Musical Legacies

How do you know when you’ve “made it” as an artist?  For some musicians, it would be enough to score a headlining slot at a local venue.  Others have their eyes fixed on a hit single or two.  For others, success means worldwide adoration and acclaim.  This seems to be about as far as most artists dare to dream, but for a select group of musicians, their art has permanently affixed their names to entire movements or genres.  Here are a few of the most recognized members of the Musical Family Tree/Royal Lineage.  There are certainly more out there—tell us who you’d include!

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The Godfather of Punk:  Iggy Pop

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The Queen of Punk:  Patti Smith

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The “Modfather”:  Paul Weller

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The King of Rock ‘n’Roll:  Elvis Presley

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The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll:  Wanda Jackson

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Godfather of Soul:  James Brown

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Father of Soul: Ray Charles

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The Queen of Soul:  Aretha Franklin

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The Queen of Pop:  Madonna

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The King of Pop: Michael Jackson

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Queen of Folk:  Joan Baez

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When They Were Young: Famous Musicians

Believe it or not, rock stars wore diapers at one point too!  Some had bad hair, buck teeth, and made questionable fashion choices like the rest of us, while others were apparently always as cute as they are now.  Here’s the proof for your viewing enjoyment!

Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper

Beyonce

Beyonce

Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins

Billy Corgan

Carl Barat of Dirty Pretty Things

Carl Barat

Pete Doherty of The Libertines

Pete Doherty

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana

Kurt Cobain

James Hetfield of Metallica

James Hetfield

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson

Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison

Jimi Hendrix (on right)

Jimi Hendrix (on right)

Joe Strummer of The Clash

joe Strummer

Liz Phair

Liz Phair

Madonna

Madonna

Meg White of The White Stripes

Meg White

Melissa Auf Der Mar of Hole

Melissa Auf Der Mar

Shakira

Shakira

The Strokes

The Strokes

Courtney Love

Courtney Love

Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson

Robbie Williams of Take That

Robbie Williams

Bjork

Bjork

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney

Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley

Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen

Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Freddie Mercury of Queen

Freddie Mercury

John Lennon

John Lennon

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse



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Media Round-up..The Queen of Rockabilly and More

Looking for the buzz on artists touring through Madison?

The Swell Season show this Monday sold out in 24 hrs. but for those of you have been wondering who the opener will be, Nina Nastasia has been chosen.

Mojo says: “These intimate hushes and lilts would be remarkable even as instrumentals…. Yet it’s Nastasia’s voice–and the words that it sings–that really sucks the air out of the room.”

Check out her free download: Nina Nastasia- Our Day Trip, 2006 On Leaving

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Were you one of the fans disappointed by the break up of Page France? Well the frontman for that now defunct band started “The Cotton Jones Basket Ride” playing at Café Montmartre on June 22.

Check out this free download: The Cotton Jones Basket Ride- To Death With You, 2007 Paranoid Cocoon

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If you are one of the few who don’t know about legendary Wanda Jackson listen up..Ms. Jackson is sometimes referred to as the first female rock-n-roll singer, and is celebrated as “The Queen of Rockabilly”. She toured with peers Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Buddy Holly. Although ultimately she spurned Elvis’ romantic attempts, he is the one who encouraged her to shift from country and gospel to rock. Check out what else she has to say about the two of them in this Rolling Stone article. She has been nominated for 2 Grammys and inducted in to countless halls of fame. You can’t miss out on seeing the legend in person at age 71 Wed June 25 at the High Noon Saloon.

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Local media coverage of True Endeavors shows:
Austin psychedelic rockers The Black Angels interview/preview in Madison Music Review
Photos of Ingrid Michaelson at Barrymore in Muzzle of Bees
Ingrid Michaelson Review in Isthmus

Media Roundup: Women who rock, from newcomer to legend, and more


Add Ingrid Michaelson to the always growing list of indie musicians who have lent their tunes to play in the background of prominent national ad campaigns — at least in this case the original lyrics of the song were unchanged, unlike the Of Montreal Outback Steakhouse fiasco. Michaelson is grabbing a lot of attention with her song “The Way I Am” being used in Old Navy’s national campaign, in addition to other featured songs on the past season of television shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “One Tree Hill.” She is also gaining cred with a very important demographic — the techies — with her innovative use of social networking widgets that could be setting the trend for indie musicians to follow.

Shortly following her return to Madison (after headlining March’s sold-out Hotel Cafe show) headlining a show at the Barrymore on Saturday, June 7, she will be setting out to support the Dave Matthews Band in a number shows of their summer tour. Michaelson seems to be taking all of the attention in stride, however, even when the major labels come a knocking: “I’m definitely having a lot of luck right now; I don’t know that it’s the way it’s going to be for everyone from now on … [I’ve] decided that I wanted to remain independent, so I said no [to the major labels] — and they’ve kind of left me alone,” she recently said in an interview. “I don’t owe anything; I can keep my career going at the pace that I want it to be going.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Wanda Jackson — playing the High Noon Saloon on Wednesday, June 25 with her band the Lustre Kings — has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post and other prominent newspapers over the past few weeks with her new documentary, “The Sweet Lady With the Nasty Voice” for the Smithsonian Channel. The documentary aired this past Sunday and told the 70-year-old rocker Jackson’s story, from dating Elvis Presley in the ’50s to paving the way for future generations of female rock stars with her hard-edged style. Both Michaelson and Jackson’s shows are not to be missed — representing bookends of achievement for women making it in the music industry.

Langhorne Slim, coming to town with his band The War Eagles on Monday, May 26, for a Memorial Day show at the High Noon Saloon, is featured as the lead act for a recent “things to do” roundup for the Capital Times, and also played last month on NPR’s World Cafe.

Stephen Marley, son of the late reggae legend Bob Marley, is currently in the midst of a national tour that will include a stop at the Barrymore on Wednesday, June 11. The show is a benefit for the Ghetto Youths Foundation, and will include the option of a $6 meal deal from Jamerica before the show. Marley’s shows have been noted for their honesty and passion: “I want to make a statement and continue this legacy, this musical legacy with my family,” he recently told a Charleston Post and Courier reporter. “Good music, good message, good vibe.”

Finally, check out the following reviews from recent shows in Madison, to find out what you might have missed:

“Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince of The Kills took to The Annex stage on Saturday night, [May 10] with an unforgettable aural assault of bone trembling rock and roll.” — Dane101

Josh Ritter has a better time on stage (or at least appears to) that 89% of the bands I’ve seen this year. He actually seems to enjoy his work. Refreshing.” — Muzzle of Bees

“Last night’s show at the High Noon Saloon has entered the books amongst my all time favorites for the venue.” — Dooga Dooga

“My favorite part of the show, in fact, was about 5 or 6 songs in when the band departed and it was simply Josh Ritter and an acoustic guitar. It was amazing how intimate he could make the High Noon Saloon feel, even though it was a sold-out and anxious crowd…” — Dane101

“Thursday’s sold-out crowd at the Barrymore Theatre gave KT Tunstall an inkling of what kind of show she was going to have before she and her band ever played a note. ‘With all the seating, I thought you’d be sitting,’ said Tunstall as she scanned the audience that had risen to its feet and would stay there for the next hour and 45 minutes. ‘I’m impressed.'” — The Capital Times

That’s all for now. Have a lovely weekend!

The skinny on pants, drugs and rock n’ roll

I’ve been to a lot of concerts around town in recent months, ranging from the hip twin duo Tegan and Sara (pictured below) and the gangly, quirky Swedish singer-songwriter Jens Lekman to the melodramatic, post-punk British duo The Kills and TRL-friendly pop-punkers The Medic Droid. Despite the clear differences in musical genre, if I had to isolate one common thread between all of the shows it would be the skinny jeans. As far as the eye could see, in all cases, the thought process behind the pants of choice for performers and concertgoers alike seemed to be “the tighter the better.”

Tegan and Sara, skinny jean enthusiasts.

Although tight pants are often associated with the fashions of hipster culture — along with ironic t-shirts, disheveled hair and classic shoes — I couldn’t help but wonder whether there was more to it. Surely, the overwhelming spread of the Gospel According to Tight Pants could be attributed to more than just a few influential hipster rockers in Brooklyn sitting around and deciding to borrow their girlfriends’ jeans for a gig. I went to investigate to who or what could be owed the credit (or blame?) for getting the ball rolling.

As it turns out, according to an article from Kitsch Magazine, the mid-1950s breeded what we now call the “skinny jean” as actresses like Audrey Hepburn wore the fitted looks in her films. As New York Magazine put it, “[s]kinny trousers are the uniform of the hard-edged and underfed.” As rock/rebel types like Elvis Presley, James Dean and Marlon Brando also gained prominence through the fifties into the the sixties, they too were known not just for their anti-establishment attitude, but also for their tight-fitting jeans.

From the late sixties into the seventies, fashion trends steered away from skinnier fits, as bellbottoms and larger fit pants emerged through time. In the decades that followed, skinny jeans continued to have their hold within the punk and rock subcultures, while mainstream designers moved toward bootcuts. Designers like Nicholas Ghesquiere, Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney borrowed heavily from music subcultures in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when skinny jeans began to hit the runway in prominent fashion shows.

All of this led up to today, where the skinny jean has made its mark, thanks to the decades of musicians that maintained their zeal for the skin-tight aesthetic. The trend has reached all corners of the globe, leaving some, including medical researchers, to wonder what potential costs may exist with the fad’s spread. In January 2003, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published a letter detailing the cases of three women “who had developed a nerve condition similar to carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of regularly wearing hip-hugging jeans.” The letter went on to warn that tight-fitting hipster jeans can “squeeze a sensory nerve under the hip bone, causing a tingling, burning sensation called paresthesia.”

Researchers in Australia have also examined the issue, wondering if men wearing tighter jeans might be risking infertility, stemming from a 1986 scientific study that suggested that tight pants and underwear lower sperm count (subsequently sparking the trend of baggier jeans in the mainstream). Sydney andrologist Dr. Rick Gordon asked members of the band Avant Garde to wear tight pants for a period of six weeks. Following the test, measures of the band members’ fertility were re-evaluated. The results? The band members’ sperm counts were unchanged. Hipsters 1, Science 0.

So, why does this all matter? My point is not to say that all indie music fans need to stop wearing their skinnies and bring back hammer pants — I certainly won’t be. I simply encourage readers to take a look around at the next show you’re out at, and take note of the trends around you. It is seemingly trivial things like the tightness of jeans that remind us of the potential societal impact of popular musicians. Whether they like it or not, so-called “rock stars” are, and always will be, at the forefront of fashion trends, supporting the creation of product lines that can profit millions for corporations of many sorts — some socially responsible, and others not. It all comes with the territory of being part of an American subculture.

– Joe Erbentraut, True Endeavors Communications and Public Relations Intern