The Worst Kept Secret In Rock N Roll

January 5th 2015
Las Vegas, Nevada

By now you will have been privy to news that is hardly unexpected yet wholly exciting nonetheless. God knows it never seemed to be that carefully kept a secret.

For a long time now we Conspirators have been personally made aware that the regrouping of one of the most important brotherhoods in music history was underway. That thing that everyone had wished for but never thought possible was quietly (and not so quietly) cooking under our very noses. To be in this close of proximity to a history of Rock N Roll moment occurring has been nothing short of incredible.

With Myles returning to a new chapter of Alter Bridge the door has opened for any number of circumstances and the semi-reunion of Guns N Roses is one of the most exciting byproducts thereof.

I, for one, never got to see Guns N Roses in any form. Not with Steven, not with Izzy, not with Matt, not with Gilby and not with all the others that followed into the 21st century. I have always been a working musician. I have been constantly touring since my teens. I missed almost every great concert that came my way because I was on stage myself. Couple that with the fact that I grew up in a small town of 1500 people and you’ll understand how I never got to see much as a kid either.

I missed Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, The Ramones and, of course, GNR. How could this be? All of my favorite bands, the ones that shape who I am today, I never got to experience in a live setting until much later. GNR I missed out on completely. I have remedied Aerosmith and Alice a billion times over since.

Now I know a guy and I hope to see this reformed unit in person. The effect of Appetite is in my very DNA. It changed so much for me. It changed so much for most of us who love Rock N Roll.

As Slash’s bro I think this is a very exciting and important chapter for him to embark on. I support him wholeheartedly to dive into this experience but as his friend I would support him if he decided to walk away from music and live amongst Buddhist monks in Nepal. That’s what bros do. How it affects me really isn’t the point. This thing is bigger than all of us. I think it is a healthy thing for the individuals involved as well as the great gift they are giving to the world. I accept that gift thankfully.

And how exactly does this affect me? Well, to be honest we have all known for a long time that 2016 was going to be a year with not much public activity in the SMKC camp. We still have every intention of entering the studio to record SMKCIII in May and some form of release following in 2017. In music, as in life, things change all the time. For me I have taken on a number of projects that as usual I wish there were at least two of me to see through.

As it stands I can only look back at the great things we have accomplished since March/April of 2010 and feel nothing but joy. As I’ve said many times I never had any expectations that we would carry on beyond the support of Slash’s 2010 solo cd. The fact that it begat a live album, two further albums, two DVDs, an actual band name and about a gazillion trips around the world I would never have bet on but here we are less that a week into 2016 and we have done all of that and more. What the future holds is patently inconsequential when compared with all that we have accomplished. I am proud of what we have achieved and look to the future with nothing but exuberance and wonder.
But for now Welcome BACK To The Jungle, brothers and sisters!

When last I checked in we were in Moscow, Russia and for all intents and purposes THAT was the end of the tour. There was always a private party to play in Aspen, Colorado on December 28th but beyond that we had finished yet another chapter in the great epic that is SMKC. GNR and AB were on the docket. My TKO Pledge Music campaign was about to go live.

It had also always been planned to get together in LA for a week to go over new music that will go on to become SMKCIII. It was the first week of December and so many things occurred during or around it that it made my head spin.
Shootings in Colorado and San Bernardino embarrassingly raised the number of mass shootings in the US to more than there are days in the year. Something must be done. I don’t know that much will be.

We had only just celebrated American Thanksgiving (I say American because we celebrate about a month earlier in Canada) when another Black Friday was underway. Celebrating on Thursday and Surviving Friday. I don’t get humans. Help your brother don’t run him over on your way to your new big screen tv. I suppose I’m not meant understand. That’s why I will never participate in one of their Hunger Games Black Fridays. There is much I will never understand about Earthlings.
My co-Conspirators and I worked through all the new material we have that week and so much occurred it was hard to keep track of it all.

Slash and I, with our better halves, took in a screening of Quentin Tarantino’s newest film Hateful Eight. Slash is always very thoughtful when it comes to these kinds of things. He knows what a fan I am and included me. The movie wasn’t to be released for some time so this was a real treat.

The film was great. I hope you’ve seen it. I plan to see it again before it is out of theaters.
After leaving rehearsal one night we started to receive confusing reports about Scott Weiland. We sat down to eat and it slowly started to unfold that Scott had indeed passed away. I was always pulling for Scott. Always hoping he would take charge of those demons that had hold of him. Like he was on a chariot pulled by Hell hounds he couldn’t tame.

He was one of the most talented frontmen in the history of Rock and I feel blessed to have managed to see him perform a number of times over the years. He had a true knack for melody and really had a colorful thing or two to say in those songs. God knows we have performed a number of songs he co-created over the almost six years we have played with Slash. Not a night has passed that we didn’t play Slither. Fall To Pieces weaves it’s way in and out of the set and no song could be more poignant in light of his passing. That song is nothing short of a cry for help.

Goodbye, Scott. I imagine him finally free of all that cursed him.

One night after rehearsal Fitz and I jumped on stage with some friends at Lucky Strike in Hollywood. Lucky Strike is a bowling alley that now hosts a Hollywood jam night. The week before we played there David Lee Roth had unsuccessfully reunited his Eat ‘Em And Smile solo band lineup. Apparently the fire marshall shut them down due to the number of people who showed up. Good to know Rock N Roll can still cause quite a stir. Woulda been amazing to see Dave, Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan and Greg Bissonette burn through tunes like Yankee Rose and Shy Boy.

On this night Fitz and I jumped up with Dug Pinnick from the amazing King’s X. Always been a fan of that guy. Most music lovers of that time frame are. I played Jailbreak by Thin Lizzy. What a blast.

Sure enough it was my Birthday out of nowhere. Rehearsals were going great and the songs were really coming together. Slash rented us the November Rain booth at the Rainbow for my birthday in the very spot I had sat back in 1991 when I first met Slash. Surreal as that is. He has no recollection of that. He liked a drink or two back then. He was the friendliest musician we’d ever met. Keep in mind he was in the biggest band on the planet at the time.

We had a great time. Elvis, our producer, even showed up. With all the hype going round even my birthday party was Star Wars themed. Have you noticed how Disney really dug deep on the advertising for The Force Awakens. It might be harder to find products NOT sponsored by Star Wars:The Force Awakens. I’m perfectly ok with all of this.
We had a blast and I was spoiled rotten. I am very fortunate to have such an amazing group of friends and family. That is never lost on me.

Only one last day of rehearsal in Los Angeles before I was to embark on a wondrous adventure to my own personal Rock N Roll Fantasy Camp. I was heading to Finland. I was going to play with yet another childhood idol, Michael Monroe. To be fair TWO childhood idols Michael Monroe AND Sami Yaffa from Hanoi Rocks.

Since this has come up I am continuously asked how this turn of events presented itself. I’m as curious as anyone else. One day I was sitting in my childhood basement staring at the cover of Two Steps From The Move by an amazing new band we had discovered from…somewhere in Europe. On that cover from left to right you will see Sami, Michael and since dearly departed drummer, Razzle.
To imagine that all these years later the guys on that album cover are friends of mine is bizarre to say the least. They had as much to do with my formative years as KISS or the Ramones. This is pre GNR.

People always refer to Hanoi as a hair metal band. This is just an example of people missing a much bigger point. If you really listen to Hanoi you can hear more elements of punk rock than anything even close to what would be considered ‘metal’. There are healthy doses of the Dolls and Ramones in there. There is also lots of themes of the earliest days of ‘Rock N Roll’ in there. Michael’s sax playing immediately took it somewhere else.

I really believe that someone, somewhere must make a documentary about Hanoi someday. I have seriously discussed this with a number of people. I would make one myself if I had more time. If you talk to anyone from the 80s scene they all glow when Hanoi is brought up. They were so far ahead of the curve and in such a smart yet fun way how couldn’t we love them?
I received just as many congratulatory messages regarding my position with Michael as I did when I joined Team Slash. That says a lot.

In 2007 Sami Yaffa came to jam with my band in Vegas. When his name was brought up as a possible guest I was beside myself. I never considered that a possibility at all. To me Hanoi had become an urban legend. Something too good to have actually existed but sure enough Sami showed up and he was an amazing guy. To this day Sami has always been my biggest influence as a bass player. When I see the Gibson Thunderbird I think of Sami during his Hanoi days.
Our paths have crossed a number of times over the years. He went on to join a reformed New York Dolls which must have been as surreal for him as me playing with Sami.

A few years later Fitz and I went to see Michael’s new band at a club called Wasted Space in the Hard Rock Casino in Vegas. Don’t look for it it’s not there anymore. It was essentially a super group. Sami Yaffa was playing bass, which one would think makes it super enough but sure enough Sami’s New York Doll’s bandmate, Steve Conte was on guitar. And a more perfect guitar player there could not be. On top of all that one of my favorite artists and songwriters, Ginger Wildheart, was playing guitar and writing songs. I have since become friends with Ginger but will never lose that fan boy glow about his work.
Add to that Karl Rockfist, drummer for the beloved LA band, Chelsea Smiles and you have yourself a bonafide supergroup in my opinion.

That was a hell of a night.
Soon after I started playing with Slash we had made our way to Europe and that’s when Michael Monroe entered my life for real. I remember Michael getting up on stage with us in Turku, Finland at a festival we were playing and it was nuts. Michael had grown to mythical levels in my mind. Like the Lock Ness Monster or Bigfoot. But there he was and he was incredible. No one in the history of Rock puts more into a performance than Michael other than maybe Iggy Pop. There is a sense of all bets are off as soon as he steps on stage. You’ve been there all along giving your all and then Michael steps up and makes it look like you’ve been standing still all this time. A true pro.

In July of 2010 I was sent home from Slash’s We’re All Gonna Die Tour to have my retina reattached. Micheal actually wrote me a personal ‘get well soon’ email. I’ve never forgotten that. Who the hell was I? Just Slash’s bass player but he heard about it and reached out. That’s a class act.

So now over the years Michael and his band of merry men have played with SMKC in one fashion or another. By this time Ginger was out and another superstar, Dregen from Backyard Babies and Hellacopters, was in. I’m a massive fan of Dregen’s too. His solo album was stuck in my car stereo for a whole year.

Next thing you know my old friend, Rich Jones, is filing in for Dregen who is embarking on said solo career. I remember telling Rich that I had a feeling he was the new guitar player. ‘Play your cards right and that gig is yours!’ Here we are a few years later and Rich is in that stage right position and in my opinion the band is as solid a unit as ever. Rich is a strong writer, great guitar player and has a heart made of solid punk rock fire.

The last time Michael and the boys played with us on the World On Fire Tour stop in Helsinki I mentioned to Rich ‘if you ever need anyone to fill in let me know’. Who woulda thunk that little seed I planted would have produced such a mighty oak.
So anyway fast forward to a few months back and Rich reaches out and says Steve Conte isn’t going to be available for the last shows of 2015 and would I be up for it. I literally looked at Slash (as I had my iPhone in my hand reading Rich’s message) and said, ‘So we’re taking December off, huh?’ Slash said maybe a little songwriting but definitely off the road for the holidays. I told him what up and he said go for it. There and then I said ‘Hell yes!’ and the rest is history.
It was surreal getting on a plane to Helsinki alone again. I had made that trip earlier that year when I stayed back in North America to attend my Grandmother’s funeral. That was a heart-breaker. It was important to me to attend her funeral to be able to say goodbye come Hell or high water.

So once again into Frankfurt then on to Helsinki. The bizarre thing is how familiar Frankfurt airport is to me now. It is a common hub for us. A common hub in Europe in general. I’m not usually alone on these flights. I’m usually in a traveling gypsy show called SMKC. I arrived without incident and got in the car with the guy who had a sign with my name on it and I went to my new home in Helsinki, Finland. Well, for the next two weeks anyway.

I managed to catch a nasty cold on the flight over. That giant metal tube of swarming germs finally got me though I must admit that it is quite common for us traveling wanderers to wind down the existing tour into bed for a couple of days. It’s as if your body stays strong and fights off everything as best it can when you are needed to be tough but then when the tour is over your body just gives up. We often head home with colds, flus and jet lag. It can be rough but well worth it in my opinion.
I have a feeling my body was like, ‘Tour is done. everyone take the day off’ and I caught a grandaddy cold. Of course, I wasn’t actually ‘off tour’ yet. The rest of the guys went home to their cozy couches and TVs while I traveled off to existing dark winter in Scandinavia. Even with all that I was in heaven. We had a bonding time and a couple days of rehearsal before the shows. In the rehearsal space HIM was upstairs and 69 Eyes were next door. That seemed almost a cliche that most of the bands I know from Helsinki would all rehearse in the same building.

Hagstrom guitars from Sweden hooked me up with some guitars to play and they were great. Can’t thank them enough.
I can’t tell you what a thrill it is to play songs you love next to guys you truly respect and admire. Well, I guess I can because I’ve been lucky enough to be doing that for a long time in SMKC too. It was surreal to look over and see Michael and Sami together on stage. It could be 1983. Those two guys have been playing together since 81 or something. Absolute madness. They are family.

Sometimes Nasty Suicide plays guitar and then you have 3/5s of Hanoi on stage. I don’t know if Andy McCoy ever gets up there. That would be a trip. Andy is a God over there, too. Reality shows, painting. The whole 21st century celebrity package.
Michael is a judge on the Voice of Finland which is essentially the Finnish version of the American singing program the Voice. Michael refers to himself as a ‘coach’ not a judge. In true Michael fashion he would never discourage anyone by judging them.
Sami hosts his own traveling program called Sound Tracker which is fascinating. Sami is a true Gypsy. Living on the island of Majorca. He travels with ease and they simply brought a camera and film him hanging and jamming with locals all over the world. The show itself has won the Finnish equivalent of an Emmy. A few, if I’m not mistaken.

In short, over there these guys are legends. Michael’s face is on the side of buses and in train stations as a local hero.
It was an interesting turn of fate that I should end up in the company of Michael and Sami on the 31st anniversary of the passing of Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle. As most people know Razzle died in a car crash while Vince Neil was at the helm. Sadly the band was never able to really get it’s momentum back and split shortly thereafter. Such a shame. They were primed to take over the world.

I played two shows the first weekend. The first in Tampere and the second in Seinajoki. After that I had a few days off in one of my fave cities, Helsinki. Rich Jones was off to Berlin, Karl to Stockholm, Sami to Majorca and Michael to Turku. They are all spread across Europe. Steve Conte lives in New York City so they are truly an international/global band. Essentially I was left alone in Helsinki for my days off.

During my days off I managed to do and see a lot. I went to one of my favorite Rock shops in the world, Hellsinki. I managed to get to know the streets of downtown Helsinki pretty well. It’s always fun to explore.
I did an interview at Radio Rock and hung out with Jussi 69 from 69 Eyes. I had a great time at the station.

During the break I managed to see the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens a full two days earlier than I would have in the US. My friends were congratulating me on getting into the premiere but in reality the film simply opened earlier in Europe. I wasn’t on any red carpet with Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill. I was just standing in line like everyone else.
I loved it. I’ve seen it twice and plan to see it a few times more before it is out of the theaters. I have always said that JJ Abrams would get it right and I am pleased that the reviews have been very strong. It has heart. That’s the most important thing. Well done, Mr Abrams.

Since I was a stranger in a not so strange land Outi and TK Finland showed me a lot of awesome sites in the great city of Helsinki. I have to say a big thank you for that!

Finally the next show with Michael Monroe and his Merry Men was in Lahti which was a blast.
The final show I did with the guys was on a boat. A ship, really. A giant cruise ship. The ship is called the Viking Grace and it departed from Turku and rode threw the night to Stockholm and back again. The show on the ship was an absolute blast.
Oddly enough my cousin, Sheldon Brookbank, is playing hockey in Finland and joined the cruise to Stockholm as well. Always great to catch up with him. Some of you might remember he won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks a few years back. He’s done so great for himself. Great to connect.

So just like that my adventure in Finland was over. I cannot thank Michael, Sami, Rich and Karl enough for having me. Not to mention Virpi, Heikki, Bobby, Tomi and all the rest of the MM team for such an amazing time. I had such a good time and really loved being part of the family. I hope something like that can happen again.
On another note, Steve Conte’s wife had a baby boy. I’m happy to have filled in for him so he could be present for such a wondrous occasion.

In the interim I had to acknowledge the third anniversary of the passing of my dear friend, Greg Verdusco, who was the inspiration of my album Borrowing Trouble. It is mind-blowing to think that three years have passed. He is still such a big part of my life in the most interesting of ways. He would have been the most supportive regarding my time with Michael Monroe. It’s funny how in life you can find people who just get you. Those people are meant to be held on to. Past, present or future. I watched Star Wars with Greg in mind. No one would have enjoyed it more than he.

I returned from Helsinki to a houseful of Canadians. My whole clan was in Vegas which is the best for Canadians having to suffer through the winters we usually endure. Ironically the weather in Canada was beautiful but they won’t quite have that luxury in a few months. The holidays were a blast and then all of a sudden it was time to go back to work!

All along we had one last show to play. A private party in Aspen December 28th.
Sadly the day before our gig in Aspen our dear friend, Lemmy, passed away. It was really a shock regardless of his recent struggles. An unexpected shock considering he had only just had his 70th birthday. Lemmy had been struggling with his health for a while but if anyone could have beaten his ailments it was Lemmy. Sadly his afflictions were much more serious than any of us could have realized.

There is no person in the history of man that got more out of life than Lem did. He was an absolute gentleman and always treated me with great respect. He always remembered me and that meant the world to me. I was lucky enough to perform with the man many, many times.

One of my favorite memories was standing in our rehearsal space back in 2010. My first real meeting with the man. He was going to be singing Dr Alibi with us at the Golden Gods Awards the next day. I remember Bobby Schneck, myself and Lemmy all standing in a circle singing the bridge section acappella to nail the three part harmonies Lemmy had created on the track. Surreal for me. I’d only just met the man. He was very particular and serious about those harmonies. That made me respect him even more as a musician.

There are so many stories I could relate about Lemmy. He was an absolute gent. While others were falling down drunk around him Lem was rock solid. Those who think they party could have learned a lesson from him. He never, ever appeared out of control. He was the picture of cool. A devastating loss but his contribution to Rock N Roll and the lives of many, including my own, is incalculable. He will be dearly missed. Singing Dr Alibi that night was extremely moving and ever shall be.

A while back during our trip to see Hateful Eight Slash mentioned that he wanted to add some shows around the Aspen private show. I was certain that they’d never be able to add a New Year’s show. How can a New Year’s Eve show be booked less than a month before New Year’s Eve? On top of that I had already committed myself to a New Year’s appearance with the confirmed green light from all within the SMKC organization.

About a month before my good friend, Brent Muscat, asked me if I’d like to come play a few songs with him New Year’s Eve in Vegas. At the time I was told that I would be free to do whatever I like that night so I agreed. This kind of thing happens a lot. I book something and then Slash manages to find something on the very same day even after I looked to management and the powers that be for clearance to do so.

So, long story short, I agree to sit in with my old friend, Brent, on New Year’s Eve and then out of nowhere there is a House Of Blues gig being pitched for SMKC on the very same night.
To be fair I was courteously contacted regarding availability as they knew I had agreed to a show they had cleared me for. It took some wrangling but it was decided that I would do both. There was the interesting challenge of getting from House Of Blues to the Hard Rock Cafe on New Year’s Eve. For those that don’t know the Las Vegas Strip is shut down on New Year’s Eve due to all the foot traffic. Luckily the lockdown ends just before Mandalay Bay Casino which contains the House Of Blues. This would ultimately work very much in our favor.

The New Year’s show at House Of Blues was a very magical night. We had ended the Apocalyptic Love tour at the very same venue back in the summer of 2013. Ending the World On Fire tour on the same stage had a strange sense of simpatico. Serendipity, if you will. There was much more to it in that we all knew that this would be the last live performance with this group of people for the foreseeable future.

The show was especially important for me knowing that this band is the best we have ever been and could stand toe to toe with any band on the planet and fair very well.

We added the Velvet Revolver heavy hitter, Suckertrain Blues, to the set as a tribute to our fallen Scott. Suckertrain was always one of my favorite songs to play. We played it a lot back on the We’re All Gonna Die Tour. We followed that with the epic and sweeping Fall To Pieces which to me really pays the deepest respect to Scott’s talent.

It was decided at the last minute, as these things happen, to play Ace Of Spades as a tribute to Lemmy. I have to admit we really dug into that song and felt it. I have always commented on what a perfect song that is. Succinct, direct and unyielding. As strong a song as any ever written. Lemmy has always been an underrated talent in many respects. I know his legend will loom large and long and deservedly so. Getting to sing his signature song is one of the most greatest honors ever bestowed on me.
It was a bittersweet moment as it all wrapped up too fast and I never really got to say many proper goodbyes to the traveling circus I have had the great honor to be a part of but anyone who knows me knows that I am the shark and I had to swim on to my next adventure.

Let me say here the great thanks and the biggest love to all aboard the great ship USS Conspirator-
Quake, Cheryl, Johnny, Sam, Pasi, Mark, Doug and Ian.
And of course my brothers in arms-
Slash, Myles, Brent and Frank.
I could not be prouder of all the the have seen, done and accomplished. Not to mention what has yet to be seen, done or accomplished…

So then BOOM I’m in a car racing across the city to the next destination. I’d heard every horror story that day and had no idea what to expect. It could take three hours to get there one guy told me.
I looked at my phone when I walked off stage with SMKC and it read 11:38pm. We had hoped to be in the car somewhere between 11:30 and 11:40 so this seemed within the ball park. I had no idea how long the SMKC set would be with the addition of songs for Scott and Lemmy. I wasn’t concerned. Those were songs simply had to be done.

Chris Kael from Five Finger Death Punch and his lovely wife hopped in the vehicle with us and we were on our way to ring in the New Year part 2. I wasn’t sure if we’d be stuck in traffic singing Auld Lang Zyne at a red light or what but lo and behold we arrived at the Hard Rock much quicker than expected.

By the time I was inside and side stage my phone read 11:55pm. That seemed like we made amazing time considering. We rang in the New Year and I eventually jumped on stage with my old band mates Brent Muscat and Rob ‘Boom Boom’ Cournoyer. Also in tow were Eric Stacy and Greg Steele, Brent’s ex Faster Pussycat cohorts.

For the uninitiated it might interest you to know that Brent and I went to Europe back in 2006 in a version of Faster Pussycat with Eric Stacy so it was cool for me to get to make some racket with Eric again. Playing those Faster Pussycat songs was a blast.

Chris Kael jumped up and stole the show with my second tribute to Lemmy of the night doing Ace Of Spades again. Chris has such great energy. One of my favorite humans.
During the course of my New Year’s Eve I played Ace Of Spades, Welcome To The Jungle and Sweet Child O’ Mine twice each. It was great fun.

My good friend Zachary Throne showed up and tore the roof down doing With A Little Help From My Friends as only he can do it.
I had a chance to say some quick hellos to people who have followed SMKC’s travels around the world a thousand times. People far more adventurous than even I. Our Co-Conspirators joined me for not one but two New Year’s Eves. I hope they know what that means to me.

I eventually left that night to my own house with so much joy in my rear view mirror that it reflected in the windshield and far beyond.

As most of you must know by now we have launched our new Pledge Music campaign TKO and it has been our most successful to date. During our Borrowing Trouble campaign back in 2013 we reached 100% of our goal within 24 hours which was astounding. On the TKO campaign we reached 250% of our goal within 24 hours. That is mind blowing. We currently sit at almost 300% which says a lot about the amazing friends I have made traveling around this planet the thousands of times that I have.
Just tonight we started filming me play some crazy songs on acoustic guitar that will be showing up once a week at the TKO Pledge Page, so if you are a pledger you will get a whole wack of what I call ‘Campfire Songs’ over the course of the campaign. If you are not a pledger you are missing out on all our fun.

The first one to go up is one of my favorite songs by a band called the Arc Angels from Austin, Texas. That band was made up of Chris and Tommy from Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Double Trouble plus the immensely talented Doyle Bramhall III and Charlie Sexton. If you don’t know about them you should.

I hope you enjoy our crazy little community over at http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/tko because I sure do.
Now that the holidays and especially the tour are over I plan to be as interactive as possible in all things pertaining to our campaign.

A big part of that has been the announcement of my first acoustic show in about a year. I may be wrong but it seems that long. Maybe more. I’m the wrong guy to ask. Life is a blur to me. One day Slash asked me to join him and nearly six years flew by.
The important thing is that the show is, once again, at Count’s Vamp’d 6750 W. Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, Nevada on February 19th. My first show of the year. One of my favorite places in the world to play. I’ll be bringing a few friends with me so I hope you can come, too.

POSTERvd2016Pledge

Since the announcement of Slash’s family reunion with brothers Duff and Axl people ask me ‘What are you gonna do?’ They clearly don’t know me very well. Slash knows that the second I’m cut loose from SMKC I fill my schedule with. Hence New Year’s Eve or TKO. As I said above, I am the shark. I am constantly moving. Right now I am brokering a ton of activity that will take me well into 2017.

At the moment SMKC is still slated to be in the studio in May which I don’t foresee changing as the new material is insane. Obviously things can change at any moment due to scheduling but I’m quite confident that we’ll get around to recording SMKC III one way or another.
SMKC is more than a band. It is family. The cool thing about family is that it remains so whether you see one another regularly or not.

If SMKC ceased to be I would be nothing but infinitely thankful for every adventure I experienced in the company of those other four men. I have nothing but gratitude to the other four for allowing me be a part of one of the greatest adventures of my life. I will be forever grateful til the day I die.

That said SMKC was taking 2016 off no matter what. I am excited about the opportunities already presenting themselves so many of which I will be sharing with you in the coming months.
In the meantime I support brother Slash in whatever he does be it GNR, VR or if he decides to shave his head, stay home and paint. He’s my bro and, like I said earlier, that’s what bros do.

Myles will have an Alter Bridge record out this year and that’s very exciting for all. The cool thing about music is being able to come together, spread apart then come together again with new ideas and experiences. It’s a beautiful thing.
Fitz already has new things he’ll be talking about soon as does Frank. Those guys are my brothers and the most talented people I know. You know they are going to produce great things.

In the meantime TKO is my focus at the moment and will take me into the spring at which time we will be breaking initial ground on SMKC III.
By then I will have finally gotten to see Guns N Roses in almost the OG lineup. That is going to be a trip.

Life is a crazy thing, brothers and sisters. Never take it for granted. Make sure that the best days are the ones you are living right now. Just MAKE them the best. I’m sure Scott and Lemmy would agree with me were they able to say so.

2015 was an amazing year. There were too many ups to count with some gigantic downs like my Grandmother’s passing but she had lived such an amazing, full life that in the light of day all I can do is celebrate the great joy she brought to me and countless others. Life has been very good to me to grant someone like her to be such a big part of it.

May 2016 be your favorite year thus far. So far, in many ways, for me it is shaping up to be already. I am writing this from MY HOUSE which is such a rarity these days. I plan to make the most of my time at home. The road will be calling soon enough…stay tuned on that, brothers and sisters.

Hope to see you February 19th at Count’s Vamp’d In Las Vegas. It will be my first time on stage since the wee hours of January 1st. It is going to be a celebration. I am going to be SO ready to get on stage by then and you all will be dearly missed in the meantime. Can’t wait!

PeaceLoveMetal
TrueStrongFree
Big Love
Your loyal and humble servant,
Todd Dammit


12 Responses to The Worst Kept Secret In Rock N Roll

  1. ♡♡

  2. Avatar Carina Roman
    Carina Roman says:

    Todd I cried with ur words. I saw u play in buenos aires last Year for first time with SMKC and I loved u all! I really hope will see u again on stage with the band ASAP!!!
    Love u bro from Argentina!

  3. Avatar JungleJulya71
    JungleJulya71 says:

    Always a great thing to read how you are grateful for your life, and everything is in and made it! As I told you never change Lord!
    PeaceLoveMetal and BigLove to you BigT

  4. Well said !!! 2016 will be insane !
    Can’t wait for TKO project 😉
    Cheers,

  5. Avatar Coral McCallum
    Coral McCallum says:

    Fabulous blog as ever. Straight from the heart and I hear you reciting it in my head as I read it.
    TKO Pledge Campaign may well bankrupt me – three separate pledges so far (don’t tell my other half) plus one from my son for my Christmas present.
    May 2016 make all your remaining dreams come true.
    Love n hugs
    xx

  6. Avatar kingscontrivance
    kingscontrivance says:

    Well stated! Personally, I sincerely hope that G-n-R is a temporary incarnation and that you and Myles and the rest of the Conspirators again record as planned and tour as such. The 3-Slash albums are epic and the live performance is 4-star outstanding! I was fortunate enough to see ‘The World on Fire Tour’ twice–once in New York and then I traveled up to Rhode Island this past fall to see the show again. Simply unbelievable! Well thought out set list selection from all 3-Slash albums, G-n-R & Velvet Revolver.

    By the way, excellent live version of ‘Ace of Spades’ and tribute to The Legend at the recent show in Vegas! Nicely done Todd!

  7. Avatar Alexandru Panait
    Alexandru Panait says:

    Amazingly candid and thoughtful writing, Todd.
    Best of thoughts and a wonderful 2016 !
    As for SMKC – it should never die but i’m sure it won’t.

  8. Age Of Electric or Static In Stereo reunion??? A mini prairie tour (back home in Canada) in your “down time”?

  9. Avatar AnDieGitarre
    AnDieGitarre says:

    Hi Todd,

    thx for giving us so much stuff to read and letting us be a part of your thoughts.
    Im feeling also blessed, that i saw SMKC a few times live on stage (last time in Hamburg, Germany June,2015).
    To see u guys having a blast on stage, gives and means a lot to me.
    While youre sharing ur thoughts and life experience with us, i like to share a moment of my life (but who the hell am i ?) experience.
    I hope you will find some time to read this here some day:

    I’m a guitar-dude too and on stage with my band, i always was a very shy guy that often wanted to be invisible when the lights went on :D… but i love music and i love to share our music live to the people, so that i had to get through this shit.
    So, i was able to see you guys this year in Hamburg, Germany. Over the years i made it (luckily) to a couple of Slash-gigs like GNR, Snakepit, VR or SMKC, but that last night in Hamburg means something special too me.
    I felt so blessed and honestly happy, to see u guys rocking in front of me, like i have never been before
    That night must have given me some (unconsciously) influence, so that the next time i went on stage, i felt so excited and happy… ran across the whole stage and had a blast too.
    For the first time ever, i loved the thing i was doing there. And as i saw the ppl in front starting to dance and bounce, yell and scream…or giving applause after the songs… It’s like oil being poured down your back, it was an overwhelming feeling.
    Of course there war this stage-fright feeling in the beginning of the shows, but for me that feeling is an old friend.
    I have it every time in front of a show. Once it was so hard (first time ever to play in front of 300 ppl) that i puked over in the backstage room. 😀 but then, as usual… it is a 2-3 song thing… and i felt a little bit comfortable on the stage.
    But that first gig, after a couple of days to your Hamburg show, i entered the stage and had so much fun on stage and i really enjoyed it and i plunged totally into the music.
    I would like to thank u and especially Slash for that inspiration and energy u gave me that night.

    Today, while i read ur posting and got reminded to Scott and Lemmy (rock in peace dudes, youll be heartly missed) i thought, it would be a good idea, to let u know from my story.
    I think it is very important to do what you love. That means that you should go out there and play your music to an audience and let them be part in your passion and in the love to music. Music means so much. Music connects people. And it is important to be a part of the musicians you love. Go out and see them live, while theyre performing and doing what they love. Its passion. Music gives so much to people in the world, but the people are giving so much back to a musican, too. So it’s passion and love on both sides.
    That show in Hamburg was one of that lessons you learn and realize first, when legends like Scott or Lemmy will pass on over to the other side. I never made it to a Motörhead show or to a DIO show. And thats one thing you will never get back in your life.
    I think thats what i really felt that night in Hamburg. I felt so blessed to see my idols live on stage and share this moment with them and all the other ppl that night. That is something you should not miss. There are a lot of things youll have to do in life, but a lot of things should be pushed aside, when u have the chance to see a show of your fav. musicians.
    Family and friends are the same… theyll not last forever (as you guys out there do too). Lets rethink and live in peace and harmony and in rock’n’roll… its passion… its love… lets share it.

    Thx

    Andy

  10. Wow – that was a great, interesting, and insightful read.
    One of the most meaningful things as a musician is being able to share the same stage as these great legends that came before. Your writing summed it up – thanks!

  11. Avatar Steven Slovinski
    Steven Slovinski says:

    Looking forward to seeing you again on February 19 in Las Vegas. I have made 3 separate pledges to your charity. I should be at the preshow. I made pledges for the hoodie and the jacket you wore for the NYE show.

  12. Avatar Michael Flores
    Michael Flores says:

    I just want to say that I truly admire your work as an artist…as a musician who loves everyone from Robert Lockwood Jr. To GNR you embodies all of what I hope to accomplish my self In music….hopefully one day I could run into you in LA and personally thank you!!!….if you ever need an apprentice the name is Mike Flores mflores4791@gmail.com is my email It would mean the world to me!