Sing-Along With The Dead Daisies

THE DEAD DAISIES

THE DEAD DAISIES; press photo

The Dead Daisies, a virtual cornucopia of musicians from 70s and 80s rock bands, are finally peddling their songs with headlining shows around the U.S. stopping at El Rey Theatre Aug. 25 and House of Blues/San Diego Aug. 26.

Founded by songwriter / guitarist David Lowy in 2012, the musical collective currently includes vocalist John Corabi (Mötley Crüe / Union), bassist Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy / Whitesnake), drummer Brian Tichy (Whitesnake / Billy Idol) and lead guitarist Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake / Dio).

Although the inspiration for the band name may seem a bit morbid, (it came about when the original lead singer discovered he had heart issues and a doctor said, “you got to start taking care of yourself or you’re gonna be pushing up daisies”), the music and live show are all about having fun.

“The thing is, when you listen to a studio record you check out the songs and it’s all about the songs,” Aldrich reasoned. “But, when you hear a live record you really get to know the personality of the band behind the songs.

“We have a lot of fun and that’s what our show is all about, having fun together with the audience, the people involved in the show, singing with us. We definitely have a lot of interaction with the crowd. It’s fun.”

THE DEAD DAISIES

THE DEAD DAISIES; press photo

As the newest member of the group, joining a year ago, Aldrich hit the ground running contributing to both a studio album and a live album, while also playing over 100 shows around the world.

“We jumped right into writing the last studio record and then we toured a lot last year,” Aldrich said.

“While we were on tour it got to the point where we were just really kind of firing on all cylinders and decided to record and then ultimately release the live stuff. So, it’s been a whirlwind but it’s good.”

The band co-wrote Make Some Noise together, something Aldrich discovered he really enjoys. As a member of Whitesnake, he and David Coverdale wrote over 30 songs together, spending weeks coming up with stuff and making decisions before giving it to the rest of the band.

“But it’s actually easier when you have five people together plus a producer,” Aldrich admits. “Everyone has a vested interest in the musical ideas so everyone puts their best forth and then the producer basically says, ‘I like this, this, this and this…’

“When there’s more people involved and everyone is interested in it and everyone is part of the band it makes for a good product.”

The live setlist primarily features songs that were penned once Aldrich joined the group but, there are a couple of songs from Revolucion and a song from the self-titled debut album which originally featured Slash, as well as a few rock-n-roll covers.

One of Aldrich’s favorite songs to play live is “The Last Time I Saw the Sun”.

“It’s a song that I do a slide tuning for and it’s just got a good groove to it,” Aldrich noted. “It’s got a nice kind of rock-n-roll sing-along chorus. But I also like “Make Some Noise”, too, because it’s really simple and people definitely respond to it.

“But we basically are supporting the live record. We want people to go away and when they hear the record they go, ‘oh that’s how the night went for me, too. It was a fun, sing-along. I remember the set’.”

The guys in the band were all friends before they started working together and get along great. They hang out together on the road, eat together, joke around a lot, and give each other space when needed.

“Everybody has different things they’re into, for example, Brian Tichy has to find a Starbucks coffee or else it could ruin his day,” Aldrich chuckled. “Fortunately, Starbucks is pretty much everywhere.

“We were in Argentina and for some reason the map on the phone would say there was a Starbucks and we would walk up to it but there wouldn’t be one, it would be some other coffee place. We didn’t want other coffee, we wanted Starbucks.

“So, we kept walking. We walked for miles and miles for probably an hour and a half. I don’t know how many miles, but we walked. We kept getting directions, ‘it’s just around the corner’. Finally, we found it and we took a picture. It was raining and we took a picture of us looking triumphant when we found the Starbucks.”

Be sure to get your tickets and come out to support The Dead Daisies on one of their first headlining shows in the U.S.!

The Alarm Summer In America

THE ALARM

THE ALARM play The Casbah Aug 15, The Coach House Aug 16, The Canyon Aug 17; press photo

The Alarm have been crazy busy in America this summer with a ton of live shows including dates on Vans Warped Tour as well as their own headlining gigs not to mention a new documentary.

“It’s great, we love being on tour and playing our music,” founding member, Mike Peters said. “We’re lucky to be alive and playing music in 2017.”

With a multitude of dates in SoCal such as The Casbah Aug. 15 and The Canyon Aug. 17, it’s The Coach House on Aug 16 that Peters has a great affinity with in Orange County.

“It’s a special place in some ways ‘cause it’s where the last Alarm gig with the original lineup took place,” Peters recalled. “The audiences have come with all the changes that have gone on and rallied round and supported me as a solo artist and have been there for me. It’s a bit of a home away from home.”

This time The Alarm is performing as a full band with Peters’ sons helping the crew with the show and setting up equipment.

“They’re on the summer holidays and they’re both musicians,” Peters mentioned. “They’re having an amazing time. They’re loving it.”

Vans Warped Tour has a certain reputation of bands and genres that at first glance seemed at odds with a group such as The Alarm. However, the audiences have been very receptive and they’ve increased their social media followers.

“It’s been a challenge, of course, but we’re still a modern band and can mix it up,” Peters explained. “It’s breathed a lot of life blood into the group.

THE ALARM

THE ALARM

“Seeing how young bands play and react in modern times has been good for us. It’s never good to re-tread old ground. It’s always great to take up challenges. And I’m sure the Vans Warped Tour will really inform the future of the group and keep us relevant. It keeps us in the modern context which is what we always strive for.”

For a band that first toured America in 1983, creating a 25-minute set out of their huge wealth of music required great discipline.

“It’s a really good opportunity for us to get together and think about how we put our music across and I think we came up with a great set,” Peters said. “We get 11 or 12 songs in, a really good representation of where we came from. It comes over great as far as I’m concerned.”

Peters often refers to a 1976 Sex Pistols concert and hearing “Anarchy in The U.K.” as inspiration for wanting to learn how to make music himself.

“I got a guitar from a guy that my sister was going out with and he showed me how to play a couple of chords and I never looked back,” Peters recalled. “I just played along to records in my bedroom and tried to go see bands when I could.

“I grew up on glam rock – David Bowie, Marc Bolan and TREX, Slade, Sweet, those kind of bands in Britain. And when it became Punk rock it was The Clash, The Pistols, Joy Division, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Buzzcocks. The purest song would be a three-minute punk rock single, that was what I loved the best.”

Today, the songwriting is inspired by his life and what he’s been through. Both Peters and his wife are Cancer survivors and he has been living with leukemia for 21 years.

“Music has kept me strong, kept me one step ahead of the disease and allowed me to become a father and a musician. I have a charity called Love, Hope, Strength, we give a lot back through that to society and like I said, I’m very lucky to be alive and play music in 2017.”

When it comes to the actual songwriting, it’s usually the music that comes before the lyrics. But it’s all jumpstarted by a phrase.

“Somebody says something to you or you read something or hear something and that triggers something in your imagination that makes you want to say something and that becomes the title and then the lyrics flow from there.

“I think after you have a phrase then the music instantly follows. You can hear it all in your imagination straight away just because you’ve given birth to it.”

Following the exposure Peters has enjoyed being around a lot of modern bands and seeing a little bit of what’s going on with the next generation, Concert Guide Live was curious what sort of advice he had for bands starting out today.

“Stay off the internet. Go underground. Do it with posters and aim at your own audience. Don’t try to be global before you become local.
“If you’re gonna make it, you’re gonna make it. Don’t be on the internet a lot. You’re better off staying off the grid. Be punk rock, go underground, you go dark, people will find you.”

METALLICA: A Tale From The Photo Pit

METALLICA

Kirk Hammett/METALLICA; photo Reuben Martinez

Metallica. The name says it all. Coming live to Southern California in my favorite town, San Diego. I’ve been a longtime fan of this band since 1983.

You can’t imagine the thrill it was to get the approval to shoot and cover the show. Not knowing what to expect from the venue (Petco Park) or the band, I was as ready as I could have been.

Kirk Hammett/METALLICA; photo Reuben Martinez

Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield/METALLICA; photo Reuben Martinez

Driving to downtown San Diego I went early knowing there were going to be 50,000 plus fans going to the outdoor area. After I parked, I walked around the city until it was time to check in.

At the venue, I met up with a couple of friends and fellow photographers that were also covering the show. Once we had checked in and received our credentials, we waited to be escorted to the floor to shoot the opening bands Gojira and Avenged Sevenfold.

METALLICA; photo Reuben Martinez

James Hetfield/METALLICA; photo Reuben Martinez

Then as we waited for Metallica, the excitement was growing for all of us. When it was time to walk back down to the photo pit, my fellow photographers and I fist bumped each other as if we were going onstage.

The lights went down and we heard Metallica’s signature intro theme song starting to play, “The Ecstasy of Gold” from the movie “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.”

The band opened their set with “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” sending the crowd into a frenzy while towering video screens over 100 feet high showed the band playing.

The most difficult thing about photographing Metallica was working with the stage that goes into the center of the crowd, known as The Snake Pit (where Metallica fans stand in the middle of an opening of a ramp that goes into the crowd). The Snake Pit ramp was at my eyelevel, which is pretty high, but for a big stadium area it’s common.

METALLICA; photo Reuben Martinez

Lars Ulrich/METALLICA; photo Reuben Martinez

Getting to shoot the first three songs, “Hardwired”, “Atlas, Rise!” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was challenging, but rewarding. After the shoot, I had to remove my camera from the premises before I could go back in to watch the rest of the show.

Metallica had a great mix of new and old songs. During a new song, “Now That We’re Dead”, all four band members played a Taiko drum (Japanese style drum) solo.

For the song “One” which is known for opening with battle sounds, pyrotechnics and fireworks were added to the war sounds that went around the stadium. Such a great visual for the fans.

METALLICA; photo Reuben Martinez

Robert Trujillo/METALLICA; photo Reuben Martinez

But playing classics such as “Master of Puppets” and “Fade to Black” it was obvious they were crowd favorites. Everyone was singing word for word. It was great watching the band play these songs, which still hold up, and watching the crowd react. It just made the experience even more enjoyable.

The band finished with “Seek & Destroy” from their first album Kill ’em All. As they left stage the crowd knew they were coming back. Obviously, a huge band in a huge venue, they had to please. And they did.

First song of the encore was a classic thrash song from the early days, “Fight Fire With Fire”, followed by two radio favorites, classics “Nothing Else Matters” and “Enter Sandman” as well as a huge firework finale.

Metallica has over 30 years as a band and they still sound great and are great musicians. Solid as ever, the WorldWired Tour continues with SOLD OUT shows until May 2018. This band has made their mark on music and influenced many in the industry. And the joy of capturing it on camera is absolutely one of the highlights in my life.

The Sweet To Sweeten SoCal

THE SWEET

THE SWEET play The Canyon Aug. 12 and The Coach House Aug. 18; press photo

The Sweet shall soon be coming to sweeten Orange County’s music scene. The iconic Glam rock group invites music lovers old and new to come and listen to them when they play live at The Canyon Aug. 12 and The Coach House Aug. 18.

While it might be viewed as a fun excursion for concert goers, Steve Priest, the founder for the group, not to mention its lead vocalist and bass player, also views the event as a standard business venture.

“We’ve played there before so we’re going to play there again,” Priest states in a serious tone.

Founded in 1968, The Sweet has established itself as one of the leading innovators of Glam rock. Musically, Priest says its best described as “hard rock with a pop feel.”

But what truly makes this style of music well-known is its trademark visual style of outrageous garbs, hairstyles and platform shoes its performers don. The Sweet became one of the first groups to utilize this flamboyant style when performing live and for music videos. Their unique fashion and musical style helped influence further artists and made glam rock a staple for much of 1970’s.

Today, the music style of The Sweet remains intact but the classic flamboyant look has been replaced with a more contemporary style: something Priest admits he’s glad of as he no longer has to tolerate wearing platform shoes.

“They were a pain in the butt and it was very easy to fall over on stage,” Priest recalls. “They were like wearing diver’s boots.”

Besides its look, The Sweet’s lineup has also changed. Priest’s group is the fourth and latest incarnation which was formed in 2008. Besides Priest himself, the group includes Richie Onori (keyboards), Joe Retta (drums), Stevie Stewart (keyboards) and Mitch Perry (guitars).

Priest is proud of his current lineup and happily proclaims that they live up to the legacy of the group’s initial and most famous lineup of himself, Andy Scott, Mike Tucker and Brian Connolly.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been with the first band,” Priest says. “But this band performs as well as I could possibly expect.”’

Priest adds that the most ideal place to hear their music is still at places that adhere to the old phrase of “the bigger, the better.”

“We enjoy playing places like the Canyon Club, but we also like doing festivals in the summer.”

Crowds still love hearing the Glam rock of Priest and his bandmates. This is not just due to nostalgia but also due to the genre finding newfound popularity within the 21st century. Classic music from the genre is being reintroduced in all sorts of different mediums which Priest hopes continues.

“Resurgence in popularity is always a big plus so, what can I say, I love the idea.”

The Sweet itself has been privy to this resurgence when their most famous song “Ballroom Blitz” was featured in the trailer of the 2016 film “Suicide Squad”. Another of their iconic songs, “Fox on the Run”, has also helped revitalize the group. This is due in large part to its attachment to the recent box-office smash hit “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”.

“The producer of Guardians of the Galaxy [Kevin Feige] is a big fan of ours and he liked the song,” Priest reveals. “He didn’t use it in the movie but he used it in the soundtrack.”

Though not featured in the actual movie, the song’s use in an official trailer for the film, not to mention its official soundtrack album, caused it to spike in popularity. “Fox on the Run” rocketed up to #1 on the iTunes Top 40 U.S. Rock Songs chart and became one of the most downloaded songs last December.

The group has another upcoming accomplishment with next year marking their 50th anniversary. Besides celebrating with live performances, Priest reveals that he intends to make such a memorable occasion more memorable by creating a new studio album: the first since the group’s previous 1982 studio album, Identity Crisis.

“We’re going to try and write a new album, CD, or whatever you want to call it and see how that goes,” Priest states firmly.

ALBUM REVIEW: New Mystics “The Modern Age Is Over”

NEW MYSTICS

NEW MYSTICS (Josh Onstott); press photo

New Mystics is a new project from Josh Onstott of the art rock trio Other Lives, and like his other band, the music on this first solo outing The Modern Age Is Over features beautifully crafted and layered songwriting.

Onstott crafted the record with his friend producer/engineer Hugo Nicolson (Radiohead, Primal Scream, Father John Misty) and the care and love the two friends brought to these songs and this project is easily heard coming out of your stereo speakers. In a word the song arrangements and production are stunning. Listen to this one on headphones friends.

Album opener “Smile With Your Teeth” fades in on a wave of grinding white noise and a propulsive drum groove before a killer guitar riff kicks the whole thing into overdrive. Washes of feedback and a snaking guitar hook, all placed perfectly in the mix carry the verses aloft on a psychedelic sound wave until the the chorus drives it all home with a honking guitar hook that Marc Bolan & T-Rex would be proud of. This one has “modern rock hit” written all over it. And well it should, it’s a great song impeccably played and arranged to its full potential.

Title track “Modern” slows things down and opens up the space between the notes letting Onstott’s Oklahoma high, lonesome voice soar above the mix. When the chorus comes around it does it with a powerful subtly that loses nothing for its show of restraint. And damn if you don’t find yourself singing along like this song is your new best friend!

What Onstott and Nicolson have managed to achieve with New Mystics is the very difficult trick of recording 10 art rock gems and disguising them as pop songs. Repeated listening only magnifies the originality of the songs and their production. And unlike most pop that can grow tiresome, repeated listening profits the listener with appreciation and delight. This record has legs, spend some quality time with these songs and they will reward you.

The Modern Age Is Over by New Mystics is available via TH3RD BRAIN Records Aug. 18, 2017.

Royal Blood Darken SoCal With Three

ROYAL BLOOD

ROYAL BLOOD play Observatory/Santa Ana Aug 13, Observatory/San Diego Aug 15, The Wiltern Aug 16; photo James Christopher

The walls will be shaking once again at The Observatory/Santa Ana Aug. 13, The Observatory/San Diego Aug. 15 and The Wiltern Aug. 16, when ultra-heavy, two-piece Royal Blood take the stage in support of their recently released How Did We Get So Dark?

With fans in high places like Jimmy Page, Howard Stern, Foo Fighters and the Arctic Monkeys, it’s hard to believe Brighton’s own Mike Kerr (vocals / bass) and Ben Thatcher (drums) made their first demos a mere two years ago. The name-dropping of the above titans does provide an insight into Royal Blood’s sound, a combination of all of Zeppelin’s most thundering moments, the melodic thrashery of Foo Fighters and the sharp, English sexiness of Alex Turner and company.

Friends since their mid-teens, Kerr and Thatcher joined up on a whim in their mid 20s, upon Kerr’s return from time abroad in Australia. The story goes, Thatcher picked Kerr up at the airport and the two listened to riffs and snippets of songs Kerr had written, which Thatcher loved. The duo fleshed out four songs and played their first gig that very same night.

This break-neck pace has become par for the course in the burgeoning career of Royal Blood. It wasn’t long before they were playing to crowds of 30,000, and opening for Arctic Monkeys at Finsbury Park for what was only their third show in London. All this occurred before the release of their self-titled, debut album, which was released in August of 2014.

Royal Blood is an impressive exercise in showing-off just how dynamic a two-piece can be. Songs like “Figure It Out,” “Come On Over” and “Loose Change” charge full-steam-ahead with Kerr’s distorted bass filling, then annihilating, any hole left by the lack of a lead guitar player, while Thatcher’s syncopated, machine-gun sound serves as the bedrock foundation for their ultra-rhythmic, yet melodic, style.

Their self-titled debut album was well-received by music fans and critics alike, and prompted more praise from Jimmy Page who said, “Their album has taken the genre up a serious few notches. It’s so refreshing to hear, because they play with the spirit of the things that have preceded them, but you can hear they’re going to take rock into a new realm – if they’re not already doing that. It’s music of tremendous quality.”

How Did We Get So Dark? took the band up a few more notches, hitting No.1 in the U.K. upon its release and selling out shows across the U.S.!

Read 2015 concert review: Royal Blood Concert Review

Trip Out To Heron Oblivion

HERON OBLIVION

HERON OBLIVION play The Constellation Room Jul 27, The Echo Jul 28, Pappy & Harriet’s Jul 29, Space Bar Jul 30; photo Alissa Anderson

It was two years ago that I first experienced Heron Oblivion aptly sending minds into ecstatic, musical oblivion.

I was making my way through the overstuffed halls of The Observatory during its annual Burgerama festival when I noticed that I had a gap in my schedule. So, I found myself wandering amongst the unfamiliar sound waves of bands I hadn’t heard of, in search of musical respite. As I pushed and squeezed my way within hearing distance of The Constellation Room, a swirling frenzy of musical sound suddenly filled my senses. I didn’t know who or what it was, but I knew I needed to experience it. I entered the room to find Heron Oblivion.

The magnificent flurry of Noel Von Harmonson and Charlie Saufley’s concurrent guitar solos, Ethan Miller’s chest-rumbling bass, and Meg Baird’s all-encompassing crash cymbal crescendoed into a tonal mountain, which the band then brought crashing down with expert grace. As the musical dust settled, Baird’s ethereal, crystalline voice cut through the newfound silence. It was a timbre so sonorous and beautiful that I was taken aback at first; I had not expected such a voice to follow such gritty intensity. But whatever dissonance I was perceiving was immediately welcomed, the resulting dynamic a novel and mesmerizing one.

Needless to say, by the end of the first song, I had already taken out my schedule and circled the band three times over with red pen.

Labeled as a “supergroup” of sorts, the band features a group of artists coming together from a variety of other groups. As a band, they somehow combine psychedelia’s tendency for sudden shifts, sprawling soundscapes, and “trippy” sound effects (see: wah pedal, tape echo, etc.), with the distortion and face-meltery of hard rock, and the lyrical archetypes and vocal melodies of traditional folk. In a time of infinite access to music, it is all too refreshing to hear such a unique combination of sound and emotion.

Sitting down with Concert Guide Live to speak about the nature of that combination, Von Harmonson recently gave us the inside scoop on the band’s recording history. What follows will surely add an extra layer of appreciation to your listening experience, when you inevitably jam out to their self-titled album later today.

Heron Oblivion

Heron Oblivion self-titled album cover

Concert Guide Live: Having seen you guys play live, I feel like the chemistry you all share is what really makes the experience. Do you remember the moment you realized you had found the right bandmates?
Noel Von Harmonson: So, we got together, and for like the first six times we played together we didn’t really play a song. We just turned on little digital recorders and let loose. A lot of these pieces ended up being 20 minutes long or something, and some of them were kind of cool jammy things based around a riff. And some of them were just completely abstract in terms of tones, timbres, feedback, noises and drums and stuff.

It wasn’t until maybe a couple practices later, we’d listen back to some of the stuff that came out of these jams and there was this one thing that would like kind of resemble a song. Like, if we took that riff and put it with another riff we would have kind of a song thing.

So, then we were like “What if we wrote a song?” We did that, and then shortly thereafter, we were like, “Meg do you wanna try singing, too? Because I know it’s kind of crazy being a singing drummer.” And for me, the minute that she started singing to the music that we were playing, it clicked. I thought, “We’re onto something here.”

CGL: How would you describe Meg’s vocals within the context of Heron Oblivion’s music?
NVH: Brilliant, amazing.

CGL: Agreed.
NVH: Well, we knew Meg’s singing from her older projects. We knew that she had, and I’m sure I can speak for all of us, one of the most beautiful singing voices out of anybody contemporary that we know. Whether or not that was going to fit anywhere within this squally, guitar-based, not really aggressive, but loud sort of environment, we weren’t really sure. But we took some nods from influences we all sort of had in common and put the pieces together, theoretically.

We didn’t do this in a conversation, mind you, these were all subconscious, telepathic conversations that we had while playing together. So, we made sense of [our jamming] and consciously made room for the vocals so that the guitars and stuff could get out of the way and feature Meg’s vocals. Without making it too much of a cookie cutter formula though, where it’s like “loud part, quiet part, loud part, quiet part.” So sometimes we have Meg singing over the loud parts, which is obviously a lot easier to pull off on a record than it is live. But she’s got a really strong voice, too. So, if the house mix is dialed in right, I think she can still come out over the top of all those guitars we’re beating on and swinging around.

CGL: Your first record has that same raw, live feel to it. I have to imagine you guys were playing live together in the studio. Why was it important to you to do it this way?
NVH: The reason why we did that is because it simulated the way that we rehearsed. A lot of our music will have energetic momentum that comes and goes and that’s a lot based on being able to hear each other in that moment. Also, having eye contact, being able to throw a head nod as a cue or something. Just a lot of stuff that’s very inherent and only comes with playing live in the same room. More importantly than all of that, it also captures the essence of — and that’s what you’re talking about — us four playing together, at once, in a room.

Rather than trying to split that up into separate tracks — which is so awkward and disjointed — we wanted that cohesive vibe. Even though I don’t like to use the word vibe. We wanted it to sound like a unified piece of rock machinery, hopefully semi-well-oiled and tuned up and still a little rickety.

Be sure to witness the divine intensity for yourself, at any one of their four stops in the SoCal area: The Constellation Room Jul 27, The Echo Jul 28, Pappy & Harriet’s Jul 29, Space Bar Jul 30.

Colin Hay And His Band Of Immigrants Embark On SoCal Driving Tour

Colin Hay

COLIN HAY plays Belly Up Jul 19 & 20, The Coach House Jul 21, Wiens Family Cellars Jul 28, Microsoft Theater Jul 29; photo Sebastian Smith

With a string of soon to be sold out shows in and around SoCal, Colin Hay is at the top of his game as a solo artist. Once the lead singer for 80s group Men At Work, well-known for their inescapable song “Down Under”, Hay has continued to sing and write while touring the world.

Check out his witty, tongue-in-cheek replies to questions about social media, his first live performance ever, the poet Robert Burns and more.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: You have a string of dates coming up, hitting the nooks and crannies of SoCal, what do you like about playing here?
COLIN HAY: Well I love living in California, and have been here for almost 30 years, so it’s nice to play at home. And, this is a driving tour. You can drive right to the gig, and wheel your gear in, on the day of the show, instead of having to drive to the airport, and take your shoes off and lift your arms above your head, you know the drill. And, I get to play with my fabulous band of immigrants.

CGL: Was there a specific moment when you realized you wanted to do music and perform it in front of people?
CH: When I was 14 and singing in a band at a local social event, a girl came down the front, and watched me sing. She gave me a curious look of interest. Need I say more?

CGL: What can you recall about your first live performance – and where/when was it?
CH: On the Fairstar ship, on the way from the UK to Australia in June 1967. There was a talent contest, I didn’t win.

CGL: What sort of a setlist will you be playing for the fans?
CH: Old songs, new songs, and those in between.

Colin Hay

Colin Hay; photo Sebastian Smith

CGL: What do you like to do right before you go onstage?
CH: Well, unlike boxers, I like if possible, to have some kind of erotic experience before I go onstage. It rarely happens, but whenever it has, I’ve always had a good show. Failing that, I do some vocal warm ups.

CGL: What are your thoughts on social media and the 21st century in general, regarding the music industry?
CH: Social media is part of everyone’s lives it would seem, and it’s important to have some some kind of relationship with it. I drop in and out, I seem to not have too much time to devote to it personally. I like to daydream a lot, and look at the clouds, the white fluffy ones, as opposed to the one that holds all my digital information.

As far as the music industry is concerned, there are many factions vying for, and trying to figure out how to carve up the somewhat diminished revenues from album sales, digital streaming etc. It remains to be seen, and is still in process. It can be strongly argued that artists and the creators of music are not receiving their fair due, but then again, this could always be argued, right from the beginning of the commercialization of art. We shall see.

CGL: Since you have been a writer for numerous years, I imagine you could come up with an interesting reply to “If you could be anyone other than yourself, living or deceased, who would it be and why?”
CH: Perhaps Robert Burns from Ayrshire, the Scottish poet, who lived at the end of the 1700s, and wrote a vast amount of brilliant poems and songs. He was also loved by a number of women in his full yet short life. Dead at 37.

He was ahead of his time, and to quote a verse from his poem “To a Mouse”
“I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion,
Has broken nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!”

More true today than it ever was.

CGL: As a final question, what other interests do you have outside of music?
CH: Staying alive for as long as possible, certainly for as long as I can remember how to get home.

CGL: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
CH: Not a thing, I think I’ve said enough.

If you don’t already have a ticket get one now for any one of these local shows: Belly Up Jul 19 and Jul 20, The Coach House Jul 21, The Cave Jul 22, Wiens Family Cellars Jul 28, and the Microsoft Theater Jul 29.

Portugal. The Man Rebels For Kicks

PORTUGAL. THE MAN

PORTUGAL. THE MAN play HOB/Anaheim Jul 27, Palladium Jul 29 & 30; photo Maclay Heriot

In a perfect world, Portugal. The Man’s catchy single, “Feel It Still”, would be the song of the summer, blasting out of car radios, iPads, retail playlists, etc. It’s short, sweet, and makes you want to hit “repeat”, kick up your heels and shake your booty.

With six previous albums to draw from as well as music from their latest release Woodstock, you don’t want to miss one of their upcoming SoCal shows – Jul 27 HOB/Anaheim or Jul 30 Hollywood Palladium (Jul 29 at the Palladium is already sold out!)

Woodstock is their long anticipated followup to 2013’s Evil Friends which featured the songs “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” (with Haim on backing vocals) and the title track “Evil Friends” which was prominently used in a Taco Bell commercial.

During this gap between albums, the band wrote tons of songs and tried to make an album called Gloomin + Doomin but they just couldn’t quite put it together. So how did they remedy this situation? They threw it all out and started over!

This time it worked naturally, with John Hill (In the Mountain in the Cloud), Danger Mouse (Evil Friends), Mike D (Everything Cool) and long time collaborator Casey Bates involved. Apparently, the title is a nod to an original 1969 Woodstock ticket stub owned by vocalist John Gourley’s father.

So, pick up the new album, grab a ticket to one of the upcoming shows, and put your dancing shoes on. The Summer 2017 Tour is here!

Just Give In And Check Out Hazel English

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HAZEL ENGLISH plays Bootleg Theater Jul 19; photo Andy Ortega

Hazel English will stop by Bootleg Theater for one night Jul 17 with a new EP Just Give In / Never Going Home under her wing.

Concert Guide Live reached out to Hazel English prior to her string of SoCal dates in February of this year to find out more about her songwriting, performing and her live band.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: When did you realize you wanted to be a performer and play in front of people?
HAZEL ENGLISH: I think I’ve always wanted to be a performer. I used to be a gymnast and a dancer from a young age so I think there’s always been a part of me that enjoyed performing for people. But it wasn’t until I was about 16 that I actually started to play music for people.

CGL: I believe you were born in Australia, what effect, if any, do you think it had on your music?
HZ: I’m not sure growing up in Australia has really had a strong effect on my music because I’ve always listened to music from other places, mainly British music actually. In Australia there is still a huge influence from the US and the UK when it comes to the music industry.

CGL: Much of your lyrical content is questioning, searching, and full of uncertainty yet the music is dreamy and somewhat relaxing, almost meditative. Is this contradiction a conscious effort or just the way your songwriting works out?
HZ:I don’t really analyze my own songwriting process, I feel like I’m already neurotic enough as it is. Though I do think that in having a dreamier, more mellow vibe, it’s easier to say difficult things without creating a really sad sounding song. I also just prefer to listen to dreamy types of music and I tend to write about what troubles me, so I guess you could say it’s just those two things coming together.

hazel english

Hazel English; photo Andy Ortega

CGL: Do you write both the lyrics and music? Which comes first?
HZ: It’s not a strict rule but I generally come up with a melody and/or chord progression first and then I will find lyrics to fit. Though sometimes it all happens at once and that can feel really magical.

CGL: Who is in your live band, and what do they play?
HZ: David Vieira plays guitar and keys, Eric Sugatan plays bass/synth & Liam O’Neill plays drums. We’re all really close friends, which makes it even more special to me. I feel lucky to have such a great band for the live show.

CGL: Tell me about one of your favorite songs from your EP.
HZ: I would say my favourite song is “Never Going Home”. It was the first song I wrote and recorded for the EP. I had no expectations or pre-meditations so it felt kind of pure in a sense. I wrote it in the studio and we recorded it really fast, so there was no time to second-guess myself.

CGL: What’s next on the horizon for 2017?
HZ: Getting ready to go on my first U.S. headline tour, which I’m really excited about. Also working on some new material which is always fun! I expect it’s going to be a busy year.

CGL: What do you like to do when you’re not playing?
HZ: I love reading sci-fi novels. I just finished reading “Fahrenheit 451” which I’ve heard is a book most people read in high school but I didn’t. I also really enjoy biking if it’s a nice day out.