Posts Tagged ‘Crossfyre’

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!

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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!

Well, folks: after a couple of years of bated wait, after the ups and downs and all the in betweens, my southern rock band Crossfyre’s sophomore album release, Iron Horse, is finally here!

Iron Horse CD sale

I personally did the layout and cover artwork for this slab, and I have to say I am damn proud of the end result.  It looks as killer as it sounds!  And I dare say, we are the equivalent of Finland’s Lynyrd Skynyrd without trying to intentionally sound like them, with Iron Horse.

The album features 10 orginals and two covers: Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower and The Rolling Stones’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash.  Produced by Hannu Leiden at Helsinki’s Seawolf Studios (Hanoi Rocks, Michael Monroe, Dr. Feelgood, Leningrad Cowboys, Amorphis), Iron Horse is as top-notch of a production as it gets in modern days.  It’s also organic in sound: no drum grids, no auto-tuning, no bullshit.  In other words, it has the old school human element to it, which is largely missing from over-produced and clinically-sanitized recorded music these days.  Think of the organic vibe on Guns ‘n Roses’ Appetite For Destruction album and you will get my point.

This spring and summer, we have a slew of gigs upcoming with Crossfyre in several European markets, so mark these down and make sure to come out and see the band when we are in your area or near you:

Crossfyre tour dates:
May 8 On The Rocks, Helsinki FI (Iron Horse album release party — 6e tickets at the door!)
On The Rocks Crossfyre
May 17 Motorcafe Suviranta, Turenki FI
May 24 Seurahovi Night, Porvoo FI (w/Skinny Molly & The Slidemobile)
June 7 FH-DCE Super Rally, Tallinn Estonia
June 10 Alchemia, Bialystok, Poland
June 11 5 Sztuk, Siedlce, Poland
June 12 Alligator, Poznan, Poland
June 13 Free Blues Club, Szczecin, Poland
June 14 Barnaby’s Blues Bar, Braunschweig DE
June 15 TBA Hamburg DE
June 27 Rockin’ by the River festival, Iisalmi FI (www.rockinbytheriver.info)
June 28 Kolisewa MC, Karkkila FI
July 5 Saariston Lomakeskus, Mossala FI
Aug 8 Hullu Poro, Levi FI
Aug 14 TBA, Oulu FI
Aug 15 Jänkhällä Jytisee, Saariselkä FI
Aug 16 TBA, Ylivieska FI
More dates are being added to the tour schedule as we speak, so be sure to check for updates at www.reverbnation.com/crossfyre
crossfyre_promo

Crossfyre Iron Horse promotional photo by Jarmo Katila (www.jarmokatila.fi)

I am proud to say that this starting week, from Monday to Friday (February 3 – 7), I will be the guest DJ of the week on Finland’s number one rock radio station, Radio Rock.

Air times for my guest DJ spots are 14:30 and 17:30 in the afternoons throughout the weekdays.  Be sure to tune in for my choice picks of my favorite hard rock and metal artists of all time, plus interview verbatim with Yours Truly!

FB Radio Rock banner

 

In case you enjoy my verbatim and dig what I do, you can also support “The Rebel’s” rebellion by joining/liking my official Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/therebelstarbuck

Well, today is the last day of the year.  A fitting time to look back on the tumultuous year that has been 2013.

Personally speaking, it’s been the hardest year on many fronts in my life to date.  Sure, I’ve had both good and bad this year, but the dark side casts a major shadow on what has been 2013.  Some economic seers were predicting a shitstorm for this past year at the tail end of 2012, and lo and behold, that shitstorm came with sinister fury.  Financially, 2013 was a horrendous year.  The sooner forgotten, the better.  I really have no idea what is going to stem the tide and turn the course of the economy and job market, but something needs to happen — big time.  Maybe it’s just the foreboding clouds of impending doom that forecast the doing away with of cash money, moving society towards a total digital transaction empire.  Maybe it’s the speedy dissolvement of the middle class, ushering in a greater disparity between the those who have and those who have not.  Maybe it’s the last, great rush of the greedy and self-centered, the liars and the thieves, to capitalize on the few remaining remnants of everyone else’s piece of pie.  Whatever it is, it’s come to not only reach, but exceed the limit.  Stop already!

But yeah, there has been good in this past year, also.  I started 2013 off with a surprise engagement to my sweetheart, Diana, at a wrestling show in Lohja, Finland on January 4.  After my match against Ricky Vendetta, I took the house mic and proposed in center ring to my girl, leading to our marriage on March 13 in Espoo, Finland.  Diana told me that both numbers 3 and 13 have always had a lucky significance for her during her life, and it was her wish that we tie the knot on 13.3.2013.  It took me almost 40 years to reach marriage, but dammit, I finally found my diamond in the rough and took the head-first plunge!

IMG_2080

My parents pose with my brand spanking new wife and I

In March, I had the honor of representing my homeland of Canada in the Four Continents Cup of 2013 in Brugge, Belgium.  The match was a four-man random tag elimination bout, with wrestlers also representing Spain (Europe), Japan (Asia) and Ecuador (South America).  In the end, it boiled down to myself and Makoto Morimitsu of Japan, with my foe escaping my finishing piledriver attempt, capturing me in a rolling side cradle hold for the pinfall and win.  It was a hard-fought match that was eight years in the making, as I had originally faced Makoto in Italy back in 2005, where I left him laying the ring after my spike piledriver.

SB vs Makoto 02

StarBuck piledrives Makoto in the Four Continents Cup

I got to the critical age of 40 this past year, back on April 24.  My wife organized a surprise birthday party for me at my old friend and ex-Stoner Kings drummer Janne Kontoniemi’s Bar Chaplin in downtown Helsinki.  It was nice to see so many people turn up for the occasion.  That said, it really feels like at 40, my life may as well be half over.  I’ve been able to “live the dream”, as the boys call it in pro wrestling when one is able to enjoy a good modicum of success, rock all over the world with several of the bands I’ve fronted in, create characters with SONY music sensation Hevisaurus that have turned into a smash-hit all across Finland with kids far and wide, and a whole hoopla of other stuff.

Yet, somehow at the milestone age of 40, all of this feels somewhat … empty.  It’s strange.  When you think, that in the end, all you have ahead of you is an endless eternity that you cannot cancel out on, even if you’d have hoped, it all just becomes so very strange.  The words from my band Overnight Sensation’s song Fool Like You resound in my head: “If I could, I’d return to the womb … way the hell back to nothing, before I even set to bloom.”  Maybe it’s the hardships over the past year, but it makes one somber and philosophical.

In the Spring of 2013, I had the honor of facing WNC (Wrestling New Classic) champion, Osamu Nishimura, as part of a spectacular tag team main event in Tokyo, where I was paired up with my Synapse teammates AKIRA and Syuri against TAJIRI, Nishimura and WNC women’s champion Lin Byron.  My good friend, heart surgeon Dr. Hiroaki Terasaki, claimed that this was the best match that I had wrestled in Japan in his opinion.  I must say, that working against Nishimura in that match left me hoping I would have gotten a singles title match against the man over the course of this year.  However, the financial hardships that are troubling the west are also now being felt harshly in the east, and I didn’t get the chance to grapple solely against Nishimura, as he dropped the title to TAJIRI this past summer.

A show of respect between WNC Champ Nishimura and myself after our match.

A show of respect between WNC Champ Nishimura and myself after our match.

On May 11 in Espoo, Finland, I captured the BWA (British Wrestling Alliance) Catchweight title from Valentine, gaining a measure of revenge on my adversary for attacking my wife a couple of months earlier at an event in Helsinki.  My victory was bittersweet, as I had promised not only to take the title, but to send Valentine out on a stretcher for good measure.  I didn’t get to collect on the stretcher ride portion of it all, but that receipt is still coming, be assured of that.

2013 was a hard year also in the way of physical injuries, particularly the herniated disc between my C6-C7 vertebrae, which was diagnosed in mid-August.  I had been experiencing numbing pain in my upper left shoulderblade/trapezius/arm, and I am talking 24/7 pain that just wouldn’t relent.  I finally could take no more, and I went to one of Finland’s most highly-regarded sports physicians, Dr. Tuomo Karila, who had been the doctor for the Finnish wrestling team in the last Olympics.  That is when I understood the severity of my condition.  Had I continued to wrestle, especially in a highly-anticipated match against 190kg Cannonball Grizzly at the end of the summer, I would have risked paralysis.  I tried to snake my way out of a match in Gothenburg, Sweden, against local hero Conny Mejsel, but the President of GBG Wrestling, Lady Delores, demanded that I wrestle.  I was given a substitute, as I declined the hard challenge that Mejsel would surely present, and in lieu, I faced masked man Aguila Roja.  I trounced Roja, as I was irate that GBG wouldn’t let me sit the match out, due to my aggrevated injury, but at the end of it all, Mejsel appeared to save the day.  I beat Mejsel bloody with a folding chair, paying him back for conniving against me with the Bättre Folk contingent in FCF Wrestling back in the summer of 2013 in Helsinki at one event.  When I am fully healed, I will be more than glad to face Conny Mejsel, be it in Sweden or in Finland or any place for that matter.  All that said, I have still not fully recovered from my herniated disc, as of December 31 today, as I get pins and needles from time to time in my left index finger from the damage done to my disc.  Deadlifts, chin-ups and back squats are off limits for another three to four months, as this thing has to get properly healed up.

I got some good news from Oskari Pastila, the director of my Spandex Sapiens documentary movie.  Originally, the movie was slated to be out in January 2014, but lo and behold, the flick just kept getting more and more funding, which meant that more and more people were getting involved.  This of course meant that the release date of the film had to be pushed back to either Spring 2014 or Autumn 2014, since the summer vacation months do not warrant putting anything notable out.  So, for all of you who have been asking and wondering, now you know the lowdown on the situation.

Spandex Sapiens promotional artwork by Janne Yliruusi

Spandex Sapiens promotional artwork by Janne Yliruusi

In September, I returned to action in England for the first time in thirteen years at an event in Gloucester, entitled Wrestling Rampage.  I faced local hero Matt Jarrett aka The English Bulldog, dropping him with my trademark spike piledriver to get the duke in under 10-minutes of combat, as Jarrett suffered a neck injury during the course of our bout.  I was even asked to go to BBC studios, promoting our match-up prior to the event, which I thought was very cool, in addition to making local newspaper headlines.

The Citizen newspaper runs a big piece on my match

The Citizen newspaper runs a big piece on my UK match

September also signalled the release of my hard rock band Overnight Sensation‘s Life’s a Bitch album, which was released solely as a digital record in todays Internet market.  It’s sad to say, but by and in large, it seems that the day and age of the CD as a salable item is in its twilight period.  So much of everyone’s business has become virtual, that it’s downright scary.  Still, I am damn proud of the end result with Life’s a Bitch, which is a very catchy and solid rock album.

OS pormestari

I got to play director on my southern rock act Crossfyre‘s Devil’s Daughter music video, which I also did the storyboard and wrote the story for.  My wife even got a sponsorship for the girls in the video through mineral make-up company, Gaya Cosmetics.  The end result was stellar, as you can witness from the official video.

All in all, 2013 doesn’t sound too bad from the highlights mentioned above, but in many other ways, especially financially, this year is not one that I would like to revisit, outside of a few peak moments.  Only God knows what 2014 holds in store, as right now, it’s just a black hole with a huge question mark at the end of it.

Nonetheless, thanks to all my fans and supporters for keeping the faith alive and flame burning over the past year!  Let’s keep our thumbs up for 2014…

Finally, and long-awaited, here is the scorching “Devil’s Daughter” music video from my southern rock act, Crossfyre, with a story conducted by my wife and I, directed by Yours Truly:

I think I’ve got me a future in the movie biz after this one, hahahaaa!