0 Comments · Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Though he’s somehow not quite a household name yet, J. Cole is one of the biggest names in Hip Hop.
Saturday • Riverbend
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Even in the early ’90s, as Smashing
Pumpkins were just becoming one of the leading acts in the “Alternative
music revolution,” mastermind Billy Corgan had a contentious
relationship with the press.
Saturday • Riverbend
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 22, 2015
It’s easy to see why bands with lengthy
histories and voluminous catalogs would consider getting back together,
but those rationalizations don’t hold much water for Death from Above
While other traveling music fests died years ago, Kevin Lyman’s Warped Tour is now in its 21st year
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 15, 2015
This year’s Vans Warped Tour lineup is
decidedly Rock-centric, with a lean toward Metalcore, Hardcore and edgy
Aoife O’Donovan has plenty of fire and more than enough irons for this summer and beyond
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 1, 2015
On paper, Aoife O’Donovan is the busiest
woman in the music business.
by Amy Harris
Hard rockers headline this year's Uproar tour, hitting Cincinnati Sunday
Looking on music shelves this week, it will be hard to miss the bright and loud 1000hp, the latest offering and No. 1 Rock album from Godsmack. It may be a little bit different vibe, but it is the same great Rock music they have given audiences for well over a decade. Since the breakout Awake album in 2000, they have literally been evolving with the genre, captivating audiences and gathering fans with each performance. CityBeat was able to preview their show at the Uproar Festival Sunday night at Riverbend with drummer Shannon Larkin. After a couple subdued tours in which they let the music speak, they are back to their roots with hard hitting, pyro-filled, knock-you-back action.Find tickets/more info on Sunday’s Uproar stop here.CityBeat: You guys have been working hard. You will be releasing the album next week,1000hp. What can the fans expect from this album?Shannon Larkin: We kind of infused a different sound for us. It’s more of a punkier vibe as far as upbeats and down stroking. Not so much chunk-chunk as the last record or box or Metal. It is a fine tuned thing we do each record because we don’t want to keep making the same record over and over again. Yet you can’t change your sound and alienate your fan base. The last record we went balls out Metal sound. So on this one, we made a conscious effort to try and change things up and give a more punky vibe to it.CB: What is your favorite track to play off the new album?SL: “1000hp” the song. I just love it. It has an AC/DC vibe to me. I don’t get to play much four to the floor drumming so it is just a straight ahead full fierce and I love it.CB: I actually watched the webisodes that you guys created to promote the new album and that was interesting. I’m sure the fans love to see the behind the scenes of the new album and how the album was made. During one of the webisodes, the band talks about how you were the one who introduced Dave Fortman, the current producer, to the band on the last record. Why did you think he would be a good fit for Godsmack?SL: I was in a band called Ugly Kid Joe with Dave and he was the guitar player and we toured the world together for six years and made a couple records. I knew that not only was he a great producer with great ears and a great engineer and a great mixer, but I knew also he was this great dude. When you start making records, it gets balanced and pressure on and arguments ensue, the producer has to almost be a psychiatrist and step in when band members get in each other’s face and Dave is just a great person that if there is any tension in the room over a part for instance, if we are arguing what is a better part or arrangement of the song, Dave diffuses the situation with humor. He is good at that and just making everybody feel comfortable when the red light comes on. He is just brilliant. I can’t say enough about him. It doesn’t hurt he had made hit records with Evanescence, Mudvayne, Slipknot, and the list goes on and on, but that helped too when I introduced him to (Godsmack singer) Sully (Erna). But then an hour after meeting with Dave, Sully loved him too. I knew he’d get the gig after talking to Sully if it was up to Sully because he co-produces every record. I knew Sully had to like Dave and I knew he would. Perfect fit.CB: Where did the name come from for the album?SL:: When we were writing that song, Sully was trying to do a history-of-the-band-type song. He was thinking we are at 100,000 horse power. When the song came together, it was too many syllables and 1,000 horsepower fits perfectly, but is that enough horse power? Ironically, we have this Top Performance Pro Shop beside our headquarters here in New England. They soup up cars and rev up cars and we went next door and the dude fired up a 1003 horsepower Chevelle and that was enough horsepower. It wasn’t even street legal. It ended up being the car we recorded to start the album and the song.CB: You have been doing a lot of drum clinics. Why is it important for you to get out and work with younger people and do drum clinics across the country?SL: My company Yamaha gives away drums. They are the best set drums I’ve played, No. 1, so I just love and am honored to be endorsed by them. They have been on me for years about getting out there and trying to push the company. I am the guy who had never done a clinic before and I am not a solo artist or soloist. I am a band guy and always have been a band guy. I never even do a drum solo. When Sully & I play together the whole band is on stage and it is a drum feature. I had always said no to Yamaha about doing these clinics. Then I heard Paul Bostaphwho plays for Slayer. He did the clinics, but he didn’t do it as a soloist or solos, he played along to Slayer songs he recorded and got the drums taken out. So when I realized I could do that, then I was like “Wow,” I had done like 30 records and I had played a bunch of session work and all these cool records I hadn’t been able to play in years. So when I found out I could have all these drum tracks removed and play a clinic and play my favorite songs I had recorded the last 30 years, I was in. I only did a one week tour so far and I only did the West Coast and it was really fun and cool but weird with nobody around, not having my guys. It’s funny, I told people you can be on stage in front of 50,000 people and not be nervous, not one butterfly in my stomach, but walk into a Guitar Center that is lit up like a K-Mart and there is only 150 dudes out there, but they are all drummers staring at me, and I’m scared to death. It turned out to be really fun. I was happy to do it.CB: Have you gotten any tattoos recently?SL: I haven’t. The last tattoo I got was the Ugly Kid Joe Devil logo on my leg. I did a record with them the year before last. I still jam with Ugly. I did a record with them calledStairway to Hell and so I got this logo.CB: I know you are a big fan of The Ramones too and we just lost the last Ramone. Do you have any thoughts about that?SL: It’s devastating in so many ways. I just don’t like them, they are my favorite band of all time and I have seen them over 20 times over the last 25 years. When Tommy died, I really felt my mortality because, I don’t know (what) your favorite band is, say it’s Led Zeppelin — there are three out of four of those guys still alive and they were older than The Ramones. I asked everybody. Not one person I know has had every original member of their favorite band die. It really hit me hard. Am I next? It was really crazy there for a minute. Of course, I just saturated my ears with Ramones songs for the last two weeks. It was devastating.CB: Last time I spoke to you we were talking about your daughters and now they are teenagers. Do you have any advice for other dads?SL: Yeah, just try to hang in there because they all go through that teenage time where they seem to hate their parents and they don’t. They don’t hate you and will come back around.CB: What can the fans look forward to here with Uproar here in Cincinnati?SL: Well we are going to play a bunch of new stuff. I don’t know if fans look forward to that but we sure do as a band. We have been together for 12 years and we love the old stuff, and we will play plenty of that too, but we will be doing five new songs in the set which is exciting for us. They can definitely look forward to a big show also. You know, the last few tours we toned it down because we used to have these monstrous shows with the pyro going off and bombs going off and video. The last couple tours, we tried to prove to ourselves, we try to be a great live band and don’t need all the bells and whistles, so the last few tours (have) just been the band and some lights. But this time we are bringing it all back, things blowing up and flames flying off the stage.CB: I always loved the fire.SL: It definitely is cool having the big columns of flames shooting up. It’s funny because these summer tours are hot as hell anyway and they are flames and are hotter than hell. So we are up there sweating and it is worth it, especially when those concussion bombs go off. I love those, they are my favorite parts, those real loud mortars and everybody flinches in the crowd. It is crazy and cool.
Mötley Crüe’s current tour really is its final one — legally
0 Comments · Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Tommy Lee might sound a bit morbid when he
says he wants each show on the final tour with his band, Mötley Crüe,
to be like a wake.
Saturday • PNC Pavilion at Riverbend
0 Comments · Tuesday, June 10, 2014
“Drive-In Movies,” the last song on Ray LaMontagne’s latest album, Supernova,
is a nostalgic ode to the past in an album teeming with retro
flourishes: “I miss those drive-in movies/I spent all my childhood years
wishin’ that I looked like a movie star.”
by Amy Harris
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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.