• Scott Stapp

    Scott Stapp Repents, Sorta

    No one sets out to be a cliché. But in the 20 years since Creed formed in Florida, frontman Scott Stapp hit just about every meaningful plot point in the Behind the Music script: wild success, drug dependency, attempted suicide, nationally televised breakdown, domestic disputes, band breakups and reunions, and most recently, sobriety and a second chance.Now 40, Stapp insists his days of bombast are long gone, though song titles like "Jesus Was a Rockstar," from his new solo album Proof of Life (Wind-Up), may still invite skepticism. (And his voice is still in full-on ramanah mode.) Speaking on the phone from a tour stop in Kansas City, the surprisingly humble, good-natured Stapp did his best, for a second time, to defend some very strange decisions. On your new album, you sing about putting "the freak show" of your past behind, but then you lay it all bare in the lyrics.

  • Mary J. Blige

    Mary J. Blige Gives the 411 on Life, Love, and What Makes a Strong Man

    In conversation, Mary J. Blige is warm, polite, and considered. The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul is no less obliging to her fans, with whom she's shared a 21-year-long musical discussion. Fittingly, then, just in time for the holiday season, she has released a gift of sorts with her first yuletide LP, A Mary Christmas, produced by Celine Dion hitmaker David Foster. And while Blige acknowledged during our chat that the title's play on words was too good to pass up, the seasonally themed LP also invited a certain amount of year-'round introspection.Mary J., 42, spoke with us about what it takes to wear the crown. Here she is, in her own words.

  • Joan Jett

    Joan Jett: 'I've Gotta Grow Up'

    Even during her teenage days in the Runaways, Joan Jett sounded like she'd been around. Now, at 55, she's come fully into her survivor's rasp. That voice — and a series of dynamite guitar riffs — are etched into Jett's first LP in the better part of a decade, Unvarnished, recorded with her longtime backing band the Blackhearts. Across 10 tracks punched up with defiant melodies, power chords, hand claps, and confessionals, the Long Island resident tackles loss, bad luck, and growing up without getting weary; in a recent interview, she shot straight with us about, among other things, working with both new and familiar voices — Unvarnished's guests include Dave Grohl and Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace — and, of course, why she still loves rock'n'roll.Everybody experiences life and death, and losing friends and parents.I just had a chance to write about it.

  • Al Jourgensen of Ministry

    Al Jourgensen Bids Adieu to Ministry, Not to Speaking His Mind

    Spend five minutes on a cross-country Skype call with the verbose Al Jourgensen and you'll realize why so many fans call him Uncle Al — or, for that matter, Alien Jourgensen. His "wife-ager," Angie, has situated the 54-year-old electronic-metal pioneer by his laptop camera, which captures Jourgensen in his element: reclining in the backyard of his El Paso, Texas home with a beer and cigarette. From the neck up, all you can really make out of the man see are rose-tinted shades, eyebrow and septum piercings, the letter "A" tattooed on his forehead and braided dreadlocks kept in place under a beanie. Like with the Ministry mastermind's musical output, his very appearance reflects the chaos of influences that shape him.

  • (L to R) The Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe

    The Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant Explains How the World Works

    In early '80s London, rock critic-vocalist Neil Tennant and architect-keyboardist Chris Lowe constructed a different, far more arch and playful life for themselves as the duo Pet Shop Boys. They were fascinated by the club scenes in their native U.K. and New York City, the latter of which was exploding with innovations from Latin Freestyle DJs and rising pop stars like Madonna. Those influences shaped their 1984 single "West End Girls" and seminal '86 debut LP, Please, the beginnings of a career that has made them worldwide cult heroes, and more than an occasional mainstream success, for their commanding, intellectually teasing dance-pop.The twosome's latest full-length, Electric, lives up to those high standards.

  • The Lizard King: David Yow on Three Decades of Music and Mayhem

    The Lizard King: David Yow on Three Decades of Music and Mayhem

    Speaking from his current home city of Los Angeles, David Yow answers his cell with a cartoonishly protracted, "Yeeeeaaahhhello" that sounds deceptively like the start of an outgoing voice mail. But it is indeed the former Jesus Lizard and Scratch Acid frontman, live and on the line. He's in a good mood, and why not? Despite more than 30 years of literally bleeding for his art on-stage as the volatile singer for the aforementioned avant-punk bands, a self-confessed ravenous appetite for alcohol, and the usual music-industry trip-ups, he has survived to create another day.On June 25, Yow released his inaugural solo record, a 15-years-in-the-making opus of mad-scientist cacophony titled Tonight You Look Like a Spider (Joyful Noise).

  • Fred Durst Answers for Limp Bizkit's Legacy

    Fred Durst Answers for Limp Bizkit's Legacy

    Speaking from a cell phone before a concert in Dallas, 42-year-old Limp Bizkit lightning rod Fred Durst submits that he's "lucky to be standing on the mountain; no reason to be standing on top of it." His view was a lot different during the band's divisive late-'90s-early '00s peak — a period of platinum albums and criticism engendered by the Floridians' unapologetically adolescent content, not to mention Durst's infamously ungentlemanly claim of having bedded Britney Spears and high-profile beef with Creed's Scott Stapp.

  • Scott Weiland

    Scott Weiland Wants You to Root for Him

    It's more than 20 years since Stone Temple Pilots' debut, Core, yet, frontman Scott Weiland remains swept up in the winds of STP-related controversy. Hours before launching his solo Purple at the Core tour, Weiland's on-again/off-again bandmates in STP announced via press release that he'd been let go. The outspoken singer responded via his own statement, confused as to how he could "be 'terminated' from a band that I founded, fronted and co-wrote many of its biggest hits." He later suggested (seemingly tongue-in-cheek) that it was all a ruse to create buzz for ticket sales.At the moment, none of that matters. The only turbulence Weiland is concerned with is coming from the Canadian ice storms he and his current touring band, the Wildabouts, have been hurtling through en route to Niagara Falls in an RV that's lost heat and electric.

  • Adam Ant / Photo by Andy Gotts

    Pest Control: Adam Ant Shares Lessons of a Life in Music

    Given that Adam Ant came to early '80s prominence daubed in wild face paint and dressed like a scourge of the seas, he may not have been a lot of people's first choice to still be making hungry new music more than 30 years later. But on the surprisingly rootsy and autobiographical new Adam Ant Is the Blueback Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter — his first all-new album in 17 years — the 58-year-old post-punk icon (both solo and with the Ants) and sometime actor (Tales from the Crypt, anyone?) proves he's more than just a man in a hat.  From his home in England, the resurgent songwriter spoke with us about being wary of major label contracts, why the U.S.A. matters, and taking inspiration from the Cure.Having been with three major labels, you just don't walk out of those contracts that easily.I spent most of my career with Sony, and then I did MCA for an album and EMI.

  • Bad Religion, Brett Gurewitz, second from right  / Photo by Myriam Santos

    Bad Religion's Brett Gurewitz on the Band's New Album and the One He'd Rather Forget

    You aren't always the music you make. Bad Religion co-founder Brett Gurewitz spends most of his time running Epitaph Records and as a family man whose musical tastes run more to soul and classic psych than aggressive hardcore. But when recording as Bad Religion, Gurewitz can't escape his lifelong inclination towards stinging melodies and roadrunner tempos.

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