Sound Advice: alt-J with San Fermin

Monday • PNC Pavilion at Riverbend

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 16, 2015
When asked in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the famously opinionated Liam Gallagher (formerly of Brit Rock stars Oasis) said this about music he was digging lately: “Do you know that track by alt-J, ‘Left Hand Free’? That is a great track. But alt-J can fuck right off as far as I’m concerned. It’s a great tune, and I paid 79 pence for it, but I am in no way a fan of alt-J.”   

Music: Death Cab for Cutie

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 16, 2015
My three favorite band names inspired by unlikely sources would be: a) Steely Dan, after the chrome-plated dildo in William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch; b) Toad the Wet Sprocket, a band name concocted by Monty Python for one of its sketches; and c) Death Cab for Cutie, taken from a song by the critically underappreciated (in the U.S., at least) Bonzo Dog Band from its 1967 debut album, Gorilla.   

Sound Advice: Death Cab for Cutie with Twin Shadow

Friday • PNC Pavilion at Riverbend

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 16, 2015
My three favorite band names inspired by unlikely sources would be: a) Steely Dan, after the chrome-plated dildo in William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch; b) Toad the Wet Sprocket, a band name concocted by Monty Python for one of its sketches; and c) Death Cab for Cutie, taken from a song by the critically underappreciated (in the U.S., at least) Bonzo Dog Band from its 1967 debut album, Gorilla.   

Music: Jackson Browne

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Conventional wisdom, which is always a dangerous thing, says that Jackson Browne lost his command of the zeitgeist — and his status as a Top-40 hitmaker and album-oriented Rock hero — with 1983’s Lawyers in Love album (and its single of the same name).  

Sound Advice: Jackson Browne

Wednesday (Sept. 9) • PNC Pavilion at Riverbend

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Conventional wisdom, which is always a dangerous thing, says that Jackson Browne lost his command of the zeitgeist — and his status as a Top-40 hitmaker and album-oriented Rock hero — with 1983’s Lawyers in Love album (and its single of the same name).   

Ms. Dynamite

Soul/Funk juggernaut Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings show strength and resilience in the face of adversity

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Much has changed for Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings since the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based retro Soul/Funk band played the (old) Southgate House in Newport, Ky. in 2010.  
by Amy Harris 08.16.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Interview, Music Video at 01:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
shinedown_vls13721200p f3s cr

Q&A with Eric Bass of Shinedown

Shinedown's Carnival of Madness tour hits PNC Pavilion Saturday night

Shinedown has been touring on its most recent album, Amaryllis, for the last two years and has just started its Carnival of Madness tour to complete touring on the record. It is the band's biggest, brightest and loudest tour yet. With each album, Shinedown's rocking sound shows bigger energy and different sides, as well as different looks.  CityBeat was able to catch up with bass player Eric Bass to discuss life on tour and the close bond the band members have, even after all these years. Shinedown will be tearing up the PNC Pavilion at Riverbend on Saturday night on its Carnival of Madness tour stop with Papa Roach, In This Moment and Skillet. (The concert is sold out.) CityBeat: You guys have really been successful with the last couple albums. You have been on the Billboard charts for over two consecutive years. Did you ever expect that would happen? Eric Bass: Did I ever expect it? I always hoped it would happen, I guess. You work really hard. We have this thing we say: "Keep your head down, stay humble and move forward." We are blown away by the success. To be honest with you, if you had told the 17-year-old me this was what was going to be happening, he’d be ecstatic. I can’t say that I expected it to happen. We wanted it to happen. We worked really hard for it. We are not surprised, I guess you could say, because of the hard work. It is a true blessing to be able to do what we do and have the success we have had. CB: The band has been touring constantly. How do you make time to write new songs on the road? EB: We actually don’t write on the road. We like to separate the two. We go home when we are done with this tour. We will lock ourselves away for a year and write as many songs as we can. Then, when we are done with that, we will go out and tour again and complete the process. We wrote “Diamond Eyes” on tour because it was for a movie soundtrack. That was the first experience we had with that. It worked out and everything went well with it. We work really hard when we are on tour. We are a go-go-go all day long band with interviews, meet and greets and that sort of thing. So there is really not a lot of time to get in and be creative like that. We prefer to separate the two and that creates the situation where each record is pretty different from the others because they are different times and you are not overlapping time periods. You are separating into blocks. It makes the records really interesting.  CB: I have photographed you on your last couple tours. Your shows have grown larger and larger with more pyro and turned into huge Rock shows. How did you guys prepare for Carnival of Madness? EB: Well we started talking about it two or three months ago and we said, “It’s not going to be small.” That was the whole thing. We were going to make it as big as we could possibly make it. We are bringing our whole sound system with us. We are bringing our own lights. We are bringing our own pyro. We basically have carnival performers that are out with us. It is just a conscious, concerted effort to, every time, step your game up. We have sort of become known for that when we do these big headlining runs. We don’t want to disappoint anybody. People paid good money and want to see a great Rock show and that’s what they are going to get. CB: You actually have carnival performers on stage with you? EB: We actually do, yes. It’s going to be fun. I think everybody is going to really enjoy the show. CB: The first show was this past weekend. How is it going so far? EB: We are one down. We have the second one tonight. The first one was great. Internally, we found a couple things we could do differently, do a little bit better. We are definitely going to do that. The first show was great. The crowd was very receptive. It was awesome. I think tonight is going to be even better. Then the Cincinnati show, by that time, we will be well-oiled machines and veterans. CB: Shinedown has a huge social media presence. Why is it important for you guys to stay connected to your fans in that way? EB: Because the fans are the reason we get to do what we do. We never forget that. The fans are the boss, the most important thing. The fans buy the tickets, they buy the records. I have to say, and it’s going to sound cliché but it’s not meant to be, we have the best fans. Our fans are ridiculously loyal. We like to keep up with them. We actually know … you would be surprised how many fans we know. I’ll see fans at meet and greets that I will know from Twitter. We keep up with them and we know what’s going on. We like to hear what they have to say. They are going to let us know if something is not right. They will let us know if they don’t like something, if they like something. It’s a great tool to utilize as well. You get instant feedback on what you are doing. CB: What are your hobbies outside of playing music all the time? EB: It’s kind of funny. I say all my hobbies become my jobs. I produce records. I do a lot of songwriting. I engineer, mix records. A lot of my hobbies have become my job.  I am a golfer. I enjoy golf a lot. More recently, I have started building model airplanes. I needed a quiet hobby I can sit in my house and do. It is something I have found solace in. It may be a little geeky, a little nerdy, but it is fun. CB: You actually co-wrote “I’ll Follow You” correct? EB: Yep CB: I love that song. I know it is the new single and it is out, but what is the story behind the song? EB: The story of the song is pretty interesting. The piano part I had for a couple years. I had been playing it in sound checks. We don’t write on the road, but if it’s something someone in the band hears, “Hey remember that. Record that.” We are pretty in tune with that sort of stuff.  We were out on our acoustic tour that we did on the end of our last record cycle with Will Hoge, a great singer-songwriter from Nashville. Nobody had really said anything about the piano thing I had, so I thought maybe it will be good for Will.  So I hit him up and said, 'On the next day off, I want to show you this piano piece I have got and we can write a song.' He gave me his number and said to give him a call. I gave him a call the day of, I called him like three times, never went to voicemail, never picked up.  The next day, I was like, “I called you three times.” He said, “It never came through. I don’t know what happened.” That day at soundcheck, Brent was like, “What’s that thing you are playing?” I was like, “Man, I have been playing it for three years.” He finally woke up to it. We actually had the recording that day at sound check kind of going through the song. Some of the lyrics are actually in there from that first time we ever played it through, he and I.  If you fast forward six months when we finally wrote it, finally sat down and wrote the song, it happened seamlessly. We wrote it in like two hours, the whole thing was done. Lyrically, it is about the person in your life who is your best friend, your spouse or your girlfriend, your boyfriend or someone really close to you, that person you will always be there for and they will always be there for you. CB: The band took a different turn on the latest album, playing with the full orchestra. How did that concept come about? EB: We talked about how Madness had a lot of string-sections stuff. We just talked while we were writing the record about how to make this record a little bigger and a little more grand. That was the first thing that came up, we need to do something with horns and full orchestra, rather than just string sections.  It was fun. It was a blast to be in there to watch that stuff be recorded, watching your vision come to life was amazing. There is very little that we do that is not a conscious decision. We kind of see what we want to do next. We were talking about our next record the other day on the bus. We will probably start working on that next year. We already kind of got an idea for it of what we want it to be. It is pretty phenomenal to have this type and level of instruments on something you have worked on. You pinch yourself every once in a while because it’s so cool. CB: You guys have been together for some time. Are you all still friends? Do you still hang out? EB: It’s pretty funny, we love each other so much. We all still ride the same bus even though we don’t have to. We, all four of us, camp out in the same place. We work out together every day. We eat together every day. We really are brothers. We have our moments of getting agitated with each other and angry with each other. There is something different that I don’t see in a lot of bands we travel with. There are some, but they are few and far between. You get a group of people that genuinely like each other and genuinely get along.  I can count on one hand the times I have been up in someone’s face in my band, that I have been that angry with someone. We just don’t get like that. We talk things out. If there is a problem, we sit down and we are very honest with each other. We don’t harbor any animosity toward each other for anything.  “I’ll Follow You” is out right now and is a song Brent and I wrote. Everybody in the band is happy as hell about that because it is doing well. “Bully” is a song Brent and Zach wrote, and I was happy as hell that was doing well. A lot of people get caught up in the unimportant stuff, like who makes more money or what’s going on with this or who’s more popular in the band. We don’t care about that stuff. It’s about the band, the entire group. We all really care about each other. We hang out when we aren’t on tour. It is really a blessing. CB: It is amazing you guys spend so much time together and it is still like that. There aren’t many people I could spend 24 hours a day with? EB: We see each other more than we see our wives and girlfriends and our families. We are married. We have to get along. There is no way around it. You can tell on stage. We smile at each other on stage. We joke around. We throw picks at each other. It’s genuine. It’s not an act. You can tell bands on stage that don’t like each other, and you can definitely tell bands on stage that do, and we are one of those bands that really like each other.  Click here for a full photo set by Amy Harris of the Carnival of Madness tour stop in Cleveland this past Tuesday.
by Amy Harris 08.15.2013
Posted In: Interview, Music Video, Music News, Local Music at 02:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Q&A with George Thorogood

Blues rocker plays PNC Pavilion Friday with the legendary Buddy Guy

Blues/Rock legend George Thorogood has done just about everything a musician can do over his 30 years on the road. Along with his vintage Gibson ES-125, the only guitar he has ever played, cared to play or even knows how to play, he has delighted audiences with a catalog of hits, like “Bad to the Bone” and “Move It On Over,” which he can still play every night to provide a familiar, comfortable performance any audience can love. CityBeat spoke with Thorogood about his “wild” ride through Rock & Roll and his connection with his guitar. He plays at Riverbend PNC Pavilion on Friday night with Blues icon Buddy Guy.CityBeat: Do you ever get tired of playing your hits like “Bad to the Bone”?George Thorogood: I get tired, yes, but I don’t get tired of playing them. You see, we created those songs to play live. That was the whole purpose of them. I get asked that question a lot. I don’t understand it. Do artists make songs up and not want to play them a lot? CB: Most of the time they say they love to play them and most bands wish they had songs like that.GT: It has always made me feel strange because I thought if you worked really hard and made an automobile, like a BMW or something, would you get tired of selling BMWs? That is the whole purpose of making them, isn’t it?CB: Yeah, to share them.GT: I don’t get tired of playing them. What I would get freaked out about is if people didn’t want to hear the songs.CB: You have been touring a lot this year. What is the biggest difference in touring now versus the 1980s when you started? GT: Better cars, better seatbelts, better buses, better hotels, better accommodations, better food, better everything. That was 30 years ago. The world has changed.CB: It seemed more fun then, though.GT: Why would you think that?CB: I think artists now are so freaked out with social media and people seeing everything and having access to people and things can get out very quickly. I think people are less likely to have fun sometimes.GT: That part of it, yeah, but that part isn’t going away if you are famous. You can lose your money but you can’t lose your fame. That is going to be happening anyway. News just gets to people quicker now than it did 30 years ago. It’s the yin and the yang of the whole thing, when you become famous. You have to take what comes along with it. That part is not a lot of fun. But if you quit and you stop, it’s still going to exist whether you play or not. If Harrison Ford retires tomorrow, people are going to be talking about it in some form or shape. The other part of it is a lot easier. We have better hotels. There is air conditioning. We have buses. The venues are better — better for the fans, better for the bands. It’s a business now. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry. They have put so much time and capital into the business to make it up on that level. In that way, I have survived that and I am part of it. That is something to be very proud of. Let’s face it, the club owners and promoters and everybody are not going to be interested in you unless you are going to make a profit. We are a consideration and not an afterthought when it comes to that. CB: Are you working on any new music while you are out on the road?GT: Not really. We are working on putting together a record that has a combination of all the originals we have done over the years and adding one or two new ones to it. It’s a project on the table at this time.CB: I know you are a big baseball fan. I am actually surprised you are touring during baseball season. The Reds aren’t going to be there on Friday. How are you feeling about baseball this summer?GT: That’s a fun question. I have never altered my work schedule. I don’t know how that started. I took one summer off to play in a softball league and it was about 20 games, but I was active the whole time. If I took off during baseball season, I’d be broke. I wouldn’t be able to put 15 years together. It’s summertime. I have to go out and perform. There is no getting around it. I don’t know any baseball players saying they are taking off the summer because Thorogood is touring. CB: What is your favorite guitar to play live?GT: I only play one guitar, a 125. It’s the only guitar I’ve ever played. It’s the only guitar I know how to play. Actually, I like to prance around on stage singing like Mick Jagger does, but I can’t sing as good as him. So the 125 is the only one I use. Please tell people not to steal it. They don’t make them anymore and that is the only kind I can play.CB: Have you ever lost any gear or had it stolen?GT: Yeah, it’s been stolen a couple times, but we got them back. We finally put up a sign saying, “Stop stealing George’s guitars. They don’t make them anymore and it’s the only kind he can play.”CB: I’ll make a note in the article. You mention Mick Jagger and I saw the Stones live for the first time last month and it was pretty amazing. I know you toured with them and you have had many great tours over the years, but what is your craziest tour story?GT: Craziest? Like mental and I need a prescription from a psychiatrist?CB: Sure.GT: None. What’s your idea of crazy?CB: Crazy fans, crazy parties, anything?GT: I’ve never been to any crazy parties. There have never been any crazy fans, ever. The Rolling Stones are 100% professional outfit ran by Bill Graham. There is no time for any craziness. There was too much money involved. The Three Stooges do crazy things. The Rolling Stones and Bill Graham do not. Everything is professional. Everything was in ship-shape … they wouldn’t still be in business now if they didn’t do that. If they did anything crazy or wild, they did it while I was not around. Sorry, but I do not know where all this comes from … but when I showed up, I am the only guy that can turn an orgy into a Boy Scout camp. When I show up, it is clean cut and above the board, all the way.CB: No more fun when you arrive.GT: It was total fun. It was all fun. It depends on what your idea of fun is. My idea of fun is playing on a stage and getting to see The Rolling Stones free every night. In that case, that was wild and crazy. That is as wild and crazy as I want to get. CB: They were amazing. I was blown away. I had waited so many years to see them. I am glad I finally got the chance.GT: Yeah. They are better now than ever.CB: I have nothing to compare it to other than films.GT: Well I do, and you have to go see them now.CB: If you could trade places with anybody for a month, who would it be?GT: Trade places with anybody? Probably Michelle Obama.CB: Why?GT: I’d like to know what it feels like to be the most powerful person in the world, even if it is only a couple of days.CB: What current music do you listen to? I know you have been inspired by many of the greats over the years. Do you listen to any current music?GT: I am a little busy with my own. I haven’t really had a chance to sit and relax and listen to any current music for the last 40 years because I have been busy with my own business. CB: What is your favorite guitar solo you have ever recorded?GT: Oh, please, come on, the favorite guitar solo I’ve ever recorded. I’ve recorded so many I can’t even remember some of them. CB: I know, but some people have an experience or something that stands out.GT: Every one of them. CB: What is the hardest part about being on the road?GT: Being away from my family.CB: What can the fans expect on Friday night?GT: I’m sure they aren’t going to walk out there and say, “I hope George is OK tonight.” You go see the Cincinnati Reds, you expect them to win, don’t you?CB: Of course.GT: Well, there you go.Thorogood's music video for "Willie and the Hand Jive," filmed in Corryville at the club now known as The Mad Frog:

A Man on a Mission

The legendary Buddy Guy continues his efforts to keep the Blues alive

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Buddy Guy may be 77 now, but he doesn’t act anywhere near his age. He’s energetic and passionate about Blues and is doing more shows this year than many musicians half his age. Guy and longtime friend B.B. King, though, are among the last of the major Blues stars from the post-World War II wave of Blues artists still alive and working regularly.  
by Amy Harris 08.13.2013
Posted In: Live Stream, Interview at 04:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
peter frampton

Q&A with Peter Frampton

The 'Frampton's Guitar Circus' tour with B.B. King hits Riverbend's PNC Pavilion Wednesday evening

Peter Frampton is a true guitar legend, revered by every single one of his peers. As his Guitar Circus tour rolls into town this week, crowds will be amazed by the beautiful music from his catalog of 40 years of music, as well as performances by Blues legend B.B. King and special guests Sonny Landreth and Dave Hidalgo (Los Lobos). CityBeat caught up with Frampton in advance of Wednesday’s tour stop at Riverbend’s PNC Pavilion and discussed how this tour concept came together and what it has been like working with one of his heroes on a nightly basis. CityBeat: What has been the highlight of Frampton’s Guitar Circus so far?Peter Frampton: It is hard to say because we have had so many incredible guitar players play with us already. The list is growing every day. From the other night, Vinnie Moore to Vince Gill to Don Felder to Roger McGuinn. It is like every night is so different. Every night is a highlight with all of these amazing players. Sometimes we only have someone for one night because of scheduling, like Vinnie Moore was only one night. John Jorgenson was only one night from Elton John’s band, who is also a wonderful Jazz artist (and) was with me on my Fingerprints CD. Some nights we get one, some nights we get three and sometimes we are lucky enough and we get Don Felder for six (shows) and Roger McGuinn for six (shows). They are all split up and don’t happen at the same time. I can’t really pick one.CB: When did you come up with the idea and how did you bring it all together for the tour this year?PF: It was last year after my little sabbatical, my year off after the Comes Alive (anniversary) tour. I was going, “What can I follow this with?” because it was a very successful tour and probably one of the most successful tours I have done in years. It was one of those things where I said I have got to do something with other artists. We had been doing shows for quite a few years now with just me, "An Evening with," as it were. It was something I wanted to do with as many guitarists as I could, to have an opening act with a great guitar player and then have some guests. The idea was there. I sat down with my manager Ken Levitan and I said what I wanted to do. He said, “Why don’t we call it something like a 'guitar circus'?" I said that was great. It was fantastic. I have to give him credit. He came up with the idea and then we have as many guests as we can along the way. At that point, we decided we would try to have a three-act show, which  is what it is in Cincinnati, where it is Sonny Landreth opening it up. He is not an opening act, he just starts the evening because he is a headliner himself. He is a phenomenal player and has such a great history. We have him starting the evening off for us with his amazing band and himself. The person that when we first put our feelers out (for) who might be interested in coming along with us on the Guitar Circus and said yes was B.B. King, which blew me away. That set the whole tone for the whole Guitar Circus because everyone said, “If B.B. King is doing it, I’ve got to do it.” It gave us great credibility right from the start. So B.B. King will come on. We played for the first time with him the other night. I got to sit in and jam with him, which was a dream come true. After B.B. goes off we come on and do our hour and a half. During that period, David Hidalgo will come on, he is our guest in Cincy, from Los Lobos. He has played a couple dates with us already and it is incredible. We become Los Lobos and it is phenomenal. It is just great. It is very exciting every night. It is a challenge to be that person’s band when they come on. I’ve got an excellent band so we do a really good job.CB: You mentioned B.B. King, who is an all-time legend. What do you talk to B.B. King about backstage?PF: Well, I went back and saw him when he arrived in his own bus. I thanked him for being the reason why this whole tour is being successful, because he was the first person to say yes. I said, “Not only is it an honor that you are on one date, but you are on nearly four weeks of dates with me, every night.” I just couldn’t thank him enough. He said he was thrilled to be a part of it. I think there is a mutual respect as guitarists, definitely my way. To be able to sit and play with him the night before last was incredible. He is going to be 88 and he is still doing it. It is absolutely incredible that he is, and we are all thrilled that he is. He is just the sweetest guy. You wouldn’t think that someone as legendary as him is that nice but he is. He is a sweet, sweet man. You can’t believe it. It is how you wish everybody could be when you meet them. He takes the cake that is for sure.CB: I can hear you smiling through the phone just talking about playing with him. PF: It doesn’t get any better. It is one of those moments I won’t ever forget. I am not sure I will be doing it every night. I hope so. He said I can tell him what I want to do and walk out and play. He means what he says. I am just getting to know him. It is unbelievable that we had never met before until the other night. Now it feels like we have known each other for years.CB: I saw you recently perform this Spring on The Voice. You went on with Terry McDermott during the finals. A lot of artists are coming out and speaking negatively about shows like this that try to make people stars overnight because they don’t have to pay their dues over years. Do you have any feelings about that?PF: I am not a big fan of those shows in general. The part that I don’t like is that it is this nationwide talent show. These people come on, and it’s their fault, they put themselves in that position to have someone ream them on national TV. I sort of cringe every time I see that, (no matter how) rightly or wrongly how the judge is. I have been asked to be a judge on those things. You will never see me as a judge. I would be saying everybody stays. That’s not me. I know what I like and everything, and I will say it in private, but I am not going to say, “You suck and get out of here,” which is basically what happens. They asked me over a weekend, like two days before the show, if I would do The Voice. I asked them to fill me in and tell me what it was about. Then I listened to Terry and liked him a lot, all his clips and everything. I thought it was just excellent. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to go on there and do a duet. For me it was just a performance within one of those types of shows. I wasn’t part of voting anybody on or off. It was something I enjoyed doing and I think it came off really well. We got such a demand for the song, we mixed it and released it as a single. So it is on iTunes as well.CB: What is your favorite guitar to play?PF: I just got my Phoenix back, that is what it has been called. It is the guitar that was supposedly lost and burnt up in the plane crash in South America in Venezuela. After having that back for a year and a bit now, it is definitely my favorite. I have other favorites, but there is something about that one and the history, you know of me getting it in time to play on Humble Pie’s live record, Rockin’ the Fillmore, and everything I did in the 70s, all my solo records. It was one of only two electric guitars that I had. To have that back, it has become my favorite again overnight.CB: I own a few Jim Marshall photographs and one is of you at Oakland Stadium in 1975. Do you remember that day? Obviously that photograph is iconic itself, but is there anything special about that day in California? Did that photo change you in any way?PF: In San Francisco and Detroit and New York, we were already pulling huge crowds just from word of mouth and the solo albums I had out, and obviously my time with Humble Pie. I think that was the very first time we did it at a stadium. There is nothing quite like looking out to 65,000 people … I think the biggest place we had played was Madison Square Garden. There is a huge energy-level discrepancy between an arena and a stadium. There is nothing quite like the adrenaline it gives you to see 65,000 people with their hands in the air shouting at you. You never forget that first time. There were many after that in stadiums, but that first one was pretty incredible.CB: I speak to a lot of guitar players. I spoke to one the other day that said a guitar broke up his relationship. Have you ever had a guitar break up a relationship?PF: No, but it has come really close. The guitar, she is the other woman, always. The passion you have for music is very strong and it does come with jealousy sometimes when you prefer to play the guitar than be with the woman.