You’ve heard Finneas without realizing that you’ve heard Finneas. The L.A.-based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer has performed on Saturday Night Live, topped the Billboard Hot 100, and produced and co-wrote the #1 album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO. With all that going for him, it’d be OK if you are not quite familiar with his name. You see, his sister is Billie Eilish – you know, the enormously popular Pop singer – and hers is the name linked to all the aforementioned achievements. However, Finneas deserves a nice chunk of the praise being thrown in Billy’s direction because theirs is a truly collaborative relationship.
Nobody can quite figure out why Boston-based rockers New England didn’t become massively successful back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. They had it all – the sound, the songs, the looks, the musicianship, the right producers (Mike Stone, Todd Rundgren, Paul Stanley), major label support, etc. For some reason, it just never happened. On the other hand, New England never quite fit comfortably into any genre. With early support from KISS’ Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, NE wasn’t exactly KISS proteges, musically or visually. Touted as a Hard Rock band, New England was far more melodic than 90% of their Rock contemporaries. Their melodic hooks were tailored made for the Power Pop kids but the band rocked a little too hard to share bills with 20/20 and The Knack. Obviously, New England had EVERYTHING going for them… except a good marketing angle. Sadly, a band that ignored the rules of the game were ultimately doomed to sit on the sidelines while lesser players made it all the way to MTV. The irony is that, 37 years after their split, people are still talking about New England while a majority of the bands that became more successful are long-forgotten.
One of the most critically-acclaimed singer/songwriters of the millennium, Sufjan Stevens is also entirely unpredictable. From lo-fi Folk to shimmering Electronica, Stevens has crafted a series of releases that allow him to continually refine his craft while keeping his audience intrigued and, ultimately, delighted. Regardless of what instrumentation he chooses to use for each album, his unique songwriting and his approach to haunting layered vocals makes each album distinctly his own. Ever since he broke out of ‘cult status’ with albums like SEVEN SWANS and ILLINOIS, Stevens has been able to chart his own musical course without repeating himself. It doesn’t hurt that he’s won plenty of awards along the way as well as being nominated for a Grammy and an Oscar (amongst others).
Mötley Crüe began life as just another Hard Rock band playing the dingy clubs in Los Angeles. Now, 38 years after forming, they are Rock ‘n’ Roll icons. What happened between then and now is legendary. From drugs and debauchery to tragedy, triumph and the firing and rehiring of their vocalist, the four members of Mötley Crüe – Nikki Sixx (bass), Tommy Lee (drums), Mick Mars (guitar), and Vince Neil (vocals) – have survived to tell the tale. Anyone that has read their book THE DIRT knows that the band never held back as they enjoyed the splendors of their fame and fortune. They were proof that you shouldn’t really enjoy success without at least a little excess…