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Garbage’s Manson “inspired” by Kahlo on new album artwork

- May 30th, 2012

You may have noticed Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson’s shout out to Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in the liner notes for the band’s latest CD, Not Your Kind Of People.

She is pictured wearing two tight buns on either side of her head – a la Frida – with little bones and skulls decorating her ‘do instead of Frida’s traditional flowers.

“I felt over the last 10 years there’s just been a dirth of sort of alernative perspectives in music, and particularly from women,” Manson told QMI Agency while in Toronto for a club show.

“There’s a lot of pop stars out there but there’s very few alternative voices. I just began to get a little frustrated ’cause I always like to have inspiring figures in my life and I became sort of obsessed with female surrealism in particular and I was inspired by people like Frida Kahlo and all these women who I think are really provocative and asking questions of society that are complicated. I just found them inspiring and I wanted to make a nod to that when we did our album photographs. It was inspired moment. Cause I called up Autumn de Wilde, who’s a very well known photographer, and I said, ‘I have an amazing idea. I want to look like Frida Kahlo except instead of flowers I want to use skulls and little bones!’”
Manson is definitely drawn to strong women.
On this particular day she is wearing a T-shirt featuring punk rock veteran Patti Smith.
“My darling Patti,” said Manson. “She’s the most uncorruptable and very pure. She’s never made any compromises and it’s so rare now ’cause everyone wants to be famous. Everybody will sell their granny to be on TV or to be more famous.”

Adam Lambert says of upcoming Queen tour: “I’m not Freddie Mercury”

- May 30th, 2012

Adam Lambert, who has six European dates with Queen in July, says he’s no Freddie Mercury – Queen’s original frontman who died in 1991.
But he’s a huge fan.
“The biggest thing for me is like, ‘Look, I’m not Freddie Mercury and I’m not trying to be,’” Lambert told QMI Agency while in Toronto this week promoting his sophomore album, Trespassing.
“And I love Freddie Mercury, he’s one of my idols,” he said. “When I was old enough to research rock music and when I discovered Queen, I was thrilled. I thought, ‘Wow, this guy’s amazing.’”
And so when Lambert, who heads to London next week to begin two weeks of rehearsals with Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor, hits the stage with them, he has one idea in mind.
“The idea is not to copy or mimic, not at all,” he said. “No one would dare to. It’s Freddie Mercury. He’s amazing. He’s ‘the only.’ I think idea is to pay tribute to his memory and his artistry and to his intention as a songwriter and as a vocalist.”
Lambert first performed with Queen on the eighth season finale of American Idol in 2009 and again at the European MTV Music Awards in 2011.
He actually heard from Taylor while he was in Toronto as the Queen Extravaganza tribute show was in town as the same time as he was but his promotional duties prevented him from going to see it.
“I saw them perform on American Idol. And they’re great. I’m so excited for (them.) (Roger) just actually left me a voice mail. (Does a British accent) ‘Are you in town?’”

The Cult’s Astbury talks The Doors’ factor in his life

- May 27th, 2012

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The Cult frontman Ian Astbury grew up loving L.A.’s psych-rockers The Doors after hearing The End for the first time in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam War classic, Apocalypse Now.

“It was a religious experience,” said the British-born Astbury, 50, to QMI Agency while in Toronto recently promoting the new Cult album, Choice Of Weapon (out May 22), and a June 2 date in Windsor, Ont.

“So then the love affair began with discovering more about The Doors and their music and what was behind their lead singer and kind of his philosophy and his vision and his lyrics.”

Flash forward to the late ‘80s and Astbury, whose baritone recalls The Doors lead singer Jim Morrison, gets a call from Doors manager Danny Sugerman who took him for lunch and then invited him to meet film director Oliver Stone that night who was looking for someone to play Morrison in his Doors bio-pic.

“I was all full of myself and I was like, ‘Nah, somebody will make a film about me in 20 years time.’ But really what I was saying was, ‘I couldn’t act.’ I had no acting experience. I said, ‘Morrison’s such an important icon, I don’t think I could do justice to that.’”

Still, Astbury and Sugerman, who later passed away in 2005, remained friendly and the former was invited to a Doors documentary screening by the latter where Astbury first met keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore.

Astbury would eventually tour with Manzarek and Krieger as The Doors of the 21st Century in 2002 before Densmore and Morrison’s estate sued and they became D21C and later Riders on The Storm.

“I was pretty nervous but I was very excited,” said Astbury. “The next thing I know I’m in rehearsals with Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger learning 40 Doors songs which I thought I knew. No, no, no.

“And then we went on and did 150 shows ‘cause once I got on that bus, I couldn’t get off. It was pretty amazing. Here I am going around the world with two of my heroes.”

Montreal-born Queen Extravaganza vocalist learns about band on Wayne’s World

- May 23rd, 2012

The Queen Extravaganza’s Montreal-born vocalist Marc Martel – one of the new Queen tribute show’s four lead singers – says he didn’t actually get into the British rockers until the use of their hit Bohemian Rhapsody in the 1992 film Wayne’s World.

“My first introduction to Queen’s music when I really realized ‘Oh, that band is called Queen, the songs that I’ve heard at baseball games and hockey games,’ that was the Wayne’s World movie, sad to say,” said Martel on a recent teleconference call in Toronto with Queen drummer Roger Taylor (executive producer of the tribute show) where they were rehearsing, along with Montreal later.

“It wasn’t until probably the late 90’s, early 2000 where my bass player Glenn said, ‘You know, Marc you really should get into Queen, that singer Freddie Mercury, you could learn a lot from him.”

Martel’s day job is as the lead singer of the Christian rock band Downhere, who formed 12 years ago after he went to college in Saskatchewan and then later relocated to Nashville. He said there has been some backlash to his new association with Mercury, who was gay.

“Backlash, yeah, I’ve had a little bit,” said Martel, who got the Queen Extravaganza gig after his Somebody To love video audition got more than six million views online. “I’ve actually had nowhere near what I expected. If you’re familiar with Amy Grant, back in the 90s when she did the cross over thing, put out a mainstream record and a large part of her audience kind of disowned her. Not well representative of the beliefs I hold – to do that to someone. But you know this whole Queen Extravaganza it’s not about you know glorifying one person’s life choices. It’s about really great music.”

Otherwise, the biggest challenge for Martel in rehearsals has been to sing with just a microphone.

“In my career I’ve always had a guitar on me when I’m playing with my band,” he said. “And I haven’t had the time to really develop my own style as a front man without a guitar on so it’s easy for me to kind of fall into copying Freddie’s moves and I’m trying to walk that fine line as not to be an impersonator but a tribute artist.”

Calming his nerves is launching The Queen Extravaganza at home with the North American tour launch on May 26 (Saturday)  in Quebec City and May 27 (Sunday) night in Montreal.

“Playing especially the first two shows in my home province is quite a dream come true for me,” he said. “We’re just really looking forward to the energy that that’s going to bring us for the rest of the tour.”

The Queen Extravaganza will hit 26 North American cities before wrapping up July 3 in Edmonton.

THE QUEEN EXTRAVAGANZA CANADIAN TOUR DATES:
May 26 Quebec, QC Grand Theatre du Quebec
May 27 Montreal, QC St. Denis
May 29 Toronto, ON QE Theatre
June 30 Vancouver, BC Orpheum
July 2 Calgary, AB Jack Singer
July 3 Edmonton, AB Jubilee

The Cult’s Ian Astbury says Billy Duffy “great sounding board.”

- May 21st, 2012

The Cult’s frontman Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy have remained the only constants in the British rock band’s nearly 30 year history, minus a four year break from ‘95-’99.
“There’s a chemistry that we have that we couldn’t even work out,” Astbury told QMI Agency while in Toronto to promote The Cult’s new album, Choice of Weapon, out May 22.
“There’s something between us. Respecting that and being away from it and trying and working with other artists and other musicians, it’s a different thing. The Cult animal is definitely Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy and there’s definitley a chemistry there and you have a healthy respect for that.”

Still, Astbury says they approach life and music quite differently.

“We’re different guys,” said Astbury, 50. “We live different lifestyles. We have different ways of being. Different social circles and everything. But in terms of when we come together. It’s almost like we’re two parts of the same thing and we operate on that modality. When I’m with The Cult I try not to step over into the musical area too much although I do occasionally. (Billy), he’s cheeky, he’s from Manchester, he’s pretty more direct. But it’s good. Actually, he’s a great sounding board ‘cause I have a tendency to maybe go off.  Billy can kind of pull it back where it sits in the frame right. ‘Cause I’d go all the way. I’d drag people to a cave in Tibet if I could.”

So far the only Canadian tour date for The Cult is June 2 in Windsor, Ont., but an August or October cross-Canada trek is expected.