While I’m not quite a junkie, I am fairly addicted to the “33 1/3” book series from publisher Continuum. If you’ve yet to hear about the series, the books are each dedicated to one specific album that has gained some sort of notoriety in the music world. The records chosen are mostly cult favorites with a few influential blockbusters mixed in. Of the 60 books written so far (each by a different author), the series has covered Pet Sounds, Songs in the Key in Life, Exile on Main St. and Led Zeppelin II but also lower-selling but no less influential recordings by the Magnetic Fields, Belle & Sebastian, Guided By Voices, DJ Shadow and Sonic Youth. (For a great overview, pick up one of the two Greatest Hits volumes released by the publisher.)
The tomes vary in approach, with some offering strictly historical examinations, some more about the author’s personal relationship with the album and others a mix of both. Chicago-based writer and music industry vet Bob Gendron has written what will likely be the only Cincinnati-connected album in the series, telling the tale behind Gentlemen, the major-label debut and relative breakthrough album by The Afghan Whigs. I would argue that records by Over the Rhine and The Ass Ponys, among others, deserve the 33 1/3 treatment, but they’re likely not well known enough to pique the publisher’s interest. I’d also argue that my personal favorite Whigs’ album, Black Love, should get a book, but the chances of having two Whigs stories in the series are just as slim.
Gendron mostly plays historian, telling the story via research and numerous interviews with the prime players, including all of the Whigs (drummer Steve Earle included), Sub Pop employees (Gendron himself used to be one) and other friends and industry connections. He also does a fantastic job of recreating the state of the Whigs at the time, a band of tight friends on the brink of major success yet also inflicted with drug issues and internal and external squabbles.
The story of Gentlemen is bookended by the tale of the band’s beginnings and their breakup, all the way up through last year’s greatest hits album. There are a lot of interesting tidbits and revelations. Gendron gets singer/songwriter Greg Dulli to talk about his serious relationship with the mysterious “Kris,” the dissolution of which led to the album’s tortuous, heartbroken tone. Other fun facts: Dulli recorded several of the album’s lead vocal tracks in one night while flying on coke and trying to impress a girl; Steve Earle was booted for several reasons (alcohol abuse, meddling girlfriend, creative control issues, ego conflict); and labelmate Linda Ronstadt was allegedly furious about the album’s cover (depicting a young boy and girl lounging on a bed), apparently under the impression that it was a naked bellybutton away from being child porn. It was also interesting to read that one of the band’s main friends at Elektra Records was feeding information to the nasty, slanderous 'zine Fat Greg Dulli.
Gendron gets to about every detail of the album, from the cover art’s original inspiration and liner notes to the songs’ inspirations and recording. But he doesn’t just relay facts. He also talks about Gentlemen as an artistic statement, carefully dissecting and describing the individual songs’ and the general album’s mood, cause and effect. Not only does Gendron’s book offer the last word on Gentlemen, it also shows what a compelling story The Afghan Whigs’ entire career remains.
For Whigs fans or even just those who were around Cincinnati to witness the band’s rise from little underground touring unit to soulful, seductive Rock machine, the book is a fascinating remembrance. For those who’ve never even heard of the Afghan Whigs, the story is universal and dramatic enough to be read as a novel (save the music-critic-y song dissertations).
The story is so good, in fact, that it would be great to see Gendron expand it beyond the 113 pages of this book. As his Gentlemen proves, the Whigs are deserving of a long-form biography that tells the band’s complete story. Who knows? Maybe Gentlemen: The Movie isn’t totally out of the realm of possibility.
Too bad John Belushi isn't around to play Greg. And Jimmy Page is too old to play Rick McCollum.
— Mike Breen
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.
July 12: Plumb; more TBA
Aug. 9: Archers Paradox; (headliner to be announced on June 2)
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.
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.
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.
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?
Parish: 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.
Parish: I hate titles.
CB: But your last one was self-titled.
Parish: It’s one thing if you’re doing a concept album.
Tichenor: 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?
Parish: We don’t know yet but it will be my proposed idea.
CB: You guys have been touring with STP right?
Parish: Yeah we did for about a month.
CB: Were you guys there when Scott fell off the stage in Cincinnati?
Parish: 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.
Parish: 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?
Tichenor: 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?
Parish: I’ve fallen off a couple times.
Tichenor: 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.
Parish: If he falls off, we’ve got big problems.
CB: Have you guys been here just today? Were you here yesterday?
Parish: We got in yesterday afternoon.
CB: Did you catch any of the shows?
Tichenor: We had rehearsal.
Parish: We had rehearsal. We haven’t played in a couple weeks.
CB: What’s your favorite track on the new album and why?
Parish: Mine’s probably Indie Kids.
Tichenor: And why?
Parish: 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?
Both: 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.
Parish: 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.
Parish: Yeah for the most part.
Tichenor: 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.
Parish: It’s a lot of growth.
CB: So how is it different? I loved the first album In One Ear…
Parish: Maturity and growth.
Tichenor: It sounds a lot different. I mean you can still tell it’s us.
CB: Do you guys have any ballads?
Tichenor: There’s quite a few. It’s all singing harmonies and…
Parish: It’s singing, harmonies and reverb. I love reverb.
Tichenor: The first album was more talky. This one’s singier.
Parish: 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.
Tichenor: 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?
Tichenor: I miss my bed.
Parish: It’s like the simple things.
Tichenor: Bed and some isolation. Sometimes you just want to do your own thing.
Parish: 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?
Tichenor: You have to get in your car and drive with stuff like that.
CB: So how long have you guys lived in Nashville?
Parish: I’ve been there for about a year and half.
Tichenor: Two years.
CB: Which part of town do you live in?
Parish: I live in West End.
Tichenor: 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
Parish: 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?
Parish: We haven’t played Nashville in over a year.
Tichenor: Our booking agent is very selective of when we play. You don’t want to overdo it.
Parish: 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?
Tichenor: I worked at Lowe’s. So I’d still probably be working at Lowe’s and hating life.
Parish: I don’t really know what I would be doing.
Tichenor: I think it’s cause we started so young. There’s no telling what we would do.
Parish: I don’t know. I really don’t
CB: This is all you ever wanted to do?
Parish: 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.
Tichenor: At least try. There’s somebody you can always play with.
Parish: I think if you really love it, you’ll always do it no matter what.
CB: So how do you define success?
Tichenor: 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.
Parish: If you’re happy and content with what you’re doing, that’s success to me.
CB: Obviously the record’s coming out…
Parish: January 11th
CB: Are you going to support it with a tour? Do you have anything line up yet?
Tichenor: We don’t really know what we’re doing after it comes out. It’s kind of up in the air right now.
Parish: 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?
Parish: Hopefully, we’ll get back over to Europe right when it comes out.
CB: You guys lived there for a while right?
CB: Did you like it?
Tichenor: London… I liked it. It’s a different pace. It was all new to us.
Parish: 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…
Tichenor: It’s good life experience.
Parish: 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.
Parish: I have an English wife.
CB: So that was your souvenir from the trip?
Tichenor: 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.
Parish: 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?
Tichenor: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
CB: That’s not too guilty
Parish: I think he likes that Bulletproof song by LaRoux. I don’t mind that song either.
Tichenor: 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?
Tichenor: 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?
Parish: The first album was like four years ago.
CB: Are we going to hear new stuff today?
Parish: 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.
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.
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.
Are you watching the Grammys alone tonight? Wishing you had someone there with you to enjoy the performances and award presentations help make fun of any and everything that deserves to be? Whether you're solo snarking, hanging out with a few pals, throwing your own Grammy mega-party or at the ceremony in person (we hear Taylor Swift is a big citybeat.com fan), join me tonight at this very cyber spot for some hot live blogging action. And when those witty comments pop into your head (or you become outraged with something I've written), feel free to post some comments of your own. The show airs live on CBS at 8 p.m.; pre-show red carpet festivities are probably going on now on E! And you can watch the program (and pre-show activities) through the Grammys site or through the Grammys YouTube channel.
Below is a little "pre-game show," addressing some of the more interesting story-lines this year, the saddest of which began just last evening when superstar Whitney Houston was found dead in her Beverly Hills hotel room. Even though her tragic death occurred just over 24 hours before the Grammys were set to begin, Houston's shadow will loom large over the ceremony, if not overshadow it completely.