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Here’s a pro tip: If a publicist emails you and asks if you’d be interested in attending the grand opening of a Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun, all expenses paid, for three days of laying out by the pool, watching Rumer Willis slam champagne, eating more food than Honey Boo Boo’s mom at a buffet and generally behaving like a Kanye West/Kim Dotcom hybrid … all sandwiched in-between concerts from Flo Rida and the Goo Goo Dolls, well, then you should most definitely say “Yes.”
Because that’s what I did. For three days this weekend, I checked my journalistic integrity at the door and partied like a genuine rock star at the sparkly new Hard Rock in Cancun, a 12-story gem that juts out into the Caribbean Sea, features some 600 rooms, five international restaurants, five bars (including two of the “swim-up” variety) and a lobby packed with enough memorabilia to give the Rock Hall pause (checking out John Bonham’s kit up close was a thrill … what can I say, I’m a rock nerd). There were parties and after-parties, booming DJ sets by the pool, white sand beaches, endless Hors d’oeuvres and at one point, they christened the thing with a guitar-smash, one attended by a little person dressed up like Gene Simmons. Needless to say, one of the better work-cations I’ve ever been on.
For the grand opening, the folks at Hard Rock pulled out all the stops, which meant, that, in addition to the fashion show I attended — I wore a button-up shirt and everything — there were also two nights of concerts. Flo Rida provided the perfect soundtrack to a very loose first night, ripping through a set of his patented party-starters (“Low,” “In The Ayer,” “Right Round,” etc) and even bringing a bunch of ladies up on stage at one point for an impromptu dance-off. Shoot, he had such a good time that he even stuck around the next day, and was seen by this reporter wading out into the crystal-blue ocean in a pair of gigantic red trunks.
The Goo Goo Dolls performed on night two, and served reminder that they possess a back catalog as formidable as, well, anyone, leading a fired-up crowd through rousing sing-alongs on hits like “Name,” “Iris,” “Black Balloon” and “Slide.” And despite forming in Buffalo, New York, they seemed at home on the Hard Rock’s beach stage, rocking long into the night.
There were also celebrity cameos by the aforementioned Willis (who, it should be noted, was definitely feeling the Goo Goo Dolls) and Wilmer Valderrama, who hosted a Saturday afternoon pool party from high-atop a DJ booth, staged a “Dougie” competition and posed for about a bazillion photos. Oh, and then I got an “organic facial” from the Hard Rock spa. It definitely helped with the hangover.
All-in-all, it was a pretty tremendous weekend, and now that I’m sitting here back in gloomy New York, typing this with my tan slowly peeling away (it’s seriously gross), I can tell you without a doubt that you should definitely make your way down to the Hard Rock in Cancun sometime … even if a publicist isn’t paying your way, it’s sure to be a trip you won’t forget. Even if you can’t remember most of it.
By Cory Midgarden
I love cover songs. I don’t know what it is about them, but one of my favorite pastimes — a guilty pleasure if you will — is to log onto YouTube, type in the name of a song I’m digging and watch someone other than the original artist sing their rendition of the tune.
I’m sure this is why I’ve always been such a big fan of TV singing competitions as well, but that isn’t the point. The point of this post is that last April I was introduced to, maybe, one of the most amazing covers I’d ever experienced in my entire life. And that’s saying a lot, since I spend much of my free time and weekends doing nothing but looking for these videos (I’m only kind of exaggerating).
Anyway, the introduction came via email from my friend, who is aware of my obsession, with the text “You’re going to DIE” in the subject line. I clicked on the link, which maybe had a few hundred views at the time, and there was Karmin. The song they were performing was Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now,” and the girl, whose name I thought was Karmin at the time, pretty much killed me when I got to 1:16 in the video.
My friend was right; they were so good I almost died. But since I didn’t, I knew my newfound mission in life was to get them on the MTV show I was working on at the time. “The Seven” was a countdown of the seven things (hence the title) we needed our audience to know about each day. And these two were something people needed to know about — if they hadn’t already.
I got in touch with the pair, and within a few days, Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan were in New York City getting ready to perform for our studio audience. I was so excited! And they were too. They were awesome during sound check and looking as cute as can be, both wearing V-neck tees and jeans… but something was missing.
As I looked at the twosome before they took our Times Square stage, I realized what was off. The woman standing in front of me had a stick-straight ‘do, while the one from the video had some extra flair to her hair. I asked Amy if she’d be interested in recreating her look from the video, and she was more than happy to accept. With only a few minutes to spare, we hooked her up with one of our stylists and before our very eyes, her signature “suicide roll” was born.
Karmin then took the stage performing “Look at Me Now,” Weezy’s “6 Foot 7 Foot,” and original track “On Your Side.”
Since then, I’ve worked with Karmin (and Amy’s suicide roll) on several occasions (they even gave me a very special birthday shout-out while I worked on VH1′s “Big Morning Buzz Live”), watching them grow into the stars they are today. As proud of them as I’ve been over these past months, it wasn’t until last night, when I saw Amy on the cover of Rolling Stone that I really realized how far the two have come.
To be recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as a woman who rocks is an amazing achievement. Karmin has come so far in such a short period of time and if anyone deserves such an accolade, it’s them.
Congratulations, Amy and Nick! I look forward to following your careers for years to come.
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