Latest Blog Posts

<p>L-R:&nbsp;Steven Tyler,&nbsp;Joey Kramer, Joe Perry and Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith pose for photos at today's press conference announcing their 2012 Global Warming Tour.</p>

L-R: Steven Tyler, Joey Kramer, Joe Perry and Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith pose for photos at today's press conference announcing their 2012 Global Warming Tour.

Credit: AP Photo/Katy Winn

Interview: Aerosmith's Tom Hamilton talks new tour, album and 'savoring'

'We're always on the verge of breaking up, you know'

Aerosmith will get back in the saddle again this summer with a new tour and the band’s first new studio album since 2004’s “Honkin’ on Bobo.”  At a press conference held Wednesday at The Grove shopping center in Los Angeles, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Joey Kramer and Tom Hamilton (Brad Whitford is on tour with Experience Hendrix) revealed the new album will come out in a few months. The still-untitled project is co-produced by Jack Douglas, who produced such legendary albums as 1975’s “Toys in the Attic,”  and 1976’s “Rocks; Tyler, and Marti Frederiksen. If Douglas is responsible for the band’s earliest success, Frederiksen has been a major part of the band’s mid-‘90s resurgence.

After the press conference, I sat down with bassist Hamilton for an exclusive one-on-one to talk about the fractious band’s past and the current state of their union,  how he feels on stage, and what he really thought about the “60 Minutes” profile that ran a few weeks ago.

The Global Warming tour, which starts June 16,  only covers 18 markets so far. Will there be a second leg?

 We get out there when we can. Obviously, we have restrictions time-wise with Steven and we’re still working out how we’re going to do what we do in the time that we have.

So you don’t know if there will be a second leg?

I’m sure, in the fall, there most likely will be. I just don’t like to jinx it by saying, “Yes there will.” It’s extremely likely there will be another leg. That’s the plan.

Because we know nothing ever goes wrong in the Aerosmith camp

God, I tell you, every show... we were just in South America and Japan. Every show was like adding a pearl on a string. You savor it and you gotta love it because we don’t have all the time in the world. We’ll see what happens.

Has playing live become more precious to you as you 
get older?

Yes, very much. Especially when it comes to touring outside of the country. Going places that we’ve either only been to a couple of times or never been to, or even going to Japan where we’ve been going for years, decades.  You just want to savor every bit of it, really, because you see the looks on the faces of those people in the crowd and you think about the effort that it takes to go to a show. It’s expensive. A lot of the girls want to go and buy something special to wear. You have to park. You have to figure out how you’re going to do it and still get to work or school the next morning.  You realize that — what people are doing to be able to come see you.

To this day, you still do meet and greets with fans before the show. Why?

It’s like a little shot of the pure essence of it because people are so nervous and they’ve been thinking about what’s going to happen in that meet and greet for a long time and what they’re going to say and you really get a feeling and a reminder of what it feels like to put your headphones on and get between your speakers and hear your favorite songs. So doing that before a show gives you a shot of that, that pure thing of why are we here.

My old boss used to say that the band was locked in a dance it couldn’t get out of... you love each other and hate each other and go on nonetheless.

We’re always on the verge of breaking up, you know. There’s always something to worry about all the time, you know, but we keep coming back. And a big part of why we keep coming back is because the phone is ringing and it’s our manager calling and saying, “Hey, your fans really want you to play. Do you want to go on tour?”  “Yes.” So we go out there.

And there’s some chemistry, that happens when you’re together. Once you walk on stage does all the bad stuff float away?

It’s really amazing. Like a lot of the shows we did in South America were places  we’ve never played before and there were definitely glances going around saying, “Wow, here was are. We’re playing Paraguay. Can you believe it?”  A year ago, October, this past October, we were as close to breaking up as we’ve been in a long time, but we had  four big shows that we had to do or we would have gotten our ass chewed off. We went out and did them and sure enough,  we were not on speaking terms with Steven for a lot of things around that period, but when we got on stage, it was there. And it was a relief too.

What is the state of the union now?

Really good. We’re making plans and looking forward to the future. We’ve got this tour, we’re going to get this album out sometime between now and September.

After Aerosmith’s profile on “60 Minutes” a few weeks ago, you tweeted that you were still recovering from that. Any regrets that the band has been so public about your squabbles. Do you feel it detracts from the music?

I don’t think it detracts from the music, but when I saw that show, I went and immediately texted Steven and said “Good job,” and he texted back, ‘At what?” and I said, “60 Minutes.” You might not expect that we’d go back and forth. They wanted to get something a little bit deeper. It was kind of the same subject matter that we’ve talked about over and over, but a bit deeper. I think it was pretty painful the way they just kept nailing him. They kept setting him up and hitting him with these out-of-context remarks, you know, and it put him in a corner. I thought he behaved well in a corner, he defended himself. He said, “yeah, I’m that good.” And I’m like, thinking, “Yeah, you are. You are really good. Maybe not as good as you think you are, but you are really pretty good’” (laughs).

In the press conference you were talking about the new album, and reuniting with Jack Douglas. He did “Honkin.’....

But there was only one original on that album.  We’re back to that process of pre-production, which Jack has always been a big part of. We learned how to make records with him and learned what we like in terms of how to arrange a song and all that stuff...It’s a beautiful thing because [Jack’s] into the weird and he will support the unusual. He will make sure everybody gets a chance to say what they want to say musically on an album.

So he’s a referee, as any producer is.

Yeah, but a lot of producers, they just want to get the thing that’s going to get on the radio and get it done. Keep the record company happy and get on to their next project. You don’t get that with Jack. He’s not sitting around making a phone call every time there’s a break about what his next project is going to be. He’s completely emotionally and mentally dedicated to what you’re doing.

Where are you in the recording process? Steven said you’ve been working on it for four months.

We’ve been working on it for much longer than four months. I think what Steven was talking about is the phase of being out in L.A. and the phase that results in the vocals getting done. We worked all last summer and as far as I’m concerned, I’ve been working on this record every day for years. Agonizing... We’ve got probably three-quarters or maybe even slightly more of the vocals [done].

Steven mentioned a song called “Legendary Child.” What’s that one sound like?

It’s a medium-tempo rocker. It’s a classic Aerosmith song. It rocks, but it has a very strong melodic content and a lot of spaces in there for Joe and Brad and everybody to lay down some riff that they want everybody to hear.  It’s a song that wasn’t written yesterday. It’s been around for awhile, but never really recorded and we’ve never done the full-on pre-production and production of the song until now.

You referenced 1975 in the press conference, which, of course, was the year “Toys in the Attic” was released. Is that a good reference point for  what you want to sound like on this album?

Yeah, without really saying that, you know. That’s sort of pathetic to say, “Let’s make an imitation of ‘Rocks’.”  Those records were an accurate representation of our tastes back then in combination with Jack. I want to be fair: there’s a couple of songs produced by Marti Frederiksen, who’s an amazing songwriter and producer. But I mention Jack because he’s sort of the overlord of this whole thing. Yes, we longed for that process that’s based on our relationship with him.

What do you do when an Aerosmith song comes on the radio?

First thing I do is turn it up and I’m checking it out to see how it sounds compared to the song that was on before it and the one that’s on after it.

Even if it’s a classic song like “Walk This Way?”

You’re still thinking, “Wow, shit, I wish we would have done this, you know, or that part should have been twice as long.” That still happens.


Read Full Post
<p>Rosamund Pike in &quot;Wrath of the Titans.&quot;</p>

Rosamund Pike in "Wrath of the Titans."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

'Wrath of the Titans,' or how Zeus got his groove back

Jonathan Liebesman's film the rare sequel that learns from past mistakes

It's hard to think of a major 2012 release I was looking forward to much less than "Wrath of the Titans," a largely uninvited sequel to 2010's singularly ghastly "Clash of the Titans" remake -- a notorious nadir in post-converted 3D sludginess, but also a dour, incoherent slog even in two dimensions. It made millions, sure, but so do the Kardashian sisters... and no right-minded person is clamoring for further editions of them.

Indeed, I wasn't planning on seeing "Wrath of the Titans" at all. Every year, there's a certain number of obviously whiffy releases one can reasonably relegate to the "only if you pay me" pile, and there I felt comfortable chucking Sam Worthington's latest skirt-opera -- until, well, someone offered to pay me. Commissioned by Time Out to review the film, I slumped into the screening room earlier this week with the grim-faced mien of a man keeping a urologist's appointment -- only to emerge, some 90-plus minutes later, with ears and eyes bludgeoned but a wholly unanticipated spring in my step. Whisper it soft if you must, but as my review explains, "Wrath of the Titans" is not half bad. Okay, it's good.

Read Full Post
<p>The &quot;American Idol&quot; Top 9</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

The "American Idol" Top 9

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Top 9 Performances - Songs From Their Idols

The 'Idol' singers tackle favorite tunes, as well as group numbers

Welcome to another week of "American Idol," as the show begins to sweat under the pressure of filling two hours despite a reduced number of contestants and performances. The speculation is that in addition to this week's theme -- the nebulous songs from the "Idol" singers' idols -- performances, we're also going to be group numbers inflicted upon us.

I feel like a lot of the season is finally laying itself out.

Barring weirdness, Heejun Han, DeAndre Brackensick and Elise Testone will be the next three singers voted off. The judges wouldn't use the save on Heejun or DeAndre, but if the time is right, they may use it on Elise. If something really, really strange happened and Jessica Sanchez, Phillip Phillips, Colton Dixon or Joshua Ledet were voted out in the next three or four weeks, all would be guaranteed the Judges' Save, while Skylar Laine would probably get the save, unless she follows up last week's so-so performance with a couple more duds. That leaves Hollie Cavanagh somewhere right in the middle, unlikely to require the save, but also probably unlikely to get it. 

Does that sound about right? Let's get down to tonight's recap:

Read Full Post
<p>Nicholas St. North (Alec Baldwin) uses abominable snowmen instead of elves, a warrior Santa in this year's 'Rise Of The Guardians'</p>

Nicholas St. North (Alec Baldwin) uses abominable snowmen instead of elves, a warrior Santa in this year's 'Rise Of The Guardians'

Credit: Dreamworks Animation

'Rise Of The Guardians' trailer promises lush fantasy family fun with warrior Santa

Hugh Jackman as the Easter Bunny? Guillermo Del Toro? What is this movie?

A few months back, James Rocchi and I spent the afternoon at Dreamworks in Glendale, talking to William Joyce, Peter Ramsey, and Christina Steinberg about their new film, "Rise Of The Guardians."

I walked away from that event thinking there was a good chance Dreamworks had developed a real winner here, and now the first trailer is available, and it certainly is pretty.

One interesting thing to note… the main character in the film isn't actually one of the Guardians.  It's Jack Frost, who wakes up a la Jason Bourne at the start of the film, imbued with the magical powers of winter but not sure who he was or where he came from.  His journey is the movie.  The film starts with him underneath the surface of a frozen pond, waking up, stepping out, claiming the staff that gives him his powers, and heading off in search of an identity.

It's during that journey that he encounters Nicholas St. North, aka Santa Claus (voiced by Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and the Sandman, who doesn't speak at all in the film.  Jack Frost is played by Chris Pine.  And yet, he's not in this trailer.  There are actually shots in the trailer that have Jack Frost in them in the film, and in this trailer?  They don't.

Read Full Post
<p>Bon Iver's Justin Vernon</p>

Bon Iver's Justin Vernon

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Bon Iver collaborates with Flaming Lips on 'Ashes in the Air'

Record Store Day release doesn't care what you think of it

The problem with posting the lyrics to a new song is that there may be a heavier reading into said song than intended or necessary. But when it comes to the Flaming Lips, they might not care one way or another. The experiment is much more necessary to the adventure.

That could be said of "Ashes in the Air," their collaboration with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon for their Record Store Day collaborative effort "The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends." Even if the sheet of lyrics hadn't revealed its exacting phrases, the words "f*cked up" and "robot dogs" would surely jump out at you anyway. Laser sounds and synths swirl around this little dirge, a death salute suitable to Vernon's usual style.

See ya in six minutes, if you last.

Read Full Post
<p>Joey &quot;Fitness&quot; and Danny of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Joey "Fitness" and Danny of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Danny & Joey 'Fitness' talk 'The Amazing Race'

Fast-Forward mistakes, 'Jersey Shore' stereotypes and more with the latest bootees
Fortune allegedly favors the brave, but that's not always true on "The Amazing Race."
Joey "Fitness" Lasalla and Danny Horal to the "brave" path on Sunday (March 25) night's "Amazing Race," hoping to cap their recent rise up the standings with a Fast-Forward and, presumably, a first place finish for a Leg taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The friends, positioned as this season's "Jersey Shore"-styled team, went head-to-head with couple Rachel & Dave on a bale-stacking challenge. The Fast-Forward couldn't have been closer, but Rachel & Dave finished their hay-pile seconds before Danny and Joey "Fitness" could finish. 
As a result, Rachel & Dave won a pair of cars.
And, as a result, Danny & Joey "Fitness" earned a deficit they were unable to overcome, as they finished the Leg in last and were sent packing, a sad fate for team that had gone a long way towards erasing their earliest, stereotype-heavy introduction on the show. 
In this week's "Amazing Race" exit interview, Danny & Joey "Fitness" talk about their decision to go for the Fast-Forward, their eagerness to break the "Jersey Shore" conventions and why they were able to just have fun on the show.
Click through...
Read Full Post
Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez
Credit: FOX

Listen: Jennifer Lopez new single with Pitbull, 'Dance Again'

'American Idol' to premiere the video next week

Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull have certainly proven to be a winning combination before with “On the Floor,”  and now the two have reunited for “Dance Again,” J Lo’s new single that will be out either March 30, if you believe Lopez, or April 2, if you believe her label chief L.A. Reid.  (Do you think they disagreed this way before one was on “American Idol” and the other was on “X Factor?”)

Either way, everyone seems to agree that the video will premiere on “American Idol” on April 5.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Would any &quot;Smash&quot;&nbsp;fan be sad if Julia's son Leo (Emory Cohen)&nbsp;never, ever appeared again?</p>

Would any "Smash" fan be sad if Julia's son Leo (Emory Cohen) never, ever appeared again?

Credit: NBC

What's wrong with these kids today?

Why do adult dramas like 'Smash' and 'Terra Nova' have such terrible teen characters?

I stepped back from regular reviews of "Smash" after last week's episode, but in watching Monday's, I couldn't help marveling at how most of the hour felt like Theresa Rebeck wrote it on a dare to prominently include every one of the most hated characters and stories the show has developed in its short, uneven life. Particularly amusing, but not in the way intentioned, was that we actually took several minutes to revisit the legal troubles of Julia's son Leo, who's not only incredibly irritating but has nothing to do with the show within the show. At least when we spend time with the horrible Ellis, it's within the context of making "Marilyn: the Musical," or whatever it's going to be called; why exactly are we spending time with Leo, who's part of a plague of Annoying Teenage Boys who have descended on television in the last few years?

Read Full Post
<p>Let's hear it for Sam Worthington in 'Wrath of the Titans,' everyone.&nbsp; No, seriously, let's give him a big hand.</p>

Let's hear it for Sam Worthington in 'Wrath of the Titans,' everyone.  No, seriously, let's give him a big hand.

Credit: Warner Bros./Legendary

Review: 'Wrath Of The Titans' represents a big step forward from the first film

If it's big monster action you want, the film certainly delivers that

As giant monster movies go, "Wrath of the Titans" is definitely one of them.

I have written about both version of "Clash Of The Titans," both the original Harryhausen film and the recent remake.  And now, Jonathan Liebesman has directed the sequel, which sort of veers off and does its own thing.  In that way, it falls right in line with the tradition of the Harryhausen sequel.  The Sinbad movies are all sort of generally connected and share a vague sense of continuity and reality, and when I think of the movies he worked on, not all of which were written and directed by the same people, I think of the monster fights.  The creatures.  The beasties.  The fabulous, fabulous beasties.

And about ten minutes into "Wrath of the Titans," a fabulous beastie shows up and goes on a rampage, and Sam Worthington fights it, and he sort of gets his ass handed to him.  Reeeeeeeeeal hard.  And I kind of loved it.

Read Full Post
<p>The &quot;Community&quot;&nbsp;cast matches up relatively well with the &quot;Gilligan's Island&quot;&nbsp;characters.</p>

The "Community" cast matches up relatively well with the "Gilligan's Island" characters.

With Gilligan... Troy and Abed too... Ron Swanson... and Peggy Olson!

Could you recast 'Gilligan's Island' with the ensembles of current series?

Twitter can be a lot of fun. Twitter can be an enormous waste of time. Sometimes, it can be both.

Last night, while struggling with a review that I hope to be done with later today, I went on Twitter to try to clear my mind, and inevitably got distracted instead. It all began innocently enough. Tim Goodman was noting the rise of redheaded women on television, with the return of Christina Hendricks as Joan on "Mad Men," Mireille Enos on "The Killing" and the addition of Carice Van Houten as Melisandre in "Game of Thrones" season 2. After joking around about some kind of job swap — and noting that Christina Hendricks being on "Game of Thrones" would possibly shut down the internet, forever — I brought up the idea of doing a reboot of "Gilligan's Island" centered around Ginger Grant, since Bryan Fuller is already trying to do a darker spin on "The Munsters" for next season. The next thing you knew, Tim, Matt Seitz and I were starting to cast the thing, and at that point I decided to open it up to the Twitter-verse at large.

Read Full Post
<p>Pasha Lychnikoff, J.B.&nbsp;Smoove, David Walton and Jesse Plemons of &quot;Bent.&quot;</p>

Pasha Lychnikoff, J.B. Smoove, David Walton and Jesse Plemons of "Bent."

Credit: NBC

HitFix First Look: A 'Bent' crime scene investigation?

Get a sneak preview of tonight's episodes of the under-rated romantic comedy

Last week, I published my review of NBC's "Bent," in which I said that I quite enjoyed the chemistry and banter between David Walton and Amanda Peet (and between Walton and the various contractors in his crew), but also that I was worried that NBC's scheduling — six episodes in three weeks, with half of them airing opposite "Modern Family" (even if they were "Modern Family" repeats) — was setting the show up for failure. Based on your reactions to the first two episodes, I was not alone on the first point. Unfortunately, the ratings for those episodes also proved my fears right.

Read Full Post
<p>Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean in the first official still from &quot;Les Miserables.&quot;</p>

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean in the first official still from "Les Miserables."

Credit: Universal Pictures

Hugh Jackman gets serious in first official still from 'Les Misérables'

Tom Hooper's film of the blockbuster musical hits screens in December

A reader asked yesterday why we haven't yet updated the sidebar with Oscar predictions for the 2012 season. In truth, neither Kris nor I think it's a particularly healthy practice, and with Kris about to set off on his honeymoon, I like to think that the question of who will win Best Supporting Actress in 11 months' time is the furthest thing from his mind. My mind, meanwhile, has a less ironclad excuse, but refuses to go there all the same.

For those that are daring to put their necks on the block with such projections, however, I imagine that one title is very much in their thoughts. "Les Misérables" is the umpteenth screen version of Victor Hugo's beloved doorstop of French literature, but the first of the blockbuster 1985 stage musical that ranks as the third longest-running show in Broadway history. Alongside the no-introduction-needed source material, the cast (Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway et al) is starry, the director (Tom Hooper) recently if unpopularly Oscared, the release date (December 14) in the prime of awards season. Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching -- for those who regard Oscar punditry as a kind of mathematical process, this adds up to a frontrunner.

Read Full Post