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Tag: Q&A (11-20 of 100)

Mad Season's Barrett Martin on the new reissue of the grunge classic 'Above'

Back in 1995 when grunge was arguably at its height, a Seattle supergroup dropped its first — and what would turn out to be their only — album.

Though it consisted of 75 percent scene luminaries (Alice in Chains vocalist Layne Staley, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, and Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin), Mad Season were actually more of a next-generation blues band.

That album, Above, went gold on the back of the single “River of Deceit,” and was vital to the development of the four musicians in the group (bassist John Baker Saunders rounded out the lineup), all of whom had struggled with substance abuse but managed to clean themselves up. “There was a spiritual elevation that we all felt when we played together,” Martin tells EW. “Part of that was because we were all sober at the time. There was a real heightened awareness in that band. Everything seemed to awaken within us when we played together.”

The group only played a handful of shows, and though they began work on their second album in 1996, Above was Mad Season’s only album. (Saunders passed away in 1999; Staley passed in 2002.) But a handful of recordings from those second sessions have made it onto Above: Deluxe Edition, the new multi-disc package celebrating one of the great all-star acts of the alt-rock ’90s. In addition to a handful of previously unreleased bonus tracks, with vocals provided by Mark Lanegan in place of the late Staley, there is also a live recording of a legendary live performance in Seattle from 1995, as well as a DVD featuring video footage of that show plus a handful of other thrilling live moments.

Martin, who worked with McCready and original Above producer Brett Eliason on the reissue (and also wrote the extensive liner notes), talked to EW about the band’s origins, its legacy, and its unusual chemistry.

Entertainment Weekly: How did Mad Season first come together in 1994?
Barrett Martin: Mike called me and said he wanted to do a side project with this bass player that he had met when he was in rehab, and I said absolutely. READ FULL STORY

Lisa Loeb on her new album, the science of songwriting, '90s nostalgia, and the importance of desiring baked goods

Lisa Loeb first ascended to national prominence in 1994, when her single “Stay (I Missed You)” (from the soundtrack to the grunge-era comedy Reality Bites) made Loeb the first (and to date, only) unsigned artist to score that top slot on the chart.

Since that breakthrough, Loeb has released a steady stream of top-shelf singer-songwriter jams that have evolved along with her but still maintain a certain amount of that classic pre-millennial angst.

Her latest album, No Fairy Tale (out today), is her first grown-up album since 2004’s excellent The Way It Really Is. (In the interim, she released two albums’ worth of songs aimed at kids.) It’s perhaps her punchiest album, buoyed by the lively, brisk production at the hand of New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert.

Entertainment Weekly: The title of the album No Fairy Tale sounds kind of dark. Is it meant to be?
Lisa Loeb: It’s not the intention at all. I wrote the song called “No Fairy Tale” with Maia Sharp, and I think the whole point of the song is that life with all its ups and downs is better than this perfect life that a lot of us are raised to think we’re supposed to try to attain—a storybook life, which, who knows what that even means anymore? It doesn’t really mean anything in the end. What really gives you a rich life is living the ups and downs of a normal, real life. So it’s more about the boldness of how much better real life is than a safe fairy tale life. And you have to be sort of adventurous to live life that way. I like to make the album titles somewhat philosophical even if I’m the only one who gets it. Like my album Cake and Pie, with “and” underlined. Yes it’s cute that I get to put cake and pie in a title and it’s delicious sounding, but also it’s the idea that you can have everything. You shouldn’t have to have one or the other.

This is your first proper album since 2004. Since then, you’ve produced a reality show, did a bunch of voice work, put out two kids’ albums, got married, started an eyewear line, and had two kids of your own. What got you back into a place to make this kind of album?
I had never really stopped making these songs. READ FULL STORY

Greg Dulli on curating All Tomorrow's Parties, getting the Afghan Whigs back together, and why Louis C.K. is like a pretty girl

Greg Dulli has spent the first decade and a half of the 21st century as the mastermind behind the Twilight Singers and the Gutter Twins, dressing up after-hours reveries in blues riffage, goth leanings, and tales of love gone awry. But that footprint began back in the ’90s with the Afghan Whigs, his cultishly-adored group of funk-loving, soul-stealing rockers from Cincinnati.

That band called it quits nearly 15 years ago, and now Dulli has reconstituted the group, which will make its grand return at this year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in Asbury Park, New Jersey—an event that Dulli also happens to be curating.

In addition to the Whigs, his eclectic lineup includes the Roots, stand-up comic Louis C.K., Sharon Van Etten, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and frequent collaborator Mark Lanegan. We spoke with Dulli about the reunion, the festival, and the haze of the ’90s.

EW: Which came first: The reunion or the call to curate All Tomorrow’s Parties?
Dulli: The best way I can describe it is that it was sort of a perfect storm of events. I did an acoustic tour a year and a half ago and John Curley, my dear friend and bass player in the Whigs, joined me for the show in Cincinnati, which we’ve done before when I pass through there. But then, I asked him, “Do you want to come up to Chicago and play?” He came up to Chicago and people freaked out. I finished up that tour on the west coast and I called him and I was like, “Hey man, do you want to do the west coast with me?” And he said yes. That was a great time. At that point, we began to play a few more Whigs songs in the show and I really enjoyed it. I rediscovered some songs that I had forgotten about and how much I enjoyed playing them. Then, when the Twilights tour last spring, we played Minneapolis where [Afghan Whigs guitarist] Rick [McCollum] lives. I had lunch with Rick. I hadn’t seen Rick in three or four years. We didn’t even talk about playing together but we had a really nice time at lunch. Then, he came to the gig and hung out. We were never at odds anyway so we didn’t have to get over any animosity. There were no hatchets to be buried. So when [All Tomorrow's Parties founder] Barry Hogan came around this last time was like, “Hey, do you want to?” I’m like, “Maybe.” My stance had just softened on the hardline and it seemed like if we were ever going to do it, this seemed like the right time to do it.

This can’t be the first time somebody has floated that idea. READ FULL STORY

Blondie's Debbie Harry tells the stories behind hits old and new -- an EW exclusive

Blondie came up in the New York punk scene, made the transition to New Wave, brought hip-hop to the pop masses, and even danced with disco for a while.

That constant push for innovation, along with their irrepressible melodies and singer Debbie Harry’s chesty croon, has kept the band cool for over 30 years.

Still foxy at 66, Harry talked to EW about the stories behind some of her band’s most iconic hits, as well as the one behind the current single from the just-released Panic of Girls.

“Rip Her to Shreds” (1976)
“Chris [Stein] and I were big fans of the Velvet Underground and Lou Reed, and that has a very threatening, kind of down and dirty beat to it. ‘Rip Her To Shreds’ is what we all do when we’re getting catty. New York can be a very tough place but with all that toughness there’s also a great deal of affection among the people. It’s like being roasted.”

“Heart of Glass” (1979)
“That was an exciting period because all this new technology was available, and we became more sophisticated about what a song on the radio should be. When we first started recording, we worked with Richard Gottehrer, who was a real purist. He took us as we were and we were very raw, and very inexperienced and very minimal, as far as instrumentation was concerned.  Then we got hooked up with Mike Chapman, this hit-meister from Europe who had had hundreds of pop songs and worked with different pop artists.  He had a more sophisticated idea of what a song on radio should be and made us sort of understand that. It was like going to school again. It really was an exciting period in that respect, that these sounds became available. It was the overlap between analog and digital. People were upset because it was a disco song, but they were even more upset that I said ‘ass’! We got banned a few places because of it.” READ FULL STORY

Anthrax's Scott Ian on playing Yankee Stadium, getting inspiration from 'Lost,' and facial hair

As any devil-horn devotee will tell you, metal is forever.

There will always be a cadre of kids looking to bang their heads, which is why hard and loud music has endured the ups and downs of the musical marketplace in the 21st century.

Case in point: The biggest concert event of the fall concerns a quartet of bands who were all founded in or before 1983. After a well-received weekend in Indio, California, earlier this year, Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax have come east and will take the stage at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night, September 14. It will be a huge, loud spectacle, the kind that only metal veterans can deliver.

It’s an extra-busy week for Anthrax, who not only have the hometown show to look forward to (the founding members of the band are all from New York) but also their tenth album to promote (it’s called Worship Music, hits stores today and features the first recordings with singer Joey Belladonna in two decades).

EW caught up with guitarist Scott Ian to talk about the new album, the Big Four, and why he no longer buys Rolling Stone.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: With the Yankee Stadium show and the new album out, is this the busiest week in Anthrax history?
SCOTT IAN:
It very well could be. It started last Tuesday, and now it’s really ramping up.

How did Worship Music come together?
We spent most of the time working on this record last fall. Joey rejoined the band in the beginning of 2010 and we spent most of the year on the road doing Big Four shows and then another tour with Slayer and Megadeth, which we called the Almost Big Four. We spent pretty much every day in the dressing room working on that record. We had something like 14 tracks, and it was just a case of listening to them and nitpicking the hell out of them. Once we finished that tour, we were ready to go back in and re-record stuff and let Joey go in and sing everything.

The song that really stands out to me is “The Constant.” Can you tell me where that came from?
That was one of the first songs that came together, at least musically. It went through a couple of different rewrites. The idea initially came from an episode of Lost called “The Constant.” READ FULL STORY

Kelly Clarkson on the soundtrack of her life: Read her exclusive EW interview here

With a new album, Stronger, due Oct. 24, and its first single “Mr. Know It All” freshly released just yesterday, Kelly Clarkson is officially ready for her 2011 closeup.

That wasn’t quite the case earlier this summer, when a number of songs—many of them old, written for other artists, and not at all intended for the final tracklist of Stronger—leaked online without her knowledge or permission.

Clarkson recently described the feeling to EW, saying, ““Oh my God, have you ever been robbed? I have. I’ve been physically robbed a couple of times, but this is much worse.”

Thankfully, she’s now got happier things on her mind. Among them? Talking to EW about some of the songs that shaped her as a woman and as an artist.

You can find some of her favorite picks in the issue of EW on stands until this Friday, and read on below to learn even more about the soundtrack of Kelly Clarkson’s life: READ FULL STORY

'120 Minutes': In honor of MTV2's re-launch tonight, host Matt Pinfield reminisces about his favorite 'Minutes' moments

An MTV classic is at last being let out of the vault. 120 Minutes, the long-running alternative-music series that spotlighted indie artists and bands not typically featured on the MTV lineup, is set to re-launch Sunday on MTV2 at 1:00am ET, with that chrome-domed font of encyclopedic musical knowledge, Matt Pinfield, back as host.

Fans who’ve never forgiven MTV for abandoning music in favor of reality shows about the attention-seeking, fame-whoring, and alcohol-guzzling, were particular dismayed when Minutes was cancelled in 2003 after a 17-year run. But they can now take heart: the premiere lineup tonight includes Sleigh Bells, the Black Angels, and Das Racist. And future guests set to join Pinfield on the 120 Minutes set at the Lower East Side’s Arlene’s Grocery include Dave Grohl, Lupe Fiasco, Kings of Leon, and PJ Harvey.

To commemorate the launch of the new show, we asked Matt Pinfield to take a ‘90s nostalgia trip and give us his favorite moments from the old 120 Minutes, a list that includes early signs of friction in Oasis, a lyrical tribute from Perry Farrell, and, of course, a drunken Jon Spencer meltdown. Take a look at Pinfield’s favorite memories after the break: READ FULL STORY

Danny Elfman on Tim Burton, Gus Van Sant, and why it's so hard to sing in Russian: An EW Q&A

Ever since he first laid down tracks for Tim Burton’s Pee Wee’s Big Adventure 25 years ago, composer (and erstwhile ’80s rock star) Danny Elfman has crafted scores for dozens of iconic films and television shows.

You can scarcely swing a cat without bumping up against an Elfman creation, be it the opening songs from The Simpsons and Desperate Housewives to now-legendary themes for flicks like Batman and Spider-Man.

You’ll get to hear him again in some of the biggest movies on the horizon, including Real Steel, Men In Black III and The Hunger Games, and if you’re interested in his past work, he recently released a 16 disc retrospective box set of his collaborations with Tim Burton. This week, he also just opened Cirque Du Soleil: Iris in Los Angeles. EW caught up with him recently, and he told us his memories from some of his favorite projects.

The Nightmare Before Christmas
“If I were to list my favorite collaborations with Tim [Burton], I would say number one would be The Nightmare Before Christmas. It was the purest, simplest process I had in all the years with Tim. There was less pressure, and the results came from the ability to kind of wander. We didn’t know how to start doing a musical; there was an animation crew ready to go and there was no script. So we started with the songs. And literally, he’d come over and start telling me the story.

I said, ‘Just tell me the story like you’re reading a book to a kid.’ So he’d take out some pictures and tell a little bit of the story, and as he was telling the story, I’d start to hear an idea for a song. Usually about three days later, I’d play him the song, and then he would tell me more of the story. Ten times we got together, he told me a story and I wrote the songs. When I was writing lyrics for [Oingo Boingo], I would write about abstract things or things that annoyed me. I could be bitter or facetious about something. I had never written anything where I told a story and wasn’t sarcastic in the process. It was a new experience writing lyrics for songs that were doing a complete narrative.” READ FULL STORY

Rob Zombie Q&A: Rocker and filmmaker talks Slayer tour, new movie, and the legend of Mick Jagger

Two nights ago, Rob Zombie turned the summertime volume up to 11 by kicking off his co-headlining tour with shred legends Slayer in Reading, Pennsylvania.

But the multi-talented Zombie has quite a few tentacles in a number of different pies at the moment, so when we caught up with him a few weeks ago, he ran down the seemingly ever-growing list of projects he’s currently advancing.

Entertainment Weekly: The last time we talked, you were also working on a tour and getting movie stuff together at the same time. Can we safely call you a workaholic?
Rob Zombie: I like to have a lot of projects going at once because I work in a very kind of schizophrenic manner. So if I ever get stuck on something, I can just to the next thing and the next thing. It’s kind of a blessing and a curse because at the same time, I hate working that way. I’m like “Boy, if I could just focus on one thing…” but then I’m always afraid if you’re only focusing on one thing and if the one thing falls apart, you’re like “Now what?” It’s sort of a paranoia.

You’ve played with Slayer before in the past, going back to the White Zombie days. Were you a fan before you worked with them?
I was a fan before we opened but not for long time. I was never a crazy metal fan. I saw them at the Felt Forum in New York on one of the early shows on the South of Heaven tour. That’s when I really was blown away by the show and the insane intensity of the whole thing.

Is it inspiring to you that they can still put out that kind of energy all these years later?
It’s not really inspiring to me because we’re all the same age. So I’m not inspired by that. I’m inspired if I watch the Rolling Stones. I think, “Holy f—, Mick Jagger is almost 70 and look at the energy that guy’s got.”

Is that going to be you? Will we be able to see you live at 70?
Who knows? I mean, there’s very few people that have that. Probably not, because when I’m together with all the guys from Slayer, everybody’s  just sitting around talking about how much their necks hurt. Mick Jagger is just possessed. People take for granted that they don’t even understand how great it is sometimes. Like when the Stones played the Super Bowl and everyone complained about it. Give me a f—ing break! You work that f—ing stage the size of a football field when you’re 66 years old, and we’ll see if you come out alive. It’s a phenomenon. READ FULL STORY

Bon Iver's Justin Vernon talks about his new album, Kanye, and why home is where the heart is: An EW Q&A

Bon-Iver

This week, Wisconsin native Justin Vernon released one of the best-reviewed and most anticipated indie albums of the year in Bon Iver’s self-titled sophomore effort.

Bon Iver takes the promise of Vernon’s quiet, insular debut For Emma, Forever Ago and adds a number of new elements to the mix: The sound is more expansive without sounding bigger than itself, and Vernon has layered each track with new rhythmic tricks, production twists, and even a guitar solo or two.His delicate, dynamic voice carries it all, and his surreal lyrics paint narratives about the importance of home.

EW caught up with Vernon while he was in town promoting Bon Iver, and he had quite a bit to say about the approach on his new album, his attachment to Wisconsin, and what he learned from Kanye West.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Is it true Bon Iver was recorded in a converted animal hospital?
JUSTIN VERNON:
Yeah. It was a residence house. The family lived there and the guy worked out of the clinic that he built. It’s huge, this bi-level ranch house that just goes on forever. So we moved in and we’ve been changing everything around. There’s an indoor pool that we made into a recording room and stuff. It’s become a pretty fun place.

Do you live there too?
My cats live there. I have a little apartment in town that I sort of get to when I can.

Bon Iver is a very cohesive-sounding album, like it came out of one marathon writing session.
It’s interesting you say that. It was written in three years, but it’s all part of the same session. It was like one continuous movement of brain. Like, I had all this s— going on, but this record was always the thing I would return to. I would bring the stuff with me to listen to, and work on lyrics. Just like, “What is this?” We figured it out that way, I think, and it had this flow to it that was mysterious even to me. But it worked somehow. READ FULL STORY

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