Special guests to include Billy Idol, Courtney Love, Jesse Hughes, Corey Taylor, Franky Perez and more
Immersive evening of art and music will celebrate the vinyl album as an art form and raise awareness and funds for the treatment of mental health
Tickets go on sale this Saturday, February 24, 2018
(February 21, 2018) – Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction) and Billy Morrison (Billy Idol) have joined forces with their musician friends and special guest performers to present “ABOVE GROUND” on Monday, April 16 at The Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles. This immersive evening of art and music-beginning at 8pm-will celebrate the vinyl album as an art form, and at the same time raise awareness and funds for the treatment of mental health, with the profits being donated to MusiCares. Expect the musicians to perform two seminal albums in their entirety-first Kings Of The Wild Frontier by Adam And The Ants and then The Velvet Underground & Nico by Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground-with completely different stage sets and production for each album’s performance.
Tickets are priced at $100 each and go on sale Saturday, February 24 starting at 10:00am via ticketmaster.com and livenation.com. View a trailer for the event here and read an interview with Navarro and Morrison below.
Guitarists Navarro and Morrison will be joined by bassist Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction), drummers Erik Eldenius (Billy Idol) and Josh Freese as well as violinist Lili Haydn, plus special guests Billy Idol, Courtney Love, Jesse Hughes (Eagles of Death Metal), Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour), Franky Perez and more.
During the intermission between performances, there will be speeches from people in the mental health field and a small memorabilia auction to raise funds, along with art displays and information booths. Revolver Gallery will showcase works by Andy Warhol and MusiCares (currently focusing on the mental health arena and all the challenges that are faced in that field)will be present at the event.
When Navarro and Morrison sat down over coffee recently and started to talk about music, art, the lost love of the vinyl record, and at the same time their own mental health and their different battles in the same arena, it became apparent immediately that they both wanted to do the same thing–to celebrate life, to pay homage to records that truly shaped them both as musicians, and at the same time to raise awareness, funds and hope for people suffering from depression. This is how ABOVE GROUND was born.
The way music is recorded, performed and heard has changed dramatically over the years. The days of vinyl albums, lovingly crafted and put together, with the all-important side two flip of the physical record has disappeared. The idea of a story that gets told throughout the album has largely faded away.
There is also a disastrous loss of amazing talent through the twin tentacles of suicide and depression. The common misconception that an artist who is “famous” or “rich” has nothing to be depressed about is just a complete falsehood. Moreover, the act of asking for help is still something that is shrouded in misplaced embarrassment, humiliation and shame.
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Q&A WITH DAVE NAVARRO AND BILLY MORRISON ABOUT “ABOVE GROUND”
What inspired you guys to come up with this event, musically and emotionally?
DAVE and BILLY: “It was an organic process and has truly come from our hearts. Losing multiple friends to suicide and depression and having both experienced mental health issues, we were simply talking one day about how it still seems like a taboo subject…something that is not OK to talk about, or ask for help with, or admit to…and we wanted to do something that shows people it is not any of those things. We felt that by combining our mutual love of the journey that so many vinyl albums took the listener on, with an event that could perhaps show that it is OK to ask for help with all mental health issues, we could achieve something here.”
Why do you feel the albums The Velvet Underground & Nico and Adam and The Ants’ Kings Of The Wild Frontier belong together on one evening?
DAVE and BILLY: “To be honest, initially there was no thought about ‘why’ they belonged together. To us, they are two albums that were incredibly important and inspirational to us as players. Both albums formed the backbone of our styles and tones and once the event started to take shape, we felt that the idea of two disparate and disconnected albums being performed in one evening took the whole thing away from the idea of a standard ‘gig’ and towards what we wanted to achieve–more of an art-type event.
The Velvets’ debut album is generally regarded as one of the most important albums of all time, whereas Adam and the Ants’ album didn’t receive the same kind of acclaim. How important is the Adam and the Ants’ album to you guys?
DAVE and BILLY: “There is no doubt that the Velvets album has received that kind of seminal critical acclaim, but the importance of the Ants album cannot be overstated. The twin tribal drumming was something we just hadn’t seen before and had a massive impact on Jane’s Addiction. The amount of feedback and noise and mayhem on that record was so exciting to us when it was released. Add in songwriting and structure that is just so so different from the normal, and a frontman that oozed sex and danger, and we were hooked. We both feel that the timing of the Ants album was released at a time when New Wave was taking over but they still held the grit and sense of abandon that we loved about punk rock.”
Can you talk about plans for the two different stage sets that are being planned for the performances of each album?
DAVE and BILLY: “Well obviously we don’t want to give away too much (possibly because we are still not sure what we can pull off!!!), but the idea is to make the stage look and feel completely different for each performance. That’s why there will be an intermission between albums. The stage production will be changed out completely, so that we can represent the ANTS album in one way, and then completely change direction and give the VELVETS album the look and vibe it deserves.”
A friend and ally of the music community, MusiCares was established by the Recording Academy™ to safeguard the health and well-being of all music people. A four-star charity and safety net in times of need, MusiCares offers confidential preventative, recovery, and emergency programs to address financial, medical, and personal health issues. Through the generosity of our donors and volunteer professionals, our dedicated team works across the country to ensure the music community has the resources and support it needs.