Drawing by Dave Maxlow, 1989?



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Last updated December 9, 2020


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The drawing above was done by "Nasty Crafty" Dave Maxlow in 1988 or 1989.  Dave was a talented artist and promising young Marine with whom I served on board the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67).  Clearly, he combined his influences in the Marines with those of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

Favorite songs

Good music is more than just good listening tunes. My favorite songs inspire, motivate, and stir up memories. I associate each of the below songs with a memory. But there are two songs that actually get me a little choked up because they stir up such strong feelings: The Star Spangled Banner and Free Bird.
  • Click Click Boom by Saliva
  • Bawitdaba by Kid Rock
  • Bodies by Drowning Pool
  • Lady Strange by Def Leppard
  • Tears in a Vial by Megadeth
  • Master of Puppets by Metallica
  • Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
  • Shot of Love by AC/DC
  • Volcano Girls by Veruca Salt
  • Awake by Godsmack
  • Paradise by the Dashboard Light by Meatloaf
  • Years Ago/Steven by Alice Cooper
  • Whip It by Devo
  • Just an Illusion by Illusion
  • You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) by Dead or Alive
  • Super Villian by Powerman 5000
  • Pornstar Dancing by My Darkest Days
  • The Promise by In this Moment

Favorite compact discs

  • Highway to Hell by AC/DC
  • Back in Black by AC/DC
  • Master of Puppets by Metallica
  • ...and Justice for All by Metallica
  • So Far, So Good, So What by Megadeth
  • Rust in Pieces by Megadeth
  • Devil Without a Cause by Kid Rock
  • The History of Rock by Kid Rock
  • Rock n Roll Jesus by Kid Rock
  • Born Free by Kid Rock
  • High and Dry by Def Leppard
  • Pyromania by Def Leppard
  • Decade of Decadence by Motley Crue
  • Heaven and Hell by Black Sabbath
  • "Rock Star" Soundtrack
  • Resurrection by Rob Halford
  • Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf
  • Molly Hatchet by Molly Hatchet
  • Gold and Platinum by Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Little Piece of Dixie by Blackberry Smoke
  • "The Heroin Diaries" Soundtrack: The Soundtrack to the book The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star

Favorite Bands

  • AC/DC
  • Metallica
  • Megadeth
  • Kid Rock
  • Motley Crue
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Van Halen (but only with David Lee Roth)
  • Blackberry Smoke

Most overrated hard rock bands

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Anthrax
  • Korn

Best vocals

  • Geoff Tate of Queensryche
  • Ronnie James Dio
  • Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden
  • Rob Halford of Judas Priest
  • David Draiman of Disturbed
  • the late Freddy Mercury of Queen

Worst vocals

  • Bob Dylan
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Dave Mustaine (but an awesome songwriter and musician)


The following lists the various bands I've seen live

  • Adam Ant
  • Mister Mister
  • Liberace
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1986 or 1987
  • Rossington Collins Band, 1986 or 1987
  • Sting, 1986 or 1987
  • Yngwie Malmsteen, 1988
  • Lita Ford, 1988
  • Loretta Lynn: USO Show, 1998
  • Queensryche
  • Metallica (the "...Justice for All" tour)
  • Weird Al Yankovic
  • Skid Row
  • Kiss
  • Count Basie
  • The Who (with Billy Idol appearing as guest)
  • Carl Filipiak
  • Eric Sardinas: This is the man that turned me onto the blues. His lively performance which combined blues and rock left me thoroughly entertained. He opened for Steve Vai but I much preferred Eric's show.
  • Steve Vai: March 24, 2005 at the Ram's Head Tavern in Baltimore
    Steve Vai at the Baltimore Ram's Head Tavern, March 24, 2005
  • Machinehead
  • Megadeth
  • Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath with Dio)
  • Junkyard Jimmy and I arrived at the Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia, Maryland at 1815 on Friday, May 18, 2007. We found a nice spot on the lawn. A little later, Slick Rick arrived with some of his friends. We moved to a better spot right on the 50 yard line. The crowd was mostly dressed in black, in their late 30s and 40s, and male. Jimmy, Rick, and I fit the stereotype well. The show began at 1850 with Machinehead. I've heard of them but I know none of their songs. Like many of the newer hard rock bands, they reminded me of a less melodic Slayer. Seems like the younger members of the audience enjoyed Machinehead. They played for about a half hour. Lots of marijuana smoke in the air. A little later, Megadeth came on. Dave Mustaine looked fantastic. He looked fit and young. I didn't recognize anyone else in the band but that didn't matter. They played challenging music with the utmost level of precision and perfection. I expect nothing else of Megadeth. They played most of my favorites including Holy Wars, Eye of the Tornado, and Symphony of Destruction. Between sets, I went to take a piss. The line for the men's restroom was about 75 meters long. There was no line for the women's restroom. A few men used the women's restroom, escorted by a female friend. But the wait wasn't bad as the line for the men's moved quickly. Heaven and Hell started off their set with a tune from Dehumanizer. Jimmy hadn't heard that compact disc but he was impressed with what he heard. They played many of their old classics including Neon Knights, Heaven and Hell, Lady Evil, the Mob Rules, and my favorite, Falling Off the Edge of the World. Unlike Megadeth, the strength of Heaven and Hell wasn't their guitar playing but rather the voice of Ronnie James Dio...not to say that their guitar work was poor...it is just that Dio's voice is what stands out. One fellow in front of us was s**tfaced drunk and ended up passing out on the lawn. Poor guy didn't know what he was missing. It rained lightly and it was a little cold. But that just encouraged me to keep moving as I bobbed my head back and forth to the beat of the music. The entire show ended at 2250. With a 4 hour show, we really got our money's worth.
  • The Blues Vultures
  • Norma and I saw them on July 7, 2007 at The Music Cafe, a smoke-free, alcohol-free, family friendly place to hear live bands in an up-close and personable environment.
  • Mary Shaver Band
    March 1, 2008 at The Music Cafe. Read more at Catoctin Tri-Leader Hike.
  • Mary Shaver Band, March 1, 2008
  • We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration
  • On January 18, 2009, Norma and I saw Jon Bon Jovi, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Usher, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, and James Taylor. They performed at the Washington D.C. at the Obama Inaugural Celebration. For a verbose report and photos, see Obama Inaugural Celebration.
  • 24 Karat
  • Norma and I saw them on May 1, 2009 at Perry's in Odenton.
  • The Charlie Daniels Band
  • Norma and I saw them on September 12, 2009 at Pickin' in the Panhandle: The West Virginia State Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival. We missed most of the weekend long events but definitely plan to return next year.
  • Girls, Guns, and Glory
  • Norma and I saw them on February 13, 2010 at The Purple Fiddle in West Virginia. They are a fine band from Boston described as having a rock 'n' roll, country, folk, and blues sound. They even won the Boston Music Award for "Outstanding Americana Act of the Year."
  • Roadside Cafe
  • Norma and I saw this band on in June 2010 at Duvall's, 2846 Jessup Road (route 175), Jessup, MD 20794-9709. There I purchased their CD called Grand Opening. Very good. One of the members of the band is from the nearby town of Pasadena, Maryland.
  • Baltimore Bluegrass Band
  • Norma and I saw this band on July 2, 2010 at Duvall's, 2846 Jessup Road (route 175), Jessup, MD 20794-9709. These guys are exceptional musicians. I can't believe they don't have a CD out yet.
  • Vanderhook
  • Norma and I saw them on July 9, 2010 at Perry's in Odenton. Good time classic rock.
  • Pickin' in the Panhandle 2010
  • I attended this multi-band bluegrass event in West Virginia on September 11-12, 2010.
  • Rock of Ages
    What exactly is a concert? Is it simply a live musical performance? Then if so, perhaps stage show musicals should also be considered a form of concert entertainment. This was certainly the case when Norma, Allison, Mark, Tomas, Gabriella, and I saw "Rock of Ages" (the musical) on December 4, 2010 at The Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore. Prior to the show, we caught a bite to eat at Luna Del Sea. Good food but overpriced. But back to the show...I mean, concert. It was FANTASTIC! Truly a feast for the ears, eyes, and mind. I wore my sleeveless Union Jack shirt (true 80s vintage) along with studded wristbands. Unfortunately, we didn't have the best seats. But it was still great. I would definitely recommend paying more to get the best seats. If you're a heterosexual male, you won't regret it. Speaking of heterosexual males, see Tomas with his wife Gabriella. Clearly, Tomas is getting into the spirit of the show.
    Tomas and Gabriella
  • Carroll County Ramblers and Remington Ryde
  • On August 22, 2011, I met Suzanne, Maryrose, Lisa F., John, and Stephen at the Arcadia Voluteer Fire Company Activities Building at 16020 Carnival Avenue, Upperco, Maryland 21155 for an evening of bluegrass music. This was part of the Arcadia Bluegrass Concert series. The Carroll County Ramblers opened and were followed by Reminton Ryde. The show lasted from 1900 to 2230 with each band playing for two 50 minute intervals. Both bands were extremely talented and put on a great show. Remington Ryde were quite the comedians. About 70 people were in attendance...mostly senior citizens. Chips, sloppy joes, hot dogs, soda, and bottled water were sold. No alcohol was permitted. I had a good time though I must admit that 3.5 hours is a long time...much longer than my attention span. Maybe next time I'll bring a board game since there was plenty of room and tables were set up.
  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • In late October, Norma, Lisa, and I saw the stage play titled "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." The story was strange, the acting good, and the music loud. We saw this performance at the Baltimore Creative Alliance.
  • Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow
  • On January 22, 2011, Norma took me to the Jiffy Lube Live amphitheater in Bristow, Virginia to see Kid Rock. I can say without a doubt that this is the best concert I have ever attended. He put on an excellent show. We were 10 rows back from the stage and almost dead center. Kid Rock's voice is superb and he really knows how to entertain. Could it have been better? I would have liked to have seen Sheryl Crow sing more duets with Kid Rock. In particular, he has a great song called "Care" off his Born Free compact disc that he recorded with Marina McBride. But since McBride wasn't there, he could have sang it with Crow. But otherwise, no, I don't think his performance could have been improved. Opening for Kid Rock was Leroy Powell and the Messengers and Sheryl Crow. See Kid Rock in the image below.
    Kid Rock
  • David Garrett
  • On February 3, 2012, I took Norma to the Lisner Auditorium at the George Washington University in Washington D.C. to see master violinist David Garrett. There is no doubt as to his technical expertise when it comes to playing the violin. While there were a few songs I recognized, most I did not. Overall, I can't say that the performance really held my attention. It just wasn't entertaining. In contrast, seeing Liberace perform at the Music Circus in Sacramento back around 1980 really held my attention. Prior to that show, I really didn't know much about Liberace except for imitations by Bugs Bunny. As a musician, I put David Garrett in the same class as Liberace and Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. But as an entertainer, he just didn't hold my interest. If you do decide to see Garrett live, I suggest sitting on the center or right side of the stage. Being a right-handed fiddle player, we often just saw his right arm as we sat on the left side. See David Garrett in the image below.
    David Garrett
  • One Flight Up
  • On June 27, 2012, Norma, Teresa, and I saw this band perform at the Columbia Lakefront Stage. This is part of the Columbia Lakefront Summer Festival. They played some old 70s R&B, funk, blues, and pop such as Aretha Franklin, Cameo, Santana, and the Doobie Brothers. The fellow with the dreadlocks and the Rasta hat had a particularly nice voice.
  • Jamey Johnson
  • On March 29, 2014, Norma and I saw this artist in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Andreas Kern versus Paul Cibis
  • This "Piano Battle" concert show at the Austrian Embassy was a new concert format which presents classical music in a novel way. The two accomplished pianists compete against one another other with distinctly different performance styles, playing pieces by composers such as Chopin, Liszt and Debussy and improvised works based on audience requests. Both serious and humorous, the show consists of recital and interactive elements, and the audience plays an active part throughout the entire program. In the end, the audience was invited to vote on the pianists' performances and choose the winner.
    This is only the second piano concert I've attended with the first being Liberace. All are excellent musicians but very few people can top Liberace as an entertainer. His wit and personality kept things entertaining along with his diverse selection of both serious and playful music. I felt Andreas and Paul played more for a classically music trained audience and a European crowd. Most of the selections just did not appeal to me.
  • Blackberry Smoke
  • Over the last few years, I've really developed a greater appreciation for southern rock or "redneck" rock as I sometimes call it. Maybe it is because I've become such a fan of Kick Rock though I've always liked Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet. The problem is there aren't many bands out there that write music like this anymore. One of the few is Blackberry Smoke. Cliff L. first introduced me to this band. They are excellent songwriters. I soon bought 2 of their CDs. Then on May 9, 2014, Cliff, Jim C., Rick H. and I went and saw them at the Filmore in Silver Spring, Maryland. They put on a very good show. When the lead singer of the band spoke, I realized that he has a high, nasal voice that reminds me of Earnest T. Bass from the "Andy Griffith Show." Shortly after the concert, I bought a third CD. All are top-knotch and well worth the money. In my opinion, they are currently the most underrated band and the best band since Kid Rock. A band from Nashville called Delta Saints opened for them. They were just o.k. Their first two opening songs were really good but most didn't hold my attention. Their bass was far too loud.
    Blackberry Smoke
  • Artists seen on our Tennessee 2015 road trip:
  •      Urban Soil
         Eric Caldwell, a solo acoustic guitarist
         The Lamp Light Blues Sessions
         Justin Johnson
         David Bradley and Friends (David Bradley, Greg Barnhill, Justin Zimmer, and Jamie Zimmer)
         The Chris McDaniel Band
         The High Falutin' Band
         Blind Mississippi Morris
         Joe Doyle
         Casey Derhak
         Chase and Earl
  • Lita Ford
  • I saw Lita back in 1988. I enjoyed that concert but don't remember it very well. Then she came to the Ram's Head in Annapolis in December 11, 2016. I took Carmen to see her with me. This show was good but not great. Her voice didn't sound up to par. Our seats were not that good. The venue is small so we were close to the stage but our view was obstructed by a pole. Her band was very talented and she looked fantastic for a woman of 58. She played all her hits.
    Lita Ford
  • Jukin
  • This is a great southern rock tribute band that I saw at Savage Fest 2017.
  • The Sherman Holmes Project Featuring Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley
  • On December 9, 2017, Norma and I saw this country, bluegrass, and blues performance at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore. The musicians were very talented, yet I had never heard of them before tonight.
  • Kid Rock and a Thousand Horses
  • I attended this concert with Janie on March 3, 2018 at the Royal Farms arena in Baltimore. Kid Rock was promoting his Sweet Southern Sugar CD. It was a good show but I preferred the Born Free tour.
  • Creedence Clearwater Revisited
  • On July 30, 2018, Norma, Sara, and I saw CCR at Maryland Hall in Annapolis. They exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend them. Easy on the wallet too.
  • Miss Moon Rising
  • New Years Eve, 2019. What a great way to end the decade. My town booked this band for our New Years Eve party. I usually don't get very excited about local bands but I think it is only a matter of time before the lead singer, Miranda Judd, achieves stardom. She has a very powerful voice and terrific stage presence. I hope we can get them for future events in Savage but I'm willing to bet that they will be very popular and we won't be able to afford them.
    Click thumbnails to enlarge.


The following lists the various bands I would have liked to have seen live

  • Ozzy Osbourne when Randy Rhoads was alive
  • Van Halen when David Lee Roth was still in the band
  • Alice Cooper in the 1980s
  • Motley Crue on their Doctor Feelgood tour

Biggest disappointment

In 1983, Def Leppard released Pyromania which changed my life.  The new wave pop bands I had been listening to previously just didn't sound the same after I heard Rock of Ages and Foolin'.  Pyromania was the album that turned me into a rocker.  Shortly after, Rick Allen, the drummer for Def Leppard, was injured a severe auto accident.  Through sheer determination, stubbornness, and a love of rock 'n' roll, Rick continued with the band, drumming with one arm.  After four LONG years, Def Leppard released Hysteria, their great comeback album.  I was quick to purchase it, hoping for the kind of inspiration they provided me with High 'n' Dry and Pyromania.  Much to my disappointment, they succumbed to the dark side of pop.  Their hard edge was dull and the sound that once motivated me now left me as limp as a bizkit.

Another big disappointment came when David Lee Roth left Van Halen. At first, I was pleased that the replacement would be Sammy Hagar. How I loved his "I Can't Drive 55" and "Heavy Metal." I thought that Diamond Dave would form a great band and Van Halen would have a different but still awesome sound with their new front man. It turns out Dave put out the fabulous "Yankee Rose" while Van Hagar put out the memorable "Why Can't this Be Love?" Both were great songs. Dave put out a few more hits though none that compared to "Yankee Rose." Van Halen had success with Hagar in the lead but their music paled by comparison to the good old days. A change that should have resulted in two fantasic bands eventually resulted in two bands that were mediocre at best. Interestingly, only half of my generation agrees with me. We (my generation) are split in terms of who was the better front man for Van Halen. Kim Mulligan of Hair Nation on Sirius Satellite Radio conducted an informal listener survey and confirmed this in 2005. Fortunately, she agreed with me in that Diamond Dave was the better.

Appealing to our sense of sin
I find it interesting how so many of the hard rock bands appeal to our sense of sin. Sort of like, "If you enjoy it, it must be bad." Bands build reputations. For the hard rock groups, one can have an image of being woman chasers, devil worshippers, hard drinkers, or just plain old ass kickers. Often times, it is a combination of a few of these. Sometimes the reputation changes over time. Motley Crue started out with more of a devil worshipper image and this later changed to being woman chasers. Maybe what it all comes down to is that hard rock music appeals to our sense of rebellion. It can rebel against religion, parents, the law, or societal norms. Whatever the appeal, it has attracted people (mostly young people) for decades and while the names and faces may change (heavy metal, pop metal, alternative, grunge, goth, etc.) it's still rock and roll to me. As Ozzy says, "Long live rock and roll!"

Many bands live fast and die young; perhaps because they say it is better to burn out than to fade away (Def Leppard).  Other bands try to hold onto something they've lost, with singers unable to hits the notes they once sang, and songwriters writing for an era long gone.  Though this band didn't make it to my list of favorite bands, they are still a band I enjoy, and most of all, respect.  Aerosmith has been writing great hits since the early 70s.  They've written good music and put on great concerts in every decade and I only hope they will continue to do so until they die.  Despite their age, they still have a sound that is fresh and appeals to audiences both young and new.  Aerosmith, I salute you!

My Taste in Music
By now you've probably realised I'm a headbanger. I like my music hard, heavy, and loud. But I also like my music to have a melody. I want to be able to whistle it hiking down a trail or paddling in the Chesapeake Bay. Much of the post-grunge hard rock doesn't fit this criteria since it often relies on heavy guitar sounds to provide the rhythm but often has little or no melody. Some of the pre-grunge bands fit this category too. Slayer has some good driving guitar lines but a weak melody. I can only tolerate them for a few songs. In addition to being melodic, I also like hard rock music that is raunchy. "Don't Need Rules" by Kik Tracee is a great song with a really raunchy guitar line. Much of the music by Buckcherry is pretty raunchy too. Such a great adjective to describe my taste.

I love hard rock but I also appreciate most rock music in general. Rock is a pretty broad term so let me clarify. I like classic rock like Led Zepppelin and Alice Cooper. I like southern rock like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet. I like the pop metal pretty boy bands like Poison and Bon Jovi. I like the plain old in-your-face hard stuff like old Metallica and Megadeth.

I also appreciate punk rock. I like music from both the classic bands such as the Sex Pistols and the Ramones along with some of the more modern punk bands like Propaghandi. However, I've found that most punk bands lack musical and production quality, often making up for it with raw energy. Hence, I frequently only buy punk compilation compact disks since CDs from one band will usually only have one or two songs I can tolerate.

"Man cannot live by rock alone." I don't know who said this but I think it is in the Bible. I also appreciate 1980s pop/new wave, dance music, classical, outlaw country, and bluegrass. I hate most slow music and bluegrass singers (they sound like they are singing through their nose). I do love the fast banjo picking bluegrass music by bands such as the Dillards since it reminds me of the metal shredders such as Yngwie Malmsteen and Eddie Van Halen. Still, if you were to look at my collection of music, you'd probably find it is 88% hard rock, 8% 1980s pop/new wave, 3% dance music, and 1% everything else. Lately, I've been getting more into hard blues. That's what I call it. Sort of a mix between hard rock and blues. The best example I can think of is The Blues Vultures. They rock big time.

What do I dislike? I don't like jazz unless it is Dixieland jazz. I hate opera (what heterosexual male doesn't?). I hate most slow songs, especially the country western ones. I don't like gansta rap but I do like the more upbeat and melodic rap of the Sugarhill Gang. I hate when bands use their popularity to promote their own personal political beliefs...especially the Irish bands. I really hate folk music. Church music sucks too. There's something about mixing politics/religion with music that just ain't right.


Halloween 2007
Me on October 27, 2006 Halloween Party. The theme was to come dressed as your favorite decade. Guess what decade I was representing?

Click thumbnail to enlarge.

Nikki Sixx
On October 15, 2007, Cliff (a co-worker) and I left work at 1700 and took the Metro into Georgetown. Norma met us along the way. We managed to make it to the Barnes and Noble bookstore just before 1900. Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue was to arrive at 1930 for a book signing. He was promoting his new book, The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star. This book debuted at #7 on the New York Times Best Seller List. After reading The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band, I just had to have The Heroin Diaries. Cliff and I are big fans of the whole 80s heavy metal scene...especially Motley Crue. We could not possibly pass up a chance to meet what I consider the mastermind of the greatest metal band from that era.

Things were quite organized at the bookstore. I purchased two books...one for myself and one for a friend. Cliff did the same. There was a two book or two CD limit. We went to the third floor of the store to get in line. I'm guessing there were about 70 people in front of us.

I gave my camera to Norma and she waited patiently on the second floor for Nikki's arrival.

The line meandered through the store, along the fiction section. We saw quite a few classics written by Steinbeck, Tolstoy, and a few others. Not quite the typical selection for your average Crue fan.

A few times we heard people on the second floor chanting "Nick, Nick, Nick!" Eventually, the line began to move...but ever so slowly.

Around 2145, we got to see Nikki. For a guy ready to turn 49 on December 11, he looked great. He definitely has all his hair, not too many wrinkles, and was quite slim. Add to that the fact that several years ago he was a heroin addict and once died, he looked fantastic!

Nikki signed both my books then shook my hand. He seemed quite the gentleman. Definitely not the stereotypical rock star. I heard him on a Sirius Satellite Radio Hair Nation interview and he seemed very intelligent and well spoken. With all he has going on, I'm amazed he found the time to come to Georgetown for a book signing. He's quite busy with his new band, Sixx: A.M., interviews, and promoting his clothing line. I'm sure he must also have a hand in the filming of The Dirt, the movie based on the book.

Cliff and I were both quite pleased to have met Nikki. Norma seemed pleased that I was pleased. I can honestly say that Nikki met all my expectations.

We went across the street for Vietnamese food then took the Metro back to Hyattsville. The time was about midnight by the time we got off the Metro. It was a long evening...but well worth it.
Click thumbnails to enlarge.

Obama Inaugural Celebration
On January 18, 2009, Norma and I went to church at All Souls Unitarian. The Reverend Rob Hardies gave an excellent sermon about Moses and Joshua. It all related nicely to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and the Presidential Inauguration. Additionally, it set the tone for the rest of the day.

Afterwards, Norma, Thorston (a visiting photographer from Latvia), and I took a bus to the National Mall. As we neared the Washingon Monument, crowds began to form. It seemed everyone wanted to get near the Lincoln Memorial to see the inaugural celebration performance.

Thorston ended up going his way while Norma and I walked around and looked for another entrance that might get us closer to the action. With 300,000 people expected, there were no short lines. We ended up standing about a third of a mile from the stage. Though it wasn't a great location, it wasn't bad and it was certainly a much better view than the one John Paul Jones had. See first photo at left. I wonder why they put the Led Zeppelin bassist in a Napoleon hat. We stood on a manhole cover which put us a few inches above most people. To our back, thousands stood closer to the base of the Washington Monument. See second photo.

Through my binoculars, I could see the Obama family walk across the stage. I couldn't make them out clearly but it was obvious that the silhouettes I saw from afar were the ones that appeared on the giant television screens in front of us.

Bruce Springsteen opened the show. See third photo. He was followed by several other acts including Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi (fourth photo), Bono, Garth Brooks (fifth photo), Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp (sixth photo), Usher, Shakira, and James Taylor. I was really feeling my age not being familiar with most of the singers. Norma and I stuck around until Garth Brooks finished his performance. We wanted to beat the crowd to the Metro. While we were leaving, we caught a bit of Bono's show. It seems I've dated myself by referring to him as Bono Vox (the name he used in the 1980s)...and I still refer to John Mellencamp as John Cougar. Speakers included Joe Biden, Jamie Foxx, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah, Denzel Washington, Tiger Woods (seventh photo), Jack Black (eighth photo), and Tom Hanks. I think I would have preferred if Jack Black had sung with Tenacious D but maybe it is just as well he didn't since the censored versions would not have been to my liking. Unfortunately, we missed Beyonce, Barack Obama's speech, and the finale.

I thought it would have been nice if Steven Tyler, Kid Rock, and Alice Cooper had performed. I would have loved to have seen Alice sing "Elected":
     And if I am elected
     I promise the formation of a new party
     A third party, the Wild Party!

While the performance was for the voters and Barack Obama, the real star of the show was Obama himself. The crowd went wild whenever the camera shifted to our soon-to-be 44th President.

The whole event was a very positive and uplifting one. See the smile on our faces in the ninth photo? The last 8 years has seen a significant amount of polarity in our country. Like Lincoln, Obama is working to pull the country together, regardless of political party. Hence, the name of the event was simple and appropriate: We Are One.
Click thumbnails to enlarge.

Pickin' in the Panhandle 2010
On September 11-12, 2010, I attended the annual West Virginia Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival, also known as Pickin' in the Panhandle. I attended this on September 12, 2009 with Norma but then we only caught the final act of Friday and the morning acts of Saturday. This time I wanted to be around to enjoy much more.

I sent out an e-mail to a LOT of people, inviting them to join me. Steven J. (a kayaker) bought his ticket for both days but ended up not going, due to work committments. In the end, I attended on Saturday with Joyce and Jimmy then on Sunday with Norma and Jessica (Norma's intern). See me and Jessica in the photo at left. I saw several bands but the ones I remember best are the following:
  • Lonesome Highway: A very good band. I bought their CD titled "The Highway Called."
  • Claire Lynch Band
  • Josh Williams Band: Excellent. Unfortunately, they didn't have any CDs for sale at the event. If they did, I would have bought one.
  • G2: The best bluegrass band ever to come from Sweden. I purchased their CD titled Where the Tall Grass Grows
  • Mountain Heart: I felt this was the most memorable and talented band at the festival. Their music is a very strange blend of various genres. Definitely a band to see live.
  • Joe Diffie Bluegrass Band
  • The Gibson Brothers
  • Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice: Another very talented band. Probably my favorite of the day.
  • Ricky Skaggs: Known not only for bluegrass, he also had some big country music hits, which the crowd seemed to prefer.

  • I was hoping to save money by buying CDs at the event directly from the performers but at $15 per CD, that was not the case. I was also hoping to get to taste some of the entries in the BBQ contest but I think only the judges got to eat the entries. The rest of us were limited to the vendors. Not that the vendor food was bad but I was hoping for more. The food was a little expensive too.

    The campground was just o.k. Very simple. Lots of porta-johns and water for washing your hands but none for drinking unless you bought bottled water. So bring lots of your own drinking water. No showers at the campground either.

    One thing that was nice is that I saw no mosquitos at the campground.

    Bring your own chair if you sit at the main stage. They have a few hay bales for sitting on but just a few. The sun can get pretty intense so bring a hat and sunscreen. If you've got one of those chairs with the roof, that's even better. Don't worry about bringing a lowrider chair. The stage is elevated enough so you can bring a regular chair.

    The performers were very talented. This is definitely the place to go if you love bluegrass music. There was often a Christian bias in the show but my experience with bluegrass (and rural things in general) is that is to be expected.

    Overall, I had a good time. Next year I might just go for one day. I was a little disappointed that so few of the people I invited came out. But at least I had good people with me.
    Click thumbnail to enlarge.


    According to Kim Mulligan, Rudy Sarzo says there are three type of rock star hair:
    1. Arena Hair: Big.
    2. Stadium Hair: Bigger, so the folks in the cheap seats can see you.
    3. Backstage Hair: Smaller, so as not to scare away fans.

    I like metal, bluegrass, and country music. One thing I like about all three is "Osborne."
    1. Ozzy Osbourne: An Englishman who rose to prominence during the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath.
    2. Osborne Brothers: A popular bluegrass act during the 1960s and 1970s.
    3. Brothers Osborne: A country music duo consisting of brothers T.J. Osborne and John Osborne.
    I recently heard a new song by Brothers Osborne titled "I'm Not for Everyone" that I really like. These guys are natives of Deale, Maryland, a small town about 37 miles from Savage in neighboring Anne Arundel County. On December 8, 2020, I bought this song...so I guess that means I'm supporting a local business.

    Amazon Music Downloads


    Saki's method for converting audio files in playlist from MP4 to MP3 format

    Rock Quiz

    Are you a metal nerd?
    You might be if you get 20 or more of the following questions correct.  No using books, magazines, the internet, other people, etc.  Just answer using what little you have between your ears.

    1. In which of the following bands did Rudy Sarzo play bass?

    a. Ozzy Osbourne
    b. Judas Priest
    c. Quiet Riot

    2. Randy Rhoads was alive for the release of which Ozzy Osbourne album(s)?

    a. Bark at the Moon
    b. Blizzard of Oz
    c. Diary of a Madman

    3. David Lee Roth's last album with Van Halen before being replaced by Sammy Hagar was ______?
    4. Name the 4 original members of Kiss.
    5. The album "Led Zeppelin 2" is also known as the ______ _______.
    6. What song starts out with, "Finished with my woman 'cause she couldn't help me with my mind"?
    7. Name the band known for having a drummer who lost his arm on December 31, 1984.
    8. What band performed with the San Francisco symphony orchestra in 1999?
    9. To whom did Al Gore ask, "What does SMF stand for when it is spelled out?"
    10. What country is Yngwie Malmsteen from?
    11. Lita Ford and Joan Jett performed together in what 1970s band?
    12. AC/DC is from what country?
    13. Name the rocker that Nikki Sixx claims snorted a line of ants.
    14. Name the band whose former lead singer publicly announced in 1998 that he is a homosexual.
    15. Prior to forming Megadeth, Dave Mustaine was the lead guitarist for what band?
    16. Bret Michaels, Tommy Lee, and Kid Rock all slept with what celebrity?
    17. Geddy Lee, Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson are all members of what Canadian band?
    18. What guitarist died on September 18, 1970, after suffocating in his own vomit after an overdose of barbiturates?
    19. Name the band whose lead singer was one of Britain's top fencers and an award winning author.
    20. Name the Guns and Roses song that appeared in the movie "Terminator 2." The music video starred Arnold Schwarzeneggar.
    21. Name the shock rocker whose stage name is a 17th century witch.
    22. Some people say the term "Heavy Metal" originated with the song lyrics, "Heavy metal thunder" from what 1968 song?
    23. Name the song that supposedly says, "My sweet Satan" when played backwards.
    24. Name the rocker who wrote the book titled "The Long Hard Road out of Hell."
    25. What is the word you might see when holding a Dio album upside down.
    26. Prior to forming his own band, Mark Slaughter sang with a band led by what former Kiss guitarist?
    27. Name the Christian metal band famous for "To Hell with the Devil."
    28. Name the 1970s band who originally recorded "Cum on Feel the Noize."
    29. Who are the "Toxic Twins"?
    30. Black Sabbath has a song titled N.I.B. What does N.I.B. stand for?
    31. Who was pronounced dead in 1987 after overdosing on heroin, only to revive after a few minutes by two shots of adrenalin to the heart?
    32. The incident in question 31 inspired what song?
    33. Who served 30 days in jail for manslaughter for a 1984 car crash that killed Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley?
    34. The death of Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley led to the breakup of what Finnish band?
    35. Name the musician who was born in Israel, worked as a schoolteacher, became an actor, managed the career of Liza Minnelli, and has his own action figure.
    36. What is the Satanic acronym that AC/DC supposedly stands for?
    37. What is the Satanic acronym that Rush supposedly stands for?
    38. What is the Satanic acronym that Kiss supposedly stands for?
    39. "Children Of The Night" is an organization to get adolescent runaways, sexually abused children, and prostitutes off the streets of Los Angeles and to help them to re-enter the mainstream society. What heavy metal singer was presented with the Dave Pritchard Memorial Award because of his help with "Children Of The Night"?
    40. Who is the "Red Rocker"?
    41. What singer was a disc jockey, pilot, author, and asked to join the Olympic fencing team?
    42. What Kiss song was inspired by the "Three Stooges"?
    43. Who is credited with making the hand symbol that represents the Devil a popular gesture at heavy metal concerts?
    44. What metal band almost named themselves "Bucket of Lard"?
    45. What metal god once worked as a car horn tester?
    46. What hair band singer became interested in classical music and studied ballet around 1976? Hint, his real last name is Fawcett.
    47. In the 1985, there was a joint effort from the heavy metal scene to raise money for famine relief in Africa. This project included members of such bands as Dio, Quiet Riot, Iron Maiden, Mötley Crüe, Twisted Sister, Queensr˙che, Blue Öyster Cult, Dokken, Night Ranger, Judas Priest, W.A.S.P., Journey, Y&T, Vanilla Fudge, and the parody band Spinal Tap. What was the name of this project? What was the name of their hit song?
    48. In the horror film "Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare," who played the part of Freddy Krueger's abusive foster father, Mr. Underwood?
    49. What 80s hair band features two of the younger brothers of members of Quiet Riot?
    50. What guitar god is quoted as having said, "The more seriously a band takes themselves, the more they look like Spinal Tap"?
    51. Who is the Motor City Madman?
    52. The band D-A-D began playing together in the early 1980s in Copenhagen, Denmark. What was their original name? Hint: the acronym is DAD.
    53. What famous guitarist is missing two fingertips from his right hand?
    54. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, "metalheads" were sometimes called another name because of their habit of jerking their heads backwards and forwards vigorously in time with the music, often simultaneously while playing air guitar. What is this term?

    Band Names
    What characteristic do the following bands have in common that very few other bands have?
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Giuffria
  • Lynch Mob
  • Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
  • Santana
  • Van Halen
  • Vandenberg
  • Vinnie Vincent Invasion
  • Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force

  • Hint: It has to do with the names of the bands.

    Quiz Answers
    Are you a metal nerd?
    1. A, C
    2. B, C
    3. 1984
    4. Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss
    5. Brown Bomber
    6. Paranoid
    7. Def Leppard
    8. Metallica
    9. Dee Snider
    10. Sweden
    11. The Runaways
    12. Australia
    13. Ozzy Osbourne
    14. Judas Priest
    15. Metallica
    16. Pamela Anderson Lee
    17. Rush
    18. Jimi Hendrix
    19. Iron Maiden
    20. You Could Be Mine
    21. Alice Cooper
    22. Born to Be Wild
    23. Stairway to Heaven
    24. Marilyn Manson (Brian Warner)
    25. Devil
    26. Vinnie Vincent
    27. Stryper
    28. Slade
    29. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry
    30. Nativity in Black
    31. Nikki Sixx
    32. "Kickstart My Heart"
    33. Vince Neil
    34. Hanoi Rocks
    35. Gene Simmons
    36. Anti-Christ Devil Child or After Christ Devil Comes
    37. Rulers Under Satan's Hell
    38. Kings/Knights/Kids In Satan's Service
    39. Ronnie James Dio
    40. Sammy Hagar
    41. Bruce Dickinson, formerly of Iron Maiden
    42. Calling Doctor Love - thanks to Tawn Mastery of Hair Nation
    43. Ronnie James Dio - thanks to Tawn Mastery of Hair Nation
    44. Rhino Bucket - thanks to Kim Mulligan of Hair Nation
    45. Ozzy Osbourne - thanks to Kim Mulligan of Hair Nation
    46. Kip Winger - thanks to Kim Mulligan of Hair Nation and Wikipedia
    47. Hear 'n Aid; Stars - thanks to Kim Mulligan of Hair Nation and Wikipedia
    48. Alice Cooper - thanks to Wikipedia
    49. Hurricane - thanks to Kim Mulligan of Hair Nation and Wikipedia
    50. George Lynch - thanks to Kim Mulligan of Hair Nation
    51. Ted Nugent
    52. Disneyland After Dark
    53. Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath
    54. Headbanger
    Rick holds the record at 26 correct out of 30. Questions after 30 were added later.

    I have heard that the term "headbanger" evolved from the term used to describe Motorhead fans. Can someone please point me to a source that can verify this? 

    Band Names
    All these bands are named after a member of the band who is not the lead singer.