B-Sides Report for 09/17/2015

Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson Explains Epic Song 'Empire of the Clouds'

Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson recently sat down with Radio.com to discuss the band's new double album "The Book of Souls" and during the chat he went into details about the two songs that he wrote for the album "If Eternity Should Fall" and eighteen minute epic "Empire of the Clouds".

He had this to say about "If Eternity Should Fall": "the first song on the album, the one that opens the album, was actually written for a solo album and was demoed with Roy Z [who produces many of Dickinson's solo records] out in L.A. And the demo that we did is effectively almost identical to the Maiden version. Maiden just effectively copied what we'd done, a few minor alterations.

"So that wasn't intentional; I didn't even know I was writing for Maiden at that point. I was just writing an opening title track for what was probably going to be a solo album and which was actually probably going to be a concept album. And the spoken word that's at the end of that track is actually the beginning of the story. So it introduces this character, 'Hello, I'm Doctor Necropolis, and I'm formed of the dead. My own two sons, I gave them birth, and I filled them, their living corpses with my bile.'

"So yeah, you think, 'Ah, that's cool. What's this about then?' And you never find out because it goes off into 'Speed of Light,' and you think, 'Well, that was weird. What was all that about?'

"And I did say to Steve [Harris], I said, 'Look, what do you want to do about this spoken word thing, because it fits with the rest of my solo thing, but I'm not sure it makes any sense. It's kind of a non-sequitur; it doesn't go anywhere for a Maiden album.'

"'Ah,' he said, 'but it's got a lot of soul. It mentions a lot of stuff about souls in there, doesn't it?' 'Yes, it does, yes, it does.' He goes, 'Oh, it's all good then.' So okay, great.

"Another thing about that track is it is actually in drop D guitar tuning. It's the first time we've ever done it in Maiden. So there was much furrowed brows and consternation about that."

He had the following to say about "Empire of the Clouds," which is the longest song Iron Maiden has ever recorded at eighteen minutes: "You write the melody in little bits. And originally I had no idea I was gonna write this song about the airship, the R101 disaster and the story of it and all that and what the song is actually about. All I had was two or three little pieces written for separate things, actually, and one of them had a line, 'Mist is in the trees, stone sweats with the dew/The morning sunrise, red before the blue,' and it was, basically it was setting a scene: this is dawn, something is gonna happen. And the idea was, yup, it's gonna be World War I fighter airplanes take off, and they'll die horrible deaths and a song about that.

"Well, that song ended up as 'Death or Glory.' So I was still left with this little intro. So okay, something's gonna happen here; what happens? And I thought, well, maybe I can write some more stuff. And I'm sitting at home, and I've got artifacts from airships sitting around. I went to some auctions and bought some stuff; I've got the pocket watch from one of the survivors from the R101, I've got a tankard from the R101, I've got various bits and bobs of other airships. I went, 'Why don't I tell the story?'

"I just finished reading a big, sort of encyclopedic crash report of it, 600 pages on it. I decided that I wanted to tell this story. This is a fantastic story. So I thought, well, what am I gonna call it? So the book that I just finished reading was called To Ride the Storm, because it was the storm that finally finished it off, really, then caused the crash in the end.

"So I put the little pieces together, and when I got enough verses and pieces, then I started putting them in order, and one of the last things I put together was the actual intro, the little [hums tune]. That came almost towards the end.

"And I suddenly realized that that then enabled me to do like a little overture piece at the beginning, which I would state most of the little melodies that were going to come later and put them as one separate little piece on its own, and then we put some cellos and some bits over it and some other little counter-melodies.

"And I'm thinking, 'This is getting quite sort of classical.' I don't know s- about classical music. Anyway, it's a piece, and it's definitely an overture. Opening, setting the scene instrumentally. And then we just tell the story through the various transitions that dramatize it, that build up the ash of leaves, the masks, the people are clapping and cheering, we've got that scene in there. It's very cinematic.

"When I write, all the words that I write come from the scene that is playing in front of my head. And even when I sing other people's lyrics I have to create the scene in my head before I can probably sing the song. Even if it's maybe not the same scene they were thinking of when they wrote it, I have to do it for myself in order to animate the words right. But that's the way we create the song.

"'Empire' was not written with guitars in mind; it was all written on piano. I knew obviously the band are gonna play it, and it's gonna get heavy towards the end. But at no stage when I was writing it did I write it with guitars in mind. There was horns, there was cello, there were fiddles, there was all kinds of different percussion and things like that. And that thinking through those instruments gave me the melodies, 'cause certain instruments suggest certain melodies.

"And then I thought, 'Well, it gonna be interesting now, seeing what happens when you play them with electric guitars.' It's gonna get 'Maiden-ified' as soon as you do that, which is fine." Read the full interview here.

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Scorpions Streaming Unreleased Blackout Era Demo

(hennemusic) The Scorpions are premiering "Running For The Plane", an unreleased demo from sessions for the group's 1982 album, "Blackout." The track is featured on the upcoming reissue of the album as part of the band's 50th Anniversary Deluxe Editions series, which will see the German rockers revisit their past with expanded reissues of eight of their classic albums.

Due November 6, the Scorpions will reissue "Taken By Force" (1977), "Tokyo Tapes" (1978), "Lovedrive" (1979), "Animal Magnetism" (1980), "Blackout" (1982), "Love At First Sting" (1984) and "Savage Amusement" (1988) - and 1985's "World Wide Live."

In addition to dozens of unheard studio tracks and live recordings, all CD releases are equipped with extended booklets featuring rare photos and, single covers, backstage passes and additional liner notes, while five of the eight albums include a DVD with live concert footage, TV performances and interviews from the period.

The remastered LP formats are released on 180-gram vinyl in a sleeve replicating the first pressing. They also come with an audio CD, featuring the original track listing and the same bonus audio as the CD formats. A limited and numbered Deluxe Box Set will contain all remastered vinyl discs. Stream the demo here.

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Rammstein Preview 'In Amerika' Documentary

(Classic Rock) Rammstein have released a trailer for their In Amerika documentary. The film is included in the Rammstein In Amerika double-DVD and double-Blu-ray package, which is released via Island/UME on September 25.

The German metal outfit's 2010 set at New York City's Madison Square Garden is also included - they have previously issued Rammlied and Ich Tu Dir Weh from that show as teasers. A 20-minute film on the making of 2009 album Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da is also part of the package.

In the documentary trailer, frontman Till Lindemann explains the band's trepidation when they first arrived in the US in the 1990s. He tells how they were pulled over by traffic cops and a breakdown in communication got things off to a bad start.

He says: "They were so inconsiderate. They wouldn't speak a little slower, it didn't work. I didn't understand a word. Then they mentioned some kind of fine, and I said, 'Is it fine?' But they wanted money." Watch the trailer here.

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Pearl Jam Reveal Pop-Up Shop Details

(Radio.com) The collaboration between Pearl Jam and Volcom will happen once again, and we finally have a date. The band announced via their Twitter account that the Pearl Jam X Volcom Pop-Up Shop will take place September 22-27 at Volcom's Soho location.

Per the band's website, "The Volcom store will be the only location where you can purchase the full NYC PJ merchandise line that week." Tuesday through Saturday, the store will release four different poster designs at random plus an array of other specialty merchandise.

The shop opens in conjunction with the band's appearance at the Global Citizen Festival which will take place on New York's Great Lawn in Central Park on September 26th. Read more here.

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Janis Joplin's Porsche To Be Auctioned

(Radio.com) Janis Joplin's Porsche, heavily stylized with colorful paintings, can be yours thanks to an auction by RM Sotheby's that is coming to New York City in December.

After Joplin bought the pearly white whip in 1968, she used the car as a canvas, having an attention-grabbing mural painted over the original color. Joplin died of a drug overdose two years later.

Prior to the auction, the 1965 Porsche 356C Cabriolet has been parked at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. RM Sotheby's will be selling off the car for the family during its "Driven By Disruption" exhibition and auction set to take place in December 10. See the announcement tweet here.

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Lana Del Rey Streaming New Song 'Salvatore'

(Radio.com) In anticipation of her fourth studio album release, Honeymoon, which hits stores on Friday, Lana Del Rey has released yet another track off the album. This one is titled "Salvatore."

Del Rey has so far released several tracks off the 14-track Honeymoon, including "High By the Beach," "Terrence Loves You," "Music to Watch Boys To," and "Honeymoon."

"Salvatore" has a wending, almost woozy, style to it. It's a slower track compared to many of the others she's already released off the album, but it keeps with the album's overall dark-almost macabre-march towards some fateful end. Check out the song here.

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Lionel Richie Announces Las Vegas Residency

Lionel Richie has announced that he will be launching a Las Vegas headlining residency show, "Lionel Richie - All the Hits," inside The AXIS at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino next year.

The residency is set to kick off on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 and so far two runs for the show that will include dates in late April and through mid-May, as well as late September through early October.

Richie had this to say about the show, "I'm so excited to begin my residency at Planet Hollywood. I can't wait to share 'All the Hits, All Night Long' with all of my fans - it's a high energy show that is a perfect match for such a vibrant city!"

We were sent the following details: Tickets will go on sale to the public on Friday, Sept. 18 at 10 a.m. PT. An exclusive pre-sale for Ticketmaster, Live Nation and Total Rewards members, Caesars Entertainment's loyalty program, will also be available from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. PT on today, Thursday, Sept. 17. See the dates here.

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Remembering B.B. King On His 90th Birthday

(Gibson) The great guitarist, raconteur and musical innovator B.B. King died on May 14 at age 89 - but the thrill of his music and his legacy do live on. Had King continued to reign over the world of blues, he - and the world at large - would have celebrated his 90th birthday on Wednesday, September 16.

King was simply the most influential electric guitarist. With various iterations of his femme fatale six-string Lucille slung over this shoulder, he was a stinging stylist with unmistakable vibrato and tone who had a profound impact on a plurality of players, including fellow Gibson legends Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, George Harrison, Joe Perry and Joe Bonamassa. His ringing vibrato, elegant tone and singing single-note melodies, and his soulful voice, helped King become a beacon for the best qualities of the blues - it's beauty, depth of feeling, storytelling, originality, character and musical excellence and evolution.

In addition to the indelible memories left by his performances, King gave us all the gift of roughly 75 authorized studio and live albums and compilations in a discography that spans from 1949 to 2012.

In recent decades King's albums have been starry affairs like the platinum-selling, Grammy winning collaboration with Eric ClaptonRiding With the King, 2005's birthday blues party with Billy Gibbons, Clapton, Bobby Bland, John Mayer, Roger Daltrey and Gloria Estefan called B.B King and Friends: 80, and the deeply rooted One Kind Favor, made with celebrity producer T-Bone Burnett.

Most listeners associate King with his 1970 break-though hit "The Thrill Is Gone," but King actually developed most of his repertoire, vocal phrasing and licks in the first 15 years of his career.

Take a look at 10 early King recordings that are signposts of those formative years here.

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Toni Braxton's Life Story Set For TV Movie

(Radio.com) Toni Braxton's life story has been given the green light for an authorized Lifetime TV movie, Un-Break My Heart. The movie will be based Braxton's memoir according to Variety,

The film will track the singer's struggles with "chronic illness, financial troubles and divorce, while navigating her son's autism and family struggles."

Braxton will serve in front of the camera and behind the scenes as executive producer, Variety reports. It is set to go into product in 2015. Toni is not the only Braxton making moves on TV. Read about that here.

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More Videos From Ghost TV Appearance Go Online

(hennemusic) Ghost recently performed a series of tracks from their new album, "Meliora", on l'Album de la Semaine on French national TV channel, Canal + and more video from the appearance has been posted online.

The Swedish rockers played three tunes from the new release, including "Majesty", "Absolution" and the new single, "From The Pinnacle To The Pit", alongside "Year Zero" from 2013's "Infestissumam" and a cover of Roky Erickson's "If You Have Ghosts" from their 2013 Dave Grohl-produced EP of the same name.

Ghost recently launched their third album with an unplugged tour of US record stores. Produced by Klas Åhlund and mixed by Andy Wallace, "Meliora" sees the debut of vocalist Papa Emeritus III alongside the Nameless Ghouls. Check out the videos from the TV appearance here.

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Kanye West Premieres New Song Called 'Fade'

(Radio.com) Kanye West made New York Fashion Week all about him when he debuted a new song entitled "Fade" that features Post Malone and Ty Dolla $ign.during his Yeezy Season 2 show.

The song piqued the industry's interest enough for many celebrities like Michael Strahan and Anna Wintour to attend despite it being announced at the last minute.

"I Feel It" has a vibe that reminds you of Kanye when he first entered the music game. You've got your dusty soul sample coupled with a thumping bass line and auto-tuned vocals. West's latest tune was played as video of people in lines reminiscent of 1984.

This isn't the first time West debuted music at his fashion show. Last year, during his showing of Yeezy Season 1, the Grammy Award winner used the Sia-assisted track "Wolves." That single still has yet to be released as an officially. So who knows what will happen with "I Feel It."

Preview the song here.

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Disclosure and Sam Smith Cover Drake's 'Hotline Bling'

(Radio.com) BBC's Radio 1 Lounge has been crushing it lately when it comes to covers. In addition to asking guests to perform stripped down versions of their own music, the show also asks guests to perform a cover. And their guests are rising to the occasion. Between Demi covering Hozier and now Disclosure and Sam Smith covering Drake, fun things are happening across the pond.

According to Rolling Stone, electronic-sibling duo Disclosure appeared with Sam Smith on the program, and when it came down to what they would cover, the three didn't disappoint. They chose Drake's latest hit, "Hotline Bling."

It's not their first time working together. Disclosure featured Sam Smith on their single, Latch," and more recent single, "Omen." So of course they brought him round when it came time to perform on the radio program.

"Drake and Kendrick [Lamar] are just absolutely killing it at the moment," said Disclosure's Guy Lawrence. "They're like mine and [brother] Howard's faves at the moment in that world, and it made sense to choose this song." Watch it here.

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Ariana Grande Impersonates Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera

(Radio.com) Fans of Ariana Grande already knew she was a master of impressions thanks to her many YouTube videos, and she took her skills to the small screen Wednesday night on The Tonight Show to put them to good use!

Joining the ranks of celebrities before her such as Christina Aguilera and Jamie Foxx, Grande went up against Jimmy Fallon to battle it out in the 'Wheel of Musical Impressions,' and the "One Last Time" singer pretty much killed it.

The 22-year-old Scream Queens starlet had Fallon cracking up as she sang "Mary Had a Little Lamb" as Britney Spears, and the host countered by performing OMI's "Cheerleader" as Aaron Neville. Watch it here.

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Run The Jewels and TV On The Radio Team Up On Stephen Colbert

(Radio.com) Stephen Colbert is on a roll, drumming up cool Late Show musical guests each night, including the latest Run The Jewels performance on Tuesday's (Sept. 15) show.

The duo of EL-P and Killer Mike performed the assaulting "Angel Duster" with the TV on the Radio as their backing band. Before the show, El-P took to twitter with a humorous heads up on collaboration.

"Tonight's the night. RTJ [email protected] + @StephenAtHome. will we pull it off or will i simply poop myself and cry? NO ONE KNOWS," the MC tweeted.

The set was drenched in blood-red lights, a good match for the intensity of the song. Read more and watch it here.

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OMI Releases 'Hula Hoop' Video

(Radio.com) OMI has released the music video for his new single, "Hula Hoop." Shot in Miami's South Beach, the video revolves around OMI auditioning girls to be in his next music video for "Hula Hoop."

The music video also showcases a subtle dance move accompanying the chorus that could give Silento's "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" a run for its money on the dance floor.

If you're feeling feisty, you can take OMI's hula hoop challenge on Vine. Fans who think they have hoop skills can record themselves hula hooping to OMI's "Hula Hoop" to make the perfect loop. Use the hashtag #HulaHoopLoop so OMI can share his favorites with followers.

Both "Cheerleader" and "Hula Hoop" are off OMI's upcoming debut album, Me 4 U, which drops October 16th. Watch the video here.

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The Neighbourhood Release 'R.I.P. 2 My Youth' Video

(Radio.com) The Neighbourhood returns with a video for their new single, "R.I.P. 2 My Youth." It's the lead track from their sophomore album Wiped Out! The album, set to be released Oct. 30 via Columbia/The Revolve Group, in the midst of the band preparing for a tour in the fall.

"R.I.P. 2 My Youth" is already a Top 40 hit on the U.S. Alternative charts, reaching No. 33. Although it still has yet to enter Billboard's Hot 100, it did peak at No. 22 on the Bubbling Under chart. The Bubbling Under list is considered an extension of the Hot 100.

The Neighbourhood is known for the black and white music videos. The clip for the song's audio fits that theme. A Little girl can be seen spinning around in circles in various locations like a cemetery and a catholic school class room. Check it out here.

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Singled Out: Anfinnsaas

Norwegian metal duo Anfinnsaas will release their new self-titled album tomorrow (September 18th) and to celebrate we asked the two members of the band to tell us the story behind their debut single "Slått Fra Røstad." Here is the story:

Geir Anfinn Halland Johansen: When I wrote the single Slått Fra Røstad I really just wanted to make some energetic music I would enjoy to both play and listen to. This song, and all the others on the album, is a mix of traditional Norwegian folk drumming (yes, that's a thing!) mixed with Finsaas' fast, thunderous and untraditional guitar playing. I was, and still am, into metal music, but not as much the modern generic metal sound. Why do all the modern and new metal bands often sound so similar? Why not record an metal album the same way as the old, good sounding rock bands did? Lots of room mics, live one-take takes without much editing, lots of bleeds from every instrument and things in the room. That's the sound I like!
Slått Fra Røstad and the whole Anfinnsaas album was therefore recorded live with the help of Rhys Marsh at Autumnsongs Recording Studio, which is an old school studio with old school mics and old school recording technics. What you get as a listener is a really good and different sounding metal album. What would Slayer or Meshuggah sound like if they recorded their albums in 1969? Take a listen to Anfinnsaas - Slått Fra Røstad and you might get the idea!

Knut Finsaas: Slått fra Røstad was made through jamming at rehearsals and experimenting in the studio. It starts out with a drum beat, and me adding a guitar riff basically. It evolved over time, and after being edited, twisted and turned, it sounded like it does on the recording.

On this recording, as a guitarist, I primarily focused on rhythm and sound. Melodies/harmonies aren't that important as there are none. What I basically do is I hit more or less all the strings while pressing a variety of fuzz boxes, in different rhythmic patterns.

It's all about making a lot of noise.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the group and grab a link to a full album stream right here!

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