Thursday, March 31, 2005

Trey Anastasio to join John Butler Trio dates in May

Australia's chart topping John Butler Trio, will kickoff more U.S. tour dates beginning April 29th at Jazzfest in New Orleans. The acclaimed three-piece will be hitting the ground running in support of their recently released U.S. debut "Sunrise Over Sea." The album, which hit stores March 15, sold over 4000 units its' first week and landed at #8 on the Alternative New Artist Chart. In May, Trey Anastasio of the legendary Phish, will join the band for a few shows.

Critics across the country have praised the group. According to the New York Post, [Butler] plays "the best acoustic soul since Dave Matthews," while Billboard calls Sunrise Over Sea, "wonderfully overwhelming." The kudos don't stop there, Performing Songwriter calls Butler "a force to be reckoned with," and the Dayton Daily News cites the trio as "blending styles of the two Bobs - Dylan and Marley."

The John Butler Trio established themselves as one of Australia's most successful independent artists in recent history. Sunrise Over Sea debuted at #1 in their native country and is officially four times certified platinum in Australia and platinum in New Zealand. The band was nominated for five ARIA Awards in 2004, (Australian Grammys) taking home a total of three including "Best Male Vocalist," "Best Roots & Blues Album" and "Best Independent Artist." In addition, John Butler recently set up his own Arts Grant Scheme in Australia to help benefit emerging artists.

The John Butler Trio just completed a successful run of dates, which included sold out shows in San Francisco, New York and Austin. The band have diligently built a substantial touring base and are committed to spending much of 2005 on the road here in the States.

Dates follow:

4/29 New Orleans, LA New Orleans Jazzfest
5/01 Nashville, TN 3rd & Lindsay
5/05 Indianapolis, IN In Vogue
5/06 Atlanta, GA Fox Theatre *
5/07 Cincinnati, OH Taft Theatre *
5/08 Milwaukee, WI Eagle's Ballroom *
5/10 Seattle, WA Chop Suey
5/11 Portland, OR Douglas Fir Lounge
5/13 Joshua Tree, CA Joshua Tree Music Festival
5/14 Los Angeles, CA Troubadour
5/15 San Diego, CA House of Blues
5/18 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of Living Arts
5/22 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
6/12 Manchester, TN Bonnaroo Music Festival
6/16 Telluride, CO Telluride Bluegrass Festival
6/18 Lawrence, KS Wakarusa Music Festival

* w/ Trey Anastasio

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Black Crowes Announce Tour & Dates with Tom Petty

After finishing up the seven sold-out shows at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom, the Black Crowes will be touring this summer with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The major summer trek with Tom Petty begins June 8 in Florida, and wraps July 30 in upstate New York, with tickets going on sale soon. This news comes on the heels of the seven sold-out shows in New York City, which were their first official shows since the group took a hiatus after their last concert in October of 2001. The group also announced that they will be headlining some additional shows and festival dates that run from April 21 through May 29.

Headlining & Festival dates

Tue 3/22 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom
Wed 3/23 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom
Fri 3/25 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom
Sat 3/26 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom
Sun 3/27 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom
Tue 3/29 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom
Wed 3/30 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom
Thu 4/21 Houston, TX Verizon Wireless Theatre
Fri 4/22 New Orleans, LA New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest.
Sat 4/23 Gulfport, MS Gulfport Grand Casino
Mon 4/25 Myrtle Beach, SC House of Blues
Tue 4/26 Charleston, SC The Plex
Wed 4/27 Raleigh, NC Disco Rodeo
Fri 4/29 Knoxville, TN Knoxville Civic Auditorium
Sat 4/30 Asheville, NC Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
Sun 5/1 Memphis, TN Beale Street Music Festival
Thu 5/5 Atlanta, GA The Tabernacle
Fri 5/6 Atlanta, GA The Tabernacle
Thu 5/7 Atlanta, GA The Tabernacle
Tue 5/10 Boston, MA Orpheum Theatre
Wed 5/11 Boston, MA Orpheum Theatre
Fri 5/13 Hampton Beach, NH Hampton Beach Casino
Sat 5/14 Hampton Beach, NH Hampton Beach Casino
Mon 5/16 Montreal, CAN Metropolis
Tue 5/17 Toronto, CAN Kool Haus
Sun 5/22 Pensacola, FL Pensacola Springfest
Tue 5/24 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution
Wed 5/25 Orlando, FL House of Blues
Sat 5/28 Little Rock, AR Riverfest
Sun 5/29 Montgomery, AL Montgomery Jubilee
Sat 6/11 Manchester, TN Bonnaroo Music Festival

With Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers:

Wed 6/8 Ft. Myers, FL Germain Amph
Fri 6/10 Tampa, FL Ford Amph
Tue 6/14 Cinncinati, OH Riverbend Music Center
Wed 6/15 Pittsburgh, PA Post-Gazette Pavilion
Fri 6/17 Camden, NJ Tweeter Waterfront
Sat 6/18 Mansfield, MA Tweeter Center
Tue 6/21 Wantagh, NY Tommy Hilfiger @ Jones Beach Th.
Wed 6/22 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Ctr
Fri 6/24 Hartford, CT The Meadows
Sat 6/25 Darien Center, NY Darien Lakes Amph
Tue 6/28 Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena
Thu 6/30 Cuyahoga Falls, OH Blossom Music Center
Fri 7/1 Milwaukee, WI Marcus Amph-Summerfest
Fri 7/15 Tinley Park, IL Tweeter Center
Sat 7/16 Cadott, WI RockFest
Wed 7/20 Clarkston, MI DTE Energy Music Theater
Wed 7/27 Columbia, MD Merriweather Post Pavilion
Sat 7/30 Saratoga Springs, NY SPAC

Monday, March 28, 2005

H. Michelle: Ready to Conquer Rap and Beyond

Born Senegalese, raised in Chicago and now an L.A. transplant, H. Michelle's career has gathered steam, and now she's ready to blow. With a unique vocal and fashion style and lyrics like "I jus' wanna fu%$, I don't wanna make luv," she shouldn't have any trouble gaining further notice.

H. Michelle, f.k.a. Helluva, is multi-talented. She deejay's, models, writes, produces and is making a guest appearance in not one but two upcoming feature films. With a fuse of hip-hop, metal, and soul, H. Michelle creates an incomparable sound. H. has toured with 50 Cent and has been featured on songs with several multi-platinum artists such as Coolio, and Fieldy of Korn. Her hot track "Done Deal" was featured as the end title piece for Jamie Foxx's movie "Held Up." H. was also featured on Swedish rap sensation Infinite Mass' platinum single "I'll be Down."

Although she's busy working on new material and getting ready for some concert dates, H still took some time for us to share some insights into her background and career.

Where did you grow up and when did you start performing?

I grew up in Chicago. I was a bit of a tomboy growing up, so I had to always keep up with the boys. All the cool boys at my school would rap in the playground and at talent shows and everyone loved them for it. I wasn't going to let those stupid boys out do me, so I got one of those stupid boys to starting writing raps for me. Unbeknownst to him, he had created a monster who's skills surpassed his and everyone else on the playground. By the ripe old age of 12, I was already performing at arenas with people like Eazy-E, Scarface, and Too Short.

Have you alway combined DeeJaying and rapping?

I was always behind the mic. I actually started Deejaying so I could rap more.
Whatever venue I spin at, I don't hesitate to rock the mic and the party at the
same time.

With the top rappers traditionally being male, do you think people have different expectations from female MCs? How do you combat people's perceptions of female rappers?

People often discount the abilities of female MC's. There is a common misconception that female MC's don't write thier own raps and this is true for some female and male MC's as well. However I pen my own masterpieces, no one can tell my story better than I. Often times if a female MC is not associated with a click or a male presence, she's not official. I combat these stereotypes and challenges by discrediting their validity. I don't need 30 of my closes homies on stage like so many male MC's do, I think it's cowardly. I simply hold my own minus the posse.

Who are your music role models?

Different artists inspire me at different times for differnt reasons. Right now I'm inspired a great deal by Kanye West, because I can so relate to his struggle, so I have a great appreciation for his successes. 50 Cent is also inspirational right now, he won't shut the fuck up, he totally speaks his mind and he's truly free in his music, despite the challenges he's had to overcome.

What's in your cd player or iPod now?

Joss Stone, John Legend (he makes you feel good), Korn, Gwen Stefani, and The Massacre is in heavy rotation.

What influences your rapping?

110% personal experiences. My life is so fantastic at times, I mean the shit I
encounter on a daily basis is sometimes so ridiculous that people are looking at me like yeah either she's crazy or she's making it up. It makes for great material.

I understand you have a jewelry line as well, when/how did you get that started?

I've been making jewelry for a little over a year now. I'm not a person that follow's the trend, so I don't always have to be iced out or "bling-blingin'" if you will. I wanted to create a line of jewelry that was hot, sexy, sparkly, girly and fun without the astronomical price tag.

Who are some of your jewelry clients?

Actor Megan Good, fashion designer Barbara Bates and Charlenes on Melrose currently carries my line.

You've done some stage acting as well. Its all performing, but compare acting to rapping...differences? like one better?

As an actor there's a freedom that allow's me to live outside myself and experience the characters fully, so it can be challenging at times, letting go of my own personal ideas and submerging myself into the character. As a rapper the character you're playing is you, and that on stage experience is nothing short of orgasmic.

Are movie roles in your future?

I just completed the short Chi-Town, written and directed by Larenz Tate. I'm in the courtship stage of another film, so we'll see what happens.

What's you're approach to recording? Do you right out your lyrics and/or do some freestyle in the studio?

I create all of my songs and co-produce a many of them as well. I don't really write raps. I kind of make them up in my head as I go about my day; I store them in big file cabinet in my head and access them as I need to. The only time I write my material down is if I'm recording and I'm having challenges with the sequence. When you keep your arsenal of raps stored in your head, it's easy to switch a word or a line around, so I may write it down so I can keep the session moving. Freestyling for me is an energy and a momentum and those elements must be present for me to create an effective freestyle.

When can we expect new music from you?

I'm in the studio right now workin' it, I have Polar Bear, Mike City, Negro Kinevil, and myself on production and I'm hoping to have Fieldy (of Korn) come in and do some bass for me.

You often perform with a live band, do you feel that seperates you from others who only perform with backing tracks and/or a DJ?

Without question. There's a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm on stage with a live band, and it's easy to transfer that e&e to the audience. When you work off dat, cd, or deejay it's a lot more challenging to create that energy and transfer it to the audience, and there's also a lot of little helpers you privy to with live music. That's why you see so many male rappers with 20 people on stage with them, in an effort to create the necessary energy. I think that's weak and cowardly and takes the artist stock down. When I'm up there with my band it's just me on the mic, no crutches, no posse, so I damn well better hold my own. There's no other option.

Keep up with H. Michelle on her website and you can see her perform live Saturday April 2, 2005 at Forbidden City, 1718 N. Vine in Hollywood. Showtime is 10:00p.m.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Robert Cray, Etta James, Muddy Waters and Ike Turner To Be Inducted Into Hollywood's Rockwalk

The Robert Cray Band Robert Cray has made his mark as an internationally renowned singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer. A five time Grammy Award winner (11 time nominee), Cray's signature sound grew from blues, rock, jazz, gospel and, most notably, soul influences. Cray's 1986 major label debut, the double platinum, Strong Persuader, broke through to a mainstream audience and ignited a resurgence in roots music and international credibility for Cray. He has since been honored with two more gold albums and has collaborated on stage, film, and record with The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Tina Turner, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and many more. As a guitarist he has staked out his own unique turf as evidenced by Fender's creation of the Robert Cray model Stratocaster. As a songwriter he has been covered by B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Albert King and even Tony Bennett's Grammy winning CD, Playing With My Friends, is named for the title track co-written by Cray. This past year alone, Cray notched standout appearances in Eric Clapton's Crossroads film and DVD as well as Martin Scorsese's Lightning In A Bottle All Star concert film. The Robert Cray Band just notched their 1000th performance as a unit and their new CD, Twenty, is set for a May 24 release followed by an extensive worldwide tour.

Etta James is an artist of genuinely legendary stature. This three-time Grammy award winner, NARAS Lifetime Achievement and W.C. Handy Blues Foundation honoree's career began in the early Fifties when the Los Angeles born singer was first discovered by Johnny Otis while still a teenager. He went on to produce her first hit, "Dance With Me Henry," which immediately topped the R&B charts nationwide. Her tenure with Chess Records began in 1960 and would continue for 16 years with a string of landmark hits including her signature version of "At Last." Etta has continued to make definitive blues, soul and R&B music over the last four decades. Her last album "Blues to the Bone" was released in 2004 and earned her a GRAMMY award this year for Best Traditional Blues Album.

Ike Turner: Considered by many to be one of the founding fathers of Rock 'n' Roll, Turner fused some blues, country and lots of R&B starting with his Sun Records recordings. A 19-year-old Ike Turner and his band "The Kings of Rhythm" sold 500K of their first single "Rocket 88" in 1951. After 50 years of legendary recordings and touring, Turner recently released what many feel is the best album of his career, "Here and Now," which was nominated for a Grammy. Turner will bring "Memphis To London" for a three week tour in April.

Muddy Waters: McKinley Morganfield was born on April 4th, 1915, this would be his 90th birthday (passed away on April 30, 1983.) From the start it was he who dominated the music and led the way in style sound, repertoire and instrumentations. Beginning as a greatly popular club performer from the mid-1940s on, he later as the most influential recording artist in the new amplified blues idiom. In the years 1948-55, he put forth for definition the fundamental approaches and usages of modern blues in a remarkable series of ground-breaking and classic records. In the years since, the style Waters delineated has been extended, fragmented, elaborated and otherwise commercialized, but the fundamental earthy, vital, powerful sound of the postwar blues as defined by Muddy and his bandsmen has yet to be excelled or equaled. It is no accident The Rolling Stones chose their name from one of Waters' finest early recordings.

Hollywood's RockWalk is the only sidewalk gallery dedicated to honoring those artists who have made a significant impact and lasting contribution to the growth and evolution Rock 'n' Roll, Blues and R&B. Their handprints and signatures will reside alongside other equally accomplished musicians and innovators such as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Lou Reed, Johnny Cash, Aerosmith, B. B. King, Van Halen, James Brown, George Martin, Sonic Youth, Brian Wilson, Carlos Santana, Carl Perkins, John Lee Hooker, The Ramones, Bonnie Raitt and Holland-Dozier-Holland among others.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

"End Of The Century" documents Ramones

Last week, Magnolia Pictures and Rhino Home Video released "END OF THE CENTURY: THE STORY OF THE RAMONES" on DVD, a portrait of the seminal New York punk rock band. Considered by many the gods of rock 'n' roll's fundamentalist fringe, the Ramones are a band whose influence reaches over several generations of musicians and fans alike. End of The Century aims to be both a celebration of their music and a document of the group's road to acclaim, pitted with emotional power struggles and substance abuse.

It was a rocky road for the pseudo-brothers: the financial success that always seemed around the corner continually faded in the distance, as British bands they inspired were crowned the "originators of punk" by the mainstream music press. The film's title refers to their 1980 album of the same name, produced by Phil Spector, an endeavor that strained the already tenuous relations between band members. Poor record sales crushed dreams of rock financial glory and turned gigging into their primary means of employment. All the frustration they felt against an industry that gave up on them divided them further as they seemingly turned their anger against each other.

Captured by New York-based filmmakers Michael Gramaglia and Jim Fields, End of The Century moves from the band's CBGB and London heydays, the decade-long silence between Joey and Johnny caused by a dispute over a girl, through to the deaths of Joey and Dee Dee Ramone and their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 2002. Together with unseen live and studio footage, extensive interviews with ex-band mates, family, friends and figures from New York City's punk scene, End of The Century not only documents an important chapter in music history, but also chronicles the bonds of childhood friendship and their gradual breakdown.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Copyright Office Proposes Amendments To Rules Governing Reports Of Use Of Sound Recordings

The Copyright Office of the Library of Congress is proposing amendments to the rules governing reports of use of sound recordings under the statutory license for preexisting subscription services. The amendments include requirements that preexisting subscription services report the copyright notice accompanying record albums or sound recordings, where available; and an extension of the time allowed for filing reports of use to comply with current payment periods for preexisting subscription services.

Digital audio services provide copyrighted sound recordings of music for the listening enjoyment of the users of those services. In order to provide these sound recordings, however, a digital audio service must license the copyrights to each musical work, as well as the sound recording of the musical work. There are two statutory licenses in the Copyright Act that enable a digital audio service to transmit performances of copyrighted sound recordings: section 112 and section 114. 17 U.S.C. 112 & 114. Congress initially established these licenses in the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995, Pub. L. 104-39, for subscription digital audio services then in existence, and later amended sections 112 and 114 in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, Pub. L. 105-304, to include other types of digital audio services. It is the former category of services (hereinafter referred to as "preexisting subscription services") to which this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking applies.

The public may comment on the proposed changes. Comments are due by April 14, 2005.

The Strokes Drummer Fabrizio Moretti Launches JuDi Foundation

The driving rhythm behind The Strokes, drummer Fabrizio Moretti, has been positively impacting the lives of young people in New York and beyond by spearheading his own foundation while joining efforts of New York's music industry foundation Road Recovery.

Together with family and friends, the Moretti family recently launched the JuDi Foundation whose goal is to support, finance, and promote public education relating to juvenile diabetes information and research. "Diabetes has touched our family directly. It is a disease that can literally be arrested through early detection and ongoing medical care. Moretti explained, "The primary goal of the JuDi Foundation is to promote early screening, identification, and treatment of children suffering from diabetes, along with raising funds for research using embryonic stem cells, particularly research that is operating without governmental funding."

While launching the JuDi Foundation, Moretti was introduced to Road Recovery, the New York based non-profit foundation whose action programs join music industry professionals whose lives have been touched by drug/alcohol addiction with teenagers in an environment that nurtures creativity and mentorship while offering positive alternatives.

Both Road Recovery and the JuDi Foundation speak the same language in furthering a message of healthy living to youth. In February 2005, Moretti personally spent an evening with youth from the Caron Foundation, where Road Recovery has developed an on-going program for teens in early recovery. Moretti began working with Crazy James, a band comprised of teens whose recovery spans from days to a year, during pre-production rehearsals for their upcoming recording sessions. Moretti demonstrated proper drumming techniques and song crafting skills to the teens. He referenced his real life experiences as the drummer for his band, and how he has learned to bring life's experience and feelings to drumming. Moretti encapsulated such knowledge with sensitivity and intuition, with the ability to connect as a peer-to-peer, instead of the façade as a rock star talking down to a fan.

In furthering his involvement with Road Recovery Caron Foundation teen alumni, Moretti chose to get involved with Crazy James' first CD recording in a world-class professional recording studio. He has been lending a hand in sitting in the studio with the teens, advising on the recording session with Road Recovery's pros (Groove Collective bandmates Jay Rodriguez & Chris Theberge, with Owen Comaskey, songwriter/Talent Buyer - Crash Mansion/BLVD), and showing support to teens trying to lead a healthy life through the power of music and shared experience. Crazy James' music draws from each band member's life experiences: going from confusion, anger, desolation and near death self-destruction to hope, conviction, peace and life. A Spring release is anticipated.

Moretti explains, "Road Recovery seems to trade sadness and disparity for focus and creativity. The life stories of these courageous people are testimonies of their strength and maturity. Watching them carry each other with kindness, sensitivity and regard was moving, but seeing them work together, writing music and allocating their passions to something communal, was inspiring. Music has never seemed so therapeutic as it does with these kids through Road Recovery."

Monday, March 21, 2005

"Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster" Wins Best Documentary At The Independent Spirit Awards

The critically acclaimed documentary "Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster" has won the award for Best Documentary at the prestigious Independent Spirit Awards, which took place this past weekend in Los Angeles.

The film, directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky ("Brother's Keeper," "Paradise Lost"), offers a revealing behind-the-scenes look at Metallica as they confront personal demons and their relationships with each other.

Drummer Lars Ulrich had this to say about the award, "It's both exciting and gratifying to know that the Independent Spirit Awards has acknowledged our film as the Best Documentary of 2004. Never could we have imagined the impact this film would have on our lives, and the lives of others. Metallica has always tried to push the envelope as much as possible. Exposing ourselves to such a degree in this film was never really part of the plan -- and none of us had any idea of how it would turn out. However, it worked out to be something truly special for all of us. Along with all of the positive feedback that the film has generated from the critics and fans alike, winning this award is truly special."

SXSW's shocking finale: Japan's Electric Eel Shock blows Austin away

AUSTIN, Texas (by Greg Barr) - Having spent four days in search of the best music that the 1,300 bands assembled at the South by Southwest music conference have to offer, it was kind of refreshing in a way that on my final night of heavy drinking late Saturday while tromping up and down Austin’s Sixth Street that some old-school punk bands were just what I needed to sober up from this extended musical hangover.

Earlier in the day, I saw a couple of bands that, putting it politely, sucked. Canada's Whitey Houston - consisting of a drummer and bassist - showed that they do not have even one tiny morsel of talent when compared to, say, the artfully noisy Canadian drum-bassist band, Death From Above 1979. I can see why Whitey Houston has a third member, a hot brunette in dual ponytails wearing an extremely short shirt and platform boots who plays maracas and smiles a lot. Unfortunately, even this nice distraction does not hide the fact that the music is crap.

But late that night, inside the grimy, dark Beerland club - now there's an appropriate name - several bands on San Francisco's Gearhead punk label were kicking ass and taking names. I was a gleeful, willing participant. Though Gitogito Hustler, the all-chick band from Japan, were merely passable, the set kicked way, way up several notches when Canadian punk band the Million Dollar Marxists (among my top five for best band name at SXSW) took to the stage.

Vocalist Luke Martin seemed on a mission to break stuff, as Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst once said. Martin swung from a microphone cord wrapped around a ceiling beam, tore down the wall-sized SXSW banner from behind the stage and wore it like a cape. He danced briefly with a hot chick in the front row, stuck his head up under the shirt of a photographer and then yanked my SXSW badge from around my neck and wore it for the rest of the show. He pretty much knocked over every mike stand on stage while repeatedly slamming his own mike to the ground. I'm presuming he gave the sound man a big tip.

As for the Ottawa band's actual music, well, it never really took a back seat to the histrionics. M$M's punk is definitely their father's punk. Today's horde of Warped Tour pop-punksters are really just shamateur emo bands that turn up a little louder, and few play punk like its heyday in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Next up was Amsterdam band NRA, also old-school in its approach but also in years, considering the band has been around since 1989. With several Dutch fans in the audience, the band roared through its set and made repeated references to Holland's legal hash and marijuana bars. (Note to self: have secretary schedule fact-finding mission to Amsterdam this month).

Finally, after I wipe off more beer from my head spilled by overzealous fans, at the stroke of midnight it was time for the trio everyone came to see, Tokyo's Electric Eel Shock, which previewed tracks from its forthcoming CD, Beat Me.

Drummer Tomoharu Ito strode to the stage with Black Sabbath's Iron Man playing over the sound system, wearing only a strategically placed white sock over his own electric eel, as the band started playing along with the song and finished it off by themselves.

Ito performed, somehow, using two sticks in each hand held like chopsticks, and stood up repeatedly to flair his white sock around. The star of the show, tiny guitarist Aki Morimoto stood atop an extra speaker cabinet placed on stage so fans at the back could actually see him. He shredded through the usual punk chords while screaming out cheery sing-a-long ditties such as "Bastard," but pulled out Van Halen and Metallica style guitar solos at will whenever he felt the urge.

"You rike hairy metal?," Morimoto screamed out at one point. Take a wild guess at what the crowd, all of whom have thrust their hands in the air in the double-horn salute, yelled back.

From there, I rushed across the street to Room 710 just in time to see Richmond, Virginia beer-and-weed rockers Alabama Thunderpussy (not to be confused with Nashville Pussy, playing on the other side of town) start their set at the Relapse Records showcase, and I'm thinking, what’s with the nearly-naked drummer thing? ATP's tattooed drummer is wearing only a small black thong, but thankfully keeps his electric eel to himself. This band of hair farmers seriously rawks, despite the fact that vocalist Johnny Weills concedes that three days of partying at SXSW has taken its toll. "You motherfuckers have wore me out," he proclaims.

Finally, I find my car and drive about a mile to Momo's to catch the final few songs by another Canadian act, Winnipeg's The Waking Eyes, which at this point, I could use a pair of myself. I ordered another Dos Equis beer to see if that helps. These guys are pretty good too, and I'm impressed to see another young rock band that has decided it's OK not to sound like a carbon copy of every other Clear Channel-endorsed alt-rock band who whine about some girl and have all forgotten that guitar lead breaks exist. The Waking Eyes end the set with a cover of the Beatles' "Come Together," asking anyone in the crowd to join them on stage to sing. It's what SXSW is all about.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

SXSW Music Festival Winds Down in Style

AUSTIN, Texas (by Greg Barr) - Remember the name Kyle Riabko. This 17-year-old white kid from, of all places, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, apparently has the ghosts of super freakster Rick James and guitar slinger Stevie Ray Vaughan fighting for control of his mind and body.

Playing acoustic guitar and accompanied only by a drummer, Riabko did much more than fill up a room Friday at a BBQ party thrown by Canadian organizers of the South by Southwest music conference's more polite cousin in Toronto, North by Northeast.

Riabko already has much of his own style to go along with his natural talent. You can't fake soul, and Riabko has a shitload. Absolutely shredding all kinds of funky riffs on his acoustic guitar and with a voice that sounds years older, the kid even tossed a few lines for effect from Michael Jackson's Thriller into the mix.

Riabko has been signed to Columbia (watch for his debut CD in April-May) and this month has been doing some dates in the U.S. opening for The Wallflowers. Record label and industry reps who are in the audience grooving along to his music tell me that Riabko is incredibly grounded for a teenager and has a very savvy manager. He'll need both assets to avoid being used and spit out by an industry that no longer wants to invest in artists for the long term.

From there, here's a quick snapshot of the rest of my night at SXSW:

Next up I head over to see another Canadian, Jim Bryson, who is kicking off the No Depression magazine showcase. Bryson was mainly in town to play guitar and keyboards behind fellow Ottawa singer Kathleen Edwards who has just released her second CD, Back to Me, but judging by the huge crowd at his gig - Edwards herself had been hyping the show to anyone who would listen the past two days - there's a good chance Bryson could soon get the buzz that Edwards had back in 2003 when the SXSW gurus picked her as a major breakout artist.

His roadhouse meets the heartland rock, accompanied by extremely intelligent and poignant lyrics certainly isn't the kind of crap that fills up commercial rock radio in North America. He needs all the help he can get.

Next, I drive to south Austin where my own band is playing a quick set. Sorry, this ain't about me. At 11 p.m. after our short set we stop for a quick beer at the infamous Horseshoe Lounge, and then it's back over to the main drag on Sixth Street for more SXSW. First, we're lured into a club by the infectious dance beats of Lederhosen Lucil, who dresses like Heidi with an accompanying fake blonde wig with pigtails and speaks with a Bavarian accent but is actually from Montreal.

Accompanied by a bassist and drummer dressed like college computer geeks whom she addresses as her Nerds, Lucil has heads bobbing to her insanely captivating beats and her classically trained keyboard chops as she playfully alternates lyrics in English, German and French. One of the funniest moments of the night comes when a dude wearing one of those beer-can helmets jumps up onto the stage through an open window on the street behind Lucil and poses behind her.

From there we stagger up the street to check out some very ill rappers from Vancouver (it seems the Canadians have taken over SXSW this year) called Josh Martinez and Sleep are the Chicharones (think Beastie Boys on Red Bull) and finally end up near 2 a.m. Saturday morning at the Hard Rock Café, where Austin's own Vallejo - kind of like the younger nephews of Santana who blend in elements of metal, punk and tons of energy - are tearing it up. Sure, Los Lonely Boys get all the ink down here - and won a Grammy Award this year - but I have to say this: Vallejo has been doing it better and for much longer. "Thanks to coming to Austin," one of the Vallejo brothers says as the set winds down, "the best city in the USA." On this night, I'm not arguing with that.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Gogol Bordello rocks Austin's SXSW Music Festival

AUSTIN, Texas (by Greg Barr) - It’s nearly 2 a.m. Friday morning, and I’m going to pass on that second can of Red Bull. Who needs that extra buzz when you’re in the mosh pit at a Gogol Bordello rock show? Those orchestrators of bolshevik rock 'n' roll lunacy from New York City have a room full of people - well, actually it's a covered tent - leaping and screaming in unison.

The South by Southwest music clusterfuck is all about the next big thing. Who will get signed? Who will sign them? Who will hurl chunks first? (Sorry, actually that's a side bet with my buddies). So it's nice to know that Gogol Bordello, which performs year after year at the Austin nightclub showcases, still is arguably the most energetic band on the planet.

With vocalist Eugene Hutz stripped to the waist and leaping around the stage like some blitzkrieg Barishnikov, and singing songs in his heavy accent with lines like "I hear the dogs barking and see the monkeys clapping," the crowd was whipped into the kind of frenzy that has to be the envy of any of the big-time punk or metal thrashers whose shows are tepid by comparison.

As usual, Hutz - who refers to the band's music as gypsy fuck songs - was often joined on stage by the group's two chick dancers wearing their semi-traditional Ukrainian costumes with tight fitting track pants and strings of garlic hanging off the backs of their hats. At the edge of the stage most of the night, one woman crashes two cymbals together, the other pounds on a bass drum. The guys in the crowd up front are slack-jawed, salivating heavily.

The first time I saw the band at SXSW in 2003, Hutz walked out on stage in the first song, took a sip from his can of Heineken, and then pitched the full can over the heads of the crowd, grazing my shoulder. Not to be outdone this year, Hutz and the bass-drum playing chick took turns crowd-surfing aboard the bass drum held aloft by the folks in the pit. The whole thing reached several mind-blowing and ear-splitting crescendos of punk fury colliding with gypsy gyrations, with frenzied violin and accordion solos and Hutz pulling people up from the audience to mosh on stage, while the tent poles were wobbling to the driving beat.

Shit, I've got two more days of this stuff. How can the other 600 or so bands who have yet to play Friday and Saturday nights possibly supercede this pack of transplanted Russians, Israelis and Americans who tear the hell out of Austin every year. Well, dammit, I hope at least they try.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Robert Plant Opens SXSW Music Festival

AUSTIN, Texas (by Greg Barr) - After a stirring set from gospel singer Mavis Staples, who led a mostly hung over capacity crowd inside the Austin Convention Center ballroom in a stirring sing-a-long rendition of "Let the Circle Be Unbroken," the man once proclaimed as the Golden God of Rock showed that in a way, he has left his own circles of rock unbroken for decades.

Gently prodded by an interviewer on stage, former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant officially opened the 2005 South by Southwest music conference Thursday morning with a series of reminiscences about his early exposure to the great black blues artists of the Mississippi Delta, his life on the road with Led Zep and, most important, how he relates his passion for his current project and new album, "Mighty Rearranger," back to his roots.

Now in his mid-50s, Plant may not have youth on his side, but he has integrity, which a lot of sell-out artists - not to mention the ones who tried unsuccessfully to rip off Zeppelin riffs - in today's musical milieu cannot claim. For Plant - who was surprised at the beginning of the session by an official from the Recording Industry of America, who presented a lifetime Grammy Award to the singer that he was unable to collect in person at this year's Grammys - the bottom line is that today, with his new band of youthful musicians known as The Strange Sensation, his music still elicits the authoritative and familiar feel of his best work with Led Zep in the 1970s. He spoke of being at the same crossroads now as he was when he first jammed with former Yardbirds guitarist Jimmy Page, where "your music has to keep pushing and opening up new arenas. Pop music can't stand still."

Plant received a standing ovation at the end of his session, after explaining why he has resisted the mega-million-dollar payday that a reunion tour with the three remaining Led Zeppers, a prospect that has been dangled in front of his face numerous times since the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980. Basically, he said that Led Zeppelin had its moment, and as amazing as that moment was, it is over.

Sure, like any rock star through the ages, Plant had a new album to plug. But here's the thing. During the discussion, the interviewer stopped the proceedings and asked the sound tech to play a track from the new record. From now on, after hearing that track, I will no longer refer to Plant as the lead singer on the Geezers of Rock tour. The song kicked my ass, along with the butts of the hundreds of other hung over writers, musicians and industry executives in the room. How does it sound? Think Led Zep meets Portishead in a Moroccan casbah. It had that echo-laden heavy Led Zep backbeat, and all the techno-heavy effects that modern ProTools recording sessions bring to the table, but most of all, it had that bluesy, ballsy voice, sounding better than I ever imagined it could.

But, there were plenty of images Plant recreated about the old days, about when Led Zep got to meet Elvis, where according to Plant, the hotel room was "full of second-hand Ann Margarets, and the temperature, cosmetics and feral content of the room had to be just right for Elvis to make his entrance." It was the sound of Elvis' voice on the radio in Britain when Plant was about 10 that made him realize what music was all about. Of course, he was referring to Elvis' knowledge and respect of the black blues artists whom he emulated. Plant then told a hilarious story of how the first time he played an old blues record in his house, his parents cut the electrical cord on his record player.

And, of course, there were the groupies. He brought the house down with several references to Led Zep's jamming during its live concerts, saying that Bonham's drum solo in "Moby Dick" was so long that the rest of the band members had time to go back to the dressing room, bonk some hottie chicks and still have time to get back up on stage to finish the song. What did you expect, dudes? They don't call it friggin' sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll for nothing.

Australian Music Industry Cracks Down On BitTorrent Infringers

The Australian Record Industry's anti-piracy unit launched raids on the Perth offices of a major Internet Services Provider in the first Australian crackdown on the use BitTorrent technology for alleged music copyright infringement.

The raids centered on the headquarters of Swiftel Communications at 250 St Georges Terrace in Perth's Central Business District.

Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) General Manager Michael Speck said: "We have identified Swiftel as an ISP which has adopted BitTorrent technology to link infringers to music clips and sound recordings. We believe hundreds of thousands of downloads have been conducted during the last year in breach of copyright laws."

"These raids are a new and important development in our fight against internet music piracy. The misuse of BitTorrent technology allows the high-speed download of large files from a wide number of sources."

"MIPI has identified this Australian ISP as using the technology allegedly to conduct high volume sophisticated linking to illegal sound recordings and music video clips for its customer base. Songs, video clips, television shows and movies are being distributed."

"An example of the music videos we've identified as being traded on the network are:

* Welcome to the Jungle - Guns 'n' Roses copyright owned by Universal
* Kids - Robbie Williams & Kylie Minogue copyright owned by EMI
* Alive - Pearl Jam copyright owned by Sony BMG

"The Australian record industry will continue to take legal action to protect its copyright whether it's on the internet or elsewhere. We will continue to act against ISPs who we believe are set-up as vehicles for piracy."

We will now proceed to use evidence gathered in the Perth raids to bring a copyright prosecution before the courts", Mr Speck concluded.

Go Girls invade SXSW, one of the oldest and most popular website for women in music, will continue their tradition of highlighting some of the best independent female musicians at their 5th Annual "Invasion of the GoGirls," in Austin, TX, March 17-19 during the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival and conference.

Five "unofficial" showcase invasions will feature over 40 bands and performers. "We worked very hard to create a lineup that was stylistically exciting and appealing to a diverse crowd," explains Madalyn Sklar, founder of "We fully expect to see an electrifying blend of industry people, musicians and the general public at our event," continues Sklar.

For the second year in a row, GoGirls organizers will also be offering several "Do It Yourself" panel discussions on the art of promotion and touring for independent musicians on Friday, March 18th. These events will be free to the public with no badge required, and will feature prominent industry speakers as well as tales from successful indie musicians.


Thursday, March 17th
7 pm - 1 am
Invasion of the GoGirls @ Trophy's Bar
2008 S. Congress, 512-447-0969
Free show!

Friday, March 18th
1pm - 5 pm
GoGirls Showcase & Music Panels @ Oslo
Music: Mara, Rachael Sage, and a special "GoGirls in the Round"
Panels: "Smart Marketing Ideas for the Indie Musician" and "Touring Advice for the Indie Musician"
Guest Speaker, Sean Agnew from Blue Metallic Entertainment
301 W. 6th Street, 512-480-9433
Free event!

Friday, March 18th
7 pm - 1 am
Invasion of the GoGirls @ Trophy's Bar
4th Annual GoGirls "2 song" Night
2008 S. Congress, 512-447-0969
Free show!

Saturday, March 19th
1 pm - 6 pm
Invasion of the GoGirls @ LOVE
1000 South 1st Street, 512-442-LOVE
Free show!

Saturday, March 19th
7 pm - 1 am
Invasion of the GoGirls @ Trophy's Bar
2008 S. Congress, 512-447-0969

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

All Eyes Are on Texas for SXSW

The annual South By SouthWest Music Festival, which is often referred to as the Sundance of indie music, is kicking off in Austin this week. SXSW traditionally hosts some of the hottest independent and recently signed acts from around the country. This year a record number of international artists are descending upon this Texas town.

From Brits to Uzbekis, New Zealanders to Nigerians, SXSW 2005 expects the largest participation to date by international artists, representing about 25% of the total acts performing this year.

Leading off the pack is the Finnish cello trio Apocalyptica whose first album was a collection of Metallica covers. Seven years later, complete with original compositions that reflect the group's die-hard love for metal and with millions of albums sold, Apocalyptica's new album debuted on the Finnish charts this January at #5. And the cello looks to be a popular instrument at SXSW this year. French-Canadian Jorane is a beguiling vocalist and virtuosic cellist forging a new singer-songwriter blend that includes lyrics in a language invented by the artist.

The 16-piece Nigerian ensemble Seyi Solagbade & Blackfaceband will make their American debut at SXSW with Palongo, a locally-forged genre that blends Hi Life, Juju, jazz with rock and other regional rhythms.

Another great year for Latin acts, SXSW 2005 welcomes Inspector, a rockin' band that hails from Monterrey, Mexico's fertile hybrid ska scene. Barcelona's Ojos de Brujo are bringing their DJ set to International Hip Hop Night at SXSW. Always open and ready to experiment, Ojos de Brujo mixes flamenco with hip-hop, funk, reggae, ragga and Cuban són.

Many SXSW Japanese faves are returning this year including Shonen Knife and Petty Booka. Garage punk trio Guitar Wolf, who are particularly popular in Brazil, bring their loud, chaotic and charismatic charm back to SXSW after a few years' hiatus.

A large French delegation spanning an array of musical genres includes Phoenix, a band that US audiences have already discovered on the "Lost in Translation" movie soundtrack. Uncut Magazine calls Phoenix..."..undoubtedly the best post-French house, 'seventies country-rock concept of modern love songs you're ever likely to hear."

With last year's runaway SXSW success story of Scottish band Franz Ferdinand, the bar is set high for Glaswegians Biffy Clyro, a young trio who play angular post-hardcore/alt rock loaded with complex melodies and a wiser-than-their-years sense of dynamics.

In what has widely been billed as the strongest Irish lineup at South By South (SXSW) to date, a number of Ireland's hottest emerging acts will also descend on Austin to showcase to the some of the most influential players in the music industry. Appropriately, on St. Patrick's Day, the Soho Lounge (217 E 6th St, Austin TX), will host the following acts from the Emerald Isle:


"The most sought after act in the Emerald Isle. Responsible for a mass exodus from London as the Capital's A&R Executives made their way to Dublin to begin their courtships with the band." -BBC RADIO 6 (AUG 2004)


Mono Band is the new solo project by Noel Hogan, songwriter and guitarist with the Cranberries. SXSW will be their debut U.S. live appearance.


From Dublin, The Immediate have an angular swagger that's pure Franz Ferdinand, but they match it with stumbling bursts of sheer pop joy where they all seem to throb and boil with excitement to a point where the record itself starts to shudder.


One of the most talked about live acts from Ireland infamous for their unique brand of sleazy rock and roll. Recent support slots for the Rapture, Thin Lizzy, The Damned, The Raveonettes, The Fall, SLF, British Sea Power, The Warlocks, Babyshambles, The Rakes, Har Mar Superstar and Peaches, to name a few.


Following on from The Thrills, BELLX1 is the latest Irish band to be featured on the hit show, "The O.C." Their debut album was described as the best thing to come out of Ireland in years.


"It's the kind of sunny west coast music that comes with a clean conscience, a beating heart and a decent tune. A thorough and highly efficient debut" - The Irish Times

And as if nearly 300 showcases by acts from around the world weren't enough, SXSW 2005 will also debut its first-ever "All Music is World" night, co-hosted by the French Music Office, Public Radio International and KUT-FM. The showcase will feature performances by Keren Ann (France), Cheikh Tidiane Seck (Mali), Piccola Orchestra Avion Travel (Italy), and Diedre (France) along with surprise guests.

Monday, March 14, 2005

U2, Buddy Guy, Pretenders to be inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tonight

I'd love to be in the front row for this one. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation will celebrate its Twentieth Annual Induction Ceremony, tonight in New York at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The inductees, will include:

Buddy Guy - Known as the towering master of Chicago blues guitar, he is a musician's musician who has had a major influence over countless guitarists including Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend and Keith Richards.

Percy Sledge - Nicknamed "The Golden Voice of Soul," Sledge sired the legendary Muscle Shoals sound. His vocals on songs such as "When a Man Loves a Woman," "Take Time to Know Her," "It Tears Me Up" and "Warm and Tender Love" resonate around the world as he continues to tour the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The O'Jays (Eddie Levert, Bobby Massey, William Powell, Sammy Strain, Walter Williams) - The Ohio based group landed on Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International Records in 1972, becoming the premier vocal standard-bearers for the sound that dominated black music for nearly a decade. They have amassed dozens of hits including "Love Train," "Backstabbers," and "For the Love of Money," and their smooth style has never gone out of vogue.

The Pretenders (Martin Chambers, Pete Farndon, James Honeyman-Scott, Chrissie Hynde) - Formed in late Seventies London, The Pretenders have endured as one of the most successful groups to emerge from the New Wave era. Singer and rhythm guitarist Chrissie Hynde writes songs (such as "Brass in Pocket, "Back on the Chain Gang," "Don't Get Me Wrong" and "Middle of the Road") about everyday survival with a tough, self-assured persona.

U2 (Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr.) - This quartet from Dublin has displayed an extraordinary capacity to create exhilarating music that continues to change with the times. Their creative restlessness has given each new record a never-before-heard style that influenced a countless number of artists. Songs such as "One," "Where the Streets Have No Name" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" address complex, compelling social and spiritual issues but still manage to be accessible. The band's recently released record, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb ranks among their best work and they will embark on a sold out world tour in 2005.

In addition, the following will be inducted in the Lifetime Achievement in the Non-Performer category:

Frank Barsalona - The founder and president of Premier Talent Agency, Barsalona created the first legitimate rock and roll booking agency. Along the way, he single handedly reinvented the way artists, agents, venues and promoters did business. His roster included Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Pretenders, The Who and U2.

Seymour Stein - The Chairman of Sire Records, Stein co-founded the label in 1966, and has been one of the most successful and influential executives in the music business. His ability to discover new talent led to signings of many groundbreaking artists such as The Ramones, Madonna, The Pretenders, Talking Heads, Seal, Depeche Mode, Ice-T, The Cure, The Smiths, kd Lang and Barenaked Ladies. The label is still going strong after nearly 40 years and still innovative with recent singings including The Von Bondies, HIM, Regina Spektor, The Fags and The Veronicas.

Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria considered includes the influence and significance of the artist's contribution to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll. The Foundation's nominating committee, composed of rock and roll historians, selects nominees each year in the "artist" category. Ballots are then sent to an international voting body of about 700 rock experts. Past Inductees include: Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Cream, Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Rock the Vote tackles Social Security Debate

Rock the Vote is gearing up for a large national campaign on an issue of serious importance to young Americans. The effort is aimed at giving young people a voice in the debate on Social Security.

Rock the Vote chastised politicians in an email sent to supporters. The group said:

"...if you think that Social Security is going to disappear one day, you're falling for it. You see, a lot of politicians and special interests are trying to convince you that you'll never get yours. Fact is, they just don't want to pay your benefits. They want to spend the money on something else."

The group charges that some politicians simply want to phase out and end social security, rather than ensuring its longevity. In a statement on their website, Rock the Vote concludes that getting rid of Social Security in favor of private investments is not a good idea.

Rock the Vote also stated that the current Social Security tax, left alone, brings in enough money to pay 100% of benefits for the next 40-50 years. The group cites the Social Security Administration and the Congressional Budget Office as sources for that data.

Citing the Wall Street Journal, the group's website warns: "The White House, in a private memo to conservative allies, strongly argues that Social Security benefits paid to future retirees must be significantly reduced. The memo disputes those on the right who insist that creating private investment accounts is all that's needed to fix the retirement system. To fail to make benefit cuts while diverting payroll taxes to workers' personal accounts, the memo argues, would be irresponsible and 'have serious short-term economic consequences.'" (WSJ, 01/06/05) Translation: please look at the private investment account over here so you don't notice the benefit cuts over there!"

Rather than privatize the system, Rock the Vote is advocating that we build investments on top of Social Security, not raid or replace it. The group also states it would make any changes to the system in a way that fairly balances the interests of working and retired Americans, both today and in the future.

Thom Yorke Drops Hint: Radiohead is Back at Work

Thom Yorke occasionally lurks around on the message boards at Recently he posted a message hinting that the band is back at work on their next album. He wrote:
: Have a cookie.


would be a bad idea

hey weve started work.(speaking of cookies)

no really.

The post follows speculation that the band was on hiatus while Yorke and Jonny Greenwood work on solo efforts and other projects. Is it for real? Adriaan at seems to believe so and that's good enough for me.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Queens of the Stone Age Frontman Josh Homme Speaks About Illness

Queens of the Stone Age recently cancelled the balance of their European tour due to the sudden illness of frontman Josh Homme. Homme reportedly developed a bacterial infection in his lungs which caused him to cough up blood in his hotel room the night before one of their scheduled gigs. On the QOTSA website, Homme issued the following apology and update:
"...I'd like to say thank you to all well wishers. Your words & thoughts were printed out for me to read & you know what, it meant a lot to me. It was just cool to see sweet things instead of bottles of meds that were not meant for recreation. You guys are alright. I'm trying to think of something cool for all who still got the tix for the shows missed. I'm thinkin a free vinyl "45. I just wanted to say thanks for understanding. I feel better already."
That's a nice consolation for those in Europe holding tickets for cancelled shows and good news for those in the US hoping to catch QOTSA on one of the following dates:

3/15/05 Austin, TX Stubb's Barbeque
3/16/05 Dallas, TX Gypsy Tea Room
3/19/05 Atlanta, GA Earthlink Live
3/20/05 Norfolk, VA The NorVa
3/24/05 New York, NY Webster Hall
3/26/05 Hartford, CT Webster Theatre / Underground
3/27/05 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
3/28/05 Boston, MA The Roxy
3/30/05 Toronto, ON Kool Haus
3/31/05 Montreal, QC Metropolis
4/02/05 Cleveland, OH House Of Blues
4/03/05 Detroit, MI St. Andrews Hall
4/05/05 Chicago, IL Vic Theatre
4/06/05 Minneapolis, MN Quest Club
4/08/05 Winnipeg, MB Burton Cummings Th. For Perf. Arts
4/10/05 Calgary, AB MacEwan Hall
4/11/05 Edmonton, AB Red's
4/13/05 Vancouver, BC Queen Elizabeth Theatre
4/14/05 Seattle, WA The Premier
4/16/05 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
4/18/05 Los Angeles, CA Music Box At The Fonda

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Easley McCain Studio Destroyed by Fire: Latest from Silver Jews Lost

The legendary Easley McCain recording studio in Memphis suffered considerable damage from an electrical fire on Wednesday. The studio was used by some of our greatest, including Pavement, Sonic Youth, Guided by Voices, Jack White and Loretta Lynn, Modest Mouse, the White Stripes, Cat Power, Wilco and Jeff Buckley, who was recording there when he disappeared in 1997. In losing the Easley McCain we didn't just lose a piece of history, as Donewaiting reports we also lost the latest Silver Jews recording, scheduled to be mastered this weekend. Apparently the recording which marked a 3/5 reunion of Pavement was delivered to the studio the morning of the fire.

Update from Donewaiting: "All masters were located in another part of the building which received little to no fire damage. Whew!" Great news!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Jeff Tweedy and Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig to Participate in Intellectual Property Discussion

On April 7, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy will join Stanford University law professor Lawrence Lessig in, "Who Owns Culture?" a discussion at the New York Public Library regarding the artistic, commercial and legal issues surrounding "the Internet-enabled freeing of culture." Wired Magazine contributing editor Steven Johnson will moderate.

Discussions regarding internet downloading have typically been defined (thanks to the RIAA) in black and white, good v. evil terms with no consideration of the individual's motivations for downloading or why downloading and streaming may be beneficial for artists. In this discussion, Tweedy will speak to the reasons why Wilco and their label, Nonesuch Records, believe sharing new and live recordings on sets the stage for a mutually beneficial relationship with their fans -- a relationship which fosters creativity while preserving the band's artistic rights. Tweedy will speak for the silent majority of artists who build their careers on internet downloading and disagree with the RIAA's hard-line, major label driven stance. In Tweedy's view,
"[a] piece of art is not a loaf of bread. When someone steals a loaf of bread from the store, that's it. The loaf of bread is gone. When someone downloads a piece of music, it's just data until the listener puts that music back together with their own ears, their mind, their subjective experience."

Lessig has one of the most impressive legal CV's I've ever seen. Wired's Steven Levy refers to him as "the Elvis of cyberlaw," and a once "right-wing lunatic," turned "fire-breathing defender of Net values." He also has a nifty blog, which is an invaluable resource of knowledge for copyright holders.

Tickets for the event go on sale March 17 at 10:00 am through Smarttix and are $10.00 for General Admission and $7.00 for Library Members.

New Son Volt Album Expected in August 2005

Son Volt will release their fourth album in August of 2005. If you only know Son Volt as Jay Farrar's band then the fact that he's the only remaining member from the original line-up won't phase you much. If you're going to miss Mike Heidorn and the Boquists, then you'll be interested in Farrar's explanation:
“Times change, and so do people, I guess. While I was looking forward to the reunion aspect of working with those guys, it just wasn’t meant to be. It’ll be liberating to get down to work with a different group of musicians. I had always envisioned Son Volt as a vehicle for my songwriting and expected it to evolve over the years. When I reformed the original band this year to record our track for Por Vida [the Alejandro Escovedo benefit album], it seemed like we might be able to extend that two-day session into two years of recording and touring--but it doesn’t look that way now.”
The new cast of characters includes Brad Rice on guitar (Ryan Adams, Tift Merritt), Andrew Duplantis on bass (Jon Dee Graham, Meat Puppets, Bob Mould), Eric Heywood on pedal steel (Son Volt, Calexico) and Dave Bryson on drums (Canyon). The upcoming album is still nameless, but you can listen to a sample of one of the songs, "Afterglow 61," on NPR's site here.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Wilco, Jayhawks and Soul Asylum Members to Record New Golden Smog Album

Gary Louris has qualified his recent ramblings about the possible end of the Jayhawks. He warned on, "articles can be misleading and a musician has the right to waver." While we are left wondering what it all means, there is an interesting development everyone else seems to be missing. The latest incarnation of Golden Smog, including Louris and Mark Perlman of the Jayhawks, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, and Dan Murphy of Soul Asylum, will head to Spain next month to record an album.

Golden Smog has operated with a mercurial line-up since its inception in the late 1980's, but generally draws from members of Soul Asylum, the Replacements, Wilco, the Jayhawks, and the Honeydogs. They began as a side project in Minnesota covering the Eagles and the Rolling Stones. In 1996, with the release of Down by the Old Mainstream, they started putting out original material. They record out of the country and under pseudonyms to avoid lawsuits from their labels for violations of the artist agreements of their respective bands.

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Grace Potter Rocking The Gear circa 2006!