In our second week of “Weekend Scoop,” an old friend called the show – GOTHAM Entertainment Editor Juliet Izon, who talked about the newly-opened “Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition.” The exhibit brings visitors through a week at ‘SNL,’ from writing the show on Monday to performing it Saturday night. Izon attended the premiere party, and also chatted about the recent GOTHAM cover that featured the entire cast.

Photo: Robert Ascroft/Niche Media

Photo: Robert Ascroft/Niche Media


Check out our chat with Juliet and PIX 11’s video on the exhibit below.

In so many ways, Third Eye Blind and Lady Gaga are a lot more similar than it might seem.

For starters, both care deeply about their respective fan base’s experience at a live concert. Hearing 3EB front man Stephan Jenkins talk about the band’s live set conjured up thoughts of Gaga looking out for her “Little Monsters.”

“I’m always watching the audience, because they’re like this group of people that are doing their own thing,” Jenkins noted during an interview on “Ralphie Tonight.” Third Eye Blind is set to tour with Dashboard Confessional this summer; the trek already has two sold-out dates in the tri-state area with a third, June 14 at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, on sale now. “When I’m doing shows, I’m stoked to be here; seeing what you guys are gonna do. Like, I’m part in their thing as well. Everybody’s invited, but (the fans) make their own culture out of it.”

And also like Gaga, speaking to or about culture is something Jenkins has never shied away from. Matter of fact, Third Eye Blind was raising awareness about suicide prevention and the acceptance of people’s differences long before “Mother Monster.” The most prominent example of this is the 1998 hit “Jumper,” which was inspired by a friend of Jenkins’ who committed suicide by jumping off of a bridge in San Diego. The friend was gay and a victim of bullying.

“The song is kind of a noir, because it’s really talking to somebody who is already dead,” the lead singer explained. “So this is kind of what you would say (to him).
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“When I wrote it, there was this kind of darkness to it. But now when I sing it, it feels exalted, and you see the audience… they sing most of it, I kind of let them sing it… and you can see this release. So I find a lot of joy in that song now. Maybe that’s bouncing back and reflecting the times.”

“Jumper” was on 3EB’s self-titled debut in 1997, and certainly the way in which we talk about suicide and the LGBT community has changed since then. But what hasn’t changed in the past 18 years? The music industry as a whole is completely different. That was clearly seen in Gaga’s second album cycle when online retailer Amazon offered it at a deeply discounted price. Jenkins is taking it a step further, stating that for all intents and purposes, music is now “free,” so 3EB’s upcoming album will be its final proper LP release. Jenkins said the band will simply post singles after Dopamine drops.

“Artists are not getting paid from the streaming services they have, so far,” Jenkins pointed out. “We’ve been doing LPs; I find that process to be very difficult and I think (the change) is just going to create more interaction and just more happiness for me that when I write a song, then I record it, gift to the universe, there it goes.”

Jenkins isn’t sure how the new model will affect future touring plans, but he seems excited to figure it all out. And speaking of touring, that brings us back to yet another way in which 3EB and Gaga are similar – they alternate use of the same tour bus.

“I don’t have any stories to tell (about Gaga). None of that my friend!” Jenkins joked, although he did reveal that she doesn’t leave the bus a mess.

“She’s quite fastidious. (It’s) well kept.”

And Jenkins?

“No. But I have someone who tidies it for me!”

All I remember reading in the email I received from Amy Freeze was that we were running through Citi Field and it was for charity. I’m a huge baseball fan (diehard member of Yankees Universe) and so I was in. The event – a Spartan Sprint – was a week before the Billboard Music Awards. As with most award shows, I usually switch up both my workout regime and my diet a few weeks prior to the event, so that I’m in good shape come time to be in front of the camera for a few days straight. So this was perfect – a combination of working out, raising money and awareness for a charity and doing so in Citi Field, all while wearing Yankees gear from head-to-toe.

If you’re familiar with what a Spartan Sprint is, then you know that those two words should have immediately caught my attention. They didn’t. Freeze asked me to bring gloves, and also told me we were doing the 3 mile route. I run 4 miles on the regular. I got this! Gloves? Well that’s a little strange but sure, I’ll pack them before I take the 7 out to Flushing.

I did not fully realize what I signed up for until we were approaching the starting line. Before the start, we had to scale over a wall erected in one of the corridors that leads up an upper level of the stadium. And this wasn’t even a part of the course that was timed!

Thankfully, I was surrounded by a great team. Freeze is a meteorologist for Channel 7, and she recruited fellow forecasters Audrey Puente from Fox 5 and Stephanie Abrams of The Weather Channel. Rounding out the group was Gabe Boyar, Amanda Marasco and fitness guru Tom Holland. We had a fun group and when we needed help climbing a wall, thankfully Tom was there to lend a hand.
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The course was equally excruciating and exhilarating. Bear climbs up ramps and stairs, carrying jugs of water and sand bags around sections of Citi Field’s upper level, push-ups in the visiting team’s clubhouse, climbing up a net that extended from one side of the center field wall to the other… when I wasn’t praying that I wouldn’t be too sore the next day, I was taking in the views and counting my blessings. Thank goodness I’m in good health, and I get to experience something like this.

Sore the next day? I was sore for the next week.

But it was all worth it. I made some new friends, had a great time and most importantly, helped out The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. After we completed the course and I partook in a celebratory beverage, Freeze told us about the great things that The MMRF does. The research and efforts of the foundation have led to the FDA approval of seven drugs for multiple myeloma in the time it would normally take for just one drug to pass.

Another great attribute of The MMRF, especially as the son of a two-time breast cancer survivor: They use their research to help other cancer studies as well.

Corporate donors cover overhead costs, so every dollar I donated to The MMRF went right to the cause. And the volunteers couldn’t have been more helpful, especially in encouraging the members of “Team Freeze” to keep fighting.

I’m sure glad we did, but I’m more thankful for the work they do… and the fact that for once, I “blindly” walking in to something was actually a positive.

In episode 3 of my new podcast, I talk about my interactions backstage at the Billboard Music Awards with One Direction and the cast of ‘Entourage.’ Then – it’s back to New York for doctors appointments and down the shore to Point Pleasant, N.J. for 95.5 PLJ’s “Summer Kick-Off.” Plain White T’s, Life of Dillon, Lifehouse and Rachel Platten all join the podcast this week.
Hey, Really Excited
“Hey, Really Excited” is a weekly-ish podcast of mine where I offer some present-day thoughts on what’s happening in music, my life and career – along with a featured artist(s).

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In this week’s edition of “Trend Hungry Tuesday” – Resident Fashionista Jessie Holeva talked about an easy summer trend, mirrored sunnies.

Photo: https://instagram.com/reesewitherspoon/

Photo: https://instagram.com/reesewitherspoon/


Visit Trend Hungry to find the latest fashion 411 on a skinny budget, and catch Jessie every Tuesday evening on “Ralphie Tonight.”

Rachel Platten has experienced a lot in 2015 – from performing her uplifting anthem “Fight Song” on “Good Morning America” to enjoying cupcakes emblazed with her face.

“Which I didn’t even know you could do!” exclaimed Platten of the dessert, which friends at her record label served for her birthday last week. “It makes them more delicious.”

Everything has to taste better for the New England-born singer these days. Platten dropped her first album in 2003. Her next release came eight years later. Both were recorded independently from a major label. Then Platten, “Fight Song” in tow, shopped around her and the track from label-to-label. I jokingly mention that she “may have heard ‘no’ a few times;” rightfully so she quickly dismisses this.
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“I think I’ve been rejected by probably every single person in the industry,” she responded, with little sense of hyperbole in her tone. “But I just won’t give up. I don’t know. I have this crazy little thing in my head that won’t quit.

“I didn’t care. Of course it hurt, but something in me just wouldn’t let me stop. I felt like I had this message to give the world.”

So did Columbia Records, the label that signed Platten and released her Fight Song EP. In addition to the “GMA” performance, Platten is enjoying her greatest chart success yet. “Fight Song” peaked last week at 11 on the Billboard Adult Pop chart; it’s been on the chart for 11 weeks.

“As I spread this message, I get the privilege of listening to other people’s struggles and what they’re working on overcoming, and what I’ve found to be so true is that we all have something,” she said. “Sometimes we’re shy about saying it publicly; sometimes we don’t want to declare it. But when you do there’s this power that comes from that, and you get this rush of love and support from your friends and family.”

And that rush will probably continue through the summer for Platten, as she tours in support of co-headliners Colbie Caillat and Christina Perri. The “Girls Night Out, Boys Can Come Too” trek kicks off at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut on July 10.

In the second episode of my new podcast “Hey, Really Excited,” I recap my trip to Las Vegas for last weekend’s “Billboard Music Awards.” Guests this week include Robin Leach, Hozier (again), Tori Kelly, Prince Royce and Ludacris.
Hey, Really Excited
“Hey, Really Excited” is a weekly-ish podcast of mine where I offer some present-day thoughts on what’s happening in music, my life and career – along with a featured artist(s).

In the inaugural edition of “Weekend Scoop,” we catch up with the four acts that played this year’s “Summer Kick-Off” at Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant, N.J. and find out what they are looking forward to with the unofficial start of summer. To see more from this year’s Kick-Off, click here.
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“Weekend Scoop” will feature different artists, magazines, TV stations and more every week – reporting on subjects ranging from celebrity news to events you need to know about. Catch it every Friday on “Ralphie Tonight.”

Unlike other artists looking to release their sophomore albums on a major label, the one thing singer ZZ Ward doesn’t have to worry about is if the LP will actually see the light of day. This Means War already has a street date of September 18 and is available for pre-order now, a lengthy three-and-a-half months ahead of the album release.

“If I was a fan, that’d make me feel good,” Ward told “Ralphie Tonight” of the advance. “I’d be like, ‘Yes! I have it on lock. Like I know I’m getting it as soon as it comes out.’”
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The pre-sale was announced in conjunction with a headlining tour and the release of a new single.

“’Love 3X’ is kind of about the ups-and-downs and the good and the bad and all of the imperfections that make your relationship the perfect mess that it is,” described Ward of the track.

The Oregon native, who has lived in Los Angeles for the past five years pursuing her music career, wrote the song herself. That also comes as a surprise, as her manager is a GRAMMY Award winning songwriter with a number of big radio hits to his credit. Despite this, Evan Bogart only contributed one track to the artist’s debut effort. Ward says that they wrote together “a lot” this second time around, but that she enjoys the creative and collaborative freedom afforded to her by Bogart.

“(Evan) has the ability to really guide you as a writer in the sense that, he doesn’t have to be like writing on everything or be up in all the videos,” Ward explained. “He can kind of let you do your thing, and so that’s been really great working with Evan.”

Could you imagine hanging out at a Cinco de Mayo party with friends, sipping on a beverage… and then checking your phone to find out that you have an email from Adam Levine?

Rozzi Crane doesn’t have to “imagine” that because it happened to her in real life.

“I was like, ‘I gotta go!’” Crane recalled telling her friends at the party during a chat on “Ralphie Tonight.” “I didn’t tell anyone for like, six months.”
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Crane waited until the paperwork was signed before informing everyone that she was in fact, the first signee to Adam Levine’s 222 Recordings, an imprint on Maroon 5’s home label of Interscope Records.

The 24 year-old attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and met a mutual friend of Levine’s in a songwriting class. They started working on music with another mutual friend who was managed by Maroon 5’s manager. That is who sent “The Voice” coach a YouTube link of Crane performing.

For all intents and purposes, Levine “turned his chair around” and signed the near-USC grad. She walked, but is a semester’s worth of credits away from a degree.

“I’ll do it at some point. I’ll finish it.”

In the mean time, Crane is promoting and touring behind her EP, Space, which features the single “Psycho.” No the song is not about an ex, but rather those who perhaps think you’re a little crazy for attempting to achieve your dreams.

And if your dream is to one day receive an email from Adam Levine, then maybe this is the song for you.