Guitarist Bob Casale of GRAMMY-nominated new wave collective Devo died Feb. 17 following complications from heart failure. He was 61. Formed in Akron, Ohio, in 1972 by Casale's brother, bassist Jerry Casale, and vocalist Mark Mothersbaugh, the first incarnation of Devo also featured Bob Casale, guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh and drummer Alan Myers. The band's 1978 Brian Eno-produced debut album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! — which climbed to No. 78 on the Billboard 200 — is considered a benchmark in the development of new wave and marked one of the first pop albums to use synthesizers. Following the release of 1979's Duty Now For The Future, Devo released 1980's Freedom Of Choice, which peaked at No. 22 (their highest-charting album to date) and featured the Top 20 hit "Whip It," which became a smash on MTV with its accompanying music video. Devo subsequently released several more albums to chart on the Billboard 200, including New Traditionalists (1981, No. 23), Oh, No! It's Devo (1982, No. 47) and Shout (1984, No. 83). The band earned their lone GRAMMY nomination to date in 1984 for Best Video Album for We're All Devo, a collection of music videos from 1976–1983. After disbanding in the early '90s, Devo returned to release 2010's Something For Everyone, which peaked at No. 30 on the Billboard 200.
She may prefer gold dust, dreams and silver springs, but Stevie Nicks doesn't want any part of computers or social networking. The legendary gypsy songstress handwrote a letter (when is the last time you wrote a letter?) to her fans and displayed it on her website, shooting down rumours of a fake Twitter account. "As many of you know, I do not own a computer; I do not Facebook, I do not MySpace, and I do not Tweet," wrote Nicks in her flowing cursive style. Writing letters on custom stationery and posting them on the Internet could be the next wave of social media, let alone save money on stamps and smartphone bills. Will it catch on? We have a feeling Sara, Rhiannon and the rest of the "Sisters Of The Moon" are already onboard.
Has Taylor Swift pulled a Tommy or written a Nashville-inspired version of The Wall? Fresh off her Album Of The Year win at the 52nd GRAMMY Awards, the 21-year-old fearless chanteuse will reveal all with her new "conceptual" album, Speak Now, on Oct. 25. According to Swift, Speak Now "pertains to the album concept, and as an entire theme of the record, more than I can ever tell you…. Track by track, each song is a different confession to a different person." As to where the fodder for the album came from, Swift said, "I'd get my best ideas at 3 a.m. in Arkansas…" Score one point for the Natural State, but it does leave us wondering what types of song ideas one could come up with at 11 p.m. in Montana.
Vampire Weekend is being sued by the woman depicted on the cover of their album Contra. Kristen Kennis claims she did not provide rights to the photo, which the band purchased from a photographer who allegedly said Kennis had signed off. VW's frontman Ezra Koenig told Rolling Stone, "We don't know her or anything. When we saw this image, we just found it very striking." Now it seems the image is potentially striking them in their wallets. We were able to find some other albums for which the cover subjects may consider suing.
Music and fashion have always been intertwined, but sometimes artists push the envelope maybe just a little too far. With that thought in mind, BeatCrave compiled its list of the Top 15 Worst Outfits Ever Worn By Rock Stars. Artists and their respective accoutrements making the grade are David Lee Roth's a**less chaps, Rick James' super-freaky leather, Axl Rose's hip-hop ensemble, John Lennon's "Jesus suit," Elton John's Donald Duck suit, and Devo's flower-pot hats. Coming in at No. 1 is a Swedish rock band that would even scare off GWAR and Kiss, Lordi.
Looks like he's bringing tequila back. Justin Timberlake has gone the director route for a commercial shoot for his 901 Silver Tequila. JT, who put girlfriend Jessica Biel's younger brother in the ad's lead role, was reportedly all business on the shoot and personally thanked all involved after it wrapped. No word yet on whether the ad's pitch is "Buy Buy Buy."
It's No Nukes for the '10s. Artists big and small are coming together to support the film Countdown To Zero, an anti-nuclear weapons movie by director Lucy Walker and Oscar-winning producer Lawrence Bender. Artists imploring fans to see the movie and support the START Treaty, recently signed by the United States and Russia to reduce nuclear arms, range from Dave Matthews, Pearl Jam and R.E.M. to the Gossip's Beth Ditto, Neon Indian and Mexican Institute Of Sound. The film opens today.
What were some of our other favorite stars up to this week? The TWIM Twittertable says: justinbieber: night girls ;); genesimmons: @ladygaga is the only interesting new artist out there. What did we talk about? Can't tell you.; johncmayer: Talk to me about lycopene.; katyperry: Twerking.
Eminem double dips this week with "Love The Way You Lie," featuring Rihanna, claiming the No. 1 spot on both the Billboard Hot 100 and iTunes singles chart.
Any news we've missed? Comment below.
After learning that Miley Cyrus had inked her ear with a tattoo of the word "love," PopEater asked Steve the tattoo artist at Fun City Tattoo which celebrities have the most painful tattoos. Steve leans toward Katy Perry's inside bicep tat and the decoration on the top of Britney Spears' foot. Lil Wayne's inside-the-lip tattoo elicits a mild response from Steve, but to Travis Barker's full-body ink job, Steve says, "If you want something bad enough, you get through it."
Speaking of Katy, is there trouble brewing between her and everyone's favorite bad romancer? Following the premiere of Lady Gaga's controversial video for "Alejandro," Katy took what some fans perceived as a swipe at Gaga. "Using blasphemy as entertainment is as cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke," Katy tweeted. She later clarified her remark, "Lately, I've just been seeing some things that are kind of like, I don't know, in my own personal feelings, a little bit like not something I would do, I guess." Outside of kissing a girl, what would Katy actually do, you ask? Well, as evidenced by her own new video for "California Gurls," roll around on cotton candy clouds, take bites out of live ginger breads, bury Snoop Dogg in the sand, and even dish out some whipped cream. Check it out, but keep the popsicles in the freezer.
In yet another sign of the synergy between music and social networking, MTV announced it is on the lookout for its first Twitter Jockey. The network will have 20 candidates compete against one another in a mini-Twitter Olympics of sorts designed to display their tweeting aptitude, with five finalists selected to compete on a live show in August. Fans will ultimately select the network's debut TJ, who will be charged with reporting on MTV events and appearing on-air periodically. No specifics were revealed but it's a good bet on-air time will be limited to 140 seconds or less.
Justin Bieber has been doo-wopped. Utah rockers and labelmates Neon Trees have a turned in a doo-wop-tinged version of the Bieb's Top 10 chestnut, "Baby." Asked about their cover choice, Neon Trees frontman Tyler Glenn said, "We might as well cover something people are enjoying right now…[and] we thought it would be kind of a nice shout-out. Hello Justin Bieber!" Could this possibly spawn a rash of Bieber cover fever? A disco version of "First Dance," or perhaps a grunge-rock take of "Up"?
File this under the category Worst Use of Horns. Earplug makers report huge sales at early FIFA World Cup rounds thanks in large part to the constant honk of vuvuzela horns at stadiums in South Africa. The BBC has registered 545 complaints about the annoying bleats during its TV coverage of the games. Ear Plugs Online reports its sales are up 121 percent and Sheppard Medical says sales have jumped 20 percent. For a slightly more musical approach to the squawking horn, check out the Vuvuzela Orchestra.
What's the secret to surviving years of (alleged) drug and alcohol abuse? According to Rolling Stone, scientists may be about to find out. Genome researchers at Cambridge, Mass.-based Knome will perform a full DNA analysis on iconic rocker Ozzy Osbourne for the purported purpose of discovering how the self-proclaimed madman has withstood years of heavy-metal partying. Knome's services don't require the famed garbled articulation of Ozzy to render them difficult to understand: "novel allele identification, multi-genome comparative analysis, predictive functional analysis, and causation targeting." We're hoping for the best for Ozzy's allele.
In comeback news, new wave synth punkers Devo released their first studio album in 20 years, Something For Everybody, this past Tuesday. And when they say they have something for everybody, they mean everybody. The band whipped it up good with a live cat listening party for a cadre of Devo kitty enthusiasts. The feline album reviews were apparently mixed, but an unidentified partygoer said a chorus of vuvuzela-like hisses erupted when the album was ejected.
Katy Perry's "California Gurls," featuring Snoop Dogg, is once again the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, as well as tops on the iTunes singles chart.
Any news we've missed? Comment below.
Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Emily Lyle
After three years in Chicago it's almost embarrassing to admit that I've never attended Lollapalooza. Luckily, my experience at the three-day music festival on Aug. 6 was a great introduction. I have my friends at The Recording Academy Chicago Chapter and GRAMMY U to thank for the opportunity to get a nice mixture of typical concertgoer and behind-the-scenes experiences.
One of the first sets I caught was from pop music veterans Devo. I caught them on the Parkways Foundation stage and from afar I couldn't believe these were the same people I had the opportunity to meet just hours before. These wise men in their 50s and 60s were rocking the stage and engaging the crowd better than many 20-somethings on the scene today. It just goes to show — pure talent and passion will always outlive trends.
Next up were rising rock stars Neon Trees. I just don't have enough nice things to say about this band. Coming into Lollapalooza, my knowledge of Neon Trees didn't extend far beyond their hit "Animal," and some basic background on the band. As soon as they took the stage I knew exactly where they were meant to be. In a set filled with great music, eye-popping high kicks and elusive onstage banter, Neon Trees definitely earned some new fans, myself included.
I later got to see festival veterans the Black Keys, who proved to be in their element onstage. I understood why their live shows are so lauded and why their latest album Brothers, was such a critical and commercial success. In a world filled with short attention spans and countless distractions, these Midwesterners managed to captivate thousands of concertgoers.
Finally, the day culminated in a grand finale by Lady Gaga. Let's be honest, I had been waiting for this moment for weeks. I love a spectacle and I knew Gaga would deliver. After all, her intention to put on the full show that she performs on her Monster Ball tour demanded that Lollapalooza construct a bigger stage than they've ever had before. With 80,000 people congregating for the Church of Gaga, the singer transformed into a high priestess, delivering a two-hour sermon that preached the importance of loving oneself and one another. With a set list that delivered memorable renditions of her biggest hits and a fireworks show to accompany "Monster," Gaga showed that this night was as much for her "little monsters" as it was for her.
By the end of the night I felt exhausted, but exhilarated. That's exactly how I knew I'd had a successful first Lolla experience. I'm quick to say that I couldn't imagine doing the festival for three straight days, but after being a part of the masses, the congregation and the movement that is Lollapalooza, I happily look forward to braving the full three days next year.
(For more Lollapalooza coverage, view highlights from day one; read more about Lollapalooza day two and day three; and check out video interviews with Neon Hitch, Mutemath, the National, and Switchfoot.)
(Emily Lyle is a Chicago Chapter GRAMMY U member and senior at Columbia College Chicago majoring in arts, entertainment and media management with a focus on music business. In addition to her internship experience at well-respected Chicago music venues, Lyle is a freelance journalist and photographer.)
(Photo Information: Lady Gaga performs at Lollapalooza on Aug. 6 | Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com)
(For a complete list of 53rd GRAMMY Awards nominees, click here.)
When a new decade is broached, anniversaries come to light. Last year marked significant birthdays for landmark albums in rock music. Forty years ago Led Zeppelin III, the Stooges' Funhouse and Black Sabbath's self-titled debut changed rock music — and music — forever. Thirty years ago Iron Maiden, Judas Priest's British Steel, Ted Nugent's Scream Dream, Devo's Freedom Of Choice, Joy Division's Closer, and Motörhead's Ace Of Spades took things even farther. Twenty years ago, Depeche Mode's Violator, Megadeth's Rust In Peace, Jane's Addiction's Ritual De Lo Habitual, Alice In Chains' Facelift, Pantera's Cowboys From Hell, and the Black Crowes' Shake Your Money Maker diversified the rock genre. And 10 years ago, Radiohead's Kid A, Deftones' White Pony, Queens Of The Stone Age's Rated R, and A Perfect Circle's Mer De Noms started off the new millennium right. While rock music has grown and changed throughout the decades, both the albums that celebrated their 40th anniversaries and those that were just born provide that spirit of rebellion that was the essence of rock music then, and continues to be now and forever.
Looking at album sales, one wouldn't think that 2010 was the best year for rock (or any genre). But there were many other ways that rock music prevailed. The Who — a classic rock giant — performed at halftime during Super Bowl XLIV, one the most-watched television broadcasts. On April 17 Record Store Day marked the largest number of vinyl purchases since 1991, and the genre that has been known to embrace the resurgence of vinyl most is rock and metal. In summer 2010 the "big four" of thrash metal — Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica, and Slayer — performed together at a series of festivals in Europe for the first time. One performance was broadcast to theaters for metalheads all over the world to see.
The non-fiction bestsellers' lists were decorated with rock memoirs all year as I Am Ozzy, Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir and Keith Richards' Life educated readers about what being a real rock star is like. And in looking back at concerts in 2010, the most successful tours were all rock bands: Bon Jovi, U2 and AC/DC. Rock also infiltrated Broadway with the continued success of the '80s-themed "Rock Of Ages" and Green Day's "American Idiot." The U2-scored "Spider-Man" production also hit the stage. There were also landmark tours in terms of production in rock concerts this year as Roger Waters built and destroyed The Wall for the first time in 30 years, and Rammstein lit Madison Square Garden on fire in their first U.S. show in 10 years.
However, as 2010 brought anniversaries, landmarks and reunions, many significant figures in rock, punk, industrial, and metal music left us. To Ronnie James Dio, Malcolm McLaren, Jay Reatard, Paul Gray, Alex Chilton, Peter Steele, Derf Scratch, Peter Christopherson, and Captain Beefheart: Your work will continue to live in our hearts, minds and ears, inspiring a new generation of rockers to come.
As we begin 2011, let's embrace that rebellious spirit of rock music again and see where it takes us.
Who will take home the GRAMMY gold in the Rock Field? Tune in to the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. For updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook.