Six Degrees of Tommy Stinson: From Jonathan Richman to Steve Aoki

Categories: Fiesta!

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Steven Cohen
Tommy Stinson, music's Kevin Bacon.
By Jeremy Essig

All crossroads of modern music pass through Tommy Stinson.

Best known as either "That fourteen-year-old who played bass in the Replacements" or "That guy in the suspenders Axl replaced Duff with in Guns 'N Roses," Stinson has one other claim to fame: He's music's version of Kevin Bacon.

Like how any actor can be traced back to Bacon in six steps, any post-Beatles artist can be connected to Stinson through performance, production or writing credits in the same amount of links.

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Say Goodbye to CDs at Starbucks

Categories: Fiesta!

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flickr/Irfaan Photography
No more CDs here, pal.
By Reed Fischer

Starbucks is getting out of the CD game. Starting in March, the Seattle coffee behemoth's 21,000 stores worldwide will begin dismantling a twenty-year attack on the brick-and-mortar CD market -- one that mostly targeted the most indifferent of music buyers.

Sure, people bought the CDs at Starbucks, which typically consisted of a milquetoast blend of holiday jazz compilations, world music and the safest singer-songwriters. Just like that Waylon Jennings Super Hits disc you bought at a truck stop, it's easy to see these as purchases of the "Oh, what the hell," variety.

When those register endcaps featuring Norah Jones, John Legend and Diana Krall disappear, it'll be difficult to feel bad about it, and here's why.

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Are "Surprise Albums" the New Normal?

Categories: Fiesta!

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Photo by Marco Torres
Kendrick Lamar has also been the subject of recent surprise-album rumors.
By Alyssa Dupree

If you're reading this and are just now finding out about Drake's new album, you're a little late.

In your defense, the Canada-based rapper just dropped his new mixtape, If You're Reading This It's Too Late, via Twitter in the late hours of February 12, creating a bit of a shock to fans who had been anxiously awaiting his purported album Views from the Six.

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How To Make Your Own DIY Suitcase Drum Kit

Categories: Fiesta!

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Nina Cervantez
Here it is, in all it's finished glory
By Candace Hansen

Working in a drum shop exposed me to a lot of gear. I have seen everything from rare vintage pieces to the newest and coolest and everything in between. Over the years I assisted many customers with a multitude of projects, but there is one that stuck out to me so much that I had to do it myself: the suitcase drum kit.

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The Grateful Dead's Journey Is Far From Over

Categories: Fiesta!

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Don LaVange via Flickr
The cover art of the Grateful Dead's Winterland 1973: The Complete Recordings three-LP set
No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead
By Peter Richardson
St. Martin's, 384 pp., $26.99

With 2015 marking the 50th anniversary of its formation, expect a lot of attention paid this year to the musical and cultural legacy of the Grateful Dead. The four surviving members of the classic lineup (Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart) have announced a "that's all, folks!" series of final shows under the banner of "Fare Thee Well" July 3-5 at Chicago's Soldier Field.

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Punks Petition to Kick Riff Raff and Kosha Dillz Off Warped Tour

Categories: Fiesta!

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Theo Welling
Will Riff Raff be welcome on Warped Tour 2015?

Warped Tour has propped up emergent music acts, primarily in shades of punk, as well as fringe activism and outsider art all over the map since 1994. As America's largest traveling music festival enters its third decade, fans and critics alike have strong opinions as to what is or isn't "punk" about the festival.

This year's lineup includes previous Warped alumni like Neck Deep and Handguns, but two names aren't sitting right with a group of punks. Those names: Riff Raff and Kosha Dillz. Why? Because those are the names of two rappers.

See also: Check Out This Awesome Flyer for Riff Raff's St. Louis Show

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How Music Might Improve the Growth of Marijuana Plants

Categories: Fiesta!

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Coleen Whitfield / Flickr
Does marijuana like music?
By Gina Tron

Elias Tempton, a grower for the Sicky Buds dispensary in Denver, Colorado, also had a tiny grow operation for himself at home. He bought a radio and put it next to his plants, leaving it tuned to a classical-music station 24 hours a day. "I noticed that there was a really distinct difference in the plants," he says. "They were bigger, and all the plants had thicker skins and were more turgid in their leaf structure."

He started playing classical music at his grow house as well. Chopin is generally played eight to ten hours a day -- mostly when nobody is there but the plants. "You open up the bedroom first thing in the morning, and you're kind of tired, and the wave of warmth and light hits you from all the 1,000 watt bulbs. Then you get washed over by the classical music," he says.

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OK, Let's Talk About Katy Perry's Halftime Show

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Jon Gitchoff
Different outfits, same idea. Katy Perry got weird during her Super Bowl XLIX performance just like she did during her 2011 show at Scottrade Center. See more photos here.

Look, we know that the recent round of pop stars infiltrating the Super Bowl halftime show has upset football purists who just want to see old white dudes play guitar. And, yeah, after what feels like a gazillion years of nothing but safe performances by Paul McCartney and Tom Petty, a butt-shaking, deliciously sweaty Bruno Mars might be a little overwhelming.

That's why Katy Perry was a genius when she combined pop princess hijinks with old-school nostalgia.

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The McCarthy Music Illuminated Piano: A Shortcut to Keyboard Stardom?

Categories: Fiesta!

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L.J. Williamson
The McCarthy Music Illuminated Piano
If you've ever seen Casablanca, you remember Sam the piano player. His fingers would glide over the keys as he simultaneously carried on a conversation with Ilsa, scanned the room for his boss, or sang, rarely needing to even look down at his hands as he kept the whole room entertained.

In reality, actor Dooley Wilson, who portrayed Sam, couldn't even play the piano. He sang while mimicking the movements of pianist Elliot Carpenter, who was likely focused on the work of playing the tunes.

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RFT Music Seeks Freelance Writers

Categories: Fiesta!

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dr. shordzi/Flickr
Ideally you would at least have a typewriter, though I hear really good things about these "com-poo-ters" the kids are all using.
Do you have a passion for St. Louis music?

RFT Music is currently seeking writers to help us cover the vibrant music scene in St. Louis. In particular, we are looking for applicants who are able to report on news events -- beyond interviews with bands or reviews of shows (though these things will be part of the job as well).

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