Pisces Brian Jones is one of the most misunderstood and undeniably important innovators of rock and roll. As founder of The Rolling Stones in 1962, Jones' contribution to the ultimate blossoming and explosion of rock in popular culture cannot be underestimated. However, as a vulnerable Pisces, Jones suffered a fate typical to his Sun sign: He was marginalized.
Eddie Roberts, guitarist for the supremely funky British band The New Mastersounds, is a master of mixing soaring hard bop guitar lines with authentic James Brown grooves. The group has been rapidly gaining fans by bringing their infectious vintage soul sound to clubs and festivals across the country. I talked with Eddie about how he developed his style and what new projects he has on tap for the future.
When it comes to rock and roll bloodlines, you'd be hard pressed to find an active artist with a more impressive pedigree than bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes, who fronts British/American supergroup Black Country Communion. Hughes, who was born in 1951 in Staffordshire, England, came to prominence in the early '70s as a member of British funk-rock pioneers Trapeze. That led to a career-making spot in the Mk. III and IV lineups of Deep Purple in the mid-'70s, when he replaced Roger Glover and evolved into one of the band's main songwriters, co-penning "Holy Man," "You Keep On Moving" and "The Gypsy."
Hargo Khalsa lived in India and Liverpool, England, before moving to California, where he honed his natural knack for songwriting. When he was 8, he wrote the theme song for the South African Peace Conference. Another Hargo composition, "Crying for John Lennon," was produced by Phil Spector and used in the 2009 documentary Strawberry Fields. It marks Spector's last production.
More than a decade and a half has passed since Jeff Tweedy formed Wilco from the ashes of alt-country pioneers Uncle Tupelo. In that time, the group has risen to become one of the most revered acts in current popular music, mining a singular sound that is simultaneously anchored in a rootsy approach and meandering along rock's outer sonic limits.
When Jeff Rains began his professional journey into the music industry 12 years ago, it was equal parts ambition and naivete. Both were important catalysts that enabled him to push forward as an independent artist during a time when major label record deals were still considered part and parcel of any artist’s success.
Ernie Ball recently announced their new line of electric bass and guitar strings, made out of the most magnetically active material – Cobalt. Ernie Ball's patent pending advancement in technology stems from a nine-year pursuit in researching materials that give guitarists and bassists a new-and-improved voice.
Lance Lopez is one very few blues guitarists who can say they started their career at age of 12, when he began performing professionally with older, more seasoned musicians in New Orleans -- and understanding the elements of blues, funk and R&B. By the time he was 18, the Shreveport, Louisiana-born Lopez had toured with soul singer Johnnie Taylor and blues legend Lucky Peterson.
Johnny Winter has been playing electric blues since the Sixties, and his enthusiasm for it only grows with time. "There's never been a point in my life where I was even close to getting tired of playing blues," he says, relaxing in his dressing room at B.B. King's Blues Club in New York City, where he's performing a record-release show for his 2011 album, Roots. "The truth is, I love playing the blues, now more than I ever have before."