To hear Caleb Followill tell it, Kings of Leon‘s American tour has been cancelled so that he can rest his voice. To hear the rest of the band tell it?well, they’re not being specific, but they seemed angry with the outcome, judging from their reactions yesterday. The band’s management is being a bit more active in its pursuit of silence, making copyright claims on clips of Caleb’s meltdown [via @carr2n]. Their basis for the claims is the inclusion of the band’s music, which is why edits that include merely Caleb’s ad-libs have remained on YouTube, but the claims are suspiciously coincidental given the sheer volume of fan-shot Kings of Leon clips from other shows still available on the site.
As a na?ve attempt to protect Caleb Followill’s privacy (and reputation), this is all sensible?perhaps standard operating procedure prior to the Internet. As a social media strategy, however, this is the worst possible course of action for the band and for Caleb. Fans are curious folks, and as long as an audience wants the story, people will try to get it (and in so doing, will have control over it). In the absence of hard evidence (or sometimes even in spite of it), speculation and circumstantial evidence will exist as fact in practice.
The new video for Best Coast‘s “Our Deal” is the latest in MTV and Mean‘s “Supervideo” series. Directed by Drew Barrymore, the video stars hot young talent like Chloe Moretz, Miranda Cosgrove, Donald Glover, Teen Wolf star Tyler Posey, Arrested Development‘s Alia Shawkat and, um, Har Mar Superstar. Because of the talent involved and the strong production values, it feels less like a music video and more like a short film, which also allows us to sink our teeth into it in a manner unlike most of the videos we see each day.
The chorus of “Our Deal” says a lot with a little about miscommunication in romance: “I wish you would tell me how you really feel/ But you’ll never tell me, ’cause that’s not our deal.” Springboarding from this, Drew Barrymore has made an entertaining and visually rich mini-film, with an ending that seems merely ironic at first, but gains resonance upon reflection.
It’s doubtful that you’d realize how many times “stars” are referenced on Watch The Throne if you didn’t hear it for the first time whilst gazing at digital galaxies and constellations above your head in a super dark room. Words like “moon” and “sky,” too, actually. Last night, at New York City’s Museum of Natural History, Jay-Z, Kanye and the generous folks at Def Jam hosted three separate listening sessions inside Hayden Planetarium, allowing inquisitive listeners to hear the album almost in its entirety (skipping just one track) while they sat reclined, looking up at the impressive show above.
While it was definitely a unique experience for all in attendence, the pizazz of the intergalactic spectacle on the theater’s ceiling screen was a distraction from the music that drew VIPs like Beyonc?, Pusha T, DJ Khaled, Ryan Leslie and Busta Rhymes to show up in the first place. And sonically speaking, unbalanced levels also made focusing on both emcees’ verses a challenge. In the first session, for example, the bass would be so loud that our seats were vibrating and Hov’s lines were rendered virtually inaudible. But let’s dial it back. From what we heard of it, overall, the album sounded solid. The production is definitely on-point, and Jay isn’t paired with Linkin Park or R. Kelly this time around; although it’s too early to tell off these first listens, it seems Kanye’s verbals may, in fact, actually best Jay’s. And ‘Ye will be the first to admit that he’s selfishly “getting high on [his] own supply.” Of beats, that is.
What happens in Kings of Leon doesn’t stay in Kings of Leon. After lead singer Caleb Followill‘s “meltdown” prevented him from completing the band’s set in Dallas on Friday night, the band postponed the next night’s show in Houston. Now the whole American tour has been called off, with no possibility of rescheduling. The band’s publicist cites Followill’s “vocal issues and exhaustion.”
At the Dallas show, Caleb complained frequently about the heat, dehydration, desire for alcohol, and need to vomit. He said that his voice was “100 percent gone,” then disappeared backstage, promising to return. He didn’t return.
Caleb’s bandmate cousins are less happy to stand by the official statement that “heat exhaustion and dehydration” were the culprit. Drummer Nathan Followill and bassist Jared Followill characterized things a bit differently on Twitter.
Cousin drama! We hope if Caleb is struggling, that he can get well, with the support of the rest of the band. The interpersonal dynamics of the band seem a bit too testy for that at the moment, though.
I never really had much patience for the tired gripe that “MTV doesn’t play videos anymore.” After all, the complaint was already a chestnut before I started watching MTV, and yet in my early years of exposure to the channel, I scarcely had trouble finding videos. My family lived in a condo complex in Stratford, CT that, until 1996, had the most basic cable service possible, which somehow meant no MTV. So a decade and a half after the channel’s debut, I was experiencing the channel the way that those nearly a generation before me had: curiously and furiously seeking out the channel at my friends’ houses. I remember racing home after school the day that our condo’s cable package was going to be expanded to include MTV, and watching hours of videos after school, starting with “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine.
Sure, there was plenty of MTV original programming, as there always had been. Some of it was reality television and some was not. Some of it was great and some of it was not. But I quickly adapted to the schedule of the network, and could find what felt like twelve hours’ worth of videos on some weekend days. This was the beginning of a second golden age for music videos; Hype Williams gave jiggy rap its signature proto-Michael Bay sheen. Big-budget action sagas like Mariah Carey‘s “Honey” coexisted with Michel Gondry art-dreams like “Everlong.” And this was without even delving into 120 Minutes. All of this was pop, and it all coexisted. Jess Harvell analyzes this, in so many words, in a piece on Beavis and Butthead for Sound of the City (which, incidentally, is the only venue not in-house that’s actually given MTV’s entire history a fair shake for this anniversary). Read more…
As we near the end of our celebration of MTV’s 30 birthday, we figured it would be apropos to look back at thirty of the moments that defined the channel. Now, we easily could’ve listed 30,000 reasons why we love our MTV, but we’ll just have to wait until MTV’s 30,000th birthday to publish that list. For now, enjoy this cornucopia of memorable reality shows, groundbreaking music videos, hilarious interviews, jaw-dropping moments of violence, and celebrity beef.
29) “Paint The Mutha Pink”
This memorable promo for a 1984 MTV contest was pegged to the release of John Cougar Mellencamp’s album, Uh Huh, which featured the eighties heartland anthem “Pink Houses.” The grand prize winner received a house in Bloomington, Indiana (Mellencamp’s hometown), which came with a special paint job: Pink.
28) Totally Pauly
Hey buhhh-deeee, don’t go weezin’ all the juice! After landing a gig as a VJ in 1989, Pauly Shore went from being an unknown stand-up to a major motion picture star inside of two years.
With MTV officially celebrating its 30th birthday today, music nostalgia is in the air. But for each music fan, the initial introduction to MTV’s music programming was unique and personal, and likely rouses up flashbulb memories to this very day. Speaking only for myself, that initiation process started with YO! MTV Raps.
After being on the air for almost seven years, MTV first aired YO! in April of 1988. While other television outlets like BET were showcasing African-American culture at the time, MTV, quite frankly, wasn’t really in the business of having black artists’ videos on the channel. And hip hop, specifically, was certainly not yet used as a vehicle of pop culture; if it wasn’t an indisputable, mainstream force like Michael Jackson, you probably wouldn’t see African-American artists on-air besides an occasional crossover video from Run DMC and Jazzy Jeff. Unless you witnessed hip hop music and culture bubbling within New York City’s five boroughs or other domestic regional pockets first hand (or watched Video Music Box), the genre probably hadn’t really made its way into your world yet.
From it’s inception, YO! MTV Raps curated an balance of hip hop via in-the-moment self-exploration. Since hosts Fab 5 Freddy, Doctor Dr? and Ed Lover didn’t have quite enough content to populate the show’s segments at first, videos from other genres like reggae, funk, R&B and soul were peppered-in to help hip hop’s still-developing definition expand its scope. From that fundamental, harmonious and educational coexistence came more of the same, and soon light-hearted videos like Digital Underground’s “Doowutchalike” and “Humpty Dance” were seamlessly airing beside Public Enemy’s political anthem “Fight The Power” and sonically dynamic “Passin’ Me By” from The Pharcyde, and the South’s sexually-charged posse 2 Live Crew were showcased just as much as funky artists from Queens like A Tribe Called Quest. Additionally, lyrically savvy Juice Crew member Big Daddy Kane would spin alongside the West Coast’s gangster juggernaut N.W.A., and strong female voices like Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Roxanne Shant?: all women who didn’t need to sell sex to survive.
We were thrilled to get a few minutes with Lenny Kravitz when he came through our offices the other day. Mainly we wanted to talk to him about his style and about his music. Which worked out, because he delineated his look in a Head To Toe segment, above, and then answered a number of your questions, which happened to mostly be about his music, in an Ask Me Anything Segment below.
“I put my clothes together this morning,” Kravitz completely fails to convince us, “by what was clean and close by, and not jumbled up in the closet where I can’t see it.” If that were as true as Kravitz suggests, he would look like the poorly-dressed guy who sits at my desk during the work day, and not like Lenny Kravitz. After introductory self-effacement, he tells us about the elements of his look that day, a variation on a rather signature style.
Until an official report on the cause of Amy Winehouse’s death becomes public, many are more than happy to speculate, including, most recently, Tony Azzopardi, a 56-year-old London man who claims to have been friends with the singer and her now-incarcerated ex Blake Fielder-Civil. Azzopardi has given several interviews to local police?and several more to the British tabloids?indicating that, in spite of the claims of Winehouse’s family, the singer had relapsed, a fact he knew as a result of helping her buy crack cocaine and heroin on the eve of her death.