Scott Ian Joins The Nerdist’s Programming with “Fangoria’s Blood & Guts with Scott Ian”

Scott ian zombieI am a bit of a nerd so when I heard that there was a YouTube channel for nerdist I got this warm fuzzy feeling inside.  I should also mention that am I a HUGE horror fan, so it only got better as the Nerdist announced today that they are joining forces with Fangoria to take viewers inside the world of special effects make-up.  This new series, FANGORIA’S BLOOD & GUTS WITH SCOTT IAN, will focus on Hollywood FX make-up and show viewers how to “do it yourself.” The host for the program is none other than Anthrax’s shredder Scott Ian, who is no newbie to blood, guts, and gore.  Scott states, “I’ve been neck-deep in blood and guts for the last 30 years playing in Anthrax. So I couldn’t be more excited to be hosting a show called ‘Blood & Guts’ for you horror and metal fans.” Check out the full interview with Scott Ian on

The Nerdist Channel launched back in April of 2012 covering all things nerd including comic books, video games, movies, and pop culture.  The channel has already pulled other big names such as, Neil Patrick Harris, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Rob Zombie, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Harry Knowles and the Nerdist himself, Chris Hardwick.

Go hence and get your NERD on:

YouTube –
Website –
Daily email newsletter –
Facebook –
Twitter – @Nerdist, @Nerdistnews, @Nerdistchannel
Daily email newsletter –

Rooftop evening with Jose Gonzalez

New York summers are known for rooftop parties that overlook the vast landscape of cramped buildings.  For 15 years, the “Underground Movies Outdoors” have been bringing choice indie flicks to the people of Gotham.  On this Sunday evening, one Jose Gonzalez meshed his music with film, and the event, not surprisingly, was sold out.  After playing with his band Junip at Prospect Park on Friday night for the Celebrate Brooklyn series, Jose turned his attention to a recent documentary made about him, “The Extraordinary Ordinary Life of Jose Gonzalez”.  The al fresco screening began with a 30-minute set, which included an encore of “Teardrop”.  Jose wasn’t sure if he was allowed to encore, but there was no doubt that it would be allowed.

The film was like no other roc-doc I’d seen as it included animation for deep conversations about his song writing process.  What we learned is Jose is a nerd.  He admitted it.  He was shy of completing a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Gothenburg as his popularity as a musician took off.  Jose talked a lot about protons, DNA and nuclei. One can see a link between his analytical thought processes to his meticulously slow productivity on his last album “In Our Nature”.  Boy likes to take his time and that’s alright when you produce fine compositions.  What I loved the most about the film were the mundane moments captured on tour from awkward interviews to backstage conversations.

At the conclusion of the film, Jose and one of the directors, Mikel Cee Karlsson were on had for a Q&A.  One question posed tackled the accuracy of the portrayal, which Jose answered was a side of him, the slow songwriter side.  It was interesting to see the subject of the film answer for the celluloid.  What you see on screen isn’t very different in person. Jose is reserved but not completely closed.  I almost think his trite answers are more an edit of all the thoughts he has in his head.

All in all the rooftop evening was a unique event where music and film collided in the best way.

Neil Young “Here We Are In The Years” on DVD June 21

Despite remaining a hugely original singer, songwriter, performer and, let’s face it, human being, across a career spanning almost fifty years, Neil Young has never been immune to the influence of others. This will be of no surprise to anyone with even a hint of interest in the man and his music, but only those who have studied their subject in depth will be aware of the enormous range of artists and genres Neil has both been affected by and drawn inspiration from, much of which, if one knows where to look, is apparent in Young’s incredible catalogue.

As with so many of his 1960s contemporaries, his first love was the classic rock & roll of the mid-1950s, but as the 50s tuned into the 60s, twangy guitars courtesy of Duane Eddy, The Fireballs and – even more notably – Hank B. Marvin of Brit-instrumentalists The Shadows took over, both for pleasure and for guidance – indeed his first band, The Squires, were dead-ringers for The Shads.

The folk-revival of the late 1950s didn’t pass Neil by, and from this genre he was deeply moved  by fellow Canadians Ian & Sylvia, whom Young would never forget, recording their ‘Four Strong Winds’ in 1978 and still name-dropping the husband and wife act to this day. Bob Dylan’s affect on Neil is well known but by mid decade, British folk-blues guitarist and composer Bert Jansch had equally hit a note with Young, and years later they would tread the boards together on many occasions.

But Young wasn’t stuck in the decade in which he emerged as a musician. Throughout the late 1960s and the 1970s he kept an ear to the ground and, despite claiming in 1975 that he had given up listening to other people’s records, he was clearly enthralled by both the impulse and the sounds of the punk revolution, giving the infamous Johnny Rotten equal credit to recently departed hero Elvis Presley, on his 1979 opus Hey Hey, My My. His work with new-wavers Devo compounded this ongoing delight in new sounds and the technology that accompanied them, and by 1982’s Trans it was no secret he’d had Kraftwerk on heavy rotation.

And while during the 1980s he often harked back to styles previously toyed with – country, rockabilly, folk, r’n’b – his early 90s salutations from grunge’s finest weren’t shrugged off with the kind of disinterest that may have been forthcoming from others of his vintage. Neil both made records with and wrote songs about some of the best of these young upstarts and the teacher became the pupil in a wholly bewildering chain of events.

This film traces the astonishing musical journey of Neil Young from the day he first heard Elvis to his most recent offerings, via the above named and numerous others who assisted in his creation of, arguably, the finest body of work to emerge during the rock era.

Extra features include extended interviews, digital biographies, beyond DVD and more. Order here!


WE tv Renews Braxton Family Values for Second Season



NEW YORK, NY, May 10, 2011 – WE tv announced today the renewal of the network’s popular original series, Braxton Family Values, only 4 episodes in to the first season. The series follows singer/songwriter Toni Braxton and her four sisters – Tamar, Trina, Towanda and Traci – as they navigate the drama created by the relationships among them.  Recently called “… guilty-pleasure gold” by Entertainment Weekly, the series is produced for WE tv by Magical Elves and will return with 13 all-new, one-hour episodes in 2012.

“My Family and I are so grateful for the love and support the fans have for the show.” Said Toni Braxton “We all hoped people could relate to our family dynamic and are thrilled with the positive response we have received. We are all very much looking forward to bringing you another eventful season of Braxton Family Values.”

Braxton Family Values airs every Tuesday at 9pm on WE tv.

Fabulous and Yellowcard on “Hoppus on Music” tonight!

This Friday on “Hoppus on Music,” sit down with Mark to get some face time with Brooklyn rapper Fabolous. Then come chill with rock band, Yellowcard and stay around for California-based Runner Runner’s performance.  Tune in on Friday, 5/6, at 11pm/10c only on Fuse TV!

It’s Brisk, Baby! Oh’s Ozzy!

Have you checked out the new Brisk commercials with Ozzy? Well here is your opportunity!  This is the commercial in its entirety.

Punk Rock in Los Angeles in 1984

“History Lesson Part 1: Punk Rock in Los Angeles in 1984”
Coming to DVD on March 22
Classic raw punk footage and interviews withThe Meat Puppets, The Minutemen, Twisted Roots and Redd Kross

It has been said that Los Angeles and San Francisco were the last major metropolitan cities in which punk music scenes developed and once it hit California, punk changed shapes numerous times, spread to every corner of the United States and became a permanent fixture in popular culture.

In 1984, a teenage Dave Travis decided to capture punk rock in Los Angeles on video tape, a fascination and hobby that he would continue until 1997, logging in hundreds of hours of Los Angeles area shows and interviews. In “A History Lesson Part 1, Travis presents live footage filmed in the spring of 1984 featuring the Meat Puppets, Minutemen, Twisted Roots and Redd Kross interspersed with interviews of members from each group which examines and puts a perspective on the early years of “psychedelic” punk rock in Los Angeles and Phoenix, AZ. Each song by each group is presented from start to finish.


The Meat Puppets started playing punk rock in their hometown of Phoenix, Arizona out of a feeling of alienation. After sharing a bill in Phoenix, Black Flag invited The Meat Puppets to play a show with them The Cuckoos Nest in Costa Mesa, CA. The group played their chaotic shamanistic psychedelic punk which messed with the minds of the hardcore punks in the audience who started a riot during their set. This prompted Greg Ginn of Black Flag to invite The Meat Puppets to record an album for SST. The group recorded “Meat Puppets 1” over a non-stop three day session while tripping on acid at Unicorn Studios in West Hollywood.  A year later, the group returned to the studio and with a more structured and coherent approach for “Meat Puppets 2.” Three songs from that album were captured live on May 5, 1984 at Perkins Palace in Pasadena, CA. Melons Rising and Saturday Morning capture the bewitching feeling of “Meat Puppets 1,” while Lake of Fire captures the new direction they were moving towards with “Meat Puppets 2.”


The Minutemen were the original punk band from San Pedro, California. Bassist Mike Watt, a childhood friend of guitarist D Boon says that Boon’s mother taught him how to play bass. When the two first started playing together, they tried to cover rock songs, like American Woman and Black Dog. Then they saw a punk rock showone night in Hollywood and had the revelation that they could play their own music. Boon would write phrases on scraps of paper and Watt would put these to music. Watt would write songs with beginnings, middles, and ends.  D. Boon would write songs with just verse and chorus.  The songs were short, often less than a minute long.  They would write solos into the songs so the other players could rest. Boon had a thing about ideas and principles; he and Watt would talk and argue about everything, even having to pull over at a library while driving between towns on tour to resolve a debate they were having about European History. They philosophized that their world was divided into two parts; Gigs and Flyers. Gigs were the shows. Flyers were everything else which would get people to the shows. Records, radio, videos; these were all flyers to the Minutemen.  Six Minutemen songs are featured: A History Lesson Part 2 and Jesus and Tequila from Hollywood’s legendary Cathay De Grande and No 1. Hit Song, Martin’s Story, The Big Foist, and Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs were captured at The Olympic Auditorium.


Paul Roessler formed Twisted Roots in 1981 after the demise of the Screamers. The original lineup featured Paul’s sister Kira on bass and Pat Smear of the Germs on guitar.  The band enjoyed instant success as a punk rock super-group followed by a period of chaos emerging with a new lineup featuring Dez Cadena of Redd Kross, Black Flag and The Misfits on guitar. This lineup would soon metamorphosize into DC3.  Roessler was heavily influenced by Public Image Limited and took to heart Johnny Rotten’s philosophy that it was about musical anarchy not political anarchy.  The songs Never Was, Mommy’s Always Busy in the Kitchen, and Love Your Friends were captured in May of 1984 at the Music Machine in West Los Angeles


Redd Kross were teenagers from Hawthorne, CA who started playing shows with Black Flag while some of the members were still in Junior High School. Though they gigged with punk bands from the South Bay, they felt that they were outsiders because they were obsessed with pop culture and felt more of a connection with rock star persona than their punk rock peers. Three songs were filmed at the Pomona Valley Auditorium in June 1984: Janus, Jeanie, and George Harrison, Linda Blair, and Annette’s got the Hits. The band at the time consisted of two pairs of siblings: Jeff and Steve McDonald and Dave and Vicki Peterson of The Bangles temporarily replacing the freshly departed Dez Cadena before guitarist Robert Hecker joined the group. This was Peterson’s only show with the group. Steve McDonald currently plays bass in OFF! with Keith Morris.


Videographer Dave Travis grew up in Los Angeles where his dad worked as a cameraman for NBC and CBS news as well as TV shows such as “Chips” and “Fantasy Island.” When he was 15 his dad handed down to him an old video camera and he began shooting punk rock shows in Los Angeles. He eventually became a freelance video editor, working on projects such as Black Flag’s “Slip It In” video as director and editor, “1991 the Year Punk Broke” featuring Sonic Youth and Nirvana as editor,  the Kurt Cobain memorial for the 94 MTV Music Awards as editor, and many more. Travis also ran a recording studio with his sister, bassist Abby Travis, called Tarantula Ranch and in the mid ’80s helped pioneer the desert Generator Shows.

Travis captured punk bands on video in L.A. for 14 years until 1997 when he decided to put down his camera. In 2000 he became a teacher with stints at John Adams Middle School teaching World and U.S. History and Santee Education Complex, a High School in South Central, L.A. teaching History and Economics. After spending nearly a decade as a teacher, Travis re-united with his passion for video and began digitizing and restoring his old footage. “A History Lesson Part One” is the first fruit harvested from his archive.

Travis also plays cello in the long-time Los Angeles punk / psychedelic / jazz band Carnage Asada.


DVD Info:

Motion City Soundtrack and Mark Hoppus Rock out Tonight on FUSE TV!

motion city soundtrack group 1

Check out Motion City Soundtrack rock out with Mark on a new episode of A Different Spin with Mark Hoppus. A Different Spin is a new show on FUSE with the always entertaining MArk Hoppus on the mic.

It all goes down Thursday, 11/18, at 7/6C on Fuse!

Video after the jump…

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Night Of The Living Dead: Reanimated Now On DVD

A Mixed Media Re-interpretation of the Greatest Zombie Film of All Time

Over 100 artists reanimate the timeless classic

Wild Eye Releasing and MVD Visual are pleased to announce the release of Night Of The Living Dead: Reanimated for North American distribution.

Rondo Award-nominated as Best Independent Horror Feature, Night Of The Living Dead: Reanimated is a collaborative artistic mash-up of George Romero’s cult classic. Nearly 150 International artists and animators chose their favorite scenes and re-envisioned them through their own artwork, with no restrictions on style, media or process – resulting in an eclectic ‘art show’ interpretation of the seminal 1968 film, all placed over the original’s audio. [Read more…]



elfman burton 3

Package Features More Than 19 Hours Of Music, Including Fan-Requested Expansions Of 13 Film Scores, Plus Seven Hours Of Previously Unreleased Music, A Skeleton USB Flash Drive Containing MP3s Of The Music And A Bonus DVD Featuring An Exclusive Conversation Between Elfman And Burton [Read more…]

Get Obsessed With The Vampire Diaries Soundtrack

Vampire Diaries Soundtrack out October 12th

Original Television Soundtrack: The Vampire Diaries isn’t due out until October 12th, but fans can get a taste of the first single now in a new video featuring footage from the show.  “Obsession,” the first international single from up-and-coming pop artist Sky Ferreria, is the lead track off the the soundtrack which features a mix of exclusive tracks unavailable elsewhere—including songs by Smashing Pumpkins and Gorillaz—plus favorites from season one of the hit TV show, including “Sleep Alone” by Bat for Lashes and “Running Up That Hill” by Placebo. The soundtrack will be availableon October 12 through Virgin Records.  It is available for preorder now. Track Listing – Original Television Soundtrack: The Vampire Diaries [Read more…]

The Northstar Session on Parenthood 9/21 on NBC!

Earlier this month the Southern California pop rock band, The Northstar Session, taped their cameo in the upcoming episode of NBC’s Parenthood.  On Parenthood Crosby (Daz Shepard) plays a music producer working on the NorthStar Session’s new single “You Come Up Like a Rose.”  Lucky for the guys they just have to play themselves and do what they do best, rock it out.  Just a little factoid about the episode, the recording took place in the famous Village Recorders studio. Such legends as Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, and Supertramp have cut albums there.

Parenthood just became a must-see on must-see tv. Tune in on September 21st at 10/9 Central on NBC.

Check out the Northstar Session’s latest release, Winter Collections, that is available now on iTunes.

Tune In: The Pretty Reckless on Letterman; “Make Me Wanna Die” Featured In Vampire Diaries Trailer

Tune in to the Late Show With David Letterman tonight (August 25th) to see a performance from The Pretty Reckless at 11:35pm ET on CBS.  Taylor Momsen and her band will be rocking their US single “Make Me Wanna Die.” [Read more…]

Dolly Parton To Return To Big Screen In “Joyful Noise” Alongside Queen Latifa

Dolly Parton To Return To Big Screen In “Joyful Noise” Alongside Queen Latifa

The iconic and irrepressible DOLLY PARTON will return to the silver screen alongside Queen Latifah in “Joyful Noise,” a musically driven feature that tells the story of an unlikely partnership between two strong-minded women who are forced to work together to save a small town Gospel choir after budget cuts threaten to shut them down.

[Read more…]

“CMT FRONT ROW only on dish network” returns for a second season

“CMT FRONT ROW only on dish network”
returns for a second season
Popular HD Concert Series Debuts with Country Music “It” Girl Miranda Lambert

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – July 26, 2010 – DISH Network, the fastest-growing pay-TV provider in America, today unveiled the season two line-up of “CMT Front Row Only on DISH Network.”

The CMT-branded franchise includes four, one-hour episodes of the popular monthly CMT series “Invitation Only,” available to all DISH Network subscribers during an exclusive premiere window. The second season of “CMT Front Row Only on DISH Network” kicked off on Sunday, July 25, with CMT Music Award winner Miranda Lambert; the concert will air at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays through Aug. 22. Upcoming episodes will feature country superstars Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts.

“DISH Network is pleased to partner with CMT to bring our customers exclusive music programming from today’s biggest stars,” said Ira Bahr, Chief Marketing Officer for DISH Network.

A departure from the typical concert special, “Invitation Only” showcases country music’s top artists performing before a small studio audience in Nashville, taking questions from fans and delivering revealing and candid answers. “CMT Front Row Only on DISH Network” includes not only the “Invitation Only” concert specials, but also exclusive interviews with featured musicians that can only be found on DISH Network. Additionally, many DISH Network customers are given the opportunity to attend the “Invitation Only” concert tapings, complete with backstage passes to meet their favorite country music performers. [Read more…]

Making The Video: On Set Interview With AM Taxi

AM Taxi “Fed Up”
Music Video Shoot – Chicago, IL
March 31, 2010


AM Taxi

With blessings from the perfect spring weather, AM Taxi relaxed inside dilapidated convent ready to shoot their first music video after being exclusively signed to Virgin Records. An exciting time for the Chicago-based band, AM Taxi had the chance to talk about their history in the Windy City as well as their current U.S. tour leading straight to their sets at this year’s Warped Tour.

Read the interview and see more photos from the set of AM Taxi’s new music video “Fed Up” after the jump…

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Butch Walker Asks (via Twitter): Any Requests, Chicago?


‘I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart’ (One Haven Music) Out 02/09 On Vinyl And 02/23 On CD/Digital


LA-based singer-songwriter and producer Butch Walker returns to Chicago January 5, 6, 7, and 8 for a career-spanning series at Schuba’s Tavern. Walker will play a different album from his back catalog in its entirety each of the first three nights. On January 8, he will treat fans to a special set of brand new songs from his just announced album ‘I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart’ (One Haven Music) plus other requests and one cover, submitted by fans via Twitter using the hashtag #butchwalkersetlist.

After Chicago, Walker will play another sold-out, four-night run in his hometown Atlanta, January 13-16 at 7 Stages Theater. He completed similar residencies in LA and NYC in December, both of which sold out instantly.

Butch Walker in Chicago:
Jan 5 – Performing ‘Letters’
Jan 6 – Performing ‘The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker…’
Jan 7 – Performing ‘Sycamore Meadows’
Jan 8 – Performing new songs and fan favorites

Butch Walker in Atlanta:
Jan 13 – Performing new songs and fan favorites
Jan 14 – Performing ‘Letters’
Jan 15 – Performing ‘The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker…
Jan 16 – Performing ‘Sycamore Meadows’

Butch Walker on The Web:

About ‘I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart’:
Butch’s new album ‘I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart’ (One Haven Music) is about beginnings, endings, and the long journey in between. The album, featuring eleven new songs co-written by Walker and his new songwriting partner Michael Trent, will be released exclusively on vinyl on February 9, followed by a CD/digital release on February 23.

Unlike Walker’s previous, critically acclaimed solo works, ‘I Liked It Better’ was recorded quickly and collaboratively, with his band The Black Widows. “We literally went into the studio the day after our tour ended,” recalls Walker. “So the wheels were greased.” The album was recorded mostly “live” over just five days, using first and second takes. Strings were subsequently added at Abbey Road Studios in the UK, providing some of the album’s most interesting textures.

WATCH 30 Seconds to Mars LIVE CHAT Right HERE! 8:00pm EST!!

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Lights on Doghouse Records, Old Navy, and “The Hills”

Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL
October 31, 2008

  • What makes your songs and album (Lights – EP) stand out from some of the rest?  I’ll go back a little bit. I was raised a home-schooled kid, all right? Everything I did, artistically to educationally, was never based on what was around me. It was just based on my own ambitions and on my own perception of what success was. Even to this day, I make what I make and it happens to be in that genre and it happens to be whatever people want to put it in. I’m just doing my own thing. I’d probably be the last person who would know what makes it stand out. I suppose that’s up to the listeners.


Read the rest of my interview with Lights after the jump! [Read more…]

New Metric Video, Metric Remix

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Metric has teamed up with Deco Dawson to create a video for “Help I’m Alive.” This is not a music video, but a short film. Click HERE or the image below to view the film. Also below is what Metric had to say about the partnership.


So check it out. Before Christmas we did a tour across Canada in conjunction with a kids’ charity and made a limited edition 7 inch vinyl single of “Help I’m Alive” originally to be sold only at the December shows. The world being what it is, the song got leaked onto the internet from the pressing plant and took on a life of its own. Suddenly, we were getting calls from radio stations all over the world, from Australia to Ireland, saying they were playing the hell out of “Help, I’m Alive”. This totally caught us off guard. We never could have guessed that this song would be a radio contender! It’s success proved our theory that programmers and listeners are more open minded than anyone gives them credit for! Meanwhile, we were all set to release “Gimme Sympathy” as our logical first single but “Help I’m Alive” continued to amaze & confuse us by climbing all the way up to the top of the charts. The song became Metric’s first #1 hit and we thanked the mysterious universe.

What came next only makes sense in such a scenario. When I was working with Winnipeg cult-filmmaker Guy Maddin on visual projections for my Soft Skeleton tour, I met Maddin’s editor and co-cinematographer Deco Dawson. Guy Maddin is known as the Canadian David Lynch and I love Deco’s editing of “Heart of the World”. Deco has since become one of the country’s foremost experimental film makers and a friend of the band. He edited Metric’s live concert DVD “Live at Metropolis” and we brought him along to oversee the live filming of Fantasies on our December tour. A few weeks ago, as we were scrambling to keep up with the unexpected radio momentum of Help I’m Alive, we got a call from Deco saying he had a surprise for us: He had taken the concert footage of “Help I’m Alive” and turned it into something that looks like Yo Gabba Gabba on acid. Jimmy held a late night test screening of Deco’s creation at Giant Studio to rave reviews and now we have decided to share it with the online world.

[Read more…]

The Dodos Get Under The Radar Magazine Year End Cover, Alongside Fleet Foxes & Vampire Weekend

Goldies 2008 Winner SF Bay Guardian, “Best SF Band” (20th Annual Guardian Outstanding Local Discovery Awards)

European Tour Starts This Week / Announce Australian & New Zealand 2009 Tour

NYC December 16th Show With The Walkmen At The Masonic Temple

Visiter Out Now On Frenchkiss Records

Click Here To View SF Bay Guardian

Click Here To View Recent “Take Away Shows”

Click Here To Download Recent NYC Spiegeltent Performance

NPR’s All Songs Considered Best Of 2008 List (So Far)
[Read more…]

Passion Pit’s “Sleepyhead” Debuts On MTV 2 Subterranean Tonight At 1 AM & Premieres On MTV Subterranean Podcast Next Week 11/17

Gets MTV “Band To Watch” CMJ Exclusive / Become CMJ 2008 Favorites / Perform On AOL Spinner Interface

Chunk Of Change EP Out Now On Frenchkiss Records

Play NYC’s Glasslands December 5th : Featuring No Big Deal #3 Remix Contest With Fingers On The Pulse (Details Below)
And Great Scott New Years Eve Blowout In Allston, Mass

Click Here To View Exclusive MTV CMJ Coverage

Click Here To View “Sleepyhead” Video
[Read more…]

Sarah Palin, They Don’t Care!


Ok, so first off I should mention that I don’t watch music videos, I hate MTV, and I really don’t care for Fall Out Boy but, while channel surfing, I stumbled on Fall Out Boy’s video for “I Don’t Care.” Maybe it was the thieving nuns, maybe it was was the flasher, and it was definitely Pete Wentz getting knocked out for being a douche, but I did find the video mildly entertaining…the video people, not the song. Aside from the terrible song, the highlight to the video comes in the last 10 seconds with a guest appearance by Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Now I have no idea what they were trying to say by putting a look-alike to everyone’s favorite Alaskan soccer mom but I’m really not going to devote much time or energy to it; they lost my interest after Take This To Your Grave. After all, Chicago is so five years ago by now. You can watch the video here or click on the image above to view it.

I honestly don’t have a clue what they’re trying to get at but kudos on the Palin jab anyways, whatever it means.

If you have an idea about what it could mean, post it in the comments.

Party Like It’s 1997

NYC Photo

Not sure about you, but I think that if you get booked to perform at your city’s Apple Store, then you have pretty much made it in the music business. Chicago’s very own 1997 played a gig downtown a couple weekends ago and I was there to witness it and cheer them on. I think it’s safe to say that the show was a success and sold out. Almost every seat was taken upstairs and there were people standing all around, checking out the FREE acoustic concert by their hometown heroes. After the show, I got the chance to sit down with Alida Marroni (Keys, Vocals) and Alan Goffinski (Bass, BGV) where we discussed everything from Victory Records to Sex and the City (the movie!).


With two studio albums to choose from (plus short Warped Tour sets), how do you pick songs for your Warped sets?

Alida: Basically, we were talking about it and we are just going to play the catchiest, loudest, fastest stuff that we have. What do we have? I think two songs from the old album and three songs from the new album.
Alan: Something like that.
Alida: We’re going to play five songs that are as catchy as possible. Just to grab people’s attention, you know? As they’re walking by…
Alan: Part of it is standing out in the deluge of music. There’s just so much going on. Just trying to make sure that at any possible moment, someone passing by might hear something that they like and just stick around for awhile. Pick up a new fan. Don’t want to play too much quiet stuff either because it will get drowned out by the stage next to us.

You said during the show that Caleb (Caleb Pepp – Guitar, Vocals) made the set list for today. Does that always happen?

Alan: Caleb loves lists. He loves making lists of all shapes and sizes. For anything. So it’s usually he’ll make a list and we’ll go over it and say maybe not…
Alida: Maybe open with this one instead and end with this one instead.
Alan: He’s no novice. He knows how to make a good list. He’s been making mix tapes since he knew how to press record on a tape deck.

Some bands already have their next record written right when their latest album is coming out. Are there new unrecorded songs that you will be playing?

Alan: No.
Alida: We’ve got a couple that we didn’t record for this album. But we are pretty much going to designate a few months to devoting our time to writing before we record the next album. And unlike a lot of bands, I think we’re just going to soak this album up for awhile. I don’t know, Caleb’s always writing. And he’s really excited to be constantly making new material. It just depends…
Alan: We don’t like to sit too long. I don’t know how many of the B-sides from the last album would make it onto the new album. I doubt any would, but who knows? We’re always writing. We’re always coming up with new stuff that just ends up kind of laying fallow for awhile until we have a chance to sit down and make sense of it all. Spend a couple months just working out the kinks of it.

Does anything prevent you from playing different sets every night? On Warped Tour will you play the same set of songs every day?

Alida: We can change it up. I mean, our boredom is the only thing that I can think of that would prevent us from doing that.
Alan: As much as we always try to find a set that works and stick with it, we are always changing it.
Alida: When we tour, we’ll play a different set – we’ll play at least five sets in a tour.
Alan: We switch it up a lot.
Alida: And it’s more fun for the people that come to see us a couple dates in a row. It’s cool to not have to see the same show twice.

What have you noticed about crowds at recent 1997 shows?

Alida: Well, I want to talk about our CD release show that we had two nights ago. It was a really good time. It was the first time that I had ever seen people – a really big group of people – singing along to the new songs. That felt awesome because this is the first album that I’m on, so I was really excited about that. But more and more, as we keep visiting the same cities, kids are more and more perceptive, intense and awesome.
Alan: Numbers are increasing.
Alida: Yeah, it’s great. It only gets better.
Alan: We accidentally played our first headlining tour – just got off of it. When I say accidentally, I mean that it was supposed to be a co-headlining tour, but the co-headliners dropped off the tour, so we wound up headlining. We were a little nervous at first, but we surprised ourselves.
Alida: It went pretty well. We sold out a couple too. It was cool.
Alan: Yeah, big numbers.

Do you plan your sets differently when playing in your hometown of Chicago?

Alan: Yeah, we do.
Alida: Our Chicago kids have songs that they just need to hear. So we like to do that for them.
Alan: We take into consideration the fact that when we play Chicago, we are playing to a lot of family and friends. We try and play everyone’s favorites.

How much do you rehearse for a tour?

Alida: When we have a practice space, we practice every day.
Alan: We got out of the studio and we learned all the material again because everything changes when you record it. New parts get added, guitar parts change slightly. Gotta relearn everything – we spent several weeks doing that. And then once we’re comfortable with that, then it’s smooth sailing.
Alida: Every show is a practice, really.

What’s on 1997’s rider?

Alida: The funny thing is – do we even have a rider? I don’t know. I don’t think we’re cool enough to have a rider yet.
Alan: Interestingly enough, we do have a rider. But it’s just like a default rider that our booking agent put together. I don’t think we ever asked for anything, but she asked for things on our behalf – like to include several cases of beer. And only a few of us are of legal age to even drink, which is really interesting. Venues complain about that sometimes. When we have a rider and when venues decide to fulfill the rider requirements, which they rarely do anyway at this stage in the game, it’s just going to be the basics.

Anything you would want to have on your rider?

Alida: It’s going to be a few years before we’re playing arenas and I can request a masseuse, but I’ve got awhile to think about it.
Alan: The only thing I really crave ever, on a constant basis, is cheese and ice cream.
Alida: Yeah, we’ll have a lot of ice cream, probably.
Alan: But who knows? I don’t care. I’m just there to play music.

How are you planning to change things for this summer’s Warped Tour to make your live show different from past tours? Any audience interaction?

Alan: As far as stage performance goes, it’s just gonna be go, go, go. Let’s make sure we can cram all the songs we want to play into a short set. Speak briefly; say your name in between every song.
Alida: Yeah, so people always know who you are.
Alan: Say your name in the middle of a song if you have to.
Alida: “We’re 1997! Here’s the cool bridge to this song!” Just exert all of our energy into those 20 minutes. Hopefully, get some kids to come over to the merch tent.

Did you ever go to Warped as a fan?

Alida: Hell yeah, I’ve been going to Warped since I was 13 years old.
Alan: Alida happens to be the only one in the band who has ever been to Warped Tour.
Alida: It’s so funny. None of them ever go. They always go to Cornerstone and stuff like that; festivals that are going around at the same time. Dude, I love Warped Tour. That’s a huge part of my middle school and high school experience. I’m bummed we don’t get to play the Chicago date. Our booking agent couldn’t get us on that date. Dude, Warped Tour is awesome, and I can’t wait to play it – I cannot wait to see how different it is as a musician. I’m sure it’s so much rougher, but I think it’s going to be a great time. And obviously, I’m going to be a fan the rest of the day, so I’m going to be just watching as many bands as I can. We already have a list of all the bands we want to see.

When you’re in the studio, do you think about how the songs will sound live?

Alan: Probably somewhat. I think we naturally write songs that sound good live. I don’t think it’s a conscious thing. I think that subconsciously we know that songs need to have energy. We write energetic songs that have dynamics to them. If you can do that, no matter what style of music you play, no matter what genre or type of kid you’re playing to as your primary audience, it’ll come through well live.

What do you do on the road to relax?

Alida: I write in my journal and whenever we get to venues, I always give myself a half hour before we play to just be alone and warm up.
Alan: We skate a lot. We enjoy dumpster diving – sometimes for fun, sometimes out of necessity. We like to hang out with fans at the shows.
Alida: There are house parties that we’ll go to after shows all the time. We just spend a lot of time in the van. There’s a lot of listening to music, driving around. They play hacky-sack at rest stops. I don’t play hacky-sack. I don’t want to play hacky-sack.
Alan: That’s a new development – hacky-sack. It’s a really good way to stretch our legs at every gas station. Everyone comes out and kicks the sack around for awhile.

How is the Warped Tour going to be different from other multi-act tours and festivals you’ve played?

Alan: Who knows? Tell me!
Alida: We’re excited to find that out, but I’m sure it’s gonna be way more intense and a lot hotter.
Alan: I hear it’s just like regular tour on speed. It’s just high impact, high energy.
Alida: No sleep. Long drives, really hot. But we’re so psyched.
Alan: No sleep. It’s going to be hell and we’re psyched for it.


What challenges, if any, did you face putting the album together?

Alan: There were some illnesses in the studio that inhibited some voices for awhile. A big challenge is making sure everyone’s on the same page: the band, the label, management. Just to make sure everything runs smoothly and all promotion is running on all four cylinders when the album hits and well into the first several months.
Alida: We want to make sure we have enough time to produce the best songs that we can in the month that we’re allotted to be in that studio. There’s a lot of prioritizing towards the end and deciding what needs more attention. There’s crunch time for sure. It’s all worth it and we’re happy with how it turned out.
Alan: Neither of the albums we’ve recorded is in our opinion, a perfect album. There’s always stuff that we feel like we wished we could’ve spent more time on. We try and do the best with the time that we have – the time that the label is buying for us. We think we do a really good job with it and we’re really proud of what we’ve managed to do. But by no means do we think that they’re perfect.

What is your songwriting process?

Alan: Caleb is the backbone. He is the guitarist and comes with a bag of tricks – a big sack of goodies – a big bag of riffs and we all sit down behind our instruments and try to make sense of them. Try and basically sort out Caleb’s mind. For this last album, we wrote all the music first. Well, not necessarily all of it. The majority of it was all written on guitar first. Maybe a hook, a melody, had a couple words written to it. Then the four of us – me, Alida, Kevin and Caleb – all put in effort as far as lyrical content.

How would you categorize your music?

Alida: I just call it indie rock.
Alan: We try not to because it’s always harder to categorize your own music than it is someone else’s. We try and let other people do it for us. But I think generally, people just consider it indie rock – indie rock with folk undertones. Certainly, there are some pop elements to it. It’s listenable, it’s catchy.

What makes your album stand out from some of the rest?

Alida: I think that our whole three-part harmony thing sets us apart from quite a few bands.
Alan: Also, I think that part of it is the fact that we don’t really subscribe to the whole emo-band indie image. We’re not trying to snap into a mold, like fit a grid or anything like that. We’re just trying to write music that makes sense in our minds and in our hearts. When you do that, you can avoid having the cookie-cutter, trendy image.
Alida: We acquire whatever fans want to listen to us – whatever demographic responds to what we are making. It’s not really aimed at this group of kids or anything like that.
Alan: Rather than just subscribing to a genre and then trying to fit the mold, we’d rather just sort of make our own mold and see who bites.

What are some of your favorite bands? Who would you like to tour with? Open for? Write songs with?

Alida: I want to play with Eisley and Rilo Kiley.
Alan: I want to play with Jimmy Eat World.
Alida: So do I.
Alan: We’re all about touring with any band that will expose us to more kids. The more people that we can have singing, yelling, screaming and dancing along at out concerts, the more fun it is.

How has your life changed since signing a deal with Victory Records – the world’s largest independent record label?

Alan: When you get signed to a big, important label, things get handled differently. You have a constant interaction with a whole family of people over there. You have to make sure that they are on top of their game and know what you want. And you have to know what they want from you. Luckily, we are a Chicago band and they’re a Chicago label and we have good lines of communication with them. They come to all of our shows in the city. They like us as people – they’re our friends. A lot of them are good friends of ours. So that’s really convenient and a really good feeling to know that they’re on our side, helping us out.

How much of the music business did you know about before signing with Victory and their in-house publishing company – Another Victory Publishing?

Alida: A lot of it was trial and error – learn from our mistakes. No one really set anything out any guidelines or anything as to what to expect. It all has been happening as everything progresses for us. We’re trying to become more informed and like Alan said, keeping the lines of communication open and trying to be aware of things Victory is doing for us and things that we should ask them to do for us.
Alan: As far as contracts and publishing goes, we were very unprepared to sign a contract at the time Victory was offering a contract. Thankfully, luckily, I have a good friend who is a lawyer, who helped us out with that and made sense of the jargon. He did his best to make sure we knew exactly what we were getting into.

When it comes to commercial music licensing, are there any TV shows you would like to have your music featured in?

Alan: Grey’s Anatomy.
Alida: I don’t really like Grey’s Anatomy, but Victory is trying to get our song On The Run, the title track from our new album, on that show, so that would be cool. Dude, I would love it if our song was on a really cool show like…what shows do I like? I don’t really watch TV.
Alan: I know Scrubs plays a lot of good music, so maybe we got a shot there.
Alida: Yeah, that’s true.
Alan: I don’t know. We don’t watch a whole lot of TV.
Alida: Dude, if Sex and the City was still on, I would do anything I could to get our music on that show because it’s the best. The movie is so good! I want to watch it every day of my life, but I don’t have $8.50 every day of my life, so I can’t. That movie did not disappoint. I can’t believe I’ve been talking about it seriously every day since I saw it.

What advice would you give those interested in breaking into songwriting and form a band?

Alan: Don’t! Go to school. No, I’m kidding.
Alida: If you do, be prepared for instability and uncertainty.
Alan: Someone once told me, “Alan, college isn’t for everyone.” I would just like to say, “Kids, music isn’t for everyone.”
Alida: It’s got an awesome mystic to it. But when it comes down to it, you don’t know when your next shower is going to be, or your next meal, things like that. But it’s worth it if you really love it, then go ahead. You gotta really love it.
Alan: You gotta want it.
Alida: Do whatever you can to be involved with people that you really get along with because you are never going to be apart from them.
Alan: There are probably close to 1,000 bands in Illinois alone that are better than us and more deserving of a record contract than us. The problem is that they spend all their time jamming in their parents’ basement. They might be better musicians, they might be better songwriters. But if you don’t get out, you don’t play or make your name known, or don’t meet the right people…then you’re going to be playing in your parents’ basement for the rest of your life.
Alida: Gotta make sure you’re ambitious. Gotta want it, gotta love it.
Alan: You gotta want it.

How do you feel about fans downloading your live performances (concert footage) online for free?

Alida: I think that you kind of sign away your decision to control that if you’re with a major label. I know we just want as many people to hear us and watch us as possible. So we’d be down with that idea. It depends on the label and a lot of other things though…
Alan: I know that the music industry is in a very volatile situation right now. Everything is really shaky and about to crumble. It’s inevitable that there are going to be some major changes in the music industry over the next several years. Record sales are at an all-time low.
Alida: Everything’s digital.
Alan: I don’t even know if I’m going to see CDs in the next ten years. The old model is changing. I’m not sure how it’s going to change, but I just think that bands need to be prepared and ready to mutate.
Alida: Yeah, just willing to succumb to the whole digital era.
Alan: Or else just go back to vinyl and keep it real.


Fly By Night Turns 1

Fly By Night Featuring DJ Willy Joy
Debonair Social Club – Chicago, IL

Fly By Night Featuring DJ Willy Joy Debonair Social Club - Chicago, IL

“Hey Chicago! It wouldn’t be Fly By Night if we didn’t play this,” Willy Joy told the dancing crowd at the Debonair Social Club Thursday, April 17, before launching into another brilliant, improbable mash-up. Willy Joy is an elite Chicago DJ who can be seen scratching together pop singles, the hottest rap tracks, and famous a cappella choruses from rock classics into infectious club beats nearly every weekend. The DJ caliber of the 1-Year Anniversary of Fly By Night was strong throughout, although it took some time for a crowd to form, straying from repetitive and pretentious build-ups. MIA is the mashing component of choice for nearly all DJs post-2005; during the string of sets, sampling from “Boyz,” “XR2,” and “20 Dollar” made for powerful mixes. The exhausted “I’m A Flirt” was replaced with “Hook It Up,” from R-Kelly, another artist often subject of reworking. Highlights before Dude ‘N’ Nem took stage used hooks from Iggy Pop’s “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” a bizarre “Hit the Road, Jack” sampling, the “Ain’t No Mountain High” club version, and the almost undistinguishable use of the Pixies’ “Hey.”

The night also featured the feet-happy, comical Chicago rap duo Dude ‘N’ Nem, who took stage around 1:00, followed by MIA touring DJ Low Budget.

Fly By Night Featuring DJ Willy Joy Debonair Social Club - Chicago, ILLook for Dude ‘N’ Nem at Subterranean Sunday Night, April 20,

Low Budget in Chicago at the Aragon Theatre May 9, And Willy Joy and the Fly By Night fleet all over town -MySpace Fly By Night Featuring DJ Willy Joy Debonair Social Club - Chicago, IL

Fly By Night Featuring DJ Willy Joy Debonair Social Club - Chicago, IL

Punisher Rocks! (Literally)

Music plays a huge roll in our everyday lives. From the music we buy to video games, bars, restaurants, television shows, shopping, it’s even improved the feel of sporting events. My personal favorite, however, is movie soundtracks.

The Punisher Soundtrack

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