As a group known for keeping their personal lives close to the vest, it was a true treat to have Kings of Leon open up to our VH1 cameras last night in Franklin, Tennessee. Privy to an intimate performance that revealed the band – ??s versatile character, the audience did NOT want to sit down, and trust us when we tell you that this taped show —which will kick off an incredible 15th season of Storytellers on May 13th— is one that we – ??re extremely proud to eventually share! Even if he was a smidge nervous at the onset, frontman Caleb Followill led the Kings – ?? charge, discussing topics that spanned their early days as a group, his often-intoxicated songwriting process, succumbing to wearing tight pants they once found foolish, and their … wait for it – ?? sexuality.
– ??This is our dream and we want to do this forever, – ?? remarked Caleb as he ventured down memory lane, literally quoting his own thoughts from years earlier. In the music business for over a decade now, the close-knit group (comprised of brothers Caleb, Nathan, and Jared, along with cousin Matthew) has achieved a level of success that they admit once daunted them. Forced to ignore fears of surrendering their cherished solitude to the masses, the Followills continued to make music that they felt defined them. Now on the other side of fame, the humble rockers actively nod at their beloved Southern roots, and during our Storytellers shoot, showed appreciation for fans that believed in them from the beginning, and for the Nashville community where they call home.
While many bands have successfully pulled off the “single-take” music video (think OK Go‘s “This Too Shall Pass,” think Feist‘s “1, 2, 3, 4″), no band has EVER attempted to complete a single-take video while also simultaneously broadcasting the events live on the web. Yet that’s exactly the challenge that Death Cab For Cutie has before them tonight.
When we first saw Katy Perry’s “E.T.” music video last week, we noted that director Floria Sigismondi worked quite a few visual references to other famous directors’s work into her five-minute space epic. Well, since we always preferred the “Show” portion of the grade school classic Show & Tell to the boring old “Tell” part, we figured we’d grab some screenshots that we referred to in our video review last week to help illustrate our case (and since we couldn’t help ourselves, we added a few others in for good measure). This isn’t quite Behind The Music, but we hope you enjoy it all the same.
Last week, Jennifer Hudson’s sophomore LP, I Remember Me, hit the streets and moved an impressive 165,000 copies, good for second place on the Billboard 200. If it has been awhile since you last laid eyes on J-Hud, yes, that’s really her there on the cover of the record. Thanks to a new exercise regimen and healthy eating, Hudson has dropped 80 pounds (!!!) in the twenty or so months years since she gave birth to her son, Daniel. Okay, we’ll say it, she’s lookin’ FINE these days!
So when Jennifer recently stopped by our offices here in the heart of Times Square, we thought she’d be a perfect candidate for our recurring style series, Head to Toe. “I put my outfits together today knowing that music is business, too, so I’m giving you a little business today,” the self-described supermodel-slash-business-lady explained to us in the video footage that you’ll see below. Her best piece of advice, though, is an oldie but a goodie: “Don’t let the clothes wear you, you wear them.”
The scorched earth of a post-Judgment Day scene from The Terminator. A solitary, junkyard dwelling robot reminiscent of Wall-E. John Travolta’s Psychlo-chic styling from Battlefield Earth. Seemingly harmless stock footage of animals that morphs into disturbing animal porniness, a la “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails. The BioShock like juxtaposition of old-timey tunes and futuristic mechanical armor. A man-monster creature that wouldn’t feel out of place in Matthew Barney’s acclaimed achievement of art house cinema, The Cremaster Cycle.
If you were to read about a music video with influences as varied as these and then asked to figure out which artist said video was made for, you would probably rattle off a bunch of other names before you landed on Katy Perry. Yet here we are! Perry collaborated with the renowned director Floria Sigismondi (Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People”, the motion picture The Runaways) and none other than Kanye West on the ambitious space epic “E.T.”, which tells a tale as old as time: Space alien transforms into a gorgeous humanoid (with impressive cleavage, natch), floats through the galaxy in search of an out of this world manicure, lands on an abandoned planet (Earth?), reunites with a long lost Tin Man-esque robot lover (who himself then transforms into an albino humanoid), then walks off into the Space Sunset with her Space Beau, happy as a Space Clam.
Times are tough these days, what with the seemingly never-ending recession and all! Even worse? Our national fiscal crisis hasn’t just affected those of us living on Main Street; now it’s creeping its way into the bank accounts of music royalty.
Take Slash, for example. After successful stints with Slash’s Snake Pit and Velvet Revolver, not to mention the ungodly sum of licensing revenue he must’ve racked up over the years from his appearance on the Guns N’ Roses pinball machine, one would think that he’d be pretty well set these days. Well, sadly, it seems as if Slash needs cash. He recently put a bunch of his personal belongings up for sale at auction, and our buddies over at VH1 News got a chance to tour his kick ass collection of studded tophats and coffee tables bequeathed to him by Charlie Sheen (no joke!). Follow along for video.
If you guessed any of the above, sadly, you would be wrong. Despite his image as a hard drinking, hard partying rap star turned rock ‘n’ roller, Kid Rock’s most successful single to date is his lovelorn duet with Sheryl Crow, “Picture.” The song, which was initially released to radio stations in late 2002 with vocals from Alison Moorer — legend has it that Sheryl Crow’s management was not thrilled that she decided to record a track with the man born Robert James Ritchie until the Moorer version started climbing the charts — was a huge crossover smash, charting at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and logging 33 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, before becoming a staple of karaoke bars across the country.
In the wake of the disaster that struck Japan some twelve days ago, some musicians made the difficult decision to postpone previously planned tours to the island nation until the situation over there became more stable. Not Ne-Yo, though! He’s been over in Japan for well over a week now, performing in front of thousands of thrilled fans and helping to restore a sense of normalcy to the tragedy-ridden country. Well, our own VH1 News correspondent Janell Snowden was able to speak with Ne-Yo exclusively earlier today via Skype. We’ll be bringing you select clips from that interview very soon, but for now, here’s a quick summary of what they discussed:
While the fact that Ne-Yo has a four month-old daughter initially gave him pause about going to Japan during such a tumultuous time, he ultimately felt like he had her blessing. As he explained to us, if she could talk, she would’ve told him to solider on.
One of the many perks of working here at VH1 is that there always seems to be incredible musicians and gorgeous celebrities roaming the hallways here in Times Square. Take You Oughta Know artist and Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, for example. A few weeks ago, we were fortunate enough to be treated to a short set from the breakout stars of the most recent VH1 Divas show, right here in our lobby. They played an intimate yet rocking three song set, including their big single “Paris (Ooh La La)” and this smokin’ cover of Jefferson Airplane’s trippy, late sixties psychadelic anthem, “White Rabbit.”
The band first performed this song for last year’s Alice In Wonderland soundtrack. As you’ll see, Grace Potter delivers her vocals with the same sort of passion and intensity that Grace Slick did way back in the Summer of Love. Rather than keep this awesomeness all to ourselves, we figured we’d share this entire You Oughta Know Live performance with you guys, too. Enjoy!
After we whet your appetite this morning with a special 30-second sneak preview of the new Foo Fighters single, “Rope,” now it’s time to feast your eyes on the whole video. Don’t adjust your tracking, either; the video’s jumpy and primary color laced visual aesthetic is all part of director Dave Grohl’s master plan to pay homage to the VHS era of his youth*.
Not only is this song another in a long line of propulsive and catchy rock tracks from the Foos, this video represents a reunion on a few different levels. In addition to Grohl, drummer Taylor Hawkins, guitarist Chris Shiflett and bassist Nate Mendel, you old school Foo Fighters fans will also recognize that guitarist Pat Smear is back in the mix these days. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, it’s also worth noting that Grohl and Smear’s Nirvana bandmate, Krist Novoselic, makes an appearance on the Foos’ forthcoming LP, Wasted Light (although he’s not in this video). Grohl also reunited with producer Butch Vig while recording this album, the man who was responsible for turning Nirvana from local Seattle heroes into international grunge gods with his flawless production work on their seminal LP, Nevermind.