On Tuesday afternoon, Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk whose imprisonment for not granting same-sex marriage licenses became a cause célèbre for the right, was released amid fanfare and a glowing introduction by Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee.
“I thought before we left today, maybe you would like to personally express your thanks to the person who has the courage to cause a lot of people to start standing up,” Huckabee told a crowd outside the Carter County Detention Center in Grayson, Kentucky. “A person whose courage exceeds that of 99 9/10th percent of the politicians in this country.”
As Davis, her husband and attorney strode upon the stage to lock hands, Survivor’s ubiquitous 1982 hit “Eye of the Tiger” blasted in the background – musical shorthand for anyone who’s “defied the odds” and struggled as the underdog.
While Davis’ supporters applauded the clerk, Frankie Sullivan, the song’s co-writer, tells Rolling Stone that neither he nor the band authorized or endorsed Huckabee’s use of the song.
“I do not like mixing rock and roll with politics; they do not go hand in
In Augusta, Georgia, in May 2005, they put up a bronze statue of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, in the middle of Broad Street. During a visit to meet James Brown and observe him recording parts of his new album in an Augusta studio, I went and had a look at it. The James Brown statue is an odd one in several ways. For one, it is odd to see a statue standing not on a pedestal, flat on its feet on the ground. This was done at James Brown’s request, reportedly. The premise being: man of the people. The result, however: somewhat fake-looking statue. Another difficulty is that the statue is grinning. Members of James Brown’s band, present while he was photographed for reference by the statue’s sculptor, told me or their attempts to get James Brown to quit smiling for the photographs. A statue shouldn’t grin, they told him. Yet James Brown refused to do other than grin. It is the grin of a man who has succeeded, and as the proposed statue struck him as a
Mike Tetreault has spent an entire year preparing obsessively for this moment. He’s put in 20-hour workdays, practiced endlessly, and shut down his personal life. Now the percussionist has 10 minutes to impress a Boston Symphony Orchestra selection committee. A single mistake and it’s over. A flawless performance and he could join one of the world’s most renowned orchestras, the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
It’s close to 5 o’clock on a late afternoon in January when Mike Tetreault, a tall, lanky redhead, turns off Massachusetts Avenue and enters Symphony Hall through a side door. He checks in with the security guard and then heads for the basement, wrestling with more than 150 pounds of gear (mallets, snare drums, tambourines) in a backpack and a roller bag. The rest of the instruments he’ll need tonight will be supplied by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He’s an hour and a half early.
The basement of Symphony Hall is nothing like the velvety opulence upstairs. It’s cold down here, with concrete walls and harsh fluorescent lights. As Tetreault signs in at a table and
“What’s an opening night without forgetting some lyrics?” joked Maddie Marlow after a brief lyrical flub halfway through Maddie & Tae’s show Wednesday night at New York City’s Highline Ballroom. It was, indeed, the opening night of the upstart country duo’s first-ever headlining tour following the release of their debut album, Start Here, less than two months ago. A half-forgotten lyric and brief guitar sound problem aside, Marlow and Tae Dye ran through an exuberant, compact 18-song, nearly 70-minute set like a pair of seasoned headliners.
Backed by a four-piece band, the duo performed all 11 songs on Start Here, along with a healthy smattering of covers, from Dolly Parton to Justin Timberlake to the Dixie Chicks — as well as a few unreleased Dye/Marlow co-writes that included “Boomerang,” the lead track on Jana Kramer’s forthcoming album. The two singers played guitar for most all of their set, only abandoning their instruments to work the crowd during the various cover-song portions of the evening. From the soaring pop-rock of opener “Right Here Right Now” to the mid-set hoedown “Shut Up and Fish,” all the way to the intimate, acoustic encore of “When the Storm Blows Through,” Dye and
Ciara, R&B’s still-reigning princess, is taking a dark, psychedelic turn with her new song, featured in The Last Witch Hunter. For the action film starring Vin Diesel, out October 23rd, the singer tackles the Rolling Stones’ bewitching “Paint It Black,” and reimagines it as a syrupy, mesmerizing slow-burner. Hear the track below, and read Ciara’s thoughts on the Stones, Missy Elliott and what comes next after Jackie. Is “Paint It Black” a song that you’ve wanted to cover for a while now?
No, to be honest with you, it was actually a surprise for me when I got the call from ABKCO Publishing and Lionsgate. When they asked me to do this, I was like, “Absolutely. This would be an honor.” I had never thought to cover this song. It was never on my radar to cover it, but when the opportunity came along, I was very thrilled, because I love what the producer Adrianne Gonzales did. The direction that she went in was actually a sound I’ve always wanted to play with, and it just didn’t get any better than being able to cover a Rolling Stones song. I feel like it pushes the edge and the limit for me, in reference to what people
Music is something that every person has his or her own specific opinion about. Different people have different taste, and various types of music have many ways of leaving an impact on someone. It can be relaxing, angering, soothing, energizing, and many more.
There are so many types of music out there today. Rap, pop, rock, country, indie, alternative, hardcore are some of the abundant types in the world. Music sends out either good or bad messages that have big impacts on how people act. People usually become friends with others who have a same taste in music as the rest of the people they hangout with, or it can be vice versa. People may not want to associate with people who have different tastes in music because they’ll argue about what they think is better but its just their own opinions.
Rap and Rock music are two very important types of music in the world. They both send out different messages and help kids. The lyrics sung or rapped by the artists can be things going on in their own personal lives, and people with the same types of problems can listen to them so they know theirs hope
It has been suggested that in my annual regress report to the stockholders, published here last month, I neglected in all five thousand words to ever once mention why Metal Machine Music is a good album. So here, especially in light of Coney Island Baby, are the reasons:
If you ever thought feedback was the best thing that ever happened to the guitar, well, Lou just got rid of the guitars.
I realize that any idiot with the equipment could have made this album, including me, you or Lou. That’s one of the main reasons I like it so much. As with the Godz and Tangerine Dream, not only does it bring you closer to the artist, but someday, god willing, I may get to do my own Metal Machine Music. It’s all folk music, anyway.
When you wake up in the morning with the worst hangover of your life, Metal Machine Music is the best medicine. Because when you first arise you’re probably so fucked (i.e., still drunk) that is doesn’t even really hurt yet (not like it’s going to), so you should put this album on immediately, not only to clear all the
Howard Needham is
standing in a room deep in the bowels of Catholic University’s Ward Hall, listening to Samantha Cody play violin.
“The wolf notes are gone,” he says to Emil Chudnovsky, a CU music professor and violin soloist hovering nearby.
Chudnovsky cocks an ear, listening for the undesirable overtones, and looks skeptical. “I think the post is tight,” he says.
“I loosened it already,” responds an irritated Needham, shaking his head. “I loosened it a lot.” Still, he gestures to Cody to hand over the fiddle. Using a worn brass tool that he slides inside one of the curving f-holes cut into the violin’s top plate, Needham makes a small adjustment, then passes the instrument back to Cody.
She raises it to her chin and resumes playing. The two men look at each other and nod simultaneously. The sound is better.
This is a meeting with several motives. Cody, a 16-year-oldChevy Chase resident and one of Chudnovsky’s star students, is about to play in a string competition; to best her rivals, she’s playing Chudnovsky’s own violin, which has a much more powerful sound than her own.
Needham, a Maryland-based violin
Depending on whom you ask, the Shaggs were either the best band of all time or the worst. Frank Zappa is said to have proclaimed that the Shaggs were “better than the Beatles.” More recently, though, a music fan who claimed to be in “the fetal position, writhing in pain,” declared on the Internet that the Shaggs were “hauntingly bad,” and added, “I would walk across the desert while eating charcoal briquettes soaked in Tabasco for forty days and forty nights not to ever have to listen to anything Shagg-related ever again.” Such a divergence of opinion confuses the mind. Listening to the Shaggs’ album ‘Philosophy of the World’ will further confound. The music is winsome but raggedly discordant pop. Something is sort of wrong with the tempo, and the melodies are squashed and bent, nasal, deadpan. Are the Shaggs referencing the heptatonic, angular microtones of Chinese ya-yueh court music and the atonal note clusters of Ornette Coleman, or are they just a bunch of kids playing badly on cheap, out-of-tune guitars? And what about their homely, blunt lyrics? Consider the song ‘Things I Wonder’:
There are many things I wonder
There are many things I don’t
Visiting a popular concert hall for the first time some years ago, I was lucky to have a fairly genial host whom I’ll call Luddy. He guided me patiently through the obtuse and unfriendly ticketing procedure at the “Will Call” window where I felt rather like I was visiting a sort of bland theatrical version of the Department of Motor Vehicles. When I commented that it hardly seemed the promoters wanted to make buying tickets desirable, my guide explained the situation away by means of a sort of denial mechanism, never seeming to lose interest in pointing out the gargantuan monument to culture the concert hall itself represented.
Although I loved the music I heard that evening, I was struck at the time by how matter-of-factly my guide dismissed my observation that concerts might not be easy to figure out for a first-timer. And he took it for granted that I would find the impressive edifice and music itself a satisfactory recompense for my troubles. And he might have been right, I suppose, had I at least been allowed to authentically enjoy the performance going on inside that hall as I might spontaneously appreciate any other cultural
HE EMERGED FROM THE METRO AT THE L’ENFANT PLAZA STATION AND POSITIONED HIMSELF AGAINST A WALL BESIDE A TRASH BASKET. By most measures, he was nondescript: a youngish white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. From a small case, he removed a violin. Placing the open case at his feet, he shrewdly threw in a few dollars and pocket change as seed money, swiveled it to face pedestrian traffic, and began to play.
It was 7:51 a.m. on Friday, January 12, the middle of the morning rush hour. In the next 43 minutes, as the violinist performed six classical pieces, 1,097 people passed by. Almost all of them were on the way to work, which meant, for almost all of them, a government job. L’Enfant Plaza is at the nucleus of federal Washington, and these were mostly mid-level bureaucrats with those indeterminate, oddly fungible titles: policy analyst, project manager, budget officer, specialist, facilitator, consultant.
Each passerby had a quick choice to make, one familiar to commuters in any urban area where the occasional street performer is part of the cityscape: Do you stop and listen? Do you hurry past with
I’m standing on a podium, with an enameled wand cocked between my fingers and sweat dampening the small of my back. Ranks of young musicians eye me skeptically. They know I don’t belong here, but they’re waiting for me to pretend I do. I raise my arm in the oppressive silence and let it drop. Miraculously, Mozart’s overture to Don Giovanni explodes in front of me, ragged but recognizable, violently thrilling. This feels like an anxiety dream, but it’s actually an attempt to answer a question that the great conductor Riccardo Muti asked on receiving an award last year: “What is it, really, I do?”
I have been wondering what, exactly, a conductor does since around 1980, when I led a JVC boom box in a phenomenal performance of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony in my bedroom. I was bewitched by the music—the poignant plod of the second movement, the crazed gallop of the fourth—and fascinated by the sorcery. In college, I took a conducting course, presided over a few performances of my own compositions, and led the pit orchestra for a modern-dance program. Those crumbs of experience left me in awe of the constellation of skills and
Record companies are tracking download and search data to predict which new songs will be hits. This has been good for business—but is it bad for music?
In 2000, a Stanford Ph.D. named Avery Wang co-founded, with a couple of business-school graduates, a tech start-up called Shazam. Their idea was to develop a service that could identify any song within a few seconds, using only a cellphone, even in a crowded bar or coffee shop.
At first, Wang, who had studied audio analysis and was responsible for building the software, feared it might be an impossible task. No technology existed that could distinguish music from background noise, and cataloging songs note for note would require authorization from the labels. But then he made a breakthrough: rather than trying to capture whole songs, he built an algorithm that would create a unique acoustic fingerprint for each track. The trick, he discovered, was to turn a song into a piece of data.
Shazam became available in 2002. (In the days before smartphones, users would dial a number, play the song through their phones, and then wait for Shazam to send a text with the title and artist.)
Ester Dean, center, has written smash hooks for Rihanna and Nicki Minaj.
Ester Dean, center, has written smash hooks for Rihanna and Nicki Minaj. Credit Illustration by Michael Gillette
On a mild Monday afternoon in mid-January, Ester Dean, a songwriter and vocalist, arrived at Roc the Mic Studios, on West Twenty-seventh Street in Manhattan, for the first of five days of songwriting sessions. Her engineer, Aubry Delaine, whom she calls Big Juice, accompanied her. Dean picked up an iced coffee at a Starbucks on Seventh Avenue, took the elevator up to Roc the Mic, and passed through a lounge that had a pool table covered in taupe-colored felt. Two sets of soundproofed doors led to the control room, a windowless cockpit that might have been the flight deck of a spaceship.
Tor Hermansen and Mikkel Eriksen, the team of Norwegian writer-producers professionally known as Stargate, were waiting there for Dean. Both are tall and skinny ectomorphs with pale shaved heads who would not look out of place in a “Matrix” movie. Dean, who is black, is neither skinny nor tall; she reached up to give them big hugs, which is how she greets almost everyone. They
In January of 2010, Kesha Sebert, known as ‘Ke$ha’ debuted at number one on Billboard with her album, Animal. Her style is electro pop-y dance music: she alternates between rapping and singing, the choruses of her songs are typically melodic party hooks that bore deep into your brain: “Your love, your love, your love, is my drug!” And at times, her voice is so heavily processed that it sounds like a cross between a girl and a synthesizer. Much of her sound is due to the pitch correction software, Auto-Tune.
Sebert, whose label did not respond to a request for an interview, has built a persona as a badass wastoid, who told Rolling Stone that all male visitors to her tour bus had to submit to being photographed with their pants down. Even the bus drivers.
Yet this past November on the Today Show, the 25-year old Sebert looked vulnerable, standing awkwardly in her skimpy purple, gold, and green unitard. She was there to promote her new album, Warrior, which was supposed to reveal the authentic her.
“Was it really important to let your voice to be heard?” asked the host, Savannah Guthrie.