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So five people, all from different parts of the globe, meet randomly at an artist residency in Greece. None of the aforementioned artists are Greek, or from the country. They eventually form a bond, then a band, and create an album. The breakout song from that album is a happy sounding song on a LP called Never Trust a Happy Song.

In a nutshell, that is the unlikely story of Grouplove, an indie rock quintet that is gaining a steady following since the band’s debut album hit stores last fall. Grouplove performed on the “Late Show,” landed a song on the Madden NFL video game soundtrack, and scored Blair’s marriage scene on “Gossip Girl.”

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“My sister and all of her friends were shrieking on my answering machine,” singer Hannah Hooper told me recently. The band is supporting Young the Giant on tour before its own headlining trek this summer. “Everyone was just freaking out.”

While I doubt he was “shrieking,” it was a similarly surreal experience hearing the song on the show for singer/bassist Sean Gadd.

“I had never seen ‘Gossip Girl’ before, but I could see that it was such a huge scene for the program,” Gadd admitted. “It made me listen to ‘Slow’ in such a different way… it was bizarre.”

But the song that is currently climbing up the Billboard chart is “Tongue Tied,” and that received a little outside help as well, in the form of an Apple iPod ad.

“[The commercial] was on all the time, literally,” Gadd said when he returned home to London for the holidays. “Every commercial break it seemed to come on!”

Despite the jovial melody of the track and spirit in the commercial, the song didn’t exactly emanate from the happiest of origins.

“It came from a dark place,” Hooper explained. “Christian [Zucconi] was doing a movie score for a really depressing film, and Sean and I were hanging out… but Christian was just messing around with different piano lines and a really happy one came out of it.”

Their instincts were already correct in knowing to travel to Greece, and form the band. Right then, the group knew they had its party song. It came from an unlikely source, but that was a scenario far from Greek to them.

At the end of season 3 of “Gossip Girl”, Jenny Humphrey heads on a train out of Manhattan, seemingly warn out and tired by the drama on the Upper East Side. Taylor Momsen, the actress that plays “Little J”, seems ready for a break herself.

Momsen is traveling across the country with her band The Pretty Reckless on Vans Warped Tour this summer. She divulged in an interview on “The Ralphie Radio Show” that she enjoys performing more than acting, staying consistent with comments she made to me last year that she always loved music and aspired to rock out in a band. But she became mum towards the end of the interview, when asked about her status on the hit TV show.

“They’re shooting (season 4) already… they’re shooting right now,” Momsen said of her cast mates from “Gossip Girl.” “As far as this season, I’m contractually obligated not to talk about it.”

The soon-to-be 17 year-old would not comment further on the TV show, refusing to answer a question about whether she would appear at all on the next season of “Gossip Girl.”

Instead, it seems Momsen is completely focusing her time and energy completely (well, shy of that new modeling deal she scored for Madonna’s “Material Girl” fashion line) on The Pretty Reckless – with the first album set to drop this August. Vans Warped Tour is perhaps a preparation or tune-up or initiation… heck, maybe all of the above, for Momsen and her crew.

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“I mean, each crowd is different. We played a couple shows in Canada and those fans were insane,” said Momsen of her trek on Warped Tour thus far. “The general response has been good. You’ve got the ‘Gossip Girl’ fans who watch it and then there’s some people who kind of meander over and don’t really know what they’re looking at.”

But the lead singer insists that they too, sometimes end up becoming a fan of the band. She certainly has one fan in band mate Ben Phillips, who was taken aback by working with Momsen in studio.

“I was surprised by her talent and it was a grueling undertaking to reach the heights she wanted to reach,” the guitarist said. Phillips co-wrote the entire album with Momsen. “It was impressive to meet someone who was that intent on making something good.”

The Pretty Reckless will drop Light Me Up August 31. The first single, “Make Me Wanna Die”, is available in iTunes now.

Check out Cobra Starship teaming up with Gossip Girl Leighton Meester in the new music video for “Good Girls Go Bad.”


97 BHT’s Summer Jam 2009 – Saturday June 6, 2009 – F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre – Starring The Veronicas – Check out Photos and Video!

Photos Courtesy of John at KDP Studio!


Actress-turned-singer? Not exactly, says Taylor Momsen.

“I’ve been singing longer than I’ve been acting,” Momsen reveals. The Gossip Girl star performed on Saturday with her band, The Pretty Reckless, at 97 BHT’s Summer Jam 2009. “I’ve been writing music my entire life. I know people aren’t going to know that instantly, but yunno, it all takes time.”

And time is on the side of the 15 year-old. Season 3 of Gossip Girl enters production in July. So for the next month, she’ll tour, opening up for The Veronicas. When Momsen returns to New York City and the set, she’ll also return to the studio, to finish production on The Pretty Reckless’ first LP. No timeline or dates are set, but Momsen already wrote the entire record.

Now she’s cutting her chops live, on stage. And it’s a learning process. 97 BHT’s event brought forth yet another lesson.

“Never again with no soundcheck!” said Momsen. “The entire first song, you couldn’t hear vocal at all.” The lead singer didn’t throw a fit nor storm off stage, instead rolling with the punches as sound techs worked out the issues.

The theater tour circuit certainly differs from the network sitcom set. It also seems that the average fan of The Pretty Reckless’ songs could differ from the average Gossip Girl enthusiast. So will fans of Jenny Humphrey buy in to Taylor’s music?

“I think it’s gonna take some getting used to,” she admits. “It might be a little bit of shell shock ‘cause, it’s rock man. It’s not lite, and it’s really real.”

But Gossip Girl viewers will probably see season 3 before they hear any studio material from Momsen. Now that “Little J” is the queen, the actress wouldn’t mind Humphrey become more active.

”It’s gonna be interesting to see what they do with her character as queen with all this power,” said Momsen. “I’d like to see her shake it up a little bit.”


06.04.09 : Cobra Starship f. Leighton Meester – Good Girls Go Bad
Cobra Starship’s Gabe Saporta chats w/ Ralphie about the track:

This will be quick. I’ll be inundating you with posts soon… “The Ting Tings live”, “Bam Margera shows up to 97 BHT Summer Jam”, “I ignore The Veronicas”, “Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen talks new album”, “Jada Serenades Me for my Birthday” – and many more stories.

But first, thank you. 24 isn’t usually a birthday heavily celebrated, but because of you, and a few national recording acts, this by far has been one of the, if not, the best birthday.

I’m headed to cap off the weekend, Yankees game followed by a meet and greet with Mariano Rivera. Enjoy your Sunday, talk soon.

Ralphie

It’s been quite the 2009 for The Veronicas, and the year is only half complete.

The first six months have catapulted Jess and Lisa Origliasso, twin sisters from Australia, in to the American public eye. Surely no one in the mainstream media noticed the duo this much since Lisa dated Ryan Cabrera back in 2006. But now, The Veronicas are gaining attention in the States for all the right reasons – a hit single in “Untouched” – a cameo and performance in 90210 – and now a cross-country tour with opening acts Carney and The Pretty Reckless. Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen fronts the latter band.

This Saturday, that tour detours to the F.M. Kirby Center for 97 BHT’s Summer Jam 2009. Joining the three aforementioned acts will be Lesley Roy (“I’m Gone I’m Going”, “Unbeautiful”), Safetysuit (“Stay”), Jada, and Lovesick Radio, with Scranton’s own DJ Woogie in the mix all night long.

Jess Origliasso proved she could readily multi-task a few weeks ago, calling up “The Ralphie Radio Show” while shopping at a small boutique in Ohio.

“The audience is always very in to it, like everyone’s dancing along and sings along,” Jess explained of the live set – which will also include The Veronicas’ latest single, “Take Me On The Floor.” “It’s just a really, really good time.”

More than music is working in favor of the Origliasso twins. FHM recently placed the sisters at number two on their “Sexiest Women in the World” list, bested only by actress Megan Fox.

“We were six and seven last year, and we’re number two this year, so maybe we can kick Megan Fox off next year,” Jess hoped. “Although, (Fox is) pretty sexy, so it might be hard.”

Safetysuit missed out on any “sexiest lists”, but the band has cultivated diverse following through music that appeals to multiple radio formats. “Stay” is the break out mainstream song for the Oklahoma-based quartet.

”Nobody can figure it all out, but we can atleast try,” lead singer Doug Brown said of the song’s theme. “’Stay’ was an awesome song to write… it’s an emotion that everyone gets to go through.”

Brown also spoke on the band’s name, which started as, “The Crew.”

”Supposedly there’s some band called Motley Crew out there,” Brown joked, before explaining that Tommy Lee’s band successfully executed a cease and desist on “The Crew.” Another name, “The Safety”, also brought forth copyright issues, so finally the guys used a song called “Precious Suit” by Aqualung to finish out the new, legal name.

Tickets are still on sale for 97 BHT’s Summer Jam 2009, with ticket prices as low as $9.71 – yes, clever we are.

Listen to The Ralphie Radio Show weekdays from 5-10 pm on 97 BHT.


97 BHT & SLP Concerts Present Summer Jam 2009 – Saturday June 6, 2009 – F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre – Starring The Veronicas – With Ticket Prices As Low As $9.71!

Also featuring: Lesley Roy, Safetysuit, Jada, Lovesick Radio, Carney, and The Pretty Reckless (featuring Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen) – with DJ Woogie in the mix all night long!

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS FOR
97 BHT’S “SUMMER JAM 2009”

Tickets are also on-sale at The F.M. Kirby Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, or charge by phone 1-800-745-3000