<p>Britney Spears</p>

Britney Spears

Credit: AP Photo

Britney Spears' manager talks Vegas ticket sales and new album

Will she be lipsyncing or not?

It’s been a Circus (every pun intended) ever since Britney Spears confirmed her two-year residency at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood starting Dec. 27 last week.  Will she by lip-syncing? Are tickets tanking or flying out the door (as TMZ reported yesterday).

It seems, as far as tickets go, the answer is somewhere in between, and as far as lip-syncing, the answer is  open to interpretation.

Spears’ manager, Larry Rudolph, told Billboard that tickets were selling well: the VIP packages for the first 16 shows sold out rapidly, and that in terms of regular tickets, at least 40% had sold since they went on sale Sept. 20. For shows that don’t begin for another three months, that is a very healthy, strong start, especially in Vegas, which relies on walk-up business. In the media, we tend to get breathless press releases when shows sell out within 10 minutes of going on sale, but that is extremely rare: the vast majority of shows never sell out.  A quick visit to TicketMaster today shows there are still tickets available for every performance although TicketMaster cautioned that there  were “not many left”  in the 4,600-seat theater for the Dec. 27, Dec. 28 and Dec. 31 shows.

Rudolph said that sales were so strong that Caesars (Planet Hollywood’s parent) wants to put the next flight of shows on sale earlier than planned.

As far as the rumors the Spears will be lip-syncing (as she’s certainly been known to do and seemed to do so heavily on portions of her last tour), Rudolph said she will be singing live as much as possible and that she is receiving vocal and dance coaching daily. “The idea is to try to get her pretty close to 100%,” Rudolph said about live singing. “There might be some numbers where she's full out dancing with a (vocal) track underneath her, but there won't be any lip-syncing across the board on anything.”

Rudolph calls Spears’ new album, which comes out Dec. 3,  her ‘Ray of Light’ album, a reference to Madonna’s 1998 electronic-oriented set.  “[First single] ‘Work Bitch’ is a great example of a song that's from this album, but I don't know that it necessarily defines the album,” he said. “There's a lot of other material on here that is really rich. There's a ballad called "Perfume" that she recorded recently. Britney wrote it with Sia. It's a breakup song that's about wanting the next girl to smell your perfume on the guy afterwards...There are a couple other songs that have a really modern EDM vibe. I really think of this as Britney's 'Ray of Light' album -- it's kind of like that in a lot of ways. She wrote everything on the album with collaborators. There's one or two she wrote herself. That's something she wanted to do coming in. She wanted to make it very personal. They're all custom made for her, based on what's going on with her life and in her head.”

"Work Bitch" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 yesterday at No. 12.

Are you excited for Spears' new album and Vegas show? 

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Miley Cyrus: The 7 most interesting facts in her Rolling Stone interview

Miley Cyrus: The 7 most interesting facts in her Rolling Stone interview

Watch the director's cut of her racy 'Wrecking Ball' video

Miley Cyrus is Rolling Stone’s current cover girl, and unlike the last two covers, which featured close-ups of Macklemore’s (of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis) and Michael J. Fox’s faces, Cyrus, is, of course shown nude with her tongue sticking out.  (Adele and Taylor Swift are the only female Rolling cover subjects that we can remember in recent years who weren’t in some state of undress, but that’s a different topic).

Here are the seven most interesting things revealed in the Cyrus interview:


1. She gets Rolling Stone tattooed on the soles of her feet during the interview. It is her ninth tattoo. She also has a quotation from Teddy Roosevelt. Go figure.

2. She lives in Touluca Lake, in the San Fernando Valley. Her neighbors include “Diddy’s baby mama,” Steve Carrell, who often gives her disapproving looks for her reckless driving; and her parents, who live down the block.

3. Miley is shocked, SHOCKED, she says, by the reaction to her VMA performance of “We Can’t Stop/Blurred Lines.” Miley thought there was a chance the network might pull the plug on her mid-performance, but she didn't expect so much shock and vitriol. "Honestly, that was our MTV version," she says. "We could have even gone further, but we didn't. I thought that's what the VMAs were all about! It's not the Grammys or the Oscars. You're not supposed to show up in a gown, Vanna White-style" – a little dig at Taylor Swift. "It's supposed to be fun!"

4. She admits that she says “Molly” in the “We Can’t Stop” lyrics, instead of “Miley,” which she coyly pretended she sang when the song first came out. She does it in a backhanded way, as she’s questioning why “Breaking Bad” can show how to cook meth, yet she gets bleeped. “They killed a guy, and disintegrated his body in acid, but you're not allowed to say 'fuck'? It's like when they bleeped 'molly' at the VMAs. Look what I'm doing up here right now, and you're going to bleep out 'molly'? Whatever."

5. Kanye West helped quell her nerves for the VMA performance: Kanye West had seen her rehearsals and wanted to talk to her before she went onstage. "He came in and goes, 'There are not a lot of artists I believe in more than you right now.”  Those kind words led to the two heading to the studio to record a remix of “Black Skinhead.”

6. Cyrus is not a racist just because she twerked or because she had black back-up singers: "I don't keep my producers or dancers around 'cause it makes me look cool," she says. "Those aren't my 'accessories.' They're my homies." Meanwhile, she argues, the idea that she's somehow playing black is absurd. "I'm from one of the wealthiest counties in America," she says. "I know what I am. But I also know what I like to listen to. Look at any 20-year-old white girl right now – that's what they're listening to at the club. It's 2013. The gays are getting married, we're all collaborating. I would never think about the color of my dancers, like, 'Ooh, that might be controversial.' What do you mean?" she says with a laugh. "Times are changing. I think there's a generation or two left, and then it's gonna be a whole new world."

7. She sees herself as Justin Bieber’s mentor: I'm not much older than him, so I never want it to feel like I'm mentoring him. But I do mentor him in a way. Because I've been doing this shit for a long time, and I already transitioned, and I don't think he's quite done it yet. "He's trying really hard," she adds. "People don't take him seriously, but he really can play the drums, he really can play guitar, he really can sing. I just don't want to see him fuck that up, to where people think he's Vanilla Ice.

 A director's cut of Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball" has also been released and it is one long cut of Cyrus's face, completely redolent of Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U," which we've also embedded below, and, which came out before Cyrus was even born.

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<p>Miley Cyrus</p>

Miley Cyrus

Credit: AP Photo

Miley Cyrus's 'Wrecking Ball' tops Billboard Hot 100 for second week

Where does Britney Spears' 'Work B**ch' debut?

Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” holds off a challenge from former chart topper, Katy Perry’s “Roar,” to remain at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a second week.

“Ball” gains in airplay, while it falls in three other chart indicators: streaming songs, on-demand songs, and digital songs. While “Roar” holds at No. 1 on the Hot 100, it rises to No. 1 on Billboard’s Radio Songs chart, making Perry’s sixth No. 1 on the chart.

Lorde’s “Royals” holds at No. 3 for the third week on the Hot 100, while she jumps 3-1 on the Digital songs chart. The song also remains at No. 1 on the Alternative Songs chart fro a seventh week, the longest No. 1 by a solo female in the chart’s 25-year history.

EDM DJ Avicii’s “Wake Me Up!” rises 5-4, trading places with Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” featuring T.I. and Pharrell.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Jay Z’s “Holy Grail,” featuring Justin Timberlake, at No. 6 for a second week, while Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” featuring Majid Jordan, rises 8-7.

Lady Gaga’s “Applause,” the first single from “ArtPop,” falls 7-8; Lana Del Rey & Cedric Gervais’ “Summertime Sadness” rises 10-9, and Capital Cities’ “Safe and Sound” moves back into the Top 10, inching 12-10.

Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch” just barely misses bowing in the Top 10, coming in at No. 12, according to Billboard.

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Watch: Justin Timberlake on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'

Watch: Justin Timberlake on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'

Listen to a full stream of 'The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2'

Even though Justin Timberlake was feeling under the weather, he still managed to throw a heck of a party for 10,000 who crowded Los Angeles's Hollywood Blvd. last night to see him perform for “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

“You guys are going to have to help me out tonight. I’m a little sick,” he said before showing what a trouper he is.
To be sure, his six-song set was roughly one-third the length of Paul McCartney’s 15-song set the night before, but he still delivered an energetic performance and sounded great. Fans watching on television saw “Take Back The Night” and new single, “TKO,” both from “The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2,” which comes out next week.

He also performed “Cry Me A River,” “Rock Your Body,” “Mirrors,” and “SexyBack.”

Below is Timberlake’s live version of “TKO." For a stream of the full set, go here.
 

“The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2"—all 74 minutes— is streaming in full on iTunes.

 

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<p>Elton John - 'The Diving Board'</p>

Elton John - 'The Diving Board'

Album Review: Elton John's 'The Diving Board' proves the perfect platform

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Superstar's 30th studio album takes a cinematic look at America

Improbable as it may sound, 30 albums in, Elton John has made the most piano-focused album of his legendary career.

On “The Diving Board,” John’s first solo album in seven years, out today, John’s piano playing is center stage in a way he’s never presented so fully on record. The album opens with a rarity: “Oceans Away” is John alone with his piano and the song, about WW1 and WW2 war veterans, serves as an invitation for what’s to come in the next 14 tracks.

Although occasionally augmented by strings, guitars and horns, “The Diving Board” primarily consists of John on vocals and piano, Raphael Saadiq on bass, and Jay Bellerose on drums and it’s all he needs. That trio (with Nigel Olsson on drums and Dee Murray on bass) is how John started more than 40 years ago and when producer T Bone Burnett suggested that John revisit it, he readily agreed.

At 66, John’s voice and playing is still so strong and nimble that he has no need to hide behind superfluous backing vocals or tracks crowded with unnecessary fillers.

Bernie Taupin’s lyrics are among his most cinematic. The Brown Dirt Cowboy has always had a fascination with America and Americana and his stories here reflect that, especially such tracks as “The Ballad of Blind Tom,” where he addresses Jim Crow laws. On “Oscar Wilde Gets Out,” Taupin writes about the year the exiled writer spent lecturing in the U.S. in the late 1800s. “The New Fever Waltz” addresses WWI soldiers in the trenches.

John’s  rollicking playing on “Jubilee” is a staccato delight, as is his barrelhouse turn on the jaunty, “Mexican Vacation (Kids in the Candlelight),” the albums most upbeat track. The classical, taut intro to “The Ballad of Blind Tom” jumps off the album. On “My Quicksand,” he turns the middle section into a jazz improvisation.  The swaying, breezy “Can’t Stay Alone Tonight” will remind longtime fans of “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues.”  “Take This Dirty Water” starts out like a saloon-hall rag before morphing into a gospel number.

First single, “Home Again,” is a wistful, haunting ballad about longing to return to the place we’re from. “We all dream of leaving but spent all our time trying to get back home again.” Though John has made it clear that he is not chasing radio play again, the song is his 69th entry on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart, far and away the most of any artist in the chart’s history.

To drive home the point that this is a piano-based album, John includes three instrumental interludes, none longer than 97 seconds, titled “Dream # 1,”  “Dream # 2,” and “Dream # 3.”

John has said the languid title track, which closes the album, is about the troubles that starlets like Lindsey Lohan find themselves in as they seem to spiral downward. “Sink or swim,” he sings in the cautionary tale, “in your lily white skin, high above the diving board.”

To his credit, John has no interest in trying to recapture the days of “Crocodile Rock” or “The Bitch Is Back," although the album could have used a few more uptempo tunes.Instead, he’s made a record that captures where he is today. And as the album proves, he’s definitely still standing.



 

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Watch: Drake goes all gangster in new video for 'Hold On, We're Going Home'

Watch: Drake goes all gangster in new video for 'Hold On, We're Going Home'

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He turns back the clock to 1985 to rescue his girl

Drake goes all “Miami Vice” in the new video clip for “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” the latest single from his new album, “Nothing Was The Same” (out today).

The first three minutes of the clip are all exposition as we see Drake as a member of a gang in 1985. They are celebrating their latest feats when Drake gets the call that his girl, who just happens to be in lingerie, has been kidnapped by rival gangsters.

Drake goes all commando, complete with machine guns and black masks and attire, to rescue his lady.

The ballad gets pretty much lost in the narrative and the “Scarface”-like gunfire and explosions.
True love prevails. In fact, Drake is such a gentleman that he wraps his girl in his jacket once he’s done away with the enemy.

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<p>Godspeed You! Black Emperor</p>

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Credit: brainwashed.com/godspeed

Godspeed You! Black Emperor wins the Polaris Prize, turns money over to charity

Montreal band takes jury to task for 'holding a gala' and much, much more

Godspeed You! Black Emperor has said “Thanks, but no thanks,” to the Polaris Prize...sort of.

Last night, the left-leaning Montreal band was named winner of the Polaris Prize, the Canadian equivalent of the U.K.’s Mercury Award, for its first album in a decade, “Allelujah! Don’t Bent! Ascend!.”

The band decided to take the roughly $30,000 that comes with the prize and use it to buy instruments for school children, but otherwise, after a few niceties, told the Polaris Prize committee why they were so boneheaded to even be thinking about albums when the world is going to hell in a hand basket. The tone, of course, is relatively polite because, well, they're Canadians.

In a missive posted on the website of its label, Constellation, the band wrote:

3 quick bullet-points that almost anybody could agree on maybe=

-holding a gala during a time of austerity and normalized decline is a weird thing to do.

-organizing a gala just so musicians can compete against each other for a novelty-sized cheque doesn’t serve the cause of righteous music at all.

-asking the toyota motor company to help cover the tab for that gala, during a summer where the melting northern ice caps are live-streaming on the internet, IS FUCKING INSANE, and comes across as tone-deaf to the current horrifying malaise.


But as we mentioned, Godspeed had some nice things to saw before the 8-member collective lowered the boom. Here’s the letter in its entirety:


A FEW WORDS REGARDING THIS POLARIS PRIZE THING

hello kanada.?

hello kanadian music-writers.

thanks for the nomination thanks for the prize- it feels nice to be acknowledged by the Troubled Motherland when we so often feel orphaned here. and much respect for all y’all who write about local bands, who blow that horn loudly- because that trumpeting is crucial and necessary and important.

and much respect to the freelancers especially, because freelancing is a hard fucking gig, and almost all of us are freelancers now, right? falling and scrambling and hustling through these difficult times?

so yes, we are grateful, and yes we are humble and we are shy to complain when we’ve been acknowledged thusly- BUT HOLY SHIT AND HOLY COW- we’ve been plowing our field on the margins of weird culture for almost 20 years now, and “this scene is pretty cool but what it really fucking needs is an awards show” is not a thought that’s ever crossed our minds.

3 quick bullet-points that almost anybody could agree on maybe=

-holding a gala during a time of austerity and normalized decline is a weird thing to do.

-organizing a gala just so musicians can compete against each other for a novelty-sized cheque doesn’t serve the cause of righteous music at all.

-asking the toyota motor company to help cover the tab for that gala, during a summer where the melting northern ice caps are live-streaming on the internet, IS FUCKING INSANE, and comes across as tone-deaf to the current horrifying malaise.

these are hard times for everybody. and musicians’ blues are pretty low on the list of things in need of urgent correction BUT AND BUT if the point of this prize and party is acknowledging music-labor performed in the name of something other than quick money, well then maybe the next celebration should happen in a cruddier hall, without the corporate banners and culture overlords. and maybe a party thusly is long overdue- it would be truly nice to enjoy that hang, somewhere sometime where the point wasn’t just lazy money patting itself on the back.

give the money to the kids let ‘em put on their own goddamn parties, give the money to the olds and let them try to write opuses in spite of, but let the muchmusic videostars fight it out in the inconsequential middle, without gov’t. culture-money in their pockets.

us we’re gonna use the money to try to set up a program so that prisoners in quebec have musical instruments if they need them…

amen and amen.

apologies for being such bores,?we love you so much / our country is fucked,
xoxoxox
godspeed you! black emperor


What do you think? Were they right to lambast the committee?


 

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<p>Miley's new video honors Jordan</p>

Miley's new video honors Jordan

Credit: Vevo

Watch: Miley Cyrus pays tribute to Michael Jordan in Mike Will Made It's '23' video

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High school sure has changed

Move along, there’s nothing to see here or, at least, nothing you haven’t already seen.  In Mike Will Made It’s video for “23” featuring  Miley Cyrus, Juicy J and Wiz Khalifa, the producer and his buddies take over a high school.

The song is ostensibly a tribute to Michael Jordan (23 was his now-retired number for the Chicago Bulls) and his shoes.

Yes, the guys are in the clip, but, let’s face it, all anyone is paying attention to is Cyrus, who wears cut up No. 23 Bulls jerseys in various revealing states. Of course the guys all manage to pay tribute to Jordan without having to wear tiny little shorts and rubbing their asses, because, well, that would look ridiculous.

So by now, seeing Cyrus with her legs spread, in very little clothing, sticking out her tongue, running her hand over the top of her head isn’t really anything new, but if you haven’t quite gotten enough yet, there’s plenty for you here. There are even a few quick shots of Cyrus with a foam finger just for continuity from her Video Music Awards performance, y’all.

Her rap carries the song, though Khalifa’s mad scientist routine is mildly amusing. We reckon that chemistry lab will blow up before 4th period.

So not that high school kids aren’t aware of all this stuff, but the video features Cyrus smoking cigarettes, references to Molly, pot, purple drank, and blow jobs. Just a typical day in the life of your average teen and we're sure it's exactly how Jordan would like to be honored.


 

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<p>Cher</p>

Cher

Cher kicks off 'Dressed To Kill' tour in March

Check out her performance on 'Today' this morning

Several years past her farewell tour and her Las Vegas residency, Cher is returning to the road again for the "Dressed to Kill" outing.

The tour, in support of her new album, "Closer To The Truth," starts March 22, 2014  in Phoenix and will cover 49 North American cities before concluding in San Diego at the Valley View Casino Center on July 11.

Cher announced the tour on the "Today" show this morning. Cher's "Farewell Tour," which then, appropriately enough, changed its name to the "Never Can Say Goodbye Tour," played for 325 dates, so this first leg of the "Dressed To Kill" tour may be just the beginning.

Tickets go on sale to American Express cardholders on Sept. 30 and then will be open to the general public.

See the tour dates below the video of Cher's performance of "Woman's World" this morning on "Today."

 

CHER ‘DRESSED TO KILL’ TOUR

Sat, March 22                    Phoenix, AZ                        US Airways Center
*Mon, March 24                 Houston, TX                       Toyota Center
*Wed, March 26                 Dallas, TX                             American Airlines Center
Fri, March 28                      Little Rock, AR                   Verizon Arena
Sat, March 29                     Tulsa, OK                             BOK Center
Mon, March 31                 Nashville, TN                      Bridgestone Arena
Wed, April 2                        Pittsburgh, PA                  Consol Energy Center
*Fri, April 4                            Washington DC                 Verizon Center
Sat, April 5                           Uncasville, CT                    Mohegan Sun
Mon, April 7                       Toronto, ON                       Air Canada Centre
Wed, April 9                       Boston, MA                        TD Garden
Fri, April 11                          Indianapolis, IN                 Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Sat, April 12                        Detroit, MI                          Joe Louis Arena
Wed, April 23                     Buffalo, NY                         First Niagara Center
Fri, April 25                          Montreal, QC                     Bell Center
Sat, April 26                        Ottawa, ON                        Canada Tire Centre
*Mon, April 28                     Philadelphia, PA               Wells Fargo Center
Wed, April 30                     Columbus, OH                   Nationwide Arena
Fri, May 2                            Cleveland, OH                   Quicken Loans Arena
Mon, May 5                        Charlotte, NC                     Times Warner Cable Arena
Wed, May 7                        Raleigh, NC                         PNC Arena
*Fri, May 9                            Brooklyn, NY                      Barclays Center
*Sat, May 10                         East Rutherford, NJ         Izod Center
*Mon, May 12                     Atlanta, GA                         Philips Arena
Wed, May 14                     Jacksonville, FL                  Veterans Memorial Arena
Fri, May 16                          Orlando, FL                         Amway Center
Sat, May 17                         Ft. Lauderdale, FL            BB&T Center
Sun, May 25                       Las Vegas, NV                    MGM Grand
Wed, May 28                     Denver, CO                         Pepsi Center
Fri, May 30                          Lincoln, NE                          Pinnacle Bank Arena
Sat, May 31                         Kansas City, MO               Sprint Center
Mon, June 2                       Louisville, KY                      KFC Yum! Center
Wed, June 4                       St. Louis, MO                     Scottrade Center
Fri, June 6                            Milwaukee, WI                 BMO Harris Bradley Center
Sat, June 7                          Chicago, IL                           Allstate Arena
Mon, June 9                       Des Moines, IA                 Wells Fargo Arena
Wed, June 11                     Minneapolis, MN             Target Center
Fri, June 20                         Winnipeg, MB                   MTS Centre
Sat, June 21                        Saskatoon, SK                    Credit Union Centre
Mon, June 23                     Edmonton, AB                   Rexall Place
Wed, June 25                     Calgary, AB                         Scotiabank Saddledome
Fri, June 27                         Vancouver, BC                  Rogers Arena
*Sat, June 28                        Seattle, WA                        Key Arena
Mon, June 30                     Portland, OR                      Moda Center
*Wed, July 2                         San Jose, CA                       SAP Center at San Jose
Sat, July 5                            Ontario, CA                         Citizens Business Bank Arena
*Mon, July 7                         Los Angeles, CA                Staples Center
*Wed, July 9                         Anaheim, CA                      Honda Center
Fri, July 11                           San Diego, CA                    Valley View Casino Center

 

 

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<p>Kings of Leon</p>

Kings of Leon

Interview: Kings of Leon's Jared Followill on the band's pranks and a new chapter

How the hiatus helped the group have fun again on 'Mechanical Bull'

After taking some time off to lead regular lives, Kings of Leon return Sept. 24 with “Mechanical Bull,” the Followill family’s sixth studio album, its follow-up to 2010’s “Come Around Sundown.”

The set, recorded in the band’s own studio in Nashville, is a lively, loose-limbed affair, bolstered by such rollicking tracks as “Don’t Matter” and “Family Tree,” the gentle “On The Chin” and “Beautiful War,” and first single and modern rock hit, “Supersoaker.”

Bassist Jared Followill, who joins his brother Caleb and Nathan in the band, as well as his cousin Matthew, tells HitFix that the hiatus did them good, both musically and personally.  Below is our conversation, edited for space.

You guys have laughed when reporters have asked ask if there was a chance that you were going to break up, especially after Caleb walked off stage in Dallas in 2011 and your canceling the rest of the U.S. tour, but it’s certainly not unheard of for brother acts to split. Was this hiatus always planned or did you think you may actually break up?  

Actually, we started talking about [taking time off] after [2008’s] “Only By the Night.” After that album cycle, we were going to take some time off. Then “Only By the Night” kind of  blew up and [the label]  wanted us to make another album and we were like, “Let’s go ahead and do it and ride the success.” While we were in the studio for “Come Around Sundown,” we were like, “We can’t believe we’re already back. We’re going to be immediately back on the road doing all this stuff over again.”  So we said, “You know what? After this record cycle, we’re going to take a year off.”

When we cancelled the tour, we actually finished the touring cycle after that. We went to South Africa and we went to Australia for a month. We did Canada for a few weeks, but people think we just canceled Dallas and then took a year off.  Any spat or any argument that we’d gotten in was made up the night after Dallas. It wasn’t after a long drawn out thing. Having that year off was not because we thought we were going to break up or we necessarily needed to be away from each other as much as we wanted to have a little bit of time off and have a normal life.

Not that you’re asking for sympathy, but it can be very draining living on the road.


Our job isn’t necessarily that hard, it’s just very time consuming. And there’s tons of travel and stuff like that and a lot of people think, “Man, traveling the world, that’s amazing.” And it absolutely is. But if you do that as a job, it becomes a little less glamorous and it takes a little bit of the romance out of traveling the world when that’s... what you do for a living. I mean we never thought that we were going to take five years between an album or anything like that. We just wanted one year to go home to Nashville, sit on the internet, go to Whole Foods and not do anything, just be normal people for a little bit.

All the band members contribute to the songwriting process. How quickly do you know if you’re got a song or are just riffing on something you should abandon?

That’s hard to say... we’re not super quick. When we go to the rehearsal space and start writing. We will literally jam on a song and play it for an hour straight. Sometimes you have to sift through an hour and 20 minutes and you always skip it towards the end because that’s when you really start to get into it. But we’ve jammed on some pretty songs for about two hours before we knew that we wouldn’t use them.

But you’re having fun...

Exactly. You kind of know once you listen to them You can do something that is really fun to play and then you’ll take it home—our sound guy will burn it to a CD  for us— and listen to ourselves jamming  and it might be really fun to play it, but it sounds kind of cheesy or it just wouldn’t work for us.

You guys were playing pranks on each other all the time in the studio with shock buzzers and whoopee cushions. Having grown up together, it seems like the element of surprise would have long gone away when it comes to pranks.

I know. The weird thing is it’s a phenomenon we just got into. When we were kids, we didn’t really do anything and now that we’re adults, it’s like we’ve regressed in maturity.

The band hosted Pettyfest in Nashville this past weekend. What’s your favorite Tom Petty song or favorite Petty era?

There are so many. He’s one of the worst artists to ask that question because he just has so many great songs. There are so many bands you could say, “What’s your favorite song?” I’d say, “Obviously, it’s that one.. that’s head and shoulders above the rest,” but there are so many songs...As a kid I remember hearing “Last Dance With Mary Jane” and stuff like that on the radio and then as you get older, you go back and hear more and more and “American Girl.” There’s so many that you can just go back and all of his albums are amazing.

One of the more touching songs on the album is “On The Chin,” about being there to support someone. It almost sounds like it could be to about your family or would brothers never write anything that sweet to each other?

So many of our songs can be interpreted in so many different ways. At the time you can actually write something and it can be completely abstract to you at the time and then a year later,  something will happen to you and and you’ll listen back and be like, “Wow, that song sounds like it was written perfectly for the situation.” But that song, particularly, the way Caleb started writing those lyrics, it was for one of his friends, his buddy, JD.  It’s actually about that, then you hear it and it can mean so much. It can fit so many different situations. It can be for all of us together, it can be for our wives. I like songs that are open to interpretation.

There’s not only a lightheartedness to the album, there’s a sense of fun in the promos, including the hilarious one featuring the cast from “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” It seems like the band decided to stop taking everything so seriously. Why?

Definitely. I think that’s just getting older and having families. You stop taking yourself so seriously. I feel like we used to worry about that stuff too much. When we first came out, we wanted to be different and we wanted to almost have a little bit of a shock factor so we tried to look really weird and tried to have mustaches and long hair and we did a lot of that stuff, looking back, probably subconsciously to stand out because we were probably a little bit self-conscious about out musicianship. We had all just started playing and just started writing songs and none of us were really good at our instruments. So it was almost like we needed something to make people notice us and now we’re in a completely different place and we’re all a lot more confident and we feel like we can kind of be ourselves.



 

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