Simply Red Biography 2009

Simply Red – Biography 2009

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Photographer: Hamish Brown
This year Mick Hucknall celebrates 25 years of unbroken service with the band he founded, fronted and named. Simply Red emerged out of the streets and clubs of Manchester in the post-punk era of 1984 and within 12 months were riding in the British charts.

The original line-up of singer Hucknall, bassist Tony Bowers, drummer Chris Joyce, guitarist Dave Fryman, keyboardist/singer Fritz McIntyre and horn player Tim Kellet became regulars on the thriving club circuit and soon caught the attention of record company scouts on the hunt for new talent.

Executives at the UK arm of renowned US label Elektra were the most persistent – and most generous – and Simply Red found

themselves with a major record deal within six months of starting up and on their way to a recording studio with ace American producer Stewart Levine.
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Lamb of God

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15 years ago, Lamb of God began their ascent to the forefront of modern heavy metal. A self-described “pure American metal” quintet from Richmond, VA, took deliberate steps, paid the dues and withstood the knocks as an underground, un-commercial metal act. Beloved by a rabid, grass roots cult of underground thrash fanatics thanks to brutal and technical albums like 2000’s New American Gospel and 2003’s As the Palaces Burn, the band toured North America relentlessly and began their international career overseas in support of the latter. Entering 2004, 10 years after inception, the band had risen to the top of the independent metal scene. Their uncommon work ethic, uncompromising musicianship and intellectual lyrics set them apart – and into un-chartered territory.

Five years ago, Lamb of God surprised the hell out of everyone — including themselves — by attracting the attention of and soon after inking a deal with Epic Records. “How does an extreme band like us even exist at this kind of upper-echelon major label?” remembers guitarist Mark Morton.



Far more commercially oriented bands have buckled under the strain of similar indie-to-major leaps. Skeptical of the outcome of such a relationship, the band took the opportunity to push even harder and in 2004 released the ferocious and technical ‘Ashes of the Wake’ and in 2006 the dark and unrelenting, ‘Sacrament.’ These albums proved that the major label pairing had no negative side effects. Fans and critics alike celebrated both albums, receiving respective album of the year awards from major metal and hard rock publications around the world and the latter landing in the top 10 of the Billboard charts, becoming the top selling metal album of 2006, and a Grammy nomination. Now entering 2009, Lamb of God – guitarist Willie Adler, Willie’s drummer brother Chris Adler, bassist John Campbell, guitarist Mark Morton and vocalist Randy Blythe — have recaptured the attention of the heavy metal world, toting a vicious new album they call Wrath.

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Kaki King Bio

Kaki King

kakiking Thumping bass lines, tapping melodies, and slapping percussion on her guitar, Kaki King is a one-woman force sent to wreak acoustic havoc. She’s a riveting performer, combining jaw-dropping technique with unique compositions. Her playing has a passion and an edge that keeps her tenuously balanced, one foot in the acoustic world, the other in rock’n’roll.
For King, the guitar isn’t just a reverie machine; it’s a percussion instrument, just like the drums she played with her high school band…

“When I was about four years old my parents wanted me to take music lessons, and I chose the guitar,” she says. “But I didn’t enjoy it, so when I was five I put it aside. Then I started playing drums when I was nine or 10. I still play them. That was how I got into playing pop music, and that feel was a big influence when I did go back to guitar.”


Using intricate tunings and neck tapping, Kaki became focused on writing instrumental music. In 1999, Kaki moved up to New York to attend NYU, and emerged three years later with a humanities degree that allowed her to complete only the feeblest of crossword puzzles. “I want to be either a vagabond street performer or a sassy bar rat,” she told a professor inquiring about her future plans, to which the professor replied, “With your handsome looks and ragamuffin charm, I’m sure you’ll be able to do both.” And so she did…

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Brian Setzer

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Brian Setzer has made a career of bucking trends, going against the grain, ignoring popular culture, discarding rational thought, and, all the while, blowing people away. In a pop music era dominated by twenty-something contest winners and angst-ridden suburban kids, his latest project couldn’t be any further removed from the mainstream. Recording centuries-old music with his 18-piece Rockin’ Big Band and enlisting the help of a long-retired octogenarian, Setzer has achieved what is surely his finest musical hour with his upcoming Surfdog Records release, “Wolfgang’s Big Night Out.”

As a teenager, Brian Setzer drew inspiration from 50’s rockabilly, fused it with new wave punk, and created a phenomenon with his band Stray Cats. During the 1990’s (when grunge ruled the charts), he assembled his monstrous big band complete with a 13-piece horn section that ignited an international modern swing explosion, sold millions of albums, and racked up 3 Grammy wins. If that wasn’t enough, Setzer found tremendous success in redefining Christmas music for a generation desperately desiring something new and exciting around the holidays.
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Lee Rocker

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Since the release of his Alligator Records debut Racin’ The Devil, bassist/vocalist/songwriter (and Stray Cats co-founder) Lee Rocker’s solo career has been skyrocketing. Publications from USA Today to Billboard and The New York Times raved about the undeniable power and foot-stomping fun of Rocker’s Americana-based roots rock. OffBeat declared, “What’s most satisfying about Lee Rocker is his ability to graft classic Sun licks and shuffles onto Americana. He bridges the gap between Bruce Springsteen and Hank Williams, Sr.” Bass Player magazine simply said, “He absolutely kills.” Lee’s live shows, fueled by his barnstorming, rocking band, grow wilder each night out. And now, on the heels of the national Stray Cats 2007 summer reunion tour, Lee Rocker is back with his second Alligator album, Black Cat Bone.

The Chicago Tribune describes Rocker’s playing as “muscular and passionate.” The Washington Post says his music consists of “impressive, catchy, driving original songs, frantic romps, finger-snapping swing and brooding slow blues.” Rolling Stone declares, “Lee Rocker’s singing naturally captures the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. His catchy, well-written songs are very difficult to get out of your head.”


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Slim Jim Phantom

Slim Jim Phantom has secured his place as a true rock n roll icon.

As the legendary drummer for the Stray Cats Phantom, alongside band mates Brian Setzer and Lee Rocker, spearheaded the neo-rockabilly movement of the early 80s. With a love for 50s rock n roll the Stray Cats took inspiration from the bygone era and mixed with their youthful energy and aggression produced the updated hard-edged rockabilly sound that saw them conquer London, Europe and later the US, gaining fans among the likes of Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Robert Plant along the way. slim-jim-phantom-sml

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The Caxton Street Seafood Festival – Sunday 4th May 2008

Caxton Street Seafood Festival Crowd 

To experience some of the best live music Australia has to offer this Labour Day long weekend, there’s only one place to be – The Caxton Street Seafood Festival.

This year’s Festival will be held on Sunday 4 May 2008, and along with delicious seafood, wine and beer, there’s a sight and sound for every musical palate.

There’s a massive amount of locally home-grown talent on offer including the likes of Nik Phillips, Nina May, DJ Jimmy Z, the infectiously manic Butterfingers and electro tinged rock band, Elation.

The eclectic mix also includes indie rocker Diana Anaid, jazz diva Grace Knight and trio and Sydney based hip hop and beats label, Urthboy.
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Chris Isaak Bio

Chris Isaak

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From crooning pop to retro-cool rock, multi-platinum seller Chris Isaak is a man of many personas – a gifted musician and vocalist, host of his own TV show, acclaimed actor, a consummate showman and charismatic all-round great guy!

Isaak is also a platinum-selling artist with nine extraordinary albums, twelve singles and two Grammy nominations under his belt.


His legendary shows with long-time band Silvertone have entertained legions of loyal fans for more than two decades. Known for his wonderfully-entertaining stage presence, the charismatic performer and his band of 20 years is recognised by such classics such as ‘Wicked Game’, ‘Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing’, ‘Somebody’s Crying’ and ‘Blue Hotel.’

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Leonard Cohen

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For four decades, Leonard Cohen has been one of the most important and influential songwriters of our time, a figure whose body of work achieves greater depths of mystery and meaning as time goes on. His songs have set a virtually unmatched standard in their seriousness and range. Sex, spirituality, religion, power – he has relentlessly examined the largest issues in human lives, always with a full appreciation of how elusive answers can be to the vexing questions he raises. But those questions, and the journey he has traveled in seeking to address them, are the ever-shifting substance of his work, as well as the reasons why his songs never lose their overwhelming emotional force.

His first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967), announced him as an undeniable major talent. It includes such songs as “Suzanne,” “Sisters of Mercy,” “So Long, Marianne” and “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Good,” all now longstanding classics. If Cohen had never recorded another album, his daunting reputation would have been assured by this one alone.

However, the two extraordinary albums that followed, Songs From a Room (1969), which includes his classic song, “Bird on the Wire,” and Songs of Love and Hate (1971), provided whatever proof anyone may have required that that the greatness of his debut was not a fluke. (All three albums are reissued in April, 2007.)



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Black Mustang

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Black Mustang have quickly established themselves as one of Brisbane’s most undeniably exhilarating new bands. Having developed an explosive live set with teenage kicks and manic pop thrills, their sound veers from rambunctious garage rock n roll to grungy blues-infected dynamos. Black mustangs sheer sonic momentum, combined with their intelligent use of melody, displays a maturity far beyond the band’s tender years. Powerful emotions, spanning from love and lust to fear and frustration are ever present. In short, Black Mustang provides a roller coaster ride of unashamed, delirious rock n roll.

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Buddha Birth Day Festival – Brisbane, May 2-4 2008

Buddha Birth Day Festival

An estimated 200,000 visitors are expected to attend the 12th annual Buddha Birth Day Festival. The Festival is a signature cultural event for Queensland and is now one of the largest Buddhist celebrations in the world.

Endorsing this year’s theme of “Harmony in All”, the Festival promotes a peaceful existence and appreciation of Australia’s multicultural identity and focuses on generating community and individual ‘respect for life’.

Spread over 12 locations throughout the South Bank Parklands, the Buddha Birth Day Festival involves over 700 volunteers, 300 performers, 200 events, 2 performance stages, a fireworks display, 21 information and meditation sessions including 2 multi-faith forums, 18 Cultural, Art and Environmental activities for the children, a Children’s Amusement Area with a number of rides, an Art Exhibition, an organised Festival tour for over 1,000 school children, 50 food and merchandise stalls and 4 Official functions including the Opening Ceremony on Saturday night.

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Links:  Buddha Birth Day Festival Site 
Photos: LifeMusicMedia flickr photoset

Eskimo Joe

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[photo: Stuart Blythe]
Youthful naivety can produce flashes of rock & roll excitement, but genuine experience and the passage of time can turn a good band into a truly great one. Now, more than a decade on from when the young Fremantle trio leapt onto the national stage, Eskimo Joe are taking a big, bold step towards music greatness.

On the eve of releasing their fourth album, the horizon has broadened. Band members Kav Temperley, Stu MacLeod and Joel Quartermain, have never been ones who ascribe to the status quo and consequently have proven there’s a whole world of possibilities to explore – if you simply follow your heart, listen to your muse and make the most of your talent.


Their third album, Black Fingernails, Red Wine, was a brazen step forward for a band borne of a scene that doesn’t always encourage grand statements. This dark edgy collection of songs was a monumental leap forward and landed the band not only quadruple platinum sales, but a number #1 charting album along with industry accolades with four ARIA Awards’>ARIA Awards in Australia. Consequently their world expanded.

Eskimo Joe landed a US Record deal with the respected Rykodisc, and proceeded to explore new territory. Humility coupled with a huge dynamic on-stage performance, elevated the band in the minds and hearts of locals. Their sheer perseverance from starting at the beginning again in a notoriously tough market, generated a solid base of fans.

The culmination of this international touring experience has creatively given way to new material for album number four. Looking to further shake-up their methodology, Eskimo Joe have now enlisted the assistance of world renowned English Producer, Gil Norton (Foo Fighters, Pixies, Echo and the Bunnymen). While Black Fingernails, Red Wine was an award winning first attempt at self-production, this time, the trio have openly embraced the challenge of outside perspectives.

A background of bold production brushstrokes cleverly reflecting material that has, thematically, just as much personality on display, Eskimo Joe aim to further showcase developments in their songwriting on the forthcoming album. Through previous award-winning albums, A Song Is A City and Black Fingernails, Red Wine, this consistent aspiration is vividly evident.

Now more than ever at home in their own skin, the trio raise the bar set by past albums with the forthcoming album number four. The songs move to a brighter, dynamic mood reflecting both recent events in both their personal lives and on a universal front without abandoning the everlasting desire of forward movement. Unashamed emotion and unguarded personality envelope every track.

So, after ten years together, lesser bands may ponder what roads are left to travel… Eskimo Joe actively embrace the wide-open road before them earnestly and proudly, while being not afraid to try some roads less traveled along the way.