8/12/15: Ultimate Jam 29 – Lucky Strike Live – Hollywood, CA

I’d say that this Jam is catching fire…  But it’s not “catching”…it’s fully lit and burning up everything in its path.  Each week the ever-growing crowd is blessed with a revolving (stage) door of some of the most amazing talent, a bevy of really incredible (unrehearsed!) songs and a community of rock fans (from Chuck in Chatsworth all the way to Dee from “Down Under”), that get to witness some really special moments. This week was no exception.

Opening up the Jam was Joshua Bartholomew (At the moment, better known for co-writing the song “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie”).  He played a short acoustic set and later joined the house band of Chuck Wright (QUIET RIOT), Mitch Perry (LITA FORD), Matt Starr (ACE FREHLEY) and Steve Ferlazzo (AVRIL LAVIGNE) to perform a soulful version of “Dazed and Confused”.

Paulie Z, kicked off the evening’s first set with “Are You Gonna Go My Way?”, before jumping into his Jam hosting duties.

Matt Starr (being seen almost as much in front of the kit as behind it these days) came out and ripped into Zep’s “Custard Pie”.

That was followed up by Kudisan Kai, who, lucky for us, brought her operatic talents and has lent them to her alternative metal stylings.  She led off with Radiohead’s “15 Step” followed up by a crowd stirring version of Janet Jackson’s “Black Cat”.

Members of Saigon Kick, in town to perform at Saturday’s “Cathouse Live” show in Irvine, joined the Lucky Strike and jammed to Bowie’s “Space Oddity”.

Michael “Ralph Saenz” Starr (Steel Panther) was welcomed back and fired up the crowd with versions of “On Fire”, “Mr. Brownstone” and “You Give Love a Bad Name”.

Kara Britz (The Voice) returned to sing Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again”.

The chameleon-like Tomasina Abate, brought her pink hair and talents to the Jam to stomp out a pounding version of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck.


– The versatile Joe Retta (THE SWEET, DIO DISCIPLES) is one of those people that has a lot of those “moments” I mentioned earlier.  This week Joe took on BOSTON…and won!  The first song was “Longtime” which was preceded by its usual intro of “Foreplay” pristinely played by Steve Ferlazzo.  Next up was “Smokin’”, both literally and figuratively.  Steve, as amazing as he is each week, played out of his mind on both of the Boston tunes!  Jam favorites August Zadra (DENNIS DEYOUNG) and Roby Duron added their twin axe attack to both of the Boston tunes, joined by Barry Pointer on the latter.

– Joe returned later in the night and brought his flair along with some of his fellow SWEET members to play “Sweet FA” and “Ballroom Blitz”.

– How do you follow Joe Retta? You bring up Debby Holiday to perform Whitesnake’s, “Still of the Night”. She delivered a pitch perfect rendition that would have brought a sly smile to Mr. Coverdale’s mouth.

Richie Kotzen (WINERY DOGS) lit up the Lucky Strike with two of his own tunes, and he, Dylan Wilson (Bass) and Mike Bennett (Drums) JAMMED!  “Help Me” and “Remember” were accentuated by killer extended bass and guitar solos.

If you’re not familiar with Richie Kotzen; 1. Why Not? And 2. Do yourself a favor and search him out. The man has been around for years as a solo act, with a short stint in the band Poison. He’s currently in the Winery Dog and these days what he touches turns to Gold!

– Also returning to the Jam, the amazing dUg Pinnick (KINGS X), who kicked off his set with “American Woman” and followed that up by performing “Voodoo Chile”.  dUg brought back guitarist extraordinaire, Tommy Baldwin, to show why he may someday be mentioned with some of the greats.

– As always,  the ladies came to play and Kirstin Rosenberg and Courtney Cox (IRON MAIDENS), Nikki Lane, Nicki Tedesco, and Skylar Thomaslet it RIP on Deep Purple’s “Highway Star

– Steve Ferlazzo stepped out from the keys and behind the poker table to take on Mayuko Okai (Guitar), Johnny Martin (ADLER) and 2 Jack Daniels girls in a serious game of who can do the most Jack Daniels shots, fittingly enough to the tune of AC/DC’s, “The Jack”.

There are WAY too many people each week to keep track of, but major kudo’s to Tanya O’Callaghan (Bass), Betsy Bitch (BITCH),Francesco Decosmo (THIN LIZZY), the background vocals stylings of Lisa Margaroli and Kevin Parker Robinson, Members of theDirty Rotten Horns, Trippy the Clown and to confuse people everywhere this week…the mustached Olivia (Freddy Mercury) Belafonte memorably dancing to the hits of Queen.

What could possibly be in store for Ultimate Jam 30?!  Stay tuned…..

William Greenberg
Twitter: @SimiWill

Mitch Perry (MSG/Edgar Winter): http://www.officialmitchperry.com

Chuck Wright (Alice Cooper/Quite Riot): http://www.chuckwright.com/

Matt Starr (Mr. Big/Ace Frehley): http://www.mattstarrmusic.com/