(Radio.com) The latest installment of Radio.com's Minimation where they animate classic interviews from the New York radio station WNEW-FM's archives features Robert Plant explaining how he and Jimmy Page wrote Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven."
Ah, "Stairway to Heaven." The prime jewel in the classic rock crown. For decades, it's topped radio station polls as the greatest song of all time. Regardless of that subjective honor, it has been played on the radio millions of times in the decades since it made it's debut on Zeppelin IV in 1971.
Jimmy Page loves the song; he performed an instrumental version of it on his solo tour in the '80s, and may well bring it back again if he indeed tours next year. Robert Plant, on the other hand, isn't such a fan of the song, having only performed it on rare occasions since Zep's demise, and even paid a radio station to not play the song.
But in this interview, Plant fondly looks back on writing "Stairway" with Page. "The thing is, if you're that involved with another character, another human being, as Jimmy and I had been in writing
sometimes the same mood can flow through you at immediately the same time," Plant explains. "When that happens, that is the peak point for creation."
One night while the rest of the entourage were otherwise engaged, Plant recalls, he and Page were sitting around a bonfire. A lengthy conversation led to the creation of one of rock's most iconic songs.
Plant kicks off a U.K. tour next month. Don't look for "Stairway" to make his set lists, but he does play a lot of other Zeppelin songs. And here's hoping Jimmy Page tours the U.S. in 2015.
Watch the episode here.
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(hennemusic) The Foo Fighters have issued a lyric video for "Something From Nothing", the lead single from their forthcoming album, "Sonic Highways." The footage was featured in the debut episode of the band's 8-part HBO series of the same name, which premiered last Friday.
Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Neilsen appears in the clip and plays on the tune, which was recorded at Nirvana producer Steve Albini's Electrical Audio studio in Chicago.
"Chicago's the place where I saw my first show," explains Dave Grohl. "The first time I ever saw a live band play was at this little bar called the Cubby Bear right across the street from Wrigley Field. It was just like 'I want to do this for the rest of my life.' So the idea of the song, and the episode, is that once you find that spark and inspiration, that begins your path in life, for whatever it is you want to do."
Watch the video here.
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At The Gates have released a new music video for the song "Death And The Labyrinth" which is one of the tracks on their forthcoming album "At War With Reality."
The album will begin to be released across the globe this Friday with it hitting North America and the UK, and other parts of Europe on October 27th.
The "Death And The Labyrinth" video was directed by Patric Ullaeus (In Flames, Arch Enemy, Lacuna Coil), and frontman Tomas Lindberg had the following to say about the clip:
"We had a very special idea about the kind of approach we wanted for the first video from 'At War With Reality'. What we needed was someone gifted enough to throw himself artistically into the project full on.
"The lyrics to the song are very multi-layered and surreal, so we wanted someone to create a fevered dreamworld that went with the melancholic frustration and dramatic desperation that we feel comes across in the song.
"This is exactly what Patric has created for us. It's his vision of the music and lyrics, which compliments the track perfectly in my opinion. I couldn't be happier!"
Ullaeus adds, "It's always nice to work with creative artists who are like-minded. Ideas seem to flow easily. We had a lot of fun making our vision come true. Being on these amazing locations in Antelope Canyon, Arizona was truly an unforgettable experience."
Watch the video here.
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Riot V, the new incarnation of the legendary metal group Riot, have released a trailer for their new studio album, "Unleash The Fire," which is set for release on October 27th.
The band features the remaining members of Riot who decided to carry on under the new moniker of Riot V following the passing founding guitarist Mark Reale in 2012.
Reale's longtime collaborator Don Van Stavern once again contributed songwriting to the band as he had on the acclaimed "Thundersteel" and "The Privilege of Power" albums.
Check out the album trailer here.
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(Radio.com) The Smashing Pumpkins are set to release two albums over the next year or so, starting in December. Yesterday brought the first taste, with the release of the new song "Being Beige."
The song, released via Soundcloud, starts off with quieter, subdued vocals from frontman Billy Corgan. However, it eventually explodes into the louder, guitar-heavy fare for which the band is most known.
It's the first Pumpkins record since drummer Jimmy Chamberlin departed; as such, "Being Beige" has a high profile contributor in Tommy Lee, who handles the duties behind the drum kit for the song.
"People always ask me to explain songs, and honestly I can't," Corgan told Rolling Stone, which premiered the track, about the song. "But if there's honesty in this lyric, it's that there's something amiss in our cosmos. Yet still, we must love."
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(Radio.com) Surrealist themes are not uncharted territory for Interpol's music videos - and the New York City band takes to those waters again for the clip for "My Desire."
The band teams with director Markus Lundqvist, who has helmed some dark videos for major divas (Madonna's banned "Girl Gone Wild," Lady Gaga's much awarded "Paparazzi" and Beyoncι's face-off with the camera in "1+1″). Here he does incorporate moments of technical and special effects expertise, but the focus is on a group of very Twin Peaks-ian characters.
The video opens in a red entryway, a clear nod to director David Lynch's Twin Peaks aesthetic, and opens into a biker bar populated by the sort of full-bearded, up-to-no-good types that likely only exist in the imagination (or Barstow, Calif.). Interpol are the seamy bar band, while singer Paul Banks mimes along to lyrics meant to offer us the inner narrative of a room full of no-good men.
A Laura Palmer-sort is introduced through Polaroid photos, clearly missing and desired. Things take a turn for the Lundqvist-ian when a cockroach crawls from one of the photos, turning from two-dimensional into three.
Though the video offers and emotional climax, there is no resolution. Only the manifestation of the surreal tricks the mind plays on itself. Watch the video here.
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(hennemusic) Deep Purple have issued a video of their performance of their 1972 classic, "Lazy", as a preview to the October 20 release (Oct 21 in North America) of the forthcoming DVD/Blu-ray, "Live In Verona."
The band were filmed in the spectacular surroundings of the Arena di Verona, a Roman amphitheatre originally built in 30 AD. The 2011 concert sees Deep Purple joined on stage by the German Neue Philarmonic Orchestra for performances of all their classic tracks.
The band have been working on new music for the follow-up to 2013's "NOW What?!" album. Check out the tracklisting for the new release and the live video here.
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(hennemusic) Alice Cooper has issued a performance of his 1975 classic, "Welcome To My Nightmare", as a preview to "Raise The Dead - Live From Wacken." Due October 21 in North America, (Oct 17 in Germany and October 20 in UK)
The set features the rock legend recorded in concert at Wacken Open Air, an annual summer open air heavy metal festival that takes place in the small village of Wacken in Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany.
The DVD/CD package contains 22 songs plus an interview with Alice, while the double CD contains the complete concert. With "Raise The Dead - Live From Wacken", the German label UDR is starting a new live series of legendary Wacken performances. When Alice learned about the purpose behind it, he was very happy to be one of the first to participate and support the Wacken Foundation.
Watch the video here.
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(Classic Rock) Gene Simmons makes a tongue-in-cheek claim that he has God-like status as he launches a new reality singing series. Coliseum will see the Kiss bassist mentor contestants who form bands to perform against each other. The acts will be judged by three music legends weekly before they battle it out during the series finale.
In a press release, Simmons explains: "Coliseum is a no-holds-barred competition show between musical gladiators in the arena fighting to survive, fighting to be the champion, fighting to curry the favour of Rock Caesar. Thumbs up or thumbs down, only the strong survive."
Simmons launched the show in Cannes, France, at entertainment industry trade show Mipcom. The show will be broadcast around the world, with different regions having their own local acts.
He tells Mipcom Daily News: "This is where Rock Caesar - the powerful and attractive Gene Simmons - gets to be your worst nightmare, because he is going to tell you the God's honest truth. But if you've got the goods, I will be the God that will make your dreams come true, because I do have the power." Read more here.
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(TeamRock Radio) In the final of TeamRock's exclusive video clips, Ozzy Osbourne's former guitarist Zakk Wylde looks back at the making of the Breakin' All The Rules video.
Back in 1988, Ozzy released his fifth album No Rest For The Wicked which included the single Breakin' All the Rules. Filmed at Hammersmith Odeon in London, Zakk reveals that the crowd weren't all they appeared to be.
After the fans were described as looking like Folsom State Prison, a number of models were hired to stand on the front row and lose their sh*t while Ozzy and co. went to work... although they had their fingers in their ears when not on camera.
Watch the video interview clip here.
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(Radio.com) For this edition of Single Again, Radio.com spoke to Dryden Mitchell of alt-metal tricksters Alien Ant Farm, who had a No. 1 modern rock hit in 2001 with their cover of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal," and a popular, dryly funny video with multiple Jackson references. Pre-order the band's new album Always & Forever right now.
What sort of unique issues come with breaking on a cover? I mean, like we immediately thought like, "Do you want to blow up on a cover?" I mean, not really. So that's the first thing that comes into their head, and then you think, we're the ones that recorded it, you know. So we had to step up and deal with it. That it got as big as it did, you just have to kind of embrace it, you know?
Of course. And the song sounds-and the video looks-like it was insanely fun to make. We've all never been a fan of bands that were cool, and I mean ["Smooth Criminal"'s] music's cool, but the whole image thing, maybe we're not really a metal band but growing up, being like, "the cool band" didn't really appeal to us. So the more fun we could inject into videos or imagery
I see kids coming to our shows and I have to admit they look like they come from fun. videos or something like that.
I actually prefer your version of the song to Jackson's. The way the line "Annie are you okay?" wraps around the beat feels more right to me. We knew we wanted to do a cover so we dabbled every night at shows: "Easy Lover," Phil Collins, or "Smooth Operator," Sade. And a bunch of other cover songs. But that one seems to have the most kind of rock feel, you know? We knew we were gonna record a cover, we didn't know DreamWorks was gonna put it out so quickly. I shouldn't say I knew, but when we were recording it and I was hearing the final of it, I thought 'damn, this is going to be a big song,' if it gets thrown out there, and it did. I wouldn't say I imagined it to have the legs that it really did. At home in LA, KROQ still plays it every day, and I'm really surprised it's become one more of those songs that's just there.
Did you consider other Jackson songs or did you know immediately that was the one you wanted to do? That was kind of the one. Obviously it was a hit for him, but not the hugest hit. It was almost like every song for him was a #1 hit and that one wasn't. And we kind of felt like it wasn't the most completely huge No. 1 hit like "Billie Jean" or "Thriller" or something like that. So we kind of knew that would be the one. And like I said, it had kind of a rock feel.
Read more here.
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Today multi-instrumentalist El May (also known as Lara Meyerratken) tells us about the song "Thrills", the current single from her brand new album "The Other Person Is You". Here is the story:
This song is about sexual anticipation, specifically the sexual tension between two long-time friends. Wondering if and when the guy is going to take an action to transition the friendship into a romance. I think that the time before a platonic relationship moves into a sexual one has to be one of the most exciting, painful and charged times to experience.
I'm singing about a man I'd known for a good 6 or 7 years, one or both of us dating someone most of that time, and for a while living in different cities. Always with some sexual tension between us, but the line was never crossed. Then we found ourselves single and living in the same city.
The thing is - despite a few really close interactions, romance did not transpire between us. I feel that it would have if I'd made the first move, but I was pretty determined that he and not I, initiate.
I was trying out this because I'd read about an idea, that when it comes to early stages of a relationship between men and women, if a man isn't courageous enough, vulnerable enough to make the first move, (be it physical or verbal) then his heart really isn't in it, and down the line when the stakes are higher, he'll demonstrate that he is not the ideal long-term partner for that particular woman, and it will all fall apart anyway. This is just one completely general idea that might be so wrong in so many situations, but it was a useful and interesting (mostly impossible) exercise for me, because I'm often the one who takes things to the next place, if you know what I'm saying.
I think this concept does hold some truth for a few reasons, and even though a desire might be strong, I like the idea of 'standing by' so as to not waste a bunch of time with a man who is ambivalent about putting his feelings on the line. (This is all of course, if we're talking about, and interested in, a long-term partnership).
'I'm the one you'll turn to' is sort of a creepy and psychotic line. But I was pretty convinced. I liked the thought of this man as my partner. There was a woman he was dating on and off, and they seemed to bring out terrible things in each other - and I thought, "Wow she's so critical of everything you do, but I've known you for ages and I see and accept you as you are".
He'd had a history of being in these very tumultuous, dramatic relationships and I thought, "Well, I can wait for him to grow out of this."
He was in the US, and I was in England for some of the time we were flirting, and I was staying at my parents place deep in the countryside, writing this song about my feelings around him. I was seriously jet-lagged and enjoyed staying up until 4am for a few nights, with headphones at the dining room table writing this as I recorded it. I started with the drum machine beat, then a rough melody. (I vaguely imagined the vocal to be like the detached-sounding female backing vocal in the Prince song 'Pop Life') I had a great time building the beat over time, making it more substantial and danceable. The bass sound and parts were supposed to be temporary, but I really got attached to them. The piano (super low bass notes and sparkly verbed-out high stuff) was recorded in the Withyham Village Hall, near where my parents used to live. I paid the care-taker lady £10 to use the piano for a bit. With only one mic stand but two mics, I jimmied up a contraption whereby the other mic could dangle into the piano from a stick trapped into other bits of wood on a shelf. It worked well, I really like the piano tone. It's probably out of tune, but it does the trick!
I do think that sexual / romantic energy is really the same raw material as creative energy.
In this case I'm really glad that I didn't make the first move and potentially go down a dead-end path with him, because instead, I made this song. Alchemy!
Though he's heard 'Thrills', the guy subject has no idea about it being about him, and I believe he'd never suspect it. Meanwhile, a few of my other male friends think it's about them. No, it's not!
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself as you watch the video here and learn more about El May and her new album right here!
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