The Rolling Stones have always been fond of bringing other musicians up on stage to jam with them, and on their most recent "50 & Counting" tour they've had a special guest every night. It is always fun when a band bring an unexpected artist up on stage, because it can take a song in a completely different direction. Here we list ten of the best guest appearances with the Rolling Stones, spanning most of their career. Please share your own favorites in the comments section!
Axl Rose & Izzy Stradlin - “Salt of the Earth”
When Axl Rose and Izzy Sradlin were going to join the Rolling Stones on stage in Atlantic City in 1989, they had been asked what song they wanted to do. When they requested “Salt of the Earth” the Stones reportedly had to relearn the song, as it had not been played live before, aside from the version on The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, which is just Mick and Keith singing to a backing track. The contrast of Axl’s high register vocals to that of Mick Jagger’s work really well for the song, and it certainly look like Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood were enjoying playing something out of the ordinary. Being how “Salt of the Earth” has only been performed a handful of times, the performance with Axl and Izzy is quite unique.
Dave Grohl - "Bitch"
The Stones have had many guests on their latest "50 & Counting" tour, but Dave Grohl must have been one of the highlights, especially judging from the audience response when Grohl takes the stage. Mick doesn't even have to introduce the Foo Fighters main man, he is instantly recognizable. Grohl both sings, and play his Gibson Trini Lopez guitar, and even takes a solo. Dave Grohl has an ability to make anything he plays sound like his own, and that happens with "Bitch" as well. The song is much heavier than how the Stones would normally play it, much thanks to Grohl's power chords and wailing guitar solo. Check out a video of the performance:
Jack White - “Loving Cup”
Jack White appeared on stage at the Beacon Theatre in New York City for the taping of Martin Scorsese’s concert film Shine a Light, where he does a duet with Mick on “Loving Cup.” The folksy feel of the Exile on Main Street song, is perfect for White’s post-White Stripes folk-rock sound. White told Rolling Stone about the experience: “...for years at White Stripes shows, we played "Loving Cup" [over the PA] as the crowd was leaving. I just wanted to harmonize with Mick. I didn't necessarily want my own verse. But he said, ‘Take one.’” If you watch the film, you’ll notice the often somber looking White actually has a big smile on his face.
John Mayer - “Champagne and Reefer”
John Mayer has played with the Stones on a couple of occasions, most recently on May 15 this year in Anaheim, CA. Mayer got to play the Muddy Waters classic “Champagne and Reefer.” Aside from playing the guitar, this was one of Mayer’s first live vocal performances since his throat surgery last year. Mayer got to do two solos, which both meshed really well with Ronnie, and Keith’s playing. John really does have a distinct tone, which makes him stand out in a crowd, even when playing with such legends as the Stones.
Muddy Waters - "Mannish Boy"
There are a number of songs that could be chosen from this performance. Mick and the boys dropped in on a Muddy Waters gig at the Checkerboard Lounge in 1981, and ended up joining Muddy on stage. The entire show has been released on both CD and DVD. The 10 minute "Mannish Boy" is one of the highlights, with Waters and Jagger trading vocals back and forth. The Stones look overjoyed to be playing with their hero, and when Buddy Guy steps up on stage, and borrow the mike, Jagger looks almost ecstatic. The song is a great example of how you can do so much with so little - a simple lick that is basically repeated over and over. But it is the subtle nuances in Keith and Ronnie's guitar playing that make the song something special.
Jeff Beck - "I'm going Down"
It took Jeff Beck for the Stones to dust off the Don Nix cover "I'm Going Down." There is a studio version of the band doing it on the Metamorphosis album. The live version from last year with Jeff Beck is about twice as long as the studio recording, with blistering guitar solos from Beck, Wood, and Richards.
Stevie Wonder - "Uptight (Everything’s Alright) / (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
In 1972 the Rolling Stones toured together with Stevie Wonder. While seeing both acts on the same night must have been amazing, it would have been a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Stevie on stage together with the Stones. Do a search on Youtube and you will find an amazing medley of Stevie Wonder's "Uptight (Everything’s Alright)" with the Stones "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." Stevie turns the Stones rocker in to a funky beast fit for Wonder's own repertoire.
Buddy Guy - "Champagne and Reefer"
Yes, this song appear twice on this list, but that doesn't matter since it is two completely different performances. While John Mayer's guest spot on the song has a more modern flavor, the version that blues legend Buddy Guy did with the Stones on their Shine a Light film is a true down-and-dirty blues classic. Guy wails on the microphone, and play his polka-dotted guitar as if it’s all he's ever done.
Mary J. Blige - "Gimme Shelter"
Mary J. Blige is the only singer aside from Rolling Stones backup vocalist Lisa Fischer who has ever come close to do the original vocals by Merry Clayton justice. Obviously the Stones liked Mary J's performance as well, since she was invited to sing with them twice during their anniversary tour last year, first in London on November 25, and then in New York a couple of weeks later. Check out a video of the performance:
The Black Keys - “Who Do You Love”
Charlie Watts got some help when The Black Keys joined the Stones on stage in Newark last year for the Bo Diddley song "Who Do You Love?" A second drum kit was brought out and Keys drummer Pat Carney helped Watts keep the beat. The other half of the Black Keys, Dan Auerbach, joined in on guitar and vocals. The duo has certainly come a long way from their basement days in Akron, Ohio. Is this perhaps the only time the Rolling Stones have had two drummers on stage? Let us know in the comments.
On July 20 1969, 44 years ago, man first set foot on the moon via the Apollo 11 space mission. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became living legends. Pity “the other one,” astronaut Michael Collins, who didn’t get to walk on the moon.
The moon and space travel has inspired musicians and writers for many hundreds of years, of course. The influence of the Moon on music can be good, bad or simply strange.
Here’s a “lunatic” soundtrack to mark a legendary day. Please add your own favorites.
10. Inspiral Carpets “Saturn 5”
The U.K. ‘90s combo were always retro. Here’s their homage to Saturn V (Five), the name of the rocket that launched the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 - when the band members were kids. Farfisa organ, Les Pauls, references to JFK’s murder and more are here.
Crew member fact? The Inspiral Carpets’ drum roadie of the time was an aspiring songwriter called Noel Gallagher.
9. Creedence Clearwater Revival “Bad Moon Rising”
CCR’s John Fogerty wrote “Bad Moon Rising” after watching The Devil and Daniel Webster. Inspired by a scene in the movie involving a hurricane, Fogerty claims the song is about “the apocalypse that was going to be visited upon us.” Bad moon!
The lyric of “there’s a bad moon on the rise” has gone down in rock folklore as a commonly misheard lyric of “there’s a bathroom on the right.” Fogerty has even sung the latter in jest in his own live shows. “Bad Moon Rising” is simple to play with A, D, G and Bminor chords only, but…
Tuning fact? Fogerty actually played those chords in an Open D tuning (DADF#AD.)
8. Ozzy Osbourne “Bark at the Moon”
Ozzy’s 1983 song references Moon-influenced insanity (see Pink Floyd at #3) and the same-named album has him pictured as a werewolf. In Balkan folklore, a human-to-werewolf transformation occurs in the Winter solstice, Easter and full Moons. Jake E. Lee plays guitar on the original, but Zakk Wylde took up the baton with some of the most “lunatic” shredding you’ll ever see.
Gibson fact? In the video below, Wylde is playing his Zakk Wylde ZV Custom, a hybrid-body shape of a Flying V and SG.
7. The Police “Walking on the Moon”
It was originally called “Walking Round the Room,” according to writer Sting. “Walking Round the Room was a stupid title,” says Sting, “so I thought of something even more stupid which was Walking on the Moon.”
Even more stupid are the lyrics. “Giant steps are what you take / walking on the moon” is OK. But, “I hope my leg don’t break”? Given the Moon’s gravity is only 17% of the Earth’s, that’s highly unlikely to happen. And to think Gordon “Sting” Sumner was previously a school teacher! The Police filmed the “Walking on the Moon” video at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. Lyrical nonsense, but it was a U.K. #1.
6. Neil Young “Harvest Moon”
“Harvest Moon” (also “Hunter's Moon”) is a traditional term for the full moons occurring in September and October. The “Harvest Moon” is the full moon closest to the autumnal/fall equinox. Neil Young’s 1992 album and song of the same name is considered by many to be the sequel to his 1972 classic mostly-acoustic album Harvest. Another song informed by the Moon’s influence on all people.
5. Nick Drake “Pink Moon”
The title track of the mercurial Drake’s final album, recorded mainly by just him and his acoustic guitar with occasional piano. Drake played “Pink Moon” in a CGCFCE tuning (which he often used) with a capo at the second fret.
A “Pink Moon” is a full Moon in April, whose name comes from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the U.K. spring.
Lunar fact? The Moon doesn’t actually appear pink, even during a so-called Pink Moon.
4. R.E.M. “Man on the Moon”
This is not about the Moon at all, really. On the surface it’s about actor Andy Kaufman, but also about urban mythology. The title and chorus refer to moon landing film conspiracy theories - allusion to rumors that Kaufman’s 1984 death was faked, just as movie director Stanley Kubrick supposedly faked Apollo 11’s moon landing. Kubrick didn’t.
Michael Stipe’s oblique lyrics also refer to Elvis Presley – some “lunatics” believe Elvis is alive and well, living on the Moon. The 1999 movie based on Kaufman's life was called Man on the Moon. It’s a complex lyric, for sure.
Songwriting fact? Although credited (as always) to R.E.M’s Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe, the main motif for “Man on the Moon” (a C-chord, then shifted up a whole tone) was actually written by “drummer” Bill Berry – in the song’s video, he’s appropriately “driving the truck.” Berry also wrote the music for R.E.M’s “Everybody Hurts.”
3. Pink Floyd “The Dark Side of the Moon”
Not all “moon songs” are about the place or even space, as we now know. Pink Floyd’s biggest-ever album Dark Side of the Moon ponders many themes, but the main one is that of mental illness, or “lunacy”. The word “lunatic” is derived from the Latin lunaticus meaning “of the moon” or “moonstruck” (see also “loony.”) Does the Moon send people crazy? Well, the moon’s gravitational-pull controls the Earth’s water tides so the Moon is a powerful thing.
2. Rush “Countdown”
“Countdown” (1982) describes the inaugural flight of STS-1 Space Shuttle Columbia in 1981, with samples of commentary from NASA mission control. Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart personally witnessed the launch from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.
Song-inspiring fact? The Rush trio watched from a VIP area called “Red Sector A” – later the name of a 1984 Rush song, but that song is actually about the WWII Holocaust.
1. David Bowie “Space Oddity”
Written and first released in 1969 before the first moon landing, Bowie’s song is perhaps the most-enduring ode to space travel. The title was a pun on Arthur C. Clarke’s book/the Stanley Kubrick-directed movie of 1968, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
When re-recorded and re-released in 1973, “Space Oddity” became David Bowie’s first U.S. hit.
Bowie revived his “Major Tom” character for “Ashes to Ashes” (1979) and “Hallo Spaceboy” (1995). “Space Oddity” recently regained popularity after it was reworked by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who performed the song while aboard the International Space Station in 2013 for the first music video shot in space.
Metallica raised the volume considerably at San Diego Comic-Con over the weekend. The metal group held a Q&A in Hall H, the largest room of the San Diego Convention Center. The event was intended to hype Metallica’s upcoming IMAX release Metallica Through The Never. On hand, aside from the band, were the movie’s director Nimrod Antal, and the star of the film Dane DeHaan.
According to Billboard, Lars Ulrich spoke about the giant stage the band used for the movie, which took up most of the floor space of Vancouver's Rogers Arena where the concert footage was shot: “The stage is the star of the film. [...] Making a movie about a stage, and then bringing it to the people is a cool idea. It's the biggest stage you'll ever see anywhere.”
Aside from taking questions from fans, the band also debuted a new trailer for the movie at the event.
Later the same day (July 19) the band held a (not so) secret gig at the nearby Spreckles Theatre. Concert goers, who had all won tickets or been invited to the event, were treated to a 13 song set that included Metallica classics such as “One,” “Master of Puppets,” and “Enter Sandman.”
The Rolling Stones have released an iTunes-only live album of their shows in Hyde Park on July 6 and 13.
The album, which is called Hyde Park Live, is comprised of the highlights from both shows. The track list is contain songs from the Stones' entire career; from early tunes like "Ruby Tuesday," and "Paint It Black" to "Doom and Gloom" from last year's greatest hits release GRRR!
Fans of the band better act quickly though, since Hyde Park Live will only be available for a limited time, between July 22 and August 19.
When Paul McCartney played in Seattle on Friday (July 19) he brought about yet another reunion with the surviving members of grunge legends Nirvana. Seattle, which was the band's hometown, seemed like an appropriate place for Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, bassist Krist Novoselic, and Nirvana’s touring guitarist Pat Smear to share a stage once again.
The trio played with Macca in New York City in December last year, where they debuted the newly written tune "Cut Me Some Slack." That was also the first song they played together in Seattle. But the mini-set, which turned out to be the encore of McCartney’s own performance also included, among others, “Get Back,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Helter Skelter,” and “The End.”
That would place the next reunion at the 30th anniversary of the film This Is Spinal Tap. Guest didn't give any clues as to what the reunion might entail, so it really could be anything - a single, an album, a new film, a tour… it's fun to speculate, but Guest seems to be playing his cards pretty close to his chest regarding what form this potential Tap activity might entail.
Guest also reflected on what has happened to the band since the release of the film: "…we've gone on tour, playing Wembley, the Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall… It's weird but great. The fiction became real."
If you can't get enough of the mighty Tap and you would like to see some of this real fiction, you owe it to yourself to check out The Return of Spinal Tap, a 1992 sequel of sorts to the original film which includes performance footage from the Royal Albert Hall as well as a look at the band's history, as well as 'where-are-they-now?' scenes. It hasn't quite attained the legendary stature of This Is Spinal Tap but it's well worth a look.
Guitar legend Ace Frehley is in the studio working on a new album, the follow-up to the critically-acclaimed Anomaly.
Ace is recording with members of his live band, drummer Matt Starr and bass player Chris Wyse. Starr posted a pic of himself and Ace in the studio on his blog with the caption: "Had a great week in the studio with Ace Frehley and Chris Wyse making some great new music Ace's new record. Stay tuned."
Wyse added "Had a blast these last few days playing with Ace Frehley and Matt Starr!!! Exciting new record coming from Ace!"
When pressed for further details on his official Facebook fan page, Starr said "No details yet. Just that we're working on it & it's gonna ROCK!"
Starr is a busy guy right now: in addition to stepping into the drummer spot in Ace's band last year when Scot Coogan departed to join Lita Ford, Starr plays with Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich's band Burning Rain and has toured the U.S. and U.K. with Love/Hate. As for Wyse, he's worked with Jerry Cantrell, The Cult, Ozzy Osbourne and Mick Jagger, and is vocalist and bassist of his own band, Owl. He was also one of the bassists who auditioned for Metallica in 2003.
Take a look at the Ace Frehley "Budokan" Les Paul Custom here.
As a mostly instrumental artist, Joe Satriani has let his guitar do the talking for decades. But in April 2014, he’ll be publishing his own autobiography.
Titled Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir, the book has been compiled through hours of new interviews between Satriani and co-author Jake Brown. It will cover Satriani’s his long career as a solo artist, sideman and session player and member of Chickenfoot.
Strange Beautiful Music will also include photos from Satriani’s personal archives, interviews with some of the many musicians and producers he’s worked with and a foreword written by Queen guitarist Brian May.
Calling Satriani “arguably the Mozart of his generation,” Brown enthused in a press release, “Millions of guitar players around the world have been influenced by the super-human techniques he pioneered behind the six string, and this is the story behind those songs, from Surfing With the Alien to “Summer Song” and beyond, through 2013′s Unstoppable Momentum.”
Satriani adds, “I’m excited for my fans, through this musical memoir, to get a deeper look inside my creative process in the studio and the stories behind the songs… I look forward to the book hitting shelves next year!”
The shock rocker doesn’t understand how this new crop of acoustic performers can be, well, so safe, and still be coined rock.
“I just feel like this whole generation maybe all need to eat a steak,” Cooper said in an interview with Fuse. “Maybe they need to quit eating…vegetarian food and get out there and get some blood pumping in their system.”
He added that being a rock musician means that “you’re an outlaw” and that rock ‘n’ roll comes from your guts as opposed to your brain. “It’s sexual,” he said. “It’s tribal.”
He added that, “rock bands don't have accordions or lutes or flutes, unless, maybe, you're Jethro Tull.”
Bob Dylan is set to release the 10th installment of his Bootleg Series on Aug. 27, and the set will celebrate the musician’s performance period from the late-1960s into the ‘70s. The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 -- Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) offers a mix of never-before-released demos and additional recordings around the release of Dylan’s studio albums Self Portrait and New Morning.
Another Self Portrait will arrive as a two-CD set and a four-disc collection, the latter that also includes a re-mastered edition of Self Portrait and a CD of Dylan’s Aug. 31, 1969, performance with the Band at England’s Isle of Wight Festival.
TheNew York Times reports that the album art is a fresh painting by Dylan. View the full tracklist below.
The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) [Disc One]:
“Went to See the Gypsy” (demo)
“In Search of Little Sadie” (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
“Pretty Saro” (unreleased, Self Portrait)
“Alberta #3” (alternate version, Self Portrait)
“Spanish Is the Loving Tongue” (unreleased, Self Portrait)
“Annie's Going to Sing Her Song” (unreleased, Self Portrait)
“Time Passes Slowly #1” (alternate version, New Morning)
“Only a Hobo” (unreleased, Greatest Hits II)
“Minstrel Boy” (unreleased, The Basement Tapes)
“I Threw It All Away” (alternate version, Nashville Skyline)
“Railroad Bill” (unreleased, Self Portrait)
“Thirsty Boots” (unreleased, Self Portrait)
“This Evening So Soon” (unreleased, Self Portrait)
“These Hands” (unreleased, Self Portrait)
“Little Sadie” (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
“House Carpenter” (unreleased, Self Portrait)
“All the Tired Horses” (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) [Disc Two]:
“If Not for You” (alternate version, New Morning)
“Wallflower” (alternate version, 1971)
“Wigwam” (original version without overdubs, Self Portrait)
“Days of '49” (original version without overdubs, Self Portrait)
“Working on a Guru” (unreleased, New Morning)
“Country Pie” (alternate version, Nashville Skyline)
“I'll Be Your Baby Tonight” (Live with The Band, Isle of Wight 1969)
“Highway 61 Revisited” (Live with The Band, Isle of Wight 1969)
“Copper Kettle” (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
“Bring Me a Little Water” (unreleased, New Morning)
“Sign on the Window” (with orchestral overdubs, New Morning)
“Tattle O'Day” (unreleased, Self Portrait)
“If Dogs Run Free” (alternate version, New Morning)
“New Morning” (with horn section overdubs, New Morning)
“Went to See the Gypsy” (alternate version, New Morning)
“Belle Isle” (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
“Time Passes Slowly #2” (alternate version, New Morning)
“When I Paint My Masterpiece” (demo)
Bob Dylan & The Band, Isle of Wight -- August 31, 1969
“She Belongs to Me”
“I Threw It All Away”
“Wild Mountain Thyme”
“It Ain't Me, Babe”
“To Ramona”/”Mr. Tambourine Man”
“I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine”
“Lay Lady Lay”
“Highway 61 Revisited”
“One Too Many Mornings”
“I Pity the Poor Immigrant”
“Like a Rolling Stone”
“I'll Be Your Baby Tonight”
“Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)”
“Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”
The Red Rocker Sammy Hagar is getting ready to release his next album. This time it's not a Chickenfoot album, and not quite a solo album either. The album, which is called Sammy Hagar and Friends, is collaboration between Hagar and a multitude of his musician buddies.
The first single to be released is "Knockdown Dragout," on which Hagar collaborates with Kid Rock, Joe Satriani, and drummer Denny Carmassi from Hagar's first band Montrose. Aside from Satriani, Hagar's other two Chickenfoot bandmates, Chad Smith and Michael Anthony, also appear on a couple of tracks. Along with Journey guitarist Neal Schon, the pair rock out with Sammy on a cover of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" and the track "Going Down."
The album will be released on September 24 through Frontiers Records. Other guests on the album include Nancy Wilson of Heart, and the members of Hagar's backing band The Waboritas - David Lauser, Mona Gnader and Vic Johnson.
Drummer Jason Bonham says he's in discussions to realize his dream of performing a drum solo with a hologram of his late father, Led Zeppelin legend John Bonham.
In an interview with Legendary Rock Interviews , Bonham says there's much he would love to do in bringing his Led Zeppelin Experience tour to its full potential, although he's constrained by the limits of the footage gathered in the 1970s.
"It's imperative that I continue putting together the best shows and take it to the next level," Bonham says. "I'm talking to people about holograms, and my dream is to do the hologram drum solo with dad next to me. I am trying to work with the limited footage I have, to put it together in a way that works and is purposeful. I did not want to go onstage and play Led Zeppelin songs; there has to be more than that. I wanted to create a complete experience of what Led Zeppelin means to me, growing up around them and being part of it all my life."
Bonham also opened up about what it was like growing up with a famous father. "When he was at home he was dad. I really didn’t know the other side of him until I grew older and was working and spending time with people who knew him. As I grew older, Jimmy and Robert could tell me the stories! The guys were so young back then, everything they were achieving was before they were even in their thirties, before he was even 25 he had already recorded Led Zeppelin IV, which is one of the biggest selling record albums of all time. He’d done so much by that time but he was still a kid really."
Few musicians affected those close to him as profoundly as Duane Allman did. Time and again, surviving friends and musician-peers remember him not just for his prowess on guitar, but also for his personal charisma, his leadership skills and his devotion to those who comprised his inner circle. Below we’ve collected some of the more incisive remembrances about Allman and his lasting impact. Please chime in with your own thoughts in the comments section.
Johnny Sandlin (producer/musician), on Duane’s ability to bring out the best in his fellow musicians (as told to Swampland.com):
He was one of the most interesting, exciting and alive people that I ever knew. He was one of the most intelligent as well. Most of the time he was great to be around and he was so dedicated to music and it was a central thing in our lives. Whenever anyone played with Duane he would bring out the best in them. Not that it was a competition, but he was an inspiration. He was one of the best that there ever was.
Dickey Betts (guitarist), on how Duane developed his style on slide guitar (as told to Jasobrecht.com):
Well, Robert Johnson. You’ve heard that name a million times, but he’s influenced so many people. I guess that he was probably one of the biggest influences on Duane. [And] who’s the guy, the slide player? Elmore James! He got really into Elmore James a lot for the electric part of it. You know, Robert Johnson never played any electric, of course. So Elmore James was a big influence on his electric slide.
Tom Dowd (producer), on Duane’s diplomatic skills in the studio (as told to Swampland.com):
[Duane was] a pussycat, an absolute humble, soft spoken, brilliant leader. He never provoked anyone in the band. He was never demonstrative, but he was in charge and he got everyone to go the right way, whether he did it by playing them something or saying something to them.
John Hammond (guitarist), on what it was like to record with Duane (as told to HittinTheNote.com):
Everybody just fell all over themselves for Duane, you know. He was their idol. All of a sudden these [session] guys knew exactly what I wanted them to do. From having not understood a thing before, everybody understood what the deal was. Duane was the catalyst completely for that. To play with him was like feeling almost invincible, because he played everything right. He was just terrific. It was more inspirational than actually learning notes and stuff. He was a good friend.
Butch Trucks (drummer), on the purity of Duane’s musical vision (as told to The Aquarian):
Duane changed us all. He got us all to realize how important music was and that being in a band isn’t about money and isn’t about fame. It isn’t about success. It’s about playing music. I think that our best music, and when we were having the most fun, was up until Duane died. We lost that leader….
Eric Clapton (guitarist), on his friendship with Duane (from Clapton: The Autobiography):
I was mesmerized by him. I felt sure he was the leader of the band, just by his body language. Duane and I became inseparable during the time we were in Florida [recording Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs]. He was like the musical brother I’d never had but wished I did, more so than Jimi [Hendrix], who was essentially a loner, while Duane was a family man, a brother.
Phil Walden (Capricorn Records founder), on Duane’s disdain for rock “fashion” (as told to Gibson.com):
For the first date outside the south, I booked them at the Boston Tea Party, where they opened for the Velvet Underground. Most of press who came out were into bands like The Who or other English groups. The comments I heard that night were things like, “You know, you ought to dress up those guys a bit.” And I remember Duane made one of his classic remarks, which was, “You know, if you wanna go to a fashion show I suggest you go to the garment district. But if you want to hear rock ‘n’ roll music, you shouldn’t be too concerned about what we’re wearing.”
Paul Hornsby (producer/musician), on Duane’s genius for innovation (as told to Blues.GR):
Duane was one of the few musicians, who I would go as far as to say, was a genius. He was an inventor with the guitar. That’s a big difference from being an imitator. In addition to being a great musician, he was just smart intellectually and was charismatic. That’s just something you have and can’t be explained. You either got it or you don’t.
Pete Carr (guitarist), on how Duane opened up new possibilities on the guitar (as told to TheGearPage.com):
I think he took bottleneck a long, long way to people who really hadn’t heard that much bottleneck – blues-rock guitar bottleneck, anyway. Just a lot of openness. When I say that, I mean as far as the playing style goes. He brought a little more freedom – not so much locked into a certain thing. You know, if you wanted to jam for a few minutes on a tune, you could do it.
Gregg Allman (musician), on how Duane loved to stir things up (as told to Gibson.com):
He was a triple Scorpio. If nothing was happening, he would make it happen. And when he was sick, it was like no one except him had ever been sick. (laughs) He was always the first to face the fire, in any circumstance.
Check out the newly released Duane Allman 1959 Cherry Sunburst Les Paul here.
Rock and roll groups disband for all sorts of reasons, of course, but sometimes a split occurs just when the band is at a creative peak, or when it clearly has more arrows in its musical quiver. Naturally, when fate intervenes (death, ill health, irreconcilable differences), there’s little to be done, but even then, thoughts persist about “what might have been.” Below are profiles of ten bands that might have evolved in interesting ways, had they not come to a premature end. Please let us know who we missed, in the comments section.
There’s a reason why fans continue to pine for a Faces reunion: simply put, the Rod Stewart-led group was one of the most lovable “bar bands” ever to set foot on stage. Of course, they didn’t actually play bars, but instead offered up ragged, R&B-based rock and roll that served as a template for such acolytes as The Replacements and the Black Crowes. “People loved us,” recalled Stewart, earlier this year. “I look back at pictures of the Faces now, and we’re all in a big heap in the middle of the stage, lying on top of one another. And that’s just halfway through the show!”
J. Geils Band
The J.Geils Band was, for a time, America’s answer to the Rolling Stones. Frontman Peter Wolf’s vocal dynamism and charisma, paired with guitarist Seth Justin’s talent for crafting infectious R&B tunes, forged a winning combination on such tracks as “Give It to Me” and “Must of Got Lost.” The band achieved commercial success by moving toward a more pop-oriented sound in the early ‘80s, but the shift left the R&B-loving Wolf creatively dissatisfied. His departure brought the group to a premature end.
Mott the Hoople
No band from the ‘70s British glam era exuded more genuine rock-muscle than Mott the Hoople did. Not long after David Bowie put a jolt in their career by giving them the glitter-anthem, “All the Young Dudes,” the group created an unduly overlooked masterpiece with their 1973 album, Mott. Unfortunately, the band splintered soon afterwards, with guitarist Mick Ralphs leaving to co-found Bad Company and main songwriter Ian Hunter forging a successful solo career.
Opinions vary about who invented punk rock, but no band brought more musical range and sophistication to the genre than the Velvet Underground did. In the second half of the ‘60s, as their rock and roll peers embraced flower power and psychedelia, the Velvets opted for gritty lyrical realism, superb songcraft and sonic landscapes that could turn on a dime between the beautiful and the abrasive. Lou Reed’s departure in 1970 effectively sealed their premature end.
After making one of the most spectacular debut albums in history, The Doors went on to create one of rock and roll’s most enduring catalogs. Nonetheless, one can’t help wondering what might have been, had singer Jim Morrison not died in the summer of 1971. “Most likely we would have combined film and music,” said Ray Manzarek, in 2011. “I wanted to make movies starring The Doors. There would also have been more ‘Riders on the Storm’-type material--jazzy stuff--along with, of course, kickass rock and roll.”
New York Dolls
The New York Dolls invented neither punk nor glam rock, and yet no other band so successfully fused those genres. Emerging from the bowels of Manhattan in 1972, the group combined a love of trashy pop nuggets, Stones-like swagger and drag-queen decadence to create a unique style. Guitarists Sylvain Sylvain and Johnny Thunders led the musical charge with their loosely-locked streams of riffage. Surviving members David Johansen and Sylvain returned to the studio in 2009, but the original band disintegrated not long after making the prophetically-titled 1974 album, Too Much Too Soon.
Joe Strummer and Mick Jones were sometimes called the Lennon and McCartney of punk rock, and rightly so. Gloriously gifted songwriters, the Clash co-leaders expanded the parameters of the genre to include reggae, dub, rockabilly and elements of world music. In 1983, at the height of their commercial success, “the only band that mattered” splintered. “We were always battling with contradictions, but when we got big, we were faced with big contradictions,” remembered Jones, speaking to Gibson.com. “It was almost at the point of compromise. That was a big factor towards breaking up.”
Alternative rock could hardly be called “alternative” in the wake of Nirvana’s explosive success in the early ‘90s. Combining soaring pop melodies with searing riffs and a dark sonic overlay, the group appealed to both casual radio listeners and the disaffected. Thematically, Kurt Cobain’s bleak songs—rife with alienation--made him a spokesman for his generation in much the same way John Lennon had been a spokesman for his. The troubled songwriter’s death in 1994 forever consigned the band’s legacy to a small but brilliant body of work.
Alice Cooper has forged an impressive (and lengthy) career, but nothing in his solo work has ever matched the magic of the original Alice Cooper band. Friends since high school, the original quintet -- drummer Neal Smith, bassist Dennis Dunaway, guitarists Michael Bruce and Glen Buxton, and Cooper – crafted some of the greatest pop-rock anthems of the ‘70s. Fracturing in 1974, the band got its due more than 30 years later with a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. “I think we were on our way to being like the American Rolling Stones, although in a bit of a different way,” Smith once said.
The Beatles weren’t simply great; they were phenomenal. Considering that it took them just eight short years to write and record the most monumental body of work in popular music, their accomplishments seem super-human. No other band has ever come remotely close to producing such an abundance of quality material in as short a period of time. Still, one can’t help but wonder what twists and turns their music might have taken, had they forged on together into the ‘70s—or even beyond.
It must be great fun being Brian Ray. As a lead guitarist and bassist, he’s been in Paul McCartney’s band for over a decade. Before that, he was Musical Director for Etta James. He’s written/arranged for Smokey Robinson. In any spare time Ray has, he makes his own fine solo recordings, which he has now stepped up a notch with his fine new band, The Bayonets.
The Bayonets are essentially Brian Ray (guitar/vox) and drummer Oliver Leiber (son of songwriting legend Jerry Leiber of Leiber and Stoller) plus a revolving cast. On The Bayonets’ new track “Vagabond Soul” The Bayonets are joined by Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler on harmony vocals and blues harp. That’s some cameo guest to get!
Gibson.com asked the multi-talented Brian Ray about a life rich in great guitar music and great Gibsons…
The Bayonets sound is classic rock’n’roll with soul… was there an ethos of this band from the beginning?
“Yes. The sound of The Bayonets had been buzzing round in my mind for a while. It comprised some of the guitar rock’n’roll elements that lit my mind as a kid. All sort of things, such as “Let There be Drums” by Sandy Nelson, “Rebel Rouser,” songs by Link Wray, Duane Eddy, Eddie Cochran… early guitar hero records. I always liked those maverick records, but with big, clean, reverb-y guitar players.
“The Bayonets are predetermined by those parameters. We use a lot of tom-tom drums, not so much or crash or ride cymbals. Sexy drums, low guitars, a pop chorus… That’s it!”
You say you started playing guitar at nine years old, which is early…
“Yep, and the artists I’ve mentioned were my influences. I had a transistor radio. I listened to this station out of Tijuana, and none other than Wolfman Jack was a DJ on there. He played the most crazy, original R&B and rock’n’roll – mostly black artists. I also listened to AM radio pop of the time, of course, but it all seemed to come together.
“My first gigs were with my sister, Jean Ray. She had a folk-rock outfit called Jim and Jean in the ‘60s. And my very first club gig was with her, at the Troubadour in Hollywood. I’d done gigs with high school bands… but there were two drunks and a dream in those audiences, haha! But Jim and Jean was bona-fide. People were clapping, not snoring.”
“Then I got a gig with Bobby Pickett, who famously did “The Monster Mash.” We’d play amusement parks across the States. It was a blast. And it led me to meeting Etta James in ’74. I started with Etta when I was 19.
“Etta was generous to let me play with other acts as well – Laura Brannigan, writing a hit song (“One Heartbeat”) with Smokey Robinson… that changed things. And I here I am, 11 years with Paul McCartney.”
Photo credit: Guido Adler/BrianRay.com
How does it feel fronting your own band now?
“A few years ago, I didn’t want to do it. I was like, “Oh my God, everyone staring at me.” I was happy to stand beside stars for many years. But after playing so long with Paul McCartney, I didn’t feel I had anything to really prove. There was less pressure, in a funny way, for me to do my own thing. So in 2006, I started solo albums. But The Bayonets is more of a band idea.
“It’s a change. It’s a big responsibility, not only to play guitar but to deliver the words, arranging, singing… but it’s exhilarating. It’s a different kind of charge. When I play with Paul, I’m damn sure that guy knows what he’s doing and will deliver in fine fashion and with a lot of passion. I don’t have a teleprompter when I’m with The Bayonets… but it’s all human.”
Photo credit: BrianRay.com
Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler sings and plays harmonica on The Bayonets’ “Vagabond Soul” – how did you get him on-board?
“I met Steven many years ago. Steven is just crazy about Paul McCartney, and I’m a big fan of Steven, so we just bonded over music. I did a show with Steven in 2007 and that went well. So for “Vagabond Soul” I just sent him a text, and asked: do you want to be involved?
“And he came over and gave us a ton of energy with his great harmonies, backing vocals – there’s eight Steven Tylers singing along – plus a killer blues harp. And then Steven cut out in his Porsche, and that was that! Steven’s great.”
Listen to The Bayonets (featuring Steven Tyler) on “Vagabond Soul.”
So The Bayonets is a “loose” band lineup?
“Yes, it’s a revolving cast of characters. On “Vagabond Soul” we also have the Texacali Horns, a great horn section, and they’re on other Bayonets tunes too. We’ve got Elvis Costello’s Davey Faragher on bass, Adam MacDougall from The Black Crowes on keys… It’s a different lineup all the time. The common thing is: Oliver Lieber plays drums, and I sing lead and play lead guitar on all of it… plus the songwriting, of course.”
Playing guitar with Paul McCartney must be great. But sometimes you also play Paul’s Beatles basslines live, when he’s playing guitar or piano. Does that feel like pressure?
“If you look up ‘pressure’ in the dictionary, there’s a little picture of me biting my lower lip, playing with Paul! I just do my best. It’s a real honor and a joy to fill that bass spot when Paul is playing piano or guitar. To be entrusted with those bass parts, some of the most important ever recorded, is fantastic.
“I really enjoy playing bass now. It used to be a chore, but now I get hired to just play bass on other artists’ albums. The result of practise, if you will, from playing with Paul McCartney for 11 years.”
Photo credit: Ilitch Electronics
For your guitars, you seem a big Gibson fan - and you have a rare Gibson Vic DaPra Les Paul?
“Yes, and it’s beautiful. The finish is a Caramel Burst Fade, limited edition… I think there are only 25. It’s a Gibson Custom Shop model with a unique paint formula that Gibson and Vic DaPra worked on. If any readers don’t know, Vic DaPra is a renowned collector of old sunburst Gibson Les Pauls and he knows colors. So he came up with the color, the specs for the frets, neck and certain appointments together with Gibson. It’s got two old PAFs in it. It’s quite the new/old machine.”
“I love Gibson Les Paul TV Jrs, as you may have noticed - TV Yellow or “wheat color” from the 1950s. I’ve got two 1958 TV Jrs - one singlecut, one doublecut – plus a new Jr. I adore those Gibson Jnrs.
“I play the singlecuts on “Junior’s Farm” and “High High High” with Paul. I use the doublecut for “Back in the USSR” – they have a slightly thicker body, with a bit more mahogany it seems. It’s ferocious.”
Photo credit: gmvintagerestorations.com
Some people find P-90s a bit too ferocious?
“Well, using a P-90 live is sometimes treacherous, as there’s often a lot of noise associated with a single coil. But I found this guy Ilitch in Camarillo, California, who does a P-90 update – he screws on another backplate on the backplate of the controls. It’s a disk about 4-inches in diameter and has a dummy coil in it. It’s an induction coil that makes the pickups humbucking but without doing anything to the tone of the P-90s. So you have a hum-cancelling P-90! It’s a remarkable thing and makes my P-90s as quiet as my humbucking pickups.
“Go to Ilitch Electronics. You can see my Les Paul Juniors on his webpage; mine were the first he worked on. I can’t say enough about what he does.”
Do you see yourself as “just” a player of guitars or a guitar collector?
“Oh, I’m a collector! I have 60 guitars right now. But I use the guitars I collect, let’s put it that way. My most precious is my 1957 Gold Top Gibson Les Paul. I started with that when I was 18 years old. It has humbucking PAFs, and every show I played with Etta James I used that guitar, and I use it from time to time with Paul. It’s a ridiculously good-sounding guitar. It’s like an appendage of my own body now.
“My favorite acoustic is my ’63 Gibson Hummingbird with maple sides and back, rather than mahogany – so I call it a Dove.
“And another favorite is a ’54 ES-295 – the all-gold single cutaway style, just like Scotty Moore used with Elvis. That’s the guitar you here on “Smartphone” by The Bayonets. Now that’s another amazing-sounding guitar.”
Hundreds of songs written by Mississippi-born Willie Dixon were recorded during his lifetime by a plethora of blues artists and blues-influenced rockers that includes Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Koko Taylor, Cream, Led Zeppelin and the Doors. His songs are still being recorded by blues and rock bands, smitten with his gift for imagery and slick ‘n’ gritty turns of phrase. That makes Dixon one of the 20th century’s most important and influential songsmiths.
Let’s celebrate Dixon by looking at 10 of his best-known tunes and the artists who’ve covered them on album and in concert:
• “Hoochie Coochie Man”: Dixon wrote this entry for Muddy Waters, who recorded it in 1954 for the Chess label. The disc shot right up to number eight on B illboard’s “race records” chart and became an instant blues classic. The term “hoochie coochie” was derived from a dance craze that emerged during the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 and stayed in the vernacular to connote sexual interest or prowess. Other “hoochie coochie” men who’ve recorded the song and covered it live including Dixon himself, Steppenwolf, the Allman Brothers, Jimi Hendrix, Mötorhead, Eric Clapton, Jeff Healey, Dave Van Ronk, Eric Burdon and the New York Dolls.
• “I Can’t Quit You Baby”: Dixon was an A&R man for both Chess Records and one of its early competitors, Cobra Records. He brought Magic Sam, Otis Rush and even, briefly, Buddy Guy to the latter’s garage studio to cut classics. The most enduring is “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” recorded by Rush in 1956. Rush’s soaring, searing vocal performance is like a stick of lit dynamite wedged in the heart. Contrary to popular belief the riveting, chiming lead guitar on the 45 r.p.m. recording is played by Ike Turner, another Cobra A&R man and session player, not Rush. Nonetheless, Rush made those guitar licks his own, to the extent that the only strong challenge to his recording is Led Zeppelin’s incendiary version from their debut album. Other artists who have performed the song include Gary Moore, John Mayall and bluesman Little Milton. The latter, for the uninitiated, was also a force to be reckoned with, with one of the strongest voices among the second generation of electric bluesman and a wicked way with finger picking a Gibson ES-335. Milton cut a second, late career version of the song with Warren Haynes and Gov’t Mule that is absolutely incendiary.
• “Back Door Man”: It’s hard to upstage Howlin’ Wolf, a literal giant of the blues whose voice lived up to his moniker. But the Doors’ version of “Back Door Man” is more indelibly imprinted on the international psyche. They cut their pumping rendition on their 1967 debut album, just six years after Wolf’s original record, with Ray Manzarek’s keyboard carrying the riff and Robbie Krieger’s guitar liberated for exploration. The song’s also been notably performed by garage rock granddaddies the Shadows of Knight, the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir solo and the Blues Project.
• “Evil”: This song, with its images of black cats, mysterious barking dogs and bad news traveling along a telepathic trail is taken straight from the rural superstitions both Dixon and the first artist who cut it, Howlin’ Wolf, were raised on in rural Mississippi. And Wolf’s voice is perfect for its sense of menace. So was that of Captain Beefheart, one of the few singers who could approximate Wolf’s growl without straining. Canned Heat, Gary Moore, Koko Taylor, Luther Allison, Derek and the Dominos, the Faces, Steve Miller and rockers Monster Magnet have done other notable performances of the song.
• “I Just Want To Make Love To You”: When Muddy Waters cut this song in 1954 he could have had no inking that his recording would become a template for so many future performers. But this bit of sexual braggadocio has gone on to be famously immortalized by the Rolling Stones and Foghat, who both had hits with their versions, as well as the Animals, the Kings, Etta James, Van Morrison, the Grateful Dead, the Yardbirds, Paul Rogers, Tom Petty, Robben Ford, Cold Blood and the Meat Puppets, among many more — proving some things, like sex, never go out of style.
• “Little Red Rooster”: Just how close the so-called “British blues revival” came on the heels of the original wave of Chicago electric blues is measured by the mere three years between Howlin’ Wolf’s original 1961 version of this song for Chess Records and the Rolling Stones’ also classic cover. By “Little Red Rooster,” the Stones had proved their mettle as a blues band deserving of reckoning. Other famed artists who’ve cut this tracks include soul man Sam Cooke, the Grateful Dead, the Doors, Gibson Les Paul-wielding juggernaut Luther Allison, the Jesus and Mary Chain (!!!), the great Big Mama Thornton of pre-Elvis Presley “Hound Dog” legend and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
• “My Babe”: This 1955 tune was a favorite for formative electric blues and early ’60s rock outfits. The definitive version is harmonica giant Little Walter’s swinging, first-cut rendition, but Sonny Boy Williamson II, John Hammond, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, James Cotton and Mississippi fife and drum band leader Othar Turner as well as Gibson Flying V blazer Lonnie Mack, Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers and the Spencer Davis Group have all done it up.
• “Spoonful”: Whether you prefer the Cream or Howlin’s Wolf version of this number is purely a matter of taste or demographic. But both takes are definitive, with Wolf burrowing down deep in the groove and Cream launching into a psychedelic excursion. The song is about the vanity and greed that surround wealth and desire — heady stuff. Alternate versions by Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Paul Butterfield, the Grateful Dead, Canned Heat, the Shadows of Knight, Ten Years After, the Who, Etta James, Delbert McClinton and even the pre-Allman Brothers Allman Joys exist.
• “Wang Dang Doodle”: Although this song debuted as a Howlin’ Wolf track in 1960, it became the theme song for the great blues belter Koko Taylor, who was a Dixon discovery. Savoy Brown, the Box Tops, PJ Harvey, Rufus Thomas, the Pointer Sisters and even Widespread Panic have all put their mark on it since.
• “I Ain’t Superstitious”: Howlin’ Wolf cut this one in 1960, but the definitive guitar powered version belong to the Jeff Beck Group, who tracked it for their brilliant 1968 debut album Truth. With Rod Stewart on vocals, the Beck Group performance is a college level course in wah-wah technique. Beck had performed the song earlier during his stint in the Yardbirds, so it was a natural tour-de-force for his own band’s early set lists. The Grateful Dead, Megadeth, British outlaw guitarist Chris Spedding and the White Stripes have also cut this one.
Things moved fast in the music business back in 1965. Within mere months of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards coming up with the main riff, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was the band’s first #1 single in the U.S.
Richards has said that he woke up in his home in St. John’s Wood, London, in the middle of the night, with the riff in his head. He had a tape recorder nearby, and recorded the riff on an acoustic guitar along with the phrase “I can’t get no satisfaction.” Richards explains what happened in his autobiography, Life: “I had no idea I’d written it, it’s only thank God for the little Philips cassette player. The miracle being that I looked at the cassette player that morning and I knew I’d put a brand-new tape in the previous night, and I saw it was at the end.”
Richards says that apart from the riff, the tape contained forty minutes of the guitarist snoring.
Two versions of the song were recorded. The first one was an acoustic version that the band cut at Chess Studios in Chicago on May 10, 1965. Two days later they recorded the electric version at RCA Studios in Hollywood. For the main riff, Richards used the Gibson Maestro Fuzz Tone, and in the process becoming one of the first rock musicians to use a fuzz box on a recording. Says Richards about the Maestro in his autobiography: “It was down to one little foot pedal, the Gibson fuzz tone, a little box they put out at that time.”
Richards hadn’t intended for the fuzz riff to be part of the final version of the song, but to be used as a guide for adding a horn section at a later time. He has said that he was surprised when he heard “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” on the radio for the first time, because he didn’t even know it had been released. In Keith’s mind the song was just a demo. To give you an idea of what Keith was envisioning, listen to Otis Redding’s horn-filled soul version of the song, which came out just a few months after the Stones’ version. Musically, “Satisfaction” shares some similarities with Martha & the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street,” which reportedly had the band worried they would get in to trouble if the song was released.
Brian Jones played acoustic guitar on the song, while Richards played electric with a clean sound during the verses, and fuzz for the chorus. Since the recording equipment in the mid-sixties was quite limited, Keith recorded both sounds on the same track, giving the song more of an organic feel, as if it’s being performed live. If you listen closely, you can actually hear a “pop” when Richards stomps on the Maestro at about 36 seconds in to the song, and at various points he turns it on a note too late or too early - but hey, it’s only rock n’ roll!
Mick Jagger, who wrote the lyrics to the song, aside from the title, spoke about their meaning in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine “It has a very catchy title. It has a very catchy guitar riff. It has a great guitar sound, which was original at that time. And it captures a spirit of the times, which is very important in those kind of songs [...] Which was alienation. Or it’s a bit more than that, maybe, but a kind of sexual alienation. Alienation’s not quite the right word, but it’s one word that would do
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” might not be the Stones’ best work, but the song is special since it is responsible for taking the band to a whole new level in the U.S. It was a stepping-stone that led to songs like “Get Off of My Cloud,” and “Paint it Black.” One can speculate that if it weren’t for the band’s success with “Satisfaction” we might never have gotten songs like “Sympathy For The Devil,” “Midnight Rambler,” and “Brown Sugar.”
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was voted number one by VH1 in their 100 Greatest Rock Songs in 2000, and it came in second in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2010.
Derek Trucks is gearing up for the release of Made Up Mind, the new Tedeschi Trucks Band album slated to hit stores next month. Speaking to Rolling Stone, he and wife Susan Tedeschi say recording at the couple’s Swamp Raga studios in Florida fostered a casually productive atmosphere. “There's something nice about having a studio where it doesn't feel like work," says Trucks. “Everyone just shows up and it's a hang. You're rehearsing in a place where you just turn the knob and now you're recording.”
Made Up Mind is said to feature the same sizzling blend of blues, rock and R&B that made the group’s debut, Revelator, a sensation. The band has been road-testing most of the songs on their current tour. “You want to play it when you have new tunes that you feel good about,” says Trucks. “But you want the record … to still feel fresh and like new music."
Trucks points out that the 11-piece band gelled early on, building a special chemistry that carried over into the making of the new album. “From the first moments of [the 11 of us] playing in the studio together, there were elements of it that were magic,” he explains. “It took a long time for everybody to find their place. But I remember about six months in … it just started flying."
Guitarist Steve Hunter has recorded with everyone from Alice Cooper to Lou Reed. Now, Hunter has a solo album out, and the release features an array of blues music that first inspired him to pick up the guitar.
The Manhattan Blues Project offers a collection of special guests, including Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, actor Johnny Depp, Chickenfoot’s Joe Satriani and former King Crimson bass player Tony Levin.
In a video interview promoting the record, Hunter says he wanted the new collection to reflect his love for both the blues and New York City.
“Most albums I hear in regards to New York generally [are] jazzy, which is cool, but I wanted to do something different,” Hunter stated in the video. “I wanted to do something in a bluesy way, because I kind of saw the more soulful part of Manhattan.”
The Manhattan Blues Project is currently available via the iTunes and the CD Baby website. For more information on the release, head to www.TheManhattanBluesProject.com.
Classic rockers are returning… on the high seas. The 2014 Monsters of Rock Cruise has just announced its lineup, including Tesla, Y&T, Great White, Firehouse, Eric Martin of Mr. Big and legendary drummer Carl Palmer.
Rock cruises are becoming big business. This is the Monsters of Rock Cruise’s third annual outing, scheduled from March 29 through April 2 2014. Passengers will also be treated to performances from the surviving original members of Ratt, the original lineup of Winger (playing the band’s debut record in honor of its 25th anniversary), Cinderella, Slaughter and former Motley Crue singer John Corabi.
We’re pleased, of course, that the ship has at least one “motley crew member”. And that the ship gig will also include Ron Keel. But’s enough seafaring jokes. More from Monsters of Rock Cruise.
The ship’s journey begins in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and will make room for a stop in Nassau. It will also include a detour into “a special secret location that’s been christened Monster Island.”
Guitar legend Slash will release the first horror movie on his new production company, Slasher Films, in October.
Nothing to Fear was directed by Anthony Leonardi III, and will appear in selected theaters across the U.S. on October 4. It’s based on a real town in Kansas which, according to legend, is one of the seven gateways to hell.
“It’s [a] really good production team, the special effects people are great, the cast is great, the story's great - everything's great about it," Slash has told told the Pulse of Radio. “And it will be interesting to see where this particular one, how it comes out and where it goes, ‘cause we’re planning on doing two a year.”
The movie is the first in a series of horror flicks that Slash plans to produce. Another is called Wake the Dead, based on a graphic novel about a college student. Slash describes it as “basically a modern, young Frankenstein story about a brilliant college student who’s discovered how to animate dead tissue — but he’s a teenager so he goes overboard.”
Slash has been working on the movies for the last two years. He told Inside Movies that there are “four really great scripts” and that his Slasher Films company will “go into production with one right after another.”
Metallica are getting ready to take on an entirely new venue for the band - an appearance at San Diego Comic-Con. The band will participate in a Q&A session on July 19 about their upcoming IMAX release Metallica: Through the Never.
Nimrod Antal, the director of the film, Charlotte Huggins, who is one of the producers, and the movie's main actor Dane DeHaan will also be on hand to take questions.
But of course you can't have an event with Metallica that only involves talking. Said the band in their announcement: "We can't just TALK about the film when we are in San Diego... we want to play too! Following our chat in Hall H at Comic-Con, we'll be heading out to a super-secret spot to have some fun and hit the stage."
The band also said that Comic-Con attendees will have the chance to win tickets to the live performance during the Q&A. Members of Metallica's fan club, Met Club, will also have a chance to win tickets. NYTimes.com reports that 500 free tickets will be distributed to the concert portion of the band’s appearance.
On Saturday night founding Eagles multi-instrumentalist Bernie Leadon performed his first show with the band since leaving in 1975.
The band opened their History of the Eagles tour in Louisville, Kentucky with Don Henley and Glenn Frey performing "Saturday Night" from 1973's Desperado as a duo. Leadon then joined for the band for the next two songs, "Train Leaves Here This Morning" and "Peaceful Easy Feeling." He returned to the stage for the second encore, where he performed "Take It Easy," "Rocky Mountain Way" and "Desperado."
Leadon famously announced his departure from the band by pouring a beer over Glenn Frey's head. He later said he needed a break from life on the road and the cycle of touring, recording and heavy drug use within the band at the time.
After leaving the band he released a solo album (1977's Natural Progressions), recorded an album of bluegrass and gospel favorites and joined the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. He reunited with his former bandmates at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1998, and released his second solo album, Mirror, in 2004.
A Spanish musician played a guitar fashioned from ceramic for the first time in public this week. He says he hopes production of the instrument could boost the flagging pottery industry of his hometown.
Singer and guitarist Luis Martin, of the band Lobos Negros, took a month to make the blue and yellow glazed instrument with the help of a guitar maker and a potter. He has patented the design and said he has received messages from interested aficionados in Finland and Japan.
According to Reuters, Martin said, “In the 1950s lots of groups recorded in bathrooms because they had a special echo ... I thought a ceramic guitar would sound good, especially as there are other ceramic instruments like flutes.”
The guitar was made in the central Spanish town of Talavera de la Reina, famous for making the glazed tiles used to decorate the Royal Palace in Madrid.
“Talavera ceramics are well-known but like everything else it’s a tough time because things are bad in Spain with the crisis. If this project takes off it could provide work for a lot of people,” said Martin. Guitar maker Carlos Sabrafen collaborated with Martin, who admitted he Sabrafen had initially considered the idea “totally crazy.”
Would you play a ceramic guitar? The makers are looking for a sponsor to lend a brand name and money to the project. They expect the guitars to sell for around 2,500 euros ($3,300) each.
Eric Clapton is a greater guitarist than Jimmy Page, Angus Young, Pete Townshend and Keith Richards. Well, that’s what British motor racing fans say.
They were asked to vote in a poll ahead of the annual Silverstone Classic festival at the iconic race track in England. Organisers asked them to choose from the five Gibson artists – and they responded by voting for Clapton.
Event Director Nick Wigley says: “Nearly 2000 votes were cast, and it’s clear from the results that Silverstone Classic fans are just as knowledgeable about classic rock guitarists as they are about classic racing cars.” Hmm.
The Silverstone event is mainly about classic cars, of course, but there is also live music, which this year include The Hollies, plus tribute acts to Pink Floyd, The Eagles and Guns N’Roses.
Joe Satriani fans can thank an unnamed record reviewer for setting the guitarist on a path toward making instrumental music. Speaking to M Music & Musicians, Satriani explained: “It was totally by accident. I was playing in a trio called The Squares, and while on break I started a DIY record and publishing company and recorded some avant-garde music on an EP. One of the guitar magazines published a review—just a paragraph, but flattering. Suddenly I thought, “I should just throw caution to the wind and follow this course.”
Satriani went on to say he felt lucky it was Surfing with the Alien that put him on the map. “It was a stroke of great fortune,” he said. “I love that record. Producer John Cuniberti and I did everything we thought no one would ever let us do. The record company became kind of furious because we went over budget. Everyone was surprised when it was picked up by radio. Surfing was a celebration of everything I liked about 60 years of guitar playing.”
Earlier this week, Motörhead was forced to cancel a handful of European tour dates due to frontman Lemmy Kilmister’s health issues. Now, Kilmister and the group have released a statement to their fans regarding the cancelations and, more importantly, Kilmister’s condition.
Here’s the statement, taken from Motörhead’s official Facebook page:
“Regretfully, Motörhead announces it has had to cancel its remaining six summer festival appearances. The band hate to let their fans down by missing any shows, but they expect to be back in full force this fall.
“As you may have heard, earlier this Spring Lemmy had some medical maintenance for the long-term good, He was, at that time, advised to rest, but once feeling better, he of course resumed his life as usual. He has since been advised that he should immediately take some more time to rest.”
Kilmister added: “I’d like to thank everyone who wish me well, it was a tough decision for me as I don’t like to disappoint the fans especially in times where economy is bad and people spent their money to see us. But sometimes you can’t do anything else than following doctor’s orders, but be sure we will be back and kick everybody’s ass.
“There you have it! You can now stop worrying, redirect those cards, flowers and chocolates to a loved one (who will appreciate them far more), keep calm and carry on! Lemmy and Motörhead certainly are! Thanks and see you in the fall for their new album in the form of a massive Aftershock…”
Thoughts and prayers to Kilmister for a speedy recovery!
Rod Stewart was blessed with a voice made for rock and roll. Still, he says his skills as a vocalist improved dramatically during his time with the Jeff Beck Group.
“Prior to that I was in bands with lots of musicians and singers,” he explains, in a just-published interview with M Music & Musicians. “The Jeff Beck Group offered lots of fresh air and space. Jeff can be a busy guitar player when he wants to show off, but he can also be wonderfully economical. Just listening to Jeff’s guitar taught me a lot about phrasing. I learned a lot from his guitar licks. It was a great band to be in. Ronnie [Wood’s] s bass playing could be exceptionally lyrical, and the late Mickey Waller was the most laidback drummer ever. He was brilliant, that guy.”
Stewart went on to say both the Jeff Beck Group and the Faces had tremendous band chemistry. “You can’t plan these things, it just happens,” he said. “With the Faces, our chemical was alcohol, unfortunately. We drank an awful lot. We used to drink port and brandy on an empty stomach, purposely, so that it would have twice the effect. How stupidly ruinous can you get? But still the shows were great. I look back at pictures of the Faces now, and we’re all in a big heap in the middle of the stage, lying on top of one another. And that’s just halfway through the show! We’re all getting on a bit now, so if we ever got the band back together we couldn’t do that stuff. Those youthful days are gone.”
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band wrap up their tour in support of last year's Wrecking Ball with two shows in Ireland at the end of July. Aside from a festival gig in South America in September, no more dates have been scheduled.
Rolling Stone asked E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt if the Boss has any more tour dates lined up: “I really, really don't know,” said Van Zandt. “I know that Bruce is off in August. But what happens in October-November, I don't know. I really don't. I would tell you, but I don't know. It's possible we've passed the point where it's even possible now. I'd always heard that the tour was ending in September. I've heard that for the last year and a half. Then you start hearing rumors on the street. Half the time they're true, so I never know.”
If the touring behind Wrecking Ball is indeed done, it’s more likely that Bruce will start working on a new album. Bruce did record with the E Street Band earlier this year while they were on tour in Australia.
Finally, Van Zandt said: “I've been saying this for 40 years, certainly since Darkness on the Edge of Town, but he literally always has an album in his pocket. He usually has two of them.”
In an interview with Billboard, singer Steven Tyler reveals that a new Aerosmith album might not be too far off. Tyler does admit that his first priority is to release a solo album, which has been in the works for quite some time, but after that "we're gonna be working on the new Aerosmith record," says Tyler.
Aerosmith will release Rock For the Rising Sun on July 23. It's a live DVD from the band's 2011 tour of post-tsunami torn Japan. Tyler says that it was that tour that ultimately helped the band put their differences aside: "I took going to Japan and playing those shows for the band to realize its own magic again. Somewhere along the line there it got the band happy again, and we thought, 'Holy s---, we gotta do a [expletive] record right now!' So, yeah, that tour helped us to a new album."
Tyler has talked about collaborating with such diverse artists as Johnny Depp and Deadmau5 for his solo album. But he is quick to point out that even though he's focusing on his own project at the moment, “the band's not breaking up. Me doing a solo record doesn't mean the band isn't working on a record -- but I get that in the press one has to hear that from one lead singer of one Aerosmith.”
With Chickenfoot currently on hold while Joe Satriani and Chad Smith go about their day jobs, Sammy Hagar's next musical project is an all-star album of original and cover tunes — featuring Chad Smith and Joe Satriani!
Grammy Award-winning, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Red Rocker will release Sammy Hagar and Friends on September 24 in North America, September 27 in Europe and September 29 in the UK.
In addition to cameos by Chickenfoot bandmates Satriani, Smith and Michael Anthony, the album will feature Kid Rock, Nancy Wilson (Heart), Ronnie Dunn (Brooks & Dunn), Neal Schon (Journey), and Bill Church and Denny Carmassi (Montrose). Sammy's regular band The Wabos also appear on the ten-track album, which is produced by Hagar and Grammy winning engineer/producer, John Cuniberti (Joe Satriani, Dead Kennedys). Originals include "Knockdown Dragout" with Kid Rock, "Bad On Fords and Chevrolets," with Ronnie Dunn, "All We Need Is An Island," with Nancy Wilson, and "Father Sun," a duet with his son Aaron Hagar. And covers include Bob Seger's "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man," and Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus." Neal Schon, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith join forces on "Going Down" - almost a reunion of the short-lived Planet Us supergroup which included Hagar, Schon, Anthony, Satriani and drummer Deen Castronovo (Journey, Cacophony).
Sammy's Four Decades of Rock summer tour which kicks off July 26 in Tucson and wraps September 7 in his hometown of San Francisco. It's a 14-city celebration of Hagar's hits as a solo artist as well as a frontman for Van Halen, Montrose and Chickenfoot. The tour will also see influential bandmates from his career including Michael Anthony, Denny Carmassi, Bill Church and more joining Sammy and the Wabos on select dates.
Check out the Gibson USA Sammy Hagar Signature Explorer here.
It seems unfathomable, but The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band has missed out on being included in Entertainment Weekly's list of the 100 greatest albums of all time.
And no, this isn't some kind of 'each band only gets one album on the list' arrangement: The White Album, Abbey Road and Rubber Soul all placed on the list, and Revolver claimed the top spot. But no Sgt. Peppers? Really? Much of the 100 is pretty predictable (in a good way): a random glance down the list reveals such obvious classics as Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (#37), Fleetwood Mac's Rumours (#29), The Cure's Disintegration (#47), U2's Achtung Baby (#23), Metallica's Master of Puppets (#59) and Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced? (#26). There are also some deserving slightly more recent albums: Adele's 21 (#17), Jay-Z's The Blueprint (#36), and Arcade Fire's Funeral (#56). But perhaps even more shocking then the Sgt. Peppers absence: Led Zeppelin IV only ranked #79. And there's no Van Halen or Black Sabbath to be seen anywhere!
The Rolling Stones have signed their first new publishing deal in more than 40 years, signing with BMG.
The Stones’ “50 And Counting” anniversary tour is boosting sales of their back catalog and BMG will now be in charge of licensing the band’s post-1971 songs for movies, TV and advertising, as well as royalties from digital services like Spotify and iTunes. The Stones' back catalog, beginning with their 1963 cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On,” was recently released on iTunes.
The last time the Stones made a deal with an outside publisher was 1971, when they gave EMI the rights to their catalog from that year until 1983. Since then, the band has kept control of its catalog from 1971. Most songs, from Sticky Fingers on, are now under the control of BMG.
It doesn’t necessarily mean there will be new Rolling Stones music. But you may hear some old’uns more on TV and ads.
David Bowie guitarist Earl Slick has told the NME that there is no secret tour and won’t be doing any shows...for now.
Bowie surprised many earlier in 2013, coming out of retirement with the album The Next Day. The release brought with it hope that there might yet be a tour.
But guitarist Earl Slick has now told NME, “I get asked all the time. And I say ‘Do you know something I don’t know?’ Really though, there’s no big secret we’re keeping from everyone. There’ll definitely be no shows this year… As for next year, who knows? There’s no conspiracy about a tour now, there just is no tour.”