By Anthony Murray and Dave Gil de Rubio
Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once famously said music is the universal language of mankind and at Anton Media Group we’re definitely fluent when it comes to music. This past year, Long Island Weekly has talked to many of your favorite musicians from solo artists such as Lenny Kravitz, Andy Grammer, David Crosby, Aaron Neville and Melissa Etheridge to bands that include Fitz and the Tantrums, Goo Goo Dolls, Train, Daughtry and Chicago.
Recorded at his home studio in Eleuthera, Bahamas, Kravitz’s eleventh studio album Raise Vibration was conceived through a series of dreams. Call it a stream-of-unconsciousness.
“All these songs came from being asleep and waking up between the hours of 3 and 5 a.m. and having these songs in my head. It was a very interesting experience. And it was very freeing. You take your mind, ego and whatever preconceived ideas you have—all of that comes out. You’re receiving what it is that is yours and I love that.”
Grammer stopped by the Big Apple for his Don’t Give Up On Me tour to promote his fourth studio album Naïve. Grammer opened up about the driving force that was behind the creation of his newest album.
“At heart, I was trying to make an album that was for people who are optimistic,” Grammer said. “I’ve been saying it’s a lot like the light bringer situation. It’s people who see the good in everything and when you are one of those people, the world looks at you like you’re stupid. I love the title of Naïve, which sounds like a revolutionary statement of ‘I don’t care if you think I’m stupid. I’m going to see the good in this world.’”
As an avowed lefty, suffice it to say that the 2016 election wasn’t quite the result Melissa Etheridge was expecting. With her 15th studio album, The Medicine Show, Etheridge used all of 2017 to put together notebooks full of inspirational ideas with the album serving as a microcosm of what was going on in 2018.
“It’s times like this where I see that music and art can do so much. As a way to look at this, I have no desire to preach to anybody. But I do want to reach into the hearts and minds of people and really give hope and find a way to inspire everyone through all this.”
Fitz and the Tantrums
The band Fitz and the Tantrums have been going strong for the past decade and recently dropped their fourth studio album All The Feels last year. The lead singer of the band, Michael Fitzpatrick, talked about how the band came to be.
“It was five phone calls and I had a band together,” Fitzpatrick said. “We went into a rehearsal space and we played one song. I was so blown away that I walked out of the room and booked us a show at the Hotel Café in Los Angeles. We played our first show a week later and we haven’t stopped touring since.”
Chris Daughtry shot to superstardom overnight thanks to a little talent show called American Idol. Daughtry and his band, released their fifth studio album Cage to Rattle last year. One of the songs on the new album, “As You Are” has sentimental meaning to Daughtry, which he shared about.
“That song to me was the heart and soul of the record,” Daughtry said. “My wife and I wrote the song in 2015. I believed in this song from the very beginning and I wanted it to see the light of day. It was the song that means a lot to us and we’re so glad to be getting the response that we’re getting from it.”
What better way to celebrate 20 years of music than going on tour? That’s exactly what the band Train did last year. Besides being lead singer of the band, Pat Monahan opened up about hosting his own weekly radio show on SiriusXM titled Train Tracks.
“I feel like new artists need a place to go to find their way,” Monahan said. “I just think it’s super important what I’m doing and I never really felt that way about anything before until now and I’ve been thanked by artists all over the world who say, ‘Thanks for giving me a shot. I didn’t think I would ever get played.’ It just seems like a cool thing.”
Goo Goo Dolls
Consummate road warriors, Goo Goo Dolls never lost the blue-collar ethic of hard work despite crossing over from being a scrappy punk outfit to a popular pop-rock act. Out on the road with their friends Train last year, Goos vocalist John Rzeznick shared his love for playing Northwell at Jones Beach, the local stop his band made last year.
“Jones Beach is one of the first really big places this band ever got to play. And it was so exciting—to look at the top of the stands and see people up that high in the seats. It blew my mind man. We’ve had so many great shows there—getting poured on by the rain. Then it’s 100 degrees outside. Everyone just has a great time. I love it.”
Still thriving five decades on, founding member Robert Lamm shared his theory behind the group’s longevity.
“The songs. The music. Obviously, the sound of the band is appealing to a lot of people. The way the horns are used is very different than what other bands do. The idiosyncrasies of the way [they sound]—and believe me, I really had a chance to consider that when we did Chicago II. Those aren’t even songs—those are compositions.”