M3 Rock Festival 2015 Preview: Part Two

M3 Rock Festival 2015 Preview: Part Two

April 21, 2015

For the past seven years, the M3 Rock Festival has brought diverse line-ups (albeit with many returning performers) while staying true to the bands that had their glory years in the late ’80s and early ’90s. For the first two years the festival was held on one day only, but now spans two days. This year the festival takes place on May 1st and 2nd at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland — with tickets available for purchase at m3rock.webs.com.

Part one of Sleaze Roxx’s 2015 M3 Rock Festival Preview covered Europe, Tom Keifer, Queensryche, Krokus and Warrant, while part two takes a look at Y&T, The Winery Dogs, L.A. Guns, Vixen and Bang Tango — who are all scheduled to play on the second day of the two-day festival.

After being part of the M3 Rock Festival’s inaugural edition in 2009, Y&T are back for a second time. Y&T have the distinction of being the oldest group at the M3 Rock Festival, given that band leader and frontman Dave Meniketti‘s days in the group date back over four decades to 1972. The band released ten studio records between 1976 and 1990, including 1981’s Earthshaker (which contains many of the group’s live staples) and their two most commercially successful albums, 1984’s In Rock We Trust and 1985’s Down For The Count, before disbanding for a four-year period starting in 1991. Longtime bassist Phil Kennemore died after a battle with lung cancer in 2011, but Meniketti has soldiered on — with the most senior band member after him being rhythm guitarist John Nymann, who joined in 2001.

The Winery Dogs (along with Bad Seed Rising) are the “newest” band on the M3 Rock Festival line-up — having formed as recently as 2012. Similar to Red Dragon Cartel, who played at last year’s festival, what qualifies the band for M3 in the eyes of many fans is that its group members have a rich heritage and links to the late ’80s and early ’90s. Bassist Billy Sheehan is most famous for his time with David Lee Roth from 1985 to 1988 and his subsequent gig with Mr. Big starting in 1988. Guitarist and lead vocalist Richie Kotzen is best known for his time in Poison from 1991 to 1993 and his stint in Mr. Big from 1999 to 2002. Kotzen is also a prolific solo artist, having released over twenty records between 1989 and 2015. Drummer Mike Portnoy spent 25 years in Dream Theater, from 1985 to 2010, and was recently announced as the replacement for recently deceased drummer A.J. Pero in Twisted Sister — as that group honors its prior concert commitments before embarking on a farewell tour. Together, Kotzen, Sheehan and Portnoy are The Winery Dogs, who released their self-titled record in 2013 to rave reviews, including being named the third best album of the year in the Sleaze Roxx Reader’s Choice awards.

One band that is no stranger to the M3 Rock Festival are the legendary sleaze rockers L.A. Guns, who are back for a fifth time — which ranks as the most appearances by a group at the festival, behind only home state favorites Kix. L.A. Guns even released a live DVD entitled Live In Concert, which showcased their 2012 M3 festival appearance. Sleaze Roxx had the following to say about L.A. Guns‘ performance at the 2014 edition of the festival, “L.A. Guns opened with “No Mercy” and “Sex Action”, and the energy of the crowd was undeniable… The Lewis fronted version of L.A. Guns is known for always putting on a good show and their M3 performance was no exception… I thought that L.A. Guns put on one great performance — they really are a very underrated band and I look forward to seeing them the next time that they come to Toronto.”

Vixen are making their first appearance at the upcoming 2015 edition of the M3 Rock Festival. The all female rock band is best known for its classic line-up of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Janet Gardner, band founder and lead guitarist Jan Kuehnemund, bassist Share Pedersen and drummer Roxy Petrucci. That line-up released Vixen‘s self-titled debut record in 1988 and the follow-up Rev It Up in 1990 before disbanding. From 2001 onwards, Kuehnemund kept the band going with various members, with the classic line-up reuniting in 2004 to appear together on VH1’s Bands Reunited. In 2013 Kuehnemund had planned on reuniting once again with the classic Vixen line-up on an official basis, but was later diagnosed with cancer. After nine months battling the disease, Kuehnemund sadly passed away at the age of 51. In late 2013, the remaining members elected to carry on the Vixen legacy in honor of their fallen sister and brought guitarist Gina Stiles back to the fold, who had briefly played in Vixen in the late ’90s.

This year Bang Tango are making their third appearance at the M3 Rock Festival. The band released three studio records, Psycho Cafe, Dancin’ On Coals and Love After Death from 1989 to 1994 before disbanding. Since 2002, lead vocalist and lone remaining original member Joe LeSte has continued with what has turned out to be a revolving door of Bang Tango band members — which currently includes bassist Lance Eric, drummer Timmy Russell and ex-Dio guitarist Rowan Robertson.

Stay tuned for parts three and four of Sleaze Roxx’s M3 Rock Festival Preview.

Courtesy of www.sleazeroxx.com