amazing icon

The EditoriaList: Ten Best Drummers-turned-Singer

How do you know there’s a drummer at your door? The knocking keeps slowing down and speeding up.

How do you get him to go away? Pay for the pizza.

It’s cruel and inhumane jokes like these that surely led the following musicians to come out from behind the kit and take center stage. Please note that it was difficult and pointless to rank these artists against each other, so they are listed in no particular order.

10. Steven Tyler

Let’s not talk about what Aerosmith has become, and focus on the good times, when they made great records and rocked faces off with regularity, all while totally zonked on drugs. You know, the good times. Anyway, Tyler was and, okay, kind of still is a great frontman, but he got his start on the drums, pre-Aerosmith. While singing and songwriting were clearly his calling, he still bangs it up from time to time.

(more…)

Sound And Vision: Celebrity Feuds — Pop Is a Battlefield, World War II

“Take back Vanessa Redgrave
Take back Joe Piscopo
Take back Eddie Murphy
Give ‘em all some place to go”

” Tom Petty, “Jammin’ Me” (1987)

“Fuck Tom Petty!””Eddie Murphy

Oh, those crazy stars! What will they say next? And will they ever learn? What a tangled web they weave when they start to take pot shots at each other.

Celebrity feuds have existed since before the dawn of the pop charts. Eminem owes much of his early notoriety to cutting down to size the likes of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, ‘N Sync and Moby in videos and on record. Meanwhile, off the record (though always totally for attribution), Katy Perry has never met a fellow chart-topper she wouldn’t slag off.

But lately, stars keep colliding and disturbing the peace in the music galaxy. Liam Gallagher just filed suit against his brother Noel over the latter’s claim that Liam pulled out of a high-profile Oasis gig in 2009 due to a hangover and over comments Noel made blaming Liam for the demise of the band. But then brothers in arms have engaged in verbal”and occasionally, physical” combat since the heyday of the Kinks, which featured the dueling Davies, Ray and Dave. Chris and Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes, William and Jim Reid of the Jesus and Mary Chain, and Kings of Leon‘s Followill brothers have the battle scars to prove it.

(more…)

Riffs, Rants & Rumors: Eno's Art Rock Era On DVD

Let’s face it, Brian Eno is the kind of guy who can make you feel bad about yourself. Now, don’t blame poor old Eno, it’s not really his fault. After all, he’s not setting out deliberately to undermine anyone’s self-confidence, it’s just that he seems to get more accomplished between breakfast and lunch than many people manage in a year. That’s the way it’s been from the beginning for the seemingly tireless, quite conceivably workaholic artist. After helping Roxy Music make rock history, he embarked on an endless flurry of projects that included not only a solo career, but a host of collaborative efforts, production jobs for other artists, and the inauguration his own label”and that’s just the ’70s. From the ’80s on, Eno worked at an even harder pace (if anything) breaking new ground in electronic-oriented music pretty much every time he blinked, but the new documentary Brian Eno 1971-1977: The Man Who Fell To Earth focuses exclusively on Eno’s ’70s “rock” period, presenting a fascinating portrait of an artist in perpetual motion.

As it’s title indicates, the documentary” which is set for a DVD release on May 17 through MVD Entertainment Group”begins with Eno the longhaired, cosmetically enhanced, outrageously attired glam-rock provocateur, presenting a striking figure behind his synthesizer as he electronically treated the sounds of the other musicians in the band and generated some groundbreaking tones of his own. Eno’s solo on Roxy’s “Editions of You,” to name just one, remains one of the greatest, most gloriously unhinged synthesizer solos in all of rock and roll. From there the in-depth, two-and-a-half-hour documentary does a laudable job of following the twists and turns of Eno’s mind-boggling mid-’70s evolution, incorporating commentary from critics, collaborators and in just a couple of instances, Eno himself.

Before turning his attention more exclusively to electronic music and ambient textures”though the groundwork he laid for that in his duo albums with Robert Fripp and his solo release Discreet Music is covered here as well”Eno released four solo albums that still stand apart from anything else ever to come under the umbrella of “rock.” If pressed, you’d be within your rights to label them art-rock, especially since they include contributions from members of King Crimson, Genesis, Matching Mole and of course Roxy Music, among others, but Eno’s blend of the conceptual and the instinctual was unprecedented and still sounds entirely sui generis today. The film sheds some light on the process behind these massively influential works, which have informed the output of everyone from LCD Soundsystem to Moby. It also examines Eno’s equally seminal contributions to Bowie‘s “Berlin trilogy” of Low, Heroes and Lodger, his championing of avant-garde music through the establishment of his trailblazing Obscure Records imprint, his work with krautrockers Harmonia and his production of albums by John Cale and Ultravox, to name just a few items on Eno’s ’70s CV.

It just so happens that The Man Who Fell To Earth arrives at a time when Eno is ramping up for a new release, Drums Between the Bells, set to drop in July on Warp Records, but then, it probably would have been difficult for the DVD to appear at a point when there wasn’t a new Eno project in the offing. Such is the continuing prolific nature of Eno’s output, with more accomplishments being added to the dossier all the time, but if you want a thoughtful, comprehensive look at the works that Eno’s legend was built on, look into this lovingly-detailed doc.

Fan Files: OurStage Fan Gets Hooked Up With Free Tickets To NMS

It all started with a tweet. These days all you need is a little social media savvy and some good luck to score free stuff on the Internet. That’s how the cookie crumbled for Becky Clawson, who scored free tickets to this year’s New Music Seminar in Los Angeles, just for liking yours truly on Facebook. A friend had entered the sweepstakes and reposted the info on Twitter, recalls Clawson. I thought, Nobody actually wins these things (well, I mean, of course someone does… but no one I know ever does), but what the heck. It sounded like a great opportunity and was super easy to enter.

Just like that Clawson was entered into the New Music Seminar Live At The Roxy Sweepstakes on OurStage. It turns out that fortune would go on to smile on Clawson, as she was selected from among the many to be the recipient of the sweepstakes Grand Prize. Clawson attended the 2011 NMS conference in Los Angeles, and was kind enough to share her experience with us. Read on to hear more about her story, and be sure to check out the OurStage fan competition page, where you can get the scoop on more ways to snag more fan prizes from OurStage. For the NMS artist perspective, be sure to scope our interview with The Well Reds, winners of the New Music Seminar Live At The Roxy Competition.

OS: What was the vibe like at the New Music Seminar and The Roxy?

BC: The vibe at NMS was one of wide-eyed enthusiasm and anticipation. Many of those who attended seemed to be on a mission to complete the puzzle, so to speak. Everyone I met was eager to learn from the pros (the panelists) and discover the tools that would strengthen their product and business strategy and propel their career to new levels. At the same time, there was a real sense of camaraderie” the unspoken “we’re all here for the same reason” for the love of music; let’s support each other.”

OS: What are some of the ways that you discover new music on the Internet? Did attending the New Music Seminar give you some new places look?

BC: Pandora and Last.fm were once my primary online music discovery tools, but increasingly, Facebook has taken the lead, allowing friends to easily share audio and videos. I’d spent a bit of time browsing OurStage in the past, but after learning more about the company at Ben Campbell’s talk at the New Music Seminar, I’m eager to get involved with voting on the site to bring up-and-coming artists into the spotlight and connecting them with great opportunities and exposure.

OS: Was there a particular speaker at the seminar who stood out to you?

BC: It would be hard to pick just one speaker who topped the rest, so I’ll tell you about a couple of the moments that stood out for me.

RuPaul, while facilitating a discussion on creating one’s personal brand, asked Moby where he got his personal style. Moby, without hesitation, explained, “I grew up in a crack neighborhood. And I learned that if I dressed like I was homeless, I was less likely to get mugged.” RuPaul was totally taken off guard. The point? If your music is good, it will do the talking. Even if you look homeless.

Angela Hunte, co-writer of “Empire State of Mind”, told attendees that after the song’s success, a lot of people asked her, “So now that you know the secret (to writing a huge hit), when are you going to write the next ‘Empire State of Mind’?” or suggested, “Do that again.” But she replied, “I already did that. I’m not writing another ‘Empire State of Mind’. I’m on to the next thing ”something different”something better.” And I thought, “What a different music marketplace this would be, if everyone wrote that way instead of formulating hits.” Sounds magical.

OS: Did you get to see winning OurStage band The Well Reds perform at the VIP party? What did you think of their set?

BC: I promise I’m not simply trying to tell you what you want to hear when I say that The Well Reds were my favorite act I saw at the NMS after-parties. I’m a sucker for a well-dressed rock and roll band playing original and well-written songs you can shake your hips to. No over-the-top glam. No cheese”ok, so there’s always a little cheese when singing about the heart, but it’s good cheese. Overall, just solid rock most of us soul-bearing young adults can relate to.

Pop in Advertising

The more things change in the music industry, the more one thing in particular stays the same: Radio remains as integral to star- and hit-making as it was back in the days when Bill Haley & His Comets first rocked around the clock. Video may have killed the radio star in the 1980s, but today”if you get the sound and vision right”you still could live long on radio, and YouTube too.

Nowadays, though, even if you don’t look like Katy Perry or Rihanna”and/or if your sound doesn’t quite fit radio’s increasingly slender formats”there are other options. Ten years ago, Moby became a superstar”mining multi-platinum with his Play album”despite having virtually no radio airplay and looking nothing like a traditional pop idol, after licensing every single track on the CD to movies, TV shows and commercials. By the time “South Side” became a bonafide radio hit, making it all the way to No. 14 in 2001, nearly two years after Play‘s release, it was gravy. The following year, Moby’s fellow electronica act, Dirty Vegas, scored a No. 14 hit of its own after “Days Go By” popped up in a Mitsubishi Eclipse TV commercial.

Music Meets Advertising in New Iva Furhlingova / ghd haircare combo Music Video /Ad Spot by RKCR/Y&R and Floria Sigismondi

Hollywood and Madison Avenue have borrowed from pop for years (for a price), often using well-known tracks by established artists, but recently, they’ve been selling new music, and up-and-coming acts (along with their own product) like never before. Some agencies are even launching their own labels, as is the case with RKCR/ Y&R. In 2008, music placement in ads helped M.I.A. land an unlikely Top 10 hit after “Paper Planes” was cast in the trailer for the film Pineapple Express. Coldplay‘s “Viva la Vida,” the Ting Tings “Shut Up and Let Me Go” and Mary J. Blige‘s “Work That” all became chart hits after starting life in iTunes commercials, and the chart life span of Yael Naim’s “New Soul” was extended by it’s use in an Apple MacBook Air TV ad.

Sade enjoyed her biggest hit single in 20 years in January when “Soldier of Love” became as much a beneficiary of the TV promos for the final season of Lost as the show itself. Then along came Britain’s Florence and the Machine, virtually unknown in the US until the single “Dog Days Are Over” upstaged Julia Roberts in the trailer for Eat Pray Love. That massive exposure raised Florence’s profile before a plum gig performing the song on the MTV Video Music Awards in September helped the single surge to No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and boosted its parent album, Lungs, to No. 14. (What is it about that number?)

Meanwhile, Brit band Muse also has benefited from heavy trailer  action and owes much of its high US profile to the overuse of its music in movies (in particular, the Twilight series), trailers and TV promos, such as the newly released global TV campaign for Virgin Atlantic Airways and the much touted 2010 Super Bowl Google spot. “Map of the Problematique” has featured in ads for Prison Break, The Children of Men and the upcoming Angelina Jolie/Johnny Depp film The Tourist, and “Uprising” popped up earlier this year in the trailer for Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz’s Knight and Day.

Rihanna’s “Rockstar 101″  saw increased sales on iTunes and a surge in popularity after being featured in a commercial for MTV’s Video Music Awards as well as becoming the soundtrack for the promos of the  CW’s new show Nikita. Who’ll be next? Christina Aguilera could use Hollywood’s help now that radio appears to be totally over her. But even if her debut film, Burlesque, flops when it opens on November 24th, maybe the studio will stick her new single in the next trailer and watch both song and star soar [soundtrack hits stores November 16th].

By Jeremy Helligar

Jeremy Helligar is a former staff writer for People, Teen People, Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly, who now writes about celebrities and pop culture from his couch in Buenos Aires.