Talking 'Cholo Soul' with S.A. Martinez of 311

Categories: interview

Photo by Alexander Ferzan, courtesy of Los Stellarians management.
S.A. Martinez doesn't have time to rest. After completing another annual three-month summer stint with 311, (this year marks the band's tenth consecutive summer tour), Martinez hopes to finish three albums of his own before 311 sets sail on a fan cruise to Jamaica.

Martinez's new solo project, Los Stellarians, with Ghostwolf bandmate Ryan Siegel is an homage to Lowrider culture and overlooked Soul music from the 1970s. Cholo Soul, their debut album featuring covers of some of Martinez's favorite tunes, drops August 26.

We caught up with S.A. while he was on the road with 311 to discuss his upcoming albums, his love of James Brown, and his not-so-secret Instagram account. 311 fans may be surprised to learn which U.S. city most tugs on his heart strings.

See also: 311's Nick Hexum Reveals Even More Details About New Album 'Stereolithic'

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The Naked And Famous Keep The Pressure on Themselves

Courtesy of Republic Records
Jet-black clothing, high-fashion good looks and a hell of a light show seem to be the staples of a build-an-indie-pop-band kit in 2014. While eyes may roll at that short list, The Naked And Famous, the buzzing electro-rock band from New Zealand that now calls L.A. home, were doing it long before it was a musical requisite. After two critically acclaimed records and countless tour dates, the songwriting core of vocalist Alisa Xayalith, guitarist Thom Powers and keyboardist Aaron Short, supplemented by drummer David Beadle and drummer Jesse Wood, has sharpened both their writing and their live act to a razor's edge, all while adhering to their motif.

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The Zombies Will Never Die

The Zombies at SXSW 2013 (photo credit Lavid Photos)
The Zombies are one of the most tragically underrated bands of the 60's. Fortunately, they are still kicking! Their originality earned them a mixed blessing. Whereas a few of their songs -- most notably "Tell Her No," "Time of the Season," and "She's Not There" -- performed well on the Billboard charts, their material did not typically cater to pop trends, and the original line-up disbanded in 1967; however, 50 years after they recorded their first record, their compositions are still appealing to new audiences and inspiring other musicians and filmmakers (such as Eminem and Quentin Tarantino). Keyboardist / founding member Rod Argent and singer Colin Blunstone have been performing as The Zombies, consistently, since 2001 and continue to record Argent's inspired works. On the occasion of their visit to Southern California (tomorrow at House of Blues in San Diego and Thursday at Santa Monica Pier), the Weekly caught up with Argent to talk about the unique musical life of The Zombies.

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BONES Sees the Future of EDM. It's Called "Future House"

Ed Carrasco / OC Weekly
Bones at Splash House
BONES prides himself on staying humble in the dance music scene despite being involved for almost a decade now. He moved to LA from Denver to go to graphic design school at Loyola Marymount University and though he's a creative director at a marketing company in Beverly Hills by day, he's also a very successful DJ by night. With gigs all over from EDC Las Vegas to HARD Summer, he's playing three out of our top five recommended fests this month.

The man who can't keep a straight face in a picture is playing Pacific Fest this weekend in Newport and pushing that bass heavy house, techno and nu disco which he also profiles on his very well known blog Gotta Dance Dirty. We caught up with BONES, born Trevor Moffitt, last weekend at Splash House in Palm Springs to find out how he got to where he is today and where he's going.

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Benjamin Booker: A Look Inside His Old Soul

Image courtesy of management.
Singer and guitarist Benjamin Booker's signature 'Tent City Rivival' sound is what hipsters play to their children instead of lullabies. Booker's gravelly voice evokes a chipper Tom Waits with the timeless vocal simplicity of Bruce Springsteen (had The Boss been raised on the Bayou, not Long Branch). So you could imagine our surprise when a soft-spoken voice greeted us from New Orleans, prior to our phone interview.

Tampa, Florida-native Booker fell in love with New Orleans while working for Americorps' Hands On New Orleans program. The demo he recorded there on a shoestring budget, intended only for friends, landed in the right hands on the Internet. Now, Booker is opening for Jack White prior to even releasing a proper studio album.

Benjamin Booker will be performing on August 21 at The Echo and August 24 at FYF. His debut, self-titled album, Benjamin Booker drops August 19. We spoke with the soulful 25-year-old to discuss his red-hot career and the Plan B he'll never have to follow.

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Meet Crown, Your New Favorite SoCal Rapper

Categories: interview

Photo provided by management.
Crown's on a mission to spread positivity and gratitude with All Rise, his debut album that transforms hip-hop into something for everyone.

While his previous work focused on beats and lyrics, Crown now draws energy through a live band. He credits his new style with having "different ideas and different sounds, with a much more positive message".

Crown's vocals evoke the confident, enunciated style of Jay Z, offset by humble originality and relatable lyrical references. Instead of rapping about bottles and bitches, Crown gives thanks to U.S. troops and encourages philanthropy in his verses.

The positive messages are subtle, as to not suck the fun out of rap music. Crown exhibits a sense of loyalty, not sanctity: there's a track titled 'Fukkit', after all.

The first track, "All Hail Now," sets the tone as a larger-than-life, Big Apple anthem; "Roam," a piano-accentuated, summer song with a beachy chorus follows. The upbeat tempo and catchy hooks of tracks like "Quicksand" and "Turnaround" echo the energy of Motown through the eyes of 90s acts like Beck and Fatboy Slim. (You'll be surprised at what this 90s music aficionado admitted was on his iPod).

Here's what the artist had to say about his time serving in the military, opening for Lil' Kim, and his goal to avoid the stigma of being a "bling bling, I-rule-it-all" hip hop artist.

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Why Joe Perry of Aerosmith Never Gets Tired of Playing "Walk This Way"

Categories: interview

Ross Halfin
For the better part of the last decade, Aerosmith have stayed in the news. If not necessarily for their music, then certainly for their consistent touring and ability to stay in the news. Fortunately for Southern Californians, by the time Aerosmith hits the stage in Inglewood on Wednesday night, they should be rounding into form sonically. Though they've stuck to the same set list they ended their European tour with, Joe Perry says there's wiggle room for the band to mix things up. We caught up with the legendary guitarist during some time off in Chicago where we heard about the events that allowed for Slash to open for them, their future plans, and the story behind his upcoming autobiography.

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The Brevet Typifies the Times with Home Grown Americana

Press Photo of The Brevet
Every era generates at least one type of musician. The 50's created rock & rollers; the 60's spawned psychedelic groups; and the 70's yielded hard rockers, punks, etc. In recent years, the musical world has seen the dawn of a new model -- one that is not so much rooted in musicality as it is rooted in enterprise. With the convenience and availability of modern recording tools, and with the opportunities for self-promotion and networking that the Internet provides, all it takes for musicians to become players is the passion to compose, record, and promote their own melodies. Becoming a superstar is not the stated goal of Aric Damm of the Irvine-based group The Brevet; he pursues the noble goal of creating music meant to comfort and give strength to people suffering from life's trials. The fact that his self-produced music has caught the ears of Music Supervisors, who have seen fit to include it in various television programs, is a bonus. See him and his band play the House of Blues Anaheim this Saturday along with Lowly Spects, Yukon Gold, My Double My Brother, and Ashlee Morton.

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Paul Stanley Says Face the Music is the Most Honest KISS Autobiography Ever Written

Categories: interview

Christopher Victorio
For KISS founding member Paul Stanley, living the past four decades in the spotlight has been the easy part. His autobiography, Face The Music, is different than many of the rock bios that populate the marketplace. Born Stanley Eisen, the singer/rhythm guitarist reveals his difficult upbringing in New York City and the traumatizing affects of being born with one ear, along with a dysfunctional, unsupportive family. Add to that being called "Stanley the one-eared monster" by the neighborhood children, the rocker was engulfed by insecurities even as his band was selling out stadiums across the globe.

Stanley's book completes the cycle of every original member of KISS penning his own take of what happened during the iconic outfit's formative years, which at this point, is Rashomon-esque. But Stanley's book traces his personal ups-and-downs even as the chaos that encompassed KISS swirled around him and the band hit peaks and valleys along the way. We caught up with the Arena Football team owning rock star shortly before his induction in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame to hear about his book, his insight on the band's history and what it feels like to finally be accepted by the rock elite.

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Tomorrows Bad Seeds Find New Meaning in LIFE

Categories: interview

Courtesy of LIFE Management
Hermosa Beach-based Tomorrows Bad Seeds is on hiatis. Original members Moi J. Quinn (lead vocals), Matthew McEwan (guitar/keyboards), and Sean Chapman (guitar) have a new focus: LIFE.

"Tomorrows Bad Seeds is not broken up," Chapman explained during a recent phone interview. "LIFE is the product of the growth."

Although the undertones of beachy, California reggae/punk/ska/surf-rock synonymous with TBS are still present in LIFE's debut single, "R U D W N ?", Chapman makes one thing clear: he does not want LIFE to be labeled a reggae-rock band. LIFE has a 'global' sound, he explains. Maybe Chapman shares our belief that Southern California is the center of the universe?

LIFE charges ahead where The Dirty Heads were afraid to go (or recently abandoned). LIFE's debut EP creates an energetic, larger-than... LIFE sound that usurps their peers and recent predecessors by incorporating a wider range of sounds. One thing making all of the difference: Moi's vocals which channel the aggression of the punk scene, yet carry the smoothness of Bruno Mars.

You can join LIFE at their debut EP release party and performance at The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, tonight, June 18, 2014.

We spoke with guitarist Sean Chapman to discuss their fresh start and the amount of trust bestowed on TBS's loyal fan base, acquired from nearly 10 years of touring, to ride this new wave of LIFE.

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