Biking With Benny

Benny Benassi is consistently rated one of the top DJs in the world, but he could have been famous for spinning bicycle wheels instead of tunes. While he was a teenager, Benassi raced for several teams in his native Italy and his passion for the sport nearly caused him to become a cycling pro. Music won out in the end, but Benassi still loves to hop on his bike whenever he gets a chance while he’s out on tour.

This September, Benny launches the Benny Benassi Bike Tour: A Musical Ride Through California … Without Breaks, a unique tour that’ll have the DJ pedaling his way to five gigs along the West Coast from San Francisco to San Diego. Fans, musicians and fellow bicycling enthusiasts are urged to join Benassi on the road or just follow his progress on the Net.

The bike tour starts at the Golden Gate Bridge on the morning of Sept. 11; it’ll be Sept. 18 before Benassi rolls into Los Angeles for a show at the Music Box. Each performance showcases music from Spaceship, the new Ultra Records release Benassi drops later this year.

Sex, Drugs and Bon Jovi

Rich Bozzett, the tour manager for Bon Jovi in their early days, has written a tell-all book entitled Sex, Drugs and Bon Jovi. The book tells the story of how the band went from being an unknown act to bona fide superstars in a mere six years and dishes the dirt on some of the seedier things that came along with fame. Bozzett tells about the drug use of various band members and hook-ups with groupies, band financial problems and how the group’s management was raking in money from cocaine and marijuana trafficking.

Bozzett is also honest about why he split with the group, and that partially has to do with his not being paid what he was promised by management, but it also has to do with his handling of a situation dealing with some soft porn pictures involving models and Jon Bon Jovi. Yes, some of the pictures are included in the book.

OohLaLa Festival Returns

Did you get a chance to go to the OohLaLa Festival last year? The French music showcase returns to various venues around the city this fall and brings some of the hottest French acts. Sebastien Tellier headlines opening night at the El Rey Theatre Sept. 30 where Acid Washed, Turzi and DJ Kavinsky also appear. The action moves to Spaceland Oct. 1 for a show featuring Revolver and the psychedelic/folk collective the Bewitched Hands on the Top of Our Heads. The festival closes out at Club Nokia Oct. 2 with a lineup including Gotan Project, General Elektriks and El Hijo de la Cumbia. The 10th anniversary of French record label Record Makers will also be celebrated during the festival.

Fear Factory Escape Bus Fire

An overheated tire and wheel caused a fire that engulfed Fear Factory’s tour bus while they were motoring to a show in London. The bus and its contents were a total loss, but according to guitarist Dino Cazares, the band and crew got out with only minor injuries.

“At about 3:30 a.m., the bus driver noticed smoke coming from the back right wheel,” says Cazares. “He stopped and jumped out and noticed a flame underneath the wheel well and tried to extinguish it but the flames were just too much. Everyone on the bus was awakened by the crew yelling and everyone grabbed their bags and got off the bus. Then someone noticed our merchandise guy was still asleep on the bus, but he got out just minutes before the bus was completely in flames. Our eyes were burning and we were coughing from the smoke. Some of us lost wallets, money and computers, but that’s not important compared to our lives.”

The band’s gear was in a trailer and was not damaged, and after regrouping Fear Factory continued their European tour behind their latest album, Mechanize. The band’s next hometown show is Oct. 15 at the Key Club.