Jake Bugg to play London’s Alexandra Palace

Jake Bugg

Jake Bugg

 
Jake Bugg is to play five UK dates in October, including a major show at London’s Alexandra Palace – O2 Priority Tickets for that concert will be available from 9am on Wednesday May 14.

The shows are some of the largest Bugg has ever played. Following the UK run, the singer-songwriter will be supporting The Black Keys on their October/November tour of arenas in Canada and the USA.

A former US tourmate of Bugg’s, Albert Hammond Jr, recently predicted that Bugg will be a festival headliner one day. “What people see in him is just that he’s a talented guy with a great voice and as he figures himself out, I think that he’ll be able to headline,” said Hammond Jr. “He’s doing great and I don’t even need to say anything.”

Bugg is set to release a new four-track EP titled ‘Messed Up Kids’ on May 12.

Jake Bugg will play:

Cardiff Arena (October 5)
Wolverhampton Civic Hall (October 7)
Liverpool Echo 2 (October 18)
Bridlington Spa (October 20)
London Alexandra Palace (October 21)

Is Josh Homme a Badass? Yes, he is!

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If we learned anything from Queens of the Stone Age‘s recent “Smooth Sailing” music video, it’s that Josh Homme is about as badass as his songs make him out to be. But that’s not the only piece of evidence. The QOTSA, Kyuss, and Them Crooked Vultures affiliate is known to speak his mind and has given us some rather epic moments over the years — that is, when he’s not hanging out with Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys. Following suit with our recent overview of Dave Grohl through images, check out these photos and GIFs that capture Homme at his very best.

‘Farewell Transmission: The Music Of Jason Molina’

Singer/songwriter Jason Molina

Singer/songwriter Jason Molina –   Steve Gullick/Courtesy of the artist

 

Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina comes out April 22.

Jason Molina never sang to — or for — the many. The singer-songwriter, who died last year at 39, gave voice to despair and solitude, and to a lonely pursuit of the comfort and strength necessary to face each day. Whether he performed as Songs: Ohia, or Jason Molina, his big, yearning voice encountered only a small but intense cult following that heard in him a crucial combination of fatalism and fighting spirit.

Like many whose fan bases run narrow but deep, Molina was widely beloved by musicians; anyone who’s ever tried to channel the blues would know how pure his were. Within the last year, Molina has already inspired two double-length tribute albums, each intended to help his family and spread word of his work. Both, while naturally uneven in execution, nicely convey the sturdiness of Molina’s songcraft — not to mention his considerable gift for quotable melancholy.

Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina is the newer of the two collections — the other is last year’s — with proceeds split between the singer’s family and a charity called MusiCares, which battles Molina’s twin demons of alcoholism and depression. In 27 songs and just less than two hours, it provides a fine overview of the singer’s best-known work, highlighted by ‘s suitably epic take on the title track.

Given the reverence in which Molina’s work is held, it’s no surprise that Farewell Transmission rarely strays far from the singer’s original intentions, though it’s intriguing to hear Squares recast the almost impossibly desolate “” as a bold rock song. Molina’s former bandmates even come together as Memorial Electric Company to perform a new track, “Arm in Arm,” as well as to tackle the unrecorded Molina song “Trouble in Mind (Fade to Blue).” Between the incredible source material and a fine assortment of contributors — including , Murder by Death, Catherine Irwin, and another past Molina collaborator, Will Johnson of — Farewell Transmission marks a fine way to both celebrate a great career and mourn a man for whom mournfulness was stitched into the fabric of his art.

 

Remembering Kurt Cobain: Why People Kill Themselves

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With the 21st anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s on April 5, we’d like to celebrate the musician’s vast contributions to music and popular culture.

Cobain was featured on the cover of Newsweek’s April 18, 1994, issue as part of a larger story about the root causes of suicide. From “The Mystery of Suicide,” by David Gelman:

The road to self-destruction starts with depression and ends in the grave. But who chooses to die and why? Is it stress? Brain chemistry? A despair rotting the soul? The answers are as varied as the weapons.

kurt-cobain-e1396621300826            The body of Kurt Cobain as found by police.

Gelman spoke to Seattle locals about Cobain’s too-early passing. College student Chris Dorr, 23, found it almost clichéd: “It makes you wonder if our icons are genetically programmed to self-destruct in their late 20s.”

Below is the 1994 eulogy, a feature that ran alongside Gelman’s story.

The Poet of Alienation: Cobain’s corrosive songs defined a generation

He’d come to install an alarm system. The irony is that long before electrician Gary Smith found Kurt Cobain’s body, it was clear that what Nirvana’s singer really needed protection from was himself. Cobain wasn’t identified for hours, but his mother, Wendy O’Connor, didn’t need anyone to tell her that it was her son who was found with a shotgun and a suicide note that reportedly ended, “I love you, I love you.” The singer had been missing, and his mother had feared that the most troubled and talented rock star of his generation would go the way of Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. “Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club,” she told The Associated Press. “I told him not to join that stupid club.”

Cobain didn’t overdose like Morrison and Hendrix, of course. But the singer’s self-destruction streak seems to have been bound up inextricably with drugs. In March, while in Rome, Cobain overdosed on painkillers and champagne. Nirvana’s spokespeople insisted that it was an accident, portraying Cobain and his wife, Courtney Love, as stable, happy parents whose drug days were behind them. But the truth about Cobain’s last months was far messier than we’d been led to believe.

On March 18, Cobain reportedly locked himself in a room of his spacious Seattle home and threatened to kill himself; Love is said to have called the police, who arrived on the scene and seized medication and firearms. On April 2, the police were summoned once more—this time by O’Connor, who told them her son was missing. The rumor mill has it that Cobain and Love’s marriage was on the rocks, that his friends performed an “intervention,” and that while Love was promoting a new album by her band, Hole, Cobain was fleeing a rehab clinic in Los Angeles.

According to the AP, O’Connor’s missing person’s report read, in part, “Cobain ran away from [a] California facility and flew back to Seattle. He also bought a shotgun and may be suicidal.” All these dark machinations will make for an uneasy legacy—precisely the sort of legacy he didn’t want. “I don’t want my daughter to grow up and someday be hassled by kids at school,” he once said of Frances Bean Cobain, then 19 months. “I don’t want people telling her that her parents were junkies.”

Which raises a question: What will they tell Frances Bean? Where her father’s career is concerned, at least, the answer is reassuring. They’ll tell her Cobain and his band hated the slick, MTV-driven rock establishment so much they took it over. They’ll tell her that with the album Nevermind, Nirvana replaced the prefab sentiments of pop with hard, unreconstituted emotions. That they got rich and went to No. 1. That they were responsible for other bands getting rich and going No. 1: Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains. That Cobain never took his band as seriously as everyone else did—that he once wrote, “I’m the first to admit that we’re the ’90s version of Cheap Trick. But that despite his corrosive guitar playing, he wrote gorgeous, airtight melodies. That he took the Sex Pistols’ battle cry “Never Mind the Bollocks,” mixed it with some twenty-something rage and disillusion, and came out with this lyric: “Oh, well, whatever, never mind.” And, finally, that he reminded his peers they were not alone, though all the evidence suggests that he was.

Cobain was born just outside the desultory logging town of Aberdeen, Wash., in February 1967. (Yes, he was 27, as were Morrison, Hendrix and Joplin.) The singer hated being the crown prince of Generation X, but the fury of Nirvana’s music spoke to his generation because they’d grown up more or less the same way. Which is to say, grunge is what happens when children of divorce get their hands on guitars. Cobain’s mother was a housewife; his father, Don Cobain, was a mechanic at the Chevron station in town. They divorced when the singer was 8.

Drugs and punk: Cobain always had a fragile constitution (he was subject to bronchitis, as well as the recurrent stomach pains he claimed drove him to a heroin addiction). The image one gets is that of a frail kid batted between warring parents. “[The divorce] just destroyed his life,” Wendy O’Connor tells Michael Azerrad in the Nirvana biography Come as You Are. “He changed completely. I think he was ashamed. And he became very inward—he just held everything [in]…. I think he’s still suffering.”

As a teen, Cobain dabbled in drugs and punk rock, and dropped out of school. His father persuaded him to pawn his guitar and take an entrance exam for the Navy. But Cobain soon returned for the guitar. “To them, I was wasting my life,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “To me, I was fighting for it.” Cobain didn’t speak to his father for eight years. When Nirvana went to the top of the charts, Don Cobain began keeping a scrapbook. “Everything I know about Kurt,” he told Azerrad,” I’ve read in newspapers and magazines.”

The more famous Nirvana became, the more Cobain wanted none of it. The group, whose first album, 1989’s Bleach, was recorded for $606.17 and released on independent label Sub Pop, was meant to be a latter-day punk band. It was supposed to be nasty and defiant and unpopular. But something went wrong: Nirvana’s major label debut, Nevermind, sold almost 10 million copies worldwide. On the stunning single “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Cobain howled over a sludgy guitar riff, “I feel stupid and contagious/Here we are now, entertain us.” This was the sound of psychic damage, and an entire generation recognized it.

Nirvana—with their stringy hair, plaid work shirts and torn jeans—appealed to a mass of young fans who were tired of false idols like Madonna and Michael Jackson, and who’d never had a dangerous rock ‘n’ roll hero to call their own.

Unfortunately, the band also appealed to the sort of people Cobain had always hated: poseurs and bandwagoneers, not to mention record company execs and fashion designers who fell over themselves cashing in on the new sights and sounds. Cobain, who’d grown up as an angry outsider, tried to shake his celebrity. “I have a request for our fans,” he fumed in the liner notes to the album Incesticide. “If any of you in any way hate homosexuals, people of different color, or women, please do this one favor for us—leave us the f—k alone!… Last year, a girl was raped by two wastes of sperm and eggs while singing…our song ‘Polly.’ I have had a hard time carrying on knowing there are plankton like that in our audience.”

By 1992, it became clear that Cobain’s personal life was as tangled and troubling as his music. The singer married Love in Waikiki—the bride wore a moth-eaten dress once owned by actress Frances Farmer—and the couple embarked on a self-destructive pas de deux widely referred to as the ’90s version of Sid and Nancy. As Cobain put it, “I was going off with Courtney and we were scoring drugs and we were f—king up against a wall outside and stuff…and causing scenes just to do it. It was fun to be with someone who would stand up all of a sudden and smash a glass on the table.”

In September ’92, Vanity Fair reported that Love had used heroin while she was pregnant with Frances Bean. She and Cobain denied the story (the baby is healthy). But authorities were reportedly concerned enough to force them to surrender custody of Frances to Love’s sister, Jamie, for a month, during which time the couple was, in Cobain’s words, “totally suicidal.”

Tormented rebel: By last week, the world knew Cobain has a self-destructive kurt-cobain-guitarstreak, that he’d flailed violently against his unwanted celebrity—but the world had been assured that those days were over. Nirvana recently postponed its European concert dates and opted out of this summer’s Lollapalooza tour. Still, spokesmen maintained that Cobain simply needed time to recuperate from the overdose in Rome. They offered a tempting picture: Cobain the tormented rebel reborn as a doting, drug-free father. Even Dr. Osvaldo Galletta, of Rome’s American Hospital, says he believed the overdose was an accident: “The last image I have of him, which in light of the tragedy now seems pathetic, is of a young man playing with the little girl. He did not seem like a young man who wanted to end it. I had hope for him. Some of the people that visited him were a little strange, but he seemed to be a mild sort, not at all violent. His wife also behaved quite normally. She left a thank-you note.”

It’d be nice if we, too, could come away with that image of Cobain and his Kurtand daughterdaughter. And in truth, those who knew the singer say there was a real fragility buried beneath the noise of his music and his life. Still, there are a lot of other images vying for our attention just once. Among them is the image of Courtney Love and Frances Bean Cobain, who are said to have arrived at their home in Seattle, via limo, late Friday. Again: What will people tell Francis? Ed Rosenblatt, Geffen Records president, says, “The world has lost a great artist, and we’ve lost a great friend. It leaves a huge void in our hearts.” That is certainly true. If only someone had heard the alarms ringing at that rambling, gray-shingled home near the lake. Long before there was a void in our hearts, there was a void in Kurt Cobain’s.

INXS Michael Hutchence’s hauntingly prophetic words, days before his death

Michael Hutchence

Michael Hutchence

This story was published 18 days ago February 08, 2014 9:36PM by news.com.au

MICHAEL Hutchence battled many demons but, for the first time, he felt close to winning the war.

“I have dealt with many demons in my life, but nothing compares to what I’ve had to face over the past few years,” Hutchence told me over the phone, in what would be his last interview.

“It would be so easy for me to say that I hate what I’ve become, but then, what I’ve become, certainly in the public eye, I’ve had no control over.

“I don’t like that.

“It concerns me a great deal that every move that I make is looked at, photographed, and made into gossip, some f—ing sound bite that doesn’t resemble the truth.”

Hutchence had called to promote a homecoming tour with INXS. It was November 18, 1997, and he was about to board a flight from Los Angeles to Sydney.

Four days later, he took his own life in a Sydney hotel room. Upbeat about coming home, the open and obliging frontman broadened our interview to include his lover British broadcaster Paula Yates, pride at their daughter Heavenly Hirani Tiger Lily, and his seething contempt of Yates’ former husband, Sir Bob Geldof.

Geldof and Yates, who had three children together, split in 1995, a year after her affair with the Australian rocker was uncovered.

That rift sparked a vicious slanging match and bitter custody battle. In our interview, he was increasingly angry and hurt at the picture the British press painted of him, especially after his fling and subsequent relationship with Yates.

“I’d say it was much worse for Paula – but I’m a realist, I just do my best to confront these things and hope I come out of it stronger and wiser and a better person,” he told me.

“The truth has hardly ever survived in our case. I get to see some of what is written, hear what is said. I try not to because some of it, no, most of it, is hurtful and it does me no good to think that it is out there. I hate the fact that people’s perception of you is just fodder. Every move you make is just used to sell newspapers.

“I don’t want to be exposed like that all the time. I don’t want to be known as someone that’s just a shallow sound bite. I have worked too long and too hard for that.

“I have always just carried on my life the way I see fit. If that ruffles feathers, and it becomes tabloid fodder, then so be it. I’m not going to lock myself away or change my lifestyle to suit somebody else’s set of rules. I think that’s immoral.

“People should just remember: I am a musician. I am a singer. That’s it.”

He continued: “I’m not complaining about the life I’ve got. I’m a dad, I sing, I travel, I get into most of the clubs for free. I have freedom and freedom gives you a certain amount of power.”

Then eerily: “I can lose all of this whenever I want to.”

Earlier that month, Hutchence had met with major studio and indie filmmakers in New York and Los Angeles to resurrect his acting career.

In that time, Hutchence did a cameo role in Limp, a low-budget movie shot in Seattle. He auditioned for the part, got it, and played a jaded record company executive. “It was directed by this hot-shot kid, this 26-year-old guy, and his energy, just seeing how this guy works with ideas, it has inspired me to work in films again,” he told me.

Hutchence was excited by the rise of quality, independent Australian film, and had set up meetings with local filmmakers during the INXS tour.

“I am the biggest fan of anything Australian, especially when I’m away from home,” he told me.

“I just rant and rave because I know what it takes to get it out there on the world stage.

Hutchence was in love, but said he had not discussed marriage with Yates.

“Every year, some columnist tells us we are going to get married somewhere. Last year it was in Queensland, the year before, it was in Italy,” he told me.

“Marriage is a very personal thing and to deny it, well, you don’t want to deny it because it sounds like you don’t want to do it.”

Did Hutchence want to do it?

“To be honest, yes,” he replied.

“I think there is a part of me that truly wants that. But in reality, we haven’t even discussed it. Some gossip columnist just thinks it’s pretty funny to tell us when we should.”

After Hutchence’s death, an understandably distraught Yates struggled to cope.

In September 2000, she was found dead in her London home from a heroin overdose. Geldof took foster custody of Tiger Lily, so she could be raised with her older half-sisters. He formally adopted Tiger Lily in 2007.

Hutchence, caught in the vitriol between Geldof and Yates, once described Sir Bob as “an evil man” and said the public had been fooled into siding with “Saint Bob”.

He told me: “It is an easy contrast. A convenient one. Saint Bob and (a) wild boy rock star. You pick the one who people are going to believe?

“One day, the truth will be told,” Hutchence sighed. Did he want to give his side of “the truth” for our interview?

“No,” he answered flatly.

“The ones who lie should be made to tell the truth.”

According to the coroner’s report, Hutchence called Geldof twice in the early hours of November 22, 1997, begging Sir Bob to let Yates bring her children to Australia. Geldof told authorities Hutchence’s tone was “abusive, hectoring and threatening”.

A desperate and distraught Hutchence placed further calls, and left voicemail messages with his former girlfriend, Michelle Bennett, and manager, Martha Troup.

Bennett rushed to the hotel, but was unable to rouse Hutchence by knocking loudly on his door, and calling repeatedly.

At 11.50am, a hotel maid found him, dead, and naked behind the door to his room. He had apparently hanged himself with his own belt.

Earlier that week, Hutchence was optimistic about being able to telling the truth his way.

“Are you comfortable in your skin?” he asked in Building Bridges.

“Some days I am everything that I hate. There’s nothing if the truth won’t survive.”

In essence, Hutchence’s songs let him have the last word.

“That I can create, that I can write, that I can express,” Hutchence told me, “that is the light at the end of the tunnel. That is how you win the battle.”

‘Made For This’: The Rootless Life Of A Roving Musician

David Dondero performs at D.G.'s Tap House in Ames, Iowa.

David Dondero performs at D.G.’s Tap House in Ames, Iowa.

Guitarist and songwriter is a transient. He’s lived all over the country, from Alaska to Texas. When he’s not touring, he finds work — most recently as a carpenter in California. But it never lasts. Music always finds its way back into his life.

“It’s a juggling act of holding employment and losing employment and trying to make it all happen,” Dondero says. He points to his own song “” as reflection of the lifestyle he’s chosen: “This damn guitar! Here I am again back down to nothing.”

Dondero has been playing solo for most of his career. Singer-songwriter remembers meeting him in the late 1990s outside a show in British Columbia. He was selling records out of the trunk of his car. She says she has them all.

“Dave’s first record was incredibly brilliant, and the last record he put out is incredibly brilliant,” Holland says.

Holland has taken a different path from Dondero: She’s signed to a respected label with a roster that includes and . She also has a manager and booking agents who handle the business side of things.

“That allows me to do my job,” Holland says. “Which is to be an artist and write music and keep a band together and do everything else I have to do in order to lead the band and write the songs and keep myself alive, and continue to do these things in this environment where it’s incredibly difficult to pay the rent.”

That is, if you choose to settle down and pay the rent — something that Dondero isn’t exactly interested in.

“I was with labels,” he says, “with managers who were always talking about the next level and trying to be in the big time or all this jazz. It’s really kind of a ridiculous idea at this point. I’m happy enough being able to float my own boat and roll around in small clubs to people that want to hear it.”

Carolina Moon by David Dondero

Dondero says living an amorphous life without high expectations has allowed him to rest a little easier.

“I’m perfectly content in that atmosphere,” he says. “Doing it this way has taken away all that pressure of trying to get to the next level, whatever that is.”

Dondero may not want any of that, but musician — who made a name for himself fronting the band Pedro the Lion — has a wife and kids, and needs a sense of stability.

“There’s no net for Dave, of any kind,” Bazan says. “Except for his own constitution.”

Bazan says he admires his friend, whom he initially met when they toured Europe in 2008. He says he watched Dondero perform every night.

“It’s just an undeniable thing,” Bazan says. “Whoever’s in the room, even if they don’t know about him prior, are just kind of captivated. It energizes him. I could see it over and over again, him being plagued with self-doubt when he’s not on the stage, kind of going about his day. Then, he gets up on stage and it’s a reminder to him: ‘Oh yeah, I’m kind of made for this.'”

Dondero seems happy doing things the way he does.

“Even in songs, you can feel something or go some different direction every day,” he says. “You don’t have to get stuck in the same words, or the same pattern. You can change it up every time if you want. Especially if you do it my way. You don’t ever have to do the same thing twice if you don’t want to. Just do it different every time.”

For now, Dondero is on the road, on another tour with no end in sight, taking it a show at a time, looking for a place to settle down … until he gets restless.

Tom Waits – ‘Lie to Me’ [video]

Tom Waits -‘ Lie to Me’  (Live, Atlanta 2008)

“Lie To Me,” the opening track on a three-disc mother lode of rarities Tom Waits calls Orphans, is two minutes and 10 seconds of pure, unfiltered rock ‘n’ roll bliss. It’s not an ironic comment on rock hooliganism, or some sort of elliptical Waitsian postdoctoral thesis on the music’s history, but a handclapped backbeat twitching like it did in Memphis. And a guitar melody running cool and steady like the 8:40 local into town. And vocals, bathed in old-school reverb, that lift Waits out of the gutter long enough for him to channel the ghost of some long-dead early rock idol. Or a composite of ten of them.

Waits is a child of rock, of course. On his records he’s been cagey about it, employing discreet rockisms behind his carefully desiccated and determinedly pre-rock voice. Here, though, as he begs his baby to keep feeding his head with lies, he sounds like he’s living out the teen fantasies proffered by Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers. He’s wild, she’s wild, the band’s crazy gone — we all want to be lied to like this.

“Lie To Me” isn’t the single best song on this overstuffed set, but it’s one of the most disarming ones, with a roar that can knock listeners sideways. That makes it a perfect tone-setter for the immense, thematically arranged outpouring that follows. By starting in this way, Waits signals that maybe we don’t know him as well as we thought — and suggests, in the most gracious way imaginable, that we ought to check all assumptions about him at the door.

Tom Waits’ unique vocal style and devoted following has such appeal to advertisers that they have resorted to using sound-alikes when Waits turns down requests to use his original music. That has led the artist to take legal action.