Do you think all the best rock music was made before the year 2000? Have you jumped ship with rock and hopped on the EDM bandwagon? Do you not have a New Year’s resolution? Well, before you pick up that latest Dead Mou-Five (Did I spell that right?) record, how about I give you a new years resolution.. and that is find a new up and coming band that you can’t get enough of!
It’s actually a little easier than you think, and I’ll make it even easier for you by giving you a list of ten of the best up and coming bands to check out if you haven’t already (and if you have, good job doing your homework!):
Mark Engles: Guitar
Chris Robyn: Drums
Ben Flanagan: Vocals/Bass
Black Map is a three-piece alternative hard rock band hailing from San Fransisco, CA. Loud and boisterous, Black Map are a hard rock force with a heavy, clean sound. In 2014 Alternative Nation reviewed their album And We Explode… giving it a 9/10.
“This album practically holds every characteristic necessary for an alternative rock musical masterpiece, which should come as to no surprise.”
Black Map have supported Chevelle on tour and have also played various shows with the likes of ††† (Crosses), Tombs, Pelican, and Kill Devil Hill. Essential Tracks: “Code”, “Chinaski”, “I’m Just the Driver”
Evan Staats – Vocals
Scott Staats – Bass
Patrick McKnight – Guitar
Mark Leone – Drums
Dinosaur Eyelids are a four piece band based out of New Brunswick, NJ. With a bit of a grungy and progressive sound, Dinosaur Eyelids are excellent songwriters with many tracks that can take you on a journey. “The LIDS” have opened for Parlor Mob and shared the stage with Dean Ween of Ween and have earned a reputation for their aggressive live performances.
Essential Tracks: “Further Down the River”, “21 Graham Salute”, “Answer In The Sky”
The Everyday Losers are a four piece band out of Washington, Indiana. They describe themselves as a band full of heavy riffs, powerful choruses, and frenetic live performances. They recently wrapped up a touring stint with Saliva in November and have also shared the stage with Jackyl, Smile Empty Soul, and Black Stone Cherry. The Everyday Losers boast tracks that are both heavy and melodic, such as the standout “Here We Are Now”.
Essential Tracks: “Outta My Head”, “Hate You”, “Here We Are Now”
Steve Weston – Guitar/Pedals/Vocals
Lee ‘meatarm’ Yates – Bass
Dave Pankhurst – Drums
High/Low are a four piece band out of Essex, UK. The band’s entire catalog is bursting with catchy, heavy, alternative rock tracks. All the elements seem to perfectly blend together to form a unique brand of rock music that works more on a high level, not a low one (ba dum tiss). High/Low have a much anticipated new album being released on January 29th, 2016. Get an exclusive free download from the new album entitled “MONO” here and you can hear their new single entitled “Mould” below.
Joe Weinstock – Guitars
Glyn Rolmanis – Drums
Michael Martin – Vocals
Minus Cube is a three piece band with a unique setup in that Michael is based in the USA, and Joe and Glyn are based in the UK, but that distance hasn’t stopped the band from creating one of the most unique sounds in rock today. A listener can hear the influences from bands like Tool, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden, particularly in tracks like “Everything” and Trance Decay”. Minus Cube have a new album planned for 2016 entitled The Butterfly Effect, watch the teaser here.
New Oceans David Downs –Vocals/Guitar
Rob Miller – Bass
John Kehoe –Drums
New Oceans is a three piece band out of Chicago, IL. Starting out as an industrial, electro-rock band, New Oceans have changed their style, releasing a unique high energy punk/grunge album entitled Fuzzbuzz. Having the feel of early Seattle grunge while throwing in some of the most unique song progressions in modern rock, New Oceans have grown to be an innovative and exciting newcomer to the american rock scene.
Essential Tracks: “ADHD”, “She Lives in a Shack”, “Sun Drunk”
Nick Gray – Vocals/Guitar
Greg Nicholas – Drums/Vocals
Joe Gray – Bass/Vocals
Noiseheads are a three piece band from Pensacola, FL, but are soon transitioning to Greensboro, NC. Alternative Nation hailed Noiseheads as “One of America’s most promising young rock bands,” and with catchy radio friendly hard rock tunes, Noiseheads may be one of those bands that will ensure the world that rock is still alive and well. The band is influenced by many of the greats such as Pearl Jam and Nirvana, but sound like no other. Dave Grohl once said the intensity that Kurt Cobain had in his voice sounded like he was grinding nails in his throat when he performed, and this comparison is also the only way to describe Nick Gray’s vocals, throw in a stellar rhythm section from Greg and Joe and yes it is true, Noiseheads is one of America’s most promising young rock bands, and they may just be a band that brings rock music back from the underground. Noiseheads may be taking a bit of a break with the move, but have been busy recently, including releasing a video for their track “Fellow Man” in November.
Essential Tracks: “Fellow Man”, “Expectations”, “Pretty Hate Song Pt. 2”, “Annie”
Soul Inclination is a four piece band from New Delhi, India. Though they have recently gone through some lineup changes, the two tracks they released in 2015 were fantastic. So great in fact that their second single “Not a Loser” was the most requested song on Alternative Nation Radio in 2015. Influenced by bands like Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains, Soul Inclination has the makings of a modern rock force.
The Burning of Rome
Adam Traub – Vocals/Keys/Guitar
Joe Aguilar – Guitar/Vocals
Aimee Jacobs – Keys/Glockenspiel/Vocals
Keveen Baudouin – Bass/Vocals
Danny King – Drums
The Burning of Rome are a five piece band from the Los Angeles and San Diego, CA area. Describing themselves as death-pop, they have the elements of a band who will eventually garner a very large cult following. Their use of both male and female vocal leads gives them a diversity that not many modern rock bands possess. They released their second album Year of the Ox in 2014 which included three tracks that were among the most requested on Alternative Nation Radio in 2015.
Essential Tracks: “Better Than He”, “Cowboy’s and Cut Cigars”, “Year of the Ox”
Dean – Guitar/Vocals
Marc – Bass
Nils – Drums
Tidalwave is a three piece band from Berlin, Germany. Their first release, a four song self-titled EP released in Feburary 2015, was pure melodic alternative rock bliss. Influenced by bands like Foo Fighters, Deftones, and Muse, Tidalwave have the ability to create a smart and cohesive sound unlike no other. With a new EP entitled “1992” being released in early 2016 (watch the teaser), Tidalwave is sure to turn even more heads in the coming months.
As the holidays approach, I feel the overwhelming need to write this after the recent passing of Scott Weiland. We take for granted that our favorite musicians will always be there, but the truth is, life happens, and circumstances in their own lives change, and they are gone.
We’ve lost so many people from the 90’s grunge/alternative rock music scene, and we should not forget them as 2015 concludes, or ever for that matter. The gifts we’ve received from them will last forever, and I am grateful for that. My thoughts go out to their friends, families, and significant others as well, hoping they know the fans are still with them.
Drug addiction is such a hard thing to talk about, so I won’t, but I know all too well the impact it leaves on the living, as I lost my husband in 2010 to a prescription narcotic drug overdose. I then lost my father from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease just 4 days later. The sadness subsides, but never really goes away.
I’d like to take this time to remember those that I often think of and had a huge impact on my ‘alternative music days’ years ago, which I still listen to and love. I’d like to note that not all the artists listed below died of a drug overdose from addiction.
In memory of:
Andrew Wood, Vocals, Piano, Guitar-Malfunkshun, Mother Love Bone
Stefanie Sargent, Guitar – 7 Year Bitch
Mia Zapata, Vocals, Piano, Guitar – The Gits
Kurt Cobain, Lead vocals, Guitar – Nirvana
Shannon Hoon, Lead vocals, Guitar, Various instruments – Blind Melon
John Baker Saunders, Bass – Mad Season, The Walkabouts
Ben McMillan, Lead vocals, Guitar – Gruntruck
Layne Staley, Lead vocals, Guitar – Alice in Chains, Mad Season
Michael Starr, Bass – Alice in Chains, Red Sun Red
Scott Weiland, Lead vocals – Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver
The biggest losses for me personally were Layne Staley and Mike Starr. Both were such talented musicians, and part of a musical phenomenon that still continues to this day, Alice In Chains. I previously wrote about the sound that Layne and Jerry Cantrell created when singing together, an unparalleled duo to date. Mike Starr played his bass guitar with unmatched aggressiveness.
Unfortunately, thinking about their deaths puts me into a depression, something I cannot explain. But I knew it was time to pull out the music again as I wrote this article, so I started playing Facelift, SAP, Dirt, Jar of Flies and Alice in Chains. I’m sure many of you have done the same when missing Layne, as for me the music is healing. Although the lyrics state something of despair, I find the opposite in their music, and it gets me back to living my life again rather being stuck in a state of depression.
This past August, I brought candles to the Layne Staley and Mike Starr annual vigil at the Seattle Center fountain. Every single person listed above (except for Scott Weiland) had a candle. We even had a candle for Layne Staley’s beautiful ex-fiance Demri Parrott, because the impact she had on so many people.
There have obviously been others that we’ve lost, but the ones listed above I either met in person, or saw live in Seattle. However, I can honestly say that I never got to see Scott Weiland live, but I have always loved the music of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver.
If you have a musician that you have loved and lost, and you haven’t listened to their music for a while, I urge all of you to find the albums, or CD’s, and dust them off and play them. I bet you will feel a sense of happiness in what they left behind, as I did with Layne and Mike.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and wish you joy and happiness into the next year. I also hope you remember the great music these artists have left behind.
The rock and roll community took to Twitter on late Thursday night to pay their respects to former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland. Weiland was found unresponsive on his tour bus and pronounced dead at the scene. Read tributes below from members of Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Velvet Revolver, Guns N’ Roses, Blink-182, and many more.
Former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland discussed the Grunge explosion of the 1990’s and Nirvana’s influence on him in a new interview with The Shark, as transcribed by Alternative Nation.
“Yeah, you could feel it. It affected more than than just the music, and certain things that each band had in common. It was in their influences, they came a very similar, same place. A mixture of like 60’s garage, 70’s Sabbath, Zeppelin, and punk rock. It was the way that we connected with our generation, Generation X, and the way that we affected youth culture, and pop culture, and also how we influenced the political movement going on at the time.”
“Nirvana, I saw them in a small club in Los Angeles called Raji’s. Jane’s Addiction too, Jane’s Addiction is from Los Angeles, and they were part of that same movement. They just happened to have their album come out a year earlier than Bleach. Those were probably two of my biggest influences.”
Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts are currently touring North America, with tour dates available on ScottWeiland.com. You can also follow Scott Weiland on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Weiland also recently released a new app showcasing his album Blaster, with a new track titled “Back to the City.”
As I walked into Scott Weiland’s room on his tour bus outside of the House of Blues Anaheim in Downtown Disney, I had a feeling that the former Stone Temple Pilots frontman may be aware of Alternative Nation’s critical coverage of him over the last couple of years. When Weiland posed that question to me immediately after I shook his hand, I told him I’m a huge fan and I don’t enjoy writing negative stories about him, but that many of them come directly from his most die hard fans on Stone Temple Pilots’ number one fansite: BelowEmpty.com. Weiland had never heard of it.
I mentioned that I get a lot of my Stone Temple Pilots news and reviews from that forum, just like I do with other fansites like PearlJamOnline. Weiland didn’t understand why’d I’d listen to those types of people, the types who will get upset when they don’t get an autograph. I then told Scott that there is an emphasis on the negative stories and those are the ones that get picked up from other sites, and that we actually did more to pay tribute to his late guitarist Jeremy Brown than any other site on the internet, and cover him more extensively than anyone. Weiland’s Wildabouts bassist Tommy Black, who was also in the room for the interview, agreed that the internet tends to focus on the negative these days.
I also told Scott many stories I do on him are based on other interviews he does with shitty generic questions, or ones that sensationalize his issues, which leads to me having to do stories on those poor interviews that have unflattering headlines since that’s the news out there on him. I told him that this interview is his chance to actually get his side of the story out there to his fans. At this point, we seemed to come to an understanding, as the questions on my coverage of him stopped. It was a conversation that I was glad we had, as there have been many misconceptions on how we cover Scott Weiland on Alternative Nation, and it really helped clear the air and move us in a positive direction to start the interview.
Alternative Nation: I’ve got on an Aladdin Sane David Bowie shirt, so I was wondering what some of your favorite David Bowie songs are?
Scott Weiland: Most of my favorite David Bowie songs were from Low, Lodger, and Heroes.
AN: I’d love to see you cover “Panic in Detroit,” that’s one of my favorite Bowie songs.
SW: Yeah, I’d love to do that as well.
AN: Or how about a Bowie covers album? I think that would be really cool.
SW: Yeah, that would be cool, but it seems a little too obvious, though.
AN: Now I want to get back to the very beginning, something that’s always interested me. I’ve read your book, I’ve interviewedyour original manager Steve Stewart, I’ve talked to the other STP guys [Dean DeLeo, Eric Kretz] about the early days of the band. There’s so much vague and contradictory information out there about the Mighty Joe Young and the Swing years. When it comes to you and Robert [DeLeo], it’s been said that you first saw him play at a UCI frat house then saw him again a year later.
SW: No, not a UCI frat house, he used to come and watch us play at a place called Kiss the Club. When we were teenagers, we’d play there three times a week, and he would come and watch us play, and he would come up and play on a song or two. When I decided with my best friend and guitar player Corey Hickok, when we decided we needed to make a change with the band, we got a hold of Robert and started writing songs with him.
AN: What types of songs were you and Robert writing initially? I’ve heard the title “Drop That Funk,” which I’d love to hear, that got a rise out of Robert DeLeo when I met him a couple of years ago. So what types of songs were you initially writing with Robert and Swing, and do you remember any other titles?
SW: It was more Chili Peppers oriented, like early Chili Peppers oriented. A punk funk kind of vibe.
AN: Do you remember anything else besides “Drop That Funk” from your book?
SW: “Get Up With That Funky Feeling”.
AN: [Laughs] I’d love to hear these by the way, I don’t know why you don’t put these out. Speaking of that, Dean came into the band in 1990 or 1989.
SW: It was ’89.
AN: Finally a definitive answer on that. The band then morphed into Mighty Joe Young. It kind of confused me, there’s a picture in your book though that says it’s from 1990 when you opened for Henry Rollins, with Corey playing.
SW: No, that was Dean. Because we were both upstairs after we got done playing, when Henry was getting ready to walk down the stairway. Dean said, ‘How you doing out there?’ And he said, ‘Why? Is someone going to shoot me?’
AN: [Laughs] That’s why it’s great to get to talk to you, to get to hear about this kind of stuff. So when Dean came into the band, one story that I’ve heard is the first song that you guys wrote is “Where The River Goes.” There’s a demo out there that has stuff like “Dirty Dog” and the really funky stuff, some people say Corey played on some of that.
SW: Yeah, Corey played on some of that.
AN: Those are technically Swing songs then?
SW: They were still Mighty Joe Young songs, we had just changed the name. When Dean came into the band, the name was still Mighty Joe Young, and it was when we got signed, as well. We had to change the name because of the Chicago blues guy Mighty Joe Young.
AN: Yeah, luckily you didn’t go with Shirley Temple’s Pussy. That might not have worked out so well.
SW: It was there for a laugh for a few minutes.
Tommy Black: Really?
SW: [turns to bassist Tommy Black] STP, Shirley Temple’s Pussy.
TB: Oh, really? I didn’t know that. Wow, Shirley Black now.
AN: Yeah, I don’t think that would have worked in the politically correct times of today.
SW: Yeah, that’s unfortunate, [deadpans] that everything has to be Disneyland.
AN: [Laughs] That’s where we are right now.
TB: As we sit here.
AN: I always bring this up when people bring up, ‘Oh, they ripped other people off.’ But “Wicked Garden” and “Only Dying” are on that Mighty Joe Young demo, songs like that. How did you move into songs like that?
SW: Yeah, it started with “Where The River Goes“. Dean came in at our first rehearsal, and brought that song in. At first it was clean guitar, then we made it distorted guitar, and it went from a Cure sounding riff into a Zeppelin sounding riff.
AN: What about “Only Dying”? Why didn’t you guys ever re-record that? I know the story about Brandon Lee dying so it couldn’t be in The Crow, but why didn’t you guys ever do a studio version of that?
SW: It was written way before Brandon Lee died.
AN: When was it written?
SW: It was written in 1990.
AN: It’s good to get a definitive answer on that. The STP Wikipedia article is never going to be the same after tonight! So when did you first become familiar with some of the bigger Grunge era bands like Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and Smashing Pumpkins? I heard something about you discovering Soundgarden when they were on SST, is that true?
SW: Actually on Sub Pop. I was a member of Sub Pop, and used to get singles every month. I saw Nirvana in 1989 I believe it was, at Raji’s [editor’s note: it was February 15, 1990].
AN: Wow, so you saw Nirvana. Did you get to meet Kurt or Krist?
SW: No, no. I was not a well known artist at the time. [Looks at Tommy Black and deadpans] Were you?
TB: No, I was not either.
SW: Did you ever get to see them?
TB: Back then, no.
SW: We used to play Raji’s all the time.
TB: Yeah, I used to go to Raji’s a lot.
AN: I don’t think I was alive back then.
TB: I saw Redd Kross at Raji’s.
AN: So now, talking about the Grunge bands, this always pisses me off when I read it, what were your thoughts on being compared to some of them later?
SW: In the early days, it didn’t matter to me so much, because I felt it was the first real movement in rock and roll since punk rock. It tapped into sociopolitical connotations, and pop culture. It just had a vibe. It influenced fashion, I mean it was a huge, huge movement. But after that, I wanted us to be a band that changed, and we were, we changed from Core to Purple, then Tiny Music especially, we made a garage sounding album.
AN:Shangri LA DEE DA is the most experimental.
SW: Oh yeah.
AN: I play songs sometimes like a “A Song For Sleeping” and “Hello It’s Late” for people after “Dead and Bloated” and they don’t even think it’s the same band, so that proves your staying power.
SW: Or “Bi-Polar Bear.”
AN: You know, I was actually going to jump to that later because it’s kind of different subject matter.
SW: Well it’s not really, because I am bi-polar.
AN: I’ll ask you about that now then. I was just with my friend whose mother is bi-polar, and we were talking about that, and I was saying I’m going to interview Scott Weiland tonight, so I really should ask him about it. In “Bi-Polar Bear” there are lines in it like ‘Left my meds on the sink today, my head will be racing by lunchtime.’ It’s one of the most underrated STP songs to me. I love that you guys played it a few years ago when you were still together, but not at my show unfortunately. But how do you deal with bipolar disorder, how have you dealt with it over the years? Has it ever been better, or worse at certain times?
SW: There were certain groups of medicines that I took that worked for a long time, until they stopped working. Then I started taking a different regiment of medicines. I was on too high of a dose, and it affected some of the shows that I played, but I’m on the right dosage now.
AN: You hear the stories from the fans and stuff, and I want to get your side on this, how does it affect your personality when you are talking to people, and meeting strangers like fans?
SW: I don’t like meeting strangers anyway. I’m just not that kind of guy.
AN: Same here. My anxiety was through the roof in the last few hours before coming here. So right now you’re in a better place when it comes to dealing with it?
SW: Oh yeah, definitely.
AN: That’s really good to hear. Moving back to the early 90’s, when you were in STP you played with Jerry Cantrell a few times, and you played with Alice In Chains in 2007, you did “Angry Chair” when they first did the reunion. Are there any other collaborations you’d like to do with your contemporaries?
SW: I’d love to play with Jack White.
AN: That’d be great, especially with the style you’re going for now with Blaster and the garage rock. Or maybe Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys.
SW: Yeah, The Black Keys would be great. Dan’s awesome.
AN: He’s producing the new Cage The Elephant album.
SW: Oh really?
AN: Yeah. You mentioned Cage The Elephant in your book, are you a fan of them?
SW: Yeah, I am a fan of them. They opened up for STP for awhile.
AN: Yeah, I mentioned to Matt Shultz a few years ago that you thanked Cage The Elephant in your book, and he was really honored, he thought it was really cool. Now going into your relationship with the STP guys, this is where I really want to get your side of the story. I spoke to Eric Kretz a couple of years ago and he talked about what a great friend you were during the early days of STP, and how you two co-writing the lyrics to “Plush” together in a hot tub was a perfect example of that friendship. When did that friendship with the STP members start to go downhill, and when did it become more of just a business relationship? I’m really interested in your take on that.
SW: It was really when I was asked to be on the cover of the magazines, and it wasn’t the band, and the band got really jealous about it. So things kind of changed from that point on, slowly, but surely.
AN: One thing you mentioned on Howard Stern was in 1996 some Tiny Music shows were canceled, and the band held a press conference announcing: “Our singer can’t show up.” Do you think that was a turning point at all in the relationship?
SW: I think so, especially because Dean was a fuckin’ junkie as well, and not admitting to it.
AN: Now you kept going back to STP. After that hiatus where you made 12 Bar Blues, which I love. I wish you would play more of that live.
SW: Different band.
AN: Right. Then you went back to STP for No. 4., but that fell apart a few years later.
Tommy takes a picture of the interview.
AN: [To Tommy] Are you taking a picture? Cool. Say: ‘Scott Weiland and the douchebag.’ [laughs]
AN: So you went back to STP a few times, especially for the reunion in 2008, that was a huge tour. You were going through a lot at the time, Velvet Revolver was just ending, there was just so much going on. Do you think you guys should have reunited in hindsight, or do you think the relationship wasn’t healed at that point?
SW: I think we should have reunited. I just don’t think that we should have tried to produce our own album, especially when Don Was was asking to produce the album. He was so frustrated because no one in the rest of the band would listen to any of his ideas, so he finally went back to the Stones and did that Exile on Main St. reissue.
AN: Yeah, I was going to mention that actually, you just keep going into the things I want to talk about. No matter what went into it, I loved the self-titled STP album. I think “Take a Load Off” could have been a hit, some other songs too. I love “Maver”, that is one of my favorite songs you’ve ever written.
SW: I think “Maver” is a great song.
AN: Yeah, and it’s never been played live unfortunately. “Between The Lines” too, it’s just a really catchy album. For a lot of these veteran bands that come out, the songs don’t have the hooks, but for that album you guys did, and I loved it. But when I talked to the other guys a couple years ago, they mentioned you were working on your vocals separately from the band, and the DeLeos were producing the album.
SW: Everyone was producing the album.
AN: At Eric’s studio, Bombshelter.
SW: Yeah. Those guys were doing their part of the production, doing the instrumentation, and I was at my studio Lavish with Don Was producing my vocals.
AN: So where did you guys get crossed up there? That you wanted Don Was to be the producer and the DeLeos wanted to produce it themselves?
SW: Yeah, they were insistent on producing themselves, and I didn’t feel that was a good idea, there’s too many producers in the band. We had Don Was at our disposal, and we should have let him be the leader.
AN: Do you think that did a lot to hurt the relations of the band at the time?
SW: Yeah, I think so.
AN: That’s very interesting. Do you think if Brendan O’Brien had produced it [Editor’s note: He produced the original five STP records before their 2003 separation], it would have turned out better? Why didn’t you guys go with Brendan?
SW: That was the idea of the rest of the guys. It was always something that we voted on, and they didn’t want to work with Brendan.
AN: Do you think in hindsight obviously, you had your point of view, it does sound like having an intermediary producer would have probably worked better with what was going on with the band at the time, but do you have any regrets in hindsight? Do you think you guys could have worked it out better when it came to the decision of making that album?
SW: If we would have gone with a producer, just like we did with all of the rest of our records with Brendan, where he was the guy where if it came to it, he had the last word.
AN: Another point of contention about STP during that era was the setlist, it was the greatest hits setlist especially as we went into the last couple of years of the reunion. I read that you wanted to work in more deep cuts, and freshen it up.
SW: Yep. I also wanted to do the 20th anniversary of Core, and do that album in its entirety, but they didn’t want to do that.
AN: Why didn’t they want to do it?
SW: I don’t know. I have no idea.
AN: Did you guys have conversations about that? Because I know there was a meeting at somebody’s house.
SW: Yeah, there was a conversation, but they didn’t want to do it. They said: ‘Let’s do Purple.’ Or let’s do the 21st reunion of fuckin’ Core. It’s like 20th works, 21st doesn’t.
AN: So they wanted to combine the tours then?
AN: Then you ended up doing that tour. I don’t know if you can talk about that.
SW: I can.
AN: What led to you doing that?
SW: Because we didn’t have an album yet, so we decided to do a combination of the two albums.
AN: Now I’ve got to ask you, I like Blaster, but that Purple at the CoreTour, some fans weren’t big on it. What do you think went on with that tour that led to criticism of it?
SW: I think because we had a five piece band, and that five piece band had two guitar players, and the main guitar player who really was the most impressive, was Jeremy Brown, and he was only the rhythm guitar player in that band.
AN: I recognized the faces in the Wildabouts before it was even the Wildabouts, like Jeremy and Tommy, but after Doug [Grean] left it seemed like it got a lot better, at least musically.
SW: Yeah, it became a lot cleaner.
AN: Because there was a lot of noodling before that.
SW: There was a lot more space between the notes. What do you have to say about that Tommy?
TB: The space was good. The space opened things up. It got heavier.
AN: Just coming from a fan’s perspective, that’s really improved the show. You never really know if someone’s going to be ‘tired’ or something, but everything always sounds great musically. When it comes to playing live, do you wish you could tour less? Does it burn you out having to tour so much?
SW: Not really. It burns me out missing my wife, that burns me out, but she comes out every now and again on the road.
TB: She’s the band Mom.
SW: Yeah, she is the band Mom.
AN: You mentioned on Howard Stern a few years ago, I don’t know if circumstances have changed, but you have to tour a certain amount to make a certain amount of money.
SW: Well you have to, because rock bands don’t sell. STP and fuckin’ Velvet Revolver sold 6, 7, 8 million records at a time, and that just doesn’t happen in rock and roll any more. Taylor Swift might sell, might smell, a million records.
AN: You should have pushed “The Man I Didn’t Know” [from Happy in Galoshes] to the country crowd [laughs], that’d be a big crossover, another song I love. You do a ridiculous amount of shows. I look at your contemporaries like Chris Cornell, and sure they tour, but it’s not crazy like you when you look at the amount of dates. Do you think there’s a way you could do less shows and maybe monetize them more so you could tour less? Maybe an acoustic tour, where the fans help out with the setlist?
SW: These songs aren’t really acoustic in nature. The only thing we could really do is license more songs to film and TV to come up with a financially better situation, but other than that, the only way to make money is to tour, [sarcastically] is to be a road dog.
AN: [Laughs] Now I’ve got to ask a little bit about Velvet Revolver. Somebody told a reporter of mine this, I think it was 10 years ago, your bandmates in Velvet Revolver who were in Guns N’ Roses were offered hundreds of millions for a reunion, and there were rumors at the time. I think you wrote a letter to Axl [Rose] at the time, it was pretty funny, calling him a wig wearing fuck or something. It was pretty amusing, I don’t know if you’d remember it.
SW: I remember a little bit about it. There was a little going back and forth between the two of us at the time, but I think that Guns N’ Roses are getting back together.
AN: Why do you think they’re getting back together?
SW: I just heard that.
TB: We’ve heard rumors.
SW: Oh, so there’s a scoop. My next question was going to be who is more likely to play with Slash at this point, you or Axl Rose. So do you think it’s Axl at this point?
SW: I think Slash is actually a bigger star right now than Axl.
TB: Slash is a brand.
SW: He’s the hat.
AN: Now I’ve got to ask you too about the Velvet Revolver thing, you said the band was reuniting a couple of years ago.
SW: Because we did a show together, and there was talk about us getting back together, but Perla, Slash’s ex-wife, kind of put the kibosh on everything.
AN: Oh wow, really? That’s surprising. But you did an interview at the time, I even remember the outlet, ABC News Radio, you said the band was getting back together and writing a new album.
SW: Not writing a new album, but as far as getting back together, I thought at the time we would get back together and do a tour.
AN: Dave Kushner said there was a little miscommunication at the time when I talked to him. Moving onto Blaster, there’s some pretty emotional stuff lyrically… “Circles” and “Amethyst” especially, those are two of my favorites. I feel like with the right push those could do well on radio.
SW: I think “Circles” would be great for a film, for an indie film.
AN: I love the song, but why did you choose to use autotune on that? Or was it autotune?
SW: It’s usually a harmonizer. It’s a harmonizer, not autotune.
AN: Then that will dispel that myth, because that’s what a lot of fans say.
SW: No, no autotune.
AN: So what was your inspiration lyrically behind those songs? I listened to those songs, and they still have the emotional resonance your older stuff does, because sometimes I’ll listen to other 90’s artists as they age, and it doesn’t really have that, but how are you still able to get that emotion down lyrically, especially this late into your career?
SW: A lot of it had to do with my relationship with my wife, and the producer Rick Parker that we had, who was a huge friend, and played in bands with Blacky Onassis here.
TB: Yeah. I was a band called Sparklier with Rick. We brought Rick in, I’ve always worked with him, and he had such a good vibe, I knew they would be a perfect match, and his bedside manner in the studio would work perfectly.
SW: Yeah, and he brought Jeremy to really advance –
TB: He helped him bloom.
SW: He helped him bloom, exactly.
AN: Another thing about Blaster that I don’t think anybody has asked you about, is James Iha played on “Blue Eyes,” how did that work out?
SW: Yeah, he wrote part of the song, then we finished writing the song, and then he wanted to play on it, so he came in and played on it.
TB: He’s a cool guy.
SW: He’s a cool guy, very nice. A gentleman.
AN: I’ve interviewed him and Corgan, very different personalities. It’s hard to see how they played together. Now where do you see yourself going in the next 5 to 10 years musically? Is your goal to get back to an arena level, maybe with the right amount of hits with the Wildabouts?
SW: Hell yeah!
AN: Or with another STP or Velvet Revolver run, or another supergroup? Is it your goal to get back to that level?
SW: I’m not interested in another supergroup. If there was a tour for STP or Velvet Revolver, I would do that, but this is my band, this is where I want to be in arenas. I think we write great enough songs to be able to put us back in that place. We want to follow the path of, like, Queens of the Stone Age.
AN: You’ve always had the passion for your solo career, even when you were still with Velvet Revolver or STP. You love your solo career so much, do you think that might have affected what was going on with STP? Do you think if you got back together with STP or Velvet Revolver, it’d be for the right reasons at this point since your heart is in the Wildabouts?
SW: I can’t say about Velvet Revolver, but I can say about STP, they had three bands besides the band that I was in with them. I had Magnificent Bastards, then I had my own two solo albums.
AN: And Art of Anarchy.
SW: Well no, that wasn’t a band of mine though. I wish those guys the best of luck, I hope they do great, but I was told by my management at the time, Carl Stubner, that all I had to do for the money was write the melodies, write the lyrics, and sing the songs. I was lied to by him.
AN: When it comes to STP at this point, do you think about the legacy at all? Because Chester is in the band –
AN: It was a couple of weeks ago, they only did one show. They had canceled a show before that. So you don’t think he’s in the band any more?
SW: He’s got a band where he gets paid $700,000 a night with, and with STP, the brand is kind of falling apart, which is a shame.
AN: I wanted to ask you about that, do you think the legacy can be repaired, at least during your guys lifetimes? No matter what, people are going to love those songs 100 years from now, they’re just timeless. But do you think the legacy can be repaired during your lifetime?
SW: Yeah, if we did a reunion tour, it could be.
AN: But what do you think you’d have to do to make it different from the previous run, to really make it end on a strong note? Do you think there’s a way to do that, and repair the relationship with the guys?
SW: I don’t know, that depends on them.
Overall, the interview was a very positive experience. It was a dream come true to get to interview one of my favorite singers of all time. We can be critical of Weiland on Alternative Nation, but at the end of the day it’s because we care, and we’re always rooting for him. Weiland was right on time for the interview, we cleared up the issues he had with our coverage of him, and he was able to share his side of the story on what led to the rise and fall of Stone Temple Pilots’ original lineup.
Weiland’s entire crew, and bandmates, were class acts. Wildabouts bassist Tommy Black definitely helped Scott feel more comfortable during the interview, and I had a quick conversation with drummer Joey Castillo (formerly of Queens of the Stone Age) about Pearl Jam’s early days as Mookie Blaylock. Scott’s new manager Tom Vitorino is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met in the music business. We talked a bit about David Bowie, and he even hugged me following the interview! I can’t thank him enough for making this happen.
When it comes to the concert, The Icarus Line and Slater Slums were solid openers for Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, and Weiland’s headlining set was a vast improvement over the 2011 Christmas album tour I saw. Weiland’s backing band is much tighter now with Joey Castillo on drums, the lineup seems primed to record some solid material in the near future.
One of the very best bands to come from the Seattle Grunge scene is Alice in Chains. Some consider them the Kings of Grunge. With Layne’s sultry and unparalleled voice, and the harmonious melodies between him and Jerry Cantrell, made this unlike any other band of its kind to date. Though Alice in Chains have had many obstacles, they’ve still managed make some of the most powerful songs ever. Those same songs are now reaching new generations, and are still among the most played records in thousands of homes worldwide. I can say I’m a true Alice in Chains fan, and honestly, love all of their songs, there are however, quite a few songs considered “underrated”. Underrated because of a few factors: no airplay, critic reviews and lack of promotion.
Over the past two months, Alternative Nation did a poll on a social media site, and asked many Alice in Chains fans what they believed the underrated Alice in Chains songs were. We’ve narrowed down the list based on the numbers and we are sharing results with you, the readers.
10. Sludge Factory: Album- Alice in Chains
9. Don’t Follow: Album- Jar of Flies
8. Sunshine: Album- Facelift
7. Rain When I Die: Album- Dirt
6. Black Gives Way to Blue: Album- Black Gives Way to Blue
5. Junkhead: Album- Dirt
4. Hate to Feel: Album- Dirt
3. Confusion: Album- Facelift
2. Am I Inside: Album- SAP
1. Frogs: Album- Alice in Chains
Certainly, there are more songs that one might consider underrated by this powerhouse band. Even if you aren’t a die-hard fan, give them a listen, and I’m sure you’ll agree that these should have had more exposure.
Within each Alice in Chains song, there is a story, a personal account of feelings, and a message to the listeners. The message is a subliminal one, and one that brings you back for yet another listen. Alice in Chains have been storytellers for almost 29 years; and even though Layne Staley and Mike Starr are no longer with us, we continue to hear them in the older songs, as we listen to our CD’s, vinyl and even digital downloads. Those songs are never forgotten; who can forget Mike Starr singing in the back ground in ”Confusion”? Or Ann Wilson singing background vocals for “Am I Inside”, and Sir Elton John, playing the piano in Jerry Cantrell’s tribute to Layne Staley, in “Black Gives Way to Blue”.
These days, William DuVall has taken over the lead singing of Alice in Chains, and although he is never expected to fill Layne’s shoes, he’s now a welcome addition to Seattle’s favorite Grunge band. More stories are being written as we speak, and soon those subliminal messages will be coming to us again, and we’ll be waiting.
Chris Cornell was recently asked when he realized Soundgarden ‘made it’ during a recent interview with Y108, as transcribed by Alternative Nation. Cornell discussed other Seattle bands that formed after Soundgarden outselling them during Grunge’s explosion in 1992. Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Alice In Chains all formed after Soundgarden.
“No, I don’t think that happened to us really so much. Soundgarden sort of had this slow, but sure, steady increase of our own fans through kind of our indie years. We started out doing van tours in the U.S. and Europe. Those are kind of long tours. We started touring extensively off of our first full length album, which was on SST, in I think 1987 or 1988. By mid 1992, when suddenly the whole world was talking about Seattle music, there were other bands that were outselling us kind of, that didn’t even exist when we were formed, and slogging around. So I don’t think we ever felt that, I think what we felt is we’re able to do this and not have regular jobs. I kind of remember that. But I also think that we did it for so long just kind of on our own, that there was no such thing as that ‘finish line,’ or ‘we made it.’
When you go on tour as a young band, when you’re sort of successful enough as a road band to have a guitar tech, and a sound guy, and a bass tech, or a drum tech, you’ll hear all those guys talk about previous bands they worked with, all of which will have been washed up by then. You listen to that, and you still haven’t actually started to sell records yet, and you start to realize: ‘Oh, this isn’t one of those things where you make it, and then it is sort of yours forever.’ This is something that is an ongoing process, where you kind of live in that world. Things are going to go up, and they’re going to come back down again, and then, if you’re lucky, they’ll go back up again.”
Cornell also discussed changing toilet paper rolls, and whether he likes to have the paper come from over the top, or under the bottom. “Over the top. Under the bottom, it can tear off, and then you can’t find the bottom.”
Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic appeared on Fox Business’ Kennedy on Wednesday. Kennedy, who hosted MTV’s Alternative Nation in the 90’s, asked Novoselic about Grunge’s impact on the music industry and how it killed hair metal. Alternative Nation transcribed Novoselic’s comments.
“Things flipped like day and night. You had the hair metal bands, they had these really soft features and fluffy hair.”
Kennedy added, “Like Chris Cornell, great metal voice.”
Novoselic responded, “I love Chris, but Soundgarden wasn’t like a hair metal band. They had these soft physical features, but this macho bravado. Then Grunge rock came out, and we had facial hair and flannel shirts, but feminine sensibilities.”
Kennedy also asked Novoselic if he still dreams about Kurt Cobain. Novoselic described the dreams, “I do. It’s beautiful, it’s just loving. You know when you lose somebody, and you see them in a dream, and you just feel all this love, it’s nice.”
He also discussed Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
“I think if Bernie Sanders gets elected, we might have Sanka, but that’s his charm, he’s like the uncle who drank Sanka. Bernie Sanders is cool, I’m concerned about the position he takes on Citizens United vs. FEC.”
“First of all, it’s a very cynical title. You have someone like Bernie Sanders, standing in front of a crowd of 14,000 people, and he’s disparaging the term ‘citizens united.’ The last I checked citizens united, coming together, is a good thing.”
The Cars, Chic, Chicago, Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, Janet Jackson, The J.B.’s, Chaka Khan, Los Lobos, Steve Miller, Nine Inch Nails, N.W.A., The Smiths, The Spinners, and Yes are among the nominees for the 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You can vote by clicking here. Nine Inch Nails were first nominated last year but they failed to get inducted.
While many speculated that Pearl Jam would be eligible, they are not up for the 2016 class, as the official rule is that you must have released recorded material 25 years prior, and Ten was released in August 1991, with the ceremony taking place in April 2016. Nirvana made it in 2014 since “Love Buzz” had been released in 1988.
While Pearl Jam weren’t eligible for 2016 (they will be for 2017), three Grunge era bands are eligible yet didn’t make the cut: Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, and Jane’s Addiction.
Green Day were inducted earlier this year. Billie Joe Armstrong had the following to say during his acceptance speech:
“I’m at a loss for words right now. The gratitude that I feel right now is overwhelming, and I didn’t really want to prepare for something like this, so I didn’t. I couldn’t really write a speech so I’m going to make it up off the top of my head with a few talking points.
First, I just want to thank my family, my boys, Jakob and Joey. And Adrienne, I love you, we’ve been married forever. It’s a rare thing, this crazy rock world, and I love you so much, you’re the best. I gotta thank my mom, Ollie Louise Armstrong, she’s from Oklahoma. You and dad had six kids, I’m the youngest one, and my house — the one thing that I am so grateful for is all of the music that was in our house. My oldest brother Alan, he had the Beatles and the Stones and the Kinks. We used to come to his house and sleep over there and we’d watch Showtime at night, and I’d watch Alice Cooper at 12 o’clock, it was a good time to watch it. And my sister, Marci, who’s pretty much the person who showed me Elvis Presley for the first time. And my sister Hollie was like “Kool and the Gang.” And my sister Anna who basically, that record collection that you had turned my world inside out. Thank you so much. If anything, it’s a lot of people here right now. It’s like my record collection is actually sitting in this room.
The fact that I got to hear an album like Horses by Patti Smith . . . my brother David, we listened to Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Mötley Crüe and Cheap Trick, and Pyromania by Def Leppard, and a few others that hopefully will be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame soon. My house was like Rock and Roll High School. Literally, it was nuts. All my friends would come over to my house and say, where do you smoke weed at? The Armstrong house. [Laughs] No, that didn’t happen.
My bandmates, Mike, me and Mike got together, our school district went bankrupt, so they closed down the junior high and combined two elementary schools. So he went to one elementary and I went to the other, we used to have to take the bus out there. First day of elementary school, I think in fifth grade, I was like the class clown, but Mike was like the class clown, so it was kind of like these dueling banjos that was going to go back and forth. What you get is Deliverance. Mike is my musical soulmate and I love you so much and we’ve been through everything together, and I thank you for everything – your friendship, your family. I love you.”
Chris Cornell discussed the reasons Soundgarden are underrated and how they were more adventurous than other bands of their era in a new Status Magazine interview.
“I could say that maybe in some levels, Soundgarden is underrated. If I could say all the arrogant things about my band, I think that out of all the rock bands that probably came out in the same era, we’re one of the most experimental. I could say that we were the most varied in our songwriting. I think we were way more adventurous from one album to the next.”
He also talked about the competition of the Grunge era, “We’re kind of trying to one-up each other without really talking about it, and that was good, that really elevated each other.”
“Twenty years ago, we were sort of everyone’s contemporaries. There’s a certain amount of feeling that we’re special and that we’ve achieved this level of success than can make us feel like we’re ‘rockstars.’ But it’s very different now. In their minds, these 15-year old kids would think that we’re legends on stage, in a way that I would look at Neil Young, because he would sing to a form that I would never have thought about, song that I would never expect.”
Shame, the well loved grunge band from Milan, Italy, came to Seattle, WA a couple of weeks ago to play some of their original music. Alternative Nation was able to check them out as they performed at one of their scheduled venues in town.
The music was fresh, engaging, and hair thrashing and still had the sound of the grunge era, we all miss. This music was something Seattle craved to have back and never let out of its grips again. When they started playing, I could see why they are popular in Milan. As from the get-go, my head from bobbing up and down, back and forth to the beat of the drums, and the screams of the guitar. I was now hooked.
After they played, I was able to speak to Shame’s front man Andrea Paglione, asking him just a few questions.
When did Shame start out?
We started in 1996 as a teenage power-trio mostly influenced by the Seattle Sound.
You guys have had some experience in Seattle, why is it that you keep coming back?
We feel at home in Seattle, and Seattle has opened their arms to us and we feel loved. We want to stay here, we have friends here, which is now our family too.
Do you have a discography list?
Yes we absolutely do!
SAD – EP released in 2002
Gone-LP released in 2008
Induction of Penitence-EP released in 2009 and
Entropia- LP released in 2014
Andrea also told me that they are working on their next album, hopefully to be out not too far into the future. To answer that one question you might have, yes, their music is recorded in the English language.
Band members are as follows; Andrea Paglione, lead vocals/guitar, Pino Foderaro, guitar, Marco Riboldi, backing vocals/bass guitar and Claudio Ciaccia, drums.
Check out their latest LP Entropia, which is available on iTunes and Amazon You can also find out more about their band through their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/shametheband
Layne Staley- Mike Starr Seattle Tribute Weekend Recap
Written by Cindy Slade
Edited and review co-written by Brett Buchanan
This past weekend marked the 14th annual birthday celebration for late Alice In Chains singer Layne Staley. After the passing of Alice In Chains original bassist Mike Starr in 2011, the annual August tributes incorporated the celebration of his life as well.
Layne Staley’s 48th birthday would have been this past Saturday, August 22nd, and that date is also why the annual tributes are around this date annually.
As someone who has attended these tributes off and on over the years (regularly since 2013), this year was a combination of spectacular, and absolutely magical.
On Friday August 21st, the celebration started off at the Central Saloon in Seattle for an acoustic night for fans 21 and older. The coordinator of this weekend’s events JT Phillips (who also plays guitar in Alice In Chains tribute band Jar of Flies and Soundgarden/Temple of the Dog tribute band Outshined) told me that they wanted to do an acoustic night to replicate MTV’s “Unplugged” show, which Alice In Chains performed on in 1996. They were able to achieve this by bringing in “flameless” candles with dim lighting. Jar of Flies’ “Unplugged” replication was on the money at least setlist wise, as they played just about every song from that show, except two I’m told, and they also played them in the same order as well. Outshined also performed, as did “Poottana…Play for Money,” a Nirvana tribute band all the way over from Milan, Italy. This is Poottana’s second time coming over to perform for the annual tribute weekend. Their last visit was in 2013.
One thing I didn’t know is that both Jar of Flies and Outshined are really considered one big band. That’s because both Jar of Flies and Outshined have the same members, except for the singers. Rane Stone is the lead singer of Jar of Flies, and Kevin Hoffman is the lead singer of Outshined. JT told me that it’s like one big brotherhood, and judging from the show they clearly love what they do.
The very next night, Saturday August 22nd, was the all-ages show at The Crocodile, which just so happens to be co-owned by Alice In Chains drummer Sean Kinney. It was evident that the show was sold out. The maximum capacity of 525 people had been reached, but with the energy it felt like well over 1000. Italians rockers Poottana…Play for Money opened the show. The band consists of the following wonderfully talented musicians; Pino Foderaro-guitarist, Andrea Paglione (lead vocals/guitar), Claudio Ciaccia (drums), and Steve Stewie Armeli (bassist). They go by Shame the Band when they perform original material.
From the very moment Poottana…Play for Money went on, the crowd was on fire, they were like kids at their first concert. Jar of Flies and Outshined guitarist Shannon Sharp was definitely touched by the performance, saying he closed his eyes and for a second thought it was Kurt Cobain out there singing. Poottana..Play for Money ended their set with Nirvana’s seminal hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
The Outshined portion of the big “brotherhood” band performed next. A soulful Kevin Hoffman sang Mother Love Bone’s “Stardog Champion” in memory of the late Andrew Wood to end their set on an emotional high note.
Jar of Flies headlined the show, led by the charismatic Rane Stone. Their set was filled with special guests who honored Layne Staley and Mike Starr. Mad Season’s “I Don’t Know Anything” was a definite standout. Jason Kertson sang “Down in a Hole”, “What the Hell Have I?” and “Again”. On “Again” Jason sang with JoF bassist Lee Bruso, which was brilliant and closely replicated the recorded version, due to Layne Staley’s use of stacking his vocals through innovative production techniques when he was recording that song for the Tripod album.
Powertrain & Pretso Ballet bassist Bobby Ferkovich and drummer Martin Lyson stepped in for “What The Hell Have I?” and “Again.” The next special guest was Randy Vanadisson, performing an original song with JT Phillips, written for Layne, titled “Body and Soul.” The final guest was Stacey Meyer who sang “Junkhead.” Stacey is also the vocalist for Seattle band Furniture Girls. Jar of Flies closed the show with a rousing rendition of “Would”.
I had a chance to talk to the band members and about why it’s important for them to continue to perform at these shows. Here is Alternative Nation’s interview with Jar of Flies vocalist Rane Stone.
Alternative Nation: Rane, why do you continue to do the Layne Staley and Mike Starr tributes year after year?
Rane Stone: Interesting question, we could go on and on about Layne and Mike and the fans and the families, music, how it meant so much and all…but in reality, we never knew Layne or Mike. So, us being philosophical about reasons and feelings, and emotions and such about why we do it in order to, most likely, manipulate people into thinking that we do it for some higher purpose of “channeling Layne” or recreating some moment of walking in the flesh of spirits and such; well that’s just a bunch of fakery. We do it for the legacy and heritage of the Seattle music scene. Our main reason is the preservation of a period of time for the historical, musical heritage and legacy of what meant SO very much to so many over the world.
AN: When did you join Jar of Flies?
RS: I joined in 2005, been doing it about 10 years. It has been a blast and I’m so thankful and grateful for the opportunity to be just a small part of it. IT IS AWESOME!
AN: Why is it important for Jar of Flies to replicate the original sound of Alice in Chains?
RS: Well obviously they were the Led Zeppelin of a generation. So you don’t go Led Zeppelin’s back yard and start playing a hack version of their songs, and since we’re in the backyard of AIC, with all their friends and families usually in attendance, we better not do a hack job of that either. Tell the stories the way the stories were told; no more, no less. Give homage, give respect, show some class and do it in a way that their friends and family can be proud of the performance. If it isn’t on par, or at least in the ballpark of the original, then don’t touch it, don’t do it and just move on. If we can’t do it right, we simply just will not do it at all.
AN: How are you able to engage the crowd so easily?
RS: Am I? I don’t notice. I’m just being myself. I do make efforts to remove as much as myself from the performance as possible, because it is about the material of the music and has absolutely nothing to do with me. I get to just enjoy the ride. Maybe that is why…People see that we as a band are having fun, and in that, everyone else is able to see and know that they can have fun as well. It’s a celebration! So, let’s have some fun together remembering the times we all heard those songs for the very first time! Let’s be kids again in high school/college for a couple of hours. Let’s rock out together!
AN: I noticed you guys played some songs you don’t normally play, was there a specific reason for that?
RS: I think that has to do with just wanting to keep each performance fresh. Change it up. Do songs that people may have never heard live before. Do acoustic versions of songs that have never been done before. We have done the entire Dirt, Jar of Flies and Facelift Albums before, and some songs work well live and others don’t. We have yet to do the entire SAP and Alice in Chains (Tripod) albums yet…..and yet to do Mad Season Above in it’s entirety. But…I’m sure we will….soon.
AN: For someone that has been attending your shows regularly over the years, I noticed this year in particular was nothing short of electrifying, did you feel that too? And if you did, why do you think that is?
RS: Well, let’s put it this way, we knew this weekend was going to be magical. We didn’t know why or how, we just knew it. And it was. The entire weekend was absolutely magical and we are so happy that people from all over the country and all over the world were able to be a part of this celebration of life and music and memory. We feel so tremendously blessed to be just a small part of some aspect that does its best to provide a time and a place for the friends, families and fans that adored this music and these lives so very dearly and so very much. We feel honored to have been a part of it and it is an absolute privilege for us to be able to do this for so many people that love and adore Alice in Chains and Seattle music in general. We feel very full, thankful and grateful.
AN: What does it feel like to have a sold out show?
RS: AMAZBALLS dripping with AWESOMESAUCE!! When it came down that by 8:30pm, 15 minutes before the show….IT WAS SOLD OUT!?!? On Layne’s B-Day Party Celebration!?!? I just chuckled to myself and said “Thank you Layne, Thank You Mike, Thank You Andrew, Thank You Kurt. Let’s go have some fun, guys! You guys Rock.”
AND THEY DID ROCK….the entire night. Portions of the proceeds from the weekend’s events goes to the Layne Staley Memorial Fund through Therapeutic Health Services in Seattle; if you’d like to donate, click here.
I briefly spoke with Pino Foderaro, the guitarist for Poottana..Play for Money. He told me (on behalf of himself and the band) that it was the Seattle music that brought them here. He said the main reason they came back is because they felt loved by so many people. In Italy, they also do their own annual tributes for Layne and Mike in April. They also donate a portion of the proceeds from their events to the Layne Staley Memorial Fund through Therapeutic Health Services also.
I would like to take the opportunity to introduce the band members by name and how long they’ve been playing with Jar of Flies and Outshined.
Jar of Flies and Outshined are:
Rane Stone- Vocalist for Jar of Flies, since 2005
Kevin Hoffman-Vocalist for Outshined, since 2012
JT Phillips- Guitarist for Jar of Flies/Outshined, since 2006
Shannon Sharp- Guitarist for Jar of Flies/Outshined, since 2006
Daryl Williams-Drums for Jar of Flies/Outshined, since 2005
Lee Bruso- Bassist for Jar of Flies/Outshined, since 2013
In a new interview with Conesquence of Sound, Buzz Osborne, the singer and songwriter for the Melvins talked about, among other things, how he knew that the Melvins would never be “million-selling popstars” and how the looks of Kurt Cobain and Chris Cornell contributed to their success.
“Weirdly enough,” Buzz said, “by the late ‘80s we were making enough money, barely, to not have to have another job besides playing in the Melvins. We were very creative financially to make that happen. But this was long before the grunge explosion or any of that happened. We knew very well that we were probably going to do okay, but it was never going to be in the millions of people liking us. Nobody understood that better than me. So, I never had any false ideas that we were going to be million-selling pop stars.
Cobain had that wounded junkie look that people at MTV thought was so amazing. But, honestly, if him or Chris Cornell looked like Fat Albert, they’d never have sold anywhere near as many records. Nobody would’ve cared. The whole package was there. Whether people believe that or not, it does make a difference. I don’t look like Chris Cornell, and I’m never going to. I’ve never had those false delusions. So, oh well, that’s how it looks.
Once in a while it happens, where looks don’t matter. But I’m very at home with where all that stuff is. If somebody wanted to dismiss our band because of what we look like, then I can’t spend any time worrying about it.”
In an interview with Noisey, Buzz Osborne of the Melvins talked about, among other things, the state of modern music.
“Musically, I mean the music is just nothing. There’s nothing there at all. ” Buzz said, “I might as well be listening to the sink drip. Really, it’d be more entertaining. And as far as the rest of it goes, nobody’s fooled by it. There’s no singing or music going on there. That’s clearly obvious. Even rock bands now, I would say a large percentage don’t even play live. So that’s how far down on the scale we’ve come. Now you have to give credit when people actually play. That’s fucked up.”
In the interview, Buzz also went on to praise Nine Inch Nails, and their 1994 album, The Downward Spiral, stating that they are his “guilty pleasure.”
In a new interview with Noisy, Alice In Chains singer/guitarist Jerry Cantrell discussed racist comments the band had received about the band having an African-American singer.
“[The comments] didn’t specifically address it; it’s not specifically about that, no. But we’ve had a handful of people, a handful of unfortunate individuals who are friends of the band, who’ve made comments in that area. But we’re a multiracial band, you know? [Mike] Inez is Filipino-American, William is African-American, Sean and I are like American mutts. We’re not exempt from the world we live in, and those are some things that William and Mike have probably dealt with more than Sean and I.”
Soundgarden bassist Ben Shepherd’s solo album debut In Deep Owl is an astonishingly good debut album. Even more surprising is the fact after listening to this album one is made aware of just how much of Soundgarden’s sound might actually be attributed to Shepherd’s sound.There’s no blazing Kim Thayil solos here, nor is there anything near the wail of Cornell, but the solid, methodically plodding, and more often than not dreary atmospherics that saturate In Deep Owl, and rear their head in Shepherd composed Soundgarden tracks like “Head Down,” are instantly recognizable to any long time Soundgarden fan. Thick sludgy bass, rhythmically picked electric and acoustic guitar, and plodding beats (staple Soundgarden sounds) are here slowed down and instead of accompanying Shepherd’s Mark Lanegan-esque vocals, actually buoy them. Images of cloudy desert-scapes and rainy Northwest afternoons are conjured, but with more haunting beauty than hard driving angst.
“Stone Pale” opens the album on a slightly old western vibe with its slow acoustic guitar work and Shepherd’s lyrics about “whistling hangmen.” “Koda” boasts a beat dangerously akin to the aforementioned “Head Down,” but veers into new territory with some intricate drumming, and, of course, Shepherd’s down tuned vocals. “Collide” plays along like a cool twilight drive through the desert southwest evoked by Shepherd’s lyrics about leaving the lights off while his passenger sleeps the last few miles of their journey. “Loose Ends,” one of the album’s standout tracks, tells the story of friendship lost, and not easily regained. It’s one of the more upbeat sounding tracks on the album (despite its sorrowful theme). “Neverone Blues” plods along almost too slowly and really doesn’t evoke the blues as much as its title might suggest, but Shepherd’s vocals channel Maynard James Keenan’s at their most deep and distorted. “Veritas” contains some of the albums most intricate and over layered guitar work, and is one of the album’s longest tracks at 4 minutes and 58 seconds. It also has some of the most interesting lyrics: “Kings, gods, and virgins, will be forgotten.” “Baron Robber” is the album’s rocker. It actually would have been a great fit on any Soundgarden album. It’s the album’s strongest, and loudest, track. On “From the Blue Book,” Shepherd indulges in his love of odd time signatures. It’s the albums most interesting track from a composition standpoint. “Keystone” is a great mid-tempo rocker that’s beautifully strummed. “The Great Syrup Accident” is another mid-tempo rocker, but much less inspiring than “Keystone.” There’s surely a great story behind the song’s title though. “The Train You Can’t Win” closes out the album and is an acoustic ballad that would make Neil Young himself proud.
In Deep Owl is the type of solo album debut that would make any musician proud. Ben Shepherd’s solo career has begun, and already he’s left us wanting more.
There has been a lot of talk over the past few days in social media regarding Melvins’ drummer, Dale Crover, after a photo was recently posted on (the) Melvins Facebook page. The photo, taken during their night in Atlanta as they begin to wrap up their 30th anniversary tour, shows Coady, their secondary drummer borrowed from the stoner rock band, Big Business, Buzzo, a rambunctious Andre3000, and a very slimmed down Dale Crover.
There were quite a few comments posted on Facebook giving notice to the guest-star of Outkast fame, Andre3000, but most of the posters were focused on a seemingly metamorphosized Crover.
Here’s just a few quotes from Melvins’ fans, that go from congratulatory and surprise to general concern for the drummer’s health:
“Dale looks like he’s lost a decent amount of weight. Good job dude!”
“what the f***, is this some amazing photoshop, i am not surpised (sic) about andre 3000 but dale crover looks like he lost 100 lbs”
“Look at dale! Atkins? Crystal meth?”
I sat backstage with the Melvins last September during their 51/51 tour and Dale definitely looked about 40 or 50 pounds heavier then than he does today. The new Dale doesn’t actually look unhealthy, but the rapid weight loss does arouse some questions, if not concern.
Compare the new photo to one I took in September and speculate until we get some proof positive answers. For now I’ll just say, congratulations and keep up the good work Dale! And I really can’t wait to hear his bass skills on the upcoming record, Tres Cabrones.