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Tag: Q&A (31-40 of 104)

Slash talks about his tour with Ozzy, the search for Velvet Revolver's singer, and Axl's latest accolade

slashImage Credit: Paul BrownBreak out the top hats and Les Pauls: Slash kicks off a tour with Ozzy Osbourne on Jan. 16 in Omaha, Neb., in support of his 2010 solo album, Slash. Before he hit the road, the Velvet Revolver guitarist and ex-Guns N’ Roses axeman riffed on a variety of music topics with EW.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can fans expect from the set list this time around? It sounds like you’ve been playing a wide swath of material from your career.
SLASH:
The tour started last March and we took a break, and now we’re starting up again. We’ve been doing a lot of songs off this new record, some Guns stuff, some Velvet stuff and a couple Snake Pit songs. And it’s really cool when we’re doing a headlining set [Slash will perform on his own in some cities] because we really f—ing dig in there and pull out these cool gems. But for the Ozzy tour, it’ll be combinations of those things. It’s a 50-minute set, so it won’t be a lot of either. But at the same time it’s going to be a really cool, very entertaining, dynamic 50 minutes.

Any surprises you can tease?
There are a couple songs that I broke out for this next leg which we haven’t played on the whole tour, so there will be a couple surprises if you went to any of the other shows. If you’ve never been to a show, the whole thing’s a surprise. But give you hints? No.

Will you play with Ozzy? READ FULL STORY

Josh Groban speaks on his musical tribute to Kanye West's tweets: The Music Mix Q&A

groban-kanyeIt’s the viral hit of the week: Josh Groban crooning selected bons mots from Kanye West’s Twitter account in his most sonorous tones. Since airing on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! and being posted on YouTube, the hilarious skit has racked up more than 1.2 million views.

“I’ve been blown away by the response,” Groban tells the Music Mix. We spoke with him today to find out how “Josh Groban’s The Best Tweets of Kanye West” came to be. Hit the jump to see the clip again and read our Q&A. READ FULL STORY

Trent Reznor on his Golden Globe nomination, what's wrong with the Grammys, and what it really means to be 'independent': An EW Q&A

Trent-ReznorNine Inch Nails may be on semi-permanent hiatus, but Trent Reznor—erstwhile prince of sonic darkness, emperor of industrial, master of non-metric measurements—has hardly been sitting on idle hands.

Among other things, the past year saw him forming a new band, How to Destroy Angels; welcoming his first child; and garnering a Golden Globe nomination for his film score for David Fincher’s The Social Network (due on DVD Jan. 11), with longtime collaborator Atticus Ross. Will he be wearing a tux to the Jan. 16 ceremonies in Los Angeles? “For sure,” he says. Does that mean his famously tetchy stance towards industry awards shows has changed? Read on.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, congratulations on being nominated for a Golden Globe—you are now officially a multi-hyphenate.

TRENT REZNOR: Oh, thank you very much.

How does it feel to be recognized in an area of entertainment you’re not generally known for?

It’s been surprisingly nice to see this stuff go down. I’m really thinking about how to proceed from here, because the experience of working with David Fincher couldn’t have been better. It was just working with a really smart guy with a really smart team that challenged us, the work was rewarding, and it was a cool experience not being the boss for a change, realizing you’re working in a supporting role. David knows what he wants, and when we started this thing I went into it with that in mind—he’s not winging it. [The feedback] wasn’t all “yes yes yes yes great,” there was some back and forth. But it was fun to witness, and it was an education.

His next project of course is The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and I’m sure that movie needs a soundtrack, too. You seem like you might be a good candidate…

[Benevolent pause] Well, we’ll see how that plays out.

On a sadder note, we were speaking about what’s on your iPod [for a piece in this week’s EW print issue], and you mentioned [legendary experimental outfit] Coil, which I’m guessing may be in part because of a recent death

Yes. I just lost a dear friend, Peter Christopherson. We’ve known each other over the years to varying degrees, and I reached out to him this spring, because I wanted to make sure that it was OK that I pilfer the name to use for my new band because a) I love Coil and b) I just thought that was a really cool name, and I wanted to get his blessing on that before I moved forward, so we touched base. He had stayed with me in New Orleans for a while back in the mid to late ’90s, and I always had an immense amount of respect for the guy, not only as a musician but as an artist. He has a very big influence on my life; he did some videos for us way back, and I was just really saddened to hear about his passing.

I only heard that he died in his sleep, no other details… READ FULL STORY

Avril Lavigne talks about her new album, (sort of) working with Rihanna, and where she'll be New Years Eve: An EW Q&A

Avril-LavigneImage Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic.comWhen EW last talked to Avril Lavigne in July 2009, the Canadian pop-punk star spoke happily of collaborating with her then-husband, Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley, on her fourth album, scheduled for release that November.

Some seventeen months later, Lavigne and Whibley are no more, but the long-delayed Goodbye Lullaby is very much on—with an official release now slated for March 8, 2011.

We caught up with the 26-year-old singer as she finished recording a pre-taped segment for Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, the annual year-end TV tradition whose bicoastal Dec. 31 celebration will also include the likes of Drake, Willow Smith, Jennifer Hudson, La Roux, Far East Movement, Fergie, Natasha Bedingfield, and Train.

EW: So you just finished performing the first single from Lullaby, “What the Hell,” for the first time in public—can you tell me about it?

Avril Lavigne: Yes! The song is more pop and uptempo and kind of reminiscent of my old stuff, and the rest of the record is more stripped and raw and a little deeper. So this album is less pop-rock than the previous stuff, but the first single is a more like that.

EW: So is it true that the album has been done for over a year? You sounded pretty frustrated in a letter to fans last month…

Yeah, pretty much. [laughs].

Has that been hard for you, to stand by, or did you just set it aside?

Yes, somewhat. I’ve been really anxious just to get back out there and to sing and to tour, so I know that the fans were all really waiting, being super supportive, and I really appreciate that. You know a lot of people run into complications with their record companies sometimes where they have their vision, but I’ve always had my own vision for my music and I put my foot down, and you know, had to be strong about that, and overall I made the record that I wanted to make, so I’m very happy with it and very excited to finally be putting it out.

Are you tempted, when you have this lagtime, to go back and keep messing with it? READ FULL STORY

Fefe Dobson talks return to music with new album 'Joy': 'I'm so stoked, I can't explain it to you.'

Fefe-DobsonThere was buzz around Canadian pop-rocker Fefe Dobson when she debuted her self-titled first album in 2003: The effort premiered at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Heatseekers Chart, sold about 300,000 copies domestically, and spawned one minorly successful single, “Take Me Away.” But then Dobson virtually disappeared, and it came to pass that her sophomore album—Sunday Love, which was to hit in 2006—would not be released by her label, Island Records. Until recently, Dobson had stepped away from the studio—or at least singing in the studio—and could mostly be found writing songs for other artists, everyone from Miley Cyrus (“Start All Over”) to Selena Gomez (“Round & Round”). But now, after more than seven years, Dobson has got a couple of new singles—“Ghost” and “Stuttering,” which she recently performed on The CW’s teen cheerleading drama Hellcats—and is finally ready to release another studio album. The disc, Joy, hits retailers today, in fact. To celebrate her return, EW got Dobson on the phone to talk about her scrapped album and the last few years; her new album; who she’s been writing for; and who’d she love to collaborate with in the future. Rock—or rather, read—on.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s talk about your new album, Joy. It’s been a while since you released anything. How are you feeling about getting back out there?
FEFE DOBSON:
So excited. I’ve been waiting for this release for forever. I tried to get it to a point where we’re all happy, and I’m happy, and I think we’re ready. I’m ready. I’m so stoked, I can’t explain it to you. I’m smiling right now.

When somebody says, “Give me the pitch for what Joy is,” how do you answer that?
Joy
to me is a reflection of the life experiences that I’ve had throughout the first record and kind of having some time and a hiatus. It’s just like all of those experiences that I had during that period—that growing up period. I made my first record when I was 17, and I’m in my early 20s now, so I kind of had some time to figure stuff out.

You grow and change a lot during that period.
Exactly! You grow and evolve and as you do that, your art hopefully reflects that change and that growth. Musically, it’s still rock and roll, but there’s elements of pop because I love pop music. I love rock music, I love country music—I love all music, let’s be honest! But it reflects that and my interests. It’s a really raw record.

Raw in the sense that you feel like you put yourself out there? What does that mean?
Yeah, definitely because I put myself out there and just kind of expressed what’s going on and what’s been up. And it’s raw because, musically and sonically, there’s two sides of the album. There’s the indie side and the pop side, and the indie side is musically very raw, and sonically, and the pop record is more raw lyrically.

Wait, so the pop side is more raw lyrically and…
Basically, what’s happening is that I made this album for like three years. It’s a concept record, and half the record is indie rock and half the record is pop because that’s who I am as an artist. So we kind of wanted to make it more literal, and in a way poke fun, but also just say, “Here it is,” and put it on the table.

READ FULL STORY

Huey Lewis on his new record, fickle crowds, and being a gay crush: A Music Mix Q&A

Image credit: Paul Morigi/WireImage.com

It’s been nine years since Huey Lewis and the News released a new CD. But the band who scored twelve top-10 hits (including “The Power of Love” from Back to the Future) during the ’80s has just released Soulsville, a tribute record to the ’60s soul songs of the Memphis-based Stax record label. Once I got over the fact that Lewis is now 60 years old (!), I quizzed him on his new sound…and whether he knew he was MTV VJ Dave Holmes’ childhood crush.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You recorded much of Soulsville in Memphis. How else did you get into the mood besides being there?
HUEY LEWIS:
First of all, you listen to the songs a lot by yourself. You do all that work by yourself, like an actor would. You develop a whole backstory of what this character’s going through and you find a voice for the guy who’s going through this, who’s singing this song.

A lot of the songs on the record involve physical and emotional turmoil. Yet your persona is very happy-go-lucky and positive.
It’s true, I do like cheering people up. A buddy of mine in the Tower of Power horns used to say to me, “It’s a big job, cheering up the world, No. 1.” He calls me “No. 1.” I’m unapologetic about the happy part of it, and I would submit to you that many of these songs—“Never Found A Girl,” “Just the One (I’ve Been Looking For)”—are in fact happy.

So have you always been a frustrated soul singer doing pop music? Or do you feel like you were able to infuse some soul into your pop records?
Rather than record chestnuts like “Knock On Wood” or “In the Midnight Hour” and give them a modern interpretation, we thought it would be cooler to go into the catalog a little deeper and find songs that people hadn’t heard and capture them faithfully. And oddly enough, when it was all said and done, I had this amazing feeling—and several critics have pointed this out—that it wasn’t all that dissimilar from Huey Lewis and the News [music]. So I realized, “S—! I really was influenced by this soul!” I never heard that in our music. I thought our music was more rock ‘n’ roll. But there you go.

You avoided some very well-known songs like “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” but you were willing to follow Bruce Willis, who had a hit with “Respect Yourself.”
I never heard his version. I really didn’t.

Do you now feel like you’re a part of the Memphis soul community? Or are they hesitant to admit a blue-eyed member?
Well, I was just in Memphis, and this guy comes up to me and says, “I was James Brown’s road manager for 15 years, and I want to tell you something.” And he whispers in my ear, “You were the only white boy James ever liked.” That’s awesome. Get out of here!

With Elton John and Rod Stewart in the top 10 of the album chart, it’s a good time for artists in their 60s. But it’s still hard to sell records after a certain age, isn’t it?
There’s people out there that don’t buy a CD all year. The market has just shrunk. Ten million people bought the Sports record when there were 200 million people in America. One out of 20 owned the stupid thing. So there’s got to be a market out there. But how you get to them, I have no idea. And you know what? I’m not interested.

How do you keep from getting depressed that you can’t play the big concert venues that you used to?
I got a very good life. I sold plenty of records, I get recognized plenty, I can always have somebody call up and get me a fine table at a restaurant. What do you really need, ultimately? The only part that’s surprising to me is I always thought if you have a sold-out house of 20,000 people and you do a fabulous show, that they’re going to come back and see you every time you play. I’ve had many people tell me that they saw me at Blossom [outside Cleveland] in ’85 and it was the best rock ‘n’ roll show they’ve ever seen. And so I say to them, “When did you last see us?” And they say, “That was it.” It’s like, “We’ve played there every year since!” But that’s the way it happens. That’s the part of it that I never understood. But I do now.

Did you hear about the “It Gets Better” video that the former MTV VJ Dave Holmes posted, where he said that seeing you at the beginning of the “I Want A New Drug” video made him realize he was gay? Here, I’ll play it for you.
That’s cute. I’m flattered! That’s sweet. I remember when I filmed that scene, I didn’t wear a shirt, I wore boxer shorts. It was the Paul Newman scene in The Sting; that’s where I swiped it. Paul Newman wakes up and he’s hung over and fills the sink with ice and puts his head in the ice. So that was just a rip-off of that scene.

Check out Huey and the boys performing the album’s title track:

Quincy Jones on Michael Jackson's Thriller scraps, Amy Winehouse, and American Idol: A Music Mix Q&A

Quincy-JonesImage Credit: Stefanie Keenan/Getty ImagesLegendary producer Quincy Jones is the man to thank for loads of classic records. By crafting hits with iconic artists like Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, and countless others, his track record speaks for itself. But even at 77, Jones isn’t slowing down a bit. Two weeks ago his book with intimate stories studio experiences, The Quincy Jones Legacy Series: Q on Producing, hit stores. And next week (Nov. 9) he’ll release Q: Soul Bossa Nostra, an album featuring today’s pop stars covering their favorite Quincy cuts. The Music Mix caught up with Jones to chat about why his unreleased Michael Jackson songs will stay that way, what he thought of the reclusive Amy Winehouse’s “It’s My Party” cover, and why he’s not paying haters any mind.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You were known to hold some pretty huge talent searches for musicians and singers decades ago. What do you think of shows like American Idol?
QUINCY JONES:
I think the attraction of American Idol is about the basic human nature attitude that is, “We can put you up there. But we can take you down.” That’s been around a long time. If you’re asking me what the one component that gets them millions of viewers, that’s it. Even more than the songs, I think it’s to see that the audience can control the popularity of the artist.

Would you ever be a judge on one of those…
No, that’s not what I do. I’ve got too much to do. That’s getting up every day at seven in the morning. That’s not my thing. But it has got its value. It gets people to pay attention to songs. It’s ironic because I hear songs on there like Moody’s “Mood For Love.” Which the first vocalese record James Moody did in Sweden in 1949, man. So it’s exposing people to music they’ve never heard before. That’s the good part. It’s a double-edged sword there.

When the track listing for this album came out, people were excited to hear how Amy Winehouse would cover “It’s My Party.” That was a huge record for you almost 40 years ago. How do you think she did?
I did the first one in 1963 with Lesley Gore. She was 16. They said that I couldn’t do rock & roll. I love challenges, man. And we had 18 hits with her. “It’s My Party” was the first hit. Amy, at first, was going to do “You Don’t Own Me.” She hadn’t recorded in four years. And then she decided to record “It’s My Party.” Everybody just went with what they wanted to go with.

Did you like Amy’s?

Check out the rest of the interview after the jump.

READ FULL STORY

Robyn talks tonight's 'Gossip Girl' guest spot, the 'Body Talk' trilogy, and her gay following: An EW Q&A

robynImage Credit: RankinSwedish chanteuse and longtime EW crush Robyn has a lot going on these days: Her NSFV video for latest single “Indestructible” just hit the interwebs last week; she’s promoting her third album of the year, Body Talk, which will be released on Nov. 22; and she’s got a guest spot performing “Hang With Me” on tonight’s episode of The CW’s Gossip Girl.

With everything happening for her, we thought it high time to check in. Here, she chats with us about tonight’s trip to the Upper East Side, her insane album-recording schedule for Body Talk, and how much she loves her always-adoring gay audience.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So you’re singing “Hang With Me” on Gossip Girl tonight. You doing the acoustic version or the electric version?
ROBYN:
I’m doing the acoustic version there, so you’re going to like that.

Why did you choose to do “Hang With Me”?
They asked for it. I was happy to do it. I love the acoustic version, too, and it’s just what they were doing in the episode. I think I’m not supposed to tell you about what’s going on in the program, but I’m performing that song at a party.

It’s Blair’s birthday party—that information is out there.
Yeah, it’s her birthday party, and I’m brought in to sing.

Are you only singing? Or do you have a little part in the plot, too?
No lines, but there’s a little bit of interaction with me and someone—it was more reacting, because we didn’t really act too much. We were just reacting at our environment, which will be quite fun, I think.

Did you pursue the Gossip Girl spot?
I can’t say that I’ve actually watched Gossip Girl a lot. A guy who works with me watches it a lot, and he said: “Yes! You have to do it. It’s really good.” So I checked a little bit with people I know to see what they thought about it, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase the music. I’m happy for any kind of way of doing that at the moment.

It’s nice to be asked, and you’re in good company—Lady Gaga did a similar spot last year.
Totally. It’s great.

So your third album this year, Body Talk, hits stores Nov. 22. How does this fit into the Body Talk trilogy you’ve been working on this year?
I think that one of the amazing things that happened when I decided to record this album in this way—in the three parts—is that the whole process just brings me a lot closer to the listeners in the sense that I don’t really know much more about what’s going on than you do. That’s really how it is. It’s a process that I decided to explore because I was tired of having the structure where you usually spend two or three years on tour, not being able to record and then going into the studio and needing to make 15 songs in one go. It’s a way of trying to break that structure up a little bit, but it also means that as soon as the record’s done, I send it off to the factory, so while I’m promoting the last album, I’m recording the new one.

READ FULL STORY

Yoko Ono: An interview with EW on her recent dance-chart hits, the upcoming John Lennon reissues, and more

Yoko-OnoImage Credit: Wendell Teodoro/WireImage.comOf the many, often-polarizing mantels Yoko Ono has worn over the course of her 77 years—artist, activist, musician, Most Famous Widow in the World—few are quite as unexpected as her current post: reigning diva of the dancefloor.

Ono recently hit no. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play for the fifth consecutive time with “Wouldnit (I’m a Star),” a track from her 2001 concept album Blueprint for a Sunrise reconfigured by veteran producer and DJ Dave Audé. (Remixing Ono is not a new idea, of course; over the past decade, Cat Power, the Pet Shop Boys, Ween, Thurston Moore, the Flaming Lips, and many others have also taken her work on).

EW recently spoke to her about her new status amongst club kids, and the extensive work of readying the reissues of her late husband John Lennon’s solo material, due next Tuesday—four days before what would have been his 70th birthday.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Hello. How are you?
YOKO ONO:
Just, you know, rolling, rolling along, rolling well. [laughs]

So I just saw the cover art for the stripped-down Double Fantasy, and it’s that famous photo, but redrawn by your son, Sean..
Yes! Isn’t that great? He’s very artistic, but he’s very different even in art, he’s not like John and he’s not like me. I asked him to do this drawing, and he said “Maybe I can do it, maybe I can’t do it, I don’t know how I feel about it,” he was going through all that. And then one day he just gave it to me. He has a very kind of realistic technique, don’t you think? READ FULL STORY

Nick Hornby and Ben Folds on their musical project 'Lonely Avenue': An EW Q&A

Folds-HornbyImage Credit: Eamonn McCabeThis Tuesday saw the release of Lonely Avenue, the inaugural collaboration between musician Ben Folds and music-loving novelist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy, last year’s Juliet, Naked).

EW caught up with the cross-continental collaborators—via conference call, naturally—to find out how they made an album across three thousand miles, and why they can’t wait to work together again.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So Nick you’re in London and Ben, where are you?
BEN FOLDS:
I’m in Nashville, just sitting at home.

So did you guys put this together the way Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello did with the Postal Service, sending things back and forth through the mail, or did you Skype?
NICK HORNBY:
No, we didn’t even look at each other, did we? We pretty much did it all on email. I would send the lyric, and then Ben would send back an MP3, and then obviously as the recording process went on, he sent me more and more MP3s with bits added to them.

So say that Nick, you sent lyrics, Ben, would you give him back one option, or would you give him a buffet, like, “this a ballad,” or “this is a rockier song,” or did you take one approach and hone it?
BF
: His lyrics were pretty much completed. They were complete—there was one song that got a couple lines cut out of it—but they didn’t come with instructions like “this is a ballad,” they sort of implied that themselves.
NH
: As I understand it, the way Ben works anyway, he’d look at the words and more or less either a song came to his mind or it didn’t come to his mind, so I ended up writing a lot more sets of lyrics than he actually used, it was a kind of instantaneous hit thing for him, either a tune came or it didn’t, so in terms of options, I think the melody comes more or less fully formed and with it’s own feel. Is that right, Ben?
BH
: Yeah, usually there’s some sort of math problem to work out, just a matter of syllables and how something’s going to be set up. But for the most part the melody of what’s the chorus and what’s the verse and what the general framework is comes pretty quickly. You know I might figure out something two or three weeks later just out and about or sitting at the piano or at some point it occurs to me and I go “Ohhh, OK, that’s what I do, I rest a couple bars.” Those sort of things, the last 2% came much slower, but the basics of it, most of the time I could have gone out and just played the song at a gig the night of or the next night, most of it’s obvious.

OK, Nick, how is this different than say, the stuff you’ve done with Marah?
NH
: Uhm, well I don’t… there was never any mix of words and music directly when I was with those guys, that was more of a thing where we were friends and I read some stuff that I had written and that was punctuated by their music more or less, so it just became a kind of music and words evening, but we didn’t actually collaborate on anything.

And Ben, how was Nick to work with compared to, say, William Shatner? READ FULL STORY

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