1. I have a new interview with Damon Albarn up at Rolling Stone, talking about his excellent new album, Everyday Robots. There’s lots in there. But I have to say, one of my favorite moments was when Damon brought up his latest appearance on the cover of magazine. Let’s just say he didn’t like it:

    I mean, personally, I thought the headline on the cover of Q was comedic. It’s almost something out of Monty Python, you know? Because according to them I am a drug-taking Satanist, which, if only, is all I can say! [Laughs] If only life was that interesting. Listen, I don’t mind, but it’s not nice for my mum. It’s not nice for my daughter. In isolation, it’s quite a shocking sort of thing. For me it’s comedy. But I think it’s a shame for them as a newspaper that they have to resort to such tactics. Clearly they’re not selling many papers, otherwise why would you do that?

    Also, why would you do that and then put a really healthy-looking picture of me? At least dress me up with huge great dark shadows under my eyes and a pentagon tattooed on my forehead, or a swastika, do you know what I mean? If you want to make me Charles Manson, make me look like fucking Charles Manson, not like someone who’s just come off from a holiday in the Caribbean or whatever.

     


  2. That’s the takeaway from my short RS review of her new album, cheekily titled The New Classic.

     


  3. My Rolling Stone review is online now.

     


  4. Kevin Mazur has captured more great live moments on film than most of us see in our lives. I recently spoke to the A-list concert photographer about some striking, intimate images of Kurt Cobain that he took between the fall of 1992 and December 1993. Click through to see the photos and read the stories behind them.

     


  5. Last night, I attended the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It was an incredible show, with lots of excellent performances by Cat Stevens, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and others. But the most powerful moment by far was the Nirvana reunion/tribute that closed out the night. Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear performed four Nirvana songs with four lead singers standing in for Kurt: Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, Annie Clark, and Lorde. It was easily one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Words can’t quite capture how intensely awesome it was, but here’s the rapturous write-up I turned in after a few hours of sleep this morning.

     


  6. I recently got to speak with the great photographer Dennis Morris, who shared his memories of working closely with Bob Marley from 1974 (when Morris was in high school) up until the singer’s death seven years later. Morris has an exhibit of rare Marley photos opening next week in L.A. It sounds great.

     


  7. Taylor Momsen’s rock band, The Pretty Reckless, looked like a TV actor’s vanity project when it started. But she quit Gossip Girl not long after the band’s first album, and their new one, Going to Hell, is a solidly enjoyable hard-rock LP.

    I interviewed Momsen for a full-page Q&A in the new issue of Rolling Stone. Here’s a short excerpt where she talks about the new album’s provocative cover art.

    Momsen goes on to draw an analogy to another famous naked album cover. “I don’t think John Lennon was trying to shock people when he was naked on Two Virgins,” she says. “He was just trying to be as honest and raw as he could, and that’s what my intent is with nudity.”
     


  8. This is not a joke. Send your questions about life, love, work or school to askaboss@rollingstone.com and they could appear with answers from Rick Ross in an upcoming edition of Rolling Stone’s new feature, “Ask a Boss With Rick Ross.”

     


  9. I profiled Carrie Brownstein for the new issue of Rolling Stone. Special bonus for the web: Here’s a gallery with some more images from We Are the Rhoads’ photo shoot at Carrie’s house in Portland, plus outtakes from my interview.

    The full profile from the magazine is also online now. Read it here!

     


  10. "Man, there’s a part of me that laughs when I hear that," Ross says. "It’s a compliment. Like, ‘Wow, I made it, I’m in the Illuminati!’ But people who say shit like that, to me, are like people who believe in fucking magic."

    Ross notes for the record that he means no disrespect to actual magicians: “David Copperfield is a close homey of mine – I told him I was going to bring my yacht out to his private island – but the fucking Illuminati? What the fuck.”

    This is a short excerpt from the print-only Q&A I did with Ross for Rolling Stone's last issue. We talked about his new album, the Olympics, the Oscars, his escape plan if Miami sinks due to global warming, and more. The man knows how to have an entertaining conversation.

     


  11. Carrie Brownstein’s Life After Punk

    I profiled Carrie Brownstein for the new issue of Rolling Stone, on stands this week. We talked about the rise of Portlandia; why Sleater-Kinney really broke up; and how she feels about the idea of a reunion, among other things. This was a great reporting experience: In addition to being an incredibly talented artist, Carrie is a really smart and funny talker (no surprise there). I can’t wait to read the memoir she’s writing.

    This issue of the magazine also has an excellent Skrillex cover story by Jonah Weiner, an exclusive interview with the creator of Flappy Bird by David Kushner, and lots more. I’ll post my Carrie story here if it goes up online, but for now it’s online-only. Pick up a copy if you see one!

    UPDATE: The full story is now online. Read it here!

     


  12. Read much more from Rivers’ eloquent Nirvana tribute, as told to me, at RollingStone.com.

    Previously: I spoke with Pat Smear about Nirvana’s final year in 2013, and interviewed Krist Novoselic and Butch Vig about the 20th anniversary of Nevermind in 2011.

     


  13. St. Vincent’s new album is the best thing I’ve heard so far in 2014, and I won’t be surprised if it ends up at the top of my albums list in December. Yes, it’s only February, but what I’m saying is that this album is incredible – the most focused statement yet by the most thrilling solo artist in indie rock.  It’s streaming at NPR; go listen, and read my new interview with Annie Clark at RollingStone.com.

     


  14. I really enjoyed interviewing Charlamagne – he’s a very smart, very funny guy who isn’t shy about his own flaws. Read more at RollingStone.com.

     


  15. Pete Seeger, 1919-2014: All Together Now

    Pete Seeger’s shows were all about crowd participation. In his later years, this was a matter of necessity - after decades of singing loud and clear at countless protests, rallies and marches, he needed some help to carry those tunes. But Pete’s signature singalongs meant more than that. Collective thought and action were his guiding principles. He saw music as a way to bring people together for a greater good, and a room full of many singing together as one was an apt reflection of that ideal.

    When I covered Pete’s 90th birthday concert at Madison Square Garden for my old employer in 2009, I was there as a reporter but also as a lifelong fan – someone who grew up singing his songs with the other kids at my progressive summer day camp. I joined my voice with 18,000 others on “Goodnight, Irene,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” “Turn, Turn Turn,” “Which Side Are You On?,” “Union Maid,” “Bring Them Home” and all the rest. It did my heart good to witness everyone in the Garden that night singing along for Pete and the values he stood for.

    Well, almost everyone. I remember looking over in my row and seeing a prominent critic – I won’t name names – who spent the entire show just standing there, arms crossed, with a self-serious look on his face and no hint of music on his lips. It was apparent that he felt some professional obligation to keep himself separate from the emotion of the night. I realized right there that I never want to become the kind of journalist who positions himself that far outside of the experiences he writes about. What’s the point? If there’s one thing I’ll take away from Pete Seeger’s life, it’s that we’re all in this together, and the world works better when we don’t sequester ourselves from our fellow human beings. Today I’m proud that I sang along with Pete Seeger on that occasion and so many others, and I honestly feel kind of bad for anyone who denied him- or herself that joy.