Results for Queen

interviews

Jac Holzman on Elektra Records

jacholzman Before there was a Merge or a Matador there was Elektra Records. The great American label is celebrating its 65th anniversary, and so Jim and Greg return to their conversation with Elektra founder Jac Holzman. They spoke with him in 2011 when he was being into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jac talks about launching Elektra as an independent folk label out of his dorm room in 1950. Eventually the roster grew to include every genre of music – blues, rock, funk, world and pop. It became the home to The Stooges, the MC5, Love and Queen, and, Jim adds, some notoriously difficult personalities. But Jac insists no artist was too hard to handle. He did use caution when out drinking with Jim Morrison, however.

Go to episode 486

Spoon

One of Jim and Greg's favorite albums of the year so far comes from the indie rock band Spoon. Despite the odd title, they fell for the combination of minimal art pop with Phil Spector-like arrangements and orchestrations. This is the band's sixth album, and the fourth they've made with indie label Merge (also home to another indie success story — Arcade Fire). Jim and Greg start by asking lead singer and songwriter Britt Daniel about the approach to this album. He explains that the band was definitely inspired by Motown groups like The Supremes — something that may come as a surprise to fans who are used to a sparser sound.

One of the people responsible for the“Spoon sound”is producer Mike McCarthy. But, the band also worked with Jon Brion on a couple of songs. Other surprising influences: Queen and AC/DC. Songs like "We Will Rock You," and "Back in Black," are fairly simple and minimal, but they have that rhythm and that“thing”that draw you in. Listen to Spoon's take on that“thing”in the songs "Don't Make Me a Target," "Rhythm and Soul," and "Don't You Evah."

Go to episode 102

Jac Holzman

Jac Holzman

Before there was a Merge or a Matador there was Elektra Records. The great American label recently celebrated its sixtieth anniversary, and its founder Jac Holzman is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame later this month. Jim and Greg talk to Jac about launching Elektra as an independent folk label out of his dorm room in 1950. Eventually the roster grew to include every genre of music – blues, rock, funk, world and pop. It became the home to The Stooges, the MC5, Love and Queen, and, Jim adds, some notoriously difficult personalities. But Jac insists no artist was too hard to handle. He did use caution when out drinking with Jim Morrison, however.

Go to episode 275
specials

Remembering David Bowie

bowieremembered

Although passing away at the age of 69 seems early by today's standards, it's what music innovator David Bowie did with those 69 years that is significant. Bowie died after an 18-month battle with cancer on January 10th. He was responsible for creating magical personas, from Ziggy Stardust to Aladdin Sane to the Thin White Duke. Bowie released more than two-dozen albums exploring the genres of glam rock, dance, electronic and even jazz. Along with many of his solo hits, he participated in many memorable duets alongside artists like Mick Jagger, Tina Turner and Queen. He earned a considerable amount of success in the art world and as an actor in films like Labyrinth and The Prestige. His freedom of expression in his music, art and sexuality opened people's minds and inspired countless artists. David left behind a son (filmmaker Duncan Jones), his wife of 24 years (the supermodel Iman) and their daughter Alexandria. In this show, Jim and Greg discuss David Bowie's legacy and offer highlights from his long career. Producers and long time Bowie collaborators Brian Eno and Tony Visconti also share their memories of the pop chameleon.

If you're still missing David Bowie, take a listen to our Spotify playlist, Sound Opinions' Salute to David Bowie.

Go to episode 529
reviews
Queens of the Stone Age; Like ClockworkEra Vulgaris available on iTunes

Queens of the Stone Age Era Vulgaris

After six years of silence, Queens of the Stone Age are back with yet another addition to their stoner rock catalogue. As Greg. explains, …Like Clockwork follows a tough period in lead-singer Josh Homme's life: he recently suffered dangerous complications from surgery as well as depression. But Greg takes …Like Clockwork as a hopeful sign for the band, calling it Queens‘ best work in a decade. After veering off into weirdness on 2007’s Era Vulgaris, Greg welcomes the return of strong songwriting and melodies on this record. He says Buy it. Jim can't agree. …Like Clockwork is the kind of record the Try it rating was designed for, he says. Cut the dreadful slow tracks and you've got a decent Queen EP.

JimGreg
Go to episode 393
The Black ParadeThe Black Parade available on iTunes

My Chemical Romance The Black Parade

My Chemical Romance debuted at number two on the Billboard charts this week. In fact, the only obstacle between the band and the top spot was a High School Musical star. #2 ain't bad — but the question is whether not or not the album is. The Black Parade is the pop-punk band's third release, made with the help of Rob Cavallo, who also produced Green Day's last album, American Idiot. Both releases are concept albums, but if Green Day was trying to make their version of a Who record, My Chemical Romance seems to be channeling more over-the-top artists like Queen. Jim even calls it the modern day equivalent to Bat Out of Hell (for those of you who don't know Jim, that is a compliment). He is completely impressed by this tale of teen angst and death, and gives The Black Parade a Buy It. Greg appreciates the band's sense of humor (black with a heavy dose of sarcasm), and thinks that the album's finest moments are the over-the-top dramatic ones filled with glockenspiel, drum machines, layered guitars, and even fake cannon shots. But the rest of the songs struck him as generic radio tracks, and he can only give a Burn It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 49
Destroyer of the Void (Bonus Track Version)Furr available on iTunes

Blitzen Trapper Furr

Blitzen Trapper kicks off the reviews this week. Their 5th and latest album is called Destroyer of the Void. Both Jim and Greg were big fans of the 2009 Sub Pop debut Furr. Greg continues to respect singer Eric Earley's songwriting and fondness for traditional American folk sounds. But, he feels like the band is on repeat with this album. It's too predictable and only gets a Try It rating from Greg. Jim can't believe his ears. The moments of departure and growth that Greg loves are the worst parts of the record according to him. Blitzen Trapper is aping Queen, and it doesn‘t work for Jim. It’s a“disgrace”and a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 236
21st Century Breakdown21st Century Breakdown available on iTunes

Green Day 21st Century Breakdown

After releasing the blockbuster album American Idiot in 2004, pop punk band Green Day is back with their 8th album 21st Century Breakdown. This album was over 4 years in the making, and the result is an 18-track rock opera produced by Butch Vig. Lead singer Billie Joel Armstrong is rallying against the establishment as always, but for Jim, he's not rallying as effectively. He hears a lot of Queen-like bombast. Jim thinks half of the album is amazing, but because of the other half, he gives it a Try It rating. Greg explains that this record deserves a number of listens, in sequence, something he says about very few albums these days. He thinks the bombast is actually reigned in pretty tightly, and believes 21st Century Breakdown is the best work they've done yet. Greg gives the album a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 181
lists

Anxious Anthems

Forget “keep calm and carry on.” This week, Jim and Greg play their favorite "Anxious Anthems." Then they chat with some listeners to hear what songs make them nervous.

Go to episode 551

Scary Songs

It's everyone's favorite time of year: Halloween! This is one of our most requested shows, so Jim and Greg are back with another installment of Scary Songs for the season. Here are their 2011 picks:

Go to episode 309
news

Music News

They truly are the champions: Queen's Greatest Hits album just became the first record in history to sell more than 6 million copies in the United Kingdom. That's about one album for every ten Britons—or, as Jim puts it, a whole lot of Freddie Mercury's overbite.

In more chart news from across the pond, the U.K.'s top-selling album this week is So Long, See You Tomorrow, the latest from Bombay Bicycle Club. Which had Jim and Greg wondering… who, exactly, is Bombay Bicycle Club? Apparently it's an indie rock outfit known for sampling Bollywood show tunes, with the nephew of the late British songstress Kirsty MacColl on guitar. The Brits must have a thing for the initials BBC.

Meanwhile back in the States, rock fans have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. And for memorabilia dealers, that's meant big business. A chunk of the Sullivan Show set signed by the Fab Four is going for a million bucks, while a signed U.K. version of A Hard Day's Night is expected to take in $60,000. There's also a signed copy of With the Beatles floating around somewhere. If you're the owner, consider paying a visit to Antiques Roadshow—you're in for at least $45,000.

Funnyman Fred Armisen of Portlandia and Saturday Night Live fame will soon return to late-night TV, this time as a musician. When fellow SNL alum Seth Myers takes over Late Night later this month, Armisen will“curate”his music and lead the in-house 8G Band, Myers announced by tweet this week. Sound Opinions saw this coming in 2012, when Fred (a former Chicago punk rocker who played in the band Trenchmouth, as well as Blue Man Group) told Jim and Greg how he's always admired bands on TV. Live the dream, Fred.

Go to episode 429

Music News

Miley Cyrus has gone from Disney star to Flaming Lips devotee. She and Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips have released a 23 song long free album called Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz. The album purportedly is a tribute to her dead pets as evidenced in a song like "Pablow the Blowfish." Jim thinks the record is nothing to write home about and is generally a waste of your time. Disagree? Call 888.859.1800.

EMI has stepped into the 21st century by doing something no other record label has done: allowing amnesty for samples. The company says the amnesty was put in place for“the aim of encouraging new sample requests from its broad catalogue as well as ensuring already existing samples are properly licensed.”It'll allow samplers who used EMI samples in the past to declare their samples“without the fear of a royalty back claim.”Too little too late or a big step forward, you decide.

Going Going Gone! We love a good rock auction here on Sound Opinions. Jim covers the auctioning off of rock inflatables by the English company Air Artists which includes inflatable Freddie Mercury and Brian May from Queen's 1986 The Magic tour; two life-size polystyrene and fiberglass casts used to make the inflatable Babylonian woman used on the Rolling Stones' Bridges to Babylon Tour; and the fiberglass train model used for AC/DC's Runaway Train concert. Also averrable for cold hard cash? A night's stay in the house that Bob Dylan and The Band wrote Music from Big Pink. Asking price per night - $650. Greg covers the auctioning off of the piano used to writeABBA's "Dancing Queen." ABBA cofounder Benny Andersson certified the piano and the asking price is $1.1 million. Finally The Beatles have their first recording contract up for auction. The band served as Tony Sheridan's backing band on the song "My Bonnie" recorded in Hamburg Germany. The asking price on this piece of Fab Four history is $150,000 just a little more than the $80 the band was paid to make the record in the first place.

Go to episode 510

Music News

who-tour The big summer concert season is getting underway, and many fans have their sights set on big ticket tours to see their favorite classic rockers. But, Jim and Greg wonder if they are really getting the full band experience? The Who, for example, just kicked off their 2015 tour and are likely to rake in the bucks despite being at half capacity. Drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle have passed away, so the answer to“Who are The Who?” is merely Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend. That duo brought in $13 million during their 2012-13 tour, far more than Pete or Roger could do solo. So, for incomplete acts like The Who, AC/DC, Smashing Pumpkins and Queen, Jim and Greg suspect the brand is more important than the band.

Go to episode 492

Music News

Jim and Greg have resisted talking about American Idol for quite a while, but this week this pop culture phenomenon couldn‘t be ignored. While these critics still don’t care about the musical impact of the show, they can't deny its significance in the industry. An average of 25 million people tuned in each week to see who would be declared the American Idol, commanding advertising rates that are only exceeded by the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. For the music industry, this means major sales. Past contestants like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Clay Aiken have sold 33 million records, and songs that appear on the show in any form immediately take off on the charts. Labels have taken note, sending aging artists like Rod Stewart, Queen and Barry Manilow, as well as fresher faces like Shakira, Mary J. Blige and Prince, to appear on the show. As much as both our hosts hope that audiences will decide to turn the dial toward something of better musical quality, Greg predicts that hipper acts in need of promotion will soon be calling up Fox. And until then, fans can look forward to much of the same.

Fans who purchased Sony CDs by artists like The Foo Fighters, The Coral, Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra can rest easy. While those CDs may have infected your computer with a virus-like anti-piracy software called MediaMax, a judge has ordered Sony to make up for it. Every customer infected with the software will receive a cash payment of $7.50 and one free album download or three free song downloads. Whoever claims that the record industry doesn'y care about the consumer obviously missed this news.

Rumor has it that Sri Lanka-born, England-based rapper M.I.A. is being denied a visa to come to the United States. M.I.A., or Maya Arulpragasam, has plans to record with producer Timbaland, but may have to postpone them. Whether or not the denial is related to the fact that she is the daughter of a Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger rebel, or the fact that many of her song lyrics are overtly political, is not known. What is known, however, is what a raw deal this is. While M.I.A., who has received masses of critical acclaim and was up for the prestigious Mercury Prize in 2005, will not be gracing Americans with her presence, our own Snoop Dogg has recently been barred from the U.K. Sound Opinions is willing to enter into diplomatic negotiations to work this out.

Go to episode 26

Music News

The first story in the news this week involves that age-old practice of“pay-for-play,”or payola, in the music industry. In recent years, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has been investigating major record labels like Sony and Warner who engaged in this practice. But now, the FCC has joined the battle against this unethical behavior by launching an investigation of the four major radio corporations: Clear Channel Communications, CBS Radio, Citadel Broadcasting and Entercom Communications. The FCC's enforcement unit is looking into accusations that broadcasters illegally accepted cash or other compensation in exchange for airplay of specific songs without telling listeners. As per usual, the federal government is late to the game — but this investigation is admittance of a problem. And as we all know, that's the first step.

Also making news recently are some major acts from the early 1990s. It seems that people are already nostalgic for the music of the alternative era, and many of the surviving bands are cashing in on it. Alice in Chains announced tour dates for this summer, despite the fact that their original lead singer, Layne Staley, died of a drug overdose in 2002. Like the members of Queen and The Doors, the surviving Alice in Chains bandmates don't seem fazed by this loss, and will continue with the addition of Guns 'N Roses bassist Duff McKagan and Comes With the Fall vocalist William DuVall. Former Jane's Addiction members Dave Navarro and Stephen Perkins will also tour this summer under the name Panic Channel, though their lead singer has not passed on. Rather, he's now the impresario of what may prove this summer's big moneymaker: Lollapalooza.

In the typical fashion, Neil Young is stirring up some controversy. The prolific rocker finished recording music for an upcoming album mere days ago and will have it in stores within a couple of weeks. Young is just coming off his last release, Prairie Wind (featured in Jonathan Demme's recent concert film), but on Living With War, he will shift gears completely. According to Greg, this release is a completely political, guerilla-style protest album. Young wrote and recorded songs like "Let's Impeach the President," in just one day in response to the current administration and its failed war in Iraq. Jim points out that Young works well in this situation. Less than two weeks after the Kent State shootings in 1970, Young was inspired to write "Ohio," and it was on the radio within a week. Almost 40 years later, the classic rock icon shows no sign of slowing down — neither his writing, nor his politics.

Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins are also in the headlines again. Nirvana widow Courtney Love sold 25% of her share of the band's publishing rights to Larry Mestel, a former executive at Virgin Music. She reportedly received over 50 million dollars for this settlement. That should help alleviate Love's financial woes, though not necessarily the woes of Nirvana fans who worry that Cobain's legacy will be boiled down to Teen Spirit ads. Smashing Pumpkins fans are also a bit curious about the fate of that band. Lead singer (and Love ex) Billy Corgan has stated that the Chicago group will reunite, but no one is quite sure in what incarnation. That really just leaves Pearl Jam, who you'll hear about later in the show.

Go to episode 22

Music News

This episode of Sound Opinions starts out with a discussion of the recent phenomenon overtaking many rock groups: Bands like The Doors, Queen, Journey, and The Cars are touring and making albums despite the fact that their original lead singers are no longer with them. This is not a new phenomenon, however. Jim and Greg have both seen this before with The Four Tops, The Platters, and more recently, Judas Priest, whose story inspired the movie Rock Star.

One of the most heavily publicized instances of a band replacing its lead singer is with the group INXS. In order to cast another Michael Hutchence, INXS's original lead singer who committed suicide in 1997, the Australian bandmates went so far as to utilize reality television. In Rock Star INXS, hundreds of wannabes vied for this slot. The winner was JD Roth, whose single with INXS is currently getting a fair amount of radio play. The runner-up is Chicago musician Marty Casey. To get to the bottom of the substitute lead-singer phenomenon, Jim and Greg sit down with Casey, whose band The Lovehammers is opening up for Roth and INXS on their current tour.

Go to episode 7