Pearl Jam’s Musician and Activist Eddie Vedder : ‘Black’ + Interview

 

 

Eddie Vedder Talks Music, Activism

Pearl Jam exploded onto the Seattle music scene in 1991 and has been fending off celebrity ever since. The group’s debut album, “Ten,” reached No. 2 on the pop charts and has sold some 12 million copies, but the band shunned endorsements and shied away from almost all self-promotion, even refusing to make videos for a time. Close to two decades later, it’s clear they didn’t need the hype. In a 2005 USA Today readers’ poll, Pearl Jam was voted the greatest American rock band of all time. They’ve managed to take up causes from health care to antitrust, even testifying before Congress in a Justice Department probe into Ticketmaster. Currently at work on their ninth studio album, Pearl Jam is re-releasing “Ten” in four new and expanded editions that include six bonus tracks. Lead singer Eddie Vedder, 44, spoke about the reissue, balancing music with activism, and life as a father of two. Excerpts:

How has Pearl Jam changed in the years since “Ten” was first released?
Eddie Vedder: I think in so many ways we’ve grown up, but I think in music you’re also able to hang on to a part of youth that in a normal job you’d have to surrender. In a way, it was a blessing that we didn’t have families at the time, because we could give everything to the music. But I never thought we’d have to actually look back and answer questions about 20 years ago.

How much of this has become about activism for you, and how much is still about music?
I think it’s always been a balance. I think music is the greatest art form that exists, and I think people listen to music for different reasons, and it serves different purposes. Some of it is background music, and some of it is things that might affect a person’s day, if not their life, or change an attitude. The best songs are the ones that make you feel something. But it’s really a balance, because part of it is just, well, you’re a rock-and-roll band. But what happens is you learn that a rock-and-roll band can be a whole lot of things.

Has the way you pursue activism changed?
Back [in our early days] it was very knee-jerk: You’d want to kick out a stained-glass window to get your point across. Now you try to deliver better business plans to corporate entities so they can still make a profit, but do it without destroying land or culture.

Has having a family changed your views about celebrity?
I don’t really have too many views on it, to be honest. [Laughs] Seattle’s very close-knit, and I don’t feel any different, even though I have a different job than some of the other parents at school. How else do I answer that?

Well, what’s it like to be a rock star?
You know, rock stardom … I have a hard time discussing that because I don’t really accept it. It’s not really that tangible. What’s really bizarre is how it’s used as a thing—you know, “He’s the rock star of politics,” “He’s the rock star of quarterbacks”—like it’s the greatest thing in the world. And it’s not bad, but it’s just different. I don’t understand it. Cause I’m going, “Well—am I that?” I want to be the plumber of rock stars.

How do you keep your music relevant?
I think by pushing the boundaries, by not doing something you’ve already done, and pushing each other as bandmates to create in a new way.

Do you miss that Seattle heyday of the early ’90s at all?
I think what we miss is the bands all showing up at each other’s shows, and five people being up onstage, and then the next night the same people that were up onstage being in the audience and vice versa. Everyone was very supportive of each other. And, you know, there were some great f–king living-room parties as well. And it still happens, it’s just a little less.

Does that community you talk about still exist?
You know, it’s amazing how few bands are able to keep it together. But I’d like to think there’s still a number of us who, for lack of a better word, are slaves to rock and roll. It’s in us and we need it. And I think it’s trickier now because a lot of us have to be a little bit more grown up. We’re parents and we’re figuring out how to do both. Because as much as I would dedicate my life solely to music, I wouldn’t sacrifice the kids’ upbringing to do it.

You recently had a second daughter.
Yep, she’s 4 months old. She was born on Bruce Springsteen’s birthday. So my one kid’s 4, my other kid’s 4 months, I’m 44 —it’s all lining up nicely here.

Do you still wear a lot of flannel?
I’m not wearing one today, but I sure was wearing one yesterday.

 

Slash’s Hollywood – A Short Interview By Mojo

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He grew up in a bohemian enclave where Bowie was a house guest and Carly Simon popped by. Then he formed Guns N’Roses and became an icon in his own right. Now, as he moves into film production, Slash reflects on his life in Hollywood. “I’m at the epicentre of it all,” he tells Phil Alexander.

SOMETIMES IT’S difficult to remember exactly where home is,” laughs Slash. “Even when I come home to LA, I stay in a hotel. The pace on the road is so different, I find it really hard to adjust. I’d rather just stay in a hotel room where I can throw shit around the room, spit on the walls and relax a bit.”

 

Slash Hotel Room 1987
Slash and friend enjoy the comforts of a hotel room, circa 1987. Photo © Retna/Ian Tilton

 

Step back in time to a February evening in 1992. Slash is enjoying a brief break in LA before heading to Japan to resume touring, and the guitarist is reflecting on the events of the last five years. In that time Guns N’Roses have been catapulted from the Hollywood club scene onto a global stage. Officially the biggest rock’n’roll band on the planet, they’re midway through the Use Your Illusion world tour that will eventually extend across 28 months, encompassing 194 arena shows in 31 different countries. Success, according to Slash, comes at a price.

“I would hate to live in a place that’s way out of harm’s reach.”

“The bigger you get, the harder it is to retain any sense of normality, you know,” he says. “Normal things suddenly become a a fuckin’ chore. Going back to LA used to allow us to keep things together, but I am not sure if that happens anymore. It’s funny, sitting here in a hotel room but being close to the old neighbourhood where I grew up, where we used to live when the band started out. It’s bizarre.”

The neighbourhood in question is West Hollywood where Guns N’Roses formed in 1985. There, they honed their sound, setting up their rehearsal studio in a storage building off Sunset Boulevard and Gardner Street. There the five-piece of Slash, frontman Axl Rose, guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Steven Adler played, shagged, drugged and occasionally slept, re-christening the place The Sunset And Gardner Hotel And Villas in reference to the more salubrious hotel-to-the-stars, the Sunset Marquis And Villas, where Slash would later become a habitué.

As the band began to forge a reputation playing Hollywood clubs such as The Roxy and The Troubadour, their notoriety around the burgeoning Sunset Strip scene grew. If their own excesses fuelled the music, so too did the environment they lived in – a point borne out by the material that graced their debut long-player, Appetite For Destruction. Night Train, for instance, was written in tribute to the fortified wine of the same name while the band were wandering drunk down Palm Avenue one evening. For Slash, however, Hollywood was home long before he became interested in music.

 

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Of Montreal @ Guadalajara, Mexico. 2014. The Past is a Grotesque Animal

Of Montreal Band

Of Montreal Band

Of Montreal (often stylized as of Montreal) is an American rock band from Athens, Georgia. It was founded by frontman Kevin Barnes in 1996, named after a failed romance with a woman “of Montreal.” The band is one of the bands of the Elephant 6 collective. Throughout its existence, of Montreal’s musical style has evolved from vaudeville and Beatles-influenced psychedelic twee pop to a mixture of electronica, funk, glam, and afrobeat music influenced by Prince and David Bowie.

Members: Kevin Barnes, Kishi Bashi, The Late B.P. Helium, More
Record labels: Joyful Noise Recordings, Polyvinyl Record Co.,

Preview Songs: A Perfect Circle’s Three Sixty (Deluxe Edition) + Album Art Work Video

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Preview Three Sixty in iTunes

A Perfect Circle is an American rock supergroup formed in 1999 by guitarist Billy Howerdel and Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan. The original incarnation of the band also included Paz Lenchantin on bass, Troy Van Leeuwen on guitar, and Tim Alexander on drums, with Josh Freese being the band’s primary drummer after the band’s initial round of touring prior to their first album. The latest lineup features Puscifer and Ashes Divide bassist Matt McJunkins, former guitarist for The Smashing Pumpkins, James Iha. Despite having a varied cast since inception, the stylistic content of the songs has remained consistent with Howerdel as composer, and Keenan penning the lyrics and melodies.

A Perfect Circle has released three albums: Mer de Noms (2000), Thirteenth Step (2003) and Emotive (2004). A CD-DVD set, Amotion, was released alongside Emotive released and contains thirteen music videos in addition to a number of song remixes created by Danny Lohner, Robert Del Naja and other artists.

The band went into hiatus in 2004. Since then band members have worked on other projects, the most notable being Keenan’s work on Tool’s 2006 album 10,000 Days and Howerdel’s album Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright under Ashes Divide, his name for his solo work. The two announced they had reformed to work on new material in late 2008, although the band was not publicly active until almost two years later, in 2010, when the band began touring again.

On November 19, 2013, the band released a greatest hits album entitled Three Sixty, which will contain one new song, “By and Down“, and on November 26, 2013, the band will release a box-set entitled A Perfect Circle Live: Featuring Stone and Echo. While the band continues to work on new material since its reformation, few details exist regarding a timetable or form of the release.

A Perfect Circle Preview Art for Three Sixty

There’s a new video up on Youtube which previews the artwork from the coming A Perfect Circle Greatest Hits pack Three Sixty:

You can order a copy of the album here.

Watch latest video of Alice In Chains – ‘Voices’

Alice In Chains band members

Alice In Chains band members

 

 

“Voices” available now on Alice in Chains’ album ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here,’ download on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/BuyAIC
Official music video for Alice in Chains “Voices” directed by Roboshobo, produced by Jason Colon, Brian Turner and Colin Wyatt.

Brandon Flowers Writes Track-By-Track To The Killers’ Greatest Hits Album

The Killers

The Killers

Exciting news for fans of The Killers! The Nevada rockers will release their first Greatest Hits compilation – titled ‘Direct Hits’ – on November 11. The 18-song compilation features two brand new songs – ‘Just Another Girl’, which sees the band reunite with longtime collaborator Stuart Price, and ‘Shot At The Night’, produced by M83’s Anthony Gonzalez. Legendary Killers frontman Brandon Flowers has penned us an exclusive, revealing track-by-track for the record delving into memories of the past:

Mr Brightside
“I remember being in the studio, recording the demo but still writing the lyrics. I was procrastinating, and that’s why the second verse is the same as the first one, but it just stuck. What strikes me about it is how powerful that song still is, and the second verse is still as powerful as the first one, every night. There’s just something about it. It’s a moment.”Somebody Told Me

“This song really brought out the band’s strengths at that time. I was 20, 21, and just trying to write about what I was doing and seeing in these indie nightclubs in Vegas. I was listening to Pulp and David Bowie, trying to channel all of that stuff. It’s one of Mark’s greatest moments on the bass, too. It’s a really great collaboration.”
Smile Like You Mean It

“It’s more melancholy, but it really translated to a lot of people. It was very personal to me, and that’s one of the things that’s amazing about music – we all bring our own meaning to songs. It was quite a sophisticated song for where we were at that time, I think.”

All These Things That I’ve Done

“When that one was cooking I was really into U2’s ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’. I thought that was an amazing comeback for them, and I was blown away by how many great songs were on that record. There’s an earnestness, spirit soul to U2, and I was trying to channel that. I wanted a song that stood up to those songs. We also took the bassline from a David Bowie song called ‘Slow Burn’, from ‘Heathen’, although enough time has probably passed now that I think he probably won’t sue us!”

When You Were Young
“We’ve been guilty of having a lot of chords in our songs, and there’s not anything necessarily wrong with that, but there’s something great about simplicity. ‘When You Were Young’ is just one progression which repeats, with a couple of small variations, but it was instantly powerful and once I heard it, I came up with the melody and the title within 20 minutes. It was one of those exciting moments that you read about, and I’ve been lucky enough to be part of it a few times. This was definitely one of them. Live, it took a huge load off my shoulders too – there was a lot of pressure on us when ‘Hot Fuss’ did so well, and that song was just a total relief! I knew that song had something about it, and I’m thankful for it every night. It kept the fire in us, it kept the ball rolling.

Read My Mind
I love ‘Read My Mind’. Every producer is different, but they’re all leaders. That’s why we enlisted Flood and Alan Moulder for ‘Sam’s Town’ – they were two guys who had a huge amount of experience and had worked on a lot of records that we loved, and this was where their experience and leadership came into play the most. We had a different song called ‘Little Angela’, but it just wasn’t ‘Read My Mind’. My melody was a little too much like ‘Mrs. Robinson’, the lyrics weren’t great, and Alan had the balls and the courage to tell me – he said ‘Let’s keep this template, and write a different song over it.’ So the song was born out of us jamming that old song, and it grew from there. When we play it live, you can tell it means a lot to people, and that’s definitely one of the songs that attracts people to the band.”

For Reasons Unknown
“We wrote it on the road, while we were touring with Louis XIV. It was written really quickly, and it’s got a real urgency about it because of that. We recorded it live, and I’m playing bass on it – that’s the only song on any Killers record where I play bass.”

Band to Watch: Brooklyn’s Beast Patrol, Yeah!

Beast Patrol

Beast Patrol

It’s not every day that you stumble across a world-class rock band playing in a park and using bicycle pedals to power their amplifiers. This unusual way to get loud has proven to be the right path as Beast Patrol emerged from the street and onto the stages of packed East Coast clubs. The alt-rockers have a clear nod to the past while using their influences to craft a vibe that draws from clever bass lines and luscious vocals. Pick up their new album Fierce and Grateful and look out for them on tour and at major US festivals.

Beast Patrol is a rock band; a rebellious outfit who embody the true essence of getting loud. They prove that Rock and Roll is more than just a genre of music. It’s unconventional. It’s leather and studs in a world gone soft. It’s an attitude on life. It’s about getting loud and never doing anything in life quietly.

It all started with lighting water on fire. The year was 2011, Brooklyn. VBley moved in with Manthony. A few months later they played a revolutionary show powered by bicycles or Natural Ass in Union Square and met Captain Granata. On a wild party bus to AC, they lost their minds and let their souls wander. Be it the fountain or sweetest taboo, the three fell hard & thus began melting face thru the fall. With the banging power Jan 3, 2012, VBley released her solo, self made/self titled EP which the band has been promoting. Now it’s Summer 2012, Beast Patrol is playing shows, writing as a band and most importantly, loving it.