Latest News: The Grey Album

Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi Release Rome LP

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On May 16, producer-composer Danger Mouse and Italian composer Daniele Luppi released Rome. This full-length LP features vocals from Jack White and Norah Jones and celebrates the scores of classic spaghetti western films, particularly those from legendary composer and conductor Ennio Morricone. Rome, meticulously assembled and gorgeous to the ears, is available for streaming courtesy of National Public Radio.

In the past decade Danger Mouse has become an ever-present figure in popular music. Here are some career highlights from the producer who is also known as Brian Burton. The Grey Album: Danger Mouse’s 2004 mashup of Jay Z’s Black Album and The Beatles’ White Album put him on the musical map. Although the album was intended to be heard by friends only, it quickly spread via the internet and was eventually named record of the year by Entertainment Weekly. Demon Days: The Grey Album got the attention of VSQ favorites Gorillaz, and the band’s Damon Albarn asked Danger Mouse to produce Gorillaz’ second LP, Demon Days. He did, and the record earned him a 2005 Grammy nomination for Producer of the Year. Gnarls Barkley: Danger Mouse first met Cee Lo Green in 1998 when he opened for Goodie Mob, in which Green was a member, at a concert at the University of Georgia. Although Danger Mouse gave Cee-Lo an instrumental demo tape at this event, it would be eight years before the two would collaborate as Gnarls Barkley. The group made two albums, 2006’s St. Elsewhere, (which included the mega-hit “Crazy”) and 2008’s The Odd Couple. The duo is reported to have another album in development. Broken Bells: Danger Mouse went indie for a collaboration with The Shins’ frontman James Mercer. The duo’s eponymous debut was released last March to much critical praise. A follow-up EP, Meyrin Fields, was released this past March. In his spare time, Burton produced Beck’s Modern Guilt and The Black Keys’ Brothers, among other albums. He is currently working on U2’s next album.

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Paul McCartney Claims He Liked The Grey Album

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Before Danger Mouse, AKA Brian Burton, became well-known with bands like Broken Bells, Gnarls Barkley, and producing every buzz band that comes along, he was trying to break into the limelight with a 2004 project called The Grey Album. This tribute piece was a mashup between classic Beatles songs and Jay-Z. The album was one of the most infamous of its kind, garnering a lot of attention from both lovers and copyright sheriffs alike. The album would eventually be attacked by EMI, the copyright holder of The Beatles, and told to cease distribution of the album or face consequences. Jay-Z’s label did nothing because the a capella tracks that Danger Mouse used for the album from the rapper had been commercially released for just such purposes. This would lead to a day of electronic civil disobedience, where many websites posted the album for download to counter EMI’s claim that the album wasn’t fair use. Years later, after many such mashups have since been released, The Beatles’ Paul McCartney is now saying he liked The Grey Album. “I didn’t mind when something like that happened with The Grey Album. But the record company minded. They put up a fuss. But it was like, ‘Take it easy guys, it’s a tribute.’” The Beatle went on to say that he felt that his group brought a lot of music out to the masses when they began, and he feels like hip hop does this today. “It was really cool when hip-hop started, you would hear references in lyrics, you always felt honored. It’s exactly what we did in the beginning – introducing black soul music to a mass white audience. It’s come full circle. It’s, well, cool. When you hear a riff similar to your own, your first feeling is ‘rip-off.’ After you’ve got over it you think, ‘Look at that, someone’s noticed that riff.’” In response to extreme fans that found the mash-up to be sacrilege, he explained, "I think there will be people who are purists and want to hear it as it was. And y'know what? It exists as it was. So you know, play your vinyl. Y'know, that is how it was, but obviously by allowing it to happen, we don't have a problem in cleaning (the masters) up. So for the purists, you stick to the pure sound and let other people hear it clean." Be sure to check out: The String Quartet Tribute to the Beatles Available now at iTunes and Amazon

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