Austin 101 Magazine

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  • Howard Jones w/ Men In Hats Dallas Concert Photos

    by Nick Paruch

  • Review: Dead and Company Returned To Texas For Epic Show

    by Nick Paruch

    Following the passing of Jerry Garcia in 1995, the iconic Grateful Dead broke up, but three decades of material could not rest. The remaining members rematerialized in various configurations over the years as The Other Ones, The Dead, Further and Fare Thee Well. In addition to the founding members, the bands have included Bruce Hornsby, Joan Osborne, Warren Haynes and Trey Anastasio.

    dac_02For the past four years, in their latest iteration, three of the four surviving founding members of the Grateful Dead—drummer Bill Kreutzmann, drummer and percussionist Mickey Hart, and rhythm guitarist and singer Bob Weir, as well as singer and guitarist John Mayer, Allman Brothers bassist Oteil Burbridge and keyboardist Jeff Chimentia have been touring the world as Dead and Company.

    Some would ask John Mayer? Isn’t he the total opposite of Jerry Garcia, both musically and visually? Yes, he is! But the fact is John Mayer is an accomplished guitarist and his vocal style is a great match for Bob Weir. Also, the intent was never to replace Jerry but to find a someone to compliment the current band.

    dac_04
    John Mayer

    The heat was on, literally. It is July in Dallas. As the sun started to set on the Dos Equis Pavilion, Dead fans showed up ready to party in full tye-dye regalia. Much of the crowd was from the Baby Boomer era but every generation had representation. Proving just how timeless their music is.

    dac_06
    Bob Weir

    Was this the party of the year? For Deadheads in North Texas it certainly was. The first set had a definite Texas theme as the set included “Minglewood Blues”, “Deep Elem Blues”, “El Paso” and “Jack Straw”. Every time the word “Texas” came
    up in the lyrics the crowd would jump and cheer. To top it off John Mayer sported a Stevie Ray Vaughn t-shirt.

    Throughout the set Mayer and Weir traded lead vocals and even worked in a few harmonies. It is very apparent that Weir run the show, but Mayer had plenty of opportunities to shine. His guitar work on “Sugaree” was extraordinary and
    really showed why he is part of the band.

    The second set was laid out in traditional Grateful Dead fashion. A mix of classic jazzy-bluesy jams that included “Shakedown Street”, “Uncle John’s Band” and “St. Stephen”. Midway through the set Hart and Kreutzmann got to show their chops during “Drums” and “Space”. The set ended on an upbeat cover of The Young Rascals “Good Lovin’”. After a short break the band returned for an encore, they performed the Dead staple “Black Muddy River” which hints to hopefulness emerging from the darkness. Not sure if the fans left hopeful but they were certainly satiated from the experience.

    See all the photos from the concert on Austin 101.

  • Review: Al Yankovic Truly Keeps Austin Weird

    by Dan Radin

    When it comes to weird (and parodies), “Weird” Al Yankovic truly is the undisputed king.

    Al entered the sold-out Bass Concert Hall with the lumbering hunch of your typical IT helpdesk technician, yet carried the poise of a world-class entertainer.  It was hard to remember the dude is pushing 70 years old; he’s continued to keep himself relevant by ripping today’s music hits with his gleeful parodies and music videos.

    Weird Al Yankovic 004Al’s theatrical set was well-rehearsed and inclusive to the age-diverse audience.  Short of a Broadway production, it featured music videos, many costume changes, and playful shorts between songs. Al nailed his high notes while jumping around on stage, and flipping high-split kicks with the grace of a man a third his age.  It was impressive.

    “Part of my job is to come through town every few years, and to make sure you people are keeping Austin weird,” mused Al to thunderous applause.  “And now, I’d like to sing a little song about a twine ball.”

    Weird Al Yankovic 019Al mixed in deep cuts like “I Love Rocky Road” (“I Love Rock n Roll”) with “Word Crimes” (Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”) to the backdrop of the lyric music video.  The songs were further augmented by 41-piece symphony Strings Attached, who opened the show with movie favorites like Indiana Jones and Star Wars, then superbly added orchestral depth to Al’s catalog – starting with the horns in Madonna spoof “Like a Surgeon.”

    “OK, I know what you’re all waiting to hear… drum solo!” Tension built. The crowd was dead silent.  Then Al’s drummer paused… and hit his snare literally two times.  The audience roared in laughter.

    Seated on a stool, Al took an acoustic guitar in his lap.  At each verse he lifted it like he was going to play it, took a breath, then put it down and continued into the next verse, singing only.  With each build, and Al’s picking the guitar up, the audience anticipated playing the instrument even more- but Al never actually played it.  At the song’s conclusion, he lifted the acoustic guitar by the neck high overhead, then smashed it to splinters on the stage.  Among the laughter, you could feel the Austinite musicians cringing.

    The big screen behind supplemented Al’s antics.  He launched into “Tacky” (to Pharrell’s “Happy”), roaming down into the audience with a freehand camera on him that broadcast onto the big screen on stage.  He moved deep up the aisles of the auditorium, singing his parody, stretching his legs up on seat arms, waving his junk in some poor audience member’s laughing faces.

    During costume changes, the projector showed a highlight reel of Weird Al’s many pop culture cameos.  One may forget how many productions the guy’s been in- mentions and guest spots in everything from 30 Rock, to The Simpsons, to Friends, to his own TV show.

    Al emerged from backstage dressing the part for his biggest hits: an all-black hat and beard spectacle for “Amish Paradise”, viking horns for “Weasel Stomping Day,” Kurt Cobain/Nirvana wigs and jeans for “Smells Like Nirvana”.  The audience roared when they caught Al rolling “White and Nerdy,” rocking a full do-rag/chains/hoodie, wheeling on a full-sized Segway.  The encore showcased R2D2, dancing Stormtroopers, and Darth Vader, while Al (in Luke Skywalker robes) crooned “The Saga Begins” (Don McLean’s “American Pie”).

    With his modern-day parody success, it’s hard to remember that Al’s been an icon in American comedy and pop culture for FOUR decades.  Seeing the concert hall stuffed with adoring fans of all ages, most wearing tinfoil headgear and floral print shirts, the man has clearly left his mark.

    Austinites keep Austin weird; “Weird” Al keeps everywhere weird.

    Check out our complete photo gallery from the show.

  • Concert Review: Mac DeMarco Keeping Austin Weird

    by Dan Radin

    Mac DeMarco T-rex stomped onto the stage in the backyard of the Long Center.  “Smile upon your neighbor.  Keep it respectful.  Keep it hydrated,” DeMarco called out to the packed lawn.  Then, in traditional Austin fashion, he put on an absolute clinic of weird.

    16-Mac DemarcoDeMarco screech-shouted, mic twirled, and boozed his way through a super-casual set.  Sporting an oversized T-shirt and flat brimmed hat, the Canadian would have been right at home in any east-side bar.  The lawn’s youthful, weed-smoking audience would have welcomed the musicians with open arms.

    13-Mac DemarcoAs the show went on, the band entered the fray.  Their engaging dialogue at times teetered the line of outrageous, while setting the tone early with wit and camaraderie.  They told stories about dipping in Barton Springs; F-bombs ripped, while nobody shied away from improvisation.  A post-song jam even turned into the keyboardist stumbling into the piano riff of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles”.

    As the sun set, DeMarco turned around to look at the Austin skyline.  “Look at all those buildings back there, what the f*ckkkkkkk,” the singer mused, outstretched finger pointed at the Google building. “That one’s got a big G on it.  What’s that, Good Bar? Garbanzo?… OK, what the f*ck should we play next?”

    17DeMarco directed the band through an album-spanning, loosely-coordinated set.  Planning clearly lacked at times, but entertainment value [mostly] prevailed.  DeMarco once pulled a fan up on stage to sing one of his deep cuts when he forgot the words.  He tossed out some tasty blues-psych guitar licks.  At the ask of the band, the crowd tossed enough cowboy hats on stage for everyone to wear.  

    When DeMarco asked the hesitant crowd to pull out their phones and flashlights, his quick-shot guitarist roused the laughs. “What, your battery’s dying? Your mom’s calling? You need your booty call? You up? You up? What’s up? You need a Lime later?”  The show progressed, and DeMarco continued to punish the replenished bottle of liquor.

    The evening culminated in a smorgasbord jam where the opening act, shimmery surf-rock Bane’s World, came back to support DeMarco’s band on percussion. In the 25-minute jam, the drunk musicians went on to all continuously switch their instruments, put hats on one another, strip and toss shirts, make a call-and-response with the crowd about turkey sandwiches, chain smoke, do handstands, make fart noises in the mic, pull up the sound guy to play guitar, rip shots, take off shoes and clap overhead.  DeMarco took a stint on the drum set, then literally laid down on stage for ten minutes while his band continued without him.

    See all our concert photos from the show.

    The mayhem concluded when the band launched into “Sharp Dressed Man.”  DeMarco rose from the dead, cigarette in mouth, into a blistering guitar solo.  It got the confused crowd back in the show, just in time for curfew.

    DeMarco and crew’s zaniness scored memories for everyone in attendance.  Crazy, fun, and unabashedly themselves; I’d for SURE go see them again.

  • Jon Bellion Crushed It at HEB Center

    by Ayesh Basu

  • Willie Nelson Launches New Luck Cinema at His Texas Ranch

     

     

     

    Photos by Jerri Starbuck and Brooks Burris

    It was a perfect, clear night in central Texas when the Willie Nelson brand and Luck Reunion launched a new gig, Luck Cinema partnering with Alamo drafthouse. A beautiful sunset and moon shone over the Luck logo on the hillside, just beyond the chapel. The first film in the new series took place over the weekend at Nelson’s Luck ranch in Spicewood, Texas (just outside of Austin). The chosen film for the inaugural event was the 1986 “The Red Headed Stranger” starring, you guessed it, Willie Nelson.

    Based on Nelson’s 1975 concept album of the same name, The Red Headed Stranger tells the story of a scorned preacher seeking revenge on his wife and the man she left him for. When Robert Redford shot the film down, Wittliff and Nelson set out to fund the film on their own casting Willie as the Red Headed Stranger and employing friends and family to make the film happen. Sadly and ironically Wittliff died only a couple weeks before the screening so the night was made even more special.

    Watch the original trailer here
    10002-1560868250
    The screening was hosted on the iconic original film set & included a special interview with Nelson and special guests from the film, including Sonny Carl Davis (Odie), daughter Lana, and his grandson Brian Fowler. Of course, Willie talked about his iconic guitar “Trigger” that he’s been playing with the likes of Ray Charles. Nelson claims he’s like Trigger, old and beaten up.
    Willie had fans in stitches as he recalled stories from the film set and giving hilarious one liners back to interviewer Andy Langer. Nelson answers the question from Langer, “I say, who is that old bastard?”. “I acted like I was taking it (direction)”. “Redford chickened out”. “I lost it a long time ago and I’m still looking for it:”. And there’s the famous family rules, “Don’t be an asshole, Don’t be an asshole, and Don’t be a goddamn asshole”.
    About 400 people attended the limited-ticket event and many paid extra to attend a wonderful pre-screen dinner hosted by Austin Food & Wine Alliance prepared by award-winning chef Jesse Griffiths of Austin’s celebrated Dai Due restaurant (recipient of the 2018 Austin Food & Wine grant).
    The event included several free bars and selling of Willie’s new line of CBD products including coffee and tea. We’re excited to see what the next film will be and will share on our sites once it’s announced.
    It was such a special evening that many of us wonder how many more we will be privy to with Willie in attendance. Anytime people are around this music legend, they savor every moment.
    More on Luck Cinema.
  • Review: Twenty One Pilots Is a Must See Tour in 2019

    Austin, Texas

    by Jerri Starbuck

    The Bandito tour is in full swing, making a stop at Austin’s Frank Erwin Center (at UT). Twenty One Pilots are used to playing much bigger arenas and music festivals but couldn’t pass up Austin on this tour.

    Last year, the duo broke a year-long silence with hints of the new album and tour. The boys from Ohio haven’t been touring since they took a break from their massive rise with Blurry Face in 2015 with the Emotional Roadshow World tour. Although they’ve been around since 2009, they blew up with this album. Their hit “Heathens” made the group the first alternative artists to have two concurrent top-ten singles in the United States.

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    One reason this is a must-see tour for 2019 is the amazing production and stage athletics. Tyler Joseph jumps atop a 20-foot column at each show, Josh Dun backflips on stage, and the lighting and sound are epic (with many semi trucks of gear to prove it). There are numerous wardrobe changes usually only seen by megastars like Cher or JLO.

    final-8294The show kicked off with a torch-wielding Joseph and fiery apocalyptic looking set with an old burning car and tons of fire all around with scaffolding and the guys in intimidating black ski masks. The entire production was one of the biggest we’ve seen this year including pyro, floating bridges, a rising drum set, a B stage, major laser-light show, smoke effects (in pink), and complex movie-like videos on screen.

    At one point Dun played drums above the crowd on the floor while they suspended him in the air above their heads. We’ve never seen this done before; the guys are truly pushing boundaries and creating a unique fan experience. In another song, Dun backflips off the piano and then Joseph jumps off the burning car. There was a small B stage that was reached by a suspending bridge so fans in the back of the arena could have a front row seat. The guys played a few chill songs with the piano there before returning to the main stage.

    See tons of concert photos on our website.

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    The stellar songwriting by Joseph is behind Pilot’s rise to fame. He says he wakes up in the middle of the night with melodies in his head. A gift and a curse perhaps. It’s evident in the songs that the theme is the human struggle for purpose and meaning and the importance of self expression. They’ve also been open about overcoming demons (also evident in the dark lyrics) and there’s no hiding important topics of faith, anxiety, and depression; it’s part of what makes them so likable and relatable to their young fanbase.

    Their artistic nature and cool factor (various piercings, tattoos, and athletic wardrobe) along with massively relatable lyrics are what draws fans of all ages to their shows. There are tons of kids at the show most of whom stand the entire show and shout all the words to every song.  It’s an interesting observation since many of the lyrics lean to the dark side (“sippin’ on straight chlorine”, “heavy dirty soul”, “help me polarize”…).

    The music is impossible to label as it crosses so many genres including pop, reggae, rap, post punk, indie, synth, alternative, and classical. One song can remind you of Linkin Park and the next Eminem. Within a song, they bounce from catchy riffs to dead silence to rap. Both are self-taught musicians playing a multitude of instruments on stage including vocals, synth, ukulele, piano, drums, keyboard, guitar, organs, bass, trumpet.

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    The set included major hits from award-winning Blurry Face— “Stressed Out”, “Heathens”, “Ride”, and “Lane Boy”. The setlist was jam packed but we were bummed they didn’t play other hits from the breakout album, “Heavy Dirty Soul”, “Hometown”, and others. Playing mostly songs from their recent Trench album (2018), TP finished the set with an encore including top new song “Chlorine”- complete with Ned, the animated character in the music video.

    There was a touching moment in the evening when Joseph paid tribute to his grandfather who died last year before hearing the song  “Legend” written for him. Sadly he died before the song was finished. It’s a deeply emotional point of the night. His grandfather was a proud supporter and fan, often sporting the band’s merch.

    Twenty One Pilots are one of the biggest bands on the planet and have come a long way since writing songs in the basement and giving away free tickets to their shows in Ohio. Their success hasn’t erased their humility. The guys were humble and took the time to thank their entire crew and tour for all their hard work.

    This concert will definitely rank up there with the top shows of the year (with JLo, Dead and Company, Ed Sheeran, Rolling Stones…). They’re already working on the next album. Not sure how that tour and production could top this, but we sure can’t wait to see if it can.

    See our complete photo gallery form the show on Austin 101.

    Set List

    Jumpsuit
    Levitate
    Fairly Local
    Today’s Your Day (Wachagonedu?)
    (Fatlip song)
    Stressed Out
    Heathens
    Legend
    We Don’t Believe What’s on TV
    The Hype
    Lane Boy
    Nico and the Niners
    B-Stage
    Smithereens
    Neon Gravestones
    Bandito
    Pet Cheetah
    Holding on to You
    Ride
    Cut My Lip
    My Blood
    Morph
    (With The White Stripes “Seven… more )
    Car Radio
    Encore:
    Truce
    (Crowd sings with lyric video)
    Chlorine
    Leave the City
    Trees

  • Willie Nelson Outlaw Music Festival Dallas 2019 Concert Photos
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  • Willie Nelson Launches Luck Cinema At His Luck Ranch In July
    ROLLING ROADSHOW PRESENTS: LUCK CINEMA
    FEATURING RED HEADED STRANGER
    WITH WILLIE NELSON
    SUPPORTED BY SOUTHWEST
    AUSTIN, TX | SATURDAY, JULY 6 | WILLIE NELSON’S “LUCK, TX”
    This week is a big one for our local hero Willie Nelson as he performs at his Outlaw Music Festival in Dallas, then throws his famous annual July 4th Picnic concert in Austin, then heads to his Luck Ranch in Spicewood, TX to launch the new Luck Cinema on July 6th.
    Luck Cinema kicks off with a screening of the Red Headed Stranger held on the original film set, featuring an in-person Q&A with the movie’s star, Willie Nelson and special guests from the film. Nearly 20 years after its last official screening, Luck Productions and Rolling Roadshow found the original tape of the iconic movie, bringing in American Genre Film Archive to digitize the Red Headed Stranger for the film’s first showing in digital form.
    10002-1560868250(photo courtesy of Luck Reunion)
    This first Luck Cinema event gives fans a chance to experience Nelson’s ranch firsthand. This is a generous undertaking as the Luck Reunion only allows a couple thousand tickets to be sold and it’s one of the hottest events around.
    In case you have been under a rock in recent years, Luck is Willie’s ranch in Spicewood that is home to his family and over 75 horses (many of them rescues). Each year Nelson hosts special events and his annual coveted Luck Reunion with a killer line-up of veteran and rising stars. The setting is the actual remaining set from the Red Headed Stranger so it all ties in and makes sense. There’s a main house-world headquarters, a saloon, a whiskery, a leathery, a weed store (of course), and a tiny chapel that hosts intimate sets by the likes of Nathaniel Rateliff.  See tons of our Luck Reunion photos.
    TheRedHeadedStranger FOR DCP v2.00_35_09_06.Still002.png(Photo Courtesy of Luck Reunion)

    Based on Nelson’s 1975 concept album of the same name, Red Headed Stranger the film tells the story of a scorned preacher seeking revenge on his wife and the man she left him for. When Robert Redford shot the film down, Wittliff and Nelson set out to fund the film on their own casting Willie as the Red Headed Stranger and employing friends and family to make the film happen.

    Watch the original trailer here
    The screening will be hosted on the iconic original film set & feature an in-person Q&A with Nelson+ special guests from the film afterwards. Expect some fun untold stories about the making of the film and some surprise guests.
    Prior to the screening,  Austin Food & Wine Alliance will host an intimate, 50-person dinner prepared by award-winning chef Jesse Griffiths of Austin’s celebrated Dai Due restaurant (recipient of the 2018 Austin Food & Wine grant).
    Fans will have a special treat viewing tons of exclusive memorabilia provided by the Wittliff Collections providing a deeper understanding of the unique history of the film, the characters and the origins of Willie’s Luck ranch.
    Details
    Pre-Show Dinner
    DOORS at 6pm, dinner service to begin at 6:15pm.
    Film Screening
    DOORS at 7:30pm, Q&A and movie will begin around sunset.Location:
    Willie Nelson’s Luck Texas Ranch
    1100 Bee Creek Rd, Spicewood, TX 78669
    Tickets can be purchased for the film and dinner here.
  • JLo’s Stunning ‘It’s My Party’ is One of The Top Shows of 2019

    San Antonio, Texas

    by Jerri StarbuckUnknown-13(photos by Michael Amico)

    Surprisingly, JLO has not had many tours considering she’s one of the top selling artists (selling over 80 million albums). It’s her first tour in 6 years and perfect timing for the San Antonio tour stop -and it was a special one. Not only is it JLo’s 50th birthday in July, but the city has a large latin presence and a huge fan base.

    From the start, the vibe was a complete Vegas-style party with full DJ- and all glitz and glam.  Openers World of Dance (Lopez stars and produces) dancers were absolutely phenomenal. The opening to Lopez was the DJ “Go Shorty, it’s your birthday” (50 Cent) to get everyone in the birthday party mood. Lopez descended in a tiered bling chandelier dressed in all crystal bling (and boots) singing “Medicine” with full amusement park carousel and then trombone section dancing along with her—- the choreography was flawless with dancers in precision dressed in all white.

    JLO-2(photos by Michael Amico)

    One of the crowd’s favorite moments was her tribute to Texas native Selena. “Whenever I get to Texas I remember the beautiful time I spent here doing the movie Selena.” Lopez sang Selena’s “Yes Once/Si Una Vez” in Spanish to great applause (Lopez’s big break came when she portrayed the famous Tejana singer who’s life was cut short by tragedy). She wore a gorgeous red gown and was suspended and appeared to be floating. The video production on the screen was breathtaking with gorgeous, sensual shots of Lopez.

    She topped off this portion of the set by singing briefly with daughter Emme during “Limitless” and yes her daughter can sing and she is beautiful and looks like her. It was a sweet special moment and one of the night’s highlights. One wonders if Emme is destined to follow in her mom’s footsteps.

    Unknown-8(photos by Michael Amico)

    The set list seamlessly tied epic hit songs like “Love Don’t Cost a Thing”, “Jenny From the Block”, “If You Had My Love”, “Waiting For Tonight”, and more with newer ones. At times the show is nonstop, hit after hit, with a few built-in breathers for her costume changes. The killer finale was one of the best you’ll see all year with “Waiting For Tonight”, “Dance Again”, and “On the Floor” complete with perfectly planned 80’s throwback neon spandex bodysuits and tights (think Jane Fonda and Madonna). She came out  briefly for a one-song encore of “Dance Again” dressed as a Vegas showgirl with full feathers (a nod to her recent residency).

    JLo has been a style queen forever and this show did not disappoint. There were all the big designers including Versace, Marchesa, Guess, Jebron, and others. She had a bling cane, bling mic and bling hat and water bottle. The fashion and style were a huge highlight for the show and an amazing feat by her stylist Rob Zangardi. We read there were 19 costume changes for Lopez plus 176 for the dancers and band. Bling is the theme of the night; she loves some sparkle. We read that the Swarovski crystal count tops one million including a dazzling piano and giant chandelier also blanketed in bling.

    The entire production was off the charts including major pyro moments during her songs at the piano. Tons of pink smoke pyro too. There was a cool floating round stage that all the dancers and her had to time their choreography around and at other times it dropped below the stage. Other parts of the set were birthday-party focused with tons of balloons, huge life-size bday cake, and DJ party grooves – of course focused on her big 50th birthday coming July 24th.

    Unknown-12(photos by Michael Amico)

    Lopez is known for some of the best lyrics- one of our faves -“Don’t be fooled by the rock that I got , I’m still Jenny from the block!” -got a huge crowd reaction during the set. “We had to show the children how we use to play when we were kids”! We love that she included several covers of top artists today like Drake, Sara Bareilles, David Guetta, and more, and made them her own.

    JLo engaged the audience from start to finish including shaking hands, reading signs, and talking to them often. A surprise of the night was when she  brought a guy on stage on his birthday who got to sit in a chair center stage with dancing girls and yes, lap dances and then JLO surprising him from behind during hit song “If You Had My Love”, up close and personal. He had a huge grin the whole time and this will be a night he will remember the rest of his life.

    Part show-stopping concert and part birthday party, Lopez also included important messages of inspiration to the crowd with words of wisdom of overcoming life’s obstacles and hard times and believing in yourself.  She proved why she is the icon she is today and one of the top shows of the year.

    54518649_10157032354135768_5082691210351476736_n.jpgSET LIST

    Medicine
    Love Don’t Cost a Thing
    Get Right

    I’m Into You
    Waiting for Tonight
    Louboutins
    Goin’ In
    I’m Real / All I Have / Feelin’ So Good / Ain’t It Funny
    Jenny From the Block
    Baby I Love U!
    Hold It Don’t Drop It
    Starting Over / I’m Glad / Secretly
    If You Had My Love
    Until It Beats No More
    Dance Interlude
    Let’s Get Loud
    Papi
    On the Floor
    Encore:
    Dance Again

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  • Our Interview With Collective Soul

    by Nick Paruch, S. Pulse

    Austin101: Your recently released single “Right As Rain” is part of a new studio album that will drop June 21st. The single is a firm nod that Collective Soul will continue to create the type of rock that propels a high-fiving crowd to their feet. Despite being in the business for almost 25 years, is there ever a conversation about throttling back the intensity or changing the band’s rock direction? Why not?

    Will Turpin: After 25 years and I do get what you’re saying that “Right As Rain” is right up the middle but that the whole thing of the song. It’s also a little bit of a nod to Tom Petty, the production on that. So yeah it is and sometimes it’s good to like just kinda say hey, it comes easy it’s still like the natural writing, Ed’s songwriting falls amongst the best of our peers. When we get together and turn things into Collective Soul and getting the right groove or arraignment, all those come really naturally, really easy. We don’t really over think it, to be honest with you, it’s just where our natural feel takes us to. And then you have to be like okay, it’s nothing ground breaking, it’s just a great song. It’s just a great song. So you have to kinda just go there and then go to the next song. You could spend too much time overanalyzing the details of each song and where we’ve been in 25 years and it would be really easy to do that. I think just the natural feel and the natural organic way that we go about creating music is kinda what we like to do best.
    In addition to Collective Soul, many of you are involved in other projects. (Ed Roland’s Sweet Tea Project, Dean Roland’s Magnets and Ghosts, and Will Turpin’s The Way). Like a multi-sport athlete, do you feel that participating in those other groups somehow benefits Collective Soul?

    Yeah that’s our thought process, the fact that we can go do other things outside of Collective Soul and when we get back together we’re energized and understand how important it is. It’s not like we need to be retold, I mean, it is our main focus, all of our main focus is always Collective Soul but artistically it really helps you out to go do something outside of Collective Soul. It’s a two-way street, like it’s fun go do something else besides Collective Soul, that invigorates you and when you get back with Ed, Dean and Johnny and Jesse you’re like, okay this is why they’re one of the best bands around.

    Does some subconscious cross-pollination take place?

    A little bit. At least for me music is an always-evolving learning process. It doesn’t matter if it’s with someone else or Collective Soul or even just, I think musicians can learn and grow just by opening their ears and watching somebody else or listening to something else. So it’s always a process of what tools you feel sharpened up or what things you feel like you’ve grown with. For me it’s kinda different because I create my solo stuff. I sit behind the piano and melodies and lyrics come to mind. With Collective Soul I get to focus on the rock ‘n roll rhythm section first and then I can focus on supporting melodies and maybe coming up with some different harmonies and stuff. But I love focusing on making the rhythm section right but at the same time it’s tricky.

    Collective Soul has received a lot of adoration for their songwriting ability, largely driven by Ed Roland. Paul Simon once said about song writing, “It’s very helpful to start with something that’s true.” What starts your song-writing process?

    Some songs kinda appear from a guitar riff or maybe a drum beat. Then a lot of songs start with Ed on acoustic and he’s already got, verse and chorus and already kinda got it flowing. And then we kinda figure out how we are going to make that sound like a Collective Soul song, what is the rhythm section gonna be, do something here, do something there and kinda just talk about it- we talk about it a little bit with some ideas and then, I mean for us, once we get a few ideas we want to work on and we want to develop, we don’t spend a whole lot of time talking. We use ears and we create by what feels best. When it feels right, we know, we all know. We work it a little bit but we don’t talk about it. We kinda know where the final product needs to be. Then when we get to a certain point where that was pretty good there, let’s listen to it, then we talk about it maybe one or two more times. We go over it but we don’t; once we trip over what feels natural, we don’t overanalyze it.

    Your musical success started in the 90’s resulting in Collective Soul often being lumped in with the Grunge Bands of the Pacific Northwest. Your blockbuster single ‘Shine’ was misinterpreted as a Christian Rock anthem. Hailing from Georgia, I’ve heard your music also referred to as Southern Rock. In hindsight, the mislabeling of Collective Soul seems quite silly. Do you ever give any consideration to these labels or categories?

    You can keep going. Nobody could really pigeonhole us, which was cool.

    What is the craziest sub-genre description you have heard used to describe Collective Soul?

    I don’t know, we were in all those sub-genres at one point. When you go back to the Christian thing or the grunge thing, it’s not like we didn’t appreciate what was going on in the Northwest. I mean, my God that was over changing in the music industry as far as the grunge movement, but we weren’t grunge, everybody wore flannels and was over the whole make-up and Sunset Strip scene. Everybody 22 years old was wearing flannels and grungy looking. But musically we weren’t grungy other that maybe some distorted guitar sounds. Same thing with Christian rock, we grew up in the church and we would definitely say we had our followers of what Jesus did when he was on Earth but at the same time we never ever wanted to think that our music wouldn’t be enjoyed or therapeutic for a Jewish person, a Muslim, or a Hindu. We always thought bigger than one religion and hopefully that’s not being anti-Christian. Hopefully Jesus would have said the same thing. Why would I make music for just one group that’s kinda not what his message was anyway? Nobody could ever figure us out. Same thing musically- the different amounts of genres we tap into as a band are pretty broad; it falls under the rock n’ roll umbrella for sure. Rock n’ roll encompasses a lot of different sounds but for someone to say we’re a specific genre, that would be really tough because we don’t, we put out all different kinda sounds and that’s a product of who we are. It’s still there today, when you listen to our albums there’s all kinda different sounds that are coming at you.

    Finally, I’m guessing that touring today is a lot different than when you were first starting out. What is the biggest difference between touring today and touring in the 90’s?

    When we first came to light we didn’t have all these responsibilities, we were younger and had more energy. We would wake up on show days and we would literally rock n’ roll during the day, rock n’ roll all night, wake up again the next day. We focus a lot more energy on the stage these days. The crowd is older, the average age is a littler older. I enjoyed watching some of the younger generation get back, especially at festivals. They’re into rock n’ roll and they have to check out these bands that they’ve heard of and they kinda know. They heard them when they were young kids or they listen to their parents play the music. So there are some kids showing up at festivals to check out the rock band. In general, I mean, it’s 25 years later, mentally I’m almost doing the same thing. Getting up here and just trying to.. it’s about energy, energy transfer to the crowd and the music. Focusing on the music, focusing on the songs..playing music and how fortunate I am. We feel very fortunate to be able to do it.

    Notes: We covered Collective Soul recently at KAABOO MUSIC FESTIVAL in Dallas. Check out our review and photo galleries on Austin 101 Magazine

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  • Sir Paul McCartney Played a Brilliant Set in Texas

    Paul McCartney
    Globe Life Park Arlington, Tx

    by Brooks Burris

    Days before Sir Paul McCartney’s 77th Birthday, Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas experienced a brilliant performance from the Liverpool native and his talented band. Texas was lucky to have the legend at such a fun time to celebrate his birthday while on a limited city “Freshen Up” tour.

    Paul kicked things off with Beatles’ Classic, “Hard Days Night” as the packed stadium belted out the lyrics along with the living legend-these are songs that fans have been singing along to for decades and they are timeless. The night was jam packed with Beatles hits, songs by Wings, as well as fresh tunes from his most recent solo release titled ‘Egypt Station’. The show was almost three hours- a 37-song set, spanning from the 60’s to today. The immense catalog of Beatles songs alone makes for a daunting task putting a set list together.

    IMG_4328Halfway through the set McCartney spotted a fan in the crowd with a “Happy Birthday” sign and humbly thanked the gentleman which inspired the crowd to collectively sing Happy Birthday to the now 77 year-old British rocker. Throughout the show McCartney seemed to toy with the audience, at one point pretending to throw a guitar into the crowd as well as point and tease fans near the stage. The legend continues to defy aging and looks as handsome, youthful, and energetic as ever.

    Sir Paul included both upbeat songs with electric guitar and ukulele as well as slower acoustic classics. During songs “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude”, fans created a galaxy of cell phone lights that illuminated the baseball stadium (Texas Rangers) as they swayed back and forth from foul pole to foul pole. Towards the end of the set massive pyrotechnics erupted throughout the electrifying rendition of “Live and Let Die”, captivating fans with glimmering fireworks and intense lighting effects.

    IMG_4184

    More than just songs, McCartney tells stories of The Beatles, his family and meeting legends like Jimmy Hendrix, Clapton,  and others. Making the night even more special for Texas fans,  Sir Paul dedicated “My Valentine,” to his wife Nancy who was in the audience. Fans always get a little history when he talks about how songs came about and what is what like in the first years of The Beatles. Listening to such a huge part of the world’s music history in person is an incredibly special thing for true music lovers. It’s indescribable. It takes people back to a special and meaningful time in their life and in the world and the deep holes left by George Harrison and John Lennon are powerful and honored by Sir Paul. In some sense, the world climate and politics of today feel very much the same as in the 60’s which makes these shows and the timeless lyrics so relatable.

    See our full photo gallery on Austin 101.

    McCartney polished off the perfect night with a six-song encore which included McCartney‘s version of the hit “Birthday” followed by “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,“Helter Skelter,” “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” and “The End”.

    Check out the entire setlist from the night’s incredible show:

    1. Hard Day’s Night
    2. Junior’s Farm
    3. Can’t Buy Me Love
    4. Letting Go
    5. Who Cares
    6. Got To Get You Into My Life
    7. Come On To Me
    8. Let Me Roll It
    9. I’ve got a feeling
    10. Let ‘Em In
    11. My Valentine
    12. Nineteen Hundred Eighty Five
    13. Maybe I’m Amazed
    14. I’ve Just Seen A Face.
    15. From Me To You
    16. Dance Tonight
    17. Love Me Do
    18. Blackbird
    19. Here Today
    20. Queenie Eye
    21. Lady Madonna
    22. Elanor Rigby
    23. Fuh You
    24. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite
    25. Something
    26. Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da
    27. Band On The Run
    28. Back in the USSR
    29. Let It Be
    30. Live And Let Die
    31. Hey Jude
      Encore
    32. Birthday
    33. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
    34. Helter Skelter
    35. Golden Slumbers
    36. Carry That Weight
    37. The End

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