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Roger Reis

Roger Reis

Tuesday, 05 August 2014 00:00

Heart Kicks It Out At Ravinia

The lights started to fade and the crowd was rushing to their seats. Drums began to rumble in a tribal pattern waking your inner soul. Ann and Nancy Wilson were taking the stage for a summer concert at Ravinia in Highland Park, Illinois. The rock band Heart is in town and they had a crowd ready to go.

The drums came to a rest and this female fronted rock band started up the show. Concert goers were happy to hear the first few notes of “Magic Man” and everyone went wild. This 1975 hit single was the first song people ever heard of this great band. What a way to start up then by presenting their first musical offerings. The drums were hot, the music was sweet, and voices of angels were being heard.

“Barracuda” was really the only slight disappointment of the night. The original version was a very upbeat song with very high beats per minute. Heart started out the song in an arrangement that was slower than the original version. Much slower! They did perform the song extremely well, but it just lost a little something by slowing it down.

The hits continued with “Even it up”, “kick it out”, “Crazy on you”, and “These Dreams.” The band just kept pulling out song after song; hit after hit. Kept hearing people say, “Wow! They did this too?” and “I forgot about this song.” 

These ladies are so talented, but the performance is not just them. The band they have is just amazing on their own. Key board player Debbie Shair has been with them for such a long time. She has become such a huge part of the band. Just a piece of the backbone and providing so many assists in rhythms and melodies.

Guitarist Craig Bartock made an amazing performance in every solo. During a few songs he had most of the guitar riffs note for note. On a couple of others he went in his own direction. He brought his own flair to the songs at a couple of points. Tremendous player all around.

The rhythm section put down the canvas for these musical artists to paint their songs. Bassist Dan Rothchild had no problem laying down the groove. He just stepped up and nailed every bit as if it was second nature. The low end was not lacking at all.

Drummer Ben Smith!! What else can be said other than phenomenal performance. The way he opened up the show in his rhythmic patterns. It was just amazing.

Ann has just a voice that will never quit. Where other singers lose their voice, it seems like she has gotten stronger over the years. Her voice is just so amazing. Girls everywhere through the place were singing along with her as if it was their voice; watching one of their idols at work.

Nancy is a great singer, but she sings better with her fingers. Guitars, mandolins, it doesn’t matter. This girl knows how to pick out a good song. She can hang with the best of them because she is one of the best.

Some of the favorite moments of the show for attendees were, “The song Heaven. It was just so beautiful. It was a nice tribute, and they just sung so well. Touching really.”

“Let me Roll it was just so amazing for me,” said a Beatle fan. “I didn’t get to see Paul [McCartney] this year on tour cause of his virus. Nice little bonus to see Heart and see some covers. They did it well”

Richard Bilyk stated, “Best part of the show for me was the encore. I love all their songs, but when they do Led Zeppelin it’s so awesome. When they play those songs they hand Page and Plant their hats. They do Zeppelin better then Zeppelin.”  

The night unfolded with great classic rock by the coolest female fronted rock band that ever existed. The band Heart just rocked the minds of a packed pavilion and grounds surrounding. A wide range of ages were there to witness greatness.

People got in line for the shuttle bus to go back to the Botanical Gardens. The show was over. Smiles were on the faces of all the fans that came and attended this wonderful show. Ann and Nancy Wilson took the stage for this summer concert and in the process touched your inner soul. These girls know how to rock. What a great show!!!

Magic Man



What About Love

Dreamboat Annie

Even It Up

Kick It Out

Straight On

Let Me Roll It


These Dreams



Crazy on you


Immigrant Song

What is and what should never be

Misty Mountain Hop

The sun started to settle in the West. The shadows were forming over the manicured gardens. Night was coming and so was the start of a great show at Ravinia in Highland Park, IL.

It’s Saturday Night, the weather is nice, and Crosby, Stills, & Nash are in town. Fans young and old came to sing the songs performed by these greats. This was a tremendous venue for these Woodstock (1969) performers.

The three men came out armed with guitars, backed by a sweet band, and gifted with sweet harmonies. Not too many bands have ever been able to rival CSN in vocals.

“Carry On” was a perfect song to start it up with. All the old hippies dressed in their sixties tie dyed gear began to dance. Colored lights illuminated the musical display being set forth for the sold out show of concert goers.

“Marrakesh Express” has always been known for being a popular song amongst the fans. A great song with it’s up beat patterns and vocals that are just amazing. Always great harmonies.

“Long Time Gone” reminds a lot of people of the Woodstock Movie. It plays in the opening and was just a crowd pleaser. CSN were really hyped up for this show and they were letting it all hang out on a Saturday night.

When “Southern Cross” first started, the place just went wild. Everyone was singing the song throughout almost the entire way. “When you see the Southern Cross for the first time you understand now why you came this way.” When you see it done live by CSN you understand why you came to the show. Now everyone knows what all the hype is about.

Of course the boys had to take an intermission which was very cool for the aging entertainers and concert goers. David Crosby has lived two lives, but he looks amazing and is still harmonizing well. If you ask him, “It’s what I was put on this Earth to do.”

Helplessly Hoping was another great hit and Graham Nash is just still a top quality singer. His vocal contributions have long been present in this band and many others. He has been a full time member or singing backup with Dave for other bands. It’s like hearing a group of musical deities.

“For What It's Worth” was brought out from the Buffalo Springfield library and Stills did a great job as usual. He was a little raspy compared to the other two vocally, but where he lacked in one category he made up for it another. His guitar playing has always been a leading voice within this band since the start.   

“Guinnevere” is just an amazingly graceful song. Each time they play this with such emotion and love from one man to this woman. No where can you hear a song like this written today. Sung in such a way it made a young lady cry. “It’s my favorite song by them. By anyone!!”

“Our House” was a sing along with lighters going and people chiming in on every note to this great hit. This song has some of the most children friendly lyrics put out. It just has an innocence about it that makes flowers in the hair of beautiful women mandatory.

 “Chicago” a great song performed in honor of the 1968 Democratic National Convention.  When they “Won't you please come to Chicago just to show your face” the excitement level went up immensely. Even in a far suburb of Chicago, it still makes many of us warm to hear about the city history in song.

 “Teach Your Children” is probably the most known song by this band. Appearing in several commercials, being all over the radio, and possibly on a few kid shows like Sesame Street over the years, you would have to have to live under a rock to not hear this song. This is such a great song that was originally intended as a vocal lesson for The Grateful Dead. They would teach the members of the Grateful Dead how to sing harmony for their upcoming albums, Workingman's Deadand American Beauty.

The sold out show at Ravinia in Highland Park, IL. was just an amazing time for people of all ages. One is really overtaken and just in awe over the beautiful presence of the theater. The grounds surrounding were just filled with very well behaved attendees.  No one got too crazy or out of hand. The sight of people enjoying a nice picnic lunch/dinner and beverage of choice just completes the scene of a serene summer weekend.

As the night came to a close, the crowd cleared out by shuttle buses back to the Botanical Gardens parking lot. They carried their chairs and coolers that had their leftover spinach dip and wine. Tie dyed people of all ages headed back to their vehicles excited from such a good show and exhausted because they got their monies worth.

Fans young and old came to sing the songs performed by Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Night settled the temperature and set the evening for a memorable time. Alcohol was being consumed, people were dancing, and some of the greatest songs ever written were being sung. What more could you ask for? Maybe a time machine to bring you back to Yasgur’s Farm in 1969? Watch their second show ever and have some fine milk from his dairy? 


For more Ravinia events, visit www.Ravinia.org.

Saturday, 14 July 2012 19:17

Sweet G ~ Lady in Rock!!

Throughout the music industry there are very gracious people that really want to help struggling musicians out. They are there to help push them along, do favors, and expect nothing in return other than a thank you. They are very helpful people and truly are fans of music and they need to be around it all the time. It’s just in their blood, heart, and soul!

We are not talking about groupie’s who drop their panties at the first sight of a bass player. We are talking about adult professionals within the music industry. These people will bend over backwards to help a local band that they believe in. Help in any way they can. They will support the local musicians until the day they die. Such passion for music can be found within Gina Planell, a.k.a. Sweet G.

Recently Sweet G was interviewed by Buzz and she shared quite a bit. She did sing “background vocals on a few tracks back in the day. I don’t even want to go there. I have played drums, bass, and guitar; not very well, but I can get by. I rage with ‘Smoke on the Water’.” She wears so many hats beyond that, including being a mother and wife, but one of the heaviest roles in music is with the Dirty Dan Radio Show.

I produce the show. Make sure everyone is on the same page by way of interview subjects.” Sweet G also pursues newsworthy acts to use within the show. “I feel that my prior experience gives me an edge in this arena. I am very creative and generally come up with insane bits at the drop of a hat.”

Her list of accolades is quite amazing! Sweet G has worked for A&M records for a brief time and with Moon June as an administrator. “Worked at Guitar Center as a guitar accessories clerk for a few summers. Everything has always been tied into music in one way or another. In my early days, I had a penchant for photography. We had to do everything by hand. There was no digital anything. You had to wait for your pictures to be developed and you had to manually create flyers and mailing lists. No do-over’s! That was my job.”

As she developed her creative skills she got to join some bigger acts during recording sessions. “I made it a point to know every single facet of this industry so that I could accelerate this love of my life, from advertising to booking to interviewing and understanding a musician’s mind. I was hoping to somehow make tons of money at it, but if you know anything about this industry, anything you do are labors of love. I continue to look for new acts to extend my support to. My love for local music reaches far into my soul. It’s not something to turn on and off. It just exists.”


This is no run of the mill fly by night promoter. Sweet G is the real deal! Along with being a great photographer and writer (Chicagorocks.com and The Rocker) she has helped to promote some very large local gatherings that were outstanding.  She has helped charities; Breaking the Silence (Autism benefit) and Toys for Tots. These types of events are right up her alley as she is just a caring helpful person.


For the last five years Sweet G has helped to organize Woodsbash and Winterbash, which is one of the coolest parties ever. In the middle of Schiller Woods, bands play to a crowd of partiers that loved every minute of it. Her role in these events was huge for the last years and her help will be missed as she will no longer be assisting. Without her touch of class and Jell-o shots, this party will not be the same and for the first time in years the party did not go on.  


She spent a short time as a DJ for 88.3 and Sweet G loved it. She has worked with Entertainment-1 booking bands alongside Terry McGovern and Kris Valentine. “Entertainment 1 is bringing some serious main stream music this year. That’s all I’m going to say about that.” 


Sweet G was asked if she hung out at places like the Thirsty Whale. “Absolutely! Since the late 70’s. I was a very young attendee. I don’t think you can say underage here. Then, there was Haymakers, The Nickel Bag, The Rusty Nail, Night Gallery, Beginnings… I could go on. It was a great time for music and friends. I feel very lucky to have reconnected over the years to those people and memories. That time period was detrimental to my present state of insanity.”


She was asked who she has met over the years. “I have been privileged to meet a lot of great people. John Entwistle, Danny Seraphine, Steven Tyler, Dee Snyder, Dave Meniketti, Carmine Appice, Blackie Lawless, Yngwie Malmsteen, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Leste, Viv Campbell, Neil Schon, Carlos Santana, Dirty Dan Buck” and the list goes on from there.

Sweet G tells a story of a Halloween at the Aragon Ballroom with Lemmy. “I was fortunate enough to get first row and ultimately me with a bunch of musician friends, were asked backstage. Our costumes were a hit.” She wore a feathered mask and “Lemmy liked it. He told me to ‘Take it off!’ Inspiring a crowd rant. I was scared, so I took it off. He looked at me and said, ‘Put it back on,’” she recalls it laughing.  


As the night went on she actually was backstage; talking with Lemmy for quite a while and was able to interview him in a way. “We talked more and he kept signing autographs using my back as a writing board at times. He was one of the absolute nicest, coolest guys I had ever met.”


“As I was leaving, Lemmy insisted that I stay because ‘I reminded him of his wife.’  Touched, I decided to hang around a while longer and grill him a bit more about touring. It was exciting to talk to such a legend and in this very short period of time, I felt like he was a friend of sorts. I was watching VH1 and there was Motorhead. I saw Lemmy talking about his life and how he never married! I was hysterical. He’s was a great guy, one of my very favorites.” 


Her response about drugs; “I think that’s a personal decision as long as it doesn’t damage another. It’s definitely not as bad as it used to be. There were some extremely elaborate drug parties back then. There was no pressure to use like everyone says and people who did heroin or had it were usually beaten up or thrown out of parties. Now, heroin is almost on the casual use list which is frightening. I think some underestimate the power of heroin. It’s a killer. It needs to be stopped.”


She was asked who is her favorites in local music. “Back in the day, I was enamored with TRILLION. Bloodstream Parade, Paradoxx, Dirty Dan Buck, Cool Rockin’ Daddies, VEILSIDE. I have favorite individual musicians here in Chicago. I feel lucky to go out and see them all perform; hear them sing and play. It’s a great time for local music. Chicago has some serious talent. Way Serious! I’m thinking a lot of people take them all for granted.”


Her devotion to music is continued to be explained. “I support people who ask for my help. Whether that be, writing, photography, producing, booking or even artistic contributions. I think everyone wants to be helpful and feel good knowing that they’ve made some kind of difference. In the 80s, I was one of a few people locally that photographed and created promo packages. We used them to get bands booked in clubs. That included 8 x 10 glossies. I worked very hard and loved every minute of it. Now, it’s a serious hobby. It kind of stays in your blood.”  


“I left the music scene for about eight years or so, after my boy was born. Those were the RADAKKA years, dammit. So, I’m anxious to see if the original members will ever come together and do it again. I have that regret of not experiencing them. I wonder what’s taking them so damn long!”


When asked if she was a groupie her response was; “I’m not sure. Back in the day, groupie, was a bad thing. I don’t know what it means now. I never screwed anyone to get anywhere. My goal always was to find out as much about music and absorb all there was to learn to become a credible source of assistance. I was hungry for the knowledge. I never stop learning and understanding. I don’t think groupies do that. I do have to say that I’m not excited about the exploitation of women and sex-crap in this industry.  For such a long, long time women have been looked upon as sex toys. I thought most certainly we were coming out of that cave.”


“Not many women have been given the courtesy of being considered intelligent enough or having something viable to offer other than T&A, until just recently. It bothers me. I feel that kind of stuff keeps us from accelerating intellectually as women. It’s a personal opinion. I believe women who are happy, are sexy. Women who are educated, are sexy. I’ve written about it, most everyone knows my point of view on it. I wish a few women locally would find a way to make people see their sexy minds instead of their cockpits.  Just a personal thought.”


“First, I am now owner/President of RAW-M which is the Regional Alliance of Women in Music. We have a Chicago chapter and moving on to Philadelphia. There are currently 62 members in Chicago. It's a group of women in music supporting each other. Creating charity rock shows and contributing as a whole to this music movement. Strength in numbers.  Also, am currently considering creating my radio show which should air during the Summer months and run for a year as a demo.” 

It is quite apparent that Sweet G isn’t a fan of the sex sells campaign within music. It is also quite apparent that she is not just another pretty face either. This young lady has looks, but has the brain to match. You can compare her to whoever you want, but there will always only be one Sweet G.

G promo 8

It is something to see people truly helping others within this musical field. Gina “Sweet G” Planell is one of those rare finds that really wants to help. Her love and passion for music is flowing through her veins like a powerful drug. Her class cannot be duplicated or imitated. She is a true humanitarian to the music industry because deep down within her soul, music is her life. Sweet G is someone you should know. 

Saturday, 10 March 2012 18:59

Space Giant; awesome Chicago band


In almost every bar you can see a cover of the song “Born to be Wild” (Steppenwolf). “I Want You to Want Me” (Cheap Trick) is another example of a song that is covered by everyone. Occasionally a band will be seen that is just doing original songs. Creative ability and talent hit the concert goers dead in their soul with these original songs. Saturday night’s performance by Space Giant was a show that really grabbed you.

Ye Olde Town Inn (18 W. Busse Avenue ~ Mount Prospect, IL 60056) was the place to be for this show. Space Giant was the band to see and they just rocked. The entire performance was flawless and they were on fire. This high energy music was a pleasant change from hearing “Simple Man” (Lynyrd Skynyrd) for the three millionth time.

Vince Falcone is a slamming, hard hitting drummer that drives each song. The hand and feet work were reminiscent of one of the masters, Abe Laboriel Jr. from Paul McCartney’s band. Very similar techniques and mannerisms are found in Vince. His snare rolls push songs in such a great way that not every guy who owns a drum kit can do. He has dynamics behind the kit that holds the show together.    

Lead vocalist Jamie Richards was a joy to watch as he never stopped moving. He did his job to entertain the crowd and has a strong voice to keep everyone interested. He tore up every note like it was meant to be. His vocal range and tone fit the band like a glove. He blended well with the music that was created. In between songs there wasn’t any dead time as he kept it going creating not just music, but creating a show.   

Dave Yates filled the role of the bottom end with ease locking his bass with the clockwork of the drummer. Playing solid bass lines for each song done is what this guy does and realizes in bass lines sometimes less is more. Holding out one note is in most cases better than playing a hundred. One of the best features in a bass player is his amp and this guy has an SWR bass rig that makes it all the better. The man would sound good through anything, but through this amp he gets nothing but sweet tones.  

Fired through a Marshall half stack Mike Parker played some unique guitar leads similar to stuff played by The Edge from U2, except he has taken it into a different form. His guitar won’t just be distorted, it will be glazed with effects at times giving them another sound completely. He has a way of playing that sounds as if he was trying to imitate a keyboard. The man has skills.

Space Giant has an EP out now and the songs on it are very well done. One that really sticks out is “Talks to Angels.” They played it live which the song is a powerful modern rock song, with a good guitar riff driving it, and primal drums rolling into the song. The guitar, bass, and drums chugs its way through this kick ass original song. 

 “Beautiful World” is a radio friendly song that shouldn’t be overlooked. The upbeat rock anthem could easily be played on any rock station and fit right in with any classic to a modern rock genre. These boys should really be proud of the work they have created as it does rock.

The next time you are looking for a new band to see, don’t go see a cover band. Search out an original band and support them in their quest. Go see songs that you have never heard before. Seek out an original band like Space Giant. Their music is rockin’ and a rollin’. From a musician’s perspective, “Seeing Space Giant is like being body slammed by Hulk Hogan. It hurts so much it makes me wanna quit playing. They are good.” Space Giant is a great band.


True music fans go out to local venues to see a good band. They will trudge through snow, cold, wind, and rain to make it out to see a few musical moments that touch their inner soul. Saturday nights are a great time to see a band and dance the night away. This past Saturday an awesome show was provided by Jacked Up at Eskape in Buffalo Grove.

The amount of music provided by Jacked up was amazing. This four piece band just nailed every song they did and tore the roof off the place with their flashy ability. They aren’t a bunch of guys who know a few chords and finally decided to climb out of the cellar. These guys can actually play.

Doing a good selection of classic rock songs is a great way to design your set list if you are a cover band. Jacked Up jammed out songs like “Long Train Running” (Doobie Brothers), “Summer of 69” Bryan Adams, and “Locomotive Breath” (Jethro Tull). The list of great songs was long and they all were done to perfection.

Drummer Ken Kreis played his ass off on drums. The amazing ability provided by this man was something to watch. He holds the timing together and has incredible hand work as he does runs around the kit coming back to the clock within synchronization with the band. He is nothing short of fantastic and a hard hitter. He also provides some sweet backing vocals.

Bass player and a master of the bottom end is the man at stage left, Jeff Barker. This guy has amazing fingers and is the cream of the crop for bass players in the Chicago area. His bass rig speaks for itself. A nice SWR amp with an Alembic bass provides a sweet feeling within the room anywhere. The lightning fast fingers and creative ability within this guy is a show all by itself. Wow!

The man in the middle is Dave Nickrand on lead vocals. He pulls off vocals and gets the crowd into it. He has a solid vocal range and gets the crowd pumped. He looks the part of the classic rockstar with the headband and scarf coming off of the microphone stand. It’s clear he was influenced by so many of the great singers that came before him.

New comer to the band is Michael Alan Krajewski on guitar. There is no other guitarist within the band because another one isn’t needed. It would only get in the way. The six string slinger is a veteran to the lead guitar role and masters the guitar riffs of all the virtuosos that came before him. As he plays through the night he claims the title of king of the hill on his ax. Phenomenal guitar player.

This band just continued to rock one great song after another. “Kryptonite” (3 Doors Down), “Pride and Joy” (Stevie Ray Vaughn), and “Breakdown” (Tom Petty) were some of the highlights of the evening. “Hey Jealousy” (Gin Blossoms) was a great song to hear live and it was flawless. “Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting” (Elton John) showed the vocal capabilities of the guys in the band. The bass player, singer, and guitarist all took a verse of the song going across the stage. They really have their show together.

“Radar Love” (Golden Earring) was the song to see. The thunderous bass, sweet guitar licks, and drums fills made the night worth the trip all by itself. The nearly forty year old hit was done to perfection as good if not better than the original song. The feeling of seeing it live was nothing less than euphoric.

At all local shows someone always has to yell out “Freebird” in honor of the Southern boys Lynyrd Skynyrd hit. Jacked Up didn’t let the crowd down by not playing the ten minute song, but they did a unique version of the masterpiece with the piano intro being done on bass guitar. The version of this song was one of a kind and they ended their show with this rock anthem. Talent is found within all the members of this band. Jacked up rocks!

If you need a band to see at a local bar, look up Jacked Up. These guys know how to blow the roof off the place and they will take most of the walls with them. After seeing them live, you know you have just seen a kick ass rock show. You leave the venue singing most of the songs that they did. Simply put, Jacked Up rocks.  


Friday, 10 February 2012 23:14

The Klank; an awesome band


A super rock pop group is hard to find. Anyone that covers music from multiple eras can be a great find as long as they are playing good music from each era. Where can you find a band that will do melodic music from the 60’s until now? The answer is The Klank.

These guys are as cool as a band can get. A five piece band takes the stage tearing it up as not many bands do. When they come out and start their set with a little Cheap Trick, you really don’t know if they are taking prisoners or just lining up the bodies after they knock you dead.

As their set unfolds Shawn Stuckey the lead singer wails his way through a song by Paul McCartney. Within his vocal range you will find no significant barriers that keep him from entertaining a crowd. He just tore it up within every note sung and just kept giving it his all.

Larry Meger on the drums has a precision hit to everything he does and doesn’t seem to run out of gas ever. His timing and capabilities are quite clear on each song and he never seems to stop hitting with a dynamic range that is just fantastic. The man must have a built in clock.

The low end master is Joe Kuehl. The man didn’t have a monster bass rig and it wasn’t needed for the kind of music that was being done. This bass master jumped in and played his parts and locked with the drummer the entire time. A wrecking ball couldn’t knock his timing off. 

Peter Kuehl jumped back and forth between six string and twelve string guitars depending on the song and what was needed. He held his own within their songs of choice to play and he did it with a certain charm. This man’s ability was clear on everything as he is quite an amazing musician.

Completing this pop group on lead guitar was Johnny Million. He tore up the neck during so many songs that if there was an abuse agency to call for battered guitars, a call could’ve been placed. At the end of the show, he purposely ripped and busted all the strings off of his guitar providing a show, not just music.   

This band covered classic rock songs from The Beatles, The Cars, Elvis Costello, and others. Their versions of other songs were right on the money and they will steal the show from the bands that come on after them. In most professional bands, they would not want to follow The Klank.

The set list that they played is being kept a secret as it really needs to be a surprise what this band does. It was a shock to the people in the crowd and if a person goes to their show, they won’t want the shock factor taken from them. It needs to be experienced firsthand what they do.

If you are looking for a kick ass power pop band to go see live, you may want to find the band The Klank. Within everything they sing and perform, concert goers can’t go wrong with this band as their choice for the band of the day. Their entertaining quality is superb and rises above most of the rest of the bands within the Chicago area. Simple question to ask; are you ready to rock? 

Friday, 10 February 2012 23:11

AlterEgo rocked at Tiger O’Stylies


AlterEgo is a musical ensemble that just kicks ass! They have an ability to keep an audience in seats watching every move they make. Their show at Tiger O’Stylies (6300 W. Ogden Ave. Berwyn, Illinois) just rocked all the way through the show. They were fantastic.


The band AlterEgo sounded great all night long on Saturday. The sweet sound system at Tiger O’Stylies might be oversized for the room, but it rivals the PA at most clubs twice this size. With a mix and matched set of cabinets from JBL to Yorkville, they fill the room with a crisp clean sound.


Mark Berry on lead vocals has a great range and hits notes with perfection. His vocal ability proved that he isn’t just a guy who could sing karaoke and joined a band. The quality of his vocals was superb throughout everything he sang. His stage presence was strong as he talked in between songs and danced as if no one was looking. Occasionally he was looking out of the corner of his eyes at the audience to see if they were enjoying the show and they were.


Vern Cranor is a hard hitting drummer that kept the clock going throughout every beat of each and every song. This professional player hit the skins on his kit with dynamics. He has skills that show within the snare rolls that rang out. He had some good hand over hand techniques as well that were comparable to Max Weinberg. He had just a small kit and he didn’t need anything fancy. This guy could’ve played pots and pans and made them sound good.  


The low end was provided by Rik Menconi and his awesome bass rig. Playing through an Eden bass amp and his sweet Musicman bass, his tone was superb. The amazing feeling of oomph came from the stage in sweet ways that were almost stealth like. You didn’t just hear him play, you felt him shake the club. His fingers flew around the neck of the bass and held everything together as he locked with the drummer.   


Larry Roberts played his guitar and nailed everything he did. The man is a walking juke box from the 80’s. He pulled off great songs like it was second nature to him. Not a lot of bands have a show with such a wide range of songs from the pop era of the 80’s and this man seemed to be leading the show. He played through a Line6 amp with an ESP/LTD guitar and he was great. The band at one point left the stage for a few minutes and he played some of Van Halen’s guitar licks including “Eruption.” 


AlterEgo is entertaining from the start of their show until the finish. The band clearly knows how to set the tone for a party and keep the crowd drinking at all times. Within every note that they played they rocked the house until well after 2:00 a.m.

The songs they covered were great selections to choose. The song “Safety Dance” (Men Without Hats) may have been the highlight of the evening. No other band is doing this song and they did it so well. They also performed “Beat It” (Michael Jackson), “Jenny” (Tommy Tutone), “Your Love” (The Outfield), “Let’s Go” (Prince) and “Hungry Like the Wolf” (Duran Duran).


Another highlight of the night was when they did “Sexy and I Know it” (LMFAO). The song had the girls in the crowd dancing and shaking their money makers. The lyric ran through the little club, “Girl look at that body.” It was definitely not the normal song for a cover band to do. It was a lot of fun. They played songs from Cheap Trick and Buck Cherry as well. The never ending source of music just didn’t seem like it was ever going to stop.


During a break for the band AlterEgo the guitarist brought another band up on stage with him that does music with cookie monster style vocals. As it was musically entertaining, it was not what the concert goers wanted to hear or came to hear. During their two song performance people had enough of that music and the bar thinned out. It is amazing how a band can lose a crowd by making a huge mistake like playing heavy metal at a pop rock show.


Overall the night was a great night for music and AlterEgo really knows how to entertain a crowd. As they finished up their final song you could see in their eyes they were exhausted. They had poured their heart and soul into their performance. It was felt within every amazing second of the show. They know how to rock!



He Said She Said is a power pop rock dance band that knows what the crowd likes. Their show at Chicago City Limits (1712 W. Wise Rd. Schaumburg, Illinois) just kicked ass. At no time were asses just sitting in seats. If you were at this show your feet were tapping or you were dancing up a storm. In front of the stage was a good group of fans dancing all the way up until after 2:00 a.m. They were fantastic!

Lead Singer Tamara Mooshey came forward and charged up this crowd with a strong performance. She was dressed to kill in skimpy clothes, but she wasn’t dressed this way to hide her talent. This woman has a good vocal style that fits the type of music they are doing. She never stopped and neither did the band.

The hard hitting ball of energy drummer Matthew Koller came to this show for one main reason, to rock. Don’t let this group fool you. They are doing a bunch of dance hits, but they truly know how to slam and having this drummer within the band keeps them slamming in time all night long. His clock is right on the money with every beat. 

The low end master Carl Kusch thumped his way around on stage like a seasoned professional. The bass master played through a huge bass stack that was painted like the Chicago flag. His fingers were picking away all night with precision moves on stage. He had the moves and all of the skill to keep them dancing in front of the stage as he locked with the drummer as they became one.

Kerry Ridout completes this four piece band with class. The six string was like an extension of his hands. He played a lot of the funky harmonies that made the songs complete. As this group is mostly oriented around pop, rock, and dance there weren’t a lot of guitar solos that came from him, but the rhythms and leads he played take more skill than being a wanker.

He Said She Said is full of energy and very entertaining if you like this kind of music or not. All four members of this band will sing within songs and vocally they have very good harmonies that compliments the musical covers that they did. Every song was done true to the original. For the lucky people in the audience they really got a treat.

The band pulled off popular rockGuitarist Kerry Ridout  songs like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Bon Jovi’s “Living on A Prayer.” They played to perfection Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me’ and it sounded very close to Live at Budokan. They played all of the dance hits including a surprising song by Lady Gaga “Bad Romance.” It was nothing but high drive music all evening for the entire time they played. This group might have more energy than the Energizer Bunny.

They did have a young lady come up on stage to play guitar with them for a few songs and she held her own during everything that she played. She was rock solid with her guitar addition to the band and fit their style too. Although her real name is a mystery, she simply goes by Sharky.  

He Said She Said is a power pop rock dance band that knows what a crowd likes. Their show at Chicago City Limits was nothing short of fantastic. If you attended this show and you didn’t enjoy it, you might want to check your pulse, you may be dead. This band can act like a defibrillator just shocking you all the way through to your soul. They are amazing entertainers.


 Guitarist Kerry Ridout

Friday, 10 February 2012 22:54

Glen Burtnik; Multi-instrumentalist


“Anytime someone chooses to record a song you've written it is a thrill and an honor,” Glen Burtnik.

So many people go to their local music shop to buy an instrument and within a year or so they are frustrated and try to sell it. They wind up in pawn shops, on e-bay, craigslist, or stuffed away in a corner of an attic or crawlspace left to be forgotten. Thank the lord almighty that the multi-instrumentalist Glen Burtnik didn’t give up. His talented creativity could’ve been stifled along the way. 

His old instruments didn’t wind up going to a pawn shop either. “No way. I used to smash up my old guitars. I smashed up my first drum kit too. What an idiot!” Glen has learned not to smash up instruments and regrets doing it now, but he never stopped playing. He was asked what instruments he plays and he responded in a very humble way, “Guitar, bass, piano, some banjo. Drums a little, not so much anymore. I’m not really great at any of them, but I can get around on them all.” From his fans and musicians point of view he is very modest. The creative talent that lies within this man is incredible. He may not be on the cover of a virtuoso magazine anytime soon, but this guy can write great songs and has proven so to the masses.

When he was about ten years old Glen began taking drum lesson. A few years later he started goofing around on guitar and this stone started to roll. As he started to gather skill some early performances came his way, “with the school band at assemblies and stuff. Then a couple of little dances with some bands. My first singing guitarist gig? Wow. Maybe 1971 in Rutherford, NJ.”

Glen Burtnik is a musical workhorse. He has been a working musician with earliest releases going back to 1978. Glen wrote songs that appeared in movies like; “Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure,” “Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead,” “Son In Law,” and “Armageddon.” He had experienced success within the 80’s and ended up joining Styx. They both appeared on A&M Records at the same time. In 1990, he started his first stint with Styx with writing and co-writing on some great songs for the album Edge of the Century. Styx toured for the album and went back on hiatus.

In 1992, Patty Smyth and Don Henley performed the song “Sometimes Love Just ain't Enough” that was co written by Smyth and Burtnik. The song reached gold status by RIAA standards and hit the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Obviously this kind of success was a great feeling for Glen. He continued with his skillful musical pen and co wrote on the Randy Travis hit “Spirit of a Boy, Wisdom of a Man.” Some people think he is lucky, but truly this man makes his own luck.

Glen’s success continued when he got the chance to tour with Styx again in 1999 with a completely different lineup. Doing a guitar and bass switch off he filled the shoes of Chuck Panozzo who will come out only for a few songs at shows. Burtnik revisited old songs from the first album they worked on and continued onward up until recording the album Cyclorama and the tours that followed. There has been a common misconception about a song on the album. “Kiss Your Ass Goodbye” at first listens could be misconstrued as a slam at the most recent departure of previous member, Dennis DeYoung. This is not true.

Glen responds, “As for “Kiss your ass goodbye”, the persistence of this rumor that the song was written about Dennis is an indication of; One, an inability to comprehend lyrics; Two an obsession with a certain Midwest rock band; Three, low intelligence.” He apologized for his response and continued with, “I think it’s very obvious what the song is really about,” and he is right. He did endless live shows and soon after decided to depart Styx to be closer to home.

Glen parted ways and continued to write and release his own music. He has appeared on several albums and no doubt will ever stop working. “I guess, at this point I don’t have a main instrument. I hover somewhere between the guitar, the piano, the bass and songwriting. I sing a little as well. I am okay at each and suck equally at each as well.” He has a way of putting things into perspective that is just not true. “I usually like to start on guitar and then go back and forth to the piano and guitar.” For guitar gear his equipment of choice or by chance is, “Probably an inexpensive Epiphone which somebody gave me is my most ‘friendly’ guitar. It doesn’t sound as good as my Martin, but it sure feels fun to play. My fave guitar amp is a tiny little Fender Pro Junior, 15 watts through a little 10" speaker!”

One of the biggest influences for a lot of bands and musicians still to date is the Beatles. What better band to influence any musician then the one that did it all. Glen is an artist. Give him a tuba and he will get you something out of it. “Well, my heroes aren’t always my influences. I adore Jimi Hendrix, but that isn’t my style of playing guitar. Influences? Everyone from Stevie Wonder to Regina Spektor.”

Glen was asked questions like; ‘who is your favorite Beatle?’ and ‘what’s your favorite Beatle song?’ “I love all four. Those cultural icons, when they worked together with George Martin, became like extended family to me. Older cousins or uncles I will always look up to. Naming a favorite Beatle song is difficult, as there are so many classics. I adore “She’s Leaving Home” and “Eleanor Rigby” for their lyrics. I love “Within You Without You” and “I Am The Walrus” as recordings, “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and “Helter Skelter” rock so mightily. Just too many killer tracks.”  

“I enjoyed meeting Paul McCartney and I loved being introduced to Ringo. I’ve had amazing fun and the list of working with musicians I admire is endless. Like producing a Brian Wilson vocal, for instance and working with Jan Hammer, Neal Schon, John Waite, Kenny Aronoff, Marshall Crenshaw, Sam Moore, Edgar Winter, Phoebe Snow. The list goes on.”

Glen plays in a Beatles cover band that is just phenomenal that appears annually in Chicago and New York. He appears at, “Beatles conventions, as a hired member of a band called Liverpool.” They have been known to make it out to Geneva, Ill. as well. He played for a little while in a Police cover band called Synchronicity II that unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore. “I am currently involved in a number of projects. Among other things, I write, record and release my own songs on iTunes, produce large revues; The British Invasion, The Summer Of Love. I perform with The Orchestra, a band featuring former members of ELO.” He just doesn’t stop!  

Some great solo albums that show off his writing talents are Retrospectacle, Slaves of New Brunswick, and Solo (You Can Hardly Hear). His writing talents have a modern feel to it and show off a lot of good vocal harmonies and pure refined talent. He does work for charity at Christmas and shows his humanitarian side. Not a lot of musicians give back to the public, but this man sure does. He has gone to play some huge shows and never has forgotten where he came from. He is a truly a class act.

Glen Burtnik is a multi-instrumentalist that has played with great musicians. He had success within movies, songs, and has been able to stay in music for a number of years. As the man continues within music, he will continue to write and release songs. Musicians are a dime a dozen, but good ones are hard to find. This man from New Jersey is a great musician. Thankfully he didn’t give up music and his first guitars didn’t go to a pawn shop. It really would have been a waste of talent if he had chosen any other profession.





Music is a part of the body and soul of most musicians. It becomes so much a part of their inner being that the musician and the music actually become one. This unique quality can be found within Dani Rabin and Danny Markovitch the leaders of the eclectic jazz rock group Marbin.
Recently Marbin sat down with Buzz for an interview. They discussed their influences and their upcoming tour with Allan Holdsworth. Come and watch the interview with the great band Marbin!

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