Friday, February 28, 2014

Meister's Monsters of Rock Cruise 2014 #9-Two Timers

Well, The Meister is back to ramble on once again this week, although I do apologize for being a bit late in posting this one, busy busy around the "Meister Stronghold".  We're under a month to go now and with my MORC 2014 playlist resonating through my speakers I've spent almost every free moment of the week studying the PDF deck plans of our vessel, planning my routes of passage, locating my cabin, the bars and restaurants, the concert venues and anything else of note.  I feel that I have a decent knowledge of the MSC Divina, which I'm sure will all get thrown out the window as I actually get on board and get into the frosty adult beverages (as my liver groans in complaint of the punishment that it will soon endure)!  Last week I took a look at some of the activities, events and community of The Monsters of Rock Cruise and this week let's explore a little of the bands returning for their second MORC voyage.  Being the chivalrous guy that I am we'll begin with the ladies first.

Femme Fatale was new on my radar when I saw their name appear in the list of bands announced in 2013 and wanting to familiarize myself with the music I started a little research.  The minute that I saw the video on you-tube for "Waiting For the Big One" I knew that I'd seen and heard this awesome song long ago in days of youth spent in my school friend's basement watching MTV via his satellite dish.  Never having caught on in my
Femme Fatale's Lorraine Lewis
 circles, neither my friends nor I had owned or even heard the full Femme Fatale album and I immediately searched it out for purchase.  What a delicious piece of female fronted melodic rock it turned out to be.  Femme Fatale opened the pool stage at noon on March 17th during last year's excursion with an incredible performance, a slice of caught by this cruiser as he filmed "Waiting For the Big One" - MORC 2013 by Randy Gill.  Front woman and founder Lorraine Lewis is the sole original member now having recruited an all female crew for the re-birth of Femme Fatale.  The axe slinging (beer loving) duo of Courtney Cox and Nita Strauss (both of The Iron Maidens), bassist Janis Tanaka (L7), Katt Scarlett on keyboards, drummer Rachel Rhine and special guest drummer Athena Lee (Tommy's sister) are all a part of the new Femme Fatale.  I look forward to their shows this year and also at my first M3 festival a few weeks later.  For a more comprehensive look at Femme Fatale's history take a gander at last year's Meister's "Views of the Cruise" - Volume #3-Heavy Metal Maidens showcasing the lady performers on 2013's Lost Weekend Cruise.  Lorraine Lewis herself complimented me on the accuracy and depth of the
Meister & Lorraine Lewis at Rhino Bucket - MORC 2013
research (pat on my back).  For a short review of their show in one of the lounge bars last year check out my Volume #18-Daily Diary for March 18, 2013 from that day. Here's a couple more Femme Fatale MORC videos from the pool stage show last year : "Cradle's Rockin'" - MORC 2013 by Feeelis, "Falling In & Out of Love" - MORD 2013 by Jim Dumay and "Rebel" - MORC 2013 by Frankenstyle (distorted sound quality).....a definite must on my MORC 2014 list!

Next up is Vixen, the all female band from the 80's sometimes referred to as the female Bon Jovi and responsible for such hits as "Edge of a Broken Heart", "Cryin'" and "How Much Love".  Last year they were performing under the moniker of JSRG, taking the first initial of each of the first names of the band members, Janet Gardner (vocals), Share Ross (formerly Pedersen, bass), Roxy Petrucci (drums) and Gina Stile (in the role previously held by Jan Kuehnemund, guitar).  It had been widely reported that original member Jan Kuehnemund (guitar) who was supposedly not on good terms with the rest of the band
JSRG on the Pool Stage
 held the rights to the name Vixen, rendering Gardner, Petrucci and Ross unable to perform under that banner.  It turns out that Kuehnemund had planned a reunion with her former Vixen band mates in 2012, but that was sidelined when she was diagnosed with cancer.  After her tragic passing in October 2013, the ladies ("realizing that a band belongs to the fans, Gardner, Petrucci and Ross have called upon Stile to join them in continuing the Vixen tradition and honoring the fans.  The legacy lives on...") have decided to move forward and this year board the boat under the Vixen moniker in tribute to Jan Kuehnemund.  Last year the ladies were set to play the pre-party taking place the night before boarding and free to all cruisers.  Knowing the Vixen catalog fairly well, but not being a huge fan I decided to attend more for the social gathering with
Share Ross on the Pool Stage
cruise friends and check them out.  I was
absolutely blown away, the ladies were awesome! (Meister's "Views of the Cruise" Volume #15-Day #3 also known as Friday)  and I made a point to catch their second show, this one aboard ship on the pool stage on the second day of sailing (Meister's "Views of the Cruise" Volume #17-Sunday March 17, 2013).  Share Ross complimented me on my photo of her in the Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy) pose, something she's been trying to emulate and I'm on the lookout to get a better shot of it this year!  Happy to have them back aboard and also will make sure that I do not miss both back to back shows scheduled at Toronto's Rockpile in May.  Once again some cruise performance videos to check out: "Edge of a Broken Heart" - MORC Pre-Party 2013 by FastlanemusicBoston, "Rev It Up/How Much Love" - MORC 2013 by twotallonesplay and "Streets in Paradise" - MORC 2013 by ravagetoys

Last year before we got on the ship I was involved in a conversation during which a few folks were adamant that "chicks just don't rock as hard as guys do", but don't be fooled by the keyboard heavy recordings.....both of these bands absolutely blew me away and kicked my ass hard last year......yes I got my ass kicked by girls!  Let's see if they can live up to it again in 2014!

Dangerous Toys was a rare style of treat on last years' cruise and many have put their close out show on the pool stage up as the best show of the boat, but I'm sticking with Keel or Saxon on that score personally. Make no mistake, The Dangerous Toys rocked the ship in my first time seeing them play and it was great to hear some of the Toys classics that are among my most
Jason McMaster on MORC 2013
treasured listens in a live setting.  They ripped through classics such as "Scared" - MORC 2013 by L Russell, "Pissed" - MORC 2013 by Randy Gill (distorted audio) (probably my favorite D'Toys song) and "Teas'n Pleas'n" - MORC 2013 by concertsrock.  I'm aiming to take in both of D'Toys sets aboard ship in 2014 if possible and will put them ahead of many others.  For my #2 volume of last year's cruise ramblings I had an interview with none other than Dangerous Toys front man Jason McMaster (Meister's "Views of the Cruise" Volume #2-A Chat With Jason McMaster) and he was such a nice guy when I met him in person aboard ship.  Hopefully one day I'll be able to catch one of his other outfits, Broken Teeth as well.  A few videos from their earlier set, which looks to me to be even better than the close out show on the pool stage that I caught: "Sport'n a Woody" - MORC 2013 by feeelis and "Outlaw/Take Me Drunk" - MORC 2013 by frankenstyle
L.A. Guns were much, much better than I was expecting when I saw them perform at the Rockerz Gone Wild Pool Party a couple of days before sailing last year.  I had a couple of the albums in my collection of course but was not a huge fan by any means until that show (Meister's "Views of the Cruise" Volume #14-Day #2).  That being said it was still pretty cool to be the one to deliver the guitar for Steve Riley to autograph, a raffle contest feature at the 2013 event.  I felt bad walking up to him as he was enjoying his lunch in a little artists only area set aside at the Bahia Cabana hotel in Fort Lauderdale, the scene of the festivities.  Seeing as I interrupted him I simply delivered the instrument and spoke few words, deciding not to regale him with questions and stories or add to the autograph duties by slipping in a few album covers.  Being as impressed as I was by that show at the pool party, I cleared space in my shipboard concert going to fit them in.  When I arrived and heard the rumors circulating, my heart dropped.  Guitarist Michael Grant had forgotten his passport or any other ID and had been denied boarding.  To the Guns credit they soldiered forth with Phil Lewis handling all guitar duties.  There were no real solos and it sounded a little flat compared to the blistering show a few nights before, but was still
Michael Grant @ Rockerz Gone Wild Pool Party 2013
enjoyable.  This year there have been a couple of countdown shots surface on the Monsters of Rock Cruise Facebook page showing Michael Grant prominently displaying his passport in preparation for this years voyage.....check them out if you can, I know I will be!  I spend too much time searching you-tube videos of past cruises apparently, but here's a few of L.A. Guns: "The Ballad of Jayne" - RGWPP 2013 by Kitty Park, "The Ballad of Jayne/Rip & Tear" - MORC 2013 by metal martell and "My Koo Ka Choo" - MORC 2013 by concertsrock
From the "Land of the Rising Sun", Japan's Loudness are back for another facemelting session!  Being a big lover of Loudness' 80's work and some of the 90's as well, they were a sweet addition to The Lost Weekend in 2012.  I'm not so keen on their newer work, very heavy thrash style music as guitarist and chief
Akira Takasaki - MORC 2013
composer Akira Takasaki continues his musical journey.  However the more I listen to it the more it grows on me and one thing's for have to see Takasaki live to believe it!  His guitar work adds meaning to the term facemelting although I cant figure out whats with the dreadlock wig he wears on stage.   I was disappointed to find that they were cancelling their tour stop in Toronto the day before my birthday in April (the second time they've dumped a Toronto show recently), but I'll see them aboard ship and I hope to encounter more things such as this video of my friend "Serenading Akira" on the private beach of Coco Cay, very cool and only on MORC I'm sure!  Until then: "Heavy Chains" - MORC 2013 by feeelis, "Crazy Nights" - MORC 2013 by ncp10269 and "The Stronger" - MORC 2013 by poodles 1970 should keep you enticed.

The Meister has seen Great White a few times in the long lost days of youth and they are a band that has been through a lot over the years.  A widely publicized lawsuit and court proceedings regarding the disputes over just who owns the rights to the name after the separation between Jack Russell and the band is still not fully settled I don't believe.  Now in 2014 we find two factions or versions of Great White in operation.  One is Jack Russell's Great White led by the original vocalist and front man, Jack Russell, while the other faction saw the remaining Great White band members recruiting XYZ crooner Terry Ilous.  This latter version released the Elation album in May of 2012 and its actually quite a good album.  It doesn't sound quite right without Jack Russell's distinctive vocal stylings, but if it came out under a different band name I wouldn't be comparing it to that and would just be enjoying it for what it is.  Last year the Terry Ilous fronted Great White treated us to an acoustic set on the beaches of the island of Coco Cay, but being vertically challenged as I am I couldn't see as the stage was literally ground level.  No matter, I generally prefer the electrically charged barrage for my listening poison anyway......and there's the Femme Fatale ladies in bikinis over by the bar!  During their performance the next day aboard ship they held a touching moment bringing up one of the survivors of the horrific Station Fire to sing with them ("Save Your Love" (with Station fire survivor Linda Fisher) - MORC 2013 by FanForward). I missed this section
Terry Ilous with Great White - MORC 2013
 of the performance as I had drifted off to catch the next show on another stage.  I do certainly look forward to seeing what this Great White rejuvenation holds in store in the new music department, but they're not the highest on my list to see this year, preferring the Jack Russell version personally.  It will depend who else is on at the same time I guess.  "Once Bitten Twice Shy" (with special guests) - MORC 2013 by M Marr, "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" (acoustic) - MORC 2013 by Edogawa Schlins and "Lady Red Light" - MORC 2013 by FanForward

Dio Disciples however is up near the top of the "refuse to miss list".  I saw them aboard last year and then again when they rolled into Toronto last summer (Stand Up & Shout at the Rockpile), but some of Dio's solo albums are absolutely revered in my collection.  Dio Disciples are a collection of Ronnie James Dio's friends and former band mates playing a tribute to the rock God and carry on his legacy all in support of a great charity.  Ronnie James Dio sadly passed away from stomach cancer in 2010, so the Stand Up & Shout Cancer Fund raises funds and spreads awareness in his name.  Last year I purchased a bracelet (black rubber or plastic) for a minimal $5 and it has been securely placed on my wrist since that day, something that I think every cruiser should purchase.  Great souvenir for low price and good cause.  The Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund has also teamed up with Monsters of Rock to raffle off a custom Harley Street Glide Special motorcycle sporting the MOR Cruise graphics.  Tickets are for sale aboard once we reach international waters for an extremely reasonable price considering the bounty!  Cancel my flight kids....I'm riding home in style!  For those arriving in Florida early or if
The custom MOR Harley motorcycle
you live in the area even, The Dio Diciples are playing a pre-cruise show in Fort Lauderdale at the Culture Room on March 26th (Event Page on Facebook).  I highly recommend you take in the event if you can, but watch out for wild MOR Cruisers as I'm sure there will be a good portion of us there as well.  For a sample here's a few videos: "Stand Up & Shout" - MORC 2013 by M Marr, "Holy Diver" - MORC 2013 by Tor Erik Brunstrom and "Egypt (The Chains Are On)/Stargazer" - MORC 2013 by feeelis

I've never really caught the buzz of The London Quireboys (and I'll take some heat for saying that from friends I'm sure!) aside from the "7 O'clock" song of course.  I've tried a few times and have a couple of the CD's, but maybe the live performance will change my mind.  I completely missed them last year, choosing the other shows over theirs both times and caught a couple of acoustic songs while I was at Sweden Rock Festival in June 2013, but it didn't do much for me.  We'll see who they're up against and make a game time call when the band schedule gets released.

Firehouse were aboard for the inaugural voyage in 2012 and I rather avoided them, again there were always other bands playing in the same time slot as them that were higher on my bucket list to see.  I wonder if this was perhaps a mistake on my part,
but Firehouse is back again in 2013 and I've been listening to some of their music, giving it much more merit than I had thought at first.  I will definitely make a point to check them out this year at the pre-party and also they are on the bill for Nottingham England's Firefest: The Final Fling festival that I'll be crossing the pond for in October.

Cheap Thrill were also aboard last year and contain Jeff LaBar and Eric Brittingham both of Cinderella along with Brandon Gibbs.  I missed them last year as I did with A.J.'s Bravehearts fronted by AJ Fratto who are also back for round #2.  I've heard good reports about both outfits and we'll see if I can work them into the plan for this excursion. There's almost more rock aboard this vessel than one can handle.....I love it!

*****All concert photography by Rich "The Meister" Dillon on MORC 2013 and the events surrounding it*****

Getting soooo pumped for this year's voyage, I can hardly begin to explain it!  Co-workers and friends are sick of hearing about it and every spare moment is spent scouring deck plans or re-living last year through my photos and cruiser shot videos posted on you-tube!  March 26th cannot come soon enough!

The Meister ("LIKE" The Meister on Facebook)

Day Tripper Gets A Dose of Machismo on Whitesnake's Trouble


Even though most of us are familiar with the success of Whitesnake during the mid to late 1980's, the roots of Whitesnake trace back to the late 70's. Singer David Coverdale had been lead vocalist for Deep Purple since 1973 after answering an ad for auditions searching for a replacement for DP vocalist Ian Gillan. Coverdale had been with a local British band that had supported Deep Purple on tour in the past so all parties knew each other and he got the job. Unfortunately, Deep Purple members Ian Paice and Jon Lord would abruptly end the band in 1976, while at the same time Coverdale handed in a tearful resignation, each side cancelling each other out and leaving Coverdale at square one.

Not to be left idle, Coverdale began a budding solo career and assembled a group of players to back him up known back then as The White Snake Band. Two solo albums would be released; White Snake in 1977 and Northwinds in 1978. Later in '78 he and his band would unite as one to simply be called Whitesnake, release an EP titled Snakebite, then their first full length album Trouble. The lineup of Whitesnake at this time consisted of Coverdale, guitar duo Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden, Bassist Neil Murray, former Deep Purple bandmate Jon Lord on keyboards, and Dave Dowle on drums.

Whitesnake 1978. From left: Neil Murray, Bernie Marsden, David Coverdale, Micky Moody, Jon Lord, Dave Dowle
The playing on Trouble is World Class. Elements of Hard Rock, R & B/Soul, Funk, Latin, and Jazz are fused together incredibly to make, in my humble opinion, a landmark 70's Rock album. Standout tracks include Take Me With You, Lie Down (A Modern Love Song), Nighthawk (Vampire Blues), Belgian Tom's Hat Trick (instrumental), Free Flight, and not to be left out is a stellar cover of The Beatles' Day Tripper. The original, released as a single in 1965, is a great melodic pop rock song with a hooky guitar and classic Beatles vocal harmonies. Coverdale and Co. slow the tempo slightly and add a heap of bellbottom swagger. They kick it off with a syncopated funk drum beat first, then the guitars and bass come in unison with the hook. DC's vocals are what you'd expect, but its the Talkbox that ices the cake. Pure funk throughout! For a song that's been covered and sampled all or in part countless times, this version is one of the best. If you have never treated yourself to this era of Whitesnake, I invite you to do so. I myself did not discover it until the 80's era had long gone. The material on these early albums holds up, with many of the songs still in the band's live set.

As luck would have it, this line up would not remain intact forever. Drummer Dave Dowle would depart first after another year or two, with the rest dropping off slowly into the next decade with David Coverdale remaining the sole proprietor. The band has had over 35 members since its incarnation. Whitesnake toured through the Summer and Fall of 2013 while also releasing a box set titled Little Box o' Snakes which contains remastered versions of their first 5 studio albums, 2 live albums and the Snakebite EP. Cheers!!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Episode 125 - The Beatles - Covered in Metal

This week the Decibel Geek podcast stays Fab as Aaron and Chris spin some of their favorite Beatles songs covered by some of the favorite rock & metal artists.

The Beatles - Covered in Metal is an hour plus of  rock and metal artists putting their own spin on some Fab 4 classics. Tracks from Kip Winger, Type O Negative, Me First & the Gimme Gimme's, Tesla and more!

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Type O Negative - World Coming Down

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Meister's Monsters of Rock Cruise 2014 #8-There's More to MORC Than Just the Rock


As I sit down to write this week's installment of Meister's MORC 2014 blogs, I've just pressed play on my MORC 2014 playlist, pretty much the only thing I've been listening to for several weeks now in anticipation of this year's upcoming cruise from March 29-April 2. 

Lots of buzz and excitement going on in the Meister's cruise world this week folks.  The days are whiling away as the cruiser created countdown shots are posted each day on the Monsters of Rock Cruise Facebook page indicating just how many days are left until we set sail.  The day that this blog goes live will mark 39 left, a little shorter of a countdown for the Meister and many others as we will be arriving in Miami a few days early to take in everything offered at the pre-cruise activities, MOR sponsored or otherwise.

Last week I covered a little on the bands who are joining me in making 2014 their third annual excursion, this year abandoning our previous vessel, the MSC Poesia and sailing aboard the new Fantasia class MSC Divina (MSC Divina Tour Video).  This new ship is the lap of luxury and holds approximately 1000 more passengers than previously fit on the Poesia.  Even with that extra 1000 capacity the 2014 Monsters of Rock Cruise: Escape to Monster Island has totally sold out and the only way on board now (aside from those small enough in stature to zip themselves inside someone's luggage) is by scouring the Monsters of Rock Cruise: Find a Cabinmate Facebook page in search of someone needing to sell their spot, often due to work commitments or even illness and hope you get lucky!  But even if you do, the deadline for cabin registry switches and adjustments is fast approaching and closes on February 28, 2014!
The bulk of the chatter and excitement this week came as each cruiser received a personal email in their respective inbox's outlining the 2014 drink packages available for pre-purchase for a limited time.  This is a real sign that cruise time is fast approaching and of course has everyone in a stir with newbies flooding the Facebook pages with questions and the veterans answering.......although this old veteran was informed of something that I had been previously unaware of in past cruises as well, you can teach an "old dog" new tricks it seems!  That's what these Facebook pages and groups are all about is the community that makes up MORC helping each other out and of course meeting new friends in the process.  The drink packages are not a mandatory thing by any means, but for those involved in mass consumption of adult beverages it's certainly a great idea.  Even for those less inclined to over imbibe themselves it's recommended to purchase a package and perhaps split with one or more people based on your personal needs.  The drink packages offer a savings over the regular price of drinks and make it easier and quicker at the bars having only to
surrender a ticket for your drink as opposed to handing over your cruise card, having them run it through and then return with a slip for you to sign.  There are two packages offered, each a little different in what it includes, but one has 72 tickets and the lesser one 56.  That might seem like a fair amount for a four day tour, but based on my "running out on the last day situation" last year I'll need more than 72 (hear my liver give that audible groan as it recalls what it went through last year?)!  Who would have thought that you'd drink that much, but when you only sleep a few hours a night and the bars are open round the clock I guess it's easy to rack up the consumption rates, especially if you buy a couple of drinks for band members or friends.

The cruise is great for bringing rockers together in making new friends and here's a great example of that.  Fellow Decibel Geek staff writer Kate Campbell is cruising for the first time in 2014.  She's heard all about it from mutual friends and read my cruise series from last year, but has no idea what she's really in  In the consideration of drink package purchase she queried me on the
inclusion of tequila shots (her beverage of choice), being primarily an imbiber of beer I suggested that she post her question on the MORC Facebook page, an awesome forum for cruisers new and old, and cruisers with the required knowledge would answer her promptly.  From that simple question and the responses that she generated as fellow cruisers chimed in on their love of tequila, within about an hour of asking Kate had created "The MORC Patron Club" on Facebook, an open group for tequila loving cruisers with plans of shot meetings at certain times and places once or twice each day during the cruise!.....How did I get lumped into this group??  Didn't anyone hear me say I'm a beer drinker?  Oh well, I guess I had better take one or two for the team here, sorry liver.

Patron Club is just one of many groups started by cruisers for the voyage and it's great to see Kate getting involved....Another group that's still searching for members is the The "EH" Team created by yours truly for any and all Canadians aboard ship.  We have collected about
 50 "Canadian Cruisers" so far including shipboard performers, The KiLLeR DWaRfS and their tour manager, but we're looking for more!  The hope is to find all (or as many as possible) of the cruisers from Canada and collect for a huge "EH" Team photo, but even if we can't make the photo happen at least it's a great way to meet some of your fellow cruisers from The Great White North.  Many of us in the group have shirts (pictured above) that we had made for the event and will help in identifying fellow Canadians as many of us have only talked via the Facebook group.  We're not the only ones with the idea as somehow I found myself a member of a similar UK group and I've recently seen a group from Sweden posting photos of their team shirts on the Facebook pages.

The team at MOR have been coming up with some theme nights and activities for cruisers to partake in if they wish, also causing quite a stir in the Facebook world as cruisers chime in on their thoughts, good and bad of the planned events.  I for one have not yet experienced many of these theme nights or events in the previous two years, some sound fun and some sound, to me, rather stupid, but I'm there for the rock and to see as many bands as possible.  This year I'm going more for the party with friends although the cruise once again boasts another awesome lineup of rockers.  I'm sure that I will find myself taking in at least some of the events that in past years have included thing's like: Captain Jack's Shotgun Wedding, 80's Prom, Tattoo competition, "So you think you can shred guitar competition", Luc Carl's Drunk Diet Workout among others.  The tattoo competition does sounds interesting being as I'm working on my full sleeve tattoo which depicts a guitar case stickered with the logos of about 30 of my favorite bands, some of which are cruise performers this year and in years past.  I've not heard if it's taking place this year or not and my entrance will depend on two major factors: 1) What band is playing at the same time on a different stage and 2) whether or not the tattoo gets fully completed in time for sailing, which looks doubtful at this point.

While, as i said earlier, I'm not one to participate in much of these events and activities, being there mainly to rock I do think that they are a great idea and offer a ton of variety and change of pace to those cruisers interested in them....who knows maybe I'll find myself at all of them this year.....depends on just what Kate's Patron Group does to

Some events announced for this voyage include:  The Naughty Nighty party and this one certainly has interest, but also an element of danger as if I show up in my boxers everyone is sure to be able to tell exactly what I think of their nighties!  In any case it does bear some degree of investigations, perhaps I'll search out a more suitable attire, some nice boring flannel pajamas that can quickly be discarded should do the trick!  And are the ladies in the photo cruising with us? That could sure change my mind!

Another one that's drawing a ton of comments good and bad is the Miami Vice Theme Night, spawned by our departure switching from the port of Fort Lauderdale to the port of Miami for this new vessel.  We are to dress up like our favorite characters from the iconic 80's show, that's a lot of Crockett & Tubbs look a likes, male and there even anyone else in that show?....Oh wait weren't there lots of hookers?....maybe I should just pop in and see what it's all about, we'll see if there's a band playing and make a game time decision as on the whole this is not for me at all.

Sports team night is also planned for this voyage and again is not my cup of tea shall we say.  Being from Toronto and a fan of Toronto's rival hockey team, The Montreal Canadiens, I have many, many jerseys that I could wear, but to me the object of this cruise is the bands, music and friends.  I can wear my hockey jersey any time, any day that I wish, but I can't always see these bands, many of whom do not make Toronto a regular stop on their touring schedules.  Besides the jersey takes up way more space in my luggage than a rock t-shirt does, so again we'll see how it goes.....maybe a ball cap will worm it's way into the packing. the lovely lady going to be present?

Also planned is Karaoke....since I'm basically tone deaf, I'll sit this one out....but then again with the flowing of booze I may be enticed....bring your ear plugs!

The  "So You Think You Can Shred" guitar competition last year drew a number of viewers and contestants and is on tap again for 
this adventure.  Not being one who possesses the talents and 
abilities associated with the playing of a musical instrument to produce anything other than God-awful noise, I probably won't be attending this either, but sincerely wish all the best and good luck to the contestants.
In support of the Monsters of Rock official charity, The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund, MOR has teamed up with the non profit organization to raffle off a brand new Harley Street Glide Special!  That's a real motorcycle folks, not a model or anything......long ride back to Canada if I'm the winner \m/.  The "Monster Harley" has the cruise logo graphics on it and will be presented to the winner by the band of their choice.  Tickets are on sale aboard the ship, but not until we get out into International waters and are extremely reasonably priced considering the estimated worth of the booty!

Each year cruisers take to decorating their cabin doors with "door posters".  There's, I believe anyway, an official contest every year, but I've not noticed the specific winners announced in the past.  I think that this is something that my cabin will partake in on the 2014 cruise.  The planning could however be problematic as there's three of us sharing the cabin, me from Toronto, one from Connecticut and the third from Brasil, so there definitely won't be any getting together meetings to create and construct our door covering, although I could really use an excursion to Brasil right now and escape all this damn snow!  This is an example that I often see posted around from 2012's voyage, so maybe they were the winners that year.  Let's see what I can come up with!

A chat with Graham Bonnet
Definitely this year I will try to get to more of the meet & greets as they are a lot of fun.  Last year I went to one session drawn by the lure of Saxon, one of my all time favorite bands (see the logo in the tattoo up there above?) and had photos taken with Saxon, Helix and Femme Fatale.  You're basically herded through like cattle, get less than a minute on the couch for a quick photo with the band and of course can't have anything signed or much time to chat with your heroes and they're usually rather tired (except the ladies of Femme Fatale who were a bundle of energy even when I got there late in the day), but there's still something fun about the whole thing.  I much prefer the impromptu meet & greets that happen at the bar, buffet, washroom line or just about anywhere else on the massive ship as the band members are interacting and mingling with the cruisers.

Just announced today are two more planned activities with the KISS Jam and Cooking With a Rockstar.  The KISS jam is great in allowing musically inclined cruisers other than those in the shredding contest to be able to play together.  Instruments are provided, but it is also possible to bring your own should you wish to travel with them.  Brush up on your KISS knowledge, there could be surprise guests and being a die hard KISS fan myself, I'll be checking out this event (as a spectator only of

Also on tap is Cooking With a Rockstar which invokes images of fun but also mess as I can definitely see a food fight in the future!  Athena Lee (Femme Fatale), Simon Daniels (Autograph), Taime Downe & Chad Stewart (Faster Pussycat) and Ted Poley & Maz (Ted Poley Band) are all listed as taking part and hosted by Lisa Tirone.  Being a chef/cook by trade I am definitely interested in this event as well, but we'll see what the rest of the performance schedule holds.

So as you can see from this long list, there's so much more to the Monsters of Rock Cruise than just a bunch of concerts on a ship, which is more than enough on its own!  Along with all these events is the friends that you will make from all over the world and the sense of community that this event and genre of music create.  I'm proud to be a part and am sooooo stoked for this year's trip!  Join me next week as I take a look at some of the bands returning for their second voyage.

The Meister ("LIKE" The Meister on Facebook)
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