Coachella has released the official line up for the 2013 festival. Among the headliners are Blur, The Stone Roses, Phoenix, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. But that’s just the beginning of a very long (and very awesome) list of bands slated to play this year’s event.
Other noteable acts include The Postal Service, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lou Reed, Passion Pit, Of Monsters and Men, Alt-J, Dropkick Murphys, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Social Distortion, and the Lumineers. Check out the full lineup after the jump, and be sure to get your tickets beginning Jan. 29 at 10am PST. (more…)
You didn’t think RR&R would torture you with anything as tedious as another year-end Best-of list, did you? Granted, we do have a piece in the works that will inform you of some excellent albums you might have missed along the way, but that’s as close as we’re willing to get. Instead, this time around we’ll simply take stock of both the magic moments and the missteps that the last twelve months have brought us”works that delivered delight and dismay in equal measure.
Old Punks Never Die
Wire “ Red Barked Tree
As the original post-punk outfit, Wire has always lived or died by how well they balanced their arty side with their edgy side. Their discography isn’t without its share of miscalculations in that area, but thirty-four years down the line from their debut album, this one is right on the money.
Gang of Four – Content
The Gang were right on the heels of Wire in first-gen U.K. post-punk, and were just as groundbreaking, but their twenty-first century revitalization has been marred by some dodgy moves. First they re-recorded a batch of their classics on 2005’s Return the Gift, and then they made matters worse with this irksome outing, which is considerably more annoying than the output of the worst third-hand Go4 copyists.
Social Distortion – Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes
True survivors, old-school SoCal punks Social Distortion have been through every rock & roll tribulation”death, drugs, you name it (How did VH1’s Behind the Music miss these guys?)”but not only are they still going strong, they added some extra bluesy swing and Stonesy swagger to their latest.
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Riffs, Rants & Rumors, a new weekly column where we’ll survey the sweet and the sour, the sublime and the ridiculous, the tragic and the triumphal, from all across the rock and roll landscape. To kick things off, we caught singer Mike Ness for a conversation about his long-lived band, Social Distortion, who have spent the last three decades becoming punk legends by combining their hardcore roar with country, rockabilly and other influences. Social D are touring from now through March in support of a brand new album, Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, that puts a well-directed twist on the LA punk trailblazers’ signature sound.
A while back, the band had stated that their next project would be a radical departure, an acoustic-based album. “I wanted to take some older songs and recreate them in an acoustic, more intimate type of setting,” explains Ness. “In our live set right now we take a song like ‘Cold Feelings’ and slow it down, and we have acoustic guitars and an accordion¦it’s real quiet and haunting. I wanted to record that way with the same [Social Distortion] songs that you’ve been listening to for years, but a different approach to them.” Ultimately, though, the ever-increasing amount of time since the last album, 2004’s Sex, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll, led to a different plan. “That would have been great maybe two years after the last LP. But because so much time had gone by, that got put on the back burner. It wasn’t that we changed our minds, it’s just that we haven’t gotten around to it yet.”
Instead, Ness and company went to work on an album full of raw, rocking energy that pays tribute to the band’s ’70s punk roots while still tossing in the country flavors that havebecome a Social Distortion trademark. For instance, there’s a cover of Hank Williams’ bleak classic “Alone and Forsaken” that’s given a powerful, punky update. “When I heard [the original], it just slayed me,” says Ness, “That’s how I always pick the covers. It’s a song I’ve been playing alone in my house for five or ten years, now it’s time to take it to the stage.” Meanwhile, Ness describes his own “Bakersfield” as being lyrically “an homage to Buck Owens, but musically it’s an homage to the Stones.”
So how did a bunch of young punks at the start of the ’80s wind up introducing rootsy elements into their music in the first place? “My mom had the Smithsonian Folkways set, my dad had Johnny Cash, and The Dillards, and bluegrass, and Merle Haggard,” reveals Ness. “By the time I got into punk, when I was 17 years old, I couldn’t sit through a five-minute Muddy Waters song, I didn’t have the patience. I wanted something fast, hard, and loud to get me revved up for the night ahead, of craziness.” But by the time Social Distortion cut 1988’s Prison Bound, Ness had come back around to those earthy sounds. “That’s when I was really just painting houses for a living, listening to oldies all day long on the radio, and just really felt like this is where it all began.”
Eventually, Ness would earn the admiration of another artist with deep roots in Americana”Bruce Springsteen. Over the last several years, Ness and The Boss have popped up at each other’s shows, joining in on each other’s songs. How did this friendship begin? “In 1992, when Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell came out, I believe he was quoted in Rolling Stone magazine [saying] that he thought that was the record of the year or something like that. It seems like the people I gravitate to are the storytellers, whether it’s Woody Guthrie or Johnny Cash or Hank Williams, people who tell stories in their music, and he’s absolutely one of them.”
So does Ness still consider the Social Distortion of Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes to be a punk band? “From my perspective, I look at the word ˜punk’ as the beginning of something. Ultimately that’s what it was. It was the beginning of what is now. So that’s why I say yes, I still consider us a punk band. It’s as much a part of us as anything. I do think [punk] was kind of a runaway train. It was a revolution, but unlike the revolution of the ˜60s, at least the hippies kind of had an objective and a goal, where punk was very narcissistic. At least the hippies kind of got off their ass and did stuff. Punks just thought you had to destroy everything, with no thought into the future”you can’t just destroy, you’ve gotta have a plan to do something better.”
Social Distortion US tour dates:
1/27 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Palladium – SOLD OUT
1/28 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Palladium – SOLD OUT
1/29 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Palladium – SOLD OUT
1/31 – Modesto, CA – Centre Plaza
2/1 – Davis, CA – Davis Freeborn Hall
2/3 – San Francisco, CA – The Warfield
2/4 – San Francisco, CA – The Warfield
2/8 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom – SOLD OUT
2/9 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
2/11 – Seattle, WA – Showbox SoDo
2/12 – Seattle, WA – Showbox SoDo – SOLD OUT
2/15 – Reno, NV – Grand Sierra Theatre
2/16 – Fresno, CA – EOC Gym Events Center
2/19 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues – SOLD OUT
2/20 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues – SOLD OUT
The flurry of activity currently surrounding legendary Motí¶rhead frontman/rock & roll survivor Lemmy (Ian Kilmister if you’re writing him a check) has lately put the man with the most famous mole and muttonchops in the music biz under a white-hot spotlight. With a documentary, a new Motí¶rhead album (drops today!) and a tour all in the offing, the man who made metal cool” in the heyday of hardcore, punks nicknamed Motí¶rhead the only metal band that matters” is getting so much exposure one almost expects to find him helming his own reality show (HBO, are you listening?).
Lest we forget, though, Lemmy traveled a long, hard road to the icon status he enjoys today. Like a lot of first-generation metal men, he started out in psychedelia”after a short stint humping gear for the Jimi Hendrix Experience in England, he worked with late-˜60s UK psych outfit Sam Gopal. His first taste of fame came in the early ˜70s with space-rock cult heroes Hawkwind, but when he formed Motí¶rhead” remember, it’s not metal without an umlaut”in 1975, his place in heavy-rock history was assured. The grizzled guardian of all things bone-crunching turned 65 on Christmas Eve, but the word retirement doesn’t seem to be in his vocabulary.
The subtitle of the new documentary Lemmy ” 49% Motherf**ker, 51% Son of a Bitch” says it all about the man whose attitude is as uncompromising as his face-melting music. The disparate cast of characters who pop up to chime in on the topic of Lemmy’s uncontested awesomeness is a testament to Motí¶rhead’s outsized appeal; everybody from Ozzy and Metallica to Clash axeman Mick Jones and New Order’s Peter Hook is part of the onscreen cheering section. The film, directed by Greg Oliver and Wes Orshoski “ will be wending its way around the country over the next couple of months, bringing some heavy metal heft to the art-house circuit, and the double-disc DVD version with a whopping three hours of extra features is unleashed on February 15.
But don’t let the historical perspective that comes with the rockumentary treatment lead you to believe that the Motí¶rhead story is a closed book. February 8th sees the unveiling of The World Is Yours, produced by Cameron Webb, who tellingly has overseen as many punk outings (Social Distortion, Pennywise) as heavy-rock recordings. Full of the blazing riffs and need-for-speed demon drumming that have become the band’s trademarks”not to mention Lemmy’s raw-throated roar and apocalyptic bass lines”the album shows that even after three-and-a-half decades of destruction, the Motí¶rhead machine grinds on relentlessly. If any further proof of that fact is required, Lemmy, Phil Campbell, and Mikkey Dee are storming stages from Austin to Asbury Park throughout January and February to hammer the point home. Of course, if you want to have a little Lemmy you can call your very own, you can always snap up a collectible action figure cast in Mr. Kilmister’s unmistakable image (Yes, for real).