To a music listener, the term “working musician” means being a member of a band (or, maybe, a songwriter or producer). But to most musicians, the term means something else entirely: a session player. Most people making a living as musicians are constantly hustling from studio session to gig to studio session, in each case earning scale (or a multiple thereof) – ??which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s stable freelance work. To actually form one’s own band, make a record, and go out on tour, it helps to be very young and very na?ve, or else really believe in the music, because that already-limited stability completely evaporates.
Every one of the six members of LA’s Fitz and the Tantrums has been a session player. So when Michael Fitzpatrick – ??who has always been known to his friends as Fitz – ??got hold of a vintage organ, wrote a song called “Breaking the Chains of Love,” and called up some musician friends (starting with saxophonist and longtime friend James King) to form a band, this was no small thing. Give up steady paychecks to start a soul band? Let’s put it this way: the Tantrums are hardly old, but they’re not teenagers, and they’re certainly not na?ve. So the late-2008 leap of faith that led to 2009′s Songs for a Breakup Volume 1 EP and the band’s debut full-length, Picking Up the Pieces, last August says more about what the band thinks of their music than any story Fitz might tell comparing the organ he found to One-Eyed Willy’s treasure map in The Goonies (I’m not making that up).
In what is surely the greatest combination of flavors since you got YOUR chocolate in MY peanut butter, two of your favorite Celebreality superstars just made some sweet music together. Literally.
TMZ reports that Flavor of Love star Flavor Flav joined Rock of Love star Bret Michaels on-stage in Dubuque, Iowa (of all the places!), for a killer version of Public Enemy’s 1990 Top 40 smash, “911 Is A Joke.” As you’ll see from the (admittedly crappy*) video above, Flav started the jawn off a capella style, but then Bret and his band joined in with some ferocious instrumental backing, at which point everyone in the audience got up and then got, got down.
What do you guys think? Should Flav and Bret go out on tour together? Or should they stick to romancin’ the ladies?
If you were to ask us to rattle off a list of some of the worst band names ever, it would probably be awhile before we got to the name Foo Fighters. Not Dave Grohl, though; according to him, “Honestly, had I taken this whole career thing seriously, I would’ve named it something else [besides Foo Fighters], because it’s the worst f*****g band name in the world!” This revelation, along with many more about the band’s tumltuous 16-year career (which has been filled with drug overdoses, creative in-fighting and a rotating lineup of musicians), are all presented, straight from the horse’s mouths, in the new documentary film, Foo Fighters: Back And Forth.
The film, directed by Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker James Moll, made its debut in front of a raucous audience at SXSW a few weeks ago, but you’ll be able to catch it in the comfort of your own living room on VH1 tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The level of access that Moll got into the world of the Foos was unbelievable, and you’ll see each of the band members candidly discuss the pros and cons of being a member of a band that formed in the wake of Nirvana’s untimely collapse. If you’re a fan of rock music, this doc is DEFINITELY a must-see. Set your DVRs!
At the tender age of just 26, Avril Lavigne has already sold over 30 million albums worldwide. She first exploded onto the pop scene back in 2002 with an abundance of both hooks and attitude, and now, almost ten years later, her skills as a singer and songwriter continue to shine. Her latest record, Goodbye Lullaby, came out last month and has already spawned the hit track, “What The Hell,” which has been sitting near the top of the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown for the last few weeks.
When Avril recently popped by our Times Square offices, we thought that her distinct fashion sensibilities (see also: Avril Lavigne’s Top 20 Hottest Outfits) made her a perfect candidate for our recurring style series, Head to Toe. “In fashion, you have the option to express yourself, go overboard and have fun with it,” the punky pop princess told us. “Never be afraid of what other people are gonna to think of your outfit. If it’s weird and out there and makes you feel good, then go for it.”
Check out our gallery of Avril images below, and be sure to follow along for a video where she discusses her look from, you guessed it, Head To Toe.
Upcoming You Oughta Know artist Fitz and the Tantrums stopped by VH1′s NYC offices this afternoon for an exclusive, four-song live set. You Oughta Know Live got it all on tape and we’ll be sharing that with you all shortly, so stay tuned, but here’s a little bit about what to expect:Â
Fitz and the Tantrums are funky as all get out. They get compared to the Motown sound a lot, and Fitz looks 60s-Detroit-sharp, a bit like Michael Keaton in costume as “Modern Love”-era David Bowie.Â But that’s way off – ??the sextet are southern-soul Stax cats through and through. They’re sharp, to be sure, but Joseph Karnes’s walking basslines and skilled drumming from John Wicks provide a looser rhythm.
They don’t have a guitarist; they don’t need a guitarist. Briefly (as in his solo on “Dear Mr. President”) saxophonist James King takes the sonic space of the guitarist, but this organ-bass-sax funk band sounds plenty full as-is.
So, what was it about the song by the upcoming Unplugged artists that appealed to Swift? If you’ll allow us to (wildly) speculate for a minute, perhaps it had something to do with the song’s strong sexual and religious undertones? One potential reading of “White Blank Page” is that it’s written from the perspective of someone whose religious beliefs strongly encourage them not to have sex before marriage (“Can you kneel before the King and say I’m clean, I’m clean?”), which clearly amounted to be a dealbreaker between of the lady that the song addresses and the song’s narrator. Which, if you’ve ever heard Swift’s “Dear John,” seems like something Swift can readily identify with.
Paul Simon surprised viewers of last night’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon when he joined percussive dance troupe STOMP for a striking rendition of his and Art Garfunkel’s 1970 single, “Cecilia.” In retrospect, the collaboration was obvious, as STOMP is perhaps uniquely suited to replicate the peculiar rhythmic charm of the original track. And the performance, to put it plainly, killed.
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon has emerged as the unlikely music leader in the late-night talk show game, hiring “the legendary Roots crew,” as Fallon puts it, as the show’s house band, and casting a net wide enough to include 90s DC indie-rock stalwarts Jawbox (reuniting only for the show), yacht-rocker extraordinaire Christopher Cross (with special guest Michael McDonald), teenage-riot horrorcore rappers Odd Future, and incomparable new jack swingers Bell Biv DeVoe, among others. Largely, this is thanks to the show’s music bookers (and their bosses, who give them lots of freedom).
Ray Kay’s video for the new Britney Spears single, “Till the World Ends,” can’t seem to decide whether it’s about the end of the world, or just a hyper-exclusive, (literally) underground New Year’s Eve party.
Of course, today’s uncertain economic times have led to a resurgence of apocalyptic-fantasy dance party songs and videos unmatched since the AIDS crisis, nuclear-scare, Reagonomic-nightmare mid-1980s. The Mayans may have provided a handy day-and-date marker, but the fear is all-American. So it’s unsurprising that tonight, Britney’s gonna party like it’s 2012.
Bejeweled Flash Gordon jumpsuit plus half-length flak jacket? Genius.
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.