Friday, April 7

Molestors to the Right of Us...

In recent days there have been two - count 'em TWO - reports of Bush Administration Homeland Security Officials arrested for attempted child molestation.

WOW:

"The deputy press secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was arrested Tuesday for using the Internet to seduce what he thought was a teenage girl, authorities said. Brian J. Doyle, 55, was arrested at his residence in Maryland on charges of use of a computer to seduce a child and transmission of harmful material to a minor. The charges were issued out of Polk County, Fla. Doyle, of Silver Spring, Md., had a sexually explicit conversation with what he believed was a 14-year-old girl whose profile he saw on the Internet on March 14, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said in a statement...read on"


Then you have this from AmericaBlog.

Again, does Bush vet anybody for any job in this administration, or is it all just buddy after buddy after buddy who gets in (Brownie), who gets the contracts (Dubia, Halliburton)? One big Harriet Miers administration.

But this one really takes the cake. The head of Operation Predator was a child sex predator? Jesus Christ people. I'd like to know how this guy got his job.
...that law enforcement agent, Frank Figueroa, used to run Operation Predator.

The victim, a 16-year-old girl, said Figueroa pulled up a leg of his shorts, exposed himself and masturbated for about 10 minutes, according to the Tampa Tribune.

This is beyond pathetic, but after letting Jeff Gannon/Guckert, a part-time gay male prostitute, into the White House Briefing Room repeatedly - should we really be surprised?

And I really wonder if O'Reilly, who loves to be "looking out for the folks" with is bloviating over Jessica Lundsford is going to do a special investigative report to "Get to the bottom of this?"

Somehow, I doubt it.

Vyan

Fitz begins to unravel Plame Conspiracy

Evidence Suggests White House Conspiracy
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Report

Thursday 06 April 2006

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald stated in a court filing late Wednesday in the CIA leak case that his investigators have obtained evidence during the course of the two-year-old probe that proves several White House officials conspired to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a critic of the administration's pre-war Iraq intelligence.

This is the first time the special counsel has acknowledged that White House officials are alleged to have engaged in a coordinated effort to undercut the former ambassador's credibility by disseminating classified intelligence information that would have contradicted Wilson's public statements.

Fitzgerald's court filing was made in response to attorneys representing I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, who was indicted on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to investigators related to his role in the leak, who are desperately trying to obtain evidence from the government to prove Libby did not intentionally lie to the grand jury when he was asked how he found out about Plame Wilson and whether he shared that information with the media.

Furthermore, Libby's attorneys have argued that they are entitled to the evidence in order to prove Libby was not engaged in a "plot" to discredit Wilson. But Fitzgerald said he does not have evidence that would prove that theory. Instead, Fitzgerald said the evidence he has obtained proves there was a coordinated effort by White House officials to discredit Wilson.

"There exist documents, some of which have been provided to defendant and there were conversations in which defendant participated, that reveal a strong desire by many, including multiple people in the White House, to repudiate Mr. Wilson before and after July 14, 2003.

Although Fitzgerald makes it abundantly clear that Libby is not charged with conspiracy, he argues that Libby's suggestion that no there was no White House plot to discredit Wilson is ludicrous given the amount of evidence Fitzgerald has in his possession that suggests otherwise.

"Once again, defendant ignores the fact that he is not charged with participating in any conspiracy, much less one defined as a "White House-driven plot to punish Mr. Wilson," the filing states. "Moreover, given that there is evidence that other White House officials with whom defendant spoke prior to July 14, 2003, discussed Wilson's wife's employment with the press both prior to, and after, July 14, 2003 - which evidence has been shared with defendant - it is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to "punish" Wilson."

MORE: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/040606R.shtml

Once again, Libby seems to be overplaying his hand. He has not been charged with plotting to discredit Wilson by revealing the identity of his CIA agent Wife. He's been charged with lying to the FBI and the Grand Jury, period. This court revelation itself comes fast on the heels of the revelation just yesterday that Libby's sharing of NIE information with Judith Miller was authorized by the Vice President and the President.

Murray Waas:

"Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff has testified that President Bush authorized him to disclose the contents of a highly classified intelligence assessment to the media to defend the Bush administration's decision to go to war with Iraq, according to papers filed in federal court on Wednesday by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case...
read on"

In their effort to suppress to protestations of Wilson, the Vice President allowed Libby to share then classified information with a Reporter - backed by the President's personal ok. The issue here then turns onto whether or not this permission also extended to revealing Plame's ID. Plame-Wilson herself is not mentioned within the NIE, but it's interesting to note that the full classified NIE did contain several references which supported Wilson's position that the Niger-Uranium claims were bogus, such as the INR speculation that the Niger document may have been a forgery, as well as the Energy Dept doubts about the Aluminum Tubing having anything to do with Uranium enrichment. Libby didn't release this information, he released info from the sanitized one-page summary that had been given to Congress which had all doubts and questions about Iraq's WMD expunged.

Although this revelation doesn't place the President directly in the line of persons who wished to out Plame, it does involve him in the "Conspiracy" to discredit Wilson - but many questions remain unanswered, which were brought up last night by Former White House Council John Dean on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

The President does indeed have the authority to classify and declassify - but there is a procedure for doing so - and although the President can change that procedure, he is required to follow it while it is in effect. Nothing in this recent Libby revelation indicates that the President followed any type of declassification procedure, which would include notifing the George Tenet and the CIA that portions of the NIE - which they produced - were now considered "Unclassified".

What this does prove yet again, is that President Bush is a bald-faced Liar - since he claimed no less than eight times not to know the source of the leak. That's because he was one of the sources of the leak.

Vyan

Bush Admin may have spyed on Domestic Calls?

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales suggested on Thursday for the first time that the president might have the legal authority to order wiretapping without a warrant on communications between Americans that occur exclusively within the United States. "I'm not going to rule it out," Mr. Gonzales said when asked about that possibility at a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

The attorney general made his comments, which critics said reflected a broadened view of the president's authority, as President Bush offered another strong defense of his decision to authorize the National Security Agency to eavesdrop without warrants on international calls and e-mail messages to or from the United States. Mr. Bush, in an appearance in North Carolina, told a questioner who attacked the program that he would "absolutely not" apologize for authorizing it. "You can come to whatever conclusion you want" about the merits of the program," Mr. Bush said. "The conclusion is I'm not going to apologize for what I did on the terrorist surveillance program."

At the House hearing, Mr. Gonzales faced tough questioning from Democrats and Republicans but declined to discuss many operational details. Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the Wisconsin Republican who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee and one of the administration's staunchest allies, accused the administration of "stonewalling."

"Mr. Attorney General, how can we discharge our oversight responsibilities if every time we ask a pointed question, we're told that the answer is classified?" Mr. Sensenbrenner asked. "Congress has an inherent constitutional responsibility to do oversight. We are attempting to discharge those responsibilities." The House and Senate have conducted limited inquiries into the surveillance program, which many Democrats contend is illegal. Republicans on the Senate intelligence panel have agreed on measures to impose new oversight but allow wiretapping without warrants for up to 45 days.

more
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/07/washington/07nsa.html

Ok, with this revelation - how much of the "we're only listening to al Qaeda calling to the U.S. from overseas" arguement begin to crumble?

Vyan

Monday, April 3

General Zinni tells it like it is

From Crooks and Liars.
Gen. Zinni was the second guest on "Meet the Press," today and was very powerful in his observations in the run up to the war, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush's loyalty to his people rather than to their performance which has been appalling by his standards. Russert let him give uninterrupted answers to his questions.

Video-WMP Video-QT

Zinni: ...I heard the case being built to go to war right away- I was hearing a depiction of the intelligence that didn't fit what I knew. There was no solid proof that I ever saw that Saddam had WMD....

(transcript via TP)

ZINNI: I saw the - what this town is known for, spin, cherry-picking facts, using metaphors to evoke certain emotional responses or shading the context. We know the mushroom clouds and the other things that were all described that the media has covered well. I saw on the ground a sort of walking away from 10 years’ worth of planning. You know, ever since the end of the first Gulf War, there’s been planning by serious officers and planners and others, and policies put in place - 10 years' worth of planning were thrown away. Troop levels dismissed out of hand. Gen. Shinseki basically insulted for speaking the truth and giving an honest opinion.

The lack of cohesive approach to how we deal with the aftermath, the political, economic, social reconstruction of a nation, which is no small task. A belief in these exiles that anyone in the region, anyone that had any knowledge, would tell you were not credible on the ground. And on and on and on, decisions to disband the army that were not in the initial plans. There’s a series of disastrous mistakes. We just heard the Secretary of State say these were tactical mistakes. These were not tactical mistakes. These were strategic mistakes, mistakes of policies made back here. Don’t blame the troops. They’ve been magnificent. If anything saves us, it will be them.

MTP now has a full transcript up and this is being well covered on Dkos.

The most telling thing is the Zinni is simply stating the truth. The claims by Bush, Cheney and even Powell that there was "No doubt" that Saddam had WMD and intended to use them against the U.S. was completely unfounded. This section here is especially telling...

MR. RUSSERT: I want to bring you back to August 26, 2002. The Veterans of Foreign War had a convention, a meeting. Vice President Cheney was the guest speaker. You were honored, as you can see the medal around your neck there. This is what the vice president said on that day.

(Videotape, August 26, 2002):

VICE PRES. DICK CHENEY: Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is not doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us.

MR. RUSSERT: After that event, The Washington Post captured your thinking in a conversation with you. "Cheney's certitude bewildered [retired General Tony] Zinni. ... `In my time at CENTCOM, I watched the intelligence, and never - not once - did it say, "He has WMD."' Though retired for nearly two years, Zinni says, he remained current on the intelligence through his consulting with the CIA and the military. `I did consulting work for the agency, right up to the beginning of the war. I never saw anything. I'd say to analysts, "Where's the threat?"' Their response, he recalls, was, `Silence.' Zinni's concern deepened as Cheney pressed on. ... Zinni's conclusion as he slowly walked off the stage was that the Bush administration was determined to go to war. A moment later, he had another, equally chilling thought: `These guys don't understand what they're getting into.'" Why did you think that on that day?

GEN. ZINNI: Well, first of all, prior to that, I heard the president say because this--these rumors of debates and people pushing for this entry into Iraq that the president said, "Well, look, I'm going to listen to the debate, and then I'll look at the intelligence." First of all, I thought that was a little backwards, but I said, "Well, the president hasn't made up his mind to this point, and when he looks at the intelligence, takes an honest look at it, when he hears the debate, he'll realize that this isn't something that should be done now, and it should--and if you're going to do it, you would do it in a way to try to restart the United Nations process, go back to what President Bush 41 had done."

But what I heard on that stage today, or that day was not the case of restarting that process in any serious way. I heard the case being built to go to war right away. And what bothered me, I had been hearing about some of the assumptions on the planning, dismissal of the for--previous plans, and I was hearing a depiction of the intelligence that didn't fit what I knew. There was no solid proof, that I ever saw, that Saddam had WMD.

Now, I'd be the first to say we had to assume he had WMD left over that wasn't accounted for: artillery rounds, chemical rounds, a SCUD missile or two. But these things, over time, degrade. These things did not present operational or strategic level threats at best. Plus, we were watching Saddam with an army that had caved in. It was nothing like the Gulf War army. It was a shell of its former self. We knew we could go through it quickly. We'd stripped away his air defenses. He was at our mercy. We had air superiority before we even--or actually air supremacy before we would even start an operation. So to say that this threat was imminent or grave and gathering, seemed like a great exaggeration to me.

MR. RUSSERT: The president, the secretary of state, all said he was not contained, he was not in a box, that he was a madman.

GEN. ZINNI: Well, I think that's--that is an insult to the troops who, for 10 years, ran the containment: those brave pilots who flew the no-fly zones, those sailors who enforced the maritime intercept operations, our soldiers and Marines that were on the ground out there that responded to every crisis, our support for the efforts of the inspectors that were in there. You know, we--we had less troops on a day-to-day basis out there than go to work at the Pentagon every day doing this. And these were not assigned troops to CENTCOM. These were troops that rotated in and out. We had allies out there that helped foot the bill for this, $300 million dollars to $500 million dollars a year supporting us with bases, supporting us with overflights, supporting us with assistance in kind, joining us in places like Somalia and the Balkans when we required coalition troops. I thought the containment worked remarkably well, and it was a tribute to our troops and how they handled it.


Simply incredible.

Vyan

Sunday, April 2

Rock Star II Auditions - Hollywood

Rs_supernova.jpgLast year the CBS show Rock Star : INXS twisted the American Idol idea on it's head by using a reality show to help choose the new lead singer for a real, genuine band. In that case it was the group INXS who had lost their singer to a tragedy nearly a decade ago.

This past Friday the final set of open auditions were held for the new season of Rock Star in Hollywood, which will feature an all new group called Supernova (w/ Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, Jason Newsted of Metallica and Gilby Clarke of Guns N Roses) and being a big fan of all three of these groups I decided to come out and give it a try. Over the flip is the diary my experience.

03_31_06_0908.jpg9:00 Arrived via the Metro Rail in the Center of Highly-Weird California -the town isn't really a town because it's a marketing campaign - lugging my 20lbs Line-6 Combo Practice Amp and Strat-styled Yamaha guitar and get in the line which extends around the block just as the rain starts to trickle down (and I'm of course thinking -"OH, shit- MY AMP!"). Fortunatey for me- and my amp - the rain was pretty sparse and I had brought a pair of vinyl pants for the stage which double quite nicely as a rain shield for those delicate electronics.

03_31_06_0937.jpg9:30 Line isn't really moving as the doors are supposed to open until 10:00. Some people are clearly nervous, some are beginning to vocalize - while others complain "Oh, no - soon everybodies going to be singing". I'm trying to warm my voice up a bit considering how early it is in the morning, but really doing what I need to do - which is basically screaming at the top of my lungs - just doesn't feel right in such a public space. So instead I settle for option #2, which is to chew some gum and hope it gets rid of that dreaded morning phlem. (It's a singer thang, trust me on that one)

03_31_06_09461.jpg9:46 Camera crew shows up -- so I take a picture of them, taking a picture of the line. They don't say much to many people, until one guy asks me to step back as my pacing out of bordem is messing up his shot. Thanks dude. Thank God I'm not here to be noticed or anything vain like that. I'm just doing it for the da kids. Really. Honest. Cross my heart and hope not to Cheney!

10:00 Doors open, line begins to creep forward once every 10 or 15 mins. Some people have friends who came with them, I don't talk much and try to keep focused on my CD player which has the two tracks that the drummer from my last band Glitched had done a quickie vocal-less remix and emailed to me the day before. I also had "Man in a Box" by Alice in Chains and "Set if Off" from Audioslave on the disc since the requirements were that you be ready to do up to three songs and one had to be a cover. I also had the guitar an amp for doing one of my own original songs depending on where I saw weaknesses in the competition. My number one option though - was use the CD and perform Drown. I knew the song pretty well, and would simply focus on the performance itself without worrying about playing guitar and/or remembering lyrics.

03_31_06_1050.jpg10:45 Some old guy shows up with a "I Support the President" sign. Which generates a few hoots and negative comments from the people in line. Besides being completely wrong-headed politically, this guy with typical Hollywood pay-attention-to-me defecit disorder then starts to dig into us with "Hey, you guys here for Americon Idol? - I love Ryan Seacrest". Hey,doofus, this is ROCK STAR featuring members of Metallica, you might as well have accused us of wearing tutu's and buggering cats - so we toss back -"What do you drink, bathwater?" - and "I hope you reserve your tickets to the Impeachment!". [Later I realize that his sign probably was in response to the Censure Hearings which were talking place in the Senate today, not this this guy was about to deliver a nuanced argument on how the President hasn't willfully violated the law and the 4th Amendment with his NSA Spying program]

03_31_06_1055.jpgIt generates about five minutes of fun and foolishness that slightly bonds the hopefuls together, but generally most people are clearly nervous and tightlipped as the entrace to the Knitting Factory looms into view.


03_31_06_1129.jpg11:30 - Inching ever closer.

The sign says - "Rock Star -->" This Way. Where all your hopes and dreams will soon be crushed into dust. Enjoy.

<>11:55 Starting to move out of the drizzle and into the foyer. A table is setup to accept applications and another camera crew, this one from TV Guide is filming people in line and having them perform their songs. I manage to get a shot of the ever-so-photogenic blond and beeming host.









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03_31_06_1152.jpg


03_31_06_1158.jpg

But by this point in time, I'm not so worried about singing my song, I'm starting to wonder when and where I'll be able to take a piss. And I'm not the only one, I'd say about 1 in 5 people in line are starting to do the "Pee pee dance".

12:15 We turn in our applications, which basically is a release form for any music your going to perform and allows for CBS to use your likeness how they see fit and royalty free - in perpetuity. Wha-hoo, screwed by "da man" already. (Yeah, that's right - I actually bothered to read it, silly me.

Our pictures are taken with a digital cam, we're given a number (I was #174) and split into two lines -one for odd, one for even- for the impending slaughter like good little cattle. Some people are starting to vocalize more openly and I'm starting to recognize songs. I heard this pretty thrilling three-part harmony Journey song in the background, and then one girl was doing Skid Row's "I Remember You". (Ya aint gonna hear that one on American Idol. Not!).

03_31_06_1128.jpg12:45 Some people are getting their Primp On. One gal in a long leather jacket was having her already sky-high hair touched up by a friend - yeah, just a little more and she'd be have her own personal ozone-hole and be ready to join Vixen circa 1988. (Not that I'm much different with the bottle of Cobalt Blue Spiker in my pocket)

13:00 Still in line, close enough to see the door, pardon the Mike and the Mechanics reference but "All I need is a toilet." and all my tension will flow away like water. In fact, exactly like water.

13:15 I step out of line -(not to worry I'm already tagged and numbered like any good free-range musician should be) - to take a quick look down Hollywood Blvd and see if there are any bathrooms around (yeah, right). There's a little deli, but of course it's "Customers Use Only". I'm not hungry and the last thing I need is something to drink. I head back to the line, and two other guys ask me as soon as I get back - "Did you find a bathroom?". I give 'em the lowdown and they both go for it. A buddy of theirs stays behind to watch their guitars.

13:30 I see that security is letting people into the club one at a time for a bathroom break. Aha, I knew I held out for a reason. Besides if I'd lost it, I had brought a second pair of pants with me anyway. I take my turn and use it as a chance to case the layout. As I come in there's a black guy on stage singing Extreme's "More than Words". He's good, but missing some of the notes. That's a tough song to do properly. They have video setup recording the performance. It's a fairly relaxed atmosphere, not too many onlookers. I don't recognize anyone famous inside, just do my business and head back out.

03_31_06_13502.jpg13:45 The auditioners are grouped into lots of ten to enter the club. I take another quick trip inside to change into my vinyl pants. This time some girl is singing to some punk backing tracks badly off-key. Then a couple minutes later our group goes in. We line up along the wall, and get the low-down from the sound guy. Their only going to let us have part of the song, just enough to get the flavor -- if you're cut off, don't take it personally it's not the "Hook" - everyone gets cut off. You can provide a CD with backing tracks, play along with acoustic guitar - or have a friend do it, or simply sing acapella. The song can be original or a cover. I'm prepared to do all three but choose Door number #1 Johnny since it'll be easiest for me all around and I won't have any distractions (no guitar parts or cover lyrics to remember)

14:00 I'm third in line, the two people ahead of me do "Bring me to Life" by Evanescense (A good pick) and a Cheap Trick song respectively. Both are good, not drop dead awesome - but good.


03_31_06_1351.jpgI go up, and do my thing. I stay relaxed, take control of the stage like I own it. Grab the mic stand and swing it around so I can get my Steven Tyler Mojo going. I don't stand still and sing like everyone else seems to - I jump, pace, dance and Rock Out! I'm not nervous and I don't care that I'm alone on stage, I've played a dozens and dozens clubs like this -- I'm home.

(Me - Onstage w/Glitched-- in 2004)Me onstage w/Glitched

The song flows out of me, and it should since I've already done it hundreds of times in reheasals and on stage with Glitched. The song is Hard rock/Metal, modern sounding but with a strong Metallica vibe - which is most appropriate with Jason Newsted out there watching. It goes just as I planned, and I did it about as well as I could have. Hopefully it translated well onto tape, but I have no idea if it did or not. All I could do is my best. Everything after that is up to them.

03_31_06_1406.jpg(<- Somewhere in the darkness is Jason Newsted, can you find Waldo?)

The moment is over fairly quickly - I get some enthusiastic applause from the other contestants. My work is done here, so I quickly change back out of my vinyl pants (they don't breathe so wearing them for longer than a few minutes can get kinda Fong-kay!) and back into my jeans. Jason Newsted is wandering around the back of the club watching, and chatting with the soundguy occasionally.

03_31_06_1420.jpgThe other contestants file up, this one guy is onstage while I'm changing is pretty awesome. He has a great look, tats, doing an original song (I think) and sounded very modern like the band H.I.M or My Chemical Romance. He's a strong contender in my book. Later I learn his name is "Toreen". His girlfriend, Christy, is next and after a slightly rocky start she kicks the shit out of Journey's "Seperate Ways". I complement them both, and Christy tells me she's only their because of Toreen and she has bronchitis.

14:20 Before our group is done we have an older heavy-set black guy who is clearly an accomplished jazz singer go up. He sounds great, but I think he's at the wrong audition - this is ROCK STAR, not Lounge Singer. He'll kill 'em on the cocktail circuit - but not Webley Stadium.

Then we have this white kid, about 18-19 in a muscle shirt with well developed pecs and lats. He does Luther Vandrose and oversings it - which itself is quite an accomplishement. He's great too - if he's trying to be the fifth member of N'Suck. His best shot is probably to become Nick Lechey Mark II and see if Jessica's little sister Ashlee Simpson is still dating her slack-rocker boyfriend Ryan. There he might have a shot -here, auditioning to sing for guys who used to be in Metallica, Guns N Roses and Motley Crue? Maybe I'm wrong, but I just don't think so.

03_31_06_1411.jpgOne of the last persons up is this girl in a wheel chair. Her mom(?) wheels her up to the mic, and she stands, shakily, to perform Tina Turner's version of "Proud Mary". She doesn't have the greatest voice, but she has the greatest enthusiasm. It isn't long before most of the other contestant, myself included, are singing backups from the audience. She really gets going on the "Doo doo doo" parts, and then kicks it into overtime on the fast part. The soundguy tries to stop here at the normal spot, just like everyone else - but it's no use. She's in the zone. We got Wilamena Hung in da house. Only she's sings better than he did, actually manages to finish the entire song and get a huge set of applause. Hey, could you cut-off somebody in a wheelchair halfway through?

Yeah, I could too - but don't spread it around.

The last guy gets an even bigger response doing "Whole Lotta Love" while accompanying himself on an unamplified electric guitar. Without the Marshall's, it's really pretty funny particularly when he gets to the moaning "Oh" parts. "Waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy down insiiiiiiiiidde....". Oh yeah, baby.

What I wouldn't give to see the rest of those tapes, man. That's gotta be a goldmine of amazing moments, but this show is very different from American Idol specifically on that point - they don't broadcast the outakes and subject people to ridicule. I'm doing it here - cuz it's so much fun - but then only the other ten or twelve people in the room saw these performances at the time and most of them have their own opinions about them, including mine. (Hey, what's wrong with that guys pants!!! And why's his hair kinda blue? LOL) If you get out in public to perform, you need to be able to take a lump or two. If you can't take it - don't get on stage.

03_31_06_14231.jpg14:23 Finally out and done, and the line is still pretty long. Only this group of people isn't nearly a nervous and tight-lipped as those I went in with. They're having a great time. It's a party out here -- with tons of people singing all kinds of cover songs. It's like the band camp sing-a-long from hell, dude.



This one guy with a soft-curl fro (pictured right) is pretty much the de-facto band leader with about a half-dozen back-up singers. I joined in and did a couple different versions of "Purple Rain" while cameras scrolled by from some website or the other. I also met a pretty awesome local R&B singer out there by the name of Anthony Powers. (www.anthonypowers.com


anthony.jpg

Rockband.com has lots of great pics also, most of which were taken pretty much at this particular time (I swear I must have been a couple inches off camera for some of these shots, but I'm not in them).

03_31_06_1438.jpgI was having so much fun, I decided to hang around. Since I'd already been inside everybody wanted to know the scoop about how it was and what to expect. I borrowed a guitar and played "Hole Hearted" - which was one of my backup songs, although i never have learned all the correct words - which is why I didn't do it inside. Nobody else knew them either, so we were basically even.

03_31_06_1509.jpg(End of the Line)

15:00 I eventually wandered to the back of the line, where there were some others who'd already been in and out hang around doing rock song covers. We did "Patience", "Sweet Child 'O Mine", "My Sacrifice" (with modified lyrics that made fun of Scott Stapp getting beaten up repeatedly), "It's Been Awhile" (Staind) and if - if you can believe this - an acoustic version of System of a Down's "Chop Suey" (!?!).

(Shannon and her Guitarist - the "Chop Suey" Man)03_31_06_1507.jpg

The other guys who were still in line were Pop and R&B singers -- but this group were ROCK singers and the difference was obvious. These guys even made up a song on the spot called 'Hollywood Blvd" for this website that was filming for Showusyourcharacter.com, which was connected to USA Networks.


(Me with a borrowed Guitar, you can see Brian from Vicious Rumors and Ira from Metal Church walking around in the background in the video from Showusyourcharacter.com where I'm performing a song I didn't do in the audition.)






03_31_06_1543.jpg(Neal, his girlfriend and Shannon, Real Rockers!)









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MetalChurch.jpg
After doing about six songs I got to talking to the others, there was Shannon and her guitarist - then there was Neal and his girlfriend. Neal mentioned his old band Sunburn, and I suddently realized I knew this guy. I had seen that band in Sacramento, and was a big fan. They were from Walnut Creek in Northern California and I've been featuring one of their songs, "Last Words", on my Live365 Station for years. One of the other guys hanging out there was Brian (O'Connor) who was a friend of Neals and former lead singer for Vicious Rumors. He's yet another guy I knew of from NorCal, but I'd never really met him -- and even stranger yet, he knew of me and my old Sacramento band Planet X. We started talking about Jay from the Town Pump in Yuba City, who was the guitarist for my last group Glitched - and the fact that I'd just auditioned with a track that had Jay playing on it.. It was like NorCal Central down there, and we we're partying hard - Neal's girlfriend had gone across the street and picked up a twelve pack of Corona's. They were in the sharing mood, so you're talking semi-drunk rock camp-fire songs in the middle of the drizzle.

Toreen, Christy and someone else from Rockband.com's Pics

03_31_06_1618.jpg The little guy on the right posing is Dave Navarro (Jane's Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers) who will be the host of the show.

03_31_06_1544.jpg (Ira from Metal Church with Brian from Vicious Rumors - note the Corona's in their hands - Par-tay!!)

I got into an interesting coversation with Brian, who'd toured and performed in front of 50,000 person crowds with Vicious Rumors. He was terrified by this audition. Stomach all notted up, because you were completely under a microscope in there - it's completely different than having a faceless crowd of thousands. I'm sure he did fantastic though, but it just underscored another point that is different from AI and in fact different from the first season of Rock Star. IMO too many of the people auditioning were simply not suited to what this band was most likely to become. It might not be as heavy as Metallica, because this is clearly intended for the mainstream - but it also wasn't going to be Avril Lavigne. My best guest is that this project would probably emulate the success of Velvet Revolver, which was another "supergroup" of ex-GNR and STP personel. All the people doing Christina Aguilera were missing it IMO.

03_31_06_1626.jpg(<-- Yes, the Devil really does live on Hollywood Blvd).

If people like Neal, Brian and Toreen don't get picked then I certainly won't feel bad if I don't. These guys are the Real Deal, and I expect with or without this show we'll see them again. Heck, Neal said he was going to auditioning for the band Fuel soon -- so who knows, eh?

All in all, about 370 people showed up in Hollywood, about 50 of those will be called back on Monday for secondary auditions, from there things will eventually be wittled down to the 15 people who'll be in the fishbowl of the show. One way or the other, it should be entertaining.

Vyan