AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: OH SEES/FACE STABBER


Musicians, by and large, carve their own paths. They take their influences, fuse them together, and create their own noise. Some of those musicians absorb more influences and make adjustments to their own sound along the way. While some of them might be distracted by the bright lights of YouTube viral videos and social media sycophants, we are still left with those that make music because they want/need/have to. Success might be their ultimate goal but how do you measure success anyway? Is a ‘one hit wonder’ like Starbuck more successful than artists like R. Stevie Moore or Daniel Johnston, two enormously creative artists that have built up devoted fanbases without even the slightest hint of massive commercial success? Some say that the hitmakers win out, but in all actuality, the winners are the fans who can enjoy the commercial Top 40 cheese while also enjoying those artists that inspire us to take chances, to move forward, and to be ourselves…

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THE RUBINOOS: An EXCLUSIVE Q&A with Jon Rubin, Tommy Dunbar, and Chuck Prophet!



SPAZ: FROM HOME is just about to be released. How are you feeling about the album and the reaction you’ve had to it so far?
JON RUBIN: I love the record and the way it was recorded and I think it sounds exciting. I am completely blown away by both fan reaction and the reaction from people less familiar with The Rubinoos.
TOMMY DUNBAR: It might be a little early to gauge the response, but I’ll say it was super fun making the record! Writing with Chuck Prophet was a total pleasure, and the rehearsals were a joy as always. But what really set it apart for me, was that we got to set up and play in a really great studio, with minimal overdubs. Also, Chuck introduced us to our wonderful engineer, Mr. Paul Kolderie. It’s a rare thing to be able to only worry about playing and singing, at least these days.

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AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: SMOOTH HOUND SMITH/DOG IN A MANGER



Smooth Hound Smith has come a long way since they formed in Southern California. Yes, you read that right –  Smooth Hound Smith is a they, not a he or a she. Comprised of multi-instrumentalist Zack Smith and his wife, vocalist/percussionist Caitlin Doyle-Smith, the duo formed in Southern California back in 2012. Caitlin was performing with her band Dustbowl Revival and Zack sat in on one of their sets. Without even realizing it, the seeds of their future were planted at that very moment. Caitlin would eventually add percussion and vocals to Zack’s ‘one man band’ performances.  Marriage would soon follow. Eventually, Zack’s ‘one man band’ concept was cast aside, replaced with the introduction of Smooth Hound Smith as a duo. Along the way, Zack and Caitlin left the comforts of Southern California, eventually settling in East Nashville, Tennessee.

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THE RUBINOOS’ From Home reviewed!



Some things are inevitable – someone from the ‘older generation’ (age 50+) will hear a classic ‘60s Pop tune on the radio and utter, “They don’t make music like this anymore!” His friends will nod in agreement or offer a fist bump and, once the song is over, they go off to take a nap. I’m sure that scenario is being played out somewhere in this world at this very moment…

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AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BERLIN/TRANSENDANCE


The history of Synth/Electro Pop band Berlin spans four decades and includes a healthy handful of hit singles, a few musical detours, a break-up, some reunions, and a legacy that refused to die. The roots of the band were planted in 1978 when John Crawford formed his first band, The Toys. Within a year, the band had changed their name to Berlin and the core line-up featured vocalist Terri Nunn, keyboardist/guitarist David Diamond, and bassist Crawford. Nunn left after the release of their debut album and the band soldiered on with a new vocalist before briefly calling it a day. With band members pursuing other projects, Crawford decided to revive Berlin for an EP side-project. He reached out to Nunn, who agreed to rejoin. When PLEASURE VICTIM was released in 1982, its success surprised everyone. Armed with three classic radio hits – “Sex (I’m A…)”, “The Metro”, and “Masquerade” – PLEASURE VICTIM was a smash and paved the way for even more success.

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AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: PARTICLE KID/WINDOW ROCK


It all started way back in 1956 when singer/songwriter Willie Nelson first started making a name for himself as a Country Music songwriter. Willie was a hugely successful songwriter but his solo career limped along until the ‘70s, when he finally became a superstar. Country Music has morphed and changed over the years, making it more difficult for Willie to score a hit in the charts today. However, Willie is still a superstar and will forever remain so. In between the hits – both on the charts and on the bong – Willie has built up a family, which includes seven children. As expected, his kids learned a thing or two from their pops and have ventured into the music business to make their mark…

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AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: ELLEFSON/SLEEPING GIANTS


David Ellefson is a Heavy Metal icon. Alongside band leader Dave Mustaine, Ellefson was a founding member of legendary Metal band Megadeth. From 1983 until their temporary dissolution in 2002, Ellefson was the anchor in the band, standing by Mustaine’s side through several line-up changes. When Mustaine reformed the band in 2004, Ellefson was not part of the then-new line-up. For the next six years, Megadeth soldiered on without him. Once some issues had been resolved between Mustaine and Ellefson, David rejoined Megadeth in 2010 and remains a member of the band to this day.

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CREATING WOODSTOCK: An EXCLUSIVE Q&A with director MICK RICHARDS





“For three days in August 1969, nearly a half-million young people descended upon Max Yasgur’s farm in upstate New York for the Rock ‘n’ Roll event that defined a generation. Mythologized for 50 years, the filmmakers set the record straight with CREATING WOODSTOCK, the most comprehensive examination of how the festival came to be using original interviews with key figures, rare archival footage and unearthed photographs.”

SPAZ: CREATING WOODSTOCK is being released on the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival. What initially inspired you to put this film together?
MICK: The genesis of the film comes from a simple question, ‘what was Woodstock about?’ In 1992 my son, Ian, came home from high school and asked, ‘Dad, you were at Woodstock, what was it about?’ One of Ian’s teachers, Mike Wood, who appears briefly in the beginning of the film, was at the festival for all four days and spoke about it often in class. He spoke of the bands, sharing his food and the weather. But he knew nothing of the production element of the festival. Nor did I. Like most, I could only speak to my own, quite uneventful experience. So, I decided to do a little research and began with John Roberts and Joel Rosenman’s book YOUNG MEN WITH UNLIMITED CAPITAL, written shortly after the festival. The more I read the more the story intrigued me. But I thought there had to be more. And there was. A whole lot more.

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