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Exciting News!!!

March 11, 2013

Just to share with you all, I have just bought the domain name for this site.

So from now on, I am http://www.musicformygeneration.com!!

I think this makes me sound so much more professional, this is a big new step on the way to making this a paid career for me!

Very happy!

Abbie x

Q&A: Vince Lupo – Charlie Watts in The Ultimate Stones

February 7, 2013

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Vince Lupo (now that is a rock star name if I ever heard one!) recreates Charlie Watts in The Ultimate Stones, a Rolling Stones tribute act based in Anaheim, California. For those of you who are USA based and can access AXS TV, starting on March 11th, make sure you watch ‘The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands’ a new series where The Ultimate Stones were amongst the first acts to be chosen, something Vince and the band are very excited about.

I have been speaking to Vince over the last few weeks to find out just how cool you have to be, and what it takes to be in a Rolling Stones tribute band, especially now they appear to be making a massive comeback and rumoured to be headlining many festivals this summer.

Did you do anything special for the Rolling Stones 50th anniversary?

Yes, we actually have done some shows where we perform songs from across all the
decades. Charlie’s first gig was January 2013, so the Stones actually consider that the
50th anniversary. We’ll continue the theme throughout 2013 as well and probably beyond.

Has interest in your act increased since the band’s comeback and the release of Grrr! ?

A bit more, to be certain. We’re about to embark on a new leg of our journey. In a way,
2013 is a turning point year in our relatively short band career. We will have a one hour
concert shot for a new cable station called AXS TV (USA) that will be available in
approximately 28 million homes. I’d imagine there will be a positive impact from that.

Where do you think the Stones are heading?

The Stones are headed to the stage – again! They have no plans to slow down at any time
soon, which is why the current anniversary tour was named “50 and Counting”. It’s what
they do, perform live, and they still bring the passion and energy to each and every show.

How have you found it performing as a British act in the US?

Tribute bands of all types are in high regard now here in the US and have gained both a
good measure of respect and acceptability. Where can you go to see the real Stones for
$20US? So, British, American, whatever, it’s all good this side of The Pond.

What inspired you to be a Rolling Stones tribute act?

When you consider all the many choices, they sure have endured and withstood the test
of time. The Stones have one of the very largest fan bases throughout the world, have
some of the greatest timeless classics ever recorded, the great iconic characters in Jagger,
Richards, Watts and Woods, and the riffs. Those beautiful riffs. What’s not to like about
the World’s Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band? They’re still lots of fun.

How did you guys get started?

Our original Keith, no longer with the band, placed an ad in a local paper and initially
found our bassist followed two months later by our drummer, yours truly. From there, it
mushroomed. Along the way there were times when we’d never think that we’d get it off
the ground, roughly nine months from inception to first gig! But it was worth the struggle
in the end. It’s still the beginning, in a way. Once we realized we all resembled the five
core Stones, we went all out and created the current large Stones band version, ala the
Martin Scorsese concert movie “Shine A Light”.

What’s the most memorable gig you’ve played?

New year’s Eve, 2010-11, Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas. Approximately 30,000
people at the outdoor venue. However, what makes it most memorable were the
conditions. Outdoors. 28 degrees Fahrenheit at show time with 30 MPH gusts of wind.
Not breeze – wind! To say that we were cold would be a gross understatement.

What’s the biggest gig you’ve ever played?

That Vegas show was certainly one of the largest. The biggest in terms of importance
was this past October. We were asked to perform for a major Los Angeles radio station’s
40th Anniversary celebration – K-EARTH 101. Besides being right there in Hollywood at
the unbelievable Gibson amphitheater, a new crew from FOX TV was there to film the
bands and do a report. Turned out it wasn’t a local piece but a national one emanating
from New York and they chose us, as the Rolling Stones, to anchor the piece! An even
bigger one, that TV show, is coming.

Why the Rolling Stones?

For all the right reasons. So many people love the Stones, their music remains a
soundtrack to our lives, and we’ve painstakingly reproduced their passionate, energetic
shows. Why not the Stones?

What sort of music do you like to listen to in your spare time?

Really, a little of everything from The Beatles to Beethoven, Queen and Bowie to
Mozart.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Still doing this. It’s too much fun and too rewarding in many ways to stop.

Who are your other musical inspirations?

We’ve all picked up stuff throughout the years from jazz to funk to Motown to big band
to classic rock and even country. You are the accumulation of all you’ve ever been
exposed to.

If you had to pick a favourite Rolling Stones single and album, what are they and why?

Good one. Honestly, there are so many but I think that the Mick Taylor years seemed to
be the best for creativity but it’s hard to single one out. That’s not a cop out, it’s the truth.
With around 490 songs in their catalogue, you can see how tough it is to pick just one.

Have you been to see anyone live that you’d like to tell us about?

Too many to mention, really. Other than the Stones some great ones were the Who,
Traffic, Green Day, Frank Zappa, The Kinks, and so on.

Do you think Rolling Stones’ music is still relevant today?

Absolutely! Ever get one of those songs stuck in your head as you are trying to sleep?
But seriously, their music in continuously used in TV commercials and movies, their
faces are everywhere, their names and music are referenced all the time. You can barely
flip through the TV dial without hearing something Stones! That said, their music is
classic. We do many all ages shows and are constantly amazed that people in their teens
and twenties not only come out but know the lyrics to the songs. It’s amazing. Relevant?
You bet!

Which of Rolling Stones music would you recommend to someone who had never
listened to them before?

Ah! Get “Grrrr!” It’s a greatest hits collection of 50 tracks representing the 50 years of
their existence. That should pretty much touch on everything you’d need to know. Then
go backward and listen to all of the following albums: Sticky Fingers, Let It Bleed, Exile
On Main Street and Beggar’s Banquet. You won’t be disappointed.

As a child what music were you brought up with and is this something you’ve tried to pass on yourself?

Big Band was played a lot in my house so I was greatly influenced by films with Gene
Krupa in them. Musical theater, too, especially West Side Story – ground breaking. The
Ultimate Stones approaches performances as musical theater. We do the hair and
makeup, the moves and mannerisms, the note for note perfections of the recording, the
duets and various solos. Yes, we’re very much musical theater, so that theme is actively
being passed down.

What sets you apart from other Rolling Stones tribute acts?

We’re nit pickers in every sense. The instruments played are all throwbacks including
that iconic Gretsch drum kit and the 5 string Telecaster. We are a larger band; not your
typical Stones five or six piece group. Most assume that we’re the smaller variety and are
surprised by our size. As soon as the first few tunes are performed, you can literally see
how the crowd ‘gets’ what we’re about. Think Rolling Stones TODAY with their 14 piece
band. Sax and keyboard parts are played by the real instruments, not by guitar. The show
is fully choreographed, as it needs to be. We also do not use any backing tracks of any
kind. Let’s just say that we don’t “cheat” to fill in the sound, especially the vocals. It’s all
right there as a feast for the eyes and ears.

You can find out more about Vince and the band here, and as mentioned before, don’t forget to tune in to AXS TV on March 11th for ‘The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands’!

From one David Bowie to another.

January 22, 2013

ImageA little while ago I interviewed Nick Butcher, a David Bowie tribute act from the UK, an article which was very popular. So when the real Bowie released his new track this year, I thought to myself, who better to critique and give an opinion on Bowie’s work than Nick?

So here is David… on David.

Where are we now?

“So for nearly ten years Bowie has remained in the wilderness. Rumours of retirement and poor health were being stated as reasons for his apparent inactivity.
That was until the morning of his 66th birthday on 8th Jan 2013 when a new single was released with a new album to follow in March.
I must admit that I have not down loaded the single as I am an album man myself, so I will be ordering my copy as soon as it is available.
I have however listened to the single a number of times and am happy to offer my thoughts for Abbie’s blog which are as follows…

My first reaction on hearing the single was that Bowie’s voice seemed to have changed considerably, now sounding week and fragile. Since reading comments from the producer Tony Visconti stating that Bowie purposely sang like this, I feel a little relieved and perhaps not that surprised either as Bowie has often altered his voice to suit his work over the years.
Interestingly Visconti points out that the rest of the album is nothing like ‘where Are we now? and that Bowie’s voice is in fact still very strong.

I must be honest and say that I think for Bowie the single is quite week. I am sure it is a song that will grow on me the more I hear it but as a first single myself and apparently Tony Visconti agrees that it is not that strong. It doesn’t grab you on first hearing and is perhaps more than a little over reflective and melancholy.Image

On the plus side the song is very well produced. It is smooth sounding and there is a touch of class to it musically that is often sadly missing from recordings these days.

The intro reminds me a little of ‘Absolute beginners’ which I understand was the last time Bowie had a top ten hit, which I am sure is simply coincidental. After that promising start the song then drops off somewhat and is quite sparse sounding with the vocals very much at the front of the mix. The chorus also I find simplistic in the fact that the lyrical content during the verses is quite clever and demands you listen and attempt to analyse so that the chorus then doesn’t quite feel like it fits alongside.

There are no clever guitar solo’s or long weaving Mike Garson keyboards on this track, but as the song builds there is a nice musical piece near the end which reminds you perhaps of something ‘Coldplay’ might do and I feel the song certainly ends stronger than it starts.
Bowie has obviously not tried anything new or adventurous on ‘where are we now’? and going on what I can hear on the single and what Tony Visconti has said has largely opted to use the same musicians he was recording and touring with before his Houdini act.

As a Bowie tribute I Imagine most people would expect me to pour adorning praise on any new material from Bowie but as I have said before I am more an admirer than fan.
At 66 Bowie has took a risk coming back with new material. If the reaction was a poor one you run the chance that some shine maybe taken off of the legend in some way, but so far so good.

I am looking forward to the album and the promise of ‘rock tracks’ which Visconti has hinted at !?
Little wonder then that ‘David Bowie’ still has the power to surprise and captivate an audience even in a world where little surprises us anymore…Long may he continue.”

Q&A: Gordon Elvis – Elvis Presley tribute act.

January 20, 2013

thats the way it wasGordon Elvis is officially Europe’s Best Elvis Presley tribute act, having been crowned so at the European Championships in Birmingham UK in 2013. Having relocated to the UK at the age of 25, Gordon Elvis is certainly making an impressive international name for himself.

I spoke to him to find out a little more about the man behind The King.

How did you get started?

One day I went to a pub and there was karaoke on, so I went and sang a few Elvis songs. There was a guy by the name of Charlie Frendo who said that I had a good voice and look great so he told me that I should start doing at tribute to Elvis Presley and I really liked the idea. He started booking me some gigs and now here I am and it’s just great so I would like to thank my good friend Charlie for his help and support.

What’s the most memorable gig you’ve played?

When I performed in Memphis, Tennessee,  I’d never been before so it was all new to me. Nice people and big Elvis fans. I will never forget that moment when I stepped on stage.

What’s the biggest gig you’ve ever played?

It was in a theatre in the West Midlands in the UK, I had about 450 people. It’s a great feeling when you have loads of support from the fans.

Why Elvis?

My parents are both Elvis fans so at home it was always Elvis music from a young age. I’ve watched his films and read books about him so I’ve learned a lot about him, like when he used to give a lot of money to charity.

Elvis was such a nice man and loved all his fans.

In my opinion, he is bigger than life and guys like me keeps his name and legacy alive because of the shows and songs we do. I’m only 29 years old so unfortunately I wasn’t here when Elvis was alive.

Elvis changed music forever and also the costumes he used to wear on stage were exciting so he was different then other entertainers and i think that’s why there are so many people impersonating him. I call myself Elvis Tribute Artist then impersonator I prefer it and it sounds better.

What sort of music do you like to listen to in your spare time?

I listen to everything because I love music especially ballads but I listen to Elvis everyday because I’m a huge Elvis fan. He sang country, rock n roll, Gospel, Ballads etc etc so I never get bored of him.560403_454577634586744_1358097048_n

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Doing big theatre shows and performances around the world. I’m a different person when I’m on stage so as long as I keep singing that’s great for me, then I leave everything else to God.

Who are your other musical inspirations?

After Elvis I really like Roy Orbison, again that’s what I was brought up listening to. I use to go to night clubs before I started doing my tribute but the music is totally different.

If you had to pick a favourite Elvis single and album, what are they and why?

The sound of your cry, Do you know who I am, We can make the morning.

They are there ballads, when you here them you can tell that Elvis is singing from his heart and soul also about his life. The three songs have a great message in them, Elvis was too soft and couldn’t say no to anyone so he recorded these songs instead as a message to the people that don’t know his life and what he was going through. My favourite Album is Promise Land but it changes every month.

Have you been to see anyone live that you’d like to tell us about?

No I’ve never seen anyone live, not really sure why.

Do you think Elvis’ music is still relevant today?

Yes I think so, there are about 80 thousand Elvis impersonators around the world.

Today everyone knows who Elvis is, even children aged 5 years old. I don’t think we will see another artist like him. If you think about it, 35 years after his death, Elvis still enjoys massive popularity, even with generations who don’t even remember him alive.

Which of Elvis’ music would you recommend to someone who had never listened to them before?

I think songs like Pieces of my life, Mary in the morning and Love coming down.

Great 3 ballads songs and a lot of strong lyrics in them.

3455_10151321441866329_54151866_nAs a child what music were you brought up with and is this something you’ve tried to pass on yourself?

I was only three years old. The song was Money Honey it’s from 1956. I remember I use to sing with the record and dance all day so my love for Elvis started from a young age. I was brought up listening to 50’s, 60’s songs like Tom Jones and Roy Orbison but Elvis stood out from them and that’s how I became an Elvis fan.

What sets you apart from other Elvis tribute acts?

That’s a tricky question because everyone does his best. I don’t see myself different from others. Although I’ve won a lot of awards like Images of The King in Memphis Tennessee and the European Championships in Birmingham I’m still the same person and I will never change that. I respect all the Elvis tributes as they are keeping his memory alive. When you’re in a contest then that’s a different story because the only thing that sets me apart from other ETA’s is that I study how Elvis moves as well as sings.

I like to thank all my fans and Elvis’s fans for all their support, without them I wouldn’t do what I’m doing or be where I am today.

 

Calling all tribute bands!

January 20, 2013

viewI am always looking to extend on my writing and interview skills and I have recently found that interviewing tribute acts has been the perfect niche for me.

Think of it as a win/win situation. I get more practice and insight into the world of tribute acts and get to share it with all my lovely readers, and you will get some free promotion!

 

You can see some of my previous interviews here: https://musicformygeneration.wordpress.com/category/qa/

So if you’re interested (and I hope you are) or if you know someone who might be, please contact me at:

musicformygeneration@gmail.com

Thanks!

Abbie

Bowie’s Back! (And he’s as good as ever!)

January 20, 2013

bowie_adpAs I’m sure you’re all aware, I am a great fan of David Bowie’s. And a little late off the mark, I know but I just wanted to share with you my thoughts on his new work. ‘Where Are We Now?’ is the first single off his upcoming 24th studio album The Next Day which is due for release in early March.

Now, I’ve never been too crazy about Bowie’s ballads in the past, I’ve always much preferred his up-tempo, rocky numbers. Having said this, there is something hauntingly sombre and enthralling about his latest single and I am loving every second of it. It tells the story of when David Bowie was living in Berlin in the 1970’s. The lyrics, I think, are supposed to represent an older person (i.e. Bowie) reminiscing and pondering over times gone by and times that were wasted, something I think people of any age could relate to, even if Bowie’s particular subject of his time in Berlin doesn’t apply to them.

The song has a very recognisable Bowie trademark sound, the almost whining guitars and slow beats which I have always enjoyed about his work. But what gets me most excited about his new music is the possibility of a tour, something which I thought I would never see in my lifetime certainly… so let’s all keep our eyes peeled and our ears open for when his album drops in March, because if this is the standard that has been set, then I cannot wait for what’s to come on his new album.

My Top 5: Michael Jackson songs.

January 20, 2013

Black-or-White-michael-jackson-7127784-455-600Moving away slightly from my typical rock genre artists, I want to explore my love for other artists from generations gone by, starting with the legend that was Michael Jackson.

In recent years, Jackson’s music has been unfortunately overshadowed by the controversy over his death and the several court cases he attended in his later life involving his relationships with children. However I think it is important to also remember him by his music and the extraordinary talent that he was gifted with.

Also, 2012 saw the 25th anniversary of the release of Bad, one of the most iconic albums of all time.

So without further ado, here are my top 5 Michael Jackson songs. How do they compare to your favourite Jackson songs?

1. They Don’t Care About Us (1996)

This track for me is one of the all time greats of Michael’s. Although towards the end of his musical career, it is still both strong and musically sound. I love the drum beat in this song, it’s hard not to tap along with your feet, something which I’m sure he considered when composing. It has strong lyrics, with my favourite being “Don’t you black or white me” a real personal outburst by Jackson at critics who were at that time constantly discussing his skin pigmentation and whether it was surgical or as Jackson insisted, of natural causes and a real social comment at the continuing issue of racism in the world, even in the 1990’s.

 

2. Leave Me Alone (1989)

Taken from the 1987 smash hit album Bad, Leave Me Alone was released in 1989 as the ninth single. It is a song which Michael directly aimed at the press. Naturally, being such a worldwide infamous icon will draw pretty much constant media attention which Michael Jackson had to deal with from a young age, however Leave Me Alone was specifically regarding to many negative and false stories that appeared in newspapers about him following his almost unstoppable Thriller success in 1986. The keyboard riff throughout this track is just sublime and works in great parallel to Jackson’s vocals. The music video was the recipient of a Grammy Award in 1990 for Best Short Form Music Video. Despite the success of the single, the song never appeared on any of Jackson’s world concert tours.

 

3. Dirty Diana (1988)

As the fifth single of the Bad album, I find this particular single so powerful. The bass, the guitar riffs and the loud, smacking, angry percussion combined with Jackson’s angered and seemingly frustrated vocals are just so emotive and incredible.  There were many theories at the time of the song’s release as to who Diana was, with initial fingers being pointed at Michael’s good friend Diana Ross, which he vehemently denied. He also later confirmed that the song was not about Diana, Princess of Wales although he did say that she had personally told him that it was one of her favourite songs of his. My parents were lucky enough to see Michael Jackson in concert in the late 80’s at Wembley Stadium in London whilst also in the presence of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. My Dad always remembers thinking at the time that Michael Jackson wouldn’t play Dirty Diana because of the royal attendees but the crowd went wild when he did!

 

4. Man In The Mirror (1988)

I think Man In The Mirror is in my mind, one of the most lyrically powerful songs ever written. Even just the lyrics “I’m starting with the man in the mirror” are just so clever. Calling on people to begin helping others by starting with yourself. The gospel choir at the end of the song are brilliant, making the song something people can sing along to easily, almost anthem-like. I also love the video, where Michael Jackson only appears momentarily at the end, and the rest of the video compiling of notable historic events and notable people including John F. Kennedy, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Yoko Ono,  Mahatma Gandhi and Rosa Parks.

 

5. Black Or White (1991)

Black Or White is undoubtedly my favourite Michael Jackson song. It has so many different changing elements and sections to it, from late 80s/early 90s hip-hop and rap, to glam rock, to pop it encompasses everything that was good about music in that era and has a real worldly feel to it which is brilliantly captured in the music video. It sends out a strong philanthropic message that colour shouldn’t  define who somebody is. Typical to Michael’s work, Black Or White has a strong rhythm and guitar piece making it so easy and enjoyable to listen and dance to. Due to it’s strong anti-racism theme and it’s catchy tune, it’s no real surprise that Black Or White not only has stood the test of time, but still sounds as fresh today as it did over 20 years ago!