Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

A Conversation With Dennis DeYoung, Former STYX Vocalist

dennis-deyoungI had the pleasure of interviewing one of my favorite singers and one of the greatest voices in the history of music: Dennis DeYoung, lead vocalist of STYX hits “Come Sail Away,” “Babe,” “Mr. Roboto,” “The Best of Times,” “Don’t Let It End,” “Show Me The Way,” and “Lady.”

Our discussion lasted for more than an hour and we covered a myriad of topics, including Barry Manilow, Journey, what DeYoung misses most about being in STYX, the state of the music industry, politicians using music without the permission of the artists, and much more. DeYoung was funny, charming, smart, and easily one of the most enjoyable interviews I’ve ever conducted.

Make sure to visit DeYoung’s website for the latest tour dates. He has two performances in the Philadelphia/New Jersey/New York area coming up in October. I’m attending his show on October 8 at The Keswick Theatre in Glenside, Pa. For those of you closer to New York, DeYoung has an October 21 performance scheduled at the St. George Theatre in Staten Island, with special guest Steve Augeri, former lead vocalist of Journey.

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Icons of Wrestling II: Sting, Bret Hart & Shane Douglas

14344881_1807659479480800_9117730191397715144_nToday I went to Icons of Wrestling II, which took place at the famous ECW Arena in Philadelphia. My main reason for going was to get a photo with WCW and WWE legend Sting, and to meet and finally get a photo with a wrestler I grew up watching in the 1990s: Bret “The Hitman” Heart.

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KISSFAQ Podcast: Episode 88

issue-1-cover-2016-744x1024-1Last night I took part in my first episode of the KISSFAQ podcast! I, along with three other diehard KISS fans, discussed our thoughts on the new Official KISS Magazine. You can listen to this episode on iTunes, or watch a video of it below on YouTube. Unfortunately, the YouTube video is audio only because one of the other guests on the show had technical issues with video. I look forward to being part of future episodes of the KISSFAQ podcast. It’s a great show!

Heart’s Ann Wilson Releases New Solo EP

focus_album_coverAnn Wilson, of Heart, has released her second solo EP, The Ann Wilson Thing! #2 – Focus, on Rounder Records. Featured tracks on the EP include live recordings of Jimi Hendrix’ “Manic Depression” and Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up”, as well as two Wilson-penned tracks, the folk-inspired “Fightin fer Life” and the bluesy “Anguish.” Guitarist Craig Bartok co-wrote both of these original songs with Wilson.

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KISS Exercises Its Freedom To Rock

img_8110Last week I saw the greatest live spectacle on Earth: KISS. This was my 11th time seeing the band perform live, if you include the concerts I’ve attended and performances I’ve seen on the KISS Kruise and during backstage meet and greets. Speaking of meet and greets, thanks to the generosity and kindness of one of the band members, my cousin and I were part of KISS’ meet and greet in Allentown. Being able to share this amazing moment with my best friend and someone who loves KISS as much as I do, made for a special night neither of us will forget. Read more…

TRI Screening in Philadelphia

TRI Poster originalThis Wednesday, August 31, TRI, an award-winning indie film, is screening at the Trocadero theatre in Philadelphia. I just finished watching this movie, and I enjoyed it. The film, which recently walked away with the top prize at the Northern Virginia International Film & Music Festival, features local talent Jensen Jacobs and Kelly Spitko in starring roles. However, I’d argue that the two most compelling actors were played by Shawn Pelofsky and Kenneth Simmons. Their supporting roles provided TRI with additional layers of emotional depth that were believable and moving.

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Review – KISS Rocks Vegas: Deluxe Edition

IMG_7725Today KISS released KISS Rocks Vegas and I received the Deluxe Edition, which features a Blu-Ray, DVD and CD capturing their 2014 Las Vegas residency. This set also features an exclusive CD of an acoustic set KISS did during one of its Las Vegas meet and greets. Check out my video review below to see what’s inside:

Book Review: Damaged by Lisa Scottoline

LisaLisa Scottoline released a terrific book this week entitled Damaged. It’s yet another compelling thriller from one of my favorite writers. What separates Lisa from her peers is that her books feature characters, plots and dialogue that have an unparalleled level of emotional depth. When you’re reading her books you can’t help but feel connected to the characters and the decisions they make. I had this experience when reading Damaged. Read more…

Working With James Patterson: BookShots Authors Tell All

IMG_7188In June James Patterson launched his BookShots imprint, and since then more than one million copies of these bite-sized thrillers have been sold. I recently spoke with two of the authors who’ve written books for this imprint: Brendan DuBois and Erin Knightley.

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Book Review: Bullseye by James Patterson 

Bullseye is James Patterson’s newest thriller and the latest entry in the Michael Bennett series. Unfortunately, it’s not very good. It takes several chapters for the protagonist to show up, which is never a good sign as that only delays my being introduced to the character to which I’m supposed to relate. And the premise isn’t all that compelling. It failed to pull me in and keep my attention like Patterson’s far superior thriller, The Games, which was also recently released. Every once in a while a good author releases a boring book. For James Patterson, Bullseye is it.

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