Category Archives: music

Henry Rollins on His Favorite Indiana Bands, This Stupid Election and Why He Writes Like He’s Running Out of Time (via the Indianapolis Star)

Works more than you do.

Works more than you do.

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Indianapolis Star — Spoken-word artist, actor, former Black Flag frontman, activist, authoritative-opinion owner and self-described “vinyl cat lady” Henry Rollins is a guy who — to steal a line from a musical about another American overachiever — writes like he’s running out of time.

Rollins, 55, and his endless-bordering-on-insane work ethic has positioned him not just as the “aging alternative icon” he jokingly called himself in the past, but as a harder, steelier critic on a culture that offers no shortage of material. His current spoken-word tour, featuring shows that routinely hit the three-hour mark, visits Indianapolis shortly after Election Day, so there should be no shortage of material.

Rollins checked in via email in September from a tour stop in Australia, weighing in on his approach to the election and what his audience means to him now:

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Question: Obvious yet sincere opener: Who are your favorite musicians/bands from Indiana? 

Answer: The Ink Spots. I got introduced to their music in the late 1980s.

Q: You’ll be here shortly after Election Day/Recount Week/The Fall of the Republic. What’s your mood been about the election?

A: Indifferent. I will vote and live with whatever the result is. President Obama tried to make things better. Congress and the USA were not interested. To be overly concerned with a country that obviously isn’t motivated to confront global climate change, renewable energy, health care or education is a fool’s errand. Marriage equality, something easily covered by the First, Fourth and 14th amendments of the Constitution, had to go to the Supreme Court. USA lost me. I just pay my taxes and obey the law. Past that, I hope I don’t get shot.

The full interview at the Indy Star.

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Springsteen’s Record-Breaking Night in New Jersey: There is Something Wrong With This Man (via Live Nation TV)

City = busted in half

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Live Nation TV — Something is wrong with Bruce Springsteen. On Tuesday night, to open a three-night series at MetLife Stadium in his home state of New Jersey, he played three hours and 52 minutes–his longest-ever show on U.S. soil and a demonstration of terrifying fitness for a 66-year-old. On Thursday night, at the same stadium, he ambled right out and promptly beat his record by eight minutes. His TWO-DAY-OLD RECORD. If you’re seeing him on Sunday night, bring protein bars.

Whatever your count, Thursday’s show is easily the speediest-feeling four-hour anything I’ve attended. It’s important to note that in the mythological Legends of Springsteen passed down through the generations, the marathon shows he performed on the Darkness and River tours often included an intermission, or a long speech about how he met Clarence, at the very least an encore break. The MetLife shows had zero of these. For the second night in Jersey, Bruce eschewed the full-River construct that was the basis for the River Tour in the first place, but dug up a bunch of the album’s high spots, including “I’m a Rocker,” “Cadillac Ranch,” and “Hungry Heart,” which he sang, naturally, strolling around the floor. Here’s what else he did.

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How I Destroyed a Bruce Springsteen-Related Guinness World Record in 60 Seconds Flat (via Success Magazine)

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 10.21.52 AM August 8

Success — Jumping right into the book of Guinness World Records with the mission of finding one to break is daunting. You’re not simply trying to decide how to order your eggs or which project to launch, you’re trying to be remembered for something incredible—something that will etch your name into a metaphorical mountain that will endure time, memory and erosion. Have you ever sat down and said, “All right, at what thing should I become the best in the world?” It’s scary. Big ambition can be. So I went with the only thing I knew I was really good at.

The full story at Success magazine.

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Chris Cornell Has an Absurd Number of Songs (via Indy Star)

chris cornell

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Indy Star — Great Caesar’s ghost, Chris Cornell has a lot of songs. Technically his current solo acoustic tour supports “Higher Truth,” his sterling fifth solo record and one that’s powered not by the thunderstorm roar of Soundgarden and/or Audioslave but an acoustic guitar — though, happily, his valkyrie four-octave voice hasn’t gone anywhere. (If you haven’t, check out “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart,” a near-perfect single and a fine on-ramp into where he’s going with this.)

But Cornell’s show, which visits the cozy environs of the Murat on July 9, also draws from a galaxy of work that includes — deep breaths — grunge pioneers Soundgarden, the rhythmic and raging Audioslave, the Seattle supergroup Temple of the Dog and his previous four solo records (including that one with Timbaland). Throw in a James Bond theme, his contribution to “12 Years a Slave,” a cut from the “Singles” soundtrack, a track from a second Seattle supergroup Mad Season and a Donald Trump spoof called “Make America Great Again” and we’re dealing with a pretty huge grab bag.

But more than shining a light on his catalog, this tour serves to reinforce just how powerful Cornell’s voice remains. At 51, he’s applying it to reframed versions of “Black Hole Sun,” “Blow Up the Outside World” and “Doesn’t Remind Me.” But he’s also throwing in material from his recent round of killer viral covers, including a room-flattening “Nothing Compares 2 U,” a rewrite of “The Times They Are a’Changin’,” (in Cornell’s version, they aren’t) “Thank You” (something that probably happens after three solid decades of Plant comparisons) and a live mashup of Metallica’s “One” vs. U2’s “One,” which sounds like it has no right to work and then totally does.

Here’s how he makes his picks, via the Indy Star.

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Luke Bryan Is About to Play to an Awful Lot of People in Indiana (via Indy Star)

636028018097583505-PR-shot-A-Jim-WrightIndy Star — If you’re a fan of beach-country megalith Luke Bryan, you are in the right state. This weekend, Bryan plays back-to-back nights at the Klipsch Music Center, the only act pulling a double-shot there this summer. In October, he’ll bring his eighth annual Farm Tour back to picturesque Spangler Farms near Fort Wayne. All told, in the next three months, Bryan will play to something like 65,000 people in Indiana, after having done basically the same thing last year. (If you’re counting, he also performed in Evansville in February.)

Of all the seat-fillers (and shakers) in country, Bryan is one of the most astonishingly reliable; he and Kenny Chesney could easily spend an evening comparing stadium-show statistics. But for all his success singing of the party life, there are hints of change: Bryan retired his series of annual beer-splashed Spring Break concerts and EPs last year, which was both cause for sadness among his Coppertone-and-bikini-topped fans and probably a solid idea, as — let’s be honest — he’s knocking on 40, married to his high-school sweetheart and raising three kids.

More from one of country’s most reliable draws at the Indy Star.

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Darius Rucker on NASCAR, ‘Purple Rain’ and How He Ended Up Playing Jesus in a Back Seat with Billy Ray Cyrus (via Indy Star)

darius rucker

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Indy Star — Darius Rucker’s Saturday night show should be a little less stressful than his last appearance in Indy, when he had to sing to 350,000 people and time his performance to fighter planes.

“I get a phone call from my manager and he says, ‘They want you to sing the anthem at the Indy 500,’ Rucker says, “I was like, ‘There are so many singers in the world — they want me to do it?”

There are, and he did, and it was an honor — just one that required timing the big finish to the roaring appearance of two F/A-18 Hornets and two E/A-18G Growlers. “You have to sing it at the right time, the planes might be late, the planes might be early,” Rucker laughs. “There’s a guy on the radio with the pilots telling me ‘Stretch it out, stretch it out.’ I was like, ‘Man I’m stretching as much as I can! What do you want me to do, scat in the middle?”

More at the Indy Star.

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In Which the Great Frightened Rabbit Briefly Sorta Ruins My 4-Year-Old

Frightened-Rabbit-Main-Pub-1-Dan-Massie-1

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Indy Star — Frightened Rabbit’s music is grand and dreamy and often sad as heartbreak, which is why I don’t often play it in front of my 4-year-old. But to prep for a chat with singer/core Scott Hutchison, we sampled the band’s sterling new “Paintings of a Panic Attack,” which opens with a lovely, pulsing track called “Death Dream.” You can probably guess what it’s about. The band’s grandeur swirls around behind Hutchison’s rich, syrupy voice, a Scottish brogue that he lets crack at just the right times. Like the best Frightened Rabbit tracks — which is a lot of them — it’s melancholy enough to fit inside a cathedral. And midway through, my 4-year-old son wanders in, having heard the song from the living room, and he’s sobbing. Just sobbing. “Daddy,” he’s wailing, “Can you change the song?”

The full story (and the much happier ending) here.

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12 Things No One Could Stop Axl Rose from Wearing Onstage With Guns N’ Roses (via GQ)

Pictured: Angry Margaret Thatcher

Pictured: Angry Margaret Thatcher

 

GQ — In addition to getting away with anything he wanted, Indiana-born rock vocalist W. Axl Rose spent his band’s 1991-1993 Use Your Illusion tour cycling through an increasingly unhinged series of onstage outfits that screamed, “Seriously, I can wear anything I want and you guys won’t say a thing, now can someone please launder my Manson shirt.” Here now, with the benefit of hindsight and in preparation for the band’s reunion tour — which is still happening, right, you guys are packing and everything? — a brief review of some of Axl’s memorable onstage looks:

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Enter the jungle.

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He’s the DJ: Jazzy Jeff on the Fresh Prince Reunion Tour, the NWA Movie and His Old Name (via Indy Star)

He's the DJ.

He’s the DJ.

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Indy Star — In case you’re wondering if famous people ever do this sort of thing, yes, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince will occasionally find themselves staring at each other like, “Can you believe this?”

“It’s like you’re in this taxi on this amazing ride, and you don’t know when it’ll be over so you just learn to sit back and enjoy the view,” says DJ Jazzy Jeff. “I never got used to this. I’ll never be used to this.”

By day, Jazzy Jeff is the the exceedingly humble 51-year-old Jeff Townes of Philadelphia, who talks like a guy who’s sold about 5 million fewer albums than he has. But he spent the beginning of his 30-year career as half of one of hip-hop’s most recognizable mainstream duos and the rest evolving into a godfather among DJs and a turntablist who continues to drop jaws. “(Music) has taken me around the world 50 times over. I’ve gone to places I couldn’t pronounce when I started,” he says. “And I can’t help but go back to the idea that it’s two turntables, a mixer and some records that put me here.”

More at the Indy Star.

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Urban Outfitters is Selling Cassettes and We All Just Need to Pump the Brakes (via GQ)

(via GQ)

(via GQ)

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GQ — For the last several years, the mall rats at Urban Outfitters have served as some of our nation’s leading vendors of vinyl records, which is news that would be morally disquieting if I didn’t buy vinyl at Urban Outfitters, which I have been known to do, because they had a bright-red edition of the Charlie Brown Christmas LP and I am not made of stone.

Look, I understand that America’s Adult Buying Population has a soft spot for literally anything it previously encountered during the glory days of adolescence, but let’s be clear: Cassettes are stupid, for these very good reasons.

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