lundi, mai 30, 2005

Shine on

Everybody has a feel-good hit they associate with lazy summers. So we asked the big names of rock and pop what songs remind them of sun-kissed days - and what they'll be listening to this time round

Interviews by Dave Simpson and Caroline Sullivan, The Guardian

Nitin Sawhney

What's Going On by Marvin Gaye is a brilliant summer track. I always remember my older brother washing the car when I was a kid, that song playing on the car radio. I was about six, we had a Hillman Minx, and I'd be playing football with mates in the road in the cul-de-sac. Beautiful strings and vocals, it really catches something quite emotional. Perfect.

At the moment everyone's listening to Bloc Party, but there's a lot of dance stuff going on too. MIA is quite exciting and I expect her to be nominated for the Mercury. Her whole vibe is fresh, exciting, individual, energetic. I think she'll do really well over summer.

Felix Bunton
Basement Jaxx

An Isley Brothers album I've got with a gold cover with Summer Breeze and Who's That Lady on it [3 + 3, 1973]. We had a Basement Jaxx holiday for everyone who was working for us when we had our own label, just before we signed to XL. Five of us went to Morocco. I took that CD with me. I remember listening to it, slapping a mosquito on my shoulder and just thinking: "Yeahhhh."

This summer, I wanna get the Amerie album, nice R&B that doesn't feel too cheesy. In a holiday bar with a nice cocktail, it will sound good and sexy. I think we're headed to Bangkok. But it would work in Scarborough, if you had an umbrella.

Emily Eavis
Glastonbury organiser

Desire by Bob Dylan always makes me think of summer and the whole album has a really summery feel. Dylan has been a real soundtrack to growing up on the farm, and a soundtrack to the festival too. Then there is Bobby Charles' [1970s Cajun soul classic] I Must Be in a Good Place Now. It's such an upbeat, sweet melody. Stevie Winwood and the Spencer Davis Group's Gimme Some Lovin' is also a real favourite at home. One of my dad's all-time great festival moments was when they played this at the festival in 1971.

This summer, I'll be listening to Hard-Fi, Bright Eyes and the Magic Numbers, who are somewhere between the Mamas and Papas and Big Star. Beautiful harmonies, amazing voices.

Sam Endicott
The Bravery

The track that immediately makes me think of summer is Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. I'm not from Philadelphia, and I've been to, like, one barbecue in my life. But for some reason the story of a kid going to barbecues in Philadelphia makes me nostalgic every time. I don't know; something about that disco-siren synth thing just makes me wanna whip off my clothes and jump on a slip-and-slide.

This summer? I think the new Strokes album is gonna mess everybody up. I just hope it's out in time for summer; I've always thought of them as the kind of band you listen to with a margarita.

Tom Rowlands
The Chemical Brothers

It's a bit bleedin' obvious but Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles is a song that just sparkles in its sound and meaning. It feels optimistic like sunshine - it seems to capture that feeling of coming out of spring into summer - out of the dark, step into the light. Sail the Summer Winds by John Barry reminds me of a mix tape I made one summer that had this nestling among some more twisted music - when I heard it recently I was instantly transported. This summer? It has to be the Magic Numbers.


The two tracks that make me think of summer are Let's Stay Together by the Reverend Al Green and Alphabet Street by Prince. Specifically, a party I was at in midsummer 1999 which consisted of driving round and round a cornfield in a Ford Capri - an excellent sport.

My tip for the soundtrack to the summer this year is Cut Copy's brilliant album Bright Like Neon Love. They're supporting us on tour at the moment and we're frightened because they're better than us!

To be honest, I'm so messed up from going back and forth to the southern hemisphere this winter that I'm not really expecting summer again. It's still summer 2004 as far as I'm concerned.

Peter Hook
New Order

A certain type of record reminds me of summer. Acoustic guitar, not too serious (you save your winters for Joy Division). The sort of records I'm thinking of are Summer the First Time by Bobby Goldsborough; Afternoon Delight by Starlight Vocal band, Take It Easy by the Eagles and Seasons In the Sun by Terry Jacks.

One of our records, Technique, always makes me think of summer. We started it in Ibiza in March when their summer begins, and got completely hammered for four months. It was 1988 and I'd just discovered the demon E. A while after it came out and we'd split up, I was in Heaton Park in Manchester and this kid had the biggest ghetto blaster I've ever seen and he kept following me around playing the album. Even in my gloom it sounded totally summery.

This summer I've discovered Baby Bird again. Now that I do DJ-ing I look for things to annoy 'em in the middle, and I thought of You're Gorgeous. But the whole LP [1996's Ugly Beautiful] is actually pretty good. And like everyone else I'm listening to Bloc Party

Abi Harding
The Zutons

Hot Fun in the Summertime by Sly & the Family Stone - that kind of explains itself. And Good Day Sunshine by the Beatles - when you first wake up in the morning it's a great track to stick on and get yourself in a good mood, to put a smile on yourself. This summer I hope people will be listening to the Futureheads; also Kings of Leon because I recently bought the album and am really getting into it. They'll be a big one to watch at all the festivals.

Ian Broudie

When I was a kid there were a lot of 1960s kitchen-sink dramas like The L-Shaped Room, and I always associate summer with the songs. I also have strong memories of things like Itchycoo Park [by the Small Faces] and the Kinks being on radio. They make me think of a sweltering city day.

This summer? I've got a vested interest, but I hope everyone will be listening to the Subways. They're a band from Welwyn Garden City I've been working with, and their single, Rock'n'Roll Queen, will be out in the summer. There are always songs with summery titles about, like that Dodgy one, Staying Out for the Summer, but they're not necessarily summery songs. A good song should sound summery in the summer, and wintry in winter.

Roots Manuva

Isley Brothers, Summer Breeze. My teenage years ... my older brother buying his first stereo for his bedroom when he got a job. Soul music was big in our house but I distinctively remember thinking this sounded like rock. It had a massive guitar, meeeauauaaaawwwww. It sounded like a gold tune.

This summer I'm going to the States and whenever I go, I come back thinking everything I previously hated about American music is wicked! In 1999 all that southern bounce, over-synthesised rap was about. I thought it was shite until I heard it in New Orleans, and the chicks coming along playing the tracks on blasters. There's something about being in the dodgy parts of the ghetto and witnessing what music means to the people livin' through it. So I know I'll come back with a load of American sounds.

Antony and the Johnsons

Nina Simone's album Baltimore sets me thinking of hot nights in NYC with no air conditioning. Moondog is always brilliant for summer mornings. Coco Rosie's new album will, I am sure, be the soundtrack of my summer. It is extremely beautiful, a manifesto for their incredibly original ideas.


Long Hot Summer by the Style Council; Me and Bobby McGee by Kris Kristofferson; Is This It by the Strokes; Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side. This summer? To be honest, I'm on tour and I'm woefully ill-informed regarding what's going on in the rest of the world. I assume that people will be listening to whatever form of hip-hop is trendy at the moment, crunk or grime or grunk or crime or whatever it is!

Ricky Wilson
Kaiser Chiefs

Dodgy's Staying Out for the Summer. This may not be a hip choice, but I remember watching Glastonbury on TV in 1996 - I was too young to go - and this was the soundtrack. The track has always stuck in my head as an anthem of summer months, along with all the early Beach Boys' stuff, especially California Girls.

This summer I'll be mostly be listening to the Cribs' The New Fellas album. It's a pop gem; we just had them on tour with us and they have so many fantastic songs. I expect everyone will be listening to new albums by Coldplay, Oasis and Franz Ferdinand. I can't wait to hear these three records myself, so maybe they'll get a few spins when I'm not listening to the Cribs.

Rishi Rich
Britney Spears/Jay Sean producer

Keep On Moving by Soul II Soul. That summer when it came out it was big around the world. I was probably about 11. It was the sort of record you'd imagine driving round in a big open-topped car to, although obviously I wasn't old enough. This summer I think reggae will make a huge comeback. There's this new sound called raggaton which is reggae mixed with Latin music. It's big in Miami at the moment. It should have

Brendan Benson

The Cars album by the Cars. It's the first record I ever bought, and I was consumed by it. It's got My Best Friend's Girl and Moving On Stereo on it. Summer of 1978, I was probably trying to go steady with some girl. I didn't have a car but I had the Cars.

This summer I'm listening to Floating by Jabe. It's like this drone, traditional Irish-Celtic music but a dance track. I dunno if it'll take off but I can imagine having a few beers and getting down to that.

Sean Rowley
Guilty Pleasures DJ

Oh Lori by Alessi. "I'd like to ride my bicycle with you, all summer" ... It transforms me back to a beach in Woolacombe, north Devon. Listening to the Radio 1 roadshow, with fingers getting sticky from an ice cream. That's the dream, I think the reality was trying to keep dry under a blanket reading Planet of the Apes comics.

Recently I haven't had that all-consuming passion that overtakes your life like a teenage crush, but I've now got that back with the Magic Numbers. I've also got hold of an album by Edgar "Jones" Jones. It's called Soothing Songs for Stray Cats and it's a smorgasbord of styles: 1950s doo-wop, garage, be-bop, Sly Stone. He used to be in a band and called himself Edgar Summertyme. Need I say more?

Jimi Goodwin

Bedward by Prince Far I. It reminds me of an old flame and the south of France. The sound of summer 2005? Oh, probably some old tosh coming out of Ayia Napa.


Whenever I hear or play De La Soul's Fanatic of the B Word or Keepin' the Faith, it immediately takes me back to the amazing times I had in the summer of 1991 when I was 16. A golden time when the trials of life were nowhere to be seen. I'm possibly not the best person to be asked what will be the soundtrack of this summer as I still live in the past! But this summer I'll sure be blasting Dr Alimantado's Best Dressed Chicken in Town and Funkmaster Flex's The Mix Tape, Volume One.

Miquita Oliver
Popworld presenter

The song that always reminds me of summer is Don't Walk Away by [R&B girl trio] Jade, from 1992. I listened to it loads when I was just getting into hanging out in the park with boys, wearing high-topped Reeboks. This summer, I think the new Gorillaz track, Good Times Inc, will be around a lot. I already wanna be in the park listening to it.

Johnathan Rice

Any of the songs from Van Morrison's Veedon Fleece are my favourite songs of the summer. They will be the sound of the Celtic summer for when I'll be touring the UK. And when the sun goes down, anything from Spoon's Kill the Moonlight. Spoon are one of the greatest rock'n'roll bands of the last 10 years, and Britt Daniels has emerged as one of America's finest songwriters.

The Futureheads

Anything by the Beach Boys must make everyone in the country think of summer. For me personally, Neil Young's Harvest and After the Goldrush are very significant. We [the Futureheads] often used to go away to my caravan before the band got really busy and we'd listen to Neil Young a lot. Whenever I hear Out on the Weekend, I think instantly of those summers.

All the oldies will be out again, but I'm sure that Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs will have huge anthems this summer. Oasis and Coldplay have new records out so they'll probably be the soundtrack. I'll be blasting out Neil Young.

Girls Aloud
Kimberley Walsh

Bananarama's Cruel Summer reminds me of summer a couple of years ago. It was our first summer as a band and we were thinking of covering this for a B-side. We went for [Duran Duran's] Girls On Film instead.

Cheryl Tweedy

I played Beverley Knight's Salvador, from her last album, all summer long last year. Beverley Knight has such a beautiful voice. It's a really moving song. I wish it came out as a single so more people could have heard it.

Nadine Coyle

I heard this track called Gasolina by Daddy Yankee a few months ago and it's amazing. Really fresh. He raps in Spanish and it kind of mixes up hip-hop, reggae and Latin. I can't understand what he's saying but it just has summer written all over it!

Nicola Roberts

Kanye West, Diamonds Are Forever. He can do no wrong. The last album was amazing and this is so instant, using the sample of Shirley Bassey. Pure summer.

Alexis Petridis
The Guardian's rock and pop critic

Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers' Rock'n'Roll with the Modern Lovers is full of nursery-rhyme songs about ice cream and hot afternoons. It's sung with a childlike glee that should theoretically make you want to thump everyone involved, but instead ends up charming and infectious.

Also, there's an old deep house record called All Night Long by Mood II Swing. A lot of deep house is like a protracted attempt to bore everyone in earshot to death, but this magically conjures up a hot night in the middle of city.

For this summer, the new Saint Etienne album is fantastic, a genuine return to form. It's produced by Xenomania, who work with Girls Aloud, which is the kind of mercurial connection only Saint Etienne would make.

Rachel Stevens

All I Need by Air, from Moon Safari. It's gorgeous - and just reminds me of those warm, languid, lazy days. But this summer it's got to be the Scissor Sisters - perfect outdoor barbecue music, a real favourite. I'm also looking forward to hearing Justin Timberlake and Jamiroquai's new stuff.

James Skelly
The Coral

Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles because it's about the sun (not the newspaper). And this summer, In the Morning by the Coral (of course).

The Subways
Billy Lunn

156 by [Copenhagen popsters] Mew makes me want to sink into reclusion, but then also shout and scream for joy and see the beautiful and most vulnerable aspects of everything. A true summer song. This year, the Caesars' Jerk It Out is a fantastic pop song from a great band. It has such a hook that people won't be forgetting them too quickly.

Charlotte Cooper

Red by Elbow. Last year when me and Billy went to V festival we heard this song ring out from our tent and we felt compelled to sprint to the stage. It was dusk, it had been a beautiful summer day and that track just encapsulated that.

Ron Mael

Pipeline by the Chantays. I loved (and still do love) surf music and this atmospheric instrumental was the perfect background music for surf, sun, and picking up sun-bleached blondes.

This summer I'll be listening to music from a car radio. Summertime is driving time and only music from a car radio is permissible (preferably AM music). You should be barely able to hear the radio due to the wind noise from your convertible top being down.

Russell Mael

Palisades Park by Freddie Cannon. I'm from Pacific Palisades, California. During the summers when we were in school, this song was played constantly and we all thought it was the soundtrack for our town, which had a park called Palisades Park. We'd play baseball there and try to impress the girls with our batting prowess and golden summer tans. This summer I'll be listening to an advance copy of the new Sparks album. We will be in rehearsals for our fall tour so our summer soundtrack will be these songs.

The Faders

Bob Marley's Buffalo Soldier. It reminds me of my first summer holiday abroad, me and my friends playing it non-stop! This summer? Kaiser Chiefs. They're quirky and unique in comparison to some of the drab stuff around at the moment.


[Afrobeat anthem] Hot Hot Hot by Arrow instantly reminds me of being at the Notting Hill carnival. People will be listening to Gorillaz this summer because they have some great tunes and their new stuff is of the moment.


Will Smith's Summertime reminds me of being in the car with my dad when I was younger. It was played on the radio non-stop. This summer, [Crunk star] Ciara definitely has that same funky vibe that I wouldn't mind listening to in the park on a hot afternoon with friends.

Brandon Flowers
The Killers

I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston makes me think of summer. And this years summer track? Has to be "All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers.

mardi, mai 24, 2005

Nick comes home

Nick Cave Homecoming

by Tim Cashmere

24 May 2005

Melbourne-born Nick Cave made another triumphant return to his hometown* late last week. After a special Thursday night show at the Melbourne town hall, fans packed into West Melbourne's own musical barn Festival Hall were hot with anticipation.

While his last tour in late 2003 saw a set spread out over much more of his career, this time around the strength of his latest double disc epic 'Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus'

It was almost universally agreed by general audience post-gig conversation that 'The Mercy Seat' was the highlight, with two drummers pounding out a powerful version that started closer to Johnny Cash's cover of the song than the original.

'Babe You Turn Me On' was dedicated to his wife in one of the few times he said more than "thank you" to the audience.

The set ended in the second encore with 'Stagger Lee' from 1996's "Murder Ballads" album on an angry and aggressive note. (How many profanities can one song contain!?)

Cave after three decades in the music business is at his peak right now. While some people won't let go of the past (which admittedly had some brilliant moments) his current work is just as poetic with thirty years of experience to arrange the band with.

*although he has not been based in Melbourne for many years, we still claim him as our own.

The set list from Friday night's show was:

Messiah Ward - From Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (2004)
Get Ready For Love - From Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (2004)
Red Right Hand - From Let Love In (1994)
Deanna - From Tender Prey (1988)
Hiding All Away - From Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (2004)
Easy Money - From Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (2004)
Supernatural - From Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (2004)
Do You Love Me? - From Let Love In (1994)
The Weeping Song - From The Good Son (1990)
Breathless - From Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (2004)
Babe You Turn Me On - From Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (2004)
The Mercy Seat - From Tender Prey (1988)
O Children - From Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (2004)
There She Goes My Beautiful World - From Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (2004)
Darker With The Day - From No More Shall We Part (2001)
Come Into My Sleep - From B-Sides and Rarities (2005)
God Is In The House - From No More Shall We Part (2001)
City of Refuge - From Tender Prey (1988)
Abbatoir Blues - From Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (2004)
Stagger Lee - From Murder Ballads (1996)

mardi, mai 17, 2005

Jet interview

Every now and then an Australia band comes along built from the hard slog of the pub and club circuit. That is how AC/DC did it, same for INXS, Chisel and Midnight Oil. The Australian pub circuit is the way you really become an Australian Idol. If you can't make it there, you simply just can't make it.

Now meet Jet. This is a hard working rock and roll band with true rock and roll values. Singer Nic Cester and Bass Player Mark Wilson caught up with Undercover's Paul Cashmere.

Paul Cashmere: The "difficult" first album has been a long time coming for Jet.

Nic Cester: A pleasurable chore.

Mark Wilson: Indeed

Paul Cashmere: Here's a quick summary of the band. A few mates from Melbourne form a band. You sign to Elektra Records in New York. Billy Preston plays keyboards on your record and suddenly we have the album 'Get Born'.

NC: I like the short version.

MW: The short version is good.

PC: The condensed version makes it sound like a fairy tale but how quickly did it really happen for Jet?

NC: I wouldn't exactly say that driving a fork-lift for 6 years exactly flashes past. We have been a band for a while but the period from when things started to happen was really quick, really really quick.

PC: One of the great things for this year was your support with The Rolling Stones. You are obviously big fans of The Stones.

MW: What makes you say that?

PC: (laughs)

NC: Exactly

PC: Was it intimidating touring with The Stones?

NC: Yeah, a little bit but I'm glad we had the chance to do something so scary so early because it is hard to get scared now.

PC: How was it meeting The Stones?

NC: It was great. I wouldn't have been surprised if they just stuck to their rooms and we hadn't seen them the whole time but it wasn't like that at all. Whenever they walked past our dressing room they always made an effort to stop and say hello and have a quick chat.

MW: They are nice guys. I had heard stories that they would be arse-holes but they don't have to be anymore. They are just a bunch of old dudes playing shows and have the family along as they go to work. They are just a bunch of lovely blokes who play in a band.

PC: They have to be nice guys, they have been Simpsons characters. That is something for you to aspire to.

NC: To be Simpsons characters?

MW: I think that would be the ultimate goal.

PC: What did you talk to The Stones about? What is small chat with Mick Jagger?

MW: Mick wasn't into small chat. He told us stories and it was like a Mick Jagger show in the dressing room for us. He would tell stories and he was a pretty funny guy.

NC: He would tell us stories about other support acts like Oasis and generally inquire how the shows had been going so far and if we were having a good time. He was generally polite.

MW: Charlie (Watts) had a big chat with Chris (Cester) about drums.

PC: What I love about the new Jet album is you unashamedly show off your influences with the wonderful styles produced for this record. You are obviously all very big music fans and that is obvious listening to the album. When you were creating the songs did you have in mind the history of rock behind you?

NC: A song is a song and you can dress it up any which way you want but we kind of chose to dress it up in this style because that is what we like. The trick is it is just a bunch of chords and a melody. You can play it in a way that it sounds like AC/DC if you want to or you can not. You can go out of your way to make it sound a bit Beatley or you can disguise that. We like the way they sound.

PC: When I listen to the record I hear echoes of Iggy Pop or The Stones or AC/DC, even The Beatles. Is that because you are fans of all those bands?

NC: Absolutely. After listening to that stuff for years it just comes out that way as well.

PC: Because Jet was named after a Paul McCartney song wasn't it.

NC: Yeah, off a song from Band on the Run.

PC: Why that name?

NC: We didn't name ourselves as an ode to the song or an ode to Paul McCartney. It was just that we were familiar with all of those song-titles and we thought it would be a cool name.

MW: Also the way it is written, if you are playing with another band with 10 letters in their name and we have three, it gets stretched to take up the same amount of space.

PC: Ahh, strategy. When I listen to the album, on track four Look What You Done, I'm hearing John Lennon so it is interesting the bands name is inspired by Paul McCartney and there are influences of John Lennon in there as well.

NC: We use a lot of old effects that aren't really used any more. They are the same effects John Lennon used to use.

PC: How do you discover those sounds? Do you take an old Lennon album to your producer and say "make us sound like this"?

NC: Yeah, a bit of that and a bit of just knowing.

PC: The other Beatle overlap is that you guys have the services of Billy Preston playing on your record. He is the only person ever to shall a co-credit on a Beatles song (Get Back, 1968). How familiar were you of the work of Billy Preston?

NC: Totally familiar. That is why we got him. The Beatles are my favourite band in the world. I don't know how many times I have listened to 'Don't Let Me Down'. I couldn't tell you. That was pretty special to have him there.

MW: And it was cool to watch him because he is hunched over.

NC: He had on the worst looking tracksuit I had ever seen in my life.

MW: We expected a guy with a scivvy and big Afro to come in.

PC: So the moral of the story is it doesn't matter how rich and famous you get your dress sense won't improve.

MW: Actually it gets worse. History has showed us that. You get to a point where you go "I'm staying, this is where I'm happy".

NC: It is called the 80's.

PC: You made the album in LA. Was it a quick process to put the songs down?

NC: No. It could have been if we wanted to. A lot of bands wear a badge of honour. "We did this is three days and it cost us 20 bucks". We have never really aspired to be like that. We actually liked spending the time to get meticulous. We spent a lot of time just on sounds, like drum sounds.

MW: We spent less time on takes than we did on sounds. We just wanted everything to sound awesome to tape rather than mixing it later and fucking it more.

PC: It has been reported that you guys were given a huge advance to record not only this album but a number of albums. Is it true? Were there millions of dollars thrown at the band?

NC: We have never said how much. Not because we are trying to hide it. It was a lot of money. We think the more you talk about the money the more it detracts from the focus. You don't ask people what they earn. It is irrelevant. Because people knew it was a lot and we never actually disclosed the figure it everyone assumes it must be something ridiculous. The $3m I keep seeing is crap. It is nowhere near that.

MW: In the newspaper the other day it said we were all millionaires.

PC: The White Stripes recorded their album for a couple of grand so why do you need so much money?

MW: I don't believe they recorded that album for a couple of grand.

NC: I think they wear that as a badge of honour as well. I'm sure they did it cheaply but even that is exaggerated. Good on them. They do what they do and do it well. It is just not how we do it.

PC: There was a huge bidding war for Jet. What did that do to the egos in the band? Did you all get swelled heads when record execs from all over the world flew in to see you?

NC: I think when you are faced with something like that if you are an arrogant person by nature you become more obnoxious but we aren't like that. I'm a bit shy and it made me more reserved. When you are overwhelmed with something you get nervous. One minute we are playing to a couple of hundred people at a pub and the next moment there are heads of labels ringing us up. 10 labels from America flew to Sydney to watch us. That show in itself was pretty scary knowing that that night would determine the rest of our careers.

PC: You signed with Elektra and the new head of A&R now for Elektra Records is Ric Ocasek, formerly of The Cars.

NC: Yeah, he is the head of A&R.

MW: And I'm a big Cars fan and got to meet him a few weeks ago. He is a lovely guy. He looks like Dracula. He is gaunter than ever.

PC: You are his second Australian association.

MW: Yeah, he produced Waikiki.

NC: Did he really? I didn't know that.

PC: One of the bands you are associated with though similar management is The Vines. The Vines had a lot of trouble with the media around the world because of their antics. Have you followed that and what they have done through the press?

NC: I don't go out of my way to read it.

MW: We've got the same management so we hear stories. We have the same guitar techs.

NC: Because we are overseas so much we bump into them. Not so much Craig (Nichols) but the rest of the guys we see. We saw them a few months ago in New York. They are great guys.

PC: Do you learn from their mistakes?

MW: We make our own mistakes and learn from ours.

NC: It is better to worry about yourself. You have got to make your own mistakes before you can really learn. There are some things. Now that I think about it, I suppose yeah but I wouldn't have thought of it before. We don't go out of our way to see what they are doing.

PC: So in the back of your mind do you have "do not destroy instruments on the Jay Leno Show"?

NC: I wouldn't do that anyway. My guitar is my prize possession. It is all I have, that and a suitcase.

PC: What is the essence of a great song?

NC: Melody, for me.

PC: Is that where you start?

NC: Absolutely. If you can't hum a tune what's the point. That is what songwriting is, isn't it. It is a melody through a bunch of chords.

PC: We are going to watch you later at lunch and see if you have the round meat in the square toast.

MW: I've seen him do that.

Jet's debut album Get Born is released in September by EMI Records in Australia

By Paul Cashmere

lundi, mai 09, 2005

Cucamonga days

Filmmakers sound out musical history

Filmmakers track down Zappa's roots

By Molly R. Okeon, Staff Writer

Former high school friends Adam Fiorenza of Pasadena and Derek Miley of Whittier have spent more than a year uncovering the rich history of a bygone musical era.

By the end of this year, filmmaker Fiorenza, 23, and producer Miley, 24, expect to culminate 18 months of exhaustive research with a documentary on the famed Pal Recording Studio in Rancho Cucamonga, where such musicians as Frank Zappa and others spent countless hours.

Fiorenza's initial intent was to honor Zappa, the prolific avant- garde composer, rock musician and co-founder of the band Mothers of Invention. Zappa died of cancer in 1993 at the age of 52.

But with each new revelation, he and Miley realized there were "more characters,' others who found their way into the Pal studio during its heyday in the 1960s.

"From my point of view, when people think of Cucamonga, they think it's the butt of a joke,' said Miley. "I didn't know about this studio that recorded 'Wipeout!' and 'Pipeline' ... and I love those songs.'

After graduating from USC in spring 2003, Fiorenza contacted his old friend Miley.

"He calls me up and says, 'Dude, I just graduated, I got this nice camera and this great idea,'' Miley said.

Shooting for the film began in late September 2003.

Fiorenza and Miley, both graduates of Rancho Cucamonga High School, enlisted the aid of Kent Crowley, 54, their "official Rancho historian,' at the suggestion of Daily Bulletin columnist David Allen, who had earlier captured the men's attention by writing about Zappa and the Cucamonga studio.

After gathering Crowley's input, the two were allowed to tour the Zappa family's former home in Claremont with the permission of Zappa's younger siblings, Candy and Carl.

"They were talking a lot about the neighbors and how they were one big community,' Miley said. "The old neighbors who still lived there talked about the memories they had. They said the Zappa kids were always at this one neighbor's house. It was their second home.'

Fiorenza and Miley then were able to score what might be the final interview with Zappa's mother Rose Marie before she died in January 2004 at the age of 93.

Their research also took the two to Nashville, Tenn., where they visited with Paul Buff, the musical engineer who owned Pal Recording Studio from 1959 until December 1964.

"(Buff) told us a lot of technical stuff about the actual studio itself,' Miley said. "It was a five- track studio back when the norm was two-track. We wanted to see if he could re-create it for us, tell us exactly how it looked.'

Fiorenza explained Buff's relationship with Zappa as more of a partnership in the latter years of Pal. But he added that Zappa was "green' when, in his early 20s, he showed up at the doorstep of Pal.

In early 2005, the filmmakers managed to find Karl Kohn, a retired composition professor from Pomona College who taught Zappa.

Kohn, who was born in Vienna in 1926, described Zappa's demeanor as a student as much different from the persona he adopted as a famous musician.

"He was not outgoing, not the long-haired hippie-looking guy,' Fiorenza said of Kohn's recollection of Zappa. "He was more low-key and shy. His compositions were good, and they were turned in on time. He was very meticulous.'

But the two filmmakers' biggest coup was finding Zappa's former girlfriend, Lorraine Belcher Chamberlain, who in March 1965 was arrested with Zappa at the studio for conspiracy to commit pornography.

Chamberlain, who was 19 at the time of the arrest and now lives in San Francisco, has previously avoided interviews about Zappa. Fiorenza was thrilled to capture Chamberlain's rare musings and anecdotes.

According to various accounts, the surprise raid came after a notorious San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department sting at the studio over a racy audiotape.

The pornography charges were dropped soon after, but a chance snapshot would immortalize the moment.

Just after the bust, a photo published in what was then the Ontario Daily Report showed Zappa and Chamberlain smiling, their arms draped around one another.

"If you look at it, it looks like they're posing for the picture and smiling like they're really proud of what just happened,' Miley said.

In fact, Chamberlain explained, it was just an odd coincidence. After officers had separated the couple to question them, Chamberlain insisted on being reunited with Zappa. Once back together, Zappa apologized so profusely that the two burst into laughter and embraced, she recalled.

At that moment, a news photographer kicked open the door, which turned the couple's attention toward the camera.

"It was totally not their plan to pose for the picture - it just ended up that way,' Miley said.

Through the course of their research, Fiorenza and Miley interviewed members of early 1960s surf bands The Tornadoes, who wrote "Bustin' Surfboards' - which appeared on the soundtrack to the movie "Pulp Fiction' - and the Surfaris, who performed the surf hit "Wipeout!'

The filmmakers discovered that the original versions of the two hit songs were produced at Pal Recording Studio and later re- recorded and put into radio rotation.

"Paul Buff developed this unique sound that people liked,' Fiorenza said. "It was the 'Pal sound' from Pal studios.'

And it was a sound the musicians insisted could not be duplicated elsewhere.

"They went out to L.A. many times, trying to re-create the Pal sound, but couldn't do it, so they came back,' Miley said.

Molly R. Okeon can be reached at (909) 483-9376.

dimanche, mai 08, 2005

Dweezil Zappa

This From Universal Audio webzine May 2005:

"In addition to all the audio restoration he's been doing, Dweezil has been recording a new solo album titled, Go With What You Know, which is coming out in May 2005.

"I haven't really decided what direction to take this new solo record that' I'm working on," he says. "I have some stuff that's a little more old-schooland some stuff that's more modern-sounding. It will include my version of 'Peaches' [Frank Zappa's song 'Peaches en Regalia]. It's going to be a weird combination of things. I went from someone who had zero computer knowledge whatsoever to working on computers eighteen hours a day."

Immediately after the release of his solo album, Dweezil will go into rehearsals with his brother Ahmet and a handpicked band. The brothers Zappa will be touring the world with a project called "Zappa Plays Zappa."

"We have a really big plan for this year, something that we've never done before." Dweezil says. "We're going to put a band together and play only Frank's music. We're going to start in Europe then come back to the states and then go to Japan. We're going to start in October, so we're going to rehearse the band for three months in order to learn close to fifty songs, including a lot of the very difficult instrumentals.

"I'm learning a lot of stuff on guitar that was never meant to be played on guitar. For me, it will be like training for the Guitar Olympics. We are going to create a core band of people that haven't played with Frank, and then we will have some special guests and Ahmet is going to sing. We want to have our own thing that we do that is free from interpretations of other people's expectations.

"We are going to change the instrumental arrangements. The melodies will be seen and heard in a different way," he continues. "The melodies may be more powerful because they are being played on a louder, more distorted instrument-- guitar instead of keyboard or a marimba. I think [because] my brother and I are related, we have an innate sense of what Frank was going for humor-wise. Those are some of the elements that we'll be able to bring a new and fun interpretation of. The show itself is going to have video footage, and a documentary about Frank will be shown before the show.