Tag Archives: Guns N Roses

Backstage with Guns N’ Roses is like… Hebrew School?

Rock stars and I don’t often mingle in the same circles.

So when I recently found myself unexpectedly snacking on organic blueberries with Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal — and being treated to an impromptu acoustic performance of the Israeli national anthem — you could not wipe the permanent smirk off my face. More on the relevance of the Jewish “Star Spangled Banner” later…

At the Hard Rock Las Vegas, I honestly thought I was disqualified to be invited backstage because:

1. I am not an attractive 22-year-old woman (and never will be).

2. I do not have ANY pole-dancing skills.

Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose and guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal at the 2013 Rocklahoma Festival in Oklahoma, roughly a year before I was invited to sample the GNR cheese-and-crackers platter. (Photo by Ilya Mirman)

Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose and guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal at the 2013 Rocklahoma Festival in Oklahoma, roughly a year before I was invited to sample the GNR cheese-and-crackers platter. (Photo by Ilya Mirman)

Take a look at the blurry action shot below taken at the GNR concert on June 7. If you squint long enough, you’ll see two bikini-clad women dangling from poles and two bikini-clad women who prefer to dance on the ground (how odd). This is the narrow demographic I expected to exclusively see backstage.

Welcome to the Neon Jungle -- The 2014 Guns N' Roses "Residency" at the Hard Rock Las Vegas. (Photo by Ilya Mirman)

Welcome to the Neon Jungle — The 2014 Guns N’ Roses “Residency” at the Hard Rock Las Vegas. (Photo by Ilya Mirman)

Although there were no shortage of traditional female groupies at the pre-concert party, I also met a bunch of guys with no ulterior motive beyond a souvenir photo or a classic Chris Farley moment.

Bumblefoot shattered one of the classic rock-and-roll stereotypes. Instead of choosing his guests by their breasts, he picked people he thought would be interesting conversationalists. (In a similar shocking development, check out this Guardian story about how “Rock Stars Don’t Trash Hotels Anymore.)

Sharing the couch with me and my friend Ilya was the owner of a local tattoo parlor, the founder of a new crowdsourcing website for indie artists, and the former drummer of The Cult.

What did we talk about?  Mostly burgers, inspired by an earlier visit that day to the controversial Heart Attack Grill, where everything is cooked in lard to increase the shock (and caloric) value. Keeping kosher, I won’t eat lard, but also would avoid it no matter what for obvious health reasons. Bumblefoot, a strict follower of the Paleo Diet, provocatively countered that lard “may actually be healthier than we think.” (I’m not buying it.) And he shared his fascination with IN-N-OUT Burger — a chain with locations only in the Western U.S. — inviting us to join him there later after the show.

SO HOW DID I WIND UP BACKSTAGE? Continue reading

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Mitt Flintstone: Does the next Commander-in-Chief need to know about cartoons?

With the world watching, Mitt Romney makes eye contact with Dino.

Mitt Romney holds Dino like he's doing a laundry detergent commercial.

Mitt Romney boldly looks off into the distance, giving Dino hope about the future.

Mitt Romney can’t catch a break.

New York Magazine mocks him for never having a hair out of place, recently kicking it up a notch with “The Many Hair Styles of Mitt Romney” slideshow (they all look the same to me, no Hillary Clinton headbands in the mix).

TIME Magazine just came out with its future Mitt Romney Presidential Library contribution: the WHY DON’T THEY LIKE ME? cover.

And “Cheerleader Mitt,” an innocuous YouTube clip I just posted of Mitt leading a cheer about himself, has attracted some hostile commentary only seconds after going live.

I’m not ready to bestow the coveted “Culture Schlock” endorsement on any candidates yet, but I don’t understand the intensity of the “Anyone But Mitt” movement.  He is one of the few Republicans running in the New Hampshire Primary who is NOT a nutcake. And at a recent campaign stop outside a local diner, I found Romney to be extremely likeable.

He was handing out free BLT sandwiches and posing for pictures with voters, basking in the afterglow of U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte‘s endorsement.  I don’t eat BLTs and can’t easily be bribed (it takes at least a lamb skewer to get my vote). On a lark, I stuck a stuffed animal in Romney’s face and asked him to pose. In a deep over-the-top newscaster voice, I said: “Governor, how about a picture of you and Dino Flintstone?”

He paused quizzically and then just rolled with it. “Ah, the Flintstones…” he sighed as if he were reminiscing about an old girlfriend. “I remember watching the very first episode!”  As you can see from the photos above (taken on regular shutter speed, not the sports setting), Romney lingered a bit with Dino and seemed to enjoy the moment.  Surely, it was a heckuva lot more preferable than answering another question on ObamaCare or RomneyCare.

My friend Ilya asked him a tough question about Guns N’ Roses.  And to Romney’s credit, he didn’t pull a Hillary Clinton “Number One Yankees Fan” moment. He admitted he wasn’t that familiar with the music and offered Ilya a BLT sandwich as a consolation prize.  Had he picked a random song like “Welcome to the Jungle,” just to have an answer, it would have been pandering and just plain embarrassing.

I learned this the hard way.

In Sixth Grade, I used to doodle the AC/DC and Led Zeppelin logos on my notebooks and grocery bag book covers because I thought it would look cool. If I could go back into time and change one thing in my life, it would be that. My friends would have still respected me if I had scribbled Steely Dan and Foreigner. And if they didn’t, that would have been an invaluable life lesson.

But back to Romney.  Do I think people should vote for him because he’s now trying extra hard to be fun and bantery on the campaign trail?

Of course not. But if I were putting in grueling 14-18 hour days shaking hands with sweaty strangers, I think having a sense of humor about it would keep me sane.

Besides, I kinda want a Commander-in-Chief who has seen every Flintstones episode.

AND IN OTHER FLINTSTONES NEWS…

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EXCLUSIVE: Mitt Romney does NOT have a favorite Guns N’ Roses song

What do Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who was recently serving sandwiches to NH voters, and former Guns 'N Roses lead guitarist Slash have in common? Apparently, nothing much. (Photos courtesy of Ilya Mirman).

Yesterday, the mainstream media focused on action figure model Kelly Ayotte‘s endorsement of Mitt Romney.

What reporters sadly missed was a candid exchange between photographer Ilya Mirman and Romney about musical tastes.

Romney was serving a tray of BLT sandwiches from Jackie’s Diner in downtown Nashua, NH, mere steps away from City Hall, where John F. Kennedy launched his 1960 campaign for president. Here’s how the conversation went down:

Ilya: “Governor – What’s your favorite Guns N’ Roses song?”

Mitt: “Let me think…[thinks for a couple seconds] You know, I couldn’t give you one…But what I can give you is a great sandwich here!  They’re raw and unleashed!”

Ilya: [takes a small piece of bacon] “Thank you!”

The “Raw and Unleashed” reference is to a Saturday Night Live skit that makes fun of Romney for being too boring.

Romney was smart enough and honest enough not to say “Welcome to the Jungle” just to impress Ilya.

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