13 Favorite Musician Interviews of 2013

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For music journalists, there's nothing better than when an artist or performer gives good quote. While musicians can be pretty hit or miss when it comes to interviews, when one gets garrulous and decides to dish or diss, there never seems to be enough tape or memory space available for their pearls of wisdom.

And some of the many interviewees from the music world that the scribes of Up on the Sun spoke to last year definitely dropped dime and got glib. And while it's a bit tardy, here's a baker's dozen of some of our favorite and most popular Q&A's from 2013.

Brian "Head" Welch: "I Feel Like I'm Living A Resurrected Life Right Now" By Lauren Wise

Back in 2009, Brian "Head" Welch was hosting auditions at his Phoenix studio in order to craft a band for his own brand of music. The legendary former Korn guitarist experimented and jammed out with a few members, but then went back to searching for his ideal bandmates. In 2011, two weeks before his project was to go on tour, Welch found 14-year-old J.R. Bareis and chose him as his new guitar player. Rounded out by drummer (and Phoenix resident) Dan Johnson and bassist Michael Valentine, the finalized four-piece was announced as Love and Death in February 2012.

Love and Death released their Chemicals EP and the album Between Here & Lost, the latter of which was released in January 2013 and was birthed from "trials, tribulations, pain, suffering, anxiety, depression and drama," according to Welch. And while Welch has admitted that the band has been through some very intense highs and lows, the name "love and death" symbolizes everything that the members had been through during the handful of years they had been together...Read More

Ghost B.C.'s Nameless Ghoul: We're Not Critiquing God, We're Critiquing Man By Lauren Wise

Resident metal journo Lauren Wise tried to get an interview with Papa Emeritus II, but apparently Papa only does email interviews. So Up On The Sun chatted with a Nameless Ghoul guitarist about the difference between "musical controversy" in America and in Sweden, working with Dave Grohl, and Ghost B.C. sex toys.

Do you feel that the media in the United States has more of a controversial take on Ghost BC than areas like Sweden, where black metal is prevalent?

Short answer, yes. I think what we do isn't shocking where we come from, and generally when we are mentioned in the Swedish or Scandanavian press it's usually [for] commercial reasons or just to provide an update on the band, never really about controversy...Read More

John Densmore On Reuniting With Robby Krieger And Maintaining The Doors' Mystique By Dan Moore

When you are one of a half-dozen bands that are a rite of passage for every coming generation, there's really no need to sell your wares to the highest bidder. Thanks goodness The Doors had John Densmore fighting that good fight for many years, even when it meant gong against his fellow bandmates and siding with Jim Morrison's dad, a retired Navy admiral, which is just one of the choice anecdotes you can read for yourself in The Doors Unhinged: Jim Morrison's Legacy Goes on Trial.

Besides the new book, we spoke to him about the state of the music and publishing world, groups reuniting with no original members and above all, the fine art of integrity...Read More

Markus Schulz: Arizona Is "Nostalgic," But "It Saddens Me" By Taylor Moon

Lots of DJs have stories worth telling, but not many begin in a breakdance crew. Up On The Sun spoke with Markus Schulz about that, his rise in the U.S., and how Scottsdale still holds a big place in his heart.

Up On The Sun: I understand Germany had a huge breakdance scene back in the day, and lots of people transitioned into EDM from it. I've heard you got into the scene that way, is that true?

Markus Schulz: Oh, it's just those kinds of people. You know what the funny thing is as a break-dancer--[while] making my mix-tape and mix-tapes for my crew, I started DJing in nightclubs, because one of the club managers heard me playing at one of the numerous breakdance parties...Read More

Anberlin: Frontman Stephen Christian Discusses Art and Faith By Brian Palmer

Florida rockers Anberlin have been together for just over a decade, and what a ride it's been. After starting out small with Tooth & Nail Records and experiencing great success with Blueprints for the Black Market and Never Take Friendship Personal, they soon were playing on the Warped Tour and found themselves signing with Universal Records.

Four of their albums have charted in the Billboard Top 20, they have scored a number one Modern Rock single with "Feel Good Drag," worked with major record producers, and toured around the world. It would appear that life has been pretty good for them.

Perhaps more interesting, however, is that Anberlin is one of a rare number of bands -- Switchfoot, Mute Math, P.O.D., and Flyleaf among them -- to move from the Christian music industry into mainstream success...Read More

Alice Cooper: "I Saw Jim Morrison Die Trying To Act Like Jim Morrison" By Jim Louvau

Local legend Alice Cooper teamed up with none other than Marilyn Manson this past summer for the "Masters of Reality" tour.

While on paper the two have a ton in common -- they've both spent most of their careers scaring parents and the Christian church -- they really couldn't be more different today. Cooper is very in tune with the church, does a ton of charity work, and knows when to "turn Alice off." Manson on the other hand is Manson 24/7, and that switch is never turned off. This isn't a bad thing -- it just means that when you ask questions like "Is Marilyn Manson really like that offstage?" the answer is usually yes.

We caught up with Alice in June; he dished on Manson, his Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame induction, and all kinds of other good stuff...Read More

The Melvins' Buzz Osborne: "I Could Care Less About Legacy" By Lauren Wise

Up on the Sun talked with frontman Buzz Osborne about the band's biggest accomplishments, his five favorite albums, why he doesn't care about legacy, and the new guitar that is his current obsession.

Their newest album, April's Everybody Loves Sausage, fits them well in that sense. It's an album of covers, pairing acts that founder/frontman/guitarist Buzz Osborne says were chosen because "they are acts that people wouldn't think our band was influenced by." Think David Bowie and Venom, with The Jam and Queen. On top of that, there's no doubt that the Melvins' sound and direction of frontman/guitarist Buzz Osborne influenced dozens of bands, many of which people couldn't imagine missing from the industry today...Read More

Brian Teasley of Man or Astro-Man? on Sci-Fi Shtick and That "Crazy" Eastside Records Gig By Benjamin Leatherman

Until their May concert at Crescent Ballroom, it had been more than 12 years since Man of Astro-man? last performed in the Valley, a drought that stretched back to their last local show September 2000 at Nita's Hideaway in Tempe, which -- in a nice bit of synchronicity -- was run by Crescent proprietor Charlie Levy.

Up on the Sun recently got a chance to speak with Man or Astro-man? guitarist/vocalist Brian Teasley, also known by his stage name "Birdstuff," about memories of past concerts in Phoenix, their latest album, working with the always-colorful Steve Albini, and being on infamous rock label Touch and Go Records...Read More

Johnny Richter: I'm Sick of Dealing With Kottonmouth Kings Fighting By Caleb Haley

Johnny Richter, formerly of the Kottonmouth Kings, doesn't slow down for anyone. He also doesn't take shit from anyone. After unexpectedly leaving KMK in mid-October, Richter hit the ground running with a rejuvenated solo career and a new EP, FreeKING Out.

The short and sweet five-track EP delivers the vintage Richter sound that carried the Kottonmouth Kings to fame, but there is something different about this collection of songs. A new bull-dozing spark in Richter's lyrics courses through every verse and brings the EP to life, showing that he is for real about his own career.

"I just want to get back to making music," says Richter, "touring, playing shows, and having fun with it, and not [have] all the other drama and bullshit that goes with it." That's not to say there hasn't been plenty of backlash and fallout from a sudden separation with the band he helped form in the mid-nineties...Read More

The Devil Wears Prada's Andy Trick: "If You Don't Agree With Us, That's Cool" By Lauren Wise

The Devil Wears Prada excels at dark, blanketing instrumentals that sweep from brutal crowd-moshing breakdowns and atmospheric bridges to intricate riffing and uplifting melodics that reflect their collective faith. When you throw in commanding roars and unflinching, post-hardcore vocals, it paints a picture of how the band bridges the gap between Vans Warped Tour and Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem festivals.

In 2013, the band released 8:18, their fifth hostile album that is soaked in emotion and underlying themes of the war against humanity's dark urges and exploitive mediocrity, all paired with almost a sorrowful instrumental approach. It lashes out against, among other things, such as the lack of emotion in the current heavy metal scene and the uprising of the auto tune crutch used by so many musicians. 8:18 shows that The Devil Wears Prada -- who rose to fame with the help of MySpace -- have paid their dues and matured into their craft...Read More

For The Maine and Forever Halloween, Computers Are for Porn By Dan Moore

When we last spoke to John O'Callaghan of The Maine, a year and a half ago, things were a little nebulous. Pioneer had just been rejected by the major label that had signed them to a seven-album contract one album ago, and it wasn't clear what The Maine's followup would look like or who would be behind it.

Things were pretty clear when O'Callaghan stepped away from some last-minute rehearsals to talk to Up on the Sun. The major is out of the picture, the band is opening a summer-long tour in Tempe this afternoon, and the followup, out today, is a snapshot of a band that knows exactly where it is, and why...Read More

HIM's Ville Valo on Bam Margera and The "Tears" of His Favorite Artists By Lauren Wise

Finnish rock band HIM is known for causing a lot of weird controversy. First, a lot of people get angsty when it comes time to define their sound--the band has been categorized as everything from slow alt-rock to melodic metal to gothic metal. But they've been around since 1991, and they're the only Finnish rock band to achieve a gold record in the United States. The band members--frontman Ville Valo, guitarist Mikko "Linde" Lindstrom, bassist have an interesting array of influences, including The Stooges, KISS, Black Sabbath and Neil Young.

The band's eight studio albums span fast and heavy to mournful and rainy-day-friendly; the fifth album, 2005's Dark Light, was the band's breakthrough album in the U.S, partially because Bam Margera from the show "Jackass" loved the band so much you couldn't go one episode of his show without seeing HIM's signature heartagram symbol painted on his wall. This past May at the Golden Gods Awards, HIM even won the 'Most Dedicated Fans' award.

Front man Ville Valo is also known for a lot of things, too. He's an interesting person to speak with, weaving back and forth between existential topics, the media in Finland, and his favorite U.S. food cities. Up On The Sun talked with Valo about the problem with touring the U.S., why he hates writing on the road, and how vintage gear makes you perform in a certain way...Read More

Marilyn Manson: "I Like To Smoke and Hang Out With The Gangsta Rappers" By Jim Louvau

Love him or loathe him, let's face it: Marilyn Manson is the last great living rockstar. Other stars and other bands sell more records these days, but he was on to something in 1998's Mechanical Animals when he wrote "Rock is Dead," because the genre is in serious need of a make-over. For better or for worse Manson is still unpredictable-- sometimes he barely makes it through shows, and some nights the shows are just downright bad. Other nights there are still glimpses of greatness, and that is what fans will be hoping for tonight as he plays an intimate show at Marquee Theatre. Interviewing Manson is a totally different--sometimes difficult--story.

But if you can get through the barriers--and his opening monologues--and get him talking about the music that transformed him from Brian Warner to Marilyn Manson, he's charming, witty, inappropriate, and everything you want in a rockstar...Read More

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