Ian Anderson's Idea of Rock-n-Roll is More Complex Than You Know

Press Image of Jethro Tull from a 1977 Concert
Rock music is not typically thought of as a vehicle for profound commentary. Granted, the music of classic rock acts like Pink Floyd and Yes provide meditative grooves that are just as deeply poetic as they are good to listen to while stoned, but the progressive rock of Ian Anderson (whose band Jethro Tull was also a product of 60's England) is just as whimsically laced with satire and gobbledygook as it is overtly didactic. His latest album, Homo Erraticus, is the third entry in his Thick as a Brick Trilogy, which includes Thick as a Brick (released by Jethro Tull in 1972 and hailed by Rolling Stone as "one of rock's most sophisticated and ground-breaking products") and Thick as a Brick 2 (released by Ian Anderson in 2012).

The three albums make use of the narrative character Gerald Bostock, who light-heartedly flaunts archaic and cryptic verbiage while commenting on sociology and geopolitics. And while it can be argued that occasionally obvious political commentary is not a trait of profundity, the conceptual scope of the album -- to say nothing of its excellently orchestrated musical aspects -- is testament to its greatness. Anderson will be performing his latest album as well as a selection of Jethro Tull's greatest hits at Segerstrom Hall on September 18.

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Chuck Ragan Has Some Crazy Alt-Folk Fish Stories

Categories: Artists We Love

Lisa Johnson
After a hiatus in 2005, the former guitar-wielding front man of post-punk outfit Hot Water Music embarked on a path into rugged folk-rock. And nine years later, Chuck Ragan's latest album, Till Midnight, is the 39-year-old's most lyrically compelling, well-rounded effort yet. The emotion and continuity on Till Midnight arguably stem from a preproduction session at Ragan's home, where his band, the Camaraderie, made time to gel into a solid unit. Though Wednesday's show will be a stripped-down solo performance, there's no doubt the alt-folk troubadour will bring the collaborative fruits of Till Midnight to the Coach House stage.

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Ty Segall Went "Insane a Little Bit" Working on His New Album

Categories: Artists We Love

Denee Petracek
By: Liz Tracy

He is the man that your head-banging, no-good punk ass needs to thank immediately for keeping rock 'n' roll brash, beautifully loud, unpredictable, and incredibly exciting.

Over the course of six years and dozens of albums, EPs, and singles, Ty Segall, the 27-year-old Orange County-bred and Bay Area-ripened rock virtuoso, has industriously infused an almost antiquated genre with new sounds and new life, as he blends the dark delights of Sabbath and the trippiness of psych with the million other brilliant strains of fuzzy tuneage that swirl forever through the hidden chambers of his kaleidoscopic mind.

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Hot Snakes Prove That a Band With Two Drummers is Twice as Good

Hot Snakes' first two records (2000's Automatic Midnight and 2002's Suicide Invoice) feature Jason Kourkounis on drums, but the band's third release, 2004's Audit in Progress, was recorded with drummer Mario Rubalcaba, who became a permanent member for the group's final two years. So, when singer/guitarist Rick Froberg, guitarist John Reis and bassist Gar Wood decided to reunite in 2011, they had a decision to make.

Luckily for fans, the threesome opted to include both Kourkounis and Rubalcaba, allowing each drummer to perform the material he recorded. Taking a quick break mid-set to change skinsmen might sound odd, but it's not. In fact, it's fucking awesome not only because audiences get to see both versions of Hot Snakes but because Kourkounis and Rubalcaba are phenomenal drummers who deserve to be heard.

Still, having two drummers isn't the norm, which is why I spoke to Rubalcaba and Kourkounis in regards to their band's upcoming show at Alex's Bar in Long Beach on Sept. 18 to find out what they plan on doing when the other guy is on stage.

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Yes - The Greek Theatre - August 24, 2014

Yes performing at The Greek Theatre (photo by Scott Feinblatt)
The Greek Theatre
August 24, 2014

It seems to be a trend of late for legendary bands to dust off and perform their legendary albums. Last night, Yes performed two of theirs, Close to the Edge and Fragile. The band's extensive current tour began just a few days before the release of their latest album, Heaven & Earth, but it is not curious why their set only included two songs from the new album, which they played in between the vintage albums. The new album has not been receiving great praise, but perhaps this is because it has been 40 years since the progressive rockers began charting new cosmic territory.

Since that time, the band has seen numerous permutations in its line-up, and it is no surprise that it has never encapsulated so pure a manifestation of vision and virtuosity as it did on those two albums. Nevertheless, all history, drama, and art versus business speculations aside, there was something incredible happening on stage at the Greek Theatre. By taking a potent magical spell and casting it with aplomb, able magicians can easily entrance their legions and adherents.

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Why George Clinton Matters

Categories: Artists We Love

Photo By Groove House
[Editor's Note: Kris Needs is the author of "George Clinton and the Cosmic Odyssey of the P-Funk Empire," Clinton's first in-depth biography. It was released in June on Omnibus Press. Needs wrote this essay about Clinton's cultural impact exclusively for Heard Mentality.]

By: Kris Needs

Let me tell you all about the one and only George Clinton, who can be placed alongside James Brown, Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone as the most visionary and influential black music pioneer to emerge from the incendiary 1960s but is now the only one of those figureheads still taking it to the stage.

While America was embroiled in war and socio-cultural revolution during the '60s, Clinton was reinventing funk by mating it with rock and changing rock by mixing it with funk, giving birth to the influential psychedelic soul style that has made him the most sampled artist in hip-hop. His synthesized funk of the late 1970s and early '80s created a new strain of techno-soul that laid the foundations for today's electronic dance music.

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Every Year, a Swarm of Elvis Impersonators Descend On Costa Mesa

Categories: Artists We Love

Jill Lloyd
Kirk Wall
Legend has it, a woman once gave Elvis Presley a crown and told him he was king. His reply was something along the lines of, "No, Jesus Christ is king. I'm just a singer."

Well, Elvis was wrong because he was the king, is still the king and forever will be the king. If not, explain how next Sunday's Elvis Festival -- taking place from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Orange County Market Place -- is celebrating its 15th anniversary.

The gathering includes a Cadillac car show featuring passenger vehicles from 1950 to 1977, something called the Piled High Priscilla Hair and Elevated Elvis Hair contests and food trucks serving more peanut butter and banana -inspired dishes than a Memphis diner. And, as the main event, four stages will feature male and female tribute artists and karaoke singers singing and shaking their hips. (The over/under on "Suspicious Minds" is 12.)

Kirk Wall, a 57-year-old Anaheim resident, has hosted every year, which makes him pretty much an expert on just how awesome Sunday will be, which is why we spoke to him.

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How Walter Trout Cheated Death With Help From the Blues

Categories: Artists We Love

Jeff Katz
Few OC-based musicians bleed the blues like Walter Trout. The soul, dexterity, heart break and elation in his voice and his guitar playing have always flowed out of him when he's on stage. But laying in a hospital bed in Nebraska, having literally lost all the blood in his body following complications from a liver transplant operation last May, his love of the blues was one of the main things his body has had to hold onto to keep him alive.

"I went into a coma for three days and when I came out of it, I had a thing called encephalopathy where I didn't know who I was and I couldn't speak English," Trout says, recalling the experience. He's been in Nebraska know for months undergoing treatment at the Nebraska Medical Center. "I'd think about my wife and kids and my desire to write and play music for people and do what I had to do and fight it with everything I have. I still am."

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If Ted Nugent Met His 30 Year-Old Self, He'd Kick His Ass

Categories: Artists We Love

Mary Bell
There's many things that can be said about controversial classic rocker Ted Nugent, but one thing you can't call him is dull. Having played over 6,500 shows in a nearly 50 year career, Nugent continues to maintain a rigorous schedule. This past week, he released, Shut Up & Jam, his first album in seven years. Calling himself "spiritually erect," Nugent says things couldn't be better, that is unless you count the pain he's been in since having his knees replaced in February. During the first half of our chat, there's a strange, clicking that sound, which Nugent half-heartedly jokes and says it's the NSA, calling out Attorney General Eric Holder in the process to stop listening to our call. There's never a moment that isn't interesting with the Motor City Madman, as you'll see for yourself.

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Pharoahe Monch's Artistic, Hip-Hop Approach to Dealing With P.T.S.D.

Pharoahe Monch
After being a rapper for close to a quarter of a century, and 41-year-old rapper Pharoahe Monch still knows how to be creative and make progressive music. Late in 2013, Eminem declared his bars on 1994's "Bring It On" would "kill most rappers" and that he has "been ahead of his time since he came out," while a couple months ago Village Voice called him "The World's New Rap Therapist." His music is as critically acclaimed now as it was in the mid-'90s, and his discography is littered with Source accolades and acclaim from iconic establishments in pop culture such as Rolling Stone.

The Queens original laid the foundations for his career as one half of the revered duo Organized Konfusion before branching off on his solo career, where he has crafted four albums of his own. His latest, P.T.S.D., is an innovative, creative album based on post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. The album's most remarkable feat is channeling Monch's own, personal struggles with both issues and turning into something that's compelling and entertaining. It's the hip-hop version of observing a live action therapy session like you would a play or concert.

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