Rumors have been circulating that rock legends ACÏŸDC may be retiring after an incredible 40-year career due to the deteriorating health of guitarist, singer, and songwriter Malcolm Young. At first it was reported that Young, whose brother Angus is the lead guitarist and more public face of the band, was stricken with terminal cancer, but word is now that he actually suffered a stroke, which has left a blod clot in his brain. Note that this is all unconfirmed. The effects of a stroke can vary wildly from patient to patient and Young could certainly have a near-full recovery, but even in that case, it seems unlikely that he would continue the rigorous schedule of a touring rock band. A press conference is expected tomorrow.
What can be said about ACÏŸDC? They have been the world’s premier hard rock band for my entire life. Just when I was ready to write them off, I happened to catch them a couple of years ago and was absolutely blown away by their performance. They survived the death of their iconic lead singer, Bon Scott, only to come back with the landmark Back In Black record, continuing their career with a string of hits and an incredibly loyal fan base that renewed itself each year. We wish them the best. (h/t The Orstrahyun)
One of the best Malcolm vocals:
Philly-based indie rock outfit Free Energy have been bringing classic rock riffs back since the mid 2000s, when three-fifths of their members were part of Minnesota hometown heroes Hockey Night. With Love Sign, the band’s follow-up to their 2010 release Stuck on Nothing, Free Energy is channeling a whole new decade to expand on their ’70s sound. We talked to lead singer Paul Sprangers about the ’80s influences on the new album, his affinity for certain recurring phrases in his lyrics, and what makes the idea of rebellion so appealing.
OS: How did the band approach writing the new material compared to Stuck on Nothing?
Paul Sprangers: Scott and I demoed songs together, like the last record, but this time we were able to bring the songs to the band, work on arrangements, then re-demo, sometimes repeating and refining the process many times. Then the songs would undergo more arranging with John Agnello so we were able to spend more time refining the songs and letting them ferment. We also had a clearer vision of the production aesthetic going in, partly because of our experience working with James, and also because we had been listening to so much mid-80s music in the last 5 years. INXS, Def Leppard, Peter Gabriel, AC/DC, The Bangles, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Ocean. John Agnello worked on the first Outfield record, and a Cyndi Lauper record, so those were two huge sonic reference points. (more…)
Fans can be forgiven if they thought the Swedish garage rockers The Hives had faded away. In truth, the band’s five-year absence was spent making their 5th studio album Lex Hives that was just released in the U.S. and immediately caught the ears of critics throughout the world including those at Rolling Stone magazine. The album’s first single Go Right Ahead, is full of bold riffs, blunt hooks, [and] snappy beats wrote a critic for the Stone reflecting the general critical consensus of the entire album.
But the recorded music is only part of the story for the Swedish band. Always known as a take-no-prisoners unit, the group left critics and fans breathless with their high-energy shows at the recent Coachella festival. No small feat when you consider Coachella held the exact sameevent ”down to the same set lists from the same bands at the same times” “ on two consecutive weekends. [Pelle] Almqvist is still one of rock’s most engaging front men”bringing to mind a young Mick Jagger with the way he struts around the stage with his hands on his hips before suddenly leaping in the air with a scissor kick, wrote a critic for the Los Angeles Times after the festival.
Just before The Hives kicked off the band’s U.S. tour with a sold-out show in Washington, D.C. on June 19, the high-flying front man Almqvist took time to talk to OurStage about Coachella, Lex Hives, and more.
OS: We heard you killed both weekends at Coachella. How was it for you?
PA: Coachella was fun. It was unorthodox to say the least. I’m really glad Coachella booked us when we didn’t have a record done. We knew that if you put us in front of a crowd, it would work. It was great.
OS: Did you have any concerns about replicating your show?
PA: No, it wasn’t weird for us. My feeling was sort of, Isn’t it weird for fans going into the second weekend if they know about the Tupac hologram? If you know it will be there, isn’t that weird?” To me, that would have been kind of a bummer but hey, it went well. It was pretty great both weekends.
Comprised of brothers Nic (vocals/guitar) and Chris Cester (drums), along with lead guitarist Cameron Muncey and bassist Mark Wilson, Jet came up through the Melbourne music scene, influenced by both British Invasion classic rock and Australian indie rock stalwarts like You Am I. In the wake of the garage rock revival, which saw bands like The Hives, The Datsuns, and fellow Aussies The Vines rise to prominence, Jet signed with Elektra Records, which released Get Born in 2003. That album spawned the smash single Are You Gonna Be My Girl, a song that synthesized the band’s major influences like The Stooges and AC/DC.
That the band wore their influences on their sleeve diminished their standing with some critics, but Jet continued to find success, having built a large and enthusiastic fan base. While they did not again reach the heights of Are You Gonna Be My Girl, they released Shine On (Atlantic) in 2006 and Shaka Rock (EMI) in 2009. The former album went platinum in Australia and Gold in the UK, while their final record went gold in Australia.
On their website, the band posted a simple farewell to fans:
After many successful years of writing, recording and touring we wish to announce our discontinuation as a group. From the many pubs, theatres, stadiums and festivals all across the world it was the fans that made our amazing story possible and we wish to thank them all. Thank you, and goodnight.
Bands are hard to keep together. People fight, quit, rejoin, remember, quit again, die and so forth. Sometimes that band member is so integral to the music that it’s pointless to go on”some bands realize this and pack it in. But often, the remaining members don’t want to give it up. Here is the good, the bad and the ‘meh’ of some big, post-departure acts.
The Rolling Stones
Thank you, Jeebus, that The Stones kept it going after the 1969 departure and subsequent death of band founder Brian Jones (but couldn’t they have stopped after 1981’s Tattoo You, oh mighty Jeebus?). Jones’ contributions to the band are not to be discounted, but by the time he left, he had been marginalized”for better or worse”by the Jagger-Richards power team (and by most accounts, by manager Andrew Loog Oldham, not to mention by booze and drugs). The Stones went on to produce some of their greatest work.
While some people swear by Syd Barrett-era Floyd, the mental unraveling and eventual canning of the former frontman heralded one of rock’s greatest and most unlikely metamorphoses. With Roger Waters taking the pole position (and with able assistance from Barrett’s replacement, David Gilmour), the band slowly shed their psych-pop identity in favor of spaced-out stadium rock.