Alice Cooper Stresses the Importance of Independent Music Venues

Alice Cooper may be considered one of the most legendary acts in rock today, but all legends started out small. The shock rocker recently spoke with Loudwire Nights about the importance of salvaging smaller, independent music venues around the country that are facing potential closure due to Covid-19.

“We all started there,” Cooper began. “Everybody from the Beatles to the Rolling Stones to Guns N’ Roses to Alice Cooper to everybody — anybody that’s worth a salt in this business started in a bar somewhere or started in a small venue.”

The rocker went on to explain that his band’s early days in Detroit were spent in old movie theaters that had been converted to music venues, along with other acts such as Iggy Pop, MC5 and The Who.

“If you don’t have that, how is a rock band — a young rock band — ever going to get good?” he continued. “I don’t care if it’s 20 people or 200 people. That’s where your fanbase comes from, that’s where the band actually becomes good enough to go out and then get on tour once they do make it.”

Aside from starting off in smaller venues, Cooper has some advice for other young bands — listen to the Beatles.

“We all go back to two things — Chuck Berry and the Beatles,” he affirmed. “Chuck Berry is your rock foundation. The Beatles are… listen to any album and tell me those aren’t perfectly-written songs.”

The rocker recently released his latest song “Don’t Give Up” regarding the coronavirus pandemic. His upcoming album Detroit Stories will be out sometime later this year. To hear more about the album, listen to the full interview above.

Top 66 Hard Rock + Metal Frontmen of All Time

Powered by ProGo Productions

Rising Rocker Ayron Jones: Our Beginnings Don’t Have to Define Us

Seattle-born guitarist and vocalist Ayron Jones grew up in a tough familial environment, but with a passion for music. A self-proclaimed multi-instrumentalist, the rising rocker recently signed with Big Machine Records and released his first major label single “Take Me Away.” He hopes to spread the hopeful message that our beginnings don’t have to define where we go.

The guitarist was listening to a lot of ’60s bands and trios like the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream when he formed what was originally titled Ayron Jones and the Way years back. That era of the band were successful to the point of sharing the stage with groups like Slipknot and Lamb of God, but the members unfortunately quit in 2015, leaving Jones to carry on by himself.

“I felt like as the composer and the writer for all this music, I think the whole band-feel kind of took away from all the work that I was putting in,” he explained. “I think a lot of people thought that we sat down as a band and wrote these songs, as opposed to me writing out all these parts and then bringing it to an instrumentalist to play these parts and me sing the music and do all of that. So I changed the name to be solo.”

The decision to go solo has proven to be triumphant for the artist, who has opened for big names like B.B. King and Guns N’ Roses, gone on tour with Theory of a Deadman and worked with Run D.M.C. and Public Enemy. So when it came time to be scouted by Big Machine records, Jones was already a natural.

Last month, he released his first single as a signed artist called “Take Me Away.” “Having grown up with the background I had, dealing with feelings of abandonment and all that, and what those kind of emotions do to you as an adult and in your relationships,” Jones said of the inspiration behind the song. “And also just being a black man in America, and kind of figuring out what that means for myself.”

“‘Take Me Away’ was really about how I was gonna use my music to take me out of whatever turmoil or whatever beginnings I had,” he continued. “And that no matter where I came from or what kind of beginnings I had, I knew that those things didn’t have to define me.”

Check out “Take Me Away” below.

To hear more about Jones’ story as well as his future endeavors, listen to the full Loudwire Nights interview above.

Ayron Jones – “Take Me Away”

2020’s Most Anticipated Rock + Metal Albums

Powered by ProGo Productions

Why Metallica Open Their Concerts With ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’

Metallica have opened every single show they’ve played since 1983 to Ennio Morricone’s “Ecstasy of Gold” composition, originally featured in the 1966 Clint Eastwood film, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. But do you know why?

Well, to start, obviously it’s an ideal intro tape — Morricone’s composition is evocative on so many levels. A slight breeze rushes past and you feel each strand of hair sticking straight up from your arm as they gently flow in whichever direction it’s blowing. “Ecstasy of Gold” is a layered piece of work, a three-minute swirl of crescendoing orchestral might that sets a tone of invincibility and triumph.

Then Metallica walk out.

This, however, was not their idea and it’s not a stretch to imagine a group of hard-partying thrashers who had just released Ride the Lightning, their second and final Megaforce Records album, weren’t entrenched in the world of orchestral music and film scores. That’s where having a manager can be quite useful.

Megaforce founder Jon Zazula, affectionately known as Jonny Z, was also managing Metallica at the time (he had signed them to their first record deal, after all) and suggested the band use “Ecstasy of Gold,” rejecting what was already in place — a clip of an accelerated heart beat.

“I’ve always been a huge Morricone fan, and I was looking for an intro song to be played prior to Metallica’s performance onstage,” Zazula, who will soon be releasing the audiobook version of his Heavy Tales autobiography, told Loudwire, noting he wanted “something emotional to get the crowd ready.”

There was another Morricone composition, in contention in the back of Zazula’s mind, which was featured in the same film. “I was tossing around ‘The Trio’ because of the fiery coronets at the finale of the song but ‘Ecstasy of Gold’ won.”

Ennio Morricone, “The Trio”

Metallica are a band who modeled themselves after their idols, constantly seeking sources of inspiration to mold their own band into the ideal metal machine. One of those chief influences was Iron Maiden, who not only had a vicious looking mascot, but a steady intro tape as well — “Doctor, Doctor” by UFO.

As to whether that was Metallica’s ultimate aim, Zazula doesn’t know that answer.

As recollected in Heavy Tales, Zazula had organized a summer show at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City, dubbed “The Midsummer’s Night Scream,” which was to serve as a Megaforce Records showcase. On the bill were a young Anthrax, who had released their Fistful of Metal debut and were aggressively working toward a follow-up (Spreading the Disease), Metallica and headliners Raven, all the way from Newcastle, England.

“During the Metallica set I had noticed some people hanging around the audience,” wrote Zazula. “Q Prime Artist Management co-founder Cliff Burnstein, Elektra Records CEO Bob Krasnow and his young A&R man Michael Alago were all there at this concert.”

Metallica, Live at Roseland Ballroom in NYC — Aug. 3, 1984 (Audio Only)

Any ‘Tallica fan with a slice of knowledge about the band’s history knows what happened next — the band inked a deal with major label group Elektra, leaving the DIY ambitions of Megaforce and its internal management.

Zazula, whose roster went on to later bring up bands such as Overkill, Testament, King’s X and more, obviously wasn’t very concerned about what his former client was playing before walking out onstage and didn’t give it much thought.

“There was a long period of time that Metallica and the Zazulas (including Jon’s wife Marsha, who was also instrumental to the label’s success) didn’t get together. Some years had passed till we spent time together again. When we finally did James came up to me and said, ‘Hey Jonny, we’re still using your intro.’ I was very flattered. I believe it was on the Summer Sanitarium Tour,” he commented.

Who knows? Maybe we never get the S & M album, the 1999 live release where Metallica joined forces with a symphony orchestra to reimagine a slew of their most iconic songs and some rarities, if the group had never been introduced to “The Ecstasy of Gold” all those years ago.

In 2007, Metallica expressed their gratitude for Morricone’s masterwork and contributed to the We All Love Ennio Morricone tribute album, playing a metalized version of “The Ecstasy of Gold.”

The Italian-born Morricone passed away on July 6 of this year at the age of 91, which prompted a tribute post from metal’s biggest band that reads, “Your career was legendary, your compositions were timeless. Thank you for setting the mood for so many of our shows since 1983.”

Heavy Tales: The Metal. The Music. The Madness. As Lived by Jon Zazula is out now in print and can be purchased here. The audiobook version, read by Zazula himself, is coming July 21 and to hear so much metal history unfold from the voice of the one who made it all happen, pre-order here.

Metallica: A Photo Timeline of Their Remarkable Career

Powered by ProGo Productions

Static-X Triumph Through Journey Saluting Wayne Static on Album

The date is almost here, with the members of Static-X about to complete their goal of honoring late bandmate Wayne Static by issuing the first volume of their Project Regeneration set this Friday (July 10).

Loudwire was given an advance listen to the new album, which features some of Wayne Static’s final vocal recordings. We also had a chance to speak with the band in advance of the album release, getting additional detail on the timeline of the recordings, discussing the painstaking process of putting the record together around Wayne’s uncovered demos and speaking on the personal nature of reuniting the Wisconsin Death Trip era lineup to work with Wayne’s recordings. Plus, they also share some of their favorite Wayne Static stories.

As for the record itself, the dedication to honoring not only Wayne Static but their collective legacy shines through, making Project Regeneration, Vol. 1 one of the best releases of their career. Fans of the “evil disco” vibe will be grooving at high energy to the infectious sounds, though it’s safe to say that you can feel all eras represented. You should be able to feel it in the heart and in the ears that this one was a labor of love. This serves as not only a love letter to Wayne, but the fans as well. Check out our chat with Static-X about Project Regeneration, Vol. 1 below:

I do want to start with the demos. Listening to this record, there are certain songs that feel reminiscent of the early era Static-X and put me right in that Evil Disco feel. I wasn’t sure how much of that was a byproduct of this being the Wisconsin Death Trip lineup of the band.

Part of the fun was trying to pinpoint where these demos might have come in the timeline of the band’s career. I was curious if there were more specifics as to when Wayne recorded his vocals on these songs, because it feels like it could have spanned different periods.

Tony Campos: It’s hard to say for sure, when Wayne recorded some of that stuff. We used those DA88 machines for both our live backing tracks and for demoing stuff and we had them for the better part of our career. My best guess is, the vocals from the main tape that we were able to salvage were probably recorded sometime between Shadow Zone and the end of the touring cycle for Start a War. There’s some programming in there that sounds like Koichi, and he recalls collaborating with Wayne while on that tour, but none of us can clearly decipher what came when.

We can say for sure, that the vocals on the songs “Hollow,” “Bring You Down,” and “Something of My Own” were recorded during the Start a War studio sessions. Those songs were the weakest out of the 16 songs we were working on, so they got left behind. Wayne’s vocal performances were great, but the music underneath just wasn’t as strong when compared to songs like “Dirthouse” or “Start a War.”

It was cool to revisit that stuff and write some heavier, more authentic feeling, WDT style riffs underneath Wayne’s voice. There was one song on the original five demos that I first got a hold of that had Wayne’s vocals, which ended up becoming the song “Follow.” I’m guessing that was done around 2013/2014, shortly before his passing.

Static-X, “Hollow” Video

Tony, this project began with some of Wayne’s demos being passed on to you. What are your recollections of first listening to what was shared? And how exactly did things evolve from there in you bringing Ken and Koichi into it?

Tony Campos: When I first heard the demos, I thought there wasn’t much there. It was just one or two riffs and some programming for each song, and only one had any vocals on it. I think also, I didn’t dig into the material too much because it hadn’t been too long after Wayne’s passing. I guess it was just too soon.

It wasn’t until late 2016, I had a lot of down time at home, so I revisited the demos, and began to see some of the potential. I had already been back in touch with Ken and Koichi, so the following year, I reached out to them and shared the idea of finishing up the songs.

Xer0, you previously discussed this not being a normal album and having to work with the vocals provided. That must have led to some improvisation surrounding what you had, as we can hear in some of what sounds like sampled dialogue in some of the tracks to help fill in around. Am I hearing samples or did you and the band record something new to create some of those little pieces of dialogue?

Xer0: The samples are just part of that early Static-X sound, though we may have overdone it a bit on this one (laughs). Actually, a good bit of that stuff was already within Wayne’s demos, so we wanted to preserve those visions. Some of it is a recreation of old movie samples and some of it we just made up.

Very early on there was talk of possibly having some guests, but when more Wayne demos were found, that became the base of this record. That said, were there any guests that did make the final cut on the album or is it just the core group?

Tony Campos: Al Jourgensen does a guest vocal on the last track of the album called “Dead Souls.” It’s one of my favorite tracks on the album. The original demo reminded me of a Ministry song called “The Fall,” and I thought Al would be perfect for it. Al even told me, “You picked the right song for me.” Ministry was a big influence on us, and I know Wayne would be so stoked to have Al sing on one of our records. I really appreciate him doing it.

We may circle back to some of our other friends for Vol. 2, but we really wanted to work to get the most out of any of the vocal tracks that Wayne left behind. There are still a bunch of songs with Wayne’s vocals that we are working on for Vol. 2.

Ministry’s Al Jourgensen

13th Planet

Xer0, since this was not the normal type of recording process, which of these songs came together the easiest and was there one that gave you the most difficulty in providing what you wanted out of it?

Xer0: That’s a tough question. This was a very unconventional process. Like Tony mentioned earlier, the music for songs that featured Wayne’s voice were mostly built entirely from scratch. We had those couple of the demos recorded during the Start a War album sessions, but almost all the rest of the tracks featuring Wayne’s vocals were absent of any music underneath them on the demo tapes. In the end, we got really lucky finding what we found and the logic behind why the vocals were all by themselves without any music isn’t as strange as it might seem.

I’ll elaborate. When somebody is using DA88 tape machines to record demos, they will generally connect two machines together and each machine will record onto its own separate tape. The machines link up and play the tapes back simultaneously. All of the tapes that we found were damaged from moisture and several simply wouldn’t play. The main tape that we were able to extract most of Wayne’s vocals from only had tracks with vocals and programming recorded onto them. I’d imagine that there was a second tape somewhere, but it was either missing or it was one of the several tapes that were completely trashed.

I wish we would have been able to salvage more, but what we did recover, was through a painstaking process of piecing things together over a number of days.

Tony, much of this has been not only about saluting Wayne, but also recreating, revisiting and reviving the feelings and emotions of the Wisconsin Death Trip era. Given the different nature of this recording process, what were your feelings after signing off on the completed record that fans are about to hear? What did this time with these guys in the studio mean to you?

Tony Campos: Yeah, things are way different now than they were when we made WDT, but we really got into that headspace and vibe of that era. Even on the songs where Wayne is singing more, as opposed to the gruff, staccato style he’s known for, we feel like we could’ve written those riffs during that era of the band.

We’re really happy with the end result. Being in the studio, working with the guys again, as well as working again with Ulrich Wild, was a blast, and just another cool way to reconnect and remember all the good times we had with Wayne.

Static-X, “All These Years” Video

While the album does pay proper respect to Wayne, it is still a very personal record for each and every member involved here. Are there little Easter egg nods to your own past Static-X history within the music you wanted to put in personally recognizing your own previous histories on this record?

Tony Campos: I wouldn’t necessarily call them Easter eggs, but there certainly are nods to the past, like the Otsego song. There’s a certain familiarity, certain notes, chords and phrasings that are present, that help give it that WDT vibe.

Ken Jay: Ulrich is the bigger Easter egg, to be honest about it. He has two rules for us when recording; 1) Screaming is fun 2) Everybody should have fun in the studio. However, musically we had to get back to the “fun” part of what we were. I thought that that would really be the true way to honor Wayne.

While we do have an edge, one of the things that made the band initially was the bounciness and fun of Death Trip. So to me “bringing the disco back” seemed to be the most important element of the past to recapture. That isn’t really an Easter egg, just a healthy nod to the past!

Xer0: I was just happy that we were able to get an Otsego song on this record. We also have an Otesgo song in the works for Vol. 2.

Do you have a favorite song on the record, and why does that track stands out to you?

Tony Campos: I really love “Dead Souls,”the last song on the record. It’s got this really dark, sad beauty to it. Koichi wrote this really awesome guitar line for it. We haven’t had acoustic guitar on a track since “December,” which was the last song on WDT, so in a way, it kinda brings things full circle. We always had an experimental track at the end of the record, so it was really cool to get to do that again.

Ken Jay: It is all incredibly emotional for me to listen to. That caught me off guard a bit. For some reason though, “Terminator Oscillator” just grabs me for some reason. It sounds like we could have recorded it in between Death Trip and Machine. It is just straight up stupid fun.

Koichi Fukada: “Dead Souls,” I don’t know exactly why but this song keeps on playing repeatedly in my head.

Static-X (1999)

Courtesy of Static-X

Tony, Ken and Koichi, this lineup was the one that introduced most of us to Static-X. How vital was this past year plus to get that feeling back of playing together again and appreciating what each of you bring to the Static-X sound? How long did it take in the studio before it started feeling like the Static-X that you each were looking for?

Tony Campos: Just being in the same room with Ken and Koichi again after so long was a great experience. Once we got into the rehearsal room and started jamming some old songs, it came back pretty quick. After that, we knew we still had that vibe and love for the songs, and that we could pull this off in a way that the fans would appreciate.

Koichi Fukada: When we first got together after all these years and started playing songs, to my surprise, it was instant for me to feel like we are back in Static-X.

Ken Jay: Personally, the physical preparation was hardest at first. I quit working early in 2019 and just focused on working out and playing. Within 15 seconds of starting the first song (“Bled for Days” for those interested) at the first practice in the rehearsal space I knew that not only did I miss playing those songs and the band, I felt we were going to be on top of our game so to speak. For some reason we just “fit together.” That all came back quickly.

In reality the emotional part was what we had to figure out and the most difficult. We are all grown men now. We each had personal feelings to get through during the tour that came to the surface. I think during the album tracking, rehearsing, press, etc, maybe we just repressed those feelings a bit.

Seeing Amy (Wayne’s younger sister) in Atlanta was an incredibly emotional experience and prepared us somewhat for seeing the rest of Wayne’s family at the Grand Rapids show. I feel like those moments in Grand Rapids after the show with Wayne’s family, because of the outpouring of emotions, it felt like all of the pressure we had been putting ourselves under was just gone. It was a relief.

It wasn’t like we hadn’t felt like a band before that or that we weren’t having fun. That particular show just still seems like such a milestone for the band as a whole. We could move forward after that.

You’ve got a great record here and while touring so far has been dedicated to saluting Wisconsin Death Trip, are there any tracks off Project Regeneration, Vol. 1 you’d like to see added live when touring resumes?

Ken Jay: “Terminator Oscillator” seems to be getting a lot of love. I think we should plan to play that one soon.

I wanted to offer you each a platform to share a favorite Wayne Static memory and the chance to speak on what a gift it has been to have these vocals to help bring this band back together.

Tony Campos: Man, there’s so many.  One that comes to mind, it must’ve been like ’97-’98. We had just played the Troubadour, and both Wayne and I had eaten some pot brownies from a fan named Cisco that used to come to our shows all the time. He swore they weren’t that strong, so we figured we’d be alright. When we got back to the rehearsal space to put our gear away, the brownies hit us both hard. We were completely useless, and just sat on the loading dock laughing our asses off, while Ken and Koichi put away all our gear. I think that’s why I never saw him smoke weed or eat another edible again.

Having these tracks with Wayne’s vocals was certainly an unexpected surprise, and just the most amazing opportunity to get to work with our old friend again. The demos he left behind that didn’t have his vocals were cool, too. In a way, it was kind of like working with Wayne back in the day, as he would come into the rehearsal space with a program on his Alesis HR-16 and a riff or two. Vocals would come in last. With these vocal only tracks, it was a kind of  an “in reverse” process.  We had to write around what Wayne had already laid down. It was a different process, but a really cool way to interact with Wayne again. The entire process has just been a very special experience.

Koichi Fukada: We really had great chemistry between from the beginning. The WDT or that EVIL DISCO sound was a result of the chemistry that we all had together and Wayne was our creative hub that brought all of our different musical influences together.

Ken Jay: When I tried out for Wayne and Eric Harris (Deep Blue Dream) in late summer of 1988, I worked my butt off for 10 days after getting their demo. Their demo was so different than anything I had ever played. I had really only been in cover bands that played a few originals, but this demo was unique to say the least.

I didn’t have any money to rent a practice space but the carriage house I lived in at the time had a basement/crawl space that I could set my drums up in. Mind you, it had a concrete floor but the ceiling was only about five feet tall. I had to lower my cymbal stands and use kind of a side arm delivery just to hit the cymbals. This was also August in Chicago, My “practice space” had no air conditioning and even running a fan didn’t help at all. The fan just spread the humidity out!

I memorized every single note of those six songs and worked on my tempos. I had it nailed. The night of my audition I borrowed a car, packed up my drums and head to the band’s practice space. I had only met Eric to get the demo and not had the pleasure of meeting Wayne yet. Eric had told me, “Yeah, he’s just really quiet.” So, I am fairly sure that while Wayne shook my hand that first meeting, he didn’t really say, “Hi”, “Hello” or “Greetings” … he really was THAT quiet.

So I get set up and stretch out a bit. Wayne and Eric just decide to play the songs in the order on the demo and have me count off. I felt like things are going fairly well for the first 30 seconds or so and then Wayne abruptly turned around and flagged us all down. I thought we were done already. I thought, “Man, I thought things were fine,” but I was a little heartbroken about it and stood up to start taking down my cymbals.

Wayne looks at me and says very loudly, “Can we possibly PAY you to stay in this band?” To this day it still just makes me smile.

Xer0: I’m just grateful and proud to be a part of something that has this much of a rich history.  I give all of the glory to Wayne and to the three original guys who stood next to him and helped to define this great band’s sound. This is a very unique situation, and I am honored and humbled to be part of it all.

Beyond the Project Regeneration tour and the album release, where would you like to see things go from here?

Tony Campos: Where do we go from here?  Well, we still have Vol.2 to get done.  That’s the next goal, so we’re just focused on that, and just enjoying the moment. After this, we’ll see. It’s really up to the fans. If they want to keep seeing us do Static-X, I’d love to keep working with Ken, Koichi, and Xer0.  Ultimately, we do what we do for our fans.  We’re nothing without them, and we are eternally grateful for their support through all the years.

Ken Jay: At this point, if it could be safely done, I would REALLY just like to be able to tour.

Koichi Fukada: As we are working on Project Regeneration, I realized that Xer0 functions in a band as our creative hub just like Wayne used to be. I’d like to cherish this because this kind of chemistry is so rare. With this newfound chemistry, I believe Project Regeneration came out as one of our best and I’m sure Wayne would be proud.

Xer0: Looking forward to getting Vol. 1 out to the fans and finishing Vol. 2.  After that, maybe I can come back as a robot and we can do a tour for the 20th anniversary of Machine. Tony, Ken, Koichi?

Thanks to Static-X for the interview. The band’s Project Regeneration, Vol. 1 will arrive this Friday (July 10) and is currently available to pre-order at this location. You can also get it digitally via Apple Music and Amazon. The band is hoping to return to the stage this year. Stay up to date with their touring at their website.

Static-X, Project Regeneration, Vol. 1

2020’s Most Anticipated Rock + Metal Albums


Powered by ProGo Productions

Interview with Bachir Attar: The Master Musician of Jajouka: Video, Photos

Post Views: 8,330

Interview with Bachir Attar, the leader of Master Musicians of Jajouka: The primordial echo of rock ‘n’ roll

Which is the most interesting period in your life and why?

There have been many periods in my life that have been interesting but one of my favorite memories is as a child riding on mules to other villages and moussems to play the music. I remember being on a mule sitting with my arms wrapped round my father traveling to a village with 4 other musicians. I was about 12 yrs old. As we travelled by mule it took 2 days to arrive to this festival. My father and the musicians played music without stopping as we travelled all the day. Sometimes we would take a break and rest near a well and we would then move on but almost all the time as we travelled music played. At night we stopped traveling and then we would all play music for a couple of hrs. Later we would sleep under the moon until sunrise. The next morning we moved on and we arrived at our destination by sunset. And I can still hear those same musical sounds which still run through my head from time to time. It is one of my favorite memories…on the road with my father and his best musicians, all of us playing as we rode on our mules.

From whom have you have learned the most secrets about the art and music?

From my father Hadj Abdesalam Attar who was leader of the Master Musicians of Jajouka until his death in 1982. I started studying with my father at the age of 4 and he taught me all that I know.

What experiences in your life make you a GOOD artist and musician?

Because I start as a child with this deep music experience. I never went to school. I only studied the music and I was serious about it from the beginning. I felt the music deeply as a child and I was born into this family of musicians where my father was a Master and the venerated leader. My father taught me since I was a little child but mostly it was the deep feeling that I had for the music from the very beginning which makes me what I am as an artist.

Why did you think that Master Musicians of Jajouka’s continued to generate such a devoted following?

Because this music is appreciated by deep artists. People who love and know music, poets and writers and musicians, it touches them. They understand it. They have to be around it. They know also the difference between the music played well by the real Masters and the music copied by others which lack the clarity and precision of the Jajouka Masters.

Some music styles can be fads but Jajouka’s is always with us. Why do think that is?

Because it is pure and human music…that is why it survives!

Do you know why the sound of The Master Musicians of Jajouka is connected to the “avant-garde” literature, poetry and life?

The Beats and many others followed Paul Bowles to Morocco. Paul Bowles invited Brion Gysin to Tangier and together they travelled to a moussem in Sidi Kacem. It was there that they first heard the Jajouka music played by my father. Later Burroughs and Ornette Coleman came to the village along with Brian Jones who later visited Jajouka for only one night but he recorded what was later named “The Pipes of Pan”. Others followed … I think that they liked the music because it is pure and human music as I said above.

Which memory from Rolling Stones, “Ginger” Baker and Maceo Parker makes you smile?

All these great artists play with us and we have high hopes for friendship and long success. We give great performances with them. Later we laugh. People come when they need you and people go when they don’t. It is best to follow your own way. Our old innocence makes me smile…

Are there any memories from Ornette Coleman and Bill Laswell, which you’d like to share with us?

I remember the dark night when we were carrying Bill Laswell’s recording equipment up to the village by mule. The trail was lit by gas lanterns which made shadows of the ears of the mules on the dark earth below as we climbed the hill. Once there we unloaded all of the equipment and we recorded “Apocalypse Across the Sky” that night. I have a vision in my head of Bill standing close to the engineer Oz Fritz in the moonlight. We were in my father’s house. That was a great night to remember. I also think of Ornette Coleman in 1973 when he came to the village for a week. I was a just a child. It was the greatest time watching Ornette play with my father and the musicians. Each night for me was magic. Ornette’s engineer recorded many hours of music. Bob Palmer was playing the clarinet. It was the most incredible time for me. I remember as it were yesterday. We hope this magical recording will be released one day and we can share it with the world.

In more recent times I have great memories of dinners with Ornette Coleman in NY. Only a few years ago we jammed together in his home in NYC and when we jammed in his apartment it brought me back to 1973 in Jajouka with my father. Ornette and I laughed and joked a lot during my last visit.In his soft spoken voice Ornette said “Come to see me anytime” …so “Anytime with Ornette” will be our next song dedicated to the great friend who has often come through for us when in need.

What do you miss most nowadays from Paul Bowles and what advice was given to you?

Paul Bowles always treated me very well and he supported my music. He often helped us financially, to achieve artistic goals. He told me though, that I need not leave Morocco as people will follow me and my music as they did his work while living in Tangier. He is gone and I feel the loss but I am glad to have known him. I miss him every day.

From the musical point of view is there any difference and similarities between the 50s – 60s & nowadays sound of Jajouka?

Jajouka music is different from Western Music…Jajouka music stays the same for me. It is all recorded in my head and it remains the same.

Of all the people you’ve meeting with, who do you admire the most?

I admire a few people … but I can’t say their names … some of them are very poor people and they live in Morocco.

What are some of the most memorable shows you’ve had?

Many shows with Ornette Coleman have been incredible. The last one at The North Sea Jazz Festival with Ornette and Flea blew everyone away. It was magic. I jumped into his music and Ornette jumped into mine.

What is your “secret” music DREAM?

My big secret musical and visual dream is to make a … Hollywood movie … with the story that I hold … I will give it only to some great artist who can handle it. Until then I keep the story hidden. It is a secret right now but waiting to be told to the right person. I am here!

What do you prefer to doing in your free time?

I like to cook, play my instruments and sing, compose music and play with my son Salahadin who is starting to play flute, drums, and guitar. This makes me feel peaceful and happy.

You have been traveling all around the crazy world. What are your conclusions?

I go in one door and come back through another. It is the same wind, the same earth, the same sky … I am here.

What are the secrets of The Master Musicians of Jajouka?

We will tell our secrets in the future.

Interview by Michael Limnios / Photos by © Cherie Nutting

[embedded content]

Powered by ProGo Productions

Dave Mustaine Went Back to Work Immediately After Cancer Battle

Megadeth have completed recording bass and drums for their newest album, David Ellefson recently told us. The thrash legend also broke down a little info on what fans can expect and how Dave Mustaine’s cancer diagnosis, and subsequent recovery, affected the process.

“Dirk [Verbeuren] and I put down drums and bass on the new Megadeth album,” Ellefson begins. “Slamming stuff. There’s moments where there’s very progressive stuff. I can’t say too much about it, because it’s still a work in progress, but I definitely walked out of the studio feeling like, ‘Job well done.’”

“That, to me, is the thing that’s really inspiring, when you come up with stuff that’s like, ‘We carved another new path that we haven’t been down. I don’t think anyone else has been down it.’ I think that is probably one of the most satisfying things to walk away from. We’ve still got it.”

As for Mustaine’s health affecting the new album, Ellefson reveals the band “shut everything down” once the news of his throat cancer came through. “Once he was through that… it’s funny, we share files on a Dropbox and sometimes I’d see a little Dropbox activity happening and go, ‘Yep, nothing’s gonna keep Dave down. He’s gonna keep working.’”

“I think having an album in front of us kept us all inspired. I can’t speak for any of the other guys, but I feel like as a group, it kept us all inspired.”

Watch our full interview with David Ellefson below and click here to check out the new Ellefson album, Sleeping Giants.

David Ellefson: Megadeth’s New Album + Dave Mustaine’s Cancer Recovery

25 Legendary Metal Albums With No Weak Songs

Powered by ProGo Productions

Why Def Leppard Did Things ‘Completely Different’ on New Live Set

Phil Collen says he’s glad Def Leppard got a chance to experiment with more theatrical shows during the band’s recent Las Vegas residency.

The new London to Vegas set features audio and video from two different stage shows: One was shot during the band’s 2019 Sin City residency, while the other stems from a 2018 London show where they performed 1987’s Hysteria album in full.

The intimate audiences at the Vegas shows gave Def Leppard the freedom to explore the less famous corners of their catalog. That included starting concerts with the slow-burning Pyromania album track “Die Hard the Hunter.”

“We just felt it was kind of cool at that point, for the Vegas shows, to do it completely different, with a song we’d never start with, that we probably haven’t played for 30 years or something like that,” Collen tells UCR. “It was cool to star with a more theatrical thing and not your normal ‘We’re gonna rock you out!’ track straightaway, to create some tension instead. It was weird, because we don’t usually do that, but I loved that, I’ve got to say.”

Collen says he’s been drawn to the theatrical side of music since he was a young fan. “You’d see David Bowie, and even stuff like Led Zeppelin, and there was a mystique about it,” he notes. “Just growing up with the glam rock era, there was a sense of theatrics. If you’ve ever seen Kiss, it’s what they do. It’s really good to combine all those elements, because we’re still really big fans. That stuff is really impressive – an actual show as opposed to a bunch of guys just getting out there [and performing], which is great if you’re a punk band. There’s a time and a place for it.”

Def Leppard also took advantage of the opportunity to shake up their set lists. “One of the things you constantly hear is, ‘Oh, how come you guys never play deep cuts?'” Collen says. “If you’ve ever been to a Rolling Stones show, as soon as they play a new song, everyone just leaves and goes to the bar. You have to please your base, you have to please the people that are coming to see you. You can’t say, ‘Oh, we’re gonna drop “Photograph” tonight or “Hysteria,”‘ because everyone will get bummed out.

“Vegas was great for that, especially the last couple of nights – we played two-, two-and-a-half-hour sets and put some deep cuts in there. It’s great for us as well.”

Watch Def Leppard Perform ‘Billy’s Got a Gun’ From ‘London to Vegas’

Powered by ProGo Productions

Hard-Rock Band Ice’s Shelved 1970 LP Is Finally Coming Out

Back in 1970, a hard-rock band from Indianapolis called Ice were all ready to release their debut album. But sometime between the recording of The Ice Age and its scheduled release date, the quintet broke up.

The LP was shelved, the group was forgotten and, like so many underground bands over the years, that was supposed to be the end of Ice’s story.

But then something happened. The Brown Acid compilation series, which collects forgotten hard-rock, proto-metal and heavy psych music from the late ’60s and early ’70s, included one of the band’s songs on a volume. That led to their 50-year-old LP being dusted off, cleaned up and prepared for its first-ever release on July 10.

“Musical trends in rock were rapidly changing every six months,” singer and bassist Jim Lee tells UCR. “Time passed us by.”

“The album was often in the back of my mind,” adds rhythm guitarist Richard Strange. “I believe most of us had given up and thought it was a lost cause.”

In 1972, two of the album’s songs – “Running High” and “Catch You” – were released as a single under a different band name, Zukus. And then, Lee says, the “dream was over.”

He held onto the tapes for years before handing them off to drummer Mike Saligoe, who carted them from place to place over the past three decades. The band members reconnected a few years ago and digitized the old tapes, “to have something to play for our kids,” Strange says.

But after “Running High” ended up on the ninth Brown Acid album, there was increasing talk about releasing the entire 10-song LP. “I think that the market has developed an interest and infrastructure to support projects like the Ice band,” says Lee. “The timing is right because the appetite is there.”

While the record features several riff-driven hard-rock tracks like those found on the Brown Acid albums, there’s also a sharp melodic foundation underlying many of the songs. Like Grand Funk Railroad and the Guess Who, as label RidingEasy notes, Ice wouldn’t have sounded out of place on early ’70s AM radio. The Ice Age‘s best songs manage to sound tuneful without losing any of their bite.

You can listen to one of those songs, the exclusive premiere of “Satisfy,” below.

The five members’ diverse tastes – which spanned era favorites like the Beach Boys, Beatles and Rolling Stones to classic composers like Beethoven, Schubert and Chopin – helped develop their own songs.

“We were pretty much working to find out how to best orchestrate the music for each specific song,” says Strange. “We didn’t seem to be limited by a specific style, influence or theme. I was influenced more by those around me, and what fit in to complement them, than outside influences. I think we all made each other better. I know … they all made me better.”

After Ice broke up, some of the guys played in other projects for a few years. Strange says he “can’t locate” two members – keyboardist and singer Barry Crawford and lead guitarist John Schaffer – but he’s open to a reunion with his former bandmates. “I rarely play now, but more and more have had an itch lately,” Strange notes, adding that he and Lee have “talked about how we might put something together again if this picks up. It’s possible, and I’m confident we could find a way to do it .”

Saligoe for his part says he still has his white Pearl kit used on The Ice Age. “I started practicing again after about 40-plus years,” he says. “Through good times and bad I have always come back to the music,” Lee adds. “It’s like going home. To play and write is to live.”

Powered by ProGo Productions

Avatar Singer: Politics Interfering With Optimal Pandemic Plan

Avatar‘s Johannes Eckerström was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio program. The singer discussed the band’s new album, Hunter Gatherer (out Aug. 7 on eOne), and the reasons behind the group’s departure from conceptual albums.

The singer spoke about the connection back to humanity’s more primitive days and how, while the record does not embrace a unified concept, there are many related themes running throughout the 10 tracks. There’s also a brand new look that comes with the album as the Swedes swap regal attire from the last album cycle for fetishist farmers.

Also, as the coronavirus pandemic grips the world, Eckerström stressed that this has happened before in human history and that we are now better equipped than ever to deal with a pandemic, although political issues are interfering with an optimized response to combat the virus.

Hunter Gatherer addresses humanity hurtling toward an unknown future. How does the album now have greater meaning in a coronavirus world?

I wonder if it does. The hopes and aspirations are one big idea that I am presenting. There is some stuff I read while we were working on this album — the idea that things in the world are turning bad right now environmentally — there’s a big chunk of people who seemed to hope for or want us to go back to something the way it was before — preindustrial and to have us scaled back. Sadly, I don’t believe in the solution being there. I don’t believe we can ever, ever go back to a better way than what lies ahead of us, if that makes sense.

I’m all for some kind of Star Trek acceleration into the future and finding our saving grace beyond that horizon somewhere. The problem is acceleration, whether good or bad, it’s just going faster and faster.

Viruses come and go and pandemics come and go in humanity’s history. In a way, we’re probably better suited than ever to tackle it in terms of what scientific backbone this is all resting on and communication-wise and resource-wise. It’s good. It’s not medieval times, but I don’t know, there seems to be a lot of politics getting in the way for us to really deal with this in an optimized manner, and so maybe it reflects that.

I find us in this very intense crossroads, the fork in the road right now, if you will, and the pandemic and the handling of the pandemic more specifically seems to be just another example of that.

Avatar, Hunter Gatherer Album Cover

Presentation is integral to Avatar. What does the new stage attire convey about the statement you’re making with Hunter Gatherer?

To answer that, I have to start talking about the music because whatever we do visually, whatever we end up doing in any form a medium or form of expression, at the end of the day and the beginning of the day as well, it’s always about the music.

We went really off on the deep end — very much on purpose with the humor and the championing and just fully embraced this strange, comedic love letter to heavy metal where we were messing around in la-la land for a prolonged time.

That meant that we had to bottle some very dark, complicated emotions and thoughts and just keep whatever state of mind we were going through. In our artistic endeavors, we had to kind of push them to the side for the time being and all that bottled up rage and need to do something more bare bones — aggressive and deal with the darkness — all of that came out now with Hunter Gatherer. Since that is happening, everything visual, from videos to outfits, are meant to reflect that.

It’s a darker outfit and it’s something work clothing has inspired heavily. We take a step away from the uniform to organize to something more from a grassroots level that is brought into this dark, heavy metal universe of Avatar.

It’s a theatrical version of that. It’s an outfit that, on one end, could maybe be found on a factory worker or a farmer as well as something you could wear and be appreciated for wearing at a fetish club somewhere in Berlin.

Avatar, “Silence in the Age of Apes” Music Video

Most aspects of Avatar Country were very celebratory. Directly and indirectly, how is Hunter Gatherer reactionary to what you did last?

I guess it’s the opposite in every possible way. Avatar Country was truly about having these awesome moments of make-believe together with our fans and it became this crazy cool journey because the fans were on board. It became something much bigger than just and the band playing those songs. There are some things in global politics that happened that made certain angles on how we wanted to make the Avatar Country work.

It started to resemble reality too much. We wanted to stay away from that and lighten the mood even more, but we did not want to separate from reality. We wanted to paint a totalitarian regime of this super awesome thing, ironically and without satire. It was never meant to be satire in that sense or at least that was not the main mission.

That said, it was not a very critical place to be — that wasn’t the point of it. All the things we have been thinking about and feeling strongly about for the past years now has the outlet on Hunter Gatherer and that’s why it gets this big title. Hunter Gatherer is what we are.

The kind of lifestyle evolution — before our inventiveness — led us toward being more rooted in one area and make us turn us into farmers and everything else that follows that. The hunter-gatherer is the very nature of who we are and then the clash between our stone age strengths and now our science fiction world that we try to operate in and it all encompasses. There’s so many subjects and feelings in the space between those two colliding forces.

So, again, it has become very dark — it’s real is the more important thing here. Every album is also about trying to peel away another layer of the onion and be more honest about things. A lot of things [on this album] are about things that I wouldn’t have found the words for in the past or may have not been comfortable finding a way to say on prior albums but found its place now. That is an ongoing revolution from album to album.

The record is not a concept album. In what ways did eliminating a conceptual framework enable you creatively?

Feathers & Flesh being our first concept album was meant to be a challenge and that became the big challenge for that album. Can we write in this way? We don’t even know what it means to write in that way. So that was that trip.

Then with Avatar Country we became so very much compelled to do that and it became an asset — a way to sort out what we needed to write to make this big concept work. As far as a challenge goes, by now a concept album wouldn’t become a hindrance — it would have become a formula if we did it again. We just knew we wanted to make something that feels more real that is musically heavier and that speaks about the darkness in an honest way.

Avatar, “God of Sick Dreams”

I am not trying to be edgy about anything. It’s not a concept album but there are a bunch of threads we wrote that go through the whole thing and that journey with concept albums still helped us be able to think of the album as a whole much earlier into the process than we usually had. The vision for this album was always in front of me as a painting but the picture was slightly out of focus for the longest time and while writing and trying things out and having a general feel for where we were heading, the image became sharper and sharper. So, thanks to the concept albums, we probably had a better sense of direction with this one.

You perform on a track on the new Imonolith album. How much does contributing to something unrelated to Avatar empower you in terms of not being restricted by expectations?

I don’t think I felt that there were fewer expectations on that. From a fan perspective, people didn’t know I was doing it, but with Avatar we are very good at stripping away outside pressure. We write for an audience of five, meaning ourselves.

Doing this thing with Imonolith, we got in touch because I am such a huge fan of what they have done in the past [as part of Devin Townsend’s band]. And it was through my fandom that we became friends and then they asked me to be a part of it. It became this big honor and you want to do well and you want to do well within the framework of what they are doing and what they are about and what their song is about and all that.

Imonolith, “Becoming the Enemy” Feat. Avatar’s Johannes Eckerström

So I probably I had higher expectations of myself for that in a way because Avatar is our baby and we want to make it the best possible thing every time, but we are the judges for that first and foremost. At some points, toward the end of every album process I have always been overcome with a sense of peace and satisfaction with what we’ve done, meaning it is okay if everyone hates this — we can go home and I will continue listening to it. I know why we did this and we’re fine. So there’s always that thing when it comes to our own stuff. It’s mine.

I didn’t have that with Imonolith. Instead, I had, “Oh shit, that is so cool ,that’s so much fun and such an honor and la da da… I really hope they’ll like this…” With Avatar I never say, “I hope they’ll like this” and I said that to myself with Imonolith because I was doing such a favor to friends that I’m also a fan of.

Thanks to Johannes Eckerström for the interview. Pre-order your copy of ‘Hunter Gatherer’ here and follow Avatar on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show here.

2020’s Best Metal Songs (So Far)

Powered by ProGo Productions

Billy Gibbons’ ‘Rock and Roll Gearhead’ Book: Preview, Interview

In the newly expanded edition of his 2005 photo book, Billy Gibbons: Rock + Roll Gearhead, the ZZ Top frontman invites fans into two sacred spaces: his garage and studio. The updated edition, re-released to mark the band’s 50th anniversary, showcases more than 60 guitars and 15 vehicles from the musician’s personal collection — some of which are available to view below.

“The acquisition of some interesting instruments to the quiver led to making some interesting sonics,” Gibbons tells UCR. “The updated book shares these fine axes for the enjoyment of players everywhere. And, of course, you gotta somehow get to the gig, and the trusty hot rod will get’cha there, pronto.”

The guitarist answered a few questions about the book, noting the importance of visuals to ZZ Top’s career and enthusing about how Rock + Roll Gearhead made him rediscover some crucial instruments in his collection.

How important are visuals to rock ‘n’ roll, and how did you learn or realize that? Which artists or what event/albums first helped you understand that?
As the story goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words!” ZZ Top got that firsthand when MTV entered the picture with visuals paired with sound. It’s still going strong today. Jeff Beck puts it like this, “Play it and imagine what it would look like!” …and then, “Imagine what it looks like and go play it!”.

About once or twice a year, I’ll buy an album that I’ve forgotten I already own. Do you ever do that with cars or guitars?
Oh, yeah! Many times. It’s often been pointed out that every guitar maintains a special characteristic and personality. No two are exactly alike. Same six strings, way different effect!

Did compiling the book get you reacquainted with any of your guitars? Have any of them found their way into the studio?
Yes, indeed. The surprise came outta the vault when uncovering the famed Gibson Switchmaster ES-5 seen on page 48 in the new book. It’s the rare jazz box that delivers an unexpected punch when all three pickups are engaged. It’s a beast. We’re enjoying recording the effect on several tracks on the new [Gibbons solo band] BFG disc [Hardware]. And as mentioned throughout the book, Pearly Gates is always close at hand. She’s got it.

Powered by ProGo Productions

Nonpoint Singer Explains Why Band Left the Herd Immunity Fest

There’s been a bit of controversy over the last few days surrounding a festival set to take place in Wisconsin in mid-July, which was formerly titled “Herd Immunity Fest.” Nonpoint were originally part of the lineup, but have since dropped out. Frontman Elias Soriano detailed their decision in an interview with Loudwire Nights.

Despite health officials still encouraging social distancing measures and suggesting that large gatherings not take place, the outdoor festival is being held at the Q & Z Expo Center in Ringle, Wisconsin from July 16 through the 18. Following backlash over the event’s name, the organizers shared that their venue capacity is 10,000 and assured that they are only selling enough tickets for 20 percent of that. They also confirmed the name is being changed.

When Nonpoint were first presented the offer to play the festival, Soriano claimed that it did not yet have a name.

“There’s a lot of deciding factors to acceptance of any show by any band. There’s multiple members of the band who’ll remind everyone that we’re in the middle of a recession,” the frontman explained. He added, however, that they’ve turned down a multitude of opportunities to perform due to unsafe circumstances, like the show being held indoors.

“If people know anything about my band, there is one thing that no one can argue with — it’s that we are very fan engaged,” he affirmed. After receiving an offer for a show, the members collectively decide whether they should take the offer or not. During this particular time, he said they want to make sure social distancing limitations are intact and being promised by the venue — masks, disinfecting stations, etc.

“When you receive those assurances and then you see something deemed in a way that doesn’t follow those assurances, then you should be able to reconsider,” he explained. “For the safety of our fans, for the safety of our families.”

Soriano noticed a lot of negative comments within their fanbase regarding the title of the festival, and he realized the discrepancy in beliefs amongst people over whether the virus is an actual threat or not.

“I can’t ask my fans to hope that the person next to them — that may not be a fan of my band — shares those beliefs,” he stated. “That the COVID situation is real, that there are hundreds of thousands of people dying, and we should take it seriously.”

“Do we want to put our fans in that situation and hope that they make it out okay? Or do we want to disassociate ourselves with it because it’s giving the impression that we don’t believe it.”

“We sign the contract to play a show, not to create what’s considered ‘herd immunity.'”

Following the announcement of the festival, Powerman 5000‘s Spider One wrote a tweet that called out the bands who were set to play the festival. However, Soriano confirmed that Nonpoint had already dropped off of the bill the day before.

Nonpoint’s latest song “Remember Me,” which you can hear below, is dedicated to the frontline workers who’ve put their lives on the line throughout the coronavirus pandemic. To hear more about the festival and the band’s upcoming new music, listen to the full Loudwire Nights interview above.

Nonpoint – “Remember Me”

30 Rock + Metal Bands Working on New Albums in Quarantine

Powered by ProGo Productions

Interview with Michael Kaeshammer: Boogie On The Blues Highway: Video, Photos

Post Views: 8,170

Interview with Canada-based pianist/singer Michael Kaeshammer: Boogie On The Blues Highway

How has the Blues and Jazz Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Through my father’s record collection and his constant ragtime and Boogie Woogie piano playing at home, Blues and Jazz music has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. The music and its lyrical content mostly touch on everyday life and is a direct reflection to what’s going on historically in a country and era. It’s this honesty to say and stand for what you believe in and what your daily life consists of, that has influenced not just my own writing and music but my life in general. Over the years, it becomes so much a part of you that you don’t identify it anymore as Blues and Jazz but just as music that lives within yourself.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

I’ve had many musical interests from the time I was a child until today, and I continue to search and grow (one of the most important aspects of being a writer and musician). My sound is a reflection of all the music that I have shown an interest to in my life, from Ragtime/New Orleans Jazz/Kansas City Blues to R&B/Memphis Soul/Early Rock’n’Roll to Pop Music/Hard Rock/70s Rock, even Classical music. It’s all music and it all has a part in my sound because I have immersed myself in these styles at one point or other in my life. The way I play the piano is the way I want to hear the piano played, that’s why I play it that way.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Two come to mind. First, a recording session with Art Neville and Eddie Bo in New Orleans. Simply listening to their stories and becoming their friends taught me more about music than any university or other teacher ever could have. Second, backing up New Orleans singer Marva Wright at Storyville on Bourbon Street changed my life as a musician. Her approach to finding a deeper meaning to be on stage and connecting with an audience has stuck with me to this day.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Besides the two mentioned in answer number 3, a recording session with Curtis Salgado and another with Cyril Neville for my “Something New” record come to mind. Drummer Johnny Vidacovich’s approach to music has also left a lasting impression on me.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I think it’s important to stay with the times. Real music and real art has always been a reflection of the times they were created in. Today we live with lots of technology and electronic gadgets, so it’s a good thing that these things get incorporated in today’s music (although I don’t do it and it’s generally not done in the Blues and Jazz genre). My point is that innovation and change in music is healthy and even necessary. The problem with this is that a musician’s ability (or lack thereof) can be altered to anything with this technology in the studio, and so what I miss the most from music in the past is that recordings are not about capturing a performance anymore as much as they are about making someone sound good who actually doesn’t. Although the best music today is still about capturing the best performance.

What touched (emotionally) you and what are the secrets of 88 keys? What do you love most of playing piano?

Life is the single most important inspiration and the easiest way to let your emotions reflect in your music. The secret to the 88 keys (and I think to any instrument) is that you transcend the fact that you are dealing with styles, key centres, 12 notes or an instrument that is generally considered a furniture piece. You have to get to the point of letting the instrument be a part of you, not to sit at the instrument and play it but rather become one with it. And that is what I love the most about playing piano. It’s like having a whole symphony orchestra at the tips of your 10 fingers.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Be yourself and stay true to it. Do what you do and try to do it the best way and let an audience gravitate towards you. Don’t try to please an audience because you think they like something that’s not fully yourself.

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

Music for a listener is a vehicle to let emotions come out and run free. The style of music is completely irrelevant; lucky so many people love so many different styles of music, it would be terrible if everyone would be the same. Music can soothe you when you’re going through challenging times, music can inspire you when you need to lifted up, music can bring you joy when you’re happy, music can be romantic when you’re close to another person, music can be political when you’re trying to make a stand, and so on. Music if life. Life is music.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

1824 in Vienna to be part of the first performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Interview by Michael Limnios / Photos by Tine Acke

[embedded content]

Powered by ProGo Productions