Across the United States Saturday, Americans are celebrating the 239th anniversary of their country’s independence from Britain. Likewise, many of the rock and roll community took to social media to acknowledge this monumental day:
The fifth entry in the well oiled machine that is Lucasfilm and Disney’s canon line of adult Star Wars novels, Dark Disciple (releasing 7/7) is based on unproduced scripts for The Clone Wars animated series’ scrapped seventh (and possibly eighth) season, written by George Lucas’s daughter Katie and adapted to novel form by Christie Golden.
Dark Disciple is a swashbuckling adventure story starring fan favorite characters who first became notable in the now non-canon Expanded Universe, Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos. Christie Golden and Katie Lucas playfully inject new life into these characters while remaining faithful to their dark backstories, pairing them on a mission marked with romance, intrigue, and vengeance. At the center of it all is Count Dooku, the charismatic leader of the Confederate forces fighting the Republic in the Clone Wars.
Eerily, Count Dooku actor Christopher Lee passed away last month as the book went into first printing, and as such, Dark Disciple serves as a sort of unintentional swan song for the storied actor whose “villainous” career spanned everything from the classic Hammer horror films to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Katie and Christie perfectly captured the essence of what makes Christopher Lee such a great cinematic villain, balancing his elegant mannerisms with marks of cruelty in their characterization of Dooku.
I recently had the chance to chat with Christie Golden via email, who had nothing but praise for the late, great Sir Christopher Lee…
Given so much of this novel is based around his character, do you have any words for the late Sir Christopher Lee?
Christopher Lee… wow, this one hurt. Although honestly, our time in life is finite, and how marvelous to have lived an exciting and meaningful personal life, to have created timeless characters that will live on for those not even born yet to see them, and to be healthy and pursuing work one loves all the way up to one’s 90s. When I got to write Dooku, I had that lovely, rich voice in my head, Christopher’s expressions and body language, to draw from. There’s one scene I wrote where I had Dooku do Something Really Awful, something cruel and subtle and dripping with cultured malice, and I was reminded all over again that Christopher Lee was Dooku, and he was a total badass. I’m so sad, but he lived his life magnificently, and we are all richer for it. RIP.
Having based this novel on unproduced Clone Wars scripts, how much did you get to play around with your own contributions? Did you make any changes to things such as character species and such for the novel?
Novelizations are interesting projects on the media spectrum. Unlike tie-in novels, they are assuredly direct adaptations of an existing project, not original stories, but they have a so much more room for the novelizer to take the story. My goal was to remain faithful to the feel of the original as well as using a great amount of the dialogue as written, and keeping the key events. I did get to introduce new characters and new arcs (the Mahran are mine, as is Lassa Rhayme), which is always fun. There were also some references or lines that were brief in the scripts, but I thought warranted a much deeper treatment. Also, some things work beautifully on the screen, but not so well in the written medium, and vice versa. I’ve done this type of work before, and the decisions as to what to develop, what to leave as is, and what to rework are calls the author must make.
You essentially took scripts aimed at the 13 year old boy and added adult themes to them, and the novel was previously marketed as being skewered to an adult audience, which was impossible on Cartoon Network. How did you know just how much innuendo and, eh, “full on gambits” to include?
Ha! You’d be a little surprised at how much of that was actually in the scripts. A lot of the flirting was already there, including the term”full-on gambit.” What I got to do was bring the potential at least of a physical consummation of a very profound passion. I strove to leave exactly how far things went up to the individual reader, but this is obviously something deep and strong, not a mild flirtation. It’s a fine line to walk, and there was a bit of back and forth at how much was appropriate to spell out directly. I hoped to capture the intensity of their connection without anything explicit.
How different was it writing Dark Disciple than your earlier, pre Canon works, now with the Lucasfilm Story Group in place? Did you get to meet with Katie Lucas and Dave Filoni/The Clone Wars team?
Alas, that was not to be! I had a few conference calls with the usual suspects (Shelly Shapiro, Jen Heddle, Pablo Hidalgo), and there were definitely things we made sure Dave Filoni was on board with. Via email, he often answered questions or offered his take on how to work something differently. I did have the great pleasure of meeting him at Celebration, and was so pleased to hear how much he (and others at Lucasfilm) had enjoyed my treatment of their work.
In “Dark Disciple” you bring the film canon version of Quinlan Vos this much closer to his Legends counterpart. How much did you draw from the original source material? Some liken the new Star Wars continuity to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which mixes and matches aspects of the original source material into something new.
Since we were doing a reboot of canon, I wanted to make sure that everything I drew from was actually there, in canon form. I really wanted this story to be pure canon, so I actually tried not to read up on what had happened in the Legends universe. As you say, it’s obvious that the goal was to bring in some of that Legends “feel” to Vos. Many readers had expressed concern that Vos was sort of a “surfer dude” in TCW, but let’s remember, that was only one episode. And while that playful aspect is certainly a key part of his personality in Dark Disciple, it was clear to me as I read the scripts that the goal was to take him to some very dark places.
The initial flirtations between Ventress and Vos are similar to that of Han and Leia, yet their relationship really takes on its own warped identity. How did you approach this relationship when you were filling in the nuances that were obviously absent in the original TV scripts?
I was so fortunate to be tapped for this project as it really played to my strengths: character, dialogue, and that whole “what makes good people go bad” thing that, along with the “triumph of the human spirit,” is a theme I am constantly wanting to explore. I watched and rewatched the Ventress episodes till I knew her very deeply–I could “see” all her reactions, hear her gravelly but silky voice, and anticipate her body language. With Vos, I watched “Hunt for Ziro” and also paid close attention to the animatics of the first four episodes I was given. I felt they really had chemistry and it was easy to sort of fall in step beside them.
There are certain changes to characters that happen in this novel. If this would have been adapted as part of the television show, would thee changes have been the new status quo for a period of time? Did you condense a story arc that was broken up over the course of a season or two with “Dark Disciple”?
There were indications of time passing between certain episodes, so I am fairly certain this was intended to be a long-playing arc that interspersed with other storylines.
Are there any canon subjects in the Star Wars universe you’d like to take on in the future with Dark Disciple ready for release?
I had a dream come true when I met Mark Hamill at Celebration. I had the chance to tell him I had been 13 in 1977 and grew up to write SWs books, and that his performance in the trilogy truly changed my life and set me on my path. He asked if I were still writing, obviously addressing the new canon. I was delighted to reply “yes,” So honestly? Anything to do with Luke Skywalker makes me go back to the summer of ’77 and would make me outrageously happy and humbled.
More controversy has stemmed from Morrissey’s recent show at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY on Saturday (June 27). TrueToYou is reporting that despite the former Smiths frontman calling the show “fantastic”, as well as praising Blondie opening for him, the singer had a strong criticism of his MSG performance.
Morrissey acknowledged that there was “zero label interest”, suggesting that no record labels attended the gig. Moz also added that it was “a sad sign of the times”.Morrissey had a major falling-out with now former record label, Harvest, last year over his album release, World Peace Is None of Your Business. The former Smiths singer complained about a lack of promotion and walked away from Harvest soon after. The album has since been removed from various streaming services and digital retailers in the United States. Morrissey contributed this to “mutual mistrust” The singer reiterated that no record label was willing to re-issue the album, blaming “the curse of Harvest Records”.
Moz’s Madison Square Garden show also made the news when it was revealed that despite the singer’s personal request for the venue to go vegan-only during his performance, Madison Square Garden actually went ahead against Morrissey’s wishes and served meat in premium areas of the arena.
Music Icon Paul McCartney turned his nose at the idea of retirement in a recent interview with Esquire:
“Two reasons (why I still play): I love it, and it’s my job. Three reasons: the audience. You sing something and you get this incredible warmth back, this adulation. And who doesn’t like that? It’s amazing. Plus, the band’s very good. And having said there were three answers there are now about seven. Another thing is I kind of get to review my songs, and they go back quite a way. So if I’m singing ‘Eleanor Rigby’, I’m me now reviewing the work of a twentysomething and I’m going, “Whoa, that’s good.” [sings] “Wearing the face that she keeps in the jar by the door”. Ooh! And you see it all again flashing by you… like drowning. In the nicest possible way.”
“(What would I do?) Sit at home and watch telly? That’s what people do, man. Gardening, golf… no thanks. Occasionally, I do think, “You should have got fed up by now, you should be jaded.” My manager, who I don’t have any more, glad to say, suggested quite a long time ago that I retire at 50. He sort of said it’s not a good look. I went, “Oh, God, he could be right.” But then I still enjoy writing, I still enjoy singing. What am I gonna do? You see so many people who retire and then immediately expire.”
Sir Paul also addressed if he has anything else to prove in the music business:
“Yeah, all the time. And it is a silly feeling. And I do actually sometimes talk to myself and say, “Wait a minute: look at this little mountain of achievements. There’s an awful lot of them. Isn’t that enough?” But maybe I could do it a bit better. Maybe I could write something that’s just more relevant or new. And that always drags you forward. I mean, I never really felt like, “Oh, I did good.” Nobody does. Even at the height of The Beatles. I prefer to think there’s something I’m not doing quite right, so I’m constantly working on it. I always was, we always were. I mean, look at John [Lennon], a mass of paranoia and worries about whether he’s doing it right. You only have to listen to his lyrics. I think that’s just artists in general.”
Billy Corgan tweeted a Periscope video from Smashing Pumpkins’ rehearsal in Los Angeles a couple of days ago featuring the first footage of Jimmy Chamberlin performing with The Smashing Pumpkins since December 2008. Watch video below of “United States” off of 2007’s Zeitgeist.
Jimmy Chamberlin has rejoined The Smashing Pumpkins for their summer tour with Marilyn Manson after an arrangement with drummer Robin Diaz fell through.
“We suddenly found ourselves in the situation of not having anybody lined up,” Corgan told USA Today.
“You can’t just grab somebody and say, ‘Play drums on this Smashing Pumpkins song,'” he says. “Jimmy’s drum parts are so incredibly technical and nuanced that it’s a very rare class of people that can step in and play.”
Chamberlin, who now runs a tech company called LiveOne in Chicago, says Corgan called him about the challenges of filling the drum chair. “He asked if there was any way I’d consider coming back for the tour,” Chamberlin says. “It’s a great opportunity not only to celebrate the music, but to celebrate the friendship and the legacy.”
Corgan and Chamberlin haven’t made any plans together beyond the 24-date tour, set to end August 9th in Nashville. “That’s the only way it works for me,” Chamberlin says. “I’ve got a commitment to LiveOne; that remains my priority right now.”
Chamberlin last played with the band on their 20th anniversary tour in December 2008, and he departed in early 2009.
Pearl Jam tweeted a photo yesterday stating that a ‘Special Announcement’ is coming soon, with a photo of New York City. The band is rumored to be performing at the Global Citizens Fest in Central Park on September 26th. Ed Sheeran was announced to perform at the festival a couple of weeks ago, with further announcements at the time planned for early July. The festival launched in 2012 and is part of Global Citizen’s 15-year campaign to end extreme poverty by 2030.
Only fans who take initiative to help the poor on globalcitizen.org, raise awareness via social media, attend charity events, and sign petitions will get a chance to go to the concert. The Ken Ehrlich produced show is set to be broadcast live on MSNBC. Jay Z, No Doubt, Stevie Wonder, John Mayer, Alicia Keys and Carrie Underwood have previously headlined the Global Citizens Fest.
Scott Weiland looked back on his prime years with Stone Temple Pilots in a new interview with WRIF‘s Meltdown, and for the first time revealed that he wrote the guitar riff to STP’s smash hit “Vasoline” from Purple.
Robert DeLeo said in the past that the song was previously “Crackerman”. He recalled (via Below Empty), “That song was actually the first ‘Crackerman’, and then that was made into a jam we used to do, an instrumental jam called ‘Crush’, when we were Mighty Joe Young, in 1989/1990.” Weiland told MTV News in 1997, “The main riff on ‘Vasoline’ was originally from a song when we still called Mighty Joe Young and had been playing in clubs in Hollywood.”
Dean DeLeo has credited his brother Robert for writing “Interstate Love Song” in the past. He told Ultimate Guitar in 2013, “He wrote everything on ‘Interstate Love Song’ but the lyrics. He wrote that melody, that guitar line and the bass line and he may have even come up with the beat. I can’t say enough about him – he’s an extraordinary musician.”
You can read Weiland’s quotes from his WRIF interview below on STP’s classic songs and his memories of the band’s hey day.
On Vasoline: “‘Vasoline’ is a song that I had the riff of, and introduced the riff to the band, and they took it from there and wrote the rest of the music, and then I wrote the melody and the lyrics.”
On Sex Type Thing: “It was a song that we wrote, and it felt like an obvious first single to go with. We put it out, and actually started getting airplay from it right off the bat, and it launched everything for us.”
On Plush: “‘Plush’ is another song that was probably the song that we wrote that we felt would be a big hit before we put out the album. But that song sort of wrote itself. We went into rehearsal and started working on it, and the melody sort of came right away.”
On Interstate Love Song: “Interstate Love Song” is another one that sort of wrote itself. We were in pre-production [at the studio] and Robert brought in the riff, and we started jamming on it, and I came up with the melody right away. I sort of scatted up some lyrics, and then penned them after that. When we recorded Purple the album, we recorded it in 10 days.
On meeting The Rolling Stones: “It was more of a meet and greet photo op.”
On going by Weiland in the early 90’s: “Yeah, that’s true, kind of like Madonna.”
On thinking about STP going into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: “I have, when I watch it, and see bands being inducted, it’s crossed my mind before. But I guess we’ll have to wait and see.” He added, “It would mean a lot, it would be a great honor. A great honor. It’s kind of the pinnacle. Green Day was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and they’re still chugging along.”
On feeling like he’s at the top of his game: “I feel that I’m more inspired than I’ve been in a long time, I’ve got a great band that I play with. We go out on stage and put out 200% every night.”
On his peak with STP: “I would probably say that we were at our peak around 2000, as far as playing as a live band.”
Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan talked about the common ground he shares with Col. David W. Sutherland of Easter Seals in a new interview with Fox News.
“It might be a strange way to put it, but what makes me proud to be an American is that a person as crazy as I, with an individual vision as I, could rise to the highest levels of American society, be successful, and then represent things that a person like me is not supposed to represent. I’m supposed to be a left leaning liberal artist, I’m not, I’m a libertarian.
I’m supposed to be against people like him, I’m not, I appreciate what this man represents, not from a political point of view, but from a value point of view, and I want to reinforce those values. That’s what makes me proud, is we can find common ground as Americans, because we believe in the American dream. We don’t have to agree on every part of it, we just have to believe in the dream. I’m a living example, he’s a living example of how merit based value systems, how honor, how working together is why America is a country that God’s never seen on this earth, but this country.”
Alice In Chains singer/guitarist Jerry Cantrell recently discussed recording with Deftones in an interview with Metal Hammer.
“Deftones and I have known each other for years, and we’re also under the same management. Chino sent over the song file and I thought it was really great, cool and moody, so I worked on it that night and threw something down. He sent me a file of them jamming the song live, I sent it back with the idea I laid down, and Chino thought it was perfect. I waited until they got back in the studio and then came in and laid it down. So, it was pretty easy, and I think it’s going to be a great song.”
He added: “Chino’s a really talented guy and an amazing frontman, and they’re a band that has a sound that’s uniquely their own.”
Judd Apatow interviewed Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder in his new book Sick in the Head, and during the interview Vedder discussed his spirituality.
“It’s a curiosity, for sure, and an unanswered question. I think we can all agree that there’s no evidence to say that it’s just this one thing. But I think about the people who have stopped asking the questions, who have stopped searching and stopped looking for answers. I think that when you’re committed to one religion – let alone into the level of being a fundamentalist – you close yourself off to things that might be out there. There becomes a closed-mindedness where you don’t allow anything more in, and I think you’re missing out on half the plot, or half the experience of life on this planet.”
Vedder also remembered working on the Into the Wild soundtrack, “An interesting moment for me was the movie Into the Wild, when Sean Penn asked me to contribute a song. I thought, Yeah, I can relate to this kid, this character – and I was a little surprised at how quickly it all just came back. I thought I’d processed all that. But it was crazy. It was just like a rash that had been slightly under the skin the whole time. It was upsetting, you know. But you’re just kind of putting it out and turning it into something hopefully worthwhile that other people can kind of experience, too. They can share in that and not feel like they were the only ones.”
Over 3 months following the March 31st release of Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts’ Blaster, Weiland and his management have still failed to ship several expensive perk packages for fans who bought the album on PledgeMusic.com with bonus items including a $500 signed megaphone. Back in mid-May, we reported that fans were threatening legal actiondue to his failure to ship items, citing the Federal Trade Commission. Weiland responded on Facebook on May 22nd, “Just a quick word to those PledgeMusic supporters that have not yet received their items. Some of this was out of my hands, some of it was just a matter of the chaos of the last weeks…but we are almost there. Your items ARE coming. Thank you again for supporting me, The Wildabouts, and BLASTER. (And yes, I do write the lyric sheets. Each and every one.) Your support means everything to me. Thank you again.”
Fans have taken to Weiland’s PledgeMusic discussion page yet again to continue to call out the former Stone Temple Pilots frontman and his team. Lucas Keller/Milk & Honey is Weiland’s management, while Liz Ottiniano of Diana Barton Media is his publicist.
A fan posted yesterday on PledgeMusic:
Any updates on the megaphones? I was told to contact you guys on Monday if I did not receive a shipping notification, which I did contact you as no notification was received, and I have not received a response two days later.
To echo the sentiments of everyone else below, can we get some update as to what the hold up is? There were only 25 of these which had to be signed versus the hundreds of CD’s and books that have been signed and shipped long ago. I think we are all reasonable people here, but an update aside from “they are working on it” is in order as these items were expensive and over 2 months overdue at this point.
I also realize this is not PledgeMusic’s fault entirely, but both camps need to be better on communicating with the fans who spent a ton of money on these items. Judging from the comments below, a lot of bridges are being burned and most people will think twice before purchasing from PledgeMusic or Scott Weiland in the future based on the fiasco this is turning into.
If there are some extenuating circumstances preventing these from being fulfilled, that’s fine, just keep us in the loop!
On June 29th a fan posted on PledgeMusic:
I’m a patient guy, but at this point, due to the obvious utter lack of respect towards the fans, I want a full refund.
I will not be supporting Mr. Weiland going forward. I need to be refunded for the shirt that never shipped, as well as the signed vinyl that is missing a song and not signed. You remember, the issue that was supposedly being looked into months ago?
I know Mr. Weiland is a self-centered POS, and knew that going in, but I assumed he would have a team to take care of this stuff for him. Apparently not…
I am fully aware that this is NOT Pledge Music’s fault, and Mr. Weiland took advantage of Pledge just as much as he did the fans. Hopefully he will be blacklisted from using this site in the future.
On June 23rd a fan posted on PledgeMusic:
Another 8 days have passed since my last update from pledge… an update that appeared to be the same update cut and paste from the last few months. No updates are coming proactively … I have to ask, and then all I get is “we have reached out to Scott’s team” or “we have looped Scott’s team in…” and ” we will update you as soon as we have any info”. I want my stuff, you don’t shell out £100+ on stuff unless you really want it ! Pledge Music are spot on when they say you cannot get these experiences elsewhere!! This is not a request for another update but I am ‘reaching out’ to you and ‘looping’ all the other pledgers in .. in the hope that you will sort this mess out and send us our merch. Kind regards
A fan responded:
I have heard from Scott’s manager and still get no solid answer. He emailed me that Scott was signing the megaphones almost 2 weeks ago but still have not recieved anything!
Another fan responded:
I also e-mailed Lucas Keller, and was PROMISSED twice that they were on there way. Still no confirmation if they have been mailed out. Might I suggest that in the future when Crowd Funding involves another band that they have confirmation merch and signed merch is ready to roll right away. If I were them, I would be looked at a law suit for this fiasco.
A fan posted on BelowEmpty.com’s forums:
Scott really lived up to his reputation on this thing. Releasing the digital copy only after a ton of complaining, when every other band gave out the digital copy on the release date. Like most people on there I got a refund, so basically, Scott gave away a digital copy of the album for free, while at the same time pissing off the few fans he has left. The guy is a genius.
The 14th annual Layne Staley tribute show will take place on August 22, 2015 in Seattle at The Crocodile. Jar of Flies (Alice in Chains Tribute Band), Outshined (Soundgarden & Temple of the Dog Tribute Band), and Poottana Play For Money (Nirvana Tribute Band) are set to perform.
Jar of Flies is a gathering of top Seattle musicians with an addiction to live energy and showmanship. In honor of Alice in Chains, the Seattle, WA based tribute bands JAR OF FLIES bring an authentic and powerful sonic experience. They do not try to look like the bands, act like the bands, or try to “be” the bands; they just painstakingly recreate and make sure that they sound exactly like the albums.
It is all about the music.
They do not do their own arrangements or try to make it their “own”. This is no bells, no whistles, just straight up Alice in Chains exactly the way they intended it.
This music was the revolution of a generation and they respectfully pay homage to that. The people that come to these shows are die-hard fans of Alice in Chains. They enjoy the memories and embrace the ride of reliving the moments of when they first came to know and love this VERY special band!
Jar of Flies authentically replicate the sound of this band EXACTLY LIKE THE ALBUMS. No gimmicks, no frills, no costumes, just the MUSIC performed EXACTLY the way YOU want it and EXACTLY the way it use to be. If you are a skeptic, you have to hear this to believe it.
Outshined plays all your favorite SOUNDGARDEN songs, with a selection of Temple Of The Dog classics peppered in for an amazing sonic experience. Truly a world class act, featuring top notch musicians who are all dedicated fans of the music, OUTSHINED brings a powerful show to any stage.
Marilyn Manson discussed his feud with Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor during a recent Reddit AMA.
“I know I’m cool.
I mean, are you asking are we cool with each other?
I mean, I don’t have a problem with him. I have a problem with some of the things he’s done to me in my career. But at the same time, I have to give him credit where credit is due, as being inspiration when I was starting out and giving me my break.
But we’re not at odds with each other. I just don’t have interest in being friends anymore.”
Trent Reznor was asked if he still thinks Manson is a ‘dopey clown’ during a recent interview with Rolling Stone.
“No, I mean, I really haven’t thought much about that guy. I wish him the best and we were good friends at one point in the past, and we became not such good friends. People change, and I don’t go around carrying it on my shoulders at all. So I have said many, many stupid things in my career. That wasn’t as bad as some, so I’m glad that you focused on that one. Notice, I didn’t deny saying that or my feeling didn’t change.”
Foo Fighters have banned some bizarre items from their upcoming July 4th concert in Washington DC. You can check out eight of the weirdest items from the tour rider below.
Copies of Boy’s Life magazine
Uncured meats of any kind
Bubble and/or squeak Confetti and streamers
Weird weapons that may have been used on the show “Vikings”
It looks like Dave Grohl’s days of resting his leg are over. While the five European shows between June 19th and June 26th were cancelled due to the frontman’s injury, it now seems like they will go on with the North American tour as planned.
No official statement has been made, but the band has posted the same message on their official website, Twitter and Instagram: “Can’t f***ing wait for the 4th!!! See you at home, DC.”
Since the next scheduled show, the first on their North American tour, is in Washington DC on July 4th, it feels pretty safe to bet that it’s going to happen.
Grohl discussed his injury in a recent open letter to fans:
So….here I am, recovering with 6 metal screws in my leg, thinking about a lifetime of holding up TSA lines from here to Kalamazoo….damn.
Here’s the not so witty bit…….My doctors have advised me to lay low for a while. The most important thing now is for me to recover from the surgery, to keep my leg elevated so as to keep swelling down and prevent any infection/complication that could do long term damage. I’m not out of the woods yet, folks…
Which means, and it kills me to say it…..the doctors have told us to cancel shows. I’m really so sorry, guys. You know I hate to do it, but I’m afraid it’s just not physically possible for me at the moment. We’re doing our best right now to work out a plan, so bear with us. You know we’re good for our word. But for now, I need to make sure we have YEARS of gigs ahead of us….
You have always stood by our band, and we will always stand by you. Like I say at every show, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you guys. And I mean that. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And I will do everything I can to come back and give you a night to remember for the rest of your lives AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
George Kollias is a Greek born drummer mostly known for being the drummer of American death metal titans, Nile. Ever since joining the band for their 2005 album, Annihilation of the Wicked, he’s been the band’s most iconic drummer as well as one of the most acclaimed drummers in metal today. More recently, Kollias released a solo album, Invictus. I was recently able to have an email interview with George, who was eager to talk about this new release, while reluctant to discuss anything Nile-related…
On Invictus: It’s an album I decided to release after years of writing music for my personal fun, I never actually planned to make an album but the idea came later on when fans who heard some demo started to ask for it. So far the reactions from the fans and magazines are talking about a very good album and I am extremely happy about it. I put a lot of time on it, it was mainly composed and recorded in between tours from Nile and Drum Clinics so it was “limited” time to say it better, but I had a lot of fun doing it and I plan to keep up with this project.
The idea behind this was to keep it as a one-man-band, I really enjoy the fact that I have to do everything myself, not because I have control of everything but because I can express myself on every area, writing or performing or even finalizing the album. It’s a big responsibility when you have 4-5 people being a part of it, but it’s completely relaxed if you do it all yourself. No tours are planned yet, I have been working on some ideas but there is no rush about it. One thing I can tell you for sure is I will be doing several drum clinics for Invictus and i’m thinking about a tour as well, a tour that I can get out as a drum clinician and perform the whole album, talk with the fans, etc.
On working with Rotting Christ and Firewind members: George Emmanuel is a good friend of mine and he wanted to contribute a solo and same goes with Bob Katsionis who’s a long time friend and ex-band mate in Nightfall, I also did the drums on Bob’s band Outloud for their last album to. So, pretty much, all my guests were friends and musicians I admire and wanted to have on my debut album and I am extremely happy of how things tuned out!
On the Greek metal scene: It’s growing and getting more appreciated worldwide, cause these days it’s easier for the new bands to promote their name and get out to tour as well. We still have the legendary bands like Rotting Christ and Septic Flesh going on, and actually better than ever, but there are also a lot of newer bands like Suicidal Angels kicking ass as well as new bands who are doing an incredible job. Lots of thrash bands lately, it’s always good to see some thrashpopping up here and there since I’ve been a fan from the days I was a kid.
IOn whether speed or technique is better for a drummer: All, music in general. You can’t focus on one thing, and those who say they do they are actually not, or if they do, they are missing most of the fun. For me it’s all about what the song/band calls for, you do your best for the music and this is to me what a great drummer should do. So focusing on one thing… it’s not so good.
What I advise my students to do is what I do: play multiple styles. It just opens your mind so much and it’s a great test to see your abilities and your limits. Playing with a variety of different styles can only be a good thing, it will never mess up what you do. And it can also be something very productive too since you will be getting more offers to play on albums/shows etc.
Judd Apatow interviewed Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder in his new book Sick in the Head, and Vedder told a touching story about his daughter.
“A crazy thing happened the other night. My daughter likes to listen to this ukulele record that I did – she goes to bed to it, and especially if I’m not around, at least I’m there playing her to sleep. There’s a sad song about sleeping by myself or something and it was pretty intense. She started by asking me, you know, ‘What’s that song about? Why are you singing that?’ And I said, ‘Oh, that was before I met Mom,’ and the whole thing. And then she started bawling. She said, ‘It’s so sad, it’s so sad.’ I had to comfort her, but she really kind of lost it, it was pretty intense, so we skip that song now. It was interesting to see the empathy that she had for her dad. I don’t know if I ever had that, or an opening to have that. I was raised differently.”
Apatow also asked him if he was happy with his family life. Vedder said, “My type of personality is that even when things are going really good, then I feel like something bad could happen at any minute. I think a lot about the fragility of life. From knowing people like Thomas Young, who’s a soldier who lost the use of most of his body due to a couple of gunshot wounds in Iraq, and the challenges he faces, or just having friends who are dealing with diseases – knowing these people have given me a great appreciation for life and the moment. I just see the fragility at all times.
The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers discussed Grunge music in a new interview with Variance Magazine.
“It’s a shame that pop music is sometimes branded as all plastic and hollow,” Flowers explains. “Grunge music distorted the idea of pop. It’s not even debatable. As great as grunge was, and it was a powerful movement, that was an effect. For every action there’s a reaction. And I grew up loving pop music. I remember reading interviews with Morrissey and even though we don’t necessarily think of him as pop, that’s what he considered himself to be. He was trying to write catchy pop songs. Now, he was able to turn it on its head and he’s definitely on a different level than everyone else—you know I think he’s just the greatest—but I always thought of pop music as being a positive thing.”
And in further defense of the genre, the singer calls it a “great craft and a wonderful form of art. It’s not that easy,” he ardently declares. “And you can’t just write it off. If making pop music were as easy as critics say, everyone would be doing it. Of course, I don’t like the idea of these massive teams of people formulating a single, but I still appreciate when I hear a really great song.”
Marilyn Manson discussed Jimmy Chamberlin’s return to Smashing Pumpkins and his relationship with Billy Corgan in a new Reddit AMA.
“And I think this one coming up is gonna be interesting, seeing how we meld together, Marilyn Manson and Smashing Pumpkins. I’m quite excited if the rumors that Jimmy Chamberlain is back in the band are true. Hearing more of the original songs I first listened to for the Smashing Pumpkins, before I even had a band. Billy asked me if I knew any drummers, I guess he needed a replacement drummer, and on my flight home from France, i had a strange dream that I told him Jimmy Chamberlain, and then I woke up and saw that it was true.
So I don’t know if that means that dreams come true, or if the flight was so long that something strange happened, and synchronicity brought it together.
It continues to be one of those years for me and a lot of people that are in my life that special synchronicity keeps happening, and I feel like it’s going to continue to build.”
He also discussed his similarities and differences with Billy Corgan.
“Billy’s – he’s very similar, I guess. And quite the opposite of me.
Both, at the same time.
He has the childish enthusiasm that I have. And he has a vision of what he wants.
It’s two strong-minded heads at the same time. That could potentially be troublesome. Not that we’ve argued. He’s always been very helpful and guiding. He gave me one of my first guitars, and taught me how to tune it. Back in 1998.”
Trent Reznor told Rolling Stone yesterday that he is in the early stages of working on new Nine Inch Nails music.
“Yeah, I’ve been messing around with some things. And I went through a period of “tour, tour, tour.” Things right after another, with scores and what I’ve been doing whilst working on Apple music here is what I call “laboratory time,” more experiments without any definite agenda. It’s not for a thing, it’s not a record I’m trying to finish in a month. It’s more just feeling around in the dark and seeing what sounds interesting. It’s nice to do that every few years to try and reinvent and discover and try to learn about yourself and what feels exciting to you as an artist.”
He also discussed rock bands no longer selling albums, “As an artist, there’s the difficult transition from realizing that where you used to sell an item that you got X amount for – those days are over. And the toothpaste is not going to go back in the tube. And people aren’t going to suddenly want to buy CDs again and feel good about overpaying for them. That’s a fact. Most of my peers have swallowed the bitter pill that I have swallowed, which is that you don’t make a lot of money selling music these days. It’s just the way it is. I don’t think that’s the way it should be, but that is the way it is. So I’m excited to accept that.”
Glastonbury 2015 has come and gone, however with every great music festival there is much speculation on who will be headlining for next year. Gigwise is reporting that Foo Fighters along with Muse, Fleetwood Mac and Oasis are heavy favorites to headline the popular British music festival in 2016.
Foo Fighters were slated to perform at this year’s edition of Glastonbury but had to pull out because of Dave Grohl’s broken leg. The band was ultimately replaced by Florence + The Machine.
William Hill, one of the largest bookmakers in the United Kingdom currently has revealed their betting odds for next year’s headliners, with Foo Fighters, unsurprisingly, the 3/1 favorites for one of the three headline slots. Muse come in second place, at 10/1, while Fleetwood Mac and Oasis hold the joint third spot at 12/1.
You can view the full list of betting odds for Glastonbury’s 2016 headliners below.
3/1 Foo Fighters
12/1 Fleetwood Mac
16/1 Bloc Party
16/1 Daft Punk
16/1 The Rolling Stones
16/1 The Stone Roses
20/1 Ed Sheeran
20/1 Green Day
20/1 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
25/1 The Prodigy
33/1 Alice Cooper
33/1 Arctic Monkeys
33/1 Iron Maiden
33/1 John Legend
33/1 Kate Bush
33/1 Kings of Leon
33/1 Snoop Dogg
33/1 The Killers
33/1 The Vaccines
40/1 Mumford and Sons
40/1 The Beach Boys
40/1 The Happy Mondays
50/1 Pink Floyd
50/1 Red Hot Chili Peppers
50/1 Taylor Swift
66/1 David Bowie
66/1 Depeche Mode
66/1 Florence + the Machine
66/1 Led Zeppelin
66/1 Pet Shop Boys
100/1 One Direction
100/1 Def Leppard
100/1 Dr Dre
100/1 Elton John
100/1 Human League
100/1 Mariah Carey
100/1 Meghan Trainor
100/1 Nicki Minaj
100/1 Paul Simon
100/1 Pharrell Williams
100/1 Sam Smith
100/1 Simply Red
100/1 Spandau Ballet