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Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Between The Buried And Me's Paul Waggoner

Between The Buried And Me

Photo: Courtesy of Between The Buried And Me

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Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Between The Buried And Me's Paul Waggoner

The experimental metal band's co-founder and guitarist reacts to being nominated and talks touring, coffee, and the chance to bring a GRAMMY Award home to North Carolina on his 40th birthday

GRAMMYs/Jan 16, 2019 - 05:50 am

Respect and mainstream success don't necessarily go hand-in-hand in the world of metal. As in life, most meaningful milestones are hard won. Nearly two decades into their career, North Carolina genre heavyweights Between The Buried And Me have recorded and toured relentlessly, covering a lot of musical ground while amalgamating elements from death metal, jazz, prog, blues, indie rock, math metal and much, much more. Defying categorization is a cliché, transcending it is an art form, and, for Between The Buried And Me, a calling.

The quintet's latest album, the two-part Automata I & II, shows point blank how versatile, imaginative and absolutely crushing the band's music can be. Its lead-off track, "Condemned To The Gallows," earned the band their first GRAMMY nomination for Best Metal Performance.

We caught up with co-founder and guitarist Paul Waggoner to get his take on being nominated for a GRAMMY, what he respects about the competition, how he'll be spending his 40th birthday, and, of course, coffee.

Where were you when you found out you'd been nominated, and what was the first thing you did?

I had just gotten up and I was eating breakfast, making coffee or something, and my buddy J.B., who plays in August Burns Red, who have been nominated a couple of times now, he sent me a text and it said, "Congrats on the nom." And I was like, "What are you talking about?" He goes, "You guys got nominated for a GRAMMY." I was like, "Nah, I don't think so, man. That's crazy…" So I went online and I looked it up, and I was like, "S*, it's real…" Then of course shortly after that, all the emails started flooding in, text messages and all that stuff.  But, yeah, I'll always remember that… I was riding high for a while after that.

Between The Buried And Me are extremely well-known, influential and revered in the experimental, metal and indie communities. How does recognition on a wider scale feel at this point in your career?

That's something I've actually kind of had to think about a lot because, on the one hand, we've been doing this almost two decades now, so there's that sort of part of me that's like, well, we didn't really need a GRAMMY nomination to validate what we've done. We've always had pretty reasonably good critical acclaim, and it's hard to have any kind of success being a band like us. So the fact that we've had some success has been validating enough, and the fact that we're still doing it.

But on the other hand, it was definitely cool…It's really cool that everything we've been through as a band, whether it's lineup problems or just the trivial sort of flat tires on the road or bad shows or whatever, that all that stuff has led us here. We’re a progressive metal band and we got nominated for a GRAMMY.

Can you share what you remember about writing "Condemned To The Gallows"?

Part of the reason why we thought "Condemned…" would be a good song to release with a video and as the first single, if you will, we thought it was like one of those easier songs to the palate, you know, for the casual listener. It had a little bit of everything. It was melodic at times. It was weird at times. There's some quirky bits to it and then it was aggressive. So we thought it was just sort of a slam dunk as far as being a good song for us to put out there to kick off the whole album.

I remember the cool thing about the song, and I've thought about this when we were nominated, is that literally everybody in the band wrote at least some part of the song, which is cool… It was a true collaborative effort and it was the first song we put together for the album. So it's kind of fitting that that's the one that got recognized.

You mentioned the song is more palatable. Beyond the many genre titles that have been thrown at when describing your band, there's this concept of "accessibility,” or, one record or song being more or less "accessible" than another. How do you feel about that dynamic with your listeners, and does the concept come into play when you’re writing?

I think when we first started out, being a band, we knew we wanted to be a weird band. We wanted to write music that strayed from the traditional formula of what a heavy metal band could be. We wanted to write stuff that was unique and quirky but still in the context of metal. Especially in the early days, a lot of our songs were very linear and structured. They rarely had repeating parts, they just had this soundscape of craziness from start to finish.

I think as we've gotten older, we've realized that you can balance the two. You can still have a really long song that has instrumental bits, but at the same time, it's okay to have a repeating chorus. It's not like we're trying to be on mainstream radio or anything, but it I think it gives the song a little more structure and a little more identity.

You've mentioned diverse guitar influences such as grunge-era bands, jazz players like Scofield and Metheny as well as Rivers Cuomo. Who are some bands or guitar players who stand out to you today?

I still love listening to guitar players that just rip and shred… Steve Vai and John Petrucci… I'm fascinated with Devin Townsend, how prolific he is… Lately I love what Ghost is doing… I love bands that take the context of heavy metal or metal and push it in a different direction and whether that direction is just making it more genre-bending or if it's making it more accessible to the mainstream.

There's a lot of heavy bands out there that are doing really cool things. Some of them were nominated in the same category… Trivium, for example. They've been doing it a really long time, too, so and they're players and they're constantly challenging themselves. Deafheaven, they do something totally different. Again, they're taking the blank canvas of metal and sort of applying their own vibe to it and I think that's really cool. I have a lot of respect for bands that do that because we're trying to do the same thing.

What is the reality of making a living in music for you as part of a very successful artistic band with a relatively niche audience?

You have to work. You have to tour. You have to get out there and get on the road. I guess that's always been reality for us. As we've gotten more successful, it's never garnered very much more money in the way of royalties or whatever. It's all about just increasing your value, your market value as a touring artist. That's how we've been able to make a living. Otherwise, as a 40-year-old man, I would have had to give this up a long time ago, so that willingness to just get out there and keep beating the streets and playing gigs is our livelihood.

I think in a lot of ways a lot of our fans probably don't realize that we are totally dependent on their willingness to buy tickets to shows and buy T-shirts and buy vinyl and all that stuff, you know? That's what pays our bills and affords us the opportunity to keep doing it.

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I understand the band began in Raleigh, but you now live in Charlotte. What's your favorite thing to do there outside of music?

I started a coffee roasting company a few years ago, and then about nine months ago we actually opened a café in Charlotte, a coffee shop, so that keeps me super-duper busy when I'm home. Probably too busy. So it's music and it's coffee for me. That's pretty much what I do and there's very little time for anything else, but I love Charlotte. It's a growing city that doesn't quite have its own identity yet, so it's cool to be able to contribute to that.

Well, good luck at the 61st GRAMMY Awards! Can you give us a spoiler on what you'll do if you win?

We'll be there… we had to move some shows around, but we figure it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and Feb. 10th is actually my 40th birthday. So I said, “What better way to spend my 40th birthday?” It'd be really cool to bring an award like that back to North Carolina.

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category

GRAMMYs/Nov 20, 2019 - 06:28 pm

The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.

Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville                                                                        

 
This star-studded compilation album from 11-time GRAMMY nominee J. Cole and his Dreamville Records imprint features appearances from some of the leading and fastest-rising artists in hip-hop today, including label artists EARTHGANG, J.I.D, and Ari Lennox, plus rappers T.I, DaBaby, and Young Nudy, among many others. Recorded in Atlanta across a 10-day recording session, Revenge of the Dreamers III is an ambitious project that saw more than 300 artists and producers contribute to the album, resulting in 142 recorded tracks. Of those recordings, 18 songs made the final album, which ultimately featured contributions from 34 artists and 27 producers.

Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.

Championships – Meek Mill

In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.

i am > i was – 21 Savage

Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.

IGOR – Tyler, The Creator

The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.

The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae

Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.

Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour

Rosalía 

Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

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Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour

El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances

GRAMMYs/Mar 20, 2019 - 12:25 am

Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.

El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.

 

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"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.

Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork. 

Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist. 

Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.

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