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Classic Rock Music News

Posts from May 2014

Jack White Records Neil Young Vinyl on The Tonight Show
Neil Young
We've previously reported on Jack White's record setting session, where he recorded a track live, pressed it to vinyl, and delivered it to customers at his Third Man Records store in less than four hours. Now White has been involved in a similar event, but on a national scale.

During a taping of The Tonight Show on Monday (May 12), Neil Young performed the Willie Nelson classic "Crazy" with White recording it and pressing it to vinyl during the course of the program. Young recorded the song in White's 1947 Voice-O-Graph recording booth, which was on hand for the occasion. Normally housed at Third Man Records, the recording booth was also used to record Young's new cover album A Letter Home.

White proceeded to press the track to vinyl, and later in the show Young, White, host Jimmy Fallon, and guest Louis C.K. all sat down to listen to the freshly produced track. In related Jack White news, the rocker is preparing an “Ultra” vinyl version of his upcoming solo album Lazaretto on which there will be hidden tracks under the center label on both sides.

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Jimmy Page Considering New Music
Jimmy Page
With the extensive Led Zeppelin remaster project making its way into the world, Jimmy Page’s thoughts are now turning to new music.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Page says he’s stepping up his guitar playing from about once a week to a daily routine with a view to playing live, and perhaps creating a follow-up to his lone solo album, 1988’s The Outrider.

“I want to get myself back into playing shape,” Page said. “I’m a bit of a perfectionist about these things. I've got lots of material I've written on acoustic guitar, lots and lots. And right now I need to get myself up to speed, and that won't take too long. But I don't know what musicians I'd play with. I do have material and a passion for it.”

When reminded that Jeff Beck had recently said he’d love to some day do a Page/Beck joint tour, Page seemed non-committal: "That would be great," he said, “but I don't know. I don't know what's going to happen.”

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Page and Plant Agree: Led Zeppelin is Over

With the Led Zeppelin remasters and expanded deluxe album editions starting June 2014, there have been more persistent rumors the band may reform. Forget it.

Singer Robert Plant, who has been very vocal about his lack of interest in going back, has emphatically told Rolling Stone magazine.

“You’re going back to the same old s—. A tour would have been an absolute menagerie of vested interests and the very essence of everything that’s s—ty about about big-time stadium rock. We were surrounded by a circus of people that would have had our souls on the fire. I’m not part of a jukebox!”

Of other (un-named!) reunion acts, Plant jibes “Good luck to them,” he says sarcastically, “I hope they’re having a real riveting and wonderful late middle age. Somehow I don’t think they are.”

Jimmy Page continues. ”People ask me nearly every day about a possible reunion. The answer is ‘no.’ It’s been almost seven years since the O2 (show). There’s always a possibility that they can exhume me and put me onstage in a coffin and play a tape.”

Page adds that the forthcoming Zeppelin archival releases have been a lot of work. “There’s certainly more things that can be done,” he says. “But this took a lot of time and I don't want to start proposing another project because it will take me another six months or a year.” Still, Jimmy Page may not be done onstage. He cryptically concludes, “I'd rather spend time practicing my guitar and going out to play.”

Led Zeppelin

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Study Concludes: Guitarists’ Brains Are “Different Than Everybody Else’s
Roxy Batz

Because we play guitar, we think we’re clever, don’t we? It turns out, we are! After two years research, Vanderbilt University in Germany has concluded that guitarists’ brain chemistry is somewhat unique.

For starters, guitarists literally have the ability to synchronize their brains while playing, according to PolicyMic.com. Starting their 2012 study in Berlin, researchers had 12 pairs of guitarists play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

They discovered that the guitarists’ neural networks would synchronize not only during the piece, but even slightly before playing. Suggesting guitarists can read each others’ minds better than they can read music.

[Cue the classic joke: How do you stop a guitarist from playing? Give him sheet music.]

But that mental synch, researchers say, “happens in the areas of the brain that deal with music production and social cognition, so it makes a real difference in how tight a band sounds. When people talk about a band's chemistry, this may well be what they’re seeing. It also explains why brothers are the core duo in so many famous rock bands.”

“Bands of brothers” – The Kinks, Allmans, Black Crowes, Oasis, many others – are often great. It’s only offstage they seem to revert to a familial punch-up!

But relax about any potential post-gig fisticuffs. For now, it’s official – your brain is “different.”

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Cream’s Ginger Baker to Release First Album in 16 Years
Ginger Baker of Cream fame has announced a new studio album called Why? out June 24. The upcoming release, which marks the drummer’s first new album in 16 years, has Baker performing with his touring group, Jazz Confusion.

Expect freewheeling jazz sounds on Why? The album consists of mainly instrumentals and songs with jazz textures and African beats. On top of originals, Why? features covers of Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” and Sonny Rollins’ “St. Thomas,” plus a new version of Nigerian folk song “Aiko Biaye.”

Baker’s band Jazz Confusion features former James Brown and Van Morrison saxophone player Pee Wee Ellis, bass player Alec Dankworth and Ghanaian percussionist Abass Dodoo.

Why? Track List:

“Ginger Spice”
“Twelve and More Blues”
“Cyril Davies”
“Ain Temouchant”
“St. Thomas”
“Aiko Biaye”

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AC/DC Enlist Nephew to Fill in for Malcolm Young?

It appears Stevie Young, nephew of AC/DC’s Angus and Malcolm Young, may be filling in for his uncle Malcolm on rhythm guitar as the band begins sessions for a new album.

As reported by Ultimate Classic Rock, a photo was posted to Twitter showing Stevie with AC/DC in Vancouver, Canada, where the band is preparing to record with producer Brendan O’Brien.

AC/DC recently issued a statement indicating Malcolm Young was taking a break from the group due to ill health.

Stevie Young previously filled in for Malcolm on AC/DC’s 1988 “Blow Up Your Video” tour, playing dates across North America. In the ’80s he was in a band called The Starfighters, one of several groups he’s played in over the years.

Most recently he’s been playing in a blues trio called Blue Murda.

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Led Zeppelin Release Unheard ‘Rough Mix’ of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ (audio)
Led Zeppelin

In anticipation of the deluxe edition reissues of Led Zeppelin’s first three albums, slated to hit stores next month, the band is offering a taste of the “extras” fans can look forward to.

Specifically, the group has made available a stream of a rough mix of one of their greatest classics, “Whole Lotta Love.” Billed as a “radio edit,” the previously unheard track features a skeletal arrangement, untreated vocals from Robert Plant and a much different take on the experimental effects Jimmy Page applied to his guitar work.

Speaking to Rolling Stone in 2012, Page said he was looking forward to giving the Zeppelin albums their proper sonic due. “The catalog was last remastered 20 years ago,” he said. “That's a long time. Everything is being transferred from analog to a higher-resolution digital format.” To listen to the rough mix of “Whole Lotta Love,” click here.

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Ozzy Named “Ultimate Rock ‘n’ Roll Hellraiser”
Ozzy Osbourne

It’s official: Ozzy Osbourne is Rock and Roll’s Ultimate Hellraiser. At least that’s the opinion voiced by hundreds of listeners to the radio program Planet Rock, billed as the place “Where rock lives.” DJ Darren Redick counted down the Top 20 list on Monday afternoon. During the show, one lucky listener was also given the chance to win a limited edition Gibson Zakk Wylde Moderne of Doom guitar . Coincidently, Wylde also grabbed the 17 spot on the “Hellraiser” list. Other rockers who nabbed “Hellraiser” honors included Keith Moon, Alice Cooper, Jim Morrison and Keith Richards. See the complete list below:

1. Ozzy Osbourne
2. Keith Moon (The Who)
3. Lemmy (Motorhead)
4. Jim Morrison (The Doors)
5. Alice Cooper
6. Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue)
7. Keith Richards (Stones)
8. Bon Scott (AC/DC)
9. Joe Walsh (Eagles)
10. John Bonham (Led Zep)
11. Axl Rose
12. Pete Way (UFO)
13. Rick Wakeman
14. Steven Tyler (Aerosmith)
15. Ronnie James Dio
16. Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)
17. Zakk Wylde
18. James Hetfield (Metallica)
19. Paul Rodgers
20. Rick Parfitt (Status Quo)

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New Tesla, "So Devine"
It's been almost six years since Tesla released a new album, and now we get a taste of what's to come with a new track, "So Devine." It's a preview of their forthcoming album, "Simplicity" out on June 10th. Take a listen below and let us know what you think.

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Gregg Allman Seeks to Stop Biopic
Gregg Allman
Allman Brothers legend Gregg Allman has filed a suit to stop production of a film of his life, following the death of a camera assistant during filming in February.

Actor William Hurt — who was to play Allman — has already quit the film, and Allman had sent a letter to director Randall Miller advising that he no longer wished for the film to proceed. “I am asking you to do the right thing and to set aside your attempts to resume the production out of respect for Sarah, her family and the loss that all of us feel so deeply,” Allman wrote.

Allman has now cited a contractual stipulation — a condition of the agreement for the rights to make a movie based on Allman’s book, My Cross To Bear — that production of the film was to have started by February 28, or the rights would expire. Allman’s suit claims that camera assistant Sarah Jones’ accidental death on February occurred during pre-production. The complaint also states that the production company shorted a check for the book rights by $9,000, further breaking the agreement.

The film, Midnight Rider, was plunged into chaos after Smith’s death in Jesup, Georgia, but recent reports indicated that filmmaker Randall Miller hoped to complete production in Los Angeles.

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John Lennon Coat Sells for Cost of a Car

How much is a Beatle worth? A lot, judging by the result of a recent auction!

A British fireman coat that late Beatle John Lennon once owned sold at auction for $31,250 this week.

Nate D. Sanders Auctions in Los Angeles auctioned the item: a Blue cropped coat featuring an asymmetrical design, epaulettes and silver tone metal buttons, in size 3.

According to one of the coat’s previous owners, Andrew B. Harvey, this is “the coat that John Lennon is wearing on the back of the British album release (I think) as Life with the Lions, — unless he had several of them.”

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Geddy Lee Recalls the Making of Rush’s Debut Album

Forty years have passed since the release of Rush’s self-titled debut album. Yesterday (April 29), the disc was reissued in an extravagant new box set titled Rush ReDISCovered. As reported by Bravewords.com, frontman Geddy Lee says the making of the original album was exceptionally challenging. “It’s sort of a miracle that it came into being at all,” recalls Lee. “We originally recorded most of the songs in a studio in downtown Toronto, between the hours of 2 a.m. until 8 a.m. after we had finished playing five sets a night at a local rock club. We managed to record an album's worth of material in a matter of days and the engineer who worked with us then mixed the entire record in one evening.”

Lee says those original mixes failed to capture the band’s true sound. “We were crushed with disappointment …” he reveals. “The next day we ran to our manager for help and we were directed to an ex-pat British engineer and producer named Terry Brown. We met with Terry and instantly felt we were on better footing. After he had come to hear us play live, he suggested that we come to his studio, Toronto Sound, and re-record many of the overdubs and record a few of the ‘newer’ songs that we had written and then re-mix the rest. Terry saved the album … no question about that. It began a very happy collaboration that endured until 1981.” Rush ReDISCovered was remastered at Abbey Road Studios by Sean McGee, who also oversaw the recent Beatles vinyl remasters.

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Don Felder Updates “Hotel California”

Ex-Eagle Felder (the guy who played lead guitar and wrote the music) has recorded a new version of the song with members of fellow rock veterans Styx and Foreigner. The three acts are touring together in a bill called The Soundtrack of Summer, beginning May 14 in Wichita.

The new version of “Hotel California” has Felder swapping lead vocals with Styx’s Tommy Shaw and Foreigner’s Kelly Hansen. It will appear on The Soundtrack of Summer tour-companion CD, on sale May 6.

To be fair, Felder has refurbished the song once before, giving it an acoustic arrangement for the Eagles’ 1994 Hell Freezes Over live album. “I was a bit perplexed about how to go about doing it,” says Felder. The new version incorporates some flamenco-ish rhythms before progressing into the rock guitar outro. “It grows from this acoustic steel-string version to where the electric guitars come in at the end,” says Felder.

Styx guitarist James Young adds, “Don Felder is extremely complimentary of my guitar playing, as I am of his, because we play guitar very differently. I can’t play the way he plays. It’s so lyrical, so melodic, particularly on “Hotel California,” probably the most-played and most-known Eagles song, and he wrote all the music to that.”

The re-recording is below.

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