ZZ Top and Jeff Beck may seem like odd bedfellows. ZZ Top is all-American; Jeff Beck is British. ZZ Top is celebrating its 45th anniversary, while Jeff Beck's groups -- the Yardbirds and the Jeff Beck Group -- were comparatively fleeting. But these Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are two branches of the same blues roots -- in fact, ZZ Top counts Beck as a major influence. After playing a couple one-offs together, the Texas trio invited the legendary guitarist out on a five-week summer tour, which starts August 8. I chatted with ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons … Read more
Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Aerosmith keep the rock flag flying high. This month the band kicks off the Let Rock Rule tour, with openers Slash and Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. I chatted with Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton about the tour, the stories behind his most famous contributions, surviving cancer, the importance of staying up-to-date on Twitter and Logic X.
What can you tell us about the Let Rock Rule tour? Having Slash with us has created a synergy where instead of two rock bands, it's gonna be something bigger than that. We feel that it's … Read more
Kiss has never been known for its humility. But there's no need for false modesty when you're one of the biggest rock bands of all time. Kiss has released 44 albums and sold 100 million of them over a 40-year career, and the band has an army of fans like no other. To mark its ruby anniversary, Kiss will hit the road with Def Leppard for a 40-plus-city tour that promises to be bigger and better than any Kiss concert before. I chatted with singer Paul Stanley about the summer tour, being inducted into the Rock and Roll … Read more
Rapper-actor Ice-T is a true original gangster. Best known to a younger generation as Detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," Ice-T originally felt more at home on the other side of the law, committing crimes and later writing lyrics about them. His most controversial song, recorded with with his band Body Count, is "Cop Killer," a polarizing track released between the Rodney King beating and the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Body Count's latest album, "Manslaughter," came out earlier this month, and the band will promote it … Read more
When tragedies occur, like sustaining a major injury or being let go from one of the all-time greatest rock bands, some individuals would be quick to give up. Others, like musician Chad Channing, turn tragedy into triumph. Since being dismissed from Nirvana, Channing (best known for his drumming on "Bleach" and the "Blew" EP) has taken creative control and found his voice in a number of bands, including his latest, Before Cars. Influenced by Young Marble Giants, early David Bowie, and Soft Machine, the band's self-produced sophomore album, "How We Run," was released … Read more
For young actors Jack Reynor ("What Richard Did," "Delivery Man,") and Nicola Peltz ("Deck the Halls," "The Last Airbender," "Bates Motel"), working on "Transformers: Age of Extinction" was exciting and educational. They learned from director Michael Bay and seasoned actors like Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, and Kelsey Grammer. Reynor and Peltz gave me the behind-the-scenes scoop on the fourth installment of the "Transformers" series, which opens today, and raved about their favorite apps.
You're both young actors. When you are on set with more seasoned … Read more
Earth, Wind & Fire's longtime frontman, Philip Bailey, talks about jazz as if he's talking about a school sweetheart. "Jazz was always my first musical genre love," he says. "[Music] always feels like it's an astro-travel of sorts." Fans can go along for the ride June 28-29 when eight-time Grammy winners and Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame members Earth, Wind & Fire headline the Saratoga Jazz Festival, which also features Trombone Shorty, Patti Austin, and Terence Blanchard. Bailey is promoting his new album, "Now, Then & Forever," and his autobiography, &… Read more
Gay adoption, helicopter moms, and a pioneering gay athlete are just three of the stories at this year's Frameline 38: San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, taking place June 19-29. Actor Alec Mapa ("Switched at Birth," "Desperate Housewives," and "Ugly Betty") talked to me about what he wants gays and allies to take away from his new documentary, "Baby Daddy." I also spoke with songwriter-actress Lisa Loeb, singer of "Stay (I Missed You)," about co-starring in the hilarious coming-of-age comedy, "Helicopter Mom." And four-time Olympic medalist Greg Louganis … Read more
"Jersey Boys" actors John Lloyd Young (Frankie Valli), Erich Bergen (Bob Gaudio), and Michael Lomenda (Nick Massi) play three-fourths of '60s rock group the Four Seasons ("Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like a Man," "Dawn," "Who Loves You") in Clint Eastwood's big-screen adaptation of the Tony-winning musical. The Four Seasons longed to shoot up from their blue-collar New Jersey neighborhood to the top of the national charts. Likewise, this trio of theater actors, mostly known for playing the Four Seasons in the "Jersey Boys&… Read more
After overhearing erroneous reactions at recent screenings of "Third Person," the film's screenwriter and director, Paul Haggis, is nervous about whether viewers will follow his three interlocking love stories. But Haggis aims to challenge audiences, as his heroes François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, and Pier Paolo Pasolini challenged him, so he is OK with viewer uncertainty. "You have to have an emotional, visceral reaction to a movie...but you don't necessarily have to understand everything right away," he said during our recent interview. We also chatted about the laziness of today's audiences, … Read more