Saturday, April 29, 2006

Stones make news for different reasons this week

Keith Richards and Mick Jagger made news this week for reasons other than their music.

Richards reportedly fell out of a palm tree in Fiji, when he and fellow Stone Ron Wood attempted to climb it. Hmmm...what possibly motivated these guys to try and climb a palm tree? When you're a Rolling Stone anything is possible - even at 62 years old.

Meanwhile, frontman Mick Jagger made news for doing his own slapstick. Of course, Jagger's comedy act was on purpose as he's filming a pilot for ABC that may hit the airwaves this fall. Jagger also was the subject of reports saying he had refused to give up a hotel room to President Bush the singer has booked for the Stones' concert in Vienna, Austria in June. Jagger's camp says the reports are not true in that no one from Bush's team had requested Jagger release the room.

The seemingly ageless Stones are still on tour and play next in Barcelona, Spain on May 27 and continue touring Europe throughout the summer.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Snoop arrested, Doherty should be

This week's musical police blotter stars Snoop Dogg and, as is often the case, Pete Doherty.

Snoop was arrested at London's Heathrow Airport on Wednesday. Details are still emerging, but apparently Snoop's entourage got in a scuffle with airport workers and then police after some of the crew were denied access to the first class lounge. Airport officials said the persons denied entry did not have proper ticketing. Coincidentally, Irish popstar Ronan Keating was reportedly in the area at the time of the incident and could be called as a witness.

Snoop's altercation is small change compared to the latest Pete Doherty allegations. Photographs were released that reportedly show Doherty injecting a female fan with heroin. The fan appears to have her eyes closed in the photo leading some to speculate that she might have already been passed out before the injection. The British tabloid that published the pictures claim the photos were taken within the last several weeks. Doherty has been in and out of court the last several months for various issues and these days is much more famous for being an infamous delinquent than being a musician.

Just a year ago this month the hot rumor was whether or not Kate Moss would join Pete in Babyshambles. My how things have spiraled out of control for Doherty in just 12 months.

Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers To Play Free New York City Shows

In conjunction with the release of their respective new albums, Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers will play intimate shows at New York City's Irving Plaza. The events will essentially be free shows to celebrate their new releases.

Pearl Jam will play Irving Plaza on Friday night, May 5. Tickets will be available at Manhattan's Tower Records on 4th & Broadway at a special midnight sale on May 1. Pearl Jam's new self-titled album will be released at midnight and anyone purchasing the album from Tower Records will also receive a ticket to the show. As of now, this appears to be the only way to obtain tickets.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers will play Irving Plaza three nights later on Monday night, May 8. There will be no tickets sold for this event. Local radio stations Z100, Power 105 and Q104.3 will make tickets available to fans as they see fit. The Red Hot's new album, Stadium Arcadium hits stores the following day, May 9.

Southern Most Star

Southern Most Star are a four piece roots rock/alternative band out of Dallas, Texas who cite such diverse acts as Pearl Jam, Radiohead (evident on their tune "Three Words"), Incubus and the Mars Volta as influences. The guys are building a following in their home area as well as on MySpace. As part of what we hope to be a somewhat regular feature, we reached out to a fan via MySpace to conduct an interview with someone from the band.

Erica Smith caught up with lead vocalist Patrick Alan:

ES: Who are the other band members?

PA: Paul Wade (lead guitar), Brandon Bush (bass) and Andy Sanchez (drums).

ES: How did you meet to form the band?

PA: Paul and I met through the Dallas Observer, Brandon is Paul's cousin from California and we met Andy though Myspace.

ES: What makes you want to work with the other band members?

PA: Pretty much their openness to all kinds of music and they are just a great bunch of guys

ES: What is the best thing about working in a band dynamics?

PA: Being able to bring an idea for a song, and watching it transform.

ES: How did the name "Southern Most Star" develop?

PA: I was up really late one night and it just kinda came out, and being from Texas we're the southern most state.

ES: When did you write your first song?

PA: I wrote my first song when I was 9 years old. And we still play a version of it today, its called "Between Your Arms."

ES: What's your favorite part of performing live?

PA: I love pouring out every drop of emotion and energy onstage, it's an amazing feeling to be able to show so much of yourself and have people identify with that.

ES: What are you mostly looking forward to about the future with the band?

PA: Playing for as many people as we can before its too late.

Southern Most Star won't have too wait long to get back in front of a crowd. They play tonight at Rock Steady in Plano, Texas. Future dates also include: May 5th at Syn Bar in Dallas, May 20th at The Door in Canton, May 21st at Fat Daddys in Lewisville and then back in Dallas June 15th for an acoustic set at the Liquid Lounge.

He's No Anakin Skywalker But Roger Waters Will Turn To The Dark Side

After spending the summer touring Europe, Roger Waters will bring his tour to the United States for an eighteen city run that will start September 6 in Holmdel, NJ and finish five weeks later in Seattle, WA. Concert-goers with high hopes for a full-bore Pink Floyd reunion this summer will have to settle for separate David Gilmour and Roger Waters tours. Waters' reunion with former Pink Floyd band mates didn't amount to anything more than a one-off performance at Live 8 and wild speculation as to future performances.

Floyd fans will not be disappointed though. For his 2006 shows, Waters plans to use his first set as a solo career retrospective and the second to recreate Dark Side Of The Moon in its entirety. Floyd drummer Nick Mason will join Waters for a Bastille Day show in France but there are no plans at this time for him to appear at any other shows.

O.A.R. To Headline Everfine Festival

Headlined by their most well-known act, Of A Revolution (O.A.R.), Everfine Records will be bringing their "Feeling Better Than Everfine Festival" back to Cleveland, Ohio - the city where the event originated. Everfine Records annually teams up with Mark Roberge and company for a one day show that provides up-and-coming artists with an opportunity to showcase their skills before a larger audience. This year's event, the festival's fifth, will take place on Saturday, June 24 at the Tower City Ampitheatre in the heart of the city that houses the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

In addition to a full set by O.A.R., "Feeling Better Than Everfine" will feature Jon McLaughlin, reggae influenced Bedouin Soundclash, and Myspace darlings Dropping Daylight. Making return appearances will be Virginia Coalition and Matt Nathanson. Past performers include Maroon 5, Marc Broussard, Citizen Cope and Starbucks poster-children Antigone Rising.

"The camaraderie between bands is what makes this festival so special," explains O.A.R. lead guitarist Richard On. "Whether we're meeting for the first time or have been longtime friends, everyone has the same goal . . . to capture a special moment on stage for the audience and with each other."

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Lost U2 footage resurfaces in Denver

One of U2's somewhat early triumphs was their now "show of lore" at Red Rocks Amphitheatre just outside of Denver in 1983. The Live CD "Under a Blood Red Sky" showcases many of the bands early hits and is a good primer for younger fans on the band's early material.

It seems some valuable footage from the show disappeared about five years ago and now has turned up in the hands of the Denver City Council. U2 reportedely is seeking to get the footage returned, but the City Council says it paid $3,000 for the footage. Footage from that show is quite likely worth much more than that, so there is some question as to whether the seller had the legal right to do so.

XM Radio Subject of Federal Probe

Just as XM was celebrating its syndication deal with CBS for the Opie & Anthony show, the satellite radio company announced - as it is required to do under SEC rules - that its marketing practices are being scrutized by federal regulators. The company disclosed that the Federal Trade Commission was looking into whether the company is complying with telemarketing rules as well as the Truth in Lending Act.

In other bad news for XM, they posted a loss of $83.5 million for the first quarter of 2006. Hopefully, they will weather these "storms" and stick around as Billy Zero and the Unsigned Channel are great resources for emerging artists.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah will play the Central Park Summerstage show in New York City September 28th, but presale tickets go on sale this morning. The band says that around 400 presale slots will be available. You can get yours right through their site.

The guys will also be going to Australia for a few shows before playing Fuji Rock in Japan this July. Those dates are expected to be announced soon.

Rock Kills Kid: Are You Nervous?

By: David Schultz

In a recent issue, Rolling Stone pegged Rock Kills Kid as a band to watch. Given that one of the next editions featured the oh-so-rock-and-roll trio of judges from American Idol, you may wonder if the stalwart magazine still has their finger on the pulse of good music. In naming Rock Kills Kid a band to watch, as opposed to proclaiming them the next great thing, the saviors of rock or some other cliched pronouncement that would be impossible to live up to, Rolling Stone tagged this one correctly. The Los Angeles based quintet are a bit raw right now but on their debut album, Are You Nervous? which will be released on May 16, they show flashes of brilliance that indicate they will be worth keeping an eye on (or more enjoyably, an ear).

Ostensibly, Rock Kills Kid has been around since 2001, but for a good portion of that time, the only member of the band was lead singer and guitarist Jeff Tucker. In the three years that followed the band's self-titled EP, Tucker basically lived in squalor, writing songs in near seclusion, becoming addicted to the process. Tucker recruited bassist Shawn Dailey and keyboardist Reed Calhoun from a band called Bright Life and picked up drummer Ian Hendrickson from a local advertisement. Still a bit of an unformed outfit, the group gelled when guitarist Sean Stopnik joined the band. "Getting Stopnik was a big plus," Tucker says before offering one of the most backhanded compliments in rock and roll. "He's the most responsible one in the band."

Rock Kills Kid blends the synthesizers and guitar riffs of the eighties with the disco beats of the seventies to create a fine blend of intensely danceable rock - sort of a dance music for white people sound. The hybrid works best on "I Need You" which incorporates Chic's classic riff from "Good Times" (most famously used by The Sugar Hill Gang in "Rapper's Delight"), providing a funky backdrop for Tucker's freestyling lyrics.

When the pendulum swings away from the seventies, Rock Kills Kid travels down a path freshly cleared by Franz Ferdinand, serving up indie-flavored raves with pleasant, well-crafted, melodious background harmonies. The disc's opener, "Paralyzed," will give you a good sense of what this band can do with all cylinders firing. Equal part dance track and standard rocker, "Paralyzed" will leave you anything but. On songs like "Hide Away," Rock Kills Kid echoes the formula that made Big Country such a guilty pleasure in the embryonic stages of MTV, creating a wide, rambling sprawl of musical textures. They can also create tracks that seem lifted from a particular era. The disco flourishes and synthesized orchestral background on "Midnight" could have been left behind at Casablanca's studios. Other songs like "Run Like Hell" and "Don't Want To Stay," with their quirky beats and lush choruses, could have come straight from an I Love The 80s compilation.

Are You Nervous? is a fine debut album, capturing a young band finding their sound and as this band matures great things can and should be expected. Tucker shows glimmers of fine songwriting, but still has some ways to go. Although backed by a nifty beat, he will surely improve on lyrics like, "life is a real bitch, but we keep moving on" from "Life's A Bitch." In listening to Are You Nervous?, you can't help but think of such eighties bands like The Cure, The Smiths and Joy Division and, fortunately, the similarities are intentional. Rock Kills Kid also has a definite U2 influence, especially in Tucker and Stopnik's guitar. However, U2 never slipped into funky disco as easily as Rock Kills Kid: likely because U2's efforts were tongue in cheek, while Rock Kills Kid earnestly dives in with eager eyes wide open.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

New Head Automatica Video

Head Automatica has released a live video for "Brooklyn is Burning." (Windows, Quicktime) The video is part of a series they are releasing from a recent show filmed at the Starland Ballroom. Last week they released a video for "Young Hollywood." (Windows, Quicktime) Their new record Popaganda comes out June 6th and the band will hit the road with Taking Back Sunday through June and July.

Dr. Dog on MTV2

Fresh off playing a few shows with the Strokes in the midwest and hitting Cornell Univeristy this weekend, Philadelphia's Dr. Dog will be back in the City of Brotherly Love readying for a Park the Van records show case with label mates the Teeth, National Eye and Rifle Nice next week.

If you haven't seen it yet, Dr. Dog's new video for "Fools Life" is currently a featured video on MTV2.

New Three Days Grace

Three Days Grace has put out a new single "Animal I have Become" and it has already received over a quarter million plays on their MySpace page.

The song is off their new record "One-X," which hits stores June 16th. One-X is the follow up to their platimum selling self-titled debut featuring "I Hate Everything About You."

The Ontario-based band is currently on a succesful US tour with Staind and will play tonight Witchita Falls, Texas.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

John Lennon communicates from the grave?

I didn't see it. But, many saps...ahem...I mean believers paid $9.95 to see a pay-per-view seance with Beatle John Lennon. The "show" aired last night to a global audience and apparently John has a message: "Peace...The message is Peace."

According to one report:

On the television show, filming at La Fortuna suddenly stopped and a narrator said something odd has happened. Show participants said that a mysterious voice can be heard on Power's voice feed. The producers called in "EVP specialist" Sandra Belanger to examine the voice and she proclaims it Lennon's. Producer Paul Sharratt, who heads Starcast Productions and calls himself a sceptic [sic], said hearing the voice has made him a believer.

Come on...if that were really John's voice on that tape wouldn't he say "Paul is Dead?"

If you want to hear from John on a regular basis, enter this contest to win the complete Beatles catalog on digitally remastered discs.

Ten Silver Drops: The Secret Machines Are Ready To Be Revealed

By: David Schultz

The Secret Machines are going to have a hard time living up to their name. Turning heads at the 2005 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, The Machines stood out from the pack breaking through with an incendiary set after having spent close to two years on the road mastering their live show. They recently sat down to be interviewed by David Bowie, one of their most ardent fans, and recently collaborated with Bono on a cover of "I Am The Walrus." Even though their latest and second full-length album, Ten Silver Drops, has been available for download for weeks, The Secret Machines will be celebrating its official release and surely generating even more favorable buzz, kicking off their summer world tour, with in-the-round concerts on each coast.

The Secret Machines formed in Dallas, TX when lead singer/bassist/keyboardist Brandon Curtis and his brother, guitarist Ben Curtis, hooked up with drummer Josh Garza. Honing a style centered on Curtis' throaty vocals and atmospheric synth, his brother's pulsing hypnotic guitar and Garza's crashing, frenzied drums, The Secret Machines winningly combine an industrial crunch with a David Lynchian moody airiness. On their 2004 debut album, Now Here Is Nowhere, they captured the essence of a restless generation, possessing an untapped and unfocused reserve of energy, ready to explode unless productively channeled. The trio followed their debut with their second EP The Road Leads Where It's Led (2002's September 000 being their first) containing the electrifying title song as well as a droning but captivating cover of Bob Dylan's "Girl From The North Country" and a gloriously electrified romp through Van Morrison's meditative "Astral Weeks."

To get an idea of where The Secret Machines are coming from, take a listen to "First Wave Intact," the nine-minute opus that opens Now Here Is Nowhere. If that song doesn't scratch you where you itch, then The Secret Machines may not be the band for you. In fact, if "First Wave Intact" doesn't grab you by your musical cojones, maybe modern rock isn't the thing for you either.

The high octane industrial crunch of the thunderous Now Here Is Nowhere has been restrained on Ten Silver Drops into a more refined pulsing throb. Most notably, Josh Garza's drumming, which can echo John Bonham or Keith Moon at their most hedonistic, has been reined into the realm of controlled fury. The change is not accidental. "Last time we were interested in creating edges in places people don’t normally create edges, like in the low-end frequencies," Garza explains of the difference. "It ended up making the songs kind of two-dimensional and flat. This time we tried to preserve some of the depth and let other things, like melodies, float to the surface."

The songs on Ten Silver Drops derive from the spiritual isolation experienced by the Machines after months of constant touring. Drops' opening track, "Alone, Jealous And Stoned" succinctly embodies that emptiness. Generating pathos tinged with mounting anger, the Machines create a soundtrack for all three states of mind. Consider yourself fortunate if the song's plaintive wail of chorus doesn’t strike a chord somewhere in the dark recesses of your soul. Ten Silver Drops, which only contains eight songs, may be more melancholy than their full length debut but it is no less powerful. The brooding atmosphere of "Daddy's In The Doldrums" contains a more controlled version of the pseudo-early eighties alternative rock that could be their trademark. "Faded Lines," "I Hate Pretending" and "Lightning Blue Eyes" have been well rehearsed during The Machines' endless tour and the locomotive pace of those songs, as well as "All At Once (It's Not Important)" could easily have fit in on Now Here Is Nowhere. "I Want To Know If It's Still Possible" and "1000 Seconds" close the album on a surprisingly dreary note. Both songs sound like outtakes from early Peter Gabriel albums, which while having their place, mismatch with the rest of the album.

The Secret Machines are soon to have one of the most oxymoronic names in modern rock. While their music storms along with an industrial stomp, there's nothing unemotional or mechanical about them. Most importantly, once Ten Silver Drops works its way into the public consciousness, these Machines aren't going to be a secret much longer.

Thursday: A City By the Light Divided

by Rinjo Njori

Island Records 2006

Thursday return with A City By The Light Divided, which is a huge leap ahead of their last release War All the Time. City is easily the band's strongest recorded output thus far in their careers. On War, the band seemed to lack any of the determination and ambition that dominated their breakout release, Full Collapse. The strength of Full Collapse catapulted them to the forefront of the alternative music scene in 2002. In an immediate nod back to the song that defined Full Collapse, "Understanding a Car Crash", Thursday open up A City By The Light Divided, with "The Other Side of the Crash/ Over and Out Of Control" which not only sounds like the former but sets the tone and the expectation that Thursday have regained that passion which made Full Collapse such a great disc, while forging ahead and showing that they have grown as a band and more importantly as songwriters.

The lead single for A City By The Light Divided, "Counting 5-4-3-2-1", is probably the most commercial and least adventurous song on the album or of Thursday's career. The song is all Thursday and they leave all their influences at the door. This isn't a bad thing, but it severely undercuts the passion and pain that Thursday put into A City By The Light Divided. The song attempts the urgency and primal rage, but the backing vocals are a mess and not in the way that made the songs on Full Collapse sound entirely new. Thankfully, that is the worst that can be said about any of the tracks. The rest, as they say, "is all good!" "Sugar and Sacrament" is the closest Thursday come to the tempo and feel of the Morrissey/ Marr comparisons that were initially heaped upon them when they burst out from the New Jersey hardcore scene. Now they justify that praise and don't rest on their laurels. The spacy interludes that flow in an out of this song show the growing influence of classic rock, particularly Wall-era Pink Floyd, and early 80's new wave, particularly the guitar sound of Scotland's Big Country. "At This Velocity" is a raw and angry song that has all signature sounds of Full Collapse, yet Thursday take it to the next level and add to that formula, in essence, pushing it to the next level. Something they were unable to accomplish on War All the Time. "Arc-Lamps, Signal Flares, A Shower of White (The Light)" is stuck in the middle of this album and while it gives the band to explore their "shoe gazer tendencies" you tend to miss Rickley's heartfelt musings. Still how far the band has come since the "A0005", the intro on Full Collapse, is not so surprising. Even though War All the Time, doesn't age as well as Full Collapse, they progressed as

On the opening track Thursday acknowledge that "car crash came and crash went," but they also acknowledge that "it will never be the same." Their desire to understand where "this" will lead them bodes very well for Thursday. In between disc's they were all to honest that the band might not survive, but for the sake of their fans they would try to make the best recording possible. They owe their success on A City By The Light Divided, to themselves.

Neil Young To Make Living With War Available on April 28

From "Ohio" through "Rockin' In The Free World," Neil Young has never been shy about expressing his dismay, shock and disillusion with the world around him. His latest release, Living With War, with songs like "Let's Impeach The President" and "Shock And Awe," has expectedly generated controversy. The album will be officially released on May 2. However, fans won't have to wait that long to hear Young's new songs. On April 28, he'll make the album available for streaming at his website,

"The album is about exchanging ideas," Young told CNN. "It's about getting a message out. It's about empowering people by giving them a voice. I know not everyone believes what I say is what they think, but red and blue is not black and white. We're all together. It's a record about unification."

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Bed of Roses for Richie Sambora & Denise Richards?

Bon Jovi guitarst Richie Sambora has been spotted spending time with Denise Richards lately. The pair are currently going through their own high profile splits from former spouses.

Richie recently saw his marriage to Heather Locklear end, and Richards has been all over the news with abuse and other nasty allegations against hubby Charlie Sheen. Richards even implied in court filings that Sheen checked out underage girls on the internet. Sheen has fired back that Richards is just spreading rumors as part of a smear campaign.

Despite their respective nuptial troubles, its impressive how quickly these two have seemed to move on.

Mick Jagger won't give up hotel room to Bush

The Stones will play in Vienna this summer and Mick Jagger got an early booking in for the luxury Royal Suite at the famous Imperial Hotel. Seems though that another frontman, George W. Bush had his eyes on the suite as well.

Reports have the President's people trying to contact the Stones' people to see if Sir Mick would give up the room when George W. heads to Vienna around the same time. Mick declined.

The Drudge Report publicized the story to no doubt remind people of Mick's anti-Iraq war dig on the Stones' last album. Of course, Drudge didn't post any commentary relating as to why the President should be spending presumably tax payer money on a roughly 3,600 pound per night hotel room.

Closing Out The Green Apple Music & Arts Festival

The Green Apple Music & Arts Festival continued throughout a rainy New York weekend with the festivities spreading into numerous venues. Officially commencing on Thursday evening with the Jammy Awards, the Green Apple Festival seemed to offer something for everyone, ranging from two afternoons of free shows outside of Grand Central Terminal to two evening shows where jambands packed in CBGB, the legendary punk rock club.

With the buzzes not yet faded from the last evening's Jammy Awards, New Groove of the Year recipients Grace Potter & The Nocturnals performed a lunchtime set on Vanderbilt Avenue. Just hours later, Potter and her band moved a few blocks west, opening for Toots & The Maytals at Times Square's Nokia Theater. In addition to the New Groove honoree, Umphrey's McGee, Assembly of Dust and Bela Fleck & The Flecktones also offered abridged sets.

On Friday evening, commuters were met by the weekend's most ubiquitous performers, the Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart and percussion/performance art troupe, The Mutaytor. Anyone patient enough to catch a later train managed to catch a reprise of Hart's percussion extravaganza from the prior evening, including guest appearances by Mike Gordon and Steve Kimock. On Wednesday evening, Kimock (and others) joined in with Hart and Bill Kreutzman's Rhythm Devils at The Canal Room. Hart repaid the favor on Friday night, joining Kimock and drummer Stephen Perkins for their Canal Room set. The following evening, Kimock and Perkins moved their act down to the Blue Note Jazz Club for a late night set.

San Francisco based Tea Leaf Green, fresh off their victory for Song of the Year, stormed into CBGB playing three sets in just under 5 hours. In addition to playing their award winning song, "Taught To Be Proud," Tea Leaf Green paid homage to the New York underground scene upon which CBGB's reputation is founded, covering The Ramones' “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker” and "Teenage Lobotomy" as well as The Velvet Underground's "I'm Waiting For My Man." While maybe not the type of performance the punk rock gods envisioned as one of CBGB's last, Tea Leaf Green left their indelible imprint on the soon-to-be-closing venue.

In line with the eco-friendly theme of the weekend, fans attending Particle's Friday night show at the Bowery Ballroom were encouraged to leave their cars at home and ride their bicycles to the arena. While the weather didn't entirely cooperate with such a venture, the really nasty downpour didn't occur until the next evening.

The festival wound down last night at the Ziegfeld Theater with the debut of the documentary, Wetlands Preserved. The film recalls the history of the beloved club that was once owned by Green Apple Festival organizer Peter Shapiro. Centering the close of the festival on the film makes a proper honor for the individual whose efforts made possible this year's inaugural event.

The Donnas to DJ at Sex Pistols Tribute

Former Indie-grrrls gone major label darlings, The Donnas will get behind the turntable April 25th at the Key Club in West Hollywood for a Sex Pistols tribute night. No word on whether John Lydon will be there to get his groove on with Allison Robertson (aka Donna Hottie) and the rest of the ladies.

Tom Petty To Tour; Peter Bogdanovich To Record

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' 2006 North American "Highway Companions Tour" will begin on June 9 in Charlotte, NC. The tour, which will feature headlining slots at the Bonnaroo Festival (June) and the Austin City Limits Festival (September), will also see some notable special guests, including Pearl Jam, Trey Anastasio and the Allman Brothers Band. The tour will support Petty's soon-to-be-released, Jeff Lynne produced solo album Highway Companion.

In other Petty news, Academy Award-winning director/screenwriter Peter Bogdanovich has commenced work on a comprehensive documentary focusing on Petty & The Heartbreakers' 30 year history. Bogdanovich will intersperse previously recorded interviews, videos and live performances with footage to be shot over the course of the next few months.

"I want to tell this very American story about a small family of musicians who jumped in a car, left Gainesville and drove cross-country to get into the record business," explained Bogdanovich. "How they did it, what happened to them as a result, how this affected their families and friends and the impact their music has had on the music industry and on millions of people's lives." Amongst many other benchmarks of the Heartbreakers' history, Bogdanovich plans to cover the band's early days recording for Shelter Records, their tour with Bob Dylan, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction and Petty's involvement with the Traveling Wilburys.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The 6th Annual Jammy Awards: Frampton Remains Alive

By: David Schultz

More than eight hours after the music began at the 6th Annual Jammy Awards at the Theatre at New York City's Madison Square Garden, U-Melt wrapped up their late-night, after-hours set at Lucille's Café inside the B.B. King Blues Club. By the time U-Melt launched into a seamless version of "Jacob's Ladder" and "Cloud Box" to close the show, the main stage area had been emptied, cleaned and locked up, Zappa Plays Zappa, Dweezil Zappa's revue honoring his father Frank Zappa, having finished long ago. Even with sunrise looming on the horizon, Lucille's remained filled with exhausted but frenzied fans relishing the experience and planning their excuses for skipping work the next day. And, it's just the beginning. In past years, U-Melt's after-Jammy show, which featured a guest appearance by Rob Somerville of Deep Banana Blackout, would end the festivities, but this year the Jammy Awards are the springboard for the Green Apple Music & Arts Festival that will inhabit New York City throughout the weekend.

Without question, the Jammy Awards generate more excitement than any other awards show. In celebrating the spontaneity, excitement and enjoyment of live music, the Jammys have a well-deserved reputation as a show where you will get to see and hear something you're unlikely to see anywhere else. 1/10th awards, 9/10ths concert, the Jammys pair musicians together for live performances that seem awkward on paper but, more times than not, sound phenomenal on stage.

Even with jamband titans regularly in attendance, the show typically gets stolen by an artist that seems foreign to the scene. At last year's show, Huey Lewis' strong performance with Umphrey's McGee brought down the house and Ryan Adams amazed the crowd by bringing out by freeing his inner Deadhead, teaming with Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh for a spot-on reading of "Wharf Rat" and "Bird Song." This year, Peter Frampton turned in the standout performance. That is not a typo and bears repeating, Peter Frampton rocked the Jammys. Playing with Guster and guitarist Martin Sexton, Frampton came alive once again with a rendition of "Do You Feel Like I Do" complete with seventies-era talk box. No longer the fresh faced youth depicted on his most successful album, Frampton showed why his name will always be associated with live music in the annals of rock history.

The Mutaytor, a troupe of drummers, percussionists and performance artists, provided another of the evening's pleasant surprises. Joining Grateful Dead drummers and Jammy Awards co-hosts Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzman, The Mutaytor's dozen or so members gave proper thunder to a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile." The Rhythm Devils' set seemed to clear the backstage area as by the time they finished running through Santana's "Jingo" and "Iko Iko," Steve Kimock, Mike Gordon, Charlie Musselwhite and many others had joined the tribalesque fun.

As he did at Woodstock ages ago, Richie Havens, wearing what looked like a homemade dress, opened the evening with The Mutaytor drums performing an inspired "Freedom" before yielding the stage to Mutaytor's performance artists. Blues Traveler teamed up with DJ Logic and R & B legend Bettye Lavette that featured the spry 60-year-old soul singer own the stage, forcing John Popper to keep up with her on their cover of "Magic Carpet Ride." One of the evening’s more intriguing pairings involved Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, jazz pianist McCoy Tyner and tap dancer Savion Glover. The only thing more enjoyable than Victor Wooten and Glover's bass/tap dance duo was the bemused expression on Tyner's face as he tried to comprehend what he was watching.

After engaging in a competition as to who could wear the silliest hat, Steve Kimock and Joe Satriani teamed up for some guitar fireworks. Midway through their set, they were joined by Grace Potter on keyboards for a mindblowing rendition of Neil Young's "Cortez The Killer." Potter and her band the Nocturnals received the New Groove of the Year award earlier in the show and the young singer/guitarist/keyboard player more than held her own with the two veteran guitarists.

Frank Zappa, whose inventive influence plays an enormous role in the jamband world, posthumously received the Lifetime Achievement Award. In accepting the award on behalf of his father, Dweezil Zappa noted that his father really didn't like awards or award shows but thinks he would have really appreciated his honor from the Jammys. Zappa then took the stage with Napoleon Murphy Brock and his new Zappa Plays Zappa ensemble for, what else, a set of Zappa tunes. Even though the set contained standout solos from keyboardist Chick Corea and Umphrey's McGee guitarist Jake Cinninger, the set wasn't the blowaway transcendent performance most hoped for.

At the 3rd annual Jammys, moe. braved the chants of "More Cowbell," playing with Blue Oyster Cult. This year, moe. had the stage relatively to themselves, being lent an unintrusive hand by The Mad Professor, covering "The Guns of Brixton" and offering a lengthy version of "Buster." Little Feat and blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin, anchored the final spot in the lineup, being joined by Stephen and Ky-Mani Marley and ultimately everyone else for an all-star finale of "One Love." Once the Bob Marley tune, intended as the evening's last number, concluded, Little Feat broke into an impromptu rendition of "Dixie Chicken," ending the night with a flourish.

Amidst all the excitement, awards were handed out in categories like Live Performance of the Year, Live Album of the Year, Studio Album of the Year and Tour of the Year. Like any awards show, it's tempting to parse through all the trophies handed out, the speeches of gratitude and the recognition of exceptional achievement in an attempt to discern a winner. At the Jammys, such an endeavor always leads back to the same winner each year - - - the audience.

The 2006 Jammy Awards went to:

Tour of the Year:
Big Summer Classic Tour (String Cheese Incident, Keller Williams, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Yonder Mountain String Band, Umphrey's McGee, New Monsoon, and Xavier Rudd)

Live Performance of the Year:
moe. Tsunami Relief Benefit, Roseland Ballroom, NYC, 2/10/05 (with Trey Anastasio, Sam Bush, Jennifer Hartswick, John Medeski and Ray Paczkowski)

Live Album of the Year:
Widespread Panic - Live at Myrtle Beach

Studio Album of the Year:
Leo Kottke and Mike Gordon - Sixty Six Steps

Archival Album of the Year:
Phish - Live at Madison Square Garden New Year's Eve 1995

Song of the Year:
Tea Leaf Green - "Taught To Be Proud"

New Groove:
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

DVD of the Year:
Bob Dylan - No Direction Home

Global Rhythm World Music Award:
Baaba Maal

New Coheed and Cambria

Coheed and Cambria have uploaded a brand new acoustic version of "A Favor House Atlantic" to their MySpace page. This version was recorded during the band's last trip to the UK. Three additional tracks are expected soon. They are currently on the road with Avenged Sevenfold, supporting their latest release Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume 1: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness, including a set at next weekend's Coachella Music Festival in Indio, CA.

Beatles Digitally Remastered

Win the entire Beatles Catalog on Digitally Remastered CDs. They're all here:
Please Please Me, With The Beatles, A Hard Day's Night, Beatles For Sale, Help, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Magical Mystery Tour, The Beatles (White Album), Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road and Let It Be.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

David Lee Roth out, Opie & Anthony in?

Its been no secret that since Howard Stern left CBS for Sirius, the CBS radio markets with David Lee Roth hosting the morning show have suffered dramatic ratings dips. As I've said before, Stern made things easy for the CBS suits to sell ads and they are spiraling without him.

It was apparent from the first few weeks of his show, that David Lee Roth was not going to last very long. Criticism was immediate and widespread. It seems the low ratings may have finally taken their toll and CBS reportedly has been working behind the scenes to bring "shock jocks" Opie & Anthony over to CBS from XM Radio. Sort of a Stern-in-reverse move.

If this goes down, this will be a clear move to attempt to lure back some Stern listeners who haven't yet bought Sirius and instead have simply turned the dial. CBS fired the pair back in 2002 when they aired a live broadcast of a couple having sex in New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral. It'll be interesting to see if Opie & Anthony can make their smutty schtick work on terrestrial radio in the post-Janet Jackson nip slip era. One report has the pair staying at XM for the "uncensored" version of their show, with a cleaned up version for CBS. This may be a boon for XM, who has seen Sirius close the listener gap since Stern's arrival, since fans listening to the clean O&A may become curious enough to tune into XM to get the dirty stuff.

Idol fans send Ace Young packing

Ace Young was voted off the Idol island last night, leaving a final six to fight it out for this year's crown. Suprisingly, one time favorite Chris Daughtry was in the bottom three vote-getters last night. Could the "rockers" be losing favor with the American Idol faithful?

More Soundbytes:

Seems as if Queen got a boost from their music being featured on Idol, as their greatest-hits collection Stone Cold Classics, opened at number 45 on the charts selling over 25,000 copies the first week out.

Mamma Mia! The stage show based on Abba's tunes will hit the big screen as a movie. Tom Hanks and his Playtone production company are set to produce and release the film next year.

Liz Berlin of Rusted Root fame will play with her band Jazzam tonight at her club Mr. Small's Theatre in Pittsburgh. The show will also feature acts from her CREATIVE.LIFE.RECORDS label.

Ken Tizzard, formerly of Canada's The Watchman and Thornley, has released a few new songs of his own in a dramatic departure from the sound of his old bands.

Amos Lee will headline a concert at LaSalle University in Philadelphia for a "Free Tibet" group. Melody Gardot is also on the bill.

Hip-Hop video star Karrine Steffans aka "Superhead" has danced in videos alongside some big names, including Jay-Z, R. Kelly and LL Cool J. Steffans is now starring in a new "adult film" for Vivid Entertainment (home of Jenna Jameson) appropriately titled "Superhead." She was also recently rumored to be in a romantic relationship with comedian-commentator Bill Maher.

Rolling Down I-95: Drive-By Truckers - A Blessing And A Curse

By: Sean R. Grogan

What happens when Tom Petty's tour bus collides with Lynyrd Skynyrd's? After the smoke clears the Drive-By Truckers emerge. Full of whiskey-fueled energy, these hard-drinking Southern rockers thunder down the road and unload A Blessing and A Curse. This seventh release from the Drive-By Truckers shows enormous growth and a vigor unheard in their previous records.

Fronted by not one but three singer/songwriters (Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, and Jason Isbell) the poignant songs resonate with emotions rare in this generation's collection of Rebel Rock artists. Songs like "Aftermath, USA" and "Little Bonnie" deal with real American issues minus the candy-coated sweetness of the major label stars. "Aftermath, USA" tackles the South's crystal meth addiction head on, while the striking "Little Bonnie" deals with the death of a four year old child the singer never knew. The Drive-By Truckers pave new routes to the soul without shortcuts, opting for the most direct route to your heart and your feet. Be prepared to be bowled over by the Drive-By Truckers as this isn't a record meant for a hit and run.

Hardcore To The Bone: Sick Of It All - Death To Tyrants

By: Sean R. Grogan

With a sound as wicked as a rabid pit bull, these New York City hardcore legends unleash Death to Tyrants onto an unsuspecting public. With this record, SOIA tears asunder the established expectations of the modern music scene as they shred on their guitars and rip aggressive lyrics about personal strife and political ideologies.

Sick Of It All are the definition of hardcore and their savage and intense sound is one that has been often imitated, but never matched. On this volcanic record, these NYHC members are determined to prove that even after 20 years together they haven't lost their passion or ferocious sound. Death To Tyrants is as hard as ever. The track "Make a Mark," jams that point down your throat, with the Lou Koller's lyrical attack. Once the thrashing licks of Pete Koller (guitar) and Craig Setari (bass) add to the mix, what you're left with is an explosive cocktail sure to blow open the idea of what hardcore bands are capable of. Watch out for the fists when you enter the pit.

Shooter Jennings Hits The Mark In New York City

By: David Schultz

Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane crash, the slow disintegration of the original Allman Brothers Band and the slow slide into obscurity of bands like .38 Special, Molly Hatchet and the Marshall Tucker Band contributed to the end of southern rock's seventies heyday. Though not a dying genre, southern rock has seemed to fade from the forefront of popular rock and roll. Kid Rock and even more so Drive-By Truckers have admirably kept the genre vital and Shooter Jennings seems ready to join the cause.

Jennings, the son of country icon Waylon Jennings and singer Jessi Coster, has just released his second album Electric Radio and came to New York City's Irving Plaza to introduce his music to a metropolis outside of country's usual target audience. However, Shooter Jennings isn't your typical country singer. In fact, Jennings' hybrid of country and southern rock probably falls under the forced heading of alt-country, which seems to be another term for modern day southern rock. Scruffy enough to embody a rugged country outlaw, Jennings doesn't look like a country star. With his bookish glasses, long, straight hair and white George Jones T-shirt, Jennings looks like he'd more at home on the lower east side then at the Grand Ole Opry.

Southern rock, country music and rebellion all seem to go hand in hand and Jennings comfortably embodies all three. Converting any skeptics in the New York audience early, Jennings quickly dispelled the idea that his visit to Irving Plaza would be a jangly little country show, launching right into his guitar-heavy rock. In fact, during songs like "Manifesto 2," "Little White Lines" and "Southern Comfort," it's hard to believe that you're watching Waylon Jennings' offspring. Well, OK, maybe not that hard to imagine while he's singing a song called "Southern Comfort." Unavoidably, Shooter will always play in the shadow of his famous father's reputation, which in some circles has grown to mythic proportion. After all, Jennings Sr. did give up his seat to The Big Bopper on the plane that also carried Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens into immortality, joking that he hoped it would crash as he exited the ill-fated aircraft. Ironically, any rebellion Shooter may feel towards his upbringing just makes him sound more like his father, one of the original outlaws of country music.

Already possessing the country pedigree, Jennings has incorporated southern rock in a way that echoes the best of the guitar based southern bands cut from the Lynyrd Skynyrd mold. On Electric Radio as well as his debut album Put The "O" Back In Country, Jennings puts forth a neo-country, hard-charging mix of rebellious foot-stomping songs and reflective, introspective, not quite power ballads. In some respects, Jennings's approach to country and rock comes from the same love of both that often inspires Kid Rock. However, they each approach the task from different perspectives. Playing with a simple band, Jennings' songs translate well live and he infuses them with an infectious energy. With Irving Plaza chanting his name, Shooter returned for his encore and sat at the keyboards for a trio of tunes, including Electric Rodeo's "Aviators." Nowhere near as exciting as when he's playing guitar, Jennings' keyboard based tunes sound more akin to more traditional wave-the-flag country, except for when he drifts into a full on Led Zeppelin Houses Of The Holy mode.

The opening band Diamond Nights provided an interesting contrast to Jennings' southern rock. With a drummer that seemed to have stepped out of a Loverboy video, Diamond Nights offered an intriguing blend of hippie idealism, seventies metal and pure spectacle. Channeling the same charming and goofy charisma of Chris Robinson, lead singer Morgan Phalen possesses many of the same strengths as the Crowes mercurial singer. He also has an extraordinary power of persuasion. After leaping down in to the audience during their closing cover of Joan Jett's "New Orleans," Phalen got a New York audience to join him on his knees in a secular prayer, even lying on the ground amongst the kneeling crowd. Phalen's peace and love persona may not have been an act as he mingled with the fans in between sets hugging anyone he could.

The Sopranos star, radio DJ and one-time guitar hero "Little" Steven Van Zandt made an unexpected appearance, introducing Shooter to the curious New York crowd and Sirius Satellite Radio's audience. Expertly warming up the crowd for the young singer, Van Zandt placed Jennings into the category of outlaw country, which "coincidentally" happens to be the name of one of Sirius' radio channels. Van Zandt correctly pointed out that a whole group of young musicians are getting frozen out of any mainstream airplay because they are too heavy for traditional country radio or too country for traditional classic rock. An alt-country outlaw? Well, what else should be expected from the son of Waylon Jennings?

Where To Begin?: The Dresden Dolls - Yes Virginia . . .

By: Sean R. Grogan

From their debut record till now, the Dresden Dolls have managed to elude classification, reaching styles from glam-rock to punk cabaret. Despite this, the duo, comprised of New-Wave singer/pianist Amanda Palmer and heavy metal drummer Brian Viglione, still have found their way into the mainstream spotlight on their own unconventional terms. Palmer's breathy and poignant vocals send a shiver of excitement down our spine and we can't help but tap to the beat.

Songs like, "Mandy goes to Med School" showcase the Dresden Dolls darkly humorous look on life with a song that tells a fictional tale of the pair's work as back-alley-abortionists: "Yes I can do everything you need from out of my new SUV . . . How about a nine month long vacation and a two-foot coffin." By comparison, "First Orgasm" tells the tale of a woman's daily routine including her favorite time of the morning. Palmer's sensuous vocals let out a low moan declaring "The first orgasm of the morning is like a firedrill . . . A lover will just complicate my plans . . . I am taking matters into my own hands." By mixing twisted humor with catchy tunes, this album is bound to be one of this year's best records.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Panda & Angel

Although the grunge influence has waned and more diverse music is emanating from the Northwest, there is plenty of angst left in the Seattle music scene. Panda & Angel do their best to lament heartache and loneliness on their self-titled EP for Jade Records. The band recorded six tracks in Seattle's famed Avast Studios (The Shins, Death Cab for Cutie, Sleater-Kinney) and are set for a West Coast to support the EP, which has a release date of July 25th. Despite the melancholy lyrics on tunes like Dangerous, one has to think life is pretty good for these guys right now.

New music from City Sleeps

Atlanta rockers City Sleeps are putting the finishing touches on their Maverick Records debut Hotel which will be released this summer. The record was produced by Goldfinger's John Feldmann (Story of the Year, The Used) and features the first single "Prototype": QT Audio, WM Audio. QT Video, WM Video.

Guitarist Adriel Garcia tells how the band hooked up with Feldman: ""out of nowhere we get an email saying, 'My name is John Feldmann. I'm a producer; I did Story Of The Year and the Used. I'm the lead singer with Goldfinger. Are you signed yet?' And we were like, 'Oh, shit.'" They cut a demo at Feldmann's home studio who burned the songs onto a disc and dropped them off at Maverick Records. "The next day," Adriel says, "we had a record deal."

Bouncing Souls Ready for NYC Residency

New Jersey rockers Bouncing Souls are true to their boardwalk roots, but like every band from the Garden State the bright lights of Broadway are the mecca. Over their 15 year career the Souls have dominated the Jersey Turnpike circuit and have cultivated a rabid following around the country and overseas. Known for punk anthems like "Sing Along Forever" and "Punks In Vegas" the guys are in Europe this month and will be setting up shop in NYC at the Knitting Factory for a six night stand to celebrate the release of their new disc "The Gold Record."

Black Crowes Announce Summer Tour With Robert Randolph & The Family Band and Drive-By Truckers

One of the hottest tickets of the 2006 outdoor concert season will surely be this summer's Black Crowes tour. The Crowes can generate enough excitement on their own, but they will kick it up a notch of Emeril-like proportions by bringing along pedal steel guitar wizard Robert Randolph & The Family Band and the alt-country superband Drive-By Truckers. While the Crowes will be continuing their seemingly neverending tour, (although they do have a new DVD, Freak 'N' Roll . . . Into The Fog), the Truckers will be out in support of their new album A Blessing And A Curse. At this time it's unclear whether Randolph's new album, currently in the final stages, will be out by the summer as no release date has been announced.

The recently announced tour kicks off in Seattle on June 10th and winds its way east.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Elefant's "The Black Magic Show" Drops

Elefant's new album The Black Magic Show hit stores today. There was a lot of pre-release buzz over the first single "Lolita" as well as album track "The Clown."

No word on if/when the Clown will be relased as a single.

The band has also put out an uncensored version of the "Lolita" video, view it here in Quicktime Hi, Quicktime Lo, Windows 300k or Windows 56K.

Bruce Springsteen Tour Dates

Bruce Springsteen announced dates for his upcoming Seeger Sessions tour. A US tour has been confirmed for Bruce Springsteen with The Seeger Sessions Band. The tour kicks off in New Orleans on April 30, heads to Europe for a series of ten shows and then returns to the US with a series of 18 shows kicking off in Boston on May 27 and finishing in New Jersey on June 25.

In addition to Springsteen on vocals, guitar and harmonica, the US tour dates for the Seeger Sessions Band will comprise the following lineup: Sam Bardfeld (violin), Art Baron (tuba), Frank Bruno (guitar), Jeremy Chatzky (upright bass), Larry Eagle (drums), Charles Giordano (accordion, keyboards), Curtis King (vocals), Greg Liszt (banjo), Lisa Lowell (vocals), Eddie Manion (sax), Cindy Mizelle (vocals), Mark Pender (trumpet), Marty Rifkin (pedal steel guitar), Richie "La Bamba" Rosenberg (trombone), Patti Scialfa (vocals), Marc Anthony Thompson (vocals) and Soozie Tyrell (violin).

Quietdrive's New Video - Free MP3 Player

Enter for a chance (click the photo) to win a Sony Walkman from Quietdrive and Epic Records. Exclusively for readers!

Quietdrive's new album, When All That's Left Is You, hits stores this spring. On tour with Sherwood and Waking Ashland this spring - you can also check out their new video for "Rise From The Ashes."

Green Apple Music Festival About To Bloom In New York City

After months of rumors and speculation, the Green Apple Music Festival will commence this Thursday night with the 6th Annual Jammy Awards at the Theater in Madison Square Garden. Since its inaugural, the Jammys have become a highly anticipated annual event featuring intriguing and sometimes bizarre combinations of musicians playing together for lengthy sets between awards. In past years, The Disco Biscuits have shared the stage with Travis Tritt, Particle backed the B-52s, Umphrey's McGee supported Huey Lewis and one year, the finale featuring Bob Weir and Ratdog, Al Schnier, Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Robert Randolph, Matt Abts, the Tom Tom Club, John Popper and a girl with wings playing the flute, finished sometime south of 3:30 in the morning.

This year's show features music's past: Peter Frampton, Richie Havens, Little Feat and Grateful Dead drummers Bill Kreutzman and Mickey Hart; music's present: moe., Mike Gordon, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and Guster; and music's future: Grace Potter and Jake Cinninger of Umphrey's McGee. Keeping in tune with the improvisational spirit of the show, the combination of performers won't be revealed until they walk out on stage together. The Jammys are the one award show where winning and losing is trumped by who rocks the hardest.

Once the awards are handed out, the focus will shift to B.B King's and the adjacent Lucille's Grill. The celebration of Frank Zappa's posthumously awarded Lifetime Achievement Award will continue with Zappa Plays Zappa, Dweezil Zappa's new revue honoring his father, taking center stage. While the Zappa-fest takes place in the main room, U-Melt will carry on their tradition of owning the night, providing their own fireworks at Lucille's with their specialty, the high-energy, non-stop, after-hours set.

Right about the time U-Melt will likely finishing their set, the first of a series of hour long sets will commence on Vanderbilt Avenue, just outside of the Grand Central Terminal. The lunchtime crowd can catch Grace Potter & The Nocturnals at noon and Umphrey's McGee at 1:00 with the evening commuters catching Mickey Hart with The Mutaytor and Baaba Maal at 5:00 and Martin Sexton at 6:00. The free shows will continue on Saturday with a kid show featuring Constant Wonder at 11:00 a.m., Jonah Smith at noon, Ben Taylor at 1:00, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones at 2:00 and concluding with the Assembly of Dust at 3:00.

The Green Apple Festival will feature a wide variety of shows and will spread throughout New York City for the entire weekend.

Friday's highlights (April 21) include:

Umphrey's McGee at the legendary CBGB
Particle and The Mad Professor at the Bowery Ballroom
Assembly of Dust and Martin Sexton at The Cutting Room
Toots & The Maytals, Soulive and Grace Potter at Times Square's Nokia Theater
Licorice at the Knitting Factory
Steve Kimock and Stephen Perkins at the posh Canal Room
Strangefolk at the Lions Den
Bela Fleck & The Flecktones at BB Kings
Toubab Krewe and DJ Equal at Madison Avenue's Coda
Guster at the intimate Hiro Ballroom
Richie Havens returning to The Bitter End

Saturday's highlights include:

Tea Leaf Green at CBGB
Little Feat playing two shows at BB Kings
The Slip and The Ryan Montbleau Band playing a late night set at Coda
Steve Kimock and Stephen Perkins at the Blue Note Jazz Club
Bela Fleck & The Flecktones moving over to Irving Plaza
The Scissor Sisters at the Bowery Ballroom
Perpetual Groove and Rose Hill Drive at the Knitting Factory
Mike Doughty at New Jersey's Mexicali Blues

The Festival will conclude on Sunday with the Fab Faux reproducing late-era Beatles classics to the note with two shows at the Nokia Theater and The Scissor Sisters remaining at the Bowery Ballroom for another night. The true closing party will take place at the historic Ziegfield Theater with the premiere of Wetlands Preserved, a documentary focusing on the onetime jamband haunt. The Post-Movie Party will take place at Coda and feature Perpetual Groove.

The Green Apple Music Festival coincides with the celebration with Earth Day and Relix Magazine and Peter Shapiro have set in motion events that could create a "perfect storm" of a rock and roll weekend. With a whole host of musicians in town, guest appearances may be the norm rather than a rare treat this weekend.

Beatles' Bytes

The breach of contract trial between the Beatles' Apple Corps. and Apple Computers has all but concluded, with both sides awaiting a decision from the judge. The two Apples differ on whether the computer company violated their 1991 agreement by using the Apple name and logo in connection with iTunes. With the Beatles receiving $26 million dollars, the two sides set limits with respect to the usage of the Apple trademark. However, in 1991, no one foresaw the proliferation of the Internet or the potential for online computer-based sales.

As if this battle of titans wasn't newsworthy enough, it was revealed during the trial that The Beatles catalog is currently in the process of being digitally remastered in preparation for online distribution. In papers submitted to the court, Neil Aspinall, managing director of Apple Corps., informed the Court of their Internet intentions. "I think it would be wrong to offer downloads of the old masters when I am making new masters," said Aspinall. Even though every Beatles song is available on CD and fans can acquire Beatles music in several different compilations, the availability of Beatles music online, whether on iTunes or elsewhere, will surely be a watershed moment.

Just at the time when the value of the Beatles catalog could skyrocket even further, Michael Jackson has reportedly agreed to sell a significant portion of his rights in Beatles' recordings to Sony Corp. In 1985, Jackson surprisingly outbid his supposed friend Paul McCartney for the rights to the music. While the karma may not have been instant, Jackson's current sale comes in an effort to avoid bankruptcy after years of financially irresponsible behavior. For those who have been living in a cave, Jackson currently resides in Bahrain, having fled the United States after his acquittal on child molestation charges.

Catalog Malfunction

FCC darling Janet Jackson has quashed rumors that music from her upcoming album 20 Years Old have been leaked onto the Internet well in advance of its intended release date. Jackson claims that the songs currently being circulating are tracks recorded two years ago with producer Rich Harrison and not material from 20 Years Old.

Tempting as it may be to point out that this falls into the latter-day Janet Jackson pre-release marketing plan of letting things "accidentally" slip out, she swears that no new music has been inappropriately exposed. "I have a tight rein on all of the music that has been recorded. So all of the websites or blogs hinting that these songs are from 20 Years Old are false."

Monday, April 17, 2006

Neil Young to get his protest on

Neil Young has never been shy about speaking out via his music. "Southern Man" and "Ohio" are just two examples of several politically tinged tunes he's put out in his illustrious career.

Now the Canadian rocker is ready to devote an entire album to protesting George W. Bush and the Iraq war. Reports even have one tracked named, "Impeach the President." It'll be interesting to see whether Neil's work is received ala the Dixie Chicks or people start to pay attention. One key difference is Young's protest will come out during a time when the President has extremely low approval ratings. But, judging by the high profile feature this story got on the Drudge Report, it appears the right wing machine will be looking take "ole Neil" down. Somehow, I don't think he cares.

White Stripes Sued by Producer

A producer who worked on the first White Stripes recording says he helped shape the "White Stripes' sound" and is suing for royalties. Meg and Jack White, say they paid him for the time they spent at his studio and that should be the end of it.

Well kids that's why you need contracts ahead of time - even if you're just making your first demo. Bands and producers can contact me and I'll help you avoid this kind of stuff.

Queen's Brian May pissed at Idol?

ContactMusic reports that Brian May is upset with American Idol for what he calls deceptive editing during his conversation with Ace Young.

Last week, the Idol contestants took their turn at some Queen classics. Young chose to do a re-work of We Will Rock You. May says that the Idol producers edited his comments to look negative, when in fact he thought it was "pretty damn good."

Ace Young fans smell a conspiracy. Of course, this wouldn't be the first time the show was accused of influencing the outcome.

The Many Different Sides Of Vernon Reid

By: David Schultz
Live shot photos via & Flickr.

As a member of the hard-rocking, socio-politically conscious Living Colour, Vernon Reid solidified his position as one of rock and roll's most inventive and intriguing lead guitarists. In the late eighties, Reid's transcendent guitar solo from "Cult Of Personality" emanated from classic rock radio, top 40 radio and MTV. Sadly, bright stars burn fiercely; Living Colour split up in the early nineties, their vigilantly defiant voice of conscience silent until reforming in the summer of 2001.

In the aftermath of Living Colour's split, Reid released his first solo album Mistaken Identity in 1996 with the members of Masque. For the follow-up, the 2004 Known Unknown, Masque received equal billing. Taking less time to release their next album, Vernon Reid and Masque's Other True Self hits stores April 18. While awaiting the release of his new album, Reid graciously invited Earvolution into his New York City home to discuss Other True Self, Masque and the unavoidable topic of Living Colour.

Masque grew out of longtime relationships between Reid, bassist Hank Schroy and keyboardist Leon Gruenbaum. Schroy came to Masque from the alternative rock band No Walls and Gruenbaum "came from outer space by way of Brookline, Massachusetts." With a chuckle, Reid describes meeting Gruenbaum at one of his photo exhibitions where the keyboardist gave him a tape that floored the seemingly unflappable guitarist. "He's a brilliant keyboard player as well as being an inventor, incredibly knowledgeable in all types of music," says Reid of Gruenbaum. "Genius is a word that gets thrown around, but he truly is that." The term "genius" has often been applied to Reid, but when asked if he feels like one, he quickly dismissed the suggestion, succinctly and modestly responding, "Nope. I am an ongoing and developing experience."

With Masque, Reid explores different and varying musical styles. While Living Colour in no way hid Reid's guitar virtuosity, Masque gives Reid the opportunity to show off his skills in genres outside of his other band's hard rock bailiwick. On Other True Self, Reid offers a collection of instrumentals ranging from the Caribbean flavored reggae of "Flatbush And Church Revisited," the jazz, funk, metal fusion of "Game Is Rigged," a grandiose cover of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy The Silence" and an inspired reworking of Radiohead's "National Anthem." Don McKenzie, a member of the Mistaken Identity touring band, replaces Marlon Browden on drums for the new album. "Don brings something new, he's very hard-hitting," explains Reid. "Whereas Marlon has a very different style, intense, a very jazz, improvised type of thing, Don has a more funk and pocket type background."

Reid's solo projects have always dealt with the concept of identity and, as the name would lead you to believe, Other True Self continues Reid's exploration. The new album's ideological origins stem from discussions Reid had with Cream bassist Jack Bruce about their not-so-different backgrounds. Like Reid, Bruce has been involved in numerous projects. "We've lived so many lives inside of our lives," Bruce told Reid. The notion of evolving persona and psyche has always been inextricably entwined with Reid's solo work. "The idea of all these records is that by looking at identity, looking at who it is that's addressing you now, what is 'I'?" explains Reid. "What does that mean? What does it mean to be a guitarist of a certain style? What does it mean to be of a certain ethnic group? What does it mean to be an American? What does it mean to be an American in the world now?"

Bringing the analysis closer to home, Reid looks at his albums as a snapshot of where he's at now. With respect to the idea of having separate selves, Reid takes an existential view. "It's like another side of me, the same me but a different side," he says. "Mistaken Identity was so much about, there's the Living Colour thing, there's Vernon Reid and all of that and then there's this kind of darkie figurine and what does the darkie figurine have to do with Vernon Reid inside of Living Colour and outside of Living Colour," he explains. "It purports to be me and is supposed to represent me," Reid says of Mistaken Identity's cover image. "Examining what [the figurine actually represents], that's an ongoing fascination." Broadening the metaphor further, Reid concludes that, "In a way, [his Masque albums and solo projects] are all different aspects of a central question, who is this and why does he have a guitar around his neck."

Reid's intrigued by the contrast between the identity you feel for yourself and the identity projected onto you by others, a theme that runs beyond the music and into Other True Self's cover art, especially the wild helmet/mask sported by Reid. Instead of seeing the mask as an instrument of concealment, Reid sees it as a way to disclose a more complex nature. "The idea of the mask as revealing and bringing forth an aspect of one's nature," interests Reid. Enjoying the juxtaposition of wearing a suit while wearing a primitive headdress and holding a Tony Fitzpatrick painted guitar, Reid explicates that, "Masking hides the self but it also projects another true self."

While Reid's latest album reflects a distinct side of his personality, he eschews simplifying identity into a dichotomy. "Don't limit it to a duality," Reid answers deliberately. "It's like a kind of circle. I came into this really into Santana and Jimi Hendrix, then I got into [jazz guitarist] John McLaughlin and underneath all that was the blues thing, Freddie King, B.B. King. From there to The Decoding Society and Ronald Shannon Jackson, which went 'out there' into the so called avant-garde." Reid speaks reverentially about the avant-garde. "You have to have those extreme elements in music. From the avant-garde, you get to the mainstream. Working with Jackson, meeting Ornette Coleman and even what happened with Living Colour," has brought Reid to the place he is today. "You donÂ’t get to the center without going onto the edge." Completing the circle, Reid defines his new album within that context. "Other True Self is the space between the very extreme avant-garde and the mainstream."

Other True Self succeeds by avoiding the pitfalls of becoming mired in its own heaviness, steering well clear of the stereotypical guitar histrionics that habitually weigh down full-length rock instrumental albums. Reid accomplishes the task by keeping the mix of songs fresh. "The sequence of the album is very much the journey," proclaims Reid. The opening two songs, "Game Is Rigged" and "National Anthem," comprise a gripping opening couplet. "I like how they came across, how they go from one to the other," Reid says with pride. "Game Is Rigged" seamlessly moves through funk, jazz, blues and a little metal, with Reid's guitar skating on the surface of Masque's skillful backing. The Radiohead cover may seem an odd choice, but the replacement of Thom Yorke's ethereal, ghostly voice with Reid's soulful guitar succeeds on a grand scale. "We got the bass sound just right," Reid says, unsurprisingly agreeing with the assessment. "After Soundgarden (Reid's favorite Living Colour contemporaries) broke up, I was devastated. I got a taste of what it was like for fans of Living Colour to hear that Living Colour broke up. Radiohead was one of the bands that made rock fascinating again." Plus, the title alone peaked Reid's interest as a provocateur. "You can't not think about 'The Star Spangled Banner' and I like the tension of thinking about 'The Star Spangled Banner' but playing the Radiohead tune."

"Flatbush And Church Revisited" is a reggae-tinged soundtrack for the Brooklyn intersection frequented by those who trace their ancestry to the Caribbean. Through "Flatbush," Reid best describes his affinity for instrumentals. "Instrumental music can serve to say things you can't say with lyrics but it can also serve as a soundtrack for a very particular place in time," describes Reid. "It can be a soundtrack for an emotion as well as a physical place or a mental landscape. That's how I relate to instrumental music." The song also has a small sentimental attachment for Reid as his parents are from the Caribbean, thus revealing yet another side of the guitarist, but possibly not a significant one. "I don't identify as Caribbean. I guess I do inasmuch as I'm an African-Caribbean American, but I grew up in New York. I grew up in America. The only thing I know is America, I identify as American, whatever that means," Reid says with a laugh.

The pounding beat of "Whiteface" and the bouncing "Mind Of My Mind" overlaps a little with Reid's Living Colour work, but on the whole Other True Self is as much a separate project as Will Calhoun's jazz recordings. Gruenbaum injects a little Emerson, Lake & Palmer keyboard action into "Afrerika" and the interplay between Reid's guitar and Gruenbaum's Hammond organ turn Depeche Mode's 1990 hit "Enjoy The Silence" into a laid back, elegiac anthem. "Prof. Bebey" has the joyful pacing of a medieval folk tune and concludes the album with a pleasant reverie. Known for roaring guitar solos, "Prof. Bebey" has given Reid the impetus to further exploring the potential of acoustic music. "'Prof. Bebey' was actually a cue for the film, The 12 Disciples of Nelson Mandela," Reid explains. "I kept thinking about it and recorded it with the band and it came out really well. Where the acoustic melds with the electronics," Reid says and then pauses. "I'm not sure what that's going to mean, but it's something I'm interested in."

Masque has worked out the new material on stage in Europe and Reid seemed pleased with the development. "'Game Is Rigged' really kind of grew and changes from day to day. The Radiohead and Depeche Mode songs also went over well. Mistaken Identity's 'CP Time' and Known Unknown's 'The Slouch' were also well received." There will always be those amongst Masque's audience that want to see Reid bust out a Living Colour tune but they have faded into the background over time. Reid's not bothered by those people who call for "Cult Of Personality" or their other favorite Living Colour songs. "It's gratifying to have people that have been with it since the first record." While no Living Colour covers have made their way into Masque's set, Reid's considering incorporating a song or two, thinking Vivid's "Broken Hearts" would work well. He also would like to work in a Talking Heads Fear Of Music track into the set, leaning towards "Mind."

Not one to suffer fools lightly; there is nothing frivolous about Reid. Don't take that to mean he's without humor as Reid has a very witty, amiable way about him. Rather, Reid brings a hyperactive intellect to all his pursuits. Reid can and will expound on sports, politics and especially music, offering perspectives from a unique and informed point of view. It's Reid's interpretation of the world around him that helped fuel Living Colour's success. In fact, whether Living Colour has more to say is the quandary the band presently faces. "Now I'm at a place, is this going to be an evolving thing, is this stuck in time or are we just playing the songs that everyone knows. Is it ongoing?" Reid says of Living Colour's future. "At what point do we all make that happen, and that's really a question for the band right now."

Reid was not hesitant to discuss his former band, although conceding that he was not always so forthcoming. "There's a time period in my life that if you brought up Living Colour, I would have been, next question." Reid then became momentarily pensive. "It happens, you're so close. It's funny about being intimate with people and close to them, it's weird. The disappointment is that much stronger." When asked if the true story of Living Colour's split has ever been told, Reid grinned and with a playful laugh said, "I don't think the real story's ever been told and I ain't going to tell it now." After pausing for a moment, Reid implies that there's no simple answer to that question, saying that there were many different aspects to Living Colour's breakup. "One thing I will say, we probably needed to have a serious cooling off period after [original bassist] Muzz [Skillings] left the band. Having said that, I'm really happy that Doug joined the band and all those other things you can speculate on."

Living Colour has never been shy to lend their voice or time to a cause they feel worthy. Last summer, Living Colour returned to CBGB to play a benefit show in support of the legendary punk-rock club's fight with its landlord to remain in its iconic East Village home. Reid has fond memories for CBGB and its owner Hilly Kristal and regrets the club becoming a casualty to the ever-changing New York landscape. "It's sad," Reid says of the development of the East Village. "It's turning into a miniature midtown. Low high rises all over the place. I hate the fact that it's become a scrubbed up shadow of itself. No one wants to deal with crime and unsavory elements but New York City used to have a real edge. The meat packing district has become a super-expensive, high fashion, exclusive club place and that's what happening to the East Village, it's sad."

Reid remains non-committal as to what should happen to CBGB when its lease expires later this year. "It's funny because some people are very nostalgic of CBGB," says Reid, noting the varying range of opinions on the proper course of action for the club's future. "Other people had a bad time because they didn't become famous and are very negative. Hilly gave me a fair shake. If he wants to cash out; I think he should do whatever he wants to do with it." While taking no exception with whatever Kristal eventually decides to do with his club, Reid takes issue with the circumstances that have brought the situation to bear. "CBGB should have been landmarked." Noting the similarities between CBGB's fight and the battle to save the Electric Ladyland studios, Reid posits, "On a certain level, real estate is about hubris and ego. It's about 'I can do this because I can.' It really speaks to the ferocity of the great game of New York real estate, the blood sport of it. Another generation is going to come along and no one's going to understand what it is until it's taken away from them." Reid's last thought is lyrically elegant. "You don't miss your water 'til the well runs dry."

At their CBGB concert, "Open Letter (To A Landlord)" took on added meaning and Reid compared that performance to Living Colour's cover of Bruce Springsteen's controversial "American Skin (41 Shots)" at Central Park's Summerstage in the summer of 2001, shortly after the band reformed. "We had been working up to doing '41 Shots' in Central Park and once we did it there, we didn't need to do the song again," said Reid. "The story arc of that song and Amadou Diallo was complete and to repeat the story doesn't do anything. Some things are funny that way, some things need closure. The CBGB thing, I was surprised at the people who didn't show up and didn't want to go back, but I understand that."

For many, the Central Park show marked Living Colour's reunion, even though they had played some live shows in preparation for the free concert. While fans flocked to Central Park to see Living Colour again, Reid had mixed feelings about the way Living Colour returned. "I would have liked to get together, play and write new songs," he explains. However, never one to shy from a potentially controversial position, Reid and Living Colour felt once more that they had something to say. "One thing that mattered to me was '41 Shots.' The rest of that show felt like we were playing a weird kind ofbarbecuee or weird block party, just very weird. '41 Shots' was the moment in that show where the actual Living Colour, the Living Colour that was vital, the Living Colour that meant something, actually did something."

Shortly after Living Colour's return, New York City was beset by the September 11th terrorist attacks that scarred a whole generation of New Yorkers and Americans. "I don't know if the band would have continued without September 11," explained Reid. "We're a New York band and September 11 was a moment and a thing that really brought that into focus. We'd been working on songs; 'A ? Of When' was written before the attacks but took on more meaning afterwards," says Reid before concisely summing up their return. "We still had something to say."

Living Colour returned to a different landscape that greeted them upon their late eighties debut. Reid realizes the public's reaction to Living Colour, a black band playing rock and roll, would differ if they came along today. "The novelty of being black would be less a part of the story," reasons Reid. "After Living Colour there has been Rage Against The Machine, the band that came after us that stylistically extended the boundaries, there are mixed-race bands like the Dave Matthews Band and Sevendust. Things have evolved and Living Colour was part of that reintegration and re-evolution." Reid's modest about Living Colour's role in changing people's perceptions, stressing that they made it more possible for these bands to gain acceptance but that "everyone has to stand or fall on their music. I'm not going to take credit for other people's music," he states firmly. "Lenny Kravitz became a bona-fide rock star without anyone saying 'oh he's black.' Before us it was Prince, before that Bad Brains, even as far back as The Isley Brothers."

Reid comfortably looks back on the past, but isn't content to reside there. "I'm glad that Living Colour affected the landscape of rock and roll," he says proudly. "My main concern now is whether the story is ongoing or is the story complete. What is it that weÂ’re talking about now? What do we as, a collective, have to bring to it? What's the chapter that's going to be written next? It's an open question." However, Reid will never shy away from playing the songs that earned Living Colour legions of loyal fans that still come to see the band whenever and wherever they play. "The sentiment feels dated but for the most part when we get out of the way of the music, it's pretty fun." As to whether he will ever grow tired of playing "Cult Of Personality," Reid answers reflectively. "Has Santana ever played a show without playing 'Black Magic Woman?' It would be weird for him to get to the point where he could do a show and not play it; you would realize that a whole generation has passed out of his audience."

In discussing whether Living Colour bassist Doug Wimbish brings out anything extra from Reid ("Doug's a bad motherfucker isn't he?" Reid says with a laugh and an impish grin), you learn that Reid is very self aware of the reasons for his, and Living Colour's success. After joking that when Wimbish gets going, "I just try and stay out of the way," Reid gives a fascinating dissertation on making great rock and roll. "It's about getting out of the way of the music," he explains. "When you see a bad Living Colour show you see four guys not agreeing, colliding into one another, scrabbling for their space. When you see a great Living Colour show, the songs play themselves. The music has to play the musician."

Reid then brings up King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp and his theory of the totality of the experience. "Rock audiences are attuned to when things are real and when things are fake. They know when a real moment's happening or when a real moment's not happening. I became fascinated with the idea that people can tell when you're playing well. They don't know scales, they don't know music theory, but they will know when youÂ’re not playing well. If you play for musicians, half of them don't know either. It's interesting the way people respond to certain things, if someone does a flashy thing that's actually not that deep musically, people respond to it because he did a flashy thing. But it's real interesting when they respond to something really edgy, really risk-taking because they get it, they hear it."

Once again, bringing the general around to the specific, Reid explains how this works for him. "Getting out of the way of yourself, getting out of the way of what you want [the music] to be and actually being and doing what [the music] is. It can be very difficult," he says deliberately. "It's a lot easier to get in the way than to get out of the way." Reid continues, "I know for myself, when I want want want, I get into trouble. I want to be cool. I want you to like me. I want you to like this song. I want you to buy the record. I want. I want. I want. The things that I want are barriers, which is weird, because you have to have desire on a certain level and you have to execute. Really being who you are at the moment and playing the music to the best of your ability without an expectation of reward. I'm going to play this thing and you're going to love it," he reveals. "That's what works for me."

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Grace Potter Rocking The Gear circa 2006!