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Rock Star Hobbies

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David Lovering, Pixies Drummer and Performing Magician

Pixies drummer by night, The Scientific Phenomenalist by day, David Lovering defies preconceived notions of rock stardom. While at times his performances are more scientific than magical, more comedic than awe-inspiring, Lovering knows how to intrigue and humor audiences. He does extraordinary tricks with simple props, which range from smoke and pickles to a chair and Jack in the Box antenna ball. In any case, it’s nice to see a drummer finally getting the spotlight for a change. Roger Daltrey, The Who Singer and Trout Farmer Many know that The Who frontman was in such films as Tommy and The Kids Are Alright – but Underwater World of Trout, Vol. 1? Yes, that’s right – when charismatic rock god Roger Daltrey isn’t selling out stadiums on tour, he likes to relax by doing a bit of trout farming. He even designed and built his very own trout farm, Lakedown Trout Fishery, in England about 30 years ago (which can be seen on Underwater World of Trout, Vol. 1). "When I go fishing," Daltrey claims, "I come away feeling like I've smoked half a dozen joints." Well, that’s enough to inspire any young trout farming enthusiast. Bill Wyman, Rolling Stone Bassist and Treasure Hunter Roger Daltrey’s hobby isn’t the only documentary star – ex-Rolling Stone Bill Wyman was in a short video, too: one about metal detecting. "Metal detecting is not just for anoraks or eccentrics; it's probably the best and most enjoyable way of learning about our history," he declares on his site. Wyman even has his own signature metal detector - so that’s where Keith Richards gets all of his jewelry. Maynard James Keenan, Tool Vocalist and Winemaker When Maynard James Keenan moved from Los Angeles to Jerome, Arizona, he not only found a lower-key lifestyle, but also fertile ground for his newfound hobby: winemaking. You might think this strange, but wine is in the man’s blood – not from the party last night, but years ago when his great-grandparents made wine somewhere in pre-World War II northern Italy. So naturally, Keenan opened a winery and vineyards and went to town. It’s even said that Puscifer’s latest release, "The Conditions of My Parole," was recorded in part among barrels at Keenan’s winery.

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The String Quartet Tribute to the Pixies Available now at iTunes and Amazon

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Is Rock & Roll Dying? A Response to Patrick Carney

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If you've been in a long supermarket line recently, you've probably seen the leather jacketed members of The Black Keys gracing the cover of this month's issue of Rolling Stone. You may even be privy to the attention-grabbing lede: "Rock & roll is dying because people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world. So they became OK with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be shit – therefore you should never try to be the biggest rock band in the world." That was Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney's quote, which the author used to start the profile piece. The article was about much more, but the easy, pot-stirring soundbite was the driving force behind the retweets, reblogs and shares, so let's talk about it. Is the great rock & roll dying? However you feel about Nickelback, one of those bands that is simultaneously hugely popular and hugely dismissed, is irrelevant to the underlying idea Carney is getting at: rock & roll is the big time, and the big time is no longer cool. The sub-culture and/or counter-culture has always been present in music, whether it was jazz or punk. But it seems the recent rise of the internet has made it a viable place to live; now, more than ever, you can stay off of the radio and refuse The Tonight Show and still make enough money to live. Indie has become a self-sustaining ecosystem and community. As a result, kids picking up guitars for the first time can aspire to get big – but not too big. Maybe big enough to get on the cover of Rolling Stone, at best. But is that killing rock & roll? There's an idea out there in the fandom that mainstream popularity and coolness are usually mutually exclusive. Just look at any misguided discussion about “selling out.” Carney seems concerned with making straight rock & roll, and the fame that comes with it, a positive thing to the rebellious youths turning away from rock & roll and toward alternative or indie. Because what kind of world would we live in if rock & roll was no longer hip? What I think Carney is picking up on isn't that rock & roll is dying, but it is definitely changing. It's now an umbrella term for a wide variety of music – just look at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's definition of the genre. Rock & roll has always branched out from its point of origin, but with technology providing a low barrier to entry and easy distribution, it has splintered out even faster. So any of the big guitar acts, like indie chart toppers Arcade Fire, don't really identify as simply “rock & roll,” leaving that territory for the Nickelbacks. Despite this, it's hard to imagine that Arcade Fire doesn't fit in the big world of rock somewhere. If they identify as an indie band, or some kind of alternative, or some derivative of folk and chamber pop, all of that can still be traced backwards through time to a rock & roll tradition. It's not that rock & roll is dying – it's just that the term isn't helpful in today's mass music access, because it doesn't describe the difference between Radiohead and Papa Roach. It's important to note that people have always claimed that rock & roll was dying. In 1968, the King of Rock & Roll himself, Elvis Presley, gave credit to these new bands like The Beatles and The Byrds, but felt that they were straying away from rock's roots in gospel and R&B. Maybe it's changing faster now than ever, but it's always been changing, and that's far from death. In a culture where there's something for everyone, where every band – even Nickelback – has a niche and an audience, how can that be anything but survival?

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Vitamin String Quartet Performs Modern Rock Hits 2011 Vol. 2

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Vitamin String Quartet Performs Breaking Dawn Part 1

Available now at iTunes and Amazon

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