Australia – Road Report: May 2013

BRSoloshot

Bringin’ the Thunder Down Under with Lita Ford

litaposter

Australia is as cool and beautiful a place as you might imagine.  The people are friendly, the country is clean, and the time zone is completely whacked out.  In fact, when you take the 15-hour-plus flight there from LA, you basically skip an entire day.  (We left around midnight on a Monday and got there Wednesday morning their time.)  But such is life, and fortunately, I really don’t get jet-lagged when I fly.  Plus, I can sleep on planes if I’m tired, so… it’s all good.

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Melbourne

cityshotSt. Kilda district, near the hotel

Wednesday was a day off, so I connected with my long-time bro, guitarist Brett Garsed.  We took a drive out to his place (about 90 mins outside of Melbourne) and had a fantastic day catching up on all things past, present and future.  We have so much history together as friends and colleagues.  Always great to see family.

castletripNice countryside, en route to Brett’s crib…
BRandbrettWith Brett Garsed, lifelong friend, band-mate,
and one of the world’s greatest guitarists

Thursday was a show day in Melbourne at the infamous Prince Bandroom.   But first, of course, I had to catch the local gym for an afternoon pump.  I would’ve grabbed a token pic or two of this health club, but I think I was still in shock from paying $25 for a day-pass to this motherfucker!  And yes, the Australian dollar is pretty much neck-to-neck with the US at the moment, so that was basically $25 US for a quick one-hour workout.   And therein lies the only real downside to the land of Aus:  You will drop some bank there.

parkOcean front park, on the way to the gym

The show was cool, the crowd was loud, and the band played well (which, once again, was Lita, me, Marty O’Brien on bass and Mitch Perry on guitar). The Australia set ran the gamut of Lita’s career, all the way back from the beginning, though the latest record.

melliveshot3Pic courtesy of Heavy Magazine

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Cherry Bomb!

Particularly of note was the fact that we played a couple Runaways tunes.  Lita Ford – for those living under a proverbial rock in the history of rock department – was lead guitarist for the iconic all-female 70’s band.  But this is the first time Lita has ever performed any of The Runaway’s tunes live as a solo artist, and she sang the shit out of them.

melliveshot2Pic courtesy of Heavy Magazine

It was trippy to play “Cherry Bomb” and “Black Leather” (the latter written for The Runaways by Steve Jones, and also covered by the Sex Pistols).  If you would’ve told me as a young drummer back in the 70’s, at the height of The Runaway’s fame, that I would be playing “Cherry Bomb” with Lita Ford in Australia 37 years in the future, I doubt I would’ve believed you.  But hey – there we were, throwin’ that shit down hard!

melliveshot1Pic courtesy of Heavy Magazine

The interesting thing drumming-wise about these tunes is the two different sides of a punk feel you have going on.  “Cherry Bomb” needs to feel more classic punk, with a bit of urgency, and a looser, garage band kind of feel.  “Black Leather” needs to be sleazier, with a deeper pocket, and a little more snap to it, but still with that punk edginess.  Seems like it all worked out.

Here’s a vid of “Cherry Bomb” and “Black Leather,” back-to-back, floating around YouTube right now… just to give you a vibe.

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Sydney

sydneyhotelRight through the glass of my hotel window, early evening…

We traveled on our day off, so we got into Sydney late afternoon.  It’s always a struggle for me to decide whether to engage a new city for a little adventure, or stay in my room and hit the practice pad or pull out the laptop and work on a writing project… or even go find a gym.  In other words, all the shit I would be doing back home, anyway.  On this night, I chose the latter.

Meanwhile, my comrades jumped out to the renowned Sydney Opera House to catch the season opening of “Vivid Sydney.” This is an annual event built around a stunning visual arts display where the Opera House and other downtown buildings become 3-D “canvases” to this breathtaking, high-powered projection imagery.  Apparently, the gang pulled up exactly five minutes before it began.

Here are a couple images that our bassist Marty O’Brien grabbed on his iPhone from the evening.  Ok… so I probably fucked up!  I should’ve gone.

martysyd1From the collection of Marty O’Brien
martysyd2From the collection of Marty O’Brien – The Opera House!

The next day I trained at the University of Sydney, right near the hotel.  Facilities were decent.

sydgym

Also, I had no problem finding vegan food on this trip.  In addition to the usual Ultimate Meal smoothies, backstage fruit and veggie treys, and the ton of snack foods I brought with me, there were always some great vegan options to be found.

One stand-out dish came from a “natural” grocer near the hotel.  This was a beluga legume salad, with some pumpkin, dried pears and caramelized onion, among other things.  Killer!

blacklegume

The Sydney show was at a nice venue called The Factory Theater.  Again, it was another warm crowd and a great time.

BRsydney1Photo credit; Inside Edge Photography
bandsydney2Photo credit; Inside Edge Photography

Afterward, I dropped by CLUB FVCK, which hosted the official aftershow get-together.  Lotsa cool folks hangin’…

bobbymandyWith Mandy Saints, proprietor of CLUB FVCK

And finally, here are the first couple minutes of the drum solo from Sydney.

Can’t wait to head back again soon.  The Australian peeps are super cool…

BR

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About Bobby Rock

Bobby Rock is a world renown drummer, the author of seven books, and a recognized health and fitness specialist with certifications in exercise, nutrition and meditation. He has recorded and toured with a variety of artists, released three CDs as a solo performer and is recognized as a top drumming educator. (He is currently touring with rock icon, Lita Ford.) Through speaking, writing and activism, Bobby remains committed to a number of animal and environmental causes. Bobby lives in Los Angeles.
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3 Responses to Australia – Road Report: May 2013

  1. amoyer2013 says:

    Nice road report. $25 dollars for a gym visit? I would have been doing push-ups, sit-ups, running in place, and swimming for free at the hotel.

  2. Trevor says:

    Great to hear that you enjoyed your trip Bobby.

    Great photo from Marty of the Opera House!

    I’m fairly sure that Aussie wages are higher than US wages, relatively speaking, which may account somewhat for the higher prices in this country. Applies to concert tickets as well, I can assure you!!

    Glad to hear that you met up with Brett, who of course has played with numerous artists, including Australia’s very popular and very talented John Farnham.

    Regarding the time zones, you would have caught up on the lost day with your arrival back home I’d imagine.

    Really hope to catch up next time you’re Down Under.

    Take care,

    Trevor

  3. sister says:

    brother…what a trip….much love

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