Ever since Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora played "Wanted Dead or Alive" with nothing but their guitars (and mullets), fans and the music industry alike have had a fascination with stripped-down performances. The duo's intimate performance on MTV in the early 1990s paved the way for that channel's popular Unplugged series, VH1's Storytellers, and countless other shows that have featured artists playing their songs without plugging into an outlet. This week "A-Sides" channels the iconic MTV series -- sans the candles and cardigans -- with three very different artists sharing three very different songs acoustically.
Eve to Adam are usually accustomed to audiences rapidly bopping their heads up and down to their guitar-based hard rock music. Not on "A-Sides." The NYC-based group, which features Taki Sassaris (lead vocals/guitar), Alex Sassaris (drums/backing vocals), Gaurav Bali (guitar/backing vocals) and Eric Bergmann (bass), made a pit stop in White Plains, NY (the Music Conservatory of Westchester to be exact) to perform their high octane track "Run Your Mouth" minus the high "octaniness". The band are about to tour with a big name to be named late -- all in support of their new album Banquet for a Starving Dog. Thus far, they've opened up for everyone from POD to Saliva. Watch "Run Your Mouth" below followed by an informal chat.
Anna Rose is the antithesis of Eve to Adam. This singer/songwriter dropped her debut album Nomad over a year ago, and it's safe to say no one banged their head listening to the record. An inspired collection of songs she wrote on her journey into the music business and her life experiences, the album was more poignant than it was hard rocking. That's about to change. Rose said her next album, which will be released in early 2012, will be closer to alt rock than the "singer/songwritery" vibe of Nomad. We're getting a sneak preview of what's to come now.
Earlier this month, the musician released a video for her sultry cover of Arcade Fire's "My Body is a Cage" on NME. Her interpretation of the song has gone viral, earning critical acclaim, and more importantly, has received a thumbs-up from that Canadian wonder band.
Rose performed the cover with her guitarist Adam Stoler at a Conservatory studio earlier this week, and discussed her career path afterwards.
Reality Bites is a pretty underrated movie. Sure, Winona Ryder's a bit whiny in it, but I really dug the script, the performances, and above all else, the soundtrack. One famous scene in that Ben Stiller-directed Generation X flick is the characters dancing to "My Sharona" at a gas station mart. Well, last week, I came as close as I ever will to reenacting that scene. In a New York City deli, singer/songwriter Grace Weber and her guitarist joined me for an impromptu "A-Sides." Following a performance of "Hitchhiker" off her buzzworthy debut album Hope & Heart, Weber chatted about the basis for the song, her music, and more while frat guys behind us made their beer selection.
Before you watch the video, know this about Weber: she's a Milwaukee native currently residing in Brooklyn, and has already performed on "Showtime at the Apollo," played the Kennedy Center, and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Her jazzy pop styling has also caught the eye of Billboard Magazine who dubbed her an "artist to watch." Speaking of which... watch her now.
About "A-Sides with Jon Chattman"
Jon Chattman's music series features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometime humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I'm hoping this is refreshing.