The Rock on the Range festival has just announced the lineup for its seventh year in Columbus, Ohio, and it’s a stunner. ’90s heroes Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Smashing Pumpkins will be headlining along with Korn, reunited with their former guitarist Head. And that’s just to name a few. Check out the full lineup here. Pre-sale tickets will be available from January 30 at 10 a.m. EST for $89.50, and general tickets go on sale February 1 at 10 a.m. The festival takes place May 17-19 at the Columbus Crew Stadium.
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In possibly the most pleasant exchange that has ever resulted from TMZ accosting a celebrity on the street, former Rage Against The Machine bassist Tim Commerford has shyly hinted at a possible new album from the funk metal pioneers. When asked if the defunct group were working on a new album, Commerford quietly answered, “Maybe¦maybe.” Since the band’s breakup twelve years ago, vocalist Zack de la Rocha has worked on a string of collaborations with various artists, while the remaining three Rage members “ Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello, and drummer Brad Wilk “ formed Audioslave with Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell. Though Rage have performed several festival dates since their official breakup, there has been no substantial news about a new album yet. The vague TMZ interview with Commerford provides the most information that fans will get about a new album thus far. That, and his apparent appreciation for Gucci Mane’s facial tattoos and his penchant for “removing teeth” as a fashion statement.
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The ’90s are about to face a crucial test, one that might determine if the Clintonian era even has a shot at matching the staying power of the Reagan ’80s, a decade that continues to resonate more than 20 years after it ended. Welcome back, ’90s stars Soundgarden, SWV, Garbage, Brandy, Matchbox Twenty, Green Day, the Wallflowers, Blur, Aaliyah (via creepy interloper Drake) and No Doubt.
A decade is a long time in life, and an eternity in pop music, especially when you’ve spent one in a state of virtual inactivity, as did No Doubt, the band that will release its comeback album, Push and Shove, on September 25 (the same day Green Day returns with Uno!, the first of a trilogy of albums that the rock trio will release in the coming months). When No Doubt put out its last studio album, Rock Steady, in December of 2001, George W. Bush was less than one year into his first term as President of the United States, Friends was the No. 1 show on TV, and dated acts like Shaggy, Crazy Town and Ja Rule were scoring No. 1 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100.
The world, still reeling from September 11 exactly three months earlier, had yet to hear of Barack Obama, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, iPads, iPhones and American Idol. Britney Spears was the biggest female pop star on the planet, and she was in love with Justin Timberlake, best known as heartthrob No. 1 in ‘N Sync, the world’s biggest boy band. In this post-millennial world, Rock Steady went double-platinum in the U.S. and produced three hit singles, including the Top 5 hits Hey Baby and Underneath It All. (more…)
Let’s face it, sometimes the past should stay dead. But when an awesome artist fades from popularity, their fans later wonder, Where are they now? You may not know it, but many artists you’ve loved in the past are still hard at work writing new albums or preparing to tour once more. Fortunately, you now have Second Coming to reintroduce some of your favorite acts of the last few decades and give you the scoop on what you can expect from them in the future.
THEN: The year was 1984, and, like many of their friends, Seattle residents Chris Cornell and his roommate Hiro Yamamoto decided to form a band. The singer and bassist recruited a drummer and guitar player to form a grunge rock/metal group called Soundgarden, named after a local park sculpture that made strange noises in the wind. After releasing two EPs, the band put out their first LP, Ultramega OK. The punk-infused record garnered national attention along with a GRAMMY award nomination for Best Metal Performance. Following the release of two more LPs at the dawn of the ’90s and a successful tour opening for Guns ‘n’ Roses, the band was perfectly poised for the grunge takeover . Then, in 1994, Soundgarden released Superunknown. The album’s first single “Black Hole Sun” was a huge hit. Three million copies sold and two GRAMMY Awards later, Superunknown solidified Soundgarden’s place as one of the most prominent grunge bands to date. Unfortunately, the public’s interest in grunge waned by Down on the Upside‘s release in 1996, and the group disbanded in 1997.
NOW: After the breakup, the members of Soundgarden continued to play music in separate groups; most notably, Chris Cornell formed the group Audioslave with former members of Rage Against The Machine. Cornell also had a successful solo career, for which he recorded three albums over the span of ten years. After shooting down reunion rumors for years, Soundgarden finally confirmed their reunion in 2010. Since then, they have played a few shows and festival dates, but have yet to embark on a full-fledged tour. The band has been hard at work in the studio writing their next album, their first studio album since 1996. Most recently, they contributed a song to the Avengers soundtrack, which marks their first new recording since reuniting. Look out for their new record coming later this year!
Any true 90’s rock fan knows every word of this song by heart. Let’s reminisce over the trippy video for “Black Hole Sun”…
At this point you’ve probably heard something about Scott Mescudi’s (aka rapper Kid Cudi) upcoming sideproject WZRD, his “rock” collaboration with producer Dot Da Genius. Cudi’s been hyping the release for a few months now and there have been a few scraps and snippets leaked from the new record, like the edited chunk of “Teleport 2 Me” that Cudi shared with fans through Twitter.
It might not exactly be “punk rock” as Mescudi himself refers to it, but it’s still recognizably a product of the same mind that brought the world “Day ‘n’ Nite”, “Pursuit of Happiness” and “Marijuana”. Since the music is Cudi’s first material since 2010, fans and Kid Cudi himself are pretty excited. So it was a pretty big deal when Cudi was scheduled to perform some of his unreleased WZRD material at the Heatwave Music Festival in Melbourne, Australia. Now, what happens then when a star of Kid Cudi’s standing gets his set cut short? Well, he tears the stage up a bit in rock star fashion, of course.
Though his band dutifully keeps playing after his departure in the video, shortly after Cudi leaves the stage, the venue goes dark and the show is over, much to the dismay of the kids in attendance. Alright, he didn’t quite trash the stage as much as turn over a few lights, but still! Cudi would later take to his tumblr to defend his actions, stating that, “If my set is EVER cut short at any show, im trashing the stage. Not out of anger, it takes a lot to get me furious nowadays, but out of principle. The fans always deserve a full set at all shows, especially when they spend their hard earned money on expensive tickets.” It’s hard to argue with his line of thinking, considering the astronomic prices of a lot of music festival tickets.
While the reason for Cudi’s set being cut short was never really made clear, there are often legitimate reasons behind these decisions. Kanye West experienced something similiar early last week when weather issues and technical malfunctions pushed back the start of his set by forty-five minutes. Since West was the co-headliner for that weekend of the festival, the fans and some of the other artists on the bill weren’t too pleased with how things played out. While chants from the crowd of “bullshit” are bad enough, how does that compare to the ire of Soundgardern frontman Chris Cornell? “Sounds like there’s children playing music there, retarded children, retarded as in held back. There’s no other word for it,” Cornell said, seemingly in reference to West soundcheck going on during Soundgarden’s set. But, a few hours later Cornell took to Twitter to clarify his comments. “Kanye had nothing to do with it! We love him,” Cornell tweeted, stating that his anger was directed at the festival promoters and not the rapper. All of this without comment from the usually outspoken Kanye West.
Of course, Cudder isn’t the only rapper to be tearing stuff apart on stage lately. Odd Future ringleader Tyler, the Creator is no stranger to controversy and mayhem, but he seemed to land himself in some hot water when he was arrested after a show at the Roxy in Los Angeles on charges of vandalism. Video soon surfaced of the young rapper arguing with the sound guy and subsequently thrashing some recording equipment and microphones.
Tyler was bailed out soon afterwards, and like Cudi, made a pretty compelling argument for his reaction. While trying to assist two female attendees who had gotten hurt in the crowd Tyler approached both security and the sound engineer to try to alert the venue to the situation. When neither took any action, Tyler subsequently lost his patience, hence, the “vandalism”. Tyler would go onto say that after spending time in jail he, “didn’t understand why rappers talk about jail like it’s cool.” So if there’s anything to gain from these rapper’s episodes, it’s this: it’s okay to start a little bit of ruckus, just as long as you don’t get yourself arrested. That’s just no fun.
A US Presidential election, Summer Olympics mania (London’s calling”again!), Rihanna’s film debut (in Battleship, out May 18) and the possible end of the world. Those are a few of the things I won’t be looking forward to in the coming year. Fortunately, music will offer enough thrills to distract us from all that we’d rather forget. Here’s what’s topping my 2012 anticipation list:
1. Madonna makes fiftysomething fabulous all over again. Although I’m curious to hear what Madonna does with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. on the final cut of “Gimme All Your Luvin'” when the single is released the last week of January, that’s not the main reason I’m excited about her upcoming twelfth studio album (due in late March), her first since turning fifty in 2008. “Masterpiece,” a new song featured in the Madonna-directed W.E. (which goes into wide release on February 3, two days before her Super Bowl XLVI performance) and her reunion with her Ray of Light producer William Orbit, is an achingly beautiful ballad that recalls the best of ’90s Madonna while gently proving that she can still create pop magic all on her own.
2. Madonna vs. Elton John vs. Mary J. Blige vs. Chris Cornell vs. Glenn Close (!) at the Golden Globes. Too bad the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has disqualified Madonna’s “Masterpiece” from competition at the February 27 Oscars. Why? Because it’s the second song featured during the closing credits, and eligible songs must either be in the body of the film, or the tune that plays when the credits start to roll. Oscar’s loss. The January 15 Golden Globes showdown featuring five monsters of pop, rock and soul and acting will be just as star-studded”and as tough to call”as George Clooney vs. Brad Pitt vs. Leonardo DiCaprio vs. Ryan Gosling in Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama.
Forget about dog years. Bands years are even more unforgiving. Ten of them can seem like one hundred when a group is constantly out on the road or in the studio. Luckily, the rigors of touring life haven’t dampened the spirits of Seattle-based indie rockers Minus The Bear. After writing songs all summer for the follow up to last year’s Omni, they’re embarking on a national tour to celebrate their tenth anniversary this fall. We sat down with bassist Cory Murchy to discuss the band’s favorite Seattle venues, their predilection toward remixes and what it’s like to look back on ten years of hard work.
OS: This fall you guys are playing your 10 Year Anniversary Tour. Where did you think the band would be in ten years when you began playing together?
CM: You know, when we first started playing I don’t think we had a vision far outside of just having it be something that we did as a side project. We were all in bands before and had bands going on at that time. But I will say that once we started writing songs and did get a little more serious we just wanted to do this as long as we possibly could and let the band run its course. We’ve been stoked that it’s taken us ten years so far.
OS: How do you look back on some of the earliest Minus The Bear songs, like those on Highly Refined Pirates?
CM: It’s always fun to revisit them and listen to the records all in sequence to check out where we were musically. For us, they’re little time capsules as far as what was going on at that time. Maybe it doesn’t even have to do with the song, but certain songs can remind us of certain places in our lives, which is cool. It’s kind of a retrospective of our lives. It’s neat to have that sort of marker.
On Excuse the Need, Chris Hawkes admits, I’m freaking myself out. Maybe it’s the rhythmic lunge of guitars and percussion, the distortion that singes every note. Maybe it’s Austin-based singer-songwriter’s powerhouse voice, or his bent for early grunge. All these things add to a freakishly good collection of meaty alt-rock songs”a mix of Soundgarden and STP for the modern man. The lurching guitars of Control power through to a sludgy chorus that doubles as a mantra. As a guitarist, Hawkes loves to chug, as every track will prove. Nothing To Lose is pure garage rock, with a snarl of sinewy guitars that burrow down into the groove. Likewise, Throwing Stones is a fierce rocker that’s neck-deep in swagger. Derivative is boring, but Hawkes manages to stay current while leveraging the best of ˜90s rock. And to that we can only say, freakin’ A.