Photograph by Patrick Doyle
Day three of our journey at RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest and we’re starting to feel overwhelmingly at home amidst chest-rattling bass and portable toilets. This is concerning on multiple levels, but there is still much more to see and many more people to talk to. We soldier on.
It’s early evening, so we make our way to the catering tent to grab some grub and as we sit down, Matt says to me under his breath: “Iron Maiden. That’s Iron Maiden. We are eating beside Iron Maiden.” I glance over and sure enough, there is a table full of legends casually enjoying dinner right beside us. I realize this might not seem like such a big deal at first; even rock stars need to eat, right? But one must understand the complete transformation backstage that the presence of this band at the festival inspired. When we arrived to the site, our all-access passes were suddenly more like some-but-not-ALL-access passes. Huge semi-trucks were positioned rather conveniently in front of an area we had spent the past two days roaming about and shooting footage in. So by the time we managed to find an alternate route to the catering tent, seeing the band eating IN there was (to say the least) unexpected.
Photograph by Patrick Doyle
As we finished up our meal, it was time for another legend to take the stage. With copious amounts of stage blood, grotesque masks and a live python, 64-year-old Alice Cooper created one of the most elaborate stage shows I’ve ever seen. He was even brutally beheaded by a guillotine. You know what that’s called? Commitment. Thankfully he was reincarnated (in a Senators jersey, much to the crowd’s delight) for one last song. Did I mention this man is 64 years old?
Photograph by Patrick Doyle
Securing interviews at a festival takes equal parts skill, perseverance and luck. There are multiple levels of clearance you must suffer through and plenty of red-tape hurdles that must be jumped over. Thankfully, the Bluesfest team are pros at this and have managed to score us exclusive face time with some of the biggest names on the bill every year, Alice Cooper included. Matt sat down with him on his tour bus and chatted about everything you would normally chat with Alice Cooper about. You know, things like how he taught Lou Reed how to golf and what it was like the first time he ever saw Pink Floyd live. (Spoiler alert: at first he thought it was just going to be some guy named Floyd dressed up in pink.)
RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest goes until July 15. For the full schedule head to http://www.ottawabluesfest.ca and be sure to follow us on Twitter @MuchMore for real time coverage of all our #Bluesfest antics.
- Sarah Dawley
Throughout the history of music there have been many bands who have weathered the storm of having to replace a lead singer. Van Halen did it with Sammy Hagar, Black Sabbath did it with Dio, and for 2 albums Iron Maiden managed to replace Bruce Dickenson with Blaze Bayley; they took a hit in sales with Blaze but kept the band alive. 1992’s Fear of the Dark was the last album with Dickenson until he returned 2000. Iron Maiden, along with Fishbone, City and Color, Snoop Dog, Metric and Alice Cooper are just a few of the acts confirmed for Ottawa Bluesfest this year… and don’t worry Maiden fans, Bruce Dickenson will be there. Check out www.ottawabluesfest.ca for full lineup details inlcuding a little band called Lazybones (*cough that’s my band *cough).
In the early 80’s an Edmonton DJ named Teddy Pemberton had a campus radio show called “The Black Sound Experience” and he is widely considered as being the person who introduced Hip Hop to Edmonton. In 2010 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Canadian National DJ Aawards. His son, Roland, is best known as Cadence Weapon who has a new album coming out May 29th. Even though he has been releasing new tracks on Twitter and has also released a few mix tapes over the past few years, this will be his full first studio album since 2008.
Jack White has become one of the most prolific musicians and producers over the past 15 years. His musical output has not only been non-stop, but it has been quality. He is best known of course for his now defunct band, “The White Stripes”, and while people are pretty excited these days about his first ever solo album, Jack is still talking about the old band. He is releasing a new White Stripes DVD called “Under New Zealand Lights” and in a recent interview said The White Stripes was the most important thing he has ever done and he’d be in that band forever, if he could only convince Meg.
Band of Skulls are band from London England who released their first album in 2009. They have managed to get a lot of attention in North America thanks to success with placing their music in commercials, movies, and TV shows like The Hangover Part II, Twilight New Moon, True Blood, Gossip Girl, Friday Night Lights, and United States of Tara. However, with their new album the band says they’re going to be a bit more careful and selective. While they are certainly grateful for the exposure, they seem weary about becoming known as “that band” with their songs in commercials and TV shows.
You might have heard about a movie in the works called “B.B. King and I” which is supposed to star Wendell Pierce of “The Wire” fame. The film was written by Michael Zanetis and is about his relationship with B.B. King that went from fan, to business, to friendship, and ultimately culminated with Michael getting B.B. a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But don’t hold your breath to see it. B.B. has been trying to have the movie blocked for a few years and now the production company is suing him. They say his attempt to stop the film has caused major delays and financial damages (insert “the thrill is gone” joke here).
Tool are one of the most innovative bands in the history of music. In the early 90’s when the industry was scrambling to sign anything that they thought was “alternative or grunge” Tool got scooped up and since that time have been called everything from art rock to prog metal. Aside from unique music, the band also gave unique interviews where they liked to mess with media and make things up; one of their favorite tall tales was the inspiration they took from a late 1940’s book about the study of human pain. Singer Maynard James Keenan once said Tool was “a practical application of that books principals”, which may or may not have inspired him to write a song like “Stinkfist”.
In the early 80’s glam metal exploded out of the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles with bands like Quiet Riot, and Motley Crew. This didn’t sit will with a lot of metal fans who didn’t like the look or the sound these bands were calling metal and directly out of that frustration came bands like Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax. Those bands wanted to make music more like the bands they loved from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal like Judas Priest, Diamond Head, Saxon and Iron Maiden whose 1982 album “The Number of the Beast” should be a requirement in music school….or at least at any party where drinking outside is involved.
For more on the history of heavy metal check out our brand new series Metal Evolution which premieres Nov 25th 10pm ET.
A petty big year has just gotten a whole lot bigger for Newfoundland and Labradors’ Hey Rosetta!. Their latest album “Seeds” has been a music critic’s wet dream; they were short listed for the Polaris Music Prize; were part of a sold out Australian tour with City and Color; and now they have just signed with ATO Records. ATO is a US based record company founded by Dave Matthews and home to bands like Primus, Gomez and My Morning Jacket. “Bandages” is not only a great song but comes to us with one of the best videos of the year.
A few years back I slapped The Fratellis 2006 debut album “Costello Music” on my iPod in preparation for an interview. From Glasgow Scotland, the Fratellis debut peaked at 2 in the UK, they scored a top 20 hit with the tune “Henrietta”, and beat out Lily Allen for the 2007 Brit Award for “best breakthrough act”; you’d recognize their song Flathead form an iPod commercial a few years ago. Anyway, it occurred to me at some point after the interview that I was still listening to that album a lot, and I’m still listening ….too bad the broke up.
On the strength of just 1 full length album Mumford and Sons have gone from UK clubs to headlining festivals and arenas around the world; don’t forget that they formed only about 4 years ago. When the debut album, Sign No More, came out singer Marcus Mumford read a couple reviews and actually cried. He cried because he agreed with the criticisms, he said the reviews picked up on the few small things that he was most self conscious of (forget getting him to admit what) and from that moment the band agreed to stop reading reviews. Recently they joined Eminem and Adel as the only acts to sell 1 million full album downloads- which should help with the tears a little bit.
thanks for listening
The new album from Swedish trio Hellsongs, Hymns in the Key of 666, is ten tracks of beautiful harmonies, guitars, violins, pianos…and heavy metal. Sort of. Hymns is a cover album of hard hitting classics like Black Sabbath’s Paranoid and Iron Maiden’s Run to the Hills. I consider myself a bit of a ‘covers’ fanatic. I find it fascinating when an artist can take a song, reinvent it and make it their own. Hellsongs does that and more in their freshman album – I didn’t even realize the album was covers until I heard AC/DC’s Thunderstruck on Track 7.
We think Hymns is so amazing that we’ve put the entire album in our First Spins rotator. But, don’t just take my word – listen to all ten songs from Hymns in the Key of 666 right here.
Top Picks: Symphony of Destruction (Track 2) Thunderstruck (Track 7) and Paranoid (Track 9)
Sounds like: A mix of Jenny Owens Young, The Corrs, Sarah McLachlan and Ben Folds Five
Most Impressive: Hymns in the Key of 666 rates about a 10 on the scale of ‘Awesome Album Titles.’