100th Edition of the Ultimate Jam Night, Whisky A Go Go, Hollywood, CA on 3/14/17

During my recent trip to Los Angeles, I visited the historic Whisky A Go Go.  The venue is so influential it was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Doors, Frank Zappa, Neil Diamond, Van Halen, and Guns N’ Roses (to name only a few) have performed on the sacred ground. Maybe more importantly, it introduced the world to the fine art of go go dancing.

I was lucky enough to attend the 100th Edition of The Ultimate Jam Night. Every Tuesday an all-star group of musicians gather to bring rock and roll back to the streets of Los Angeles. Most of these artists are from national touring groups, studio musicians, tribute bands, and local talent. Oh, and it’s free.

Paulie Z and the house band

The Master of Ceremonies, Paulie Z (Paul Zabildowsky)led the talented group of troubadours through a diverse set of rock classics. He started with the fitting AC/CD’s It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock N’ Roll) complete with bag pipes. Paul Z took center stage and filled the room with the essence of Bon Scott. Next was Cheap Trick’s Dream Police. The entire mixed crowd of old long haired rockers, young hipsters with aggressive piercings, and tourists (like me) sang along “‘Cause they’re waiting for me/Looking for me/Every single night/(They’re) driving me insane/Those men inside my brain.”

Jimmy Sakurai – All photos by

The Rock and Roll Princess

Survivor keyboardist Walter Ino belted out Paul McCartney’s Maybe I’m Amazed with the help of the lyrics in the monitor in front of him (cheater).

Joe Retta from Dio Disciples performed Rainbow’s Man on the Silver Mountain follow by Dio’s solo masterpiece Like a Rainbow in the Dark (one of the few dark metal songs about rainbows). Bass player and Kevin Dillion doppelgänger Sean McNabb backed the chaos. Besides playing in Quiet Riot and Dokken, McNabb played on the music tracks for the Dr. Phil Show and the McDonald’s I’m Loving It breakfast commercials.

Cherokee Fortune from Absinthe took the stage in her 1970’s inspired bell-bottoms to sing Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir. Two female violinists joined providing a fuller sound for the classic. Jimmy Sakurai from the Led Zeppelin tribute band Mr. Jimmy mesmerized the audience with his licks and tricks. He stole the show with his staggering moves, big hair, and open shirt (a little something for the ladies).

Acid Queen Debby Holiday

Los Angeles’ own soul rocker Debby Holiday embraced her inner Tina Turner with her take on Acid Queen from The Who’s Rock Opera Tommy. Holiday smoothly transitioned into the Ray Charles classic Don’t Need No Doctor. Guitarist Mitch Perry, who has performed with Edgar Winter, Cher, Lita Ford, and Ratt, played an extensive guitar solo intertwined with Holiday’s long braid dancing and sexual screaming.

Others joined the all-star band to play Ozzy Osborn, Metallica, Pat Benatar, and Pink Floyd covers. There wasn’t much down time between songs.  Which is impressive due to the number of musicians that came and left throughout the night.

Go Go Dancer Go Going

A scantly clad go go dancer captured the crowd’s attention throughout the evening. Her style of dancing peaked at the Whisky A Go Go in 1965. The club pioneered the art form by being the first to have Go Go Cages suspended from the ceiling. The dancer that night was uncaged (probably because Los Angeles is a sanctuary city).

Paulie Z ended the night with The Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil.  The forty-nine year old song still holds up after all these years just like the Whisky A Go Go.

See you at the next show.  I’ll be the one looking for the go go dancer.

Joey Harris and the Mentals at Bolt Brewery in La Mesa, CA on 03/18/17

Joey Harris and the Mentals

In Junior High, I read a review of the Beat Farmers.  A San Diego, California Cow Punk band that stormed through Denver. They jugged open beer bottles, gave the audience the middle finger as a jester of love, and put on one hell of a show. It was a mixture of rock, country, and punk with kazoo and beer gargling solos. The band sounded like living cartoon characters. I went to the record store immediately to get their albums.

The three vocalists in the band shared lead singer and drumming duties. On vocals, drums, and, guitar Country Dick Montana looked like a western movie villain belting out hilarious dirty drinking songs. On vocals, drums, and guitar Jerry Raney was the rocker of the group that previously played for John Lee Hooker.  On vocals, guitar, and drums Joey Harris, the nephew of The Kingston Trio’s Nick Reynolds, sang roots rock tunes with cleaver funny lyrics.  Rolle Love held the band together with his bass and evil grin.  They had amazing covers of Johnny Cash, The Kinks, Neil Young, The Velvet Underground, and Tom Waits songs.  This sent me down a path of discovering awe-inspiring music that changed my world.

Living cartoon charters

I saw the Beat Farmers live numerous times after turning the legal drinking age because they mainly performed at bars. At these incredible performances, I saw my first bar fight, witnessed a wedding performed by Country Dick Montana, and cracked my tooth in a mosh pit. Their run was cut short when Montana died of a heart attack on stage in 1995 breaking up the Beat Farmers and breaking my heart.

Later Joey Harris formed Joey Harris and the Mentals.  They have been playing around the San Diego area for years. I made a musical expedition to witness one of my heroes perform at Bolt Brewery in La Mesa, CA on a beautiful California Saturday night.

Joey Harris and the Mentals

His band consisted of bass player Jeffrey Stephen Kmak who went to High School with Dan McLain before he transformed into Country Dick Montana. Kmak is a legend in the San Diego music scene for the past 40 years.  Even Calab Yearsley played the drums. He is the son of the late great adult actress and singer Candye Kane. She sang Let’s Put the X- Back in Christmas with Country Dick Montana.  As a child, Yearly used to wake up and step over various members of the Beat Farmers passed out on the floor to watch cartoons.

Joey Harris – All photos by the
Rock and Roll Princess

Before the show, Joey Harris and I talked about Denver’s rock venue Herman’s Hideaway and my love for his music. I took a seat close to the band armed with a refreshing Bolt Brewery offering.  The Mentals played a three-hour show with only a brief break.

The 60-year old Harris went through his vast catalog of songs singing with a clear voice and shredding on the guitar.  He played You Never Call Me a catchy pop song from his early solo album Joey Harris and The Speedsters. He also played a recent one entitled Your a Piece of Cake about losing a girl to another girl.

He didn’t disappoint and played a number of Beat Farmer songs including Bigger Stones from their first album Tales of the New West. Joey Harris’ explained Make It Last was played on country radio briefly until radio programmers found out the drummer drank beer with his feet. Harris described the night Country Dick Montana conducted his wedding ceremony right before playing The Girl I Almost Married.  His wife was in the crowd to collaborate the story.  The song Riding had him reminisce about girls on the beach smelling like coconut oil.  Hideaway had him recall the Beat Farmers network television debut performing the single on Late Night with David Letterman.

Just when I thought the night couldn’t get any better, Harris played the Country Dick Montana tune Lakeside Trailer Park. “Got doctor bills and legal ills/ My wife’s a fat old whore/My TV’s broke; my life’s joke/And the Sheriff moved next door/But I don’t frown/Don’t get me down/I got somethin’ good to say/’Cause I live in a Lakeside trailer park/And Everything’s gonna be okay.”

After the end of their set, I walked over to Joey Harris and he hugged me goodbye.

See you at the next show.  I’ll be the one stepping over you to watch cartoons.

The Reverend Horton Heat (Night 5), Jello Biafra, and Wayne "The Train" Hancock at The Larimer Lounge in Denver, CO on 2/25/17

The Reverend Horton Heat – Pictures
by The Rock and Roll Princess

The Larimer Lounge transformed into The Larimer Church of The Reverend Horton Heat for a five-night sermon of psychobilly (a mixture of honky-tonk and punk).  The last show of the residency was a whirlwind of rockabilly, surf guitar, and trash metal. The opening act and the headliner looked like they just transported from the middle of the last century. The rockabilly dudes in attendance dressed like auto mechanics with black jackets with classic car emblems. The rockabilly chicks wore vintage dresses that showed off their cleavage and back tattoos…okay back tattoos kind of throws off the 1950’s vibe a little.

Jim Heath AKA The Reverend Horton Heat started the trio in Dallas, Texas back in 1985.  His stage name came from a combination of people calling him the reverend when he played the guitar, Johnny Horton (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Rockabilly singer), and his own last name Heath.  While touring last year The Reverend Horton Heat’s bus caught on fire almost killing the band.  After escaping the blazing inferno, the trio did a show that same night demonstrates their passion for performing.

The Reverend Horton Heat Psychobilly Trio

The Reverend Horton Heat started the night with the mostly instrumental Psychobilly Freakout and Zombie Dumb showing off his guitar surf style of playing. The Reverend Horton Heat summed up his extended stay in Denver by announcing, “You won’t get knifed, but you will get drunk.”  That’s when bass player Jimbo Wallace took over the guitar and lead vocals on Chuck Berry’s Little Queenie. After the song, The Reverend Horton Heat repeated one of the lyrics, “If it’s a slow song, we’ll omit it.  If it’s a rocker, then we’ll get it.”

Jello Biafra

Special guest Jello Biafra, former lead singer of the legendary punk band Dead Kennedys and Boulder, Colorado native son joined the band. Dressed in a fez, gold cape, and western shirt, he performed The Animal’s The House of the Rising Son, DOA’s Jezebel, and his own punk classic Holiday in Cambodia. Biafra reminisced about the local KIMN Radio Station and the legendary Denver country venue The Grizzly Rose.  He also got political showing off a Natzi Trump F*ck Off Shirt.  Jello Biafra did baffling hand jesters. I didn’t know if he was about miming about fishing, drinking, or asking for an ambience to be dispatched.

The Reverend Horton Heat

After the legendary punk rocker left the stage, The Reverend Horton Heat played Let Me Teach You How to Eat (I don’t think it’s about food) and Motorhead’s Ace of Spades.  The fast paced songs inspired the formation of a mosh pit.  The slam dancing paused for a moment during Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues.  But the moshing continued when Jello Biafra came back to sing Johnny Paycheck’s Take This Job and Shove It and Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas.

Wayne “The Train” Hancock

Opening act Wayne “The Train” Hancock entered The Larimer Church of the Reverend Horton Heat looking like he just stepped out of a 1940’s movie set.  It’s fitting that the former Marine claims to be the King of Juke Joint Swing.  He sounds like Hank Williams (he even yodels).  His band played songs such as Slinging Rhythm, Two String Boogie, and I’m Too Young to Marry sending the crowd into complete Western Swing Bliss.  Hancock told steel guitarist Rose Sinclair to take a solo in the middle of almost every song by stating, “Take it Rose.”  The audience felt like they were being taken back to a time when country music was heartfelt and pure.

See you at the next show.  I’ll be the one wearing a fez telling Rose to take another solo.