ON VACATION UNTIL AUGUST 6TH! SEE YOU THEN…

Jon Batiste To Appear On The Colbert Report

JON BATISTE AND STAY HUMAN TO PERFORM ON COMEDY CENTRAL’S THE COLBERT REPORT ON JULY 29TH

Critically Acclaimed Album- Social Music – Out Now

Jon Batiste and Stay Human will perform on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report on July 29th. Tune in to see a special performance of their song “Express Yourself.” The show starts at 11:30PM EST/8:30PM PST on Comedy Central.

Recently Jon Batiste and Stay Human played Bonnaroo, Bottlerock and the New Orleans Jazzfest and just wrapped up their international tour. Jon and the band continue their festival calendar with a series of performances at the Newport Jazz Festival, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits and Monterey Jazz Festival (tour dates below)

Their critically acclaimed debut album Social Music (Washington Square/Razor & Tie) was released last Fall and still continues to receive rave reviews and accolades. The band has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Esquire, Interview Magazine, GQ, Blackbook to name a few.

Considered by many to be the most innovative and uplifting band on the scene today, Jon and his band are revered for their unique approach blending many genres to create a musical mashup that they call “social music,” having one of the most musical and entertaining live shows today, piano chops and dapper sense of style, Jon Batiste has ignited the music scene. Although he comes from a renowned lineage of New Orleans musicians in his family, over the last decade he has forged his own artistic path by indelibly fusing himself within the fabric of New York City culture. At 26, Jon is the Artistic Director At Large of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem and has also received a Masters Degree from the Juilliard School for piano. Batiste brings to mind a young Ray Charles on Social Music as he reinterprets America’s richest musical traditions through a contemporary lens.
Watch EPK here: http://jonbatiste.com/video/social-music/

Watch the video for “Express Yourself”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKjD1OezjV8

Listen to Social Music here: https://razorandtie.haulix.com/Public/View/11271

Praise for Jon Batiste and Stay Human:
“Batiste has a natural entertainer’s charisma and chops to match.” – NPR Music
“Won’t rest until [he’s] won you.” – The New York Times”
He captures old New Orleans spirit with an edgy, big-city flair. A genuine performance artist, Batiste’s liveliness never wanes in the spotlight.” — Interview“
It’s hard not to dance to Jon Batiste.” — Esquire“

Gives jazz a modern twist and urban flair that beats heavy with heart.” — BlackBook
“Moving from jazz to pastoral music and interjecting a rag and a rather funny, rollin’ piano number, Batiste makes in ‘Social Music’ some fascinating listening.” — OffBeat
“[Batiste is] starting to show his potential to shape the development of popular music for generations to come. A true connoisseur of musical communication and tradition.” — OkayPlayer’s “The Revivalist”

“This album is a breakthrough.” — KPCC

Jon Batiste 2014 Tour Dates:

August 1 – Newport, RI – Newport Jazzfest
August 2 – Chicago, IL – Lollapalooza
September 19 – San Francisco – Great American Music Hall
September 20 – Guerneville, CA –Russian River Festival
September 21 – Monterey, CA – Monterey Jazz Festival
October 3 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Music Festival
October 10 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Music Festival
November 7 – Cape May, NJ –Exit 0 International Jazz Festival
November 8 – New York, NY –Apollo Music Cafe *
*Jon Batiste solo piano with orchestra
For more information on Jon Batiste, please visit:

http://jonbatiste.com

http://www.facebook.com/JonBatisteMusic

http://washingtonsquaremusic.com/assets/

Paul McCartney Expanded Reissues Coming September 23rd

PAUL MCCARTNEY ARCHIVE COLLECTION ANNOUNCE NEXT RELEASES: WINGS TO REISSUE CLASSIC ALBUMS VENUS AND MARS AND AT THE SPEED OF SOUND ON SEPTEMBER 23

FORMATS TO INCLUDE PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED MATERIAL

MPL and Concord Music Group confirmed plans today to reissue Wings albums Venus and Mars and At The Speed of Sound as the next releases in the Paul McCartney Archive collection on September 23, 2014.

Both albums will be available in a variety of physical and digital formats. Starting with a 2-disc (2 CD) Standard Edition, the first CD will feature the original remastered album and the second CD will include bonus audio made up of material including demos and unreleased tracks. The 3-disc (2CD, 1DVD) Deluxe Edition will be housed in a hardback book featuring unpublished photographs, new interviews with Paul, material from Paul’s archives and expanded track-by-track information. The deluxe version bonus DVD will be comprised of filmed material from around the time of each release, some of which has never been seen before. The albums will also be available on special gatefold vinyl editions (vinyl editions include a download card). Digitally, Venus and Mars and At The Speed of Sound will be made available as both standard and deluxe versions – including Mastered for iTunes and Hi-Res formats.

Wings are one of the most successful acts the UK has ever produced, achieving no less than 14 US Top 10 hits and 12 Top 10 hits in the UK. Following 1973’s Band on the Run the mid ‘70s were a commercial heyday for Wings. Venus and Mars, the band’s fourth studio album was released in May 1975 ahead of the legendary Wings Over the World tour. Preceded by the US Number One single “Listen To What The Man Said,” Venus and Mars hit the Number One spot in the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic and went on to sell over 4 million copies worldwide to date. At The Speed of Sound was recorded in the midst of the same tour and released in March 1976. In the US it enjoyed the same chart success as its predecessor. Including the international smash hit single “Silly Love Songs,” the album went on to become Paul’s most successful American chart album spending seven consecutive weeks at Number One. In the UK it charted at Number Two, narrowly missing out on the top spot. Sales to date exceed 3.5 million worldwide.

As with all the Archive Collection, Paul has personally supervised all aspects of the reissues. The remastering work was done at Abbey Road by the same team who has worked on all the reissues as well as the Beatles’ catalogue.

Since launching the Paul McCartney Archive Collection in 2010, Paul has received two GRAMMY Awards for the releases. In 2012 he picked up Best Historical Album for Band on the Run and this year Wings over America picked up an award (Best Boxed or Special Edition Package) on the same night that Paul set a personal best by picking up five awards in just one night. In 2013 RAM was nominated for Best Historical Album.

Other titles released to date in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection are Band on the Run, McCartney, McCartney II, RAM and Wings over America.

www.paulmccartney.com
@paulmccartney

Buy it here:

http://smarturl.it/PMwatsos

http://smarturl.it/PMvam

Watch the unboxing videos here:
Venus and Mars: http://youtu.be/DfiWic6FC7Y
At the Speed of Sound: http://youtu.be/Yivx0c48q64

 

TRACKLISTING:

Venus and Mars
CD 1 – Remastered Album
1. Venus and Mars
2. Rock Show
3 Love In Song
4. You Gave Me The Answer
5. Magneto and Titanium Man
6. Letting Go
7. Venus and Mars – Reprise
8. Spirits Of Ancient Egypt
9. Medicine Jar
10. Call Me Back Again
11. Listen To What The Man Said
12. Treat Her Gently – Lonely Old People
13. Crossroads

 

CD 2 – Bonus Audio
1. Junior’s Farm
2. Sally G
3. Walking In The Park With Eloise
4. Bridge On The River Suite
5. My Carnival
6. Going To New Orleans (My Carnival)
7. Hey Diddle [Ernie Winfrey Mix]
8. Let’s Love
9. Soily [from One Hand Clapping]
10. Baby Face [from One Hand Clapping]
11. Lunch Box/Odd Sox
12. 4th Of July
13. Rock Show [Old Version]
14. Letting Go [Single Edit]

 

DVD – Bonus Film
1. Recording My Carnival
2. Bon Voyageur
3. Wings At Elstree
4. Venus and Mars TV Ad

 

At the Speed of Sound
CD 1 – Remastered Album
1. Let ‘Em In
2. The Note You Never Wrote
3. She’s My Baby
4. Beware My Love
5. Wino Junko
6. Silly Love Songs
7 Cook Of The House
8. Time To Hide
9. Must Do Something About It
10. San Ferry Anne
11. Warm And Beautiful

 

CD 2 – Bonus Audio
1. Silly Love Songs [Demo]
2. She’s My Baby [Demo]
3. Message To Joe
4. Beware My Love [John Bonham Version]
5. Must Do Something About It [Paul’s Version]
6. Let ‘Em In [Demo]
7. Warm And Beautiful [Instrumental Demo]

 

DVD – Bonus Film
1. Silly Love Songs Music Video
2. Wings Over Wembley
3. Wings In Venice

Jim Peterik’s “…Tiger” Biography Coming September 23rd

SURVIVOR/IDES OF MARCH FOUNDER JIM PETERIK’S THROUGH THE EYE OF THE TIGER OFFERS AN OVERVIEW OF A MOST UNLIKELY ROCK STAR

~COMING SEPTEMBER 23~

The writer/performer of such classic hits as “Eye of the Tiger” and “Vehicle” reveals his life both on-stage and off, including having a chart hit as a 15-year-old, penning one of the great inspirational anthems of all time and touring with Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead

You may not recognize the name Jim Peterik, but the songs he’s written have made an indelible mark on pop music history, an incredible first-person tale he relates in his biography, Through the Eye of the Tiger: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Life of Survivor’s Founding Member, published by BenBella Books on September 23.

It’s all here, from his beginnings as a 15-year-old in the Ides of March, which the Illinois native playfully dubs “The Beatles of Berwyn,” scoring a #2 Billboard hit in 1970 with the horn-laden “Vehicle,” to being personally asked by Sylvester Stallone to write a song for Rocky III, which turned out to be “Eye of the Tiger,” the triple-platinum, Grammy-winning inspirational anthem that gives the book its name.

“This is my chance to connect the dots and put a face behind those songs,” says Peterik about writing the book. “I love the past, but I don’t live there. And I’m not ashamed of it, either. I’ll be playing ‘Vehicle’ until the day I die, but I would feel unfulfilled if I wasn’t paying it forward, discovering new talent and writing with my heroes.”

Through the Eye of the Tiger offers a close-up view of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle – its pitfalls and triumphs along the way, as Peterik’s anecdotes include The Ides of March touring with Led Zeppelin (opening for them in Winnipeg), Janis Joplin (“I had to walk her home because she was too inebriated to get to her hotel”), the Grateful Dead (“I shared a deli tray with Jerry Garcia without getting dosed”) and the Allman Joys (the predecessor to the Allman Brothers).

It’s also a cautionary tale about the dangers of drugs and groupies, which Peterik carefully avoided during a 42-year (and counting marriage) to his wife Karen, whom he met when he was 17 and she was 15 during a Turtles concert at their high school. The two have a 24-year-old son, Colin, who is a musician himself, which makes Jim one proud father.

“I don’t think I could have written this book 10 years ago,” says Peterik. “I’ve finally reached a point where I see a very bright future for all the things I’m doing, but I can also appreciate what I’ve done. I thought the time was right to tell my story.”

That story includes a personal invitation from Sly Stallone, who left a message on his answering machine to call him, then asked if he’d write a song for Rocky III, which turned into “Eye of the Tiger,” a huge hit still ubiquitous at sporting stadiums and arenas everywhere. “I got the title from what Burgess Meredith tells Rocky in the movie,” says Peterik about the song he co-wrote with Survivor bandmate, guitarist Frank Sullivan, revealing it was the demo that made it into the final movie. “It had the mojo,” he said simply.

A world class tunesmith, Peterik’s songs have sold 30 million around the world, with 18 Top 10 hits, including “Hold on Loosely,” “Caught Up in You,” “Rocking Into the Night,” “Fantasy Girl,” collaborating most recently with Brian Wilson on the title track to the Beach Boys’ acclaimed album, That’s Why God Made the Radio. The artists Peterik has worked with over the years include .38 Special, Sammy Hagar, REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin, Buddy Guy, the Doobie Brothers, Cheap Trick, Night Ranger, Dennis DeYoung, Reba McEntire, David Hasselhoff, Johnny Rivers and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

“I always lived in a creative bubble removed from the business,” he says. “For me the song is the ‘vehicle’… pun intended. I did everything in the service of the song. It didn’t matter what happened on the bus or in the dressing room. I wanted my message of positivity to survive.”

To that end, Peterik’s first book, Songwriting for Dummies, is a best-seller about his own creative methods, and he travels around the world giving seminars on the subject.

As for his survival, he credits it to never losing his focus. “I’m a late bloomer,” says the 64-year-old. “I’m now the guy with the purple hair, red leather suit and striped guitar. It’s a delayed response to the fact I took a back seat all those years. I’m having the time of my life.

“I do this for the love of music, to hear my God-given voice echo across a filled auditorium.”

Later this year, Peterik will mark the 50th anniversary of his still-active The Ides of March with a deluxe, 70-song, three-disc reissue of the seminal band’s catalog, including a DVD featuring a live concert from Chicago’s House of Blues, Rare footage, interviews with the band and videos of “Vehicle” and “Last Band Standing.”

“Writing this book tore me apart,” he admits. “Going through the good times – those early idyllic years as a teenager with The Ides of March, and then with Survivor, surviving some rough times. It was very painful dredging all that up… the separation from my wife for months at a time, when the loneliness would just grip me, with music my only drug.”

Peterik captures it all in Through the Eye of the Tiger, the memoirs of a true rock ‘n’ roll Survivor.

The Flaming Lips News Including Comic Book and Yes Cover

THE FLAMING LIPS ANNOUNCE BRAND-NEW SPECTACULAR MERCH AVAILABLE IN THE FLAMING LIPS STORE AND THEY’RE ON THE ROAD NOW

WAYNE COYNE ORIGINAL COMIC BOOK SERIES, THE SUN IS SICK #2
IS AVAILABLE NOW

ELECTRIC WÜRMS TO RELEASE SIX-SONG DEBUT ALBUM,
MUSIK, DIE SHWER ZU TWERK, AUGUST 19TH

PROG-ROCK BAND IS SIDE PROJECT OF THE FLAMING LIPS’ MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST STEVEN DROZD AND WAYNE COYNE BACKED BY
NASHVILLE’S LINEAR DOWNFALL

COVER OF YES’ “HEART OF THE SUNRISE” OUT NOW

THE FLAMING LIPS have unleashed four new usually stunning shirts in their official online store, including a T-shirt that looks like an (almost) identical replication of Wayne Coyne’s actual entrails and vital organs. Well that’s what we were told anyway… This shirt required a top secret, extremely specialized printing process to make so please, do not ask us how it’s done. Ah, but there’s more! Check out the very green Better Human design or the other lovely, Wayne Coyne original shirt, inspired by his The Sun Is Sick comic book in the vibrant red Taste Eye design. Speaking of The Sun Is Sick, the 2nd edition in the series is finally ready and available now in the shop and at THE LIPS tour merch stall. The adult-themed comic book is even more out there than the first editions so don’t delay. Have a peek at the cover of The Sun is Sick No.2.

Musik, Die Shwer Zu Twerk – the six-song album from Electric Würms is available for pre-order now. This side project featuring the LIPS’ multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd on vocals, guitars, and keyboards with Mr. Coyne on bass, backed by Nashville psychedelic rock band, Linear Downfall. Due from Warner Bros. Records on August 19th, Musik, Die Shwer Zu Twerkwill transport your senses to proggy sonic destinations way beyond. The fourth and final new T-shirt is an Electric Würms design printed on black, which you can view here.

Musik, Die Schwer Zu Twerk track listing:
I Could Only See Clouds
Futuristic Hallucination
The Bat
Living
Transform!!!
Heart of The Sunrise

As previously reported, the first single – a cover of British prog-rock band Yes’ “Heart of The Sunrise” is out now. The album will be available digitally on CD and very limited edition Purple Dayglo vinyl.

Yes, it’s true; THE FLAMING LIPS will release a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band tribute album, titled With A Little Help From My Fwends, later this year on Warner Bros. Records. The band, along with contributions from famous fwends, has recorded their versions of each track on The Beatles’ 1967 classic in their own inimitable style. Further details will be forthcoming.

The Flaming Lips and Electric Würms will perform live this summer.

All FLAMING LIPS tour dates listed below:

Aug 3 Portland, OR MLS All-Star Week at Waterfront Park by AT&T
Aug 10 San Francisco, CA Outside Lands Festival
Aug 15 Quebec, QC, Canada Expo Quebec
Aug 16 Crownsville, MD Silopanna Festival
Aug 30 Larmer Tree Gardens, UK End Of the Road Festival
Sep 6 Toronto, ON, Canada Riot Fest
Sep 13 Chicago, IL Riot Fest
Sep 19 Denver, CO Riot Fest
Oct 24-26 Las Vegas, NV Life Is Beautiful Fest (Date TBA)
Nov 9 Reykjavik, Iceland Iceland Airwaves Festival

A Conversation with William Gage Blanton – HuffPost 7.28.14

Mike Ragogna: Gage, you are one of the newest “alt” fashion mavens of the Midwest. How in God’s name did this happen?

William Gage Blanton: [laughs] Alt fashion maven of the Midwest, huh? [laughs] Okay, well, not overnight. Persistence, really, that’s it!

MR: What got you into clothing design?

WGB: Dropping out of college. I was going through college and paying for college for something that didn’t make sense to go to college for so I left. I was paying thirty-two grand a year to go to school for fine arts and I started my company while I was doing it, so I was focusing on my company in class. It was a natural transition from what I’d been doing as a kid, which was design work.

MR: How did it all start?

WGB: It was a natural progression from me doing doodles. I’ve always been into fashion magazines and whatever fashion is going on in the world. My mom was a buyer for Nordstrom growing up, so it was always ingrained in me that this is an important part of life.

MR: Did your eye for art always go towards design, or did you start out drawing dragons, superheroes, stuff like that?

WGB: No, it was definitely design. I started out with cartoon stuff for a little while but that got boring and it went to things that made more sense to me, which was drawing people. When I drew people, I would focus on what they were wearing and form the person out of that. That’s what I did through middle school and high school.

MR: You also have a knowledge of anatomy in order to properly design clothing that would fall right on the body. How did your introduction to anatomy come about?

WGB: My cousin was a science teacher, so I had one of the anatomy and physiology coloring books as a kid. I went through a couple of those. It was a natural process because me being interested in it made me want to learn about it, so I would just study things and teach myself things I didn’t already know or have an understanding of.

MR: Do you have Ny brothers or sisters that you designed for?

WGB: I’m an only child.

MR: Did you make your friends guinea pigs for your early designs?

WGB: No, I really kept them all to myself for a long time. Nobody really knew about it until college.

MR: What about college? Did you use your friends as models?

WGB: Yeah, I did. I used my friends as critics, too. That was the main part; trying to get friends to tell me they didn’t like stuff. That was the hardest part.

MR: I know you do everything, baseball caps, shirts, blouses, what were some of the first items you were interested in creating?

WGB: Honestly, my inspiration from it was runway shows, the mod, European, dark fashion shows. That’s just because they weren’t necessarily pieces that could be worn, it’s more about the shapes and tones of what they use. Raf Simons is one of my big inspirations.

MR: Did you ever strut the runway?

WGB: I’ve done a runway show, yes, last year, and I’m doing another one this year.

MR: You’re currently located in New Orleans. Has the culture affected your designs or how you’re approaching things lately?

WGB: I guess, in a way, it has affected it because I’ve felt freer to be able to do what I have always liked and not have to tone it to more of a Midwest stance of what I know would sell. I feel like I can put out what I like and it will be accepted.

MR: You grew up Portland. What got you out to the midwest?

WGB: Well, my grandmother moved out here because of Iowa. She moved out here before anyone else did in my family. I had dropped out of high school senior year and she was like, “Well, you need to go to college.” So she made me come to Iowa and I finished up high school there.

MR: Who are some of your favorite designers?

WGB: Right now Raf Simons, Alexander McQueen’s new line is really inspirational. But Raf Simons is probably my all-time favorite. As long as I’ve been doing fashion, he’s always been an inspiration. I don’t like colors, I don’t like bright and gaudy things, I like the dark, and especially the shapes of the cuts of designs.

MR: This is related to my earlier question, maybe I’m just rephrasing it a little. Since you moved to New Orleans, have you experimented with concepts you never had before?

WGB: I actually have. They haven’t made it past certain stages of design, but I have. It’s because of the culture there, it’s very European culture, I can push the envelope more.

MR: Where is your clothing right now? What kinds of stores are they located in?

WGB: With the new release of the line, I’ve got a new PR manager so I’m getting my stuff in two stores in New York for the new line. I took clothing back to a couple places I had stuff in previously, so my new line is going to be in just New York and Europe.

MR: Gage, what is your goal?

WGB: The goal is to really do things that are timeless. A shirt is something that everybody has to wear, and a shirt is something that people can wear for twenty years if it draws them, or somebody can wear a shirt for a day and never wear it again. I aim to be that article of clothing you keep for twenty-years.

MR: Do you feel like you’re working on something right now that fits that description?

WGB: Yeah, the line I’m working on right now is very contemporary, probably not what people would expect. It’s very simplified and contemporary, but it’s more of a satire. The line is “Prescription Error,” it’s kind of speaking on the age we live in, where prescriptions run everything we do from the most minute to the largest sections of life.

MR: What’s your advice to designers who are just starting out?

WGB: Don’t be afraid to fail, because you have to fail to succeed. You can’t just expect to make it. You have to know how to fail. You have to fail, fail, fail, fail, fail. And copy whatever you love. If there’s something you like, and somebody who inspires you, just copy it as much as you can. From that copy you will find your own style, your own way.

MR: Nice. You’ve also had a music connection in that your fashion sometimes goes hand in hand with certain musical acts.

WGB: Yeah, I dabble in music, and I’m friends with some major artists and some not-so-major artists. I just like the way that in this day and age music can dictate what’s going to be in style. The imagery used in music is probably the most influential pop culture we have.

MR: Smart. What does mom think of all this?

WGB: I guess she doesn’t really get it one hundred percent, but she’s happy that I’m doing what I like. I guess she’s still nervous because she doesn’t know. “Is this going to be a thing that’s done and over with or is this going to be a lifelong thing?”

MR: But she’s wished you luck and crossed her fingers for you.

WGB: Yeah. I think at this point she gets that I’m not going to be giving up any time soon. It’s what I do, it’s what comes naturally to me at this point, i’ve been doing it long enough that I see everything in shapes and design. I can’t help but walk down the street and see something.

MR: Do you ever picture her buying any of your clothing lines someday?

WGB: [laughs] She’s a yoga teacher now. She doesn’t do buying but I do actually know buyers at Saks. That’s another thing, making connections has been a blessing of mine. I’m able to walk into places and make connections with the right people without me even knowing who to talk to.

MR: So everything has fallen in line for you.

WGB: Yeah, it’s definitely like that. As a young child, I knew I wanted to do something with art, I always have. There was never any question about it. It was not accepted by my family when I was six years old saying, “I want to be an artist, I just want to draw,” it wasn’t like, “Oh, yeah, cool, that’s what you’re going to do,” no, it was like, “You’re going to go to school, you have to get a degree and make a living.”

MR: Any info about the new line?

WGB: This new line is going to be something that’s not expected if you know any of my previous work; it’s definitely going to be on a different scale.

For more info: https://www.soloclothingco.com

Transcribed by Galen Hawthorne

 

Gentle Giant’s Derek Shulman – HuffPost 7.28.14

Mike Ragogna: What advice do you have for new artists?

Derek Shulman: Well, obviously, the record business these days is almost nonexistent, but music is still integral to everyone’s life. As far as new music is concerned, I would say don’t just look to get your music on YouTube or Facebook and hope you’re going to be famous because you’ve had a hundred million views, because it doesn’t work that way. What you have to do first is make yourself a better muscian for yourself first. If you’re in a band, make sure your band becomes a better group, musically, in whatever genre you’re working in. Be great, not good. You’ll never have any success if you’re just good. If you want to be the leader in any field, whatever it is, you really have to not look at someone else’s place on the charts and say, “Wow, I could be that,” you have to do it on your own, and you have to do something that is only yours alone and be great at it. In some respects–and this is on an ego push myself–you asked about being a part of a prog movement. We didn’t know what prog was, we were just a bunch of musicians who said, “Let’s get together and make a band.” We had no idea what it would sound like, but we had a bunch of really good musicians making ourselves better for each other. And if we made ourselves better for each other, perhaps the city would like to hear it, and then it went from there. We really worked hard at it and played and toured and, lo and behold, some people came along. The year after that, a few more people came along, and we were able to build a career and make a living. And we didn’t listen to the radio apart from toward the end perhaps. The music I guess still lives in that respect. In so saying, it appears that if you do that, the music will survive.

A Conversation with Chase Rice – HuffPost 7.28.14

Mike Ragogna: Chase, let’s start with your involvement in the Snagajob contest. How did that come about?

Chase Rice: Yeah, we teamed up and we’re going to give somebody the opportunity to open for me later this year in Denver. They’ve got to basically do a version of one of their original songs, submit the video and then the judges decide who the top five are. Then on August 22 we announce who the top five are and then the fans vote. They say who they think the number one person is and that person gets to open for me in Denver to a sold-out crowd, and it gives them the opportunity to break into the music business.

MR: What will the opening act spot be like?

CR: It’s one show, probably thirty to forty-five minutes, a typical standard deal. The cool part is they get to play to a sold-out Denver crowd, which will be nuts.

MR: Are you and your musical director going to work with them to make sure they’re ready?

CR: It’s up to them. I get to be a part of choosing who the top five are and then it’s up to them. They’ve got to promote as much as they can to try to be the top dog and get that opening slot. Then once they win, it’s a hundred percent on them, I’m out of the way. I just want to see them perform and see them get the crowd amped up in Denver.

MR: Since, basically, this contest will probably involve new-ish artists, let me ask you my traditional question now. What advice do you have for new artists?

CR: Just do it your way. That’s the way I’ve done it. I’ve had so many people tell me I’m not doing it the right way, that I need a label or something. If you have a vision for how you want to get your music out there, put the people around you who can help you get that vision out there and stick to it. You’ve got to surround yourself with those good people.

MR: What is the Chase Rice story? Any memories of how, possibly, your advice worked for you?

CR: I was just touring. I just wanted to tour and get my music out there instead of getting in on the radio right away. While I waited on that part–which is happening now with Columbia records involved–I wanted to tour and give my music to the fans and every single person I could. That’s what I’ve done. I’ve had some great shows, I’ve had some really horrible shows, but most of them are great.

MR: Your new project Ignite The Night is coming out in August. Can you give us a little tour of the album?

CR: It’s packed full of party songs, because that’s going to help build my career. It’s for the live show, I need those songs to do my live show the way I want to, because I want people to have energy, I want people to be raging for as long as they’re there. At the same time it’s got some depth on it, it’s got a song like “Carolina Can,” which is kind of my life in songs. It has more “story” to it. Country music deserves ballads like that. “Jack Daniels & Jesus” is on there. That’s a song that shows a deeper side of me, as well as a party song.

MR: When you’re writing, how deep does it go?

CR: It’s always different. If I know I need a party song, I’m going to do my best to have the most amped up, energetic melody–the same stuff that I hear when I’m drinking and partying, whatever the topic may be. Then there are songs that are just me and an acoustic guitar and I put out whatever feelings I’m feeling. That can always happen in a lot of different ways. It’s usually whatever mood I’m in. If I’m in a happy, party mood, I’m going to write party songs. If I’m feeling down about life, whatever it is, then it’s going to be a way more meaningful song. It can happen both ways.

MR: The single “Ready, Set, Roll” is already a hit from this record. How did that song come about?

CR: That was written with Rhett Atkins and Chris DeStefano, who’s now my producer. He started the track; we already had a bit of a melody going with guitar and he started building the track and what you hear on the radio while you were writing it. Rhett Akins was there, too. It was an all-day affair. We were digging it in, we wrote the chorus and then we got to the verses. It didn’t come easy, we had to really think to come up with some different lines. I think we did a good job of that.

MR: Do you think the songs on Ignite The Night have evolved compared to your previous material?

CR: Oh, yeah, the writing’s way better. We try to come up with lyrics that make people wonder how the hell we came up with it instead of just thinking of the same old standard stuff. We put lyrics on there that make people say, “What the hell did he just say? Why did he say it like that?” At the same time, the melody’s got to fit along with it, too. The better lines I come up with myself challenge the other writers to come up with cool lines like that, too, and the better lines they come up with challenge me to step up my writing. The better a writer’s writing with, the better the song usually is.

MR: You co-wrote Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise.” How do you look at that song now that it’s been a hit?

CR: That was one of the ones that found us. We were writing a slow song and then that song kind of popped out. We wrote it in forty-five minutes and then went back and finished the slow song. That one happened by mistake, but the songwriting gods happened to be smiling down that day.

MR: [laughs] They must have been, it’s the most-downloaded country single of all time!

CR: Yeah, and I’m proud to be a part of that one, but at the same time I wrote a different song the next day. You can’t hang your hat one song. I’m blushing to be a part of it, but it’s onto the next one for me. I always want to write something better. That’s what I’m working on with this Ignite The Night album.

MR: Chase, you were a football player, you grew up in Daytona and had an association with NASCAR, motorsports… When did you decide, “Okay, now I’m going to be a hit country songwriter and recording artist?”

CR: I’ve been a huge country music fan my entire life. When I was done with football and NASCAR I was playing guitar and writing a little bit through that and I knew I wanted to be better than I was, so I had to move to Nashville. That’s when I started writing with great songwriters and they taught me what it was like to write a good song. Music’s a passion of mine, especially country music. I didn’t have anything going on, so I figured I’d move to Nashville and give it a shot.

MR: Where do you take it all from here?

CR: Continue to focus on “Ready, Set, Roll,” and the whole album. Get “Ready, Set, Roll” up the charts as high as we can possibly get it, hopefully, peak number one and then go on to the next single. Try and make the songs of Ignite The Night heard by as many people as we possibly can. That’s the short term goal right now and that’s all I’m really focusing on.

MR: Good luck with everything, man. One last question: Snagajob is about employing people. Do you see yourself participating more with socially-minded initiatives like this through contests, etc.?

CR: Yeah, absolutely. Social media is so big these days you can get information out much easier. If it helps someone else get the same shot guys like Dierks [Bentley] have given me, absolutely. Why wouldn’t I want to do something like that?

Transcribed by Galen Hawthorne

A Conversation with CBS This Morning: Saturday’s Anthony Mason – HuffPost 7.28.14

Mike Ragogna: Good This Morning, Anthony!

Anthony Mason: [laughs]

MR: You’ve been in journalism for over thirty years. When did you start focusing on interviews?

AM: Well, it was kind of an accidental transition. What happened really was I saw a colleague of mine, a cameraman named Ron Dean who was out shooting a story one day on 25th street. I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was shooting some B-roll for a piece on Patti Scialfa who is Bruce Springsteen’s wife, who I’ve been a huge fan of. I said, “Oh really? That’s really cool, who’s doing it?” and he told me that Jim Axelrod was doing it and I was like, “Damn,” because I really would’ve loved to do that story because I know all about her music and I went through a divorce, frankly, with her album. If you know Patti’s first album Rumble Doll, it’s basically a conversation with Bruce’s album Tunnel Of Love. They’re two sides of the same event, his divorce, her trying to get him to jump when he won’t, it’s a conversation which if you full know know what went on is very interesting. My now wife’s favorite album during my divorce was Rumble Doll and mine was Tunnel Of Love. That’s why I was particularly interested when Ron was shooting this stuff, and why I was lioke, “Well damn.” So I went to the guy at Sunday Morning who was kind of in charge of doing that stuff and I said, “What’s the deal?” and he said, “We’re doing this piece on Patti and ultimately, we hope to do a piece on Bruce, too.” I said, “Well who’s doing that?” and he said, “We don’t have anybody yet,” so my hand shot up right away and I said, “I’ll take that.” That was actually the first music profile that I did. Way to start at the very top, right? That was kind of terrifying because when you’re in the news business–I had never wanted to do celebrity profiles, I just hadn’t been interested, and I certainly hadn’t been interested in doing stories on actors and actresses because I found them sort of impenetrable the few times I’d done them, but music was a different thing for me. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a DJ. Up in my attic somewhere, I have hours and hours and hours and hours of tapes I made of me being a DJ in my imaginary radio station.

MR: You should broadcast them someday!

AM: I don’t know, I haven’t heard them in literally twenty-five or thirty years. That is, if the tape hasn’t disintegrated, because it’s literally on cassette. But I had a really good time doing the Bruce piece as terrified as I was of it. Then they said, “We’ve got this other piece, are you interested in doing something on Neil Diamond?” and I was like, “God, yeah, sure,” because it’s not something some people like to admit but I’ve always been a big Neil Diamond fan, too. So those were the first two that I did and I was like, “This is really interesting. It actually played into a whole side of me that I’d never really gotten to in terms of basic journalism. That’s what kicked the whole thing off. I started looking for more to do and it took on a life of its own. I’m not really quite sure how, but it did.

MR: What age were you when you made this transition?

AM: The Bruce piece was 2005, so I was forty-nine.

MR: Journalism’s been your career all along, right?

AM: I started pretty much right out of college, my first job was in Tulsa at a station called KJRH. I’ve been doing it for almost thirty-four years, now, thirty two of them with CBS.

MR: What got you into journalism?

AM: My father kicked me out of the house. [laughs] I’d always been interested in it, I had a lot of interests as a kid. I literally volunteered for my first political campaign when I was eight years old in 1964. LBJ FOR THE USA was this enormous sign across from the bus stop I used to get off at from school. For some reason, it just fascinated me, and I walked in one day and said, “I want to help out with the campaign.” There wasn’t really a political agenda involved that I recall. I couldn’t tell you why I walked in other than I thought the sign was really cool.

MR: I had the same thing happen with me as a kid in New York with Andrew Stein. I had no idea what his political affiliation was but I knew I wanted to work for him.

AM: I know, it’s so funny. I loved political campaigns as a kid. I loved being part of them, I loved the hoopla, I loved the bumper stickers and buttons and all of that. I just loved them. From the time I was eight until I got into college almost every time I was off from school I’d be working on a political campaign somewhere. In seventh and eighth grade in the summers there was a guy who ran for state assembly and I used to campaign with him at subway stops every morning and every afternoon. I was really into politics. I always loved television as a kid, I had my own imaginary TV station, I literally gridded out the entire programming schedule in a school notebook, I stole all my favorite shows from the other networks and then made up my own. Everything I did was being televised in my head, if I was playing a basketball game with a Nerf ball off my closet I was doing play-by-plays and picking camera angles, I was just always like that. In high school I was the editor of the paper and in college I was the features editor of the paper, so I was always into all that stuff–although when I came home, I’ll be honest with you, I moved in with my dad in New York when I got out of Georgetown and I had no idea what I was going to do. I had no plans or anything and dad looked at me one day about two weeks after I’d moved back in with him–I hadn’t lived with him since my parents got divorced when I was like six–and he just looked at me and said, “So what are you planning to do with the rest of your life?” I said, “I’m going to write a novel,” and he looked at me and said, “not in this house, you’re not.” He, God bless him, had sort of realized over the years that I’d always had a TV camera running in my head and that’s probably where I should go. My cousin had gone to Memphis and was the anchor at the TV station, so he sent me down there to meet with them. One thing led to another and the company that hired my cousin ended up hiring me at Tulsa. That’s how I got started.

MR: Did it ever become a mission of sorts?

AM: No, you know how it is. You’re always trying to grow somehow–at least I always am. I’m always trying to get better. I’ve always been very detail-oriented. Television, for me, is as much about the making of television as it is about the journalism. CBS is a very story- and piece-driven network. It’s unlike cable where you’re just trying to constantly spit out news and keep moving. CBS has always been a show-driven network which focuses on pieces, like 60 Minutes, like CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, or evening news in a smaller format. The craft of making pieces and the detail in those pieces is something that I always liked anyway to begin with, but it’s something that has always been paramount at CBS and probably the main reason why I’ve never left. I’m the kind of guy who will sit in the editing room working onSunday Morning… pieces and it’s not unusual for me to be there until one o’clock on a Sunday morning making sure every little damn thing that I have in my head and want to be in that story is there.

Particularly with music pieces, I don’t know what it is but I feel a duty to the artist that I’m involved with, that I get the details of it right and the tone of it right. I try to make the pieces feel like the musician if you know the musician at all. It’s very daunting, as you probably know, to do a piece on somebody like Springsteen or any major artist for that matter, because they have an enormous fan base and if you screw it up and are not fair or get the details wrong, they’re going to rain holy hell down on you in social media or anywhere else for that matter. It’s not that I’m scared of that reaction but when you’re telling a story about somebody, you’re talking not only to that fan base but also to people who really don’t know anything about them, so you have to tell two stories in one. You have to actually offer something up to the people who are huge fans, but you also have to offer up a story that introduces other people to this artist.

It’s very challenging but it’s very interesting as well. That was the part that I found most intimidating in the beginning. I had never been a big interviewer and had never really tested myself that way. In fact, had largely spent the first twenty years of my career at CBS trying to write myself out of every story so that all you saw was the character in it and you didn’t really see me, but I realized that if you’re going to do an interviewing segment you have to be part of that in some way, you have to have a personality, but you don’t want that personality to overwhelm the story you’re doing, so how do you develop an interviewing technique that has its own personality without that personality becoming the focus, which I see people do often and I don’t like.

MR: Do you have any examples?

AM: God, that’s tough. It’s hard for me to judge because I judge by a different scale. I’m really picky about a lot of little things. But we did a piece with Van Morrison forCBS Sunday Morning… early on and I had heard a lot of things from a lot of different people in the music business about how incredibly difficult he could be and how much he doesn’t like to talk. It was among the more enjoyable days I’ve spent doing this, because we had a really good time talking. He obviously was reticent to talk but for some reason, he did talk that day. It was one of those moments where I remember sitting across from somebody and thinking, “My God, I’ve been listening to your music my whole life and I don’t think I’ve ever seen you speak.” It was really stunning because there aren’t many people who are well known like that who you’ve never seen in any kind of lengthy conversation. Even going back, looking at old clips of him, there aren’t that many. There’s very little of Van Morrison actually being interviewed anywhere.

I’m always trying to make the artist relax and understand that I appreciate their craftsmanship, because I do. I’m not an in-your-face kind of interviewer; I’m a draw-you-out kind of interviewer. I try to leave the space open and let them come fill it. I find particularly with musicians that’s what they want. They don’t want to talk to a fan. That kind of scares them, actually. I don’t go in asking them, “Why did you do this on the third track of your fourth album?” The obsessiveness of some fans kind of scares them. I talk to them like they’re people like me. The tone I’m always trying to take is to create an environment where if I’m sitting on the sofa with the artist, the viewer is sitting on the arm of the sofa just listening in. It’s not an interview, it’s just a conversation about certain episodes in this person’s life.

MR: What do you think is behind the big success of CBS morning shows?

AM: I think on all of the shows in the morning now, from Sunday to the weekday show to our Saturday show, my view is that the audience is much more intelligent than a lot of TV people give them credit for and that you can find an interesting, smart and entertaining approach to almost anything if you really work at it. That’s always been my philosophy about storytelling. I feel like if I find something interesting I can make it interesting to anyone. One of the approaches we’ve taken with Saturday, somebody on the weekday show who was a big music fan said to me, “You know there’s a maxim in morning TV that music doesn’t rate.” I said, “That’s ridiculous. Music doesn’t rate if you just throw it out there and you put a band up there and say, ‘Here’s whatever band it is.’” I said, “If you introduce people to that band and you invest in them who they are in some fashion they’ll listen. If you just say, ‘Here’s Lake Street Dive’ and they come play they’ll give them about five seconds and if they don’t like the beat of the song, they’ll go make a cup of coffee.”

Two weeks ago, we did a two and a half minute piece introducing Lake Street Dive and then they played two songs. My whole philosophy was people are interested in people. If they find you interesting as a person then they’ll be interested in what you’re doing. That’s kind of the pathway that I’ve taken with music. If you look at the Sunday morning pieces I do–I always tell the artists, because they’re always trying to promote an album, I say, “We don’t do stories on albums. We do stories on people.” An album may be part of that story in some fashion. One of my favorite pieces we did earlier this year was on Rosanne Cash, an album that came out of a return to her own roots and her father’s beginning, they were redoing her father’s boyhood home in Arkansas. That’s what we focused on, her whole trip back to the south, which she’d kind of run from her whole life.

That’s a case where I was like, “Okay, this sounds interesting.” They told us what she’s done and I said, “If she can take us back to all those places, then we can make something work.” It turned out we never really did a sit-down interview with her. The whole interview was pretty much conducted as we were driving or as we were walking to these places. It’s probably my favorite piece of television that I’ve done over the last five years. It just flows like a river, that whole story. Whenever I’m talking to kids who write TV, I say, “You want to try to hide the seams. You don’t want people to see that this is a television construct. Then they forget the story and start looking at what it’s made of.” When Rosanne came on the Saturday show we used a stretch of that material of her visiting her father’s house by way of introducing it. I think the weekday show knows what it’s about, it knows what it’s trying to do and it does it really well. I think that’s certainly true of Sunday Morning and that’s what, in the last year and a half, we’ve really been trying to do with the Saturday show which has drifted between identities for a number of years and was sort of lost in its direction due to its many management changes.

I think the success of any show is about a point of view, and I don’t mean that in a political sense or an ideological sense or anything like that. You’re trying to create a certain tone and a certain mood and this is what we’re about. If you can create that atmosphere and are consistent with it and deliver week in and week out on what you’re doing–the Saturday show has been known for years for having really good chefs on it and when I took over the show, I’m not a foodie at all but I said, “Look, this is the one place on Saturday mornings where we actually get rock stars, we get the best chefs in the world on this show because we’ve created an identity and a place, but we need to do that across more places,” and that’s when Brian Applegate–who’s the senior producer of CBS This Morning and who’s maybe an even bigger music fan than me–we both said, “We want music every week again.”

That’s how the show used to do it some years ago, but it stopped. We don’t want just anybody who’s passing through town, we want the best musicians we can get and when we can we want to tell their stories as well as have them perform. We had Norah Jones in taping with Puss ‘N’ Boots who are her two friends Sasha [Dobson] and Catherine [Popper]. Jackson Browne is coming in, Tori Amos is coming in, John Hiatt is coming in, we’ve set a bar high for ourselves and said, “We want really talented people, we want them to know that we’re serious about putting good music on television and we want to do it every week and we want to build a reputation for that.” It started last year after I’d done a piece on Aaron Neville on Sunday and I’m like, “I want to get Aaron Neville” on the Saturday show. It took us about four or five months but we made it happen, he came on right before Christmas. When Brian saw we did that he suddenly reached out to get The National. I was like, “Wow, that’s a reach,” but we got them for Grammy week and we were like, “Okay, we’ve got something going here.” We’ve kind of been on a roll ever since, musically. We’re booked now all the way into September with the names I just told you. I’m a big believer that you can be serious but have fun at the same time. You can be smart but laugh and on a Saturday morning that’s what people want. They want you to treat them seriously. They don’t want you to throw junk at them just to fill two hours of TV. We’re not doing that. We don’t have a big staff but we think really hard about everything we do.

MR: Where is the show ultimately heading?

AM: A two-hour television show is a monstrous beast. I was kind of terrified of it when they asked me to do the Saturday show. I was an English major in college, I strove to write stories with a beginning, a middle and an end and construct them in a way that they held up all the way through. I’m the kind of guy who if he goes to the movie he wants to stay to the end because I want to see how it’s made. The few times I’d subbed on the show in years earlier it was frankly kind of a mess. You’d be in the middle of it and you’d go, “What is this show about?” We’ve got fashion segments, we’ve got cooking segments, we’ve got a couple of guys helping you rebuild your house, I don’t know what this show is about. It’s trying to be about so many different things to different people but you can’t tell at the heart of it what it really is. I think more than anything you have got to find what that is and you’ve got to try to stay true to it every week.

You’re not always going to hit it. Some weeks are going to be better than others and you’re always going to ask yourself, “Why did this show work better than that show?” but we are trying to build out, segment by segment, a definition. We’re off and running with music, we’ve got food, we want to continue that to film, we want to do some different things with film and movies other than just having a list of something every week. I’m not sure what that is yet but we’re trying some things and working on that. We also have a commitment to technology and science, again, having fun with it and making it accessible to everybody. We have this guy Jeffrey Kluger from Time, he’s their science writer who is terrific and can make anything scientific interesting. Jeffrey’s on once a month and I love him, he’s great. When I first started understanding what made two hours of television work it was the week Jeffrey was on and he was talking about Mars. We had him on, we had Thomas Keller, the great chef, and we had a really fun band called The Piano Guys who just were great TV.

MR: The Piano Guys can be lots of fun.

AM: To be honest with you I was somewhat skeptical but they were great television that week and we had a really fun show where you left feeling smart, you had a great time, and I was like, “This is what I want to do every week.” You build a show across certain templates that you try to hit. Most people aren’t going to stay for two hours and can’t, but I still want to build a show that if you stay from beginning to end has a story arc to it and a flow to it and a feeling to it so if you are there for a whole thing it was worth it. That’s way more than you’ve ever wanted to know about this show, but…

MR: No, I really enjoy the passion and appreciation you have for all that goes into the process. I think you’ve made it apparent what your mission is–to explore music and artists in the best way you possibly can.

AM: I love and admire musicians in part because I am utterly unmusical myself, I can’t hit a note to save my life. My daugther will tell you I couldn’t sing if my life depended on it.

MR: Nope, you’re just being modest. If you can talk, you can sing.

AM: That’s absolutely true. And I’ve always considered the pieces I do, particularly for Sunday Morning, as my songs. There are a lot of similarities in the way a song is constructed and the way a piece of television is constructed, which is why I totally relate to songwriting and I love having conversations with musicians about the way things get built. I did have this one producer in our London bureau who’s in a band and when I said that to him he said, “You know, you’re not wrong. It actually makes sense.” A story has a rhythm to it, it has a visual rhythm, it has an audio rhythm. I’ve always heard all of that in the way a story feels. That’s why I spend as much time working on them as I do.

[Note: Anthony Mason co-hosts CBS This Morning: Saturday with Vinita Nair. Its senior broadcast producer is Brian Applegate with Chris Licht executive producing.]

Transcribed by Galen Hawthorne

William Gage Blanton – HuffPost 7.28.14

Mike Ragogna: What’s your advice to designers who are just starting out?

William Gaga Blanton: Don’t be afraid to fail, because you have to fail to succeed. You can’t just expect to make it. You have to know how to fail. You have to fail, fail, fail, fail, fail. And copy whatever you love. If there’s something you like, and somebody who inspires you, just copy it as much as you can. From that copy you will find your own style, your own way.

MR: Nice. You’ve also had a music connection in that your fashion sometimes goes hand in hand with certain musical acts.

WGB: Yeah, I dabble in music, and I’m friends with some major artists and some not-so-major artists. I just like the way that in this day and age music can dictate what’s going to be in style. The imagery used in music is probably the most influential pop culture we have.