Neil Young was in a jovial mood during an appearance on The Daily Show. Appearing on the program to promote his memoir, Waging Heavy Peace, the veteran rocker lightheartedly refuted his reputation as a curmudgeon. “Your image is not necessarily as warm as this book,” host Jon Stewart joked.
“Behind the scenes, I’m really nice,” smiled Young. The veteran rocker went on playfully cite his disdain for mp3s. “People don’t have mp3 listening parties,” he said, adding that the format robbed music of its soul. “You lose the feeling, you lose what makes you feel good, what makes music live. If you were Picasso, and you made a Picasso, and then it came out and everybody saw it and it was a Xerox of Picasso? That's what it feels like." Later Young talked about the special chemistry he has with Crazy Horse. "I don't know how it happens, but when I'm singing and playing with Crazy Horse, I'm a different guy," he explained. "I write a different thing, I see things differently, I see deeper pictures, I'm able to write and express myself much deeper …."
When Led Zeppelin reunited in 2007 to play London’s 02 Arena, it was one of the most in-demand shows ever – 20 million people reportedly applied for tickets. Five years on, the show is out on DVD, Blu-ray and CD as Celebration Day. Gibson asked visuals director Dick Carruthers about capturing a legendary event.
Carruthers is a well-respected video producer in the rock world, with performances by The Who, Oasis, Snow Patrol, Stereophonics and more to his credit. In November 2012, his direction of Noel Gallagher’s International Magic (also filmed at the 02) was released.
But Celebration Day has taken five years to come to release. Gibson.com asked Carruthers about its slow birth from show to screen…
What was your original involvement for the show?
Only to direct what was being shown on the big screen at the O2. The original notion was for the band to do the show for as a tribute to Ahmet (Eturgun, Atlantic Records chief). It was just, “let’s do it for one night.” So I was brought in as a multi-camera director of rock gigs. I’ve done it many times – Aerosmith, Oasis, to the Rolling Stones to Take That.
But if you are filming a gig now, recording is always a part. There was a point when we wanted to do it right, record the whole thing. It was: what if we wanted to make a DVD of this? So we added cameras, lighted the audience a little more, and so on.
So, was there an intention for a DVD at the time?
Absolutely not. But I was making all of the arrangements, so if that ever happened I knew damn well we’d have everything we needed. Just in simple terms of the camera angles and the audio and decent lighting. But even six months to a year ago from now, there was a possibility this would never see the light of day.
It seems strange to have taken five years for Celebration Day to come out…
It’s not strange to me at all. As John Paul Jones said at the press conference, five years is five minutes in Led Zeppelin time. And he’s absolutely right. There was no commercial pressure to release it, that’s for sure. But they did it to make a statement. They did no warm-up gigs, only a couple of rehearsals, and then they did this one-off show and just blew everybody away. That’s the statement.
Everyone said it was the greatest gig ever, and I was very chuffed about my part in that. But you never really know. It’s like – if you go and see your friend in an amateur production of King Lear, you’ll always say, “oh daaaahling, you were amaaaazing.” Everyone was saying it was awesome, but we didn’t have a plan.
But I knew it was good, brilliant even. But it was a few years later when I got the phonecall saying: shall we have a look it this film again? I’d never even seen it, so I was like, “of course!”
So there was no “masterplan?”
“Oh no. This band is very honest. Gold-plated integrity. There wasn’t one person leading this, in particular. Decisions are made by committee, by senate. Even before I got to pull the tapes out of storage, everyone involved had to agree it was OK I did that.
I first looked at it with John Paul Jones and Robert Plant in a top editing suite. They were sat behind me, so I didn’t know what their reaction was at first. But they were blown away themselves.
And they called Jimmy (Page) and said, “you have to see this.” So Jimmy came in and watched the whole thing, too. After that, it was agreed: we should put this out.
“Because a couple of years had passed, all the furore had died down. By then it was simply a decision of acknowledging that this was really, really good and should be released. So, to me, to release it after a few years makes perfect sense. It’s a very “Zeppelin” thing to do.
What were you doing on the night? Did you actually get to enjoy the show?
Oh, absolutely. It was a fantastic focus of concentrating. I was mixing and directing the whole show – live-mixing all of the cameras and directing all of the on-screen graphics. By the time the band came on stage I had a thousand pre-set buttons that I could recall for the effects – when you watch Celebration Day, it makes sense why I had to do that.
And everything was (audio) recorded perfectly backstage, even knowing it would be locked in a box for probably a few years. But in a sense, I didn’t feel I’d even seen the show. It felt like an intense 10-minutes of 3-dimensional chess just to do it. Like - what just happened?
Were Zeppelin nervous or apprehensive about filming the show?
“There was nervousness about the show, yes. But there was no apprehension. I think there was a degree of nervousness in the crowd - they were there knowing they were about to witness an historic occasion, the outcome of which was by no means certain. So there were palpable nerves in the auditorium. But I felt very fired-up, I just wanted to do it.
There was no time for hesitation. I just had to move the cameras like chess pieces – thinking several moves ahead – and “live in the moment” of each song. It was wonderful to do. Time like that, I think I’ve got the best job in the world.
I think you can feel the nerves in the first song or two, but with “Black Dog” it starts to relax – you can feel those metaphorical shoulders relaxing. By the end of “Black Dog”, everyone seems to relax. By the fourth song, “In My Time of Dying,” it’s flying. And then it gets better and higher, better and higher. It just flies.
For you, what are the key points in the show and the film of it?
“All the way through maybe, haha? Well, I think “For Your Life” is a highpoint. “Stairway to Heaven”, naturally, but also because we had a lot of visuals going on. “Kashmir” seems to be almost everybody’s favorite song in this film… but visually, that wasn’t a big one for my team, we didn’t have a lot of complicated visuals going on. But on “Dazed and Confused” I split the screen into three and did three different visual mixes… What I was trying to do was reflect, spatially and visually, what was going on in the song.
You say there were mistakes, but Led Zeppelin are known for not being flawless, aren’t they?
Yeah, and I love that. Everyone that is a true Led Zeppelin fan understands that! Programmed perfection does not exist in Led Zeppelin’s world. But their ability to switch, change gear, jump a phrase is superb. You’d have to be an anorak to notice it!
Was the show always intended to be a one-off?
Absolutely, it always was. And it increased the pressure, in a good way, that we had to get it right. It wasn’t like we thought we could iron out the rough spots by gig eight!
But, also, it wasn’t definite that this was the last will and testament of Led Zeppelin. We didn’t know. The band didn’t even know! It seems like a fact now, but all this b****cks about will they/won’t they tour again only happened afterwards. I just had to pull-off that one show. To make that night the most spectacular visual show it could be. If they do get back together, my only focus was showing everyone else: this is how it’s done. And I think Zeppelin did that. The pure musicianship of the band, the songs, and the beauty of Jason Bonham on the drums, which he’s always wanted to do… it’s incredible.
But the input from the band in this movie has obviously been high?
Yes. They came in, individually and collectively. In terms of visuals, it was all about the cadences and the accents of the film. Getting the pace and cut of the rhythm of the song is a big job. Y’know, Jimmy could be off in his own zone, then staring at Jason on drums, then having a question-answer moment with Robert… that’s the story of the song being played. You have to tell that story on film.
You’ll always get something “wrong.” I’ve had crazy people slagging me off for not keeping cameras on Jimmy’s solos long enough. But it’s about the ups and downs, the light and the shade, of any song.
There’s an intimacy in the film from the way it was shot. And I think we captured the celebration of the show.
Former Beatle Paul McCartney is one of the many performers slated to perform in next month’s “12.12.12: The Concert for Sandy Relief” in New York City, but McCartney’s involvement with Sandy goes beyond playing the show. Apparently, Sir Paul almost confronted Hurricane Sandy head-on.
“I actually just escaped Sandy,” McCartney toldThe Sun. “I had taken my little one on holiday to the Bahamas. The day I was supposed to be leaving, they told me there was a storm blowing in. I’d just flown out of there and that evening the storm hit.” Sir Paul, of course, is relieved to have missed Sandy’s destruction. “It was terrible,” he said. “I just scraped out of that.”
In recent years, movie soundtracks seem little more than a ragbag of songs underpinned by a big-name hit that appears to have little relation to the movie. Face it, the only earth-shattering thing about Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” (for Armageddon) was that it was their first #1 single. Other times, the “why the hell is this here?” factor is intentional, as with Huey Lewis’s “Hip to Be Square” soundtracking the most violent murder of American Psycho. But sometimes, music and movies come together in harmony…
It can still happen. Hans Zimmer’s Oscar-nominated score for Inception (2010) only came to life, the composer said, when he recruited guitarist Johnny Marr to add a brooding twang motif. But we’re here for when guitar and guitarist is absolutely key to a vintage movie theme or even the whole soundtrack.
In no order of rating, here are just 10 great guitar themes.
Cameras, lights, guitars… action!
Movie:Superfly (1972) Music: Curtis Mayfield
A classic case of a soundtrack eclipsing the film that spawned it, Superfly saw Curtis Mayfield at the height of his powers. Simultaneously joyful and mournful, Mayfield’s title track, plus “Pusherman,” “Freddie’s Dead” and more make the Superfly album as addictive as the movie’s subject matter. The ’72 movie trailer – watch Superflyhere – is dated, but the soundtrack remains superfine.
Movie:Paris, Texas (1984) Music: Ry Cooder
Working only with producer Jim Dickinson and fellow guitarist David Lindley, Cooder’s haunting score got to the heart of Wim Wenders’ road movie’s images of fragility and otherworldliness. Cooder played an array of slide instruments in different tunings throughout, yet Paris, Texas’s main theme is so simple you never forget it. It’s far removed from a “normal” soundtrack, but perhaps how a truly empathetic soundtrack should be? Cooder’s The Long Riders and Last Man Standing also show how well he understands melding guitar music and movies.
Movie:The Graduate (1967) Music: Paul Simon
Paul Simon’s work for The Graduate is strange in some ways. Only one song, “Mrs. Robinson” obviously, was specifically written for Mike Nichols’s movie but Simon’s other guitar tunes fit the mood perfectly. Dave Grusin’s subtle and jazzy orchestral score intertwines with Simon and Garfunkel’s song snippets perfectly: the likes of “April Come She Will” and “The Sound of Silence” sound as if they were written for the movie, even if they were not. In its melding of “traditional” score composers and pop artists, The Graduate was a soundtrack watershed. Simon and Garfunkel’s full version of “Mrs. Robinson” hit #1 on The Billboard charts in 1968.
Movies:James Bond series (from 1962… and still going) Music: The John Barry Seven and Vic Flick
As with most movie franchises, James Bond themes are now about a big-name singer. Adele is tipped to be singing the “signature tune” to 2012’s Skyfall, going where A-ha, Sheryl Crow, Rita Coolidge, Garbage and many more have all previously stumbled. Fact is, nothing beats the original James Bond theme, orchestrated in a rush by composer John Barry, with London session player Vic Flick providing the surf-inspired twang. It still appears in every Bond movie because it has to. Flick also played on other incidental themes in the Bond movies Dr. No , From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds are Forever and License to Kill. Hear this oh-so-simple guitar riff, and you immediately think: “Bond: James Bond.”
Movie:Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973) Music: Bob Dylan
Dylan had a vested interest in his soundtrack for the Sam Peckinpah movie being good: he also acted in the movie, as the character Alias, and temporarily moved his family to Mexico for the task. Dylan’s instrumental contributions aren’t perfect – just as the film is flawed – but it is underrated. “Bunkhouse Theme” is a delicate instrumental, and the soundtrack did spawn one of Dylan’s most enduring songs, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” His first music for three years, the soundtrack for Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid proved the singularly minded Dylan could work across genres.
Movie:The Deer Hunter (1978) Music: Stanley Myers/John Williams
Myers’ “Cavatina” is classic example of a musical theme working in an incongruous context. Michael Cimono’s The Deer Hunter, a gritty movie about three Vietnam vets’ intertwining lives, hardly seemed ripe for a sweeping strings and classical guitar theme, but it worked. Australian guitarist Williams had recorded Myers’s piece earlier in the ’70s, but via the new Deer Hunter arrangement, it became a chart hit. It doesn’t rock, but remains perfectly poignant in the context of the movie.
Movie:The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) Music: Ennio Morricone
Italian composer Morricone is a legend of numerous soundtracks, but never more so than for his work on Sergio Leone’s “dollars” trilogy, of which The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was the third and arguably the best. The “spaghetti western” guitar twang of TGTBaTU may have originally come from surf guitar, but it became its own style. This is not guitar-centric, but shows how well electric guitar can work in a dramatic orchestra and choir setting. The guitar motif is played by Bruno Battisti D’Amario, usually a classical player, but who once released a “killer sitar funk” track called “Hua Hua Rock.” Go figure. A classic movie theme, and one defined by the simplest of guitar motifs.
Movie:Pulp Fiction (1994) Main theme: Dick Dale
Dale’s version of “Misirlou” pre-dated Pulp Fiction by decades, yet although it wasn’t written for the movie it somehow encapsulates it. A traditional-influenced Greek song first performed in 1927 (“Miserlou,” its original name, translates as “Egyptian Girl”), Dale’s surf guitar version from 1962 is the perfect movie-intro rumble. Pulp Fiction is a rare example of a soundtrack of old songs somehow fitting perfectly. It’s not often you hear an old Mediterranean song played surf-style and immediately think of John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson shooting people dead.
Movie:Shaft (1971) Music: Isaac Hayes
Even more than Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly, Isaac Hayes’ Shaft soundtrack defined the “Blaxploitation” sound of the early ’70s. Hayes agreed to write the soundtrack after being promised an audition for the lead role of John Shaft: the audition never happened, but Hayes kept his part of the bargain. The wah guitar is played by Charles “Skip” Pitts, who also played with Rufus Thomas and Albert King, among others. Great theme, great wah guitar, the Shaft theme remains badass. Can you dig it? Yes you can.
Movie:Young GunsII (1991) Music: Jon Bon Jovi
Some may consider JBJ has a hack rock anthem writer. But he certainly came good on his first soundtrack. The movie makers for Young Guns II only asked if they could use Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”: JBJ said yes, but suggested he then write the whole soundtrack. And he did. In an interview for Uncut magazine, Young Guns II star Keifer Sutherland said, “When Jon [Bon Jovi] joined the team for Young Guns II, we were all eating hamburgers in a diner and Jon was scribbling on this napkin for, say, six minutes. He declared he’d written ‘Blaze of Glory,’ which of course then went through the roof in the States. He later gave Emilio Estevez the napkin. We were munching burgers while he wrote a #1 song... Made us feel stupid.”
And before y’all complain, the likes of The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, The Who’s Tommy and Quadrophenia, and Prince’s Purple Rain don’t really count… they are movies written to existing songs, not the other way around. Essentially, they are extended music videos.
The 1970s boasted many famed live albums, but one of the ones was Frampton Comes Alive! by Peter Frampton. It made the Englishman – a pop pin-up, yet also a mercurial guitarist – a huge star, selling 17 million copies. In 2011-2012, Frampton revisited that setlist on a long-running tour, and he recorded it all for release. He explains his new FCA!35 live album to Gibson.com.
FCA!35 Tour: An Evening with Peter Frampton is out now on live 2xDVD and Blu-ray, and there’s The Best Of FCA! 35 Tour 3xCD set also. Buy the lot and you will have to take the day off just for the first listen.
“It’s six hours of your time. Maybe people should wait until they have a cold or something and need to take time off?” laughs Frampton. “But as far as I’m concerned, if you are going to do an anniversary tour, it’s a given that you have to make a DVD. So we multi-track recorded every one of 116 shows.
“It’s taken a while to pull this together, because I wanted the best performance of each of the tracks. Whether it was Washington D.C. or Manchester, U.K, I wanted the best on here.”
This must have been a large task to edit?
Yes, but even I didn’t realize what a big job. Holy crap! The DVD is one thing – that was just two nights. For the DVD, we had to choose the music first so the DVD could be edited. And then make the film look good. Editing audio and visual together is time-consuming. Editing a live DVD is a whole story in itself.
But after I’d finished that, I had to listen to everything again for the CDs. But we had been organized. We had a notebook in which, after every show, all band members would put down their thoughts on which performances they really liked. There was 38 to 40 where everyone said: good show! I gravitated to those.
Was it hard to keep perspective on what you’d played every night?
Listening to 40 versions of “Do You Feel Like We Do?” is taxing, even if I wrote the song. I don’t think I’ll be able to play that song again. It’s done now. I should now call it “Have You Felt Like I Did?” haha!
Did you feel the pressure of cameras on you for the filmed gigs?
Yes. We first planned to film just one night at the Beacon (NYC), but I didn’t feel we got as much as we wanted. So we then filmed Milwaukee (at the Pabst Theater). I wish we had filmed every night. But if we’d done that, I would now be in debtors’ prison.
It’s an exorbitant amount of money to make a live DVD, with all the cameras. Everyone says filming is cheap now. It’s not! You’ve got to pay for many people, the best cameramen, and then you’re in a theater that is probably a union building. So you have to pay the union for recording and filming in that building also. I’m a believer in unions… to a point. But it can get to the stage that you can’t do certain things in certain buildings.
Did you enjoy revisiting that set of songs after 35 years?
I did. We hadn’t done “Something’s Happening” for years. We hadn’t done “Doobie Wah” since the 1970s. The first night we walked out at New Jersey, the atmosphere was electric, people were going nuts. We started with the [spoken] intro to Comes Alive! – I had to include that. But when we started we weren’t quite prepared for the audience. It really was like going back to the ‘70s. It was wonderful.
Did you especially enjoy playing any particular songs?
Doing “Doobie Wah,” and having Stanley Sheldon back (on bass) - who was on the original live album - was pretty special. We hadn’t done “Nowhere’s Too Far (For My Baby)” or “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” for years. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash is nearly as long as “Do You Feel Like We Do?” but it’s a very exciting piece to play.
Some people still think it’s sacrilege to cover The Rolling Stones, though?
“Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, the way we do it, is different. Some people may find it odd. But it was on the Comes Alive! original so we had to do it.”
Did you have to re-learn some of these songs?
Not really. I’ve played these songs many times! I listened to a few again, once or twice, and they came back to me quickly. The band were very excited about playing the whole thing again – I’ve done it before, but it’s the first time they’ve done it ever.”
Your guitar playing has always been acclaimed… but are you a better guitarist now than you were in 1976?
I would hope so. I’ve moved on as a player. More years “under the belt,” many more influences. It’s just experience and experimentation. I still play and write at home, when no-one else is listening, and I make a lot of mistakes. But sometimes I hit on a great riff. And I’m still stealing from the best!
The guitar is an extension of me. It always has been. I always want to be playing something tomorrow that I can’t play today. That’s my motto.”
FCA!35 expands on the original album. Here’s a snippet from the DVD of Frampton’s cover of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.”
Gibson.com will publish part 2 of our Peter Frampton interview soon. In that, Frampton discusses jazz influences, his fabled three-pickup Gibson Les Paul Custom and writing music for a 2013 ballet.
Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton, who was diagnosed with throat and tongue cancer in 2006, is finally cancer free.
After he was originally treated in 2006, the cancer returned three years later, but now his doctor has given him the great news that he is cancer free.
Hamilton told BackstageAxxess: “I’m feeling really good. The doctor who treated me in 2009 said, ‘Listen, I can help you in a way that is going to preserve your way of life. But you’re going to have to come in here a lot afterwards for a long time.’”
“I said, ‘Sign me up!’ I go in there about every two to three months. I get looked at by having the doctor put a scope down my throat. It’s a nerve-wracking process, but I don’t have to worry about it for a couple of months and I’m feeling great.”
Guns N’ Roses, who have just completed their Las Vegas residency at The Joint in The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, brought up a special guest on stage this past weekend. Original Guns member Izzy Stradlin joined Axl Rose, and the rest of the band on stage for the song “14 Years” on which Stradlin sings lead.
Izzy has joined Guns n’ Roses on stage on a handful occasions over the years. Bassist Duff McKagan joined Axl on stage at the O2 Arena in London in 2010. Axl introduced him with the words “I'm still a douchebag. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Izzy Stradlin.”
The Rolling Stones kicked off their 50th anniversary tour at London’s O2 Arena and the show included guest spots from former members Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor, Mary J. Blige and Jeff Beck.
Beck played on, “I’m Going Down,” Mary J. Blige sang on “Gimme Shelter” while Bill Wyman rocked out on “It’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll” and Mick Taylor reminded everyone of his guitar prowess on “Midnight Rambler.”
The Rolling Stones are back at the O2 Arena on Thursday (November 29) before crossing the Atlantic to play the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on December 8 and the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on December 13 and 15.
Pete Townshend shared a number of anecdotes during his appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. At one point he attributed his famous windmill guitar motion to Keith Richards. “[The Who] supported the Stones for two shows,” he said. “They were young, they were brand new and they had one hit, with a Chuck Berry song called ‘Come On.’ I met them back stage and they were all very charming. As the curtain opened, Keith Richards is doing this [stands up and stretches his arm, making the wind-milling motion]. I was thinking, ‘Wow, that’s so cool!’ I thought it was part of his ‘thing.’ A couple of weeks later, we supported them again in a club in south London. I’m watching carefully, waiting, and he didn’t do it.”
Townshend told Letterman he then asked Richards why he didn’t do his ‘thing.’ “He went, ‘What?!’,” said Townshend. “I can’t tell you what exactly what he said, but the inference was, ‘I’m Keith Richards. Do you really think I’m gonna do ballet?’ That was the inference.”
Rock legend Pete Townshend has suffered ringing in the ears, or Tinnitus, for many years the NME reports.
Now, he’s finding relief with some natural remedies.
He told NBC’s David Letterman, a fellow tinnitus sufferer: "Right now I don't have it badly. I have done quite a lot of new age medicine stuff to help me. And a homeopathic teacher, or a homeopathic doctor, helped me a lot with this, so I would recommend that."
Eric Clapton’s “Crossroads Festival” is getting bigger. On April 12/13 in 2013, it will take place for the first time at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden.
Clapton and his band will play more than a dozen cities across the U.S. beginning March 14, 2013. The Madison Square Garden dates also includes an exhibition of Clapton’s famous guitars, including his Gibson ES-335 from Cream days.
“The Crossroads Festival is the realization of a dream for me, to gather a group of amazingly talented musicians to perform on one stage,” says Clapton. “The Crossroads performers are all musicians I admire and respect.”
Artists playing on the tour include: Albert Lee, the Allman Brothers Band, Andy Fairweather Low, B.B. King, Blake Mills, Brad Paisley, Jonny Lang, Buddy Guy, Citizen Cope, Doyle Bramhall II, Earl Klughâ¨Eric Clapton himself,Gary Clark Jr, Jeff Beck, Jimmie Vaughan, and John Mayer.
Bon Jovi isn’t slowing down a bit, as the legendary rocker has just announced a lengthy 2013 tour. The trek, billed the “Because We Can Tour,” will promote his band’s upcoming album, “What About Now,” which is slated to arrive next spring. Bon Jovi promises to play new material off the album during the tour.
The traveling caravan sets off Feb. 9 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT, and will travel through several major stadiums, including a two-night run at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium and a July gig at Chicago's Soldier Field. So far, the trek closes out July 25 in New Jersey, but more tour dates are expected to drop soon. Tickets will go on sale beginning on Nov. 30.
Bon Jovi 2013 Tour Dates (so far):
2/9 — Uncasville, CT, Mohegan Sun
2/10 — Washington DC, Verizon Center
2/13 — Montreal, QUE, Bell Centre
2/14 — Montreal, QUE, Bell Centre
2/17 — Toronto, ONT, Air Canada Centre
2/18 — Toronto, ONT, Air Canada Centre
2/20 — Kanata, ONT, Scotiabank Place
2/21 — Pittsburgh, PA, CONSOL Energy Center
2/27— Atlanta, GA, Philips Arena
3/1 — Tampa, FL, Tampa Bay Times Forum
3/2 — Sunrise, FL, BB&T Center
3/5 — Charlotte, NC, Time Warner Cable Arena
3/6 — Nashville, TN, Bridgestone Arena
3/9 — Cleveland, OH, Quicken Loans Arena
3/10 — Columbus, OH, Nationwide Arena
3/13 — St. Louis, MO, Scottrade Center
3/14 — Louisville, KY, KFC Yum! Center
3/16 — Oklahoma City, OK, Chesapeake Energy Arena
3/17 — Lubbock, TX, United Spirit Arena
4/2 — Calgary, AB, Scotiabank Saddledome
4/3 — Edmonton, AB, Rexall Place
4/5 — Winnipeg, MB, MTS Centre
4/7 — St. Paul, MN, Xcel Energy Center
4/10 — Austin, TX, Frank Erwin Center
4/11 — Dallas, TX, American Airlines Center
4/13 — Kansas City, MO, Sprint Center
4/14 — Des Moines, IA, Wells Fargo Arena
4/16 — Denver, CO, Pepsi Center
4/17 — Salt Lake City, UT, EnergySolutions Arena
4/19 — Los Angeles, CA, STAPLES Center
4/20 — Las Vegas, NV, MGM Grand Garden Arena
4/23 — Glendale, AZ , Jobing.com Arena 4/25 — San Jose, CA, HP Pavilion
7/12 — Chicago, IL,Soldier Field
7/24 — E Rutherford, NJ, MetLife Stadium
7/25 — E Rutherford, NJ, MetLife Stadium
Although he’s been gone for more than forty years, there is still new music from the guitarist being released every few years. But after the release of Valleys of Neptune in 2010, hardly anyone could have possibly thought there was more left in the vaults. But it’s now been revealed that a collection featuring twelve previously unreleased Hendrix tracks will be released on March 5 2013, under the name People, Hell and Angels, according to Rolling Stone.
The tracks were recorded in 1968 and 1969. They were meant for First Days of The New Rising Sun, the follow up to Electric Ladyland that Hendrix was working on when he passed. The tracks are said to be very experimental, including keyboards, horns, and a second guitar. This is really exciting news for Hendrix fans in particular, but also for music fans in general, since we will get a hint of where Hendrix was planning to take his music in the future.
Joe Walsh will sit in with Daryl Hall to celebrate the 60th episode of Hall's music show, Live From Daryl's House.
Hall and Walsh will perform Walsh's “Rocky Mountain Way” and “Life’s Been Good,” as well as Hall’s “Somebody Like You” and “Wrong Side of History,” “Wrecking Ball” from Walsh’s latest album and James Gang classic, “Funk 49/50.”
"I was a kid in the Temptones back in Philly when I first heard ‘Funk 49,’" Hall says. "Joe was one of the first to take that blues-rock groove and really funk it out. He’s one of the great guitar legends, an amazing musician. I couldn’t wait to play with him."
Walsh says of Hall, "He’s been a favorite of mine for a long time. And I finally wound up on the East Coast with enough time to get up to Daryl’s and represent. It was great to finally play some music with him. The band’s great, the production crew’s great, and I totally support the home-grown concept. Hope everybody enjoys the show as much as I did."
Live From Daryl’s House is syndicated to numerous stations around the United States and also airs on Thursday nights at 11 PM (ET) on Paladia.
Peter Gabriel is giving fans an unprecedented look into the creation of his landmark 1986 album So in the form of the latest installment of Eagle Rock Entertainment’s popular Classic Albums series, in addition to various reissues and a live run celebrating the album.
So was Gabriel's fifth solo album and the first one to have a title (all others were self-titled). The album spawned a number of hit singles on both sides of the Atlantic including “Sledgehammer,” “Big Time,” “Don’t Give Up,” (a duet with Kate Bush) and “In Your Eyes” which drove So to multi-platinum sales, the No.1 spot in the UK and No.2 in the US. A special re-mastered version was recently released by Real World/EMI on CD, triple CD and a super deluxe box set.
The Classic Albums episode on the album features Peter Gabriel himself, co-producer Daniel Lanois, engineer Kevin Killen and musicians Jerry Marotta, Laurie Anderson, Tony Levin and Manu Katché and many more. It also includes over 30 minutes of extra material not features on the broadcast version.
Gabriel will perform So in its entirety during a special run of four live dates in 2013, including two nights in London. Gabriel will be joined by his classic touring band line-up of Tony Levin on bass, David Rhodes on guitar, David Sancious on keyboards and Manu Katche on drums.
The Internet just got a little bit louder and a whole lot more rock: AC/DC's entire catalog is now finally available on iTunes.
The band was one of the last major holdouts who were yet to release their music via iTunes. They'd previously rejected the format in an attempt to preserve the sanctity of the album as a format. "Since iTunes came into existence, we've actually increased our back-catalog sales without being on the site," Angus Young had previously said. "We are a band who started off with albums and that's how we've always been. We always were a band that if you heard something on the radio, well, that's only three minutes. Usually the best tracks were on the albums."
I'm not sure why the band has changed their collective minds but I'm glad they have, and they've done so with gusto: iTunes options include the "Complete Set" package for $149.99, the "Studio Collection" for $99.99, ringtones, the "Live At River Plate" concert cording as well as individual albums.
Released on November 20, Live At River Plate is also available as a three-disc red vinyl or a two-CD set featuring multiple covers and a 24-page booklet. The live record follows last year's "Live At River Plate" DVD, filmed in Buenos Aires on the Black Ice world tour in December of 2009.
Even after honing his guitar skills for four-and-a-half decades, Billy Gibbons continues to evolve as a player. In a just-published interview with M – Music & Musicians, the six-string maestro said these days he emphasizes economy and tone. “It’s so much better to express yourself in 12 notes than it might be in 24,” he explained. “The spaces between the notes are music, too, so there’s a whole lot there and it’s more comfortable to play and hear if you don’t overwhelm everybody. As far as tone is concerned, the dirtier the better. Our motto is ‘grit is good.’”
Gibbons went on to extol the virtues of a certain longtime companion. “Nothing else sounds as good as Miss Pearly Gates, that special, special 1959 Gibson Les Paul Burst …,” he said. “It’s got its own special blend of herbs and spices, and has stood us in good stead in the studio and on the road.”
Asked about future goals, Gibbons alluded to forthcoming solo projects. “There’s a spate of BFG [Billy F. Gibbons] solo releases pending,” he said, “and we hope those are out before long. It’s electronica-skewed work and certainly won’t be confused with ZZ Top, which is the very point. Why do something different if it sounds the same? This is and doesn’t.”
ZZ Top’s most recent album, La Futura, was released in September.
Is it a coincidence that as album sales decline, more bands seem to be playing more concerts in more markets than ever before? Musicians are becoming hip to the fact that their new albums aren’t exactly burning up the charts like they used to, and that, perhaps, their back catalog is worth re-examining. Often this is in the form of a greatest hits tour, but more and more often, popular acts with a decent history under their belts are choosing to play entire classic albums every night, sometimes to mark an anniversary, and sometimes just for the fun of it.
Recent album-oriented tours include Mötley Crüe playing Dr. Feelgood, The Cult playing Love, Steely Dan alternating between The Royal Scam, Aja and Gaucho, The Melvins playing Houdini, Testament playing The Legacy, and Judas Priest playing British Steel. Nine Inch Nails played The Downward Spiral at one of their final gigs, and Roger Waters has hit the road to play two Pink Floyd albums in recent years – TheDark Side of the Moon and The Wall – both to great acclaim.
And Queens of the Stone Age are about to play a series of concerts in Australia where they will perform their self-titled debut album of 1998 during sideshows for their appearance on the Soundwave festival. The album itself is being re-released in March 2011 with previously unreleased tracks via founder Josh Homme’s own Rekords Rekords label.
Megadeth recently hit the road to play their 1990 classic Rust in Peace in full – a milestone made all the more emotional by the return to the band of David Ellefson on bass. The tour was commemorated by a live DVD and CD, which captured the ferocity of the well-oiled Megadeth machine after months on the road playing the same set night after night (although a few months later, Mustaine told this writer “When you do the same record, the exact set for a year, it's kinda hard…”, adding that he was looking forward to reinstating more new material to the setlist once the Rust cycle was over). Megadeth’s Thrash “Big 4” partners Slayer were an early adopter of the classic album-played-live concept, performing their 1986 classic Reign in Blood in 2003. In 2010, they reprised 1990’s Seasons in the Abyss while on tour with Megadeth on the American Carnage tour.
Alternative hitmakers The Lemonheads have been playing their 1992 classic album It’s A Shame About Ray in its entirety on and off for several years now. Main man Evan Dando says he’s not entirely surprised that the album has maintained its esteem among listeners. “It’s pretty simple about that stuff: I just think stuff that’s good gets kinda timeless,” he says. “I think it’s just about that. It’s just a pretty good record. I like it.”
As for whether he has made changes or adjustments over the years, Dando is characteristically free-spirited. “An album’s an album, man. It pretty much stays the same. It was fun making it and … I don’t know. For me it doesn’t change much. I don’t listen to it, but for me it’s alright. I’m glad I got the demos out too, the cassette demos.”
An interesting sideline for the “play your own album in full” concept is the “play someone else’s album in full” strategy used by Phish and Dream Theater. Over the years, Phish have famously performed the entire White Album by The Beatles, Quadrophenia by The Who, Remain in Light by Talking Heads, Loaded by The Velvet Underground, Exile on Main St. by The Rolling Stones and Dark Side of the Moon – taking on each classic as their “Halloween costume” for an October gig. Dream Theater have played Metallica’s Master of Puppets, Dark Side of the Moon, Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast and Deep Purple’s Made in Japan, each of which are available to purchase from the band’s Ytse Jam Records label, complete with cheeky referential album covers.
Of course, tribute bands have been playing classic albums from start to finish for many years, with perhaps the most successful being The Australian Pink Floyd Show, who have performed to more than 3 million people and were even booked by David Gilmour himself to play at the end-of-tour after party for Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell tour (and, a couple of years later, Gilmour’s own 50th birthday party).
In the years to come, will this trend continue? Will we see Metallica play the “Black Album” for their 25th anniversary? Will Van Halen head out in 2018 for the – gulp – 40th anniversary of their self-titled debut? Will My Chemical Romance resurrect The Black Parade for their 10th birthday in 2016?
Perhaps a more pertinent question is, is this the last gasp for the album? With bands like Radiohead and The Smashing Pumpkins declaring the album concept as a whole to be in dire straits (amid digital downloads and the jostle for attention with other entertainment formats), could the current round of “remember what it was like to actually sit and listen to a whole album” nostalgia be but one, last brilliant flash, before the shifting sands of the music industry wipe away the last traces of the rock album?
The search is on for undiscovered material held by Beatles fans related to live performances staged by the band during the period known as Beatlemania. Launched yesterday (Nov. 15), “The Beatles Live! Project” says its ultimate goal is to combine footage, images, music, interviews and stories in a definitive, emotional and visceral feature film about Beatlemania.
The period of interest stretches from October 16, 1963 (the day the term “Beatlemania” was coined) to August 29, 1966, when The Beatles performed their final concert at Candlestick Park. During those years, The Beatles played more than 250 concerts in 116 cities and 18 countries. OVOW Productions Inc., the film production company heading up the project, is inviting fans with personal stories or pertinent material to submit contributions. The “collaborative global quest” will remain active through December 2012. For more information, visit The Beatles Live! Projectwebsite.
Nobody can deny that there are a ton of Grateful Dead fans out there, and now, a new film surrounding the life of late Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia is being crafted by famed documentarian Malcolm Leo.
So, what’s the kicker? The film, titled simply Jerry: The Movie, will offer a never-before-seen 1987 interview that Leo conducted with Garcia. Add to that live footage, rare photos, home movies and fresh interviews with friends of Garcia.
As for what to expect from the new interview with Garcia, Leo stated, “We talked about his childhood; his influences; his city, San Francisco; his music; and what made him tick...The documentary will be Jerry Garcia's story told in his own words.”
Those looking to help the cause may donate to the project via the filmmakers’ Kickstarter campaign. They filmmakers, no doubt, are hoping to get some big Deadhead support here. Their goal is to collect $400,000. Of course, they’re not asking for funds and not giving anything in return, and fans pledging money will score a variety of items that vary based on how much they give.
Dec. 23 is the deadline to donate to the project. Look for the flick to arrive by September of 2013.
For many Rolling Stones fans, favoring one period of the band’s career over another is a bit like choosing a favorite ice cream: all are pretty darn good. Still, especially from a guitar player’s standpoint, the eras during which Brian Jones, Mick Taylor and Ron Wood each put their respective stamps on the Stones’ music has its own distinct flavor. Wood’s lengthy tenure continues to this day, of course, and brilliantly so. On the other hand, Brian Jones was the band’s original creative engine, and it was Taylor who hardwired and firmed up the group’s loose-limbed blues identity. Let’s take a look, beginning with Jones.
Brian Jones (1962 – 1969)
“Hands down, Brian Jones remains [the Stones] best musician,” a music critic for the Dallas Morning News once wrote. “His eclecticism was amazing, whether on sitar, slide guitar, percussion or just about any other instrument. His contributions in shaping the group's sound cannot be overstated.” It’s hard to argue with that assessment. As The Rolling Stones’ founder and initial leader, Jones gave the band its original identity, based foremost on his devotion to American blues music.
Jones’ love of Elmore James, Robert Johnson and other blues giants was boundless, and the depths to which he assimilated their influences shined brightly in his slide work and his harmonica playing. (It was he who taught Mick Jagger how to play harp.) Nothing musically-related was beyond his grasp, and his expertise on a variety of instruments was essential in the expansion of the Stones’ stylistic palette. The guitar riff on “The Last Time”? His. The sitar on “Paint It, Black”? His. The harpsichord on “Lady Jane”? His. And on it goes.
Such eclecticism was especially evident on 1966’s Aftermath, and 1967’s Between the Buttons and Their Satanic Majesties Request. Perhaps most importantly, during their time together, Jones and Keith Richards perfected a new type of guitar interplay. Dubbed “guitar weaving” by Richards, that six-string tangle – wherein lead work and rhythm work have no clear boundaries – has remained integral to the Stones’ sound ever since.
Mick Taylor (1969 – 1974)
“Jones’ departure pretty much stripped the Stones of the diverse experimentalism they had enjoyed, the occasional exotic world beat flourishes that often elevated what would otherwise have been pedestrian songs," wrote music scribe Vincent Rodriguez. "Without him, though, they refined their unique fusion of R&B, blues and rock, which gradually evolved into the classic ‘Stones sound’ they had perfected by Exile on Main Street.”
Indeed, in tandem with Keith Richards, the man most responsible for perfecting that sound was Mick Taylor. Coming on-board as Jones’ replacement, at age 20, Taylor helped the Stones usher in a period marked by a deepening assimilation of blues, R&B and country. Putting aside their brief infatuation with psychedelia, the band released a series of monumental albums that, to this day, remain essential touchstones for any aspiring rock band.
Beginning with his work on the single, “Honky Tonk Women,” Taylor offered up lyrical guitar lines that ratcheted the Stones’ blues foundation to new levels. It’s no accident that Exile on Main Street, widely considered the Stones’ masterpiece, was made during Taylor’s tenure. Speaking to Rolling Stone in a 1995 interview, Jagger offered his assessment of Taylor’s role. “I think he had a big contribution,” Jagger said. “He made it very musical. He was a very fluent, melodic player, which we never had, and we don't have now. Neither Keith nor Ronnie Wood plays that kind of style. It was very good for me working with him. Mick Taylor would play very fluid lines against my vocals. He was exciting ….”
Writing in the wake of Taylor’s decision to leave the Stones, New York Times music critic Robert Palmer said, “Taylor is the most accomplished technician who ever served as a Stone. [He is] a blues guitarist with a jazzman's flair for melodic invention.”
Ron Wood (1976 – Present)
Mick Taylor’s departure in 1974 left big shoes to fill. The Stones auditioned several potential replacements, including Peter Frampton and American session guitarist Wayne Perkins. In the end, however, they made an impeccable choice in the person of Ron Wood. While still a member of Faces, Wood toured with the Stones in 1975, and was declared an official member in February 1976.
New Musical Express hailed the choice, writing, “In the Rolling Stones, Wood plays the slide guitar as Taylor and Brian Jones had done before him, adding both lap steel and pedal steel guitar. In addition, Wood, as his predecessors did, exchanges roles on the guitar with Richards, often blurring the boundaries between rhythm and lead, even within a particular song. He also occasionally plays bass guitar, as seen during 1975 concert performances of ‘Fingerprint File,’ when Mick Jagger played rhythm guitar and bassist Bill Wyman moved to synthesizer.”
Inevitably, given his multi-decade tenure with the band, Wood has seen the Stones release the occasional “clunker.” Still, there’s no disputing that he’s been integral to some of the group’s finest work. Such albums as Some Girls, Tattoo You and Steel Wheels uplifted the Stones’ reputation as “The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band,” and the Richards-Woods twin-guitar attack remains a force like no other. It’s hard to imagine that such varied fare as “Miss You,” “Start Me Up” and “Beast of Burden” would sound remotely the same without Wood’s presence.
In a 2007 interview with Gibson, veteran Rolling Stones producer Don Was provided insight on the internal workings of the band. “They’re just like every other musician, on every level,” he said. “They love to play more than anything else in the world. They riff off each other. It’s like a jazz group, really.” Those comments were made about the current incarnation of the group, but Was could just as well have been talking about the Jones era or the Taylor era. So, what’s your opinion? Which period in the Stones’ career resulted in their most brilliant music? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page has spoken to the BBC’s Later music show about the forthcoming Celebration Day DVD. It documents Led Zeppelin’s return to the live stage in December 2007.
Page says the band only came back together in honor of Atlantic Records boss Ahmet Ertergun. “Ahmet Ertegun had died, and a foundation was set-up with a show to be played at (London’s) O2 Arena,” says Page. “We were asked to do 20 minutes… but we did 2 hours and 20 minutes.”
Page added, “it was really good to get back with Jason (Bonham) and have a really good crack at it.” Jason Bonham played with Led Zeppelin at Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary show in 1988, when five songs were played. Page is full of praise for Bonham Jr. “By my estimation, Jason had the hardest job. The energy he had was phenomenal. Fabulous drummer.”
Of the Celebration Day DVD itself, in stores on 19 November, Page says, “there are some seriously powerful moments in this. When we came back to look at it, even we (the band) went, Wow!”
But of any more Led Zeppelin shows, Page is pessimistic. “We’re almost five years after the O2 concert. I must say, I thought there might be some other get-together, for some reason or other. But as the years tick by… one year, two years, three years, four years… It doesn’t look very likely, does it?”
Gibson.com will run an interview with Celebration Day director Dick Carruthers next week.
U.K. magazine Classic Rock have unveiled their 2012 “Roll of Honour” at a ceremony at the Roundhouse in London. Hosted by Duff McKagan, ZZ Top were presented with the coveted Living Legend Award by 2011 winner, Jeff Beck.
Rush did well. They took Album of the Year and Band of the Year. Pink Floyd were given the award for Film/DVD of the Year and Reissue of the Year, with Status Quo taking the award for Classic Album and Rival Sons for Breakthrough. Deep Purple’s late Jon Lord was given the Tommy Vance Inspiration Award.
The complete list of winners is:
Classic Rock Roll of Honour 2012
The Living Legend Award - ZZ Top
Event Of The Year - Ginger Raises £250k
Breakthrough Act Of The Year - Rival Sons
The Musicians’ Union Maestro Award - Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music
Tommy Vance Inspiration Award - Jon Lord
Classic Songwriter Award - Russ Ballard
Outstanding Contribution - The Damned
Classic Album Award - Status Quo Live!
V.I.P. Award - Tony Smith
Metal Guru Award - Anthrax
Best New Band - Tracer
Album Of The Year - Rush Clockwork Angels
Reissue Of The Year - Pink Floyd Immersion
Film/DVD Award - Pink Floyd The Story Of Wish You Were Here
Band Of The Year - Rush
Spirit Of Prog Award - Family
Showman Of The Year - Nikki Sixx
Comeback Award - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd played a 30-minute set for the invited guests after a gala dinner.
Pearl Jam have expressed interest in releasing a series of live recordings under the title Instant Classic.
After performing for the first time in seven years in Missoula in September, Pearl Jam declared the performance an "instant classic" — it is now available for fans at a discounted price ($4.99) via their website. They now hope to make this the first in a series of live “bootleg” recordings. Pearl Jam are renowned for issuing live albums — there are nearly 30 so far.
Pearl Jam have been working on and off on a new untitled studio album, a follow-up to 2009's Backspacer. No official release date has been confirmed, but the band have stated that they hope to release the record in the first half of 2013 “if all goes according to plan.”
The Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood has defended the ticket prices for the band's up-coming shows in London and New Jersey. These are the only four shows as-yet confirmed for the band, but ticket prices have been debated widely on fan forums.
Tickets for the London shows range from £90 to a deluxe “VIP package” priced at £950 (circa $1500).
But Wood says that the band don't feel bad about the price of a ticket for the shows at the O2 Arena (25 and 29 November) and Newark Prudential Center (13 and 15 December) as they have already spent millions on the gigs.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Wood said: "We've already spent a million on rehearsing in Paris. And the stage is going to be another few million. And the lights. We feel no bad thing about ticket prices. We've got to make something."
Wood added that the guitarist said the band were sounding "up to and above par" in rehearsals. "You would think it would be boring doing the same thing over and over again but it's not. It's totally fresh and totally new every time we get together. There's a chemistry between us every time we get together and I don't know what the hell it is, but it's magic.”
The Rolling Stones have now officially posted the second new track, “One More Shot,” from their Grrr! compilation album.
Henry McCullough, who famously played guitar in Paul McCartney’s band Wings, is critical condition following a heart attack he suffered on Monday (Nov. 5). In an interview with the BBC, McCullough’s sister Rae Morrison expressed her anxiety about the situation: “We really are very worried for him. His sister is on her way home from Florida and his brother is coming home from Glasgow [Scotland].”
The Nortstewart, Northern Ireland native was a member of Wings for roughly a year and a half during the early 1970s, and he played on 1973’s Red Rose Speedway album. He also totes credits playing with Joe Cocker and performed with him at the legendary Woodstock festival in 1969.
Our thoughts and prayers are with McCullough’s family during this difficult time.
Like many devoted rock fans, Thomas Scott McKenzie papered the walls of his bedroom with posters of his guitar heroes when he was a child. Unlike most fans, McKenzie decided as an adult to seek out and make personal connections with some of those very same musicians. His new book, Power Chord: One Man’s Ear-Splitting Quest to Find His Guitar Heroes, tells the story of those efforts. Having come of age in the ‘80s, McKenzie criss-crossed the country pursuing sit-down sessions with six-string greats who had risen to prominence during that era. Among his successes were encounters with Ace Frehley, Glenn Tipton, Steve Vai and Phil Collen, to name just a few. From sharing a meal with Bruce Kulick at a Cracker Barrel, to sharing the stage with Frehley at L.A.’s legendary venue, The Whisky, McKenzie’s journey proved memorable beyond his wildest expectations.
How did this idea originate?
It was one of those wacky things. I was a bit frustrated with my career [as a software project manager], and was trying to figure out what to do. I started thinking about how guitar heroes seem to never have doubts. I’m sure they do, but as fans we never get a sense of that. I wondered what it would be like to get career tips, career advice, from my heroes. With all the social networking that’s available, you can contact people in ways that would have been unthinkable in the ‘70s or ‘80s. I began emailing musicians, and started chatting with some of them and started learning how to play guitar myself. Things grew from there.
How did you go about deciding who to pursue?
I used a very liberal and expansive definition of “guitar hero.” Everyone has their own definition of that term, but for the purposes of the book, my thinking was, “Did I, at any point in my life, pretend to be that guy? When I was 12, did I imagine that was me, playing in that band?” If the answer was, “Yes,” then I considered that person a guitar hero.
Did your great experience with Bruce Kulick, early on, propel you forward?
Absolutely. He was one of the first people I spoke with. I remember driving home afterwards thinking I could never have dreamed I would be sitting in a Cracker Barrel having a meal with this guy I had listened to on my Walkman, when I was 12 or 13. Bruce is such a good guy, so welcoming and inviting, and I had such a great time. It was definitely a “pinch myself” moment. It made me start to think, “Okay, this might actually be possible. I might be able to interact with my heroes.”
Were you more surprised by how easy it was to get access to the musicians, or by how difficult it was?
By how difficult it was. What I found was that the musicians themselves were always really cool about it. It was their teams — their publicists — who sometimes made it hard to get through. But once I did make contact with the musicians, I was surprised how cool about it they really were. People sometimes tell horror stories about meeting their heroes, and having things turns out badly, but that wasn’t my experience at all.
Did meeting your heroes rob them – and rock and roll in general — of any of their mystique?
It did and it didn’t. Part of what I was expecting to see was that mythical idea of what goes on backstage. Most of the guys I talked to are a bit older – and are traveling with their families — so what I saw backstage was different from what I envisioned. In terms of the guys being normal, and there not being the craziness and the antics I imagined, some of the mystique was stripped away. But that said, the instant they played a note, I turned into a 10-year-old once again. Being three feet away from somebody as they’re playing a solo I had listened to, driving to high school soccer practice, never ceased to be amazing. The moment they plugged in, I reverted back to being a kid, grinning from ear to ear. I was in awe of them, all over again.
Did a common trait start to emerge, as you met more of them?
What they have in common is their work ethic and their dedication to their craft. Some of the guys I talked with are playing small clubs now, and are no longer selling out arenas. At the time I began writing the book, I was tired of hairspray and spandex jokes. If you’re playing a club today, in front of a hundred people, whereas you used to play in front of 100,000 people, that’s dedication. For me, what really resonated was how every one of these players remains dedicated to their craft.
Which memories stay with you?
In that first interaction with Bruce, we were in the backstage area, and on the counter top was a box of baby wipes. Something about that image stuck with me, and seemed very surreal. Here I was, finally backstage, and I wasn’t seeing groupies or anything seedy. Instead, someone who had been there previously had left a box of baby wipes. Also, one of the last interviews I did was with George Lynch. We were on his tour bus, and he said, “I’ve got to show you something. You’re going to love this.” He started rummaging through a duffel bag. The little kid inside me was imagining he was going to pull out something salacious, but instead he pulled out a history book, a people’s history of the United States.
What were the most exciting moments?
One involved Def Leppard, during the time I interviewed Phil Collen. The band had taken a break during their tour, because there had been a death in the family, and they were getting ready to do their first show following the break. Their sound check was like a full-on performance. I was sitting there, just looking around the arena, and there were just two crew members, at the soundboard. It was literally a full-on, full-volume Def Leppard concert that I was experiencing, by myself. That was amazing.
Did the players tend to intellectualize, when you asked them about guitar playing?
That varied. Ace Frehley was very matter-of-fact, and at the same time he’s extremely knowledgeable. He explained how he got that ringing, choir bell tone on “Fractured Mirror,” but in his own very low-key way. A song on his new album that has a lyric that says, “When I woke up this morning, I thought I could change the world.” I asked him, “Do you ever stop and think about the fact that, for your fans, you did change the world?” He said he was pleased he had made that impression on people, but he didn’t get deeply introspective about it. On the other hand, Steve Vai could give a lengthy dissertation on music theory. So it ran the gamut. Some of the players were all about “feel,” and some were more intellectual, in the ways they communicated their thoughts about the instrument.
What was the best advice you heard?
Glen Tipton of Judas Priest stressed the importance of playing from the heart, that it’s less about the accuracy of what you’re doing and than about the emotion. Several of the musicians said that guitar players, today, have things a bit easier – maybe a bit too easy — because of transcriptions and having so much information at their fingertips. George Lynch said the way you find your own voice, as a player, is by making mistakes. He talked about trying to emulate Hendrix when he was growing up. In the process of doing that, and making mistakes, he ended up sounded like George Lynch. It comes down to what you’re doing in your basement, making what you do your own.
Are the guys of REO Speedwagon going country? Strange as it may sound, it appears REO are trading in their classic rock sounds for something with a tad more twang. According to The Tennessean, the band recently took a trip to Nashville to record the first song for the group’s upcoming studio album. REO Speedwagon frontman Kevin Cronin even co-wrote the track, called “Nothing We Can't Rise Above,” with country-music producer Chris Lindsey and Journey keyboard player Jonathan Cain.
“I got turned on by this title, and Jon Cain had written something in a political way, and when I heard it, I went to a different place with it,” Cronin said about the song. “I tend to like to write about relationships [and what makes them] work or fall apart, so that's the direction the song took.”
Cronin says he felt totally comfortable in the Nashville scene. After all, he recorded his first album with REO in Nashville in 1972. “Kids with loud music coming to Nashville didn’t make a lot of sense back then,” he said, “but I've always loved Nashville. As a songwriter, this is my home away from home.”
Yes, the Rolling Stones are back. A fascinating sideshow to the Stones drama over the years has always been - what’s Keith Richards doing?
“Keef” has only released two bona fide solo albums - 1988’s Talk is Cheap and 1992’s Main Offender. And both remain gems of ramshackle rock’n’roll. But away from Mick Jagger and the Stones’ slow-moving juggernaut, Keith Richards has also played some interesting cameos.
Around the time his Life autobiography was published in 2010, Richards’ put out a compilation album, Vintage Vinos, a collection of songs from Richards’ solo career, featuring his ad-hoc back-up band the X-Pensive Winos. It added live cuts that he’s also sung: a version of "Happy," from the Rolling Stones' 1972 Exile on Main Street album, "Time Is on My Side," the Irma Thomas song that was an early 1964 hit for the Stones; "Too Rude," a remake of Half Pint’s "Winsome" from the Rolling Stones’ 1986 album Dirty Work; and "Connection," a song (from the Rolling Stones’ 1967 Between the Buttons album that originally featured Richards and Mick Jagger on duelling vocals…
Here’s Richards fronting the X-Pensive Winos on the single “Take It So Hard,” playing a rare black Gibson L-6.
But as a guest player / star turn, Richards has recorded more than you may realise. He’s guested on Aretha Franklin’s Jewels in the Crown, B.B. King’s Deuce’s Wild, Billy Preston’s That’s The Way God Planned It, Bobby Womack’s Resurrection, Bo Diddley’s A Man Amongst Men, John Lee Hooker’s Mr Lucky, as well as albums by Sheryl Crow, The New Barbarians (with whom Keith was majorly involved), Ivan Neville, Hubert Sumlin and numerous others.
If you are a Keef collector, you have a lot to buy. It all started with his version of Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run” in 1978. The Christmas single came with a B-Side of Keef’s take on Jimmy Cliff’s "The Harder They Come." And it shows that Richards – sometimes derided as “sloppy” – can play tight, straight-up rock’n’roll guitar just like Berry.
Berry is, of course, one of Keith’s biggest heroes – the two worked together on the must-see Hail! Hail! Rock’n’Roll shows and movie of 1986/’87. In it, the two egos have a face-off about Berry’s amp sound which still looks it might spill into violence… although Keith and his drink look too “happy” to cause a real rock’n’roll ruckus.
Beyond the Stones
One of the best things about Richards’ solo work and collaborations is that it’s just-enough different to the Rolling Stones. For one, Richards often gets to sing – in a lazy drawl that mirrors the bluesmen that originally fired his imagination. A recent project was Thank You Les, with Lou Pallo and the Les Paul Trio. Richards was a close friend of Les Paul – and recorded and played live with him on many occasions. But Pallo recently told Gibson.com that Keef isn’t always the roughneck rocker some people think he is.
Pallo recalls, I said to Keith: let’s do the Bing Crosby song [“It’s Been a Long Long Time”] that Les always loved. Keith just went, OK! Keith has a very unique voice. I asked him to sing and I put the words on a music stand, and we made it loose. And Keith played lead guitar on that, I just backed him up. Y’know, Keith’s a great guitarist. He’s not just rock’n’roll, Keith loves the standards from the 1940s.” Read more about Thank You Les with Keith Richards
In his tell-all autobiography, Life, Richards says of his major solo excursion, the X-Pensive Winos, “I’ve always been incredibly lucky with the guys I’ve played with. And there’s no way you can stand in front of the Winos without getting off. It’s a surefire high.”
Richards added, “I thrive on collaboration.” And when Keith and Mick Jagger’s relationship was sour at the time of his solo excursions of the late ‘80s, Richards admitted of the time: “I wasn’t really writing much with Mick anymore. I didn’t realize until I worked with [the X-Pensive Winos’] Steve Jordan how much I missed that.”
Keef has long been a guest on other artists’ “…and friends” albums. So, when the Rolling Stones’ tour does end, how about a “Keith Richards and Friends” album?
Who out there would like to hear a Keith Richards solo album? This could be the last time…
Several decades have passed since Richie Sambora first taught himself to play guitar. Despite his prowess on instrument, however, the Bon Jovi veteran says he continues to embrace new challenges on the instrument.
“As a matter of fact, I’ve started taking lessons,” he says, in a just-published interview with M – Music & Musicians. “I walked into Norman’s Rare Guitars, here in L.A., and there was a guy playing acoustic guitar. He sounded like two guitar players playing at once. I asked how he was doing that, and he started showing me all these alternative tunings. He turned out to be [former Wings guitarist] Lawrence Juber. I said, ‘Would you teach me how to do that?’ It was finger-style playing in alternative tunings, something that had passed me by when I was learning how to play. So I took my first guitar lesson at the age of 53. I’m still taking lessons from him. It’s been a gas.”
Sambora’s new solo album, Aftermath of the Lowdown, was released in September. A new Bon Jovi album is slated for release in the spring of 2013.
A post-Beatles letter written by John Lennon to Eric Clapton is expected to fetch as much as $30,000 when it’s sold at auction next month, reports Reuters.
Dated September 29, 1971, the letter reads, in part, “Eric, I know I can bring out something great, in fact greater in you that had been so far evident in your music. I hope to bring out the same kind of greatness in all of us, which I know will happen if/when we get together."
Clapton had previously played in Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band in 1969, prior to The Beatles’ official split.
According to auctioneer Joe Maddalena, Clapton had nearly become a Beatle. “There was a point in time when George Harrison thought about leaving the band and his replacement was Clapton, so this letter is a link of what could have been," he said. The letter will go under the hammer on December 18 in Los Angeles, at an auction dubbed “Profiles in History.”
Rolling Stone recently spoke to Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, who is currently finishing up a solo acoustic tour, and getting ready to release a digital live album on November 13.
The guitarist talked about Fleetwood Mac's upcoming tour next year: “Fleetwood Mac is gonna start rehearsing probably the beginning of February and I'm actually looking forward to it. I miss those guys.”
Those are comforting words for Fleetwood Mac fans, because Buckingham hasn't always seen eye-to-eye with his band mates “There was a period of time where there was a level of frustration because the Fleetwood Mac agenda seemed to loom a lot larger... I would try to put together material [for] a solo album and there would be some kind of intervention... If you are gonna participate in a band, you've got to be a band member in good standing, and you've got to think about the needs of the whole.”
If and when the new album comes out it will be Fleetwood Mac's first studio release since Say You Will in 2003.
Boston rockers Aerosmith performed in their hometown on Monday as part of a televised event billed as "Vote This Way." The concert took place outside of 1325 Commonwealth Avenue, an apartment building that the band lived in when they first formed in the early seventies. The set included "Movin' Out," the first song Steven Tyler and Joe Perry wrote together. When the band arrived at the stage, Perry pointed to a second story window in the building, saying: "Right where that young, beautiful blonde is was my bedroom."
Aerosmith performed on top of an open tractor-trailer in the middle of the street. Thousands showed up to the event, and the band were introduced on stage by Bob Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, along with quarterback Tom Brady, and linebacker Jerod Mayo. The band's ten song set focused mainly on classic Aerosmith songs, starting with their cover of Rufus Thomas' "Walking The Dog." But they did play the songs "Lover A lot" and "Oh Yeah" from the new album Music From Another Dimension, which is out today on Columbia Records.
The Daily Express reports that Gibson Melody Maker icon Joan Jett has been honored for her animal rights campaigning by the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida.
The tribute happened a gala in Florida and the rocker screened her new commercial for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in which she states: "I am Joan Jett, and I am a vegetarian."
PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk said: "Joan takes every opportunity to talk about the importance of being kind to animals, and she's among the most dedicated activists I've had the pleasure of knowing. People listen when this star talks. She's had a positive influence on countless fans."
Rod Stewart has issued a preview of his forthcoming new album of original material: the song "Beautiful Morning" is accessible as a download to those who buy his new Christmas album, Merry Christmas, Baby.
The notes say the album, to be titled Rock, is due in Fall 2013. It'll be Stewart's first album of originals since Human in 2001. But Stewart hasn't been taking the last 12 years easy musically - his The Great American Songbook series of albums has done huge business.
Melodicrock.com reports that there's a rumor floating around that Van Halen have already completed a follow-up to this year's excellent A Different Kind Of Truth, and that it will be released in early 2013, in time for the next leg of the band's tour.
As with all things Van Halen I'll believe it when I'm holding the CD/download in my hand/iPhone, but melodicrock.com has a pretty exceptional record with this sort of stuff. The rumor is that the band recorded enough material during the A Different Kind Of Truth sessions that there was enough left over for another entire album.
If it's true I think that's great news - A Different Kind Of Truth seems to hold up very well against the all-important 'Not Listen To It For A Few Months Then Put It On Again Now That The Honeymoon Period Is Over' test.
In other Van Halen-ish news, David Lee Roth has just released a new solo song titled “One Piece Thermo-Molded Country Plastic Chair.” It's a chilled-out acoustic ditty co-written with Scotty Emerick, and Dave has dedicated it to all of those affected by and recovering from Hurricane Sandy.
Axl Rose has told USA Todaythat the next Guns N' Roses album won't take as long as the delay-plagued Chinese Democracy.
When asked about the long wait for the band's 2008 album, Rose said there were complications with personnel and “the industry.”
"I had to deal with so many other things that don't have to do with music but have to do with the industry. There's such a loss of time," he said. "It was more about survival. There wasn't anyone to work with or trust. Someone would come in to help produce and the reality was they just wanted to mix it and get it out the door. They had a different agenda. [The next album] will come out sooner."
Rose dismissed any rumors of an original Guns N’ Roses reunion. "I feel that ball's not in my court," he said. "I'm surviving this war, not the one who created this war." Guns N’ Roses are playing Las Vegas this week.
Black Sabbath are going back on tour. The reunited metal legends have released a short video confirming their first Australian tour in 40 years, the 2013 dates of which are as follows:
April 25 - Entertainment Centre, Brisbane
April 27 - Allphones Arena, Sydney
May 01 - Rod Laver, Melbourne
May 04 - Perth Arena, Perth
The band have also announced that they will be performing at 2013’s Ozzfest event in Japan alongside Slipknot. The two-day event will take place on May 11-12, 2013 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba City (outside Tokyo). Slipknot will headline the first night, Sabbath the second.
Sabbath have also confirmed that the band's new, Rick Rubin produced album, will come out in April of 2013. The album reunites Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler. Original drummer Bill Ward is not taking part.
Most eyes will be on Led Zeppelin’s Celebration Day DVD soon. But singer Robert Plant has another project in the works.
Band of Joy guitarist and producer Buddy Miller has told Rolling Stone that he and Plant got together in his Nashville studio last year for a casual songwriting session. A new album could be coming soon.
Miller said: "We didn't mean to, but we sort of wrote a record's worth [of material] and I said, 'while we're doing this, why don't I put up some mics and document it,' because that's better than just trying to remember it or record it on your phone. It sounded so good I think we, you know, accidentally made a record."
The pair promptly recorded their new material with Band of Joy drummer Marco Giovino. But it will be 2013 at the earliest before it is released, due to Led Zeppelin's upcoming re-releases.
Lead guitar players get most of the glory, but rhythm guitarists supply much of the foundation upon which those lead lines can soar. Indeed, many of classic rock’s finest moments, from The Bobby Fuller Four’s “I Fought the Law” to The Who’s “I Can’t Explain” to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” were forged in the smoldering fire of rhythm guitar. Of course, many great rhythm guitarists – the late Mick Ronson springs to mind – occupied dual roles as lead and rhythm players. Below are 10 rhythm players who rank among rock and roll’s best-ever.
10. CHUCK BERRY
John Lennon famously said, "If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry.” Berry’s innovative use of double-stops and his newfangled rhythm style comprised the backbone of rock and roll guitar. With an ES-355, or one of its cousins as his instrument of choice, Berry melded country and R&B into swinging, boogie-woogie rhythms that previously were thought to be the sole province of piano players. His distinctive two-string patterns became a template for the likes of Keith Richards and others.
9. ED O’BRIEN
Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood gets more attention, but when it comes to rhythm guitar, Ed O’Brien’s amazing six-string work is just as integral to the band’s sound. “I've been heavily influenced by rhythm guitar players like Johnny Marr,” O’Brien told Guitar Player, in 1997. “He was an amazing, brilliant rhythm player, rarely played solos, so full of sounds. I'm nowhere near as technical, but I'm also into sounds, pedals, rhythmic textures and arpeggio stuff. When you get to the point when you understand what rhythm guitar is really doing, you begin to appreciate good rhythm guitar.”
8. JOHN LENNON
Recording engineer Eddie Kramer, who worked with countless guitar greats, once gushed that John Lennon (http://www.gibson.com/news-lifestyle/features/en-us/john-lennon-10-things-1005/) was “a ridiculously good rhythm player.” Lennon himself summed up his six-string gifts, often showcased on an Epiphone Casino to Rolling Stone: “I'm not technically good, but I can make [the guitar] howl and speak,” he said. Lennon went on to compare his approach to that of Richie Havens. “He plays, like, one chord all the time. He plays a pretty funky guitar. But he doesn't seem to be able to play in the real terms at all. I'm like that. I'm an artist. If you give me a tuba, I'll bring you something out of it.”
7. JOHNNY RAMONE
The late Johnny Ramone often gets short shrift as a rhythm guitarist, but in fact his rapid, down-stroked “buzz saw” technique had a powerful impact on thrash-metal specialists, including the likes of Kirk Hammett and Dave Mustaine. Even six-string virtuoso Paul Gilbert has cited Ramone as a primary influence. Asked by photographer Robert Jones to name his greatest six-string inspiration, Ramone said, “Jimmy Page, of Led Zeppelin. He’s probably the greatest guitarist who ever lived.”
6. KAKI KING
"There are guitar players who are good, and there are guitar players who are really good. And then there's Kaki King." That's how Dave Grohl once described King, the youngest person ever named a “New Guitar God” by Rolling Stone. The six-string sensation attributes much of her rhythm skills to the fact that she was originally a drummer. “It has to do with the independence of the hands,” she said, in a 2010 interview. “Because I can do something with one hand while the other is doing something totally different, I can get twice as much done on the guitar. People sometimes see what I'm playing and go, ‘Oh, my God!’ while I'm thinking, ‘Actually it's not that hard.’ I'm using techniques I learned through playing drums, and transferring that to the guitar.”
5. DAVE MUSTAINE
Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine’s distinctive rhythm style was forged through countless hours of listening to Angus Young, Jimmy Page, Ace Frehley and Michael Schenker. Asked about his current approach to guitar, he told Guitar World, “[Megadeth lead guitarist] Chris [Broderick] does all the work and I have all the fun. But that’s kind of backwards because I’m the one carrying the brunt of the rhythm responsibilities. Chris has a lot of really great abilities as a lead guitarist. I’m more of a utility player, where I play underneath. These days, when it’s time for a solo, I hold the bottom down while Chris plays lead, especially when there’s a difficult guitar rhythm on top, because that’s my strength.”
4. MALCOLM YOUNG
Angus Young once said his older brother, Malcolm, could likely fill his shoes, but he [Angus] could never fill those of Malcolm. Indeed, Malcolm Young’s sensational rhythm work lies at heart of AC/DC’s distinctive sound. Guitar Player once noted that the secret to Malcolm Young's guitar technique is playing open chords through a series of medium-sized amplifiers set to low volume with little or no gain. The fact that he uses heavy gauge Gibson nickel round-wound strings, in order to produce a thicker sound, is a key factor as well.
3. JIMMY PAGE
Fans who revere Jimmy Page for his breathtaking solos and extraordinary riff-making should add Page’s rhythm playing to that list. Few guitarists have moved more nimbly between earth-shaking power chords and subtle triads and tasteful arpeggios. Much of Page’s magic emanated from the range of dynamics he achieved with various strumming techniques, which he often employed in acoustic settings. Punk guitar maestro Johnny Ramone once revealed he improved his down-stroke picking style by listening over and over to Page’s playing on “Communication Breakdown.”
2. PETE TOWNSHEND
Few musical sounds are more instantly recognizable than Pete Townshend’s revved-up flamenco style or his wind-milled power chords. Townshend spoke about his love of rhythm guitar in a 1980 interview with Sound International. “I wouldn’t object at all to have a [lead] guitar player in The Who so that I could just concentrate on rhythm. I love it. It’s a physical thing. It’s like a dancing thing. There’s a strong syncopation element in it. My style has been formally rhythmic. I laid down the beat and John [Entwistle] and Keith [Moon] worked around it.”
1. KEITH RICHARDS
Rolling Stones producer Don Was once offered up a terrific assessment of Keith Richards’ greatness as a rhythm player. “[His] rhythm guitar parts are often the melody of the song, just by virtue of the way the Stones write. Normally the rhythm guitar player plays in the holes, where the singer isn’t singing. But in the Stones’ case, Keith is doing what the lead guitar player normally does.” Richards offered these thoughts: “[Rhythm] has always fascinated me. Mainly because I realized after quite a few years that the thing that really intrigued me, that turned me on to playing, was suggested rhythms going on, or a certain tension. Especially in early rock and roll, there's a tension between the 4/4 beat and the eighths going on with the guitars.”
By now, hopefully you know Aerosmith’s much-anticipated 15th studio album — Music from Another Dimension! — will hit stores and online outlets this Tuesday (Nov. 6). In advance of the shiny new set of rock songs, the Boston men have booked a slew of appearances on several TV shows in the days leading up to the release.
Set your TVs to catch Aerosmith perform live on CBS' The Late Show with David Letterman tonight (Nov. 1). The guys aren’t just playing live on the show, either: Frontman Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry will also sit down for a short interview with Letterman.
Then, Aerosmith will be up early Friday morning (Nov. 2) to perform an outdoor set at NBC's Today show in conjunction with the show’s Toyota Concert Series. Additional Friday appearances include stops on ABC's The View and VH1 Big Morning Buzz Live.
Say you’d rather catch Aerosmith in person? The band is set to launch the second leg of its Global Warming World Tour next Thursday (Nov. 8), and the run takes them from opening night in Oklahoma City, Okla., through a Dec. 13 gig in Nashville, Tenn.
What’s your favorite classic Aerosmith riff or song? Give us your picks in the comments area bellow!
Bon Jovi continue to add new dates to their forthcoming 2013 world tour, dubbed, fittingly, “Because We Can – The Tour.” The rapidly expanding trek is set to coincide with the spring 2013 release of the band’s latest album, What About Now. I
n addition, the veteran rockers have announced that ticket prices for their U.K. shows will start at a fan-friendly 12.50 pounds (roughly the equivalent of twenty U.S. dollars). Rob Hallett, Bon Jovi’s U.K. tour promoter, told London’s The Mirror, “The band insisted on ticket prices for the Because We Can Tour that enabled all to attend. Ordinary fans have been priced out of live music in recent years and we hope this goes some way toward redressing the balance. After all, rock and roll always was and always should be the music of the people. And that means everyone."
U.K. Dates are as follows:
June 8, 2013 - Manchester, UK - Etihad Stadium
June 9, 2013 - Birmingham, UK - Villa Park
June 12, 2013 - Cardiff, UK - City Stadium
June 13, 2013 - Sunderland, UK - Stadium of Light
July 3, 2013 - Glasgow, UK - Hampden Park
Led Zeppelin fans can look forward to expanded versions of several of the band’s albums, with tentative release scheduled to begin sometime in 2013. Speaking to Mojo magazine, Jimmy Page revealed that in addition to remastering the original albums, he’s been digging into the archives for bonus material. “There are a number of Led Zeppelin projects that will come out next year,” Page explained. “… there are different versions of tracks that we have that can be added to the album[s], so there will be box sets of material that will come out, starting next year. There will be one box set per album with extra music that will surface." Page recently oversaw production of Celebration Day, the DVD release of Led Zeppelin’s acclaimed 2007 reunion performance at London’s 02 Arena.