Author: Bill Forman

LIFE LESSONS | 50 Cent, Rakim and Questlove get into the self-help game

by Bill Forman, Last Word Features “It’s very easy to run through a million in this country,” writes Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson in his newly published self-help book Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter. And he would know. 50 Cent is, after all, the only rapper to have been named one of Forbes magazine’s “Five Wealthiest Hip-Hop Artists” — with combined assets of $155 million — only to end up filing for bankruptcy three months later. But while 50 Cent’s finances have had their share of seismic ups and downs, there’s no questioning his talent as an artist and entrepreneur.  Jackson has...

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SMOOTH OPERATOR | Michael McDonald to perform at Ojai’s Libbey Bowl

“If I hear ‘Yah Mo B There’ one more time, I’m gonna ‘Yah Mo Burn’ this place to the ground,” declared Paul Rudd’s electronics‐store salesman character in the 2005 comedy The 40‐Year‐Old Virgin, as the Michael McDonald music video plays on a wall of TV screens in the background. McDonald, the singer who captained what came to be known as the yacht‐rock phenomenon in the ’80s, recalls taking his kids to a movie theater to see the film, and finding the scene not at all surprising. After all, he’s well aware of the polarized feelings his music has inspired...

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MUSIC FOR TRYING TIMES | Bad Religion to perform at the Majestic Ventura Theater

Thomas Paine, the 18th-century author of The Age of Reason, once claimed that arguing with someone who’d renounced the use of reason is as effective as “administering medicine to the dead or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.” Bad Religion, as its name suggests, has no interest in converting atheists. But on its new album, Age of Unreason, the L.A. pop-punk stalwart does share a similar exasperation with what Paine famously called the “times that try men’s souls.” The album is the band’s first collection of new music in six years. Not surprisingly, it includes more than a...

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PRETTY FLY (FOR A MOLECULAR BIOLOGIST) | Offspring frontman Dexter Holland talks music, science, hot sauce and competitive eating ahead of Ventura show

“I think that, down deep, every band secretly wants to be U2, right?” said Offspring bandleader Dexter Holland, reflecting on his group’s pioneering role in the ’90s “bro band” phenomenon, thanks in large part to frat-boy favorites like “Self Esteem” and “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy).”  The recently recorded “It Won’t Get Better,” which debuted in June, is about the current opioid epidemic. It’s actually one among many Offspring songs that can be characterized as socially conscious.  “The songs that people mostly know us for are the fun ones,” acknowledged Holland in a recent phone interview. “But we...

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BASS INSTINCTS | A conversation with Grammy-winning multi-genre bass player Thundercat, coming to the Ventura Theater

Thundercat aka Stephen Bruner has never been one to drop names, although he could easily be forgiven for doing so. The 34-year-old musician won a Grammy in 2016 for his role as producer and featured performeron Kendrick Lamar’s revered To Pimp a Butterfly. He has collaborated with neo-soul chanteuse Erykah Badu and rapper Childish Gambino, and been a member of Suicidal Tendencies since high school. The son of Motown drummer Ronald Bruner and older brother of Odd Futurist keyboardist Jameel “Kintaro” Bruner, Thundercat was first championed as a bass prodigy by fellow LA native Flying Lotus, with whom he...

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