Monday, 17 December 2012

Nirvana & Paul McCartney - When Legends Meet

It's sort of impossible to think of Nirvana and not think of Kurt Cobain. For many, Kurt Cobain and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" are all they know of Nirvana, but there was so, so much more. (But that's a post for another day.)

The idea of anyone even attempting to step into Cobain's shoes makes me break into a cold sweat, however, when I heard Sir Paul McCartney would be singing with the remaining members of Nirvana at a fundraising concert for Hurricane Sandy victims, I have to admit, my insides started to fizz with excitement.

Paul McCartney isn't "just anyone" - he was, of course, part of one of the biggest bands of all time. So what happens when legends meet?


At 70 years old, McCartney proved that when it comes to performance, age really is just a number. The only person on that stage that rocked harder than him was Dave Grohl (has Grohl always been that hot?!).

A lot of people were expecting - since it had been announced McCartney was joining Nirvana - that they would cover one of the band's tracks, but instead, they got together and wrote a new song. The track was written and recorded in one day, which shows just how brilliant these guys are. In fact, if you look at this for what it really is, it's basically four amazing musicians having a kick-ass jam session, but for a good cause.

I would pay good money to hear them play together again (and again, and again), and I might not even mind if Sir Paul covered a few Nirvana tracks too. :D

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Gangnam Salon Style!

Every now and again, a new dance craze takes over the world. Back in the 80s, everyone was doing Oops Upside Your Head, and smacking the floor with their legs wrapped around each other (Ahh, the good old days!), in the 90s, it was all about Saturday Night by Whigfield, then there was that weird Ketchup Song ... but now ... it's Gangnam Style!

Pop sensation, Psy, has pretty much reached everyone on the planet, and love him or hate him, you can't escape the foot-tapping, pony-riding, leg-shaking tune. If you take a quick look at YouTube, you'll find thousands of parodies of the quirky song - performed by people from all walks of life.

This morning, something new was brought to my attention - Gangnam Salon Style. From a small town in South Devon, a group of stylists thought up a unique way to advertise their business with a bit of light-hearted, not to mention hilarious, fun. Who doesn't need that at this time of year?!

So, in a break from my usual band promotion and TV chatter, I present to you Gangnam Salon Style! If you like what you see, hit the YouTube "like" button, and spread the love because this could be the next big viral sensation! 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Introducing Slow Motion Riot!

Around three years ago (boy, I can't believe it's been that long!) I discovered the musical talents of Alberto Albis. I found him almost by accident, and he was kind enough to help out a new freelance writer (i.e me!) by letting me interview him. Three years later, we're still in touch and have had many, many conversations about many, many things - but mostly, it's been about music. Music is who he is. His passion to create is clear in everything he does, and most recently, he has embarked on a new project with the fantastic Erin Alden. Slow Motion Riot was born when two friends put their creative minds together to make something unique. Alberto very kindly agreed to answer some questions about how Slow Motion Riot came into existence - be sure to click the link at the end to hear their awesomeness! 

 Photo courtesy of Alberto Albis

Could you tell us a little bit more about yourself, and what you do?
My name is Alberto Albis and I am bass player/producer/composer/songwriter in LA. I’ve had the chance to work with a lot of great artists from all over the world. I started playing bass when I was very young, and just loved the sound and its job on a song. But it did not end there. I never wanted to be "just" a bass player. I love to be creative and little by little I started getting in to producing and writing and found out how much I loved it.

How long have you and Erin Alden known each other?
Erin and I met a long time ago during a gig maybe 2003. I was playing bass for Roy Ashen and she was also singing that night, I think she went on right before we played. But we reconnected again by pure coincidence. She was the one that remembered me.

How long ago did you decide to collaborate on this new project, and what made you decide to do it?
Well after I heard her material, I really liked what she was able to do, her voice and her writing skills. She had a lot of different types of tunes and I could see that she could be a good fit to try and do something different and creative with. So I approached her and she was open to try and do something.

You and Erin have quite different sounds individually. Was it easy to fuse your individual sounds together?
It happened very natural actually. The process was very interesting and we never bumped heads about what we wanted. It was very easy and I think that since we were having so much fun during the entire process of writing, it went very smoothly. But we did challenge ourselves a lot. When we found that something was not working we worked it hard until we got it and it happened a lot, which is normal. Going over lyrics and the music, we just followed our instincts and didn't leave anything mediocre. I guess I was also very confident about it too, I knew what I wanted to hear. And Erin is a hard worker and she can go for a long time to make things right. I am kinda crazy with ideas, she just enjoys me being crazy and she goes with it with the ideas. She follows direction really really well and she tries everything I suggest. She trusted me and I trusted her as well on what she could do...and we have great songs.

Did you both have separate roles within Slow Motion Riot? For example, did one of you write the lyrics while the other worked on the music? Or did you do everything together?
When I approached Erin, I was already working on a few ideas. I had a lot of musical ideas and some demos. So I sent her all of them to see what she liked and what grabbed her attention. I was not sure what we were going to come up with, but those demos were the first step. She liked them and she started to come up with melodies and some lyrics. We would get together a few times a week and polish all the ideas. As we worked, we started having more and more ideas and a better direction of what the sound was going to be. I was so happy when she told me that she has always wanted to work on a rock album that can totally kick butt and be edgy. I just smiled and I knew what to do. That is my thing! So for me I was in creative heaven, and she was open to any crazy ideas I had. All the songs except one, started with a demo that I already started. Then Erin would start writing lyrics. We both would review each other’s work and make changes if we needed to.
The song "Living on a Video" started with one of Erin's ideas, and we developed it. We tracked it and then as we defined more what we wanted, I had to change the verses completely and Erin re-did some of the lyrics so it would match the rest of the songs of the EP.

How many tracks have you recorded as Slow Motion Riot? And will there be more in the future?
We did five tracks. So far you can hear three of them on SoundCloud. Two more will be released soon and we really want to turn it in to an album. We have more songs.

Are you planning to release your tracks on iTunes?
Yes we will.

What is your favourite Slow Motion Riot track and why?
Tough question. But I think my favorite is "Losing My Mind". It is not released yet. It’s probably the darkest one, but also the deepest one. Everything about it I just love. The grooves, and the sounds. It has this deep groove with the bass, and synths, and this very James Bond mysterious guitar riff. It’s a very intense song. I remember when I came up with the idea of it, it all happened in less than an hour. While sipping some wine at home! I will never forget that day. I showed it to Erin and we started working on melody and lyrics at my place. It was one of the hardest ones emotionally, because we could relate so much to the lyrics and what we were going through in our lives at the moment. That song somehow defined us during the process of production. Erin's approach and how we were going to work on the rest of the songs.

Is there anything else you want to share about Slow Motion Riot?
HMMMMMM We just rock!!

Invention - Slow Motion Riot

I can confirm that Slow Motion Riot do, indeed, rock! If you want to know more about them, and be up to date with their latest releases, please check out their Facebook page for all the news!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Jessica Lange to Return for 'American Horror Story' Season 3

In spite of what my last two posts would have you believe, this blog isn't solely about awesome rock music (though there will be a lot of that!). Aside from my head-banging alter-ego, there is also a side of me that loves TV.

 I was addicted to Season 1 of "American Horror Story" last year. The characters, and the completely deranged plot kept me hooked the whole way through. I haven't been quite as crazy about Season 2, though. The premise is awesome. Having the show set in an asylum should have been brilliant. There are so many horrors that could have taken place. Sadly, most of the events seemed to be there for shock value, which has made it difficult for me to be enthusiastic about it.

That said, I am ecstatic the show has been picked up for a third series. Why? Because maybe it will take a half-step back from all the insanity, and just give us a great story the way they did the first time around. And you know what's even more exciting? The supremely talented Jessica Lange has already signed up to return! Honestly, if it weren't for her, I probably wouldn't have continued to watch this season. She is just such a brilliant actress, I can't help but love the characters she plays - even when they aren't so nice!

 Three Reasons Fans are Thrilled Jessica Lange Will Return for "American Horror Story" Season 3

Have you been watching "American Horror Story" this year? Let me know what you think!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Listen Up SOiL Fans - Your Band Needs YOU!

Yeah, it's fair to say I am still on a post gig high from Tuesday night in Plymouth, but with my time being a little bit limited since I got back, I've been a bit slow in getting this post ready! Better late than never, right? :D

For those of you who missed my last post - this week, I was lucky enough to meet SOiL at the Fozzy VIP dinner and had a brief chat with them before the show started. Honestly, I didn't know a whole lot about them at the time, but after hearing them live, I had to know more! After visiting their website, I noticed they are nearing the end of a Kickstarter campaign to help them raise money so they can make their next album the best it can possibly be for the fans.

What's brilliant about Kickstarter campaigns, is that they don't just ask you to hand over money and get nothing in return. No, no. Depending on how much you pledge, you can get your hands on some awesome, exclusive goodies including advance downloads, signed photos, signed CDs, and even a sit in at a studio session!

On SOiL's official website, lead singer Ryan McCoombs explains that the Kickstarter project allows the fans to get involved, and means the band can keep control of everything that is involved with the process of creating a new album.

You may be wondering why I - a writer from the UK - would have any interest in this campaign. Well, here's the thing. I can totally relate to anyone who wants to remain in charge of their creativity, and  stay true to who they are and what they want to do. Secondly, SOiL are an awesome band, and even though they have already reached their target, any extra cash raised will go towards touring, and let me tell you - SOiL live is something every rock fan needs to see! Finally, the guys were just really cool and so, if you want to help them out during the final hours of their campaign - click here for details!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Fozzy VIP Package? Hell yeah!

Which band can make a usually quiet girl rock out like this:

Pahaha, just kidding, I'm cooler than that! :p 


I’m going to be honest. I’m probably not the kind of person you’d usually expect to find hanging out at a rock gig. Anyone who follows my writing blog will know I love a bit of cheesy pop, but truthfully, more than anything, I just love great music, whatever genre.
This brings me to The White Rabbit in Plymouth. For many years I’ve been a huge Fozzy fan, and when I heard they were going to be playing there, I hopped in line to get my VIP ticket, and holy crap, it was worth every single penny. 

Not only was the gig amazing (more on that in a second), the VIP experience is really not to be missed.  Dinner with the band is like getting a really tasty starter before an even more incredible main course. Chris Jericho and the boys made an effort to make everyone feel included in the conversations, which helped relax the VIP'ers who were a bit nervous. It's little things like this that make people want to go back and do it over and over again.

Now, onto the gig. Breed 77 and Soil also played – shoutout to the boys of Soil who ate dinner with us after Fozzy had to go get ready for their set, and were super cool – and both bands kicked ass.  However, the crowd went batshit freaking crazy when Fozzy hit the stage. Chris Jericho might just be the most charismatic frontman of recent years. He whips fans into a frenzy with his boundless, unwavering enthusiasm and his strong passion for the music. He feeds off the energy from the audience, so you can bet the louder you shout, the higher you jump, and the more lyrics you belt out along with him, he will not only match it, but he’ll take it a step further. It’s this level of showmanship that made him great as a WWE superstar, and is what makes him so captivating to watch as Fozzy’s main man.

As much as I would love to witter on about how goddamn brilliant Jericho is, it would be blatantly wrong not to talk about the sound created by the group as a whole. Rich Ward is a LEGEND – not to mention in the freezing December chill, everyone was totally jealous of his warm scarf and headgear ;) – and the passion coming from Billy Grey on guitar was mesmerising. From my slightly awkward view of the stage, I could hardly see Frank and Paul, but there was no problem hearing them and all together, it was like being transported to rock heaven. 

They say you never forget your first time. Minds out of the gutters, people! :p Aside from the musical brilliance, there are two things that will always, always stay with me about my first Fozzy experience. Firstly, how incredibly laid back the VIP meeting was (even though I’m gutted I didn’t get quite enough time to talk to Rich Ward and only managed to sort of babble my way through talking to Chris Jericho, I’m not usually so inarticulate!) Secondly, the awesomeness that is Frank Fontsere, who caught me in a moment of overwhelmed freaked-outness and stopped to give me a hug, even though he was just about to go on stage. That, my friends, pretty much made my night! Thank you, Frank!

If any of y’all have ever heard that Fozzy is coming to your town, and debated whether to buy a ticket, stop the questions and just do it. Get to the front of the queue, and get your ass to the gig because I can assure you, they will give you an experience you will never forget.