The Late Movies: Supergroups

The term supergroup was coined in the late 1960s to describe rock bands made up of musicians that were already well known from performing in other bands or individually. (For some reason, it seems to only apply to rock bands. There are plenty of instances of the titans of jazz playing together—The Count Meets the Duke or Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane—but the term is never used). Some are one-off projects or side projects that do one or two albums and a tour before disbanding (Hindu Love Gods, Mad Season), while others take on a life of their own, have a prolonged existence and even and become the members' main project (Fantomas, the Bad Seeds). Sometimes the bloat of all that rock star ego can really make a group insufferable (Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Velvet Revolver), but sometimes supergroups are pretty awesome, too. Like these groups...

Liquid Tension Experiment
This instrumental progressive rock group features Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci and on drums and guitar, respectively, Dixie Dregs' Jordan Rudess on keyboards and King Crimson's Tony Levin on bass and Chapman stick. Here they are performing "Acid Rain" at a 2008 LA concert.

Shrinebuilder

Doom/stoner metal fans have been waiting for this project to see the light of day since Scott "Wino" Weinrich ( The Hidden Hand, Spirit Caravan, Saint Vitus, The Obsessed), Al Cisneros (Om, Sleep) and Scott Kelly (Neurosis, Tribes of Neurot, Blood and Time) began kicking the idea for a new group around in 2006. When drummer Dale Crover (Melvins) joined, they finally started putting material together and released an album last fall. This is "The Architect" live in NYC last November.

The Highwaymen
Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson, the fathers of "outlaw country" recorded and performed as the Highwaymen between 1985 and 1995, releasing three albums and touring the country. Here's their cover of Jimmy Webb's "Highwayman" from a 1990 show in Long Island.

Oysterhead
Oysterhead, featuring Les Claypool (Primus) Trey Anastasio (Phish) and Stewart Copeland (The Police), was conceived to perform a single show at the 2000 New Orleans Jazz Fest. The next year, though, the group reformed to record and release The Grand Pecking Orderand go on tour. The reunited once more in 2006 to perform at Bonnaroo, which is where this footage of "Little Faces" comes from.

And here are some clips from the recording The Grand Pecking Order and their debut at the New Orleans Jazz Fest.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is fronted by Nick Cave (The Birthday Party) and has counted among its members Mick Harvey (Crime and the City Solution, The Birthday Party), Blixa Bargeld (Einstürzende Neubauten) and Warren Ellis (Dirty Three), among others. Their fourteen albums span a range of sonic territory, from hard-edged blues like "Jack the Ripper"...

...to piano-driven ballads like "Love Letter."

You guys should know by now that I can't write about music without squeezing in a little Springsteen. While the Boss is too big for any group but the mighty E Street Band to handle, he did perform one song with a supergroup at the Grammy Awards show in 2003. The Grammys were awarded just a few months after Joe Strummer, singer-guitarist for the Clash, died at the age of 50. Springsteen, E Street Band guitarist Little Steven Van Zant, Elvis Costello, Foo Fighters singer-guitarist Dave Grohl and No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal paid tribute to Strummer with a cover of the Clash's "London Calling."

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Ernest Hemingway’s Guide to Life, In 20 Quotes
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Though he made his living as a writer, Ernest Hemingway was just as famous for his lust for adventure. Whether he was running with the bulls in Pamplona, fishing for marlin in Bimini, throwing back rum cocktails in Havana, or hanging out with his six-toed cats in Key West, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author never did anything halfway. And he used his adventures as fodder for the unparalleled collection of novels, short stories, and nonfiction books he left behind, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea among them.

On what would be his 119th birthday—he was born in Oak Park, Illinois on July 21, 1899—here are 20 memorable quotes that offer a keen perspective into Hemingway’s way of life.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen."

ON TRUST

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them."

ON DECIDING WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT

"I never had to choose a subject—my subject rather chose me."

ON TRAVEL

"Never go on trips with anyone you do not love."


Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INTELLIGENCE AND HAPPINESS

"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know."

ON TRUTH

"There's no one thing that is true. They're all true."

ON THE DOWNSIDE OF PEOPLE

"The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness, except for the very few that were as good as spring itself."

ON SUFFERING FOR YOUR ART

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

ON TAKING ACTION

"Never mistake motion for action."

ON GETTING WORDS OUT

"I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast—talk them or write them down."


Photograph by Mary Hemingway, in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE BENEFITS OF SLEEP

"I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"

ON FINDING STRENGTH 

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."

ON THE TRUE NATURE OF WICKEDNESS

"All things truly wicked start from innocence."

ON WRITING WHAT YOU KNOW

"If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water."

ON THE DEFINITION OF COURAGE

"Courage is grace under pressure."

ON THE PAINFULNESS OF BEING FUNNY

"A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."


By Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. - JFK Library, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON KEEPING PROMISES

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."

ON GOOD VS. EVIL

"About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."

ON REACHING FOR THE UNATTAINABLE

"For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed."

ON HAPPY ENDINGS

"There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."

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4 Movies, 1 Thing In Common II
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