Vince, and a No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournament where one lucky winner could disembark with an extra $10,000 in their wallet!

Cabin rates start at only $399 per person, and you must be 21 or older to sail (unless accompanied by an adult). For complete pricing and other details, and to reserve your spot on the cruise, visit www.motleycruise.org, or call 1-877-666-8539.

The Skylar Neil Memorial Fund supports research for children's Cancer, Leukemia and AIDS research, via the TJ Martell Foundation.

www.BlaBVBERMOUTH.NET

Written By The Rock News Blog at 11:09 PM EDT
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September 5, 2006
Songs Of Love
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Heres something that cheered me up a bit....
Topic: Misc.
Ashley Abernathy was 9 years old, suffering from leukemia and needed to be cheered up. She found her inspiration from the unlikeliest of places: a serenade from David Lee Roth.

The former Van Halen frontman recorded a song especially for Abernathy, giving the little girl the rock-star treatment in the heart-rending tune.

"Who deals the cards? Ashley Abernathy," Roth sang. "Who steals your heart? Ashley Abernathy. Ashley Abernathy makes you happy!!"

"It was just amazing, really cool, to think that a rock star would've recorded a song for me," said Ashley, who is now 15 and in high school in Gastonia, North Carolina. She has been in remission for almost five years.

The song was made by the Songs of Love Foundation, a Queens-based nonprofit that records personalized tunes for chronically or terminally ill children and young adults. This month, the foundation expects to reach a milestone by recording song No. 10,000.

The foundation plans to celebrate its achievements during a Black Eyed Peas concert on Sept. 8, when it will enlist assembled fans to sing tune No. 10,000. The song is for Saeed Boynes, 14, who has sickle cell anemia and is being treated at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in the New York City's Bronx area.

The Songs of Love Foundation was founded in 1996 by John Beltzer, a musician and songwriter whose Queens apartment doubles as a recording studio.

Twelve years earlier, Beltzer's twin brother, Julio, committed suicide by jumping off the roof of an apartment building -- the final act of a monthslong struggle with depression and schizophrenia.

"When it first happened ... I thought I would have nightmares every night," John Beltzer said. "I do think about it a lot. It's still very surreal."

The traumatic episode -- Beltzer made it to the roof just moments after his brother jumped, and stood by him as he took his last breath -- is a pivotal part of the Songs of Love story. The foundation is named after a song Julio Beltzer wrote and recorded two months before he died, and his spirit is kept alive through his brother's work.

"I really believe that this was his gift," John Beltzer said. "The seed he planted, after a 12-year incubation period, that seed sprouted in January 1996."

He said the idea hit him with full force one day in January 1996 as he walked down a street in his neighborhood.

Soon, he was consumed with getting the group got off the ground.

"I felt completely empowered, just completely driven," Beltzer, 46, remembered. "There's no question about it -- just something took over. I became obsessed."

Songs of Love works with hospitals and families around the country to identify a person for whom the foundation can record a song.

The child or young adult's family completes a biographical information sheet, which they send back to the foundation. The group then commissions someone from its team of songwriters to craft a tune based on those details -- name, age, favorite hobbies -- and within 25 days, the song is recorded, transferred to a CD and shipped to the child.

The service is free for the song recipients, but songwriters are offered a $75 to $100 stipend per song to help cover the costs of writing, producing and recording. The group, which has 12 full- and part-time employees, gets its funding through individual and corporate donations or grants.

The melodies aren't meant as musical get-well cards, but, as Beltzer describes it, serve as "a constant reinforcement of their healthy selves."

Ashley Abernathy says her song still resonates with her to this day. In the song, Roth refers to the little girl's affinity for Beanie Babies and driving a golf cart with her family.

"I love listening to it," she said.

Such reactions remind Beltzer he is using his talents in the best way possible: to help others.

"Everybody can understand the language of love, and compassion and caring," he said. "When somebody helps somebody else, everybody feels the same. Everybody's going to feel good."

Courtesy of
www.iht.com

Written By The Rock News Blog at 4:47 PM EDT
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September 4, 2006
Metal: A Headbangers Journey To Air On VH1
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Check out VH1 on either Saturday, September 9 at 9:00 p.m. EST or Sunday, September 10 at 1:00 a.m. EST.
Topic: Misc.
"Metal: A Headbanger's Journey", a brand-new documentary offering a guided tour through heavy metal's storied but largely ignored history, is one of eight new high-end feature-length programs that is included in VH1's documentary series "VH1 Rock Docs". Each of the documentaries will reveal an untold story in the history of rock and hip-hop music, combining never-before-seen footage with a unique and unconventional narrative approach. The documentaries will tell some of the most unique stories of artists and music from a wide range of genres, styles, and musical perspectives.

"Metal: A Headbanger's Journey" air times on VH1:

Saturday, September 9 at 9:00 p.m. EST
Sunday, September 10 at 1:00 a.m. EST

Making its television premiere on VH1, "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey" follows 30-year old anthropologist Sam Dunn, who has decided to study the plight of a different culture, one he has been a part of since he was a 12-year old: the culture of heavy metal. Sam sets out on a global journey to find out why this music has been consistently stereotyped, dismissed and condemned and yet is loved so passionately by its millions of fans. Along the way, Sam explores metals' obsession with some of life's most provocative subjects — sexuality, religion, violence and death — and discovers some things about the culture that even he can't defend. Shot on location in the U.K., Germany, Norway, Canada and the U.S., this documentary is the first of its kind. It is both a defense of a long-misunderstood art form and a window for the outsider into the spectacle that is heavy metal.

You can watch the trailer, find more information about the release and read the directors' blog at www.metalhistory.com.

www.Blabbermouth.net

Written By The Rock News Blog at 11:11 AM EDT
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