Tegnap kezdődött a fesztivál, melynek Anthony a házigazdája. Készült két interjú vele, melyekben arról beszél, hogy a szervezők azt kérték a fellépők az ő zenei ízlését tükrözzék, illetve milyen problémás volt ezt összehozni.
És természetesen van soksok kép, egy videó, és a két cikk a tovább után.
**Frissítés: Bekerült egy kérdezz-felelek interjú is, amiben többek között Anthony is válaszol a kérdésekre.**
Anthony Kiedis admits he was intrigued, but also a bit leery, when he was approached by American Eagle Outfitters to curate a music festival. The idea of being able to select bands for a unique event was appealing, but would his vision, his roster of performers, fit with the retailer’s idea of a music festival?
“They told me they wanted this bill to reflect my taste in music,” says Kiedis, lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. “I said, ‘Yeah, but you’re a big corporation, and I want to do this thing in a big way.’ The lady from American Eagle, Kathy (Savitt) told me I get to decide who’s in it. And I told them, ‘If I get to decide, I’m in.'”
Because American Eagle gave Kiedis free rein, and because he came up with a killer lineup, the New American Music Union festival has the potential to be one of the area’s most memorable musical events in ages. Taking place Friday and Saturday in a parking lot at the SouthSide Works, the two-day event features Bob Dylan, The Roots, The Raconteurs, Gnarls Barkley and six other touring groups. Also, 15 college bands, including Nothing Unexpected from Robert Morris University, will compete for a chance to win a recording session in Los Angeles.
“The lineup Anthony put together is absolutely first-rate,” says Savitt, chief marketing officer for American Eagle, which has its headquarters at SouthSide Works. “He was highly strategic in what he was looking for in each and every artist. It was not only about uniqueness and innovation of the individual acts, but the harmony and synergy that would be gained by having them share the bill together.”
When the festival was announced in May, Beth Barney, an American Eagle spokeswoman, said, “Music is a defining influence in our customers’ lives. We set out to offer our customers an unparalleled music experience at a great value.”
Kiedis says he wasn’t out to prove anything when he started to assemble his dream concert event. There was no intent to show the connection, say, between the sagest of performers, Dylan, and the youngest, The Tiny Masters of Today, which consist of siblings Ivan and Ada, ages 14 and 12, respectively.
“It’s all good music and all musicians I would be personally excited about seeing by themselves, let alone the smorgasbord we’ve put together,” Kiedis says. “There’s not anything to prove; those bands have proven it themselves, and it’s a great lineup of musicians and people. Juxtaposing different bands together has always been a cool and interesting thing … but there was nothing I had a need to do by putting certain people on the bill.”
Nor was Kiedis shy about going for the gold standard with Dylan. From the very beginning, he wanted “a historically monumental” performer or band to set the tone of the festival.
“That was my first instinct,” he says, “to put someone like Ringo Starr or Willie Nelson or Bob Dylan out there, someone who has been alive for a long time and has been shaping the landscape of music, on the bill, and then see how it goes.”
Kiedis admits he’s looking forward to returning to Pittsburgh for the festival this weekend. When told the city is abuzz about the show, he replies, “I had that buzz you’re talking about three months ago when I was devising this thing and going through the efforts to get everybody to play music. I had it then, and now it’s coming back, Round 2 of this buzz. I still can’t believe all of that musical ability will be playing on a street in Pittsburgh.”
The event is sold out, with 10,000 tickets sold for each day.
And will Kiedis himself participate?
“There’s always a chance,” he says. “I like to play music, but so far no one has reached out to me, and I’m not about imposing my will on any band. I’m not expecting to perform, but I suppose if someone asks me …”
Back in 2000, for the launch of the Rolling Rock Town Fair, Anthony Keidis turned up shirtless and mohawk-ed to headline with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Eight years later, for the first-ever American Eagle New American Music Union festival, the 45-year-old singer is on board again, this time in a more subdued, administrative role (though you never know ??).
Keidis was asked by American Eagle to curate the festival, and he followed through with a lineup that even the biggest indie-rock snobs have been hard-pressed to challenge.
Last week, he took a few minutes on the phone to explain his vision for NAMU.
When American Eagle approached you, what did they ask you to do?
They asked me to curate a festival — something I was barely familiar with the concept of. I was just familiar enough to go, ‘You mean for me to actually curate the festival? All by myself?’ And they said yes, and I say OK, I’m in. An opportunity like that is like getting the golden Willy Wonka ticket. You get to start making lists of your favorite bands, who you’d most want to see. Not a bad gig.
Did you have a vision for the festival or did you just pick some favorite bands?
I started out with a vision and then it metamorphosizes and takes on the shape it’s meant to take on. It’s impossible to get everyone you want at the exact same day at the same place. Logistically, bands are difficult to work with. They’re in Japan and they’re in England and getting married and getting broken up and their bass player is in jail and the singer’s been on tour too long. So you have to be somewhat flexible in terms of letting that vision reshape itself along the way. So, I realize if it’s not going to be the way I wanted it in the beginning, perhaps it’s going to be better ’cause I have to look under a stone I didn’t plan on looking under.
What was their reaction when you said Dylan?
They were into it. They were really into it. The coolest thing about this festival, in some ways, is that the younger acts are in the same space as Bob Dylan. There’s something neat about that.
There’s a lot of crossover between the acts. Do you think we’ll see any interesting collaborations? I realize that it probably won’t happen with Dylan …
You’d like to hope so. All these people are going to be mingled up together. And I think, actually, Bob Dylan on rare occasions does let mere mortals infiltrate his stage space.
Jack White and Dylan?
That would be my vote … those two old kindred spirits.
What will you be doing there? You’re going to make an announcement or introduction?
Am I? [Laughs.] What sort of announcement would you like me to make? I was planning on hanging out and getting into the shows. I’ll probably at some point say hello to the audience, but I don’t know that I have anything to announce. I could go up and do a two-minute stand-up routine or something.
So you won’t be performing with anyone?
No. Geez. Well, I might want to brush up on a Bob Dylan tune or two just in case he passes out halfway through the show and I have to finish it for him.
So, what’s happening with the Chili Peppers?
We worked very hard for a long time. That goes back to when John [Frusciante] came back to the band in 1999, which is when we did “Californication.” Pretty much from that point forth, we never took a break. We did the songwriting, rehearsing, recording, touring, took a few deep breaths, back into songwriting, and we did that over and over a couple times, one of which was a double album, which was doubly hard. And when we got off of our last tour, we were thinking, let’s stop for a minute and do other things, and learn something new and let it breathe and reinvent for a while. So, we’re in that space, and how long that lasts and what will come out of it, no one knows. It actually turned out to be perfect for me, cause I had a son about one month after we got off the road. …
Oh, congratulations. How old is he now?
Ten months. I would have been at a complete loss if I was to miss this portion of his life. You know, waking every day and having him be the first guy I see and hang out with. I wouldn’t wanted to miss that, so I have to thank the universe for orchestrating that for me. When it’s time for us to go back together and go into our little room and start re-creating, I think we will.
Well, I hope you enjoy your time in Pittsburgh.
I always do. That’s not just [blowing] smoke. I’ve always loved that stop on tour on the map, hanging out there. I like it there. I like that it’s not totally blown up, that it has its serenity intact.
behind the scenes
We participated in two press conferences held during the weekend at the New American Music Union festival. Here are some of the more interesting bits from those. Attendees included Anthony Kiedis, Gnarls Barkley, Black Keys, Spoon, NASA, and Tiny Masters of Today.
Q: Why do you think you were asked to curate the festival?
Anthony Kiedis: I guess because Dave Matthews wasn’t available? I’m joking, I’m joking. I guess because we’ve been around a long time as a band, we’ve toured, and left a few tender moments behind. Stick around long enough, people ask you to do weird shit.
Q: How did you go about choosing the lineup?
Anthony Kiedis: I just spent some time meditating on music that I love, music that makes me feel alive. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it might be a little bit more dynamic and compelling to get really unheard-of people with really heard-of people. So it just started with some people I was madly in love with musically, and started filling in from there.
It was kind of hard because a lot of the music I love were elsewhere – getting married, having children, playing shows in foreign countries, out of business for the summer – so you really have to stay flexible and open to maybe learning something new.
Q: To Gnarls Barkley, any clues as to what costumes you’ll be wearing today?
Danger Mouse: We don’t know yet, we just show up. But we’re gonna match.
Anthony Kiedis: I think they’re going to be wearing the Tiny Masters of Today – the actual humans.
Q: How did you decide to add Tiny Masters of Today to the bill?
Anthony Kiedis: They excited me. I have these friends in L.A. that are age 7 to 14 called the Jack Bambis, and they write really great songs, and they broke up. So, I started seeing if there were any other bands of that nature that were actually good, and lo and behold, there’s an east coast version of the Jack Bambis, and their stuff is cool.
Q: This is a huge event for the city of Pittsburgh. What do you think about the event taking place in this city?
Anthony Kiedis: I like Pittsburgh, I always have. I don’t think people really know about Pittsburgh. It’s under that invisible cloak, as far as the consciousness of the rest of America. I always liked coming here on tour since I was playing in the ’80s. We played a place called Graffiti. You’ve got rivers, you’ve got mountains, so it’s a nice place. I like the fact that it’s in the streets of a city. That kind of separates it from being a field or someplace in the middle of nowhere. It gives it a little character. And you’ve got the Andy Warhol Museum, which is a total gem of a museum that I could spend days in.
Dan Auerbach (Black Keys): We started in the Midwest, we still live in Akron. It feels nice to have a festival in the Midwest. There’s always these big festivals on the shores and overseas, but this comes back sort of home. It’s a nice thing.
Britt Daniel (Spoon): I like that’s in a city.
Cee-Lo (Gnarls Barkley): Yeah, me too.
Britt Daniel: A lot of music festivals are way out somewhere, and you’re just stuck there. But there’s stuff to do around here. It’s a different vibe.
Q: To Tiny Masters of Today, what kind of venues do you usually play, and how does it feel to share the stage with these bands?
Ivan: We just got back from Lollapalooza last week, which was pretty fun, and then we played a show in New York on Wednesday. It’s pretty awesome to play on the stage with all these people.
Anthony Kiedis: I thought it was amazing how beautiful the audience treated Tiny Masters. I’ve been to other festivals and other shows of my own where, a young band that isn’t that well-known gets kind of mistreated by an audience, because often an audience comes for one of the marquee names on a bill. But all of the people there were so into what they were doing and they showed them love and appreciation. I thought that was a very cool thing.
Q: In future years, would you like to see the festival remain small, or would you like to see it reach a grander scale?
Anthony Kiedis: Not necessarily a grander scale. Lollapalooza – no disrespect, because that’s a really fun festival, but we’re not trying to be that. We’re not trying to put any concrete parameters on what it’s supposed to be, but just staying open minded, so that it’s not just another festival, but somehow has its own personality and its own strange amalgamation of artists that are attracted to it and will play on it. I think it could be a little bit bigger than what it is today, because 10,000 tickets sold out kind of fast. There’s room for it to be bigger, but it doesn’t have to be huge.
Q: Anthony, yesterday you said if the opportunity presented itself you’d consider joining one of the bands on stage…
Cee-Lo (muttering under his breath about the reporter): She’s hot.
Anthony Kiedis: Whoa, the mic is on! That’s a President Bush moment. Um, if the opportunity presents itself, I’m so ill-prepared, but I’m tempted to accept any proposals that come my way.