Tag Archive | "Weezer"

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2019 Lineup Revealed!

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2019 Lineup Revealed!

The official lineup for 2019’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has been revealed! Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande will headline the legendary event, which also features Janelle Monae, The 1975, Solange, Kacey Musgraves, Weezer, Kid Cudi, Khalid and Zedd, among scores of other performers.

Coachella will be held over back-to-back weekends April 12-14 and April 19-21 and tickets are sold out. Passes are on sale Friday at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET. Visit www.coachella.com for more information!

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LOUDWIRE MUSIC FESTIVAL: Updated Artists Lineup Revealed!

LOUDWIRE MUSIC FESTIVAL: Updated Artists Lineup Revealed!


LOUDWIRE MUSIC FESTIVAL organizers have amassed a line-up comprised of some of the leading rock acts in the world for the three day, multi-stage rock event.

Headliners Linkin ParkRob Zombie and Weezer are now being joined by Theory of a Deadman, Chevelle, In This Moment and more for an updated line-up of 25-plus artists (full list below). The LOUDWIRE MUSIC FESTIVAL will debut Friday, June 26-Sunday, June 28 at Jam Ranch near Grand Junction, CO and offers concertgoers a variety of ticketing and camping options.

The full LOUDWIRE MUSIC FESTIVAL line-up is as follows: Linkin Park; Rob Zombie; Weezer; A Day To Remember; Halestorm; Theory of a Deadman; Chevelle; In This Moment; Hinder; All That Remains; Nothing More; Hoobastank; Bobaflex; The Chimpz; One – The Only Tribute to Metallica; 3 Pill Morning; The Comedown; Otherwise; Wayland; Righteous Vendetta; Scarlet & The Harlots; The Blackfires; Vajra; Menew; Splitfist; and Zam Trip.

For LOUDWIRE fans looking to stay on site at the Jam Ranch, camping scenarios include a fully immersive weekend with the festival’s on-site camping selections ranging from standard (within walking distance to the festival grounds) starting at $105 to premier (the closest camping to the festival grounds) and VIP (campgrounds for VIP ticket holders only, close to festival grounds) starting at $190. Meanwhile, weekend ticketing optionsinclude General Admission passes for $105, Reserved Seating starts at $235 and the VIP Seating & Experience packagesbegin at $420 Additional festival information, including all ticketing and camping options, can be found here. Stay connected with up-to-date information on the LOUDWIRE MUSIC FESTIVAL by following on Facebook or @LoudwireFest on TwitterCheat Tweets: @LoudwireFest announces addition of 13 bands to lineup #LoudwireFest

Produced by Townsquare Media, Inc., owners of Loudwire.com, one of the leading websites in the rockworld, the LOUDWIRE MUSIC FESTIVAL will feature some of the world’s greatest rock bands from all genres of rock–hard, classic, alternative, metal and indie – performing across three stages with the goal to create the most dynamic, interesting and fun rock music festival in the West.

About Townsquare Media:
Townsquare Media, Inc. is an integrated and diversified media and entertainment and digital marketing services company that owns and operates market leading radio stations, digital and social properties, and live events in small and mid-sized markets across the United States, delivering national scale and expertise to the communities it serves on a local level. The Company owns and operates 311 radio stations, over 325 search engine and mobile-optimized local websites, and approximately 500 live events in 66 small and mid-sized U.S. markets, making Townsquare Media the third largest owner of radio stations in the United States by number of radio stations owned. The Company supplements its local offerings with the nationwide reach of our owned, operated, and affiliated music and entertainment websites, which, on a combined basis, attracted approximately 80 million U.S. based unique visitors in September 2014, as well as certain large-scale live events. For more information, please visit www.townsquaremedia.com.

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Budweiser Made In America Festival 2014: Kanye West and Iggy Azalea

Budweiser Made In America Festival 2014: Kanye West and Iggy Azalea


Grammy Award®-winner Kanye West and Billboard chart-topping artist Iggy Azalea have been added to the 2014 Los Angeles “Budweiser Made In America” Music Festival line-up taking place at the Los Angeles Grand Park on August 30 and 31.  Kanye West will now headline both the Philadelphiaand Los Angeles “Budweiser Made In America” Music Festivals.  Kanye West and Iggy Azalea join previously announced Los Angeles headliners Imagine Dragons and John Mayer.

The “Budweiser Made In America” Music Festival also revealed today the daily line-up for the Philadelphia and Los Angeles versions for one of the country’s premier summer festivals. The “Budweiser Made In America” events will benefit United Way of Greater Los Angeles, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and United Way of Lancaster County. The two-day music festivals created by Budweiser and Live Nation will deliver must-see performances on both coasts with headliners Kanye West, Kings Of Leon, Tiësto and Pharrell in Philadelphia and Kanye West, Imagine Dragons and John Mayer in Los Angeles.  Daily line-ups for both festival locations are listed below.

Single-day tickets for both festivals will go on sale Friday, July 18 at www.livenation.com and through the Live Nation mobile app.  Single-day ticket prices are $89.50 for Philadelphia and $99.50 for Los Angeles.



Kanye West

The National, Steve Aoki

J. Cole, Chromeo, City and Colour

R3HAB, Baauer, Mayer Hawthorne

The Neighbourhood, Holy Ghost, Will Sparks

Destructo, DJ Cassidy, Cherub, Young & Sick, Kaneholler



Kings of Leon

Tiësto, Pharrell Williams

Girl Talk, Spoon, Grimes, AWOLNATION

Gareth Emery, Tommy Trash, Kongos, Danny Brown

YG, Penguin Prison (DJ Set with Live Vocals)

3Lau, Mimosa, Bleachers, Cut Snake, Bixel Boys, Vacationer




Imagine Dragons

Kendrick Lamar, Afrojack, Iggy Azalea

Sublime with Rome, Metric, Capital Cities

Gareth Emery, Schoolboy Q, Borgore


ZZ Ward, Classixx, Ab-Soul, Isaiah Rashad, Jay Rock, Cut Snake, GrandTheft



Kanye West, John Mayer

Juanes, Weezer, Rise Against

Steve Aoki, Chance the Rapper, Cypress Hill

R3HAB, Wolfgang Gartner, 12th Planet

Rita Ora, Nipsey Hussle, Terraplane Sun

Yellow Claw, Will Sparks, Scavenger Hunt, SZA, A Tribe Called Red

Be sure to check in at www.madeinamericafest.com often for the latest updates on both festivals.


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The official lineup for the highly anticipated “Budweiser Made In America Festival” has been revealed. The JAY Z curated two-day music festival that has become a staple of Labor Day Weekend, rolled out the eclectic 2014 lineup with a series of custom, 3D neon posters created by designer, Rizon Parein. New this year, the festival, will be bi-coastal – with artists performing simultaneously in both Philadelphia and Los Angeles on August 30 & 31.

Philadelphia Lineup:
Kanye West, Kings of Leon, Tiësto, The National, Steve Aoki, Pharrell Williams, J. Cole, Girl Talk, Spoon, Chromeo, City and Colour, Grimes, AWOLNATION, R3HAB, Gareth Emery, De La Soul, Baauer, Tommy Trash, Mayer Hawthorne, Kongos, 3LAU, The Neighborhood, Danny Brown, YG, Holy Ghost, Penguin Prison, Destructo, Bleachers, DJ Cassidy, Cherub, Will Sparks, Young & Sick, Vacationer, Cut Snake, Kaneholler

Los Angeles Lineup:
Imagine Dragons, John Mayer, Steve Aoki, Juanes, Afrojack, Kendrick Lamar, Rise Against, Weezer, Sublime w/ Rome, Metric, Capital Cities, Chance the Rapper, Cypress Hill, Gareth Emery, R3HAB, Schoolboy Q, Wolfgang Gartner, Borgore, DVBBS, 12th Planet, YG, Mute Math, Rita Ora, Nipsey Hussle, Dr. Dog, Terraplane Sun, ZZ Ward, Classixx, Hit-Boy, DJ Mustard, Ab-Soul, Isaiah Rashad, Jay Rock, SZA, Yellowclaw, Grits & Biscuits, Will Sparks, Cut Snake, Scavenger Hunt, A Tribe Called Red

“Budweiser Made In America” festivals will benefit United Way of Greater Los Angeles, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and United Way of Lancaster County. “Budweiser Made In America” will be the first American festival to run simultaneously on both coasts.Performances from both “Budweiser Made In America” sites will be available for fans to view with live-streaming.

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PUSHERJONES: Velvet Revolver’s Dave Kushner Discusses His New Project!

PUSHERJONES: Velvet Revolver’s Dave Kushner Discusses His New Project!

Velvet Revolver guitarist Dave Kushner has never been one to shy away from exploring new creative ground. His latest outing is no exception to that rule and blends two of his loves, music and art. One might ask, “What is PusherJones?” Simply put, it is the brainchild of Kushner and ‘The Simpsons’ Creative Director Dave Warren, PusherJones is a virtual rock band originating from Los Angeles that is backed by real life musicians. The cast of real-life musicians includes Franky Perez of Scars on Broadway on vocals, Dave Kushner of Velvet Revolver on lead guitar, Joey Castillo of Queens of the Stone Age on drums, Scott Shriner of Weezer on bass and Dave Warren on rhythm guitar. The rock supergroup–whose members have sold over 17 million records worldwide, garnered 3 Grammy Awards and 8 nominations, 2 MTV Awards and 10 MTV Award Nominations — recently released their debut single “Count Me Out” on May 1 via Hollywood Records and iTunes as part of ‘Avengers Assemble’, the soundtrack for the star-studded film ‘The Avengers’. Co-creators Kushner and Warren currently have a TV pilot for the “PusherJones” animated series and a music video in development while the band is putting the finishing touches on an as-yet-untitled 5 song EP to be released in early summer 2012. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Dave Kushner to discuss the origins of this exciting new project, what fans can expect from it sonically and what the future holds for the world’s most kickass animated band!

Dave Kushner

We always like to give a little insight into an artists life. What are your first memories of music coming into your life?

My earliest memories of music in my life are from my parents. My mom used to have 8-track tapes, which her and my stepdad would listen to in the car all the time. I remember there was Neil Young, Boston and James Taylor. Those are my earliest memories of music. My mom actually had a record player that could record onto 8-track. It was awesome! I would get in trouble all of the time because she would have an 8-track of some band she actually liked, and I would stick a piece of tape on the little thing and record over top of it. The first record I ever bought was Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid.” I wanted to have it on 8-track, so I recorded over her Blood, Sweat and Tears 8-track and got in a whole lot of trouble! [laughs]

At least you put that love of music to good use! You crafted quite a career for yourself at this point. To what do you attribute your longevity in such a competitive industry?

Not really making any money until about eight years ago?! [laughs] I don’t know, I guess it has just been a matter of persistence, naive persistence.

There’s nothing wrong with that!

[laughs] Ya know, I grew up in Hollywood. I had gone to art school since I was a little kid, so I always knew that I would do something with visual arts or with music. I have really been fortunate in the last 20-some years that if I wasn’t playing in a band or doing something where I was making money doing music, I was building sets or doing something creative with visual arts. I have always been able to go back and forth and both have been good day jobs for me.

That is a great segway as your latest project, PusherJones, combines visual and musical elements. What can you tell us about the project and how it came about?

Dave Kushner Laying It Down On Stage

It all started a few years ago. There is a guy named Don Bernstein, who buys all of the memorabilia for The Hard Rock Cafe. Any of the guitars, instruments or outfits you see hanging in there, he is behind it. He had all of these really great stories and we became really good friends because he would buy stuff from Velvet Revolver. We became great friends and when he would come to LA, he would stay at my house. At one point, he said, “Oh, you have to meet these two friends of mine. They work on ‘The Simpsons.’” We went out to see Chad Smith’s [Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chickenfoot] band at this place called The Baked Potato. I met Ralph Sosa and Dave Warren, who is now my partner on this project. Again, we got along really great. We were swapping stories and hanging out. At some point I said something like, “Oh yeah, I would really like to do something like the Gorillaz because you could pick and choose your band.” I was in VR at the time. Obviously, growing up in Hollywood, I had a lot of favorite musicians. As a musician, you always look for an opportunity to work with different people and not have a big commitment. People shy away sometimes by saying, “Well, I can’t really tour now or I can’t do this or that … ” because everyone is busy and has so many things going on. We just started developing and from that experience with “The Simpsons,” I really got into developing story ideas and the story behind each character. We just kinda kept going with it and it became this idea for a TV show. We were always kinda working on one phase of it as we went along, whether it was drawing the characters, writing songs for it, recording music for it, getting different guys to play on it or writing different stories for the character backgrounds. It was a great experience because there were all of these moving parts and you could always jump to different things if you got stuck on one. We just kept going with it and going with it and then one of the old managers from VR sent me an e-mail a month ago asking if we had any songs for “The Avengers” soundtrack. I sent him our song, “Count Me Out” and they apparently liked it enough to use it on the soundtrack. That kinda kick-started everything! We were kinda at the point where were we going to start trying to debut this thing anyway as a show or whatever. There are just so many heads to it, we can kinda go in a lot of different directions.

What can you tell us about the characters who make up the band, both the animated form and the players themselves? How does it all tie together?


Well, that is a really good question because I don’t really have a good answer. Like I said, there are a lot of moving parts. The characters in the story — the story is very similar to my story. It is basically about a band that has been established for a while and they lose their guitar player. The singer has an old friend that he played little league with. There is a guy he knows that is a solid guitar player. This is the kinda guy who has been in obscurity for a while and they basically call him up from the minors to the big leagues, ya know? It kinda goes from there. There are different elements to it. It is basically a comedy but it is based on my experiences in Velvet Revolver, whether they are stories that I have heard or stories that I have experienced by being in a band at that level and for lack of a better term, being in bands with people with substance abuse challenges, drinking problems or whatever else. There are many trappings in being in a band at that level but it is kind of a funny way of putting it out there!

You are working on an EP. What can fans expect sonically?

Sonically, it is going to be like “Count Me Out” as far as the sound goes. We basically recorded the whole thing all at once with myself, Joey Castillo from Queens of the Stone Age and Scott Shriner from Weezer. We recorded all of the basic tracks for five songs at Josh Abraham’s studio, the guy who did the VR record. We did it a couple months ago and now it is at the point where I did vocals with Franky Perez of Scar on Broadway last night for a song. I think I have got just a few more things to fine tune as far as overdubs and vocals. It should be ready in the next couple of weeks.

It sounds like things are moving pretty quickly at this point. How long do you think it might be until this project is in full swing and might end up on TV or wherever it may take you?

I really don’t know. I am hoping it is very soon. Anything is possible. Fortunately, because of the “Avengers” attachment, it has happened so quickly that there are two or three directions we can go with this thing and now it is just a matter of picking which one is the best. At this point, it is like, do you go focus on the TV show aspect? Do you focus on the music because that is what is purely getting the attention right now? Do you just focus on finishing the EP and getting that out there? Like I said, it is like a two- or three-headed beast! [laughs] We also have to figure out how to do this thing live and we have a few ideas on how to do that. How do we present these characters to the world? There are just so many moving parts!

Dave Kushner of Velvet Revolver

That sounds like a pretty good place to be and having options is never a bad thing.

Yeah, it is great. I couldn’t be any happier.

Have you given any thought to potentially playing the EP live, even if it isn’t the full blown version of the band you are working towards?

I’d like to but it is a matter of not what is the best way but what is the coolest way. For example, I saw Dethklok on tour, you know, the “Metalocalypse” band?

Oh yeah, sure.

I actually went with Scott, our bass player. It was like a year ago at The Palladium. They had an interesting way of how they did it between having video on a big screen and having the band play in front but the band was kinda in the dark but you could still see them. Nowadays with technology there is so much you can do. In Japan, they are doing a lot of cool things with holograms live. Obviously, everyone has been talking about the Tupac thing but before that we had seen this more animated looking style in Japan. People are going to these sold out shows of this animated character, a girl singer. So we are just trying to figure out the coolest way to do it because that is where I come from. All of us are guys who have played in bands and there are certain things you enjoy about that but, then again, can you pull everyone together at the same time? If you can’t, then you figure out a way to present this thing live so that it is really cool and it gives people maybe a lot of what they are not expecting.

Sounds like you definitely have a full plate at the moment. Do you have any other irons in the fire musically?

Velvet Revolver

Right now, I am still kinda talking with guys in Velvet Revolver to see what is going on there. Still trying to figure out that stuff. I talked with Duff [McKagan] today about it and anything is possible. As far as other projects, I have been doing a lot of composing for television. I am actually doing music for Vince Vaughn’s production company for a show called “Sullivan and Sons,” which is on TBS. It is kinda like “Cheers.” So I am doing all of that and just trying to keep everything going!

I know we are short on time but thanks for talking with us today! PusherJones sounds like it is going to definitely be a project to keep an eye on! We look forward to spreading the word!

Thanks so much! I really appreciate it!

For the latest news and developments with PusherJones, visit the official website of the world’s most kickass animated band at www.pusherjones.com!

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Weezer Offers Fans A Stream of Highly Anticipated New Album ‘Hurley’

Weezer Offers Fans A Stream of Highly Anticipated New Album ‘Hurley’

Starting today, Grammy® award winning alternative rock band Weezer will be streaming their forthcoming new album, Hurley, in its entirety online at www.myspace.com/weezer.

The album is currently available for pre-order at Epitaphstore.com,Amazon.com and iTunes.com and will be released everywhere on Sept. 14.

Already receiving mass critical acclaim, Weezer’s eighth studio album and first with indie powerhouse Epitaph Records has been described as “a solid collection of precise and persuasively melodic rock” (SPIN.com).  “Hitting hard with meaty power chords, its 10 songs home in on Cuomo’s favorite themes of romantic struggle and painful self-examination, packing plenty of jokes and addictive choruses into each bright sonic flare” (Los Angeles Times – Ann Powers).

The latest addition to Weezer’s cherished catalog, which has sold more than 10 million records in North America alone, features a much talked about and delightfully kind photo of actor Jorge Garcia, who plays the character named Hurley on ABC’s hit show “Lost.”  “We struggled super hard trying to come up with an album title,'” Cuomo recently toldSpinner.com. “I just loved this photo of Jorge Garcia — it just had this amazing vibe. We didn’t want to do a fourth self-titled record and we knew people would refer to it as ‘the Hurley record’ even if we left it without that title, so we just called it ‘Hurley.’ No words are on the cover because all we wanted was his amazing face.”

Weezer continue to rock fans around the country with exhilarating performances like this past weekend’s “brilliant, thrillingly active live show” (Seattle Weekly) at Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival.  Fans continue to wait in high anticipation for the official announcement of the rumored “Blue Album”/Pinkerton tour dates that are speculated to happen sometime this fall.

Check out the stream of Hurley today and stay tuned for news about special upcoming tour dates!

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Weezer Return To Indie-Rock Roots On ‘Hurley’, Album To Drop In September

Weezer Return To Indie-Rock Roots On ‘Hurley’, Album To Drop In September

Influential multi-platinum, Grammy® winning alternative rock band Weezer have announced plans to release a new studio album entitled Hurley this September 14th on Epitaph Records.  Starting today, fans are invited to pre-order the physical album now at EpitaphStore.com or on Amazon.com.  The album’s first single, “Memories,” can be streamed now atMySpace.com/Weezer and purchased on iTunes.

Innovative rockers Weezer have inked a deal with leading independent label Epitaph Records signaling the next phase of their acclaimed career and the return to their indie roots with a highly personal and sonically exploratory album guaranteed to delight their fans.

“So far we’ve had a really good creative collaboration with Brett Gurewitz and the other people at the label, and I’m looking forward to collaboration with other like-minded alternative music fans at the label,” Rivers Cuomo recently shared with Los Angeles Times.

“I’ve been a fan of Weezer from the beginning, and I’ve loved all their records,” says Epitaph president and founder Gurewitz.  “So it’s amazing to find myself working with them on the new one!”

“Weezer is a great band,” adds labelmate and Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong.  “I’m stoked they’re going to be part of the Epitaph family.”

Produced by Cuomo and Shawn Everett (Raditude, Phantom Planet, Ozomatli), Hurley is a high-energy rock album that wastes no time with the first single “Memories,” an impassioned look at nostalgia with fast tempo, buzzing guitar riffs and killer hooky chorus. Subsequent songs include soon to be fan favorites “Ruling Me,” “Trainwrecks,” “Hang On” and “Brave New World.” Rivers picks up the acoustic guitar on the reinvented power ballad “Unspoken” and the raw Sixties influenced, Mac Davis co-written “Time Flies.” The classic Weezer sound is reignited with songs like “Smart Girls,” “Run Away” and the quirky “Where’s My Sex?”  Fueled by a newfound sense of independence, Hurley finds the band making some of the most powerful and adventuresome music of their storied career.

“We all felt that the really intense, raw emotional side of Weezer is what’s going to make everyone the happiest at this moment,” Cuomo told Los Angeles Times.

“Weezer’s become a totally kick ass live band, and when we were making Hurley you could just hear the sound of people going into the studio, pressing ‘Record’ and rocking,” Cuomo says. “There’s just an insane amount of energy on songs like ‘Where’s My Sex’ or ‘Memories.'” (SPIN.com)

Known for their quirky album artwork, Weezer have done it yet again.  The cover features a simple, yet astonishing close-up of actor Jorge Garcia, which fans of the “Lost” series will no-doubt find as perplexing as fascinating.

“We struggled super hard trying to come up with an album title, trying to find some kind of phrase that summed up the whole aesthetic behind the album: ‘Heavy Mental,’ ‘Smaller Than Life,'” Cuomo recently told Spinner.com.  “I was coming up with all kinds of stuff, but ultimately, we just went with some random word that doesn’t really have anything to do with anything.  I just loved this photo of Jorge Garcia — it just had this amazing vibe.  We didn’t want to do a fourth self-titled record and we knew people would refer to it as ‘the Hurley record’ even if left it without that title, so we just called it ‘Hurley.’  No words are on the cover because all we wanted was his amazing face.”

This fall marks a new album and new beginnings for one of the most accomplished and genre defining modern rock bands.  Stay tuned to www.weezer.com and www.epitaph.com for up-to-date news and information about Hurley and the band’s soon to be announced fall tour.

Hurley Track Listing (Standard Edition):
1. Memories – 3:16
2. Ruling Me – 3:30
3. Trainwrecks – 3:21
4. Unspoken – 3:01
5. Where’s My Sex? – 3:28
6. Run Away – 2:55
7. Hang On – 3:33
8. Smart Girls – 3:11
9. Brave New World – 3:57
10. Time Flies – 4:04

Hurley Track Listing (Deluxe Edition):
1. Memories – 3:16
2. Ruling Me – 3:30
3. Trainwrecks – 3:21
4. Unspoken – 3:01
5. Where’s My Sex? – 3:28
6. Run Away – 2:55
7. Hang On – 3:33
8. Smart Girls – 3:11
9. Brave New World – 3:57
10. Time Flies – 4:04
11. All My Friends Are Insects – 1:53
12. Viva La Vida – 4:06
13. I Want To Be Something – 2:56
14. Represent – 4:13

Weezer Tour Dates:
8/14 – Council Bluffs, IA – Westfair Amphitheater
8/15 – Commerce City, CO – Mile High Music Festival
8/21 – Del Mar, CA – Del Mar Raceway
9/1 – Allentown, PA – The Great Allentown Fair
9/2 – Essex Junction, VT – Champlain Valley Exposition
9/4 – Edmonton, AB – Sonic Boom Festival
9/5 – Seattle, WA – Bumbershoot Festival

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Weezer Bundle Previous Albums For Great iTunes Deal!

Weezer Bundle Previous Albums For Great iTunes Deal!

weezer_album_bunsleWeezer, the rock group who brought the world hits like “Troublemaker,” “Buddy Holly, and “Hash Pipe,” are looking to warm up the holiday season for fans by offering an unbeatable deal.

Weezer’s three self-titled albums, affectionately known as the Blue, Green and Red albums, are currently available on iTunes as one bundle for the low, low price of $19.99. Hits on the three albums include “Pork and Beans,” “Island In The Sun,” “Say It Ain’t So,” “Troublemaker,” “Buddy Holly, “Hash Pipe,” and “Undone – The Sweater Song.”

Also new from Weezer is their latest album, Ratitude which can be purchased on iTunes or with the very special Weezer Snuggie.

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Mark McGrath Talks Sugar Ray and ‘Music For Cougars’

Mark McGrath Talks Sugar Ray and ‘Music For Cougars’


In 1988, a small, hard partying band named Sugar Ray formed in Newport Beach, CA.  Catapulted to stardom by the single ‘Fly,’ Sugar Ray would release a barrage of hits that set the airways on fire between the years of 1997 and 2001. With the lackluster performance of their 2003 album, ‘In The Pursuit of Leisure,’ the band seemed to have disappeared into thin air.  While many people assumed the band broke up, Sugar Ray continued to play thirty to forty shows a year and their lead singer, Mark McGrath, took a job on television as a co-host on ‘Extra’. With Mark’s departure from ‘Extra’ in 2008, the band went to work on their sixth studio album and first release on Pulse Recordings, aptly entitled ‘Music For Cougars.’ While it is hard to say what the future may hold for the band, there is one thing for certain, Sugar Ray is back on the scene and they are bringing the party to your town. Lead singer Mark McGrath recently took some time out from his band’s busy touring schedule to sit down with Steve Johnson of Icon Vs. Icon. In the interview the to talk about Sugar Ray’s past, the longevity of the band, the current state of the music industry, and of course their recently released album ‘Music For Cougars.’

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Hartford, Connecticut, but I moved to southern California in 1975 or 1976. I feel I was raised in Newport Beach, California, but I was born officially in Hartford, Connecticut. There’s a little bit of east coast sensibilities in my west coast madness.

mark-mcgrath-3How did music first come into your life?

I am a fan first. Some people are put on this Earth to sing. Some people are born musicians and songwriters. I was put on this planet to be a fan. I just loved music so much that I kind of willed myself into a band. I remember two of the guys in my band were in the local band called the Tories., they were the high school band that played all of the dances and stuff. I knew I couldn’t be in the band, but I wanted to be around it and carry the equipment and stuff. I’m a huge fan of music and I loved the whole environment of being in a band and everything that came with it. One day their singer didn’t want to do Back in Black by AC/DC, so I jumped up on stage. I don’t know if I did a good job or not, but they were amused by my performance. That kind of lead to the beginnings of Sugar Ray about twenty five years ago.

What drove you to make music your career?

Yeah, probably my lack of talent to do anything else. [laughs] If you can even call me having any talent musically. I remember when I first started growing up I wanted to be the point guard for the L.A. Lakers. By eighth grade I figured out that probably wasn’t going to happen. While I was simultaneously thinking that wasn’t going to happen, I was watching MTV and I saw David Lee Roth jumping off of speakers in the ‘Panama’ video. I went, “Maybe that looks like a good look!” So I kind of just fell in backwards into the music scene, just simply by being a fan and loving to do it, and being in the right place at the right time and not hearing no. If being the most talented singer or songwriter and musician was a requirement for having success, then I never would have tried.

You mentioned David Lee Roth. Were there any other influences that have helped shape you, the musician, that we know today?

There have been many influences, some maybe not so apparent in the music. A band like the Sex Pistols influenced me radically. They showed me that if you have a little bit of attitude and a will to do it, you can do it. Getting on stage and doing it, it kind of broke down the old classic rock stereotypes of the 70’s. That kind of inspired me a lot. A lot of the L.A. punk rock, The Circle Jerks and Black Flag, had the same kind of d.i.y. thing. Just get on stage and do it. Obviously, I’m not going to say that my music was influenced by those guys, but it was huge. I have been a punk rock fan for a long time. Then bands like The Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers, who kind of had their nucleus in the punk rock origin. They figured out how to write songs and sing and stuff. Anthony Kiedis has been a huge inspiration of mine, as well as The Beastie Boys. Then stretching myself a little bit, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. He had a huge influence on the harmonies, melodies, and things like that, that I was attracted to.

What do you attribute the longevity of Sugar Ray?


I think because we started organically. There was no sort of, “Here’s the design for success and we’re going to do this…” We literally started twenty one years ago. When we first started, all five of us together, it was, “Let’s play music around a keg. Let’s turn our Marshall’s up to eleven. Let’s play tougher songs and get drunk.” We really didn’t have a plan, we were just some guys who loved to play music and play it loud. We kind of did each step. Our friends would say, “Listen dudes, you guys were great. Why don’t you guys write some of your own stuff?” We’re like, “alright!” So we started writing some of our own stuff and people reacted to that. We made a video. We kind of fell backwards into our record deal. We really didn’t have a plan, but our intent was right. It was to play music. We were friends first, so I think that was a huge part of us staying together for so long. Right now, being together in the band, this isn’t for financial reasons. No one is making millions of dollars in a reunion tour and we’re certainly not selling records. It’s purely just because we love to do it. That’s why we are still doing it twenty one years later.

Being in the music industry as long as you have, are there still surprises?

[laughs] I think there are surprises every day. I’m sure I surprise people every day with things I do. I think the saddest thing to me is that the industry I was a part of, and loved so much, and signed to Atlantic Records on, and sold all of these millions of records, and had number ones, is gone. It’s kind of sad. It’s akin to the steel mills in Pittsburgh and all of those industries just going away. You see these monolithic buildings that used to harbor this once thriving industry and now there’s just ruins all around it. In a surreal sort of abstract way, that’s what the music industry is today. It surprises me how quickly it died and went away. There’s music going on right now, but there’s no recording industry. It’s kind of sad when you see new bands coming up. Katy Perry is a giant success story and as big as it gets today. She sold about a million and half records. Ten years ago that would have been ten million records. It’s kind of strange and surprising to me that the whole industry just disappeared and went away. I guess it’s sort of the Robin Hood effect, where people felt that maybe they were getting ripped off by the record companies for years and took it away. I understand that. Revolution is always good too, but it’s kind of sad that this industry that I was so proud to be a part of and thrived in is just not here anymore.

Has the digital revolution of music been a positive or negative thing for someone like yourself and your band?

mark-mcgrath-4It’s been both for me. It tore down the old model I was a part of, which might have been a difficult model for people to get in. The music industry was like the NBA. It should be easy in the NBA. It was tough. A lot of people got lucky. We certainly were benefactors of a lot of luck and certainly not just pure skill. There was something natural about it. Then like a Trojan horse, the masses came in the back door and tore it down and said, “Fuck it! We’re not putting up with this anymore!” The digital age to us, was something we were never concerned with. I signed a record deal in 1994. There were no digital considerations. They didn’t exist. The very thing that tore down the industry that I was a part of, none of us could see coming. At first the digital age was the enemy. Napster and all of that. Now at this point we’re like, “Oh, ok, I see where it is.” Now it’s our friend. There are Sugar Ray fans that could start a thriving community online, where people want to hear our music. This is how it is. You’re never going back there. You have to sort of… I don’t want to say join the enemy. If you want to have a career, you better be technologically savvy and have all of your internet sites up and running, and have daily content and be productive, otherwise you don’t stand a chance out here. Ironically, the very thing that killed the industry I was a part of is the very thing today that saves us and lets us go out and tour and things like that. I feel fortunate that we have four or five giant hit songs we’ll always be able to tour on the back of, and be able to have the internet community supporting those songs, and getting out in the cities and playing music. I feel fortunate in that sense. So it’s helped us and hurt us at the same time. Right now it’s helping us.

What do you consider the defining moment of your career so far?

There’s been so many dude. I would love to just give you one, but there have just been so many. Signing a record deal in 1994 to Atlantic Records in our local pizza shop in Newport Beach was pretty special. I’m looking at this contract from Atlantic Records where bands like AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, all of these incredible artists had signed to and I’m about to put my initial into the heritage of Atlantic Records. That was pretty incredible. Every moment man. The first time you hear your song on the radio. Getting a gold record from Atlantic Records in the hallways of Atlantic was amazing. Getting to play with Willie Nelson was unbelievable. Opening for The Rolling Stones for a week was a thrill. Looking at the side of the stage and seeing Mick Jagger shaking his head, it doesn’t get much better than that. Ultimately, I would say the greatest moment for me is we’re still living it and the fact that all five of us are still together after twenty one years. We started out with four in 1988, we picked up our DJ in 1994, and we’re still all together. We’ve gone through all of the tenets of behind the music that destroy a band. The money issues, the problems, the women, the drugs, the booze. We’re still here. That to me is the greatest testament and the greatest achievement of the band for sure.

You just released ‘Music For Cougars’ on July 21, 2009. What can you tell us about the new album?

mark-mcgrath-6We didn’t know we were going to make a record. We had a buddy who got a label deal, his name is Josh Abraham. He’s kind of a rock and roll producer, he produced Velvet Revolver, Limp Bizkit, Korn, Staind. He’s a good friend of mine. He said, “Listen you guys. I know you guys are still together. I got a little record deal. You guys want to make a record? We’ll throw a little bit of money together and have some fun and get creative.” We said, “Sure! Let’s do it!” One thing we wanted to do when we made this record, we certainly were not thinking about selling millions of copies, was making a Sugar Ray sounding record. We got a little out of our lane with the last record. We were trying to change with the times and evolve, which was the right move at the time, but it just wasn’t necessarily successful for us. We worked with The Neptunes and Pharrell and we really tried to get out of our lane. With this one we said, “Lets make a Sugar Ray record with the melodies and the harmonies. Let’s feel like we are on the beach again.” That’s what I think we achieved on this one.

What was it like working with producer Josh Abraham and producer/songwriter Luke Walker?

Josh is great man. I’ve known Josh… He was working with DJ Lethal from House of Pain, who produced our first record from ’94. I knew Josh back then. He’s become a great friend through the years. He’s just real mellow. He’s one of those producers who kind of let’s you go and figure things out yourself. He’s one of the greatest guitar players that never plays guitar. It’s funny. He’s so musically inclined and technologically proficient that it really helped us out a lot. Luke was the other part that really helped us shape the songs. I didn’t know what to expect over there at Pulse. They have all of these up and coming writers and producers that are just super creative. We were kind of reaching an impasse with the record last December. We were kind of writing the same old formulaic stuff. We’re lucky that we had a guy like Luke, who kind of can see outside and know what Sugar Ray was about, but add his own new young and energetic spin to it. He really was the catalyst for kick starting the songwriting again. Thank God for Luke or we wouldn’t have gotten the record finished. When Josh wasn’t there, Luke was instrumental in getting sounds and laying tape down. It is a real solid, competent family over there at Pulse.

This is the first album of new material since 2003’s ‘In The Pursuit of Leisure’. What have you been up to for all of those years? Did the band break up?

I think that was the common misconception. I got a lot just walking around town. People were like, “It’s too bad Sugar Ray broke up!” I understand because I did take the job at Extra. I was working there on an entertainment news show for about four years. We never made an announcement that we were breaking up or anything. In fact we were still signed to Atlantic until three or four years into my Extra tenure. We just hadn’t written any new material. We were still doing about thirty or forty shows a year and playing live a lot because we certainly love to play live. We did a song for the soundtrack for ‘Surf’s Up’ in 2007 called “Into Yesterday.” Josh of our new label heard that and said, “It’s killer! You guys want to make some more of these? Let’s keep ’em moving?” We said, “Sure, let’s do it!” So that’s kind of how that whole thing came about. The rest of the guys kind of wanted to take a break too. We had been consistently touring around the world and recording for about eleven years at that point. We took a break in 2004. They had little babies and they wanted to raise them. We said, “Let’s take a break.” We were fortunate to have that luxury, to be able to play live and just figure out where phase two of Sugar Ray fits in.

How did you come up with the title of the new album?


People take the title so seriously. I keep going, “Guys, it’s a Sugar Ray record!” We always have fun and people don’t see the irony in the title. I’m like, “Jesus! Really?” We named it ‘Music For Cougars’ because A., it’s funny and B., I’m forty one, so no cougar is checkin’ for me anymore. Cougars like the twenty year old guys. The other irony is that our fans are getting a little older too and aging gracefully with us hopefully. Our buddy Josh Abraham was actually at a gig we played at an outdoor mall in Hollywood and he looked around and said, “Dude, all of your fans are cougars.” I thought that was funny. I went, “Bing! ‘Music For Cougars’ will be the title!” It was a working title. We picked it out like a year ago. Of course we thought of nothing better and we got used to the title and kept it. I underestimated people’s reactions to it. People are very passionate about what they think a cougar is and if they are a cougar. All day long people come up to me and tell me their definition and want to know if they qualify. It’s like a hot button topic for people. It’s also been a great way to get the word out that we have a record out. The title has really gone hand and hand with the enthusiasm for the record. One thing people do know for sure, is that there is a Sugar Ray record out. That’s half the battle these days.

Were there any challenges while making the album?

Like I said earlier, we kind of got in a little formula of writing where we kind of were writing standard things and getting a little formulaic. It was great to be able to work with outside sources there. That was one of the problems. Another problem, well not a problem, but another consideration was that when we started making this record, I was working at Extra still. I’m like, “We’re not going to be able to tour for this record. We’ll be able to do some spot dates here and there.” When I left in September, we were really able to pick up the pace and I thought, “Wait a minute, we can tour for this record now.” We kind of overcame both of those things. It was a nice thing to go out and tour for the record we were writing because I didn’t think we were going to be able to for a second.

Rivers Cuomo wrote the track “Love is the Answer,” How did he become involved with the album?

I ask myself every day. [laughs] From what I hear through the grapevine, there are two theories. One is not my theory. One is the theory that Rivers has been a fan of the band for a while, which I have heard, and he likes the songwriting we have done. Josh, the head of Pulse, knew his manager very well and Rivers had found out that we were taking submissions for our record if anybody had any songs and wanted to collaborate. Rivers sent us a few songs. ‘Love is the Answer’ was one of them. I think the song is so great. I am such a huge fan of Weezer and Rivers in general. On the ‘Scream 2’ soundtrack we have a song called ‘Rivers’ on there. It’s an ode to Rivers. That’s how much we love him. He sent us the song. I loved it. We recorded it. We kept his guitar solo on it because it was so great. He is actually singing on the breakdown on it as well. That’s one theory. My theory is that Sugar Ray is so uncool, that we’re cool to him. He’s so ahead of the irony curve. He is wearing a cowboy hat and a mustache on the cover of his new record. He’s so ahead of the cool game, that he’s already ahead of the nineties irony train coming through. I think we might be recipients of his cool factor. That’s my philosophy. You can go with either one you want. I don’t give a shit how it got there, all I know is we have a song written by Rivers on our record.

You are currently on tour in support of the album. What has that experience been like for the band?

mark-mcgrath-5It’s been great. We have been humbled by the honor of being on the road, being in a band, playing places, driving across this beautiful country of ours, and being able to play live music for a living. It’s pretty special stuff. We’ve always known that, but back in the heyday and stuff, you’re younger, you’re dumber, and you take things for granted. We would have like five buses on the road, with two trucks, and all of that. Now we have one bus and a trailer. Ten guys in one bus. We haven’t done that since like ’97. It’s been great. We’ve really prepared ourselves. Knowing each other for so long and having gone through so many trials and tribulations in this band, we really are prepared for each others idiosyncrasies on the road and are really able to deal with it. The pressure is gone in the business. We’re doing this because we want to have fun and if it’s not fun, we’re not going to do it. Pulling into town and being on stage with these guys for an hour and a half each night and pulling into the next town like a bunch of pirates. Going into Flying J truck stops at three in the morning and getting grilled cheeses. It’s the little things like that that make it so great. Then you look out and you see the fans out there singing along to the songs, loving the new stuff, talking about their life experiences to some your songs. Like, “Hey I met my girlfriend when ‘Fly’ was on the radio. I married her and we’ve been together for twelve years.” Stuff like that. It’s more intimate now and that’s fine. That’s pretty special stuff. If you can’t adjust and recalibrate your expectations of why you are doing this, then you should not be doing this.

What do you hope that people come away with after listening to your music or seeing your live performance?

As far as just listening to the music, one thing we like to do is have a universality in the lyrics and things. “Fly,” “Every Morning,” even a song like “Boardwalk,” they mean so many different things to so many different people. People actually want to ask me what they mean. I don’t like to tell them because my experience in the past is that it kind of bums them out. They think they got what it means. They can get some kind of meaning from our songs. Whatever it is. Personally or whatever. Some songs obviously aren’t that deep, but some have been written from our personal experiences. I might write a chorus and Stan, our drummer, might write a verse. We’re thinking of two different things and we’re not telling each other what we’re thinking about. In the very sort of conflict comes the universality of the song that makes it work. It’s an interesting process to say the least because we all kind of write. To hear what people think the song means or how it affects them is pretty special stuff. In terms of the live show. Dude, look this ain’t Pink Floyd, it ain’t the White Stripes, we ain’t the greatest musicians in the world. I’m certainly not the best singer. We go on stage and have a lot of fun. We’ve always been a band sort of about escapism. If we go out there and have some fun, hoist a beer, and shake some hands and go home, that’s enough for me. I’m not claiming I am here to change the world at all. The band has never wanted to do that either. If we can brighten up some one’s day through three minutes listening to a song or an hour and a half a night when you come see us live, then we have done our job. That’s all we ever wanted to do.


Ever had a “Spinal Tap Moment” wile you were on stage?

We’ve had so many “Spinal Tap” moments. Everything in that movie has happened to us. We’ve played the air force bases. We’ve had the wrong writers. We’ve had the wrong buildings. We were in North Dakota about five years ago., it literally said ‘The world’s fourth largest cow and Sugar Ray’. We went to our tour manager and said, “Is that a joke? Did you make them do that? If we told them once, we told them a thousand times. It’s Sugar Ray and the world’s fourth largest cow!” That was straight out of Spinal Tap. I think Steven Tyler said it the best when he watched that movie he said, “I didn’t laugh once.” They go, “Why?” He goes, “What was funny about it?” Obviously he was being ironic, but he was saying everything in this movie happens to you. Whether it is the rider considerations, the equipment considerations, not finding the stage. Every theater has a stage theater type situation, where it has all of this weird underground plumbing and hallways and things. When they used to put up big productions, they’d have all of these dressing rooms and hallways. You cannot find the stage. Everything was so appropriate in that movie it was scary. Rob Reiner and those guys obviously were real musicians and somebody had toured before because they got every nuance, everything that makes road life insane down to a tee.

After this tour, what’s next for the band?

That’s a good question. We wrap up in September. There’s been talk of us going to South America. We got an offer to go to Brazil in October. It’s the one place we’ve never gone, that I would really like to go to. We have two gold records down there in South America, in Brazil, and some other countries down there. For some reason it’s always been the end of our touring cycle. After being on the road for a year and a half we always say, “Fuck it, let’s just go home. We’re too tired.” So this time, I hope we can do that. We’ll see where it takes us from there. Seeing and judging the sales and all that, I’d love to do some more music, write some more music. I also jam with a band called Camp Freddy back in Los Angeles. It’s made up of guys like Dave Navarro, Slash, Billy Morrison, Scott Weiland, and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols. We do a bunch of cover songs and stuff. They’re talking about going on tour as well. I’ll always be playing music live in some format. We’ll have to see. I think this is kind of a telling thing. After we do the tour with the guys, if it’s worth it to them or not. Will there be a commitment? We’ll see. The future is uncertain. I didn’t think we’d be out here touring this year. A year ago I was working for Extra, I’m open to all doors. It would be hard to predict, we’ll have to see what happens.

Is there anything else you want to add or let your fans know?

I think it’s pretty comprehensive Steve. You’re good at what you do brother!

Thanks for your time, Mark! We wish you guys all the best out there on the road.

I appreciate that. Thanks for your time man!

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Weezer To Release New Album On October 27th

Weezer To Release New Album On October 27th

weezer3Weezer have announced via their official website, www.weezer.com, that their seventh studio album will hit store shelves on October 27th, 2009.

Weezer promise that details regarding their new disc — like album title and tracklisting — will be revealed soon. The new release will be the follow-up to last year’s self-titled album, often dubbed ‘The Red Album’.

More on this as it develops.

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