Life Lessons From Dr. John, In Illustrated Form

Categories: quotes

Jena Ardell

With six Grammys and more than 30 studio albums under his belt, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Mac Rebennack (AKA: Dr. John) is a piece of N'awlins history.

"After I signed with Atlantic in '67, I created my Dr. John persona based on an old New Orleans spiritual leader," Rebennack recently told The Wall Street Journal. "I added the 'Night Tripper' to the name because I had always stayed up all night."

Rebennack's past wasn't always grooves and gumbo: Rebennack served two years in prison, after a decades-long battle with heroin and criminal activity that led to his arrest. He has been clean and sober for 25 years.

In 2012, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, approached Rebennack to record an album (Locked Down). Rebennack called the collaboration "a real group manoeuvre", which left him "feel[ing] good about the music".

Rebennack is back on tour after he "wuz bitten by a flu bug" earlier this month, which forced him to cancel a handful of shows. (Thank goodness it wasn't Ebola). He will be performing at UCLA December 6. Ske-Dat-De-Dat, Rebennack's upcoming album, drops August 19.

Here are a few life lessons from the Boogie Woogie Badass from the Bayou:

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Life According To Nicki Minaj, In Illustrated Form

Categories: quotes, say what?

Jena Ardell
Nicki Minaj is throwing in the towel, errr, wig. She has decided the most shocking thing to do is: stop trying to be so shocking.

Minaj debuted the much-anticipated single "Anaconda" from her forthcoming album The Pink Print this week. One person who's not a fan: Lil Kim. The veteran rapper posted a photo on Instagram of her driver's license with Minaj's face superimposed over her own, with the words "Be careful what you wish for... #HardCoreMixtapeUpNext #TheQueenIsBack #QueenBee". Minaj's fans bombarded the photo's comment section with hateful jabs on par with words overheard during a prepubescent girl fight.

If you haven't already guessed, Minaj's "Anaconda" shamelessly samples the shit out of Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back." Minaj's verses allude to past sexual exploits and the outro hates on skinny chicks:

"Yeah! This one is for my bitches with a fat ass in the f---ing club
I said, where my fat ass big bitches in the club?
F--- the skinny bitches! F--- the skinny bitches in the club!
I wanna see all the big fat ass bitches in the muthaf---in' club
F--- you if you skinny bitches, what?! Kyuh."

Well, that's nice.

Here's what Minaj had to say about Rihanna, Madonna, and explanations of phrases she's coined. Quotation above via

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Lana Del Rey Contemplates Happiness, In Illustrated Form

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Jena Ardell

Lana Del Rey debuted her music video for "Ultraviolence" on Noisey this week. The video features Del Rey as a makeshift bride and an ambiguous male whose fingers she sucks. Del Rey sucking on someone's finger didn't surprise us; what surprised us most was Del Rey eating an orange because orange is a happy color and this clashes with her troubled rebel soul, which we imagine is full of cigarette-colored tar and roses painted black. The vintage ambiance of the video echoes the pre-fame style of Del Rey's older music videos, which she shot and edited herself.

The songstress stirred the internet when she professed, "I wish I was dead already" in an interview with The Guardian in June. Here's what Little Miss Old Hollywood Sunshine had to say about her f-ed up life, critics, and what makes her happy.

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David Byrne Worries About Music's Future, In Illustrated Form

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Jena Ardell
If music is a form of art, are all musicians are artists? Short response: Not quite.

Some musicians have unarguably achieved higher forms of 'art' throughout their careers: David Byrne being the kingpin.

The former Talking Heads frontman dabbles in nearly every artistic genre: fine art, music, photography, writing (he contributes to The New York Times and The Guardian), theatre, film, and opera.

Bryne's artwork has been exhibited worldwide, and bike racks he's designed can be found around New York city.

It's obvious Byrne likes to surround himself with fellow creative geniuses: he had a four-year relationship with self portrait artist extraordinaire Cindy Sherman, and has collaborated with/spotlighted the lovable, eccentric musician Annie Clark, AKA: St. Vincent.

Since 2013, Byrne has been on a crusade against streaming music sites like Spotify and Pandora, who he feels are undermining artists by providing exposure, without providing worthwhile royalties.

Byrne hopes consumers will heed his warning to "stop for a moment and consider the effect these services and this technology will have, before 'selling off' all our cultural assets the way the big record companies did."

Here's what else Byrne had to say about the future of music consumption and the challenges artists face in the digital world.

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"Weird Al" Yankovic On Staying Current, In Illustrated Form

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Jena Ardell
"Weird Al" Yankovic has been the mainstream music jester for children (and adults) since the early '80s. Now, anyone and their grumpy father can create parodies and become YouTube sensations, but that isn't impeding on Weird Al's career.

Mandatory Fun, Yankovic's 14th studio album, dropped this week and according to Yankovic, it may be his final "conventional" album.

"I think I will get away from traditional, conventional albums," Yankovic told, "because I don't think it behooves me to do 12 songs before I put them out at once... I think that digital distribution just makes more sense. It makes sense for me to just put out singles or possibly EPs instead of albums. The more quickly and frequently I put albums out, the better for everybody I think."

(Gotta love a man who uses the word 'behooves').

So far, Yankovic has released three of eight new music videos:

-"Tacky," a parody of Pharrell Williams's "Happy"
-"Foil", a parody of Lorde's "Royals"
-"Word Crimes", a parody of Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines"
-Plus, a bonus video: "Sports Song", an original parody of a sporting fight song.

Here's what Weird Al had to say about staying current during the age of YouTube.

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Paul McCartney Talks Legacy and Fame, In Illustrated Form

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Jena Ardell
Sometimes it pays off to create signs and bring them to concerts. When Sir Paul McCartney was performing last week in Rochester, New York, he noticed one of his fans was standing next to her boyfriend, holding a sign that said "He won't marry me until he meets you" and the boyfriend with one that said "I have a ring. And I'm 64". Paul brought them on stage and the man serenaded his new fiancee. (You can watch the video here).

McCartney's NY stint marked the return of a two-month hiatus the former Beatle had to take due to a viral infection which left him briefly hospitalized in Tokyo in May. McCartney's illness forced him to cancel all five of his Asian concerts and to reschedule seven U.S. concerts from June to October, before resuming his 'Out There' tour in Albany. At 72 years old, he's still rockin'.

McCartney has 19 U.S. shows scheduled, including one at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, where the Beatles made their final concert appearance in 1966. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of his first appearance with the Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

Here's what the rock n' roll legend had to say about fame.

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JD McPherson Talks About Music, In Illustrated Form

Categories: quotes

Jena Ardell
If a burlesque dancer were about to perform inside a dimly-lit, mid-century modern den overlooking the Hollywood Hills in the 1950s, and needed a song to undulate her hips to, JD McPherson's 'Signs & Signifiers' would have brought all the boys to the yard.

While listening to McPherson croon blues-heavy, rockabilly ballads, it's difficult to fathom his album was recorded during this decade (or that he is a former middle school art teacher from Oklahoma).

"I think we U.S. citizens have a habit of coming up with something and then throwing it out on the wood pile pretty quickly," McPherson told "And rock'n'roll changed pretty quickly over the course of its short life. But many folks in Great Britain and Germany... have developed a pretty strong audience for those beginning sounds."

If you're still seduced by the sinuous title track from McPherson's debut album Signs & Signifiers, and mesmerized by plucky songs like "North Side Gal", "Firebug", and "Your Love", you will have new tunes to jive to in 2015--McPherson recently announced he will release his sophomore record this fall.

You can catch McPherson in Santa Ana and San Diego this fall. Tour dates and details can be found here.

Here's what McPherson had to say about music and labeling.

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Robin Thicke Talks About Love and Paula, In Illustrated Form

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Jena Ardell
Media sharks (and feminists) are in a frenzy over Robin Thicke's new ethereal, breakup biopic "Get Her Back." We think Thicke is a creep, sure, but not a stalker (as some bloggers labeled him after watching the music video).

The video features a battered and lovesick Thicke, clinging to the memory of his estranged wife Paula--or at least a woman who resembles Paula. We're assuming the negative Pop-up-Video style text messages which appear throughout the video aren't helping Thicke's image.

"...Romanticizing the creepy and potentially harassing efforts of a man obsessed with this ex sends a dangerous message to young men about what 'romance' really is," Jessica Valenti posted on "Hint: it has nothing to do with haranguing and publicly shaming us back into a relationship. ... the video sends a message that Thicke won't take no for an answer. And that's not romantic--it's just downright scary."

Spoiler alert: We think Paula is in on the ruse. Otherwise, she could have some sort of libel case.

We applaud Thicke for having the cojones to name the album Paula, after his muse. We all know Coldplay's Ghost Stories should have just been named Gwyneth.

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Beyonce Insight and Empowerment, In Illustrated Form

Categories: quotes

Jena Ardell

There's no real news circling around Beyonce (sans an upcoming 10-episode HBO miniseries dubbed BeyonceX10), but that doesn't prevent other people from using her namesake to make headlines.

Exhibit A: With the help of three pairs of black stiletto boots and Beyonce hits, French dancer/choreographer Yanis Marshall created a viral video of his last rehearsal for the final live show of Britain's Got Talent with fellow dancers Dancers Arnaud Boursain and Mehdi Mamine.

Exhibit B: In a recent Life & Style report, former employees of Beyonce and Kim Kardashian divulged what it was like to work for the divas. According to the magazine's report, Beyonce employs a half-dozen nannies to care for Blue Ivy.

Exhibit C: During Bravo's Watch What Happens Live, 50 Cent divulged some truths about being confronted by Beyonce. When asked who is the most 'overrated hip hop star of all time', 50 Cent quickly named Bey's hubby Jay-Z. Ouch.

Despite it all, Beyonce remains untouchable, unstoppable and highly quotable. Here's what the artist formerly self-monikered 'Sasha Fierce' (remember that weirdness?) had to say about empowerment and her career. Quotation above via

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Phantogram Talks About Songwriting, In Illustrated Form

Categories: quotes

Jena Ardell.

The only thing more electric than the hypnotic beats from Phantogram is the working relationship between bandmates Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter. The pair, who have known each other since junior high, write and record in a remote barn in upstate New York dubbed Harmony Lodge.

"We're just this great duo that works really well together," Carter told "We have this kind of psychic energy when we work and it's easy to read each other. We have a very similar vision in what we do."

"We go through the same stuff, everything, because we're super close," Barthel explained during an interview for "We have the same people in our lives and we have the same experiences in our lives and the same sorrows and the same joys, so it's not like 'oh, this is my song' or 'this is your song.' Every single song is ours."

You can spend Independence Day with Phantogram, Semi Precious Weapons, Echosmith, Wild Cub and Brick + Mortar at Grand Park in Downtown LA, during ALT 98.7 KYSR's ALTimate Block Party... for FREE. The festivities begin at 1 PM, fireworks at 9 PM.

Here's what the duo had to say about song writing and stage presence.

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