Today’s Feature – August 29-30: Amy Macdonald

August 29, 2008 at 1:53 pm (Today's Feature)

The fact that Amy Macdonald’s star shines so bright across the pond has truly hurt my chances to see her in person here in the U.S., whether at a pub or live in concert (I probably had little chance with the pub idea anyway). But from what I have been able to see and hear from the Bishopbriggs native, I’m convinced there’s two of her. One Amy Macdonald enjoys her time behind the scenes, going about her business in a quiet fashion. The other… you can’t help but notice. From the stage, the fair-skinned, blue eyed singer/songwriter uses a voice so powerful; so strong, that you’ll have an impossible time trying to turn your focus anywhere else.

While American audiences may not realize it, Macdonald already has the credentials to back up her talent – her debut album, “This Is the Life” knocking off Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” out of the top album slot in the UK earlier this year. It’s gone on to earn double platinum status there, with over one millions copies sold worldwide and finding number one spots in Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands as well. Surprised you haven’t heard her name before? You should be.

“This Is the Life” is written mostly about everyday situations, the kind of stuff that you’ll easily relate to. It contains Amy’s own “acoustic guitar patterns over beautifully detailed arrangements; a seamless set of contemporary folk-flavored pop-rock with a warmly natural sound.” While the instrumentation and style are impressive, you’ll eventually hear what I touched on before – it’s Macdonald’s voice that really makes this album stand out amongst all others. You must take it in live, and there’s little doubt in my mind that she’ll be conquering the states soon enough. Check out the album, and dive into the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Amy Macdonald

PensEyeView.com (PEV): Tell us, how did you first jump into the music industry? Was music always an instant passion for you?

Amy Macdonald: Music wasn’t always a passion of mine, it began when I heard the album ‘The Man Who’ by Travis. I saw them perform at the “T in the Park” festival and it was then that I decided I wanted to be a musician.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

AM: I never thought I would have a career in music so it probably wasn’t until the day my album was released that I realized this was my job.

PEV: Born in Bishopbriggs, near Glasgow (UK) what kind of music were you listening to growing up?

AM: Well, like I said it was Travis that got me into music but before that I love Michael Jackson and the Beach Boys.

PEV: Tell us about the first time you came to the US. Also, the first time you played for US fans.

AM: The first time I came to the US was back in 1990 for a family holiday to Disneyland. I’ve been many times since, I just love the excitement of going to the US. The first time I played a gig was in April 08 in Boston, followed by two gigs in New York. It was a great experience and I found the American audiences very welcoming.

PEV: Tell us about your creative process? What kind of environment do you have to be in to write music? Is there a certain “method” or “science” to your writing?

AM: I have no methods or science, I don’t have to be in any particular space, I can pretty much write anywhere. All I need is the inspiration, which isn’t always free flowing.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Amy Macdonald performance?

AM: The live gigs are always very energetic. I think people are surprised at how rocked up the songs are live. I think it’s great to put a different slant on songs and try to change them a bit when playing them live.

PEV: Tell us about your first live performance. How have you changed since that first show to where you are now?

AM: I can’t actually remember when or where my first performance was but im sure I’ve grown in confidence and my songs are a bit better than they were back then.

PEV: What can fans expect from your Decca Universal debut album, “This Is The Life”?

AM: This is the life is a mixture of songs about simple, everyday subjects that anyone can relate to. I write songs about life and about what’s going on around me. Usually most people can relate to what I’m saying. I think the album is very upbeat, and will get peoples toes tapping.

PEV: How is “This Is The Life” different from other albums out right now?

AM: It’s got a bit of everything going on, so many different instruments, so many different types of songs. It deals with a wide range of subjects and I think my voice and singing style is completely different from most other artists around now.

PEV: How would you describe your sound? In a thick and talented industry, how do you expect to stand out?

AM: I’ve been described as a bit of everything really. I feel I can fit into many different genres and my music can appeal to fans of many different styles of music.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Amy Macdonald?

AM: I’d do anything to get my hands on an Audi R8.

PEV: What one word best describes Amy Macdonald?

AM: Cheerful.

PEV: How is life on the road for you? Best and worst parts?

AM: Touring is great. It’s my favourite part of what I do. My band are some of my closest friends and it’s great to spend a lot of time together. Obviously when I’m away I miss everyone back home. I miss my family and friends and I hate being away from my boyfriend for long periods of time.

PEV: In all your travels, which has been your favorite city to play (US or International)?

AM: My favorite city to play is always going to be my hometown of Glasgow however at an international stage, so far my favorite has been Zurich in Switzerland. I’ve had great success over there and the gigs are always great fun!

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success?

AM: They have always been supportive. I’m very lucky to have family and friends who understand my situation.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

AM: Right now I don’t have any spare time! When I do I usually catch up on all the TV I’ve missed from being away.

PEV: What’s been the craziest reaction from a fan you’ve ever had?

Some people tried to follow me home once, other than that my fans seem quite laid-back.

PEV: Ten years down the road, where will Amy Macdonald be?

AM: I couldn’t possibly say. Obviously I’d love to still be making music and performing but if that doesn’t happen then I’m happy that I’ve already been on an incredible journey and met so many amazing people.

For more information on Amy Macdonald, check out www.AmyMacdonald.com

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Today’s Feature – August 27-28: Mikal Blue

August 29, 2008 at 1:49 pm (Today's Feature)

Mikal Blue With the release of his latest album, “Gold,” British music man Mikal Blue can finally say, “This is it. This is what I’ve been looking for.” The collection of songs about alienation, love and redemption is exactly what Mikal Blue needed to define himself as an artist completely. Do not for one second doubt the musical and artistic chops of Blue however – a student for 11 years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic, starting at the age of seven. Studying everything he could from classical composition to acting and voice production, a 14 year old Blue also memorized just about every lyric, chord, melody and harmony within the Beatle’s collection. Not too bad, eh?

It has still been quite the quest to get to “Gold” for Mikal, playing the club circuit since 16 years of age, playing as the resident band at the infamous China Club, and helping create bands such as Opium, 15Mg and My Enemy Death. There’s been a variety of record deals along the way, but nothing that Blue could use to really cement his spot in the spotlight. We’re lucky that his talent led to the founding of “Revolver Recordings,” his own studio where he’s worked with artists such as Five For Fighting, Augustana, OneRepublic, The Offspring, Gary Jules, Carrie Underwood, Brendan James, Angel Taylor, Kevin Hammond, Hope and Colbie Caillat.

And now he’s gotten around to this record – and “Gold” was done just the way Blue wanted. He says “It was recorded with vintage equipment and production techniques borrowed from my classic rock idols” – and you can hear it in every note. Grab the album and check to see if there is a show near you. The guy has worked with some of the best in the business; he knows how to put on a show. Get into the XXQ’s for a lot more.

XXQs: Mikal Blue

PensEyeView.com (PEV): At seven years of age, you began attending the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts for eleven years, studying everything from classical composition to prose and Shakespearian acting, and even voice production. Obviously the arts was a passion of yours but when did becoming a singer/songwriter take front and center as your path?

Mikal Blue (MB): Being a student at Lamda enabled me to be on stage in front of a large audience at a very young age so when I did front my first band at sixteen I was already quite confident performing.

PEV: Was there a certain point when you realized that music was going to become more than just a hobby?

MB: At seventeen, my band started getting paid to perform in the working men’s clubs in the north east of England and from then on music has always been a way of supporting myself financially.

PEV: Born and growing up in the United Kingdom, what kind of music were you listening to growing up? Was there one artist in particular that shaped your sound more so than any other?

MB: The Beatles.

PEV: Tell us about your take on breaking into the music business. What was it like for you to hop on stage for the first time?

MB: It’s been a long journey breaking into the music business. Three record deals that didn’t pan out for various reasons and the difficult task of establishing myself as a major label producer have kept things interesting. But I’ve loved every challenge. I loved performing on stage for the first time. Singing, writing songs and playing guitar at seventeen was all I could think about.

PEV: You built your own recording studio, Revolver Recordings and started producing other artists. Is there a weird transition from going to the “other side” of the booth? Do you find that you are harder on yourself since you have experience in both areas?

MB: Loving and learning songs by the beatles from an early age gave me a good understanding of song writing and production so it was always something I was interested in. There wasn’t much of a transition turning to production over performing. I had a primitive multi-track recorder at sixteen so I was always recording myself and friends’ bands.

PEV: When you made the jump into becoming a singer/songwriter was there any apprehension about not leaving but taking an absence from the producer role?

MB: I try and keep the balance between performing and producing because they are both beneficial to each other.

PEV: In all your travels, which city do you think offers the best scene for music? Do you have a favorite one as well?

MB: I’d probably have to say Los Angeles because that’s what I know best, but most of my favorite artists are from the northwest of England, Liverpool and Manchester.

PEV: How has “life on the road” been for you? Good parts? Bad parts?

MB: life on the road was a big part of my life from twenty to twentyseven and I don’t regret one crazy second of it.

PEV: Is there an up and coming artist out right now that you think we should all be looking into?

MB: Angel Taylor, an artist I developed and produced after helping her secure a deal with Aware/Columbia.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release, “Gold”?

MB: Eleven heartfelt, well crafted songs that you can’t get out of your head.

PEV: How is “Gold” different than other music out today?

MB: It was recorded with vintage equipment and production techniques borrowed from the my classic rock idols so hopefully it sounds different form most records out today.

PEV: What is one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?

MB: I live in L.A. but hate sunshine!

PEV: When you sit down to write, what kind of environment do you surround yourself in?

MB: I love writing in my studio but it can happen anywhere. From time to time I’ll get a melody stuck in my head and have to get to an instrument to complete the idea, whatever the location.

PEV: Ten years from now, where will Mikal Blue be?

MB: Still doing what I love hopefully.

PEV: When you are not touring or performing, what can we find you doing in your spare time?

MB: Being with my two beautiful children, Jordan seven and his sister, Zoe four.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Mikal Blue performance?

MB: I’m lucky, being a producer, I have great session musicians in my band. My shows are two hours long and I have the artists I produce play before and after me to make it a very entertaining show.

PEV: Before a show, are there any pre-show rituals you do or is just go out there and perform?

MB: I just try and be well rested. That’s the key for me.

PEV: Any embarrassing or funny live performance stories?

MB: I once stage dived but took my guitar and mic stand with me. Not pretty.

PEV: In one word, describe Mikal Blue.

MB: Busy.

PEV: So, what is next for you?

MB: More of the same!

For more information on Mikal Blue, check out www.MikalBlue.com

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Today’s Feature – August 25-26: Lonestar

August 26, 2008 at 9:54 am (Today's Feature)

What else is there I can possibly say about country super-group Lonestar? I don’t aim to be cliche, but these guys have seen just about everything, gone through everything (good and bad), and always seem to come out on top. Just look at their history of accomplishments, since their first hit “Tequila Talkin” all the way back in 1995:

1) 27 Singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Charts

2) Nine #1 hits (including Amazed, their crossover hit)

3) Eight studio albums, with 3 certified gold and 3 certified platinum (or higher)

However, a lot of this history was made with Richie McDonald, the group’s former lead singer who departed in November 2007, as well as with their former record label, which the group also parted with last year. A dozen years of success however is something no one can deny, as guitarist Michael Britt, drummer aKeech Rainwater and keyboardist Dean Sams decided there was still plenty of music to be made. And they were right.

After an exhaustive search, the three band mates came across Cody Collins – and in him they saw the future. The new lead singer brought a whole new life to the band, and under their new label, Lonestar Records, they have released the aptly named, “The Future.” The record reflects a new enthusiasm the guys have been looking for, something no doubt that stems from the new label – and the new frontman. It borrows from the old Lonestar style that has garnered world-wide respect while adding a proper blend of new spices to attract new audiences while maintaining the fan base that has made this band a hit maker for so long. Check out the new album and their single “Let Me Love You” as soon as you can. And peek at their schedule and get to a live show. Dive into the XXQ’s for a whole lot more.

XXQs: Lonestar

PensEyeView.com (Richie): Great to talk with you. Where’d I catch you now?

Michael: We are in Hammonds, Indiana right now doing a show here tonight.

Richie: How is life on the road for you?

Michael: It’s been great. We’ve had some great shows. I don’t know, it’s awesome. We just can’t wait to go on stage.

Richie: Is there a certain city you find to be the best for Lonestar?

Michael: I used to think I did but now it is just so random. We could be somewhere in Iowa and it could be the best show or in some big city… You just never know with every night.

Richie: When you’re on stage now and you see fans singing your songs back to you. Do you remember the first concert that you went to?

Michael: I went to concerts pretty young. My parents took me when I was real young. Sometimes before our show we’ll watch DVDs of other shows to get us ready. We’ve seen shows that we still talk about and that’s what we try to do.

Richie: What can fans expect from a live Lonestar performance?

Michael: Well, with Cody singing lead now, it’s a different animal. The energy he has just brings up the level. Even songs that seemed more mellow, he takes it on. We’ve done a lot of new things now too and just the way Cody sings really adds to our shows.

Richie: Obviously the result with Cody has worked out great for the band. What was the process like for getting him into the role of lead singer for Lonestar?

Michael: When we went looking for a new singer we all just kind of got together and threw out some possible names. We’d seen him [Cody] in a club a bunch of times in Atlanta, Georgia – a real popular club. Cody’s used to being on a stage with a big crowd. We started listening to his shows and songs off his MySpace page and we liked his voice better than any other we’ve heard. We brought him down to audition with us and we “forced” him like four songs to learn. So, we brought him up, met us all, sang the four songs and it was great. He was prepared, he knew the songs, and he injected his own style and personality into it, without changing the song. Then we started recording new songs and it’s been great ever since.

Richie: Over the years Lonestar has been kind of like the “ambassadors” for so many different kinds of charities and really getting the word out there. How did this all begin?

Michael: We’ve seen so many places like St. Jude’s and all the great things they are doing there. And all we had to do was just mention it or say something about it. That is just a small price to pay to help people out. Then we did some shows at military bases and after meeting the soldiers it really becomes meaningful to you. I don’t think it was a motivation from the beginning but we were aware of it and now it is something we really want to do right now.

Richie: When you sit down to write music, what kind of environment do you surround yourselves in?

Michael: With the new album, with Cody, we go to this attached studio behind his house – it’s pretty small but nice. We go there and just sit around and write and see whatever comes up. It just feels like a really creative environment.

Richie: With the new album, “The Future” what can fans expect?

Michael: We want to push the boundaries. We want to put out music that sounds like Lonestar but with Cody’s touch. This is more guitar oriented, more rock. More of like a live show style.

Richie: How is this different than other country music out today?

Michael: I don’t know. I think Country music gets a bad rap for being so modernized, which I kind of agree with. There are a lot of producers in Nashville that everyone’s albums start to sound very similar. We tried not to do that. We produced it ourselves. We wanted to continue to use what we have. Stylistically I think we have something good in Cody, he’s got his own style, unlike no body else. With playing covers for so long, he’s learned to really use his voice in different ways. We want Cody to be Cody and I think he does. I think this sounds like a new Lonestar. And I don’t mean that in a bad way.

Richie: Is there one person or one group you would like to collaborate with, that you haven’t had a chance to yet?

Michael: Obviously we were really bummed with Sara Evans did her Crossroads with Maroon 5. I think it’s kind of weird to say it but before every show we listen to the Maroon 5 album. The production on that album is just so crisp and has this energy and vibe to it. We don’t want to sound like them but we like their vibe. I think there are a lot of artists we look up to and would like to collaborate with but I can’t think of one off the top of my head.

Richie: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Lonestar?

Michael: I don’t think there’s anything too surprising about us (laughs). We’ve been doing this for so long that everyone already knows us so well…

Richie: Well, let me rephrase that, when you are at home and you get some down time, what do you like to do?

Michael: I like to do stuff around the house. I play with my kids. I’ve been building my daughter a bed. She just turned three so she’s getting ready for a “big girl” bed. I bought a bunch of tools over the Christmas holiday and I wanted to use them. I think in a lot of ways, we are a bunch of handymen and try to do stuff like that. Dave built his own house, did a lot of the work himself. We like to be jacks-of-all-trades.

Richie: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success?

Michael: You know, they’re proud of us and very you know, they defend us really well. When they hear the songs on the radio and the songs don’t go the way they are supposed to go (like getting played as much), they are invested in sometimes more than us. They are a part of our success. They’ve put stock in us over the years.

Richie: One funny thing is that my wedding song was actually “Amazed” and I know a tons more other people as well. Are you surprised it’s been so popular for weddings?

Michael: I am surprised. I mean, it’s gotten so much airplay and use. Just listening to the song, you can tell why it would be a good wedding song. You can go anywhere and if you mention wedding songs, that is usually the one. It’s funny because my wife and I went down to Jamaica for vacation and there were some honeymooners down there. We were talking to this one couple on this boat we were on and they were saying Amazed was their wedding song… It was quite bizarre. There’s something magical about that song – the structure the key changes.

Richie: So, what’s next for Lonestar?

Michael: Just finishing up the album. I’m going in and putting some more guitar parts in and then our engineer and co-producer is going to put it out. We want to play shows and make music. That’s our main focus.

Richie: Well, thanks for taking the time out with me today.

Michael: No problem, thank you. I appreciate it.

For more information on Lonestar, check out www.LonestarNow.com

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Today’s Feature – August 23-24: Curtis Peoples

August 24, 2008 at 6:38 pm (Today's Feature)

Obviously it takes superhuman ability, patience and persistence to make it in today’s music industry of upstart musical stars, one hit wonders and small shop record labels; all characteristics belonging to San Diego’s Curtis Peoples. He carries an ace up his sleeve however – a few of them. Surrounding himself with some of the best and brightest in the business, Peoples has practically guaranteed success by working with guys like Tyler Hilton, Keaton Simons, Tony Lucca, Todd Carey, Josh Kelley, and Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers, just to name a few. He even caught the attention of Marshall Altman (one of the driving forces behind records from artist such as Matt Nathanson, Kate Voegele and Marc Broussard) to help produce his debut record, the self-titled “Curtis Peoples.”

The collection brings a mix of what Peoples brings to the table, something you’ll appreciate whether you’re a fan of the rock, pop or folk scene. It blends “big choruses and jumping rhythms” in step with Curtis’ self-defined style of “coffee shop arena rock,” infused with a touch of jazz. But even with all of this in mind, Peoples wants fans to expect a rock show when live on stage – a good time in every sense, full of energy and a few drops of sweat. You’ll have a ton of chances to catch him, playing shows with buddies Keaton Simons and Tony Lucca as well as Todd Carey. Be sure to also check him out online showing off his music… and perhaps his athletic abilities in the near future (Peoples wants to break the stereotype that rock stars can’t throw, catch or hit, you see). Learn more about this and so much more in the XXQ’s. XXQs: Curtis Peoples

PensEyeView.com (Richie): Hey Curtis, great to speak with you. So starting off, you grew up on the west coast, right?

Curtis Peoples (CP): Yeah, I grew up in San Diego.

Richie: Growing up in San Diego, what kind of music were you listening to?

CP: Well, it’s funny because growing up, my dad was or is a musician. He was in a band and I listened to a lot of his stuff. I would listen to his music in the car with him. I got into The Beatles on my own. When I really got into playing music, I was listening to Pearl Jam. Grunge was big then, so when I started a band we played a lot of grunge.

Richie: What were the first gigs like back then? What was it like when you first stepped on stage?

CP: Well it’s funny really. Our first gigs were like friends birthday parties, which we thought were such a big deal. Our songs were always kind of funny and we would dress up in funny outfits so we always had a good time but it was a big deal, especially for me. I got the fun out of it but I was definitely a little crazy about it, like making sure everything was perfect. It was always so awesome, even when it was like five of our friends and they were just like swimming the whole time.

Richie: Were you the lead singer and the main force behind it?

CP: I was the force behind it when we started. I really started to like write serious songs and play guitar seriously around 15.

Richie: When you sit down to write music, what kind of atmosphere do you surround yourself in?

CP: That’s tricky, because I’ve written in many places (laughs). I think the main thing is that I have to have the TV off, I put my computer away… I’m very easily distracted. Really I just need a… well, I’ve written a lot on my couch or I go to my friend’s house and write there. Once you’re in it, you’re not worried about the environment as much.

Richie: Was there one point when you said to yourself, ‘Music is going to be my full time job’?

CP: I’ve always wanted to be two things in my life: I wanted to be a professional baseball player and I wanted to be a professional musician. It’s really, really funny because I have like very childhood jobs as things I wanted to do. All I need is astronaut and I’ve completed the trifecta. Realistically, I’ve always wanted to do music but when I was 15, I really new I wanted to. Like you could see like where it really started to kick in, in high school. My grades started to slip a little bit as a result.

Richie: Now you are doing quite well but back then, I’m sure your parents weren’t so thrilled that your grades were slipping.

CP: They were always very supportive. And from the beginning they were like, ‘Curtis is going to do this and if we don’t support him, he’s going to do it anyway.’

Richie: If you can’t beat em’ join em’ kind of thing?

CP: (Laughs) Yeah! I mean, my brother and I are so glad they did that too. I mean, he got great grades, went to college, was in ROTC, never got in trouble. I was like, I really appreciate you doing that (laughs). I mean…

Richie: Well now, how do all your friends and family react?

CP: It’s funny because every time I travel around the country I get to see my family – like aunts and uncles in different cities. It’s one of those things… I mean, I’m on the up and coming now, so it is happening. I mean they always believed in me. My dad said to me, when I went to a junior college and then stopped, he said, ‘As long as you are doing something that’s all the matters. I don’t care, I don’t care… as long as you are doing it. If you are musician and you’re just hanging around, that’s not good. You have to really be doing it. I think that was really good for him to say that.

Richie: What is road life like for you? What are the best and worse parts?

CP: The best part is that, even when it’s just people in a van, it is so free. It’s just so free… you either love it or you don’t. You either like loading all your stuff in a suitcase, and living in hotels, or you don’t. It’s just an amazing feeling to wake up one morning in like, “no where” Oklahoma and go out for the day knowing there is something to do. That’s the best part too, there is always something to do on the road. Even if there is nothing to do, you have to drive somewhere. I like that, I like a lot. And that’s what touring is.

Then again, that’s also the worst part too. There’s no sure thing. You may go to a town somewhere, like on a Monday and you’ll get a smaller crowd than what you’re used to. You have to deal with stuff like that. And just the lack of comfort and being away. But the first time I went on tour, I just knew, I was cool with touring.

Richie: What can fans expect from a live Curtis People’s show?

CP: You know man, I think I’ve really, really gotten it… and my fans get it too. I even came up with a style of music I have: Coffee Shop Arena Rock.

Richie: Yeah, I saw that on your site and thought that was really cool.

CP: Yeah, I told my publicist that and everyone really liked it so we’re going with that. It makes sense. When I went solo from being in a band, I became more of a singer/songwriter but I’m not like a “singer/songwriter” in the normal sense. Our shows are definitely rock shows. I want people to know when they come to my show; they’re going to have fun. That’s all I want.

Richie: Any pre-show rituals or anything?

CP: I don’t know, we kind of just hang out and then go up there (laughs). But we’re starting to warm up more. I warm up my voice, my guitar. I love to make pre-show mixes – like Van Halen, Michael Jackson and some pop song I really like. I listen to that before I go out.

Richie: Is there and up and coming artist right now, you think we should all be looking into right now?

CP: I feel like I am surrounded by all of them. Guys like Keaton Simons (NOTE: A PEV alum), Tony Lucca. I mean, I’m inspired by those guys. Even Tyler Hilton (NOTE: A PEV alum), who is not as up and coming and more established but is just a great guy.

Richie: What can fans expect from your latest release (NOW AVAILABLE), the self titled “Curtis Peoples”?

CP: In a way this is like my first full length record. I had an EP before that I’m really proud of. But with this album, I worked with other people, which was good. It was like our record, we were all in it and when it got down to it, we had like 15 songs and we sat in Marshall’s office and played the songs back and forth until we had the ones that we wanted. It’s really great man. The first three songs are really live and upbeat and then there are some ballads. It’s made as a heightened form of me… and I’m really, really stoked.

Richie: You said you worked with other people on the record. How is that different than doing your solo work?

CP: You know the thing is you just move on and keep going. If you disagree, you keep going. There were like two songs on the record especially… or this one song – I thought it was like too “pop” and Marshall was like, ‘No, it’s great, it’s great.’ And it’s that kind of thing for us. I said ‘Okay’ and we moved on. And one time he turned to me and was ‘I was wrong, you were right. Ok, let’s move on’. It’s cool.

Richie: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?

CP: (Laughs) You know it’s funny because I share a lot of myself with everyone… I don’t know… People are surprised that I’m a good athlete.

Richie: Really?

CP: Yeah. It’s like anyone that’s known me after I was like 18 years old, doesn’t think I play sports. I think people expect since I’m like a “rocker dude”, that I can’t play sports. I mean, I’m not amazing but I’m pretty damn good (laughs). My brother was so good, that I had to compete with him. I keep telling people ‘I know I’m not amazing but I’m really good’ (laughs). I need to post a video of me like playing sports on something.

Richie: So, what’s next for Curtis Peoples?

CP: Well the record is coming out and we’re doing shows for it. We’re playing good shows with my friends like Keaton Simons, Tony Lucca. Then I go on tour with Keaton Simons and Todd Carey – east coast and Midwest. Just all these cool things that I’ve never gotten a chance to do. I’m just trying to ride the wave.

Richie: Well thanks man. I’m a big fan. Best of luck.

CP: Thanks man.

For more information on Curtis Peoples, check out www.CurtisPeoples.com

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Today’s Feature – August 21-22: Michael Dean Damron

August 22, 2008 at 8:51 pm (Today's Feature)

No sugar coating here, Michael Dean Damron gets to the point. He isn’t one to mince his words or play to a specific agenda – he simply tells the truth the way he sees it whether it’s about love, money, life or death. Just check out the band he fronted once upon a time, the crew called: I can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House. There you’ll find some blunt examples of Damron’s no bullshit style – “he spent the first half of this decade cutting his teeth on the finer points of delivering sermon-like epithets and exposing his own personal demons that has resulted not only in an impressive body of work but the art of truth telling, for better or worse.”

Damron already has several albums to his credit, the latest being “Bad Days Ahead,” the first record that collaborates with his new backing band, Thee Loyal Bastards. Just as the title suggests, this isn’t an album bent on cheering you up. It’s “an avalanche of brash truths and dark stories,” all describing what could eventually be the downfall of man as a whole. While his collections play to an Americana/roots/classic rock style, all Damron knows is that he gets his message across best while just sitting alone with his guitar.

As you might expect, Damron’s performances are intense, so be sure you can handle it. Don’t be surprised if he tries to loosen things up once in a while though – he may even bring a homeless harmonica player on stage with him for a set (true story!). Damron and the Bastards will be out supporting the record, so check the schedule for some shows. Get into the XXQ’s for a whole lot more.

XXQs: Michael Dean Damron & Thee Loyal Bastards

PensEyeView.com (PEV): How did you first get interested and started in the music business? Was being a singer/songwriter something you always aspired to be?

Michael Dean Damron (MD): I never aspired to be in the “music biz” or be a rockstar or anything of that nature…I just loved playing guitar,drums,bass etc. I hate the business part of all this..I leave that up to others who do that thing well.

I only started writing songs about 8 years ago and am not even close to being what I hope to be.

PEV: Was there a certain point when you realized that music was going to become more than just a hobby?

MD: From the time I was 15 it was a part of me. It saved my life. Thin Lizzy saved my life. Its never been just a hobby… there has always been a spiritual peice attached.

PEV: What kind of music were you listening to growing up? Does it differ from the kind of music you play now?

MD:I grew up in the 70s, so Skynyrd, Zep, Thin Lizzy, The Ramones, Dead Boys and The Sex Pistols. From my father I got healthy doses Of Hank, George Jones, Waylon,Willie…all the outlaw stuff.

Does it differ than my stuff now? Not really. I may write in a whisper…but I still feel Stiv Bators when I sing it.

PEV: Tell us about your take on breaking into the music business. What was it like for you to hop on stage for the first time?

MD: Again I don’t care much for the business end of music. The first time I ever played for people was at a party in high school.

My 1st band played Kiss Alive one, front to back and a bunch of Frampton. I think I sang a Bad Company song as well.

The hottest girl in school made out with me that night!! I was hooked.

PEV: Having played in both solo and group atmospheres, is there one that you find to be more challenging? Are there any down sides to each?

MD: I find more reward playing by myself with just a guitar and a voice.

Nothing to hide behind, I love the boys I play with now, but man I love going alone. I think it’s the whole “we all gotta die alone” thing. I just feel like I’m getting ready for it when I go solo.

PEV: Which artist would you like to collaborate with that you have not had a chance to? Why?

MD: I’ve pretty much toured or played with everyone I admire.I wouldn’t mind sitting down with Springsteen for a hour or two and bend his ear.

PEV: In all your travels, which city do you think offers the best scene for music? Do you have a favorite one as well?

MD: I love Seattle and Portland. I feel blessed to have two fine cities to play for so close to each other.

I really have a fondness for New York as well. Shittiest, most souless place on Earth? Las vegas, Nev.

PEV: How has “life on the road” been for you? Good parts? Bad parts?

MD: Life on the road is awesome! The only bad things are gas prices right now and I never sleep… but I’ve never really slept my whole life anyway.

PEV: Is there an up and coming artist out right now that you think we should all be looking into?

MD: I don’t know if any of these guys are up and comers. They are already famous and awsome in my eyes: Drag the River, Rocky Votolato, Two Cow Garage, Lucero, Kleveland, Storm and the Balls. All of them heroes and friends to me.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest album “Bad Days Ahead”?

MD: It’s my thoughts on the end-times, which I feel are upon us. I don’t have much hope for our speices. Its a downer record for sure.

PEV: How is “Bad Days Ahead” different from your 2005 solo album, “Perfect Day For A Funeral”?

MD: “Perfect Day” was a personal hate-note to an ex-wife. Bad days is… well it all has to do with death. So in alot of respects they are cousin pieces.

PEV: What is one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Michael Dean Damron and the members of the Thee Loyal Bastards?

MD: I have a personal trainer. The Bastards all are into a bunch of weird shit. I don’t want to speak for them. Suffice it to say, they are whoremongers and fornicaters all.

PEV: When you sit down to write, what kind of environment do you surround yourself in? Do you prefer to collaborate with people or more of an alone process?

MD: I like to write alone. My good stuff comes at 3am to 7am. I would love to find someone to write with. I just never had chemistry to write with another person. I did write a song on “Bad Days” with my wife, though.

PEV: Ten years from now, where will Michael Dean Damron & Thee Loyal Bastards be?

MD: If humanity and I make it 10 years, I’ll be playing to 20 or 30 people at a time, touring and waiting around to die.

PEV: When you are not touring or performing, what can we find you doing in your spare time? Does the band spend a lot of time together outside of performing?

MD: I spend time with my wife, daugther and my dog. They are my tribe. Me and the fellas dont spend enough time together outside of playing. I love my bassist like a brother.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Michael Dean Damron & Thee Loyal Bastards performance?

MD: They can expect us to go balls deep! Raw nerves everytime.

PEV: Before a show, are there any pre-show rituals you do or is it to just go out there and perform?

MD: I always shoot a whiskey and pray by myself.

PEV: Any embarrassing or funny live performance stories?

MD: In S.F. I pulled a homeless harmonica player off the street to play with me. We did a bunch of Motown and shit. He passed his hat and made about a 100 bucks. After, we did six songs and he hauled ass out the door, not giving me a dime and sticking me with his bar tab. Which was more than what I made that night.

PEV: In one word, describe Michael Dean Damron & Thee Loyal Bastards.

MD: Raw.

PEV: So, what is next for Michael Dean Damron & Thee Loyal Bastards?

MD:New record, heavy touring in the region, maybe national if I can jump on a tour.

For more information on Michael Dean Damron and the Thee Loyal Bastards, check out www.MichaelDeanDamron.com.

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Today’s Feature – August 19-20: Thursday Night All Stars

August 20, 2008 at 9:21 pm (Today's Feature)

I could hit you with the “A Pontiff, a Rabbi, a nun, a Persian Ayatollah, a Friar, a Sheik and a Monk walk into a bar” joke… but I’m sure you’ve already heard it. I can tell you what’s no laughing matter though… the talent behind the Thursday Night All Stars!… well, actually, it’s sort of a joke. In a good way of course. This band of religious leaders from around the world have come together to represent the “sounds and perspectives from East and West, with music, singing, and laughter.” Led by Ayatollah Fancy (Piruz Partow) on the Persian Tar and lead vocals, TNA parodies a world of religion as a “light-hearted way of symbolizing a sense of harmony among all creeds, cultures, and sects under the fictitious ideology they call Selfishtology.”

While the music described as “Iranian jazz-rock that blends world music, jam rock, jazz, and pop” generally aims for your funny bone, it also satires some serious issues from suicide bombers to corruption in our schools. As you might imagine, the live show is pretty insane. The Rabbi of the Beat, Josh Lindy says, “We’re kind of like Spinal Tap meets Flight of the Conchords in the Middle East, or maybe even a religious Village People!” You must get to a show if you can… but if you can’t, you can find Thursday Night All Stars webisodes on both YouTube and MySpace. Get into the XXQ’s to learn more about how TNA “has done a good job of offending no one by offending everyone!”

XXQs: Thursday Night All Stars.

Interview with: Ayatollah Fancy (Piruz Partow) � Persian Tar and lead vocals Rabbi of the Beat (Josh Lindy) � electric bass

PensEyeView.com (PEV): With such a large cast of characters, tell us about how you first jumped into becoming musicians and forming The Thursday Night All Stars.

Ayatollah: Been working in NYC as a side musician and wanted to do something completely unique and also incorporate the Persian Tar. It has been an arduous, but fun process molding the bands aural identity. It seems that we really have made change a constant.

PEV: With such a large variety of personalities there has to be a varied taste in music – what kind of music where you listening to growing up?

Ayatollah: Growing up – Michael Jackson, U2, Smiths, Cure, Dead, Phish, Zepplin, Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Claude Debussy.

Rabbi: Guns N’ Roses, Talking Heads, Rush.

PEV: Tell us about your creative process as a band. What kind of environment do you have to be in to write music?

Ayatollah: A dark basement with no natural sun light….where we rehearse in Brooklyn.

PEV: You are described as an “Iranian jazz-rock band with a revolving line-up that blends world music, jam rock, jazz, and pop music all in one entertaining show, complete with comedy, costumes and a bit of satire thrown in.” What can fans expect from a live The Thursday Night All Stars performance?

Ayatollah: A creative musical endeavor intended to entertain, and shake rear-ends with some occasional amp feedback.

PEV: Tell us about your first performance as a band. How have you changed since that first show to where you are now?

Ayatollah: The first real gig was at Mo’ Pitkins House of Satisfaction in the East Village of NYC. Our shows are never the same. Each show has had variety and has always been different every time since our first gig; not always by design as we seem to be a band plagued with drama.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release?

Ayatollah: Since we are much more of a live performance-oriented band, one can expect studio versions of our live music.

PEV: How is this album different from your past projects?

Ayatolla: This is our first recording effort on which I played all instruments except drums (played by drummer/engineer Scott Veenstra.)

PEV: Why The Thursday Night All Stars? No weekends?

Ayatollah: My original intention was to create a Muslim rock band, but in the end I couldn’t reconcile with some of the values and discipline of practicing Islam. I liked the more real view of peace-loving Muslims around the world getting down on a Thursday night, but in the end it wasn’t me. So I thought it would be honest, easier, entertaining and more fun to have a band that’s starting their own religion that pays tribute to the world’s religions, and at the same time I could practice and sing about my own more convenient set of values such as partying and having a good time.

I like how I once heard that Sayed’s (or descendants of Mohammad) reach a higher enlightenment when praying on Thursday night. I don’t know why I thought it was cool enough to keep, but our band motto is “When we play, Every night is Thursday Night!” meaning that we would like to reach a higher self-enlightenment every night we play music�including weekends!

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of The Thursday Night All Stars?

The Fancy Ayatollah was the Rabbi of the Beat’s R.A. (Resident Advisor) in college.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

Ayatollah: Taking a summer science class and escaping out of the back door of the lab one day to go to the adjacent music building. I sat in on a class discussing the Bill Evans trio. It floored me to think of the possibility of dealing with such subject matters in great depth and on a daily basis.

PEV: What one word best describes The Thursday Night All Stars?

Ayatollah: Selfish

PEV: How is life on the road for you? Best and worst parts?

Ayatollah: I would have to say that the best part of life on the road is meeting the fans after the shows. It has been so great to hear people say: “I’ve never seen anything like you guys and I definitely enjoyed it.”

The worst part of life on the road is having to lug heavy gear up flights of stairs and not having a proper mirror to adjust my turban.

PEV: In all your travels, which has been your favorite city to play (US or International)?

Ayatollah: I would have to say that New York is my favorite city to play in. You get a mixture of the best people from around the world. They are all psyched and ready to play along with our act.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success?

Ayatollah: Shhhh! My mother still doesn’t know about the Fancy Ayatollah.

PEV: What can the members of The Thursday Night All Stars doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

Ayatollah: I am String Department Chair at the Brooklyn School of Music and like to watch football. Go Eagles. The Monk of Funk is starting college this fall and the Rabbi of the Beat is an Attorney. The Pontiff of the Piano is a working magician!

PEV: Which artist would be your dream collaboration?

Ayatollah: Persian Tar player Farhang Sharif would be huge. Would love to see someone like him play the tar with a rhythm section like ours. I would love to play with fellow Philadelphia area bassist Christian McBride. His playing has been a huge influence on me.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for?

Ayatolla: French guitarist Stephane Wrebml, Iranian-American vocalist named Haale, jam band called Turbine from NYC.

PEV: Poking fun at politics and social norms, have you ever had any harsh feedback in public? Mainly for the people that “don’t get it”.

Ayatolla: I think we have done a good job of offending no one by offending everyone!

PEV: Ten years down the road, where will The Thursday Night All Stars be?

Ayatolla: In our respective heavens.

PEV: So, what is next for The Thursday Night All Stars?

Ayatolla: Stay tuned for all new TNA webisodes on YouTube and Myspace!

For more information on The Thursday Night All Stars, check out www.ThursdayNightAllstars.com.

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Today’s Feature – August 17-18: Phoenix Block

August 18, 2008 at 11:04 pm (Today's Feature)

Steve Scheoffler and Andrew Jaffe of Phoenix Block have it pretty ironed out as to why their band has found success so quickly – they’re simply ahead of the curve. While the kids around them were growing up watching Sesame Street, these two were taking in lessons from The Beatles, The Eagles and The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. Using this as their musical backbone, they grew into a respected pair… all they needed was one amazing bassist and one amazing drummer. And while they certainly don’t grow on trees, the duo was lucky enough to find Tony Catania and Darrell Nutt respectively, bringing Phoenix Block to the forefront.

Their debut album “Chemtrails” just landed on record shelves everywhere, a true representation of the band and “a shot in the arm that the music business needs right now.” It stands out among the countless alternatives albums out there right now, blending together “melodic hooks and driving rhythms over modern electronica.” They’ve also worked hard to reach back and pull some of those childhood influences into this very current sound, pieces of melody and punk included.

Check out a live show as soon as you can – their music is after all built for the stage. The guys will tell you, “Our current material was written almost exclusively with a live performance in mind. So many of the bands we currently listen to have material that envelops the audience and sweeps them up into the whole experience.” You’ll be swapping energy with the crew all night. Get into the XXQ’s for a whole lot more.

XXQs: Phoenix Block

PensEyeView.com (PEV): Longtime friends, you began developing your songwriting skills at the young age of seven. Has music always been a passion for you? How did you first form as a band?

Steve of PB: Yes, music has always been a primary focus for Andrew and I. Having older siblings, we were exposed to rock music at a very young age. We formed our first band when we were 11, writing and recording original songs. We cannot boast about the recording quality in those days.

PEV: Growing up in South Jersey, what kind of music were you listening to growing up?

PB: While most kids our age were watching Sesame Street, we were listening to The Beatles, The Eagles and of course Bruce Springsteen (another Jersey boy).

PEV: Tell us about the early days in the music business for you. What were your first performances like and what was it like working your way into gigs?

PB: We started playing live gigs in high school (Battle of the Bands type stuff). We were very stiff at first hearing comments like, “Are their feet nailed to the floor”? As we gained more experience on stage we really learned to embrace performing live. By the time we were playing clubs in New York�s Greenwich Village, we had really refined our skills. We were moving between songs, forming the set list and working the crowd like pros.

PEV: Now, how has your style and stage presence changed from those first shows?

PB: Our current material was written almost exclusively with a live performance in mind. So many of the bands we currently listen to have material that envelops the audience and sweeps them up into the whole experience.

PEV: Was there a certain point when you realized that music was going to become more than just a hobby? As a band, did you find it more comfortable to have a support of the group, when you decided to enter the music business?

PB: Even as we concentrated on more traditional career choices, music was always on our mind. We never stopped writing or searching for new sounds. We always liked the band environment because of the give and take aspect that a songwriting partnership lends itself to. Sometimes, a “Competitive Atmosphere” raises the bar for each of the other songwriters to make significant contributions.

PEV: Who have you not collaborated with so far that you would like to?

Steve of PB: Andrew might have a different answer but I would not mind sitting down with Paul McCartney for an afternoon and seeing what we come up with.

PEV: In all your travels, which city do you think offers the best scene for music?

PB: We have always been mesmerized by New York and the energy it gives off. Just getting a slice of pizza seems more important there than anywhere else. So many of our influences really made it when they hit New York, almost like a right of passage to the next level of their respective careers.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Phoenix Block performance?

PB: Our music sets a mood with the audience. It emits energy from the first note of the intro in “Future Calling” to the driving drum beat in the opening of “Tear Us Apart”. We find that the crowd feeds off this energy and in turn, sends it back to us. A kind of symbiotic relationship.

PEV: Is there an up and coming artist out right now that you think we should all be looking into?

PB: Richard Gladstone, a Singer/Songwriter (very introspective stuff).

PEV: What can fans expect from your new debut full-length album, ‘Chemtrails’ (hits nationwide radio in June with an official album release date of August 1, 2008)?

PB: We feel that “Chemtrails” is the shot in the arm that the music business needs right now. “Chemtrails” sets itself apart from other material out right now in that it has a unique blend of melodic hooks, and driving rhythms, laid over a modern Electronica.

PEV: Your sound has been called ‘U2 meets Coldplay’. With that, how is the sound on ‘Chemtrails’ different from that of other music out today?

PB: Although we are fans of both bands, we feel that our sound possesses a wider spectrum of sound. This might be because there are 3 main songwriters in the band that are constantly looking in different directions for their specific contribution while the production of these songs ties the album into one, single cohesive thought.

PEV: What is one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of Phoenix Block?

PB: Darrell is a hand model.

PEV: When you sit down to write, what kind of environment do you surround yourselves in?

PB: We usually come up with the initial ideas on our own and then present these ideas to one another. These sessions are met with both scrutiny, as well as support, but usually end up merging with inputs and direction from the other writers to refine the original idea into something special.

PEV: Ten years from now, where will the band be?

PB: Celebrating its 5th album release followed by another World Tour. There is nothing more satisfying than playing one of your own songs and having the crown sing it back to you. That is as good as it gets.

PEV: When you are not touring or performing, what can we find the members of Phoenix Block doing in their spare time?

Steve: Playing bingo and Parcheesi.

PEV: Before a show, are there any pre-show rituals you do or do you just go out there and perform?

PB: Andrew drinks some hot tea with honey, Tony has a latte, Darrell has a beer, and Steve takes his anti-seizure medication.

PEV: Playing so many shows and touring so much, there has to be some great live stories. Tell us, do you have any embarrassing or funny live performance stories?

PB: While we all have some stories from the past, Phoenix Block’s road stories are yet to be made.

PEV: In one word, describe Phoenix Block.

PB: Passionate

PEV: So, what is next for Phoenix Block?

PB: Following the August 2008 release of “Chemtrails”, we will be touring the radio circuit and playing live dates to better connect with our fan base.

For more information on Phoenix Block, check out www.phoenixblock.com

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Today’s Feature – Augst 15-16: Blind Pilot

August 16, 2008 at 1:55 pm (Today's Feature)

Sure, sure, the thing to do nowadays is to “Go Green.” It’s in, it’s now, its flippin’ sweet. Many people recycle. Some buy a Prius. Some even make a living working towards technology that will eventually be better for the environment. But Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski of Blind Pilot have really gone above and beyond – they’ve found a way to help the environment through their music… and it isn’t through a charity function. No, their green methods probably make their lives a bit more difficult, but boy does it send a message. These guys literally tour… by bicycle. No vans. No planes. They take themselves and all of their gear on the road via two pairs of wheels and legs.

And they’re not riding one town over to play their gigs. No, we’re talking about a trek from Canada to Mexico, cruising down the entire west coast. Their motivation isn’t totally for green purposes however; Israel recalls, “I can’t say exactly why we did it that first time. We didn’t feel the need to preach about car pollution because that seemed obvious. I guess I’d like to see more people doing the crazy ideas that come to them that they think are impossible.”

No matter what message you receive from Blind Pilot, you can’t deny their success in getting the word out there. Their just released debut album, “3 Rounds and a Sound,” is grabbing tons of attention. The single, “Go On, Say It” was chosen as the “Single of the Week” on everyone’s favorite, the iTunes Store. Israel and Ryan are smiling about the entire album, “As it formed, we knew we’d made something good and what we were trying for. For that, we were just beside ourselves with giddiness… I think we’re making music that is inclusive; that anybody could be a part of if they want.”

The duo kick off their latest bike tour this week, so I hope you’re reading this from the west side. The guys will be posting blogs and podcasts on their site, http://www.blindpilotmusic.com through out the trip, so check it out. There’s a lot more to learn in the XXQ’s, so get into it.

XXQs: Blind Pilot – Israel Nebeker, lead singer/songwriter of Blind Pilot.

PensEyeView.com (PEV): Growing up, in Gearhart, OR, what kind of music were you listening to? Do you remember the first concert you ever attended?

Israel Nebeker (IN): The first concert I went to was in middle school- my dad took me to Autsen Stadium where Cracker opened for The Greatful Dead. It was the last thing I ever wanted to do. At the time, I was mostly into Dr. Dre “The Chronic” and Snoop’s “Doggystyle”. By the end of it though, I was thanking my dad for making me go.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a profession rather than just a hobby?

IN: Definitely. For a long time I was waiting for that day to come to me- I was hoping for it. But then at one point I just decided that it’s who I am and it’s what I’m going to do, and that beyond that success is relative.

PEV: What were your first years in the music business like for you? When you were first starting out – before the press, before the accolades? Did you ever think you’d be where you are now, then?

IN: I’ve been making music and recording albums myself for a while, but the way I see it this is the first year of my music being “in the music business”. It’s the first time recording in a real studio and the first time releasing something on a label. What I’m writing and what we’re doing is still the same, but I’m really excited to see what will happen with so many good people working on one project. I feel incredibly lucky to be playing music with these musicians, and everything that’s coming is unexpected and awesome.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release? What kind of reaction did you first have to the finished product?

IN: We went into the studio trying to capture something honest. We didn’t have anything but the most basic parts of the songs planned out. As it formed, with the help of Skyler Norwood (Miracle Lake Studios), we knew we’d made something good and what we were trying for. For that, we were just beside ourselves with giddiness. Everything felt lucky. I think we’re making music that is inclusive; that anybody could be a part of if they want- that part just seemed to happen without deliberation.

PEV: How is this album different from your previous works or collaborations?

IN: The intent is different. I didn’t care at all if the songs were smart or impressive enough. To me, it’s not all very different from my earlier albums… but it’s something we couldn’t have made two years ago.

PEV: Last year, you two embarked on a West Coast “bike” tour. I use this word sincerly because this wasn’t a tour where you road bikes, and had a van hauling the equipment. You hauled everything on your bikes. No gas. One hundred percent leg-powered! Why did you decide to tour this way and was there at any point where you thought, “We are out of our minds”?

IN: There was one point when we almost bailed. We were both feeling like this was an insane thing to do and nothing was working like we hoped it would. That was up in Northern WA. The bike trip was Ryan’s idea to start so it’s ironic that it was my stubborn nature that won out for us to keep going a bit further. But, things just got better and better as the trip went on. By the last weeks, we were just “in it”. There’s never been a time in my life when my path was so clearly laid out in front of me. I don’t mean for that to be a pun. It was hard work physically, but in another sense it was easier than trying to deal with daily distractions of my normal life.

I can’t say exactly why we did it that first time. Maybe just because it was an adventure. We didn’t feel the need to preach about car pollution because that seemed obvious. I guess I’d like to see more people doing the crazy ideas that come to them that they think are impossible, and that they would do in an ideal world.

PEV: Bikes and hauling your own equipment, aside – What is life on the road, as traveling musicians like for the band? Best and worst parts? Was it a hard adjustment?

IN: It was a hard adjustment. I went from 170 lbs to 150 by Eugene, and I’m 6’1″ so I’m skinny to start. We both learned as we went and I’m sure next time will be slightly less “trial by fire”. The best and worst parts were the same I’d say: People didn’t know what to make of it. Sometimes people didn’t know if we were biking because we were maybe without a home, or we just couldn’t afford to do it by car so this is our last option. Sometimes, though, people got it and were inspired in ways we weren’t expecting. It’s a fine line, and I kind of hope it’s still there on our next bike tour.

PEV: Tell us about the story behind the name “Blind Pilot”.

IN: We were living in that cannery building in Astoria and it was out in the water on pilings. The bar pilot boat would come by about ten times a day with a huge sign that said PILOT on the side. Before the bike tour, I thought that the name, at it’s deepest, had political connotations. But after the bike tour, now I think it has a lot more to do with doing things before you’re ready.

PEV: Is there a certain environment you surround yourselves in when you sit down to write music? Or is it just a “when it happens – it happens” mentality?

IN: The initial ideas often blind-side me- in a dream, on a hike, in good conversation. There are definitely things I do when trying to make a song come out more. They don’t always happen when I expect or want, but the best thing I can do, I’ve learned, is give all my will and time to a good idea or feeling when it comes.

PEV: How have all your friends and family back home reacted to your success?

Success is a funny word. Honestly, I just left midway through this to go paint a house (my part time job that keeps me afloat as a musician). Maybe you know something I don’t, but I don’t think that kind of success has come to us yet. There’s just a lot of hope on the horizon.

PEV: Which city do you think offers the best appreciation for music? Why?

IN: Portland is pretty great. Introduce yourself to a random person here and the odds of them playing in a band or two are fairly good. I’ve never been to Austin, New Orleans, Nashville, or New York- so I’m no authority on the best.

PEV: Is there an “up and coming” artist or band right now that you think we should all be listening to?

IN: There’s SO much good music that deserves to be listened to by everybody. A few offhand are: Hockey, Horsefeathers, Junkface, Starfucker.

PEV: Is there someone you have not had the chance to work or collaborate with, that you would like to?

IN: The world is chock full of amazing people. Of course there’s tons of musicians that I would jump at the chance to meet or play with, but I’m still trying to grasp how lucky I am to be playing with the ones I’m with now.

PEV: When you are not traveling or performing, what can we find you doing in your spare time?

IN: Lately I’m really into breathing more and making my journals more “beautiful”. But I probably spend way more time watching movies and hanging out with my Portland buddies.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about both Israel and Ryan?

IN: What? You mean together? No… we’re not. We’re totally not.

PEV: If we were to walk into your practice studio what would we most likely find?

IN: Lots of paintings on the walls and the random people that often walk in.

PEV: What is a live Blind Pilot performance like?

IN: It’s pretty chill.

PEV: In one word, describe Blind Pilot.

IN: I don’t know, but if we were an animal, we’d be like a tiger-headed giraffe that lives in the ocean.

PEV: So, what is next for Blind Pilot?

IN: We’re gearing up for our next bike tour, which starts on August 16th in Bellingham, WA. We’ll post blogs and a podcast on our website (www.blindpilotmusic.com) and this time we’re bringing two more musicians with us. It’s the most excited I’ve been about anything since our last one.

For more information on Blind Pilot, check out www.BlindPilot.com.

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Today’s Feature – August 13-14: Adam Lee & the Dead Horse Sound Company

August 14, 2008 at 1:11 am (Today's Feature)

Adam Lee & the Dead Horse Sound Company. Sounds like quite the unit, eh? Truth be told, only Adam and his pal Johnny K make up the crew, but boy… do they know how to fill a room with sound. They need to! After all, when you’re trying to bring back the “good old fashioned rock n’ roll” that’s rarely heard today, you got to make sure everyone can hear you. And it may sound like a daunting task to throw roots rock into today’s mainstream mix of pop, pop and more pop, but Lee says he’s already started noticing a trend: “I see more and more of this punk gone country thing happening nowadays… Even kids in hardcore bands are growing beards and wearing western shirts.” The difference between them and the DHSC? Adam puts it best, “I guess what sets us apart is that we’ve really gone overboard. We play country music.”

Personally, I wouldn’t call it pure country music. You can sample the tunes on the album “Ghostly Fires” today if you’d like – it’s a mix of country, Americana, rock n’ roll, hell, even some honky tonk. The variety of instrumentation is undeniable, with some special guest spots that really bring out the spark in the record. If you get the chance, definitely check out the duo live. Adam and Johnny live for the road, and they don’t plan on stopping any time soon. Check out their MySpace page for a long list of dates. Bring your party shoes out – Lee says that, “We do real well with the drinkers.” Get into the XXQ’s to learn more.

XXQs: Adam Lee & the Dead Horse Sound Company (Interview with Adam Lee)

PensEyeView.com (PEV): How did you first get started playing/writing music? How did the band first come together? Was it an instant connection?

Adam Lee (AL): I’ve played music since I was a kid. I sang in choir growing up and always plunked around on the piano. I got a guitar and a drum kit when I was 13 and that pretty much sealed the deal. As far as this band goes, we met on craigslist! Johnny and another fella were looking for a songwriter, and I was looking for a band. We played in an electric group for a while, but not everyone was one the same page, goal-wise. I don’t know if I’d call it an instant connection, but it was clear that Johnny and I had the same ambition.

PEV: Calling Kansas City home, what kind of music were you listening to growing up? Do you remember the first concert you ever attended?

AL: I actually just moved up here in February. Johnny is from this area originally, but we both spent the last few years out in Phoenix, AZ. When I was younger we listened to a lot of country: Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Ricky Scaggs. My dad loves the Beatles and the Beach Boys, my mom more the singer/songwriter, Harry Chapin type stuff. I feel like I got a pretty well-rounded exposure. Of course, like a lot of kids, I got into punk rock as a teenager, and it was all downhill from there. I think my first concert was probably some contemporary Christian show in some big hall. The first show that really mattered was a punk rock house show my Aunt took me to in Greensboro, NC, when I was down there visiting. That blew my mind.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a profession rather than just a hobby?

AL: Probably a lot later than most. I played in a lot of bands growing up, but it wasn’t until I was 19 or 20 that I stared taking things seriously. I started playing drums for an indie band that was touring and had some label backing. It sort of gave me a taste of the possibilities. It also showed me how much you can accomplish without management and a huge record deal. That really sold me on the whole DIY ethic.

PEV: What were your first years in the music business like for you? When you were first starting out? Did you ever think you’d be where you are now, then?

AL: Well I was playing drums and not really too involved in the business side of the band. I’d just show up and play my parts. I did work on some of the booking, which definitely taught me a lot about routing and setting up a tour, so that was great.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release, “Ghostly Fires” (April 2008 – NOW available)? As well, what kind of reaction did you first have when it was all said and done?

AL: The new record is sort of a mixed bag. A very good mixed bag. Most of the songs fall under the umbrella of roots or Americana, but those are such diverse labels. There are some country songs, some rock n roll, some honky tonk numbers. There’s a definite bluegrass influence with the instrumentation and the harmonies. We were also really lucky to have some great pickers and good friends come play on it.

PEV: How is “Ghostly Fires” different than others out today? Why?

AL: Honestly, I see more and more of this punk gone country thing happening nowadays. Be it Tim Barry, or Ryan Adams, or Dustin Kensrue, or whatever. It’s really great. Even kids in hardcore bands are growing beards and wearing western shirts. I guess what sets us apart is that we’ve really gone overboard. I hear a lot of folk and indie stuff that has obvious tinges of country influence, a little twang, but we make no bones about what we’re doing. We play country music.

PEV: How is “Ghostly Fires”, different from your previous works or collaborations?

AL: Well this record has the most instrumentation of anything we’ve done. As a songwriter, I’ve done plenty of recordings with just vocal and acoustic. Going in to do this record, we wanted to make the songs the best they could be. I don’t think anything is overdone, but if a song needed pedal steel, we put it on. If it needed mandolin, we did that, too.

PEV: What is your take on today’s music scene? As well, how do you think the music industry has changed with the creation of sites like MySpace, Facebook and PensEyeView – online media outlets that help you get your message out?

AL: I think music is great nowadays, you just have to know where to look for it. Like you mentioned, there are a ton of websites that really put the power in the hands of the listener. If you’re motivated enough to look, you’ve got the tools. As a musician, all of those resources are even more beneficial. It’s getting easier every day to operate entirely independent.

PEV: Is there a certain environment you surround yourself in when you sit down to write music? Or is it just a “when it happens – it happens” mentality?

AL: Song ideas usually come at me randomly. Whether it’s a melody, or lyric, or guitar line, it could be anywhere. The tough part is taking that little piece and building a song around it, really cultivating that thought. I usually need to be off alone, somewhere where I can concentrate for that. Lately, we’ve been on the road a ton, and you’re never alone. I’ve had some basic song ideas, but no real time to work things out.

PEV: How have all your friends and family back home reacted to your success?

AL: Our families have been really supportive. We did our whole record in Johnny’s parents’ basement! They’re all really excited for us and happy for us. I think they know how hard we work.

PEV: What is life on the road like for you? Best and worst parts? Was it a hard adjustment?

AL: Touring is great. I first went out when I was 20, and I was sold. Johnny started touring even younger. We love music and travelling, so I think we’re pretty well suited for this lifestyle. The worst part, of course, is the gas prices; that can really make things tough. I think the best parts are getting to see friends and family, meeting new people, and of course playing music every night. Oh, and we get to drink on the job!

PEV: Which city do you think offers the best appreciation for music? Why?

AL: Kansas City actually has a great scene. A lot of good bands, great venues, and people who just genuinely care about music. Asheville, NC is another great town that really appreciates art in general. We’ve had a blast at just about every town we’ve played in Florida too.

PEV: Is there an “up and coming” artist or band right now that you think we should all be listening to?

AL: That’s the great thing about travelling, getting meet killer bands from all over! We love the Anderson Gang (Orlando,FL), Evan Harris & the Driftwood Motion (Lancaster, OH), and John Moreland & the Black Gold Band (Tulsa, OK). They all have myspaces, check ’em out! We’re actually hitting the road with Evan Harris in a week.

PEV: Is there someone you have not had the chance to work or collaborate with, that you would like to?

AL: Honestly, I’m just stoked to collaborate with Johnny! As a songwriter, I’ve always worked pretty independently, but Johnny’s just got an amazing ear. As a producer, he’s tops. He really helps bring full potential out of every song. I think we’d both love to collaborate with any young pedal steel player who could handle months on the road…if that’s you, look us up!

PEV: When you are not traveling or performing, what can we find you doing in your spare time?

AL: Probably travelling and performing! We like to keep ourselves real busy.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Adam Lee?

AL: I used to play in a screamo band and owned a flat iron. Johnny played bass in a Christian metal band, though, so I guess we’re even.

PEV: If we were to walk into your practice studio what would we most likely find?

AL: Being a two piece, we pretty much practice wherever we are, usually on stage! If we’re playing though, we usually surround ourselves with smokes, beer, whiskey when we can afford it, and quarters for pool.

PEV: What is a live Adam Lee & the Dead Horse Sound Company performance like?

AL: Pretty raucous. Only having two guys performing, we have to keep things lively. Boot stompin, hand clappin, hoopin and hollerin! This isn’t some acoustic snooze-fest. We really like involving the crowd and just making the show one big party. We do real well with the drinkers.

PEV: In one word, describe Adam Lee.

AL: Rambler

PEV: So, what is next for Adam Lee & the Dead Horse Sound Company?

AL: We’re about to hit the road for 10 more days, and then back in KC til September. We’re planning another long tour for Sep/Oct, and then taking the holidays off to spend with family. I’m going to use that time to finish writing the next record, and we’re planning on getting together in January to record it. But yea, we’re always on tour. Check out the myspace (www.myspace.com/adamleeaz) and make sure you come to a show. You won’t regret it!

For more information on Adam Lee & the Dead Horse Sound Company, check out MySpace.

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Today’s Feature – August 11-12: Rooney

August 14, 2008 at 1:07 am (Today's Feature)

Today is a big day for PensEyeView.com. What began a little over a year ago with no start up cash, no leads, no direction and only holding to the concept of “every great idea starts with a pen, paper and a vision,” now celebrates the 250th consecutive feature. That’s a new artist, a new story and new reason to believe there is real art still out there, every 48 hours. No breaks, no misses. I wish we would have counted how many emails we’ve had with artists or how many late night phone calls. Even better I wish we kept all the emails from the doubters early on that said we are “out of your minds… there is no way you’ll able to find people every 48 hours.” Blah, blah, blah. Well, we are out of our minds but we’ve gotten this far and don’t plan to stop. It’s the support from the readers, and most importantly the art community worldwide that has allowed us to remain successful and consistent. We won’t let you down. So, when the time came to decide who would be our 250th feature, the vote was unanimous after seeing today’s feature, a young group of “music heads” and real artists, who have made a big impact on today’s music scene.

Rooney, that 5-piece rock act out of California has pulled off something many veteran bands never find a way to do; something that sets them apart from the pop, alternative and rock groups that just seem to keep crawling out of the woodwork. I’m talking about a sense of mystery about them, a trait of secrecy, something the makes people keep taking notice. Whatever you want to call it, Rooney has it and they’ve been working it for nearly a decade.

Sure, the mystery wasn’t always there, but the talent was. They saw their debut album go nearly gold out of the gates with two successful singles, primed to come back with a follow-up record that would reflect what they learned from their debut… however that didn’t happen. Not right away anyway. A collection of “lost records” were created over several years leaving fans and critics alike wondering what was happening with Rooney – would a new collection ever be released? Had their time come and gone? Most certainly, an air of mystery engulfed the 5 artists.

But finally, on July 17, 2007, “Calling the World” hit the streets, a combination of Rooney’s melodic songwriting and dynamic playing that didn’t disappoint. The record led to shows with Incubus, Jane’s Addiction, Queens of the Stone Age, The Strokes, Weezer and eventually a performance at Baltimore’s Ram’s Head Live! where we here at PensEyeView were lucky enough to catch up with them. Want to learn just how Rooney “manages to capture elements from the past four decades and make them sound modern today?” Jump into the XXQ’s for it all.

XXQs: Rooney (Taylor and Ned)

Walter J. Zalis (WJ): We were really excited to have a chance to meet up with you tonight. Thanks for taking the time. So, what do you think of Baltimore?

Taylor: We’ve been in Baltimore a few times before. Nice town. Did some bike riding, some running today. Went to the bookstore and mall right on the water… A bunch of good historical things too. I wandered into some old buildings. I saw The Washington Monument. I was impressed by all the history. We don’t get that in LA.

WZ: Going back to how it all started, how did you first come together?

Taylor: We started out pretty young, during high school – there were two neighboring high schools. Me and Louie, the keyboardist and I went to one and then Robert and Matt went to another. Ned was out of school but living in LA. We just met naturally, no adds, or anything, we just all kind of came together. We started playing pretty casual at first – covers and then original. Then we started playing out at clubs until we got signed. It’s been the same guys ever since.

WZ: That was back in 2002, right?

Taylor: Yeah, back in 2002 we got signed. We started playing in 1999.

WZ: What influenced you originally to start playing music?

Taylor: Growing up, I was heavy into Nirvana at first, which was a big breakthrough for me. But then I realized a lot of the other 90s alternative rock that came simultaneously as Nirvana and afterwards wasn’t as high quality as Nirvana, so I realized what I liked about Nirvana was that they were supper aggressive but super melodic. That led me back to like 60’s British invasion – Beatles, Kinks, The Who, Yellow, Sabbath, Alice Cooper – anything that had some rocking attitude but good melody as well. And obviously everyone’s taste spans all kinds of bands and I’ve noticed today that there are bands that draw particularly heavily from one influence. Like they’ll really be into The Velvet Underground or something and it shows in their singing style and songwriting style and it shows in their clothes and everything. But it’s cool that is shows the span from the 60s to 70s the 80s, 90s, hard, pop and everything in between. So, we are borrowing from so many influences which I think gives us more depth and potential longevity to make music. It’s not like the guys that meet at a bar and say, “You like the Velvet Underground? I like the Velvet Underground! Let’s do a band just like that!”… It’s counter common.

WZ: There’s a phrase floating around your sites that Rooney “manages to capture elements from the past four decades and make them sound modern today”. How have you gone about doing just that?

Ned: I think that just goes back to what he was saying, we don’t necessarily try to remake old albums. It’s about taking our influences, combining them and making something new. We tried using live takes in the studio and put a lot of restrictions on us, like they had back in the 60s, but we realized quickly that’s not the best way catch our live show on an album. So, if you listen to both our albums you’ll see they are quite modern in production style. We still have great harmonies and performances as the classic artists and know how to play really well, but we use ProTools and modern technology to capture sounds. We think it still sounds organic but don’t always stick to all the retro ways.

WZ: Speaking of the album, it has been some time from that past album to “Calling The World” came out, how did it feel to finally get it out?

Taylor: I don’t know if you heard about the two lost albums?

WZ: I did, can you tell us more?

Taylor: We made two other albums in between and they were both shelved and we’re going to release them in later times. We’ve made four albums, released two. We hope to put them out online only, fan club only, shows only – some form of release- not as heavily promoted as our next album but so we can add that much more to our repertoire and live show. It felt really good to get something out. The length cycles of albums is something we find unhealthy and it is definitely frustrating. We want to put out music every year. We are actually on the anniversary of “Calling The World” and so it’s about time for us to go home and think about new material. But this tour has been really great. We’ve been to Europe, all around the states, good opening bands, the shows have been really fun. But we are getting to the finish line and want to get some new songs going.

WZ: If we were to walk into your studio right now, what would we most likely find?

Ned: A pretty good collection of vintage gear and records we’ve acquired over the years. We’ve never had a place to keep it all but we’ve managed to keep it all. Louie has a lot of vintage keyboards and organs. Taylor has a cool amp collection. I have quite a few drums and things. I mean, we’ve been together for over 9 years and we’re all really big “music heads”-

Taylor: Gear heads!

Ned: Yeah, “gear heads”. One day we hope to have our own studio where we can house it all. I think that is when you can really turn stuff out. Right now, we’re trying to just collect mics and stuff so we don’t have to go to another studio and we can do it our own. Plus record collections too, everyone has a lot of that stuff. And naked pictures of girls all over the walls, you know. (Everyone laughs)

WZ: Inspiration, right?

Ned: Yeah! (laughs)

WZ: When you sit down to write music, what kind of environment do you surround yourselves in?

Ned: I think it’s changed over the years. It’s always been Robert as the chief songwriter in the band. I think early on in band it was “get together and work out the songs”. It became over this four albums that Robert will make his own kind of demos and then we’ll arrange it in the studio. But in the future we all hope to be contributing more. Taylor and I have been writing a lot and we all have our own kind of way to do things. I think for he new album it will be a lot more of pulling the demos together. With “Calling The World” we only made the record, after all those years of waiting it only took like 3 weeks to make. We just ripped them out really quick.

Taylor: We have a system with our producer where we don’t do any pre-production or rehearsals. We just send demos around and kind get our show of hands about songs we want to work on. Then Ned and Matt start coming up with a rhythm foundation of what the songs is going to look like and once that happens, everyone just goes into their own heads and comes up with their own parts and we start layering. By the night, like after dinner, Robert will do the vocals. Usually it’s about a song every day and a half… take out any ideas we don’t like, then start cutting drums for the next song.

WZ: It seems very spontaneous –

Taylor: It’s an awesome tradition from the 70s and stuff, like Elton John kind of stuff. You get up in the morning, show everyone the songs and start cutting it right away. It takes a certain level of musicianship and a certain level of knowing what the band’s style and sound is. It comes naturally to us. No one really is ever banging their heads against the wall and stuff. The song leads the way. It’s just about writing the best songs you can and pick the songs everyone wants to work on. We don’t second-guess too much. It also has a lot to do with our faith in John Fields, our producer, he’s like a sixth member in that way.

WZ: What can fans expect from “Calling The World”?

Ned: It’s as catchy as the first record for sure. We just went for it… I think our idea for every record is to just go for it a little more in terms of boldness, arrangements and parts. I think there are moments on this album where there is an interesting keyboard sound or unique vocal, guitar solo or drum fills, that are more featured and pronounced. A little more “balls out” and not just playing a safe background for the vocals… Shit coming in an out. There are things you will notice on your first, second, third, or twentieth listen of the album that you may not notice before.

I think when you see the cross section of the audience in age and gender there is something for everyone. I mean, we get teens and early twenties and some thirties, girls and guys, parents… everyone has a different favorite part of the album. There are a good variety of songs. More so than the first record, more diverse and I think we’ll do that plus more on the next record… Maybe even switching up lead singers, more contribution, more diversity.

WZ: There is a huge list of great bands you’ve been able to play with. Has there been any big influences you’ve been able to borrow?

Ned: Yeah, you definitely pick up stuff from every shows. We’ve done big rock shows, big pop shows. Even if it’s behind the stage stuff, like who you want to work with or how things work. But on stage as well, there has been some cool stuff. Like with The Strokes tour, it was pretty early on in our career but it was good because they were another young band at that time and at the peak with their first album doing a headlining tour, it was pretty awesome to be around that.

I mean we were doing a festival in Europe the other week and getting to see “Rage Against The Machine” on the side stage, that was pretty insane. It was like ringing a bell from our childhood, you know. I mean we remember every one of those super riffs. Taylor was like, “Oh shit! That song!” I mean like song after song. We did the Audio Slave tour but to see them as 3/4s of Rage again live, it was a different experience for us.

Taylor: No two bands run the same tour the same. I mean, it’s like a family. I think, we started touring so young and opening for bands that were so much more seasoned than us that we started to do detective work. We’d spy on them and checked out what they did. Every f—king thing, the dressing room, the crew – where they get them? How much do they get paid? What they do before the show? What they do after the show? And I think over the years we’ve found our footing and how we want to do things.

It was hard being the “wet behind the ears” band because we were never on an indie label -we signed with a major right away. We had pretty comfortable accommodations and I think it feels good to be more seasoned and mature. I think there are some younger bands that look up to us and how we function on the road. It’s a lot of time to put on the road but it also goes back to wanting to put more records out. Half a year on the road, half a year at home. It’s not the case. We’ve played over 200 gigs since this record came out, probably like 250 or some. It would be an interesting statistic to know. We’ve become that band that tours consistently when the record comes out.

WZ: Has road life been a good for you?

Ned: Yeah, I mean we’ve done it so many ways. I mean, shitty vans and shitty hotels. A train tour in Europe and it was an amazing experience. Every band is amazed by that story. We bought EuroRail tickets and every morning we’d get up in our hotel, 5 or 6AM, load up our stuff in cabs, go to the train station, wait for a train, load it up and sit there and try to get some sleep before the next country. We did that for like 5 weeks. Now though, we are in the states on a big tour bus with air conditioning, headlining our own shows with good sound. I mean there’s not much we can complain about that.

WZ: Did you get any sleep those five weeks?

Taylor: Well, it makes you real grouchy. (Everyone laughs)

WZ: Having traveled all over, is there a place you think is the best to play live?

Ned: We’ve been to Japan for this festival and that has been amazing. Then our song went #1 in Germany for a month, so all our shows in Germany have been great. Holland, Italy, France, England… Back in the states of course. I mean, you have Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, LA, where we’re from is always good. It’s just been a good last couple of months of touring.

WZ: What can fans expect for tonight’s show?

Ned: We’ll play a mix of songs. Maybe a cover, draws people in. The old folk love them.

Taylor: It’s different now. I mean when you first start out you are just learning. Now we’re playing the whole album, a handful of the first record, some B side…

WZ: Any rituals before you go out there?

Ned: Yeah, we usually get in a huddle and say a little chant, sometimes it’s short, sometimes long if it’s a big show.

Taylor: No one is real into meditating, it is more like a sport’s team huddle.

WZ: Is there an up and coming band right now you think we should all be looking into?

Ned: There is a great band out on tour with us now called The Bridges – a great live band. Taylor has been mixing their album. They are a family of five, from age 18-24 maybe. Just great.

WZ: Anything we’d be surprised to hear about the members of Rooney?

Ned: We’re all part Jewish.

Taylor: We all over analyze our careers way too much.

Ned: We have way too many band meetings.

Taylor: Way too many band meetings.

WZ: Very cool. So what’s next for Rooney?

Ned: I think we’re going to go home, relax, and get some creative time. Looking forward to the next album. We have too much material, which is a good problem to have. And then just finishing up this tour.

Taylor: We are going to be the official band for the upcoming “Critics Choice Award” – playing like little session between winners and some interviews… Which we are looking forward to. One of the movies is “Iron Man”, so we’ll get to play “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath which will be cool.

WZ: Well, thanks for taking the time to meet with us today. We are looking forward to the show in a bit.

Ned: Thanks man, it was nice meeting you guys.

Taylor: Yeah, we’ll see you out there. Take care.

For more information on Rooney, check out www.Rooney-Band.com

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