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Monday
Jul162007

The Kids Are Back

Time for another Rocklahoma wrap, glam fans. I had several interviews back to back, so the first band I saw perform live was Great White.

allysonbritny.JPGBetween noon and four, I interviewed Britny Fox, Miijenko Matijevic of Steelheart and Great White. Later in the evening, I caught up with Eddie Ojeda of Twisted Sister. All my Rocklahoma interviews will be posted online throughout the week.

allysongreatwhite.JPGWhen it was time for Great White to hit the stage, I was ready to stop work and rock. Jani Lane made a surprise visit to the media tent and announced he would sing with Great White. Jani came out toward the end of the set and sang one song with the boys. During their set, Great White sang "Rock Me," "Save Your Love" and "Once Bitten Twice Shy." The band was very sweet during their interview and I've decided I have a small crush on guitarist Michael Lardie.

michael.JPGOne drawback: before the official Great White press conference, a worker with Event Marketing Group jumped on stage and told the media to not ask any questions about the "past." Of course, she was referring to the Station Nightclub fire. You don't tell journalists what they can and cannot ask, and this really rubbed me the wrong way. I highly doubt anyone was even planning a question about Rhode Island, still, it's not the place of a marketing firm to dictate rules to the press.

Moving on, it was time for Jackyl. I missed the very beginning of the set for the aforementioned Eddie Ojeda interview, but I made it back in time to hear "Down on Me," "I Stand Alone" and "When Will It Rain" all right in a row. I've never seen Jackyl live, so the end of the set was really something to behold. The band closed with  "The Lumberjack" and the show-ender involved a chainsaw, wooden stool, booze...and Jesse James Dupree's naked butt. Yes, he mooned the crowd while Neil Zlozower captured the moment on film. Jesse also played the "Star Spangled Banner" on his guitar...with his teeth. This really excited the crowd. At the end of the set, Dupree said he was inviting the band back for Rocklahoma 2008. jackyl.JPG

Geoff Tate's voice sounded pretty good when Queensryche hit the stage. I've heard a lot of people say his voice is shot, but it didn't seem weak to me. They closed with "Jet City Woman" which is my all-time favorite Queensryche song. During their set, I was amazed at the level of their musicianship. Note: Queensryche did not play "Silent Lucidity." This was as surprising to me as Vince Neil not singing "Shout at the Devil" and Faster Pussycat skipping "Bathroom Wall." I know at least one person in the crowd was disappointed with Queensryche, because Heather talked about hearing "Silent Lucidity" live all day long. queensryche.jpg

Between changes and longer sets, the Rocklahoma schedule was about 45 minutes behind by the time Twisted Sister took the stage.

Twisted Sister had the honor of closing the historic music festival. The set list looked something like this:

deesnider.JPG

 

 

 

 

What You Don't Know Sure Can Hurt You/
The Kids Are Back/
Stay Hungry/
Captain Howdy/
Shoot 'Em Down/
Can't Stop Rock n' Roll/
American Idol diatribe/Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame diatribe performed by Jay Jay French/
Fire Still Burns/
We're Not Gonna Take It (extended version)/
Burn in Hell/
Drum Solo/
Silver Bells/
I Wanna Rock/
What You Don't Know Sure Can Hurt You (reprise)/
S.M.F.

During "Silver Bells" the band strung Christmas lights on their Marshal stack and Dee wore a Santa hat. They also dropped "snow" on the crowd and Dee handed out "toys" from his sack of presents.

deensow.JPGI was very impressed with Dee and the rest of Twisted Sister. They put on a high energy show and really kept the (tired) crowd awake. Dee said he had knee surgery just four weeks ago, but you couldn't tell by the way he was jumping on stage.

Tomorrow, more Rocklahoma coverage including interviews and photos. Today, I journey back to Ohio.



Sunday
Jul152007

The New Monsters of Rock

Glam fans, time for another report on Rocklahoma. Your glam mistress is downright tired kids. Sitting in the sun for 12hours will nearly kill anyone!

Yesterday, fans were treated to performances by Vince Neil, Dokken, Winger, Warrant, Firehouse, Enuff Z'Nuff, Faster Pussycat, Bulletboys and Bang Tango.

allysonandbullet.JPGMy day started early on a quest to hunt down Marq Torien (Bulletboys) for a sit down interview. The quest took about six hours, but we finally met in his trailer for a chat after the band's set. I don't have time to transcribe that entire interview now, but Marq did say that Rocklahoma is a great idea not only for fans but for the musicians. Observing the artists, it's almost like a high school reunion. Marq was exceptionally emotional when talking about Greg Leon (Greg Leon Invasion), explaining how many of the glam bands got started with advice from Greg. When I have more than 15 minutes, I'll transcribe the interview and you can read it here first. The Bulletboys sounded pretty good on stage, and they closed their set with "For the Love of Money" and "Smooth Up in 'Ya." When Marq sang the very familiar opening to "Smooth" the place went nuts. Since Bulletboys were on very early the festival grounds were not full by any means, but the 6,000 or so people watching at the time were all on their feet.

taime.JPGFaster Pussycat are a very funny group of guys. I think they were awake for about 30 minutes before their press conference, and every last one of them was punchy. They said a lot of things I can't repeat here, other than to report that no one asked the band about the recent lawsuit and victory over the band's name. During their set, Faster Pussycat sounded very sleazy and not industrial. Taime wore his customary hat.

In an effort of full disclosure, I must admit I skipped Enuff Z'Nuff to attend the Firehouse press conference. Firehouse were jovial enough and said they were working on some new material. The glam rock husband went to the pit for this show since Firehouse is one of his favorite bands. firehouse.JPG

Next up was Warrant. They played "Bourbon County Line" from their new record, but mostly stayed true to the classics. Songs included "Down Boys," "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "I Saw Red." They closed with "Cherry Pie." During the Warrant press conference, one journalist asked the band about the set list. Erik Turner had no problem saying that they like playing the "old stuff" and he hates when bands only play new material. warrant.jpgHeather is a big Warrant fan and neither one of us saw the original line-up. She said the show was good, but it was like rock karoke. I think that's probably a fair assessment.

bolan.JPGSkid Row was next. The glam mistress and Heather met the band for a small chat and pictures. I *think* singer Johnny Solinger said that Rocklahoma was the new "Monsters of Rock," but I could be wrong. Someone said that yesterday, forgive me for not writing that down. Skid Row played a few songs from Revolutions Per Minute, but also sang the hits like "18 and Life," "Monkey Business," and my favorite, "Slave to the Grind." They closed with "Youth Gone Wild." During the finale, show host Eddie Trunk sang along on stage. During the press conference, Eddie kept saying how much he loved Skid Row. Also during the media event, Johnny Solinger said the band is working on new material to stay current and keep moving forward. Rachel Bolan missed the press call because of illness, but he didn't seem sick at all when it was time for the show.

Winger played right after Warrant. By this time, the sun was down and the crowd was getting rowdy. I observed the ladies singing along to Winger. It seemed like they knew the words much better than the men. Maybe it's because Kip Winger is so darn pretty. The band sounded pretty good, but I wasn't able to stay in my seat too long because I had to book it back for Vince Neil's press conference. While waiting, I head "Headed for a Heartbreak" and they closed with "Seventeen." Kip changed one of the verses to "She's only 35." The crowd seemed pleased.

Turns out I wasted my time missing most of Winger because Vince Neil cancelled his press conference with no warning. While this was going on, Dokken were performing. The glam rock husband went to the pit for this show as well. He reports that security guards were actually pulling fans from the stage. This blew me away. Who knew people rushed the stage for Dokken? The band played "Dream Warriors," "Alone Again," and "In My Dreams."

arm.JPGAfter an excessively long wait, it was time for Vince Neil. When I say excessive, I mean ridiculous. Even the guys working the camera booms were getting ticked. In the pit, I was ready for some Motley Crue. The rumors that Nikki Sixx were coming were too intoxicating to ignore, so I shot from the left side of the stage just in case. I won't lie. I was disappointed when the music started and Nikki was nowhere to be seen. I typically keep set lists in my cellphone, but my phone was locked and it was too hard to shoot and type at the same time. I grabbed a marker and wrote the set on my arm. I think that's pretty hardcore right there. Sadly, when I got back to the car, I realized I couldn't read most of what I had written! The set looked (something!) like this:

Live Wire
Piece of Your Action
Helter Skelter
Red Hot
Whole Lotta Love/Black Sabbath (performed by Jeff Blando and Dana Strum)
Dr. Feelgood
Same Old Situation (S.O.S.)
Girls, Girls, Girls
Wildside
Kickstart My Heart
Teaser

Vince.JPGRemember, glam fans: don't hold me to that exact line-up. There were a couple more songs that I can't decipher and I can't remember. The performance was not good by any means. This was the case for many reasons including the delay, audio issues, and Vince only singing every other word to the songs. At one point, Vince said "Hello Montana!" and that about did it for me.  I also decided that we needed a bouncy ball with lyrics on the jumbotrons, so everyone could help Vince with the lyrics. Besides my disappoint in the lack of Nikki Sixx, I was also mad that Vince and company didn't perform "Shout at the Devil." I mean, are you kidding me?

By the time "Teaser" was done Eric, Heather and I were just about fried. My legs felt like they were going to fall off, Eric was starving and Heather had about a million bug bites. I went to bed at four and woke at eight to write this, plus filter photos. Concessions must be made in the name of rock!

Check back tomorrow for reviews of Twisted Sister, Queensryche and more.

 

 

 

 

Saturday
Jul142007

Something to Believe In

wristbands.JPGThe first day of Rocklahoma is already in the history books. It was a great day filled with good music, great showmanship, mud and oppressive heat.

I underestimated just how tired I would be covering this festival. Me and my crew left our Tulsa hotel for Rocklahoma around 11 yesterday morning. We had to eat and commute and we got lost so we didn't even enter Rocklahoma until 1 p.m. Checking into the media tent was a nightmare because all the workers (and there are tons of them!) were confused. After this, Heather, Eric and myself all had to get wristbands, which was also a debacle.

David Henzerling and I chatted for a follow-up interview. David wasn't playing, but he was at Rocklahoma to support his good friends in the Greg Leon Invasion and to have a good time. allysondavid.JPG

Event organizers planned an interview session with each band (with the exception of Poison, who were forced to cancel). During these interview sessions, reporters could take pictures and ask the bands anything.

Did I mention it was hot yesterday? I'm not sure if flesh can actually melt, but I think at one point I was disintegrating. Thank goodness for hats and 70 SPF sun block. I am proud to report that neither myself nor Eric or Heather are burned (yet, at least!).

As the day wore on, Rocklahoma fans were treated to some great performances. (Tramp's) White Lion were very good. A journalist asked Mike Tramp about the Vito Bratta situation. As you can imagine, this didn't go over so well and it got Mike a little riled up. The band played their most famous song and ended with their cover of "Radar Love."

markslauughter1.JPGSlaughter was absolutely amazing. Mark Slaughter ran through the crowd, talked to fans, and still proved that he can hit high notes when necessary. He dumped a bottle of water over his head after the first song, and kept doing so. I figure he was afraid he would pass out on stage from heat. Slaughter played all their hits, including "Fly to the Angels" and "Up All Night." By this time the crowd was good and drunk, which made for some great people watching.

Heather and I went to the press call for RATT, which we missed because it was moved without warning and we decided to wait for Poison. During this time, Eric took pictures of Quiet Riot. The band closed their set with "Metal Health."

Time for the pit and RATT! If you've ever taken photos in the pit area of a concert, you know it can be a little intense, but Rocklahoma is over the top. Standing beside Eric with our average digital camera were photographers from Metal Edge, Rolling Stone and Spin Magazines. They were all very nice and didn't shove us out of the way. Good thing because I'm very competitive and Heather is worse than me in that department.

pearcy3.JPGYou might recall I recently reviewed the Cincinnati stop of the RATT/Poison tour. RATT is changing up their set, while staying true to the fan favorites. RATT played "Wanted Man," "Lay It Down," "Back for More," and dug deep for "Walkin' the Dog." They closed their set with "Round and Round."

After a lengthy set change it was time for headliners Poison. I was supposed to have a one on one interview with Bret Michaels last night, but that was cancelled at 11:30. The band was dealing with some major travel delays which meant no press conference. Poison took the stage just before midnight and played a set that looked like this:

Look What the Cat Dragged In
I Want Action
Ride the Wind
I Won't Forget You
What I Like About You
C.C. DeVille Solo
Georgia (instrumental)
I Hate Every Bone in Your Body (But Mine)
Something to Believe In
Can't You See
Your Mama Don't Dance
I Need to Know
Drum Solo
Unskinny Bop
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Fallen Angel
Talk Dirty to Me
Nothing But a Good Time

closebret.JPGDuring "Something to Believe In," Bret Michaels and Company invited local military on stage and it was pretty emotional toward the end as the enlisted men and women sang with their glam heroes. At the end of the song, the crowd starting cheering "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" This made Bret and C.C. smile. Despite the heat and exhaustion, it was a pretty great day. The crowd swelled just before RATT and I would estimate at least 35,000 people were in attendance, but I've heard figures as high as 60,000.

It's 9:30 a.m. Time to get dressed, pack up and do it all over again.
Friday
Jul132007

Rocklahoma: I've Arrived!

Glam fans, me and my crew have made it to Oklahoma. It's 9:00 A.M. local time and I'm sitting in my Tulsa hotel room.

We had a flight delay, waited through long car rental lines, got slowed down by road construction and a massive storm. We made it to the hotel just after 5 this morning, and a 12 year old checked us in. That was a great experience.

I've had two hours of sleep and have a mountain of work ahead of me before I even hit the door. I've decided I must be prepared for anything, and that means taking a properly packed back-pack.

Already, it's pouring down rain. The forecast calls for isolated thunderstorms and 86 degrees. This could make for one very muddy glam fest.

Dear readers, check back for reviews, interviews and show photos. Today, White Lion, RATT and Poison take the stage.

From now until Monday, I'll be posting simultaneously on this website and that of the Hairball John Radio Show (www.hairballjohn.com).

It's time!

 

Thursday
Jul122007

Rocklahoma: The Prelude

rocklahomalogo.jpgWell, it's finally time.

I leave for Rocklahoma in eight hours. Before that time, I still have to pack and get a few interviews nailed down.

The weather report in Tulsa (where my crew and I will stay) is calling for massive amounts of rain...and possible flooding. The area in and around Seminole county Oklahoma is already flooded. Pryor, host to the grand glam fest, will likely be flooded by the end of the weekend.

It's a little bizarre, thinking that tonight I'll be driving right past the festival grounds. Tough work schedules meant that I'll be missing today's music fun, as the special fourth day was added so late. I'm sad that I'll be missing Lillian Axe and the Gypsy Pistoleros, but hopefully musicians from both bands will stick around and I'll be able to meet them and grab their pictures for this magazine.

I have a pretty ambitious coverage plan. I chose an airport hotel for dedicated and reliable Internet connection so I can post real time. Thanks to the brilliant and all-powerful Hairball John, I have many interviews scheduled which is uber-exciting.

Perhaps best of all, I'll be meeting some friends I've made online. Some of those friends are dedicated posters on Bring Back Glam! others are friends from like-minded boards, like the guys from Mama's Fallen Angels and Metal Sludge.

Now, it's time to pack. I'm very picky about what I take on vacation, and this trip is a little more complicated considering all the technical equipment I need. Still, I'm sure it will all be worth it.

Glam fans, stand by for reports!

  

 

 

 

Wednesday
Jul112007

Circus Diablo

circusdiablo.jpgDespite modern music tainting commercial radio airwaves, there is one comforting thought: Real Rock is alive and well thanks to the new, California-based band Circus Diablo.


The line-up features Bill Morrison, Billy Duffy, Ricky Warwick, Brett Scallions, and Charles Ruggier. Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum lends his abilities to the record, but Ruggier sits behind the kit when the band performs live. If the names sound familiar, that’s because Morrison is a former member of The Cult and Camp Freddy, Duffy is still with The Cult, Warwick performed with The Almighty and Scallions sang lead in Fuel.


The self-titled release starts strong with the band’s first single “Loaded.” Of all the tracks on Circus Diablo, this one sounds closest to Velvet Revolver. The guitar parts are also eerily similar to the upcoming debut effort from SIXX: AM.

Moving through the album, “So Fine” has a faster tempo; basically a throwback to classic Los Angeles Metal. The guitars and drums are both crunchy in all the right places and Morrison’s vocals fit right in just fine, thank you very much. Coming in at just over three minutes, “Restless” is one of the loudest tracks on the disc. The chorus is definitely radio and concert worthy. If Circus Diablo hit big, this song could very well become their calling card.

Even great Metal albums have flaws, and Circus Diablo is no different. The oddly placed “Commercial Break” is a diatribe, spoken in Morrison’s native British tongue. The accent is great, the topic not so much. There’s a place for politics in Rock, and it’s called U2. Some musicians should just leave the preaching to the choir, shut up, and rock.

The mid-tempo “Hello, Goodbye” is a ballad-esque track that seems slightly misplaced on an album of much heavier material. The song is decent, but Circus Diablo seems like a band that knows how to throw musical convention to the wind and really jam. Sometimes slower songs on Metal albums seem contrived, and this band doesn’t need to play games to get radio play.

Back on track with “Rollercoaster,” the band plays at a fever pitch to keep up with Morrison’s vocals. The unique tempo and key changes keep the track interesting, but the drum pounds a familiar sound. Even with just one album under their collective belts, it seems Circus Diablo has formed a recognizable sound, uniquely their own. The catchy sound landed Circus Diablo a touring spot during Ozzfest. The band was personally invited on to the festival roster by Ozzy Osbourne himself.

In total, Circus Diablo clocks in at just over 40 minutes. That’s enough time to hook fans, and leave dedicated listeners wanting a little more from this up-and-coming all-star band.


For more information, please visit:
Myspace.com/CircusDiablo


Tuesday
Jul102007

Calm Before the Storm

steveblazejpg.jpgBring Back Glam! recently spoke with Lillian Axe guitarist Steve Blaze. During the chat, Steve talks about Waters Rising, problems with the music industry, the similarities between Poison and Slayer and the brilliance of Alice in Wonderland. Remember, the next time you can catch Lillian Axe on the road is this Thursday, July 12, at Rocklahoma. Lillian Axe is taking the spot vacated by Tigertailz. Interview transcription follows.

Bring Back Glam!: Let’s talk about your name album, Waters Rising. Explain the recording process.

Steve Blaze: As you know, we kind of took a hiatus for a few years, for different reasons. After putting out five albums and non-stop touring, we all just kind of needed a break from each other and basically from record companies and the industry. We went through a lot of ups and downs with the label, and with the band. We just let it breathe and we all had other projects we wanted to work on. We needed a kind of hiatus from each other as well. What happened, back in 1999, we got an offer to put out a B-side album and we did some reunion shows, and they ended up going really well. The entire time we were kind of off on our own, and we had amazing support from our fans all over the world…it wasn’t that I wanted to end the band. I’ll never end the band! I’ll be 100 years old and still make records… So, now it’s 1999, and we put the B-side record together, we go to Japan, start doing reunion shows, and things are looking good. It was at this point that I thought we needed to do a new record and get back into this. So we did some more shows, and we did a live album in 2002, and then we started recording this new album, Waters Rising. My mentality going into it was to take my time, make sure everything worked well, and to have a record done before we went to a record company. Not only would we negotiate a better deal, but we wouldn’t be micromanaged and we wouldn’t have to pay a record company back money used for the recording. We just did things the way we wanted to do, and it ended up taking four years.

BBG: You’re a Louisiana based band. Does the new album title have anything to do with Hurricane Katrina?

Steve: It was just a fluke. A lot of people ask if I predicted it (the hurricane)… The song (“Waters Rising”) was written probably five or six years ago, and I wanted to name the album Waters Rising three or four years ago. It just happened to be a very strong coincidence.

BBG: Who came up with the concept for the Waters Rising cover art?

Steve: That was inspired by my fiancé. She came up with the idea. She’s a huge Alice in Wonderland fan. She kind of got me into it. I’ve watched a few versions of Alice in Wonderland and it’s such a really, just odd, magical, kind of beautifully surreal story. There’s so much depth to it, people don’t often realize. It kind of worked with the theme, because Waters Rising is about the increasing inner turmoil - and that boiling point - and that pressure that builds up in our lives as we get older. The more things that come into our life, the more obstacles, it seems like life just keeps getting tougher and tougher. This is what we would look like if the water’s rose too high, and the five band members went insane. That’s what the five band members would look like right there on the cover.

BBG: Is Lillian Axe the first band to release new material under the Metro City Records label?

Steve: I think so. Metro City was kind of formed as a boutique label for Lillian Axe alone at the time and other hard rock bands. The label signed Foghat soon after us.

BBG: You talk about being Hard Rock. Lillian Axe is often categorized as a glam band. How do you feel about that?

Steve: I used to not like getting categorized as anything. I used to hate 80s Metal, used to hate glam band, hair band, melodic Metal, white Metal. It’s so ridiculous, it’s like describing fruit. “What does an orange taste like?” Well, it tastes like an orange. It’s a fruit! We don’t have to have 800 categories for what fruit is. Or anything. We just live in a world where everything is easily palatable. Nobody wants to think. We just want things to be served up nice: “give me a label; I won’t even listen if it sounds like this.” People miss out on so much. I just got to the point where you know what? We’ve been called everything, so that’s fine. As far as glam is concerned, our style of music isn’t Pretty Boy Floyd, Poison, or bands of that ilk. All rock bands have certain characteristics that are similar like heavy guitars, big drums, screaming vocals. We play loud. It’s all the same styles. You can take any type of rock music…there’s similarities between Poison and Slayer if you look down to it. All the little categories and niches that are created by people, journalists, and the media: it’s all wrapping. Give people something they can easily latch onto, so they can understand it better. I would prefer people go and listen and then make a decision.

BBG: You have bitterness in your voice. Do you think you lost fans because you were categorized as a glam band?

Steve: No, that’s just natural. I wouldn’t say… it’s not bitterness. If I ever had any bitterness in this business, it would be for the machine that is the music industry. It’s aggravating and upsetting, but used to be more so than now…I’m more settled into it now. We’ve been successful; we’re going to keep doing it. I don’t do this for any other reason than to make great music and to get it out in the world. If (the new album) is meant to sell 50 million records, it will. If it’s not, it’s still going to reach people. It’s making people happy regardless of what the scale is. I do personally get a little upset that certain elements in our society, the music industry and the media don’t allow for people to have free thought anymore…I just feel like a lot of music I’ve made has been wasted in the past by not getting it to the right people. We’ve dealt with distribution problems…and all those problems that every band goes through.

BBG: Clearly you have a passion for music and Lillian Axe. What’s it like being the only remaining original member?

Steve: The thing is I look around. I think to myself “This really sucks it’s not the five original guys all the way through,” but that’s true only in concept. When I think about the fortune I’ve had, and the fortune I have now, with the great guys that are playing with me now, it’s a great trade off. I mean, it was upsetting that Ron (Taylor, original vocalist) after all these years and albums decided to leave, but now I’m getting to play with a new singer (Derrick LeFevre) who is great – he’s amazing! It’s not like it’s been one line-up and bam! everyone changed at once. It’s been slow…gradual. This band is not about me. It’s not about members. It’s about the spirit of the material. As long as that remains in tact, Lillian Axe is Lillian Axe. We’re as good a band that we’ve ever been in our whole existence.

BBG: I’m sure there was a bit of a mourning period after Ron Taylor left the band. Overtime, did you find that Derrick LeFevre injected a new spirit in the band?

Steve: It always does. You get someone new…and the enthusiasm is high. Derrick was a huge fan of the band, and it adds a fire, a spark, and that intangible spark can really do a lot to give you the drive to keep things going. We’re getting ready to go on a six week tour. It’s going to be hectic. We have four days off in six weeks! We’re going to be working hard…and everyone in the band is excited about it. It’s been years since this band has been out! Finally, we’re going to be able to get to places we haven’t been in years. I’m getting emails from people all over saying they can’t wait. They’re not going “Well, this person isn’t in the band anymore, so it’s not Lillian Axe.” It is Lillian Axe.

BBG: What do you think of established bands that tour summer after summer with no new release to support?

Steve: I think it’s great that they do it. Obviously as a fan of a lot of those bands, I really wish they’d put some new stuff out. I just kind of think that the bands that do that, their heads are just not in it to do a new record. It becomes too much of an exhausting process. Poison is a great example. They tour like crazy, because people want to hear the hits and the stuff they’ve done in the past, but as fans…I’m sure they get a great longing for new material. I personally think, for me, I’m a musician inside and out. I can never stop creating music. I would never be able to tour the rest of my life on the stuff I’ve done before.