Updated September 24, 2009 Music Reviews & Top Hits Playlists
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Bon Iver: “I’m Honored To Be A Part OF AIDS Walk”January 23, 2009 Issue
Interview by Mike Fitzpatrick
Eau Claire, Milwaukee - If you are a fan of cutting edge, indie music you certainly have heard - or at least heard about - Wisconsin native Justin Vernon and Bon Iver. Vernon’s self-described “project” (as opposed to a more traditional band) is now the stuff of music legend. Physically and emotionally a wreck after losing his band gig, his girlfriend and contracting mononucleosis Vernon isolated himself in a northwoods cabin over a bleak winter and produced “For Emma, Forever Ago,” an album that some critics have called the “ultimate break-up album.”
“For Emma” has been honored as one of the best of 2008 by such music “bibles” as Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, MOJO, Spin and more. Tracks from the album have popped up on the soundtracks of scripted TV drama shows such as “Chuck,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “House MD.”
Vernon followed up “For Emma” with a recently-released Bon Iver EP “Blood Bank,” whose title track has reached the charts in the UK. Both releases also have found fans and healthy sales in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
After his current tour of California, Arizona and Texas, Bon Iver will return to Wisconsin for a gig at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theatre on the evening of Sunday, October 11. Vernon will also spend that same day on the Summerfest grounds serving as the honorary chair of AIDS Walk Wisconsin 2009, where he will offer up a kick-off acoustic cameo concert.
Quest’s Mike Fitzpatrick recently had a chance to talk with Justin, who professed ignorance of Bon Iver’s “HIV Connection.” Fellow vocalist and guitar player Michael Noyce’s father happens to be infectious disease specialist Dr. Robert Noyce who sees patients living with HIV/AIDS from Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls and other communities in western Wisconsin at his practice in Eau Claire.
Quest: How does a guy who becomes internationally known for the best break-up album of 2008 get connected with AIDS Walk Wisconsin?
Justin: Well, they asked us. They asked us to do it. It was a big honor and is a way for us to be a part of good work I guess in our home state. We wanted to be a part of it.
Quest: Well my boss (at Fitzpatrick’s day job at ARCW) lives in Eau Claire and told me that Bon Iver has a kind of a connection to HIV?
Justin: Not that I’m aware of. We’ve had connections to different charities, but we’ve not had anybody or anyone in our families stricken with HIV or AIDS. It’s just something that we want to be a part of.
Quest: How much of a taste of Bon Iver are the AIDS Walk participants goin to get on the Summerfest grounds on October 11?
Justin: We’re going to be playing a couple of acoustic songs. I’m not exactly sure about how full our set-up is going to be yet, but we’ll play our songs, give some encouragement. It’s kind of a new thing for me. I’ve done some public speaking. My hope is that it gets people who might not come otherwise to get involved.
I expect that there will be a full-fledged production at the Riverside. At the Walk I expect it will be more stripped-down.
Quest: I did check to see how tickets were going and the best single floor seats still available are way back by the sound board now.
Justin: That’s good to hear.
Quest: Is there a connection between the Riverside concert and the Walk? Is there a benefit aspect to the evening show?
Justin: I think the concert was originally about part of what we wanted to do. It’s all on the same day and its all connected.
Quest: Let’s talk a little about the music. On my first listen to “Skinny” and all of the tunes on “For Emma” my first thought was: “This is Imogen Heap’s lost brother!” Is she an infuence on your work?
Justin: Oh sure. Well, I’m not sure - well yes - she’s somewhat of an influence for sure. I listen to music every day. I listen to music from all over the world, so there’s lots of stuff that I find influential. But yeah, I’m definitely a fan of hers.
Quest: Other influences on your music?
Justin: It’s just endless. I mean - you name it - from anybody in the jazz world to world folk music to blues - to pop, folk. You name it - I’ve probably listened to it and been inspired.
Quest: Who is in heavy rotation in your iPod right now?
Justin: Well, I’ve got something like 10,000 in my iPod right now (laughs). I’ve been listening to a lot of a band called the Dirty Projectors and a soul artist D’Angelo.
Quest: You did a song on “Blood Bank” using what seems to be the “device du jour” in the music world - Auto-Tune. Apparently some of your fans thought that was a sacrilege.
Justin: (laughs) Yeah. There is no such thing as sacrilege in music. It’s all artistic. Your job as an artist is not to cater to what people are expecting from you. It’s a search for expression. (Using the Auto-Tune) is just want I wanted to do at that point. I thought it made a good song for an EP. It might not have made it on a a full-length record because of its strange, relative nature. But it fit on a four-track EP with four very different songs.
Quest: I thought each of those songs on “Blood Bank” were very exciting and wondered to myself, “which of these songs might the genesis of the next album?”
Justin: I don’t think any of them, which is really fun and exciting.
Quest: Do you have project in the works in terms of a new album?
Justin: I’m just knocking down some walls right now. But I wouldn’t expect to hear anything from us on record for a pretty long time.
Quest: Some people consider you a folk singer, others characterize Bon Iver as rock. How would you characterize Bon Iver?
Justin: For me the way to keep it interesting, to keep it life long is to understand that Bon Iver isn’t a band. A lot of bands have become brands of themselves. I think for me Bon Iver, it’s my project but it’s also everybody’s project that we share. It is its own entity. It’s not a brand, like “you will hear this if you buy a Bon Iver record.” It’s about expression and searching.
Quest: Are there going to by Justin Vernon projects too?
Justin: Maybe. I’m putting everything I’ve got in working with other people or on other people’s projects (right now). This is where my heart’s at. If its not forever, I’ll set it aside. But I don’t ever want to go to a place where I feel like “it’s a job.” I’m working right now with a band from Milwaukee called Collections OF Colonies Of Bees. I’ve also done just random singing on a bunch of people’s records. I’m a studio engineer as well so I mix records too.
Quest: Anything else you’d like to say to your Wisconsin fans right now?
Justin: I’m just excited that we’ll be able to do this thing with the community in Milwaukee; and that it benefits our whole state. It’s an honor.
Editor’s Note: Tickets are selling fast for the Bon Iver concert at the Riverside Sunday evening, October 11 at 8 PM CDT. To learn more, visit the Riverside Theatre box office online at: www.riversidetheater.org/boniver or call: 800-551-1552. As Quest went to press it was also learned that a Bon Iver song appears to have been selected for the soundtrack to the highly anticipated vampire drama “Twilight -New Moon” arriving in theatres next month.
Just Being Human
Australian Pop Stars Human Nature Talk About Camping It Up At Sydney’s Mardi Gras, Getting Smokey Robinson’s Blessing & Touring With Michael Jackson
Since 1994, Australian pop stars Human Nature have earned 23 platinum awards in their native country and have toured throughout the world. Their largest audience was at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 where they performed before 4 billion viewers worldwide. The band has had 17 Top 40 Hits and Five Top Ten Hits since 1996, has opened tours of Asia and Europe for both Michael Jackson and Celine Dion, and have won several Arias (Australia’s version of the Grammys) and virtually every other major entertainment award that country has to offer. Their last four releases in Australia have reached #1 on the charts there.
Now Human Nature has set their sights on America. The group is launching its assault via a headlining run at The Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas in a show presented by their mentor and friend Smokey Robinson. The show, billed as “The Ultimate Celebration of the Motown Sound,” is running now through May 2010. During their run, the boys will also be performing select dates in several other U.S. cities.
Their new album, Reach Out, is a collection of songs that pay tribute to some of the best songwriters and performers in Motor City-and to the renown recording studio and record company that brought the sound of young America to the world. On Reach Out, Human Nature - Toby Allen, Phil Burton, Andrew Tierney, and Michael Tierney - bring an infectious energy and their amazing vocal talents to music that has inspired them throughout their storied career.
Here, the guys talk about their love of American soul music, touring with Michael Jackson, and the night they camped it up for thousands of screaming gay fans at Mardi Gras in Sydney.
Quest: How did four hot Aussie guys end up singing Motown songs in Las Vegas?
Toby Allen: Come November, we’ve been together 20 years, releasing albums in Australia for the last 15 years. Our last 3 albums were us doing Motown classics, and they took Australia by storm. It’s always been a dream of ours to release a record in the U.S., and now, with the Motown songs, we felt it was the perfect opportunity for these Aussies to bring the music of Motown “back” to America. We’ve always thought that the way we present this music would work really well in Las Vegas. To test the waters, we did a Motown show in Atlantic City, and the reaction was fantastic. And then last year, this opportunity in Vegas presented itself, and we’re really excited to be here.
Quest: It seems like doing these very American songs might be a great way to get your music before a U.S. audience.
Andrew Tierney: We originally did the Motown records because we loved the idea, and we love the music. And then all of a sudden, it just kind of happened. Then, in Australia, after it was a success, we’d hear people say, “This would really work in America. Why don’t you guys try that?” Other people would say, “You should put this show in Vegas.” As a way to introduce us to America, we’re really proud of this show and this record. And having Smokey introduce us, it gives us a blessing straightaway.
Quest: What’s it like being famous in Australia and not as well-known-yet-here in the States?
Toby Allen: It’s actually starting to happen now. I saw a woman in the supermarket yesterday, and she said, “Your name wouldn’t happen to be Toby, would it?” She told me she saw the show with her husband, and they loved it so much, they came back a second time. Ultimately, we feel grateful to have gotten here, performing on the Strip. Now, we just have to let the rest of the country know.
Phil Burton: For us, it’s a challenge we want to rise to. We’ve had a lot of success in Australia, and we relish the idea that maybe someday that will happen here. It’s not something we feel bad about; we like the idea of starting over fresh.
Quest: What’s it like actually living in Las Vegas?
Michael Tierney: It’s definitely different than Sydney, where we all come from, but we enjoy living here. I guess the majority of people who come to Vegas are here for a few days, and they try to take in everything on the Strip. But for us, it’s become real life. We’re not actually living our lives on the Strip-we’ve moved ten to fifteen minutes away.
Andrew Tierney: Yet, at the same time, I wanted to feel like we lived close enough to feel the Strip. You’re living in Vegas, so you might as well live in Vegas.
Quest: You guys have been together for 20 years now. Do you all get along?
Phil Burton: It’s like a marriage without sex [laughs]. We do fight every now and again, although there’s never been a punch thrown. Something that Smokey Robinson pointed out to us, which is true, is that the groups that started for the enjoyment of singing and having fun are the ones that stayed together. And that’s why we originally got together-to have a bit of fun singing while we were in school. Also, we’ve gotten really lucky in that all four of us seem to enjoy working on the same path. No one wants to break off and do their own thing.
Quest: Was it jarring for you to go from singing the mainstream pop music you did earlier in your career to these soul classics?
Andrew Tierney: I think it was originally more jarring for the fans than it was for us. We just thought it was a natural thing because we’d always sung bits of Motown throughout our career in addition to bits of soul and gospel. Our older records were more pop, but they always had the kind of harmony structure that the Motown songs have. To ease our fans into it, we put a Motown section in the middle of our live show, choreographed it ourselves by looking at some old Motown videos, and the crowd just went berserk. But even with that, some of the fans were still a bit dubious because we decided to take it the whole way and wear the suits and really have fun with it.
Quest: The suits are hot. But, one might think that when you put the whole thing together-the songs, the suits, the dance moves-it might come off as either too literal or too camp. But your show is neither.
Phil Burton: We didn’t want to copy the originals, and we didn’t want to step too far away from them either. We asked ourselves, “What would Motown be like today?” And that’s what we wanted to capture.
Andrew Tierney: And we’ve had such a great reaction from Smokey and a lot of the original Motown singers. They’ve said, “I’m glad you guys aren’t just doing a Motown tribute show-you’re doing it your own way.” We’re not impersonating anybody. We’re using these songs to express who we are.
Quest: I also think part of the reason why the show works so well is that you all seem very connected to each other, particularly when you sing, “People Get Ready” and “Ooh Baby Baby.”
Andrew Tierney: There’s so much history that we share together. We’re just so secure and comfortable with each other onstage. We each know innately what the others are going to do onstage, we don’t even have to think about it. You almost know when they’re going to breathe. That means we also go flat and sharp together, too [laughs]. It’s become totally unconscious. It’s…well…human nature [all laugh].
Phil Burton: We could never do this show if one of us was sick. If someone else was up there, you’d constantly be thinking, “What’s this other guy going to do?” It would ruin your own performance because all of a sudden, you’re thinking about things you’ve never thought about onstage.
Michael Tierney: And particularly on those acappella moments, you have to have that kind of innate connection with each other because you’re so exposed. You have to feel it to make those moments come across.
Quest: Let’s talk about the dancing. I know you’re not lip synching, so how are you able to do all of those athletic moves and still keep singing?
Andrew Tierney: There’s one song for me-”Uptight”-where it really feels like a spin class.
Phil Burton: At the end of the show, we all come off drenched.
Toby Allen: We have thought about releasing the Human Nature Motown Instructional Weight Loss DVD. It comes with a 3-piece suit [all laugh].
We can’t afford to get to the end of the show looking like we didn’t give it everything. There are a couple of light-headed, pain-in-the-chest moments when we’re offstage after the show [all laugh], but what’s important is that people enjoyed the show.
Quest: The moves go with the music, but they’re also modern and sexy.
Michael Tierney: We were inspired by old Motown groups, but we didn’t want our choreographers to actually copy them. I mean, I’ve watched a lot of Four Tops videos, and none of the guys really moved like that. The dancing is over the top in parts, but that adds to the music and to the show. It’s ramped up and also a bit tongue-in-cheek.
Andrew Tierney: There are some moves that are a little cheeky and cheesy. But think about a song like “Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch.” It’s a cheeky song. Basically, if you look like you’re enjoying yourself, people go along with it and have fun.
Quest: You guys have had a very varied career in Australia, both together and alone. Toby performed in Cabaret and was on Dancing with the Stars. You all toured in a symphonic concert of Beatles songs conducted by George Martin. And, you sang the Australian national anthem at the opening ceremonies of the 2004 Olympics in Sydney. That must have been an honor.
Phil Burton: That’s still one of the biggest things we’ve ever done. We felt like we were chosen to represent the best of Australian music to the world. It was like saying, “This is what we have in our country.”
Quest: You also toured with Michael Jackson in Australia and Europe. How was that?
Michael Tierney: It’s more amazing now knowing that it was one of the last times anyone would get to see him live. It was incredible for us because it was right after our first album, and we were doing shows in these huge venues, like Wembley Stadium, with 100,000 people there. It was also great to be able to go out after our show and watch Michael Jackson perform. We couldn’t help but learn things and be blown away by it all.
Toby Allen: Eventually, we were blessed with a meeting the third to last show of the tour. We went up to the side of the stage to this quick-change area where he was getting his makeup done. He seemed like a pretty casual guy to talk to. We had a photo with him-never saw it-but just to be able to say “G’day” for that 5 minutes was pretty cool.
Quest: Hot guys like you, you must have a lot of gay fans in Australia.
Andrew Tierney: We’re definitely aware of our gay fans. We did Mardi Gras in Sydney once, it was really great. We’d always thought it would be a cool thing to do. It was weird to hear the difference in the screams in our audience. We were used to the screams being a lot more high-pitched, but this was more of a roar [laughs].
Phil Burton: It was the only time we’ve ever gone onstage at 4am. That’s the headlining spot. We did “I’m Your Man” by Wham. We looked pretty camp, but butch camp. It was really fun to dress like that and do that kind of posturing, something we’ve never done before in our shows, to kind of preen around like Freddie Mercury [all laugh].
May 26, 2009 IssueSwinging Out With Swing Out Sister
Quest Talks With SOS’ Charming Corrine Drewery About Their Smash New Album “Beautiful Mess”
Interview by Mike Fitzpatrick
It seems almost impossible that Swing Out Sister’s signature tune “Breakout” is nearly a quarter century old. A recurrent staple in multiple radio formats, the song’s light, upbeat feel possesses a timelessness that mixes perfectly with recent chart-topping hits by Maroon Five, Coldplay or the Scissor Sisters.
For fans old and new, SOS’ newest album “Beautiful Mess” has just been released in the United States. In addition to a tasty mix of new tunes that some dub “sophisti-pop,” the British duo also revisit the song that brought them their first worldwide success.
Quest news editor Mike Fitzpatrick had the opportunity to speak with Swing Out Sister’s lead vocalist Corrine Drewery on an overseas call the day after the album’s May 19 debut in this country. The wide-ranging interview tapped in on the new album, SOS’ upcoming U.S. tour and even Drewery’s volunteered thoughts on recent changes at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Quest: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. 2009 has been a great year so far for lovers of classy popular music: In March we got a new album from Basia Trzetrzelewska and just a few weeks later a fresh release from Swing Out Sister - “Beautiful Mess.” Do you want to talk a little bit about it?
Corrine Drewery: Well, it’s our ninth studio album. “Beautiful Mess” is the first album that we completely produced ourselves, mainly Andy (Connell), with a bit of intervention from me. In the past we’ve worked with producers: we recorded our first album with Paul O’Duffy. We’ve had a long history of working with him. He’s great, like a third member of the band.
But nine albums down the line, we actually wanted to prove to ourselves that we’ve learned something along the way and we could produce our own album. It’s been quite different - from the writing to the production. It’s just Andy and myself.
When you know someone that well, sometime there’s a familiarity. “Beautiful Mess” is our first self-produced album. I think it’s a bit more up close and personal than some of the other albums we’ve made because it’s like a conversation between Andy and myself - a musical conversation.
Quest: You also seem to have some wonderful inspirations in that conversation. I just love the song “Butterfly,” but I could have sworn that when you were writing it you were channeling Marvin Gaye.
Drewery: Oh well, he has been a great influence on our work in the past. That song we actually co-wrote with Gina Foster. She’s recorded with us several times. So that song has more of a feminine balance - two girls and one guy. In the past we’ve written quite a bit with Paul O’Duffy. So its got a different kind of feel to it.
Quest: You also did an instrumental version of it which is completely re-imagining of the same piece. It was fascinating to listen to. I mentioned Marvin Gaye because I just keep hearing little hints of the “What’s Goin On,” “Inner City Blues” period of his creativity.
Drewery: That was a great year for (Gaye) and for his music. I think there are people whose influences have been with us right from the start. We’ve learned a lot from listening to other people’s music.
Quest: Who are some of those key influences? I believe you’ve mentioned Dusty Springfield in past interviews.
Drewery: Oh I think I wanted to be her when I was growing up - along with a handful of others. People like Lulu, Sandie Shaw, Shirley Bassey: the people I was surrounded by in the Sixties - all those divas. Though I don’t think that “diva” is quite the right word for them because they were down to Earth. They were British and really quite humble.
And we had the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and all the kind of beat groups: the Seekers and the Springfields before Dusty actually went solo. Then along came Mama Cass and the Mamas and The Papas, and the Association, Sonny & Cher and then Diana Ross & the Supremes. A whole load of American music suddenly came during that time.
I think its very difficult to pinpoint any one singer that’s been a major influence because it was a great time to be growing up. In the Sixties where you were surrounded by music. It was a golden era. There was a progression from more classical music to more popular, accessible music. There were a lot of classical influences in those little pocket symphonies as they called them - I think it was Brian Wilson (who said that).
It was a transient time.They were learning about how to make pop record and they were putting everything but the kitchen sink in there. We benefitted from that and were inspired by it.
Quest: There’s been a lot of reviews that have pegged your music as “ultimately commercial,” but I like the word that you used: “accessible.” I think that’s what makes your music so enjoyable.
Drewery: Well we make music to be heard by people who are going to enjoy it. I suppose sometimes it’s more accessible than others.
Quest: Last night I spent some time going through the videos that you’ve put up online (at www.swingoutsister.com). I was blown away by the “Shoo-Be-Doo” video that you put up from a concert in Japan. That’s what makes seeing you live so exciting.
Drewery: We take as much pride in putting together a live show as we do making a record. As we tour, the shows evolve and the songs evolve. We kind of re-arrange stuff and things just grow as we tour. I think your could come to one show at the beginning of the tour and one show at the end of the tour and it could be completely different. We like to keep a few surprises up our sleeve.
Quest: It sounds like you enjoy doing the shows as much as the people who come to experience those one-of-a-kind performances.
Drewery: Yes, and I think its because we don’t overdo it. We keep it quite small and intimate, so it’s possible to change something if we want to change it. It’s an interesting way to take the songs on the road.
Quest: I also see that you’ve also put up a number of your fans’ remixes of your songs. That’s kind of gutsy. Most artists are very protective of their music. How do you feel other folks re-interpreting your work to make it more accessible to different audiences?
Drewery: I don’t know. I suppose why complain if it reaches more people, but at the same time that wasn’t what we really intended the song to be. We spent hours in the studio honing and perfecting a song when we originally record it. In a way we are creating our own remixes when we go on the road and re-interpret the songs live.
Quest: So what is the first single out commercially off the album?
Drewery: Well, I’m not too sure how things work these days. It’s very confusing to me, having grown up with albums and singles. Now there’s downloads. The whole album’s available and “Butterfly” has been the song that people have picked up on. So, you know, you’ve got an ear.
Quest: Well I enjoyed them all but “Butterfly” was the song that blew me away on the first listen. But you’ve also done something special for the fans by putting out a new version of that classic hit, a song which I’m sure you’ve sung millions of times by now.
Drewery: You’re obviously talking about “Breakout.” Well that song is the song that opened many doors for us. It kind of our passport worldwide. It was great to interpret it in different way. It’s a joyous song. It makes me happy to perform it even now. We never grow tired of it and we like to re-interpret it in different ways.
Quest: Well its a wonderfully smoky, late night - as you call it - version (on “Beautiful Mess”). It brings up the whole idea that Swing Out Sister has been consistently been tabbed as a jazz pop group.
Drewery: I think the jazz influences have been there right from the start. But you can’t be jazz and pop, because it’s almost contradictory in some way. As we have matured, maybe we have transformed more into the jazz category.
Quest: Speaking of transformations, how has the Internet changed the making of music and the marketing of music in your view?
Drewery: I think its put the emphasis onto live performances more. All of the stuff that you can do without without seeing or speaking to anyone, without any visuals - album sleeves or artwork - maybe the Internet has made people have to prove that they are real by going out and performing live. The balance has changed from recording to performing.
Quest: Speaking of performing, you have a U. S. tour coming up, correct? Do you know the dates?
Drewery: We’re starting off in San Francisco on the third of June, performing at Bimbo’s. We’re in Los Angeles on the fourth. Then there’s the Capitol Jazz Fest between Washington (D.C.) and Baltimore on the sixth. We’ll be in Philadelphia on the seventh and in New York on the eighth.
Quest: So you’re going to be doing a bicoastal tour. Is there any chance you’re going to be hitting the Midwest any time in the near future?
Drewery: Not on this tour. But if this tour goes successfully and we’re invited back, then hopefully we can go a bit further afield. I’m always keen to explore and discover new places and I haven’t been to Wisconsin before. It would be great to include it on a future tour. It’s a big place, America. So we have to do it in little groups at a time.
Quest: Well I hope you have a lot of success with this great new album, “Beautiful Mess.” I know Quest will do its small bit to promote it to what others describe as your “cult following,” the gay and lesbian community here in the States.
Drewery: Well American has been very good to us in the past. We’ve done a lot of touring and I think we’ve got quite a following over there. We haven’t spent as much time the past few years as we would have liked to but I’m looking forward to coming to America much more now that you have a new President. (chuckles)
Quest: (laughs) Oh, you didn’t like our old one?
Drewery: Well you know I don’t have to go into too much detail but I’m so happy you have a brand new President. I wish Barack Obama and his family well. Hopefully he will have a very successful term. I don’t know, but he seems to have changed the face of America to me.
Quest: Well I think here, there really is a sense that “our long national nightmare is over,” to quote another American President.
Drewery: Yeah, I think that America is really a lot more optimistic now. We’re certainly more interested in coming and touring in America right now. The whole perception of America has changed in the eyes of the world. It seems like there’s a weight lifted off of your shoulders. Maybe I’m imagining things, but I’ll find out when we get there.
Quest: I think that’s true as well, and perhaps it’s time for there to be a pop-jazz sound for our national soundtrack, rather than - say - a redneck, country-western feel.
Drewery: Yes! This whole century is going to be about a shifting of balance. The are going to be changes because “that’s the way of the world,” to quote another great band (Earth, Wind and Fire).
Quest: Thank you so much for your time, Corrine.
Drewery: Thanks to you also, it was great talking with you.
April 9, 2009 IssueEar Candy: A Bouquet Of Spring Releases
Reviews by Mike Fitzpatrick
The recent change of season brings the first flowering of musical releases for Spring 2009. And what a mixed bouquet it is: another fresh bloom from a hearty perennial, the first poesy from a promising new breed, a truly rare flower and a dandelion pretending to be a hothouse bloom.
Global Groove: Dance - DJ Escape (Centaur)
Our fresh perennial bloom comes in the form of the latest from that Motown of gay club music, Centaur Records. Travelocity and Centaur present DJ Escape’s “Global Groove:Dance,” a tastily mixed baker’s dozen of sweets from the recent Billboard Club Play charts. The centerpieces of this set are the knock out remix of Edson Pride’s riff of the iconic opening notes of the Eurythmics' “Sweet Dreams” and a sassy re-do of Charlotte’s chart-topping “Skin.” Bookended on this set are two delightful mixes of previously unreleased tunes by Sunshine Anderson (“Problems” and “Force Of Nature”). The R & B diva’s career was on fast-forward until a 2007 pregnancy put things on hold. These two tunes will remind the club crowd what they’ve been missing should Miss Sunshine decide to put little career wrecka in day care and come back to shine her light once again under the mirror ball. “Global Groove: Dance” is definite buy that you’ll love blaring from pool party boomboxes as Spring turns to summer. (In stores April 14, available as a digital download now at iTunes, Centaur Music and amazon.com)
Boom Boom Pow (Single from the forthcoming CD “The E.N.D.”) - Black Eyed Peas (Interscope)
The sweet poesy in our bouquet is the first flower from what promises to be a garden-full of hits from the Black Eyed Peas’ first new CD in four years - “The E.N.D.” - coming out June 9. Already working its way up the Billboard Hot 100 (#39 with a bullet up from 54), “Boom Boom Pow” finds Fergie, will.i.am and company in full Auto-Tuned voice over a a spare but irresistibly funky beat that will be pop radio fodder in heavy rotation through the album’s release. Enjoyable, but ultimately forgettable it is the appetizer that does its job admirably: make us crave the full meal due out shortly. (Digital download available now on iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon.com and other music sites)
Life And Times - Bob Mould (Anti- Records)
The truly rare flower in our musical bouquet is the new album just out (released April 7) from gay rock legend Bob Mould. 2009 is a watershed year for Mould: it was 30 years ago that he helped invent hard core punk rock a lead singer and guitarist with the speed-punk band Husker Du; it was 20 years ago that his critically acclaimed first solo album “Workbook” was released. The first three songs on “Life And Times” actually sound like they are a continuation of “Workbook,” something Mould admitted in a recent interview in Washington DC’s Metro Weekly. However unlike “Workbook’s” celebration of love, the songs on “Life And Times” ruminate on love’s flip side - the self-recrimination, sadness and spite one feels after a break-up. From the bitchy one-liners that populate the lyrics of the best song on the album “Spiraling Down” (“No one writes a song about you, no one pays much attention to you”), to the the bittersweet confessional offered in that immediately follows (“I’m Sorry, Baby, But You Can’t Stand In My Light Any More”), Mould opens his soul to the listener in all its vulnerable, sadness and darkness. It’s pure communication through the medium of song.
Moreover, the songs on “Life And Times” come off as catchy and reference bits of Mould’s musical legacy. “Argos” is an openly gay echo of Husker Du, while songs such as the title cut and “City Lights (Days Go By)” reflect Mould’s 90’s years with his popular alt-rock band Sugar.
For those whose only exposure to Bob Mould’s music is the opening theme to The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (he wrote the song that’s currently played by They Might Be Giants), “Life And Times” will be a good way to further explore a rock great who just also happens to be gay. For those who are already fans, rejoice! “Life And Ties” ranks up there with “Workbook.” It’s just that good. (In stores now and available digitally at iTunes, Amazon.com and more)
I Seen Beyonce At Burger King - Cazwell (Peace Bisquit)
The pretentious dandelion in our bouquet is the 14-track remix EP of Cazwell’s “I Seen Beyonce At Burger King.” The original version of the song came out a year ago and gained popularity through its hilarious YouTube video. It’s cute, funny bit of fluff with Cazwell in openly-gay Eminem mode, dissing how he loaned the R & B superstar ten bucks but now she won’t pay him back. Cazwell recently has been basking an extra 15 minutes in the fame spotlight, after serving as a key figure in the finalé of RuPaul’s Drag Race, so why not cash in by releasing “Beyonce At Burger King” in a mix for every dance music format known to clubland? A couple of the mixes are fun. I especially liked the “Tugboat ‘80’s Elektrofunk Radio Mix,” that sounds like the song is the just-unearthed missing track from the “Dancin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” soundtrack. But the cumulative effect - overkill. Worse yet, several of the mixes suck all the life out of what was simply a cute little rap ditty meant for iPod giggles, the not dance floor spotlight. Stick with the original. (Original version currently available at iTunes)
Back To Life, Back To Reality
Glenn Douglas Packard + Brooke Knows Best: Season 2
By Mikey Knipp
Choreographer Glenn Douglas Packard got what he’s always wanted - to become a star - as Brooke Hogan’s best friend on the first season of VH1’s hit show Brooke Knows Best. But as the novelty of newfound fame wears thin, the self-proclaimed “sarcastic, adventurous, happy, gay best friend” must face reality - both on and off screen.
Packard, 30, who revealed his homosexuality when BKB premiered last year, will return to his roots in season two to confront his past and the people he loves. “We actually go to my hometown in Clare, Michigan, and tackle what life is like after I have come out to the world, and how my family and small town are dealing with all of it. It’s a milestone in my life - that moment when I had all my worlds come together: my family, my personal life and my work,” he says.
Prohibited from leaking too many details of season two, Packard is able to reveal the title of that particular episode - “Welcome to Michiglenn” - in which reality TV and real life collide. “You see where I came from and my family life - because what a lot of people don’t realize is that I had this whole other life where I was engaged to a woman and was ready to take over my family’s farm business.”
A departure from his days milking cows, the former farmhand also spends time in season two training for the space program. “There is an episode where we go to Cape Canaveral, and I started a little thing where I would be the next gay guy to get into space. I would definitely give Lance Bass a run for his money,” Packard quips, referring to the former *NSYNC singer’s famously failed bid to exit our atmosphere.
Of course, there’s more to BKB: Season 2 than facing one’s past and starry-eyed space odysseys. There’s also a focus on the future and what it holds for Glenn, Brooke and roommate Ashley, both personally and professionally.
In addition to choreographing Brooke’s new tour and music video, Packard is developing a comic book with Ashley, called “Teams of Heroes,” and he’s actively pitching two new reality concepts to studio executives. Perhaps the most exciting news of all, however, is that Packard has found love. A love that he promises will blossom throughout BKB’s sophomore run.
“I had just gotten out of a nasty relationship, and I was ready to give up finding my dream man, my soul mate,” recalls Packard. “Then in walks Daniel Miagany - just moved to Miami! So you’ll get to see all that evolve into a strong, mature gay relationship.”
As for the person who put Packard on the map - Brooke Hogan - well, he still knows his role with her. After all, the show is called Brooke Knows Best. Season 2 of Brooke Knows Best premieres this May on VH1.
For more information, visit: Glenndouglaspackard.com
LaCage (Milwaukee): DJ Smoove’s Top 15 Dancemix
1. Britney Spears - Circus (X-Mix)
2. Beyonce - Diva (Jeff Fingaz)
3. Pussycat Dolls - Bottle Pop (Dave Aude)
4. Kelly Clarkson - My Life Would Suck Without You (Chriss Ortega)
5. Pussycat Dolls - When I Grow Up (Digital Dog)
6. Britney Spears - If U Seek Amy (Ober Edit)
7. Christina Aguilera - Keeps Getting Better (Jody's Super Mix)
8. Hillary Duff - Reach Out (Dom & Escape)
9. Lady Gaga - Just Dance (Trevor Simpson Remix)
10. Lady Gaga - Poker Face (Jody Den Broeder)
11. Flow Rida - Right Round (Mixshow Edit)
12. Rihanna - Disturbia (Jody Den Broeder)
13. Pussycat Dolls - Jai Ho (Fisun Mixshow)
14. Inaya Day - Natural High (Out Of Office Club Mix)
15. Beyonce - Halo (Gomi & Rasjek Club Mix)
Napalese (Green Bay): DJ Mark’s Top 20 Dancemix
1. Pussycat Dolls - Jai Ho (DJM Remix)
2. Beyonce - Diva (Gomi & RasJek Vocal Remix)
3. Lady GaGa - Love Game (Dave Aude Club Mix).mp3
4. John Legend - Green Light (Karmatronic Club Mix)
5. Britney Spears - If You Seek Amy (Deejay Angel Club Mix)
6. Kanye West - Heartless (Kue Klub Mix)
7. Taylor Swift - Love Story (Digital Dog Club Mix)
8. Flo Rida feat. Kesha - Right Round(DJ Liad Segal Remix)
9. Rihanna - Breakin' Dishes (Soul Seekerz Remix)
10. Pussycat Dolls feat. Snoop Dogg - Bottle Pop (Moto Blanco Club Mix)
11. Deborah Cox - Beautiful U R (Soulseekrz Club Mix)
12. Beyonce - Halo (Karmatronic Club Mix)
13. Kelly Clarkson - My Life Would Suck Without You (DJ VNo ReWork)
14. Pink - Sober (Bimbo Jones Club Mix)
15. Lady Gaga - Poker Face (Dave Aude Club Mix)
16. Britney Spears - Circus (Ranny Club Mix)
17. Miley Cyrus - Fly On The Wall (Digital Dog Remix)
18. Beyonce - Single Ladies (Maurice Club Mix)
19. T.I - Whatever You Like (Booth Pimps Remix).mp3
20. Beyonce - If I Where A Boy (DJM Club Mix)
March 12, 2009 IssueAmerican Out Idol: Six Gay Musicians Release New Albums
By Patrick Fleming
Every gay musician has got to have his gimmick. Boy George was the eighties clubber. RuPaul was the nineties supermodel. Freddie Mercury was the biker. The Village People couldn’t get by with just one gimmick, they had six!
Without a gimmick, you become Lance Bass.
This spring, several out artists are presenting their new albums. To help them identify their gimmick, and encourage you to buy their albums, we’ve assigned them each a role.
Jason Walker, The Fighter
When a skinny white boy has the balls to take the stage of Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theatre, you know he is a fighter. That’s exactly what Jason Walker did - appearing on NBC’s Showtime at the Apollo singing competition show. Not only did Walker not get booed off the stage, he received a standing ovation and won the competition. Music producer Junior Vasquez happened to be watching the show. His people contacted Walker’s people and a month later, they were in the studio working on Walker’s first album.
“This Is My Life” produced three Billboard #1s, confirming the artist as one of the few gay singers capable of breaking through to a global dance audience. His songs of life and love, delivered in an octave well above any other male artists in pop music, became staples on both gay and straight dance floors worldwide.
This winter, Walker released his follow-up CD, “Flexible.” The first single, “Can’t Get You out of My Mind,” rocketed Walker right back to the top spot on the club charts. It was also #1 on LOGO’s video countdown show, The Click List. His second single, “Can’t Stop,” produced by superstar remixer Quentin Harris, hits dance floors this spring and is expected to be his fifth consecutive #1. Learn more at: www.jasonwalkermusic.com
Adam Joseph, The Princess
Adam Joseph, the artist, may appear to be a pink, glittery princess but don’t be fooled. Adam Joseph, the business man, is a true warrior.
After graduating Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music, Joseph battled to become one the first openly queer artists to sign with Sony BMGs all-gay label, Rainbow with a Twist. It was the break artists dream of until the label folded and dropped its entire queer roster.
Joseph was determined that he wouldn’t fall to defeat. He formed his own independent label and released the smooth r&b grooves “You’re Mine” and “Flow with My Soul.”
But it was the music video to his campy track, “Faggoty Attention” that shined the brightest spotlight on the young artist. A little bit Michael Jackson (“The Way You Make Me Feel”), a little bit Madonna (“Music” - at least the part where she is dancing in her limo), the video depicted Joseph and his gaggle of gays luring a vulnerable straight boy. It was a YouTube hit - criticized by some as a lucky break.
Adam Joseph, however, has said in interviews that the so-called lucky break was intentional; the result of hard work and tactical marketing. This spring, he aims to prove he’s got staying power when he releases his new faggoty track: a cover of Kool and the Gang’s 70’s disco hit, “Fresh.” Adam’s website: www.adamjosephmusic.com
Levi Kreis, The Country Boy
Born in East Tennessee, Levi Kreis broke into the music business as a Christian singer/songwriter. His last album, “The Gospel According to Levi,” ushered listeners through the complicated and painful past of a young man growing up under the grip of religious fundamentalism. His new album, “Where I Belong,” releases this May and is a complete one-eighty of his past work. In fact, the album is the most positive, upbeat music we’ve heard from the talented piano-man. And its gospel and country flavor is a sweet departure from the house and dance tracks preferred by most other out artists today. For more information: www.levikreis.com/live
Raphael Solomon, The True Beauty
Raphael Solomon has overcome many struggles. The 28-year-old sex muffin has been used, abused, spit out and hung to dry. The best thing is he airs all of his deliciously dirty laundry on his captivating debut album, “Beautiful Dancer.”
In “Sex with My Sex,” the first track from the album, Solomon reflects on the good and bad of making whoopie with an old flame. It’s an intriguing song; one that demands attention because of its unique subject matter but succeeds in captivating the listener with its beat and memorable hook. It’s important to note that Solomon decides that sex with a former lover is not a bad thing, as long as you go into it with no expectations. Living for the moment is a running theme in Solomon’s album and probably says a lot about the artist himself.
Even when at his lowest - like when he admits in “Brand New Dime” how he can’t pay his rent - Solomon’s the ultimate optimist. The former model knows how to pick himself up, dust off, and have a little fun. Like the night he dressed as Tarzan for a performance and his loincloth came undone on stage. Raphael Solomon’s “Beautiful Dancer” is available on iTunes now.
Joey Salinas, The Hustler
Joey Salinas’ 2008 ballad “All of Me” yielded the young artist a Billboard Magazine award. This spring, he releases “…And Then There Was Alexander,” a provocative album that continues Salinas’ voyage into the complicated adventures of his young life.
The first single from the album, “Bedtime,” was penned by Salinas and inspired by a booty call. Joey says that while waiting for his hook-up to show-up, he allowed the urgent, erotic energy he was feeling to spill over into a tune. Basically, his horniness wrote the song.
The ups and downs of Joey’s roller coaster emotions bleed into his music. He reveals and explores every aspect of his self: his sensitive side, aggressive side, sexual and moody sides. It is that personalized touch that critics say makes the young artist relatable to fans. For more information www.joey-salinas.com
Joel Evan, The Exhibitionist
Playgirl model Joel Evan’s debut album, “Enjoy the Sadness” was released under his stage name Jet Kanashi. Kanashi means “sorrow” in Japanese. The album explored Evan’s ideas on turning sadness into pleasure. He may have physically stripped for the magazine. He emotionally stripped for the album.
Two years - and many months in deep meditation - later, Evan is back with his next album, “Embracing The Light…And Then Some.” With this release, the artist decided to go back to his real name because while writing the songs, he realized Kanashi no longer suited the material. The new tracks explore Evan’s need to break from sadness and find inner peace.
Standout tracks include the moody opener, “A Lighter Shade of Sorrow”, “Never Ending Universe”, and “Rule the World”, a frisky dance confection complimented perfectly by Evan’s melancholy vocals. “Embracing The Light…And Then Some” is available now at: www.joelevanmusic.com
February 26, 2009 IssueCream Of The Cream City Crop: Andrew Suvalsky
Award Winning Jazz Artist & Interior Designer Has “Homecoming” Concert March 7
Interview by Mike Fitzpatrick
Milwaukee - Critically-acclaimed gay jazz singer, interior designer and Cream City native Andrew Suvalsky is coming home - and what a homecoming it will be! Suvalsky will be performing in the city for the very first time ever. Andy, as he likes to be called, will headline “Hot Jazz for Cool Nights” with his swinging quartet, a benefit for the Milwaukee Jewish Day School on March 7 at the Hotel Intercontinental.
Winner of the 2007 Back Stage Bistro Awards for Jazz Vocalist, Suvalsky released his second CD, “A World That Swings,” last October. It was immediately tabbed one of the best albums of 2008 by St. Louis jazz station KDHX 88.1 FM. Bottom Line magazine echoed the praise, calling the baker’s dozen set “an all out jazz-fest and one of the sexiest jazz albums to date,” while Edge International hailed the singer as “good news for jazz fans who are looking for an up-and-coming star to latch onto.”
Andrew is also a respected New York interior designer who has been featured in The New York Times, profiled on HGTV and highlighted on several high-profile blogs in the design world. He recently was chosen as one of “10 Under 40” Top New Designers by New York Spaces magazine.
Though the March 7 concert will be his first ever in his jazz persona, Suvalsky has performed publicly in Milwaukee before. In 1977 and 1979, Andrew starred in the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s production of “A Christmas Carol.”
Quest’s Mike Fitzpatrick caught up with Andy by phone last week as he was heading up to the Massachusetts Berkshires for a celebratory weekend of skiing - not for his jazz or design kudos though - as he just turned 40. They discussed the new album, his design work, the upcoming concert and what its like to be tabbed as the “gay Michael Bublé.”
Quest: Tell me a little bit the upcoming benefit.
Andrew: The benefit is for the Milwaukee Jewish Day School. My two nephews and my niece all go to that school. They have a fundraiser every year with different sorts of entertainment. For this year’s event, they decided to ask me to be the entertainment. It was something I was really interested in because I really wanted to do a concert in Milwaukee and I wanted to help an organization that is really near and dear to my heart.
Quest: The concert is open to the general public, with tickets available at the door and in advance?
Andrew: That’s correct, and I hope people will come out.
Quest: Speaking of out, you are “out” as an openly gay singer, aren’t you?
Andrew: Oh yes I am!
Quest: So let’s talk a bit about being what some people might consider being the “gay Michael Bublé?”
Andrew: That’s fine, it’s not a bad judgment. Although I have to remind myself that I’m speaking to an editor of a gay magazine - so the gay aspect is relevant. I’m out for sure - there’s no question about it: you’ll find it in print, you can glean it from my bio and things like that. But its funny to hear it spoken out loud with “gay” as the first adjective. My feeling on names and labels is that I don’t mind it as long as they’re truthful, and if they speak to people who might be paying attention. I like the fact that it might be relevant to somebody and I’ll happily say so. If that’s one way for people getting to know me as an artist, then I’m al for it.
Quest: I’m not saying it as an appellation, as this limits who you are, but as an instant “high concept,” in the world where you have only six words or less to describe yourself, or people will be off to the next shiny thing.
Andrew: It is about speaking to your audience, knowing which six words will get their attention!
Quest: I want to talk about your new album, “A World That Sings.” I have been listening to it almost non-stop since I got it from (Quest publisher) Mark (Mariucci). It also prompted me to check out your first album “Vintage Pop And Jazz Sides.” On the first CD you did a read of the song “Do You Want to Dance” that is very reminiscent of Bette Midler’s version of the song. Is she a source of inspiration?
Andrew: Absolutely! Let me give you a little background. I just turned 40 yesterday - so you can do the math. I was a young kid in the early 70’s and had three older sisters. My oldest sister was very much into music. She was my immediate conduit to the music that was on the radio. That particular album “The Divine Miss M” was played a ton in my house. That particular song was really one of the very first that I really remember. I used to sing along with it. It was kind of in my consciousness. I’ve always loved it and loved that version of it. So when I covered it on the first album it was a bit on a homage to a muse.
Quest: The first album had a bit of a split personality - it was very pop and very jazz. But this new album, my goodness! First of all you doing a song from one of my favorites Mel Tormé, but your rendition of Carol King’s “I Feel the Earth Move” - It’s an amazingly wonderful reinvention of that song.
Andrew: Thank you. That’s a great song to reference as it is sort of the essence of what I do. I have a great affection for a lot of classic pop music. But my natural tendency is to do it more jazzy, taking the traditional jazz sensibility of playfulness and scatting, movement around lyrics and rhythm but still use it to apply to a pop song. That one is the real gist of what I like to do.
Quest: The version of “Night and Day” you did is so totally “not” the Frank Sinatra arrangement.
Andrew: Well you know, that’s probably a good thing. I love his style of music but I don’t like to sing the way he does. Sometimes I really like to speed things up or than again really slow things down. I felt that we were really “in the pocket” at the tempo we did it. We included the first verse, the beginning portion that isn’t often used, though I think Frank did.
Quest: Well Frank's reading is very much about longing. He keys in on the word “longing.” In a lot of ways you key in on the word “beat.” You’re excited. Frank’s version has a sense of ennui and melancholy - they’ve broken up, they can’t get over this, he’s obsessing over it. Your version is like “I am just so into this person!”
Andrew: Thank you. It’s good to hear somebody else’s interpretation. Your take on my take is I guess really correct. I hadn’t thought of both sides of the equation as far as falling for somebody or losing somebody, but I think I was probably more excited over meeting and being with them then falling for them. I guess that is what comes through in that song.
Quest: Another pop classic on the album, the Beatles tune that was also done by Sergio Mendes. It was interesting to hear your read on “Fool On The Hill.” It was a little closer to the Fab Four’s version of it, but you mellowed it out and slowed it down even more.
Andrew: I appreciate you mentioning Sergio Mendes because that is the version that I remember. I actually have that one on my iPod. The Sergio Mendes version is done in ¾ time. He does it like a fast waltz, which is not how it’s written. That always really confused me until I picked up the music and relearned it as John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote it.
The Sergio Mendes version is what made me love the song. But my desire to do it and the way it came out was closer to the original way it was done. But I though the tune just naturally evolved into a nice, slow jazz ballad.
Quest: Well, you also obviously like the bossa nova-samba-Brazilian sound because you also have “One Note Samba” and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Quiet Nights And Quiet Stars” (Corcovado) on the album.
Andrew: I find that music so sexy. It’s got a great vibe. Before you even think of the lyrics, you get into the rhythm of those songs. I have a great affection for the 60’s kind of Brazilian jazz vibe. That’s where my love of those songs start.
Quest: And the arrangements are just really fun! I just loved the whole album. I hope people can read the enthusiasm I’m obviously throwing into the interview then say “I really need to go out and buy this!”
Andrew: From your mouth to God’s ears. I hope so too. But it’s fun to reach new audiences, new markets. I’m so appreciative when people like yourself take an interest, because that’s how it happens. It really does.
Quest: Now you’re originally from Milwaukee, right? And you moved out to New York when?
Andrew: Yes, born and raised in Milwaukee. In late ‘98 - ten years ago.
Quest: And you’ve also made a name for yourself as something else. I understand that you’re quite the interior decorator. Can you talk about it?
Andrew: I’d be happy to. I’m an artist first, so they’re both different creative pursuits I guess they come to me naturally, but I really work very hard at, both the music and the design. The design is more of an offshoot of what I studied in college - architecture. I’ve always had a real passion for architecture, but like on the residential scale. I didn’t know I would become an interior designer, but when I moved to New York I needed a job. I needed a job that called upon my creative skill set. So, long story short, I fell into a really good job with a really, really good firm.
I had just started as an assistant there to the owner. I thought it would be like a half-step of a job that got me to New York and I’d figure my way after that. But it think that it was really meant to be because it was a really good environment for me to learn the industry and the whole craft. I worked on some exciting projects.
After some time I took on some of my own projects. I like to live well too! So I didn’t take the run of being a really starving artist. So while pursuing my career in music I was building my career as an interior designer. About five years ago I started my own firm which has done well. Obviously the economy has put a crimp in everybody’s style. But overall, its been a pretty good run. I’ve had some amazing project. Thankfully, happily, it got coverage too. So that work has really grown a lot.
Quest: Well I’d look at it like this: someone who has a jazz sensibility being an interior designer - I think I’d end up with a house that truly pops!
Andrew: That’s sort of my thing! I don’t see them very differently. I can express an idea that I have how a lifestyle can be through either music or design. Inside of me, its the same place. They take very different forms one they come out of me, obviously. But they’re coming from the same viewpoint which is kind of how fun and flashy a lifestyle can be.
Quest: Anything else you’d like to say to our readers at this point?
Andrew: I would love to meet some of them in person if they would join me at the show on the 7th. It’s a benefit for the Milwaukee Jewish Day School, but we put this thing together because I really want this to be my homecoming concert. I wanted an opportunity to play in a forum where - if people are interested in my music or interested in me - that they could still come and do that. This is not a private event. Though while the proceeds do benefit the school - that can’t be bad - but I want it to be a homecoming convert and see a lot of familiar faces in the seats.
Andrew Suvalsky’s “Hot Jazz for Cool Nights” benefit concert will begin at 8:45 PM at the Hotel Intercontinental, 139 East Kilbourn Avenue. Tickets are $36 each and may be reserved by calling 414-964-1499.
The beneficiary of the concert, the Milwaukee Jewish Day School, provides outstanding academics in a nurturing, pluralistic Jewish environment. Their dedicated teachers are committed to the educational success and social, intellectual, and emotional growth of each child. From Junior Kindergarten through 8th grade, MJDS students receive an education that is enhanced with the rich traditions of the Jewish heritage. They focus on learning a second language, working cooperatively, strengthening Jewish identity and developing critical thinking skills.
Andrew’s new album “A World That Swings” (LML Music) is available at iTunes, Amazon.com or directly from the label at: www.LMLmusic.com. It is also available at discerning retail music outlets. Look for it in the Jazz and Vocal sections.
Top Dance Music Club Hits - Deejay Charts
DJ Tony Ritschard - Madison, WI
1. Robyn - Dream On (Moto Blanco)
2. Solange - T.O.N.Y. (DJ Escape Coluccio)
3. Offer Nissim - Hook Up
4. Deborah Cox - Beautiful U R (Yinon)
5. Mary Mary - God In Me (DJ Escape Coluccio)
6. Deadmau 5 & Kaskade - I Remember
7. Freemasons - Keep The Fire Burning
8. Lily Allen - The Fear (Stonebridge)
9. Beyonce - Diva (DJ Escape Coluccio)
10. Kristine W - Love Is The Look (Ralphi Rosario)
11. Aanastacia - Absolutely Positively (Moto Blanco)
12. 7th Heaven feat. Katherine Ellisain - Ain't Nothing Going On But The Rent
13. Ranny feat. Rachal Panay - Epic (jj romero circuito)
14. Enrique Iglesias - Away (Moto Blanco)
15. Chris LAKE feat. Natala - IF You Knew
DJ Carl - XS Niteclub, Green Bay
1. Lady Gaga - Pokerface (Dave Aude)
2. Talor Swift - Love Story (Digital Dog)
3. Brandy - Long Distance (jdb)
4. Britney Spears - Circus (Nick's)
5. Beyonce - Diva (Red Top)
6. Pussycat Dolls - Bottle Pop (Moto Blanco)
7. Miley Cyrus - Fly on the Wall (Digital Dog)
8. Jennifer Hudson - If This Isn't Love (StoneBridge)
9. Larry t - Licky (Vandalism)
10. Lady Gaga - Love Game (Dave Aude)
11. Lilly Allen - The Fear (Stonebridge)
12. Pink - Sober (Binbo Jones)
13. The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name (Tom Nevile)
14. Mariah Carey - I Stay In Love With You (JDB)
15. Pussycat Dolls - I Hate This Part (Digital Dog)
Of course Quest would love playlists from other clubs in Wisconsin. Send them via email to email@example.com. Deadline is March 3
February 12, 2009 IssueTop Dance Music Club Hits - Deejay Charts
DJ Carl - XS Niteclub, Green Bay
1. Talor Swift - Love Story (Digital Dog)
2. Brandy - Long Distance (jdb)
3. Lady Gaga - Pokerface (Dave Aude)
4. Britney Spears - Circus (Nick's)
5. Beyonce - Single Ladies
6. Pussycat Dolls - Hate This Part (Digital Dog)
7. Miley Cyrus - Fly on the Wall (Digital Dog)
8. Craig David - Insomnia (Haji)
9. Larry T - Licky (Vandalism)
10. Akon - Right Now (Mike Rizzo)
11. Mariah Carey - I Stay in Love with You (jdb)
12. Pink - Sober (Bimbo Jones)
13. The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name (Soul Seekerz)
14. Lilly Allen - The Fear (Stonebridge)
15. Pussycat Dolls - Bottle Pop (Moto Blanco)
DJ Tommy - MONA's, Milwaukee
1. Britney Spears - Womanizer
2. Neyo - Miss Independant
3. Rihanna - Disturbia
4. Pink - So What
5. Katy Perry - Hot n Cold
6. Katy Perry - I Kissed a Girl
7. Christine Aquilera - Keeps Getting Better
8. Lady Gaga - Just Dance
9. Neyo - Closer
10. Enur - Calabra
11. Pussycat Dolls - When I Grow Up
12. Chris Brwon - Forever
13. John Legend - Green Light
14. Danity Kane - Damaged
15. Estelle w/Kayne West - American Boy
16. Flo Rida - In the Ayer
17. September - Cry For You
18. Colby O'Donis - What You got
19. Metro Station - Shake It
20. Mary J Blige - Just Fine
Of course we would love playlists from other clubs in Wisconsin. Send them via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, February 17.
By Joel Mancusic (with Mark Bruno)
Jonny “The Gay Pimp” McGovern and Adam Joseph are leaders in a new crop of revolutionary gay artists. With their outrageous records and music videos, they are ushering in a new genre of club hits to our nation’s dance floors. Dubbed “faggot music”, the colorful beats celebrate the “f” word and encourage fans to reclaim their inner faggot. Many in the community - especially those under-30 - are doing just that.
But there are some in the community who oppose the word faggot in popular music. They argue it’s irresponsible of these artists to encourage gay youth to embrace the historically-derogative word. The opposition has been vocal online for some time, initially targeting Jonny “The Gay Pimp” McGovern and his Gays Gone Wild album. But the finger wagging shifted to Adam Joseph when his “Faggoty Attention” video skyrocketed to the top of LOGO-TV’s “Click List” music countdown show.
Love them or hate them, no one can argue one thing. These sparkly young artists are making people re-think the power of the “F” word.
What exactly is faggot music?
McGovern: I like to think of it as dirtygayUndergroundfagpop. We are making pop songs but dealing with gay specific topics.
What do you say to people (gay and straight) who oppose the use of the word faggot in your music?
Joseph: You can run away from the word but it’s not going to make it disappear.
Why is it important that the community embrace the f word?
McGovern: When I was a teenager dealing with coming out, the idea of being a “fag” was terrifying. But as I came out and came into my own I realized all of those “faggy” things that I was afraid of being are what made me truly myself.
Joseph: I refuse to give the word Faggot any type of negative connotation. I’m using it to empower or fem-power.
Is being gay a big part of who you are?
Joseph: If by being gay you mean having sex with men, then yes. If by being gay you mean going to gay bars and vogue battling, yes. If you mean going to the gym and trying to act like I’m straight, then no.
McGovern: In NYC we get to live in a fantastic bubble where you can truly be yourself with out any apologies. That’s not to say homophobia doesn’t exist here, it does! We all remember a few years ago when Kevin Aviance was gay bashed in the East Village. Still, the nightlife culture that we come out of has always really pushed you to be as faggity and bold as you can be.
What are you queens hoping to change?
McGovern: I’d like for it to be easier for people, especially gay youth, to access pop music that shows being gay for what it is: cool, fun, powerful and sexy! That says you can be as faggy as you wanna be and don’t let nobody tell you different.
Jonny, your album “The East Village Mix Tape” really launched the Faggot Music genre. Of all the hot tracks, which was your favorite?
McGovern: It’s hard to choose just one. I love all of them.
How do you feel about Adam Joseph releasing the latest faggot anthem, Faggoty Attention? Is he now your competition?
McGovern: Not at all. A.Jo is my lil gay hummingbird.
Joseph: The title of the song was Jonny’s idea. I ran with it. I wanted a dance song that I could play in the clubs and I thought the scene needed another track that showed being gay as fun and something to be confident about.
Tell us about the next Jonny McGovern album, Keep it Faggity.
McGovern: Keep it Faggity is subtitled The Gay Pimp Remix Project. I love remixes that completely re-imagine a pop track for club consumption. It’s a way to reinterpret and breathe new life into a song. Adam and I went back into the studio and totally reproduced and re-imagined some of my fave cuts from Gays Gone Wild for the late night club scene. I also took my fave unreleased remixes of “Soccer Practice” and “Lookin Cute” and included them and there is also a rare track I did with the legendary DJ Junior Vasquez called “ Run to the Dance Floor” which I wanted to see the light of day. Plus I unearthed a live acoustic recording of “Lookin Cute” which ends the set as a bonus track. It’s a great record to party to.
In the East Village world you and Adam portray in your records, life is a non stop party of sex, drugs, and dance floors. Mainstream isn’t giving much respect to partiers these days. Look at Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Amy Winehouse…
McGovern: They are giving them millions of dollars and tons of publicity though.
Joseph: The mainstream is obsessed with people who party hard. It seems like in America that it is the most important news for some reason. I like to party but it’s not my first priority any more. I’m way to busy working on all this music!
What’s next for you guys?
McGovern: Tons of stuff!! I will be making more videos from Gays Gone Wild. “Bossy Bottom” and “Girl, I Fucked Yer Boyfriend” are next. I will be producing The East Village Mixtape 2 this summer. And I have a new line of tee shirts!
Joseph: I’m working on my next full length soul/R&B album. I’m also about to release a soulful house remix and video for the song “You’re Mine” off of my first album.
How can the community support faggoty music?
Joseph: Buy it, Spread the word, respect it.
McGovern: And stop hating on us. We’re doing a good thing for the community.
When it’s all over, what do you hope people will remember you for?
McGovern: That I made the world a gayer place!
Joseph: I hope people will say I made songs that made them laugh and cry; beats that made them move; and I had a look that made them cream.
Jonny McGovern’s Keep It Faggity: The Gay Pimp Remix Project and Adam Joseph’s Faggoty Attention are available online now. For more info, visit gaypimp.com and adamjosephmusic.com.
December 25, 2008 ColumnThe Man With The Voice Of An Angel Is Behaving As Such
Los Angeles - For the holidays, classical-gone-pop singer Matt Abler has released a hauntingly beautiful cover “Star Of Wonder” originally by quirky sister trio, The Roches. All proceeds from the sale of the song exclusively on iTunes benefit LA Youth Network (LAYN) an organization that takes in homeless L.A. youth, many of whom are gay and lesbian teens.
Says Alber, “A lot of these kids are gay, lesbian or transgender who flee from abusive homes and schools. They arrive by bus, they hitch-hike, they do whatever they can to get away and land here with nothing. LAYN is more than a band-aid or a hand-out; they provide real homes, one-on-one social workers and even send these kids to college. Most of us have always had a roof over our heads. These kids just want a safe place to start their lives.”.
You may remember Matt Alber is featured on our Quest cover for issue 18 (November 13-26).
Please help us spread the word and buy! The more downloads sold, the more money Matt raises for LA Youth Network! Stream and purchase the song by entering this web address: http://mattalber.com/starofwonder/star
(Give it a few seconds, it starts quietly, with wind chimes.) Click the purchase song and you will be taken to iTunes site for the purchase.
Matt Alber’s dreamy debut solo album, “Hide Nothing” is out now. Go to mattalber.com to listen to a streaming version. Watch for the super romantic “End Of The World” video soon on Logo. Quest had the opportunity to see the video in advance of its release and it is sure to bring a tear to some of your eyes. It’s that good!
Ear Candy: “POPular” Pumps Perfectly Pitched Pop Tunes
December 11, 2008 Column
Review by Mike Fitzpatrick
POPular - DJ Corey Craig (Centaur Entertainment/Power Music) When reviewing an earlier Centaur dance disc last August I pointed out that the “sound alike” music phenomenon has been around for decades, dating back to Your Hit Parade and 50’s budget label compilations. However it truly was most successfully reinvented with the Studio 54 era practice of creating disco remakes of every pop, country and even classical tune known to man.
Over the last 10 years Centaur Music, a gay dance music label, perfected the formula of mixing several doppelgänger ditties with a few genuine club hits into seamless hour-long mixes perfect for personal partying. Now Centaur’s new partnership with Power Music has taken the dance remake concept to it’s ultimate conclusion - all sound-alikes all the time. If you’re a gym bunny, you likely have heard Power Music’s nonstop, beat-matched programming as the ambient background at your local workout spot when you’ve popped your ear plugs long enough to take a break from the Madonna medley on your iPod.
Centaur and Power Music’s collaboration will result in a series of discs called POPular. Current plans call for six releases to be issued every other month during 2009, featuring gay DJ’s from around the country. However, the debut CD has just dropped into stores and iTunes for sale and download and it’s a doozy. The mixing is by New York’s DJ Corey Craig, already well known for his podcasts on iTunes, his crowded dance floors on Fire Island, his trendy play dates at clubs such as Ono, as well as his gigs overseas on London’s dance floors.
The song stack reads like a recent Billboard chart: six reached #1 and four more reached #2 on either the Hot 100 or Dance lists. In fact, four of the songs - Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold,” Pink’s “So What,” “Lady GaGa’s “Just Dance” and Britney Spears’ “Womanizer” - are currently in this week’s Top 10. Not including DJ Corey’s signature tune - a thumping remake of Andrew Gold’s Golden Girls theme “Thank You For Being A Friend” - the oldest song on the disc is Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine” which dates from that misty, bygone era of last summer’s PrideFest.
Even purists will have a hard time telling POPular’s faceless vocalists from the genuine article. Gay satiric sensibility lurks among the monikers assigned to each performer: Pink’s imitator is called Party Girl, Madonna’s sound-alike is known by her British nickname Madge, and Britney’s stand-in is dubbed Miss Mess.
Many of POPular’s Hi-NRG arrangements also copy the dance floor versions of the originals, versions that are often unavailable commercially for club goers wanting to make them their own. And with nonstop sequencing, POPular is a seventy-plus minute set for their next private party.
Best of all, the price is right to collect so many current song in one place as well, with the download coming in at under ten bucks. So if you’re looking for an energizing hour of sing-along hits perfect for your next workout, road trip or private dancing, check out POPular, available at Amazon.com iTunes, or directly from DigiComps at: popular.soundpost.com.
Workout: Pumping House's Vinny Gough
Personal trainer and model Vinny Gough was chosen for the cover of Workout: Pumping House, the upcoming house music compilation for New Year's fitness "resolutionistas". The 2-disc set features 16 heart-pumping tracks and includes a 7-day Guest Pass to Bally Total Fitness.
Workout: Pumping House includes a new remix of RuPaul's "Looking Good, Feeling Gorgeous"; "Everybody Rise Pt. 2" featuring dance legend, Muriel Fowler; the Michal Nicolas cover of old-school hit "Send Me An Angel", remixed by top DJ/producer Georgie Porgie "Mindbuster" from "The First Lady of House Music," Jocelyn Brown and the title track, "Workout", a remake of the Frankie Knuckles dance classic, with vocals by RuPaul and backup vocals by Chris Willis.
This CD could be that dependable "workout buddy" you've been trying to find. Workout: Pumping House (Uphonic Records) will be available everywhere January 6th including Outwords Books In Milwaukee.
August 28, 2008 Column
Ultra Naté Strikes Gold With Alchemy: G.S.T. Reloaded
Reviewed by Mike Fitzpatrick
2008 has been the year of the Resurrected Diva. Boomer-aged club goers have been dragging their arthritis-riddled bones back on the dance floor to “Stamp Their Feet” with Donna Summer, rehash the “Same Old Fucking Story” with Cyndi Lauper and wondering if “This Is Not Real Love” with George Michael, certainly the biggest drama queen of the bunch.
It seems only fitting that veteran U. S. dance diva Ultra Naté - who turned 40 this year - should join the parade. After all, it was nearly two decades ago - 1989 to be exact - that gay ears first perked up to Naté’s signature vocals on the Basement Boys’ club classic “It’s Over Now.” Following a six year absence from the summit, the diva stormed back to the top of the Billboard dance charts twice in 2007 with a fierce remake of the Pointer Sisters’ “Automatic” and her own “Give It All You Got” featuring fellow house hottie Chris Willis.
Always adored far more by Europe’s taste makers than by the U.S. music industry types who wanted her to “funk it up,” Ultra Naté elected to languish in indie label land for more than a decade and as a result has only hit the mainstream once with 1997’s mid-charter “Free.” The release of this Tommy Boy/Silver Label double CD may finally get this under-appreciated diva the recognition she so richly deserves.
Released August 19, Alchemy: G.S.T. Reloaded is actually an all-remix album, revisiting ten of the fourteen songs from Naté’s 2007 release Grime, Silk And Thunder, and tossing in “Twisted,” a redo from 2001’s Situation: Critical. The first CD is a set of 2008 remixes, that includes sassy new reimaginngs of both her 2007 hits plus a powerful new mix of the diva’s “Love Is The Only Drug,” which reached #2 in 2006. The remixes - most by Ultra’s longtime collaborators such as J. Louis and Ferran (the current Basement Boys’ line-up) and Mood II Swing (who created the hit mix for “Free”) - let both the beat and the diva-penned lyrics shine. They’re also largely free of those annoying beat-less breakdowns currently in vogue in remixes elsewhere.
The second disc highlights Ultra Naté’s DJing talents, and offers for the first time at retail a nonstop mix of most of the songs on disc one in their once promo-only club versions. Most of the diva’s fans outside of Baltimore may not know that she regularly spins the wheels of steel at the Paradox there when she’s not out touring the planet (in the next month alone she’ll be appearing in Italy and Russia as well as U.S. dates). The vibe of the second set largely reflects the diva’s dance philosophy - “bumping four to the floor straight up deep house, no funky no chunky” - though several of the mixes have an almost jazz-like feel in places.
If the old saying that “life begins at 40” is true, perhaps Ultra Naté’s Alchemy: G.S.T. Reloaded might be the vehicle to help the diva live it in the reflected glory of mainstream acclaim - the album certainly has the chops to make it happen. For fans, it’s a must-have and for the buy-curious it’s a bargain (currently on sale at Amazon.com and other sites at $14.99).
August 14, 2008 ColumnEar Candy:
New CDs From DJ Max Rodriguez, Danny Tenaglia & Sick Of Sarah
Reviewed by Mike Fitzpatrick
Here’s the scoop on three summer releases perfect for beach boomboxes, iPod boppin’ or main street cruisin’ (assuming you can still afford the gas).
Pride 08 - DJ Max Rodriguez (Centaur Music) The “sound alike” music phenomenon has been around for decades, dating back to Your Hit Parade and 50’s budget label compilations then brought to new life with Seventies and Eighties disco remakes of every pop, country and even classical tune known to man. For the last 10 years Centaur Music has perfected the formula of mixing several doppelgänger ditties with a few genuine club hits into seamless hour-long mixes perfect for personal partying. New York DJ Max Rodriguez’s Gay Pride series has been a label standout. Pride 08 continues the tradition. Eurodisco remakes of the Bellamy Brothers’ “Let Your Love Flow” and Denice Williams’ “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” show up with “live or Memorex” versions of recent chart-toppers such as Madonna and Justin Timberlake’s “4 Minutes” and Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love.” In fact, Kaith Haarmeyer’s Pride & Disco Mix picks off the club smash Moto Blanco Mix of “Bleeding Love” so closely that only a copyright infringement lawyer might be able to tell the difference. Overall it’s a tasty fast-food quality musical package worth an online order from Amazon.com or download from iTunes.
Futurism - Danny Tenaglia (Silver Label/Tommy Boy) Top 40 dance droids and drag queens looking for lip-sync numbers beware! This 2-CD trance dance set is not for you! Back in the 70’s when Tommy Boy Records owner Tom Silverman wrote and edited a little club deejay newsletter called Disco News (later DMR) he would give equal space to progressive eurodisco as well as the chart-driven hip-hop and disco that mainstream America grew to love and then later hate. In its original incarnation eurodisco was a multi-layered, mostly instrumental music form that since has evolved in the trance, tribal and deep house music of today. Apparently record mogul Silverman still harbors a soft spot for the progressive. Veteran progressive house deejay Danny Tenaglia’s first compilation in six years may be called “Futurism” but it harks back to those early days of eurodisco in its spirit. Electronica drives first of the two CDs in this package, while the beat dominates on the second. This is music meant to be experienced directly through headphones or ear buds, with eyes closed and not necessarily with the feet involved. Call me oxymoronic, but this is meditative dance music. Recommended for those willing to take the trip - with no chemical enhancement needed.
Sick Of Sarah (Adamant Records) The eponymous debut of the distaff Minneapolis rock quintet Sick of Sarah offers up ten self-penned, radio-ready tunes that owe a lot to the Go Go’s and the Bangles, though less guitar-driven, and with up front vocals reminiscent of a more mainstream, all-girl B-52’s. The album’s standout lead off song “Daisies” is a pop ditty that sounds like it might have been stolen off of Mika’s recent “Life In Cartoon Motion.” “Not Listening” and “Hardest Part” nod to Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, cited as a band influence, while “Bittersweet” and “Breakdown”echo John Fogerty, another band idol. The album’s eco-friendly gatefold packaging offers photos of the band but no lyrics or other production notes which is unfortunate because this is a group whose songs you’ll want to learn the words to. Pick this one up, for I promise that you won’t get sick of Sarah very soon!
September 27, 2007“Click List” Chart Topper Adam Barta Wants To Hold You
Interview By Mike Fitzpatrick
He’s been the darling of LOGO’s music lovers for the last three months. He topped the gay cable’s Click List for four weeks in August and still holds down the #6 spot in the online viewer poll even as more mainstream pop tarts like Hillary Duff and Fall Out Boy have come and gone.
Adam Barta’s video for his long-lived (it was released in November 2006) dance favorite “I Wanna Hold You” is every metrosexual’s wettest dream: clubbing all night then leaving with the two hottest pick-ups in the room - choices that cross racial and gender boundaries. But Bronx-born Barta is not just a hunky one-hit wonder currying favor with the queer community: he’s an emerging talent on the cusp of dance music stardom.
“I Wanna Hold You’s” indie label success story on FM and web radio has been the stuff of recent stories in music press: a July Skope feature and an August Cashbox cover piece. In mid-September, Barta was signed to Chicago-based dance and latin music giant EsNtion Records.
Quest caught up with Barta last week, just as he was about to learn the latest results from the Click List and just a couple of weeks before his new, major label single “Standing In The Rain” will try to score a hit-making hat trick - a third club smash for the twentysomething tenor, who DJ Times called “one of the strongest male vocalists of 2007.”
Quest: So the breaking news is that you’ve gotten a major record deal.
Adam: I signed with EsNtion (Records) for an album deal. It’s been in the works for a couple of months. I (also) have a single that I recorded called “Standing In The Rain” which is coming out on DJ Russ Harris’ album on October 9.
Quest: You spent most of the month of August on the top of the Click List on LOGO with “I Wanna Hold You.” In fact it’s still in the top 10 the last time I checked.
Adam: Every Friday around this time my manager gets an e-mail that they’ve updated the website with the list. It’s been on there 12 weeks, hopefully 13 if we find out in the next few minutes that it’s still up there. It’s been a process: getting excited every Friday around this time - 5:30 - to check the website and see if its there. It’s been a great validation with everybody voting for it, everyone liking it - It’s a really great feeling to have had it up there for so long.
Quest: Well for the gay crowd, they really like that in the video you walk out with two dates at the end of the night.
Adam: (laughs) Well, that’s what we were going for, you know! We kind of wanted to leave it open, so whatever your interpretation was of it, you could go with it. (It was) something for everybody. I really think it worked. If the gay crowd loves it, and the straight crowd kinda loves it, or loves the ambiguity. And it works - its been great.
Quest: And the song has been all over the radio too, like Pride Radio, XM and Sirius.
Adam: It’s been on so many different stations. I actually recorded it in March of 2006, so its over a year and a half since it was first done. But it just keeps growing and growing. They say that the life of a single - whether its a hit or not - only has so much air time on the radio. But this song is like “The Little Engine That Could,” with the amount of (continued) pick-ups its getting. With the LOGO countdown a lot more people are taking notice of it.
Just yesterday I got an e-mail from the another dance artist, Pepper Mashay. A lot of people know her from her hit “Dive In The Pool” (from the Queer As Folk soundtrack). She wants to play it on her (radio) show. Pepper and I have been friends for a while. She’s really supporting me. Everything’s just coming together perfectly.
Quest: So when will the EsNtion album be coming out?
Adam: I have an album tentatively scheduled to come out early next year. That was the date that they gave us - early 2008. As late as March, probably more so because I haven’t recorded most of it yet. I’ll be in the studio the end of this year.
Quest:You also have a really exciting date coming up in July 2008 as well.
Adam: Its a fantastic benefit concert - Angels Unite Worldwide 2008. It’s being put together by IAD Radio (www.iadradio.com). They have some amazing performers lined up: Olivia Newton-John, Patti LaBelle. And I think Ricky Martin is on that bill. Olivia has been someone I’ve been watching since I was a little kid. It’s gonna be a trip for me to get on stage and be with her. It’s going to be July 8 in Denver.
Quest: Talking about little kids, how did a Bronx boy end up on a Chicago-based label working with a Chicago DJ (Russ Harris) as a featured artist on his upcoming album?
Adam: I started doing musical theater. From there I jumped into a boy band, actually two boy bands. It didn’t turn out that well, but it gave me the tools I guess I needed to push forward my personal career. I learned about working as part of a team. Any recording artist has to have that mentality of working as a unit, whether its with other band members, or choreographers, back-up singers, managers... They have to function together cohesively.
From the boy band I launched a solo career. I did some pop stuff that did okay, but it wasn’t anything great. Then I had single called “Dirty Girls” (in 2005). The remix by the Armory Project did really well in the clubs and hit dance radio for a bit. That put me in the dance arena. From there came “I Want To Hold You” and then EsNtion Records noticed me.
Quest: So it was a story in Skope in July, then a cover on Cashbox in August, and now its the cover of Quest in September.
Adam: I’m honored. And I got the news essentially on my birthday, which is today (September 21). I got the news from (his publicist) Stephen yesterday about the cover.
Quest: So where do you see yourself in five years, besides at the top of the charts?
Adam: I’m hoping to have at least a Grammy or some sort of an award - maybe an MTV Award. I hope to have a bunch of hits, good songs that I’ve written out there. The most important thing is to have my own stuff recorded and have done well. And just performing - I love the excitement of it, love having fans and just doing my thing. So if I can still be performing, having music that people really like five years from now, I will be very happy.
Quest: As for the immediate future, you have the new single coming out as the featured singer for DJ Russ Harris.
Adam: That will be “Standing in the Rain.” Russ’ album, which will have an exclusive mix - the Russ Harris mix - will be out October 9. The album is called Ear Therapy. The single from that - with additional mixes - will be in a month or two. There might be a “B-side” to that which may have “I Want To hold You” but I’m not positive.
Quest: Who do you see as your musical influences? Where does your inspiration come from?
Adam: Well, I grew up listening to ‘Nsync and the Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake and all the hip-hop male vocalists. I listen to things like Pink, R & B artists like Missy Elliott, that sort of vibe. I’ve really been digging Hilary Duff’s new sound lately. I think her new, reinvented non-Disney sound is really working well for her. Even the new Britney Spears song - I know a lot of people have been giving her a hard time for everything that’s been going on - but the song she has out now (“Gimme More”) is fantastic.
Quest: As for “I Wanna Hold You,” can people still get it anywhere besides videotaping it off of TV?
Adam: It’s available for download on iTunes and Rhapsody. It’s on the Top Dance Songs of 2006 on Rhapsody. I know AOL Music also has it. For hard copy, I think they till sell it at CDBaby (www.cdbaby.com), which is an independent CD seller. That’s if they have any copies left. There are also people selling it on eBay.
Quest: And you have a MySpace page, something that’s de riguer in 2007.
Adam: Yeah, if you like wear clothes, you have to have a MySpace page in 2007. (www.myspace.com/adambarta)
Quest: Any last thing you’d like to say to Quest’s readers? This your shot!
Adam: Well I hope everyone continues to vote for it on the Click List. It’s been an amazing validation of what I’m doing, so I like to thank the people who have been liking it and voting for it as well. It just makes me want to work harder to put out good music. If people want to write to me on the MySpace page, I get a chance to check it now and then and I always try to write back to everybody. And I look forward to hopefully performing in Wisconsin soon. I hope to get out there.
Quest: Well you know we have one of the most musical of gay pride festivals in the country with Milwaukee’s PrideFest every summer. Maybe I should whisper in the PrideFest committee’s ear, though by (next June) you may be too expensive to book in!
Adam: (laughs) No, I’ll remember! If I get an offer (to come) to Wisconsin, I’ll come out there! I’ll make sure it works out! I’d love to come, that would be great!
DJ's: Send us your Top 15 Playlist to get published in Quest! Email email@example.com to
have your club's playlist included in the next issue!
(Milwaukee's Out n' About)