The answer to the question about whether the PiercingMetal.com Editor leans to either the Yankees or the Mets might be solved by the very existence of this article as it finds me being on point for an affair at the brand new Yankee Stadium as the new Hard Rock Café opened its doors with the help of Ace Frehley, Scott Ian, Frank Bello, Anton Fig and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels today. That’s not a bad show of New York musical support and when you add former Yankee Bernie Williams to the mix you have a really rousing opening. I’ve been to the Hard Rock Café a number of times at its other locations and even reviewed a couple of shows that had gone on there, so when the chance arose to see Ace and the Anthrax guys open up the new one I could hardly resist. Here is how the opening day experience went down for those who have interest in learning more.
My morning began rather interesting as I trekked way up to the Bronx at an incredibly early hour. This would not have bothered me had I not attended the appearance of Steel Panther the evening before but once all my batteries were recharged both personally and mechanically for the gear I was off and running. Those outside of NYC might not realize how close the new Yankee Stadium is to the old one, and it’s literally right next to it, so there is no need to worry about longer travel. Those who might convene at various places outside the original place probably only have an extra five minutes trek to get into the new stadium. As I looked up at the new stadium I was immediately impressed at how cool it looked. They really did a great architectural job on it and I am sure the hardest to impress Yankee Fans will enjoy it. The Hard Rock Café sits right on the corner to the right of Gate 6 and I would not get inside there today since the event was being held in the entrance hall of the new stadium. As I wandered around a little more I heard a sound that was very familiar to anyone who has ever attended a Yankee’s game and that was the bell of Freddy “Sez” Schuman, a historic figure in Yankee fandom who is known for his ability to rally the troops better than anyone else. I stopped to talk to him for a moment and wished him well. He was excited about the new stadium quite a bit and hoped to find this season to be a winning one.
From there I went inside to the “Meet The Media” section or “Blue Carpet” in this case. They had a giant bobble-head statue and he was holding a custom made Hard Rock Café guitar that sported a fiberglass bat as its neck. Pretty cool, but it was not set up for playing ability and seemed more for show. I was surrounded by television news media and everyone was jockeying for position as the celebrity guests were ushered in one by one. The first one up was Darryl “DMC” McDaniel’s of Rap legends Run DMC. Those who are following the recent musical news know that the group is scheduled for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the coming weeks.
The next celebrity arrival was the one and only Ace Frehley and the man whom I was most interested in seeing today. The guitarist has been hard at work on his newest album which is yet untitled and it was great to see him in good spirits as he hit the blue carpet. At first he zoomed by everyone as he had not been aware that he was to stop and mug for the photographers and when he saw the custom guitar he gave that warm Ace laugh and said “I use Gibson’s”. After a couple of minutes he was spoken to by major media news outlets which are sure to raise additional awareness to his music even though he only spoke about the excitement of the new stadium. I was tempted to yell out “how’s the album coming along” but thought better of it since the day was more about the Hard Rock. A little later Ace would be performing his hit song “Back In The New York Groove”. I could hardly wait.
Late Night with David Letterman drummer Anton Fig walked up next and this is a guy who played on more records than I can count. He was here to play the drums when Ace did his thing a little later. Anton wouldn’t pick up the guitar but instead grabbed a drumstick from his bag and pretended it was a baseball bat. Very spontaneous and very appropriate as well.
The next musical guest was a surprise to me as it was not listed and here he was just the same, Handsome Dick Manitoba of the legendary NY Punk band The Dictators. Dick was definitely enjoying the attention and kissed his Yankee emblem as he announced “The House That Ruth Built”. He also played with the prop guitar and gave us some very Metal visuals.
After catching Dick mugging it up for the media we glanced to our right and caught sight of guitarist Ricky Byrd who many might remember from being a part of Joan Jett’s band for so many great albums. We snapped a couple of shots of him as well and hope to see a gig of his own in the near future.
Scott Ian walked in next and the Anthrax guitarist has been a very busy man over the last few months. I caught him last night as he jammed with LA Glam Metal band Steel Panther during their song “Asian Hooker” over at the Canal Room and it was a little over a month or two ago when the band performed in brutal cold down at the Red Bull Snowscraper Event. If you were not aware of this, Anthrax has a new singer in Dan Nelson and will be releasing a brand new CD in a couple of months. The album is called “Worship Music” and I am sure it is going to please all the head bangers out there. Frankie Bello was supposed to walk through next but for some reason he was not there when I was present for this part of the event.
Next up was Bernie Williams, former Yankees Outfielder and accomplished Jazz Musician. The biggest attention by the television folks was directed at him and that made sense, but for me the most exciting people had already passed me by. Hey, I lean to music more than sports so don’t be too mad at that. Bernie held up his latest CD which is entitled “Moving Forward” and soon after this would lead a group of children from the Bronx-based Renaissance EMS in a sing-along of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game”. These children had all been given guitars by the Hard Rock when the ground breaking ceremony happened some months ago. I liked discovering that music performance was being encouraged, especially in this time and the world we find ourselves in.
The Blue Carpet aspect was closed out by Yankee Senior Management members that included Hal and Jennie Steinbrenner, Randy Levine, Lonn Trost and Marty Greenspun. Hal Steinbrenner spoke to press in my vicinity and sounded really pleased about how the stadium came to be so fast and how he looks forward also to a great season for the team and the fans that support them. Photos of them can be seen in the expanded gallery at the end of this portion of the commentary.
Full Blue Carpet Photo Gallery can be viewed here: http://piercingmetal.com/gallery/gallery_hardrockyankees_040209.htm
With all of the official stuff out of the way it was now it was onto the fun part of this event. Further out into the Great Hall they had set up a number of guitars which were to be smashed by the celebrities and Yankee dignitaries but before this would happen we would find the children lining up with their guitars and being led in song by Bernie Williams who was up on the stage playing a Yankee customized Fender Stratocaster. The whole assembly of Hard Rock Café staff, parents of the children and friends of the musicians and media glitterati and rock stars all sang with them and it was pretty cool. We snared some shots of Bernie in action and these are also in the full gallery. Now it was time to smash some guitars.
Simply put, they had defective guitars waiting for the guests to pick up and smash in honor of the grand opening of the Hard Rock Café @ Yankee Stadium and I was “lucky” to be close to the action. I said it like this since I feared a projectile launching in my general direction but not to worry I was safe and sound by the end of this display.
Once the guitars had been cleaned away it was time to Rock as Ace Frehley, Scott Ian, Frankie Bello and Anton Figg took to the stage and jammed along to “New York Groove”. The entire place was singing along and Ace was all smiles as he did this for the enthusiastic crowd. It appeared to be a taped version of the song but the microphones were on and the amps plugged in and connected to the players who seemed to be doing their thing despite that. Scott and Frankie were very animated during the all too brief performance and you know there is a lot of love for Ace in these guys. I admit that they should have had both Darryl and Handsome Dick on the stage for backing vocals as well, but that didn’t happen. Oh well, you can’t have everything. It’s great to see Ace back in action since he moved on once and for all from KISS and I am sure the album will please his supporters and remind them of why he is so loved in the first place. Welcome back Spaceman.
Check out the full gallery of performance shots here: http://piercingmetal.com/gallery/gallery_acefrehley_040209.htm
After the festivities that I was there for had ended, I wandered around a little to see what I could observe before being shooed away. Luckily I was able to snare a few images of the new stadium which you can see below. Presenting the interior of the brand spanking new Yankee Stadium. Your New York City tax dollars at work for the sake of entertaining the masses. It really does look nice and I hope to be able to get a better view of it sometime in the near future. I also hope to get a better look at the new Hard Rock Café as well since I was not able to deliver any images or commentary on what this one actually features for its customers. This was a fun morning to say the least.
UPDATE: OK, so I know that I presented a photo of the famous “Freddy Sez” at the beginning of this article and many people who are followers of the team have enjoyed seeing this icon of team spirit being given some of the credit he so richly deserves. Of course having him up there has made me get the question of “how come you didn’t pose with him dude?” quite a few times and rather than keep on answering those inquiries with “Well of course I posed with him – I just didn’t post the photo in the article” again and again and again I have decided to share that little moment in PiercingMetal Musings history with you all. Are you ready? OK, here goes.
Tadaa!!! Looking back on that particular day I had to say that it was pretty cool all around and knowing how steadfast we often are in our support of our favorite music, celebrity and sports figures we can only hope to be as hard core as this cat here. He has been raising the banner of fan to team support longer than many of you readers have been alive. As you can see I still managed to offer up the horns for Metal but not before Freddy insisted that I use his “ringing spoon” to do so. Now before any other questions come up, “Yes, I did also ring that bell”. It sounded like Yankee victory loud and clear across the streets of the Bronx.