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Artists and Bands

Live Photo Essay: Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Toronto, Ontario
April 20, 2011

Quite possibly the coolest voice ever to emerge from the heavy music scene of the 90’s or dare I say EVER, Chris Cornell pulled up a stump in Toronto, and just let us have it straight up. As a HUGE Soundgarden fan I instantly was taken by Cornell’s singing, songwriting and choice of band mates.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a fan of watchin some guy sit there and strum on an acoustic guitar. I have even gone so far as to say I can’t stand acoustic guitars and that’s just something that started as a kid and never changed. That’s not to say I hate anyone strapped into an acoustic guitar cuz when I let myself go and just listen to a lone fucker strummin his heart out with no band, no bells and no whistles, I usually find talent and appreciation within the scene I am taking in. But we’re talking about Chris Cornell here. Because he is my absolute favourite singer, I figured I’d go see what he can do when he’s all by himself.

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Artists and Bands

Crash Kings on fear of guitars, touring with Stone Temple Pilots and, most importantly, eating your vegetables!

Brothers Tony (vocals and keyboard) and Mike Beliveau (bass), along with drummer Jason Morris, are the trio behind Los Angeles’ Crash Kings. Although they’ve just released their self-titled debut, Crash Kings have already scored tours with the likes of Chris Cornell, Stone Temple Pilots, The Bravery, and Rooney and next on the bill is a tour with Australian rockers, Jet. Mike took some time out of their action-packed schedule to answer some of our questions.

Q: I’m loving the blend of big, classic rock sounds with modern rock sensibility on the new album – what sort of musical influences led you to create this sound?

A: We are pretty rooted in classic rock, as well as some jazz and grunge. The Beatles, Zeppelin, Queen, Frank Sinatra, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Brad Meldau, Buddy Rich, Soundgarden, STP, Supergrass …

Q: Even more amazing to me is that there’s no guitar on this record. You’ve somehow made an arena rock record with just keyboards, bass, and drums – how did you do it?

A: The piano is a huge instrument with an enormous sound, if you play it a certain way.  The goal was to have the piano sound as big as two guitars, but with more clarity. Add in some bi-amped bass with fuzz and you can cover a wide frequency spectrum. Then sprinkle some massive hard-hitting drums in the mix and you get a lot of sound. Then it’s all about trying to write some good songs and rocking out on stage.

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Features

Brian Ray on Playing with Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Etta James and His Upcoming Album

redbone1Brian Ray calls himself a “Reluctant Rock God and Guitarist” on his MySpace, but what’s perhaps even more impressive is that he’s scored one of the best gigs around: since 2002 he has been Paul McCartney’s bass player and yes, that’s The Beatles‘ Sir Paul McCartney. However, Brian Ray’s extensive career is not to be undermined. He’s accomplished many great musical feats and in the past has played with greats such as Bobby Pickett, Etta James and Smokey Robinson and, more recently, played on Chris Cornell’s solo album. He’s even released his own solo record, Mondo Magneto, and has a second in the works. Brian recently agreed to honor The Rock and Roll Report with an exclusive interview.

Q:  You just finished a tour with Paul McCartney, how was it?

A: BR: Yes, we finished a recent big stadium tour in the US [11 dates] and it was a fabulous time, including the new Citifield Stadium [home of the NY Mets] and the outdoor concert on the rooftop marquee of the Ed Sullivan Theatre [home of David Letterman’s Show].