The xx transformed Drake and Rihanna's dancehall hit "Too Good" into a slow-burning ballad during their appearance on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge. Jamie xx unfurled soft sighs of piano and synth behind Romy Madley Croft's post-rock guitar swells; Croft and bassist Oliver Sim alternated on vocals, occasionally singing in their trademark unison style.
"We love this song," Sim said of the original Drake track. "We have taken it to a different place – it's maybe not as danceable, but we hope you enjoy it." The British indie-pop trio also performed "On Hold," the dynamic lead single from their newly released third LP, I See You.
The bassist also briefly addressed the four-year break between I See You and 2013's Coexist. "It's been a shock to the system," he said of rejuvenating the band, "but it's been a long time coming, and we're so excited."
The band's Drake love runs deep: They titled their new album after watching the rapper-singer live. "He just called out to all these different people," Croft told Rolling Stone. "'I see you, in the purple jumper! I see you. …' It was really funny but you know, it's warm, it's affirming that you see your friend. You feel understood and you don't feel as alone."
The xx will kick off a North American tour April 14th at Coachella, with dates stretching until late May.
Catch has established itself as the place for LA celeb-spotting in the past two months, but apparently it has eyes on the LA event hosting market as well. Two different clutch-worthy events were hosted at the restaurant this week. When I say “clutch-worthy,” of course, I mean that these were affairs where something like a Louis Vuitton Palm Springs Mini Backpack would seem out of place. Though, as fate would have it, that was also a popular choice with celebs this week.
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New year, new mixes! For our inaugural Highsnobiety Sounds mix of 2017, we have turned to the incomparable talent that is Lady S, one of Europe’s preeminent club queens. Listen to what she came up with below.
Lady S, like any good DJ, is hella busy. In 2014 she officially became part of New York’s ‘Heavy Hitters’ crew, a group with which she still frequently affiliates. And on the other side of the pond, she is a proud member of Dubai’s UGP team. And on top of all that, you can find her twice a week on Belgium’s MNM radio.
Be sure to check out the previous entry in our Highsnobiety Sounds series, a mix provided by New York’s own DJ Mode. Tune in right here.
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The cab of a semi-truck isn’t what most people might think would be the most ideal place for a recording studio, but for Tommy D DVO, it was the only place he could create his music.
As a young man who had made some mistakes – in-and-out of jail and fathering a son while in his teenage years – Tommy D found himself facing the decision that all men face: to grow up and make better life choices, or continue down a path that would likely see him incarcerated for the rest of his life. With the support of a patient wife, he chose to take responsibility for his actions, and one of the first steps was getting a full-time job so that he could support his family.
After a few years working in management for a restaurant chain, he shifted to truck driving – often spending as many as 11 or 12 hours each day in the cab of his truck. And it was during those hours in the truck that he would work on his first true love … music.
“I’ve been doing music since I was 20,” he said. “I come from a musical family. My dad was a self-taught musician. My mom has been singing and playing piano since she was a little girl and performed in a band that was well known around the region. My brother is the lead singer of a band and my sisters both played instruments in high school. Everybody in my family has something to do with music. I was kind of the poet of the family, and it didn’t take much for that poetry to turn into a love for writing music. But when you have to work every day to make a living, you don’t have time to pursue music. So, when I was in the truck I’d plug my cell phone into the truck radio with my auxiliary cord – because I used to keep beats on my phone – and when I wanted to write I’d just let the music play and I’d think of lyrics and hooks to all the verses and record them on my digital recorder. It became a habit. I’d do it every day – sometimes for a couple of hours, sometimes all day.”
Out of that work came the archive of music that now 17 years later he’s ready to release to the world. At age 37, his son is grown and started a life of his own and the music career that he had hoped to pursue in his early 20s is now something that he can commit to full time. It took some convincing for his wife to get on board with the idea, and he’s self-aware enough to admit that it’s a steep hill to climb for a 37-year-old in the hip-hop industry. But he stands by his music and knows that he has the chops to make it big in the music industry if fans will give him a chance.
And they’re already starting to do just that. His most recent single, “2 Grown 4 That,” has been making waves throughout the South and Midwest and has caught the attention of some of the industry’s bigger music moguls. It’s a single that he said appropriately showcases who he is as an artist and where he’s at in his life, but also serves as an anthem for a lot of people in the world today.
“I dedicated it to all the people who are too grown for all the petty stuff going on in life and social media today,” he said. “There’s a lot of petty stuff going on, and I’m at that phase in my life where I’m just 2 Grown 4 That. This song is an anthem for grown folks. My music is about empowerment. I used to be a street cat and I would do whatever it took to make money by any means necessary. When I was a teenager I started walking down that path of self-destruction and poor decisions and I suffered the consequences. When you’re a teenager it seems like the consequences are far off, until you hit rock bottom. I’m blessed and grateful that I came out of that. It takes the people who love you to tell you about yourself and hold that mirror up to see where you really are in life. When that happened to me, I had a desire to make a change. I’d seen some dark and low places and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. My friends and family gave me suggestions, and I acted on them and it made all the difference in the world. Hopefully my music shows you that if you want to change your life, you’ve got to change three things: your play mates, your play places and your play things. I’ve found that to be very true in my life, and I know that a lot of young people today need to hear that and avoid that same path of self-destruction.”
Steve Jones, born in London but a Los Angeleno for decades, is considering a move to what he describes as the "middle of nowhere" in northern California. "It's just beautiful, it's not too hot and they have a lot of rain," he says. "And there's not a lot of people. Most people get on my nerves these days, maybe 'cause I'm turning into a grumpy old man."
The guitarist has been considering his journey from handkerchief-headed Sex Pistol to grumpy old man a lot lately, as he worked on his recently released memoir, Lonely Boy. In the book, he structured his life into three parts: "Before," "During" and "After." "It's like a guitar solo – start, beginning and end," he says, sounding more thoughtful and witty than grumpy.
The book shows off Jones' wry humor and blunt assessments of himself as he parses his life. He details a rough childhood, including being molested by his stepfather, and how that led to kleptomania, sex addiction and substance abuse. He recounts how he stole gear from David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust farewell shows in 1973 and other gigs to fence or to use in his own nascent group, which became the Sex Pistols. He recalls the highs and lows of touring with Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious, and explains how he and drummer Paul Cook picked themselves up again to form the power-pop-leaning post-punk group the Professionals.
He also discusses his solo works, producing gigs and current stint hosting Jonesy's Jukebox on L.A.'s KLOS, and ends the book with a surprisingly detailed appendix listing dozens of "Things That Are Not Rock & Roll," such as sandals and selfies. "The worst is being bald," he says. "It's funny when you get guys who are bald to try to cover it up with hats and stuff. It just looks stupid."
As a whole, the book provides a fresh look at the punk movement 40 years removed from the release of Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, and it presents an unflinching, sometimes even uncomfortable self-portrait of Steve Jones. "I did wonder, 'Do I want to let everyone know this?' about some of the stuff in there," he says. "But I decided, 'Fuck it. Whatever.'"
You had a rough childhood. What did you struggle with including in the book? The stuff about my stepfather. When your stepfather fiddles you when you're 10, you get confused, and I was confused about my sexuality for years, when I was, like, 10 through 15. I'm 100 percent not gay at all, but it steers you in a weird direction. How do you deal with that information?
How do you feel it affected you? I just turned into a kleptomaniac and a sex addict. I was addicted to everything. But that's not to say it made me a drug addict or an alcoholic; I think I already had that gene. It definitely pushed me to act out further. I was trying to fix a hole inside me.
For years, I put it in the back of my mind, and for many years, I didn't talk about it. I didn't know how to deal with it. Most boys, when stuff like this happens, turn it into anger or frustration. I've dealt with it in therapy 15, 20 years ago.
When did you realize that the abuse led you to kleptomania and sex addiction? In therapy. When I was a kleptomaniac, it didn't seem like I was doing anything wrong. I knew it was wrong, but nothing stopped me from doing it. I was driven to it for some reason. Kleptomania gave me something to do every day when I woke up in the morning. It gives you a purpose for living in a weird way.
When I think about it now, I wish I wouldn't have done it. I'm sure I caused some people some grief. I'm not proud of it. It's not a nice feeling. But when I was a kid, the last thing I was thinking of was other people's feelings.
Did you ever tell your mother about your stepfather? I did send a letter to my mom. My therapist at the time advised me to do it, so I explained in the letter what I felt about it. She sent me a letter back in complete denial. "Oh, that didn't happen. What are you talking about? You're crazy." So that was the end of that.
When was the last time you spoke to her? I haven't spoken to her since 2008. I tried to have a relationship with her when I got sober. I hadn't spoken to her for years when the Sex Pistols started; I just completely stopped seeing her. I have no desire, to be honest with you, but I do feel like I've bonded with her. She wasn't a bad lady. She was just cold. I don't think she wanted a kid; it was an accident. But she did the best she could, and I've got no animosity, but it's just better for me if I don't try to have a bullshit relationship.
Did you ever get any sense of what she thought of the Sex Pistols? She never said. It was probably bittersweet because I was famous, but not famous in a good way. I don't know because she's a hard one. You talk to her about the weather, and if you get any deeper than that, she shuts down.
Going back to your kleptomania, you wrote about it with a reserved fondness in the book. What strikes you as your most audacious criminal act? Would it be the Bowie heist, where you took gear right off his stage at the next-to-last Ziggy gig? That's definitely the most famous one. I was a complete fan and what's funny was I had Tony Visconti and the drummer, Woody Woodmansey, on my radio show and I made amends with Woody for stealing his cymbals. He was kind of taken aback. I looked at him and said, "What do you want?" And he said, "Well, nothing. I said, "Well, say something." So he said, "Give me a hundred bucks." So I gave him 200 bucks, and he was chuffed.
You loved David Bowie at that time. It didn't bother you that you were ripping off someone you looked up to? Yeah, it's weird. It was just a way of being closer to the idols, I suppose.
You met Bowie years later. Did you fess up to him then? I think he knew in some way or another that it was me. But the thing is, it wasn't really his stuff that got stolen.
You took his microphones. I don't think they were his. I wish I had that little one, though, with his lipstick on it.
You pulled off that heist in 1973 and used the gear yourself with the Pistols. A few years later you met the man you nicknamed "Johnny Rotten" because of his teeth. Just how bad were they? A couple of them in the front looked green. They just looked rotten. They weren't fangs or nothing. It was no biggie, but I guess it stuck.
It did. Lydon told me he was OK with it because it was funny. We were a very humorous band in our day. We took the piss out of everything.
You had a difficult relationship with Johnny Rotten, but what was it that drove you all apart on the U.S. tour? Just everything. It was Sid just being an idiot, just wanting to get high and not trying to play bass. It was John just … We just was all drifting in different directions. We wasn't a band, like a unit. It was all over the place, and America just made it worse, because we weren't used to this big country and all the attention. It was just a weird time, and just in two weeks – however long we was in the States.
Why did you think you could continue without him, when you and Paul Cook headed to Brazil after the San Francisco show? Well, we was planning to go to Brazil anyway to do a movie, The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle. And of course Lydon wasn't interested at this point. Me and Cookie went 'cause it seemed like a great place to go. I wanted to keep doing the movie.
Did you think you could continue as a three-piece? No, no. We wasn't even talking about that at that point. Even though in the movie it looked like we was auditioning singers, that was just [Malcolm] McLaren's idea of creating everything. But we had no intention of getting another singer. If we did, it wouldn't have been called Sex Pistols.
How long was it after you got from Brazil that you and Lydon talked? It might have been years. I can't remember, because I was a mess at this point. That's when I started doing drugs.
At that point, you'd seen Sid struggling with drugs. Did watching what he went through ever make you question your own drug use? Not in any shape or form. It didn't even occur to me. Heroin was the perfect drug at that point. I didn't think, "Oh, I better not do this, because look what happened to Sid," because I just don't think like that.
Sid could be very belligerent. You wrote a lot about him "glassing" people in bars. Did you ever feel like he was putting you in danger? When we came to America, I would go with him to these cowboy bars and he was like a magnet to cowboys, just looking at him, and they would fight. One time, me and him and one of the bodyguards that was assigned to be looking after us got into a fight at some bar in Texas or somewhere. I thought, "You know what? I've had enough of this." It was almost like he was provoking it to live up to the image with the media. It was like, "You're Sid Vicious, now do something vicious."
You wrote that it took you a while to feel remorse over Sid's death. What do you miss about him? He had a good sense of humor. He had a sweet soul. And I think he could have been a contender, you know? I think he could have been a star in his own light. He is in a way, but not being known for anything other than Sid Vicious. But he did have some talent. I think he got slung in the deep end too quick and couldn't keep up – like all of us, in a way, but we had a little bit more experience than him.
John Lydon wrote in one of his books that Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister tried to teach him bass. What do you remember about that? Maybe Lemmy did, but I attempted to show him where to put his fingers. He tried at first. He really gave it his best shot. I would put bits of tape where to put your fingers but … it was a pain in the ass. I didn't want to be teaching someone else how to play bass. So he got by in some weird ways.
I'm glad he didn't play on the record. That would have been shambles. But you can hear him a bit in "Bodies" because he's out of tune.
What have you made of Sid's legacy since his death? It bothered me when he first joined the band because he was getting more attention than me, but now I look back and I can see why. He was the perfect punk, if you will. He had the perfect look. He did outrageous things. He and his girlfriend ended up dead. You can't top that, really.
You own his bass. In your book, you wrote about how you were not sentimental about the New York Dolls when Malcolm gave you Sylvain Sylvain's guitar, but are you more sentimental about Sid's bass? No. I just happen to have it and I haven't sold it yet.
Will you ever sell it? I haven't even thought about it. A couple of people have offered a bunch of money for it, but I don't know if it would be bad karma. But there's no sentimental value.
This year will be the 40th anniversary of Never Mind the Bollocks. What strikes you about it when you listen to it now? It's an album that was so bizarre for these 19, 20-year-olds to do in the structure of the songs. It's just one of them classic albums, if you will. I'm not pumping myself up. But it's a bizarre record. We didn't go for like, "We need to write a hit song for the record company." There was none of that. But there's a lot of catchy bits in some of the songs. I don't know. It's just a real weird album. When I do listen to it, I love it.
I do like the sound of it. The highlight of my Sex Pistols career was recording the album. That's when I had the most fun and could be the most creative. And Chris Thomas allowed me to be creative and Bill Price to get the best out of me, 'cause literally I'd only been playing a year. And I don't know. It's quite extraordinary it turned out the way it did.
You wrote in the book, "The Sex Pistols were born to crash and burn, and that's exactly what we did." When did that imminent self-destruction become apparent to you? It was apparent after the Bill Grundy show and then Sid joined the band. It just didn't look like it was going to last much longer. It all got dark and weird. Plus, we were all very young. We had no coping skills. I didn't for sure. I don't think any of us knew what was going on.
When did it seem like the chaos and spectacle overtook the music? We got caught up in the whole whirlwind of mainstream media [after Grundy] and we weren't interested in writing any songs.
What is your friendship with John Lydon like now? There is no friendship. He lives in L.A., I live in L.A., but we just don't talk. I think the last time I spoke to him was 2008 when we did a tour of Europe. I have no desire to speak to him and he has no desire to speak to me. That's totally fine. I wish him all the best. I've got no resentment toward him. It's just our marriage went wrong and we got divorced. You don't want to speak to your ex-wife, do you?
So it seems like another reunion is improbable. Not for the amount of money we make when we do reunions. If we were making Rolling Stones money, that would be different.
You attempted to write new music for a possible new Pistols album around 2003. What did that sound like? It was awful. It fell on its ass two minutes into it. It was the worst thing we could have done.
After the Sex Pistols, you and Paul Cook formed the Professionals, but the group didn't last long. Have you ever considered reuniting that group? You never know. I wouldn't be doing it to set the world on fire. I like Paul. He's my oldest, closest friend, so it could be a possibility if it's not too much of a headache.
You wrote that something that bugged you about punk is how it seemed like you weren't supposed to want money or enjoy success. Where do you think that came from so early? Well it came from all the other punk bands at the time, the Clash, with the lyrics. There were all these other bands saying, "We're not like all the rock stars that drive around in Rolls Royces and live in mansions." It's not like we were going to do that, but it we didn't want to be broke either. Who wants to be broke? It was a stupid thing. I don't want to live in some bloody squat. None of us did. I think I speak for all of us when I say we wanted to make dough like anybody else, and we deserved to make dough.
So I don't know where all that started. It was other bands thinking that's what it was about. It was a different vibe from Led Zeppelin, it was a different thing. But apart from the money, there's no difference between Led Zeppelin and the Sex Pistols. It's the same personality: There's the crazy one, the one who don't like that one, and they do outrageous things. There's no difference.
You're a lot kinder to the memory of Malcolm McLaren in your book than John has been in his. Why is that? Them two never got along. They butted heads from the beginning. For me, Malcolm was a buddy of mine before the band started so I was more loyal to him, even though he did some shitty things. I appreciate now what John did by suing McLaren [for rights to the band's music]. Don't get me wrong. That was a good move. I just wouldn't have done that personally because of my relationship with McLaren.
What have you made of the way Malcolm and Vivienne Westwood's fashion sense still resonates with punk today? It's bizarre. Gucci just did a whole campaign with bondage pants. It just doesn't end. It seems like it's here to stay with all this pop culture. But nowadays, you can wear anything. Nothing's outrageous. You could walk down the street in bondage pants or have your hair pink and no one would even look twice.
Then there are bands like Exploited who have hung onto the look since '79 and groups like Green Day with spiky hair. I guess when you get your best moment, you don't let go of it. But I could care less to be honest with you. Image is a funny thing.
Punk died out in the Eighties as metal got bigger, but bands like Megadeth, Mötley Crüe and Guns N' Roses covered your songs. What did you think of them? Well I was kind of doing that when I came to America with my long hair. I wasn't playing scream or whatever you want to call it, but I like the energy from them bands. I was flattered that they wanted to do Sex Pistols songs, "Anarchy" and Anthrax did "God Save the Queen." I was even more flattered when Guns N' Roses did a song I wrote, "Black Leather," on their covers album, Spaghetti Incident. The Runaways also did that with Joan Jett, and that was a good feeling.
Toward the end of the Eighties, you did a session with Bob Dylan for Down in the Groove. You wrote in the book that you felt unprepared for the session. What was it that felt off? I'd never recorded that way. He was just seeing if all these tunes were laying on us, if any of them gelled. In hindsight, if I would have known that, I would have given more input instead of strumming along. I think Bob wanted to see if any magic was starting with it.
Why did he want to record with you? Was he a Pistols fan? No. I don't know why. I think it's just him to pick certain people to play with. It was a great experience, though. Me and him got along pretty good. He was very friendly to me for some reason.
Do you see yourself ever making a new solo album? Yes, just for shits and giggles. I haven't done a solo record in a long time. I've got loads of tune that are not completely finished, so that's on my list. I would love Jeff Lynne to produce it.
When you think about your life, what are your regrets? One of my regrets is walking away from the Sex Pistols in San Francisco [after the final concert in 1978]. I might have been acting a bit hastily. I wish we would've went back and had a breather. We could have huddled 'round and talked about it. But that was a weird time. It just seemed doomed. But I regret not giving it another shot.
Tommy Allsup, the guitarist who famously avoided "the Day the Music Died" after losing his plane seat in a coin toss to Ritchie Valens, died Wednesday following complications from a hernia operation. He was 85. His son, Austin, confirmed Allsup's death in a Facebook post.
"A message from Austin's team: Austin's father, guitar legend and western swing icon Tommy Allsup has passed away today," the post read. "We want to continue to pray for Austin and his family and those immediately effected by his passing."
Over the course of a career that spanned decades, Allsup performed with artists like Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Merle Haggard and Bob Wills. However, Allsup will best be remembered for the fateful "lost" coin flip resulting in the musician winning "an additional 57 years and 11 months," as his friend Randy Steele told BBC News.
Allsup, who was touring with Holly after the two met during a recording session in 1958, was initially supposed to be on the ill-fated, Holly-charted flight from Mason City, Iowa to Fargo, North Dakota. However, Valens, who suffered from a fear of flying, asked Allsup if he could take his spot on the plane.
"[Valens] asked me four or five times could he fly in my place. For some reason, I pulled a half dollar out of my pocket and flipped it. He said 'heads' and it came up heads," Allsup recalled of the February 2nd, 1959 flight. "So I went out to the station wagon and told Buddy. I said, 'I'm not going. Me and Ritchie flipped a coin. He's going in my place.' Buddy said, 'Cool.'"
When the plane crashed, Allsup was originally one of the five people reported dead by the Associated Press. As the guitarist clarified later, Holly had Allsup's wallet on him at the time of the crash because Holly agreed to retrieve Allsup's mail at a Minnesota post office.
"I know my dad has talked about that many times and knew that he was very lucky to be here. It could have been the other way around," Austin Allsup said.
Austin Allsup added that Valens' sister contacted him after his father's death to offer her condolences. "I told her in my message back, now my dad and Ritchie can finally finish the tour they started 58 years ago," he said.
Allsup, an inductee of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, will be buried in his native Oklahoma.
"Tommy Allsup was one of western swing and rockabilly music's finest," Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, said in a statement. "The Oklahoma native and was admired by his peers and fans alike [and] heralded by Paul McCartney as one of the finest guitar players in the world. Our deepest condolences go out to Tommy's family, friends and creative collaborators."
Sale season as we know it is drawing to a close. Lots of sites are in final markdowns, which means that both prices are dropping and supplies are dwindling. Many of the bags below are at least half off, but many of them also only have one or two pieces left–if you see something you like, time is of the essence. May the shopping odds be ever in your favor.
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The upcoming episode of Urban Myths that featured British actor Joseph Fiennes portraying Michael Jackson has been pulled from the broadcast schedule following outcry from both the King of Pop's family and fans.
"We have taken the decision not to broadcast Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon, a half-hour episode from the Sky Arts Urban Myths series, in light of the concerns expressed by Michael Jackson's immediate family," Sky Arts said in a statement. "We set out to take a lighthearted look at reportedly true events and never intended to cause any offense."
Following the decision to pull the episode from the series, Sky added in their statement, "Joseph Fiennes fully supports our decision."
Sky Arts' decision comes two days after the release of the anthology series' first trailer featuring Fiennes' controversial Jackson portrayal. A day later, the late singer's daughter Paris Jackson tweeted her disapproval of the episode.
"I'm so incredibly offended by it, as I'm sure plenty of people are as well, and it honestly makes me want to vomit," Paris Jackson wrote in the first of a series of tweets. "It angers me to see how obviously intentional it was for them to be this insulting, not just towards my father, but my godmother [Elizabeth Taylor] as well."
"Where is the respect?" Paris Jackson continued. "They worked through blood, sweat and tears for ages to create such profound and remarkable legacies. Shameful portrayal."
Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon was a fictional reimagining of the urban legend about the King of Pop's post-9/11 road trip with Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor, with the three megastars attempting to drive from New York to Los Angeles following the terror attacks.
However, it was Fiennes' casting that attracted the most controversy, with producers being accused of "whitewashing" Jackson with the casting.
"This is territory that is sensitive," Fiennes previously said of the role. "One must determine if this portrayal is one that is going to be positive entertainment, and one that will not bring about division and put anyone's noses out of joint, so I went with the mind that this was a positive light-hearted comedy."