Kennedy can still remember the exact day he auditioned for Led Zeppelin. It was Friday, June 13, 2008, 24 hours before his band Alter Bridge were due to appear on the main stage at the Download festival.
Alter Bridge were riding high on the on the back of their second album, Blackbird, as close to a full-blown stadium rock record as the 21st century had thrown up so far, and Kennedy was a key part of their a success. An unashamed belter, his to-the-back-row-and-beyond holler was a throwback to the glory days of the 70s and 80s.
That's probably why Jimmy Page decided to get in touch with him. Zeppelin themselves were in a strange place. Their high-profile reunion show at the end of 2007 had sparked a huge appetite for a tour. The only problem was that Robert Plant point-blank refused to do it. Searching around for a potential surrogate, their eyes settled on Kennedy.
"It was Jason Bonham [son of late Zeppelin drummer John Bonham] who reached out," says Kennedy today. "I hadn't talked to him in years, since we did the Rock Star movie together. He called me when we were on tour and said, 'Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and I are in London jamming, and we were wondering if you'd be up for coming in?'"
Kennedy thought he was joking, but he wasn't. And so on that fateful Friday, he found himself walking into a London rehearsal studio to be greeted by Page, Bonham and John Paul Jones. "I was completely freaking out, as you would," says Kennedy.
Introductions were made, nerves were calmed, gear was plugged in and the quartet began to play. At first they jammed on a few old Zeppelin songs, including Kashmir, The Rain Song and No Quarter, but then they began to ease into material Kennedy had never heard before - nothing more than sketches with the singer scatting over the top, but new material nonetheless. When they finished, Kennedy announced he was going to get a cab to the station to get a train to Birmingham ahead of Download the following day.
"Then Jimmy said, 'John and I are going to drive you to the train station'," says Kennedy. "On the drive, Jimmy and John Paul told me what they were considering. It was a new project, it wasn't going to be Led Zeppelin, and would I be interested in perhaps singing with them? My answer - and this is the dumbest answer of all time - was, 'Well, yeah, you guys are pretty much the sh*t. [Embarrassed laugh] I cannot believe I said that."
There was a second, four-day rehearsal the following September, but Kennedy kept his expectations in check. He knew they were trying out other singers, among them Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, and that Page and Jones were the sort of people to keep their cards close to their chests anyway. Read morehere.
The project has been two years in the making after Soundgarden launched an extended version of Superunknown in 2014. Guitarist Kim Thayil said at the time: "Badmotorfinger had an impact with listeners, but also with guitarists, drummers and singers - people who started bands. It definitely deserves the same kind of treatment we're giving Superunknown."
Meanwhile, the band continue work on their next album, tentatively scheduled for launch in 2017. Thayil recently said: "Over the past year we've had a number of songwriting and jam sessions, getting together to exchange ideas and document and record them. We have some rough demos of a dozen or so songs.
"We'll continue to do this as everyone's schedule opens up, and hopefully by next year we'll find ourselves in the studio fleshing out these ideas." Read morehere.
The group revealed the following details on how the new version came about "At the band's Glastonbury Festival headline performance in June, a technical mishap meant Chris Martin was forced to deliver an unrehearsed solo performance of 'Everglow.'
"The band liked it so much that they recorded a new, similarly stripped-down version of the song for release. A newly posted clip on Instagram shows Martin recording the new version, which also features an audio excerpt of Muhammad Ali speaking to a live studio audience in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1977." Check out the new versionhere.
"We Should Be Friends" is an easygoing jaunt in which Lambert shares all the flaws she finds attractive in her friendships because they're all ways she approaches life. On the first verse she sings, "If your mind's as cluttered as your kitchen sink/ If your heart's as empty as your diesel tank/ If all your white t-shirts have stains/ If you got some goods and got some ink/ Well then, we should be friends."
"I don't know you well, but I know that look/ And I can judge a cover 'cuz I wrote the book/ On losing sleep and gaining weight/ On pain and shame and crazy trains," she sings on the chorus.
The Weight of These Wings arrives in a week on November 18th. Listen to "We Should Be Friends"here.
The album will also feature songs from four of Hill's previous albums that were never released as singles. As for the previously unreleased material, 'Boy" is one of the most recent songs Hill recorded, reports The Boot.
'Why" is a favorite of her husband, Tim McGraw. 'It was and sadly still is today an important message," Hill said in a press release. 'Come to Jesus," has special meaning for Hill. 'This is for my mom, who has wanted me to record a gospel album for years," she said. 'It is also very personal for our family because I recorded this song during the last couple of weeks that [McGraw's father] Tug McGraw battled with brain cancer. Tim played him my rough cut, and Tug listened to it multiple times a day until his passing [on Jan. 5, 2004]." Read morehere.
The song has a touch of throwback to it, blending a 70s rhythm with the George Michael-styled pop fare from the 80s. "Be Mean" isn't just about getting frisky in the bedroom, it's about S&M play with Joe Jonas requesting whips, handcuffs and a certain rough edge from his lady.
"Love how you keep me hurtin'/ Be mean be mean to me," he sings on the chorus, admitting on the verses how much he likes the pain and pleasure he experiences when things move in that direction.
DNCE will be heading out on a major tour beginning in 2017. Their new album drops November 18th. Listen to "Be Mean"here.
Some members of Little Big Town were asked to address the speculation. "Taylor can do whatever she wants," vocalist Kimberly Schlapman told Billboard.
"Taylor is just musical. I don't think she's defined by anything other than she is a songwriter and an unbelievable performer and entertainer and incredible businesswoman," said guitarist and singer Philip Sweet.
"She is all things music, and we have known her for a long time and when she sent us this song we loved it instantly and just the fact that she wrote it is special too. It's fun to draw attention to just her songwriting." Read morehere.
Other contributors on the project include Chance the Rapper, Regina Spektor and more. A cross-section of artists are putting their own twist on the Miranda's original compositions.
In advance of the mixtape's December 2nd release, we've already heard two tracks: 'My Shot" featuring The Roots, Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz, and fun.'s Nate Ruess, and 'It's Quiet Uptown" from Kelly Clarkson. Check out the latest from the Hamilton mixtapehere.
The Facebook Live stream facebook.com/crowdedhouse will commence at 10:30pm Pacific on November 15/1:30am Eastern on November 16 and will include the band's rehearsal plus a fan-led Q&A.
Fans wanting to submit questions can call in phone numbers to be announced via the band's socials early next week. Crowded House frontman Neil Finn said,"On the cusp of our special Encore performances on the steps of the Sydney Opera House, we're excited to have an opportunity to play and engage with our friends and supporters around the world live streaming for an hour from the heart of rehearsals, unscripted and intimate as hell. It will be a joyous occasion that can be shared by one and all." Read morehere.
Lately, frontman Wayne Coyne has released snippets of mash-ups he's worked on (namely, one with A$AP Rocky and Tame Impala) but "How??" is a welcome bit of brand new music from the Lips.
This fall, the band announced they'd release some new material through local yoga studios in Oklahoma City. It's been three years since their last album of new material, though collaborations with Miley Cyrus and an album of Beatles covers have kept them busy in the meantime. The Lips also staged a number of David Bowie tribute performances through the first quarter of 2016. Listen to the new songhere.
The video was directed by Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall, and the concept for the clip was based on vintage children's TV shows Pitchfork reports. The animatronic characters were filmed with a Kinnect Camera, which video game developers use for motion scanning.
On December 9, the duo will release all of their previous records on limited edition colored vinyl, so rethink your holiday shopping list for the electro/big beat lover in your life. Watch the video for "C-H-E-M-I-C-A-L"here.
The entirely instrumental demo feels like a slightly more subdued version of the original, from the guitar riff to the drums. The punch and verve of the original doesn't come across in the even keeled tempo and arrangement. In a way, it almost sounds like a MIDI version of the original "Shiny Happy People."
The anniversary reissue will also feature a DVD with music videos of "Losing My Religion," "Low" and "Belong," among other tracks. The 25th anniversary edition of Out of Time will be available November 18th. Listen to "Shiny Happy People 1 (Demo)"here.
The music star also ditched the viral video's unofficial anthem, 'Black Beatles," and replaced it with Johnny Cash's 'Man In Black" for the occasion.
Sheriff Adele transforms a bar into an old-timey saloon with a frozen piano-playing cowboy, a group of laughing cowgirls, and an intense bar fight. Check out Adele's country western postshere.
Nick Cave, Mark Knopfler and Slash are among the stars from the world of rock to pay tribute, while actors Rob Lowe, Russell Crowe and Bette Midler have also told of their despair.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also paid tribute, tweeting: "There's a blaze of light in every word, it doesn't matter which you heard, the holy or the broken Hallelujah. #RIPLeonard."
On Facebook, Dire Straits man Mark Knopfler says: "So sad to hear of the passing of Leonard Cohen - thank you for so many years of music and for your enormous contribution to the world of song."
Nick Cave says: "For many of us Leonard Cohen was the greatest songwriter of them all. Utterly unique and impossible to imitate. No matter how hard we tried. He will be deeply missed by so many." Tributes from social media can be viewedhere.
The most unusual song on the album, though, was a country rock song called "Hard Luck Woman," which would later be covered by Garth Brooks. Back in April, KISS surprised music fans with a cover of the Eagles' "Take It Easy," which they performed before a game by their Arena Football League team the L.A. KISS. It was a tribute to the late Eagles singer/songwriter/guitarist Glenn Frey, who died In January.
But California country rock isn't a huge stretch for "the Hottest Band in the World," even if they're more well known for huge hard rock arena anthems. Forty years ago, they experimented with the genre on "Hard Luck Woman," a track on Rock and Roll Over.
But singer/guitarist Paul Stanley told Radio.com, that he didn't really write the song with the intent of having KISS record it. "I wrote a whole lot of songs, almost as exercises. I would hear something on the radio, and would try to write a song in that style. Just a few days ago, I was playing [KISS guitarist] Tommy [Thayer] a song that I wrote in the '80s with Chicago in mind." But in the '70s, he was trying to emulate the style of Rod Stewart's early solo albums.
"Yeah, I was a big fan of the 'Gasoline Alley,' 'Mandolin Wind,' 'You Wear It Well,' 'Maggie Mae' era of Rod. So I thought, 'I could write one of those songs!' And I did, and it was 'Hard Luck Woman.'"
He didn't think that the song would work for KISS, but the rest of the band disagreed. "We just had a hit with [another ballad] 'Beth,'" which had been sung by drummer Peter Criss. "Gene [Simmons] and some of the people in the studio heard the demo of 'Hard Luck Woman' and said, 'Well, we have to do that!' And that was that." Like "Beth," "Hard Luck Woman" featured Peter Criss on vocals. Read morehere.
I started writing songs as a kid… more like poems at that time… love and happiness… girls and sex… heart break, sadness, suicide… you know… the thoughts that every normal teenage kid has after he finds his father dying on the floor and can't do anything to save his life… and I could see him say good bye, with a glazed look in his eyes… so yea… then my dog had cancer and they killed her about 8 weeks later, but really who gives a sh*t about that with the image of your dying father is burned so deep within your memories and you blame yourself cause as hard and as hard and as hard as you tried to save him with all those bullsh*t boy scout life saving techniques, you failed… and watched him slip away… every single time you closed your eyes… but you eventually get over something like that… I think… cause everyone dies, you can't change that, and every one lies, and that's a fact, and in the midnight sky, there's a vampire bat… sucking my soul dry… and that's a fact… life is full of pain and pleasure, one man's junk is another man's treasure, what's the matter, what's the measure… when you feel pain, I feel pleasure… see, it's sh*t like that, that you scribble down as part of your own personal therapy, when you're a kid and you think your cranial fluid in dripping from your ears and you can actually feel your brain settling inside the base of your skull… but seriously… Yikes… right? Guess I was kind of messed up for a while…
But about my purpose here… Like I said, historically my inspiration for songs came from life's experiences, relationships, places, dreams, nightmares, and more. And so I wrote haphazardly whenever inspiration struck… watching an unforgettable sunset, hearing a word or phrase, catching a glimpse of lingerie… but now for about the past 18 months, I have been a member of a song writing group where we are given phrases each week to write songs about. Each of the eight songs on this record is a product of that song writing group. I mostly write lyrics, and "melodies" which are only melodies in the techno-loop-alt-indie-EDM(?) world (if that place actually exists), but for this project, I hooked up with Tony Lucca and Jason Spiewak to tweak the lyrics and rearrange the music. We spent a handful of days in Nashville on two separate occasions tweaking the lyrics to better fit the music that Tony was composing on his acoustic guitar in a hotel room on the West End. It was an incredibly cool experience for me and when we were done, we had the basics down for each song, but Tony needed to put the finishing musical touches on the each after we left. In the months that followed, Tony would send acoustic versions of each song to me and we'd discuss and revise, making minor and major changes along the way. Sometime early in that process Tony and Jason identified a variety of different artists who would sing each of the songs. I'd listen to samples of their stuff and give my two cents worth of opinion on who I thought would work well for each song… a real collaborative effort. When we were all done, Tony and his cohorts, turned my lyrics and songs into some really beautiful music… and that's what we're talking about here… something beautiful and inspiring… Tony sings vocals on four of the songs - State of Emergency, Yes I Do, Tale to Tell and Five Minutes, Michael Pearsall has the vocals on Upswing, Dan and Nate Monea harmonize the lyrics on Count Me In, Matt Duke sings Nervous Energy and Paul Pfau provides the vocals for Everyday Miracles. Each of the performers brings something different to project. Pearsall brings the sound of hope to a dying town, Pfau croons the upbeat verses of how amazing everyday life can be, Duke sings in such a way that you think you're inside his head listening to his own very personal thoughts and Lucca takes it from an energetic rock vocal in SOE to the heart-wrenching and somber sounds of 5M, with YID and T2T both falling somewhere in between.
The writing group phrase that we were given for the week of September 21, 2015 was "Five Minutes" and although the subject matter of the song is incredibly painful for me… Tony Lucca turned it into an amazingly beautiful composition… we originally had this song slated for a female vocal, but after I listened to Tony's acoustic version with a close friend, it was more than apparent that emotion pouring through his vocals captured the frail state that I was in. We kind of thought that having a female vocal on this song we might lose that fragile state of mind, but hearing a male voice, Tony's voice, so vulnerable and exposed just really drove it all home for me. The lyrics are about the last 5 minutes that I spent with my father after he had a massive heart attack and I found him lying on the floor… I was 14… and no matter what I did, how hard I tried… I failed… and he was gone… and I can still hear the paramedic saying to my frantically crying mother…. There's no response ma'am…
In order to help further understand the inspiration of the song, to add a bit more flavor… and a little deeper look into workings within my life… I thought that I'd let you know that my father (Earle Edward Krause)… was the greatest man that I have ever personally known (who would have done, and actually did everything that he could ever possibly do to make a better life for his family… he was an amazing man… he was a master carpenter, an artist, a musician, a cowboy, a dairy farmer, a bar owner, a machinist, a dear friend to so many… my personal role model and most importantly… my dad… there were no athletes… no movie stars… no rock 'n rollers… no one of any celebrity consequence who I would have ever even given the slightest thought to being considered a "role model" for me… it was only him… he was my hero)… Earle Edward Krause was not the only son of his parents, but his brother died as an infant… and my father's father (grandpa Krause, died many years before I was born of a massive heart attack as he was crossing the street in Chicago one evening on his way home from work) was the only son of his parents… so the "Krause" name was handed down to my brother, Marc and me… and Marc has two wonderful children, both daughters and I have two amazing children, both daughters… and so the Krause name (at least within my family tree) ends with me…
But the legacy of songs and music and every other artistic creation possible live on and on and on and on…. And so the story of "5 Minutes" will carry the legacy of the final moments of Earle Edward Krause on forevermore… and so I need to say thank you to Tony Lucca and Jason Spiewak for helping me take my simple song and lyrics and creating such a beautiful message and touching legacy for the greatest man that I ever knew…
So as we approach Veteran's day, I think it's only appropriate to pick this song to discuss as, my father was a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War. During World War II he was shot and taken as a POW during the Battle of the Bulge in France as the war was drawing to an end and in that same battle my Uncle Henry (my mother's brother) was shot and killed…
A toast and tip of the cap to all Veterans on this upcoming and most memorable day…
Thanks for reading, and thanks for listening… Have a great day!
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself as you preview the new albumright here!
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