Posts Tagged music
It’s taken me a long while to be able to put my thoughts into words since David Bowie’s death in early January.
I’ve tried to describe how I feel and the best explanation I can come up with is that I feel as though a martial arts master has come at me full force, kicked me in the chest with both feet and sent me flying through walls and crashing to the ground. My chest physically aches, the world, at times, seems to be moving in slow motion, my brain goes in and out of a foggy coherence as I process the loss of David Bowie, one of, if not, the greatest influence on my life.
Yes, I’ve long lived in that delusional camp that always believed he was so magical he had to be immortal. In life, one generally only meets a handful of people (famous or not) who exude such charm, humor and genuine talent that they seem to sparkle to those around them. You rarely come across a person who is so innovative and willing to constantly try new things just to see what they come up with. He touched so many facets of art – music, theater, acting, painting, and producing.
My first memory of David Bowie is hearing the song “Changes” when I was about 8 or 9, the year I lived in upstate New York with my biological father. I have an image in my brain of sitting in the living room of this big, old, white house and the song is playing. I think the ch-ch-changes bit along with the phrase “and these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds…” stuck in my young mind. What? Spitting on children? That was it. I’ve loved him ever since.
He is literally a part of me as I had his initials tattooed on my ankle (as part of a bigger tattoo) nearly 20 years ago. I was “detained” once, a long time ago, so he is also part of my permanent, legal record, a means by which I can be identified. I take him with me everywhere I go.
As Carrie Brownstein (@Carrie_Rachel) mentioned on Twitter, “It feels like we lost something elemental, as if an entire color is gone.” As if suddenly helium or aluminum is no longer part of the periodic table, yellow doesn’t exist anymore – lemons, bananas or the sun are void of color.
I was fortunate enough to have a couple encounters with him over the years in addition to the times I saw him perform live. Once, when he was on tour a friend and I got to meet him and take photos with him. A couple years later in Los Angeles, another friend got us VIP access for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno when David was going to be a guest. For some reason I got the idea to try and take our 8×10 photos with him into the studio. They usually made you check everything at the door and retrieve it when filming was over. I decided to stick them inside a Vogue magazine hoping they’d let me take the magazine in as something to glance at during the downtime in between takes. It actually worked. We had been placed in the front, center seats. During the commercial break, when most TV hosts and guests usually pretend there is an invisible wall between them and the audience, Jay asked David something then turned to the audience and asked if we had any questions we’d like to ask them. I quickly grabbed our photos and held them up. Jay sent a stagehand to collect them. Then it became a bit humorous. In the photos with David, my friend has her natural red hair and I had my natural medium brown, mousy hair. But sitting in front of David and Jay in the audience there was now a platinum blonde (my friend) and a nearly platinum blonde (me). They looked at the photos, looked at us and looked at each other with quizzical expressions and asked if it was really us. They were quite surprised and it made for a funny interaction. David signed our photos and then had them returned to us. I also lifted up my pant leg in an attempt to show David his initials which had recently been branded upon my ankle. He obliged by turning his leg toward me, and lifting up his own pant leg to show me the tattoo he had on the back of his calf.
Oh, and the fact that I’d called in sick to work so I could go only added to the humor when the next day 3 coworkers told me they saw me on TV the night before. Oops!
For me, watching a band I adore perform live is one of the very few things in life that truly makes me happy. I thrive on the energy and chaos of a live show. I marvel in the bumps & bruises obtained through frenetic dancing and singing. A My Chemical Romance show where my ribs still hurt nearly a week later after being in the front of the happy mob counts among my favorite memories. But seeing David Bowie perform was simply on another level. It transcended me into a euphoric state unlike any other. He always surrounded himself with amazing musicians who were so well suited to his sound & style. He was so beautifully handsome with an amazing smile and fantastic sense of humor and so immensely talented.
For one show, my friend Kim and I spent an entire cold, rainy, February day waiting in a line to see him perform a rare general admission show in Los Angeles on a tour that was mostly seated venues. I recall us being woefully under dressed for the weather while we huddled together under one umbrella for about 9 hours until they let us into the venue where it all paid off and we managed a coveted spot in the front row. The frozen toes & fingers are long forgotten. I don’t recall much of the set list, only that I was able to play with the strings coming off his purposefully frayed jeans; touch his beat up black Converse while he sang on the high stage above us. My friend Alison took this “artistic” photo of David & I because that’s all we could manage due to the height of the stage. We were close enough that when he held a long note I could actually see the texture in the roof of his mouth. It was magical & memorizing and one of my favorite nights.
To some degree I have been able to share him with my kids. When my son was about 8 I was able to take him to a few shows on the Earthling tour. At the time, he actually liked the seats that were farther away because he could better see when David launched this giant eyeball balloon into the audience where it was instantly pulled to pieces. My daughter is much younger and never had the honor to see him perform live but Labyrinth has always been one of her favorite movies and she understands how magical he was.
On January 8th, I happily downloaded Blackstar when I got into work and made my annual Happy Birthday post about David on my Facebook then gleefully plugged an ear bud into my ear to absorb the new music without any clue he was about to leave us shattered and heartbroken.
I’m blessed to have many international friends who graciously gathered up newspapers from around the world to send to me.
I’ve always been so biased in my opinion of great admiration and love for David Bowie, that I never really stopped to think about how many other people might also feel that way in varying degrees so it was mind blowing to the senses when he died to see the world react the way they did. My own life has been in flux the past couple years and the majority of my belongings currently reside in two storage units. I’m hoping soon I will be unpacking everything and perhaps, then I’ll have a Bowie fest and create a gallery of cherished items to come back and share with you.
My heart goes out to his family and friends. I thank them for sharing the public version of him with the rest of us. I’m grateful my time on this planet coincided with his.
I will always love David Bowie. He will always be my hero and one of the greatest influences and inspirations in my life that shaped who I am as a person.
Bass Player Live! 2012 hosted Duran Duran‘s John Taylor in an interview with journalist Tom Sykes followed by a reading, Q and A session and book signing in support of his just released autobiography, In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran at SIR Studios over the weekend in Hollywood, CA.
From Dutton, “With Duran Duran, John Taylor has created some of the greatest music of our time. From the disco dazzle of debut single ‘Planet Earth’ right up to their latest number one album, All You Need is Now, Duran Duran has always had the power to sweep the world onto its feet.
It’s been a ride – and for John in particular, the ride has been wild, thrilling… and dangerous. Now, for the first time, he tells his incredible story. A tale of dreams fulfilled, lessons learned and demons conquered.
A shy only child, Nigel John Taylor wasn’t an obvious candidate for pop stardom and frenzied girl panic. But when he ditched his first name and picked up a bass guitar, everything changed. John Formed Duran Duran with his friend Nick Rhodes in the summer of 1978, and they were soon joined by Roger Taylor, then Andy Taylor and finally Simon Le Bon. Together they were an immediate, massive global success story, their pictures on millions of walls, every single a worldwide hit.
In his frank, compelling autobiography, John recounts the highs –hanging out with icons like Bowie, Warhol and even James Bond; dating Vogue models and driving fast cars – all the while playing hard with the band he loved. But there were tough battles ahead – troubles that brought him to the brink of self-destruction – before turning his life around.
Told with humor, honesty and hard-won wisdom, and packed with exclusive pictures, In the Pleasure Groove is a fascinating, irresistible portrait of a man who danced into the fire… and came through the other side”
Below is a selection of images from the event.
The book is available now via Amazon in hard cover, paperback and Kindle versions. Barnes & Noble also offers an e-book for Nook and of course Apple offers it for every “i” device known to Duran kind – iTunes, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch. Don’t forget the independent book sellers in your city either! I grabbed my copy from the historic Hollywood book seller, Book Soup. Why not pick a few copies for friends and start crossing items off the Christmas list?
John Taylor continues his promotional tour for the book this week in Los Angeles with additional stops listed below. Don’t miss your chance to have this tale of rock & roll signed by the author himself!
10/24- Los Angeles, CA @ Book Soup at Cinespace (Book Signing, Interview and Audience Q&A, with book co-author Tom Sykes)
10/25- San Francisco, CA @ San Francisco Art Institute (Book Signing, Interview and Audience Q&A)
10/26- Austin, TX @ The Scottish Rite Theater (Book Signing, Interview and Audience Q&A)
10/29- Toronto, ON, CAN @ Indigo Bookstore (Book Signing, Interview and Audience Q&A)
10/30- Chicago, IL @ City Winery Chicago (Book Signing, Interview and Audience Q&A)
by Jade Robledo
Soundgarden fans rejoice!
The first recording from the rock band in 15 years has now been made available as a free download on iTunes. “Live to Rise” is the first single to be released from the upcoming soundtrack to MARVEL’s the Avengers, which will be titled Avengers Assemble and scheduled to be released on May 1st via Hollywood Records. Also available as part of the free download of the single is an exclusive clip from the film due May 4th.
The band is known for being a seminal band of the Seattle / “grunge” era of rock in the early 90s. Their greatest success came with the release of their album Superunknown, which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard charts in 1994. The release featured “Black Hole Sun” and “Spoonman,” both of which won Grammys for Best Hard Rock Performance and Best Metal Performance in 1995 respectively.
In 1997 Soundgarden broke up due to creative differences. Lead singer Chris Cornell recorded three solo albums, Euphoria Morning, Carry On, and Scream. Cornell also recorded three albums with Audioslave, which also featured then-former Rage Against the Machine band members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk. Known for the singles “Cochise,” “Like a Stone” and “Show Me How to Live,” Audioslave also cited creative differences when they broke up in 2007.
Guitarist Kim Thayil played on tracks for Steve Fisk and Dave Grohl’s side-project Probot. Ben Shepherd played bass on releases by Tony Iommi and Mark Lanegan.
Matt Cameron continued to drum in his side-project Wellwater Conspiracy that he began in 1993, a project that included a 1997 release featuring lead vocals by Ben Shepherd. He also contributed drums on “For Martha” on the Smashing Pumpkins’ 1998 album Adore before accepting the invitation from Pearl Jam to fill in for Jack Irons on their US tour. He has since joined the band as an official member.
In 2010 the band announced via Twitter that they were reuniting for live shows. In 2011 Cornell confirmed that they would be heading into the studio to record a new album. “Live to Rise” marks the first release since the reformation.
Soundgarden will hit the road in late May to join the European summer festival circuit including Donington’s Download Festival in June. Additional tour dates and more information can be found on Soundgarden’s web site.
Brian Setzer, the three-time GRAMMY Award winning sometime Stray Cat, and leader of the Brian Setzer Orchestra brought his eighteen piece orchestra to the Belly Up Tavern in the Cedros Design District of Solana Beach, CA for a sold-out show on April 3, 2011.
The Brian Setzer Orchestra played a rescheduled show at Agua Caliente Resort in Palm Springs, CA on April 2nd, to make up for a cancelled New Year’s Eve performance from last year when Setzer became ill and added the Solana Beach show as Setzer prepares to launch his next musical venture, Setzer Goes Instru-Mental, out on April 19th via Surfdog Records with MP3 pre-order available now via Amazon with special edition vinyl and CD versions available from the Surfdog shop.
Setzer will hit the road crisscrossing Europe during June and July with Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot featuring Stray Cat Slim Jim Phantom on drums, as well as Noah Levy on drums; Chris D’Rozario on bass; Brian Setzer on guitar and vocals; Kevin McKendree on Piano; and Johnny “Spazz” Hatton on bass. Double the stand up bass and the double the drums looks to be a rockabilly good time for Setzer’s fans in Europe this summer!
Back to the task at hand – Setzer, his Orchestra and his Vixens (back up singers Julie Setzer and Leslie Spencer) blowing the roof off the Belly Up Tavern last night. Wow, what a treat to see this guitar legend play such an intimate venue that only holds 600 people! Many of their shows of late have been to really big audiences such as the Doheny Blues Festival with an audience of about 20,000 blues loving fans and the Montreal Jazz Festival with well over 100, 000 swaying to the smooth jazz sounds music loving fans.
Setzer recognized a lot of faces in the crowd and told the audience it felt like he was playing in his living room at home as he called out hello’s to a few friends in the crowd. He was the consummate professional as a liquor loving lush with long blonde hair did her best Willow Smith Whip My Hair impersonations in the front row and tried to grab, many times, not Setzer, but his guitar. Yes, attempting to grab the Gretsch as Setzer’s fingers worked their magic! However, being a 30-year music veteran the guitar legend knew how to swiftly retreat from her many drunken advances.
There was also the muffin top baring, 49-year-old woman who nearly pulled him off the stage in her drunken super power strength to declare to him that she would be turning 50 the next day. Gracious as ever, Setzer wished her happy birthday over the microphone while reminding the audience he’s been 50 three times now.
I do digress on the drunken lot of women in attendance though, but seriously, do they even remember the awesome show they attended last night?
Back to the music. Setzer, and his fantastic band were in fine form last night. Really, really on fire figuratively, and almost literally as the Belly Up turned into a sauna for the searing one-hour and forty-five minute set that dealt nary a sour note the entire evening. The Brian Setzer Orchestra revved things up and got the audience boogie-ing to their energetic rockabilly sounds before they departed the stage and let the Brian Setzer Trio take over which includes Johnny “Spazz” Hatton on stand-up bass and fill in drummer, Danny Glass from Royal Crown Revue and Setzer rockin’ the roof off the joint!
The two versions of Setzer’s band covered songs across his illustrious 30 year, award-winning career including the Stray Cats hit Sexy & 17, The Dirty Boogie and Sleepwalk along with Red Hot and Gene & Eddie. The Brian Setzer Trio seamlessly brought the Orchestra back on stage to crowd pleasing roar as the band gave us a medley of the Stray Cat Strut with the Pink Panther theme.
The full band then brought the house down as they launched in early hits like Rumble in Brighton and Rock This Town along with the 90’s hit Jump Jive An’ Wail from the Dirty Boogie album. Setzer is the kind of musician that oozes love for his craft while playing on stage. You can see the smile spread across his face when he knows he’s hitting it out of the ballpark. He doesn’t look like just another musician getting through the live show. It was a stellar show of fine musicianship, one for the books as they say.
The always busy Setzer will also do his annual Christmas shows this year and has already confirmed a December 17th date at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.
He’s also got a new track from his forthcoming album Setzer Goes Instru-Mental, called Go-Go Godzilla on the soundtrack for the upcoming movie Soul Surfer starring AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid. Soul Surfer opens in theaters April 8th.
For a complete list of European tour dates and Christmas dates as they become available, check out Brian’s site.
When Duran Duran gets it right, they really get it right. The band kicked off their world tour at Stubb’s BBQ in Austin, TX last night to a crowd that left singing the band’s praises as part of the SXSW Music Festival.
The 80’s megastars have just begun to saturate the music market with their 13th album, All You Need Is Now, which is available now as a 9 track EP via iTunes with the deluxe CD package coming to a store near you on March 22nd. You can also pre-order the deluxe version from Amazon now, with delivery expected the day of release.
Produced by Mark Ronson, their latest album takes the listener on a synthesizer infused journey down memory lane with Nick Rhodes to the height of 80’s pop music while the grooves of drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Taylor keep us dancing in modern times. Singer Simon Le Bon, who has often been criticized in the media for his quirky voice, sounds smooth & melodic, demonstrating his vocal skills and a voice that has stood the test of time.
As a producer Ronson carefully guarded the bands existing, unique sound while moving them forward into new territory at the same time. He doesn’t try to make a band sound like his own records.
The band will also play a one-off concert in Los Angeles to kick off the 2nd season of the American Express Unstaged Concert Series which will be directed by critically acclaimed director David Lynch and broadcast live online courtesy of YouTube and Vevo.
Duran Duran have proved their staying power with tickets to a handful of North American warm-up concerts selling out in mere minutes as the band criss-crosses the USA in preparation for their slot at the upcoming always sold out Coachella Music & Arts Festival in Indio, CA April 15-17, 2011. The massive music festival which annually draws approximately 90, 000 visitors to the California desert will also offer a live webcast of music acts throughout the weekend.
They will then head home to the UK & Europe for concerts in May and June, and a tour of Australia in December with more worldwide dates to be announced as they become available via Duran Duran’s website. You can also check in with Duran Duran’s Roger Taylor, John Taylor and Simon Le Bon on Facebook and Twitter as they check in from their daily lives, from rehearsals and on the road.
Los Angeles based Indie/Alt Rock duo Fairfax, consisting of California native Heavynn Gates (vocals) and Georgia born Blake English (guitar) blend strong, soulful vocals and riveting guitar riffs, on their latest single Battle. The band met while writing songs for R&B artist Brandy, and shared a common background in dance music and hip-hop.
Fairfax are among the top five finalists in Taylor Guitars Test Drive Electric contest for emerging artists (also sponsored by Elixir Strings and SonicBids.com). Nearly 1,000 acts entered, and after a preliminary round of voting, a panel of artist relations professionals narrowed it down to five finalists: singer-songwriter Tyler Shea, and bands Crash Coordinates, Evaline, Fairfax, and Shot Heard Around the World.
The final round of the contest is under way with voting open through March 31, 2011. Fairfax’s entry into the contest, the video for their latest single, Battle, is up for viewing & voting now on the Test Drive Electric contest site. Don’t forget to vote daily for your favorite artist.
The winner of the contest wins a slot in the World’s Largest Music Festival Summerfest taking place June 29 – July 3 and July 5 – 10, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin featuring everyone from Toby Keith, arena rockers Def Leppard, the Black Keys, Florence + the Machine to Cage the Elephant, everyone’s darling Katy Perry and Sugarland.
The band will release their yet-to-be titled sophomore EP in 2011. The single, Battle, is available now as a FREE download. Don’t forget to visit Fairfax on Facebook to enter their drawing to win a FREE iPod shuffle!
Duran Duran are set to return to the stage with a number of tour dates set for May this year. The British band have revealed 11 dates where they will be performing across the UK. It’s the bands first tour of their homeland in a few years and looks to be a sellout. Fan club pre-sales begin later this week via the bands site.
The band featuring Simon le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor will begin their worldwide tour with a handful of special performances in the USA including the The VH1 Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam on February 3rd, in Grand Prairie, TX and the famous Southern California Coachella festival on April 17, 2011.
Duran Durans new album is called All You Need Is Now (produced by Mark Ronson) and is available now on iTunes. An extended edition physical CD is expected in March 2011. The 80’s hitmakers still have a massive fan base and have remained popular through the decades with great albums like the Wedding Album in the mid 90’s with the massive hit Ordinary World and more recently with the Astronaut album. Their new album All You Need Is Now looks destined to be another of their smash successes craftily blending sounds that could easily have come from their early hit album Rio while incorporating a modern twist to the music.
The full dates are as follows:
- 18th May 2011 Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
- 19th May 2011 Glasgow SECC
- 21st May 2011 Birmingham LG Arena
- 22nd May 2011 Nottingham Capital FM Arena
- 23rd May 2011 Liverpool Echo Arena
- 28th May 2011 London The O2 Arena
- 30th May 2011 Brighton Centre
- 31st May 2011 Bournemouth International Centre
- 1st June 2011 Cardiff International Arena
- 3rd June 2011 Manchester MEN Arena
- 4th June 2011 Sheffield Motorpoint Arena
January 22nd would have been the 51st birthday of the late INXS singer, Michael Hutchence. His charismatic style, strong vocals, sexy swagger and heartbreaking smile are missed round the world by legions of INXS fans but his birthday is a day to remember the joy and passion Michael infused in his vocal performances. A day to remember the plethora of chart topping hits this band created, share the memories with friends and enjoy classic songs like Don’t Change, Never Tear Us Apart and New Sensation. Today we celebrate some of Australia’s finest exports, Michael Hutchence, the band INXS, and all that they’ve given to music in their 30 year career with over 30 million albums sold worldwide. Happy Birthday Michael! We miss you.
INXS, with sometime singer, J.D. Fortune are about to embark on their first tour in over 3 years that begins in Australia on January 25th at the Robert Oatley Winery in Mudgee, NSW, Australia. The tour continues as follows:
- January 26 2011, Centennial Vineyards, Bowral, NSW, Australia
January 29 2011, Bimbadgen Estate, Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
The band are promoting their latest CD, Original Sin, an album of reworked classic INXS songs featuring guest vocalists such as Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas and Pat Monahan from Train along with sultry voiced Australian Dan Sultan on the early INXS track Just Keep Walking. With scattered dates in Chile, Toronto, Canada and a possible date in Portugal in June, it looks like this band may be headed around the world to a summer concert theater near you but their lackluster management, Chris Murphy of Petrol Records ought to get on the ball and release the full tour schedule and get some promotion going. Heavy hitters like My Chemical Romance, Duran Duran, U2, Katy Perry and newcomer Bruno Mars are heating up the summer schedules.
Do you have a favorite INXS story or song? Share a memory with us on this day to remember the late great Michael Hutchence.
Who are you most excited to see on tour this summer? Send us the info, maybe we can get some reviews going on them too!
“It’s with profound sadness that we have to inform you that Mick finally lost his battle with cancer and passed away peacefully at 4.30pm today, 4th January 2011 at home in Chelsea, London. He was surrounded by his family and friends and will be deeply missed by all.”
Mick was an innovative and eclectic bass player who rose to fame in the late 70’s with the glam rock band Japan. Just last year Mick contributed to the David Bowie tribute album on his version of the Bowie classic, Ashes to Ashes.
A look back at the classic Japan track, Gentlemen Take Polaroids, that has stood the test of time. Thank you for your contributions to music Mick, you will be missed. Messages of condolence for his family can be left in the message section of Mick’s official site.