• Building the Perfect Beast

    Tom Morello is a relentless zombie-slaying mofo. He's destroyed a dozen pixilated monsters in the past 45 seconds, and he's ravenous for more carnage. "I actually like this a lot," he says as he wastes a fast-charging catatonic corpse. "When we toured in Japan, this is all I did." We are in a video arcade on the Santa Monica Pier, and the machine Morello is raging against is The House of the Dead 2. It would be great to claim that playing videogames and whacking zombies is something Morello and I do together all the time, but that would be a lie; I am only here because I am writing a story about his band, Audioslave, and he is only here because he knows his new band needs coverage. He's a pro. We've completed our interview in a beachside hotel room and are now trying to hang out and be cool, which makes for kind of a weird vibe. But here's what's even weirder: It's working. It is cool.

  • Exposure: Uneasy Rider

    By: Dave ItzkoffDirector Alexander Payne drives Jack Nicholson over the edge inAbout Schmidt "The depression of others is funny," declares a characteristically chipper Alexander Payne. The 40-ish writer/director has proved this point in scathing comedies like Citizen Ruth and the marvelously misanthropic Election. And he doesn't want anyone to feel guilty for laughing at the misfortunes of his sad-sack protagonists. "They're just movies," Payne says, standing in the New York City apartment of his writing partner, Jim Taylor. "The stories that I've told so far are about desolate lives. I'm just finding a cinematic expression for that." Still, it's hard to know whether to burst into hysterical laughter or tears at his latest film, About Schmidt.

  • The Crying Game

    By: Andy GreenwaldFor the past few years, Dashboard Confessional have been arelentless cult phenomenon, with fans who fill large arenas, bondonline, and memorize painfully intimate songs as if they were smashhits. But who is the man behind Dashboard? Where did he come from?And why do kids break down in tears at his concerts? Now a newalbum backed by big money will try to make the cult go pop For the past few years, Dashboard Confessional have been a relentless cult phenomenon, with fans who fill large arenas, bond online, and memorize painfully intimate songs as if they were smash hits. But who is the man behind Dashboard? Where did he come from? And why do kids break down in tears at his concerts?

  • In the City, It's a Pity

    Why would anyone want to kill Jam Master Jay? Despite splashy front-page reports and federal probes blaming rap-music violence, the answer may be much less sensational It's a busy corner in Queens, New York, the kind of place commemorated in countless rap songs. The crowd spills downwhat Q-Tip once called "the Boulevard of Linden." A commuter train rumbles overhead, and SUVs roll by blasting the deep, hand-clap-boom-bap of early-1980s hip-hop. They're fitting sounds--the street-hard beats and rhymes that claimed the entire world. This is the home of hip-hop's greatest global emissaries, Run-D.M.C. But this is no block party. The crowd gathers, monitored by police in community affairs jackets. An almost festive vibe darkens as the line files down Linden to 179th Street and into the lobby of the J. Foster Phillips Funeral Home, where a public wake is being held.

  • Beck: Sincerity Is the New Irony

    Spin: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. Beck: Sure. When you do a song like "Debra," and people think you were being funny and kind of ironic, and then you do a song like "Lost Cause" and they think you're being very sincere and personal, they champion that. Why do you think people still need sincerity over inauthenticity? Good question. I mean, I think meaning exists within the listener. Somebody can be moved tremendously by a Neil Diamond song, or a John Tesh song, so it depends on who's listening. But I've always been a fan of ambiguity, and I like art that elicits a mixed response. But I think the songs you're talking about are pretty obvious: one is pretty tongue-in-cheek, and the other one is pretty heartfelt. But, as far as your question; I think it's more of an American thing, a question of authenticity. I usually call it, I guess as you said, sincerity.

  • Elvis Has Not Left the Building

    An Exclusive Interview with the King of Rock 'n 'Roll August marked the 25th anniversary of Elvis Aaron Presley's self-imposed exile within the shag-carpeted walls ofGraceland, his Memphis refuge. On August 16, 1977, publicists announced that the bloated, drug-addicted, and fast-fading superstarhad died of heart failure at age 42. As the world mourned, his visage became a lucrative merchandising icon; countless books andmovies analyzed his troubled life and culture-defining art. Then, in September 1980, a camera crew caught Presley surreptitiouslyboarding a chartered 747, apparently bound for West Africa. Disgraced, he has not made a public appearance since. Even the bighunk of burning hype timed to commemorate Presley's quarter-century of silence failed to coax him out of hiding. After that,nobody expected to hear from him again.

  • Stephen Malkmus: The "Peel Sessions"

    Stephen Malkmus: No, I haven't. I got a CD in the mail this morning from Matador, a FedEx, you know, the track listing and stuff. I haven't listened to it yet. How do you expect it's aged? Well, probably better than some things from that era [laughs]. I always have to compare it to other things really, it's obviouslynot like some total masterpiece or anything. But I'm sure, I don't want to name names, but it probably holds up better than some things that were made by people our age and our social milieu from that time. One of the things I was kinda curious about wasthat when Spin got the advance cassette, the legendary advance cassette,they reviewed it like about eight months before it actually came out. Wereyou like "what the fuck?" I was pretty flattered and surprised, and all that,that was strange.

  • Reissues of the Year

    VariousThe Biggest Dancehall Anthems 1979-1982 (Greensleeves) Forty rootsy, pre-ragga dancehall singles split between romantic balladeers (Johnny Osbourne, John Holt) and raw MCs (Yellowman, Clint Eastwood & General Saint). Slackness high point: General Echo's "Bathroom Sex," with enough Oedipal drama to keep his shrink busy for years. NirvanaNirvana (DGC/Interscope) Opening with the freshly exhumed "You Know You're Right" (amazing how a merely good Nirvana song still scorches everything within earshot), this set of the band's more indelible numbers is a reminder that the King of Antipop was above all a pop artist, broadcasting aloneness through music that remains thrilling and invincible. Coldcut70 Minutes of Madness (Journeys By DJ) When was the first time a mix really blew your mind?

  • In Full Bloom

    An unknown no longer, Orlando Bloom braces himself for stardom in The Two Towers, the second installment of The Lord of the Rings Most actors wouldn't be more than five feet from a copy of Variety (or at least the E! network) in the days leading up to what could be the biggest film of their lives. But when The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring stampeded into theaters last December, Orlando Bloom was on vacation. "I was on a beach in India, winding down from the whole process of putting out the movie," says the 25-year-old actor, who plays the fellowship's lissome (some would say dreamy) elf member, Legolas.

  • Scoreboard Confessional

    By: Jenny WilliamsEmo rock's finest fight the good fight in a hilarious Web-basedvideogame They're better known for guitar chops than karate chops, but on Emogame.com,your favorite introspective icons stop whining and start kicking ass. The online videogame begins when Steven Tyler abducts theGet Up Kids, and it's up to a Justice League-like assembly of emo stars, including Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst and DashboardConfessional's Chris Carrabba, to save the band from being sodomized by the Aerosmith frontman.

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