Amid Violence, La Vida Boheme Frontman Turns to Twitter Activism as His Songs Become Protest Anthems
Henry D’Arthenay, the leader of Venezuelan rock group La Vida Boheme, has spent most of the past week inside his home in Caracas, communicating with bandmates who live on neighboring streets via Skype and tweeting videos of street violence, blockade alerts and lists of names of student protesters detained by police.
“This is a civil war,” D’Arthenay declared when reached by phone on Thursday (Feb. 20). “…it’s going to hell.”
On Feb. 12, after the deaths of three demonstrators led to an explosion of social outcry and responding violence in Venezuela, D’Arthenay posted a video for La Vida Boheme’s song “Cementerio del Este/Cementerio del Sud” (Eastern Cemetery/Southern Cemetery) dedicated “to our dead.” The video shows the Caracas landscape at night covered with neon crosses. The sober image changes as the crosses appear to dance along to the music and then rise as if in resurrection.
The members of the band have also seen the words of the songs on their 2013 Latin GRAMMY-winning album “Será” — released on Nacional Records — take on urgent new life in the context of the uprising in their country, where people have adopted the songs to express their feelings about current events.
“I have never heard so many truths at once about the moment that we live in [as] with the album Será,” one fan tweeted this week.
Another expressed her longing to go outside and sing one of the songs from the album out loud.
Of the fifteen songs on the album, “Aún” is the track whose lyrics are most often being used as a rallying call on social media: “My knees are trembling but I can’t stop. I want my children to have what they wanted to take away from me.”
Although the record’s powerful and often disturbing lyrics transcend a specific context, “Será” is fundamentally a concept album about Venezuela. It was rooted in dark times for the country and the band members, whose personal experience with Venezuela’s spiraling crime came tragically close when the band’s booking agent was abducted and murdered. In an interview with Billboard when the album was released, D’Arthenay described it as the soundtrack to an apocalypse, and “the last cry before everything burns to hell.” The album ended on a positive note, with tracks alluding to the coming of better times.
“I think the most spooky part about ‘Será’ is that I wrote it in order for this not to happen,” D’Arthenay said Thursday, referring to the uprising. “It is what we can now see as our failed attempt to avoid this. We were not seeing the future, we were seeing what was around us at the time. We were not the only ones to see it, [but] things just got fucked up.”
La Vida Boheme was set to play shows in cities around Venezuela in March, a tour that included several free shows. That tour has been postponed and will likely be canceled, says César Elster, the band’s manager and head of label Discos Caracas.
“In these times bringing together 10,000 people, most of them students is not a good idea,” Elster told Billboard, adding that almost all of the activity of the label’s artists has come to a standstill. “Nobody feels like partying now.”
La Vida Boheme is still scheduled to travel next month to perform at the Vive Latino festival in Mexico City.
“We tried to avoid what is happening here through art,” D’Arthenay reflected, referring to the message of “Será.” “Now we have to create a new reality. The way to denounce injustice is to create a world where it is not unjust, and music and art is a place where we can do that. Music now has a bigger responsibility than ever.”
Latinos In The House: The American Music Awards Hosted By Pitbull Features Some of The Latin World’s Biggest Stars; Winners Announced
With Pitbull hosting the show this year and superstars Marc Anthony, Prince Royce, Daisy Fuentes, Naya Rivera, Zoe Saldana, Christina Aguilera performing or presenting, Latinos were in the house in a huge way at tonight’s American Music Awards, live on ABC. Marc Anthony won Favorite Artist Latin, a category that was created 15 years ago.
One of the most exciting moments of the show was superstar Jennifer Lopez’s thrilling tribute to The Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz, the most popular salsa artist of the 20th Century. In wild and colorful costumes that would have pleased La Guarachera de Cuba, Lopez scorching performance including 30 dancers, wild choreography and Cruz’s signature songs, Quimbara, La Vida Es Un Carnaval, Bemba Colora .
Omer Pardillo Cid, Executor of the Celia Cruz Estate said, “I am very grateful to Jennifer Lopez for her spectacular tribute to Celia on the American Music Awards. The great Cuban poet Jose Marti said ‘It is honorable to honor someone else’ and in this, the tenth year anniversary of Celia’s passing, I can think of no better way to keep her musical legacy alive for new generations than through tributes such as this by one of today’s brightest stars.
“Artists were be honored in the genres of Pop/Rock, Country, Rap/Hip-Hop, Soul/R&B, Alternative Rock, Adult Contemporary, Latin, Contemporary Inspirational, Electronic Dance Music, as well as categories for Top Soundtrack, New Artist of the Year Presented by Kohl’s, Artist of the Year, and for the first year-ever, “Single of the Year.
This year marks fifteen l5 year anniversary of the awarding of Favorite Artist Latin when fans voted Julio Iglesias their Favorite Latin Star. Fifteen years later, the entire American Music Awards show the show is impacted by artists of Latino descent: Favorite Male Soul Rnb Nominee Miguel is half Mexican; 3x nominee Bruno Mars’ is one quarter Puerto Rican; and of course, artists within the Favorite Artist Latin category, Romeo Santos, Prince Royce and Marc Anthony, reflect, the wide range of music loved by fans in the U.S.
Produced by Dick Clark Productions, the AMAs reflect the legendary Dick Clark’s personal philosophies. In his decades long career, the legendary television personality and producer also helped Latino stars rise from obscurity to international fame. From Richie Valens to Selena Gomez to Los Tigres del Norte to Pitbull, countless numbers of Latino stars have graced the AMA, American Bandstand and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve stages.
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
- Taylor Swift
FAVORITE MALE ARTIST – POP/ROCK
· Justin Timberlake
FAVORITE FEMALE ARTIST – SOUL/R&B
FAVORITE ALBUM – COUNTRY
- Taylor Swift/Red
FAVORITE ALBUM – RAP/HIP-HOP
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis/The Heist
FAVORITE ARTIST – ALTERNATIVE ROCK
- Imagine Dragons
FAVORITE ARTIST – LATIN
- Marc Anthony
FAVORITE ALBUM – POP/ROCK
- One Direction/Take Me Home
NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY KOHL’S
- Ariana Grande
AMA Icon Award
FAVORITE MALE ARTIST – SOUL/R&B
- Justin Timberlake
FAVORITE FEMALE ARTIST – COUNTRY
- Taylor Swift
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
- Florida Georgia Line Featuring Nelly/Cruise
FAVORITE ALBUM – SOUL/R&B
- Justin Timberlake/The 20/20 Experience
FAVORITE ARTIST – ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC (EDM)
FAVORITE ARTIST – RAP/HIP-HOP
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
FAVORITE MALE ARTIST – COUNTRY
- Luke Bryan
FAVORITE BAND, DUO OR GROUP – POP/ROCK
- One Direction
FAVORITE FEMALE ARTIST – POP/ROCK
- Taylor Swift
FAVORITE BAND, DUO or GROUP – COUNTRY
- Lady Antebellum
FAVORITE ARTIST – ADULT CONTEMPORARY
- Maroon 5
FAVORITE ARTIST – CONTEMPORARY INSPIRATIONAL
- Matthew West
- Pitch Perfect
Con Pitbull como el anfitrión de este año y superestrellas de la talla de Marc Anthony, Prince Royce, Daisy Fuentes, Naya Rivera, Zoe Saldaña, Christina Aguilera, participando como presentadores o cantando durante la premiación, los latinos estuvieron muy bien representados en esta emisión de los AMAs.
Uno de los momentos más emocionantes del show fue el tributo que Jennifer Lopez le rindió a la Reina de la Salsa, Celia Cruz, una de las artistas más populares del siglo XX. Con un extravagante y colorido vestuario, digno representante de la Guarachera de Cuba, Lopez ofreció un gran show acompañada de 30 bailarines y una extraordinaria coreografía interpretando un medley de varios clásicos de Celia: Quimbara, La Vida Es Un Carnaval y Bemba Colora.
Omer Pardillo Cid, ejecutor del testamento y del legado de Celia Cruz, comento “Estoy muy agradecido con Jennifer Lopez por el tributo tan espectacular que le rindió a Celia Cruz durante los American Music Awards. El gran poeta Cubano José Martí dijo ‘Honor a quien honor merece,’ y en este décimo aniversario de su muerte, que mejor manera de preservar su legado musical con las nuevas generaciones que con tributo como este realizado por una de las estrellas más grandes de la música de hoy.
Durante los “2013 American Music Awards” los artistas fueron reconocidos en las categorías Pop/Rock, Country, Rap/Hip-Hop, Soul/R&B, Alternative Rock, Adult Contemporary, Latin, Contemporary Inspirational, Electronic Dance Music, al igual que en las categorías Top Soundtrack, New Artist of the Year presentado por Kohl’s, Artist of the Year y por primera vez, “Single of the Year.”
Con esta edición se marca el aniversario número 15 de la categoría “Favorite Artist – Latin” donde han sido reconocidos los artistas Latinos más destacados de las últimas décadas, incluyendo Julio Iglesias quien fue el primer artista Latino en recibir un AMA. Después de 15 años el impacto Latino se refleja aún más con artistas que tienen raíces hispanas como: Miguel, de padre Mexicano, nominado en la categoría ‘Favorite Male Artist – Soul/R&B’, Bruno Mars, de padre Puertorriqueño, está nominado en tres categorías y por supuesto los tres Latinos nominados como “Favorite Artist – Latin” Marc Anthony, Romeo Santos y Prince Royce.
Source: d.baron media relations inc.
Leo Minaya was born to be a star, the Washington Heights native made his film debut in the 2002 independent film “Manito” where he played opposite Franky G as the promising younger brother, Manny Moreno, who on the night of his high school graduation runs into trouble and all that he and his family worked hard for is threatened.
Today he’s ready to reclaim the spotlight in the highly anticipated film, “The House That Jack Built” and the upcoming CBS Pilot, “Hostages” with Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott. We caught up with the actor and discussed his upcoming projects.
Sinister Girlz: Growing up I knew you as Leo, the boy who lived across the street from my grandma’s house and as far as I can remember you were always acting…but I’ve never asked you how you got the acting bug. When was it that you decided, ‘I’m going to act, this is going to be something that I’m going to do as a career’?
Leo Minaya: I was in 5th grade and for whatever reason, I’m not sure why or how I got the idea but I decided to write a play and I casted the play with some of my classmates and we performed it for our class. We did so well that we ended up performing for the rest of the school. I guess somebody from [the Junior High School] I.S. 143 saw me and recommended me to Ms. Yates who was head of the drama department. I had a great time performing, it was fun I didn’t give too much thought [to it]. The only thing I think I knew was when I saw happy kids on TV I knew that I wanted to be in TV. I didn’t think necessary that I wanted to be an actor I just wanted to be like those kids on TV. When I got to 143 I got into the Drama class and got casted as Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet” and we performed it in front of the entire school and I got a standing ovation. It was such a rush and I felt so accomplished and so at home, so natural, I think that’s the moment that I decided this is what I was going to do. From that point forward I started looking [into it] and thinking how I could get into the business.
Cut to 2002 Leo lands his first big role in the independent role “Manito.”
Leo Minaya: When I booked “Manito” that was actually my first movie audition and I got it. I was super surprised. That moment in the history of this business is when they really started letting Latinos into this industry. So they made a huge deal about me, they went a little overboard. Now there’s a better moment, better timing for Latin people…I read somewhere that when you combine what we’re worth for the movie industry it’s a ridiculous amount of money. So everyone is now trying to find the next Latin Leonardo DiCaprio. I just got lucky; I came in at the right time, the right moment, and the right project and did a good job.
Sinister Girlz: It seemed like you had momentum, you had “Manito” you had “How The Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer” and then things just slowed down a bit. So was that due to the writer’s strike [of 2007]?
Leo Minaya: Yea it had something to do with it [that and a combination of other things]. What happened was that at that time there was a lot of people trying to get a piece. That was the problem. Growing up in Washington Heights and coming from a family that really didn’t understand it and didn’t think that it was a great career or something reliable; I didn’t really have the support. So people that were in the industry: managers, consultants, lawyers, etc. started reaching out…I started getting people knocking on my door, getting letters, phone calls and hitting me up online. These people started paying for things so when I was out there it was a strange situation for me ‘cause I was like 16 and they just moved me out [to Los Angeles] and I didn’t know how to drive.
Everything was going well until it wasn’t…
Leo Minaya: Then the strike hits so the A-listers were the [only] ones getting the most attention…it was just horrible timing. I decided to go back to school for Business because I figured I needed to know what I was going to do with my money. I knew I was going to make it so I was going to go to Business school become an entrepreneur and open businesses.
And now things are back on track and Leo is on the verge of stardom once more.
Sinister Girlz: The TV show “Hostages” is coming out on CBS this fall and it’s produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, that’s huge!
Leo Minaya: Jerry’s awesome. He knows what he’s doing.
Sinister Girlz: What is this show about?
Leo Minaya: “Hostages” is about this family of a doctor, played by Toni Collette who is going to operate on the President but there’s this guy, played by Dylan McDermott who wants her to kill the president. I can’t give too much away but it’s a thriller, it’s very suspenseful, it’s awesome, it’s just awesome.
Sinister Girlz: I also know you have a couple of movies coming out, do you know when those are being released?
Leo Minaya: Right now I’m in the LA Film Festival with “The House That Jack Built” I play Richie who is the older brother and the bringer of tragedy in the film. I’m [also] scheduled to shoot another movie called “Bleak” very, very soon and I have two other scripts on hand and just decided with my manager this is the way I want to go because I’m concentrating on playing certain characters and showing people that I can be more than just a drug dealer or the Latin kid or the hood kid. So each character so far that I’m playing has been different from Morgan to what I’m doing now. It’s very exciting there are some really big people, huge producers seeking me out. People that produced “The Passion of The Christ,” “About Schmidt” so big, big films so I’m just going into the lab, working on the craft and making sure that…they know I’m valuable.
LivingSocial, the local marketplace to buy and share the best things to do in your city, today announced that Aerosmith, America’s greatest rock and roll band, will headline LivingSocial’s Backyard Festival on Randall’s Island in New York City on Saturday, July 13th.
While Aerosmith, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Yeasayer, and other music stars rock the stage, the crowd will be living every foodie’s dream with a special culinary experience curated by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events featuring Blue Smoke, El Verano Taquería, Box Frites, Union Square Burger, and selections from Creative Juice.
Accompanying great food and great music, LivingSocial’s Backyard Festival, sponsored by Redd’s Apple Ale, will also feature a craft beer and wine tasting with more than 150 selections from the world’s leading brewers and wineries. And in the true spirit of backyard parties, there will be a playground for partygoers of all ages with an array of games, activities, and rides.
“This is the summer backyard party to end all backyard parties,” said LivingSocial CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy. “When the weather gets hot, Americans have always gathered with friends in their yards to listen to great music, eat great food, share cold beers, and create lifelong memories. LivingSocial’s Backyard Festival will propel that beloved summer ritual to the next level with legendary bands, world-class cuisine, top-shelf wine and beer, and games for all ages.”
Tickets for LivingSocial’s Backyard Festival are available exclusively through LivingSocial at http://www.livingsocial.com/backyardfestival. Tickets start at $89 with no additional costs for General Admission, which includes access to the festival grounds and three beer or wine tastings. General Admission Plus tickets are $129 to include nine beer/wine tastings, one tasting plate, and express check-in. Guests must be age 21+ to drink and enter the craft beer/wine tasting area.
For festivalgoers seeking a more exclusive experience, VIP tickets, available for $299, offer access to the VIP section with complimentary food, open beer/wine bar, ferry tickets to/from Randall’s Island, and express check-in. At the highest level, a limited number of Ultra VIP Access tickets, for $999, offer all of the elements of the VIP package, plus an exclusive up-close viewing experience from the side of the stage.
LivingSocial’s Backyard Festival is proud to partner with the Robin Hood Foundation in its efforts to fight poverty in New York City. Onsite donations will benefit hundreds of the best poverty-fighting programs throughout New York City. Learn more about Robin Hood’s groundbreaking work at http://www.robinhood.org/.
Due to unforeseen logistical conflicts, the Styx/REO Speedwagon/Ted Nugent concert originally scheduled for Friday, April 26 at IZOD Center has been cancelled. Unfortunately, as a result of production miscalculations on the part of the promoter, Metropolitan Entertainment, complications arose between college graduations scheduled for earlier that day and the concert event.
Regrettably, there is no rescheduled date. Ticket refunds will be available at point of purchase.
Brandon & Anne met at university in southern California. After graduation Brandon took to the road and the studio; he co-produced Greg Laswell’s 2008 release “Three Flights From Alto Nido” and has recorded for and toured with a host of singer-songwriters including Joshua Radin, Cary Brothers, Greg Laswell, Ingrid Michaelson and Tristan Prettyman. Anne began her post-university career with a move to Kenya, where she taught music in a school and worked in an orphanage.
They met up a few years later when Brandon was touring across Europe and Anne was living in Scotland. Both had been writing songs, and they decided to collaborate on a project. Later that year they met up in Los Angeles to make a record, and My Name is You was born. In the fall of 2011, the duo released their debut self titled EP, a rich convergence of orchestral indie-folk and heartfelt lyrics.
Thousands lined around the block outside of the 69th Armory on Lexington Avenue for this year’s Village Voice 6th annual tasting event, Choice Eats. Upon entering the building you’re instantly greeted by many delicious aromas. 92 restaurants from the Tristate area were in attendance showcasing bite size samples of some of their best and most popular dishes.
Everything your fat, slightly engorged heart could desire was available; from chili to meatballs to Mexican, Chinese and dishes from Yemen. Naturally as a vegetarian I gravitated towards the greens. My first stop was at the VIP section’s display of SCRATCHbread. Their lightly dressed raw kale salad with freshly made croutons and goat cheese was delicious but what placed it over the top was their bite size PIZZAbread made with house cheese curd, tomato, chili, crushed garlic and herb. Their pastry was equally delightful; they offered a Buttercream Brownie made out of sandwiched chocolate with cocoa.
On the main floor I sampled a delicious cherry tomato tart with smoked feta at the Dirt Candy stand. But perhaps the most visually stunning dish I tried came courtesy of 606 R&D their Drunken Poor Man’s Fondue consisting of rye bread and dill chips which were tasty.
For deserts I went straight to Carlo’s Bakery; the Hoboken, NJ shop made famous on TLC’s “Cake Boss” had various mini cupcakes to offer from red velvet to carrot cake, they were all delicious and if it weren’t because others were watching I would have stuffed my bag with the entire tray.
The ladies at Butter and Scotch offered delectable Coffee Caramel Bourbon Cupcakes made with actual bourbon! The bourbon gave the pastry a nice little kick and I will definitely be seeing them again.
This year’s Choice Eats was my first but it certainly won’t be the last; I’m very much looking forward to their 2nd Annual Food Truck Event, Choice Streets. Sign me up!
The gift for hard-to-buy-for rock n roll fan has just become easier than ever to buy. How about a drum head doodled on and signed by the legendary drummer of The Ramones with a personalized video as proof of authenticity? Or a limited edition original artwork print, drum sticks or a jar of MARKY RAMONE’s Brooklyn’s Own Marinara Pasta Sauce? And all while you watch and he talks to you during the signing – without actually having to be there!
For the first time ever, you can acquire these types of autographed collectibles directly from the artist as if you were there. You can meet them, greet them, and watch them sign official limited edition rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia from any internet connected device.
And Marky Ramone, legendary drummer for seminal punk rock band The Ramones, will be the first one to do it.
Sign Up NOW for Marky Ramone Online Autograph Meet & Greet Event Friday, Nov. 23 @ 6 p.m. EST/3 p.m. PST Marky will give each fan a face to face experience that will be captured for history. And they won’t have to wait in line at a store or brave the elements it’s online at www.MarkyRamone.com.
Stars braved the cold during Monday evening’s Only Make Believe’s 13th Annual gala. Supermodel and philanthropist Petra Nemcova struck a couple of poses on the purple carpet before answering a couple of the media’s questions. Nemcova was among the evening’s honorees along with Guy Chiarello and Sir Ian Mckellen. The festivities were held at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in Manhattan. Christopher Meloni of Law and Order: SVU and True Blood fame hosted the gala.
The Only Make Believe organization debuted in October 1999 at Rusk Institute’s Pediatric Unit, NYU Langone Medical Center. Dena Hammerstein established Only Make believe in memory of her late husband James (son of Oscar Hammerstein), for his dedication to the theater and her own passionate love for children in need.
The evening showcased Broadway and Hollywood’s brightest stars as they united in a benefit performance on behalf of Only Make Believe, a non-profit that brings the magic of theater to children in hospitals and care facilities.
Perhaps one of the most heartwarming aspects of the evening was watching the smiling faces of the children of Broadway Kids Care as they posed on the carpet. Their parents flocked the press line and snapped photos of their offspring.
Only Make Believe’s interactive live performances allow children to participate and perform alongside actors, transporting them from a hospital to the enchanting world of make believe. This organization strives to bring the healing power of imagination and laughter to its audience. The concept developed out of Dena’s desire to introduce children living with chronic illness and disabilities to the magical world of theater.
For more information, please visit: www.OnlyMakeBelieve.org
While most will remember Tuesday, November 6th as Election Day, Aerosmith fans across the world will celebrate the release of “Music From Another Dimension.” It’s been over a decade since the Boston boys released an album of new material. In conjunction with the album’s release SinisterGirlz.com declares it Aerosmith Day on their website; by posting reviews of the new album, classic and must have Aerosmith albums.
In the days leading up to the album’s release the band made multiple TV appearances including a stop at ABC’s “The View” and NBC’s “Today Show” with a live TV performance at the plaza just days after the devastating hurricane. The day before the album’s release tens of thousands of Boston fans turned out to celebrate the commemoration of 1325 Commonwealth Avenue the building in Boston where Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer lived and wrote songs together in the early ‘70s. The streets closed down and trolley service was suspended in the area.
The second leg of Aerosmith’s “Global Warming Tour” kicks off on November 8th with 14 stops including Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, November 20th.
Meital Dohan’s newest video “On Ya” featuring Sean Kingston premiered globally on VEVO today. The video is directed by the acclaimed Ray Kay (Britney Spears “Till The World Ends” / Lady Gaga “Pokerface”). The high-energy, action-packed video features intricate choreography, special effects intermixed with shots showcasing Meital’s unique and wild style, and one insane sky diving sequence as Kingston sings in the rubble of a plane crash. As MTV Buzzworthy says, “always fly in a bedazzled get-up so that if your plane crashes and you’re forced to jump out of it, you’ll land looking totally chic! The video can be seen by clicking on the image on the right
Just in time for Halloween Emii releases her brand new video “Zombie Boyfriend.” Watch as the pop sensation and all around badass battles her ghoul-guy’s couch potato ways with her seductive stares and electrocuting guitar. The award winning video was directed by Jenine Mayring of Brooklyn Girl Productions and can be seen by clicking on the image on the right. Emii has been taking the world by storm with her infectious music and her rocking style. Her controversial video for “Stilettos” can be found on MTV Logo’s on demand channel amongst club favorites Lady Gaga and Beyonce.
Legendary rockers Aerosmith team up with Pepsi and the NFL Anthems campaign, in which major musicians are creating “anthems” for their hometown football teams to release their football anthem. Aerosmith’s “Legendary Child – Patriots Anthem” is for The New England Patriots and Pepsi is giving away the original tracks for free at http://www.pepsianthems.com/. Lenny Kravitz released “Like a Jet” for The New York Jets.
Prior to their tracks, original songs were released by artists for their teams including:
Kelly Clarkson for The Dallas Cowboys – “Get Up (A Cowboys Anthem)”
Travie McCoy for The NY Giants – “All In”
Kid Rock for The Detroit Lions – “In Detroit”
Ice Cube for the Oakland Raiders – “Come and Get It”
Wiz Khalifa for the Pittsburg Steelers – “Black & Yellow (Steeler Nation Remix)”
The songs are also getting national TV spots and radio airplay. Aerosmith’s new album “Music From Another Dimension!” will be available on November 6th. For more on Aerosmith visit their official website www.aerosmith.com and to get your free download of any of the anthems visit http://www.pepsianthems.com/
This year’s Little Kids Rock’s 10th anniversary Right to Rock celebration honored E Street Band member Steve Van Zandt. The Little Kids Rock nonprofit organization restores music education in public schools. The event sponsored by The House of Marley and 1Love.org pairs students of rock n roll with living rock legends on stage. Van Zandt was presented with the “Big Man of the Year Award” the annual award was named after fellow E Street Band member the late, great Clarence Clemons.
As members of the press checked in and made their way to the press area young musicians tuned their guitars, rattled their tambourines and went over some harmonies. Their excitement was palpable. The festivities began with a press conference. Season 8 American Idol winner, Kris Allen, sat in for a brief Q & A and offered the following piece of advice to aspiring musicians, “please, please don’t give up. It’s a hard thing to do…it’s a lot of hard work and takes a lot of perseverance.” Although Allen caught a break with the reality show competition he stressed that there’s no right way to break into the business, “technology is kind of amazing, it’s not hard to hook up a mike and plug into a computer,” he said and urged youngsters to put themselves out there.
The Midtown Men were next and expressed their excitement, “we were hoping for an invite, now we get a free meal and share the stage with Stevie,” the men said. The four original Jersey Boys stars just recorded a Christmas single with Steve Van Zandt and performed “All I Needed Was You” that evening.
Once the Big Man of the Year made his way into the room flashbulbs went off. He was humbled by the recognition and was eager to talk about the organization. “Statistics show that kids who take music classes do better in math and science,” Van Zandt said. He stressed how important music education is especially in inner city schools and how it helps keep kids off the streets.
His wife, Maureen Van Zandt who served as the event’s co-chair alongside E Street Band member Max Weinberg introduced her husband to the organization. “She said this is a really cool thing, come down and I did,” he explained. “You see kids’ eyes light up when you hand them a guitar.” He continued, “One thing I’ve learned from working with the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation and Little Kids Rock is, if a kid likes one subject or one single teacher they’ll stay in school. We don’t really talk about it in this country but we have a drop out epidemic that is out of control. One out of four kids are dropping out [of school] across the country and one out of two [kids are dropping out] in poor neighborhoods.” For Van Zandt a future without music education is frightening, “If you picture our country 10 or 20 years from now we’re gonna be in big trouble [if this isn’t rectified].”
For more on this wonderful organization visit www.littlekidsrock.org
Singer-songwriter Mike Ruocco formally of the band Cinder Road opens up about his debut solo album, “THE RISE. THE RIDE. THE RISK.” in a very candid interview (Episode 32 featuring Mike Ruocco will be available on July 25th). The Baltimore native opens up about his early days as an aspiring musician. He formed his very first band at age 12. When asked what kind of music he was playing back then he replied, “Very bad music.” Although the band wasn’t nearly as polished as he would have liked he explained that music was a very big part of his life from an early age. “Truth be told I’ve loved music as long as I can remember [and] there was always a record player going on [in the background] of my parents’ house.” He continued, “I was a child of the 80s so boomboxes were a huge thing. So me and my best friend both had our boomboxes and we would get our hands on different cassettes and started discovering music pretty young and I just thought, if I liked listening to music as much as I did then I’d probably enjoying making it that much more.” Ruocco, whose dad was a professional singer, states being a musician was simply in his blood.
Fast-forward to 2012 and his resume reads like a who’s who of the music industry. He’s toured with Sick Puppies, Puddle Of Mudd and was the direct support for the KISS Alive 35 tour in Europe where he spent 2 months in over 30 different countries playing with the Rock icons. Beginning July 21st you can catch Mike Ruocco on tour with Daughtry as he performs songs from his new album, “The Rise. The Ride. The Risk.” An album which came together by accident, Ruocco explains, “…my day job is writing songs for other artists for BMG music, with that I get to write with and for all kinds of different artist.” He continued, “As I was writing over the last year or so I wrote a number of songs where we had discussions of whether we should pitch it [to other artists] and I just fell in love with some of these songs so much that I said, ‘I’ma hold on to this song’ and I was on my way to having a complete album.”
Listen to the complete interview on next week’s podcast available July 25th. For more on Mike Ruocco visit his official website at http://www.mikeruocco.com/ or follow him on twitter @mikeruocco
When it comes to an induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Axl Rose has no patience for it. In an open letter to “The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Guns N’ Roses Fans and Whom It May Concern” Axl Rose states, “I won’t be attending The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction 2012 Ceremony and I respectfully decline my induction as a member of Guns N’ Roses to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.” He clearly states he wants no part of it. He says, “I strongly request that I not be inducted in absentia and please know that no one is authorized nor may anyone be permitted to accept any induction for me or speak on my behalf.”
In the letter he also puts an end to any possibility of reuniting with the original GNR line up stating, “In regard to a reunion of any kind of either the Appetite or Illusion lineups, I’ve publicly made myself more than clear. Nothing’s changed…for anyone to continue to ask, suggest or demand a reunion are misguided attempts to distract from our efforts with our current lineup of myself, Dizzy Reed, Tommy Stinson, Frank Ferrer, Richard Fortus, Chris Pitman, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and DJ Ashba.”
Full letter below:
To: The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Guns N’ Roses Fans and Whom It May Concern,
When the nominations for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame were first announced I had mixed emotions but, in an effort to be positive, wanting to make the most of things for the fans and with their enthusiasm, I was honored, excited and hoped that somehow this would be a good thing. Of course I realized as things stood, if Guns N’ Roses were to be inducted it’d be somewhat of a complicated or awkward situation.
Since then we’ve listened to fans, talked with members of the board of the Hall Of Fame, communicated with and read various public comments and jabs from former members of Guns N’ Roses, had discussions with the president of the Hall Of Fame, read various press (some legit, some contrived) and read other artists’ comments weighing in publicly on Guns and the Hall with their thoughts.
Under the circumstances I feel we’ve been polite, courteous, and open to an amicable solution in our efforts to work something out. Taking into consideration the history of Guns N’ Roses, those who plan to attend along with those the Hall for reasons of their own, have chosen to include in “our” induction (that for the record are decisions I don’t agree with, support or feel the Hall has any right to make), and how (albeit no easy task) those involved with the Hall have handled things… no offense meant to anyone but the Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony doesn’t appear to be somewhere I’m actually wanted or respected.
For the record, I would not begrudge anyone from Guns their accomplishments or recognition for such. Neither I or anyone in my camp has made any requests or demands of the Hall Of Fame. It’s their show not mine.
That said, I won’t be attending The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction 2012 Ceremony and I respectfully decline my induction as a member of Guns N’ Roses to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
I strongly request that I not be inducted in absentia and please know that no one is authorized nor may anyone be permitted to accept any induction for me or speak on my behalf. Neither former members, label representatives nor the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame should imply whether directly, indirectly or by omission that I am included in any purported induction of “Guns N’ Roses”.
This decision is personal. This letter is to help clarify things from my and my camp’s perspective. Neither is meant to offend, attack or condemn. Though unfortunately I’m sure there will be those who take offense (God knows how long I’ll have to contend with the fallout), I certainly don’t intend to disappoint anyone, especially the fans, with this decision. Since the announcement of the nomination we’ve actively sought out a solution to what, with all things considered, appears to be a no win, at least for me, “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” scenario all the way around.
In regard to a reunion of any kind of either the Appetite or Illusion lineups, I’ve publicly made myself more than clear. Nothing’s changed.
The only reason, at this point, under the circumstances, in my opinion whether under the guise of “for the fans” or whatever justification of the moment, for anyone to continue to ask, suggest or demand a reunion are misguided attempts to distract from our efforts with our current lineup of myself, Dizzy Reed, Tommy Stinson, Frank Ferrer, Richard Fortus, Chris Pitman, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and DJ Ashba.
Izzy came out with us a few times back in ‘06 and I invited him to join us at our LA Forum show last year. Steven was at our show at the Hard Rock, later in ‘06 in Las Vegas, where I invited him to our after-party and was rewarded with his subsequent interviews filled with reunion lies. Lesson learned. Duff joined us in 2010 and again in ‘11 along with his band, Loaded, opening in Seattle and Vancouver. For me, with the exception of Izzy or Duff joining us on stage if they were so inclined somewhere in the future for a song or two, that’s enough.
There’s a seemingly endless amount of revisionism and fantasies out there for the sake of self-promotion and business opportunities masking the actual realities. Until every single one of those generating from or originating with the earlier lineups has been brought out in the light, there isn’t room to consider a conversation let alone a reunion.
Maybe if it were you it’d be different. Maybe you’d do it for this reason or that. Peace, whatever. I love our band now. We’re there for each other when the going get’s rough. We love our fans and work to give them every ounce of energy and heart we can.
So let sleeping dogs lie or lying dogs sleep or whatever. Time to move on. People get divorced. Life doesn’t owe you your own personal happy ending especially at another’s, or in this case several others’, expense.
But hey if ya gotta then maybe we can get the “no show, grandstanding, publicity stunt, disrespectful, he doesn’t care about the fans” crap out of the way as quickly as we can and let’s move on. No one’s taking the ball and going home .Don’t get it twisted. For more than a decade and a half we’ve endured the double standards, the greed of this industry and the ever present seemingly limitless supply of wannabes and unscrupulous, irresponsible media types. Not to imply anything in this particular circumstance, but from my perspective in regard to both the Hall and a reunion, the ball’s never been in our court.
In closing, regardless of this decision and as hard to believe or as ironic as it may seem, I’d like to sincerely thank the board for their nomination and their votes for Guns’ induction. More importantly I’d like to thank the fans for being there over the years, making any success we’ve had possible and for enjoying and supporting Guns N’ Roses music.
I wish the Hall a great show, congratulations to all the other artists being inducted and to our fans we look forward to seeing you on tour!!
P.S. RIP Armand, Long LiveABC III
When we spoke with The Dirty Heads frontman Jared Watson the band was about to embark on a multi-city tour alongside Gym Class Heroes, “we’ve never played with Gym Class Heroes but I can tell you that we are going to go out and crush it, put on a good show and hopefully everyone has fun,” he revealed back in September.
The singer also revealed that they planned to perform 3 new songs from their forthcoming album. He said, “We’re going to be playing a bunch of new stuff which is cool… I think we need it and I think the fans need it too. They’ve been waiting [for new material] for a long time.” “I think it’s going to be a perfect mix,” he added.
Unfortunately the co-headlining tour came to an end sooner than anticipated. It was recently announced that due to illness Gym Class Heroes is “cancelling the remaining performances on the co-headline tour with The Dirty Heads. The Dirty Heads will continue on the road to finish out the tour as planned as the sole headliners. The band Wallpaper will continue on as well as direct support.”
“The tour, which began October 9th in Dallas, TX is running through the fall and ending on November 19th in Anaheim, CA. While the November 4th date in Milwaukee will unfortunately be cancelled altogether, The Dirty Heads will continue to play the rest of the dates as scheduled.”
In a press release released on November 1st the band stated: “While we hope Travie gets better soon (nothing worse than being sick on the road), the last thing we wanna do is cancel the whole tour. So no matter what happens we wanna stay out and keep playing music and putting on the best shows we can for you guys. Whether it’s playing for 2 people, 20 people or 2000 people we are staying out. Thank you guys for your continued love and support. We love you peace!!!! And it’s the first time we are playin’ some new songs!! Hope you enjoy.”
Listen to our in-depth interview with The Dirty Heads frontman Jared Watson on the Sinister Girlz podcast available November 23rd.
The Dirty Heads are: Dustin Bushnell (Vocals/Guitar), Jared Watson (Vocals), Jon Olazabal (Percussion), Matt Ochoa (Drums) and David Foral (Bass)
Source: ABC Public Relations
Just a few years in and The Hush Now is already showcasing their musical range. With three albums under their belts, their self-titled debut, sophomore effort “Constellations” and their brand-new album, “Memos” (released back in September) the Boston indie rock quintet shows no signs of slowing down.
The band whose name derives from the ‘sense of anticipation’ the phrase suggests, as the band explained during their recent stint at this year’s Big Picture Media CMJ showcase, was on the second to last date of their seventeen-day tour. “This is day 16 of a 17 day tour,” revealed lead guitarist Adam Quane. “We’re ending up back home in Boston; we came up from Philly so unfortunately we’re in and out from this year’s CMJ and haven’t had the chance to hang out more,” he said.
“We’re kinda walking [around] the city like zombies today,” added vocalist and guitarist Noel Kelly. Something that you may have not known from just looking at them, they seemed upbeat and ready to take on the evening. But perhaps it was the previous gig that almost did them in, “We kinda had a fun approach last night,” said Quane with a chuckle. “We got to the venue and the stage was just so small we had to improvise. There was no way [we were gonna fit] we have 5 guys and a sound guy that travels with us so then you have 6 guys onstage. So as we started pulling out elements…we ended up hooking up this Hannah Montana guitar we had bought earlier, a half-sized guitar, and just played this acoustic set. Barry, our drummer, played on the snare drum. We approached it differently and had a bit of fun with it.”
“We had to do a radio show and we needed an acoustic guitar so we bought this cheap Hannah Montana guitar…” explained Kelly and since bassist Pat MacDonald wasn’t around for the interview the guys decided to ‘out him’ as the band’s “closeted Hannah Montana fan.”
While performing in front a new crowd can be exciting it also can be a little frightening especially in front of a CMJ crowd, “It is nerve wrecking because you have a short time to perform. You have 6 songs to make some sort of impact also being in front of media…you wanna do well. You want to impress but at the same time stay true to yourself,” said Kelly.
The band calls Boston home but its roots were planted in Portland Oregon where Kelly first began writing new music for his next musical venture. “It started as a project about four years ago,” he explained. “I was living in LA playing with another band [that] broke up so I moved over to Portland, lived in a basement for 6 months, went back to school for poetry and started writing new music and figured that I wanted to get a band together so I moved up to Boston. And now we got a whole cast of characters involved and we feel like we have a good band to move forward…”
The Hush Now plans to take time off for the holidays and work on new music for their next album. For more on the band visit http://www.thehushnow.com/
The Hush Now is: Noel Kelly (vocals/guitar), Adam Quane (lead guitar), Barry Marino (drums), John Millar (Keyboards) and Pat MacDonald (bass).
Aside from discovering new talent, seeing old favorites and mingling with music lovers and musicians one of my favorite things about CMJ is attending the film festival. The film selections are usually diverse and embody the indie spirit. This year’s features were no different. Wednesday evening’s screening of Nick Hamm’s “Killing Bono” hosted an intimate crowd. The filmmaker introduced the film stating, “Enjoy the movie it’s a tribute to failure.”
The film tells the story of aspiring Irish musicians and brothers Nick and Ivan McCormick and their quest for superstardom as their childhood friends go on to become, one of the biggest rock bands in the world, U2. “It’s a film about not making it,” explained Hamm. The movie which took five years to make, “the script took a while to get right,” admitted Hamm, was loosely based on Neil McCormick’s memoir “I was Bono’s doppelganger: A life in the shadows of superstardom.”
Belfast was used to depict 1970s and 80s Dublin and the director was careful with his music selection for the era in which the events took place explaining, “Music in the 80s was a kaleidoscope of different music…” and he wanted the film to depict that.
The question on everyone’s mind prior to the film’s release and certainly after was, “what did Bono think of the movie?” Hamm revealed that Bono was in full support of the project from the start and he even, “suggested the title, ‘Killing Bono.’”
The message Hamm wanted to impart audiences with was simple, “if you have talent go for it, if you don’t get out.”
September 5th would have been legendary frontman Freddie Mercury’s 65th birthday. To mark the occasion, Queen will stream their historic 1986 concert Queen Live At Wembley Stadium for 48 hours on YouTube. This is the first time in Queen has allowed an online stream of this watershed moment in the band’s career. The concert can be viewed at www.youtube/queenofficial starting at 12:00AM EST on September 5th. Some of Freddie’s biggest fans: Katy Perry, Taylor Hawkins, Gerard Way and Billy Corgan among others, will also take to youtube today to honor Freddie with birthday wishes.
Queen Live At Wembley Stadium captures the group’s historic July 1986 two-night performance at London’s Wembley Stadium, where they gave an electrifying performance to 150,000 frenzied fans. The footage features stunning live renditions of many of Queen’s classic songs, including fan favorites such as “We Will Rock You,” “We Are The Champions” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
One year after their triumphant appearance at Live Aid, Queen (vocalist Freddie Mercury, guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Deacon) returned to Wembley for two consecutive sold-out concerts. Queen Live At Wembley Stadium documents the second night, July 12th, 1986. The footage highlights Queen’s dazzling performance, which blended older classics like “Seven Seas of Rhye” and “Tie Your Mother Down” with new audience favorites such as “Radio Ga Ga” and “Hammar To Fall.”
Queen Live At Wembley Stadium showcases the legendary rock band’s versatility, musical range and showmanship on their most successful tour. “The Wembley concerts were the pinnacle for us,” says May. “We were at our height band-wise, and Freddie had developed this phenomenal way of dealing with stadium audiences. Being back home in London playing two sell-out nights was such a big, big occasion for us. None us realized that this would be almost the last time we would play together.
FREDDY FOR A DAY – www.freddieforaday.com – Astute viewers of Queen Live At Wembley will notice a graphic of Freddie in one of his most iconic poses. As one of the definitive rock icons of our age, the late great Freddie Mercury’s extraordinary talents and influence are still felt in the entertainment world to this day, an unreal 20 years after his sad and untimely death.
Freddie’s birthday also acts as a key focal point in the worldwide campaign Freddie For A Day, which launched through the global Queen fan base. Started by a handful of fans who decided it would be fun to dress as Freddie for a day. Fans from 24 countries around the world – from Argentina to Ukraine, jumped on the idea to join in.
Freddie For A Day is a fundraising campaign for the Mercury Phoenix Trust, the charity established in Freddie’s name by fellow band members Brian May and Roger Taylor together with manager Jim Beach, which raises funds to help fight HIV AIDS worldwide. To learn more about Freddy For A Day, please go to www.freddieforaday.com or http://site.freddieforaday.com
Queen Live At Wembley Stadium is one of the most spectacular rock concerts of all time.
Source: Hollywood Records Publicity
After a successful one-week Academy qualifying run at the New Beverly in Los Angeles, following Smith’s SOLD OUT “Red State Tour” (in which the filmmaker conducted Q & As after the screenings), “Red State” makes its way to viewer’s homes, computers and/or mobile devices via Video-On-Demand. For only $9.99 you’ll get a 24-hour window to view Smith’s latest and greatest film to date in which a trio of young men cross state lines in search of a one-night stand with an older woman.
The teenage boys are lured into Cooper’s Dell, home of the Five Points Trinity Church and are abducted by the fanatical fundamentalists who run it. The film is a fast-paced thrill ride full of guns, blood and talks of scripture.
The film is anchored by stellar performances by John Goodman, Melissa Leo and Michael Parks. The entire cast is believable and equally terrifying as the gun-toting, Jesus loving family who will stop at nothing to get their convoluted message across.
The film should silence critics who’ve implied Smith is a one-note director. “Red State” not only proves that Smith is capable of many things like writing great dialogue and an equally entertaining story but also demonstrates he can master the art of suspense.
During the inaugural season of Bravo’s reality based competition, Platinum Hit, we were introduced to a group of talented songwriters who shared one common goal to be crowed Season one winner and receive a recording contract with RCA/Jive label and a cash prize of $100,000. Out of the twelve hopefuls, the one that captured our imagination was Scotty Granger the New Orleans native and creative director for Jordan Sparks with the infectious melodies.
Scotty placed third but isn’t letting that slow him down when we caught up with the songwriter he opened up about his experience on the show, dished on who was the toughest judge on the panel and revealed his career aspirations.
When the final three were announced in the second to last episode and singer-songwriter Jes Hudak ran backstage triumphantly jaws dropped, Sonyae Elise (who went on to win the competition) and Scotty were in disbelief. Throughout the entire season run resident bad boy Nick Nittoli, was thought to be the one to beat. Scotty differed, “I didn’t think Nick was the one to beat. I thought Sonyae was the one to beat ‘cause, I felt that the judges really wanted her to win from day one. I didn’t think Jes shoulda stayed but at the same time I think Jes wrote a better song on the finale episode so in that case she did deserve to stay.” He continued, “Overall, I think Nick is more talented. Whenever I underestimated Jes, she came back with some fire. She’s definitely a fighter, and I love to see that drive in her. So I give it up to Jes.”
As far as third place goes, “I don’t think I deserved third place at all,” he said. “I think Jes got second place because she had showed how much she had grown [as an artist] and they did not expect her to write something like that. I think my song [“Beautiful You”] is way more universal than [Sonyae’s and Jes’]. Like I was telling Sonyae about “My Religion” the theme of loving a man like a religion is so controversial especially as a black artist. I don’t know how well that would translate in the community. It’s kinda blasphemous. It’s universal in the sense that you’d think it but that’s something you’d never ever say out loud,” he explained. “Jes’ “Come Alive” was very top 40 but I felt that my song is more relatable everyone has felt like the underdog like they weren’t beautiful and when you stop caring about what people are saying about you, you realize you’re beautiful and I’ve gotten so many emails and support about that song, from people I wouldn’t have expected. That’s why I think my concept was more universal.”
The judges Kara DioGuardi and Jewel provided the contestants with tough love and weren’t shy about telling them they hated a song or how they could have made them better. Although Kara appeared to be the most feared on the show Scotty reveals the toughest judge was Jewel, “She’s so bitchy; she was pregnant so I give her a pass,” he laughed. “…Jewel was the hardest judge,” he revealed, “The thing about Jewel is that she loved, loved Sonyae and just like she said [Jewel] was a lyric snob…” while Scotty was quickly dubbed the melody guy.
Still he took all of the judges’ advice and implements them to his songwriting till this very day. “[I apply] some of the lyrical stuff they were telling me about.” He now makes sure that, “the concept is sound and fleshed out and all the way thought through.” He explained, “On the TV show I got deemed the melody guy because that’s what comes to me the quickest and I don’t technically think that Sonyae is bad at [creating] melodies and I’m not bad at lyrics it’s just that the amount of time we were given melodies come to me quicker and great lyrics come to her quicker. [Throughout the competition] that was what we were critiqued by the most but in reality we’re both good at both. But I definitely took their advice and am working on [fortifying] my lyrical strength.”
Since the airing of the show Scotty’s life has changed “a good amount,” he said. Revealing, “I got signed with a reputable label,” but was unable to divulge further information until the official announcement is made. “I’m having writing sessions and now I’m really being a songwriter everyday which is cool because this is what I’ve been doing since I moved out to LA to do this. Now I’m in the arena up for the challenge being put to work.”
Personally however, he still struggles with finding acceptance from his family as an openly gay man. “Everybody is a little more accepting of you when you’re on TV,” he said with a chuckle. “But it’s hard for them and I understand.” Citing his religious upbringings for the friction, “It’s not that they don’t accept me it’s just that they have to limit their association because of my association [with men] so they can’t really be around me like they use to or call me on the phone like they use to because now I’m [openly] gay. They accept me to [the extent] of ‘I don’t hate you I hate what you’re doing.’ But that’s life, I’m sure it’ll make for some great songwriting.”
The future includes “a lot of shows in NY, LA and New Orleans, a lot of the places I’m known [in] the album is going to be called ‘The Songwriter’s Right’ it’s a concept album, it’s going to be a play on the TV show ‘Platinum Hit’ and it’s going to showcase my songwriting skills as well as me as an artist.” He continued, “My family’s probably going to get mad and people will get mad cause I’m gonna really put them in my music. Everything that my heart’s gone through, my whole journey I’m going to put it in my songs.” He promises a diverse collection of tunes, “It won’t just be R&B… as a songwriter our right is that we get to write in all different types of genres. We get to write about things that are real to us so that’s the concept of the album. I’m gonna have rock in there, country and pop as much as I want to.”
Whenever anyone mentions the word podcast three names instantly work their way into the conversation, Adam Carolla, Marc Maron and most recently Kevin Smith. Whether it’s among listeners, comedy fans or other pod casters these names come up and ‘WTF with Marc Maron’ is not only referenced but highly praised. Not bad for a podcast “born out of desperation” as Maron revealed during a recent phone conversation.
It was Friday and Maron was on the road and was set to perform standup in Sunnyvale that evening. When he called, he was in his hotel room eagerly awaiting his visit to the Google headquarters, “it’s a big day…going to see the Google campus, you can go to the Google headquarters and at lunch they have the most amazing food from all over the world,” he said excitedly.
We got off the topic of Google and dug into some of the history behind his podcast, ‘WTF with Marc Maron.’ It was 2009 and Maron had just been let go yet again from a company he described, had fired him “a couple of times cause of money issues.” He explained, “I was working in an internet-TV-radio capacity, and at the time I started [the podcast], my original producer and I had both been let go because the company was going bankrupt.” Maron came up with the idea of putting something together while they still had access to the studio, “we had our security cards, and they hadn’t taken it away from us,” he explained.
“We did the first 6 to 10 podcast out of that studio in New York, not knowing what to expect or what the shape of the show was going to be other than we loved doing that medium. I had no expectations I just had nowhere else to go with my career or life at that time,” he said.
His conversations with his guests are very candid something he attributes to being a TMI type of person. “[I’m] virtually boundary less when it comes to sharing,” he said. “When you’re like that usually whoever you’re talking to will either try to move away [from you] or try to rise up to that level [of openness] as well. Given that we’re sort of stuck on the mike they’re not going to move away. They don’t always want to talk about [some] things and that’s OK I can adapt.”
Things that don’t make it onto the podcast aren’t always a bad thing, as Maron explained, “It usually revolves around being in the middle of a conversation, and you reference somebody and maybe [your comment] may be a little inappropriate.” He continued, “It’s not usually things like ‘I shouldn’t have talked about that [topic] at all ‘cause, I’m not comfortable with it. It’s for other reasons. Like Andy Dick told a story about doing something, and he was concerned about the legalities of it, so we took it out. A couple of people have mentioned other people and thought maybe we shouldn’t bring them into it, and we take that sort of stuff out but that doesn’t happen too often.”
In the span of a couple of months podcasts have grown in popularity it seems like everyone has a podcast nowadays. When asked whether he feels the need to keep an eye out on what other folks are doing in order to stay ahead of the curve Maron responded, “I don’t listen to anybody else’s podcast, I don’t listen to anything other than NPR, I tend to be too busy for it.
“I see that there are a lot of [podcasts] coming out, people are doing their thing but I don’t see it as a competition. I’m more concerned with evolving the show and figuring out where to go with my own show. There’s always competition in any sort of creative field but I do what I do and I just want to keep doing it well.”
As for what’s next for the comedian and podcaster, well a comedy album releasing August 9th titled, ‘This Has To Be Funny.’ “It’s my fourth CD of all new material, there are some of the topics I’ve talked about [in the past] which people will recognize and some stuff on there that people haven’t heard yet.” He described it as the next step for him and his comedy.
For more on Marc Maron and WTF visit www.wtfpod.com
Steven Tyler made a rare stop to appear with old friend and fellow rock icon Nikki Sixx on Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx for an intimate conversation broadcasted last night on Sixx Sense. Tyler gave Sixx his first in depth radio interview – connecting on a personal level about their common goal of finding and breaking new artists, Tyler through his role as a judge on American Idol and Sixx as host of the radio show syndicated to over 70 alternative and mainstream rock stations by Premiere Networks. In a deep and personal interview, Tyler sat down with Sixx to talk about his new autobiography, “Does The Noise In My Head Bother You?,” becoming a judge on American Idol, his new single (his first US solo single ever), “(It) Feels So Good” and to catch up on lives well lived. Both icons of rock can boast a literal return from the dead to now being on top of the world.
“We got to really talk about how important it is to give young artists a shot,” said Sixx who leads by example. “The audience is dying for new rock stars and Steven and I are using our new positions in the media to introduce the future of the music industry,” he continued.
Unlike the years that Aerosmith and Mötley Crüe spent together on tour, recording albums in the same studio and coming up through the clubs, talent is now discovered differently and these two heroes of rock are committed to finding the artists with quality of content.
Sixx Sense just celebrated a year on the air and is complimented by The Side Show Countdown With Nikki Sixx, which airs on the weekends. The daily program, Sixx Sense airs at 7pm local time Monday-Friday. Both radio shows as well as American Idol offer a platform to discover and deliver new music on the modern launching pads of mainstream television and radio. Sixx Sense can also be heard on its own SiriusXM Satellite Radio channel airing 24/7 on XM 161, Sixx Sense With Nikki Sixx (sixxsense.com) and on the Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx channel on Clear Channel Radio’s digital platform iheartradio.
Each night on Sixx Sense, international rock icon, founder/bassist/songwriter of the world-renowned band Mötley Crüe and chart-topping band Sixx:A.M., New York Times best-selling author, clothing designer, philanthropist and photographer Nikki Sixx discusses music and lifestyle topics as he gives friend, rockers and other personalities a comfortable setting to talk openly about anything and everything with the audience listening in.
The show’s become the place to hear it first for guests from all walks of life, including rock royalty, the first man on the moon, authors, actors and everyone in between. Dave Grohl, Jared Leto, Lemmy Kilmister, Perez Hilton, Rob Halford, CSI creator Anthony Zuiker, Four Agreements author Don Miguel Ruiz, Dog The Bounty Hunter and others.
Sixx Sense has become the go to destination for special musical announcements including the launch of OZZFest, on site broadcasts (Rock on the Range), album premieres and specials – Slash recorded a special track by track breakdown with Sixx. Sixx Sense is a must stop for announcements of all kinds.
Today is the final day to purchase 1/2 price tickets ($22.50 for each day) to the brand new 4-day music and art festival at Mountain Creek Resort in Vernon, New Jersey taking place over Memorial Day Weekend called the Festival for Humanity. Festival headliners include: Third Eye Blind, Good Charlotte, John Popper and the Duskray Troubadours, From Good Homes, The New Pornographers, The Misfits, Sister Hazel, Cracker, Soul Asylum, Rebbie Jackson (sister of Michael Jackson) and many more! The festival has been created and aims to benefit charities of suicide prevention, health and nutrition. For tickets and more information, please go to: www.festivalforhumanity.com.
Other acts playing Festival for Humanity include: Amber Rubarth, Ansel Matthews, Bronze Radio Return, Caleb Hawley, CC Coletti, Chrissi Poland, A Clear Blurr, Coolie Ranx, Duwende, The Gallery, James Maddock Band, Kilby and Taylor, Lovebettie, Matt Lowell, Modern Science, Nicola, Open Book Trio, Quimby Mountain Band, Subcommittee, Swampadelica, The Drive, and more!
Festival for Humanity is a cooperative effort of business, charities and artists both visual and musical to create an eventful holiday weekend that attracts fans to support the work of people dedicated to a greater good. With the partnerships of Woodfired Management and Mountain Creek-Crystal Springs Resort, this event was made possible to support and encourage charities from all over the U.S. to continue spreading their message.
Woodfired Management will share 33% of all Festival for Humanity related merchandise directly with the Kristin Brooks Hope Center and has pledged 10% of all Net Ticket Sales to the charities of Humanity Village. These shared revenues should accumulate into the hundreds of thousands as the festival unfolds. There is no cover charge for a charity to set up an information booth at the festival and they are still accepting applications. To have your charity at the Festival for Humanity, please go to: http://festivalforhumanity.com/?page_id=61
Founder of the Festival For Humanity and Woodfired Management, Anders Thueson is an advocate for a number of causes and artists. He has over 30 years of management, design and production experience in several disciplines including television, print media, music, art and the culinary arts. Anders has been commended in numerous publications for his work with music, art and food most notably in Vail Colorado, Philadelphia, Washington DC and New York’s Hudson Valley. As co-founder of the Hudson Valley Blues Society with the late NYC filmmaker Fred Jackson, he produced seven highly successful festivals featuring Blues luminaries Rod Piazza, the late Son Seals, Jimmy Vivino with John Sebastian, The Holmes Brothers, Mighty Sam McClain, Ann Rabson, Little Sammy Davis, the late Bill Perry, Doug MacLeod, Steve Guyger, Queen of Slide Ellen MacIlwaine, Paul Rishell & Annie Raines and many others. In 1998 he was asked and produced a memorable outdoor benefit with Jazz greats Pat Metheny, Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland. Later under Woodfired, he produced four successful Emerging Songwriter Series. Thueson stated that, “Festival for Humanity represents the ultimate opportunity to create an annual cultural celebration of music and outreach to bring attention to those who make a difference through selfless service to humanity through charitable causes.”
40 BANDS – 2 STAGES – 20 CHARITIES
For 2011, Humanity Village will be anchored by Kristin Brooks Hope Center, the founders of 1-800-SUICIDE and the many affiliated charities related to Suicide Prevention. QPR Trainings for suicide prevention will occur throughout the 4 day festival at no cost to the trainee.
PETA, The American Red Cross, YMCA, Feeding America, Vet2vet, Cop2Cop, Music for Humanity, DALI, Farm Aid Member Regional Growers led by Abundant Life Farm’s Linda Borghi and a long list of others will be joining in support with a focus on health and nutrition as a foundation for strong mental health. With weekend attendance expected to reach 25,000 to 30,000 people, we are confident that the awareness, outreach and fund raising achieved through the festival will set a new standard for a “first of its kind” event.
There will be two stages for entertainers, the Main Stage or Humanity Field will be an outdoor venue with a capacity of approximately 13,000 and a Second Stage or Humanity Village Stage will accommodate up to 3,000 in a covered setting. Headlining artists are falling into place with the signing of The Misfits, Subcommittee and CC Coletti for Friday, Third Eye Blind, Soul Asylum, Coolie Ranx, Bronze Radio Return, Good Charlotte, A Clear Blurr for Saturday, Pick Up the Phone Tour Headliner Rebbie Jackson, American Idol’s Caleb Hawley, Scissor Sister Chrissi Poland and Las Vegas Stars Modern Science withYouTube Phenomenon Lisa Scinta, Lovebettie and Duwende on Sunday, and on Monday, the legendary New Jersey reunion band From Good Homes co-headlines with Canada’s top band The New Pornographers, Sister Hazel, Amber Rubarth, Matt Lowell, Runaway Dorothy, The Gallery and James Maddock. With a few more big name artist announcements left to be shared for Sunday, they will all be supported by the finest Rock, Soul, R&B, Folk and Jazz original artists emerging today. We are confident that our line-ups will rival those of some of the biggest festivals across the nation and draw to near capacity levels. Unique to this Festival, all artists will play in succession from 9:30am to 11pm on Saturday, Sunday and Monday rather than simultaneously to allow the attendee to enjoy every moment of performance!
MOUNTAIN CREEK & CRYSTAL SPRINGS RESORT
Located just 47 miles from the George Washington Bridge, Mountain Creek is the New York metro area’s closest ski resort, offering 167 skiable acres on four mountain peaks, 100% night skiing, the region’s highest vertical and the East Coast’s only true All Mountain Terrain Park south of Vermont. The resort also offers Mountain Biking at their Diablo Freeride Park, home of the U.S. Open of Mountain Biking, coincidentally held during the same weekend. There are seven golf courses on the resort property, a large water park, full-service spa, miles of hiking trails and Gondola rides. Ample lodging is available on-site and in adjoining towns as well as several camping options nearby. Mountain Creek and Crystal Springs Resorts will be the exclusive food and beverage providers for the event aligned with the theme of health and nutrition featuring whole food options to elevate a finer experience for the fan.
After 17 years the Vans Warped Tour has come full circle. Kevin Lyman, the tour’s producer and creator, has come up with numerous ways to make the longest-running and successful tour more accessible to attendees during these tough economic times. During last week’s press conference and tour kickoff party held for the first time on the east coast at the House of Vans, Lyman revealed ways in which the tour has become more environmentally friendly and assessable to breaking up-and-coming indie talent.
He revealed that after last year’s tour he really took the time to listen to bands. “I stopped listening to agents, I stopped listening to [the] radio and managers and started listening to music and try to see where things were going and put a tour [together] that I think is reflective [of that music], a tour that’s very diverse, very cool and in my mind [feature] the hard to find gems [that] are out there.”
The festival is known for brining Punk Rock and the skating culture to the masses something Lyman is fully aware of and doesn’t mind the association. “I’m often asked ‘what is punk?’ I think punk rock [as a genre] should be retired almost, in some ways and given to the legends of that music. What is punk? Well kids are punk if they are learning to play music and trying to figure out how to make it work.”
This year’s line-up consists of a diverse group of musical acts including well known bands like Gym Class Heroes, 3OH!3 and Asking Alexandria along with lesser known but equally captivating acts like The Wonder Years, Woe Is Me and Eyes Set To Kill.
“There are few major label bands on this year’s lineup, its back to where we were in 1995 when we had [bands like] Quicksand. This year’s Warped Tour is very reflective of where we’ve been it hasn’t changed in 17 years it’s come full circle and these bands are gonna get out there and work their asses off. They’re looking at [high gas] prices and we’re all gonna figure out how to get down the road this summer.”
“Another thing I saw, when I was standing outside the gates [at Warped Tour] last year, I saw kids leaving early. So I asked the kids why are you leaving at five are you not having a good time? And they told me ‘no we’re having a great time but we’re out of money.’ The economy and the whole environment has changed, a kid no longer gets an ATM card to take out money whenever they need it, they’re getting a fixed amount of money to come to a concert.
“When I asked other kids, why are you leaving? [A lot of the responses were] ‘I’m hungry’ or ‘I’m thirsty’ and I understood [something had to change].” The change will be in effect this coming summer, as Lyman explained he has worked out deals with food vendors to lower the costs. “I want these kids to stay for the entire show, they want to stay and see all the bands but if they got hungry or thirsty they had to go home.”
He continued, “[normally] water is $4.50 when you go to a venue, without raising the ticket price to the fans I’ve figured out a way to get the water down to $3 a bottle.” Warped Tour has also made a partnership with Clean Canteen which will provide them with water stations so that kids can refill their water bottles on site. For the kids that can’t afford to eat at the Warped Tour they’ve come up with a meal plan, “we have a prepaid food program where parents can buy their kids or you can buy a lunch before you come to the Warped Tour for $8.50 you’ll get a slice of pizza, French fries and a coke. You can buy it beforehand so that you when you spend all your money on a Day To Remember sweatshirt you’ll be able to have food ahead of time. That’s what you can do after 17 years try to embrace things and try to stay current.”
The future seems very bright and with talks of a Warped music station catering to Warped Tour artists there’s no stopping team Warped. Lyman promised that many of the things they are launching this year will “take [them] to the future and take [them] through the next few years and keep the [Warped Tour] relevant.”
Queen’s 40th anniversary is now upon us, and the band plans to pull out all the stops to celebrate this historic occasion. “2011 is an important year for Queen,” said Brian May “and there will be a lot of activity.” Adds Roger Taylor, “I can’t believe it’s been that long and that we are still around in such a big way. I’m amazed and grateful!” This yearlong event will be marked by a series of releases, re-releases, special limited-edition items and events around the world.
It was in March 1971 that bassist John Deacon joined May and Taylor’s buzzed-about London group, which had changed its name from Smile to Queen nine months earlier, following the addition of multitalented singer/pianist Freddie Mercury, thus completing the classic lineup. The four simpatico musicians proceeded to take the world by storm. The band has released a total of 18 chart-topping albums and 18 #1 singles, while selling more than 300 million albums worldwide, making them one of the biggest rock acts of all time. They’ve received seven Ivor Novello awards in the U.K., were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003, the UK Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, and even received their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in October 2002.
As live artists, Queen literally conquered the world. Acknowledged as one of the greatest stadium bands of all time, Queen performed over 700 concerts, reaching into every corner of the world. They achieved rock history by being the first band to open up South America and the Eastern Bloc, with world record- breaking concerts in Argentina, Brazil and Hungary.
This is a timeless band whose music retains such immediacy and undiminished power that new fans continue to discover and embrace it, along the way inspiring a host of diverse artists from Lady Gaga (who took her name from Queen’s “Radio Ga Ga”), and Katy Perry, through to the Foo Fighters. It’s worth noting that Queen’s videos have collectively generated well north of 300 million views online—a remarkable figure that figures to expand exponentially with the launch of a dedicated Vevo channel this spring, in yet another iteration of the anniversary rollout.
As the centerpiece in the 40th anniversary celebration, Queen’s entire 15-album studio catalog is being reissued in a series of deluxe editions. Every note is being tweaked, every piece of artwork is being cleaned, freshened up and resourced, wherever necessary, with the legendary Bob Ludwig doing the remastering, working from the original source material. The albums will be released in three waves, staggered over the next year, with the first wave—comprising the first five LPs—coming this May.
Each studio album will be released in a new two-CD edition, the first containing the updated, remastered original LP, the second disc packed with rarities—and we don’t use the term lightly. Some of these gems have never before seen the light of day, even in crappy bootleg form. To cite a particularly fascinating example, five first-album demos recorded at London’s De Lane Lea Studios in December 1971 were pulled from the only existing copy on the planet—an acetate from May’s personal archives. Not even his bandmates had a copy.
“A huge amount of work has already been put in behind the scenes to unleash a completely newly mastered set of the original Queen LPs and CDs,” May noted. “I know our fans will appreciate the attention to detail, bringing the early albums closer than ever to the magic of the vinyl originals, but with the benefit of up-to-the-minute quality technology.”
In other anniversary activity, the gallery exhibition “Stormtroopers in Stilettos” opens in London on Feb. 25, with plans in place to tour the exhibit around the world. According to May, this unprecedented event “will highlight in some innovative ways the growth of the ‘Early Queen.’” On April 12, Hollywood will reissue Queen’s debut single, “Keep Yourself Alive” b/w “Son and Daughter,” on seven-inch vinyl in a limited edition coinciding with Record Store Day. And on April 19, the label will issue the band’s Greatest Hits II for the first time in North America. This classic collection includes the rock standards “Under Pressure” and “Radio Ga Ga,” plus many other classics from the second half of Queen’s run, including the worldwide smashes “I Want It All” & “Innuendo.” Additionally, the “Queen on Vinyl” reissue program will be completed this year with the release of the final five studio albums.
In the UK, Queen’s Greatest Hits 1 holds the record of being the biggest selling album of all time ahead of albums by The Beatles, Oasis, Dire Straits, and Abba.
This is just the beginning of what promises to be a treasure trove of must-have pieces for Queen fans. More will be revealed in the coming months, so stay tuned.
Source: Hollywood Records
The legendary Diana Ross will make a special TV guest appearance on a one-hour episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show – The Farewell Season. The show will feature conversation and a special appearance by her children; Rhonda Ross Kendrick, Tracee Ellis Ross, Chudney Ross, Ross Arne Naess, Evan Ross and her first grandson Raif Henok Emmanuel Kendrick. Diana Ross will perform as a celebration to Oprah Winfrey and her history making series. The landmark show will air on Friday, February 25.
In a remarkable career spanning five decades, Diana Ross has become the consummate entertainer and is one the most celebrated global icons in history. An international superstar, recording artist, film & TV actress, producer, fashion icon, entrepreneur, humanitarian and mother, Diana Ross has made an unprecedented impact on popular culture.
As lead singer of The Supremes, in the 60s, Diana Ross helped shape the sound of popular music, changing the landscape and paved the way for contemporary music and future generations.
In 1970, Diana Ross launched a renowned solo career and for over four decades there after has continued to produce chart singles and perform on sold-out tours around the world.
Her international historic achievements, awards and acknowledgements continue to mount. In December 2007, Diana Ross was acknowledged by the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors in Washington DC. The honor celebrated her lustrous career of excellence in entertainment.
Diana Ross will continue her national “Now” Tour with a southern and eastern U.S. leg beginning February 25 – March 20.
Source: The Fame Factory
In 2010 the album, “Kicks” by the band Stewart was selected as one of the Best of 2010 albums. We chatted with Stewart’s singer-songwriter Andrea Tarka about “Kicks” infectious nature and what it really means to release an album independently in the 21st century.
The album’s conception was a long one, as Andrea explains it was a mixture of old and new tunes that hadn’t found a way into their past records. She explained, “We had found a drummer back in 2009, the end of 2009, named Kevin and we had a bunch of different songs that didn’t really fit in our older of albums—but they were good songs,” she continued, “we kinda developed a concept around ‘how can we put these random things together [into once cohesive album]?’ what we ended up doing was going with this idea of doing each song different [from the next]. Instead of each song following the same thing it became more of a progression of each song. We just went all across the board with the songs and the styles.”
When it came to choosing a name for album, Andrea reveals that it band mate John White came up with “Kicks.” “As soon as I heard [the title] I thought it was perfect,” she said. “We just wanted something that was fun and playful that represented us as a band. We’re all kinda silly and dorky and like to have a good time.”
In the past when asked how the band would describe itself Andrea has stated, “like an aggressive 5 year old playing dodge ball.”
Releasing an album independently is no picnic as Andrea revealed the band was 100% hands on in practically every aspect of the album. “The old dream is that you get signed [by a label] you have the label to do everything for you but what we realized that was a dying model and it really wasn’t an option for us,” she explained. “We just talked to everybody we knew, got everything together, booked a studio, we got my friend Jacob, whose a comic book artist did all the album art for us. So a lot of it was just deciding wanting to make it happen and collectively coming together not just as a band but as a group of friends and doing all the work to make it happen. It was labor intensive and took about 3 months to put it all together and another 3 months to promote it.”
The labor of love features one of the most personal tracks and dear to Andrea’s heart, “[Consider Me] Gone has to be the song that has the most meaning to me,” she revealed. “The song is about an ex-boyfriend who passed away and I realized that everything in my life up to that point was about him in some way. That song is the most personal and true to my heart. It’s a little bit of an older song but it didn’t really have its own voice form of expression until we re-recorded it for this record. I think that song no matter how much I hear it or how much we play it that song gets me in a certain way.”
The band has been hard at work writing and creating new music for their next release but they’re in no hurry. The band plans to capitalize on “Kicks” success before rushing out another LP. Andrea revealed the new album won’t be out till the Fall of 2011. “Right now we’ve been working on a lot of new songs but we’re waiting to get the word out [on the band] a little bit more and taking a break from performing shows cause one, it’s cold and two, our drummer is going to be in Europe drumming in another band. We’re going to play more shows once the summer hits. All around, we’re trying to get to play more regional shows not just New York. We do a lot of shows in New York and Brooklyn but we’re trying to branch out to Philly, Connecticut, Boston and even as far as Chicago and Ohio.”
We’re sure that no matter when the band decides to return to the road or crank out another album they’ll do just fine. For more on Stewart visit, www.stewarttheband.com
Avril Lavigne’s much-anticipated first single, “What The Hell,” from her forthcoming studio release, Goodbye Lullaby, became available on iTunes and all digital providers on Tuesday January 11. “What The Hell” is gaining critic’s approval including Rolling Stone, “…easily some of Avril’s catchiest yet, with piping garage-rock organs, a pogoing, do-the-fru? beat and a soaring sing-along chorus.”
Avril Lavigne’s fourth studio album, Goodbye Lullaby, is set for release by RCA Records on March 8, 2011. Working with longtime collaborators Deryck Whibley, Evan Taubenfeld and Butch Walker, as well as songwriter/producer Max Martin, Lavigne continues to share her personal experiences through her writing and music with a more organic and raw sound.
Avril Lavigne has made an indelible mark on the music community, selling more than 30 million albums worldwide, earning eight Grammy nominations and seven Canadian Juno Awards. She burst onto the music scene in 2002 with the critically acclaimed Let Go, featuring the smash singles “Sk8r Boi” and “Complicated.” Her 2004 release, Under My Skin, debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts, as did her third album, The Best Damn Thing, which produced the irrepressible #1 single “Girlfriend” and logged more than 130 million views on YouTube! Lavigne also wrote the song “Alice” for Tim Burton’s critically acclaimed Disney Film Alice in Wonderland.
Outside the recording studio, Lavigne is a successful entrepreneur who continues to design and direct her lifestyle apparel brand, Abbey Dawn, which has expanded its worldwide footprint shipping to more than 50+ countries. Along with her popular fragrance Black Star, she recently introduced Forbidden Rose and is launching a third fragrance in 2011. Lavigne’s past charitable work also inspired her to create The Avril Lavigne Foundation. The Foundation works in partnership with leading charitable organizations to design and deliver programs, raise awareness, and mobilize support for children and youth living with serious illnesses or disabilities.
For more information, visit www.AvrilLavigne.com.
Source: BWR Public Relations
Electro DIY dance punk band Tayisha Busay just sold out hardcopies of their debut EP Shock Woo! So now the band is offering a free download of that EP for the month of December. It’s been a big, big year for the Brooklyn based trio and their future looks brighter than ever. So relive the insanity of their viral hit “WTF You Doin’ In My Mouth” or get acquainted with the many sides of Tayisha Busay by downloading Shock Woo via www.tayishabusay.bandcamp.com
The Decemberists have partnered with Impossible and photographer Autumn de Wilde to create a Deluxe Box Edition of The King Is Dead, their forthcoming Capitol Records album which will be released on January 18, 2011.
Each of the 2,500 limited edition box sets will be unique, with every one containing a one-of-a-kind original Polaroid photo by de Wilde, the CD, a vinyl, the DVD Pendarvia and a 72-page hardcover book featuring over 250 photos by de Wilde and illustrations by Carson Ellis.
The project was made possible by Impossible, who provided de Wilde with Vintage Polaroid Type 100 “peel-apart” film necessary to capture the 2,500 individual photos that were taken during the album’s recording sessions at Pendarvis Farm outside of Portland, Oregon, and in de Wilde’s hometown of Los Angeles, California.
Source: Marlene Kelnreiter, Impossible Project
November 30th marked the historic day that the sudden pop culture resurgence of (I’VE HAD) THE TIME OF MY LIFE and all things DIRTY DANCING reaches a level of impact not seen since the low budget movie beat all odds to make pop culture history 23 years ago.
In an unusual – and perhaps unprecedented – industry coincidence, two new versions of the classic Oscar-winning theme to the 1987 box office smash romance will be released tomorrow on two of the holiday season’s most hotly anticipated new albums. “The Time (The Dirty Bit),” the new BLACK EYED PEAS hit single built around the unforgettable chorus of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” will appear on the new Peas album, The Beginning. And the cast of GLEE will debut its new rendition of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” on Glee: The Music, Volume 4. Dianna Agron (Quinn) and Chord Overstreet (Sam) are scheduled to performing a duet of “Time of My Life” on tomorrow night’s episode (8 p.m. EST, FOX).
All this activity comes a week to the day after DIRTY DANCING star Jennifer Grey’s amazing and courageous win on this season’s DANCING WITH THE STARS brought back the heart-tugging memories of her and Patrick Swayze dancing in the movie Grey later revealed to Good Morning America that she resisted “enormous pressure” to dance to “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” on America’s most-watched TV show because the song holds too special of a place in her heart.
With “The Time (The Dirty Bit)” currently at No. 13 in Billboard and the enormous popularity of the previous Glee soundtracks, the two new albums are sure to fight it out near the top of the Billboard Top 200 chart. Both renditions of “Time of My Life” are exposing the song to an enormous new generation of fans, most of whom are too young to remember the original during its original ‘80s glory.
Furthering the coincidence, FRANKE PREVITE and his “Time of My Life” co-writers are currently exposing the world to the original demo recording that Grey and Swayze danced to during the filming of the movie’s iconic final scene. Previte, an artist in his own right (‘80s hitmakers Franke and The Knockouts), was inspired to release and donate proceeds from the sale of his newly available DIRTY DANCING: THE ORIGINAL DEMOS CD to the Patrick Swayze Pancreas Cancer Research Fund at Stanford after sharing his personal memories of the dancing duo during the making of the DIRTY DANCING “Keepsake Edition” DVD gift package. Lionsgate released the “Keepsake Edition” earlier this year to an audience that has been reminded of the movie for years by the well-known commercials for Sandals Resorts. Just last week, Sandals renewed the contract to continue using the song in their spots for years to come.
“Talk about being blessed,” says Previte. “When I wrote ‘Time of My Life’ I never expected anything like this 23 years later. But the song has new legs and it’s running again — maybe even faster than the first time. The next generation has spoken and I love it. Thanks to all. “
Amid all this incredible momentum – the most he’s seen surrounding the song since the film’s 1987 release – this week Previte will be celebrating the cultural rebirth of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by announcing a charity contest where fans can revel in their love for the movie and its trademark song by dancing to it themselves. DANCING WITH THE DEMOS welcomes fans to show their moves and record a video of themselves dancing to the original demo recording of “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” in original and creative ways that stay true to the spirit of the film. The contest is designed to excite and engage all fans of the music and movie around the world while helping battle pancreas cancer in Patrick Swayze’s memory.
Contestants will record a video of themselves dancing to Previte’s ORIGINAL DEMO RECORDING of “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” and post it as a response to the video contest announcement. Winners will be chosen by Franke Previte for top prizes that include stays at the two resorts in North Carolina and Virginia that were the primary filming locations of “Dirty Dancing.”
“Please join in with me this holiday season and make a difference,” says Previte. “The gift of giving always feels better when the cause is great. So when you purchase the ‘Dirty Dancing Demos,’ know that this is helping the Patrick Swayze cancer fund and ‘Dance, Dance, Dance!’ … And who knows? Maybe I’ll see you at one of these prize sites.”
Official rules will soon be posted at www.dirtydancingdemos.com
Source: Randex Communications
For burlesque performer Rita D’Albert a.k.a. Ursulina Lucha VaVOOM is “wrestling for people who don’t like wrestling.” Since the show’s incarnation eight years ago Rita’s been working behind the scenes doing everything from booking the talent, working on the show’s artwork, Rhine-stoning her own costumes, to taking the stage as Ursulina. She’s enjoyed every part of it declaring that she loves, “seeing a new audience react to everything” and confessed she ends up “voiceless [every night] from screaming and cheering on the performers.”
Lucha VaVOOM combines Mexican-style wrestling, burlesque and comedy. It incorporates “lots of color, fun, visuals, rock n roll-like Cirque du Soleil [acrobatics]” explained the performer. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen and the show promoters boast it’s, “a one-of-a-kind event you’ll never forget!”
Rita D’Albert was wide awake when I called her up it was around 9am where she was and couldn’t sit still with their next performance just two days away. “I was in the middle of Rhine-stoning my costume,” she said. Aside from putting on a sassy striptease Rita oversees the day to day going-ons. She walked us through a typical show day and spoke candidly about some of the stars that contributed to Lucha VaVOOM’s colorful history.
“We keep the matches very tight but to break up the wrestling we put on a burlesque strip tease and the thing is that the girls and boys, the dancers that we hire, have to be as energetic and exciting as the wrestlers and the wrestling matches,” she explained. “While the wrestling is happening we have comedians [providing] commentary on the action and instead of being dry and just going over the action we have comedians making funny comments and doing bits,” she explained. “I like to hire comedians that are actually funny.”
Her selection has proven to be successful and has included some famous funny people. “The very first time we did a match our first cohost was Fred Armisen who after one show left to be on Saturday Night Live,” she laughed. “So then we got Pat Oswalt [and then] his career really took off so our main [past] hosts [include] Tom Kenny who’s the voice of Spongbob Square Pants he’s also a huge lucha libre fan and he’s done our shows. He’s really, really funny and energetic.” The list goes on and includes such comics as Dana Gould, Blaine Capatch, Greg Proops and Bobcat Goldthwait.
Rita also revealed that the show’s lineup changes constantly, “I like to change up the lineup for each night in order to keep the audience guessing. It keeps the show surprising and fun.” Although she admitted that performing is awesome she gets most of her kicks out of watching some of the onstage antics, “I love watching the show and I think it has to be that way in order to keep me going and doing what I love to do.”
128 Rivington St. was the place to be as Alternative Press Magazine hosted a rocking art opening at the Sloan Art Gallery in celebration of the magazine’s 25th anniversary. Many of the featured artists were in attendance along with the Plain White T’s who happened to be in town and have been huge supporters of the publication. They along with the magazine’s current staffers and founder Mike Shea were in attendance.
To say that meeting Mike Shea and chatting about the publication’s history and future was an honor is an understatement. AP magazine was instrumental in Sinister Girlz’s formation and evolution to the short-lived print format. I can’t count how many hours I spent thumbing through issues of the magazine; reading, dissecting, attempting to replicate my favorite layouts. Taking cues from the featured photographers and their photo shoots and trying to pinpoint what elements moved me in the live shots or what ingredients made them great.
With time Sinister Girlz found its own identity and format but I continued to keep an eye on Alternative Press because with time we were able to feature some of the big name artists we’d seen in AP. Not only that but these artists actually granted us interviews even after appearing on AP’s cover!
At the gallery opening reprints of Alternative Press’ very first issue were displayed and made available to attendees. The 2-page double-sided, black and white publication brought an instant smile to my face. After reading Mike Shea’s piece on The Smith’s first US tour and how his hometown of Cleveland was not among the tour stops, I thought it was the perfect time to speak to him.
He revealed that the initial inspiration behind creating the magazine was the lack of communication between music followers. He said, “We just had a void in the [underground music] scene, skate punks didn’t like the metal guys and the metal guys didn’t like the old punks and the old punks didn’t like the new punks. Nobody knew what the hell was going on so we needed a music post, a key to the underground, a platform that would bring everybody together.”
With time and hard work the publication began to grow and its format would soon change. “We were just doing what we had to do to survive, we had to adapt and really keep pushing through. When we went from our original format to a newspaper format it was because [the original] format was getting thrown out and buried on the newsstands so we eventually went to a magazine format…you basically do what you have to do [in order to survive].”
Now in the wake of the digital revolution AP is looking to change with the times. Shea revealed their print format is about to undergo yet another transformation. “Print won’t go away [completely] it will just become rare like Vinyl, the fact that [Sinister Girlz] is already online that puts you ahead of us. The issue is that making money online is tough but [the upside to being online] is that we’ll be able to go worldwide now.” He admitted that going worldwide is a bit nerve wrecking, “Now you’re competing with everyone worldwide, we’re now fighting with [publications] in England and getting stories and interviews at the same time. With print you were able to take your time and decide who to talk to first now everything has to be done now.” Alternative Press Magazine will soon go digital but as far as when that will happen Shea wouldn’t say other than, “Soon.” He’s also unsure of what the future will hold, “I don’t know what’s going to happen, I don’t have the answers” but what he does know is that, “you just have to change with the times.”
The CMJ Film Festival got underway with an intimate screening of the ensemble comedy “Circus Maximus” the tale of an established screenwriter who in the course of a weekend must pen a screenplay in order to meet industry deadlines.
The film stars Mario Cantone, Kevin Corrigan, Julian McCullough, Rachel Feinstein, Joe Gannascoli and Howard Stern Show radio personality Sal “the stockbroker” Governale.
The film’s present action is propelled by the protagonist’s movie characters coming to life and propelling their own storylines. The film’s writer and director Tommy J. La Sorsa briefly introduced the film stating, “Enjoy the show, the more you drink, the better the film looks and sounds.” All joking aside the film is a laugh out loud filthy, raunchy, joy ride from start to finish.
La Sorsa hung around after the screening mingling with attendees and answering questions. He was humbled by the warm reception and asked people what their favorite part of the film was. The filmmaker first achieved success with his first film, the cult-classic-comedy “All Saints Day” and now with his new venture “Circus Maximus” he is well on his way to reaching mainstream success.
How Do I Find Hot Rock Star Love On The Road? An Educated Hypothesis from Chevonne, Pop Tour Warrior
First off, I’ll tell you: I have no idea how to find hot rock star love on the road. But I can tell a damn good story…
I was a VERY satisfied young bitch when the first season of Rock of Love came out – you know, that genius whore of a reality dating show featuring douchetastic Poison frontman Bret Michaels and a hot, steaming load of sweaty, curves-bubbling-over-the-top skanks in heat just dying to get their lips on his microphone, if-you-get-what-I-am-saying.
My boyfriend at the time was a wild bass player in an 80s metal revival band who loved to party. He would draw fake tattoos of my initials on his biceps in black Sharpie before shows, and I would flash almost-crotch in my cropped white Hanes tank top and miniskirt while mouthing “FUCK ME” over and over in the audience. You know, standard puppy-dog stuff.
One time we did it in a random bed at the guitar player’s shore house while a schwasted superfan lay snoring facedown on the floor. I watched my first porn with him (it was lame), had my first whiskey blackout with him (it was rad), snuck out of the house countless times to wreak havoc all over North Jersey’s nasty unpaved highways with him (shit was so fun, it was illegal). I lived all the shenanigans that Rock Of Love promised every Sunday night, with all the loving, caring monogamy the show failed to deliver by the time the reunion specials aired.
And my man and I would watch the show together in bed with smarmy we’re-in-lurve grins all over our young faces. But by the time season 3 rolled around, everything changed…for Bret and for me.
The previous seasons’ winners—fuchsia-haired scene goddess Jes and down-home cougar Ambre—turned out to be to be more candy than rock, so Bret took off on the Rock of Love Bus: same show, trashy new on-the-road format. We found Bret completely skeeved out amongst a rabid pack of groupie werewolves, who literally drank test-tube buttery nipple shots out of each other’s vadges and got drool (amongst other juices, probs) all over the poles installed in the vehicle.
Meanwhile, I’d since broken things off with my rock star and was in dire need of a respectable yet raunchy rebound. Of course, I couldn’t find anyone even close to casually bangable. I couldn’t believe being single meant I had to dip into a pool of overcompensating, immature toolbags who couldn’t care less if I got home okay, let alone got off. So as I’d watch Bret’s power-ballad-blue eyes shift into utter panic, I’d ask on behalf of both of us: is finding rock love always this empty? And gross?
Fast forward to the present: I’m actually on the road, living on a bus, and performing is my job. And all the gooey black-and-white hair-metal tour video sentiments are as real as Bon Jovi’s hairy cleavage. It’s totally true; sometimes all a chick wishes for after of a long night of wailing and vamping in stilettos is a cold drink and a slutty fuck-buddy. But, at the real-life core of it, that wouldn’t truly fulfill me.
Sex is amazing and delicious, and if you’ve got the balls of steel to enjoy it on the regular with strangers and acquaintances as a hobby, or a sport, or a way to cure boredom, I’ll throw up those metal horns in your honor because it’s your friggin choice as a fierce woman of the 2010s! And sometimes, a girl just needs it for her health and sanity. But usually, sex without love (or, at the very least, “like”) makes me feel like…well, kind of like one of those grody girls on Rock Of Love Bus.
Many of those chicks clearly didn’t respect themselves; they’d end up sloppy and crying in the elimination limo, stumbling into fist fights, or getting hammered beyond comprehension and being unceremoniously booted off the show. That’s not rock and that’s not love; that’s just straight-up un-classy! At the end of my badass day of working in pop music, I want what those girls wanted—full-blown freaky rock-star-status sex—but without the get-famous-quick scheming, and in a perfect world I want mine with a man who loves and respects me as much as I love and respect me. And who keeps his junk clean and pus-free, and doesn’t share it with 30 other “contestants” who all swim in the same jacuzzi full of vom!! Just saying.
On the road, though, finding that real rock love is nearly impossible. If you’re lucky and you’re blessed (and you keep your eyes and ears WIDE open) you’ll run into it, but so far the closest I’ve come—though I haven’t truly found it yet—was when I was at home with that bass player. For now, I’d rather curl up in those hotel rooms with Bluecifer, my trusty battery-powered companion, and be my own damn rock of love. At least then I won’t catch the herp—and these days, that sneaky bitch is invisible! As for Bret—well, his upcoming new show follows him as he re-domesticates with the mother of his two daughters. And if that’s what rock love looks like at this point, I’ll fuckin take it.
The Give a Damn Campaign (www.wegiveadamn.org), a project of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund, has released its newest public service announcement focusing on hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Ricky Martin, Elton John, Idina Menzel, Rachael Harris and Wanda Sykes speak out about the need to bring an end to these senseless acts of violence and intimidation. The PSA saw its world premiere last night on CNN’s Larry King Live during an episode featuring the topic of anti-gay bullying.
In the U.S. one hate crime takes place approximately every hour of every single day. In 2008, the most recent year in which such data is available, 7,783 incidents of hate crime were reported to the FBI.1 out of every 6 of these hate crimes is committed on the basis of sexual orientation.
Gay men and lesbians are the third most targeted group for hate crimes of the ones that are actually reported. It is widely believed that these numbers are significantly higher, as victims of hate crimes based on sexual orientation are afraid to report the crime to authorities.
Hate crimes can happen anywhere, at any time. They are dehumanizing, willful acts of bigotry perpetrated with the intent to intimidate. They may range from harassment and physical intimidation to beatings, rape, torture —even murder. Perpetrators commit these horrific acts to intimidate and terrorize a community, and to send a message about the victim and “their kind.”
“We as parents, as people, as a nation need to stand up and say enough is enough. We will not tolerate hate any longer,” said Cyndi Lauper. “Hate is learned and we need to teach our children that being different is okay. The best way we can do that is to lead by example and treat others with dignity and respect. No one should ever be bullied or harmed in any way because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, ethnicity or anything that someone labels another as ‘different.’ Hate is a lose lose situation and its time that things final change.”
ABOUT THE GIVE A DAMN CAMPAIGN
The Give a Damn Campaign, a project of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund, is a bold, Web-based initiative with the goal of educating and engaging the straight community in the advancement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. The campaign produces call-to-action videos that have featured Elton John, Whoopi Goldberg, Ricky Martin, Jason Mraz, Anna Paquin, Lily Tomlin, Cynthia Nixon, Sharon & Kelly Osbourne, Judith Light, Idina Menzel, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Piper Perabo, Mae Whitman, Kim Kardashian, Clay Aiken, Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho and Cyndi Lauper.
To learn more about the Give a Damn Campaign, please visit: www.wegiveadamn.org
Tonight starts week 3 of “Dancing With The Stars” and we need your votes for Margaret Cho to ensure she stays on the show into week 4. Please take a minute to tune in, tell your friends to tune in and vote for Margaret Cho as she tells her very personal story while dancing The Samba to “Copacabana.” It’s her most poignant and festive performance yet.
“This week we are telling a story with our dance. Our storyline is my story. When I did TV the first time, what seems like so many years ago, I was told I was too overweight to play myself – I became so sick with anorexia, I almost died. This story is about how I overcame feeling self doubt, and became beautiful to myself. This is the moment when I said to myself, “This is it. This is what I look like – and I accept who I am completely.” So many people never do this in their entire lives. I want to show them how. So it is about Lola, the showgirl, who is beautiful and is loved by herself and everyone else. I am a showgirl – because I am showing off this girl!! It’s also an important story to tell because there have been so many suicides by gay teens lately. I want to reach out to these kids who feel like they don’t have any hope and say that yes, there is hope. There is love. Stay with me. Let’s stick around for it. Together.” — Margaret Cho
VOTE VOTE VOTE HERE; IT’S FREE!! Margaret & Louis’ voting number: 1-800 VOTE4-05 (1-800 868-3405). You can also text thru AT&T and vote online at abc.com here: http://abc.go.com/shows/dancing-with-the-stars/team-margaret-cho
Last week our favorite comedian made her debut on “Dancing With The Stars,” her comedic take on the Vietnamese Waltz to “We Are The Champions” received mixed reviews from the judges but the love and support of her fans got her through the week.
Tonight starts week 2 of “Dancing With The Stars” and we need your votes for Margaret Cho to ensure she stays on the show into week 3. Please take a minute to tune in, tell your friends to tune in and vote for Margaret Cho as she Jive’s her way across the floor tonight. It’s a fun filled high energy performance.
VOTE VOTE VOTE HERE: IT’S FREE!! Margaret & Louis’ voting number: 1-800 VOTE4-05 (1-800 868-3405). You can also text thru AT&T or vote online at abc.com here: http://abc.go.com/shows/dancing-with-the-stars/team-margaret-cho
Power of Patrick Swayze’s memory brought baby out of the corner again on Dancing With The Stars Season Premiere, Says Dirty Dancing Hit Songwriter
“Every time I hear the songs from the new demo collection, it makes me pause, reflect, and smile at those days of youth where anything was possible, the path to life ahead of us was lined with good intent, and we were looking ahead with a sense of wonderment and passion known only by the young. And when listening to this soundtrack again, by the young at heart.” – Goldmine
Returning yesterday from a very successful fund-raising trip to “Dirty Dancing’s” primary filming destinations supporting the Patrick Swayze Pancreas Cancer Research Fund, the Oscar-winning writer of the movie’s smash hit “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” tuned in to the season premiere of Dancing with the Stars last night to witness ‘Baby’ come out of the corner all over again in a moving performance that Jennifer Grey revealed was powered by the undeniable memory of her dearly missed Dirty Dancing co-star.
FRANKE PREVITE, also a Golden Globe-winner for “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” said Grey became the “obvious sentimental favorite” as she “very gracefully” danced the Viennese Waltz with Derek Hough to the Otis Redding classic, “These Arms of Mine,” from the 48 million-selling Dirty Dancing soundtrack to earn the evening’s highest score. The emotions started flowing during rehearsals, as pre-performance footage revealed Grey being brought to tears flashing back to dancing with Swayze after her first few steps with Hough.
“Jennifer was very emotional and it brought back a lot of memories, but they were memories that I don’t think she thought she would have, and it brought her all the way back to being Baby again,” said Previte, whose music launched a cultural phenomenon by igniting the original dance floor heat between Grey and Swayze during the iconic movie’s filming. “At times, she even looked like Baby.”
Starting with last night’s season opener, Previte is launching social media observations of Grey’s Dancing with the Stars progress, and posting them with every performance this season at www.facebook.com/dirtydancingdemos, the Facebook page for DIRTY DANCING: THE ORIGINAL DEMOS. With Lisa Niemi Swayze’s blessing, Previte and his fellow Dirty Dancing songwriters have just released DIRTY DANCING: THE ORIGINAL DEMOS to raise money for pancreas cancer research in Swayze’s memory. Included is the actual demo recording of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” that Grey and Swayze danced to during the filming of the movie’s triumphant climactic scene, along with another Previte-penned Dirty Dancing hit, “Hungry Eyes.”
“I thought those tears were real,” Previte continued. “I don’t think there was any acting going on. When they showed Jennifer dancing to ‘These Arms of Mine,’ it set the whole mood of her feeling ‘Dirty Dancing.’ It took her right back to like it was 23 years ago, where she’s looking at a real handsome guy, as if it was Patrick teaching her how to dance to his steps. I noticed at the very end of the waltz where Derek bends Jennifer and she stumbles a little, but they forgave her, and rightly so. And when she pointed her finger saying, ‘You got it’ to a judge wondering how she’ll do next week dancing to a jive, that was part of the Baby character – and the spirit of Patrick.
“As time goes on, she’ll get more and more comfortable. It’s not going to be an easy win overall for Jennifer, but she’s on the right course.”
Between digital sales of the music, merchandise sales and rare memorabilia donations of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” hand-written lyrics to each of the primary Dirty Dancing filming destinations, Previte already has raised “thousands” for the Patrick Swayze Pancreas Research Fund at Stanford in the two weeks since the release of DIRTY DANCING: THE ORIGINAL DEMOS – and he’s striving to top those figures every successive week. Previte personally presented a signed set of lyrics last week at the Mountain Lake Conservancy & Hotel in Pembroke, VA (“Kellerman’s Resort”) and the Dirty Dancing Festival in Lake Lure, NC, where the “Time of My Life” finale and “the lift” water scene, among others, were shot. It was his first time at those sites since his magical Dirty Dancing journey began in the mid-‘80s and he, too, was moved.
“Seeing those places was really the highlight of these first couple of weeks,” said Previte. “The trip gave me a better perspective on everything, especially when I was able to go into the room where Patrick slept at Mountain Lake and in general, experience the places where the whole cast and crew lived. I want people to own a piece of history through the original demo recordings charity project, and now I’ve been able to finally connect the dots and feel a piece of history by seeing where it all happened. I really could feel all the love that Patrick’s fans had for him, and it convinced me that his spirit will live for a long time.”
DIRTY DANCING: THE ORIGINAL DEMOS is available through CD Baby on iTunes and all major digital download destinations.
Learn more about the Patrick Swayze Pancreas Cancer Research Fund at http://med.stanford.edu/cancer/features/research_news/Patrick_Swayze_Pancreas.html
Source: Randex Communications
Funny woman Margaret Cho dusts off her dancing shoes for reality show competition “Dancing With The Stars.” After releasing her first full-length music album “Cho Dependent” on August 24th the comedian is set to compete on the show, while also on her North American Cho Dependent tour in support of her stellar comedic music album.
“I’m so excited to be doing Dancing With The Stars, but I’ve got a lot to learn. I’ve got some mean stripper moves and I can pick up a dollar with my butt, however the Viennese Waltz is all new for me! I’ve been training with my partner for three days now and I can’t believe how much my body hurts! I’m trying to embrace the pain,” she said via her website.
Check out Margaret’s blog for updates from behind the scenes and training on the road! And be sure to vote for her this season starting September 20th.
“How Can I More Interestingly Reference My Vagina In Casual Conversation?” An Informative Guide by Chevonne, pop tart and cunning linguist
You’re with your best friends, well on your way to drunk off Coors Light, burping in between bites of happy hour appetizers. You’ve been waiting all week to tell them about your most recent [humiliating, hilarious, or rap-song-status triumphant] sexcapades. You can hardly contain yourself as you clear your throat, ready to describe [his alien-looking anatomy, his prop-mistress-sized collection of love tools, and/or his suspiciously porn-star-level expertise].
But as you prepare to leave your homegirls’ mouths gaping and their eyes wide, you realize you’ve got plenty of fun ways to describe his stuff: twigs ‘n berries, man-meat, wang, thang, schlong, dong, sword, member, baby arm, one-eyed trouser snake, ding-a-ling, screwnicorn…and the list goes on. But what of your own special lady-parts down below?
And for those of us women into other women, this goes double for you…how can you change up the language to differentiate hers from yours? Because as we know, vadges are like snowflakes: no two are alike (and if left alone for too long in heat, they melt into sad, half-dry puddles silently mourning better/wetter times).
Depending on the tone of your story—was your vagina, in this case, a damsel in distress? A sadistic powerbitch? Prudish? Crude-ish? Gentle? Mental? Menstrual?!—varying terminology is required. You want to set the scene, evoke the right poetic colors, the perfect combination of scintillating syllables. Where do you start?
Lucky for you, I’m an expert on such queries. My daily challenge is even more demanding: I write songs and sing about my vagina and her adventures on the regular. And there are only so many pop-licious phrases I can create with a clunky, ugly, whiny word like “vagina.” Ugh. Just look at it: VAGINA. It’s the literary equivalent of a mauve mid-calf-length skirt with a matching boxy-ass blazer and brown orthopedic loafers. I retch. So, I’ve done some of your dirty work and compiled a list of 10 amazing vaginal colloquialisms as offered by some of pop culture’s naughtiest females. Happy hunting….or, shall I say, c*nting!
- Peach – badass electroclash heroine Peaches spells it out matter-of-factly in the euphemism-tastically titled “Diddle My Skittle” – “there’s only one peach with a hole in the middle.” In and of itself, skittle is yummily appropriate in describing the clitoris, the HQ of female sexcitement!
- Sugar walls – crooned famously by the tiny Scottish minx Sheena Easton in the 1980s. “Sugar Walls” is just so awkward that it comes all the way back around to sexy. (Technically, Prince wrote this one…but come on, he’s a vagina metaphor MACHINE. He can hang out on this list of bad bitches! But since it’s a Prince song, video embedding is disabled. Boo!) Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8WZ-Ba-gps
- Cho-cha – Missy Elliott rolls this one off her tongue in the middle of a verse in “Work It.” She implores, “call before you come so I can shave my cho-cha.” If I had a nickel for every time I quoted that line in everyday goings-on…well, I’d have a lot of nickels.
- Woohoo – as recently bellowed by melisma-spouting diva Christina Aguilera. Creepily delicious when uttered by that weird squeaky sampled robot voice.
- Pussy – pretty standard word choice. But when slithered off the lips of transsexual icon Amanda Lepore, it takes on whole new fascinating connotations. This song was produced by Larry Tee, who I worked with on my brand new song Catcall! (Check it out here)
- Red Light Special – T-Boz of TLC introduces this imagery-rich term using her trademark chocolaty tenor to full reawrr potential. She offers it all up to her man like a handful of contraband scored on a dark Amsterdam street corner. Werrrrk!
- London Bridge – I have no idea what Fergie is trying to say with this. Is it because her vadge directs lots of traffic? Is it because her vagina is a national landmark ruled over by a queen? Is it because it of the frequent precipitation dripping on those who dare to pass underneath it? You decide.
- Glove box – as in, “Come put a little love in my glove box/ I wanna dance with no pants on (holla!)” Oh, Ke$ha. First of all, who has enough gloves that they’d need a box to hold them? Wouldn’t a drawer make more sense? Maybe it’s a nod to the Spinal Tap album Smell The Glove? Anyway, here’s “Blah Blah Blah” in all its slur-rific glory.
- Ill Na Na – one of my favorites. The “na,” of course, comes straight out of the root word in question. Foxy Brown, you are a genius. Girls, use this term only if you’re in complete control of your lady lump and you keep it in mint condition. Experts only!
- Bumper – As in, “Pull up to the bumper, baby/ drive it in between…Back it up twice/ oh, that fits nice.” Grace Jones is a sexy beast, and she sure knows her car-talk sex puns. I’mma try this type of instructional dirty talk on that babe at the Range Rover dealership with the frosted tips and the conch-shell necklace. (He totally wants me.) You could also go nautical, a la the late great Aaliyah, and ask your love-matey to “Rock The Boat.”
Hope this spices up your morning-after overshares, and inspires you to create some narsty innuendo of your own!
FYI, I will be performing this Friday night, July 23rd, at F-WORD AT SPLASH (50 w 17th St, NYC). It’s Superhero night, so I will be swooping in as a self-styled supervillainess. The name? SuperPussy!
Umm…well. Ahem, this is a tough one. I was going to wait until you’re older, but hell, I was head-banging to “Electric Youth” in a rainbow tinsel wig before I knew how to spell my own name. And…well, I hate to break it to you, but that hairbrush-singing you’ve been doing late at night into the mirror? You keep that up and you’ll go blind.
So. When a pop star loves herself very very very much, she wants to share that love with the world. She wants to joyfully dole out hunks of her soul like a bottomless Snak-Pak of crunchy, salty, grease-coma-inducing sexuality. But before she can create that bundle of joy, she needs to make sure she is prepared.
The first thing she needs to remember when creating a pop song is to take it out and court it like a real gentlewoman. She is encouraged to practice her “accidental” crotch-shot poses. Pee into a bowl of chips. Fall splayed out on her ass often, incorporate the nearest wandering farm animal or street vendor into any public shenanigans, find a kiddie pool and fill it with sparkling energy-drink, slur sweet nothings into the nearest boy’s ear…but make sure he has at least one girlfriend!
The key is to toe the line between tacky/desperate and awesomely slutty. Go out most nights a week and “try” for a winner, an epic shitshow so colossal that it practically writes itself…persistence like that will guarantee her a pop-song fertility rate of at least 97%!
After she’s lived a moment so fiendishly excessive that even thinking about it causes motorcycles to explode and naked women to pop out of cakes, she should go home and begin the writing process. While pregnant with a pop song, stick to the following diet:
- Mix food groups: Marshmallows with sprinkles. Chicken fingers dipped in chocolate. Whole sticks of butter drizzled with hot sauce. Watermelon vodka.
- Nothing “organic” – pop songs are inherently processed. Don’t take away from the glossy artifice by adding ingredients grown from Nature.
- Consume plenty of polyester, glitter, coconut-scented self-tanner, male ab sweat, and/or exhaust fumes from a Lamborghini.
- Whenever possible, eat all meals out of a 7-inch stiletto.
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering, “What about the music, the lyrics? The definitive sound? The vocal tone?” Though you are the baby mama of this gurgling little sound byte, there are just some aspects you have to leave up to fate. Get in that studio, breathe in the essence of your sexy excess and exhale a sparkling turd of pure cash-money-making pop magic.
…Still lost? Well, okay. Here are a few helpful hints:
- Two words: robot voice. Anything you can do to prove to the world you’re half automaton is a step in the right direction. Some examples include stuttering, Auto Tuning beyond recognition, plugging your electrical cord into a celebrity DJ’s MacBook.
- “Me” is always pronounced “may.” “Baby” can be pronounced in any of the following variations: “bay. bay.” “BAY-buh!” “behbeh.” Anything but the correct pronunciation. That would be tres unrefined.
- Got writer’s block? Try the word “bitch.” “Shaw-TAY” also works.
- Shameless objectification is the highest form of flattery.
- So is tactless ripping and sampling of previously existing pop songs – I mean, if it ain’t broke, right? It’s kind of like, uh, bringing your really hot cousin to the prom. ::wipes sweat off brow::
So you’re ready. You’ve got your song, your couture ensemble has been lovingly spray-painted on, your hair and makeup has been sex-messed to perfection. Now go call up your exes and get your hands on that “secret tape,” pierce a creative swatch of your bod, and snag yourself a shady industry lovetoy! Pop stardom awaits you!!!
(And if you want to see Mommy’s very own pride and joy, check www.youtube.com/listen2chevonne and let it all pop out to “Catcall.” You can also cyberstalk me on Twitter @listen2chevonne or read my blog at www.listentochevonne.com!)
Essence Music Festival Day 1 Recap
This past Fourth of July weekend the stars could be found down in New Orleans performing and partaking in this year’s Essence Music Festival. Headliners included Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blidge Alicia Keys, Jill Scott and Gladys Knight.
The official cocktail of the Essence Music Festival, the BELVE PEACH ESSENCE, was enjoyed by many of the celebs in attendance on all three nights.
Attendees that stopped by included actors TYLER PERRY, BORIS KUDJOE, SHERYL LEE RALPH, TERRY CREWS, as well as musicians RAPHAEL SADDIQ, DOUG E.FRESH & FAB 5 FREDDY amongst other great celebs such as SHAUN ROBINSON and comedian FINESSE and TV personality NENE LEAKES. Actress NIECY NASH even stepped behind the bar to serve up a couple drinks for patrons as well.
All the celebs attended the lounge which was inside the Louisiana Superdome side stage, all of the celebs relaxed there while waiting (some of them even watched from there) to see Janet Jackson, Charlie Wilson and Monica perform during the first night of the three day music festival.
Essence Music Festival Day 2 Recap
The following evening was star-studded as well Celebs included actress JADA PINKETT SMITH and singer KERI HILSON amongst others. TV personality NENE LEAKES stepped behind the bar to serve up a couple drinks for patrons as well backstage at the BELVE MUSIC LOUNGE.
Other attendees include actress KENYA MOORE, rapper MYSTIKAL and actor KID (of KID &PLAY) If used please make sure to credit BELVE MUSIC LOUNGE. All of the celebs relaxed at the lounge inside the Louisiana Superdome side stage, waiting(some of them even watched from there) to see Keri Hilson, Alicia Keys & Gladys Knight perform that night.
Additionally, HBO & BELVEDERE alongside lifestyle maven Bevy Smith hosted an exclusive late night dinner with Essence Music Fest artists and the cast of HBO’S TRUE BLOOD & TREME. Attendees included actor/singers JILL SCOTT, ALFRE WOODARD, RUTINA WESLEY, KERI HILSON & HILL HARPER amongst others. The “Dinner with Bevy” was hosted at New Orleans native & Bravo Networks Top Chef John Besh’s new restaurant August.
On a hot summer Saturdy, PaperDoll won Kollaboration NY; the longest running Asian American Talent show in the country now in 10 different cities. We shared the stage with bands, comedians, and dancers played in front of 700 screaming fans. Playing to a sold out crowd at Highline Ballroom and accolades from acclaimed hip hop producer !llmind are great…but the best part of the night? The Giant Check.
Aside from Ed McMahon (RIP) and lotto winners, who gets to even hold a giant check? When the band walked down W16th St after the show, strangers stopped in their tracks. We got smiles, high-fives, and people taking photos with us – which in New York where people normally avoid eye contact at all cost – is a very alien feeling.
We tried to pay for a cab with it and the cabbie thought it was hilarious – reaching for it through the tiny window and taking photos. Have you ever tried to joke around with a cabbie and his cab fare? They only put up with that kind of shenanigans if there’s a giant check involved.
All in all, it was an incredibly fun night. We made lots of new friends, put on a great show, and found out the secret to making friends in New York City.
Entertainment Weekly declared Pandora Boxx America’s Next Drag Superstar and she was among the fan favorites to win RuPaul’s Drag Race the reality competition in search for America’s next drag queen superstar. The title ultimately went to Tyra Sanchez dubbed ‘the other Tyra’ a statues diva with a deep baritone voice. But Pandora Boxx is taking it all in stride, the comedic drag queen confessed that losing has given her many more opportunities than she probably would have gotten had she won.
“I was pissed,” confessed Pandora Boxx in regards to being eliminated. “I was pissed because I felt that was the one challenge where [the judges] didn’t really say anything negative to me and I liked everything I did. I felt good about it, thought I had performed strong…”
In episode eight the elimination challenge was to convert old men into fabulous drag queens and lip synch to RuPaul’s track ‘Main Event’ alongside their newly appointed drag mothers.
“I thought I was close to finally winning a challenge,” said Pandora. “Then to find out I was on the bottom two I was pissed. When I saw I was up against Jujubee I knew I was going to go home. [The judges] loved Juju throughout [the competition] and I had gotten much harsher criticism than others so I knew I had come to the end of the road.”
She admitted drawing a blank as far as what she had said backstage after the elimination, “I don’t know what I said but then when I saw the show air I was nervous wondering ‘what did I say?’ ‘what did I say?’” she recalled. In the end she admitted, “I liked what I said.” For her farewell message, something each eliminated contest must do before exiting the show, she wrote in bright red lipstick, Lick this Boxx, bitch. XOXO Love you all Pandora Boxx.
In the past many reality show alumnus have complained about their portrayal on TV and some have gone as far as accusing editing for portraying them as a show’s villain for rating purposes. As far as Ms. Boxx is concerned she was portrayed very accurately, “there’s definitely editing and they can certainly do a lot of things with it but the thing is if you’re never a bitch on the show they can’t make you look like a bitch. So you would have to give them something in order to be portrayed as a bitch. They didn’t include a lot of my funny bits but they made me look nice so I’m happy with it.”
Her nice girl portrayal landed her many gigs including one as headliner for the evening’s Barefoot Wine & Bubbly auction where drag performers donated previously worn shoes in order to raise money for gay pride. “It’s a great way to kick off NYC pride and I’m performing,” she said. “I was surprised to see my name up on the marquee, I walked by and saw it and went ‘hey!’” she said with a smile.
As far as drag shows go Pandora confessed that, “anything goes.” “At a drag show you can get funny, dirty and vulgar or maybe that’s just me? But yea it’s just a lot of fun. Celebrating life and breaking and redefining gender rules.”
On July 19th Logo is set to debut RuPaul’s latest reality based drag competition. It will feature Pandora Boxx along with other former Drag Race cast members from seasons one and two titled, “RuPaul’s Drag U”. Pandora talked us through the show’s premise, “We are making over biological women into drag queens. It will give women who feel that they have lost their inner diva [an opportunity to reclaim it] through drag.”
Reteaming with former cast members like Jujubee, Raven and Morgan McMichaels proved to be a lovely experience, “working with them again [outside of] a competition was even better. [On this show] I even got to work with season 1 contestants which I had wanted to meet.”
Her experience on both shows reminded her of the importance of staying true to oneself and not, “second guessing,” she said. “I did that a lot on Drag Race, second guessing myself. You must really know your strengths and that will ultimately lead you to have a great fulfilling life and won’t hinder you to live your life to the fullest.”
At the end of the day Pandora Boxx is a winner, she’s set to costar in the spin-off series “RuPaul’s Drag U,” she’s currently touring her drag show across the states and hopes to bring her play, ‘Lipstick Massacre’ which she performed in Rochester, NY to the New York City area. “I want to have my own TV show, I keep telling everyone that so hopefully at some point that’ll actually happen,” she said. The show she has in mind will feature a bit of everything, “I think it will be like a modern Carol Burnett Show where it will feature a bit of hosting, performing, sketches. A bit of faux-reality, ‘cause all reality shows are a bit scripted,” she said with a wink and smile.
For more on Pandora and her magical box visit her online at www.pandoraboxx.com
Steven Beer knows a lot of people. He’s an industry veteran who has represented and worked with many high-profile production companies and record labels as well as recording artists. He’s an entertainment lawyer among other things and founder of SteveStock a celebration of the music he loves and the artists who create them.
At this year’s SteveStock (the summer edition a.k.a. SteveStock in The Summer) Steven Beer could be found greeting guests as they walked in, introducing some of the performers or recording with a handheld camcorder some of the night’s sets. Minutes before the doors opened I got to sit with him and talk about the event’s history.
“SteveStock derives from the first event which was created to celebrate my birthday in September,” Steven Beer explained. “We needed a fun hook for it something that combined the great history of music with my very boring name. We had so much fun in doing it and it was a great chance for me to showcase the artist I love that I wanted to do it again. We hosted a second SteveStock for the holidays which we called SteveStocking and we turned that into a fundraiser for a children’s music charity.
“Because so many of my artists are doing so well, like Emii who just cracked the Top 40 music charts and Sariah who’s number 21 on the Billboard Dance charts, I wanted to share that with my friends, family and industry colleagues.”
Within the first year of the concert series’ history the talent booking was rather easy. “My SteveStock events feature artists I love and I try to represent artists I love. That’s the best thing I do as a media and entertainment attorney. I get to work with people that inspire me. Every artist that’s onstage tonight inspires me this is why I want to share them [with the public].”
One artist he’s clearly proud of is up and comer Emii. It was important for Steven to have her on the bill as well as other diverse acts including magician Magic of Marco. “I think variety is helpful in life,” he began. “If you do the same things over and over again it sort of gets boring. It’s nice to have a range. If you listen to the radio you sort of appreciate how different genres are coming together. Take an amazing artist like Emii. Some people say that she’s rock, some say she’s pop some say she’s hip hop. To me that [indicates] that it’s a great sound that has elements of rock and hip hop and that’s what makes her distinctive. It defies simple categories and that makes them more interesting.”
So what does it take for someone like Steven Beer to represent or work with an aspiring artist? A lot. The artist must catch more than his eye they have to be able to captivate his mind as well. “[Aside from that] they also have to be professional. Success as an artist is a marathon [race]. In the old days there was this notion that you could just show up somewhere and that you’d get singed. Or that you’d sing on a corner and someone would sign you or give you a [music] contract. Give you three meals a day and change your diapers. That’s ridiculous,” he said. “And that’s not helpful to emerging and aspiring artists,” he continued. “It’s a blue collar effort and artists have to know that it’s a business too.
“What I really appreciate is an artist that has their own vision of success instead of just following the established industry definition of success. It’s important for every artist to establish what success means to them.” He also stressed the importance of having a strong team of people around any aspiring artist, “people who don’t rely on a ‘one size fits all’ model and have third parties who are objective and don’t rely on luck to make things happen. I’m not a big fan of leap of faith business based plans.”
As far as advice is concerned Steven had this to offer to all those young hopefuls out there, “you need to exceed expectations. It’s hard to be objective about your music. I’m not objective about my kids, I have three kids so I’m the same way,” he explained. “I think you need to have the music tested by objective colleagues, colleagues who aren’t just going to hang up your finger-painted drawings on the refrigerator door but really willing sit down in a studio and give you a critique. I recommend that artists aspire for greatness. What they should do is tread on new ground, don’t try to be like other people that they’re hearing on the radio because by the time it comes out it’s already dated. Explore yourself and have your personality permeate every aspect of your music. Don’t sit on the backseat of your creative car, get your hands on the steering wheel and drive it. You can have as many other people in the car, co-writers, producers, but you have to be the driver of your destiny car,” he concluded.
With her break through single “Magic” steadily climbing the music charts (recently cracking the top 40 and landing at number 36) Emii is quickly becoming the star she always dreamed of becoming. “I just found out today,” she said regarding the single’s success. “And that’s huge for me. I’m really honored that people are loving it.”
The newfound success means loads of opportunities to perform in different parts of the country this summer. “We are in the process of setting everything up right now,” Emii explained. “We’re kind of spending time on the East coast for the most part but tomorrow I’m going to Philly then [off] to Connecticut. We did some stuff here and then I go back to LA,” she said. One of the things she did while in New York was perform at SteveStock in The Summer.
Prior to taking the stage the singer promised “we’re gonna have fun” regarding that evening’s performance but didn’t reveal much about her set. I would later find out that Emii is the type of performer that can perform in front of any crowd and can easily get them to dance along to her tracks. She performed early on in the evening as many attendees trickled in or placed their drink orders. Seemingly unfazed Emii took command of the stage and asked the audience to move onto the dance and join her, midway through her second number the crowd was bouncing along with her.
Performing at SteveStock was a no-brainer for the singer. “Steven Beer (the founder of SteveStock) helps manage me,” revealed Emii. “He’s also my representation for the most part and he hosts a good party so there’s no way I would miss this!”
The party was a musical celebration of summer and included appearances from Chevonne, My Cousin The Emperor, George Reefah and the magician featured in Emii’s video Magic of Marco among others. Emii revealed that it was important to feature a real magician in her video. She said, “We made it clear when we were looking [for a magician] that he has to be a real magician, it’s just a part of the whole concept of the video and it does tie in with the lyrics. If you listen to the lyrics and see the final shot of the video it means something. A few people have gotten it but I’m not gonna reveal it. I’m gonna wait for a few people to come to me with it.”
Whether you uncover the hidden meaning behind her hit single’s music video or not Emii will continue to entice audiences with her catchy lyrics and rocking tunes.
Things are starting to come together for singer-songwriter Chevonne. The redheaded vocal powerhouse just wrapped a stint as backup singer on Estelle’s tour. The tour included a performance in South Africa at the World Cup opening ceremony an experience Chevonne described as having brought tears to her eyes. Just this past Tuesday (on June 15th) her new song “Cat Call” leaked on Perez Hilton’s website prompting her to release the music video ahead of schedule.
“I had been holding on to it for a while,” says the singer. “[But after that] I thought let’s just put it out there, keep the momentum going.” She explained as she did her own makeup backstage at Don Hills in New York City.
Chevonne was set to take the stage that evening as one of the many performers at SteveStock in The Summer an event that showcases some of the founder’s, Steve Beer, favorite artists. The Estelle gig, the singer revealed came practically out of nowhere. “I had auditioned for [another tour], to sing back up. I had made it far enough in the audition [process] that it was down to the last four. Myself and three other girls…”
She continued, “In the end…I didn’t get it.”
But as luck would have it, another girl at that audition reached out informing her of an upcoming audition for British R&B star, Estelle, in New York. “I can’t remember if this girl texted me or facebooked me, the point is [she got a hold of me and] I got to audition.”
Her high voice was the perfect match and she was asked to pack her bags and embark on the multi-city tour. “I love Estelle,” said Chevonne. “Whenever she needs me I’ll be there for her. I hope that someday when I [branch out] and do my thing she’ll be there for me too.”
When she isn’t “hustling,” as she called it, booking gigs as a backup singer she’s busy writing and recording her own music. The idea for “Cat Call” came literally as she walked down the streets one day. The singer admitted enjoying the attention of men and giving them a reason to watch her walk away. The words came to her instantly and by the time she had gotten home most of the song had been written in her head.
Although she’s enjoying the rise to stardom she isn’t in any hurry to put out a full-length album just yet. The singer revealed she still wants to tour the club scene with the tracks she has recorded and test them out, allowing for her to build a strong foundation and expand her fan base. “It’s all about them,” she said. “I will love them, be there for them, perform what they want as long as they let me.”
The glitter trio is at it again, Tayisha Busay released their first official music video on their website and Youtube channel for their first single, “WTF You Doin In My Mouth?” off their debut EP, “Shock-Woo.”
The video features the Brooklyn girls (Tessa & Ariel) and boy (Brandon) indulging in cups full of glitter and waking up with a glitter-fueled hangover. The band’s campy nature and electro-dance-pop music-goodness makes this video super fun. Don’t believe us? Check it out now:
2010 has already proven to be a big year for the five-piece pop rock band, The Bigger Lights. This past March, The Bigger Lights released their self-titled debut album via Doghouse Records and recently completed their stint as supporting act for The Providence’s latest tour and are now the opening act for Cute Is What We Aim For.
Ryan Seaman the drummer of The Bigger Lights chatted with us as they geared up for the fourth night of the tour, “so far the crowd’s been great to us,” he said. Whether they’re playing to crowd full of friends, a crowd of 10 people or 10, ooo the members of The Bigger Lights are showing audiences a good time. “So far it seems like we’re bringing out a lot of kids, seems like they’re there to see us. They’re hanging out and having a good time. We treat everything case by case whether it [is] a home [town] show or one far away, we’re still having a good time onstage.”
It’s the same approach that translated effortlessly to their Jackson 5 cover of “I Want You Back” which became an instant hit with fans and highly played on the band’s myspace page. “We covered that song just because we had some time off and were thinking ‘what would be a fun song to do just to test ourselves and put ourselves through that kind of emotion’ so we just decided [to go with that one] we didn’t expect the reaction it got. We just did it for fun and think Michael Jackson is a bad ass and he changed the world, did really good pop music and we wanted to share that with our fans.”
He admitted being inspired by his peers, “we looked up to a lot of bands like Aerosmith and Queen and big epic bands [like those],” he said. “We want to be like those bands and come off as being epic and having a great show and being able to play our instruments really well.” The band believes that practice makes perfect and are determined to master their craft. “I think that the more we’re out there, the more we’re touring the better we’re gonna get,” he said. “So we just want to keep doing that. Seeing who’s around me, [seeing what they’re doing] inspires me to challenge myself to get better.”
The Bigger Lights are: vocalist Topher Talley, guitarists John Kendall Royston and Chris McPeters, bassist Dan Mineart, and drummer Ryan Seaman. For more information on The Bigger Lights, please check out www.myspace.com/thebiggerlights
Shaant Hacikyan, the founding member of Cute Is What We Aim For is in good spirits these days. After struggling with alcohol addiction and successfully completing treatment, the singer is back on the road headlining a multi-city tour alongside The Friday Night Boys, The Bigger Lights and Down With Webster.
Without a doubt, alcohol addiction rehabilitation has done him a lot of good.
We caught up with Hacikyan as he and new band mates drummer Michael Novak, guitarist Mandy K, Michael Brady and Kevin Scoma were pulling into Philadelphia for their First Unitarian Church gig later that night.
“I’m finding it to be quite the adjustment,” he confessed. “I don’t know what to do with myself because I’m so excited [about being back on the road]. I realized that I have so many responsibilities.” Responsibilities aside the singer admitted he wouldn’t have it any other way, “It feels like this is what I’m meant to do, as cliché as that may be.”
Fans have come out in droves excited to see the new incarnation of the band and appear to be very supportive. “It’s been quite the experience, I can’t really describe it. Just a lot of people coming out that were original supporters of the band years ago,” he said. “Seeing them and reconnecting with them and seeing how they’ve grown and we’ve grown has been excellent.”
Still, fans have voiced some of their opinions regarding the new line up, “they’ve said we sound amazing, the best we’ve ever been and they’re just really glad I’m healthy,” he said. Something that the singer doesn’t seem to understand all that much, “for me I just want them to be happy,” he said but realizes that “it’s [still] a pretty rewarding experience.”
The dynamic of the current line up seems to work mainly because they all appear to be working towards the same goal. Hacikyan explains, “We just like playing music and that’s it. We know that’s what we need to do and feel lucky to have this opportunity. In the past we let our immaturity take over and now we just realize this is a dream that any human would want to play music, to be able to provide for those around you [by playing music] is pretty spectacular.”
Another unofficial member of Cute is his best friend Sebastian, “I can’t go anywhere without my dog Sebastian. He goes everywhere with me no matter what. He’s here to keep me company and we go for long walks and tour the cities.”
One of the many life lessons the singer has learned recently is “that only the paranoid survive.” He elaborated, “Everyone is around you with smiling faces when things are going great but as soon as something slightly negative happens they leave. So loyalty is seldom in this business and if you find it hold on to it.”
As far as the future is concerned the singer admitted he hopes to “continue on the path of sobriety.” He said, “And hopefully [be] doing things that not only fulfill me but also those around me. I hope to help others whether it [is] by teaching or something else, but I can’t see myself achieving that within 5 years because I’m 23 without a single college credit,” he laughed. But all joking aside his main focal point is “to continue doing what I’m doing now, it just takes baby steps,” he concluded.
The ladies of Hunter Valentine set out to perform 12 Shows in 12 Hours on MAY 11, the release Day for Their Album “Lessons From The Late Night.”
After making stops at MTV, Sirius, East Village Radio, Dailymotion, The Lorimer L stop and KCDC Skate Shop, the epic tour de force concluded with an 11:00pm show that night at Cake Shop. The ladies performed a total of 13 sets including the impromptu L train subway ride acoustic performance.
We met up with the ladies in Union Square and were on hand to witness some of the madness that included running away from the NYPD.
Watch how it all went down in our latest Webisode:
Canadian singer-songwriter Fefe Dobson has a lot to smile about these days, she’s currently on Hedley’s “The Show Must Go…On The Road Tour,” a twenty city tour across Canada, commencing at the end of April. And her long awaited follow-up to her self-titled debut album, “Joy,” is set drop on June 15th
“Joy” aims to re-launch the songstress’ career. Already the first single, “I Want You” has become a fan favorite and has been featured on TV promos on Vh1 and was even featured in at least three versions of TV Spot ads for the movie Whip It, the 2009 Drew Barrymore directed film about roller girls.
“I’m super excited to get back into the swing of things,” she revealed. “I’ve been working on this record, ‘Joy,’ so much that I’m going insane. I’m so happy [with it]. I’ve been working on the album for a few years and just getting it right.”
She admitted the process was cumbersome but in the end she’s satisfied with the end result. “There’s been so many versions of it, so many different songs, like 30 songs that could have been ‘Joy’ so I’ve been working, working and working where I feel confident enough that this is right.”
She ended up selecting songs she found herself wanting to listen to over and over again, “if I felt I felt that I needed to hear them again then I knew they were my favorite. If I was going ‘hmmm’ [after playing back a song] then I knew I could write something I enjoyed more.”
With those three years of hard work her sound, look and overall musical taste has evolved. “As a person you evolve, change and go through different situations. When you reflect and see what you’ve been through or what not, and see the people that have come into your life and how they’ve changed your outlook on things the same thing happens to your music,” she said. “Every day you grow and learn something and musically I always try to reflect that.”
Now that the album is officially complete Fefe is looking forward to the playing it live. Right now she’s enjoying opening up for Hedley. “It’s been unbelievable. My band and I have been opening and Hedley’s huge in Canada. We’ve been playing stadium shows. It’s pretty wild. They bring a lot of people every night, and we’re just happy to be a part of the bill.”
She plans to perform in the US, “Very soon,” she said. “We’ll probably do some radio shows and do some promos before June to get ready for the album’s release.”
At the moment you can catch her belting it out onstage to some of her heavier tracks. “I’m a big fan of performing ballads. I love rocking out and jumping about on stage but I love performing ballads because I feel that’s my moment of connection with the audience. I feel that’s the moment of vulnerability, to just be bare.” She recalled some advice she was given early on, “When I was a kid I remember Lionel Richie told me to write love songs because love songs last forever,” she said.
When audiences walk away from one of her shows she wants them to think something along the lines of, “wow that was fun,” she said. “But I don’t want to put in their heads what they should think…I would love to hear their feelings towards what [they just experienced],” she said.
For more on Fefe Dobson and “Joy” visit fefedobson.com
When you first meet the ladies of Girl in A Coma you think, ‘what a nice group of girls.’ They’re about average height and instantly smile when you approach them. They are soft spoken and well mannered but then when they take the stage, Phanie takes a seat behind her drum set as Nina and Jenn strap on their guitars. The lights on the stage begin to rise, you hear the banging on the drums and their guitars begin to rip.
It was Sunday, April 11 and the San Antonio trio was set to perform at the Bowery Ballroom alongside The Wedding Present. We hung backstage in the dimly lit makeshift living room and talked about their series of 3 EPs “Adventures in Coverland” releasing on vinyl beginning with Volume I on April 13th. The remaining volumes, II and III release the following two weeks.
They revealed that the idea for a cover album came from their label, Blackheart Records and they immediately got onboard, “we like to do covers here and there,” said Phanie Diaz the band’s drummer. “[It was a way] to pay tribute to the bands that have inspired us. I think it’s important for bands to get educated on bands or artists they may not be familiar with. Like Selena, there are some people who don’t know who she is. It was fun project.”
When it came to choosing the songs that would best fit their sound, singer and guitarist Nina Diaz explained, “I was trying to pick the songs that were easy [for us to adapt]. I tried to pick a Jeff Buckley [song] and I just couldn’t get it. The Pixies, their songs sound a bit similar to our sound but these songs [the ones we ended up going with] fit. It seemed natural and the fact that it did that made it more natural and made us eager to do. I think it was just a smooth transfer from there on.”
The recording process was similar to previous sessions, “[It starts with Nina] just like when we write a song, Nina will start it, arrange it and then I’ll come in and do a bass line [in this case I did] a version of that bass line and then sent them over to Phanie,” Jenn Alva revealed.
However the ladies revealed that issuing the songs as vinyl EPs excited them, “we were trying to be clever,” admits Phanie. “A lot of people are quick to illegally download music and we wanted to give people a reason to buy them. When you combine all three of the covers and put them together they make a cool board game.”
Recently, live footage of the girls performing Joy Division’s “Transmission” and Selena’s “Si Una Vez” surfaced on Youtube and is generating buzz. When asked what they hope the originators of the songs they covered think of their interpretation Nina said, “Well, the majority of them are dead and hopefully in heaven watching down with smiling faces.” She continued, “If David Bowie was to hear our version of ‘As The World Falls Down’ that’d be awesome if he liked it. I’ve seen him do songs with Arcade Fire and he did a song with Kristeen Young so that’d be cool if someday he’d actually want to do that song with us.”
“It’d be cool too if even Selena’s family got a hold of us. You never know, there’s a lot of buzz going on with the Selena song right now, so you never know [what could happen],” said Phanie.
“Or if Paul McCartney reached out,” added Jenn in regards to their cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” a song they performed that evening.
Prior to embarking on their current tour the ladies rocked the SXSW stage to Runaways hit, “Cherry Bomb” with Cherie Currie on vocals. The teaming up
“We asked if we would be interested in performing the song with her,” explained Phanie.
“Cause the Runaways movie was coming out,” added Nina.
“And they were promoting it so we were like ‘sure’ and we learned it right before we left [to SXSW] and didn’t really rehearse it and just did it on the spot with her. It was amazing just watching her, from my point of view, getting [to see] her stance and start rocking out,” Phanie said.
“And you were looking at her butt the whole time,” Nina teased.
“Yea I was looking at her ass,” admitted Phanie with a chuckle.
“[She’s] definitely great energy up onstage. We do our own thing when we play our music but when she got up there that first line she sang, we felt really cool and kinda wanted to go ahhh and rock out, knock things over,” added Jenn.
Girl in A Coma fans are easy to spot, they generally sport similar haircuts to Phanie and Jenn’s or wear their GIAC tee shirts and are covered in tattoos and if they aren’t sporting ink they proudly display a blackheart press on tattoo they’ve purchased from the merch booth. If you follow the girls on Twitter, friend-ed them on Facebook or added them on Myspace you’ll see numerous fan photos displaying their Girl in A Coma tattoos. “It’s kinda crazy for us,” said Phanie. “Recently in Corpus Christi, Texas a girl came up to us and showed us her back piece and it’s of the Trio B.C. logo and it’s just an honor.”
“We’re honored, it’s like we better not break up,” said Jenn.
“We should get all of their names tattooed on us,” suggested Nina.
“Yea, whenever someone gets a tattoo of us we’ll get one [of them in return],” said Phanie.
“Yea we’ll get an eye ball of theirs on us,” said Nina.
Now the ladies are bracing themselves for more touring, “it’s been awesome,” admitted Nina. “We played in Nashville the other day it was our first time playing there.”
“This is our first night playing with The Wedding Present and next month we’ll be back in New York at Terminal 5 and touring with Sia,” Phanie added.
Before wrapping things up I asked the ladies if there was anything else they wanted to share and Jenn wanted to remind us to check out ‘Adventures in Coverland’ all available by the end of this month. She also wanted to encourage aspiring female musicians to start, “their own girl group, the more the better, and the more the merrier.”
For tour dates or info on where you can purchase the vinyl EPs “Adventures in Coverland” visit girlinacoma.com
Sandwiches and Rock n Roll: How the Band Hey Guy Plans to Change the Face of Rock Music One Sandwich at A Time
Hey Guy, is combining their unique sense of humor with catchy melodies, likable riffs and their blend of modern rock. The New York quintet is generating buzz with their distinctive take on Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody?” featured in their current EP, “How To Kill Me.” The accompanying video is quickly becoming a fan favorite and creating a sandwich eating frenzy in the process.
When we caught up with the band’s singer/songwriter, Boris Pelekh, he was on the subway on his way to the studio to lay down some vocals for their forthcoming full-length release. The new album which, the singer promises will be released, “sometime towards the end of May” will feature their unique brand of humorous rock. With the rumbling of the steel tracks and the occasional chimes of the closing doors providing an interesting background, we got the 411 on their upcoming projects. “[The album] has its own particular sound,” he explains. “I wouldn’t compare it to anything else. It’s very textured, meaning it’s very specific and constructed in a very smart way, but it’s not incomprehensible for your regular folk.”
So music lovers do not fear the band will put out an album that aims to satisfy everyone with an ear. The choice to record “Are You That Somebody?” for their debut EP proved to be a fun challenge. The singer explained, “When you cover something you should really do something interesting with it. Taking a rock song sung by another male singer and performing it a similar way is not really covering a song. I figured an R&B song would do the trick, the fact that the singer is of a different sex than I am, I had to change all her lyrics that were referring to a boy [change it into] a girl which was very interesting to do.”
When they aren’t making music they’re busy starring in shorts. Boris revealed, “We have a lot of short videos that aren’t music videos but short skits that we do. They are all very funny.” He continued, “that’s kinda the whole concept behind our band. Hey Guy, is a band that offers very dreamy, smart music but the image is not very serious. We perform serious music but our image is very goofy. Whereas a lot of bands tend to play that up offstage, they’ll play serious music and off stage be a bunch of drunken buffoons.” Instead he says, “We incorporate that [buffoonery] into our shows. We’ll be playing serious music while eating sandwiches onstage.”
When it came to choosing the appropriate name for the band the choice was far from simple they agreed that they wanted a memorable name but nothing that would convey that they took themselves too seriously, “Instead of giving the band a very serious name I figured naming it after something that doesn’t imply anything. [Our band name] is kind of a greeting, doesn’t really say anything [nor has a double meaning].” Yet it’s memorable and causes those seeking deeper meaning to wonder about its origin, all in all a very successful tactic.
Although the summer tour dates have not been released yet Boris promises that the band will be coming to a city near you this summer, so if “you’re looking for a very interesting rock sound that you haven’t heard yet and are [into amazing live shows] then this is a perfect band to check out. Our live shows are really, really crazy and involve a lot of theatrics,” he promises.
For more on Hey Guy, their upcoming album and tour dates visit www.myspace.com/myheyguy
Hey Guy is: Tomer Ram (Drums), Jake Hertzog (Guitar), Boris Pelekh (Vocals/Guitar), Tommy Shull (Keys) and Leo Pelekh (Bass).
When you board a Canarsie bound L train on 14th street in lower Manhattan and zip past the 14th Street Tunnel you suddenly find yourself in an artistic community full of talented young hopefuls trying to break into show biz. Neighborhoods in Brooklyn like Williamsburg and most recently Bushwick have been the birthing place of new bands and one of those bands is Tayisha Busay. The three-piece electro-glitter—dance-punk act consists of vocalists Tessa G, Ariel Sims and sole male member Brandon LaLaVek the man behind keyboards and synths.
Their debut EP, “Shock-Woo” is available on iTunes a huge accomplishment for an unsigned band who literally does everything themselves, “We [even] make our own music videos,” said Tessa G, “I work for a film studio so I have access to all the resources so every produced video you see of us online we set up the lights for, I did the camera work, [and] do the video editing. We want this and no one else is going to this for us yet so we do it ourselves.”
Their EP is the culmination of numerous years of hard work and experimenting with the band’s sound and direction, Ariel and Tessa met in college and quickly bonded. Tessa explained, “At the time I was writing music by myself then we started working on music together.” Once they joined forces the pieces started to fall into place, “around that time we met Brandon.” Back then Brandon was performing as La La Vek the one man show doing everything from “playing live tape samples and minimal drum loops all the while singing his lungs out over an FX mixer” (as described on his solo myspace page).
Tessa continued, “we did some shows together and really liked each other’s styles and went, ‘hey, why don’t we jam?’ and we wrote this amazing song together called ‘Tonight’ (which is on the EP) and then we were like ‘dude, you should just be in our band this sounds awesome.” And the rest is history.
It’s hard to describe their music in terms of who they may remind you of because there really isn’t a band out there like them. It’s one of those ‘you have to see it for yourself’ types of things. When asked to describe their musical sound Ariel Sims came up with, “Dance, fun, hand job.” It’s those kinds of colorful remarks and fearless attitude that’s making them a hit in the indie NY club scene. “Usually the initial reaction is shock,” explains Tessa in regards to how new crowds receive them, “but then they eventually start to warm up to us because they can see that we’re having a lot of fun.”
The trio has been hard at work writing to labels and management and reaching out to other outlets hoping to spread the word on their act and in the process gain some financial backing. “We were just writing to a record label and I called [our songs] ‘jumbo glitter tracks’,” explains Tessa, “Just cause the words are very evocative. [Our music] is super fun, electro-dance, DIY (do it yourself) pop, high energy, really rowdy, party music.”
“[With] no inhibitions,” added Brandon LaLaVek.
“And glitter,” Tessa points out.
Glitter plays a major role in their act; it can be seen on their wardrobe as well as in the form of hand-painted designs on their faces. In fact their practice space where the interview was conducted shimmered with left over specs.
For Brandon being a part of Tayisha Busay is a dream come true, “he always wanted to be in a girl band,” teased Ariel.
He chuckled and explained, “I use to love Veruca Salt and Courtney Love when I was a kid. So Now I’m in a girl band. Dreams come true kids,” he said.
They recently returned from their first mini tour allowing them to perform for the first time outside of New York. “It was so good,” said Tessa, “it was such a success because where we went we played all different kinds of shows. Sometimes it was in a bar…”
“Sometimes in people’s houses or in basements,” Ariel confessed.
“But sometimes [the shows] were in proper venues” assured Tessa.
“But every show was over the top and fun and nothing like we’ve ever seen before. It’s definitely a trip to see the scene in another city. We met so many great people too, that was the best part,” Ariel said.
“We were actually very surprised that we were so well received in other cities,” stated Tessa, “We’re pretty much a very New York band, we’re very balls to the wall and in your face and kind of shocking at times and when you go to smaller towns maybe in the South—“
“We were a little self conscious,” admits Ariel.
“We dress pretty provocatively; however, the music and the live shows were able to speak for itself.”
“We won them over,” said Ariel.
“It took a little while but we won them over,” concluded Brandon.
They hope to branch out and hit up the West Coast especially LA. “I think we’d do well in San Francisco and LA,” said Tessa.
“We would like to go to Texas, we had intended on making it to Austin on this tour but it didn’t work out. We’ll play anywhere, we’re ready to show [our music] to the world,” said Ariel.
“We want to go everywhere. Europe, Paris, Montreal,” said Brandon. “We actually want to be financed so that we can go on a world tour.”
“Every single last detail of our projects is done with our own hands, eyes, ears and mouths,” explained Tessa. “We do have a lot of supportive friends that we work with mainly Richard Spitzer (the multi instrumentalist) from Nite Club. He helped master the tracks on our EP that was something we definitely got big help from. We work with some really amazing friends that we throw shows with like Cherie Lily and Bad Brilliance. We have a great support group but when it comes to the actual music, the release and all of that it’s all us.”
They admitted that being hands on in their work is fun but when it comes down to it they would love to have someone handle the day to day promotion and distribution so that they can focus more on their music. “Just so that we can take it to the next level,” explains Brandon, “we did all this on our own and it got us this far but for us to really jump forward and get a leg up we need the help.”
“We’re willing to do all the work but we could use the help,” said Ariel.
When you think of heavy metal or rock n roll in general the last thing that comes to mind is The Bee Gees. Yet Jake Szufnarowski, founder of the Rocks Off Concert Cruise series and guitarist of cover band Tragedy is making that far-fetched dream a reality. “that’s the exact reason we picked [them] we wanted something that would have people go, ‘this doesn’t make any sense,’ but once you do it you realize it does, at least I hope it does.” And does it ever, on their myspace page you can find videos of the trio busting their sweet dance moves to heavy guitar-driven Bee Gees tunes but more on that later. On April 8th the East and Hudson Rivers will provide the backdrop to the 10th anniversary kick off boat party.
“Every show we do is a super party,” confessed Jake. Although there won’t be anything out of the ordinary, “[He] won’t be bringing in a clown or balloon animal maker,” Jake promises to showcase “three kick ass bands instead of the usual one or two.”
The inspiration came from his experience in being in a band. He explained, “I’ve been doing shows since 1997 and in the summer almost no land based venue has good air conditioning. I hate going to shows or putting on shows during July or August so I thought, ‘how can we fix this?’ and just doing shows in the park are a pain in the ass. You have to get a permit from the city and you can’t charge people money and you have to put up all this crazy fencing. If you can’t charge people money then the bands can’t get paid and if they can’t get paid they don’t wanna play. You also can’t have alcohol in the park. So the next best thing to having a show outdoors in a park is having a show on a boat.”
He soon discovered it was easier to host concerts afloat than on land, “you can have booze…you can be as loud as you want and don’t have to worry about people giving you shit. Plus you get the best view of the city.” The view includes sailing past the Statue of Liberty and other iconic sites along the New York harbor.
“It’s really like no other concert you’ll experience, its pure bliss. The simple fact that it’s on a boat people seem to loose their inhibitions, people get a lot funkier and rowdier but in a good way rowdy not like fighting rowdy and willing to get down with the party and have a drink or two or five.” He insists that, “once you step off land you forget that you have any responsibilities or social norms.”
Getting bands to agree to perform in the first year of the cruise’s inception didn’t prove to be as difficult as one might have thought, Jake explains, “I had been a promoter for four years so I had a few bands that I promoted pretty regularly and had a handful of bands that trusted me, which is one of the most important relationships for a band, a relationship between a band and a promoter, because as a promoter you have to convince bands to perform at a venue [that they may not be sure of]. I had a good track record of treating bands well and handling situations that would make the band look good. The first year I reached out to bands that I had good relationships with but moving forward from year to year it got tougher. I had to reach out to different managers and new people. I got laughed at a lot, I still do.”
He was even laughed at the day we conducted the interview with him, “the Creative Arts Agency always laughs at us and says things like ‘why would we ever let our band play on your boat?’ but it’s ok,” he assured. Every year a few more agencies come around and allow their performers to board their ship. “They realize that we grow year to year and everyone that comes on the boat and plays has a good time then come back and do it again the following year.” He admitted he’s looking forward to the day the big names come around so he can tell them to, “fuck off.”
Jake is a busy man when he isn’t getting laughed at by big shots or planning less painful ways of getting his favorite bands to play his boat shows he’s onstage performing with Tragedy. The metal Bee Gees tribute band is slowly replacing the iconic imagery of John Travolta strutting down the streets to disco with a quirkier image of three men with an appetite for rock. Their full-length album titled, “We Rock Sweet Balls and Can Do No Wrong” can be purchased from iTunes.
And Now…Cherie Currie: Former Runaways Lead Singer Returns To The Spotlight with Tell-All Memoir ‘Neon Angel’
These days it seems that everywhere you turn there’s some sort of mention of the all-girl teenage 70’s rock band The Runaways, largely because a film adaptation of former Runaways lead singer Cherie Currie’s tell-all memoir will hit movie theatres on March 19th to coincide with the March 16th release of “Neon Angel: A Memoir Of A Runaway.”
SinisterGirlz.com got the chance to talk to the Cherry Bomb herself, Cherie Currie a week prior to the book’s official release.
What made you decide to revisit this book and name some of the unnamed characters this time around?
“With the first book I was really in a vulnerable place. I really hadn’t come to grips with a lot of the things that had happened to me. In 2000 I read the book and I just felt that I needed to rewrite it. Neal Schusterman did a fantastic job [on the 1989 version “Neon Angel: The Cherie Currie Story”] but I wanted it to come from me. I wanted to tell these stories that I at first wasn’t comfortable telling…I guess because I had forgiven myself and had realized as well that it wasn’t all me. I just needed to be brutally honest. So I rewrote the book and Kenny Laguna read it and really liked it and thought it should be published. So he started shopping the book and meeting up with some producers and the rest it history.”
You’ve been through some pretty heavy stuff, was it hard or painful to recount these experiences?
“Of course. My family suffered a lot, I was writing from about 3 a.m. until 9 p.m. [the next day]. I was very much engulfed in the past and it wasn’t easy for anybody. But I had to relive these things in vivid 3-D but in a way it was great because I thought it was very healing.”
About two years ago I interviewed Joan Jett at the time she was promoting her album, “Sinner” and I remember her mentioning working on a Runaways movie and I remember her sounding almost nostalgic and definitely excited about it. Then with reading your book and your description of her during her teenage years I can see that Joan clearly, did she ever object to your portrayal of her in this books? Or of any of the accounts?
“No she’s very supportive and in fact she wrote the forward. She actually really liked the first book as well. It’s been great. I wanted to make sure that she was happy with everything that was in the book. I’m happy that she was.”
Were any of the other girls upset with your book?
“Nobody’s read it yet, it’s just coming out. I don’t think that they can be upset. The truth is the truth. We were different back then, we were kids. Everybody regrets some things here and there but I really don’t think that anything was that heavy that they would object to. If they’d come to grips with things like I have…that was another life time ago.”
I take it you’ve seen the film, “The Runaways”
“Yes I have, a few times.”
What did you think of your portrayal? Were you concerned about Dakota Fanning portraying you?
“I couldn’t have been happier. She’s my favorite actress of all time. I’ve been a huge fan of her work for years. It was probably the most exciting moment for me besides the birth of my son, when I heard she was in negotiation for the part.”
Lita Ford has made it clear that she wants nothing to do with the film so much so that when I spoke with her back in December I was instructed not to mention the film throughout the course of the interview. Do you think that it will ever be feasible to have a Runaways reunion show with the surviving members?
“Well originally it was Lita’s idea to have a reunion 12 years ago and she got me and Sandy [West] on board to [do it], she talked to Joan [Jett] and Joan was very interested in it and then at the last minute she pulled the plug on it. So there’s a lot of reasons for Lita [to do something like that] maybe it’s a painful time, maybe she can’t get past what happened when we were kids but I have. I think there’s still a lot of hurt there with Lita. I would imagine that being the only reason why she can’t embrace this but I don’t know. I can’t speak for her. I do know Joan wanted her very much involved in the film and they had had long discussions about it. It seemed like Lita was onboard but then at the last minute she pulled out as well. So I don’t know.”
Let’s get back to the book; one scene that stood out was the one where Kim Fowley is quoted in a cover piece done on The Runaways saying, “Handling Cherie Currie’s ego is like having a dog urinate in your face. The best thing that could happen to this band would be if Cherie hung herself from a shower rod and put herself in the tradition of Marilyn Monroe” (190) and then when you confront him about it he retorts with, “it’s just business…we’re just selling records here.” (194). Did you really buy into the whole controversy sells bit he was trying to have you believe or do you think he was really just being nasty and believed these things about you?
“I don’t know if that’s the way that Kim [liked] to keep us on edge at all times but when he said that in that article, it broke me into a million pieces because I really liked Kim, he was like a father figure in a very abusive way. It’s like that battered wife syndrome. When he said those things it destroyed me and I didn’t know whether it was [just to sell records]. I always believe that no one ever says anything without the truth behind it. Kim had one hell of a way of treating teenage girls. About a year ago he apologized to me and said that he just didn’t know how to deal with us and I can understand that now, thank God. But wow he was extremely abusive and the reason why The Runaways disbanded in the end. He just pit us against one another and it was pretty tragic.”
Would you say you’ve forgiven him?
“Of course I have. I did about a year ago. You can’t hang on to this stuff forever. I realized it was hurting me far more than hurting anybody else. We all do things that we regret and we grow from those things. We confront them and we grow from them and I didn’t want to carry that baggage anymore. So I forgave him for selfish reasons and I think most people need to do that and just move on. But would I ever let him manage my son? No.”
Good. After your stint with The Runaways you spiraled into heavy drug usage in the book you say, “I was not an addict, I’d tell myself, I just liked drugs a hell of a lot. They became a part of who I was—Cherie Currie, the neon blur in the fast lane, the Cherry Bomb” (233). Do you still blame your drug addiction on the fact that you were young and impressionable and being constantly surrounded by it?
“Well in the mid 70s that’s what was happening. Quaaludes and Cocaine [was readily available] it was management and our booking agent and everyone was shoving it up our noses, popping it in our mouths and if you didn’t do drugs there was something wrong with you. That was just that time. Now in my book, what you’re actually quoting was me in denial. I recognize now that this was a disease and yes I had it and my father had it as well. My father died of alcoholism but in the book what you’re [referring to] is me trying to make excuses for a disease I actually had. Yes The Runaways propelled me to hitting a bottom early on in life, of course, drugs were readily available and given to us without asking. I’m sure that sped up the process a bit.”
If you could rewrite your rock n roll history would you? What would you change? Or why wouldn’t you change it?
“I think [I would rewrite] me leaving the band I would have begged everyone to take a break for a couple months and then re-band but otherwise No. I wouldn’t change anything. I guess that’s why the story is so compelling, it’s so unbelievable that these things took place. We were on the road basically on our own at 16 years old. It’s unheard of these days but the fact that we made it and we survived and thrived I think is a true example that you can survive anything and come out the other end shinning. That’s what I want the book to say, for people to take away that you can survive and thrive.”
So what’s next for you? Will you return to music at some point or continue your chainsaw carving?
“I’m always gonna continue carving I love doing that. As far as the music scene I have absolutely no desire to go after that or even acting. If it comes my way I will think hard about it. I know I’m going to be doing some shows in the summer which will be great. I’m just open to anything. This new book and movie show me that miracles happen and anything is possible so I don’t say no to anything.”
Catch Cherie Currie on the road this summer and be sure to pick up a copy of her memoir “Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway” available March 16, 2010. For info, tour dates and all things Runaways log onto www.cheriecurrie.com
Lady GaGa Set To Bring Her Revamped Monster Ball Tour to NYC This Summer, Presale Tickets Already Sold Out
The announcement came yesterday and already little monsters (Lady Gaga fans) are amped to see the Grammy winning Pop star return to her native New York City this coming July at Madison Square Garden. Presale tickets for Virgin Mobile subscribers (the company sponsoring the tour) were released this morning, and are now sold out. Though it’s hard to say whether or not they were actually purchased by GaGa fans, within hours overpriced tickets were being advertised on stubhub.com a website that specializes in reselling tickets from concerts to sporting events.
Standard tickets that ranged from $54.00-$174.00 on ticketmaster were going for over $285 a piece on stubhub while the VIP packages which included everything from reserved seating to preshow entertainment and exclusive merchandise with a $405 to $205 price tag (depending on which level package you choose) were priced at a whopping $2,5000.
Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday, but it’s safe to say that they will sell out just as quickly as her last stint at Radio City Music Hall did hopefully this time around actual fans will get to pick these up and not have to engage in a bidding war with resellers.
For list of North American Tour dates and ticket sale information for a city near you visit www.ladygaga.com
With Yakpak backpacks, purses and accessories providing a colorful, cozy atmosphere and background Emii, and I took the stage and sat on couches to conduct our interview. For a second, I almost thought I was about to go live on a talk show. Her debut single “Magic” will hit airwaves and stores on April 6th and her full-length debut album will follow a few months later, in the meantime the Ohio native, who was born in Pittsburg but moved to Ohio at the age of 10, is making the rounds on the press circuit letting the world know Emii is someone you should keep your eyes and ears open for.
“I didn’t really realize [my love for music] until I was a bit older,” she confessed. “I was in high school, but apparently I have been singing since I popped out of the womb. All of this footage is coming up of me as a toddler singing.” The singer admits that she started taking music more seriously when she was about 13, “I pretty much kick and screamed until my parents home schooled me so that I could pursue music.”
Now that the release of her album is approaching Emii will finally have the chance to show the world who she is musically, “In terms of sound it’s actually a really diverse album. The reason for that is I love all music,” she said. “When I first started stylistically everybody tried to shove me into a box, and it drove me crazy.” With her red hair, fair skin and brightly colored tiger tattoo on her arm it’s easy to see how she’d be tossed into the pop rock genre. “You don’t only have to do a pop album or only do a rock album,” she said. “There is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to do everything we want because everyone has different musical tastes and there’s something for everybody [on this record].”
The album will feature a blend of all the genres she loves including, “pop, dance, rock and R&B.” Followers and friends can get frequent updates on what the star in training is up to via her twitter account, “I like to let people know what’s going on. I didn’t quite get Twitter in the beginning,” she confessed. “But so many people were asking, ‘what’s going on with you? What are you up to?’ and it’s so hard to text everybody down the line. So I said [to myself] ‘OK this is what Twitter is for.’ So I try to keep people updated, but I’m not gonna say ‘I’m eating a cheeseburger at this time’ or ‘I’m walking right now’ It’s not every little moment because I don’t think it’s feasible to capture every little moment on Twitter. It’s only like 180 characters.”
As far as performances go, for the time being, you can check her out in action on Youtube as tour dates and appearances come up. She’ll be performing 3 shows at this year’s South By South West Music Festival and will host a CD release party in the upcoming weeks in her new base, Los Angeles. When asked what she’d hope audiences take away from her shows and music, she said, “I just want them to have a good time. Have fun ‘cause I am [having fun].”
Upon entering Tuesday night’s show at The Mercury Lounge fans were greeted at the door by an enthusiastic duo who handed out neon whistles and Mardi Gras inspired masks for those there to see the musical sensation that is Ebony Bones.
The south Londoner brought the house down with her carnivalesque punk rock show and her nine-piece multicolored band. Her magnetic stage presence had attendees simultaneously moving from side to side and front to back, the music is so infectious it’s hard not partake in the dance-along.
Minutes prior to taking the stage I was escorted to the boiler room of the venue where Ebony Bones awaited, patiently seated on a wooden chair, in full make up and leopard attire. Looking back on it now it’s hard to believe that the captivating warrior onstage is the same soft spoken woman I met by the pulsating furnaces. But if there’s one thing I would quickly learn is that Ms. Bones is very much in control.
“Normally there’s not a lot of mental preparation allowed [before a show],” she said, “We’re [generally] rushing like mad women and mad men. What’s always fun is that the show is filled with lots of color, costume, theatrics. So it’s almost like preparing for theatre with the makeup, costumes [and] band members.”
The theatrical elements of her show were inspired by a film she watched obsessively as a child, “There’s a scene in The Wiz which stars Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, where they’re all at the Emerald City and they’re dancing around in a circle and I use to watch that obsessively as a child. I use to think ‘Oh my god they look so amazing’ but that along with [being] a big Sci-fi fan I get really bored of seeing people onstage who come and look like they don’t wanna be there; in their t-shirts, jeans and sneakers. I’m definitely gravitated to putting on a show in every sense of it. It involves being a musical artist as well as a visual one.”
The tour came about rather quickly, “we were planning on shooting [our new video] and I thought, ‘we might as well do some dates around it.” And so The Warrior Tour was born and will culminate with the filming of the “Warrior” music video in Mexico. “We have this amazing director, Simon Henwood, he directed Kanye West’s video “Love Lockdown” and he’s also Rihanna’s creative director. So we’re very excited, it’s going to be my first official video.”
Her music has been described as post-punk and carnival influenced rock for Bones it’s about letting, “people listen to it, digest it and decide what they want.” Bones believes genres are a thing of the past, â€œI grew up listening to a bit of everything and now with things like iPods it’s so accessible to have a mix of genres in your life. I’m excited about the future and what will emerge [from all] the culture clash.” She admits that the genre bending is nothing new on her part, It’s what made artists like Prince so magical.”
The multifaceted singer not only writes, sings and produces her own music but she also plays many of her own instruments on the recordings, â€œI have a band live but in the studio I do everything myself.” The reason for it she explains, “The music industry is very much a boys club. There are lots of guys behind the scenes as producers so if you’re a girl making rock n roll you really have to prove yourself. It’s not enough to survive you gotta shine. I’m most definitely up for that challenge, to prove to myself that it’s important to inspire yourself as well as others. We’re in a very celebrity [centric] age where everyone is looking to others to be their icons but I feel that in life you have to be your own hero. That’s the message I try to push forth [through my music].”
“I decided to do what indie boys have been doing for years, pick up a guitar, get behind some drums [and start playing]. I had no formal training, it was a therapeutic thing. I was so bored of what was on the radio; a perpetuation of the same thing. I just created it for myself and my friends. It wasn’t aimed at being anything that would be released. I was very overwhelmed when radio started picking up on it and playing it. Then suddenly from ten people in the room it would turn to a thousand. I’m still like ‘are these people here to see me?’ so I don’t take anything for granted. I feel very blessed to be able to make music and perform it.”
“It’s interesting when you’re a male artist no one is interested in what male [behind the scenes] produced it. But when you’re a female artist the first question is ’so what male is behind you making this music’ like it’s not possible for a female to be able to do that herself. It’s about changing people’s perspectives. It’s about inspiring other people to go and do that whether it’s making music or owning a magazine or whatever.”
Relatively unknown in the states it was interesting to see the crowd at Tuesday night’s show singing and shouting song requests. I was interested in knowing whether it was easier or in any way different winning over an American crowd versus a UK one?
“For me it’s not really about winning over anything,” she said. “It’s being able to have the audacity and confidence to be who you are whether people love it or not. We’ve played in New York a few times and it’s always been a good audience. The great thing about New York crowds is that they really enjoy music, they are music fans and enjoy live shows.”
“The magical thing about music is that it does make us think about the people we love, people we hate or the things we wanna do. It helps us to dream. That’s definitely my motivation.”
Her US debut album is scheduled to drop this summer.
A wigged Will Farrell accompanied by the Tonight Show band, Beck, Conan on guitar and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top performed Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” bringing The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien to a close.
After weeks of speculation, rumors and long negotiations the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien has come to an end. The episode kicked off with Conan stating, “Ladies and gentlemen, we have one hour to steal every single item in this studio.” Prior to taking a commercial break a montage of his brief tenure on the Tonight Show was aired along to Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” and as the song came to a close the words “To Be Continued” appeared on screen before fading to black.
Steve Carell made a brief appearance performing Conan’s exit interview and ending his skit by shredding Conan’s work ID which the audience booed. Then Tom Hanks, who coined the name Coco on his first appearance; the second episode of Conan’s stint, made his entrance donning dark shades and holding two glasses of what appeared to be rum. Once Conan took a swig he announced it was Vanilla root beer. A performance by Neil Young followed who after singing “Long May You Run” thanked the host for doing great things for new music.
The most touching moment came prior to the Farrell send off, Conan took a moment to address his fans who he thanked profusely for “The massive outpouring of support and passion from so many people has been overwhelming. The rallies, the signs, all the goofy, outrageous creativity on the internet, and the fact that people have traveled long distances and camped out all night in the pouring rain to be in our audience, made a sad situation joyous and inspirational.”
“To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I’ll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: Please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere.”
“Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
He also thanked NBC, the company who employed him 20 years ago and went on to say, “Yes, we have our differences right now. And, yes, we’re going to go our separate ways. But this company has been my home for most of my adult life. I am enormously proud of the work we have done together, and I want to thank NBC for making it all possible.”
I first noticed its reappearance sometime in 2009 while browsing the UrbanOutfitters website; advertised was a limited edition Polaroid One600 Classic Instant Camera and the accompanying film was listed as “coming soon” but for a “limited time only.” That night I went home and dusted off my blue Polaroid One600 and thought “I’ll see you soon.”
For months a team that calls itself “The Impossible Project” has made headlines for making salvaged Polaroid films available to the public. And now with recent news that pop singer Lady GaGa will be teaming up with Polaroid to revive the medium the analog community eagerly awaits the return of instant photography pioneered by Polaroid.
The Impossible Project’s mission is clear, their goal is NOT “to re-build Polaroid Integral film but (with the help of strategic partners) to develop a new product with new characteristics, consisting of new optimized components, produced with a streamlined modern setup. An innovative and fresh analog material, sold under a new brand name that perfectly will match the global re-positioning of Integral Films.”
The Impossible Project is saving analog Instant Photography and aims to release a new instant film for Vintage Polaroid cameras early in 2010. In order to shorten the waiting period until the premiere of its new film, The Impossible Project is proud to present the last original, carefully saved PolaroidTM film “ repackaged in a limited Special Edition designed by Paul Giambarba, who created the iconic look of Polaroid from 1958 to 1977.
Recently the International Center of Photography in New York City unveiled a Special Edition Camera Kit designed by Paul Giambarba and available exclusively at ICP which features very limited carefully saved, stored and tested Original Polaroid film designed by Paul Giambarba himself including:
- Film Type 100 (100 Sepia, 100 Chocolate, 100 Blue Film, 664, 669, 125i, 125i SILK)
- Film Type 80 (Viva Color)
- Image Film (Image, Image Softtone, Image Wildside)
- 600 Film (600)
- TZ Film (TZ Artistic)
- 4×5 Film (55)
- 8×10 Film (809)
Even though we are months away from the official launch of this revived product we can rest assured that instant photography is no longer a thing of the past but very much a part of our future.
For news an updates visit www.the-impossible-project.com
It’s likely that this week will mark the end of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. After weeks of speculation NBC has reportedly reached a deal with the comedian to walk away from the franchise.
Although I was personally sadden when he left his Late Night show and New York last year I was excited to see him tackle this new venture. Now that it appears he will be out of a job my hope is that he’ll return to the city of New York and kick NBC’s ass in the ratings on a new network. From all of us here at SinisterGirlz.com we salute you Conan and support you 110%.
ABBA, Genesis, Jimmy Cliff, The Hollies and The Stooges are among the 2010 artist inductees for this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame also being inducted this year as individual recipients of the Ahmet Ertegun Award will be David Geffen and songwriters Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, Jesse Stone, Mort Shuman and Otis Blackwell. The ceremony will take place on March 15, 2010 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and will air live on Fuse, Madison Square Garden’s national music television network, as part of the three-year broadcast deal between the Foundation and Fuse.
ABBA, Genesis, Jimmy Cliff, The Hollies and The Stooges are among the inductee performers.
The 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performer inductees were chosen by over 500 voters of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. Artists are eligible for inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twenty-five years after their first recording is released.
All inductees are ultimately represented in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Through approaches as creative and diverse as the music itself, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum tells the story of rock music with its exhibits, education programs and Library and Archives, which will open to the public in downtown Cleveland in late 2010.
Presenters and performers at the induction will be announced at a later date. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be televised live on Fuse; more information can be found at fuse.tv.
For more on the inductees or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum visit http://www.rockhall.com/induction2010
The ladies of Krave, an up and coming female R&B group, are gearing up for world domination. Their first single “Up and Down” featuring Akon, Nelly, and Twista is already generating buzz and based on the tracks I heard including “Up and Down” and “Girls Go Crazy” I would describe their music as sexy, booty shaking, R&B, Pop. When asked what they would classify their music as Shan Q laughed and said, “That’s what it is! Booty shaking, R&B-Pop. [Some] have described it as ghetto pop anybody from the hood, urban area from anyone to overseas then their neighborhood could relate to it so its world wide mixed with relatable music.”
Not only does Akon appear on their current single but he’s also taken them under his wing and is opening doors for them, “It’s an honor,” explains Jazz “he’s done so much for us given us songs, great advice and has been hands on with us just as DeVyne [Stephens] has, we actually met Akon thru DeVyne.” The Atlanta music executive paired the group up with Akon and the rest is as they say history. “It’s really crazy,” Jazz continues, “cause you would think somebody with such accomplishments would be kind of standoffish but he’s really open, he’s honest and he loves our vibe and is really supportive of us. We actually just did a show with him here in Atlanta for a local radio station and he was really supportive of our Krave movement we have going on.”
The ladies admitted, “It’s never easy [winning over a crowd]. You’re [usually] nervous before you go onstage. Once you go onstage [if] the crowd sees you’re having fun and we just let go, let our hair down and eventually the crowd would join us. We [win them over] just being ourselves and involving the crowd. It’s very important for us to interact [with them] and entertain.”
Chanel recalls the best piece of advice Akon has given them, “Be yourself and just do you. He’s big on letting your creativity out and not holding back because as artists that’s what we’re suppose to do, it’s a world of creativity.” He also encourages the ladies to love themselves, “be who you are, if you want to do [something] then do it.”
The finishing touches are currently being put on their debut album which the ladies say will most likely be self-titled, â€œWhen people see [the word] Krave, they [will] know it’s our CD and not anyone else’s,” explained Chanel. “We should be releasing the album within the next couple of months. We’re pretty much done; we’re constantly recording because music is constantly changing. We have a lot of features. Every track is relatable we talk about all types of situations. We’ve put our hearts and souls into it; this is our very first album. We’re extremely excited about it. We got a chance to write and work with a lot of different artists.”
For the Georgia trio it goes beyond music they are establishing themselves as a brand early on. It’s something they strongly believe will give them staying power in the industry, “To us Krave is a brand. So if we start doing movies or come up with a hair line, make up line Krave will forever be Krave. We want Krave to be versatile and accessible to all,” explained Shan Q. Also respect goes a long way, â€œthe most important thing to us is respect and to respect each other. Our name means desire but to us it means respect and positive energy so we’ll always respect each other and no matter what we have each other’s backs. Krave is forever, we’re standing here and we’re standing tall.”
The one woman show that performs her own backup vocals on her recordings, Chevonne, walked into the upscale Upper East Side restaurant Rouge Tomate a little after six on a dreary December afternoon. She was all smiles as she removed her coat and introduced herself. She ordered a fruity cocktail and took a seat for her round of interviews.
Her 4-track EP, “Unwrap Me” features four contemporary holiday tunes. Her lead off single, “My Menorah” is a cheeky tune full of Jewish puns about a guy lighting her up for eight nights and how she’ll “oil [him] up and dance like a horah.” The inspiration behind the album was simple, “We need to keep the playlist going and not keep it static on the holidays,” she said. “There needed to be a change, something weird and funky. I like a challenge and I can basically write a song about anything.
“I really wrote it for girls like me and people like me who wanted something a little different. When I’m putting up my ornaments on my Christmas tree and decorating it with my mom and sister sometimes I want to rock out. I don’t want to be like, ‘oh Christmas tree’ I want to enjoy a Christmas song the way I enjoy [Beyonce's] ‘Single Ladies.’ So that when it comes on I can go, ‘oh shit! I love this!’ and get up and dance. I think it should be like that on the holidays, everyone just wants to have fun.”
Growing up she celebrated Christmas and Hanukkah but admits, “by no means did I get extra presents, [and] they were sort of divided in half [for each holiday]. My house is very liberal and we celebrate everything.”
Fully aware that the tracks on “Unwrap Me” have a shelf life, “It’s over by January 1st, she admitted Chevonne is looking ahead to bigger, edgier challenges. She already has two newly recorded tracks and some ideas on how she’s going to present them, “I might just take the songs as tracks and start performing them to see what people like and don’t like, a give and take experiment sort of like ‘what do crowds like? What do they want to hear and not hear?’ I’m all about tailoring it to the audience.”
Her musical style could be described as being, “funky-pop that’s very girl centric,” she said. “I write about boys and about dressing hot and dancing. It’s just fun, girly, raunchy, sexy and weird. I can encompass that all into girl-funk.”
Judging from her funky and eclectic wardrobe choices it’s easy to see who her musical influences would be. Prince happens to be a huge one, “I love those 80s artists that were writers, singers, performers and pushed fashion. I really miss that in music. Now there seems to be a revolving door of people you forget the next day. I want to bring that era back that all at once there was Prince, Cyndi Lauper, David Bowie and Madonna. They were all doing their own thing. They were all so unique, creative and explosive. I want to do something like that. I just want [my shows] to be larger than life and genre-less.”
She was featured in this year’s CMJ showcase and when asked what the experience was like she remembered it in terms of what she wore that night, “oooh that’s when I wore the hands dress! I wore this skin tight dress with gloved hands all over my body. It looked like there were hands all over [my body] touching me. So I showed up in my hands dress [at the Bowery Poetry Club] with my ridiculous hair and make up to the nines. That’s how I do it. I get up onstage and [in the crowd] are all these rock kids wearing black and looking at me with big eyes and scowling. There were some 13-year-old girls and I was like ’shit how am I gonna do this? They’re gonna hate me.’ But I couldn’t back down so I got on the stage and I did it. I went full out, got on the floor, riving, fist pumping and they really loved it. I guess that’s kinda what I mean [about being genre-less] Prince wasn’t rock or pop or funk or jazz he was all of it. You could put him in front of a crowd of anyone. You could put him in front of a crowd of girl scouts and they would freak out. That’s what I want to do.”
She wants to convert audience members, “I don’t want it to be about ‘oh she’s hot’ or ’she sings nice’ I want it to be like ‘that chick made me feel good.’ I’m pumped and I’ma go out and make out to Chevonne’s music.”
What inspires her to keep growing musically is, “pop culture and how it evolves.” She admitted wanting to be apart of the whole pop craze, “I want to be in the blogs, and in those magazines. Not for my own fame and enjoyment but I want people to enjoy it. That’s what’s keeping me going and forcing me to grow. [Forcing me] to keep putting out new stuff. I just want to reach people and I want them to have fun with me. Make people smile and dance and enjoy my music as much as I enjoy making it.”
For more on Chevonne and her bright future visit her website at listentochevonne.com
They’re perhaps the most respected all-female hard rock band to hail from Palo Alto, they’ve been making music since the early 90s, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that they achieved commercial success. Since then The Donnas have gone on to release 5 studio albums on a major label (8 in all) including their latest, a greatest hits album titled, Greatest Hits, Volume 16.
Over the summer I got a chance to catch them on tour alongside Blondie and Pat Benatar and again in Los Angeles as they partook in this year’s Sunset Strip Music Festival. This week we got to chat with Allison Robertson (guitarist) formally known as Donna A, about their summer of touring and what’s to come.
Sinister Girlz: I saw you ladies open up for Blondie and Pat Benatar at the Coney Island show, what was it like opening up for them?
Allison: It was really fun to open for both bands; Blondie and Benatar have so many great songs and both have killer frontwomen that we respect the hell out of. We watched the show almost every night of the tour (the nights that we didn’t were merely because we had long van rides of course!).
SG: How were you approached to participate on that tour?
Allison: Through our agent at William Morris.
SG: What’s your favorite song to play live?
Allison: I personally have been enjoying playing “Get Off” off our latest release “The Donnas Greatest Hits Vol. 16.” It kicks ass and is simple in a no pressure kind of way!
SG: Which song gets the best crowd reaction?
Allison: I’d have to say “Take It Off” and “Get Off”. The ending of “Get Off” gets so loud and thunderous like a runaway train that the abrupt ending always seems to impress new audiences!
SG: What do you think is the biggest misconception about all-female band?
Allison: The fact that it’s even thrown out there that there’s a difference between females playing an instrument and males playing that same instrument.
SG: In an interview with LA radio station 98.7 FM when asked about upcoming shows you responded that, that show was it for now, since you won’t be touring anytime soon what will you ladies be working on?
Allison: We plan on working out some new material for a new album next year. We have some other Donnas-related ideas that we’re working on in the meantime but they are top secret for now!
SG: What have you learned from one another from playing together for so long?
Allison: I think we’ve all learned valuable lessons in respecting one another as friends and we’ve definitely learned to listen to our hearts as opposed to succumbing to pressure coming from trends, money, quests for fame and etc…
SG: Are you ever approached by fans for advice? What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given someone?
Allison: Yes we are approached for advice often, and all four of us usually have the same advice: Practice, practice, practice and don’t form a band with anyone unless you really like them as a person!
SG: What has been the craziest thing a fan has ever done or said to you to get your attention?
Allison: Dropped trousers onstage to reveal a small one.
SG: Describe each Donnas (including yourself) member in 1 word
Allison: Maya: rad, Torry: cool, Brett: awesome, Allison: killer!
For more on The Donnas visit their official website www.thedonnas.com. The Donnas are: Brett Anderson (Vocals), Allison Robertson (Guitar), Maya Ford (Bass) and Torry Castellano (Drums/Percussion).
He takes the stage alone, picks up his guitar, and walks up to the microphone. His ensuing set showcases his skill on his instrument, and he sings his songs, old and new, to a room full of adoring, screaming fans.
Fred Mascherino has been on his own for 2 years now with his solo project The Color Fred, and he is doing magnificently well. His second album is due to release this winter, and he is in the midst of an East Coast acoustic tour, to be followed shortly by a West Coast one. We are sitting in the basement of the Blender Theatre on East 23rd Street, an old movie theater-turned-concert-venue, discussing his journey over the past years. I am immediately struck by Fred’s down-to-earth, easy-going nature, and its not hard to picture him behind the wheel of his 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit that runs on vegetable oil. We are quickly at ease. My first question gravitates to one of the main reasons we are here today: his decision to leave the band, Taking Back Sunday.
“I wasn’t happy doing what I was doing. The result of that was this thing that was designed to be a side project became full time” Now that it’s my main focus, I’m writing more of what I wanted to write the first time around. [The situation] definitely got made into more drama than it needed to be.”
Does he ever regret the choice?
“No, not at all. People ask me, ‘Oh, was that a smart business decision?’ And I’m like, ‘It wasn’t a business decision at all; it was a necessary decision for my life.”
That is not to say this new venture isn’t without its difficulties.
“I’m not gonna go out [on stage] and have everyone know my name. But that’s never bummed me out. I actually kind of like being challenged; it’s inspiring, and it gets boring when it’s too easy.”
He will certainly be carving a new name out for himself in the music scene with the different sound he presents on his upcoming album.
“My second album has this really sad subject matter going on, and it’s created much darker music. I have a loose concept going on with the record, and it’s really cool because I’ve never written with a single concept in mind for a whole album, but it’s really been something to push me forward and inspire me. It’s basically about this couple going through terrible things – their town is under siege. But it’s inspired by something that happened earlier this year in my hometown of Coatesville, PA. We had over 50 arsons in one year, and in the month of January alone there were 17 fires. One fire would be 12 row homes, ya know so that happened like 50 times, and people weren’t sleeping at night, and there was a lot of anxiety. It was really bad and definitely stressed me out. I decided I was gonna write a song about it, and that turned into 3 songs about it, and then I started to build this fictional story about a couple who lived there. So you see why it’s sort of taken a darker turn, with the whole city-burning-down thought.”
[They eventually caught the people who were causing the fires.]
The Color Fred debuted some of it’s new songs on it’s most recent EP, The Intervention, which was released on April 18th, 2009, also known as National Record Store Day. In celebration of the holiday, the EP was only available in independent record stores.
“Actually, it was Ryan Russell’s idea. He’s a photographer that takes a lot of pictures of people on the scene. I always thought it was such a cool thing to be involved with [National Record Store Day], especially now when the stores are hurting so badly now you can get [the EP] on I-Tunes. That just happened this month, though. We kept it away from digital until the stores ran out.”
After this show in New York, The Color Fred is heading to Philadelphia for the next night’s performance. This also means an opportunity for him to head home to visit with his family and sleep in his own bed. Obviously, having a musician for a father means a deeper glimpse into that world for his children. When I asked about his hope for his 3 children to follow in his musical footsteps, he laughed and responded, “I think that they will have an obvious interest in it, but I try not to push it. I don’t care “like, what if my kid was gonna help poor people or help cure some disease, and instead I forced him to play the drums?! What a waste. At least I know I couldn’t have cured much.”
Either way, it is apparent in his glowing demeanor after the show that he has found his true calling in music. The Color Fred is just taking off, and it will be very exciting to see what comes next!
Kweighbaye Kotee and Laree Ross are not even 26-years-old and already they are celebrating the third year of their beloved side project, a film festival in their community, which has generated enough buzz that this year’s festivities came equipped with free beer thanks to sponsorships from Anheuser-Busch, Smuttynose Brewery, Magic Hat and Original Sin. The ladies teamed up with Sarah O’Donoghue who curated “The Sum of Nothing,” the art show inside of Lumenhouse the venue where the three-day festival took place.
We sat down with the young designer, Laree, hours prior to the doors officially opening who walked us through the preparations of the festival and how it all began. “Kweighbaye approached me, she was looking for an art director, and I love film and live in Bushwick and it just seemed like the right thing to do,” she said.
“We’ve known each other since college,” she continued, “she’s an avid film lover as am I. She had the idea and wanted me to be her business partner.” But it wasn’t all fun and games the girls hadn’t realized how much time and effort they would have to put into all of the preparations, “The first year, we didn’t know anything! It was fun because we had no expectations so when things worked out, they just did, and when they didn’t they just didn’t. But we had so much fun.” The preparations take months, “We prepare for the festival probably six months in advance. [You first have] to get the films and that takes half that time. Then the months leading to the festival are nonstop.”
The roster on this year’s festival featured, “A lot of documentaries, We actually jokingly said we should probably call ourselves the silent Bushwick Film Festival because we have so many submissions that were silent. They were all wonderful it was very difficult to choose,” she said.
Also wonderful are the documentaries that made the cut, â€œThe documentaries are really wonderful. This week marks the 4th anniversary of [Hurricane] Katrina and this year we have a submission titled “Wade in the Water” which follows children and [documents] their homes during the devastation.” The film described as a â€œpoetic and devastating look at life in New Orleans through the eyes of its children” was set to premiere that Saturday. â€œWe realized that it’s good to feature [films] that are short and then show one full-length at the end of the night. This year we had a lot more submissions” making the selection process all the more difficult.
As far as the future is concerned all the girls want is for the festival to live on and grow grander each year, “We just want to get bigger and bigger. We want everything to [eventually] be free, we want everyone to come. Even though we’re getting sponsors now we don’t want to raise any prices, we want it to be something that is accessible to all. We definitely want bigger names to get involved, to have more people [attending] and have major posters that other people can do for us,” she said with a chuckle.
The trio Kitty, Daisy and Lewis were decked out in their finest, all dolled up and ready to perform at Sunday’s All Points West show as they made their rounds backstage to partake in numerous interviews heads turned, “who are those guys?” inquired a young journalist who writes for Billboard.com. I handed over my ipod told her, “here see for yourself,”and pressed play. She smiled after about 30 seconds of listening to “Buggin Blues” the second track on their US debut album. “They look just like they sound, like old school rock n roll” she said.
That day would have marked their NY/NJ debut but sadly their performance was rained out. Prior to our sit down, as we cautiously avoided mud puddles and made our way towards solid ground I asked the ladies how they could possibly walk around in their pretty shoes in such horrid conditions, Daisy shrugged and said, “well they’re all fucked up anyway” and informed me that the heels made her feel as if she was “floating” above all the muck.
The London natives have been keeping busy touring stateside with Coldplay, “we’ve done about a month already,” explained Daisy the eldest member of the group comprised of siblings who along Kitty, the youngest member, sings for the group comprised of multi-instrumentalists. Daisy not only provides vocals but also plays the drums, piano, accordion and xylophone.
“It’s a bit weird,”added Kitty, drummer harmonica, ukulele, banjo, trombone and guitar player, in regards to opening up for Coldplay, “we’ve been playing at like open stadiums and since we’re the first band on a lot of the front seats are empty but there are thousands of people in the back but because they are so far away we can’t really see them or feel their vibe. It’s a bit weird but some of [the shows] have been good. We’re use to playing tiny clubs where we’re with the audience and where we can look at their faces.”
One could argue that their sound pays homage to 1950s R&B and Rock n Roll but for Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, Lewis being the middle child and sole male member who also sings occasionally and plays guitar, piano, banjo, lapsteel and drums, it’s a bit deeper than that they are reviving a musical genre and recording format that may seem foreign to kids their own age. Their songs have a vintage quality to them (they sound like they were recorded in that era) largely because they record on analogue and do not use computers or any other form of digital recording devices, their home studio consists of 1940’s and 50’s recording equipment such as 8 track tape machines and vintage BBC and RCA microphones.
One of their earliest influences comes from home, “Our dad use to sing to us with his guitar,” explained Daisy proving that music is in their blood. “[Our parents] didn’t really influence us in terms of music or introducing us to rock n roll we’ve kind of introduced our parents to r & b and jazz albums,” but she says that being exposed to music early on did further their interest in music as a whole.
As far as what the future holds for these young talents we’ll just have to wait and see but for now you can catch them on the road with Coldplay (at least for the next week or so) after that they’ll be performing on Jimmy Fallon’s late night show. Their self-titled debut album hits US stores August 25th. For more on Kitty, Daisy & Lewis check out their myspace at myspace.com/kittydaisyandlewis
Kiss Kiss’ second album, The Meek Shall Inherit What’s Left, is releasing in a week, and this is the first time the band has seen the final product. Jared Karns, the drummer, turns the hard copy of the CD over in his hands, admiring the artwork and commenting on various things. All the members are really excited, sitting in a hot, stone room in the basement of the Mercury Lounge in New York City. When I ask if they’ve played here before, they all look at each other, shake their heads, and laugh. The violinist, Rebecca Schlappich, explains that none of them are into football and thus, never pay attention to when Superbowl Sunday is. As luck would have it, they walked on stage at the Mercury Lounge on one particular Sunday in February to find an essentially empty venue due to “you guessed it Superbowl Sunday.” This day is now on the list of scheduling no-nos, right after Christmas. Here they are, though, back to rock the place once again.
The band is initially from the New York area, and Jared comments on how it is a little disorienting to come home in the middle of the tour, to have been away for so long and all of a sudden, find yourself back in your comfort zone, only to have to jet off again the next day. This is not a confession of dislike for life on the road, however. When asked how the band finds touring, the bassist, Patrick Southern, says, “It totally depends on when you ask a certain person at a certain time of day, we all kind of hate it and love it at the same time. But Jared just loves it.” Rebecca also admits her love for it, saying that “touring is what she lives for” and is where she finds herself “really happy.” Josh Benash, who plays guitar and synthesizer, exclaims that they “get to dance and wear diapers!” an event they put on view for the public in one of their tour videos on MySpace. Mike Abiuso, the other guitar and synthesizer player, says touring only becomes troublesome for him when other members are unhappy, specifically Josh. They all talk affectionately about their big, yellow school bus that serves as their touring vehicle.
Though the members of the group have very distinct personalities, it’s clear that they meld together really well, something that is certainly reflected in their music and on stage. Growing up, they all had varying musical influences, but what brings them together, Patrick says, is that “we all experienced some kind of musical descent into madness that brought us to this place.” Rebecca’s journey was particularly different from the others: “I had very specific plans, I was going to go to a conservatory, I was going to get into an orchestra, and that was going to be my life.” During her sophomore and junior year of college, however, she started realizing there might be another path to follow. “I started off going to an Improv for Strings class, and I was like, ‘Hey, this really cool!’ From there, I started playing a whole lot of 20th and 21st century music. By senior year, I was thinking, ‘I want to join a band.’ So I found one on Craig’s List, before [Kiss Kiss]. It was completely different, really fun, but definitely not going anywhere. So after that one, I found these guys.”
The release of this new album is a testament to their passion and commitment to their music and a “fuck-you” to the challenges they’ve encountered along the way. One major setback was having an incompetent manager who also happened to have a drug problem. “He stole our money and didn’t do any work,” Josh describes. Now that they have a new manager, however, Rebecca depicts a new experience: “This is actually the first time in the career of the band, and I’ve only been in for half of the rest of the band, that I feel we’ve had fewer challenges than normal. We finally have a booking agent, we have a manager that we trust, and we have people doing PR for us, which is incredible.” Jared also admits that it’s nice to have people helping with the workload. “We used to do everything ourselves now I don’t have to spend 10 hours at a computer everyday, I just shoot an email over to so-and-so, and it’s done.”
Talking about the sound and tone of The Meek Shall Inherit What’s Left, Rebecca says it’s “darker, heavier, and more orchestrated” than their previous album, Reality vs. The Optimist, which was more “pop-sounding.” The new album is also longer, due in part to a number of complaints from fans demanding a CD longer than 30 minutes. Naturally, the band acquiesced, but Josh is sure to remind folks of the familiar expression: “Quality, not quantity.” Despite these differences, Kiss Kiss still maintains their unique, abstract, often frenetic sounds, which have been described as “circus-y,” Rebecca recalls. The songs range in subject matter, going from one that was inspired by Josh’s reading of George Orwell’s 1984, to another that makes fun of the male sex drive and ego (Innocent 1, if you’re interested in knowing specifically), to those that evolved from various personal experiences.
Kiss Kiss has only just gotten started, and undoubtedly, they will continue to bring their talent and wild energy to many other venues across America. And if you happen to be driving along and see a big, yellow school bus with a bunch of people in diapers, you might want to take another look because, well, yes, it may simply be headed for a special ed school, but maybe, just maybe, it will be the members of Kiss Kiss, living it up and enjoying their journey on the road.