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Summer in the City: Interview with Torche's Andrew Elstner

Wednesday, July 18: 9 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Torche / Photo by Gary Copeland

Formed in Miami, Florida, Torche has rocked fans, critics and stereos since their forming in 2004. Variously characterized as “stoner pop,” “thunder rock” and “sludge metal,” their self-titled album was declared as the Number Seven album of 2005 on Decibel magazine’s annual Top 40 list. Three years later, Decibel magazine ranked the band’s second album, Meanderthal, as Number One. Torche's latest album, Harmonicraft, was released in April 2012. The band has toured with Mogwai, Isis, Baroness and the Sword, among others, and in 2010, they opened for Coheed and Cambria. Here the Rock Hall catches up with Torche guitarist Andrew Elstner, as the band readies for a free live concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 25, 2012, part of the Summer in the City concert series.

Rock Hall: What was the first record/CD you ever bought and do you still listen to it?

Andrew Elstner: With my own money? Aerosmith Rocks and damn straight I still listen to it. Although now it's on my iPod, not a cassette tape. 

RH: What artists did you listen to when you were growing up and what about ...

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Rock Hall Sessions: Interview with Bethesda

Friday, February 17: 4 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Members of the band Bethesda interviewed at the Rock Hall

Although Bethesda is an Ohio-bred band whose homespun tales and sounds are grounded in the folk tradition, the members' ecletic musical backgrounds, creative energy and flair for the dramatic ensure that they're never beholden to the trappings of one particular style. Instead, the group's core of musicians – violinist Christopher Black, bassist Dan Corby, vocalist Shanna Delaney, guitarist/vocalist Eric Ling, drummer Justin Rife and guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Jesse Sloan – have cultivated a refreshingly vibrant sound that has made them a band to watch. Their music has been slated to appear in programming on Showtime, MTV, Oxygen, VH1 and E!; they've shared the stage with such noted indie acts as Azure Ray and fellow Ohio native, Jessica Lea Mayfield, and exposure on more than 200 independent and college radio stations nationwide has given them serious buzz. 

Delaney hails from Circleville, Ohio, while Ling grew up in nearby Bellefontaine. Sloan originally came from Florida, Rife from Tallmadge, Ohio, Corby from Chardon, Ohio, and Black was most recently living in Connecticut. The members brought divergent tastes, with Rife coming from a background playing in punk bands and Delaney having found her voice in musical theater. Ling was a student ...

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Spotlight Exhibit: Joy Division / New Order

Friday, February 3: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Joy Division / New Order bassist Peter Hook in front of the Spotlight Exhibit with his bass

The members of Joy Division were post-punk visionaries. In contrast to the raw fury of the British punk scene that gave birth to the band, Joy Division created a more nuanced, expressive template for emphatically projecting discontent. Tortured lead singer Ian Curtis' introspective lyrics and melancholic worldview were reflected in the band's manic live performances and moody arrangements. This motif was captured in songs like "Disorder," "Transmission" and "Love Will Tear Us Apart." In addition to Curtis' vocals, Bernard Sumner's angular guitar work and Stephen Morris' frenetic drumming, the band's signature sound owed much to the bass of Peter Hook, who cultivated a lead-bass style that rejected the notion of a bassist's sole role as being backup. "I never did really play bass, because I always found it intensely annoying whenever some twat of a guitarist would turn around to you and say, 'could you play the root note?' said Hook during a 2010 interview at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. "Luckily, I found a style."

That signature style involved playing lead lines high on the fretboard, creating melodies that were often mimicked in the vocals. “That came about early, when ...

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Five Minutes with Fame: Hollywood Undead

Friday, November 18: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Hollywood Undead

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is pleased to partner with Microsoft Zune for Five Minutes with Fame, an exclusive video series on the Zune Marketplace featuring singers, songwriters and bands at the forefront of today's music. After a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum, we sit down with artists to talk about their music, their road to success, inspirations, being on tour and of course, some of their favorite artists and artifacts highlighted in the Museum. This week's featured artist is Hollywood Undead.

As their name not-so subtly suggests, Hollywood Undead emerged from the music scene in Tinseltown, combining elements of hip-hop and hardcore in a sound they call "heavy pop." The first incarnation of the band took shape in 2005, and evolved into the six mask-wearing musicians that compose Hollywood Undead today: Johnny 3 Tears, J-Dog, Charlie Scene, Da Kurlzz, Funny Man and Daniel "Danny" Murillo.

The band's debut album Swan Songs was released in 2008, selling more than 800,000 copies worldwide. Sales were helped by two years on the road that found the band headlining international gigs and on the bill at major festivals, including the Download Festival in the UK ...

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Five Minutes with Fame: Rick Ross

Friday, November 11: 4:15 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Rick Ross

Six-foot-two, 300-pound Rick Ross – a “hip-hop heavyweight,” as described by the New York Times – rose from Miami’s underground rap scene to become 2006’s buzz-worthiest hip-hop artist with Port Of Miami, his Number 1 Pop/Number 1 R&B/Number 1 Rap major label debut album. Its lead single “Hustlin’” became the first mastertone ever certified platinum by the RIAA for sales of 1 million copies before the associated album had even been released.  A remix was subsequently issued, featuring Jay-Z and Young Jeezy. Port Of Miami’s second single was “Push It,” which sampled Giorgio Moroder’s “Scarface (Push It To The Limit),” evoking the gritty soul of a city that is always on the edge of exploding.

"I always started off, first and foremost, with my love for music, my passion for music," says Ross. "Not only hip-hop music, but all genres of music, whether it was R&B, rock and roll… I was just a music lover, and I think that's where my love for writing really began to mold, you know, at a young age."

Ross further came into his own on 2008's Trilla, whose second single release, “The Boss,” featuring T-Pain, rose ...

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Hall of Fame Series with Spooner Oldham

Friday, November 11: 2:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Spooner Oldham

On November 2, 2011, Hall of Fame inductee Spooner Oldham spoke with and performed for a sold-out audience in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Foster Theater. Oldham is a linchpin of Southern Soul and the Alabama sound, a fixture of famed Muscle Shoals and FAME studios, where his keyboard playing enlivened some of the biggest rock and roll songs of the past 50 years, including Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man," Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally" and Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman." Together with singer-songwriter Dan Penn, Spooner contributed a number of classics to the canon of rock, co-writing "Cry Like a Baby" by the Box Tops, "It Tears Me Up" by Percy Sledge and "I'm Your Puppet" by James and Bobby Purify. 

Born Dewey Lyndon "Spooner" Oldham in Center Star, Alabama, Oldham is one of rock's most in-demand players, appearing on records and tours with luminaries such as Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and Neil Young, in addition to newer act Drive-By Truckers. 

During his Hall of Fame series interview with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum director of education Jason Hanley, Oldham talked about ...

continue Categories: Inductee, Event, Exclusive Interviews, Hall of Fame, American Music Masters, Education, Foster Theatre

Reflections on Aretha Franklin with Melinda Doolittle

Friday, November 4: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Melinda Doolittle

Melinda Doolittle has performed as a backup singer for musical legends such as Michael McDonald, Aretha Franklin and Aaron Neville, and finishd third on the sixth season of American Idol. Doolittle has also performed at the White House, the Musicians Hall of Fame, the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, and she has shared the stage with Peter Cetera, Cyndi Lauper, the Boston Pops Orchestra and more.

Doolittle's debut album, Coming Back to You (2009), produced by Grammy-nominated Mike Mangini, garnered positive reviews from critics, including  The New York Times, which noted that the album "succeeds mightily." Doolittle recently penned an autobiography, Beyond Me (2010) and is currently in the studio writing and recording songs for the release of her next album. This week, the Rock Hall caught up with Doolite, who will perform at the Aretha Franklin tribute concert at PlayhouseSquare's State Theatre on November 5.

Rock Hall: What is your first memory of hearing Aretha Franklin's music? 

Melinda Doolittle: I remember being a young girl and my Daddy playing "Respect" for me. I loved that there was a song that made it okay to be sassy. That was the only time I was allowed to wag ...

continue Categories: American Music Masters, Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exclusive Interviews, Event

Reflections on Aretha Franklin with Kris Bowers

Friday, November 4: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Kris Bowers

Pianist Kris Bowers has shared the stage and/or recorded with jazz artists such as Terell Stafford, Vincent Herring, Louis Hayes, Casey Benjamin and Kenneth Whalum II. He has continued performing in a number of other genres, working with Murs, Q-Tip, Josè James, Jay-Z and Kanye West. Bowers can be heard on Kanye West and Jay-Z’s latest album, Watch the Throne. He has also performed for notable individuals including Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and President Barack Obama. Bowers was the winner of the 2011 Thelonious Monk Institute International Piano Competition, where he caught the attention of judges Jason Moran, Herbie Hancock, Danilo Perez, Renee Rosnes and Ellis Marsalis. He is pursuing his Masters in Jazz Performance with a focus on film composition at Juilliard. Bowers is currently forming his own band and will be releasing his debut album on Concord Records next year. This week, the Rock Hall caught up withBowers, who will perform at the Aretha Franklin tribute concert at PlayhouseSquare's State Theater on November 5.

Rock Hall: What is your first memory of hearing Aretha Franklin's music? 

Kris Bowers: Growing up, Aretha was one of the handful of artists my parents always ...

continue Categories: Hall of Fame, American Music Masters, Exclusive Interviews
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