Brett Buchanan

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Bio: Brett hosted the BWR podcast from 2004 to 2009, and then opened GrungeReport.net in May 2009. The site changed its name to AlternativeNation.net in June 2013. Brett also owns Concertfy.com. Reach out to Brett at; brett (at) alternativenation.net

First off, Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers. In honor of turkey day, here are 10 things we’re thankful for in the world of rock.

10. I’m thankful that a Pixies song about a giant black **** is being used to sell iPhones. – Anthony Carioscia

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9. I’m thankful that Jason Hurley didn’t impersonate me. – Brett Buchanan

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8. I’m thankful for Taylor Momsen’s ****. – Mike Mazzarone

7. I’m thankful for Billy Corgan and Dave Grohl interview quotes giving us endless sexy headlines. – Brett Buchanan

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6. I’m thankful for Boom’s continued wisdom in the comments section. Also, his ****. - Doug McCausland

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5. I’m thankful that Phil Rudd didn’t hire a hitman to kill me. – Doug McCausland

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4. I’m thankful for the free U2 music I downloaded. Good thing ThePirateBay had Achtung Baby. – Doug McCausland

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3. I’m thankful for Pearl Jam continuing to take risks live nearly 25 years into their career. – Brett Buchanan

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2. I’m thankful for Billy Corgan’s big, bald, beautiful ****. – Mike Mazzarone

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1. In all seriousness, we’re thankful for the younger bands like Dead Sara and Cage The Elephant who give us hope for rock and roll, in an age of a lot of uninspired music and nostalgia cash grabs, that the genre will come roaring back. – Brett Buchanan, Doug McCausland & Mike Mazzarone

The Smashing Pumpkins debuted their new lineup last night featuring frontman Billy Corgan, guitarist Jeff Schroeder, bassist Mark Stoermer (The Killers), and drummer Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine) at Thalia Hall in Chicago. Read our review written by Bryan Arbut, then check out the setlist and photos below.

Thalia Hall had, in all likelihood, its most rousing performance in its storied history as The Smashing Pumpkins (Corgan-Schroeder-Wilk-Stoermer) 2014 vintage live show made its debut.

After an extended sound check resulted in a near 75 minute delay to the posted start time, the wait proved worth it, as the band came off polished, even after just a few rehearsals.

One and All began the set, sounding as well put together as its album version. Starting with the opener and never letting up, Jeff Schroeder’s guitar fills were precise and rang clear over Corgan’s power chords.

Speaking of chords, Corgan, rock’s nasaly curmudgeon’s vox appeared to have been transported in time to the early 90’s. He’s never sounded better, and rarely opted out of the high notes with octave adjustments.

The set continued with Being Beige, where it became clear that this lineup would feature no backing vocals. This was not a detractor from the set, rather it felt like an extension of Corgan’s ownership of the songs and the Pumpkins brand, all his own.

Rather than plowing through Monuments, the band took the Chicago crowd back with Hummer, performed note for note in line with the album. This was the first time that Wilk and Stoermer really shined, and it was impressive to see them both perform new and classic material as well as their predecessors. Wilk smiled often, and it was clear he felt at home behind the kit.

The set then shifted back to Monuments, and Tiberius proved to be the dominant force out of all the MTAE songs debuted live tonight.

The set then stepped back into a pretty conventional, slightly unremarkable, yet vocally powerful rendition of Tonight, Tonite, before flipping back to MTAE for Drum & Fife, which was the only song debut that noticeably could’ve benefitted from backing vox.

From here, the flip flop back to past albums continued in order, as Machina was called upon in perhaps the most surprising song choice of the night, Glass & The Ghost Children. This was a joy for the die-hards, but left the majority of the crowd wondering what was happening as the psychedelic jam took on an alternate direction entirely in the show.

The crowd was reeled back in with another precise rendition of Stand Inside Your Love.

Back to (Presumably) MTAE, with another yet unknown rocker that was instantly gripping, and felt like a classic despite it never being heard previously outside of the band. More to come on this song, as it will be a contender for one of the heaviest and most revered from MTAE.

This song was followed up by Drown, which was one of the top crowd pleasers, and again featured spot on vocals, accompanied by solos and fills that sounded perfect. Wilk’s drumming on Drown was remarkable.

It was at this point in the set that it became time to “play the hits” as Disarm, Zero, and BWBW were blasted through. After these three, the set reached a point where jt became hard to believe the band had barely taken a breath between songs, and I began to wonder when they’d give the set it’s defining moment and go off script.

That they did, ripping through a memorably heavy and scream filled take on Bowie’s Fame. Truly, this cover stole the show up to this point in the set, only to be followed up with something that, rock gods willing, someone captured in HD audio/video.

What followed Fame seemed to begin as a Silverfuck tease, with the beginning drum fill and riff, but meandered all over the map, becoming a true alternate standalone version of the song, and it was amazing.

Finishing the set with a single encore was Burnt Orange Black, which did indeed close the show well.

If Corgan is content with modeling the Pumpkins’ live show after a NIN like approach to supporting musicians, with BC and The Shredder at its core, this lineup is a great place to start. A classic show.

Setlist:

One and All (We Are)
Being Beige
Hummer
Tiberius
Tonight, Tonight
Drum + Fife
Glass and the Ghost Children
Stand Inside Your Love
Monuments
Drown
Disarm
Zero
Bullet with Butterfly Wings
Fame (David Bowie cover)
Silverfuck

Encore:

Burnt Orange-Black

Photos:

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THE SMASHING PUMPKINS ANNOUNCE SPECIAL
ONE OF A KIND LAUNCH DATES IN SUPPORT OF NEW ALBUM

BRAD WILK (RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE) AND MARK STOERMER (THE KILLERS) WILL JOIN THE SMASHING PUMPKINS LINEUP FOR THE INTIMATE SHOWS

MONUMENTS TO AN ELEGY AVAILABLE DECEMBER 9

November 18, 2014; New York, NY – In support of their eighth studio album Monuments to an Elegy, available December 9, The Smashing Pumpkins will play a series of special shows in select cities around the globe. The tour will begin in Berlin at Kesselhaus on November 30th, and make stops at Koko’s in London on December 5th, Le Trabendo in Paris on December 6th and New York’s Webster Hall on December 8th (see below for list of current tour dates). Tickets for the New York date go on sale tomorrow November 19th at 12pm EST via Ticketweb. The band wishes to inform fans to look for additional dates to be added very soon in Chicago, San Francisco, and other select markets.

The special lineup for these performances will include Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine) on drums and Mark Stoermer (The Killers) on bass joining The Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan and Jeff Schroeder. “We’re absolutely thrilled and humbled to have Brad and Mark helping us out with these shows,” said Corgan “and if our rehearsals are any indication they should be one-of-a-kind.” The Smashing Pumpkins have also been confirmed to play a special outdoor stage performance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday December 10th as well as a performance at KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas concert on Sunday December 14th.

The Smashing Pumpkins were recently announced as headliners for South American Lollapalooza Festival dates which include March 14/15 in Santiago, Chile, March 21/22 in Buenos Aires, Argentina and March 28/29 in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Anticipation and praise already surround the December 9th release of Monuments to an Elegy, with Huffington Post calling it “the band’s super-album.” Yesterday, Vice.com premiered the new track, “Tiberius” which they called “intimate” and “expansive” while Noisey.com declared the track “sounds like a return to form—a nod to the beloved Pumpkins sound of old with a modern twist.” Monuments To An Elegy features Tommy Lee on drums and was recorded in Chicago. The album is produced by Howard Willing, along with Corgan and Schroeder. Monuments to an Elegy is “an album within an album,” part of their ongoing work-in-progress Teargarden By Kaleidyscope (with Day For Night as the project’s last work).

The Smashing Pumpkins were selling a limited edition ‘Fuck You Anderson Cooper’ shirt at their show last night in Chicago. Cooper took a pot shot at Billy Corgan on CNN recently for being photographed with cats for a magazine to promote a charity.

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Here is our story from last month:

Anderson Cooper ripped Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan on CNN yesterday for appearing on the cover of PAWS Magazine to help homeless animals, and also for appearing in a wrestling themed commercial to help out a local Chicago business. After showing the magazine cover and commercial, Cooper mocked Corgan on the ‘RidiCulist.’

Cooper said, “So perhaps Billy Corgan is I don’t know, off his alternative rocker. But I think maybe there’s more to this, maybe he’s being ironic, or maybe when the cool rock stars start doing less rock starry things, it kind of makes us face our own morality. See I want R.E.M. to stay just the way I know and love them, I don’t want Everybody Hurts to suddenly be used in an Excedrin commercial. I don’t ever want to see a product called Eddie Vedder’s Prune Jam. I want to see neither Stephen Malkmus nor Thom Yorke on the cover of AARP magazine.”

Billy Corgan responded tonight on Twitter, defending his charity work with PAWS Chicago.

Corgan has raised a lot of money for homeless animals, so it seems cheap of Cooper to take a shot at Corgan over this. Corgan is a cat lover, even creating a Twitter account for his cats Mr. Thom and Sammi. Corgan discussed their Twitter account last month in an interview with AlternativeNation.net when we asked him if the fame was getting to their heads, “(Laughs) Well, to their credit, their hubris was intact from the moment that I got them (chuckles), so their Twitter comments are a very good reflection of who they are (chuckles). But yeah, the fame definitely gets to them, for sure.”

We also think Cooper forgot about this:

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Last night, our occasional contributor Dustin ‘Whip’ Halter made a comment on a story, stating that Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters never would have made it big if Grohl hadn’t been in Nirvana.  I strongly disagreed with this statement, and decided to start a debate, also featuring AlternativeNation.net reporter Riley Rowe.  If you think this is pointless, it’s the day before Thanksgiving.  Be thankful we have a new article up.

Brett Buchanan: Let’s create ‘something from nothing’ with this discussion. Would Foo Fighters have made it if Dave Grohl wasn’t in Nirvana?

Riley Rowe: Definitely not as big as they are now.

Dustin Halter: Hello no.

Brett: Hello to you too. Hello to U2, I wish.

Dustin: Dave would have went back to DC and eventually became some kind of waste management personnel.

Brett: He would have probably started Foo Fighters even sooner, he already was writing songs, even ones that became Foo Fighters ones, while Nirvana were still going strong.

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Riley: Well, Kurt did push him to keep writing those songs if I recall correctly.

Brett: Kurt never heard most of them, Dave was too nervous to give them to him. Pat Smear gave him a few without Dave’s knowledge.

Dustin: That may be true, but he wouldn’t have had the means, not to mention the ears that would have wanted to hear it. He wouldn’t have had Kurt as an influence either the way he did.

Brett: Ears would want to hear the songs he wrote, many kids today don’t even know he was in Nirvana.

Riley: Although, he did release that mixtape anonymously.

Brett: While Dave obviously had bigger label/tour opportunities immediately since he’d been in Nirvana, had he not he would have been likely building Foo Fighters from the ground up during those years.

Brett: The strength of his songs would have gotten him signed and he’d have become famous since he wrote great music and is talented.

Riley: Or would he have just stayed in Scream and his other previous bands?

Brett: There are tons of other people from famous bands who try launching their own careers or new bands and bomb because the music isn’t that great. Dave’s music was great, and that’s why Foo Fighters made it. Scream broke up in 1990, which led to him joining Nirvana. Had he not joined Nirvana, he would have taken a different musical path in 1990. Dave was already privately writing his own songs, so forming his own band obviously would have happened either then or in the not too distant future.

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Riley: “Ex-Nirvana Drummer Forms New Band” was the headline that got them big. Sure, the debut was big. But not huge.

Brett: No it wasn’t, tons of people from famous bands start their own projects and nobody cares, like I said.  The music was great so people liked it.

Riley: But, Nirvana was HUGE and it died. People wanted anything left from it.

Dustin: Dude, the Foo Fighters first record did have a cool sound– it was born out of Nirvana though. He’d still be messing around in punk bands, and would have been content in doing that.

Brett: No he wouldn’t have, Dave had ambition. The whole ‘not wanting to be famous’ thing was Seattle posturing. Dave had great songs within him period, he wasn’t going to suppress them forever, regardless of it he joined Nirvana, or even if Kurt had lived.

Dustin: No one in a punk scene like that makes it out. It’s the whole part of their value system– they don’t want to change for the masses. Either the masses come to them or tough shit. And while Dave may have had other plans, I doubt he’d have the will to start something on his own and get out of the DC hardcore scene.

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Brett: Dave was a special talent, none of that bullshit posturing mattered. He had great songs within him like I said.

Riley: I’m sure everyone can agree that Dave had great songs. But he still gets asked about Nirvana. And he still brings it up.

Brett: It doesn’t matter, if you guys are right, why wasn’t Novoselic’s band Eyes Adrift a huge hit? Foo Fighters was better, it was great arena filling songs, so it did just that. Dave made it the same reason Kurt, Billy, Trent etc. did. He wrote great songs.

Dustin: Lots of people have great songs– it doesn’t mean they have a way to market them. If Dave stayed in DC he’d have no audience but the punk rockers in the area. If he went to LA he would’ve been cycled in and out of a few bands and then went back to DC. Seattle was where they music was coming from… Even if Buzzo was a fan of Scream and met Dave and Dave didn’t make it into Nirvana, maybe Dave would become the drummer for another band in Seattle… but how many of them got big? 4? 6?

Riley: I think Foo Fighters still would’ve got noticed and big, but not as much with the reputation of Nirvana.

Brett: Lots of people don’t have great songs, or have the ability to write hit songs. Dave is a special talent, that’s why he made it.

Dustin: Kurt wrote good songs, Billy wrote great songs, but they both had awesome voices. Dave’s voice is too run of the mill to make it on his own merit.

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Brett: Doesn’t matter if you have great songs. Corgan’s voice is weird to many, but he made it his own, and wrote incredible songs so made it despite not being the second coming of Freddie Mercury. Grohl’s voice isn’t a Robert Plant or Janis Joplin, but he made it his own, and wrote great songs.

Riley: I can just imagine the CEO of Capitol Records jumping out of his seat when he heard the drummer of Nirvana was writing material. I’m sure they promoted the hell out of it.

Brett: But that’s ridiculous because members of tons of famous bands release their own projects, and most haven’t been able to have the same success like Grohl.

Riley: But Nirvana was the biggest thing since… well maybe the Beatles.

Dustin: Exactly.. and some no name drummer form a DC punk band writing songs on guitar… no market.. who’s going to take the chance on that?

Brett: Grohl made it because he had songs like “I’ll Stick Around” and “Big Me.” The labels would have heard great catchy songs, and signed him, like many labels did in the 90’s on many talented bands.

Dustin: He never would have written those songs if he was in DC. He’d be drumming and playing Misfits songs on guitar.

Brett: The Smashing Pumpkins were totally disconnected from the Chicago scene, they didn’t fit into the ‘hip’ crowd. They made it because Billy Corgan wrote great songs.

Dustin: Yes he wrote great songs. Dave Grohl– not so much.

Brett: Dave Grohl wrote great songs. You’re invalidating your whole point now by saying you don’t think Grohl wrote great stuff.

Dustin: They became great songs because they got recorded and marketed, which never would have happened otherwise.

Brett: I’ve listened to the Late! tape from 92, great songs on there. No marketing or jack shit.

Riley: I think the point you’re missing is he was the drummer of Nirvana! NIRVANA! The hugest band in the 90’s. And then BAM! Kurt died, no more Nirvana. Boo hoo, what do we do? Oh wait, the drummer is making a band and has decent songs? Everyone celebrates and hops on the Foo Fighters bandwagon.

Brett: It doesn’t matter where Dave was, he has the gift to write great songs. Nothing else matters. Nobody would have cared if the music wasn’t great.

Dustin: EVEN if Kurt just quit Nirvana I don’t think the Foo Fighters would have ever been a thing. If he was alive and well… just left the band, I say that Dave would’ve went drumming somewhere else, never to be heard of again.

Riley: I’m not denying the music is good.

Brett: Dustin, Grohl already had many Foo Fighters songs written. He would have still gone onto great things.

Dustin: If the music was just so-so a record still would have came out. Probably 2!

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Brett: The bottom line is Nirvana just happened to be a band where the singer and drummer both happened to be great songwriters.

Riley: Yes, very true!

Brett: The drummer kept his ideas to himself while in the band out of respect to the frontman, but was still writing them privately because they were coming to him because he has talent.

Riley: Correctomundo #2.

Brett: If he hadn’t been in the band he’d have been pursuing his own music, which he obviously did once it was over.

Riley: Sure, I agree with that.

Brett: But anyways, those are my closing thoughts. Foo Fighters/Dave Grohl would have made it regardless of if he was in Nirvana. The only thing that would have set him back is obviously if Nirvana had stuck together. But that’s because he would have been busy drumming with Nirvana.

Dustin: Well my closing thought is the exact opposite, to save some typing.

Riley: My final statement is that Dave Grohl is a good songwriter and would likely have gone on to form Foo Fighters, which would get decently big, but nowhere near to the point of where they are today. The fact that Grohl was in Nirvana was a huge boost for Dave’s reputation and allowed him to get many musical and business connections.

Brett: Grohl wrote, and writes, hit songs, and hit songs fill arenas and stadiums.

Dustin:
Yes…. NOW he does. Know why?

Riley: Naughty, naughty. That’s after your “closing statement.”

Brett: It’s an epilogue.

The Grohl Poll
Would Dave Grohl Have Made It Big Without Nirvana?
  • - 43% ( )
  • - 57% ( )

The Miami Herald is reporting that Scott Stapp’s soon to be ex-wife Jaclyn Stapp claimed in her divorce filing that the Creed frontman sent her the following text messages:

“Florida is not safe. Biological weapons on the way. U have to leave with kids and meet me in Atlanta.”

“I’m coming to get you Satan and children. No mercy. You know how this ends. God created you and now God is ending you.”

“God is also telling me something about Palm Springs and Nashville so there’s a connection somehow. He’s also telling me DEA for some reason.”

“Wells Fargo working out my account problems. I’m out of gas. Haven’t eaten all day. I’m asking if they can spot me $1,000 so I don’t fall over from malnutrition.”

“I wouldn’t doubt it if the CIA is behind Alcoholics Anonymous.”

Stapp released a 15 minute video earlier today denying these claims, and stating that people are after him and trying to drag his name through the mud. Stapp said, “Right now, I’m under some kind of pretty vicious attack, I still haven’t figured out the reasons why, except that about 8 weeks ago I began an audit of not only my record company, but my personal finances. During that audit, a lot of things were uncovered. A lot of money was stolen from me, and royalties not paid, and that’s when all hell began to break loose.”

Creed frontman Scott Stapp released a new video on Creed’s Facebook, announcing that money has been stolen from him.

Stapp opened by saying he is sober, and not dead. “Right now, I’m under some kind of pretty vicious attack, I still haven’t figured out the reasons why, except that about 8 weeks ago I began an audit of not only my record company, but my personal finances. During that audit, a lot of things were uncovered. A lot of money was stolen from me, and royalties not paid, and that’s when all hell began to break loose.”

Stapp discussed his relationship with God, and said he ‘forgives’ the people trying to discredit him, and that he ‘prays for them every day.’ Stapp said to his doubters, “I am not going to stop seeking legal action against these individuals, there’s nothing you can do to me that is going to make me stop.”

Stapp also said the IRS has frozen his bank account to leave him completely broke. He said the IRS told him it was an ‘address mixup’ and he’d have his money back in 9 months. Stapp said, “My civil rights have been violated.”

Stapp claimed he has lost his home, and had to sleep in his car before finding a hotel room. “Right now I’m living in a Holiday Inn, by the grace of God, because there’s been a couple of weeks where I had to sleep in my truck. I had no money, not even for gas, or food. I went 2 days without eating, because I had no money, I ended up in an emergency room.”

“I must admit I’ve shed a few tears alone, asking God why. But I know he has a purpose.”

Chris Cornell is okay with Soundgarden being nostalgic after having been away too long.

Cornell was asked about Soundgarden possibly leaning too nostalgic with all of their recent reissue/compilation releases in a new Men’s Health article. Cornell said he’s okay with the nostalgia.

“Well, for us the fact that we had just made an album of all new material [King Animal] felt extremely vital to us, and it took away the notion of any nostalgia. Then we went out on tour with Nine Inch Nails, and you have to be realistic that to many people, it kind of is nostalgic, even though we’re playing a lot of new music. We both put out albums in the past few years of new music, but the nostalgia part is there, and that’s okay. Once you’ve been a band long enough, it’s gonna factor into it. When The Rolling Stones were playing stadiums in the ’80s, I remember friends going to those shows. There were a handful that would listen to the new record and be really into that, but for most people it was nostalgia.”

Soundgarden played “A Thousand Days Before” during their tour with Nine Inch Nails, along with “Been Away Too Long” several times before it was dropped near the end of the tour. Other new songs were played sparingly, including “Taree” and “By Crooked Steps” being played on select dates.

Weezer bassist Scott Shriner recently cut his right pinkie and severed two tendons while using a sharp kitchen knife. Shriner still performed with Weezer live a few days later in Philadelphia, despite the health risks.

“I had to tape my fingers together,” Shriner said in a recent interview with Naples News. “It’s not advised, because it can get your tendons to recess back in your arm. I didn’t have a choice. It’s not the kind of band I want to call in sick to.”

Shriner has since undergone physical therapy, but he says the risk was worth it. “If I had to lose the finger, I would still continue to rock as hard as I do now,” he said. “But I don’t want to lose it.”

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If you missed AlternativeNation.net roundtable review of Weezer’s latest album Everything Will Be Alright In The End, check it out below.

1. Ain’t Got Nobody

Mike Mazzarone: Ain’t Got Nobody is really catchy. I was really digging it. The poppier side of early Weezer. It sounds like it could fit off of the Blue Album. I’m gonna be humming this tomorrow.

Doug McCausland: Ain’t Got Nobody is a catchy song with a driving beat. Sounds like classic Weezer!  Cool guitar solo.

Riley Rowe: The creepy intro sample hooks you right off the bat. The chugging guitar and rhythm section smoothly transitions into the easy sing-along melody. The slow and fast parts shows off the song’s overall dynamics with a sassy guitar solo thrown in there for safe measures.

Brett Buchanan: Ain’t Got Nobody is the perfect opener. There is actually a spoken word part at the beginning where the words ‘Fuck, rock is dead, guitars are dead’ is spoken followed by a big riff. It actually reminds me of Pinkerton a bit, with Green Album production and a little more upbeat. This is one of the stronger songs on the album.

Doug: There’s something about the classic Weezer melody that just really hit home.

2. Back To The Shack

Mike: Back To The Shack. The main single off of this album. What a song. It’s basically Weezer’s “fuck you” to the modern and hipster music scene. No “Pork and Beans” vibes here. This is more gritty. What I love about Weezer is that they create catchy hooks and melodies without compromise and that is evident here.

Doug: Back To The Shack has a fuzzy vibe that definitely harkens back to the band’s early days, though the lyrics filled with cheese and the song in general is too on-the-nose about how much the band wants to emulate their early sound. But, at the same time, its classic Weezer awkwardness.

Riley: Back to the Shack – This is a great choice for the single and will undoubtedly have some major radio airplay, it’s already getting a fair amount. The tongue-in-cheek humorous lyrical content and friendly rock-out sound is a perfect example of old-school Weezer. There’s also a total Jack White/White Stripes influenced riff throughout this song, but Weezer definitely make it their own.

Brett: I think Back To The Shack has some interesting self-aware lyrics, admitting that they took some missteps in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s. It’s got a good hook, a nice song, but the verse melody gets a bit repetitive and like Doug said at time the lyrics get too on the nose, but I like the song.

3. Eulogy For A Rock Band

Riley: With Rivers Cuomo’s more calm singing style, the track comes off a bit as a subtle rock anthem. Unfortunately, the melody doesn’t quite reach the catchy, hooky standards that Weezer normally holds.

Doug: Great drum work on “Eulogy For A Rock Band”, and the album in general. Lyrics seem to reflect the current state of rock music, perhaps the reason why the band is so eager to make a no-holds-barred pop rock album again.

Mike: Eulogy For A Rock Band sounds like something that I can’t put my finger on. I really dig it though. Great production work on that track. Everything is very slick and tight. However, there is some potential that isn’t quite reached. You are listening to this track and it just feels like: “This is really good, but something is missing.”

Brett: This song is another self-aware track like “Back to the Shack” but not as creative lyrically or melodically. Lyrics include, ’15 years of ruling the planet/but now your light is fading’ and also ‘This is a toast to what you did and all that you were fighting for/who could do more as time marches on/words come and go/we will sing the melodies.’ I just prefer “Back to the Shack.”

Doug: I agree, Brett.

4. Lonely Girl

Doug: The lyrics are the strongest part of the song, and are a lot more personal than the first few songs.

Riley: Similar to the previous track, Lonely Girl lacks the hook that Weezer fans expect. The song gets a bit repetitive as well.

Mike: Remember when I said all of this sounds like something that I can’t put my finger on? Hard surfer rock. Reminds me of The Beach Boys and bands along those lines a bit, with a harder edge. That is very prominent on “Lonely Girl”

Doug: The song is about two troubled souls finding comfort in each other, for better or worse. The lyrics hit home for me, I’ll just leave it at that.

Brett: Fortunately they didn’t tack on ’15’ to this and make this one of their 2000’s pop culture songs, for those of you who remember those LonelyGirl15 videos. This is the first song with some real emotional sincerity, after a few tracks that are mainly about Weezer’s career. The riff actually gets kind of Nirvanaesque during a brief breakdown near the end, another one that has a hint of Pinkerton with modern Weezer production.

5. I’ve Had It Up To Here

Doug: Pure pop rock fluff, upbeat, catchy verses. Sounds like a cross between Rivers Cuomo and Michael Jackson. Well, not really. Anyway, the breakdown later in the song has kind of a doo-wop vibe.

Riley: Sound and riff experimentation would be the highlights of this song. Rivers even seems to raise the pitch of his voice a bit higher than usual, which surprisingly works! The song is finished off with a short, but sweet guitar solo with some Queen-like harmonies.

Brett: There’s Beatlesque harmonies (I know, an overused term), with kind of dancey classic rock verses. This is one of the most melodically interesting songs on the album. Riley is right that at about 1:30-1:40 in there is a total Queen part where Rivers kind of tries to channel Freddie Mercury. Overall though enjoy this track.

Doug: Cuomo goes into falsetto range quite a few times in this tune.

Mike: I’ve Had It Up to Here reminds me of a song that could of been released off of Weezer’s self titled. It has an “Island In The Sun” vibe as well, as this really has a cool classic rock feel to it. Which I enjoy.

Brett: There’s three self-titled Weezer albums you moron.

Riley: Aha.

Brett: Edward R. Murrow you are not.

Riley: I assume he means the first.

Brett: I assume he doesn’t know shit.

Mike: No, the 01 album.

Riley: Green.

Mike: Fuck, you assholes are harsh

Doug: Mike’s been hitting the hash pipe.

Brett: It’s the Green album, you color blind bub?

Mike: Green, Blue, Red, Purple, who gives two shits.

Doug: Mike, don’t ever get involved in bomb disposal.

Brett: Purple is a Stone Temple Pilots album. Lester Bangs would be ashamed of your rock knowledge.

6. The British Are Coming

Mike: The British Are Coming smells like album filler. If you can get over Rivers Cuomo screeching out the title of the song for what seems like twenty times over then it’s just average at best. If I was a soldier in the war and Rivers Cuomo replaced Paul Revere, maybe I could feel more enthusiastic about it. Sadly, this is 2014 and we are “treated” to Rivers Cuomo saying the title of the track until you want to rip your hair out.

Riley: Leaping a bit out of their comfort zone, Weezer attempt a twangy, acoustic intro, yet jump right back into their comfort zone for a typical verse-chorus-verse medley featuring the longest guitar solo so far.

Doug: The extended guitar solo is the best part of the song. Between that section and the opening drumroll straight out of a Revolutionary War reenactment, it’s all pretty generic.

Brett: I agree, I love the solo, it’s one of my favorite parts of the album. The song has some really interesting melodies and instrumental work, this one keeps growing on me, though the lyrics aren’t as strong as some of my favorite tracks, the chorus itself is kind of dumb. I’d be interested in seeing a music video for this though.

Mike: Cuomo in full uniform and a powdered wig as he passes through gun fire on the battle field, or riding a horse warning soldiers. Pretty much the only directions you could go for that.

Doug: The British will be portrayed by every other band that’s currently popular on rock radio.

7. Da Vinci

Riley: Even more weird experimental intros! Whistling and a down-tuned-acoustic actually works.

Mike: Da Vinci. Another filler sounding track but definitely better then “British”. You’ll be humming that whistling part. This song seems a minute or so too long though.

Doug: After having The Walker by Fitz and the Tantrums forever poisoning my eardrums, its good to hear a song that actually employs whistling in an effective/not grating way.

Brett: Da Vinci is the worst song on the album to me. Just boring melodically and instrumentally, especially the whistling and the verses. The lyrics aren’t impressive. Stuff like, ‘Tried taking a picture of you/when I look at it nothing comes through,’ ”Rosetta stone could not translate you/I’m at a loss for words,’ and ‘I looked you up on Ancestry.com’

Brett:
Imagine somebody listening to this in 100 years, ‘Grandpa, what the hell was Ancestry.com? I’ve got my whole family history on my iPhone 150.’

Mike: Dat product placement.

Doug: Also, “Stephen Hawking can’t explain it” is another lyric.

8. Go Away

Mike: No.

Mike: Oh. The song.

Mike: The only thing I want to “Go Away” is this song. Completely forgettable. Another track where Cuomo repeats the title twenty or so times. Not for me.

Riley: Guest vocalist Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast saves this track. Without her it was going to be another typical garage-punk-pop song.

Brett: I prefer this over “Da Vinci” due to Cosentino adding some variety, but this is still a pretty generic uninspired song compared to the stronger stuff on the album.

Doug: The Best Coast frontwoman saves the track. Honestly, didn’t know it was her when I was listening to the album. That’s a band with some great songs.

Doug: “Da Vinci” and “Go Away” are the two glaring filler tracks to me.

Brett: Agreed.

Mike: See. I feel the opposite. Well, in a way. I think she does a great job on the track but the song itself

Brett: You mean you feel the same as me.

Mike: If Randy Jackson were reviewing this, it would “just be a’ight dawg.”

Doug: I may say the same about The British Are Coming, but in that song’s case, the same with Go Away, it does have an element that makes it stand out: the guitar solo and the Costino guest appearance, respectively.

9. Cleopatra

Riley: Finally some songwriting that is actually original. And wow, Weezer gets kinda heavy metal halfway through with some chug-chug-chugs and harmonic lead guitar riffs.

Brett: This is the best song on the album to me, and the best Weezer song since the Red album. Lots of interesting melodies and riffs. The lyrics are sincere too, this one reminds me the most of the Blue album, and a little bit Maladroit. Some interesting middle eastern type riffs mixed in there.

Mike: Another filler track. Nothing stood out to me at all.

Doug: The riffs are definitely something in this tune. One of the riffs in the song reminds me of “Nimrod’s Son” by the Pixies.

10. Foolish Father

Riley: While this track lacks a clear direction in some parts, it develops it’s identity about halfway through and ends on a high note with a choral finale of “Everything will be alright in the end.” I can imagine it being played live and everyone singing along.

Doug: The opening is atmospheric, and the chanting of the album title towards the end is a nice touch.

Brett: I love the ending melody too with ‘Everything will be alright in the end,’ that’s anthemic to me, I wish they did it earlier. It reminds me a bit of The Killers. Overall this is a good song.

Mike: Foolish Father has a pretty strong opening and solo but the lyrics aren’t really doing it for me. I could really dig an instrumental version of this. Fun fact: When you have to sing-song the title of the album, you know you’ve reached the peak of self-indulgence. Getting more annoyed with the track by the second.

11.The Futurescope Trilogy (The Waste Land, Anonymous, and Return to Ithaka)

Riley: A perfect example of Weezer’s side of musicianship that hardly gets showcased. The production and song-writing is enjoyable, shows off each instrumentalists actual talent, and doesn’t rely on forceful melodies. Both instrumentals that sandwich this 7-minute piece are quite impressive for Weezer along with the piano intro on “Anonymous.” I hope to hear more material from the band that sound as mature as this.

Doug: Anonymous is an epic sounding song, possessing a theatrical feel similar to Queen and Foxy Shazam. The song segues into the instrumental track “Return to Ithaka”, reprising the vocal melodies from “Anonymous” on guitar. The whole thing just feels really climactic.

Brett: I prefer “The Waste Land” and “Anonymous” to “Return to Ithaka.’ There’s a real classic rock vibe to this section of the album. It’s nothing amazing though, but interesting experimentation.

Mike: The Waste Land/Anonymous/Return To Ithaka is this real clever “one song in three” trilogy. I can see people being very disappointed if thinking these tracks are separate but if you listen to all of it, one at a time you’ll hear brilliance. It flows perfectly and should sound even more fantastic live.

Overall Album Thoughts

Doug: After a really strong opening, the album becomes a bit saturated with filler in the middle before reaching an epic sounding end with the Futurescope Trilogy. Its a solid album, though I am not historically a huge Weezer fan so I cannot make comparisons.

Brett: This is far better than any of their post Red album/2008 work. It is not as good as the Blue album, Pinkerton, or the Green album, but this album re-establishes Weezer as a respectable alternative rock band to me after some questionable albums and collaborations from 2009-2010. My favorites are Cleopatra, Ain’t Got Nobody, I’ve Had It Up To Here, and Back to the Shack.

Doug: “Ain’t Got Nobody”, “Lonely Girl”, and parts 2 and 3 of “The Futurescope Trilogy” are my standout tracks.

Mike: The album starts off really strong and by song six you are hit by song after song of repetition and filler. The Trilogy is where things end on a real strong note, so at least there is that. Amazing beginning. Meh to mediocre middle, and a really good ending. If songs six through ten were of the same quality of songs one through five this album would be in contention for one of Weezer’s best. At least in a while. But the middle of the album ruins that.

Riley: Just like the past two albums (“Raditude” and “Hurley”), this LP unfortunately most likely won’t be remembered for anything farther than it’s singles. While some tracks showcase the band’s maturation through experimentation (such as the intros) or impressive musicianship (like the guitar solos & instrumentals), Weezer is becoming too comfortable in their 4/4 structure, no-risk songwriting world.

Doug: No, we need more simple rock songs out there. Long eight minute complex and technical songs won’t save mainstream rock radio. But we need them from newer artists, not established 90’s rock stars.

Brett: I think a strength of the album is the music. The band sound like they showed up to play, even when the songs lack. Overall this is an alright album, with good songs. Everything will be ‘alright’ in the end I guess.

Riley: *ba dum tss*

Chad Smith discussed Red Hot Chili Peppers’ next album in an interview with Music Radar last week.

“We’re writing our songs, and we’re really close to getting in to start recording. I think we’ll probably go up to December, do a little pre-production on ‘em, and then we’ll take a little Christmas break. I hope to be recording after the first of the year.

“We’ve probably worked up close to 30 songs. I don’t know if we’ll record all of them. I think last time we overdid it a little, so we’re trying to really hone in on the ones that’ll rise to the top. Maybe we’ll do a bit more pre-production so we can make sure the songs are the best they can be. Traditionally, we’ve always recorded 25 or 30 songs, so we’ll see. It won’t be 50 like last time. [Laughs] We always say, ‘Oh, we’re doing to do a Beatles thing and just do 10 or 11 songs,’ and then it always turns into an epic fucking thing. This time, I thing we’ll focus on the quality and not the quantity.”

In a recent KROQ interview, Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis announced that the Chili Peppers will be returning to the studio to record their newly written album next month. When approached about details, Kiedis stated that he wants the new album to only be 13 songs, however it is likely that they will “put 10 more songs on top of that.” Kiedis felt that this album will show Josh Klinghoffer’s coming of age as their guitarist and that the new material will have him, as a guitarist and songwriter, stand out a lot. Kiedis also talked at some lengths about his friendships with his bandmates, and how they have come to effect him musically and emotionally. No producer or other production members were mentioned regarding the album’s recording and production, reinforcing the rumors of a different producer than “fifth Chili Pepper” Rick Rubin for the new album.

Frances Bean Cobain has tweeted her first comments on the new Kurt Cobain documentary ‘Montage of Heck,’ set for release on HBO in 2015. Cobain also tweeted an Edgar Allen Poe quote on insanity last night.

Billboard reports that Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck will be premiere on HBO next year. The film is directed by Brett Morgen, and produced by Frances Bean Cobain, Larry Mestel, and David Byrnes. The documentary features home movies, photography, live performance, and ‘previously unheard Cobain material.’ Morgen went through 200 hours of unreleased music and audio to create the doc. Morgen directed Crossfire Hurricane, The Rolling Stones documentary, in 2012. He also directed Chicago 10, The Kid Stays in the Picture, Say It Loud: A Celebration of Black Music in America, On the Ropes, On Tour, and Ollie’s Army.

Morgen told NME in January 2013: “If you think about Kurt, he’s a contradiction. He could be sincere and sentimental, and also ironic and sarcastic. He was sweet and sour. He was incredibly funny too, and the film has to reflect his spirit.”

He added: “The thing about him people might not know too is that he was an incredible visual artist and left behind a treasure chest of comic books, paintings, Super8 films, all sorts. We’re hoping the Cobain film, that’ll hopefully be released in 2014, will be this generation’s The Wall – a mix of animation and live action that’ll allow the audience to experience Kurt in a way they never have before. It’s very ambitious.”

Billboard reports that Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck will be premiere on HBO next year. The film is directed by Brett Morgen, and produced by Frances Bean Cobain, Larry Mestel, and David Byrnes. The documentary features home movies, photography, live performance, and ‘previously unheard Cobain material.’ Morgen went through 200 hours of unreleased music and audio to create the doc. Morgen directed Crossfire Hurricane, The Rolling Stones documentary, in 2012. He also directed Chicago 10, The Kid Stays in the Picture, Say It Loud: A Celebration of Black Music in America, On the Ropes, On Tour, and Ollie’s Army.

Morgen told NME in January 2013: “If you think about Kurt, he’s a contradiction. He could be sincere and sentimental, and also ironic and sarcastic. He was sweet and sour. He was incredibly funny too, and the film has to reflect his spirit.”

He added: “The thing about him people might not know too is that he was an incredible visual artist and left behind a treasure chest of comic books, paintings, Super8 films, all sorts. We’re hoping the Cobain film, that’ll hopefully be released in 2014, will be this generation’s The Wall – a mix of animation and live action that’ll allow the audience to experience Kurt in a way they never have before. It’s very ambitious.”

Soundgarden have released a new music video for “Storm,” a track they originally wrote in the 80’s but is being released now.

Soundgarden are planning another reissue/compilation, this time it’s their debut album Ultramega OK. The Pulse of Radio (via Blabbermouth) reports that Kim Thayil recently stated, “Last year, Jack Endino and I spent a number of weeks remixing ‘Ultramega OK’ and we’re gonna search for a label — it’s no longer on SST — and put it out with a beautiful, heavier, warmer mix from Jack Endino, which is something we always felt we had to correct about that release.”

Kim Thayil discussed Soundgarden’s 80’s rarities in a June interview with AlternativeNation.net, “Any pre Screaming Life material? I don’t think so. Well, if it was something it might be from Deep Six. We were on the C/Z records cassette Pyrrhic Victory, we had “Incessant Mace” on that, but we released that on Ultramega OK. So some of the pre Screaming Life stuff, there’s maybe two dozen songs that were never released. Songs that we liked well enough to record and play live all the time, but we never released in any form. I don’t think those would be included on a B-sides thing. We could re-record them, or take the crude early recordings and have that stand alone as a release on its own.”

Jack Endino discussed the previously unreleased song “Storm” in a June interview with AlternativeNation.net, “In March of 1986 they were recording some tracks at a local studio. They didn’t like how the mixes were coming out so they called me to come in and try and rescue it. The engineer there resented this, I was kind of a nobody as far as he was concerned, and he pretty much stomped out of the control room and left us there on our own. This was three months before I started at Reciprocal Recording, so all I had was some basement studio experience with SG. We tried to rescue the session but it ended up getting shelved and they got Matt Cameron as a drummer a few months later and the rest was, uh, history.

Fast forward to the present, 28 years later, and I found a cassette of that stuff. Every one of those songs got re-recorded later except this one kind of oddball drony psych tune. I reminded Kim about that song and sent him the rough mix, just to jog his memory. A few months ago they asked to me to record it with them, they needed a new song for a movie or TV or something, I’m not sure what it was for, but they thought it would be fun to see what we could do with it now. What was interesting was that Chris and Kim remembered it, but Ben and Matt had never played the song before so they had to learn it from scratch. Chris actually did the final vocals himself at his home studio and sent me the files, and they were all arranged and perfect, I just dropped them into our ProTools session and it was nailed. He’s really, really good at recording himself. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the song, it may just end up as a B-side, but it was pretty cool working with them again, decades after we did Screaming Life.”

Photo credit: Jeff Roberson/AP Photo

Members of the alternative rock bands Nirvana (Krist Novoselic), Rage Against The Machine (Tom Morello), Filter (Richard Patrick), and Cage The Elephant responded to the ruling (and riots that took place after) of no criminal charges being filed against white police officer Darren Wilson after his fatal shooting of African American Michael Brown in August in Ferguson, Missouri. After the ruling rioting began in Ferguson.


The New York Times said of the ruling, “The decision by the grand jury of nine whites and three blacks was announced Monday night by the St. Louis County prosecutor, Robert P. McCulloch, at a news conference packed with reporters from around the world. The killing, on a residential street in Ferguson, set off weeks of civil unrest — and a national debate — fueled by protesters’ outrage over what they called a pattern of police brutality against young black men. Mr. McCulloch said Officer Wilson had faced charges ranging from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter.”

Dave Grohl discussed how the late, great Dimebag Darrell from Pantera helped make him become the nicest guy in rock in a new interview with Rolling Stone.

“There was an Ozzfest in England in 1998, and Korn canceled. So we got the call. It was Slayer, Pantera and Black Sabbath. We had to go on after Pantera. I was so terrified: ‘There’s gonna be a riot. I’m gonna get drawn and quartered. No one’s going to like our band.’

“But we played, and I looked to the side. The guys from Pantera are watching us and singing the lyrics to our songs. Afterwards we made friends with Pantera. I was nervous and scared; I didn’t think I fit in. But they were so open to us. That backstage hospitality we try to have – it all came from Pantera. [Guitarist] Dimebag Darrell was the nicest fucking guy in the world. He could walk in and do a shot of Crown Royal with Justin Bieber, with Rick Nielsen, with James Brown – he was everybody’s best friend. And you could feel that energy when he was playing.

“After that day, I was like, ‘From now on, everybody’s allowed in this room. I don’t care if it’s Britney Spears.’ I became the backstage best friend. Whenever I showed up at a festival, the first thing I’d do is grab a bottle of whiskey and go knocking on doors to see who the funniest people are. You’d be surprised who the real fucking nutcases are.”

Billy Corgan discussed the cover of the new Smashing Pumpkins album Monuments to an Elegy in a new interview with Vevo.

“I shot the cover myself with an old polaroid, for anybody that’s a photographer, where you kind of do the peel about film. It’s the same thing when people ask me what’s my inspiration for albums, songs, stuff like that. I don’t know, good art just kind of happens, and you know it when you see it. I like that image a lot, I think it’s cool, I think it kind of sums up the album. One of the things I like about the album cover is you don’t know the music that’s inside. A lot of the time you look, and you think, ‘Oh it must be this kind of band, or there must be a ukulele in there somewhere.’ No ukuleles on this record.”

BillCo also discussed Tommy Lee, “Tommy’s an amazing person, obviously a great drummer. Just hanging out with Tommy is so much fun, we had such a great time, I got to hear all the Motley Crue stories that don’t end up in the book, which is kind of frightening actually. There’s nothing like sitting around the pool and hearing about things you can’t believe even happened, or were physically possible with another human.”

pumpkinsmonuments

Paul Blackthorne first became familiar to American television viewers with roles on shows like 24 in the 2000’s, but his most famous role is as Quentin Lance on Arrow, which is currently airing its third season Wednesdays on The CW.  Lance has gone from sergeant, to detective, to officer, to now captain of the Starling City Police Department in the show’s 2 and a half seasons.  In this exclusive AlternativeNation.net Film & TV section interview, Blackthorne discusses how he got into acting after growing up on miltary bases in England and Germany, discusses Sara’s death on Arrow, The Flash/Arrow’s upcoming crossover episodes, comparisons of Captain Lance to Batman’s Commissioner Gordon, Laurel becoming Black Canary on Arrow, his role in Dumb and Dumber To, and future films he’d like to direct after This American Journey.

You were raised on military bases in England and Germany growing up, I wanted to ask you, how did you first get into acting and what kind of TV were you exposed to?

All I can remember growing up is watching Top of The Pops and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang from my childhood, along with the soap operas that my mother would used to watch. I didn’t see much film growing up, I remember seeing The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and the epic trip we had growing up to see that film, that’s really it though, nothing extraordinary. Just the usual kinda fare that a child in England would experience.

As for what got me into acting, I was ten years old and attending school in England, they had a great arts program there and had just built this beautiful, new theater in the school. The National Youth Music Theatre would go around various schools in England and put on their summer production and I auditioned for that particular play which was called the “League of Liverpool,” it was sort of an old Victorian sing-along romp thing. At the end of that summer, three different schools that were part of the production, the National Music Theater would choose certain children to do the end of festival production of that same play. So, they kind of tried it out and rehearsed it in the schools, then they would take it to the the festivals and then later to the London west end.

I was fortunate enough to be involved with the school production, one of the chosen ones to go to the Edinburgh festival in 1980 as well actually, big year, and to the west end at Christmas. It’s funny because in that same play with Tom Hollander, Toby Jones, they were in the same play. Later I went off to do another production and Jonny Miller, and Jude Law as well. A bit of a pedigree there, they had a knack of picking up some decent talent along the way. But that’s how I first got into it, musical theater as a kid.

Unthinkable

Jumping years later now to Arrow and some of the plots going on this season, what was your reaction to Sara being killed off and Caity Lotz leaving the show? Also how was it discovering that the arc would involve Laurel not telling you that she died?

It’s always a shame, and it’s the nature of this kind of television that characters will come and go, much in the same way as Tommy Merlyn and Sussanna Thompson’s character, and now Caity. You enjoy spending time working with people and then suddenly the axe drops, but that’s television isn’t it? If you have a show that death defines odds every week but nobody dies, then the audience is not going to be that interested I would imagine, that’s why the deaths have to fly around every so often. It’s a shame, it’s always sad to see your fellow actors go, Caity Lotz and I had a great working relationship and I’m sure she’ll go onto some fabulous things from here. In terms of the storyline? Now Katie Cassidy’s character has to keep [quiet] on the thing for her reasons. So yeah, Lance is in the dark, what can I say?

Obviously you can’t spoil but do you think Laurel has the right motivations to not tell you and how do you envision your character reacting when he finds out?

Well, the initial motivation that she stated was that because of Lance’s heart condition she would at least want to know who killed Sara before revealing that she had been killed. That was in one of the earlier episodes in which this all came up. That would still be her motivation, and if/when Lance finds out I doubt he’d be doing an Irish jig around the place, would he? I think he would be a little bit perturbed by the situation. We’ll see.

Home Invasion

Now, another secret that Detective Lance doesn’t know is that Oliver is the Arrow but it seems like recently, at least in Season 2, that there have been a lot of examples that should make it that he knows. Examples being Felicity working with Oliver and the Arrow, Sara obviously, you play Detective Lance, do you think he subconsciously knows?

As you said, all roads lead to Rome, don’t they, really? Whether it was Sara, her relationship with Oliver, Felicity, all that good stuff, all roads lead to Rome. In that episode The Man Under The Hood, the episode where I was in the hospital bed and Laurel was about to tell me who he was.

Right, you didn’t want to know.

Yeah, Lance doesn’t want to know, particularly at that point where he had to be real surreptitious about the whole relationship. Now it’s out in the open, it’s a different thing. Lance obviously has his suspicions, which were expressed in Episode 4 of the first season, but at that point that case was quashed, for his own reputation and well being, he had to keep those thoughts to himself, clearly he has done that since then. Now that his mind has turned regarding the Arrow, he realizes he’s actually beneficial for the city, he has no interest in knowing who he is, and even if he suspects who he is, he’s not going to pursue that, because the guy does good for the city, and as far as Lance goes, that’s all that matters. So why complicate things, in Lance’s mind, by knowing who it is? Just be quiet, and keep it moving.

City of Blood

Many of your scenes and storylines with Laurel tend to lean on the darker side, with alcoholism and dealing with death being some of the main issues. How do you and Katie Cassidy prepare for scenes like that, and would you ever like to see a lighter side to the relationship, kind of like we saw a little bit in that flashback episode?

That flashback episode was fun, it was kind of the Lance family sitcom all of a sudden, and that was fun. The family, in terms of the story, was having fun at that time. It was before the dark days of when death loomed over the family. They were good times, and it was nice to play some of that stuff in the episode. In terms of what is going on now, yeah, dark stuff, alcoholism, drug addiction, death, one thing after another really. But that’s drama, that’s conflict, from an acting point of view it’s actually nice to play that stuff, when there’s a lot of stuff going on the room, particularly with the family dynamic it makes it interesting to play. Because obviously a family dynamic is a very complex, peculiar one, so there’s lots of drama on top of the father-daughter relationship, so you’ve got a lot to play with.

With reports coming out that Laurel is becoming Black Canary, what do you think this will add to the show, and how do you think it will change your dynamic with Laurel?

Well Katie Cassidy always brings so much to the show wherever her character is at, whether it was the dark stuff from last season, or obviously the change that is occurring this season. She commits herself so fully to the character, and where it’s at, and brings it so much authenticity that it is going to be great to watch it, because she pulls out all of the stops. Watching her kicking a little ass, as they say in this country, will be great to see. Lance is obviously not aware of this situation going on just yet, we’ll see where that goes, but it’s nice being able to see Katie really get the chance to pull all the stops out and have fun with that aspect of the character.

Have there ever been times you feared you would be killed off, or have the writers always let you know in advance about situations like your heart attack in the Season 2 finale?

Well one has to be philosophical about television. Like I said at the beginning, it’s a show about death defying odds, and if nobody ever dies then the audience would be less interested in the death defying odds, so occasionally there are going to be casualties along the way. I just take it one episode at a time, one season at a time. If I have the good fortune to be involved in one season after another, that’s wonderful, you just take it as it comes really. I’ve been thankful for each season, so to be philosophical, it’s the nature of storytelling. Just take it as it comes, as long as they’re telling good stories, that’s the main thing when it comes to the TV show.

lancefelicity

How do you interact with the cast on set, because obviously some characters are separated from each other in the context of the storylines. Are there any actors you’d like to work with more on the show?

I’d love to be working with David Ramsay, I really would. He’s such a great guy, we have a lot of fun together just on a personal level. I think over 2 and a half seasons, we’ve been in the same room in a scene maybe twice, and I walked by him when he sat in a car once. (Laughs) I’d love to spend more time with David, because he’s a great actor as well, so that would be fun. Of course I get the odd scene with Emily’s character, Felicity Smoak, that’s always fun, the Lance/Felicity dynamic, so those two for sure.

Yeah you mentioned Diggle, that’ll be interesting when Lance finds out he named his daughter, after his daughter.

That would be a touching moment, wouldn’t it?

Any funny John Barrowman set stories that you can tell? Because I talked to him a couple months ago, has he ever gotten one over on you?

No, but there will be a big dark scene, and they’ll say cut, and he’ll come around the corner with a dancing routine, doing the complete opposite of what the scene just played. He’s always good fun to have around (laughs), he’ll lighten the atmosphere for sure. Having said that, he applies himself 100% when it comes to the acting stuff, but he’s one of those characters that is great to have around.

What do you think about comparisons between your character and Commission Gordon from Batman? Do you try to avoid that when playing him, or are you fine with the comparisons?

Obviously there is a parallel there, with the story of the characters, but I don’t really give it any thought, I am just looking at these scripts, and what’s going on with this character. Although there are similarities, there are a lot of differences too, so I just concentrate on what’s on the page in front of me when it comes to Arrow. All of the other stuff is sort of peripheral really, so yeah the comparisons might be there when it comes to the set up of the characters and such, but it doesn’t concern me in any way, I don’t think about it when I’m reading an Arrow script.

The Scientist

Is there anything you can tease regarding The Flash crossover episode, and comment on working with the cast?

It’s kind of interesting, because tonally they’re too slightly different shows. What I find interesting is the blending of the two tones, so to speak. That’s just the thing I find interesting, my character wasn’t involved too much in that. I had one scene with Barry Allen when he comes and has a word with Oliver Queen, but all I can say is it was great to see Grant, because he’s just a fantastic actor. I remember back in episode 8 of the second season when his character was introduced in Arrow, and I just kept thinking, ‘This guy is good. He’s going to do a great job on this Flash show,’ which indeed he is doing. Have you been watching The Flash?

Yeah I have.

Been enjoying it?

I’ve been enjoying it, but I think Arrow is still better.

In what way, how so?

What I like about Arrow is it’s more of an action drama soap, with superhero aspects. Like you could take away the masks, and it’s still a great show. The Flash is an entertaining show, but it feels more like a superhero show, Arrow draws me in because it’s more of a drama.

That’s interesting what you said, you could take away the masks and you’d still have a drama, that’s an interesting thing to say yeah.

Speaking of another role you recently did, how did you get a role in Dumb and Dumber To and what is your role in it, how was it filming that?

It was a lot of fun spending the day with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. Peter Farrelly is a friend of mine, we live in the same town, and we just went out for a beer one night, and at the end of it he said, ‘Hey, do you want to come and drop in and do a scene on Dumb and Dumber for us?’ Of course I was extremely happy to do that, so I went over to Atlanta for a couple of days. I was supposed to do a bigger role, but I didn’t have the time on the Arrow schedule to do that, but I was able to go over and do the role that I did end up doing, which was a lot of fun, playing an emergency room doctor, as Mr. Carrey and Mr. Daniels find themselves in an emergency room with a particular dilemma, the doctor attempts to deal with the situation.

It was a lot of fun, Jim Carrey is just extraordinary, seeing what he does on screen, and having the opportunity to stand there all day and watch what he does, how he moves about and changes, it’s incredible, he’s a genius. What he does with physical comedy is beyond belief really. So that was lovely, I was able to nip over there and enjoy that, and a year later it comes out and is #1 in the box office office, so good job to those guys.

You recently directed the documentary This American Journey, what types of films or TV shows would you like to direct in the future?

I’d like to do another version of This American Journey, but perhaps somewhere overseas. India would intrigue me, I have a lot of history with India, a big relationship with that place. I find it interesting that a lot of things we talked about with Americans on This American Journey, is what is it that really makes us happy. Everyone is pursuing this idea of the American dream, which is pretty much based around consumption, materialism, all things big and shiny, but really is that the thing that makes you happy? A country like India is pretty much going down that same route, so I would be intrigued to go to India and direct something along the same lines there, in terms of documentary.

I’d love to do a narrative film, probably sort of low key, that kitchen sink kind of drama, that small town in the middle of nowhere with human beings just trying to get by in the midst of their lives and family relationships, the classic kitchen sink drama stuff, more low key. I definitely would like to do that at some point, so we shall see.

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan discussed pop stars who do porn in a new interview with the London Evening Standard.

“I have a strange sense that people have had it with pop. I can’t compete with somebody who’s doing porn. The person who does porn for their video is going to sell more records than me.

“So how did we compete back in the day and how do we compete now? It’s the same. You have to be truer than false, realler than fake, and you have to bring something that only you can bring.”

Corgan posted a long blog last night on SmashingPumpkinsNexus.com where he discussed Mark Stoermer (The Killers) and Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine) joining The Smashing Pumpkins for their upcoming tour dates, and why he left Resistance Pro Wrestling.

Dateline: Rock and Roll, Stairway to Heaven…

So in practice, as we have been for the past 4 days, one wonders at the marvel that is alternative rock whence played with power; or as a band I knew once spelled it: ‘powa’. And there’s powa abounding with Mr. Will on drums, and filigreed finesse in thrown slabs with Herr Stoermer. To say I’m excited undercuts what’s obvious; which is we’re blessed they’re both here. Simple as that.

Other news indicates they’ll soon be more shows added to. Some possibly sooner than you’d think. ‘Not so simple’, says I, for there are lyrics to learn/re-learn.

And for those that troll this website a) I haven’t RETIRED from anything; and that includes professional wrestling and b) I’ve been pursuing work with musicals FOR YEARS. Shock, a’int it, that a songwriter such as I would write music? So let’s move on that…

Howard, having departed for sunnier climbs, left just as I was dusting up the essential materials for PRETTY PERSEPHONE; which will debut in December at The Music Theatre Company of Highland Park. I expect that will to be done tomorrow. And of course there’s been all these demos which I’ve neglected to write about for reasons such as: business, boredom (my own), struggles (repeat), and an uncertain sense of where DAY FOR NIGHT might go.

But that destination is clear now. Album sessions to resume in January.

Wrestling. Resistance Pro. Let’s start here: I was asked the other day, ‘do you worry about what people will think because you are involved with BLANK? (Blank being pro wrestling, synthesizer music, or CHARITY animal shelter magazines).

Answer: NO. Because if those things make someone dislike my musical life/output then they are marks FOR THEMSELVES.

Answer: I am not here to serve anyone but G-O-D. (Happiness being but one way by which ‘to serve’)

Love abounds, always. So let me say for those of you that don’t know those in my life, I love them all. And if you don’t know Jacques and Gabriel Baron, you should. Family men. Love their kith and kin. Beautiful children. And my brothers through and through.

Around Resistance Pro Wrestling Jacques would always say to the roster, ‘we are family'; and I believed that. Still do.

But there’s a time where you might split too from the family home because you disagree with what’s going on. Just as I did when I was kid from my own. And you don’t always have to know ‘why’ or even define what it is that’s bugging you out. You just know something’s amiss.

It’s hard leaving, I’ll admit. For I put more into the company than I should have, so strong was my belief. And perhaps that blinded me. But I am forever grateful for the opportunity to lead, to share, to execute a vision which it would be easy to argue was not successful where it mattered most: at the gate. Yet my focus was to build a futuristic promotion that could run on every level in the 21st century. And that got us as far as a contract with the vaunted AMC Network.

All things come with a cost, and the cost of that commitment was watching a decently balanced company with a dream devolve into something I considered beneath my place in the world. For it isn’t wise to make someone like me the foil when the upside is so unseen, and small, and counter-intuitive to that future as planned. And it wasn’t like this disintegration wash’t transparent, for there were cameras everywhere.

So when the show was cast into purgatory by AMC’s decision to cut the majority of their unscripted (nice word for reality) programming, many (and I heard this) felt relief, while others celebrated as if it was any other day in the life of a circus; our greatest opportunity possibly squandered with the stroke of a pen.

Personally, I didn’t see much accountability on the part of those who’d fallen off the company mantra, and I found this puzzling. And so began an investigation as to those ‘whys and wherefores.’

Some suggested that there were other intentions afoot, which may or may not have involved my being used, or worked, or manipulated to create short-sighted opportunities for the company even should those efforts harm me in a number of ways; with the biggest victim, beside my ‘name’ being so readily used and abused, a diminishing enthusiasm. But still, this made no sense; for why would anyone want me out of the company when all I’d ever been told was how welcome I was? Or even the simple idea that my presence opened doors that wouldn’t have been otherwise opened?

Make no mistake, I’ve committed a tremendous amount of time to R Pro and the advancement of the roster in particular. For we had a lot of talent under the roof; all of which deserve a call and more open explanation from me than I’d offer here. So don’t let anyone tell you I wasn’t in all the way.

And the additive of what I heard, saw, learned was that my partners didn’t have my back in the way I thought they should; and by extension, were working against what I saw as their once-in-a lifetime lottery ticket for success in television. BUT: not everyone wants to win the lottery.

What’s this really mean? That the company will soldier on without me. Perhaps they’ll thrive, or survive? I hope they do. And the best thing I hope for is that The Baron’s as a family get out of their promotion what they think is best. It’s clear to me now that’s probably what they wanted all along.

Remember, I was never an owner in any capacity. This was by my suggestion. Even though under various circumstances and guises it was offered. I simply headed up the creative focus in story-lines and in some cases developed characters.

But wait, there’s a swerve! The tv show is still being shopped, with 4 shows in the can. AMC having given their assistance with the possibility that what’s there can be picked up by an interested network. And I for one believe that the show AS CONCEIVED would draw fantastic ratings. Should that happen, I’d deal with how to pick up from where it all left off: by telling the story of these various implosions from those who lived it, and who’d carry on as well. And that, my friends, IS wrestling….

As an executive producer, would I include R Pro management in that? That’d depend. But the trust where it’s needed (in business) is long gone.

How about anyone from the roster? Absolutely. Whether or not it’s this as-yet-unfinished tv show, or a new version of it, or the new promotion I’d start forthwith, I believe-believe-believe in the talent of that roster. And as anybody who is in wrestling knows, there are some incredible souls out there who deserve a different kind of shot, and I aim to be one of those people building to something different for that exact purpose.

For as with someone like me, the business often overlooks talent in seeking the obvious. See every pop-singer-blah blah show for evidence of that.

So, to be clear: I left because Resistance Pro was no longer the company I thought I’d helped build from the ground up. And maybe, one might say, it never was…

The shows, the fans, the wrestling injuries, the heartaches, those I know were all real. The rest, I couldn’t say. Time will tell who’s friend or foe, and who thought me another easy touch.

Last thing: don’t let anyone tell you wrestling’s fake. The world is no more real.

W.P.C.

Dave Grohl discussed quitting marijuana, and watching the Kardashians on TV in a new interview with The Sun (via NME).

“They are f—ing awesome. They’re taking over America,” Grohl said. “The American audiences f—ing love them. Alex Turner, f— yeah, he’s a rock star. I’ll see a young band like them become that popular and think, ‘Please God, don’t let them self-destruct’. Because it happens, you know. But they seem like a band of brothers. Those four dudes seem like they’re doing really well and will be for a while.”

“I stopped doing drugs when I was about 20 years old,” he said. “But I recently thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to start smoking pot again to cure insomnia. I’d put the kids to bed, go upstairs and smoke a bit of pot. But then I’d get stuck in front of the Kardashians on TV for 45 minutes. And it freaked me out. I was like, ‘I’m never doing this ever again. It’s definitely not for me.'”

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl recently spoke out to Rolling Stone about their new album, Sonic Highways, and Los Angeles. More specifically, Grohl reminisced about the recording of the group’s second LP, The Colour and the Shape. You can check out what he had to say below.

“We started recording The Colour and the Shape outside of Seattle in a barn for about a month. Over the holidays, we decided that we needed to record more, so we booked a studio in Los Angeles and spent another month there. We were running up against a deadline and recording furiously day after day to finish this project. I needed a day off and my friend said, ‘You know what? Let’s go out to the desert.'”

“You pick up an instrument and just start talking and before you know it, [studio owner] Fred Drake just puts a microphone in front of you and someone’s making dinner in the kitchen and you see that the tape machine’s rolling. I was so used to sitting down and hearing, ‘Are you ready? Okay, tune your instrument. Here we go: Take 1.’ It was about capturing real moments. I was so blown away. If that was my day off, I’ll take it.”

Dizzy Reed discussed Guns N’ Roses’ next album in a new interview with Backstage Axxess (via Blabbermouth):

“Last I heard, there’s a lot of music that has been recorded, a lot of stuff that’s done, a lot of stuff that’s almost done, and I think it’s just a matter of picking out which songs are gonna come out in the next phase. And last I heard, that’s what was happening. The main thing is, when it’s ready to come out, it’ll come out.”

“There’s a lot [of material]. You can call it leftovers, but since no one’s heard it, technically it’s new material. But there’s stuff that’s been recorded and conceived since then as well. But it’s fantastic music, and I really hope it gets out, ’cause people need to hear it. It’s great stuff.”

Reed also recently told the VH1 Radio Network (via Blabbermouth) earlier this week that a lot of new Guns N’ Roses material is close to being finished, and that it could be coming soon.

“There’s a lot of material that’s already done and I think it’s in the process of being finished and eventually we’ll pick out which songs need to come out with which other songs. So that’s in the works. Hopefully it will be out really soon.”

Reed told The Pulse Of Radio that there is both older and newer material lurking around. “We’ve all been at it,” he said. “We’ve all been, you know, handing files back and forth to one another in various combinations of different people, but also there is quite a bit of material that still needs to be finished and needs to be released. And so one or both of those things is gonna happen.”

Duff McKagan commented on the possibility of recording with Guns N’ Roses again in a recent interview with The Blairing Out With Eric Blair Show, “I never say never to anything, actually, these days. I’ve kind of learned. You never know what’s around the corner. And all that aside, I’m just glad he and I were able to get together and talk about some stuff and then laugh about a lot of other shit that happened.”

Former Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin discussed writing hit songs, and why he thinks bands should focus on it, in a new interview with This Week In Start Ups.

“So yesterday I sat on the panel Experiences, at the Music and Tech summit here in San Francisco. I sat with a bunch of guys that had great opinions and hypothesis on marketing music: social media strategy, fan base connectivity, all these things that are super critical. Nobody was talking about music.”

“So I told the audience, of course it’s a lot of musicians, I said, ‘Look, Billy Corgan and I used to have a pact with each other, that if Virgin called, and they wanted to talk about marketing a single, that we would just go write a better song.’ Our thing was if you had to market your music, it wasn’t good enough. Go write a hit song, let’s start there, that seems to be getting overlooked. I spoke [somewhere else] at the Web Summit, same type of thing. You can’t build a company around a social media strategy. Social media strategies, business plans, are begat out of great ideas, and great concepts. Products or songs, whatever, write a great song, then the problems will sort themselves out. It’s a different world and you need the peripheral involvement, but it doesn’t start there.”

Chamberlin discussed the inspiration behind Smashing Pumpkins hit songs, “‘Tonight, Tonight’ for instance. Billy woke up in the morning, he sat down at the piano, he wrote the song. It was downloaded into his body somehow, his whole thing was that he was simply the messenger. He would get the download, he would create the song, he would bring it in. He wrote the song in the morning, I conceived the drum part in the afternoon, and the song never changed.”

He added, “You’ve got to be a student of it, you’ve got to read. Billy and I were big students of Thelonious Monk, Burt Bacharach, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, the people that could really construct songs that were so tight and sounded so nursery rhyme on the surface, but underneath had these super intricate harmon relationships, and super intricate rhythmic changes going on. We would never wait for 4 beats to change, we would just follow the lyrics, much like in Eastern music, so we brought all of those sensibilities into our writing. When we would arrange a song, we would lay it all out on a table, and we would do this exercise where we’d cut all the fat out.”

“Whenever something isn’t doing something, playing a melody, playing a transition, singing a lyric, get rid of it. Take it all out, and then see what the song sounds like, then if something is missing, maybe put something back, a transition here. Then you screw the ends down, and you get a ‘1979,’ where from start to finish it is just feeding you stuff at all times, but it’s not taxing on you because it’s got that super simplistic thing at the top, but it’s the underpinings and the sophistication that keeps you engaged over time.”