Monday, September 3, 2018

Paul McCartney “saw God” after taking hallucinogenic drug DMT

“We were immediately nailed to the sofa”

Sir Paul McCartney has revealed how a particularly vivid experience of taking drugs left him convinced that he had seen God.

Discussing spirituality in an interview with the Sunday Times, the Beatles icon claimed that there was “something higher”, and likened it to the time he took Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) with art dealer and gallery owner Robert Fraser.

“We were immediately nailed to the sofa,” he told the publication of taking drugs in his Beatles heyday. “And I saw God, this amazing towering thing, and I was humbled. And what I’m saying is, that moment didn’t turn my life around, but it was a clue.”

He continued: “It was huge. A massive wall that I couldn’t see the top of, and I was at the bottom.

“And anybody else would say it’s just the drug, the hallucination, but both Robert and I were like, ‘Did you see that?’ We felt we had seen a higher thing.”

The drug experienced a wave of popularity during in the 1960s as a more effective alternative to substances such as LSD and magic mushrooms.

After discussing the near-religious experience, McCartney detailed the “thrilling” moment of connecting with late wife Linda after her death.

As he came to terms with her 1998 death, he spent extensive time in the countryside, where he saw a white squirrel which he interpreted as being “Linda, come back to give me a sign”.

Last month, McCartney also described how he had “self-medicated” with Whiskey after the Beatles split up. The star is set to release his latest solo album ‘Egypt Station’ on September 7 and sings about his past drinking habits on the track ‘Happy With You’. The track features the lyrics: “I used to drink too much/Forget to come home.”

Speaking to MOJO, McCartney described the song as “candid”. “I did used to get stoned and wasted,” he said.

He said he felt like he had self-medicated in the past, “most particularly in the period right after The Beatles [split up].” “I was bummed out and in the middle of this horrendous shit where someone was going to take every penny we’d ever made,” he explained.

“That wasn’t easy and led to a very difficult time in my life. I definitely self-medicated there and drank more than I ever had and probably more than I ever have since. But you go through it.”

Is a new Kendrick Lamar album coming soon?

The rumour mill is in overdrive

One of Kendrick Lamar‘s labelmates has hinted that a new album from the rap superstar may be coming soon.

Isaiah Rashad, who shares a spot on the Top Dawg Entertainment roster with Lamar, took part in an Instagram Live stream recently, and revealed that he heard a “damn near” complete new Kendrick Lamar album.

Referring to a hangout with Top Dawg Entertainment CEO Anthony Tiffith, Rashad stated “[Top] just played me a whole Dot album, damn near,” before revealing that more Top Dawg Entertainment releases may be incoming: “[ScHoolboy] Q finna drop. SZA’s hair is green, so you know it’s going to be fire. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Kendrick Lamar recently headlined Reading & Leeds Festivals, with his Reading set finding the rapper battling against a difficult crowd. “Kendrick was absolutely the right person to be headlining Reading Festival, and we know he’s got the chops to make it special,” wrote NME‘s Hannah Mylrea, “So it’s just a shame that the moment escaped us tonight.”

Lamar also recently received the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his latest album, ‘DAMN.‘ He was the first non-jazz or classical artist to be given the honour.

“It took a long time for people to embrace us – people outside of our community, our culture – to see this not just as vocal lyrics, but to see that this is really pain, this is really hurt, this is really true stories of our lives on wax.”

He said that getting the recognition for the genre was not only “great for [him]self”, but made him feel “good about hip-hop in general.” Writers like Tupac, Jay-Z, Rakim, Eminem, Q-Tip, Big Daddy Kanye, Snoop… It lets me know that people are actually listening further than I expected.”

Bob Dylan Extends 2018 US Tour

Bob Dylan has expanded his 2018 tour, which previously didn’t include any Northeast shows and now includes a bunch. He’s got two in Upstate NY, plus stops in Atlantic City, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Tickets for the Atlantic City show — which happens 11/17 at Hard Rock Live — are on sale now, and tickets for the other newly-added dates go on sale Friday (8/24). Updated dates are listed below.

The Bob Dylan musical Girl From the North Country begins its run at NYC’s Public Theater in September.

Dylan recently released Live 1962-1966 – Rare Performances From The Copyright Collections. Hear “Seven Curses” from that, below.

Bob Dylan — 2018 Tour Dates
22 AUG 2018 – Newcastle, Australia Newcastle Entertainment Centre
24 AUG 2018 – Brisbane, Australia Brisbane Entertainment Centre
26 AUG 2018 – Auckland, New Zealand Spark Arena
28 AUG 2018 – Christchurch, New Zealand Horncastle Arena
9 OCT 2018 – Midland, TX Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center
10 OCT 2018 – Irving, TX The Pavilion at the Toyota Music Factory
12 OCT 2018 – Tulsa, OK River Spirit Casino Resort
13 OCT 2018 – Thackerville, OK WinStar World Casino and Resort
14 OCT 2018 – Sugar Land, TX Smart Financial Centre
16 OCT 2018 – Lafayette, LA Heymann Center
17 OCT 2018 – Mobile, AL Mobile Saenger Theatre
19 OCT 2018 – St. Augustine, FL St. Augustine Amphitheatre
20 OCT 2018 – Clearwater, Florida Ruth Eckerd Hall
21 OCT 2018 – Sarasota, FL Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
23 OCT 2018 – Fort Myers, FL Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall
24 OCT 2018 – Fort Lauderdale, FL Broward Center for the Performing Arts
26 OCT 2018 – Orlando, FL Walt Disney Theater | Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
27 OCT 2018 – Macon, GA Macon City Auditorium
28 OCT 2018 – Chattanooga, TN Tivoli Theatre
30 OCT 2018 – Huntsville, AL Mark C. Smith Concert Hall – Von Braun Center
31 OCT 2018 – Knoxville, TN Tennessee Theatre
2 NOV 2018 – Asheville, NC Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
3 NOV 2018 – Durham, NC Durham Performing Arts Center
4 NOV 2018 – North Charleston, South Carolina North Charleston Performing Arts Center
6 NOV 2018 – Savannah, GA Johnny Mercer Theatre
7 NOV 2018 – Augusta, GA The Bell Auditorium
9 NOV 2018 – Charlotte, North Carolina Ovens Auditorium
10 NOV 2018 – Roanoke, VA Berglund Performing Arts Theatre
11 NOV 2018 – Richmond, KY EKU Center for the Arts
13 NOV 2018 – Youngstown, OH Covelli Centre
14 NOV 2018 – Rochester, NY Auditorium Theatre
15 NOV 2018 – Utica, NY Stanley Center for the Arts
17 NOV 2018 – Atlantic City, NJ Hard Rock Hotel
18 NOV 2018 – Springfield, MA Symphony Hall
20 NOV 2018 – Waterbury, CT Palace Theatre

Friday, August 31, 2018

Iconic Rock & Roll Photographer Mick Rock, known as “The Man Who Shot the Seventies” Holding Gallery Show at The Jewelry Studio in Plainview - October 20th-21st

This October, one of the world’s most influential Rock n’ Roll photographers who was instrumental in creating some of the most widely known iconic images in rock history, Mick Rock, will join forces with highly respected jewelry artist Robert Pepkin for a unique retrospective on Rock’s astounding career. The Mick Rock Iconic Gallery Show will be held Saturday, October 20th (6-10PM) through Sunday, October 21st (1-6PM) at The Jewelry Studio!

This unique gallery experience is set to include a collection of limited edition photographic pieces--on sale to the public--with wearable jewelry art designed by Pepkin and Rock, book signings, meet-and-greet red carpet opportunities, and more. With exhibits ranging from classic portrait pieces of LI natives like Joan Jett and Lou Reed to Mick Rock’s quintessential album covers from the late 60’s through today including Lou Reed’s “Transformer”, Iggy Pop’s “Raw Power”, The Ramones “End of the Century”, and works from his incredible creative partnership with David Bowie - attendee’s can view and purchase copies of some of the most legendary images in music history. And with the upcoming release of Queen’s biopic Bohemian Rhapsody in theatres this November, the collection will include some of Mick’s timeless works with the band including their “Queen II” and “Sheer Heart Attack” album covers! The Gallery Show is set to run through January.

Legendary rock photographer Mick Rock is often referred to as ‘The Man Who Shot the Seventies’, for his iconic images of Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd), David Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Queen, the Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Blondie, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and so much more. London born, he has resided in New York for the past 35 years. He has shot over 100 album covers.

But he in reality never shopped photographing and image making. His recent subjects include Snoop Dogg, Father John Misty, Lenny Kravitz , Janelle Monae, Jimmy Fallon, The Black Keys, Karen O, Ellie Goulding, Alicia Keys, Michael Buble, Daft Punk, Perry Farrell, Motley Crue, TV On The Radio, Pharrell, Josh Groban, Flaming Lips, Nas, Rufus Wainwright, Kings of Leon, R. Kelly, The Black Lips , Queens of The Stone Age, and the list goes on.

Mick Rock was instrumental in creating many key rock ‘n’ roll images, such as album covers for Syd Barrett’s “Madcap Laughs”, Lou Reed’s “Transformer” and “Coney Island Baby”, Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”, among many others. He was the chief photographer on the films “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and “Shortbus”. He recently shot special stills for the new TV version of Rocky Horror, featuring the transgender actress Laverne Cox as Frank N. Furter. He also produced and directed the seminal music videos for Bowie: “John, I’m Only Dancing”, “Jean Genie”, “Space Oddity”, and “Life On Mars”.

His latest publication “The Rise of David Bowie 1972-1973” (with David Bowie), (Taschen Books, published September 2015): a spectacular limited edition co-signed with Bowie, sold out just before David’s death. It was Taschen’s fastest-ever selling limited edition publication. He is currently promoting Bowie’s trade edition (which will be signed on site by Mick). A documentary about his career, produced by Vice Films and Straight Up Films, called ‘SHOT!’, was launched at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2016. The doc is being distributed by Magnolia Pictures and was released theatrically in Spring 2017. A classic quote from Mick in the London Times, who dubbed him ‘the music world’s top snapper’: “I’ve never felt like a voyeur, although I’ve certainly done plenty of looking! I work from the inside out. Like a cook I gather all the ingredients and keep mixing and stirring and tasting until the kind of effluvia starts to rise, then I’m off to the races. It’s an addictive kind of a feeling that I need a regular shot of otherwise I don’t feel right.”

He recently shot a major fashion campaign for the Gucci brand in Rome, which was published worldwide in the spring of 2018. Alessandro Michele, the groundbreaking designer for Gucci, said: “I love my collaboration with Mick. We made beautiful images together. I respect him as a great fellow artist and imagemaker.”

A Long Island native, Robert Pepkin attended the Pratt Institute for Fine Art before working with fine jewelry artist Marla Mencher for extra income. He found inspiration in a new kind of art that people could wear.

After a chance meeting with Francis Ford Coppola’s father Carmine, he was hired to work on the set design of their production of “Opera on the Sound.” Additionally, Robert’s bold illustrations have graced pages from Penthouse to Reader’s Digest.

Pepkin continued to get more involved in the design and creation of jewelry and eventually opened “The Jewelry Studio.” During his 40 year career as an artist and jeweler, he has been inspired by countless artists both inside and outside his field. Yet, he gets his greatest inspiration from working with his client’s sentimental items and other designers’ creation of timeless pieces. From redesigning family heirlooms to creating one-of-a-kind pieces, Pepkin enjoys the process as well as the close bonds and relationships he has with his clients.

He finds equal inspiration in the work of Mick Rock, who he met over 30 years ago. Pepkin is extremely excited to collaborate with Rock in their upcoming gallery show. “The attraction to Mick’s work for me comes from the many theatrical undertones, from the drama behind the legendary black and white Queen II album cover to capturing the dramatic poses of Iggy Pop on stage — all of his shots capture the spirit of the artist or band he works with. The same has gone for me when trying to create something that someone will wear. You have to capture their spirit because the pieces become part of them and part of their own history.”

Through David Glicker, a mutual friend and promoter, the two artists have reconnected to collaborate on this very special event.

On Saturday, October 20th (6-10PM) through Sunday, October 21st (1-6PM) the two artistic greats will come together to premiere The Mick Rock Iconic Gallery Show at Robert Pepkin’s The Jewelry Studio in Plainview, NY - an experience not to be missed for music, art, and jewelry fans alike!

For More Information on Mick Rock, VISIT:

Instagram: @TheRealMickRock

Twitter @TheRealMickRock

For More Information on Robert Pepkin and The Jewelry Studio/Gallery, Call 516-933-4166 or VISIT:

Youtube - "Beyond the Prism: The Creation of Jewelry"

Monday, August 20, 2018

Meet Robinson: the rising star behind pop juggernaut "Nothing to Regret"

“It’s about not setting limitations and wanting to take it as far as you can. You never know where the boundaries are”

“I am someone that gets very excited over everything” 21-year-old Anna Robinson tells us midway through our chat in the NME HQ. This is a very good thing, as the young singer-songwriter who goes by just her surname, Robinson, has had a lot to get excited about recently. Her latest tune ‘Nothing to Regret’ has totally blown up. Its gone gold in her home of New Zealand, platinum in Australia and currently boasts over fifty million streams worldwide.

It’s unsurprising, though, that ‘Nothing to Regret’ has earned her support from tastemakers and consumers alike. All subtle builds and triumphant climaxes, with a huge, emotive earworm of a chorus (à la fellow Kiwi Lorde), it’s makes for a heady sugar rush.

But none of this is the result of overnight success; it’s come from years of grafting. Growing up in a musical family, Anna always loved writing music but “absolutely loathed the idea of performing” She got over this after singing ‘My Favourite Things’ at primary school concert (“I messed up… It was scary but you have to go through that so you can get to a point where you’ve experienced it all and feel comfortable knowing that mistakes are ok!”). She then actively pursuing a career in music as a teenager, creating the Robinson moniker last year, and she’s been dutifully crafting outrageously good music since.

“I remember when we released the first song under the Robinson project that got maybe twenty thousand streams in a week or two and to me that was crazy,” she tells us, but even now the streams have rocketed, Robinson remains enthused and humble about every aspect of her blossoming career.

“In Manchester this group of like celebrity spotters, they were like “’oh my god, Anna, can we have your photo?’ and I was so confused looking at everyone like maybe we knew these guys, she says excitedly. “Do they have an app on their phone that scans a face? I was trying to work it out, I mean on the Internet it says I’m fifty-five. That was a moment where even if they were a celebrity spotter I’m still going to take that!”

We caught up with the talent ahead of her debut show in London (“I’m so excited”) last month, to talk writing a smash, the album and the time her Mum rang up Hollywood Records and made her sing a Katy Perry song down the phone.

When you finished writing ‘Nothing to Regret’ did you envisage this success?

“No! I think it’s weird being in a studio, I always think of it like a studio bubble that’s cast over you and everyone that is in the room and I think that’s just because when you’re writing a song you get so inside your own head. You’re spending so much time finessing over all these points in the song that you kind of lose the ability to be like “this is good” or “this is bad. It’s weird, when we wrote ‘Nothing to Regret’ it felt really good but I don’t think we really knew what it truly was if that makes sense. But that could also be because it was three in the morning when we left! Probably just really tired and we were like “let’s call it a night.”

And now it’s racked up millions of streams – what’s that like?

Crazy, very crazy. It’s been such a gradual process for me so I really love being able to appreciate each achievement for what it is.

What was it like the first time you heard it on the radio?

Well, it was amazing. It’s such a cool feeling to think that something you created in a room with no one else but yourself and the producer is now in a place where it’s totally the opposite of that.

I think I was driving somewhere and I knew that the radio was going to play it and I remember pulling over and turning it up. Not in a conceited way but just kind of, it’s a proud moment when you’ve put so much into something and finessing over the little details and wanting to make it perfect.

How supportive of your music are your family?

Unbelievably. My mum is so supportive. When I was fourteen I went through this phase where I thought I had to live in America or London or a big city to get out there and do it, and one day I found the number for Hollywood Records [released records by Queen and Demi Lovato] and I nagged my mum, and was like: “Mum, you’ve got to ring them and just say I really love music”.

I was sitting in the room next door so nervous, and so she called them and to the receptionist she explained that I was a writer and a singer and did the typical mum thing of really building me up. And she was like ‘Anna said that she would sing ‘Firework’ by Katy Perry down the phone”. So I ran in and said ‘no no no no!’ and my mum hands me the phone. I think I did a verse and a chorus which makes me cringe so much just thinking about it.

Looking at the rest of your year, what’s the plan?

I think for me; an album has always been my goal because it is such a nice home for these songs to be. In my head it would just be nice for all the songs to be on one thing, you can just see it and maybe that’s the inner Virgo in me thinking it’s got to be perfectly on an album.

Do you have one milestone you want to achieve in your career?

I’ve always thought about it from the aspect that I don’t ever want it to get to a point where it stops. I always want to be pushing as far as it can go, goals are really important and I should probably set them but even playing Glastonbury would be really amazing and performing at an awards show would be really cool. At the same time as setting goals, it’s about not setting limitations and wanting to take it as far as you can. You never know where the boundaries are if just keep doing it.


Singer/Songwriter Sammi Rae Murciano Adds More Upcoming Performances to Summer 2018 Schedule

Having already taken the stage at the famous Jones Beach Bandshell just last week Singer/Songwriter Sammi Rae Murciano is keeping the momentum going with more upcoming performances all over the Island - starting with the Adventureland Amusement Park stage TONIGHT, August 9th at 7PM!

A Long Island native, 17yr old Sammi Rae has been singing for four years, and garnering a ton of praise from audiences nationwide.

Inspired by a wide range of talents before her, she has cited her major influences as everyone from Beyoncé to James Arthur, Rihanna, Adele, Dua Lipa and many more. Her strong and soulful voice is well beyond her years at the young age of 17, and knowing that you have to believe in yourself and have confidence to be successful has been her continued mantra, especially showcased through her most recent single “Reflection”.

Upcoming Shows:

Thursday, August 9th, 7PM @ Adventureland Amusement Park, Farmingdale, NY

Sunday, August 26th 12PM @ Revolution Music Hall, Amityville, NY

Saturday, September 8th @ Center Court at Walt Whitman Mall, Huntington Station, NY

“I am very honored to have performed at some amazing venues and I am excited for what is to come in the future. I have many shows coming up as well as new music that I can’t wait to share with everyone. Most importantly always follow your dreams!”

Her three song EP “The Story” includes “Reflection” along with “Back to Me” - about wanting to move forward and finding the strength to trust and love again, and “Never Letting Go” - a track she says she wants “to inspire others” continuing “no one should let anyone stop them from doing what they love”. The final track also sums up the feelings that connect through the whole EP in a sense, one of the lyrics being “Take the risk or the chance to lose it all, let the burning desire go” which she expresses as “meaning you should always take a chance and do what you are passionate about each and every day."

Having been involved with organizations whose causes she feels truly passionate about including a performance at the Long Island Coalition Against Bullying's 2nd Annual Fall Gala and another upcoming at the MyFace Races for Faces Walk to Empower the Craniofacial Community September 16th (More info TBA!), Murciano certainly continues to use her talents to spread awareness whenever possible.

Now, as she gets ready for more shows straight through September, her fans and followers have plenty of reasons to come out and support the rising star.

To Purchase “The Story” EP via iTunes, VISIT:

To Hear The Single “Reflection” via Spotify, VISIT:

The Quirky Beauty of Ariana Grande’s Sweetener

We’ve all had a wild year, but Ariana Grande might’ve had the wildest. Since last spring, the Floridian singer with the outsize voice had her world rocked by a terror attack at her arena show in Manchester. Just two weeks later, she made a brave return to the stage for an uplifting performance at One Love Manchester, a star-studded benefit for victims of the bombing and their families. Her romance with the rapper Mac Miller fizzled out, and she later revealed that she was dating Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson, and that the new romance had quickly bloomed into an engagement. Just a few months later, the singer is back with album number four. On this month’s new Sweetener, Grande spices up the expected array of Max Martin, ILYA, and TB Hits productions that netted platinum certifications for Yours Truly, My Everything, and Dangerous Woman with a half-dozen quirky beats from Pharrell. The shift in personnel lends the new album a deeper R&B cred than the three before it, and that gives the singer ample opportunity to gush about falling in love.

Sweetener is serious enough in its commitment to break with the traditions of Ariana Grande albums to serve three big, weird Pharrell collaborations right up front. “Blazed” is textbook Skateboard P, all funky, ascending keys and busy percussion. “The Light Is Coming” features a capable Nicki Minaj guest rap and chiptune affectations, and shifting tempos reminiscent of the last N.E.R.D. album, No One Ever Really Dies. “R.E.M.” remakes a five-year-old Beyoncé demo, keeping the original song’s gorgeous doo-wop vocals but easing off of the hip-hop verses. It’s a bold sequence of songs because Ari albums have a tendency of dropping two megaton hit records by track four (and because the last person to schedule this many Pharrell beats on the same album was Justin Timberlake, who didn’t do such a great job of it). Sweetener is an exercise in world-building. It’s as interested in piecing together a breezy, gregarious mood as it is in crafting hits. There’s no EDM banger until “No Tears Left to Cry” at track ten, and it’s the only one on the album. As a lead single, it’s a delectable fakeout, a promise of dance-floor heat the record has very little intention of delivering. A few fans of Ariana Grande’s dance-pop hits are seething this week.

Anchoring this album in the jazzy chords, wonky synth tones, and offbeat samples Pharrell favors gives it a more playful and adventurous energy than the mechanized radio pop Ariana usually gets from all the in-demand pop and EDM beatmakers. The singer’s voice is a joy in this setting — in any setting. Elastic vocal runs and delightful harmonies make this batch of lyrics about the ups and downs of a whirlwind romance seem all the more lived in, and Pharrell matches the energy on cuts like the title track, which outfits Ariana’s food/sex double entendres with an ad-lib track that sounds like someone scoffing at them in real time, and “Successful,” whose drum programming includes a track of sensual, rhythmic breathing. Other collaborators match his methodology. On “God Is a Woman,” “Better Off,” and “Goodnight n Go,” ILYA, Hit-Boy, and TB Hits use kick drums as melodic instruments in the same way P’s production on the title track (and a few on the Timberlake album) does. Working with producers who have very specific signature sounds, like Pharrell and the mid-tempo disco-beat tactician Max Martin, sometimes means struggling to come out with a product greater than the sum of its highly recognizable parts; Ariana, a bubbly singer with chops beyond her years, doesn’t have this problem.

The baking metaphor powering the title track serves as a mission statement for the whole album: “When life deals us cards, makes everything taste like it is salt / Then, you come through like the sweetener you are to bring the bitter taste to a halt.” Ariana’s happy, and she intends to pass the feeling along to anyone who’ll listen. The album’s not all confections and kisses though; cohabitation and companionship are rewarding, but they also require work. Sweetener’s flow between songs about desire and songs about the attendant stresses of making a relationship work feel natural to the dizzying sensation of falling for someone and finding a routine for living that appeases both parties. The album’s not afraid to talk about working out the kinks: “Everytime” perches on the point where attraction threatens to become obsession; in “Breathin” and “Get Well Soon,” the singer coaches herself through anxiety attacks and fears about her future.

This is a confessional album when it comes to matters of the heart, but if you dive into Sweetener thinking the calm-after-the-storm conceit of “No Tears Left to Cry” suggested an album about overcoming tragedy, that’s not the spirit of the thing. We hear a lot about Ariana being in a good place and working hard to stay there, but not so much about how she got there. Sweetener offers gourmet parfait, when some listeners might have expected steak. This isn’t a knock against the quality of the music; it’s perhaps unfair to make the soul-searching honesty of albums like Bey’s Lemonade or Kesha’s Rainbow the bar for how a pop star processes trying times and approaches the business of returning to work afterward. What counts is that Ariana Grande seems at peace after what looked like a rough patch, and Sweetener lives up to its name as a heartening dip into the sights, tastes, and smells of blossoming romance.