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In the Studio: Ari Hest

In the Studio: Ari Hest

Every week, the New York City songwriter is releasing a new song via online subscription, and at the end of 52 weeks, subscribers will decide which 10 songs will comprise his next full-length record. It’s a “concept album” with an intriguing concept, and unlike Rick Wakeman’s “medieval rock opera on ice,” it seems to be working. By Mike Errico What inspired the idea of 52? I did it just to challenge myself and see if I could write that much and record myself, which I’m not accustomed to doing. Also, I just thought that putting about another album didn’t appeal to me right now. I just didn’t think it was something that was going to propel my career, given the state of the industry. And the fact that I was leaving my record label [Columbia] back in the fall; I wanted to start fresh with an idea that most people hadn’t really heard of. How does it work? Every Monday, a new song gets released through e-mail if you sign up for a subscription service. For $20 you get all the songs, and if you sign up halfway through the year you get all the songs that I released prior to that date. Do you think the album is dead? Yeah. I do think it is. And I don’t know how it’s going to go in the next few years, but I do feel like people are going to start doing similar things to what I’m doing, if not the same thing, where you subscribe to some sort of service, much like cable TV. Maybe I’m getting a head... read more
Karina Smirnoff from “Dancing with the Stars”: My Music

Karina Smirnoff from “Dancing with the Stars”: My Music

Karina Smirnoff: My Music The perennial star of Dancing with the Stars dishes on her dance partners, ’80s-era Queen and pulling a Tonya Harding on Kristi Yamaguchi. By Mike Errico You always seem to get the hottest partners. Why is that? I think they kind of pair me up a lot of times with bad boys. Like I think Floyd [Mayweather] was somewhat of a bad boy. Mario Lopez was definitely a bad boy. I think they give them to me ’cause they know that I can handle it, and I probably control them in some way. But it’s flattering to think that people think I get the hottest boys. That’s awesome! If you had the ability to go back to any time period and any time in the world, who would be your dream dance partner? Oh, wow. I think that the perfect partner is the person who has the natural ability to dance, but he also really needs to have the time to put into rehearsal and the desire to win. If a partner has the commitment and determination, it’s a win-win situation. Is there someone in particular who fits that description? I don’t know if he would be a great dancer, but I always liked Keanu Reeves. You may have the greatest booty on television. Do you think it helps your dancing? Well, I don’t think of my booty as being really good, but it definitely helps to be in shape. We do work out all the time when we’re dancing; we put a lot of hours into rehearsal. So being in shape definitely helps. Thank... read more
Interview: Hank Williams III

Interview: Hank Williams III

By Mike Errico How would you describe the current state of country music? I haven’t listened to country radio in four years, or watched CMT in that long. But I’m kind of familiar with some of the people I need to be preaching against. I just write a song for myself and nobody else, and that’s the way it is. So I guess you don’t watch award shows like the Grammys, then. Nah. Honestly, if I got an award, you know, I seriously would not want to go. Our fans don’t really give a fuck or watch that, or care less if we get an award. You do a lot of name-checking of country royalty in your songs. What’s your relationship to these folks like? Waylon [Jennings] used to call me back when I was in rehab, and when I say, “I remember seeing Waylon shooting his shotgun,” that’s no bullshit. I’ve been hunting with him. David Allan Coe has always been in our corner, as far back as I can remember. I’ve been around [Merle] Haggard enough that he knows who the hell I am, and I definitely know who the hell he is. The first guy I ever sang with as far as a bigger country artist onstage was George Jones. So, when you throw a party, some of these guys show up? I’ve never thrown a party. When I’m off the road I’m the most anti-social dude in the world. For me, a party is taking a hit of acid and fucking playing my guitar and listening to music. It ain’t like the old days. When... read more
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