Posts Tagged ‘biker’

Hey folks!  Just got back from playing the gigantic Harley Days 2015 motorcycle event in Hamburg, Germany this past Saturday, June 27.

With my southern rock band Crossfyre, we shared the bill with the UK’s legendary UFO and entertained the bikers on hand, who had ascended on Hamburg from all over the world.  I didn’t get an exact number, but I heard over 100 000 bikers on bikes frequented the event over the weekend between June 26-28 and around 500 000 people attended over the weekend.  That’s pretty damn impressive!

With Crossfyre, we rocked the main stage between 16:30 – 18:00 on Saturday, before a throng of thousands.  It was one of the top performances ever in the history of my time with the band in my five years as vocalist, and to showcase the grandeur and showmanship of our gig, photographer extraordinaire Frank Schwichtenberg sent me these pictures to remember our performance by.  Enjoy!

Crossfyre Harley Days 2015 01 Crossfyre Harley Days 2015 02 Crossfyre Harley Days 2015 03 Crossfyre Harley Days 2015 04 Crossfyre Harley Days 2015 05 Crossfyre Harley Days 2015 06 Crossfyre Harley Days 2015 07 Crossfyre Harley Days 2015 08 Crossfyre Harley Days 2015 09 Crossfyre Harley Days 2015 10 Crossfyre Harley Days 2015 11 Crossfyre Harley Days 2015 12

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What a heck of a weekend we’ve had with Crossfyre up in Lapland, the northern hemisphere of Finland!  On tour with Crossfyre, we brought the flavor of southern rock and classic rock in general to the north, and boy, did the people up here LOVE IT!

The band gets ready for Friday night's gig in Levi.

The band gets ready for Friday night’s gig in Levi.

With a back-to-back set of gigs in Levi and Kuusamo respectively, we witnessed the good vibes catch on in droves both nights, with all manner of folk dancing the night away in front of the stage.  Indeed, we play adult-oriented rock, but that said, anyone from their twenties to their sixties seems to dig our sound, regardless of where we play.  That said, we really must be doing something right.

The restaurants and establishment walls at Hullu Poro were embellished with our gig adverts.

The restaurants and establishment walls at Hullu Poro were embellished with our gig adverts.

On Friday night, we pulled into Levi on the outskirts of Kittilä, after a near-20-hour drive from Helsinki.  Our newly revamped Crossmobile turned heads left and right, with its snazzy tape-job, sponosored by Mad Croc Energy Drinks.  It was a couple of years back that we wrote the theme song for Mad Croc’s motor racing division worldwide, and since that time, we’ve developed a great working relationship with the energy drink giant.

Crossfyre's official tour van, The Crossmobile!

Crossfyre’s official tour van, The Crossmobile!

The Hullu Poro Hotel and resort in Levi has to be seen to be believed.  It is honestly one of the coolest, most endearing places visually and atmosphere-wise, that there is to be seen and experienced in Finland.  As a trivia note, in January 2009, I won my second Eurostars European wrestling championship title from Bernard Vandamme of Belgium at Hullu Poro Arena in Levi, so that place carries a lot of significance to me personally.

Our gig venue in Levi at Hullu Poro.

Our gig venue in Levi at Hullu Poro.

Our Friday gig at Hully Poro was a capacity biker bash entitled WILD RIDE.  It’s an annual event, and this year, Crossfyre was the band of choice to play the happening.  Top-of-the-line hotel rooms, wickedly good food and high-class cuisine on the house and a tremendous atmosphere capped off this outing.  And I have to say: our cover of ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” always gets every ass in the joint moving like an ant farm.  There’s just something to it that works every single time out.  That’s probably because the original itself is such a great song to begin with!

This chick told me "Good grief, you've got one foot in the grave already!"

This chick told me “Good grief, you’ve got one foot in the grave already!”

Our second gig last night in Kuusamo at Ravintola Veijo was stellar, also.  A real gritty bar in feel and vibe, Veijo is the kind of place rock bands want to play at.  With a population of around 16 000 people, Kuusamo doesn’t have a lot happening, so when something notable hits town, you better believe the town folk are going to show up!  And show up they did, a packed house at that!  Here, we got to see how another carefully chosen cover song, Golden Earring’s “Twilight Zone”, sank into people like a hot knife through butter.  Me personally, I want to see us cover that song on our next album after our current Iron Horse release, in support of which we have been touring all summer long.

Thanks to all the fine folks that came out to see us do what we do best this past Friday and Saturday in Northern Finland.  And ladies, hehee…I’m sorry: as a married man, I’m no longer on the playing field!  Just a good reminder, as we head out to our other northern gigs next weekend in Saariselkä at Santa’s Village and Ivalo respectively.  Tomorrow, I fly back to Helsinki out of Oulu, to perform my WWE wrestling commentaries for Eurosport television in Finnish, and then on Thursday I fly back up north to continue rocking the Arctic Circle!

The atmosphere at Veijo's pub in Kuusamo was off the charts!

The atmosphere at Veijo’s pub in Kuusamo was off the charts!

 

Rain, rain and more rain.  It rained today.  That was actually a song by Crossfyre that we didn’t end up recording for our new Iron Horse album, in support of which we are touring all throughout the summer this year.  After the nice, sunny weather on our Estonia-Poland-Germany tour a couple of weeks back, the wet and cloudy Finnish summer just ain’t cutting it thus far.

Nonetheless, festival season is on here in Finland, and we are hitting and playing a few vacation stops along the way as our Crossmobile tour van makes its way down those miles of road.  This weekend, we played the Rockin’ by the River rockabilly festival in Iisalmi on Friday (which is funny considering we southern gentlemen were the only non-rockabilly act on hand), and Kolisewa MC’s 20th anniversary bash last night.  We got to meet some cool folks, enjoy the sights and sounds of the other acts on hand, and breathe the open air.  That’s already a good deal in and of itself.

Iisalmi was a long way from Helsinki and I got up early-squirly to join the boys, as we drove out of Porvoo along the eastern route highway to head up north.  Once we got to Iisalmi, we stopped off at our second guitarist Jay Jay’s mother’s place, as she had cooked up some traditional cabbage casserole that is famous from that part of Finland.  Off to the gig we went, placed into the opening timeslot to kick things off on Friday evening.  Event organizer Timo Pelkonen of Timba Oy had a nice stage set-up and the sound was good all around.  We cut out most of our bluesier and slower numbers, opting to go for more of a rocking set, taking into consideration the nature of the event that we were playing at.  All in all, it worked out rather dandy and the people out there dug it.  The cream on the cake was the fact that we got featured in the local Iisalmen Sanomat newspaper with a big-assed photo of the band, giving us a hell of a lot of focus.

Crossfyre taking care of business at Rockin' by the River

Crossfyre taking care of business at Rockin’ by the River

Iisalmen Sanomat

A stay at Sokos Hotel Koljonvirta and one morning later, we set off for Karkkila, back down south.  Arriving at the Kolisewa MC’s headquarters in the middle of the woods, I noted that there were bikers from far and wide attending the 20th anniversay bash.  Members of the Hell’s Angels, Cannonball MC, Diablos, Red Devils and many others had dropped in to extend their support to the local Karkkila Kolisewa gang, and there was a slew of bands on the menu for the bikers to groove to.

bikes lined up

As we arrived, The Dusty Beaver Band started their set of cover songs, all the musicians of which were members of a local MC out of Vihti.  I have to say, that The Dusty Beaver Band has one of the best names EVER!  It’s like a cross between the iconic cartoon character Bucky Beaver and pro wrestling legend “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes.  On top of that, the band was right as shizzat, and had both a male and female vocalist duetting throughout, who sounded absolutely great!  I highly recommend checking these guys out.

The Dusty Beaver Band

The Dusty Beaver Band

We jammed through a 90-minute set of originals and classic covers, having a blast while doing so.  Once we finished up, Kolisewa MC president Harri pleaded that we play one more song, as they enjoyed the Crossfyre live experience so much.  We pulled Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man out of the hat, which really seemed to move a lot of folks on hand.

Rocking the Kolisewa MC 20th anniversary gig

Rocking the Kolisewa MC 20th anniversary gig

Best burgers in the land

Best burgers in the land

There was also a BBQ on Wheels stand on hand, which bears mention, as they quite possibly served up the best beef hamburgers that I have ever passed down my gullet to this date in Finnish history.  Turku’s Pikku Torre and Snacky’s Iso Monsteri are close to the top slot, too, but this little BBQ wagon takes the cake in my book!

Next weekend, it’s off to Mossala, off the coast of Turku, to play Saariston Lomakeskus, a vacation resort on the beautiful little islands off the western coast of Finland.  Join Crossfyre’s Iron Horse on tour, as it rolls through a town near you!

Well, I’ve been back for a few days following our Crossfyre “Iron Horse” album release tour through Estonia, Poland and Germany, and I’m still recouping!  Erradic hours, irregular and short sleep, and 5,995 kilometers of road later, it tends to build up and wear on you.

But whose complaining?!  We had a great time, life on the road, like a band of gypsies, rocking and rolling.  Dreaming it and living it are two different things.  We got to take in some great experiences and meet some fantastic new people along the way.

Morning scenery from the Super Rally grounds

Morning scenery from the Super Rally grounds

First of all, The Harley-Davidson 2014 Super Rally in Tallinn, Estonia (which I chronicled in and of itself earlier HERE) was off the charts.  15,000 bikers from all around Europe ventured to Estonia’s capital for some boozin’ and cruisin’ June 5-7.  We played the main stage at the Super Rally on Saturday evening, right after Mr. Bill Davidson, CEO of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, raffled off a brand new bike to a lucky Finn in the audience, who was dumbfounded when his number got called.  All in all, the Super Rally was a sight to behold, but the food was somewhat overpriced for the serving sizes offered.  As an added bonus, I was able to hit the fantastic Sparta sports club in Tallinn the day after the show with a big fan of mine from many years back named Keio, getting in a blasting compete body workout before moving forward on our journey.

As Hulk Hogan would say, "Hangin' and bangin'" at Sparta gym

As Hulk Hogan would say, “Hangin’ and bangin'” at Sparta gym!

Driving through Latvia, we got to see some of the finest beaches that there are to be found in Europe.  Riga was ridiculously overpriced, and I wondered what industry fuels their economy to justify the extravagant prices that we saw everywhere.  Riga was also the place where we picked up our regular bassist Dan Rönnbacka, as Sami Salminen (of The Slidemobile) filled in on bass in Tallinn and left the day after the Super Rally to go back to Finland.

Lithuania was up next, with a stop in God knows what town, and a hotel right next to the railroad tracks.  Damn.  That was a bad move.  The Latvian two-star vs. Estonian four-star hotel were quite different from the other, let me assure you!  Pretty much everywhere we travelled in Latvia and Lithuania, we had to use bottled water, as purportedly the tap water is questionable to drink.

The stage at Alchemia in Bialystok, Poland

The stage at Alchemia in Bialystok, Poland

Poland was a blast!  Our first gig in Bialystok on June 10 saw girls dancing on tables and the audience shucking and jiving in front of the stage.  Small venue.  Alchemia by name, the place was very intimate with William Blake-like artwork and interior design.  There were even a few wrestling fans at the show, who came  out to see StarBuck, which was a nice thing.

The next stop was 5 Sztuk in Siedlce, a student town, of which 25% of the population account for students.  Once again, just the night prior, the people on hand were going bananas by the end of it all when our rendition of ZZ Top’s Sharp Dressed Man closed things off.  After the gig, we got invited to the local Gryf MC headquarters for a drink, as we presented a rebel Confederate flag for their clubhouse also.

Next up was the Alligator music club in Poznan, which was a big city and we found ourselves smack-dab in the center of the marketplace.  Let me say this about Poland: if you are a bachelor, then plan a trip there, as the women will be sure to catch your eye!  Alligator was a very cool club, with some of the niftiest interior design that I have seen so far in any club.  Very high-scale environment.

Getting the mood right at Alligator music bar (photo by Gozia Czek)

Getting the mood right at Alligator music bar (photo by Gozia Czek)

Our last gig in Poland was in the city of Szczecin at the Free Blues Club.  I know I keep sounding pretty high on Poland, but I have to expressly note that the stage sound at Free Blues Club was in the top five of any stage that I have performed on in the past 15-years.  It was pure pleasure to play the this place, as I could make every instrument out crystal clear and I didn’t have to push my voice at all.

Best stage sound around at Free Blues Club (photo by Ryszard Pakieser)

Best stage sound around at Free Blues Club (photo by Ryszard Pakieser)

Then it was off to Barnaby’s Blues Bar in Braunschweig, Germany.  Barnaby’s is like our home away from home, an establishment that we have now played about five times.  Local Radio Okerwelle DJ Florian Damm is always up for having us appear on his show for an hour-long interview every time we are in town the day of the show.  We rocked Barnaby’s in familiar fashion, leaving the folks screaming for more…were it not for the soccer game that was just starting 10-minutes after we finished our set.  It should be noted, that soccer takes precedence to anything and everything in Germany.  People would probably skip their grandparents’ funeral to watch the soccer championships!

Hanging with some fine folks on the Reeperbahn

Hanging with some fine folks on the Reeperbahn

Our last gig of the tour was in Hamburg, Germany, right on the infamous Reeperbahn.  The place was called Cowboy und Indianer, like cowboys and Indians, and it was frequented by folks who knew their rock and blues.  Older musicians, rock police if they chose to be, had filled the bar by the end of the night.  I saw people taking out their cell phones, calling their friends, like “get your ass here right away, you have GOT to see this band!”  People just kept filing in throughout the set to see what the commotion was all about.  Let me say this: we did something right that night.  To turn the heads of musicians with 40+ years of experience, you have got to have your shizzat together.  I am proud to say that our gig on Hamburg on June 15 was one of the finest performances that we have ever pulled off!

From Hamburg we drove straight through the night to catch my plane from Copenhagen back to Helsinki in time to make my WWE Eurosport broadcast on Monday night.  I didn’t get a wink of sleep after leaving Hamburg, and let me tell you, I was knackered right out of my boots on air that evening.

Next up, the Rockin’ by the River festival in Iisalmi, Finland on June 27, followed by a gig for Kolisewa MC in Karkkilaon June 28.  The Crossfyre Iron Horse keeps on rolling!

Rockin by the River

 

Just got back to the hotel here in Tallinn, Estonia, where tonight, we rocked the Harley-Davidson Super Rally with a healthy dose of Crossfyre southern goodness.  I have to say that this was a real highlight for our band, as bikers from all over Europe had converged on Tallinn to partake in the big bash, and since we play Texas Biker Blues (as we have come to coin it), Crossfyre was a perfect fit for the Super Rally!

Our band mugs with one of the Super Rally big wigs, Hanna Mursula, before the show.

Our band mugs with one of the Super Rally big wigs, Hanna Mursula, before the show.

The word was, that the Hell’s Angels were all in St. Petersburg, Russia for Harley Days 2014 this weekend, and therefore, no one from their club attended.  However, anyone and everyone else was on hand, from the Cannonball MC to the Diablos MC and tons of others from all across Europe.

Getting downright southern...up north! (photo by Marianne Saari)

Getting downright southern…up north! (photo by Marianne Saari)

Right before showtime, there was a pretty interesting and intense altercation right in front of the main stage where we were slated to play.  Some big biker dude from Russia knocked the shit out of some other dude with a huge punch, and no one came to save the day.  I was thinking a biker war was about to maybe break out, but nothing came of it, and we went on with firing up our gig.  Before we went on, Mr. Bill Davidson, CEO of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, raffled off a brand new hog.  I put my name in the hat, but to no avail.  The bike did, however, go to some bloke from Finland.

Striking a pose with Mr. Bill Davidson of Harley-Davidson motorcycles!

Striking a pose with Mr. Bill Davidson of Harley-Davidson motorcycles!

Our regular bassist Dan Ronnbacka was unable to make it to Tallinn, due to his work commitments back in Finland, so Sami Salminen from The Slidemobile filled in on this Super Rally gig as the four-stringer.  We tore through a 75-minute set, focusing mainly on our new “Iron Horse” album’s tunes, in addition to select covers from Bob Dylan, ZZ Top, The Rolling Stones, Credence Clearwater Revival and Stevie Ray Vaughn.  I worked up a good sweat, running around the huge stage, which happens to be the biggest of its kind in Europe, right in Tallinn.  Maybe this ain’t metal or hard rock, but I gave both Bruce Dickinson and David Lee Roth a run for their money with the way that I painted the bodylanguage storytelling of my vocal interpretation.

Lighting up the main stage at the Super Rally (photo by Hanna Mursula)

Lighting up the main stage at the Super Rally (photo by Hanna Mursula)

We even got placed in a top, four-star hotel by the event organizer, here in Tallinn.   I’ll be soaking away the sweat and grime tomorrow morning on the eighth floor in the sauna after a full-scale, no-holds-barred breakfast.  From here, we head out to Poland for a four-show jaunt, and then to Germany.

Bikers assembled from all over Europe for the bash.

Bikers assembled from all over Europe for the bash.

Life is good, indeed!  Here’s one for the road…

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Be sure to follow me on Instagram at www.instagram.com/rebelstarbuck for photo updates from our current tour!

This coming weekend, my southern rock band Crossfyre will be playing on Saturday night, Sept. 28 in Kalajoki, Finland at the Harley-Davidson Club of Finland’s annual riding season finale bash.  We will be taking the main stage by storm, into the wee hours of the morning, starting our set at 1:00am (overriding into Sunday).

StarBuck rocks with H-D (photo by Helena Königsbäck

StarBuck rocks with H-D (photo by Helena Königsbäck)

On Friday, Sept. 27, Crossfyre will play Hogan’s Music Bar in Pietarsaari.  Come on out to these southern rock gigs and enjoy the tunage, if you are in the area!