Interpol Visits KCRW – Took the stage at the iconic Mack Sennett Studios in L.A.

FROM THIS EPISODE

In front of a small crowd of adoring fans, members of the press and industry veterans, Interpol took the stage at the iconic Mack Sennett Studios in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles to perform all new songs from the forthcoming album El Pintor plus a few fan favorite hits. The evening was part of NPR’s First Listen Live where fans across the country could stream a live webcast of the event.

Banner Image Credit: Ethan Shvartzman

Interpol once seemed like a candidate for a quick post-debut flameout. Its 2002 debut, Turn on the Bright Lights, broke through with seemingly instantaneous intensity, setting the band up for an equally ferocious second-album letdown. So many bands in its fickle New York scene were playing a variation on Interpol’s sleek, stylish, darkly driving post-punk that success was bound to be difficult to sustain.

And yet here’s the band, back a dozen years later, on the eve of a heavily anticipated fifth album. El Pintor follows a tumultuous four-year gap, during which Interpol toured with U2, went on hiatus, and saw bassist Carlos Dengler leave for good while singer Paul Banks released two solo records (one under the pseudonym Julian Plenti). Thankfully, the resulting album wears turmoil well: Interpol has aged into its polished sound nicely, maintaining its influences — Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, et al — while sounding more distinct from them than ever.

Interpol often tiptoes on the fine line separating consistency from sameness. El Pintor treads that same line, but keeps finding Interpol on its better side. Twelve years after its debut, it’s a band that knows what it wants to be — and, just as importantly, knows how to get there every time.

KCRW Presents: Interpol

August 26, 2014 • The New York City band played songs from its upcoming album, El Pintor (out Sept. 9), on August 26 at Mack Sennett Studios in Los Angeles.

Set List
  • “Say Hello to Angels”
  • “Evil”
  • “C’mere”
  • “Hands Away”
  • “Breaker 1”
  • “Length Of Love”
  • “My Desire”
  • “Not Even Jail”
  • “Anywhere”
  • “Same Town, New Story”
  • “Take You On A Cruise”
  • “All The Rage Back Home”

Slash’s Hollywood – A Short Interview By Mojo

slash_hollywood2

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.

 

slash_axl3

The Rolling Stones Played Surprise Gig @ EchoPlex in L.A.

Just got back from L.A. today, and seeing the Stones play a surprise gig at EchoPlex last night. The place is  small, holds about 700 people, but retains the vibe and intimacy of an indie music venue To be able to get right up to the stage and making it a more intimate experience with one of my favorite bands was priceless.  The Stones kicked off the night with “You Got Me Rocking,”  and offered a mix of new material and classic hits along with several covers.  The Stones were joined by Mick Taylor, along with Darryl Jones on bass, Chuck Leavell on keys, Bobby Keys on sax and Bernard Fowler and Lisa Fisher on backup vocals. The band are warming up for their upcoming tour – 50 & Counting – which kicks off on May 3rd at Staples Center.  See tour dates below.

Published on Apr 28, 2013

The Rolling Stones played a surprise gig at echoplex, Echo Park, Los Angeles, Saturday April 27 2013. Leading up to the opening of their 50 & Counting tour, which kicks of at STAPLES Center on Friday May 3. The tour debut will be followed by performances in Oakland, San Jose, Las Vegas, Anaheim, Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia.

Setlist

You Got Me Rocking
Respectable
She’s So Cold
Live With Me
Street Fighting Man
That’s How Strong My Love Is
Little Queenie
Just My Imagination
Miss You
Love In Vain (with Mick Taylor)
Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor)
Start Me Up

ENCORE
Brown Sugar
Jumpin’ Jack Flash

“50 AND COUNTING” TOUR DATES
May 3 Los Angeles STAPLES Center

Tickets: http://www.rollingstones.com/tickets/

May 5 Oakland Oracle Arena
May 8 San Jose HP Pavilion
May 11 Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena
May 15 Anaheim Honda Center
May 18 Anaheim Honda Center
May 20 Los Angeles STAPLES Center
May 25 Toronto Air Canada Centre
May 28 Chicago United Center
May 31 Chicago United Center
June 3 Chicago United Center
June 6 Toronto Air Canada Centre
June 9 Montreal Bell Centre
June 12 Boston D Garden
June 14 Boston TD Garden
June 18 Philadelphia Wells Fargo Center
June 21 Philadelphia Wells Fargo Center

Guns ‘N’ Roses’ Brilliant Disaster

GNR

The early nineties saw a brief overlap of musical tastes within the heavy rock genres, and by this point the grunge sounds of alternative rock had crossed-over to mainstream popular eighteen months earlier, and the hard rock/heavy metal/glam metal bands of the late eighties were coming to the end of their reign. At the top of the bill of a hard rock showcase’s most memorable concerts was the band who, along with Nirvana, could lay claim to the title of Biggest Rock Band in the World in 1992, Guns ‘n’ Roses.

When they arrived in Australia in 1993, the american band Guns ‘n’ Roses were bigger than any stadium. So they played racetracks, exceeding the noise mere cars could make with their epic head-banging rock. At Calder Park, 75,000 people turned up on a stinking 42-degree day to see charismatic singer Axl Rose rip through hits from the group’s million-selling albums “Appetite for Destruction,” “G N’ R Lies” and “Use Your Illusion.”

It was a brilliant disaster, culminating in a State Ombudsman report to Parliament. The Calder Park gig was pure chaos. Women were forced to urinate on the ground in view of other concert-goers, one teenager became comatose after her medication was confiscated by security guards and there was no shade for volunteer first aid staff treating the 1,726 people who became dehydrated — a severe shortage of drinking water forced people to sip from toilet water supplies. Finally, police argued with public transport officials after thousands were stranded and later dumped in the city late at night.

Guns ‘n’ Roses had evolved from a raw L.A. based five piece amalgam of Rolling Stones/Aerosmith blues-based riff rock, classic heavy metal, and punk fury, to a bloated but polished stage show augmented by a keyboard player, female backing vocalists, and a horn section, mixing intricate big production numbers and ballads with their original frantic hard rock.

The band’s highly anticipated twin album set “Use Your Illusion I & II” had been released in September 1991, and two months later founding member rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin left the band, taking with him his songwriting talents and raspy backing vocals as well as his Stones/Faces style rhythm thrust. He was replaced by the similarly imaged Gilby Clarke, who along with keyboard player Dizzy Reed was added to the core of lead guitarist Slash, drummer Matt Sorum, bass player Duff McKagan, and frontman/vocalist Axl Rose. Rose’s ego had spun so far out of control by this point that he travelled separately from the rest of the band, and it was rumored that he was helicoptered in at the last minute especially for this performance.

The day of the gig was a scorching 42 degrees celcius in Melbourne, and the punters in the shadeless, open raceway sweltered in long lines for expensive bottled water and inadequate toilet facilities, as local sleeze-metallers Pearls and Swine opened the days proceedings, featuring their current single “Where Can I Get Arrested”. They were followed by the reformed Rose tattoo, led by Angry Anderson, who were a leading influence on the formative Guns ‘n’ Roses. GNR had included a cover of the Tatts’ “Nice Boys (Don’t Play Rock ‘n’ Roll)” on their “Live Live a Suicide” EP and “GNR Lies” album, and that song was performed on the day by Rose Tattoo. After a strong set including the classic “Bad Boy For Love”, the Tatts’ struck up to play “Nice Boys” just as lightning cracked in the sky behind them.

The change came in the break between Rose Tattoo and Skid Row, the pouring rain turning the banks of the raceway to mud, adding the spectacle of sliding headbangers to the day’s entertainment, along with calls of “more tits, more tits” in response to the dampened T-shirts of female punters. Skid Row, led by the giant frontman Sebastian Bach with his flowing blonde locks, played an awesome set of classic heavy metal – showcasing their current EP, “B-sides Themselves” along with many songs from the brilliant “Slave to The Grind”, as well as the hits from their 1989 debut, such as “I Remember You” and “18 and Life”.

As day became night, Guns ‘n’ Roses took the stage in a blaze of their classic-era glory with the anger of “Welcome to the Jungle”, and the heavy-groove-crunch of “Mr Brownstone”. The super-charged dramatics of the Paul McCartney & Wings James Bond theme “Live and Let Die” followed, before McKagan injected a dash of punk with his furious Misfits cover “Attitude”. “Patience” and “Civil War” were well-received classics, before Rose took to the piano for “It’s Alright” and “November Rain”. Drum and guitar solos bookended the hard rocking first “Illusion” single “You Could Be Mine”, followed by the breakthrough hit “Sweet Child O’ Mine” which was met with a huge response from the massive audience. Another cover closed the main set, the live favorite, Dylan’s ”Knockin’ on Heavens Door” (with an intro from Alice Cooper’s “Only Women Bleed”). Two more big GNR classics provided the encores, the ballad ”Don’t Cry” and “Paradise City” which gave an appropriate climax to the show. The long commute home as thousands piled out of the arena simultaneously for a packed car-pack and under-supplied buses, is best forgotten, but the day’s music will live in legend.

The Illusion toured finally came to an end in July at Buenos Aires after 28 months and 194 shows, and was the last time the original Guns ‘n’ Roses performed together. The covers album “The Spaghetti Incident” appeared later in the year, but the magic was gone and Guns ‘n’ Rose splintered and fragmented, with Rose continuing the name with Reed and a host of new musicians. Slash officially left the band in 1996, and McKagan finally announced his departure in 1997, however the band had been inactive since 1994.

In 2007 Guns ‘n’ Roses announced they were back for a June concert at Rod Laver Arena. As they did 14 years ago, rockers Skid Row and local heroes Rose Tattoo supported the controversial L.A. band who fell apart in spectacular fashion and haven’t released a studio album since 1991.

They announced a world tour which went by the name of the album that Rose — the only original member of the line-up that went to Australia — has dabbled with for more than a decade: Chinese Democracy.

Even by the record industry’s standards of insanity, ego and excess, the estimated $18 million that had been sunk into “Chinese Democracy” was a stunning achievement. Producers and executives despaired as Rose retreated to his Malibu mansion full of snakes, religious paraphernalia and weaponry. He became a recluse, reportedly sleeping all day, looking up his name on the internet and communicating almost entirely by email.

An internet post from the band’s tour manager announcing — not for the first time — that “recording for the album has been completed”.

But Rose has been active. Guns ‘n’ Roses played 80 shows on the first leg of their world tour. Only two needed to be rescheduled, said local promoter Paul Dainty, who was confident cancelled tours, false starts and no-shows were behind them.

“There’s no question as to their reputation (but) that’s more in the past,” he said. “They’ve done 80 shows in the northern hemisphere … that’s proven they can do it.”

Few bands have experienced as tumultuous a history as Guns ‘n’ Roses, yet its millions of fans witnessed the rise, fall, and stunning rebirth of the most notorious rock and roll band of the 1980s.

Official music video of Sweet Child O’ Mine, Guns n’ Roses. Remastered in Widescreen and High Definition (HD)

River Phoenix the last 24 hrs – Documentary

River Phoenix last 24 hrs – Documentary

Using archive footage, dramatic reenactment and interviews, this DVD details the last hours of River Phoenix’s life and the events that led to his tragic death in
the city of Los Angeles.

This compelling documentary series unlocks the psychological flaws and events that result in the tragic deaths of famed notorious and the iconic. Every episode maps out the final 24 hours of a different famous person’s life. The series weaves the star’s back-story with events from their last day, which lays bare the threads of fate that led inextricably from childhood to the moment of death. These are no ordinary biographies. They’re psychological detective stories attempting to uncover the mystery of why the celebrity died.

Academy-award nominee for Best Supporting Actor, River Phoenix’s work encompassed 24 films and television appearances, including the science fiction adventure film Explorers, the coming-of-age film Stand By Me, the action sequel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and the independent adult drama My Own Private Idaho. He appeared in diverse roles, making his first notable appearance in the 1986 film Stand by Me, a hugely popular coming-of-age film based on a novella by Stephen King.

Phoenix made a transition into more adult-oriented roles with Running on Empty (1988), playing the son of fugitive parents in a well-received performance that earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nomination, and My Own Private Idaho (1991), playing a gay hustler in search of his estranged mother. For his performance in the latter, Phoenix garnered enormous praise and won a Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival, along with Best Actor from the National Society of Film Critics. He was listed by John Willis as one of twelve promising new actors of 1986.

Although Phoenix’s movie career was generating most of the income for his family, it has been stated by close friends and relatives that his true passion was music. Phoenix was a singer, song writer and an accomplished guitarist. He had begun teaching himself guitar at the age of five and had stated in an interview for E! in 1988 that his family’s move to L.A. when he was nine was made so that he and his sister “… could become recording artists. I fell into commercials for financial reasons and acting became an attractive concept …”

Prior to securing an acting agent, Phoenix and his siblings had attempted to forge a career in music by playing cover songs on the streets of the Westwood district of LA. Phoenix disliked the idea of being a solo artist and relished collaboration; therefore he focused on putting together a band. Aleka’s Attic were formed in 1987 and the line up included his sister Rain. Phoenix was committed to gaining credibility by his own merit and so he maintained that the band would not use his name when securing performances that were not benefits for charitable organizations. Phoenix’s first release was “Across the Way”, co-written with band mate Josh McKay, which was released in 1989 on a benefit album for PETA titled Tame Yourself.

In 1991 River wrote and recorded a spoken word piece called “Curi Curi” for Milton Nascimento’s album TXAI. Also in 1991 the Aleka’s Attic track “Too Many Colors” was lent to the soundtrack of Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho a film which included Phoenix in a starring role. In 1996 the Aleka’s Attic track “Note to a Friend” was released on the 1996 benefit album In Defense of Animals; Volume II and featured Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass.

Phoenix had collaborated with friend John Frusciante after his first departure from Red Hot Chili Peppers and the songs “Height Down” and “Well I’ve Been” were released on Frusciante’s second solo album Smile from the Streets You Hold in 1997. The title track may also be an ode to Phoenix. Phoenix was an investor in the original House of Blues (founded by his good friend and Sneakers co-star Dan Aykroyd) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which opened its doors to the public after serving a group of homeless people on Thanksgiving Day 1992.

Phoenix was a dedicated animal rights, environmental and political activist. He was a prominent spokesperson for PETA and won their Humanitarian award in 1992 for his fund-raising efforts. Also in 1990, for Earth Day, Phoenix wrote an environmental awareness essay targeted at his young fan base, which was printed in Seventeen magazine. He financially aided a slew of environmental and humanitarian organizations and bought 800 acres (320 ha) of endangered rainforest in Costa Rica.

At war with his own dark demons, on October 31, 1993, Phoenix collapsed and died of drug-induced heart failure on the sidewalk outside the West Hollywood nightclub The Viper Room. He was 23 yrs-old at the time of his death. Prior to his death, Phoenix had been in the middle of filming the currently unreleased Dark Blood (1993).

In 24 hours his darkness consumed him and he was dead. Using archive footage, dramatic reenactment and interviews with his closest friends, companions, this documentary details the last hours of River Phoenix’s life and the gripping events that led to his tragic death in L.A.

R.I.P. Sweet Soul

Related post: Actor & Musician River Phoenix’s Final Film ‘Dark Blood’ Gets September Premiere

Live Review: The xx at Los Angeles’ Fonda Theatre (7/23)

Live Review: The xx at Los Angeles’ Fonda Theatre (7/23)
COS – July 24th, 2012

When The xx released their self-titled debut in 2009, the UK trio became auteurs of their class. Deemed as “hipster party music”, as melancholic and romantic and sorrowful, their music cascaded across genres and innately fit the dynamism of our age. And so it’s the mystery of The xx – the androgyny of Romy Madley Croft, the solemnity of Jamie Smith, and the sensuality of Oliver Sim – that led up to last night’s performance at The Fonda Theatre, that monolith of old Hollywood charm. With its sweeping, dramatic ceilings and a quirky, sometimes odd, LA crowd, it was a scene befitting the craze and rumors around The xx’s first stop on their US tour to promote the September 11th release of their sophomore album from XL Recordings, Coexist.

When The xx released their self-titled debut in 2009, the UK trio became auteurs of their class. Deemed as “hipster party music”, as melancholic and romantic and sorrowful, their music cascaded across genres and innately fit the dynamism of our age. And so it’s the mystery of The xx – the androgyny of Romy Madley Croft, the solemnity of Jamie Smith, and the sensuality of Oliver Sim – that led up to last night’s performance at The Fonda Theatre, that monolith of old Hollywood charm. With its sweeping, dramatic ceilings and a quirky, sometimes odd, LA crowd, it was a scene befitting the craze and rumors around The xx’s first stop on their US tour to promote the September 11th release of their sophomore album from XL Recordings, Coexist.

Openers HAIM – three sisters from the Valley, barely legal in ragged cutoffs and other handmade wares – are already listed as rising stars on sites like Stereogum and Vogue. There’s Alana, the youngest at 19, on vocals, keys, and maracas; Danielle, 22, lead vocals and guitar; and Este, the oldest at 24, shredding it on bass guitar. Danielle was reminiscent of a young Patti Smith, her voice poetic and precocious, ripping apart the vocals on tunes like “Go Slow” from their recently released EP, Forever. The highlight of the Haim sisters’ performance was the last song of their set, “Let Me Go”. It concluded with all three banging on individual bongo drums with drum sticks, building to a delightful crescendo. It was unexpected, it was triumphant – it was metal.

After a brief set by Jacques Greene, the lights darkened once more and a marbled, luminescent “X” lit up the drawn stage curtain. The audience roared. Almost immediately, the curtain collapsed, revealing The xx onstage, traced like black blocks in a marine sea of light. They started with “Angels”, their widely publicized single from Coexist, but soon transitioned into a long stream of songs from xx. “Crystalized” was slowed and stripped down, more of a meditative poem than a song, while “Fantasy” was one of the stand out performances of the night.

When The xx released their self-titled debut in 2009, the UK trio became auteurs of their class. Deemed as “hipster party music”, as melancholic and romantic and sorrowful, their music cascaded across genres and innately fit the dynamism of our age. And so it’s the mystery of The xx – the androgyny of Romy Madley Croft, the solemnity of Jamie Smith, and the sensuality of Oliver Sim – that led up to last night’s performance at The Fonda Theatre, that monolith of old Hollywood charm. With its sweeping, dramatic ceilings and a quirky, sometimes odd, LA crowd, it was a scene befitting the craze and rumors around The xx’s first stop on their US tour to promote the September 11th release of their sophomore album from XL Recordings, Coexist.

Openers HAIM – three sisters from the Valley, barely legal in ragged cutoffs and other handmade wares – are already listed as rising stars on sites like Stereogum and Vogue. There’s Alana, the youngest at 19, on vocals, keys, and maracas; Danielle, 22, lead vocals and guitar; and Este, the oldest at 24, shredding it on bass guitar. Danielle was reminiscent of a young Patti Smith, her voice poetic and precocious, ripping apart the vocals on tunes like “Go Slow” from their recently released EP, Forever. The highlight of the Haim sisters’ performance was the last song of their set, “Let Me Go”. It concluded with all three banging on individual bongo drums with drum sticks, building to a delightful crescendo. It was unexpected, it was triumphant – it was metal.

After a brief set by Jacques Greene, the lights darkened once more and a marbled, luminescent “X” lit up the drawn stage curtain. The audience roared. Almost immediately, the curtain collapsed, revealing The xx onstage, traced like black blocks in a marine sea of light. They started with “Angels”, their widely publicized single from Coexist, but soon transitioned into a long stream of songs from xx. “Crystalized” was slowed and stripped down, more of a meditative poem than a song, while “Fantasy” was one of the stand out performances of the night.

The night’s wealth of Coexist material was quite impressive, particularly “Reunion”, “Sunset”, and “Swept Away”. The songs are still concerned with The xx’s traditional themes (e.g. love, devotion, jealousy, heartbreak, regret), but they take the band’s characteristically catchy harmonic riffs and pair them with upbeat dance rhythms. It’s nothing too flashy, but rather in the style of post-dubstep and underground club artists, of lounge tempo.

The moods tied with their latest material are inciting, rather than subdued, similar to past tracks like “Islands” and “Basic Space”. And with their epic, sailing guitar riffs that rear from spacey harmonic drifts to whale calls, they effectively painted the night sensual. Croft and Sim’s style of singing back and forth in an electronic, elusive duet lends as much intrigue as the music itself, and in the end, it seemed as if the overwhelming amount of couples in the crowd were there to feast on the pair’s chemistry as much as the music.

Setlist:
Angels
Islands
Heart Skipped a Beat
Fiction
Basic Space
Crystalized
Fantasy
Shelter
Infinity
VCR
Reunion
Sunset
Night Time
Swept Away