Beck

American singer, songwriter, record producer and multi-instrumentalist Beck Hansen was born July 8, 1970 in Los Angeles. Beck liked hip-hop and folk and began to perform locally at coffeehouses and clubs. He moved to New York City in 1989 and became involved in the city’s small fiery anti-folk movement. Returning to Los Angeles in the early 1990s, he cut his breakthrough single “Loser”, which became a worldwide hit in 1994, and released his first major album, Mellow Gold, the same year. Odelay, with its sonically experimental and lo-fi style. Beck began as a folk musician, switching between country blues, Delta blues and more traditional rural folk music in his teens. He began performing on city buses, often covering Mississippi John Hurt alongside original, sometimes improvisational compositions. He was also in a band called Youthless that hosted Dadaist-inspired freeform events at city coffee shops.

In 1989, Beck went to New York City with little more than eight dollars and a guitar. He spent the summer attempting to find a job and a place to live and eventually began to frequent Manhattan’s Lower East Side where he discovered the East Village’s anti-folk scene’s first wave. Beck became involved in a loose posse of acoustic musicians—including Cindy Lee Berryhill, Kirk Kelly, Paleface, and Lach, headed by Roger Manning—whose raggedness and eccentricity placed them well outside the acoustic mainstream. Inspired by the freedom this gave him and by the local spoken-word performers, Beck began to write free-associative, surrealistic songs about pizza, MTV, and working at McDonald’s, turning mundane thoughts into songs. Beck and Paleface, attended many open mic nights together before Beck returned to his home of Los Angeles in early 1991. Where he worked at a video store in Silver Lake and started performing in arthouse clubs and coffeehouses such as Al’s Bar and Raji’s. In order to keep indifferent audiences engaged in his music, Beck would play in a spontaneous, joking manner. Beck would hop onstage between acts in local clubs and play “strange folk songs”, while sometimes wearing a Star Wars stormtrooper mask. Beck met someone who offered to help record demos in his living room, and he began to pass cassette tapes around.

Beck met Margaret Mittleman, the West Coast’s director of talent acquisitions for BMG Music Publishing, independent record label Bong Load Custom Records. Beck expressed an interest in hip hop, and Rothrock introduced him to Carl Stephenson, a record producer for Rap-A-Lot Records. In 1992, Beck visited Stephenson’s home to collaborate. The result—the slide-sampling hip hop track “Loser” was released in 1993. DJ Chris Douridas played the song on his radio program Morning Becomes Eclectic, and asked to have Beck play live on the air,” Douridas said. “He came in that Friday, rapped to a tape of ‘Loser’ and did his song ‘MTV Makes Me Want to Smoke Crack. Beck performed at the Los Angeles club Cafe Troy to a packed audience and talent scouts from major labels. The song then spread to Seattle through KNDD, and KROQ-FM and Beck was beset with offers from major labels. Beck signed to GEFFEN A&R records. Beck also released the sprawling, 25-track collection of pre-“Loser” recordings titled Stereopathetic Soulmanure in 1994 and also released the the low-budget, genre-blending album Mellow Gold. “Loser” became a huge hit worldwide and Beck was subsequently dubbed “King of Slackers” with Critics, dubbing Loser the essential follow-up to Radiohead’s “Creep” among the disaffected Generation X,

Sadly by the summer of 1994, Beck was struggling and many of his fellow musicians thought he had lost his way with many believing that “Loser” was a “one-hit wonder”. Beck embarked on a world tourAt some concerts, crowds were treated to twenty minutes of reggae or Miles Davis or jazz-punk iterations of “Loser”.[15] At one-day festivals in California, he surrounded himself with an artnoise combo. The drummer set fire to his cymbals; the lead guitarist “played” his char with the strings faced towards his body; and Beck changed the words to “Loser” so that nobody could sing along. However Beck gained the respect of his peers, such as Tom Petty and Johnny Cash, and created an entire wave of bands determined to recapture the Mellow Gold sound.

Beck’s second album Odelay was released in 1996 and was a blend of country, blues, rap, jazz and rock which was inspired by an unfinished studio album Beck first embarked on following the success of “Loser”, chronicling the difficult time he experienced. Beck put together an album of somber, orchestrated folk tunes which could have been a commercial blockbuster along with similarly themed work by Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana”. However Beck plucked one song from it “Ramshackle”—and shelved the rest (“Brother” and “Feather In Your Cap” were however later released as B-Sides). Beck was also introduced to the Dust Brothers, producers of the Beastie Boys’ album Paul’s Boutique, whose cut-and-paste, sample-heavy production suited Beck’s vision of a more fun, accessible album. It was another commercial success and critical acclaim. The record produced several hit singles, including “Where It’s At”, “Devils Haircut”, and “The New Pollution”, and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1997, winning a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album as well as a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for “Where It’s At”. He also contributed “Deadweight” to the soundtrack of the film A Life Less Ordinary.

Beck released his next album Mutations in 1998 which was a far-cry from the cut-and-paste aesthetic of Odelay meant to capture the performance of the musicians live. However it was released against Beck’s wishes so he voided the Record Company contract and they then Counter-sued Beck for breach of contract and he was mired in litigation for years. However Beck was later awarded Best Alternative Music Performance for Mutations at the 42nd Grammy Awards.

Beck’s next album Midnite Vultures was released in 1999 and included hip hop and R&B, influences in the way Al Green and Stax records had done in previous decades. Musicians included bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen, keyboardist Roger Joseph Manning Jr., and producer-engineers Mickey Petralia and Tony Hoffer plus Dozens of session players including Beck’s father, David Campbell, who played viola and arranged some of the strings. Beck wanted to make an up-tempo album that would be fun to play on tour night after night. Midnite Vultures was accompanied by a world tour. Beck, wanted to return to high-energy performances that had been his trademark as far back as Lollapalooza. Midnite Vultures was nominated for Best Album at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards.

Sadly In 2000, Beck and his fiancée, stylist Leigh Limon, ended their nine-year relationship and Beck lapsed into a period of melancholy and introspection, during which he wrote some bleak, acoustic-based tracks which appeared on the next album Sea Change which was released in 2002. Music magazine Rolling Stone described it as “the best album Beck has ever made. Sea Change came second on the year’s Pazz & Jop Critics Poll. Beck subsequently toured with The Flaming Lips as Beck’s opening and backing band. During the tour Beck was playful and energetic, sometimes throwing in covers of The Rolling Stones, Big Star, The Zombies and The Velvet Underground.

Following the release of Sea Change, Beck Wanted to change direction, and wrote nearly 35 more songs. Sadly though During his solo tour, these Demo tapes were left backstage during a stop in Washington, D.C., and Beck was never able to recover them. During the recording of Beck’s eighth studio album, Guero, several significant events occurred in his life: his girlfriend, Marissa Ribisi, became pregnant; they were married; their son, Cosimo, was born; and they moved out of Silver Lake. He collaborated with the Dust Brothers again for Guero which was released in 2005 and was notable for their use of high-tech measures to achieve a lo-fi sound. Guero featured the song “E-Pro”. Beck also collaborated with artists 8-Bit and Paza on the Hell Yes, EP. Geffen also released Guerolito, a fully reworked version of Guero featuring remixes by the Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock, the Dust Brothers’ John King and Boards of Canada. Guerolito combined remixes previously heard as B-sides and new versions of album tracks. A Brief Overview, a 12-track promotional-only “History of Beck” compilation CD sampler was also released, this featured a combination of older and newer Beck tracks. Beck’s ninth studio album,

The Information began production around the same time as Guero, in 2003 For The Information Beck made low-budget videos to accompany each song, packaged the CD with sheets of stickers so buyers could customize the cover, and leaked tracks and videos also appeared on his website. Digital download releases automatically downloaded the song’s additional video for each single sale, and physical copies came bundled with an additional DVD featuring fifteen videos. In 2007, Beck released the single “Timebomb”, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance. Beck’s tenth album Modern Guilt was produced by Danger Mouse and released in 2008. This was full of off-kilter rhythms and left-field breakdowns, with an overall 1960s vibe”. Beck had known Danger Mouse before, and ended up working with Danger Mouse’s side project, Gnarls Barkley. Beck began working more heavily on his own seven-year-old label, focussing on smaller, more quixotic projects,Beck moonlighted as a producer, working with artists such as Charlotte Gainsbourg, Thurston Moore and Stephen Malkmus.

Beck also founded Record Club, a project whereby an entire classic album—by The Velvet Underground, Leonard Cohen, INXS, Yanni—would be covered by another singer in the span of a single day. Beck provided four songs for the film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), each attributed to the title character’s fictional band, Sex Bob-Omb Beck also collaborated with Philip Glass,Jack White, Tobacco of Black Moth Super Rainbow, Jamie Lidell, Seu Jorge, Childish Gambino, and The Lonely Island. Beck released Song Reader which comprised songs presented only as sheet music,to inspire enterprising musicians to record their own versions. The idea of Song Reader came about shortly after the release of Odelay after Beck was sent a book of transcribed sheet music for that album, He aimed to keep the arrangements as open as possible, to re-create the simplicity of the standards, and became preoccupied with creating only pieces that could fit within the Great American Songbook. In 2013 Beck began playing special Song Reader concerts with a variety of guests and announced he was working on a record of Song Reader material with other musicians.

In 2014 Beck released the electro ballad “Defriended”, the chorus-heavy “I Won’t Be Long” and the song Gimme and also released his twelfth studio album, Morning Phase, reuniting him with musicians who had worked on Sea Change. This contained the songs “Blue Moon” and, “Waking Light”. Beck also Headlined the Boston Calling Music Festival in May 2015. Morning Phase also won three Grammys for : Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical; Best Rock Album; and Album of the Year at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. Beck untitled forthcoming album includes the songs “Dreams”,”Wow” and “Up All Night” “7th Heaven,” “Dear Life” and “No Distraction”

Jamie Cook (Arctic Monkeys)

Best known as the lead guitarist and a founding member of the indie rock band Arctic Monkeys, Jamie Cook was born 8 July 1985. Originally he lived next to fellow band member, Alex Turner with who he formed the Arctic Monkeys in 2001. He is the most outspoken member of the Arctic Monkeys saying he hates the press and defending the band’s numerous successive records. Following the release of their debut album, Cook Wanted the Arctic Monkeys to grow like The Clash. When they started, it was a very basic, punky record. Then they started to take off and move in lots of directions. Cook has a residence in the Sheffield area along with fellow band member, Helders. He has been described as “the bullishly confident blue-collar lad” of the group.

Arctic Monkeys Were formed in 2002 in High Green, a suburb of Sheffield. The band consists of Alex Turner (lead vocals, rhythm/lead guitar), Matt Helders (drums, vocals), Jamie Cook (lead/rhythm guitar) and Nick O’Malley (bass, backing vocals). Former band member Andy Nicholson (bass guitar, backing vocals) left the band in 2006 shortly after their debut album was released.

At the start of the band’s career, Cook Matt Helders and Andy Nicholson would sang backing vocals for songs such as “Fake Tales of San Francisco”, but Cook has gradually shied away from singing duties, leaving them to the other three members of the group. Cook is also considered to be the “indie music fanatic” of the group. Armed with the likes of musical tastes for bands such as The Smiths, The Strokes, Oasis, and Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys were heralded as one of the first bands to come to public attention via the Internet, with commentators suggesting they represented the possibility of a change in the way in which new bands are promoted and marketedCook supposedly turned the band into what it is today.

They have so far released five studio albums: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006), Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007), Humbug (2009), Suck It and See (2011) and AM (2013), as well as one live album, At the Apollo (2008). Their debut album is the fastest-selling debut album by a band in British chart history, and in 2013, Rolling Stone ranked it the 30th-greatest debut album of all time.

The band has won seven Brit Awards – winning both Best British Group and Best British Album three times, and have been nominated for three Grammy Awards. They also won the Mercury Prize in 2006 for their debut album, in addition to receiving nominations in 2007 and 2013. The band have also headlined at the Glastonbury Festival twice, in 2007 and again in 2013.

Andrew Fletcher (Depeche Mode)

English keyboard player Andrew Fletcher was born 8 July 1961. He, along with Vince Clarke, was a founding member of the electronic band Depeche Mode. They were founded In the late 1970s, after Fletcher and schoolmate Vince Clarke formed the short-lived band No Romance in China, in which Fletcher played bass guitar. In 1980, Fletcher met Martin Gore at the Van Gogh Pub on Paycocke Road in Basildon. With Clarke, the trio, now all on synthesizer, formed another group called Composition of Sound. Clarke served as chief songwriter and also provided lead vocals until singer Dave Gahan was recruited into the band later that year, after which they adopted the name Depeche Mode at Gahan’s suggestion. Clarke left the group in late 1981, shortly after the release of their debut album Speak & Spell. Their 1982 follow-up album, A Broken Frame, was recorded as a trio, with Gore taking over primary songwriting duties. Musician & producer Alan Wilder joined the band in late 1982 the group continued as a quartet until Wilder’s departure in 1995.

Since then, the core trio of Gahan, Gore and Fletcher have remained active, most recently with the release of their 2017 album Spirit and ensuing world tour. Fletcher’s role within Depeche Mode has often been a topic of speculation. In early incarnations of the band, he played (electric and later synth) bass. As the band evolved after Vince Clarke’s departure in 1981, Fletcher’s role changed as each of the band members took to the areas that suited them and benefitted the band collectively. In a key scene in D.A. Pennebaker’s 1989 documentary film about the band, Fletcher clarifies these roles: “Martin’s the songwriter, Alan’s the good musician, Dave’s the vocalist, and I bum around.” In his review of 2005’s Playing the Angel, long after Wilder’s departure from the band, Rolling Stone writer Gavin Edwards riffed upon Fletcher’s statement with the opening line: “Depeche Mode’s unique division of labor has been long established, with each of the three remaining members having a distinct role: Martin Gore writes the songs, Dave Gahan sings them and Andy Fletcher shows up for photo shoots and cashes the checks.” Fletcher is the only member of the band (past and present) who has not received a songwriting credit.

Fletcher, however, always has and continues to play a critical role within the band and has also handled many of the band’s business, legal, and other non-musical interests over the years. In the EPK for Songs of Faith and Devotion, he discussed being genuinely interested in many of the business aspects of the music industry that other performing musicians shy away from, and as such, he took over a lot of the business management aspects of the band including acting as the band’s “spokesperson”. He is also said to be the member who is the mediator and the one that “brings the band together”. Fletcher mediated between Gahan and Gore during their dispute following 2001’s Exciter album and tour over future songwriting duties within Depeche Mode. In the studio and during live shows, Fletcher does contribute a variety of supporting synthesizer parts, including bass parts, pads, strings and drone sounds, and various sample. However, he is notably the only member of Depeche Mode who does not sing. Although he can be seen singing in videos of Depeche’s past live performances, usually Fletcher’s vocals were either mixed very low or heard only through his own stage monitors. However Fletcher’s supporting vocals can be heard in some form or another on the majority of all Depeche Mode albums released since 1981.

Andy Fletcher may have also released a “solo album” entitled Toast Hawaii (named after Fletcher’s favourite dish in Hansa Studio’s cafeteria) was recorded in Berlin during the Some Great Reward sessions. all the songs on the “album” are cover songs on which Fletcher sings lead vocals. The “album” allegedly features Alan Wilder and/or Martin Gore on piano, with an album cover photo by Wilder. However this “solo album” is almost certainly an in-joke, although it is not entirely unlikely that during studio “downtime” from serious work, a diversion could have been making humorous recordings.

In 2002, Fletcher launched his own record label, a Mute Records imprint called Toast Hawaii (again named for the dish) and signed the band CLIEИT. He coordinated the recording of their eponymous 2003 debut and 2004’s City and also produced “extended remixes” for their subsequent singles “Price of Love,” “Rock and Roll Machine,” “Here and Now,” “In It for the Money,” “Radio” and “Pornography” (featuring Carl Barât of The Libertines. CLIEИT left the label in 2006 and no further activity with the Toast Hawaii label has occurred or been announced to date.Fletcher began touring as a DJ. to support CLIEИT’s live shows. Currently, when he is on hiatus from Depeche Mode, Fletcher plays occasional festivals and club gigs in Europe, Asia, South America and “places where Depeche Mode haven’t visited or been able to visit” and is known to include various exclusive Depeche remixes in his sets. A notable DJ set of Fletcher’s from 2011 in Warsaw has been widely bootlegged. In 2015, Fletcher also embarked on a small tour of European clubs.