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Madonna on Donald Trump’s Election Win: ‘We’re F–ked’

December 6th, 2016 · Guitar

Madonna has a message for America after Donald Trump‘s presidential win. “We’re fucked,” she told actress Elizabeth Banks in a revealing Billboard interview. 

“[The election] felt like someone died,” Madonna says. “[It] felt like a combination of the heartbreak and betrayal you feel when someone you love more than anything leaves you, and also a death. I feel that way every morning; I wake up and say, ‘Oh, wait, Donald Trump is still the president,’ and it wasn’t a bad dream that I had.” 

The pop icon also blamed Trump’s victory – and Hillary Clinton’s loss – on women voters, touting the theory that “women hate women.” “It feels like women betrayed us,” she said. “The percentage of women who voted for Trump was insanely high … Women’s nature is not to support other women. It’s really sad. Men protect each other, and women protect their men and children. Women turn inward and men are more external.

“A lot of it has do with jealousy and some sort of tribal inability to accept that one of their kind could lead a nation,” she continued. “Other people just didn’t bother to vote because they didn’t like either candidate, or they didn’t think Trump had a chance in the world. They took their hands off the wheel and then the car crashed.”

Madonna, Billboard‘s Woman of the Year, said she met Trump “years ago” for a Versace campaign at the president-elect’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida – and she found him charming, if unfitting for the presidency.

“He’s a very friendly guy, ­charismatic in that ­boastful, macho, alpha-male way,” she said. “I found his political incorrectness amusing. Of course, I didn’t know he was going to be running for ­president 20 years later. People like that exist in the world, I’m OK with it. They just can’t be heads of state. I just can’t put him and Barack Obama in the same ­sentence, same room, same job description.”

The singer – who released her 13th LP, Rebel Heart, in 2015 – also spoke out against ageism and sexism in the entertainment industry. “‘Relevance’ is a catchphrase that people throw out because we live in a world full of discrimination,” she said. “Age is only brought up with regard to women. It’s connected to sexism, chauvinism and misogyny. When Leonardo [DiCaprio] is 60 years old, no one is going to talk about his relevance. Am I relevant as a female in this society that hates women? Well, to people who are educated and are not chauvinists or ­misogynists, yes.”

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/madonna-on-donald-trumps-election-win-were-f--ked-w453873

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50 Cent to Receive $14.5 Million in Legal Malpractice Suit

December 6th, 2016 · Guitar

50 Cent was awarded $14.5 million stemming from a malpractice suit the rapper filed against a law firm that represented him in a headphones lawsuit.

However, it’s unlikely 50 Cent will see any of that award, as most of it will go toward satisfying the $23 million bankruptcy settlement he agreed to in July, pending approval, Forbes reports.

In a 2014 lawsuit, 50 Cent (real name Curtis Jackson) was ordered to pay headphone makers Sleek Audio $16 million after the rapper severed his deal with Sleek to produce his own brand of headphones that a court ruled was “basically the same designs” as his Sleek-branded pair.

Following that decision, 50 Cent filed a malpractice suit against Garvey Schubert Barer (GSB), the law firm who represented him against Sleek Audio, alleging that the firm “didn’t adequately represent his interests in licensing negotiations and arbitration disputes with Sleek Audio.”

“Among GSB’s numerous failures was its inexplicable decision not to call technical and damages experts to rebut expert testimony offered by Sleek — failures relied upon by the arbitrator in crediting Sleek’s experts and entering an eight-figure award in Sleek’s favor,” 50 Cent’s new legal representation alleged in their suit against GSB.

As part of 50 Cent’s Chapter 11 reorganization plan, agreed to in July after he filed for bankruptcy in July 2015, the rapper owed Sleek Audio $17 million, making them 50 Cent’s largest outstanding debt. 50 Cent also owes $7 million in damages after losing a privacy lawsuit over a leaked sex tape.

In a deleted Instagram post following the $14.5 million decision, the rapper wrote, “I just got 14.5 million back from one Law Firm For malpractice. They fucked up so bad, I don’t think they should be practicing Law.”

On Monday, 50 Cent replaced that post with a Photoshopped image of the rapper sitting on a stack of money and a caption that read, “I retract my earlier statements about the legal services provided to me by the law firm of Garvey Schubert Barer. The law firm and I have settled our dispute and I consider the issue closed.”

“With respect to Sleek Audio, the $14.5 million settlement represents significantly more than the $12.5 million payable to Sleek Audio under the Bankruptcy Plan and more than half of the total amount owed under Mr. Jackson’s reorganization plan,” Craig Weiner, one of 50 Cent’s lawyers in the malpractice said, said in a statement.

“We are informed that these proceeds, together with other funds contributed by Mr. Jackson should position the Estate to provide for the remaining obligations to be satisfied in connection with this successful Chapter 11 Reorganization Plan. This is a most significant achievement, especially considering that the Plan was approved less than six months ago and provided Mr. Jackson with up to five years to satisfy all debts. Mr. Jackson is eager to move forward in doing what is best for his estate and creditors, and this settlement brings us one step closer toward that end.”

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/50-cent-to-receive-145-million-in-legal-malpractice-suit-w453975

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At Least 36 People Killed in Fire at Oakland Warehouse Party

December 5th, 2016 · Guitar

UPDATE: Authorities confirmed Sunday that they have found the bodies of at least 36 people in the aftermath of the Oakland warehouse fire, adding that the majority of the building still hasn’t been searched.

At least nine people were killed and over a dozen unaccounted for after a fire broke out at a party in an Oakland, California warehouse late Friday night. 

According to a Facebook event page, the warehouse on the corner of 31st Avenue and International Boulevard in the city’s Fruitvale neighborhood was hosting musician Golden Donna’s 100% Silk tour.

“What happened in Oakland is an unbelievable tragedy, a nightmare scenario. Britt and I are beside ourselves, utterly devastated. We are a very tight community of artists and we are all praying, sending love and condolences to everyone involved and their families,” the label 100% Silk said in a statement. “Thank you for everyone who’s been reaching out, we are hoping so hard for the best. We will be posting here on how you can help, and any information as it comes to us.”

Authorities say at least 50 people were in the building at the time of the three-alarm blaze. According to fire officials, the party was taking place on the second floor of the warehouse, with the only access a “makeshift staircase” made of wooden palettes. “There wasn’t a clear entry or exit path up on the second floor. … If (the fire) had started in that area (by the stairwell), then everyone on the second floor” would have had trouble escaping, Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach-Reed said Saturday morning. “It must have been a very fast-moving fire.”

“We still have to do a more thorough search of the building and we don’t know the potential number of other victims,” Deloach-Reed told the East Bay Times. “This is a true loss for the city, for the firefighters who responded, and the people who lost family and friend. It’s just tragic, a real tragedy.”

Firefighters first received a call about the fire at 11:30 p.m. Friday night. Within an hour, the blaze had torn through the roof. Authorities added that the fire didn’t activate the building’s smoke detectors, and that there was no sprinkler system in place at the warehouse, which served as a live/work and studio space for local artists.

Deloche-Reed added, “We’ve done a preliminary search we are up to nine known fatalities. There’s still a still a lot of the building that needs to be searched.” Over 55 firefighters were needed to extinguish the fire, the second major blaze in Oakland in as many months.

Golden Donna’s Facebook page describes the project as “the electronic outlet of Madison, Wisconsin’s Joel Shanahan”; Shanahan later revealed that he escaped the fire. Other artists scheduled to perform at the Oakland party included Cherushii, Nackt and Russell Butler.

“Last night’s fire was an immense tragedy,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said of the tragedy, the largest in the East Bay since the 1989 earthquakes. “Our focus right now is on the victims and their families and ensuring that we have a full accounting for everyone who was impacted by this tragedy.”

The event’s Facebook page is now an active thread where friends and family can check on the status or whereabouts of those still missing. Police are also asking anyone looking for missing persons associated with this fire to contact the Alameda County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Bureau.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/at-least-9-people-killed-in-fire-at-oakland-warehouse-party-w453666

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On the Charts: The Weeknd’s ‘Starboy’ Rockets to Number One

December 5th, 2016 · Guitar

The Weeknd‘s Starboy, one of the last major releases of 2016, had the third biggest-selling week of the year. The singer’s new LP rocketed to Number One on the Billboard 200 on the strength of 348,000 total copies. For Abel Tesfaye (who performs as The Weeknd), Starboy is his second consecutive Number One LP following Beauty Behind the Madness, which sold 412,000 total copies in its debut week in August 2015.

Only Drake’s Views and Beyoncé’s Lemonade sold more opening week copies this year, Billboard reports. The Weeknd’s sales were driven by record-breaking streaming totals. Physical album sales and album download sales made up a smaller portion of the total sales. 

Metallica’s Hardwired dipped from Number One last week to Number Three, followed by Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic at Number Four, the Moana soundtrack at Number Five and the Trollz soundtrack at Number Six.

With Christmas approaching, seasonal albums expectedly littered the Top 10: Pentatonix’s A Pentatonix Christmas led the way by jumping from Number Four last week to Number Two with 131,000 total copies. Pentatonix’s 2014 LP That’s Christmas to Me also rejoined the Top 10 at Number Seven, while Michael Buble’s 2011 LP Christmas reentered at Number Eight.

Miranda Lambert’s The Weight of These Wings (Number Nine) and the Hamilton Broadway cast recording (Number 10) rounded out the Top 10.

While the Rolling Stones’ Blue Lonesome, the Hamilton mixtape and new releases from Childish Gambino and Grace VanderWaal might give the Weeknd a run for Number One next week, Starboy‘s monster streaming totals should keep it at Number One for at least another week.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/on-the-charts-the-weeknds-starboy-rockets-to-number-one-w453732

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Mogwai Plot 2017 North American ‘Atomic’ Tour

December 5th, 2016 · Guitar

Mogwai are taking new album Atomic to stages across North America in a stretch of January concerts. The Scottish post-rock band will kick off the trek January 18th in Los Angeles and conclude January 31st in Montreal.

Atomic, released in April, is Mogwai’s instrumental soundtrack to Mark Cousins’ BBC documentary Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise. The band, alongside Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, also contributed music to Leonardo DiCaprio’s climate change documentary Before the Flood.

Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite has also been making music with Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell and Editors’ Justin and James Lockey in the indie-rock supergroup, Minor Victories. The group’s self-titled debut LP, released in June, features appearances from Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek and the Twilight Sad’s James Graham.

Braithwaite told Rolling Stone that he stayed creatively sharp by balancing the workload of Atomic and Minor Victories. “There was no crossover [between the projects], really,” he said. “It was quite good that I could just write music, and I knew it would work for whatever I was doing – for something.”

Mogwai Tour Dates

January 18th – Los Angeles, CA @ The Theatre at Ace Hotel
January 19th – Berkeley, CA @ The UC Theatre
January 21st – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
January 22nd – Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater
January 24th – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
January 25th – Munhall, PA @ Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead
January 27th – Boston, MA @ Berklee Performance Center
January 28th – Washington, DC @ Sixth I Historic Synagogue
January 29th – New York, NY @ Town Hall Theatre
January 30th – Toronto, Ontario @ Danforth Music Hall
January 31st Montreal, Quebec @ St. Denis Theatre

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/mogwai-plot-2017-north-american-atomic-tour-w453799

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Cream Prep 50th Anniversary ‘Fresh Cream’ Reissue Box Set

December 5th, 2016 · Guitar

Cream are celebrating the 50th anniversary of its 1966 debut, Fresh Cream, with a four-disc deluxe edition set out January 27th, Ultimate Classic Rock reports.

The reissue will include three CDs featuring mono and stereo mixes of the original LP, plus singles from that period, alternate takes and outtakes, early EPs and recordings from the group’s BBC sessions. The fourth disc will be a Blu-ray audio version of the mono and stereo version and bonus tracks. The reissue also comes with a hardback book featuring photos and liner notes.

Cream, the trio of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, would release three more albums after Fresh Cream – Disraeli Gears, Wheels of Fire and Goodbye – before splitting up. Bruce embarked on a solo career while Clapton and Baker joined Blind Faith, though over the next several decades all three would partake in an array of different musical projects.

In 1993, Cream reunited for a handful of songs upon their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2005 they played a series of shows at Royal Albert Hall. Clapton continues to tour and record – he has a handful of U.S. concerts planned for 2017 – as does Baker, though the drummer was forced off the road this summer to undergo open heart surgery. Bassist Jack Bruce died in 2014. 

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/cream-prep-50th-anniversary-fresh-cream-reissue-box-set-w453362

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Review: The Rolling Stones Reinvigorate the Blues on ‘Blue and Lonesome’

December 5th, 2016 · Guitar

On April 7th, 1962, three young Englishmen obsessed with American blues met for the first time, at the Ealing Jazz Club in London. Two of them – singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards from an aspiring combo, Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys – were attending a performance by the local blues scene’s leading troupe, Blues Incorporated, led by guitarist Alexis Korner. The third man, guitarist Brian Jones, was playing with Korner’s group, under the pseudonym Elmo Lewis. Three months later, on July 12th, Jagger, Richards and Jones made their live debut as the Rollin’ Stones at the Marquee Club, with bassist Dick Taylor, later of the Pretty Things, and pianist Ian Stewart, who would become the Stones’ devoted road manager and true-blues conscience.

Between those spring and summer landmarks, Jagger also did time with Blues Incorporated in a lineup that included the Stones’ eventual drummer Charlie Watts, singing imported electric-Chicago standards such as “Got My Mojo Working,” a 1957 single by Muddy Waters, and a late-1955 recording by Jimmy Reed’s guitarist Eddie Taylor, “Ride ‘Em on Down.” Fifty-four years later, on Blue and Lonesome, Jagger turns back to that Taylor stomp, chewing on the words – descended from a starker Delta blues, “Shake ‘Em on Down,” codified on a 1937 release by Bukka White – like a favorite meal as the air gets thick with Richards and Ron Wood’s sniping guitars and Watts’ rifle-volley snare fills.

Recorded last December in just three days with co-producer Don Was at British Grove Studios in the London suburb of Richmond – almost spitting distance from the site of the Crawdaddy Club, where the Stones played a life-changing 1963 residency – Blue and Lonesome is the band’s first all-covers studio release since the 1964 U.K. EP The Rolling Stones, and the Stones’ first pure, straight blues record ever. It is also the working lineup of the world’s biggest blues band – with Wood in his 41st year as the new boy and bassist Darryl Jones as Watts’ co-anchor since 1993 – doing what comes naturally in a dozen songs mostly associated with sweet home Chicago: Reed, Howlin’ Wolf, singer-guitarist Magic Sam and especially harp master Little Walter, with four of his Fifties and Sixties singles here.

There is deep South too. The brash London whelps that covered bayou bluesman Slim Harpo’s 1957 B side “I’m a King Bee” on their debut album and named a live LP in honor of the flip (“Got Love If You Want It”) have a romping good time with “Hoodoo Blues” by Harpo’s contemporary, Lightnin’ Slim. And there is a thrilling, unexpected stop, with slide guitar from fellow pilgrim Eric Clapton, at the Louisiana intersection of blues and soul in Little Johnny Taylor’s “Everybody Knows About My Good Thing.” The Stones were actually working closer to the older Delta, covering Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “You Gotta Move” on Sticky Fingers, when Taylor’s single was a Top Ten RB hit in 1971 on the Ronn label out of Shreveport. But Jagger’s freewheeling phrasing is the good-time relish of a man who has been writing cheatin’ songs all of his life but knows when he’s got the gold standard in front of him.

The Stones first heard these songs as foreign language – the lust and trials of older, hardened men. That rough weather now fits the Stones – including Wood, who did his apprentice time in London RB mods the Birds and on bass for the Jeff Beck Group – like a suit off the rack at Chicago’s Maxwell Street Market. In “Just Your Fool,” a Checker Records 45 for Little Walter in 1962, Watts presses the beat like a forced, precision march under the chug and spike of Richards and Wood’s guitars. “Blue and Lonesome,” from a 1965 Little Walter single and caught here in a single take, opens with a rush of power-chord sustain, then drops into tense strut marked with jittery bursts of slalom guitar, Jagger cutting in with seething confrontation, especially on harp. Jones originally played that instrument in the Stones, but Jagger grew into their secret weapon. His hearty, supple attack and exclamatory accents are as exciting and decisive as Richards’ bedrock ways on guitar.

Made on impulse, as a much-needed break during other studio work, Blue and Lonesome is a monument to muscle memory. Solos are brief and tight, evoking the honed-punch effect of the original recordings. The running highlight throughout the album is the churning ensemble bond: the hot-plate jump of the guitars over the chasing rhythm in the Little Walter sprint “I Gotta Go”; the feral, stalking tension in Magic Sam’s “All of Your Love” as Jagger tears at the title lyric like an upper-octave Howlin’ Wolf.

Blue and Lonesome is not a record of mere returning, a look back at how it all started. The Stones were already big time when some of these songs were released by the originators including Howlin’ Wolf’s 1966 threat “Commit a Crime” and Magic Sam’s defining version of “All of Your Love” on his 1967 landmark, West Side Soul. In fact, the younger Stones couldn’t have tackled Jimmy Reed’s 1957 lament “Little Rain” like the slow, advancing storm here. Watts comes in like stoic resignation, on brushed snare, under rolling clouds of guitar; Jagger fires lightning streaks of harp. It’s barely a song – six lines of determined yearning and time running out. But it is dense with lesson, a reflection of the grip and wisdom that, for every bluesman, only comes with miles and age.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/review-the-rolling-stones-blue-and-lonesome-w453332

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At Least 33 People Killed in Fire at Oakland Warehouse Party

December 5th, 2016 · Guitar

UPDATE: Authorities confirmed Sunday that they have found the bodies of at least 33 people in the aftermath of the Oakland warehouse fire, adding that the majority of the building still hasn’t been searched.

At least nine people were killed and over a dozen unaccounted for after a fire broke out at a party in an Oakland, California warehouse late Friday night. 

According to a Facebook event page, the warehouse on the corner of 31st Avenue and International Boulevard in the city’s Fruitvale neighborhood was hosting musician Golden Donna’s 100% Silk tour.

“What happened in Oakland is an unbelievable tragedy, a nightmare scenario. Britt and I are beside ourselves, utterly devastated. We are a very tight community of artists and we are all praying, sending love and condolences to everyone involved and their families,” the label 100% Silk said in a statement. “Thank you for everyone who’s been reaching out, we are hoping so hard for the best. We will be posting here on how you can help, and any information as it comes to us.”

Authorities say at least 50 people were in the building at the time of the three-alarm blaze. According to fire officials, the party was taking place on the second floor of the warehouse, with the only access a “makeshift staircase” made of wooden palettes. “There wasn’t a clear entry or exit path up on the second floor. … If (the fire) had started in that area (by the stairwell), then everyone on the second floor” would have had trouble escaping, Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach-Reed said Saturday morning. “It must have been a very fast-moving fire.”

“We still have to do a more thorough search of the building and we don’t know the potential number of other victims,” Deloach-Reed told the East Bay Times. “This is a true loss for the city, for the firefighters who responded, and the people who lost family and friend. It’s just tragic, a real tragedy.”

Firefighters first received a call about the fire at 11:30 p.m. Friday night. Within an hour, the blaze had torn through the roof. Authorities added that the fire didn’t activate the building’s smoke detectors, and that there was no sprinkler system in place at the warehouse, which served as a live/work and studio space for local artists.

Deloche-Reed added, “We’ve done a preliminary search we are up to nine known fatalities. There’s still a still a lot of the building that needs to be searched.” Over 55 firefighters were needed to extinguish the fire, the second major blaze in Oakland in as many months.

Golden Donna’s Facebook page describes the project as “the electronic outlet of Madison, Wisconsin’s Joel Shanahan”; Shanahan later revealed that he escaped the fire. Other artists scheduled to perform at the Oakland party included Cherushii, Nackt and Russell Butler.

“Last night’s fire was an immense tragedy,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said of the tragedy, the largest in the East Bay since the 1989 earthquakes. “Our focus right now is on the victims and their families and ensuring that we have a full accounting for everyone who was impacted by this tragedy.”

The event’s Facebook page is now an active thread where friends and family can check on the status or whereabouts of those still missing. Police are also asking anyone looking for missing persons associated with this fire to contact the Alameda County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Bureau.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/at-least-9-people-killed-in-fire-at-oakland-warehouse-party-w453666

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At Least 24 People Killed in Fire at Oakland Warehouse Party

December 4th, 2016 · Guitar

UPDATE: Authorities confirmed Sunday that they have found the bodies of at least 24 people in the aftermath of the Oakland warehouse fire, adding that the majority of the building still hasn’t been searched.

At least nine people were killed and over a dozen unaccounted for after a fire broke out at a party in an Oakland, California warehouse late Friday night. 

According to a Facebook event page, the warehouse on the corner of 31st Avenue and International Boulevard in the city’s Fruitvale neighborhood was hosting musician Golden Donna’s 100% Silk tour.

“What happened in Oakland is an unbelievable tragedy, a nightmare scenario. Britt and I are beside ourselves, utterly devastated. We are a very tight community of artists and we are all praying, sending love and condolences to everyone involved and their families,” the label 100% Silk said in a statement. “Thank you for everyone who’s been reaching out, we are hoping so hard for the best. We will be posting here on how you can help, and any information as it comes to us.”

Authorities say at least 50 people were in the building at the time of the three-alarm blaze. According to fire officials, the party was taking place on the second floor of the warehouse, with the only access a “makeshift staircase” made of wooden palettes. “There wasn’t a clear entry or exit path up on the second floor. … If (the fire) had started in that area (by the stairwell), then everyone on the second floor” would have had trouble escaping, Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach-Reed said Saturday morning. “It must have been a very fast-moving fire.”

“We still have to do a more thorough search of the building and we don’t know the potential number of other victims,” Deloach-Reed told the East Bay Times. “This is a true loss for the city, for the firefighters who responded, and the people who lost family and friend. It’s just tragic, a real tragedy.”

Firefighters first received a call about the fire at 11:30 p.m. Friday night. Within an hour, the blaze had torn through the roof. Authorities added that the fire didn’t activate the building’s smoke detectors, and that there was no sprinkler system in place at the warehouse, which served as a live/work and studio space for local artists.

Deloche-Reed added, “We’ve done a preliminary search we are up to nine known fatalities. There’s still a still a lot of the building that needs to be searched.” Over 55 firefighters were needed to extinguish the fire, the second major blaze in Oakland in as many months.

Golden Donna’s Facebook page describes the project as “the electronic outlet of Madison, Wisconsin’s Joel Shanahan”; Shanahan later revealed that he escaped the fire. Other artists scheduled to perform at the Oakland party included Cherushii, Nackt and Russell Butler.

“Last night’s fire was an immense tragedy,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said of the tragedy, the largest in the East Bay since the 1989 earthquakes. “Our focus right now is on the victims and their families and ensuring that we have a full accounting for everyone who was impacted by this tragedy.”

The event’s Facebook page is now an active thread where friends and family can check on the status or whereabouts of those still missing. Police are also asking anyone looking for missing persons associated with this fire to contact the Alameda County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Bureau.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/at-least-9-people-killed-in-fire-at-oakland-warehouse-party-w453666

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Oakland Fire Warehouse Attendees Describe Confusing, Horrific Scene

December 4th, 2016 · Guitar

The fire spread so quickly that firefighters at the station one block away had trouble even entering the building before immediately retreating to a defensive position.

On Friday night, flames engulfed an Oakland warehouse, tearing through the cluttered art collective known as Oakland Ghost Ship as it hosted an electronic music event attended by up to 70 people, officials and tenants said. Nine people are confirmed dead, though as dozens remain missing, officials are prepared for a “mass casualty event” which could bring the final death toll to 40.

“It’s a task to just get through the front door with all the debris and wreckage,” Alameda County’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said at a press conference, reaffirming that officials’ number one priority was identifying the deceased and notifying their families. That progress has been slowed by the large collection of oddities and confusing structures inside the building, which collapsed on itself. “A lot of the people who are victims here are young people,” Kelly added.

Bob Mulé, a photographer, tells Rolling Stone he was one of “about 20″ tenants living inside the warehouse at 1305 31st Ave. He had lived at the heavily furnished art space for a little over a year, and was inside when the fire started.

“Moments after I noticed the fire, the power went out. I started screaming, ‘Fire! Fire! Fire! There’s a fucking fire, we need an extinguisher!’” Mulé, 27, says. “There’s fire extinguishers all over that place. But of course, in the moment, it’s like, ‘Where the fuck are they?’”

Using his iPhone light, Mulé found one. But after several attempts, he couldn’t get it to function. The fire grew at a frightening pace, sweeping across the mostly wooden, carpeted warehouse “within a minute,” Mulé says.

“Right as I saw the fire, I turned around and everything was dark. Just black.”

“No one is thinking rationally in that moment,” he says. “You can’t. It’s fire! It’s dark – there’s smoke. I don’t know how many people were left up there.”

According to Mulé, the fire began on the first floor, in the back corner of the warehouse, with most attendees trapped on the second floor where the party was being held.

“There were other people in there who have never been to the space and don’t know their way around,” Mulé says, holding back tears. “It was also pitch black because the power went out. Right as I saw the fire, I turned around and everything was dark. Just black. So for people who don’t know how to get out, they’re not going to know where to go.”

Mulé did. But as his primal instincts kicked in and he made his way toward the front exit, he heard a cry for help from a fellow artist and friend. (Rolling Stone has declined to publish the man’s name as he is still officially considered “missing.”) According to Mulé, the Ghost Ship tenant had fallen off of his loft and broke his ankle.

“He was calling out for help like, ‘Help! Help! Help! I need your help, I broke my ankle, I can’t move,’” Mulé says through tears. “He gave me his hand and I started pulling on his wrist and oh my God, it was so hot. It got too hot and too smoky and there was just too much stuff blocking the path. I couldn’t move it out of the way because I literally felt my skin melting. I had to leave [him] and he definitely didn’t make it. Fuck, man, I tried my best. I did my best and he’s a fucking awesome dude. I just have this crazy image of my friend burning alive in my head.”

City records show the building was currently under investigation by the City of Oakland for a “illegal interior building structure.” Inspectors visited the site as recently as a few weeks ago, but were unable to get inside to confirm the violation, officials said. There was also a notice of violation on Nov. 13th, after neighbors sent in a blight complaint about wooden pallets and possibly “hazardous materials” accumulating outside.

City records show Chor N. Ng as the building’s owner, but residents confirmed Derick Almena ran the space and collected rent of up to $600 a month from tenants. Almena, who was not at the venue Friday, enraged grieving friends by writing a Facebook post that appeared to highlight the loss of his material items instead of those still on the crowdsourced missing persons’ list.

“Everything I worked so hard for is gone,” Almena wrote. “It’s as if I have awoken from a dream filled with opulence and hope … to be standing now in poverty of self-worth.” Almena did not immediately return multiple requests by Rolling Stone for comment. Almena’s wife, Micah Allison, told the Los Angeles Times, “I’m not going to speak to anybody about that kind of stuff. I’m going to have to speak to my lawyers before I answer any questions.”

The Oakland Planning and Building Department told ABC 7 News that Almena, who also goes by Derick Ion, did not request any permits for the party, which would have allowed city employees to inspect the venue for safety lapses. One former resident told the Los Angeles Times that the venue did not have any fire sprinklers or alarms.   

Residents, visitors, and photographs depict a warehouse full of collectibles, musical instruments and art projects from around the world. Chris Zaldua, a Bay Area electronic music columnist, says of his prior visit to the venue, “I was in awe of it, but also horrified by it. The whole place looked like a mess – pure insanity. It was filled top to bottom with things, knickknacks, pianos, artwork, statues, random pieces of wood. The whole thing was one big art project.”

Possibly compounding the scope of the tragedy were confusing maze-like corridors that ended with Polynesian beds and lounge areas instead of exits. Residents built lofts they described as being neither on the first or second floor, but on the “1.5″ floor. Instead of drywall, pallets, 2x4s, and other types of wood were used as partitions. There was a hole sledgehammered through the building’s perimeter wall to allow access to the auto shop next door. The floor was covered with carpet.

The building’s electricity was hooked up to the neighboring auto shop. Even though officials hadn’t begun the methodical procedure of determining the cause, Mulé, and others grieving the loss of life, had theories.

“I really think it had to do with something electrical. We don’t even have direct access to our breaker box,” he said. “They moved in with the power the way it was. They have noted complaints, documented, to the landlord about getting the power fixed and it never happened. We were constantly having to change these fuses. If the power went out at 8 p.m. for whatever reason, we’d have to wait until the morning until the auto body shop opens up to be able to replace it.” No pyrotechnics were reported at the event.

As officials brought in heavy equipment including dump trucks, front loaders, and a massive, white crane Saturday night, Karen West stood just outside the perimeter set by crime scene tape. She’d come to drop off flowers and a candle at an impromptu memorial growing on E 13th St. But more importantly, she was there to relay information to the parents of 28-year-old Micah Danemayer, a performer at the event who was still missing.

“Micah is really sensitive and gentle. He was doing his music as a way of processing the world he saw, trying to make sense of it,” West, who has known Danemayer his whole life, said. Danemayer’s parents were flying into town tomorrow, but until then, West would serve as a stand-in. Her eyes welled with tears. “He moved in with his girlfriend Thursday and told his brother it was the happiest day of his life.”

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/oakland-fire-warehouse-attendees-describe-horrific-scene-w453695

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