• Let Rock Rule-The Home Stretch

    Secaucus, New Jersey
    September 2nd 2014

    A day off in Jersey. Gotta love it. Just took myself to see Jon Favreau’s beautiful film, Chef. Great low budget affair with a lot of heart. Great cast. Favreau and John Leguizamo carry most of the film but the spicy, Sofia Vergara was ever present as well. Lots of great cameos from the likes of Oliver Platt, Dustin Hoffman and even Favreau’s Iron Man compatriot, Robert Downy Jr. Favreau took a big risk on hiring proven handful, Downey, for Iron Man (Favreau also directed Iron Man 2) which essentially kickstarted the whole Marvel empire film franchise that is growing to this day.
    Like most people I first found Favreau in Swingers with Vince Vaughn. That movie is one of my all time faves and I’ve seen it countless times. Jon even directed the Will Ferrell gem, Elf.
    It was cool to see Canadian comedian, Russell Peters have a cameo in Chef. Home team.
    It’s a tiny little feel good movie with a great little message to it. Check it out.

    It’s been a couple of weeks since I last checked in. We were just on our way into the country of my birth, Canada, when I last wrote. It was all too brief. Wayyyyyy too brief, in fact. I had so many people I should have seen but had to cut it all down to just my family which is far from a consolation.
    The show was a blast in the only recently opened Hard Rock Casino out there in Coquitlam. Always good to dig into the two hour leviathan of a set we unleash when not under the thumb of Aerosmith.
    This was the first night we did It’s So Easy which was in fact in preparation for the following night in which an old friend was going to be joining us on stage for that song. It was fun to do It’s So Easy with Myles. He had not done it before. I’ve been playing that song as long as Appetite For Destruction has been released in one form or another. On vocals, guitar or bass.
    All in all I think we killed in Vancouver. It will be nice to come back and do it all over again on our own tour probably in the new year.

    From there we were crossing the border for the second time in 24 hours from Vancouver, Canada to the Gorge in Washington state to meet back up with Aerosmith on the Let Rock Rule tour. The Gorge is stunning. Looks like an incredible movie set or perhaps a breathtaking visual effect by Industrial Light and Magic but no it’s all Mother nature’s doing. Amazing.
    And the old friend to be joining us on stage as mentioned above? None other than the amazing, Duff McKagan of the original five. Duff is such an amazing dude. He is one of the most gracious people I know. He’s a real, genuine guy. His wife, Suzan is one of the most beautiful souls imaginable. Physically beautiful, yes, but just a glowing, warm spirit beyond the visual. They are an inspiration to behold. This love things seems really workable by their example.
    Duff got up and tore the roof off the place with us doing It’s So Easy from Appetite. Anyone in the know is aware that Duff is singing the high part of the verse while Axl is singing the baritone. We had a blast. I got to play some guitar with the guys. Too much fun.
    The Gorge was on my bucket list. While living in Vancouver I’d heard so much about it but never got there till Let Rock Rule. Truly worth the wait.
    Aerosmith did their first show of the Let Rock Rule tour without Joey Kramer who had left the tour to have a stint put into his heart. His son, Jesse, sat in for his father and did an admirable job covering the parts. I kept thinking how weird that would be. The other guys would have known Jesse since he was a baby. I suppose it’s not unlike the Zeppelin guys playing with Jason Bonham. It was awesome to get to see the band in such unique circumstances. As always they brought it.

    The next day was a travel day off in Bozeman, Montana where we got to go to the Gibson acoustic guitar factory. Jeremy took us on a tour of the whole facility seeing how the whole thing comes together. It was a Sunday so the factory was closed which made it kinda even more awesome being our own private tour. These are the kinds of things I have to remind myself not to take for granted. There was a time when this would have felt like touring Willy Wonka’s. It was a real treat and honor getting to take it all in. As an owner of multiple Gibson guitars it’s always a trip.

    That night I went with Slash, Cheryl and Junior to see the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie as part of Junior’s early birthday celebrating. During the previews they played the new Spongebob movie trailer where lo and behold in the middle of it who should appear but Slash playing guitar on the beach. All this to the throes of Welcome To The Jungle raging on the soundtrack. Junior and I just looked at each other and started laughing. Here we are in a theater full of people sitting with the guy who is on the big screen, playing guitar on the song they are hearing and they are completely unaware. So surreal.
    This is life on Planet Slash.
    Cut and paste this and you’ll see for yourself-

    The movie was fun. I certainly can’t imagine what anyone could expect. Everything to expect from the film is within it’s title. They are Turtles. They are teenagers. They are trained ninjas who have been mutated to human size. Rinse repeat. Green light. Junior and I had a laugh.

    So then there we were in Denver, Colorado for our first indoor show of the Aerosmith shows. Everything up to that point had been some kind of outdoor, open shed except for our own shows. The setting in Denver is the Pepsi Center which is home to the Colorado Avalanche. Even though I don’t follow hockey religiously it is still a trip to see the hockey presence in the US. It has always been such a uniquely Canadian experience for me but there from the stage hangs the Canadian flag right along side Old Glory. That’s a pretty awesome sight if you ask me. I’m proud to be where I’m from and I’m proud to be where I am.
    There were a few signs in the audience dedicated to yours truly which is a surreal experience I can assure you. I will never get accustomed to that. Denver seems a gazillion miles from the reality of where I grew up but it reminds me how small our planet is and how unifying the power of Rock N Roll can be! Thank you to those who showed their love.
    Our set there was awesome. It’s always a blast playing in hockey arenas. They always remind me of running full tilt to stand in front of KISS or any number of other bands when I was a kid. I never take that for granted.
    Joey Kramer actually came and played the encore with Aerosmith that night making him in actuality only missing 3 shows (Concord, the Gorge and Denver) in the face of such a serious situation. Though he has since bounced back in full swing I can’t imagine tampering with the heart could be a minor thing. I’m just glad to see him back and at full strength. I told him the same thing when I saw him upon his return.

    In Dallas we saw Sin City: A Dame To Kill For which I had been highly anticipating. I get a little concerned when I am looking too forward to a movie. Sometimes it can’t help but disappoint. I’m not only a huge fan of the original Sin City film but I am also a huge fan of the director, Robert Rodriguez. Not to mention writer and co-director Frank Miller.
    The sequel does not disappoint. Familiar faces, new faces and that classic look that I loved so much from the first film. Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Powers Booth and Rosario Dawson all return from the first one plus the addition of new arrivals Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin and even Dennis Haysbert, or as most of us know him-the All State guy.
    I’m looking forward to seeing that again.

    The Dallas show was awesome. Another hockey arena. Another Canadian flag hanging from the ceiling right above me. Feels like home. We had a blast.
    This was Joey Kramer’s full return to the Let Rock Rule tour. It is a pleasure getting to watch the great Aerosmith night after night and we do take full advantage of that privilege. That privilege is diminishing by the day so I’m trying to get my fill.
    The great city of Dallas is a pleasure to visit and play. See you in 2015!

    Then off to Houston. You always forget how big Texas is until you are driving through it. It is seemingly endless. Our hotel was attached to another abandoned mall which always reminds me of Dawn Of The Dead. If you understand that reference we can hang out. Some people don’t know what the hell I’m talking about when I say that. I call those people ‘uninformed’. If you’re not hip to it I highly recommend you get down with said film. The remake is great too.
    It seemed for a stretch there our hotels were all connected to malls so we found ourselves forever wandering them. We dubbed that portion the ‘Tiffany Tour’.
    We played the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion, Woodlands, Texas. Was a great night. It’s been great watching World On Fire become a key part of our set right up there with Sweet Child O’ Mine and Paradise City. That’s a good feeling.

    Around this time there was a very convincing post about a 6th season of Breaking Bad which I was suspicious about but had to retweet. I thought that would be a terrible mistake as it had ended so beautifully but I’m a fan and would have welcomed those characters back with open arms. Turned out to be completely untrue so my initial take stays undisturbed. It’s ending will remain beautiful.

    The other announcement was that my new hometown of Las Vegas may be getting it’s own NHL hockey team. That is very exciting. It would be great for the city of Las Vegas and great for the game of hockey. I’d love to go support whatever that team might be. Could suddenly feel very much like home. We’ll see though…

    Next up was Atlanta where Steven Tyler shaved off his facial hair he’s been sporting this entire tour. I had grown so accustomed to it that it took me a second to figure out what was different about him. We run into Steven in elevators sometimes with his dogs and all and it’s never a dull moment. The man is larger than the largest life. He’s always witty and quick.

    All this time before Atlanta we were excited as we had heard that some of the cast of the Walking Dead would be joining us at the show. Norman Reedus at the very least but then when it all went down they ran late and couldn’t make it to the show. Damn. That woulda been a trip. I’m so stoked for the new season I’m on pins and needles.

    Atlanta was another amazing show. Hockey arena. Canadian flag. All the good stuff.
    We alter our set night for night. Sometimes you’ll get Mr Brownstone. Sometimes you’ll get Halo. Sometimes you’ll get Standing In The Sun. Sometimes By The Sword. Just depends which box of chocolates of ROCK you open.
    Atlants got Halo and By The Sword in amongst the rest of our set.
    See you in 2015, Atlanta.

    If it feels like it was high time for a headlining show you got that right. Which way to Hollywood, Florida? We got to burn down the Hard Rock for 2 hours in Hollywood East with a cast of friends who came out of the woodwork including Eddie Trunk who was hosting the night as well as introducing us before our set. Always good to hang with Mr Trunk. Stories stories stories. Laughs laughs laughs. Good times.
    Matt from Trivium came out. I’d not met him before. A nicer guy there could not be. Such a great band. Looking forward to crossing paths with him again.
    World On Fire family was in the house too. Producer of the album, Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette and engineer, Jef Moll were on hand for the evening’s festivities. Assistant engineer, Kevin was along as well.
    Last minute addition of Out Ta Get Me from Appetite to that nighs set was imminent and we tore that one up. I threw the mic stand in a fit of rock fever that may or may not have scared the Hell out of the nice people of Hollywood East. These little voices in my head tell me to break things. In Static In Stereo we had a saying-
    If it ain’t broke-break it.
    We broke everything. In the Conspirators I try to keep such voices at bay but once in a while they come out and cannot be silenced. If the odd microphone or guitar need be sacrificed then so be it for the greater good of Rock N Roll.
    Great show. Sorry microphone.

    From there we were on to Sin City East, Atlantic City. I’ve always enjoyed AC for it’s bizarre familiarity to Las Vegas. There are casinos with the same names and everything seems familiar yet strange. Like a Bizzaro Vegas, really. I get a kick out of that.
    The show was a great deal of fun. People keep telling me I look like I’m having fun up there. I’m not acting. I really am having the time of my life. You should try it some time.
    Our pal, Jimmy Webb from Trash and Vaudeville came for a hang as well as fellow Canadian, Matt Wexler who will be with us for the better part of a week.
    Aerosmith were devastatingly good that night. Steven is on fire. I think he really might be at the peak of his ability. This late in the game that is beyond impressive.

    From there we landed where I am now-Secaucus, New Jersey. Yesterday the Conspirators took a trip into New York City, one of my favorite places on the planet. Anyone who knows me knows that.
    Here’s the crazy thing. We decided to take a bus from Secausus into the Port Authority there in the heart of Manhattan. Easy enough, right? So once exiting the bus which was a fun ride with Mark Kuntz, drum tech and Matt Wexler, Canadian compatriot along for the ride we made our way out to the street right across from the New York Times building. Cool. I gotta take a picture of that. I…hang on…where? Oh boy. I left my phone on the bus.
    Great.
    So there was a harried panic that went on for the better part of 30 minutes while we ran from customer service to gate to attendant to other gate from bus to bus. Fitz, ever the efficient boy scout used the ‘find your phone’ app and we learned it was somewhere in the building. Then after running from floor to floor Fitz just walked onto a bus and walked right back out with my phone.
    Thank you to Mark Kuntz for being the grown up there to sort that all out. Thank you to Brent Fitz for ultimately locating my damned phone. It takes a village…to find a phone left behind by an absent minded fool.
    Wow. What a way to start my trip to the greatest city in the world. From total drag to utter euphoria. I was already making peace with the idea that maybe I didn’t need that damn phone anyway but in retrospect it’s always good to have it back.
    With phone retrieved we ran the length of Manhattan a thousand times over as we usually do. We went to Lombardis which is apparently NYC’s oldest pizzeria. Who knew? Delicious!
    Along the way we had to visit CBGB’s (I have a hard time calling it John Varvattos. Sorry, John) at 315 Bowery street. As I’ve mentioned a thousand times I played there back in the early 90s. Fitz has played there and so has Myles. It was a right of passage in those days. I never, ever thought it would close but it has been for some time now. Very surreal to walk through that store knowing what it once was. Let’s just pray the Whiskey A Go Go doesn’t turn into an Urban Outfitters someday or the Roxy a Gap. Shudder…
    We got our pal, Joe Fahmy, to take some pix of us by the pole where the Ramones were posed back in the day. I do that same photo almost every time I’m there but this time it was just the Conspirators so I went home and made this.

    ramones

    New York City is hallowed ground for me. I only wish I’d been born 20 years earlier in Queens. Though all the original Ramones are gone they live on in my heart and this photo is a sign of my love and respect.
    Hey Ho Let’s Go Forever

    We went by Trash and Vaudeville and loitered for the better part of the day distracting Jimmy from his work. We are jerks. Always an utter joy to see Jimmy. The man is a glowing ball of positivity. Next time you’re in NYC go to St Marks and see Jimmy at Trash and Vaudeville. Tell him Todd Dammit sentcha. I know some of you have done that. He’s told me. I think that’s the most awesome thing ever.
    So then after eating, eating and eating then drinking coffee, coffee and even more coffee we hobbled back to our little safe haven in Jersey.
    Which leads us to today. I saw a movie and then joined Slash and crew on the buses for our driver, Chris’, barbecue. Funny ol’ world, innit?
    And tonight? Well, none other than Eddie Trunk will be here to do a quick podcast with Slash then I believe it will be hang and talk rock time with his pal, Todd Dammit.

    Speaking of music nerds (no offense, Eddie, though I think he’s more than comfortable with that handle. As am I) Ive been reading Questlove’s book, Mo’ Meta Blues and it is amazing. For those in the know Questlove, or ?uestlove, is the incredible drummer for the Roots. You would know them as Jimmy Fallon’s house band previously on Late Night now on the Tonight Show. The Roots, of course, had been around for years prior to ever being NBC employees.
    I have to acquiesce to Quest’s knowledge on all things music. He leaves the likes of me and Eddie in the dust. His knowledge is sprawling, sweeping and wide spread. From rock to pop to funk to soul to hip hop and all points in between. Not only that but he was hip to rock journalists and all. I certainly was hip to the ones I was told to be hip to- Lester Bangs, Ben Fong-Torres, even a young Cameron Crowe but nothing like what Quest retained. Later on I became enamored with Chuck Klosterman when he wrote for Spin before he went on to write some of my favorite novels. I like David Fricke from Rolling Stone very much as well as Peter Travers, the movie guy. Quest makes me look like an amateur.
    We met Quest and the Roots when we did Jimmy Fallon’s show when he was still at Late Night. What a trip that experience was. Frank and I saw Quest just walking down the hallway and he was super friendly and super cool. Those guys sure love Slash. Slash has sat in with them a number of times. After we played on the show Quest brought his drumsticks over and asked us to sign them for him. Frank brought them to me telling me this story. I looked at him questioningly like, ‘Seriously? Quest wants more than just Slash to sign these?’ He did so I did. That stayed with me. What an amazing guy. He loves music so much that he’s obviously been documenting every musical guest that’s been on the show. I think that’s amazing.
    I highly recommend his book if you are as much of a music lover as I am. I’m an even bigger fan of Questlove and the Roots than I was because of it.
    I can’t imagine how much deeper my experience of music would have been had I grown up in Philly or NYC or Detroit. Not just rock but soul, funk, R&B eventually hip hop. Growing up where I did these things just didn’t exist. I mean they did but we were largely unaware. Obviously things like Thriller opened a whole world to R&B and dance music that may not have translated prior. Michael did that as James had before him. Stevie and every other Motown artist in history were part of that.
    The book has inspired me to take a closer look at those things I’m only familiar with. I’ve been on a Motown kick for a long time now so this has me digging deeper. Quest mentions an act and I Spotify it right away. It has really opened up a whole other side of things for me. That’s the exciting thing about music. That journey never really ends.

    I find the news so depressing lately. There are such terrible things going on in the world. I changed my Facebook settings so it won’t just play video unless prompted. People post the most heinous things that will ruin your day if you look at them. It’s hard to remind yourself how wonderful the world can be or what limitless potential we humans can have when you watch bullies beating handicapped children or ISIS shooting defenceless people on the street or adults beating children or humans beating animals.
    Kindness. Compassion. These are the things I strive for. I personally continue to strive towards things like honor, nobility. Big words with even bigger meaning.
    There is no me. There is no you. There is US. The sooner we all understand that the sooner those bigs are more easily understood.

    I just took a break from writing this to sit in the hotel restaurant and talk music with Eddie Trunk for about three hours. It’s not easy to just do that with anyone. When you find someone who can hang like that you make the most of it. Ed is a good man and a good friend. He will be at our show in Newark tomorrow. The conversation continues.
    Tonight’s topics-
    Why is Deep Purple not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? When they DO get inducted which members will be included?
    This same discussion happened about Foreigner and Journey as well.
    Plenty about KISS, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, AC/DC (the big 4).
    Best singer for Rainbow? Slash prefers Graham Bonnet. Controversial answer maybe but bold.
    This and more will continue tomorrow.

    The Let Rock Rule tour is ending soon. I told myself it would be September before I knew it and guess what? It’s September. As soon as we are into the ‘embers (September/October/November/December-admittedly October is an ‘ober but you see my point) I am thinking towards the holidays. Flights, gifts, destinations, family…all the important things.
    Life goes so fast. Yesterday it was July and we were doing our first date with Aerosmith. Actually yesterday we were just sitting down to write songs for World On Fire. No-yesterday we had just put out Apocalyptic Love. Nah-yesterday I just started playing with Slash, before it was called the Conspirators, before there was an Apocalyptic Love or even a World On Fire.
    Speaking of which we are less than two weeks away from the release of said album, World On Fire. We will wrap up the Let Rock Rule tour then find ourselves back in New York City promoting the album release. Then on to Los Angeles for three club shows to promote the release of the album-the Troubadour, the Whiskey A Go Go and The Roxy. This is going to be a huge achievement for us and I say that even as we are touring with Aerosmith which is one of the grandest achievements imaginable.
    Exciting times ahead, brothers and sisters. Exciting times indeed.

    You are loved now pass that on.
    Take my message to your brother and tell him twice.

    Big love.
    Your loyal and humble servant
    Todd Dammit



  • Vancouver to Vancouver

    August 14 2014
    Vancouver, Washington

    Sitting here on a ‘travel day’ in Vancouver, Washington which is
    bizarre as our eventual destination is Vancouver, Canada. The thing is that a trip from San Francisco to Vancouver, Canada requires a break for our bus drivers. I’m sure back in the day, before pesky safety regulations, groups traveled through the night and day and night again fueled by whatever got you there.
    These days there is a system put in place to make sure we all arrive safely at our eventual destination. I for one would rather arrive alive.

    Just two days ago The Conspirators were wandering the streets of the
    great city of San Francisco when we were informed of Robin Williams passing mere miles from where we were standing. It was a surreal moment for had it occurred a day or two before or after we would have been anywhere else. The fact that it happened so close to us touched us more than I can say.

    As a kid I first found Robin, like most, as Mork from Ork on Happy
    Days before that character was spun off into his own series. His true
    genius shone in his stand up appearances. He could flail from the
    insane to the intimate in the same breath. It was never a surprise that he would go on to be an accomplished actor. My favorite of his films was the Fisher King as directed by the great Terry Gilliam. His filmography is loaded with great work- The World According To Garp, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting for which he won a Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar and on and on.

    It is a heartbreaking loss made all the more shocking to learn it was
    by his own hand. Nothing makes me angrier than those who pass
    judgement upon others. Especially in circumstances like this. Mental illness is rarely understood even by those who consider it their field. Not understanding clinical depression leaves no one any right to comment on it. God forbid anyone should have such tragedy touch their own lives. Robin was a great man plagued by his own illness just as many others have their own. His just happened to have a much more dire effect than others.

    Unfortunately problems of this nature are not uncommon among creative
    people. It is part of the madness than can spawn genius. Feeling the
    dizzying highs and dark lows is part of what makes writers put pen to
    paper, singers put voice to song and painters put brush to canvas. It
    can be a terrifying ride or a blissful journey often at the same time.
    It is each of our personal trip through this thing called life and we
    are all headed in the same direction. We will all arrive eventually at the exact same destination. What are you gonna do with your one chance on this planet? Are you going to make a difference? Doesn’t have to be something spectacular like cure a disease. Could be as simple as being your child’s hero. To me that is pretty spectacular. Live your life as you choose to but live it spectacularly. Make a difference. To your special someone or your child. To your dog, maybe. To yourself.
    God knows Robin did. His life was a big shining light. He made a difference. He made people he would never ever meet laugh or cry or think. What more could one ask for?
    My only brush with the man was to be standing ahead of him on the
    escalator in the Virgin Megastore in Vancouver several years ago. It
    might have been an HMV by then. I’m not sure. My friend nudged me to look behind me and there was Robin Williams. Wow. Crazy. I hadn’t the nerve to say anything. I rarely do in such situations but it is now an experience, as fleeting as it was, I cherish. I saw him just casually chatting with his companion. Just like you or me. He was a man. He was also a legend and I choose to remember him as such.
    Thank you, Robin, for all the years of joy you brought to me and my family and friends. You will never, ever be forgotten.

    Wow. That was harder to write than I expected. It is never easy to
    face these kinds of things. It’s strange as the older I get the more
    bizarre life seems. I’ve been watching Cosmos of late and it has been
    blowing my mind. If anything I feel it has been stretching my mind. Making me think in ways I am not all that comfortable in thinking. The universe is so grand and endless how can I bother wasting one second on the inconsequential minutiae of regular life. Traffic, the long line at the bank, someone’s negative rant on Facebook. All completely meaningless in the endless scope of our universe.

    We are mere ants fighting over anthills. Someday we will all realize this.
    My lack of significance in the grand scheme of things is my
    significance. It makes me want to make the best of this little tiny
    life I have. Sometimes it makes you feel like what’s the point of
    doing anything? What difference would it make? To me it levels the playing field. We are all the same. From space Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, Barrack Obama, Michael Jackson appear the same as the guy who works as the janitor at your kid’s school. To me it makes me realize, more than ever, that we are one and the same. None better than the other.
    In the past I’ve had friends drop out of music to become regular folk.
    To the pirates and outlaws out here on the great perimeter of reality
    we call the music business watching a talented guy throw in the towel can be seen as a traitorous offense. To turn your back on your God given talent is shameful and inexcusable. But not to me. I have seen potential ‘rockstars’ go on to be amazing parents and have a very loving, fulfilling life that they may never have experienced had they stayed out here on the perimeter. To me that makes them ‘rockstars’ all the same. For the rest of us, the blessed or the cursed, depending on your interpretation, there is no option. We live, we breathe, we play music. We act. We paint. Whatever the muse or demon.

    There is one major difference to me. As a working musician in Vegas
    for the
    4 years before I became a Conspirator I noticed a great discrepancy. My working musician friends would say, ‘I gotta work tonight’ or ‘I’m working Thursday’. That terminology never sat well with me. It was never work to me.
    Musicians shouldn’t work.
    To quote David Johansen from the New York Dolls ‘They go to work, we
    go to play’

    That’s how I think. Playing music is the greatest gift and honor in
    the world. I didn’t ‘work’ last night at the Filmore in San Francisco
    but I sure as hell PLAYed there! That’s just me though. However my friends wanna categorize what it is they do that’s fine. I think they might get a lot more joy out of ‘playing’ rather than ‘working’. There are musicians out there who would love to be making their living ‘playing’ music and they KNOW what work is. I KNOW what work is. It is NOT for me. I highly recommend all of us start working less and start playing a whole lot more. Even if playing is just goofing off on weekends. Take full advantage. This ride is not permanent. It’s wayyyyyy too short. Why spend it all working? Shudder…

    So anyway-
    When last I joined you we were in Denver, Colorado for a travel day
    before getting to the Forum in Los Angeles, California. In many ways
    there are two places in the US where musicians want to be at their
    best. New York City and Los Angeles. I don’t prescribe to that rule. I gave 100% to 100 people at the Dive Bar in Vegas on a Tuesday back in the day. I know no other way. I hurt myself just as bad in Kansas City as LA. I leave blood on stages all over the planet. That said artists always wanna have their best food forward in those centers because of the watchful eye of the industry be that press or otherwise.

    The thing I like about being a Conspirator is the bare bones, meat and
    potatoes attitude of our presentation. We require no screens and pyro
    to kick your ass. We do it with skin, bone, blood and rock n roll.
    None of that changes whether it’s LA (Los Angeles) or LA (Lethbridge, Alberta…that’s in Canada but LA nonetheless…never mind.) The LA Forum is a legendary spot. Historic shows have happened there. I have bootlegs recorded there in my collection. The show was pretty amazing. I didn’t know but apparently Jm Carrey was standing side stage watching us play. It would have been rad to have noticed him there. He is a fellow Canadian transplant and one of my faves. The successor to the crazy that Robin Williams first laid out. That woulda been a cool pairing. Robin and Jim. Too bad I’ll never see that.
    But I digress.LA was amazing. Aerosmith were on fire. They did Dream On with a Children’s choir which was pretty epic. We got to watch Steven direct the entire thing during rehearsal and he was every bit as attention to detail as he is with everything else. Very impressive.
    Apparently Sir Jonathan Depp was sitting in with the Bad Boys From Boston again but we weren’t around long enough to watch. We had to bring the rock to the good people of Scottsdale, Arizona.

    All in all playing the Forum was an amazing experience. Looking forward to checking off more LA venues on my checklist.

    Got to catch our second Major League baseball game in Phoenix. The
    Conspirators (and Scott Uchida) tagged along with some Canadian friends to watch Phoenix play Pittsburgh. That was a great deal of fun. Watch some baseball, eat some ballpark food, hang with friends-good times.
    The show in Scottsdale was pretty awesome. It, again, was another
    headlining two hour set for us. We got to add You’re Crazy back into the set which was great for me getting to sing that AND Dr Alibi. I’m very fortunate to get to sing as much as I do. You can even hear me screaming along with Brother Myles all over World On Fire.
    The Scottsdale show was a blast. People came from Canada, Vegas and beyond.
    Good sweaty fun.

    Then it was on the bus to…home. It’s always weird when you’re in
    ‘road’ mode to find yourself at home. You feel a need to put on your
    ‘home’ face but you’re still on the road. Home just happens to be a stop on the road. If that makes any sense.
    Anyway, we were on our way to play the MGM with the mighty Aerosmith.
    That’s a big deal for any Vegas resident. A big homecoming for lil’
    Frankie Sidoris who happened to be gracing the pages of Las Vegas Weekly as the hometown hero returning home. For Fitz and I Vegas is also home so getting to play in such a grand setting was a wonderful homecoming indeed.
    The show was awesome. I’ve seen a number of great shows in that venue and that was not lost on me. At the last minute my parents decided to come to the show from Canada so they were in attendance as well as a few thousand friends.
    After the show we got to catch up with some friends, some family and
    then we were on our way to the first real break on the tour. I spent a
    couple of days in Vegas entertaining my parents. I took them to the Philip Seymour Hoffman film, A Very Wanted Man which was very good but very talky. It was very real-ish in that it was not action packed at all considering the subject of the film. It was very well acted and directed just very thinky and watchy. Not a summer popcorn blockbuster. Directed by the amazing photographer, Anton Corbijn who is responsible for some amazing photos of Depeche Mode, U2 and many others. He’s also responsible for one of my favorite concert films, Devotional by Depeche Mode.

    Without my parents I went to Guardians Of The Galaxy which I have
    every intention of seeing again. Marvel just nails it almost every
    time. That was a lot of fun. I’ve been resisting filling my house with GOTG action figures and nonsense as I have enough junk to rival Neverland Ranch. I do fully intend to put GOTG in the regular cannon of repeated viewings.

    From there we headed to lovely Lake Tahoe to meet back up with Aerosmith.
    Playing places like Tahoe seems so strange as it is a lovely touristy spot.
    Reminds me of Banff or Jasper in Canada. Maybe Whistler a bit. A little Aspen in there too. Adorable little community. Not the kinda place you expect to see a rock and roll show.
    The show turned out to be killer. Shook hands with Joe Perry before taking the stage. That guy is an honest to goodness Rock Star. No two ways about it.
    Part way through the show I look over and see a familiar face behind
    the monitor board. Hey, that’s David Coverdale! Wow! What a trip. He turned out to be a true gentleman and a gigantic sweetheart. That was a real trip. Mass respect for David. Not only Whitesnake but some epic moments within the Deep Purple chapter. He’s a legend.
    The Tahoe show was amazing. I saw some Dammit shirts out there. Saw some in LA too. Always a thrill for me no matter how long I’ve been doing this.
    Looking forward to the next trip to Tahoe.

    Then we were back to California at Pechanga Casino in Temecula. This
    was our own show again so we got to dig deep into our 2 hour show.
    These are my favorite sets. As much as touring with Aerosmith is a gigantic thrill getting to play the two hour show is infinitely more satisfying.
    Being so close to LA a lot of friends came up for it. Got to catch up
    with friends and family before screaming off into the night for another adventure.

    Here’s where things get a little wacky. A little wacky because the scheduled show at Conchord, California did not end up happening at all.
    But first-
    We had a day off and went to see the new James Brown bio-pic, Get On
    Up which I loved. Not enough can be said about the Godfather of Soul. He literally invented a form of music. Soul, R&B, Funk all changed by his hand.
    Funk basically created by him. All of this from a man with no musical
    training. No dance training either. Just 100% pure natural talent and ability. THAT is inspiring. He was beyond determined. He worked harder than anyone. Talent plus hard work might get you somewhere. Push, push, push, fight, fight, fight, dig, dig, dig. It was inspiring.
    The man had no shortage of demons and down sides. His behavior could
    be down right deplorable. He was a force to be reckoned with.
    The film was a joy. Non linear, which is always a challenge, and the 4th wall is repeatedly broken which can also be risky but it all works here.
    Musicians can be hard on music films but we unanimously dug it. I plan
    to see that again before it’s out of theaters as well.

    Back to the wacky-
    So the morning of the show I hear rumblings of cancellations. Uh oh.
    Apparently Mr Kramer has some kind of health issue and tonight’s
    performance is going to have to be scrapped. Slash, to his credit, is insistent that OUR show must go on. I was skeptical. How can we possibly pull off a show tonight? At breakfast I listened to Cheryl, our tour manager, and Slash in and out of phone calls, “that venue is too small. We’ll never fit on that stage” “that one’s not available. It woulda been perfect.” All very bleak as far as I was concerned. But I should have known better. When Slash puts his mind to something. Something happens. Something awesome.
    Out of nowhere we WERE in fact going to play. And not only had we
    found a venue that venue was one of San Francisco’s most legendary spots, the Fillmore. Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane etc etc etc had all played this legendary hall. I was shocked it was happening at all.

    So just like that it was announced that the AeroSlash show was
    cancelled BUT the Fillmore show was ON! We didn’t even show up at the venue til like 7:30pm for soundcheck. We were on stage 2 hours later to play a full, celebratory 2 hours. We had lost a show but built a triumphant show nonetheless. We giveth what they hath tried to taketh away!
    It was a very victorious show as we had fully expected to be riding the bus to Vancouver rather than playing a show. It was a really special show and I was very happy to be a part of it. Thank you to everyone who helped to make it happen. Thank you to all who attended and made it such a good time.

    So now here I am in Vancouver, Washington on the dreaded travel day
    waiting for the bus driver to get enough sleep so we can ride on to
    Vancouver, BC, Canada so I can finally see my family. I always love
    going to the Motherland. It’s a heartbreaker to have such a brief time in Vancouver. We are literally there for ONE day. I will wedge my family into one day before we return to the US to play the Gorge in Washington state.
    Yes, that’s right we ARE playing the Gorge. The Let Rock Rule tour has
    NOT been cancelled as reported on TMZ. Surprise surprise TMZ has reported something inaccurate. Tabloid nation.
    Joey is getting sorted but the tour will carry on. The show MUST go on.
    Slash proved that by making the Fillmore show happen. This tour
    continues as scheduled. Conchord being the only unfortunate hiccup.
    Get well soon, Joey Kramer, one of the greatest drummers in Rock N Roll history. He’ll be back stronger than ever. Wait and see!

    Well, I guess I better get myself on the bus to Vancouver from
    Vancouver so I can be rested enough to spend the day with family. By the time anyone reads this it will probably be show day in Vancouver, BC. I’m really looking forward to it though I always look forward to the Motherland.
    TRUE
    STONG
    FREE

    Some Todd Dammit for your ears and your body-

    http://tinmanmerchandising.com/index.php?cPath=612_613&sort=3a&gridlist=grid&tplDir=ToddKerns

    “I can’t stop those tongues a-flappin’ so I just keep my toes a-tappin’
    Put the bullshit in the lost and found and never let the bastards drag
    me down”

    PEACELOVEMETAL
    Your loyal and humble servant
    Todd Dammit=



  • World (Tour) On Fire

    July 27 2014
    Denver, Colorado

    A day off in Denver. Last time we were here it was Slash’s birthday. This is what they call in the touring biz a ‘travel day’. We have to get all the way from Kansas City to Los Angeles so scheduled travel stops have been made along the way. Today’s stop being the great city of Denver, Coloarado. We got in this morning and we will be back on the bus at around 1am tonight. If you don’t sleep well on a moving vehicle then this may not be the life for you. I don’t sleep either way so it’s all the same to me.

    I forgot to mention in my last ‘Catpain’s Log’ that the Conspirators got to take in America’s past time at the legendary Fenway Park in Boston. As is no secret I’m not much of a sports guy but I love the spectacle of seeing a game live. Especially in a town like Boston that is so devoted to it’s team(s). I really enjoyed that. I should do that kinda thing more often.

    I also didn’t mention that while the Conspirators were doing all that Boston stuff our pal, Slash, ran off to Atlanta to hang out with the cast of the Walking Dead. Whaaaaat? So rad. He told me all about getting to hang at the set. Norman Reedus and he are boyz. I love that show. Season 5 is on it’s way. When we get to Atlanta I’m told that members of the cast will be coming to the show. Damnnnnnn! That is super crazy. Being Slash is pretty rad.

    When I last joined you we were about to take the stage at Hard Rock Live in Northfield, Ohio. It was our own headlining show for a change so that was nice. We tore up 2 hours for the fine folks of the Cleveland area. Frank Sidoris’ family was in full effect. Frank’s dad, Frank Sr or Frank 1.0 as I call him, flew out to take in the show with an abundance of Sidori (plural for Sidoris). Awesome people. Killer show.

    The next day was a trip. Slash was getting a ‘Guitar Icon’ award at the first annual AP Music Awards. AP is otherwise known as Alternative Press. It was being held at the ever so cool Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame right there in the heart of Cleveland.

    I was stoked to shake hands with Joan Jett for the first time in my life. I am an embarrassingly huge fan of the diminutive Godmother of Punk. She was a doll. Slash would be sitting in with her later that night.

    There was an insane red carpet to endure that was pretty much chaos. I was happy to get inside the building in the relative calm of the green room. Eventually Slash was gathered his award from guest presenter and guitar God in his own right, Joe ‘Effing’ Perry. That had to have been a huge honor for Slash. He never lets too much of his emotions be seen but I know that had to feel pretty damned good. Especially getting such an award from his boyhood hero, Joe.

    After that Slash played Star Star by the Stones with Joanie but not before we watched the Misfits play. What a trip. I wanted so badly to go get my pic with Jerry Only but thought better of it. I didn’t wanna be ‘that’ guy. It’s funny that his bobble head has been riding on my amp for the better part of 4 years.

    It was amazing to watch Joan. As I mentioned I am a massive fan. I have now met 3 of the original Runaways who have always been very dear to my heart. I’ve even played on stage with two of them, Cherie and Lita.

    After all that we rode the bus back to our hotel with none other than Joe Perry. Sitting there with him is almost terrible for your ego. The man is just effortlessly cool. I may have thrown myself together pretty well (well, I really didn’t…) but I will never, ever be as cool as Joe Perry. Joe is old enough to be my father but couldn’t be cooler. I mean The Fonz cool. It’s inspiring.

    From there we overnighted to the great city of Cincinnati, Ohio. I believe this was the first night we started opening the set with You’re A Lie. That has been our opener ever since which I think is a good, bold opener. It was our first single from Apocalyptic Love and did very well for us. Up to that point we had been alternating between Hard And Fast from Apocalyptic Love or Ghost from the previous solo album. I think You’re A Lie is the best so far until World On Fire comes out. Then we’ll have a plethora of things to choose from the 17 songs on that. Oh, I can’t wait for y’all to hear that!

    Cincinnati was another opening show with Aerosmith. It is always a sobering honor to get to watch Aerosmith every night. Steven brings it night after night. Again, very inspiring.

    Cincinnati rocked. See you in 2015, brothers and sisters

    Then we had some time off in the great city of Chicago which ended up being an amazing time.

    Day one was Slash’s birthday which was a blast. We just kicked it at a restaurant and showered the man in gifts. Steven was in attendance and as on fire as ever. The man is a super nova of energy. He’s my parents’ age but wears me out!

    John Douglas, or JD as he’s better known, was Brent Fitz’s drum tech on our first tour back in 2010/2011 but he now works for Joey Kramer of Aerosmith. He’s a member of OUR family! For those that don’t know back when I was shipped home from Moscow with a detached retina it was JD who played drums in Moscow and St Petersburg while Fitz played bass. JD had been a Conspirator for one night albeit before we were actually known as The Conspirators. JD attended Slash’s birthday dinner and regaled us with tales of those doomed rehearsals with Michael Jackson that were captured in the documentary This Is It. A must see. JD was at that time working for Jonathan ‘Sugarfoot’ Moffat, Michael’s drummer. JD was there for the sad story of Michael’s demise. We had just watched the documentary the night before and were full of questions. JD is such a great dude and it’s nice to see him on a daily basis on the Let Rock Rule tour.

    Slash’s was spoiled well as he should be. We are a tight knit family out here and we take care of one another. More than ever this team feels strong and very caring. From the crew to the band. I care about each and every one of these people. There is no drama, no dark negativity. Just a true pleasure to be around these people. I feel very, very fortunate.

    The next day Frank, Ace (Slash’s guitar tech) and I went to see Jack White put on an amazing show at a theater I never retained the name of. Jack was on fire. Jack is one of my favorite artists. Whenever I see him I think of how I should have done things differently in my career. I admire the fact that he had a vision and stuck to it. I certainly believe there were people who would have told him that he should do this or that but he stuck to his guns and has managed to create his own little world. I should have listened to my own instincts more and to the opinions of people ‘in the know’ less. I don’t say this out of any dark regret. Moreso I say it out of a confirming rightness and a sense of ‘it’s never to late’. Life is funny that way. You never know what’s coming. I’m excited about that.

    Jack was amazing. Jack was inspiring. The audience knew every word. It was a disparate collection of humans there. I expected it to be the hippest of the hipsters but there was every walk of Chicagoan from Led Zeppelin t-shirt and Budweiser in hand guy to Nickelback/Bon Jovi concert attendee cougars.

    Ace said it best. He said the audience looked like a group of people you might see at a train station. Just a random collection of humans. I think that says something about Jack’s appeal. We had a blast. Stayed right through the 2 and a half hour show and I never tend to stay at any show that long anymore.

    The next day we were back playing with our pals in Aerosmith. It is never lost on me how awesome it is to look over during our soundcheck to see Brad Whitford standing side stage watching. He’s always there. He loves music. He is genuinely excited when he gets a new guitar. I love that about him. That’s a true musician. We in Conspirators land are very much the same way.

    The show in Chicago was awesome. We’ve been playing mostly outdoor sheds with Aerosmith which means we go on to pretty much daylight but that can be a lot of fun. Hey, I’ve never complained about any gig. I love to play, but getting to play to a crowd that size AND getting to watch Aerosmith on a nightly basis? It doesn’t get much better than that! Nothing I will ever take for granted.

    Last night we found ourselves in Kansas City, MO at Harrah’s casino in the Voodoo Lounge which is bizarre to a Vegas resident as we are more than familiar with Harrah’s there. I even played a Voodoo Lounge in the Rio every Tuesday night for a long time before becoming a Conspirator.

    This was another headliner show for us so that meant the full 2 hour show. Sweeeet! The show was amazing. I was instrumental in having a 1st rate, 4th grade dropout, jag-off removed because he was a little too free with his middle finger. There he was right in the middle of the crowd. For the first song or so I’m thinking, ‘Is he trying to express himself somehow? Is he handicapped and doesn’t know any better? Has he had the other 3 fingers of each hand removed in some industrial accident?’ Once I’m satisfied with a NO on all 3 of those questions I am left with the only option-This guy is a jag-off. I quickly nod to head of security and the guy is removed. I hope he spent $100 on scalper tickets only to be asked to leave after 3 songs. That would bring me great joy.

    I completely forgot about that guy until just now. That’s the lasting effect that moron had on us. The night was amazing. One of the best crowds we’ve played to yet.

    Then it was onto the bus and off to where I sit right now writing this. Denver, Colorado.

    We’ve been having some issues with www.toddkerns.com so you may not get to see this blog for a day or two after it’s been written but I wanted to make sure I wrote one before heading back to the coast where life will inevitably be moving pretty damned fast. It’s moving pretty damned fast as is. I knew before even starting the tour that it would go fast. The tour wraps in September upon which time we will begin a flurry of activity based around the World On Fire album release in both LA and New York. By the time we take any sort of break it will be October at which point I’ll be planning Xmas holidays. In my head it’s already that time. Time to prepare for the onslaught of 2015. It’s only July and this is where my head is at. Slow down, brain.

    As mentioned above I have no idea when this blog will be posted but we will get it up asap. By the time that happens it will give the illusion that the next one won’t have taken too long. It’s only been a week since the last one. That’s pretty good by my standards.

    Alright, I gotta get ready to get back on the Enterprize to take me wesssssssst!

    Big love

    Your loyal and humble servant

    Todd Dammit

     

     



  • Rocking and Ruling

    July 20 2014

    Cleveland, Ohio, USA

    My first check in from the road on this journey known as Let Rock Rule. And what a journey it has been thus far, brothers and sisters.

    We started in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire at the legendary Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom doing our own two hour headlining set. None of us could possibly have known what to expect. We hadn’t collectively been on stage together in some time. I can say that we locked into a familiar groove that created a slip stream of effortless chemistry for the next two hours. Those opening nights can be trouble. Kinks to be worked out both musically and technically. There was the odd technical snafu but to me it felt as if we had played the House Of Blues in Las Vegas the night before. Truth be told that gig in Las Vegas was almost a year ago. That monumentous night was the final night of the Apocalyptic Love (or as I affectionately called it the Apocalyptic LIVE) tour. Oh, how time flies.

    Of course in the interim we had impregnated the world with a bouncing baby boy named World On Fire and it was to be delivered in it’s entirety in September. The single of the same title is out there in the mainstream consciousness as I write this. That song is an animal. It is unrelenting. It is angry and. pardon the obvious pun, fiery. Some time ago I had mentioned that the new album sounded sleazy, dangerous and this is one of the songs I was referring to. It grabs you hard and doesn’t let go for about 4 minutes. I’m proud of that one. You can hear me shouting along with Mr Kennedy at full volume. Loud and ever so proud!
    Needless to say that opening show was a triumph. I felt very good about it. I was a shattered mess afterward but I still made a point of saying hello to as many people as possible. Thanks to all who came to crash that bottle over the hull of the good ship SMK&C.

    We got to play some, as of yet, unreleased songs from the new album. The aforementioned World On Fire as well as Stone Blind and 30 Years To Life. That’s 3. There are still 14, that’s right, 14 more songs to hear on the new album. We’ve also added You Could Be Mine from the Use Your Illusions GNR days. The Conspirators have been lobbying for that one for a while. I consider it’s inclusion a victory.

    Things have panned from very relaxed to completely surreal since then. The very next day we found ourselves from one beach scene to another. Jones Beach, New York looks and feels a lot like the town in the film Jaws. I suppose Hampton Beach did too. I have stated before that I’m not much of a beach guy but if there were a killer shark about I’d be up for it. As a spectator.

    I wasn’t here to put zinc oxide on my nose and burn anyway in the warm…New York sun. I was here to do my part in our portion of the Let Rock Rule tour with America’s greatest Rock N Roll band, Aerosmith. What a trip.

    Not enough great things can be said about Aerosmith. They truly are outstanding considering how long they’ve been around. Steven Tyler hasn’t missed a step. His voice is impeccable. A lot of the older guys lose a bit here and there. Not Steven. In fact from the audience he looks exactly the same as he ever did. Actually in person too. It’s astounding. I will never have his energy. Ever.

    Our set in Jones Beach was great. It’s always weird readjusting to the opening slot but at sound-check it was extremely cool to see Brad Whitford side stage with legendary producer, Jack Douglas. Jack, of course, produced everything from Rocks and Toys In The Attic by Aerosmith to Double Fantasy by John Lennon and even the second Snakepit album. Brad Whitford is the coolest dude ever. I hope I’m half as cool as him as an elder statesman of rock.

    During our set it was hard not to notice Steven Tyler way off on stage left bopping along to Da Conspirators. A younger me would have been completely distracted by that. The NOW me has a job to do and I did it to the best of my ability. It was fun tearing up the stage for the second night in a row. Our set was shorter than our headlining show but that Jones Beach air was humid and heavy. We were drenched with sweat as if we’d played twice as long.

    After our show I got taken to school watching Aerosmith for the first time in a long while. Damn they sound good. Though Steven and Joe get most of the love the initiated know that not one member of that band is replaceable. It’s fair to point out that Aerosmith is one of the only heritage bands out there with full original lineup. I can’t think of many others…ZZ Top? I’ll have to think on that.

    Absolutely genius show. Apparently Liv Tyler was there though I didn’t see her. I hung out with Gav and Victoria from the Ginger Wildheart camp. Amazing to catch up.
    The man himself, Eddie Trunk, had made his way to the beach for some Rock N Roll and the gem that he is chose to wear his DAMMIT shirt. What a sweetheart. Supporting the home team! Good man! Always a pleasure to hang with the only man more knowledgeable than me about the most trivial things possible. And I say that with the utmost respect.

    photo

    EDDIE TRUNK AND THE CONSPIRATORS (avec DAMMIT shirt! :)

    Our good friend, Jimmy Webb, from Trash And Vaudeville in St Marks Place, New York City made the trip to Hampton Beach AND Jones Beach with us. He is part of the family. When you are next in NYC tell Jimmy Dammit sentcha!

    We were back on the steel horse to the Motherland, the great white north, Canada directly after the show to make the Bluesfest in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, the next day. That show featured Canadian legends, the Barenaked Ladies. It’s always good to be back in the land of my birth. The show was HUGE. The audience was especially voracious. It was an amazing show. We really had a great time. The band was truly gelling like we’d never been away.

    From Ottawa we were back on the bus for a day off in Toronto where I caught up with my brother, John, from AOE and SIS. Always good to see him and his Missus.
    Watched Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, which was pretty damned awesome if I do say so myself. I’m a huge fan of the franchise. They are doing this 21st century version correctly. It was about 30 minutes too long for me but it was really great.

    Then we were off to Kitchener for the Big Music Festival with Aerosmith, Kim Mitchell and Big Wreck. I stood side stage to watch my friends in Kim Mitchell’s band. Some of you may remember that Fitz and I both sat in with Kim years ago. This time I was approached while watching the band and asked if I wanted to sing Battlescar. For the uninitiated Battlescar is the greatest song you’ve never heard. It is the clashing of two titan bands in the most glorious way ever. Rush VS Max Webster and the listener is the winner. I didn’t hesitate and ran out to sing the Geddy Lee part as loud as I could. It was truly EPIC! These are the dreams of small town Canadian boys come to life.
    Sure enough Steven Tyler showed up side stage to say hello to Kim. I’m sure Max Webster, Kim’s old band, probably opened for Aerosmith back in the day.
    I said hello to Joey Kramer in Slash’s trailer. He’s the legendary drummer from the Let Rock Rule tour headliner. Good man.

    Afterwards as I was digging through my wardrobe case a voice came from behind me, “Hey man, is Slash around here?”

    I spun around and was standing toe to toe with Steven Tyler. You just kinda KNOW that voice. We hugged and said hello and I directed him to Slash. It is not lost on me for an instant that Steven feels we are on a man hug basis of intimacy. Hey, I’ll take it. I’ve been imitating all aspects of Aerosmith since as far back as I can remember. A real trip.
    Our show was amazing in Kitchener. The crowd was huge and very into it. Oh, Canada. We stand on guard for thee!

    From there we were off to the birthplace of Aerosmith, Boston. Truly one of the great American cities. So much history. The architecture alone is breathtaking. Took advantage of some downtime to really walk around and take in some history in Beacon Hill and beyond. And sure I returned to my fave spot, Newbury Comics.
    Even went to Cheers, the inspiration for the NBC sitcom.
    Nobody knew my name.

    The homecoming show for the ‘Bad Boys From Boston’ was to be at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA. That was a great night. The people of Boston were especially good to us. It’s truly awesome to see people singing along with World On Fire. It only just came out! Very exciting!

    Backstage was homecoming mayhem for Aerosmith. The lovely, Mia Tyler, was in attendance as well as the families of virtually every member of the band. The unassuming guy in the corner in the blue glasses looked familiar. Oh shit, Edward Scissorhands/Jack Sparrow himself, Johnny Depp, is in the house. what a trip. I’m a fan but I wasn’t gonna nerd him out. He was too jump up on stage with ‘the boys’ later but we’d already be back on the bus.

    Also to join the lads on stage would be our fearless leader, Slash. He asked me for a DAMMIT shirt so I gave it to him. Seeing him performing with Aerosmith was a trip. Seeing him do so while wearing my shirt was beyond surreal. I can’t tell you what a thrill it is seeing Slash play with those guys. When Slash was a boy he drew impressive pictures of Aerosmith. They were HIS band. The band he was obsessed with and inspired by. Seeing him share the mic on Mama Kin with Tyler/Perry was a thing of Rock N Roll beauty. It was a real thrill.

    photo1

    BROTHER STEVEN, BROTHER SLASH and THE shirt!

    So then we spent another day off in the amazing city of Boston. Went to Fenway Park to watch the Sox and the Kansas City, Royals with my co-Conspirators. Amazing experience. Serious history in that building. We actually got to witness two home runs by Boston. Pretty impressive.

    Here I am now in another great Rock N Roll city, Cleveland, Ohio. Tonight we finally play another headlining set at Hard Rock Live. We are so due for a full 2 hour show. Can’t wait. Tomorrow we will attend the AP Awards at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame where Slash was inducted as part of some band he used to play with…That should be a blast. Some very cool people performing and appearing there. I’ll report on that later.

    I have been obsessed with some crazy documentaries that I have to recommend on Netflix.
    The Impostor will blow your mind.
    The Woman Who Wasn’t There will have you going ‘whaaaa?’
    Dear Zachary is almost un-recommendable as it is so troubling but it is truly brilliantly done and a crushing story.

    I am currently obsessed (again) with the bizarre life of Michael Jackson. Ever since the 5 year anniversary of his death I’ve been back to being fascinated by the genius of his music and the madness of his life. It is truly unfortunate how his life turned out because he was so unimaginably talented. His grasp on reality clearly slipped far out of reach. Really a shame. A shame for so many affected.
    I’m reading Untouchable-The Strange Life And Tragic Death Of Michael Jackson by Randall Sullivan and I cannot put it down. It is like 700 pages or something. It is the most in depth account of his life I’ve ever read.

    It’s one of those things about THAT kind of fame that I have no interest in. Not like it’s really a choice. People get a certain level of power and just lose touch with reality. Being a musician is a very unrealistic life in the first place. We are all dreamers and not the most reliable people on the planet but I’m happy with my coffee and vinyl shops. I don’t want to collect actual Batmobiles and build my house to look like the bridge of the Enterprise (because you know that’s exactly what I would do with unlimited wealth). It’s good to always have something to reach for.

    People are always telling me make DAMMIT lunch boxes or DAMMIT travel mugs. I’m not interested. I’m happy that people wanna wear the shirt. It really touches me to see the shirt from Atlanta to Australia and all points between. Hey, I’ve gotten to see Eddie Trunk and Slash in ‘em lately.

    Funny story-Slash was looking at photos from a performance we did at the Wiltern Theater we did in LA some time ago. He was casually flipping through pictures on an iPad when he said, “wait a minute. Go back.” So someone scrolled back and Slash said, “Look at all the DAMMIT shirts in the audience.” We all laughed. It was a pretty amazing feeling to have all those people representing. Many in from Vegas. That is a gesture not lost on me in the least. Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU!

    If you’re interested please check out the merch page-

    http://tinmanmerchandising.com/index.php?cPath=612_613&sort=3a&gridlist=grid&tplDir=ToddKerns

    Even the cds are on there. More to come on that soon…

    I’ve had a couple people tell me recently that I need a hair cut. Let me reply with-absolutely not. I am one of the lucky people that doesn’t have to do a damn thing anyone tells me to do and it would be a real lack of faith in myself and how I wanna display my freedom to feel I have to look, dress or act a certain way other than exactly how I wanna.
    And that’s just what I’m gonna do, thank you very much.
    It’s funny cuz a friend was saying to me not that long ago how tired she was of people staring at her because of all her tattoos and punk hair and crazy clothing and I was like ‘what are you talking about?’

    We all dress this way or get tattoos or wear makeup or wear our hair crazy to be different from everyone else (and yes, like each other). Getting looked at is part of the deal. You have no idea how crazy it was to wear your hair long or have a mohawk or even have an earring at one time for a guy. I had become so accustomed to rednecks calling me ‘faggot’ that I accepted it as a badge of honor to not be anything like them. Being different is to be celebrated. Sure I could cut my hair, throw on a casual outfit and blend in but I choose to appear this way. People who are born different have no choice. They should be free to be themselves too. Unfortunately it is some kind of primal thing to lash out at something different or something you don’t understand but we are not simple animals. We have the power of judgement and reason and logic. Why on earth would I want to live on a planet where everyone looks just like me? What a boring place that would be.

    You will see. Someday aliens are gonna come down and say ‘all humans are alike’. They come in different colors or whatever but they’re basically all the same. Bipeds. Some are male, some are female but essentially the same. Then we’ll feel pretty stupid for all these ‘differences’ we’ve found in one another.

    I like all my different friends. Keeps life interesting.
    So to summarize I’m gonna wear my hair the way I wanna. So should you.

    Tommy Ramone died. The last of the original Ramones to go. All so young. All too young. I cannot stress the impact The Ramones have had on my life. They are the reason I play music. The reason I started and the reason I continue to. I had the audacity to say aloud that I liked The Ramones more than Led Zeppelin in my youth and it was heresy until I found like minded cretins. To be fair I love Zeppelin I just adore The Ramones. They speak to ME. The me inside of me. The Ramones have always been my argument when people ask me why I don’t have punk rock hair since I love punk rock so much. Joey Ramone always had long hair. Iggy Pop too. And the Dolls. And the MC5. Music is in you not the clothes you wear and not in the way you wear your hair.

    The Ramones taught you that with three chords and the truth you could take over the world one city at a time but you gotta love to work. The Ramones weren’t ‘American Idol’. They were 4 kids who made a horrible racket together until it was a pretty damned good racket and then a majestic and life changing one. There are 4 kids somewhere right now making a horrible racket in a basement or a garage that will one day take over the world while you’re watching ‘stars’ on TV. We have The Ramones to thank for that.
    There are some incredible reunion shows going on in Rock N Roll Heaven right now.
    God bless Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy. The greatest Rock N Roll band in the world.
    Big love to Marky, CJ and Richie too.

    My Mother says I’m wearing too much eye makeup these days and that I look like Alice Cooper. I take that as a giant compliment (insert devilish grin)

    Alright, I’ve rambled enough.
    See you tomorrow night, Cleveland!
    Big love, brothers and sisters!
    Your loyal and humble servant
    Todd Dammit



  • Day One : Here We Go

    Re-Posted from – July 9th 2014
    Hampton Beach, New Hampshire

    Day One : Here We Go

    I have no excuse for the lapse in time since my last post. I attribute it mostly to life. Possibly a need to hold on to the moments and preserve them in memory rather than in text form. Like the difference between taking in and enjoying the moment rather than taking multiple lo res photos of it. I am constantly at war with this side of modern life. I think back on all the concerts I’ve seen in my life and I’ve never once regretted not having video or photos of them. They would be some awesome videos and pictures because I’ve seen some amazing shows. I’ve never been big on taking pictures of my food or my beverages. I’ve never felt the need to expel my thoughts on religion or politics to a mass of strangers. I’ve never felt the need to burden the rest of the world with my problems.

    But that’s just me.

    Here’s an experiment-go back to your last 10 Facebook posts. If 3 of them are in any way negative that is too much. There is much to be negative about in this world but to me these are things I rarely see represented on the personal posts of my ‘friends’ via social media.
    There’s the clandestine ‘you know who you are’ messages. There are the exorcisms of daily minutiae, ‘traffic’, ‘flat tires’.

    I get it. It’s the 21st century and almost any thought that enters our head or any experience is not worth having unless shared with the entire world. It is something I struggle with. I’m struggling with it now as I ’share’ this. I look at the generations before us with real struggles of equality and justice. We create our own struggles now even when equality and justice are still there to be fought for.

    My Mother said the same thing your Mother probably did, “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.”

    Luckily for musicians and artists we get our complaints and anger out through those vehicles. It is my belief that there needs to be more art out there and less ‘woe is you’. Life can be beautiful. It really can but it requires hard work. Like a good diet and exercise it’s not easy. It requires constant work and attention but you would be surprised what comes back to you if you face the world with kindness. Maybe it’s naive but that’s how I’m gonna live my life.

    Or maybe this is all just an excuse because I’ve been too lazy to write about the last couple of months. I’d accept that as partially true. Truth be told I only started writing these for my own exorcisms. The fact that anyone ever enjoyed them came as an unexpected surprise. Now I write for them. And, I suppose, for myself.

    I think of myself as just another ant in this anthill. Everyone has a story. 9 to 5 then bowling on Wednesday. That’s a story. There’s a story there. There’s a story about the wants and desires of that person. The disappointments, the bliss in unexpected things. I don’t believe in the false pedestals we’ve created in our society. There was a time when actors and musicians were the lowest of the low. Traveling from town to town, village to village putting on shows. Now they are our royalty. Our monarchy. And I get it as a loyal follower of music, film and art. It just so happens that all of my interests fall into those categories. In the way that some worship athletes I will always have great admiration for the arts and the artists. We need our heroes. I’ve never understood the machiavellian need to build up only to tear down. That we should celebrate but only just enough before those celebrated be reminded they are no better than us. The germans have a term, schadenfreude, which refers to taking pleasure in the misfortune of others. I think that is amongst the darkest traits of our evolved state. If we are so evolved shouldn’t we recognize this as a deplorable trait? Anonymously leaving negative comments online is the very definition of cowardice but it happens every day. Multiple times. It’s happening now. Humans are terrible to one another. The worst part is we know better. We are not simple animals with the excuse of instinct. Kindness is the most important trait and should be moved to the top of your list of importance. Regardless of what one another’s beliefs we should be able to engage one another in the simple act of kindness.

    That’s what I hope for. That’s what I dream about.

    There’s my exorcism. I guess that’s my ‘back to the internet’ vent. I think this year you will get a little more ‘me’ rather than just general accounts of tour scheduling. Apologies in advance.

    After months working on the album that is now titled World On Fire we find ourselves, once again, in the beautiful resort town of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. The kind of place my girlfriend would love and I would falsely lament only because of my being what Jim Gaffigan calls ‘indoorsy’. I don’t do beaches or camping. I like urban life just fine. I like coffee and movies and all the things that the city has. I also like fast internet and multiple channels of delicious distraction. I know…it’s a problem. But I’m not here for the beach or the sun. I’m here for the rock. The first day of the rock. Tonight we play two full hours of blistering volume. We will play songs that have never, ever been performed live. We will play songs that can be heard nowhere else by no other band.

    This band is rehearsed and ready. We have been chomping at the bit to get on stage. Tonight that is finally a reality. The last official Conspirators show was July 25th 2013. That’s almost a year ago. No wonder I’m kicking like a mule.

    Tomorrow will be day one of the Let Rock Rule Tour with Aerosmith. This is a childhood dream realized by every member of our band. Even Slash. Of course he is on a first name basis with everyone in Aerosmith but he is amongst their biggest fans. The fact that he is a part of their bill on his own, with his band, is no small feat.
    We will be in each other’s pockets for 12 weeks with Aerosmith. I can’t tell you what a thrill that is for me. Though I just denounced the need for ‘heroes’ above, Aerosmith has had one of the biggest impacts on my life as a musician. They continue to be an inspiration. Always have. Always will.

    These next 12 weeks will be the high water mark of the 4 years I’ve been playing with Slash. After that we will be set free on our own to take this experience to new levels beyond. 2014/2015 will be the most important chapters of our careers. It will set up what follows. I plan to make the most of it. By 2016 we will all be different people. For better rather than worse, I think. Knowing that the nadir should be celebrated not lamented for fear of what lies on the other side. I have no fear. I am the wolf. I am hungry. I plan to take a big, juicy bite out of this life.

    But first Hampton Beach, New Hampshire with your pals Slash, Myles and some Conspirators. Many of you will be reading this after the show has already happened. I bet it was awesome.

    Thank you for being a part of the most important year of my career.
    Big love
    Your loyal and humble servant
    Todd Dammit



  • Confessional

    May 6 2014
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Well, brothers and sisters I can honestly say that these are very exciting times. I have been living with the mixes from the new SMK&C (Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators for the uninitiated) and I can say that this record goes beyond any expectations I could have had. There is so much I am biting my tongue about because these things are to be announced through formal channels-album title, song titles, artwork etc. Suffice it to say that it has grown to be a sprawling and diverse journey of an album. I’ve taken to calling it our Physical Graffiti due to its weight, size and diversity. In the coming weeks so many things will be revealed. I believe it is the boldest thing we could have done. All to be revealed soon enough.

    I can say that we will be doing photos sooner than later as our scheduling is always dependent upon the availability of Mr Kennedy. While Myles is globetrotting with the fabulous Alter Bridge the rest of us are putting the final touches on the record and preparing ourselves for battle. Living with the record, sharpening our senses and honing our attack so that day one of rehearsal will be a mere formality. My intention is to be battle ready long before a stage is in sight.

    The Let Rock Rule tour with Aerosmith has long since been announced taking us across the US and into Canada. We are filling in holes between Let Rock Rule dates taking us to Vancouver, Cleveland, Kansas City and more on our own without the mighty Aerosmith. Steven likes to take a day or two between shows. The Conspirators do not. So while the headliner rests we will be raiding and pillaging on our own before returning to the mothership. I’m chomping at the bit!

    So here we are in the familiar holding pattern. The record is mixed. Next up is mastering. Simultaneously artwork is underway. Photos will be an important part of the puzzle then once everything has fallen into place a song will probably be released to the hot little ears of our brethren the world round to carry us through the summer and into September when the album will be released. I’m only speculating. Never hold me to anything I say here. This is my little domain and the tales woven here can be rife with fact or riddled with misleading fiction.
    But then again maybe not.

    On July 10th 2014 we will unleash Hell at Jones Beach, NY and we will continue till 2016 if I have anything to say about it. If Slash has anything to say about it we will never stop. He is an animal of the road and it all trickles down from there. We are all cut from the same cloth. Myles Kennedy lives ‘on the road’. If he’s not with us he’s with AB and back and forth and back and forth perpetually. No one knows how he does it. He is a machine.
    As Myles sang in We Will Roam from Apocalyptic Love

    “And stil we roam now forevermore,
    Tread the night on steel and stone,
    And still we roam never asking more,
    Where we are will be our home”

    There is heavy truth in those words.

    In the meantime I have my own fish to fry. Just announced was the release of Bootleg Confessional : Live In Vegas, my live album recorded September 2nd 2013 at Count’s Vamp’d in Las Vegas. This will be released as a full download of 17 and 1/2 songs exclusively at www.pledgemusic.com on May 26th 2014.

    http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/bootlegconfessional

     

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    The show featured dear friends of mine who joined me for the fun. Brent Fitz and Frank Sidoris from SMK&C plus Doc Ellis and Zachary Throne, my brothers from the Sin City Sinners and the amazingly talented Cian Coey from the legendary Meat Loaf’s band. It was a magical night and I’m so happy that we captured it.

    Todd Kerns-Bootleg Confessional : Live In Vegas

    1. The Devil In Me
    2. The Maker/Indian Summer
    3. You Can Always Go Home
    4. It’s Always Been You
    5. Hideous
    6. Let My Love Open The Door/So Scandalous (Featuring Doc Ellis)
    7. Wicked Games (Featuring Doc Ellis)
    8. Nothing Personal (Featuring Doc Ellis, Cian Coey and Zachary Throne)
    9. This Changes Everything (Featuring Doc Ellis, Cian Coey and Zachary Throne)
    10. So Close/So Far
    11. The One
    12. Heathrow 4am
    13. We Are The Champions (Featuring Brent Fitz and Frank Sidoris)
    14. Stairway To Heaven (Featuring Brent Fitz and Frank Sidoris)
    15. It’s Not You It’s Me
    16. Space Oddity (Featuring Zachary Throne)

    Bootleg Confessional : Live In Vegas also includes the never released song, The One. Performed only once ever that night and only available on the live recording. The casual and impromptu performance has been preserved in its original form though some of the banter was cut down due to time. There tends to be a great deal of chatter at my shows. We try to make it fun.

    So in honor of the release of Bootleg Confessional : Live In Vegas and as the unofficial one year anniversary of the release of last year’s Borrowing Trouble we have booked a show at the very scene of the crime, Count’s Vamp’d on Sahara in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Count in the name of the club is the one and only, Danny Koker from Counting Cars on A&E. It’s Danny’s club and his amazing wife, Korie is always so good to me whenever I’m there. It is the best rock venue in Vegas. Ask any Vegas rock fan and they’ll tell you the same.

    May 26th, which is Memorial Day-a Monday-is the day of the yet another awesome acoustic show at Count’s Vamp’d. People always ask why I book these shows on Sundays and now a Monday. I booked it on Memorial Day cuz it’s a holiday. It’s an acoustic show. I make the show early and I make it all ages so anybody of any age can come share in the fun of live music. Music is my drug of choice and I am a complete junkie. I’m a pusher too. I’m an enabler. Tickets are selling fast and it warms my heart to know that people are coming from all over to come enjoy the last acoustic show of 2014 before I head out on the good ship Let Rock Rule with SMK&C and Aerosmith!

    There are packages at www.pledgemusic.com for downloads, downloads plus tickets and even a VIP package where you can come hang out with us for the day. I can’t wait. It is going to be a major celebration. I hope to see you there!

    As always we are trying to our best to raise money for a cause along the way. This time proceeds will be going towards Cancer research. Most of you know that Borrowing Trouble was in part inspired by the passing of my dear friend, Greg Verdusco. I dream of a day when we won’t have to raise money for such a thing anymore. Until then we have a long way to go. I thank you in advance for being such a big part of something so near and dear to me.

    In the interim I’ve been sitting in with my brothers in sin, the Sin City Sinners, here and there. I will be at the Showroom at South Point Casino this Friday night with the lads. These are rare appearances with all five of us, Brent Muscat, Doc Ellis, Zachary Throne, Rob ‘Boom Boom’ Cournoyer and myself appearing for the first time all together for a full two hours. These have been a great deal of fun.

    Since I’ve been home I invited myself over to the Ellises (Doc Ellis and Cian Coey) for tacos (as made by Doc. We call them ‘Doc-os’) and stayed up late making Cian watch KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park with us. For the uninitiated KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park is the greatest cinematic experience in the history of film. In the history of man, really… Maybe not. It’s a cheesy movie that KISS made in 1978 that all of us were the perfect age to have loved every second of. So now we watch it with our tongues firmly planted in cheek and basically Mystery Science Theater our way through it savoring every moment.
    If you know it like us you know the quotes- “What’s his trip?”

    “His trip’s a trap”
    “Let’s spring it!”
    Cian, the trooper that she is, endured all 80 minutes of it and laughed at us quoting along with the four lads from NYC.
    I highly recommend and strongly urge against viewing it at the same time. It is our proud guilty pleasure or our guilty pleasure we watch with pride. I’m not sure. It’s a complicated relationship but rewarding just the same.
    Last night Zachary Throne came to my house to borrow a guitar. He came at midnight and stayed till 4am watching old Simpsons DVDs and talking about the great English band Squeeze from the 80s.
    It has been good fun being a Sinner these past few weeks. Hope to see you Friday night if you are in the great city of Las Vegas, Nevada.

    I devoured Paul Stanley’s book, Face The Music:A Life Exposed so we’ve all been on a bit of a KISS kick around here. To be honest a lot of us are kinda always on a KISS kick. It’s a great book. Probably the most telling of all four of the original members. It has a lot of inspiring elements to it about his being deaf in one ear (actually missing his right ear altogether) and those guys having the balls to turn the most seemingly ludicrous vision into an enduring success story for these past 40 plus years and going, The comedian Brian Posehn said it best when he said that if KISS caught you at the right age they had you for life. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but truer words have never been spoken. I always enjoyed the danger of being a KISS fan because not everyone was or is a KISS fan. There are many of us. We’re millions strong (Crazy Crazy Nights) but there were always people who didn’t ‘get it’ and that’s ok. It made it ours. It made it exclusive.

    I love Led Zeppelin but there’s nothing dangerous about liking Led Zeppelin. Everybody loves Led Zeppelin. No one takes a stand and says they love Led Zeppelin. Everybody else in the room would just agree with you.

    Unless your friends are militant punk rockers like some of my friends. They didn’t like anybody. Well, they loved punk rock but found the rest of it bloated and silly. In many ways I don’t necessarily disagree with them.

    I have always felt very fortunate to have found gold in so many different genres. This is why I can talk at length about everything from Slipknot to The Clash to Adam And The Ants. I generally just don’t hear what doesn’t grab me. It’s not that I dislike it. It’s that I just don’t hear it. I have always tried to live by being perfectly ok with liking what I like and that goes for music, film, books and even people. Like what you like and enjoy what you enjoy. Never let anyone tell you you’re wrong. If they don’t get what you like then that’s their problem. The cool thing is if you’re into something you will find a whole community of people who are into it too.

    Anyway, I am trying to enjoy the experience of being in MY house, on MY couch, in MY bed before I am whisked off around the world a gazillion times again. I’m ready. I’ll be honest, I have enjoyed the time off but I’m ready. My viking blood calls to me. Valhalla I am coming!

    Watching-
    Game Of Thrones
    Vikings
    Mad Men
    Bates Motel
    Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D
    Fargo

    I am an unashamed television addict. I always have been. There is so much garbage on tv that I am thankful to see good writing and good acting in the above shows. Unless, of course, you do not share my love for the above shows and take exception to my referring to Honey Boo Boo as garbage. To each thine own. The spice of life and all that.

    Reading-
    KISS:Nothing To Lose, a bio about, you guessed it, the hottest band in the world, KISS! A Christmas gift that I figured was the best follow up to Paul’s book. I have a library of books to get to but as I mentioned above we’re all on a bit of a KISS kick though, to be fair, I’m one of those people that’s always on a bit of a KISS kick.

    So in closing-
    May 26th Bootleg Confessional : Live In Vegas released at www.pledgemusic.com May 26th Bootleg Confessional : Live In Vegas release show/Borrowing Trouble One Year Anniversary show at Count’s Vamp’d, Las Vegas, Nevada Sinners-Friday SMK&C coming sooooooon!
    Let Rock Rule coming even sooner!

    2014/2015/2016 are going to be amazing.

    See you Friday
    See you May 26th
    See you on Let Rock Rule
    See you OUT THERE!

    Big love
    Your loyal and humble servant,
    Todd Dammit



  • IT NEVER STOPS…AND THAT’S THE WAY I LIKE IT

    April 8th 2014

    I find myself back at Chateau Dammit on MY couch with MY TV after living for a stretch in Orlando, Florida where we finished the new SMK&C album. And WHAT an album.

    I only wish I could tell you in depth how exciting this new collection of songs is but I’m sworn to secrecy. I would have my tongue cut out and be forever hobbled.

    Suffice it to say that it is a powerhouse. I was quoted and requoted (and probably misquoted) in every magazine and website reporting on our in studio activities. I had called the album ‘raw’ and ‘dangerous’ and a little bit ‘sleazy’. Now in its finished state I can tell you that I nailed it right on the head. Am I the Nostradamus of Rock and Roll? Hardly. I just think I only verbalized what we set out to create without anyone actually trying to verbalize it at all. For a starter Slash is renowned for create music of this type and it all trickles down from there. Myles Kennedy, who is one of the kindest and gentlest souls I’ve come across in this cesspool (and I say that with all the love of a Sinner and a Conspirator) of a business, manages to spit actual venom in a couple of instances. The boy can summon a demon or two when the red light goes on. He is a skilled melodist and can weave a rhyme scheme with the best of them.

    I mentioned in the past that I was as concerned as anyone that we would have a tough time crawling over the wall we built called Apocalyptic Love but with that wall so far behind us now I can confidently say we have surpassed it tenfold.

    I will admit to some false modesty on my part. A lot of ‘golly gee I hope we can do as good as last time’ knowing full well that we would decimate anything we had done in the past leaving it all in our wake.

    I went into this new chapter with the utmost confidence that we would achieve that very thing and then some. I knew that we are still hungry and still have things to prove whether to ourselves or otherwise. I believe there is always motivation to outdo what you’ve always done. Otherwise what’s the point of doing it? I knew this going into the new record. If we couldn’t top it what was the point? Challenge met. Dragon slayed.

    ***I just took a moment to listen to the first mix that was JUST sent to me as I was writing and I can tell you it is huge! Now I’m even more excited.

    We spent a couple of months in Los Angeles rehearsing at our rehearsal space in North Hollywood before relocating to NRG Studios about 5 minutes away where we began principal recording. Drums and bass were all captured there. Everything is such a whirlwind now to look back on. It seems like it was over a couple of weeks or a couple of years at the same time.

    There was a brief break where I appeared with the Sinners a couple of times, including a jam with Tracii Guns, then it was off to Orlando to knock this mutha out!

    Orlando is fascinating as it is home to both Disneyworld and Universal Studios creating a bizarro alternative to California which houses DisneyLAND and Universal Studios. On top of that we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel which, of course, is bizarro reminiscent of Las Vegas’ namesake except there is no casino downstairs at all.

    Adding to the sense of surrealism was the fact that we had landed in Florida – the heart of spring break-Florida style! Your imaginations may have had us wading through hordes of drunken, scantily clad college girls but quite the contrary. Orlando is the home of family fun so we tended to be wading through just that-families. Lots of Bermuda shorts and Hawaiian shirt families having the times of their lives.

    So there’s me floating around the hotel like an anime ghost all in black sticking out like a sore thumb amongst all the garishly vibrant. Then I would wander off to City Walk, Universal’s area of restaurants and retail, 100% failing at blending in. That’s ok. Let me pass on that you should never fit in. Never ever. Be you. You are you. You are not everyone else. Let them be them and you be you! I highly encourage this.

    My days were spent drinking obscene amounts of coffee (what else is new?) and singing along with my brother, Myles. He would sing a song at night and I’d sing the harmonies the next day for that song before Myles came in to sing the next one. And so it went.

    Many people have been asking about the Slash-Real to Reel videos we’ve been shooting from the studio. In Part 2 you can see me and Slash fucking around and Slash nearly spits up his coffee from my shenanigans.

    Well, prepare for the epic tale to be spun here, ladies and gentlemen. Don’t expect anything too ‘epic’ but I shall solve that mystery for you all.

    If you watch that video you can see brother Slash taking a sip of his coffee as I say ‘I’m sorry i was soloing in my head’ and then Slash stands as he is convulsing on his Folgers. Then I cackle like the Wicked Witch of the West!

    And here is what you missed-

    They edited out a part of what was said. We had just listened to a recording of a song and then Elvis, our producer, was explaining this and that about the arrangement to which Slash replied, “I didn’t really notice I was soloing in my head” meaning he was thinking about the solo he was going to play in the solo section of the song.

    That’s when I said “Well, that explains a lot. I’m sorry I was soloing in my head”

    Slash laughed because he is often accused of not listening or being distracted by friends and family. I think this explains it all. He’s always soloing in his head.

    See not that epic a tale. Well, we thought it was funny.

    A lot of people, bless them, have asked if I would be singing a song on this upcoming album. I have to be honest that I never even thought of that. Myles Kennedy is the lead singer for the Conspirators and that’s as much thought as I’ve given it. Myles is the best singer in modern rock if you ask me. He has feel, soul, chops, originality and is unimaginably consistent. Keep in mind he jumps from Alter Bridge to the Conspirators and back again without a hitch. That is very impressive.

    It truly warms my heart that anyone would even ask if I were to sing a song but you can hear me screaming all over this thing. Myles and I have a great chemistry that way. I hope you dig it.

    So just like every other amazing experience this one had to come to an end. Myles went home April 4th and I hung back to sing harmonies on the last song. It is a very special honor to be the last person to perform on the record. It was not lost on me. i savored every moment of it.

    There is a great deal of depth on this recording. A very twisted journey. Many of the songs straight up rock like never before and then there are songs that have a real vastness to them. Slash is playing better than he ever has. It is an inspiring thing to see a man with nothing left to prove still pushing himself every time he picks up the guitar to find new terrain to conquer. And succeed! I think people are going to be blown away.

    So with that I took my leave from the land of fun in the sun and made my way to…the land of fun in the sun…wait! What?

    I’ve been a very fortunate man to have avoided one of the gnarliest winters all over north America. I bounced between Nevada, California and Florida. Not too shabby! I’m not bragging. I grew up in that shit. I feel your pain.

    I spent a few days in Los Angeles dealing with taxes-yuck! Is there anything less fun? I mean probably but yuck right? Good to get that out of the way nonetheless!

    Now I’m back in the great city of Las Vegas getting ready to reunite the Exile On Fremont lineup of the Sin City Sinners this Thursday night at the Palms Casino on West Flamingo. Gonna be a blast! Hope to see you there.

    I would like to take this time to announce a special anniversary show at Vamp’d May 26th-Memorial Day. It will be almost a year since the release of Borrowing Trouble and we’d like to celebrate one last time in Vegas before I get whisked off to do the Aerosmith tour with Slash (more about that in a minute).

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    To commemorate the anniversary of Borrowing Trouble’s release we will be releasing the live album Bootleg Confessional:Live In Vegas as a downloadable album via Pledge Music for a limited time for a steal before it moves on to iTunes etc.

    The album was recorded live September 2nd 2013 at Vamp’d in Vegas and features 17 songs plus guests like Brent Fitz and Frank Sidoris from the Conspirators, Doc and Zach from the Sinners and Cian Coey from Meat Loaf. I’m really proud of it and I hope you enjoy it!

    This May 26th will be a huge blow out of a show as it will be one of the last Vegas acoustic shows for me at least until 2015. I’m hoping to get some friends up on stage again. I’ve been picking my brain to come up with some fun songs to play and for some fun friends to play with!

    So come on out to Count’s Vamp’d in Las Vegas May 26th to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of Borrowing Trouble and the birth of Bootleg Confessional:Live In Vegas. It’s going to be an amazing night.

    The whole ‘Bootleg’ concept to me was a play on the cassette tapes of live shows my friends and I would pass around as kids. KISS bootlegs etc that you knew as well as any of their albums. That was wayyyyyy before the days of downloading so piracy was truly piracy back then. It includes a crazy rendition of Zep’s Stairway To Heaven by me and my co-Conspirators. Check it out.

    So the other big news in our life is the Let Rock Rule tour featuring Aerosmith and Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators (or as we are affectionately abbreviating these days-SMK&C). I can’t tell you how excited we are to be doing this tour. I mean to springboard out of the recording of this album onto any stage would be exciting enough but to do it in the company of our heroes, Steven, Joe, Brad, Tom and Joey? That is mind boggling. If you would have told me that would be a reality when I was 15 I would never have believed you.

    Earlier today Slash joined Aerosmith at the Whiskey A Go Go on the Sunset Strip to announce the Let Rock Rule tour and it has created a crazy buzz.

    We are all busting. It’s still 2 months away but we are all GOOD TO GO! We’ve been off the road for a while and it’s time to get back out there. My sword is ever sharp and my thirst for battle never satiated. Let’s do this!

    Well, there you have it. Recording finished. Mixing commencing. Sinners on Thursday. Acoustic show May 26th. Live album May 26th. Let Rock Rule tour will be here before you know it!

    Exciting times, brothers and sisters! Exciting times indeed!

    Expect the new single this summer but you didn’t hear that from me ;)

     

    Big Big LOVE to all o’ y’all
    Your loyal and humble servant
    Todd Dammit

     



  • Halftime

    March 3 2014
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Whew…where to begin…

    This blog is titled halftime as I am currently in a holding pattern between bass and drums being completed and guitars and vocals firing up. By the time you read this Slash will be in the great state of Florida on day one of recording Gibson Les Pauls through Marshall Amplifiers. Myles Kennedy, currently down under, will be coming ‘up over’ (think about it…give it a minute…), joining the team to do that thing that he do! I will be joining them soon to do that thing that I do as well. It has been a most joyous experience and I can say now, fully invested in every step of this process to this point, that you will not be disappointed. This album rocks. I honestly believe that this record is going to be even better than the last. It has all the elements that I look for in my favorite records. It’s catchy with gnarly riffs and loud as hell. It’s aggressive, confident and not interested in taking any prisoners.
    You’ve been warned!

    I’ve been essentially living in LA since the fall of 2013. We hunkered down in North Hollywood and began molding clay and chopping wood to build the music you will be rocking out to in mere months from now. We broke for the holidays and then really dug in. Slash, Fitz and myself pulled songs apart, put them back together, pulled them apart again, like we were creating the perfect Frankenstein killing machines. An unholy army of the night. An army of songs to attack senses.

    Then the process would begin all over again with the arrival of Myles Kennedy. This can be better. This could be altered to make this melody really pop. More aggressive. More dangerous. More nasty.

    Then our producer, Elvis came along and shit got real. We got even more serious. We had created an armory of weaponry and now we were going to make them indestructible. Make them fool proof and deadly precise. Mortally efficient. No stone left unturned. No riff left in the cold. No kick drum left unfocused.

    Though it sounds like an inordinate amount of work, and in many ways it can be, I think we trusted our instincts even more this time. Not feeling so held down by the confines put upon us by the 3 minute pop song. Gone are the restraints of a ‘radio friendly’ industry that has eaten itself. Make music that feels right. That feels effective. That feels honest. That feels authentic.
    I know we have done that.

    Of course I’m saying this without hearing any final recorded guitars but come on…it’s Slash. He’s the best guitar player on the planet. That part is a no brainer. Myles Kennedy is the best singer in rock today. He has an uncanny ability to conjure a bulletproof melody wrapped in a clever rhyme scheme. For it to be anything but awesome would come as an extreme surprise to me. Since I’ve heard everything to this point I think it’s my opinion we’ll be trusting here.
    The most important thing to us was that we make a record that our audience wants to hear. In turn I believe it is the record we have always wanted to make collectively and individually.
    Myles is looser and easier like a seasoned professional. He has gone 8 rounds with the best and held his own. There is a quiet confidence in having the output of several hit records behind him. What’s one more? Don’t be fooled by that kind Spokane boy thing. There is a wolf in there that he lets out and we’ve all heard it. And none can howl like he can.

    So what about the drums and bass? The drums and bass were knocked out in record time at NRG studios in North Hollywood. Brent Fitz played things he didn’t even know he could play. He was challenged and met that challenge time and again. The drums are big and aggressive and full of attitude. It is the best performance of his career. I think he’ll tell you the same.

    As far as the bass goes Slash and I talked in depth about the most recent Motorhead album, Aftershock. Lemmy’s bass tone was gnarlier than ever but still had that fatness in the bottom end. Let’s do that, we agreed.

    This is the most aggressive bass tone to date for me. Anyone who knows me knows the bass players that I love and most of them aren’t about flair they are about attitude. I think that is the perfect mixture for me. Just the right amount of technique with a heavy dose of attitude. I think Fitz and I built an impenetrable wall for Myles and Slash to climb atop and do their thing.

    Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette is an incredible producer with a contagious energy. In the short time I’ve known him we have become super tight. I think he is the man. I’m stoked to get out there and get singing!

    Our engineer, Jef Moll, is a magician. A wizard. With them behind us we couldn’t lose. We are an army and we are sharp and trained and ready to kill.

    BUSH was recording next door. Gavin Rossdale introduced himself to me one day randomly and was ever the English gentleman I remember him to be. Back in the 90s my band, The Age Of Electric, opened for Bush and Veruca Salt. Didn’t get much bigger than those two in the 90s. That sprung us to a whole other level. Gavin was a good guy even back then.

    It’s funny I always try to remind myself to stop and really take in all that’s going on around me. It’s always such a whirlwind that it’s often hard to focus on all that’s swirling around you. This time in the studio was no different. It seems a practice in controlled chaos. In our world there are always cameras around. Things being filmed for this company, photos for another, exclusive pix for this magazine or that. There are always a lot of humans around. That tends to add to the chaotic energy but I’ve always kind of enjoyed that aspect of it. It’s not a regular job so one should never expect anything ordinary ever. I’m always pleasantly comforted by the tornado of activity and not at all surprised by it.

    And so just like that its over. At least the first half is over. First you’re in the studio every day, all day. You live in Los Angeles. You drive it’s streets. You know it’s turns and your fave spots. You are a local. You belong there. This is home.
    Then it’s over. That chapter closes as quickly as it opened and you go back to your ‘reality’ as seamlessly as you’d left it. Admittedly my reality is pretty goddamned surreal. It shouldn’t be any other way.

    I went to a screening of the new Godzilla film with Slash which was bizarre as it was incomplete. Stock music, unfinished CGI in many scenes. A very cool experience for a film nerd like me. They even had a sheet of likes and dislikes to fill out afterwards. I look forward to the final version. I love me some Godzilla. All of these things are regular occurrences on Planet Slash. On Planet Dammit not so much.

    So as things have always been there will be no rest. Far too wicked. I hit the ground running upon my return to the great city of Las Vegas, Nevada. And man was the ground running.
    Doc Ellis from the Sinners and I went to watch his beloved, Cian Coey, appear with the legendary Meat Loaf over at Planet Hollywood Casino. I could not be prouder of Cian. The first time I saw her perform I knew she was a star. Beautiful and talented. She is the whole package. When they told me she was up for the part I knew she’d get it and it was nice to see I was right.
    The show was amazing. I’d seen it once before but it was even better with little Cian up there doing her thing. I was blown away.

    We went back after the show and Mr Loaf gave me a hug even though I’d never met the man before. He was adorable and super talkative.
    In my mind I kept thinking, ‘His name is Robert Paulson. His name is Robert Paulson’ from the film Fight Club in which he appeared with Pitt, Norton and Leto.
    Ol’ Meat is a hell of an actor too.
    All in all an amazing night. So proud of you Cian!

    As a local (I’ve been in Vegas for 7 years. I’m local!), we all know or know of the world famous chef, Kerry Simon. A brother in arms struck down by a terrible disease called Multiple System Atrophy. Extremely aggressive it has hit him hard and fast. A benefit was put together to help raise money to fight this monster that has a hold of him. Kerry’s powerful friends assembled the heaviest of the heavy and the biggest of the big to make this thing happen.

    My brethren, The Sin City Sinners were to be the backing band for an army of musicians and singers there to do their part. In my opinion there is no other band that could do it. I was asked to sit in with the guys and assist. I happily obliged.

    The list of performers on this thing was mind blowing. Brother Slash (my two worlds colliding in the most beautiful way), Alice Cooper, Sammy Hagar, Vince Neil, Todd Rundgren, Matt Sorum, Billy Duffy of the Cult, Kip Winger, Lisa Loeb and JD Fortune of INXS. All of that is impressive enough but most of us were floored by the appearance of one of my all time favorite comedic actors, Bill Murray. I was completely knocked out by that.

    To be fair we had been told in advance that Bill was going to be there. I don’t think most of us believed he’d show but as it turns out he was very close with Kerry and had known him back in his earliest days.

    It seemed so odd as Harold Ramis had only just passed away and Bill and the entire Ghostbusters phenomenon was still on the tips of our tongues. Harold is missed.
    In anticipation of his appearance we were told that he sometimes liked to sing so we learned one of his favorite songs, Brandi, You’re A Fine Girl by Looking Glass. I would never have actively learned such a song unless one of my favorite personalities was going to sing it.
    At the event Bill Murray walked up to me and shook my hand completely unexpectedly. I asked him, ‘You gonna sing a song with us tonight?’

    He dramatically reached for his throat and said, ‘Warming up. Warming up.’ And with that he took his leave.
    Super super surreal. I mean Caddy Shack, Groundhog Day, Meatballs, Scrooged, Ghostbusters, The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore…the list goes on and on and on. The man is a legend. We were all floored by his being there.

    Even more unexpected was Bill introducing us after his hilarious speech to Kerry. Then he continued to introduce all the guest artists for the remainder of the evening. To the point that it became perfectly normal that Bill Murray just happened to be hanging around.
    My life is so weird.
    He never did end up singing a song.

    We did One Way to Rock, Can’t Drive 55, Mas Tequila with Sammy (who is a gent) then Slash joined us for the Montrose classic Rock Candy. Matt Sorum joined us for the last two songs too. The two drummers thing is always a blast.

    JD got up and did the INXS song Pretty Vegas and the Doors song, Roadhouse Blues.
    Lisa Loeb nailed her classic song Stay which was the hardest one for us to learn. I swear we learned it in 3 keys before settling on a fourth. She is a very sweet lady. I met her at some record company party in Vancouver back in the day. She was a doll then too.
    Todd Rundgren did a set of songs and our bro, Kip Winger, played bass. He also played bass for the Alice Cooper set. Kip played bass for Alice back in the 80s.

    Alice did No More Mr Nice Guy, Eighteen, Brown Sugar by the Stones and School’s Out which Slash joined in on.

    I sang Love Removal Machine by the Cult with Billy Duffy and Matt Sorum (who played in the Cult too) and had a blast. I am a massive Cult fan. Billy is the man. One of my faves.
    We closed with one of the kings of Vegas, Vince Neil. Wild Side, Live Wire, Girls Girls Girls. An absolute blast.

    And then bang it’s over with everyone taking the stage to do Come Together by the Beatles together. Even Bill.
    I got to say hi to a lot of good friends after and brush shoulders with some of our guests. Bid Slash adieu as he would be heading to Florida where I would meet up with him in the coming weeks.

    And that, as they say, was that.
    I believe the evening was quite a success and I hope we can make some kind of difference for poor Kerry. It’s such a terrible thing.
    If you wish to donate please follow this link. Thank you so much.

    http://www.keepmemoryalive.org/ways_to_contribute/attend_an_event/upcoming_events/2014/02/27/kerry-simon-says-fight-msa

    From one benefit to the next. Yesterday I found myself at yet another charity event with my brothers in Sin, the Sinners. The St Baldrick’s Foundation raises money for kid’s with Cancer which is so heartbreaking. That is very hard. The Sinners do this every year. This year Zach Throne had his head shaved in solidarity with the kids fighting this awful disease. He’s a good man. I jumped up and played a couple of songs with the boys-It’s Not You It’s Me and Going To Vegas.

    A lot of credit must go to the Sinners for doing two charity events in one weekend. A lot of credit has to go to the heart and mind behind our participation in the St Baldricks event, Sinners’ manager, Jason Green.

    So now here I am. At one with the couch tonight enjoying the Oscars. McConaughey won best actor- Alright Alright Alright.
    Love me some McConaughey. I knew he was gonna get it. he is my current favorite. I think he’s such a character. A real original.
    Speaking of Matthew I am currently obsessed with True Detectives which I devoured the second last episode of right after the awards. He is intensely awesome in that show. Woody is an underrated actor. He deserves some love.

    Then I get my zombie on with Walking Dead then talked about it with Talking Dead. That show is so popular it has a post show.
    It’s so funny because as a show wraps up like Breaking Bad a bunch more spring up. Vikings is back. Loved the first season of that one. Bates Motel is back tomorrow which i was obsessed with. Game Of Thrones will be back before you know it.

    Am I a television addict? Maybe but let me say this-in a day and age when I had pretty much given up due to the reprehensible dross that is reality television I have to say how lucky we are to have quality programming like AMC and HBO to save the day. Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Game Of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire etc are in my opinion the highest of quality. Especially in a time where most television executives are saving money by not having to pay actors or writers by creating fake reality shows about everything and anything. Trust me I have been involved in a few reality shows and there is no reality going on. I find it depressing. My friends call it mindless entertainment. I think more of myself and my mind.
    Hard to be a snob about something so stupid as television but I don’t get it. I’m just a big fan of good writing, good acting. How it should always be.

    The live album is finally coming out very very soon. The final touches are being put upon the artwork and audio as I write this. Bootleg Confessional : Live In Vegas will be out hopefully before the new Slash album is even finished recording. That is very likely. It was recorded September 2nd at Count’s Vamp’d in Vegas. There are almost 20 songs on it including an unreleased song called The One that I wanted to play exclusively for that show. Fitz and Frankie from The Conspirators make an appearance as do Zach and Ellis from the Sinners along with the lovely Cian Coey from, of course, Meat Loaf. It is a lot of fun. If you were there you know how much fun we had.

    So now here I am. Kicking it in Vegas. Appearing this Friday with the Sinners over at Southpoint on the south strip in Vegas. Working on Bootleg Confessional : Live In Vegas and trying to enjoy the calm before returning to the second half of recording the new Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators album. I think y’all are gonna be very happy.

    Everyone should immediately check out Horns And Halos by Michael Monroe, Dregen’s solo album, Ginger Wildheart’s brilliant new cd Albion and the Butcher Babies’ Goliath. I love Rock N Roll…put another dime in the jukebox, baby.

    To Kerry I say, ‘thinking of you brother’
    To the kids at St Baldricks I say, ‘you are in my kindest and warmest thoughts’
    To Matthew McConaughey on his big win I say, ‘Alright Alright Alright’
    And to you, brother and sisters, I say, ‘BIG LOVE’
    THE BIGGEST!

    PEACELOVEMETAL

    Alright Alright Alright
    Your loyal and humble servant,
    Todd Dammit



  • Get In The Ring

    January 16th 2014
    Los Angeles, California

    So here we are. Like prize fighters training and training for the fight of our lives. Now the big fight is upon us. We are lean. We are mean and we are, most assuredly, fighting machines.

    I have to admit that conceptually I felt that Apocalyptic Love would be a tough act to follow but I can say with all the confidence in the world that we are more than armed and ready. Not only do I feel that the material surpasses Apocalyptic Love I think we are ten times the band we were when that album was recorded.
    The material on this album is more serious and more fun at the same time which is a tough balance indeed. The songs are sleazier, tougher and more dangerous. Exactly where I feel most comfortable. We are all very excited to unleash the monster upon you as soon as we can.

    We enter the studio early February and will work through the next few months. No plans as to when anything will be finished. It’ll be done when it’s done. I know we all hope to be back out on the road sooner than later but we’ll see.
    A lot of things are bizarrely familiar. Frankie, the camera guy, is there filming and snapping away at everything as of this past week just like 2 years ago during the making of Apocalyptic Love. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. I’m sure that footage will surface somewhere along the line.

    Our work with Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette has been a blast. He’s been a lot of fun to have around and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty within the pre production process. All of the songs have taken on a new life under his whip. I’m enjoying every minute of this. Our engineer, Jef Moll, is a genius. This is an amazing team.

    Gonna be monstrous!

    Since last I joined you 2014 came along and replaced its predecessor. Funny how seamlessly that happens.

    I spent the holidays with my family in Vancouver and enjoyed a much needed break. The best thing was that I had only been there a few weeks earlier doing an acoustic show at The Roxy which was amazing.

    I ate wayyyy too much food (my parents are on the west coast now too-Mom cooking!) but that’s what ya do during the holidays. Saw a lot of movies.
    American Hustle-Great. Great cast. Great performances. I didn’t know what to expect but I really enjoyed it.

    The Hobbit 2-surprisingly great even in spite of all the added characters, plot line etc. Whatevs. It was a blast.

    Anchorman 2-Ridiculous fun. It was amazing to see with my family. We are all such fans. Can’t wait to have all the dialogue memorized.
    I saw Wolf Of Wall Street and thought it was an amazing film. I thought the performances were outstanding. Leo is one of the best. It was a difficult film to enjoy in that I wasn’t cheering for the protagonist at all. I mean the anti hero isn’t a new invention. This is the new way from Tony Soprano to Walter White. I think the fact that those two people I just mentioned are fiction is what clinches it for me. The people depicted in ‘Wolf’ are based on actual people who are flat out terrible people. The worst representation of human behavior or at least my least enjoyed type of behavior. It’s so much of what is wrong with us as a species. Greed, self satisfaction at the expense of everyone and anyone.
    No lesson is learned in the end. No check and balance. No debt paid (I mean, yea, kinda…). It’s what you can get away with and how much you can play a system built to protect you. In the end those kind of wealthy criminals don’t get punished like regular folk. That is the true crime.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s brilliant. Marty Scorsese is a genius. Leo is at the top of his game. The story is completely over the top and completely insane. Jonah is great. McConaughey has a scene stealing moment early on. Great, great film.

    I just dislike the kind of people represented in the film. They exist and they are the worst. There is no Shakespearean retribution.
    Hey, even Tony Montana got his.

    After Christmas I got back to Vegas and rang in the New Year with the Sin City Sinners which was a blast. It’s the 6th year in a row I’ve done so. I can’t see why next year should be any different or the year after that. It is always great fun to play with the guys and to see all my friends. People flew in from all over the world. South America, Germany, England…totally awesome. It was a true honor to welcome the new year with everyone.

    The next thing I knew I was back in North Hollyweird making myself deaf with my co-Conspirators. At first just the 3 – Slash, Fitz and I…then Elvis and Jeff…and finally…Myles Kennedy. Now we have been working these songs up since October and they are getting better and stronger every single day. By the time we press the RECORD button in February we will have carved out a nasty machine of Loud, Ugly, Beautiful, Unrelenting RAWK.

    The other night we tagged along with Slash as he jumped on stage with Lita Ford at the Whiskey A Go Go.

    It’s always a trip being at the Whiskey. The first and only time I played there was in 1991 with the Age Of Electric. We opened for the Zeroes. As I entered the Whiskey on Lita’s night who do I run into but Danny Dangerous from the Zeroes. What a trip. Danny also played with my dear friend Greg Verdusco in the Slow Time Mondays. Danny is an amazing guy and a Hollywood legend. It was really great to see him there.

    Backstage we hung out with Teddy ‘Zig Zag’ Andreadis, who played with Guns N Roses on the Use Your Illusions tour back in the day. Great guy and one talented Mofo!

    Slash jumped up and jammed with Lita and Cherie Currie, both of whom were part of one of my favorite bands, The Runaways. I’ve had the good fortune to jam with both of those ladies as a part of the Sinners. A great honor. I’m a nerdy fan. It was a blast to watch Slash do Cherry Bomb and Black Leather with the ladies. Truly awesome.

    So now, as I write this, I am re-watching The Walking Dead with Slash. We are currently in Season 3. He’s getting caught up. I’ve seen it all before but enjoying revisiting. Then off to bed. Still have a couple weeks of pre production then recording is a go! Stay tuned!

    Reading-Dr Sleep by Stephen King. Loving it. I’m hoping they don’t screw this up when they make the movie.

    Listening to-Michael Monroe’s Horns And Halos as well as Dregen’s solo album. Really inspiring!

    Well, brothers and sisters of the DAMMED I will do my best to keep y’all informed and abreast.

    I’m excited. I only hope we live up to your high expectations. I think we are going to deliver!
    Yes, I’m that confident.

    Your loyal and humble servant,
    Todd Dammit



  • CANAFORNIA

    December 11 2013
    Los Angeles, California

    Isn’t he clever? He mashed Canada and California together. A delicious ‘word sandwich’. It seemed fitting as I have been bouncing back and forth between these two destinations as of late. A little Las Vegas now and again when I can but mostly Canafornia.

    We have just completed several days of preproduction here in LA with producer Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette and I have to say that I am beyond excited for the new album. Apparently I was a bit premature in announcing to the world that Elvis was gonna be producing what I affectionately refer to as Apocalyptic Love 2. I suppose that should have been saved for some official type press release but I blabbed and it’s out there now. I didn’t know what to expect but I’ve already geeked out with Elvis over some deep KISS cuts that only the true fan can appreciate. As it turns out-he’s my kinda guy.

    We have an arsenal of giant, monolithic powerhouses with working titles like ‘It Puts The Lotion On It’s Skynrd’ that Myles has turned into truly great songs. It’s no secret that he happens to be very good at that. He never ceases to impress. He’s also one of my favorite humans (that should be read ‘Hu-Mons).

    We have expedited the entire schedule. It looks like we will be tracking as early as January which puts us about a month ahead of when we thought we were going to be able to do so. As you can imagine we are working around the busy schedule of the mega successful Alter Bridge which is no simple task. Basically Myles has zero rest whatsoever. He bounces from one world to the next seemingly seamlessly (seem…seam…).

    So I suddenly find myself at home in the great City Of Angels on loan from a City Of Sin. LA starts to get more and more familiar and more and more comfortable. I’ve not made that leap to have California license plates or an 818 prefix on my phone # but…ya never know.
    For now Vegas has my heart. I have good people there and I miss them dearly.

    I am only just returned from the country of my birth, Canada which was one of the most enjoyable experiences for me in a great, long time. My co-Conspirator, Brent Fitz, and I found ourselves bouncing from one city to another in a fun little project called Coverboy. Joining us was a familiar cast from our ‘Justice Beaver’ ‘Canadian cover band’ that we do to raise money every year for charity. Cory Churko from Shania Twain and Kelly Clarkson on guitar and the amazing Spider from Loverboy and Streetheart on bass were with us again as well as our new pal, Chris Jericho who is very well known via his years crushing skulls in the WWE. Chris has his own band, Fozzy, who are on tour with Steel Panther in Australia as I write this.
    We found ourselves in Regina, Saskatchewan which was ground zero for the Grey Cup which is pretty much the Canadian Super Bowl. We played a benefit show which was extremely enjoyable. It had been 9 years since I was last in Regina. I lived there for a couple of years wayyyy back pre Age Of Electric days.

    There is no reminder as effective as that of a Saskatchewan winter! Eeep! Man, that is a whole other level of cold. It’s really mind blowing to think that I went from growing up in that to living in the desert. Seems almost TOO unlikely but it BE.

    We had a blast playing music that only a person from Canada could truly appreciate. All of it great music that is a complete crime to be basically unknown south of the border (the Canada/US border, that is).
    I got to catch up, albeit it all too briefly, with people I hadn’t seen in a looooong time. An amazing time.

    From there we went to another city I lived in wayyyy back directly after leaving Regina which was Calgary. I’ve spent a lot of years playing in the great city of Calgary. I’ve made many, many friends over the years. It very much has a ‘HOME’ vibe to it, too. I love returning there time and again.

    Cory Churko couldn’t do the Calgary show as he had prior engagements so my dear friend, Reed Shimozawa, trooper that he is, slid seamlessly into the guitar slot and was amazing. Reed, in many ways, is one of my favorite guitar players of all time. He can play anything. He is wayyy knowledgeable but can ‘garage’ it with the best of us.

    That last sentence seems like gibberish but if you follow my vernacular you know what I mean.
    He’s also one of my favorite humans on this planet. I’ve known him since 1989. You do the math. He is basically family at this point. In 2014 we will be release the new album, TKO, which Reed and I spent the past 10 years working on. I’m thrilled to see it released. More on that later though..

    In writing this it must seem bizarre that I have called so many of these places home but it be true.

    I was born in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada which only claim to fame I can refer to is the footage on youtube of Mick Mars being knocked down by some dufus on stage there. I’ve only ever returned there briefly a couple of times to play gigs. I’d love to have gotten to know it better but my family moved before my first birthday wayyyyy north to Lynn Lake, Manitoba which is about as far north as you can go before the towns become just ‘settlements’.
    I have known me some winters, my friends.

    It was a tiny town built in frontier land around a nickel mine where my father found work.
    I was there for 12 or 13 years. Learned to play guitar there. Formed bands with friends with names like The Wraiths (which I suppose, in full nerd disclosure, would have been named after the ring wraiths from the Lord Of The Rings) with song titles like 95 Foot Suicide, Death Rider and the ever so adorable, Slut. Oh, the lyrical subject matter of pre pubescent boys. You know, only slightly more intelligent than say…Crazy Bitch :) From there I spent my junior high and high school years back in Saskatchewan in the town of Lanigan, 70 miles east of Saskatoon.
    I have known me some winters, brothers and sisters.

    We were moving up though. From 2000 people in Lynn Lake to 2500 people in Lanigan. Lanigan was only an hour and a bit from ‘the big city’ of Saskatoon where Lynn Lake was like a 2 day drive to Winnipeg.

    So back in the province of my birth for those crazy, formative, teenage years. I formed bands like Buzz (replete with marijuana leaf logo which is mostly amusing because I don’t think we even knew what weed was yet) and The Infants (which despite us looking like girls was originally titled the much more threatening, The Wicked Infants. Not threatening at all, really) The Infants actually went on the road and lead me to such friendships as Cory and Kevin Churko from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan who would go on to be world famous musicians and producers and whom I’ve maintained friendships with ever since.

    Through that band I landed in the capital of our province, Regina, where I lived for a couple of years where I met, Kurt and Ryan Dahle and would one day form a little band called Electric. A couple years later we put The Age Of in front of that.
    Through my years of constant touring I landed in Calgary for about three years. As you can see I’m progressively moving west and to exponentially bigger cities. In Calgary I made lasting friendships with people like Reed Shimozawa and that continues today and forever.
    When AOE formed we eventually made our way almost all the way west to Vancouver, which in many ways truly was home for a long time. 15 years or so. Those were the big years of really becoming the quintessential Age Of Electric. A big city with a music scene. A repressed one but a a music scene none the less.

    Then in a random act of insanity I found myself in the US in the most mad center imaginable, Las Vegas, Nevada, where I would form the wonderful Sin City Sinners and reconnect with an old acquaintance named Brent Fitz who would wield a very powerful key to my future.
    And that, so far, is that.

    All of that said I have spent so much time in so many cities that I can’t help but think of them as home as well. Places like Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, of course Toronto, New York City even and, as we can see now, Los Angeles, California. Places like London, England and Paris, France are become scarily familiar enough to fall under that category soon to :) I have said it before and I’ll say it again-Planet Earth is my home. I only wish more people saw it that way. You’d realize how much you have in common with people if you thought of them as your neighbors because they really truly are. This planet is vast and expansive but it’s also very small. The fact that these very words will be read on every continent on the globe proves that.

    So it would seem fitting that after the two Coverboy shows I would hang back in Calgary with my good friend, Reed and do a Borrowing Trouble acoustic show on Grey Cup Sunday. The Saskatchewan Roughriders won, by the way which is a big deal for the people of Saskatchewan. It’s our only national team. There are no better fans in the CFL than the Riders fans. That is a fact known across the country.

    The acoustic show was pretty magical actually. What started as a fun afterthought ended up being a massive success. My pal, Chris Jericho, came down, on zero sleep from our gig the night before, mind you. He had been celebrating ever since. It was a trip to see Chris wearing his TK Borrowing Trouble tee shirt and taking home a copy of the vinyl. What a blast. He got up and sang some Canadian classics with Reed and I which really capped off a magical night. People came down from Edmonton too and that was extremely rewarding to me. Thank you to all my brothers and sisters that were there that night.

    Coincidentally Miss Janette from Todd Kerns USA on Facebook made the long trip north in a Canadian November to help sell merch. Thank you, Miss Janette. You are the best.

    From there I was off to Winnipeg where I had the not so great fortune to play on the night of a snow storm but it ended up being an amazing night anyway. Brent Fitz came up and played some piano as he was back home visiting the folks. We played a Streetheart song for Kenny Shields who was the singer of that band and a great hero to both of us. That was very surreal for me. For some reason we sold a ton of merch in Winnipeg. That was a pleasant surprise. What a good time.

    Next up I went back ‘home’ to Vancouver to raise some money for the hungry and the homeless. It was a last minute surprise show and I really didn’t know what to expect with such little lead up but it ended up being one of the most successful nights of my trip to Canada. One of those great nights where everyone is singing along and having a great time. I even did the Band Aid Xmas song ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’. That’s how celebratory it was. It was a very special night and I never wanted it to end.
    It was my dream to make Borrowing Trouble then grab a guitar and a car and stop in every city from Victoria to St John’s and sing for the people of Canada. That still might happen one of these days!
    I’d love to do it elsewhere…Australia, Europe, UK, South America…USA….we’ll see.

    And then BANG I was back in Los Angeles making racket with my besties but this time with the delightful, Myles Kennedy in tow. My ‘Heaverly Brother’. Then the newest addition to our family, Elvis, came along and we are full steam ahead. By April we will be doing the rounds of promo. Maybe a little Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon? Late Night with Seth Meyers? How crazy is that? So much awesome change ahead.

    Then we’ll be going around the world a few thousand more times.
    By the time the new album comes out this band will have been together in one form or another for 4 years. Mind blowing when I never expected the tour for the first solo album to be more than a few months. By the time we come off the road from touring the album the band will have been together for 5 years. That is a significant chunk of my life. Half a decade. Crazy.

    On December 4th we went to hang with Slash at a charity party put on by Adam Sandler which was completely insane. I found myself backstage amongst the most insane collection of people imaginable. Perry Farrell from Jane’s Addiction, Jerry Cantrell from Alice In Chains, Ann Wilson from Heart, Joe MFING Walsh from The Eagles, Marilyn Manson, Jack Black…it was crazy weird. No Matter where you sat it was mental. Manson came over and drunkenly got some laughs. He’s the new school Dean Martin now. I never got to meet Adam Sandler cuz he was on stage the whole time. He sang everything and nailed it. He did Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and did it verbatim like Axl. It was awesome. It was a pretty magical night.

    The next day was my birthday which we spent together as a small affair. I wasn’t about to cancel rehearsal just cuz it was my birthday! Frank Sidoris surprised me by appearing for my birthday. Man, I love that guy. He’s the best. Thank you to all who were so good to me on my birthday. Really more than I deserve. Thank you thank you thank you.

    I will be making my way to Vancouver for Xmas to be with my amazing family to eat way too much and enjoy myself far too much to be fair. I will hopefully take in The Hobbit 2 and of course ANCHORMAN 2! It is here. I cannot believe it.

    After that I’ll be back with the Sin City Sinners doing New Year’s Eve at The Lounge in the Palms Hotel in Vegas. Come down. It’s going to be a blast. We have ourselves some fun. They are my Vegas family.

    This is a hard time of year as we lost one of my best friends, Greg Verdusco, to cancer one year ago on December 15th. Four days before his birthday. It was an incredibly hard pill to swallow and to be honest I think I’m still swallowing it and probably ever shall be. He is missed every day and so much has happened that I wish I could have shared with him. He would have loved that the new Anchorman is coming out. That was one of his dreams to see that. It’s a real crime that he couldn’t fulfill that. The new Star Wars was another big dream of his. No one would have enjoyed all this as much as he would have.
    The Replacements reuniting was a massive deal too. He would have never believed that happened in his absence.

    Life is a complete mystery, my friends. We are here for a while and then we are gone. You never know when its comin’ either so make the best of every single day that you can. I mean it doesn’t have to be grandiose. If you really enjoy having a cup of coffee with good friends then do that as often as you can. If you like going to movies see as many as you can. If you want to climb a mountain do it!
    The one thing we all have in common is that this all ends and there is nothing pessimistic about that to me. I have accepted that I’m not going to be here forever but I’m going to do everything I can to make what I have left as good as it can be. I recommend you do the same.

    Coming soon-
    Todd Kerns-Bootleg Confessional Volume I : Live in Vegas (Live album recorded June 2nd at Vamp’d in Las Vegas) Todd Kerns-TKO : 10 Years In The Making. Epic. Amazing. Some of my proudest work.
    Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators – Title to be determined. Summer 2014

    Listening to – Dregen’s solo album. I loved the Backyard Babies and this album does not disappoint.
    Reading – Rod Stewart’s autobiography. I love me some Rod the mod. Can you believe the Faces are doing a reunion tour? I’m busting! Busting!
    Watching – Well, Man Of Steel, of course :) I’ll soon be watching Anchorman 2. I foresee that being a multiple theater going experience. CAN’T WAIT!

    Live, brothers and sisters!
    Life is meant to be lived!
    Eat, drink. be merry and smoke ‘em if you got ‘em cuz life is meant to be enjoyed not squandered!

    Big Love
    Your brother from another Mother
    Todd Dammit=