Saturday, July 31, 2004

Finger Eleven/Thornely/Strata show

Last night I caught the Finger Eleven show at the Recher Theatre in Towson. Finger Eleven was joined by Wind-Up label mates Strata for a great night of crunching rock and roll.

Ken Tizzard and the boys of Thornley were also on the bill. It was great to see them again. The guys put on a great show and if I didn't mention it last time, they are one tight band and Sekou Lumumba is one of the best drummers I've ever seen. Actually, the drummers for all four bands were really pounding last night.

I was also impressed with Moments of Grace. They are from Florida and are signed to an Atlantic imprint, with their new release coming out August 17th. Definitely watch for it.

In addition to having one too many Yuenglings and ogling the hotties in the room, I interviewed Rich from Finger Eleven and the guys in Strata. I'll post those Monday or Tuesday. Strata also signed a cd that I'll give away when I post the interview, so watch for that as well.

Thanks to Wind-Up for the tickets and to Finger Eleven and Strata for the backstage pass!

Friday, July 30, 2004

Caitlin Cary Interview

by Velouria.

Caitlin Cary emerged on the music scene in the "alt-country" genre defining Whiskeytown.  She sang, played violin and was one-half of the greatly revered songwriting team that included the infamous Ryan Adams.  Most people were watching to see what would become of the more boisterous and scene-stealing Ryan when Whiskeytown folded, but they would have been well served to watch out for Caitlin as well.  Ryan may have become the ultimate rockstar, complete with punk rock antics, but Caitlin's solo work has garnered so much critical acclaim, that former Whiskeytown fans have to recognize what a pivotal role she must have played in the band.  She was able to harness the cyclone-like energy of Ryan and nail down some really great songs.  She was the yin to his yang.  Now she is her own force and has proven that she needs no complement.  We were fortunate enough to catch up with Caitlin who currently has many irons in the fire:

V:  Your solo albums, "While You Weren’t Looking" and "I'm Staying Out" were both met with widespread critical acclaim.  You've been compared to Lucinda Williams, Patsy Cline, and Natalie Merchant.  How has the experience being a solo artist differed from that of being in a band?

CC:  Being on my own is radically different, of course, and in most ways, I see it as a vast improvement.  There were a lot of times in Whiskeytown where I felt as though I simply didn't have the force of will to get my own songs done, or even to contribute in creatively satisfying ways to the songs that Ryan was writing.  So by the time the band broke up, I had a collection of songs that simply HAD to get on record.  I didn't know, going in, whether I could be a "front woman" or not--I only knew that I wanted to try, and that I had a bunch of things that needed saying.  I'm in charge of what's happening in my life and in my music and I feel really fortunate to be surrounded by a fantastic group of people who are willing to help me make my music.  I also can't overstate the benefits of having been in Whiskeytown, I didn't have to start from zero, and I'd had a lot of great experiences that taught me what I loved about music. 

V:  You recently teamed up with Tonya Lamm (Hazeldine) and Lynn Blakely (Glory Fountain) to form the group Tres Chicas, how did this collaboration come about?

CC:  I actually met Lynn and Tonya at about the same time, but in different contexts: Hazeldine did an early No Depression tour with Whiskeytown, the Old 97s, and the Pickets.  It wasn't long before they asked me to sit in with my violin, and a strong bond formed.  When Tonya moved back to North Carolina, it wasn't a week before I was in her living room singing songs with her.  I met Lynn because her band Glory Fountain and Whiskeytown played several shows together, and we would sit in the dressing room singing old-time songs just for the fun of it.  I was playing coffee house-type gigs with each of them separately and one night we met up at a Backsliders show and, rather famously in the bathroom, we cooked up the idea of forming a band.  

V:  The stunning, ethereal harmonies on the recent Tres Chicas' release Sweetwater have led critics to dub the group the female answer to the Thorns (the Matthew Sweet, Shawn Mullins, Pete Droge alt-country supergroup), what is it like for you to be able to sing with two such capable singers as Tonya and Lynn?

CC:  Now that I've had the experience of being a solo artist for several years, I'm absolutely overjoyed to be in a band again.   We laugh all the time, and we really communicate on stage.  Singing with them is the rarest kind of treat because it's so effortless and so, well, easy.  We don't sing in three parts all the time, in fact we try really hard not to always fall back on that, mainly out of a fear of being too "lovely," but let me tell you, when I'm singing a line alone and then they chime in, it's like falling onto a fluffy cloud; I hope I'll always be lucky enough to sing with these ladies.

V:  What is your approach to songwriting?  How does it differ when working with other artists versus writing your solo work?

CC:  I can't really say that I have one approach to songwriting; every one seems to get born in a slightly different way.  I will share a few secrets, though: sometimes I'll go to a noisy bar with a good jukebox, pick a bustling spot -- this is best done on tour where you don't know anyone -- and sit there with my notebook intentionally "mishearing" other people's lyrics and writing down what I imagine they might have said.  This hasn't ever yielded a full-fledged song, which is good because I might accidentally "write" "Mississippi Queen" or something, and not know it.  But I've gotten great lines that have eventually become hooks or whole choruses.  Other than that, it's usually while I'm walking or in the shower.  I'll just be minding my business and suddenly a theme, or on rare blessed occasions, a whole song just comes to me.  I'm not sure that the process is really different when I'm writing with someone else, because most often I'll go into co-writing with a pretty well-formed idea of a song and just get the other person to help me, or else the other person is in the same situation and I get to just contribute.  Both ways are really fun--I love catching someone else's "bug"--there's this excitement that people have when they've got a song brewing, and there's nothing greater than getting to share that.

V:  What are you listening to now?

CC:  I'm loving on all my old Ray Charles records since he died--that's been the main thing lately.  And Skillet, my husband, has soaked me in the Shins, which I'm happy about.  I love Amy Allison's most recent record No Frills Friend, Willard Grant Conspiracy's Regard the End, Thad Cockrell's Warmth and Beauty.  And then there's this amazing band called Dolly Varden, whose record The Dumbest Magnets will, I think, always be my "default" record.  Also, I've been watching the Led Zepplin DVD that came out a year or so ago, and making all sorts of fantastical, but probably true, proclamations about their being the most amazing rock band that ever lived.

V:  We are hearing a lot lately about the Chapel Hill, NC, indie music "scene."  Your musical career started in the Chapel Hill/Raleigh area and your label, Yep Records, is based in Chapel Hill.  In your opinion, is the scene all that it is hyped to be and if so, what makes it unique from other music communities?

CC:  I'm not sure that a "scene" ever really exists or doesn't.  I've met people from tiny towns none of us have ever heard of who are supported, cherished, and loved by their "people."  And I would never claim to have any insight into what the "scene" is here--l tend to think of "scene" as something I've never been cool enough to understand or participate in.  I do think we have a tangible group of musicians and fans who all look out for each other.  There's no denying the fact that you can't step out the door here without bumping into someone who's playing or writing or else on their way to see a band.  And that's lucky.  This past fall I helped to put on a benefit for my friend Alejandro Escovedo.  It was an overwhelming success; literally hundreds of musicians and music supporters busted their asses to make it work, and to the best of my knowledge, it was the most successful of all the country-wide benefits in Al's honor.  That made me truly appreciate the community I live in and work out of.

V:  Sounds like a great community.  Can you tell us a little about Alejandro and your relationship with him and why so many great artists are teaming up for benefits to help cover the costs of his hospital bills?

CC:  It's hard to say where this kind of quality comes from, but he's just so damned easy to love; he's kind and engaged with life and sparkling--there's no one who can touch his "star quality," and yet he's completely approachable and generous.  He reached out to me very early on in the Whiskeytown days--way before we were "cool"--and made me feel like a colleague at a time when I really didn't feel I deserved that distinction.  He is a dear man and a true living legend.

V:  Many Americans do not have health insurance, particularly artists, do you have any thoughts on what can be done to remedy this situation?

CC:  I think that the whole system needs to be rethought.  In my opinion, artists should be, more or less, in the employ of their record labels, with all the accompanying benefits and limits.  In other words, while I wouldn't want to give away the possibility of great financial success (if you're Madonna and you sell ten million records, then by all rights you should be rich), but I'd work really hard for $30,000 a year and benefits, and to some extent, I really don't understand why that isn't the norm.  If an artist "makes the cut" and gets signed to a label, then I think that as that label's main "product," the artist should be afforded the same rights as any other employee.  This might be flawed logic--it's possible that this might quash the artist's creative control--but somehow it just makes sense to me.  Whether or not the market will support this, I have no idea, but I'd be pretty interested in trying it out.

V:  Are there any up and coming artists from Chapel Hill we should look out for?

CC:  Please go out of your way to discover the band Goner.  They've put out two records which might not be easy to find, but will be worth the hunt.  Of course I love Thad Cockrell's music, and fully expect he'll be the next big thing.  There's the old guard: Six String Drag, the Accelerators, Finger, The Backsliders--buy any of their records and you won't be sorry.  And Tift Merrit's record is coming out soon, we're all looking forward to that.

V:  It seems like everything you touch is gold, do you have any advice for artists trying to make it in the music industry?

CC:  I don't have any good advice, really, and I can't say that I see anything gold, at least not in this room.  Seriously, though, I can only say that it might be true that hard work pays off sometimes.  I know so many great artists and bands who are struggling, though--I'm struggling too.  These are hard times and I wish I could say that I know the way "in," but I sure don't.

V:  How do you feel about illegal downloading of music on the internet? 

CC:  Well, I'm obviously not in this for the money, or I'd have quit a long time ago, but I do feel strongly that Americans (and folks everywhere) need to learn how to value and support the arts.  I think that a lot of people assume that having a label, a record in the stores, and your name on a marquee means that you're making a living.  I'll just say that MTV Cribs won't be paying a visit to my house any time soon, and that most of my colleagues in the business are in the same or worse shape financially.  I want everyone who wants to hear my music to be able to, and I'm all for the sort of exposure that the Internet can afford us, but it's critical that we somehow get behind helping artists survive.  Maybe that means government support for the arts, because I know that records are expensive, and I'd certainly hate for anyone to miss out on the great music that's being made by people who can't afford to butter their toast.

V:  What can we expect to see from you in the next few years in terms of solo work or projects with other artists?

CC:  I have a lot of irons in the fire right now.  I'm hoping that the next record I work on will be a collection of duets with Thad Cockrell.  We spent a lot of time writing together a year or so ago, and we've been talking about ways to get a record made for quite some time.  And of course there's got to be a new Tres Chicas record soon--we're already writing for that.  I've got new songs for me, but I'm sort of letting them swirl around, feeling like there's no big rush, and like I've got lots to think about in the meantime.  And then there's this rock band that might happen--I mean, really fucking Rock--but I have to make sure that the rockers in question actually like my songs…

V:  Very intriguing, we'll have to look out for that one.  At the time Whiskeytown was formed, you were in North Carolina State's graduate program for creative writing and put your thesis on hold while the band took off.  Did you ever finish it?   

CC:  No, I never did finish the damn thing.  It got to the point where life was so crazy with the band that I just sort of jumped ship.  I knew I didn't want to remain in academia, so it made sense in some ways to bail, but when I pay on my student loan every month, it sort of gives me a twinge.  Maybe someday.

V:  Any plans to pursue writing fiction again?

CC:  I'm sure that at some point in my life I will return to writing fiction.  Right now, I feel that songwriting fulfills that part of my creative life.  What I prefer about making music is that it's most often a communal effort--really sociable and collaborative--whereas fiction writing often seems to occur in a vacuum, with little opportunity to get input and/or feedback.   But I can imagine a time in the future where a quiet office, a blank page, and an "invisible" audience might be really appealing!

V:  A lot has been written about the antics of Ryan Adams while he was a part of Whiskeytown, what was it like to work with someone with such a strong personality?  Did you write songs together or did you write more independently?

CC:  Ryan and I had a great musical "romance" for a few years.  When things got crazy for the band, some of that got lost or at least occluded by what was going on all around us.  But during those first few years, we were really a good team; mostly I functioned as an editor, sort of: I'd ask him to slow down a bit and really take time with what we were writing.  He'd have a tendency to get bored with a song even before it was finished, and so I'd take it home with me, add a verse or two, or hone the lines, and bring it back to him.  Lots of times what I did would get him back into it.  Of course there were times where we'd sit and fire lines back and forth between us in the heat of the moment, or we'd write songs on the fly in the studio.  He taught me a lot about trusting your instincts and allowing yourself to be spontaneous.  His fearless method inspired me, although I must say that I remain a "cautious" and sometimes overly self-critical writer, which serves me pretty well, even though it's sometimes less fun than that old "off the cuff" method we used to have.

V:  It seems like you two were the perfect balance for each other.  There were numerous other musicians who worked with Whiskeytown at one time or another (I’ve heard as many as 30), do you still work with any of them? 

CC:  Oh yes.  I even married one of them: Skillet, the original drummer.  We only allowed ourselves to admit we were in love after he'd left the band the first time.  And many of the Whiskeytown alums are still very close friends.  Mike Daly, who was in the band for a good many years, has been a steadfast friend and collaborator.  Mike Santoro, who was in Whiskeytown for a brief moment, played bass on While You Weren't Looking, and Jon Wurster who toured with us for quite some time was in my band for quite a while, and played on I'm Staying Out.  And while Chris Stamey wasn't ever in Whiskeytown, he sat in with us on several shows, and recorded some of our best stuff.  I can honestly say that I've remained good friends with most of the revolving cast of characters from those days; despite some scarring, most of them have kept their hands in music, and it's been fun to keep up with their work and their lives. 

V:  There have been recent rumors of a possible Whiskeytown reunion, some say at the Austin City Limits Festival in September, any truth to this?  If not, would you consider a reunion or other projects with Ryan Adams? 

CC:   Well, I'm sorry to say that as far as I know, I won't be playing the ACL festival this year, although it's clear that rumors are flying. There's really no truth in these rumors, although there was a time last year when we were considering doing some recording with Ryan and some form of the band. I think it's pretty clear, though, that for the time being, Ryan and I are content to keep busy with our own things.  I've always believed that we would one day make a record together: there's too much history and too much chemistry for that not to happen.  But I would certainly warn folks not to hold their breath--we'll get to it when we're both ready; we're two stubborn Scorpios, and it might be that we'll be old and crotchety by the time we both figure out that we need to sing together again--won't that be fun?

V: It definitely would be fun, I think some of us will hold our breaths anyway.  Thanks Caitlin.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Johnny Neel

keyboardist extraordinairre, who's played extensively with the Allman Brothers and many other heavyweights, has a new cd coming out on his own label. The release is Gun Metal Blue and you can visit his website here.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

U2 recording stolen

A stolen cd may force early U2 release...(no, I won't make a "U2 still hasn't found what its looking for" pun).

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Ozzfest 2004: A Reunion of Metal Gods

by Velouria

Last Sunday 25,000+ came to worship their metal gods at Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, VA. The line-up included Slipknot, Black Label Society (featuring former Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde), Hatebreed, Lamb of God, Lacuna Coil, and Otep, but the real story of Ozzfest 2004 is the appearance of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Slayer, each performing with all original members. Quite a feat considering the age and tumultuous pasts of these bands.

Hard-living Black Sabbath, considered by many to be the first heavy metal band, emerged on the scene 36 years ago. Judas Priest has been around for 30 years, but over a third of that time without original frontman, Rob Halford - a man whose voice is so respected in the metal world that his coming out, before coming out was trendy, had little, if any, affect on the reverence he inspires among metalheads. Slayer's 22 year stint has largely been without their original drummer, a position incredibly important in a speed-metal band.

The scene at Nissan Pavilion Sunday was as white-trash as Kid Rock strives to be, complete with black t-shirts, black socks, mullets, big-bleached hair, tattoos, bandanas, beer guts (on men and women alike), and thousands of hands saluting with their index and pinky fingers up. There were bad-ass biker mamas, burly trucker dudes, scantily clad rock chics, bold ass-grabbing men, MTV kids and a sprinkling of DC professionals looking around at the carnival-like atmosphere in amazement. During the performances the crowd participated by chucking whatever they could get their hands on in the air. The unbelievable amount of trash soaring around seemed an appropriate companion to the music, but it necessitated watching the sky instead of the stage in order to dodge the water bottles and pizza boxes raining down. The occasional smoke bomb here and there topped off the surreal experience.

Slayer's performance kicked off the trilogy of reunion sets with a bang. The band's on and off relationship with original drummer Dave Lombardo is, for now, on again. Tom Araya (vocals, bass), Jeff Hanneman (guitars) and Kerry King (guitars) accepted Dave back into the fold last year after kicking him out eleven years prior. Apparently feeling nostalgic, Slayer thrashed out several of their oldies but goodies including: "South of Heaven" and "Raining Blood," a signature song from the Rick Rubin produced Reign In Blood. The band was tight and the vocals were surprisingly strong given the strain constant screaming must place on Araya's vocal chords.

Slayer was followed by the reunited Judas Priest, Rob Halford (vocals), Ian Hill (bass), Glenn Tipton (guitars) and K.K. Downing (guitars). The band took the stage clad in red and black leather, reminding us that they pulled off a color-based dress code before Jack and Meg of the White Stripes were even born. Priest toured without Halford following his departure from the band in the early 90's, replacing him with Ripper Owens. After seeing Halford's amazing vocal performance on Sunday I can't imagine they were ever as good without him. His five-octave vocal range was shockingly powerful and clear. A few of his piercing screams left the audience dumbfounded and looking around at each other in disbelief. The band wasn't bad either, Glenn and K.K. thrashed out some amazing dueling solos. Highlights of the show included "Breaking the Law" and "Painkiller," but they brought down the house with an encore of "Hell Bent for Leather," which began with Halford's roaring back on stage at the helm of a Harley Davidson.

And then there was Black Sabbath. Those in the audience still sober enough to care seemed nervous before the set, they weren't positive that frontman Ozzy Osbourne could pull it off. After all, he was in a serious ATV accident last December and told by doctors not to tour for at least two years. On top of that, those who have seen Ozzy on the MTV reality show the Osbournes, have born witness to him stumbling around his house slurring and generally incomprehensible. The fear that he might embarrass himself was fueled by Ozzy's moaning the beat to "Iron Man" into a microphone before the band took the stage.

Then a light appeared behind the curtain shrouding the stage and silhouettes of the band appeared, distorted and larger than life. The crowd erupted as the curtain fell and the band launched in to a rocking version of "War Pigs." Screens behind the band showed images of Vietnam, World War II, and Hitler. Interestingly enough, at the first Ozzfest show in Hartford a week ago the "War Pigs" images included a now absent picture of George W. Bush with a red clown nose. I'm guessing that Sabbath fans weren't thrilled with the comparison of our President to Hitler. Ozzy's voice, though warbly at times, was strong. He spent most of the show in front of a teleprompter and occasionally confused lyrics, but all in all he pulled it off. He was sedentary, but full of defiance and personality. Tommy Iommi (guitars) was flawless. A big part of what makes Black Sabbath so unique, apart from their sideshow of "Satanism" and horror, are Iommi's heavy, haunting guitar riffs. This sound is part design, but largely accident, as Iommi lost the tips of his fingers on his right hand in an industrial mishap and had to learn to play guitar with his strings slightly slack. Geezer Butler (bass and lyrics) was also in top form and much more active than the rest. Bill Ward (drums) was solid, though probably shouldn't have taken his shirt off. The show, rounded out with performances of "Paranoid" and "Iron Man," was impressive and definitely worth seeing.

After all, who knows if you'll ever have the chance to see these geezers -- ahem --music legends again?

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Hanson concert review

by Velouria.

Standing in line with hordes of prepubescent girls to see Hanson at D.C.'s Warner Theatre last Thursday reminded me of my own teen years. I was the Doc Marten wearing, Pixies and Smiths worshipping, indie chick in High School who loathed anything Top 40. I looked down my music snob nose at the tow-headed cheerleader types who idolized Debbie Gibson and Richard Marx. My hatred for all things pop has stuck with me through Milli Vanilli, the Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, and the unending string of peroxide-enhanced, vocally challenged Barbie dolls from Samantha Fox to Hillary Duff. I keep waiting for pop to die, but every time I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel, the major-label driven pop train runs right over me, filling my head with annoyingly catchy drivel.

The problem is this: the major labels, who used to take chances with new sounds, can no longer afford to do so. The majors are consolidating and downsizing at unprecedented rates and big spenders, like L.A. Reid, recently squeezed out of the now defunct Arista Records, are being replaced with more fiscally conservative business types. The labels make a quick and sizable profit off of pop stars with little investment in production or artist development. Taking a risk on a talented band with the potential for staying power is no longer attractive to the labels because it doesn't fit in with this new formulaic business model. It's much easier and cheaper to package no-talent pretty people as pop stars or even "alternative" pop-stars (see Maroon 5) than to actually look for and develop real talent.

So is there any hope? The outcome largely depends on whether major labels continue to dominate the pop market or if indies will be able to break through. Indies have always been able to compete in the alternative scene, but pop is typically driven by massive marketing campaigns, which only the majors can afford. Enter Hanson, a band who began as the ultimate in bubble-gum but recently made the bold step of ditching their major label deal with Island/Def Jam and releasing their latest album Underneath on their own imprint, 3CG. They also write their own songs and play their own instruments, in today’s world that's enough to get me to use a free ticket to check them out. OK, granted, you'll never catch me jamming to Hanson on my iPod, but I went to their show hoping to find evidence that pop music may be evolving.

So I checked my indie cred at the door and entered the Warner Theatre only to be immediately engulfed by the sea of raging hormones and the distinct smell of flavored lip gloss. This was uncharted territory for me. As hard as it may be to believe, my friends and I never found Morrissey or Frank Black even remotely attractive, so as a teenager I never experienced a live show so completely driven by sexual energy. The crowd flowed with the hip-gyration of Tyler (21), the faux-punk antics of Mohawk-coifed Isaac (23) and the on beat pounding of Zac (18) and ebbed only occasionally to catch its collective breath. I have to admit, this fraternal trio from Oklahoma with their sweet faces and golden hair looked like they had just jumped out of a Raphael fresco. Taylor was downright hot, an Adonis. But you can't hate them because they are beautiful. These guys also proved their worth as capable musicians.

Isaac exhibited a surprising talent on the guitar and belted out a couple of one-note solos that would have made Neil Young proud. Taylor's piano playing was impressive if not overshadowed by his charismatic performance style. Taylor is simply a force, combining his own magnetic personality with Elvis-like hips, the pigeon-toed foot dance of Dave Matthews, the reckless abandon of Jim Morrison and the calculated bedroom eyes of Justin Timberlake. But what makes Hanson a solid power-pop band is their flawless vocal harmonies. There's something magical about harmonizing brothers; like the Beach Boys and the Bee Gees, their connection takes them to another level. This fact is not lost on harmony-junkie and alt-rocker Matthew Sweet, who is such a big fan of Hanson that he co-wrote the title track of their latest album Underneath. One of the biggest surprises of the night was a cover of the Spenser Davis Group's Gimmie Some Lovin', which, frankly, rocked.

No, Hanson will not be the savior of music, but they may signal a changing of the tide. They prove that you can be pop without over-production, over-synthesizing and rehashed harmonies and that you can do it all without major-label machinery. They have broken into the upper echelons of the Billboard charts and have even managed to get airtime on the non-indie-label-friendly MTV. They will probably never be the next Beatles, but they may pave the way for the band that will be. And hopefully one day those crazy screaming girls will appreciate what that means for them as music fans.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Alan Anton of the Cowboy Junkies

The Cowboy Junkies have sold millions of records to critical acclaim and have managed to stay true to their musical roots, and each other, since they started playing in 1985.

Alan Anton, along with siblings Margo, Michael and Peter Timmins make up this quartet that is deeply rooted in blues, folk and country styles. The band's often haunting sound and Margo's soulful voice channels the ghosts of greats like Hank Williams and Robert Johnson while forging an musical identity all their own. The band is currently touring in support of their latest release "One Soul Now." I was lucky enough to connect with bassist Alan Anton for some quick scoop on one of my favorite groups.

JD: How did you meet to form the band?

AA: I met Michael in kindergarten and we grew up listenting to music but didn't attempt to play until we were twenty.

JD: What's the story behind the name "Cowboy Junkies"?

AA: We needed a grabby name when we started out to attract people to our shows and those two words came out together and we thought it could work.

JD: And here I thought it was something profound! Who are your musical influences?

AA: We're all influenced by the 60'S and early 70'S stuff - Dylan, Neil Young, Velvet Underground especially - 70'S punk was also big for us - Joy Division, The Fall, The Cure especially. These days we listen to a wide range of stuff - O.V. Wright to P.J. Harvey.

JD: What bands/artists are you listening to now?

AA: Currently I'm enjoying "The Kings of Leon" and the new Wilco record.

JD: Was bass your first instrument?

AA: I played guitar in the first band Mike and I started, but I played it like a bass so I thought "Hey maybe I should play bass."

JD: Any particular gear you stick to in your playing?

AA: My '73 Fender Jazz is the only think I play. Rigs change.

JD: I understand that you've done some work in film. What have you worked on?

AA: Most recently I worked on the music for the film "Owning Mahoney" starring Phillip Seymour-Hoffman.

JD: cool, great actor. You're also a hockey fan... How did the Flames manage to lose the Cup?

AA: we could debate that for days!

JD: true...who's your team?

AA: My team is Montreal.

JD: well I don't want to dwell on your misery there...I read that The Trinity Sessions - one of my all time favorite cds - was recorded at the Holy Trinity church in downtown Toronto for $250 using a single microphone. Is that true?

AA: yes, and fifty dollars of that was for pizza!

JD: That's amazing considering the tens of thousands of dollars spent producing the typical hit record these days. What's the band's approach to songwriting?

AA: Mike writes the songs and brings them in to Pete and me to work on musically, to figure out where it should go. Then Margo figures out how to sing it.

JD: Where did you record "One Soul Now" and who did you work with on it?

AA: We recorded in our rehearsal space which we've outfitted with pretty good gear and managed to engineer it ourselves.

JD: You have several recordings to choose from now for material to play on tour, can fans expect a sampling of everything?

AA: We try to include a wide variety of stuff and try to work up different versions of them as well.

You can find out where to see the Junkies here - you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

The Strokes

Ryan from Wiz Kid Management tells me that the Strokes are working on new material and are in pre-production with a few new songs. Ryan says the guys are taking their time with the writing/recording process and that the new cd could be out Spring 2005 or a little later.

Also, The Strokes have been added to the lineup for Little Steven's International Underground Garage Festival. An offshoot of Little Steven's Underground Garage radio show, the event will be held Aug. 14 at New York's Randall's Island. Iggy and the Stooges, the New York Dolls and Bo Diddley also share the bill with several other bands.

Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

It seems like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are everywhere these days. They just performed on the MTV Movie Awards and are on the cover of this month's SPIN. Coming out of the NYC garage/punk scene, the group has been touring extensively around the world the last few years and making headlines and new fans everywhere they go. Brian Chase, the YYYs one man rhythm section, displays his sardonic New York wit and answers some probing, never before asked questions in an exclusive, no holds barred Hot Sauce interview.

(excuse me for a sec while I mop up some of the sarcasm from the floor...)

JD: How did you guys meet to form the Yeah Yeah Yeahs?

BC: I met Karen one day in front of the St. Marks bookshop. She gave me a tape of the first yyys songs.

JD: You guys just played the huge KROQ concert with The Strokes, The Beastie Boys, Bad Religion, Modest Mouse and others. How did that experience of playing in a big space compare to some of the club gigs you've done?

BC: the people at the back of a larger venue look smaller than those at the back of a smaller venue. the people at the front of a smaller venue sometimes look bigger than those at the front of a bigger venue but sometimes they don't.

JD: Funny you say that because I've noticed that the bands I've seen in clubs are MUCH taller looking that bands I see in arenas...Did you get to check out some of the other bands? Any favorites?

BC: The Strokes and Beastie Boys stood out from the rest.

JD: How cool was it to see yourselves on the recent cover of SPIN?

BC: it's like in the movie back to the future when Chirstopher Lloyd tells Michael J. Fox that no matter what happens he can't let himself in the past see himself from the future or else everything will get fucked up.

JD: When did you first know you wanted to be a performer or in a band?

BC: When i was younger i would dance in public. sometimes people would give me money but i never took any.

JD: Were the drums your first instrument?

BC: the drums were my first instrument. i took private lessons when i was around 6 years old at a dance studio on long island.

JD: Who are your musical influences?

BC: some influences starting with the hard 'c' sound: cage, crumb, can, chris cutler, chrome chrranks, contortions, crystals, coltrane, coleman, cash,
kecak. if you don't know what kecak is then i insist that you check it out.

JD: ok, besides those starting with the letter C, what bands are you listening to right now?

BC: Oakley Hall and Oneida put out my two new favorite records. Sightings is my new favorite live band. i really like kaito's new record. I haven't heard the new Ikara Colt, but their last record, Chat and Business, is brilliant. a new brooklyn alt-cuntry duo called Christy and Emily is pretty awesome.

JD: Who is the best band you've seen/heard that doesn't get the recognition they deserve?

BC: Oakley Hall, but just you wait.

JD: It can be a touchy subject, but what's your view on the downloading of songs from the net?

BC: the public should only have access to what the artists chooses to make available for free to the public. If I want people to have my album for free then I could, for example, put mp3s of all those songs up on my website. If I only want people to have access for free to select songs then I would only put up those select songs. If the public downloads for free that which the artist doesn't make available for free then the public is stealing.

JD: Yeah I think people often see it as hurting the record companies - some of whom are deserving - and don't realize that it hurts the artists. Most people don't realize that it is often quite a while before the artist themselves actually see any money for their work.

JD: What's the band's approach to songwriting?

BC: 1 part bourbon, 1 part scotch, and 1 part beer.

JD: ah yes, the George Thoroughgood approach...Where did you record Maps and your latest songs? Who did you work with on it?

BC: Maps, along with the rest of the songs from Fever To Tell, was recorded at Headgear
in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Dave Sitek, who now plays guitar in,
writes songs for, and produces TV on the Radio, worked as producer for the FTT sessions.

JD: When do you expect to head back into a studio for your next project?

BC: We're taking a break starting in late August to clear our heads from the past two and a half years of being on the road. Once we're ready we'll start writing new songs and getting down to business.

JD: Sounds good, thanks Brian!

You can check out the YYYs on July 24 when they play the New York Summer Stage in Central Park with Devo and StellaStar.

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Grace Potter Rocking The Gear circa 2006!