Thanks to the sudden success of her introductory Warner Bros. EP-DVD, “Into the Wild — Live at Eastwest Studios” — spurred by placement of the exuberant title track in a recent Citibank commercial — it might appear that the artist who records under her initials, LP, has become something of an overnight sensation. That couldn’t be further from the truth, the petite powerhouse says. Read More
Looks are deceiving. It might appear that Sarah Cracknell’s English electronic trio, Saint Etienne (featuring keyboardists Bob Stanley and Peter Wiggs), was away for seven years before “Words and Music” was issued in 2012. But the group did record together. She says, “We did the music for a cartoon TV program, we did film music, often for our own films, and we were artists-in-residence at the South Bank, where we’d curate events. So we just did tons of other stuff besides an actual Saint Etienne album.” The modern-looking singer is also in tune with the 1960s. Read More
Growing up in New York, Robert Fitzgerald Diggs wasn’t your average sports-enthusiast teen.
He was primarily into chess and — once his older brothers started taking him to a cinema on 42nd Street — nothing but vintage kung fu flicks.
“It all started with a Bruce Lee movie, then a Jim Kelly movie and all of a sudden I was into the kung fu world,” recalls the auteur, who would later rechristen himself RZA to form the legendary hip-hop group the Wu-Tang Clan. Read More
Ben Bridwell has come a long way with his folk-rock outfit Band of Horses. The band broke through with its third album “Infinite Arms” in 2010 (which earned a Grammy nomination for best alternative album) plus the right to name the producer for the new followup “Mirage Rock.”
Glyn Johns, who worked with the Who, Faces and Beatles, helped expand the sound in songs such as the arena-friendly “Knock Knock,” the reverb-drenched “How to Live,” the 1960s-jangly “A Little Biblical” and the CSNY-evocative “Dumpster World.” Read More
English punk icon John Lydon hasn’t changed; he’s still the same curmudgeonly misanthrope he was 35 years ago as the Sex Pistols’ notorious Johnny Rotten. So when “American Idol” approached him about using the Pistols’ “Pretty Vacant,” he was suitably peeved. “Imagine — the audacity!” But he agreed to Danny Boyle using “God Save the Queen” in this year’s opening Olympics ceremony, he says, “because he wanted to celebrate the National Health Service, which is an intrinsically beautiful British concept, regardless of how many Republicans view it as communism. Read More
Chris Carrabba remembers it like it was yesterday: the final moment more than a decade ago when he had finally had enough of his first major outfit, Further Seems Forever.
“We were in a rehearsal, and two of the guys got into an argument,” says the singer. “There was some gear thrown around, and one of the guys said something like, ‘That’s it! This is over!’ And I said, ‘You got that right’ and I walked out. And that was it.” Read More
Soul crooner Allen Stone still remembers when doubt about dogmatic religious beliefs began to creep in. It was in his early teens, on one of several church-sponsored missions he undertook with his pastor father to impoverished parts of Ukraine.
“I always felt horrible about going there and doing something positive for a community, only to try and convince them to be Christian,” he says. “It was like, ‘I’m not doing this out of the goodness of my heart, I’m doing this to build up treasures in heaven and get people to believe in Jesus Christ.’ It was so … not right.” Read More
Danny O’Donoghue hopes he doesn’t appear too calculating. But there was method to the Script bandleader’s madness last year when he landed a coveted judge’s seat on the TV competition “The Voice U.K.,” where he coached young vocal talent alongside fellow stars Jessie J, will.i.am and Sir Tom Jones. Read More
It isn’t exactly a Batman-Commissioner Gordon arrangement. But when Neil Young needs the guys in his old backing band Crazy Horse, they’re there, says guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro. Recent sessions, the first in nine years, were for “Americana,” a reworking of vintage American folk songs. There’s also the new two-disc “Psychedelic Pill,” which they’ll preview at the Bridge School Benefit in Mountain View this weekend. Read More
Suppose you’re Saskatchewan rock outfit The Sheepdogs. You spent 2011 vying in Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Choose the Cover” contest, then – after winning, earning a contract with Atlantic Records – filming offshoots like “Project Runway.”
In between, you squeezed in festival gigs, two back-to-back U.S. jaunts and a Canadian tour of 25 shows in 27 days.
So naturally, you’re going to Disneyland, right?
Not exactly, says bandleader Ewan Currie. Read More
The Smashing Pumpkins founder Billy Corgan has been a veritable whirling dervish lately, whipping out the new 13-track “Oceania” (which the band is playing in its entirety in the current tour’s first set, along with vintage chestnuts), as well as overseeing EMI’s expanded catalog remasters. Box sets of “Gish,” “Siamese Dream” and “Pisces Iscariot” already are out; 1995’s definitive “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” will be released in December. Read More
Call it a creative compulsion. But since her quiet combo The xx began its ascent four years ago — leading to a 2010 Mercury Prize for its debut, “xx” — guitarist-vocalist Romy Madley-Croft has been busy preserving the journey in photos, via camera and cellphone. Read More
It’s a common misconception with fans of her old trio Sleater-Kinney, says Corin Tucker, that just because they aren’t currently recording together, she and co-founder Carrie Brownstein are at odds. “I think people make assumptions about Sleater-Kinney or our friendship that aren’t really based in reality – the band is just on hiatus, and we use that word in the way it’s meant, you know?” says the Portland native, who just issued her second solo album, “Kill My Blues,” as The Corin Tucker Band. Read More
The hit musical “The Book of Mormon” might make fun of dress-shirted representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints naively trying to save souls in war-torn Uganda. But to Imagine Dragons bandleader Dan Reynolds, a longtime Mormon and Las Vegas native, it’s no joke. Read More
Carly Rae Jepsen — whose recent “Call Me Maybe” was the song of the summer — may look like a waif on the cover of her album “Kiss.” But she’s no newbie. Four years ago, after placing third on “Canadian Idol,” the Vancouver native, now 26, issued her first Juno-nominated album “Tug of War,” leading to her discovery earlier this year by Justin Bieber and his manager, Scott “Scooter” Braun. “I remember getting off the show and feeling so desperate to put out a CD of original songs after doing a season of covers,” she says of her folksy debut. “It was like ‘OK, that was fun. Read More