A year ago, Jon Davison, singer for Los Angeles prog-rock outfit Glass Hammer, was stunned when longtime chum and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins called him with exciting news: Yes bassist Chris Squire told him that his band had chosen a replacement for departing vocalist Benoit David, and Davison was it.
“Taylor basically told me I was going to get the call from them. So I was just waiting and waiting,” says Davison, who watched 120 minutes tick past until Yes’ manager finally phoned. Read More
Valerie Bolden has never heard the song that was written for her — she is serving a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for fatally stabbing her husband in 1996.
“She hasn’t been able to hear it because with recorded music, you can’t send CDs in,” says Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, who adds, “I got her the lyrics and read them aloud to her. She said she hoped it meant more people would write about her.” Read More
Chuck Prophet’s latest album, “Temple Beautiful,” is a keenly observed homage to his adopted hometown of San Francisco, from its early punk-rock heyday back to “Emperor Norton in the Last Year of His Life.” As the deadpan guitarist says, there’s more to The City “than fancy-pants coffee shops run by hipster dufuses.” That explains why he is in the lineup for Tom Fest, a benefit and tribute for producer-engineer Tom Mallon, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor and is undergoing treatment. Read More
Mismatches make for great memories: Sting singing karaoke with fans in a little bar, the Rolling Stones playing a pub or turntablist superstar DJ Z-Trip at the tiny New Parish in Oakland on Friday.
“It doesn’t always have to be the Coliseum,” says Z-Trip, who closed the Grammys with LL Cool J in February and released a mixtape with rapper Talib Kweli in 2012. Read More
What is Jewish music? Judging from the lineup for the 38th annual Jewish Music Festival, it’s a culture without borders or one definitive style.
The 10-day festival, opening Saturday in Berkeley, presents jazz, folk, classical and contemporary works from around the world.
While Poland is the focus of the 2013 festival, True Life Trio, performing Sunday, is one among many acts with a lineup that represents a thousand years of Jewish life and a legacy that is truly global. Read More
J.P. Pitts likes his hometown of West Palm Beach, Fla., where he conceived his reverb-drenched quartet Surfer Blood and its sunny 2010 indie debut “Astro Coast.”
“But I absolutely love California!” says the frontman, who first visited the state when he was 19 to attend Coachella, and plays in San Francisco this week.
“That trip really made me realize that to be in a band and playing music was my first priority. So I would describe California as a place that kind of feels like home, but nicer.” Read More
Tucked away on Potrero Hill, the beloved recording studio Tiny Telephone is turning 15 this year. As Noise Pop festivities get under way, indie superhero and studio founder John Vanderslice is inviting the public inside for its very first open house.
Thursday’s event likely will be more crowded than a personal tour, but is guaranteed to be cozy, with a bit of background music and many of the studio’s engineers standing by to answer questions. Read More
Great music always has been challenging. Radiohead never intended “OK Computer” to be immediately accessible and “Exile on Main Street” lacked the radio-ready singles that defined much of the Rolling Stones’ earlier music.
Still, sometimes you just want to pop in an album and listen to something simple: big hooks, heroic guitar solos, songs about girls. Read More
Power-pop purveyor Marshall Crenshaw never planned on having his own retro-minded radio show. But a funny thing happened when he was chatting with his old chum Richard “Handsome Dick” Manitoba a couple of years ago.
As the Dictators frontman raved about his DJ gig on Little Steven’s Sirius Satellite station Underground Garage, Crenshaw surprisingly found himself feeling envious.
“So I knew somebody who owned a radio station,” he says. “I just called him up and asked if I could go on the air, and he said I could.” Read More
For a decade, Søren Løkke Juul existed in the backing-musician shadows of three groups in his native Denmark: the electronic Morfus, an experimental all-instrumental outfit called Badun, then a Fleet Foxes-inspired folk combo called Let Me Play You Guitar. The keyboardist-vocalist learned a lot, watching from behind the scenes, until he walked offstage one night and never looked back. Read More