Classic Rock Music News

 
Posts from December 2013


George Harrison Refused OBE Honor?
George HarrisonBeatles guitarist George Harrison refused an OBE on the New Year’s Honours list for 2000, paperwork has now suggested.
 

OBE means Order of the British Empire and is a high award from U.K government and the U.K. monarchy. But it didn’t match the knighthood given to “Sir” Paul McCartney three years previously.

The U.K. Government’s Departure for Culture, Media and Sport recommended Harrison be given the Order of the British Empire, saying: “He was a member of a band that many people would say is the best thing that Britain has ever produced, and possibly the best in the world, The Beatles.”

But the Daily Mail newspaper quotes journalist Ray Connolly saying: “Whoever it was who decided to offer him the OBE and not the knighthood was extraordinarily insensitive. George would have felt insulted – and with very good reason.”

All four Beatles were awarded MBEs (Members of the British Empire) in 1965. John Lennon returned his medal to Queen Elizabeth II four years later, in protest against the war in Vietnam.

George Harrison died a year after the possible award, in 2001.

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Eric Clapton Announces New Band and Tour

ClaptonClapton’s new touring group features a mix of some familiar faces from recent tours and some old friends. He will be joined by Nathan East (bass), Steve Gadd (drums), Chris Stainton (keyboards), Paul Carrack (keyboards), Sharon White (backing vocals) and Michelle John (backing vocals).

Clapton starts a Japanese tour on February 18 at Tokyo’s Budokan; he’ll play three shows there and another four in Japan before dates in Singapore and U.A.E. More dates are expected to be added, with two additional “small tours” predicted.

Clapton recently released a new live DVD, 2013 Crossroads Guitar Festival. The set features nearly 5 hours of music across 45 tracks, plus conversations with the artists and other behind-the-scenes footage from Clapton’s now-regular guitar event.

Eric Clapton (and his band) in 2014

Feb 18 - Nippon Budokan - Tokyo, Japan
Feb 20 - Nippon Budokan - Tokyo, Japan
Feb 21 - Nippon Budokan - Tokyo, Japan
Feb 23 - Yokohama Arena - Yokohama, Japan
Feb 25 - Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium - Nagoya, Japan
Feb 26 - Osaka-Jo Hall - Osaka, Japan
Feb 28 - Nippon Budokan - Tokyo, Japan
Mar 04 - Singapore Indoor Stadium – Singapore
Mar 06 - Dubai Media City Amphitheatre - Dubai, UAE

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Rush to Celebrate 40 Years with Debut Reissue

Rush to Celebrate 40 Years with Debut Reissue

12.27.2013
 
 

According to The Globe And Mail, a reissue of Rush’s 1974 debut album will be out in 2014. It will mark the 40th anniversary of Rush as a recording band.

The source of the information is Universal Music Canada’s VP of catalog marketing Ivar Hamilton, who says the members of Rush are “very involved” in the process of putting the package together. No details regarding the reissue are currently available, but it will likely include a remaster of the album, and new and expanded liner notes.

Rush featured the late drummer John Rutsey, who died in 2008. Rutsey was replaced after Rush by Neil Peart, who continues to be the band’s drummer and lyric writer. But Rush includes a fan-favorite, “Working Man,” that the Canadian trio continue to play live to this day.

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Johnny Cash “Lost” Album Out in March
A trailer for the forthcoming “lost” Johnny Cash album, Out Among the Stars, has been posted. See it below. The album comprises 12 previously unheard tracks and will be out on March 24, 2014. The songs, which were recorded in Nashville, Tennessee in 1981 and 1111 Sound Studios in 1984, were discovered by his son John Carter Cash at the Sony Music Archives.

John Carter Cash says: “When my parents passed away, it became necessary to go through this material. We found these recordings that were produced by Billy Sherrill in the early 1980s… they were beautiful.” He pressed the tracks despite Cash’s then label Columbia’s original refusal to release the tapes in the '80s. “We were like, ‘My goodness, this is a beautiful record that nobody has ever heard.’”

The songs include duets with Johnny’s wife June Carter Cash and Waylon Jennings, while Marty Stuart – a member of Cash’s backing band – has been quoted as saying that he was “in the very prime of his voice for his lifetime” and that Cash sounds “pitch perfect” on the recordings.

The tracklisting for Out Among the Stars is:

“Out Among The Stars”
“Baby Ride Easy” (featuring June Carter Cash)
“She Used To Love Me A Lot”
“After All”
“I'm Movin' On” (with Waylon Jennings)
“If I Told You Who It Was”
“Call Your Mother”
“I Drove Her Out Of My Mind”
“Tennessee”
“Rock And Roll Shoes”
“Don’t You Think It’s Come Our Time' (featuring June Carter Cash)
“I Came To Believe”

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Jimmy Page Talks Led Zeppelin Reissues
Led Zeppelin
The entire Led Zeppelin catalog is now available for streaming via Spotify. And Jimmy Page has also been talking about his work on newly-remastered Led Zeppelin albums due in 2014.

Via The Pulse Of Radio, Page explains, “I’ve done my bit. Technology has moved on since the last set of remasters and you can hear the difference in these new versions. They’re quite something.

“Obviously there’s not that much material that we could add from the first two albums, but from Led Zeppelin III there is.”

Alternative takes and outtakes are all apparently part of the releases. No date is scheduled yet – Page is renowned for his methodical approach – but there will be remastered Led Zeppelin out in 2014.

Led Zeppelin are already up for two Grammy awards in 2014 — “Best Rock Performance” for “Kashmir (Live)” from Celebration Day, and the album, itself, Celebration Day, in the “Best Rock Album” category. Read about the making of Celebration Day.

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Paul Stanley Writes Autobiography
Paul Stanley

Paul Stanley is getting ready to follow in the footsteps of the other original members of Kiss. Shortly after it was announced that Kiss will be inducted in to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame next year, Stanley announced that he will release his autobiography around that same time.

During an interview on Nikki Sixx’ radio show Sixx Sense in November last year, Stanley spoke of the book, which was then in the process of being written. Judging by his comments it does sound like Paul approached the project with a bit of self awareness (via Blabbermouth): “Autobiographies, for the most part, to me, are like writing a love letter to yourself,” Stanley said, before stating “How objective can you be when you are writing about yourself.”

Regarding the other three original Kiss members’ books, Stanley jokingly said: “It’s kind of like, 'OK, have you all said your piece? OK? Now let me tell you what happened.'”

Whether the “Starchild” comes off as more honest in his approach is up to the reader to decide when Face The Music: A Life Exposed is released on April 22nd.

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Rush to Release Comic Book Series
RUSH

Canadian rockers Rush have announced that they are getting ready to release a six part comic book series through Boom! Studios starting in March.

Clockwork Angels is based on Rush drummer Neil Peart’s lyrics for the band’s 2012 album of the same name. “It's just a beautifully painted world in the music that I tried to capture in the novel and now tried to turn into a different direction,” said author Kevin J. Anderson about writing the comic book in an interview with USA Today.

Apparently the idea of a comic book was something Peart and Anderson had been kicking around for quite some time: “Kevin and I had talked for years about combining a novel and an album in some fashion, but I guess the idea had to grow up as Kevin and I did - gaining maturity and confidence in our own separate crafts, while gaining the life experience necessary to give the story its scale and depth,” said Peart.

According to Anderson the comic book will contain “Easter eggs” with references to various Rush albums in its illustrations: “We think Rush fans are attentive and intelligent,” said Anderson. “It just gives them the extra thrill of seeing that this isn't just a straightforward story. There's a lot of interconnected things, too.”

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KISS to Stage Rock Hall Reunion?
KISS
 

Longtime KISS fans may be in for a special treat. Both Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley say they would be amenable to a reunion of KISS’s original lineup at next year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. In separate interviews with Rolling Stone , the rock veterans agreed that a reunion performance would befit the occasion. “[Peter Criss and Ace] were equally important in the formation of the band,” said Simmons. “When you have kids with your first wife, you give kudos. The fact you got remarried doesn't delete or minimize the importance.” Simmons later added there was no “bad blood” among the four musicians. “There’s never been bad blood,” he said. “I love [Ace and Peter] as people.”

As regards Frehley, when asked if he would be reluctant to take the stage with his former bandmates, he said, “Not at all. I think it [would] be great for the fans to witness, and a lot of fun. I recently performed with Peter at the Hard Rock Café in New York…. We all still have it.”

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 10, 2014 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

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Def Leppard Planning New Studio Album for 2014
Def Leppard
2014 is shaping up to be a busy year for Def Leppard. Having completed a successful residency this past spring in Las Vegas, where they performed their Hysteria album in a series of 11 “Viva Hysteria!” shows, the veteran British rockers are looking forward to giving their 1983 Pyromania album the same treatment.


“The Vegas thing was amazing,” says guitarist Phil Collen, speaking with Billboard. “We’re also going to be doing ‘Viva Pyromania!’ at some point at the end of next year.” Collen added that Def Leppard is also preparing to record an album of new material, utilizing a live-in-the-studio approach similar to that used for their 1996 disc, Slang—at least in part. “You paint yourself into a corner with a certain writing style when you have a huge album,” observes Collen. “Slang [was] very raw--us playing live--and everyone hated it. You learn from that. You don't want to cop out too much.”

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Richie Sambora Open to Rejoining Bon Jovi
Richie-Sambora
Richie Sambora is open to reuniting with Bon Jovi, saying he harbors no bad feelings toward his former band mates. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the veteran guitarist said he would consider rejoining the group, if asked. “I would think about it for sure,” he revealed. “There’s no malice here. You get along for 30 years, that’s a damn good marriage. ... I was coming out of something a little bit different with my solo record, Aftermath of the Lowdown, and it just didn’t go in the right direction for me artistically, which is not to say it’s a bad thing.”

Sambora was also quick to discredit reports that his split from the band was rooted in disagreements about money. “[That’s] baloney,” he said. “You look at your bank account, and you see the currency of love and happiness is more important than the currency of money.”

Much of Sambora’s downtime has been spent with his 16-year-old daughter Ava, who’s an aspiring actress, and tending to his mother, who’s recovering from a recent hip fracture. He dropped strong hints, however, that he’s preparing to jump back into music with renewed vigor. “I want to get together with people that I like, who I have relationships with, and try to build a brand,” he said. “Go out and gig on my own and make a living.”

Richie Sambora on His Friendship with Les Paul

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Brian May Talks Upcoming Queen Album
Queen
Queen’s upcoming studio release will offer a mix of the band’s older, lesser-known material and some newer tunes, according to guitarist Brian May.

“We were looking at putting together a compilation of the more unusual and yet memorable Queen tracks,” he told Rolling Stone . “Things that weren’t singles that have become or stayed popular through the years. That’s the way it started and then we unearthed a few tapes of Freddie singing and us in the studio that we never finished off.”

He added, “We thought we got to the end of it with Made in Heaven. But there are a few other things which have turned up. So the album may turn out to be a mixture of some unusual things from the past and some very unusual things which no one has heard at all.”


When asked about the forthcoming Freddie Mercury biopic, May described the script as something that “depicts Freddie in a very lifelike way, but in the context of Queen, which was a kind’ve family. So it’s about what happens in families, in a sense, and I think people will find it very touching.”

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Dave Grohl, Novoselic and Paul Stanley on Rock Hall Induction
Nirvana

Nirvana, Kiss, Cat Stevens Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates and Linda Ronstadt are among the acts that will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year, and the artists are starting to respond to the honor.

"For once ... I'm speechless,” former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl said in a statement. “From the basements, to the dingy clubs, to the broken down vans, to ... the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I'd like to thank the committee not only for this induction, but also for recognizing Nirvana for what we were: pure rock and roll."

"Thank you most of all to Kurt Cobain," Nirvana bass player Krist Novoselic added. "And to everyone who's kept rock music going strong for 60 years and counting."

Kiss’ Paul Stanley tweeted out a “thank you” to the Rock Hall and the band’s fans: “I'm honored to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame knowing we've remained true to ourselves and our fans.”

The latest class of acts will be inducted into the Rock Hall on April 10, 2014, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

What do you think of this year’s Rock Hall picks? Give you thoughts in the comments section below!

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Birthplace of The Stones to be Commemorated
rolling stones

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards first real meeting was at Dartford Station on October 17, 1961. Richards was carrying his guitar and the pair recognized each other from having attended the same primary school. A year after this chance meeting, the pair formed the Rolling Stones.

Now the spot for this most important meeting will be commemorated with a plaque. “Fate was sealed and they started talking about playing their music together,” saidDartford council leader Jeremy Kite to the BBC . Kite added “They went off and recruited Brian Jones next, and the rest is history.”

In related news, Rolling Stones recently announced a number of tour dates for 2014. The tour, which goes by the name 14 On Fire, will take the band to Abu Dhabi, Tokyo, Macau, Australia, and New Zealand.

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KISS Finally Inducted to Hall Of Fame
KISS
Kiss will finally be inducted in to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2014 - some fifteen years after becoming eligible. According to the rules, a band can be considered for inclusion twenty-five years after the release of their first album, which in the case of Kiss would have been back in 1999. Just like with Rush, who were inducted this year, fans have been calling for Kiss’ inclusion for years.

Rock Hall executive Joel Peresman commented on the overwhelming fan support of the band (via Classic Rock ): “The Kiss Army has descended on us in recent years, and we’ve gotten thousands of letters. They also did extremely well in the public vote.” Paul Stanley said of the honor: “For 40 years KISS has built an army that apologizes to no one and I'm honored to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame knowing we have remained true to ourselves and our fans.”

It remains to be seen if the original lineup of the band will perform together at the induction ceremony. Gene Simmons have made comments earlier in the year indicating that he is not interested in that. But who knows, there’s plenty of time for the bassist to change his mind, and maybe the mighty Kiss Army can persuade him to put his ego aside just this once.

Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, Linda Ronstadt, and Cat Stevens will also be inducted at the ceremony, which will be held in New York in late April.

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10 Most Anticipated Rock Releases of 2014
As we approach the end of the year, it is time to take a look at all the new music we can look forward to during the next twelve months. Here we list our ten most anticipated releases for 2014. Some of these bands are confirmed to release new music, as early as January, others are more wishful thinking based on statements from various band members. So let’s see what 2014 (hopefully) has in store for us! Be sure to post your own top ten in the comments section.

Bruce Springsteen1. Bruce Springsteen

For someone at his level, Bruce Springsteen is way more productive than he needs to be, having released five albums in the past ten years. On January 14 it is time for High Hopes, a collection of covers, and reworked unreleased material. Some of the recording for the album took place while on tour in Australia earlier in the year when Tom Morello was filling in for Steven Van Zandt. Morello is reportedly playing on eight of the album’s twelve tracks, which also feature late E Street Band members Danny Federici and Clarence Clemons.

2. U2

Could this be the biggest release of 2014? U2 bassist Adam Clayton has said that he hopes the band will wrap up recording for their next studio album before the holidays. “We're in the studio. We're trying to get these 12 songs absolutely right and get them finished by the end of November, and then we can kind of enjoy Christmas,” Clayton said on 98 FM’s Dermot and Dave show. Rumor has it that the band will announce the new album for an April release during a Super Bowl commercial. If the new U2 song “Ordinary Love” is any indication of the band’s sound for the upcoming album we are in for something very special.

3. Metallica

It’s been five years since Metallica released their latest studio album, Death Magnetic. In the years since its release, James Hetfield and the boys have been busy doing extensive touring, and working on their 3D movie Metallica Through The Never that came out in September. But both Hetfield, and bassist Robert Trujillo have hinted at 2014 being the year that the band record their next album. Said Hetfield in an interview with Oakland Press : “Hopefully it happens soon. I'm itchin'. We have tons of material to sift through. That takes a lot of time, because there's a lot of great stuff,” said Hetfield. In terms of a timeframe for when recordings will start, Hetfield said: “We go full-throttle into something and multitasking is not what we're after. So the next record will hopefully start some time in the spring.” Trujillo told Classic Rock: “In 2014 it’ll be all about getting new music – without any interruptions, hopefully.” Does this mean we can expect a new Metallica album to hit the shelves in late 2014? In any case we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

4. Foo Fighters

After what was probably the shortest hiatus in history, workaholic Foo Fighters main man Dave Grohl revealed back in August that the band’s next album has already been written. “It's a little way off – it's not ready to happen right now, but I think next year is going to be a really big year for the Foo Fighters without question. It's going to be great, I can't wait.“ Grohl told XFM when asked about when recording will start. Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett echoed Grohl’s statement in an interview with Rolling Stone, saying: “We're going to start recording the new Foo Fighters record at the beginning of next year.”

5. Slash

Despite Myles Kennedy being busy touring with his band Alter Bridge at the moment, it looks as though the singer will get together with Slash to record a new album during 2014. Back in July Slash told The Salt Lake Tribune that he had started working on demos for his third solo album: “We’re actually working up the next one as we speak. Myles has a new album coming out and then a tour, so it’ll be after that. But I’m working on material, I’ll send it to him, and he’ll come in and record. It’ll be out early next year.” Myles Kennedy confirmed the plans in an interview with Billboard: “We'll probably get together here later with the other guys, start chipping away at some things, and the goal is to record it next year.”

6. Slipknot

It seems as if Slipknot will begin work on album number five in 2014. It will be the first album since the death of bassist Paul Gray. “We’re just getting demos together right now, and [we're] hoping to get into the studio in the summer next year,” said Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor during the Bass Player LIVE! Concert and Awards Show (via Metal Hammer). “ Taylor also shared some insight as to what we can expect the new music to sound like: “It’s very heavy. I mean, just based on the stuff that I’ve been demoing and the stuff that I’ve been working with Joey [Jordison, Slipknot drummer] on, honestly, it’s like Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) meets Iowa. It’s really dark, but there’s some really good esoteric stuff to it, a lot of good melody without taking away from the heaviness. It’s gonna be pretty rad.”

7. Linkin Park

Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park spoke of the band’s follow up to 2012’s Living Things during a fan Q&A (via Ultimate-Guitar). According to Shinoda the band is still evolving sonically: “I think that we're still in the changing mode,” said Shinoda. “Our first two records were really like brother albums, they were similar in style and then after that we just really tried to branch away - try different things, stretch ourselves creatively, learn new things in the studio, play with new styles of music.” Mike had some really positive news regarding the next Linkin Park album, saying: “We're in the studio working right now, I was with Chester just last night - Chester and Brad and Joe - and we were writing some new stuff," said Mike. “So hopefully we would like to get something out to people next year.”

8. Band of Skulls

British blues rock trio Band of Skulls have announced the release of their third album in 2014. Himalayan will be released on March 31, and it’s preceded by the first single “Asleep At The Wheel” on January 5. The album is produced by Nick Launay who has worked with Arcade Fire, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs in the past. Band of Skulls have a UK tour lined up in conjunction with the album release, as well as a few dates around Europe. Since Band of Skulls tend to have a heavy touring schedule, it is probably safe to assume that the band will make their way Stateside sometime during 2014 as well.

9. The Darkness

British retro glam rock act The Darkness are supposed to release studio album number four during 2014. This is according to an interview with guitarist Dan Hawkins in Billboard earlier in the year: “It'll be out in 2014,” says Hawkins. “This year we'll be touring (to support Hot Cakes) and writing, then early 2014 we'll hopefully be recording it or continuing to write it, and get it out later that year.”

10. Manic Street Preachers

Fresh off their 2013 release Rewind the Film Manic Street Preachers announced they will be releasing yet another new album in 2014, entitled Futurology. As opposed to the acoustic sound of Rewind the Film, Futurology is supposed to be a rock record. Manic singer and guitarist James Dean Bradfield spoke about the upcoming release in an interview with NME: “It's a lot spikier and shinier. It's much more band-based, a tiny bit of krautrock influence. It's not like 'The Holy Bible' but there's a bit of the same intent and threat.”

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Boston Release Christmas Carol
Boston
Hot on the heels of the US Top 40 chart result for brand new album Life Love & Hope, classic rockers Boston have unveiled their version of the Christmas carol "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," titled 'God Rest Ye Metal Gentlemen."

As well as Boston mastermind Tom Scholz, the song features Kimberley Dahme on bass and lead vocal, Gary Pihl and Scholz on vocals and guitars, along with Tom Hambridge on drums. "This was my chance to Boston-ize one of my favorite Christmas carols," Scholz says. "I had so much fun with this one, I think I'll have to try a few more."

Live Love & Hope was more than a decade in the making, and it debuted at number 37 on the Billboard 200 chart following its December 3 release.

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Def Leppard To Bring ‘Day of Hysteria’ to Television
Def Leppard
Def Leppard’s 2013 concert film, Viva! Hysteria, will be the centerpiece of 12 hours of special programming on December 29 on AXS TV. Shot earlier this year during the band’s multi-show residency in Las Vegas, Viva! Hysteria features a performance of Def Leppard’s multi-platinum 1987 album, Hysteria, in its entirety. As indicated on the band’s website, members of Def Leppard will also provide “exclusive commentary” throughout the day during broadcasts of other seminal concert films, including performances by KISS, Bon Jovi, the New York Dolls, Sammy Hagar and Friends, and the TV premiere of Cheap Trick at Budokan – The 35th Anniversary Performance Live From the El Rey. Speaking with Rolling Stone this fall, Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen described the Viva! Hysteria concert as “the best live performance we’ve ever captured, and better than most other bands.” He added: "We sounded 20 years younger [with] an aggression that for some reason we haven't had on previous live recordings. It had a punk ethos."

The Gibson Interview: Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen

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Beatles Rarities Album Coming Next Week

A generous collection of rare Beatles material is slated for release exclusively on iTunes next week. As reported by NME.com, the 59-track album will be comprised of 15 studio outtakes and 44 live BBC tracks that were not included on 1994’s Live at the BBC, or on On Air: Live at the BBC Volume 2. Various sources have reported the new album will be titled TBeatleshe Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963, but that information is not confirmed. News of the rarities album comes fast on the heels of the announcement that the band’s 13 American-version albums will be released as part of a box set called, simply, The U.S. Albums. Slated to hit stores in North America on January 21, the box set begins with 1964’s Meet the Beatles! and concludes with 1970’s Hey Jude. Many of the Fab Four’s American albums featured songs, mixes and album art that were different from their U.K. counterparts.

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Lars Ulrich Anxious About ‘Metallica by Request’ Tour
Metallica
Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich is a bit queasy about the band’s upcoming tour. It’s not the playing live part that has Ulrich nervous, but the fact fans will get to pick Metallica’s set list for each night.

Speaking with BBC Radio 1, Ulrich says even though he doesn’t know what to expect from the fans’ picks, he’s glad someone else is making the call on what to play on the trek.

“It certainly gives me butterflies in the stomach in a good way and I think it should be a lot of fun for the fans,” he said. “This at least put a stop to the whining about the set list because it’s basically the fans that’s picking it.”

Ulrich also said he’s excited to play a new song during the tour, even if he’s not quite sure which tune they’ll pick.

“Since 2014 is basically about the next Metallica record and we’re so excited about writing and getting all that off the ground that it only is right to bring a new song out there,” he said. “Obviously we haven’t quite figured out what that’s gonna be, but as we get a little closer, hopefully we’ll come up with something cool.”

The tour, dubbed the “Metallica by Request” tour, will kick off May 28 and travel through a collection of European countries through July 11.

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Beatles Fever in the U.S. Celebrates 50 Years
Beatles
New York City will host a four-day event this February in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ famed first trip to the U.S.

The event, dubbed NYC Beatles 50, is set for Feb. 6 through 9 and will feature a collection of Beatles-friendly tribute shows at different venues around New York City.

A few of the planned shows include a star-studded concert, called “America Celebrates The Beatles, All-Star Concert,” on Feb. 7 at the Apollo Theater in Harlem and a two-day event, named the "Across the Universe" Beatles Music Festival, on Feb. 8 and 9 that will feature an all-day series of performances by a variety of artists.

The folks behind the event have invited 50 bands from 50 different countries to be a part of the festivities. Admission to most events is $50 or less. Proceeds raised during the four days will go towards the Food Bank for New York City.

For more on the upcoming Beatles tribute, head to NYCBeatles50.com.

The Beatles’ first trip to the U.S. trip began on Feb. 7, 1964.

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Black Sabbath for a Grammy?
Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath’s return is not slowing down. The group have earned Grammy nominations for “Best Rock Album” for their album 13, along with “Best Metal Performance” and “Best Rock Song” for “God Is Dead?”

The band have won a Grammy before, for “Best Metal Performance” in 2000 for “Iron Man” from the band's Reunion live album. But Sabbath still appreciate the nod after all these years.

“We are ecstatic, surprised and very happy!” singer Ozzy Osbourne said about the latest Grammy nomination. But whether there is time for another new Sabbath album, who knows. Ozzy said, “I don’t want to say there’s going to be another album, because I don’t want you to ask me in another year, ‘What happened when you said you were going to do another record?’ I’ll leave it open. I’m open for anything. I have three albums to deliver of my own solo thing to my record label.”

The 56th annual Grammy Awards will take place January 26, 2014, at the Los Angeles Staples Center.

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Metallica Rock Antarctica
Metallica
Metallica are now the first band that to play all seven continents. The show, which was dubbed “Freeze ‘Em All” took place inside a small dome at the Argentine Antarctic base Carlini Station. The audience of 120 people consisted of scientists as well as fans who had won a trip to the gig through Coca Cola Zero.

Due to rules set forth to protect the local environment, Metallica played without amplification, and the sound of the instruments was transmitted to headphones worn by all audience members. Fans around could watch the show via a live stream, and it was also filmed for a later release.

Metallica said about the show on their Facebook page: “This was the most unique show Metallica has ever done. The band, contest winners, research station scientists (from Russia, South Korea, China, Poland, Chile, Brazil and Germany), and the ship crew, all crammed in this little dome out on the helipad of Carlini Station in ANTARCTICA! The energy in the little dome was amazing! Words can not describe how happy everyone was.”

Metallica played a ten song set that lasted about an hour. Here’s the setlist:

1. "Creeping Death"

2. "For Whom the Bell Tolls"

3. "Sad But True"

4. "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)"

5. "Master of Puppets"

6. "One"

7. "Blackened"

8. "Nothing Else Matters"

9. "Enter Sandman"

10. "Seek & Destroy"

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Joe Bonamassa

His favorite guitar is a ’59 Les Paul Sunburst, a “Holy Grail” that he actually takes on the road with him.

“I tour nine months a year,” Bonamassa told Gibson.com, in a 2011 interview. “What am I going to do, come home and noodle with it on the couch? Go, ‘Wow look at this, I’ve got a ’59 Les Paul that never gets used, maybe on a recording here and there.’ I’d rather get a nice case for it--which I did--hire an ex-secret service agent as my security guard--which I did [laughs]--and take it on the road.” In an interview with AmericanBluesScene.com, Bonamassa praised the ‘59’ Les Paul’s extraordinary tone. “I have over 300 guitars, but out of all of them, that one is definitely my favorite.”

He uses heavy gauge strings partly as a “preventative” measure.

“I’m not a shredder guy,” Bonamassa once told Premier Guitar, “but I have shredder tendencies that I think get in my way. I have a tendency to put in a million notes and show off to the world, and that’s not usually my best solo. So, the .011s keep me from going there all the time. I can ramp up to it, but I’m not living there, over-playing all the time.”

His all-time favorite guitarist is Free’s Paul Kossoff.

“He’s such an unsung hero,” Bonamassa told M – Music & Musicians, in 2011. “His playing cuts like a knife through butter. You can feel his emotions in every note, whether it’s a hard note or a soft note. He’s a tactile player. And the tone he got with that beautiful ’59 Les Paul was just crushing. I actually got to play that guitar as a show in Newcastle last year. A friend of a friend owns it, and he let me borrow it I. That was a thrill. I felt like I was channeling Kossoff.”

The first rock song he mastered, as a child, was Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile.”

“I learned that riff properly,” Bonamassa told M – Music and Musicians. “A lot of kids today learn the Stevie Ray Vaughan version of that riff. Hendrix’s ‘Slight Return’ riff is different.” Bonamassa also told GuitarMessenger.com that the only other guitar piece he learned, note for note, was the dueling solo from the film, Crossroads. “That was difficult and challenging and very frustrating,” he said. “I’m just not a note-for-note kind of guy.”

Those trademark shades he wears vary with the seasons.

“I have four sets of them,” Bonamassa once told GuitarMessenger.com. “I have the 'hot summer show' ones–called Silhouettes, because they wrap around your ears. That prevents them from sliding off. Then, when you get into the wintertime and the theater’s not that hot, I wear a set of Pradas. I also have a set of Ray Bans and a set of Revos. I’m sure I’ve bought enough sunglasses to put somebody’s kid through college.”

The place you’re most likely to find him, when he’s not on tour, is The Home Depot.

“I’m deep into home improvements,” Bonamassa told a fan forum, in 2006. “I love The Home Depot. I'm good at walking in and picking things out, buying the supplies for the deck or whatever other project is on the list. But I leave the work to the pros. I’m just good at the buying part.”

His biggest regret is that he didn’t start singing at an earlier age.

“I didn’t start singing ‘till I was 18, and that’s something I deeply regret,” Bonamassa once lamented. “But then again, there’s tons of stuff where you go back and say, ‘Well, I should’ve gone left, but instead I went right. That was a bad decision.’ Anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and makes you smarter for the next day.”

He would much rather perform live than record in the studio.

“The studio is a daunting place, for me,” Bonamassa told GuitarMessenger.com, in 2007. “Some people flourish in that environment, but I don’t. Everything is decisions. ‘Is this good enough?’ ‘Is the sound just right?’ ‘Is there enough reverb?’ ‘Is it panned correctly?’ I get overwhelmed. Whereas, live, who cares? It comes from the top of your head, and you just blow it out. If I suck tonight, I’ll be better tomorrow. The cool thing about live is there’s always tomorrow to redeem yourself.”

The most important advice he received from his mentor, B.B. King, had nothing to do with guitar playing.

“He said, ‘Watch your money and keep your eye on the business side of things,’” Bonamassa told M – Music & Musicians, in 2011. “It’s about music, but it’s also about business. He sat me down and said, ‘Joe, you need to always reinvest back into what you do, back into your fan base. Fans can detect if you’re not doing that, if you’re not doing things to improve the show.’ It’s no different from running a Walgreen’s, or a Joe’s Pizza Shack.”

He believes great rhythm guitar playing is underappreciated.

“Even someone like me, who often gets caught up in soloing, plays rhythm guitar eighty percent of the time,” Bonamassa once said, in an unpublished interview. “Even a guy who puts on a ‘guitar show’ has to play rhythm, and has to be fluent in chords and voicings. Also, if you don’t learn how to back off your volume when someone else is soloing, that’s problematic. Rhythm playing is about learning how to blend in with the band, and be part of the ensemble.”

Joe Bonamassa Custom Les Paul

Joe Bonamassa 2011 Gibson.com interview

Joe Bonamassa Stirs up Dust Bowl

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Vivian Campbell Working On Solo Album
Vivian Campbell
















Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell has announced he’s begun work on a solo album, while continuing to work on new Def Leppard material.

In a post on his official Facebook page, the guitarist announced that the album will include “lots of guitar” and that he will handle the vocals, however “I may ask a real singer to help out if I fail miserably at the demo stages.”

Campbell also confirmed that Def Leppard is in writing mode at the moment, with studio time planned for February 2014.

Campbell is working with bassist Lou Castro and drummer Glen Sobel (Alice Cooper, Sixx: A.M.), both of whom are members of Campbell’s cover band, Sir Sodoff & The Train Wrecks.

Last month Campbell announced that he is in remission from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which he was diagnosed with earlier in the year.

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Bruce Springsteen Manuscript Auctioned for $197,000
 
Bruce Springsteen
 

A handwritten working manuscript of Bruce Springsteen's 1975 hit “Born to Run” has sold for $197,000 at a New York City auction.

It sold at Sotheby’s, where the pre-sale estimate was $70,000 to $100,000. Sotheby’s say the document had been in the collection of Bruce's former manager, Mike Appel. The auctioneers didn’t reveal the seller’s or buyer’s identity.

Some of the document remains secret. Sotheby's says most of the lines in this 1974 version are “unpublished and unrecorded.” However, the manuscript does include “a nearly perfected chorus.”

The draft apparently includes some variations from what was eventually recorded. “This town’lll rip the (out your) bones from your back / it's a suicide trap (rap) (it's a trap to catch the young) your dead unless / you get out (we gotto) while your young so (come on! / with) take my hand cause tramps / like us baby we were born to run.” All handwritten by Springsteen, with notes in the margins.

Springsteen wrote this draft in Long Branch, New Jersey, in blue ink. It’s on an 8.5-by-11-inch sheet of ruled notepaper.

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How ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ Made The Beatles Superstars
The Beatles were a hard-working, scrappy rock band for little more than a year when their tuneful sensibility and gift for hooks led Paul McCartney and John Lennon to write “Love Me Do.” Their first single, the song propelled them to the forefront of the British pop scene. But it was “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” which was first released in the U.K. on November 29, 1963, that created the initial wave of international “Beatlemania” and made them superstars, changing the field of rock songwriting in the process.
 

The tune was their first #1 hit on Billboard’s pop chart and marked the beginning of the British Invasion with its 15-week stay in the Top 50. It was also an innovative recording for Lennon, McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr – their first cut on four-track gear.

“I Want to Hold Your Hand” was not only a success, it was a calculated one. The band’s manger Brian Epstein – troubled by the group’s lack of presence in America – asked Lennon and McCartney to write a song that would appeal to the U.S. market. Anticipation on both sides of the Atlantic was high when the disc’s imminent arrival was announced. One million copies were ordered by retailers in advance.

The harmonized vocal chord that opens the song – as sweet a hook as was ever written – came first as Lennon and McCartney sat laboring at the piano in the London home of McCartney’s girlfriend Jane Asher. The rest was pure Tin Pan Alley, or maybe Leiber and Stoller: a slick song about innocent love written with two bridges and a single verse to connect them. And like many early Beatles tunes it had no lead singer per se, instead putting McCartney and Lennon’s twined harmony voices to the fore, with Lennon having a slight edge in the mix.

Although Lennon and McCartney were still several years away from their mutual romance with Epiphone Casinos, multi-tracking helped The Beatles and their producer George Martin create a dense guitar sound that was unlike anything previously recorded in the UK.

“I Want to Hold Your Hand” also differed from most early rock hits – like “Hound Dog” or “Rock Around the Clock” – in that the tune wasn’t written by the kind of non-performing professional songwriters who labored in the Brill Building and wrote most of the popular songs of the day. Together with Bob Dylan, The Beatles changed the image of rockers as mere performers to that of complete artists who could not only play but also write and record their own material.

The sessions for “I Want to Hold Your Hand” began on October 17, 1963 at London’s EMI Studio 2, which was equipped with a new four-track tape machine. The tune took 17 passes to complete. In an odd twist of marketing, a second version was cut in January 1964 with a vocal performance in German. The group had built up a sizeable following in Hamburg and elsewhere in Germany during their club apprenticeship, and Odeon, the German arm of their label EMI, insisted the single be cut in that tongue.

“I Want to Hold Your Hand” was one of two singles The Beatles were compelled to re-record in German. The other is “She Loves You.” Both were done against their wishes, and history has proven The Beatles’ resistance correct, since the English language versions of the tunes have remained the most durable everywhere in the world.

When “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was released on November 29, 1963 in the U.K., it rocketed straight up the British charts. On December 14 it bumped another Beatles song, “She Loves You,” out of the #1 spot.

Despite that chart performance, EMI Record and Epstein had to battle the group’s American label Capitol Records to release “I Want to Hold Your Hand” as The Beatles’ first U.S. single. When Capitol caved, the song was paired with “I Saw Her Standing There” as the B-side and hit America on December 26. Epstein further insisted the label spend $40,000 to promote the single to DJs and retailers with advertising in trade magazines and on the airwaves.

Initially Capitol planned a January release, but a canny Washington, D.C., disc jockey got a copy a few weeks earlier via British Airways and began spinning the song, which generated so much listener excitement that the label was forced to jump into action with the late December date. Capitol’s first reaction was unprecedented: the label threatened to seek a court injunction to prevent airplay, which rapidly spread to Chicago and St. Louis. Ultimately, they decided to co-opt the anticipation that the media reporting about the airplay flap generated into the single’s promotional campaign.

By December 29, after just three days of sales, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” had sold more than 750,000 copies, averaging 10,000 a day in New York City alone. Overall the song sold more than 5 million copies in the U.S. on its initial release.

With the floodgates open, American teenagers developed an insatiable interest in British rock that propelled The Kinks, the Dave Clark Five, The Rolling Stones, Herman’s Hermits and others onto the U.S. concert circuit, television and, of course, the pop charts.

Dylan, who would emerge in 1965 with Highway 61 Revisited as a rock songwriter of the same stature as McCartney and Lennon, was clearly paying attention. “They were doing things nobody was doing,” he said years later. “Their chords were outrageous, just outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid.”

Nonetheless, The Beatles lost their Grammy nomination for Record of the Year for “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz’s “The Girl from Impanema,” a beautiful tune that brought yet another craze to the States: the bossa nova.

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Boston’s Tom Scholz: His 10 Essential Albums

Boston’s Tom Scholz has always followed a simple premise: if something works, don’t change it. Since releasing Boston’s classic debut album in 1976, the veteran guitarist has sometimes frustrated fans with his legendary perfectionism, but the long stretches between albums have always been worth the wait. Boston’s latest LP—Life, Hope and Love—is no exception. Roiled in 2007 by the tragic death of vocalist Brad Delp, Scholz elected not to replace the singer, but instead took a “vocalist by committee” approach for the new disc. Just as important, Scholz’s trademark guitar sound—rife with beautiful tone and soaring sustain—remains a thing of wonder.

“I have only two [electric guitars] and they're both old Les Paul gold tops,” Scholz said, in 2002. “Somebody told me that these two guitars were made for only six months—during half of 1968--so there are very few in existence. The amazing thing is that I bought two of them, without knowing that the second one was also from 1968, from that six-month period. I just needed a second guitar before we went on the road, so I snatched it up."

Regarding the new Boston album, Scholz says, “These are all songs from the heart, each of them taking many months of effort to write, arrange, perform and record, always up to the demands of Boston's harshest critic, me. They have all been meticulously recorded to analog tape on the same machines and equipment used for Boston's hits for the past 35 years.” Not surprisingly, Scholz’s ten favorite albums are, without exception, guitar-based classics. Below, he shares his thoughts about several of those LPs.

Jeff Beck1) Jeff Beck: Truth

2) Led Zeppelin: I

3) Led Zeppelin: II

4) James Gang: Rides Again

Tom Scholz: "I knew Jeff Beck's Truth album inside out. The same was true of the first two Led Zeppelin albums and Joe Walsh's James Gang's Rides Again."

5) Iron Butterfly: Heavy

"In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida is hideous, but this album was really cool. The last cut was called the 'Iron Butterfly Theme.' It was an instrumental, in a very strange time signature. That was the song that got me interested in playing guitar."

6) Kinks: Greatest Hits

7) The Yardbirds: Having a Rave Up

8) The Who: Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy

9 The Who: The Who Sell Out

"My interest in pop music was really limited. If it hadn't been for The Kinks and The Yardbirds and The Who, back in the '60s, I probably never would have gotten involved in music. Those first Kinks singles were amazing. 'All Day and All of the Night' and 'You Really Got Me' were real favorites."

10) Blue Cheer: Blue Cheer

"Very few people have heard of this group. Their claim to fame was that they were the loudest band in the world."

Click here to check out the Collector's Choice™ #10 Tom Scholz 1968 Les Paul.

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The Great Album The Beatles Nearly Made
For many Beatles fans, 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band represents the pinnacle of the Fab Four’s achievements. Densely textured, sublimely arranged and packed with some of Lennon and McCartney’s best songs, the disc remains a touchstone for every pop band that puts a premium on melody and craftsmanship. Incredibly, however, as writer Philip Norman and even Sir George Martin have pointed out, The Beatles’ psychedelic masterpiece might have been even better, had some grievous missteps not occurred.

On February 17, 1967, “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” were released to the record-buying public, on what has since been described as the greatest 45-rpm record ever produced. Martin, who was complicit in the decision to issue the double-A-sided single, has since called that decision

“the biggest mistake of [his] professional life.” The factors behind Martin’s regret are two-fold. First, as dictated by the customs of the day, releasing “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” as a single precluded the inclusion of either song on The Beatles’ forthcoming album, which, at that

time, was envisioned as a spectacularly ambitious concept disc of a different sort than Sgt. Pepper’s.

Martin later explained in The Beatles Anthology: “The only reason that ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane’ didn’t go onto the new album was a feeling that if we issued a single, it shouldn’t go onto an album. That was a crazy idea, and I’m afraid I was partly responsible. It’s nonsense these days, but in those days in was an aspect that we’d try to give the public value for money. Brian [Epstein] came to me and said, ‘I must have a really great single. What have you got?’ I said, ‘Well, I’ve got three tracks – and two of them are the best tracks [Lennon and McCartney] have ever written.’ So, we put them together ….”

A second, more heartrending reason the decision was regrettable is that the concept album Lennon and McCartney had in mind would likely have been an even greater artistic triumph than Sgt. Pepper’s turned out to be. Exhausted by the madness of Beatlemania, and having therefore given up touring, The Beatles were, in Martin’s words, “generally fed up with their lives.” With two magnificent songs to serve as lynchpins, the era’s two finest songwriters envisioned crafting a collection of autobiographical songs that would take a kaleidoscopic view of their earliest memories, drawing inspiration from people and places in Liverpool that figured prominently in their childhood.

“We were in another phase of our career,” McCartney explained, in The Beatles Anthology, remarking on the sense of freedom and imagination that had taken hold in Lennon and himself. “We didn’t have to be performing every night, so instead we could be writing or chatting with our mates, or visiting an art exhibition. Having the time off gave us time to come in [to the studio] with crazy ideas. We were all opening our minds to different areas, and we [were] sharing it all with one another. There was a lot of cross-fertilization.”

Of course, in retrospect, the album The Beatles eventually did come up with wasn’t exactly shabby. McCartney’s “When I’m 64,” which was written and recorded during the sessions for the proposed “childhood” disc, became a high point of the Sgt. Pepper’s album. Furthermore, songs such as “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “A Day in the Life” were nearly on par with “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane,” and certainly occupied similar stylistic terrain. Still, the album suffered from weak moments, and even Lennon later concluded it was preposterous to call Sgt. Pepper’s a concept disc.

“It doesn’t go anywhere,” Lennon said. “All my contributions have absolutely nothing to do with this idea of Sgt. Pepper and his band. [The album] was not put together as it sounds, except for Sgt. Pepper introducing Billy Shears, and the so-called reprise. Every other song could have been on any other album.”

Ringo Starr concurred in that assessment, saying the overarching intent to record a “show” album got derailed. “It was going to run like a rock opera,” he said. “It had started out with a feeling that it was going to be something totally different, but we only got as far as Sgt. Pepper and Billy Shears. We thought, ‘Sod it! It’s just two tracks.’ We kept the title and the feel that it’s all connected, but in the end we didn’t actually connect all the songs up.”

Despite the disc’s flaws, Starr went to on to describe Sgt. Pepper’s as The Beatles “grandest endeavor,” not just because of the richness of the material, but also because the group was working in a spirit of supreme cooperation. Unbeknownst to Starr, however, Lennon was already mired in a quandary, having decided during the filming of How I Won the War, in 1966, that his time in The Beatles must soon end. Henceforth, until the band at last broke up in 1970, Lennon relinquished much of his leadership role in the group to McCartney.

One wonders, however, if things might have been different had Lennon and McCartney been able to follow through on the conceptual masterpiece they originally had in mind. As The Beatles’ best biographer, Philip Norman, writes in Lennon: The Life: “The premature release of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane’ took all the steam out of the Liverpool concept album idea, leaving George Martin to wonder remorsefully forevermore how great an album it might have been.”

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Come Together: The Night Lennon and McCartney Reunited

“Valiant Paul McCartney, I presume?” said John Lennon. “Sir Jasper Lennon, I presume,” responded Paul McCartney.

Such was the manner in which the two former Beatles greeted one another when McCartney showed up, unexpectedly, at a recording session Lennon was conducting on March 28, 1974. In the throes of his “Lost Weekend” period, Lennon was in a Los Angeles studio overseeing production of Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats album. Present were a number of players – including Stevie Wonder, guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, saxophonist Bobby Keys and Nilsson himself. McCartney was accompanied by his wife, Linda. Lennon’s then-girlfriend, May Pang, was there as well.

“We had no clue he was coming,” said Pang, referring to McCartney’s visit in Peter Ames Carlin’s recent McCartney biography, McCartney: A Life. “All of a sudden we turned around, and Paul was there.”

So began the only instance in which, post-Beatles, Lennon and McCartney ever joined forces in the studio. Remarkably, although Pang had made reference to the event previously, it wasn’t until May 1992 that McCartney confirmed that the studio reunion had occurred. “It’s very difficult to remember those days, because it was all a bit crazy and everyone was getting out of it,” McCartney revealed. “But yes, John was doing some recordings in Los Angeles and I showed up.”

Indeed, the night was late, the day’s “official” sessions were complete, and, by all accounts, the gathered musicians – including Lennon and McCartney – were, to varying degrees, in chemically-induced altered states of mind. Disappointed he had missed the session, McCartney edged toward the drum kit, where Ringo Starr had been sitting earlier, and picked up the sticks. “Ah, okay,” Lennon said, looking around for his guitar. “Maybe we’ll have a little jam.”

As detailed by Carlin, Linda then seated herself at the organ, Wonder manned the electric piano, Jesse Ed Davis picked up his six-string, and a musician from a session next door strapped on a bass. Lennon began ad-libbing some vocals, and Wonder launched into a gospel-style progression that evolved into a funky version of “Lucille.” “Stand By Me” came next, with Lennon, McCartney, and Nilsson sharing vocals. Pang later recalled that the ad-hoc group also pulled together a skiffle rendition of the Leadbelly classic, “Midnight Special.”

The session sputtered on into the wee hours, but technical problems were rampant, and Lennon became progressively irritable. Still, in the words of Pang, the Lennon-McCartney reunion “was like yesterday … they didn’t skip a beat, just went right into it.”

Even more enticingly, although Beatles fans never knew, the spontaneous jam session very nearly sparked a full-on Fab Four reunion. The day after the jam, at Lennon’s invitation, McCartney, Linda, and the couple’s children went to Lennon’s rented Malibu home. Gathered around the pool were Ringo, Keith Moon and a handful of others. Lennon soon joined them. McCartney sat at a piano for most of the afternoon, playing Beatles songs and some standards. Ringo seated himself on the bench next to McCartney, singing along and having a rollicking good time.

As day turned to night, Lennon and McCartney bid their adieus. “Let’s see each other again,” McCartney said. Lennon nodded in agreement. Afterwards, Pang overheard Lennon tell Nilsson, “Wouldn’t it be fun to get the guys back together again?” In the minds of Nilsson and Pang, there was no doubt which “guys” Lennon was referring to. Some might dismiss Lennon’s remarks as whimsical musing, but years later, in an interview with Earcandy magazine, Pang insisted otherwise.

“He wanted to write with Paul again,” she said. “He asked me if I thought it was a good idea. I told him I thought it was a great idea. Solo they were great, but together they were unbeatable. He thought about it and he said, ‘You know what? Let’s go down and visit Paul and Linda.’”

The proposed visit was to take place in early 1975, in New Orleans, where McCartney was working on Wings’ Venus and Mars album. Lennon was back in New York by then, still living with Pang. Just before the trip was to be arranged, Yoko Ono phoned Lennon, insisting the stars were aligned for him to undergo a smoking cessation program. The trip to New Orleans was postponed, and was ultimately abandoned altogether.

Following Lennon’s death, Pang told McCartney about the planned visit that never happened.

“I said to [Paul], ‘For what it’s worth I just want you to know that John really loved you,’” said Pang. “He said, ‘Oh, I know that.’ Then I said, ‘You know, we were going to come down to New Orleans because he wanted to write with you again.’ Paul looked at me and said, ‘Oh yeah … that would have been great.’ I could tell he thought I was just being nice.”

Pang went on to say that McCartney seemed not to want to entertain the thought, perhaps because the idea of such a missed opportunity was too painful. A year later, however, at McCartney’s annual Buddy Holly tribute party in New York, the former Beatle rushed over to Pang as she was talking with Linda McCartney. “Tell her!” McCartney said. “Tell me what?” said Pang. “One of Derek Taylor’s postcards from John fell into our hands,” McCartney said. “John had written, ‘Thinking of visiting the Macs in New Orleans.’”

The postcard was evidence to McCartney that Lennon had wanted, perhaps only briefly, to try and rekindle the greatest songwriting partnership of the century.

Red lights, green lights, strawberry wine

A good friend of mine follows the stars

Venus and Mars are alright tonight

                             – “Venus and Mars,” 1975

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Joan Jett Plays Guitar Center Sessions
Jett is a devotee of Gibson. In the video below she discusses her guitars, including her trusty double-cutaway Gibson Melody Maker, which replaced her old (now retired) Melody Maker, which she got from Eric Carmen of the Raspberries.

The Gibson Joan Jett Blackheart rocks. Likewise, Joan Jett’s 10 Essential Albums rock.

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Metallica Announce Final Round of “By Request” Tour Dates
Metallica
Last week Metallica announced the dates for a series of shows next summer in England, Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium. The band has now fleshed out that schedule with performances slated to take place in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Austria and Poland. As previously reported, the summer dates are part of the “Metallica By Request” series, wherein fans who purchase tickets online will be able to cast votes for songs to determine each night’s set list.

Each concert will feature the 17 top vote-getters, plus one brand new song chosen by the band. “We are once again psyched to break free of the four walls of the studio to get energized by our devoted European friends for a couple of weeks next May and June,” said Lars Ulrich. “On top of that, the fact that all our nutty fans will pick the songs we play should be some next level fun and take a big load off my shoulders as the guy who usually writes the set list!”

“Metallica By Request” 2014 Live Dates

May 28, 2014 - Beach Sonisphere - Helsinki, Finland

May 30, 2014 - Gardet Royal Park - Stockholm, Sweden

June 1, 2014 - Valle Hoven Sonisphere - Oslo, Norway

June 3, 2014 - Gaol - Horsens, Denmark

June 4, 2014 - Imtech Arena, Sonisphere - Hamburg, Germany

June 5-8, 2014 - Rock Am Ring - Nürburgring, Germany

June 6-9, 2014 - Rock Im Park - Nuremberg, Germany

June 9, 2014 - Landgraaf Pink Pop - Landgraaf, Netherlands

July 1, 2014 - Rock In Rome Sonisphere - Rome, Italy

July 3, 2014 - Rock Werchter - Werchter, Belgium

July 4, 2014 - St. Jakobspark Sonisphere - Basel, Switzerland

July 6, 2014 - Knebworth Park Sonisphere - Knebworth, England

July 8, 2014 - Aerodrome Festival - Prague, Czech Republic

July 9, 2014 - Krieau Rocks - Vienna, Austria

July 11, 2014 - National Stadium Sonisphere - Warsaw, Poland

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Robby Krieger and John Densmore Offer “Evening with The Doors”
Doors
The Doors’ Robby Krieger and John Densmore are set to hold a joint question-and-answer session tonight (Dec. 5) at the Bing Theater in Los Angeles, following a screening of the 2012 documentary film, Mr. Mojo Risin’: The Story of L.A. Woman. Titled “An Evening with The Doors,” the event will also feature remembrances of keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who died this past May, and singer Jim Morrison, who would have celebrated his 70th birthday this Sunday (Dec. 8).

“It makes me sick to think about all the cool stuff we might have come up with in all this time, had Jim lived longer,” observed Krieger, in anticipation of the event. “I often wonder why so many great people pass on at such an early age. Could it be that when you're gone, you stay at that age for eternity? If so, the joke’s on us." The screening is part of Film Independent at LACMA, a film series produced by Film Independent and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and presented by The New York Times. For additional information, click here.

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Rod Stewart Eyes 2015 for Faces Reunion
Faces

Rod Stewart says 2015 is being “ear-marked” for a reunion of the surviving members of the Faces. As reported by London’s The Guardian, the veteran singer prefaced the news—delivered in an interview with Boston’s WZLX radio station—with the revelation that prospects for a collaborative album with Jeff Beck had been aborted.

Stewart then dropped the good news regarding the Faces. “I think we have got much more of a chance of getting the Faces back together, in fact,” he said. “Ronnie [Wood]'s office is talking to my people, and we're ear-marking 2015.” The Faces have performed in recent years with Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall handling lead vocals. Stewart last sang with the band at the 1993 Brit Awards. Original Faces bassist Ronnie Lane died in 1997.

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Rod Stewart Eyes 2015 for Faces Reunion
Faces

Rod Stewart says 2015 is being “ear-marked” for a reunion of the surviving members of the Faces. As reported by London’s The Guardian, the veteran singer prefaced the news—delivered in an interview with Boston’s WZLX radio station—with the revelation that prospects for a collaborative album with Jeff Beck had been aborted.

Stewart then dropped the good news regarding the Faces. “I think we have got much more of a chance of getting the Faces back together, in fact,” he said. “Ronnie [Wood]'s office is talking to my people, and we're ear-marking 2015.” The Faces have performed in recent years with Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall handling lead vocals. Stewart last sang with the band at the 1993 Brit Awards. Original Faces bassist Ronnie Lane died in 1997.

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Paul McCartney’s New One of the Best Albums of 2013
Paul McCartney

Rolling Stone has revealed its annual tally of the 50 Best Albums of 2013 , and Paul McCartney gets some big love on the list. McCartney’s New comes in at No. 4 on the roster, with the magazine giving the singer and guitarist props for some “remarkably Beatlesque pop tunes and George Martin-ish arrangements.”

Another classic rocker, John Fogerty, clocks it at No. 10 with his latest release, Wrote a Song for Everyone, which offers new versions of classic Fogerty songs recorded with a handful of guest artists.

The rest of Rolling Stone’s Top 10 is heavy on alternative, including Arctic Monkeys’ AM (No. 9), the National’s Trouble Will Find Me (No. 8), Lorde’s Pure Heroine (No. 7), Queens of the Stone Age’s …Like Clockwork (No. 6), Arcade Fire’s Reflektor (No. 5), Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories (No. 3), Kanye West’s Yeezus (No. 2), and Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City (No. 1).

Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt landed at No. 40 on the list.

What do you think is the top album of 2013? Give us your pick in the comments section below!

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New Van Halen Music In 2015?
Van Halen
David Lee Roth says the cogs are moving in the mighty Van Halen machine, with a view to new music arriving in about 18 months.

In an interview with comedian and That Metal Show co-host Jim Florentine on Ozzy’s Boneyard,

Roth said he was up at Edward Van Halen’s house earlier that week and the band had started to put new music together. “It’s gonna be about 18 months,” Roth said, explaining that in Van Halen World the band keeps a tight control on everything they do, refusing to outsource things like graphic design and merchandise design. “If you buy a t-shirt, that was designed, literally, in my living room,” Dave said, before further elaborating on the ’87 phone calls’ that are required before anything gets to the level the band is happy with.

Dave then circled back to the question of new music: “Oh, yeah, we're writing... I write lyrics routinely. It's a perishable skill. And the band plays together routinely, at least three times a week. They’re up at Ed’s place, routinely.”

Listen to the full interview here.

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Cream Artist/Lyricist Martin Sharp Dies At 71
Cream
 

Artist Martin Sharp, who designed the covers for Cream’s Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire albums and helped to define the iconography of psychedelic rock, has died aged 71.

Sharp began his career in the 1960s as a contributor and art director for Oz, a revolutionary satirical magazine run by Richard Neville. He designed album covers and concert posters for the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Donovan and Bob Dylan, and co-wrote the lyrics to Cream’s “Tales Of Brave Ulysses.”

''He was a fully-charged non-stop rocket in his younger years but it always continued on,'' Neville said, adding that Sharp was “an outsider but also an insider ... At core he was an artist beyond repute in my opinion, but not an artist necessarily certified by the academy.”

Sharp died of emphysema at his Bellevue Hill home and art studio in New South Wales, Australia on Sunday.

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Alex Lifeson Praises Rush Fans
Alex Lifeson

Rush Guitarist Alex Lifeson has told The Dallas Morning News how he loves the Canadian band’s fans. And he likes that they’re not “cool,” just like Rush.

“There’s definitely a strong relationship between us and our audience,” Lifeson said. “And I think it’s partly because we've never been the cool thing. We've never been the trendy thing. We’ve just been hard-working and done what we believed in. We wrote the music we wanted to write. We didn't try to write pop hits. … Maybe there's a cultish quality about who we are.”

That said, Lifeson admits that recent projects have heightened Rush’s profile. “It changed a bit in the last four, five years — since [the 2009 movie] I Love You, Man and the Beyond the Lighted Stage documentary. We have a new audience. We’re getting more press than we used to. The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame thing. It’s one thing after another.

"We've been around for so long, people who grew up listening to us are adults with jobs and families, and they've always been along for the ride — like the Grateful Dead, I suppose. They were connected to their fans without airplay… Maybe that's what connects us to the fans. They feel like they can sit down with the guys in Rush and have a beer and it’d be no big thing.”

Read more about Alex here.

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Iommi Doubtful About Another Sabbath Album
Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath is currently touring in the wake of their successful album 13, the first Sabbath disc to feature Ozzy Osbourne in 35 years. The album has topped charts all over the world, including a top spot on the US Billboard 200 chart - a first for the band.

Although he’s previously spoken favorably about recording with his old band mates once again, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has now taken a more cautious stance in regards to entering the studio. “I don't know if that would be an anticlimax if we wrote another album,” Said Iommi in an interview with Revolver (via Blabbermouth). “I'd like to, but we haven't actually spoken about it, you know? I don't know if that would be a good idea after this one, because this one's done so well. I'm sure we'd all like to do one. But I don't know. Maybe I should talk to the others about it.”

Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler echoed Iommi’s sentiment: “I really haven't thought about it. I'm just glad that we made this one. It can't be something where you go in and go, 'Well, that one was No. 1, so let's do another No. 1 album.' I think we'll know if we can do it or if we can't. If we have to force it, then we won't be doing it.”

Ozzy is open to doing another Sabbath album in the future, but also points out that he is under contract to deliver three more solo albums. “I don't want to say there's going to be another [Sabbath] album, because I don't want you to ask me in another year, 'What happened when you said you were going to do another record?'”

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The Beatles, U2 for Philippines Relief

The Beatles, U2 and Bob Dylan are just a few of the many musicians who have given tracks to a new compilation that will raise funds to assist those impacted by this month’s Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

The release, called Songs for the Philippines, features 39 tracks cuts. Among the songs are two Beatles tunes, “Across the Universe” and “Let It Be”; U2’s “In a Little While”; and Dylan’s “Shelter from the Storm.”

Other artists and bands who have donated songs includes Adele, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Kings of Leon, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, One Direction and more.

All funds raised from sales of the collection will be donated to the Red Cross to help the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.

Songs for the Philippines Track List:

“Across the Universe (2009 Remaster)” -- The Beatles
“Shelter from the Storm” -- Bob Dylan
“Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” -- Michael Bublé
“In a Little While” -- U2
“Count on Me” -- Bruno Mars
“I Was Here” -- Beyoncé
“Stan (Live at Radio 1)” -- Eminem
“Sirens” -- Cher
“Make You Feel My Love” -- Adele
“Unconditionally (Johnson Somerset Remix)” -- Katy Perry
“Best Song Ever” -- One Direction
“Carry On” -- fun.
“Born This Way (The Country Road Version)” -- Lady Gaga
“Mirrors” -- Justin Timberlake
“I Would” -- Justin Bieber
“New Day” -- Alicia Keys
“30 Lives (Original Demo Version)” -- Imagine Dragons
“Like a Prayer” -- Madonna
“Sober” -- Pink
“I Believe in You” -- Kylie Minogue
“Hero” -- Enrique Iglesias
“Factory of Faith” -- Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Roads Untraveled” -- Linkin Park
“Use Somebody” -- Kings of Leon
“Explorers” -- Muse
“The Love Club” -- Lorde
“Brave” -- Josh Groban
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” -- Kelly Clarkson
“Simple Things” -- Paolo Nutini
“I Know You Care” -- Ellie Goulding
“Carry You Home” -- James Blunt
“Feel This Moment” -- Pitbull (featuring Christina Aguilera)
“Sign On” -- Earth, Wind & Fire (featuring Daniel McClain)
“Going Out (Radio Mix)” -- apl.de.ap (featuring Damien Leroy)
“Brave” -- Sara Bareilles
“Lead Me Home” -- Jessica Sanchez
“Smile” -- Lily Allen
“Love Don’t Die” -- The Fray
“Let It Be” -- The Beatles

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Stones Extend Tour, 20th Anniversary of Zappa Death, The Faces in 2015 and More
The Rolling Stones have announced that they are expanding their tour with a "tongue pit." The good news is that they are open to adding more dates. The bad, it won't land in Northern California. We can only hope they'd want to do a 20 night stand at the Crest Theatre. In the meantime, here are the latest dates updated.

2/21 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates– du Arena
2/26 Tokyo, Japan – Tokyo Dome
3/4 Tokyo, Japan – Tokyo Dome
3/6 Tokyo, Japan – Tokyo Dome
3/9 Macau, China – Cotai Arena
3/19 Perth, Australia – Perth Arena
3/22 Adelaide, Australia – Adelaide Oval
3/25 Sydney, Australia – Allphones Arena
3/28 Melbourne, Australia – Rod Laver Arena
3/30 Macedon, Australia – Hanging Rock
4/2 Brisbane, Australia – Entertainment Centre
4/5 Auckland, New Zealand – Mount Smart Stadium

Today also marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of the great Frank Zappa. Just remember not to eat the yellow snow, while checking out this list of his Top 10 Albums.

Also, could this long rumored Faces reunion actually happen? It looks like Rod Stewart has penciled in "Faces somethingorother" all over his 2015 calendar. Well, when Jeff Beck won't call you might as well go to the other thing.

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