Category: Quick chat

Quick Chat: Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead

Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead discusses his impending solo record, his first.

Quick Chat: Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead
Nearly four decades after founding the thunderous hard-rock band Motorhead, bass-playing vocalist Lemmy Kilmister is still one of the most unforgettable faces in rock ’n’ roll. The gravel-voiced 66-year-old and L.A. resident recently appeared on the 10th season premiere of VH1 Classic’s “That Metal Show” and is about to step out with his first solo record.

You’ve worked with VH1 on various shows. Do you ever watch yourself on-screen afterward?

I usually watch them once, just to make sure I didn’t make too much of a fool out of myself.

You’ve mentioned that you’re a big fan of the strip club Cheetahs. Have you been there since they’ve started booking bands?

I haven’t been there much lately, but I know that’s a mistake. How desperate is that? I want to go there to see some strippers, not some dude with a guitar.

At this stage in your career with Motorhead, why release a solo record?

People kept asking me for one, and I have a lot of songs I couldn’t really do with Motorhead. I’ve been working on the thing for about seven years because I can only do it during the time I’m not with Motorhead. There’s not much of that.

Who have been some of your favorite collaborators on it?

Dave Grohl and Joan Jett were a couple great ones. I should have the album finished in a couple of months. No set release date yet.

You also have a rockabilly side project called Head Cat. Has that style of music always been a part of your life?

Yeah, it’s pretty much what I started out playing as a kid.

Any specific memories from your recent gig on Gigantour with Megadeath and Lacuna Coil?

Our L.A. show was probably the best show we’ve ever played out here. It must’ve been, because I had to miss the next four shows because of laryngitis. I just lost my voice.

Has that ever happened before?

Once or twice, I think.

Since you’re at home in L.A., where do like to hang out?

The Rainbow Bar is pretty much my local bar; it’s right up the street from me. I tend to chase women usually. I catch ’em now and again too.


Quick chat: With John Densmore

Flavor Flav will take your order now

Quick Chat: John McCrea of Cake

--Nate Jackson

Photo: Lemmy, lead singer of Motorhead, is photographed inside the Rainbow Bar in West Hollywood. Credit: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times

Flavor Flav will take your order now

Rapper and reality star Flavor Flav dishes on fried chicken, his new soul food restaurant in Las Vegas, Public Enemy’s next album and more.

Flavor Flav will take your order now

Flavor Flav’s House of Flavor opens in Las Vegas this week as Sin City’s most prominent soul food takeout joint. The rapper and reality star behind the self-titled venture spoke with Pop & Hiss about waffles, clocks and the culinary arts.

What’s on the menu?

My secret (shhhh) fried chicken recipe. That’s the star. But we have a red velvet waffle too, and everyone goes ohhhh when they hear that. Go on, you can say it.

I heard you grew up cooking.

Yeah. My parents owned a soul food diner. It inspired me to go to culinary school.

Did you get your degree?

I sure did. 1978. Albertson, N.Y.

Did you want to open a place back then?

 Nahh. My main thing was to have a good job. I was head cook at the Nassau County courthouse and at Uniondale High School before I was Public Enemy. I was also a school bus driver.

Are you working on any music now?

Me and my partner Chuck D are working on our next Public Enemy album. We should have it out to you by August.

Will you do a reality show at the restaurant?

Remember the diner in “Happy Days”? I do want to do a show like that. But an updated version.


Yeah, I remember the Fonz. Whooaaa. And the Cunninghams? I loved them. Ah, Richie.

What’s the theme of your place?

Things showcasing my career, a lot of pictures up of me and my celebrity friends. I’ll wait until we expand to put all my clocks on the wall.

You had a takeout place in Iowa, right?

Yeah, it was called Flav’s Fried Chicken — FFC. I shut that down, but I’m gonna open another one in Detroit in April. After that, FFC is coming to L.A.

All you celebs with restaurants need to have a cook-off.

I guarantee I would win that battle, ’cause all my recipes got me in ’em! Haaaaa!


Quick Chat: John McCrea of Cake

Quick Chat: Shirley Manson of Garbage

Public Enemy puts spotlight on skid row

--Lorraine Ali

Photo: Flavor Flav joins the UNLV student section during an NCAA college basketball game against San Diego State on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012, in Las Vegas. Credit: Isaac Brekken / Associated Press

Quick chat: With John Densmore

Drummer John Densmore and the other surviving members of the Doors, Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger, team with Skrillex on Re:Generation Music Project.

Quick chat: With John Densmore

Doors drummer John Densmore was part of the psychedelic revolution in rock. Now as part of the Re:Generation Music Project, Densmore and bandmates Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger are redefining music again with Grammy-lauded dancenik Skrillex. Densmore, 67, discussed the 24-year-old Skrillex, early electronic music and the Doors’ first gig in San Francisco with Pop & Hiss.

Why did you want to get involved with Skrillex in the Re:Generation Music Project?

I told my son, “I’ve never heard of a Skrillex, what the hell is that?” And he said, “Dad, you’ve got to do that, you’ve got to get his autograph, and if you don’t I won’t speak to you.”

What was your first meeting like?

I thought he was a strange-looking little, cute guy. I asked him for his autograph, and he said, “My dad would like yours.” That was an interesting exchange.

What did you think of his music?

I was into Stockhausen electronic classical music in the ’50s so I get the electronic scene.

Skrillex’s innovative sound is pretty divisive in the music world. Was that a similar reaction to the Doors’ first shows?

We went to play the Fillmore in San Francisco for the first time, and the audience up there, even though they were our peers, they just stared at us. They didn’t even applaud. It was like we landed from Mars.

Do you feel that electronic music has any similarities to jazz or punk or any other iconoclastic music?

It’s pushing the boundaries. Time will tell, but it’s not going to take over.


Doors release new 'L.A. Woman' outtake 'She Smells So Nice'

Quick chat: Oscar-nominated composer Alberto Iglesias

Quick chat: Butch Walker on avoiding rock 'n' roll 'comfort food'

--Drew Tewksbury

Photo:John Densmore of the Doors.  Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Quick Chat: A 'Release,' then Lyle Lovett's on his own

The Texas singer-songwriter's last album for Curb Records, 'Release Me,' is coming out Tuesday. It's an apt title for the singer-songwriter, who discusses his free agency with Pop & Hiss.

"Release Me" is Texas singer and songwriter Lyle Lovett's final album for his longtime label, Curb Records. It features cover songs of old country tunes as well as new material from the trenchant writer known both for his skewed sense of humor and his Brillo pad hair. Lovett, who was scheduled to play the "Late Show With David Letterman" on Monday, along with "The View" on Wednesday and "Morning Joe" on Friday, took some time out to discuss his new life as a free agent with Pop & Hiss.

Why the mix of originals and covers on the new record? Wouldn't your fans love an album of all new Lyle Lovett songs?

The reason I didn't have more originals is that I haven't written enough of my own songs that I like enough. I only wanted to put songs on this record that I was proud of.

You've been with one record company for more than a quarter century -- how's it feel to be turning into a free agent at this point in your life?

That's why I made the point of calling the record "Release Me." It's a way of letting people know my job's going to change a little bit now. It's a new age, and the ability to be out there and really be on your own is greater than it's ever been.

You came along in the mid-'80s when left-of-center artists such as yourself scored major label record deals in Nashville -- something that would never happen today.

Early on, Tony Brown at MCA Nashville allowed me to be myself. If you get to be yourself in life, and you're accepted as yourself, then your audience is great.

You've been critically lauded for your music throughout these last 25 years -- anything you'd redo if given the chance?

There are people who say, "If I had my life to do over, I wouldn't change a thing," but I'd change a lot of things.

Such as?

I'm not foolish enough to list specific failings that I'd like to right, but there are lots. I couldn't be happier with the results, but I'd like there to have been less collateral and emotional damage.

How has songwriting changed over time for you?

Writing is difficult. Actually, I like to say that writing is easy; it's having a good idea to write about that's difficult. But it's really hard having something to say that means something.


Quick Chat: John McCrea of Cake

Quick Chat: Shirley Manson of Garbage

Quick Chat: Oscar-nominated composer Alberto Iglesias

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Lyle Lovett, "Release Me." Credit: Curb/Universal

Quick Chat: John McCrea of Cake

Cake new !

Cake's members have always considered themselves a band of pop music outsiders. Formed in the early '90s amid the backdrop of the Seattle explosion, the horns, hooks and dry wit of songs like “The Distance” and the Gloria Gaynor cover “I Will Survive” were a comically offbeat answer to the bombast of grunge. After seven years between albums, the band got another bite at the mainstream when their 2011 album “Showroom of Compassion” (recorded independently at their solar-powered studio in Sacramento) debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200 despite selling only 44,000 copies in its first week.

At the time it was the lowest-selling No. 1 album in SoundScan history. But for a band that still operates under the pop-culture radar, they see it as a major win for the little guy. Stopping in L.A. at the Palladium for the first time in several years, frontman John McCrea talked to Pop & Hiss about Cake’s recent success.

Who is your audience these days?

It’s weird. I thought that it would just be a lot of older, Generation X people, but on the road each year we get more people that haven’t heard us before that are all ages. We get a lot of high school kids, even some seniors dig us.

Any opinion on the fact that your latest record debuted as the lowest-selling No. 1 album on the charts, ever?

In a period of precipitous decline in the record business, we’ve looked at it pretty positively. Cake’s not a band that’s supposed to be No. 1 on any charts. So it definitely stretched our imaginations to be No. 1, even fleetingly. We sold about the same amount of copies that we did for our previous album, which was seven years earlier. So it seems like we’ve built a pretty trusted relationship with our fans.

What’s been the best part of releasing your new music independently?

It’s clean, it’s a feeling of self-reliance — that we’re investing in ourselves. Between recording the album in a solar-powered studio and self-releasing our album, it’s part of the general inclination on Cake’s part to become more self-reliant and less dependent on what I think are failing infrastructures.

You’re well-known for launching participatory contests with your fans. Any new ones on the horizon?

We are doing this contest where our trumpet player Vince DiFiore scored our song “Federal Funding” for marching bands and so a lot of high school and college marching bands are entering a contest where they learn that song, play it and send in a video. We’re gonna choose one of them as a grand prize winner. I think we’ll end up putting them in a new Cake video.


Personal playlist: Fred Armisen

Quick chat: Oscar-nominated composer Alberto Iglesias

Quick chat: Butch Walker on avoiding rock 'n' roll 'comfort food'

— Nate Jackson

Photo: Frontman John McCrea, far right, with Cake band mates, from left, Paulo Baldi, Vince DiFiore, Xan McCurdy and Gabe Nelson. Credit: Robert McKnight.

Quick chat: Oscar-nominated composer Alberto Iglesias

Alberto Iglesais.
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” begins with something of an overture, a jazzy-like composition that lets viewers into the mind of main character George Smiley (Gary Oldman) --  sorta. Spanish composer Alberto Iglesias kept the mood relatively downbeat through much of Tomas Alfredson's film, a spy movie that isn't a spy movie, at least in the traditional sense.

While Iglesias brought in slight electronics, it's a wayward horn or a tip-tapping piano note that keeps things largely on the unsettling side. Here, Iglesias, whose work for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" is up for the original score Oscar, talks about his musical goals for the film. 

The film opens with a very nontraditional, jazz-like excursion. Discuss that.

PHOTOS: Oscars: Top nominees

"I started with this cold thing in the beginning. Some films start where the music could contain the whole drama. I tried not to do that. It’s very much about George Smiley in that moment and the human side of the story. I didn’t have a dramatic actor until the very end of the film, and so therefore the music builds up and becomes bigger at the end, whereas it's more subtle at the start."

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Quick Chat: Shirley Manson of Garbage

Garbage launches its own label, Stunvolume, headed by singer Shirley Manson

Garbage launches its own label
This post has been corrected. See below for details.

When Garbage went on hiatus seven years ago, singer Shirley Manson made a solo album and tried her hand at acting in the final season of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.” Now she’s now taken on a new role — that of label head.

The band announced recently that, after parting ways with Geffen, it’s launching its own label, Stunvolume, and will release Garbage’s fifth album, “Not Your Kind of People”, on the label this spring (they’re in the studio recording now). Manson, the searing voice behind such hits as “Stupid Girl” and “Only Happy When It Rains,” talked with Pop & Hiss about love, liberation and the vicious game that is the music industry.

Releasing an album on your own label: scary or liberating?

Free at last! Free at last!! Collectively and individually for that matter, we probably have more experience making records and releasing them than 99% of people working at labels these days. Nor do we have anyone to answer to other than ourselves. People at record companies live in fear of being wrong. Music cannot thrive in that environment. It is an unruly art form. You can’t keep treating it like sausage meat. You have to let it morph and move and breathe. So are we scared? Not a jot.

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Quick chat: Butch Walker on avoiding rock 'n' roll 'comfort food'

Songwriter and producer Butch Walker, who recently came out with the new book "Drinking With Strangers: Music Lessons From a Teenage Bullet Belt," reflects on his aesthetic.

Butch Walker and the Black Widows, standing synthesizer-free

This post has been updated. See below for details.

Artistically, there are few things that Butch Walker hasn't done. He's written hit songs for himself (Marvelous 3's “Freak of the Week”), and co-written or produced hits for plenty of others, including Avril Lavigne, Weezer, Pink and SR-71.

Now in his early 40s, Walker has added author to his résumé, releasing a book late last year, “Drinking With Strangers: Music Lessons From a Teenage Bullet Belt,” written with music journalist and Times contributor Matt Diehl.

On the lessons he hopes the book imparts: “I've done a lot. I've tried a lot. I've done too much. So many people want things to happen overnight. They have an idea of the ultimate life and lifestyle, and they want that before they're 20. I can honestly say that it rarely works out like that, and if you're in that position when you're 20, you won't be when you're 40.”

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Jeff Tweedy chats ahead of Wilco’s L.A. concerts

Quick chat: Wilco plays the Hollywood Palladium Jan. 24, the Wiltern Jan. 25 and the Los Angeles Theatre Jan. 27.

Wilco's Jeff Tweedy

In advance of Wilco’s mini-L.A. residency, with dates at the Palladium (Jan. 24), the Wiltern (Jan 25) and the Los Angeles Theatre (Jan. 27), band leader Jeff Tweedy reflected on the band's last decade and a half, while sharing thoughts on the band’s new album, “The Whole Love.” 

On Wilco’s live philosophy: “I like the audience being on the same level — a figurative stage. We can put on a pretty good show as entertainers, about half of a show, usually, but then the seriousness has to go away. The ritual of it being a performance needs to be broken in order for it to feel like you achieved your goal. The goal is to join the audience, or make them feel comfortable joining you. I don’t feel like I’m supposed to be up there pretending to be worthy of being looked at.” 

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J. Cole gets off sidelines with album, Grammy nomination

Rapper J. Cole’s ‘The Sideline Story’ is at No. 1 and he’s been nominated for a new artist Grammy. Quite a change after earlier rejection.


J. Cole was signed to Jay-Z’s RocNation in 2009, then sat on the sidelines for more than two years until taking fate into his own hands. The North Carolina rapper released his own mixtapes from 2007 to 2010 and toured like mad to support them. Today, he has a No. 1 album with RocNation/Columbia — “Cole World: The Sideline Story” — and a Grammy nomination for new artist.

Cole chatted with The Times about getting off the sidelines and becoming one of rap’s most valuable players.

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