If you’re a regular guitarist and going to attempt a cover of Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” you’d probably be thinking about your choice of Gibson Les Paul, Marshall amps and, oh, top hats? Not so for teenager Michelle Kwan. She covers “Sweet Child O’ Mine” on a gu zheng, a Chinese zither with 18 (and sometimes more) strings. Her YouTube clip is becoming a hit. Yes, the main riff is probably “easy” if you are skilled at play the zheng, which Kwan clearly is. But watch the video in full for the vocal melody and the second “Slash” solo (overdrive pedal included.) We hope Slash gets to see this, as it is possibly the most inventive covers of one of his songs ever.
Not brave enough? Check out Slash’s Gibsons. And we await all your Chinese Democracy jokes…
From Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo tequila to Joe Perry’s Rock Your World Hot Sauces, guitarists have always liked a good drink and a chow-down.
New to the game is Slash. The Umami Burger company - with locations in Oakland, San Francisco, Miami and New York City – have now collaborated with the legendary guitarist to create his own hamburger.
“Tattooed with a big "U" on the bun, the Slash Burger contains shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, American cheese, avocado spread, and wasabi aioli, served with a Parmesan cheese crisp,” they say.
The Slash Burger costs $15, with one dollar going to Los Angeles Youth Network. It is available at 20 Umami locations until November 27.
If you want Slash music and not Slash food, he and Myles Kennedy debuted “Nothing Left to Fear” on Conan O’Brian.
In a just-published interview with M Music & Musicians, Lindsey Buckingham said, “The way we do things in Fleetwood Mac is always a political mine field. If it’s not Stevie, it’s me—someone is always causing trouble. [laughs] I know Warner Brothers is dying to get an album from us, even though we’re not signed to them anymore. Stevie needs to come to the table with some material. In order to contemplate a new album, she has to want to do it.”
Buckingham went on to say that Nicks’ positive experience making In Your Dreams, her 2012 solo album, complicates the prospects for a new Fleetwood Mac LP. “She had a wonderful experience making that album,” he says. “She hasn’t said this—this is just me—but knowing Stevie, she’s probably thinking, ‘If I have to write five new songs, do I want to give them to Fleetwood Mac?’ And that’s fair enough. I think she’s feeling a bit protective and territorial about the experience she had doing her solo project. And I can totally relate to that.”
Fleetwood Mac is currently on the European leg of their 2013 tour.
A member of Metallica may be coming to a movie theater near you. To mark the release of Through the Never, their new 3D film, band members James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich and Rob Trujillo will appear in various IMAX theaters around the country during screenings this Thursday (Sept. 26) and Friday (Sept. 27).
According to the group’s website, they will be there to “introduce the film, say 'hi,' have a little popcorn and kick off all the festivities of opening weekend.” You can check the schedule here.
In other Metallica news, the band appeared at New York’s legendary Apollo Theater on Saturday, performing an 18-song set for 1,500 fans. The following afternoon the group visited Yankee Stadium to pay tribute to Yankees pitching great Mariano Rivera, who’s set to retire at the end of this season. Metallica performed “Enter Sandman,” the song that’s accompanied all Rivera’s at-home mound appearances since 1991.
An exhibit showcasing iron sculptures created by Bob Dylan is set to open in London this November, the BBC has reported. Titled “Mood Swings,” the exhibit will be featured at the Halcyon Gallery from November 16 through January 25, 2014. "I've been around iron all my life, ever since I was a kid," said Dylan. "I was born and raised in iron ore country – where you could breathe it and smell it every day. And I've always worked with it in one form or another."
Among the sculptures are seven gates made from vintage iron and scrap metal, adorned with random objects such as a wrench, a roller skate and a meat grinder. "Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow," Dylan explained. "They can be closed but at the same time they allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways there is no difference."
All the featured items—which also include a new collection of Dylan’s silkscreen works—will be available for purchase. "His iron works demonstrate his boundless creativity and talent,” remarked Halcyon president Paul Green. “As these artworks are made at home, not on the road, they give us a rare glimpse into another part of the artist's own personal universe."
Late Beatle John Lennon’s travels to Bermuda in 1980 will be recreated in an app called "John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes" which is set to be released through the iTunes App Store on November 5. The app follows Lennon’s travels to Bermuda during the last year of his life, while working on songs for what was to become the album Double Fantasy.
In the app the user will be able to hear demos of the songs "Woman," "Starting Over," "I'm Losing You," "(Just Like) Starting Over," "Nobody Told Me" and "Dear Yoko." There is also an interactive element to the app in which the user can visit a disco.
All proceeds from the app will go to the campaign “Imagine There’s No Hunger.” Said Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono in a statement: “I think the album app captures the sense of discovery and the artistic dialogue that John and I shared at that time and provides a new way to help us imagine a world without hunger.”
Universal is getting ready to release a deluxe edition of The Kinks’ 1971 album Muswell Hillbillies. According to Classic Rock, the release will contain two discs, and all songs have been remastered, and come with a newly designed booklet.
Aside from the original album, the deluxe edition will contain five unreleased tracks, as well as alternate versions, and session material. At the time of its original release The Kinks consisted of Ray and Dave Davies, keyboardist John Gosling, bassist John Dalton and drummer Mick Avory.
The remastering was done by Andrew Sandoval, while the booklet was designed by Phil Smee. The deluxe edition of Muswell Hillbillies will be released on October 7.
Metallica fans, be sure you watch The Colbert Report tonight (September 24)! James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo, will all be on the show. The band is there to promote their new 3D film Metallica: Through The Never.
Not only will Metallica sit down for a chat with host Stephen Colbert, they will perform as well.
Filmmaker Nimród Antal’s Metallica: Through The Never feature concert footage of the band shot on a huge stage in Vancouver last year, interspersed with a story line that center around a Metallica roadie played by Dane DeHaan.
The film will be released on Friday September 27 at IMAX theaters for one week. It is set to expand to additional theaters on October 4.
The Colbert Report airs tonight at 11.30 P.M. ET/PT on Comedy Central.
With Mötley Crüe kicking off their second Las Vegas residency, and Def Leppard about to release a DVD and live album of theirs, readers of pioneering hard rock site Metal Sludge have called for KISS to be the next band to stake out a patch of the Strip.
In a poll on Metal Sludge, KISS took out 766 votes, with Van Halen coming in second at 367. There was a big gap between second and third place though, with Aerosmith coming in at 62 votes and AC/DC following closely behind with 60, then Metallica with 40.
Metal Sludge was founded in 1988 by Stevie Rachelle of the band TUFF, although for the first six years of the site the identity of its creator was a well-kept secret.
Def Leppard's Viva! HYSTERIA! album and will be released on October 18 in Europe and October 22 in North America. It captures the band's residency at the Hard Rock Hotel And Casino in Las Vegas, including their opening set as 'Ded Flatbird' playing obscure and rarely-played cuts before launching the show proper with a complete rendition of their mega-selling Hysteria album.
And now Mötley Crüe An Intimate Evening In Hell residency sees the Crue incorporating more fire than anything ever seen in a rock show before. As singer Vince Neil told the Las Vegas Sun's Robin Leach, "It’s more than any rock group has ever produced or attempted. It really is entering the depths of hell. There’s fire all around and fire coming down from above. There’s no question this is the most dangerous theatrics ever created and far more than anything we expected. But, hey, this is Vegas, and we do bigger, bolder, badder, sleazier here better than any other place on Earth."
Who do you think should be the next band to hold a Vegas residency?
Frank Zappa fans anxiously awaiting the release of the Roxy By Proxy album will have to sit tight just a little bit longer, with the project experiencing some manufacturing delays.
It'll be worth it though: Roxy by Proxy has been described by the Zappa Family Trust as “All Roxy, No Elsewhere: 76 minutes of never-before-released Frank Zappa master recordings from the Roxy Performances of 9 & 10 December 1973: "Inca Roads," "Penguin in Bondage," "T’Mershi Duween," "Dog/Meat," "RDNZL," "Cheepnis & Dupree’s Paradise," "King Kong," "Chunga’s Revenge" and you know, that’s not all. Yes, it is the same band as the Roxy part of Roxy & Elsewhere.”
The set also includes a "voluminous booklet jacked with liner notes by the redoubtable Ms Ruth Underwood."
The new shipping date will be announced some time within the next two weeks, while the associated movie will be ready in time for the Zappa Plays Zappa show at the Roxy in West Hollywood on the 40th anniversary of Zappa's performances there.
Two men are in custody for their allegedly defacing Seattle’s Jimi Hendrix statue in the neighborhood of Capitol Hill, report NewsRadio. The vandalism came on the 43rd anniversary of Jimi’s death (18 September).
The men, reportedly drunk at the time , strolled into an art supply store that shares the sidewalk with the statue and purchased spray paint. They then “tagged” the statue before moving on to nearby construction equipment and neighborhood buildings, according to Seattle Police.
The suspects were stopped in downtown Seattle by transit police who had been notified of the disturbance. Responding Seattle Police officers were able to positively identify the men based on witness statements and surveillance footage from the art supply store. Both suspects had blue paint on their hands and clothes.
A cleaning-up project to restore the statue is already underway.
The story of how a Gibson B.B. King Lucille found its way back to the blues legend is in a new book. The tale is in B.B. King’s Lucille and the Loves Before Her.
In 2009, Eric Dahl found an electric guitar in a Las Vegas pawnshop that had been stolen from King. Dahl didn’t know that at the time, so he simply bought the Lucille. The Southeast Missourian reports Dahl saying it was “the discovery of a lifetime.”
“I've played guitar since I was 5, and have collected guitars since high school,” Dahl said. “I started going to pawn shops in Cape to look at guitars, and I continued that when I moved to Las Vegas. I got in good with some of the owners, and I told them to let me know if something interesting ever came in.”
Contacted about the Lucille, Dahl bought it… and later found a small stamp on the back of the guitar reading: Prototype 1.
Dahl contacted Gibson who confirmed Gibson the company had presented the Prototype 1 model to B.B as an 80th birthday present in 2005, and it had been used as his main guitar during performances. But it was then stolen in the summer of 2009.
“That started my research,” Dahl says. “I learned from sources in the guitar world that Gibson made 80 anniversary Lucilles, but there were also two prototype models made. Then I contacted a Gibson representative who told me that the Prototype 1 electric guitar had been stolen from Mr. King in the summer of 2009.”
Dahl got to meet B.B. to hand the guitar back, and it inspired him to write his book, B.B. King's Lucille And The Loves Before Her.
“Nobody else had done a book about Mr. King’s music gear,” he said. “The book was three years of research. It wasn’t easy, but I’m glad I finished it.”
The book contains the history and color photos of each guitar King is known to have used during his epic career, starting with the one-string Diddley Bow he played as a child in Mississippi. The book also contains information about King's other pre-Lucille guitars, including a Schmidt model named Stella.
Dahl himself is a huge B.B. King fan and adds his book “is for Mr. King to know about while he is still alive. I think he’ll enjoy it.”
Bruce Springsteen really had his work cut out for him when he started working on what was to become his breakthrough, the album Born to Run. His two previous albums Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., and The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle, although critically well-received, had failed to sell as well as the record company had hoped. Born to Run took about 18 months to record.
In the Born To Run documentary Wings For Wheels that was included with the 30th Anniversary Edition of the album, Springsteen says about the song: “This particular single took us a long time. I recollect us spending almost 6 months at intervals making it.” Basically a third of the entire recording time was spent working on the title track. Bruce’s vision with the whole album was to achieve a sound similar to that of Phil Spector’s famous “Wall of Sound.” “If this record didn’t make it, it seemed obvious that it was going to be the end of the recording career,” said E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt in the same documentary. The pressure was definitely on.
“Born to Run” was recorded before drummer Max Weinberg, and pianist Roy Bittan joined the band. David Sancious handles the piano part, and the drums were recorded by Ernest “Boom” Carter. Sancious and Carter left the E Street Band shortly after recording the song, to join a jazz band. Because of Carter’s jazz influences, the drum sound on “Born to Run” is very different from the rest of the tracks on the album. Most noticeable is the syncopated drum fill in the song. In Wings For Wheels, Weinberg explains that he struggled to capture the feel of Ernie’s fill: “This one little lick that he played in the middle, that’s on the record. I tried to play it. A very syncopated kind of jazz-fusion part. Finally, it just never came off right, so I eliminated it, and I’ve never played it.” Weinberg’s playing works great though, since his straight up rock groove is more in line with Springsteen’s material.
“Born to Run” also has the distinction of being the only song on the album to be partially written on guitar. Springsteen wrote the main riff on guitar, before finishing the song on piano. The song was written in a little house in Long Branch, New Jersey, as was the rest of the album, according to Springsteen. Whenever the house has come up for sale over the years, it has gained quite a bit of attention, even on an international level, because of its importance in the early career of Bruce Springsteen.
The driving force in “Born to Run” is the main guitar riff, which is played in the song’s intro and the chorus. While not technically advanced, the melodic nature of it makes fans “sing along” to the riff at concerts. To the casual listener Bruce Springsteen might not seem like more than an average guitarist, but anyone who has seen him live would beg to differ. During concert performances of “Born to Run,” The Boss directs the entire band with the help of his guitar. Bruce has explained in interviews that he once held the ambition to be the fastest guitar player in Asbury Park, and while that style of playing doesn’t exactly lend itself to the type of music he plays, he still busts out blazing solos when playing live, like for example “Prove it All Night.”
“Born to Run” was written long before the album came out. Springsteen started playing it live as early as May 1974, which resulted in Allan Clarke of The Hollies’ cover of the song almost being released before Bruce’s own version.
Lyrics are very important to Bruce Springsteen, and at the time of making Born to Run, he would obsess just as much over the lyrics as he would the music. “The music was composed very, very meticulously. So where the words. The amount of time spent honing the lyrics was enormous. The notebook that I wrote ‘Born to Run’ in, you would take the first page and you would see a line or two. Fifty pages later you’d get something close to the finished song,” said Bruce in Wings For Wheels. In its essence, “Born to Run” is really a love song. Bruce, or whoever he imagines the song’s protagonist to be, wants to pick up his girlfriend and get out of New Jersey. The song also feature cars, and street racing, a favorite subject of Bruce’s at the time. Racing and muscle cars are at the heart of songs like “Jungleland,” and “Racing in the Street.”
“I worked very very long on the lyrics to ‘Born To Run’ because I was very aware that I was messing with classic rock n’ roll. The images that easily turns into clichés. I worked really hard on getting the soul of the song, the spiritual side of the song right,” said Springsteen. The hard work paid off. “Born to Run” is still a staple in Bruce’s live show, and will continue to be so for the rest of his career.
According to his official website, Lomax passed away in his sleep on Sunday (Sept. 15) following a brief illness. He was 69.
Although he never achieved fame on a wide scale, Lomax was an integral part of the ‘60s Liverpool scene. Signing to The Beatles’ Apple label in the ‘60s, he was backed by members of the Fab Four on the 1968 single, “Sour Milk Sea,” written specifically for him by George Harrison. The song received lots of radio play but failed to achieve chart success. According to Bill Harry, author of The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia, Lomax’s lackluster sales “completely baffled The Beatles because Jackie had one of the rare and distinctive voices which have the potential of turning its owner into a superstar.”
After leaving Apple, Lomax moved to Los Angeles, where he made several well-received records, including a strong collaboration with Harrison. Recently he had returned to England, where he completed a new album titled Against All Odds. The LP will be released in the coming.
Roger Waters is working on a new album, which would be his first full-length studio disc since the 2005 opera, Ca Ira. Speaking to BBC News, the former Pink Floyd bassist-singer said, “I've had a few breakthroughs recently which I won't talk about, but I am going to make another record. I've had a very, very strong idea and I shall pursue it. I will make at least one more record and I am really looking forward to getting my teeth stuck into it.”
In the same interview, Waters revealed that he regrets bringing suit against his former Floyd bandmates in 1986 over use of the group’s name. Asserting that Pink Floyd was “a spent force creatively,” Waters had sought to prevent guitarist David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason from carrying on under the Pink Floyd banner. “I was wrong,” he told the BBC. “Of course I was. Who cares?”
Waters last studio rock LP was the 1992 album, Amused to Death. Last year, he told Rolling Stone he had completed a song for a new album tentatively titled Heartland.
Late Beatle John Lennon would have embraced the Internet era and modern technology, according to Yoko Ono, thanks to the Internet’s ability to bring people from across the world together with a single click.
“Oh, John would have been totally excited about the computer age, because that's the kind of thing that John and I were dreaming of,” Ono told Rolling Stone. “Like the Smile Project [where Ono set out to make a film capturing a smile face of everyone in the world] – we were almost having that kind of format of, like, communication in our heads…”
She added, “It’s very interesting to think about, that John was a person in a rock group, and what they were doing was totally different from what I was doing, but he just jumped in. He was totally open.”
Switching gears to new music, Ono says she doesn’t really have any new favorite bands. She’s too busy for that. “I don't have time to listen to anybody’s music,” she said. “I’m making it, you know.”
Hey, Rush fans: Come Nov. 19, you’ll have a new live double-CD collection and DVD from the prog-rockers.
Rush: Clockwork Angels Tour was recorded last November at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas. The release features a three-hour performance by the band that includes plenty of hits, from “Tom Sawyer” to “The Spirit of Radio,” as well as cuts off the band’s latest studio release, Clockwork Angels. The live release will also mark the Canadian group’s first since their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.
In addition to the material on the two CDs, the DVD will also offer a 25-minute tour documentary that packs behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with band members, a rare sound check performance of Rush’s “Limelight” and more. Check out the full track listing for the CDs and DVD below.
Rush’s Rush: Clockwork Angels Tour Track Listing:
“The Big Money”
“The Body Electric”
“The Analog Kid”
“Where’s My Thing?”/ “Here It Is!” (drum solo)
“Headlong Flight”/ “Drumbastica” (drum solo)
“Peke’s Repose” (guitar solo)/”Halo Effect”
“Seven Cities of Gold”
“Wish Them Well”
“The Percussor (I) Binary Love Theme (II) Steambanger’s Ball” (drum solo)
“Red Sector A”
“The Spirit of Radio”
“Limelight” (soundcheck recording)
Metallica bassist Rob Trujillo recently spoke to Classic Rock about the state of the band’s follow-up to their latest studio effort Death Magnetic from 2008. Trujillo says the band got sidetracked by the work on their upcoming IMAX release Metallica: Through The Never: “Before all the film stuff, we were jamming these ideas and having a lot of fun. But we got sidetracked.” However, Trujillo has good news for fans who are waiting for a new album from the heavy metal giants: “In 2014 it’ll be all about getting new music – without any interruptions, hopefully.”
Regarding the current state of the recording process, Trujillo admits that the band does not have any finished songs as of yet, but have plenty of jams and riffs to use as a starting point. “It feels like Death Magnetic was the launch pad – it’s the introduction to what we have now,” Trujillo said. “On the last album we had a lot of long songs. I liked that, but I also liked the short stuff too. That’s one thing I’m excited about: there’s the thrash element back in the mix. It’s kind of been missing in the past.”
When asked about how he thinks Metallica: Through The Never will be received, Trujillo said: “It can’t be any worse than the Lou Reed album! I have a feeling the fans will love it. And they’ll get their album in the next year or so.” Judging from the trailers that have been released so far, the stage and the concert footage look spectacular. Can we hope that Metallica will bring that particular stage along on the next tour?
Paul McCartney has revealed the setlist for his upcoming album New. It’s his first release of all new material since Memory Almost Full in 2007. The title track was released last month, an upbeat pop affair, that sounds like what you come to expect from the ex-Beatle. When looking at the setlist for New it becomes apparent that McCartney has worked with four different producers for the album. Paul Epworth, Mark Ronson, Ethan Johns, and Giles Martin (son of producer George Martin) all have production credits on the upcoming album.
"The original idea was to go to a couple of producers whose work I loved, to see who I got on with best," said McCartney in a press release. "But it turned out I got on with all of them! We made something really different with each producer, so I couldn't choose and ended up working with all four. We just had a good time in different ways."
It appears as if the title track will be one of the few that sounds like classic Paul McCartney, since he apparently experimented with different styles on the new album: "It's funny, when I play people the album, they're surprised it's me," said Sir Paul. "A lot of the tracks are quite varied and not necessarily in a style you'd recognize as mine."
Here is the tracklist for New, which is due in stores on October 15 in the United States, while being released one day earlier in the UK:
Black Sabbath will release a live DVD culled from two shows of their world tour in support of new album 13.
Titled Live...Gathered In Their Masses (after a line in "War Pigs," of course), the film is culled from the band's April 29 and May 1, 2013 shows in Melbourne, Australia.
The final track listing hasn't yet been released, and the two Melbourne shows featured different set lists including a number of cuts from 13 proper as well as bonus tracks from the album's extended version.
The North American leg of the 13 tour wrapped on September 3 with a sold-out show at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, and Black Sabbath will head to South America and Mexico in October for a headlining stadium tour where they're expected to play to more than 300,000 fans. They'll then hit Europe in November and December.
Black Sabbath: Live…Gathered in Their Masses will be released via Vertigo/Republic on November 26.
Brian May says Queen is considering releasing a full album featuring unreleased tracks made with Freddie Mercury. As reported by Vintage Vinyl News, the Queen guitarist made the revelation during an interview with iHeart Radio, during the annual “Freddie For A Day” event in London.
"We thought we'd exhausted everything that was around and could be worked on,” said May, “but since then a number of things have come to light from various sources that we'd just plain forgotten about, including the stuff with Freddie and Michael Jackson. Just a couple of weeks ago, we thought: Maybe we shouldn't be just working on bits and pieces? Maybe we should be heading towards an album? It just might be."
Queen’s 1995 album, Made in Heaven, was the band’s last record to feature Mercury, who died in 1991. The group completed the project using vocals and keyboard parts that Mercury had recorded prior to his death. Earlier this summer, May confirmed that three duets Mercury recorded with Michael Jackson in 1983 will be released this fall.
Ray Dolby, the engineer whose name became synonymous with audio noise reduction technology, died yesterday (Sept. 12) at his home in San Francisco. He was 80.
Dolby began his career in 1949 working for the Ampex Corporation, where he helped to develop early videotape recording systems. He founded Dolby Laboratories in London in 1965. The company went on to become an industry leader in audio technology, devising ways to cut background hiss in tape recordings and later developing surround sound. The company relocated to San Francisco in 1976.
Dolby earned many honors during his lifetime, including a Grammy award in 1995 and Emmy awards in 1989 and 2005. His son, filmmaker and novelist Tom Dolby said, “Though he was an engineer at heart, my father's achievements in technology grew out of a love of music and the arts. He brought his appreciation of the artistic process to all of his work in film and audio recording.”
Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, also hailed Dolby as an innovator. “His technologies have become an essential part of the creative process for recording artists and filmmakers,” remarked Portnow, “ensuring his remarkable legacy for generations to come."
Carlos Santana, Billy Joel and Herbie Hancock are among the recipients of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors. As reported by the Associated Press, the honorees will be saluted during a gala performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on December 8.
“I guess people understand that Santana is not just a Mexican guitar player – I bring a collective-consciousness awareness agenda with me,” said Santana, who relocated from Mexico to San Francisco with his family, when he was six. “I grew up with the generation of Woodstock and Bob Marley, ‘One Love,’ and ‘Imagine,’ John Lennon. I am one of them, and we don't do what we do to be commercial or to be popular or to be cute. It's not entertainment or show business for us. For us, it's a calling."
Actress Shirley MacLaine and opera singer Martina Arroyo will receive this year’s Kennedy Center Honors as well.