Friday, February 28, 2014

Justin Bieber Just Won't Behave: Inside Rolling Stone's New Issue

Justin Bieber Just Won't Behave: Inside Rolling Stone's New Issue

Inside the lightning-quick fall of a pop icon: 5 revelations from our cover story

There's a fine line between having more fun than any teenager alive and completely melting down. Justin Bieber seems determined to find it — and Rolling Stone goes inside the egg-throwing, hard-partying, drag-racing, arrest-resisting, brothel-patronizing, lightning-quick fall of a pop icon in our new issue (on stands Friday). Contributing editor Claire Hoffman gets the dirt on the 19-year-old's most recent troubles, uncovering events that would make the singer's core Beliebers lose their faith. Here are five of the most shocking revelations:
One of Justin's wildest nights went down at a Miami strip club called King of Diamonds Gentlemen's Club.
Bieber puffed a G Pen weed vaporizer and blew through the $75,000 in small bills his bodyguards brought for him in the VIP room, accepting lap dance after lap dance. The occasion? The January birthday of Bieber's pal, rapper Lil Scrappy. Two days later, Justin was arrested for drag racing in a rented Lamborghini.
Insiders blame Bieber's dad for encouraging Justin's bad behavior.
Bieber's 38-year-old pop Jeremy split with Justin's mom when he was a toddler, but has reappeared in a big way. "His father's not a great influence," says a source. "They're almost not like father and son — it's more like two best friends." Jeremy was in the strip club with Justin, enjoying the overflow of his son's parade of strippers, and was also present when Bieber was busted for drag racing (he was accused of helping block off traffic).
As early as 2010, Bieber began to show signs of stress.
Justin broke down in tears backstage one day, bemoaning his lack of privacy. "If you want the Michael Jackson career, you have to grasp that you are never going to be normal again," his manager Scooter Braun told him.
Three authority figures confronted Justin after his night in jail – but that didn't slow his wild behavior.
After his night in jail, Bieber left Miami for Panama, with his gal pal Chantel Jeffries. Usher, Bieber's mother and Braun flew to Panama to have a serious talk about his the singer's behavior, shipping Jeffries back to Miami. A source close to the Bieber camp said the trip wasn't an intervention, but "a conversation, reminding him of the people who care about him, and to consider things to do about it."
After the non-intervention, Bieber and his dad took off on an even more out-of-control trip.
Justin and Jeremy rented a private plane to take them from Toronto to Teterboro Airport outside New York for the Super Bowl. According to a leaked incident report, the pair were so verbally abusive to a flight attendant, she hid in the cockpit with the pilots. The pilots were so overcome by the weed smoke, they had to wear oxygen masks to fly the plane.

Tim Lambesis, As I Lay Dying's Singer Pleads Guilty To Murder Wife For Hire Plot

Before & After by M.e.L.T. De•SiGNS™

As I Lay Dying Frontman Pleads Guilty in Murder for Hire Plot

Tim Lambesis faces up to nine years in jail and $10,000 fine

Tim Lambesis, the frontman for metalcore band As I Lay Dying, has pleaded guilty to his role in a murder-for-hire plot, admitting Tuesday that he had hired a man to kill his wife. He faces a maximum sentence of nine years in prison and $10,000 fine, according to ABC 10 News.
Undercover police in San Diego arrested Lambesis last May after the singer had begun seeking out a hit man to kill his estranged wife of eight years, Meggan, who had asked the San Diego Superior Court to dissolve their marriage the previous September. He reportedly gave an undercover detective $1,000 in cash, as well as instructions on how to carry out the murder. After his arrest, Lambesis pleaded not guilty at his arraignment. A judge set the singer's bail at $3 million and affixed a GPS monitoring device to him; he was later released on $2 million bail.

As I Lay Dying's frontman — Tim Lambesis' beta-to-alpha body transformation
Lambesis' lawyer told reporters that month that the vocalist was on steroids when he hired the policeman. He said that as a result of Lambesis's drug use, the vocalist's thought process was "devastatingly affected."
At that point in time, news came out that Lambesis had written a letter to Meggan saying that he no longer loved her and he had lost faith in God. Furthermore, she discovered that he had carried on multiple affairs over the course of their marriage and even had a girlfriend at the time. The couple had adopted three children from Ethiopia and she said in her divorce filing that she worried about his ability to care for the kids, as he was "obsessed with bodybuilding." He also reportedly spent thousands of dollars on tattoos.
In September, a court decided that Lambesis would have to stand trial on the murder-for-hire charges. According to NBC San Diego, the vocalist's personal trainer testified at a pretrial hearing that "he wanted to know if maybe I could find someone to do it for him."
The group's last album, Awakened, came out in 2012 and debuted at Number 11 on the Billboard Top 200.

This Is Who We Are - From the Beginning - Documentary
Intro (00:00:00)
The Past (00:02:55)
Beneath the Encasing of Ashes(00:09:04)
American Tragedy Split EP (00:16:06)
Frail Words Collapse (00:28:07)
Shadows Are Security (00:56:58)
An Ocean Between Us (01:32:49)
The Present (01:45:29)

Nina Kraviz — Mixmag Live (November 2013)

As an artist, Nina Kraviz is the complete package.

She sings, she produces, she DJs, and it’s for that reason that she is one of the most influential voices in the underground electronic world.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Canada Goose Artic Coat Explosion

Canada Goose Langford Parka ($695)



Canada Goose may have started out in a small warehouse in Toronto, but today you can find their coats on every continent, with one of the most unique places being the McMurdo Station in Antarctica. And let’s face it: if it’s good enough for scientists living on the coldest place on Earth, it’s good enough for me. The reason for the worldwide popularity of the Canada Goose brand is simple: they’re the best at what they do. Their Arctic Collection jackets are among the warmest and most well designed coats you can find, anywhere, blending great looking style with an immensely high level of functionality.

While Canada Goose offers collections and styles for nearly any type of weather and body type, here in the Midwest where winter temperatures are regularly in the single digits or below, the Langford Parka from Canada Goose’s Arctic Line is a great choice for looking great and staying warm no matter how cold the wind and temperature gets.

Stylish enough to be at home in the city, the Langford Parka also features everything you’d expect from a coat built to visit the poles. Designed to fall around your mid-thigh, it offers added protection from the cold and the wind as well as giving you a classic, handsome silhouette. Function doesn’t stop at the length of the jacket however, it also features an insulated storm flap under the front zipper and a velcro storm flap over for additional wind protection. For added warmth and protection for your arms, the jacket features rib-knit cuffs to keep gusts of cold wind from going up your sleeves and is designed from Arctic Tech fabric. Arctic Tech is the perfect winter fabric, as it’s water resistant, windproof and exceptionally durable, thus extending the life of your jacket.

Not forgotten from the Langford Parka is a Canada Goose signature style element – a coyote fur ruff surrounding the hood that offers natural protection for the elements. Coyote fur never freezes and doesn’t hold water, so it always maintains its soft, protective texture, keeping snow and wind off your face. It also adds to the style of the coat and makes it unmistakably a Canada Goose jacket. 

Inside, the key to the Langford Parka’s warmth lies in the premium white goose down that surrounds the coat. At a lighter weight than other types and grades of down, premium Canadian down traps more warm air in and keeps you at a perfect temperature in any weather. Rated on The Thermal Experience Index (a five-point system developed by Canada Goose to ensure you choose the perfect jacket for your weather), the Langford Parka is a four, meaning it can handle -15 / -25 Celsius. If you live in temps any colder than that, you need a new place to live, not a new coat. The parka also has plenty of room for all of your gear with two zippered interior pockets, two hand warmer pockets, and two ample storage pockets with velcro flaps, all integrated perfectly for a sleek design.
Put it all together, and you’ve got the ultimate coat to do battle with winter’s worst. Whether you live in single digits like me or are just looking for a stylish winter jacket to keep you warm from cab to door, the Canda Goose Lanford Parka is the perfect fit. Check it out on the Canada Goose website along with their other equally great winter gear. — John Clark 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Coheed and Cambria: New York's Own — Progressive Rock Lords

"Blood Red Summer" by Coheed And Cambria

•   •   •

Coheed and Cambria


Coheed and Cambria is a progressive hard rock band from Nyack, New York — circa 1995.

Claudio SanchezLead Vocals & Guitar [Rhythm & Lead]
         Travis Stever      – Guitar [Lead & Rhythm]                                 
Josh Eppard – Drums                                               
Zach Cooper – Bass                                                 


Michael Todd – Bass
Chris Pennie – Drums [from Dillinger Escape Plan]

"A Favor House Atlantic" by Coheed And Cambria

Coheed And Cambria are a critically-acclaimed / highly-skilled band of technical musicians — whom incorporates various aspects Progressive Rock, Punk Rock, Pop, Metal and Post-Hardcore styles into their unique & coveted sounds. [Think: Rush –meets– Darkness –meets– Dream Theater]

Although an utter nightmare for music execs — whose job is to market the band in a pop-dominated industry, Coheed And Cambria has released commercial songs as well — in efforts to appease & tease the mainstream audience.

All of Coheed and Cambria's albums are concept albums that tell a science fiction storyline called, "The Amory Wars" — a story written by lead singer Claudio Sanchez; which has been transcribed into a series of comic books –as well as a full length novel.

Interestingly enough, the band encountered a series of interesting bumps n' bruises & twists n' turns on their meteoric rise as artists who have made an impact on the college music scene — who perform at sold-out concert tours all over the world, transforming themselves into gold / platinum-selling band.

Claudio Sanchez is the brain & brawn behind this electic band has released 7-seven studio albums, 3-three live albums and countless several compilations, special-edition box-set releases & movie/video game soundtracks.

"The Suffering" by Coheed and Cambria

DID YOU KNOW? Seth MacFarlane


Seth MacFarlane — highest-paid television writer at approx.  thirty-three (33) million per year; once worked for fifteen (15) months straight, seven (7) days a week, and had to be hospitalized for over-exhaustion.

•   •   •

''I spent about six months with NO SLEEP and NO LIFE, just drawing like CRAZY in my kitchen and doing this pilot... ...about SIX MONTHS later I handed it in...and they LAUGHED...they LIKED it..."

Q & A with Seth MacFarlane — CBS

Top 10 NBA Plays of the Night: February 23rd, 2014

NBA Check out the Top 10 from February 23rd, highlighted by a ridiculous block by Thomas Robinson.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Why Does Salt Melt Ice?

Surreal photo of  New York City's skyline during the polar vortex blizzards of 2013-14

Why Does Salt Melt Ice?

Salt melts ice essentially because adding salt simply lowers the freezing point of the water.

How does this melt ice? 

Well, it doesn't, unless there is a little water available with the ice.

The good news is you don't need a pool of water to achieve the effect.

"Ice typically is coated with a thin film of liquid water, which is all it takes.'' states Professor Loc.

What temperature does water freezes to ice?

Pure water freezes at 32°F (0°C).

Water with salt (or any other substance in it) will freeze at some lower temperature. Just how low this temperature will be depends on the de-icing agent.

If you put salt on ice in a situation where the temperature will never get up to the new freezing point of the salt-water solution, you won't see any benefit.

For example, tossing table salt (sodium chloride) onto ice when it's 0°F wouldn't do anything more than coat the ice with a layer of salt. 

On the other hand, if you put the same salt on ice at 15°F, the salt will be able to prevent melting ice from re-freezing.

Magnesium chloride works down to 5°F while calcium chloride works down to -20°F. And that ladies & gentlemen, is another lesson w/ INSIDE KNOWLEDGE!

Top 10 NBA Plays of the Night: February 22nd, 2014

Nene's game-winning dunk headlines Saturday's Top 10.

The Sixth Extinction: Will Humans Recreate Earth's Next Mass Extinction?

Is life on planet Earth facing a terminal threat? Elizabeth Kolbert, author of "The Sixth Extinction" sits down with the WSJ's Michael Casey to discuss her years long research into the planet's catastrophic past and whether or not nature is ready to hit the reset button for life on planet Earth. — The Wall Street Journal

Get Ready for the Next Mass Extinction

A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes.

"The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History"
by Elizabeth Kolbert
Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted.

Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us.

In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. 

She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino.

Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day.

The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human. 

•   •   •

Elizabeth Kolbert: Journalist and author best known for her 2006 book Field Notes from a Catastrophe, and as an observer and commentator on environmentalism for The New Yorker magazine. 

Born: 1961, Bronx, New York City, NY

Education: Yale University

Field Notes from a Catastrophe, The Prophet of Love, The Sixth Extinction

Awards: Lannan Literary Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship for Natural Sciences, US & Canada



Shanghai Tower (650 meters)

Two 'world-class' Russian daredevils — Vitaliy Raskalov & Vadim Makhorov, climb the second tallest building in the world — Shanghai Tower in China, both rockin' GoPro® for the video footage; one with gloves and the other without.

Soundscape: "Trauma (Worakls Remix)" by N'to

•   •   •

Saturday, February 22, 2014

EPIC FAILS: Week 3 | February 2014

Best Fails of the Week 3 February 2014

Gerald Green Soars Above & Dropkicks From Top Turn-Buckle

Goran Dragic finds Gerald Green in transition for the long distance alley-oop finish over Kenneth Faried.

•   •   •


Top 10 NBA Playsof the Night: February 19th, 2014

Check out the Top 10 Plays from February 19th, highlighted by a few impressive dunks by Gerald Green.

•   •   •


Top 5 NBA Plays of the Night: February 20th, 2014

Countdown the top five plays from Thursday night's action in the NBA.

•   •   •



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Unbroken (2014) -starring- Jack O'Connell | Directed by Angelina Jolie | Screenwriters: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Angelina Jolie directs the inspiring true story.

Academy Award® winner Angelina Jolie directs and produces "Unbroken," an epic drama that follows the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louis "Louie" Zamperini (Jack O'Connell) who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII—only to be caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.

Adapted from Laura Hillenbrand's ("Seabiscuit: An American Legend") enormously popular book, "Unbroken" brings to the big screen Zamperini's unbelievable and inspiring true story about the resilient power of the human spirit.

Starring alongside O'Connell are Domhnall Gleeson and Finn Wittrock as Phil and Mac—the airmen with whom Zamperini endured perilous weeks adrift in the open Pacific—Garrett Hedlund and John Magaro as fellow POWs who find an unexpected camaraderie during their internment, Alex Russell as Zamperini's brother, Pete, and in his English-language feature debut, Japanese actor Miyavi as the brutal camp guard known only to the men as "The Bird."

Guns N' Roses - An Evening of Destruction — No Trickery! in Vegas

GNR, which has sold more than 100 million albums globally since its formation in 1985, consists of founder/front man Axl Rose, guitarist DJ Ashba, guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, guitarist Richard Fortus, bassist Tommy Stinson, keyboardist Dizzy Reed, keyboardist Chris Pitman and drummer Frank Ferrer. The band's most recent album is 2008's Chinese Democracy.

Artist/Event: GUNS N' ROSES
Show Venue: The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
City/State: Las Vegas, Nevada
Show Dates: Oct. 31, Nov. 2-3, 2012
Gross Sales: $775,119
Total Attendance: 8,387
Capacity: 9,839
Ticket Prices: $179.50, $129.50, $85, $45

"Better" by Guns N' Roses [Exclusive Video]

"Better" by G N' R

" far, my all-time favorite band whose prime years were cut short due to indifference of epic rock god proportions, the modern day Guns N' Roses feat. Axl Rose and his 'hand-selected' gun-slinging & pistol-poppin' musical assassins, the new G N' R is technically efficient & proficient like The New York Yankees Dynasty — although today's generation lose sight of cult status & true talent, I have no qualms about popularity just as long as I'm provided w/ of the greatest hard rock songs in the past decade & insane music video documentary to boot...Guns N' F ckin' Roses."


• Unlike Justin Bieber, it appears Axl Rose of G N' R was provided a police car escort as he races & parks a red exotic car

• Unlike Justin Bieber who hits his employees, it appears Axl Rose of G N' R was greeted by a bodyguard or personal security as his exits the super-car, 'How you doin' boss?'

• Unlike Justin Bieber who parties w/ "no-name" rapper "wanna-bes" who gladly take the rap for a FREE ride & enjoy a rent-free lifestyle in his 7-bathroom mansion, Axl Rose of G N' R parties w/ singer — Sebastian Bach of Skid Row as he, and other platinum-selling band mates carry drummer — Lars Ulrich from Metallica out-the-stadium's back-door


In this hard rocking number, Axl Rose praises love and laments losing it.

This was originally played by Guns N' Roses on their 2006-07 Chinese Democracy tour.

This was featured from October 2006 in an internet advertising campaign for Harley Davidson motorbikes. 

"Better" by G N' R

No one ever told me when
I was alone
They just thought I'd know better, better

No one ever told me when
I was alone
They just thought I'd know better, better

The hardest part
This troubled heart
Has ever yet been through now

Was heal the scars
That got their start
Inside someone like you now

For had I known
Or I'd been shown
Back when how long it'd take me

To break the charms
That brought me harm
And all but would erase me

I never won
Or thought I could
No matter what you'd pay me

Replay the part
You stole my heart
I should have known you're crazy

If all I knew
Was that with you
I'd want someone to save me

It'd be enough
But just my luck
I fell in love and maybe

All that I wanted was

Now I know you better
You know I know better
Now I know you better

So bittersweet
This tragedy
Won't ask for absolution

This melody
Inside of me
Still searches for solution

A twist of faith
A change of heart
Cures my infatuation

A broken heart
Provides the spark
For my determination

No one ever told me when
I was alone
They just thought I'd know better, better

No one ever told me when
I was alone
They just thought I'd know better, better

All that I wanted was

Now I know you better
You know I know better
Now I know you better

I never wanted you to be so full of anger (anger)
I never wanted you to be somebody else
I never wanted you to be someone afraid to know themselves
I only wanted you to see things for yourself

All that I wanted was

Now I know you better
Now we all know better
All that I wanted was

Na na na na
Na na na na
Na na na na
Na na na na
(cont. thru verse)

If I were you
I'd manage to
Avoid the invitation

Of promised love
That can't keep up
With your adoration

Just use your head
And in the end
You'll find your inspiration

To choose your steps
And won't regret
This kind of aggravation

No one ever told me when
I was alone
They just thought I'd know better, better

No one ever told me when
I was alone
They just thought I'd know better, better

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Musical Genius of the New Millenium — Annie Clark of St. Vincent

St. Vincent:
St. Vincent

St. Vincent: “I have this sound in my head. How do I get it here in my fingers?”

Talking Bob Dylan, the nature of pop music and that new album and gray hair with the always brilliant Annie Clark

I have conducted some rather terrifying interviews in my day, among them artists as commanding (and intimidating) as Neil Young and David Bowie. I have sat in rooms full of movie stars. I have met politicians and religious leaders. I once had dinner with Don DeLillo. Why was I so uncomfortable around Annie Clark, better known by her musical moniker, St. Vincent?

She’s delightful, easy to talk to, unpretentious, doesn’t stand on ceremony. I think it was something about the great variety of her output, the odyssey of her journey, the poise, the artistic confidence, the apparently unconflicted purity of her intent. I often feel these days like a mid-career artist and critic, with all that that implies — a sweaty sheen of desperation adheres to my practice, and all that I was certain about in my 30s now seems easily reconsidered in the most unsettling ways. I know more about the past than I know about the present. Faced with an artist so startlingly of the moment, so at ease in the present, with conviction about where we are now, it is hard not to feel fossilized.

And then there is her new record, “St. Vincent,” without a doubt her best, a gesamtkunstwerk, full of great songwriting, full of — subtle, unpredictable lyrics; great, strange bursts of guitar noise that stop certain songs in their tracks; winsome thoughtful moods; and, no matter what she says, real humor, of a sly, witty, world-weary kind. It’s a very accomplished record, an early candidate for one of the year’s best.

What could I bring to this conversation? Anything at all? What I have attempted, in the absence of confidence, is to goad the artist into considering the meaning of her most recent moves, her manipulations of persona, and to see in them, if possible, the context of popular music made by women going back 40 or 50 years, in which, just maybe, it appears that Annie Clark might be a sort of a shiny and admirable feminist icon for these degraded times. Successful? You be the judge.

I wanted to start by talking about your recent piece for The Talk House (on Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor”), which generated a lot of chatter. I am among the many who were excited and delighted to find that you had a writing side. How did that piece come about? Is there more prose secreted away somewhere in your apartment?

It’s funny because in this day and age, it’s almost like anybody can be a musician. Or anybody can be a writer. So I almost felt a little guilty stepping into writing knowing that there are actual writers like yourself who have a craft and make a living at doing it. It almost felt like kind of a sweet, sweet justice when I think about all the dabbling musicianship that happens. Oh, jeez, I don’t want to contribute to a culture of mediocrity, but it is fun to scribble a piece every once and a while.

So it is more than just a one-off publication.
Before I spent 18 hours a day on music, I wrote short stories and I did all that. And I obviously like to write.

What I found delightful about the review is that your writing voice is great.  That’s all that I require for anybody’s writing. Did you read Lou Reed’s review of Kanye?
I did.

I mean, that’s an astute and thoroughly entertaining piece.  He was a great writer, I think.  Frequently, on The Talk House, there are musicians who I think are really great writers. Dean Wareham, for example, is a totally great writer.
I haven’t read him on there, but I read his book.

His book is really great. I’m all for people writing outside of the Academy, because that way we get new voices and new ideas about form.  So I loved your piece because I thought it was really warm, but also extremely adroit. Kind of pitch perfect in that way.
Well, thank you!  It’s one of those things that did not take a whole lot of premeditation. I just wrote my stream-of-consciousness thoughts as I was listening through. It happened it got to be meta, because obviously the record deals with like fractured in the age of the Internet, and I was illustrating that because I was Google searching the whole time, you know. Because that’s how we listen to music these days.  It’s weird. It’s weird.

Well, the reason I wanted to start with The Talk House piece is because I wanted to ask if writing prose is related to the lyric writing for you. Are the activities kin to one another at all?
I think I write both prose and lyrics in just the way I think. I mean, the truth is I haven’t had time in a lot of years, nor made time, to write something outside of the context of music. But thinking about this in terms of lyrics — there are a lot of ways to think about lyrics. I used to be more on the prose side of it. For example, I wrote this down and it means something to me in this written form and I’ll just sing it, because obviously if it looks good on paper it is going to sound good. But in the new realm of artistry that I’m exploring now, the trick is not for some words just to mean something but for the words to sound good too. So that’s another whole dimension. It has to feel good coming out my mouth. That’s a weird challenge, because it also has to say what I want it to say. It’s like a Rubik’s Cube.

If I were to ask you to try and take me through a lyric, would you be able to do it?

So why don’t we just use “Birth In Reverse,” because it’s the song from the album on people’s minds today. How was it generated? Lyrics before the melody? Or the other way around? Melody first or lyrics first?
I wrote it maybe 48 hours after I got back from a year and a half of touring. So I did my solo record “Strange Mercy” and that led literally right into the production rehearsals and tour with David Byrne. I flew from Japan, finished the Strange Mercy tour, got in at midnight, started production rehearsals the next day. Whatever, I’m not complaining. It was very non-stop is what I’m trying to say. And I wrote “Birth In Reverse” in my apartment in New York. Music first, but I had mouthed  – certain syllables and sounds were suggesting themselves when I was singing gibberish to the melody. And then I was reading Lorrie Moore’s “Birds of America” –

A work of great genius.
I loved it, and she used this phrase “birth in reverse” to described the way a room opened up. And so I wrote it down.  I didn’t have designs on it but I just, you know, kept it there tucked in my back pocket, and then I went back to revisit that song, that music, and I started singing “It’s like a birth in reverse all along.” That’s how the chorus got started.

Chorus before the verses?
Yeah the chorus, that chorus came.

So are the verses retrofitted to fit the chorus?
Every song is very different in terms of the process. A song like “Prince Johnny,” that was basically a short story, and then I had to go back and go, “If I were to sing this and put a melody to it what would that sound like?” And I know that it’s more wordy and more specific and visual than some other songs, so I knew that music had to be kind of simple. I didn’t want to overwhelm. Like here’s this story, relate to it or don’t. I have found that sounds, sounds have meaning, and if you’re singing gibberish over something and there’s some kind of emotional reaction to it then you kind of have to honor that and figure out what words could possibly support that original emotional kernel.

In the case of “Birth In Reverse,” I have struggled in the last few days thinking about the chorus, trying to figure out if it means more than it manifestly appears to mean.
What does it appear to mean?

A death.
Yeah . . .

Does it mean other than that? Because then I decided this interpretation was too simple and I was trying to think if a birth in reverse could be like some apposite Buddhist spiritual journey, or…
I wrote the chorus, and I took it in to the studio and I actually even, I sang it — I laid down the whole track — with the sense that it was right, it was right for the song. Without the sense that I had every nook and cranny of this figured out. And John Congleton, my producer, was like, “Wow this is — so a birth in reverse is death right?” And I said, “Oh my god!  You’re right.” For some reason — that’s exactly what death is — that never occurred to me.
So let’s return to words as sounds . . .
Yeah, there was something in there, in the phrase “birth in reverse.” I don’t know if’ it’s internal rhyme, what do you call that?

Internal rhyme, or I guess you could say assonance.
Assonance, yeah.

I’ve been thinking a lot about two-beat choruses because of “Hot Pants” by James Brown. In a way choruses can be just a couple of syllables and that’s all you need. And “birth in reverse” is two stressed beats, because the “in” and the “re” are thrown away, unstressed syllables. It’s a variation on a pulsed James Brown-style chorus.

And of course all of those choruses are about how they sound. “Hot Pants” is only incidentally about “Hot Pants.” It’s more about hitting the “hot” on the one.
And how the H and the T sound, right in between those two beats. It’s great.

Meanwhile, the music on that song is incredible, fascinating. Many of the songs on the album, “Birth In Reverse” being an example, don’t have conventional verse/chorus orientation. They’re modular — in the Brian Wilson sense, or the “Odelay” sense — where the song can be interrupted at any moment by a fuzzed-out beautiful guitar figure, or a bass solo. Is that something that evolves in the studio or do you actually sit at home with a guitar and construct in that way?
I really spent a lot of time demo-ing the songs just by myself. Put a drum loop down. And obviously, “Birth in Reverse” sounds much better now that it has been properly recorded by a good engineer. But in terms of the guitar parts and contents of that song, even the tempo, I could play you the demo and you’d go That’s the same thing. One is recorded by a professional, but otherwise . . . On “Strange Mercy,” for example, I was writing these choruses that were phrases that would just get repeated. One sentence that would just get repeated. Almost mantra-esque. But on this album I wanted it to open it up and have longer choruses. Like the chorus for “Digital Witness.” I’m trying to think of some of the other songs on the record.

Doesn’t “Huey Newton” also have a weird eruption thing at the end?
Yeah, “Huey Newton” does.

Am I wrong to think that there’s a tendency of a modular approach to song construction?
No. I think that I sometimes feel like a stone soup approach to songwriting. Like there’s this one good idea, and this one good motif, well how can we invert that and repurpose it and use it again later. Because in my mind that makes the whole thing have almost a stitching, like a good stitch of continuity. I’m thinking about shape and layer.

But it’s different from a pop song structure . . .
I think a lot of these songs are pop songs.

Do you?
I mean, I do. [Laughs]

Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, talks with CNN about how she views performing as a mixing console for her personality.

I mean, I think they’re very accessible, but I don’t think they’re conventional pop songs. Maybe some of the ballad-y ones like “I Prefer Your Love,” which I really admire. But even there, to me, what’s doing the string sound? Some kind of synth that’s doing the string sound is so artful and hilarious in a way.
I think it’s a Juno.

It’s violating this perfect soul ballad notion by being aware of the perfect soul ballad structure.

Whenever you go toward something that could be like a genre study you just have to put on your white gloves and and yank it away from anything like parody. Believe it or not, I’m interested in music that has humor, maybe not so far as, like, Frank Zappa where you as an audience member are being laughed at or mocked, but music that has humor but not to the extent that it becomes ironic or sarcastic, when somebody’s not willing to step up and own their actual emotional content and their truth, whatever the truth is in that song. So it’s a delicate balance. Referencing something like a soul song and knowing that I’m not a soul singer, I’m not going to embellish this melody any more than I possibly  can — could just be a tiny flavor crystal — because I don’t want this to come across as funky white girl Christina Aguilera-land. Not against it, but that lends itself to the kind of parody of music. I want to honor music and not abuse it in any way.

I agree except that the chorus (“I prefer your love to Jesus”) of the song in question is using a soul form and precisely reversing the normal thematic material of soul music in the chorus. The chorus is about repelling the whole gospel idea. Am I wrong about that? You’re substituting earthly human love for godly love? That’s the substance of the song. So it’s sort of in the anti-gospel in the lyrics.
That’s a way to look at it. I wrote that song for my mom who who had a brush with dying last year. She didn’t, thank god, but I wrote it for her. I guess I was thinking about it in a very sincere way.

For me what makes the song stick is its emotional complexity. In some way a really good song has to have a kernel of inaccessibility, so that I have to work at it. Or else I use it up too quickly. For example, “Visions of Johanna” is a beautiful song because you can’t use it up.
Although it has one too many verses.

Not an infrequent Bob Dylan problem! Are you a fan of “On the Beach” by Neil Young?
What’s on that record?

“Ambulance Blues,” “For the Turnstiles,” “Motion Pictures.” You have a great Neil Young album to look forward to. It’s the densest, densest Neil Young album. And it’s lyrically impenetrable, at least when compared to his later output, and thus you have to work with the lyrics. Your line, “I prefer your love to Jesus,” needs to be wrestled with in a similar way. It’s ambiguous.
Yeah, yeah. I mean I could have just said, “I love you.”

“I love you, Mom.”
“I love you, Mom.” But that doesn’t.

Though that’s how Mavis Staples would do it. (Although it might be “Pops,” in that case.)
I think the public perception is that you’re one of the most interesting guitar players around.

I observe that it’s infrequently the case that a woman gets to be one of the most interesting guitar players around. Do you feel a sense of responsibility in that sense? Or are you just picking up the guitar and whatever happens, happens Do you feel like you’re pushing the envelope with the instrument?
My instinct used to be to say, “Oh, well, I intended this, and I meant to do that and all of this was pre-planned.” But I’m realizing now that — to be honest — music is a mystery to me. My own instincts, though I very much trust them now, are mysterious in their origin and ultimately I’m only ever trying to get at the sound that is here. And I’m going to try to bridge that gap between the theoretical and the actual. In the same way that I think that I really make pop music, I don’t think of it as pushing the guitar lexicon. I’m thinking, “How do I make something that’s interesting to my ears.” And I have some restless ears, and I now have a fractured attention span because I’m like living in the modern world. I have a more fractured attention span than ever, so I’m, like, how do I make this sound interesting to myself. I have to trust that if this sounds cool to me, it might sound cool to somebody else.

So no need for you to represent as a great guitar player.
Don’t mistake what I’m saying. It absolutely is an impulse, but I’m not thinking of it in terms of, “I’m a pioneer.” I have this sound in my head. How do I get it here in my fingers? Then there’s the flip side of that, which is that the same way that the music is more mysterious to me than ever there are things that come out my unconscious mind and my fingers that I couldn’t have imagined. They just exist and they’re there. And I go, “Oh that was cool!” And so there’s always that — it’s nice to have a certain level of skill, but not so much that you can always presuppose the outcome. When I put my fingers down on the guitar I don’t know what it’s going to sound like and I’m somehow willfully ignorant in those microseconds.

What about timbre? You find extremely interesting sounds for your guitar.
I’m using pedals. Again, it kind of comes naturally. You know sometimes it seems like a guitar sound should just be really rubbery. You know? There shouldn’t be sharp edges on it? So I work with that, and I’ve worked with John on the records and we’ve talked about that guitar tone and, you know, there’s “Rattlesnake” where there’s a guitar part that comes in –

Love that guitar part!
I was listening to Selda who is this Turkish artist from the ’70s. In Turkey they use an instrument called the saz (I’m telling you what I’m sure you already know, so just humor me). In that case you play the melodies on one string. So this is probably getting too much in the technical nerd world, but I knew that the guitar part on “Rattlesnake” had to sound rubbery so I had to find out how to play it all on one string, so it felt like it was a little ahead of the beat, so it sounds more anxious than is comfortable. Again, these are things that I realize after the fact. They just happen.

So the jacket for this new album is incredibly striking. And partly it’s striking because of the new hair and the new look. There’s sort of a David Bowie-ish style reinvention moment happening here, it seems. How did that come about? And I assume that’s going to reflect this production for the tour that you’re doing. Can you explain what’s driving the change?
I just wanted to play with my visual identity more than I had before, because when I look at the artists who I think are really fascinating, and often there’s been a different archetype per record. Like Bowie or someone like Grace Jones who is very like classically beautiful but makes herself look like a freak. What an awesome subversion. And how powerful that can be, and so, very much on a whim, I dyed my hair blond. I intended for it to be blond, but then it was orange, and then it was yellow and it was a lot of really bad colors, but I finally got it to this Daphne Guinness grey.

And does this relate to the production aspect of what you’re doing with the shows?
For the cover, I was inspired by the Memphis design movement. I just love how the most simple shapes can be  turned on their ear slightly and recontextualized. And I was thinking kind of analogous to what I’m trying to do musically. I worked with this guy Willo Perron on the conceiving on the cover and he helped me execute the idea. An archetype of, like, a near-future cult leader started to emerge. I just kept thinking this phrase, “The power’s in the pose.” I knew I wanted to self-title the record, and I thought, “Okay, it should appear bold.” So what does bold mean? And so we built this crazy Memphis chair and we took a lot of photos in it. And it was interesting to look at the little micro-movements and how they translated to powerful or not powerful. I had my legs to the side in the throne and it looked like, a demented Hollywood starlet from the ’40s like, golden age of Hollywood, I guess. And then various micro-movements translated so much energetically. Eventually, we ended on what just looked the most powerful and intentional. There was nothing unconsidered about this photograph. There was nothing sloppy or just a blown out. It was clean and symmetrical and very, very considered. And I’m taking that kind of aesthetic into the live show with the stage design and the set design. I’m boring you.

No, you’re not boring me at all!  I find it very interesting.
Really? I’m boring myself.

Actually, I know well myself this problem of being bored during the interviews, of boring oneself. (I have lived that problem.) Maybe the issue here is the interviewer. I will try to ask a few better questions. For example, have you thought about the semiotics of dying your hair grey?
I think I was intending on blue. Blue faded into grey. I was really just trying to get the yellow out.

It has a certain kind of middle-aged gravitas.
[Laughs] Susan Sontag . . . Maybe there’s something subconscious going on there.

Because we were talking about how the pose on the jacket conveys power. Which I think it does. But maybe the grey hair in combination with this pose of power – for a lack of a better way of terming it — is conveying a certain idea about what the work is doing and who you are as an artist.  Great seriousness of intent, and ambition. In a feminist context, that’s what I mean.
That’s a really awesome read on it. I hadn’t thought about it specifically in those terms altogether. Certainly I’m incredibly ambitious, in terms of the art.  

Not the units.
Not the units. I mean to worry about units in this day and age that would be just shocking. It’s a funny thing because I’m 31; I’m not 61. In pop music we are used to putting people out to pasture by the time they’re like 35 or whatever. But I was listening to the new BeyoncĂ© record and she basically made a sexy record about being married and having a baby. She didn’t come out in like pigtails with a lollypop talking about going to the club. There’s a song on there called “Grown Woman.” In some ways, I live somewhat in a state of perpetual adolescence because I’m on the road all the time. I have no domestic skills, and I don’t mean that in a sexist way — I just mean that like, I feel like I live in the ether half of the time. Kids and marriage and having a house, whatever, I don’t have any of those things. That hasn’t entered my thought process. The way people usually track time, milestones. My milestones are different. So I don’t feel old, I guess is what I’m saying, but . . . This is the tricky question . . .

If you don’t mind my saying so, for the purposes of the interview, to me it looks like this: Here you are, an incredibly talented, strikingly beautiful young woman, a force of musical nature, at the peak of her skills, making, I think, a very interesting, artistically ambitious album and dying her hair grey for the cover of it. I think it’s a feminist statement. And, in this regard, the last question for the interview is: What do you think about the fortieth  anniversary of “Court and Spark”?
“Court and Spark” is a great record. But no!

You don’t want to be an artist in that way?
I do want to be an artist who has a long career and continues to surprise and continues to do things that are interesting to me and stay vital, but I don’t — I think you might be reading too much into the grey hair. I’ll be honest, it’s sort of a lack of vanity. My hair was so many terrible colors before it settled in here. So I’m like how about no pigment because every other thing I tried is wrong.

Well you could have gone with brown.
Yeah I could have. I know, but I was bored of that. I wanted to change it up. But I do love “Court and Spark.” That has “Free Man in Paris”?

And “Raised on Robbery.” And it has “Help Me.”
No no! “Help Me,” is the pop song on that one.

I used to think “Blue” was the masterpiece, but lately I’ve thought that “Court and Spark” is the masterpiece.
I think “Hejira.” It’s a very deep record. I really haven’t listened to her in a little while. But I should go listen. And I don’t know about the grey. I’m going to think about that, because to be honest with you I didn’t really occur to me.

Rick Moody is the author of five books, including "Demonology."

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"Juggernaut" by Crown Of Thornz

"Juggernaut" by Crown Of Thornz

Cain Marko's on a mission
And he has no fear
Get ready for pain
Because the Juggernaut's here
Six foot ten
Nine hundred pounds of pure fury
He's his own judge
And his own jury

I hear the footsteps
I feel tremors
No one can stop him
The Juggernaut

Here comes destruction on two legs
If you cross his path punk
You're better off dead
Because all he wants to do
Is get paid
And if you're in the giant's way
Stay the hell outta his way

I hear the footsteps
I feel tremors
No one can stop
Who is it?
The Juggernaut

The Hollywood Make-Up Of ‘Bad Grandpa’

Jackson Nicoll and Johnny Knoxville in
Jackson Nicoll and Johnny Knoxville in “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.”

Below the Line: The Makeup of ‘Bad Grandpa’

“12 Years a Slave,” “Gravity,” “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,” “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.” One of these titles may seem the odd one out in the awards season conversation. But when the Oscar nominees were announced on Jan. 16, “Bad Grandpa,” Jeff Tremaine’s hidden-camera comedy, made the cut in the makeup category. It was on a shortlist of seven films that was narrowed to three nominees.
The film features Johnny Knoxville as Irving Zisman, the old-man character from the “Jackass” television series who has lived on in the movies, on a road trip with his grandson.
Stephen Prouty, left, applying makeup to Johnny Knoxville.Stephen Prouty, left, applying makeup to Johnny Knoxville.
The designer Stephen Prouty has been working on Irving’s makeup since the first “Jackass” film, when the character’s designs were conceived by Tony Gardner of the effects house Alterian. Mr. Prouty took the lead on “Bad Grandpa” and decided to approach it as a complete redo, which included new sculptures and molds for Irving’s prosthetics.
“I wanted to really refine the character and give him a more streamlined look,” Mr. Prouty said, speaking by telephone from Los Angeles. “He had to be less masklike, because he was going to be out in public every day in this. It had to be as clean and as precise as we could make it.”
Aiming for an older version of Mr. Knoxville, the artists took several images of the actor and, using Photoshop, overlaid different age looks on his images. They then created a lifecast of Mr. Knoxville’s head, so they could sculpt in clay the features they liked the best.
Mr. Prouty, left, and his team applying makeup in prosthetic pieces.Mr. Prouty, left, and his team applying makeup in prosthetic pieces.
Compared with the Irving makeup used in previous films, the prosthetics this time around were thinner to make him seem more realistic. The prosthetics were also broken down into multiple sections, “which allowed us more latitude to get them exactly where they needed to be on his face,” Mr. Prouty said. “We could focus in on how each piece fit together as a puzzle.” The earliest iterations of Irving’s makeup were more like one large piece pulled over the actor.
Applying the character Irving's hair.Applying the character Irving’s hair.
The hairpieces were also improved.  “Hair can be a huge giveaway,” Mr. Prouty said. “If you see the lace on a wig or if you see the shine from the spirit gum that holds the lace on, that’s a tell for someone to realize he’s wearing a piece.” So the lace was much finer on those pieces.
The drying process.The drying process.

To apply  elements of the makeup, Mr. Prouty and his team used silicone almost exclusively rather than previous materials like foam latex, because silicone is more translucent, like human skin. “It moves more realistically and allows greater expression through it,” he said.
The final product.
The final product.
Unfortunately, silicone isn’t porous like foam rubber, which an actor can sweat through, Mr. Prouty said, adding, “With silicone, your sweat has nowhere to go, so you have to think of that ahead of time when building the makeup and build in sweat channels.” Those channels included ones at the front and back of Mr. Knoxville’s neck.
The makeup was applied at the beginning of each day, and the initial test took slightly more than three hours to apply. “But by the end of the first week, we had the process down to about 2 hours and 45 minutes,” Mr. Prouty said. - New York Times
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