Paul Collins, the King of Power Pop, Heads to Hollywood ArtsPark

Categories: Interview

Jack FM, compliments of the artist.

"The main thing going on in the music business today is that all the free downloading and streaming has forced bands to go back to playing live," observes Paul Collins, known as the King of Power Pop. "Unfortunately, that has resulted in astronomical ticket prices for some bands and performers. Sadly enough, people are willing to pay gobs of money to see some performers, but then they balk at paying anywhere from $5 to $10 to see good local and touring bands who may not yet be superstars. This needs to change!"

This is today's battle cry of the sonic underdog.

Better-known for his work with the Nerves and the Beat, Collins' long and storied rise to the crown has been an exercise in perseverance, honesty, and a blind belief in the dream. He was one of the leading figures of L.A.'s power-pop scene that begat the Knack and the Plimsouls. Following a stint with the Beat, he renamed the outlet the Paul Collins' Beat to avoid confusion with British ska contemporaries with the same name.

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Doobie Brothers' Tom Johnston: "It's All About American Music"

Courtesy of the band.
The Doobie Brothers, but with no doobies.

When we spoke with Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers, the singer and guitarist was relaxing in Miranda, California. Not that he had much downtime; Johnston just came back from Orlando and next the band was on to stoping that included Boston, Texas, California, then a rock cruise with Alice Cooper and Blue Oyster Cult. Finally, tomorrow night, the Doobies land in sunny South Florida to perform at the Pompano Beach Amphitheatre.

Johnston stays true to his West Coast roots in his music, but not just because he was born there. "It's not so much about being born in California, but where you were brought up," he explains. "I was born in the central part. Speaking for myself, I listen to a lot of blues, R&B, got into early rock and roll, Hendrix, all that stuff. Geographically, where you live has a lot of influence."

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Blue Ă–yster Cult Plays Live Tonight in West Palm Beach

Blue Ă–yster Cult
More cowbell!

In the mid- to late '70s, Blue Ă–yster Cult was among the biggest bands in the musical stratosphere. Its records sold in the millions, and the band could claim three hit singles -- "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," "Burnin' for You," and "Godzilla." It was also a constant fixture on the still-fledgling MTV. The group went on to sell some 24 million albums, became a key operative in heavy-rock realms, and remained equally influential in the decades that followed.

BĂ–C's apocalyptic songs, sci-fi themes, and remarkably literate lyrics elevated it well beyond the standard sound of primal, mind-bending rock. Indeed, its list of highbrow collaborators included Patti Smith, poet Jim Carroll, and anti-establishment scribe Richard Meltzer.

"Critics labeled us 'the thinking man's metal band,' " singer and cofounder Eric Bloom recalls. "I don't know if that sticks, considering our biggest hit certainly isn't a 'heavy' tune. I've always thought of us as a hard rock band."

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Sandratz's Chuck Loose's Five Craziest Florida Musical Memories

Categories: Interview

Photos by Scot Overholser
Sandratz at Jump the Shark in Fort Lauderdale

Punk band Sandratz will play Revolution Live tonight for the first time. For drummer Chuck Loose, it won't be the first time he graces that stage, but he hasn't been there in 13 years nor in a dozen bands or so.

Loose has spent the last 20 years beating out rhythms for a long list of Broward punk bands that includes the Crumbs, Heatseekers, and Chickenheads, among 15 or 20 others, though he's not entirely sure of the number.

"I don't even know," he said. "We used to do these summer cover band projects. At one point, I think we had a Nick Lowe cover band called the NickLowedians."

For the last two years, Loose has provided the driving beat behind Broward's surfy, punk rock party act Sandratz. And while this isn't the longest he's been in a band, it has been his longest in a while.

"This band is a baby," Loose said of Sandratz, who are currently working on a follow-up to last year's Hard Work Never Killed Anybody (But I'm Not Taking Any Chances). Generally, he falls into a rule about not staying in a band too long cause they get stale and lame, but this one "has at least three more good records in it."

See also: Wastelands Is a Crusty Miami Band With a Lot of Hype

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Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace on Transitioning in Florida, Smashing the Patriarchy, and Miley Cyrus

Categories: Interview

Ryan Russell
Against Me! Left to right: Inge Johansson, James Bowman, Laura Jane Grace, and Atom Willard.

Against Me! front woman Laura Jane Grace is passionate yet lighthearted, reserved in her manner but candid as she speaks about very personal topics with ease. She maintains her pleasant demeanor even when describing the uncommon aspects of transitioning from male-to-female in the spotlight.

"I went in to see a psychotherapist and was like, 'Look, I'm trans. I want to transition in a couple months. I'm coming out in Rolling Stone magazine. Can you help me?'" The attitude she received was doubtful disbelief, "'Sure you're coming out in Rolling Stone magazine...'"

When she first started the process in 2012, she was living in St. Augustine, Florida. Sadly, but not surprisingly, in the Sunshine State there are both limited resources for transgender individuals and a "system of gatekeepers" she explains.

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Tuff Luck Movie "Shows the World What Could Have Been" of the Fort Lauderdale '80s Rockers

Frank White
Relive the big hair of the '80s with Kenny Monroe, Dave Scott, James Marino, and Tuff Luck.

Like many other rock legends, Fort Lauderdale's Tuff Luck may never earn the credit it deserves, but one thing's for certain: it will now never be forgotten.

Sure, their hometown may be known as the city that launched Marilyn Manson, Saigon Kick, and the Mavericks into international rock stardom, but way before those guys soared to fame, there was a group of kids who paved the way for future local bands.

"It was really innocent," recalls Tuff Luck frontman Kenny Monroe, who met guitarist Dave Scott and drummer Todd Klein at a bar, later forming their first band, Cryer.

"I had always been a singer. When I joined Cryer, I was a bass player. I wanted to go back to singing. Once I stepped into the plate, it just all fell into place." Taking over vocals and adding James Marino as the bassist, the foursome became Tuff Luck.

"We already had an amazing drummer and an unbelievable guitar player," Monroe adds. "Dave [Scott, the guitarist] had a following. We tried it out, recorded a couple of demos, and never looked back."

See also: Ten Best Florida Metal Bands of All Time

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Game of Thrones' Kristian Nairn Promises to "Be a Sweaty Mess" at Rave of Thrones

Kristian Nairn doing Rave of Thrones at Exchange L.A.
Photo by Shannon Cottrell via LA Weekly

South Florida Game of Thrones fans don't have to wait until the show's fifth-season premiere on April 12 to experience some of their favorite crazy fantasy action. This week, Kristian Nairn will be sitting on Revolution's Iron Throne.

Nairn, the Northern Irish actor and DJ best-known for playing hulking giant Hodor on the HBO smash-hit series, will be stopping in Fort Lauderdale on his Rave of Thrones tour. There most likely won't be as much blood and guts as you'll find on the small screen, but it promises to be a sweltering dance party full of electronic craziness.

"Game of Thrones has presented us with vast opportunities... all of us in the show," assures Nairn, who's been spinning tracks for about 20 years.

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Rapper Eric Biddines on His New Video for "Purple Gold Fishes"

Categories: Interview

Courtesy of Eric Biddines
This man loves his coffee.

Another day, another music video. So goes the philosophy of prolific, java-loving, Delray Beach rapper Eric Biddines. He's the creator of a cool, creative growing sonic canon he calls Planetcoffeebean.

His most recent album, his fifth, is part of that growing body of work, though it doesn't include the word "coffee" in the title. In the midst of putting the finishing touches on Elephant Wings before he takes off for Austin's South by Southwest or makes an appearance on February 28 at Rolling Loud Festival in Miami, Biddines whipped up a video for his song "Purple Gold Fishes." He called his longtime music-video-directing collaborator, Ryan Snyder, to work on their eighth video together.

"I told Ryan, whatever you see, that's what I want the video to be," Biddines explained.

See also: Eric Biddines Talks About His MTV Hit "Railroads Down/Unfinished"

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Singer Greg Holden Is a Scotsman With a Heart of Gold

Categories: Interview

Myriam Santos
Greg Holden is holdin' nothing back.

Singer-songwriter Greg Holden's upcoming album Chase the Sun -- his first on a major label, Warner Bros., set to be released April 14 -- was inspired by a much needed trip to India and Nepal. It was in the East that the singer took a well deserved break and did some soul searching that payed off, inspiring him to write a deep and more positive group of songs than on his previous album. With a fresh perceptive on life and his career, he got to work creating a release that meant a lot to him, and he hopes that people will pay attention to the lyrics that are so close to his heart.

In addition to his Scottish accent and easy good looks, Holden will make the ladies and even some of the men swoon, with his heart of gold while playing on the road with his old friend Ingrid Michaelson. He's all about giving back and doing it for the right reasons as evidenced by his involvement with three charities which we spoke about in a recent interview.

See also: Ingrid Michaelson Says, "Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously"

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Rusted Root's Michael Glabicki Is Looking Forward to the Band's Next 25 Years

Categories: Interview

Courtesy of Rusted Root

By Brent Wells

It was the 1990s, and grunge arrived to scrub smeared makeup off the faces of hair-metal bands everywhere. It guaranteed that flannel shirts and Doc Martens were worn on fashion runways around the globe. You remember, right? Distortion was heightened to deafening levels. Business was good.

It was a time when Michael Glabicki was busy touring alongside a slew of other acts enjoying the fruits of the vibrant music scene that defined a generation and rightfully earned its reputation as one the most influential eras in rock 'n' roll.

Glabicki's Pittsburg-bred collective Rusted Root embodies a certain global village vibe and wide-open, freewheeling style. This doesn't exactly fit the mold of a card-carrying tortured soul, like, say, Kurt Cobain. But Glabicki hasn't forgotten that decade when the rules had seemingly changed overnight, when the industry of writing original, artfully inspired songs engulfed the mainstream, and pure, raw emotion was king.

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