Category Archives: Interviews

Perry Farrell’s 9-Step Guide to Becoming a Sinewy Tiger (via GQ)

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GQ — Look at this man. Perry Farrell is, pretty obviously, a jungle cat. He’s a prime physical specimen, a rock star in the cosmic sense, a man of wildly diverse active interests and a guy who is very, very difficult to interview about staying in shape. Because though Farrell, at 56, is cut like a beast and in peak condition, he is not a guy who shares his workout philosophy in what you might call “a linear fashion.”

But here’s the weird thing: His advice, when it comes, is a wild mix of new-age mysticism and the most consistently conservative approach to fitness you’ve ever heard. One minute it’s, “Musicians were revered because we provided almost a psychiatry in the way people can hear a song and be healed by it,” and the next it’s “If you feel like you’re eating too much, stay away for a while until you trim down.”

So rather than try to fashion his thoughts into some synthetic order, we present Perry Farrell’s Obviously Effective Yet Highly Non-Linear Rules of Fitness. (Only one of them involves throat-cutting!)

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Five Nights in the Life of the Drive-By Truckers (via Live Nation TV)

Patterson Hood (Erika Goldring/Getty Images)

Patterson Hood (Erika Goldring/Getty Images)

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Live Nation TV — The banner men of southern rock Drive-By Truckers just released a marquee live album this fall. The deluxe version of It’s Great To Be Alive runs three-plus-hours, and comes packaged as a 3-CD behemoth (or 5-LP, if you prefer your behemothing more analog) that includes 35 songs drawn band over the last two decades. And even though the band has played over 2,000 shows since they formed in 1996, co-founder Patterson Hood feels that now’s the perfect time to document it.

“We’re glad people seem to be excited. You never know when it could be, ‘Ugh, these guys again,'” laughs Hood, calling from his new home base in Portland, where he and his family moved this year.

It’s Great To Be Alive, recorded last fall over three nights at the Fillmore in San Francisco, was designed to approximate the loose, rambling feel of one of those 2,000 shows. (A one-disc best-of version titled This Weekend’s the Night! is coming, too.) The band never actually operates with a setlist, so they cull from all corners of their sprawling catalog, from a pre-Truckers track called “Runaway Train” to material from last year’s sterling English Oceans.

“We wanted it to be like an ultimate playlist, from our point of view and the fans’,” Hood said. “I had so much fun getting all geeky about that shit.” Here’s what they came up with.

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5 Nights in the Life of the Zac Brown Band (via Live Nation TV)

Pictured: Zac Brown, and 4,000 phones.

Pictured: Zac Brown, and 4,000 phones.

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Live Nation TV — At this point in their career, Zac Brown Band’s rolodex weighs a ton. Originally a promising country outfit with a quiver of early singles and a killer fiddle player, the group quickly outgrew its country trappings to become not only one of the liveliest bands on the road, but one whose list of known associates is quite expansive. They claim Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Dave Grohl, and Jimmy Buffett as collaborators, as well as Chris Cornell, Sara Bareilles, the Allman Brothers, and James Taylor. And earlier this year, the band set a record when they sold out three straight back-to-back concerts at Boston’s Fenway Park.

“We were embraced by country radio and fans, and we’re proud and happy about that,” says drummer Chris Fryar. “Country fans are rabid, but musically, we always sort of ran the gamut of influences. We never considered ourselves to be an exclusively country band, just a band.”

Of course, one doesn’t simply “break out of country.” It takes a career full of ups and downs, navigating a minefield of risks and failures, and just the right amount of luck. As such, we asked Fryar to recount his five most memorable shows from the band’s storied history. 

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The 5 Best Faith No More Concerts, According to Faith No More (via Live Nation TV)

Pretty flowers. (Photo / Jonathan Cohen)

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Live Nation TV — When Faith No More started playing gigs in seedy San Francisco clubs three decades ago, the idea that they’d one day headline arenas was almost as absurd as the music they were making. But their 2015 comeback, like pretty much everything they did throughout the ’80s and ’90s, has exceeded expectations.

“People seem to like the new record,” says the 52-year-old founding keyboardist Roddy Bottum. “Of course there’s the nostalgia factor, but we also see people who heard about the band but never saw the band, who maybe feel like they missed something the first time around.”

Bottum shares five memorable shows fans might have missed over at Live Nation TV.

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Idina Menzel on Radiohead, Joni Mitchell and That Song From the Movie (via IndyStar)

idina menzel

Indy Star — I can’t back this up with statistics, but since the day they saw “Frozen” in 2013, I’m pretty sure my children have paid more attention to Idina Menzel’s voice than mine.

It’s a wise decision, obviously. Menzel, if you have kids, know any kids or have gone outdoors in the past two years, is the elegant, towering voice behind “Let It Go,” the “Frozen” anthem and one of those songs you probably can’t remember life before.

“I have to apologize, probably,” she says with a laugh. She sounds self-aware and sincere enough that I stammeringly assure Queen Elsa’s singing voice that this is not actually a problem. “Frozen” may have brought Menzel into your DVD cabinet, minivan radio and Christmas stockings — as well as something akin to rock-star status to her and the cast — but there are many worlds of music coming together in her one-woman show Aug. 23 in Indianapolis. The tour has hit many of your major continents; reviews have pretty much run the gamut from “Wonderful” to “Will you marry me?”

More with Queen Elsa at the Indianapolis Star.

 

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Blowing Stuff Up, For Science: My 11-Year-Old and I Interview Adam Savage of ‘MythBusters’

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Jamie Hyneman (left) and Adam Savage (right, airborne).

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Indy Star — Because an 11-year-old and 3-year-old live in it, our house generally has pretty strict rules about TV. But because we’re reasonable parents, we tend to waive those rules under appropriate circumstances, such as whenever the kids feel like watching two dudes in San Francisco blow up some garbage trucks.

If our TV is on, it’s highly plausible that it’s on to “MythBusters,” the Discovery Channel science phenomenon/fireball factory that stars Adam Savage and (’81 IU grad) Jamie Hyneman. There’s plenty to watch: Over the course of 14 seasons, the team has produced nearly 260 episodes, tackled 900-some experiments, crashed 7.6 million cars (that’s a guess, but I’m confident I’m close), created one massive orange water slide, dropped numerous vehicles out of the sky, strapped military-grade rockets to three mild-mannered cars, encased a fake Luke Skywalker in a simulated tauntaun, and sent an exploding water heater skyward for a full 15 seconds. Frankly I don’t know why every 11-year-old on the planet doesn’t watch this show, except maybe for all the RPGs. (Helicopter parents, am I right?) “Can we watch a boom one?” my 3-year-old asks when I grab the remote, bounding up and down on his socks. “I like the boom ones.”

So to preview the MythBusters’ live show in Indianapolis, Savage was good enough to field questions from my much more knowledgable 11-year-old associate.

Read the full interview at the Indy Star.

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‘I Tell People We’re Like the United Nations’: How Ben Jaffe Preserves Preservation Hall

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South Magazine — There aren’t many music rooms in the land more safeguarded, undiluted and pleasingly frozen in time than Preservation Hall in New Orleans, a low-lit and spookily evocative venue that’s about the size of your living room and way more sparsely decorated.

Since 1961, the room has hosted one primary tenant: the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, whose members have both lit up St. Peter Street and served as traveling evangelists of the New Orleans music for 50 years. But though the band has been guarding and perpetuating the sound of its birthplace for more than a half a century, last year they did something they’d never done before: drop an album of original material. That record, “That’s It!’, composed by the band and produced by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, earned the group fresh ears, got it playing with the Roots on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and properly kicked off the next 50 years of its history.

“That’s It!” was partly the brainchild of bassist/sousaphonist Ben Jaffe, who, as the hall’s creative director as well as the son of founders Allan and Sandy Jaffe, is charged with guarding and expanding the foundations laid by everyone from Jelly Roll Morton to King Oliver to Louis Armstrong. He talked to South about how to get that done.

Does your daughter have any notion what her dad does for a living?
Well she doesn’t know we make money doing it (laughs). But she understands that music is going on. She comes to the Hall to see us, and she wants to be around the music. She loves it; kids are such little blank hard drives.

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A Conversation With Jimmy Buffett (Time)

Jimmy Buffett press photo

Time.com — Jimmy Buffett adds to his considerable pirate treasure with constant touring: traveling carnivals-slash-beach-blanket blowouts of friendly grass-skirted hedonisms. His shows are as constant as the tides, the stars and — to be slightly less romantic about the whole thing — the receipts at the end of each. But why not? At 66, Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band are still good for nearly 30 songs a night, and no one’s better at suggesting escape and rum drinks are just a snap decision away.

Buffett talked from his Long Island, NY home about retirement, Michael Jordan, Willie Nelson and…surfing.

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Wait, you were really surfing this morning?

“Yeah, if there are waves, I’ll be out there. It’s crowded out here [at Montauk] but the conditions were right, so I was in the water at like 7:30. It’s a passion first — well, some would say it’s an affliction rather than a passion, but whatever it is, I’ve got it. I’m an old-fart surfer, but it keeps me in shape and it generates some interesting byproducts in the way of song lyrics.”

Read the full Q&A here.

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Ed Helms: How To Cure Three Hangovers (Men’s Health)

Photo / Emily Shur

Men’s Health — When Ed Helms talks about the “jelly center” of the characters he plays on TV and in movies, he’s referring to the goodness at their core. By all outward appearances, these are not fully formed men. Some are downright mean, the sorts of jerks you’d avoid in real life. On The Daily Show, Helms played, in his words, “a character who’s kind of a dick who also has my name. Then he was the volatile man-child Andy Bernard onThe Office, the spineless dentist Stu Price in the Hangover movies, and the overwound Pat in Jeff Who Lives at Home.

In Helms’s hands, these guys become something unexpected: relatable, authentic, jelly-centered human beings. Even cowards and assholes are human deep inside, and that’s enough to warm Ed Helms’s heart.

“I have so much empathy for these characters,” he says. “I’ve tossed a couple hand grenades in my life, and I’ve paid the price. So I sympathize with somebody who’s trying to be a better person but isn’t really good at it. There’s some of that in a lot of us.”

Read more in the June issue of  Men’s Health.

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Josh Ritter Has Recorded American Music’s Most Upbeat Divorce Record

Josh Ritter

Island Packet — Some artists spend their whole careers deflecting explanations about what they’ve written, preferring to leave such details up to the adaptable whims of the listener or the perpetual appeal of mystery. In announcing his new record — the sterling, stop-reading-this-and-go-buy-it-already “The Beast In Its Tracks” — Josh Ritter dragged the explanation on stage and threw a spotlight on it.

“I wrote and recorded this record in the 18 months after my marriage had fallen apart,” he said in the album announcement/message to fans. “All heartbreak is awful — my broken heart wasn’t unique. But writing these songs was helping me get through the night, and I didn’t have the strength to care or question.” And thus was born what the media/Internet christened Josh Ritter’s Divorce Record.

But if you’ve been following Ritter’s career — if you haven’t, you should immediately seek out his 2002 debut “The Golden Age of Radio” and listen onward through 2007’s “The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter” — you know that the Idaho-born singer is not one for self-immolation, or even allowing himself too much time on the dark side of town.

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