Listen: Natasha Scharf in conversation with Liisa Ladouceur

Listen to Natasha Scharf in conversation with Encyclopedia Gothica author Liisa Ladouceur! Together, they discuss “what is gothic?” along with the release of Natasha’s new book, The Art of Gothic.

>>LISTEN HERE<<

00127606The gothic look – head-to-toe black attire and extreme makeup – has been a popular one since the 1980s, with each generation reinterpreting this dark aesthetic as its own. From the staccato postpunk of Siouxsie and the Banshees and the dark rock of the Sisters of Mercy through to the industrial metal of Marilyn Manson and the funereal emotional pop of My Chemical Romance, gothic culture has strong roots in music and continues to adapt and survive. But gothic art is about more than just album covers and ephemera; it’s about fashion, book jackets, cinematography, and fine art. Its influence frequently seeps into mainstream culture too. Nowadays, “goth” comes in many shapes, sizes, and even colors, as it encompasses a myriad of subgenres, including cyber, death rock, gothic metal, gothic Lolita, and emo goths. Although each is different, followers are identified by their striking, often theatrical look, music with a hint of melancholy, and the ability to find beauty in morbidity, sometimes even in the macabre.

The Art of Gothic is the first heavily illustrated tome to explore the aesthetics of this fascinating style in great detail. Previous books on goth have given a bold overview of the music and culture associated with the genre, but this book goes deeper and hones in on the album art, intricate fashions, fantasy illustrations, and more.

Interview with Scott B. Bomar

Scott B. Bomar had a great interview featured in the online magazine, KUDZOO. Check out some of the questions Scott answered and read the rest of the article here.

Scott B. Bomar puts a face on Southern rock with the new book, Southbound

by Michael Buffalo Smith

With his new book Southbound: An Illustrated History of Southern Rock (Backbeat) writer Scott B. Bomar has delivered a fitting tribute to an often overlooked musical genre that more than deserves this type of homage. (See review this issue). KUDZOO caught up with the writer/researcher/historian/musician to find out what compelled him to undertake such a huge project

You grew up in Nashville in a “music business family.” What did your parents do?

00102657My dad, Woody Bomar, was a songwriter in the late 1970s and early ‘80s who wrote songs for Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Lee Greenwood, Hank Williams, Jr., and other big artists of that era. He transitioned into the business side of things at Combine Music Publishing, which represented the songs of some amazing writes like Kris Kristofferson and Dolly Parton. He eventually launched his own company, Little Big Town Music, in the late ‘80s. After a little more than a decade – and about fifteen #1 hits – he and his partner sold Little Big Town to Sony, where he then went to work heading up the Creative department as a Senior Vice President. After a few years, he launched another independent company, and he’s still nurturing great songwriters, which is what he loves. My dad has a lot of integrity and isn’t into playing political games when it comes to his career. I grew up thinking that was the norm in the music business, until I went into the business mmyself. That was a wake-up call! My mom was a kindergarten teacher and doesn’t fully grasp our music geek fanaticism, so I guess the “music business family” is pretty much me and my dad. My wife also works in the music department of a national daily TV show. But my mom cheers us all on!

What are your earliest memories of Southern Rock? Tell us a little about your younger years, any memorable shows you attended, favorite albums.

I was born in 1975, so I completely missed out on the big Southern rock boom of the mid 1970s. I’m an only child, so I spent a lot of time around adults when I was growing up. Maybe that made me an old soul, but I’ve always been interested in the music of the past. When I was in high school, I was really into Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and contemporary bands like that, but I was also obsessed with classic rock radio. One of my best friends and I first met in the hallway in high school because I heard him say he liked the Guess Who. This was about 1991. Nobody our age liked the Guess Who. We went out to the parking lot during lunch and sat in his beat up Datsun hatchback listening to “These Eyes” over the single mono speaker mounted in the middle of the dash. After that, we formed a band.

But I digress. Growing up in the South, classic rock radio was heavy on Southern rock. I first heard Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allmans, the Marshall Tucker Band, 38 Special, and all these groups on the 104.5 “The Fox” in Nashville. I don’t think that station exists anymore, but it was part of my education. My concert experiences were obviously after the golden era of Southern rock, but the most memorable would have to be the time I saw Lynyrd Skynyrd in Memphis. A very drunk woman passed out, fell in my lap and proceeded to pee her pants. I instinctively shoved her off very quickly and she kind of rolled down this little grass hill for several feet before getting entangled with some other concert-goers. So, I’d like to apologize to the drunk wet-pants lady wherever she is today. Maybe she’s still passed out on that grass.

Win Charlie Watts’ Gretsch Drum Kit

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Guitar Player and Rolling Stones Gear have teamed up to give you a chance to Win the Brands of the Rolling Stones! Now you can own some of the major brands of equipment the Rolling Stones played including Fender, Martin, Framus, Zemaitis, Gretsch, and Vox in this exciting new sweepstakes! They are also giving away the new book Rolling Stones Gear: All the Stones’ Instruments from Stage to Studio by Andy Babiuk and Greg Prevost. If nothing else, enter to win a set of gorgeous Gretsch drums just like Charlie used to love! Read below for an excerpt about the kit from Rolling Stones Gear. 

 

Charlie used his 1950s maple Gretsch kit and included an Italian UFIP 18-inch Chinese cymbal. Later, when UFIP was Gretsch RollingStonesDrumsGerman-owned, Richard King (who supplied Charlie with a lot of his gear) remarked: “[Charlie] did accept an endorsement from an Italian cymbal company UFIP. He likes their 18-inch China crash cymbal, and when the new German owner sent Charlie sixty to try out, only two were up to his standards.” Charlie later revealed: “I play a UFIP cymbal. I play it the Chinese way, with the edges up. I like them because they’re very trashy. They do tend to crack, and I can only drill them so much before they lose the sound and go dead. I’ve kept them all though, for thirty years.” Charlie, not a man of many changes, shed further light on his cymbals, a setup that has remained steady throughout the years: “John DeChristopher at 
Zildjian is always sending me cymbals. He’s a
lovely guy, but I never use them right away! I 
choose the ones I like, put them away, and let
 them marinate. For me, finding a cymbal is about
going into a second-hand shop and digging. I 
prefer one of Shelly Manne’s old cymbals to ten 
new ones. Even a guy in a dance band or a club;
 HIS cymbals get a sound and a look about them.
I don’t like new drums either, and I HATE new
shoes.” He continued: “I like things that are 
well made, like Zildjians, but that are fifty years
old. I use an old 18-inch flat ride, and I’m scared
 stiff it’s going to go. They’ve sent me new ones, but they’re never as good. I found it in Paris in ’70- something with Chuch Magee. We were bombed out of our ’eads at the time, but I’ve never stopped using it. I’ve used it in a piano trio, and I’ve used it behind Keith, and it’s fabulous. It’s a beautiful cymbal to record with.” Concerning Charlie’s stage sound, Benji Lefevre, the front-of-the-house soundman/sound engineer for the tour, commented: “Charlie tunes it his way, and it just produces the Charlie Watts sound, so I don’t mess with it. He does, however, have a very light jazzy bass drum technique, which enables me to use delicate high quality microphones on it.”

listen: C. Eric Banister on the High and Low Podcast

Eric Banister had a chat with the folks at the High and Low Podcast to talk about his Johnny Cash FAQ, which they call “one of the most comprehensive treatments of Johnny’s music you can find.”

>>LISTEN HERE<<

00119344Johnny Cash remains one of the most recognizable artists in the world. Starting in 1956, he released an album every year until his death in 2003. In addition to these albums, there were also some posthumous releases in the years after his death. From rockabilly to country, folk to comedy, gospel to classical, the prolific Cash touched them all. His hit singles crossed over from country to pop, as he transcended genres and became a superstar around the globe.

Cash skyrocketed from the beginning, flying through the ’60s until he was one of the country’s biggest stars by the end of the decade. Following his own muse through the ’70s, Cash slowly faded commercially until he nearly disappeared in the ’80s. Instead of giving up, he made an incredible late-career run in the ’90s that took him into the new millennium, along the way collaborating with various contemporary rock and pop artists.

His offstage problems often overshadowed the music, and his addiction often takes center stage in the story, pushing the music off the page. But Johnny Cash FAQ celebrates the musical genius of Cash and takes a look at every album Cash released, the stories behind the hits, and how he sustained a fantastic nearly 50-year career.

Listen: Sue Richmond on Talk Radio Europe

Sue Richmond, author of Excess All Areas, had a hilarious interview on Talk Radio Europe! Listen to hear her exchange stories with Bill Padley on “Let’s Talk.”

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>>LISTEN HERE<<

Excess All Areas takes readers on a roller-coaster, backstage ride into the surreal and unpredictable world of the band contract rider. A rider is a shopping list of items, usually food and drink, requested by the band, which forms part of the contract for the concert venue. If you think Van Halen’s ’80s demands to remove all of the brown M&M’s from the sweet bowl in their dressing room was a tad precious, think again.

Excess All Areas delves into the dressing rooms of our favorite musical acts, from Black Sabbath to Usher, and has a good old rummage around, discovering a penchant for expensive champagne, enough towels to dry an army, the odd boa constrictor, inflatable sumo outfits, ice without square edges, water from the top of Mount Olympus, white tube socks (12 pairs, to be exact), and soda water – just for spilling on the floor.

This colorful volume includes illustrations that are equally as entertaining as the outlandish 100 featured riders and will leave you amazed, stomping your feet, and shouting for more.

Win Keith Richards’ Fender Telecaster

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Guitar Player and Rolling Stones Gear have teamed up to give you a chance to Win the Brands of the Rolling Stones! Now you can own some of the major brands of equipment the Rolling Stones played including Fender, Martin, Framus, Zemaitis, Gretsch, and Vox in this exciting new sweepstakes! They are also giving away the new book Rolling Stones Gear: All the Stones’ Instruments from Stage to Studio by Andy Babiuk and Greg Prevost. Check out this vintage ’52 Fender Telecaster that YOU could own!

 

FenderKeith mainly used his collection of five-string Teles, but also had on hand his 999 blond ’59 Tele (strung as a six-string), the single-cutaway ’57 sunburst Les Paul Junior, a single-cutaway Les Paul TV Junior, a single-cutaway Les Paul TV Special, the ’58 Mary Kaye Strat, a custom-made all-black Tele- style guitar with black P-90 pickups, a transparent black Tele-style Cobra by Tom Anderson, a reissue ’59 sunburst Gibson Les Paul, his acoustic Gibson L-1, an Ovation Adamas acoustic six-string, and a number of Martins. As on previous tours, Keith’s tunings and capo positions remained the same on all the constant numbers in the set. Another Fender Tele that was added to Keith’s five-string Tele collection was a 1952 butterscotch example with a black pickguard, which Keith nicknamed “George.” Unlike Micawber, Malcolm, and Sonny, whose neck pickups were replaced with humbuckers, George’s traditional Tele neck pickup was left alone. The guitar’s original bridge was replaced with an aftermarket bridge, and it was set up as a five string. The George Tele has become one of Keith’s go-to guitars for both stage and studio. Keith’s legendary guitars and their names hold a mystique of their own. Pierre explained: “I laugh when people tell me they spell Sonny with a ‘u’. It’s ‘Sonny’ because it’s named after Sonny Rollins, and Sonny Rollins is not spelled with a ‘u’, but I don’t sit there and tell everyone that. When I met Keith, he literally called all his Teles by their first names—Malcolm, Micawber, Sonny.” Pierre continued, revealing yet another new addition to Keith’s collection, “Gloria is a five-string 1954 Esquire that is totally beat up. It was a ‘parts’ guitar, a total beater with an Anderson pickup in the neck, and the reason for that is the low magnetic pull.”

Happy Birthday, Leonard Cohen!

Leonard Cohen turns 80 years old today! In celebration, we chose a special excerpt from the new publication, Leonard Cohen: Everybody KnowsHere, American poet, teacher and DJ James Cushing shares his views on the conception of Cohen’s style.

“I have to insist that the first Cohen LP is one of the absolute best, most effective boy-girl make-out records of the very late sixties, totally equivalent to Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On from a few years later. As a radio DJ for over a third of a century, I still get lovers requesting cuts from those two albums.” – James Cushing, 2013

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By the summer of 1967, some of Cohen’s poetry collections had made their way to book and underground head shops in America, and hipper university professors assigned Beautiful Losers in modern literature classes. By early 1968, with Songs of Leonard Cohen, we could hear him sing some of his poems, like “Suzanne,” or lyrics that were crafted for songs.

Remember, he did not make this LP until he was thirty-three years old. Like Howlin’ Wolf, who first recorded at age forty-one, Leonard Cohen was not an adult offering supervision, but an adult giving us permission.

Willie Ruff’s bass provides a chamber-jazz aspect to the production of the album. Ruff, as one half of the Mitchell Ruff Duo [with Dwike Mitchell,] was used to the idea of crafting a whole presentation with very sparse instrumentation – bass and piano. The players must listen to each other’s every gesture and play together to serve the music. The first Cohen album exemplifies non-egocentric collaboration. The whole group creates a single organic sound, not a hierarchy with the singer being “backed up” by other musicians.

At the same time, this quiet and revealing record lands in the middle of the psychedelic world, in post – “Summer of Love” culture. Members of the Kaleidoscope perform on several tracks. So we have psychedelic roots-based folk-rockers joining with a jazz master to enhance the intimate vision Cohen was seeking. Or the vision that found him.