The Cutting Room

MADAME MAYHEM: Music, Mayhem…And A Guy Named Mark!



Madame Mayhem performs to an enthusiastic crowd at the Cutting Room during her White Noise debut CD launch party last Saturday (photo by Anne Raso).

I was recently introduced to no-holds-barred-belter Madame Mayhem by her publicist, the legendary Liz Derringer, and was invited to her recent debut album launch party at midtown Manhattan’s Cutting Room this past Saturday night–which also served as a well-attended fundraiser for Musicians On Call.

Madame (who is shy about giving out her real name) is a New York native who was a “top camper” at Rock And Roll Fantasy Camp in LA–so uniquely talented, in fact, that super-counselor Mark Hudson (best known for his production work with Ringo Starr, and as co-writer of the Grammy-winning Aersosmith song “Livin’ On The Edge”) took her under his wing and got “a little help from his friends.” Her debut album White Noise is star-studded and many of those musicians have been creating a buzz on this Lady In Black all over the industry.

Moyer and Hudson–both performed with Madame Mayhem during her 90 minute set at the Cutting Room (photo  by Anne Raso).

Madame Mayhem’s sound if straight ahead hard rock–something sorely missing from the scene right now (I didn’t have to tell you that!). Hudson not only produced and mentored Ms. Mayhem, but got the likes of Disturbed and Adrenaline Mob bassist John Moyer, former Quiet Riot/current Blue Oyster Cult bassist/Rock Camp counselor Rudy Sarzo and legendary axeman Earl Slick to play on her debut disc, White Noise (on HeadBall Records) which went on sale on Tuesday, October 30.

L to R: Madame Mayhem with Adrenaline Mob guitarist Mike Orlando, producer Mark Hudson and Disturbed/Adrenaline Mob bassist John Moyer (photo by Anne Raso).

I have sat in on a few of Hudson’s Rock Camp classes but was not at the LA Rock Camp attended by Mayhem. Hudson is a favored counselor not only because of his years in the business and the good advice he doles out to his campers, but because he always seems to be enjoying himself but because he seems to have something to offer to every musical level of camper, from shaky tambourine players to guitar players who give Jimmy Page a run for his money. To the best of my knowledge, Mayhem is the only Rock Camp act he has personally been knocked out enough by to produce and bring up through the ranks of the fickle music business.  Now, that’s really saying something for her talents!

Madame Mayhem’s debut CD White Noise will rock you like…Hurricane Sandy and a big bag of Halloween candy combined. (Photo courtesy of HeadBall Records.)

Mayhem’s record release party included a fantastic 90 minute set which included the fantastic Matty Amendola on the skins (one of the NYC area’s “young Turks” in the Skins Department) and Mark Hudson and John Moyer sitting in for a few tunes–Hudson sang his self-penned “Livin’ On The Edge” and Moyer actually performed on the track he did for the White Noise album, “Dead Will Rise.” The only disappointment of the evening was that several superstars who played on White Noise were not able to attend the opening due to inclement weather–and they included former Cars guitar slinger Elliot Easton, and the aforementioned Sarzo and Slick. I was happy to meet John Moyer’s bandmate, axeman Mike Orlando at the Madame Mayhem CD launch party, although he did not sit in on the set like Moyer did.

This enthusiastic Madame Mayhem fan was thrilled to get his White Noise CD signed by Moyer, Hudson and Mayhem–rumor has it that he is now trying to grow a multi-colored beard like Hudson’s, getting his hair braided like Moyers and is sporting the spiky cuff bracelets that Mayhem has helped popularize recently, LOL (photo by Anne Raso).

For more info on Madame Mayhem, visit her official site, www.madamemayhem.com. Also be sure to like her official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/madamemayhem. Her Twitter handle is @mayhemofficial. The White Noise album can be purchased for only $8.99 on amazon.com. Rock on, Madame!–Anne M. Raso

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The Wrecking Crew: I Simply Had To Go Get "Wrecked" A Second Time!

By Anne M. Raso

Denny Tedesco, son of legendary “Wrecking Crew” axeman Tommy Tedesco, has been holding screenings of his wonderful documentary for two or three years now in the hopes of raising the money to cover the soundtrack for this film that features dozens of the greatest 60s hits (and classic “non-hits”). The tab is something like 180 grand, and in the back of my head, I often wonder how someone of the more successful artists interviewed for the documentary can’t just pitch in the entire amount. (Certainly Cher has spent more than that on plastic surgery, LOL!) Nancy Sinatra could probably throw in a few bucks as well.

There are always surprises at the screenings of the film–the one I went to in Brooklyn last year included an impromptu performance of “Be My Baby” by Ronnie Spector (who, of course, is featured in the film since her ex Phil Spector worked with the ace musicians of the Wrecking Crew on an almost weekly basis). Last week’s screening at the Cutting Room in midtown Manhattan included two after-show bonuses: Tedesco interviewing Tommy Lipuma who was one of the great record producers of the 60s and 70sand a special performance of The Sixties Show, a great tribute band featuring the legendary Liberty DeVitto on the skins. Spotted in the crowd were some other legendary skinpounders, the most notable being Carmine Appice, as well as author May Pang.  To say DeVitto’s group is a tribute band is kind of not totally correct–while they cover many of the great hits of the Kinks and even the Moody Blues (doing a killer rendition of “Tuesday Afternoon”), they are truly all A List musicians.
Legendary sticksman Liberty DeVitto wows The Wrecking Crew post-screening crowd with his  60s cover band The Sixties Show–they perform many unexpected and complex Golden Age Of Rock tracks! (Photo: Anne Raso)

If you have not caught The Wrecking Crew, well, take a look at the schedule at http://www.thewreckingcrew.tv. The film makes the rounds cross-country and is often shown at music festivals and conventions. I would also suggest following The Wrecking Crew on Twitter (@WreckCrewFilm) and liking it on Facebook (www.facebook.com/WreckingCrewFilm).
Wrecking Crew top-tier guitarist Tommy Tedesco at a late 60s West Coast session.
And in case you’re curious, Denny Tedesco never got to meet any of the stars his dad worked with (and he worked with hundreds–everyone from The Beach Boys to Frank Sinatra and back again). I am still trying to wrap my head around that, but I guess Tommy Tedesco was the type of guy who liked to keep his work and private lives separate. Tedesco told me a little about his personal favorite cuts that his dad played on: “The fun ones are (the themes from) Batman, Green Acres and Bonanza…and then (I love) his work with The 5th Dimension, especially ‘Up, Up And Away.’  I also love (his work on) Elvis’s comeback special and (the Elvis song) ‘Memories.’”  
One thing’s for sure–TT certainly was a versatile player (especially gifted in the Spanish style even more so than rock ‘n roll), and the footage of him later in life (especially in drag on The Gong Show) is something I won’t soon forget!
 (Photos Courtesy Denny Tedesco.)