Songwriter/ASCAP President Paul Williams Talks Muppets and Songwriting Rights

Categories: Interview

When Kermit sang "The Rainbow Connection" in The Muppet Movie, it was Paul Williams (and Kenny Ascher) who wrote the song.

Paul Williams has accomplished much in life, but when it comes to his daily two mile run, he takes what he considers his tortoise-like his pace in stride. "As usual, there are people walking by me while I run," he chuckles, "I'm not the fastest out there, but it keeps me healthy."

Williams' life is full of contradictions, accomplishments, and finding a silver lining in what others would consider failure or disappointment. You may not immediately recognize his name, but the singer-songwriter and actor has left a huge footprint on popular culture. Among his long list of credits, he wrote "Rainy Days and Mondays" for The Carpenters.

"That song has one of my favorite lines I've ever written and also my least favorite," he says, beaming about "What I've got they used to call the blues" while cringing over "Hangin' around / Nothin' to do but frown." He has a lyrics credit for "Evergreen," the Academy Award-winning theme to the Barbara Streisand film A Star Is Born, and starred as Little Enos in Smokey and the Bandit (Billy Bob Thornton told Williams that in the South they consider the movie a documentary.). Most famously, he co-wrote the songs for the classic film The Muppet Movie with Kenny Ascher.

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Pizza With Andrew WK at Grand Avenue Pizza Company

Categories: Interview

It's no secret that Andrew WK has made a career out of partying, everyone knows that. But now that the dust has settled from his energetic performance at last weekend's Viva PHX festival at Monarch Theatre we can share with you one of his other passions that you may not know about.

The long-haired rocker, motivational speaker, and Village Voice advice columnist also has a deep love for all things pizza.

"Pizza makes a great party, anytime you have pizza it automatically is a party," he told us.

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Godsmack Bassist Talks Touring Life, 20 Years as a Band, and Being Honored by Boston

Chapman Baehler

If ever a song were to frame the longevity, trajectory and torque behind the Boston based heavy metal act, Godsmack, it would have to be the first single, "1000hp", from their sixth studio album of the same name.

While the track sounds like a piece of hype music, the autobiographical lyrical content sums up the history of Godsmack quite well. Taking listeners through a form of warp-speed storytelling, the band revisits the days of playing empty bars in Boston, circa 1995, before taking over America, state by state, and spreading to foreign countries where all the band hears now is "turn that shit up louder," as the track states, and "take it to a thousand horsepower."

"At the end of the day, we write the best songs that we can for what we are," Godsmack bassist Robbie Merrill says with a New England accent, and in a surprisingly soft-spoken tone for being part of such a loud band. "We believe in them, and we give them to you, and whatever happens, happens."

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A Place to Bury Strangers on the Pedals They Built for Trent Reznor

Categories: Interview

Photo by Dusdin Condren
A Place To Bury Strangers

Death via noise may be Oliver Ackermann's end goal, but A Place To Bury Stranger's frontman says he doesn't have tinnitus yet. "Maybe things are a little bit quieter," the guitarist tells us. "But I still feel like I can hear the full spectrum of sound. I guess I'm pretty lucky."

Nonetheless, Ackermann still wants to crank the volume to the limit, crafting crushing ramparts of industrial noise akin to more sinister versions of Ride or The Warlocks. But New York's APTBS were never content with the options available to them, so they've meticulously built their own gear, everything from the amps to the pedals to the guitars.

"I got into every aspect of making music, from recording to building the instrument," Ackermann explains. "It grew out of necessity for the artwork that we were doing."

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Girl Talk Discusses Collaboration with Freeway

Categories: Interview

Andrew Strasser
Girl Talk teamed up with Freeway for new project, and things got sweaty.

There is a moment in Girl Talk's episode of the Hulu documentary series A Day In The Life where he states he's never really associated with DJ culture, only to cut to several journalists asking him about DJing or his very small vinyl collection. Gregg Gillis, the name behind the moniker, wants Girl Talk to be associated with original music, despite the fact that he's layering snippets and samples of other people's work into something new.

"I do think that the general dialogue amongst people with sampling is always evolving," Gillis explains. "I feel like as far as the distinction between a DJ and a performer, it's not something that really concerns me at all. Making something original out of these samples is the core of what I do. Those lines have been just so blurred. I feel like it's less of a distinction now because there's just so many examples of original content that's based on sampling. The idea of a remix has become so commonplace.

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Hug of War Wants to Enlighten You With Goofy Songs

Categories: Interview

Belanger Damori took this. Tyler Broderick and Tristan Jemsek are the other dudes. Hug of War is in the middle.

Jason Kron, the one-man beat virtuoso behind Hug of War, not only dresses like a mad scientist, he's about as ambitious as a benevolent Dr. Strangelove. "I'm putting all of my creative energy into making music that will unite the world and usher in a new era of enlightenment," Kron says.

Hug of War's imminent takeover comes in the form of Emancipate Your Ears! 5000 Years of Global Music Domination Exposed!! the enterprising name of Kron's upcoming EP through his label Oo-Mox Industries (meaning 'Ferengi ear foreplay' for non-Trekkies). With tongue-in-cheek dance-centric subject matter like "Down With Parents" and "Treat Me Sweetly Until We Die," Hug of War falls closest to the goofy rap genre, but Kron wants to distance himself from labels.

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Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red Talks Foundation for Troubled Music Fans, Heart Support

Categories: Interview

August Burns Red

Music and live performances offer an experience to let our problems and struggles take a back seat, if only for the length of a song or live set. No matter the genre, music has been known as a way to bring people closer and experience something. Whether it's the lyrical message, the musicianship of a well-composed song, the quality of the production, or even something greater, music can provide a sense of comfort and purpose.

What is often overlooked at times is what exactly those problems are that we allow ourselves to shut off rather than speak about them. Jake Luhrs, singer for August Burns Red, aims to change that with his nonprofit organization, Heart Support.

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Scott Weiland Talks New Beginnings with The Wildabouts

Categories: Interview

Scott Weiland returns with his new project.

It's well documented that rock 'n' roll brings out the best and the worst in Scott Weiland. He's seen the highest of highs fronting bands like Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, both which were massively successful. Weiland's demons have also followed him for the past 20 years and were the catalyst for both of those bands moving on without him. His antics are as legendary as his music career, which he is trying to rebuild with his solo project Scott Weiland and Wildabouts. The band will kick off their tour on Sunday at Pub Rock in Scottsdale, and Up On the Sun caught up with Weiland to talk about his third shot at music.

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Steve Aoki on How His Gigs Are "About Gettin' Crazy and Going Wild," With or Without Cake

Categories: EDM, Interview

Courtesy of SLE
Steve Aoki is scheduled to perform on Thursday, February 19, at Livewire in Scottsdale.
As you might have heard recently, Steve Aoki is cutting back on the cake. More specifically, the electronic dance music icon has stated that he's ceasing his trademark stunt of throwing sheet cake at audience members during shows, at least at big EDM festivals where he's a support act.

"If I'm on a multi-tiered lineup and I'm in the middle of a bunch of different artists, I don't want to cake a bunch of non-Aoki fans on accident," he says.

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Psychedelic Arizonans The Myrrors Reborn on Arena Negra

Categories: Interview

Joanne Cuellar
The Myrrors create psychedelic landscapes in Tucson.
Don't beat yourself up if you missed psychedelic rockers the Myrrors' debut, Burning Circles in the Sky, way back in 2008. The album was released in scant quantities around Phoenix -- a run of about 50 hand-burned CD-Rs exist -- but the young band showed promise, enough so that in 2013, long after leader Nik Rayne had relocated to Tucson to study writing and mostly disbanded the group, Germany's Merlin's Nose and the UK-based imprint Fuzz Club, ended up reissuing the debut.

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