Background note: I interviewed Pete for one of the local Cleveland papers at the time of his debut, Musicforthemorningafter. I still appreciate that album’s successful marriage of Americana and British post-punk. His new one, Arrangingtime, seems to be a return to form. Worth a listen.
Manchester, So Much To Answer For
No one forgets his or her first time. Pete Yorn was 12 when he surrendered to a lifelong passion. The memory remains ultra-vivid.
“I was on vacation in the Bahamas,” he recalls, “and some cute little blonde girl walked right up to me and said, ‘Do you like the Smiths?’ And I’d heard of them, but I hadn’t heard them. But I was like, ‘Well… yeah.’ I went home after that and bought their first record. When I first heard Morrissey’s voice, I was like, ‘Man, what the hell is this?’ But as I listened more and more, I became super into it.” Read the rest of this entry »
One Break Coming Up, Or How Diamond Dave Saved Summer
Background note: Apparently I once interviewed David Lee Roth. At a time when he was still on the outs with the Van Halens and touring with Sammy Hagar. Probably for Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer. And he did not disappoint. Quite awesome.
David Lee Roth laughs uproariously at his own ingenuity. In mid March, while the rock world waited patiently for Van Halen to do the right thing and welcome the singer back into the fold, Diamond Dave was busy doing what he does best–thinking outside the box while practicing those whirling kicks. Word was that Roth and Sammy Hagar–who replaced Roth in 1985, then quit Van Halen himself in 1996–couldn’t stand each other. Who would believe they could ever share a stage? Why, Diamond Dave, of course.
“I wanted to create something that wasn’t predicted, yet when you saw it, it was patently obvious,” he says of his co-headlining tour with the Red Rocker. “It’s kind of like the wheel. I didn’t think of that either, but when I saw it I said, ‘But of course–no corners!’”
Background note: The following interview was conducted on October 23, 2001, for an album preview for Alternative Press, which named Bowie’s Heathen one of 2002’s most anticipated releases. The phone interview left me with considerably more content than the brief assignment required, but since the discussion revolved around probes concerning the sound of a then-unheard album the world would soon hear, the transcription remained spooled away on my hard drive for over a decade. Until now. Read the rest of this entry »
It was my great pleasure to chat with Annie Zaleski about my well-spent ’90s serving as an editor at “Alternative Press.” Annie is my former intern and longtime friend, and these days a widely published and well-respected writer and editor. I couldn’t be prouder of her. Thanks for a great interview, Annie. And happy 30th birthday, AP. Long may you serve the outsider kids in the black tees and hoodies. Cheers!
The deluxe vinyl version of “Falling To Rise” is finally ready for take off. Grab your copy at PlasticAnts.Bandcamp.com (includes instant digital download) or a high quality digital download at iTunes.com. To celebrate the launch, we put together this micro-film with a few talented friends. Hope you enjoy.
The deluxe clear vinyl and digital formats of Plastic Ants’ “FALLING TO RISE” are NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER on BANDCAMP via the band’s own Requisite Recordings label. Only interested in digital? You can also pre-order high-quality “Mastered for iTunes” files on iTUNES.
The full album will be officially released on September 23, but by ordering now, you’ll immediately receive high-quality digital files of four songs: “Falling To Rise,” “Across The Falls,” “Sympathetic Strings” and “Not Much Makes Her Cry.”
The band’s full-length debut brings together classical and rock musicians, including singer-guitarist Robert Cherry, bassist John Curley (Afghan Whigs), drummer Joe Klug (Wussy) and keyboardist-singer Guy Vanasse, plus guest performances by singer Lisa Walker (Wussy) and cellist Amy Gillingham.
The album was produced by John Curley and the band at Ultrasuede, in Cincinnati; mastered by Dave Davis at The All Night Party, in Cincinnati; and cut to lacquer by Jeff Powell at Ardent, in Memphis. Jeff Johns designed the album artwork, featuring a cover photo of one of the last Convair 880 jets in existence, shot by John Curley.
We hope you enjoy the music as much as we enjoyed making it. Cheers, Plastic Ants.
Background note: I interviewed Slash on three separate occasions. By the third session I think he finally remembered we’d spoken before. In honor of Guns’ induction into the Rock Hall, here’s my favorite chat with the chill guitar hero, followed by an interview with Guns’ producer Mike Clink, who helped shore up Slash’s memory about the recording of Appetite For Destruction. I originally conducted the interviews for a Guitar One cover story in celebration of that album’s 15th anniversary. Ten years later the rock world still waits to see if the classic line-up that created it will share a stage again. Breath-holding is not recommended.
The Guns ‘N Roses legend is one filled with as many cautionary tales as it is rock-and-roll victories. There’s the time Duff McKagan’s pancreas exploded from prolonged over-indulgence. And the time Izzy Stradlin was arrested after relieving himself in an airplane’s galley. And the time Axl Rose incited a riot because an audience member took his photo. Read the rest of this entry »
Background note: Favorite band of the ’90s. First ever cover story. A little lengthy, but I think it still holds up (does any music mag run 5000-word features these days?). Classic cover photo and interior shots by the incomparable Ms. Heidie Lee Locke. Still love this group.
“For me to sit here and analyze my whole fuckin’ life is just… I made a great record; I don’t need a lot of fuckin’ shrinks with tape recorders. Do you know what I mean?”
He’s not here to have his head examined, but under different circumstances, the man at the window might seem paranoid. He speaks of clearing up “misinformation.” He describes himself as a voyeur who’s become the spectacle. He senses people projecting their unfulfilled desires onto him. He also exhibits an unsettling intensity when describing these lucid insights. Read the rest of this entry »
Background note: A discussion with Anton Newcombe was always a memorable event, but he also holds the distinction of being my first, and thus far only, clothing-optional interview. This piece was first published around 2001, several years before the band earned greater infamy via the film Dig!
Since 1995, I’ve observed via post-show chats, interviews and friendly phone calls as Anton Newcombe first bartered his way out of obscurity, then nearly burned himself into oblivion. The last time I formally interviewed him, he was somewhere in between and, in keeping with his storied eccentricity, wearing nothing but a Cossack-style fur cap, sunglasses and Frye boots.