From left: Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale and Ryan Ries of The Whosoevers (Photo courtesy of Ryan Ries)
The moment when Gwen Stefani joined her husband Gavin Rossdale onstage for a moving rendition of Bush's staple "Glyercine" served as a reminder of the enduring power of rock radio in Los Angeles. KROQ's annual Almost Acoustic Christmas included the veteran rockers this year and last and KROQ has never stopped playing tracks from Rossdale's crew. Stefani and the British born singer/guitarist connected, of course, when No Doubt opened for Bush in the 90s.
The two-day event kicked off Saturday at the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal City Walk, which will reportedly be demolished to make way for a Harry Potter themed attraction. Backstage, VIPs talked about the impending switch, plus all manner of holiday plans and 2013 vacations, as bands like Rise Against wrapped up lengthy touring cycles at the event.
The Lumineers with CBS Radio's Kevin Weatherly. (Photo by Lester Cohen/Wire Image)
| "It's the last chance to see all of your friends and associates one more time before the biz shuts down for Christmas "
Greg Siegel, Live Nation
Saturday's lineup included headliners Linkin Park, Rise Against, Bush, Garbage, Slightly Stoopid, AWOLNATION, recent Grammy nominees The Lumineers, Walk The Moon, The Gaslight Anthem, Two Door Cinema Club and Youngblood Hawk. No Doubt made a surprise appearance during night two, which included sets from The Killers, Jack White, fun., M83, Neon Trees, Passion Pit and more. KROQ put on their first "Acoustic Christmas" in 1989.
Delicious hot food, three open bars and several bags of complimentary popchips were among the amenities that greeted industry folk behind-the-scenes. Revelers descended a long staircase behind the Universal attractions that led to a faux ice "cave" entryway.
From left: Rise Against's Zach Blair (right) and and Tim McIlrith with KROQ's Lisa Worden. (Photo by Lester Cohen/Wire Image)
"We spend almost the entire year curating the lineup of bands, thinking of ways to improve the decor, coming up with unique ways to reward KROQ listeners and brainstorming ideas of how to make it the best show of the year," KROQ's Music Director Lisa Worden told Billboard.biz, noting that the event is "all for charity." This year's show raised funds for the locally based Para Los Ninos, which works toward academic and eduction well-being, and the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center, which is a youth center and after-school program named after their founder's son, who was tragically killed in a 1989 drive-by shooting.
CBS Radio's Sr. VP of Programming Kevin Weatherly, KROQ staffers like Gene Sandbloom (Operations Manager), Aissa Juarez (Marketing Director) and on-air talent like Kat Corbett, Nicole Alvarez, Ted Stryker and Ralph Garman were on-hand, as well as Loveline Executive Producer Ann Ingold and hosts Dr. Drew and "Psycho" Mike Catherwood. Stryker was walking around backstage with a camera crew for his forthcoming CBS TV pilot, which he described to Billboard.biz as a program that will offer a mix of reality TV about his life as a DJ/personality and interviews with rock bands.
Live Nation SVP/Promoter Greg Siegel described the backstage area as the last great party of the year. "You see lots of amazing bands. Everybody is in the holiday spirit and it is the last chance to see all of your friends and associates one more time before the biz shuts down for Christmas," he said.
Lincoln Park's Mike Shinoda, Kevin Weatherly talking backstage with Systen of a Down's John Dolyman. (Photo by Lester Cohen/Wire Image)
Other industry folk backstage included The Collective's Mark Gorlick, I sland Records SVP of Rock Promotions Christine Chiappetta, Rise Against manager Missy Worth, 91.7 AMP Radio's Marketing Director Chuck Adame, BB Gun PR owner Brian Bumbery, System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan, HITS Magazine President Karen Glauber, Guerilla Union founder and Rock The Bells promoter Chang Weisberg, Interscope West Coast Regional Promotions Executive Chris Moradi, Affliction Clothing consultant Chris Lisk, Whosoevers co-founder Ryan Ries, Kenny Leath of Fuse's "Warped Roadies," "Sons of Anarchy" actor David LaBrava, Tiger Army's Nick 13 and BandMerch co-founder Donn Delson, father of Linkin Park guitarist Brad Delson.
"Almost Acoustic Christmas is always a great place to catchup with old friends in the business, many of whom I've grown up with," said Bumbery, the former SVP of Publicity for Warner Bros. who struck out on how own two years ago and whose longtime clients include Metallica, Green Day and Garbage. "I am a huge fan of Lisa Worden and her impeccable taste in music. Over the years, the whole KROQ team has done a great job curating these two nights."
91.7 AMP Radio Marketing Director Chuck Adame, Loveline co-host Mike Catherwood, Tiger Army's Nick 13 (Photo: Ryan J. Downey)
CBS Radio's Kevin Weatherly with Rise Against. (Photo by Lester Cohen/Wire Image)