Monday, June 25, 2018

VINNIE PAUL: A Personal Tribute to a Rock Legend

Photo: Karen Romano Adams - www.stknthe80srockpix.com
VINNIE PAUL
A Personal Tribute
to a Rock Legend
__________

A famous rock star for whom
I worked years ago once told
me, "All we have in life is
our reputation." If that's true,
then Vinnie Paul was quite a
wealthy man, to be sure!
__________

Simply put, Vinnie Paul revolutionized drumming in the 1990s the same way Eddie Van Halen revolutionized guitar playing in the 1970s — he turned the whole game upside down. In fact, upon the release of the platinum-selling, landmark 1990 album, Cowboys from Hell, Paul's band, Pantera, also revolutionized the entire world of heavy metal — precisely at the time when the genre was most in need of a game-changing kick in the ass. Almost overnight, an entire generation of new drummers (and more than a few seasoned players) were taping quarters to their kick drum heads, in an attempt recreate Paul's signature drum sound. Truth be told, the ripple effect of Paul's influence on modern hard rock drumming can still be seen to this day.

Arguably THE most groundbreaking
hard rock / metal record of all time!
I vividly can recall both the first and last times I saw Vinnie Paul perform live. The first was in South Florida, near the end of 1991. Pantera now had blown up HUGE. The band's Cowboys follow-up record, Vulgar Display of Power was set to arrive just a few months later, and the club was packed to the rafters. Driven by Paul's ferocious drumming, and fueled by the equally revolutionary guitar style of his younger brother, Dimebag Darrell, the band's performance was potent, to say the least. As for frontman Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown, what they brought to the live Pantera concert experience was simply brutal. I would enjoy experiencing MANY more live Pantera concerts over the next six years.

"A Decade of Domination," indeed!
The last time I saw Vinnie Paul perform live was equally memorable. Although there were several big-name bands scheduled to perform that night, I only had interest in seeing one of them —  Hellyeah. I'd seen the band in concert previously, back in 2011. But on that steamy night in July 2016, I hadn't come out to Orlando's Hard Rock Live for Hellyeah, the band. I'd ventured out specifically to see Hellyeah's drummer — the one and only, Vinnie Paul. It was so cool — as the house lights dropped, signaling the commencement of Hellyeah's set, the crowd offered a moderate rumble of approval. However, fans went absolutely berserk when a tiny spotlight appeared between the drums' two tom-toms — revealing Vinnie Paul's animated-looking face, grinning wildly while twirling one of his drumsticks. As always, his performance was masterful.


Over the years I've met and worked with many music industry professionals  and I've never met even one insider (or fan) who has ever had even one slightly negative thing to say about Vinnie Paul. He truly was admired and loved by all — which makes the recent news of his passing on June 22 all the more tragic, and the sense of loss even greater. I never had the opportunity to connect personally with the man — I sure wish I had. Fortunately, I still have many memories of great times seeing him perform live in a couple of his different bands. And as one of his many fans around the world, we'll ALL have Vinnie Paul's recorded music to enjoy forever. Thanks, dude — RIP!

-Christopher Long
(June 2018)
__________

Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

- SUPERSTAR -
(Coming April 7, 2019)

Friday, June 15, 2018

MOVIE REVIEW: Tag

MOVIE REVIEW
Tag
(Running Time 100 Minutes)
__________

It's my annual dilemma 
seeking a summertime big
screen comedy that isn't a
complete steaming pile of
lowbrow refuse. But this
year, I actually found one.
__________

Despite the gratuitous dick jokes, jarring F-bombs and over-the-top drug references, Tag is a fast-paced, laugh-out-loud romp.

In his directorial debut, Jeff Tomsic creates a crisp comedy based on the true story of an eclectic group of five childhood friends who, now in their 40s, continue their lifelong annual tradition of dedicating the month of May to a no-holds-barred game of tag — a silly-sounding premise that in execution delivers with true Hangover-style grandeur.

Oozing irresistible "curb appeal," the attractive cast members all offer incredible performances, most notably, Jeremy RennerIsla Fisher and Leslie Bibb. But while Ed Helms, Jake Johnson and Jon Hamm also boast equally impressive performances, it's often tough to distinguish their Tag characters from their well-known past personas. Hey, how did Don Draper transport from 1965 to 2018?

In sum, if you can choke down a healthy dose of toilet humor, Tag just might scratch your summertime itch. (B+)

-Christopher Long
(June 2018)
__________

Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

- SUPERSTAR -
(Coming April 7, 2019)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: "Love is the Punch Line" - Kathleen Jones

BOOK REVIEW
Love is the Punch Line
- Kathleen Jones -
(Moonshine Cove Publishing)

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess that I don't exactly fit the target audience demographic for romantic chick lit. However, my interest was piqued when I first discovered Love is the Punch Line, the debut novel from Canadian author, Kathleen Jones

From the get-go, I found the premise intriguing — an abrasive, insecure aging comedian (Josh Steinberg) connects with an attractive, feisty, middle-aged businesswoman (Holly Brannigan) during one of his stand-up nightclub gigs. Driven by non-stop romantic tension, sparks fly between the "Jewish King of Comedy" and "Holly the Brain" throughout this light, quirky, and unlikely love story.

In sum, Jones writes from the heart, delivering an engaging, entertaining read — a romantic roller-coaster ride from start to finish.

-Christopher Long
(June 2018)
__________

Find
Love is the Punch Line
on Amazon
__________


Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

- SUPERSTAR -
(Coming April 7, 2019)


Thursday, June 7, 2018

KRISTEN MARTIN: Bestselling Author Comes to Orlando (6.5.18)

KRISTEN MARTIN
Bestselling Author
Comes to Orlando
(6.5.18)
__________

These days, I'm seduced much
more by the allure of an up-close-
and-personal author event than by
any groovy backstage rock star
meet-and-greet. But when those
two worlds collide, well, you
definitely can COUNT-ME-IN!
__________

Polished, poised and packaged to perfection, Kristen Martin is a modern-day literary rock star. Her stats — impressive, indeed. A well-established Amazon author, she boasts a bounty of sci-fi bestsellers. Possessing impeccable marketing savvy, she also is a successful writing coach —  providing insightful, spot-on tips and experienced advice to her tens of thousands of loyal YouTube viewers. Simply put, as an established non-fiction author now navigating into the brave new super-competitive world of fiction, when Kristen Martin speaks — I listen.

"Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show 
me the glint of light on broken glass."
-Kristen Martin

In the spirit of full disclosure, I'll confess openly to sitting in front of my laptop frequently for hours on end, binge-watching installment after installment of Martin's fascinating and informative YouTube clips — tasty bag of Doritos by my side and an ice cold can of Red Bull in-hand. And as a result of my unabashed, drooling fanboy obsession, there absolutely was NO way I was going to miss her recent Orlando in-store book signing appearance.

The Kristen Martin collection
available NOW at Amazon.
Possessing a particular (past) penchant for iconic rock stars, I couldn't have been more amped if I was set to meet Gene Simmons himself. However, I (hopefully) managed to project a reasonably calm demeanor. In fact, my knees were knocking only slightly as my buddy Chuck and I entered Gods & Monsters Comic Bookstore.

Although we arrived at the popular Orlando sci-fi shop a full 15 minutes prior to the book signing's scheduled 6pm start time, Martin already was engaged with other enthusiastic readers. And the fact that she was accompanied by acclaimed writing coach, Kaila Walker, only added to the event's WOW-factor.

As a fellow author, I've enjoyed traveling on my own national in-store book signing tours over the years. Hence, I stood by patiently, allowing both Martin and Walker ample time to connect personally with fans before wedging myself into the story.

With Kristen Martin in Orlando, FL.
(6.5.18)
Although recognized primarily for her bestselling sci-fi novels, Martin's current offering is a compelling, self-motivational-style non-fiction book, entitled, Be Your Own #Goals. She knows her audience well and speaks to her readers effectively. But as a doofy dude who typically doesn't connect with sci-fi, I don't exactly fit Martin's demographic. Yet, I was hoping to discover at least a few helpful tidbits in her just-released, chick-focused memoir. "Um, like I, uh, need to buy a copy of Goals, please," I announced, passing a crumpled wad of bills nervously across the signing table. To her credit, Martin didn't laugh at me for my clear-cut lack of slickness. Walker didn't either.

What impressed me most about Kristen Martin was how genuine and approachable she was —  spending as much time as necessary in order to connect fully with each reader who came through the line. I've said it before, but it's worth repeating — you can't fake transparency. And that's one of the special and unique qualities that endears her to so many fans. Heck, both Martin and Walker even took the time to offer me (more than a few) valuable insights when discussing my upcoming project  — which really meant a lot to me. #BRAVO #PROLOGUE 

-Christopher Long
(June 2018)
__________

KRISTEN MARTIN
ONLINE

- Amazon -
- YouTube -
__________



Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

- SUPERSTAR -
(Coming April 7, 2019)