The Reason You Love “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

The Reason You Love “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

The Peanuts universe is depressive, violent and predatory. It took Vince Guaraldi to make it feel like Christmas. In “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is entering its 50th year, and the soundtrack has become the Dark Side of the Moon of holiday favorites. Check out this piece I wrote for Cuepoint. The Reason You Love “A Charlie Brown...
Now On The Line…Elbow Frontman Guy Garvey

Now On The Line…Elbow Frontman Guy Garvey

The Britrockers have embarked on a rare U.S. tour behind their 2008 release, The Seldom Seen Kid, and lead singer Guy Garvey checked in periodically to let us know how it’s going. By Mike Errico VIDEO: Guy Garvey and Pete Turner discuss their odd band name and their exceptional album, The Seldom Seen Kid. Day 1 April 29, 3 P.M. Now in Chicago, Garvey rings from the green room at the evening’s venue, the Park West. I would say after New York, Chicago’s my favorite city in the U.S. It’s got the same sort of ethic as New York, a little bit of the community vibe — I would imagine being part of a city like that. We’ve been before, and Mark [Potter] and Pete [Turner] did some DJ’ing with friends of ours at an afterparty. I’m not a DJ, you know, and wouldn’t be ideal at selling dance floors. Depending on the dance floor, of course. Maybe a 1930s dance floor… Yesterday we had a day off in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s Mark’s birthday today, so we started a little bit early: We got the tequilas in and it got a bit messy. Not to sound too Mariah, but different songs are harder to sing than others, so despite the fact that I can drink more than anybody in the band or crew, I actually behaved myself in the name of our art. My drummer [Richard Jupp] is particularly a pussy when it comes to drinking. That’s because his body is a temple. Yeah. The set that we played in Washington [two days earlier] was in a historic synagogue,...
David Lee Roth

David Lee Roth

We sat down to talk about the bluegrass tribute to Van Halen, Strummin’ with the Devil, and a bottle of Tennessee whiskey mysteriously appeared. It got blurry quickly. By Mike Errico So, it’s official: At this very moment, Van Halen is a staple on bluegrass radio and in strip clubs. The end of the world is at hand. Well, it’s the same audience, and the same guys, man. Van Halen’s verb music: Pick a verb. [Laughs] Whatever we were when we first showed up — the most alternative, left-of-center, whatever — is now the toast of the middle, including all the fire, all of the military… The military? Come on, there’s not a commanding officer under the age of 65 that doesn’t know what I do for a living. [Laughs] All the two-star generals are my age. You think they didn’t have a few dozen beers to “Running with the Devil” when they were at the Citadel? Come on! Of course they did. If you’re a hoo-hah, and you don’t know Van Halen, get the fuck out of the troop. OK, but…is there a connection between classic Americana and classic Van Halen? Sure. Van Halen was a wonderful variety of ingredients, and you are familiar with every one of them. I didn’t bring you a flavor from Southeast Asia that you never heard of. You recognize, “OK, here’s the vaudeville element, here’s the heavy metal element, here’s the Al Jolson element,” and you can run your hand over it — you’ll feel the weld marks, so to speak. And Americana’s been a part of that mix. Americana’s what’s on...
Michael Emerson: “I’ve always liked playing ambiguity.”

Michael Emerson: “I’ve always liked playing ambiguity.”

Michael Emerson: “I’ve always liked playing ambiguity.” Emmy winner Michael Emerson loves Captain Beefheart lyrics, hates athletic balladeering, triggers a House of Pain ringtone on his wife’s cell — and recommends Bach if you’re planning an extended stay in the Hatch. By Mike Errico “Things that are sparsely played, and have an empty quality to them, I find very appealing,” says Michael Emerson, who exudes a creeptastic stillness of his own as Henry Gale (or…Ben?), leader of the Others on the hit TV show Lost. “I’m gravitating to the simpler and the earlier in music. I like the beginnings of things like jazz, reggae and punk: less production, more mess, more empty spaces.”While the Web buzzes with theories, maps, decoders and webisodes to figure out what’s going on behind his pale, piercing eyes, the Iowa-born actor remains amused. “I’ve played villains on stage — you know, the Iagos and so on — but I think of myself as a funny person. I mostly did comedies before I did TV work.” How, then, to explain his brilliant string of serial killers, Shakespearean antagonists, and…”Others”? “I enjoy the stillness and focus that these characters have. I’ve always liked playing ambiguity, and that seems to be what makes these characters tick.” After dispensing with musical niceties, we took the nerd gloves off: Was it coincidence or fate that brought everyone to the island? Where did Michael go? What’s with the damn four-toed foot? Patiently, he explains, “Sometimes [the writers] put stuff in, and you don’t know if they’re pulling your chain or if they’re going to capitalize on it. But,” he adds,...
Gene Simmons: Interview

Gene Simmons: Interview

The fire-breathing Kiss bassist and entrepreneur gives us valuable life lessons and a peek at the Family Jewels. By Mike Errico So, tell us a secret: How did you get Shannon Tweed to not marry you but still stay around? Guys have become such wimps, it just shocks me. My God, what happened to the alpha male? If you wanna marry her, say, “OK, I wanna marry, but let’s talk about if we get divorced,” because statistics say you will. So you must ask her the most important question, which is: If you want money, let me know how much. Let me make an educated decision. You’ve said, “Women are great housekeepers: They get to keep the house.” Well, every hotel you’ve all been to is by definition a cohabitation agreement. You sign on the dotted line, and you agree to abide by the rules of the owner of the hotel. When you leave the hotel, you don’t take half the hotel with you. But by now you must have reached the point … You’re about to ask, “Well, surely by now you must be married.” At the outset, you have something called a cohabitation agreement that supersedes and nullifies all laws of the land, including common law. Two people have individual counsel, and they both decide the rules of the relationship. And if, in the rules, it says, “If we separate, you don’t get a penny,” those are the rules. Do people come up to you randomly and remind you that you’ve slept with them? Oh, often. I’ve had thousands, I mean thousands, of not the sleeping kind...
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...
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