Archive for January, 2011

Maintaining the Focus | White Pines Interview

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Maintaining the Focus – Joseph Scott of White Pines

Contributing Writer – Garret K. Woodward

The beauty of music is its ability to approach you like a long lost, old friend or hit you with such a dizzying state of déjà vu, one must give a second look and listen at the sound of possibility and promise spilling into their ears.

Amid the embracing, joyous, and sometimes melancholic tones, White Pines seamlessly rises from the depths and mesmerizes the listener with a blend of Midwestern folk, psychedelic rock, and ambient acoustic melodies.

Drifting across our emotional spectrum with an array of cosmic journeys (“Churchyard”), sonic blasts (“Hinterlands”), restless thoughts (“Half Beast”), and youthful nostalgia (“Warriors”), the Akron, Ohio project paints an honest portrait of humanity, one containing brushstrokes of disappointment, beauty, desire, and the pursuit of happiness.

The latest album, The Falls, showcases the continuing curiosity of singer/songwriter Joseph Scott, which in turn provokes a childlike wonder in any who get caught in his cozy and intricate musical web.

Garret K. Woodward: What was the approach towards this record, compared to your last release?

Joseph Scott: This record was very different for me. In past recordings, I’d try and make the songs sound more or less as if they were being played live. With this one, I just tried to make as many sounds as I could, without any ambition beyond the recording itself. I used way more tracks, more instruments, more effects, etcetera. I wanted to do something that scared me a little, do things that I wasn’t sure would work. I think I grew a lot in the last year, personally, and the music kind of reflects that growth.

GKW: Who else worked on the project with you? Where was it recorded?

JS: The two people who played, besides me, were Stephen Clements (drums, piano), and Joseph Minadeo (piano, synthesizer). We recorded their parts at Joseph’s house, down the street from mine. Other than that, all the other instruments and voices were done by me, recording in the spare bedroom of my apartment.

GKW: What is your process when recording? Melody first, then lyrics?

JS: I like to write as I record. I write lyrics all the time and keep them in a notebook. Then, when I have a song worked out structurally, I dig through the notebook and see what lyrics work. Sometimes, though, I’ll just write lyrics as I’m playing guitar, singing whatever comes into my head. As far as the actual recording is concerned, I try to keep things influx as long as possible, before calling something “done”. I’m constantly deleting and reworking parts, to make sure I’m always responding to what the song needs. It’s my way of making sure everything stays spontaneous.

GKW: The Falls feels like it has a fuller, more direct sound than with previous releases. How are you evolving as an artist? Are you starting to come full-circle with your art and pursuit of your true calling as a musician?

JS: I don’t know if I’d say that specifically, but I definitely feel like I’ve turned a corner in the last year. Songs are coming more quickly and I’m starting to understand how I want to present them. I’ve always wanted my music to be more than “folk”, so I’m trying to expand my vocabulary a bit, in terms of the sounds I’m able to make.

GKW: How has your stage presence or confidence changed onstage since the last release?

JS: Playing live has become a lot easier. I have a band now, with Stephen and Gabe Schray, and we’re really making these songs into something that, I feel, is more interesting than what I’ve done before, lots of echoes, lots of volume, but still soulful. I’m more excited when we play live now, because we’re doing something I’ve never done before.

GKW: How’s the reception been from others?

JS: Everyone seems to really like it, which is a relief. It’s so different than other things I’ve done. I was nervous that people might think it was confusing. Luckily, though, people seem to be getting onboard with it.

GKW: What are your hopes for 2011?

JS: I want us to tour as much as possible. I’m also recording a lot, so hopefully I’ll have the next record done by this spring. I’m writing songs very quickly right now, so I think our release schedule should be pretty prolific over the next year.

GKW: What’s your state of mind right now?

JS: I feel focused in a way that I haven’t felt before. I’m trying to maintain that focus for as long as I can.

EVEREST Performance and Interview

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

TheRFW and our friends at Throwback Media went to the Magic Stick to sit down for a chat and exclusive performance session with Everest when they opened for Matt Costa.

Special thanks the Matt Costa band and our friends at Magic Stick/Majestic for making this happen!

Video Production : Raymond Grubb, Matt Hutton, Mike Dedenbach

Sound : James Linck

Interviewer : Jennifer David

Matt Costa Performance and Interview

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Back in October of 2010, TheRFW and our friends at Throwback Media, went to the Magic Stick to sit down for a chat and exclusive performance session with Brushfire Recording artist Matt Costa.  Fresh on the release of his third studio album, Matt gives us insight to his writing/recording process and shares new tracks from the compilation.

Special thanks the Matt Costa band and our friends at Brushfire for making this happen!

Video Production : Raymond Grubb, Matt Hutton, Mike Dedenbach

Sound : James Linck

Interviewer : Jennifer David

Our Own Worst Enemies | Animals Interview

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Our Own Worst Enemies – Eric Burdon of The Animals

Contributing Writer – Garret K. Woodward

photo : Marianna Proestou

It is a voice that is not only haunting, it is also the essence of rock-n-roll.

What came out of the mouth of Eric Burdon, as lead singer of The Animals, ultimately settled the score between the American Delta blues forefathers and those across the pond trying to showcase their best interpretation of what true blues and the nitty-gritty really was.

The Animals created a string on unforgettable melodies (“We Gotta Get Out of This Place”/“The House of the Rising Sun”/“It’s My Life”/“Sky Pilot”/“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”), which have stood the test of time, in sound, in showmanship, and in the pure vindication of the personal demons we all must evoke from our souls

Burdon remains the sole inheritor of the bayou blues. His presence and influence, to the music which rings loudly and soundly through our ears, casts a long shadow upon the meager contributions of the present.

By all accounts, modernity needs a crash course in the beauty and chaotic turmoil of those who walked tall, and walked before them with such swagger and elegance, we must recoil in the attempts any may try to present to the judges of style and grace.

Garret K. Woodward: How did 2010 treat you?

Eric Burdon: 2010 was a very busy year. To me, it was representative of the end of an era before the start of another. In the summer, I toured in Europe and it was a long, arduous tour. Sometimes, toward the end, it was a bit stressful because of the weather. Although it was summer, it felt like winter, especially in Germany. Some of the shows that stick out in my mind are Amsterdam, which was an excellent show with a great crowd, and the Edinburgh Festival in August. Also, we explored new territory by going to Russia for the first time and we had a great response from the Russian fans. A great finish for the year was my show at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, California. The show was close to my home, so I had a chance to play for a crowd full of familiar faces.

GKW: What groups influenced, and continue to influence, the direction of your music?

EB: Some of the older blues cats like Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley have always influenced me. Something a little bit newer, to me anyway, is Dire Straits. I often feel like they’re chronicling my life from living in Newcastle, to leaving Newcastle, and coming to America.

GKW: Do you listen to modern radio, and if so, what recent groups are currently catching your eye?

EB: I guess “modern radio” would be satellite in my car. I get Sirius in my car and I like the ecclectic mix of music that they have available, including bands like Calexico and Solomon Burke. Is that new?

GKW: What’s the difference between a rock guitar riff and a blues guitar riff?

EB: I think the blues riffs are much lighter in their approach, but stronger in their delivery. Rock riffs are louder, but have less impact.

GKW: Do you have to experience the blues to sing them?

EB: What can I tell you? I was born during an air raid so maybe that did something to my psyche and changed something in my DNA, but I don’t think that you necessarily have to live them to sing them. I do, however, think that to sing the blues you have to have soul and heart.

GKW: “We Gotta Get Out of This Place”. One of the rock-n-roll’s most cherished melodies. How did that song come about?

EB: It came from the Brill Building in New York. It was passed by the publishers to Mickey Most, then he passed the song on to us. We felt like it was made for The Animals. “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” was recently selected to be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. It’s a song that never seems to die.

GKW: At what moment did you know The Animals would forever be a household name in rock music?

EB: I think it was when my mother started singing, “Baby Let Me Take You Home”, while she was washing the dishes, that I realized we had something.

GKW: Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones) once said you were “the best blues singer to ever come out of England”. Your voice is one of the most distinct vocals in all of rock music. I always felt The Animals were underrated, in comparison to The Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin for example, in terms of a true blues frontman with a Delta blues voice. Do you feel The Animals got the attention they deserved or were pushed aside in the spotlight by others in British Invasion?

EB: I can only say that The Animals got what they deserved and we were our own worst enemies. Having said that, we did manage to make some memorable recordings and lets leave it at that.

GKW: The Animals played the Monterey Pop Festival. I recently had a conversation with Jim Yester of The Association. We had a fantastic talk about his experience there. What were your memories of that event and your performance? What was running through your head when you witnessed Jimi Hendrix set fire to his guitar?

EB: I thought that the Monterey Pop Festival was one of the most enlightening and enjoyable weekends of my life. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I spent quite a bit of time with Jimi. In fact, we took the same plane over the Atlantic and through New York with Brian Jones. We partied all the way to the West Coast and we partied when we got there. I did see Jimi’s set. In fact, we were all waiting for it to come to the stage because it was Jimi’s first performance in the U.S. for a long time and with the Experience line-up. I spent time with young kids telling them to make sure that they got a good seat to see him because they wouldn’t be disappointed. I was standing right beside the stage when the gasoline was poured over the white Fender. I knew what was going to happen, but it’s a completely different experience when you can feel the heat on your face.

GKW: You played at the Newport Pop Festival in 1969 alongside Hendrix. This year, as in every year, more material of his is being released and the conversation continues over his place in rock-n-roll. What are your thoughts on him?

EB: That was a really bad festival. It was not a Monterey or Woodstock, which it was supposed to be. Jimi was not comfortable and he messed up. Actually, the next day he went back to play again for free, just because he wanted to say he had done his best. It took me a long time to realize that the first time I met Jimi, I didn’t even know that we were in the same room. It was backstage at the Paramount Theatre in New York. Jimi was playing guitar for Little Richard. Little Richard was flipping out backstage because he had gone into overtime for his set, which cut into The Animals time. There was this young black kid running around trying to cool him down and I didn’t realize that it was actually Jimi Hendrix. Later, we spent time together in London. He would quite often come over to my apartment and listen to classical music. I wouldn’t say that we were “close”, but we did enjoy some down time away from the madness and I treasure those times we had together. I thought he was a very strange, but beautiful guy.

GKW: You turned 69-years-old this year. What does that number mean to you?

EB: It means that I’ll be 70 soon, which means that I don’t really give a damn about much anymore. There’s a great thing about turning 70 and it’s that you don’t have to pretend to care about things you don’t care about anymore.

GKW: What would your older self say to that teenage Eric Burdon, a kid just starting out in his music career in the early 1960s? What would your teenage self say to you in response?

EB: I think I would say to a younger me, “Listen, slow down and stop drinking so much, get straight.” But I think that a teenage me would just say to that, “Piss off!”

GKW: How do you avoid becoming a nostalgia act, like many of your radio peers?

EB: When I go on stage, I realize that I’m dealing with a collective wild animal, the crowd, and if you make even one mistep, they’ll devour you. I have to be on my toes. I take every song that I sing and live it. I become my songs. It’s up to me to be in front of the band and deliver the word. I’m fortunate to have a good catalogue of songs, most of which have now become anthems for peoples lives.

GKW: What do you like and dislike about being on the road?

EB: The road, while you’re young and full of booze or drugs, when all you live for is the gig and the roadies need to drag you out of bed to get on the bus or plane, it’s okay. These days though I’m up at four or five o’clock. I’m always on time and it’s mostly about business. It’s even hard to look at the cost of a plane ticket today and know that at the airport is just going to treat you like a criminal. Traveling is getting harder, but luckily I’ve got a great band and we have a lot of fun while we’re going around the world and doing what we do.

GKW: When all is said and done, what is the legacy of The Animals? What is your legacy as a lead singer and storied performer?

EB: I don’t know what The Animals legacy is, so much as me as a singer. Chris Barber said to me recently, when I met him in Scotland,  “You’re the blues man”. I can’t say it any better than that. I may sing songs that are not blues, but there is always a blues element. Nina Simone said the same thing. There are two great people that have pegged me as being a blues guy, so I take their comments and say that I guess that would be my legacy.

GKW: What’s your state of mind right now?

EB: Crowded, as usual.


Monday, January 17th, 2011

Ready to capture the international dance floor once again, Electric Love marks the explosive return of Dirty Vegas. It finds that elusive sweet spot between the slickly polished electronic sounds of their past and a more decidedly rock edge, deftly balancing beats and guitar-led melodies. After touring the world on the strength of two albums (2002’s Dirty Vegas, 2004’s One), music featured in two films (2005’s Goal!, 2006’s The Boys & Girls Guide To Getting Down) and an international dance hit that snagged a Grammy (“Days Go By”), Dirty Vegas (Steve Smith and the non-related Ben Harris and Paul Harris) had parted ways in 2005 to work on individual projects and just to take a breather. Without the pressures of a recording contract or label executives issuing directives, the trio found a fresh kind of positivity when they reformed four years later to craft Electric Love. Dirty Vegas is rocking with an updated sound on their new album, but the fact that they are game-changers is nothing new; just ask anyone in the music business who deals with the worlds of licensing for film and television. The band’s debut single “Days Go By,” originally released in 2001, appeared on a television advertisement for Mitsubishi. The revived single, and its wonderfully magnetic original video, not only catapulted to Grammy success (for Best Dance Recording in 2003), but was a huge benchmark that helped set a whole new model for the marketing of music. The band also won three DanceStar Awards and was even named Electronic Artist of the Year by Playboy.

Written and produced by photographer James Gooding ( the “Electric Love” video features Jena Malone (The Soloist, Into The Wild, Donnie Darko) as she has never been seen before (pole dancing (!), hanging at a cool muscle car race).

“Electric Love” is James Gooding’s directorial debut as well as the first visual element from Dirty Vegas’ new album—also titled Electric Love—due out April 26 on OM Records.  It is also the first of two videos with Jena that will run concurrently over one larger narrative.