All posts filed under: Popdose Interviews

Photo Credit: Julian Broad

POPDOSE INTERVIEW: A Q&A With Paul Weller

Anyone and everyone who knows me is well aware of the magnitude to Paul Weller’s presence in my life over the past three decades. McCartney, Townshend and Weller – my musical heroes and influences. But it is Paul Weller who pointed the direction that made me become the songwriter I became. The music of The Jam, especially during my teen years, were vital and important to me; they were my favorite band and admittedly, I took all my cues from Weller. Equally essential was listening to him and reading interviews with him, which gave me a chance to explore music I’d either never heard or had forgotten about – it gave me a wider palette to paint from and sounds that I’ve loved, cherished and referred back to since. So to have the opportunity to speak with him was a thrill and a joy. Coming straight out of soundcheck before his show in Albany, New York, Paul was more than accommodating and gracious in answering my questions; the conversation was light and breezy and I …

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RavenEye, “Breaking Out”: Exclusive Premiere

If you’ve been looking for some new sounds featuring kick ass heavy fuzzed out guitars, look no further and wrap your ears around the music of RavenEye, a new power trio that is in the midst of starting to turn a lot of heads. They’ve just released their debut EP Breaking Out and Popdose is pleased to have the exclusive premiere for the lyric video of the title track (embedded below). The band is currently touring Europe at the moment and they’re set to support Slash for five dates as part of that touring and they’ve got their eye on conquering the U.S. as well. The project is barely a year old, the brainchild of singer/guitarist Oli Brown who at age 25 already had three successful solo albums to his credit, plus touring with Joe Satriani, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy and Johnny Winter, just to name a few. We caught up with Brown via Skype this past week while we were waiting for a plumber to come to the house (it is indeed, the glamorous life) …

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THE POPDOSE INTERVIEW: CAPTAIN SENSIBLE

I had the very good fortune to first meet Captain Sensible 25 or so years ago, when I helped release The Damned’s seminal Machine Gun Etiquette for its first American release.  It’s been one of the most rewarding encounters I’ve experienced in all of my years in music.  A very kind, warm, unfailingly honest and good soul, Captain Sensible has been, and continues to be, an influence in my own musical quests.  A “musician’s musician”, Sensible is a guitarist par excellence, keyboardist, writer – someone who has the skill to do it all with melody and energy.  He also speaks with a lot of heart and care and it doesn’t matter if he’s from the old guard of punks; he’s still got passion and fire. And now, some 39 years after The Damned’s debut, he introduces us to a “new” (for these shores) band, Dead Men Walking.  Along for the voyage on their maiden studio release, Easy Piracy, are Mike Peters (The Alarm), Chris Cheney (The Living End) and Slim Jim Phantom (The Stray Cats).  …

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The Popdose Interview: The Weepies

Five years may be a long time to wait for a new release from Deb Talan and Steve Tannen — better known as The Weepies — but there probably aren’t any fans begrudging the time they’ve taken. Since the release of 2010’s phenomenal Be My Thrill, the band has embarked on a sold-out tour, rallied for this guy, had a third child (Nicholas, joining siblings Alexander and Theo) and moved from California to Iowa. Oh, and near the end of 2013, Deb was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. Following almost a year of Deb being in remission, the duo is making their long-awaited return. Today marks the release of Sirens, a beautiful album that, like previous releases, contains haunting melodies, wistful lyrics, and gorgeous harmonies and instrumentation. Though packed with 16 songs, the album still somehow feels too short. It includes gentle lullabies like “My Little Love” and “Sunflower,” darker ethereal tracks like “River From the Sky” and “No Trouble” and even a pair of covers, a first for the band: Tom Petty’s “Learning to …

Photo Credit: M. Eric Honeycutt

A Conversation with Eric Hölljes of Delta Rae

Major labels simply don’t have the patience to watch a band develop. If their first album isn’t a breakthrough success, they’re quietly kicked to the curb. Most bands don’t get a chance for a second major label record. Delta Rae is the rarity in today’s music business. Carry The Fire, Delta Rae’s debut record, wasn’t a flop, but it didn’t cut through the clutter either. It did just enough, however, to allow them to create the hauntingly beautiful new record, After It All. The subjects on After It All find themselves searching, struggling. Feeling lost and disconnected. Yet there is a sense of warmth and comfort in these songs written by brothers Eric & Ian Hölljes, thanks in part to some seriously seductive harmonies from Brittany Hölljes & Elizabeth Hopkins. We chatted for 20 minutes with Eric Hölljes of Delta Rae while he was in Nashville (writing songs, of course) and we easily could have talked for 60. Our discussion revolved around the new album, songwriting, blind dates with other songwriters, re-recording songs, vinyl and album number three. When we last …

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MEET LEFTY WEEKLING: An Interview With The Weeklings’ Glen Burtnik

New Jersey legend Glen Burtnik doesn’t seem to know how or when to slow down.  Always busy, always making music, always performing somewhere with someone, this multi-faceted musician is a local legend – having played with the likes of Styx, a variation of E.L.O., The Orchestra and having begun his journey in Beatlemania, playing (what else?) the McCartney role (at the same time Marshall Crenshaw was portraying Lennon). Fast forward to the now and Burtnik (in the guise of “Lefty Weekling”) has teamed up with some very formidable local musicians to create the magnificent Weeklings.  Taking tracks by Lennon and McCartney (and Harrison) that were never recorded or released by the Fabs (save for two or three and only released decades later as part of the Anthology series) and doing it in a way that you would swear it was The Beatles, the debut album from The Weeklings is simply a joy and one to embrace fully.  Add to the mix that half the songs are original Weeklings tracks (co-written by Burtnik and guitarist Bob …

Photo Credit: Marina Chavez

Being Lee DeWyze: Singer, Songwriter, Director, Puppeteer

Lee DeWyze isn’t the first person to hear the soon-to-be-disproven words, “your life is about to change forever” on a reality TV show, nor will he be the last. It is what it is, a short term boost of name recognition. You do your best to make the most of your time in the spotlight. For DeWyze, the afterglow meant business as usual. He toured clubs and released two records on an indie prior to his TV tenure. In 2013, he returned to indie with a fourth album, Frames, on Vanguard and is still touring to this day. One Frames single, ‘Stay Away’, is a duet with Katie Stevens who subsequently went on to reinvent herself as a bonafide TV star on MTV’s hit series, Faking It (the first worthwhile thing to air on MTV since the demise of 120 Minutes). For the next single, DeWyze reinvented himself as a director, co-helming the utterly charming video for ‘Fight’. This Being John Malkovich-worthy clip won the “Best Music Video” award at the LA INDIE Film Festival. POPDOSE caught up with Lee on the eve …

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The Popdose Interview: Suzi Quatro

As a rule, you generally don’t expect artists to find more success outside of their own country than they do at home, but that’s certainly proven to be the case for Suzi Quatro: the leather-clad rocker may have come roaring out of Detroit in the late ’60s, but she actually found her first success in Portugal – her single “Rolling Stone” was a #1 hit there – and went on to top the charts in the UK and Australia with “Can the Can” and “Devil’s Gate Drive,” earning an additional #1 in the land down under with “48 Crash.” The best Quatro ever managed in the States, however, was with “Stumblin’ In,” a duet with Chris Norman which finally took her into the top five – #4, to be precise – of the Billboard Hot 100. That’s not to say that Quatro didn’t have her share of success here in America, you understand. It’s just that most of the people who know her are either familiar with a song that sounds like almost nothing else …

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LET THERE BE DRUMS: An Interview With David Barbarossa

David Barbarossa is, undoubtedly, a man of many skins.  He was part of the early punk scene as drummer in the original line-up of Adam and The Ants.  As we all know, when Malcolm McLaren took the band’s managerial reins, he took the Ants and created the now-equally-famous Bow Wow Wow, for whom Dave drummed, with those famous tribal rhythms, until their split in 1983.  He later played with Norman Cook’s Beats International, Republica and Chicane.  Last year, he wrote and released his debut book (which was reviewed on Popdose).  The semi-autobiographical novel, Mud Sharks, met with a great deal of acclaim and appreciation at the warmth of such a personal and powerful piece.  Now, this seemingly tireless legend is back behind the drums with singer Eva Menon and synth programmer David Harman in the highly energetic, dance charged Cauldronated, who have just released their debut EP, the aptly titled Buy This Thing. I recently had the good fortune of catching up with Dave for a few minutes and had the opportunity to ask him …

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Kate Voegele Runs Up A New Hill: The 2014 Popdose Interview

Kate Voegele is one of those artists that indie rock hipsters and Taylor Swift fans can proudly call their own. Her roots, like mine, are in Cleveland, Ohio yet while all of us were friends with Tom back in the MySpace heyday, she actually met him when he sought her out for his MySpace Records imprint on Interscope Records. She’s since released three albums, Don’t Look Away, A Fine Mess and Gravity Happens (on ATO Records), selling a combined total of more than a half million copies. This week, she heads out on her own — on tour and with a new EP. On the eve of her first show on this tour, POPDOSE caught up with Kate to talk music, acting, fashion and her dream date… for a future tour. POPDOSE: While Taylor Swift continues to drive away from Nashville (sonically speaking), The Wild Card EP continues Gravity Happens’ stroll towards a country/pop sound on tracks like “Just Watch Me” and “Caught Up In You”. Did your time in Nashville this year inspire these songs or have you or …

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HAPPENING RIGHT NOW: An Interview With Cyndi Dawson of The Cynz

A few months ago, I reviewed a new E.P. release by a local  (New Jersey) band, The Cynz.  They have that driving, frenetic garage-y sound that reminds me of the earliest punk days in New York and a highly charismatic and entertaining front person in singer Cyndi Dawson.  2014 has been quite a year for The Cynz, in that they released the E.P., Five Mortal Cynz; they have a new “single” release currently available, “Mean Girls”; they’ve been playing all over the New York area and now, on October 16th, they’re slated to be the opening band for the legendary and newly-reformed Blues Magoos (yes, the “We Ain’t Got Nothing Yet” Blues Magoos).  Quite a moment of distinction for this band, who are currently made up of Cyndi Dawson on vocals, Henry Seiz on guitars, Anne Husick (another alumni from Band Of Susans) and drummer Bob Stockl. I sat down to talk for a few minutes with the energetic and always-inspired Ms. Dawson; she’s interesting, passionate and down-to-earth and that combination seems to propel her …

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The Ocean Blue’s David Schelzel Turns on the Waterworks

POPDOSE last caught up with David Schelzel of The Ocean Blue in March of 2013 (read it here) as the band was about to release, Ultramarine, their first album of new material since 2004’s Waterworks EP.  Now here we are more than a year and a half later to celebrate today’s release of an expanded Waterworks on digital, vinyl and CD. SPOILER ALERT: In this new interview, David fills us in on the inspiration to revisit Waterworks, plans for the next Ocean Blue record, new music you may hear before year’s end and a potential super group that’s in the works. POPDOSE: When we last talked, Ultramarine was weeks away from release and the tour had yet to begin. So here we are a year later, did everything live up to your hopes and expectations? DAVID SCHELZEL: We are really happy with the record and the tour. We went in with zero expectations and were pleasantly surprised with the reception. People liked the record a lot, old fans and new. It received some nice critical …

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THE POPDOSE INTERVIEW: A Fragile Tomorrow

  I initially talked about Charleston, South Carolina-based A Fragile Tomorrow over a year ago, when I first heard and reviewed their (at the time) newest album, the splendid Be Nice, Be Careful.  This album resonated with me from the get-go for several reasons – first and most importantly, the songs were so tight, catchy, full and realized; they were the kind of quality power-pop that I’ve always loved.  And for a band of young men, they played with a maturity and skill not many others have.  It seemed like they had been students of the same teachers as I:  Big Star, R.E.M., The dB’s – any band who knew how to work hooks, jangle and melody around well-thought lyrics – subsequently, I was right.  The album had been recorded and co-produced by one of the masters of the “jangle resurrection”, Mitch Easter of Let’s Active, The Sneakers and of course, producer of R.E.M.’s first three records.  They cite the aforementioned bands as influences, amongst others, and most importantly, they’re music fans, which so many …

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Exclusive: Extreme’s Gary Cherone Previews The New Hurtsmile Album “Retrogrenade”

Gary Cherone is perhaps best-known for being the longtime vocalist of the Boston-based rock band Extreme and after that, the guy who picked up the microphone for Van Halen as the group’s singer for the Van Halen III album and tour. (If you’re a Van Halen fan, hopefully you got a chance to see Cherone on that tour — the shows were great!) Since 2007, Cherone has been focused on his new band Hurtsmile, a collaboration with his brother Mark playing guitars, bassist Joe Pessia and drummer Dana Spellman. They released their self-titled debut in 2011, which Cherone described at the time as an album which was “about returning to my roots [and] writing a record in my basement — a straight up rock `n’ roll record that turned out to be more diverse and ambitious than I expected.” The Hurtsmile album was well-received and Cherone and crew have come back around for round two, with plans to release their second album Retrogrenade in late May. Fans can pre-order the album now via PledgeMusic and …

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POPDOSE Goes Record Shopping With PUSA’s Chris Ballew (aka: Caspar Babypants)

The last time I breathed the same air as Chris Ballew, lead singer and basitar player for The Presidents of the United States of America (PUSA from here on out), there wasn’t much air to share. The year was 1995 — when PUSA was skyrocketing to fame with the MTV earworms ‘Lump’, ‘Peaches’ and ‘Kitty’. The room was Lounge Ax, the legendary Chicago dive that was featured in High Fidelity (a movie where you can see me for 19 glorious frames as a record store customer). The concert was beyond sold out, packed to the rafters and hot as hell — it was our last chance to see the band this big play a venue this small again. 19 years later… The room is much, much smaller — the diner inside West Seattle’s Easy Street Records. The stellar new PUSA CD, Kudos to You, is not too far from an endcap that displays all seven children’s albums from Ballew’s alter ego, Caspar Babypants. Caspar’s latest, Baby Beatles, also sits on the store’s “Top 20” shelf. …

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A Conversation with P-Nut of 311 and Wil-Dog of Ozomatli

After a combined 40+ years together (311, 24 years; Ozomatli, 19 years) but decidedly different career paths, both bands find themselves at the same crossroads. Both have gone the PledgeMusic route to reach out to their fans for pre-orders of their new records. (311 is using INgrooves for distribution and Ozomatli is using Vanguard Records.) Both bands are releasing albums on March 11th. I spent over an hour on the phone with the bass players from both bands, P-Nut and Wil-Dog, but easily could have spent four more. I barely scratched the surface on about 25% of my questions. But of the questions I did ask, their answers were candid, refreshing and honest. I thought it would interesting to have two guys who mutually respect each other, interact about the struggles and joys they’ve faced over the years. We discuss the new records Stereolithic and Place In The Sun, the songwriting process, death of the record label, family music, and what they keeps them entertained when not making music with the bands they’ve been in …

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Popdose Interview: Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields of “The Americans”

If you’re yearning for espionage intrigue and Cold War thrills, you can’t go wrong with The Americans, FX’s dramatic series about KGB agents living deep undercover in the United States. Set in the early 80s, when Ronald Reagan ratcheted up the tension between the U.S. and the USSR, The Americans stars Keri Russell (ah, Felicity) and Matthew Rhys (Brothers & Sisters) as Nadezhda and Mischa, two KGB agents posing as an American married couple in the Washington suburbs. Recruited as young adults, the two were smuggled into the U.S. and they assumed the identities of Elizabeth and Philip Jennings. Elizabeth and Phil have been “married” for 15 years, and in that time they’ve had two children, daughter Paige (Holly Taylor), and son Henry (Keidrich Sellati). They’re your typical American family, although Paige and Henry have no idea that their parents are the enemy of the United States. At the outset of the series, Elizabeth and Phil get new neighbors, the Beeman’s. Husband Stan (Noah Emmerich) is an FBI agent recently assigned to counterintelligence and helping …