Rock and Roll Road Trip

Rock and Roll Road Trip

My discussion with Yusuf, AKA Cat Stevens

posted by S. Russ

Four decades after recording his emblematic song “Peace Train,” Yusuf Islam (also known as Cat Stevens) released “My People,” a free download available on www.yusuf.ae and digital platforms worldwide.

The just-released single ‘My People’ also includes a unique chorus quilted together from the hundreds of voices sent in from across the globe by fans who participated through an open invitation on the artist’s Facebook page.

Stevens, who initially stopped performing after his conversion to Islam in the late 1970s, in recent years has taken to the stage once more performing new songs inspired by his faith along with his greatest hits from the 1960s-70s. He’s touring Europe this summer, and a video for ‘My People’ will soon be released.

Though Yusuf Islam has found himself occasionally embroiled in controversy over the years stemming from comments he’s made in regards to his faith, he has always clearly defined himself as a man of peace.

Immediately following the 9/11 attacks almost ten years ago, he stated: “I wish to express my heartfelt horror at the indiscriminate terrorist attacks committed against innocent people of the United States yesterday. While it is still not clear who carried out the attack, it must be stated that no right-thinking follower of Islam could possibly condone such an action. The Qur’an equates the murder of one innocent person with the murder of the whole of humanity. We pray for the families of all those who lost their lives in this unthinkable act of violence as well as all those injured; I hope to reflect the feelings of all Muslims and people around the world whose sympathies go out to the victims of this sorrowful moment.”

In a recent conversation I had with him, Yusuf discussed his newest creative effort, and also reflected on his career and faith. Good natured, funny and self-effacing, he’s fully comfortable once more with the “Cat Stevens” career that continues to touch millions of people around the world.

Here is the piece I wrote about it.

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Coheed and Cambria: A Band that Matters

posted by S. Russ

Back in January, I interviewed Claudio Sanchez about Coheed and Cambria’s upcoming tour –  going back to their roots, playing ‘The Second Stage Turbine Blade’ in its entirety (along with a special acoustic set and an additional electric set).

It was a for a Noisecreep.com piece I was writing and my son, a very serious Coheed fan (who got me into the group) was with me.

Beyond the amazing music, what always impressed me about this band is how they treat their fans. The shared loyalty and dedication is a fantastic thing to watch. Coheed makes the experience so interesting for its fans – keeping them involved and rewarding them with some of the most intense, inspired concerts being played today – and a thoroughly interesting, eclectic and challenging body of work.

To this awesome group of musicians – best of luck as you hit the road – and for the fans, here’s hoping you enjoy this part of our conversation.

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