Thanks to our great HMM staff members for checking in with this exclusive MORC coverage - Dawn Osbourne
(report) and Joe Schaeffer
In this 21 Century when everyone seems to expect the worst and complain, everybody seemed surprised at how relaxed, comfortable and wonderful the MORC Cruise was this year. We don’t know why, because each and every MORC is always incredible (and HMM staff members have attended every one so we know first hand). As Kip Winger said ‘haven’t met one asshole on this cruise’. Most of the artists hung out with the crowd and entered into the spirit of the whole affair. To see true gentlemen like Mark Slaughter signing stuff for fans at the lifeboat drill warms the cockles of the heart.
The first surprise was how good Vince Neil was at the pre cruise party backed with his killer band mates, effectively Slaughter without Mark. By his second performance on ship Vince had clearly been partying and was not enunciating again, but the pre party showed what he is capable of if you catch him fresh. He also seemed relaxed and happy, out of the strain of Motley, playing guitar and engaging in fun, but also excellent versions of back catalog Motley including early tunes they rarely played in recent times and covers from Led Zep.
Surprise sail away band was Winger, who put on a great show despite no soundcheck and a few technical issues inevitable for the first band on the pool stage. Kip needn’t have worried his solo acoustic performances had people so transfixed with his emotional vibrato, primal screams and sophisticated harmonies that Steve Whiteman of Kix was moved during his own performance to congratulate Kip on kicking ass and being an entertainingly funny MF and announced he (Steve) would be back at Kip’s second show which he (Steve) would not miss. Kip was gracious enough to acknowledge Reb Beach (just hanging out in the audience) for all his great composer contributions in the mutual love fest (typical of the great vibe feelings that permeate MORC). Kip also announced on stage during the Winger gig that he loves MORC that although during the first cruise he hid in his cabin he had now figured out what a blast it is and, true to his word, like most of the artists he hung out regularly on the ship, engaging in casino contests and even handing out alcoholic chocolate in the elevator.
Kix were no slouches and we should not take them for granted because they perform consistently at the top of their game on every MORC with true professionalism and effortless, but supremely talented cool even on the heat of the pool stage. The crowd let Kix feel the love bringing Ronnie to shout ‘You Rock’ obviously moved by the positive reaction to his solo. Lovely to see the songs from the new album firmly already classics in the set and lovely to see them all hanging around the ship taking selfies, signing stuff and taking part in events like Cooking with Rockstars.
Deserving a special mention, not only for leading the great Lynch Mob performances but also for his charismatic and unmistakeable contributions to major parts of the program on the ship, George Lynch was a diamond. Highlights were his brutally honest contributions as judge for “So you think you can shred?” and his hilarious pirate commandeering of the empty stage one quiet moment in the afternoon with Oni to tell rock n roll stories out of school including the one about Tommy Lee kicking Lynch Mob out of a Motley show cos of that time George did all of Tommy’s stash and the time George thought it was a bargain after a therapy session involving the breaking up his entire hotel room when the only bill he got was $268 bucks (the accomodation was so cheap). We’re hopin the story about Don Dokken’s birthday blindfolded bj from Rob Halford were as much of a joke as George’s declaration of an obsession with Kajagoogoo explaining his 80s twotone hair. We’re pretty glad also he didn’t follow Gene Simmon’s suggestion early on in George’s career that he change his name to Johnny Lynx. However, stone cold serious were George’s obviously impassioned pleas for the planet and environment and his declarations that music should be used as a force for good that can change the world. On his interview on Eddie Trunk’s show he was surprised to learn after delivering a hilarious tirade that he was being broadcast across America and Canada (he had thought it was closed circuit on the ship) and took Michael Sweet of Stryper to task on religion, although Michael definitely gave as good as he got. George said he went backstage at a Stryper show in the 80s and saw far more debauchery than a regular rock show. Michael was hilariously quick to answer he went backstage at Lynch Mob and found a bible study. They also mock debated the concept of an atheist solo versus a christian solo. It’s all in good fun there’s a new Sweet Lynch album planned we learn.
Stryper gave one of the heaviest and best performances on the boat with every second thoroughly enjoyable. They did give out bibles, but did not push religion down the throats of the audience. They oozed passion and looked great in mostly black with striped yellow guitars, Michael’s voice still being top of its game. It was hilarious to learn at their Q&A that CC DeVille did not join Stryper as he did not want a black and yellow guitar announcing he was ‘more of a pink and purple kinda guy’. We’re delighted to hear a new album is on the way given the strength of the last.
Night Ranger provided a touch of sheer class in their electric and acoustic shows with smiley feelgood factor and sex appeal from Keri Kelli aplenty. Y&T were also aristocratic rock royalty with that unmistakeable tone. Slaughter kicked ass on the pool stage. All world class acts.
One of the hardest working men on the ship Joel Hoekstra had people singing along to Whitesnake at his hangover jam and had a huge crowd for his electric set with Vinny Appice doing Joel’s solo stuff, but also Black Sabbath and Whitesnake numbers. Joel also had the honour of George Lynch naming him as the guy who is the master of a guitar. Since we know George doesn’t praise lightly Joel should be proud. One of the magic things about the cruise is the opportunity for all star jams and Joel called up members of Y&T, TNT, Inglorious and Rachel Lorin in a rich variety of talent streaked fare. Followed later in the cruise by a late night virtual reunion of Trans-Siberian Orchestra with other star guests.
What a treat to see the musical genius Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal looking so happy and healthy on the ship. He always goes out of his way to make fans feel special and he delivered a storming session of acoustic wonders with Tony Harnell of TNT, Guns and Roses and other covers including Led Zep and Boston. We pinched ourselves as we watched.
Faster Pussycat did not disappoint with their rock n roll injection into proceedings. A great Pool Stage show had people dancing on tables and dragged Eddie Trunk into ruin. Dan was seen partying and also passed out when not required on stage. For the second performance well into the cruise when Ace announced he felt sick ‘It’s not the beer it’s the swingin [of the ship]’ they manfully cranked through the set to the max and no matter how they felt post JD night gave a no compromise performance. We were pleased to hear they are working on a new album, even if encouraging people in the atrium to jump from the third floor or higher if they had no questions thankfully remained unheeded. It was a good reminder when someone asked about original members that most of the current line up has now in fact been together for 18 years or so.
Also a delight to get a chance to ask questions of the Electric Boys who are also working on bringing out a new album, they only had one major performance full of cool and class, but Conny Bloom also guested at the Corabi electric gig on the Led Zep track ‘Dancin Days’ where John as the magnanimous and gracious leader with nothing to prove took the time to let Conny bask in glory for not only being a tremendous musician with top notch stage presence, but also for looking so great. As Corabi said it’s a ship full of friends - he also had Marq Torien as a guest who did some beautiful soul singing at the start.
The BulletBoys were a last minute addition to the cruise and also only gave one main performance, but boy what a sizzler. Torien has lost nothing of his larger than life stage persona, sexy and crazy he’s a beautiful one off. Musically the band were spot on and great to see an all star performance of ‘Smooth up in Ya’ with members of Stryper, Faster Pussycat and Ted Poley of Danger Danger. Torien also demonstrated what a talented guitarist he is, indeed he thought that’s what his career was gonna be before he was pushed to the front he reveals in his interview with Eddie Trunk.
Tom Keifer gave his heart and soul into both his performances and he would never do anything less. A mixture of Cinderella and solo stuff and great heavy versions of Beatles and Prince classics, lovely to see how much he adores his wife and showing his sensitive side as well as rockin it up and blowing the crowd away.
Queensryche reminded us of Maiden with their professionalism, slick show and adoring crowd.
Danny Vaughn and Dan Reed gave an understated, but pedigree acoustic performance and were very interesting Q & A material explaining how each being so different from the other means they work well together, discussing what’s important in life and the value they put on the impact they have on their audience. Luc Carl reminisces about the time (being a person allowed to conduct marriages) he was on his way to renew the vows of some Tyketto fans and met Danny along the way taking him along so Danny could serenade the couple at the ceremony. Yes magic can happen aboard MORC.
Kix’s Brian Damage was graciously telling everyone who would listen how much DAD blew him away and it was widely recognised that these Scandinavians were favourites on ship..
Calico Cooper, Alice Cooper’s daughter was a delight to meet on the cruise, she did her dad proud and Beasto Blanco seems to be the talk of the boat and the crowd’s favourite. Maybe the story about her letting off gas in the limo with Slash and Alice when they couldn’t open windows due to crowds outside a gig and Slash saying to her ‘Really dude!’ was too much info but she was only five when it happened! As usual you never know what you are going to learn on the cruise.
It’s impossible to get to everything on MORC and so any account is, of course, to some extent personal, but we honestly were thrilled by everything we saw! Well done Larry, the line up for 2018 is already looking immense. We will so be there!