Bri Blahg: Lucero’s Ben Nichols. Restless, Rootless, and Rock N Roll

17 09 2009

by Brian Phillips (@BrianBlahg)


Recently I had the pleasure of chatting via phone with Lucero front man Ben Nichols. For our readers in Central Ohio you’d better get your tickets now as the band is coming to town for a headline set at The Rumba Cafe Saturday the 19th. Never seen Lucero? You’re in for a treat. Rock n roll rarely sounds truer.

Nichols and I talked about their major label debut “1372 Overton Park,” which housed the band for ten years and, many years prior, Elvis Presley’s karate dojo. We chatted about Nichols’ acting on an MTV show called $5 Cover, about his visit to Walter Reed Medical Center too, and about his restless, rootless life pro and con.

I’ve broken this into three bite sized chunks.

Ben on his wanderlust, and living in Elvis’ Dojo:

Ben on the new album, and signing with a major label:

Ben on acting, and visiting with wounded soldiers:

Or if you prefer, hit the jump for the interview text…

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Bri Blahg… Music News Round Up: Wednesday August 26, 2009

26 08 2009

by Brian Phillips (@BrianBlahg)


Kings Of Leon @ Lollapalooza by Gary Orr

The Kings Of Leon are prepping a live DVD and remix album for the fall. Justin Timberlake, Lykke Li, and Mark Ronson will be among the contributors. Hmmm. I guess I’ll wait to hear them. Well, except for the contribution from Linkin Park. I’m pretty sure that’ll suck.

Bauhaus’ Peter Murphy guested on three songs at last night’s Nine Inch Nails show. Kanye was there.

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Bri Blahg… August 19th Music News Round Up

19 08 2009

by Brian Phillips (@BrianBlahg)


The Cribs... Now With More Johnny Marr

I was gone a few days and the music news piled up a bit.

By hiring a kid to play drums in his band, Billy Corgan has assured himself he won’t get any back sass. Predictable.

Jay-Z has released the track list for his September album. Hard to believe this will be his 11th.

Rock Band Beatles will have 19 songs from which to choose.

Death Row Records is branching out into movies. The story of a ficticous pro basketball player who sees two bullets end his career sounds intriguing.

I’m sad to report record producer Jim Dickinson has died. He was 67. Dickinson produced a lot of great albums, and two sons who form the core of The North Mississippi All Stars. Dickinson worked with The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, and Bob Dylan, and lent his talents to personal favorites Big Star, The Replacements, Mudhoney, and Lucero.

Tommy Lee managed to burn himself so severely with sparklers that he’ll miss some shows. Brilliant.

Kiss has become the latest to sign a Wal Mart exclusive.

The first of the bands playing CMJ have been announced. My favorite of course is Pissed Jeans.

Katy Perry weighs in on the Lady Gaga is a man deal. Yawn.

Finally… Built To Spill announce details on their new album.

Thanks to Brooklyn Vegan you can hear a new track from The Cribs. There’s also a picture of the band with new member Johnny Marr. Guess he’s not in Modest Mouse anymore. At any rate The Cribs are worth your attention.

Bri Blahg… 8/5 Music News Round Up

5 08 2009

by Brian Phillips (@brianblahg)


Them Crooked Vultures

John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl, and Josh Homme have a band. They’ll debut this weekend in Chicago says Billboard. I’ve always admired how Jones and Robert Plant have sought out musical adventures in their post Led Zeppelin years. It would be easy to just do the same stuff over and over again like Jimmy Page. Save your hate mail until after you listen to Coverdale-Page and The Firm. Yeah see. You know I’m right.

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SXSW Thursday: From The Kitchen To The Rooftop

20 03 2009

Wracked with guilt I report that I actually got some sleep last night… Like seven hours. I’m sorry I know I should have been at a secret Janes Addiction show or something (actually they headlined The Playboy party… figures.) Man I was beat though. I think I had the vapors. I’m not sure what that is, but women in the 19th century always had the vapors. Feel free to compare me to a corset crushed Victorian woman if you must, but I needed to sleep. Now refreshed I am ready to take on the second half of South By Southwest.

Best I can I’ll piece together Thursday. It was busy, and time to watch March Madness was fleeting. Started the morning talking to newly minted Universal signees Paper Route. Nice lads who stood up straight and tall. They looked like a 15th seed. Maybe Belmont from their hometown of Nashville. Five honkys with a bit of heighth, but not enough hops to play for Memphis. Their music is a generous helping of modern pop. Look for their first full length at the end of April.

I hunkered down at The Omni lobby next. I stole glances at Texas A&M ignoring my bracket and beating BYU. The fog of defeat lifted quickly though as I chatted up Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards. The woman is an ace singer and guitar player, but in keeping with her Ohio roots, is as humble as they come. Don’t miss their latest record.

Theresa Andersson took Erika’s seat next. I can’t tell you how impressive The Swedish ex-pat is. Andersson recorded her entire latest album in her kitchen using pop bottles and wine glasses as instruments. Her story about Allen Toussaint playing keys on a track…. in her kitchen no less…. is priceless. I can’t wait to see her set at Antone’s tonight.

Caught part of R&B saviors Black Joe Lewis & The Honey Bears at The Cedar Street Courtyard. When I say R&B I don’t mean Luther Vandross style makin’ sweet love music. I’m talking horn section, funky, groove pounding James Brown sweaty sex music. Don’t miss em when they come your way.

Austin institution Waterloo Records is known for an endless selection and friendly staff… They’re also known for placing a keg of local brew Shiner Bock in the aisle next to the Merle Haggard records (ok I’m not sure about that, but it sounds good) and drawing up complimentary cups for the people. I was there to see Howe Gelb of Giant Sand doing an in store. I could have done without the free beer, but that would be crazy, it’s free beer. Gelb was just as I imagined him. Laid back, gracious, and a hell of a picker.

Kuroma was next at Opal Divine’s. The band is Hank Sullivant’s brainchild. Sullivant was in The Whigs and MGMT. In high school he was in a jam band with MGMT member Andrew VanWyngarden. Sullivant is happy to talk about the band, unlike Vanwyngarden who has disowned any connection.

Leeds, England singer/songwriter Paul Marshall was next on my calendar. I found Paul quite randomly while looking for artists to cover. Marshall almost quit music 18 months ago in frustration. After you hear him sing you’ll wonder why he’s not already a star. It’s only a matter of time. He has one of those voices that make the world stop spinning. Flat out brilliant. He’s a hell of a guitar player too. Remember that name, Paul Marshall.

Wandering east again I was able to catch just a whisp of whistling man of the people Andrew Bird. Duty called however. One of my favorite bands Lucero was showcasing at The Dirty Dog. Anyone who misses The Replacements would be well served to see Lucero. All their albums are great too. Just signed to Universal, lets hope their first major label album is as great as The Mats debut for Sire “Tim.”

Today…. A chat with The Flaming Lips road crew turned band Star Death & The White Dwarf. I’ll catch up with fellow Port Angeles, Washington escapees The Lonely H (I would be a fan even if they weren’t from my Godforsaken hometown.) Rapper Sage Francis and whoever he can round up from his essential Strange Famous label roster. The Spin Party and Echo & the Bunnymen part 2. Then it’s Star Death Live, Theresa Andersson, and Devo! (By the way I saw Devo wandering the halls at The Convention Center in their jumpsuits and red plastic hats yesterday. Yay!