The Kaje talks returning to Tenacious D

Jack Black and Kyle Gass first formed Tenacious D in 1994, but it was a good 7 years before their mix of rock and comedy really hit the big time with their 2001 eponymous debut album. Never in a rush to release, the pair waited a good five years before unleashing “The Pick Of Destiny”, and another six years have swiftly passed by since. With the dynamic duo finally ready to release album number three, “Rize of the Fenix”, The Kaje have been lucky enough to have a quick chat with the pair to find out more…

You haven’t released any songs since 2006, what brought the group out of it’s hiatus?

K. Well, I guess…Love of the game? Yeah I’m gonna go with love of the game.

J. Yeah, I’m gonna go with love of the game. Though it should be a multiple choice, you should give us all of the possible reasons as to why we came out of hiatus and then we choose one!

What has Tenacious D been up to in this time?

J. What have we been up to since the last time? Well we’ve been working on our
meditation, a lot of meditation. There’s been a lot of time spent in the Himalayas. There’s been a lot of exercise and diet. There’s been a lot of nose to the grindstone. That’s right, I’ve been nose to the ground stoned! We put out a DVD, about three years ago.

K. That’s true. The Complete Master Works 2.

J. This time even more completer! We’ve been working very hard to complete a
masterpiece, you know. But what else have you been up to?

K. I’ve made babies since last time.

J. I’ve been making babies too, but I just can’t find them.

K. Did you lose them?

J. I don’t know where they are. Maybe we’ll find them somewhere on the road!

So can you tell use a little bit about the inspiration behind the songs on this album, and a bit about your songwriting process?

J. Well my inspiration was really just my children. It’s kind of like when Creed found out about his baby and he wrote all those songs about it – like ‘With Arms Wide Open’. This is kinda my “Arms Wide Open” album. Would you agree?

K. I don’t know, that’s the first I’ve heard!

J. I guess the inspiration was the haters, the non-believers, they inspired us to fight much harder. I mean, it’s definitely our comeback album. We’ve been gone for years. What was the inspiration K, besides fighting off the haters and the critics?

K. Well every song has it’s own story really. I mean, ‘Low Hangin’ Fruit’ was
inspired by sexy, you know, sex. ‘Senorita’ was inspired by sex. Okay so I guess
there’s a lot of sex in there.

J. The cover of the album is really a big raging boner. I guess the inspiration was orgasms. We should put orgasms on the special thanks list, I don’t know why we didn’t really.

K. Not until we get more, more and better ones.

J. I don’t need more, I have all the orgasms I need.

K. Really?

J. Well, if you have more orgasms then they’re not as good, you know that. You’ve gotta spread them out. If you’re gonna want an orgasm every night, it lessens their explosivity. You’ve got to hold off sometimes, just to have a bigger blow-out.

How are you hoping the critics will receive the new album?

K. I hope they rave about it. I’m gonna read every single review.

J. I hope that they speak the truth, my only fear is that they’ll speak what they think they’re supposed to think. They’re gonna say what they’re supposed to say oh these guys are just clowns right? We don’t take these guys seriously, right?’. That kind of bullshit. It’s lazy. I’m open up to critics who will really listen to it and say what they really think, as I honestly think it’s the greatest album in the last seven years. And you say ‘why seven Jack, why not just one year?’ Well seven’s just the number that came into my brain.

Have you received any feedback, have you read any reviews yet?

J. Everyone who’s heard it so far has creamed, they’ve creamed upon it. The songs are better than orgasms, it’s been proven scientifically. They’ve wired people brains and when they listen to the album their pleasure cylinders fire on all cylinders. K, can I get your back up on this?

K. I’ve read every review so far and they’ve varied about 90% positive. There was a bad one.

J. Who fucking dared?!

K I can’t remember who it was! It said the big comeback falls short.

J. What a dick! Well my mum likes it a lot.

K. That guys either a lier or has the worst taste.

J. You know what I wanna to, I want to go back into the archives and see who he likes. Maybe, ‘Well Linkin Park’s new album, that’s an album I can really get behind! That’s an album I can really sing and dance to!’. That fucking asshole can just chew on it all day long. And when I say ‘it’ I mean my shit.

What’s it like making music together again and being back together as a group? Is it the same dynamic or has it changed?

J. You know, it’s bettter than ever, really. The older I get the more I appreciate the comradiory and the creative buzz that we get – it’s been a pleasure. I love to rock. How do you spell that?

K. ROQUE?

J. I do love to roque. Roque and roll!

So a fair chunk of your tour is going to be spent in Europe in June. What do you like about performing for this specific audience and what are you hoping for those shows?

J. Well we’ve never played in Germany before so that will be interesting. We’re
looking forward to seeing if the hunger for The ‘D’ is as ravenous as we’ve heard. But the UK has always been some of the best shows we’ve ever had. They just have a deeper appreciated for rock than the rest of the world. And it makes sense, I would say most of the best rock has come from the UK, and it makes sense that they would appreciate it more. Wouldn’t you agree K?

K. I do, I think the people in the UK are just a little smarter, a little more
sophisticated. Thank you UK.

Talking of British rock, what kind of British rock do you like?

J. I don’t know if you’ve heard of these kids, the Arctic Monkeys? I like some Arctic Monkeys, and have you heard of a band called Biffy Clyro? We had to open for them. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, there’s just some really great bands.

So what are your favorite things to do in Manchester?

J. I like to go out for some curry and I like to just wander the streets, on a little bicycle built for two. I like to do a lot of tandem biking through parks, and just meet some people.

K. Get up close and personal.

J. I like to go to a book store and curl up in the corner, read some Sherlock Holmes and talk to some different British people, and the Mancunians. I like to have a spot of tea and a crumpet. Or just stay in the hotel room. I remember that Manchester rocked extra hard though. It’s the Philadelphia of England. That’s a compliment, they’re a very rocking audience.

And you played Glasgow in 2006, what are your memories of the show there?

J. Well that was one of the best shows ever, remember that K?

K. Yeah

J. I think that was the biggest show we played in the UK, and it was off the scale. I remember some ‘ole ole ole’ before the show started, and I remember our opening act were almost killed by being pelted with pennies. Then we went on and the sound of the audience was similar to thunder, Kyle almost had a cardiac arrest because it vibrated his cheastal cavity so intensely.

K. I tell you, that would have been a pretty cool way to go.

J. Kind of. ‘He died because his heart was such a pussy’. He just couldn’t survive the roar of the crowd, and what a roar! And they just kept it coming, we rocked them and they rocked us. And we were rocking back and forth all night long – it was very similar to sex. And we got a tremendous climax. I imagine the people of Glasgow are waited with baited breath for our return, because no one’s loved them like that since.

I think they will be. You’re playing the same venue as last time too.

J. Well I hope they’ve reinforced it, because it shall be shaken.

You’re doing three dates in London – can you tell me a bit about what your favourite things are about London, and what you’re looking forward to doing?

K. It’s awesome, I love the London fog.

J. In all honesty, the parks are the most beautiful feature of London as a town. You don’t get a lot of towns in the world any more with so much beautiful green parks. I would go down and swing the frisbee a lot. I’ll be meditating, playing frisbee and having a little picnic. I’ll be there everyday.

And you’re also going to be playing Download festival in June. What can we expect from your set?

J. Well I’ve heard that if they don’t like you they throw urine at you. Hopefully we’ll be well liked. But you should expect an umbrella – I’ll bring an umbrella just in case. As much as I appreciate the golden showers, I don’t think it would be safe – there’s possible electrocution.

K. I think we’ll be playing fewer songs than we usually do.

J. That’d right, the festival crowd – you’ve got to keep it tight.

K. Look forward to a very economical set.

J. You can expect a spirited…no, muscular set. There should be a sexier word than muscular, but fuck it. It’s gonna be a good set.

K. Enthusiastic?

J. No…

K. Stimulating?

J. But you’ll be hearing new songs.We’re gonna kick the teeth right out of the gig with some new songs.

K. We’ll massage their libidos in the second half with some old favourites.

J. But it’s probably gonna be about 45 minutes of love.

Do you have anything else you would like to add?

K. Whatever you do, UK, do not download this record. Go to the store and buy it.

J. Are you really lecturing them on piracy. No one wants to hear you lecturing them about piracy. That is the death knell of record sales!

K. I’m gonna buy up all the vinyl, there won’t be any left. That shit’s a good
investment.

J. Yeah if you buy it all imagine how valuable it’s going to be? It just like buying
stocks. It’s like the most precious stock you can buy. Okay I take it back, that’s good sound economic advice – not a lecture at all. You’re looking out for the fans.

K. Make sure you put it in a safety deposit box. Don’t take it out of the wrapper.

J. Unless you have us sign it. But then they’ll never see that gorgeous poster inside of you and me naked, coming out of the flames.

J. But thanks UK, we’ll see you soon. And one more message for Europe: just stay alive. Because it would be a shame if you died before the D came into town. You don’t want to miss this.

Interview by Jenn Nimmo-Smith

The Kaje talks who, what, where, when and why to Ex Senators

The moment we heard Ex Senators riotous single “Start A Fight” and followed through to their colourful song clip, The Kaje knew we had found an act that were far more than simple chart fodder. While the Chicago troupe clearly know how to write a hook and are more than a little bit addictive, the group have more to say that simple ‘you look fly tonight’. While we may have to wait a fair few months before we get to hear an Ex Senators album, we are happy to make do with a quick chat to Dmac about the who, what, where and why of the Ex Senators…
Let’s get the formalities out of the way, please can you quickly introduce the Ex Senators…

Introducing The Ex Senators! All the way from Chicago in the United Corporations of America, we present to you a rock / funk / punk extravaganza of global proportions.

Comparisons to The Clash and Bruce Springsteen are being bounced around-how do you relate to these?

Wouldn’t it be nice to be related to Bruce or Mick Jones?   Seriously though, a few journalists have made those comparisons, Considering the way social and political observation in music and the arts have devolved we take it as a hell of a compliment.  But the only way I can relate to where that comes from is in the sense that we are collectively not afraid to speak our minds. Through different roads we all come from blue collar beginnings and have that DIY spirit that embodied that punk ethos of The Clash, The Banshees or The Damned (who are so often overlooked… love The Damned).

If you had to select your own comparisons-who would they be to? 

I’ll leave comparisons to the musicologists out there.  We are what we are.

Why? 

I don’t think we sound like anybody else.  You can hear the influences across the record.  But comparisons are just a way to put yourself into a box artistically.   Van and I said early on when we were writing songs for the album that there were no rules other than letting the songs take the direction that they wanted to take.

Who/what have been your biggest influences?  
When I was growing up my mom played lots of Elton John, Billy Joel and The Beatles, so I learned to play piano, while my Dad (a very Irish Chicago Cop)  was always playing stuff like Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, The Clash and the Stones…. so I learned to play guitar.  There was always music around the house.  One of my first jobs in music,  I was working in a recording studio with bands like Ministry, and R&B artists like R.Kelly.  (Crazy combinations of experience).     For the whole band the influences are varied from The Police, Joy Division, George Clinton & Parliament, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jay Z, Guns N Roses (original lineup),  Miles Davis, The Jam and The Beastie Boys.   We have to take into account the people we’ve worked with through our careers (Bowie, Janet Jackson, Mary J Blige, Sting, Ministry)  as those are very strong influences as well.  It’s hilarious and fun playing in this band because there is a constant musical conversation going on.

Can you tell us a little about your current single ‘Start A Fight’? 

The song came about as a way to say “piss off” to all the politicians, commentators and blowhards on TV and radio and blogs constantly ranting but really saying nothing.  People like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin were jump off points, but both sides of the aisle are in the sights.  Its just that the hard right nutters have a lot more sound bytes while the left are windbags and don’t fit in a three minute song.   These people serve up their hyperbole as fact,  then reporters report on what was said as fact and all of a sudden what was a completely insane thing to assert has somehow become a  “factoid” because its in the news.   That is insanity and its one of the biggest reasons people like Rupert Murdoch have grown an empire on quasi newstainment.  People love a good show, and a bunch of people arguing makes great TV.   So why have any substance there right?

How did you choose it as the introductory single from your upcoming album?    

We had considered leading off with a single that was less political because the album is not all one note.  There are 3 or 4 tracks that definitely hit some of these political themes and the rest of the songs are more personal tracks.  But the timing was right to kick the door open and just say Wake Up.

The video is very colourful-what were the thoughts behind it?

The song started as a reaction to absurdity and we decided it would be fun to take that a step further with the animations and blowing up the characters as much as they do themselves.  MTV censors asked us about the pin on Michelle Bachmann’s outfit that says “Slavery is a sound financial policy”  but insane as that sounds, she actually said that and tried to backpedal the next day.  She also said she wanted everyone in Minnesota Armed and Dangerous. (but that’s not inflammatory rhetoric right?).    So we gave MTV all this information about it and they let it pass.  Which was in itself hilarious that they were reading every button and sign in the video. ( They go by kind of fast).

Is ‘Start A Fight’ an insight to the upcoming album? 

If you’re asking does the whole album sound like “Start A Fight’,  then no.  It’s definitely a taste of one facet of the band which shows very strongly in about a third of the album.   We chose the flow of the songs and the material carefully so as not to be a one note yawn fest.   Even if you’re rocking out at warp speed, at some point that gets boring to a listener and we really wanted to make an “album” in the sense of it being a body of work, so there’s a little ska influence and some funkiness thrown in for good measure.

Tell us a little more about the record and the thoughts behind it…  

There is a theme running through the record. Questions about authority, about life,  and not always finding answers.  The songs tie together for me because it was my own experience as a songwriter coming through.   I’ve always believed that the best songs are the ones that felt honest and a little like the writer put some blood into the tape.  There is a bit of social and political observation or commentary and there are songs that are much more intimate.  The last track was written in a hotel room,  the day after my best friend had died.  The track is “Disappear” and was the toughest thing I’ve ever worked on in music.  It was hard to finish but I’m glad we did it.

What are your hopes and intentions for the record?   

The Ex Senators intend to make a lot of noise,  and our hopes are that people will join us for the ride.

What is the overriding ambition of the Ex Senators?
Global Domination.  Or at least a few square blocks of beach-side property to start.
And the one goal you’d like to achieve by the end of 2012?   
I’ve always wanted to learn to juggle.   Seriously our one goal is to engage people in a conversation that is meaningful and musical and since we’re already doing that I’d say 2012 is off to a roaring start.
Interview by Jeremy Williams

NEWS: Blood Red Shoes Announce New Album And Tour

Brighton-based duo Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell will return this year with their 3rd album ‘In Time To Voices’ out on March 26th  and a new single ‘Cold’, released on March 19th via V2/Co-Operative Music. The band will also be hitting the road throughout the UK for an April and May tour.

Since the release of their debut almost 4 years ago, the duo have embarked on a gruelling, unrelenting tour schedule, seeing them travel the four corners of the globe and earning them an international fanbase. However the life on the road can have its side-effects as Steven speaks of some of their more troublesome moments :

‘”From getting arrested after spending a night drinking in a biker den, Laura fighting bouncers….twice, to the two of us breaking up onstage or having a giant fight in Prague and me getting found in the street robbed by two prostitutes. Oh and there was that time where we were invited to a hotel demolition party in Paris where we broke into Keith Richards’ room and totalled it. These stories are all on the record. I guess being only two people spending more than 300 days a year together makes you kind of…volatile. Modern bands seem way too clean-cut and sensible to us anyway.“

The new album ‘In Time To Voices’, released March 26th was recorded at The Motor Museum in Liverpool, continuing their successful partnership with Mike Crossey(Arctic Monkeys/Foals/Tribes) who co-produced the album with them.

The record sees Blood Red Shoes come of age musically, building on their punk rock roots and moving into an ambitious, three-dimensional new sound that encapsulates heavy rock as much as it does as sweeping, melancholy soundscapes and classic songwriting drawn from the likes of Black Sabbath, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones.

Laura-Mary, sheds some light on the new, ambitious approach taken this time around:

”With this album we totally threw out the rulebook of how we write and record. We decided we wanted to make a really ambitious record, not something which reflects our live show but something which is only limited by our imaginations and not by how many instruments we use onstage. We figured the best way to push ourselves forward was to write the best possible songs and melodies we could – once you have that as your foundation, you have the freedom to go anywhere with the sounds you use. We feel like a totally different band now. We feel like we’re shooting for the stars.”

The first single ‘Cold’ to be taken from their forthcoming long-player, sees Blood Red Shoes unleash a their most bold and defiant track to date, with Laura-Mary’s confident vocal delivery set alongside a hyperactive drum groove and a truly anthemic chorus.

On the track, Laura-Mary says:

“Steven started playing this weird drum beat in a soundcheck and I wanted to make it into a song, so I found this mean riff to play over it. It has this hip-hop groove which is something we’d never tried before.”

FULL TRACKLISTING

  • ·        In Time To Voices
  • ·        Lost Kids
  • ·        Cold
  • ·        Two Dead Minutes
  • ·        The Silence And The Drones
  • ·        Night Light
  • ·        Je Me Perds
  • ·        Stop Kicking
  • ·        Slip Into Blue
  • ·        Down Here In The Dark
  • ·        7 Years

Touring heavily throughout 2011, this year sees the band back on the road with no signs of slowing down with a full worldwide tour planned and UK dates confirmed, detailed below:

FULL UK DATES

APRIL

27th Concorde 2, Brighton, UK   Tickets: www.ticketweb.co.uk / Box office – 01273 673311
28th Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth, UK Tickets: www.seetickets.com / Box office – 02392 863911
29th 02 Academy 2, Oxford, UK Tickets: www.alt-tickets.co.uk / Box office – 01912 304474

MAY

1st Trinity, Bristol, UK Tickets: www.alt-tickets.co.uk / Box office – 01912 304474
2nd Waterfront, Norwich, UK Tickets: www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk / Box office – 01603 508050
3rd Heaven, London, UK Tickets: www.gigandtours.com / Box office – 0207 4033331
4th HMV Library, Birmingham, UK Tickets: www.gigandtours.com / Box office – 08442 485037
5th Academy 2, Manchester, UK Tickets: www.gigandtours.com / Box office – 01618 321111
7th Zanzibar, Liverpool, UK Tickets: www.ticketline.co.uk / Box office – 01517 070633
8th Cluny, Newcastle, UK Tickets: www.ticketweb.co.uk / Box office – 01912 304474
9th Tunnels, Aberdeen, UK Tickets: www.gigsinscotland.com / Box office – 08444 999990
10th King Tuts, Glasgow, UK Tickets: www.gigsinscotland.com / Box office – 08444 999990
12th The Cockpit, Leeds, UK Tickets: www.lunatickets.co.uk / Box office – 01132 436743
13th Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK Tickets: www.alt-tickets.co.uk / Box office – 01912 304474

Pre-sale tickets go on sale from www.crowdsurge.com on Wednesday 25th January at 9am
Tickets go on general sale at 9am on Friday 27th January.
www.bloodredshoes.co.uk


NEWS: The Q Awards turns 21, Al Murray confirmed to host for the second year & 3 new awards categories!

For the second year running, the inimitable Al Murray – The Pub Landlord will take on hosting duties of what has become one of the most prestigious and raucous events on the music calendar. 
 
Speaking of his eagerly awaited return to Q Awards duty, The Pub Landlord says:
“This is the music event of the year, everyone wants a Q Award, and if they’re truly lucky, like Muse last year, they might win a frozen chicken too”
 
The 2010 event will mark the 21st anniversary of The Q Awards. Throughout its history The Q Awards have welcomed and celebrated the biggest stars in music – with the likes of Oasis, U2, Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Sir Paul McCartney, Kylie, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Damon Albarn, Lily Allen, Kate Bush, Elton John, Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Take That and Muse among the glittering names to have attended the event.
 
This year the Q Awards will add 3 new categories to its roll of an honour. Two new categories – Best Female Artist and Best Male Artist – will be added to the 7 existing awards that are voted for by the public. The third new award will be for Next Big Thing, which will highlight the single most exciting musical talent of the year ahead and will be hand-picked by a specially selected panel of music industry experts and Q Magazine.
 
The much coveted award of Best Act In The World Today is presented by Russian Standard Vodka.
 
The always hotly contested Best Track is presented by Barclaycard Unwind.
 
Q Editor-In-Chief Paul Rees says: “Q firmly believes that music now is as exciting and vital as it’s ever been and that it continues to be consistently refreshed by new talent. The extra awards this year recognise Q’s ongoing commitment to the best things in music right now and in the future.
 
“In addition, Q has also always been about celebrating music’s great success stories. And, as ever, our collection of merit awards will recognise the heroic achievements and ongoing influence of music’s true icons.”
The Q Awards are unlike any other UK music ceremony – with only 450 guests, the event is a unique and intimate celebration that attracts arguably the world’s highest concentration of musical talent and fame.
 
Fans can vote for their favourite acts online at www.Qthemusic.com
The Q Awards with Russian Standard Vodka’s chosen charity is YOUYOU
 
YOUYOU’s aim is to provide practical mentoring help to young people who are disadvantaged due to their circumstance or disability, to enable them to gain invaluable experience and succeed in the turning their interests into a career.
 
YOUYOU’s approach is practical and focuses on getting young people further along their chosen career paths, with the mentoring experiences leading to further education or training, apprenticeships and employment opportunities. It creates a valuable piece of work to add to their CV or portfolio – a soundtrack, review of a music gig, recipe or menu for example, which they can present alongside the important personal selling point of having worked with a renowned name in their chosen industry
 
Brenda Ramsey, CEO of YOUYOU Mentoring commented “We are grateful to Q magazine for choosing to support YOUYOU Mentoring and our work in helping disadvantaged young people, especially those who are not in education, employment or training to realise their career dreams, by connecting them with  inspired mentors, individuals who will help develop their potential and aspirations in their chosen career industry.  We would personally like to thank Paul Rees, Editor in Chief of Q magazine for his generous support and becoming a YOUYOU mentor.”

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