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Star Apps: Chicago and REO Speedwagon

Before iHeart Radio, TuneIn, Songza, Pandora, and Rdio, there was FM radio. Chicago and REO Speedwagon were two of the rock bands dominating FM airwaves in the '70s and '80s. With 34 top 20 hits and numerous gold and platinum records between them, these Illinois icons are hitting the road for a 27-date tour this summer. I chatted with Chicago vocalist/keyboardist Robert Lamm and trumpeter Lee Loughnane and REO Speedwagon singer Kevin Cronin about the tour, making music in the digital age, their advice to new artists, and their favorite apps.

Why has it taken so long for both … Read more

Star Apps: Michael Pitt

Actor Michael Pitt is best known for playing a gangster on "Boardwalk Empire," a murderous psychopath in "Funny Games," and a drugged-out grunge rocker in "Last Days." With "I Origins," he demonstrates range with his credible portrayal of Dr. Ian Gray, a molecular biologist studying the evolution of the eye, who makes a discovery that challenges all his deep-held scientific theories and spiritual beliefs.

This role seems like a definite departure from your previous work. What drew you to playing a scientist? Maybe that. One of the things I was really interested … Read more

Star Apps: Michel Gondry

French director Michel Gondry has been repeatedly praised for his visually sophisticated but playful cinematic style, from Bjork's "Human Behavior" video to Oscar-winning "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." But until now, Gondry never directed features in French."For a long time, I was too shy to write or direct a movie in my native language," he says. "The English put some layers on top of it, so I wouldn't feel so shy and so naked." Gondry's French-language debut, "Mood Indigo," stars Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris … Read more

Star Apps: Wiz Khalifa

From Ice-T and Chuck D in the '80s to Tupac and Nas in the '90s, every decade has its hip-hop prophets and beloved lyricists who interpret the signs of their time in inspired verses. The '00s belonged to Wiz Khalifa. I chatted with the rapper about his new album, "Blacc Hollywood," and lead single "We Dem Boyz," as well as his Under the Influence of Music tour, thoughts on Kanye West fans, and favorite apps.

You've released multiple mixtapes since 2005's "Prince of the City: Welcome to Pistolvania," including 2014's "… Read more

Star Apps: Zach Braff

Zach Braff is used to having doors shut in his face. An actor since the age of 13, Braff didn't get his big break on "Scrubs" till he was twice that age. There was initially zero interest in his first major movie, the indie breakout "Garden State," or his new film, "Wish I Was Here." Naysayers warned that he'd never get the latter film funded via Kickstarter. But Braff has persevered. His "Wish I Was Here" character, Aidan Bloom, hasn't been quite so lucky, struggling to make it as … Read more

Star Apps: Fitz and the Tantrums

Don't let the name fool you: Few bands brighten a bad mood like Fitz and the Tantrums. The LA-based neo-soul group's sophomore release, "More Than Just a Dream," has already spawned hit singles "The Walker" and "Out of My League." Now the band is spreading the sunshine on its summer and fall tour. I chatted with lead vocalist Michael Fitzpatrick (aka Fitz) about how music uplifts him, musical influences and inspirations, and his favorite apps while on the road.

Your music is so celebratory. What can fans coming to the current tour … Read more

Star Apps: G-Eazy

G-Eazy is not passive about his career, as his new album title, "These Things Happen," might imply. "No, they don't just happen," said the Bay Area rapper in our recent interview. "That's one of the twists to the title, that you have to kill yourself for 10 years, working so hard at something, to finally see something happen." I chatted with the Billboard chart-topper and MTV Artist to Watch, who is finally making his mark, about his rhyming style, his fan base, and his favorite apps.

On Wikipedia it says that you … Read more

Star Apps: 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," set a decade after humanity and its power supply are nearly decimated, portrays the difficulty of rebuilding civilization without software. How would one navigate without Google Maps, see at night without Flashlight, or speak to intelligent life without FaceTime? Virtual city building via Minecraft or Civilization is also off the menu. But what if there was a way to get power from a hydroelectric dam? The only obstacle is a nation of spiteful super apes. That's the predicament for surviving humans in "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.&… Read more

Star Apps: Brandon Jay McLaren

Brandon Jay McLaren ("The Killing" and "Falling Skies") plays tough immigration agent Dale "DJ" Jakes on "Graceland" (Wednesdays on USA). Acting in the action-packed series about the exploits of DEA, FBI, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents has given him a newfound respect for their courage. I chatted with McLaren about Season 2 of "Graceland," what he's learned from playing an ICE agent, how athletics have empowered him as an actor, and his favorite apps.

What can you tell us about the upcoming season of "Graceland"? … Read more

Star Apps: ZZ Top

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 GibbonsRead more