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Mel Brooks talks 'Blazing Saddles,' a Broadway adaptation, being remembered and more

Mel Brooks is having quite an 89th year, being reminded everywhere he goes that he's a comedy legend whose trickle-down genius inspires countless comedians, and that millions love him.

Brooks sounds like he isn't buying it.

"America is wrong," he said by telephone, raspy and rascally as ever. "Somebody, the populace, everybody's wrong."

About what?

"At this age there's something wrong about all this (adoration)," Brooks said. "I should've been forgotten, completely. Time passes, we remember only a few, like Mark Twain, you know?"

Brooks is being modest. On Oct. 14, he'll visit Tampa's David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts for a screening and Q&A of "my funniest film," Blazing Saddles. He'll tell "odd little stories about the who and what" of creating a comedy masterpiece. Click here for details on the show.

For more of Steve Persall's interview with Mel Brooks, click here.

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One of Ghost's 'Nameless Ghouls' talks Satanism, Swedish pop, Tom Petty, anonymity and more

It’s a safe bet the Swedish metal band Ghost will never play the Vatican. But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t like to visit.

“I’ve always wanted to go, because I think it’s beautiful, the architecture and everything,” said one of Ghost’s anonymous guitarists, calling from a tour stop in Philadelphia a mere two days after Pope Francis left town. “I’d love to visit Jerusalem as well, and really dig into that. It’s an important for many people. It does have a presence of spirituality, whether I’m into it or not, whether I believe in God or not.”

Is it surprising to hear a member of Ghost talk this way about spirituality? Not really. The group clearly appreciates the trappings of religiosity — just look at their frontman, Papa Emeritus III, the ghastly, mitre-topped singer who wails Satanic lyrics over dynamic, Iron Maiden-like riffs.

This mythology and mystery are precisely what have made Ghost, who play Tampa’s Ritz Ybor on Sunday, one of the most intriguing metal bands around. Despite a rigid adherence to anonymity — its members prefer to be known simply as “Nameless Ghouls” — Ghost has legions of fans worldwide, including rock heavyweights like Dave Grohl. …

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WQYK Guitar Pull: Hunter Hayes, Lee Brice, more coming to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg

Hunter Hayes

Hunter Hayes

Now that every radio station in town has a year-end festival, you've got to get pretty creative to stand out.

The inaugural WQYK Guitar Pull certainly qualifies.

The country station is bringing a handful of country superstars to a relatively intimate venue, the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, for a night of stripped-down magic: "Just the stars and their guitars," the station promises.

Those stars: Hunter Hayes, Lee Brice, Lady Antebellum frontman Charles Kelley, Eric Paslay, Maddie and Tae and Jerrod Niemann. That's a huge host of hitmaking talent, most of whom are used to playing venues much larger. To hear them all stripped down, accompanied by only an acoustic guitar? Talk about a Nashville dream.

The event is Nov. 18 at the Mahaffey Theater. Ticket prices haven't been announced, but will go on sale Oct. 12. Click here for details.

The best part? WQYK-99.5 promises this is "the beginning of a new country tradition in Tampa Bay." Let's hope so.

-- Jay Cridlin

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SoundBytes: JoJo, Hollywood Undead, Doyle, Killing Joke and more

-- How often does a onetime teen-pop sensation perform at a club like the State Theatre? It'll happen on Dec. 10 as JoJo (Leave (Get Out), Too Little Too Late) comes to St. Pete. Tickets to see her are just $21-$23, so hop on it when they go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. Click here.

-- Also coming to the State Theatre is a very different sort of idol: Herculean Misfits guitarist Doyle on Nov. 28. Tickets are $16. Click here.

-- And one more State Theatre show to share: Hollywood Undead on Nov. 13. Tickets are $25-$30. Click here.

-- Post-punk and industrial icons Killing Joke are coming to the Orpheum on Jan. 15. They'll be joined by the Soft Moon. Tickets are $22 and up. Click here.

-- Christian music superstar Kim Walker-Smith is bringing her Christmas tour to the USF Sun Dome on Dec. 17. Tickets are $28-$38 (kids 10 and under are $12.50), and they go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- Rapper Robb Bank$, recently seen opening for Earl Sweatshirt at the Orpheum, will return there on Nov. 14 for a concert with IndigoChildRick, wifisfuneral and more. Tickets are $15-$50. Click here. …

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2016 Jingle Ball lineup: Demi Lovato, 5 Seconds of Summer, Nick Jonas, Zedd coming to Tampa's Amalie Arena

5 Seconds of Summer

Luis Santana

5 Seconds of Summer

The wait is over: Tampa has its 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball lineup for 2016.

Demi Lovato, 5 Seconds of Summer, Zedd and Nick Jonas top the bill at Tampa's sixth annual Jingle Ball, one of 10 happening around the country in 2016. Joining them are Tove Lo, Shawn Mendes, Charlie Puth, Hailee Steinfeld, R. City, Conrad Sewell, Alessia Cara and DNCE. This year's event is slated for Dec. 19 at Tampa's Amalie Arena.

So who didn't Tampa get in this year's Jingle Ball rally? Among the artists performing at other Jingle Balls around the country: One Direction, The Weeknd, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Ellie Goulding, Calvin Harris, Fall Out Boy and Becky G. (But hey, The Weeknd IS playing Amalie Arena two days before the Jingle Ball on Dec. 17! Hooray!)

Click here for our story on the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball lineup.

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Tampa Bay Blues Festival lineup: Aaron Neville, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, more

Next year's Tampa Bay Blues Festival will bring a little N'awlins soul magic to Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg.

Aaron Neville is among the initial headliners announced for Tampa Bay Blues Fest 2016. He'll be joined by guitar whizzes Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Walter Trout and many more.

Next year's fest runs April 8-10 at Vinoy Park. Through Dec. 31, discount tickets are available for each day of the festival, plus a kickoff party on April 7 at the Palladium in St. Pete. Let's look at the daily lineup and ticket options:

April 7: A kickoff party will take place at 8 p.m. the Thursday before the festival at the Palladium, with Victor Wainwright and the WildRoots as your headliner. Tickets are $20.

April 8: Shepherd, most recently seen opening for Van Halen at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, headlines the festival's opening night, and he'll be joined by Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, Victor Wainwright, Biscuit Miller and the Reba Russell Band. Tickets are $30 ($200 VIP). There's also an after-party at the Palladium with Miller, Castro and Russell. Tickets to that one are $20. …

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Sunshine Music Festival lineup: Tedeschi Trucks Band, Indigo Girls, Trombone Shorty and more

Tedeschi Trucks Band headlined the 2015 Sunshine Music and Blues Festival in Vinoy Park.

Jay Cridlin

Tedeschi Trucks Band headlined the 2015 Sunshine Music and Blues Festival in Vinoy Park.

Now entering its fourth year, Live Nation's strategy of conquering the Tampa Bay music market with three new festivals has been hit and miss.

The Funshine/Big Guava Music Festival has been up-and-down over its first three years, with one name change and some unfortunate weather putting a dent in attendance, and leading to some real question marks about 2016.

The Coastline/Coral Skies Music Festival also endured a name change, and was ditched entirely for 2015.

The Sunshine Music Festival has also undergone a name change (it used to be called Sunshine Music and Blues), but otherwise, it's rolling right along in St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Last year's festival drew its biggest crowd yet, thanks to a cohesive-feeling lineup of jam bands, Southern blues and soul, classic rock and even a little indie rock.

Sunshine's 2016 lineup, unveiled Monday, is as strong and diverse as ever, topped by festival co-organizers Tedeschi Trucks Band, above. …

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Selena Gomez coming to Amway Center in Orlando

A couple of teen-queen singers have new albums coming out this month -- Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato. And at least one of them is on her way to Central Florida.

Gomez has announced plans for a 41-city "Revival Tour" across North America next spring and summer, and while Tampa didn't make the list, Orlando did. The Good For You singer will hit Amway Center on June 10.

A pre-sale for Citi card holders and customers of Gomez's online store can partake in a pre-sale starting at 9 a.m. Oct. 13; otherwise, tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Oct. 17 via Ticketmaster. Tickets are $48.50-$76. Click here for details.

The release did say more cities will be unveiled later, but don't hold your breath for a summer show in Tampa -- she's playing Atlanta June 9, Orlando June 10, Miami June 11 and New Orleans June 14. That doesn't leave a lot of time to squeeze in one more show.

In the meantime: Your move, Demi!

-- Jay Cridlin

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Ferg's Sports Bar adds second concert: Darryl Worley, Jason Michael Carroll

Another week, another concert announcement for Ferg's Sports Bar in St. Petersburg. And this one has a country twist.

A week after hair-metal acts Warrant, Ratt and L.A. Guns were announced as the first major concert at the venerable baseball bar on Nov. 6, the club has booked a pair of country singer for its second.

Have You Forgotten? crooner Darryl Worley, above, and Alyssa Lies singer Jason Michael Carroll will perform in Ferg's new concert space on Dec. 4, according to promoter John C. "Jack" Bodziak. Organizers are planning a celebrity host and contests for best cowboy hat, best belt buckle and best cowgirl outfit.

It'll be Ferg's second straight First Friday with a concert, but just as interestingly, it'll be a rare chance to see a country concert at a smaller venue in St. Pete. Aside from a few rare shows at Jannus Live and some other venues, that doesn't happen often in Pinellas.

Tickets start at $14.95, with VIP balcony access for $49.95. They'll go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Review: Oddball Festival brings Amy Schumer, Aziz Ansari and lots of riotous raunch to Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Even if the stormy weather of the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival's inaugural Tampa installment didn't return, its second stop Saturday was a reminder that lightning can strike twice.

Last year’s lineup of Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, Hannibal Buress, Marc Maron and more seemed like lightning in a bottle (to continue that metaphor) for Tampa Bay comedy fans — a who's who of comics who rarely visit here, all performing in one place. And an even larger crowd of about 14,000 came out to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre this year, with a returning Ansari and Amy Schumer headlining.

It was a fitting pair of top-billed acts, with the two comics on similarly stratospheric career rises. Both gained popularity from appearances in Judd Apatow films (Trainwreck and Funny People) and TV shows (Inside Amy Schumer and Parks and Recreation.) Both played Madison Square Garden. Both landed multi-million dollar book deals. …

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This week in Tampa: Brad Paisley, Steve Aoki, Ani DiFranco, Death Grips and more

It's a busy and eclectic week in Tampa Bay music, kicking off with Brad Paisley on Friday and ending with Death Grips next Thursday. Do those guys belong in the same sentence together? Probably not, but we'll take it.

Other acts with Tampa Bay concerts this week: Ani DiFranco, Steve Aoki, Dr. John and the Nite Trippers, Kylesa, MisterWives, Corey Smith, Adventure Club, Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity, In the Valley Below, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Electric Six and Here Come the Mummies. Here to walk you through it all are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...Full Story

Ticket Window: Rob Thomas, Vince Gill, Lyle Lovett and more

We missed last week's edition of Ticket Window, so we're combining it with this week's, making for a super-sized edition of concerts whose tickets are either going on sale this week, or are on sale now.

Events with tickets going on sale last week include The Exorcist with Linda Blair (Oct. 29, Tampa Theatre), Whitechapel (Nov. 12, State Theatre), Kevin Smith's Talk Salad and Scrambled Eggs (Nov. 25, Tampa Improv), Billy Gibbons (Nov. 29, Mahaffey Theater), Kinky Boots (Dec. 1-6, Straz Center), the Delta Saints (Dec. 10, Local 662), Robert Randolph and the Family Band (Feb. 14, Capitol Theatre), Robert Klein (Feb. 26, Capitol Theatre), Los Lonely Boys (March 6, Capitol Theatre), Joe Satriani (March 17, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Los Lobos (March 18, Capitol Theatre), Richard Nader's Doo Wop Reunion XVI (March 19, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Don Rickles and Regis Philbin (March 23, Ruth Eckerd Hall) and the Bronx Wanderers (April 3, Capitol Theatre). Click here. …

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Ani DiFranco talks activism, mellowing with age, becoming a target and more

A quarter-century after founding Righteous Babe Records in her hometown of Buffalo, N.Y., Ani DiFranco is still as fiercely independent as ever, pondering big topics like race, incarceration, gender politics, LGBT rights and the relentless stream of invective she sees every day in the media.

"Human dynamics are so fascinating to me," she said in a recent phone interview.

Is she the same teenage maverick who shaved her head, founded her own record label and busked for years on the road to ensure her poetry, her music, her progressive politics and activism would never be diluted by the corporate music machine?

No. At 45, she has mellowed, is married with two kids, living in New Orleans.

"All of these things have made my biorhythm come down a few notches," she says, "which has been really good for my singing. And good for my soul. I think as I get older, I'm less full of that youthful confidence and unstoppable-ness."

DiFranco's live shows, however, remain where her voice and spirit come alive. Find out when she performs at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater on Oct. 7. Tickets are $35 and up. Click here.

For more of our interview with Ani DiFranco, click here.

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Underoath's Tim McTague talks reunion shows, King State Coffee, touring in 2016 and more

Octavio Jones

In today's Tampa Bay Times, you'll find our story about Tampa's burgeoning small-batch coffee scene, led in part by musicians like Joel Davis (formerly of Ascend the Hill, currently of Fistful) of Commune + Co., and Nate Young (Anberlin) and Tim McTague (Underoath) of King State Coffee.

Young and McTague aim to hopen a coffee shop in Tampa sometime in 2016 -- this, despite Underoath reuniting for a tour that'll kick off with a sold-out performance at Jannus Live in March.

"That was the big thing we talked about before we started," said McTague, Underoath's guitarist, who also works for online merch compnay Merchline. "Nate's basically the manager of the on-the-ground company. As far as the space, he financing, the funding, taking care of business licenses, opening up the accounts, that's what I do, and I can do that from anywhere."

McTague said the timing was simply right to reunite the Christian metalcore outfit -- but originally, the plan was just to do a one-off concert celebrating the 10th anniversary of They're Only Chasing Safety.  …

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Review: Jose Gonzalez enchants St. Petersburg's State Theatre with heartfelt indie folk

Jose Gonzalez performed at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on Sept. 29, 2015.

Jay Cridlin

Jose Gonzalez performed at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on Sept. 29, 2015.

It’s the little things. That’s what made Jose Gonzalez’s concert on Tuesday at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg such a joy to behold.

Tiny handclaps and fingersnaps. Soft bells and percussion rattles. Clicks of a clave or wood block.

Gonzalez could get away without any of this – his songs are so intensely intimate, delivered in such a hush, that he could tour America with only a guitar and most fans might not mind, or even notice.

But the addition of a four-piece backing band did wonders for Gonzalez’s music. Though the accoutrements those musicians offered were often sparse, they provided such depth and texture that the full and swaying State was left enchanted by each song, and Gonzalez was left grinning ear to ear after his first solo show in Tampa Bay.Full Story