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Posts about Minnesota musicians

From TC to D.C.: Setzer donates signature guitar to Smithsonian

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: October 20, 2014 - 2:22 PM
Brian Setzer said goodbye to a great love at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. on Friday. / Photo courtesy the Smithsonian

Brian Setzer said goodbye to one of his great loves at the Smithsonian Museum of American Histroy in Washington, D.C., on Friday. / Photo courtesy the Smithsonian


An adopted Minneapolis resident for more than a decade now, rockabilly star Brian Setzer has also now found a permanent home for his trademark guitar in Washington, D.C.

The Stray Cats leader donated a replica version of his orange 1959 model Gretsch 6120 guitar to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History over the weekend. It’s the same type of guitar he used to record “Rock This Town” and other Stray Cats favorites, which Setzer custom-fitted with two Monopoly game dice drilled onto the volume knobs. He had the replica built after the overworked original became unusable.

“Maybe in a hundred years people will look at my guitar and be inspired to play it and enjoy it the way I do,” Setzer told the Smithsonian, whose instrument collection also includes John Coltrane’s sax, Prince’s “yellow cloud” guitar and one of Eddie Van Halen’s striped axes.

Another sign of his guitar godliness, Setzer is featured on the cover of this month’s Guitar Player magazine. That follows the release of his new album, “Rockabilly Riot! All Original!” which came out in August and features all new songs. While we’d welcome a stripped-down show to promote that record, Setzer’s next hometown gig will be the tour kick-off for his annual Christmas big band tour at the Orpheum Theatre on Nov. 14.

Green Day, NIN, Smiths, Vaughan -- but no Replacements -- among Rock Hall's 2015 nominees

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: October 9, 2014 - 11:05 AM
Billie Joe Armstrong easily kicked open the door to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his band Green Day. / Star Tribune file

Billie Joe Armstrong easily kicked open the door to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his band Green Day. / Star Tribune file

Playing 14 reunion shows over the past year didn’t better the Replacements’ chances of getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but things are looking good for their younger guitarist-for-occasional-hire Billie Joe Armstrong.

Minneapolis’ rock ‘n’ roll anti-heroes are absent from the list of 2015 hall of fame nominees announced this morning, even though they were on the list last year and were a highlight of some of rock’s biggest festivals around the country this year, including last weekend’s Austin City Limits Fest (resuming this weekend). Armstrong’s snarling punk band Green Day, however, did make the cut for nominations in its first year of eligibility 25 years after the release of the trio's first album. Known to have temporarily resided in St. Paul over the years with his Minnesotan wife, Armstrong played a handful of this year’s Replacements shows as their third guitarist.

"Lean on Me" singer Bill Withers in 2006. / Reed Saxon, AP

"Lean on Me" singer Bill Withers in 2006. / Reed Saxon, AP

Trent Reznor’s electro-thrash group Nine Inch Nails also made the nominations list in its first year, with the 25th anniversary of its seminal debut “Pretty Hate Machine” pending. NIN and Green Day were part of an impressive list of other first-time nominees, the Smiths, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bill Withers. Oh, and Sting also made the list for the first time as a solo artist, which should be good for at least a few more lute jokes.

Lou Reed, who died last October, made the nominations list again and seems like a shoo-in to finally get his solo career recognized (he's already in with the Velvet Underground). Other 2015 nominees who have been on the list before but failed to earn an induction are N.W.A., Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Chic, the Spinners, the Marvelettes, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Kraftwerk and War.

For the third year in a row, a “fan’s ballot” vote will can be cast via RollingStone.com to determine one of the winners, which is how Kiss and Rush earned their inductions.

Beloved TC alt-rock band 12 Rods announces Jan. 16 reunion show

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: October 8, 2014 - 4:12 PM
Todd Rundgren propped up the members of 12 Rods in 2000, when the band's lineup featured (left to right) Bill Shaw, Dave King, Ryan Olcott and Ev Olcott. / Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

Todd Rundgren propped up the members of 12 Rods in 2000, when the band's lineup featured (left to right) Bill Shaw, Dave King, Ryan Olcott and Ev Olcott. / Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

***UPDATE: Tickets go on sale Friday at noon for $20, here's the link.

One of the first questions fans will ask when they find out 12 Rods is playing a reunion show Jan. 16 at First Avenue is, “Which 12 Rods?” The answer: basically every version.

The widely respected but mostly unfamous alt/indie/whatever rock band of the late-‘90s and early-‘00s -- which landed a big deal with V2 Records and recorded one album with Todd Rundgren as producer (mostly a disaster) – is reuniting to promote a reissue of its fourth and final record, 2002’s “Lost Time.” The lineup of the band that made that album will obviously play at the show, including co-founding brothers Ryan and Ev Olcott, drummer Dave King (Bad Plus, Happy Apple), bassist Bill Shaw and then-unknown-and-maybe-even-still-pubescent guitarist Jake Hanson (who went on to play with Haley Bonar, Solid Gold, the Pines, etc.).

However, today’s Facebook post announcing the show also says the show will feature "nearly every other" musician who went through 12 Rods’ locally vaulted ranks, including Christopher McGuire, Matthew Foust, Tal Tahir and George Marich.

"Lost Time" album cover.

"Lost Time" album cover.

“Lost Time” will be re-released via Chigliak, the new label run by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver). Chigliak’s site describes it as “a record label devoted to releasing extraordinary albums that were never commercially released.” The 12 Rods swan song certainly fits that bill, as the band self-released after its remarkably unfruitful run with V2. Pitchfork gave the album an 8.1 rating, but only a few dozen music geeks around the world knew what Pitchfork was at that time.

In a Star Tribune interview around "Lost Time's" release, frontman Ryan Olcott said about the record, “A lot of it was career frustration. And some of it was sticking with the lonely bachelor theme, also a frustrating part of my life."

At least one of those is a theme Olcott and other fans can probably still relate to 12 years later. Stay tuned for ticket info from First Avenue.

Watch Lizzo embrace her Letterman TV moment

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: October 8, 2014 - 9:40 AM
Lizzo going in for the thrill with David Letterman.

Lizzo going in for the thrill with David Letterman.

To paraphrase Eminem's "Lose Yourself," it looked as if Lizzo lost herself in the moment and was never, ever going to let David Letterman go when she gave him a big bear hug at the end of her network TV debut Tuesday night.

The Minneapolis rapper performed her extra-grindy single "Bus Passes and Happy Meals" for CBS's "The Late Show" and made some sly moves throughout her appearance, including a vogued-out pose near the start and some synchronized dancing with co-vocalist Sophia Eris. Her most audacious move, however, came when Dave reached out to shake her hand -- and she reached in for the full-on embrace, which Letterman seemed to get a kick out of.

Letterman also showed his amusement when he introduced her, saying, "Her album is titled -- what else? -- 'Lizzobangers.' "

Backed by Doomtree producer/beatmaker Lazerbeak and Har Mar Superstar drummer Ryan McMahon, the real-life Melissa Jefferson donned a black T-shirt for the show that read, "I Feel You André," a nod to the different message-adorned shirts André 3000 has been wearing at OutKast reunion shows.


Lizzo posted photos from the set, including this one to the left from her Facebook page that shows her holding her intro card. After the show, Lazerbeak offered this account of what went down behind the scenes at the Ed Sullivan Theater on Tuesday:

"A good reminder to anyone going on late night TV: Make friends with the sound fx guy. He mimicked a Letterman monologue for us during some down time and let us hit all the different buttons (gong, explosions, etc). Also learned the combination of sounds it takes to create the punch line of the "Dave throwing a pencil at the camera" bit. Everyone at the show was a total pro and super welcoming to our whole crew. Surreal day."

Lizzo to bang one out on Letterman's show Tuesday

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: October 6, 2014 - 1:33 PM

A year after releasing her debut album “Lizzobangers” via local indie label Totally Gross National Product, Lizzo will be making a totally awesome national TV debut Tuesday night on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” her handlers just announced today.

The Minneapolis-based rapper will perform on CBS after an appearance by actor Robert Downey, Jr. (airing at 10:35 p.m. Central Time). She will share the stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater with her chief "Lizzobangers" collaborator, Doomtree producer/beatmaker Lazerbeak, along with her main rhyming partner Sophia Eris and Har Mar Superstar's drummer Ryan McMahon.

It’s been all of a week and a half since Lizzo played two sold-out shows at First Avenue with her pal Caroline Smith to cap off a bustling year, and there’s already a slew of new developments for her to tout besides the “Late Show” gig.

She and her Chalice bandmates appear on “Boy Trouble,” a track on one of Prince’s new albums, which was kept hush-hush until its release day. She and Smith recorded a track with Canadian electronic singer/producer Grimes this past weekend, which we know about because they sent out photos of their session via Instagram. Lizzo also debuted a new YouTube video series, “Big Grrrl Small World,” featuring footage of her messing with passersby at the Minnesota State Fair.

Following the Letterman appearance, Lizzo bounces to Los Angeles to play next weekend’s Super Sonico festival. Then she’ll open a string of tour dates for Chvrches in England, where “Lizzobangers” was re-released last summer via Virgin Records.

Lizzo is the third Minnesota music act to perform on Letterman's show this year, following Trampled by Turtles' back-scratcher appearance in July and Jeremy Messersmith's turn in August.


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