He might be better known for his wild-haired stage persona, affable two-season stint as a judge on “American Idol” or his recent manic TV commercial for Burger King.
But raspy-throated Aerosmith rocker Steven Tyler is also one serious gearhead. It started with the first minibike frame he jerry-rigged as a teen. Read More
Like anchorman Howard Beale in the 1976 film “Network,” Laura Burhenn is as mad as hell, and she’s not going to take it anymore. Disheartened by today’s greedy, corporate-controlled society, The Mynabirds frontwoman vents about it on her existential new sophomore CD, “Generals,” which she opened with the zenlike koan “Karma Debt.” “That’s the first question I asked on the album: ‘What is my role as musician? And even if I sing my lungs out about this, is it going to make any difference?’” she says. “That’s where the whole thing starts — is it too late? Maybe it is.” Read More
When it comes to bonding experiences, French-Finnish duo The Dø can claim one of the strangest: Gruff actor Jean Reno. Singer and multi-instrumentalist Olivia Merilahti first met composer Dan Levy while scoring Reno’s 2005 action flick “Empire of the Wolves” at the request of director Chris Nahon. “It was a good project for us to start making music on. It’s where we really learned to know each other,” says Merilahti, phoning from the middle of a traffic jam in her native Paris. Read More
When Kyle Thomas was a teen in rustic Brattleboro, Vt., he was a huge baseball enthusiast who ran with a mostly jock in-crowd. “But once I got into high school, everything changed,” says the man now known as King Tuff; the long-haired, Dali-mustached, tattooed rocker plays San Francisco tonight. “My new coach was such a jerk, I didn’t even feel like trying to play baseball anymore,” he says. “And I only went to one day of football practice, and that was enough, because the dude was like a drill sergeant. So I just got into music instead.” Read More
Rome Ramirez always understood that heeding his parents’ advice didn’t exactly validate his street cred. But as a bored teen in Fremont who regularly escaped via BART to Berkeley and San Francisco concerts, he did it anyway.
“All my mom ever told me since I was a kid was ‘Do what you love and the money will follow,’ and she didn’t care what I did, as long as I was happy and healthy,” recalls the charismatic singer, who — as simply Rome — just issued his soulful debut EP “Dedication” and appears with his all-time favorite band Sublime in Berkeley tonight. Read More
British Gothic-folk guitarist Bobby Long is justifiably excited these days. He co-composed “Let Me Sign,” which his actor friend Robert Pattinson sang on the “Twilight” soundtrack. More recently, he moved to New York City, and issued two recordings, “A Winter Tale” and “The Backing Singer EP,” on ATO. He also just wrapped a new fall-slated disc with producer Ted Hutt, featuring bluesy originals such as “Devil Moon,” “Waiting for Dawn” and “Blood in the Orchard.” “It’s a lot heavier — I’m playing electric guitar on every track,” he says. Read More
Adam Young — the Midwest keyboardist who records as Owl City, the “Fireflies”-famous, one-man band he launched from his parents’ basement in 2007 — certainly got lucky with his chart-climbing new single “Good Time.”
When he wrote the optimistic song several months ago, he envisioned it as a boy-girl duet; since their managers were childhood chums, he cold-called then-little-known Canadian artist Carly Rae Jepsen (who went on to own the summer with the irresistible “Call Me Maybe”). She was more than game. Read More
Vermont rocker Grace Potter wants to apologize to all of her close friends residing in the Bay Area. When she purposely circumnavigated San Francisco during a recent two-week drive from Los Angeles up the California coast in her tiny Fiat, she was on a mission, and she needed the time alone to completely rethink her new album, “The Lion The Beast The Beat,” whose sessions had hit a creative dead end. Read More
German synth-rock pioneers Tangerine Dream’s career has spanned 45 years, seven Grammy nominations and more than 100 albums, and they’re still going strong. The band’s sole surviving original member, conceptualist-multi-instrumentalist Edgar Froese, has assembled a new lineup playing two Northern California shows on its “Electric Mandarine” tour, which includes surprise selections from the group’s entire catalog. Read More
Stix Zadinia — drummer for Los Angeles hair-metal revivalists Steel Panther — admits to feeling slightly conflicted about the recent movie “Rock of Ages,” starring Tom Cruise as a decadent rocker from the genre’s Sunset Strip-Guns N’ Roses heyday. Read More
Marina Diamandis wholeheartedly agrees with the adage “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
On “Electra Heart,” her new sophomore CD as Marina and the Diamonds, the Welsh-Greek tigress bares her fangs and roars at one particularly callous ex-beau in dance-pop disses such as “Lies,” “Primadonna,” “Home-Wrecker” and “Bubblegum Bitch.” Read More
Three years ago, Brian Fallon truly believed the world was his oyster. His scruffy, Bruce Springsteen-inspired New Jersey outfit The Gaslight Anthem had received so much praise for its sophomore masterpiece “The ’59 Sound,” it caught the attention of The Boss himself, who joined the group onstage during shared English-festival bills. The band was picked to click, and the singer relocated to New York in anticpation of superstardom. But when a musically adventurous 2010 follow-up “American Slang” fizzled, Fallon was dumbfounded. Read More
When Liars bandleader Angus Andrew recently decided to set aside his guitar and venture into electronic territory for the group’s sixth effort, “WIXIW” (pronounced “Wish you”), he admits he didn’t realize just how deep that rabbit hole went. But he couldn’t help tumbling down it. Read More
Unsurprisingly, a new study has concluded that thrashing your skull in time to an average 145-beats-per-minute speed-metal song can potentially cause serious neck and head injuries, even whiplash or stroke. Slayer frontman Tom Araya already received the bulletin, loud and clear.
“Headbanging is dangerous,” says the fearsome-voiced singer, who recently had to cancel dates to undergo emergency treatments for neck and back problems. Read More
Brit Award-winning English folkie Laura Marling is only 22, but her rafter-rattling trill is on par with her genre’s grande dames, Sandy Denny or Norma Waterson. That talent is clearest on “Verses From the Union Chapel,” a limited-edition, London-church-tracked live album she released between her 2008 debut, “Alas, I Cannot Swim,” and the 2010 “I Speak Because I Can.” After whispering to the crowd, “Hello. I’m Laura Marling. It’s very nice to see you all here,” there’s no more chit-chat — just her crystalline voice, reverberating through the hall. Read More