Criminally under-appreciated yet darn near ubiquitous in some of the greatest rock and roll songs ever recorded, today is the day we celebrate a musical instrument first developed to assist herdsmen in keeping track of their wayward future Big Macs and Whoppers:the cowbell. First appearing in American mountain and hillbilly music back in the 1920s, the cowbell really started gaining traction during the '60s, as the psychedelic movement embraced all forms of musical (and other) experimentation. Today we honor the cream of the cowbell crop!
10. "Red Morning Light" Kings of Leon
A surprising yet entirely deserving newcomer to the pantheon of cowbell classics, Tennessee-based Kings of Leon deliver a raucous and raw cowbell confection with "Red Morning Light." No longer relegated to the second-tier of percussion instruments, the cowbell gets the real spotlight treatment thanks to drummer Ivan Nathan Followill's groovy and sparse mid-song breakdown.
9. "Nightrain" Guns N' Roses
Slash was always a big fan of "Nightrain," proclaiming in his autobiography that it was his favorite song to play live because "when we had our huge stage later on [after Guns N' Roses got big], I'd run the length of it, jump off the amplifiers, and lose it just about every time we played it. I'm not sure why, but no other song we ever played live made me move like that." Slash might not know why "Nightrain" did that to him, but we do: monster cowbell intro! Duh!
8. "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" Blue Oyster Cult
A strong staple on rock radio since its release in 1976, Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" was catapulted into the cowbell stratosphere thanks to its hilarious send-up by Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken on Saturday Night Live. "I've got a fever!" Walken exclaims during his portrayal of producer Bruce Dickinson, "and the only prescription is more cowbell!" This singular moment in rock history ushered the cowbell to its rightful place in the forefront of iconic rock instruments, just behind the '59 Les Paul Standard.
7. "Low Rider" War
Appearing on War's 1975 album Why Can't We Be Friends?, this cowbell classic shot to #1 on Billboard's R&B chart and #7 on the pop chart, making it one of the California band's biggest hits. One of the first songs to glamorize the Chicano culture's love of utilizing hydraulics to lift and lower their hot-rods, the prodigious use of cowbell propels "Low Rider" beautifully, like a pimped-out '67 GTO rolling smooth down Ventura Boulevard.
6. "Time Has Come Today" The Chambers Brothers
Originally released in 1966 then re-released as a shorter radio-friendly version in 1966, this Chambers Brothers classic painted a psychedelic sonic picture of the events of the day, namely the Vietnam War. Considered ahead of its time because of the multiple effects incorporated throughout the song, particularly the longer original album cut, the most notable and memorable effect is the constant "tick-tock, tick-tock" of a cowbell.
5. "Rock of Ages" Def Leppard
"Gunter…glieben…glauchen…globen," and with those four head-scratching German words (actually spoken by Def Leppard producer Mutt Lange), the Leps' still fully-armed drummer Rick Allen turns his attention to the almighty cowbell, clanging out the classic intro to one of the '80s greatest fist-pumping anthems. It's better to cowbell than fade away!
4. "We're an American Band" Grand Funk Railroad
Grand Funk Railroad's first-ever chart-topping hit was a song sent from cowbell heaven. Produced by Todd Rundgren and originally released on gold transparent vinyl, 1973's "We're an American Band" kicks off with drummer Don Brewer thwacking out the beat with his kick-drum, snare and ubiquitous cowbell. Brewer also sang the song instead of Grand Funk's usual lead vocalist Mark Farner.
3. "Hair of the Dog" Nazareth
Scottish rock stalwarts Nazareth kick off the title track to their 1975 masterpiece album Hair of the Dog with a colossal cowbell cacophony. The lyrics alone scare the bejeezus out of you: "Now you're messing with a…S.O.B.!" Ever had your noggin pummeled by the business end of a cowbell? Trust me. It's not pretty, and this cowbell classic does just that.
2. "Mississippi Queen" Mountain
Mountain drummer Corky Laing co-wrote this scorching cowbell-driven number with guitarist-singer Leslie West. Originally appearing on Mountain's 1970 album Climbing!, "Mississippi Queen" remains the group's most popular song, even more so today with the younger crowd thanks to its inclusion in both Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and Rock Band gaming systems.
1. "Honky Tonk Women" The Rolling Stones
What separates The Rolling Stones copious cowbell from the herd during the intro to this debaucherous little ditty is the non-traditional beat producer Jimmy Miller thunks out on the cowbell (no, Charlie Watts did not play the cowbell on this one). Where most cowbellists stick to a straightforward hard-driving cow-beat, Jimmy's softer, funkier take on the beef bongo instantly identifies one of the Stones' greatest songs. Your blue ribbon winner!
2013's The Next Day proves that David Bowie still has the power to surprise. What is never surprising is the calibre of musicians in Bowie's go-to contact list. Here's a rundown of his greatest guitarists…
Bowie and Ronson could not have been more different. The singer/composer was an art-school dandy from London, the guitarist was earlier earning a living as a Council gardener in gritty North England city, Hull. Yet the bluff-talking Ronson was also classically trained on piano, recorder and violin.
Ronson debuted via a few cameos appearances on Bowie's Man of Words, Man of Music album (later re-titled Space Oddity), but it was proto-glam The Man Who Sold the World, that saw Ronson truly deliver.
The fuzz of Ronson's Les Paul on the title track became famous – ask Kurt Cobain – and Ronson's work on Hunky Dory, Pin-Ups and notably The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars cemented his rep as a superb riff writer and soloist.
Ronson was a huge influence on other Les Paul guitarists of the 1970s, but his and Bowie's alliance always seemed to be temporary. Bowie himself admitted to the NME in the early '70s, "I don't think this will last long."
In-the-know guitarists will always love Mick Ronson. Ronson and Bowie were co-producers of Lou Reed's classic Transformer album of 1972. Reed later commented that Ronson was the driving force: he contributed guitar, piano, recorder and backing vocals, as well as arrangements, notably the lush strings of "Perfect Day."
After being elbowed-out by Bowie, Ronson joined Mott The Hoople, played with Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and many more. In '76, Ronson revealed he hadn't then even been back in contact with Bowie. "I didn't bother," he told Melody Maker. "I didn't really feel like listening to him making a lot of excuses. I didn't see the point."
Ronson died aged just 46 in 1993, his last major job being producer of Morrissey's album Your Arsenal. "No matter how you juggle the words, Mick was not replaced in David's life," Morrissey opined to Uncut magazine this year. "None of David's $20,000-a-day U.S. guitarists had a single grain of Mick's natural style, and even [Brian] Eno only worked with David for 14 days. Mick had been David's lifelong asset – no-one else."
Earl Slick (born Frank Madeloni) has been a Bowie mainstay. He was hired by David Bowie to replace Ronson as lead guitarist for the Diamond Dogs tour in '74 (the David Live album was recorded on this tour). Slick also played lead guitar on the Young Americans and Station To Station albums of '75 and '76 respectively. Listen to the latter album's "Stay" for just one example of Slick's slickness.
Slick is back with Bowie on The Next Day. "David got in touch with me out of the blue, and he said, 'I'm ready to go back in. What are you doing? Are you around? Are you touring?' I said, 'No, just get me some dates.'" If Bowie ever does play live again, expect to see Slick at his side.
Alomar is an under-appreciated piece of the Bowie guitar jigsaw. He first joined Bowie for the Diamond Dogs tour and Alomar's impromptu riff on a session Bowie and John Lennon recorded together (The Beatles' "Across the Universe") was developed into Bowie's "Fame." Young Americans ('75) was Alomar's first appearance on a Bowie album, and began a long period of collaboration. Alomar was Bowie's rhythm man, and underpinned Bowie's recordings for half a decade.
Bowie's "Golden Years" came from an Alomar riff. Nerd fact? Bowie's Lodger single "Boys Keep Swinging" features Alomar playing drums. Alomar also played guitar on Iggy Pop's two Bowie-produced albums of 1977, The Idiot and Lust For Life. He's also on Bowie's "Everyone Says 'Hi'" (from 2002 album Heathen in 2002). Although never in the spotlight, Alomar has played on 12 Bowie albums.
Fripp's unique guitar style is to fore on the albums "Heroes" and Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps.) His shimmering, sustaining Les Paul hovers throughout "Heroes" (the song) and across Bowie's whole 1977 album. Fripp had his own MO: for the title track, Fripp placed strips of tape on the studio floor to indicate where he should stand to sustain certain notes. "He would stand on the letter 'G,' for instance, if he wanted the 'G' note to sustain," remembered producer Tony Visconti.
Three years on, Fripp added stabbing/wailing guitar to Bowie's Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) album. Listen to "Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)," "Fashion," and "Teenage Wildlife" for simply astounding guitarism.
Belew joined Bowie in the '70s to play Fripp's parts, on the recommendation of Brian Eno… Fripp and Belew would later join together in King Crimson.
Bowie and producer Eno put Belew through the mincer for the Lodger album. Belew said on his website: "The record was [initially] to be called Planned Accidents and so they wanted to capture my accidental responses to the songs by not allowing me to hear them beforehand! So I would go upstairs into the recording room, put on my headphones, look into the closed circuit camera and say, 'what key would this one be in?' I'd hear a disconnected voice, 'don't worry about the key, when you hear the count off just start playing something.'"
On Lodger Belew splatters avant-garde guitar as only he does, yet "planned accidents" was a mad experiment that worked. Belew says, "David told me "Boys Keep Swinging" was written with me in mind."
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Nile Rodgers
SRV was a bit-player in Bowie's career. But what parts. SRV's soloing on "Let's Dance" and "China Girl" helped catapult Vaughan's career, yet Bowie and SRV apparently mixed like oil and water. SRV quit/was fired just before Bowie's huge Serious Moonlight tour – many reasons have been offered by different people, but we're not going there for legal reasons. Earl Slick returned to play on the tour. But, of course, Let's Dance also benefitted from the production and guitar genius of Nile Rodgers – he plays most of the album's rhythm guitars. And Carlos Alomar is in there again, as well. Let's Dance remains Bowie's biggest-selling album.
Frampton and Bowie were pals at Bromley Technical School. But they'd never played together professionally until Bowie's Never Let Me Down and the subsequent Glass Spider tour. Neither got any good reviews, but Frampton sees it differently.
"The '80s were a difficult period for me," he told M Magazine. "It wasn't until my dear friend David Bowie got me out on the road for the Glass Spider tour and on his Never Let MeDown record and reintroduced me as a guitar player around the world. I can never thank him enough for believing in me, and seeing past the image of the satin pants and big hair to the guitar player he first met when we played together in school."
Gabrels was with Bowie, on and off, from 1987 to 1999. The Tin Machine albums they made together weren't Bowie's most commercially successful but, like Fripp and Belew, Gabrels is an avant-garde leaning guitarist and writer with the power to surprise. Gabrels also worked on Bowie's Outside (1995), Earthling (1997), and Hours… albums though at times, you'd be pushed to realize it's actually guitars being played.
Gabrels later told MusicDish in 2002 that Tin Machine "was a volatile mix of personalities." He also added, "It is always a bittersweet compliment to me when fans, writers and reviewers say that my 'unique' guitar style was important in defining the sound of any of the records I did with David. The reason for that is the fact that on most every album I have done with him, I also co-wrote the majority of the songs and co-produced.
"I may be overly sensitive to this issue, but I am continually amazed by the number of musicians, fans and music critics who seem to be unaware of the amount of songwriting I did with David or my involvement as a producer."
Other guitarists, of course, have played on Bowie albums. So: who's your favorite David Bowie guitarist?
Playing backup to a lead guitarist who gets all the attention. If you've ever doubted the importance of the bassist, imagine any song by the likes of AC/DC, The Who, or the Rolling Stones without bass — it would sound flat and incomplete. It is the bassist's job to fill out the sound and give depth to a band's music. But some bassists go above and beyond that main requirement. Here we'll take a look at some of the best bass players to ever walk the earth. Who did we forget? Let us know in the comments!
If there is one bass player that is instantly recognizable it has to be Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. When you hear that unique slap bass sound that Flea has developed you know right away that it's him, even when he's guest starring on someone else's song, like Alanis Morissette's breakthrough single "You Oughta Know." Flea comes from a jazz background, having originally started his musical career playing the trumpet, and it seems as if he draws a lot of inspiration from that genre in his bass playing.
The least known person on this list is probably Pino Palladino. But that doesn't mean he is any less deserving of being on this list. Palladino has mainly worked as a session musician, but after John Entwistle's passing he has stepped in to fill the void he left in The Who, a job that he was quite clearly made for. Pino Palladino is also one third of the John Mayer Trio, along with John Mayer (of course), and drummer Steve Jordan.
Recent Hall of Fame inductee Geddy Lee of Rush is basically the original that many bassists try to imitate. What makes Lee so special is the fact that aside from playing some of the most intricate bass lines ever heard, he does it while singing. Sometimes he even adds keyboards to the mix, while playing bass notes with foot pedals.
Stefan Lessard joined Dave Matthews Band when he was only sixteen years old. In fact, when the band would perform in bars they would actually have to sneak him in. Just like his band mates, Lessard is an incredibly gifted musician. He plays the bass as if it were a lead instrument. If you want to hear a great example of Lessard in action, check out any live recording of DMB doing "All Along The Watchtower." Stefan does the most intricate and melodic bass intro that sets the mood for the entire song.
Master funk bassist Les Claypool admits being heavily influenced by another bassist on this list: Geddy Lee of Rush. Claypool was able to take those influences, master them, and turn them in to his own style, which was the back bone of his band Primus, probably the wackiest band to ever cross over to mainstream success.
The Who bassist John Entwistle passed away far too early at the age of 57. But the legacy he left behind is remarkable. Entwistle was the only possible choice to match the talent of Pete Townshend. His bass playing was so melodic, it could at times be mistaken for the lead guitar part.
Cliff Burton's contribution to music only consisted in the first three Metallica albums, Kill 'Em All, Ride The Lightning, and Master of Puppets. But with those three albums, Master of Puppets in particular, Burton set the bar for what a bassist in a metal band could do. It seems to be a common theme that great bass players know how to push their instrument to the limit, making it sound like more than just bass notes backing up a lead guitarist.
John Paul Jones
Just like his Led Zeppelin band mate Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones started out as a session musician. Jones masters multiple music styles, having played bass in the studio for such diverse artists as Cat Stevens and Jeff Beck. Along with the late John Bonham, John Paul Jones provided the most solid and recognizable rhythm section a band could have.
When you see Billy Sheehan playing the bass live, your jaw will most certainly drop by the sheer speed with which he plays the bass. It is really hard to grasp that a human being can play like that. Sheehan has played bass with the likes of Steve Vai, and David Lee Roth, as well as his own band Mr. Big. In Mr. Big, Sheehan and guitarist Paul Gilbert use power drills with guitar picks mounted on them to play the song "Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy" as if they weren't playing fast enough already.
It's easy to forget that aside from being a great front man and songwriter, Phil Lynott was also an excellent bass player. His bass lines are some of the most inventive you will find in rock music. You also have to keep in mind that Lynott played them while singing — that takes some serious skills! Phil Lynott left this world way too soon, but at least he left behind a great collection of music that is still in heavy rotation on rock radio stations all over the world.
Black Sabbath fans who tuned in to the season finale of "CSI" didn't have to wait long to see the band in action. The TV crime drama opened with Sabbath performing "The End of the Beginning," the lead track from the group's forthcoming new album.
The script called for characters played by actors Ted Danson and Marc Vann to comment on the performance. "So nice to see Black Sabbath again," says Vann. "Saw them in '78 at the Spectrum in Philly."
"Around the same time as I saw the [Grateful] Dead at the Winterland Ballroom," replies Danson. "A little bit of a different vibe."
Ozzy Osbourne subsequently did a mock interview with a reporter attending the show. "So, Ozzy, another incredible gig," offers the reporter. "The new album is titled 13, right?"
"That's correct," replies Ozzy. "The album's kind of like a modern sound but there's no denying it's a Black Sabbath album. It's still got the black Sabbath vibe, you know?"
Later in the episode, the new Sabbath single "God is Dead?" was featured as part of the soundtrack. 13 will be released in North America on June 11.
Bob Dylan is now officially an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Henry Cobb, president of the Academy, praised the 71-year-old Dylan for his contributions to the creative arts. The citation reads: "For more than 50 years, defying categorization in a culture beguiled by categories, Bob Dylan has probed and prodded our psyches, recording and then changing our world and our lives through poetry made manifest in song - creating relationships that we never imagined could exist between words, emotions and ideas."
Virginia Dejani, executive director of the Academy, said the legendary singer was designated an honorary member because the Academy couldn't decide which category – art, literature or music – he best fit into. Dylan was unable to attend the ceremony, which took place in Manhattan, but he did issue a statement. "I feel extremely honored and very lucky to be included in this pantheon of great individual artists who comprise the Academy of Arts and Letters," he said. "I look forward to meeting all of you some time soon."
Beatles flick Help! is heading to the small screen. The 1965 movie will arrive on Blu-ray for the first time on June 25, and the offering will include a digitally restored version of the film and 5.1 audio, plus an hour of extra material.
As for the bonus hour, that will include interviews with cast and crew members from the original movie, a 30-minute making-of documentary, a deleted scene and more. The release also packs a booklet featuring an introduction by director Richard Lester and a special essay about the movie from Martin Scorsese.
Help! was the follow-up to 1964's A Hard Day's Night and depicts the Fab Four dealing with a cursed ring that Ringo Starr got his hands on. Memorable songs in the flick include "Ticket to Ride," "I Need You," "The Night Before" and "You're Going to Lose That Girl," among others.
Do you remember the first time you saw Help! the movie? Tell us your Beatles stories in the comments area below!
Ex-Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman has said he will "never" play live with the band again.
Wyman, who played with the Rolling Stones between 1962 until 1993, joined the band onstage for their 50th anniversary gigs at London's O2 Arena in November 2012, but in April he said that he would not be interested in rejoining the group on a permanent basis because he has "better things to do."
Now, in an interview with the Huffington Post, Wyman has ruled out the possibility of performing with the Stones ever again. "The nice thing was that my kids saw me on stage with the Stones," he said. "They'd asked me the December before, and I had to jam with them for three days. I was under the impression I was going to get really involved, but when it came to it, they only wanted me to do two songs, which was very disappointing."
Wyman added: "I've always maintained that you can't go back to things, and they can never be the same... It doesn't work. It was a one-off. Five minutes. OK, never again. No regrets, we're still great friends."
The Rolling Stones are currently on their 50 & Counting tour.
Metallica are screening their upcoming 3D movie, Through the Never, at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
According to Variety, the movie will be shopped and screened at Cannes, the world's most lauded cinema showcase, by international sales company Exclusive Media.
"After wading through multiple international distribution options for our film, we are excited to be partnering up with the folks at Exclusive Media, who we feel understand Metallica and understand our film better than anyone else," said drummer Lars Ulrich. "Throw in the cherry-on-top, launching our international sales with a couple of screenings at the film market during a little up-and-coming film festival in Cannes, and it feels like we're off to a pretty rockin' start."
The movie tells the story of a band crew member who is sent out on a mission during Metallica's live set in front of a sold-out arena; while on this mission, he unexpectedly has his life turned completely upside down…
The Cannes Film Festival runs May 15–26. The movie will be first seen in public theaters from September 27.
Jimi Hendrix, and famous jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, along with drummer Tony Williams, had been trying to enlist the bass guitar duties of Paul McCartney for a recording project in 1969. Validity to this story comes from a telegram that the trio sent to McCartney at the Beatles' Apple Records on October 21, 1969: "We are recording and LP together this weekend in NewYork [sic]," the note starts out according to The Associated Press. "How about coming in to play bass stop call Alvan Douglas 212-5812212. Peace Jimi Hendrix Miles Davis Tony Williams." Alvan Douglas refer to producer Alan Douglas, but his name is misspelled.
Hendrix and Co., got a response from the Beatles camp the following day saying that Paul was on vacation for the next two weeks, and thus unable to participate. Had the session taken place, it would have been quite a unique collaboration with some of the greatest musicians of that era from different genres. The original telegram is part of the Hard Rock Café memorabilia collection, and is on display at the Hard Rock Café in Prague, Czech Republic.
Sorry for the pun but there's no other way to say it: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield — often called 'the coolest guy in outer space,' — has recorded the most out-of-this-world cover ever: David Bowie's "Space Oddity" from 250 miles high and hurtling around the Earth at more than 17,000 miles per hour while aboard the International Space Station.
In Hadfield's version of "Space Oddity," the lyrics were altered to include mention of the Soyuz capsule aboard which Hadfield will return to Kazakhstan on Monday night. "With deference to the genius of David Bowie, here's Space Oddity, recorded on Station," Hadfield tweeted. "A last glimpse of the World."
Staff at the Canadian Space Agency and musician Emm Gryner helped to bring the song to life. And David Bowie showed his appreciation for Hadfield's efforts by tweeting "Hallo Spaceboy," a very apt reference to his 1995 track of the same name.
If there's one thing KISS fans can always rely on, it's the reassuring familiarity of the band's live show. Gene Simmons flying up to the light truss, Gene Simmons spitting fire, Gene Simmons spitting blood… Paul Stanley zip lining out to the middle of the audience, Tommy Thayer blasting the light rig with rocket fire from his signature Epiphone Les Paul… but it seems the band is about to shake things up. Frontman Paul Stanley isn't giving much away — he's not saying whether any of those classic elements will remain — but he does promise that fans will be "blown away by what we're doing onstage" on the band's next run.
Speaking to VH1 Radio Network's Dave Basner at the opening of Stanley's new Californian restaurant Rock & Brews, the frontman said, "You know, for so many years, we've talked about a new stage show and basically what we've been doing has been an extension of the old stage show. So people would sometimes come and, obviously, the band does a great show and it's great to be there, but some people would say, 'Gee, it doesn't look that different.' This is a completely different stage, it follows a really great theme, the lights are like nothing you've ever seen before."
KISS recently toured Australia with Motley Crue and Thin Lizzy, and are hitting the road in Europe on June 1 in support of their latest album, Monster.
Carlos Santana already has a bevy of awards, and now, he can add a special Las Vegas honor to his collection. The House of Blues Las Vegas inducted the guitarist into its Blues God Ceiling on Tuesday (May 7). The Ceiling consists of a set of clay busts of blues or blues-influenced greats that hangs at the venue's Crossroads bar.
At the ceremony, Santana mentioned several other musicians already inducted into the Blues God Ceiling and paid tribute to their legacy, including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Janis Joplin.
Quite appropriately, Santana is in the midst of a new series of shows in his multi-year House of Blues Las Vegas residency. The current string of concerts runs through June 2. He'll be back in September and November to perform a handful of additional dates. For the full set of tour dates, head to Santana's official website.
Hey, Beatles fans—there's a new musical coming to Broadway that might peak your interest.
The Beatles-inspired stage musical Let It Be is currently running on London's West End, and now, the show is getting ready for its Broadway debut. According to Playbill, the production will preview July 16 at New York City's St. James Theater, with the official opening slated for July 24. The show depicts the Beats from their first gigs at Cavern Club in Liverpool, England, to the height of Beatles fanfare.
Let It Be will offer such Beatles hits as "Yesterday," "She Loves You," "Hey Jude," "Let It Be" and "Come Together," to name a few. The show will feature a cast of musicians playing John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. The show is scheduled to play at the St. James Theater through Dec. 29.
Tickets for Let It Be will go on sale to the general public beginning on May 23. For more information on the show, head to the production's official website.
What band would you like to see honored with a stage musical? Give us your thoughts in the comments area below!
Earlier this week, Guns N' Roses guitarist Richard Fortus revealed that frontman Axl Rose and the gang have "spent a lot of time in the studio" working on their upcoming, seventh studio album. Now, guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal is adding to the buzz about new music, stating that he's positive the band will release some new tunes once they're off tour.
"There's a lot of stuff [written], it's just a question of all of us organizing," he told Rolling Stone in a new interview. "We're still doing shows, and I think once we clear our schedule and focus more on new music, it'll happen. We just have little things on the back burner, just waiting for the right time for us to organize and make something new out of it."
Guns N' Roses will wrap up their current tour on June 8, where they're set to headline at the Governor's Ball Festival in New York City.
Are you stoked for new GN'R or not so much? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below, rockers!
Joe Satriani's 1987 album, Surfing with the Alien, set a new standard for instrumental guitar playing. Looking back, the pioneering guitarist credits Eddie Van Halen for ushering in a new renaissance period for the instrument. "I came along at the end of that," says Satriani, in a forthcoming interview with M Music & Musicians. "Eddie had already brought more positive energy to electric guitar playing. I was an early fan. He was playing what every kid my age wanted to play. Things were closing in for music in the '70s. There was disco, there was punk, and there was a sort of a refinement of the electric blues movement of the '60s. Fusion had run its course. But suddenly there was Eddie, smiling and laughing while he was tearing up the fret board. That's what I had been waiting for, the reemergence of that." Satriani's latest album, Unstoppable Momentum, was released May 7th.
A long-circulated bootleg recording of a legendary 1973 Rolling Stones concert is being officially produced as a limited edition box set. Titled The Brussels Affair, the ambitious set centers on a show staged by the Stones in Brussels, Belgium, on October 17, 1973. The high-end package, which marks the inaugural release from a planned Stones Archive Series, comes in three versions: a platinum edition, an art edition and a collector's edition. At present, only the collector's edition is available for purchase, at a price of $750. Limited to 1727 copies, the collector's edition includes a 180-gram triple-vinyl set of the show, a book hand-signed by Mick Jagger, photographer Michael Putland and writer Nick Kent, a '70s-era "tongue & lips" wristwatch and a 1973 tour lithograph. When available, the platinum and art editions will be even more extravagant, with production runs of each limited to 1973 copies. For more information, click here.
Women prefer men who play guitar. The journal Psychology of Music reports that researchers in France asked a 20-year-old man to approach 300 women in their '20s and early '30s in a public shopping district. In each instance, the man introduced himself, complimented the woman and asked for her phone number. Sometimes he was empty-handed, other times he carried a sports bag, and other times he held a guitar case.
The results? Nearly one-third of the women provided their number when the subject carried the guitar case, as opposed to just 14 percent who complied when he was empty-handed. The results when carrying a sports bag were even worse, yielding a paltry nine percent success rate. In their conclusion, the study's authors suggest that musical talent is often associated with "physical and intellectual abilities."
Of course, we at Gibson never had doubts on that score.
David Bowie has released a video for the title track for his latest album, The Next Day. The clip, which was conceived and written by Bowie himself, was directed by Floria Sigismundi, the same director who was behind the camera for Bowie's previous film promo, "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)." Actors Gary Oldman and Marion Cotillard co-star in the new video, which is set in a pub inhabited by a cast of religious characters. Oldman and Bowie have worked together previously, recording a duet of Bowie's "You've Been Around" for a 1995 solo album by guitarist Reeves Gabrels. The two also appeared in the 1996 biopic Basquiat, with Bowie portraying artist Andy Warhol and Oldman in the role of a fellow painter. Oldman is the second actor-friend to be recruited by Bowie for a Next Day video. Earlier the year, Tilda Swinton was cast as the rocker's wife in a clip for "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)."
In a recent interview with Mojo, producer Rick Rubin talked about the drummers that he suggested for Black Sabbath. Rubin said : "I was asking: who grew up listening to the same music as them? Who played in bands where they jammed back then? It's a very different thing from the way hard rock and heavy metal drummers play today. That's the kind of drummer I was looking for."
One name that was on Rubin's short-list was Ginger Baker. Rubin explains why he thought the former Cream drummer would be a perfect fit for Black Sabbath: "He was on my list because I wanted to get someone who had grown up in the same world as them, and who jammed the way they did. There aren't many of those people left. Most of them are dead."
The band eventually settled on Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk, a decision that Rubin was quite pleased with: "There were some other very good drummers but there wasn't that emotional connection or that tension that you need, musically speaking. To me every great band has emotional side. When Brad played with Sabbath you could feel that there was something pulling them. He had that emotional connection."
13 will be released on June 10, and Black Sabbath will tour the US in support of the album during the summer.
Making an album – even a classic album – sometimes can be an exercise in overcoming adversity. Still, the monumental troubles that Paul McCartney and Wings had to surmount to record Band on the Run, easily McCartney's best post-Beatles album, easily could have served as fodder for an epic Hollywood film.
It all began with McCartney's desire to work in a locale that was off the beaten path. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately, as it turned out), his record company, EMI, had an international presence, with recording facilities based in Bombay, Rio de Janeiro, Peking and … aha! … Lagos. Enchanted by visions of sunning on the beach by day, and recording by night, McCartney decided to gather his Wings bandmates and head for the Nigerian city, nestled on the west coast of Africa. Nevermind the fact that pre-trip inoculations to prevent cholera, typhoid, polio and a host of other potential diseases were required.
One week prior to heading for Africa, McCartney corralled his fellow Wings members to rehearse some new songs. Disputes ensued, and guitarist Henry McCullough and drummer Denny Seiwell left the band. All of a sudden, Wings was a trio consisting of McCartney, wife Linda and guitarist Denny Laine. Off the three went, upbeat and confident despite the unforeseen defection of their drummer and lead guitarist.
The studio in Lagos was decidedly ramshackle. Microphones were discovered tucked away in a cupboard, the control desk was faulty and acoustic baffles used for sound separation were nowhere to be found. Heroically, however, engineer Geoff Emerick pulled together the equipment necessary to forge onwards.
A regular daily pattern ensued. Weekday mornings were spent swimming at a local country club. In mid-afternoon, the band would make the hour-long drive to the studio, where the work sometimes went on until 4 or 5 a.m. Weekends were reserved for rest and recreation, in keeping with McCartney's reasons for choosing Lagos in the first place.
As regards the sessions, McCartney, Linda and Laine were galvanized and motivated by the defections of Seiwell and McCullough. As he had often done on his solo albums, Macca himself handled most of the lead guitar and drumming duties. Notwithstanding the technical difficulties, recording was going relatively smoothly, until one evening the McCartneys decided to take a leisurely stroll. Out of nowhere, a car pulled up, five men jumped out, and, at knifepoint, McCartney was forced to relinquish all the valuables in his possession. Among the items taken were cassettes of demos of potential Wings material.
Such was the first of a series of travails that dogged the sessions. On one occasion, McCartney collapsed in the studio, unable to catch his breath. A heart attack was initially suspected, but after a period of rest, McCartney gathered himself. The episode was later diagnosed as a bronchial spasm triggered by excessive smoking. On another occasion, a local Afro-beat star and political activist went on radio and accused McCartney of coming to Lagos to "exploit and steal" African music. To placate the accuser, McCartney agreed not to enlist help from local musicians. He also steered clear of giving any songs an "African" sound.
By the end of September of 1973, six weeks into their stay in Lagos, the Wings entourage was relieved to be headed back to London. Overdubs were added at Air Studios, including terrific orchestral arrangements by Tony Visconti, best known for his production work on albums by Marc Bolan and David Bowie. On October 28, the iconic cover photo (which featured actors Christopher Lee and James Coburn, among other celebrities) was shot. Incredibly, despite the harrowing incidents that occurred in Lagos, the album brimmed with a buoyant spirit, and was rife with such classics as "Jet" (which found McCartney paying tribute to the family's Lab puppy) and "Helen Wheels" (which did the same for McCartney's Land Rover).
Even more remarkable, McCartney continued to choose unusual places to record Wings' albums, traveling to such far-flung cities as Paris, New Orleans, Nashville and the Virgin Islands. Lagos, however, did not receive a return visit. In 1998, 25 years after making Band on the Run, McCartney offered an assessment of the experience. "When we got back home, people said, 'Ah, out of adversity has been born a good album.' But I hate that theory. It may well be true, but that's why I don't like it. I hate the idea that you've got to sweat and suffer to produce something good. But it turned out successfully anyway."
Indeed, even John Lennon, who generally only grudgingly complimented McCartney's post-Beatles work, concurred. "Band on the Run is a great album," Lennon told Rolling Stone, not long after the album was released. "Wings keep changing all the time. It doesn't matter who's playing. You can call them Wings, but it's Paul McCartney music – and it's good stuff."
U2 frontman Bono and guitarist The Edge are known for much more than just their chart-topping rock anthems: Both are humanitarians who have lent their time and hearts to a variety of causes over the years. We're taking a closer look at the statesmen of rock 'n' roll with profiles of both Bono and The Edge to get to know both a bit better.
U2's David "The Edge" Howell Evans was born in Barking, Essex, in East London, to Gwenda and Garvin Evans. He met the guys who would eventually make up U2 in school, and formally joined the band in the mid-'70s, after responding to a notice posted on his school's bulletin board at Mount Temple appealing for musicians.
Right as U2 were getting off their feet, Bono renamed Dave Evans. His new moniker, "The Edge," is a name he would take with him for his entire career.
Following high school graduation, The Edge decided to wait a year to pursue collage and, instead, focused on music and U2. He left U2 at one point in the late-'70s, but Bono convinced him to follow his heart, and The Edge soon found his way back to the band. The rest is rock 'n' roll history.
The Edge married Aislinn O'Sullivan in 1983, and the two had three daughters: Hollie, Arran and Blue Angel. The two separated in 1990 and divorced in 1996. He married Morleigh Steinberg, the belly dancer and choreographer from the Zoo TV Tour, in 2002, and the two have two children: Sian and Levi.
The Edge's guitar work truly defines U2's sweeping, clean sound. He's known for his soaring sonic textures and heavily processed, ringing guitars.
All of the members of U2 have been supporters of organizations such as Greenpeace and Amnesty International. In 2005, The Edge took his involvement further and co-founded the charity Music Rising with Bob Ezrin and Gibson's own Henry Juszkiewicz in response to Hurricane Katrina. The goal of the organization was to restore the Gulf Coast's musical climate by replacing instruments that had been lost in the tragedy. The Edge also publically supports the New York Food Bank and Mencap Northern Ireland.
"Just as a comedian doesn't want to tell the same jokes over and over, we don't want to play the same songs the same way. On the other hand, we've now come to a place where we're comfortable admitting we have our own style and we can do what we want with it. It's our sound. We made it, and we can break it if we want. Of course, we're the only ones that know how to put it back together again, too. All it takes is lots of arguing," on U2's evolving sound, via Guitar World.
" … Jamming is really the most awful, excruciating experience for me, I really don't enjoy it. First of all, that's not how I work as a guitar player. I compose using the instrument, I don't really sit down and play for the sake of playing stuff. So the idea of jamming – endless, directionless noodling around some nondescript chord progression – I really find very boring. Obviously a great song is fun to play, but U2 were never really in that phase of The Beatles in Hamburg or Van Morrison in showbands or Dylan in the folk clubs, of knowing and learning a big collection of classics. We never did that, and at the time we were forming as a band there really wasn't a large collection of songs that we felt like learning. It was actually a moment where the past was being thrown out the window, so its very much part of our DNA as a band not to be too reverential, as a general rule, and to try and look forward all the time. Invention being what we value most highly as opposed to emulation – which is what a lot of musicians feel is important, being able to play like the greats," on jamming with other guitarists, via The Telegraph.
"I suppose ultimately I'm interested in music. I'm a musician. I'm not a gunslinger. That's the difference between what I do and what a lot of guitar heroes do," on resisting rock 'n' roll clichés, via www.atu2.com.
Who: Paul David "Bono" Hewson
Born: May 10, 1960
Instruments: Vocals, guitar
U2 frontman Paul David "Bono" Hewson was born in the north Dublin suburb of Ballymun. His father, Brendan Robert Hewson, was Catholic, and his mother, Iris Elizabeth Rankin, was protestant.
At the age of 14, Bono suffered a tragedy when his mother passed away after experiencing a brain hemorrhage at her own father's funeral.
Shortly after losing his mother, Hewson got his nickname. At first, his new name was "Steinhegvanhuysenolegbangbangbang," but that moniker evolved to "Bonavox of O'Connell Street" (after a hearing aid show in Dublin) to Bono Vox ("good voice" in Latin) and, eventually, to "Bono." A childhood friend, "Guggi" (Derek Rowan), helped give him the name.
As for love, Bono began dating Alison Stewart in 1976, and the two were married on August 21, 1982. The couple has four children: Jordan, Memphis Eve, Elijah Bob Patricius Guggi and John Abraham.
Like The Edge, Bono responded to a note on the Mount Temple bulletin board calling for musicians. The band started under the name Feedback, which evolved to Hype and, finally, U2. The band, of course, would become one of the biggest rock bands in the world.
Bono is known for not only his lush, powerful tenor, but also for his moving lyrical themes. U2 have always made faith, hope and love their central motifs, and that's thanks in no small part to Bono's spiritual lyrics.
Bono has a long history of dedicating his time to causes both with and outside of U2. His activism started when he traveled to Ethiopia with World Vision to lend a helping hand to a feeding camp with his wife Ali. For decades, Bono has assisted a number of causes and charities, including Greenpeace, the Jubilee 2000 project and beyond. He fought to end AIDS and extreme poverty in Africa by co-founding the lobbying organization DATA (Debt, Aid, Trade, Africa) and combated poverty with the ONE Campaign to Make Poverty History (U.S.) and the Make Poverty History movement (U.K.). Bono also was instrumental, alongside Bob Geldof, in helping to put together the Live 8 concerts in 2005, a collection of events around the world with the goal to increase aid, cancel Third World debt and help better the terms of trade with the world's poorest countries and regions.
More recently, in 2006, Bono and Bobby Shriver co-founded the Product (RED) campaign, which aims to sway large companies with global brands to sell a few lines of products from which a part of the revenue will go towards the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and malaria. Bono has helped many other charities over the years, and he's widely considered one of rock's biggest humanitarians.
"Our generation will be remembered for the Internet, for the war against terror, and for how we let an entire continent burst into flames while we stood around with watering cans—or not," regarding the AIDS epidemic, via Oprah.
"… I often wonder if religion is the enemy of God. It's almost like religion is what happens when the Spirit has left the building. God's Spirit moves through us and the world at a pace that can never be constricted by any one religious paradigm. I love that. You know, it says somewhere in the scriptures that the Spirit moves like a wind--no one knows where it's come from or where it's going. The Spirit is described in the Holy Scriptures as much more anarchic than any established religion credits," on religion, via Beliefnet.com.
"We have so many [new] songs, some of our best. But I'm putting some time aside to just go and get lost in the music. I want to take my young boys and my wife and just disappear with my iPod Nano and some books and an acoustic guitar," on U2's future, via Rolling Stone.
It's one of the big questions in rock (or more accurately metal) right now: why exactly is Bill Ward not playing with Black Sabbath right now?" There have been plenty of rumors as to why Bill's not involved, Ozzy Osbourne has finally shed some light on the matter by suggesting Ward's playing was out of shape.
In an interview with Mojo magazine, Ozzy said the band started to wonder if Ward had the stamina for a 90-minute or two-hour show. "My suggestion was that we run through a set and see how he got on because he was so out of condition and the drummer is the most demanding job in the whole band," Ozzy said. "We looked at Bill, and he couldn't remember what the [expletive] we were doing. But he didn't come clean and say, 'I can't cut this gig, but can we work something out, guys, where I'll come on but with another drummer backing me up?' Or, 'I'll come and play a few songs.' That would have been cool."
Osbourne went on to say that he understood Ward's pride was hurt. "The guy will always be a dear, dear friend and a brother to me, but … He can't be surprised that he didn't get the gig," Ozzy says.
While Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Will performs on Sabbath's forthcoming album 13, Ozzy's drummer Tommy Clufetos is manning the drum throne on tour. And as this writer can attest, having caught one of the two Melbourne, Australia shows last week, Clufetos is doing a great job, even getting a standing ovation from much of the crowd after his drum solo. Given the immensity of taking over from Ward, that's quite an achievement.
Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars says he's "alright" after being knocked over by a 'fan' at a show in Canada on Saturday.
The band were playing Primal Scream at Spectra Place in Estevan, Saskatchewan when someone from audience made their way onto the stage, knocking over Mars before grabbing Vince Neil — and subsequently being tackled by security to the soundtrack of a few choice words from Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee.
The show was stopped and the band left the stage. Eventually they returned to finish the concert. "Thank all of you for your concerns about me being knocked down last night," Mars tweeted. "I'm alright; nothing broken. My bodyguard Rhyno got two busted ribs."
The incident is particularly shocking given Mars's battle with ankylosing spondylitis, a condition he was diagnosed with at the age of 19 and which is progressively fusing his bones together.
And further adding insult to quite literal injury, the incident happened on Mars's 62nd birthday.
Aerosmith bass player Tom Hamilton was forced to quit the Australian leg of the Aerosmith tour last week before the band's first Melbourne gig but has updated fans from his sickbed.
Hamilton tweeted, "The only thing that's kinda cool about this pneumonia thing, is all the sweet sweet luv I'm gettin from the 4 corners of the globe!"
Hamilton flew to Australia and played on the first Aerosmith show in Sydney on April 20 and also the next in New Zealand but fell ill with pneumonia just prior to the Melbourne show last weekend.
Hamilton has since returned back to the U.S. His place in Aerosmith was taken by bass player David Hull who was flown in to continue the tour. Hull has played with Aerosmith before when Hamilton was sidelined. Hull is also a member of the Joe Perry Project and also writes soundtrack music for the TV show NCIS.
A long list of music luminaries have signed on to appear in a new documentary about legendary bluesman B.B. King. Expect to see Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Slash, Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Ringo Starr and Bono all pop up in the film.
The flick, titled B.B. King — The Life of Riley, will premiere in North American on June 14 at the NXNE Film Festival in Toronto, Canada. Morgan Freeman will narrate the documentary. Other musicians set to be featured in the movie include Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Dr. John, Leon Russell, Mick Hucknall of Simply Red, Bill Wyman and the late John Lennon.
B.B. King is 87 years old and still active on the touring circuit. The guitarist has dozens of summer North American shows lined up, and for a list of upcoming tour dates, head to his official website.
It took a decade, but Fleetwood Mac fans can at last enjoy new music from the band. The veteran rockers have unveiled Extended Play, an EP featuring four brand new songs written by Lindsey Buckingham, plus a rediscovered and revamped track originally written by Stevie Nicks during sessions for the 1973 album project, Buckingham Nicks. The EP marks the first instance in which the band has released new studio material since they issued their 2003 album, Say You Will. Buckingham promised the EP was on its way during a concert in Philadelphia in March. "One of the things we thought would be a good idea before we hit the road would be to go into the studio and cut some new material," he told the crowd. "So last year we did that. It's the best stuff we've done in a long time and in a few days we're going to drop an EP of new stuff."
Extended Play track list:
"It Takes Time"
It's been 35 years since Cheap Trick recorded their iconic live album At Budokan in Tokyo. Having already sold gold with their first three studio releases in Japan, At Budokan would become the band's major US breakthrough. To celebrate the 35-year anniversary of the Budokan gigs, which took place on April 28 and 30 respectively in 1978, Cheap Trick decided to play concerts on those very dates on both coasts of the US.
On April 28 guitarist Rick Nielsen, singer Robin Zander, bassist Tom Petersson, and drummer Daxx (who is Rick Nielsen's son) took the stage at a John Varvatos boutique in New York City, located where the legendary club CBGB's once was. The band played a 90-minute set that included classics like "Surrender," and "I Want You to Want Me." Rolling Stone reports that the venue, which can only hold a few hundred people, was so packed that people spilled out in to the streets.
The band did another anniversary gig April 30 at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles in order to pay homage to both Budokan shows.
700 lucky fans were treated to the concert experience of a lifetime on Saturday. With just an hour to go before tickets went on sale, it was announced that the Rolling Stones would play a warm-up gig for their upcoming U.S. tour at Echoplex, in Los Angeles' Echo Park area. The tickets, which were priced at $20, were sold through a lottery to the more than 2000 people that showed up.
Mick and the boys played a 14 song set, starting with "You Got Me Rocking" from the Voodoo Lounge album, and ending with "Start Me Up," before a crowd-pleasing encore of "Brown Sugar," and "Jumpin' Jack Flash." The show also included a guest appearance from former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, who joined the band for "Love in Vain," and "Midnight Rambler."
British band New Build, who were originally scheduled to appear that night at Echoplex, jokingly tweeted about being bumped by the Stones: "Right, that's it. The Rolling Stones have nicked our gig tonight at the Echo. This time it's personal. Going down to have a word with Mick."
The Rolling Stones officially start their tour on Friday May 3, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It was originally supposed to kick off on May 2, but the concert was pushed back one day due to the NBA playoffs.
Progressive legends Yes are considering recording a new album in 2014 with new vocalist Jon Davison, according to keyboard player Geoff Downes.
Downes tells Bravewords.com's Martin Popoff that there has been talk of tackling another album after the band's current run of touring is through. "You know, we've discussed it, and certainly I think Jon would be a very useful contributor to that," Downes says. "And it would be nice to do an album with him. Because we did an album with Benoit [former vocalist Benoît David, who recorded Fly From Here with the band in 2011], but we would also like to do an album with Jon."
Davison joined Yes in February 2012 after Benoît David suffered respiratory failure. Davison, formerly of Seattle band Sky Cries Mary, was recommended to Yes bassist Chris Squire by Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.
If you're on Instagram you should follow James Hetfield. The mighty riffmeister often posts pictures of his hot rod car collection; banners made by fans from all over the world and hung up in Metallica headquarters, and of course plenty of guitars (including his '59 Les Paul a few months ago).
Hetfield isn't on Facebook or Twitter, and when he first joined Instagram the few fans who had found his account were initially skeptical. Of course, that was back when he had around 40 followers - now he has 29,800 and counting. Follow him at http://instagram.com/papa_het
Aerosmith bass player Tom Hamilton has dropped out of the band's current tour as he battles a chest infection.
Aerosmith are currently on a tour of Australia and New Zealand, including a co-headlining slot at the recent Stone Music Festival with Van Halen and Billy Joel.
Hamilton has returned home to the USA to recover, and he plans to rejoin the band and continue their Global Warming tour when he feels well enough.
Filling in for now is film and TV composer David Hull, a founding member of Dirty Angels and a collaborator with Joe Perry in The Joe Perry Project. Hull was flown in from the USA at short notice to fill in for Hamilton. Hull also filled in for Hamilton in 2006 during the Route of All Evil tour, when the bassist was recovering from throat cancer, and again during the band's 2009 co-headlining tour with ZZ Top.
Black Sabbath have expanded their four 2013 tour dates into a full, 20-date North American tour. It starts July 25 in Houston, Texas.
The heavy metal legends are currently performing in Australia and New Zealand, with a Tokyo show set for May 12 at the first-ever Ozzfest in Japan. When Sabbath return to the U.S. they’ll play cities including Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Detroit and San Francisco along with their already-announced dates in Los Angeles, Seattle, Toronto and Holmdel, New Jersey.
Sabbath release their new album, 13, on June 11. It is the original band’s first album with frontman Ozzy Osbourne since 1978's Never Say Die.
Black Sabbath’s newly announced tour dates are:
7/25 Houston, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
7/27 Austin, TX – Frank Erwin Center
7/29 Tampa, FL – Live Nation Amphitheatre
7/31 W. Palm Beach, FL Cruzan Amphitheatre
8/2 Bristow, VA – Jiffy Lube Live
8/4 Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
8/6 Detroit, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre
8/8 Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena
8/10 Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
8/12 Boston, MA – Comcast Center
8/14 Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
8/16 Tinley Park, IL – First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
8/18 Indianapolis, IN – Klipsch Music Center
8/22 Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
8/24 Seattle, WA – Gorge Amphitheatre 8/26 San Francisco, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre at Mountain View
8/28 Irvine, CA – Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
8/30 Phoenix, AZ – US Airways Center
9/1 Las Vegas, NV – MGM Grand Garden Arena
9/3 Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles Sports Arena
The first track from 13 - “God is Dead?” – has already hit 1 million views on Sabbath’s official YouTube channel. Listen below.
Metallica’s new 3D film is set to become the first movie to debut on IMAX’s chain of giant-sized screens. As reported by Billboard.com, Metallica Through the Never will be shown on every IMAX screen in North America for one week, starting September 27. The film, which mixes concert footage with dramatic narrative, will see full release a week later, on October 4. “To be at the forefront in this situation where IMAX has never done this is very exciting," Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich said. "It's also a bit of a confidence booster. Being in the movie-making business is not necessarily our forte and it's been a very interesting three years. We've learned a lot about a lot of different things. The recognition from IMAX and to be able to have our fans and people that are interested in this film to see it and experience it in the IMAX format is super cool."
The Skynyrd tune, called “Winning Isn’t Everything,” will be played during the opening of the show at 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, in conjunction with the show’s new season, according to EW. The Southern rock legends put together the custom-made tune, called “Winning Isn’t Everything,” just for the show.
Skynyrd is also taking part is some promotions for the show’s new season. The gents will play a free show at a “Party Like the Pawn Stars” event that will take place this Friday (April 26) at Pawn Stars’ Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. The group is scheduled to play for over an hour, and, yes, expect to hear the new tune as well as the classics.
“Winning Isn’t Everything” will also be available for download via iTunes beginning on April 30.
Metallica are currently hard at work on their upcoming 3D movie, Metallica Through The Never. While this is exciting news for the band’s fans, it does mean that the next studio album from Metallica is quite far off. Kirk Hammett tells GulfNews that the band tentatively intend to finish the new material during next year: “That’s what we’re hoping would happen. Whether that’s a reality, we’ll see. We’re recording stuff here and there but it’s a pretty slow process.”
Hammett continued by saying “Metallica Through The Never is taking precedence over anything else at the moment. We want to make sure the movie gets our full attention and it turns out the way we want it to turn out.”
Metallica have been known to take their time when recording new material, and Hammett says he quite enjoys the breaks between recording sessions, when he gets to play live on stage with the band: “I really enjoy playing live shows. It’s enormously satisfying writing songs. It’s not so fun for me in the studio because I am a bit ADD.”
In an interview with CBS, transcribed by Rolling Stone magazine, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood share some insight in to how the Rolling Stones prepare for their upcoming “50 & Counting” tour. Jagger said: “Personally, I start preparing about two months before the tour starts. So I have to up my fitness level and I have to start singing everyday, doing practices and a bit of dancing.” Jagger practices his classic dance moves in front of a mirror in a studio, so that everything will look just right come opening night. “I kept hedging when people asked me, but I knew, the year before,” said Jagger about the upcoming tour that was veiled in secrecy up until the last minute, with tickets going on sale barely a month before the first show on May 2 in Los Angeles.
Keith Richards spoke of how the band communicate and stay in synch during shows: “Charlie gives me a little signal, a certain little rap that he's ready to go,” said Richards. “Then Ronnie and I, we just passed looks at each other all the time.” By the look of it, all four members of the Rolling Stones seem ready to go once the tour kicks off in little over a week.
It took power trio Rush 14 years to be elected in to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame after becoming eligible in 1999. However, in their native Canada, they have been bestowed with no less than nine Juno Awards, which is the Canadian version of The Grammys. Their first came in 1975, and the band just won their latest Juno Award for Rock Album Of The Year with their 2012 album Clockwork Angels.
Upon being inducted in to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Rush drummer Neil Peart told the crowd “We’ve been saying for a long time that this wasn’t a big deal. Turns out… it kinda is!” Rush fans have been lobbying for the band to be included in the Hall Of Fame for years, and finally their work has paid off. Geddy Lee and Co. are currently on tour in support of Clockwork Angels, a tour that will take them all over the United States, Canada, and Europe throughout the summer.
Folk singer and guitarist Richie Havens passed away on April 22 from a heart attack. Havens was know for his rhythmic guitar style in open tunings. One of his specialties was re-arranging other famous songs in his own style, like for example the Beatles' “Here Comes the Sun,” and Bob Dylan's “Just Like a Woman.” Aside from playing covers, Havens wrote his own music as well, like for example “Handsome Johnny” which he co-wrote with actor Lou Gossett Jr..
Many will remember Havens as the first artist to play at the Woodstock Festival back in 1969, replacing the band Sweetwater who were supposed to open the event. Havens announced last year that he would stop touring, citing health issues as the reason.
The performance was the band's first ever show with David Lee Roth on Australian soil: they never toured Oz with either Dave or Sammy Hagar back in the day. Their only Australian run was with Gary Cherone on vocals at the start of the Van Halen III tour.
And the Stone appearance was their only Australian date. Noise 11's Paul Cashmere reports, "Considering this was the first and maybe even the last time Roth and Van Halen will ever perform in Australia attendance was poor. Maybe 5000 punters witnessed the rare Van Halen show in Sydney. A cold and rainy night at an outdoor gig did nothing to entice people out of their homes for this show either. Not even the late addition of Aerosmith to the bill took Stone Fest off life support. Those who did see it witnessed something special."
Rush drummer Neal Peart said the honor was especially important to fans of the Canadian rockers. “It reflected back on them," he said. "We've always said it's not something that meant a lot to us, but we knew our fans cared so much to be validated like that — that their favorite band, like their favorite sports team, should be celebrated as champions."
Heart’s Nancy Wilson said she “felt like [she] got into the cool ball team,” adding that many artists already in the Hall were some of Heart’s biggest influences. Heart was also acknowledged by Public Enemy’s Chuck D, who compared the Wilson sisters’ breaking of barriers to that of his own band. “Heart persevered and just broke through a mould and it's the same thing with us in our genre," he said. Other inductees included Quincy Jones, Randy Newman, Donna Summer and blues great Albert King. “Albert King is why guitar-face was invented,” said John Mayer.
Storm Thorgerson, the graphic artist who designed the iconic cover for Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, died yesterday (April 18) from cancer. He was 69. A childhood friend of the band, Thorgerson designed many albums for Pink Floyd, including Animals and Wish You Were Here. He also created artwork for albums by Black Sabbath, Genesis and Led Zeppelin, including Houses of the Holy. In a statement issued via BBC News, guitarist Dave Gilmour said Thorgerson’s role with Pink Floyd was integral to the band’s identity. “The artworks that he created for Pink Floyd from 1968 to the present day have been an inseparable part of our work," he said.
Gilmour went on to remember Thorgerson in more personal terms. "We first met in our early teens,” he said. “We would gather at Sheep's Green, a spot by the river in Cambridge, and Storm would always be there holding forth, making the most noise, bursting with ideas and enthusiasm. Nothing has ever really changed. He has been a constant force in my life, both at work and in private, a shoulder to cry on and a great friend. I will miss him."
Stevie Nicks has spent much of the past two years promoting her solo album, In Your Dreams. Surprisingly, Nicks is now admitting that all the hard work didn’t really result in much success sales-wise.
“I didn't sell a lot of records, you guys. For me, for a big act like moi, I didn’t,” Nicks said via CTV News. “Worldwide I probably sold 300,000 records. It’s awesome if you’re an unknown artist and you have a hit single, but it’s not really that awesome if you’re Stevie Nicks.”
So, what’s the reason for the slow sales? Nicks says it’s simply because the music business has changed. “It’s such a different age now,” she said.
As for the present, Nicks will be on tour with Fleetwood Mac through this fall. So far, she loves the change. “Fleetwood Mac’s much more sophisticated and grown up,” she said. “And my show is just like a big slumber party in an auditorium.”
Are you planning to catch Fleetwood Mac on this 2013 tour? Let us know in the comments area below.
The ceremony will mark the honoring of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, who will receive the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award for his commitment to helping addicts in their recovery process, as well as the longstanding support he has given for the MusiCares MAP Fund in general.
The foundation is dedicated to providing all the members of the music community with an addiction recovery treatment, regardless of their financial status. Bennington gave MusiCares MAP Fund nothing but praises, saying, “MusiCares MAP Fund is an amazing program that takes care of their own, and actually saves lives. It's been so rewarding to support them and see first-hand what they've accomplished for so many artists.”
Slash himself has, of course, battled with addiction illnesses, but has recently been in fine form. He recently played in the U.K. and has started work on yet another album with his band The Conspirators, with Myles Kennedy on vocals.
In March, Slash tweeted: “Started the demo process for the next S/M & the Conspirators record last night; lots of material to work up. It's going 2 be good.”
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Graham Nash said, “It’s going to (expletive deleted) stun people. We only multi-tracked eight or nine shows from the tour, and we’ve chosen the best from those gigs. We’ve had to do a little tuning, but not that much… But the spirit of the band! If I take myself out the band and look at it, it was a great band.”
David Crosby is equally enthusiastic. “I am one of the most egotistical people on this planet,” he laughed. “When I hear this s***, I think, for a moment we were probably the best band. It’s startlingly good.”
CSNY’s reunion tour has become widely known as the “Doom Tour” due to fractious personal relationships and too many drugs. Neil Young has previously said that he was upset by the lack of new material offered by his then-bandmates.
No title for the album is yet confirmed, but Crosby says, “I want to call it What Could Possibly Go Wrong? I’m going to dig my heels and seriously fight for that. You can’t hear that without laughing your head off. It’s important to look at yourselves with a sense of humor in retrospect and realize what gigantic egos we had and what idiots we were. But I think it’s a great title. If I don’t get it, I’ll threaten to quit the band – at which point I’ll be reminded that there’s no band to quit!”
Crosby, Stills & Nash (without Young) are currently preparing to tour the U.S. and Europe in May-June 2013.
Black Sabbath begin a world tour next Saturday in Auckland, New Zealand. Guitarist Tony Iommi has spoken of his battle with cancer, as he prepares to go on tour with Sabbath.
The Birmingham Mail reports Iommi has been receiving regular treatments at the Parkway Hospital in Birmingham, England.
“I have to have an antibody administered by drip every six weeks or so to keep the lymphoma in check,” Iommi says. “It sort of coats the cancer cells, stops it from going anywhere else. I have to come back home no matter where I might be in the world. The tour dates are arranged so that I can always get back for treatment. It’s the only way I can manage my illness and keep on the road. I’d love to play more shows than we’re doing but my health has to be sorted out first.”
“The infusions I have are part of the chemotherapy regime,” Iommi continues. “It’s relatively new treatment and they don’t know what all the side-effects might be yet, but I wanted to try it. After each session I feel sick and tired, and that lasts for a week or so. I’m finding that it takes around 10 days to fully recover from each round of treatment, but if that’s what it takes, I have to accept it.”
“In myself I’m feeling OK now,” sums up the riff legend. “When I first found that I had the illness, it was a dark time and I was a bit spaced out. Since we’ve been in rehearsals and recording sessions, I’ve felt pretty good – great even. I think that the album and tour have given me something immediate to get my teeth into, something to accomplish.”
Gibson.com wishes Tony well, of course. Black Sabbath release their new album 13 on June 11.
Van Halen singer David Lee Roth recently talked to Rolling Stone about wanting bassist Michael Anthony back in the band, praising his backing vocals: “Clearly, vocals are every bit as much a component of success as a rhythm section or a guitar solo [...] And what we have at our fingertips is arguably one of the greatest high tenor voices ever – that was in Michael Anthony. That voice is as identifiable as the high voice in Earth, Wind and Fire, as identifiable as the high voice in the Beach Boys.”
Now Anthony has responded to the flattering comments on the Howard Stern Show, as reported via Blabbermouth: “It was flattering to hear Dave talk like that. He never used to talk like that when we were all playing together! “ Anthony was replaced by Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang on bass for the reunion tour with Diamond Dave.
However, Anthony is not particularly looking for a reunion as much as rekindling old friendships: “At this point in your life and career and whatever, it’s more about the friendship, and just people. And if the music side of it happens, if that comes about, all the better – but that’s not what it’s really about at this point.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler talks about one of his goals that he has yet to reach in his career - a tour with AC/DC. Says Tyler: “I would take a pay cut to play with AC/DC. It's one of my last things to do, go on tour with them. I don't really care about the money, and I don't care about some great review. It's more about the fans – it's always been about them.”
Aerosmith are about to co-headline with another great rock band - Van Halen. The two bands will appear at the Stone Music Festival in Sydney, Australia. Aerosmith even moved their own concert which was scheduled a week later at the same venue so that they could co-headline with Eddie and the boys. Joe Perry explained the setup for the show: “There’s been talk about us co-headlining for years. But they’re one of those bands that do a cycle then split, so it’s been really hard.”
Aerosmith released their latest album Music From Another Dimension last year, which did not sell very well. It seems as if the band may have come to terms with simply going on tour and playing all their classic songs, like so many other bands of that era, as Tyler reflects: “We’ve been strung out and sober. We’ve sold in and we’ve sold out. Some days we didn’t even sell at all. What matters is we’re still together as a band.”
Keith Richards joined Eric Clapton at the fourth installment of Clapton’s Crossroads Festival. The festival, which took place over the past weekend at New York City’s Madison Square Garden featured a wide range of blues artists, ranging from old timers like Buddy Guy to the younger generation, like Gary Clark Jr., and John Mayer.
Richards joined Clapton on stage during the Saturday night (April 13) performance for the songs “Key to the Highway,” and “Sweet Little Rock & Roller.” According to Billboard, Richards addressed the audience before the latter song, saying “Now we're gonna rock it up.” One can imagine that Richards wanted to get a little stage time before the Rolling Stones kick of their “50 & Counting” tour in a few weeks. If you missed the Crossroads festival this time around, it will be back, as Clapton announced before leaving the stage Saturday: “See you in three years.”
Now when spring is approaching nobody really wants to think about the fall, but it’s nice to know that there is something to look forward to. Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails have both been confirmed for Voodoo Music and Arts Experience in November. This year marks the festival’s 15th anniversary.
Other big names in rock confirmed so far are The Gaslight Anthem and Paramore. Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor will actually appear twice at the festival, since he will also be performing with How To Destroy Angels, his side project featuring his wife Mariqueen Maandig. It still remains to bee seen if Pearl Jam will have any new music to tour behind by the time the festival rolls around. Their latest album Backspacer was released in 2009. Voodoo Music and Arts Experience is set to take place on November 1, 2, and 3.
The strange world of rock memorabilia has just got stranger. The front door from Paul McCartney's childhood home has sold for £5000 ($7680).
The door from 20 Forthlin Road, Allerton, Liverpool went for the top estimate at auction in Gloucestershire, England.
The young Beatle lived in the property from 1955-1964 and learned to play guitar, piano, drums and the trumpet whilst living there. McCartney’s house was bought by the U.K’s National Trust in 1995 but the windows, tiles and fittings were refurbished in the late 1970s, after which the original door was bought by singer Glen South, who then kept the item behind his sofa.
Auctioneer Chris Albury said of the sale: “It came down to three people bidding against each other and the winner was a phone bidder from Lancashire. We're very happy with the result.”
He added, unsurprisingly: “It is an odd thing to offer and a curious thing to put a value on – £5,000 is a serious price.”
When McCartney wrote his Wings hit “Let ‘Em In” (“someone’s knocking at the door/somebody’s ringing the bell”) we assume he didn’t have this auction in mind.
Bernie Leadon will rejoin the Eagles for their upcoming tour. Singer Don Henley revealed that a former member was coming back to the group in a February radio interview. But he said it would not be Don Felder.
Now, Joe Walsh has told Billboard that it will be Bernie Leadon. “Bernie’s brilliant,” Walsh said. “I never really got a chance to play with him, but we’ve been in contact. We see him from time to time, and I’m really glad he’s coming because it’s going to take the show up a notch, and I’m really looking forward to playing with him, finally.”
Leadon was a member of Dillard and Clark and the Flying Burrito Brothers before becoming a founding member of the Eagles. He was with the group only until 1975 when he reportedly became disillusioned with the AOR direction the band was taking, away from their country-rock roots.
Even so, the Eagles’ Greatest Hits (1971-1975), one of the biggest selling albums of all-time, covers the years that Leadon was guitarist with the band.
Joe Walsh is at work on a follow-up to his acclaimed 2012 solo album, Analog Man. Speaking to Billboard.com, the Eagles guitarist said the album will mix original material with “real obscure R&B and blues songs.” Pitching in on the project are some high-profile guests, including Dr. John, Robert Randolph, Keb' Mo', Jim Keltner and Jeff Beck bassist Tal Wilkenfeld. “I’ll say, loosely, I’ve started a blues album,” Walsh said. “Half of it is original, and half of it is old Howlin' Wolf or John Lee Hooker. I told everybody to bring a song in and everybody did, be it an old blues song or some idea. We went through some old Stax records from, like, the Otis Redding days, Sam & Dave stuff that were just albums tracks, and did our version of a whole bunch of stuff." Walsh added that he doesn’t yet have a timeframe in mind for the album’s release.
In the same interview, the veteran rocker mentioned that Eagle co-founder Bernie Leadon will be a special guest on the forthcoming “History of the Eagles” tour. "I never really got a chance to play with him,” Walsh revealed, “but we've been in contact. We see him from time to time, and I'm really glad he's coming because it's going to take the show up a notch, and I'm really looking forward to playing with him, finally."
Neil Young is dedicated to helping the environment, so much so that he is taking a new, fuel-efficient hybrid car, Lincvolt, for spin.
Young kicked off the Lincvolt idea several years ago, with the hopes of utilizing modern technology to give an inefficient 1959 Lincoln Continental convertible a makeover and make it fuel-efficient. Now, Young is out on the road with his clean ride, and he’s started a special blog to document his travels, called “Under the Hood.” Thus far, Young has driven through Southern California, making stops in Joshua Tree National Park and the Imperial Sand Dunes. The blog entries are being penned from the viewpoint of the car, which makes for a witty read. The blog also offers some colorful photos.
Good news for Sir Paul fans: Paul McCartney & Wings’ popular 1976 concert album Wings over America is set to be reissued in an assortment of different formats on May 27, according to McCartney’s official website. The original, three-LP set featured performances from the only Wings concert to pass through North America.
Among the many versions of the collection that will be available is a Wings over America “super-deluxe” box set, packing four CDs and four books. That set will offer a remastered, two-CD edition of the original album, a bonus disc offering a Wings show at San Francisco’s Cow Palace and a DVD of the 75-minute Wings over the World TV special. For details on all of the versions, visit McCartney’s website.
In other Wings news, the band’s 1976 concert firm featuring performances from the 1975-76 McCartney & Wings tour, Rockshow, will be available on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time on June 10. The film will also play as a one-night-only screening on May 15 in over 500 theaters around the globe. To find a theater near you, head to www.RockshowOnScreen.com.
What’s your favorite McCartney jam, whether it’s with the Beatles, Wings or his solo work? Let us know your Sir Paul picks in the comments section below!
U2 frontman Bono and pop luminary Elton John have signed on to take part in the 25th anniversary gala for the Robin Hood Foundation, which has a long history of raising funds for New York City-based organizations fighting poverty.
According to Bloomberg, Mary J. Blige is also slated to perform at the May 13 gala. Justin Timberlake and his wife, Jessica Biel, will co-chair the festivities.
Want to go? A limited number of tickets are currently available for $3,000 each, while a table costs between $30,000 and $250,000.
Robin Hood’s annual gala started in 1988, and since then, it’s become the largest single-night annual fundraising event for a New York-based nonprofit, according to Bloomberg. Since its initiation, the organization has raised over $1.25 billion dollars. The Robin Hood Foundation recently provided over $70 million in funding for Hurricane Sandy relief with their 12-12-12 concert. For more on the organization, visit www.robinhood.org.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, filmmakers Randall Miller and Jody Savin have purchased the rights to Allman’s best-selling memoir, My Cross to Bear. Miller and Savin will write the screenplay together, and Miller will direct.
The movie-making duo say they will focus on two aspects of the musician’s life: tracking his journey to success through the formation of the Allman Brothers Band and their explosion onto the music scene, and the portrait of an older Allman who recognizes and conquers his demons. “We knew it was a great story, but didn’t know how great it was until we read the book,” said Miller, who added that the memoir’s arc of “uplift” is what attracted them. “That journey and coming out the other side is not the normal falling-into-hell story that rock and roll often is.” Allman and his manager, Michael Lehman, will serve as executive producers. Savin and Miller said they will work closely with both men to make the story as authentic as possible.
Metallica have unveiled their own pinball machine. As reported by Metal Hammer, the games machine was designed by Stern Pinball Inc., the same company that developed a pinball machine for AC/DC a year and a half ago. Metallica tracks included on the new machine include “Creeping Death,” “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” “Master Of Puppets,” “Fuel,” “Battery,” “Sad But True” and “Enter Sandman,” among others. It’s expected the machine will make an appearance at the band’s second annual Orion Music + More Festival, to be held in Detroit on June 8 and 9.
Meanwhile, the veteran rockers are working on a new album, and a new book – Metallic: The Complete Illustrated History – is slated for publication in November. The band’s James Hetfield presents a sneak preview of the forthcoming pinball machine below.
Former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman has said that he is not interested in rejoining his former band. Wyman played with the Stones for the first time in 20 years in London in November last year. The Express asked Wyman what he would say if Mick Jagger asked him to rejoin the band: “I'd say 'no'…Thirty years was great but I've got better things to be doing now. That time has gone.”
Wyman seems to be upset that he only got to play on two songs with the band: “I thought I was going to get quite heavily involved because I was led to believe that throughout the year by them,” adding “Keith [Richards] in particular made me think that I would be a large part of it but when it came to it they told me they only wanted me to do two songs. It was fun but I regretted not playing more. I was a bass guitarist, a rhythm guitarist; I have to be on the button from the moment Charlie [Watts] does that first drum roll… I came off just as I was warming up and getting into it.”
When he was asked if he wanted to join the Stones for the US leg of the anniversary tour, Wyman turned down the offer: “When they asked me to go to America for two weeks to do three shows there, I said 'For two songs? No thank you'.” It remains to be seen if Wyman will be invited to play with the Rolling Stones at any of their upcoming UK gigs this summer.
Tensions have been running high between Eddie Van Halen and former Van Halen lead singer Sammy Hagar ever since their reunion tour in 2004. But now it seems as if Hagar is ready to bury the hatchet with his former bandmate. When asked by Vegas Rocks what he would say to Eddie if they met today, Hagar responded: “I’d say: ‘Wow – great! You look like you’re healthy. I’m really proud of you and I’d like to see you continuing doing that. Here’s my phone number. Call me up if you want to hang, and just have some fun and goof off.”
But that’s not to say that Sammy is hoping for a Van Halen reunion: “I wouldn’t say, ‘Hey, let’s get together and do it again,’ because you would have to do that slow. I’d never do it again under the last circumstances. But I would do it again under different circumstances. Then I would also say, ‘Here’s Mikey’s phone number with mine!’” Hagar, who formed the band Chickenfoot with former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony has said that he felt it was unfair when Anthony was fired from Van Halen in favor of Eddie’s son Wolfgang.
The interplay between Hagar and Anthony’s backing vocals was a major part of the trademark sound of Hagar’s years in Van Halen. Original Van Halen lead singer David Lee Roth recently talked to Rolling Stone about Anthony’s great backing vocals, saying “And what we have at our fingertips is arguably one of the greatest high tenor voices ever – that was in Michael Anthony. That voice is as identifiable as the high voice in Earth, Wind and Fire, as identifiable as the high voice in the Beach Boys.”
The ticket demand for the Rolling Stones upcoming 50 and Counting tour is quite high, as can be expected, with shows already being sold out. But when you take a look at the tour schedule it appears that the band have left room for extra shows on purpose, since there are several days between each performance.
Speaking to The Associated Press, Mick Jagger confirmed that the relaxed tour schedule does mean more shows will probably be added: "Normally when you announce a tour like this, you announce part of it, you leave it to be, you see what happens, you might do a date here and another date there. You don't want to be completely hand fast, so you do leave some dates in between," said Jagger.
The Stones have already added extra shows in both Chicago and Toronto, where the band will be playing the United Center, and the Air Canada Center respectively. From a fan perspective, the fact that it is an arena tour is both good news and bad news. The shows will be much more intimate that a stadium concert, but tickets will be harder to come by.
In a separate AP interview Keith Richards confirmed what Jagger said, but also added that the relaxed tour schedule will let the aging rockers get some rest between shows: "I think it's a little bit of both," Richards said. "The band wants to pace themselves, but at the same time ... I guess what's been announced is the bare-bones and we will play it by ear from there."
When the Stones did their five-date mini tour last year they brought along many special guests, like Mary J. Blige, Lady Gaga, and The Black Keys. According to Richards there is a strong possibility for some surprise appearances this time around as well: "I have a feeling there's more openness about playing it the same way," Richards said. "I can't name names or make promises, but that area of the show is open."
The tour is set to kick off at the Staples Center in Los Angeles at a date still to be determined, with the second show taking place in Oakland, CA on May 5. For complete tour details, visit the Rolling Stones official website.
The Black Sabbath tour will take in dates in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Germany, France, Italy, and the Czech Republic before wrapping up with a run of dates in the UK, including a final tour date in the band's hometown of Birmingham.
Before then though, the band is touring New Zealand, Australia and Japan later this month, then hitting North America in July and August.
Guitarist Tony Iommi underwent cancer treatment last year, with recording sessions being work in around Iommi's schedule. The album features original members Iommi, Geezer Butler and Ozzy Osbourne as well as drummer Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave). The band has not yet revealed who will occupy the drum stool during this month's dates, but Ozzy's touring drummer Tommy Clufetos manned the drum kit during the three shows the band played last year.
And here's some suitably Sabbath-related news: Italian horror classic Black Sabbath, which of course inspired the band's name, is being released on DVD and Blu-Ray later this month.
Black Sabbath European Tour Dates
Nov. 20 - Hartwall Arena, Helsinki, Finland
Nov. 22 - Friends Arena, Stockholm, Sweden
Nov. 24 - Telenor Arena, Oslo, Norway
Nov. 26 - Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark
Nov. 28 - Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, Holland
Nov. 30 - Westfalenhalle, Dortmund, Germany
Dec. 02 - Bercy, Paris, France
Dec. 05 - Fiera Arena, Milan, Italy
Dec. 07 - 02 Arena, Prague, Czech Republic
Dec. 10 - 02 Arena, London, UK
Dec. 12 - Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Ireland
Dec. 14 - Arena, Sheffield, UK
Dec. 16 - Hydro, Glasgow, UK
Dec. 18 - Arena, Manchester, UK
Dec. 20 - LG Arena, Birmingham, UK
Veteran producer/engineer Andy Johns has passed away aged 61.
Johns' passing was confirmed by guitarist Stacy Blades (ex-LA Guns), who was working with Johns until he was hospitalized last week. The cause of death was not immediately confirmed, but Blades told Billboard.biz that Johns was hospitalized with liver trouble.
Johns, the brother of producer/engineer Glyn Johns, engineered several albums for the Rolling Stones, including Exile On Main Street and Sticky Fingers, as well as Led Zeppelin's II, III, IV, Houses Of The Holy, Physical Graffiti and Coda.
As a producer he worked on dozens of albums including Free's Highway and Free Live!, Television's Marquee Moon, Hughes/Thrall's self-titled album, Cinderella's Night Songs and Long Cold Winter, Chickenfoot's self-titled debut, Van Halen's For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and Joe Satriani's The Extremist.
With Foo Fighters recently on hiatus, drummer Taylor Hawkins has had time on his hands. He used the break in FF’s schedule to shoot a film role as Iggy Pop for an upcoming movie about the historic New York punk club CBGB.
The film will take a look at many key figures in the club’s history, from the musicians who played there like the Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith and others, to the club’s owner, Hilly Kristal, who is portrayed by actor Alan Rickman in the movie.
The first look of Hawkins as Pop, which was released by Rolling Stone, can be seen here. Hawkins poses with Malin Åkerman, who will portray Blondie’s Debbie Harry in the movie. No release date has been set for the movie as of yet, but the CBGB film is expected to arrive sometime in 2013.
Hawkins’ respite from Foo Fighters was a short: he’s recently played with Dave Grohl‘s Sound City band, and Foo Fighters are already writing the band’s next album.
Ozzy Osbourne reckons forthcoming Black Sabbath album 13 is “mindblowing” and “the album we should have made after Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.”
Speaking to Australia's Triple M radio station, Ozzy stated about Sabbath’s June-released CD: “The album is mindblowing... I'm so over the moon about the way the album turned out. We wrote 16 songs, and I put it on my CD player, expecting me to be unhappy with the end result, but this big grin came on my face and my hair on the back on my neck [stood up]… It's better than my wildest dreams; it's so good."
Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler are joined by RATM drummer Brad Wilk on the album. Songs include “End of the Beginning,” “God is Dead” and “Epic.” Osbourne was full of praise for producer Rick Rubin. “I'd run into him from time to time over the years, and he goes, 'Any chance of Sabbath reforming? If you do, I would love to produce the album,'" Ozzy said. "And he did such a great job on the album. I know if you're a Sabbath fan, you will not be disappointed. It's so Sabbath-y, it's scary. It's the album we should have made after [1973's] Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.
Say you’re a Led Zeppelin fan? Then get out your iPads, because a new digital book that features all kinds of rare Led Zeppelin photos is on the way. The read, titled Led Zeppelin: Sound and Fury, will arrive at Apple’s iBookstore on April 15. Famed photographer Neal Preston wrote the book, and he’s a good pick, as Preston had exclusive access to the group during the mid-to-late 1970s.
The book will offer hundreds of pictures, as well as over 100 never-before-published photos. Expect to find photos of the guys performing live onstage, backstage, at press conferences, at private parties and beyond. In addition to photos, the book features special memorabilia, interviews with Led Zeppelin friends, set lists and more. Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks penned the introduction.
Led Zeppelin: Sound and Fury will run fans $9.99.
What’s your favorite Led Zeppelin riff? Give us your picks on the comments section, rockers!
Tributes have been pouring in to one of the most successful record produces of all time, Phil Ramone, who died on March 30, at the age of 79. According to the BBC, Ramone had been in hospital for some time, suffering from an aortic aneurysm.
The multiple Grammy-winning record producer Phil Ramone worked with some of the biggest names in pop and rock history, including Bono, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Sting, Bruce Springsteen and James Taylor.
Gibson Guitar Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz said: “Phil was a great person and a good friend. He was an exceptional music man from his earliest years when he was a child prodigy. In an industry filled with intensity and ego, Phil stood out as a warm, compassionate, centered and unassuming human being. He loved people and loved the industry. While mostly gentlemanly and low key, you could see his passion and love of music, and his perfectionism in producing and creating it. We have lost a giant.”
Paul McCartney said in a statement on his website: "Phil was a great friend of mine for many years. We first worked together when I recorded 'Another Day' in New York at A & R Studios. He was a very sweet man who combined this with expert knowledge of both engineering and production. I'll always remember him as a great friend that I knew, loved and admired over the many years that we worked and played together."
Tony Bennett used Facebook to say: "Phil Ramone was a lovely person and a very gifted musician and producer... it was a joy to have him work with me."
Gloria Estefan tweeted: "Sending prayers & good thoughts 2 the loved ones of our dear friend & colleague, the unequalled Phil Ramone. RIP friend, we will miss u always!"
Julian Lennon tweeted Twitter, saying he was "deeply saddened to hear the news of my dear friend & first-ever producer, Phil Ramone's passing."
Rob Thomas also used Twitter to say: “R.I.P. #PHILRAMONE we have lost one of music’s greatest producers. a true pioneer and a great man.”
Time magazine is famous for publishing its annual Time 100 issue, which pays homage to a variety of luminaries from different industries that the magazine names “the most influential people in the world.” Now, the magazine is letting readers vote on who they think should make this year’s top 100, and when it comes to musicians, David Bowie is among the candidates.
Bowie is really the only rocker in the running, as the rest of the nominees from the music industry include Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Frank Ocean, PSY and Sharon Jones.
Celebrities outside of the music world up for the honors include Pope Francis, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Aung San Suu Kyi, Ben Affleck, LeBron James, Serena Williams, Tina Fey & Amy Poehler, Jimmy Kimmel, George Lucas, Quentin Tarantino, Jon Hamm and Paula Deen, among others. Voting runs through April 12, and the top 100 will be announced on April 18.
What musician do you think should make Time’s list someday? Let us know your picks in the comments section!
Toto, the legendary band made up of legendary session players like the legendary Steve Lukather, will celebrate their 35th anniversary of being legends with a series of European and US dates beginning in May.
Get this: over the course of their career, the members of Toto have appeared on over 5,000 albums. They got together as a band in 1976 and hit the big time in 1978 with Hold The Line, following that up with a nearly decade-long run of hit singles including Rosanna, Africa, 99, I Won't Hold You Back and I'll Be Over You.
Toto has had a few line-up changes over the years but the current touring incarnation includes original members Steve Lukather, David Paich and Steve Porcaro, as well as on-again/off-again vocalist Joseph Williams, vocalists Jenny Douglas-McRae and Mabvuto Carpenter, and bassist Nathan East.
Ah but there's a catch: if you're in the U.K. you'd better plan a trip across the Channel in order to catch this tour. As the band says: "We want to inform everyone that we will unfortunately not be performing in the U.K. on our upcoming European Tour. It was simply not logistically feasible as the proper venue in London was unavailable at the necessary time. We adore all of our fans in the U.K., and will miss seeing you this summer. Rest assured, we will be back in the UK in 2014 and look forward to seeing our loving fans at additional shows on the upcoming summer tour!"
Richie Sambora won’t be present for the current leg of Bon Jovi’s “Because We Can” tour. The band posted the news on their website late yesterday (April 2), saying the guitarist’s absence was “due to personal issues” and that all shows will go on as scheduled.
Fan comments on BonJovi.com were mostly supportive. Typical was the reaction from “Stevie Kendrick,” who wrote, “I understand some of you are upset about Richie not being there and wanting refunds and all that jazz. However, shouldn't you be supporting the band in a time of need? As fans shouldn't we come together and support the band we love? Sending good thoughts and prayers to Richie and the Sambora family.” Hours before the announcement, Sambora tweeted that he was watching cover videos of a song from his recent solo album, Aftermath of the Lowdown. Bon Jovi performs in Edmonton, Canada tonight (April 3). The current leg of the tour wraps up April 25 in San Jose, California.
Dave Grohl has revealed that his favorite David Bowie album is … drum roll, please: Let’s Dance. As reported by NME.com, the Foo Fighters frontman told BBC6 Music the 1983 Bowie album is especially conducive to “air drumming.” “People will think I'm crazy for this, as there are a lot of Bowie eras and they're all great, but I really like the Let's Dance period,” Grohl said. “Because, as a drummer, that's one of the best air drumming albums of all time.” Grohl later added: "I can appreciate technical drumming, sure. But to me there's nothing better than being in a bar full of people dancing and air drumming when none of them know how to play the drums. [Let’s Dance] and Back In Black — anyone will air drum to those albums." Let’s Dance remains Bowie’ most commercially successful album. The LP is notable for helping launch the career of Stevie Ray Vaughan, who played guitar on several tracks.
The Rolling Stones have announced specific dates and locales for their “50 and Counting” North American tour. The trek will begin in early May in California, and includes stops at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Oakland and the United Center in Chicago. As reported by Billboard.com, tour promoter AEG Live says 18 Stones shows are in the works, with just nine announced thus far. Notably absent from the current schedule are New York, Texas and the southeastern U.S., although that could change as more dates are added. Following the North American tour, the Stones will take their live show overseas. The veteran rockers will headline the Glastonbury Festival on June 29, followed by two dates at London’s Hyde Park on July 6 and 13.
The Beatles’ stripped-down version of their Let It Be album – shorn of Phil Spector’s lavish orchestration – is now available for purchase on iTunes. First released in 2003, Let It Be… Naked features the same songs as the 1970 album, minus Spector’s controversial overdubs. The iTunes version includes all the original booklet art and linter notes, plus 20 minutes of studio banter from the 1969 sessions. Music videos for the “Naked” versions of “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down” are included as bonuses as well. In the wake of Let It Be… Naked’s original 2003 release, Paul McCartney commented that the new edition was a more accurate representation of The Beatles than the 1970 version. “If we’d had today’s technology back then, it would sound like this because this is the noise we made in the studio,” said McCartney. “It’s all exactly as it was in the room.”
Producer Phil Ramone has passed away at the age of 79. Ramone had been hospitalized in New York since late February with an aortic aneurysm, according to Billboard . With 50 years in the business, Ramone worked with Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, and Ray Charles, to mention just a few. Nicknamed “Pope of Pop, “ Ramone won a total of 14 Grammy Awards.
One of Phil Ramone's pioneering achievements was using a fiber optics system which allowed artists to record a song from different studios. Ramone employed this technique when recording Frank Sinatra's Duets and Duets II albums.
Many artists have shared their condolences upon hearing of Phil Ramone's passing. Rolling Stone quote Elton John describing Ramone as: “a friend, a musical genius and the most lovable person. It was a thrill for me to have worked with Phil, and I have so many wonderful memories.”
Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighters bandmate Taylor Hawkins have been selected to induct Rush in to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. The event is set to take place in Los Angeles on April 18. The induction of Rush is way overdue, since the Canadian power trio have been eligible since 1999.
It is not yet known if Grohl and Hawkins will get up on stage and jam with Rush, but it is certainly not out of the question. Joel Peresman, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame President and CEO, said of the possibility of a jam session: “I’m hopeful. More than a few times in the past, people have got caught in the moment and decide to perform. That’s what happened last year with Green Day — they were just there to present an award to Guns N’Roses, and after hanging around rehearsals, they decided to play.”
Performances that are already set include John Mayer and Gary Clark Jr., who will perform in honor of Albert King. Pearl Jam's Mike McCready and Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains will perform with inductees Heart.
Kurt Cobain, the legendary frontman of ‘90s grunge band Nirvana, took his own life in his Seattle-area home 19 years ago this Friday (April 5). He was just 27.
On this anniversary week, we recall the impact he had on popular music via some choice quotes:
On being a “Sub Pop” band before signing to DGC for Nevermind, as told to Dirt in 1990.
Well, when someone walks up to me and says, “You’re my favorite Sub Pop band,” I think -- geez, we're you're favorite out of five bands? What about the rest of the country? I don't know. It just scares me. I wonder whether they like us because we’re a Sub Pop band or because we're ourselves.
What's alternative? What's counterculture? What's cool? Who knows? Who cares? If chasing cool is important to you, you're an idiot! What can you say about people who wait to be told what to like, what to do and how to do it? It's like apathy in action… Look at the mediocrity and blatantly unacceptable stuff we do to each other and the planet. Look at what we accept in our lives by just saying it's out of our control, we can't do anything about it, and it's not our fault. I'm not into ambition or salesmanship, we're not some new trend. We never meant or tried to be cool, or be a “buzz” band. It never even entered our minds.
I think we’ve been focusing on dynamics a lot more on this record [Nevermind]. With the Bleach album, everything was just straight ahead and simple, and it becomes boring to play that kind of music all the time so we decided to break things down without songs. I mean, we showed signs of doing that on Bleach, but I think we’re way more focused now with both of the elements of soft and pretty and hard and aggressive.
On MTV thinking Nirvana is a metal band, as told to Guitar World in 1992:
That’s fine; let them be fooled! I don’t have anything against “Headbanger’s Ball,” but it’s strange to see our faces on MTV.
There’s nothing better than having a baby. I’ve always loved children. I used to work summers at the YMCA and be in charge of like 30 preschool kids. I knew that when I had a child, I’d be overwhelmed and it’s true . . . I can't tell you how much my attitude has changed since we've got Frances. Holding my baby is the best drug in the world.
On not wanting to be in the limelight, as told to Rolling Stone in 1994:
I never wanted to sing. I just wanted to play rhythm guitar – hide in the back and just play. But during those high-school years when I was playing guitar in my bedroom, I at least had the intuition that I had to write my own songs.
I don't understand anything technical about music at all. I don't understand any of it, why you can’t put these sounds together with those sounds. I only know what sounds good to us. I, or we as a band, never really copied anybody or spent time learning other people's songs. We were never good enough or had the patience to do it! So we put that energy into putting our own stuff together. We’re from the learn-as-you-play school. We’re still in it… I don't want to mention favorite poets, what few I have, because I think that world should be discovered by you alone. Besides, few contemporary poets do much for me.
On how much it cost to record Nevermind, as told to Guitar World in 1992:
[Laughs] I don’t remember, I’ve got Alzheimer’s. Please, don’t ask how much our video cost; that’s a hell of an embarrassment. We definitely could have used some film student, who would’ve done just as good of a job.
I guess I must have quit the band about 10 different times in the last year. I’d tell my manager or the band, but most of the time I would just stand up and say to Courtney, “OK, this is it.” But it would blow over in a day or two. . . . The music is usually what brings me back. The biggest thing that affected me was all the insane rumors, the heroin rumors . . . all this speculation going on. I felt totally violated. I never realized that my private life would be such an issue.
On digging “Drain You” more than “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” as told to Rolling Stone in 1994:
Everyone has focused on that song [“Smells Like Teen Spirit”] so much. The reason it gets a big reaction is people have seen it on MTV a million times. It's been pounded into their brains. But I think there are so many other songs that I've written that are as good, if not better, than that song, like “Drain You.” That's definitely as good as “Teen Spirit.” I love the lyrics, and I never get tired of playing it. Maybe if it was as big as “Teen Spirit,” I wouldn't like it as much.
But I can barely, especially on a bad night like tonight, get through “Teen Spirit.” I literally want to throw my guitar down and walk away. I can't pretend to have a good time playing it.
As reported by OK Magazine, the hook-up occurred at the city’s Ambassador Theatre in London during a concert staged by McCartney’s son, James.
Wood accompanied the younger McCartney on guitar throughout the set, while at one point James’ famous Dad surprised everyone by leaping onstage to play piano during one song. After wrapping up his performance cameo, Sir Paul rejoined the audience, which included his daughters, Stella and Mary, and his wife, Nancy.
In other McCartney news, the former Beatle recently announced that a live version of “Maybe I’m Amazed” – originally circulated as a radio promo single in 1976 – will be released on 12-inch vinyl for Record Store Day on April 20.
Bon Jovi fans who tune into the Discovery Channel’s upcoming seven-part “North America” series are in for a sweet surprise, as the rocker’s track “Army of One” has been selected to be the theme music for the show.
“Bon Jovi’s ‘Army of One’ captures the daring, wild spirit of Discovery’s upcoming landmark television event that presents our homeland as an extreme world all within one continent," said Eileen O'Neill, group president of Discovery Channel and TLC, in an official statement.
“Army of One” appears on Bon Jovi’s latest full-length, What About Now. The series, which actor Tom Selleck will narrate, premieres on the Discovery Channel at 9 p.m. ET/PT on May 19.
Paul McCartney seems to have found another gear. Last year he undertook his record-breaking “On the Run” tour, staged several memorable one-off appearances (including a stunning Olympics Opening Ceremony concert) and released a terrific new album, Kisses on the Bottom. 2013 is shaping up to be just as busy. A few days ago, the legendary former Beatle announced that a new world tour – dubbed “Out There!” – will kick off June 22 in Poland. Plus, a new studio album is in the works. With this swirl of activity simmering, we decided to gather some choice commentary from Sir Paul on a range of topics. Below, he talks about his love of guitars, his approach to bass playing, and why “nicking” great riffs is not a bad thing to do.
I bought a right-handed guitar, a Zenith, an old acoustic which I've still got. I sat down at home with a little chord book and started trying to work it out. It didn't feel good at all … very awkward. It was only when I saw a picture of Slim Whitman in a magazine, holding his guitar the "wrong" way, that I thought, “Oh, he must have turned his strings around." So I started on that problem, which is always the nut. I used to actually take matchsticks and build up the bass nut. It was only later that I was able to buy a left-handed guitar.
On his favorite guitar part as a Beatle, as told to Guitar Player (1990):
I like "Taxman" just because of what it was. I was very inspired by Jimi Hendrix. It was really my first voyage into feedback. It was just before George was into that. In fact, I don't really think George got too heavily into that kind of thing. George was generally a little more restrained in his guitar playing. He wasn't into heavy feedback.
We had a kind of system, which was: you just sat with a pad of paper and a pencil, and you sat at your guitar or your piano, and you make a song, and within about three hours, you should have finished the song. That’s how we always did it.
I got that while I was with The Beatles, basically because I love Hendrix. I went into [a guitar shop] and said to the guy that I wanted something that would really feedback, and he said, “Well, this one will.” It had a hollow body and that was the reason I got it originally. I used it for the “Taxman” solo and for “Paperback Writer” because … through a Vox amp, it just gave a nice little dirty noise. I use that on stage now.
On “nicking” great guitar riffs, as told to Guitar Player (1990):
I'm always taking a little of this and a little of that. It's called being influenced … either that or stealing. What do they say? A good artist borrows; a great artist steals--or something like that. That makes us great artists then, because we stole a lot of stuff. If anyone ever said to us, "Wow! Where's that from?" we'd say, "Well, Chuck Berry," or that the "I Saw Her Standing There" riff is from [Berry's] "I'm Talking about You." We took a lot of stuff, but in blues, anyway, you do: People lift licks.
On how The Beatles emphasized variety, as told to Bass Player(1995):
We were very keen that every track sounded different. We thought in terms of singles. Our albums, right up to Sgt. Pepper’s, were albums of singles. We felt The Supremes were a bit boring; it always sounded like the same song, or very near. They were trying to keep that Motown-Supremes sound. Well, we weren't trying to keep the Beatles sound; we were always trying to move on. We were always trying to get a new sound on every single thing that we did.
On his affection for the bass, as told to Bass Player (1995)
Funnily enough, I'd always liked bass. My Dad was a musician, and I remember him giving me little lessons --not actual sit-down lessons but maybe there'd be something on the radio and he'd say, “Hear that low stuff? That's the bass.” Then I started listening to other bass players -- mainly Motown. [Motown’s] James Jamerson became my hero. Jamerson and later Brian Wilson were my two biggest influences: James because he was so good and melodic, and Brian because he went to very unusual places.
Oh how “Michelle” marked a turning point in his bass playing, as told to Bass Player (1995):
That [introductory bass line] was actually thought up on the spot. I remember that opening six-note phrase against the descending chords was a great moment in my life. I think I had enough musical experience after years of playing, so it was just in me. I realized I could do that. It's quite a well-known trick --I'm sure jazz players have done that against a descending sequence--but wherever I got it from something in the back of my brain said “Do that. It's a bit more clever for the arrangement, and it'll really sound good on those descending chords."
On his love of Les Pauls, as told to CNN (2010):
The thing about Les Paul guitars is that they’re beautiful guitars. That’s due to Les’s knowledge of the instrument and due to his technical knowledge. So he, together with Gibson, developed this amazing guitar. For me, it’s just beautiful to play. It’s a classic. One of the ones I have is 50 years old, so it’s a great antique as well as being a classic. It plays great, and I think that’s due to Les’s expertise. When you pick it up you fall in love with it.
On the pleasures of working alone, as told to Pitchfork (2007):
It's something I've done throughout my career, to describe it loosely. When I left The Beatles, I made an album called McCartney that I played everything on. And it was kind of a cool experience. I felt like a professor in a laboratory, just crafting stuff and adding things, putting this on and moving the microphone. It was very homemade … a good sort of bedroom experience. It’s just quicker that way, you know?
Like many great guitarists, Don Felder has a heart-wrenching gear-that-got-away story. It starts with a young boy who saved up his pennies to snag a choice Gibson guitar and, let’s just say, the story doesn’t end well.
“I’ve been a Gibson advocate since the first Les Paul Jr. that I ever got to play in high school,” he said. “I scraped together some money working at a music store and playing in a band, and I finally ordered a 355, which was my dream guitar. It was cherry red. Within four months, it was stolen from me at a show in Miami. I was heartbroken. It destroyed me!
“I went out to the Gibson factory years later and walked by the guy who wraps all the bindings for all the 345s and 355s, and I had to shake his hand, because he had made the binding on my guitar. I told him the story and how much I appreciated his work. Gibson has always been a huge part of my life and career.”
Thankfully, Felder has plenty of Gibsons to make up for it now, including his famed Don Felder “Hotel California” EDS-1275. We caught up with the four-time Grammy Award winner to talk about his favorite guitars; his new solo album, Road to Forever; and why having Crosby, Stills & Nash sing on his solo album was such a killer moment.
Congrats on the success of Road to Forever and it debuting #27 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.
Thanks! It was really fun to make. I had been collecting and writing song ideas for four or five years, and I had 26 song ideas put together in my studio and chose the best. Some of my best friends came in and managed to help me, like Randy Jackson from “American Idol,” Crosby, Stills & Nash, Tommy Shaw and a bunch of people who are not only great musicians, but fun. We were all smiling and laughing and having a great time.
You wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album. Is it important to you to be hands-on with the writing process?
I’ve written a lot of songs for the Eagles on nearly every album. I would write between 12 and 18 song ideas, and usually two of them would show up on the album, like “Hotel California.” They were selective about what songs they wanted on the record. So, when I was no longer contained and having to write for that project, I wrote anything I wanted to write. There’s such a wide variety of songs on this record that go form heavier stuff to a lullaby about my little boy to a sweet ballad about having your heart broken and trusting in love again.
How did your 27 years with the Eagles spill into your solo work?
In making records together, we all learned how to do things together from different producers and engineers, from how songs are structured to how a song is put together and laid out to how phrasing goes melodically. So, I did the same thing on Eagles records that I did on this record. Even some of the same Gibson guitars I used those years with the Eagles I used on here. It’s a familiar voice, tonally. My style of playing is recognizable from the Eagle work.
So many great collaborations are on this set, from David Crosby to Graham Nash to Stephen Stills. Do you have a favorite?
I think one of my earliest mates was Stephen Stills. He and I had a band together when we were 14 years old. He’s always been a great singer, so to have Crosby, Stills & Nash sing on my record, after our paths have crossed so many times over the years, was great. I’ve always loved those guys. Even though I’ve worked and played with all those guys, to have them all come in and sing on my record was a highlight for me.
What are your go-to Gibson guitars?
I have guitars that are always sitting in my studio, ready to go. I have a Sunburst Les Paul, a ‘59 Les Paul, a Goldtop Les Paul, Gibson acoustic guitars and on stage, I play my Don Felder “Hotel California” EDS-1275. Those are my first go-to guitars, and I use them on the road or in the studio. I have a little under 300 guitars in my collection, and Gibsons are usually the ones I go to first when writing and looking for certain sound. It’s just a great instrument.
Why do you prefer Gibsons over other brands?
Personally, I think the craftsmanship, the quality of the way they’re made and the attention to minute details. When I went back to the custom shop and they were looking at my old ’59, they told me about the many minute changes made in that Les Paul over the years. They’re constantly in the process of trying to make the absolute best guitar on the market, in my opinion. You can see that side by side. All brands are unique in their own right, but to me, Gibson has a quality that’s head and shoulders above the rest.
What’s next for you?
I’m planning touring all the way through the fall, and the times I’m not in a plane or hotel room, I’ll be in the studio back here in California. I’ve already started writing for another CD, and hopefully within a year of two, I’ll put out another new record.
The legendary band is slated to perform on Saturday night (June 29). Mick Jagger shared his enthusiasm in a tweet, saying, “Can't wait to play Glastonbury. I have my wellies and my yurt!" Keith Richards chimed in as well, adding, “We all had such a ball last year, and the energy between the band is so good, we can't wait to play Glastonbury, see you on a summer's day in England."
As reported by BBC News, Stones guitarist Ron Wood jokingly claimed to have cajoled his bandmates into participating in the event. “I've been using all my persuasive charm on the boys for a few weeks now,” he said.”Really pleased to be doing it, can't wait to be getting out on that stage." Joining the Stones as headlining acts for this year’s festival will be Mumford and Sons and The Arctic Monkeys.
The most famous gig Clapton held before Cream was as guitar foil to John Mayall in the supremely influential British band the Bluesbreakers. It was there that Clapton was tagged “god” and played his role in the canonization of the Gibson Les Paul Standard. But everybody knows about the Bluesbreakers and their famous eponymous “Beano” album, right? After all, Clapton’s interpretations of “Steppin’ Out” and Freddie King’s “Hideaway” became litmus tests for the era’s up-and-coming blues pickers.
But what about his other less well known gigs as a supporting player, which range from stints with the Beatles, in formative roots-rock bands, alongside psychedelic gurus and in an electronica project — and still continue to this day? There’s a lot more to Clapton than blues, “Layla” and ’80s beer commercials, as this list of 10 of his most distinguished gigs as a sideman attest:
• The Beatles: That’s Clapton sparring with George Harrison on The White Album’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” In 1969 the other Beatles contemplated asking him to replace Harrison to complete Let It Be, because tensions between the group’s guitarist and his ‘mates had become so severe. And after the Beatles ran out of gas as a group, Clapton joined John Lennon in the Plastic Ono Band, contributing to the group’s without-a-net Live Peace in Toronto album. In the 2000s he regrouped with Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, playing on their solo discs as well. And of course Clapton was Harrison’s foil for 1970’s majestic and sprawling All Things Must Pass.
• Delaney & Bonnie: Clapton’s fascination with American roots music had grown well beyond blues by the time Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett’s band opened for Clapton and his cohorts in Blind Faith in 1969. The next year Clapton joined their band, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, and hit the road. In 1970 the release of the live document On Tour With Eric Clapton, thanks to the use of Clapton’s name, handily increased Delaney and Bonnie’s fan base and profile. Clapton used his time in the group to explore other forms of music from the American south, like country and soul, as well as his beloved blues. And the gig introduced Clapton to Bobby Whitlock, Jim Gordon and Carl Radle, who would morph into his bandmates in Derek and the Dominos. Delaney also became the co-writer and producer of Clapton’s first solo album, Eric Clapton, in 1970.
• Music From Free Creek: This super-session double-LP was the invention of producers Earle Doud and Tom Flye, who were convinced that they’d make a hit by calling together an A-list of rock star friends that included Clapton, Linda Ronstadt, Dr. John, Delaney Bramlett, Jeff Beck, Todd Rundgren, Keith Emerson and others. Unfortunately Clapton, Beck and Emerson were all on different sessions, but Clapton’s pairing with Dr. John — both supporting singers who’ve since slipped in obscurity — on three tracks is a notable meeting of roots music giants. Due to contractual obligations, Clapton was billed as “King Cool” for the original release.
• Waylon Jennings: Yes, in 1978 Clapton played on several tracks by the granddaddy of Outlaw Country. The occasion was the overlooked White Mansions, a concept album — essentially an “un”-rock opera — that looks at the Civil War through the eyes of three white southerners whose stories were connected by Jennings in the role of “the Drifter.” There is a slight chance some marijuana was smoked during the making of this trippy album, which cracked the country music Top 40 at number 38.
• Buddy Guy & Junior Wells: Clapton put himself in the service of this revered Chicago blues duo as payback on the 1972 release Buddy Guy & Junior Wells Play the Blues. Much of Clapton’s stinging, single-note attack can be traced back to classic Guy recordings like 1968’s A Man and the Blues and Guy’s earlier sides for Chess Records, where he displayed a clean, saber-like tone. Clapton played second guitar and co-produced alongside the giants Tom Down and Ahmet Ertegun. Although the sessions were reportedly chaotic and difficult, the results are quite good. Clapton would join Guy in the studio again, for 1991’s Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues and Guy’s 2008 Grammy winner Skin Deep.
• Roger Waters: After Pink Floyd – or at least Roger Waters — called their band quits for the first time, Waters tapped Clapton as guitarist for his 1984 concept album The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking. The disc suffers from the same self-absorption that makes The Final Cut, the last project featuring the original post-Syd Barrett line-up of Pink Floyd, a mere testament to Waters’ confusion about his personal issues, but it’s less inner-directed and Clapton gets to open up not only on guitar but guitar synthesizer.
• Buckwheat Zydeco: Clapton met Stanley Dural, the Louisiana keyboard king who goes by the pseudonym “Buckwheat Zydeco,” at an all-star jam on stage in London in 1987, where Dural traded volleys with the master guitarist on Clapton’s Derek and the Dominos hit “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad.” A year later Clapton took Dural’s invitation for an in-studio rematch, adding burly guitar to the song on Buckwheat Zydeco’s 1988 release Taking It Home. The pairing temporarily gave Dural, who also opened dates on Clapton’s “25th Anniversary Tour” in 1987/’88, and the zydeco genre a higher profile.
• Taj Mahal: Clapton and this great American bluesman have been crossing paths since the 1960s, but their most notable musical intersection is on 1996’s Mahal album Phantom Blues, where Clapton supports the gravel voiced multi-instrumentalist on “Here In the Dark” and “You’ve Got To Love Her With A Feeling,” the latter a tune associated with another of Clapton’s deepest blues influences, fellow Gibson playing legend Freddie King.
• Carlos Santana: “The Calling” is a battle of ’60s guitar “gods,” with Santana and Clapton trading lead and supportive rhythm on the track from Santana’s mega-comeback album, 1999’s Supernatural. Hard-core fans of both legends will want to invest the $1.29 it takes to download “The Calling Jam” from the expanded “Legacy Edition” reissue, which captures both guitarists playing it heavy on the song’s theme.
• TDF: This is one of Clapton’s hippest collaborations, because he’s playing outside of his box. Songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Simon Climie pressed Clapton into service for an electronica/dance album as the one-off TDF, an abbreviation for Totally Dysfunctional Family. Their sole 11-track disc Retail Therapy was issued in 1997 and includes “Seven,” which marked the second time B.B. King’s performance of “How Blue Can You Get” was sampled, following Primitive Radio Gods’ hit “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand” by a year.
Read about Clapton’s part in the Harrison-Clapton 1957 Les Paul Standard "Lucy” here.
Mosh.cam of Australia filmed a Slash gig August 2012, and you can now watch it all on YouTube. It is a professional recording and shows Slash and his band up-close with good audio. That’s it. If you like Slash and plenty of Gibson Les Paul action, subscribe and watch it.
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators - live at Sydney Entertainment Centre in Sydney on 25 August 2012.
Pink Floyd's masterpiece The Dark Side of the Moon has been selected by the US Library of Congress to be included in its Recording Preservation Registry. The album celebrates its 40th anniversary this month.
The Library motivate the inclusion of The Dark Side of the Moon by saying: "The Dark Side of the Moon benefits from the fact that Pink Floyd worked out the songs in live performances for months before going into a studio. When they did, there were such recent technological innovations as 16-track recorders and synthesizers at their disposal. Rather than overdoing it, The Dark Side of the Moon is an example of brilliant, innovative production in service of the music."
"The album is notable for the close vocal harmonies of Richard Wright and David Gilmour and for the double tracking of voices and guitars. More unusual effects include the flanged choir in 'Time,' the precisely placed delays in 'Us and Them,' and a tape loop at the beginning of 'Money' that was so long a microphone stand had to be used to hold it up."
Other acts that are added to the Recording Preservation Registry in 2013 include The Ramones' self-titled debut, and Chubby Checker's The Twist.
Want to contribute to a 40th anniversary tribute to KISS and to help raise funds for a worthy cause too? Music journalist Mitch Lafon is the mastermind behind A World With Heroes, a KISS tribute album featuring a bunch of well-known artists paying tribute to their favorite fire-breathing, blood-spitting, cherrypicker-riding, zip-lining, flame-throwing rock band.
A PledgeMusic campaign is under way to help fund the project, with proceeds also benefiting a cancer care hospice. All basic tracks were recorded by Eric Brittingham (bass, Cinderella), Jeff LaBar (guitar, Cinderella) and Troy Lucketta (drums, Tesla). The vocalists and other artists that will contribute to the CD include: Don Dokken, Mark Tornillo (Accept), Terry Ilous (Great White), Bumblefoot (GNR), Mark Slaughter (Slaughter), Russ Dwarf (The Killer Dwarfs), Ron Young (Little Caesar), Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake), Rex Brown (Pantera, Kill Devil Hill), Dery Grehan (Honeymoon Suite), Bill Leverty (Firehouse), Phil Lewis (LA GUNS), Doro, Tommy Denander, Slaves on Dope (w/Jason Rockman), Phil Naro (ex-Talas & Peter Criss), Ron Keel, Sean Kelly (Nelly Furtado, Helix) and more to be announced shortly.
If you'd like to kick in a few bucks (with incentives including Skype lessons with Leverty, former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick, or ex-Dream Theater/Black Country Communion keyboard player Derek Sherinian), head to pledgemusic.com/projects/kiss40thtribute
Stevie Nicks appears ready to open up about her romantic split with Lindsey Buckingham that occurred during the making of Fleetwood Mac’s classic 1977 album, Rumours. In an interview to air this weekend on Oprah Winfrey’s Master Class, the veteran singer hints that her relationship with Buckingham soured because of the band. “The band was way more important than each separate person's problems," she says. "And we knew that. So we never, ever, with everything that happened to us, ever, let love affairs break Fleetwood Mac up. But Lindsey always blamed Fleetwood Mac for the loss of me. Had we not joined Fleetwood Mac, we would have continued on with our music but we probably would've gotten married, and we probably would have had a child." Fleetwood Mac is set to kick off a spring and summer tour on April 4 in Columbus, Ohio. Click here to watch a preview of the interview with Nicks.
The Eagles have announced the initial run of dates for their much-anticipated “History of the Eagles” tour. The trek kicks off July 6 in Louisville, Kentucky, and includes eleven shows scheduled through July 25. The tour is being staged in conjunction with the documentary, History of the Eagles, which debuted on Showtime last month. The career-spanning film offers an intimate look into the legacy of the band via archival materials, concert footage and never-before-seen home movies. The documentary will be released as a three-disc set on DVD and Blu-ray on April 30. Packaged with the set will be Eagles Live at the Capital Centre – March 1977, a disc featuring performances culled from the band’s two-night stand in Washington, D.C., during the Hotel California tour.
History of the Eagles Tour dates:
7/6 Louisville, KY – KFC Yum! Center
7/7 Milwaukee, WI – Summerfest
7/9 Cleveland, OH – Quicken Loans Arena
7/11 Toronto, Ontario – Air Canada Centre
7/15 Ottawa, Ontario – Scotiabank Place
7/16 Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
7/18 Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena
7/19 Boston, MA – Comcast Center
7/22 Washington, D.C. – Verizon Center
7/23 Pittsburgh, PA – Consol Energy Center
7/25 Bethel, NY – Bethel Woods Center
Recently we reported that a new studio album from Paul McCartney was in the works. It’s now come to light that producer Mark Ronson worked with McCartney on three songs for the project. “He understands that you're so nervous to be working with Paul McCartney because everyone is," Ronson said, speaking to the Associated Press. "He gives you a lot of leeway, but then at the end of the day you need to deliver the goods." Ronson went on to say collaborating with the legendary former Beatle was like “taking a master class in production.” "He's done every kind of music,” Ronson explained. “He invented the rule book in several different ways. I don't know if [our stuff] is revolutionary, but they're brilliant songs. I just tried to give him a sound he was looking for." McCartney also announced earlier this week that he’ll launch a world tour beginning June 22, in Warsaw, Poland.
The anniversary of U.K. release of Pink Floyd‘s seminal 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon happens this month, and in honor of the occasion, the band is hosting an online event this weekend. For just 24 hours beginning at 7:01 p.m. ET this Saturday, the record will stream from beginning to end via the band’s official website. As the album is streaming, fans will have the chance to Tweet messages and photos that will alter a special moon on the website.
Here’s how it works: Fans may tweet their messages using the hashtag #DarkSide40, and the messages will cause a part of the moon up at PinkFloyd.com to darken. On top of that hoopla, a few new takes on artist Storm Thorgerson’s famous prism design on The Dark Side of the Moon's cover will also be revealed each day via the website through this Sunday. In the end, all of the new designs will be united to create a digital poster for fans to download.
Where were you when you first heard Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album? Tell us your stories in the comments section below!
Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash is always full of creativity, and he’s ready to take his latest round of musical ideas into the studio. Slash tweeted out a special message on Wednesday (March 20) to tell fans that he’s back in the studio, writing and recording songs for his upcoming solo album, which will once again include his backup group Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.
Slashtweeted, “Started the demo process for the next S/M & the Conspirators record last night; lots of material to work up. It's going 2 be good. iiii]; )’”
As for the rest of 2013, in addition to recording the new album, Slash is slated to kick back into touring mode in May with a full slate of tour dates and festival shows.
Def Leppard start their Las Vegas residency VIVA Hysteria! on Friday, and have released a newly-recorded version of “Hysteria,” the title track and hit single from their 1987 album of the same name.
Def Leppard will perform 11 shows at The Joint between March 22 and April 13. They’ll play the Hysteria album in full, in addition to a greatest hits segment.
The new single is the latest song re-recorded by the band, who explained their reasoning in recent interviews.
“It was, well, let’s just say a sensible business decision on our part,” Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott told MTV. “How can I put this politely? We were having a major disagreement with our ex-record label about the digital rights for our back catalog. We couldn’t come to a mutual understanding that seemed fair for both sides.
“So we finally just decided to re-record all our hits. We started with “Sugar” and “Rock of Ages,” and I think we did a pretty good job. It’s hard work trying to recreate something you did 30 years ago.”
The first ever Jimi Hendrix store is opening in London in April. The “pop-up store” is temporary, and will mark the release of the “new” Hendrix album People, Hell and Angels.
The store will be open from April 1-12 at 8 Ganton Street, London, just off the world-famous Carnaby Street. Customers will be able to buy Jimi CDs, DVDs and merchandise. Guitarists will be able to test gear and play along with classic Jimi music. There is also a photography exhibition from Gered Mankowitz, who captured some of the most iconic Jimi images. Mankowitz will also do a signing-session (April 6) for new prints of his famous work.
Janie L. Hendrix, Jimi Hendrix’s sister and President/CEO of Experience Hendrix, will also appear at the store (April 1), signing copies of the new book Jimi Hendrix: The Ultimate Lyric Book. Follow #HendrixCarnaby on Twitter to keep up to date.
The Beatles’ John Lennon and George Harrison have received a Blue Plaque in London. The commemoration was at 94 Baker Street, the site of the Apple Boutique clothing shop, which was owned in the 1960s by the band’s company Apple Corps Ltd.
A plaque to Lennon was already on the site, but has now been replaced with one that also remembers Harrison, who died in 2001.
The plaque was unveiled by Rod Davis, the banjo player in Lennon's first band, The Quarrymen, who formed in 1956 and would later become The Silver Beatles, then The Beatles.
Blue Plaques on historically-significant buildings are awarded by the cultural organization English Heritage. But English Heritage only honor people who have died, which is why Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr do not feature.
For the first time in nearly 20 years, Rod Stewart will release an album of all new material. The album, Time, will hit the streets on May 7th, with the first single being, "She Makes Me Happy," available now.
Stewart told Rolling Stone that his creative energy was revived during the process of reviewing material for his recently published memoir. The singer said he found himself “getting up in the middle of the night and scrambling for a pen to write things down…” Eventually, he had an album’s worth of material.
A preview of the upcoming album can be heard in the video below:
With their successful Clockwork Angels tour well underway, Alex Lifeson of Rush recently told Guitar World magazine that things were not always so upbeat. When recalling the band’s Caress of Steel tour he said, “We were already extremely in debt, and it was just getting worse and worse. The crowds were getting smaller and there didn’t seem to be much interest in the album at the time. Everybody around was concerned about what the future was going to be. So there was a lot of reflection. I thought, Well, you know, I guess I could be a plumber again if I had to…”
The band persevered despite the dwindling support. Eventually, they struck a production deal with Mercury label and the band itself became “responsible for delivering the record, the artwork — everything — in its completed form. It was really up to us. But they [Mercury] did lament the fact that we seemed to no longer have the same interests as we had initially. And they were concerned about that. Of course they were concerned about that—they had invested a lot of money and time and effort in us. And they wanted only what was best for the band, which was for us to make them a lot of money! And that’s fine. They’re a business and that’s what they do. I get it. That’s okay. Truthfully, I think it lit a fire under us.”
The album delivered, of course, was the groundbreaking conceptual epic, 2112. Fans responded positively to the music and lyrics, garnering the band larger and larger audiences at time when the fate of the band was at stake. The rest is history.
It appears that guitar master Eddie Van Halen will make a guest appearance on rapper LL Cool J's upcoming album Authentic. Eddie posted a picture on Twitter of him and LL Cool J sitting infront of a mixing console, with the simple message "Authentic 4.30.13." It is not yet known what track Eddie Van Halen will be playing on. Other guest artists include Tom Morello, and Travis Barker, who both guest on the track "Whaddup." This would not be Eddie Van Halen's first cross-over appearance, having played the guitar solo on Michael Jackson's classic hit "Beat It."
In related news, Van Halen manager Irving Azoff has denied that there was any truth to the comments made by David Lee Roth on the Opie & Anthony Radio Show regarding a possible European tour for Van Halen later this year.
David Coverdale is kicking around ideas for a possible new Whitesnake album following the success of Forevermore.
In an interview with Metalshrine, Coverdale says he's been talking with co-producers Doug Aldrich and Michael McIntyre about the band's next move. "I wanna do an unplugged record, and we're still talking about it," Coverdale says. "Believe me, I would love the challenge to go further than Forevermore, because Doug and I and the band are so up for that. It's just taking a whole [expletive] year to write new songs and quality songs, because we're very critical.
Coverdale says his days on the road, while not exactly numbered, are certainly becoming less frequent as he continues journeying down this road called 'life.' "My last long tour was in 2011, and you're gonna see shorter ones now and I wanna make sure I have the physical energy and power to be able to present shows as people wanna see me," he says. "If I commit to a nine-month tour, I don't think I'm gonna be able to deliver. I'm 61 years old and I'm in great shape, but I'm still 61 years old."
For now though, there are two live albums on the way (Live In Japan and Live In Britain), and Forevermore is the gift that keeps on giving. A limited-edition box set is due at Christmas, featuring "everything Forevermore-related plus outtakes, alternate mixes, acoustic versions of songs [and] behind-the-scenes footage. Forevermore is an extraordinary jewel in the Whitesnake catalog. It's still got legs, as they say. It's still selling significant records."
Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters has given the keynote speech at the South by South West (SXSW) music festival, Texas. Grohl spoke at length of his life and career, revealing that he had doubts in the early days of Nirvana when Kurt Cobain aspired to be “the biggest band in the world.”
“How Kurt even thought we could make a ripple in this mainstream world of polished pop music was beyond me,” Grohl recalled. According to the NME, Grohl also described himself as “lost and numb” after Cobain's death. “The music I had devoted my life to had now betrayed me. I turned off the radio, I put away my drums,” he reflected.
Grohl also brought his Sound City supergroup to the event, with John Fogerty joined him onstage for a rendition of “Proud Mary.”
Grohl also provided an update on the next Foo Fighters album, which he has described as being “unconventional.” He declined to provide any specifics on when fans could expect to hear the record - the band have only just begun writing new material.
Grohl’s Sound City documentary movie is out now on download, or for streaming.
Billie Joe Armstrong is adding a punk yet Beatle-esque twist to the England’s Elizabethan era – he is writing songs for a modernized version of the William Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing. The Green Day guitarist and frontman will compose original material for a 2014 production by the Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, Connecticut.
Due in March 2014, These Paper Bullets will take Shakespeare's play and reimagine it in modern England. The Yale Rep say of the production: “Meet the Quartos. Ben, Claude, Balth, and Pedro. Their fans worship them. Scotland Yard fears them. And their former drummer will stop at nothing to destroy them. Can these fab four from Liverpool find true love in London and cut an album in seven nights? These Paper Bullets is a rocking and rolling version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing with a serious backbeat.”
It’s not Armstrong’s first venture into stage music. The Berkeley Repertory Theater worked with the singer on an adaptation of Green Day’s album American Idiot, premiering the show in 2009. It later moved to Broadway, making $40m. There were recently reports that the American Idiot production is being turned into a Hollywood film.
Armstrong is not giving up his day job, though. Green Day play at 2013’s SXSW festival.
Joe Walsh is working with Mick Jagger, Ringo Starr, Keb Mo’, Jeff Beck bassist Tal Wilkenfeld and more. On what, exactly, Walsh isn’t yet saying but he’s posted a Facebook photo of him and the others, simply saying: “Cooking up something here at Capitol Records. I think you’ll like it.”
Also in the photo are producer Don Was, keyboardist Mike Finnegan, and legendary drummer Jim Keltner. Walsh has also posted a photo of himself with legendary soul singer/songwriter Bill Withers.
Bassist Wilkenfeld has provided the strongest clue this a serious new project. She posted, “Thursdays in the office are usually pretty mellow. Like today… when I wrote a song with Bill Withers, Mick Jagger, Keb Mo & Joe Walsh. LOL.”
Bob Seger is known for his live show, but the Michigan musician says he might take a step back from touring soon. Seger, who just launched his latest North American tour with his Silver Bullet Band, says he’s “definitely nearing the end” of his touring days, according to Canada’s QMI Agency.
“I can’t see myself doing this when I’m 70,” said Seger, 67. “I’ve had a wonderful, wonderful run and my audiences have just kept coming and it’s really nice but all good things have come to an end.”
The rocker is currently working on a new studio release, which means he might be forced to head out on the road again soon, delaying his retirement plans. “If [the album does well], then we might tour another year,” he said. “We'll see.”
To find Seger’s latest tour dates, head to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s official website.
David Bowie’s wife, Iman, has dropped a strong hint that the veteran rocker may indeed tour behind his new comeback album, The Next Day. Speaking to the UK publication, Grazia, Iman alluded to that possibility with this statement: “We have a 12 year old in school, so we are stuck, we can't travel. Our schedule is around her, so I don't know. We'll have to go visit him, but we won't be on tour with him because she's in school.”
Speculation about whether or not Bowie will tour has been rampant since news of the album broke. Producer Tony Visconti has said Bowie is “fairly adamant” about not hitting the road; on the other hand, Bowie guitarist Gerry Leonard has placed the odds at “50/50.” Iman also talked about the loyalty of Bowie’s collaborators, who maintained a code of silence during the making of The Next Day. “Everyone asks, 'How did he keep it so quiet?'” she said. “But they were loyal to his vision [when he asked if] they just keep it under wraps until it was released. They were just happy he was working on something and it's just great to hear him.”
Van Halen has refuted David Lee Roth’s recent assertion that the band will perform “probably 50, 60 shows” in Europe starting later this year. As reported by Rolling Stone, the manager for Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang Van Halen indicated Roth’s comments simply weren’t true. “Nothing's been discussed yet," said manager Irving Azoff. "Why would he say this? Hey, Dave's a talkative guy. Why don't you call and ask him?" Azoff went on to say the band’s performance schedule remains currently limited to two April festival dates with Billy Joel in Australia, three June dates in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, and a headlining gig at the Rock USA festival in July in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Asked if a broader tour was a possibility, he replied, “Not unless something special comes up. It certainly won't be a tour of Europe."
Bob Dylan has become the first rock artist to be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Officials in the Academy inducted Dylan as an honorary member, saying they couldn’t decide whether it was his words or his music that warranted his membership in the prestigious honor society. “The board of directors considered the diversity of his work and acknowledged his iconic place in the American culture," said executive director Virginia Dajani, speaking to the Associated Press. "Bob Dylan is a multi-talented artist whose work so thoroughly crosses several disciplines that it defies categorization." Other honorary members of the Academy include Woody Allen, Meryl Streep and Martin Scorsese.
Dylan has already accepted his membership – a condition of his being voted through – but his manager had no comment on whether he would attend the induction ceremony in May.
There has been a lot of speculation as to whether the Rolling Stones would follow up their anniversary gigs from last year with a full scale tour. If a tour does indeed happen it will be the band's first since their A Bigger Bang tour that ended in 2007. Now Rolling Stone magazine qoute a concert business source who says that the band will play 18 concerts in North America this year. The magazine also quote another source who says "May 2nd is the launch day. I've heard West Coast cities – L.A. And Seattle. But I think they're going to do some back East as well."
According to Kasabian guitarist Serge Pizzorno, the Stones will perform in the UK as well. Pizzorno told MTV News UK when answering the question if his band's performance at Hard Rock Calling this year would be the most talked about event: "I hope ours is the most talked about performance of the weekend, but that would be a miracle because The Rolling Stones are playing Glastonbury." It seems we all just have to wait and see, but it certainly is looking more and more like we might get one more chance to see the Stones live while they're still healthy enough to tour.
Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil is currently laid up in hospital in Sydney, Australia after surgery to remove kidney stones — but in true Crüe style he plans to be onstage soon.
The band were forced to cut short their set in Sydney on Sunday night during their tour with Thin Lizzy and KISS. After Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away), Tommy Lee and Mick Mars performed their solo sections and the band finished off with Live Wire.
Neil was then rushed straight to hospital. Sources say he'd been doubled over in pain before the show the previous night too.
Neil checked in on Twitter after his operation to let fans know he's alright. "Just out of surgery," he wrote. "Spent night in hospital probably have to again tonight. Thank you all for the kind words and prayers. Doc says I should have a full recovery and be back onstage for the Brisbane show tomorrow. Thanks to my bandmates and crew for your support!"
Legendary Gibson guitarists Peter Frampton and B.B. King will play the Musikfest stage this summer in Bethlehem, PA. The two musicians will share the Sands Steel Stage on August 5 as part of Frampton's Guitar Circus project. Read more at Musikfest.org.
Also featured in the Guitar Circus appearance will be guitarist Sonny Landreth, whom Eric Clapton calls “probably the most underestimated musician on the planet and also probably one of the most advanced.”
In an interview with The Guardian, Jack White has been talking about his desire to make old blues legends heard. White’s Nashville-based Third Man label has teamed-up with Scottish-based archive label Document. This month, White's label begin releasing out-of-print selections from Document’s mammoth back catalog of 1920s and 1930s Mississippi delta blues – what they both call “vital, breathtaking recordings; the building blocks and DNA of American culture. Blues, gospel, R&B, soul, Elvis, teenagerism and punk rock." It’s all being released on vinyl.
White recalls that his peers in his Detroit neighborhood listened to chart music and the grunge/rap music of the early ‘90s. The future White Stripes/Raconteurs/Dead Weather musician grew up in a house with six older brothers and three older sisters, and was subjected to country music and rock'n'roll.
"Then someone died, and their family sold their entire blues collection to a Detroit record store," he remembers. "They were all numbered, in the corner. I got there a coupla days late. A lot of the better records had gone, so I got to buy a lot of records I'd never seen before, by Tommy Johnson, Blind Boy Fuller, Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Willie McTell and all these people. I bought as many as I could – 30, 40 of them."
He continues, "I could learn so much about songwriting and the blues from those records. So I did whatever I could to get hold of that stuff."
The first releases on White’s Third Man Label in collaboration with Document’s archive are by Charley Patton, Blind Willie McTell and the Mississippi Sheiks.
Beatles drummer Ringo Starr is to get his own exhibition. On June 12, the Grammy Museum will open its doors to “Ringo: Peace And Love” - “the first major exhibition to explore the life of Ringo Starr.”
Ringo's exhibition will feature drum kits he played on at Shea Stadium and The Ed Sullivan Show, and his iconic Sgt Pepper suit. It will also include the cape he wore in Help and the red jacket he donned during The Beatles' final performance on the Apple building rooftop, along with personal and unpublished photographs and artifacts.
“Ringo: Peace and Love” will incorporate an interactive component where visitors can take a virtual lesson from the legendary drummer.
Bizarrely, Paul McCartney remains the only Beatle not to be honored with a dedicated Grammy Museum exhibition.
Scott Weiland says he’s definitely still the frontman of Stone Temple Pilots, in spite of a statement that the band sent out earlier this week saying they have “officially terminated” him as their singer.
“There are some issues that have to be worked out with STP,” Weiland told SPIN. “But they’re the same issues that have been going on since the end of the last tour. Nobody in the band can be fired. No one’s ever fired anybody, and no one's ever quit the band.”
Weiland added that the note from the band hurt him on a personal level. “[STP] really have been together a long time, and I'm proud of that,” he said. “I really do like those guys, and it hurts my feelings when we aren’t getting along, because I view them as family.”
In other Weiland news, the singer is currently on the road playing STP tracks with his new solo gig, the Wildabouts.
What’s your favorite STP track? Let us know in the comments section below!
Greg Lake admits prog-rock became overblown, but his pioneering work in King Crimson and Emerson Lake & Palmer nonetheless remains a deep source of pride. “It was a very strange thing to hear a rock band taking their influences from European music, as King Crimson did,” Lake tells Rolling Stone, in a new interview. “I mean, I didn't sing with a mid-Atlantic accent. I sang with a British accent. The music of King Crimson was almost exclusively based on more European structures. It wasn't the three-minute single. It wasn't basic blues-riff music.”
Lake also reiterated his longstanding antipathy toward ‘70s punk music. “Punk is not a form of music,” he said. “It's a fashion statement. If you wanna talk about real punk music, you've gotta look at people like The Who, The Rolling Stones . . . the people who initially had that kind of punk attitude, that right-up-in-your-face thing. But they had a form of music to go along with it. This sort of thrashing away on a chord and just screaming abuse through a microphone doesn't constitute art to me.”
Speaking of The Who, Lake recalled fondly his work with the band on their 2004 song, “Real Good Looking Boy.” “It's a funny business playing with Pete and Roger,” Lake revealed. “At the time, their regular bassist, Pino Palladino, was on tour with Simon and Garfunkel. That's how I wound up doing it. Pete and Roger are a very interesting couple. [Laughs] I use that word because they are like a married couple.”
It’s hard to believe, but 25 years have passed since R.E.M. first unleashed their major label debut to the world, Green. In celebration of the milestone, the alternative rock guys have announced that they’ll release a special deluxe reissue of the album on May 14.
The set, called Green: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, will feature two discs that pack a remastered version of the original release, plus an album offering 21 live performances that were recorded at R.E.M’s November 10, 1989 show in Greensboro, N.C.
In addition, the guys will be releasing a limited edition EP on Record Store Day, which falls on April 20 this year, called Live in Greensboro. The EP offers five live performances from the same Greensboro show that won’t come with the 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, including “Strange,” “So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry),” “Feeling Gravity's Pull,” “King of Birds” and “I Remember California.”
Van Halen has a pretty busy touring schedule this year, which includes gigs in Australia in April and Japan in June, but according to bass player Wolfgang Van Halen, new music may also be a part of the band’s 2013 plans.
As the story goes, Wolfgang recently told Billboard, that he actually helped bring his dad Eddie, uncle Alex and lead singer David Lee Roth back together to fashion tracks for the group’s 2012 reunion album, A Different Kind of Truth, and that process kind of put the guys “into the mindspace of when they wrote” those songs. Moreover, he says that there’s more old material out there to resurrect, plus “some new stuff that we’ve been working on, too.” While that’s not a definitive answer whether the guy will record the new music, it’s a start.
When he’s not rocking out with his dad, Wolfgang is playing bass for Mark Tremonti’s band, and he recently officially joined the project. He’s also involved in the writing process for Tremonti’s next album.
“Van Halen is definitely the priority, but whenever Van Halen isn't doing anything, I treat this as another band I’m legitimately in,” he said. “I’m really excited to be on the next record and have some sort of influence on the writing.”
Lenny Kravitz is no longer set to portray Marvin Gaye in the long-awaited biopic about the late American soul singer. As reported by Deadline Hollywood, the lead role for the film, titled Sexual Healing, will now be filled by Law & Order alumnus Jesse L. Martin. Kravitz had been announced to star in the biopic last November. Soon afterwards, Gaye’s son, Marvin Gaye III, criticized the choice and threatened legal action if Kravitz did not drop out. Martin, who’s in the current season of the NBC series Smash, has a musical background, having been an original cast member in the Broadway musical, Rent. Filming for Sexual Healing is set to begin later this month in Europe. The script is said to focus on Gaye’s life in the ‘80s, at a time when the singer was reviving his career with help from British promoter Freddy Cousaert. Julien Temple, who’s manned the camera for films about the Sex Pistols and Joe Strummer, is the director.
Guitar legend Alvin Lee of Ten Years After has died of complications after routine surgery, reports BBC News. He was 68.
The British guitarist shot to worldwide attention with a staggering Woodstock performance in 1969.
Lee talked to Guitar World about his ‘Big Red’ ES-335 just last year. “I've still got the original Woodstock 335, but, sadly, I don’t use it these days as it has become too valuable. She’s now in a vault since some loony offered me half a million dollars for her.
Alvin Lee’s family announced the sad news on his website, saying: "We have lost a wonderful and much loved father and companion, the world has lost a truly great and gifted musician."
Noel Gallagher believes there’s a lesson to be learned from the way David Bowie staged his recent return to making music. In a new interview with New Musical Express, Gallagher says Bowie’s new album serves notice that established artists shouldn’t be so quick to trade on past glories. “It's great to hear his voice singing something new,” says Gallagher. “The more you hear [the single] 'Where Are We Now?,' the better it gets. The video's mad – like his cat directed it."
Gallagher said Bowie’s comeback “blew his mind,” adding that it strengthened his [Gallagher’s] resolve against the idea that bands should reunite to perform their “oldies.” “If you had turned on the news and it had said, 'David Bowie is to do a series of concerts next year,' everyone would have gone, 'Oh great, can't wait, that's it, let's talk about something else,’” Gallagher said. “But we're still talking about that song. New music and records rule, but reunions for gigs [don’t]."
You can never have too many supergroups right? The latest one feature Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready and former Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan. Along with Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin the trio is looking for several singers to record both new and old material they've written.
“Duff and Barrett and I got together. We wrote some new stuff and we took some of those old Mad Season demos from that [unreleased] second Disinformation record, so we are trying to find something to do with those,” McCready told Billboard. “We're talking to Jaz [Coleman] from Killing Joke and I've been trying to find some singers to work on some of that stuff.”
McCready and Martin played together in the grunge supergroup Mad Season, which featured late Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley, while Martin and McKagan have the band Walking Papers together. Martin talked about the trio's new material to Billboard: “I had a whole bunch of song ideas and Mike had a whole bunch of song ideas and Duff had a whole bunch of song ideas that were not making it into Walking Papers. We decided that we would go into the studio and record them. Right now they're being sent out to different singers. Mike and Duff are overseeing that because they know everybody.”
There is no release date, let alone a band name, as of yet. According to Martin, it mainly depends on finding the right singers for the project: “As the different singers finish their songs and turn them in, that will determine when they get put out.”
Read Gibson.com’s exclusive 2011 interview with Duff McKagan here.
Classic Rock report that Kansas are getting ready for a one-off reunion with original members Kerry Livgren, Dave Hope and Robby Steinhardt. The event is set to take place on August 17 in Pittsburgh, PA. Drummer Phil Ehart says the band chose Pittsburgh because "Pittsburgh and the whole state of Pennsylvania discovered the band first. We came here in the early days and it was like our home from home."
The concert will be a two-part event, starting with Kansas performing together with a 35-piece symphony orchestra. After intermission the band will return to play some of their classic tunes. Says Ehart "We do a symphony set then we do a regular set. And in the meantime we have Dave, Kerry and Robby playing on different songs with the current band throughout the whole show. We’ve got some great stuff planned for the intermission too – it’s gonna rock."
The event is in celebration of the band's 40th anniversary. There has been no mention of them taking all original members out on tour, but who knows what happens if the gig in Pittsburgh is a success?
Tommy Lee has explained his current refusal to participate in band meet-and-greet sessions while on tour in Australia.
Lee says, "For those of you that are asking why I am not doing anymore meet and greets: It's got nothing to do with me not wanting to meet the fans, I just don't agree with doing it under the certain given circumstances. I love u all and I'll gladly high five y'all if I see u out n about - and u won't have to pay me for that." We'll point out that he capped off that last sentence with a winky-face emoticon. He then followed that message up by tweeting 'Virtual high 5's for all!'
Lee seems to be missing the grittiness and realness of Mötley Crüe’s early days. A few days ago he tweeted a series of messages:
"How to kill a vibe in 1.2 secs! Whip out your [expletive] cell, turn the flash on too or shoot video with the light on the whole time! It's not the pictures that bother me! It's the boring [expletive] standing there taking pics and not being in the moment of what's happening!"
And he has a point: why spend all that money on a concert ticket if you're going to view it through your cellphone screen instead of enjoying it? It's not like cellphone videos are even high enough quality to justify the robbing yourself of the memory of the experience in the aim of recording a memento of it. I'm with Tommy on this one.
The band is currently touring Australia with Thin Lizzy and KISS. KISS fans on this tour will have the option of paying for various meet & greet packages, including ones where they get to purchase Paul Stanley's stage-used microphone or stage-smashed guitar, and another where they can attend a lunch and speaking engagement featuring Gene Simmons.
Everything about David Bowie's forthcoming album The Next Day is a surprise, from the announcement of its very existence to its controversial cover art to the astounding secrecy surrounding its creation. Now Bowie has pulled off the ultimate 'gotcha,' streaming the album for free in its entirety on iTunes weeks ahead of its release.
The album is streaming for free from now until its release date. Go check it out!
A few of us media folk here in Melbourne, Australia were treated to a preview last week before the stream was announced and it's classic Bowie, blending parts Scary Monsters and Heroes with scatterings of other Bowie eras as well: elements of Heathen and Reality, a dash of Let's Dance, even hints of Tin Machine and 1.Outside. The two songs that have been released as singles so far aren't really a clear indication of the rest of the album.
So will Bowie tour? Who knows? Rumors vary from "It's 50/50 as to whether he'll tour," to "Maybe a show in New York and one in London" to "No." But knowing Bowie, that means he'll probably do the opposite of what everyone expects and show up busking on a street corner or on someone's porch for an afternoon set some day.
First there was an unsuccessful attempt to name an airport after Ozzy Osbourne in his hometown of Birmingham in England. Now an Australian woman has launched a campaign to have Ozzy knighted.
First of all, it's not so unusual for an Aussie to be concerned with such matters, since Australia is part of the Commonwealth and therefore under the dominion of the Queen, who would be conferring the honor upon Osbourne should the petition reach receptive royal ears. Secondly, Ozzy is set to visit the antipodes in June when Black Sabbath plays their first shows on Australian soil since the 1970s. So maybe the founder of the petition, Helen Maidotis, is hoping for an audience with the prospective Sir Osbourne to discuss the campaign.
"Ozzy has been an inspiration to many great musicians over the last 40 years," Maidiotis says. "He has taken a lot of young musicians under his wing along the way, from the late and great Randy Rhoads to Zakk Wylde and many others. He is a credit to his country and I believe that a knighthood for Ozzy is one well deserved and long overdue."
At time of publication the petition had 201 signatures. You can follow the petition's progress at Causes.com and its official Facebook page, The Knighthood Of Ozz.
A basic pencil doodle drawn by Paul McCartney when he was a teenager has fetched £3,764 (approximately $5658) at auction.
The sketches, done by the Beatle during the late 1950s when he was studying at the Liverpool Institute High School For Boys, was sold by PFC Auctions on 28 February amid a flurry of last minute bids.
The drawings, multiple faces showing different expressions on a single sheet of paper, are rendered in pencil. The “piece” is 12.5” x 8” and in good condition, with the exception of a small tear in the bottom right hand corner.
McCartney won a prize at the age of 14 for a drawing he did of St Aidan's church on the Speke, Liverpool, housing estate where he lived, though the unschooled artist has said, “I felt that only people who had gone to art college were allowed to paint.” McCartney’s ink drawing of an idea provided the inspiration for the artwork for the Sgt Pepper album cover. In 1999, his visual work was displayed in a solo exhibition, Paul McCartney: Paintings, in Germany.
A couple have been arrested in Cleveland, Ohio, after an argument over rock guitarists Slash and Eddie Van Halen escalated out of control.
Cleveland.com reports that the unnamed pair were staying in Motel 6 in the city’s Brook Park suburb and having an obviously “lively” discussion about rock music. The man believed Slash was the better guitarist while the woman felt Van Halen was the man.
After a time their discussion became a heated argument and staff were forced to call Brook Park police. On being interviewed by officers the couple agreed to calm down – but a database check revealed they both had outstanding warrants in other locations and so they were both arrested.
Weird. There’s only one question that now needs answering. Who is better? Slash or Eddie Van Halen? Discuss – and no fighting!
An early version of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” and Metallica performing with Marianne Faithfull could be destroyed if not claimed. The recordings are among a slew of tapes from the old Windmill Lane recording studios near Dublin, still looking for a home. Windmill Lane is famous for its use by U2. The Rolling Stones, Status Quo, Kate Bush, R.E.M and Elvis Costello have also recorded there.
The Irish Times reports more than 1,000 tapes, weighing a ton, which are filling up the attic in the new Windmill Lane studios in Ringsend, Dublin, are waiting to be reclaimed by the artists or recording companies that recorded them.
The two-inch multitrack tapes date from the days before digital technology took over; the new studio plans to begin destroying the tapes in May if they remain unclaimed.
Jack White is immersed in writing new songs for the follow-up to Blunderbuss, the solo album he released last year. Speaking to Rolling Stone, White said he’s working on 20 to 25 tracks that span a wide range of styles. “[They’re] definitely not one sound,” he said. “It's definitely several. Like you heard in Blunderbuss, there's many different styles there. I don't pick my style and then write a song. I just write whatever comes out of me, and whatever style it is is what it is, and it becomes something later. Someone else can label it if they want to, but as it's being written and recorded I'm just trying to service the song as best as possible."
White also alluded to a number of other projects brewing at his label, Third Man Records. “I could work 24 hours a day at Third Man if I wanted to,” he said. “There's so much going on … so many amazing things that are going to come out in the next few months. I just look at it like one step at a time and I don't think too far ahead.”
The Stone Temple Pilots have parted ways with lead singer Scott Weiland. Yesterday (Feb. 27), the band issued a succinct statement on their website that reads: “Stone Temple Pilots have announced they have officially terminated Scott Weiland. No further information is available at this time.” Weiland was apparently stunned by the news.
The singer posted the following statement on his Facebook page: “I learned of my supposed 'termination' from Stone Temple Pilots this morning by reading about it in the press. Not sure how I can be 'terminated' from a band that I founded, fronted and co-wrote many of its biggest hits, but that's something for the lawyers to figure out. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to seeing all of my fans on my solo tour which starts this Friday.”
Weiland’s tour is expected to focus almost exclusively on material from the first two STP albums.
New U2 albums are always a celebrated affair. While nobody knows whether U2’s long-awaited The Songs of Ascent will arrive this year, it’s possible, if you believe frontman Bono.
“We’re working on three albums at the moment and we haven’t decided what order we’re going to put them out but The Songs of Ascent have the kind of beautiful intimacy that we’re speaking of now,” Bono said in a post on U2.com last year. “They fit into this moment, the mode of some of these artists that I was hanging out with on Christmas Eve.”
Whether or not we get new U2 this year, here are 10 great U2 songs that show off the band’s spunky Irish post-punk roots and show the chaps at their best.
“Beautiful Day,” from All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000)
Writing a happy rock song can be a daunting task, but U2 pulls it off with “Beautiful Day.” The song is a tribute to all the simple pleasures in life, told through Bono’s descriptive lyrics and the band’s anthemic, powerful sonics. From the opening reverberating electric piano to the closing, fading guitar lines, “Beautiful Day” makes one feel grateful for life’s blessings.
“I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For,” from The Joshua Tree (1987)
Who can’t relate to the experience of finally reaching a major goal, but feeling like something is still missing? U2 captures that sentiment in their anthem “I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For,” thanks to Bono’s longing lyrics and the Edge’s soulful, spiritual guitar playing.
“Mysterious Ways,” from Achtung Baby (1991)
“Mysterious Ways” is one of U2’s greatest love songs. The rock track features a dance-happy beat, the Edge’s funk-driven guitar hooks and Bono’s chivalrous lyrics.
“New Year’s Day,” from War (1983)
“New Year’s Day” marked a breakthrough for U2, since it was the band’s first single to chart in the U.S. Coming off that initial success, the song helped shaped U2’s direction as a socially-minded rock band, as the song was actually about the first non–communist party-controlled trade union in Poland. Musically, it follows U2’s traditions of warm, sweeping guitar lines and near-spiritual lyrics.
“One,” from Achtung Baby (1991)
“One” is one of U2’s most celebrated songs, presenting heartfelt vocals, relatable lyrics and big, grandiose instrumentation. The song was first released to support AIDS charities, although it was originally written about the band’s splintering relationships at the time. Regardless, it’s a U2 classic.
“Pride (In the Name of Love),” from The Unforgettable Fire (1984)
U2’s “Pride in the Name of Love” pays homage to the late, great Martin Luther King Jr., and in addition to the emotive lyrics, the Edge’s guitar work really makes the song soar. The track boasts one of the Edge’s most famous guitar solos, painting a sonic of hope and optimism, while Bono’s lyrics (“Free at last/They took your life/They could not take your pride”) are simply inspiring.
“Sunday Bloody Sunday,” from War (1983)
The Edge’s guitar soloing really stands out on “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” as it breaks through the song’s steady, march-like vibe with moving, sweeping lines. War, in general, highlights the Edge’s guitar work, and “Sunday Bloody Sunday” is a stand-out.
“Walk On,” from All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000)
Like many of U2’s songs, “Walk On” takes on a socially-conscious aura, as the track was inspired by Aung San Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest in Burma from 1989 to 2010. The song won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 2002, thanks in no small part of Bono’s poignant lyrics and the Edge’s guitar lines that sing and soar.
“Where the Streets Have No Name,” from The Joshua Tree (1987)
The Joshua Tree was a breakthrough album for U2. The album was U2’s first No. 1 release and thrust the guys into the rock ‘n’ roll spotlight. “Where the Streets Have No Name” gets the set off to a strong start, with sparkling textures and an epic presentation.
“With or Without You,” from The Joshua Tree (1987)
“With or Without You” brings it all together for U2: Bono’s divine vocals, the Edge’s elevated guitar lines and the band’s overall angelic aura. It’s one of U2’s biggest hits and represents the moment when U2 went from being a great rock ‘n’ roll band to one of the most influential groups on the planet.
The Rolling Stones were among the big winners at the annual NME Music Awards yesterday (Nov. 27). In addition to nabbing “Best Live Band” honors, the group carried home the trophy for “Best Music Film,” for the career-spanning documentary, Crossfire Hurricane.
Stones guitarist Ron Wood was on hand to accept the statuettes. “Mick, Keith and Charlie were too nervous to come out from backstage so I stepped up,” Wood told the audience. “About time I think and thanks very much, this is a good award show this.''
Wood also performed at the event, taking the stage with guitarist Johnny Marr for a rendition of The Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now.” Reuters Television later asked Wood about the chances of the Stones doing more live shows, including the Glastonbury Festival. "Keep your eye out because you know I want to do some more, and I know that the boys do too," he said. "I want to do [Glastonbury] badly, but I've no idea yet ....”
Remind yourselves how to play like Keith Richards here.
Eric Clapton fans now have an additional incentive to see the guitar legend when he embarks on a U.S. tour this spring. As the guitar legend prepares to release his new solo album, Old Sock, he says his days as a touring musician will soon come to an end. “If I could [play] around my neighborhood, that would be great,” reveals Clapton, in the latest issue of Rolling Stone. “You have guys in Texas that play their circuit, and it keeps them alive. But for me, the struggle is the travel. And the only way you can beat that is by throwing so much money at it that you make a loss. So the idea is I'm taking a leaf out of JJ [Cale]'s book: When I'm 70, I'll stop. I won't stop playing or doing one-offs, but I'll stop touring, I think."
Clapton jokingly added that he always seems to tussle with immigration officials. "I never get it right,” he laughed. “I forget to take off my belt, or I have change in my pocket. Next thing I know, 'Can you come over here please?' I just don't want to do that anymore.” Old Sock will be released on March 12.
It doesn’t get more legendary than Aerosmith’s anthem “Dream On.” The song is a classic, and now, it may be honored in the group’s home of Massachusetts. South Coast Today is reporting that two Democrat representatives, Josh Cutler and James Cantwell, have introduced a bill into the Massachusetts legislature to make “Dream On” the Bay State’s official rock song.
Of course, this is serious business. To back up their legislature to make “Dream On” the state’s official rock song, the two cited proof of the song’s popularity. For one, Rolling Stone picked the song as one of the 500 greatest songs of all time. On top of that, Cantwell stated that “Dream On” is a “classic ballad that's all about holding on to your dreams and seizing opportunity… No band is more closely associated with Massachusetts.”
If you could pick a rock song to represent your state, what would it be? Let us know in the comments section below!
Sure, The Beatles revolutionized music and created a body of work that will stand for centuries. That doesn’t mean, however, that the members of group didn’t go on to produce music that in some instances was just as timeless. Below are 10 solo albums made by Fab Four alumni that should be part of every record collection.
Plastic Ono Band – John Lennon (1970)
Few Beatles fans were prepared for the searing introspection John Lennon unleashed with his first solo album. Having recently undergone primal scream therapy – a grueling process intended to bring repressed childhood memories to the surface -- Lennon composed material that gave new meaning to so-called confessional songwriting. Such classics as “Mother,” “Working Class Hero,” “Love” and “Well Well Well” were the result.
Ram – Paul and Linda McCartney (1971)
Everyone knows Double Fantasy was credited to John and Yoko, but many forget that Ram was credited to Paul and Linda. No matter. Featuring fuller production than McCartney’s self-titled post-Beatles debut, the album nonetheless contained a tossed-off charm that’s aged well. The whimsical two-part suite, "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” remains quintessential McCartney. “Ram reminds me of my hippie days and the free attitude with which was created,” McCartney said last year, in a statement posted on his website.
All Things Must Pass – George Harrison (1970)
The Beatles’ breakup gave George Harrison the opportunity, at last, to express fully the songwriting prowess that had long been brewing in him. This triple-album opus – the first box set in rock music history – also introduced the spiritual themes and slide-guitar emphasis that would often be central to Harrison’s subsequent work. High points include “My Sweet Lord,” “Isn’t it a Pity” and “What is Life.”
Ringo – Ringo Starr (1973)
The original idea for Ringo’s All-Starr Band concept can be traced to this terrific album. Contributions came not just from all of Ringo’s former mates in the Fab Four, but also from the likes of Marc Bolan, Harry Nilsson, Nicky Hopkins and members of The Band. “Photograph,” which Starr composed with George Harrison, and the delightful cover of “You’re Sixteen” both topped the charts in the U.S.
Imagine – John Lennon (1971)
John Lennon mellowed out a bit for this follow-up to his harrowing solo rock debut, but the softer stance was merely relative. “Jealous Guy” presented a self-portrait of someone broken and vulnerable, but “Gimme Some Truth” and “How Do You Sleep” howled with a spirit as searing as anything Lennon had done previously. Forty years on, the utopian vision offered up in the title track has lost none of its luster.
Band on the Run – Paul McCartney & Wings (1973)
Paul McCartney made what many consider his finest post-Beatles album in, of all places, Lagos, Nigeria -- on the west coast of Africa. “Jet,” “Helen Wheels” and the title track were all hits spawned by this superlative effort. Lennon, who generally only grudgingly complimented McCartney’s post-Beatles work, gave the album a whole-hearted thumbs-up. “Band on the Run is a great album,” he told Rolling Stone. “You can call them Wings, but it’s Paul McCartney
Cloud Nine – George Harrison (1987)
George Harrison ended a five-year recording hiatus with one of the most commercially and critically successful releases of his career. Enlisting ELO leader Jeff Lynne as co-producer, Harrison brought in pals Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Elton John and Jim Keltner to breathe life into some of his finest compositions. A cover of the obscure nugget, “Got My Mind Set on You,” reached Number One in the U.S., and the Beatles tribute “When We was Fab” did nearly as well. As fate would have it, the disc would prove to be Harrison’s final solo album.
Double Fantasy – John Lennon and Yoko Ono (1980)
Although Lennon shared billing with Yoko Ono on this album, released just prior to his death, the strength of the Lennon-penned compositions merits its inclusion on this list. Like much of Lennon’s best work, the sheer pop brilliance of “(Just Like) Starting Over” and the straight-on splendor of “Woman” dipped toes in the past while pushing toward the future. One can’t help wondering if ‘80s music in general would have followed a different course, had Lennon survived.
Time Takes Time – Ringo Starr (1992)
This album, Ringo’s first in ten years, was widely hailed as his best effort since 1973’s Ringo. Recorded sporadically over 1991, the album features such diverse material as a cover of The Posies’ “Golden Blunders” and a Diane Warren track titled “In a Heartbeat.” A McCartney-Starr composition, titled “Angel in Disguise,” was recorded for the album, but Starr opted not to include it. The song would have been the first and only song to bear such a credit.
Memory Almost Full -- Paul McCartney (2007)
It’s further testament to McCartney’s artistry that, well into the fifth decade of his career, he managed to come up with one of his finest efforts. Bright, lively melodies abound, and though the lyrical tone is reflective, there’s nothing maudlin in the music. The phrase “memory almost full” alludes to a digital message, of course, but it also happens to be an anagram of “for my soul mate LLM” (Linda McCartney’s full initials). McCartney has said the reference was unintentional.
A number of rare Electric Light Orchestra and Jeff Lynne recordings have found a new home on Frontiers Records, the label that recently released new albums by both Lynne and his most famous musical endeavor, ELO.
The releases are ELO's Zoom, a 2001 release which has been unavailable for over ten years and which features appearances by Beatles George Harrison and Ringo Starr; Lynne's 1990 solo debut Armchair Theatre (Harrison shows up there too); and Electric Live Orchestra Live, which chronicles the first date of the Zoom tour at Los Angeles' CBS Television City, originally released as a DVD.
Each release includes additional tracks, with Live really upping the ante with four tracks that weren't on the original DVD release as well as two new unreleased studio tracks, "Out of Luck" and "Cold Feet."
Last year Frontiers released ELO's Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra and Lynne's Long Wave. Both albums were essentially covers: the former featuring brand new recordings of ELO classics, and the latter comprised of tracks that Lynne loved in his formative years in Birmingham, UK.
All three new re-releases will be available on April 19, 2013 in Europe and April 23 in North America.
Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry will become the 36th recipients of ASCAP’s annual Founders Award at this year’s Pop Music Awards. The performing rights organization bestows the honor on those who “have made exceptional contributions to music, inspiring and influencing their fellow creators."
In a prepared statement, ASCAP chairman Paul Williams said, "As part of one of our nation’s greatest and most iconic rock bands, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry crafted the music that defined a generation and continues to inspire songwriters today. They are true musical pioneers whose contributions to American songwriting are immeasurable.”
Tyler responded graciously, saying, "It is humbling for Joe and me to be honored for our music alongside the likes of Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Paul McCartney and Joni Mitchell. It's been a lifelong love affair, and it’s far from over.” Perry echoed Tyler's sentiments. "We join an incredible list of honorees,” he said, “and we are grateful to ASCAP for their support throughout our career."
The Pop Music Awards will take place April 17 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles.
Find out what Joe Perry thinks about the new “Joe Perry 1959 Les Paul” here.
David Bowie’s guitarist Gerry Leonard is more optimistic than most about the chances Bowie will undertake a tour in support of his new album, The Next Day. Leonard, who in recent years has served as Bowie’s musical director, told Rolling Stone the odds were roughly even that the 66-year-old legend would soon stage some shows. "I would say that it's 50-50," he said. "A couple of times, when we played back one of the more kick-ass tunes from the new record, he'd be like, 'This would be great live!' Of course, everyone was like, 'What? Did he just say that?' But other times he'd just roll his eyes if someone brought up playing live."
Leonard reiterated the assessment of all involved that Bowie is in exceptionally good health. “His voice is sounding great and he's looking great, too,” said Leonard. He could totally do [a tour]. You never know with David, though. I feel he might want to make another record before he plays shows. He's being really prolific right now."
Guitarist Magic Slim, a Chicago blues great who followed in the footsteps of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, died yesterday (Feb. 21) at a hospital in Philadelphia. He was 75. Born Morris Holt in Torrance, Mississippi, Slim gave up the piano and turned to guitar at 13 after losing the pinky finger on his right hand in a farming accident. He first went to Chicago in 1955, eventually recording his first single in 1966 and his first album in 1977.
His 1990 album, Gravel Road, launched a 22-year association with Blind Pig Records, which released ten Slim albums and a live DVD during that period. Slim’s distinctive guitar style arose in part from his use of picks on both his thumb and index finger. He was known for his encyclopedic knowledge of blues material, and drew from hundreds of songs he had committed to memory. "Magic Slim embodied the heart and soul of this label,” Blind Pig Records owner Jerry Del Giudice said, in a prepared statement. “It was Magic Slim, and the guys like him, and their music, that inspired us to start the label in the first place."
Back in 1957, Gibson’s then-President and chief designer, Ted McCarty, undoubtedly had an eye on the ‘50s tailfins of cars by Cadillac and Chrysler when he designed the V, part of Gibson’s 1958-launched Modernistic line alongside the Explorer and super-rare Moderne.
The Flying V has a rich history in music of all genres. You’ll be needing this Flying V 101 to impress your buddies.
1. Ted McCarty’s earliest 1957 prototypes were made of mahogany, and had the ‘V’ sides but a rounded Les Paul-like rear bout. These were simply too heavy, so the cut-out bottom was added to the design and the wood changed to Korina (aka Limba). “One of the design team guys said, ‘that looks like a flying ‘v’,’” recalled McCarty, “and the name just stuck.” Pickup designer Seth Lover once claimed the cut-out was actually his idea and was done so the guitar could be stood-up vertically against a wall with ease.
2. Gibson’s Flying V was first shown in the 1958 Gibson catalogue where it was listed at $247.50, the same price as a Les Paul Standard.
3. On its 1958 commercial debut, Lonnie Mack started using a Flying V immediately. Some claim his famed Bigsby-equipped V was the only such-appointed V to leave the Gibson factory. Not true. Mack had the Bigsby retro-fitted by Cincinnati’s Glenn Hughes Music store. Mack called his V “Seven,” as it was the seventh off the production line.
4. When Gibson's Custom Shop examined "Seven" to create the signature Lonnie Mack Flying V, its humbuckers were found to have extra windings, which added to “Seven”s fat tone.
5. Mack’s Bigsby-equipped V shaped guitar lingua franca. Due to Mack’s extensive usage of his Bigbsy-loaded V on his 1963 album Wham, bridge vibrato systems gradually became knows as whammy bars.
6. Blues legend Albert King was another early adopter. His first V was a Korina ’59 and some King historians claim it was his first electric guitar. In his early career, King was a drummer. King called all of his Vs “Lucy.” His upside-down, left-handed style was unique, using a minor tuning of C?-G?-B-E-G?-C? (but hardly ever using the sixth string). ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons also gave King a custom-made replica V as a 65th birthday present.
7. The craziest fact about King’s original Vs and V copies is that three are now owned by Steven Seagal. The action-movie actor is a major guitar collector and player.
Seagal told Vintage Guitar, “There’s a rumor that Albert lost [his original V] in a craps game in the late ’60s. Whether at the game itself or as a debt he paid later, this guitar went for $2,500. The person who bought it was supposed to hang on to it – he promised never to sell it. So it disappeared for more than 20 years, hidden in Memphis. But I knew who had it, and found him. I’ve kept it quiet for many years; not many have seen it,” said Seagal.
“I think it is the most important blues guitar in the world, period, and it’s the best-sounding V around – a voice from another planet. It has the most amazing tone and it has all of Albert’s energy in it. It’s one of my greatest treasures. I have Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Firebird with the personally-carved names of Stevie, Albert King, and Muddy Waters, but this one is much more important.” Hey “Casey Ryback”, you’re a lucky guy!
8. An original 1959 Korina Flying V like King’s is one of the most valuable production-model guitars ever, ranked at #4 on the 2011 Top 25 published by Vintage Guitar. If you can even find one, be prepared to pay $200,000 to $250,000. (A ’58 Gibson Explorer and ’58 Gibson Les Paul Standard are at #3 and #2 on Vintage Guitar’s list.)
9. Part of the early Vs value is due to sheer rarity. Gibson built just 81 in 1958, and only 17 in 1959.
10. But early Flying Vs were not always so coveted: The Kinks’ Dave Davies got his V for peanuts. “In those days, I used to only carry one guitar around and I had to get a replacement quick. I went into a store and they didn't have anything I liked. I saw this dusty old guitar case and I said 'What have you got in there?' He said 'Oh, that's just some silly old guitar.' He got it out and I bought it for about $60.” Deal!
11. The Scorpions’ Rudolph Schenker is Flying V crazy. He owns over 60 Gibson Vs, including three 1958s, three '67-'69s, two '71 Medallions, three '83 reissues of the '58, four ‘80s models, as well as a few of his own '84 Rudolf Schenker Signatures, a custom double-neck Custom double-neck V and more.
12. Rudolph would have one more, were it not for his younger brother Michael who permanently “borrowed” one of his ’71 Flying V Medallions when he started playing. Michael’s later 1975 Flying V (refinished in black and white) became one of the most iconic guitars of ‘70s and ‘80s heavy metal in UFO and The Michael Schenker Group.
13. Schenker was the inspiration for Metallica’s early twin-V sound. Though James Hetfield’s white “V” was not a Gibson, but a cheap copy. "I got it in 1980, " Hetfield told Guitar World. "It was the second guitar I ever owned, and I probably bought it for $200. I knew it was a copy, but we treated it as a real Gibson. I wanted a white one because of Michael Schenker.”
Kirk Hammett explained: "I bought my black V in 1979, and it's either a '74 or '75. It was my first Gibson, and it was $450. I raised the money for it washing dishes. I played it in Exodus, and then I went on to play it on the first four Metallica albums and the accompanying tours. It was the first guitar I ever put EMG pickups in. I don't take it out on the road anymore... it's really fragile now because of the weather and traveling. It's just been overplayed, basically. and it's been thrown around quite a bit. I remember one time I got really mad during the Kill ‘Em All tour - of course, I was a little inebriated - and I took off the guitar and threw it at the amp. Another time I threw it at my tech because something wasn't working right, and he didn't catch it. Surprisingly, I never snapped the neck."
14. Maybe that’s because Gibson introduced a vollute to strengthen the headstock/neck joint in 1970. The feature first appeared on that year’s Medallion V. Flying Vs are strong, but they are best not thrown across a stage, people!
15. All Flying V's have two humbuckers, with the exception of the VII (two “boomerang” single-coils) and the V90Double (one ‘bucker, one single coil).
16. The VII was an interesting twist. Introduced by Gibson in mid-1979, its sculpted body and neck were crafted from quality five-ply walnut and maple: either w/m/w/m/w (’79-‘80) or m/w/m/w/m (from mid-1980). It had “bling” too, with gold hardware, an ebony fingerboard and a mother-of-pearl inlaid logo. It remains a collectors’ item, despite it not being widely popular at the time.
17. Jimi Hendrix owned at least three Gibson Flying Vs. Two were right-handed – a 1969 tobacco sunburst and a 1967, originally black, that Jimi himself painted to become his so-called “Psychedelic V.” The third was a left-hander, built for Jimi by Gibson in 1969 and first used live in 1970.
Jimi’s “Psychedelic V” remains iconic, but it has had a bizarre journey. In January 1969, Jimi gifted the V to Mick Cox of Eire Apparent, an Irish band who toured with Hendrix. Cox decided to strip the guitar of Jimi’s nail-varnish paintings (doh!) and later sold it to Ken Hensley of U.K. rockers Uriah Heep. It ended up with U.K. session musician Dave Brewis, who restored it to its old glory in 1999. This guitar, along side pictures of Jimi’s “original”, was used by the Gibson Custom Shop to make a run of just 300, the artwork done by artist Bruce Kunkel.
18. In 1981, Gibson introduced a Flying V bass, making just 375. So they are very rare, but this television appearance by U.K. post-punkers Killing Joke appears to see bassist Paul Raven playing a genuine Gibson Flying V bass.
19. At 44” from headstock to end bouts, the Flying V is one of the longest production guitars ever made. Not as long, though, as this V-alike made by Ralph Ciociano from New York store Guitar Shack. Now, that’s a big guitar.
20. In 2007 Gibson created a limited-run Reverse Flying V, with the tips of the wings facing forward and a backwards V headstock, but other aspects of the design –body contours, vintage style pickups - remained faithful to the ’57-designed original. Just 300 were made.
Paul McCartney and Mumford And Sons are among the headliners for the 2013 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. The four-day festival will take place June 13Â-16 2013, with a more varied line-up than usual.
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers return for another headliner spot. But they will mix with veteran R&B star R. Kelly, Bjork and rappers Wu-Tang Clan. Wilco, The Lumineers, The National, The XX, Kendrick Lamar, Nas and ZZ Top are other big names confirmed.
McCartney will be making his first appearance at Bonnaroo. Mumford And Sons are fresh off their album of the year win at the Grammys – they first played Bonnaroo in 2011 on the second stage in an acclaimed show.
It’s an eclectic lineup. Billy Idol will play. And Jim James will host a Soul SuperJam with John Oates, Zigaboo Modeliste of the Meters and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
On the roots side, Dwight Yoakam, Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit and Calexico will also appear. Full details at Bonnaroo.com.
Heavy metal guitar pioneer Tony Iommi, who turns 65 on Tuesday, February 19, is best known as the driving force of Black Sabbath. He’s also a veritable Lon Chaney of riffs — a man of 1,000 indelible licks that have propelled such enduring Sabbath songs as “Iron Man,” “Paranoid,” “Fairies Wear Boots,” “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” “Sweet Leaf,” “N.I.B.,” “War Pigs,” “Heaven & Hell,” “Children of the Grave” and “Symptom of the Universe.”
The good news is that Iommi’s cancer therapy is working, and there’s a surprise coming for Black Sabbath fans with a brand-new Rick Rubin produced Sabbath album with Ozzy Obsourne on vocals that’s almost completed.
So — with Sabbath on the brink of another renaissance — this seems like a good time to take stock of what the guitarist who blueprinted so many of the tropes of metal, both sonically and conceptually, has done outside of Black Sabbath.
Where to start? Well, Iommi took up the guitar as a teen inspired by Hank Marvin of the Shadows, the early British instrumental rock group, and at 17 famously lost the tips of the middle and ring fingers of his fretting hand in a sheet metal factory accident in his native Birmingham, England. Despite that, the southpaw continued to play in the horribly named Rockin’ Chevrolets until 1966, when he joined the Rest, which featured future Sabbath drummer Bill Ward.
Next up Iommi and Ward carried on to a blues band called Mythology until they met singer John Osbourne — nicknamed Ozzy — and bassist Terry “Geezer” Butler and formed a sextet named the Polka Turk Blues Company. Ouch! Jettisoning the other members, Iommi, Osbourne, Butler and Ward next tagged themselves Earth. For a brief spell Iommi exited the group to join Ian Anderson’s Jethro Tull. The Iommi version of Tull was immortalized on film in The Rolling Stones Rock & Roll Circus. But the cameras had barely stopped rolling when Iommi rejoined his comrades and in August 1969 they adopted the moniker Black Sabbath.
Black Sabbath has been Iommi’s primary musical home ever since — including its Ronnie James Dio-fronted incarnation as both Sabbath and Heaven & Hell. Nonetheless, the down-tuned, dark-toned guitar legend has taken some exciting side trips over the years.
The most musically interesting was his first solo album, 2001’s Iommi, which was packed with a coterie of guest metal and rock singers and guitarists that included Henry Rollins, the Cult’s Ian Astbury, fellow Gibson six-stringer Dave Grohl, Ozzy himself and Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan. The single “Goodbye Lament,” with Grohl, reached number 10 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, but the sprawling “Black Oblivion,” with Corgan, was the disc’s instrumental highlight. Not surprisingly, it took five years to round up all the guests and cut tracks.
Iommi’s second-released solo album was actually his first. The title of 2004’s The 1996 DEP Sessions gives away the date of its actual recording. It’s a sequel of sort to the 1986 Black Sabbath album Seventh Star, which featured Deep Purple’s stellar late-period vocalist and bassist Glenn Hughes — now of Joe Bonamassa’s Black Country Communion — on vocals. The DEP Sessions were part of an abortive attempt to start another band, but nonetheless stands as a strong entry in Iommi’s cannon on its own terms. Although several bootleg recordings of Iommi in the studio are in circulation, Iommi’s third legitimate solo album Fused, from 2005, also features Hughes on vocals. Oddly, the drummer for that disc is Kenny Aronoff, who is more closely associated with the meat-and-potatoes rock of John Mellencamp and John Fogerty than the hard stuff.
Some fans of Iommi, and even of Black Sabbath, debate whether the aforementioned Heaven & Hell was an equal or superior band to Black Sabbath. Despite Sabbath’s foundational impact, the argument for Heaven & Hell’s place as Iommi’s second great band in the metal pantheon has its merits. Essentially the group was the Dio-fronted version of Sabbath, reincarnated to sidestep the machinations of the Osbourne business machine. In 2006 the Heaven & Hell line-up changed after Ward