Category Archives: Alternative

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Happy Birthday Trent Reznor & Josh Homme

Happy birthday to Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor (49) and Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme (41), who were both born on May 17th! Happy birthday to former Pearl Jam drummer Dave Abbruzzese as well, who turns 46 today.

Reznor was born in Mercer, Pennsylvania in 1965, while Homme was born in Joshua Tree, California in 1973. Watch Homme, Reznor, and Dave Grohl perform their collaboration track, “Mantra,” from the Sound City film below:

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Tommy Lee Says New Smashing Pumpkins Album Is Band’s ‘Best Record Ever’

Current Smashing Pumpkins studio drummer Tommy Lee has said that the band’s upcoming album Monuments To An Elegy is the best record Billy Corgan has ever written.

“I think he has probably the best record he’s ever written,” Lee says in a new interview with Billboard. “These are like epic, goose-bump songs. It sounds like the first couple of Smashing Pumpkins records. I was fucking blown away.”

Lee has already recorded demos with Corgan and will be tracking drums in the coming weeks.

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Listen To A New Song From Billy Corgan’s Experimental ‘AEGEA’ Album

Billy Corgan posted the following on SmashingPumpkinsNexus.com:

Overall, AEGEA’s on-sale went fairly smooth, beyond a crushing demand making it so that we couldn’t access MadameZuzus.com servers; and therefore put the record up for purchase. A few clever-types were able to access certain pages before they’d gone public too, which I’ll write off as ‘fans of my music tend to be smarter than others’ bragging rights. Anyway…

In planning to release ‘AEGEA’ I’d considered different means, one of which was to release the double-vinyl to whomever might want it first, and then perhaps offer a single-disc version afterwards; which would only remove the 2 longer, alternate versions of pieces #3 and #5. Having listened this way I’d say the single disc feel is more like a lost movie soundtrack, the longer more like a strange chant. Obviously one disc would also mean a lower price point, and would just be made available whenever each edition of 500 might sell out; for I love the idea of a budding, building catalog in-store at Zuzu’s. My long-range thinking would be the offer of other titles by other artists as well; songstress Sierra Swan being among them. Because the teahouse attracts a lot of casual customers who don’t follow every stitch of news, and it would be great to offer them this music too.

But whatever I do, the double vinyl series of AEGEA is (for now) capped at 500 copies; all signed and numbered. And if I was guessing I’d say I’ll make a decision on whether or not to make a single-disc pressing in the next 2 weeks, which I’d only put up for sale when they were in hand. So if you’d be among those ordering, your copy would come right away.

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AMC Greenlights Billy Corgan’s Pro Wrestling Reality Show

Miss Walter White and Jesse Pinkman? Fear not, because AMC has revealed that Billy Corgan will be one of their next featured stars, as they have greenlit BillCo’s new pro wrestling reality show according to Variety.

“Untitled Billy Corgan Wrestling Project” will consist of eight 60-minute episodes. The leader of The Smashing Pumpkins is now creative director of Resistance Pro, a Chicago-based wrestling league.Viewers will see Corgan create storylines, choreograph fights and manage intense post-match locker room arguments. Produced by Left/Right (“Small Town Security,” “This American Life,” “Mob Wives”); Executive Producers: Ken Druckerman, Banks Tarver, Billy Corgan, and Ghen Maynard.

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Interview: Stolen Babies Discuss Guilty Pleasures & ‘Naught’ Album

Stolen Babies is an avant-garde metal/experimental rock group that formed in 2004. The band previously finished up their tour with Stone Sour and Pop Evil last year. I got the chance to sit down with vocalist/accordionist Dominique Lenore Persi for some questions regarding the tour, the band’s background, and their most recent release, Naught. You can check out Alternative Nation’s interview with Stolen Babies below.

You are about halfway finished with your tour along with Pop Evil and Stone Sour. How has the tour been so far?

Dominique: Fun. Quite adventurous with the weather and the extreme freeze in the midwest. But just as far as the other bands go, its been great. Corey and everyone in Stone Sour has just been so sweet and the Pop Evil guys are sweet. It has been yet another interesting experience for Stolen Babies.

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Stolen Babies is known to be quite the experimental band, falling under the avant-garde metal band label. When you were first making music for this band was it a conscious effort to add instruments, sounds, and time signatures that aren’t usual for a typical modern day metal band?

Dominique: No, and actually we don’t really consider ourselves metal. For lack of a better description, we’ve been calling ourselves experimental rock, but that also is a rather large umbrella. I think metal might imply certain things that we don’t deem to call ourselves, but as far as the instrumentation and time signatures, it’s not intentional. It’s just where we are coming from and the things that we listen to and the instruments that we’re comfortable playing that we just bring them into the fold because it’s part of who we are as individuals.

You previously mentioned you played piano and bass as you were growing up, but the accordion was the instrument you most connected to though. Was it difficult to apply and fit the accordion into your compositions?

Dominique: No, it just came naturally, and gradually trickled in. When you are playing in a band, you bring in who you are to the sound. So if you play the recorder or whatever, you make that part of your output. We don’t know what our genre is, we’re not trying to sound like anybody else, so nothing is pre-meditated.


Official music video for “Second Sleep” off ‘Naught’

It seems Stolen Babies is a bit of a melting pot of genres including elements of punk, thrash, electronic, classical, swing, and much more. Are there any genres or music styles you’re interested in exploring and meshing into Stolen Babies’ material?

Dominique: Yeah, again not that it’s a conscious effort, but there’s things that we all listen to that will probably find it’s way into our future recordings. When Rani and I were younger, we actually studied some Thai instruments at a Thai temple in North Hollywood. I played this kind of xylophone type thing and Rani studied this gong pedal. Not to say that we’re going to use those instruments and we’re going to play Thai music, although I can sing a few songs in Thai, but I love listening to different styles of music like Ethiopian jazz. There’s always been a lot of ethnomusicology in our background. I took classes in college. And as we grow, and express more of ourselves, more stuff will be exposed.

You’ve spoken previously of influences including Oingo Boingo, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, and Mr. Bungle, but are there any pop or more conventional groups that you consider an influence or guilty pleasure?

Dominique: When Rani and I were driving up here, all these songs were coming up on the radio, like Prince. I don’t think Prince is a guilty pleasure, I think it’s a proud pleasure. And Raffi, the kids folk-singer. There’s a lot. I’ve been in and out of loving Depeche Mode for a while. I don’t think anything is a guilty pleasure because I’m proud of everything I listen to.

Lyrically your songs stretch from spiders to sinking ships to a large variety of seemingly abstract poetry. Is there any message you’re hoping to portray through either your lyrics or music?

Dominique: Every song has a different message. I think there is a reoccurring theme of being disconnected or detached or stepping back from things and seeming them as they are. Looking at the world from a certain point of view and not taking everything for face value has been a reoccurring theme through all of our songs. I do almost all the lyric-writing, but on the last album Rani actually came in and did some writing too.


Official music video for “Push Button” off ‘There Be Squabbles Ahead’

Back in 2007, you guys released a music video for “Push Button,” which seemed to have myself and many fans thinking, “this band must be Tim Burton fans,” because of the artistic style. Do you have any non-musical artists such as Burton or Max Fleischer, that you consider an influence or has made an impact on your life?

Dominique: Well definitely the two that you mentioned. With Tim Burton, it’s all really the early stuff, anything before Sleepy Hollow. With Crab Scrambly, his artwork brings the imagery similar to Burton’s. And the Max Fleischer cartoons were a big influence on me as a kid. I had the VHS collection of the Betty Boop anthology. When I was at a young age, my brother really got me into Jim Henson.

Regarding your image, Stolen Babies has always had a dark yet childish theme. Do you believe your image and theatrical aspect during your live shows is as important as the actual music?

Dominique: Yeah. I don’t feel like we’re doing anything theatrical now. Maybe my definition of “theatrical,” is different, but now we’re a three-piece just out there rocking out for lack of a better word. There’s no choreography or skits, but we do dress up and have Bucky the skeleton on stage with us. We have a theatrical sound so it might be fun to experiment again with that someday.

Crab Scrambly has been your artwork artist for both of your LPs. Do you plan on working with him for future releases or do you have any other artists you would like to work with?

Dominique: He’s a very close friend and part of the family. I think we’ll be working with him for a long time. But yes, we do want to bring other artists into the fold as well. My older brother is an Emmy award-winning cartoonist, who designed all the characters in our previous band the Fratellis, and I would love to work with my brother.

Naught_album_cover Cover artwork for ‘Naught’ by Crab Scrambly

Stolen Babies has toured with some big-name bands such as Devin Townsend, Katatonia, Otep, Lacuna Coil, and now Stone Sour. What are some bands that are on your personal or the band’s bucket list regarding who you want to tour with?

Dominique: Our friends from Sleepytime Gorilla Museum have a new band they are working on called Free Salamander Exhibit and they are about to do a little tour. We’d like to do something with them obviously. In terms of bands that have influenced, I know Rani especially would love to tour with anything Les Claypool has been involved in. It’s really hard to say. We never know who we’re gonna fit with.

Is there anyone on your bucket list you would like to collaborate with on a musical level?

Dominique: I don’t have a collaboration bucket list. I kinda just go with the flow. For future projects for Stolen Babies we have two potential things in mind, but I don’t know which will come first. One of them is a throwback to the Fratellis, so that will be almost like a concept album. I have a few guest vocalists in mind but I don’t wanna say who yet.

I heard there is a music video in the works for “Mousefood.” What is the progress on that?

Dominique: Well, it is all shot. The thing is, it’s just us and another guy and we’ve been touring so much, more than we anticipated, so it’s hard to be around and involved with the video. The progress? It’s coming along. It’s hard because we’re not a band on a label, at this point we’re not entertaining the idea of social media funding or Kickstarter. We don’t really wanna go there yet, or ever. We’re really determined to do this on our own.

Could you possibly hint at what we could expect in terms of the upcoming material?

Dominique: Well because we are a three-piece now, we’re writing as a three-piece. They remind me of some of my favorite songs to play, like “Awful Fall,” “Tablescrap,” or “Mousefood.” These are the kind of songs I still really stand by. And I feel like the new songs kind of feel in the spirit of those, in terms of the rock songs. But as I mentioned earlier, there are some things we want to do with the older Fratellis’ material. And that is more along the lines of a song like “Fillistata,” which was originally a Fratellis’ song. So it has more of a not necessarily ska sound but there’s horns involved and a more cartoon-y sound that I don’t know if we’ll be able to pull of live. It’s just a constant experiment which I think is so fun with this band.