AOL Sessions has live videos from more than 150 different artists specially recorded for the series. Here are just a few of the artists on offer: Paul McCartney, Mary J. Blige, Modest Mouse, Tori Amos, Robyn, Tom Petty, Rhymefest, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Natasha Bedingfield, Cat Power, Toby Keith, Lil' Wayne, Robert Plant, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kelly Rowland, Weezer and Brian Wilson. To the left of the videos there's a Q&A link that has short interview videos with the artists as well as behind the scenes footage and longer interviews.
Dead musical instruments... brought back to life by YouTube? Check out this mellotron demo film, a rare trautonium keyboard in some guy's garage, trautonium music by composer Oskar Sala, an original Ondes Martenot, a documentary on the telharmonium (parts 1, 2, and 3), and the Sonovox (used to funny but not-suitable-for-work effect in this parody of Sparky's Magic Piano). Meanwhile, avant-gardists have revived the art of prepared piano, but more mainstream acts such as Tori Amos and Ferrante & Teicher have also experimented with it. Last but not least, another performer of prepared piano is Margaret Leng Tan, but I think she should get more accolades as the best virtuoso of the toy piano since Schroeder from Peanuts.
This cheesy 1979 promo film from the group, Blackjack, offers a glimpse into the hard rock past of balladeer Michael Bolton, which also includes a co-writing credit for a Top 40 hit by Kiss. Similarly, Bill Joel disavows the days when he posed in medieval armor next to slabs of raw beef on the cover of the self-titled album by Joel's heavy metal duo, Attila, although Julian Cope is a fan of the album and its Deep Purplish vibes (check out Holy Moses and Wonder Woman). To round out the trifecta, we have Tori Amos who got marketed as the metal-chick frontwoman of Y Kant Tori Read (check out the video for The Big Picture). On the other hand, metalheads have the opposite problem of hiding their pop past. Examples include the industrial metal band Ministry's early days as a new wave synth act and Tommy Iommi's brief tenure as a member of Jethro Tull before becoming lead guitarist of Black Sabbath. Meanwhile, Bon Scott, the late lead singer of AC/DC, is probably spinning in his grave over the YouTube footage of him as an Australian teen idol and a bearded hippie with a recorder.
Tori Amos changes "MILF" to "MILX" for her recent Letterman appearance. Her new song "Big Wheel" ends with a refrain of "I am an M-I-L-F," but careful listening to the performance suggests that she changed the "F" to an "X" - and perhaps slurred it a little to conceal the fact that the change had been made. Was this a quiet example of giving in to the television morality police, or an artistic statement of another sort?