Tag Archives: Liverpool Echo

FOR THE LIVERPOOL ECHO Meet The Thespians Liverpool’s…

FOR THE LIVERPOOL ECHO

Meet The Thespians, Liverpool’s budding punk quartet, and my newest musical obsession.

With Paul Thespian as the helm and frontman, the band boasts three other members, with the lovely Jess Branney on guitar, Danny Hall on drums and Phill Gornall on bass.

I caught up with them for a video interview after they’d played an acoustic set for BBC Radio, to talk about what it’s like to be an indie Liverpool band.

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Ex-Paramore Guitarist Josh Farro announces new band

FOR THE LIVERPOOL ECHO MUSIC BLOG

After one month of delving into my newest musical obsession, I read the shocking news that two of that Paramore‘s original band mates were calling it quits. For many people including myself, it was a disappointing blow to hear that the Tennessee rock outfit was moving on from their original artistic formula, but fortunately, their feisty attitude and revolutionary fervour is not entirely dissolving.

In an interview with MTV last Wednesday, ex-Paramore guitarist Josh Farro announced that he’s formed another group. His new band, Novel American, is a bit of a departure from the raucous vivacity of Paramore—leading more along the lines of the sounds of Jimmy Eat World, Radiohead and Sigur Ros with an emphasis on sprawling rock instrumentalisation.

Comprised of members Van Beasley, Tyler Ward and Ryan Clark, formerly of Nashville act Cecil Adora, Novel American is a determined movement away from Paramore and is shaping up to be a promising musical effort. Nothing has been announced by Zac, Josh’s brother, former Paramore drummer who also left in December 2010.

According to Paramore vocalist Hayley Williams, the reason for the split is a complex one. Many rumours erupted online insinuating that Williams had essentially taken over the band. In an interview earlier this month, Williams noted that her relationship with Farro had been an emotionally strained one. “It was really hard, because we were friends, and then going through a break-up and going through any kind of tension as a band really affected all the lyrics. There are a lot of specifics that I pulled from my experience with just feeling like my face was underneath a boot all the time,” she told OK Magazine.

For Farro, the lines of resentment went much further than that, with a detailed and angry blog post explaining how Williams changed the meaning of their music from nearly the very start of their career, and how Paramore evolved over seven years into something he no longer felt connected to. He wrote “[Zac and I] fought her about how her lyrics misrepresented our band and what we stood for, but in the end she got her way. Instead of fighting her any longer, we decided to just roll over and let it go.”

Farro is focusing all of his attention on Novel American now.

“I think we just disagree on a lot of things, and that’s OK,” he told MTV. “I just wish them the best in the future, and I really don’t want to make it this huge drama thing, because then it becomes this huge war, and I don’t want to dwell on that.”

TIMELINE: DR DRE

FOR THE LIVERPOOL ECHO MUSIC BLOG

Dr. Dre is the avatar of counterculture. To utter his name is to equate it with notoriety, hedonism and a blatant disrespect for authority. Dr. Dre, also known as André Romelle Young, is a timeless rap icon, and the pioneer at the centre of a culture whose humble roots stemmed from the daring slogan “F*ck tha police.” The 45-year-old American musician, record producer, actor and CEO has not only made a name for himself, but has overseen other musicians like Eminem, 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg rise to international superstardom and critical acclaim. It would be careless to neglect that Dre embodies the American dream—still reflective of his days of hustling in the streets of Compton—to owning and operating a major entertainment company at the very top of a cutthroat industry. At the same time, the legend’s reputation is firmly attached to the idea of motherhood and how he ushered the art of an oppressed community and planted it firmly into mainstream culture. With no shortage of success, the anticipation of his third and final album, Detox, has been garnering momentum of Chinese Democracy proportion. Slated to be released this year by his homegrown Aftermath Entertainment, perhaps Dre’s prophesy in 1999 to “give me one more platinum plaque and f*ck rap/ You can have it back” will be realized.

N.W.A and The Chronic (1986-1995)

Dre started a collaboration project with rapper Ice Cube, whom he met in 1986. The duo went on to produce an album through Ruthless Records, which was owned and managed by local artist Eazy-E. Their debut album Straight Outta Compton immediately sparked controversy with their politically charged lyrics, confessions of a crime-ridden lifestyle, and anti-establishment tendencies. Despite the US Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning letter to Ruthless, concerning their lyrics and depictions of a gangster-run streets, Dr. Dre continued to elaborate on the dark social issues that plagued himself and those around him.

Dre’s life was further complicated on the family front. At the age of 17 he had fathered his first child with Cassandra Greene. In 1990, he sued by his ex-girlfriend, Jenita Porter, the mother of his second son, Andre Young Jr. Porter was demanding $5,000 a month for child care.

After a dispute with Eazy-E, Dr. Dre left N.W.A. to start a solo career. In 1992 he released his debut, The Chronic, by Death Row Records. The album was an instant success, popularizing the G-funk genre and establishing it as the definitive sound of the early ’90s. The following year, Dre won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance, and was ranked as the eight best-selling artist by Billboard.

Aftermath, 2001 and the turning point (1996-2001)

After abandoning Death Row Records halfway through a record contract, Dre formed Aftermath Entertainment in 1996. Not only was it a good move on account of having more autonomy, but Death Row suffered greatly the death of 2Pac and poor sales the following year. Dre was at a turning point in his career, caught between dealing with corruption from other record labels, and taking a stand about what kind of business he wanted to be a part of.

Jim Iovine, the head of Interscope Records, insisted that Dre sign a young rapper from Detroit who was showing great promise. In 1999, Dre signed Eminem to Aftermath and produced The Slim Shady LP, which sold more than a quarter million copies in its first week.

With a big success behind Aftermath, Dre released his second solo album, 2001, which lead to a West Coast hip-hop tour in 2000 featuring artists Ice Cube, Eminem, Proof, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Kurupt, Westside Connection, Angels, Devin The Dude, Truth Hurts and Xzibit, to name a few.

Detox, and the future (2002-present)

Dre went on to star in some films and become more involved on the entrepreneurial front, particularly with his high-end headphones (which I’m afraid to say, aren’t as good as they look). His third and final album was originally slated to be released in 2005, yet, as Josiah Hughes very eloquently explained, “Dre has been leading us down a rabbit hole of empty promises and promotional vanity items like headphones and cognac without actually delivering the goods.” At the same time though, Dre’s life hasn’t exactly been perfect lately. In August 2008, his second youngest son, Andre Young Jr., died of a heroine and morphine overdose. He was 20 years old.

For the last 25 years, Dre’s influence in the spheres of art and business have gathered more momentum than a freight train. It would be difficult to find an iPod or iTunes library these days that didn’t have Dre’s 2001 on it, a travesty if it didn’t have The Chronic. The world is waiting to see if Detox is going to change the course of hip-hop again.