0 Comments · Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Springsteen breaks own "longest concert" record, Skrillex fans never have to be without him and Morrissey and Mitt Romney have something in common — they are unimpressed by the London Olympics.
by Amy Harris
Guitarist talks longevity, endurance and his love for Skrillex
Last night at Riverbend, I finished off some personal business for my 12-year-old self. I finally got to see Lita Ford sing “Kiss Me Deadly” live on stage, hear Poison play “Nothing But a Good Time” and catch Def Leppard perform “Pour Some Sugar on Me," live and in person, all on one hot evening by the river. My parents believed that I was not old enough back in 1987 to make all of these dreams come true, but now my older self is able to make these types of things happen.Def Leppard has been entertaining international audiences with their strong British sound for the better part of 30 years. They have provided American audiences with Rock anthems that have fired up arenas, like “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Animal.” Over the years they have put out 12 albums, including their latest offering from last year Mirrorball: Live and More. The band is among the upper echelon of Rock acts that found success, continuity and growing support through the eras of fans.CityBeat caught up with guitarist Phil Collen to discuss the band’s continued success before the Riverbend show last night. We discussed why the band is still able to keep it up after so long and what inspires him personally in his musical voyage. CityBeat: What do you think the secret to the band’s longevity is? I just read this morning that Van Halen just cancelled the rest of their tour. Why have you guys been able to stay together for so long?Phil Collen: I think our motivation is very different from Van Halen’s. They broke up a while ago. They actually didn’t get off. We’ve actually experienced super-super highs, diamond albums, multi-platinum sell-out tours and all that with really bad lows, like Steve dying and Rick losing his arm. I think we have been together more consistently than most families. We leave home for 18 months. I have been in the band for 30 years. It’s just that (it) really makes a difference if you can relate to each other on very much a personal level. You have almost a private little clique, an elite club only you can relate to. I tell you, we have always been good. We have never gone away. We have never split up. We have never done reunions and I think that is the trick. If you have to do a reunion, I always ask “Why did you split up in the first place?” I think we still have got more to prove. We still have songs to write, great albums to make. It’s a whole new day, a whole new digital age, everything is changing, whole new sets of fans. It never really stops. There is always ambition there, and there is always plenty of stuff to do. If you really want to share your work, that’s one of the first things you do in the first place. You get to express your art, it’s an artistic release and the other thing is you actually share it with other people. We are still doing that. CB: I know you guys have been talking about writing and wanting to release new music. What is the band's writing process?PC: It is more difficult than it used to be. I think we have gone through every different variation. We have gone through a time when one person writes the song, one person comes up with an idea and someone finishes it off or someone has an idea or we just play on each other’s songs. That’s what Queen ended up doing. We have done every different variation of that. The best stuff I think we have done was when Mutt Lange was involved and just the way he approached it. He had a lot more experience than us and just brought a whole bunch of things to the table. Again, it is very different, there are a couple things I am putting together that are almost finished and then I usually play them for someone else in the band and put together an idea for them and we just take it from there. That’s really how it works. It’s not rocket science and every song starts in a different way. I think the most inspiring song is when you have a title and that’s all you got and the rest kind of writes itself around it. I have another band Man Raze and same deal with that. We actually wrote a couple songs for a movie that was The Showdown, which was about superbikes racing. Once I had the whole story I came up with the idea, “Take on the World” — it was racing and stuff, and the song wrote itself. So it is very inspiring to start with a title or at least an idea and then you just color in by numbers almost. It can come from a million different places and that is one of the wonderful things about being an artist really.CB: Do you have any regrets over the years?PC: There are loads of things that we’d do differently obviously. That is the whole plan. You experience stuff and you don’t make the same mistakes again, hopefully, whether it’s driving, old relationships or whatever. You are always on this learning curve which is a different level than the past. Yeah, you know, not really — (I don't have any) regrets, not even slightly. I love where I am right now and that is the happiest person in the world. I am having a great time. It’s really cool. None at all really.CB: What is your craziest fan story over the years?PC: There have been a bunch of crazy fan stories. I have always found the weirdest ones are when people get my face tattooed on their body. I remember the first time this happened years ago, this Italian girl said, “I’m going to get you tattooed on me.” I said, “No, no, no, no, have you told your parents?” And she said, “No, but they’ll be OK.” She got this tattoo done and over the years we have now seen this millions of times, you know, people show their tattoos of our likeness or face on their arm or back or wherever it is. I always try to discourage it because it is a tattoo. I have one tattoo and it is my wife’s name and she has my name tattooed on her and that’s it. I was 52 when I got that.CB: When you've written songs in the past over the years, did you guys know when you had a hit on your hands?PC: Some of them, but other songs you think you have a hit and they disappear. You can never really tell. It depends on the environment of the moment. Back then it would be radio. Right now, everything is about celebrity and fame and TV. It is a different one to judge. It is about getting out there. If you get something in a movie, it has more of a chance than something played on the radio. It has changed a lot. The more the music business has turned more into an industry than art, it becomes more difficult to predict (which songs will catch on).CB: What is the best guitar solo of all time?PC: I couldn’t put it down for one. There are a few — and it is obviously my opinion — that (have) really inspired me. A few by David Bowie. There are a few Hendrix ones — “Fire” by Jimi Hendrix. There is a great guitar solo on a song “Midnight at the Oasis” by Maria Muldaur, a song from the ’70s (that) took me ages to figure out, then I realized there were more than one guitar doing it. There are millions of them that really inspire. I could go on all day but (there's) not one in any particular — all of those. CB: Any current music you are listening to that you find inspiring?PC: Yeah, my favorite artist is Skrillex. I am really into dance and Techno music, love it, Dubstep especially. I just think what Skrillex is doing sounds like Heavy Metal without guitars and Hip Hop without words. That’s what I get out of it. It is just very different. It is very pure. I love it. (I listen to) just different things; I listen to everything. I listen to Jazz or Blues, Hip Hop, Metal, Rock, whatever Pop song, right across the board. It’s all amazing and stuff to draw on really.
by Mike Breen
Posted In: Music History
at 10:46 AM | Permalink
Beavis and Butt-Head comes to MTV and La Roux preps return
On this day in 1993, two blissfully ignorant adolescents named Beavis and Butt-Head became instant superstars when their Mike Judge-created TV series began its run on MTV. The episodes "Door to Door" and "Give Blood" were the first to air as a series (the notorious "Frog Baseball" and "Peace, Love and Understanding" shorts debuted on MTV's Liquid Television animation showcase). Some might argue that Beavis and Butt-Head helped shift the direction of society towards the futuristic Dumpocalypse imagined in Judge's underrated live action flick, Idiocracy. I wouldn't go that far, but it certainly helped along the evolution of "snark," the prevailing attitude in so much modern internet journalism and commentary. Coming in at the dawn of the slackerly, often apathetic Alternative music "revolution," B&B echoed the "Whatever, butt-munch" attitude that thrives to this day. Snark is the language of the internet and we can thank Beavis and Butt-Head's dismissive "critiques" of artists, songs and music videos, at least partially, for helping to sink public discourse to that level. That said, I love those dudes (as much as one can love fictional cartoon characters). The revival run on MTV, featuring new episodes, picked up right where the old series left off. Perhaps like all those old bands that reunite to capitalize on their growing posthumous fame, the freaky, geeky duo returned to the small screen to capitalize on their notoriety as kings of "Whatever."Here's a short clip from the most recent season, as the boys stumble upon an abortion protest and get psyched to meet some of the "whores" that apparently hang out at abortion clinics. Rush Limbaugh would approve. Hey, maybe he can join their show when he gets cancelled? Beavis, Rush and Butt-Head has a nice ring to it. (Or would it just be Beavis and Two Butt-Heads?)MTV ShowsBorn This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a March 8 birthday include former child actor and "drummer"/singer with ’60s Fab Faux band The Monkees, Micky Dolenz (1945); founding member of Classic Rock bands Poco and The Eagles, Randy Meisner (1946); singer and successful songwriter ("Arthur's Theme," "On My Own," "Nobody Does It Better," "Don't Cry Out Loud") Carole Bayer Sager (1947); New Wave/Electronic music pioneer ("Cars," "Are 'Friends' Electric"?) Gary Numan (1958); the MC who put the "Salt" in Salt-N-Pepa, Cheryl James (1964); singer/guitarist/songwriter for scrappy BritPop lads Supergrass, Gaz Coombes (1976); lead singer for British Soft Pop trio Keane, Tom Chaplin (1979); OK Go guitarist Andy Ross (1979); and singer/keyboardist for Synth/Electro Pop duo La Roux, Elly Jackson (1988). La Roux's beginnings date back to Jackson and musician/producer Ben Langmaid's first acoustic project in 2006. But when the London twosome dipped its toes into the the SynthPop/Electronica pond, La Roux took off. (Langmaid is half of La Roux, but he doesn't tour or appear in music videos.) Influenced by groups like Yaz, OMD and Heaven 17, La Roux released its self-titled debut in 2009 and became a favorite remix target for burgeoning Dubstep artists like Skream and Skrillex. The album was an immediate hit and was nominated for the 2009 Mercury Prize and actually won the Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance Album at the Grammys last year. Jackson also made a fan out of Kanye West, who had her record vocals on his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album, most notably on the hit "All of the Lights." She also appears on the track "That's My Bitch" from West's collaborative album with Jay-Z, Watch The Throne. La Roux is current working on its sophomore release and reports generally suggest that the duo is feeling the pressure to live up to the quality of its debut. Mojo and Q recently reported that the new album is heavily influenced by early Disco and guitarist Nile Rodgers' work in the field, with Jackson telling Q the release will be "warm and sexy," unlike the debut, which she called "angular and hard." A May/June release time frame has been floated in the press, but there's no concrete word on when the album will ready for the masses. Until there is, here's La Roux's track "In For the Kill," remixed by Skrillex, in honor of Jackson's 24th b-day. UPDATE: By special request (we are here to please!), here's the Skrillex-free original version.
1 Comment · Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Foo Fighters’ frontman Dave Grohl showed again why you
should be psyched about the half-hour Rock band comedy he’s developing
for FX. After comments at the Grammys about music being about human
passion and not “what goes on in a computer,” the hirsute rocker was
by Mike Breen
Fascinating film about musical collaboration featuring Skrillex, Pretty Lights and Mark Ronson to screen in theaters nationwide
If you're a hardcore devotee of the creative Electronic Dance Music (EDM) scene exploding across the world right now, the place you'll most want to be tonight isn't your favorite dance club, but a movie theater. That's because the intriguing documentary film Re:Generation Music Project is premiering simultaneously in theaters across the country, including locally at the AMC theaters at Newport on the Levee and the Rave theaters in Florence, Ky. Showtime is 8 p.m. (Click here to buy advance tickets for tonight's screening or the encore ones Feb. 23.)The film's premise is quite clever and not what you might expect from a documentary seemingly about the state of contemporary Electronic music. While five of today's most popular producers/DJs — Skrillex, The Crystal Method, Mark Ronson, DJ Premier and Pretty Lights — are at the heart of the movie, it really sounds like it is more about the inherent mongrel nature of music in general and how all music evolves organically through hybridization.Acclaimed documentarian Amir Bar Lev directed the film, which follows the five featured artists as they prepare to write and record a new track with someone renowned for their work in a decidedly different field of study. Subtitled "5 DJs Turn the Table of the History of Music," Lev takes viewers along as recent Grammy winner Skrillex teams up with members of Rock band The Doors, The Crystal Method head to Detroit to collaborate with Motown legends Martha Reeves of The Vandellas and The Funk Brothers, Ronson gets down on some New Orleans Jazz with Trombone Shorty (as well as Mos Def, Erykah Badu, The Dap Kings and Zigaboo Medeliste), DJ Premier goes Classical with the Berklee Symphony Orchestra and Pretty Lights explores Bluegrass with Ralph Stanley (and LeAnn Rimes). By exploding genre and generational barriers, Re:Generation makes a great point about the development of music in society. While Stanley and Pretty Lights' Derek Vincent Smith are a half a century apart in terms of age, they share the common ground of being artists and creators, which makes them able to "get" what the other is doing on a unique level that often only artists can access. The new generation of Electronic Dance Music artists are also perfect to focus in on, since the younger musicians of today (especially in electronic music) feed off of invention and seem willing to experiment with any source. As long as it services the song, who cares where it's placed in the iTunes store?Here's a clip from the film featuring Skrillex and his legendary collaborators, The Doors.