Detroit-based indie rockers The High Strung
, whose penchant for playing live music in libraries was the subject of a This American Life feature
, were invited to play a show at the Guantanamo Bay library this summer. They said yes. What followed is documented in a Vanity Fair
article, written by the older brother of one of the bandmembers.
Some of their turnout may have been siphoned off by the presence of another group that had flown in with them [m]ade up of about eight active-duty armed forces members(...) "They're called USA Express," Derek said. "Which is probably the worst band name in the world. That's the best we can do, the all-powerful minds of the U.S. military? Anything would be better than that. The Rangers. The Fighters. Really, anything.
USA Express was also a rock band, but in a different idiom. They played covers of contemporary hits, as instructed by the Army. "Nothing they did was their decision," Derek said. "Where they went, how long they performed, their playlist. The Army said, You have to learn these 60 songs, and your first tour starts in three weeks. Go." For prurience sake, I asked what the 60 songs were. "Something by Pink, 'Freebird,' 'Billie Jean.'" Derek laughed. "That was the highlight of their first show for me actually, 'Billie Jean,' because I was invited to sit in. Their drummer was this 52 year-old dude, and he wanted to perform some dance moves during 'Billie Jean,' so they asked me to cover for him, and he got up and did this Michael Jackson-style dancing while we played.
Video of that "Michael Jackson-style dancing" after the jump. The High Strung Rocks Gitmo (Vanity Fair, thanks Mark Kleiman)
Vintage interview with Jonathan Wolff, composer of the iconic Seinfeld theme (and music for Caroline in the City, Full House, Saved by the Bell, and many other shows). “I started with (Seinfeld’s) voice… and took a meter from his delivery, and made that the tempo of the Seinfeld Theme,” Wolff says.
Samuraigutarist recorded his cover of The Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun” at a very slow tempo that lengthened the song to around 30 minutes. Then he sped up the video and audio 20x. The result sounds like a lovely violin version of the song.
In 1979, Roger Mainwood, just out of the Royal College of Art, created this wonderfully trippy animation for Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn.” It was a commission from the band’s record company but Kraftwerk had no input on the film, and Mainwood says he’s unsure if they even saw it. The fan site KraftwerkOnline tracked down Mainwood and […]
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Jared Sinclair developed the RSS reader app Unread, which made $10,000 in its first 24 hours on the iOS market. And we’ve all heard the story of Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen, whose creation was reportedly earning $50,000 a day at the height of its 2013 explosion. While those are rare examples, they’re also testament to the […]