• Andy Zipf Performs New Release at Muzak

    Newest Album Jealous Hands

    Over the last 5 years singer/songwriter Andy Zipf has graced the halls of Muzak on several occasions with his heartfelt lyrics and melodies that just seem to transcend notes.  This week Andy made another highly anticipated appearance to personally introduce his latest release, ‘Jealous Hands.’  The August leg of his current tour brought him to Charlotte, so an afternoon visit to Muzak was a must.

    “Muzak has a great community of people who support the arts and the artists… plus their job helps people discover music.  How cool is that,” Andy comments. “Through the years I’ve been asked by Muzak to collaborate on several projects, thanks in large part to Shawn Moseley (Muzak’s Industry Relations Manager).  It started with a performance at Muzak’s Home Office back in 2006, then an appearance at SXSW, a track on a compilation disc, several Muzak client performances and now the opportunity to introduce my new album to their employees and Audio Architects.  Shawn and Muzak just seem to keep finding creative ways to showcase my music.”

    Andy’s new release, ‘Jealous Minds’ is the most soft-spoken release of the performing singer/songwriter’s career; an Americana record true and pure that stands free of the genre connotations that such a word brings. This is over a year of Zipf’s life captured, from the non-stop life on the road to what ends up coming home, “Jealous Hands” is his story and his soundtrack.

    “I don’t think I’ve ever done anything this personal before,” said Zipf, as ‘Jealous Hands’ is far more than just another record.  It’s an album of breaking safety. Where Zipf once interjected himself into songs at small moments as a visiting guest, he’s now made himself the main character, and his life the setting.

    Once again Muzak thanks Andy Zipf for sharing his music with us.  View the latest Muzak performance  live HERE on our YouTube Site.  For a free download of his new release ‘Jealous Hands’, simply go to www.andyzipf.com.

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan, Company Communications

  • Hangin’ with Duff

    Duff McKagan at SXSW

    Duff McKagan at SXSW

    Last week, at SXSW in Austin, I had the opportunity to hang with my youngest brother Duff McKagan for the good part of two days.  Usually we get together at family gatherings or in the safe confines of one of our homes.  But this was SXSW, a showcase of musical talent from across the world.  This is the center of Duff’s universe.  It continues to amaze me the celebrity my brother still has.  Everywhere he goes, people gawk, point, ask for autographs and pictures or just yell out, “Hey Duff.”  He always responds with a smile.  He’s simply a nice, sociable guy who appreciates his role. Coming from a family of eight, it comes with the territory… except for the celeb part… that’s all his!  The toll this takes on his time however is significant.  His entire day is planned around where he goes, how he gets there and the time it will take, factoring in the hundreds of mini-stops along the way.

    But the remarkable thing is the genuine excitement and thrill shown by his fans just because of a simple smile or a “hi.”  Duff is like George of the Beatles.  Not the main figure like Axle or Slash or Paul or John, but beloved and recognized by all.

    It’s been a long time since G N’ R last hit the stage, but the mystique lives on.  Duff has covered a lot of ground since then, including sobriety, marriage, two girls, business school, Velvet Revolver, columnist for Playboy, Seattle Weekly and ESPN.com, his own band “Loaded”, an upcoming autobiography, a new financial business venture, plus TV appearances with his wife Susan on E channel’s “Married to Rock.”  He’s as fit as a fiddle: an avid kick-boxer, cyclist and gym rat, and he loves his big new toy – thanks to his friends at Harley Davidson.

    At the end of the day, Duff lives his life pretty much like the rest of us: picking up kids from school, then laundry at the cleaners, going to the movies with the family, or wondering if the Mariners pitching staff is going to get the job done this year.  He lives in LA most of the year and in Seattle during the summer months, both in neighborhoods with great neighbors and friends.  Most of the McKagan family lives in Seattle, except for me (Charlotte area) and our second youngest brother Matt (a middle school music teacher in the San Fernando Valley), so his ties to Seattle continue to be an important part of his life.

    But at SXSW, as with everywhere Duff ventures into the public eye, his life seems to dramatically change… sort of.  In the middle of about 50 admiring fans, as he’s signing autographs and shaking hands he turns to me and says, “Whadya think about the new first baseman for the Mariners?”

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan

    Muzak Company Communications

  • Backstage with Slash

    Slash and Chris Williams

    Slash and Chris Williams

    Last Thursday night I joined several Muzakers as Slash hit Charlotte.  He rocked a packed Fillmore for more than 2 hours – showcasing several of his own releases and a few Velvet Revolver goodies, like “Slither”.  Then he brought the house down with several G&R classics – “Mr. Brownstone”, “Civil War”, “Night Train”, “My Michelle”, “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and “Paradise City”.

    The band sounded great and vocalist Miles Kennedy had no problem hitting the Axel Rose high notes.  Slash was amazing, as usual, delivering the right combo of technique, talent and pure presence . . . the best in the business in my book.  Add to that, Slash’s band was not only tight, but seemed to really enjoy playing together for their Charlotte fans.

    I was able to get a few backstage passes after the show (my brother is Duff from G&R;  I’ve known Slash for many, many years).  So Josh Clewley, Jeff Dowd, Chris Williams and I joined Slash and his bandmates after the gig.  No more wild parties, all nighters or hot babes like the old days.  Now, it’s just a few guys hangin’ out, talkin’ music, family and friends.  Slash is one of the nicest guys in the business.

    We were joined by Brad Whitford from Aerosmith, who resides in Lake Wylie and performed with Slash earlier that night, playing lead on the early rock classic “Walkin’ the Dog”.  We took some pictures, told some stories, had a few laughs, shared some hugs and wished each other well until the next time.

    Right before we left, Slash asked Chris Williams (Muzak EVP of Media) what he did at Muzak.  Chris’ answer was direct, with a smile.  “I find ways to make you lots of money.”  Slash smiled right on back.

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan

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