Interview: Marco Minnemann Discusses Drumming For Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani, & New Solo Album

Marco Minnemann has become a well known name in the prog-rock and metal community due to his work with a large array of big-name artists and acts including Joe Satriani (solo instrumental hard rock guitarist), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree/Blackfield frontman), Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa/Fantomas drummer), Tony Levin (King Crimson/Peter Gabriel bassist), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater keyboardist), Kreator (thrash metal band), Necrophagist (technical death metal group), Aristocrats (jazz-fusion trio) and many more. Minnemann will be releasing his next solo album, “EEPS,” on July 9th. I got the chance to interview the drum legend and talk about the current Joe Satriani tour, upcoming solo album, working with Steven Wilson and much more. You can view the interview below:

Currently, you are lending your drumming abilities to Joe Satriani’s live performances. Can you talk a little about how you got involved with Satriani and how the tour is going?

Marco: Joe and his manager wrote me an email and asked me specifically if I want to be on board and they would like me to bring my stuff to his music. They heard me play and Joe liked my style which is very kind to say. I remember the manager, Nick, was telling me once, “Look, we want you to do your thing. Two hours of guitar music can be be very boring after awhile.” So, I have a lot of freedom there. For some songs like “Devil’s Slide,” you can go crazy and do some fills, and I even have a drum solo, which is kind of awesome. But there’s also some songs like “Flying in a Blue Dream,” where you just have to really stick to the groove and deliver the meat. The touring experience is absolutely amazing, we get treated very, very nicely. Joe is a very cool guy to hang out with and it’s an overall very pleasing experience. This is already the second year in the tour and it will keep going so there’s a lot of things to expect.

“The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories),” a solo album by Porcupine Tree’s frontman Steven Wilson, featured many talented prog-rock musicians including: yourself, Guthrie Govan, Nick Beggs, Adam Holzman, Theo Travis, and Alan Parsons. Was it overwhelming writing the material for the album with so many renowned artists in the studio with you?

Marco: We received the songs from Steven in the demo phase already before we went to the studio, and I recorded drums at home at first. And then, after the songs were fully arranged and everybody brought their instrument to the table, we kind of worked like a live band and recorded it live. Certainly, overdubs were done after that but the vibe generally was actually very relaxed. That album was done in like 5 days of recording. Alan [Parsons] is a great guy to work with. He is super relaxed as well and he is just capturing the sound without any interference or telling you how to sound.

Live performance of Steven Wilson’s solo band perform “Luminol”

Were you familiar with Steven Wilson’s previous solo releases or his work in the progressive rock/metal band, Porcupine Tree, before you joined him on tour?

Marco: No, absolutely not. I heard his name but I have to honestly say I did not know about that band too much. I knew they were around, but never really listened to it. Actually to this day, I don’t know much of that material. Steven and I connected differently. We connected on a more personal level, just meeting, hanging, and sharing some cool stories and having a good vibe and starting to make music. There was chemistry, so I think that was the most important part of that story.

Now the big news in your career right now is your upcoming solo album, “EEPS,” in which you composed, played, and recorded all instruments. Can you discuss the writing process of the material and any difficulties you ran into while composing, playing, or recording the songs featured on the LP?

Marco: There weren’t any difficulties, I’ve been doing solo records since about 1994. And actually in all my solo records, I play the instruments and produce. The difference on this album, which is really because I love to experiment and try new things, was the collaboration with Scott Schorr, who successfully helped us with the release of “Levin Minnemann Rudess” which was released in 2013. He owns the label, Lazy Bones Recordings, and he is a musician himself and has great ideas. On “EEPS,” Schorr basically served as a co-producer. He has a very open mind for these things. I remember composing “OC DC,” which was made up of completely out of tune instruments and after awhile it started sounding like a song. I sent it to Scott and he responded by saying, “Wow, this is genius. I can’t believe it. I can’t stop listening to this song. Let’s make it a single.”

Track-by-track preview of Marco Minnemann’s upcoming LP “EEPS”

It is also noted that you wrote all the lyrics for the tracks on “EEPS.” What were the main inspirations for the lyrical content on this album?

Marco: On the song “OC DC,” I came up with the lyrics after the music. Since the song is out of tune and completely and an organized mess and chaos, I actually wrote about exactly the opposite topic, so the lyrics is about someone who is OCD and gets annoyed by little things and tries to fix them. There’s also a song called “When I Was Gone,” which is about religion, but actually in a funny way. It’s about someone who pretends to be Jesus. “Sunshine” is about hope and looking for love.

Music video for “OC DC,” single off upcoming solo LP

You have drummed in a large variety of bands including Necrophagist (a technical death metal group), The Aristocrats (an instrumental jazz-fusion trio), Paul Gilbert (hard rock solo guitarist), and many more. Are they any genres that you find more enjoyable or difficult to drum for?

Marco: Every genre you like to listen to, you automatically understand. That’s what I believe in. So to me, these are musical styles that I love listening to. All these bands have something to offer that I really enjoy playing. Especially with The Aristocrats, we have no boundaries and can do everything we want to do.

Track-by-track teaser of The Aristocrats’ self-titled LP (2011)

Throughout your discography, many big-name musicians have been featured on your solo releases like Tony Levin, Jordan Rudess, and more. Are there any musicians on your bucket list that you’d like to record with in the future?

Marco: I was never really looking for specific people to work with. They show up automatically.  I go for chemistry. All of a sudden you meet someone and think, “Wow, this could be fantastic!” And then you start working with them. Which is what happened with Guthrie Govan (guitarist of The Aristocrats). Regarding musicians on my bucket list that I’d like to record with in the future, I’d have to really think about that. There’s many great musicians out there. Something with Kate Bush would be kinda cool. Aphex Twin, Sting, Peter Gabriel, or Tegan & Sara would be really interesting. Brian May would definitely be on that list. I grew up listening to Queen.

What are 5 drummers or artists that you would consider major influences on your overall sound and technique?

Marco: I’d say like Frank Zappa, Queen, Led Zeppelin, and The Police. Those were people that I really respect or listened to while I grew up. But honestly, when I compose music, I don’t think of how I could sound like these artists. It always flows out automatically.

If you had an infinite budget and amount of resources, what would be your dream tour consist of? Who would you want to tour with and what countries or festivals would you like to play in?

Marco: It would be really great to perform some of my work with an orchestra at some point. Like each performance, somewhere around the world, in like a concert hall, in Sydney, London, or Paris. That would be pretty cool.

You have released several instructional drumming books such as “Extreme Interdependence” and “Maximum Minnemann.” If you could give 3 tips of advice or techniques to recommend to aspiring drummers, what would they be?

Marco: I see myself more as an overall composer. But, my recommendations would be first of all, to play the right notes, feel out the music, and sit tight on it to make it sound good. Caring about your sound is very important. And believe in what you do. Stick to your guns and you will find people who will enamor themselves with you.


Drum solo while touring with Necrophagist in 2007’s Summer Slaughter

What is next for Marco Minnemann? Do you plan to tour in support of your upcoming solo album?

Marco: Here’s the funny bit, I never really toured for my solo albums. You’ll hear some of the songs performed live with The Aristocrats. But what can you expect next? Well, first of all, “EEPS” release.” I have already another album in the making. Then, a new Steven Wilson album. And also, a new Aristocrats album. And of course all the live touring in between.

Billy Corgan Says New Smashing Pumpkins Song Is ‘Clever, Cute & Sarcastic As F*ck’

Billy Corgan posted the following blog on SmashingPumpkinsNexus.com:

Rather than just update on the days particulars (cut the vocal for ANTI-HERO and Jeff added some guitar work; meaning work on the song is essentially finished outside of a few background vocals). I thought I’d get a bit into my lyrical process. And in offering this I’m going to say upfront that I’m not going to share the actual lyrics, for reasons that should be clear; so expect a somewhat esoteric dissertation.

Let’s say (for the sake of argument) that one had two choices: serious or ironic lyrics. Now let’s say that one didn’t like either choice. Why? Because with all the songs ever written laying about, what’s left to be said? Perhaps this is a cynical assertion, but that close to the way I feel. And in that I believe in penning lyrics that can exist on differing levels for different types of listeners.

To paint the picture more clearly, ANTI-HERO, on its surface, seems like an irony waiting to happy (think baby-baby ooh lyrics), but underneath that are dystopic ironies closer to the song’s message. Personally I think it’s both clever, cute, and sarcastic as fuck, and that would be the point; because the world is going mad while we discuss what celebrity a did to celebrity b at fake award show x last night. Point being that the violence of the culture is covered with a thin gloss of shiny-shiny; so why shouldn’t my song be the same.

Having the title ANTI-HERO before I’d ever written a line presented a challenge, simply because I’d assume that any song with that name would have a tougher message. Not a baby-ooh-wow-wow one. But isn’t it often that our relationships remind us of war (i.e. all’s fair in…), so as above so below, and so as in love so it goes, etc.

Anyway, ANTI-HERO is about a cause, in this case the cause of reaching the one you love while the structures around you crumble: be it school, government, culture, or who you thought you were living in that city you once thought you knew. Displacement, really, of energies you assumed would be there when you did say ‘baby I love-love-love you, you’re the one for me, there’s no one else like you girl, ooh, wow wow.”

And that I say proves what I’ve been saying all along: that SP is a piss take on a piss take on a piss take. What is real and what isn’t doesn’t matter. It’s all the same; real as important as false, death as valuable as rebirth, with only love as the ONE unassailable force (that’s a given.)

MONUMENTS tomorrow…

W.P.C.

Firefly Music Festival Day 3 Review: “You Can’t Make Money Playing Music”

Continued from Saturday’s events…

Still exhausted from the previous night, Mike and I checked out of the motel and hounded some breakfast at Taco Bell, since that’s actually a thing now.

Today was the last day, and while I was having a mostly good time so far, I was relieved to go home. We still had interviews lined up with Wild Cub, NONONO, Dan Croll, and a last minute scheduling of The Griswolds. All we’d have time to see is Wild Cub and Weezer before we had to bang out our last two interviews and take the four hour drive back, missing Jack Johnson and The Lumineers.

Preparing online for the interview with Wild Cub, I happened to read that frontman Keegan Dewitt left his successful job in New York City to move to Nashville and form Wild Cub. For the sake of conversation, my first question was the idea that parents don’t want their children to become musicians because there’s no money in the industry anymore. Keegan gave me a detailed answer, and the interview was overall probably the most in depth of the entire festival. You’ll get to read that later on.

When we saw Wild Cub play on The Porch, next to the Artist Lounge and the Main Stage, Keegan said something along the lines of “Thank you all for allowing this to happen. I was talking to someone before who said you can’t make money playing music…” before launching into the band’s successful debut single, “Thunderclatter”.

Between Wild Cub’s set and the imminent Weezer performance at three, Mike and I got to check out the Arcade that we passed by several times. It was a tent filled to the brim with 80’s and early 90’s arcade and pinball games, along with several air hockey tables. I thought it was a pretty neat idea, though all the machines were being used and we didn’t have much time until Weezer, so we bailed. It was smack dab in the middle of a farmer’s market, filled with specialty clothing shops and organic foods. The festival really was ambitious.

Like the Foos, Weezer wasted no time in ripping through nothing but the hits front to end. Rivers Cuomo kept saying “Firefly” in a really dazed way, even in the middle of a song. Included in the set was a cover of Blur’s “Song 2”. We actually had to cut out before they played their last two songs, “Undone” and “Buddy Holly”, because our interviews with the pop act NONONO and indie artist Dan Croll, who played the main stage earlier in the day, we both scheduled. We just wanted to get home and sleep at this point.

After discussing the crossover of pop and rock radio with NONONO, an extention of the argument Mike and I had the previous night, and Dan Croll’s one-on-one experience with Paul McCartney and being contacted by Rockstar Games to contribute a song to the Grand Theft Auto V soundtrack, it was finally time to head out.

The last thing we saw leaving Firefly was a guy getting thrown onto the pavement near the parking lot, where a lot of food vendors were stationed. About seven other guys piled on top of him, holding him down and calling security. They were not needed: a cop sped into the scene on a motorcycle as if out of thin air. The guys who jumped the other guy said that he broke into their food truck and tried robbing them.

The suspect played it cool for a second, walking towards the cop, then when the cop moved in to put cuffs on, the guy made a sudden movement, and the cop laid him out on the curb sand slapped the cuffs on. While I did not hear this myself because I put on my headphones after the incident, Mike Mazzarone swears up and down that the suspect, being dragged away, yelled at the top of his lungs, “All I wanted was a leftover taco!”

All in all, the festival was a great experience, with adjustments needed to accommodate its unprecedented growth in the last two years. 2014 is the year that will prove Firefly worth of being in the big leagues with festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.

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Firefly Music Festival Day 2 Review: Imagine Dragons Surprise With Electric Set

Continued from Friday’s events…

Thankfully, the recorder turned up in our camera bag. Regardless of how it got there, our first two interviews were salvaged. After hounding down some iHop down the street from the Dover Downs stadium, back to the festival it was.

We had interviews with Sleeper Agent, Cage the Elephant, Kaiser Chiefs, Boy & Bear, and Tegan & Sara lined up. None of the acts that I was slated to cover were going on until around 5:00, so it was time to bang out interview after interview so that we wouldn’t have to conflict with any act; the only exception was Tegan & Sara, to take place in the middle of Cage the Elephant’s set.

Saturday was the day the dust started to really kick up, between the carts kicking up dirt as they sped by and the breeze that formed. It was cloudy and wasn’t smeltering like it was the day before, but now everyone had to deal with dust storms. Many chose to shield their eyes using goggles or sunglasses, while wearing turban style headdresses to shield the nose and mouth. Everyone started to look like the Sand People from Star Wars. My arms are still stained brown from all the dirt that permeated the air as I type this. It wasn’t something that could have been helped much by management, and it kind of added to the overall vibe of the festival.

Sleeper Agent is one of rock’s most exciting young bands, and it was sad to see them take the stage at the Big Break even though they’ve been around for a few years. The crowd tripled in size as the band played, many yelling their love for singer Alex Kandel. Our full review can be read here. One person in that crowd was waving a blow up sex doll around. Not sure if this is a tradition of festivals as of late, but there were many odd objects being waved around and even focused upon by the multiple cameras streaming to the giant screens on the sides of the stages, including cardboard cutout faces of random actors like Nicolas Cage, Josh Peck, and Morgan Freeman.

Cage the Elephant came on immediately after in the Backyard stage right next to the Big Break, and they customarily opened with “Spiderhead” off of their new album, Melophobia. After searing through their hits like “In One Ear” and “Take It Or Leave It”, Mike and I had to bail to see to our interview with Tegan and Sara, which was to take place in the Artist’s Compound, which we found out the hard way is different from the Artist’s Lounge behind the main stage. The Compound was located next to the Backyard stage, where Cage was playing. The hike was for nothing. I’m not lying when I say I lost 4 pounds this weekend from walking alone.

We finally found Tegan and Sara in the artist compound, which was lined with tour buses and tents designated for each of the bands on the bill. A giant hot air balloon was on the other side of the compound. The two were fun and easy to talk to, and we discussed a time when Tegan happened to be at the same party as Dave Grohl. We managed to get back to Cage the Elephant in time for the closer of “Sabretooth Tiger”, during which Matt Shultz attempted to stand on his brother Brad’s back but seemingly messed up and decided not to.

Imagine Dragons was starting soon, and so we rushed to get some more Red Bulls before going to the main stage. While rock fans tend to dislike the band for their airplay on rock radio while being more of a pop act, their set was surprisingly electric. The highlight of the set (full setlist and pics here) was a pretty faithful cover of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer”. Frontman Dan Reynolds said that he would sneak into his dad’s room as a kid to listen to the song on his record player. Say what you will about the band, but they’re rock stars on the inside.

We decided to leave during the last fifteen minutes to check out the last fifteen minutes of Grouplove’s set, who were playing in the Coffee House. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Grouplove’s live shows. Little did we know that after we left, Dan Reynolds called Cage the Elephant to the stage to jam with them on their closing song, “Radioactive”. Cage didn’t do much but hit anything they could on stage with drum sticks, but they were definitely having fun.

The fastest way to the coffee house was through “The Forest”, which was a surreal trail through the woods with fluid neon lights lighting up the trees. I felt like I was on Pandora from James Cameron’s Avatar. When we reached the Coffee House, hundreds of fans were packed into a tiny area, even standing on top of tables to get a glimpse of the band. We got to hear the single “Ways To Go” and the Spreading Rumors bonus track “Beans on Pizza”, which seemed to be a real crowd pleaser. I really recommend anyone to give this band a shot.

Mike and I divided our time between Beck and Tegan and Sara. Beck, playing on The Lawn near the front entrance and down the way from the Coffee House, still sounded at the top of his game, but being he got most of his radio singles out of the way early and neither of us are that knowledgeable about his deep cuts, we decided to book it over to the Backyard to catch the last few minutes of Tegan and Sara’s set; we managed to see them play their hit single “Closer”.  The entire crowd of thousands danced.

Outkast was the last act of the night. I’m not familiar with their discography outside of Hey Ya and Ms. Jackson, but all I kept hearing about them was that they were an amazing live act, a notion that Matt and Brad from Cage the Elephant vouched for (they saw Outkast five times). Mike decided to sit it out, but I wouldn’t give in just yet. I chugged some more Red Bulls from the Artist Lounge and made my way to the crowd, where virtually everyone was smoking pot. Outkast came on and put on an outstanding performance, though I only made it halfway through the set before nodding off when I was standing up and realized it was time to go.

On our way to the parking lot, Mike and I started to debate about the current pop rock trend on radio, a debate that became so intense that by the time we reached our car, we realized we completely walked past the media tent and forgot to collect our gear.

Crap…

 Click here to read about a weird arrest on Sunday…

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Firefly Music Festival Day 1 Review: Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys & Young The Giant

Another year, another Firefly Music Festival has come and gone. The promoters focused on making this year’s festival bigger and better, with an estimated 80,000 fans in attendance. Foo Fighters, Outkast, and Jack Johnson were the major headlining acts of each night. Myself and AlternativeNation.net MC Mike Mazzarone were lucky enough to attend, and its been an overall strange experience. We will be posting each of the interviews with artists referenced in the recap in text form over the next few days, along with a compilation of all the interviews in video format in the near future.

Friday 

It was a beautiful, hot day, with nary a cloud in the sky as we drove across the Delaware Memorial Bridge and through the Delaware border for the first time.  We arrived in the city of Dover around 11:30 AM, picking up our press credentials from the festival’s designated off site location, which I will not name because the Firefly snipers might have their scopes on me.

From there, we arrived at the motel room that Mike Mazzarone had booked for us two months prior, which happened to be one of the only unbooked motels in a twenty mile radius. We had to be at the festival at 1:00 for our first scheduled interview with the Danish pop rock band New Politics. I figured we’d just check into the motel beforehand to gather ourselves for a few minutes after the four hour car ride from Orange County, New York. Suddenly, the guy at the front desk came running outside in a panic.

“Wait! Don’t go in there!” The guy knocked on the door, and a confused woman answered, looking very nervous. “You were supposed to check out at eleven!” He spent a good minute scolding her and a man who walked over, telling them to pack their things and leave. He then looked at me all apologetic. “Sorry, I forgot I temporarily rented out the room this morning. I’ll get you another room.” You can fill in the blanks there. Oops. Explains why everyone avoided this motel like the plague.

We got to the Dover International Speedway a little late because of this incident, combined with traffic on the way in, but thankfully New Politics were stuck in traffic as well. They’d meet us at the media tent. I checked my gear in and was cleared for access into the festival grounds, being greeted by the Lawn Stage as me and Mike walked in. We realized we didn’t receive a map when we walked in, and spent the next twenty minutes or so on a hunt for this fabled “media tent” that none of the security guards stationed at every corner knew about. Being my first festival experience, the whole layout kind of struck me as being like a military camp from a Vietnam war movie, just replacing humvees rolling by with golf carts. As it has it, the tent was immediately to the left of the entrance hidden behind a Landshark vendor. The guys in New Politics are great, and as a joke Mike gave bassist Soren Hansen a pair of Randy Savage glasses that he wore during their set later that day.

Though I wanted to see Kongos, one of mainstream rock’s most promising young acts, perform at 1:30, our interview with New Politics would take us to around 2:00. We did manage to catch the last six minutes or so of Kongos’ set, performing on the main stage to a massive crowd. As soon as the band launched into their hit single “Come With Me Now” as the last song of the set, the crowd went insane. Pretty amazing for a band that nobody in America had probably even heard of until four months ago. We were scheduled to meet the band in the Artist Lounge, which happened to be behind the main stage, at 4:15. We weren’t aware of this fact, and ended up running around for a good half hour just trying to find this artist lounge, which we thought initially was the same as the media tent. It was then that I realized I had misplaced my voice recorder used to record interviews with New Politics and The Mowglis.

“Its fine,” said the band when I told them that I’d be doing the interview on my phone because I had misplaced the recorder. “They interview presidents on iPhones nowadays.” With that last interview for the day out of the way, it was time to retire to the artist lounge for some refreshments. Despite the lack of organization and the fact that nobody who worked security at the festival knew where anything was, the media were treated very nicely with a complimentary bar and Red Bull cooler in the artist lounge. I took full advantage of the latter.

The Arctic Monkeys were the first major act of the night, and its sort of unbelievable how popular they have become since the release of their latest studio album, AM. Its great to see young girls really interested in a relatively new rock and roll band; it wasn’t quite Beatlemania, but it was getting there. “This one is dedicated to that booty call you might make later,” said frontman Alex Turner, dressed like a greaser, before launching into their hit song “Why Do You Only Call Me When You’re High?” I always thought their song “Arabella” sounded like a weird fusion of Sabbath’s “War Pigs” and Bad Company’s “Feel Like Making Love”, so it was amusing when the band actually played the riff to “War Pigs” in the middle of that tune.

Though they were playing at the same time as Band of Horses, Young the Giant for us bridged the gap between the Arctic Monkeys and the Foos on the Backyard stage, second in size to the main stage, situated on the opposite side of the forest as the Lawn Stage, connected by a trail. The band really put on a great show with a lot of surprisingly dedicated fans who sang along to the band’s various hits, such as “Its About Time”, “My Body”, and “Cough Syrup”, along with deep cuts from their two studio albums. The band really had an easygoing feel to them and the entire crowd was in amazing spirits.

It was finally time for the Foo Fighters. Our full review of that performance can be read here. Grohl said he was glad to be back in the area, noting that many people did not know he grew up on the east coast before getting involved in the Seattle grunge scene. The highlight of that performance was the band’s encore, reinventing themselves as a fictional bar band playing classic rock covers called “The Holy Sh*ts”. The band tore through covers of “School’s Out”, “Miss You” (the Stones), “Under Pressure”, “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love”, and a “cover” of their own song “Everlong”, perhaps a statement that they’re getting old and their early stuff is fast approaching classic rock territory.

‘I’m so glad the summer festival is a thing now in America,’ said Grohl excitedly.

With a volley of fireworks accompanying the final chords of “Everlong”, Friday had ended. Time to get back to the shady motel and recoup…

Click here to read a recap of Saturday’s events…

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Arctic Monkeys, Julian Casablancas & Spoon Announce Tour Dates

Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas has announced a tour behind his upcoming new solo album Tyranny:

10/16 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
10/17 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
10/18 – Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theatre
10/20 – Chattanooga, TN @ Track 29
10/21 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
10/22 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
10/28 – Birmingham, AL @ Iron City
10/30 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s
10/31 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
11/06 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
11/09 – San Francisco, CA @ Regency Center
11/11 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
11/13 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox

Arctic Monkeys have extended their North American tour, see a full list of dates below:

06/24 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Lawn at White River State Park *
06/25 – Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest
06/29 – Roskilde, DK @ Roskilde Festival
07/04 – Wechter, BE @ Rock Werchter
07/06 – Sopron, HU @ Volt Festival
07/08 – Nimes, FR @ Nimes Festival
07/10 – Lisbon, PT @ Optimus Alive
07/12 – Dublin, IE @ Marlay Park
07/13 – Kinross, UK @ T in the Park
07/16 – Villafranca, IT @ Castello Scaligero
07/17 – Pistoia, IT @ Pistoia Blues Festival
07/19 – Brittany, FR @ Les Vielles Charrues
07/30 – Council Bluffs, IA @ Harrah’s Hotel & Casino Stir Cover
08/01 – Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza
08/06 – San Diego, CA @ SDSU Open Air Theatre
08/07 – Los Angeles, CA @ Staples Center
08/08 – San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands Music Festival
08/10 – Squamish, BC @ Squamish Valley Music Festival
08/11 – Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theater
08/12 – Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theater
08/16 – Osaka, JP @ Summer Sonic Festival
08/17 – Tokyo, JP @ Summer Sonic Festival
08/22 – Paris, FR @ Rock en Seine
08/23 – Reading, UK @ Reading Festival
08/24 – Leeds, UK @ Leeds Festival
08/30 – Edmonton, AB @ Sonic Boom Festival
08/31 – Calgary, AB @ X Fest
09/03 – Magna, UT @ The Great Salt Air
09/04 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Ampitheater
09/05 – Kansas City, MO @ KRBZ Beach Ball
10/25 – Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theatre
10/28 – Cedar Park, TX @ Cedar Park Center
10/29 – Grand Prairie, TX @ Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
10/30 – The Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
11/04 – Bogota, CO @ Coliseo El Campin
11/08 – Buenos Aires, FR @ Personal Fest
11/09 – Cordoba, AR @ Estadio Orfeo
11/11 – Santiago, CL @ Arena Movistar
11/14 – Sao Paulo, BR @ Anhembi
11/15 – Rio de Janerio, BR @ HSBC Arena

* = w/ White Denim

Spoon have announced a world tour behind their upcoming new album They Want Me Soul:

06/26 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas (Early Show)
06/26 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas (Late Show)
06/27 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
06/28 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
07/12-13 – Telluride, CO @ The Ride Festival
07/18 – Louisville, KY @ Forecastle Festival
07/25 – Seattle, WA @ Capitol Hill Block Party
08/01 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
08/02 – Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza
08/05 – San Diego, CA @ Sleep Train Ampitheatre *
08/08 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery
08/10 – San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands Music Festival
08/17 – Portland, OR – Musicfest NW
08/30 – Montreal, QC @ Park Jean Drapeau *
08/31 – Philadelphia, PA @ Made in America
09/02 – Washington, DC @ Lincoln Theatre +
09/05 – Raleigh, NC @ Hopscotch Music Festival
09/06 – Norfolk, VA @ Norva +
09/07 – Boston, MA @ Boston Calling Music Festival
09/10 – New York, NY @ Central Park
09/11 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead +
09/12 – Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room +
09/13 – Hamiltion, ON @ Supercrawl Festival
09/14 – Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Theatre +
09/16 – Chicago, IL @ Chicago Theatre ^
09/17 – Milwaukee, WI @ Riverside Theatre ^
09/18 – Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theatre ^
09/19 – Minneapolis, MN @ State Theatre ^
09/20 – St. Louis, MO @ Pageant ^
09/21 – Lawrence, KS @ Liberty Hall ^
09/23 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom ^
10/03-05 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Music Festival
10/10-12 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Music Festival
11/01 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
11/02 – Hamburg, DE @ Uebel & Gefarlich
11/03 – Basel, CH @ Kaserne Reithalle
11/04 – Cologne, DE @ Luxor
11/05 – Gent, BE @ Vooruit
11/06 – Paris, FR @ Trabendo
11/07 – London, UK @ O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

* = w/ Arcade Fire
+ = w/ Hamiliton Leithauser
^ = w/ EMA

Foo Fighters To Headline Life Is Beautiful Festival

Las Vegas’ Life is Beautiful Festival have announced their lineup for their 2014 fest, set to take place from October 24-26.

Kanye West
Foo Fighters
OutKast
Arctic Monkeys
Skrillex
Lionel Richie
The Weeknd
The Flaming Lips
TV on the Radio
The Roots
Girl Talk
Alt-J
Broken Bells
A-Trak
Kacey Musgraves
Fitz & The Tantrums
Phantogram
The Head and The Heart
Panic! At The Disco
Matt & Kim
Neon Trees
Jenny Lewis
G-Eazy
OK GO
Tycho
Mayer Hawthorne
Switchfoot
tUnE-yArDs
MS MR
RAC
Holy Ghost!
Trampled By Turtles
St. Lucia
Dizzy Wright
Galantis
St. Paul & The Broken Bones
Ryan Hemsworth

DJ Mustard
Vintage Trouble
J Roddy Walston and The Business
The Orwells
Ásgeir
M4SONIC
Sleeper Agent
The Preatures
DJ Cassidy
MisterWives
ASTR
holychild
Night Terrors of 1927
Nostalghia
Catfish and The Bottlemen
Paper Route
Rusty Maples
Moksha
Ekoh
Sabriel
American Cream
Rabbit
Albi Loves Chicken Tenders

Jane’s Addiction To Perform ‘Nothing’s Shocking’ At Sunset Strip Music Festival

The 2014 Sunset Strip Music Festival (SSMF) lineup has been announced for its scheduled Sept. 20-21 run, with hometown heroes Jane’s Addiction leading the roster. Taking place on the famed Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, CA, Perry Farrell & Co will be joined by Failure, Cold War Kids, Crosses, Kaiser Chiefs, Birds of Satan, Big Data and many more in the most star-studded lineup the festival has seen yet.

Jane’s Addiction will be honored at the fest with the “Elmer Valentine Award” on Sept. 19th, an award which celebrates the music and icons that have made an impact on the legacy of The Strip.

“It all started for me back when my big brother used to tell me about The Strip,” said Farrell, “and about the amazing scene where artists like Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison blew people’s minds by pioneering a new sound and influencing culture in a more exciting way than ever before. Complete with massive crowds from all over the world streaming through the streets and flocking to The Strip just trying to be part of it all.”

The Jane’s frontman continued: “So when it came time for Jane’s to record our first album we told Warner Brothers that before we could even release a studio record we had to make a live record on The Strip, and we even recorded it at The Roxy, because we knew that it had to embody that inspiration that came from the heart of that scene. We are very proud to come from this heritage and are truly honored by the Valentine Award.”

Saturday, Sept. 20:
Jane’s Addiction (performing Nothing’s Shocking)
Failure
Cold War Kids
††† (Crosses)
Minus The Bear
Kaiser Chiefs
The Birds Of Satan
Nightmare And The Cat
Beware Of Darkness
Say Say

Sunday, Sept. 21:
Empire Of The Sun
Mayer Hawthorne
Iration
Big Data
Tove Lo
Big Freedia
We Came As Romans
Nostalghia
Fenech-Soler
plus more to be announced…

Frances Bean Cobain Calls Out Lana Del Ray: ‘The Death Of Young Musicians Isn’t Something To Romanticize’

Frances Bean Cobain took to Twitter last night to respond to Lana Del Ray’s recently saying she wishes she was dead in an interview with The Guardian. Cobain’s father Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994 when she was a year and a half year old.

Setlist From Pearl Jam’s Show In Trieste, Italy

Pearl Jam performed in Trieste, Italy yesterday. Check out the 35 song setlist below.

Setlist:
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
Low Light
Black
Sirens
Why Go
Animal
Corduroy
Getaway
Got Some
Given to Fly
Leatherman
Lightning Bolt
Mind Your Manners
Deep
Come Back
Even Flow
Down
Unthought Known
Infallible
Whipping
Do the Evolution
Rearviewmirror

Encore:
Let Me Sleep
Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns (Mother Love Bone cover)
Jeremy
State of Love and Trust
Wasted Reprise
Life Wasted
Porch

Encore 2:
Better Man
Once
Alive
Rockin’ in the Free World (Neil Young cover)
Yellow Ledbetter

Watch Entire Proshot Performance Of Sepultura, Soulfly, & Sabaton At Hellfest 2014

This year’s Hellfest, located in France, occurred June 20th-22nd and featured headliners Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Slayer, Avenged Sevenfold, and Emperor. The festival also included Soundgarden, Rob Zombie, Walking Papers, Alter Bridge, Against Me!, and many others. To view the full lineup, click here. You can watch the performances of Sepultura, Soulfly, and Sabaton below:

Sepultura:

Soulfly:

Sabaton:

Watch Entire Proshot Performance Of Behemoth, Death Angel, & Watain At Hellfest 2014

This year’s Hellfest, located in France, occurred June 20th-22nd and featured headliners Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Slayer, Avenged Sevenfold, and Emperor. The festival also included Soundgarden, Rob Zombie, Walking Papers, Alter Bridge, Against Me!, and many others. To view the full lineup, click here. You can watch the performances of Behemoth, Death Angel, and Watain below:

Behemoth:

Death Angel:

Watain:

Review/Interview: Sleeper Agent Bring No-Frills Rock And Roll To Firefly

Fronted by Alex Kandel and Tony Smith, the power couple of the Kentucky rock music scene which is currently flourishing, Bowling Green’s Sleeper Agent took to The Big Break stage of the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware. The crowd tripled in size as the band tore through cuts off of their two major studio albums with an energy that kept the crowd going.

The material was evenly balanced between their 2011 label debut, Celebrasion, and March’s About Last Night. Alex and Tony exhibited their trademark banter-style swapping of vocal duties, and by the time keyboard player Scott Gardner pulled out a hammer and garbage lid for the interlude of “Get It Daddy”, a decently sized mosh pit formed, and anyone in the audience who didn’t know the band beforehand had understood Sleeper Agent.

I had the chance to talk to Alex and Tony a few hours before the show, catching up on recent events and discussing an awkward encounter with Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. For photos from the event, check out Concertfy.

You just got off tour with New Politics and Magic Man. How was that experience? 

Alex: It was such a great tour! It was such a good way to start our new album cycle.

Tony: It was also during the polar vortex, so it was easily the most strenuous tour we’ve ever had. It was like, -22 degrees. But we all banded together and made a new family. It was great.

Alex: We just saw all those people last night, it was just a big family reunion.

Magic Man said the same thing yesterday!

Alex: Awwww! We have a little bandmance going.

You’ve bounced from playing smaller festivals in your hometown to playing these huge festivals and tours like Firefly and Warped Tour. How’s that journey? Is it strange?

Alex: We really enjoy it. We’ll still play a small club like we’re playing a big room. I don’t feel that its affected my performance. In the end we’ll just put on the best show in any situation.

Tony: Yeah, I agree!

So would you say that the music scene that the media is hyping up in your hometown of Bowling Green is a real thing, as big as people would like to think it is?

Alex: I don’t think its ever been big, its just been a tight knit group of people that all kind of encourage each other to do better and do cool things. So I don’t know if I’d call it “big” and its just a group thats being done it. Everyone’s been in each other’s bands! I just think its a healthy music scene, if that makes any sense.

What’s on your playlists lately? Any new music you’d like to promote?

Alex: I’ve been listening to Knox Hamilton, they’re good friends of ours from Arkansas. I really like the new Lykke Li record.

Tony: I just got Spotify so every day is a new experience for me! You just go to the new releases and nothing gets passed over. Paws! They came out of nowhere for me. They are really great. Folky, kind of Weezer-ish. I don’t know, they’re just great. Check it out!

Alex: Check all those people out!

Any artist you’re looking forward to playing with or seeing here at Firefly? Maybe besides New Politics and Magic Man!

Alex: Our good friends in Grouplove, our good friends in Cage [The Elephant], we have a lot of people we know here and its been fun seeing everyone and catching up.

Did you guys encounter Dave Grohl? 

Tony: Our drummer was side stage for the show, and as a drummer he’s just enamored with him. He didn’t meet him… but [Alex] got to meet him before!

Alex: I met him very briefly… I wouldn’t even say I met him, cuz I was too afraid to say anything, but he was standing right there, talking to my friend in front of me, and I was just like, “Ahhhh! I’m not even gonna say anything. I’m just gonna stand here and smile and be weird.”

[laughs] I think its every modern music fan’s dream to meet him at some point.

It was probably the one time I’ve ever been starstruck! I immediately called my dad afterwards and he geeked out for like twenty minutes!

Sleeper Agent’s latest, About Last Night, is available now via RCA. 

 

Casting Stone Temple Pilots: The Movie

Stone Temple Pilots have had quite the career, with their lineup change and the surrounding controversy over the last year and a half adding a whole new complicated chapter. While an STP movie is not currently in the works, I thought I’d offer Oliver Stone some help in the case that a biopic ever gets made.

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Memento/LA Confidential star Guy Pearce (right) as former STP frontman Scott Weiland

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Wedding Crashers/Old School star Vince Vaughn (right) as STP bassist Robert DeLeo (left)

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Tommy Boy/Rules of Engagement star David Spade (right) as STP drummer Eric Kretz (left)

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The O.C./American Beauty star Peter Gallagher (right) as STP guitarist Dean DeLeo (left)

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Pirates of the Caribbean star Orlando Bloom (left) as STP frontman Chester Bennington (right)

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I’m Not Here star and rapper Joaquin Phoenix (left) as Scott Weiland’s former producer/guitarist Doug Grean (right)

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Happy Days/Arrested Development star Henry Winkler (right, he’s very good) as STP’s lawyer Skip Miller (left), for the Law & Order: STP scenes