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Mike Dow

Mike Dow

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A little rock and roll band from Maine recently spent some time making the biggest noise you can imagine on the other side of the country.

Portland-based indie-punk trio TheWorst thrashed their way up the coast from San Diego to Seattle in support of their sophomore LP “Yes Regrets” during the band’s third West Coast swing. It’s an excursion which singer and guitarist Brooke Binion said felt like a full circle moment.

“The last one four years ago was fun but personally, I was a mess,” Binion told The Maine Edge two weeks before the tour began.

Binion is referring to the fact that drugs and alcohol had taken over her life at the time. She admitted that if she wanted stay alive, she needed to get clean. She expected it to be difficult but what she didn’t expect was the clutch of new songs that would soon begin pouring fourth.

Those songs were fully realized by Binion, bassist Will Bradford (SeepeopleS), drummer Craig Sala (Paranoid Social Club) and producer Will Holland during a series of recording sessions at Chillhouse Studios in Boston

Binion said her goal with “Yes Regrets” was to remain honest and to sequence the songs in the order that she wrote them.

“Going with that idea was a gut feeling and I felt like it was important to stick with it,” she said.

Most any concert regular will tell you that one of the reasons they keep going to shows is to obtain a dose of sustaining energy sparked by a magical night of live music. That buzz isn’t limited to the audience or the musicians. Leading indie concert promoter Peter Shapiro has always approached his job as a live music fan.

Shapiro says he’d much rather attend a live concert than write about it but when the opportunity arose to share his story, he saw it as a way to stay connected to live music during an extended period of silence.

With nothing but time on his hands during the pandemic when live shows weren’t possible, Shapiro took stock of his long strange trip to date by collaborating with writer, historian and professor Dean Budnick on the book “The Music Never Stops: What Putting on 10,000 Shows Has Taught Me About Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Magic” (Hachette Books).

Shapiro says he believes live music is needed now more than ever, and on a personal note, he needs several concerts per week just to feel normal.

“Live music empowers you but the energy I get from a live show only lasts about 72 hours then I need another one,” Shapiro said during an interview with The Maine Edge.

Shapiro’s book filters 50 of the more than 10,000 shows he’s presented to serve as touchstone moments that tell his story.

From his initial transformative live experiences with Phish and the Grateful Dead to later bringing those worlds together with the Dead’s 2015 golden anniversary Fare Thee Well shows, Shapiro’s love for the jam scene and its fans is a constant thread throughout the book.

His book also contains one-of-a-kind stories and encounters involving a variety of music legends and pop culture icons including U2, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks, Blues Traveler, The Roots, Al Green, Ken Kesey, Marty Balin and Wavy Gravy.

Shapiro admits that conducting business during daylight hours isn’t as much fun as going to the shows but “The Music Never Stops” contains a number of the lessons he’s learned about the business of music.

As former owner of the Wetlands Preserve music nightclub in New York City, and the current owner of the Brooklyn Bowl in New York, Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas and the historic Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, Shapiro zeroes in on some of the triumphs and challenges he’s faced as the guy who always gets the call if something goes wrong.

Shapiro’s name is attached to a lengthy list of music-related productions dating back to the mid-1990s.

He produced the IMAX concert films “U2 3D” and “All Access: Front Row. Backstage. Live!” which brought Trey Anastasio of Phish together with B.B. King and The Roots.

In the 1990s, Shapiro produced the films “Tied Died: Rock and Roll’s Most Deadicated Fans,” devoted to the Grateful Dead’s nomadic tribe of fans, and “American Road,” chronicling his road trip through 48 states set to a score from Phish.

Shapiro is founder of the LOCKN’ festival, a four-day jam-band focused music festival in Arrington, Virginia. He’s also the publisher of jam-focused Relix Magazine and owner of the popular website JamBands.com.

The following interview highlights were excerpted from a lengthier discussion that aired in its entirety on the web-based jam-band station JEMPradio.com.

When the going gets tough, you can always count on Mainers to pull together. People from the community surrounding Nokomis Regional Middle and High schools in Newport are coming together in a variety of ways to support two young people stricken with cancer.

Owners of the popular corn maze at Thunder Road Farm, 185 Newport Road in Corinna, say they’ve planned a fun fundraiser scheduled for Sunday, October 2, dubbed “Get Lost for a Cause.” The event will benefit 19-year-old Nokomis alumni Donovan Kurt and 15-year-old Aiden Anderson, a current Nokomis student. Both had previously worked at the farm.

Donovan was diagnosed with brain cancer more than two years ago. Aiden is currently being treated for two types of leukemia.

Barbara Peavey of Thunder Road Farm says the news of Donovan’s and Aiden’s diagnosis rocked the community.

“We’re a pretty close-knit community where all of the kids are really close and it’s hitting this area hard,” Peavey says. “We thought our corn maze would give us an opportunity to bring people together to help these boys and their families because dealing with cancer is very expensive as everyone knows.”

It’s never too late to see a dream realized. Grammy-nominated musician Steve Gaspár is living the dream he’s held in his heart for decades and he’s sharing it with a large band of world-class musicians bestowed with an appropriately grand moniker.

The Hollywood Allstars is a 13-piece rock and soul supergroup spearheaded by Gaspár that features the legendary Uptown Horns (Rolling Stones, James Brown, Joe Cocker) along with members from Blood, Sweat & Tears, Tower of Power and the Blues Brothers Band, among others.

The band’s debut EP “Field of Grace” showcases four original songs and a timely cover of a James Brown classic.

In a live setting, The Hollywood Allstars put their own spin on a wide-ranging set of classics featuring the original musicians.

Steve Gaspár has been playing music since he was a toddler. A former Epic/CBS recording artist, the keyboardist and producer has recorded and/or performed with James Brown, B.B. King, and members of KISS and The Rascals but says he’s always gravitated toward the sound of a big band.

“I’ve always loved the sound of a live horn section with a Hammond organ; a big-sounding band like Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Chicago or Tower of Power,” Gaspár enthused during an interview with The Maine Edge.

When it comes to pop songwriting, Colin Hay has been one of the art form’s most consistent deliverers of quality for more than 40 years. Hay’s hits with the Australian formed band Men at Work (including back-to-back U.S. chart-toppers “Who Can It Be Now?” and “Down Under”) were just the beginning of a career that has now extended to 15 solo albums, including his latest, “Now and the Evermore,” reviewed in these pages last spring.

As mentioned in that review, Hay has a gift for turning out memorable and meaningful songs with staying power and melody to spare that work on multiple levels.

“Now and the Evermore” offers further evidence that Hay’s gifts remain in abundance. From the affirming and optimistic “Love is Everywhere” to the Cajun-jump of “A Man Without a Name,” the contemporary shanty “All I See Is You,” and the mysterious “When Does the End Begin?” it’s clear that he is creating some of his finest work now.

Hay was on tour with Men at Work in mid-August when he checked in with The Maine Edge for the following interview which aired on the stations of BIG 104 FM. As you read this, Hay is on the road for his fifth stint as a member of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band.

Hay’s friendship with Ringo led to an invitation for the former Beatle to appear on “Now and the Evermore,” which Hay says is deeply meaningful for him.

During the interview, Hay shared his love for the state of Maine, citing previous visits to Rockland, Boothbay Harbor and Portland and stating that he always enjoys the opportunity to perform here.

Hay’s newest release is the follow-up to last year’s “I Just Don’t Know What to do With Myself,” an album of cover songs that he associates with pivotal moments from his life.

The Rolling Stones have been the focal point for a number of documentaries dating back to the 1960s, but none have centered on the lives of the band’s individual members quite like Oliver Murray’s four-part docuseries “My Life As a Rolling Stone.”

Commissioned by the BBC and Universal, Murray’s mission was to tell the story of the Stones through four hour-long portraits devoted to the lives of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Wood and the late Charlie Watts.

With full access to the band’s archive, Murray juxtaposes newly shot interviews and previously unseen footage with scenes familiar to hardcore fans to highlight the personalities, passions and peculiarities that have kept The Rolling Stones together for 60 years.

Episodes drop Sundays at 9:00 p.m. on Epix and are also available to view through Amazon Prime.

An engaging interview is a highlight of the premiere episode devoted to Mick Jagger’s life. The takeaway: Mick still likes to be in control of virtually every aspect of the Stones’ affairs. He clears up a few misconceptions including the origin of the band’s legendary lips and tongue logo (spoiler alert: It wasn’t based on Jagger’s famous lips) but stops short of accepting any responsibility for the carnage that marred the Stones’ doomed free concert at Altamont speedway in 1969.

The challenge of summarizing 60 years in one hour is evident in what we don’t see and hear in the Jagger episode. As Murray explains in the following interview, time constraints were a constant issue during production.

Murray’s entrance into the world of The Rolling Stones was as director of “The Quiet One,” a 2019 film about Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman. He directed “Ronnie’s,” a 2020 documentary on musician Ronnie Scott and his world-famous London jazz club. Murray is currently working on a feature film about photographer Terry O’Neill.

The following interview aired on the radio stations of BIG 104 FM.

Everyone knows that certain person who can’t help but be funny; that friend who lives to make you laugh. Comedian Annick Adelle says she’s always loved being that person, so much so she turned her life upside down to follow her dream.

Adelle’s stand-up comedy debut “Between Two Worlds” (Blonde Medicine) is just out. It’s a brave, bold and wildly funny in-the-moment set that could never be repeated in quite the same way. She’s a gifted comic with a penchant for improv and audience interaction.

Local production coincides with national rollout of 988 suicide and crisis lifeline

BANGOR – A play dealing with a subject relatable to many people that has been described as uplifting and joyously life-affirming is currently in rehearsals in preparation for its run August 25-28 at Some Theatre Company located inside the Bangor Mall.

Duncan Macmillan’s “Every Brilliant Thing” is an interactive show that speaks openly about depression, mental illness and suicide, the effects it has on those closest to us and the different methods we have for coping, including humor, avoidance, or finding the many small but brilliant things we have to hold onto.

Anniversaries can be a kick in the pants, especially when you do the math.

Can you believe it’s been 41 years since MTV cleared the launchpad? The world’s first 24-hour music video channel flipped the switch on August 1, 1981, initiating a sea change for both music and television.

Nina Blackwood, one of the five original MTV VJs - the personalities we saw introducing the videos and interacting with the artists – says it doesn’t seem possible that it was more than four decades ago.

“For those of us who were actually on the channel and also for people who watched it at the time, it’s incomprehensible to think that it was 41 years ago - it really is,” Blackwood said to The Maine Edge during an interview that aired on BIG 104 FM.

PORTLAND – Music, food, fun and surprises await thousands of Guster fans during the band’s fourth annual “On the Ocean” festival, set for August 12 to August 14 in Portland and Fayette. The destination weekend is scheduled to include two unique concerts in Portland, as well as an intimate day-camp experience hosted by the band.

Guster formed in 1991 after the band members met at Tufts University. They celebrated their 30th anniversary last year with a sold-out concert backed by the Colorado Symphony. The members of Guster include lead singer Ryan Miller, guitarist Adam Gardner, drummer Brian Rosenworcel and bassist and guitarist Luke Reynolds. 

The 2022 edition of Guster’s “On the Ocean” festival will mark the first such event since 2019 due to the pandemic. Previous editions have included a pop-up concert on an island, a set performed on a party boat, comedy, bike trips, a “Guster Storytellers” event and an afternoon of baseball with the Portland Sea Dogs.

Guitarist (and Portland resident) Adam Gardner says his band’s “On the Ocean” festival is as much about Maine as it is the band and its fans.

“On the Ocean is about celebrating everything Maine has to offer in the prime of summer which I think is the best time to be in one of the best places there is,” he said.

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