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…
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.
“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.
LET ME LISTEN IN ON YOU:
An EXCLUSIVE Q&A
Chris Keating, Ira Wolf Tuton and Anand Wilder
SPAZ: Your album, EROTIC RERUNS, is now available. How are you feeling about the way the album turned out and the reaction to it so far?
YEASAYER: Well, it’s always great when people tell you they love something! We’ll assume they are being honest. It is a great record after all.
The harmonica has long been a neglected instrument in Rock music. In a musical environment ruled by guitars, drums, keyboards, and vocals (including harmonies), the harmonica – AKA mouth organ – is often used as a novelty… and even then, very rarely. There are those artists who have managed to fit the harmonica into their hits – Billy Joel, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, etc. – but by and large, there aren’t many Rock musicians who proclaim themselves as first and foremost a harmonica player. However, if you’re talking about the Blues, that is a completely different story. Blues musicians known chiefly as harmonica players include James Cotton, Sonny Boy Williamson, Charlie Musselwhite, Junior Wells, Kim Wilson (Fabulous Thunderbirds), Paul Butterfield, Mark Feltham (Nine Below Zero), and many others.
STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE: STONECHILD is just about to be released. How are you feeling about the album and the reaction you’ve had to it so far?
JESCA HOOP: I feel very connected to the songs on STONECHILD. I feel that I grew as a writer through this process and the songs are communicating from a clarified place. I feel that the songs were served and protected by John Parish in his approach to producing the album. He kept the arrangements simple. Outside of my trusted comrades in art, I am honestly hesitant to pay attention to the response.
The Blues genre may have spent the last century travelling around the world, but it has remained America’s music. Born from the crust of the earth, the Blues came to life when it was introduced to the sweat of humanity and the darkness buried deep in the hearts of America’s downtrodden. While Blues Music had been around for decades, Robert Johnson’s deal with the Devil helped to propel the genre forward. In the 80 years since that deal went down at the Crossroads, Blues has remained the music of the people. It is also the foundation of practically every genre that has come since – from Folk to Country to Jazz to Rock. The Blues is part of us and we are part of the Blues.
Since the early ‘60s when The Beatles kicked open the doors, there’s been a constant flow of bands making their way from the UK, Scotland and Ireland to America. Every 10 years or so, there will be chatter and hype about a ‘new British Invasion’, but music fans are well-aware that great music has been landing on these shores for decades, and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of it stopping. For every band that achieves enormous commercial success (Beatles, The Clash, Depeche Mode, Blur, Oasis), there are dozens of other bands with that are just as worthy of your attention and hard-earned dollars. One of those bands is Ireland’s very own Two Door Cinema Club.
Up through the ‘80s, the term ‘Pop Music’ was not a derogatory term. Technically, it is shorthand for ‘Popular Music’ and didn’t refer to one particular genre. , Pop Music could refer to a Rock band that played songs with substance and melody. The Beatles are a perfect example of what one used to refer to as Pop Music makers. That term could also be applied to the teen idols and the one hit wonders like Frankie Avalon, Edison Lighthouse, and other artists known for a catchy chorus we all remember decades later. None of those artists sounded alike but they easily fell into the Pop Music category. In more recent times, Pop Music has been used to define the current state of the Top 40 – manufactured, paint-by-numbers music written by committee and enhanced by Auto-Tune. Well, I’m here to take the term ‘Pop Music’ back and apply it to artists that best exemplify what Pop Music was, is, and shall always be.