Cast of characters:
Queensrÿche (progressive metal band on tour again after 25 years of activity)
Geoff Tate (vocals)
Michael Wilton (guitar)
Mike Stone (guitar, vocals)
Eddie Jackson (bass guitar, vocals)
Scott Rockenfield (drums)
Two unnamed fans
Two homeland security officers
[Act one: Two fans are entering the stadium eagerly anticipating the evening's performance of two albums, 1988's Operation: Mindcrime and 2006's Operation: Mindcrime II, in their entirety. The story of "Dr. X" and his would-be political coup is told through a full-scale theatrical production, complete with actors, shifting stage setups, and a made-to-order surround-sound system. ]
Dude 1: Man, Operation: Mindcrime rules.
Dude 2: I know how many albums from the '80s are like, you know... stories?
Dude 1: And how many '80s bands put out good albums in the '00s? Shit, now we get to hear and see both Mindcrimes at the same time!
[Act two: Backstage, Tate is being questioned by Homeland Security officers in a locked room. ]
Officer 1: So tell me, Mr. Tate...
Officer 2: ... is Queensrÿche from the U.S. of A.?
Officer 1: Yeah what's with those two funny dots over the y?
Tate: (sputtering) Uh, yes, we're from Washingto...
Officer 1: How exactly do you pronounce the ÿ?
Officer 2: You have a lot of questions to answer.
Officer 1: What exactly is progressive metal?
Officer 2: Is that an Argentinean labor movement?
Officer 1: Who is this Dr. X you sing of? Is he Chinese?
Tate: Dudes, I am from Bellevue, where Microsoft was founded. We are playing two concept albums. Dr. X isn't real. Do you know what VH1 is, man?
Both officers: (yelling) We're asking the questions here!
[Act three: Enter stage right, the group of aging but still spry musicians are gathering before the set. Tate, apparently having extricated himself from the backstage situation room, is giving the band a pep talk. ]
Tate: Heavy rock music is always going to be around. It comes in and out of fashion. Right now, we are in one of those times where it's underground. It's always rewarding when you see what you dreamed up is working.
Dr. X: Yes, it feels good to be back to work. D. Sirianni
Queensrÿche performs at 7 p.m. Friday, September 1, at Pompano Beach Amphitheatre, 1806 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach. Tickets cost $29.50 to $39.50. Call 954-946-2402.
Fact: It's now uncool to spazz about a band just because it got big overnight thanks to the Power of the Internet (MP3 blogs, MySpace, etc.). Also fact: It's even uncool to point out that it's uncool. Late-breaking fact: As you read that, it just became cool again to spazz about a band's getting big overnight thanks to the Power of the Internet. Ah fuck: Pitchfork is now telling us it's no longer cool to cash in on the Celebrating Internet Bands revival movement. So I guess that means... Wait! VH1 just announced that next week is I Love the Mid-'00s Days of the Indie Internet Sensations. We're saved! Hurry read this list before it becomes uncool!
Oh No! Oh My!
From: Austin, Texas. Status: Waxing gibbous. Origin Story: Sent self-recorded demo to one solitary music blog, Music for Robots, which posted song "Jane Is Fat"; sold CD-R for $1.50 on website. Result: Played the most recent Lollapalooza. Gordon Gano or David Byrne? Gordon Gano, plus Belle & Sebastian.
From: San Francisco, California. Status: Waxing gibbous. Origin Story: Self-recorded "Resurrection Song" championed by blogs Gorilla Vs. Bear, Music for Robots. Result: Hotshot producer helmed debut, which band put out independently; incessant U.S. touring followed. Gordon Gano or David Byrne? Actually, more like Springsteen covering the Pixies.
Tapes 'n Tapes
From: Minneapolis, Minnesota. Status: Full moon. Origin Story: Records debut in barn; again with the Music for Robots. Result: Pitchfork crowns "Best New Music"; band plays Letterman, everywhere else. Gordon Gano or David Byrne? Gordon Gano, but forgivably so.
Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah
From: Brooklyn, New York. Status: Waning gibbous. Origin Story: Band's stupid name draws the attention of the blog Said the Gramophone. Result: P-Fork proclaims Best New Music; CYHSY becomes synonymous with backlash toward Internet bands. Gordon Gano or David Byrne? Little of both, but David Byrne impression is at times insufferable. Garrett Kamps
As the Crow Flies
A week before launching his band's double-bill tour with Goo Goo Dolls, Counting Crows guitarist David Immerglück took enough time out from his Master Cleanse all-lemonade diet to talk with Outtakes about strings, Dylan, and jet streams.
Outtakes: How did you transition from guitar to mandolin, and how do you handle the effects of feeling like a giant when you're playing it?
David Immerglück: [laughs] That's great. I never really thought about the size thing or how ridiculous it is until other people point it out. And I can't quite pinpoint when I started playing mandolin. It was on tour with Camper Van Beethoven in the late '80s, and I had sort of nicked one from a friend of mine and brought it on the road for amusement. I don't know why, but we'd do these acoustic sets in the middle of the Camper Van Beethoven set, and for a laugh, I started using it and ended up falling in love with it. I play the pedal steel and bass as well, and they're all in different tunings, and after a while, you stop thinking instrument-centric and just start thinking about music. So I never really remember, "Oh, I'm playing mandolin now" or "Oh, I'm playing pedal steel now." I just think that I'm playing music. It's a weird thing. It's hard to describe. It seems the more instruments you play, the less you think about the instruments themselves.
What's the set list going to look like for this tour?
Our set list changes from night to night. A lot of people have been asking me that question, and we'll just be grabbing from our songbook every night.
I know there's some grumbling that the band released New Amsterdam: Live at Heineken Music Hall just so there's something to sell on the tour. Any response?
I love these people who grumble; it's hilarious. Maybe they should take over our career or something.
What's going on in the cover art? Is that a guy recovering a satellite?
I like to think that this guy's brain is sort of exploding and he's being propelled by the jet stream coming off the top of his head. I like that painting quite a bit. It's sort of how we all feel when we're on tour. Julie Seabaugh
The Counting Crows join the Goo Goo Dolls and Eliot Morris on Thursday, August 31, at Sound Advice Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $26 to $67.50. Call 561-793-0445, or visit www.livenation.com.
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