Archive for the ‘Fun Facts’ Category

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We all have our morning pick me ups, most of us just drink coffee. However, some people, like Stevie Ray Vaughn, put a gram of cocaine in Crown Royal to start the day. Mmmmmm! It’s a good thing he went to rehab when he did because his “pick me ups” had eaten through his stomach lining to the point of ulceration. Not exactly the best thing to do to your stomach, liver, brain, and mouth, but even that doesn’t take away from his godlike abilities.

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In 1998, Wilco collaborated with Billy Bragg to release a two album series performing American folk singer, Woody Guthrie’s previously unheard lyrics. The project was organized by Guthrie’s daughter, Nora Guthrie.

The album was entitled “Mermaid Avenue” after the street in Coney Island, New York on which Guthrie lived. It was said by Guthrie’s daughter that the lyrics were intended to be performed and shared with a later generation. Since Bragg had recently performed a Guthrie tribute concert in New York City’s Central Park, it made sense for Nora to reach out to him about composing music to her father’s lyrics for release. Bragg then approached Wilco, asking them to participate as well.

Interestingly enough, Wilco wasn’t the first to know about the unreleased music. Bob Dylan used to visit Woody Guthrie in the mental hospital where he was located during the final years of his life. In one of these visits, Guthrie had told Bob Dylan where the unreleased music was located in his house, and that he could use them and perform them. When Bob Dylan went to Guthrie’s old house however, he was turned away at the door, as the family didn’t know of any unreleased music.

Mermaid Avenue

Flying Lotus

Steven Ellison aka “Flying Lotus,” has been producing electronic music for the past 13 years and has released 4 studio albums since 2006. He is a notable figure in the electronic music community, because he is quite good at what he does. Hard work and dedication to his craft have put him where he is now, but some of that is in his blood too.

Steven is the great grandnephew of legendary Jazz musicians Alice and John Coltrane. That’s right, JOHN COLTRANE. You might not hear that much influence in his music, but perhaps you’d hear it more in his cousin, Ravi Coltrane’s music. Ravi has taken on the great task of living up to his last name by becoming a jazz musician as well.

If you have never heard of, or listened to Flying Lotus, I highly suggest that you do. “Los Angeles”, and “Cosmogramma” are my favorite albums. Check them out!

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Danger Mouse is a man by the name of Brian Burton (Pictured above, right of the Storm Trooper). He is a producer and multi-instrumentalist, whose work you have probably heard on a vast array of albums and collaborations since 2004. The name Danger Mouse came from an old British cartoon that he decided to dress up as for live shows, due to shyness. The first notable piece of work was his release of The Grey Album, which is a mix of a capellas from Jay-Z’s “Black Album” and samples from The Beatles “White Album.” Originally intended to just be shared between himself and his friends, it blew up all over the Internet and caught the attention of several artists. Damon Albarn, frontman of Gorillaz and Blur, recruited Danger Mouse to help produce Gorillaz’s sophomore effort, “Demon Days.” This opened several doors and he has since gone on to collaborate with MF Doom (DANGERDOOM), The Black Keys (Attack & Release, El Camino), Ike Turner, Beck (Modern Guilt), Norah Jones (Little Broken Hearts), U2, Portugal. The Man (Evil Friends), and Jack White. You might also recognize him from the bands Gnarls Barkley and the more recent Broken Bells. There is no predicting what he will do next, but I’m sure it will be definitely worth listening to. Many have considered him to be one of the best producers of the new millennium and he’s only been around for 10 years! Personally, I am very much looking forward to what his future collaborations and projects have in store for us.

Even the people that don’t like the Rock ‘N’ Roll music of the band AC/DC, recognize it when they hear it. They’re one of the classic Rock bands known to even the least educated of music fans. We know their music, we know their style, and we know the influence they’ve had over other rock ‘n’ roll bands. What most people don’t know however, is where they got their name.

AC/DC was an acronym written on the back of Angus and Malcolm Young’s sister’s sewing machine. The letters are an abbreviation for “alternating current/direct current”, which indicates that the machine was capable of using either type of power to operate. The band felt as though the name captured the essence of their “power-driven” performances, and so it stuck.

AC/DC

Cole Porter

Cole Porter is one of the most famous popular composers of all time. He’s written so many unbelievable classics, such as “Anything Goes”, “Let’s Do it, Let’s Fall in Love”, “I Get a Kick Out of You”, “In the Still of the Night” and so many more. He also wrote the famous tune “At Long Last Love” from the musical, You Never Know. Apart from its brilliant composition, there’s one tiny little detail about this song most people don’t know; he wrote it while waiting for emergency medical help!

In October of 1937, Cole Porter’s legs were crushed when his horse rolled on him and fractured bones in both legs. The accident left him hospitalized for 7 months following the accident, and crippled for majority of his life.

In the hours following the accident, while lying injured, in pain, and waiting for emergency care, Porter took out a pen and paper and composed the lyrics for what became “At Long Last Love”.

It is well known that in the music industry, it’s all about who you know. Quite often, musicians attribute their successes to a maniacal work ethic, their teachers, and well connected contacts. Lucky for Steve Miller, he had a teacher that could get him in contact with almost anyone in the business. That man was Les Paul! Steve’s father was a successful doctor who was good friends with Les Paul. In fact, Mr. Miller was Les’ best man when he married Mary Ford. Steve had started playing guitar around age 5 and Les came over to visit quite a bit. Before he knew it, Les had not only become his instructor, but also a great source of inspiration and support. Steve went on to form a few blues bands before he finally got the right line up and formed The Steve Miller Blues Band. They eventually dropped the “Blues” from the name and became a notable classic rock group. Instead of a Gibson Les Paul, Steve played a Fender Stratocaster most of the time. He may not have used the equipment that his instructor designed, but used something of his that may have been better – his technique.

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The Lollapalooza festival held every year in Chicago has become one of the country’s largest music festivals. What you may not know about Lollapalooza though, is that it originally started as a farewell show for the group Jane’s Addiction!

In 1991, Perry Farrell, lead singer of Jane’s Addiction, began planning an epic farewell show for his band that would bring music from all over the continent together for an incredible concert. The line-up included a diverse group of artists like Ice-T, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Nine Inch Nails. After the first show, the festival began touring around the United States and Canada until it eventually stationed itself in Chicago, IL.

Lollapalooza

There is no doubt that the UK is a hub for some of the greatest music ever created. Many artists travel there to help their careers take off, like Jimi Hendrix for instance. This land of great opportunity has launched the careers of many and some of music’s greatest minds have come forth. Now, the beautiful thing about debut albums is that bands have all the time in the world to come up with material and don’t have any kind of deadline from record companies. In my opinion, some of the greatest debut albums include: Homework (Daft Punk), Rage Against the Machine, Led Zeppelin I, Are You Experienced, and about a hundred more I can’t remember. All of these did very well in the UK, but have you ever wondered what album sold the fastest over there? Well, it’s by one of their own, the Arctic Monkeys. Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not sold 120,000 copies on its day of release and saw about 360,000 sold by the end of the week. Overall, the sales have totaled up to around 1,400,000. Give it a listen, it’s definitely worth your time.

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Almost everyone has heard the name “Big Pink” in the world of music at some point or another. Some know the name from The Band’s first album, “Music From Big Pink”. Others have heard the name from the London electronic-rock duo, “The Big Pink”. But what’s the source of this name? Well, as most things do, it all leads back to Bob Dylan.

The Band (originally The Hawks) got their start playing for Bob Dylan. Following Dylan’s famous motorcycle crash during the Summer of ’66, Bob Dylan needed to get away from the pressures of the label, his manager, and all his fans that felt betrayed by his going electric. He and The Band decided to break away from everything and seclude themselves in a house (that happened to be pink) being rented by Rick Danko from The Band, in West Saugerties, New York in 1967.

It was in this house that Bob Dylan and The Band recorded “The Basement Tapes” (released in 1975). Working so closely with Dylan inspired The Band to put out their own record, which became one of the most memorable albums of the 60s.

Big Pink