Monday, March 30, 2009

Joan Jett the cherry bomb

Joan jett has been writing great rock music since she penned "Cherry Bomb" at 15 years old on the Runaways' debut LP, insisted on testing herself anew on SINNER. "If anything, the lyrical content might be expanding", she explains " it's not all about falling in or out of love."

For example, there is "Naked". "I think everyone's first image of the word "naked" is about being physically naked, and this isn't that at all. This is about introspection. This is a very lonely song in a sense. I think it's kind of cool to go inside and figure out what's behind the emotions of what makes people who they are. It can be scary to think about it all".

The album kicks off with "Riddles" and pulls no punches.

"Five" is about the tabloids.

At only 17, Joan was headlining clubs like CBGBs with bands such as Tom Petty, Talking Heads, Television and Cheap Trick opening up for her, and she later toured with the Ramones. Joan has since worked with Bikini Kill, Peaches, Ian MacKaye of Fugazi, Lars Fredrickson of Rancid, Bratmobile, L7, The Gits, The Replacements' Paul Westerberg, The Sex Pistols and Blondie among others. Joan produced G.I., the lone album of the seminal L.A. punk act, The Germs.

About her Sirius radio show, "That's been interesting, and different. I never aspired to it, I'm really kind of shy, so for me to get on the radio and talk, I had to build up to it. But I'm having a good time, and I get to turn people on to different things!"

Another is her ongoing acting career. She's appeared in movies like Light of Day (with Michael J. Fox and Gena Rowlands), the indie films Boogie Boy and The Sweet Life (she and her Blackhearts sing the title song) and was actually killed in an on-screen karate fight with martial-arts legend Chuck Norris. On Broadway, Joan was in the original cast of The Rocky Horror Show. "I wanted to be an actress before I wanted to play the guitar!"

One of Joan Jett's proudest accomplishments is the 25th anniversary of her record label, Blackheart Records. This company was forged during the trials and tribulations of trying to get a record deal after The Runaways, and she was rejected by every label out there....28 to be exact. Believing in themselves, Joan and her long-time songwriting partner and producer, Kenny Laguna, decided to be the masters of their own fates and pressed the records up and sold them out of the trunk of Kenny's car. It was almost immediately that they had a hit on their hands, and the company has not only survived, but flourished, in a volatile record industry.

In addition to Joan's long awaited CD, Joan and Kenny produced The Vacancies, a punk group from Cleveland. That Blackheart release A Beat Missing Or A Silence Added, has gone Top 20 on the college charts. The Eyeliners, a pop/punk band from Albuquerque, released No Apologies on Blackheart. Since the Warped tour, The Dollyrots, a pop punk band from LA and Girl in a Coma, indie rock band from San Antonio, have joined the roster. The Dollyrots, Girl in a Coma, and The Vacancies all have upcoming release this Spring/Summer.

Jett stands at a point in her life where she can appreciate her past and longevity, but still look towards the future. It is an exciting time. "I went to a school reunion in Maryland not long ago and some people reminded me I had said I was going to go to California to become a rock n roll star! I hadn't remembered that I had focused on it that early!!! To say that as a kid and actually do it is pretty cool. It just goes to show you that if you can believe in yourself, if you're lucky and have the right timing, you have a shot. I'm an example of what can be, if you don't give up!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Metallica join Guitar Hero

AUSTIN, Texas (Billboard) - Signing on for a "Guitar Hero" game was a "no brainer," according to Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich.

"When 'Guitar Hero' came to us in April of last year, we said yes very quickly," Ulrich told on Friday during the quartet's drop-in appearance at the South By Southwest music conference to promote "Guitar Hero: Metallica," which comes out March 29.

"It seemed like the next step -- a whole other platform for musicians to reach an audience. If we talk about this in five years, I think it will turn into an expected way to release an album," Ulrich said.

Metallica released its latest album, "Death Magnetic," through "Guitar Hero" as well as through traditional retail and download sites, and Ulrich acknowledged that it might have helped to bring a younger audience to the band. "What blows me away is six months into the (album) experience how young the audience continues to be," he said. "We see whole armies of 10-year-olds who weren't listening to music when 'St. Anger' was released. In a world where music has so much competition, this is a great gateway for them into the music."

Guitarist Kirk Hammett -- who revealed that he beat Ulrich the one time he played "Guitar Hero: Metallica" ("He stormed off") -- added that he hopes the game inspires those young fans to learn how to play instruments for real.

"Kids get a feel of what it's like to play a song on guitar without having to learn to play guitar -- how cool is that?" he noted. "And to be exposed to classic rock and metal songs they might not otherwise listen to ... It's a wonderful thing."

In addition to Metallica songs -- as well as character images of the band from throughout its career -- "Guitar Hero: Metallica" features songs by Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate, Thin Lizzy, Motorhead and other Metallica friends and heroes.

Metallica resumes the European leg of its "Death Magnetic" tour on March 25 in Birmingham, England. Hammett said the group plans to be on the road until late 2010 and "has talked a little bit" about possibly documenting the tour with an album or DVD release, but has reached no conclusions. The group will come home for its April 4 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where it was recently announced the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea will make the induction speech.

"It's cool that he's not in a heavy metal band but is a well-respected musician you might not expect," Hammett said. Former bassist Jason Newstead will join the band that night, and Ulrich said that the evening "will be like a family reunion ... a whole big pile of people, lots of friends."
By Gary Graff
(Edited by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

slash guns n roses

Born in Hampstead, England, and raised in the US, Saul Hudson is not a gentleman. Those who would expect reading something in this line here are about to be very disappointed: Saul or, better yet, Slash is the perfect image of a rock'n'roll god, the guitar icon of an entire generation, a man who lived his entire life in the spotlight, by the rules imposed by the game. He is not educated or well-behaved or even good looking: instead, he is an extremely accomplished guitarist, a showman par excellence, a former drug addict and, in short, a rock god.

His father was an artist who also designed the covers for some of the albums of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell; his mother was a fashion designer who created the costumes for David Bowie's 'The Man Who Fell to Earth' - so you can see where Slash got his artistic genes from. When he was still a child, he moved with his mother to Los Angeles, where they would be later joined by his father. Until the 11th grade, Saul's childhood could be described as 'normal' (whatever that might mean): he went to the Beverly Hills High School, learned how to play the guitar, founded a couple of bands, you know, stuff teenagers normally do.

By the time he was in the 11th grade, he already knew that studying was not for him: he had dropped out of school to focus intently on his band, called Road Crew. Sure, just like his previous projects, this group too was soon disbanded but its name is still retained by many for being the vehicle that enabled Slash to meet the man with whom he would make music history, Axl Rose. At that moment, Rose was the lead singer of Hollywood Rose and the two groups met while preparing to open for Stryper, in 1984. The rest was history, as they say, and Guns'N'Roses was founded, the rock band that would alter and literally shape the rock music of the '80s and '90s.
slash guns n roses

At first, things didn't go as smoothly: the Guns used to hold gigs in bars and garages and to tour as the opening act of other rockers, more famous than them. By 1986, they already had a bunch of tracks penned down (which would later become smashing hits) but no album released. That all changed a year later, when 'Appetite for Destruction' was put out, a material that, besides including many of the band's legendary songs, like 'Welcome to the Jungle', 'Paradise City' and 'Sweet Child O' Mine', stirred quite a controversy because of the artistic cover it initially had. In two more years, the boys from Guns were famous and preparing for yet another album.

From the very start, Slash did not get along with Axl but, for quite some time, both of them managed to either hide their differences or to meet halfway. The rift became more and more obvious in the '90s, when the high level of success Guns had reached made Axl go for a more commercial variant of rock which, naturally, was not something that Slash approved of. Hits like 'Don't Cry' and 'November Rain', that have become emblems of that spleen an entire generation of youngsters was experiencing, and the fact that Axl was going for more dramatic and expensive videos (oh, so un-rock'n'roll-ish of him!) did nothing else but virtually end the friendship and work relation the two (brilliant singer and equally brilliant guitarist) had shared for so long. Slash's departure became official in 1996, when he announced that he would be pursuing a solo career but, in fact, the situation had become obviously unbearable way before that date.

After he left Guns, Slash got involved in a myriad of projects, singing with other famous rockers and rappers and featuring on their albums and videos. He was, by now, a star on his own and he didn't need Guns'N'Roses for people to know his face or his music, especially since he kept the trademark elements that had distinguished him from other rockers: curly hair, tophat and the cigarette dangling from his lips while performing... shirtless. In 2003, he officially moved away from his Guns past, by founding Velvet Revolver, the band with which he made his comeback into the public eye. Meanwhile, Guns was left only with Axl (the rest of the members had also left) and slowly began to fade away.

Slash was married twice but details like this tend to be overlooked when we're talking about one of the greatest and most accomplished guitarists of our times. Instead, the media has (and probably always will) focused on his turmoiled life, which was often 'spiced up' with drug use, incendiary statements, allegations of weird habits and hobbies (like collecting snakes), drunken appearances, alcohol abuse and f**king fiery performances! In the long run, only that last part matters because, however Slash really is and whatever he might have said or done, we will always have his music.