Saturday, January 27, 2007

The 7 Coolest Things Of The Past 7 Days*

1. More American Morons… I mean, Idol
Almost as good as Whose Line Is It Anyway?!

2. The Mourinho mellow-drama
All we need now is the wicked mother-in-law

3. Sharapova’s scintillating, um, outfits
Tennis never looked this good…

4. Latest pics of Idol runner-up Katherine McPhee
How did she ever lose last season?

5. Boyz II Men in Genting
Evidently, it’s not the end of the road for the soulful threesome

6. 2 Malaysian teams in Amazing Race Asia final
And Singapore’s been out for ages. Woohoo!

7. Snaps of local female celebs scuba-diving surfaces
Not seen ‘em, though. Ahem.

* This weekly column appeared in the Weekend Mail until the whole ‘tea bagging’ incident happened. Who knew tea would be so offensive?

ROCKSTAR!

Thanks to Star TV, my Rockstar dreams came true this past September. Literally.

The second season of ROCKSTAR the TV reality show saw rock greats Tommy Lee, Jason Newstead and Gilby Clake (do I have to tell you what these dudes are famous for?) coming together to form a new rock supergroup, Supernova. After months of superb performances and (probably staged) drama, it came down to the final four – Magni, Dilana, Toby and Lukas.

Excerpts from my piece in the Weekend Mail:

The final performance show
In case you didn’t know by now, Rock Star: Supernova’s not a ‘live’ TV show and was taped well in advance. And the taping was done at the CBS Studios in Beverly Boulevard, LA. As soon as we reached the location that Sunday afternoon, we caught sight of the long queue just outside the main gate. And it’s a motley band of people comprising rock dudes and stunning chicks that were waiting to get in.

And just a couple of minutes later, the trip was already worth the long and tiring journey; tucking into his lunch right in front of our eyes was none other than Jason Newstead, Supernova’s man on bass and former Metallica member. Looking much less intimidating in person, the dude was kind enough to get up from his seat and shake our mere mortal hands. Score!

But that was just the mere beginning. With CREW tags around our necks, we went straight up to the dressing rooms and bumped into ... Tommy Lee! The Motley Crue drummer/part time video star was totally blown away when told we had come all the way from Malaysia to catch the show. With a drink in hand and all dressed up (or down, rather), Lee looked every inch the rock legend that he is.

A few corridors down, we got hold of three of the finalists, Toby, Magni and Lukas. Cameras where whipped out faster than Wild Bill’s draw and a round of photo taking ensued. By then it was official: we had morphed from press people into a bunch of (over-enthusiastic) groupies. Ah, well...

We were then ushered to the studio where some 1,000 people had already packed the place, all pumped up for the show. Warm-up guy Corey whipped the crowd into a frenzy by offering autographed Brooke Burke swimsuit calendars to those who’d “go crazy and make the most noise”. We tried our best. We screamed and clapped, and jumped around like lunatics, but no calendar came our way. Bummer.

The House Band was then introduced and received a rousing welcome from the crowd. A surprise performance came next, courtesy of one of last season’s favourites, “Sweet” Suzie McNeill who had everyone singing along to her rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Host Brooke Burke then made her grand entrance, looking as gorgeous as ever in a killer black dress. Co-host Dave Navarro and Supernova themselves then came next, and the stage was set for an awesome show.

Each rocker belted a brace of tunes, one original and one cover. But before that, Dilana brought on an eliminated rocker... Ryan Star, who was voted by the fans for an encore performance. Star gave a high-intensity performance yet again and was rewarded with a car at the end of it. Who needs Oprah, huh?

Then it was back to serious business as the final four rocked out their respective sets. Watching the performances from the front row was an experience, as the clichĂ© goes, money can’t buy.

Everything was virtually perfect – the stage, the crowd, the sound system, and there wasn’t anything that could have been done any better. Well, if only they had more of that Brooke Burke swimsuit calendars...

By the end of the taping, all four finalists looked contented with their performances while the crowd left with ears ringing and adrenaline still pumping hard. As for us, this groupie gig was far from being over...

The mansion
Surreal. That’s the only word to describe the feeling as we stepped out of our van and onto the tarmac of the mansion’s entrance. And guess who was there at the door to take us on a grand tour? The Iceman himself, Magni.

Perched on top of a hilly posh neighbourhood in LA, the mansion offers a fantastic view of Hollywood and its surrounding areas. Definitely the right place for a bunch of people needing inspiration... and some fun and frolic as well.

Lukas then joined us on the tour and both him and Magni agreed the pool room (where all the beer was) was their favourite room at the mansion. Meanwhile the swimming pool (where both Toby and Dilana had their naked episodes) definitely looked cool and inviting.

Scattered all over the mansion were close to some 30 Buddha statues. The walls were painted in bold and loud colours, and add that to the Thai silk drapes and antique wood furnishings, the mansion definitely had a twisted rock n’ roll feel to it with a delicious dash of decadence.

Again, surreal was the feeling as we walked through the rooms and corridors of the awesome mansion. Best part? At the end of the tour, Lukas handed us a framed autographed photo of himself as a memento, which we’re still trying to figure out who actually gets to keep it...

The finale
The final result show was taped, if you’d believe it, at 8am in the morning! We were at CBS by 7am and by then, a long line had formed outside the main gate. When asked, a few of those in the queue said they had to get up at 5.30am to make sure they didn’t miss the boat. Early rising rockers? You better believe it!

The energy of the crowd in the packed hall was superb yet again. But as the initial verdict unfolded and Toby and Magni were declared the bottom-two dwellers, the mood turned a little tense as both sets of fans held their breath for the next elimination announcement. And after solid performances by both rockers, it was Magni who was sent packing. The boos were instant and loud.

The remaining three, Toby, Lukas and Dilana, then launched into their final performances that had the crowd rocking to the max. But the scene turned somber yet again as the next elimination came. Aussie Toby Rand’s name was called out and that was the end of his Rock Star journey. The boos were even louder this time.

Down to two, the anticipation was almost too much to bear. But in the end, it was all over with a simple announcement by Tommy Lee: “Lukas, you’re our boy. Welcome.”

The crowd reaction was rather mixed, to be honest. But when Supernova took the stage for a pair of songs with their brand new front-man, it did look like the band had made the right decision. The foursome instantly rocked the tunes and looked like they’ve been performing with each other forever.

The search was finally over.

The after-party
Held at Ashton Kutcher’s joint The Geisha House right smack in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard, the party was also a reunion of sorts as all the rockers from the show made an appearance. Yes, it meant we got to rub shoulders and elbows with the likes of Storm, Patrice, Josh and the weirdest of them all, Zayra.

Brooke Burke popped by with her fiancĂ©e, ex-Baywatch star David Charvet. And also spotted were last season’s top performers Ty Taylor and Mig Ayesha, who’d just finished recording his own album.

Excellent night. Excellent trip. And the best part, we’ve got the pictures to prove it...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Percayalah Sayang!

… is my latest collaboration with AF1 champ and award-winning artiste, Vince. It’s one of the two new songs in his repackaged album due out any day now. The album also includes his first and biggest hit (and our first collaboration as well), Mengapa Harus Cinta and Cinta Cinta Cinta.

It was pretty fast how Percayalah Sayang was put together. Vince called one fine day and said he needed words for this song which would be the lead single for his repackaged album. Of course I said yes and the dude emailed me the MP3.

The melody’s definitely different from his other compositions with some pretty interesting blues and rock elements. After listening to it a few times, I thought of going on the theme of soul-mates. The instruction was: “lovey dovey, but NOT cheesy lah”.

I emailed him the first draft and we met up at a Starbucks to discuss things further. After we sort of finalized things, Vince actually whipped out a microphone, plugged it into his lap top, opened up the file and did the vocals right there and then! In the middle of a freakin’ Starbucks! Of course we were tucked away in one corner lah, and people were incredibly oblivious to the whole ‘recording process.’

After that was done, the track was emailed to the folks at EMI.

A couple of days later Vince called and invited me to the studio for the actual recording. Produced by Jenny Chin, we did some minor adjustments to the lyrics and Vince had all the important parts in the bag that very day. Sinus, or no sinus.

The new arrangement by Jenny’s pretty cool as well and I think his fans will be a tad surprised by this particular track. Not his usual balada thingy.

All the best dude! And hope we’ve just made another hit!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hello... again

Yup, 2.0 means this is supposed to be a better version of my original blog (btw, how come Microsoft Word still identifies the word ‘blog’ as an error?) but the truth is, I abandoned mzulkifli.blogspot.com after my laziness stretched on for quite a bit. And when the blogging mood came back, it was too late to re-start and new technologies meant I could start all over again with new blogging tools to boot. So here I am…

Of course I’d still need a focus to make this blog ‘compelling reading’, but since I wear all sorts of hats, it’s kind of hard for me to choose just one thing to blog about. But of course I’ll have SEX – something that made me (in)famous recently – and some celebrity pictures and gossip (you like, huh?). What I won’t do is talk about my pet armadillo or my underwear brand (skinxwear, btw).

So 2.0 will effectively be a bunch of stuff that I’ve written, experienced and done over the years. And since I spent a number of years editing lad rag FHM (Malaysia), I’ll definitely bring on the babes, and the bikinis. Well, maybe…

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