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by Mike Breen 04.30.2013

Friday 'Indie Summer' Concert Series Announced

Free Friday concerts return to Fountain Square starting May 31

The lineups for 2013's PNC Summer Music Series on Fountain Square — featuring live music from different genres for free throughout the summer — have been coming out gradually. We're happy to announce the lineup so far for the Friday night "Indie Summer" shows (presented by CityBeat and the MidPoint Music Festival).

Look for the rest of the finalized lineups — for American Roots Tuesdays, Reggae Wednesdays, Salsa Thursdays, Saturday's popular Beats night (with Hip Hop, Dance and Electronica) and the acoustic-music-meets-wine-tastings "Sunday in the Grove" — later this week. Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine is also again presenting regular music programming this year, with Jazz on Wednesday, Bluegrass and Roots music on Thursday and R&B/Soul/Hip Hop on Fridays, plus a new Tuesday night feature, Dance Under the Stars, featuring dance lessons in a variety of styles.

The bad news? The Indie Summer shows kick-off on May 31 with the final show by fantastic Cincinnati Indie Pop band Pomegranates. The good news? It will also be the first show by Healing Power, Pomegranates' new name. The opener will also serve as a "release party" for great local Indie crew The Yugos. Christian altrockers Seabird will also use their Indie Summer show to celebrate the release of a new album, the band's first independent release after a couple of albums on Credential Recordings/Universal Music Group. Northern Kentucky rockers Dept. Store Alligators will also put out their new release in conjunction with their Aug. 16 appearance with Belle Histoire.

Local restaurant/club chain 4EG will host "Happy Hour" parties on Fridays as well, featuring various local DJs and drink specials from 5-8 p.m.
Indie Summer concerts are open to fans of all ages and run from 8-11 p.m. all summer on the Square. Click here for details.

May 31: Pomegranates/Healing Power; The Yugos; The Never Setting Suns

June 7: We Were Promised Jetpacks; Tweens; Public

June 14: Seabird; Mike Mains & The Branches; TBA

June 21: Loudmouth; The Dopamines; The Lockland Brakes; BoyMeetsWorld

June 28: Psychodots; Cari Clara; The Ready Stance

July 5: Margot & the Nuclear So & So's and Matt Pond with Matrimony

July 12: Plumb; more TBA

July 19: Wussy; Queen City Radio; TBA

July 26: Brian Olive and Man Halen with The Tongue & Lips

Aug. 2: The Seedy Seeds with The Guitars and the student band from Mason's School of Rock

Aug. 9: Archers Paradox; (headliner to be announced on June 2)

Aug. 16: Belle Histoire; Dept. Store Alligators; TBA

Aug. 23: Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors; Green Light Morning; TBA

Aug. 30: Why? with Vito Emmanuel and TBA

by Amy Harris 05.18.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Festivals, Interview at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
mayhemfestival megadeth d7a3352 600p cr

Q&A with Megadeth

Metal giants headed to Columbus for Rock on the Range festival this weekend

Megadeth can be considered one of today's legendary bands, not just in Metal, but in all of music. They are synonymous with a time period, moments in the lives of so many of their fans. They may have a different look than when the band was formed in 1983 but they are one of the founding fathers and would definitely find themselves on the Mount Rushmore of American Metal and can still fill festival stadiums all over the world. Megadeth have been doing their thing for almost 30 years and show no signs of stopping. They had released their fittingly named 13th studio album TH1RT3EN last year before they came to Cincinnati. They will return to Ohio as one of the main acts at next week’s Rock on The Range.

Over the past year, CityBeat spoke with band drummer Shawn Drover twice and lead guitarist Chris Broderick at Mayhem Festival about life on tour and what the future holds for the band. Megadeth's timeless sound continues on. Hear for yourself when the group performs on the Main Stage in Columbus Sunday night with Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie for the Rock on the Range festival.

CityBeat: I know you joined the band in 2008, right?

Chris Broderick: Yeah, the very beginning.

CB: What was it like the first time you played and jammed with Dave (Mustaine)?

Chris: It was a little intimidating at first I think. But one of the things that really happened was we had to get to work so quickly. We had to get so much done so fast. 

CB: Because of the album and the tour right?

Chris: Well yeah because of the tour at the time. I didn’t really have time to think about what was going on. I was just working. I was trying to knock out as many songs as I could before we went on tour less than a month away. That was my focus really.

CB: You are a classically trained guitarist, right? Can you tell me, how do you think that prepared you for Megadeth and to play metal music?

Chris: Well I don’t know if anything prepares you for Metal music or Megadeth. But I do think it does give me a different skill set, one where I can look at more melodies and harmonies and construction of those types of the aspects of the music and apply what I’ve learned in classical guitar theory or classical theory to the Metal genre.

CB: That’s kind of what stood out to them, right, when they called you to join the band, because you did a lot of classically trained type work?

Chris: It’s hard for me to say. I know it was an influence on their decision, but I know that it was a recommendation of Glen Drover and Shawn Drover that encouraged them to call me.

CB: Good recommendations. They probably didn’t even have to ask.

Chris: And then some of the YouTube clips that I had posted also.

CB: I have been hearing so many bands that are picking people off YouTube. It’s really amazing, Cinderella type stories of people being picked up off YouTube videos.

Chris: Well, it’s one of those things that is awesome in a way because it gives the individual the power of PR, somebody that can market you and get you to the right people to get you a gig or get you the right contact. So it is kind of cool that way.

CB: What was your highlight from the Big 4 concerts?

Chris: It was probably the last Big 4 show actually in the UK. That was pretty huge. We got to play on stage with some of the original members of Diamond Head. Honestly, they weren’t my biggest influence. They were a little bit before my time. But because I am playing with so many people that they heavily influenced, it was instant respect on my behalf and their behalf. It was quite awe-inspiring to see Hetfield  (James) kind of bowing down before him when he went to do the solo. It was awesome.

CB: What is it like on the road these days? Is it really clean living?

Chris: Yeah. It almost has to be because we have so much going on. I couldn’t do all this press and all the meet and greets and stuff like that. It works out pretty well for me too because luckily I never acquired a taste for that kind of that thing. I guess I am too Type A. I always want to be in control.

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by Mike Breen 08.14.2013

Full MidPoint Music Festival Schedule Available Now

New venues and a slew of new artists announce for this September's three-day event

Head to MPMF.com right now to see the full lineup and schedule for the MidPoint Music Festival, coming up Sept. 26-28 at various venues in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.

Due to the legal wrangling over the management of The Emery Theatre (widely covered in CityBeat and at citybeat.com), the classic Cincinnati venue — a favorite from last year’s fest — will not be a part of MPMF in 2013. But MPMF’s footprint is expanding to include downtown’s Mainstay Rock Bar (which has participated in the fest in the past) and first-time MPMF venue The Ballroom at the Taft Theatre.

Like the activities on the MidPoint Midway, at the Contemporary Arts Center and in Washington Park, Taft’s Ballroom will be open to MPMFers of all ages. Tickets for individual Taft Ballroom MPMF shows will be available to purchase through Ticketmaster.com (with lower than usual ticketing fees, or avoid the extra fees altogether and buy them in person at the Taft box office). On Sept. 26, the Ballroom will be headlined by just-announced performers The Thermals; Murder By Death, Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons and Nicholas David perform at the Taft on Sept. 27; and, on Sept. 28, the lineup will feature Daughter, Bear’s Den and Cincinnati’s own Bad Veins.

At mpmf.cincyticket.com, you can buy three-day passes, VIP tickets and other “a la carte” tickets for single shows in Washington Park and at Grammers. Shuggie Otis and Cody ChesnuTT headline the Washington Park stage on Sept. 26; The Head and The Heart and Youth Lagoon head up the Sept. 27 lineup; and Sept. 28 in Washington Park will be “The Breeders Day Party,” which starts at noon, with The Breeders performing their seminal Last Splash album at 7 p.m. Saturday’s Washington Park lineup also includes Twin Peaks, Gauntlet Hair, Foxygen and Cincy’s Tweens, who’ve been doing numerous tour dates with The Breeders.

On the Dewey’s Pizza stage at Grammers (21-and-up only), Kurt Vile & The Violators, Snowmine and Cincinnati Psych Rock trio The Harlequins perform on Sept. 26, Warpaint and Secret Colours top the Sept. 27 bill and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, METZ and Deap Vally are slated for Sept. 28.

The Cincinnati music scene is well represented once again at this year’s MPMF. Here are some of the area artists confirmed for the fest: Eclipse; Seabird; The Pinstripes; Young Heirlooms; Us, Today; Saturn Batteries; Sun Country; Darlene; Jody Stapleton and The Generals; Electric Citizen; Magnolia Mountain; Allan Pray; The Tigerlilies; Kelly Thomas and the Fabulous Pickups; Public; The Ready Stance; Mad Anthony; Mama's Porch Band; Hickory Robot; Ben Lapps; Ohio Knife; Honeyspiders; New Vega; Archer's Paradox; The Perfect Children; You, You're Awesome; Goose; Chick Pimp, Coke Dealer at a Bar; Plastic Inevitables; redkattseven; SHADOWRAPTR; Halvsies; DAAP Girls; The Cincy Brass; We Are Snapdragon; Black Signal; The Happy Maladies; ADM; Molly Sullivan; Come On Caboose; SOHIO; Wussy; Alone at 3AM; The Natives; Wussy; and The Kickaways.

And Cincy Indie Pop greats The Fairmount Girls are slated to make their record 12th appearance at the 12th annual festival.

Here are a few links for and visuals from some of the most recently announced national acts coming to MPMF 2013.

Hunters (Brooklyn)

Toy Soldiers (Philadelphia)

Deap Vally (Los Angeles)

Bare Mutants (Chicago; fronted by Jered Gummere of The Ponys and Jeanine O’Toole of 1900s)

Magnolia Sons (Nashville)

Sphynx (Austin, Tex.)

Sphynx - Hunger (Live in Austin) from Sphynx on Vimeo.

Dead Gaze (Oxford, Miss.)

The Kicks (Nashville)

Stay tuned for more updates on MPMF ’13, including details on some of the special bonus features on the MidPoint Midway and beyond. Follow MidPoint on Twitter and Facebook to get regular updates on the fest and its performers.

Click below the fold for the recent press release regarding the Biore Strip and MidPoint's continued celebration of women in music.

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by mbreen 11.24.2008
Posted In: CEAs at 01:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Cincinnati Entertainment Awards 2008: The Winners

The afterparty is still going on as I write this, but, while we assess what happened last night at the 12th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards event at the Emery Theatre — the first sold-out show and quite possibly the best show in CEA history — here's who won what last night.

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by mbreen 12.09.2008
Posted In: Local Music at 02:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Rest In Peace, Dennis Yost

Dennis Yost, the lead singer for the group Classic IV (known best for its indelible hit “Spooky”), passed away in Hamilton early Sunday morning. Though not a Cincinnati native, he had lived here for several years and was embraced by the local music community.

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by Amy Harris 01.08.2011
at 04:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Cage The Elephant Discusses New Album

Cage The Elephant is a young five-piece from Bowling Green, KY, Matt Shultz (vocals), Brad Shultz (guitar), Daniel Tichenor (bass), Lincoln Parish (guitar) and Jared Champion (drums). They accumulated 80 songs worth of ideas during a 2-year period touring around the globe and living abroad in England supporting their eponymous debut album. As they began sorting through their arsenal of songs, they returned to Kentucky to record album two.

We had the good fortune of catching up with members Lincoln Parish and Daniel Tichenor prior to a performance at the 2010 Voodoo Festival in New Orleans. They are currently promoting the upcoming album, Thank You Happy Birthday, to be released January 11, 2011, and their new single Shake Me Down.

CityBeat: I appreciate you guys taking the time to talk to me. I was interested in you guys because I’m from Clarksville, Tennessee which is very close to your hometown of Bowling Green.
Lincoln Parish
: Yeah an hour away.

CB: The local connection. I know you guys have the new album coming out soon, Thank You Happy Birthday. What’s the story behind the title?
: There’s not one I don’t think.
Daniel Tichenor
: Not one. We just couldn’t… I just think titles at times are… I don’t think they’re really necessary.
: I hate titles.

CB: But your last one was self-titled.
: It’s one thing if you’re doing a concept album.
: But we were asked to come up with a title. So…

CB: Was it somebody’s birthday?
Parish: There’s gonna be a picture of a cupcake on the front of the album cover.

CB: Like Cake?
: We don’t know yet but it will be my proposed idea.

CB: You guys have been touring with STP right?
: Yeah we did for about a month.

CB: Were you guys there when Scott fell off the stage in Cincinnati?
: Yeah we were. I didn’t see it.

CB: That was a crazy night. That stage is really high. It’s like six feet tall. I think that usually the speakers are right up on the stage and he’ll jump on them and go out and sing.
: Yeah, they usually build a platform but I think they didn’t think he was going to go over that far. And he did. He expected it to be there and it wasn’t. He kept singing though.

CB: He did. I talked to the security people the next week and they talked about pulling him out of the wires and they said he was pretty beat up. They said he sang the whole time. The band didn’t even miss a beat. I think if you’re lead singer fell off you guys might look for him right?
: The thing is when you’re playing you’re really not paying attention. If somebody… If something happened to someone in the band you really don’t know.

CB: You really wouldn’t notice for a while?
: I’ve fallen off a couple times.
: Yeah, Lincoln has fallen off and I didn’t even know he fell off.

CB: You just keep going. I guess the only person who can’t fall off is really the drummer.
: If he falls off, we’ve got big problems.

CB: Have you guys been here just today? Were you here yesterday?
: We got in yesterday afternoon.

CB: Did you catch any of the shows?
: No
: We had rehearsal.
: We had rehearsal. We haven’t played in a couple weeks.

CB: What’s your favorite track on the new album and why?
: Mine’s probably Indie Kids.
: And why?
: I don’t know. I just like it. There are a lot of different elements I like about it. But it’s got a cool vibe.

CB: Do you guys write most of the music?
: Yeah we write all of it. We write together.

CB: And you do it together in the same room? I know a lot of bands write separately then they come together to put it all together.
Parish: I mean sometimes there might be an idea that starts off where there’s one person who has a guitar rift or a melody idea or something but usually…

CB: You’re all together.
: It’s all collective.

The band actually locked themselves away in a remote Kentucky cabin and, after just two weeks, emerged with Thank You, Happy Birthday, a set of songs that blasts through your speakers with ferocity.

CB: So you’re still friends.
: Yeah for the most part.
: I think my favorite song would be our first single that we’re going to release. It’s called Shake Me Down. The reason I like it is because I’m kind of glad it’s going to be our first single because when it comes out people are going to be really surprised.
: It’s a lot of growth.

CB: So how is it different? I loved the first album In One Ear…
: Maturity and growth.
: It sounds a lot different. I mean you can still tell it’s us.

CB: Do you guys have any ballads?
: There’s quite a few. It’s all singing harmonies and…
: It’s singing, harmonies and reverb. I love reverb.
: The first album was more talky. This one’s singier.
: Well there are some songs on this new record that are a lot heavier than the first record. Then there are some songs that are a lot softer.
: It’s a big mix.

Although Cage The Elephant has sold more records than most recent bands on their debuts, they have engaged in indulgences that took them off track and battled their share of demons and creative doubts. Their adversities forced them to take a fresh approach with their new album, and their lives.

CB: So when you guys are touring, what do you miss about home? You guys live in Kentucky when you’re not touring, right?
: Nashville
: I miss my bed.
: It’s like the simple things.
: Bed and some isolation. Sometimes you just want to do your own thing.
: It’s kind of cool to have a little bit of stability for a little bit. Day to day kind of stuff.

CB: I hear that a lot from people. They just like doing their laundry and doing normal things they can do at home versus on the road where everything is hard. You have to find logistically where we are going to eat. Are we washing our clothes in the sink today?
: You have to get in your car and drive with stuff like that.

CB: So how long have you guys lived in Nashville?
: I’ve been there for about a year and half.
: Two years.

CB: Which part of town do you live in?
: I live in West End.
: I’m in Germantown. It’s cool. It’s nice. It has that small town vibe.

CB: People are nice but there’s tons of music. Doesn’t it blow you away with all the talented musicians that are there that are never going to make it? It’s kind of depressing. They are super talented.
: I have a friend who works at Trader Joe’s now on the side. He was in a band called Warrior Soul. After he quit Warrior Soul, he went on to write an album with the guy from Ministry and went on to do a lot of other stuff. But he’s working at Trader Joe’s now.

CB: Do you guys play locally there a lot?
: We haven’t played Nashville in over a year.
: Our booking agent is very selective of when we play. You don’t want to overdo it.
: There was one point and time where we played Nashville like every weekend for a while.

CB: I think it depends on where you’re at and what you’re doing and promoting. If you weren’t playing music, what would you be doing?
: I worked at Lowe’s. So I’d still probably be working at Lowe’s and hating life.
: I don’t really know what I would be doing.
: I think it’s cause we started so young. There’s no telling what we would do.
: I don’t know. I really don’t

CB: This is all you ever wanted to do?
: It’s hard to even like imagine not doing music. Even if the band was to break up now I still feel like I would do something in music.
: At least try. There’s somebody you can always play with.
: I think if you really love it, you’ll always do it no matter what.

CB: So how do you define success?
: If you’re content with the happenings of your life then you could be considered a success. There’s stuff from the outside that could be considered success, but if you’re not happy at the end of the day then what’s the point of doing it. That’s the way I see it.

CB: Most people don’t say money, fame, or fortune. It’s usually about family or just being happy or love playing music.
: If you’re happy and content with what you’re doing, that’s success to me.

CB: Obviously the record’s coming out…
: January 11th

CB: Are you going to support it with a tour? Do you have anything line up yet?
: We don’t really know what we’re doing after it comes out. It’s kind of up in the air right now.
: We’re definitely going to be promoting it.

CB: I’m hoping you guys come through Cincinnati and are at Rock on the Range next year?
: Hopefully, we’ll get back over to Europe right when it comes out.

CB: You guys lived there for a while right?
: Yeah

CB: Did you like it?
: London… I liked it. It’s a different pace. It was all new to us.
: At the time it was kind of weird. We didn’t really know what to think about it. But now looking back, I miss it a lot.

CB: It’s uncomfortable a little bit. You’re out of the country. But when you get back and you reflect on it…
: It’s good life experience.
: But then you miss the little stuff. The kebab shops.

CB: Exactly, I miss the accent from London. I think they have the best accent.
I have an English wife.

CB: So that was your souvenir from the trip?
: It’s so weird. I had a girlfriend from England and you get so used to that accent.

CB: I don’t have a huge southern accent but a lot of people who aren’t from the U.S. think the southern accent is similar to the English accent.
: Every time we go to Chicago, for some reason in Chicago everybody thinks we sound so southern but I guess we do have the accent maybe.

CB: A teeny bit. Any guilty pleasures?
: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

CB: That’s not too guilty
: I think he likes that Bulletproof song by LaRoux. I don’t mind that song either.
: There you go. That’s our guilty pleasure, LaRoux.

CB: Is there anything else you guys want to say or promote? You talked about the first single. When’s it going to hit the radio?
Shake Me Down in a couple weeks around Thanksgiving time.

CB: I’ve been listening to your other stuff for so long. I’m ready. I’m sure you guys are ready to play something new right?
The first album was like four years ago.

CB: Are we going to hear new stuff today?
: Yeah, we are actually going to play the new single tonight.

CB: I look forward to it. Thank you so much.

When the band played Voodoo Fest later that day after my interview on the main stage they proved to be one of the highlights of the day. Lead singer Matt Schultz was electric and did more stage diving than I had seen in a long time into their devoted legions of fans. At one point he even climbed up the scaffolding surrounding the sound booth and dove directly into the crowd. His Superman stunts and the band’s rebellious sing along lyrics got everyone excited for the second day of Voodoo Fest.

Don’t forget to checkout their new album, Thank You Happy Birthday, in stores January 11.

by Mike Breen 03.29.2012
Posted In: Local Music at 11:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bunbury Music Fest (Almost) Full Lineup Announcement

Innaugural fest adds Guided By Voices, Foxy Shazam, Ra Ra Riot and tons more

After previously teasing its inaugural lineup by announcing performers like Jane’s Addiction, Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie, Airborne Toxic Event, Manchester Orchestra and Gym Class Heroes, the Bunbury Music Festival today announced most of the remaining acts for the July 13-15 festival along the riverfront at Yeatman's Cove/Sawyer Point. There will reportedly be over 100 acts on six stages over the three days, so more acts will be announced.

Here's who's playing:

Friday, July 13
: Jane’s Addiction, 
Airborne Toxic Event, Minus the Bear, O.A.R., Foxy Shazam, Ra Ra Riot
, LP, Matt Pryor, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Ponderosa, 
All Get Out
, The Minor Leagues, Lauren Mann, She Does Is Magic,  Bo & the Locomotive, Tristen and Pet Clinic.
Saturday, July 14: Weezer, 
Gym Class Heroes, Manchester Orchestra, Grouplove, RJD2, Dan Deacon, 
Jukebox the Ghost, The Bright Light Social Hour, Kevin Devine, 
The Silent Comedy, Graffiti 6, 1,2,3, Secret Music
, Messerly & Ewing, 500 Miles To Memphis, The Lions Rampant, 
Jeremy Pinnell & the 55’s, Wheels on Fire and Hotfox.
Sunday, July 15
: Death Cab for Cutie, 
City and Colour, Motion City Soundtrack, 
Guided By Voices
, Margot & The Nuclear So & So’s, Good Old War, Lights, Will Hoge, Maps & Atlases, YAWN, Now, Now
, Wussy, The Seedy Seeds and The Tillers.

Tickets are $46 for one day or $93 for a three-day pass. Click here for more details.

by Amy Harris 05.24.2010
Posted In: Festivals at 10:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Helmet Talks Before Rock on the Range

Helmet, the alternative metal band from New York founded in 1989 by vocalist/guitarist Page Hamilton, is preparing to release its latest album, Seeing Eye Dog this summer. Leading up to Rock on the Range last weekend in Columbus, we were able to catch up with Hamilton via phone for an interview.

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by Mike Breen 03.30.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music News at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
2pskgeh copy

Full Warped Tour Cincinnati Lineup Announced

Package tour returns to Riverbend July 31

After Lollapalooza created the "package tour" craze in the ’90s, most of the tours collapsed, faded away or adjusted, including Lolla itself. But the folks behind The Warped Tour figured out how to make it work (mostly by not overpaying bands or treating anyone like prima donnas) and Warped is by far the most consistent and longest running big package tour around. It returns to Riverbend this summer.

The fest brings its usual eclectic lineup of Punk, Metal, Hip Hop and Indie acts back to Cincinnati on July 31. Tickets go on sale April 6 at 10 a.m. (a week from today) and are just $35 (plus ticketing fees). Click here for more on tickets.

The lineups change throughout the Warped jaunt as acts come on and off the tour. Here's who's on board for the Riverbend stop. (Lineup is subject to change.):

Main Stage: Taking Back Sunday, All Time Low, New Found Glory, Streetlight Manifesto, Yellowcard, Piece The Veil, Four Year Strong, Of Mice and Men, We The Kings, Breathe Carolina, Miss May I, Falling In Reverse, Blood On The Dance
TBD Stage:  Every Time I Die, Mayday Parade, blessthefall, Chelsea Grin, For Today, Memphis May Fire, Motionless In White, Rise To Remain, Sleeping With Sirens, The Ghost Inside, Vampires Everywhere!, Title Fight
Tilly's Stage: Senses Fail, Vanna, Polar Bear Club, We Are The Crowd, Man Overboard, A Loss For Words, Funeral Party, I Fight Dragons, Machine Gun Kelly, Oh No Fiasco
TBD Stage: Echo Movement, G-Eazy, Stepdad, The Constellations, Ballyhoo!, Champagne, T. Mills, Tomorrows Bad Seeds, Mod Sun, The Green, Amyst
Ernie Ball Stage:  iwrestledabearonce, Born Of Osiris, Chunk! No Captain, Fireworks, Transit, Cold Forty Three, The Scissors
Kevin Says Stage:  Make Do And Mend, Matt Toka, Tonight Alive, Skip The Foreplay, Sick of Sarah, Mighty Mongo, Captain Capa, I Call Fives, Hostage Calm, The Silver Comet, Twin Atlantic, The Darlings, Dead Sara
Acoustic Basement:   A Loss For Words, Koji, Brian Marquis, Rocky Votolato, Transit, Owen Plant, Anthony Raneri
Ourstage.com is also sponsoring a stage this year and local bands are encouraged to sign up for a chance to play their hometown Warped (and possibly even join Ourstage.com's stage for 22 dates). Click here for details.

by Amy Harris 10.26.2010
at 09:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Interview with Godsmack's Shannon Larkin

Godsmack came through Riverbend Music Center’s PNC Pavillion yesterday on their “Oracle” Tour with Five Finger Death Punch and Drowning Pool.

We caught up with Shannon Larkin Sunday afternoon before the show on the bus to talk about football and about his musical influences. When I arrived I waited in their outdoor football viewing area where a TV comes out of the side of the bus and is setup for group viewing. You can tell members of these three bands are die hard football fans.

I had already done my research to know that Shannon loves the Oakland Raiders and has pretty strong feelings about them bringing down the San Diego Chargers last week for the first time in many years.

CB: Do you feel like your Oakland Raiders are doing better than they should be? (Laughing)
No. No I don’t. I feel like they are doing a lot worse than they should be. My Raiders story goes back to growing up. I was raised in Virginia area and my dad is a Notre Dame guy. He went to Notre Dame so I grew up watching ND football ever Saturday. Tim Brown, who was a number one draft pick and Heisman winner, went to play for the Raiders in 1987 or 1988. After that I always liked the Raiders. I also went to Redskins games at RFK growing up in Virginia, so the Raiders were my AFC team and I always loved the Skins. The last few years the Redskins have been terrible and they had Jason Campbell as their quarterback and then he got traded to Oakland and I didn’t understand why.

CB: Now he is the starter right?
Yes because Gradkowski got hurt. Al Davis has been very influencial with things he has done for the NFL. He has done some great things, but he is so old now like 88, he needs to let the team go and get some younger people. Let them win again.

CB: Well, San Diego is losing today so you should be happy.
Last week was so amazing. Every year, I watch the Raiders lose those two games against San Diego and last week Sully and I were jumping up and down when Oakland won for the first time in a long time.

CB: Well, we are here in Bengals country, do you have any favorite Bengals?
They are exciting this year with T.O. and Chad. Terrell Owens is still making amazing plays and touchdowns every game and is fun to watch. Carson Palmer is a great quarterback and hopefully he can prove himself in the big games.

CB: Well maybe the Raiders and Bengals will see each other in the playoffs.
I can only hope.

CB: In music, you have played with legendary bands like Stone Sour, Black Sabbath, Candlebox, and others, but I read that you love to play funk music. We have the Bootsy Collins connection here in Cincinnati. Have you ever met Bootsy?
I have never met Bootsy. It is funny last night we played Detroit and after the show there were fans waiting outside on the street and I always try to go out and sign autographs and take pictures with the fans. There was this older gray-haired black guy who came up to me and said he was in the P-Funk Allstars with George Clinton. He came up and said hi and that he liked the show. I love funk so that was interesting.

We were a family where the TV was mainly used for Saturday Notre Dame games. After dinner, we would go downstairs and my parents would play records for my sister and I like the Beatles and Creedence. One of the main records was Sly and the Family Stone Greatest Hits.

CB: So you have always had it around.
Yes, Sly and the Family Stone is the shit to me. It just has such a positive message in every song where all the musicians can shine. In my later years, I got into Zeppelin, RUSH, Slayer, Metallica of course. I am giving away my age. In 1984, it became Black Flag and punk bands. Everything kind of circles around. Now I am forty-something I am going back to my roots with 60’s and 70’s rock.

CB: What are you listening to right now?
My latest downloads have been “Pet Sounds” by the Beach Boys, which is another record my parents used to play and Paul McCartney’s “Wings.” People won’t believe it reading this.

CB: Have you met Paul?
: Oh my god no. I wouldn’t even know what to say. After a long hard battle with myself after someone asked me who my top 5 bands were, I ended up picking Ramones, Beatles, Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Sly and the Family Stone. Those are my influences and I wear them on my sleeve.

CB: Is there anyone that you would like to collaborate with that you haven’t worked with yet.
I’d love to work with George Clinton someday since he invented the word funk. Funk to me becomes about being in a room with friends to just jam with and you just make music and there is no pressure to make a record. You just get stoned and have a shot of tequila and just jam for three hours. It always becomes a funk riff that you can loop over and over where everyone can take their little part to shine. I would love someday to create some funk-pop music like Sly and Family Stone. Sly is like a freak that disappeared off the face of the earth so I know I will never get to play with him. George is still out there though with his crack pipe so there is a chance maybe I will be able to play with him.

CB: You just played Sturgis this summer. Did you have fun? Any crazy stories?
It was horrible for us.

CB: Really? I thought you always enjoyed it.
Well we are usually on tour when we play there and this time we weren’t so we didn’t have our bikes. It sucked. There were 500,000 people and bikes and we didn’t have ours. The show was fun but it was like putting a kid in the candy store and telling him he can’t have any and he has to watch all the other kids eat the candy.

CB: What kind of bikes do you have?
Shannon: I have a 07 Heritage Softtail that is my reliable bike. I have a 77 Shovelhead that is my bar hopper bike. In fact my 77 Shovelhead is from a guy here in Cincinnati, Jeff Cochran with Speed King Customs. I ordered it from him here when I found out we would be working on the Oracle album in LA for four months. I knew I would need a bike in LA so I called him after I had seen him when I played here. He brought a whole bunch of bikes out and I fell in love with a red one with a suicide shifter. He came across the 77 and thought it would fit me better so he sent it out to me and I love it.

CB: You guys have the new Oracle album which came out in the spring. What is your favorite song to play on the new album?
“Oracle.” It is a 7.5 minute instrumental. At shows like Rock on the Range, when the album first came out we weren’t ready to tour so we would fly in for radio festival shows. It ended up being like a “best of” with two or three songs off the new record where as this is “The Oracle Tour.” It is Oracle heavy and we play 5 or 6 songs off the new record which makes it far more interesting to us to play new stuff that we haven’t played live before.

CB: The “Love-Hate-Sex-Pain” song is all over the radio right now.
That is so great to hear and what we did for all the songs in the show tonight is strip down the videos and make all new videos to go with each song. We hired a video guy from Motley Crue and dug through years of video tape trying to find stuff that would look cool on the big screens. Everything is brand new visually even if you don’t know all the new songs yet.

CB: So are we going to see any pyro tonight?
We actually have a laser show this time. Laser technology has kind of taken over the past few years and it is sick visually. You can get any can get any color lasers now and it actually takes two guys to run the lasers. It is actually cool from my vantage point as well to see the lasers over the crowd.

CB: I know you have a family now. Do they ever come out on the road with you?
No they don’t really, but we did start this tour in Florida so my wife and kid got to come out and experience the first two shows. They love it. My daughter is 12 now so she is at an age where she can appreciate it and have fun.

CB: Do you ever worry about exposing her to it?
No, we are all in our 40’s and we don’t do any of that crazy shit anymore. We did it all in previous bands before we joined Godsmack. I was 36 when I joined the band and was already married and had my daughter. The only thing I worry about is the language. You know we are a rock band and so when she comes backstage she’ll see people smoking and doing shots. We also did this one DVD called “Changes” and on the DVD I was late to sound check and Sully keeps yelling “Shannon Fucking Larkin” over and over. Now when fans see me and I am walking with my twelve year old people yell out, “Shannon Fucking Larkin” so she is exposed to that sometimes and I want to put ear muffs on her. As far and the drugs and girls though we are way over that.

CB: I have spoken to a lot of drummers this year and some of them like Ray from KORN talk about playing drums all the time everyday even when they are not touring. When you are not touring, do you play all the time or do you take a break?
I play all the time. When I am home, I go in my garage and put on my Ipod and play along with every song on random shuffle. One minute it is the Stones and the next it is Slayer. It is a fun way to practice. Usually when the band is together without Sully, we just jam and play funk and other sounds as well. The other band members live in New Hampshire and I live in Florida so I don’t really have anyone to play with so I jam to the Ipod.

CB: Does your daughter do any music?
: Yes she plays the trumpet in the school band which is cool. Maybe a funk duo is in the future who knows?

CB: What is up next for the band? I know the record is still pretty new, but are you working on new music?
No new music right now. We actually write by ourselves. Everyone has a little recorder that we use. Tony is actually back there playing guitar right now. He plays all day and when he gets a riff he likes, he will record it. By the time we start to write songs, we all have like 20 riffs as a starting point. We use those to write songs and a chorus. Right now we are just all focused on this tour. It is a pretty big production. Even though the set list is the same, the production changes and is ever evolving. Last night Sully came on the bus and we came up with a new ending to the set. We also just came up with a video for “The Enemy.” It is changing as we go, as we see parts that are weak, we make changes. Our video guys says he goes to sleep dreaming about edits.