For Tony Bennett, 88, the Point of Art Is to Convey "Truth and Beauty"

Larry Busacca
Tony Bennett

No, Lady Gaga will not perform with Tony Bennett at Mesa Arts Center.

There's long been talk of a collaboration CD between the two, and it seems that come September, the two finally will release Cheek to Cheek, an album that finds the unlikely collaborators crooning jazz standards, backed by consummate jazz professionals. If the two singles that have trickled into the world so far, "Anything Goes" and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," reveal anything, it's that Gaga is a fantastic jazz singer, and Bennett, at 88 years young, still has some powerful vocal performances left in him.

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Kottonmouth Kings Might Have the Worst Ever Case of Reefer Madness

Kottonmouth Kings

For about as long as music recordings have existed, give or take 30 years, people have been using songs to pay tribute to weed. In 1929, Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra laid down what's widely considered the first recorded tune referencing marijuana. "Muggles" had nothing to do with Harry Potter and everything to do with pot (which Armstrong adored). Since then, musicians of all stripes have made songs about the green's sweet temptations. Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35," Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf," and Ray Charles' "Let's Go Get Stoned" account for a tiny handful of examples.

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Sometimes, the Most Punk Rock Thing to Do Is Make Pop Music

Brody Anderson
Head Over Heart

Whether it says more about Jordan Prather or Tucson's downtown music scene that the Head Over Heart singer/multi-instrumentalist likens himself to a punk rocker is up to you, but what's certain is that he sees himself as an outsider in his community.

"I remember reading in an Arcade Fire interview -- Arcade Fire and I have a lot in common," the 30-year-old Prather says, dripping with sarcasm. "They said when they were first coming up in their music scene everyone was very different. And they said 'what we thought was punk music was to play pop music.' Nobody else was doing that. They were just doing this avant-garde . . . whatever. I kind of feel like that. In general now, it's almost punk to make pop music. It's not cool in a lot of ways. Certainly people who are looking to avoid the mainstream aren't gonna be interested in us."

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Meet the Band the Butthole Surfers' Paul Leary Turned Down a $20K Gig to Produce

Courtesy Photo
The Burning of Rome

These days, The Burning of Rome frontman Adam Traub is a happy man. His band's self-described "Jesus and Mary Chain doing a spaghetti Western" style is fully realized on the Burning of Rome's new album, Year of the Ox (Surfdog Records), and in the last year, the band has shared stages with a number of notable acts, including one of their personal favorites, Nine Inch Nails.

But The Burning of Rome has taken a slow and steady build to reach its current success, after beginning seven years ago as a recording project in Traub's laundry room. For all of his band's accomplishments, Traub was most excited to to talk about Year of the Ox and how the record came to be. Naturally, I just stopped asking questions and let the tape run.

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Billy Joe Shaver, the Misunderstood Outlaw Who Shoots Bullies in the Face

Courtesy of Jim McGuire/Conqueroo
Billy Joe Shaver slides out of his battered white Ford Econoline van with surprisingly agility for a man celebrating his 75th birthday tonight. There's already a small crowd gathered around the outside of The Satellite in Los Angeles, an unlikely venue for such an act and such an evening, but everyone here knows who Shaver is.

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The Slow Poisoner's Weird Tunes Will Cure All That Ails You

Categories: Interview

Jim Ferreira

Because you are probably reading this on a cell phone or laptop, it's likely quite difficult to imagine what it was like living in the days of the traveling salesman. Some weirdo rolls into town, sets up shop for a bit, tells you what you want to hear, and rolls away laughing while you're holding some bizarre, sardine-flavored tonic that certainly didn't heal your butt warts. Even modern nomadic circus acts have been dumbed down. Are we doomed never to witness the mysteries of snake-oil salesmen? But then one-man band, The Slow Poisoner, emerges from the mists of San Francisco, defying obsolescence with the most macabre tunes this side of The Twilight Zone.

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How Comic Books, Dario Argento, and Vaporizers Influenced Phoenix's Take Over and Destroy

Andrew Weiss
Take Over and Destroy

The six members of Take Over and Destroy and Bob Hoag are gathered in the lobby of Flying Blanket Recording, the 1947 house in downtown Mesa that producer Hoag has converted into a studio. All focus is on the middle of the room, where two stacks of comic books lean precariously.

They aren't originals -- they're reprints from the '90s, Hoag explains as he peels issues from atop the piles and passes them around, copies of EC Comics titles The Haunt of Fear, Shock SuspenStories, and Mad Magazine, which started its publication life as a comic before switching to the less-regulated magazine format. The band members gawk at the books, rattling off names like Jack Davis and citing movies like Creepshow before conversation turns to the Comics Code Authority, a watchdog group formed in 1954 by the Comics Magazine Association of America to regulate comics. The violent, disturbing content of the EC books circulating the room inspired the creation of the code after Congress held a hearing to address comics' potential influence on children.

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Get Feisty and Foxy with Shovel at Tempe Tavern on Friday

Photo: Kevin Maliszewski

Shovel is an underground rock band comprising many things -- the transgressive squall of late-'80s pigfuck (Butthole Surfers, the Touch and Go Records brigade), the anthemic stomp of early Mudhoney and Nirvana, and bathed in a drop or two of Kat Bjelland's sweat. However, if the frequent use of terms like "sassy" and "feisty" by Shovel's perfectly named singer and guitarist Dusty Rose are indicative of anything, the music she and also-perfectly named drummer Ward Reeder is as muscular as the aforementioned acts, but a lot more fun.

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Bart Crow's Country Music Comes Straight from the Heart

Courtesy of Bart Crow
Bart Crow

The old joke is to say one likes both types of music: country and Western. That's not easy anymore. There still are two types, only now it's run-of-the-mill, generic pop country, or cliché-free, from-the-heart-because-the-song-matters country. Texas singer-songwriter Bart Crow falls into the latter category.

"I feel like I've got my own style and don't feel like I fall into a certain stereotype," Crow says from his Austin home. "I just write songs. I've tried my hardest to write Texas country songs or just country songs, and it just doesn't work for me. . . I don't set out to ignore clichés, but I set out to challenge myself to write something fresh and new, so I just think it works out that way."

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Cavalera Family's Many Metal Bands Come Together for D-Low Memorial Concert

Courtesy of Max Cavalera
Max Cavalera and his sons will honor D-Low, Cavalera's stepson, at an annual memorial concert.

Typically held in August, the D-Low show is a double-edged sword for many of us. It is both celebration and painful reminder wrapped in a tremendous rock 'n' roll show that Dana "D-Low" Wells, son (and stepson) of Gloria and Max Cavalera would have loved.

For the uninitiated, Dana was killed in an extremely questionable traffic accident on August 16, 1996, at the age of 21, which is where the painful reminder kicks in because, to many of us, Dana was a little brother, either by blood or by love for music, or both. His story has been well documented, and the question of what actually happened during those fateful early morning hours remains a mystery to this day. Regardless of the circumstances, though, the fact remains that the "tribe" to which Dana belonged comes together on a yearly basis to celebrate his memory with what is always one of the best metal shows of the year.

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