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Mike Dow

Mike Dow

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Journalist Drew Fortune has been covering pop culture for Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Esquire and Vulture for the better part of a decade.

Inspired by the mayhem he witnessed during an opening set performance by Matchbox 20 during a Rolling Stones concert in 1997, Fortune set out to interview dozens of artists in multiple genres about their best and worst gigs of all time. As he explains in the following interview, the focus for his new book “No Encore!” shifted toward just the weirdest, wildest and most embarrassing stories when artist memories of the good gigs failed to generate a compelling read.

The book contains exclusive contributions from a variety of musicians, including Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers, Zakk Wylde of Ozzy Osbourne’s band, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, Stewart Copeland of the Police, Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts, Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad and dozens more.

It’s comforting and reassuring when a longtime favored artist or band releases a new work that stands with the very best material you’ve heard them create. A perfect example is “Face the Sun” – the just-released eighth studio album from Willie Wisely.

“Face the Sun” is quintessential Wisely - a contemporary power-pop classic that reunites him with producer John “Strawberry” Fields, the man behind the glass for the singer songwriter’s 1997 classic “Turbosherbert.”

I expect a Wisely album to be good, whether it’s a solo record, an album from his Willie Wisely Trio or one of his side projects like Secret Friend and The Lover The Keeper. The man seems incapable of writing a bad song which automatically fuels expectations for fans. One of the surprises surrounding “Face the Sun” is that the lion’s share of its songs were castoffs from previous projects.

“This is like a greatest-hits record full of songs that have never been released,” Wisely said with a laugh during a phone interview.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve greatly admired Ann Curry’s work in broadcasting and journalism. Whether she was reporting from the center of a war-torn nation or posing a difficult question to a president, she has always epitomized journalistic integrity.

After leaving NBC’s Today Show in 2012, Curry produced content for NBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC before parting ways with the network in 2015. She later developed a production company responsible for her six-part PBS series “We’ll Meet Again,” a show focused on lives changed for the better.

That theme is amplified in her new weekly series “Chasing the Cure,” airing live each Thursday at 9 p.m. on TBS and TNT.

The show brings together patients suffering from an undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or uncured illness with thousands of doctors from around the nation and millions of viewers – some of whom may be able to offer solutions.

In the following interview, Curry explains how the show works while also revealing her initial concerns surround the concept of “Chasing the Cure.”

PORTLAND - Thousands of Guster fans will converge on Maine this weekend for the band’s third annual destination “On The Ocean Weekend” event, scheduled to include a broad palette of music, food, special activities and public service.

For Guster guitarist and Portland resident Adam Gardner, it’s another opportunity to connect the band’s fans with the community he calls home.

If you’re not quite up to speed on the third season of Netflix’s supernatural fantasy blockbuster “Stranger Things,” you won’t find any true spoilers here but there might be a couple of details below that you’d rather discover through watching the show.

The third season of “Stranger Things” is set in 1985 – the year of Live Aid, New Coke (and yes, Coca-Cola Classic) and We Are the World. Though the Cold War was still pretty frosty in those days, arms and trade negotiations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, followed by with a late-year summit in Geneva, gave us a glimpse of a possible thaw.

As season three of “Stranger Things” unfolds, we discover that Russia’s involvement with the secret lab in Hawkins, Indiana could have profoundly horrifying consequences.

Actor Andrey Ivchenko of Ukraine offers some firsthand perspective on what the mid-1980s olive branch extended between the U.S. and Russia meant for Russian citizens and how American popular culture slowly began infiltrating his world.

Ivchenko plays Russian hitman Grigori in the third season of “Stranger Things.” As his fierce features enter the frame, one can’t help but be reminded of the action star whose career was its zenith as this story takes place. Riding high as “The Terminator,” Arnold Schwarzenegger became one of the highest paid actors of all time, not to mention a two-term California governor. Ivchenko was 14 years old in 1985 and was told even then how much he reminded people of “The Arnold.” As he explains in the following interview, he understands – and he’s fine with it.

He says his passion is still fitness, and he keeps up a training regimen to prove it, but Lou Ferrigno says he still loves to act – especially when he has a chance to flex his comedy muscles.

“The Incredible Hulk” and “The King of Queens” star’s latest movie is a spoof of HBO’s recently concluded “Game of Thrones” series titled “Purge of Kingdoms: The Unauthorized ‘Game of Thrones’ Parody,” directed by Ara Paiaya (“The Suppressor”).

Actress and singer Rumer Willis says she felt like she’d been transported to a different world the day she walked onset to shoot her scenes in director Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

The winner of season 20 of “Dancing with the Stars,” Willis played Tory Ash in the third and fourth seasons of the Fox musical drama “Empire” and was revealed to be the vocalist inside the Lion costume on Fox’s “The Masked Singer” earlier this year. She said she’s used to working with directors that strive for historical accuracy but that Tarantino’s quest for period-perfection was unparalleled.

“The attention to detail in this movie is unbelievable,” Willis told The Maine Edge during an interview. “I’ve worked on a lot of things but this one was on a different level.”

Melodic metal band Weapons of Anew are set to perform their first Maine show on August 3 at Aura in Portland, as openers for Creed’s Scott Stapp and Texas rockers Messer.

Weapons of Anew released their debut album “The Collision of Love and Hate” in the fall of 2017, and have already recorded most of its follow-up, due for release early in 2020, according to lead singer Ray West.

Weapons of Anew is comprised of West (also a member of the band Spread Eagle), former Axiom/HavocHate guitarist Freddy Ordine, bassist Stefan “Reno” Catrupi, Chris Manfre on drums and guitarist Kris Norris on guitar.

In the following interview with The Maine Edge, West credits each band member’s broad range of musical influence for Weapons of Anew’s unique sound, and he reveals how the band’s second album will differ from the group’s debut.

He’s irreverent, he’s unapologetic and he’s outrageously successful. Comedian Ron White is scheduled to bring his “If You Quit Listening, I’ll Shut Up” tour (with ever-present cigar and glass of Scotch) to Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on July 26.

The tour shares a name with White’s current Netlflix special, but he assured me that his Bangor audience will hear material they’ve never heard before – along with his favorite stories from the special.

Nearly 20 years ago, White – along with Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy – launched The Blue Collar Comedy Tour, a series of concerts, specials and CDs that sent the careers of each comedian into the stratosphere (or at least into your home in one form or another).

That success has placed White in the enviable position of calling every aspect of his career. He does what he wants how he wants and when he wants to do it. He’s sold well over 10 million CDs, while all four of his DVDs have gone platinum.

A Texas native, White spends as much as time as possible in the Lone Star State but he also maintains a residence in Beverly Hills. He says he doesn’t take himself seriously, but he takes his comedy very seriously. When he isn’t touring, he says he’ll perform three sets per night at one of the local comedy clubs near his home.

In the following interview, White explains why he can’t wait to return to Maine and why he never wants to return to Omaha.

“If we were living today like we did at 20, we would positively, undoubtedly be dead by now,” Robby Takac said when I asked the bassist and co-founding member of the Goo Goo Dolls about some of the changes he and band mate Johnny Rzeznik have experienced after more than three decades together.

Takac’s matter-of-fact response was a refreshingly honest reaction to a question about some of the myths and realities of life in 2019 for the mega-successful rockers, as their July 30 concert at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor with co-headiners Train and soul-singing opener Allen Stone draws near.

I got a lot of that honesty from Takac, as he explained why the Goo Goo Dolls today are - in some ways - the same band they were in the ‘80s, when they were cranking out punk records in Buffalo and opening shows for bands like Motorhead, Bad Brains and The Dead Milkmen.

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