by Amy Harris
Posted In: Interview
at 10:26 AM | Permalink
Band performs Friday at Riverbend with Cypress Hill and G. Love
The band 311 has been bringing an intense combination of Rock and Hip Hop music to audiences for 20 years. The group last released an album in 2011, Universal Pulse, which was 311’s 10th studio offering. They are known for their high-energy, marathon shows, sometimes with set lists reaching over 60 songs. Catch the band this Friday night as they bring their annual Unity Tour with Cypress Hill and G. Love and Special Sauce to Cincinnati's Riverbend. CityBeat recently conducted a rapid-fire Q&A session with the 311’s lead singer, Nick Hexum.CityBeat: You guys have been playing shows in Cincinnati for over 10 years. Any crazy or fond Cincinnati memories from the past?NH: Always great crowds in Cincy! There seems to often be a heat wave when we play there. Which is great for us because people take their clothes off and rock out.CB: Who would you like to trade places with for one month?NH: No one!CB: What fear would you like to conquer?NH: (Fear of) burning Jazz solos with the heavy hitters.CB: What habit would you like to break?NH: Too much caffeine!CB: What made you decide to start the 311 cruise? NH: We have always liked combining destinations with our shows. That started with 311 Day. Playing shows on the high seas and on a private island was a perfect fit for us!CB: What are some of your favorite cruise memories?NH: I dressed up as a ninja and blended with the fans on costume night. I entered the costume contest and didn't even make the first cut! It was great to experience the 311 scene from the other side for a night. CB: Last year you launched Live311. Why was it important for you to make live shows available for fans?NH: People have been trading our shows (with our blessing) for years. We just wanted to make it more convenient and better quality.CB: You have a huge fan following of all ages. How do you maintain and continue to grow your fan base?NH: We do our best keep the albums creative and exciting and we put a ton of energy into our shows. The crowds keep us energized.CB: How do you choose acts to go on the Unity tour each summer?NH: We pick acts who are going to get the party started right. Cypress Hill and G. Love will be great this year!CB: What is the secret to keeping the band together for over 20 years?NH: Be ready to not get your way.CB: What does your perfect day look like?NH: Music, family, sunshine.CB: What can fans expect with the show in Cincinnati?NH: Sweat and funky Rock!
by Amy Harris
Band in Cincinnati to open tonight's sold-out Kenny Chesney concert at Riverbend
The Eli Young Band brings a taste of Red Dirt music to the forefront of Country music. The band has an upbeat and distinct sound that has caught on quickly on a national scale. EYB saw mild success through the years touring on Jet Black and Jealous and hit a major stride with its most recent album, Life At Best, featuring the hits “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” and ACM "Song of the Year," “Crazy Girl.” The Eli Young Band has now reached a new height, opening Kenny Chesney’s current tour (which is hitting mostly stadiums). CityBeat was able to catch up with band drummer Chris Thompson to get the band’s feeling on its new found success and life on tour with Kenny. The tour comes to Cincy tonight at Riverbend Music Center for a sold-out stop (the tour moves to Crew Stadium in Columbus on Saturday night). It is truly the most impressive tour in Country music.CityBeat: How did the tour come about with Kenny Chesney?Chris Thompson: A lot of people don’t know this but Kenny is really involved in who he picks to go on tour with him. In a lot of other tours, a record label will put someone on the bill or management will partner up with other management to find a tour that works with that kind of artist, but Kenny is super hands-on. Two years ago at the Academy of Country Music Awards, we were nominated for "Song of the Year" and so was Kenny, and we actually beat him, we won the category. I guess shortly after, there was a text going around from Kenny to his management, “Who are these guys that beat me?” and “I want to find out more about them.” He started getting into our music and shortly after we got the phone call that we were invited to go out on tour with him. It’s just a huge honor. Like I was saying, he hand picks the folks that are out here on the road with him. It’s the biggest tour in Country music and we are just happy to be here. CB: I was there the night you guys won the "Song of the Year" award. I was so happy for you guys. I know you have worked very hard over the years. What was the highlight of CMA for the band this year in Nashville?CT: We were only there for a couple hours really. We flew in that morning and did a signing for two or three hours and then had a couple meetings. Then, we were out of town. We have been going to CMA Music Fest for seven or eight years now. Back in the day we would stay for three or four days and play a show or two and be able to hang and meet as many people as we could. It seems like more and more nowadays, especially with the tours we have been on and our headlining tours, we are only able to get in for a day and get out. It is always fun to do the signings because you meet people from all over the country and from all over the world really who love Country music. They are so excited to meet you. They are die hard fans. They bring pictures from five years ago when we met. It’s just cool that Country music does that. We are the only genre of music that has anything like that where fans can go and interact directly with the artists and have one-on-one face time with them.CB: Tell me a little bit about “Drunk Last Night,” the new single.CT: I think “Drunk Last Night” is a lyric we can all relate to. When we all first heard the song, we were like, “Yes, this is a song for us." A lot of people hear a title and automatically think it’s a drinking song. We went through some of that with “Crazy Girl.” A lot of people saw the title and went “Oh, I know what this song is about,” and I think they were wrong. I think people will find this is not the standard drinking song. It is all about, I hate to sum it up as drunk dialing, but it is kind of like the thought of doing that and alcohol feeding that desire a little bit more than in daily life.It is also a song that we went in the studio and recorded (and) as soon as we finished the session, we could go out and play (it) live right now because it’s a great track, it’s rocking, it’s in our wheelhouse and we actually did. We started playing it at the very beginning of the Chesney tour before it was even picked as a single. The crowd really seemed to dig it and now here it is, going to be a single. Good stuff.CB: Do you guys know or do you have a feeling when you have a hit or when you hear a hit presented to you?CT: Yeah. I think sometimes you hear a song, sometimes people say the song gives them chills and they know that’s the one. Sometimes you get that feeling in your gut. When you hear a song sometimes, you write a lyric and you feel that, it is almost like that feeling of falling in love. Your chest kind of swells. When multiple people feel that way at the same spot or for the same song, then I don’t know if anybody can guarantee a hit, but you know that it is at least a lyric or a song that people can relate to and I think typically good songs are universal in that sort of way.CB: I loved your “The Cuss Jar” video — I could buy a house if I implemented that process. I wanted to know if you had bought anything fun with the money?CT: No, actually I think that era ended. The jar got too full and I think we used that jar for laundry money one day when we stopped somewhere on the road and had a few days off and emptied the whole thing for band and crew’s laundry. Then we got too lazy to keep up with it.CB: What has been your craziest tour story recently?CT: I think playing Cowboys Stadium in Dallas on the Chesney tour was probably the craziest thing because we are from Dallas and we have played every tiny bar around the stadium. To just get up on stage at the biggest stadium in America was totally wild. All of our families were there; it was craziness.CB: That’s such a special moment, I am sure you have plenty of those all the time. Do you do anything special yourself to keep the tour memories? Do you take photos or journals? Some bands blog or journal and do things to keep it fresh.CT: Yeah, we have been fortunate on this tour, since the beginning of this year, we have had a guy out on the road with us that has started doing social media. Mainly he is taking pictures. Since January, this whole thing has been documented and we really appreciate that. It is definitely hard for us to get good photos when we are on stage playing, when we are really in the moment, because we are playing, so he is out there doing that. This is the biggest tour we have ever done and just the momentum that this year is building, we are just happy about that.CB: What does a typical day look like for you?CT: On the Chesney tour when we are doing stadiums like we are doing today, we will go out and do a tailgating event, at 1 or so in the afternoon, we will all get into some golf carts and we will go out to where all the fans are tailgating and they will bombard us with jello shots and beer bongs and the local foods they have. We hang out with them for an hour or two then we will start doing radio events where we will play a couple songs acoustic, sitting on our bus or backstage for various winners. Then we will do a meet and greet for about 60-100 people. Then, we will grab a bite to eat around then. Then we hit the stage and rock out for about an hour. After that, we will go hang out with some radio folks or some friend that are in town and wind down about the time Kenny hits the stage so we can watch him. It’s pretty cool. It’s pretty unreal.CB: If you could trade places for anyone for about a month, who would it be?CT: Right now it feels like we are living the dream. I think the four of us are really happy with what is going on in our careers right now. We have had some national success. It feels like we have broken out of being a regional band and it feels like we are on the cusp of something more than that. It’s a great time for Eli Young Band and it is important for us to enjoy this. I probably wouldn’t want to trade places with anyone right now.CB: What can the fans look for from you guys tonight in Cincinnati?CT: We try to always bring a high-energy show. We were playing a show last night and there was this older gentleman almost in front row sitting in his chair arms crossed and it looked like he wasn’t really enjoying himself. About halfway through our set he leaned over to his wife and he points at us and he goes, “Those guys are workin’ up there.” Then he smiled real big. We want to bring that energy. We want to get on stage and have a good time and fire up the crowd. We go on right after Kacey Musgraves. Kacey is real cool and laidback and all that when she does her thing and it’s great. Then we get to come in and kick the audience in the butt a little bit. During our set we have some new music in there and some cover songs I think gets the crowd up and clapping. After that Eric (Church) comes up and burns it down. Then Kenny Chesney comes out and the place goes nuts.
by Mike Breen
The cross-country “Kings of the Mic” tour is technically an old-school Hip Hop exhibition, but the packaging of these particular artists — most of whom have been and remain vital and relevant today — makes it much more than just a 21st century version of an “oldies” revue.And the fact that the three headlining artists’ classic music still sounds so vital today makes it more than just some nostalgia trip. Headliner LL Cool J was one of Rap’s first superstars and, thanks in part to his acting/hosting career (and also his album releases), he remains a superstar to this day. Public Enemy’s smart, socially and sonically progressive sound remains as fresh today as it did when the group released 1988’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back — one of the greatest albums ever made. Like P.E., De La Soul has remained artistically inventive and the trio’s influence is often underestimated. Rounded out by a pair of even earlier influential performers — Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick — the Kings of the Mic tour’s stop at Riverbend tonight is not just a history lesson, but the best party to start off your summer right. Tonight's concert starts at 6:30 p.m. and tickets range from $18.50-$84.50. • Bluesy, soulful British rockers Leogun return to Cincinnati tonight. The trio — which was scheduled to appear at Cincinnati's MidPoint Music Festival last year but had to cancel due to work visa issues — was influenced by the pure Rock sounds of artists like Jack White and Queens of the Stone Age. But it was an Eagles of Death Metal concert that kickstarted Leogun's career into overdrive. Singer/guitarist Tommy Smith talked his way backstage at the band's London show in 2009, where he met a guy who introduced him to Elton John's Rocket Music Management. The threesome quickly inked a deal with Rocket and then with Yamaha's record label. The band is digging in hard in the States and touring on a consistent basis behind its just-released debut album. Catch Leogun tonight for free at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine at 10 p.m. Here is the band's first single, "Let's Be Friends." • Tonight on Fountain Square is your chance to be a part of a Guinness World Record, as the weekly "Salsa on the Square" event invites dancers far and wide to come out and help set the bar for "Most Salsa Dancers" higher. The event starts at 7 p.m. (instructors are always on hand so don't worry about your lack of Salsa skills) and live music is provided by Grupo Tumbao. Click here for more details. Here are even more live music options in Greater Cincinnati for tonight.
by Amy Harris
Revitalized rockers headline Riverbend's final show of the season Friday
Journey is a legendary Rock act from the ’70s/’80s, but the band is not done yet. The group put out its 15th album, Eclipse, last year, Journey's second effort with current lead singer Arnel Pineda, and is currently out on tour with fellow ’80s hitmakers Pat Benatar and Loverboy. The band's classic music is standing the test of time and crowds still react emotionally to its vast catalog of hits, as well as some of the new music selections.CityBeat spoke with keyboard player Jonathan Cain, who is now in his fourth decade with the band, and discussed how he was influenced to write one of Journey's biggest hits, as well as how the band stays relevant in today’s ever changing musical landscape. Journey performs the final concert of Riverbend Music Center's season tomorrow (Friday). CityBeat: You guys have been touring on Eclipse for the past year. Are you guys working on new material yet?Jonathan Cain: No, we are just settling into the touring aspect of things right now. We worked pretty hard on the last one and thought it was time to focus in. I recently had a child and (guitarist) Neal (Schon) has been going through all his things with Michaele (Salahi). We have been busy. I just opened a new studio in Nashville called Eviction Sound. We have been focusing on all the stuff we have to do. It’s a balance deal. We’ll start working on new music eventually.CB: You mentioned some of the personal issues with Neal and Michaele. (Salahi, a former Real Housewives of D.C. star, left her husband for Schon in a very public "love triangle" soap opera.) Has any of that gotten in the way of the band’s activities?JC: No. Not at all. They are getting through it and still in love. It’s all good.CB: Any fond Cincinnati memories from the past?JC: Fond Cincinnati memories? I have had some nice encounters with the fans down at the hotel bar there; closing the bar there would be the response. I do enjoy going to the ball games as well. Cincinnati always has a pretty good baseball team. CB: I was recently covering the CMT Awards in Nashville and saw the performance with Rascal Flatts. How did that collaboration take place?JC: The Rascal Flatts thing came about because we have a mutual friend. I play golf with one of the guys who produces the CMT Awards. He asked me one time on the golf course, “Who do you think Journey should do a (CMT's cross-genre showcase) Crossroads with?” And I said, “Honestly I think Rascal Flatts best fits with the sound Journey does,” and he agreed. We talked to their senior management and the rest was history. We will probably do a Crossroads together at some point.CB: I couldn’t get the song out of my head for four days after that night.JC: It’s one of those hummers. Every band needs one.CB: My favorite Journey song ever is “Faithfully.” I know you wrote that song. Can you talk me through that process to put that song together?JC: Basically, the song was written on the road. I was in Saratoga, NY, in upstate New York. We had just come off the bus and I was feeling a certain way watching the crew take the stuff down every night with the riggers and the roadies. I felt they needed to have a song and same with us. We all miss our family the same way. I don’t care who you are in this business, you still sacrifice something to be out on the road. It’s something I wrote for all of us. It’s a good ol’ Country song that turned out to be a big ol’ hit. (Original singer) Steve Perry actually wanted that on his solo album and I declined. I said, “Journey or bust.” It was the last song we recorded on the Frontier album back in ’83. We never even rehearsed it. That was live in the studio. That was the third take. Steve put his signature vocal on it. I was thrilled to have penned that song, then we played it live and the fans came back with “I’m forever yours, faithfully.” They turned it around and it was pretty cool.CB: I have asked other artists about hits like that and they say, typically, the hits come out quickly. Was that the case with that one?JC: Yeah, I wrote that in a half an hour on a napkin. It was very quick in the room. I woke up and I had started it. I wish I still had the napkin. I don’t have it. Then there was the keyboard I had on my bed I used to bump around ideas on. It was one of those Casio keyboards you just take in your suitcase. When I got to the gig, I got a real piano backstage at the Saratoga Performance Arts Center and sort of flushed it out. The first time I did the demo, I was working with Keith Olson back in L.A. and he let me record it just by myself and that was what I played for everybody. He played it for the girls from Heart. He said Nancy (Wilson, guitarist) cried when she heard it. I thought that was a good sign. I guess they liked it.CB: I saw on your website that you share blogs and journal entries. Have you kept journals all through your touring years?JC: No, I should. I sort of dropped the ball on that one. I am getting inspired to write a new one. A lot has happened since the last one. I want to update the fans. It just may take on the highlights. We have just had this movie released Every Man’s Journey. We debuted it at the Tribeca Film Festival and San Francisco Film Festival. It’s a documentary that was made by a Filipino lady that heard about Arnel (also Filipino) joining our band. So she came out on our tour. She spent her last four years following our buses around, coming to rehearsals. So they finally put a movie together. That was really exciting to attend and it really helped him solidify himself as he has evolved as an entertainer and a star. You see it actually happen, I think they are going to release it next Spring. It is really something. It is a neat story. We are proud of him. CB: I find it very inspiring you welcomed someone new into the band and are so supportive of them moving forward.JC: It was kind of a no-brainer. The guy can sing better than anyone can sing it. We went, “You know what. Let’s go with this guy.” We loved his heart. We loved the man as a father. The whole package. He makes us better. He is great.CB: I saw in your journals you were blogging about South America and other places. I wish I had written down all my travel stories over the years. What has been your most memorable travel story recently?JC: Actually, the European thing with my son was really great. We went to Europe and he went on the road with me and we got to go to some pretty incredible places. We played golf together in Scotland. There was this incredible experience, everything from the Eiffel Tower to the Royal Palace of Stockholm and to see it with your son is pretty darn cool. We went to San Salvatore, about a mile up and you look out from the Swiss Alps and it is breathtaking. I have to say that European trip was at the top of the list.CB: Any habits you’d like to break?JC: I probably drink too much wine.CB: Any regrets over the years?JC: No. I believe life is perfect. You live to learn from your mistakes and grow. If you regret something then lessons haven’t been learned. Everything you regret is something you haven’t accepted in life. Mistakes are chances to grow, chances to understand a deeper sense of who, what, and how you relate to the universe.CB: Do you think Rock music is a dying art?JC: No. I don’t. It is a niche now. We are a niche now. We aren’t as popular as we were but if you come to our show you can see it is alive and well. Just because the media has stiffed us doesn’t mean we aren’t out there in our own way. We are quietly playing for thousands and thousands of people. We have sold 800,000 tickets. It’s crazy. It’s a lot of people. It’s a good show. Pat Benatar is on the bill. We have Loverboy opening up when it is the three of us. We are having fun. We are keeping things alive. CB: Are you a political band? We are in a critical election time. Are you planning to back any candidates?JC: No. We stay out of that. If they want us to play and pay us a bunch of money, we will play for them. CB: Either candidate?JC: We would. The bottom line is we have a lot of fans on both sides. That’s my feeling. I’m tired of Republicans, I’m tired of Democrats. Let’s just get the people together and get shit done instead of arguing and bickering. This is the worst Washington has ever been. That’s just my take on it. (Journey reportedly was paid a half million dollars to perform during the Republican National Convention this year.)CB: We are looking forward to you in Cincinnati. What can the fans look forward to that night?JC: It is a cool mix of all of our stuff. Some new, some old. Great video, great lights. We have a new sound guy. Our P.A. sounds like a big, giant jukebox. I don’t think we are too loud. I think we sound cool. I think we look pretty cool. They are going to see a great show. It is going to be a good first class Rock show with a lot of hits.
by Amy Harris
Two contemporary Rock giants join forces on Honda Civic Tour
Linkin Park and Incubus have hit the road together this summer on the Honda Civic Tour, a four-week, 18-city tour of North America. The tour comes to Cincinnati tomorrow (Wednesday) for a stop at Riverbend Music Center.Linkin Park's fifth studio album, Living Things, debuted at No. 1, giving them more No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 than any other band this century. Since 2000, Linkin Park has had more Top 10 singles on the Alternative chart than any other artist, as well.Celebrating their 20th year together, AltRock giants Incubus recently turned a Los Angeles storefront space into a low-key, hi-tech residency that resulted in six nights of free performances and fan encounters in 2011, chronicled on special HQ Live CD/DVD bundles. Last summer, Incubus released its seventh studio album, If Not Now, When? Linkin Park and Incubus will continue the tradition of a "Green" Honda Civic Tour in 2012 by supporting the Power the World organization, to raise awareness about people who have no access to energy and to fund cleaner energy solutions.To kickoff the Honda Civic Tour (which also features Mutemath), the two bands joined forces for an open press conference with lead vocalists Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) and Brandon Boyd (Incubus). Q: What can fans expect from this year’s tour?Chester: I think the most special thing about this tour is the fact that you have two headlining bands singing together on one bill. The fact that both Incubus and Linkin Park perform full sets with full production is kind of special. Linkin Park isn’t the band that you go to see with chairs on the floor in the arena. No one wants to come to a Linkin Park show and stand there and look at the band and listen to beautiful music. People want that but they also want to be kicked in the face and they want to run into each other and they want to jump up and down and sing and have a really great, high-energy time. The new record has so much energy that we feel like we could add a bunch of new music to the set and people will be stoked about it.Q: You guys are committed to green energy on the Honda Civic tour. Can you talk a little about it?Chester: Yes, it’s more of a purpose-driven green movement in terms of just wanting to be more clean and efficient with our tours so we leave less of a footprint when we’re out there.Q: As you each grow older and wiser, how do you both stay inspired to produce the style of music on both the record and in concert that your most loyal and long-term fans both love and expect?Chester: You know? When I’m 70 I don’t know if I’ll be, um, screaming “Victimized” at anybody. Hopefully that will be the case, but I doubt it. That’s one of the things that is so interesting about our business. None of us are guaranteed that anyone can come to one of our shows or care about the last record we put out. Every record that we go into, I look at like, this is our very first album and this is the best representation of what we are giving something to the people who are going to hear it. It’s basically like when you create a song and people hear it and they connect with it, you’re giving that person a sense of inspiration.Brandon: I know for me as a lyricist and as a singer, my deepest intention beyond just trying to express myself with a sense of purity is to hopefully achieve a sense of timelessness. You want to touch on subjects that are potentially universal. And that don’t really need to be tied to the ’90s or the 2000s or the 2030s. You want to be able to make music that will essentially transcend time.I’m not interested in making a kind of music. I think that’s why Incubus records have changed sometimes dramatically over the years. Our newest record If Not Now, When? is really a good example of that. It’s more different than any of our records than we’ve ever done before. And I personally am really inspired by that. I’m proud of that. I want to make music that continues to evolve and challenge people and surprise people.Q: Throughout the years both bands have essentially kept their core members. So how do you all stand each other after such a long time, because it’s got to be kind of tough on tour.Brandon: There’s the understanding that it’s family, and it’s very much a familial thing. That even though there are times when they hurt your feelings or they might get on your nerves, essentially the majority of your experience with them is rooted in love. So as long as we can hold on to that sort of transcendent notion, everything usually is OK. And it’s OK to be angry at your family members sometime, and it’s OK for them to get on your nerves. The best thing to do, I think, is just to remember who you are. And understand the difference between a need to express frustrations and potentially your own ego.Chester: I think that within Linkin Park we all have similar aspects of our personality that we share with each other. We all are very driven. We all like to work really hard. We all like to do whatever it takes and be involved in every aspect of what we do. But it takes all of us. Together, the band is worth far more than each of us is as an individual. And I think that being in my band is an example of the most functional relationship I’ve ever had in my life.
by Amy Harris
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.
July 26 • Riverbend Music Center
0 Comments · Monday, July 23, 2012
Having friends in high places never hurts and Kendrick Lamar has the fascinating fortune to boast a friend in a really
high place. In a recent interview, the Compton, Calif.-cultivated
rapper described Lady Gaga as “a good friend” — a connection solidified
by the Pop bigwig making an appearance during Lamar's set at the recent
Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.
by Mike Breen
Dayton Metalcore group preps for return to Ohio with the Mayhem festival
The Devil Wears Prada is a true "area band makes good" story. The Dayton-born group is steamrolling through the landscape of Metal all over the world. In the band's short history, TDWP has released four albums while keeping up one of the most active tour schedules around. The group's latest album, Dead Throne, from last year reached the top of the US Indie charts and they are showing no signs of slowing down, joining the likes of Slipknot, Slayer, and Motorhead on the latest Mayhem package tour, which comes to Riverbend next Tuesday (July 24).CityBeat caught up with lead singer Mike Hranica in person prior to the band's show at Bogart's this past winter, and with rhythm guitarist Jeremy DePoyster by phone just this week to preview the group's return to Ohio. They both are very proud of their Midwestern roots, what it has meant to the band’s success and how it has let the members keep their Christian values at the forefront of their music. CityBeat: I have been listening to your new album this week Dead Throne to get ready for the show. First, I wanted to ask you about one of the songs on it. I guess the song that speaks to me the most was “Mammoth.” Can you tell me the story behind that song and a little bit about it?Mike Hranica: “Mammoth” was an interesting song. When we went into recording the record, there were only two songs that didn’t have vocals yet. One being “Chicago,” one being “Mammoth” and I wrote them as we were working on the record. When we took “Mammoth” into pre-production, Adam D, who produced the record, totally re-arranged it and it turned out to be one of our favorite songs as well and a favorite of the fans. Lyrically, it was the second to last song I wrote for the record, so I wanted it to be this recap of everything this record deals with, all the issues from idolatry to love loss and all this and tying obviously God into it. That is the idea of the full circle which runs throughout the song and that is the general concept of it.CB: You mentioned Adam D from Killswitch. What was your favorite part of working with him on the album?MH: I liked all of it. He is extravagant, personality-wise, and professionally I see him his as very simply a mastermind. I think he absolutely smashes it. I loved what he did with the music, what he did vocally with me, and I loved eating lobster with him every day.CB: You recorded it somewhere up north right?MH: Yes, in Western Massachusetts.CB: You guys grew up here in Dayton. This is a local show for the band. How do you think growing up here in the Midwest influenced the music?MH: You really see it everywhere, internationally and throughout the states. Music is obviously huge to all cliques, all generations, and all sorts of youths as far as going to school in the groups or the segregations, the cliques of people all have their music. Music is very important to someone young and growing up and I know that really translated to us. I think the Midwest has a big part in it because there is not much else to do. Like anyone else there was BMX and skateboarding and sports and what not, but it seems like a lot of young folks in the Midwest just want to play guitar and go to shows and I know that was the members that make up this band. Jeremy DePoyster: There are so many bands that are doing similar kinds of things to what we are doing now. When we grew up, especially in Cincinnati, there was an actual Hardcore scene of music and it was bizarre to be playing with them as kids with keyboards and singing and all this stuff. We were this kind of and oddball band and it was exciting because we were just a bunch of kids and into that stuff. It forced us to try and do the best we could and to really have no promise of anything. It was all local. Between Cincinnati and Dayton and Indianapolis and all these places we played growing up, it’s just the Midwest vibe. That’s why I live in Chicago now instead of the West Coast. I like the feeling here. I feel like it is really down to Earth. My wife is from Cincinnati and so we grew up together. It makes you more humble. You don’t have the arrogance that comes with it a lot of times.CB: So you were in the school band?MH: Dan and James were. I think those two were the only ones in school bands.CB: I downloaded “Zombie Slay” last night and played that on the iPad for the first time. I was just curious about you guys getting into gaming and the comic books and how did that all come about and why did you choose to go down that path?MH: When we did the EP, it was like a weird concept, it is a non-serious concept that we are going to take seriously and with that I think it would be really stupid to not do things in addition to zombie t-shirts and zombie hoodies. We wanted to go outside of that. The comic book was something that came to us right away as well as the game. Unfortunately, it just took a long time to get the game together. It was just stuff we wanted to do.CB: Do you draw?MH: Chris draws. The dude that did all the illustrations, actually Kevin Mellon who did the comic book illustrations worked with us on the app as well. We were just curious to get into the app world, the iTunes world, being a bunch of Apple nerds. The game was definitely an awesome first step for us and we are excited to see what else we can do with outside the box marketing products and just giving fans something a little bit different to maintain curiosity and just have a little bit of fun.CB: What is your favorite game to play, other than Zombie Slay of course?MH: I have been playing a lot of Zombie Slay. We just did Australia before this tour which is a lot of long flights and I was playing a lot of Zombie Slay. Otherwise, I go in and out. I have an iPad as well and I play games on that. I am not that big of an Angry Birds fan. Everyone is definitely on Angry Birds. I like Veggie Samurai, I play that a lot. Sadly I play a lot of Solitaire on my iPod, like my classic iPod. CB: What are you guys most looking forward to with the Mayhem Festival?JD: So many things. We have tried to come a long way as a band. That is always the goal. We have tried to really fine tune the art and harness the sound in the show and all that good stuff. I think that being on the Festival is kind of the next step in the direction of shying away from the Dubstep nonsense, you know, silly autotune wave of things that are happening and get back to Metal which is what we like and what we love and why we write the stuff we do. Slipknot, Slayer, Motorhead and Anthrax are amazing. You can’t beat that stuff. We have wanted to do the tour for a long time but as soon as those names came up, we were like, “Yes. Now. Put us on it.”CB: You guys have never really compromised your Christian values and you have always had that kind of a theme through your lyrics but you have started touring with more mainstream Metal bands like White Chapel and the bands you just named. There is not always a Christian atmosphere. I cover a lot of Metal music. How do you handle it or does it bother you guys at all?JD: It doesn’t really bother us. Even one of the guys from Slayer is Catholic. I think it is more of a vibe thing for them more than anything in a lot of those bands. I don’t really feel like it is that big of a deal. Some people sing about politics and some people sing about satanic issues and some people sing about love and all different kinds of things. This is just what we sing about. I don’t think it really has a whole lot to do with music. I listen to Slayer and I listen to Slipknot and bands whose values have nothing to do with mine but I can still enjoy it and listen to it and have a good time with it. I think that is the vibe we try to bring in. We are pretty respectful dudes. We generally tour, 99% of the time with secular bands, and we really don’t have a problem with it. I guess we just hope that people will give us a chance which is why it is fun to get out on a tour like this and be able to play in front of people that might have a pre-established opinion on who we are and what we do based on the fact we are a Christian band. They see it and go, “Oh wow. I had no idea it was like that.” It’s kind of cool.MH: It really is no big deal. We never, ever set out to only tour with Christian bands. We just wanted to, it was always about playing to as many people as possible. The funny thing is, backstage it never really matters what you believe because everyone gets along fine. We get along with For Today really well, both being Christian bands and being people, Christians, normal people. That’s how I think of ourselves, just normal dudes and Christians. And we both get along with White Chapel just as well, who don’t have the same sort of belief system, but it doesn’t matter at all because we are here to perform what we made and explore the music we have created and that may sound like it degrades your beliefs but it doesn’t. It’s just how it is touring. If anybody really has a big problem with Christians being on the tour, they are the standouts, and not to be too blunt, they are usually pretty ignorant people. We get along with everyone and we have been touring with non-Christian bands since we started and some of our absolute best friends are non-Christian bands.CB: I was just curious because White Chapel is almost the extreme opposite of what you guys play and lyrically. How did that tour come about or how did you hook up with them?MH: The first time we toured with White Chapel was early in 2008. I had went and saw them at a show some of my friends were playing and I had been listening to their EP that was out and was “This is the heaviest thing I know of right now.” We are happy to have them on tour early that year and it was smooth sailing. They were “We’re a little bit nervous” and we were “We’re a little bit nervous.” And it was whatever and we just play music together. We just announced a South America tour for next year which White Chapel is on again. When we see them, it is always, “When are we touring together?” It’s awesome to have them back and it is awesome to have all good people on the tour, definitely White Chapel included.CB: I think there is a misconception about Metal in general. I interview everybody at Rock on the Range and every festival. I have never met anyone that was disrespectful or not nice or who didn’t get along. I think it is a misconception in general.MH: It really is. There are Metal bands that take the whole evil thing literally, mayhem and these other things. For the most part it is evil music and it needs evil lyrics and that is what they make. They are not killing and raping women in ditches so what does it really matter?CB: You recently released a video for “Vengeance.” Can you tell me the story behind that song and the video itself?JD: It’s just a live video from our DVD shoot that we did. We put it out to get the message out of that and spark interest. We put a lot into our live show. Actually we filmed that DVD and that video I think four days before the Cincinnati show. We really just wanted to capture what that tour was in a permanent format so people could see it, not like in a Youtube quality video and stuff. That video is kind of like promoting that and getting it out there. It is one of the more relatable songs that we have off the record.CB: The DVD you are referring to is Dead and Alive. I know you did a lot of the behind the scenes shooting and editing. Are you a photographer or videographer? Is that kind of a hobby?JD: It is just something I just started doing as a hobby and a side thing. Then it just gradually turned more and more into something where I was doing every single one of the tours a video for us. Something really important to us is making sure that everything that goes out there with our name on it is coming from us and not from a giant business, corporation behind us but intimately from us. So with the video stuff and most of the photos we put up, we shoot and produce and come out from us. I feel like the bands that I like and respect the most are the ones that put effort into it instead of writing the songs and handing it in and going, “OK, do what you will with this.” Even with the merchandise designs and the website design, Mike has a massive, large hand in creating. We just want everything that has our name on it to come from us. Being able to do the video stuff ourselves is a really big help in that.CB: I have seen you guys a couple times play and you have major crowd surfing. The fans really get into your shows. Is there ever any worry about injury or anything crazy happening at the shows?JD: Yeah, but I guess it just comes with the territory. We grew up going to small shows and hardcore shows in the Dayton and Cincinnati scene which was not a calm, passive scene to grow up in. We are kind of used to it, teeth are all messed up, my face kicked in at a show as a kid and that is what we are used to. There are usually ambulances that come. I think it is pretty easy to be able to tell the areas where you won’t get hurt and the ones where you might get hurt. I think it is a do-it-at-your-own-risk kind of deal. It is part of the style of music and hopefully no one gets too hurt. CB: What was your highlight of the last tour you were on?JD: We have done a couple tours. Our fall tour was probably the most exciting one we have done so far. We got to bring massive production out and put on a big show. We just did a small club tour in the U.K. which was real cool and intimate. We did a secondary market tour in the Spring which was really cool because we got to do some “off the beaten path” markets which do a little bit better for us. The people are just more passionate than they are in the big city. We went to South America which was insane as it always is down there. It is a totally different world than it is here. The shows were great. I think it has been an exciting good six months for us. Really the highlight will be this summer with the Mayhem Fest.CB: What is the best guitar solo of all time?JD: Really, I like a lot of the Judas Priest stuff. “Painkiller” solo is pretty up there for me. There is just an emotion that comes from that, that is pretty awesome.
by Amy Harris
Rockers headed to Riverbend for next weekend's Mayhem Fest
Asking Alexandria has a British Metal sound, is proudly rough around the edges and even prouder of its stereotypical Rock & Roll lifestyle. Nothing shows this more than the short film they just released, Through Sin and Self Destruction. They have two studio albums, most notable being Reckless and Relentless, which blasted into the Top 10 on the Rock charts in the States. In a music industry that can be so straight edge and proper at times, AA is a callback to the dangerous Rock & Roll living of yore. CityBeat had an entertaining meeting with lead singer Danny Worsnop and discussed the band’s shaky public relations past and what the band’s attitude means to the landscape of Metal and Rock & Roll. Catch Asking Alexandria when the Mayhem Festival comes to Riverbend Music Center on July 24. CityBeat: I took the time yesterday and watched your new short film Through Sin and Self Destruction. What made you decide to do a short film like that when most people aren’t even doing videos anymore?Danny Worsnop: I think it was a chance to tell a story; (there had been) kind of rumors about it for a long time but it had never reached the surface. It is a very loose, over-dramatized version of what was going on in my life at that point.(See the NSFW trailer below.)CB: Does the film really portray the typical kind of lifestyle that you guys lead?DW: It is exaggerated but it is my lifestyle.CB: I talk to a lot of bands and it is being compared to Guns N Roses and the Appetite for Destruction days and I don’t talk to many bands that are able to sustain that. DW: Most bands these day aren’t even really bands. They are just people who kind of play music. There aren’t many real bands anymore so there really isn’t opportunity for that lifestyle to sustain. I am by no means condoning the lifestyle but it has always kind of been there in Rock & Roll. CB: Do you guys see a big difference when you tour in Europe versus touring in the U.S.?DW: Not really. At first there was a crowd size difference but we are known to the world now. It is pretty much the same no matter where we go, besides the currency. Currency is different. And age of sexual consent.CB: Can you tell me the process for you guys as a band to put the songs together or write the songs?DW: The songs are based on whatever I am going through at the time. The albums are very honest and very personal. Everything that we have been doing is a story of my life.CB: Where do you see yourself and the band in 10 years?DW: Hopefully, in a much bigger house than I live in now driving a much nicer car with a lot of money. And hopefully still playing music in 10 years.CB: Who are your current influences in music?DW: The same they always have been. Motley Crue, Aerosmith, Journey, Def Leppard and AC/DC, just Rock & Roll. I would rather much listen to those bands than Metal. I am not a Metal singer. I don’t listen to Metal music. In my eyes, we are a Metal band with a Rock & Roll singer.CB: You guys have a highly anticipated new album coming out this year. How is that coming along?DW: It is coming along really well. It is different than the previous records. It is far more mature. I have written some real songs. Hopefully that comes through.CB: Is it still looking like a September timeframe (for release)?DW: It is looking to be the end of November or beginning of December right now.CB: What has been your greatest Rock star moment so far?DW: That is a tough one. It depends which way you want to go with it. Do you want something completely inappropriate?CB: You could go with either or both.DW: We opened for Guns N Roses and we felt like true Rock stars. That was definitely infamous. In terms of behavior, however it may be frowned upon, I guess the most shamed Rock star moment was the whole Seattle incident. CB: You guys were out with Guns this year. What was the highlight of that for you guys?DW: Just the experience of doing it. It’s such a great honor to do something like that. It was mind-blowing at times.CB: Did you get to spend time with Axl at all or the band themselves?DW: No, I didn’t really hang around much at that show. I left pretty soon after we played.CB: I always ask this question of bands because I have had some pretty crazy stories over the years. Have you ever had any crazy boyfriend or husband stories?DW: I have never had a boyfriend or a husband. I’m sorry I’m going to let you down with that one.CB: No, with the girls coming after you guys?DW: We have had many of the guys come up to us and ask us to sleep with their girlfriends or wives. I did once have sex with a chick and later found out she was engaged to one of my good friends.CB: That’s never good.DW: No.CB: Did you tell him?DW: No and he still doesn’t know. We aren’t friends anymore so it would be impossible for me to tell him. It was a friend at the time.CB: Do you guys have any pre-show rituals. Do you come together and do anything special?DW: No. It was always something that was natural to me just like I’m going anywhere else except there are thousands of people watching it.CB: What can the fans look forward to at Mayhem?DW: It is going to be a real fun tour. I am going to be wearing leather. They can look forward to that. I may take my shirt off during the show.CB: It’s going to be pretty hot for leather.DW: Yeah, that’s why I may take it off.CB: It’s pretty hot. I don’t know if you’ll get the leather off.DW: I know I’m hot. Stop telling me. Stop flirting with me.CB: You guys have been out on the road. What is the best and worst part of being on the road?DW: The worst part is being away and not getting to see loved ones. The best part is probably just the shear freedom from the human race. Normal rules don’t apply. It is a completely different world when you are on the road. As myself, I am a completely different person on the road than any other time in my life. I am an insane creature.CB: Do you believe the cliché that there is no bad press?DW: I know there is bad press. I just don’t necessarily dislike it, which is a good thing because I have had a hell of a lot of it.CB: Some people it really bothers and gets under their skin and some people it doesn’t.DW: I think sometimes I prefer bad press.CB: Why?DW: Everyone is trying so hard to just be so nice now. I don’t want that. I want to be known as me and I am not a good person but I am OK with that. I have come to terms with it. It’s not that I am a bad person, it is just that I speak my mind and I don’t sugar coat stuff. CB: I interviewed Alice Cooper a few weeks ago, a legend, and he seemed upset with current bands because nobody wanted to be Rock stars anymore, basically.DW: Last time I saw him he was on stage at the Golden God Awards ceremony thanking me and for keeping Rock & Roll alive.
by Amy Harris
Art Alexakis and crew come to PNC Pavilion with the ’90s Pop/Rock Summerland tour
Everclear has joined forces with other acts that may be best described as ’90s Rock and Pop groups for the Summerland Tour 2012 to get rid of the stereotype and prove their music still resonates today. Everclear saw its biggest fame with the release of the 1995 album Sparkle and Fade and the chart topper “Santa Monica.” The band has continued representing its West Coast roots and just released its eighth album, Invisible Stars.CityBeat spoke with Everclear frontman Art Alexakis and discussed the Summerland tour. We also made Alexakis face a lighthearted game of quick-fire questioning which led to some very comical and real responses. Everclear will be performing at the PNC Pavilion at Riverbend tomorrow (Wednesday) alongside Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, Marcy Playground and Lit.CityBeat: You guys have been out on tour for a few weeks since June. What is the craziest band on the tour?Art Alexakis: The craziest band on the tour? Crazy in which way? My band has probably got more time with therapists. Does that count? I don’t know. I’ve got to tell you, every band is crazy in their own way. The Sugar Ray guys are just knuckleheads because they are playing ’80s music and ’90s Punk and singing it at the top of their lungs before every show. Lit are the party dogs. The Gin Blossoms are just old school pros and sweet guys and we are just a bunch of knuckleheads. I don’t know. It depends on what time and what day you are looking.CB: I have been listening to your new album, Invisible Stars. My favorite song on the album was “Santa Ana Wind” and I wanted to see if you could tell me the story behind that song.AA: It’s funny because that is one of the co-writes on the record. I had wanted to write a song about moving back to L.A. and I don’t force things. If it doesn’t come, I don’t force it, because it always sounds disingenuous when you do. A friend of mine, David Walsh who is in a band with my old bass player, came by my studio just to hang out a little bit. I remember him sitting there and he picks up the guitar and goes, “I got this music that I just can’t figure out a melody or words to it” and he just started playing it and I just started singing the melody. Within two hours, we had a song. I took it home that night and finished it, finished all the words and got all the nuances and then we went in and recorded it a week later. It is my emotional favorite song on the record, it is definitely my favorite, even though I love all the songs. I am really proud of this record, but I am glad you like that song. That song means a lot to me. It’s weird because when I turned that song in, no one was talking about it as a single. I was kind of disappointed, but since the record came out, it has been the No. 1 song people write me about on Twitter and … Facebook. That is the No. 1 song, I think, that and “Jackie Robinson” is probably neck and neck. I am glad it resonated with you. I like that a lot.CB: You guys have had produced major hits. I grew up with your music and love you guys. When you are writing, do you know when you have a hit?AA: That is a real good question. I think a lot of people would be hesitant to answer that. I know when a song writes itself. I don’t know if you are familiar with my song “I’ll Buy You a New Life,” but that song basically wrote itself in like two hours and “Santa Monica” kind of wrote itself like that, and “Santa Ana Wind” kind of wrote itself like that, and “Jackie Robinson.” I had the idea for it in the music but I didn’t write the lyrics until later, but when I wrote them they came out in like about an hour. Songwriting is the creative thinking. The craft part is easy for me but the creative parts, you can’t control it.CB: There are definitely political tones on the new album, and I know you can be political at times. We are heading into a big election. Are you planning to do any campaign work or work with any candidates?AA: No one has asked me. I am a tried and true Democrat and a huge fan of Barack Obama, was in 2008 and still am. I think he has done a great job. He is trying to climb a mud hill uphill, straight uphill, and he is doing it. It’s a hard job. I sure as hell wouldn’t want that job. I’ll campaign if people ask. It’s not like I go out of my way. I am political because I believe everybody should be political. It is our role. It is one of our key responsibilities; it is like falling in love or working or eating. Voting is so important. I feel like it is our right and our obligation as an American. I have always felt that.CB: You guys are going out with all of these iconic ’90s bands and touring. What do you feel is the state of Rock music today?AA: I don’t know. That’s a big, kind of $10 dollar question I don’t have the answer to. From my perspective, one of the reasons I wanted to start this tour, the reason I called Mark (McGrath of Sugar Ray) to get involved and be my partner and do this thing with me was I felt there was a need for this. I was talking to a lot of people who felt very disenfranchised by contemporary Rock and Pop and felt a huge connection with the ’90s era more than from a nostalgic point of view. This type of guitar Rock resonates with them and resonates with me as well. I think those are the people that are picking up on our record. We aren’t on a major (label). We don’t have major promotion. It seems like they are picking up every week which is bizarre because they usually go down at first. It just shows me, especially the way word of mouth on this tour has been, that my hunches were right. This isn’t nostalgia. This is a valid connection with people and music. People still feel excited about it and have a great time, and I think that is what it is all about.CB: I just got a new table game and I have “Lightning Round”-sort of type of questions for you.AA: You just what type of game?CB: It’s a table game. You pick it up and ask questions. You should get one for the bus. Have you ever ran away from home?AA: Have I ever ran away from home? OK. Yes. You should do your homework, missy.CB: I know. I did. That is why it is kind of funny that I drew that one first. AA: That is why you were laughing when you asked the question, you already knew the answer too.CB: Sort of. What habit would you like to break?AA: I can’t say what just came to mind.CB: Yes you can. We print anything. That’s the point of this. Don’t think.AA: The habit I want to break is my aversion to world peace. That didn’t work, did it? The habit I’d like to break is hitting on my drummer. I think it bothers him, makes him feel uncomfortable.CB: I thought you were going to say getting married or something along those lines.AA: I see where you are going. Maybe it is getting married to women half my age.CB: That may be a good habit to break.AA: I see. Just live with the band.CB: Have you ever been fired?AA: Yes. I have been fired, several times.CB: What adjectives do you hope describe you at 75?AA: Alive. Is that an adjective? That’s not really an adjective, is it? Virile. Exciting. It’s a working dream. It’s not that far away. 75 is probably a long way off for you; it is not that far off for me.CB: I’m not that young. I’m 36.AA: You’re not that young? You’re older than my wife but you are younger than my ex-wife. CB: What is your best excuse when pulled over for speeding?AA: To be honest with you, I never make an excuse. I always come clean and I always get off. “I have no excuse officer. I was speeding. I was just excited to go where I want to go. I broke the law. I’m sorry. Give me the ticket.” I never get a ticket. The truth is good but being in a multi-platinum band probably helps too. CB: I’ll try it but I don’t think it will work as well for me.AA: When girls say that, they try to cry. My ex-wife, beautiful, she was beautiful, she was an actress and she would try to cry and get away out of tickets and she always got the ticket.CB: I don’t cry. I just try to make up an excuse and that doesn’t work either. I am the worst driver.AA: I believe you.CB: What is the most unusual gift you ever received?AA: My wife now, when we were dating, gave me the gift of a party on my birthday that was like a role playing game, you ever done that?CB: I have done murder mysteries.AA: This was a murder mystery, but this was cool because I was a Columbian drug lord and she was a Columbian drug lord and we became partners in killing and murdering and it was awesome. It’s a game. It’s awesome.CB: I love it. Obviously, I am playing the table game with you right now. I like games.AA: I think you are making this up off the top of your head.CB: I am not. It is called Table Topics: Questions to Start Great Conversations. Any crazy Cincinnati stories from the past?AA: Oh yeah, but I am not telling them to you.CB: Why?AA: I have some really good Cincinnati stories. Just because.I will tell you one. I was in my room and I was at some posh hotel and I was fooling around with some people and I hit the door and … I got that, what’s that called … Staph Infection.