Are Meat Puppets the best band out of Arizona? Thrillist seems to think so. The entertainment and travel website went ahead and chose one band from each state.
Its pick for Arizona? The underground legends who found themselves suddenly thrust into the zeitgeist of the post-Nirvana ’90s after being hand-selected by the late great Kurt Cobain to join Nirvana on the set of “MTV Unplugged,” where they performed their own songs. That’s good work if you can get it.
Now, a few months after taking their well-deserved place in the The Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame, they’ve been selected as the best band in the history of Arizona music.
As the Thrillist editors explain it, “While ‘Hey Jealousy’ by the Gin Blossoms might be the most immediately recognizable song by a band with Arizona origins — unless you grew up yelping along to Jimmy Eat World’s pop-punk anthem “The Middle” — the Meat Puppets are the quintessential Arizona band.
“They might not have the hits of an act like Alice Cooper or the chops of a group like Calexico, but their combination of punk ideals, eclectic taste and untamed spirit speaks to the mysterious character of the Southwest.
“While blending country, hardcore and psychedelic rock, the Meat Puppets have endured longer than many of their SST Records peers of the 1980s, crafting a quirky legacy — and a lengthy discography — that’s difficult to pin down but impossible to deny.”
So what exactly constitutes an Arizona band? Thrillist laid out criteria as follows:
“The band must have been formed in or primarily based in the state in question. Lots of groups move to Los Angeles or Nashville or New York City after scoring a record deal, but they’re not from those cities.
“Only groups, not individual artists, are considered. This admittedly skews the list away from hip-hop and country, but it also skews toward not driving us totally insane trying to wade through every musician from every state.
“We limited ourselves to bands who rose to prominence after World War II.
“These are not simply our favorite bands from every state; we considered a secret recipe of historical significance, influence, popularity and the nebulous ‘quality’ factor.”
Given all that? I’d have gone with Alice Cooper, but the Kirkwood brothers are a solid and perhaps a more intriguing choice
Christopher Shayne and his bandmates treated Southwest Airlines passengers to an impromptu a cappella concert at the Louis Armstrong Airport in New Orleans as they waited at the gate.
The local rockers had just wrapped a weekend in New Orleans, playing the St. Charles Rockin River Fest with Molly Hatchet, Shooter Jennings and Blackfoot, and an acoustic set on The Musicians, Mentors and Bar Room Heroes show on Whivfm.
The Southwest attendant was calling for people to come up and sing and when no one stepped up, she called out Shayne, who harmonized with lead guitarist Dave Lansing and keyboard player Zach Hughes on an Allman Brothers classic and a Shayne original, “When I Come Down” from the “Turning Stones” album.
“It was a weirdly intimidating task,” says Shayne. “She came over the speaker and stated ‘I’m not sure you’re familiar with what gate you are at, but at this gate we like to have fun. Anyone who comes up has to sing and we’re all going to tell them to do it!'”
Then she noticed Shayne.
“When we travel,” he says, “we like to keep our instruments close, and gate-check them. She had one look at our long hair and beards and asked us to approach the podium – ‘You look like musicians!’ – and then proceeded to ask they crowd what they wanted us to do. So after some quick boot-strap pulling, we just went into the songs we sing in our set.”
“Play the Documentary,” an independent film by Phoenix-based director Matty Steinkamp, will be available at Amazon beginning Sunday, Oct. 15, for download, rental and/or streaming on Amazon Prime worldwide.
Steinkamp’s goal for the film is to raise awareness regarding the struggle to keep music in schools when faced with dwindling education budgets for the arts. Proceeds from every download, rental and stream will help benefit music non-profits all over the country, working hard to give children the chance to play music.
“Play” explores alternative solutions to getting instruments in the hands of students and relevant music curriculum in the hands of teachers. The doc was an official selection at Phoenix International Film Festival, the Boost Film Festival in Palm Springs and Cobargo Docos in Australia. It also had four sold-out world premiere screenings in the U.S., in addition to special engagements at the Herberger Theatre, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, and Alice Cooper’s Rock Teen Center.
Steinkamp says, “Music is at the root of everything in my life. I can’t imagine a world without music. By watching this film on Amazon either by Prime Free Streaming or by download, you are joining us in helping to keep music in schools. Thank you for being a champion for the future of music”
The Black Moods rocked Jack Harmon Elementary School in San Tan Valley for 500 kindergarten through sixth grade students as part of Career Day. In addition to performing three songs from their latest album, “Medicine,” they spoke to the students about their experience working as professional musicians.
Drummer Danny “Chico” Diaz told the students, “If you believe in something, never give up. Be prepared for hard work. And if you put your mind to something, you can achieve anything.”
Singer-guitarist Josh Kennedy says, “If we did it right, some kids will go home tonight and ask for a guitar, or want to take lessons.”
“Also, I take the blame for that,” he jokes.
“It was a lot of fun,” says Diaz. “I couldn’t believe how responsive the kids were. When we got in there, they were so happy. We were blown away. It’s just something we like to do, give back to the community.
Performers from South Mountain High School’s performing arts magnet program, where Diaz’s father was principal, once showed up at Diaz’s grade school in Tolleson.
“I remember them coming to my school,” he says. “That was the first time I ever performed in front of people. It was something that stuck with me. If we can inspire one child to become a musician? Right on.”
The Black Moods intend to perform and speak at other schools throughout the Valley about their experience working in the industry.
Having recently welcomed bassist Jordan Hoffman to the lineup, the Tempe rockers have been working the local circuit in addition to frequently touring in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Their local shows regularly sell out, and they have opened for national acts including Heart, Doors’ guitarist Robby Krieger, Lil Jon, Adelita’s Way and Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers.
Later this month, they headlining two Oktoberfest events, Rocktoberfest at Rockbar on Oct. 7, and Four Peaks Oktoberfest at Tempe Town Lake on Oct. 14. This is the fourth year in a row they’ve played Four Peaks Oktoberfest.
Drew Carey stormed the stage at the end of a Darts performance Friday at a club on Sunset Boulevard and, brandishing a copy of their latest album, encouraged everyone to buy a copy.
Sadly, he did not conclude his sales pitch with “The price is right!”
As Nicole Laurenne, the Darts’ Farfisa-rocking vocalist recalls, “We were destroying all our instruments at the end of our set as usual and he was side-stage laughing. Then he ran on stage and held up our new LP and said ‘The Darts! they rock! Everyone go to the merch booth over there and buy this record!!'”
With a laugh, she adds, “We were stoked.”
Carey was there to MC the event, which was sponsored by Little Steven’s Underground Garage, a Sirius XM station on which Carey does an occasional show.
“Lots of the Underground DJs were there,” says Laurenne, naming Michael Des Barres and John Carlucci.
As for Carey, she says, “We were taking Polaroids for our pre-orders up in the green room before the show and he jumped into one of them. Someone is going to get that Polaroid in their pre-order package this week!”
Carey introduced their set as well. “He just said ‘Please welcome a band that’s gonna knock your socks off. Here are the darts!”
The show was at the Echo with the Woggles, whose singer, the Mighty Manfred, is also a DJ on the Underground Garage and invited the Darts to perform.
“He called us while we were on tour in Seattle,” Laurenne says, “and we quickly shuffled our tour dates around to make it happen. Anything for Underground Garage. They are so good to us.
Revolver magazine has premiered a suitably insane lyric video for Cavalera Conspiracy’s “Insane” from their forthcoming album, “Psychosis,” due Nov. 17 on Napalm Records.
The conspiracy began when brothers Max and Iggor Cavalera formed Sepultura as teenagers in 1983 while living in Brazil.
A decade after Max left Sepultura, moving to the Valley and releasing seven albums at the helm of Soulfly, the brothers reunited in 2006, forming the Cavalera Conspiracy.
“Insane” is the opening track on “Psychosis,” the fourth Cavalera Conspiracy album, following 2014’s “Pandemonium.”
And Max Cavalera has a message for the fans: “Let’s open the mosh pit and go insane!!!!!!”
In a recent interview with Revolver, the singer talked about the album, which they recently finished recording at Platinum Underground Studio in Mesa.
“It’s got everything, man,” he said. “We have songs that sound like [the first Sepultura full-length, 1986’s] ‘Morbid Visions’ and [1989’s] ‘Beneath the Remains.’ There’s the thrash element of [1991’s] ‘Arise.’ And then there’s new stuff on there that sounds like the stuff we enjoy right now, like Full of Hell, Nails and Godflesh.”
Dirty Water Records, the U.K. label that signed local rockers the Darts and Playboy Manbaby, has expanded its global operations with a new U.S. label based in Phoenix.
In addition to distributing releases from the U.K. catalog, the local imprint will release and promote its own product and retain independent creative and financial control.
The two labels are “jointly committed to giving both rosters the best platform to release and perform their music overseas, and to give all our fans the least expensive option to harass their neighbours with their loud rock’n’roll records,” a press release said.
The London-based label was founded in 2004 by club DJ and promoter PJ Crittenden (who ran the now infamous Dirty Water Club). At first, it was limited runs of releases for friends’ bands, but it quickly developed into a full-on record label, riding the wave of the near legendary North London club night known for celebrity regulars and wild DJ stomp parties that continue to rage on after more than 20 years.
The club and label’s name is a tribute to The Standells’ 1966 hit “Dirty Water,” a song whose chorus is, “I love that dirty water / Boston, you’re my home.”
The original, long-term home of the Dirty Water Club was a North London pub called the Boston Arms, but US ex-pat Paul Manchester (aka Boston Paul) engineered the label’s first big title: a reissue of Boston garage-rock group the Lyres’ 1979 classic, “Don’t Give It Up Now” backed with “How Do You Know.”
Since then, the label has released a world-class selection of American acts, from Boston’s Muck and the Mires to L.A.’s Mr. Airplane Man, Detroit’s The Hentchmen, Cleveland’s Archie and the Bunkers, New York City’s Dirty Fences and a supergroup, of sorts, called Magic Christian (featuring the talents of Blondie’s Clem Burke and Cyril Jordan of the Flamin’ Groovies).
So why Phoenix, not Boston?
Last summer, while on sabbatical in Phoenix, the label’s publicity and A&R man Matt Hunter met Nicole Laurenne, who in addition to fronting the Love Me Nots, Zero Zero and Motobunny, ran her own label, Atomic A Go Go Records. Laurenne had just started The Darts at that point and Hunter was intent on signing them after randomly finding them on Facebook before they’d even played their first show.
The two met up one evening at Valley Bar, where they started mapping out a strategy for world domination with an eyeliner pen and upside-down beer mats. And thus Atomic A Go Go Records was replaced by Dirty Water Records USA, with Laurenne assuming the role of proprietor.
“I always envisioned the label having some kind of U.S.-based operation; I just never imagined it would be located in the middle of a desert,” says Hunter. “After that first meeting with Nicole, who was already a big fan of Dirty Water, I knew this just had to happen by any means necessary, and signing The Darts was the ultimate cherry on top of this whole beautifully amazing endeavor taking shape.”
Laurenne says, “I’d been trying to get the attention of Dirty Water for years with the Love Me Nots but they never seemed to take notice. When Matt wrote to me out of the blue that he was interested in The Darts and my little DIY label, I almost fell off my chair.
“After five minutes together, we knew we had a lot in common in musical tastes, mutual friends, business ideas and more. We were both so psyched, we couldn’t get this off the ground fast enough.”
After several weeks of long-distance discussions and planning, Hunter flew back to London with two Phoenix bands on the roster, The Darts and Playboy Manbaby.
A licensing deal has been struck between Dirty Water Records Ltd. and Laurenne to effectively spin off a separate label to her, with full creative and financial control that will in turn carry the Dirty Water Records brand name to help promote and distribute the London roster while creating a whole new label.
“The tastemakers involved with DWR USA have kind of eclectic taste — but with a common theme of loving music that tears your face off in its awesomeness and power and leaves you on the floor. That’s our goal,” Laurenne says.
Crittenden says, “This is the next logical move for us. From a very young age I was completely into American music — rock and roll, blues, soul, proper old rhythm and blues, ’60s garage, psych and so on, the kind of music that I see as the real deal. In that context, a U.S. branch of Dirty Water in my eyes is exactly what we should be doing. Giving some rock and roll back to the place where it started.”
The Phoenix label already has five new artists: Mean Motor Scooter, Escobar, Baronen & Satan, Bee Bee Sea and the Callas. It will also offer a full-service agency for booking, promotion, publishing and artist representation in addition to distributing music on vinyl, cassette, digital and CDs.
The surviving members of Linkin Park have announced a special show in honor of their bandmate and friend, Chester Bennington. The one-night-only celebration will be held at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Friday, Oct. 27.
This marks the first time the members have performed on stage together since Bennington’s death in July. They’ll be joined by a number of artists for a night of music honoring the Phoenix native.
The individual band members will contribute their fees from the event to Music For Relief’s One More Light Fund in memory of Bennington.
Tickets go on sale Friday, Sept. 22 at https://linkinpark.com.
The official video for the album title track, “One More Light” premiered this week on Linkin Park’s social pages. Initially, the song had not been scheduled as a single, but the strong connection with fans in the weeks following Bennington’s passing brought the track to the forefront.
“One More Light was written with the intention of sending love to those who lost someone. We now find ourselves on the receiving end,” says Mike Shinoda. “In memorial events, art, videos, and images, fans all over the world have gravitated towards this song as their declaration of love and support for the band and the memory of our dear friend, Chester. We are so very grateful and can’t wait to see you again.”
The video was directed by Linkin Park’s Joe Hahn and longtime videographer Mark Fiore.
“It has been incredibly emotional to work on this, and especially to watch it,” says Hahn. “I feel that by doing it, we not only faced some of our biggest fears, but it enabled us to use our talents to bring some light to people who need it. As we move forward to the Hollywood Bowl show and beyond, I think about the people who connect with the band, outside and inside our circle. This video is a gesture of good will to the people who want that connection.”
The Nash will celebrate its fifth year as the undisputed hub of Phoenix jazz with a month-long celebration in October.
“It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that it’s already been five years,” says Phoenix native Lewis Nash, the celebrated drummer for whom the venue on Roosevelt Row was named.
“There’s been a lot accomplished,” Nash says, “and a lot still left to do. A lot of great musicians have been through the place and given it their blessing, talked about how much they like the atmosphere and playing there.”
Founded with the hope of engaging young musicians to perform while offering educational opportunities, the Nash has welcomed some big names in jazz, been named a national “jazz hub,” served as home for hundreds of aspiring musicians and been a vibrant part of downtown’s economic rebirth.
Downbeat magazine has named the Nash one of the nation’s top jazz venues for four consecutive years.
Among the goals going forward, Nash says, are “continuing to deepen ties with the community and continuing to involve young people in the process of everything that goes on there, so that we’re building future audiences, honing future artists and creating an appreciation for the art form here in Phoenix.”
He feels the Nash has “definitely, without question” enjoyed significant success reaching out to that young demographic.
“And I know that because I have a chance to interact with a lot of the young musicians and ask them their impressions of what the place means to them and to the community and what they’ve gotten out of it. I’ve gotten a whole lot of positive feedback from young people, so that’s encouraging for me. And when I say young people, I mean high school students as well as college students, recent grads and young professionals.”
Taking the gospel of jazz to a new generation is important, Nash says, because “it’s an original American art form. So when people begin to study the great artists of this music, going back to Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, people like that, all the way up to now, there’s a parallel historical component to it.
“If you study the music of Louis Armstrong from the 1920s and ’30s, you can also see simultaneously what was going on in American history during the time of these recordings and the heyday of these icons. These are human beings who were Americans, many of them African-Americans, living in a country which was denying them quite a bit during these years that we’re talking about. And they persevered with this art form in spite of these hardships they were facing.”
The Nash will host a jam-packed anniversary weekend Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 7-8, with tributes to Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald, featuring world-renowned artists Roberta Gambarini, Roy Hargrove, Sharel Cassity, Cyrus Chestnut and John Lee, as well as Lewis Nash.
“It’s focused on honoring two icons who this year would be celebrating their 100th birthdays,” Nash says. “I had the pleasure and privilege of working with Dizzy Gillespie. I made a couple recordings with him, played live with him, and some of the musicians who are coming for the anniversary also played with Dizzy. The bassist, John Lee, was his musical director toward the end of his life. So we’re just going to have a big celebration of the legacy of Dizzy Gillespie, which includes a lot of innovative things he did over the course of his career.”
Fitzgerald, he says, is a “one-of-a-kind” artist.
“She and Dizzy were people who had a lot of fun when they performed,” he says. “And so the joy of the music, too, is something that we’re celebrating.”
Other anniversary events include a Big Band Show with Darcy James Argue and for Nash members only, a special event with Canadian saxophonist Cory Weeds.
Tickets for The Nash fifth anniversary events are on sale. Patron badges include all anniversary weekend concerts; VIP Jazz Lovers Patron badges also include reserved seats and meet-and-greets with musicians at two celebratory shows at MIM Theater: Danilo Perez “PanaMonk” (in honor of Thelonious Monk’s 100th birthday) and Regina Carter’s “Simply Ella.”
Here’s a look at the events.
10/7: The Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars
The Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars, under the direction of Gillespie alumnus/executive director/producer/bassist John Lee, have delighted audiences around the world. In honor of the legend’s 100th birthday, the group will perform two concerts at the Nash, with vocalist Roberta Gambarini honoring the 100th birthday of Ella Fitzgerald.
The musicians performing are: Roy Hargrove, trumpet; Sharel Cassity, sax; Cyrus Chestnut, piano; John Lee, bass; Lewis Nash, drums; and special guest Roberta Gambarini, vocals.
Details: 7 and 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7. The Nash, 110 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix. Tickets for 7 p.m. show are $250 VIP, $89, $69 and $59. Tickets for the 9:15 show are $187.50 VIP, $79, $59 and $49. 602-795-0464, thenash.org.
10/8: Honoring Ella
This concert features Roberta Gambarini and Cyrus Chestnut paying tribute to Fitzgerald in a high-rise condo overlooking Phoenix’s Japanese Friendship Garden. Complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres will make this a memorable experience for a limited number of around 70 guests.
Details: 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8. Private home near The Nash. $80-$10. 602-795-0464, thenash.org.
10/8: The Scottsdale Community College Big Band
This show features the SCC Big Band performing the works of Darcy James Argue, who has garnered critical acclaim and countless awards and nominations for reimagining what a 21st century big band can sound like.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8. The Nash, 110 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix. $25, $15 for students. 602-795-0464, thenash.org.
10/9: Cory Weed & Friends
This members-only show marks the celebrated saxophonist’s third appearance at the Nash, where he will be joined by Mike Kocour on B3 organ, Jeff Libman on guitar and Dom Moio on drums (with a special appearance by Lewis Nash.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 9. The Nash, 110 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix. $25. 602-795-0464, thenash.org.
Other events in October include performances by Emmet Cohen, Banda Magda, Francine Reed, Dmitri Matheny and more.
Michael Bruce, a founding member of the Alice Cooper group whose songwriting credits include such iconic recordings as “I’m Eighteen,” “Ballad of Dwight Fry,” “Under My Wheels,” “Be My Lover” and “School’s Out,” will stage a memorial concert for the brother he lost in late July to a drunk-driving accident.
A Celebration of the Living and the Departed in Memory of Paul Stephen Bruce will take place Saturday, Sept. 23, at Pranksters Too in Scottsdale.
“He was kind of in a bad way,” the guitarist recalls of his brother. “He found out he had cirrhosis of the liver and he wasn’t dealing with it very well. He was out walking around at 1 in the morning and got hit by a drunk driver. The driver wasn’t cited for manslaughter or anything. He was just cited for too much alcohol, I guess. But he wasn’t driving erratically. Neither one of them saw each other. Apparently, he was out wandering around on the street. It was kind of shocking that he got hit by a drunk driver and he couldn’t quit drinking himself.”
Paul Bruce also was a talented musician and songwriter, although he never experienced the success Michael Bruce enjoyed as a member of the Cooper group, with whom he was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And that didn’t always sit well with Paul.
“He said to me one time that he couldn’t live in the shadow of his big brother,” Michael Bruce recalls. “And I said, ‘Paul, it’s all just a bunch of bulls—t.’” But he was such a sensitive kid. He wore his emotions on his sleeve. And he had a hard time. Even though he came to the gigs and hung out with us, he just couldn’t deal with it.”
Michael Bruce’s group, which features his wife, Lynn Bruce, on bass, will be doing a lot of the hits he wrote while in the Cooper band. “I’ll be doing my best Alice,” he says with a laugh.
The four surviving members of the Alice Cooper group – which featured Dennis Dunaway on bass, Neal Smith on drums and the late Glen Buxton on guitar – recorded two new songs together on the latest Cooper album, “Paranormal.” And they’re doing a series of reunion gigs later this year in the U.K., where “School’s Out” topped the pop charts in the early ‘70s.
“We did a couple shows in Nashville and we’re going to the U.K. on Nov. 8 to do five shows,” Bruce says. “The Tubes are opening and we do a mini-set in Alice’s set with his band. They drop a screen with Billion Dollar Babies and we appear on stage and do the hits like they were back in the day. People love it.”
The memorial concert will feature performances by Bruce’s group, Scott Rowe’s Alice Cooper tribute show, Harvest, Serious Play and Billy Cioffi and the Monte Carlos.
Details: 6-11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23. Pranksters Too, 7919 E. Thomas Road, Scottsdale. Free, 602-350-1818, prankstersgarandbrill.com.
Phoenix electro-pop singer Miss Krystle has released a suitably dramatic music video for an anthemic message of hope called “Inevitable,” directed by Austin Nordell.
Miss Krystle says she and That Orko, her co-writer/producer, were looking to write a song that would provide some sort of commentary on our current social and political climate.
“We wrote the song right around when the women’s protest marches were going on, earlier this year,” she says, “in the midst of all the social and political turmoil. I remember saying that I wanted to write an uplifting song that would remind people that love and unity will conquer all.
“There is so much hurt going on in the world right now, and it can feel hopeless at times. However, nothing stays the same forever, and that really is the message of this song. To have a voice and to stand for what is right, and that things will get better.”
The video was directly inspired by the lyrics from the song and its optimistic chorus of “Victory is inevitable.”
As Miss Krystle explains, “This music video is definitely a commentary and statement piece on the bigger issues going on right now. But the director and I wanted to focus on the individual struggle, to bring the narrative and responsibility back to each of us individually and remind people that positive change is always possible.
“We kicked around a few different treatment ideas, and landed on the stories: the drug addict, the dancer and the homeless person. One of the biggest challenges was trying to say a lot, but in the most minimalist way. I feel we accomplished that goal, and I love how the video turned out.”
In the opening scene, Miss Krystle is trapped in a jail cell, wearing a prison dress.
“In all the treatment variations, one of the consistent elements was the jail cell,” she says. “In the final treatment (and video), the jail cell is the primary aesthetic (besides the three individuals). Whether the focus is personal, economic, political or social, we all feel trapped at times, so the jail cell is symbolic of our psychological and emotional imprisonment.
“This is why you see me stay in the jail cell, even though walls come down throughout the video, and I could certainly escape at any time. I remain trapped by my self-made prison, until I have eliminated all the things holding me back.”
Each wall of the jail cell is made of a different material, representing the different characters.
“As each person frees themselves from their torment, a side of my cell drops,” the singer explains. “Finally, you see me facing the brick wall, which is my own prison. You see me push that wall down, and only then do you see me walk out of the jail cell and free myself.”
The other characters were chosen, Miss Krystle explains, “because we felt each of these characters represented experiences we all know on a personal level, or at a minimum could sympathize with.
“The dancer lives for her craft, but she is injured and misses a big performance that was important for her career. The drug addict represents the dependency we all have in our lives, be it relationships, substances, alcohol or the like. The homeless person represents great loss and need.
“We see these three at ‘rock bottom,’ then again when each has made a decision to change, or change has begun, and finally when each person has triumphed through their personal tragedies for a higher purpose.”
Phoenix entrepreneur sets out to ‘fix the broken industry’ with online streaming service
Phoenix entrepreneur Damon Evans has built a music platform called Arena Music on the concept of fair pay for artists and free play for listeners.
According to a press release, “the music streaming and merchandising platform is set to fix the broken industry” while going up against the heavy hitters of the industry, such as Spotify and Pandora.
“Through the platform we’ve created,” Evans says, “we are able to pay the highest rates in the world for music streams and merchandise sales. Artists simply cannot sustain a career in music from the low streaming royalties today’s most popular subscription platforms pay per stream. If we don’t act now, there will be no more music.”
Artists who work directly with Arena earn a penny per stream. As Spotify and Pandora, the world’s most used services, artists earn just $0.003-$0.006 per play, and those platforms don’t support other sales formats.
By paying the highest royalties for merchandise sales and music streams, Arena Music is hoping to position itself as a primary destination for artists and labels who want to maximize their earnings for both new releases and back catalog.
For musicians, Arena offers full sales support and real-time accounting, under a simple non-exclusive agreement.
Arena also says it offers artists more on products such as t-shirts, hoodies and caps than any other music or merchandising storefront currently online.
It’s also the only streaming service to offer monthly royalty payouts through BitCoin.
Arena streams singles and albums from both independent and major-label artists without commercial interruptions or a monthly subscription fee. The user-friendly mobile app allows fans to purchase exclusive artist merchandise from anywhere in the world.
Arena also allows listeners to earn credits for using the service. The patent-pending Listen to Own (LTO) rewards program gives listeners the option of choosing between a $1 Arena credit or a free download anytime they’ve listened to any single song five times through the service.
“Arena makes the artist and their fans happy,” says Evans. “It provides knowledge and direction for today’s creative and artistic communities through an ad free and subscription free merchandising storefront designed to build and sustain viable careers in music.”
Arena Music will soon launch a crowdfunding campaign through Wefunder.com to market an investment opportunity to musicians, producers, record labels and both accredited and non-accredited investors.
Currently, Arena exists as the largest commercial music platform that is neither funded by, or in any other way, associated with the three major labels.
For more information on Arena and its music and merchandise services, visit www.arena.com.
There Is No Us are premiering a chilling new video for “Angel’s Face With Devil’s Hands” that opens on a scene of singer Jim Louvau cutting a photograph of the video’s striking female lead, Miss Krystle, off the cover of a magazine to add it to shrine he’s built beside his bed.
If that sounds creepy, that’s the point.
As Louvau explains it, “The initial concept of the video was birthed from the idea that people in the era that we live in are obsessed with the idea of celebrity.”
The specific event that inspired the song was Leonardo DiCaprio finally winning an Oscar and seeing people, including close friends, celebrate as though they’d won an Oscar.
“I thought to myself, this person you are praising couldn’t care less about any of you,” Louvau says. “I actually posted something on social media when it happened as an experiment to see what sort of reaction I would get and it inspired the song. For some reason we connect with these people we look up to and think that they care about us on a level outside of collecting a paycheck.”
This was before Louvau and guitarist Andy Gerold, a former member of Marilyn Manson who portrays a darker side of our obsession with celebrities in the video, had decided form a band to play the music they’d been working on together.
There Is No Us reached out to Scott Conditt, who directed their first video, “In Violence We Trust,” and told him they wanted to do something much more artistic than that first collaboration.
“We had no interest in doing another typical performance piece that had a bunch of people playing heavy music jumping around like monkeys looking tough,” Louvau says. ”We are not looking to follow an expectation of what a band that plays heavy music is supposed to be. At the end of the day this is an art project that happens to be aggressive.”
Bringing in Miss Krystle was a flawless bit of casting and the local singer effortlessly rises to the challenge.
“Initially we were looking to cast a female actress to portray a celebrity or a pop artist,” Louvau says. “Andy suggested that we worked with Miss Krystle since she was actually someone who had her feet in the pop world and was a close friend of ours. She turned out to be the best choice we could have made.”
Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock is accepting submissions for its annual Proof Is in the Pudding contest. The entry deadline is Sept. 1 for bands and solo artists 25 and younger.
Solid Rock’s Randy Spencer says, “This year we have had bands and solo artists from California and even Washington sign up, which is pretty remarkable. In 2016, we had 300-plus musicians ages 25 and under a part of it. And this year we expect just as good of a turnout, if not more.”
In addition to the main prize — opening for Alice Cooper at his Christmas Pudding concert, Solid Rock has lined up an array of prizes including playing before an Arizona Cardinals game in December, meeting Avenged Sevenfold backstage when they open for Metallica this weekend, opening for P.O.D. at Mesa Music Festival and meeting Pat Benatar backstage.
The Solid Rock mission, Spencer says, “is to make an everlasting difference in the lives of teenagers, so part of the competition is an exposure process to let those kids receive more experience and learn more about our charity. One of the things we really pride ourselves on is diversity. Years ago the competition used to be full of rock and metal bands because of Alice Cooper. But the last couple years, we were actually thin on rock and metal bands. We’ve had country winners. We’ve had R&B winners. Jordin Sparks was our first winner in 2004 and she won ‘American Idol’ the follow year.”
It’s exciting for the team at Solid Rock, he says, to “see these young musicians go from scratching to be able to open for a legend like Alice onstage. For example, Vintage Wednesday, when they won our competition last year, they got to hang out a lot backstage. They got to meet the Gin Blossoms before the show and they were giving them advice.
“And it’s just a great and unique experience for a young musician like Lauren Case, who won the solo competition last year, to be able to open a Jonny Lang show for 2,000 people via our charity. It’s incredible to see those musicians get those kind of life-changing opportunities.”
Bands and solo artists can enter the competition at alicecoopersolidrock.com/events.
The only screening process, Spencer says, is the audition.
“We do a big kickoff on Sept. 15,” he says. “And we usually have a guest performer at that kickoff. A couple years ago, we had a metal band from our charity called Ironkill and Max Cavalera of Sepultura was the guest performer at our kickoff but his band wasn’t in town, so we used the guys from Ironkill. They rehearsed with him for two days, got to work with a metal legend and one of their heroes, and got to back him up live. So you never know what could happen when you become part of this competition.”
The auditions are the day after the kickoff party and there are four rounds through November to narrow it down to one winning band and one winning solo act.
The Lonesome Wilderness have teamed up again with local video director Roland Wakefield, who shot their “Tropicana” video, for “Stay Out of The Sun,” the second single from their “Lush” EP.
Lonesome Wilderness singer Joe Golfen says, “We were interested in working with him because the ‘Tropicana’ video was so fun and sunny, but this song is much darker so we were interested in seeing what he could come up with.”
Drawing inspiration from the Terry Gilliam film “Brazil,” the director came up with the idea of having the Lonesome Wilderness trapped in a machine.
“I think he made it out of an old karaoke machine and some TVs he bought at Bookmans,” Golfen says.
The result is on the psychedelic side of science fiction, capturing the darker essence of the song, which grooves like a grittier “Spirit in the Sky,” Golfen sounding especially ominous while warning “Little children, stay out of the sun” and later sneering “Maybe Jesus will forgive my sins / But what’s the use baby? You’re not him.”
In addition to premiering a new video, the Lonesome Wilderness, with Andrea Golfen on bass, Paul Golfen on guitar and Brian Weis on drums, have launched a Pledge Music page to raise funds to combine their two EPs on one convenient vinyl.
“It’s called ‘The Lonesome Wilderness Box Set,'” Golfen reports, “which is ridiculous.”
A onetime Republic staffer and current member of this reporter’s the Breakup Society, Golfen also writes about music at YabYum Music + Arts.
Live Nation and Crescent Ballroom owner Charlie Levy of Stateside Presents have entered into a partnership on the Van Buren, the downtown Phoenix concert venue opening next month.
Plans for the 1,900-capacity venue include an indoor/outdoor dining bar, state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, a VIP lounge, contemporary artist dressing rooms and a special-events room to take advantage of convention business.
Levy says, “Live Nation brings its national experience to help continue growing the Phoenix music scene. This partnership is great news for the blossoming downtown scene, while cementing Phoenix as one of the country’s leading music markets. It’s awesome to see a music district taking form.
“The deep relationships Live Nation enjoys with the world’s biggest acts and tours will help ensure that music fans here can regularly enjoy the top performances by the best artists anywhere.”
Ron Bension, president of House of Blues Entertainment, the Live Nation division involved with the Van Buren, says, “Tapping more deeply into Phoenix is the next logical move for us. It is a vibrant music market, which we’ve enjoyed with Comerica Theatre. What a great opportunity to build a new state-of-the-art club while partnering with the area’s pre-eminent independent operator.
“Charlie and his team have done a great job establishing Crescent Ballroom as the premiere room in Phoenix with performers like Twenty One Pilots, Walk the Moon, Café Tacuba, Neutral Milk Hotel, Macy Gray, Modest Mouse, Tig Notaro, Jimmy Eat World and Henry Rollins.”
So what exactly is the nature of the partnership?
“It’s an actual true partnership,” Levy says. “We’ll be running more of the day-to-day stuff, but we’re gonna work with them on every aspect of the venue, from booking to production assistance to front of house to management. We’re gonna lean on them a lot.
“They own 100 venues across the country. Some of my favorites. The Wiltern, the Fillmore, the Tabernacle, Irving Plaza, Ace of Spades, the list goes on and on and on. And they’re gonna be an amazing resource from all facets, from booking to guest relations. So I think we’re all excited to work together and learn from each other and really bring the best of both worlds together so Phoenix can have a great venue that we can all be proud of.”
It will “absolutely” have an impact on the type of acts you see at the Van Buren, Levy says.
“Obviously I’m really proud of the shows that Stateside brings to the Valley, but working with Live Nation, they have people who just work on Latin shows and people who just work on rock shows. And then in return, we’ll be able to access those bands a lot easier and we’ll be working every day with the people of Live Nation to bring artists to the venue.”
For Levy, this felt like just what the venue needed, the same approach he’s taken at Crescent Ballroom.
“When you have a venue this size and you see people who have amazing venues all across the country, of course you want to work with them,” he says. ”Why wouldn’t you?”
Scheduled Van Buren shows include Death Cab for Cutie, Chase Rice, Lifehouse, Future Islands, Ani DiFranco, Portugal. The Man and Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit.
Local indie-pop sensation Taylor Upsahl has released a great new single titled “Can You Hear Me Now” that you should definitely hear now.
The singer, who recently graduated from Arizona School for the Arts and plans to spend most of her time in Los Angeles, collaborated on the finger-popping soul-pop gem with Max Frost.
I saw her cover Spoon as a main-stage artist at McDowell Mountain Music Festival in March, and this track definitely speaks to the sonic sensibilities of a documented Spoon fan (which can only be a good thing).
“It’s a message to someone on the other end of a failing relationship,” she says. “It’s the kind of relationship that has been dysfunctional for a long period of time to the point where one person decides it isn’t worth the stress, time or energy anymore. I’ve watched so many women in my life stay in a relationship that they obviously aren’t happy in. They settle for a partner that doesn’t appreciate them or make them feel like the badasses they are.”
The track premiered on The Line of Best Fit, whose reviewer noted that Upsahl’s “rich, radio-ready vocal belies her 18 years of age, whilst her knack for a catchy, summery chorus is immediately evident.”
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