SXSW Add 600 Bands To Line Up

Following last month’s South By Southwest announcement that former Foo Fighters frontman, Dave Grohl would be the festival’s keynote speaker, SXSW has now announced an enormous wave of new bands that will play the 2013 dates in Austin, TX from March 8 through March 17.

The new line up includes Third Eye Blind, The Airborne Toxic Event, Alien Ant Farm, The Dangerous Summer, and The Joy Formidable. Check out the full line up right here.

If you like Foo Fighters, check out OurStage artist Europa.

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Transit Cover Third Eye Blind

Boston pop-punk band Transit have been getting really into acoustic performances this year, having performed on the Acoustic Basement stage almost every day at the Vans Warped Tour this past summer. The unplugged renditions of their own songs were incredibly well-received by fans and newcomers,  as were the few covers that they played.

Today the band released a video of themselves covering one of their “personal favorite” songs, “Motorcycle Drive By” by Third Eye Blind. Filmed and recorded at Maximum Sound Studios near Boston, MA, this is a heartfelt rendition that fits well with the band’s sound, showing where some of their inspiration comes from. Check out the video below:

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Exclusive Q and A: Transit Talk Boston Band Scene & Their First Warped Experience

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsAfter building up a sizable fanbase through several years of steadily touring and releasing numerous albums, Boston-based Transit finally scored a spot on the Vans Warped Tour this summer. It’s rare for first-time bands to play at every stop on the tour, but Transit are no strangers to the road. After Warped is over, they’ll be heading off to Australia, and then casually jaunting over to the U.K. for a string of October dates. We caught up with guitarist Tim Landers at their Mansfield, Mass. Warped Tour stop to chat about the band’s New England roots, influences, and what it was like to grow up as a pop-punk kid in a metalcore world.

OS: It’s the first time on Warped Tour for you guys. How has it been? Have there been particular stops that have stood out so far?

TL: It’s been awesome. Our reception has been better than we could have imagined or hoped for, especially given that we’re doing two sets a day. We get to play as many songs as we really want to. We can do some acoustic, some electric, and change it up. That’s been really cool. All of the shows have been great, but a lot of the California ones have stood out. We just didn’t expect the reactions here to be as good as they were. Playing California’s always a good time, but these were great.

OS: And is there any extra excitement about the Mansfield date, as it’s kind of a hometown show for you guys?

TL: It’s so good to be back. It’s funny, because we don’t even get to go back to our houses or anything, but just being in Massachusetts feels good and it’s great to see friends and family. Where you’re from is the best place to play, obviously. We haven’t played our main set yet today, but our acoustic set was the best of the tour, so I just can’t wait.

OS: Like you guys, OurStage is a Boston-based operation. Could you talk about your experience starting out as a band around here?

TL: I could go on for days. I mean, when I started going to shows it was all metalcore bands. They all sounded like Poison The Well, and stuff like that. There was just so much of it. I remember when I first started playing a decent amount of shows, it was me and our drummer Daniel. We played in a pop-punk band, but when we played a lot of shows around the area we’d always be playing with metalcore bands and hardcore bands, which was cool. It was just what we grew up on. And then I think we all just got really frustrated because every band and every show was exactly the same and they were all trying to do the same thing. The reason why we started Transit was to do something that was different. We all loved bands like Saves The Day and Braid, and we wanted to apply their style to the band that we started. But the music scene in Boston is always changing, and it’s never the same thing. It went through this very hardcore phase, and now there aren’t even many hardcore bands in Boston.  (more…)

Q&A with Third Eye Blind

“Rock from the 1990’s” is more than a simple indication of when an particular album or song was released, it’s a genre designation. Bands like The Gin Blossoms, The Wallflowers and Third Eye Blind were synonymous with this alt/pop aesthetic. The latter was one of the most notable pop/rock bands to come out of the era. With songs like “Jumper,” “How’s It Gonna Be” and “Semi-Charmed Life” on the Billboard Alternative and Top 100 charts, the band’s self-titled album put them on the map. Over the past five years or so, Third Eye Blind has enjoyed a resurgence in alternative pop rock popularity by staying busy in the college circuit while staying true to their sound. Through all the ups an downs, the band seems to be content to let the industry classify them, never claiming any specific genre as their own. The band’s latest full-length release, Ursa Major, introduces the next chapter in 3EB’s recording career. Originally intended as the first half of a two-CD series, also including Ursa Minor, the album contains upbeat arrangements, rapid-fire vocals and in-your-face lyrical topics that Third Eye Blind fans have come to expect. Third Eye Blind drummer Brad Hargreaves sat down with OurStage to discuss songwriting, genre reception, the band’s latest release and touring schedule (including this year’s Bamboozle Roadshow).

OS: From songwriting to arrangement and finally completion, how does a typical Third Eye Blind song come to fruition?

BH: Stephan will bring in some pretty well fleshed out songs, or we jam and come up with ideas.  Most of the band collaboration happens  at sound check.

OS: Many of your songs contain lyrics that deal with heavy topics (i.e. “Slow Motion” or “Semi Charmed Life”). How does the band fit these lyrics into such catchy (or in some cases upbeat) songs?

BH: “Slow Motion” is not particularly upbeat but we have songs that do have somewhat of a dichotomy lyrically and musically. It’s just something we gravitated towards from the beginning and I don’t know why. I remember hearing that “Semi Charmed Life” sounds like what meth feels like.  I wouldn’t know.

OS: If you had to name one artist from whom you take the most influence, who would it be?

BH: Led Zeppelin and  John Bonham in particular.

OS: Much of your popularity in the last couple years can be credited to the college demographic. Why do you think this demographic relates to your songs?

BH: I really don’t know.  We write songs about underdogs and misfits. I think younger people more than anybody can’t relate to that.

OS: Several of the songs on your latest release Ursa Major seem to have the same pop feel as your earlier releases. How is it, then, that you have more recently been defined as more of an alternative band rather than a pop act?

BH: When we first came out we were the poster children of alternative music.  We won a billboard music award for alternative song of the year.  I would argue that there is not another more subversive band lyrically with our success.  Alternative, pop, rock, indie; those terms have both nothing and everything to do with us now but we don’t think in those terms.

OS: When is Ursa Minor expected to be released and what is the connection between this album and Ursa Major?

BH: We are tracking in July after the Bamboozle Road Show tour and some of the songs will be ones that did not fit on Ursa Major.  We have been writing more lately so this next album may reveal itself to be something more unrelated to Ursa Major than we anticipated.

OS: How is Third Eye Blind received in foreign shows (such as the tour in Japan you’ve been doing), versus how you’re received in recent US shows like the tour of colleges you did last year?

BH: I am actually typing this on a bullet train in Japan as we speak. Why can’t the US have 300 mph trains? We are really lucky to have a lot of fans around the world.  Audiences react to music differently depending on the country and culture but that just makes it more interesting.

OS: Having played the Bamboozle Festival last year and headlining the Road Show this year, how do you fit in with this Alternative crowd?

BH: Again, I don’t even know what that term really means but I do know that we have a younger audience now than at anytime in our career.  If being younger makes them more alternative, great. I can’t wait to get out there and throw down.

Third Eye Blind just finished the Bamboozle road show dates. Check them out in Columbia, Maryland on September 18, 2010, and stay tuned for the upcoming release of Ursa Minor.

iRock: Big Birthday Bash!

Well, it’s that time of year again to celebrate a great summer birthday. Today (coincidently) is that wondrous day that I was born on, so what better way to ring in a new year than a birthday playlist! So that’s the idea behind this week’s iRock post, a playlist of bands that I’ve enjoyed and listened to on OurStage over the past 6 months that I’d want to play at my Big Birthday Bash! or simply artists that I think would have a great time partying with and hanging out with for a day.

Since I’m a huge fan of the rock genre (and all of it’s sub genres for the most part) there are many greats that I’d love to have play my party like Foo Fighters, Third Eye Blind, The Clash, The Strokes, Michael Franti, Green Day, The Offspring, maybe even a little Tommy Lee drum solo¦ well you get the point I hope. Since I’m not made of money and don’t have one of those awesome money trees to afford huge names like that, I’d love to gather a group of underground independent artists that hold their own just like the aforementioned heavyweights.

As you listen through the playlist you’ll see many of the artists that have a lot of influence from many large rock acts over the decades. Begin with a group called Europa who feature a vocalist that is a chip off the shoulder of Dave Grohl, don’t believe me? Listen to it. From there we’d keep the momentum moving with some I Fight Dragons (awesome Nintendo rock group) to The Days The Nights who hit hard with a punchy guitar riff and excellent vocal melodies. Throw in The Worsties in the mix for some feisty rock n’ roll that blends many decades of punk rock together into a glitter glam explosion. To add some variety to the mix next few artists Junebug, Brantley, City City bring in many varities of indie rock with breakdowns that’ll get your head bobbing and feet moving. For some fun I threw in Gills And Wings who share many influences of the previous bands but with a twinge of Queen and The Killers to their sound. As the night comes to an end, Shotgun Crackers track Runner Runner is right on target to bring the momentum back up, (and of course as we know closer to the end of parties we like to have some fun). And to end the night with one of the most fitting songs for the occasion, The Girlfriend Season with the song You Gotta (Live While You’re Young). How true that is!

Well there you have it, my Big Birthday Bash playlist! Maybe one day this will actually happen and you better believe you’re all invited to partake in the festivities.

Until next time iRockers!