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by Amy Harris 07.29.2010
at 03:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Interview with KISS drummer Eric Singer

KISS is touring this summer with their The Hottest Show on Earth tour which kicked off July 23 in Cheyenne, Wyoming and will be hitting Cincinnati Friday, July 30 at Riverbend Music Center. The boys are back with a tour that is bigger than ever and they are attracting whole new generations of fans.

We caught up with Ohio native, Eric Singer aka “CATMAN”, drummer for the infamous band, to discuss local sports and the show on Friday.

CB: First question, how do you feel about Lebron leaving?
Eric:
I get asked that obvious question a lot because everyone knows I am from Cleveland. We are all in a business. I am in the music business and he is in business as well for himself. I just tell people that there are good ways and not so good way to do these things. I think the way he chose is not the best way and not a good choice. He is trying to market himself and be his own brand like Jordan and he has been pretty successful. The best analogy is like you go on national TV and tell your wife that you are going to divorce her and that you found a new girl in Miami. He should not have done that. He should have done it like a typical announcement through an agent. I read that when Michael Jordon decided to re-up his contract with the Bulls that he just sent them a fax to tell them. He didn’t go through some big announcement and make a big deal about it. I believe he knew well in advance and did not just decide that day like he said he did, but I guess only he knows. I am not saying it is a disloyalty thing because he was a free agent. It was just the way that he did it was not appropriate.

CB: Did you see the owner’s reaction?
Eric:
Oh yes, I did. I am a huge NBA fan. I am on NBA.com everyday. I am actually a huge Lakers fan and even though we were on tour in Europe I did not miss any of the playoff games. The games would start at 3 am and I would watch every other day. My body clock was so out of whack. I would stay up all night watching. Everyone on the tour would ask why I looked to so tired and it was because I stayed up until 7 am watching basketball.

Eric: You are in Cincinnati. I saw that you just signed Terrell Owens.
CB:
Yes we did, what do you think about that?

Eric: I think it is a great thing. Obviously, I am a Cleveland Browns fan being from Cleveland.
CB:
We won’t hold that against you.

Eric: No, I have always rooted for the Bengals. My Dad had season tickets to the Browns in the 60’s and he would take me to all the games. My Dad was also a musician and he knew Paul Brown personally. I think Paul Brown coached at Ohio State so we also loved the Buckeyes so Ohio State Buckeyes are always my college team of choice.

My Dad was always a huge Bengals fan because he loved Paul Brown. Basically I root for all the AFC teams except the Ravens for obvious reasons. I cannot stand the Ravens like most Cleveland fans. I always root for the Bengals. Overall I think it was a good pickup. T.O. is a personality but at the end of the day he is a great talent and is a great receiver. The Bengals may make some noise this year. I don’t look for much from the Browns this year to do any damage. I just want them to improve over last year. They have had so many changes with management and quarterbacks. I think that it would be nice to give the people of Cleveland something to look forward to versus focusing on the Lebron situation.

CB: The sentiment here in Ohio doesn’t seem as bad as I thought it would be about Lebron based on what I had heard in the media.
Eric:
Of course, they showed the same 2 guys on TV burning their Lebron jersey in the streets over and over. It was a slow news day. At the end of the day, it is just a game. I think it becomes an obsession with some people. I am a huge Laker fan. I stay home every night during the season and watch every game. I get upset when they lose but at the end of the day, it is just a game and they are not curing cancer. I play drums in a band and it is important to me because it is my livelihood, but at the same time I keep a reality check about what I do.

CB: It is not solving world hunger.
Eric:
Exactly. Some people get too serious about it in my mind. Some people hate their 9-5 job and they have passion about a sports team or a band and that is what they look forward to doing. I understand their passion, but you have to keep it in perspective.

CB: I have talked to a lot of drummers this week. I have kind of had a week of drummers, culminating with you.
Eric:
That sounds like it could have a double entendre. “I just had a week of drummers.” You gotta watch how you say that. (Laughing)

CB: What is the longest you have gone without playing the drums?
Eric
: Oh I have gone awhile. Probably a few months. I am 52 years old. I have been touring every year for 26 years straight and been drumming for 42 years since I was 10. It is like a car. I have a lot of drumming miles on my body. I find that when you go away from something, it renews your interest and enjoyment in it. You enjoy it more when you come back. My whole life can’t be about drums and KISS. I am not one dimensional. You have to have other interests. As much as I know that you have to have focus because that is important if you want to have success along with hard work, sometimes you need to step away from it. It makes it feel fresh when you get away and then come back. Even though I have played some of these songs a hundred times, after I get away from it for awhile it feels fresh and lets my body heal.

CB: It is an extreme sport.
Eric:
It is very much like athletics. Rock and roll drumming is different than playing in a lounge band. It is hitting hard objects and absorbing all that shock. As I have gotten older I have had to learn different ways to approach it. I have massages all the time to take care of my body and keep my body stretched out and loose because it is a necessity at this point.

CB: Do you do any weight lifting or activities to condition for it?
Eric:
Sometimes. Lately to be honest I have been lazy. Usually when we are off tour, I will go to the gym and try to condition with cardio and keep my stamina up at least a few times a week. That makes it not such a shock to your body when you go back to hitting things after you have been away for awhile.

CB: Have you ever been star struck?
Eric:
No, not really. When I first moved to LA in 1983, I used to go to the Beverly Hills Diner after rehearsals. This is when I first realized that I lived in LA and when you go to a Denny’s or a diner that you will see musicians and actors. The first time I was sitting there and Lionel Richie came in with Irene Cara, who had a big hit at the time. He said hello just like you were a normal person. That kind of set a precedence for me with a guy who was a huge star at the time on MTV and making hits and he is just a regular guy who comes in here and says hi to me. I always remembered that whatever you do may be special or unique, but it does not make you better than someone else. I remember him and think it was a good attitude.

CB: That is a good attitude.
Eric:
I am a big fan of many bands and I met Jimmy Page this year in London. That was kind of cool because I had never met anyone from Zeppelin, but I am around these guys all the time. I have played in some big bands KISS and with Queen. I played a Nelson Mandela benefit with Bono and Annie Lennox a few years ago. I have gotten to play with people and meet them this way. I met Dwyane Wade the other night on Jay Leno and that was cool because I am such a big NBA fan. I like to meet people that I have a lot of respect for and admire what they do. I don’t get star struck because I have been doing this a long time and realize at the end of the day they are just people.

CB: They go home and put their pants on one leg at a time.
Eric:
Exactly, one thing I have learned that once you really get to know people you find that there is a common thread that runs through all of us.

CB: I interview people and have found that the big bands like yourself are the most down to earth and normal. Many of the newer bands that are just starting out seem so arrogant at times and it bothers me and I always think that won’t work and they are not going to make it like that.
Eric:
You are right and that is a great observation. That is what I find as well. Usually people who are doing it at a bigger level, they don’t act like that. I don’t know if it is a confidence or mindset but they don’t need to do that. I live in LA and there a lot of people who are posers. They go to clubs and dress the part and think they are important. They go out every night and dress up and locals think they are in the band, but they are big fish in a small pond and they are not the real players. You are right, the people that have more fame act normal and don’t need to pretend to be anything and they are usually more cool.

CB: What can we expect from the show on Friday?
Eric:
“The Hottest Show on Earth” is great. The one thing I always admire about our band is that we are always trying to improve and make it bigger and better. We are always trying to make a bigger visual spectacle. That is what we are known for and putting on a big show. I always say it is like Rock-n-Roll meets the circus. It is about being entertainers and being entertained. Anyone who saw the tour last year, we have changed the songs around and changed some of the visual things in the show. It is probably the biggest show that we have ever done with visual and screens and pyro. It is a big undertaking to take this tour around the country. There are 15 or 17 trucks that move this stuff around. A few of them have our faces on the side with the new Dr. Pepper adds, so you may see 5 or 6 of them rolling down the road in Ohio this week so you will know it is KISS on tour. I am not saying this because I am biased and in the band, but everyone must see a KISS show in their life.

Eric: We are playing Riverbend on Friday right?
CB:
Yes
Eric:
I remember Riverbend. We have played there before and I actually went to a concert there before. I was on a tour in 1987 with Gary Moore and we saw Huey Lewis in the News there. They were huge at the time.

CB: I actually saw them this past weekend at HullabaLOU in Louisville.
Eric
: Really, one of my good friends is their guitar player, how were they?

CB: They were amazing actually and sounded the same. It was surreal to see bands ranging from Bon Jovi to Al Green all in one place.
Eric:
Did you see Al Green?

CB: Yes I did and he was FANTASTIC! He made me smile!
Eric:
I went to see him a few years ago with Gene after we played a show in a casino on a night off. Al Green sings amazing. Gene is a huge 50’s doo wop fan and so we went to the show.

CB: He was spot on and blew my mind.
Eric:
Did all the ladies come up and give him flowers?

CB: No he had bundles of roses he was passing out.
Eric:
A lot of the older women still love him. He is old school and a real swooner, but he sings his ass off.

CB: I have had a phenomenal week of music and I am hoping to top it off with KISS on Friday.
Eric:
You are right it is like a Cherry on Top after all that great music this week. It is great music on top of a great show. You must go see it and be converted and see it in the flesh. You will be converted to Kisstianity. There is no band like KISS and it is a dream come true to be in the band since I was a huge fan from the beginning. I was a fan from day 1 and saw them in Cleveland in 1974 when they opened up for the New York Dolls.

CB: It is like a religion.
Eric:
The kind of drummer that I always want to be was to be a visual and show type drummer and I can do it all in KISS. I couldn’t be in a more perfect band.

CB: I hope to get religion on Friday.
Eric:
You have to.

CB: Before we wrap up, tell me about the Wounded Warrior Care project that you are supporting.
Eric:
It is the Wounded Warrior CARE project. We have gone to visit the soldiers in their facility. A dollar from every ticket sold goes to this project. Those people have gone and sacrificed their life. Regardless of people’s political views, these people go and do this on a volunteer basis to protect our rights. They have given their life so we have to make sure that there are people when they get home to help them get their life back and that is what this project is all about. You may disapprove of war, but you need to respect these people regardless of your views. You are able to say whatever you want in this country because these people go out and fight for your rights. We want to help them be able to get their lives back.

Eric: I also need to say KISS is a great family value this summer. Kids under 14 get in free on the lawn with the purchase of an adult lawn ticket. Up to four children per valid adult (21 and over) lawn ticket. Valid for Live Nation amphitheatres with lawns only. These also must be purchased on the day of the show and are subject to availability.

We know that times are tough for some people economically and we know there is no better way to get their mind off their troubles than to go and see a band like KISS. It is our way of trying to give something back to those who have supported us over the years. Everyone needs to see KISS at some point in their life.

CB: You may as well start early as a kid right?
Eric:
Exactly.


 
 
by Mike Breen 12.14.2012
Posted In: CEAs, Live Music, Local Music at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)
 
 
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Voting Opens for Cincinnati Entertainment Awards

Vote online for your favorite Greater Cincinnati musicians of 2012

Voting for Greater Cincinnati's annual celebration of our amazing local music scene, the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, is now open. Vote for your faves or, even better, do some research online, check out all of the nominees and THEN pick who you think is most deserving.

Click here to get started on your ballot.

The 16th annual CEA ceremony will be held at Covington’s Madison Theater on Jan. 27, featuring more live performances than ever and first-time host Ted Clark, known for his monthly “live chat show” Ted Clark After Dark. Ted will present a special edition of Ted Clark After Dark at the after-party, this year held at The Loft, just around the corner from the Madison and above Tickets (the former home to the Rock club Radio Down). The after-party will also include the annual “Fashion Trashies,” presented by members of local Indie Pop legends The Fairmount Girls and honoring the best/worst/weirdest-dressed CEA attendees.

Tickets to the Jan. 27 ceremony/party will go on sale this coming Wednesday through CincyTicket.com. Proceeds from ticket sales are being donated the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation.

Another new aspect of this year’s CEAs involves the “New Artist of the Year” nominees. The acts nominated in that category will perform at the first-ever CEA new music showcase at Bogart’s on Jan. 18 (confirmations pending). Audience votes at the event will help determine the winner of the category, along with votes from the nominating committee (who also choose the Album and Artist of the Year winners).

Tickets for the new music showcase will go sale soon through Ticketmaster.

Now, a few words on "the process." Since the nominees were announced on Wednesday, I've received several queries asking "How do I get nominated for a CEA?" from various artists and/or their representatives.

It's the same answer found in the old joke, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"

Practice. And also work hard and keep spreading the word about your awesome music.

As has been the case in the entire the 16-year existence of the CEAs (and as has been noted every year in our coverage of the event, including this year), a nominating committee is assembled each year to determine the CEA nominees. These include writers, promoters, club owners, local-music radio hosts and others whose opinion on local music-makers we trust. This year's committee included approximately 40 such people. We try our best to include those whose expertise is either wide-ranging or specific to a particular genre represented in the CEA categories. (Judges do not have votes counted if they're cast for an artist with whom the judge directly works.)

This year, invitations to participate in the nominating process were sent out to nearly 70 people, so obviously certain experts declined to participate, missed the deadline for nominees or just ignored our request.

The committee is asked to nominate up to three artists per category who caught their eyes and ears this past year. The only guidelines are that the artists should have been active in the past 365 days, the nominees should be largely original (though certainly talented, straight-up "cover bands" are generally not eligible) and the judges are also instructed to give special consideration to any act that has released new recorded material in that same time-frame.

The CEA nominating judges are listed in the CEA "program" annually. I will not release their names here because I've personally received many rude or stupid emails telling me what an idiot I am for not nominating "fill in the blank." The nominating committee was kind enough to participate; I don't want to open any of them up to such haranguing and harassment.

Finally, I'd just like to say that every year there are TONS of really great acts that deserve a nomination but don't get one. It's not personal. It's not "political." It's not "who you know." It's simply a matter of time and space. If every artist who deserved a nomination got one, the CEA show itself would run 16 hours — and that's just to read the nominations for each category.

I agree to some extent that award shows like these are a little frivolous and that the process for nominations isn't perfect. It never is, for any awards show. We have thought about letting the public nominate the artists (a la the long-gone "CAMMY" awards presented by The Enquirer), but ultimately feel that the way the CEA process is set up works best. Because, ultimately, whoever wins their category is going to deserve it.

Though we take the process seriously, we've always thought of the CEAs as more of a celebration than a contest. I invite you to think of it the same way and join us for the show, whether you were nominated or not. The CEAs are for the ENTIRE Greater Cincinnati music scene. The awards are just a good excuse to get everyone together. Instead of being a sore sport about your lack of attention, come out and congratulate and party with your fellow nominees.

 
 
by mbreen 04.20.2011
Posted In: Music News at 10:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Free Download: Bootsy’s James Brown Tribute Track

Bootsy Collins spoke with music writer Brian Baker for this week’s CityBeat, revealing the conceptual, philosophical and educational elements behind his new album, Tha Funk Capital of the World (out this Tuesday). The album’s label home, Mascot Records, is giving a sneak peak in the form of tribute track “JB-Still the Man,” Bootsy’s James Brown requiem featuring a spoken-word tribute to Brown’s rare influence on the world by Rev. Al Sharpton. The groovy track (available as a free download at the link below) is just one of the tributes to Collins’ heroes on the album. Collins talked to Baker about how Jimi Hendrix’s own voice ended up on Funk Capital’s Hendrix tribute, “Mirrors Tell Lies.”

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by Mike Breen 05.10.2013
 
 
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Free Summer Music at Fountain Square, Washington Park

Outdoor Downtown/OTR hotspots present themed music nights several days a week

We told you a few weeks back about the lineup for the MidPoint Indie Summer concert series on Fountain Square, featuring numerous (primarily local) Indie and Rock acts every Friday this summer from 7-11 p.m. Click here for the full rundown.

But there are many other popular themed nights returning this summer to both Fountain Square and Washington Park, which re-opened after a major makeover in time to introduce live music nights last summer for the first time. (Both spots are managed by the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC).

Fountain Square's PNC Summer Music Series will have live music five days a week, while Washington Park will host three themed music nights this summer. All events are free and a great way to enjoy our city's central districts. The concerts begin at the end of May/start of June and run through the end of August/start of September. Be sure to check the official websites of both venues for any updates, additions or cancellations.

Fountain Square

• Every Tuesday from 7-9 p.m., the Square presents "American Roots" night. This year, the lineup is the strongest its been, showcasing the best of Greater Cincinnati's rich Roots/Americana scene (as well as a few regional faves). 

May 27
8 p.m.: Magnolia Mountain
7 p.m. Terminal Union

June 4
8 p.m.: Kentucky Struts
7 p.m.: The Turkeys

June 11
8 p.m.: The Tillers
7 p.m.: Tom Evanchuck

June 18
8 p.m.: Dallas Moore Band
7 p.m.: Jamison Road

June 25
8 p.m.: Kentucky Timbre
7 p.m.: Tex Schramm

July 2
8 p.m.: Shiny and the Spoon
7 p.m.: Ten String Symphony

July 9
8 p.m.: Glossary
7 p.m.: Frontier Folk Nebraska

July 16
8 p.m.: Pure Grain
7 p.m.: Straw Boss

July 23
8 p.m.: Jeremy Pinnell & the 55s
7 p.m.: Arlo McKinley

July 30
8 p.m.: Great Peacock
7 p.m.: The Seedy Seeds

August 6
8 p.m.: Bulletville
7 p.m.: Ricky Nye & Chris Douglas

August 13
8 p.m.: Mason James
7 p.m.: Honey and Houston

August 20
8 p.m.: Bobby Mackey
7 p.m.: Blair Carman

August 27
8 p.m.: Robert Ellis
7 p.m.: Fifth on the Floor

Reggae Wednesdays return to the Square this summer, with wider-net bookings that include numerous regional and touring Reggae acts. Music runs every night from 6-10 p.m. and acts are teamed up with a DJ or DJ squad for each event. 

May 29
The Ohms
Summer Splash Happy Hour with DJ Frankie D

June 5
The Zionites
Summer Splash Happy Hour with Queen City Imperial Sound System

June 12
Cliftones
Summer Splash Happy Hour with DJ Frankie D

June 19
Seefari
Summer Splash Happy Hour with I Vibez

June 26
The Drastics
Summer Splash Happy Hour with DJ Frankie D

July 3
Jah Messengers
Summer Splash Happy Hour with Queen City Imperial Sound System

July 10
Dougie Simpson and Faith
Summer Splash Happy Hour with DJ Frankie D

July 17
Billbuckers
Summer Splash Happy Hour with I Vibez

July 24
Ark Band
Summer Splash Happy Hour with DJ Frankie D

July 31
Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew
Summer Splash Happy Hour with Queen City Imperial Sound System

August 7
Ras Dodirie
Summer Splash Happy Hour with DJ Frankie D

August 14
Ras Gato
Summer Splash Happy Hour with I Vibez

August 21
Nature
Summer Splash Happy Hour with DJ Frankie D

August 28
One World Tribe
Summer Splash Happy Hour with Queen City Imperial Sound System

• Salsa dancers and music lovers will be happy to know that Salsa on the Square is returning this summer on Thursdays, running 7-10 p.m. As always, dance instructors will be on hand to give you pointers (if you need 'em). Music is provided primarily by some of Greater Cincinnati's finest Salsa/Latin music groups. 

May 30: Son Del Caribe

June 6: Kandela

June 13: Zumba

June 20: Tropicoso

June 27: Grupo Tumbao

July 4: Clave’ Son

July 11: Kandela

July 18: Tropiscoso

 uly 25: Grupo Tumbao

August 1: Zumba

August 8: Azucar Tumbao

August 15: Clave’ Son

August 22: Brian Andres & the Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel 

August 29: Son Del Caribe 

• Before MidPoint Indie Summer on Fridays, local club/bar conglomerate 4EG (which operates several nightclubs in the area) will present 4EG Happy Hour from 5-7 p.m. Local DJs will spin every Friday (except for Aug. 2, when local cover band Snidely Whiplash performs). 

May 31:
DJ Ice Cold Tony

June 7:
DJ Jake the Ripper

June 14:
DJ E-trayn

June 21:
DJ Identity

June 28:
DJ Jesse the Ripper

July 5:
DJ D-Lo

July 12:
Fuseamania

July 19:
DJ Tina T

July 26:
DJ Will Kill

August 2:
Snidely Whiplash 

August 9:
DJ Scene

August 16:
DJ Simo

August 23:
DJ Spryte

August 30:
TBA

• One of the most popular nights on the Square during the summer is Saturdays' "Beats" night, booked by local promoter Self Diploma. The concerts run 7-10 p.m. and again feature an impressive mix of local and touring Hip Hop, Electronic and DJ acts. Among the national act highlights this year are Mod Sun, Hoodie Allen, Watch the Duck and DJ Jazzy Jeff. 

June 1
10 p.m.: Chuck Inglish
9 p.m.: Puck
8 p.m.: Olu
7 p.m.: The Natives

June 8
10 p.m.: DJ D-LO
9 p.m.: Cal Scruby
8 p.m.: SD Choice
7 p.m.: DJ Vizion

June 15
10 p.m.: Hoodie Allen
9 p.m.:D-Why
8 p.m.: Sam Lachow
7 p.m.: Ian J

June 22
10 p.m.: Mod Sun
9 p.m.: Trademark Aaron
8 p.m.: Junya Be
7 p.m.: Jean P

June 29
10 p.m.: Drummer vs Emulator
9 p.m.: Firecat 451
8 p.m.: Black Signal
7 p.m.: Catch Phrase

July 6
10 p.m.: Mutrix
9 p.m.: Milk N Cookies
8 p.m.: DJ X Nightmare
7 p.m.: No Limits

July 13
10 p.m.: T Mills
9 p.m.: Huey Mack
8 p.m.: Santino Corleon
7:30 p.m.: Round 2 Crew
7 p.m.: Nick Youngerman

July 20
10 p.m.: Collin Mcloughin
9 p.m.: Napalm
8 p.m.: X5ight
7 p.m.: DJ Sab

July 27
10 p.m.: Watch the Duck
9 p.m.: Gold Shoes
8 p.m.: Vincent Vega
7:30 p.m.: DJ Rhetorik
7 p.m.: Emari J

August 3
10 p.m.: Somo
9 p.m.: Arin Ray
8 p.m.: Eben Frankewitz
7 p.m.: Alabama Capital

August 10
9:30 p.m.: Stafford Brothers
8:30 p.m.: Davey C
7:45 p.m.: J Hollow
7 p.m.: 4 Grand

August 17
9:30 p.m.: Candyland
8:30 p.m.: DJ Prism
7:45 p.m.: B-Funk of Dave Rave
7 p.m.: Neon Medusa

August 24
9-11 p.m.: DJ Jazzy Jeff
8 p.m.: Joseph Nevels
7 p.m.: Erica P

Washington Park

After a successful inaugural summer of events last year, Washington Park brings back three music nights, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, plus several other entertainment offerings, including "Dancing Under the Stars," an every-Tuesday dance night, with lessons that focus on different types of dancing each week. (Click below for the concert lineups.)

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by mbreen 05.05.2009
Posted In: Local Music at 01:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Bad Veins Track Listing, Album Art and Acoustic Session

The album artwork and tracklisting for Bad Veins debut — coming out on Dangerbird Records nationally on July 21 — has been posted on the band's label's Web site. The self-titled record will get a local release party on July 24 on Fountain Square.

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by Alex L. Weber 07.31.2009
Posted In: Local Music, Music Commentary at 04:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (11)
 
 
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Ridiculous Band Names: A Retrospective

As CityBeat’s Assistant Music Editor for the past three months, I’m the person behind most of the music listings—those microscopic items printed in the middle of the newspaper every week. With the assistance of Real Actual Music Editor Mike Breen and a crazy little interface called Zipscene, I make them appear there and on the Web site.

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by mbreen 04.15.2011
Posted In: Local Music, Music News at 11:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Composer Therese Edell, 1950-2011

Cincinnati composer and founding member of MUSE Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir Therese Edell passed away last month after an extended battle with MS. She was 61. Considered a pioneer of “Women’s Music,” Edell was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Cincinnati in 1969 to attend CCM. Edell and longtime collaborator Betsy Lippitt toured the country and were favorites at Women’s Music festivals. Her releases include 1970’s Prophecy’s Child and 1978’s milestone From Women’s Faces, as well as the 1990 For Therese, a compilation of her songs performed by various fans/supporters as a 40th birthday present.

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by mbreen 12.05.2008
Posted In: Music Commentary at 11:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Cheat or Treat?: The Pitch Correction Explosion

This morning I was in the car listening to the radio, growing restless with NPR’s downer economic news. I decided to check in on the Pop music world and surfed between a couple of Top 40 stations. I stopped on “Love Lockdown,” the new single from Kanye West.

It’s a pretty interesting and unique track, with some great beats and killer melodies. But the most noticeable aspect of the recording is the sound of Kanye’s voice. And that sound is anything but unique in today’s mainstream music.

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by Amy Harris 06.12.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Interview at 01:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Q&A with Alice Cooper

Legendary rocker performs at Fraze Pavilion Wednesday

In the last year, Alice Cooper could be seen everywhere from special guesting on stage with Vince Gill to rocking out with Rob Zombie. This past weekend he even popped up singing Lady Gaga at Bonnaroo.

Cooper can do anything in music, entertain every audience, and still be cutting edge enough to be a premier name in music after almost 50 years in the business, countless awards and nominations and 36 albums. He shows no signs of slowing down and he is set to continue his monumental career as his band goes on the road with Iron Maiden this summer and fall.

CityBeat was privileged to speak with the legend to preview his upcoming show near Dayton before he hits the road with Iron Maiden. He spoke about longevity and told of the more bizarre stories of being a tenant in the Queen City. Alice Cooper performs at the Fraze Pavilion in Kettering this Wednesday.

CityBeat: Your show in Dayton is coming up.

Alice Cooper: Yes, we start this tour in June with Iron Maiden. We will be out there as their guest star on the show, their guests, so that’s an hour show. The show we are doing there in Dayton is our regular show which will be a full out Alice Cooper show.

CB: I am actually a photographer and I’ve photographed you many times. You are one of my favorite artists to shoot.

AC: Well we give photographers a lot to shoot. If you are going to go all that trouble to do all that theatrics and really coordinate the show like that, then I want to see lots of shots. I love seeing different angles, people will hand me an envelope full of pictures and I will go, “That’s a great shot. That’s a great shot.” And it gives me a different perspective of what the show looks like because we only see it from the stage. We never see it from the audience point of view.

CB: I have interviewed many of your past guitarists, Jason Hook and Al Pitrelli and people that have toured with you and everybody always has spectacular things to say about you as a mentor and just to be around. One of my questions is how do you choose band members on your tours now?

AC: Honestly, I am very instinctive about guitar players. Of course the guitar players are the gunslingers. They are the guys that you can sit and listen to and go, "When I quit singing, I want to hear something take over," and it better be a guitar that can take over what I’m doing when I step back, I want that guitar player to step up. So getting a Damon Johnson, when we first got Damon, every guitar player wants to stand back a little bit and I say, “No, no, no, when it is your solo, you take two steps forward into the light and let it go.”

A lot of times lead singers don’t want their lead guitar player to share the limelight. I want everybody in that band to have their moment on stage where they are the star. So when you get (young Australian guitarist) Orianthi, who is a natural, she is a natural star up there. I mean the girl is such a great player.

CB: Is she going to be with you?

AC: Yes, I mean she is such a great character for a Alice Cooper show. And you get Ryan Roxie on this tour and Ryan is a show unto himself. He has his own production going on over there which I really like because he really brings it every night. And Tommy, who I have in the middle as a rhythm guitar player, has got his own show going on. It’s great to get guys to come out of their shells and just when you get on stage be a rock star. I don’t want you to be a sideman.

CB: Again, it’s always been amazing to talk to all these people who have worked with you over the years and I know they appreciate it as well.

AC: I think it is because I let them play. I want you to play. When it is your turn to play, I want you to be Eric Clapton, I want you to be Jeff Beck, I want you to be the guy and sometimes it takes a little bit of getting used to. These guys are not used to being the center of attention, they are used to being the guys that stand in the background and play.

Sometimes it’s hard for Johnny Depp, when Johnny plays with us, I kind of have to push him forward a little bit because he likes to hang back a little bit.

CB: We are in Cincinnati. Can you tell me what your craziest Cincinnati story is from your past?

AC: I have the best Cincinnati story you have ever heard. This is a true story. We finally left L.A. We decided we had to move some place out of L.A., out of New York, some place in the Midwest. So we go to Cincinnati and we play this show there and we get a standing ovation. We decided the first standing ovation we get, that is where we are going to move.

So we played in Cincinnati and got a standing ovation, I think it may have been after the Cincinnati Pop Festival, the one we did with Iggy (Pop and The Stooges), and we found this area down by the college. It was this big, beautiful house for rent. So we came in and rented this house at the beginning of summer, and we went in and painted it and did everything like that.

For three months we lived there until in September, all of a sudden, there was a knock at the door, we walked outside and there were 10 guys that are football players and they are going “What are you doing at our house?” And I said, “What are you talking about? We rented this house indefinitely.” And the guy goes, “This is our frat house. I don’t know who rented this to you but they didn’t own the house. You are paying rent to someone that doesn’t even own the house.”

Some guy rented us a frat house and he didn’t even own it. He just walked in and put up a "For Rent" sign because nobody was there and we just assumed he just owned the house. So for these guys, it was kind of cool to them that Alice Cooper was living in their house, but we had to leave because it was their frat house.

CB: So did you pick another city or did you hang around town?

AC: We moved to Detroit then but it was really funny because we really thought Cincinnati was where we were going to live and then we got ejected by the frat house.

CB: I guess it could have worked out a lot different. You could still be in our hometown. You have spoken openly the last few years that you have become a Christian and about your Christian beliefs. Did that change how you put your show together?

AC: I think what it is, you do a certain amount of your own, not censoring, but you start shaping the show whereas there may be a couple of songs that I used to do that, now when I sing those songs, I don’t believe that anymore. So, it is hard for me to sing that.

It hasn’t been any big hits, “School’s Out”, “18”, “Billion Dollar Babies”, all those songs have nothing to do with Christianity or nothing to do with something that I couldn’t sing as a Christian. Most of it is social satire anyway, but there are a few songs that I looked at and I went, “You know what, I don’t believe that anymore,” so I am going to stay away from that show.

I am just being true to myself to be honest with you. It really hasn’t affected how I do my stage show because I don’t believe Alice was promoting anything that was anti-Christian. We were like a musical horror movie and I think if people took Alice Copper as entertainment, as pure entertainment, there is certainly a dark side to my sense of humor but I don’t think there has ever been anything in there that was, that any Christian couldn’t see and have fun with.

CB: It’s all in good fun. It’s all perspective.

AC: Yeah, and I think if you look at it as a social satire, I am fine with it. I don’t really have a problem with that. I am still very involved, I read twice a day, I have two different times of devotional for myself. I hope and I try not to just be a Christian in “Oh, I’m a Christian.” I try to live that life. It is a one-on-one relationship with Christ so I really try to keep that as my lifestyle. In other words, you aren’t ever going to see me at the strip club after a show.

CB: I know you gave up drugs and alcohol a long time ago for good reasons. Is there still ever a struggle on the road to stay sober?

AC: No, never has been. I was literally healed from that. People say you are cured, I say no, it was much different. I never went to AA. I never had to do any of that. I came out of a hospital and it was gone. It was gone as if I had cancer and cancer was gone the next day. It was totally taken away from me. I never had a struggle with alcohol. When I came out of the hospital, I was absolutely straight as an arrow. I never had a desire or a craving for alcohol which even the doctors say is weird. I know because I have a lot of friends that are in AA and they struggle with it all the time. They say, “How do you do it?” and I say “I am not an alcoholic anymore. I was one but I am not anymore.” I wouldn’t challenge myself. In other words, I wouldn’t sit around and say, “Well I think I will take a drink of beer.” Because I know that could be a trigger that takes me back to where I was. So I won’t even approach that, but at the same time I don’t have any desire to do that.

CB: Well, my Mom saw you in 1974 and she still talks about it today as I go shoot your shows. It was one of her memorable experiences with you and some chickens in Nashville at Memorial Coliseum…

AC: Well the music hasn’t changed much since the ‘70s to now, if you look at the bands that are still out there — Aerosmith,  Ozzy, Alice, Thin Lizzy — we are all still playing the same kind of music. I think it is funny that 16, 17, 18 year old kids are more into Classic Rock than they are into modern Rock so I think there is a large audience for us that has never seen us. One of the reasons we are playing the Iron Maiden tour is because I don’t think the Iron Maiden audience has ever seen Alice Cooper so I want to expose them to Alice Cooper.
CB: Has touring for you changed from now to then?

AC: It’s a lot easier now. When you are physically in better shape and you are mentally and spiritually in better shape, (my wife) Sheryl and I have been together for 36 years, and I never been happier in my life. My kids are great. All my ducks are in a row. Physically, I am healthy. Touring is easy then. Physically, it is a workout and you have to get used to traveling and you have to get used to being away from your family a lot even though now my family can travel with me any time they want to. My wife will go out for three weeks then go home for a week and come back out for two or three weeks. So, touring to me is easy.

CB: You spoke about music now and what people are listening to. Are there any current bands you listen to these days?

AC: I wish there was — my pet peeve right now is that 80-90% of the modern Rock bands are just testosterone-free. I am listening to these bands and going, "Where is the spark? Where is the fire?" These bands are whining like crazy. I hear these bands and go, "What is wrong with these guys?" And then I look at a picture of the band and I could go into a mall and pick any five guys, it’s like they are trying not to be rock stars. They just want to be normal guys that play in a band with no image and no fire just we are in a band. “What is wrong with that?” That’s crazy. If you are in a Rock band, you get in a Rock band to be something different. I guess modern Rock bands really just want to blend in and I think it is the most boring time in Rock right now that I have ever seen.

CB: Well you have your Lady Gagas…

AC: There are exceptions. Jack White is amazing. The Foo Fighters are amazing. I don’t know the Black Veil Brides music very much but I love the image. At least they are going out of their way to be something that when you see them on stage you say, “That’s the Black Veil Brides.” But when I see 99% of the other bands up there I say those bands can be anybody. I just don’t get the fact that everybody is so against having image.

CB: Are you working on any new music, maybe another album?

AC: The Welcome to My Nightmare album has been out for about a year now and that was our highest charting album for quite a long time. So after this tour, we will go back in the studio again, Bob Ezrin and I will, but we were very, very happy with Welcome to my Nightmare.

CB: I briefly spoke to you at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction this year in Cleveland. I know you weren’t performing but what your favorite part of the night?

AC: You mean the last one. I thought Guns N Roses were amazing. I thought Slash and the boys were the best band there. They just rocked that place.

CB: We are heading into a critical election year, are you planning on backing any candidates this time?

AC: Boy, I’ll tell you at this point right now I almost want to go independent. I am not political in the least bit. I am not in the least bit political. So when somebody says, “Who are you voting for?” I’m going, “Wow!” It’s like saying, do you want a poke in the eye or a poke in the ear. Nobody is making me smile now.

CB: And it is very narrow now.

AC: Yeah, as far as I’m concerned, I wish there was somebody out there that had some spark that would make a difference but I don’t think either one of these guys are.

CB: Do you have any plans to slow down or stop touring?

AC: No. For me, physically everything is fine right now. Until I physically can’t tour, I think I will be touring every year.

 
 
by mbreen 08.01.2011
Posted In: Live Music, Music News at 03:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Death Cab's Coming, Kings of Leon's Not

Riverbend made two concert announcements today that will have some music fans jubilant and others heartbroken. The good news — popular Indie Pop band Death Cab for Cutie will kick off their fall tour for the new album, Codes and Keys, here in Cincinnati at PNC Pavilion on Sept. 30. On the opposite of the spectrum, after some sketchy behavior during a Texas concert this weekend, Kings of Leon has decided to cancel the remainder of the band's summer tour, including the Aug. 24 stop at Riverbend with openers Band of Horses.

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