Scott Weiland Talks Nirvana Influencing Him, Grunge Changing The World

Former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland discussed the Grunge explosion of the 1990’s and Nirvana’s influence on him in a new interview with The Shark, as transcribed by Alternative Nation.

“Yeah, you could feel it. It affected more than than just the music, and certain things that each band had in common. It was in their influences, they came a very similar, same place. A mixture of like 60’s garage, 70’s Sabbath, Zeppelin, and punk rock. It was the way that we connected with our generation, Generation X, and the way that we affected youth culture, and pop culture, and also how we influenced the political movement going on at the time.”

“Nirvana, I saw them in a small club in Los Angeles called Raji’s. Jane’s Addiction too, Jane’s Addiction is from Los Angeles, and they were part of that same movement. They just happened to have their album come out a year earlier than Bleach. Those were probably two of my biggest influences.”

Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts are currently touring North America, with tour dates available on ScottWeiland.com. You can also follow Scott Weiland on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Weiland also recently released a new app showcasing his album Blaster, with a new track titled “Back to the City.”

Eddie Vedder Throws Matt Cameron’s Birthday Cake Into Crowd

Matt Cameron celebrated his 53rd birthday at Pearl Jam’s show in Mexico City over the weekend. According to Sea on PearlJam.com’s forums, the band and audience sang “happy birthday” to him. The audience then sang another song that presumably is birthday related. A cake was brought out, but rather than smashing it on the person celebrating their birthday, Eddie Vedder decided to throw the cake in the audience, and you won’t BELIEVE how far he threw it in the video below! Ed then yells “we need some forks!”

A video posted by Luis Espinosa (@bruggmx) on

A photo posted by PearlJamSpam (@pearljamspam) on

A photo posted by PearlJamSpam (@pearljamspam) on

Guitarist Says Guns N’ Roses Have 2016 Plans: ‘We Get Along Really Well’

Guns N’ Roses guitarist Richard Fortus was interviewed a few days ago by Social Magazine, and Alternative Nation has transcribed some quotes from the interview.

“Guns N’ Roses will probably be doing something next year.” He added, “Hopefully you’ll be able to see both bands [Guns N’ Roses and Dead Daisies].”

Fortus said he has a great relationship with Axl Rose. “We get along really well. We come from a very similar place as far as our influences. We definitely relate on that level, and I think essentially with Axl, ultimately that’s all that really matters, the music. If we relate on that point, then everything else sort of falls into place.”

Fortus has been rumored to be part of a ‘hybrid’ Guns N’ Roses reunion lineup with Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, and Frank Ferrer. He said he was surprised when he was asked to join Guns N’ Roses in 2001.

“To be honest with you, it sort of wasn’t my thing. I wasn’t into metal as a kid, I was sort of a punk rock kid, and all of the bands I was in were all very different, they weren’t metal. So when I first got that call, I thought it was unusual, but it sort of made sense because of the people who were in that band at the time. Robin from Nine Inch Nails, Tommy from The Replacements, Brain from Primus, those were all guys that I knew, the same type of genre I was in, so it sort of made sense. Axl really wanted that, a diverse type of thing, he didn’t just want guys who were LA metal guys. GNR always had roots in punk rock as well.”

He also revealed that he heard that Axl Rose sang his vocals on Chinese Democracy in less than a week, and that surrounding issues were what were blocking the release of the album. He also discussed his longevity in GNR.

“I never really thought about it, and I’ve always done other things as well. I have to work, I have to do stuff, otherwise I get really depressed, if I’m not working, so I’ve always done other things, and it always keeps it sort of fresh, when you can step outside something and then come back to it. You have a new sense of appreciation for it, and a new perspective to add to it.”

https://youtu.be/kQm7tanGAtk

Frances Bean Cobain Has Virtual Thanksgiving With Michael Stipe

Frances Bean Cobain showed her ‘Virtual Thanksgiving’ with her godfather Michael Stipe on Twitter. She tweeted, “It ’twas a virtual thanksgiving. My god father is the most handsome, even with pie in his hands @remhq.” She added that she was lucky to have the former R.E.M. frontman as her godfather, “I really am. Not because he’s in a band but because he’s one of smartest, kindest & sincere humans I’ve ever known.”

Cobain also praised Stipe earlier this year on his birthday, “Happy birthday to my god father & 1 of the greatest humans on the planet. I love you eternally. Thanks for being exactly who you are @remhq.”

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Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea had some critical words for Thanksgiving last week. He tweeted, “The native Americans were slaughtered, raped, and robbed by the weird, lying invaders who showed up in ships one day.”

He later added, “I’m aware that thanksgiving is about being thankful for bonds with people. I am very thankful. We still murdered the Indians in my thoughts.”

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea & Shaq Are On A New TV Show

Flea, the Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist and songwriter, makes very sporadic and unexpected appearances in the world of film and television. His filmography is actually a little bigger than his discography – with appearances in the last two of the Back to the Future films, the voice of Donnie in the Wild Thornberrys, the Big Lebowski, Duckman and the Decline of Western Civilization Part III. Flea’s a real cool guy. When I met him a couple months ago, we had this brief exchange of glazed eyes I’ll never forget at Amoeba Records and it was one of the more memorable things that has happened to me all year.  I might have embarrassed myself a little, but there was no way I was going to handle meeting Flea in a calm manner. Sadly, it’s not me.

Now, when my friend Justin said “Flea has a show”, I thought he was referring to a Flea solo concert. He confessed it was a television show and I was certain he was pulling my leg. Well, he was half-right. Flea recently starred in a pilot for Amazon Video entitled “Highston”, a show which may get picked up by Amazon Prime as film and television (post-television?) shows see a shift towards instant streaming release only. The premise revolves around a 19-year old named Highston Liggetts who is a little lost and perceived to be delusional and mentally ill by his family, save for the family member who might actually have real issues, Uncle Bob. The nature of his dissociative disorder is his strong and vivid perceptions of celebrity imaginary friends, from Oprah to Bill Gates. In this pilot however, his friends are Flea and basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal. Truly, an unforgeable trio. If the show is picked up though, it will have rotating cast. I can only hope Flea will write the score for the show afterwards.

The Highston pilot was a very, very clever piece. Since Calvin & Hobbes, it seems some of the best stories in any form of media involve the dichotomous worlds between imaginary friends and those who can’t see them. Australian (and later American) television series Wilfred is another good example of this format. Highston is different from Calvin & Hobbes and Wilfred in the fact that no one outside of Highston, the eponymous title character, can see his friends or their involvement at all. In both Calvin & Hobbes and Wilfred, characters outside of Calvin and Ryan see Hobbes and Wilfred respectively as a stuffed toy tiger and non-anthropomorphic dog.

I won’t spoil the ending, but Highston’s family wants him to either make something of himself within a week or get admitted to a psychiatric hospital. The pilot provides a lot of blunt but not still pushy nor distracting social commentary, especially on the way society handles mental illness. “No one is happy”, says Highston’s father, Mr. Liggetts. “But Flea and Shaq say they’re happy,” replies Highston. “WELL, that’s because Flea and Shaq are the only happy people! Everybody knows that,” as Flea and Shaq mock the parents to no avail other than what Highston can hear. The show also features some nasty, kooky and funky original basslines from Flea as Shaq teaches Highston dance moves. Highston is a very polite and empathetic person, but no one, especially his family cares to listen to him outside of an agenda they filter everything through.

Nothing I can say is really going to capture the show’s inherent wit and thought provoking social commentary undertones. Regardless if you have Amazon Video and/or Prime, it is available to watch for free here. If you’re a Chili Peppers fan, a basketball nut or just looking to kick back and relax with some new piece of television that isn’t 100% mind rotting, I would definitely recommend the pilot of Highston. Thanks again, Flea.

 

 

Harry Potter Author Recalls The Time She Fangirled Meeting Morrissey

J K Rowling, famed Harry Potter author, a fan of Morrissey? You read that right.

Speaking to Lauren Laverne in the Guardian’s Weekend magazine, she said: “I met him in such a bizarre situation, in Harvey Nichols. We were looking at each other, getting nearer and nearer, and at almost exactly the same moment we both put out our hands.

“What was amazing to me was, Morrissey knew who I was.

“I wanted to go back to my 16-year-old self, who’s lying there in the dark with the joss sticks, listening to Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, and tell her: ‘You’ll meet him! He’ll know who you are!'”

Rowling continued her praise, explaining that meeting the former Smiths frontman made her understand how Harry Potter fans could continue obsessing over the books into adulthood.

“The people who mean something to you at 16, 17 are the people who are getting you through stuff. So I absolutely understand why someone who is hanging on to Harry Potter as a safe place at 13 is excited at 21 to talk about what (Hogwarts) house they’d be in. I don’t think it’s infantile. I don’t think it’s any more infantile than me being excited to meet Morrissey.”

The Killers Release Annual Christmas Single

The Killers, to those who aren’t familiar have a tradition of releasing various Christmas singles during the holiday season. From “Don’t Shoot Me Santa Claus” to “Christmas In LA” – The Killers and their Christmas singles have been as much of a holiday tradition as turkey, presents and caroling.

This year isn’t any different as the group has released this year’s Christmas-themed single entitled “Dirt Sledding”. You can listen to it below:

Review: Scott Weiland’s Comeback Is In Full Force At Wellmont Theater

Photos by Greg Capra for AlternativeNation.net

After a rocky year, Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts completely tore the roof off the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, New Jersey on Saturday night.

After sets from local band American Diesel and Georgia rockers the Biters, Weiland and his band came out promptly at 10 PM, starting the set megaphone in hand for a rendition of STP’s classic crowdpleaser, “Crackerman”.

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Right off the bat, the band was tight. Scott Weiland hit all the notes, and Tommy Black’s bass lines punctuated Nick Maybury’s crunchy guitar tones. Joey Castillo of Queens of the Stone Age fame, who has been rounding out the band on drums since the departure of Dan Thompson earlier this year, has really added to the band: his trademark powerhouse drumming really adds an edge to the Wildabouts, making this current lineup the strongest in Weiland’s live history.

Weiland’s latest album, Blaster, had the widest representation out of any other album of his career in the setlist. The garage rocker “Modzilla”, Lawless homage “White Lightning”, “Hotel Rio”,  “Amethyst”, slinky “The Way She Moves”, and the ethereal “Parachute” all made it into the night’s set, the latter standing out as a highlight with its psychedelic harmonic vocals from Tommy Black.

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Funnily enough, Scott seemed most at home during his sprawling cover of “Jean Genie” (featured as bonus track on some copies of Blaster), boasting a smile on his face and churning out his trademark slither dance like a modern Jim Morrison.

The usual fan favorites from the STP catalog creeped their way into the set: “Big Empty”, “Big Bang Baby”, “Meatplow”. The Wildabouts’ new version of “Dead And Bloated” updates an old classic with a thrash metal-meets White Zombie vibe.

By the time Weiland and the band nailed the classic “Vasoline”, in the wake of a viral video from earlier in the year of a performance gone wrong, the former STP frontman already completely won the crowd over, which had erupted into a circle pit during the final chords of 1994’s “Unglued”.

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I met Weiland briefly before the show walking the streets of Montclair; he was walking at a brisk pace along Bloomfield Avenue with Tommy.

“Hey… big fan.”

“Thanks,” he said as he continued to walk towards the venue.

An exhausted Weiland would later tell the fans waiting outside by the tour bus that he had to do a meet and greet and didn’t have time. Most of the crowd dispersed at that point, and Tommy Black told the remaining fans that Weiland would be turning in for the night before offering to hang out at a local bar.

Weiland’s had a rough year in general, and the fans said they understood. However if tonight’s performance was an indication for things to come in the future, 2016 will be a total return to form. While the setlist needs a little bit of a shakeup, Scott hardly missed a beat and reminded the audience why he’s one of the great rock frontmen of the past twenty years.

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Check out AlternativeNation.net correspondent Greg Capra’s website GrungeMetalGraveyard.com, and Scott Weiland at ScottWeiland.com

Pearl Jam Want To Orange The World

Pearl Jam wore orange t-shirts advocating the end of violence against women in Colombia at their show in Bogota earlier this week. They say “por una colombia libre de violencia contra las mujeres.” The shirts are part of the #orangetheworld campaign, 16 days of activism against gender based violence.

Read the recap and setlist below from Sea on the PearlJam.com forums:

Opening Bands: The Hall Effect, Spoon.

Walk On Music-
Band Onstage 08:32
Band Offstage 11:12
Hard Curfew at 11:30

(During changeover while Pearl Jam’s monitor engineer, Karrie Keyes, is ringing out the vocal mics the Colombian audience cheers every time she speaks.)
Set List
01. Pendulum
02. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
03. Mind Your Manners
04. Do The Evolution
05. Animal
(Ed addresses the audience in Spanish, He greats Bogotá. He says something else and stops to note in English, “they don’t know what I am saying.” He continues anyway. I think it has something to do with being here for the first time.)
06. Low Light
07. Corduroy
(Ed in Spanish. Something about stars and the next song)
08. I Am Mine
09. Ghost
(After “Ghost” Ed says, “that was for the Greek, with our apologies.” This refers Dimitris. A very active Pearl Jam fan club and forum member who attends countless shows and is from Greece. (He probably has counted them). Dimitris had requested Ghost be played in Brazil.)
10. Wishlist
(Ed thanks the opening bands ‘The Hall Effect’ and ‘Spoon’. He notes that the band Spoon is from Texas and spoon translates to cuchara in Spanish. While Ed doesn’t mention it research indicates that cuchara is also a vulgar slang term. Ed says the next song is called Cuchara.)
11. Even Flow
(Ed sees a lot of women in the front rows and says he knows that means that it is a safe space. He praises the strong women and strong men looking out for each other. He also notes that the stage has been bouncing a lot and that there is nothing connecting the stage to where the audience is except the ground itself so the audience is moving the earth.)
12. Daughter/WMA/Improv
13. Deep
14. Jeremy
15. A Sort Of Homecoming-(U2). {first verse and chorus only. Ed only vocal and electric guitar. played as an intro to MFC much like “Untitled”)
16. MFC
17. Life Wasted
18. Given To Fly
19. Rearviewmirror
Encore Break 1
(Ed tells the audience they look great and notes that the ‘muy guapo’ guy down front knows he is muy guapo. He then speaks in Spanish indicating that it isn’t too cold to continue playing.)
20. Around The Bend
21. Footsteps (after the harmonica solo Ed tosses the instrument to a women in the front row)
“That song right there, amongst so many good songs on the first record…Stone Gossard right there.”)
22. Mother-(Waters)
23. State Of Love And Trust
24. Unthought Known
(In Spanish Ed talks about what is being done to help eliminate violence against women. November 25th is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.)
25. Better Man (crowd sings the opening verse)
26. Porch (Boom and Ed both wear orange t-shirts advocating the end of violence against women in Colombia. They say “por una colombia libre de violencia contra las mujeres”
The shirts are part of the #orangetheworld 16 days of activism against gender based violence)

Encore Break 2
(now the entire band are wearing orange t-shirts that read “por una colombia libre de violencia contra las mujeres”)
27. Black (Ed sings both esta bien and it’s okay)
28. Alive
29. Rockin’ In The Free World-(Young)
(Ed asks about playing one more song. He thanks the audience for the Colombian flags noting that didn’t have any before)
30. Yellow Ledbetter

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea On Thanksgiving: ‘Native Americans Were Slaughtered & Raped’

Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea had some critical words for Thanksgiving yesterday. He tweeted, “The native Americans were slaughtered, raped, and robbed by the weird, lying invaders who showed up in ships one day.”

He later added, “I’m aware that thanksgiving is about being thankful for bonds with people. I am very thankful.we still murdered the Indians in my thoughts.”

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Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea discussed no longer enjoying listening to The Police and Sting in a new interview with Marc Maron, as transcribed by Alternative Nation.

“You know it’s funny for me, I like him fine, he’s great, but it’s a weird thing for me. When I was young I loved The Police. Around the time when I started playing rock bass too, I really loved The Police, but it’s the one band that just – and it’s really the only band, like any band I listen to, I go put on the record, and I love it as much as when I was 15 or 20 or whenever. But I put on The Police, and I got the greatest hits, and I finally [went to] put it on.”

“It didn’t hold up for you.”

“It’s the only band ever, and I still know it’s good, like the craftsmanship is good, it seems good, but I don’t know, it’s weird. People think I’m a moron.”

“For me he’s one of those guys, he’s a really good musician, without a doubt. He’s a great musician, he’s willing to try lots of different stuff. It’s just, I don’t cry, I don’t get moved, but I respect it, I just don’t get moved.”

Slash Slammed By Estranged Wife Perla Hudson

Slash’s estranged wife Perla Hudson appeared to take a subtle dig at her soon to be ex-husband yesterday on Thanksgiving, reposting a photo on her Instagram that said ‘Thank god you’re out of my life.’ Perla said, “Thank you @themrsqueenbee for taking the words out my mouth!”

Slash and Perla are currently in the process of finalizing their divorce.

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Guns N’ Roses have sent out a new e-mail to fans announcing the release of new merchandise which features the band’s original lineup and classic logo. The new merchandise includes a skull blanket, a cross logo blanket, a skull head blanket, a bullet pillow, a cross logo ornament, a stocking, a scarf, pajamas, a hockey jersey, and more.

This is a major development, as there were legal battles in the past regarding Guns N’ Roses merchandise and logo rights. On April 21, 2006, Dik Hayd International, LLC (Slash’s company) tried to trademark all of the old GNR logos (Exhibit A, Exhibit B). Slash’s ex-wife Perla was the VP of Dik Hayd according to divorce filings. The trademarks were abandoned on March 27, 2007. All of the Guns N’ Roses trademarks are jointly owned by Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan. The Appetite logo is Axl’s tattoo done by Bill White Jr., and the skull art was drawn by R.K. Sloane.

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Justin Bieber Is A ‘Fan’ Of Nirvana: ‘Kurt Wouldn’t Give Two F***s!’

Photoshop by Alternative Nation contributor Whip

Justin Bieber’s stylist Karla Welch recently spoke to Esquire about Justin Bieber wearing a Nirvana t-shirt to the American Music Awards.

“It’s not the first time he’s worn a Nirvana tee. We just have a nice collection of vintage tees, and then the tee he wore yesterday was actually Jerry Lorenzo’s from Fear of God. Jerry takes vintage tees and re-cuts them.”

Welch continued: “Of course he’s a fan of Nirvana. I think it’s so funny that all these people are up in arms. I’m sure Kurt Cobain would be like – I mean I can’t speak for him, obviously – but I don’t think he was so snotty or that he would diss anyone who appreciated his music. I think he understood that that is like the antithesis of music appreciation.

“It’s so funny. But you know, fans are fans!” she added. “Whatever you want to say about being pop, but I don’t think Kurt Cobain gave two fucks, and I don’t think Justin Bieber does either. You know what I mean?”

Kurt Cobain’s widow Courtney Love had a surprising reaction to Bieber’s shirt: she loved it. Love tweeted, “You’re cool in my book Justin Bieber.” What are your thoughts on Justin Bieber and Nirvana? Should he front a reunion tour? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

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Eddie Vedder Sings & Drinks With Pearl Jam Fan On His Birthday

At Pearl Jam’s show on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro, Eddie Vedder had some fun with a fan who claimed it was his birthday. Ed had the lights brought up so he can see the audience. He points out a man in the audience with a sign that reads “It’s My Birthday Can I please sing a song with you?” Ed says “It is your birthday? Now let’s see I saw you 3 days ago holding the same sign and a few days before that with the same sign. It must be nice to have every day be your birthday.” Ed says he will buy the guy a drink for sure and then they can think about singing.

The Birthday Boy finally got his wish during “Porch.” Watch video below!

Set List from Sea on PearlJam.com’s forums:
01. Oceans (Ed counts off the song but some confusion stops the song right away. Ed and Stone confer briefly and the song starts again)
02. Present Tense
03. Corduroy
04. Hail, Hail
05. Mind Your Manners
06. Do The Evolution
07. Amongst The Waves
(Ed addresses the audience in Portuguese. Noting it is the last show in Brazil but not the last show forever just this tour. The audience helps him a little with his pronunciation.)
08. Save You
09. Even Flow
10. Who You Are
11. Setting Forth
12. Not For You
13. Sirens-sing along outro (Boom’s keyboard had a malfunction for the first part of the song)
14. Given To Fly
15. Want You So Hard (Bad Boy News)-(Hughes, Homme) Eagles Of Death Metal cover. The band was playing a show in Paris at Le Bataclan when it was attacked by terrorists on November 13.
16. Comatose (The start of the song is a bit off. The band stops right away and Ed laughs “and then THAT happened!” The band starts the song again.)
17. Lukin
18. Rearviewmirror

Encore Break 1

(Ed asks the audience if they can see the moon tonight. He hopes it is still up there. “we live in a crazy world.”)
19. Yellow Moon
20. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
(Ed has the lights brought up so he can see the audience. He points out a man in the audience with a sign that reads “It’s My Birthday Can I please sing a song with you?” Ed says “It is your birthday? Now let’s see I saw you 3 days ago holding the same sign and a few days before that with the same sign. It must be nice to have every day be your birthday.” Ed says he will buy the guy a drink for sure and then they can think about singing.
He notes that other people are having anniversaries as well. Joe and Diane anniversary, (?) and Ashley-they are still fucking. Another couple is celebrating and anniversary. Various people in the audience indicate the lengths of their relationships. Ed says we have been a band for 25 years. Longer than anybody. And Jeff and Stone have been together how long? (30 years said in Portuguese). Let’s hear it for Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard for being together longer than anyone.)
21. Just Breathe

22. Imagine-(Lennon)
23. Jeremy
24. Why Go
25. The Fixer
(Ed brings up the birthday man (Adu?(sp). The man is very pleased. Ed takes a swig of wine and passes the bottle to they guy who proceeds to take a very long pull on the bottle. Ed lets him sing the opening lines of Porch before taking over.)
26. Porch (Sings the end of the song from the barricade. Visits with Birthday Man)

Encore Break 2
(Ed in Portuguese. It appears he has been given a gift and thanks the audience and he continues in English say he has heard so many stories of fans from all over the world who don’t speak any Portuguese being taken in and treated like family. He thanks the Brazilian people for their generosity in treating fan who have travelled here to see the shows.)
27. Last Kiss-(Cochran)
(We really wanted to play this here. This is by a special man and good friend, Mr. Roger Waters)
28. Comfortably Numb-(Gilmour, Waters) {Ed plays piano during the outro solo}
29. Spin The Black Circle
30. Black
(Ed has some advice for people who can relate to the song Black because of someone in their life. He also says he wants to thank some people. In Portuguese he thanks by name many of the Brazilian locals that have been working and traveling with the band and Pearl Jam crew.)
31. Better Man (during the solo Mike and Ed rock out back to back. At the end of the song Ed smashes white Gibson SG.)
32. Alive- (draped in an a Brazilian flag with messages and autographs all over it Ed goes to the wings of the stage. Mike solos down at the barricade.)
33. Rockin’ In The Free World-(Young) Jeff ends up wearing the Brazilian flag Ed had during the last song. Mike runs laps around the stage.)
(“They are telling us we have to stop so we will need to come back again.”) There is a very strict midnight curfew at the venue.
34. Yellow Ledbetter
(someone throws up a red pair of swim trunks. Ed asks “for me?” and shrugs. He ends up putting the trunks on over his pants and continues singing.)

Guns N’ Roses Release New Merchandise Featuring Original Lineup

Guns N’ Roses have sent out a new e-mail to fans announcing the release of new merchandise which features the band’s original lineup and classic logo. The new merchandise includes a skull blanket, a cross logo blanket, a skull head blanket, a bullet pillow, a cross logo ornament, a stocking, a scarf, pajamas, a hockey jersey, and more.

This is a major development, as there were legal battles in the past regarding Guns N’ Roses merchandise and logo rights. On April 21, 2006, Dik Hayd International, LLC (Slash’s company) tried to trademark all of the old GNR logos (Exhibit A, Exhibit B). Slash’s ex-wife Perla was the VP of Dik Hayd according to divorce filings. The trademarks were abandoned on March 27, 2007. All of the Guns N’ Roses trademarks are jointly owned by Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan. The Appetite logo is Axl’s tattoo done by Bill White Jr., and the skull art was drawn by R.K. Sloane.

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GNRTruth admin MSL recently made posted about rumors of Guns N’ Roses playing at the Coachella Festival next year in Indio, CA. He posted, “I’ve seen Coachella mentioned in a few articles for this rumored GNR tour featuring the return of slash. Figured I’d poke around a bit today. Spoke to a friend at Goldenvoice who didn’t want to say too much, but said ‘clock is ticking’ and that the Coachella lineup is scheduled to be released January 5th.”

He later posted, “Promoters make offers all the time for Axl and Slash to get back together, so it’s difficult to say for sure what the end result will be and what stage things are at…but my buddy was under the impression that Coachella’s offer is/was for Axl/Slash/Duff and that if GNR can deliver those three, it doesn’t matter what the rest of the lineup is.”

Coachella’s 2016 festival will take place on April 15-17 and April 22-24. The festival is known for booking major reunions, getting Jane’s Addiction to reunite in 2001 and Rage Against The Machine to reunite in 2007.

Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx recently spilled the beans on a Guns N’ Roses reunion. Sixx is the second prominent musician to reveal the band is reuniting, after former Stone Temple Pilots/Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland told Alternative Nation last week. A fan asked Sixx on Twitter last night if Guns N’ Roses were reuniting, and Sixx had a definitive response: ‘THEY ARE. EVERYBODY KNOWS.’ Sixx plays with former Guns N’ Roses guitarist DJ Ashba in Sixx:A.M., who he has a clear source in the Guns N’ Roses family.


Melodic Rock
is reporting that the lineup will be Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Richard Fortus, Frank Ferrer, and Dizzy Reed.

Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist DJ Ashba discussed the rumored reunion of GNR’s original lineup on Facebook a few days ago. Ashba said, “Rumors, rumors, read all about it! Personally, I would love to see the original members of Guns N’ Roses reunite. Let’s hope it happens for the fans!!”

He also told a fan, “The fans deserve it. Never forget I am a fan myself.”

Review: The Renaissance of John Frusciante

Author’s note: Was published without sections on “Zone” and “Renoise Tracks 2009-2011” originally. Now included below.

I can say confidently, as anyone would who knows Frusciante’s history well, that Frusciante does what he wants and it usually turns out very well for him. The sky is the (questionable) limit. Quit the one of the world’s biggest rock bands of the last 25 years – twice – and he lived to tell the tale.

Though when Frusciante goes to tell a story it may be non-linear, upside down, rightside up again, essentially anything non-conventional. This is not to say that his solo work is not enjoyable – it is very much, at least in my view.  Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt is one of my favorite albums ever. I would also recommend To Record Only Water for Ten Days and The Empyrean. I have not finished Inside of Emptiness but I did like what I heard from it, I believe the track “Look On” to be one of his finest works. What people forget sometimes is that Klinghoffer was one of Frusciante’s most frequent collaborators before he joined John’s old band. Klinghoffer was featured on the albums Shadows Collide With People, the Will to Death, Inside of Emptiness, A Sphere in the Heart of Silence and both Ataxia albums.

A few months ago, we reported that John Frusciante was “no longer releasing music for the public”. In fact, I wrote that article. I became a little disheartened because I really enjoy his art and him as a person, but I respected his choice allegedly to not release music. Thankfully, Frusciante goes through a lot of phases. Which is great, I love that about him but you can expect him to say “I’m going to be an elephant from now on” and he’ll come to your next party as a rhinoceros . 2:10 am, I got the most exciting email in awhile. It was a long letter from John Frusciante from his email listing, announcing a triumphant return. In an excerpt from the letter, we see this:

“Even when you make music purely for the sake of doing it, as I do, it sometimes helps to have friends who’s ears and taste you have in the back of your head when you’re making it. But this can also put you in a straightjacket, just as aiming your music at the masses can.  Therefore, in Jan 2014, I decided to stop having an “audience” in this sense, and so I stopped finishing songs or sending what I was doing to friends, and started making a lot of songs at once rather than one song at a time. This freed up my mind so that I could make music purely to hear it and live with it, in order to grow in a different direction for a while. This was not a permanent decision. In fact, I’m already past that phase.

Excellent news, right? He also enclosed links to his Bandcamp and Soundcloud with new releases, about 20 songs spanning different genres. Here, we will discuss them and see how they hold up.

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4-Track Guitar Music (6 tracks, recorded in May 2010)
Download and listen here from Bandcamp

 

For fans of Frusciante’s acoustic and low fidelity works, this is something you would be interestedin , though it is not exactly Niandra Lades. As much as I love Niandra Lades, I actually like watching artists grow. Of course, bands and artists will always harbor old material that is dear to me but if they truly inspire me I like to see where the course of their artistry takes them. Many critics of Frusciante’s latest electronic directions tell him to simply “pick up a guitar”, well, he’s got a guitar here! But the percussion is from a drum machine. As the album cover implies, it is music that may best be listened to at a beach sometime between dawn to dusk. It gives the tracks a beautifully tarnished and retro-electro feel to it, led by melodic but anti-rock guitar soloing. 5 out of the 6 tracks are untitled, except for “Venice”, where Frusciante spends a lot of his time. To me, this is still “classic” Frusciante and I’ve come to really enjoy it. If one tried to summarize Frusciante’s solo work in a couple of songs, well, not saying this is the best candidate only because it is missing his vocals but it incorporates his iconic guitar work with electronic undertones, some of the biggest elements of his solo work. It’s free, I would at least say give this a listen, regardless of where you stand on Frusciante’s solo work. Frusciante quit the Chili Peppers, it’s time to accept that. He has plenty more to offer. This is a beautiful gift.

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Medre (Recorded in 2008)

Download and listen here from Bandcamp

A single track, it is easy to see the connection this track has to his last and self-titled album under Trickfinger. Both album artworks are derived from similar materials and both lie between acid house and electro. Some may be happy to hear this actually includes a very worthy guitar part over an electronic beats, but very drastically different than what was offered in 4-Track Guitar Music. The guitar here is more characteristic of, well, Stadium Arcadium in my book. I wish there was more offered in this collection because I am sure Frusciante has more from this time period. This is one of my favorite tracks from this collection. I am very interested personally in the intersection of electronic and guitars and this is a perfect example of how the two may compliment each other.

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Fight for Love (from the Casa de Mi Padre soundtrack, recorded in November 2013 with Omar Rodriguez of the Mars Volta)
Download and listen from Bandcamp

Rodriguez and Frusciante’s friendship is well documented and they have been involved in several different projects together. Naturally, they come together to cover a song for Casa di Mi Padre, the satirical Spanish language film starring Will Ferrell. Close to the original, it is purely instrumental and has electronic percussion. A good showcase of guitar work, it is something to listen to whilst in the middle of a desert, contemplating life.

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Zone (Acoustic version, from 2014’s Enclosure)

Download and listen from Bandcamp

A poignant rendition of a track from  his 2014 electronic album Enclosure, “Zone” with just guitar and vocalsThis track may be the most “accessible” if it was commercially released. I did not listen to all of Enclosure, but it was a solid effort by Frusciante and it is always interesting to see how artists re-interpret their own work and give alternative versions. I would hope to see a few more of these – either acoustically re-interpreting electronic music or vice versa.

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Renoise Tracks 2009-2011
Download and listen on Bandcamp

The biggest collection of songs from either of the Souncloud or Bandcamp releases and the most comprehensive in a sense. Some complained of 2015’s Trickfinger as underdeveloped and bare bones. Those tracks were made in 2007-2008 and it in the following years, 2009-2011 worked on these tracks and there is a supreme difference. With clips of audio from different media, it almost feels like a movie. It is awesome to see Frusciante progress like this and I can only imagine what his work sounds like today, the work he has been working on this year. He evolved a lot from Trickfinger to Renoise, what will the coming work sound like? Frusciante easily could become a hit in the underground electronic scene, he seems to take a lot of good element from those scenes and makes it exclusively his own.

John Frusciante is again on the rise. Is this Red Hot Chili Peppers? No, but it shouldn’t be. He wanted to evolve as an artist and he is achieving it. He will continue down this path and I’m very happy to see him go down it, as great as it would be for him to be in the Peppers (his “old band” as he referred in the letter). I’m sure the band feels the same about him. He gave them so much and he will continue an abundance of music. God bless John Frusciante, what a great Thanksgiving present to the world and us fans.

Eagles of Death Metal Discuss Paris Tragedy In Emotional Interview

During Eagles of Death Metal’s November 13 show at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, gunmen entered the venue and opened fire on the crowd, leaving at least 90 dead. The band spoke to VICE about the tragic events that took place that night.

Last week, Eagles of Death Metal released a statement regarding the Paris Attacks on their Facebook page, that they were caught in the middle of:

“While the band is now home safe, we are horrified and still trying to come to terms with what happened in France. Our thoughts and hearts are first and foremost with our brother Nick Alexander, our record company comrades Thomas Ayad, Marie Mosser, and Manu Perez, and all the friends and fans whose lives were taken in Paris, as well as their friends, families, and loved ones.

Although bonded in grief with the victims, the fans, the families, the citizens of Paris, and all those affected by terrorism, we are proud to stand together, with our new family, now united by a common goal of love and compassion.

We would like to thank the French police, the FBI, the U.S. and French State Departments, and especially all those at ground zero with us who helped each other as best they could during this unimaginable ordeal, proving once again that love overshadows evil.

All EODM shows are on hold until further notice.

Vive la musique, vive la liberté, vive la France, and vive EODM.”

Eagles of Death Metal lost four people who worked with the band: their merchandise manager Nick Alexander (who has worked for Cat Stevens, Sum 41, Alice in Chains and more) and Thomas Ayad, Marie Mosser and Manu Perez, who all worked for record companies. While the tour is on hiatus, the band says they will play a show in Alexander’s memory in Austria on Dec 17th.

Eddie Vedder’s Tribute To Fan Killed In Paris To Be Played At Funeral

On Monday, I published a story on Alternative Nation about Eddie Vedder dedicating Pearl Jam’s cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” in Rio de Janeiro last night to a fan named Pierre-Antoine Henry, who was tragically killed at Eagles of Death Metal’s show in Paris nearly two weeks ago by ISIS terrorists. Our story had video of Pearl Jam’s performance of “Imagine,” but not Vedder’s speech we had a transcription of. A friend of Pierre-Antoine reached out to me asking for audio of Vedder’s speech, so it could be played at his funeral to dedicate “Imagine” to him.

I reached out to Pearl Jam fans on Twitter and the Ten Club boards searching for the audio, and then I e-mailed a contact in Pearl Jam’s organization, and despite the band being on tour in South America, they managed to quickly pull the professional audio of the speech and get it sent to Pierre-Antoine’s friends and family in time for the funeral. It was a total class act move on the part of the Pearl Jam Ten Club organization, and it made me quite emotional when I was told that they had sent it. A crowdfunding campaign has been set up for Pierre-Antoine. Read Eddie Vedder’s tribute below, as transcribed by Sea on the PearlJam.com forums.

“I wanted to say…I wanted to send out a message. Playing these shows it feels like family. A really, really big family. And of course we are always concerned about safety. For yours, for ours, for the crew, for everybody. You know music can bring joy. It also can help you deal with anger. It can also help you with sadness. And when you get a gathering of people at a show all these things become more powerful because you are sharing them with all these other people at the same time.

And it makes the senseless, senseless tragedy that occurred last week in Paris even more upsetting and the fact that it happened during concert with a great band and great Parisian fans it hurts us and breaks our hearts to the core and it broke our hearts even more when we and more deeply when we heard that someone, a really good man, a father of two, a great husband, great brother, a great son and he was always in the front row of the shows when we played in Europe. And we found out recently that he lost his life, when like all the others he deserved very much to still be living…so tonight we would like to ask…(Ed begins speaking Portuguese. I think he is saying that he wants to play the song for the family of Pierre-Antoine Henry)”

I didn’t know Pierre-Antoine, but just from the pictures I’ve seen, he had an infectious smile. Rest in peace.

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Slash: ‘It’s Fun To Play Guns N’ Roses Songs Again’

Slash discussed playing several Guns N’ Roses songs again recently in an interview with AntyRadio. These quotes are a rough translation from the interview, which was published in Polish.

“We started to play a song Guns N ‘Roses when I Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators were together.”

“I do not I carried out these numbers from some 12 or 13 years in that period. It’s fun for me, I choose pieces that I want to play and it’s basically behind. We draw from this joy.”

Slash was also asked if he wanted to slow down and look back at the past year, especially after just turning 50.

He responded, “I look only continue in the future.”

Slash again refused to answer any questions about the rumored Guns N’ Roses reunion and his friendship with Axl Rose.

Slash2Baz from Slash France is reporting that he spoke to Slash a few days ago, and Slash revealed to him that he will not be doing a solo tour next summer. While Slash will record a new album with the Conspirators and Myles Kennedy in the spring, it appears that a full tour and release push will not be possible immediately after this since Myles Kennedy will be working with Alter Bridge, with Slash2Baz also hinting at Slash telling him about some other plans that he ‘can’t say more’ about right now.

“Bad Rain was played tonight in Prague. Talked to Slash a little bit there. Plans for 2016 changed a little bit…. Hellwithin filming early 2016, then new Conspirators record in the spring then NO CONSPIRATORS tour cause Myles has to go back to AB until the end of 2016. So 2016 will be an AB year. I can’t say more right now. ;)

He added, “I don’t believe rumors man. I talk to people who are reliable sources, in this case it’s Slash himself. I won’t tell what he told me. I’m just saying no conspirators tour next summer. That’s it. He can be busy with many things like his new movie. ;) ps: if guys from alternativenation could read this: please DO NOT say what i’m not saying in your articles.”

Quoted you directly buddy!

Kurt Cobain Solo Album Disappoints In First Week Sales

Kurt Cobain’s Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings, a soundtrack accompaniment to the documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck released earlier this year, sold 5,000 copies in its first week on sale. While sales were low, the album did chart well on Billboard’s soundtracks chart, hitting number 1. The album also debuted at No. 6 on Alternative Albums, No. 11 on Top Rock Albums and No. 121 on the Billboard 200.

Read Otsy Gale’s review of the album for Alternative Nation below:

I had the privilege of receiving and reviewing an advance copy of the upcoming Kurt Cobain album Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings album for Alternative Nation. It’s basic, low-fi, and stripped down to the bare bones. It’s raw! The album jumps straight into Cobain’s psyche. From the opening strumming and mumbles on “The Yodel Song,” to the ever-angelic, elongated, work-in-progress take of “Do Re Mi,” the album is a trip inside of Cobain’s creative process. It even features a track that easily could have been a Nirvana pop hit.

Sound collage experiments like “Montage of Kurt I” & II,” “Kurt’s Audio Collage,” “Scream,” and “Kurt’s Ambiance” provide a sonic representation of what was written in Cobain’s journals. This is where noise rock experimental influences like William S. Burroughs (Kurt had read Naked Lunch after getting it in a bookstall in London while on tour), Sonic Youth, and Scratch Acid are evident.

The spoken-word comedy bits like the satirical advertisement for the “Capitol Lake Jam Commercial,” “Rhesus Monkey,” “Sea Monkeys,” “Underground Celebritism,” as well as “Aberdeen,” and “Beans” show the foray of Kurt’s genius at work, merging music with comedy.

Instrumental pieces like “Reverb Experiment,” with its intense feedback, sounds like an end-type jam at a Nirvana gig, as well as a homage to the Melvins. “Retreat,” “Letters To Frances,” and “The Happy Guitar” show off other styles of guitar playing that Kurt didn’t show off in live performances with his band Nirvana. This is a new kind of Kurt Cobain, as you’ve never heard him before.

The album also features acoustic demos of 5 songs, that would later be released on subsequent Nirvana albums, both live, and in the studio (“Been A Son,” “Scoff,” “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle,” “Sappy,” “Something In the Way”).

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck Super Deluxe Edition and Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings both include the highly anticipated soundtrack, an aural complement to the documentary in both concept and experience. Comprised from various early and raw cassette recordings made by Kurt alone, the soundtrack allows a rare, unfiltered glimpse into Cobain’s creative progression.

Track by Track

“The Yodel Song” – Starts off with a bit of mumbling, and then a chord progression, with mumbles/yodeling over the top. Recorded circa 1986 – 1988.

“Been A Son (Early Demo)”– Acoustic demo, with alternate lyrics, where Cobain first performs the song on guitar, and then performs the bass part.

“What More Can I Say?”– An acoustic/electric song, that was added in the limited theatrical re-release of the film in August 2015. Clocking in at 3 minutes, it’s a very formulaic song, and would’ve easily fit within the Nirvana repertoire in 1993/1994.

“1988 Capitol Lake Jam Commercial” – Cobain’s satirical and comedic take on the then-upcoming Capitol Lake Jam, using a multitude of voices. One was heard in “Beans” (the With The Lights Out Version), as well as another deeper voice.

“The Happy Guitar” is an instrumental that sounds like a theme from a 60’s television series set in Hawaii. This was first released on the Outcesticide bootleg series in 1994, under the title “Black and White Blues” (made by Bootleggers) albeit in inferior quality.

“Montage Of Kurt I” – Vocal experimentation featuring Kurt satirically talking about, among other things: Bong water, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and other weird vocal abnormalities. It ends with weird squeaks from baby toys and guitar/pedal feedback.

“Beans” – From a recording in 1987/1988. Cobain uses his “chipmunk” voice again, as also featured within the 1988 Capitol Lake Jam track, as well as others. First released on the Outcesticide III: The Final Solution bootleg, albeit in inferior quality. Released again in 2004, on With The Lights Out. This is a sonic upgrade, and could be an alternate take/mix of the “song.”

“Burn The Rain” – Speculated to be recorded somewhere from 1987 – 1988, as evidenced on the tape that: “she’s not home right now” part in the Montage Of Heck film, where this comes from. At this time, Kurt was dating Tracy Marander.

“Clean Up Before She Comes (Early Demo)” – An earlier take of the song, than the one released on With The Lights Out. From c. 1987/1988 based on research provided by www.LiveNirvana.com.

“Reverb Experiment” – An instrumental piece of guitar feedback/distortion, with an over-use of the Polychorus reverb effects pedal. It sounds like an ode to both his contemporaries (The Melvins and Butthole Surfers) as well as a homage to The Grateful Dead’s long exploratory “Space” segments of their later shows.

“Montage Of Kurt II” – Another spoken audio collage of everything from bong water, to pieces from what we knew as “Beans” (those voices were first heard in “Beans” (With the Lights Out,2004) although this is an extended version of said “skit.”

“Rehash” sounds like Henry Rollins era Black Flag thrash-style with a heavy guitar riff and heavy screams, while the chorus (Rehash, Rehash) doesn’t sound at all like Cobain’s regular vocals. It’s clearly an in-development idea, as Cobain recites where he wants the solo, by orally saying: “Solo” as he plays the riff, over and over again.

“You Can’t Change Me/Burn My Britches/Something In The Way (Early Demo)” – A 3-song segue, which Brett Morgen has described as a “Punk Opera.” It really is an epic, in every sense of the word. From the start of the verse of “You Can’t Change Me,” sounding very thrashesque, and then segueing into the grungy “Burn My Britches.” The segue then softly decrescendos to a slow, but heavy, version of “Something In The Way” (akin to the BBC version mixed with the Boombox Rehearsal version, if both didn’t have drums. (both versions were released on Nevermind 20th). This version of “Something in The Way,” sounds as if Cobain is close to tears (like the Boombox’s final verse/chorus segment).

“Scoff (Early Demo)” – A Quick run-through of what seems to be the first ever recording of the song, released later on, on the album “Bleach

“Aberdeen” is the story of Cobain rehearsing his narrative of story-telling; a story about having sexual intercourse with a mentally disabled girl in his early teens. This has been disproven as being a true story by Buzz Osbourne, Kurt’s close friend and mentor in his early days of playing music, and was only another example of his dark sense of humor.

“Bright Smile” – Cobain uses his falsetto voice here to sing this almost 2-minute song, with an electric guitar underneath the vocals. The lyrics “Bright smile” are repeated throughout until the final “Smile” is yelled at the end.

“Underground Celebritism” – A short 28-second audio snippet of Kurt rhyming off about “underground celebration” which seems to be about not selling out, while he plays a little riff underneath the vocals.

“Retreat” – A 2-minute instrumental piece, with Cobain’s vocals breathing to end the track.

“Desire” – A standout acoustic number, running at 2 minutes and 27-seconds long. If this was worked on anymore, it could’ve been a hit. With the leading chorus of “Desire” repeated twice, and the riff afterwards before the second verse, it could’ve been another poppy acoustic hit.

“And I Love Her” – An acoustic rendition of the Fab Four’s ’64 hit. Recorded approximately in late 1993/early 1994.

“Sea Monkeys” – Spoken word audio of Kurt talking about Sea Monkeys…. Tower Records… and Paula Abdul.

“Sappy” – A new upgraded mix, from the version that was released unofficially on the “Outcesticide” bootleg series. A raw, stripped, acoustic version of the song that would eventually end up, electrically and more Nirvana-ized on the No Alternative Compilation in 1993.

“Letters To Frances” – A bright, and mellow 2-minute instrumental piece, written for his daughter, alternating from light strums, to a heavier strumming pattern/tone near the end.

“Scream” – A 32-second montage of wails layered with static, with Kurt using a pitch-shifter at the end for his screaming.

“Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle”
– An acoustic 4 minute demo of the In Utero track, with some alternate lyrics.

“Kurt Ambiance” is just what one would believe it to be. It’s nothing more than static through the cassette player.

“She Only Lies” – A haunting song, with dark lyrics alluding to guilt and self-condemnation, along with shame towards the other person. This could’ve easily been another song by Nirvana, with such a great bass-line.

“Kurt Audio Collage” – A 24-second audio collage of birds chirping, water flowing, and some signal interference near the end.

“Poison’s Gone” – An acoustic song clocking in at 2 minutes, with similar subject matter to “She Only Lies.”

“Rhesus Monkey” – One more of Kurt’s spoken word comedy skits, using various voices.

“Do Re Mi” (Medley) – The grandiose finale of the Deluxe Edition, of one of Kurt’s final recordings (recorded just 3 weeks before his death). By the end of the take, at over 10 minutes, Kurt’s voice is shrill, and cracking.

For historical value of the insight into Cobain’s process of crafting songs from his early, pre-Nirvana days, to his final months, this is essential listening for any fan of Cobain, as well as anyone whom may be a fan of Nirvana.

Verdict:

I’ll definitely be listening to this, not just for historical value, but as it was intended: as a way to get inside Kurt’s mind and listen how he composes songs the way he does. It feels exactly like you’re in the room with Kurt, as he’s practicing the chords, tuning the guitar, or just goofing off with one of his voices for comedy. In conclusion, Montage Of Heck: The Home Recordings (Deluxe Ed.) is exactly what any hardcore Nirvana/ Kurt Cobain fan would love, to understand the creative process – along with the film, of Kurt Cobain. 5/5 Stars.

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, will be released by Universal Music Enterprises in multiple formats, including the Super Deluxe Edition as well as in Blu-ray, DVD and digital video formats. The soundtrack album, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings will also be released on CD and digitally on November 13, 2015. A 2LP vinyl edition of Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings will follow on December 4, 2015. In addition, a 7-inch single featuring “And I Love Her” and “Sappy (Early Demo)” is also scheduled for release on November 20, 2015. Cobain_MOH_DLX_RGB

Interview: Cage The Elephant Singer Responds To Black Keys Comparisons On ‘Mess Around’

Bowling Green, Kentucky’s Cage the Elephant are one of mainstream rock’s greatest success stories of the past decade. Unlike many contemporaries in the genre, Cage have consistently redefined themselves sonically while moving past “one hit wonder” status, building up a pantheon of classic radio singles from “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” off of their self-titled debut to “Cigarette Daydreams” off of their third record, Melophobia.

The recording and touring process for Melophobia was exceptionally grueling for the band, who lost lead guitarist Lincoln Parish in the process, now building his name as a Nashville-area producer. Still strident, the band reassessed their career path and recruited Dan Auberch of The Black Keys as producer for their upcoming fourth studio album, Tell Me I’m Pretty, due for release on December 18th.

I had the chance to briefly speak with frontman Matt Shultz over the phone. Matt really is one of the hardest working rock singers in the business nowadays, literally defying death on a nightly basis with his insane stage antics. We discussed the eclectic style of the upcoming record, fan accusations of “ripping off” Dan Auerbach’s main project on the first single, Cage’s “legacy”, and the album’s drop date coinciding with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

You guys just released the song “Mess Around” to great success. However, there is a vocal part of the fanbase that dismissed it as “sounding like the Black Keys.” Were you guys expecting this working with Auerbach?

Yeah. You know what, I think when you go into a situation like this, especially making a record with one of your peers, people will hear and try to point out similarities. I’m not familiar making music with him, then you really start making a record together and both of your hearts are invested. I’d hope they are! Things are going to bleed over. We originally chose Dan as the producer because we were leaning towards more of an organic and genuine sounding record as far as production was concerned.

A lot of hidden magic in the fact that he is a very “reactive” producer who will try to keep you second guessing yourself. A lot of songs on that record are first take, and there’s a lot of scratch vocals. I think that that accompanied with a classic sound with the Black Keys… they’re one of the biggest bands in recent times that have broken through with a classic sound. I can definitely see where the correlation comes from.

On the other hand, “Trouble” was just released, and the tune is a total one eighty from the first song aesthetically. Is “Trouble” the second single, or just a taste of what’s on the record?

I don’t know yet… but we put it out. People are really getting into “Mess Around”, but it makes sense to have a couple of other songs out there as well. For us, this record is honesty, and the songs have so much diversity in them that I don’t feel like any song is representative of the entire album, kind of like each sound has its own personality. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when we release the entire album.

“Trouble” contains the line “You know what they say, yeah, the wicked get no rest.” It kind of reminded me of how David Bowie referenced his first hit “Space Oddity” in “Ashes to Ashes”. Do you look to him as sort of an inspiration for the aforementioned diversity of your music?

Definitely! I’ve always looked up to and been inspired by him. I don’t necessarily look to Bowie for his style or his sound, the sound that has become so iconic… it’s one of those things that you really can’t touch, you know!? But as an artist, as far as diversity is concerned and being able to re-imagine and approach each record, I don’t think there’s anyone better. He’s lived a creative life by constantly and consistently taking risks. I love that.

I was watching Live at the Vic last night and it got me thinking: this point in your career you’ve already had the full nine yards of the rock band output: four LPs under your belt, each with massive risks taken, a whole albums worth of b-sides, a really memorable live show along with the live CD/DVD release. You’ve already set a legacy for Cage the Elephant, which not many bands can say nowadays. Where do you see yourself going from here? 

I just want to continue to make records that feel inspired as we write them. I once said a number… like, seven albums. [laughs] With each record, it became a little more. I just know that I want to continue to make and insightful expressions, at least to myself, that I’ve gotten a carthatic experience out of, until it’s time to do something else. I think the whole idea of “legacy” is what kills the creative process. When you get down to it, it’s all scaleable. At the end of the day, it’s like filling a birdhouse, building a birdhouse, no matter how big the birdhouse is… that probably sounds pretty ridiculous! [laughs]

Thank You, Happy Birthday is approaching its fifth… birthday. That record came out as I was graduating high school and entering freshman year of college, so it will always held a special place for me. What are your thoughts on the record in retrospect? Would you have done anything differently?

I think there’s always a sense of “something you would have done differently” when you look back. I don’t consider it to be regret or anything like that, but I’d like to think that you are learning about the creative process. You reincorporate and elaborate on every album you make. There are definitely some times where I look back and wish I had let more of myself into the album. Earlier in my life, I had so much stock in the persona, and believed too much in “the character” in the realm of pop and rock music, whatever pedal you want to put on it. The modern… whatever. It’s part of the story, and it is what it was.

On my own end, I think back when I was in senior year of high school/freshman year of college and was so disillusioned with music at the time, I became enamored with the idea of you guys being the “modern Nirvana”. I just kept thinking, “I need my generation’s grunge revolution, dammit!” 

[laughs] Thank you, that does mean a lot to me.

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Matt Shultz with Cage the Elephant, live from the Vic in Chicago, 2011.

Ending a lighter and sillier note, but I still feel it’s relevant to the topic of your upcoming record: Tell Me I’m Pretty releases the same day as Star Wars: The Force Awakens. [Doug and Matt laugh] Will the band be taking some time off that day to see the movie?

[laughs] Yes, absolutely. I’m probably catching it the day that we are releasing the record!

Are you buying into rumors that Luke Skywalker has turned to the dark side? 

You know, I have heard that that is what happened. The corruption… it’s everywhere. Anyone who comes into power is susceptible to it. I think it will be a great next chapter for him. [laughs]

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L-R: Dan Tichenor, Matt Shultz, Jared Champion, Brad Shultz