Sexy Dirty Rock and Roll by Skag Barons

Life is about the adventure of discovery. I grew up on Indian classical music, as my uncle was a national hero in Pakistan as a recording artist and after my parents moved to Canada it was all about rock and roll.

When an old friend of mine Kevin Jones who’s brother has the band Foreigner, used to take me to clubs in Los Angeles to scout bands to manage there was always a surprise, a pleasant surprise of discovery. Maybe the band was not that good but the drummer was, or the band was good and needed a new lead singer.

Walking into the tavern that time forgot The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto I was pleasantly surprised to discover a band that had all the elements Skag Barons. This band has recently opened for some big names in the rock world, including C’mon, Melissa Auf De Maur, The Hounds Below, Mini Mansions, and Baptized In Blood.

This band rocks, you don’t just stand and watch them, they make you move, and filled the tavern with sound that is pure, true, clear, jam’n rock and roll a sound that does not, will not, fade away.

David Grohl, of the Foo Fighters, said it all at the Grammy’s this year. Perfect your art, music comes from the heart, and let me tell you Skag Barons keep it real, keep it true, and are on there way. I can see them rocking London, Berlin, Shanghai, it’s clear to me that their music is in the air and it’s infectious.

I am all about live performance and these guys can rock it on stage. I sat down with Kris Pageau after the show for a short chat backstage here are some of his thoughts.

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Brit Awards to Eastend Promises – London Calling!

Music is London Calling! Tonight the action is at the Brit Awards 2012, and Adele who cleaned up at the Grammys is possibly going to do the same at the Brit Awards.

While class has played a part in the music scene in London,Anthony Newley was one of the first Cockney pop singers who convey the depths of songwriting craft as a writer and as a performer. Bowie was influenced by Newley as well as by Syd Barrett with respect that both writers expressed themselves via using their British accents and writing about subjects close to home. A lot of pop was an imitation of American singers at the time. But Newley in the 60’s pushed a rather strong British sound to his mainstream pop.

Tonight while the big band’s play and much is talked about Adele or Blur, it’s also important to take note of the young lad’s, dude’s, from the Eastend Promises. They work collectively as one unit are proud of being from the East end, and Brits to the core, filled with talent. London, I love this city, and it’s richness of creativity and the Eastend Promises is only adding another layer to the history of music that comes from London town. While the music plays at O2, the spotlight should also be directed to Eastend Promises a band that is starting to make a mark and love to perform live. After all it’s all about live performance. Eastend Promises come from the land that gave us Merlin and Camelot, from the people that will bend but never break, they are from the East end and they believe that magic is real and dreams can come true. They intended to make the world dance to their music.

Here is an interview from London with the band, as they prepare to debut a single and album in 2012. Keep your eye’s and ears open for Lewis Doc Holiday Youles, Fonzi LaFonz, Wayne Maynard and Iason Everitt the collective force of the band Eastend Promises.

1. How did the four of you come together, to form the band ?

Lewis and Wayne met in secondary school became mates because they shared the same interests, Wayne told Lewis he was playing drums in a band and said they needed a bass player so Lewis learned bass. Together they formed a few different bands and just enjoyed being Musicians for a while, Then Lewis, Wayne another friend spike and Lewis’s brother Jake aka Fonzi formed EastEnd promises. Spike left the band so we pulled in Iason who we met through gigs and it was the best thing we could of done, Iason has been playing drums since he was 10 and has a Glastonbury upbringing, so brought up in Music.

2. Do you write collectively, lyric, or experiment together who do you bring the magic of words and music together?

Lewis writes the lyrics, but musically we all arrange our own parts on our own instruments. We generally arrange the music first then the lyrics come after.

3. Being form the heart of the East End your keeping it real, what did you think of Dave Grohl’s comments at the Grammys speech about learning your trade, and music from the mind and heart ? Is this kinda of your outlook as well?

(Lewis) Personally I think he hit the nail on the head, music in the charts now days doesn’t seem to mean anything to anyone, its just club beats. I feel he put it a lot more subtle than I would have. Today the chart appears to be full of Commercial R&B, Pop, Hip Hop, and although those genres all have their place, I can’t understand how so many people can listen to it when In my opinion a good 80% of it is just brain dead rubbish! The same drum beat and all produced through a bloody computer. Listen to a live Band your hear and appreciate the difference.

4. David Bowie and I sat down once and I told him my favorite band was Queen, who is or was your favorite band? Not artist. As I did tell Bowie he was my favorite artist followed by Prince!

We all have loads but the ones that inspire us most are Jimmy Eat World, Incubus, Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters, Coheed and Cumbria, and the Police. All those bands are just so talented and great live. We take so much from those bands but Lewis and Fonzi (Brothers) biggest influence is their Granddad and Uncle, both are Jazz singers and definitely had a big impact on their lives. They are the reason they do what we do, of course Lewis being the Lead Singer.

5. What inspired each of you to be in music?

Lewis and Jake (Fonzi) Their Grandad, with out a doubt, hes been singing since he was 8 and has been all over the country, he started in a skiffle band, then moved on to jazz as he got older. His first solo gig was in The Roundhouse Dagenham. He was always singing and playing piano, just so natural when he sings live. Wayne fell in love with music suddenly in a music lesson in school. One day he said to himself “right today i’ am gonna knuckle down” and after that he was hooked. Iason, Was brought up around music Glastonbury so it came natural to him being around many musical influences, Playing drums from age 10.

6. Are you guys excited to host the biggest party the Olympic’s in London?

It has defiantly given us a sense of national pride especially as it will be on our own doorstep. The stadiums looking nice and as the Olympic date approaches you sense a good buzz from the Local community so hopefully it will give our country a nice boost. Financially at least.

7. What are your dreams? Collectively as a band ?

For us it’s just to play music for a decent living, to have people singing our songs back to us, to have packed out arenas with people queuing to hear our songs and watch us perform live, What’s better in this whole wide world than that? Seeing the world and singing about it, telling our grand kids that you had a Number 1 album would be amazing, being that person/band that all those kids want to be like to influence our future generation, its just the ultimate goal so hopefully our chance will come, we will certainly give it our best shot.

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Foo Fighters bands that sound like bands !

The Foo Fighters took home five Grammy awards Sunday night, including Best Rock Album, and delivered two memorable performances, one of them rocking with Deadmau5 on the first ever EDM segment of the Grammys. But their biggest triumph of the night may have been Dave Grohl’s Best Rock Performance acceptance speech, which has taken the web by storm. “Dave Grohl Grammy Speech” is the second subject that comes up when you type his name into Google.

Accepting the award, Grohl said, “To me, this award means a lot because it shows the human element of music is what’s important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do…It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in here [your heart] and what goes on in here [your head].”

I don’t think if you have a voice that you have to tune it, and lyric should come from the heart, words, emotions all play into an album, and so many recording today are without soul. So it was refreshing to hear someone speak what I believed and what so many have drifted away from.

Will their success then Sunday night inspire other bands to pick up that challenge? Emily Lazar, who mastered the album and became the first woman ever nominated for mastering a Best Album nominee, hopes so. “I think that would be a phenomenal response because there’s nothing like real organic old-school rock and roll,” she told us. “I think part of the charm and integrity of this record and the reason it rocks so hard is because it’s real and there are moments that are not perfect. They’re absolutely fantastic musicians, each and every one of them, but there are still human moments. And that’s what makes it so wonderful, to me anyway.”

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Burger’s Priest upon landing from The Grammys 2012

Hitting the ground running, and running hard was the order of the day. Arriving to Beverly Hilton to only discover that Whitney Houston had died, the media surrounded you, the party that you came for hosted by Clive Davis was an uncertainty then on, and the buzz all over the place was about Whitney Houston.

The evening no one really eat, for me it was back to my stomping ground Mr. Chow and again this was a light affair. Richard Branson was in full party mode, and while a serious attempt to get the party going everyone was still reeling from the shock.

The Grammys was all about running around catching up with old friends. The Foo Fighters had been with me in Toronto at the Ritz Carlton one night so it was time to talk it up with them, my friend who looks after McLaren car which run you $750,000 base price, was putting on her Pucci dress and ready to hit the party of home town man Deadmau5 needless to say no food was consumed, but everything else was. Sleep, who needs sleep. After all will do plenty of sleep when I am dead so why bother, it’s over-rated anyway.

Jumping on the flight at crazy mad early hour, all I can now think of is home Toronto and grabbing a burger at Burger’s Priest in my old hood on Yonge and Lawrence where I grew up, made my first black and white movie and organized concerts.

The crew at Burger’s Priest is also cool, Alex there plays drums and is working on getting his band together, and it’s a spot where I always run into someone who’s gone to my high school Lawrence Park, not to mention that Shant Mardirosian, who started it is a cool dude. The food well, it’s simple and the burger’s are the best in town. Recording artist Jessica Mitchell who I interviewed prior to the Grammys say’s the bruger’s are great and soon you will meet another recording artist Megan Bonnell on My Name is Khan thinks these burgers are the bomb. The only time to sit is on the plane flight back catch up on some sleep and dream of landing and chowing the burger voted third best spot to eat a burger.

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The Grammy’s 2012

In the quirky style stakes Lady Gaga and rapper Nicki Minaj didn’t disappoint, with the first lady of pop donning a PVC dress with netting, while Nicki Minaj arrived in a Little Red Riding Hood style layered red caped dress, on the arm of a man dressed as the Pope!

A more somber note for the evening came as the tributes poured in for Whitney Houston following her death the night before. Stars including LL Cool J, Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder paid homage to the singer, with Jennifer Hudson singing I Will Always Love You in her honour.

Other stand-out looks came from Kelly Osbourne in a grey sequin and chiffon Tony Ward Couture gown, Jessie J in a stunning Julien McDonald fishtail dress, and Rihanna, who rocked a plunging Giorgio Armani number. Gwyneth Paltrow chose a cut out frock by pal Stella McCartney, to present an award.

Adele well she bounced back from her rubbish relationship belted out Rolling in the Deep, from her album 21 and showed everyone what it’s all about, the voice.

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Taylor Swift hee-haw’s past $50 million a year?

“There’s nothing like writing a song about someone who’s really mean to you and makes you life miserable,” she said, “and then winning a Grammy for it.”

I like Taylor Swift, and I like what she writes. But then I am the guy who likes what everyone writes so long as they are writing throwing the word to the wind, with some music. Somewhere on this planet someone whom you don’t know is touched by that, needs that, and their life can be changed. That is what artist’s do. I also like Taylor Swift because she really take the time and cares about her fans, and let’s not kid yourself without fans you have nothing.

This years Grammy winner Foo Fighters, Adele, all where about the pureness of the music. Hey you have to have a voice, you need to know your craft, it can’t be done in all computers because there is nothing like the real thing. Whitney Houston, god bless her, was real, that was a voice. Taylor, was about not being mean and this is important for her fan base. What does this all mean for the Taylor Swift empire? it translates into ticket sales of the brand Taylor Swift.

After winning her first award in 2010, Swift’s nightly gross ticket sales soared 380%, from $125,000 to $600,000. The next year, that number jumped to $1.1 million. With her additional Grammys in tow, Taylor Swift is poised for a monster year, earnings-wise. She pulled in $18 million in 2009, $45 million in 2010, and another $45 million in 2011. This year, she may well top $50 million.

Perhaps Swift put it best herself moments after her second Grammy win of the year, saying simply: “This is unbelievable.” Yes, dreams come true and magic is real, just believe.

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