Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper is an American singer, songwriter and activist. Her career has spanned over 40 years, her album She's So Unusual was the first debut album by a female artist to achieve four top-five hits on the Billboard Hot 100—"Girls Just Want to Have Fun", "Time After Time", "She Bop", "All Through the Night"—and earned Lauper the Best New Artist award at the 27th Grammy Awards in 1985. Her success continued with the soundtrack for the motion picture The Goonies and her second record True Colors; this album included the number one single "True Colors" and "Change of Heart", which peaked at number three. Since 1989, Lauper has participated in many other projects. In 2010, Memphis Blues, became Billboard's most successful blues album of the year, remaining at number one on the Billboard Blues Albums chart for 13 consecutive weeks. In 2013, Lauper won the Tony Award for best original score for composing the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, making her the first woman to win the category by herself.
The musical was awarded five other Tonys including Tony Award for Best New Musical. In 2014, Lauper was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album for the cast recording. In 2016, the West End production won Best New Musical at the Olivier Awards Lauper has sold over 50 million albums and 20 million singles, she has won awards at the Grammys, Tonys, the New York's Outer Critics Circle, MTV Video Music Awards, Billboard Awards, American Music Awards. An inductee into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Lauper is one of the few singers to win three of the four major American entertainment awards. Lauper won the inaugural Best Female Video prize at the 1984 VMAs for "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"; this music video is recognized by MTV, VH1 and Rolling Stone as one of the greatest music videos of the era. She is featured in the Roll Hall of Fame Museum's Women Who Rock exhibit, her debut album is included in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, while "Time After Time" is included in VH1's list of the 100 Best Songs of the Past 25 years.
VH1 has ranked Lauper No. 58 of the 100 Greatest Women of Roll. Lauper is known for both her distinctive image featuring a variety of hair colors, eccentric clothing and is known for her powerful and distinctive four-octave singing range. Lauper has been celebrated for her humanitarian work as an advocate for LGBT rights in the United States, her charitable efforts were acknowledged in 2013 when she was invited as a special guest to attend U. S. President Barack Obama's second-term inauguration. Lauper was born in New York City to a Catholic family, her father, was of German and Swiss descent. Her mother, Catrine, is Italian American. Lauper's siblings are younger brother Fred, older sister, Ellen. Lauper's parents divorced, her mother divorced again. Lauper grew up in the Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens and, as a child, listened to such artists as The Beatles and Judy Garland. At age 12, she began playing an acoustic guitar given to her by her sister. Lauper expressed herself with a variety of hair colors, eccentric clothing and took a friend's advice to spell her name as "Cyndi" rather than "Cindy" and her unconventional sense of style led to classmates bullying her, with some cruel children throwing stones at her.
Lauper went to Richmond Hill High School, but was expelled, although she earned her GED. She left home at 17, intending to study art, her journey took her to Canada, where she spent two weeks in the woods with her dog Sparkle, trying to find herself. She traveled to Vermont, where she took art classes at Johnson State College and supported herself working odd jobs. In the early 1970s, Lauper performed as a vocalist with various cover bands. One, called Doc West, covered disco songs as well as Janis Joplin. A band, was active in the New York metropolitan area, singing hits by bands including Bad Company, Jefferson Airplane and Led Zeppelin. Although Lauper was performing on stage, she was not happy. In 1977, Lauper took a year off from singing, she was told by doctors that she would never sing again, but regained her voice with the help of vocal coach Katie Agresta. In 1978, Lauper met saxophone player John Turi through her manager Ted Rosenblatt. Turi and Lauper formed a band recorded a demo tape of original music.
Steve Massarsky, manager of The Allman Brothers Band, liked Lauper's voice. He became their manager. Lauper received recording offers as a solo artist, but held out, wanting the band to be included in any deal she made. Blue Angel was signed by Polydor Records and released a self-titled album on the label in 1980. Lauper hated the album cover, saying that it made her look like Big Bird, but Rolling Stone magazine included it as one of the 100 best new wave album covers. Despite critical acclaim, the album sold poorly and the band broke up; the members of Blue Angel fired him as their manager. He filed an $80,000 suit against them, which forced Lauper into bankruptcy. After this Lauper temporarily lost her voice due to an inverted cyst in her vocal cord. After Blue Angel broke up, Lauper spent time, due to her financial problems, working in retail stores, waitressing at IHOP (which she quit after being demoted to hostess when the manager sexually harassed he
Charles Thompson IV is an American singer and guitarist. He is best known as the frontman of the influential alternative rock band Pixies, with whom he performs under the stage name Black Francis. Following the band's breakup in 1993, he embarked on a solo career under the name Frank Black. After releasing two albums with record label 4AD and one with American Recordings, he left the label and formed a new band, Frank Black and the Catholics, he re-adopted the name Black Francis in 2007. His vocal style has varied from a screaming, yowling delivery as lead vocalist of the Pixies to a more measured and melodic style in his solo career, his cryptic lyrics explore unconventional subjects, such as surrealism and biblical violence, along with science fiction and surf culture. His use of atypical meter signatures, loud–quiet dynamics, distinct preference for live-to-two-track recording during his time with the Catholics, give him a distinct style within alternative rock. Thompson regrouped the Pixies in early 2004 and continues to release solo records and tour as a solo artist.
Charles Thompson was born in Massachusetts. His father was a bar owner, Thompson lived in Los Angeles, California, as a baby because his father wanted to "learn more about the restaurant and bar business." Thompson was introduced to music at a young age. His first guitar was his mother's, a Yamaha classical guitar bought with money from his father's bar tips, which he started to play at age "11 or 12."Thompson's family moved around, first with his father, his stepfather, a religious man who "pursued real estate on both coasts". When Thompson was 12, his mother and stepfather joined an evangelical church, tied to the Pentecostal denomination Assemblies of God, a move that influenced many of his songs written with the Pixies, which refer to the Bible, he discovered the music of Christian rock singer-songwriter Larry Norman at 13 when Norman played at a religious summer camp that Thompson attended. Norman's music influenced Thompson to the extent that he named the Pixies' first EP and a lyric in the band's song "Levitate Me" after one of Norman's catchphrases, "Come on, pilgrim!"
Thompson described the music he listened to during his youth: I used to hang out with some misfits. We were the'we listen to odd-ball music' kids. I wasn't hanging out at all-ages shows or trying to get into clubs to see bands, I was buying records at used records stores and borrowing them from the library. You just saw Lake & Palmer records. So I didn't know music, but it was a good thing that I didn't know it, that I instead listened to a lot of'60s records and this religious music. Thompson lived in an apartment in Massachusetts. Just before his senior year, his family moved to Westport, where he received a Teenager of the Year award—the title of a solo album. During this time, Thompson composed several songs that appeared in his career, including "Here Comes Your Man" from Doolittle, "Velvety Instrumental Version."After graduating from high school in 1983, Thompson studied at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, majoring in anthropology. Thompson shared a room with another roommate for a semester before moving in with future Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago.
The two shared an interest in rock music, Santiago introduced Thompson to 1970s punk and the music of David Bowie. It was at this time that Thompson discovered The Cars, a band he described as "very influential on me and the Pixies."In his second year of college, Thompson embarked on a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, as part of an exchange program. He spent six months in an apartment with a "weird, psycho roommate," who served as a direct inspiration for the Pixies song "Crackity Jones. Thompson failed to learn to speak Spanish formally, left his studies after debating whether he would go to New Zealand to view Halley's Comet, or start a rock band, he wrote a letter urging Santiago, with the words "we gotta do it, now is the time Joe," to join him in a band upon his return to Boston. Soon after returning to Massachusetts, Thompson dropped out of college, moved to Boston with Santiago, he spent 1985 working in a warehouse, "managing buttons on teddy bears," composing songs on his acoustic guitar, writing lyrics on the subway.
In January 1986, Thompson formed the Pixies with Santiago. Bassist Kim Deal was recruited a week via a classified advertisement placed in a Boston paper, which requested a bassist "into Hüsker Dü and Peter and Mary." Drummer David Lovering was hired on recommendation from Deal's husband. In 1987, the Pixies released an 18-track demo tape referred to as The Purple Tape. Thompson's father assisted the band financially; the Purple Tape led to a recording contract with the English independent record label 4AD. For the release of the mini album Come On Pilgrim, Thompson adopted the alias "Black Francis", a name inspired by his father: "he had been saving that name in case he had another son."In 1988, the Pixies recorded their debut album Surfer Rosa. Thompson wrote and sang on all the tracks, with the exception of the single "Gigantic,", co-written and sung by Deal. To support the album, the band undertook a European tour
Robert Arthur Mould is an American musician, principally known for his work as guitarist and songwriter for alternative rock bands Hüsker Dü in the 1980s and Sugar in the 1990s. Born in Malone, New York Mould lived in several places, including the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota area where he attended Macalester College. There, he formed Hüsker Dü in the late 1970s with drummer/singer Grant Hart and bass guitarist Greg Norton. Mould and Hart were the principal songwriters for Hüsker Dü, with Hart's higher-pitched vocals and Mould's baritone taking the lead in alternate songs. Forming in 1979, Hüsker Dü first gained notice as a punk rock group with a series of recordings on the independent label SST Records. In 1986, they found only modest commercial success. However, they were often cited as one of the key influences on 1990s alternative rock, including bands such as Nirvana and the Pixies. In the late 1980s, Hüsker Dü broke up acrimoniously amid members' drug abuse, personal problems, disputes over songwriting credits, musical direction, the suicide of the band's manager, David Savoy.
Mould and Grant Hart, the band's other songwriter and vocalist, still took occasional jabs at each other in the press until Hart's death in 2017, though the two revisited their Hüsker Dü back catalog together at a 2004 benefit concert for an ailing friend, the late Karl Mueller of Soul Asylum. After Hüsker Dü broke up in 1988, Mould sequestered himself in a remote farmhouse in Pine City, having quit drinking and drugs, wrote the songs that would make up his first solo album. Signing to the newly formed Virgin Records America label, 1989's Workbook eschewed Mould's trademark wall-of-noise guitar for a lighter tone. Drummer Anton Fier and bassist Tony Maimone served as Mould's rhythm section; the album peaked at number 127 on the Billboard 200 chart, the single "See a Little Light" reached number 4 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.1990's Black Sheets of Rain had a much heavier guitar sound, recalling Hüsker Dü's louder, angrier moments. According to the liner notes for the 2012 re-release of Sugar's Copper Blue, Creation Records president Alan McGee verified that total album sales were 7,000 copies.
Still, the album peaked at number 123 on the Billboard 200 chart, the single "It's Too Late" reached number 10 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. Mould co-founded a record label, Singles Only Label, with Coyote Records label founder Steve Fallon; the label released singles from bands such as Daniel Johnston, Grant Lee Buffalo, Mojo Nixon, Nikki Sudden, R. Stevie Moore from 1989–1994. Mould formed the group Sugar, with bassist David Barbe and drummer Malcolm Travis. Along with extensive touring, Sugar released two albums, an EP and a B-sides collection before breaking up. 1992's Copper Blue was named as NME's 1992 Album of the Year, was Mould's most successful commercial album, selling nearly 300,000 copies. While in the band Sugar, in 1993 he contributed the track "Can't Fight It" as a solo artist to the AIDS Benefit Album No Alternative produced by the Red Hot Organization. In 1994, he recorded "Turning of the Tide" for Beat The Retreat, a tribute album to the English guitarist and songwriter Richard Thompson.
In 1996, Mould returned to solo recording, releasing a self-titled album in 1996 on Rykodisc referred to as Hubcap because of the cover photo. Mould played all of the instruments himself, programmed the drums instead of using a real drummer; the album peaked at number 101 on the Billboard 200 chart, number 1 on the Heatseekers chart. In 1998, Mould released Pony Show, his final album on Rykodisc; the album was named as such because Mould decided that the tour that followed would be his "last electric band tour."After the tour, Mould took a break from the music world to get involved with another passion of his, professional wrestling, when he joined WCW as a scriptwriter in 1999 for a brief period. Creative differences with some of the other writers led to Mould's leaving the company and returning to music; the liner notes for the 2002 album Modulate thank some of the wrestlers he associated with, most notably Kevin Nash and Kevin Sullivan. During a stint living in New York City in the late-1990s, as he more embraced his identity as a gay man, Mould's tastes took a detour into dance music and electronica.
Those influences were clear on his 2002 release Modulate, which featured a strong electronica influence to mixed critical reviews and poor fan reaction. One song, "The Receipt," was straightforward, according to City Pages: it "can be taken as a veiled attack on Mould's old Husker Dü-mate Grant Hart." In further pursuit of this sound, Mould began recording under the pseudonym LoudBomb, releasing one CD so far under this name. His next solo album, Body of Song, had been scheduled to follow the release of 2002's Modulate. Instead, Mould worked on the album for the next three years. By this time, he had changed his mind on touring with a band, announced his first band tour since 1998; the tour lineup included bassist Jason Narducy, drummer Brendan Canty, Mould's Blowoff collaborator, Morel, on keyboards. In addition to his solo work, Mould worked as a live DJ in collaboration with Washington DC-area dance music artist Richard Morel, under the collective banner Blowoff, they staged at the 9:30 Club in Washing
A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from musical form and musical style, although in practice these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Academics have argued that categorizing music by genre is inaccurate and outdated. Music can be divided into different genres in many different ways; the artistic nature of music means that these classifications are subjective and controversial, some genres may overlap. There are varying academic definitions of the term genre itself. In his book Form in Tonal Music, Douglass M. Green distinguishes between form, he lists madrigal, canzona and dance as examples of genres from the Renaissance period. To further clarify the meaning of genre, Green writes, "Beethoven's Op. 61 and Mendelssohn's Op. 64 are identical in genre – both are violin concertos – but different in form. However, Mozart's Rondo for Piano, K. 511, the Agnus Dei from his Mass, K. 317 are quite different in genre but happen to be similar in form."
Some, like Peter van der Merwe, treat the terms genre and style as the same, saying that genre should be defined as pieces of music that share a certain style or "basic musical language." Others, such as Allan F. Moore, state that genre and style are two separate terms, that secondary characteristics such as subject matter can differentiate between genres. A music genre or subgenre may be defined by the musical techniques, the style, the cultural context, the content and spirit of the themes. Geographical origin is sometimes used to identify a music genre, though a single geographical category will include a wide variety of subgenres. Timothy Laurie argues that since the early 1980s, "genre has graduated from being a subset of popular music studies to being an ubiquitous framework for constituting and evaluating musical research objects". Among the criteria used to classify musical genres are the trichotomy of art and traditional musics. Alternatively, music can be divided on three variables: arousal and depth.
Arousal reflects the energy level of the music. These three variables help explain why many people like similar songs from different traditionally segregated genres. Musicologists have sometimes classified music according to a trichotomic distinction such as Philip Tagg's "axiomatic triangle consisting of'folk','art' and'popular' musics", he explains that each of these three is distinguishable from the others according to certain criteria. The term art music refers to classical traditions, including both contemporary and historical classical music forms. Art music exists in many parts of the world, it emphasizes formal styles that invite technical and detailed deconstruction and criticism, demand focused attention from the listener. In Western practice, art music is considered a written musical tradition, preserved in some form of music notation rather than being transmitted orally, by rote, or in recordings, as popular and traditional music are. Most western art music has been written down using the standard forms of music notation that evolved in Europe, beginning well before the Renaissance and reaching its maturity in the Romantic period.
The identity of a "work" or "piece" of art music is defined by the notated version rather than by a particular performance, is associated with the composer rather than the performer. This is so in the case of western classical music. Art music may include certain forms of jazz, though some feel that jazz is a form of popular music. Sacred Christian music forms an important part of the classical music tradition and repertoire, but can be considered to have an identity of its own; the term popular music refers to any musical style accessible to the general public and disseminated by the mass media. Musicologist and popular music specialist Philip Tagg defined the notion in the light of sociocultural and economical aspects: Popular music, unlike art music, is conceived for mass distribution to large and socioculturally heterogeneous groups of listeners and distributed in non-written form, only possible in an industrial monetary economy where it becomes a commodity and in capitalist societies, subject to the laws of'free' enterprise... it should ideally sell as much as possible.
Popular music is found on most commercial and public service radio stations, in most commercial music retailers and department stores, in movie and television soundtracks. It is noted on the Billboard charts and, in addition to singer-songwriters and composers, it involves music producers more than other genres do; the distinction between classical and popular music has sometimes been blurred in marginal areas such as minimalist music and light classics. Background music for films/movies draws on both traditions. In this respect, music is like fiction, which draws a distinction between literary fiction and popular fiction, not always precise. Country music known as country and western, hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s; the polka is a Czech dance and genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and particular
Jonathan Michael Richman is an American singer and guitarist. In 1970, he founded an influential proto-punk band. Since the mid-1970s, Richman has worked either solo or with low-key and electric, backing, he plays only acoustic to protect his hearing. He is known for his wide-eyed and childlike outlook, music that, while rooted in rock and roll, is influenced by music from around the world. Born in Natick, into a Jewish family, Richman began playing music and writing his own songs in the mid-1960s, he became infatuated with the Velvet Underground, in 1969, he moved to New York City, lived on the couch of their manager, Steve Sesnick, worked odd jobs and tried to break in as a professional musician. Failing at this, he returned to Boston. While in Boston, Richman formed a proto-punk garage rock band. Other notable members of the group were keyboard player Jerry Harrison and drummer David Robinson, who joined Talking Heads and the Cars, respectively. In 1972, they recorded a series of demos with producer John Cale.
Among these songs were the seminal "Roadrunner" and "Pablo Picasso" which were released on the group's post-breakup album, The Modern Lovers. The album was strange for its time, featuring Velvets-influenced basic three-chord rock at a time when glam and progressive rock were the norm. In 1972, the group recorded with producer Kim Fowley. Despite playing live the Modern Lovers had a difficult time securing a recording contract. By late 1973, Richman wanted to scrap the recorded tracks and start again with a mellower, more lyrical sound, influenced by the laid-back local music he had heard when the band had a residency at the Inverurie Hotel in Bermuda earlier in the year; these stymied efforts to complete a debut album led to the breakup of the original Modern Lovers in February 1974. In 1975, Richman moved to California to record as a solo singer/songwriter with Beserkley Records, his first released recordings appeared on 1975's Beserkley Chartbusters compilation, where he was backed by members of Earth Quake and the Rubinoos.
In January 1976, Richman put together a new version of the Modern Lovers, which included original Modern Lovers drummer, David Robinson, along with former Rubinoos bassist Greg'Curly' Keranen and Leroy Radcliffe on guitar. The albums produced by the new group found Richman turning away from electric rock music towards gentler acoustic textures, with a strong rooting in 1950s rock and roll; the album Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers was released in May 1976 but David Robinson left the group soon thereafter, due to frustration with Richman's quest for lower volume levels, joined with Ric Ocasek in forming the band the Cars. After several months as a trio, Richman found a new drummer, D. Sharpe, an avant-garde jazz player on the Boston scene, who went on to become a member of pianist Carla Bley's band. Rock and Roll with the Modern Lovers was released in 1977 and, just as this record began to climb the charts in Europe, Keranen left the group. A subsequent live album, Modern Lovers Live, was released with Asa Brebner on bass.
In the United Kingdom, Richman was recognised as a progenitor of the punk rock scene, several of his singles became hits. "Roadrunner" reached Number 11 in the UK Singles Chart, its follow-up, the instrumental "Egyptian Reggae", made Number 5 in late 1977. "Egyptian Reggae" was a version of Jamaican musician Earl Zero's reggae song "None Shall Escape the Judgment". Back in Your Life was released in 1979 under the "Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers" moniker, but only about half the disc featured a backup band; the rest was solo work. Following the Modern Lovers' final breakup, Richman went on sabbatical for a few years, staying in Appleton and playing at local bars in Belfast, Maine, he returned to recording in 1983 with Jonathan Sings!, followed by Rockin' and Romance. These were followed up with a brace of pop recordings. After the latter release, the "Modern Lovers" moniker was retired, having begun a true solo career, he returned to a variety of musical genres: country music with 1990's Jonathan Goes Country, Spanish translations of his earlier work with Jonathan, Te Vas a Emocionar!.
In 1993, he contributed the track "Hot Nights" to the AIDS-Benefit Album No Alternative produced by the Red Hot Organization. Always possessing an ardent cult following, Richman has become better known in recent years thanks to a series of appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Another major profile boost was a key part in the Farrelly Brothers' 1998 film There's Something About Mary, where he played half of a two-man Greek chorus with drummer Tommy Larkins, that commented on the plot while performing in the framed action itself, he appeared in a bar scene in a previous Farrelly Brothers film and performed the song "As We Walk to Fenway Park" for their 2005 comedy, Fever Pitch. Richman has continued his release schedule all along, with You Must Ask the Heart
Robyn Rowan Hitchcock is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist. While a vocalist and guitarist, he plays harmonica and bass guitar. After reaching prominence in the late 1970s with The Soft Boys, Hitchcock launched a prolific solo career, his musical and lyrical styles have been influenced by Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Syd Barrett, Captain Beefheart, Bryan Ferry and Roger McGuinn. Hitchcock's lyrics tend to include surrealism, comedic elements, characterisations of English eccentrics, melancholy depictions of everyday life, he has recorded for two major American labels over the course of the 1980s and 1990s, was the subject of a live performance/documentary film by major motion picture director Jonathan Demme in 1998, but despite this, mainstream success has been limited. He has earned strong critical reviews over a steady stream of album releases and live performances, a "cult following" for his songs. Hitchcock was educated at Winchester College, where he was a "groovy and alternative" friend of Julia Darling.
While at art school in London around 1972, Hitchcock was a member of the college band the Beetles. In 1974 he moved to Cambridge, where he did some busking, joined a series of local bands: B. B. Blackberry and the Swelterettes, the Worst Fears, Maureen and the Meatpackers, his next group and the Experts, became the neo-psychedelia band The Soft Boys in Cambridge in 1976, recording their first EP, "Give It to the Soft Boys", at Spaceward studios, Cambridge, in 1977. After recording A Can of Bees and Underwater Moonlight the group broke up in 1981. Hitchcock released his solo debut, Black Snake Diamond Röle in 1981, which included instrumental backing by several former Soft Boys, he followed it in 1982 with the critically maligned Groovy Decay. Following his solo acoustic album I Often Dream of Trains in 1984, he formed a new band, The Egyptians, comprising former members of the Soft Boys, resulting in their 1985 debut Fegmania!, which featured surrealist Hitchcock songs such as "My Wife and My Dead Wife" and "The Man with the Lightbulb Head".
Their popularity grew with the 1986 album Element of Light and they were subsequently signed to A&M Records in the U. S; the album Globe of Frogs, released in 1988, further expanded their reach, as the single "Balloon Man" became a college radio and MTV hit, followed in 1989 by "Madonna of the Wasps" from their Queen Elvis album. In 1989 they teamed up with Peter Buck of R. E. M. and Peter Holsapple of The dB's, playing two gigs as Nigel and the Crosses covers. The Crosses had their cover of "Wild Mountain Thyme" included on a Byrds tribute album, though Hitchcock always alluded to the Bryan Ferry version when performing it live with the Egyptians. At the beginning of 1990, Hitchcock took a break from the Egyptians and A&M Records to release another solo acoustic album, Eye resumed with the band's Perspex Island release in 1991. 1993's Respect, influenced a great deal by his father's death, marked the last Egyptians release and the end of his association with A&M Records. Early in 1994, after disbanding the Egyptians, Hitchcock embarked on a short reunion tour with the Soft Boys.
His work received a slight boost in 1995 when his back catalogue were re-packaged and re-issued in the United States by the respected Rhino Records label. For the rest of the decade he continued recording and performing as a solo artist, releasing several albums on Warner Brothers Records, such as 1996's Moss Elixir, the soundtrack from the Jonathan Demme-directed concert film Storefront Hitchcock in 1998; the 1999 release Jewels for Sophia on Warner, featured cameos from Southern California-based musicians Jon Brion and Grant-Lee Phillips, both of whom shared the stage with Hitchcock when he played Los Angeles nightclub Largo. An album of outtakes from the Sophia sessions called A Star for Bram, released on Hitchcock's own label and his subsequent albums appeared on a variety of independent labels. In 1999 he authorised a book about him written by Italian underground writer Luca Ferrari, edited in December 2000 in Italian-English with the title A Middle-Class Hero: a long'in the raw' interview about life, religion and passions that portraits the musician as human and real.
Included some of his paintings and for the first time his father Raymond's old ones. In 2001 Hitchcock reunited and toured with Kimberley Rew, bassist Matthew Seligman, Morris Windsor for the Soft Boys' re-release of their best-known album, 1980's Underwater Moonlight; the following year they recorded and released a new album, accompanied by a short album of outtakes, Side Three. The reunion proved to be short-lived; the 2002 double album Robyn Sings comprised cover versions of Bob Dylan songs, including a live re-creation of Dylan's so-called Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1966 concert. Hitchcock celebrated his 50th birthday in 2003 with a concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London at which his then-new solo acoustic album Luxor was given away as a gift to all those attending, an original poem of his was read by actor Alan Rickman, he continued collaborating with a series of different musicians, as on the album Spooked, recorded with country/folk duo Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. The Soft Boys re-formed again in 2006 to perform a
The Minus 5
The Minus 5 is an American pop rock band, headed by musician Scott McCaughey of Young Fresh Fellows in partnership with R. E. M. Guitarist Peter Buck. McCaughey formed the band in 1993 as a side project with Buck, Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of The Posies. Buck had moved to the Seattle area in 1992; the four musicians had numerous personal and professional connections: both the Posies and McCaughey's The Young Fresh Fellows had recorded at Conrad Uno's Egg Studios and released albums on Uno's PopLlama Records label. The Young Fresh Fellows and The Posies were fixtures of Seattle's Crocodile Cafe and managed by Buck's then-girlfriend Stephanie Dorgan; the Young Fresh Fellows were the opening band at a Kevn Kinney gig at the Croc On July 4, 1992. E. M.'s Mike Mills and Bill Berry. The band's name is a nod to classic-rock quintets such as The Count Five, MC5 and The Dave Clark Five and part of a trend of intentionally-misnamed groups such as Ben Folds Five and Pizzicato Five which had fewer than five members.
The use of a negative number in the band name is typical of the self-deprecating humor pervasive in the grunge-saturated Seattle music scene. The song titles of the group's earliest output—among them, "Loser So Supreme," "Drunkard's Lullaby," and "Brotherhood Of Pain"—are indicative of the downbeat nature of the band's initial output. Themes of alcoholism and self-hatred are recurrent in each subsequent Minus 5 release. "McCaughey realized he had a dumptruck-load of songs that the Young Fresh Fellows would either never get around to, or would wisely choose not to," read one press release. " were quick to volunteer to help Scott capture his'Let The Bad Times Roll' vision." The band assembled at Uno's Egg Studio in summer 1993 and recorded their debut EP for the Hello CD of the Month Club, a subscription-only mail order club run by John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants. For this EP the band were supplemented by NRBQ members Tom Ardolino and Terry Adams and Young Fresh Fellows bassist Jim Sangster.
McCaughey's darkly humorous lyrics and minor key compositions meshed seamlessly with Buck's bright guitar hooks. The band's aesthetic is defined by opener "Loser So Supreme," which pairs the chiming mandolin licks Buck popularized on "Losing My Religion" with downbeat observations like "No one can reveal what has always been revealed/No one can invent a world that exists." Auer and Stringfellow, known more for their power-pop inflected vocal harmonies and guitar solos, added cacophonous textures on piano and guitar. For this release only the band's name was stylized as'The Minus Five'; the EP was sent to subscribers as the December 1993/January 1994 release. The Minus 5 made their live debut at the Crocodile Cafe on November 9, 1993 on a bill supporting jangly indie heroes The Silos; as Auer and Stringfellow were in Europe touring behind the Posies' Frosting On The Beater, the Minus 5 performed as a duo with backing from The Silos' Walter Salas-Humara, Tom Freund and Manuel Versoza for the last three songs.
The set included lively covers of Johnny Cash's "I Still Miss Someone" and Neil Young's "Barstool Blues" as well as four freshly-written McCaughey compositions. At the time, it was assumed that the Minus 5 was a one-off proposition that might not record again, never tour due to the primary obligations of the principal musicians. However, McCaughey continued to record at various Seattle studios including Egg, Down In The Hole and Private Radio throughout 1994. NRBQ's Ardolino and Adams contributed to two more cuts. McCaughey recorded Young Fresh Fellows' Temptation On A Saturday EP during this period using some of the same musicians. Due to recording duties on R. E. M.'s Monster, Buck was away from Seattle for much of 1994, returning only for the birth of his twin daughters. When mixing on R. E. M.'s album was complete, Buck turned his attention to McCaughey's new songs. The Minus 5 played their second show at the Crocodile Cafe on September 15, 1994, just a week before Monster's release. For this gig McCaughey and Stringfellow were joined by The Model Rockets' John Ramberg.
By fall 1994, McCaughey was caught up in the promotional blitz behind Monster, making his live debut with R. E. M. on Saturday Night Live November 12, 1994. McCaughey was subsequently recruited to join R. E. M. on their worldwide tour which kicked off in January 1995. The Minus 5's cover of Johnny Cash's "I Still Miss Someone" was released on a 1994 German compilation titled Love Is My Only Crime – Part Two; the CD featured rare or unreleased songs from The Young Fresh Fellows and future McCaughey collaborator Steve Wynn. In April 1995, R. E. M. Drummer Bill Berry suffered a brain aneurysm, causing more than two months of planned tour dates to be abruptly cancelled. In the unexpected downtime, McCaughey and Buck put the finishing touches on what would become the Minus 5's debut LP—at the time titled Last Call, Corporal; the finished product, hastily retitled Old Liquidator, was at first a hard-to-find, low-key release on German indie label Glitterhouse. Though pressed in modest numbers and at first only available in the U.
S. as an import, the cache of being an'R. E. M. Side project' in 1995 was an irresistible lure to thirsty collectors, it wasn't long before Minneapolis distributor East Side Digital released the album in the U. S. as well. Old Liquidator is haunted by the unexpected Christmas 1994 death of McCaughey's friend Jimmy Silva, who had collaborated with Young Fresh F