All posts by Doug McCausland

Reporter and editor Doug McCausland became a staff member in 2013 after he graduated college, around the same time Grunge Report made the transition to Alternative Nation. Email Doug at dmccausland1 (at) gmail.com, or; doug (at) alternativenation.net

Crosby, Stills, & Nash Drummer Dies In 2015, Internet Finds Out Just Now

The past few weeks have been a dark time for rock music and the world of entertainment in general. After the tragic passing of Scott Weiland in early December and picking up with the sudden loss off Lemmy towards the new year, it seems we have been losing legendary talents left and right: Angus Scrimm, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Natalie Cole…

In the midst of a double-whammy death of Glenn Frey and Mott the Hoople drummer Dale Griffin the afternoon of January 18th, a third name was suddenly thrown into the thickening pool of macabre news: Dallas Taylor, former drummer of Crosby Stills and Nash. The outpouring of love and remembrance came from both peers in the music industry and fans on social media, some websites were quick to pick up on his death, and many people were quick to feed into sensation of Winter 2015-16 being the biggest celebrity apocalypse since Summer 2009.

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And so on. Which is all fine, and to be expected, in a case like this. However, there is one problem… Taylor died in January 2015, a full year ago as of yesterday.

That’s right, the man’s been dead a full year, and yet people are only now deciding that they care.

What probably happened was that when one individual on Facebook decided to share a memory of that event (a newer function on the website that brings old posts to the top of the feed with the option of republishing for nostalgia’s sake), someone else was quick to share it without actually acknowledging it was a reprint from last year, and the potent virus that is social media was quick to saturate news feeds worldwide with this misconception.

Of course, this raises a few questions… if people supposedly cared as much as they claimed, why act upset now when the man’s been dead for a full year to your complete ignorance? Is there really a “celebrity apocalypse” happening at the moment?

The truth is, the average person is just more prone to reading about the deaths of lesser known individuals like Taylor, Griffin, and Scrimm (which probably happens on a much more consistent basis than people realize) due to the bad timing of having household names Lemmy, Bowie, and Rickman passing away within two weeks of each other, creating a sense of paranoia or superstition, plus an awareness of our own mortality.

Instead of giving into this hysteria and claiming 2016 had already been “tainted”, celebrate their lives and their body of work that has been left behind. Use them as inspiration for the year ahead, which is still young, instead of just turning each of them into a cog in the machine of “death” that has supposedly taken over the entertainment business as of late… a statistic. Bowie himself wanted to go “without a fuss”!

That said, rest in peace Scott Weiland, Lemmy Kilmeister, Natalie Cole, Angus Scrimm, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Dale Griffin, Glenn Frey, and everyone else we have lost in recent weeks. And to Dallas Taylor and other more recently lost souls who may have touched another person’s heart and mind, who died quietly before the mass hysteria of recent weeks, I hope your rest has been peaceful thus far. Thank you for everything.

 

Interview: Wolfmother Frontman On Drinking With Dave Grohl, Playing With Slash & Scott Weiland

Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother is one of rock’s most powerful modern voices, yet has possessed something of a tumultuous and unpredictable career. After the smashing success of 2005’s self-titled Wolfmother debut featuring enduring rock radio singles like “Woman” and “Joker & The Thief”, the band’s lineup imploded for their second release, “Cosmic Egg”. The band’s planned third album was ultimately released under Andrew Stockdale’s own name; however, Stockdale reconsidered the Wolfmother brand and used the “surprise digital release” format for Wolfmother’s third record, “New Crown”, released in 2014.

After that experiment, Stockdale recruited legendary producer Brendan O’Brien for the band’s next studio output, Victorious. This record, releasing in February 2016, marks the first Wolfmother “event” release since 2009, being hyped with the release of two huge-sounding singles, “City Lights” and “Victorious”. I recently had a brief opportunity to chat with Stockdale, who reminisced on some of his earliest influences as a vocalist and looked ahead to a promising career relaunch with Victorious.

Can you tell us a bit about Wolfmother’s undocumented recent Scott Weiland tribute, and your earliest memories of STP?

We just did a free show at the Great Northern Byron in memory of Scott, playing a bunch of covers including “Interstate Love Song”. I remember seeing STP on David Letterman in the 90’s and falling in love with them!

Being a vocalist is much like being an athlete as far as building and maintaining your vocal range. As a young guy back then finding your own voice, were there any artists you’d sing along to?

When I was a teenager, I’d sing Pearl Jam, The Beatles… Blind Melon was one of them. I’d sing along to Perry Farrell, and realize I was able to hit the high notes! I’d be playing guitar with my brother or something, and I’d be coughing up a vein or something. [laughs] From there, I just sort of kept going.

Flash forward to now and you will be working with Brendan O’Brien, who worked with Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots, on “Victorious”. 

He’s done a good job of doing that “big” sound, viable for national radio… you know what I mean? He knows how to make that rock n’ roll sound in this day and age, when it seems like production has just been going through the motions.

You think you’ll be able to capture that stateside magic that Wolfmother’s 2005 album possessed? 

Victorious is going to sound fantastic on the radio anywhere in the world and it’s got the production people have come to expect. Ya know… some people need songs, some people need a haircut, some people need production!

A big moment in the years after that debut was your collaboration with Slash on his 2010 solo album, singing vocals on “By The Sword”. Can you tell us a bit about your experience in the studio with Slash? 

When you get to meet Slash, you also get to hang out with all the stars. When I went to LA to record I met Lemmy, Dave Grohl, Alice Cooper and all these icons. Wow, that was exciting. Dave Grohl was in the back room with a bottle of scotch, and when I walked in, he’s like, “Hey, you gonna come and sit?” [laughs] And I was thinking: “there’s no way I’m gonna say no to drinking a bottle of scotch with Dave Grohl!”

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I don’t think anybody could.

There’s a crowd of like thirty people around and he’s just telling stories. I had to do the Slash video the next morning…

Wow, that must have been difficult! [laughs]

[laughs] Difficult because I got to drink scotch with Dave Grohl? Yeah, I had to do the video the next morning, but Grohl was high on the priority list so I tried to do both at once. Slash… he doesn’t drink, and he’s completely straight.

Do you have any other dream collaborations?

Neil Young, Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones, Eddie Vedder, Lenny Kravitz. [laughs] It’s not on my “to do list”, so to speak, I’m not the best at planning things out, but if I got the invitation from any of those people, I’d be there in a heartbeat.

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Review: Cage The Elephant Recall Beatles, James Bond & Jim Morrison On Tell Me I’m Pretty

Kentucky’s Cage the Elephant are one of the more remarkable young rock groups to emerge over the past decade, constantly reinventing their sound and image with a Bowie-sque flair. On their fourth studio album, Tell Me I’m Pretty, Cage are down a guitarist, Lincoln Parish, and have eschewed longtime producer Jay Joyce in favor of Dan Auerbach of Black Keys fame. Under Auerbach’s wing, Cage have created their most rock and roll oriented record since their self-titled 2009 debut while still pushing themselves into new sonic territory.

“Cry Baby” kicks off the record with a mid-tempo rocker. “Mess Around” is the most overtly Auerbach-influenced song on the record, being a straightforward garage rocker about a woman out for blood. Auerbach’s raw production style is quite evident on these two songs which set the tone for the rest of the record.

The next few songs vary in style: “Sweetie Little Jean” possesses a beach pop flair, “Too Late To Say Goodbye” could be the theme for the next James Bond flick, “Cold Cold Cold” is a sixties love letter that could’ve come straight out of a Vietnam war flick, and the psychedelic “Trouble” features a lyrical callback to the band’s first hit, “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked”.

“How Are You True” is the centerpiece of Tell Me I’m Pretty with its Floydian music and Beatle-esque melody and Cage’s best recorded song so far, a psychedelic ballad about depression, the passing of time, and regret. “Trying to find a way to carry on… one day you’ll find that life has passed you by.”

The rest of the record is a three time punch of retro-rock grooves, with Auerbach’s psychedelic imprint audible on “That’s Right” and “Punching Bag”. Rather than going out on a whisper like Thank You Happy Birthday and Melophobia, Tell Me I’m Pretty closes with the raucous “Portugese Knife Fight” with frontman Matt Shultz channeling the no-fucks-given attitude of late legends Jim Morrison and Scott Weiland: “I wanna waste my life with you.”

Songs like “Cry Baby”, “Cold Cold Cold”, and “How Are You True” hold up to the best of Melophobia and Thank You, Happy Birthday, but is Tell Me I’m Pretty Cage’s best album? I don’t know, and I don’t care,  and I doubt the band really cares what anyone thinks, despite the tongue-in-cheek title: all that matters is Cage have yet again put out a solid release and defied listener expectations to make another debut record, continuing to be one of rock’s best young bands.

To others with synesthesia: I think this album is incredibly purple.

Score: ****

Top 10 Scott Weiland Songs

Note: I had written this article to publish close to Christmas near the end of Scott Weiland’s tour. With Scott’s tragic death, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to post it now.

Scott Weiland was one of rock’s most dynamic frontmen of the past twenty three years; consistently reinventing himself and taking risks throughout the years with Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver. Though Weiland had recently been trying to bring his solo career to the forefront of rock music with Blaster, many have no idea that he already had quite an eclectic catalog of solo songs under his belt.

His first two studio LPs, 12 Bar Blues (1998) and Happy in Galoshes (2008) were a couple of the most ambitious alternative records of their time; even critics who had previously given Weiland hellish press in STP were left stunned by 12 Bar Blues. I’ll liken 12 Bar Blues to the Berlin era of David Bowie: it was such an experiment that paid off with critics, but Scott bypassed the whole Major Tom and Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars part of it, releasing an album too ahead of its time as a first release.

The following are ten songs by Weiland, either solo or backed by The Action Girls or The Wildabouts (depending on the era), that represent the best of each record, not even counting obvious singles such as “Missing Cleveland“, “Modzilla“, and “Paralysis“.

“Barbarella”

A sprawling tribute to B-movies juxtaposed with lyrics depicting a man who seems to like any sort of self-confidence, “Barbarella” kicked off Scott’s solo career in 1997, accompanied by a music video that saw Scott in sort of a Man Who Fell To Earth knockoff. You play the game, I’ll masturbate and sing a lullaby, You run the race, Ill pay the miles, You sing the pink love fuzz, And dance the musty queer, Ill stay at home cause I’m the mouse.

“Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down”

A love song straight out of your nightmares, “Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down” was featured on both 12 Bar Blues and the soundtrack to Great Expectations. A swirling, piano and accordion driven circus act of a song that features Sheryl Crow. “I’ve become the painted clown, I’ll paint your town.”

“Where’s The Man”

One of Weiland’s most cryptic songs, sort of a spiritual sequel to STP’s “Big Empty” aesthetically, capturing a sense of exhaustion in possibly the darkest era of Scott’s recording career.

“As I get behind the wheel again, Pray to live a million years, Know I lie but if it makes you glad, Tell you what you wanna hear.”

“Lazy Divey”

One of Scott’s most tripped out and interesting songs is actually one that was lost to copyright issues; after being included on early versions of Scott’s first solo record, it disappeared in later printings after Scott learned the lyrics of “Mairzy Doats“, which comprise the chorus, were actually copyrighted. That tune’s gibberish lyrics (which may have been popularized in the 90’s by Leland Palmer’s insane rendition of it on Twin Peaks) were mistaken as being traditional, or in the free domain, by Scott. The rest of the tune plays out like a tripped-out version of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude”.

“Arch Angel”

Weiland’s touching dedication to his late brother, Michael, previously referenced on Velvet Revolver’s “For A Brother”. Scott reminisces on the holidays he had with his brother before Michael “flew away with a broken wing”. The penultimate track of Weiland’s most cathartic release gave way to a hidden rendition of the traditional Catholic hym, “Be Not Afraid”. Christmas Day we were the best of friends.
Remember we fucked up the gravy (lumpy)? Hadn’t seen such a smile on your face, Since we harmonized a little Bing Crosby, 10 Days later your girl says yes, I can’t live without you, You’re my man (daddy), But the Christmas song left your head, And you flew away with a broken wing. Your way (arch angel) 

“The Man I Didn’t Know”

From the second disc of the deluxe version of Happy in Galoshes, Weiland’s tune to his biological father from Cleveland was the singer’s first real dabble into country music, albeit injected with sort of a David Bowie sensibility. Tell me things that I wanna know, Now I’m a man with a family of my own, Why’d you go and leave me in the cold? With the face in the mirror of the man I didn’t know.

“She Sold Her System”

“She Sold Her System” kind of continues the sonic blueprint of 12 Bar Blues with its manic bursts of Floydian psychedelia amid airy verses that. All the wine in your head, All the clippings that you read, tell your story, Forty miles high above your bed you sold your system, You sold your system, Now couldn’t you have found a better time, To let it drift away from you?

“Parachute”

One of the most uplifting songs on Blaster, the ethereal Parachute is a psychedelic blend of Bob Dylan lyricism and Nirvana-cum-Beatles instrumentation. Jeremy Brown’s guitar work during the chorus and bridge, in conjunction with Weiland’s layered, heartfelt vocals, creates sort of a seafaring/sailor-type vibe that just strikes a certain chord. Catch you when you’re falling, even when you’re not, I’ll see you through the eyes of love.

“Blue Eyes”

Guitarist James Iha of The Smashing Pumpkins fame guests on this Blaster ballad featuring classic Weiland melodies and lyricism, playing alongside Jeremy Brown. “I never really spoke computer language, Always chose communication, And still I found you now, Could believe it, Never could’ve dreamed it.”

“Amethyst”

A swirling ballad off of Scott’s latest record, “Amethyst” possesses a swirling arena rock vibe with Scott’s traditional impassioned yet cryptic lyrics of love.

Look away, We gotta white light blinder, Come my way, You know I’ll always find her, In about a second, Or a week or two I gotta tell ya a lil riff, About what she can do, Half way home, But in the nick of time, I was taken by surprise, By this girl of mine.

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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

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

Review: New Foo Fighters EP Has Nothing Revolutionary, But It’s Free

The mysterious countdown on the Foo Fighters official website has given way to a surprise release of a five song E.P., Saint Cecilia, for free download. Read on for Alternative Nation’s track-by-track recap of the release and an open letter from Dave Grohl describing the intent of Saint Cecilia and the impact of the recent tragedy in Paris.

The eponymous “Saint Cecilia” kicks off the E.P. with the “comfort food” side of the Foos familiar in tunes like “Walk” and “Learn to Fly”, with layered vocals from Dave Grohl accompanying a country/heartland melody.

“Sean”, the shortest and fastest tune of the release clocking in at 02:11, captures a pop-punk vibe in the verses punctuated by a simple chorus hook consisting of a noodly riff and shouts of “Sean!”.

“Savior Breath” fuses the Foos’ Washington D.C. hardcore punk roots with Motorhead; it’s one of the group’s heaviest songs, right up there with “White Limo” off of 2011’s Wasting Light. Dave Grohl’s solo is one of the most memorable out of his recent output.

“Iron Rooster” is the slow acoustic ballad here, capturing a bit of a Pink Floyd-vibe in Dave Grohl’s vocals and loose guitar solos.

Closing out the five songs is “The Neverending Sigh”, featuring a powerfully driving riff and some very impressive bass work from Nate Mendel despite its vocal hook falling flat

There’s nothing revolutionary here, the E.P. more or less just existing as an extension of Sonic Highways and a treat for established fans. The five songs here more or less have the same impact as the first half of the aforementioned record, but neither reach the heights of 2011’s Wasting Light, nor really have any consistency/flow (which is to expected, considering the songs are made up of “orphaned” song concepts throughout the band’s career). In the end, however, it’s a free Foo Fighters release: you can’t go wrong with that.

See Dave Grohl’s letter to fans below discussing the Paris terrorist attacks and the EP.

19 November 2015

Tonight, Let me begin with a preface to a letter I wrote a few weeks ago from my hotel room in Berlin while on our final tour for this album. I felt the need to write this foreword in light of the heartbreaking tragedies of Nov. 13th, as this project has now taken on an entirely different tone. As has everything, it seems…

The Saint Cecilia EP was put into motion back in October of this year as a celebration of life and music. The concept being that, as our world tour drew to a close this week, we wanted to share our love of both with you in return for everything you have given us.

Now, there is a new, hopeful intention that, even in the smallest way, perhaps these songs can bring a little light into this sometimes dark world. To remind us that music is life, and that hope and healing go hand in hand with song. That much can never be taken away.

To all who were affected by the atrocities in Paris, loved ones and friends, our hearts go out to you and your families. We will return and celebrate life and love with you once again someday with our music. As it should be done.

Dave Grohl

8 November 2015

Hey.

Thanks.

For real.

It was in Austin, Texas March 14th, 2013, at the last show of the “Sound City Players” when I was given a small, but very relevant and perhaps prophetic gift from my Sound City movie producers Jim Rota and John Ramsay. An empty journal, with a note that said something along the lines of, “Congratulations on everything Sound City…..now get to work on the next project!” It was the most beautiful way to end something that I wanted so badly to last forever: with a new beginning.

The basic concept of the Sonic Highways album and series was born right then and there, in a small backstage room surrounded by mountains of Lone Star beer and Stubbs BBQ. 8 songs, 8 cities, 8 studios, and a musical road trip of a lifetime. Removing the Foo Fighters from our comfort zone and challenging the process from top to bottom, it breathed new life into the band, and set us on a journey that unquestionably exceeded any of our simple expectations. And now it has led us here. To another beautiful ending.

So, where do I begin?

We owe it all to Mexico City.

Unbeknownst to them, the people who attended those two concerts back in December, 2013 at Foro Sol stadium helped fund the filming and recording of the bulk of the Sonic Highways project. They were the fuse that lit this little firecracker, baby. Without those gigs, many may have never heard the incredible and truly inspiring life stories of Buddy Guy, Steve Albini, Ian Mackaye, Tony Joe White, Zac Brown, Dolly Parton, Roky Erickson, Gary Clark Jr, Bruce Pavitt, Fred Drake, Terry Lickona, Joan Jett, Steve Rosenthal, Nora Guthrie……a list too long to share here. But, beyond giving our band the equivalent of a rock and roll university year abroad, they gave the entire world the most priceless gift: Inspiration. So….Gracias a todos, Mexico….we couldn’t have done it without you.

Before long, our rag tag crew of ne’er-do-wells was stumbling from city to city, coast to coast, taking in every drop (!) of 100 proof American culture we could squeeze. Dancing in a New Orleans second line parade, laying under the desert stars in Joshua Tree, walking the streets of Chicago in -30 degree weather…it was an American dream come true. Our only responsibility was to share it with you, and the brave people of HBO trusted us with that much. (very freely, I might add.) Blind faith? Perhaps. But, without Nina Rosenstein, we would not be the people who we are today. Looking back, she gave us something immeasurably generous: some of the greatest memories of our lives. These people and places that we experienced have filled our hearts…and ultimately our songs. So, thank you, Nina. We are yours. But, focused on the moment, we never in our wildest dreams could have imagined the whirlwind 23 months that lay ahead of us. We just put one foot in front of the other, and kept moving….

I must admit, I never looked at our schedule. I was too scared. I knew that this was it. This was the big one. There was talk of stadiums, and anniversaries, and TV shows. South Africa, Korea, Colombia. Letterman and Glastonbury. It all seemed too good to be true! But, as always, we kept our heads down and tried to appreciate every single moment as it fled. Because, you realize, none of this was ever supposed to happen. Ever. As we approached our twentieth anniversary, it was hard not to look back on all of those years and smile while shaking our heads in wonder and disbelief. From the Mike Watt van tour of 1995, to RFK stadium in Washington DC (my hometown gig) July 4th, 2015…those dots don’t necessarily connect in real life, you know? It still boggles the mind. But, the spoils of these blessings are not lost upon us. We count every last one.

Even the disasters.

A lucky break? Yeah, you could call it that. Gothenburg was a swift reminder that life is short, and that we’re all here to live it together, no matter what adversity you’re faced with. (Music! The perfect remedy!) Sure, weeks and weeks of shuffling around hotel rooms on my butt with a cast on my leg, trying to pack my suitcase alone before lobby call got pretty fucking stale pretty fucking quick. But, as always, I just put one foot in front of……well, the same one for a while there…

And then everything changed. The energy. The atmosphere. THE THRONE. I was no longer afraid to look at the schedule, I was glued to it. The challenge that we faced from there on out became more of a mission, or a dare, if you will. And it showed. Pat’s smile got even wider (an infallible barometer of all things), Chris’s solos got even faster (thank God someone knows what they’re doing up there), Nate’s stage moves more daring (I once noticed him just to the left of me) and Taylor’s drum set….well….it got pinker. But not without the help of scores of hardworking bad asses that some might call the Foo Fighters road crew (we like refer to them as family, in a very Manson Family kind of way…) They ultimately deserve the lion’s share of credit for keeping this old circus tent erect for the past 6 months. So, let’s all have a nice, warm diet Coke for them tonight. They’re the hardest working motherfuckers in the business. Cheers.

And so we trudged on. Any fatigue was met with an explosion of energy once the curtain went up. Any pain was met with the adrenaline of thousands of voices singing along. Every one of you kept us alive for a while there. One night, at a point where I felt like I was at the end of my rope, it came to me that these few hours we have together every night were something like a heavy blanket to retreat under. I could always rely on our time together to get me to the next stop. Again, and again. From Chicago to Cesena.

That being said….we’ve always been pretty good at knowing when to call it a day. You just….know. You get that feeling that, if you’re not careful, you’ll run out of bread crumbs to find your way home and be lost in the woods forever. It hit me a few months back, crept up on me and tapped me on the shoulder as if to say “Hey…don’t spend it all in one place, asshole.” A sobering reminder that all good things must come to an end. Of course…we could keep going. After all, we’d made it this far, right? What’s another 20 years?

Around that time we arrived in Austin, Texas for the Austin City Limits festival. A massive gig, two weekends and hundreds of acts, it was to be some of our final American performances for this album. There’s a certain bittersweet relief to that. On one hand, you’re carrying these monumental experiences under your wing as you anticipate life outside of a tour bus. On the other hand, you fear that the thrill and joy of sharing music with people all over the world will leave you like an empty shell when it’s gone. It becomes your everything. And that’s terrifying.

The Saint Cecilia Hotel, named after the patroness saint of music, is known as “A lush retreat from the world”. And, believe me, that it is! 14 rooms and a small bar, it’s tucked away in the trees within a bustling, Austin neighborhood. As our van pulled up in the wee hours of September 30th, 2015, I was struck with a rather impulsive idea: to record some songs on our days off to give to the world as a “thank you” for the last 2 years. Though there’s a world class recording studio just on the other side of the fence (Arlyn Studios, look it up.), the hotel manager, Jenny offered that we record in the hotel. A most generous, but unrealistic offer. Though, after rolling it around in my head a few times, it made perfect sense! Returning to the city where the entire Sonic Highways concept was born, loading in one last time to a room that was never designed to be a recording studio a la Sonic Highways, and making some music! Fate? Destiny? I was too tired to figure that kind of shit out, so I hit the sack, woke up the next morning and started making some calls…

By 6 pm the next day, the office was transformed into a control room and the bar was littered with microphones and cables. Amps were in the kitchen. Drums in front of the fireplace. Instant studio, courtesy of the legendary Kevin Szymanski! (Those fancy computer things are pretty convenient! More on that another time….) Margaritas were made, friends came to visit, the sun went down, and before long we started making enough noise to drive the neighbors to start drinking along with us. Riffs and ideas were thrown around, songs that were lost in the shuffle over the years, songs that were left unfinished. Like a musical retrospective, we were going through decades of songs no one has ever heard, pieces left on the cutting room floor from every album. Our own sonic scrapbook. (The Neverending Sigh is 20 years old! Was once called 7 corners for all you die hards out there…) Without the usual pressure or expectation of making an “album”, we sat happy and relaxed as we played. A virtual “This Is Your Life” of the Foo Fighters. It was so good, but again, bittersweet knowing that it was all soon coming to an end.

By midnight, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band had arrived, and the “session” turned into a full on party. Guitars were abandoned for horns and the room started swinging (spinning?). People danced between the cables and microphones, dancing behind the bar, strumming acoustic guitars on the patio. Danny Clinch did what Danny Clinch does, capturing the moments in his beautiful pictures between cocktails. Gary Clark Jr. sat on the patio in the candlelight, jamming along with friends from a couch. As the hours passed, the atmosphere had reached exactly what every recording experience should be: A celebration. “Always record! Always record!” said Jack Black in that infamous Tenacious D episode from years ago. Truer words have never been spoken. Because you just might miss something that you’ll never get back again. Moments that happen once in a lifetime. By the time that weekend was over, we had recorded 5 songs in that tiny room.

Weekend two was spent recording vocals and guitars in my bedroom, room 4. More friends, more margaritas, a fire in the fire pit. The most fabulous Cambria Harkey floated in, slinging her camera to insure that this wasn’t all just a dream. The porch was buzzing with activity as I did vocals in my bathroom, stepping in and out to listen to the previous takes. The coffee table became a pile of guitar pedals and scribbled lyrics, beer bottles and ashtrays. At one point, a familiar face walked in and said, “Dave…..it’s Ben Kweller…..” It had been years! Such a talented young man. We hugged, hit play to listen to the last vocal take, and he instinctively started singing the perfect harmony to my line. Without hesitation, I immediately said, “Get your ass in there and sing it right now.” So he picked up the coffee stained piece of hotel stationary with my lyrics penciled on it and banged out his part in two glorious takes. Always record, ladies and gentlemen. Always record. The night faded, friends and family scattered, and I fell asleep with my still glowing amp at the foot of my bed.

It was heartbreaking to leave that place, to say the least. I honestly feel like we left a piece of our band there as we were being torn away from it. The perfect unity of life, and love, and music is something that only comes around so often and in certain circumstances. When you feel it coming on, you have to take hold of it. That place and those people made it possible for our band to take one, big final breath before the curtain closes. Thankfully, we have evidence of this in these songs that we’re giving to you today. Thank you, Saint Cecilia. You made us feel right at home.

And, the music? Maybe these songs are the breadcrumbs that will help us find our way back when it’s time. We could use a nice wander through the woods right about now. Another empty journal, another tap on the shoulder…those things are never far behind. It’s what lies ahead in those woods that excites me now….

So tonight, as I sit in my Berlin hotel room on our final tour for this album, counting down the days until we return home, I can’t help but wonder when we will see each other again. Who knows? But, with everything Foo Fighter related, it will only be when it feels right. And that’s a feeling that’s easy to feel.

To each and every one of you that made the past few years the best our band has ever had, thank you. You have all given us so much, and we are eternally grateful.

For real.

One foot in front of the other….

Dave


 

C-3PO And R2-D2 Predicted Star Wars’ Future With Disney In 2003

With The Force Awakens a little over than a month away, nobody could have possibly predicted ten years ago that the Star Wars empire would be in such a radically different position.

That is, nobody except R2-D2 and C-3PO, voicing the thoughts of author James Luceno, in 2003.

The extremely controversial New Jedi Order storyline was launched in 1999, beginning with R.A. Salvatore’s Vector Prime and ending in 2003 with James Luceno’s The Unifying Force. The best way to describe the series to a casual fan? It’s the Star Wars equivalent of A Song of Ice And Fire, adapted as Game of Thrones on HBO. The series, beginning with the death of a beloved character, threw the Star Wars galaxy into complete chaos with the invasion of the Yuuzhan Vong, an alien race of religious zealots from another galaxy hell-bent on causing as much destruction as possible. Nobody was safe, and the status quo would organically shift with each and every novel.

Though derided by many fans for its radical reinvention of the Star Wars mythos when it was first released, the serise and its impact on the franchise has been reappraised in recent years; Matthew Stover’s Traitor, released in 2003, is the most profound Star Wars novel ever written, stripping away layers of heavy-universe building in favor of a four-character narrative that redefined the role of the Force and eschewed the notion of “light” and “dark”, while the finale The Unifying Force is perhaps the single most ambitious and action-packed novel in Star Wars literary canon.

The New Jedi Order was the last real groundbreaking storyline in the adult novel canon before derided storylines The Dark Nest Trilogy, Legacy of the Force, Fate of the Jedi, and Crucible were released, eating up the majority of the Star Wars publishing timeline until LucasFilm was purchased by Disney in 2012 and the Expanded Universe canon was thrown out of the equation in 2014. These later novels remain criticized by many fans for their lack of originality, charm, and warmth characteristic of Star Wars, and were almost unreadable by new fans for their heavy references to earlier works.

It’s fitting that R2-D2 and C-3PO, the comedic duo who acted as sort of a lens into the Star Wars galaxy for naive filmgoers in 1977, realized that the franchise was beginning to go stale and that big things were on the horizon in the final pages of The Unifying Force. In a sort of touching metafictional banter in the novel’s final pages, the droid duo reflect on the franchise’s status in pop culture, its continued dwindling in popularity in comparison with other films, and, perhaps unintentionally, the eventual Disney buyout and the Expanded Universe’s discarding by the Lucasfilm Story Group.

“A far more dangerous enemy? Who or what could possibly be more dangerous than the Yuuzhan Vong?”

R2-D2 warbled. 

“Obsolescence?” After mulling it over, the protocol droid loosed what amounted to a sigh. “Perhaps I am deluding myself. With all the advances that have been made in droid technology, I suppose we are in danger of being considered obsolete. But what are we to do, Artoo? Retirement isn’t an option for us. We will continue as relics, of a sort, passed along to new masters until our parts can no longer be replaced, or until we suffer some irreparable system failure. Oh, it’s all very… bittersweet, I think is the proper word.”

R2-D2’s response was a surprisingly cheery burst of squeaks and peeps.

“Do you really believe that life will remain as unpredictable as ever and that our adventures will continue? I hope so, my little friend, even if they don’t quite measure up to adventures we’ve had, and even if they are lacking a dash of the old enchantment…”

R2-D2 made a razzing sound.

“What do you mean, I used to say that all the time? Just what are you going on about” C-3PO paused, then said. “I don’t mind at all that it’s a long story. After all, Artoo, we have nothing but time.”

Of course, at the time, Star Wars novels were dwindling in sales, and 2002’s Attack of the Clones was beaten at the box office by the latest installments of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Spider-Man.

118 Hostages Killed At Eagles Of Death Metal Show In Paris, Band Survives

In an utterly tragic development, armed gunmen stormed the Bataclan theater in Paris, reportedly opening fire on the crowd and law enforcement and holding the venue hostage, with as many as one hundred individuals trapped inside.

This comes in the wake of a series of explosions in Paris leaving sixty dead and many wounded.

President Francois Hollande has issued a state of emergency and closed the country’s borders.

The Eagles of Death Metal consists of Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and collaborater Jesse Hughes; Homme did not embark on the band’s European tour, and the opener Red Lemons reports that the artists are safe, though the lives of many fans are in peril.

UPDATE 7:30 PM EST: Police have raided the venue, killing two attackers. Up to 100 are feared dead. Emily Dorio, wife of Eagles Of Death Metal drummer Julian, says band are all safe. All members of Deftones, scheduled to play tomorrow night at the same time who may or may not have been present during the attack, are safe as well. Some crew members are reportedly unaccounted for.

UPDATE 8:11 PM EST: 118 have been confirmed executed by militants wielding AK-47s and lobbing explosives.

UPDATE 9:35 PM EST: 5 attackers have been killed by Paris authorities, some gunmen are reportedly still at large.

Deftones, who were scheduled to play three shows at the venue over the weekend, were present at the show and are all alive and accounted for, and they released an official update via Facebook: “Thank for all your inquiries on our well being. Band/Crew all safe and accounted for at this time. Prayers for those affected in these tragic events.”

We will keep you updated on this difficult story…

Guns N’ Roses Reunion Tour To Be Announced Shortly

After months of endless rumors, cryptic tweets, and nipple pastiesDish Nation is reporting that the reunion of the original lineup of Guns N’ Roses will be announced in a matter of days. The band will supposedly announce a festival circuit before launching an ambitious world tour.

According to Dish’s source, “Promoters are quietly working away to land opportunities. Details of the reunion are expected to leak out in the next few days. Everyone is expecting huge demand for tickets, but the boys are very humble and are not sure what to expect.”

The classic Appetite for Destruction-era lineup of Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Steven Adler, and Izzy Stradlin, let alone just Slash and Axl performing together once again, will surely smash records and potentially become the biggest rock music tour of all time, bar a Led Zeppelin tour with Jason Bonham on drums. While the sale of tickets coinciding with the tour announcement seems unlikely, be prepared for the exact moment the tickets go on sale, as surely vendors will crash and sell out within minutes.

 



Former Velvet Revolver and Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland and bassist Tommy Black told Alternative Nation last weekend that Slash and Axl reconciled and would go on tour: “We’ve heard rumors.”

Dave Grohl Talks Pearl Jam, Chugs Beer At Foo Fighters Show In Poland

“Nineteen years,” Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl said as he took the stage in Poland.The Foo Fighters played their first Polish show in quite some time last night to an enthusiastic crowd. “I just forgot to come to Poland,” “I know. Stupid fucking asshole… next time, we won’t wait another fucking 19 years to come back, because you guys are fucking cool!”

“I think you want me to drink this right now, don’t you?” Grohl said after making a quip about Pearl Jam and before sharing a beer with guitarist Pat Smear and launching into “This Is A Call”. “I’m sorry for any mistakes after this, but this song’s easy because it’s the first song we did off the first record.”


 

Foo Fighters have recently been playing a teaser of a new song live at concerts on their European tour. The band are set to release an EP featuring songs they recently recorded in Austin, Texas, and this song has also been teased on there. Listen to the teaser being played in Cologne.

Foo Fighters recently kicked off their concert at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, and things didn’t quite go according to plan. As Foo Fighters started “Everlong,” the curtain dropped down as it always does, but this time it fell down right in front of Dave Grohl’s throne. Grohl had Foo Fighters stop the song for a minute to recover.

“Sometimes it’s the fucked up things that make you remember the show for the rest of your life,” Grohl said.

The band then resumed the song without missing a beat.

Dave Grohl didn’t just play a Foo Fighters show for the Rockin’ 1000 fans in Cesena, Italty, but he JAMMED with members of the Rockin’ 1000 at an after party after the show! Grohl played live without the aid of his throne for the first time in months, covering The Beatles classic “Come Together” with his fans. Watch video below!

Read Jeff Gorra’s recap of Foo Fighters’ Cesena show below:

This is perhaps the greatest thing to happen in rock music so far this year. Foo Fighters made a dream a reality on Tuesday as they fulfilled their promise to play Cesena, Italy.

Back in July, an epic video of 1,000 Italian Foo Fighters fans playing “Learn to Fly” together went viral. The incredible initiative was spearheaded by visionary Fabio Zaffagnini, who spoke with Alternative Nation in an exclusive interview shortly after the video launched.

Dave Grohl immediately responded via a homemade video where he promised the Foo’s will be coming. Zaffagnini was also flown to Walla Walla, WA to meet the band before their Washington Park Community Center show in August. On October 22, the band announced the show would be happening, with tickets going on sale the next day.

“You want to sing a song? Ready T?” screamed Grohl before Foo Fighters opened the Cesena show with “Learn to Fly.”

“We’re here for a very very special reason. This has never happened before. This is like a revolution,” Grohl said as he expressed sincere gratitude to the joyous crowd.

“And then I fuckin’ cried because it was great,” Grohl continued before “Big Me.” “To see you people, singing our song for the whole fucking world, to me, it’s the greatest moment of my life. You should do the same thing, do it for U2, do it for Pearl Jam, do it for Soundgarden, do it for Rage Against the Machine.”

Stone Temple Pilots Albums Get Ranked Up!

It is my firm opinion that Stone Temple Pilots’ discography is the most underappreciated mainstream rock catalog of the past 25 years of music; the band always managed to keep things fresh and shook up their formula every single album. Here, for your clickbait pleasure, is Alternative Nation’s ranking of STP’s records, from Core to High Rise.

In addition to STP’s six studio albums and E.P. with Chester Bennington, I’ve included Scott Weiland’s solo material and the various side projects of the Deleo bros (plus or minus Eric Kretz). Not included is Delta Deep, Robert Deleo’s newest project with Phil Collen of Def Leppard, or Art of Anarchy, which Weiland claims he was never truly part of in the first place.

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14. Talk Show (1997)

The first attempt at replacing Weiland in the classic STP lineup, Talk Show saw Dave Coutts, whose vocals sort of combined the alternative sound of the mid-90’s with 80’s pop rock. As one who thinks none of the STP members have ever been involved with an awful record, Talk Show starts off strong before spiraling off into filler territory and does not really leave a lasting impression on the listener. Dave Coutts is an underrated vocalist, however, and he recently resurfaced after disappearing for many years, interacting with STP fans on Below Empty under the name “Cave Doutts” and performing some Talk Show material live in California.

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13. Happy in Galoshes (2008)

There’s a solid album buried within the sprawling double-disc Happy in Galoshes, a cathartic concept album dealing with Weiland’s failing marriage with Mary Forsberg and his relationship with his brother Michael. However, like most double albums, the project collapses under its own weight. “She Sold Her System”, “Killing Me Sweetly”, and a very emotional rendition of “Be Not Afraid” are the highlights here, while the album lost a huge opportunity for a collaboration with pop icon Pharrell Williams: the original version of the singer’s seminal hit “Happy”, which leaked earlier this year, was conceived for Happy in Galoshes.

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12. Army of Anyone (2006)

The DeLeo brothers’ collaboration with Filter frontman Richard Patrick and future Korn drummer Ray Luzier was a solid effort with masterful production and some great songwriting, but, like Talk Show, the songs lacked the extra “punch” and chemistry that Weiland and even Chester Bennington possess with their STP bandmates. Key tracks include “Non Stop”, “Goodbye”, and “A Better Place”. Note: Army of Anyone’s tourmates, Hurt, are a vastly underrated band to check out. Frontman J. Loren at one point joined Dean DeLeo on stage for a rendition of an original song, “Used To Know Her“.

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11. High Rise (2013)

Chester Bennington always wore the Weiland influence on his sleeve and is doing a solid job thus far at STP’s live shows, but the High Rise EP was a bit too rushed and underwhelming as a mission statement by the new lineup. “Out of Time” and “Tomorrow” are the standout tracks here while the rest of the EP more or less goes through the motions. The new incarnation of STP desperately need to release a follow up with at least one heavy-hitting hit to really convince everyone they mean business in studio.

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10. Libertad (2007)

The second and final Velvet Revolver album before Weiland’s departure from the band in March 2008, Libertad takes a poppier turn from Contraband. “She Builds Quick Machines” and “The Last Fight” represented the record on rock radio, though Libertad failed to have the same impact as its predecessor in 2004. The record continues the weird Weiland trend of keeping the strongest songs off of the retail release of the record; the rarity track “Gas And A Dollar Laugh” appears on the Japanese import of Libertad, while “Messages” appears on the iTunes edition.

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9. Stone Temple Pilots (2010)

The last album to feature Scott Weiland on vocals, 2010’s self-titled “Peace” record was the only set of recorded material released by the classic STP lineup following their 2008 reunion. Stone Temple Pilots opted to push forward with their pop-rock style found on the band’s later records rather than appeal to grungeheads looking for Core 2.0. That’s not to say the record doesn’t have solid tunes: “Between The Lines”, “Take A Load Off”, “First Kiss On Mars”, & “Maver”, but the record doesn’t possess the longevity of the classic five albums and is ultimately an epilogue to the classic STP’s legacy.

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8. Blaster (2015)

A solid comeback for frontman Scott Weiland with his new backing band, The Wildabouts, marred by the tragic death of guituarist Jeremy Brown at the age of 34. Blaster sort of represents a back-to-basics rock and roll record for Weiland after the divisive and experimental Happy in Galoshes. The record is front to back rock music with a focus on, as Weiland touted in many interviews, “filling the space between the notes” for a compact and fuzzy sound. The highlight of the record is the surreal Dylanesque rabble of “Parachute”.

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7.  Contraband (2004)

The debut album from Velvet Revolver, featuring Weiland on vocals and Slash, Duff Mckagan, Matt Sorum, and Dave Kushner supplying the music. The music is tight and the production on Weiland’s vocals is as strong as ever. It’s a shame the band never truly followed up on the success of “Slither” and “Fall to Pieces”.

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6. No. 4 (1999)

Producer Brendan O’Brien’s work on No. 4 was admittingly his weakest in the band’s catalog with its “wet towel” production, but the record is at its strongest during its more sentimental moments: the Billboard pop hit “Sour Girl”, the psychedelic-country love (or drug?) ballad “I Got You”, and the epic and soaring “Glide”, and the acoustic “Atlanta”, where Weiland completely channels his inner Morrison. Te latter two are two of the greatest songs in STP’s catalog of deep cuts. The other pole of the record is that of heavy-hitting rock tunes like “Down”, “Heaven & Hot Rods”, and “No Way Out.

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5. Core (1992)

Core was the record that effectively started it all, blending contemporary alternative rock music with record-oriented mindset and classic rock riffs. The record blasted the bar band known as Mighty Joe Young to worldwide fame with tunes that are still relevant on rock radio to this day like “Plush”, “Wicked Garden”, & “Sex Type Thing”. While Core arguably has the strongest string of radio heavyweights, it’s still the band’s most generic outing as far as guitar-rock goes, and their sonic heights were not truly achieved until records like Tiny Music and Shangri-La Dee Da were released.

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4. Shangri-La Dee Da (2001)

Choosing the slightly hokey “Days of the Week”, originally written for Sheryl Crow, as the lead single of STP’s fifth studio album sort of misrepresented the final product: Shangri-La Dee Da is easily STP’s most experimental album. After plowing through rockers “Dumb Love”, “Coma”, and “Hollywood Bitch”, the record descends into moody weirdness, from the manic melody of “Bi-Polar Bear” to “Transmissions from a Lonely Room”. The band found themselves at a junction when Dean Deleo and Scott Weiland reportedly got into a fist fight during their tour in support of Shangri-La Dee Da and scrapped their pending sixth album, reportedly a return to the sound of Core.

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3. 12 Bar Blues (1998)

Easily Weiland’s strongest solo record and one of this writer’s personal favorites of all time, 12 Bar Blues is the work of a creative genius in the deepest throes of addiction, and every inch of the album drips with the paradoxical desperation and manic highs Weiland was experiencing at this point in his career and personal life. From the slinky salsa-influenced “Desperation No. 5” to the ethereal closer “Opposite Octave Reaction”, 12BB is saturated with dark yet joyful melodies and psychedelic textures. Sadly, the album was too experimental to effectively kickstart a solo career, as if Scott skipped the Major Tom/Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars phase and went straight for the Berlin trilogy.

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2. Purple (1994)

Purple is inherently the band’s most “listenable” album; it contains the crunchy riffs and baritone vocals that earned STP the grunge fanbase of the early 90’s while also pushing the band towards psych/pop-oriented songwriting. “Interstate Love Song”, “Big Empty”, & “Vasoline” were the two mega hits of the record. Songs like “Unglued” and “Silvergun Superman” are fan favorites. “Still Remains” is one of the best love ballads of the alternative nation era: “…take a bath I’ll drink the water that you leave, if you should die before me ask if you could bring a friend.”

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1. Tiny Music… Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop (1996)

Casual listeners often dismiss 1996’s Tiny Music as the point where STP fell off the wayward path and became something too different from their flannel and testosterone fueled early days. However, many hardcore fans and music lovers recognize Tiny Music as the group’s opus, a swirling vortex of psychedelia laden with Beatle-esque hooks. From the surreal elevator music intro of “Press Play” to the fan favorite album closer and heroin ballad “Seven Caged Tigers”, you’ll find an eclectic mix of styles stamped with STP’s brand of rock and roll: the bossa nova of “And So I Know”, the jazz-tinged ode to the music industry “Adhesive”, & the Zeppelin-meets Beatles frenzy of “Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart”. As far as “divisive but acclaimed” mainstream rock records of the 90’s go, Tiny Music deserves to be in the same pantheon as Weezer’s Pinkerton, Nirvana’s In Utero, & Pearl Jam’s No Code.

Honorable Mention: Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (2011)

A masterpiece firing on all cylinders. Forget whatever inferior album you have in mind. Scott Weiland’s cover album of traditional Christmas classics (plus the original tune “Happy Christmas (And Many More)”) is the greatest piece of recorded material of the past century.

 

‘Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company’ Review

In lieu of a single player story campaign in the highly anticipated Star Wars: Battlefront reboot, author Alexander Freed (who wrote the Imperial Agent campaign in Star Wars: The Old Republic) was brought on board to write Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company, a companion novel set after the destruction of the Death Star told primarily from the point of view of a single unit in the Rebel Alliance military, the titular Twilight Company. Despite this being his first attempt at a novel, Freed has knocked it out of the park and delivered what is easily the strongest canon piece of Star Wars literature thus far; Battlefront: Twilight Company is sure to be a fan-pleasing favorite.

Twilight Company tells the story of Namir, a young warrior from an uncivilized world who finds himself dragged into the Galactic Civil War between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. As part of Twilight Company, Namir takes part in an ambitious campaign by the Rebel Alliance to push inwards to the Core worlds of the Galactic Empire following the events of A New Hope. The overstretched Rebel Alliance soon deems the operation too taxing and orders a retreat, setting up the events of The Empire Strikes Back and culminating in the Battle of Sullust, easily the most ambitious battle scene of the new literary canon thus far and a tentpole of the Galactic Civil War alongside Yavin, Hoth, and Endor.

Fans of classic Expanded Universe novels by Michael Stackpole, Karen Traviss, and Aaron Allston will find much to love in Twilight Company, such as the gritty action scenes, dark humor, and “unit”-oriented storytelling that gives every character a chance to shine; you’ll meet new faces like ex-bounty hunter Brand, four-armed behemoth Gadren, and a shady Imperial turncoat with major ties to another character of the new Star Wars canon.

The book’s morally ambiguous take on the Galactic Civil War paves the way for next year’s spin-off film, Rogue One, painting shades of grey on both sides. The reader experiences several chapters from the point of view of an upstart female stormtrooper named Thara and several high-ranking Imperial advisers of dubious moral nature, while we’ll see soldiers of the Rebel Alliance engaged in horrible acts of war, teetering the boundary between noble freedom fighters to violent insurgents.

Namir himself often questions his own reasons for fighting. On his home planet, Namir found himself bounced between fighting for the dominant military force of the moment before getting swept up in the Rebel Alliance. Does Namir actually believe in the values of the Rebels, or does he just go with the flow? What is preventing him from switching to the Galactic Empire, whose success in the Galactic Civil War is much more realistic? Namir’s character arc contrasts with that of Governor Everi Chalis, an Imperial politician and efficiency agent assigned to a backwater planet in the Mid Rim of the galaxy who opts out of the Imperial war machine and promises to deliver the secrets of the Empire’s infrastructure to Rebel intelligence. The relationship between Namir and Chalis forms the backbone of Twilight Company.

While Twilight Company is easily enjoyed on its own, much of the events of the novel tie in directly with the various stories compiled in the recently released Rise of the Empire bind up, which includes the novels Tarkin and A New Dawn as well as three short stories, the story “Bottleneck” specifically setting up the backstory of one of the major players in Twilight Company. This is an example of the synergy made possible by the LucasFilm Story Group established in 2014, currently overseeing the development of a single, cohesive Star Wars canon, and the novel is easily the most continuity-building of the new novels thus far.

Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company’s dense and layered storytelling eschews the traditional Star Wars black-and-white flavoring in favor of a darker and more personal tale of varying. Explosive action scenes and dark humor only punctuate this character-driven tale, and the hardcore Star Wars fan will appreciate its heavy world-building and cameos from other characters throughout the Star Wars pantheon.

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Hardcover/Released November 3, 2015, 390 pages

Scott Weiland Dedicates New Mobile App To Jeremy Brown

Current Wildabouts frontman and former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver member Scott Weiland has teamed up with Google Play architect Tim Quirk and Freeform Development, Inc. to release a brand new application and content delivery system across multiple mobile operating systems, available now for download.

Simply titled “Scott Weiland”, the app currently features free one time listens of the first seven tracks of 2015’s Blaster with a link to purchase; alternatively, several “offers” to receive a free digital download of the record include subscribing to Rhapsody or taking advantage of promotional offers from partners such as Subway and DirecTV. A previously unreleased bonus track entitled “Back to the City” is unlocked by sharing the app via Facebook.

The app opens with a note from Weiland explaining his intent for the new app:

Check out my new record with The Wildabouts, “BLASTER”, along with a brand new bonus track “Back To The City”. 

You can crank most of these tracks up once a day for free. But if you just gotta have it for keeps, and who doesn’t, just TAP the OFFER bar! 

Be on the lookout for more + more +more, offers and free stuff; big thanks to all of my fans. -Scott Weiland

At the end of the “notes” section of the app, offering a summary of Weiland’s career, Weiland left a dedication to former Wildabouts guitarist Jeremy Brown, who tragically passed away on the eve of Blaster’s release at the age of 34:

Jeremy Brown, you are in my thoughts, prayers, and dreams, God speed, love and peace brother; we will meet again. 

Jeremy-Brown-630x420


 

Scott Weiland Announces New Track & US Tour: ‘It’s A Rebirth’ – AlternativeNation.net

Multi-platinum singer/songwriter of Stone Temple Pilots/Velvet Revolver, Scott Weiland hits the road with his band The Wildabouts (Tommy Black bass guitar, Joey Castillo drums, Nick Maybury guitar) for an extended tour this fall in support of the release of their full length record BLASTER (Softdrive/INgrooves) in App form developed by Google Play architect Tim Quirk (Freeform App). This cutting edge delivery platform will feature a previously unreleased track “Back To The City”, which finds Scott & The Wildabouts laying down a dark, thick, hook filled, must listen prime cut. “This tour is about making a connection. We’ll perform the hits for the Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver fans. I made BLASTER for them, but it is fresh; we’ve made an album that can resonate, and attract a whole new group of fans. It’s a rebirth,” stated Weiland.

The official tour will be preceded by and exclusive engagement on October 5th at The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, California. If you did not get tickets, sorry, the show sold out in minutes, and a lucky few will get a chance to engage Scott in a Q &A, as well as experience the Wildabouts up close and personal.
Check out this rock icon’s rebirth, as Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts take their brand of rock music out on the road in the U.S.A.

New dates listed under Tour Dates. And more to come…

‪#‎team

Billy Corgan & Courtney Love Statues Unveiled

One day, our modern civilization will be a distant memory, and all that will remain will be our cultural footprints in art & culture. The question must be put forth: which songwriters in the pantheon of modern music will survive the test of time and emerge as historical figures such as Beethoven and Mozart?

Matt Clark, an Oahu-based sculptor behind RAUXSTARS, seeks to strike this message across by crafting intricate busts of some of the most notable figures in popular music over the past few decades. Clark tells Alternative Nation, “The series was created to celebrate some of our most talented artists.  It was created to help people visualize the parallels between music’s masters of the past and the artists of today.  Rock musicians’ maximum impact (like their pre-recorded predecessors) won’t be fully realized until many decades from now.”

You can check out his busts of Alternative Nation regulars Courtney Love and Billy Corgan below.

Corgan is, of course, frontman of The Smashing Pumpkins, and a vocal proponent of innovation in the rock music scene. According to Clark, “Billy Corgan was chosen because he embodied 90’s alternative and pushed it to its ragged edge with albums including the two disc Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. He has proven to be talented with music ranging from goth, alternative, electronica and hard rock. He’s still touring today.”

A bit more of an unconventional choice is Courtney Love, frontwoman of Hole. Many would probably see her former husband, Kurt Cobain, as more of a timeless figure for his trailblazing yet short career with Nirvana, though according to Clark: “Choosing Courtney Love was easy. She’s arguably the most courageous and resilient artist in the music industry. She also dated and inspired Billy Corgan and, of course, married and inspired Kurt Cobain. She remains an outstanding artist, creative firebrand and enigma. We’ll never truly know everything about Courtney Love…and that’s what’s at the core of her mystique. She has remained relevant in pop culture for over 20 years. On a personal note: reading her biography got me on a plane off the mainland.”

You can check out several other busts, including Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie, on Clark’s official Tumblr profile.

Scott Weiland Announces New Track & US Tour: ‘It’s A Rebirth’

2015 has been a tumultuous year for former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland; despite releasing the moderately well received album, Blaster, with The Wildabouts, Weiland’s guitarist, Jeremy Brown, passed away at the age of 34 on the eve of the album’s release. In addition, Weiland has seen a barrage of negative press surrounding his on-and-off stage antics.

However, it appears as if Weiland is restrategizing and moving forward, promising a new track titled “Back to the City”, a new American leg of the Blaster tour, and a new mobile phone application and content delivery system designed by Google Play architect Tim Quirk. Declaring the upcoming multimedia campaign to be a “rebirth”, Weiland issued the following press release via his official Facebook:

Multi-platinum singer/songwriter of Stone Temple Pilots/Velvet Revolver, Scott Weiland hits the road with his band The Wildabouts (Tommy Black bass guitar, Joey Castillo drums, Nick Maybury guitar) for an extended tour this fall in support of the release of their full length record BLASTER (Softdrive/INgrooves) in App form developed by Google Play architect Tim Quirk (Freeform App). This cutting edge delivery platform will feature a previously unreleased track “Back To The City”, which finds Scott & The Wildabouts laying down a dark, thick, hook filled, must listen prime cut. “This tour is about making a connection. We’ll perform the hits for the Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver fans. I made BLASTER for them, but it is fresh; we’ve made an album that can resonate, and attract a whole new group of fans. It’s a rebirth,” stated Weiland.

The official tour will be preceded by and exclusive engagement on October 5th at The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, California. If you did not get tickets, sorry, the show sold out in minutes, and a lucky few will get a chance to engage Scott in a Q &A, as well as experience the Wildabouts up close and personal.
Check out this rock icon’s rebirth, as Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts take their brand of rock music out on the road in the U.S.A.

New dates listed under Tour Dates. And more to come…

‪#‎team‬

Review: The Force Is Strong With ‘Star Wars: Aftermath’

You must unlearn what you have learned…

Such is the mantra of Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath, the most ambitious and groundbreaking entry in Star Wars literary canon since 1991’s Heir to the Empire.

Aftermath is the first officially canon novel (and tie-in product, in general) to explore the aftermath of the Death Star II’s destruction and the deaths of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader. Does it answer all the seething questions you may have about the newly wiped clean 30 year gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens? No, but Wendig does a fine job of telling an intimate family drama on Imperial-controlled Akiva while also painting broader strokes of the galaxy-at-large, caught in a war between the Galactic Empire and the fledgling New Republic.

Wendig’s distinct method of prose might be off putting to some fans; rather than painting a scene via infodumping like most Star Wars authors before him, Wendig uses a combination of short and snappy sentences alongside present tense, making Aftermath’s storytelling tight and concise with a nice flow.

At the core of Aftermath is the relationship between Rebel pilot Norra Wexley and her son, Temmin, simultaneously a childhood prodigy and a rebellious, angry youth who is reluctant to forgive his mother for leaving Akiva to fight the tyrannical Galactic Empire. After the shattered Empire reconvenes in the Akiva system and effectively blockades the sector, capturing ace Rebel pilot Wedge Antilles in the process, Norra is forced to drag her son into the conflict he never wanted part of, and crosses paths with a colourful supporting cast of allies: Snarky Imperial turncoat and drunkard Sinjir Rath Velus, aspiring alien bounty hunter Jas Emari, and a reprogrammed Trade Federation battle droid named Bones who just about steals every scene that he’s part of.

On the other side of the war is the Imperial Future Council led by Admiral Rae Sloane, a strong and cunning officer determined to bring the Empire back from the brink of death. She’s caught between a squabbling cabal of Imperial advisers, financiers, and military officers who have their own vision of a future Empire. Sloane, introduced in John Jackson Miller’s A New Dawn, is already one of the most intriguing aspects of the new canon, and Wendig handles Miller’s creation with utmost care and reverence to her original appearance: “Forget the old way”. Her Imperial cohorts are a bit more two dimensional, though a standout in the cast is the enigmatic Tashu, a dark-side cultist and adviser of Emperor Palpatine.

In between chapters focusing on the main storyline are “Interludes”, painting a picture of how individuals across different planets affected by the war respond to the changing status quo and the shift of power to the New Republic. You’ll meet familiar faces and concepts in these little vignettes, many of which may be setting up story threads for The Force Awakens and future novels. You’ll learn more about the true fate of Boba Fett, dive into the politics of the New Republic through the viewpoint of Supreme Chancellor Mon Mothma, and catch up with a certain scruffy nerf-herder and his walking carpet. These interludes break up the story nicely without disrupting the narrative’s flow.

Chuck Wendig brings a fresh new voice to the Star Wars saga with his distinct prose and an eye for diversity, while his snapshots of galactic life bring a sense of scale unlike any Star Wars novel has seen. If this is any indication of the direction this franchise’s storytelling is headed, sign me up.

aftermath

 

Limp Bizkit Helped Axl Rose & Slash Reconcile, According To Fred Durst

Guns N’ Roses may potentially reunite for the nookie, if the words of Fred Durst are to be believed.

The controversial Limp Bizkit frontman, strutting the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage, asserted to a raucous crowd at Reading festival that he got Axl Rose and Slash rollin’ down the right path. “I’d like you to know that we’re responsible for Axl and Slash being back together,” Durst told the crowd. “We had a meeting and it went really well.”

If you take a look around the internet, you will find rumors of a 2016 reunion of the classic lineup of Guns N’ Roses featuring Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin, and Steven Adler. Guitarists DJ Ashba and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal both departed the modern incarnation of the band over the past year, and Slash recently claimed that he and Axl Rose had finally buried the hatchet.

“It was probably way over due but it was very cool at this point. Let some of that…Dispell some of that negative stuff that was going on for so long,” the legendary Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver guitarist told Aftonblade.

Slash’s camp later took a shotgun to the rumors. On the latest Eddie Trunk podcast, Trunk discussed recently contacting Slash’s management for a comment regarding rampant Guns N’ Roses reunion rumors that have spread following the reports of Axl Rose and Slash reconciling. Trunk was told by Team Slash that the whole thing has been blown far out of proportion, and he’s laying low now when it comes to interviews. Trunk did say that he believes a Guns N’ Roses reunion will eventually happen.

Let’s just hope Fred Durst has given my generation a chance at seeing the classic lineup of Guns N’ Roses play live.

Smashing Pumpkins Fans Rush Stage: ‘The Next Person Is Getting A Guitar Upside The Head’

Edited by Brett Buchanan

Security seemed to be less than tight last night at the PNC Bank Arts Center last night at the “End Times” tour date with the Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson in Holmdel, New Jersey, with a number of fans rushing the stage, Alternative Nation can exclusively report.

A benign fan somehow accessed the main stage and danced along besides Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan during “Disarm”, much to his amusement, who was then promptly pulled away stage right by security.

Another fan rushed the stage during “1979”, running towards Corgan before getting demolished and dragged away by security. The Pumpkins frontman later exclaimed, “I don’t know how those people are getting on stage but the next person that does is getting a guitar upside the head!” Ironically, the song he played immediately after this statement was “Run2Me”.

jarrettguitar

Check out fans running on stage during “1979” and a brief snippet of “Disarm” below. Thanks to @JayPorks for one of the “1979” videos.

Disaaaaaaaaarm! Ahhhhhhhhhh! #smashingpumpkins

A video posted by Rob (@culinary_molinari) on

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billyfanstage

Interview: Wolf Alice Bassist Talks Comparisons To Oasis & Hole, Praises Nirvana

North London rock outfit Wolf Alice have released their much-hyped debut full length studio album, My Love Is Cool, to great acclaim. The record is a sprawling pastiche of everything that has made alternative rock awesome over the past 30 years while also moving the genre forward into the mainstream once again with its soaring pop hooks and grungy distortion. Highlights include the euphoric “You’re A Germ” and a ferocious re-recorded version of their original single from 2013, “Fluffy”.

The band seems like part of a new wave of guitar rock music originating from the U.K. that is connecting with American audiences in the wake ‘of the Arctic Monkeys’ AM and Royal Blood’s self-titled debut, with their single “Moaning Lisa Smile” in constant rotation on American airwaves. This sort of instant success and comparisons to the American alternative rock greats like Hole, Pixies, and Nirvana might be overwhelming to many, but bassist Theo Ellis played it cool during my interview with him, shoeing off those comparisons while championing his love of the Britpop scene of the 90’s… and the new Suicide Squad trailer.

Is it nervewracking when you become sort of a darling for the press even before the release of your first full length album? That LP seemed to have a high mark to reach, and you most certainly achieved that.

Due to the internet’s monopoly of the music world bands can become “darlings” of the hype machine as soon as their first track surfaces. Due to various constraints it took us a while to make the record and during that time we didnt disappear from peoples lists, we were conscious of what people were saying about us while making the record but our personal standards were far scarier to achieve. I think making your debut as good as you dream of is naturally nerve wracking.

Some publications like to compare your band to grunge music. Are there any albums from that time period that you hold dear? Side note: I see tons of Hole/Courtney Love comparisons online in the vocals.

As a band none of us have ever listened to an entire Hole album or many other bands we are compared to of that era (Elastica, Veruca Salt etc). Although none of us our 90’s music buffs, we were born in the 90’s and naturally we digested some of the sounds of the era. I can remember on more than one occasion us referencing All Saints vocal sounds and pop sensibilities. I find the poppier side of that era more influential than most of the grunge bands going. Obviously Nirvana will permanently remain exempt and stay safely rested on the mantle of one of the best bands ever.

One of the best tracks on the album is “Your Loves Whore”… I can hear Oasis in that tune… or am I deranged?

I think we all take that as a massive compliment as huge lovers of oasis. The chorus I suppose has a similar anthemic atmosphere which I think Oasis are the ultimate masters of. Some of the guitar sounds share a similar DNA too, hazy and drawn out. We still have a long way to go to deserve such a compliment, I reckon.

British guitar rock seems to be in full swing with the American crossover really burgeoning with you guys and Royal Blood, compared to the tamer indie pop scene in America.

Guitar music worldwide seems to be in a really healthy state, this year has seen some amazing guitar records, Drenge’s second album “Undertow” is goth riff central and we will be touring with them across the U.S throughout most of October. It seems to be an age old gauntlet that British bands run, coming stateside and trying to translate, it’s amazing for any of us to come over there and have people come to the gigs, would be amazing to see more crossover bands throughout the year.

Funny how Drenge was being so hyped by the British press when Royal Blood hit out of nowhere and sort of beat them to the punch in America, and now you get to bring [Drenge] on tour in the US in the coming months. There seems to be a wealth of other bands in the UK like Dinosaur Pile Up and Blood Red Shoes. You think with Wolf Alice and Royal Blood making it huge, it gives these bands a chance.

I think that all of those bands are so amazing in their own right that they could easily make it big stateside regardless. If we are starting to gain some attention and can help shed light on some other amazing artists and bands then we will for sure.

Is the title “Giant Peach” Roald Dahl influenced?

The song isn’t directly influenced by Roald Dahl more so the story of James and the giant peach, and the idea of a twisted love affair with your home, much like James runs away from his original life and forges a new home in a massive peach. Roald Dahl however is a legend.

And for the token totally irrelevant question: Comic Con just made waves with some awesome trailers and videos for Star Wars, Deadpool, Batman vs. Superman, and Suicide Squad. Not sure if you guys are into nerdy flicks like that, but if you are, what’s your favorite of the bunch?

I am a massive fan of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight, that was the best franchise revival ever. it maybe the inner emo inside that it appeals to so greatly but I consider each film from the trilogy to be a masterpiece. The Suicide Squad trailer looks incredible, I have very high hopes.