You Sing, I Write: April 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Jon Foreman's Acoustic Central Park Show

Working and interning in NYC has it's pros and cons, but that's an entirely different post in itself. Today was definitely one of the perks of working in NYC, being that Switchfoot's Jon Foreman had an impromptu performance in Central Park. Lucky for me, it was a few blocks from my internship so I took a late lunch to check it out and decided I had enough time to go back and finish what I was working on before Jon showed up to perform. A little advice for non-New Yorkers . . . don't try to catch a cab at 5:30 on 6th Avenue, it's nearly impossible. After many failed attempts I noticed one of those bicycle drawn carriages (is there a proper name for them?) so yes, I felt like a tourist trying to get to 65th Street and Central Park West in one of those, but hey, I got there in time to catch a few songs so it all worked out!

I arrived shortly before 6 p.m. as Jon was just finishing up "Let Your Love Be Strong" on guitar with violin and cello accompaniment. He then went into "Your Love Is Strong" from his most recent EP - Spring - and the "part two" of his previous song. About 50 or so fans and New Yorkers passing through Central Park surrounded Jon under a giant oak tree, just sitting on the ground listening and taking pictures. At times, it was somewhat reminiscent of sitting around a campfire and requesting songs to sing along with him. In fact, I think that's what he wanted as right after he sang "The Cure For Pain" from Fall he said, "Let's play a song everyone knows" as he began "Dare You To Move" - a song he said he wrote while living in his parent's house.

Although it was hard to see what the crowd favorite was, almost everyone could be heard singing along to "Dare You To Move" and the next song, the infamous "Only Hope" from 2002's hit film A Walk To Remember. Jon finished his Central Park set with "Learning To Die." He prefaced the song by explaining that he used to think death was an inconvenience and how our culture verges on us thinking we're invincible. However, after experiencing death he realized that "we're all apt to it. It's a startling realization that life is not about the understanding of living, but how to learn about dying and having to give yourself away."

After his set, as all of the Switchfoot shows I've been to, Jon took pictures and signed autographs for his fans. The last segment of his four season EP's is due out June 10. Be sure to check out his MySpace for some songs from his Spring EP and check back next week for a concert review from Switchfoot's upcoming show Saturday, May 3 at Rutgers!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Compassionart Article Featured on

Earlier this year I posted a Q&A with Martin Smith of U.K. band Delirious? about his upcoming project, Compassionart, where songs written by him and many of his fellow singer/songwriter friends will be donated to various charities throughout the world. You can read a more recent article about it here.

Also, I've been getting a lot of emails from friends wanting to know more details about my life on tour, the guys I interviewed and any craziness I encountered that I may not have posted on my blog for the whole world to see. Do I have you intrigued yet? I promise to come up with a more detailed tour diary soon. Still working on editing all the interviews to post in MP3 format as well as fully transcribed, so check back soon! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Q&A with Jeph Howard of The Used

As promised, here's the first of many interviews to come from the "Get A Life" tour. My friend Wendy (concert photographer extraordinaire) and I were lucky enough to talk with Jeph on their infamous tour bus. Jeph chatted with us about touring, the truth about groupies and their upcoming album, which he says is "the record of records." The interview is a bit long, so feel free to come back and read, it's not going anywhere. Check back later this week for more interviews with Army of Me as well as MP3 format of the interviews!

What’s it like being on tour? How do you prepare for a headlining tour?
This one run right now, isn’t really a headlining tour. We wanted to hit a bunch of spots that we hadn’t been to yet. It’s kind of an out of the way, off set tour. We’re not hitting any major places. We’re going to the little guys and going around because we still have fans out there. I try to get all my stuff in order at home. Just make sure I don’t have anything left at home. For me, going on tour is more like going back home. I feel more at home on tour. I don’t feel as weird. Maybe it’s because the past eight years of my life have been on tour.

How long have you guys been together?
The band started, I want to say, the beginning of 2001. We had a different drummer for the first two records and he left. Dan, he’s our newest drummer, he just got here about a year ago, so he’s been with us for a year now. Yeah, originally it was four of us, again. We’re kind of all the other dropouts of all the other bands on the scene. We’re kind of the black sheep of the whole Utah Valley scene cause we’re not even from Salt Lake, we’re like an hour south of Utah Valley. We’re little town boys.

Even worse, not only are we the drop outs, we also would get kicked out of every show we’d play originally. Random things would happen, it was all just blaming it on us because we were the heavy band at the time. We were the outcast band, so no matter what Bert did, it was scary. Bert’s always been like that, unpredictable kind of dude.

You guys don’t get kicked out anymore, do you?
They do. We’ve been kicked out of places still. Quinn got kicked out of our CD release party, he was either pissing on the floor or he was breaking beer bottles on something. Yeah, things happen.

What do you love most about touring?
Being on tour I feel like I can get away from everything, like all my worries. Anything I have that’s been bugging me and bumming me out is gone, because what I’m doing right now I love. This is my favorite thing to do – be on tour and play music. We’re kind of finishing up a record right now on tour. Everything about it is great to me. Waking up in a new city and not knowing where I am for a couple hours, meeting new people, I love meeting people, even though I’m a little shy sometimes. I’m great with faces, horrible with names. I’ll remember kids I meet at one show for years. Not all the time, but if they change their hair, it’ll fuck with me.

Do you have a favorite city you’ve played?
It changes everywhere. Australia is a great, great crowd. Japan is always a great place to go. The kids there are insane. Every time we play there it’s the weirdest/best crowd. We just played Chile and that was the best show by far. It was our first time there and there were kids waiting at the airport. There were like 300 kids there. They were pulley too, like grabbing your arm, your clothes, your hair. It was pretty scary. Once we got to the venue, kids were waiting at the hotel with a big sign they made so you could see it from the hotel room. At all times there was at least 20-50 kids out front of the hotel. They opened the doors six hours before we played because there were 2,000 kids in the street trying to get into the venue. Loudest show we’d ever played. They were in there hours before we played, just waiting and pumped and screaming at everything, it was crazy. If you look up videos online of it, it’s insane.

How about the U.S.?
Utah’s always a great show, it’s going home. But hometown crowds are always the same thing, love/hate. Either people love you because you’re from Utah, it’s a pride thing or they hate you because they don’t think you deserved it, you didn’t work for it, you didn’t do anything for it. But we worked our asses off.

How do you deal with it?
You can’t really care what anybody thinks. At the end of it, it’s all about if you love what you’re doing and you’re doing a good job. If nobody likes your band and you’re happy with it, who cares, you’re happy with it. If you make 10 kids happy, those are 10 kids you just made happy, so cool.

What would you be doing if it wasn’t for the music?
I’m a traveler. I like traveling and going around and visiting. I would probably just save up and travel if I could. The lucky thing is I can actually travel being in a band, so it’s cool it works out. I take every country, every place I try to go out. There’s some scary places where you’re not supposed to really, so I don’t there as much, but I still try to. I’ve seen a little bit of everything, not every place all over the world. There are still so many places I still want to go to.

Do you have a favorite song you like to perform every night?
There’s a bunch. “Paralyzed” is my favorite to play. It’s like the danciest one. That one’s really fun to play, in the beginning of it me and Dan go into some little funk, getaway grove part. That’s the funnest part of my show, that little funk jam. That song is really fun to play too because it’s dancy. I’m kind of into dancy music, I grew up loving James Brown and stuff like that. It’s got that sort of a vibe, but not quite. I like heavy stuff too, ‘cause heavy stuff is always fun to play, “Pain” is kind of an in between, it’s got this grove/heavy to hit. There’s this really cool, tappy bass line in the second verse. You can’t really hear it recorded, but it’s so much fun to play for me.

Screaming songs are fun. I like the singy stuff. There’s a lot of bands lately that have overdone the singy/screamy stuff. Bert’s a really good singer. He’s very good at piano and he has an ear, he has a really good overview, he can hear something for a song and know the biggest picture. He can see the planet. When you’re writing a song you build the continents together. He can see the planet before the rest of the continents is built. Quinn’s really good at that too. Me, I settle with pieces more and I’m not so good at seeing the giant picture of everything.

Do you all help out when writing the music?
Yeah, we’re open for anything. We’ll sit and we’ll jam songs out. If Quinn’s like, “That’s cool, but why don’t you try playing this note here instead of this one." I’ll try it and most of the time it’s cool. Me and Dan will have a jam down and Quinn will play something over it and it’ll just be magic. It depends every time. There will be times it takes forever.

How do you know when a song’s a hit for you guys, or when it’s right?
You can just tell. There’s a feeling, like “Wow, this song’s great.” Right now, we have a song that doesn’t have any words to it, but it’s great, it’s my favorite song we’ve ever written by far. So I can’t wait to hear it with words. That usually makes or breaks songs. Usually, most of the time if the song is really, really cool, the words will probably wind up cool too.

What percentage have you guys been on tour/writing/in the studio this year?
We got off our last tour in November and we had a month off and we started writing in January. I went to visit some friends for a week, hanging out at home. After that we started jamming again, started writing, did that till the beginning of this tour, three months, two months of that and then we went straight to tour. The next album comes out the end of the month probably. This is going to be the record of records. I’m excited about it. I can’t wait to have the finished, because all I have is the bits and pieces, but I can’t wait for the ending, to finally hear it.

What makes it different from your other records?
We’re going to a different producer. The same guy has produced our last three records so they kind of have similar sounds almost. All of his sounds and all of the stuff that he uses, all of his equipment is the same so every time we record it kind of sounds the same, but its different songs, different feelings and different vibes. But we want it to be very different; we don’t want to be on the same path at all. We want to take a big left turn and switch everything up as much as we can, just to do something different, just to try something new because bands need to change, they need to mature. We’re not the same people we were seven or eight years ago, nobody is. Your surroundings make up who you are. Since we started as a band, every year it’s just changing constantly and changing it up. We want to show how much we changed in a good way. I think it’s very important for bands to do that. You can write songs that work, and whatever music that works, but to me you’re fake unless you’re really showing how you can change a person.

Do you guys record in L.A.?
Yeah, usually. This record we’ll probably record in L.A. as well. We’re trying to record it as fast as possible, we want it to take a month or less. We want to get to it and get it done, we want it to sound a little dirty, a little raw. The less we take worrying about details the better it’s going to sound in that sort of way. We’ll see how it sounds. It’s really hard to leave it as it is, leaving it as breathing as opposed to going back and tweaking it and making it perfect. If you just let it breathe and let it be as it is, it’s almost more difficult. That’s what the plans are, we’ll see how it works out.

What is it about the music that keeps you going - going on tour, recording?
It’s hard. You kind of have to say goodbye to everything. You have to be willing to give up everything. Family, friends, relationships, anything really is all on hold until you’re done being in a band. It’s pretty difficult. It’s difficult on your mind, difficult on everything.

How do you deal with that?
Don’t think about it. I really have given everything for this band and I would do it all over again. I don’t regret anything. It is what it is and you have to take it as . . I think you have to be a bit crazy, maybe, to be on tour.

How many months is this tour?
Oh, this tour is pretty quick, it’s about a month and a half. Longest tour I’ve ever been on was two years. There were breaks in between, like a week break and then another week break, two months, three months later. The reality of it is we didn’t stop touring, which I don’t mind. I’m happy on a bus, I’m happy hanging out with these guys. I have some of my closest friends here; I have other ones of course. It’s weird when you go back home too because it’s almost like your friends start up where you left off, it’s like you didn’t miss out on anything. A lot of friends can’t handle it, but they figure it out. It’s weird to watch them grow up in a different way, seeing them get families and get married and stuff.

Is there anything you miss most about being on tour? Your bed maybe?
I like bunks. They’re dark. You close the thing, it’s completely silent . . . well, not really silent because usually Bert’s screaming in the hallway or something. But it’s comfortable, you get rocked to sleep every night. When I came home after touring for two years straight I couldn’t sleep. I had to turn a fan on because I had to have some kind of noise and still it wasn’t right. Now it’s easier because we don’t tour as much, but I actually get more depressed when I’m not on tour now.

What are you thinking about when you’re on stage?
It’s different every time, sometimes it’s random. It depends, you never know, sometimes you’ll be so into the show that you can’t think of anything but what’s going on. Sometimes I’ll think about random stuff, like I’ll be looking at the ground and I’ll see something and think about, “What the fuck do you think that is?” Your mind wanders. It sort of becomes less you’re actually playing the song to an action. You’re sort of in the mood and in the vibe and the song is sort of playing you, if that makes sense, a little bit hippie-ish. It’s like writing is the same way, the music is flowing through you. Sometimes I’ll think of something funny and I’ll start laughing.

What happens if you play a show and there’s no energy from the crowd, how does that affect you as a band?
Oh it kills it. The crowd is half the show. I put every little bit of my life into every show. I put everything into it. Like what I was saying before, not pay attention, but I’m still completely involved in the show. I’m not gonna just play and be like whatever, “Let’s just get this fucking show over.” If you look at a crowd and they’re just standing, staring at you, usually I have to close my eyes and be like, “I can’t look at these guys.”

Most of the crowd is here to see you, do you think it’s hard for the other bands?
Oh, yeah. It’s tough, starting out too. That’s how it was for us for years. Playing in front of people who’ve never heard us before. But you have to win the crowd over. That’s sort of fun, because it’s hard but at the end it’s like, “How many people did we win over. It’s like, fuck these guys, let’s win. Let’s show them what kind of band we are and what we’re made of.” It’s really fun. If you can get the crowd cheering by the end of the show, it shows that you won.

We’ve played some hard tours, we’ve played Ozzfest once and we’re not the heavy band. We’re a little heavy, but we’re not like Ozzfest heavy. Nine in the morning playing shows, it’s really hard to get kids into the shows. But at the end of those shows, we won over the majority of the crowd. Except the guys who were still drunk and pissed off, maybe not those guys. Now they probably like us, so whatever.

Do you guys party a lot on tour?
There’s usually a party going on the bus. I’m very moderate myself, everything in moderation is good. I guess that depends what moderate means to somebody. There’s usually a party on the bus after the show. We’re all friends, hanging out.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
We hug each other, we get in this big circle of hug and we just kind of pump each other up and get stoked and just talk about something really quick. Sort of like, bring our own vibe together, a togetherness vibe and then go play. It’s a little gay, a little hippie.

So I have to ask about the groupies . . . is it cool to sleep with the band?
Groupies are gross. Groupies are the girls that sleep with all the other band dudes. I’m not down with that. It’s hard to meet people on tour because they either like you because you’re in the band or they like you because they just saw you play a show or they like you because it’s cool. So it’s pretty hard to meet people on tour. Although touring is pretty lonely at the same time. A lot of our crowd is mid-younger age too so that wouldn’t work out. I try to meet and hang out with our fans as much as possible, because it’s cool to meet them and stuff. It’s weird when they just come to try to sleep with the band. It’s like, “You’re fuckin’ 17. You’re not old enough.” That’s why you usually have to ID check before you bring anybody on the bus usually, because we’ll go to jail.

Relationship-wise, if you guys have girls at home is it hard to stay loyal?
It’s weird, being lonely on tour is a hard thing to pass. No matter what, relationship or not, three months alone is three months of being alone. It’s not like three months and then you’re okay. It’s constant loneliness in a way. It really is what it is. You either have a girlfriend and deal with it or you don’t and you deal with it. My favorite phrase and saying is “it is what it is.” It stands for everything. You have to deal with it. It is hard. I’m not about to go date some groupie girl. That’s fuckin’ nasty. “Which band did you sleep with? Oh cool, you wanna hang out later.” I like making fun of the groupies. Which is very fun. Most of them are pretty stupid. I mean, to want to just sleep with band dudes to make points. What else do you have going on for you, what else is your life worth?

How do you know the difference between a groupie and a real fan?
It’s obvious. You didn’t really come to meet anybody, you came to sleep with somebody. It’s fun to mess with them. We bring them on the bus and tease them, but not let them know we’re teasing them. Its fun, it passes time.

Do they really exist? Do you recognize people?
Oh, yeah. It’s really hard too, meeting people. I consider life moments, sets of moments in your whole life. Because I’m not religious at all, I don’t believe in anything really like that. I believe in moments and that your whole life is sets of these things and each little moment you capture is great. Being on tour you have select moments with people because you’re not going to see that person again or those people again for months probably. You have a day to have a moment with somebody, and that’s pretty much it. It is what it is. But moments are a good thing, you can either share moments and hang out, or you can share moments with other people on the bus and hang out. That’s why I enjoy hanging out with people, I’m all about it.

I’ll hang out with fans, but it gets weird a little bit. You’ll hang out with fans and share a moment with those guys, you’ll be hanging out and they’re super cool and maybe you’ll go get a drink at Starbucks, you and five random kids. And then next time you come through town they get mad if you don’t, which is weird, it’s like, “Sorry, man.” To them it was a big moment, but for us, we’re trying to hang out and spend our time wisely. Next time we come through town, maybe we don’t have time, maybe we’re doing press or maybe we’re hanging out with somebody else and all of a sudden they’re offended because they’re waiting for months to hang out again. I feel bad about it. I’m an asshole. I’m pretty good because I remember fans faces. There’s a lot of ups and downs.

Are there ups and downs to having really close, loving and adoring fans?
Yes. There are three types of fans that I’ve noticed. There are the best ones, which are the loving fans, that love you so much for what you do and they just love to see you and come to your show. And that’s it. That’s all they want – to come to the show, see the show and be happy because they got to see a live concert of a band that they love. Those are the best fans by far because we’re writing music for them and we’re touring for them. They’re accepting of that.

Then there are the fans that just want to meet you because you’re in a band, and that’s okay. I don’t mind, I love meeting people. But, some of those fans get angry when they don’t meet all of you and they get angry when they only meet one of you and they start getting really mad at you because they only met one. They think it’s pointless that they even came to the show because they only met one of you.

Then there are the fans that want something of yours. Your hat, your shoes, your belt. And they get mad if you don’t give them something. Even the ones that want a lot from us, they’re still good people, they’re good fans. It’s just hard to please everybody.

How do you keep motivated each night for every show?
I love playing music. For me, it makes me happy to play a show. The vibe you get from playing a show I can’t really tell you what it feels like playing a show. It’s like telling a blind person what red apples look like, it’s sort of orange-ish. No matter what mood you’re in when you go play a show, you’ll probably be in a better mood. If you have a bad show it will probably put you in a bad mood too. But you’re still probably in a better mood then being in a real bad mood, if that makes sense. No matter what, it’s going to uplift you a little bit to a lot.

Do you guys have a musical background?
Yeah, it’s different for all of us. I think I know everybody’s background. Quinn’s dad was a drummer, so Quinn picked up music easily because his dad was a musician. I think they would jam together a little bit. Quinn’s naturally good at music. When we met him, he was the best guitar player we ever jammed with. This was back in the day, he was 17, I was blown away. He was just so good with what he did. I think the first thing he learned was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song. The whole solo from one of those songs. I think it’s the “Freebird” solo. Bert is really good at piano, he started out playing piano and taking lessons I think. He can play trumpet too. His musical background is excellent. It comes from piano. Piano is the best way to start. I wish my parents would have forced me to take piano lessons. My musical ear is sort of hazy sometimes, but piano solves that whole problem.

Dan, his whole family are musicians. His dad too, is a guitar player and Dan’s a drummer so he just jammed with his dad and played with his dad all the time. Dan is definitely the best drummer I’ve ever played with in my whole life. Honestly, he’s one of my favorite live drummers, which is incredible that he’s in our band now because we used to watch his band and just watch him. I’d never seen anybody hit like that, I’ve never seen anybody play like that. He uses these thick marching sticks, they’re huge. I’ve seen him playing and he’ll break one, and he’ll pull one out and he’ll bust the next one in half right in the middle. He’s crazy, he’s an excellent drummer.

Me, my musical background’s weird because nobody in my family is a musician. I’m kind of the black sheep, my dad’s the black sheep of his family and so in a way, being a musician, kind of makes me the black sheep, even though I’m not. I picked up music, because my best friend growing up played guitar, and we always looked up to these other little, local bands that were awful, but great at same time. I was into weird music when I was a kid and I always liked bass stuff and for me bass was a calling almost. I picked up bass because he played guitar and it felt like that’s what I should play anyway. I’ll never regret that. I love bass, it’s my favorite. It was probably a good decision.

Check out The Used on MySpace to hear some of their songs and for current tour dates.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Most Spun 2007

So I'm trying my hardest to transcribe the 5+ hours of interviews I did this past week . . . hoping to get some up by the end of the weekend! In the meantime, feel free to check out my "Most Spun" list of albums from 2007 featured on, a website I just started writing for. Can you guess my number one? Let me know what you think! You can read my picks here.

Also, here's a cool video of singer/songwriter/one-man band David Ford I saw in concert a few weeks ago. It's featured on YouTube's homepage this week. Making music while having breakfast, he makes it look so easy!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I'm With the Band

Growing up during the height of the boy band era and attending all their concerts (you name it, Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, N'Sync I've been to them all) I've always wondered what it's like being on the other side. Not the fan waiting anxiously for the doors to open to get that perfect spot right by the stage, but to be behind the scenes. Whether it be the crew, security, or the band itself, that life seemed so much more exciting to me.

This past weekend I got to be on the other side of concert life when I toured with Army of Me for two of their concert dates on the "Get A Life" tour with The Used, Straylight Run, Street Drum Corps and Lights Resolve. The movies make it all seem so glamorous - sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. The groupies, the parties, the unlimited highs (whether it be natural or drug-induced) of the touring lifestyle. I learned this weekend that touring isn't all what it's portrayed to be in the movies. Sure, it's a lot of fun hanging out with new people and different bands and I'm sure nothing beats that feeling when you walk off the stage after putting on an amazing set, but it's also a lot of hard work - physically, mentally and emotionally. Often, you're traveling in a small van, packed in with equipment, suitcases and whatever else you may need for those months on tour and sometimes it can start to smell as half eaten food and dirty clothes add up. Going from hotel to venue every day can get tiresome and the downtime between unloading and performing seems like an eternity.

Regardless, being in a band is a full-time job in itself. Whether it's practicing for a show later that night or writing new music, it's another way of life and band members have to make a living too. Contrary to popular believe, they are "real" people and have to eat, pay rent and bills. Who knew?! In a way though, being on tour seems like an escape from the so called "real world." These people are doing what they love each and every day - performing, traveling, meeting fans and my experience was almost surreal. I tried to take in as much as I could and lucked out because all the guys in each band were so nice and down-to-earth. I was able to interview everyone from Army of Me as well as Jeph from The Used on their tour bus (don't worry, there are pictures coming too!) I'll definitely be posting these interviews in the upcoming week . . . not sure how much I'll actually transcribe for you to read though, but I'll try my best. Pretty much all of your questions about touring, groupies, and performing were answered so stay tuned for the interviews!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Interviews with Martin Smith of Delirious? and Will Anderson of Sparky's Flaw

Both of these interviews have been transcribed in earlier posts, but I thought you might want to listen to them as well. I talked to Martin Smith back in January, just before he and some of his singer/songwriter friends got together to write some songs of which all the proceeds made will be donated to charity. Listen here as he explains his project, Compassionart. Visit the website to learn more about it!

My next interview is with Will Anderson, frontman of Virginia-based band Sparky's Flaw. (Think a mix of Maroon 5 and The Fray.) He and two of the other band members are in their last year of college, touring Thursdays - Sundays and recording their debut full-length album between winter and spring breaks. Listen to the interview here and check out their website to hear music and get info on upcoming shows.

Some more exciting news! I'll be going on tour this weekend with Army of Me and the "Get A Life" tour featuring The Used, Straylight Run and Street Drum Corps. I'm not sure if I'll really have any computer access . . . but I'll try to update my blog sometime next week to let you know how it went! Feel free to leave questions/things you want to know about in the comments!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Listen to Lost Tricks Tracks

As promised earlier this week, here are two tracks off of Lost Tricks' latest EP, Keep It Together. Let me know what you think!

Track 1. "The Fall"
This one's my favorite. I love the piano intro. One of Trev's favorite tracks too, in the interview he said, "I’m definitely jamming on that song. It has that big epic feel that I really like. The song itself, the subject matter is very personal, a lot of people can relate to it. It has this mixture of acoustic and electronic and that really was kind of by accident, but definitely, I think helps with that bigness of the song."
Check it out here.

Track 2. "Keep It Together"
The title track of the EP and Trev's favorite on the album. He said: "I really think that 'Keep It Together' came together the best as far as production and how things gelled and the grove of it. I think it’s one of the better representations of us on the album, what we were going for." Listen to it here.

If you haven't yet, be sure to listen to the full interview with Trevor. And check out their MySpace for upcoming shows!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Q&A with Trevor Oswalt of Lost Tricks

Starting out with $2,000 and the hopes to buy a motorcycle on eBay, Trevor Oswalt’s original plan soon changed when someone else bought it seconds before his purchase. Instead, he bought an Mbox and the rest is history. Trev took some time out Friday for a phone interview with me explaining the history of Lost Tricks (which he explains as piano driven, indie-pop rock), the inspiration behind his music, and the new EP, Keep It Together. Stay tuned later this week for two tracks from the EP! And be sure to check them out on MySpace or their website.

For the full interview in MP3 format click here.

For more on Lost Tricks, check out their MySpace and website above. I'll be posting two tracks from their latest EP later this week too.

I'm curious to know if you all like listening to the live interview instead of reading the transcription, or both. If so, leave me a comment or an email at Thanks!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Lifehouse Have Sold-Out NYC Crowd ‘Hanging’ On Every Word

Shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday night Roseland Ballroom went dark and the crowd grew silent for mere seconds before screams erupted throughout the venue. The screams only grew louder as Lifehouse took the stage, playing the first chord of “Make Me Over.” As frontman Jason Wade leaned closer into the audience you could see his energy leap into the crowd as hands were thrown in the air and fans sang along to every word of the song.

Lifehouse’s 75-minute, 15-song set was full of nonstop energy. While most of the set included songs from their latest album, Who We Are, they also played some of their earlier work and radio hits, such as crowd favorite “Hanging by a Moment.”

The night featured solid guitar and drum features that accented Wade’s vocals well while each song blended right into the next, leaving no awkward pauses throughout their set. “Make Me Over” quickly transitioned right into “Spin,” which had a strong instrumental part towards the end of the song. After “Spin” the stage went dark before Wade came out, screaming “New York City!” then telling the crowd, “We’re gonna play some new songs and some old songs for you tonight” as a spotlight shown on him.

Next up was “Simon,” from their first album, No Name Face. “Simon” slowed down the night for a bit, but was an obvious old crowd favorite and screams were heard when Wade started singing the first verse. No matter how many times Lifehouse must have played “Hanging by a Moment” over the past few years, it still gets the most screams of any song played during their set. Literally every person around me was singing along, and I’m pretty sure that included at least 95% of the venue as well.

Wade started off “Storm” alone on vocals, as his voice echoed throughout the venue singing, “If I could just see you/Everything would be all right/If I'd see you/This darkness would turn to light/And I will walk on water/And you will catch me if I fall/And I will get lost into your eyes/I know everything will be alright/I know everything is alright” before he began playing acoustic guitar. Definitely a vocally driven song, his rendition of “Storm” live surpassed listening to it on their album.

The remainder of their set included the radio hit “You and Me” as well as “Disarray” and an encore performance of “The First Time” and high-energy closer “Broken.” Four albums and many tours later, Lifehouse proved to the crowd they still have the same energy as when they first began.

Matt Nathanson and HoneyHoney opened the night. HoneyHoney are a bit folk-sounding, with violin accompaniment. Their vocals were strong and they definitely had a solid collection of songs.

Matt Nathanson had a crowd-pleasing and comical set, with many in attendance singing along to his songs as well as Rick Springfield and Journey covers. First song of the night “Car Crash” seemed to be a crowd favorite, along with another song of his, of which he told the audience, “I like to think it’s a sequel to ‘Jessie’s Girl’ ” — a song that he soon after covered quite well. The prelude to his last song of the evening was Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” (with a dead-on guitar riff) to get the audience energized and singing along to his closer, “Answering Machine.”

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

David Ford, Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace Play Mercury Lounge

Mercury Lounge was packed Monday night during its early show featuring a solo set from Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace and English singer/songwriter David Ford. I really wasn't sure what to expect from either singer, being that I never saw them live before, but I walked out in awe of both performers.

David Ford took the stage shortly after 7 p.m., opening up the night with "Go to Hell" off of his latest album, Songs for the Road. A bit of a raspy voice, somewhat reminiscent of James Blunt, his songwriting has been compared to that of Damien Rice and Bright Eyes. His six-song set really impressed the crowd and as his set continued, the audience crept closer and closer to the stage, very attentive to his one-man band performance. Rotating from acoustic and electric guitar to piano, harmonica, tambourine, and maracas - all while singing throughout the song was definitely a sight to see. Below is a video for a better idea, but basically he played and recorded a few bars of the song with each instrument, then looped the recording throughout the remainder of the song. It was unlike anything I've ever witnessed before, but he definitely pulled it off.

Check out his video for "State of the Union" here for more of an idea of what his live performance is like. Let me know what you think!

Ford had the audience laughing during his song introductions, even jokingly dedicating one song - "State of the Union" - to Eliot Spitzer. "This song is about the government, philandering, politics, money, greed, music . . . all neatly compacted into a nice sing-along tune," Ford said. He explained that "Song for the Road" was inspired by spending time away from home and those he loves while on tour. Being from Great Britain, he said, "I love to come to your great country. The land of the free . . . refill I like to call it," he joked before beginning the slower, more mellow closer of his set.

Raine Maida took the stage soon after for a 70-minute, 15-song set. While his set mostly included songs from his latest solo album, The Hunters Lullaby, the night featured Our Lady Peace hit "Innocent" and cover songs by the Pixies and Neil Young. Maida had most of the crowd singing along throughout his entire performance.

Onstage, Maida is such a captivating performer. His voice is deep and dark, blending well with the band accompaniment and darker cello and guitar features. It's hard to keep your eyes off of him - his energy is contagious, almost trance-like. Maida started off the night with "Careful What You Wish For." The song began with a slow piano feature before Maida joined in with cello and guitar picking up the beat.

"This is cozy," he said to the audience at the sold-out show. "I wish you all could fit on our bus. That's not an offer," he joked while screams could be heard throughout the room. Many of the songs from his album sound a bit dark and edgy, with him singing or talking along with the song.

"Yellow Brick Road" Maida started out talking, "I remember the days when we'd talk for hours/We were young we thought we had superpowers/We kissed the sky, expanding our minds, thought we could fly/We were dreamers, and we'd never die/We were young punks but we showed potential/It was us against the world, we weren't sentimental/We weren't our problems, our age or our paychecks/And we weren't taking anybody's shit" before the crowd joined him singing along during the chorus.

For the most part, he preceded each song with a story about the meaning behind the song, joking "I feel like this is fuckin' story tellers or something." Before covering Neil Young's song, "Ohio" he said he was upset when he read Young's recent quote about music not changing the world. Young told reporters earlier this year: "I think that the time when music could change the world is past. I think it would be very naive to think that in this day and age."

Raide then covered Billy Talent's, "Try Honesty" telling the audience, "this is one of the songs I wish I wrote." Soon after, featured pianist of the night, (wife Chantal Kreviazuk) sang a vocally strong and powerful cover of the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind" before Maida closed the night with crowd favorite, the night's sing-along song and Our Lady Peace hit, "Innocent."

For more on these artists check out their MySpace!
David Ford
Raine Maida
Chantal Kreviazuk


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