Melvins Announce New Album “Hold It In”

The Melvins have announced their 24th full-length album, “Hold It In,” which will be released on October 14th via Ipecac Records. The album features bassist JD Pinkus and guitarist Paul Leary from Butthole Surfers. The group will also begin a US tour in October.

Melvins tour dates:
10/15 — Sacramento, CA — Assembly
10/17 — Bellingham, WA — Wild Buffalo House of Music
10/18 — Seattle, WA — The Showbox
10/19 — Portland, OR. — Roseland Theater
10/21 — San Francisco, CA — Great American Music Hall
10/22 — San Luis Obispo, CA — SLO Brewing
10/23 — Los Angeles, CA — The Troubadour
10/24 — San Diego, CA — The Casbah
10/25 — Phoenix, AZ — The Crescent Ballroom
10/26 — Albuquerque, NM — The Launchpad
10/28 — Dallas, TX — Trees
10/29 — Austin, TX — Mohawk
10/30 — Houston, TX — Warehouse Live – Studio
10/31 — New Orleans, LA — Voodoo Fest
11/1 — Pensacola, FL — Vinyl Music Hall
11/2 — Gainesville, FL — The Wooly
11/3 — Jacksonville, FL — Jack Rabbit’s
11/4 — Orlando, FL — The Social
11/5 — Ft. Lauderdale, FL — The Culture Room
11/6 — Tampa, FL — Orpheum Theater
11/8 — Atlanta, GA — The Loft at Center Stage
11/9 — Birmingham, AL — Zydeco

Stream Entire New Godsmack Album “1000hp”

Godsmack will be releasing their sixth full-length studio album, “1000hp,” on August 5th via Republic Records (for US releases) and Spinefarm Records (for European releases). But, the band has just released the entire LP available for stream on iTunes First Play. Click here to begin streaming the entire album via iTunes.

“1000hp” tracklisting:
1. 1000hp
2. FML
3. Something Different
4. What’s Next?
5. Generation Day
6. Locked & Loaded
7. Livin’ in the Gray
8. I Don’t Belong
9. Nothing Comes Easy
10. Turning to Stone

Jack White

Jack White Upset Over Lack Of Crowd Reaction, Walks Off Stage

The Detroit Free Press reports that Jack White had problems with the crowd at his show last night at the Fox Theatre.  White’s road manager had asked fans not to sit down or distract themselves with cell phone cameras during the show.  Apparently the crowd didn’t heed the warning though, and White quickly became upset with the crowd’s lack of connection to his performance.  A half hour into his performance White called for his stage hands and said, “Thanks, God bless you” and walked off stage.

White then returned though for two lengthy encores and told the crowd, “I know as Detroiters you can overcome comfortable seating and beautiful lighting to make something as real as possible. We’re all together now. This isn’t ‘Gone With the Wind’ in the 1930s, all right?”  White later said he would not come back to the Fox Theatre any time soon.

Setlist:
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (The White Stripes song)
High Ball Stepper
Lazaretto
Hotel Yorba (The White Stripes song)
Temporary Ground
Weep Themselves to Sleep
Cannon (The White Stripes song)
Sixteen Saltines

Encore:
Fell in Love With a Girl (The White Stripes song)
Top Yourself (The Raconteurs song)
Love Interruption
We’re Going to Be Friends (The White Stripes song)
Blunderbuss
The Rose With the Broken Neck
Three Women
Missing Pieces
Just One Drink
The Hardest Button to Button (The White Stripes song)

Encore 2:
Icky Thump (The White Stripes song)
Astro (The White Stripes song)
I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline) (Howlin’ Wolf cover)
I Cut Like a Buffalo (The Dead Weather song)
Steady, As She Goes (The Raconteurs song)
You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told) (The White Stripes song)
Freedom at 21
Would You Fight for My Love?
You’ve Got Her in Your Pocket (The White Stripes song) (solo acoustic)
Ball and Biscuit (The White Stripes song) (with Lafayette Blues riff snippet)
Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes song)
Goodnight, Irene (Lead Belly cover)

Slash Reveals He Had Never Performed Live Sober Until 2006

Former Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash discussed his sobriety in a new interview with BBC Radio 6:

“Well, I wouldn’t die. I mean, there’s some truth to [what Zutaut supposedly said], where it was, like, I finally got to a point where it was, like, ‘OK, I’m not going anywhere, so I’m gonna have to sort this out.’ It wasn’t that I had any kind of a death wish, per se, but I really took everything to the extreme and didn’t care.”

He continued: “I think the only time I got a little nervous was when I was in rehab, there was a point when Velvet went out and did a real quick tour around California [in summer 2006]. And so I left rehab and went out and did this tour, and it was the first time I’d been on stage sober — ever. [laughs] That was a trip and it was a little shaky, but you get past that pretty quickly. ‘Cause you’re in the moment; you can’t just sit there and go, ‘Oh my God, I can’t do this.’ You have to do it. So I got over that pretty quickly.”

Beck Performs “Heart Is A Drum,” Discusses ‘Song Reader’ On The Colbert Report

Last night, Beck visited Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report and sat down with host Stephen Colbert to discuss his latest studio album Morning Phase and his recently released Song Reader.

When asked to define his music’s sound, Beck replied that it’s “gentle dub cool-out lounge banjo” and joked that Morning Phase is “good for massages and aroma therapy.” In addition to his interview, Beck performed Morning Phase single “Heart Is A Drum” as well as “Heaven’s Ladder” from Song Reader.

Interview with Stephen Colbert:

“Heart Is A Drum:”

“Heaven’s Ladder:”

Chris Cornell Stalker Arrested In Florida

TampaBay.com is reporting that Jessica Leigh Robbins was arrested on Friday in Tampa Bay for allegedly stalking and making threats to Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell and his wife Vicky. Robbins may have tried to enter the Cornells’ Miami home last fall. Judge Thomas G. Wilson has barred Robbins from going within 1,000 feet of the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater at the Florida State Fairgrounds, where Soundgarden is scheduled to perform on August, or from having contact with the family or members of Soundgarden. Wilson was released on $50,000 bail and ordered to wear an ankle monitor and stay off the Internet. FBI Agent Price said she used it to put the family “in fear of death or serious bodily injury.” Robbins is accused of making disturbing threats and posting countless messages about the Cornells on the internet, some of which were pretty in-detail and disturbing. AlternativeNation.net sends its best wishes to the Cornells during this tough time.

Watch Alice In Chains Perform “No Excuses” On Guitar Center Sessions

Guitar Center Sessions is a live video concert series that has featured rock artists including Soundgarden, The Smashing Pumpkins, Jane’s Addiction, Korn, Seether, Bush, and many more. You can view Alice in Chains’ performance of “No Excuses” from their most recent episode below. The full performance will debut on on August 3rd on DirecTV’s Audience Network channel.

Metallica’s Lars Ulrich & Kirk Hammett Discuss 30th Anniversary Of “Ride The Lightning”

Metallica released their second album, “Ride the Lightning,” in 1984 via Megaforce Records. The LP includes live staples “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Fade the Black,” and “Creeping Death.” This past week, the album celebrated their 30th anniversary. Drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist Kirk Hammett spoke to Rolling Stone about the writing process, material and reaction to the release. Check out some quotes below:

Ulrich: “It was the first time that the four of us wrote together and we got a chance to broaden our horizons. I don’t think it was a conscious effort to break away from anything musically. Obviously, listening to songs like ‘Fight Fire’ and ‘Trapped Under Ice,’ we were obviously still into the thrash type of stuff. But we were realizing you had to be careful that it didn’t become too limiting or one-dimensional. All four of us were so into so many different things. And ‘Kill ‘Em All’ was primarily written with James [Hetfield] and I and [Dave] Mustaine; so Kirk and Cliff [Burton] didn’t really contribute to any of the songs on ‘Kill ‘Em All’. ‘Ride The Lightning’ was the first time that both Cliff and Kirk got a chance to add what they were doing. They just came from a different school, especially Cliff, who came from a much more melodic approach.”

Hammett: “What I think happened was when Lars and James were thinking about getting rid of Dave [Mustaine], our sound guy, Mark Whitaker — who was Exodus’ manager — gave them Exodus’ demos. I think ‘Die By His Hand’ might have caught their ears. So when they were writing ‘Creeping Death’, they went, ‘Great. ‘Die By His Hand’. Put it right there.’ It was definitely not me going, ‘I have a riff here in this Exodus song, and it needs to be here in this Metallica song.’ By the way, I wrote that ‘Die By His Hand’ riff when I was, like, 16 years old.”

Ulrich: “There was an odd reaction to ‘Fade To Black’ and to the variety of the record,” Lars said. “It did surprise us a little bit, I guess. People started calling us sellouts and all that type of stuff. Some people were a little bit bewildered by the fact that there was a song that had acoustic guitars. That was kind of funny because every great Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate record, that was part of their arsenal, too. The fact that we followed down that path surely couldn’t have surprised anybody.”

Shooting Star, The Elliott Smith Story Part 3: Final Years & Legacy

Shooting Star, The Elliott Smith Story Part 3: Angel In The Snow [Final Years & Legacy]

This article is the third part of a retrospective series on the life of singer-songwriter Elliott Smith. Read “Part 1: The Heatmiser Years” here, and “Part 2: Rise To Fame” here.

2001 found Elliott Smith in bad shape. The Figure 8 tour had left him exhausted and his troubles with addiction had returned in full force. Recording the follow-up to Figure 8 proved to be difficult and unsuccessful work and the pressure from DreamWorks was mounting. Smith later claimed that DreamWorks broke into his Los Angeles home, stealing songs from his upcoming record off his computer and following him around during the day. Eventually, he became increasingly upset with the label and demanded that his contract be broken.

While attempting to work on his new album in May of 2001, Smith was drinking heavily, “smoking up to $1,500 worth of heroin and crack per day,” and ingesting tranquilizers, according to SPIN’s famous article “Mr. Misery.” Meanwhile, Smith’s live performances that year were train wrecks. At his now infamous Sunset Junction Street Fair show in August of 2001, he appeared physically ill and on drugs; Smith forgot or mumbled many of his lyrics and apologized when several of his songs were cut short: “I’m sorry. I can’t remember the words. I’m so fucked-up.”

Playing only three concerts in 2002, Smith’s issues with drug and alcohol addiction and debilitating depression continued while he slowly worked on his new album. In a March 2003 interview with Marcus Kagler, Elliott answered a question at the Clean Needle Benefit Concert about what he’d been doing following the release of Figure 8: “Nothing was very good. Then things got better about six months ago. This [concert] is sort of close to me, but it’s not exactly connected to just me. It touches on drug use. I got caught up in that for almost two years. Then, I went to this place called the Neurotransmitter Restoration Center.”

In August of 2002, Smith checked himself into Beverly Hills’ Neurotransmitter Restoration Center. An alternative method of rehab, Smith went to the center after the traditional twelve-step programs didn’t work as he admitted to not being able to get through the first step. The center prescribed Smith with an IV drip of saline and amino acids in an attempt to repair his damaged nerve receptors. The treatment worked and Smith kicked his crippling crack and heroin addictions in the fall of 2002. He immediately turned his efforts back to music. Within six months of his recovery, Smith was performing shows and continuing work on his long-awaited sixth studio album. Elliott was planning to have the proceeds from the tentative double album benefit his charity project the Elliott Smith Foundation, which was set up to assist abused children. Smith returned to performing live in January of 2003 and went on a successful East Coast tour that summer, highlighted by a show at the Field Day Festival at New York’s Giants Stadium. On his 34th birthday in August of 2003, Smith vowed himself clean of alcohol, caffeine, red meat, refined sugar, and prescription medications; already clean of crack and heroin a year before. Steve Hanft, who had directed a short film on Elliott back in 1998, recalled this period in Smith’s life in an interview with MTV: “it was like the light at the end of the tunnel. It was like, ‘He made it,’ you know? And he was going to be stronger than ever. I know he was completely clean.”

On October 21, 2003, Elliott Smith died. That afternoon, a 911 call came from the musician’s Echo Park home where Smith lived with his girlfriend Jennifer Chiba. According to Chiba, the couple got into a heated argument that morning and Chiba locked herself in the bathroom. While in the bathroom, she heard Elliott screaming and emerged, finding him with a knife in his chest. An apparent suicide note was found at the scene, reading: “I’m so sorry. Love, Elliott. God forgive me.” Smith was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead at 1:36 pm. Smith’s death is commonly considered a suicide, although this has never been confirmed. His autopsy report published that December doesn’t rule out the possibility of foul play or a homicide. His death is still the subject of speculation.

In the wake of Elliott Smith’s death, memorial concerts were staged across the world. At Pearl Jam’s performance the following week at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, vocalist Eddie Vedder dedicated “Can’t Keep” to Smith. Outside of Solutions Audio on Los Angeles’ Sunset Boulevard, where the cover photo of Figure 8 was shot three years earlier, a fan memorial was created. Fans wrote farewell messages, lyrics, and more to Smith and left candles and flowers. The memorial is still there and is regularly restored by fans.

Elliott Smith Wall
Fan memorial outside of Solutions Audio in Los Angeles.

At the time of his death, Smith was working on his long-awaited album and follow-up to Figure 8, which was titled From A Basement On The Hill in reference to the Malibu recording studio where much of the album was produced. Smith’s family controlled his estate following his death and brought in Smith’s ex-girlfriend Joanna Bolme as well as Rob Schnapf, who had worked on Either/Or, XO, and Figure 8, to produce the already largely-finished album. In 2004, about one year after Elliott’s death, the album was released posthumously via ANTI- and Domino. From A Basement On The Hill had been worked on for nearly three years before Smith’s passing and Smith had hoped it would be his magnum opus, even referring to it as his White Album. The record takes Smith’s music in a completely unique direction, adding a heavier, guitar-driven, noise rock element to many of the tracks. “Don’t Go Down” is borderline grunge or alt-rock, while “Coast to Coast” is largely guitar-driven and features Nelson Gary’s poetry in the background. Although these tracks are noisier, they still complement Smith’s knack for pop songwriting seamlessly. Perhaps the album’s greatest and most fitting song is “Shooting Star,” now an immense metaphor for Smith’s life and music. The album remains Smith’s highest-charting album in the United States, peaking at no. 19 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and topping the Billboard Independent Albums chart.

In 2007, Smith’s old record label Kill Rock Stars issued a 2-CD compilation album entitled New Moon, featuring previously unreleased material recorded between 1994 and 1997 and debuting at no. 24 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Kill Rock Stars remastered Smith’s first album Roman Candle and re-released it along with From A Basement On The Hill in 2010. A greatest hits compilation, titled An Introduction To…Elliott Smith was released later in 2010 as well.

Elliott Smith was a shooting star, a brilliant musician who had reached a mainstream audience despite unlikely odds. The star’s light eventually faded, and Smith’s life tragically ended. The music that Elliott Smith made, however, still lives on.

Rest in peace, Elliott Smith. He would have been 45 next week.

Elliott-Smith

Interview: Say Anything’s Frontman Discusses Japandroids, Depression, & Shift Away From Guitar-Driven Music

Say Anything is an indie rock/pop-punk band who formed in 2000 and gained a large fan base through Warped Tour, five charting studio albums, and sharing the stage with bands like Biffy Clyro, Thrice, Manchester Orchestra, and many more. I got the chance to talk to frontman/songwriter Max Bemis on the band’s newest album, “Hebrews,” and many more. Check it out below:

You’re currently on tour with The Front Bottoms, The So So Glows, and You Blew It! How is the tour going so far?

Max: It’s really amazing. A lot of shows have been selling out, but more importantly the energy has been really great up on stage and with the crowd. I’m a big fan of all the bands that are playing with us.

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Promotional tour poster for Say Anything’s tour with The Front Bottoms and more

Your recent album, “Hebrews,” is a pretty big shift in Say Anything’s style, using string arrangements in comparison to guitar. Can you talk about the decision to make this shift?

Max: I had a friend who brought it up, just as a shy comment, and I latched on it. There’s no particular reason, but I just felt we needed a change.

Were there any difficulties in writing the album in this new fashion or was it easier?

Max: Actually, it was a lot easier because I could write everything on my laptop and keyboard. And then I sent it over to my buddy, who recorded the actual string parts.

Was there any artists in particular you were listening to while writing the material for this album?

Max: I think a few years ago, I got into Japandroids and they kind of made me believe in new music again. But, by the time this record came around I was listening to the same old stuff I normally listen to. But when it comes to things like indie rock, chill wave, or dub step, none of which I really connect to. With Japandroids, they paved the way for me to realize there are bands out there that are actually playing the music that I want to hear. And there are a lot of new-school punk bands that I was listening to that ironically grew up listening to our band.


Audio clip for “Hebrews” LP first single, “Six Six Six,” featuring guests Sherri DuPree-Bemis, Andy Hull and Jon Simmons

Where do you find inspiration for your lyrics nowadays? Is there anything pissing you off or catching your interest?

Max: The whole record was written about the process that it took for me to be ready to be a father. But lyrically, the record is about social politics, what it’s like to be someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, the internet age of criticism, fearing that you’re useless, and what it’s like to be in a band of this modern era. There’s a lot of stuff on there in terms of lyrical content, but the basic shell of it was about being ready for my daughter.

Say Anything has had many guest vocalists included on releases including Tom DeLonge (Blink-182, Angels & Airwaves), Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance), Hayley Williams (Paramore), Anthony Green (Circa Survive, Saosin), and many more. Are there any vocalists or musicians you’d like to work with in the future?

Max: Yeah, there’s too many to list. [laughs] I got into The Hotelier recently so I’m 100% that I would like Christian from that band to sing on our next record.

Say Anything is obviously your priority right now, but you’re also in the group, Two Tongues. What is the current status of that band?

Max: We’ve begun writing our next album. I’ve written 3 or 4 songs for it. I’m going to be hanging out with Chris [Conley] this fall so we’re going to spend some time finishing up the writing process and hopefully we’ll get it out next year.

twotongues-twotongues

Cover artwork for Two Tongues’ debut self-titled album

If you had an infinite amount of money and resources, what would your dream tour consist of?

Max: I would love to be in a traveling tour like Warped Tour that’s targeted a little more towards indie rock along with some younger, more aggressive bands. I’d want to include bands like Japandroids, Touché Amoré, and other indie/punk bands.

What’s next for yourself and the band?

Max: We have a lot of touring. We really want to promote this album as much as possible. And there’s definitely more music to make after this tour.

Tommy Lee Says He Gets ‘Goosebumps’ When Billy Corgan Compliments Him, Bromance Escalates

Tommy Lee tells ABC News Radio that he and Billy Corgan were on the same wavelength from the beginning of recording the new Smashing Pumpkins album Monuments to an Elegy. “I remember him jumping up and down in the studio after one of the drum takes [yelling], ‘This is exactly what I want! Oh my God! Finally!'”

The drummer says that although he’s been jamming with other people for almost 40 years, Corgan’s enthusiasm blew him away. “I was like, ‘Wow!’,” says Tommy. “It was just really cool to be appreciated that much. I just haven’t felt something like that. It was really, really cool.”

“That guy is so smart and so talented, I’ve got nothing but massive respect for him and adoration, and when he goes and writes those wonderful things about me, it’s like I get goosebumps. I sometimes don’t receive that sort of love or praise from my own band, you know? It was really wonderful.”

The Smashing Bromance continues!

Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil Talks Sharing Matt Cameron With Pearl Jam, Possible Co-Headlining Tour

Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil discussed sharing Matt Cameron with Pearl Jam in a new interview with the Boston Globe. See the quote below:

Q. Is it tough sharing Matt Cameron with Pearl Jam?

A. No, because it was under the auspices of Pearl Jam and Matt Cameron that really Soundgarden got going again. Everything from the rehearsal facilities to a lot of the crew guys we started working with — a lot of that came during Pearl Jam’s downtime and a lot of support from their management team. They’ve been very helpful, so without that camp, it might’ve been more difficult for us to facilitiate what we’re doing now.

Q. Maybe you could tour together, and just have Matt work all night long?

A. [Laughs.] And that’s the reason we probably won’t ever do it. I suppose we could do it and Matt Cameron and Matt Chamberlain could split duties because Matt Chamberlain has played with Pearl Jam too. We’ll look at that down the road. [Laughs.]

Setlists From Soundgarden & Nine Inch Nails’ Show In Toronto

Soundgarden Setlist:
Searching With My Good Eye Closed
Spoonman
Flower
Outshined
Black Hole Sun
Jesus Christ Pose
The Day I Tried to Live
My Wave
Superunknown
Blow Up the Outside World
Fell on Black Days
A Thousand Days Before
Rusty Cage
Beyond the Wheel

Nine Inch Nails Setlist:
Copy of A
Sanctified
Came Back Haunted
1,000,000
March of the Pigs
Piggy
Terrible Lie
Closer
Gave Up
Me, I’m Not
Find My Way
The Great Destroyer
Eraser
Wish
Only
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like a Hole

Encore:
Hurt

Exclusive: WWE’s Dean Ambrose Talks Sting Potentially Signing, Working With Triple H & Favorite Rock Music

Sponsor: Click here to rate every match and segment from Monday’s Raw!

Since last year AlternativeNation.net has done several celebrity interviews with athletes and entertainers from MLB, the NHL, and WWE. Our latest celebrity interview is with WWE superstar Dean Ambrose, who discusses his musical taste and wrestling career. Ambrose will perform at WWE’s SummerSlam event on August 17th on the WWE Network.

You used a lot of great songs on the indies over the years as your entrance theme including songs by Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine, L7, Led Zeppelin, Deftones, Misfits, Muse, and Foxy Shazam. What motivated you to pick some of songs you have as your themes in the past?

A couple of them, I might have thought out beforehand, and came in with the idea. But a lot of the time I would show up and put no forethought into the music I’m coming out to. I would be like, ‘What have you got?’ They would be like, ‘We’ve have 4 CD’s, pick between these. And [it would be like] uh, use that.’ Sometimes there was no forethought into it at all, and then sometimes it stuck and they always kept bringing me out to that song. Some of them I picked, like Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” because it’s a classic, it’s got such a good vibe that I felt it fit me really good. L7 same thing, just a song [“Sh*tlist”] that pumps me up, and puts me in the right frame of mind. You want a song that puts you in the right frame of mind, so when you hear it, it is part of the performance. If the song doesn’t match your attitude when you’re walking out, then you’re off to a bad start already.

What are you usually listening to backstage these days, or when you’re traveling?

Right now, me and Roman Reigns are pretty obsessed with a guy named Shooter Jennings, he’s a country artist and he’s also Waylon Jennings’ kid. We like Hank Williams, and country music on the road. When I’m working out, I like Deftones a lot. This is kind of a cop out, to say I listen to everything, but I’m not a fan of a particular genre, I just like good music. I like rap, I like The Game, like I said Deftones, Slayer, Pantera, stuff like that I’ll listen to when I’m working out. When we’re traveling, or just hanging out in the locker room, we like keeping it light with some country music, and fun songs. It’s never a bad time to have some Pink Floyd The Wall going at like 4 in the morning if you’re traveling by yourself on the highway, and getting into some crazy driving zone and tripping out, that’s pretty cool too.

Right, I think listening to everything makes sense as a wrestler because you’re around so many people. Like I saw Colt Cabana talk about having a complete education on some metal bands that he never would have heard of before, just by being in the cars with guys like that, it’s just kind of the way it is in wrestling. Moving onto wrestling, what did you think of your Battleground match with Seth Rollins being turned into brawling segments? Do you think it helped build the anticipation more for a match at SummerSlam?

You never know what you’re going to see, card subject to change always. There are some fans that may have been a little disappointed, but I think in the long run nobody will really remember it as much as a negative as they might have instantly thought they would. That night definitely upped the intensity of the rivalry between me and Seth Rollins. If anything, even though there was a lot of craziness in me getting kicked out of the building, and fans never got to see the match, but one of the things I take away from it is that at the beginning of the night they wanted to see the match. But they weren’t all that vocal, and they didn’t really realize how much they wanted to see it, but when they realized they weren’t going to get it, the whole place started chanting: ‘Let them fight.’ Then the whole place realized just how much they wanted to see it. I think the way it worked out shone a bigger spotlight on me and Seth and our rivalry, than if we had just gone out there and wrestled, personally.

deanambrosewwenew

Yeah, you don’t see many blood feuds any more really, but that feud really feels like something like that. There was definitely some original stuff like you coming out of the trunk that got me interested. Now when it comes to traveling with Roman and Seth, you mentioned Roman a bit, but how long did it take your relationship with those guys to formulate on the road? And do you have any funny or interesting road stories?

Yeah we started traveling together pretty much immediately, once The Shield became a thing. We got advice from a lot of people we trust too, a lot of it was like: ‘You guys are going to be put in a really good spot, and there’s going to be people trying to pull you in different directions, and people maybe for whatever reason want to be destructive to what you guys are doing.’ But the thing is, we’re trying to be destructive to the whole business as a unit ourselves. So our thing was, we’re going to keep it all in house, and keep it tight. We all knew each other and trusted each other enough to know we could have that sort of a pact, then it all came together by itself. We started traveling together just immediately. We’ll ride together, we’ll keep everything in house, we’ll train together, travel together, stay together. If one guy has a problem, the other two guys have that same problem. The other two guys have got that guy’s back, and so forth. [It works as] a friendship, [and] as a competitive spirit [too]. We’re competitive with each other, but also competitive with [everyone]. As far as we were concerned, screw everybody, we’re taking over this business. We tried to put our acts together, and stick together, and that’s what we did.

Everybody’s got their different schedules. I’m a little bit of a night owl, I don’t like to get up super early, Roman is the same way. Seth has got his certain schedule he likes to keep. He likes to say: ‘Often Roman will be on Samoan time.’ He just kind of is on his clock all the time. I always get a lot of stuff for disappearing, I pull a lot of disappearing acts a lot of the time on the road. A lot of the good stories I can’t get into the specifics of. The main thing with us is just work ethic. Every morning: drag all three of our asses to the gym, go to the gym, hit the show, drive to the next town, same thing the next day. We carry that attitude and work ethic in our separate directions. That becomes a part of your lifestyle, we’re still going to bring that after The Shield to everything we do.

When it comes to transitioning into being a singles star again like you mentioned, What kind of input have you had in regards to your new street ring gear and theme music? Roman ended up keeping The Shield gear, and Seth has his new gear, but what kind of input did you have into the change of your character and its presentation?

So far, I’ve pretty much been left to my own devices, honestly, since The Shield kind of abruptly broke up. But being left to my own devices has actually been quite refreshing. To be perfectly honest, it’s kind of a good feeling to have that feeling of freedom and not having to worry about anybody else. Right now, I can kind of do whatever I want in the ring or on the mic. I mean, not [completely] anything I want, but more than I could before, because if I’ve got 2 minutes to talk, now I have 2 minutes to talk. It’s not like okay, well, I’ve got to worry about what these other two guys are going to say. I’ve got it all to myself, which is nice.

I’m very unorthodox in the ring, I tend to have very outside of the box ideas. Now I don’t have to worry about if it fits into a Shield match, or if it fits into the context of what we’re doing with the group. I can pretty much do whatever I want now, and wear whatever I want. I’ll just show up to the building in whatever I’m wearing, I’ll pretty much just walk to the ring like that, I don’t walk out of the building like that. If I had an idea tomorrow to wear a cowboy outfit, I could probably do it and nobody would say anything. I’m pretty much just kind of in my own little world right now, and it actually feels pretty good, to be quite honest.

There’s been a lot of buzz recently surrounding recent WWE signings and potential free agents that might come in, the company recently signed KENTA and Kevin Steen, along with Sting’s video game promo airing. What is your reaction to these recent signings, and the potential of Sting coming in?

I mean everybody has always wanted to see Sting come to WWE. It’s just been ‘Sting’s coming to WWE! Sting’s coming to WWE!’ for so long, at this point everybody is just like, ‘Just come in, just have a match, just do it, it’s time.’ We all obviously [want] Sting at WrestleMania. Do whatever, if he’s in fighting shape, then great, I think anybody would want to be there and see that, [even if] it’s a one off. I mean he’s Sting. If you’re a fan of the business from any historical perspective, or if you were even just a fan as a kid, he’s a very important figure in history. I think he deserves to have that one night where he’s celebrated on a bigger stage, whether that be a Hall of Fame thing or a one off at WrestleMania. I think Sting as a character, and Sting as a person, for what he’s been I think he deserves that one big night on the biggest stage.

When it comes to KENTA, I saw him in Japan and talked to him a little bit. Him coming in just shows you the difference in the Performance Center. When I came in it was a totally different story than what it is today. I slipped in the back door of developmental, the only guy I was even vaguely familiar with was Seth [Rollins], and I never wrestled him before. I may have crossed paths and maybe said hello to him once or twice over the years, but we were in different circles. We were always kind of on parallel paths on the indies, so I never really crossed paths with him much. But he was the only guy I had even remotely heard of, it was just a bunch of other guys. For instance, to give you perspective, the top guy in developmental when I got there was Lucky Cannon. If you don’t know [him], just Google it. That will show you the difference in the talent that is in developmental now.

Lucky3

Lucky Cannon

You’ve got KENTA, Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville, and [others] coming in. The competition is just blazing so much. Even though everyone wants to be on the main roster, I think NXT is kind of a brand in itself. It’s cool to get all those different styles and different guys all in one little building, and let them loose and see what happens. Anybody who is really good coming in, that’s a plus. [Everybody should want to] get in the ring with a guy like KENTA, or even on the completely opposite end of the spectrum, a legend like Sting. Anybody who is smart would chomp at the bit for either opportunity. Or if you’re a fan and you don’t want to sit back and watch either of those guys, you’re a fool too. So it’s all pluses, and all positives.

You’ve accomplished a lot in your WWE career, already having wrestled legends like Triple H and The Undertaker, and having worked with Shawn Michaels, The Rock, Mick Foley, Roddy Piper, and very memorable Jake Roberts. What have you learned from being around these guys, any interesting stories from being around them?

When it comes to having a live mic in your hand, it’s a much different world today than it was in the 80’s. If Roddy Piper had a live mic in his hand in the 80’s, it was on. He could say whatever he wanted, there were no real restrictions. It was up to him to take you on the ride. Now it’s different, you’ll get a certain amount of time, you’ll get something put in front of you. There’s some ways you can stretch it and spin it, it’s just about making it feel like it’s your own. The thing is as time goes on, the company [gains] more trust in you to twist it your own certain way. They’re not just going to send anybody out there with a live mic and say: ‘Can I just wing it? Is that cool?’ You’re not going to get that. So watching Roddy Piper do the whole Piper’s Pit thing, he had a certain vision of how it was going to do, the interview part of it, which I think was a little bit different than their vision was. So [I got to see] him kind work within the context, and make something his own, and go through his process.

[I saw the way] his head worked, and [how he would] kind of [be] reading something, and thinking about it, and then he came up to me talking about it. [He was] giving me something to play off of, and seeing how I would react, and [then] throwing something back. Backstage feeding each other stuff and doing some kind of Inside the Actors Studio stuff with Roddy Piper was really cool, getting to see him go through his process. [I got to see] how he puts things into his brain, and how they come out on the other side. It was pretty cool, because he’s the master. Being on live TV on a live mic against Roddy Piper, who could go off the rails and throw you a crazy curveball at any moment, it’s like going up against a Cy Young Award winner, or boxing Muhammad Ali. You’re in there with the best, and there’s no bigger adrenaline high than that.

deanambrosepiper

It’s still surreal to me still to be in the ring around a lot of people who I have watched and studied for so many years. Yelling at Mick Foley, or being in the ring with The Undertaker, it’s still hard for me to wrap my brain around. Kicking The Rock in the face, it’s really strange and hard to wrap your brain around, but that’s reality. Because it all happened so fast, and we were so lucky to get to work with so many guys. Now I just live in this world, where I’m walking down the hall, and all of the sudden Big Show pops out of a room, a giant 7 foot dude. ‘Hey what’s up Big Show how are you doing?’ It’s just a part of my daily life now, it’s so crazy, that it’s so normal.

[We ended up being able to] work with Triple H, and [I would] go up to him with what [I thought] was a brilliant idea, because I tend to think I’m pretty smart. I’ll go up and say I have a brilliant idea, and he’ll shoot 10,000 logic holes in it, and I’ll go, ‘Oh yeah I am stupid, that’s way smarter the way he put it.’ Seeing how Triple H thinks is very educational. Kind of the same thing with Piper, seeing those guys go through their process and think about things, and bring logic to what is often an illogical form of entertainment, is pretty cool.

A lot of the guys [who teach me a lot] you don’t see on TV. For instance, I learn a lot from Arn Anderson. He’s a producer backstage and he’s often on the road with us. I could care less what journalists, or people on the internet, or assholes in the third row, I could care less what they really think. If Arn Anderson says that’s the way it needed to be done, he’s the barometer of what I need to go out there and accomplish. If he gives me the thumbs up, I know I’m doing a good job. He was part of the Four Horsemen, he’s one of the greatest workers of all time.  Michael Hayes, Joey Mercury, and Dusty Rhodes [are others who teach me a lot].

[Michael and Dusty] drew a ton of money, and hearing what they say, you keep that in your brain. I get to learn about how those guys drew that money. They’re not really teaching at a Performance Center or anything like that, you can’t really learn that in a warehouse, so it’s really cool to be backstage with those guys. Another guy I learn so much from is Joey Mercury, who is a producer backstage. He’s way younger than a lot of those guys, and he may not have that legend status quite yet, but he’s a guy who understands everything from ECW inspired kind of indie wrestling. The environment of where me and Seth Rollins come from, he understands that whole scene and psychology. He understands old school Memphis southern stuff, he knows everything, he’s seen every match and studied it. He was also on WWE television in one of the most successful tag teams in the last decade or two [MNM], every week, having kick ass tag matches. He has so much experience in so many different styles and subgenres of the sport, he just has a wealth of knowledge, so he has a brain that I’m constantly picking.

Shooting Star, The Elliott Smith Story Part 2: Rise To Fame

above: Elliott Smith on tour, c. 1998. Image courtesy of film Heaven Adores You.

Shooting Star, The Elliott Smith Story Part 2: Speed Trials [Rise To Fame]

This article is the second part of a retrospective series on the life of singer-songwriter Elliott Smith. Read “Part 1: The Heatmiser Years” here and “Part 3: Angel In The Snow” here.

Around the time of the recording of Heatmiser’s Mic City Sons, Elliott Smith was also working on his next solo album. The new album, titled Either/Or, featured more complex instrumentals from Smith, whose previous work mostly consisted of an acoustic guitar track and a vocals track. David Brusie would later call the album “a bridge between the lo-fi darkness of Roman Candle and Elliott Smith and the studio sheen of XO and Figure 8.” The intimate album is an achievement of production and songwriting. On Either/Or, Smith achieved a perfect balance between his soft, acoustic sound and a more complex, instrument-driven sound. Elliott had also grown greatly as a songwriter, and although the album’s material is rooted in intense emotion, Smith’s ability to write a strong pop song is also showcased. In addition, Smith and his producers crafted an emotionally rich album without making the sound too dark and melancholic. A good example of these aspects is the track “Ballad of Big Nothing,” which perfectly balances a melancholic, acoustic sound with drums and bass tracks, and discusses emotional topics in a pop songwriting format. Either/Or was eventually released in early 1997, and is usually considered the most acclaimed album of Smith’s career, although it did not chart. After the release of the album and a difficult break-up with his then-girlfriend, Smith moved from Portland to Brooklyn, New York.

Meanwhile, director and fellow Portland native Gus Van Sant asked Elliott to be involved in the soundtrack for his film Good Will Hunting. “We were somewhat positive that he would say yes, because it was still somewhat before he broke out,” Van Sant recalls. “[Smith] watched the movie in my house and said yes.” After Smith agreed to have his music included in the film, he also wrote and recorded a new song, “Miss Misery,” specifically for the film. Including “Miss Misery,” six of Elliott’s songs were included on the film’s soundtrack. Not only did Smith include “No Name #3” from Roman Candle and “Angeles” and “Say Yes” from Either/Or, he also recorded a new version of the Either/Or song “Between the Bars” with Danny Elfman and an orchestra. After the film enjoyed box-office success, Smith’s “Miss Misery” was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. The soundtrack and Oscar nomination quickly pushed Elliott Smith from his humble indie roots and into the spotlight. It was also during this time that Smith nabbed a major label record deal with DreamWorks.

Although at first reluctant to perform his song “Miss Misery” at the Academy Awards show, Elliott eventually yielded when producers told him that the song would be played regardless, whether it would include him or a different artist of the producers’ choosing. Smith played the Academy Awards show on March 23, 1998 to an audience of over 57 million people. The 1998 broadcast attracted significant attention due to the buzz around the blockbuster film Titanic, which had been nominated for several awards, including Celine Dion who had been nominated in the same category as Smith for the song “My Heart Will Go On.” During the broadcast, Smith performed “Miss Misery” in between performances by singers Trisha Yearwood and Celine Dion.  Walking on stage in a white tuxedo, Smith performed an abridged version of his song with the help of an orchestra. Although Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” would end up winning the award, Smith was not disappointed. He would later call the experience “surreal.” Smith would later recall that “all this happened at a time when I was trying to finish the album and it was a pretty big distraction.”


Despite the new mainstream success and recognition, Elliott Smith was suffering from depression and a mental collapse. Smith would later state that “after Either/Or, the Oscar stuff happened and that kind of derailed my train. Although it took a lot for it to fully derail.” Smith’s drinking problem had a huge impact, with stories of his “blackouts, alcohol poisoning, getting into fights he couldn’t remember, [and] waking up on the street covered in cuts and bruises” reaching the press. During a period when he was believed to be suicidal, Smith jumped off a cliff in North Carolina after a night of drinking. However, he only suffered minor injuries due to a tree that broke his fall. “Yeah, I jumped off a cliff, but let’s talk about something else,” Smith would later say in an interview.

Friends staged an unsuccessful intervention in Chicago and Smith would soon find himself in a psychiatric hospital in Arizona. Smith would later remember about his experience in the hospital: “I was hospitalized for a little while and I didn’t have that option, and it made me even crazier.” Eventually, Smith was released after consistently threatening to sue his doctors. Although Smith would eventually move on from this experience, this dark period exposed the nature of his alcoholism and depression. Director Steve Hanft, who would release a short film about Smith in 1998, would later talk about his experience of meeting Elliott: “He was so suicidal, he had to wear shades. You couldn’t look him in the eye. I met Kurt Cobain – he didn’t have that much depression.”

Smith released his fourth LP and first major label record XO in August of 1998 via DreamWorks. The album builds on Either/Or’s pop sensibility with richer production, greater variety of emotions, and noticeably bigger budget. Highlights of the album include “Waltz #2” and “Independence Day.” With the help of veteran producer Jon Brion, Smith constructed an album that was rich with texture in its arrangements. XO also had a relatively upbeat nature compared to its predecessor. In an interview with Well Rounded, Smith said of the album: “I wanted to try to write stuff for strings and I wanted to try and make sort of a more complicated record sonically.” Speaking on the album’s mood, he stated: “I feel quite a bit better than I did then. I think that record gave me a reputation for being a really dark, depressed person but I think I’m just about as happy as all the other people I know.” Upon its release, XO landed on the Billboard 200 albums chart and Smith set off on an extensive tour with former Heatmiser bandmate Sam Coomes supporting in his backing band. Smith made stops at Saturday Night Live and Later…With Jools Holland.


It was also during this time that Smith moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Between 1999 and 2000, Smith worked on the follow-up to XO at studios in Los Angeles as well as London’s Abbey Road Studios. This fifth LP, which was released on April 18, 2000, was titled Figure 8. The album was even more upbeat and musically complex than XO. Figure 8 captured the sounds of a happier, more energetic Smith and featured lush, textured music. Although the album’s music is by no means joyful overall, it stands as a sharp and refreshing contrast from some of his previous work. Smith would later recall the album’s sound: “it sounds like someone who isn’t in a band emulating one I guess. It hasn’t got one song that’s representative of what it sounds like, in fact if there’s any goal I say it would be to make it indescribable.” The album charted and received decent praise from critics. Smith spent most of 2000 touring in support of the album.


During this period, with Smith’s life seemingly trending in a happier and more positive direction, his personal demons continued to haunt him. SPIN’s landmark article “Mr. Misery” by Liam Gowing discusses a psychotic episode Smith suffered while recording Figure 8: “A lot of people from [DreamWorks] were telling him he needed to get it together. He was so sick of people talking about the future. So he carved the word ‘now’ into his arm with a knife. And he sat down at the piano and wrote ‘Everything Means Nothing to Me’ as the blood was dripping down his arm.”

Ex-Kyuss Frontman John Garcia Talks Writing With Josh Homme

In a new interview yours truly conducted with singer John Garcia for Songfacts, the ex-Kyuss member talked about his newly released self-titled solo album [which he also discussed in an earlier interview for the Alternative Nation site], as well as being a major admirer of the Josh Homme/Brant Bjork songwriting team. A few excerpts are below, and the entire Q&A can be read by scooting on over to here.

Songfacts: Before the interview I was looking at the songwriting credits for some of those Kyuss albums, and I noticed that on the first few albums you didn’t really write too much, but then on the final album, …And the Circus Leaves Town, you were much more of a presence with songwriting. Would you say that it was just because you were so impressed with what Brant and also Josh were doing at the beginning that you kind of stepped aside?

John: You’re right. And I give credit where credit is due. Those guys are very talented, so when Josh would come to me with a song like “Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop,” and goes, “Okay, it’s just you and me for this part until the whole band comes in,” I can tell you that his version of that song versus my version of that song are two totally different versions. The same with “Green Machine.” When Brant set me down, he goes, “Dude, the song is called ‘Green Machine,’ and it starts off like this, ‘I’ve got a war inside my head, it’s got to set your soul free,'” I can tell you that his version of that song and my version are two totally different songs. I had to make them my own. I had to fall in love with those songs and make them my own to have them sound like that.

Now, whatever was best for that, whatever was best for a song, I’m a big proponent of “If yours is better, let’s use yours. It’s better for the song.” So me being completely and totally absent from the process of everything being written down, I’m not going to take any of that credit. But as time went on, I found myself wanting to do a lot more of my stuff, and it turning into better stuff than what I had previously written. So I just kind of went through the Josh Homme/Brant Bjork school of music before I started doing my own thing. That’s why the last record is my favorite record of all the Kyuss records, because my participation level went up.

Songfacts: I was also going to ask about the song “One Inch Man,” so that’s pretty much, I guess, the same, that you were just trading lines and stuff like that as far as songwriting?

John: I wrote the lyrics and the vocal melody for that on my own. Honestly, that was me and my good friend John Moreno, and we were a little stoned and we were fishing, like we do. Well, like we used to do. And smoking a little pot. I had this idea about this little guy, and took it to rehearsal that night. Scott Reeder came up with the riff, and that was still in my head.

Again, I’m not a poet, but I would write stories down. I would constantly be writing lyrics. And whether I used them or not, I still have them. Because they’re little stories and that’s what I did. And that’s still what I do. This one just happened to fit.

So, yeah, another kind of tragic little story about this little one-inch man who never had any peers and he felt all alone and blah, blah, blah. That one is a kind of “to each his own” type of thing and I wouldn’t try too hard to decipher it. It’s just another tragic little lonely guy by himself doing his thing.

Setlists From Soundgarden & Nine Inch Nails’ Show In Clarkston, MI

Soundgarden Setlist:
Searching With My Good Eye Closed
Spoonman
Outshined
By Crooked Steps
Black Hole Sun
Jesus Christ Pose
The Day I Tried to Live
My Wave
Superunknown
Fell on Black Days
A Thousand Days Before
Burden in My Hand
Rusty Cage
Beyond the Wheel

Nine Inch Nails Setlist:
Copy of A
Sanctified
Came Back Haunted
1,000,000
March of the Pigs
Piggy
Terrible Lie
Closer
Gave Up
The Warning
Find My Way
The Great Destroyer
Eraser
Wish
Only
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like a Hole

Encore:
Hurt

Army of Anyone Reunion In The Works?

TheVinylDistrict.com reports that Richard Patrick recently hinted that he would be starting work on a new Army of Anyone album soon. Army of Anyone was a short lived supergroup that featured lead singer Richard Patrick (Filter), guitarist Dean DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots), bassist Robert DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots), and drummer Ray Luzier (Korn, David Lee Roth Band). The band was together from 2005 to 2007, releasing one critically acclaimed self-titled album in 2006. After the album’s lack of commercial success, Patrick returned to Filter while the DeLeo brothers reunited Stone Temple Pilots.