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Backstage Report: Locals Open for Sammy Hagar & Styx

On Tuesday, November 15, locals Liquid Blue opened for Styx and Sammy Hagar at the MGM Grand Arena.

"Ironically," says bandleader Scott Stephens, "more than thirty years ago, I had interviewed both acts for Raw Power Magazine. We interviewed James Young of Styx on the day Elvis died, and gave him the news. He was holding back tears. I'll never forget that moment."

Raw Power was founded by Stephens in the mid-1970s with two other sixteen year-old teens in Woodland Hills, Robert Olshever and Murray Schwartz. What started out as a fanzine covering mostly local Los Angeles talent turned into a glossy magazine with interviews and features on national rock acts.

"We interviewed Sammy at the Holiday Inn across from the Santa Monica Civic. He discussed his Montrose days, we were big fans, and writing space aged themed albums in the future. Both interviews were held around 1977. I was 17."

According to Stephens (a former pro roller derby skater for the L.A. Thunderbirds), some thirty-plus years later, the classic rockers are still kicking out MGM jams. "Both Styx and Sammy tore it up on stage. Sammy puts on a killer show. It was billed as Sammy Hagar, and not Chickenfoot, [even though] he had Michael Anthony on bass. We hung out with Hagar and the band at an after party in the MGM. Nice guys. Sammy hasn't changed a bit."

Image

(From Raw Power: Stephens with Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath)

Image

(Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople)

Image

(Ozzy)

Image

Image

Image

(Ted Nugent)

The band has had brushes with Hagar and company before, having performed this past June at Cabo Wabo Cantina, the Mexican bar founded in 1990 by Hagar.

“Our work permits weren’t in order when we arrived, and we were held in immigration most of the day Thursday and all day Friday,” says Stephens. “We had three shows booked, including Cabo Wabo on Friday night and a private show on Saturday.”

Despite holding a Guinness World Record for performing in the most countries (over 100 and counting), it looked as if Mexican authorities would put the kibosh on Cabo. “Our Thursday night show was canceled, and we were told by immigration officials that we wouldn’t be allowed to perform any of the shows. We spent eight hours sitting in the immigration office Friday. At about 7 p.m., as officials were leaving — and asking us to leave — one of them recognized us from a show we did in Tijuana last year."

“I don’t know what he said to the others, but suddenly the head guy came out and said we could play the shows. Then they were all watching our video and asking us to reserve a table at the Cabo Wabo show that night.”

The gig still looked iffy, however, as their sound check was supposed to be at 5 p.m. “The owners of Cabo Wabo had spent much of the day with us at immigration, but they left at 4 p.m., saying there’s no way we’d be able to do the show that night. We contacted them, and they were blown away that things had worked out. So we performed without a sound check, pumped up with copious amounts of the house tequila. The entire immigration staff showed up, and they partied with us after the set.”

Image

Featuring the BlueGirls trio, the seven-member Liquid Blue were the first American act to be signed by a major Chinese record company and have developed a large fan base in Asia. The band and its well-traveled members are very active on social issues, focusing on world peace, human rights and the environment. The group operates Liquid Blue Radio, a socially conscious internet radio station on Live365 and well as hosting a monthly educational series featuring documentary movies and discussion since 2005.

The band also performed in Beijing at the very first officially sanctioned Olympic concert in 2008. The band performed at the China Agricultural University Gymnasium, the site of the Olympic wrestling competition. The Olympic kick-off concert was televised throughout China on CCTV and drew a sell out crowd of 8,300. Says Stephens, "Our lyrics show we are an American band thinking about world issues...[we] focus on issues like human rights, seeking peaceful solutions to conflict, the rape of the environment, finding inner peace, etc."

In late 2010, they earned a Guinness World Record for their song “Earth Passport,” as it was sung in more languages than any other song ever to hit the Billboard Charts. All six official United Nations languages were used in the recording, plus three others. The song hit number 3 on the Billboard Dance Charts and number 12 on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales Chart in mid-October.

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On Tuesday, November 15, locals Liquid Blue opened for Styx and Sammy Hagar at the MGM Grand Arena.

"Ironically," says bandleader Scott Stephens, "more than thirty years ago, I had interviewed both acts for Raw Power Magazine. We interviewed James Young of Styx on the day Elvis died, and gave him the news. He was holding back tears. I'll never forget that moment."

Raw Power was founded by Stephens in the mid-1970s with two other sixteen year-old teens in Woodland Hills, Robert Olshever and Murray Schwartz. What started out as a fanzine covering mostly local Los Angeles talent turned into a glossy magazine with interviews and features on national rock acts.

"We interviewed Sammy at the Holiday Inn across from the Santa Monica Civic. He discussed his Montrose days, we were big fans, and writing space aged themed albums in the future. Both interviews were held around 1977. I was 17."

According to Stephens (a former pro roller derby skater for the L.A. Thunderbirds), some thirty-plus years later, the classic rockers are still kicking out MGM jams. "Both Styx and Sammy tore it up on stage. Sammy puts on a killer show. It was billed as Sammy Hagar, and not Chickenfoot, [even though] he had Michael Anthony on bass. We hung out with Hagar and the band at an after party in the MGM. Nice guys. Sammy hasn't changed a bit."

Image

(From Raw Power: Stephens with Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath)

Image

(Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople)

Image

(Ozzy)

Image

Image

Image

(Ted Nugent)

The band has had brushes with Hagar and company before, having performed this past June at Cabo Wabo Cantina, the Mexican bar founded in 1990 by Hagar.

“Our work permits weren’t in order when we arrived, and we were held in immigration most of the day Thursday and all day Friday,” says Stephens. “We had three shows booked, including Cabo Wabo on Friday night and a private show on Saturday.”

Despite holding a Guinness World Record for performing in the most countries (over 100 and counting), it looked as if Mexican authorities would put the kibosh on Cabo. “Our Thursday night show was canceled, and we were told by immigration officials that we wouldn’t be allowed to perform any of the shows. We spent eight hours sitting in the immigration office Friday. At about 7 p.m., as officials were leaving — and asking us to leave — one of them recognized us from a show we did in Tijuana last year."

“I don’t know what he said to the others, but suddenly the head guy came out and said we could play the shows. Then they were all watching our video and asking us to reserve a table at the Cabo Wabo show that night.”

The gig still looked iffy, however, as their sound check was supposed to be at 5 p.m. “The owners of Cabo Wabo had spent much of the day with us at immigration, but they left at 4 p.m., saying there’s no way we’d be able to do the show that night. We contacted them, and they were blown away that things had worked out. So we performed without a sound check, pumped up with copious amounts of the house tequila. The entire immigration staff showed up, and they partied with us after the set.”

Image

Featuring the BlueGirls trio, the seven-member Liquid Blue were the first American act to be signed by a major Chinese record company and have developed a large fan base in Asia. The band and its well-traveled members are very active on social issues, focusing on world peace, human rights and the environment. The group operates Liquid Blue Radio, a socially conscious internet radio station on Live365 and well as hosting a monthly educational series featuring documentary movies and discussion since 2005.

The band also performed in Beijing at the very first officially sanctioned Olympic concert in 2008. The band performed at the China Agricultural University Gymnasium, the site of the Olympic wrestling competition. The Olympic kick-off concert was televised throughout China on CCTV and drew a sell out crowd of 8,300. Says Stephens, "Our lyrics show we are an American band thinking about world issues...[we] focus on issues like human rights, seeking peaceful solutions to conflict, the rape of the environment, finding inner peace, etc."

In late 2010, they earned a Guinness World Record for their song “Earth Passport,” as it was sung in more languages than any other song ever to hit the Billboard Charts. All six official United Nations languages were used in the recording, plus three others. The song hit number 3 on the Billboard Dance Charts and number 12 on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales Chart in mid-October.

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