Heart keeps passion of music alive

Posted: September 20, 2013 in Interviews

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Nancy and Ann Wilson of Heart performing at First Niagara Pavilion on July 21st. The concert was part of their 2013 Heartbreaker Tour.
C.T.S. Photography 2013.

By Chris Shapiro
September 2013

A woman sits on a split rail fence smoking one last cigarette before entering the concert arena.  There’s a cool summer breeze blowing.  It’s the kind that precedes a summer storm.  The sky above threatens but the heavens don’t pour.

Venue employees are still setting up their food and beverage stands after the gates open at 6:30pm.  Concern goers wander about the venue.  For some, this is their first Heart concert.   For others, it’s another feather in their Heart cap.

Seasoned Heart veterans are marked by the concert shirts they wear.  They wear them as badges of honor.  It’s a form of respect and a common bond between those who wear them and the band they’ve come to see.

There’s still hours before the Heart sisters take the stage at First Niagara Pavilion on this July night.  And there isn’t much to pass the time.

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C.T.S. Photography 2013.

Contemplations on the weather are made.  Fans line up at the T-shirt booth to purchase their badges.  Photographers gather at a wishing well where they cast their wish of capturing a magical moment from the performance.

The hours before a concert can only be described best with the term lateral drift.  There’s no forward movement and nothing seems connected.  Thousands of audience members stand together but they’re not connected.  Even the instruments sitting together on the stage are lifeless and isolated.  Each entity of the concert is like an individual island drifting on the sea of time with no change of status.

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Nancy Wilson performing.
C.T.S. Photography 2013.

Tension builds as the hands on the clock invade the final moments before show time.  Hearts race in both fan and performer.  Lateral drift is about to switch.

Suddenly, there’s a spark, an infusion of energy that shifts the lateral drift into an accelerating forward direction.  The individual islands merge to form a super continent.  The audience members stand as one with the music they’ve come to celebrate.

The spark of energy comes from Nancy Wilson’s guitar pick making contact with the strings on her guitar and the rift to Barracuda storms out into the summer night.

The notes of the song serve as an ionic bond bringing all the entities of the concert together on that super continent where the living magic of music is shared.

A Heart concert isn’t just a concert.  It’s a moment of time that’s shared between all those in attendance.  It’s a time where souls are rejuvenated with hope.  Music is the food of the soul and when Heart plays it’s given out in abundance. Read the rest of this entry »


ShapiroChris Shapiro
September 2013

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Greg Kihn’s latest book takes Beatles fans inside the world of Beatlemania.

On September 3rd rock star turned author Greg Kihn released his fifth novel, Rubber Soul.

The novel is a historical fiction work centered on the early years of the Beatles.  With his creation of the main character, Dust Bin Bob, Kihn takes the reader inside the world of Beatlemania.

“It was a magical time never to be repeated because obviously now the technology’s changed everything and you know let’s face it, the entire music business has changed and become much more corporate so I think what happened with the Beatles probably never be recreated,” Kihn said.

Kihn’s inspiration for the story came from a series of interviews he did with former Beatles.

“When I interviewed Ringo and then later Paul I asked both of them where the Beatles got their records.  The songs, the R&B singles that constituted their early repertoire and set the pace for what they would be writing later, basically their entire musical genre.  Where did they those records, well they got them, and the answer came from everybody was the same. They got them from merchant marines,” Kihn said. Read the rest of this entry »

Rock stars of a true light

Posted: July 19, 2013 in Interviews

Chris ShapiroBy: Chris Shapiro

A Pannutti production is a family event.  There’s a daughter at every ticket gate.  Being a part of the work, they share in the pride that their father, Eddie Pannutti, has been the top concert promoter in the Youngstown, Ohio region for the past 30 years.

Beyond his successful career as a promoter, having worked with such names as Johnny Cash, Pannutti cares about people.  His family always comes first, one meeting of Pannutti will prove that, but even those not related to him can experience the kindness and generosity of the man.  The most recent testimony of this lies in the fact that the concert he promoted on June 15th at the Warren amphitheater was a charity benefit raising funds for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

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The Godfather of Rock ‘n Roll, Eddie Money, shines with inner light as he performs for Relay for Life. Photo by Dan Killa.

Joining Pannutti in his efforts were long-time friends Gary Markasky and the Godfather of Rock ‘n Roll Eddie Money.

These three men joined forces not for their own glory but to assist in the need of others.   There was a need in the community.  Those fighting cancer need assistance and these three men stepped up and accepted the challenge.

In doing so, Money, Pannutti and Markasky earn the title of rock star not in the sense of the stereotype definition floating around in popular culture.  They are stars because of the light that shines from within them, from their soul.

Their rock is the music and their light they emit is the passion they have for that music and the way they use their passion to help those in need.

For them, a concert is when the rock ‘n roll family comes together and theirs is an extended family that includes fans, band members, stage hands and even a young reporter or two.

Families help each other during tough times.  That’s exactly what this concert was about.  It was a way for these rock stars to reach out and give from their lives to those who struggle.

Helping those in need is just as important as the music they play.  It gives these men meaning in what they do.  It sets them apart from their contemporaries. Read the rest of this entry »


ShapiroChris Shapiro
June 2013

 

Kihn

Greg Kihn, rock ‘n roll’s most versatile star, author, radio personality, top-ten recording artist and Beatles’ fan.

Greg Kihn continues to be rock ‘n roll’s most versatile star with his latest release Rubber Soul.

Rubber Soul is a novel by Kihn that captures the spirit of Beatlemania from within the world of The Beatles.  It takes the reader from the earlier days of the band to the novel’s climatic end in Manila.

With Rubber Soul, Kihn, who could claim the title of the fifth Beatle with his work, creates one of the best historical fiction pieces ever written on the topic of The Beatles.  A true fan of the group, Kihn keeps the story within the actual confines of Beatle events while adding a fictional story, with the novel’s main character Bobby Dingle, that runs parallel.

Even more so, Kihn sprinkles hidden gems throughout the novel that brings the story to life.  He skillfully works Beatle lyrics into the dialogue between characters.  Not to mention all the nods to other rock ‘n roll acts.  Those who know their rock history will appreciate the work Kihn has done.  Even something as simple as using the name of “Rolling Rock” beer proves that every aspect of the story was given thoughtful consideration; a mark of a gifted and dedicated writer. Read the rest of this entry »


ShapiroChris Shapiro
June 2013

Saturday June 15th the Down Boys of rock ‘n roll are taking Pittsburgh Raceway Park by storm.

Warrant and their fellow brothers in rock, Firehouse and Trixter, are performing at the raceway as part of their Cherry Pie Tour.

Erik Turner co-founder of Warrant

Erik Turner co-founder of Warrant.

The history of the Cherry Pie Tour goes back to the early 1990’s when Warrant released their hit album of the same name.

“Well, in 1991 I believe it was, we did a tour with Firehouse and Trixter.  Our Cherry Pie CD was out at that time and so it’s fun whenever the three bands can get together and put a show on together,” Erik Turner, co-founder of Warrant, said.

Turner said the three bands have a lot of history together and he enjoys any chance he gets to do a concert with them, which tends to be periodically.

He said out of the fifty shows Warrant performed last year roughly fifteen of them were with the Cherry Pie Tour line up.

“It’s a lot of fun playing with those guys.  We’ve known them obviously a long time.  Trixter has a platinum record and Firehouse has had platinum records and we sold a boat load of records.  So there’s a lot of hit songs between the three bands and it makes for a great evening of 80’s rock ‘n roll,” Turner said.

Though Warrant’s love of music has remained, the way the band gets to the shows has changed quite a bit since their early days. Read the rest of this entry »


By Chris Shapiro
April 2013

Gary Markasky

The Gary Markasky Project.

It’s a bar very similar to that of NBC’s sitcom Cheers.  You’re there once and everyone knows your name.  The place is Belmont Stakes.

Cookie, the owner, is talking to customers, to friends.  He and his wife run the neighborhood bar.  It’s one that’s nestled just off Belmont Avenue and easy to past by if you’re not paying close attention, as most treasure is.

The people in the bar are friends and close relations.  There’s a sense of family among them.

In the corner, there’s a band setting up.  Flood lights on the floor project larger than life shadows of five band members onto a wall behind them.  Their shadows symbolize their greater calling.  They’re knights who crusade to keep a treasure alive.  A treasure that is stored in the temple of the heart.  They are of the brotherhood of Rock ‘n Roll.

These men call themselves The Gary Markasky Project and leading the crusade is Markasky. Read the rest of this entry »


Review of Eddie Money at House of Blues
By Chris Shapiro

It’s not quite dusk. Through the window of the limo, the sun floats on the horizon like Aztec gold preparing to submerge into a sea of darkness. Skyscrapers rise in the distance marking the shrine of all that is called Rock ‘n Roll. Smoke billows into the industrious sky while Tequila is poured from a celebratory bottle. A toast is made for Eddie Pannutti, concert promoter and good friend of legendary rock star Eddie Money.

Eddie Money and good friend and concert promoter Eddie Pannutti at the House of Blues.

Eddie Money and good friend and concert promoter Eddie Pannutti at the House of Blues.

Pannutti is on his way to see the Money Man at the famous House of Blues to celebrate his 59th birthday. The two men have a lot in common. Not only are they March brothers, with birthdays only eleven days a part, but they’ve spent many years working together in the concert scene.

Pannutti is the longest running concert promoter in Youngstown, Ohio. He’s worked with Money for more than ten years to bring countless and top-notch shows to fans in the Youngstown area.

Through their work, a friendship developed. A friendship that was build from the same passion; that of music. It’s the substance that sustains and inspires. They live for it and will live for it until the sunset of their last day. Rock is in the blood of these March Brothers. Read the rest of this entry »