Friday, April 09, 2010

Recent Rock 'n Roll-isms

Let's see. I've interviewed some bands.

LIGHTS, the Canadian synthpop-tress who is opening for Owl City on Monday night.

OK Go, the band most famous for making YouTube videos, including this wacky contraption.

And I've written some reviews.

The Album Leaf - A Chorus of Storytellers (Dreamy, instrumental synth tunes. Good but not great.)
Midlake - The Courage of Others (Downtrodden and flute-filled, I was surprised by how much I liked this one--at least the first half.)
MXPX - Left Coast Punk EP (More of the same from MXPX. I really love "Shanghaied in Shanhai.")

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Friday, April 02, 2010

The Secret Identity of Silversun Pickups

I generally only post full interviews here if I've talked to a band I really like or have had a really good chat. I got both with Silversun Pickups.

If for some reason you haven't yet checked out this band, you're missing out.

Here are some places to start.

Lazy Eye
Panic Switch

Silversun Pickups
April 5, 2010
E Center

It would seem that attending your first Grammy Awards ceremony would be accompanied by any number of highlights -- mingling with celebrities, hanging out with great musicians or, you know, being recognized as one of the best band's in the world. Nah. For Silversun Pickups' singer and guitarist Brian Aubert, the best part of the evening was assuming a false identity at an afterparty and talking to Daft Punk about "Tron."

"The Grammys weren't even something we were romantic about," Aubert says. "I don't mean that in a snarky way, I just mean that it wasn't even on our radar." And the band certainly wasn't ready for the barrage of ridiculous interviews that came with it. "I think I was asked who my favorite Hollywood crush was." Though it was a tough call, Aubert chose Tina Fey.

"[The Grammys] were getting a little boring, but the Kings of Leon had a very wonderful afterparty that actually saved the entire night," Aubert sayss. "Daft Punk was there and I got to talk to them for a half hour. I realized halfway through that the reason they were talking to me for so long is that they thought I was Caleb from Kings of Leon."

He admits that he didn't do anything to correct their misconception. "[Instead], I talked to them about 'Tron' as much as I could," he says with a laugh. After continuous questions about the remake of the classic '80s sci-fi film, one half of the French electronic duo finally said, "You know we're not responsible for the movie. We're just responsible for the music, so I don't want you to be mad at us if the movie stinks." Aubert told them he was well aware of that fact and just kept asking questions.

"Finally, after a half an hour they asked me a question that only Caleb could answer. I kind of did the French exit and left." There's clearly no shame in Aubert's game.

In a way, The Grammys summed up in one night what Silversun Pickups have experiencing for the past three years. Despite having no aspirations beyond playing the music that they love, the L.A. four piece has garnered a whirlwind of critical acclaim and commercial success with their two full-length albums.

"We never thought we'd ever be on the radio," Aubert says. "So when things started getting on the radio for [our debut album] 'Carnavas,' we thought it was a fluke." The band thought the attention would quickly die off but their second album, "Swoon," has made an even bigger splash. (Their first single "Panic Switch" reached the top spot in Billboard's Alternative Songs category.)

"When bands ask for us advice about how to get on the radio we just don't have it," Aubert says, baffled. "The only advice is to think you're never going to do it."

"Swoon" is very much the anti-radio record. The songs are long, winding and filled with tension. The dark, shoegaze-y melodies are better suited for the Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine '90s than the Miley Cyrus 2000s. The record demands repeated listens and gets better with each one.

"The making of the record was such an intense period. From beginning to end, it took us about a year. We just racked our brains and scraped every metaphor until there were no more metaphors left," Aubert says of the Swoon sessions. "We didn't even think it was going to get done at one point -- it seemed like such a mountain. And then right when it was finished, it went to radio right away. Once that happened, it became a roller coaster. It's just been so fast, such a whirlwind. It's been amazing. We've been amazed that things have continued on so well and things have only gotten crazier."

The craziness has included worldwide touring, ranging from intimate club settings to massive arena rock ventures like their current outing with Muse. "Of course we really love doing our own shows where we can get into all the different dynamics of the records, but we also like opening shows like these because it's a whole other experience. It keeps us fresh because we're just part of this big circus. You don't think of it as trying to prove yourself. You just think, 'There are 18,000 people here, one of them's going to like us.'"

Despite the nonstop touring, the band is still enjoying the moment. "I think we're still having a love affair with 'Swoon.' In a weird way, it's still very new to us," Aubert says. When that newness wears off and the band begins to feel that they need to reinvent the record on stage, that's when they know it's time to start working on a new record. "That hasn't happened yet. When that happens, you shut down and go home for a while and live for a bit. When you have the chance to actually listen to yourself, when things are quiet and kind of mundane and normal, that's when your brain starts to speak. But here, it's hard to hear yourself." And then he adds, with another laugh, "There are a lot big amps."

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Another Mopy Music Recommendation: Rocky Votolato

Despite never having heard his music, I decided to interview singer/songwriter Rocky Votolato for two reasons:

1. My friend Noah is a fan
2. He plays at the Velour in Provo a million times a year

The result was that I met a really nice fellow and I found out Noah (sometimes) has good taste in music .

Here's my article.

And here's the opening track from his highly recommended new album, True Devotion.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fanfarlo 2.0 + This Week's Reviews

I'm now to the point where I've written for IN long enough that I'm interviewing bands for the second or third time. Last week, I did my second interview with British band Fanfarlo, who are playing here on Saturday.

I talked with the mandolin-playing girl wearing the superflous bowties. You can read the interview here. She gets bonus points for making reference to Dr. Tobias Funke.

If you like Arcade Fire, you should definitely check 'em out.

Also, here's this week's album reviews:

Phantogram - Eyelid Movies (Recommended, if you like Massive Attack)
Ke$ha - Animal (Recommended, if you like Bring it On)
Drew Danburry - Goodnight Gary (Recommended, if you like long beards)

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Monday, December 07, 2009

This Week's Music Reviews

Interview with New Found Glory
Raveonettes - In and Out of Control (Recommended)
Lady GaGa - The Fame Monster
Wyclef Jean - Toussaint St. Jean

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Friday, November 13, 2009

May I Recommend...Fanfarlo

These guys are playing in Salt Lake tomorrow. If you're looking for something to occupy a Saturday night, I recommend checking them out. (You can read my not-really-that interesting interview with drummer Amos Memon here.)

Their debut release, "Reservoir," is on my list of favorite new albums. It sounds like they heard Arcade Fire's "Funeral" and immediately decided to start a band. If you love the parade of instruments--mandolin, saw, viola, clarinet--and the not-so-great-on-purpose indie singing, you'll enjoy this one. Plus, the band wears suspenders and is very British-looking.

Take a listen here -

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Do Not Often Get Flipped Off...

...But there have been times. The most memorable experience was certainly at my bachelor party when Jason Cruz, lead singer of Strung Out, flipped me off from the stage. (I know he was flipping me off because, for some reason, there were literally only a dozen people at the show.) Though I don't particularly like being flipped off, in punk rock terms, it's kind of like a compliment.

I had the chance to do an interview with Jason last week. I didn't ask him why he flipped me off seven years ago. My guess is that he's flipped off enough people in his lifetime that he probably doesn't remember that particular one-finger salute.

It was cool to talk to him. You can tell by his lyrics and stage persona that he's no cuddly bear, but he was certainly nice and thoughtful in his responses. I could tell from the conversation that he is 100% emotionally invested in his songs, which I think is pretty admirable after playing in the same band for two decades.

I'm pretty excited to see the show tomorrow night, as I haven't seen the band live since the day I was flipped off.

You can read my Strung Out article here.

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Friday, September 04, 2009

You Ain't Just a Whistlin' Dixie

Oh, Randy. Lainee's first boyfriend was sooo cool. Blond mullet. Maroon jeans. And a 1970's Chevy Monte Carlo.

To 8-year-old, brother-less me, having a dude hanging around the house was the best thing I could have ever imagined. Randy would wrestle with me and go to my baseball games. I loved it. And because Lainee was the first dater in the family, my parents were more than happy to let me tag along with them (Lainee was not so happy).

More than just the memories, Randy left behind The Bellamy Brothers. Every time we were in the Monte Carlo, Randy would blast his Bellamy Brothers Greatest Hits 8-track and sing along to "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me?), "Redneck Girl," and "Old Hippie."

Listen to a bunch of tunes here.

To this day, that greatest hits album is the only country entry in my entire collection. So of course I jumped at the chance to interview Howard Bellamy for IN. (I'm sure my editor thought I was crazy when I volunteered to take it. )

He was a totally cool old dude. He talked about living on the same farm where he grew up and still having his 85-year-old mom still sign their performance contracts because it's always been "a family business."

Here's the article in its entirety. This one goes out to Randy.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stripping Down with Matt (& Kim)

Much Manifesto real estate has been dedicated to Matt & Kim. (Here's a link to all the back stories). So of course I was very excited to do a phone interview with Matt yesterday to promote their upcoming SLC show on Sept. 7.

As expected, Matt was completely friendly and cool. I haven't written the story up yet, but if you have a spare 18 minutes, you can listen to the entire interview here.

We chat about Bacardi commercials, anxiety attacks, and of course their naked romp through Times Square.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Who You Gonna Believe? Traci or Snoop Dogg?

Traci doesn't believe that my email from Snoop really came from Snoop. Sure, anyone in his entourage certainly could have typed the note as if they were the D-O-Double-G. But I have no reason to disbelieve Mr. Dogg. He's never let me down before. Plus, he called me "neffew." That's certainly not as close as "son" or "bro" but it's still pretty good.

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Latest Rock Interviews

I've been doing a bunch of phone interviews with bands lately, with mixed results.

Death Cab For Cutie

I was very excited for this interview, even though it was with the drummer (the lowest in the band interview hierarchy). I was so excited, in fact, that I was two hours early. I still struggle with time zone conversion. Jason McGerr was plenty affable, even though I'm pretty sure he thought I was a crazy fan when I told him I was two hours early for the interview.

Check out my article here.

I was surprised and disappointed when their press person didn't come through with tickets for the show. But apparently I didn't miss out on much. I guess I'm not the only one who thinks Death Cab kinda sucks live. (Or rather, they suck when they try to be too much of a rock band. They were great when I saw them back in 2004.)


I've never listened to an Incubus album, so I was even more nervous for this one. I talked to DJ/keyboardist Chris Kilmore (DJs rank even lower than drummers). The fact that I didn't know anything about the band wasn't much of an issue, as we spent our time talking about DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Here's the article.

The Dear Hunter

Their press agent was begging the magazine for an interview. I said I'd do it because I vaguely recalled listening to one of their albums once. It turns out I had listened to the indie band Deerhunter, not prog-rock opera creator The Dear Hunter. Whoops. Fortunately, Mr. Dear Hunter was friendly enough.

Dear Hunter article

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

An Email From Calvin Broadus

1, 2, 3-and-to-tha-4, I got just about as close as I ever will to Snoop Doggy Dogg (or Dr. Dre) knocking at my door. I still remember walking to the mall to buy “The Chronic” on cassette, listening to it over and over on my walkman, and hiding it under my mattress so my mom wouldn’t find it. So of course I jumped at the opportunity to do an interview with Tha Doggfather himself to promote his upcoming show in Salt Lake.

There were a million questions things I wanted to ask him about—his fallout with Death Row Records, his friendship with Tupac, his foray into the adult entertainment industry. But alas, I was thwarted. His press agent dropped the following knowledge:

  1. Snoop is only doing email interviews
  2. I was not to ask about his personal life
  3. He may or may not actually respond to my questions

Though I was certainly a bit disappointed to not actually get to talk to him, I followed the rules and emailed him some generic, tour-related questions. To my delight, he did in fact response (and even ahead of schedule). Because the spelling looks like it came right out of his patented “Shizzolator,” I decided to leave it as-is.

ME: A lot of hip hop artists shy away from touring, but you're always on the road. What is it that keeps you touring?

SNOOP DOGG: Tha fans. Tha money. If u ain’t got a show, u ain’t an artist and if u ain’t got a tour, u ain’t makin’ money. If u ain’t makin’ money, u don't have a fan base. It’s a math equation and I'm solvin’ it.

ME: How was the Bonnaroo show?

SNOOP: I'm goin bacc next year. That's all I gotta say about that, ya dig?!? Chuuch!!!

ME: What's the Snoop Dogg festival experience like?

SNOOP: Party. Worth every dollar. Classic music. It’s tha present day hip hop Woodstock. It’s tha party of all parties and we do it tha best with tha help of Dogg Pound and Tha Snoopadelics. Shout out to Slightly Stoopid and Stephen Marley.

ME: Do you have any pre-show routines before you go on stage each night?

SNOOP: Listenin’ to timeless music and get my mind right. Maybe beatin’ one of tha homeys in Madden on Xbox or NBA 2K. Those are tha 2 favorite video games of tour. Fight Night, too!

ME: You're always multi-tasking—reality shows, movies, clothing. How do you find time to do all this stuff in addition to recording and touring?

SNOOP: I'm Snooperman—I go in tha booth and get it done. Clark Kent ain’t got nuthin’ on me.

ME: Next to music, which of your other endeavors brings the most satisfaction?

SNOOP: Tha Snoop Youth Football League—over 3,000 kids and gettin’ bigger and better each year. I coach tha Pomona Steelers and we are bacc to bacc Snoop Bowl Champs, hosted at the Home Depot Center each year in December. It’s an event that's puttin’ alotta smiles on these kids faces and that's what's most rewarding and enjoyable. You can't beat that or outsell that.

ME: Luckily for us, Utah has been a frequent stop for you over the last few years. Have you had any memorable experiences here?

SNOOP: Every time I come here I have a blast and imma continue to come here and do tha same thang, ya dig?!? Make sure u there to see it, neffew.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This Week's Music Reviews


The Lemonheads - Varshons. Only interesting for established fans.
Iron & Wine - Around the Well. A b-sides record that's better than most A-sides.
So Many Dynamos - The Loud Wars. Emo boys meet prog.


Laura Gibson - For those who love trees and girl music.
The Dear Hunter - For those who love dungeons and dragons.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Alright Stop, Collaborate and Listen

Here's the Vanilla Ice article I submitted to IN. (It's incredibly long, I know.) It'll come out this Thursday. It's the cover story, so make sure you pick up a copy at the nearest bus stop.

MC Hammer/Vanilla Ice
February 27
McKay Events Center

I must admit, I'm a bit embarrassed by how incredibly nervous I was to talk to Vanilla Ice. The way the cell phone was shaking in my hand, you'd think it was 1990 all over again.

Much like every other human who listened to the radio in the early '90s, I knew—and still know—all the words to "Ice, Ice Baby." But because I was the impressionable age of 10 when the track hit number one, I also remember bleaching my bangs blonde, shaving stripes in my eyebrows, and doing "the worm" at a sixth grade dance. I guess that's really what I should be embarrassed about.

The reason for the phone call was not to discuss the four hardcore albums he's released since "To the Extreme" sold more than 10 million copies, to talk about his amateur motocross career, or even reminisce on his time as a cast member of "The Surreal Life." Instead, we talked about his upcoming performance with MC Hammer.

With '90s groups like New Kids on the Block and the Spice Girls already riding the nostalgia train, it makes perfect sense that the decade's biggest rap artists would want to cash in as well. But here's where it gets weird. The pair's first duo performance in 18 years isn't part of a huge, orchestrated comeback tour. It's a one night only event. In Orem.

I didn't know what to expect from the interview. Would Vanilla Ice (or Rob Van Winkle, as he introduced himself) be annoyed by questions about the "Ice, Ice Baby" years? Would he get upset if I asked him about Eminem incessantly taking shots at him? Would he ask me if I own a copy of his 2003 nu metal album "Hot Sex?"

It turns out, I had no reason to be nervous--or even embarrassed. Mr. Van Winkle was upbeat, excitable, and hilarious. And more than anything, he seemed like a guy who, despite being put through the ringer, is really happy with where he's been, where he's at, and where he's going. (He also cursed like a sailor and called me "bro" a lot.)

An MC Hammer/Vanilla show? Why now?

[When I heard about it] I said, 'A show with Hammer? Are you for real?' I thought it was a joke at first. But then I thought, 'This could be good, it could be fun.'I'm gonna have fun with this. I'm excited about it, man. With all this economy and bad news, it's a good time to put a smile on people's faces again.

Back in the day, when me and Hammer did it, we pretty much set the world on fire. I'll have my full band, pyrotechnics, cannons blasting—it's gonna be full-blown entertainment. Like it used to be.

I'm definitely doing some old school stuff that I haven't done since [the '90s]. We're gonna take 'em back to the old school, do some middle school, and some new sh**, too. It's just going to be a big adventure.

Was Hammer your musical foe back in the day? The Magic Johnson to your Larry Bird?

Nah. I started out as MC Hammer's opening act. It was hilarious because my record passed his on the charts. I knocked him from number one and he was opening for me all the sudden [laughs]. He and I have always been friends and have always remained friends. I've always looked up to him. He's an icon.

What was life like as the 'White Rapper'

I had to knock down a lot of barriers back in the day. Hammer and I were both entertainers and both ran along the same lines, but I had to face a lot more adversity--being the white guy in rap music. There was nobody in front of me that I could use as a guideline, like Eminem could use my career as a guideline.

How did you go from radio rap to hardcore rock?

I look at music a lot different than most people. I look at it as a reflection of how you feel. That's how it should be. Music shouldn't be about image or gimmicks or f***ing American Idol. When somebody else choreographs your dance moves, somebody else writes your lyrics, someone else chooses your clothes and does your hair, in the end you're artificial. So I boycotted against all that sh**, man.

I resented myself a lot. So I rebelled against myself and my whole image. Music shouldn't be about image. I like my music to be like my diary. I had a lot of anger toward my old self and other issues in my life, so I worked with [producer] Ross Robinson (Limp Bizkit, Korn) who pulled it all out of me and helped me realize music works best when it's used as therapy. Since then, I've made records with a lot of personal, heavy sh**. And I love it.

When you've got anger, you should let it out. The greatest thing that's ever happened to me is to go on a musical adventure and do everything the rulebook says you're not supposed to do. Rappers don't make rock music. Well, white rappers don't rap. I like to go against the grain and do whatever I feel like doing. It just comes out that way in the music, it's never planned. I don't have some sort of master plan. I just go in and I vibe.

What's in the Vanilla i(ce)Pod?

Sh**, I listen to everything, bro. When I'm racing motocross, I'm listening to Slipknot. But I can also jam to Kanye West, Jadakiss, Black Rob. I even listen to country sometimes, bro. It's weird, but some of that Kenny Chesney sh** is pretty cool. I can't hate it.

How do you deal with getting dissed by other artists?

That's just entertainment, my friend. It got to me at first. The greatest thing I could do was [1998 album] "Hard to Swallow." It was therapy. Now I go back, I look at everything, and I love it. I still love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, bro. Come on. [Vanilla Ice contributed the cleverly-titled track "Ninja Rap" to the first Ninja Turtles movie. He also made a stirring cameo appearance.]

There's no shame in my game anymore, man. Humiliation is a great thing. If you use to your benefit, nothing can stop you. There's where I'm at. That's why I'm going to have fun coming to Utah and doing this show I haven't done in 18 years. I've got all sorts of crazy things running through my head right now, ideas I'm of what I'm going to do. I'm gonna have fun, man. It's time.

What do you hope will be the Vanilla Ice legacy?

I don't have much an ego left [laughs]. Whether they give me credit for it or not, I paved the way for people—not just Eminem—but hip hop in general. My record was the first hip hop song ever to be played on a pop station. Ever. It brought hip to people's ears who'd never considered listening to it.

At one point, we were selling a million albums a day. It was a phenomenon. It almost killed me. It was a huge roller coaster, but without the low points I wouldn't be who I am today. We are who were because of who we were.

I'm very happy with who I am today. Life is about family and friends, bro. It's a simple thing.

Word to your mother.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hi, This is Rob Van Winkle

Everyone I told about my upcoming Vanilla Ice interview had a question they thought I should ask. Most of them had to do with him ripping off David Bowie's Under Pressure for Ice, Ice Baby or him signing the rights away to his big hit after Suge Knight hung him over the edge of a balcony.

Nope. I was scared to death of talking to Vanilla Ice, both because I was nervous and because he seemed like the kind of guy who could get angry very easily--especially about his past. I was going to stick to the easy stuff. Which I did.

It turns out I didn't have any need to worry. Mr. Van Winkle was incredibly pleasant, excitable, and great to talk to. He cursed like a sailor, called me "bro," and said plenty of hilarious things. If you don't want to listen to the full interview (below) or wait for my article to come out next week, here were some of my favorite quotes.

About agreeing to play the old stuff: "There's no shame in my game anymore, bro."

About playing rock shows: "I entertain the sh** out of myself."

About the '90s: "I still love Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

He also motocrosses to Slipknot, makes sweet love to Marvin Gaye, and indulges in a little Kenny Chesney here and there. Word to your mother.

Vanilla Ice Interview 2/13/09 [WMA]

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Go White Boy, Go White Boy, Go!

By this morning I had more or less given up hope that my interview with Mr. Rob Van Winkle was really going to happen. I told his publicist I was available Wednesday, Thursday or late Friday afternoon. He said he check with Vanilla and let me know what would work. But as of 3:00 this afternoon, I still hadn't heard anything.

And then I got a call on my cell phone from the 2-1-4.

"Is this Spencer?"


"Vanilla is trying to get a hold of you. He says called your work and you weren't there. Can he get you on your cell phone?"

"Yeah, of course. Is he calling now?"

"Yes, he's calling right now."

Heart racing. Frantically searching for my digital recorder. Looking for the questions I've prepared. The questions are on my desk at work!!! More frantically try to scribble down questions. Hiding up stairs in Paige's room and hope for a bit of quiet.

Two minutes later the phone rings...

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Weez(er)ing the Juice, Bud-dy

I officially did the Weezer interview. It didn't start out well. The phone interview was originally scheduled for Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. eastern, postponed until 4:00 p.m. eastern, and then moved to Thursday at 3:40 central. Blasted time zones.

At 4:00 central I got the call. I talked to guitarist Brian Bell for exactly 44 seconds before the call dropped. After reconnecting, we spoke for another 30 seconds before it dropped again. The third time was a charm and we had a good, if not disjointed, conversation.

The only really uncomfortable moment was when I asked if the dudes in the band thought it was cool that they got to sing on the new album. "We sing all the time. I sung more on 'Undone' that Rivers did.'"

"Uh, you did? Well, I mean, lead vocals."

"Oh, yeah. That was cool."

We talked about how backstage Weezer is just a bunch of dudes loading up the trucks and that pre-performance Weezer consists of a lot of napping and not eating four hours before the show.

I'll post the full interview shortly. Until then, here's the completed article.

Oct. 7
E Center
w/ Tokyo Police Club, Angels and Airwaves

The past year has been a strange one for Weezer. The band's normally reclusive and dictatorial leader, Rivers Cuomo, not only released an album of intimate home recordings but also relinquished some of his Weezer power, allowing each of his band mates to take a shot in the lead singer role on the band's new record. And the guys have never been happier.

Weezer guitarist, (and big brother of local artist extraordinaire Leia Bell) Brian Bell, put up with Cuomo's constant chiding and a bad cell phone connection to talk about their current Troublemaker Tour.

"We're definitely the most entertaining we've ever been in our career," Bell says. "The shows are getting progressively better, so I predict by the time we hit Salt Lake we'll be in full swing."

Bell says that the quality of recent shows results from the band feeling more comfortable with each other on stage than ever before. "Everybody's taking more responsibility in the show," Bell says. "Rivers is really performing. I don't want to give away too much of the show, but it's absolutely entertaining. People that have seen our shows for years and years say this is by far the best show they've seen."

Weezer has made a conscious effort as of late to push themselves out of their comfort zone, both onstage and in the studio. The most notable change on the "The Red Album" was Bell, bassist Scott Shriner and drummer Pat Wilson each taking a turn on lead vocals.

"That's what we went for on this album—what would be thrilling for us," Bell explains. "One of the things I mentioned was I'd like to sing and even write a Weezer song for this new album and we made it happen."

Cuomo also pushed himself in the songwriting. The album's centerpiece, "The Greatest Man that Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)," manages to switch genres a half dozen times in just under six minutes.

"Rivers was a little bit fed up with the pop song structure and wanted to experiment," Bell says of the song. "Theme variation structure is prevalent in classical music. He came up with different versions of the melody—the theme—and later we found out that the theme was very similar to a Shaker hymn. So that's why we call it 'Variations on a Quaker hymn.'"

When it comes to long term plans for Weezer, it's just about moving forward. "To keep making records and tour [is] success enough for me," Bell says. "But I would like each record to not rehash the past. To stay in the creative moment and come up with music that wasn't there before, that's one of the most fulfilling things you could possibly do."

"Our approach has always been to try to make something groundbreaking, otherwise what's the point?" Bell says.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Maybe Local H Doesn't Hate Me After All

I listened to my interview with Scott Lucas again tonight so I could write the article. It turns out it wasn't that bad. I hate hearing how I bumble through the questions, but I don't think he was really trying to be a jerk or to make me feel like an idiot (I did that all on my own.)

If you feel like listening, it's 14 minutes long and has a couple of eff words.

Scott Lucas Interview 9/16/08

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Surly Scott Lucas

I was pretty excited when I had the chance to do an interview with Scott Lucas of Local H today. I've been listening to the band since I was 16. Their show at the Saltair in 1996(ish) is still on my list of all-time favorites. I saw them again at a bar in 2004 and I was scared that Lucas was going to beat me up.

Scott Lucas's onstage and on record persona is very angry, very confrontation. I was expecting that he was going to be different in person. Maybe he is. He's not on the phone. The interview turned out okay, but he was not incredibly personable.

ME: So the new album 12 Angry Nights is a very personal record about a bad breakup. Was it difficult to open yourself up so much?

SL: I know what you're trying to get me say, and I'm not going to say it.

[I didn't know what I wanted him to say, but I guess he did.]


ME: So, what happened to [original Local H drummer] Joe? Is he still alive somewhere?

SL: I don't know. Why don't you Google him?

I don't know if he thought I was asking bad questions, if he just doesn't like doing interviews with little local papers, or he's just a little short with people. S'all good, I guess. It was still cool to talk to him. I'll post the full interview shortly.

Local H - The One With 'Kid' [MP3]

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Who's the Real Tromboner?

I did an interview with ska punk veterans Less Than Jake yesterday. I've never really actively listened to the band, but I'm familiar enough with their stuff and throughout the years I've seen them play a few times. I saw them open up for Blink 182 back in the Dude Ranch days and I'm sure I've seen them at Warped Tour. I was looking forward to talking to them.

Their publicist told me I'd be doing a phone interview with Buddy the trombone player. (My keyboarding friend Brian says the only person in the band less interesting in a band than a horn player is the keyboardist.) Buddy was cool, but I couldn't help feeling like an idiot.

I always try to do my homework before I do an interview, but this time I didn't even have a chance to listen to their new album before talking to the band. It came back to bite me.

ME: So, tell me about the new record...
BUDDY: What do you want to know?
ME: Uh, well I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but...
BUDDY: You haven't listened to it yet? How are we supposed to talk about it if you haven't listened to it?

I also tried talk to him about the band starting their own label. Their drummer Vinnie founded Fueled By Ramen (Fall Out Boy's original label), so I asked a question about that as well. But I got mixed up on the names. And what I thought was an intelligent question was all wrong.

ME: Did you ever considered just putting the record out on Fueled By Ramen?
BUDDY: Why would we put a record out on Fueled by Ramen? We started our own label.
ME: I know, but Roger (stutter, stutter) and Fueled by Ramen (stammer) and you know...
BUDDY: He hasn't worked there in like three years.

So it was a struggle. I'm sure Buddy thought I was an idiot. If you are looking for an uncomfortable 13 minutes, here you go:

Less Than Jake Interview [WMA]

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