Rock Against Diabetes 2008 Rocks Las Vegas
Band Photo: Opiate for the Masses (?)
"Rock Against Diabetes 2008" was held at Club Rox in Las Vegas, Nevada. The club was kind enough to provide R.A.D. with a venue for the two-day event. Many artists gave of themselves to support the cause, which will not be forgotten by all of us that struggle with diabetes on a daily basis.
I got the chance to talk with the event founder and organizer, Darrin Buchanan, and he explained how all of this came about. Two years ago, Darrin's foot died on him virtually over night. He underwent a number of tests and the result was diabetes and that part of his foot would need to be removed. Here is a 36 year old man with a wife and young daughter and he was facing the fight of his life. From that experience Rock Against Diabetes began. The first event was held is Canada and Darrin, in his wheelchair, was keeping the show flowing and the event was a success. A chain of events led to a second surgery to remove more of Darrin's leg from the knee down, and now Darrin would be walking again after 2 years with the help of a prosthetic leg. It was fantastic to see Darrin running around for two days along with his lovely wife Lindsey. They are my heroes! I am sure glad we are on the same team in this daily fight that we diabetics face each day. They give me strength and hope!
Friday the 22nd of August was considered the "Pre Show Bash" with the main event being on Saturday the 23rd of August 2008. Some of the R.A.D. sponsors are Dirt Bag, MetalUnderground.com, Atari, Spectraflex, as well as Gibson Foundation and Vigier Guitars. Also contributing their non musical talents are renown artist Zoey Stevens who in 2 days did 3 spectacular paintings for auction of Brett Michaels, Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, and R.A.D.'s host Evel Dick Donato, who I might add is quite charismatic and a riot. What a fun person to be around. Being the event photographer I decided to invite my friend and an amazing photographer Jeff Findley to help me out and he did a fantastic job too!
North Dakota by way of Los Angles, CA brought R.A.D. Starving for Gravity. They are a fun band with a lot of energy and passion in their music and performance . "Starving for Gravity" opened up the show both nights. They won the slot over hundreds of other bands through an online voting poll and a panel of judges. As a whole the band felt "completely honored and excited to be a part of R.A.D." I asked if diabetes affected anyone they knew and they answered "yes." I got the same answers from just about everyone on the bill.
Next to take the stage on both nights was Kicking K8 from San Diego, California. This band is turbo charged, and it is clear their commitment, drive, talent and track record so far has them positioned for success. The band has played 160 shows in 10 states in 2006-2007 with no label support. They have been included on the last three Jägermeister Tours, playing shows alongside the likes of Disturbed, Stone Sour, Staind, Three Days Grace and many more. Lets not forget their addition to the latest Jägermeister compilation CD with their single, "Disaster." On Saturday the band maintained their momentum. They are fierce.
In the 3:00 time slot on Saturday only was Chicago's The Dogs Divine, who are currently touring with L.A. Guns. They hit the stage with hard driving rock sound reminiscent the 80's metal scene (eyeliner included). Oh how I loved the 80's music. Yet the focus of these musicians is to be heard and not forgotten, and that they did. It was an excellent set and the main thing that caught my attention was their drummer Trent, who was smiling quite a bit and never missed a beat. When I see joy and energy that some artists express during their performance, it inspires me and my shutter clicks like crazy.
L.A. California by way of Brazil we have Magnetico. This band was created by the very talented vocalist and guitarist Rafael Moreira, who has played with Paul Stanley (KISS) , Pink, Chistina Aguilera and been on some amazing TV Shows like CBS's Rockstar INXS and SUPERNOVA (Tommy Lee, Jason Newsted and Gilby Clarke) and most recently MTV's Rocks the Cradle. On this jaunt Rafael brought drummer Nate Morton (Rockstar INXS and Supernova) and bassist Francesco DiCosmo (Thin Lizzy). Francesco was no doubt having a blast that night. What a stellar trio they are, and I wished I could have heard more music. It was unfortunate that there were tuning issues, but they are top notch professionals and the show must go and that it did.
Next up was Leatherwolf from Huntington Beach, California and they were outstanding. They played a variety of tunes from previous releases and cuts off their latest release, "New World Asylum," these gentlemen were spot on and fantastic harmonies too. As I watched their set, it was quite clear why they are still rocking so hard, and it comes down to two words: talent and professionalism. The men of Leatherwolf have given a lot to the progressive metal scene, and considering the long breaks the band took, it is awesome that they have managed to give us nine CD's and two DVD's since 1985.
The act that headlined the pre-show bash on Friday was Dario Lorina's (formerly of Jani Lane's band and the only retuning artist from last years R.A.D.) new band KarnevaL. Dario brought together a fantastic group of musicians. On lead vocals is Feathers (formerly the drummer of Manntis), with Tyler Burgess on bass who's song writing skills led him to a big win of recording time through MTV's Battle for Ozzfest. Drummer Jerry Lee rounds out the band and he play's beyond his years, reminiscent of a young Tommy Lee. These four young musicians are phenomenal and I have to say that if Karneval survives the years, there is no doubt this is a band headed for legendary status. They simply shine in all aspect of their music and performance. On Saturday, Dario received a wonderful intro from R.A.D. host Evel Dick, most of which I can not repeat! In essence, he stated that this young man is the future of music! That is quite a bit of pressure on this young band but I believe they can handle it!
The next band up on Saturday night only was L.A. Guns, and their new frontman Marty Casey (from Rockstar INXS and The Lovehammers) and former singer Jizzy Pearl as their special guest. Their set was electric - extremely high energy that was contagious and the crowd was going nuts. Once again, I was inspired to shoot away - what a rush is was. The entire band looked and played like they were in a huge sold out arena and having the time of their lives! Marty has the "IT" factor or if you prefer "Rock Star" quality that draws the listener in and takes hold of them, it was a great set.
Y & T was on Saturday only, after L.A. Guns, and I have not seen them play for over 20 years. I even have pictures of them playing at my high school when they were called Yesterday & Today. We were all so young then! Listening to their set brought back to many happy memories. The magic of Y & T's music is stronger than ever. One other thing I must mention is that the gentlemen of Y & T signed on very early in the planning of the event, and they truly came through for this very important cause! What it comes down to is compassion and heart - you hear it in their music and you see it by their actions. If you want to what it takes to make it in the music business look no further than Y & T, as they are a class act that has maintained a career for 25 years. Watch them and learn.
The two-night event brought many of the band members together for a rousing jam session that was absolutely incredible. The amazing Ron Thal aka Bumblefoot (Guns n Roses) spear-headed this all-star jam, bringing in the likes of Lez Warner (Cult, Killing Joke, etc.) on drums. From Magnetico both Rafael Moreira (guitars) and Francesco DiCosmo (bass) and twins Jon Votta on guitar, Vince Votta on drums. Then the very charming Constantine Maroulis (vocals) and Chris Seven Antonopoulos (drummer for Opiate for the Masses). I was not familiar with Seven as I was with all the other musicians. As Seven played, I stood there in awe and realized I was not shooting any photographs, and I needed to get right on that! I had a lovely time talking with Steve Brand from Canada, who also stepped up and jammed with Ron and company. The jam also included various members from the earlier bands that had performed. All in all, it was a magical event.
I must also make others aware of the generosity of not only the sponsors, musicians, crew (stage help, video, photographers etc) several of the people got involved on a more personal level. The auctions were done during the the time the preparations were being made. First Y & T auctioned off tickets for the event. Then Ron created a special Tee as well as offering guitar lessons with him and so much more. Evel Dick auctioned off his Big Brother season finale party as well as a Minarik guitar to the highest bidder (I heard it was over 10,000.00 donated). Constantine Maroulis offered himself to be the date for the pre show bash as well as the main event, and a very lovely lady named Nancy made a very generous donation and had a wonderful time and she is looking forward to the next R.A.D. show.
As a diabetic with complications, I understand how important this event is. Darrin and his family know it too, and it was so wonderful to see everyone come together to offer what they can so diabetics can lead a better life. Diabetes doesn't have to cripple or kill anymore, but we need your help to make sure that we have a fighting chance. Thank you all for giving from your heart you all truly made a difference!
Photos from the event will be posted in the photo gallery soon.
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