My Morning Jacket, Avett Brothers & Gaslight Anthem Members Cover Blind Melon Tunes

As previously reported, renowned rock photographer Danny Clinch will be co-directing an upcoming documentary about Blind Melon’s late/great singer, Shannon Hoon, which will be comprised of revealing footage that Hoon shot on Hi-8 camera from 1990-1995, for which a Kickstarter campaign is underway to raise funds for its completion.

And it turns out that Blind Melon has fans in high places – both My Morning Jacket’s Jim James & Avett Brothers’ Seth Avett have recorded covers of Blind Melon tunes (“Sleepyhouse” and “St. Andrews Fall,” respectively) to help raise awareness of the documentary. Clips of these covers can be heard and/or viewed on Clinch’s Facebook page (and full versions are available for streaming to those who pledge $10 or more – plus a rendition of “Mouthful of Cavities” by Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon).

Clinch has been doing his part spreading the word as well, via interviews with Rolling Stone and Songfacts. And check out the videos below, in which Clinch shares memories of shooting pix of Shannon.

The project will only be funded if at least $100,000 is pledged by Tuesday, May 5th at 7:00 PM EDT (click here to make a donation, and check out the reward packages set up for specific monetary amounts), so act soon!

New Kurt Cobain Solo Album Due Out This Summer

Through the years of production that were invested in making and producing Montage of Heck, filmmaker Brett Morgen was given access to tons upon tons of unreleased artwork, material and personal belongings of Kurt, never before seen (or by very few). In a new interview with Bedford + Bowery, Morgen went into detail about his experiences with relics from Cobain’s past.

From the storage unit where Cobain’s possessions are contained, which has been in use for several years as it was curated and cared for by a faculty member, Morgen found “107 cassettes featuring over 200 hours of never-before-heard or rarely heard music — I mean I would lean heavily of the never-before-heard, probably 95 percent”.

From this material, Morgen and his team are comprising an album of this material due out for this summer. As Morgen replied to Bedford + Bowery, “We’re going to be putting out an amazing album this summer that I think will answer that question…[the album] will feel like you’re kind of hanging out with Kurt Cobain on a hot summer day in Olympia, Washington as he fiddles about. It’s going to really surprise people. Just to be clear, it’s not a Nirvana album, it’s just Kurt and you’re going to hear him do things you never expected to come out of him.”

Morgen when approached about the material on the tapes was quoted as saying, “The audio ran the gamut from jam sessions with Courtney, some jam sessions with various friends and Nirvana, his first demo tapes, his Fecal Matter demos, his mix tapes and oral canvases like Montage [of Heck], a lot of silly spoken word stuff and not-silly spoken word stuff like the story he told of losing his virginity, covers of the Beatles songs, it just ran the gamut. And a lot of sound effects and a lot of sound design. As that would essentially serve as the basis of this movie, because I wanted to make a film in which Kurt could tell the story of his life in the best way he could — not through sharing it to an interviewer, because that was never a format that Kurt was that expressive in, but through his art, through the very reason we’re talking about him.”

Montage of Heck, Brett Morgen’s highly anticipated film on Kurt Cobain’s life, is due out on HBO May 4th, and has already enjoyed premieres at international film festivals like Sundance, theatrical release in the United Kingdom and limited theatrical appearances in the US, including the Egyptian Theatre premiere which Frances Bean Cobain spoke at.

Getting Ahead In Music – Marketing and Exposure

Music industry revenue is unstable, and Spotify might be to thank for it. As streaming services become household names, the industry model begins to show cracks, while simultaneously the potential audience for the budding musician has grown thousandfold. As the major label system starts to fall, the time has never been riper for independent bands and projects to take the lead. But, with an increasingly choked generation of musicians and bands all vying for the same attention, how do you set yourself apart from the pack?

With ballpark estimates of 600,000 unsigned artists in the UK alone, marketing is key for the emerging musician to find success above the rest. Music-upload sites like Soundcloud and Bandcamp are perfect starting points, once you have a working demo of your music, but simply won’t do on their own. You need to actively hunt your audience down.

YouTube is slowly becoming an accessible means for all to advertise their wares, as evidenced by an increase in local businesses advertising with low-budget videos. However this is still a transitional phase, and as such a perfect to time to jump on board ahead of your competitors. The video can be as simple as 20 seconds of your music, and some decent photographs or footage from a friend’s phone – your music will still be out there, and your chances of making an impression infinitely more than if you don’t bother at all. Needless to say, an increase in interest naturally follows and increase in production quality, so the cleaner and more professional you can make your recordings and footage, the more you’ll benefit.

But marketing in this manner is nonetheless nothing new. What more can you offer that will result in exposure and interest? What can you do that isn’t often done by so many before you? Looking into products, the literal offering of a thing with your band’s name attached, could be a promising alternative. At its simplest, keyrings and badges to be given away at gigs and festivals are a sure-fire way to get your name out there as a part of the invididual’s fashion, a ‘brand’ over a ‘band’. Stickers are fantastic for free advertising, but all-too-common the country over. Giving out free stencils could subvert that commonality, making your name far more eye-catching owing to the different medium of expression. This way, your audience engages far more with your band, taking steps to enhance your presence for you, and in the process becoming more likely to invest in you.

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On a less tangible front, putting your name to an interactive product online could result in viral attention, in which case our focus can turn to the gaming industry. It’s common knowledge that online games such as Mega Fortune Dreams could land you the lottery type win to finance your musical venture, but that isn’t all the platform has to offer and a lot of acts have taken inspiration from slot machines. Games can simultaneously act as a unique and interesting promotional device, from which interest and even merchandise revenue can be garnered. So, whilst you may not get you name up in lights like Megadeth and Elvis at Betsafe, you could follow in Green Day’s footprints and get a programmer friend to build you a promo tool like this. In this way, your fans engage actively in and with you online, and your name isn’t soon forgotten.

Needless to say, these are just some starter thoughts – the world is big and beautiful, and the ways to skin a cat numerous. Bounce off these fundamental thoughts, draw up some new ones, and you’re well on your way to separating your wheat from everyone else’s chaff. Do share below if you have any particularly successful methods for exposure!

Gene Simmons Proclaims That Dave Grohl Is ‘The Last Rock Star’

KISS were recently given the ASCAP Founders Award, and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl presented them with the award. At the ceremony, Simmons praised Grohl and Foo Fighters. “Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters are carrying the flag that we hope will inspire the next generation of young kids.”

Simmons also did an interview with Billboard and discussed Dave Grohl, and the state of rock and roll, which he declared dead last year, which Foo Fighters disagreed with. “I’m friends with Dave, and really when I said would you come and do this he jumped at it. Look Dave is arguably the last major rock star of the last three decades. He’s filling stadiums worldwide because he understands his roots and that’s what we’re about. Some people have forgotten where we started and who inspired us.”

He later said, “We have very good lives, the arenas and stadiums fill up, we can go anywhere in the world and we have a ball. It is really — maybe profoundly is the right word — but it’s really sad for the new artists. Where’s the next Elvis, where’s the next Beatles, where’s the Zeppelin? They’re out there but they don’t have a chance. They don’t have a chance because once upon a time we had record companies, and they would support you and have point of purchase material and they would give you advances. In other words, they gave you the air to breathe to find yourself and spend the time to learn how to run.”

He added, “So the next big band, the next Zeppelin, what are they gonna do? Give away their music for free? They’re gonna be living in their mom’s basement, unfortunately, and they’re never gonna get the chance that we did which is the saddest part of all for the new bands because there should always be a new generation of bands.”

Dave Grohl praised KISS during his introduction speech, “Forty years later, my love of KISS is still strong. And these days I still spend every morning before school with Paul Stanley… in the parking lot of our kids’ f—in’ elementary school, chatting about Zeppelin and Electric Lady and touring and school fundraisers. So I’d say that my unreasonable dream definitely came true. And I finally got my KISS radio — it’s the cheapest f—ing A.M. radio I have eve seen in my life! With the KISS logo on it. Nice one, Gene.”

Krist Novoselic Discusses Kurt Cobain’s Demise: ‘The Messages Are As Plain As Day In His Art’

Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic discussed how Kurt Cobain’s struggles were evident in his art, and what attracted Kurt to Courtney Love, during an interview in the new Montage of Heck documentary.

“You see the art, a lot of his messages are as plain as day. I’m not even going to say what they are, but you can see it, it’s all there. in 20/20 hindsight you’re like, why didn’t I see that, I should have said something (sighs).”

I had this relationship with this woman, and I just kind of wanted to build this home for myself, because my home growing up had fallen apart, so I wanted to build a home. I think that Kurt wanted to do that too, he wanted to build a home, because his home, and his family, fell apart. So when Courtney came into his life, she was interesting, she was artististic, intellectual, and she did drugs too, but that was all part of the package of building a home.”

Scott Weiland ‘Appears To Have Crashed And Burned’ According To Houston Concert Review

Scott Weiland’s followup to his controversial Corpus Christi concert was in Houston, Texas at Warehouse Live, and Houston Press‘ review was not too positive.

“At the height of his career, catching Weiland onstage was a sight to behold. He would claw his way into the music, slinking and scratching like a feral, talented cat as he pumped out the lyrics. The show behind Weiland’s brilliant vocals — showmanship, for lack of a better term — worked to amplify his deep connection to his music.

But as of last night, trouble has definitely become a vortex for Weiland, and he appears to have crashed and burned. Badly.”

The critic later added, “But as Weiland threw himself into the song, sans introduction, and slowly swung the mike while he stumbling in a circle around the center of the stage, it was apparent the prime — and the magnetic trouble of this once-gloried front man — is long gone.”

Alternative Nation was in attendance at Weiland’s show a couple of months ago in Philadelphia. You can read our positive review of that show by clicking here.

Preview Every Song From GNR & STP Supergroup Art of Anarchy’s Debut Album

Art of Anarchy have released clips of every song off of their debut album, set for release next month. Art of Anarchy features Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), Jon Votta, Vince Votta, and John Moyer (Disturbed).

Bumblefoot discussed Scott Weiland’s contributions to the band in a recent Alternative Nation interview, “(Sigh) Well, he started off and wrote one song with us, he did everything in his own studio and had Doug Grean, his former right hand man doing everything with him at his place. Scott did one song called “Til The Dust Is Gone” and it came out beautifully. In fact, it’s probably going to be one of the singles. We shot a video for it and then he agreed to do the whole album so he pretty much banged out really quickly, in about a month. Scott would just write, write, write & hand things over. It was great.

As far as getting inside of his mind or spread any sort of negative dirt, that I cannot get into or even tell you. That is not stuff that I can answer.”

The Band That Both Kurt Cobain And Roger Miret Enjoyed

I recently interviewed Agnostic Front singer Roger Miret for the Songfacts site, and he discussed when he felt that hardcore punk and heavy metal first joined forces (a style that has become quite common nowadays):

Songfacts: Something I always find fascinating is trying to pinpoint which bands were the first to merge heavy metal and hardcore. To the best of your knowledge, who were some of the first bands to merge those two styles together?

Roger: I would say Void. Void is an early band from Washington, DC. They had a split single with Faith. Faith was a lot more hardcore – it featured Ian MacKaye’s brother – and Void had a little more of a metallic edge to it. I would pinpoint it to them, and you had your Suicidal Tendencies, but we all kind of started doing it at the same time. You had your Corrosion of Conformitys, your DRIs, your Agnostic Fronts, your Leeways, your Cro-Mags. But for some reason, Void is something that sticks in my mind. I used to cover Void songs when I played in the Psychos – before I was in Agnostic Front. They always had more of a different style.

And it turns out that Miret is not alone in his appreciation of the band Void – Mr. Kurt Donald Cobain once picked their one-and-only release issued during the band’s career (1982’s Void/Faith split LP), as an all-time favorite.

Agnostic Front’s latest album is titled The American Dream Died.