Paris Hilton Makes $2.7 Million For Pushing A Button?!?!

Paris-Hilton1Photo credit: AFP

(PCM) Recently, heiress Paris Hilon embarked on a DJing world tour that included stops in St. Tropez and Ibiza in Spain to name a few. What is sparking some controversy is the amount of money that Hilton is being paid to literally push a button on her “DJ set-up” while a slew of other people do all the work.

During her DJing residency at a club in Ibiza for four nights she was paid the ridiculous amount of $2.7 million which equals out to about $347,000 per hour. Critics claim that all she really did was push play on a mega mix of pre-recorded material while other workers took care of the technical aspects.

While it was obvious that the crowds did appear to be enjoying DJ Paris Hilton’s set, could it be more for her celeb factor than her actually DJing skills? Hilton was also recently slammed for claiming that she was one of the top five highest paid DJs in the world. However, with paydays like $2.7 million being tossed her way, she may actually not be exaggerating.

Hilton’s DJing tour will take her to Barcelona, South Korea, Columbia, and Marbella before wrapping up at Harrah’s Pool After Dark in Atlantic City, NJ on October 11th.

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Petition Created For Weird Al Yankovic To Play The Super Bowl Half Time Show

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(PCM) I say why not!  There has been a petition circulating the web asking for people to urge the NFL to allow comedian musician Weird Al Yankovic to perform at the next Super Bowl Half Time show.

If selected, Yankovic would be added to an elite list of performers who have had the honor to grace the stage at the Big Game including U2, Bruce Springsteen, Sir Paul McCartney, Madonna, Beyonce and many others.

The petition, which has reached nearly 10,000 signatures as of press time, reads as follows:

“For decades Weird Al has entertained fans, young and old, with his popular clever parodies and unique sense of humor. Having him headline the Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show would not only be overly accepted by the millions of views, but it would remain true to the standards and quality of the show business we have come to love and respect out of this prestigious event. The songs of artists that he is parodying could join him on stage to accompany, as well as other surprise appearances from well-known actors/actresses, adding more prestige and star power. The theatrics alone would be hilarious and a welcoming change, and draw a wider audience of fans that typically would not tune into the championship game or half-time show.”

What do you think? Would Weird Al make for a great half time performer? If not, who would you like to see perform in the future?

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Linkin Park Give Us The Inside Scoop On The Upcoming Carnivores Tour And More!

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(PCM) In just a few short days, The Carnivores Tour featuring Linkin Park, Thirty Seconds To Mars and special guests AFI will kick off in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Words can not even express how excited we were when the news was announced that these bands would be partnering up for the co-headlining tour venture, as each has certainly earned their spot among some of the most highly engaging and entertaining live acts out there on the road today.

We were recently able to catch up with Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda to talk about the upcoming tour, their brilliant new album “The Hunting Party” and more.

When speaking about the overwhelming amount of positive feedback the band’s new album has been receiving Chester Bennington tells us “It’s funny because I think probably more so than any other record, maybe other than possibly A Thousand Sons, I feel like critically the record’s been overwhelmingly positive. Like, I have yet to read anything negative about the record on a critical level that has been written, which is pretty amazing, and so for that we’re very grateful.

But at the same time, almost on a daily basis I run into Linkin Park fans and I’ll take pictures or say, “Hi,” whatever, and every single person that I’ve met since we released this record has told me that they love the record. They are super happy that it’s out like it is, that they’ve been waiting for the great rock record.

I’ve heard some other guys in the band that they feel like it is a record that really the genre needed and that they also appreciate the record that we’ve made, that it is progressive and it is something that they want to listen to. And I feel like we have accomplished our goal on this album.

I think not only creatively, but personally for the band, but also for a lot of our fans. Like, they appreciate what we do, but they’ve kind of been waiting for us to rock out for awhile, and I think they appreciate not only that we did rock out, but in the manner in which we did. I think that they can see that it was crafted in the same manner that we craft everything that we do.”

Both Bennington and Mike Shinoda claim that the band’s set list for the upcoming tour will feature a healthy mix of both old and new material. Shinoda says “It’s basically stuff from every record” to which Bennington adds “I think we’re playing Final Masquerade, Rebellion, those are the two that we haven’t played yet. So, there’s a lot of the new record in this upcoming tour, for sure.”

Linkin-Park2Everyone that has listened to “The Hunting Party” will surely agree that it is definitely a harder album for the band. It left us wondering if everyone was on-board with the style in which it was recorded from the beginning. Shinoda reveals “For me, it was a bit of a process. I felt like Chester was on board from the beginning and Chester – I think Chester and Dave and I had talked about it a number of times, but it was still, like, figuring out at that point what we were – well, our conversations were happening mid-tour last album. And so, like, what is a louder record mean? What is bringing energy to the album, even more so than the last album? What does that mean? How do we do that without it sounding throwback or derivative of heavier stuff that we grew up with.

And so, we were trying to find the right – and it really fell to a large degree, at first it fell on me to kind of find the right tone, so that I could take that to, in particular Brad and Rob, and say, “You guys, like, I know this is something that you don’t naturally gravitate towards at this point in your life, but check out these reference points.” And as I’ve said before, Derek, you know bands like Refused and At the Drive-In and Helmet and many, many more, but those bands are a great example of how – when you listen to those albums, I feel like there’s a huge aesthetic separation between those albums and other things that were going on at the time.

And that’s what I was keying into and saying, “It is possible to bring a smart, and maybe alternative in the more pure sense of the word, an alternative to, like, what people expect when they hear metal or heavy music or whatever.”

Linkin Park has been a band on the road for about thirteen to fourteen years now, so obviously they have seen quite a few changes with the way in which they approach touring now rather than in the past. Shinoda comments “I’d say, first and foremost, we have opportunities now that we obviously didn’t have then, and just like being in the studio, you have opportunities with knowing what you’re doing, number one; knowing what’s out there is, like, a possibility of whether you’re talking conceptually or being able to afford production or instruments or whatever. Like, we have so many opportunities and the focus a lot of times is on what’s the selection process, like, what choices do we make that keeps things focused and exciting.

I feel like on this one the production that you’ll see, for example, is, I think it evolves over the course of the show really well. It’s more video-based. The song selection and the technology we used to get the set into the form that it is right now. We’ve just finished the idea that that technology didn’t really exist, even seven, eight years ago. So, what’s funny about it is in our band, technology has actually allowed us to be more of a band, more of an organic free-thinking kind of group, because we are the kind of band that creates a lot of our stuff in the studio in layered forms.

Like, if you think back to when the Beatles made the decision to go off the road more and focus on the studio, one of things that they did was they made music that they physically couldn’t play on stage. There was so many layered vocals and so many layered instruments and things that at that time it would be virtually impossible for them to do any of that on stage. As technology has progressed, all that stuff becomes more and more possible. And for us, we create in the style where things get layered and there’s a lot of different stuff going on in each song oftentimes.

Linkin-Park3And 10 years ago that stuff would be locked into a timeline with our sampler, keyboard, or whatever, and in more modern stuff, we can actually react on the fly and say, “Let’s slow this part down. Let’s speed it up. Let’s pitch it. Let’s up or down. Let’s loop it,” and there’s moments when we can just kind of jam out and enjoy it.

And that, strangely, is, like, this merging of, like, the humanity and the technology and the set that helps allow us to do that.The other thing that I should just mention is, although there is the technology in the set-up of what we’ve got going on on stage, and I feel like it’s very high-tech for music as far as what a music set-up on stage can be.

We also have – I feel like we have a great deal of responsibility to be a live band, so, whereas, we have the opportunity to put certain things in the computer or on a sampler or whatever, we’re very careful about what we do, what we do put in the computer, because we want to be playing everything. We want the crowd to see us in performing the song, and I feel like even in almost every case, if you were to remove that other stuff and just have what’s being in played in front of you, you basically have the same song. So, that’s an important difference or, I guess, specific approach to note.”

Bennington comments “Honestly when you’re young and you’re out there and kind of – you don’t have a family, I mean, yeah, those are important and you’re focusing on the shows, but you’re also kind of focusing on, like, “Am I going to see – where am I going to shower? Do I want to keep this box of clothes this company gave me, because I don’t really like them, but I also don’t have any clean clothes?” Those are the kinds of things you’re thinking about when you’re young and you’re on the road.

Nowadays, it’s, like, we focus on having our families out and, if we can have our families out, we – for me personally, like, all I focus on is preparing for the next show. So, I really don’t think much has changed in terms of our set-ups to get ready for the tour.

I mean, we still kind of practice in the same manner. We rehearse in the same manner. The great thing is our crew knows us so well and has been with u so long, we don’t have to do sound checks anymore, which is pretty awesome, because that frees up a lot of time to stay back with your families during the days and listen to stuff. And so, it really has gotten a lot better now, I think, now that we reached the place that we have in our career. We’ve found a way to balance our personal and touring life a lot better. And so, that’s been really great, I think, all around for everybody.”

We were very curious about “The Hunting Party” being the band’s first self-produced album, as well as, the first to use analog tape recording. Shinoda tells us “I think it’s something that we’ve been curious about for awhile and it had to be the right moment to really dive into it. I’ve had a little bit of experience with tape on previous projects, but not really cutting such large chunks of the song and large performances to tape, and it’s so nice because it forces you to slow down and, like, really consider each performance, each recording of whoever’s playing at the time and whether or not you want it. That’s really, I think, it gives this album at least its sound. Yeah. So, it’s definitely something that’s kind of this point now is within our bag and we get to potentially go back and use it again, if the song asks for it.”

To which Bennington adds “I’ve been recording the drums in this way. It’s really great in that it does give the feel of the song. It’s like a more live feel. For us, I think that, like, one of the things that’s always kind of been surprising to a lot of people that I see when they come to see us for the first time, especially like my musicians’ friends.

They were, like, they didn’t know us but they had never really, like, listened to us very much and haven’t seen us play, and they come see play. There’s like this, like, raw kind of more prompt and in your face attitude about the band when you see us live. Like, even like our mellower songs; there’s an edge to them that you get in a live performance that kind of gets lost in the studio and I think that with this record, like, we’ve kind of captured a lot more of what we’re like live in the sound of the record. And I think that that’s exciting.”

Linkin Park has always been a band that has some amazing fan interaction. Bennington says “Our fans have been the number one most important thing. We’ve done meet and greets with our fans every night, every performance we’ve ever done.

For us, like honestly, like, meeting our fans is pretty mellow, so when we’re out on the street in our daily lives, we meet people all the time, every day who are fans, and us being accessible to a certain degree is really important to us. We’ve been able to thankfully keep our private lives private and share our professional lives with our fans and everybody’s been really respectful of all that. And it’s really cool to be in Linkin Park and kind of be a normal person at the same time. So, I appreciate that from our fans and it makes it that much easier to keep an openness with our fans as much as we possible can.”

The band’s video for their latest single “Final Masquerade” is visually stunning. We were curious as to what the visual aspects of the band’s stage production will look like and what fans should be expecting. Shinoda reveals “One important thing to start with is that the visuals on The Hunting Party were rooted in a handful of drawings, artwork by an incredible painter named James Jean. James, I don’t even know where to start as far as how important this guy is or how incredible he is. You can look him up on your own. So, he – Joe is friends of James. James drew a bunch of stuff for us.

In talking with him, we wanted to do something that has never been done with his artwork before and landed on the idea of converting it into an actual 3D sculpture, each piece into a 3D sculpture. So, although the sculptures live in the computer, they don’t exist physically yet, maybe someday they would, but at this point, we got them rendered in 3D art. Our amazing group at Ghost Town did those renders with James and then those built out the basic foundation of the artwork for the album. And that stuff, you’ll find that on the T-shirts and you’ll find that on the website and you’ll find that in the live visuals as well. And then, it’s not enough to just throw the stuff up there.

I mean, you can, but it’s beautiful, but I think that in the context of a live show, it’s really important to have something that lives and breathes with the show. And to some degree, one of the challenges that I posed on the production team was, based on what we decide to do with the show every night, if we decide to play something differently, if we decide to expand the part or whatever we want to do, I want the artwork to change with the performance. So, it needs to be malleable and that turns into – that’s where the real production challenges start to arise.

Without getting geeky into it, and in fact I’m not really versed in the geeky stuff, I can just tell them, like, “These are the ideas,” and then, luckily, we have an excellent production team that can do that. And the guys at Ghost Town, again, the guys who are involved with rendering the stuff in 3D, they’ve been intimately involved, as has Joe, on creating these tour visuals. I think it’s gotten real great. I’m not going to spoil any surprises as far as how the LED stuff gets – what it’s actually being presented on, or as far as what the stuff actually looks like. You’re going to have to come to the show to see that stuff. But, like I said, it adapts with the show and the show is a work in progress; like, we are changing – we do change things usually steadily from show to show, and then from tour to tour, there might be some broader stroke changes.

But, yeah, we take the live show seriously. It is, in some part of it, it’s as much a piece of art as the music is, so we want it to be compelling and fit with the overall kind of aesthetic of what the band is up to right at this moment.”

When speaking about how the idea for touring with Thirty Seconds To Mars came together. Bennington comments “Our respect comes from a professional between each other and, for me, I know that we’ve been very close to our fan base for a very long asking questions and seeing who they want us to tour with and it’s been really interesting, but every time – and it’s funny to say this because it probably sounds really corporate, but this is what happens when your band becomes as big as Linkin Park. We decide to poll our fans to see who they want us to tour with, and for like, what, five or six times in a row, I think, Thirty Seconds to Mars has either been the most popular band that they want to see us tour with or number two. I’ve never seen them out of the top three.

So, it’s been a long time the fans have wanted to see us tour together. So, for that, I think not only has Thirty Seconds to Mars, like, grown tremendously over the last several years into not only a great studio band, writing great songs, but they’re amazing live. And so, for us, at this point, our fans are really excited to see us play with Thirty Seconds to Mars. And also, if I can say this, they have released their 13th record in November last year, so that’s pretty impressive. I don’t know if you guys are listening to their most recent record, but it’s amazing.

And AFI are another band that are not only are great guys, but they keep making amazing record after amazing record and also known for their live shows. So, that’s kind of a simple kind of no-brainer. Luckily, this is one of those times where we were, like, “Hey, let’s ask 30 Seconds to Mars and AFI if they want to tour with us.” And they both said, “Yes,” at the same time. So, it all worked out really well.”

In the past, Linkin Park has done a lot with the video game industry and say that they would love to continue to do more in the future. Shinoda says “We love gaming. I mean, at this point working and doing what we do, we don’t get as much of a chance to play; for example, a console game. It’s mostly, like, mobile. But given the chance, I would love to have, like, a week off just to play video games. But we have had a lot of really fun experiences, like, doing stuff with games; making our own games.

We’ve got a game, like, currently out up on Facebook right now called, LP Recharge.” In fact, it’s lprecharge.com to find it. And we’ve done apps and stuff like that and we’ve worked with groups, companies like EA, worked with Capitol Glass. We worked as Medal of Honor franchise. So, I think there will be some – yea, there’s probably – hopefully, we’ve had some great relationships with all the folks and I would love to do more in the gaming world. It’s just – it is where our fans are at. It is something we love to do and it’s a really natural fit for our band.”

As many know, Chester Bennington, in addition to being a part of Linkin Park, is also the current frontman for Stone Temple Pilots w/Chester Bennington. We were curious as to how that was working out and if there will be any new material on the way soon.

Bennington said “We started writing some stuff a couple weeks ago, and that was a lot of fun. So, yeah, we’re planning on recording some music as soon as possible and we’ve got a kick start on a bunch of tracks and it’s fun to be around a bunch of people who just thoroughly enjoy making music all the time. It’s, like, I get to be in Linkin Park and play with some of the best musical minds, in my opinion, in music right now, and then I get to come home and go play with some more people who are great. So, it’s pretty awesome. I don’t know when we’re going to get in the studio. We want to do it as soon as possible, so we’ll make that happen with the time that we have when I’m not with Linkin Park.”

Keeping a positive outlook on life can be such a challenge nowadays with so much going on in the daily grind and the ups and downs of our own lives. When speaking about the ways in which he tries to live a positive lifestyle, Bennington tells us “I think piercing your thoughts is important, and I also think that not sweating the small things is really important, using your focus on, like, the big picture, because that’s really the trajectory of where you’re headed is the big picture, and a lot of times when you look at the easiest things happening now can get kind of chaotic and things will be all over the place.

But you’re still moving in the right direction or you’re moving in the wrong direction. For example, if you keep dribbling the ball and it’s coming down, even if things are good right now, you’re still on a downward spiral. So, you have to look at yourself honestly and then kind of figure out where you’re headed in the big picture sense, so you not sweat the small stuff, because that’s usually where all most of my stress comes from things that don’t really matter.”

He then adds “One thing for our group, like, has been so positive is that we have a really good, like, pattern of being direct and honest and respectful with each other. Like, so people have to – to some people, it’s like we never fight, and that’s nice, but that’s not reality. Like, you get six guys in a group like ours, there’s bound to be stuff that we disagree about pretty passionately. And when those things come up, at least historically, the guys have been able to kind of, whether it’s of their own, like, I don’t know, that they feel compelled to just talk to somebody else about it and address it head on, or somebody else kind of has to push you in the direction and say, “Hey, man. You really need to go talk to him about that thing that you’re upset about, because if you don’t, like, it’s going to fester and you guys are going to be a mess later.”

Shinoda concludes with “I don’t think about it. It’s a common thing with people and everybody does – it seems like it happens in every group of people. And at least at this point, I really appreciate the fact that the guys have been so, like, open to, like, hearing criticism and putting themselves – really important, like, putting each other – put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and see it from their angle and listen with, like, respect.

But also, stay confident about what you’re about and stuff, too, and just come to the table and try and find some middle ground. I mean, I always feel like one of the things that makes this, like, the root of a lot of my problems and other people that I know is usually, like, fear and a lot of that is based in, like, unfamiliarity. Like, people are scared of a lot of things that don’t look like something they understand. And being scared of stuff like that, that can manifest itself in so many ways. And whether it’s, like, a personal thing or, like, a decision that we make creatively or whatever, like, all those things, like, we’ve tried to be really cognizant about; not operating by fear.”

Be sure to head out and catch Linkin Park, Thirty Seconds To Mars and AFI on the 25-date Carnivores Tour before it wraps up on September 19th in Concord, California. It is without a doubt one of the most solid touring packages of the summer!

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Live Review And Exclusive Interviews: Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival 2014

DSC_1747(PCM) Every summer we look forward to the brutality and full on metal assault that comes with the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and the 2014 line-up brought us just that and a whole lot more.

Sure, there are a ton of summer music festivals that pop up all over the country, but to me, Mayhem Festival is one of very last of the tried and true rock and metal touring packages that give fans a ton of bang for their buck. The festival features over 20 bands performing across multiple stages and I always recommend arriving early to be sure that you can catch everyone you want to see, besides nothing beats a little coffee and metal to get you awake and moving.

Mayhem Festival 2014 was headlined by Avenged Sevenfold and Korn, who were both amazing (more on that in bit), but early afternoon sets from Cannibal Corpse, Mushroomhead, King 810, Texas Hippie Coalition, and Ice T’s Body Count were definite highlights and all put on incredibly energetic and engaging performances.

Sometimes I think there can be a night where a band is just on and this night in Camden, NJ Korn absolutely rocked the house. They sounded incredible!  Korn is a band that I have had the pleasure to see quite a number of times and hands down their Mayhem performance was one of the best that I have seen from them in quite some time.

DSC_1656Front-man Jonathan Davis was in a fantastic mood and the band sounded incredibly tight and well-rehearsed. Their set consisted of a solid mix of both old and new material which created an amazing balance. Hearing songs such as “Shoots and Ladders”, “Freak On A Leash” and “Coming Undone” live is always a fantastic experience. We can’t wait for the band’s upcoming co-headlining run with Slipknot later this year!

Korn band members  guitarist James “Munkey” Shaffer and drummer Ray Luzier spoke to us in an intimate press conference at the show and definitely revealed some interesting tid-bits. When asked about a group that Korn would like to tour with Shaffer revealed that it would be Die Antwoord saying “They’re from another part of the world, and they sound like they’re from another part of the universe. Their look is really cool, and I think they would fit right in with what we do, and I think our fans would get it. [Although] I think it would be completely left field”.

DSC_1485When looking at the generational appeal of Korn and the way that their fan base has continued to grow, Luzier comments ““There’s a lot of people [out there] who the first couple of Korn records got them through high school, and now they’re bringing their kids. And it’s awesome to see that”. Both Luzier and Shaffer find it incredibly flattering to hear so much of Korn’s influence in some of the other band’s playing with them on this year’s Mayhem Festival.

To close out the evening, Avenged Sevenfold pulled no stops with their amazing stage theatrics and pyrotechnics. The crowd absolutely erupted when the began playing songs such as the set opener “Shepherd Of Fire” and other such as “Hail To The King” and their classics “Bat Country” and “A Little Piece Of Heaven”.

DSC_1929Vocalist M.Shadows knows how to take control of the stage and has the audience held captive throughout the band’s entire set. It is always an incredibly touching moment when the band continues to take a moment and reflect upon the tragic loss of their drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan and dedicate a song to his honor. Watching the entire venue light up in a sea of both cellphones and lighters is truly mesmerizing and we still find it hard to believe that it has been nearly five years since his passing.

Overall, I would say that Mayhem Festival 2014 was a success and yet again we find ourselves anxiously awaiting the news about just how much our summer will rock with the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival 2015 announcements.

We were able to catch up with nearly all of the band’s performing on this year’s Mayhem Festival, so please be sure to check out our exclusive interviews with Asking Alexandria, Body Count, Mushroomhead, Erimha, Ill Nino, Suicide Silence, Wretched, Emmure, Islander, Miss May I, Texas Hippie Coalition, Upon A Burning Body, and Veil Of Maya below.

2014 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival Interview Playlist

 More photos from the show below:
All photography credit: Mike Sievila

 

 

 

 

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In With Beyonce’s Costumes And Out With DJ Alan Freed’s Ashes

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(PCM) It is this type of story that just gets under my skin. It has recently been reported that The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio has opened up a new exhibit featuring many costumes and other memorabilia from Beyonce.

However, as they were rolling in Beyonce’s many costumes, including the black leotard featured in her 2008 hit video for “Single Ladies”, one piece of true rock n’ roll memorabilia was being ushered out.

The urn containing the ashes of the late DJ Alan Freed was removed from the museum just days before the Beyonce exhibit was set to open. In case you were wondering, Freed is the man who is credited with coining the actual term “rock n’ roll”.  His ashes were placed in the Hall Of Fame about 12 years ago.

According to CNN.com “Freed started playing R&B records on his Cleveland radio show in 1951, a time when stations that targeted white listeners ignored black artists. He called it ‘rock ‘n’ roll. His ‘Moondog Coronation Ball’ at the Cleveland Arena in March 1956 is considered the first major rock concert.”

Why in the world the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame would feel the need to remove such a significant piece of rock n’ roll history is beyond me.  When asked for a comment about the removal of Freed’s ashes, the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame’s executive director claimed “Rock n’ roll isn’t just about yesterday. It continues to evolve, and we continue to embrace it and refine our operations.”

My argument is that you are a museum that showcases rock n’ roll history. While yes, I can agree that history is always being written, we certainly don’t want those that helped pave the way to be forgotten. It is more of a matter of respect than evolution.

Freed’s family are in search of a new place to keep the urn and allow fans to pay their respects.

 

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We Are The Riot Debut New Music Video

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(PCM) Los Angeles based Hard Rock band We Are The Riot (featuring Meegs Rascon & Mikal Cox of Coal Chamber and Andy Cole ex-Static-X) have released the official music video for their track “It’s Not What You Wanted.”

“It’s Not What You Wanted” is the first release from the band’s new EP (available now), and they will be heading into the studio this November to record a full length album.

We are definitely digging the video, which was produced by Brian Cox at Digital Iris and was filmed at the Salton Sea near Palm Springs, California.

It is always a pleasure to see a music video that is put together like a mini-movie and the band has done a phenomenal job. We definitely look forward to hearing more!

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The Bolts Transformation Into Island Apollo At Silverlake Lounge

By: Lucy rendler-Kaplan

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(PCM) Orange-County based indie rockers The Bolts made a bold move early last month—they changed their name to Island Apollo. Bolder still, the five-some headed north to hipster haven Silverlake  previewing work through their new material as Island Apollo, taking up residency at the gritty Silverlake Lounge for four Mondays in July.

The band—comprised of guitarists Heath Farmer and Ryan Kilpatrick, bassist Addam Farmer, keyboardist Austin Farmer, and drummer Matt Champagne—gained considerable fame as The Bolts after forming as teenagers in Orange County.  In short order, they picked up airplay on KROQ, won Orange County’s “Best Pop Artist” from the OC Music Awards, opened for Capital Cities and Third Eye Blind, appeared across local TV and, realizing every young man’s dream, had a song placed in a commercial featuring supermodel Kate Upton.

At Silverlake Lounge, the group took the stage as relative newcomers.

From the first show through the last, Island Apollo was not what you’d call tentative.  Despite the new name (coined for the artificial islands in Long Beach Bay, each named for a Apollo astronaut) and brand new material, they couldn’t shake off (nor should they) the experience of seven years playing together.  Island Apollo plays with astonishing precision and considerable verve. They’re tight but not tense, intense but not intimidating. Each member knows their job and does it well, and their experience shines through in confident assured playing, compact, well-crafted songs, and at the bottom of each, Matt Champagne: throwing himself all over his small drum kit (with one synth pad, he’s quick to point out), each bang of the drums exuberant—at times it seems he just might freak out—before bringing the beats back to their “proper” place.   In fact, each song finishes a little sooner than you think it should.  A few of the songs hint at what might be in store if they were to shake off the disciplined structure and show fans what it might feel like to be invited into one of their private jam sessions.  Watching the crowd, it was clear that each song left the audience wanting more.

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If one is to believe the set lists (show-goers eagerly snatched from under Heath’s feet at the end of each gig) during the Silverlake Lounge residencies consisted of eight-song sets of original compositions the band has been working on for inclusion into their first EP as Island Apollo. He told the audience, “We think Animal is going to be our fist single, but our manager (Dan Catullo, of Orange County production powerhouse DC3 Music/City Drive Entertainment) asked us not to confirm that.”  Regardless, our money’s on Animal—it’s a self-effacing excuse for love and lust, delivered with Ryan and Heath’s guitars over urgent, insistent, almost drill-cadence harmonies.

Heath and Ryan trade lead and rhythm guitar duties effortlessly, going back and forth between parts without looking at each other. Heath wields a well-worn Telecaster, showing years of love and long use along with that very sweet, country punk-tinged sound; he expands on its single pickup design and sound with an array of pedals and effects at his feet that makes the gear lovers in the audience crane their necks over the monitors to look at it.

Ryan, Island Apollo’s newly appointed lead vocalist, croons a fine tenor over his Stratocaster, fixing his gaze on the audience as he works through the tunes. Their intention was to have Ryan handle all the singing—thinking perhaps their four-part harmonies as the Bolts too lightweight—but they simply can’t help harmonizing, and you can tell they clearly relish singing together. Each song’s chorus is fist-to-the gut punchy. They pack a pop and a wallop.  This is especially evident on the tunes Phoenix and Animal.

Between them is Addam, alternately strumming and plucking his bass—just like the guitarists on either side of them. Twice during the residency, he sported a black t-shirt with dinosaurs on it, and the irony wasn’t lost on fans of Animal.

Habitual starts with a looser, free-form instrumental intro reminiscent of The War on Drugs—but again, tantalizingly brief.  In Meaning of Love, the guys sing, “You build me up/And break me down/That’s the meaning of love/That’s the meaning of love.” It is then that you realize: these guys are not punks; they really are a bunch of Orange County lads, tanned, fresh-faced, and very outgoing.  They want us to like them, and y’know what? We do.  The band reads the audience well and knows that they won’t win us over if they sing at us to fuck off.  It’s refreshingly…fresh.  At each week of the residency, a tanned, teeming crowd of young ladies in the audience undoubtedly seemed to agree.

Believer is as close as these guys come to down-tempo in the Silverlake sets, a minor-key anthem driven by Austin’s low-key keys, his extensive rig anchored by a Yamaha electric piano. In I Don’t Need Your Kind of Love, they build guitar energy with staccato guitar riffs around their vocal, ensemble playing holding Champagne’s drums in check, concluding with soulful, tight harmonies on Think it Over, their last number.

Heath explains their carefully constructed set after the show.  “We believe that every song should flow naturally and that every detail should serve an artistic purpose. We added tempo changes where it made sense, and explored varying chord progressions.”  As you watch his fingers fly up and down the fret board, you realize he’s taking his own advice well.

Island Apollo’s next gig is Thursday, August 14 at a new venue downtown: Downstairs at Fifty Seven, located at 712 S Santa Fe Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90021

http://fiftysevenla.electrostub.com/event.cfm?id=122547&cart

So with a nostalgic look back at their history as the Bolts, Island Apollo is poised to rise above the ocean floor and reach for the stars.

Island Apollo’s new social network links:

Facebook / Twitter / YouTube / Instagram

 

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Get To Know Guitarist Hailey Woodruff!

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(PCM) Hailey Woodruff is a solo progressive metal guitarist, singer and composer out of Los Angeles. An alumnus of guitar and professional music studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, she is a band within herself, writing and performing all instruments on her album, including drum programming that’s meticulous enough to emulate a live player.

While Hailey’s work doesn’t fall into progressive styles that are overtly technical and largely musician-friendly, she takes a milder, more responsive approach for mainstream and generic appeal, similar to that of Tool and Mudvayne, methodically working every guitar solo and riff to balance with her voice, and melting faces with an overall advanced sound unique to the genre.

To keep up to date with Hailey Woodruff, please visit:

http://www.haileywoodruff.com

https://www.facebook.com/haileywoodruff

https://www.youtube.com/user/HaileyWoodruffMusic

 

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Josh Turner Pulls No Punches With His Rougstock and Rambler Tour

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(PCM) Recently, country music superstar Josh Turner brought his down-home melodies to the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA. Turner is in the midst of his Roughstock and Rambler Tour in support of his latest album, Punching Bag.

Josh hit the stage and pulled no punches, playing a sweet 16-song set that included big hits like “Your Man”, “Punching Bag”, “Time Is Love”, “Haywire”, and “Would You Go With Me”, as well as rare gems like “Backwoods Boy”. Turner closed out the set with the foot-stompin’ “Firecracker”. Josh Turner has one of the most distinct voices in country music today, and also has the ability to bring his big hits to life live on stage.

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Josh Turner exploded onto the country music scene in 2003. He inked a deal with MCA Records and released his first LP, Long Black Train. His sophomore effort, 2006’s Your Man, gave Turner his first two #1 singles. The album itself hit #2 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 on Billboard Country Albums. Turner’s next two releases would also hit the Top 5 on the Billboard charts. His latest effort, 2012’s Punching Bag, debuted at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 on Billboard Country Albums.

The album’s lead single “Time Is Love” was the top country song of the year. Turner is reportedly working on new music for a follow-up, and he recently released his first book Man Stuff via HarperCollins Publishing. Throughout his career, Turner has been nominated for two Grammy Awards and seven CMA Awards.

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“Mandatory Fun” Scores Weird Al Yankovic His First No. 1 Album

-Weird_Al-_Yankovic(PCM) Hilarious artist Weird Al Yankovic has been delighting fans for the past weeks, releasing 8 parody videos in promotion of his new album, Mandatory Fun, and it looks like all the marketing has paid off!

Mandatory Fun, Weird Al’s fourteenth studio album, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 making it the first number one record of artist’s 38-year long career.

Mandatory Fun sold over 104,000 units in its first week according to Nielsen SoundScan, doubling the sales of Weird Al’s previous studio album, Alpocalypse, during its first week.

Weird Al celebrated by tweeting the announcement to his 3.32 million twitter followers:

The album is also the first comedy album since 1963 to reach number 1 on the Billboard 200; Alan Sherman was the last comedian/parody artist to hold the title with his album My Son, the Nut.

Mandatory Fun includes tracks that parody recent hits by artists Robin Thicke, Imagine Dragons, Lorde, Iggy Azalea, and Pharrell as well as a few original tracks in the stylings of Cat Stevens, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Pixies, and Foo Fighters.

The album, along with great sales, has received positive critical responses; the Los Angeles Times praised the album as “a stone cold masterpiece…parodying hit songs to create gut-busting laughter.”

Watch the video for “Word Crimes,” one of the videos released in the 8 days leading up to Mandatory Fun’s release that already has over 10 million views on YouTube, below and check out Weird Al’s official site here.

Also, PCM’s Danger Man, Lars Hindsley, interviewed the designer/animator for the Word Crimes video – Jarrett Heather, Check it out here.

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