Sunday, July 31, 2011

On the turntable this Sunday...Genesis




Genesis is the 12th studio album by Genesis. It was recorded and released in 1983. Most fans, as well as the band themselves, refer to this album as the "Mama" album. In some cases, notably amongst the Genesis online community, it has been referred to as the "Shapes" or "Gold Shapes" album because of the front cover artwork.
Building on the advancements of AbacabGenesis (so named for the fact that all three band members composed every song on it together for the first time), was a further example of Genesis' evolution in the 1980s. The album also marked the beginning of Hugh Padgham's formal production assistance after engineering Abacab.
The drum machine, used to startling effect on lead-single "Mama", was central to the song's atmosphere, and was responsible for further opening up songwriting possibilities within the band. One of their most uncommercial releases, "Mama", a song about a young boy's obsession with a prostitute, became Genesis' biggest UK hit, reaching #4 upon release, although the song did not do well in the US singles chart.
Further successes "That's All" (which became the band's first US Top 10 hit), "Illegal Alien" and "Taking It All Too Hard" ensured thatGenesis was well received, and it consequently reached #1 in the UK where it remained in the charts for 51 weeks. It also reached #9 in the US, eventually selling over four million copies there alone.
Among fans, the album has a generally favourable, yet still mixed reputation.
SACD / DVD double disc set (including new 5.1 and Stereo mixes) was released in October 2007 in Europe and as a CD and DVD double disc set in the US and Canada a month later.
The shapes on the cover are from the Tupperware "Shape O Toy Ball." The toy consists of a blue and red hollow ball with different shaped holes cut into the surface, into which the shaped pieces can be inserted.




Saturday, July 30, 2011

Journey Perform "Don't Stop Believin'" on Today Show


Journey performed their classic hit "Don't Stop Believin'"on the outdoor stage of the Today Show in Manhattan on Friday.  Journey's lead singer, Arnel Pineda, landed the gig in 2007 after the band saw a video rendition of the Filipino rocker singing "Don't Stop Believin'" on YouTube.  He's not Steve Perry, but he's the next best thing...







Friday, July 29, 2011

The Allman Brothers Band and Friends-"Will The Circle Be Unbroken"



The Allman Brothers Band played a benefit show, "Tune In to Hep C" on Wednesday night at the Beacon Theatre in NYC with special guests that included David Crosby, Graham Nash, Billy Gibbons, Natalie Cole, Phil Lesh, Danny Louis, and Devon Allman. 

Here is the closing jam for your viewing pleasure...


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Martin Scorsese Finishes George Harrison Documentary


















GEORGE HARRISON: LIVING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD, will debut in two parts on October 5 and October 6, 2011 exclusively on HBO.
New York Times-George Harrison Documentary, Directed By Martin Scorsese, to Make Its Debut on HBO

Rolling Stone: Martin Scorsese Finishes George Harrison Documentary
George has always been my favorite Beatle member and my second favorite Beatle musically.  I would stare at the back of the Rubber Soul album and daydream of being one of them.  Obviously there was no Internet in the late 70s and early 80s and they had long since broken up.  So there wasn't much of them to see in current magazines or images other than what was on their albums.  I would take what I could get and the mixture of The Monkees on TV and my imagination was a desperate substitute to the longing of this young 5th Beatle in Atlanta, Georgia. 


Mike Smith, The Showbiz Kids

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

10,000 hits...Thank you!



When we started our music blog back in March we just wanted a personal outlet to talk about our love of music and have some creative ways to share what we like.  We didn't really have any concept of what would come of it.  Now only five months later we already have over 10,000 hits!  We have particularly had a lot of interest from Denmark so a special thanks to all of you!  
We would have never guessed that we'd be a this point so quickly.  Thank you very much for your interest and time spent reading our blog.    We would also love to hear from you so please feel free to comment or let us know if there's something you want to hear more about.

We'll leave you now with one of our favorite songs and video.  The beauty of this website is that we know we're not the only guys that love this song "Her Town Too."  Maybe the only few within a 10 mile radius,but because this blog goes out into the nether regions of the Internet I know there's at least one other easy listening James Taylor and J.D. Souther fan out there that is happy this video will be preserved on our website.  

Take care,

The Showbiz Kids


video


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Joss Stone "LP1"


Joss Stone’s fifth album, “LP1,” is  available and in stores today.  The Brit soul singer has teamed up with the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, who produced “LP1” and Stone shows incredible maturity and growth on the new material, which is her first release on her own Stone’d Records label. 

Oddly enough, the release of this album comes only days after the tragic death of Amy Winehouse, who along with Joss Stone, Adele, and Duffy, represent the extremely talented and beautiful group of retro-soul and blues singers to emerge over the past few years.

Songs such as “Newborn” display Joss Stone’s stylistic growth as a singer and songwriter.   The majority of songs on “LP1” are full of the passion and high energy level that Stone can infuse in her music, effortlessly.  If songs like “Last One to Know” seem a bit scattered, smothered, and covered, Stone finds her groove on “Cry Myself to Sleep,” “Somehow,” and “Drive All Night,” which are by far the three strongest tracks on the new record.

Overall, Joss Stone sounds fantastic on this album and Dave Stewart certainly has helped steer her in a bold new direction on “LP1.”

-Will Fisher, The Showbiz Kids

The Showbiz Kids Rating: 7.5 out of possible 10
 

Monday, July 25, 2011

"It was 41 years ago today Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play"

This entry is the second of hopefully more frequent posts that will highlight albums released on today's date 41 years ago. What's the significance of 41 years ago which would be 1970? Well...because it's the year I was born of course and I was among the hits released that year!


Cosmo's Factory by Creedence Clearwater Revival was released on this day July 25,1970 and it contained several hits that you can hear any day on just about any rock or soft rock station.
"Lookin Out My Back Door" and "Who'll Stop the Rain" both of which went to #2 on the billboard 100.  The album went gold in December 1970 and four times platinum by 1990.  So you could say a few people liked it and bought it.  
The unsophisticated album artwork makes 1970 seem ancient but almost magical that this is what the world looked like back then.  





The price of this album in 1970 was $4-$5.  Today this same album in very good condition is about $8 on eBay and I would expect locally you could find it for at least $4.  That's pretty good value retention over 40 years!



Original album tracks
Side One
  1. Ramble Tamble
  2. Before Yo Accuse Me
  3. Travelin' Band
  4. Ooby Dooby
  5. Lookin Out My Back Door
  6. Run Through the Jungle
Side Two
  1. Up Around the Bend
  2. My Baby Left Me
  3. Who'll Stop the Rain
  4. I Heard It Through the Grapevine
  5. Long as I Can See the Light

A few months ago I caught this CCR song in a movie that just happens to be the last song on side two of Cosmo's Factory. The mix of a behind the scenes glimpse into a newspaper being made works very well with this song.  Vinyl records seem to be making a comeback,but the newspaper has begun its journey of fading away a bit out of everyday existence. Sort of an interesting combo of media and their life cycles in our culture.


The song "Long As I Can See the Light" plays over the ending credits of the 2009 thriller State of Play.

Mike Smith, The Showbiz Kids

Sunday, July 24, 2011

U2 Revisit the Nineties at Epic New Jersey Show (RS)

Orginally published in Rolling Stone
By Matthew Perpetua
U2 giants stadium
Bono of U2 performs at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Mike Coppola/Getty Images
U2 entered the home stretch of their two-year-long 360° Tour last night at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where the quartet delivered a generous career-spanning set with an emphasis on selections from the Nineties.

Throughout the tour, U2 have fixated on different periods in their discography – early on, they went heavy on material from The Unforgettable Fire, and in the middle of the jaunt, they would play up to five songs per night from 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind. In recent weeks, they've leaned hard on
Achtung Baby and Zooropa, inspired in part by the 20th anniversary of the sessions in Berlin that yielded both records. (It doesn't hurt that an expanded edition of the former album is due to hit shops later this year.) They kicked off the two-and-a-half hour gig with four consecutive songs from Achtung Baby, each sounding as vibrant, stylish and dynamic as they did two decades ago. "The Fly" was particularly lively, with Bono joining the Edge on guitar to add an extra layer of trebly distortion to the abrasive rocker.
As the show carried on, the band deployed guaranteed crowd pleasers "I Will Follow," "Beautiful Day," "Pride," "Vertigo," "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Where the Streets Have No Name" evenly throughout the setlist, winning them enough goodwill from the audience to indulge in deep cuts such as "Zooropa" and "Miss Sarajevo," and tracks from 2009's No Line on the Horizon. Though the peppy "Get On Your Boots" and the messianic "Magnificent" were greeted with enthusiasm by much of the stadium crowd, the band fumbled a dance remix version of "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight," a song that appears on No Line with an arrangement roughly similar to that of "Beautiful Day." The melody simply doesn't suit the tempo, and Bono – who was otherwise in good voice through the night – struggled to stay in tune. That segment of the show was saved somewhat by a brief detour into "Discotheque," a more successful but often unfairly maligned attempt at a dance-rock hybrid from 1997's Pop.Photos: U2 360° in Italy

Despite playing one of the longest sets of the 360° Tour, Bono and the band were unwilling to part with their enthusiastic New Jersey audience. After paying tribute to the late E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons with a bit of Bruce Springsteen's "Jungleland" worked into usual show closer "Moment of Surrender," the group stuck around for one more song, an impromptu rendition of their very first single "Out of Control." As that tune surged toward its ecstatic conclusion, the only thing that seemed to keep them from going on for another encore was the venue's curfew and a steady stream of audience members hitting the exits in the hope of getting a jump on what promised to be some brutal New Jersey traffic.

Here's some footage of the band performing "With or Without You," the emotional climax of the night.

The setlist:
"Even Better Than the Real Thing"
"The Fly"
"Mysterious Ways"
"Until the End of the World"
"I Will Follow"
"Get On Your Boots"
"Magnificent"
"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
"Stay (Faraway, So Close!)"
"Beautiful Day"
"Elevation"
"Pride (In the Name of Love)"
"Miss Sarajevo"
"Zooropa"
"City of Blinding Lights"
"Vertigo"
"I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight/Discotheque"
"Sunday Bloody Sunday"
"Scarlet"
"Walk On"

Encore 1:
"One"
"Hallelujah"
"Where the Streets Have No Name"

Encore 2:

"Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me"
"With or Without You"
"Moment of Surrender"
"Out of Control"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

RS Reader's Poll: Best Prog Band of All-Time



Rolling Stone recently conducted a reader's poll to determine the greatest progressive rock band of all-time.  What do you say?  Genesis, Rush, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, or ELP??


Follow the link for the results.










Friday, July 22, 2011

STS9 to play Halloween show at The Georgia Theatre




Sound Tribe Sector 9 will celebrate Halloween this year in Athens, GA at the newly remodeled Georgia Theatre. The Atlanta based band played many seminal shows at the Georgia Theatre early in their career. After a fire nearly destroyed the Georgia Theatre in 2009, the members of Sound Tribe returned to Athens for a special benefit show. 
Limited Fan Club Tickets go on sale today at 12 PM ET exclusively through STS9Store.com.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 21st was just one of many highlights in Hendrix's 1967

1967, The Jimi Hendrix Experience played the first of three nights at the Cafe-a-Go-Go in New York City.


July 21-23, 1967 Jimi Hendrix Experience/Richie Havens/Jeremy and the Satyrs
This was the sort of legendary show that put Cafe Au Go Go on the map. The previous summer, Jimi Hendrix had been backing John Hammond--now he had returned as the hottest new act in rock. 
As if Hendrix's presence wasn't enough, Eric Clapton, recording with Cream in New York attends one of the shows, and jams with Hendrix (and on another night, he sits in with John Hammond at the Gaslight). The Mothers were still holding court upstairs at The Garrick, and Mitch Mitchell remembers sitting in with the Mothers one night. Mitchell thought that Hendrix probably jammed with the Mothers too. Eric Burdon and the Animals were originally booked, but seem to have been replaced by Hendrix. Hendrix and Burdon shared management (Mike Jeffferies and Chas Chandler), so it seems plausible.
Above entry taken from Rock Prosopography 101 blog


Other momentous dates you my remember in 1967 for Jimi was the release of a little album called Are You Experienced.  Or maybe the iconic photo of him setting his guitar on fire at the Monterrey Pop Festival?  Then just to round out a slow year he released Axis: Bold As Love which was another album that made use of new studio technology.  These two albums in 1967 had very uncommon sounds and blew people's minds.  Its hard to imagine that now,but how cool would it have been to be there and heard these albums for the first time in 1967.


Mike Smith, The Showbiz Kids

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Beastie Boys' New Video "Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win"


The Beastie Boys are back with another hilarious music video, this time for "Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win," directed by Spike Jonze.  In the same fashion as the successful "Make Some Noise" video, the Beasties do not actually appear in "Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win", instead they appear as detailed action figures, hopefully coming to a store soon!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Music Tuesday: 311 "Universal Pulse"


In stores today is “Universal Pulse,” 311’s tenth studio album that finds the Nebraska-based band returning to their irresistible blend of rock/rap that made them nearly unavoidable in the nineties. 

Producer Bob Rock returns on “Universal Pulse,” who also produced the band’s last album, 2009’s “Uplifter” and is 311’s first to be released on their new label, 311 Records. 

There are no ballads to be found on the album and “Universal Pulse” is actually more of an eight song EP rather than a full album.  After repeated listens, every track is solid and the band has truly chosen quality over quantity, much in the same vein as The Strokes or White Stripes.     

I have always been a fan of 311 from the early days of “Music” to some of their more mellow offerings over the past decade and can say that “Universal Pulse” is easily some of their best material in years. 

-Will Fisher, The Showbiz Kids

The Showbiz Kids Rating- 8.5 out of possible 10

Monday, July 18, 2011

311 Emerges 'Unscathed From the Craziness' for New Album

Article originally published in Rolling Stone
By Steve Baltin
311 new album
SA Martinez and Nick Hexum of 311 perform in Clarkston, Michigan.
Scott Legato/Getty Images

Since their mid-Nineties breakthrough, when songs like "Down" topped the alternative charts, 311 have been a constant presence on the summer tour schedule, becoming almost as ubiquitous in the months of June, July and August as the Dave Matthews Band and classic rock packages.

On their new album, Universal Pulse, the band is embracing their role as ambassadors of summer fun. "We're just making songs that celebrate what people love about us and what we enjoy most – being out touring," 311 lead singer Nick Hexum tells Rolling Stone (from the road of course). "That's the core of what we do."

The band got back to its roots in another way as well, returning to the days of rap/rock for the track "Rock On," which has, not surprisingly, already become a live favorite. "On this one we realized that the heavy rap/rock thing was something we hadn't done in a minute and it was a good time to revisit," Hexum says.

Despite the nod to their rap/rock past and maintaining their busy summer schedule, there are some big differences with 311 these days. As Hexum points out, "People know from our old videos – it was a non-stop party before." But now that three of the six members are fathers, those days are behind them. "I'm definitely excited about my wife and daughter visiting next week," Hexum says.

Hexum has been reading Keith Richards' autobiography, Life – which has been raising some through-provoking questions for him on the role of substances in creativity. "The thing I glean from that, just like everybody says, ‘Wow, he's survived so much,'" Hexum says. "But I don't think all that heroin and coke helps the music. Like, how much greater could he have been without that? There are different schools of thought for that, but I know for me, having a clear head allows me to be the best that I can for the individual shows and being in the studio."

Hexum and his bandmates have had some close calls of their own – and he's grateful to have put that behind them: "I'm just so stoked to be having such a big tour, all original band members, everybody coming through unscathed from all the craziness."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Widespread Panic with Jerry Joseph and Wally Ingram "Chainsaw City"

Here’s a clip from Panic’s performance at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, CA on Wednesday with Jerry Joseph and Wally Ingram

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Exploring a Decade of Camp and a New Identity for The Disco Biscuits

Published in Jambands.com by Mike Greenhaus
In 1999, the Disco Biscuits hosted the inaugural Camp Bisco at Cherrytree, PA’s TuneTown Campgrounds. In addition to multiple sets from the Disco Biscuits, the festival mixed DJs with jamband stalwarts like Sector 9 [as they were known back then], Deep Banana Blackout, the Recipe, Fat Mama, Lake Trout, ulu and Project Logic. Over the years, Camp Bisco has changed its scope and expanded its focus to emerge as one of the country’s largest electronic music festival. On the eve of the 10th Camp Bisco, Disco Biscuits bassist Marc Brownstein discuses the festival’s evolution, Conspirator’s new album and the Disco Biscuits’ busy “year off.”


This will be the 10th time the Disco Biscuits have hosted Camp Bisco since 1999. Can you start by giving us some background on what your initial idea for the festival was?


We wanted to start an electronic music festival—that was the idea. And when we started it we had a bunch of DJs, as well as Sound Tribe Sector 9 and some other bands on there that we were friends with. There weren’t as many electronic bands in 1999, so it wasn’t as easy to build a massive electronic music festival like it is right now. But the idea was unique at the time to have a festival that ran until 6 AM. That wasn’t your everyday festival. Your everyday festival ended at Midnight or 1 AM in ‘99. So what we did to change the paradigm was to add this late-night vibe in. I know it may sound funny to people because late night shows are such a huge part of the festival culture now but at the time that was a new idea. There was no Bonnaroo or big festivals with late nights in the ‘90s. I don’t know if we were the first to do it, but we were definitely one of the first to do it.


The bands went off and then the DJs came on and played until 5 or 6 AM. The idea was to fuse the cultures of rock music and electronic music, which was kind of natural to the Disco Biscuits at the time because we were born out of those two cultures. We were born from our love of rock jambands and our love of electronic music. We were doing the same thing in college in 1997 at different parties. There were raves at the time, but rock bands didn’t play them. But we would play until midnight then our resident DJ would come on and spin until 6 in the morning and everybody would trip out for 8 hours. It was perfect.


They’d start tripping at 8 PM and they’d have a party all the way through until they mellow out at 6 AM. They were these experimental college parties— psychedelic experimental parties. And what we did was we took that vibe and we put it in the festival setting. Over the past few years, electronic music festivals have gotten bigger and bigger but our festival is the biggest electronic music festival in the Northeast.


People might not remember, but in ’99 it was rare for a jamband festival to feature any electric or indie bands.


What’s really cool about that is that it’s like whether Pitchfork wants to admit it or not, the music scene is all fused together. Pitchfork can cover indie, electronic, and hip-hop, but they won’t cover the jamband side of things—it’s just not on their radar. They decidedly ignore it, but it can’t be ignored at this point. This is a merging of cultures that has happened already. This will be James Murphy’s third year in a row at Camp Bisco and his is the King of Pitchfork. Damon Dash is here, Yeasayer is here Wiz Khalifa is here—plus we’ve had Snoop, Damian Marley & Nas and the guys from Wu Tang. We’ve merged the world’s of indie, electronic, hip hop, and jambands.


What’s funny to me is that while people are only now taking about the merging of indie, jam and electronic, Ira Wolf Tuton from Yeasayer is probably one of only people who played the second Camp Bisco [in 2000 when he played with the Ally] and the 10th Camp Bisco.


Actually, I’d say probably the only person to play the first and 10th Camp Bisco who is not in the Disco Biscuit is Dave Murphy (from STS9) Murph, Jon [Gutwillig], Aron [Magner] and I are the only ones to play the first Camp and this one.


It’s amazing that Sound Tribe Sector 9 was there at that first one—now they would be a headliner at Camp Bisco. That’s something we’ve seen over the years—groups go from being the side-stage acts like Bassnectar to be the headliner at the festival, which is really exciting. The festival is growing with the artists—and the Biscuits grow with them too.


Speaking of growing together, your relationship with [hip hop icon] Damon Dash has grown over the years. What are you working on for Damon now?


Well, [singer and Dash associate] McKenzie Eddy’s album should be done and mixed by July 25. McKenzie and I have been working since last July on her album. I’ve co-written all the songs with her except for one. I wrote one entirely and she wrote one entirely. We spent a lot of time in the last year working on an electronic album with female vocals in the forefront. I have always been a fan of Portishead and Massive Attack so for me it is exciting to create something in that world. It is more of an R&B/hip-hop/pop [sound], so I had to shift gears between all these genres.


I’ve never been known for my vocal prowess [laughter], so to sit down and write a song and have a great singer interpret it or write parts on top of the music is amazing. McKenzie is so easy to work with. I can give her suggestions and there’s no ego. She allows me to really produce her and trusts that I’m going to make it the best it could possibly be, and that’s a really rewarding experience for both of us.


On the hip-hop side, we’re also still plugging away, one song at a time, on a Disco Biscuits hip hop album. We’re not doing it like The Black Keys. They went into the studio and made the album at once. We’re kind of just doing it one track at a time as we go along. We probably have six or seven tracks done, including tracks with rappers like Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa and Talib Kweli. Damon has been really great about introducing me to artists and helping me pursue relationships with them. As a hip-hop fan from Brooklyn, it’s been a rewarding experience to step out of my comfort zone and learn how to produce hip-hop. Nicole Wray is also on it—she’s a multi-platinum R&B singer who is a Missy Elliot protégé. I get emails from Nicole Wray saying, “I wanna sit down and make hits with you.” Over the past 18 months, the Disco Biscuits name and my name has been thrown out to people who would never know we existed if Damon didn’t say, “Let’s do this.”


We also remixed 24 Hour Karate School, Ski Beatz’s entire album, and we’re gonna be releasing a remix album in not too long.


Will these be Disco Biscuits songs with new rap sections or entirely new compositions?

They’re all new songs. We do have some remixes from Planet Anthem as well: there’s a “Concrete” remix with Curren$y on it that hasn’t been released yet. And there’s a “Fish Out of Water” remix as well. Ski did a “You & I” remix which is getting released with a video which is just incredible, and he also did a “Sweat Box” remix. But for the [album] we were talking about, it is going to be all original. We are calling it Disco Blue. It may take us 3 more years to get out because it’s that slow.

We have a ton of projects right now. Conspirator is recording an album and the Disco Biscuits did an album that is finished. We started working on it in November and mastered it two days ago. Aron and Chris Michetti and myself are all in the middle of making a Conspirator album right now, so over the last two years we’ve made this remix album, we’ve made the Biscuits album, we made McKenzie’s album, we’re making a Conspirator album and we’re working on Disco Blue. It you balance that with getting out on the road and touring for 4 weeks, it’s just everything goes on the back burner.

For us, when we’re on tour with Conspirator, we can continue to work on the Conspirator album. When we go out on tour in January the studio stuff just grinds to a halt, although now I’ve been carrying the studio with me everywhere I go. I’m at the beach now with my family for the next 4 weeks—outside of Camp Bisco—and I’ve got a little studio set up on the first floor of the house. When everybody goes to sleep at night I just get in the studio. Right now I’m working on a Conspirator remix that’s a 12th Planet song. 12th Planet is a dub-step artist who’s playing at Camp Bisco this summer. That’s what I’m working on today. I’m sitting here, I kinda have a headache.

Sounds like tough living, working on the beach!

Yeah, it’s a hard life. Taking in the sun and listening to dub-step—that can cure the headache. Sitting on the couch here, nursing a headache, trying to come up with some dub-step bass lines for this remix.

Let’s talk for a second about the new Disco Biscuits album. That album is made up almost entirely of older songs you’ve played on the road, correct?

Yeah. We went in and made an album of all songs that are done. Most of them are newer songs written in the past two years, like “Feeling Twisted” and “Portal to An Empty Head.” There’s one song that was written in 2002 on there. There are songs that are older—I know people know “Great Abyss” is on there, which is like more of a 2005 song. We are trying to have fun in the studio. It wasn’t the Planet Anthem style of piecemeal producing tracks. This time around, we’d go in, play the song 7 times, take the best version and Benji Vaughan from Younger Brother did some post-production work. It was definitely exciting to come in and bang out a Biscuits album, and the artwork is incredible.

I don’t know why, but my whole thing is to not hype this album. We would over-hype things in the past, and I think that this time, the music just speaks for itself.

How was that studio process different than the Conspirator process?

The Conspirator album is all new material, much more current electronic music. We’re working with sounds that have been popularized in the last 3 years by artists like Deadmau5, Wolfgang Gartner and Skrillex. That’s the vibe that the album is taking on. It has a little bit of dub-step, but is mostly electro music—mostly 128 beats per minute. It has wobble in it which is and idea that has been popularized a little by Deadmau5, who’s the most popular of all electronic musicians in the world right now and you know, we’re fans. We’ve become fans of that kind of music after years and years of not liking that kind of music. I enjoyed Rusko a lot when he played like Bisco Inferno and we had a good time hanging out. It’s like, first there were jambands, and then there were jambands that played electronic music, then there were electronic musicians that appealed to jambands and then there were bands who played like electronic musicians but more in the jamband realm.

Bassnectar, Pretty Lights. There’s the next evolution—bands playing precise electronic music, which is what Conspirator is becoming. It is more precise than jammy.

Were you moving in this new direction before Michetti joined the band or is this his influence?

Clearly Michetti. I wasn’t really into that kind of music and then Michetti kind of showed me the brighter side of how great Deadmau5 is. We were on a tour together for like 4 months, listening to music, creating music, making music. It was really inclusive, so it was less about what we were listening to and just about techniques that he gained from listening to these musicians that he’s taught me in the studio. He’s teaching me a lot about producing in the studio, I’m teaching him a lot about restraint in the live setting—how to get up on stage and not wail on your guitar the entire time. He’s a virtuosic guitar player. He’s just such a big part of this new Conspirator sound, and we are moving in a different direction really quickly.

Sometime people will say something like, “play the old Conspirator’s style.” They will send me an email or post on Facebook. But if you want the old Conspirator style you need a time machine because we’re not looking back. The new Conspirator is where it’s at—this is the hotness, it’s so much better. It might take some of the fans, with their expectations, time to catch up in terms of where it’s at, but the future is now. It’s exciting because there are so many things that I’ve learned in the last year, so many techniques that I needed to know in order to be producing legit electronic music.

You have slowly built Conspirator’s live show as well and returned to many clubs that the Disco Biscuits outgrew. Is it easier to grow a band the second time around?

It’s so much fun to go back into the clubs. I’ve not wanted to play these clubs for years. For so many years all I’ve wanted to do was get bigger and bigger and bigger—I wanted to play the next size room. So much of it is a perception that your band is continually getting bigger, and how important the perception is. It is important to the guys in the band even—to make them continue doing what they are doing. There is this mentality: We have to play Red Rocks, we have to headline the Tweeter Center, we have to do this, we have to do that. Last week we went and we played The Brockley in Philadelphia with Conspirator, which holds like 700 people. It is a little bar. But you can control the stage and the crowd. It’s a pleasure to go back and play these little places. I don’t think I would enjoy it as much with the Biscuits because the Biscuits have outgrown that. For me it makes sense for a new band to be playing the club circuit. It’s just fun to have something where the expectations are different and where it’s like if we do 500 people it’s a gigantic success, where it’s like with the Biscuits if we do 5,000 people it’s a gigantic success.

We always want to have gigantic successes and for the most part we do—we’ve had a very fortunate career, We did almost 7,000 people at Red Rocks [in May].That was one of those career defining moments—life defining moments. But coming in and playing, a 500 person place and selling it out is a whole different kind of excitement. It’s like chemicals come out of your brain and into your bloodstream and you feel the same. It’s like the excitement of doing 300 people at Wetlands in 1997 is the same as the excitement of doing a 3,000 people at Camp Bisco in 2002 and it’s the same excitement as doing 15,000 people last year. It’s just about it growing. Average success feels the same on every level or scale; the scalability of success. We’re going out on an 18-show fall tour, and the Biscuits are going on a 19-show amphitheatre tour in August and then Conspirators going on an 18-show club theatre tour in September. These two things are equally rewarding in completely different ways and on completely different levels.

With the Disco Biscuits, on Identity we’re gonna play Deer Creek, Lakewood, the Gorge, Starlake Amphitheatre, and Susquehanna Bank Center. It’s just going to be an incredible experience and we’re looking forward to hanging out with Rusko and Kaskade, getting to know these people, Steve Aoki. We are already friends with Pretty Lights but we have never done a tour with him so that is going to be nice as well.

Given that you will be playing primarily to electronic music fans on the Identity tour, do you plan to focus on the Biscuits’ more electronic songs?

I don’t know if we’re going to come out on stage and play “Eulogy” or “Kitchen Mitts,” but to a certain extent we have to play our songs. We’re a jamband. To a certain extent, Conspirator would fit better on Identity Tour than the Biscuits, but nobody knows who Conspirator is yet. I think there’s gonna be a lot of Biscuit fans at these shows, and I’m hoping that you’re average fan of music will check us out.
If they’re expecting 10,000-15,000 people a night, if one out of four in Indianapolis all of a sudden becomes a fan of the Biscuits because they’re fans of music and we do what we do best and don’t try to cater too much and just be ourselves, then we’re increasing our fan base in Indianapolis substantially. And if you’re talking about Dallas and Houston, same deal—if we can make 2,500 new fans there, we’re increasing our fan base dramatically at these places. It actually isn’t hitting our biggest markets, like Denver, Chicago, Boston, Saratoga Springs or Hartford. All the places where the Disco Biscuits are big. We’ve never been to Albuquerque and we are playing there. We’ve been to Houston 3 times in our career and Dallas 3 times in 15 years. We’ve played New York 200 times, we’ve played Dallas 3.

To bring things full circle, after Camp Bisco and the Identity tour, what does the rest of your year look like?

Conspirator is following up Identity Tour with a full 3 week tour. In 2011, the Biscuits decided we were gonna take the year off, and we’ve actually ended up playing a lot for our year off. We ended up playing around 42 shows, which isn’t really a year off after all. It’s not an 80 show year, but most years we’re only playing 60 shows, so we’re playing two thirds of what we would play in a normal year this year. This was our year off [laughter]. So we’re taking the whole fall off. As soon as Identity Tour is done, we’re shutting it down until the end of the year. We haven’t really gotten to start to talk about what we’re gonna do after that—if we hadn’t played Identity Tour it would have been a true year off where we played 20 shows or so. But when something like Identity Tour comes along, you don’t turn it down. It definitely changed the scope of what 2011 was supposed to be for the Biscuits which was, make an album, release the album, and then take a year off. But I’m glad that we have an album coming out soon and I’m glad that we have a tour coming up to coincide with it. I think it’s really great to get out and get in front of people. Obviously, I love touring the most of anybody in my band—I never want to stop. I’m playing probably 130 shows this year.

And that is your year off.

Well, I’m 38 years old. This isn’t exactly the time to chill—I haven’t hit retirement age yet. I wake up and I work, that’s what I do. I take a few breaks during the day to spend time with my children and work on music the rest of the day—balancing 3 children and 2 bands and a non-profit organization [HeadCount] is a lot. Plus, I am producing 3-4 artists and working on the management side with a few bands like Nicos Gun. So with all the different projects we have going on there’s not a ton of time to nurse your headache.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Man on the moon....Listen to Michael Stipe's Wake-Up Call to the Atlantis


Being an astronaut has its perks as R.E.M.'s frontman, Michael Stipe, recorded a greeting for the crew of the Atlantis, NASA's final space shuttle mission which was transmitted earlier this week.   

The message was received by the astronauts on Wednesday, and began with a brief a cappella performance of R.E.M.'s 1992 hit "Man on the Moon."

The song was obviously appropriate for the occasion, but Stipe's location for the call was also quite fitting. "I recorded "Man on The Moon" for NASA in Venice, Italy, where Galileo first presented to the Venetian government his eight-power telescope, and in 1610 wrote "The Starry Messenger (Sidereus Nuncius)", an account of his early astronomical discoveries that altered forever our view of our place in the universe," Stipe said in a statement.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

John Fogerty Open to Creedence Clearwater Revival Reunion

Article orginally published in Rolling Stone
By Matthew Perpetua

After years of bad blood with his old bandmates, John Fogerty has softened his position on the possibility of a Creedence Clearwater Revival reunion. In an interview with the Calgary Herald, Fogerty says that he no longer feels an intense bitterness toward bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford. The guitarist refused to appear with either of them when the band was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and he sued the duo in 1997 for performing under the name Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

"Years ago, I looked at people and I was so full of some sort of emotion and I'd say, 'Absolutely not!'," Fogerty says. "I have to admit, people have asked me more recently, and even though I have no idea how such a series of events would come to pass, I can tell that there isn't the bombast in my voice, in the denial, in the refusal. It's more like, 'Well, I dunno.' Never say never is I guess is what people tell you. In this life, all kinds of strange things come to pass."
Rock List: Readers' Favorite Protest Songs

As of yet, Fogerty has no plans to pursue a reunion, but is open to giving it a shot down the line. "Realizing that it doesn't really kick up a big firestorm of emotion, it kind of suggests that at least if someone started talking I'd sit still long enough to listen," he says.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

In Stores Today: R.E.M. Life's Rich Pageant (25th Anniversary Re-master)

In stores today is the 25th Anniversary re-master of R.E.M.'s fourth studio album, Life’s Rich Pageant.  Words cannot express how much this album impacted my life as this was the album that introduced me to a new world of music back in the mid-80s.  It was like nothing that I had ever heard before; the songs on this album became the soundtrack of my life in junior high school and still remain some of my favorites to this day.  Life’s Rich Pageant contains some of R.E.M.’s finest work and every new release that is touted as a ‘return to form’ is measured by the standards on this album.  

Life’s Rich Pageant was recorded by Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and original drummer, Bill Berry at John Mellencamp's Belmont Mall Studios in Indiana.  The album was produced by Don Gehman, who also produced albums for Mellencamp, which explains why Mellencamp’s The Lonesome Jubilee sounded familiar, sonically speaking, of course.   

The singles “Fall On Me” and “Superman” helped R.E.M. to achieve Gold certification status with Life’s Rich Pageant, and the album also reached #21 on Billboard s Top 200 Albums chart, the band’s highest chart position at that point of their career.

The 2-CD box set contains the original album, digitally re-mastered. Disc 2 contains "The Athens Demos," which are 19 previously unreleased tracks recorded by the band during the studio sessions and the box set also includes a poster and postcards, similar to what was found in the Fables of The Reconstruction box set. 

-Will Fisher, The Showbiz Kids