Author Archives: M Fund

Kendrick Lamar Celebrates Eazy-E, Compton in Powerful Tribute

Kendrick Lamar praised the fearlessness of N.W.A’s Eazy-E and the new kind of truth-telling he brought to hip-hop in a tribute that kicks off Paper magazine’s three-part series celebrating late rap greats in their October “Nowstalgia” issue.

“People were scared to talk about these kinds of tough situations, but because [Eazy] and the group took it upon themselves to talk about [these things], every artist is able to and they owe it to him,” Kendrick said. “He’s not only the birth of gangsta rap, but he’s the birth of a whole legacy of being able to say what you want to say on a record and not being in fear of what others may think and not offending your own art and your own reflection.”

Lamar opened by remembering his first encounter with Eazy — busting out of jail and through his TV screen in the video for “We Want Eazy,” off his 1988 solo debut Eazy-Duz-It. Only five or six at the time, Lamar had no idea the MC also called Compton home, but he heard N.W.A everywhere and as he grew older, he began to recognize the record’s vivid imagery playing out in his neighborhood.

“Looking at them and sitting inside my community, it left a big toll on me because it always let me know that no matter how far I go, I gotta stay in reach of the people and what’s going on in the neighborhood, whether it’s a harsh reality or not,” Lamar said. “Before them, rap was fun — you had your battles and whatnot, but this time around, when it came to what Eazy wanted to do, being a visionary, he had the idea of speaking the honest truth, and I think it really resonated with a lot of people because it was the shock value of, ‘Okay, these guys are really standing out and focused on telling their reality, no matter how pissed off you get by it.'”

But Lamar noted he wasn’t fully able to grasp the power of spreading such a message on a global scale until he toured behind good kid, m.A.A.d. city and encountered fans rapping with him about the trials and tribulations of his community. That experience made him want to continue making music, but it also reinforced the importance staying connected to home.

“Somebody told me this early on: ‘You’re nothing without your own backyard,'” Lamar said, adding later, “You can go all the way across the world 10 times but when you come back to your city and see the pride and joy in these kids’ faces, it’s the ultimate feeling. I think that’s exactly what they were thinking and it’s exactly how I think today. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Eazy and I wouldn’t be able to say the things that I say, talk about my community the way I talk about it, for good or for bad.”

Lamar’s tribute to Eazy-E will be followed by two more remembrances set to arrive soon: Eminem on Tupac and Swizz Beatz on the Notorious B.I.G.

Agnes Monplaisir Hosts Chris Stein & Debbie Harry for Paris Debut

PARIS, Oct. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Agnes Monplaisir, gallerist extraordinaire, hosted Chris Stein and Debbie Harry along with music lovers and art aficionados on the evening of October 3rd for the opening of Stein’s latest exhibition, Chris Stein / Negative: Me, Blondie, and the…


Rosanne Cash on Gun Debate: 'Don't Tell Me to Keep My Mouth Shut'

On Friday, October 2nd, just one day after a gunman on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, killed nine people and injured several others, singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash took to her Facebook page, calling on readers to sign a petition urging the White House to reinstate the 1994 federal ban on assault weapons. That call to action touched off widespread debate from the singer-songwriter’s Facebook followers, with Cash writing an additional post calling for commenters to be more respectful of other’s opinions.

The first of Cash’s writings came just hours after the massacre, which was reportedly the 264th mass shooting of the year (on the 274th day of 2015). In her original post, Cash wrote, “If you are as sick of gun violence in this country as I am, then let’s stop talking about it and just do ONE simple thing.”

Cash explained that the petition was created by her daughter, Chelsea Crowell (a contributor for Rolling Stone Country), and would require 100,000 signatures for it to be reviewed. As of Tuesday afternoon, the petition has nearly 3,600 signatures. That initial post from Cash received thousands of “likes” and was quickly shared by Facebook users — it also spawned hundreds of comments representing all sides of the thorny issue. The following day, Cash posted a link to a New York Times essay on gun control, which was accompanied by her own comment that read, “I feel as strongly and as passionately about this issue as all of you, but I won’t stoop to insults. Please, do unfollow or unlike if you can’t maintain basic courtesy.”

By Sunday morning, Cash had clearly had enough of the negative comments, posting another link to an essay on the issue and telling fans and followers, “This is my page and I do have a right to my beliefs and convictions, as all of you do. I was raised to have the courage to stand behind those convictions and it’s too late in life for me to sacrifice my integrity by keeping the most passionate of them secret. Those who tell me to ‘stay out of politics and stick to music,’ or, in other words ‘keep your mouth shut,’ are perhaps so obsessed with the Second Amendment that they haven’t noticed the First.”

The singer and activist, who for a decade served on the board of PAX, an organization dedicated to preventing gun violence among children, added, “I have as much concern for the safety of my children as any mother alive and if that makes me ‘political,’ so be it. I don’t hurl insults because I think some of you have a bewildering attachment to military-grade weapons and a refusal to consider mandatory background checks. I’d appreciate the same civility.”

While serving as a representative of PAX, Cash attended the 2000 Million Moms March on Washington, D.C., penning an essay in Rolling Stone about that experience.

“At the end of the day, my friend Patty Smyth, who marched alongside me with Bette Midler, Emmylou Harris, Raffi and many, many more, said, ‘If nothing else, we helped carry the burden of the grieving mothers for one day,'” she wrote in the Facebook post. “I was full of expectation that our elected officials would rise to the occasion and enact basic gun safety legislation like background checks, safety locks and a ban on military-grade weapons. It turned out that, in fact, all we did was help carry the burden for a day. Nothing changed.”

Explaining that she eventually left the PAX board (which has since merged with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence) after “ten years of meeting grief-stricken parents of children killed by guns,” the mother of four also revealed that her daughter, Chelsea, had once been held up at gunpoint while working in a jewelry store.

“The gunmen held her for 20 minutes,” she explained. “I’m so grateful she was not killed and I’m also so acutely aware that the difference between me and the moms carrying the photos on the march is a split second. Do NOT tell me that Chelsea ‘should have had a gun.’ If she had, she’d be dead. She is not physically or mentally able to coolly aim a gun at someone who is already pointing a gun at HER, and fire sharp-shooter style at another human being while terror-stricken. Nor am I. Nor are millions of other people.”

Cash closed the lengthy post writing, “If one classroom of first graders can be saved just by requiring background checks and a ban on military style weapons, wouldn’t it be worth it? One teenager in a movie theater, one student nurse, one pastor in the pulpit, one little pre-schooler? If the answer is no, or the answer is just more vicious rhetoric, then we should be ashamed. That child could be yours. It was almost mine. So don’t tell me to keep my mouth shut.”

Musical Instrument Museum to Host Special Exhibition "Stradivarius: Origins and Legacy of the Greatest Violin Maker" Opening Jan. 16

PHOENIX, Oct. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — This January the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix celebrates the violin. The internationally beloved instrument will be the star of a new exhibition that showcases 10 exceptional historic and modern examples from the string…


Great Music with Beautifully Packaged Collector's Sets by The Beatles, Johnny Cash, John Lennon, Bob Marley, The Rolling Stones, Rush, Frank Sinatra and The Who

UMeLOS ANGELES, Oct. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — If you are shopping for presents this holiday season, nothing is faster or more convenient than a gift card – or more anonymous. Instead, show your friends and loved ones that you appreciate their musical taste, whether they’re fans of…


Rihanna on Domestic Abuse: 'It's Not a Subject to Sweep Under the Rug'

Rihanna opened up about her tumultuous relationship with Chris Brown, his assault and the unfair treatment she and other victims of domestic abuse often face in a new interview with Vanity Fair. “I just never understood that, like how the victim gets punished over and over,” the singer said.

Rihanna did not dwell on the infamous 2009 incident, though shared some sharp words for “the very nasty woman” who leaked photos of her bruised and swollen face to TMZ and “thought a check was more important than morals.”

More concerning to Rihanna was the way the assault has continued to follow her in egregiously unfair ways. Last year, CBS nixed her performance of “Run This Town” on Thursday Night Football at the height of the Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal (that night’s game featured Rice’s old team, the Baltimore Ravens).

“It’s not a subject to sweep under the rug, so I can’t just dismiss it like it wasn’t anything, or I don’t take it seriously,” Rihanna said. “But, for me, and anyone who’s been a victim of domestic abuse, nobody wants to even remember it. Nobody even wants to admit it. So to talk about it and say it once, much less 200 times, is like … I have to be punished for it? It didn’t sit well with me.”

Still, the singer was forthcoming about her attempt to reconcile her relationship with Brown after the assault, admitting she believed she was the positive force he needed to turn his life around.

“You realize after a while that in that situation, you’re the enemy,” she said. “You want the best for them, but if you remind them of their failures, or if you remind them of bad moments in their life, or even if you say I’m willing to put up with something, they think less of you — because they know you don’t deserve what they’re going to give. And if you put up with it, maybe you are agreeing that you [deserve] this, and that’s when I finally had to say, ‘Uh-oh, I was stupid thinking I was built for this.'”

Rihanna said she doesn’t “have much of a relationship now” with Brown, but said she does not hate him, and would “care about him until the day I die.” It’s a somewhat cloudy, but ultimately optimistic, outlook that permeates the rest of the Vanity Fair profile, in which Rihanna also discusses the difficulties of cultivating relationships, let alone a normal life, in the public eye. 

“This is scary and sad all at the same time,” Rihanna cracked at one point. “I literally dream about buying my own groceries … Because it is something that is real and normal. Something that can keep you a little bit uncomfortable … Life is not perfect, and the minute you feel it’s perfect, it’s not real.

“Artists sign a deal to make music; we didn’t sign to be perfect or to be role models,” she added. “We’re all flawed human beings who are learning and growing and evolving and going through the same bullshit as everybody else. The fact that people expect the day we sign we’re supposed to be perfect does not make any fucking sense to me. Even tragedy, every trial in your life, is a test. It’s like a class — you take an exam, and if you pass, you move on to the next. You still have to take another test and prove yourself again.”

Loton Appoints Blake Indursky as Executive Vice Chairman and Senior Vice President of Operations

LiveXLive LogoLOS ANGELES, Oct. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Loton, Corp. (OTC: LIVX) announced today that music industry and digital veteran Blake Indursky has joined the company as Executive Vice Chairman and Senior Vice President of Operations. 

Robert Ellin, Chairman of Loton, Corp said,…


Flashback: Leonard Cohen Covers Drifters at Possible Final Show

In December of 2013, Leonard Cohen‘s “Grand Tour” touched down in New Zealand for a run of four concerts. The last stop was in Auckland at the Vector Arena, which was his 69th show of the year and his 373rd since returning to the road in the summer of 2008 after a very long absence. The shows lasted for at least three hours, which meant at minimum he spent 1,110 hours performing concerts as a septuagenarian. 

Like many shows on the final legs of the tour, he wrapped up with “I Tried to Leave You” and a cover of “Save the Last Dance for Me.” It might seem odd to see one of the great songwriters in history playing a Drifters song, but he truly made it his own and it was the perfect way to sum up the night. “Friends, I want to thank you for the wonderful hospitality you’ve showed us tonight,” he said near the end of the last show. “I want to thank you not just for tonight, but for all the years you’ve paid attention to my songs. I really appreciate it.”

When the song ended, Cohen removed his hat, took a big bow and walked offstage with an enormous smile on his face. He hasn’t played a single show since that night, even in support of his stellar 2014 LP Popular Problems and this year’s Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, which was his fourth document of the 2008-2013 trek. That might seem like overkill, but it was a spectacular tour that justified such treatment.

Fans continue to hope that Cohen has one more tour left in him, though in September he passed along a very simple message to his fans: “No tours in the foreseeable future.” He’s now 81 (six days older than professional old man Wilford Brimley) and certainly deserves a break.

Gaslight Anthem Singer Brian Fallon Preps Debut Solo LP, Tour

Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon will hit the studio with producer Butch Walker later this year to record his first solo album, Painkillers, set for release in early 2016 via Island Records.

Fallon has also announced a string of live dates with a backing band comprised of musicians from his various projects: Gaslight Anthem guitarist Alex Rosamilia, the Horrible Crowes’ Ian Perkins and Molly & The Zombies bassist Catherine Popper. According to a press release, Fallon’s solo shows will also feature “other special performers.”

The tour starts January 7th at Port City Music Hall in Portland, Maine and wraps on the 17th at City Winery in Nashville. A complete list of dates is below. Additional shows will be announced soon, including a full headlining trek after the release of Painkillers.

Fallon and Walker — whose lengthy production credits include Taylor Swift, Fall Out Boy and Keith Urban — will record Painkillers in Nashville. The LP marks Fallon’s first since the Gaslight Anthem announced an indefinite hiatus after the European leg of their tour supporting 2014’s Get Hurt (which was also recorded in Nashville).

The New Jersey outfit first emerged in 2007 with their debut LP, Sink or Swim, which they followed in 2008 with the critically acclaimed, The ’59 Sound. Despite their punk and hardcore roots, Fallon and the Gaslight Anthem were frequently compared to fellow New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen, whom they’ve performed with several times live. 

Amidst the Gaslight Anthem’s rise, Fallon embarked on several side projects: In 2011 he and Ian Perkins released Elsie as the Horrible Crowes, and in 2013, Fallon formed Molly and the Zombies with Plow United frontman Brian McGee, former Ryan Adams and the Cardinal bassist Catherine Popper and Scissor Sisters drummer Randy Schrager. The group has performed several times live, and though they released a handful of songs online, there are no plans for a full-length.

Brian Fallon Tour Dates

January 7 — Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall
January 8 — Woodstock, NY @ Bearsville Theater
January 9 — Mashantucket, CT @ The Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino ­
January 10 — Wilmington, DE @ World Cafe Live ­ Wilmington
January 12 — Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar
January 13 — Columbus, OH @ The A&R Music Bar
January 15 — Charlottesville, VA @ The Southern
January 16 — Saxapahaw, NC @ Haw River Ballroom
January 17 — Nashville, TN @ City Winery

See Pokey LaFarge's Stirring Opry Debut of 'Actin' a Fool'

Following the spring release of his seventh studio album, Something in the Water, roots-music hero Pokey LaFarge has spent most of 2015 on the road, taking his blend of rockabilly, Western swing, jump blues and honky-tonk to audiences from Amsterdam to Bonnaroo. LaFarge’s impeccable showmanship and slick traditionalism harkens back to a much earlier period of American music, making him a tailored fit for one of country music’s oldest institutions: the Grand Ole Opry.

LaFarge and his band made their Grand Ole Opry debut this past August, performing a three-song set that included a stirring rendition of their rave-up “Actin’ a Fool,” complete with a show-stopping harmonica solo from LaFarge’s sideman Ryan Koenig.

One of 12 songs from LaFarge’s latest record, “Actin’ a Fool” received an adoring reception during the St. Louis-based singer’s August 25th Opry performance. With its old-world blues melody, rockabilly beat and carnival-barker vocals, the tune may have fared just as well during a mid-Fifties Opry broadcast, although LaFarge himself would likely disagree with such a characterization. 

“People want to put labels on things.  They say ‘retro’ because they want to write me off,” he told Rolling Stone Country earlier this year. “I never want my music to be categorized. Music shouldn’t be categorized, except as good or not.” 

Currently touring the U.K., LaFarge returns to the States in November, performing a string of dates with Margo Price, before hitting the road with the Deslondes.