Showing posts from August, 2019

A Conversation with Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad

If the only song he ever wrote was "We're An American Band" Don Brewer would still be a rock legend.  But the fact is Don and his band Grand Funk Railroad are so much more than that one song.  Grand Funk is currently on tour, with original members Don Brewer and Mel Schacher, celebrating their 50th Anniversary and Don took some time to talk to me about the band's career and their iconic songs.
Please press Play below to hear the MisplacedStraws Conversation with Don Brewer:
On whether he ever thought the band would last this long: I mean when we started the band I was you know 18, 19 years old and  of course if that time you really can't look forward. You thought 40 was probably gonna be about as long as you were going to live anyway, so  you really can't look into the future. I never dreamed that I would be 70 years old and still out on the road and enjoying what I'm doing. Actually  my grand kids can come to the shows now.  I could never have imagined …

A Conversation with Toto Vocalist Joseph Williams

Few bands can boast of the career Toto has carved out.  From worldwide hit singles to sold out tours to tragedy and comebacks, the guys in Toto have literally done it all over the past 40 years.  As the band prepares to embark on the last leg of their 40th Anniversary tour, and possible their last concerts for the foreseeable future, I had the chance to spend some time with singer Joseph Williams to talk about his time in the band and what, if anything, the future holds for Toto.
Please press Play below to hear the MisplacedStraws Conversation with Joseph Williams: On what fans can expect for the upcoming leg of the tour: This is this will finally conclude this cycle of touring for this 40th Anniversary. We've been we've changed the set up a bunch since this sort of cycle started but, yeah, this will finally put to put to rest this whole celebration that we've been doing. 1:00
On whether founding keyboardist David Paich will participate: He's still out, but he may he …

New Music Showcase: Crobot - Motherbrain

Crobot formed in  Pottsville, PA in 2011 and self-released their first ep in 2012.  Over the next four years the band released 2 full length records, toured with some of the biggest metal bands and played the biggest festivals.  After 2016's Welcome to Fat City Crobot took some time, changed out their rhythm section,  signed with Mascot Records and prepared their brand new record Motherbrain.  I had the chance to spend some time on the phone with vocalist Brandon Yeagley on the eve of Motherbrain's release to talk about the new record and more.
Press Play below to hear my conversation with Brandon Yeagley:
Motherbrain presents a new outlook for Crobot.  Aside from the changes in personnel and record label the band took it's time writing songs and, as Yeagley points out, he and founding guitarist Chris Bishop worked with outside writers for the first time.  For the most part, the band had prior relationships with these writers and the resulting material is some of the best …

New England Rock Fest, Day 2 August 17, Chicopee, MA

For two days in August, the melodic rock world centered in Poor Richards, a live music bar and grill in Chicopee, MA, for the second annual New England Rock Fest.  NERF is the brainchild of Kivel Records founder John Kivel and started in 2018 as a 20th Anniversary celebration of his label and differs from other festivals in a few major ways.  First, it's indoors so weather isn't an issue and the show can run very smoothly, sticking to the  tight schedule without worry of extreme August heat or rain.  Second, it is carefully curated to showcase the best bands of a specific genre, melodic rock, that is usually left out of the bigger festivals that take part throughout the summer. Lastly, it presents a great mix of local talent, up-and-coming national bands (most found on the Kivel Records label) and established headline acts.
Day 1 was headlined by Memphis, TN rockers Tora Tora, supporting their new record Bastards of Beale. Day 2 kicked off with local Connecticut rock band Sca…

A Conversation with Singer Donnie Vie, Formerly of Enuff Z'nuff

Some artists have their moment of commercial fame then head into obscurity, others turn it into a long, under-the-radar career filled with amazing music that die hard fans swear by.  Donnie Vie was on top of the world when his former band Enuff Z'nuff had hits like "New Thing", "Fly High Michelle" and "Mother's Eyes".  Like so many other bands. the changing musical landscape knocked them off the charts, but Vie kept making great power pop records with the band, and later as a solo artist.  He has just released his fourth solo studio record called Beautiful Things and recently took some time to talk about the record, his health and his career.
Please press Play below to listen to the conversation with Donnie Vie: On his mindset as he began work on Beautiful Things -  I had a little down period there where things just got too ugly and just a downward spiral with the band after a point  and so you get to a point where you have ac…

A Conversation with Kenneth Wayne Frost of The Cuckoos

It's always great when you come across a new band that wears its influences on its sleeve but doesn't sound like a cheap imitation.  Psychedelic rockers The Cuckoos from Austin, TX are exactly that band.  One listen to their songs and you can pick out a dozen influences but their songs sound totally fresh and new.  I had the opportunity to catch up with vocalist/keyboardist/songwriter Kenneth Wayne Frost to find out more about this band and introduce them to all of you!
Press Play below to hear the conversation with The Cuckoos' Kenneth Frost:

On combining all of their influences to create their own sound: I think it takes a lot of listening to each other. Maybe there's something that I want to kind of get through or convey in some music and maybe one of the other guys wants to do something a little different and it's just kind knowing when to be like "Okay, hey let's just ride with what they want to do for now and I'll I'll ge…

Goo Goo Dolls/Train, Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT, August 11, 2019

Summers are made for package tours, and very few have the muscle of the tour that pulled into Mohegan Sun Arena on August 11.  Both the Goo Goo Dolls and Train have headlined, and sold out, this very arena on their own within the past two years, so having both bands on one bill was sure to please the packed arena.
The Goo Goo Dolls took the stage first, after a brief set by opener Allen Stone.  In 2018 the band toured for the 20th Anniversary of the classic Dizzy Up The Girl lp and they have a new record, Miracle Pill, coming out in September, so this summer tour is a great way to gear up for the new album cycle and go out and play the hits.  That's exactly what they did, a compact 15 song set that lasted just over an hour but was filled with Goo Goo Dolls classics.
Beginning with 1995's A Boy Named Goo, the night featured tracks from every record, even the title track to the upcoming Miracle Pill, with the exception of 2010's Something For The Rest Of Us.  This led to a …

Cherie Currie and Brie Darling - The Motivator

Every now and then a record comes out that just grabs you and makes you thing "Why hasn't this happened before?"  The Motivator, a new release by groundbreaking artists Cherie Currie and Brie Darling is exactly that type of record.  I recently had the great opportunity to talk to both Cherie and Brie about this new album as well as their histories.
Both Currie and Darling broke through the male-dominated rock scene of the 70's.  Darling was a member of Fanny, the first all-female rock band to sign a major label contract , a few years later Currie arrived on the scene as the iconic front woman for The Runaways. As their respective bands dissolved, both found success in other places.  Currie embarked on a solo career as well as becoming an author and finding success as an actress.  Darling went on to play percussion with such names as Jimmy Buffet and Robert Palmer.  
Darling recently teamed up with Fanny bandmates June and Jean Millington for a project called Fanny W…

A Conversation With Mike Peters of The Alarm

There are certain songwriters whose songs transcend their era and become timeless.  Their sound and lyrics stay fresh and relevant as the decades pass.  Mike Peters is one of those songwriters.  From The Alarm classics like "68 Guns" and "Rain in the Summertime" to modern gems like "Two Rivers" off of their new record Sigma, Peters' songs stand the test of time.
I was lucky enough to spend a few minutes on the phone with Mike as The Alarm tours North America.  We had a bad connection during the first half of the interview but hang in there, the connection clears right up around the 9:35 mark for the rest of our conversation.
Please press Play below to listen to the Conversation With Mike Peters:

On how the last few projects from The Alarm fit together - Originally the whole thing was conceived as a double album, Blood Red/Viral Black, and we road tested it with our band...We felt the world didn't have the attention span for a …