Tag Archives: interviews


Lives 1-7, expended

REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin: “When we play live, it’s a riot”

(The Guide, 3/12) The upside to being a band that’s persevered for more than three decades is that you can play anywhere from Mexico City to Savannah and draw a lively crowd.

The downside is that styles and trends change quickly, and your fans tend to best remember your early days. REO Speedwagon lead singer Kevin Cronin, for instance, is often asked to sign copies of the band’s 1979 album “Nine Lives,” the cover of which features the group clad in tight black spandex and leather, with tail-wearing vixens hanging on them and a black panther on a chain in the foreground.

“At the time it was considered cool,” Cronin said with a chuckle in a phone interview last week. “It definitely wasn’t who I was, that’s for sure.”

REO Speedwagon, Edwin McCain

When: 8 p.m. March 13

Where: Johnny Mercer Theatre, 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave., Savannah.

Tickets: $45-$55

Information: 912-651-6566, http://www.savannahcivic.com Continue reading

Interview: Keller Williams freeks out

Keller Williams 2.0: The singer has become a ‘Once a Week Freek’

(From The Guide, 3/5/10) Keller Williams’ last local show was his 2008 New Year’s Eve gig at the Shoreline Ballroom on Hilton Head Island. The musician — known as a one-man jam band for his ability to play and loop different instruments — put together a three-pronged show that featured a regular set, an all-request set and a bonus set of “grunge-grass,” his name for bluegrass versions of ’90s hits from Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots and the like.

And even though Williams is of the genus of musicians who treats every show like a unique moment meant to be shared by tapers, you won’t find the Hilton Head appearance in the vast pantheon of his music online.

“I was thinking about releasing it, but got talked out of it due to all the licensing issues that have happened to Pearl Jam and Nirvana,” he said. “They keep that stuff pretty close to the chest. But I might sneak it in in my ‘Once a Week Freek.’ ”

Keller Williams

When: 9 p.m. March 6

Where: Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St., Savannah

Tickets: $20 in advance, $23 at the door

Information: 912-233-1192, www.livewiremusichall.com Continue reading

Interview: Blue October’s seasons of change (or not?)

UPDATE: Yikes. So just a few days after talking with Justin Furstenfeld about how positive he was feeling these days and how excited he was to bring his message to people on this tour, Blue October cancelled the tour because Furstenfeld has been hospitalized to deal with mental health issues. Here’s the release from the band’s web site:


(New York, NY – October 22, 2009) The Pick Up The Phone Tour 2009 has been canceled due to the hospitalization of Justin Furstenfeld, lead singer of the tour’s headlining band Blue October. Furstenfeld, who was also the spokesperson for Pick Up The Phone Tour 2009, is being treated for suffering from an extreme mental anxiety attack. His doctors have ordered that the tour—which was committed to reducing the stigma associated with mental health, depression, and suicide—be canceled to allow for his recovery.

“Mental health diseases are unpredictable,” says Furstenfeld. “And on the eve of this tour in support of a cause that means the world to me, I am in need of time to heal from a setback in my own personal life, which is severe enough for me to seek hospitalization. I hope that my action to seek the strength and safety of treatment will inspire others that are suffering to do the same.”

In other news, Mike Ness is considering cancelling Social Distortion’s appearance on Hilton Head to deal with grief after discovering the pool hall he loved as a kid is now a 7-11.

(The Guide 10/27)  The most unexpected place that Justin Furstenfeld, lead singer of the Houston alt-rock band Blue October, ever heard his hit song “Hate Me” was on the radio while driving through the vast barrenness of rural Kansas.

Furstenfeld was on his way to Nebraska when someone called a local Top 40 radio station and requested the song — even though it had been two years since the 2006 single had its reign near the top of the charts.

The caller said he had hurt his girlfriend and was ashamed of himself, and he wanted to send the song — Furstenfeld’s brutal vocal exorcism of his demons — out to his girlfriend before going into rehab.
“And man, I had to pull the car over,” Furstenfeld said last week. “It really touched me, it really opened my eyes.”

Blue October

When: 9 p.m. Oct. 24

Where: Shoreline Ballroom, Ocean Center, 40 Folly Field Road, Hilton Head Island

Tickets: $10.61

Information: 843-842-0358, www.shorelineballroom.com

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Band of Brothers: N.C.’s Avett Brothers poised for a major breakout

The Guide (9/11)

North Carolina's The Avett Brothers

Bob Crawford feels bad for the warring siblings of rock ‘n’ roll. The Gallaghers, Robinsons and Davies of the world that turned Oasis, the Black Crowes and the Kinks into as much a public forum for family drama as a conduit for collaborative music.

The Avett Brothers, the North Carolina trio whose brotherly frontmen are helping elevate the band from small folk-ish mountain music hit to cross-genre popular sensation, have no such troubles.

“They get along amazingly well,” Crawford, the band’s bassist, said in a phone interview.

“I can remember one or two instance in eight years where they would go behind closed doors and work it out. They don’t fight any more than any of us will get into an argument or disagreement. The conflicts we have with each other are always mundane, never serious.”

That dynamic is one of the things that holds the band’s music together and reflects the harmony of eastern North Carolina where the brothers grew up — brothers who, by the way, first launched a neo-punk band before returning to the bluegrass roots of the region.

Now, after more than eight years together, and with five full-length albums and a handful of independent EPs under their banjo straps, the band is perched on the edge of a national explosion with the release of their first major-label album later this month. “I and Love and You” unites the band with legendary producer Rick Rubin, who has smoothed out their sound into an amalgam of catchy styles and smart, energetic piano with eclectic harmonies that could attract a broad swath of new fans.

Critical descriptions of the band’s sound run a creative gamut from grunge-folk to roots-punk, but the band has avoided self-categorization.

“We just do what we do, and that’s just because it’s us,” Crawford said. “It’s not, ‘Let’s play that rocking slam-grass music that we do.’ We’ve never set out to create a sound in a certain way. Now we’ve got access to more tools, so the song is written, and we decide what instrument will best represent the sound.”

That free-ranging sound already has helped the band draw a following from the indie rock world, earning them praise on indie music bible Pitchfork and making them feel equally welcome at festivals from the indie-heavy SXSW in Austin to the hippie-friendly fields of Bonnaroo. Their songs can be personal and probing, looking at the nature of lost loves and false friends on one song, but them jumping to a wild guitar rhythm or Beatles-like pop harmonies on another.

“It’s got to have something to do with what the music is. It truly is a hybrid of several things and, first and foremost, there is an honest American quality to it,” Crawford said. “For some reason, it touches people somewhere, and all kinds of different people.”

The new album (out Sept. 29) creates a mega-alliance of the innovative sounds of the Avetts’ pianos and kick drums with the studio prowess of Rubin and the distribution arm of Sony Music, something Crawford said could help bring the band in front of new audiences.

And even though the title track of the new album is a love letter to Brooklyn and the big city life that Crawford said these country boys once were so afraid of, shows in the South, like the upcoming appearance at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, are where the band feels most at home, Crawford said.

“I think it’s fever pitch,” he said of the crowds. “It seems like the South really is home. There are places that treat us like home around the country, but it can be really, really intense to play a show in North Carolina or South Carolina.”

The Avett Brothers

When: 8 p.m. Sept. 17

Where: North Charleston Performing Arts Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston.

Tickets: $26

Information: 843-529-5050; www.coliseumpac.com

Interview: Welcome to moe.’s

(The Guide, 7/17) The band  moe. will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Hilton Head Island music lovers: It was their

mispunctuated presence as one of the first bands to visit the still-nascent Shoreline Ballroom in April of last year that helped give the venue a big-name boost. Since then, the Shoreline has brought a consistent flow of big names the island, from B.B. King to Snoop Dogg to Loretta Lynn to Conor Oberst.

The five members of one of the music scene’s longest-running jam bands — one that will hit its two-decade mark next year — will make their return appearance Tuesday. Lead singer Chuck Garvey talked about how their success came from doing musical “missionary work” and why file sharing may be the only thing that can save the music industry.

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Interview: Relax, they’re gonna play Stairway

Get The Led Out: Zeppelin’s song remains the same

(The Guide, 6/19)

The path to musical success isn’t always the obvious one. Take Paul Sinclair, a Philadelphia native with Jimmy Page hair and a record collection full of the founding fathers of hard rock, who set his sights on one day following in the footsteps of his idols by belting out lyrics to a packed arena crowd.

But he quickly discovered success would require following his idols a lot more closely.

Sinclair put in a few years’ worth of effort in his band, Sinclair, slogging through the club scene and occasionally sharing a bill with notable acts such as Foghat. But a breakthrough remained elusive.

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Interview: Grace Potter and the Order of the T-Bone

Full of Grace: Potter and the Nocturnals in Savannah

(The Guide, 6/5)

There were days in the dead of Grace Potter’s winter, a thick blanket of snow surrounding her parents’ farm in the New England countryside, when she would get pictures from a friend in Savannah. The friend would have his shirt off and be barbecuing on a roof, with a smile on his face that indicated just a bit of gloating.

“We’d be up in Vermont freezing in three feet of snow. I was very jealous,” Potter said by phone Monday from Memphis, where her band, the reconfigured Nocturnals, was recording a performance for PBS.

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