“I don’t want to water down my career,” says Lloyd Cole. “We all know artists who’ve gone on and on, and each album is slightly less interesting than the last until you get to a point where you don’t want to hear an album by that person anymore. I would rather get a job than have that happen.”
Well-read, wryly funny, emotionally aloof, sullenly handsome… if Cole hadn’t become a successful songwriter, helping to define college rock in the ’80s fronting Glasgow’s The Commotions, he could’ve made a charismatic English professor. Perhaps it’s still a career option he’d consider, if it weren’t for the fact that the self-described “two-time drop-out” has even less patience for campus life now that he’s reached middle age. Read the rest of this entry »
“For better or worse, I’m my own guy,” says Greg Dulli. “You try to drum up a list of people who sound like me or write songs like me, and that’s a very short list. I’m inventing my own music. However egotistical or delusional that sounds, I don’t give a fuck. I’m gonna stay delusional… ’cause it’s turning me on.”
The Twilight Singers’ mainman has never been shy about sharing his opinion. As singer for ’90s alt-rock greats the Afghan Whigs–formed, as legend has it, in an Athens, Ohio, drunk-tank–he was known for baiting audiences about the shortcomings of their home athletic teams. It occasionally earned him bloody knuckles or a cracked skull. Read the rest of this entry »
Background note: This feature originally appeared in The Plain Dealer, in 2004, when Kevin McMahon released a deluge of CDs comprising work from all eras of his stop-start career. He’s since retreated again from the spotlight but he’s undoubtedly working on something spectacular. Hopefully he’ll see fit to share it soon.
As early as 1979, Kevin McMahon was described as Lucky Pierre’s “misguiding light.” In an interview with the Cleveland-based fanzine CLE, the young McMahon comes off as prickly, cagey, willful and abstract–all the things you could want in a post-punk-era singer, just as long as you didn’t have to interview him.
“I don’t know how to answer that question,” he tersely responds to an opening query from CLE founder Michael Weldon. “But I imagine I won’t know how to answer the rest, either.”
Twenty-five years later, McMahon holds a printout of that article in his long, pale fingers and laughs. He doesn’t remember doing the interview, but he does recognize the subject. Sort of. Read the rest of this entry »
Background note: This feature first appeared in Guitar One as afi were making their transition from the indie world to the majors. Extremely nice people. Not sure if he ever followed through on the idea, but I remember singer Davey Havok was excited when I suggested the band launch their own line of make-up for dudes.
AFI are mere days away from launching a headlining tour in support their major-label debut, Sing The Sorrow. The Bay Area goth-core quartet have faithfully toured behind each of their five previous albums, gradually accruing a large loyal following in the process. But this stint will be different.
It’s a tour of many firsts for the band. Their first tour bus. Their first real production budget. Their first use of sampling technology to supplement their live sound. Their first heavy promotional schedule. Davey Havok, AFI’s glamour-conscious lead singer, jokingly bemoans the increased responsibilities, saying they’ll cut into on-the-road shopping sprees, but that’s the closest anyone has to a complaint about the new situation. Read the rest of this entry »
Background note: You can’t judge a man by one conversation, but Lenny was fairly sour the day I interviewed him for a “Guitar One” feature back in 2004. Fortunately he warmed up a little once I proffered my theory about 2004 being an especially strong year for Geminis, with Prince, Outkast’s Andre 3000, Morrissey and Lenny in some sort of creative ascension or revival. Hey, sometimes you gotta get the story by any means necessary, even if it means dipping into astrology.
Lenny Kravitz sounds exhausted and not a little exasperated. For the better part of a day, if not week, he’s been fielding questions about the demise of his relationship with Brazilian model Adriana Lima; his fling with actor Nicole Kidman; his vacations with Mick Jagger; his herb-smoking sessions with rock royalty; and last, if not least, his pierced dangle. Journalists, it seems, have forgotten something. Read the rest of this entry »
Not since Bob Dylan’s “vomitific” lyrics on 1965’s Highway 61 Revisited has there been a stranger cast of characters assembled on one album. Sun Kil Moon’s Ghosts Of The Great Highway (Jetset) features heavy-weight champs and heavy-metal heroes, Hollywood legend Clark Gable and comic genius Jim Nabors, a donut shop owner and a stalker’s first victim. And that’s only the first track.