South Texas Rock Fest

January 3rd, 2012
by Robert Williams

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The third installment of the South Texas Rock Fest boasted a monster lineup of bands headlined by British legends  Saxon and UFO. Also along for the ride were Quiet Riot, Lita Ford, Dio Disciples, Stephen Pearcy, Warrant and Pretty Boy Floyd. It should be noted that the 2011 edition of South Texas Rock Fest took place in October, making for a much more enjoyable climate than previous years which were either held in the spring or summer under the hot Texas sun. A last minute venue change moved the festival location from the Backstage live venue to the beautiful outdoor Sunken Garden Ampitheatre, probably my favorite venue to see metal bands perform. I have to say that this was by far the best organized and smoothest running South Texas Rock Fest to date and I will look forward to seeing who will fill the roster for the 2012 edition this fall.

It’s always an exciting event when Saxon perform in San Antonio, Texas. The band recognizes the Alamo city as one of their biggest draws in the United States and the packed crowd gathered at the Sunken Gardens ampitheatre proves why. Many audience members are life long fans and turning their kids on to the music of Saxon for the first time. Shortly before the British heavy metal legends take the stage, Biff Byford meets with us in a hotel lobby and discusses the new album “Call To Arms” the much anticipated “Heavy Metal Thunder: The Movie” and where he currently stands in regards to his relationship with former band members Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson.

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UFO is a definite favorite amongst the San Antonio crowd. For those reading at home, it might be helpful to note that the primary reason that both Saxon and UFO are able to draw such large crowds in this city is much to the credit of the late KISS FM DJ Joe “The Godfather” Anthony, who championed hard rock and heavy metal music on the airwaves during the seventies and eighties. Prior to their headlining performance on the festival’s second evening, guitarist Vinnie Moore and drummer Andy Parker took the time to speak with us. Midway through the chat, vocalist Phil Mogg makes a special appearance…

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Having seen the late, great Ronnie James Dio countless times in concert, I really didn’t know what to expect from Dio Disciples. The all star band comprised of vocalists Ripper Owens and Toby Jepson, keyboardist Scott Warren, guitarist Craig Goldy, bassist Rudy Sarzo and drummer Simon Wright performed an incredibly powerful set, paying tribute to one of the greatest metal vocalists the world will ever know. Bassist Rudy Sarzo and keyboardist Scott Warren took the time to discuss the band’s activities and mission statement shortly before celebrating the music of Ronnie like only the musician’s that made up his backing band could. Simply put, one of my favorite live performances of 2011…

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Following a bitter divorce from husband Jim Gillette, Lita Ford bounced back hard and made a scorching, rare live appearance at South Texas Rock Fest.  After tearing up the stage for the San Antonio faithful gathered at the Sunken Gardens venue; the lovely, hard rock queen filled us in on her as yet untitled upcoming studio album, her thoughts on The Runaways movie, her current relationship with former Runaways Joan Jett and Cherie Curry and how she was able to turn the negativity surrounding her divorce into something more positive and “Relentless”

http://www.southtexasrockfest.com/

http://www.saxon747.com/

www.ufo-music.info/band.htm

www.facebook.com/diodisciples

http://www.litafordonline.com/

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