February 6, 2006
Instead of a wardrobe malfunction, this year's Super Bowl halftime show had a talent malfunction. The Rolling Stones put on a "ragged" and "mediocre" show. Their first song, "Start Me Up," needed a little starting up, the obligatory new single "Rough Justice" was boring and the classic "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" was lacking.
ABC actually had to edit the performance to silence potentially offensive sexual language, but nobody bothered to censor the incredibly offensive swagger of 62-year-old Mick Jagger. The guy needs a walker.
It left me yearning for some genre-bending crap-medley from the likes of Eminem, Ashlee Simpson, Metallica and the Dixie Chicks. At least then there's the threat of a full-on fight instead of a full-on heart attack.
January 18, 2006
Christian rockband Audio Adrenaline is calling it quits after 15 years. The press release cites "ongoing vocal challenges" facing lead singer Mark Stuart. After consulting with a doctor he decided to retire (though I think if he consulted anyone attending their concerts for the past two years they could have told him that his voice is done).
The band will release one final album later this year, a retrospective (read: best of, plus two new songs) dubbed Adios, and head out for a farewell tour.
There's no word on what will become of the remainder of Audio Adrenaline, guitarist Tyler Burkum, bassist Will McGinniss and drummer Ben Cissell, who one can only suppose aren't facing "ongoing vocal challenges." Apparently Audio Adrenaline won't be going the way of Petra, Newsboys, Further Seems Forever (OK, my rock history is pretty poor, but you know it's happened before) and so many other bands that just replaced their lead singer and kept going.
I see two possible outcomes:
- Some lucky solo artist out there finds a stellar backing band. Who could it be? Justin McRoberts? Derek Webb? Andrew Peterson? Sara Groves? Bethany Dillon? Shawn Groves? The return of Michael W. Smith? Wait, scratch that last one.
- Their record company decides to go the way of INXS and launches a Christian version of the sorry reality show where average Joes can try out to be the lead singer of a rock band.
October 25, 2005
Check out the avatar Bono and U2 doing "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes" on the Mother Goose Rocks DVD. The video doesn't play very well on my computer, but you get the idea. Kind of creepy, but the song is fun. You can also snag the song on volume 5 of the CD, which also includes sound-alikes of Green Day, Gwen Stefani, Black Eyed Peas, Coldplay, Evanescence and more (of course they give them all goofy names, like ME2, Green Week and Effervescence). You can also grab "Head and Shoulders" (and all the tracks) on iTunes.
October 20, 2005
The dinosaurs of Christian rock, Petra, called it quits earlier this year and a few weeks ago they recorded a farewell concert to be released on CD and DVD as Petra Farewell. Check out the set list and a fan's perspective. It really cracks me up when they talk about drummer Paul Simmons losing both drumsticks and playing with his hands, something I saw him do several times at the Sonshine Music Festival (though I thought he looked kind of doofy for throwing his drumsticks up in the air and dropping them countless times).
Petra was my favorite band in middle school.
October 5, 2005
On Thursday night U2 will appear on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. And they're taking over the show. The band will be the only guest, musical or otherwise, and are expected to play three songs and be interviewed by O'Brien.
September 15, 2005
Coldplay just released their Fix You EP exlusively on iTunes and all the proceeds will go to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The EP includes two versions of "Fix You" (album and live) as well as two previously unreleased Coldplay tracks from the X&Y sessions, "Pour Me" (recorded live in 2003 at the Hollywood Bowl) and "The World Turned Upside Down."
September 2, 2005
The PBS concert show Austin City Limits turned 30 this year. It started with then no-name Willie Nelson in 1975 and continues through to Beck backed by the Flaming Lips on Sept. 24, 2005. On October 8 season 31 begins with Jack Johnson and Rilo Kiley, Allison Krauss and Union Station (Oct. 15), Ben Folds (Oct. 29), The Killers and Spoon (Nov. 5) and more.
July 28, 2005
Rising Twin Cities band the Olympic Hopefuls aren't so olympic anymore, thanks to a threat of legal action from the U.S. Olympic Committee. Apparently the word "olympic" was trademarked by Congress in 1950. The band is continuing on as the Hopefuls.
Unfortunately the Hopefuls were unable to work out an agreement like the Postal Service has.
July 27, 2005
The remake of Dukes of Hazzard doesn't open until August 5, but there's already plenty of talk about the questionable remake, including its soundtrack which includes a Jessica Simpson cover of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" (the song also features Willie Nelson, but you can hardly hear him over Simpsons' sultriness). The video features a scantily-clad Simpson trapsing all over in her boots, though the emphasis is definitely on her booty, especially when she washes the General Lee.
A "Christian" organization called the Resistance (which is really more interested in end of the world conspiracy theories) have expressed outrage over her stripper moves in the video, prompting a response from Simpson herself:
"It didn't really surprise me because I grew up with a lot of that backlash. That's why I didn't end up going into the Christian music industry. I think that if they're really good Christians the judgment wouldn't be there."
Since Simpson has asked us not to judge, we won't ask why she bothered responding to such a group in the first place. But there's nothing like equating the Christian music industry with a group that believes 9/11 was an inside job.
July 11, 2005
Rising pop-punk band Relient K will play on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno this evening, Monday, July 11, 2005. They'll be performing their latest hit, "Be My Escape" from their Mmhmm album. You can also catch the "Be My Escape" video over at the band's web site.
The main guest tonight on Jay Leno is Tom Arnold, so I think that makes Relient K the main attraction.
June 24, 2005
An alternative weekly in the Twin Cities, City Pages, ran an article, "Why on Earth (Or Elsewhere) am I Enjoying Christian Rock?" The piece covers Starflyer 59, Ester Drang, Danielson Famile and Sufjan Stevens.
Of course it also mentions MxPx as a crossover failure, which seems a bit odd since the band consistently plays the Warped Tour and has distanced itself from the CCM scene.
June 23, 2005
Nerve damage sidelined Megadeth guitarist Dave Mustaine, giving him a needed break from music and 16 months without touching a guitar. Now he's back and Megadeth is touring and last year released The Systen Has Failed.
Mustaine is also talking about his deepened faith in God. That faith has included taking a stand against Satanic imagery. He forced promoters of one metal show to choose between Megadeth and another band. Megadeth won.
"There are people who believe in God - whether Jews or Christians. Then there are agnostics and atheists. And then there's the antithesis, the enemy of everyone," he said. "What the hell does Satanism have to do with music anyway? Life is too short; there's no need for me to put myself in a situation that's undesirable for me, especially if I'm the headliner. I think 20 years in the business gives me some credentials."
June 7, 2005
Watch out for the yellow and black attack. Stryper is back. The Christian metal band of the 1980s (well, 1990s when metal was on its way out) is releasing their first new album in over a decade. Reborn comes out August 16, 2005, but you can get a taste of the first single now. "Reborn" is available now on iTunes.
May 23, 2005
The Christian rock band Petra will call it quits after more than 30 years of music. In that time the band scored four Grammys for 1990's Beyond Belief, 1991's Unseen Power, 1993's Wake-Up Call and 2000's Double Take. They were one of the ground breaking Christian rock bands, and even pre-dated the worship explosion with 1989's Petra Praise: The Rock Cries Out.
During middle school my favorite rock band was Petra, and though my tastes have since changed, I present my top Petra songs (of course I'm pretty biased to their music from the late 1980s to mid 1990s; I'm not much of a fan of their earlier or later stuff).
May 17, 2005
The Christian pop-punk band Relient K walks an uneasy tightrope between their Christian faith and their newfound mainstream success. Capital records picked up their latest release, Mmhmm, and the band is currently touring with Good Charlotte and Simple Plan.
"The church turns itself off to a lot of people," [guitarist Matt] Hoopes said. "If you don't hate gay people and vote for George W. Bush you can't be a Christian. We're trying to offer a different message."
"That's probably the most satisfying thing about doing what we do is just the feedback from actually being a positive influence on somebody," [singer Matt] Thiessen said. "It seems bigger than just selling records."