WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Amy Harris 07.31.2012
Posted In: Interview, Live Music at 04:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Q&A with Five Finger Death Punch

Band plays Trespass America Festival with Trivium and Pop Evil at Riverbend

Five Finger Death Punch is one of the most popular Metal bands in the world. The band has a catchy, melodic sound that resonates with its crowds and the band's songs have become arena anthems across the country. Five Finger continues to tour on its third studio album American Capitalist. Currently, the group is out headlining the Trespass America Festival with the bands Trivium, Pop Evil and Killswitch Engage. CityBeat was able to spend some time with the band’s lead guitarist Jason Hook to discuss, among other things, the band’s feverish tour schedule and the effect it has on the band members' relationships, as well as what makes the music so addictive. The Trespass America Festival comes to the PNC Pavilion at Riverbend tomorrow (Wednesday) night. CityBeat: What has been the highlight of Trespass Festival so far? Jason Hook: Well, the first show was awesome. We opened the show on Friday the 13th just outside of Denver. The place was almost sold out, packed. We had all of our friends, family, record label, managers and agents with us. It was a massive party (and) it was day one. It was awesome, really awesome. CB: Who leaves the biggest mess backstage at Trespass? JH: The biggest mess? As far as what, a hot mess or just messy? CB: It could be either. JH: I’ll give both to Ivan (Moody, Five Finger's frontman). CB: OK, I wouldn’t picture that. JH: Well you don’t know him as well as I do. CB: Is it true that he still throws up before he performs? JH: I haven’t seen that lately but it might be because I tend to steer clear of him a little bit more than usual because of that. But he does do that. That is not an urban legend. CB: You consistently are having these hits with huge sports and military following. What is really the formula for creating a modern day Rock anthem? JH: I think that you have to keep things simple. People like a really consistent beat, something that has a good thump to it. Obviously, an easy to follow storyline or a relatable storyline and as many hooks as you can get into each section of the song for example the intro, the verse, the pre-chorus, the chorus, the bridge, the solo — all those are sections — and if they get too long or drawn out or too complicated or the resolution set too high for the listener, they just miss out and it will go over their head. A big part of having an anthem is having something that is simple enough that many people can grab it easily like “Rock & Roll all night and party every day.” CB: Does the band ever write songs for a specific audience? JH: Not really. Most of us in the band have a background where we grew up listening to heavy bands but bands that were also on the radio. That reflects in the music we make. None of it is really contrived. We just do what we like. Fortunate for us, it catches with a lot more people. Once you try to do something that is not honest, it is really hard to repeat it. You are always chasing or guessing what to do. It is better to know what you like to do and just do it.   You always have the crazy crowd surfing at the shows, the biggest Rock on the Range crowd surfing in history. Do you ever worry about fan safety? JH: All the time. All the time. It freaks us out. I see people getting beat up pretty good out there, especially the people in the very front row because people crowd surf up from behind them, they can’t see that these 220 pound guys are being launched forward and the people in the front row are the last people that these heavy people land on their heads on the way into the pit. You get a lot of people getting smashed, and they have no idea it is happening until it happens. I keep saying, “Is there something we should do to discourage this? Should we say that we want people to be careful and keep your eyes open?” I do see a lot of people getting hammered, and it freaks me out. We are always thinking about it. CB: How do you stay friends living in such close quarters and being on the road almost all year? JH: How do we stay friends? We stay away from each other. The only way to control how we all get along is to make sure there is a good amount of separation. You need a little bit of on and a little off. For example, we get hotel rooms. The band gets hotel rooms. We get them every other day. The hotel rooms are essential and it doesn’t matter what it costs to have everybody be able go and have their own private space to go make phone calls, answer e-mails, relax, watch the TV program they want to watch, whatever. The off is just as important as the on because if you get too much together time all the time, then you are likely to have the engine run a little hot, you know what I am saying? CB: Who in the band is more likely to get into a fight backstage and who is more likely to get laid? JH: I don’t really want to focus on the fighting, but as far as the sex part of it, I would say, all the girls like Ivan. The rest of us are just sort of swinging the bat. They all seem to want to get to Ivan. So I would say answer "A"—my final answer — Ivan. The thing is, to chase girls around, which is also to chase the party or stay up, all these people show up and they want to hang out with the band. This is their big night out. The problem is, if we participated in everybody’s big night out, then we end up having 42 or 55 nights in a row, and it is physically too hard. Imagine having 45 New Years Eves in a row. What kind of shape would you be in after that? CB: Yeah, bands now are a lot more, I don’t want to say mellow, but you can’t sustain (that type of partying) for long periods of time if this is what you are going to do. JH: God knows we have tried it. We don’t want to hurt the band. We don’t want to hurt the tour. We have a responsibility to not only talk to people during the day but to play in front of these large audiences, and I don’t want to go up there hung over and feel like crap and be fuzzy and making mistakes. It’s very hard. It’s OK when you are a club band — nobody cares; “Get me another beer.” Everyone is drunk anyway, but now we are talking about playing in front of 15,000 people at 9 o’clock at night and it is a business now. It is for real.
 
 
by Amy Harris 06.22.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Music Video at 03:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)
 
 
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Q&A with Under the Streetlamp

Popular standards vocal group performs Sunday at Riverbend's PNC Pavilion

Under the Streetlamp is a new act storming the nation that presents audiences with a vocal performance spotlighting what they call the "American Radio Songbook." The ensemble took its classic approach and turned it into a full production that has been drawing packed houses all over. Under the Streetlamp is currently barnstorming across the country on the heels of its PBS special and debut self-titled album, which showcases UtS's strong Doo-Wop/Pop/Motown/Rock & Roll-oldies sound.CityBeat recently spoke with one of the vocalists, Michael Ingersoll, of Jersey Boys fame, and discussed the rise and evolution of the group as well as where the sights are set for the future. Under the Streetlamp performs at the PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center on Sunday night.CityBeat: You guys have been around for a couple years but you are a fairly new group. Can you tell me the story of how Under the Streetlamp formed?Michael Ingersoll: Absolutely. The four of us met when we were doing a play called Jersey Boys. Chris Jones and I did the first national tour of Jersey Boys and then he went off on his way and I met the other two fellows in Chicago and we did the production there. While we were in Jersey Boys, on our nights off we were putting together these concerts for clubs and local theaters to sing other music besides musicals, like things from The Beach Boys, The Drifters, The Beatles and songs like that. After the show closed in Chicago, the momentum for us was actually following this band; this "side-gig" took off so we decided to pursue it rather than pursuing our individual career as actors. So we took advantage of that momentum and submitted a five-minute demo of what we were doing to (PBS outlet) WTTW in Chicago and they said they were interested in helping us develop this project. That is the really short version. Once PBS was on board, we were able to book a 27-city tour, which is pretty ambitious for a new group.CB: What is the biggest difference between performing in Jersey Boys on stage and the Under the Streetlamp group?MI: Well, Jersey Boys, first and foremost, is a musical with a story and a book. We are a band; we are a concert. There is nothing Broadway about us at all. We have full artistic control over everything we do. This is a project that we guide. This is a project that we own. That was really one of the big motivations for doing this because our acting careers where we were doing pretty well in the acting business. It is a concert and we have a lot of fun with each other. We have a lot of the fun with the audience. We take the music very seriously but we don’t take ourselves very seriously at all and the audience seems to enjoy that.CB: I have been listening to the album this weekend. How did you pick these particular songs to perform or put on the album?MI: The four of us — each of us is a lead singer. It is actually pretty rare for a band to have four lead singers. We wanted to lead with our strengths, our individual personality. Michael Cunio, for example, has a crazy high singing voice so he did Etta James “At Last” in Etta’s original key and it is always a big surprise to the audience when it is coming. Chris (Jones) has got a very powerful, kind of balladeer voice so we sing “I Come For You” for him. I am kind of a Folk Rock/Rockabilly guy. Shonn (Wiley) is an incredible tap dancer and Broadway showman so we do “When You’re Smiling” for him. So basically we just chose the songs as it suited our strengths and flowed for the evening. We also chose artists that are in that same genre that we learned when we were in Jersey Boys. So that’s where we get The Beach Boys and The Drifters and The Beatles. Our music is fun, it is life-affirming, it is joyful, it makes people feel good. That is probably the biggest criteria for how we choose.CB: I know your family was an influence musically to you growing up. I also know that you are from Dayton, so you are a local to us. Did you have a good music program in Dayton growing up or did your family give you private lessons? How did you develop musically?MI: Well, there are two major factors. My grandfather was a professional Jazz pianist and so there was always music around in that environment. He taught me to play piano by ear and really get into Jazz primarily. There is also an amazing arts program called Muse Machine in Dayton, Ohio. It is a program where kids come from all over — high schools from probably a 30-, 40-, 50-mile radius and every year they put on a musical and they bring in Broadway caliber directors and choreographers and producers. I was lucky enough to be cast into one of those shows and that is really where my interest exploded in performing and what led me to go to college and study acting. Check out the Muse Machine website, you can learn all about it, it is an amazing organization. I would credit them with the biggest influence, the biggest push.CB: You are on the road now. You said you were doing 27 cities, which is a lot to take on. Is there anything about home or here you miss when you are on the road?MI: Obviously my family is there, but who doesn’t miss Graeter’s ice cream and Skyline Chili and the Cincinnati Reds. I love those things. Those are the things I do as soon as I come back. I usually go to Skyline Chili and Graeter’s and try to catch a Reds game. I am a huge Reds fan and Bengals fan. I live in Los Angeles now so I miss the change of seasons in Ohio, but (there are) good, friendly folks there and it was a wonderful place to grow up. Cincinnati has a vibrant and rich arts community so we just can’t wait to play. I also did a year at the Cincinnati Shakespeare (Company). That was my first actual professional acting job to work there for a year, so I got my start in Cincinnati.CB: Where do you see yourself in five years?MI: I think that we are on track to be a top tier act in the Adult Contemporary market, with Michael Buble, Norah Jones, Diana Krall and artists like that. I think we have a product that makes people happy. I think we have a got a very powerful team with PBS and our management. We are determined to take this to as many people as will possibly let us do it. We are doing every single thing we can to make sure we are here to stay. As long as we make people happy, we are optimistic that will happen in big ways. CB: You said you play piano, but do you guys play any instruments during the show or is it just singing?MI: No, we are four singers and we have a seven-piece band of incredible world-class musicians. These are folks that have played with Sinatra and Frankie Valli and huge, huge names. We have a rhythm section and then three horns. That horn section helps kind of give it that "streetlamp" character. It helps with that distinctive sound.CB: Tell us, in summary, what can the fans expect to see in the show?MI: There is a lot more music we perform live than on the DVD for the folks that are familiar with us from PBS. There is a lot more music and people come away from it often saying, “I can’t believe I laughed that much” or “I didn’t expect the show to touch me emotionally like it did.” I think people are going to laugh a lot. Hopefully they get up and dance a lot. When they leave, hopefully they feel better than when they came in from listening to this great, joyful music performed by people who really care about them having a good time. And also, if you have got time, just check out the Under the Streetlamp Facebook page because our fans comment on there after every single show, and really their comments, and there are tons and tons of them, say it all.CB: That was one of my next questions — are you guys using social media to promote the band?MI: Absolutely. We have a great website and great designer. We use Facebook, we use Twitter. Any way that we can possibly interact with our fans, we do so. We answer our own e-mail. We maintain our own Facebook page. We spend a lot of time talking to our fans. Anybody that writes in and asks us a question or comments on Facebook, we interact with. Without them, we are nobody. We make sure they not only feel welcome at the shows but feel welcome in the cyber universe 24/7. CB: What music are you currently listening to or what is inspiring you right now?MI: It is funny, a lot of the music that I listen to outside of the band is not music that has anything to do with what we do.CB: That is pretty common though. I talk to Metal people all the time and they never listen to Metal music. It is really an interesting dynamic. I always find it interesting to see what people really listen to when they are not playing.MI: Right now I am listening to Foo Fighters latest album, Wasted Life, (and) Ben Folds latest album.
 
 
by Amy Harris 05.02.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Interview at 12:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Q&A with Rise Against

Punk band opens Riverbend's season Saturday at PNC Pavilion

Rise Against is the epitome of Punk Rock in this era. They are as far from the status quo from society as bands get, yet record for a major label. Part of the group's mission is to promote progressive issues, both socially and politically. Rise Against recently released its sixth album, Endgame, which features the hit single “Make It Stop” (the video for which was nominated for a MTV Video Music Award last year).CityBeat spoke with bassist and original member Joe Prinicipe in anticipation for their upcoming show in Cincinnati. They discussed the bands writing process and how they incorporated their socially active direction in their music. Rise Against will be opening Riverbend's PNC Pavilion for the summer this Saturday. A Day to Remember and Title Fight also perform.CityBeat: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. I know you are one of the original band members. You guys have been out on it for about 13 years from when you started. Where do you see yourself in 13 more years?Joe Prinicipe: It’s hard to say with this business but I would say definitely still involved with writing music and performing. Rise Against has no intentions of breaking up. We would like to follow the same career paths as bands like Bad Religion and Social D that are going on 25 or 30 years and are still making relevant music. I hope that’s where I end up.CB: I saw you last year with the Foo Fighters when you opened up in Columbus. I was wondering if there were any fun and crazy Foo Fighter stories on tour.JP: It was pretty awesome when there were a group of protesters, I think we were in St. Louis, maybe it was Kansas City, and they were protesting the Foo Fighter show because they did that funny promo video where they were showering together. So this group came out, this very homophobic religious group. They were protesting and the Foo Fighters came out (before the show) dressed provocatively and they were out on a flat bed truck and performed and tried to play as loud as they could to overshadow, overpower the protestors. It totally worked and it was awesome.CB: They seem fun to be around in general and don’t take it too seriously.JP: Totally and they are all about enjoying what they have because being on the road and being away from your family is hard enough so you might as well make the most of it.CB: Your music has been called protest music in the past by the Chicago Tribune and I just wanted to ask about your process to write lyrics around a cause. How do you choose a cause to support and then develop a song around it?JP: (Singer/guitarist) Tim (McIlrath) writes all the lyrics and the process is very simple. He is just writing what he feels for that day. He writes from a personal perspective on life in general. That’s why our records are not just political, there are socially aware topics, there are environmental issues, there are songs about relationships and how hard it is to be away from our families when we are traveling. We always write music first and he will hear the tone that the music sets and he has a journal, and he will flip through the journal and see if something fits and if not he will write what he thinks will fit the music and that is how it has always been the last 12 years.CB: Were you guys influenced at an early age or did something happen to you that kind of made you take your music toward this activism tone or did you have a kind of defining moment?JP: No, it’s just seeing punk rock music. It’s just the nature of punk rock that seems formed as a reaction to the glam era of the 70’s. It’s just a reaction to that so it’s always been about that. It’s all we know. It was something that we didn’t even discuss. It was just kind of a given the direction of Rise Against was going to be that and we are kind of carrying that torch. Bands like Minor Threat and the Bad Brains were definitely singing for change whether it was singing against homophobia or social issues, but that’s kind of what the unspoken goal that the band has always had.CB: What is the biggest way your music has been able to make a difference or make a change?JP: I would say the effect that “Make it Stop” has had on young kids. Kids in high school trying to get through it all. We have gotten so many e-mails that the song is helping them through the hardest time of their life and that is incredibly rewarding. I would say “Make it Stop” stands out as that.CB: Your new album came out last year in the spring. Do you have any new music in the works?JP: No, we still have a whole year of touring on Endgame. I think I always have song ideas in the back of my head and so does Tim. It’s kind of an ongoing thing anyway. We won’t actually have anything, officially new until the end of 2013.CB: Do you have any crazy Cincinnati stories from the past or any fond memories?JP: Not really. Cincinnati is Bogart's, right?CB: It’s Bogart's and this time you are at Riverbend which is outside.JP: That’s right. The only thing I recall is from Zach our guitar player. His old band played Bogart's and someone was shot like 20 feet away from him. That’s really it.CB: I think you are in a little safer place by the river this time. I have this new game and it’s a table game with quirky questions and people just give their first thoughts around it, so I have been experimenting with this a little and I have three questions from this game for you. The first question is what skill do you possess that most people don’t know about?JP: Let’s see, nothing hidden, although I am a complete coffee snob and I have an espresso machine at my house and I take that very seriously. It has to be perfect. I have to time all my espresso shots as they come out of the machine. So I guess that.CB: So you make the perfect espresso, that’s your hidden talent.JP: Absolutely.CB: What is under your bed?JP: Actually nothing because my wife is a neat freak so nothing can be on the floor. CB: If you are on the bus it is somebody else sleeping under the bed in the bunk.JP: As far as the bus goes, our tour manager is usually in the bunk below me so I have him snoring …CB: What song would you pick to sing karaoke?JP: I’m really bad at karaoke, oddly enough.CB: You don’t have to be good. I don’t think that’s the purpose of karaoke.JP: That’s true. I don’t know maybe something from ’80s Pop like the Go-Gos or Duran Duran.CB: What can the fans expect from the show in Cincinnati?JP: Just high energy, just come and sing with us and have a good time. It is all about interacting with our fans and just everyone singing along. We are all there for the same reason. It is a good way to let off some steam from the week prior. Just come out and have a good time.
 
 

Title Fight

May 5 • PNC Pavilion

0 Comments · Monday, April 30, 2012
 Title Fight was started by Ben and Ned Russin back when they were 12 or 13, and the brothers began collaborating and even touring with Shane Moran and Jamie Rhoden soon thereafter. Despite its early start, the group's discography consisted of seven-inches, EPs and other odds and ends until May 2011 when well-connected Punk label SideOneDummy Records released Title Fight’s debut record, Shed.  
by Amy Harris 10.06.2011
Posted In: Interview, Live Music at 10:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
anh_6353_amynicholeharris

Q&A with Gavin Rossdale of Bush

Bush was the peak of Alternative music success in the mid and late ’90s. After an eight year break, the band reformed with as fresh a sound as they ever have provided. From its first No. 1 album, Razorblade Suitcase, Bush was an unstoppable force until its split in 2002. In 2010, lead singer Gavin Rossdale put the band back together and Bush recently released its fifth studio album, The Sea of Memories. CityBeat caught up with Rossdale to preview the band’s concert with Chevelle and Filter this Friday at Riverbend's PNC Pavilion. We discussed the process of putting the band back together, the current tour. R.E.M.'s breakup and how his turbulent upbringing impacts his songwriting.

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by Amy Harris 09.29.2011
Posted In: Live Music, Interview at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Q&A with Death Cab for Cutie

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } One of the strangest word combinations to ever create a band name, Death Cab for Cutie controls the alternative music scene across America. They have been a nationally touring band since 1997 with their first release. Now in their 14th year, Codes and Keys has been one of the band's most successful offerings to date. The first single, “You Are A Tourist,” received a lot of airplay on Rock radio across the country reaching number one on the Alternative charts in the U.S. The band recently released the video for its latest single, "Stay Young, Go Dancing" (view it at the bottom of this post below). CityBeat recently spoke with bassist Nick Harmer to discuss the new album and it’s critically acclaimed reception (as well as a very scary moment on their festival run this past summer). Death Cab starts their latest tour on Friday night in Cincinnati at the PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center.

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O.A.R. with Soja and Kelly James

July 21 • PNC Pavilion at Riverbend

0 Comments · Tuesday, July 19, 2011
It’s been a decade and a half since the original quartet of Marc Roberge, Chris Culos, Richard On and Benj Gershman came together as Of a Revolution in their Rockville, Md., hometown. The high-schoolers recorded and released their 1997 debut, The Wanderer, and then all four members relocated to Columbus, Ohio, in order to attend The Ohio State University.  

Donald Fagen's Revue Redo

Steely Dan frontman hits the road with pals for the Dukes of September Rhythm Revue

1 Comment · Friday, September 3, 2010
As a student of musical history, Steely Dan's Donald Fagen knows that during the Great Depression musical revues were a popular form of live entertainment. So does that mean the 'Dukes of September Rhythm Revue,' coming to PNC Pavilion Sept. 10 and featuring Fagen, Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald, was launched in response to the ongoing Great Recession? "No, but it occurs to me that sometimes these things happen on an unconscious level," Fagen says.  

Tegan and Sara with Paramore

August 12 • Shake It Records/Riverbend

0 Comments · Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Most bands aspire to a large fan base that will eventually turn out in headliner-defining numbers, making its opening slot status a relic of leaner, hungrier times. The Canadian Indie/Folk/Pop twins of Tegan and Sara are certainly eager to attract more fans but they have absolutely no interest in abandoning their role as an opening act. They open for Paramore Thursday at PNC Pavilion.  

The Donnas with Blondie and Pat Benatar

Aug. 15 • PNC Pavilion

0 Comments · Monday, August 10, 2009
Get ready for a blazing show at PNC Pavilion: The Donnas in live mode are like a Russian porn star, Rockyer Cockov. For evidence, check out the group's latest CD, the ironically-titled 'Greatest Hits Vol. 16,' which offers up freshly recorded and live versions of old songs, a few B-side rarities and some new material. Fellas, hold on tight. Ladies, keep track of your wigs and keys. It's going to be a Donnas kind of night.  

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