Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason has stepped in to help save Foote's music store in London. Mason bought his first drum kit from the store. The drum shop was going to be forced to close when they were denied a business loan.
Says Mason to mi-pro.co.uk: “After 40 something years of playing, I still have great affection for a real drum shop. And Foote's has a special significance for me. In 1958, I headed down to the West End of London to a basement in Denman Street where a kindly man called Sid, in a white coat (maybe that's significant as well) sold me my original kit for £7.50.”
Nick is buying the shop along with Rob Wilson, who has been the sales-director for Foote's for a long time. Wilson also commented on Mason's help: “At the eleventh hour, our business loan was turned down by our bank... It was a major blow to our plans, but Nick came to our rescue. Without him, and our collective of generous investors, Foote's would be no more.”
The Bank of England have revealed that the Rolling Stones are among a handful of notable Brits that are being considered for a new £10 bill. The Beatles are also up for consideration, along with David Beckham, and Winston Churchill. The new bill is meant to replace the current one featuring Charles Darwin.
The Stones were criticized for charging outrageous ticket prices during their recent 50th anniversary tour, with some seats going for as much as $800. If Jagger and Co. get picked for the new bill, the next time the Stones tour you might literally be paying for the tickets with the band's own money. There seems to be a possibility of more Stones dates in the future judging by comments made by former Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, who was one of the guests on the anniversary tour. Guitarist Ronnie Wood, who got married this past weekend told the Telegraph that the band will never retire: “I think of Howlin’ Wolf plugging in to his kidney machine, however old he was, 80 or something, and still playing. You just rock till you drop.”
Will 2013 be the year U2 release their follow-up to 2009’s “No Line on the Horizon?” Maybe, if you believe longtime U2 manager Paul McGuinness. When asked about the status of a new U2 album during an interview with The Independent, McGuinness stated, “There’s always activity, so certainly expect a new record.” Sounds promising.
In other U2 news, for the fourth consecutive year, U2 frontman Bono and some of his famous friends walked the streets of Dublin, Ireland, on Christmas Eve, singing festive songs while collecting donations for charity.
According to the AtU2.com fan site, Bono -- along with musicians Glen Hansard, Sinead O'Connor and Damien Rice, among others -- sang tunes on Grafton Street on Christmas Eve. Some fans caught video of the group singing “Silent Night,” “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” “Silent Night” and U2’s “Desire.” Happy Holidays!
Fans of The Black Crowes got a nice Christmas gift this year. The southern rockers have just announced a set of tour dates for the spring. This will effectively end the hiatus the band has been on since 2010. The Black Crowes went on an indefinite break in 2002 but reunited in 2005.
The Black Crowes kick off their tour with five U.K. dates starting on March 24 in Manchester, before going Stateside for another 21 dates. Can we perhaps hope that a full scale European tour is in the works for the summer of 2013?
Here are the upcoming tour dates:
3/24 Manchester, U.K. – Manchester Academy
3/25 Birmingham, U.K. – O2 Academy
3/27 Glasgow, U.K. – O2 Academy
3/29 London, U.K. – The HMV Forum
3/30 London, U.K. – The HMV Forum
4/02 Port Chester, NY – The Capitol Theater
4/03 Port Chester, NY – The Capitol Theater
4/05 New York, NY – Terminal 5
4/06 New York, NY – Terminal 5
4/08 Washington D.C. – 9:30 Club
4/09 Washington D.C. – 9:30 Club
4/11 Boston, MA – House of Blues
4/12 Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory
4/14 Detroit, MI – The Fillmore Detroit
4/16 Chicago, IL – The Vic
4/17 Chicago, IL - The Vic
4/19 St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
4/20 Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
4/21 Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
4/23 Atlanta, GA – The Tabernacle
4/25 Dallas, TX – House of Blues
4/27 Austin, TX – Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
4/28 Houston, TX – House of Blues
4/30 St. Petersburg, FL – The Mahaffey
5/01 Lake Buena Vista, FL – House of Blues
5/04 New Orleans, LA –Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts
Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora says the band’s new album will feature “different elements,” but will still retain a sound readily familiar to long-time fans. Speaking to Billboard.com, the guitarist said the release, titled What About Now?, marks an “evolution” for the group. “Jon (Bon Jovi) and I, when we get together, it sounds like Bon Jovi,” he explained. “It sounds like us. That's basically the way it is … what comes out comes out."
He added, however, that the band and co-producer John Shanks tweaked the sonic approach a bit. “[It involved] just basically pushing the production a bit more, or lessening the production so you're a bit more naked,” said Sambora. “It goes both ways on this particular record. We've stripped it down, taken some away and added some different elements." What About Now? is set for release in the spring of 2013. The first single from the album, “Because We Can,” comes out January 7.
Hey, Led Zeppelin fans: Don’t forget to tune into CBS tonight (Dec. 26), as the network is set to air a special dedicated to the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors highlighting a set of tributes to Led Zeppelin. The concert, which was filmed earlier this month in Washington, D.C., boasts a high-profile round of musicians honoring Led Zeppelin, including Foo Fighters, Lenny Kravitz, Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson and late Zeppelin drummer John Bonham’s son, Jason, to name a few.
As for Zeppelin’s pack, all of the band’s surviving members -- Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones -- were at the event. Other honorees included Buddy Guy, David Letterman, Dustin Hoffman and Natalia Makarova. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were also at the show.
The 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors special kicks off at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.
Tony Iommi says Black Sabbath haven’t yet completed their new album. But the guitarist says the band will be touring "as much as we're able" in 2013.
Writing in a post on his website, Iommi.com, the guitar player thanked fans for their support throughout 2012 and also made reference to his battle with cancer. He wrote: “What a year! Certainly not the one I was expecting. Thanks to you all for your massive help and support, it was very encouraging. I'm still working on the album and managed to play three shows, not bad given the news a year ago. I'm looking forward to next year, seeing what you think of the record and touring as much as we're able.”
Black Sabbath recently revealed that they are six tracks into recording their new album, which is due for release in April of 2013. Iommi has hinted that the final album will consist of 15 tracks.
Black Sabbath were recently named the most important British hard rock band in a new poll by the U.K’s music industry organisation, the BPI. And NME Iommi’s memoir is now out on audiobook.
Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich recently spoke to Metal Hammer about their progress on the new Metallica album, tentatively scheduled for a 2014 release. Says Ulrich: "The stuff that we were banging out yesterday, it felt heavy, it felt energetic, it was loud, it was fast, it was rocking, it was crazy... The snare drum was on there and there were guitar solos, in case anybody was wondering."
The yet-to-be-named album will be released on Metallica's newly formed label Blackened Recordings. The band recently acquired the rights to their entire back catalogue from Warner Music Group. The first release from the label is the live DVD Quebec Magnetic, which was released last week. Fans of Metallica might also be pleased to hear what Lars had to say about the direction of the band's new music: "What we're doing now certainly sounds like a continuation of where we left off four years ago."
ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons is getting back together with his band the Moving Sidewalks for their first performance in a whopping 44 years. The psychedelic group's original lineup -- Gibbons, bass player Don Summers, drummer Dan Mitchell and keyboardist Tom Moore -- will reunite for a show at New York City’s B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on March 30, 2013.
So, why is now the perfect time to reunite? The gig is set to commemorate the guys releasing the compilation, Moving Sidewalks: The Complete Collection, so it’s good timing.
Moving Sidewalks has a rich history. Gibbons first formed the group in Houston in ‘60s, and the band was eventually tapped to open for big names such as including Jimi Hendrix and the Doors. The guys released one album, Flash, in 1968 and broke up in 1969 when Summers and Moore were drafted to join the military.
What’s your favorite ZZ Top jam? Let us know in the comments section, rockers!
Details are sketchy, but the band confirms that the event will take place somewhere in the Motor City on June 8 and June 9, 2013. The lineup, exact location and ticket information will be announced in February. The inaugural Orion festival took place in Atlantic City over the course of two nights this past June. Among the acts were Avenged Sevenfold, Modest Mouse and Arctic Monkeys. More than 32,000 fans attended.
Earlier this year, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich told Billboard that Orion would continue to be an eclectic event. “It was obviously our festival, so we were sort of the hosts and we wanted everybody to feel that we were hosting and we were there," Ulrich explained. "It was a lot of fun to [hang] around and introduce bands and introduce our friends and have all our lifestyle activities and stuff. We had a great time."
Peter Frampton is enlisting a variety of superstar guitarists as guests for a tour next summer. The first announced guest for the tour, dubbed Peter Frampton’s Guitar Circus, is blues legend B.B. King. No other guitarists have been announced thus far. King will join Frampton for three weeks during August. “I’m so honored,” Frampton told Billboard. “I can’t wait to speak to him and thank him.”
Frampton first revealed the tour concept in a tweet earlier this month, but offered few details. He now says he will adjust the shows to accommodate the styles of the various players. The set list will also include instrumentals, new material and “old favorites.”
Frampton also spoke with Billboard about legendary 1954 Les Paul that he played on the Frampton Comes Alive! album. Missing for 30 years, the guitar was thought to have perished in a plane crash, but Frampton was reunited with the instrument a year ago. “I was recording with it this afternoon,” Frampton said. “It's a surreal thing to have it back. It was the only electric guitar I had for 10 years — I couldn't afford to have multiples. It was all I played; it's a very important guitar to me."
Neil Young's quest for a new online music service and digital player is gathering pace. Pono, his forthcoming service, will feature high-resolution master downloads of songs. Young’s company has now made federal trademark applications for a pair of slogans – “Pono Promise” and “21st Century Digital.”
Young Tweeted earlier this month that Pono will roll out the service's cloud-based music-library component and portable digital-to-analog players by summer 2013.
During an interview with David Letterman in September, Young said he was “negotiating with Sony” and working on transferring albums including The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan and Highway 61 Revisited for Pono. And Young is very serious about this: Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that he and Pono raised $500,000 investment in November.
In the past, Young has been critical of the MP3 / AAC formats and before that, even CDs. But Pono will be hi-res. Some reports suggest that, on average, a five-minute song on Pono would require 300MB of storage space.
“Pono” is a Hawaiian word commonly rendered as “righteous.”
Def Leppard have released a medley of acoustic rock songs that were featured during their 2012 live shows, exclusively on iTunes.
The 7-minute-plus medley includes snippets of “Where Does Love Go When It Dies,” 'Now,” “When Love and Hate Collide,” “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad” and “Two Steps Behind.”
“We decided to change the acoustic section of the set for the Rock Of Ages tour, and what we ended up with just grew into a really magical experience every night,” says singer Joe Elliott. “We all enjoyed doing it so much and it was so well received by our audience, we decided to do a studio recording of it. I think it complements our main body of work very well.”
In 2013, Def Leppard play a nine-show residency in Las Vegas titled VIVA Hysteria!
Slash’s new Facebook app is the world’s first fully integrated 360-degree video platform, broadcasting a fully interactive performance of the guitarist’s single “Standing in the Sun.”
Users can watch from different vantage points and choose between multiple synchronized camera views as well as being able to rotate and zoom in and out in real-time.
Mativision’s partnership with Slash has already seen a similar app released for iPhone.
Slash says: “I think the 360 application definitely takes the listener into the world of the musician so that you can actually be in the room where the artist is recording or in a live situation where you can be all around the stage and behind the stage and it just gives it a lot more depth and it really sort of puts you in the world of what the artist is doing.”
Fresh off their 50th anniversary mini-tour, speculation has already started that perhaps The Rolling Stones will hit the road for a major tour in 2013. Mick Jagger said during the band's last concert in Newark, NJ, on Saturday night: "This is our last show…of the 50th anniversary tour. Hope to see you again soon."
Former Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, who played guitar during "Midnight Rambler," told Billboard "I think they feel re-energized, and possibly very enthusiastic about doing things in the future. I have an intuitive feeling that if they want to do some more shows, they can. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to."
Adding further fuel to the rumor of more Stones shows, on Friday December 14 the band's official mobile app briefly listed a show on April 12 in Indio, CA, under the heading "Coachella 2013."
Sometimes, just when it seems all styles and techniques for guitar-playing have been exhausted, an album comes along that changes perceptions about what a player can achieve with the instrument. Below are 10 albums that broke new ground for rock guitar and spawned legions of disciples. Please chime in with your own choices in the comments section.
Blow By Blow (Jeff Beck, 1975)
Probably no one was more surprised than Jeff Beck when Blow By Blow struck gold with the record-buying public in 1975. The all-instrumental disc, rightly regarded today as a classic, fused rock, jazz and funk in ways that had never been done before, with Beck offering up a dizzying array of interlaced solos, crisp rhythm playing and subtly shaded tones. The album helped pave the way for future virtuosic efforts by the likes of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. The album cover art, which featured a painting of Beck playing his beloved 1954 Les Paul “Oxblood,” was a nice touch as well.
Are Your Experienced (Jimi Hendrix, 1967)
No one unleashed the possibilities of the electric guitar in the way Jimi Hendrix did. Taking blues and jazz as his springboard, Hendrix used controlled feedback and six-string poetry to create music that was luminously organic and technically dazzling. Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend all recall being mesmerized by the sounds Hendrix elicited from his guitar when they saw him perform in London.
Van Halen (Van Halen, 1978)
Much like Hendrix had done a decade earlier, Eddie Van Halen opened new doors for rock guitar with this seminal album. Blessed with (and having developed) exquisite technical skills, the six-string maestro employed a trove of newfangled techniques to wrestle amazing sounds from his instrument. Moreover, the whole notion of the shredder might never have gained a foothold were it not for this groundbreaking effort.
Paranoid (Black Sabbath, 1970)
The term “heavy metal” had already been coined by the time Black Sabbath made Paranoid, but never before had a band painted with such minor-key colors. Rife with thunderous bass lines, sledgehammer percussion, and, most significantly, some of the most menacing guitar riffs ever committed to tape, the album burst open the doors for bands to explore the darker side of riff-driven rock. “Iron Man,” “War Pigs” and the title track established a new type of music, one that guitarists as varied as Kurt Cobain and Kirk Hammett later drew upon.
Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin, 1969)
By assimilating the blues into deftly-crafted hard-rock arrangements, Led Zeppelin gave heavy metal a sophistication it had never had before. With dazzling versatility, Jimmy Page moved easily between psychedelic blues, big-scale folk balladry and thunderous rock and roll. Small wonder that, after hearing this album, guitarists everywhere aspired to write bigger and better riffs, making the ‘70s one of the best decades for memorable guitar hooks.
King of the Delta Blues Singers (Robert Johnson, 1961)
The history of rock guitar would look altogether different were it not for the brilliant recordings of Robert Johnson. Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Keith Richards are among those who have cited Johnson’s guitar work as a seminal influence, with Richards praising Johnson’s intricate arrangements as being “like Bach.” Clapton once described Johnson's music as "the most powerful cry that I think you can find in the human voice."
After School Session (Chuck Berry, 1957)
It’s no exaggeration to say Chuck Berry was the architect of rock guitar. Utilizing the simplest of ingredients – double-stop riffs, memorable intros and well-place slurs and bends – Berry came up with boundless six-string permutations. “If you want to play rock and roll – or any upbeat number – you end up playing like Chuck,” Eric Clapton noted, in the 1987 documentary film, Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll. “There is very little other choice. He’s really laid down the law.”
Surfing with the Alien (Joe Satriani, 1989)
Along with Van Halen’s debut, this pioneering album set the standard for guitar-playing as rock moved into the ‘90s. Satriani’s technical skills dazzled, but he was always more concerned with uplifting the composition at-hand rather than simply being flashy, or stroking his ego. “I was blessed that [Surfing with the Alien] was the album people took note of, because I really liked that album, and it had a positive vibe to it,” he later told M – Music & Musicians. “That record was totally the truth.”
At Fillmore East (The Allman Brothers Band 1971)
A tour de force of southern-based blues rock, this live set forged a template from which future jam bands could draw. Fresh from a star-making turn as second guitarist for Eric Clapton, Duane Allman teamed with Dickey Betts to craft beautifully tangled solos that combined blues rapture with the improvisational ethos of jazz. In a 2001 interview, former Allman Brothers manager Phil Walden rightly proclaimed At Fillmore East “one of the foundation albums of modern music.”
Boston (Boston, 1976)
A pie in the face of the disco crowd, Boston’s debut album reasserted the power of guitar-rock as a commercial force. It also showcased the role effects-gear could play in creating some of the most wondrous sounds ever wrestled from a six-string. “I was basically a dork who hit the books and liked to build things,” mastermind guitarist Tom Scholz later told Guitar World. “We stumbled onto a sound that worked, and soon everybody was imitating it.”
Metallica recently unleashed their new live DVD, Quebec Magnetic, and the metal men aren’t being stingy when it comes to offering clips of the video for fans to watch online. This week, the band released a fresh video excerpt that offers pummeling footage of the group performing “My Apocalypse” off their 2008 release, Death Magnetic. Watch the video below.
Quebec Magnetic marks Metallica’s first release on their own record label, Blackened Recordings. The DVD chronicles two sold-out shows that the band shot in the Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City in 2009. Quebec Magnetic is available now via the metal boys’ official website.
Ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted launches his new band this weekend. They are called Newsted.
In a recent interview with Eddie Trunk's Friday Night Rocks radio show on New York's Q104.3 FM, Newsted stated about his plans to release original music via his newly launched website. “Whatever it ends up being — if it's five songs, 20 songs, 50 songs… I don't even know what the heck I'm gonna do. I have so much music from over the years. I have a bunch of new stuff, I have so many mixes of projects with people — new players, young players, old-school players like myself — so I'm just trying to figure out exactly what I wanna unleash on everybody first.”
Asked how he plans to release his music, Newsted said, “I see a couple of the old avenues still being there that will always be there in the purest form — making the vinyl and everybody having the special-edition vinyl to be able to read the lyrics… that will be percentage of it for the fans that really dig the real American kick-ass guitar music.”
Newsted also talked about “doing four tracks at a time in EP form every few months, letting people have some fresh metal. I think that's a pretty good concept, a pretty good formula — I'm hip to that, [and] I'd like to warm up to that. Since it is new territory for me, I'm really open to that idea; I think it's a good way to spread stuff.”
Head to newstedheavymetal.com this weekend to learn about the album title. In one of his recent update videos, Newsted is playing a red Gibson SG.
Deep Purple have officially announced a new studio album set for release in April 2013. It is as-yet-untitled but is the follow-up to 2005's Rapture of the Deep.
After being written mainly in Europe, the disc was recorded and mixed in Nashville, Tennessee, with producer Bob Ezrin. Song titles will include “Out Of Hand,” “Hell To Pay,” “Weirdistan,” “Uncommon Man” and “Above and Beyond.” The latter is a tribute to the band's long-time keyboard player Jon Lord, who passed away earlier this year.
As for the lack of a title, singer Ian Gillan had this to say earlier this month: “The title of our new album is still a question mark to all of us ... We have recorded a new album, and it's a fantastic collection of songs. At the moment that's the only affirmative point we can offer.”
Deep Purple in 2013 will be Gillan, Ian Paice (drums), Steve Morse (guitar), Don Airey (keyboards) and Roger Glover (bass).
Fans can keep up to date on the new album by way of new a “countdown” website at DeepPurple2013.com, but there are currently no more details revealed.
The Rolling Stones made their U.S. television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show in late 1964. Nearly a half-century later, Mick Jagger was again in the Ed Sullivan Theatre, presenting the Top 10 list for last night’s episode of the Late Show with David Letterman. The topic? “Top Ten Things I, Mick Jagger, Have Learned After 50 Years in Rock ‘n’ Roll.” As you can see from the list below, serving as frontman for the Stones has been an edifying experience for the legendary singer.
10. “Nobody wants to hear anything from your new album.”
9. “Never take relationship advice from Phil Spector.”
8. “Before shouting ‘Hi Seattle!’ make sure you’re in Seattle.”
7. “You don’t earn a cent when someone does a song about having moves like Jagger.”
6. “Everybody you meet after you become famous is only interested in you as a person.”
5. “Song royalties are great, but even they can’t match the guaranteed cash flow of a reverse mortgage.”
4. “A good way to keep yourself entertained is to sign every 10th autograph ‘Doris Goldblatt.’”
3. “Be considerate of other hotel guests — trash your room by 10 p.m.”
2. “You can’t always get what you want — like a good joke on the top ten list.”
1. “You start out playing rock ‘n’ roll so you can have sex and do drugs. But you end up doing drugs so you can still play rock ‘n’ roll and have sex.”
Geddy Lee says he’s especially happy for Rush fans that the band will at last be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Speaking to Rolling Stone, the singer-bassist shared his thoughts about the news. “My emotions are very simple and always have been, about the Hall of Fame,” he said. “It's something that I had absolutely nothing to do with and had no control over, so I never thought much about it, to be frank. But I appreciated how much it meant to our fan base. It really did mean a lot to them. It was kind of a cause they championed and I appreciated their feelings, but beyond that, I really did not concern myself with it.” Lee went on to praise his fellow 2013 inductees, but expressed disappointment that one band, in particular, was not among the honorees. “I'm very happy for [Heart],” he said. “I have great respect for Albert King and for Randy Newman. I don't know the music of Public Enemy very well, but I know they have a very strong fan base. They've certainly played a role in the development of that style of music for sure. To be frank, I am disappointed that Deep Purple is not included. Certainly Heart and Rush would not sound the way we sound without Deep Purple.”
Sitar great Ravi Shankar died in Southern California yesterday (Dec. 11). He was 92. Shankar’s family said the legendary sitar player failed to recover from surgery performed last week at a San Diego hospital. Shankar helped introduce the sitar to the Western world through his association with The Beatles in the late ‘60s. George Harrison, whose friendship with Shankar led to performances at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and at Woodstock, called him “the godfather of world music.”
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described him as a "national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage.” Shankar was accorded multiple honors in his lengthy career, including an Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Britain's Queen Elizabeth for services to music, the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award and the French Legion d'Honneur. In a prepared statement, quoted by Reuters, Shankar’s wife Sukanya and daughter Anoushka said, "Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as a part of our lives. He will live forever in our hearts and in his music."
I've been a music fan for as long as I can remember. It's always been rock music that's been first and foremost on my mind, starting out with glam rock dinosaurs like Def Leppard and Bon Jovi back in the eighties. As time has gone by my taste has gravitated towards more “serious” artists, like Pearl Jam, and Bruce Springsteen in particular. But lately I have realized when it comes to seeing a band live, I am always especially impressed and moved by three-pieces. For some reason I really like a guitar, bass, and drum setup with the guitarist or bass player taking on vocal duties as well.
My favorite three-piece band is probably that Little Ol' Band from Texas – ZZ Top. The trio of Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard has played together for over forty years, which is quite a feat in itself. Gibbons' overdriven guitar tone full of harmonics is unmistakable, a sound Gibbons credit to his 1959 Gibson Les Paul, nicknamed “Pearly Gates,” as he told Seymour Duncan: “Well, it’s no secret that the earliest defined sound with the band arrived with the acquisition of the infamous 'Pearly Gates', a fine ’59 Gibson ‘Burst. The real challenge continues on, attempting to emulate the technique by the many great Texas players who founded the longstanding tradition of fierce guitar stylings.”
On the other end of the spectrum from the very organic and blues based music of ZZ Top is the British rock trio Muse. Matt Bellamy, drummer Dominic Howard, and bassist Christopher Wolstenholme make rock music where they utilize all that modern technology has to offer in order to create their futuristic rock music. Bellamy writes most of the music on piano, and then translates it to guitar, which makes for some very interesting chord inversions. Although the band does use backing tracks, most of the stuff you hear live comes out of Bellamy's guitar, processed through various synthesizers. But that doesn't mean he's against playing lovely distorted metal solos wherever he sees fit. If you haven't seen Muse live, it's an experience I highly recommend, if only to see what can be done with a guitar and some great inspiration.
A band that might not be so well known in the United States yet is the Norwegian rock trio Bigbang. The band has been around for the past 20 years, and have a huge following in their home country. Bigbang consist of singer and guitarist Øystein Greni, who is the founding member of the band, bassist Nikolai Eilertsen, and Olaf Olsen on drums. When the band is playing live Olsen, and Eilertsen's solid backing is driving the band with Øystein providing an excellent combination of lead and rhythm guitar. Seeing Bigbang live does bring to mind Cream, both in terms of musical style, as well as the band's appearance. Among all the different guitars that Øystein plays are a few Gibsons. When I interviewed Øystein in 2011 he talked a bit about his Gibson guitars: “The first Gibson guitar I got was a Non-Reverse Firebird, I think it's from '65, something like that, it has the P90's. […] The second Gibson I got, I think one of my guitars had broken or something during transportation, and we were playing a show way up in the country side of Norway, and a friend of a friend had a historic Les Paul Goldtop that I could use on a couple of songs. That guitar was amazing, it sounded so good and I ended up using it for a bunch of songs.”
I am not trying to say that I have anything against other types of band constellations with this feature. In fact, I love artists like Dave Matthews Band, and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, who have an abundance of musicians on stage. I merely mean to say that I really like the urgency and spontaneity you get from a trio, especially since it often involves very talented musicians. So, go check out some of the bands I mentioned that you haven't heard before, and who knows, maybe you'll discover something new?
The Rolling Stones played their first gig in the United States on their current anniversary tour in Brooklyn on Saturday December 8, at The Barclays Center. Many bands that have reached a respectable age tend to play shorter and shorter sets, but not so with the Stones. For 2 and a half hours they entertained a crowd that had paid upwards of $800 per ticket (and much more than that from resellers).
The concert started with "Get Off My Cloud" followed by the Beatles tune "I Wanna Be Your Man." As is customary for the Stones, Keith Richards did a couple of solo numbers, playing "Before They Make Me Run" and "Happy." The band closed the main set with "Sympathy For The Devil" before returning for a three-song encore of "You Can't Always Get What You Want," "Jumpin' Jack Flash," and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." The band was joined on stage by Mary J. Blige for "Gimme Shelter." The Rolling Stones have two more gigs scheduled in the US, at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, on December 13 and 15.
Johnny Depp, Sebastian Bach, Don Felder and LA Guns jammed with Alice Cooper and his band on Saturday night at Alice's twelfth annual Christmas Pudding extravaganza at Comerica Theater in Phoenix, Arizona.
Here's fan-filmed footage of Depp playing "School's Out" with Alice and co below.
Proceeds from Christmas Pudding go to Alice Cooper's Solid Rock, a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of teens through music, dance, and self expression. It was founded by Alice.
Depp is becoming quite the Alice axeman of late: he jammed with the band on November 29 at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles from the "Raise The Dead" tribute section of Alice's show onwards.
No axeman ever got famous being called John Doe (well, apart from “John Doe” of L.A. punk legends X, but he was really called John Nommensen Duchac). The point is, a memorable nickname has helped the careers of many guitar rockers. But do you know how guitarmen Chester Burnett, Saul Hudson or Riley King got the names by which you know them? Or why The Edge came about?
Allow us to educate you, with the Top 10 Guitarist Stage Names:
10. B.B. King
Riley King earned his nickname in the 1950s, when he DJ’d at Memphis radio station WDIA, where he was known as Beale Street Blues Boy. His moniker was shortened to Blues Boy and then simply to B.B. Surely B.B. is the only guitar legend who is universally known by initials that are not even his own.
9. Muddy Waters
Bluesmen always liked stage names, and McKinley Morganfield got his because he loved playing in mud as a baby. Plus he grew up by the Mississippi. So it makes sense. He briefly called himself Muddy Water (no “s”).
England-born Saul Hudson was given the nickname Slash by family friend Seymour Cassel, according to whom the young Saul “was always in a hurry, zipping around from one thing to another.” Unfortunately, “slash” is slang in the U.K. for taking a pee. We imagine the guitar legend is cool with this, because he remains cool.
7. Izzy Stradlin
Guns N’ Roses revelled in stage names. Axl Rose is really William Bruce Bailey. Duff McKagan’s real first name is Michael. But Izzy Stradlin? Izzy is a shortener of Jeffrey Dean Isbel’s surname. “Stradlin” is alleged to be about his favorite sexual position. Ahem. Let’s just call him Izzy. Or Jeff.
Yet another ex-GN’R member. We could be going out on a limb here, but Brian Carroll came to be called Buckethead because he wore a KFC bucket on his head? Hugely talented, he is one of guitar’s true eccentrics. Even Ozzy Osbourne couldn’t handle Buckethead. “I asked him to work with me, but only if he got rid of the [expletive] bucket,” said Ozzy.
5. Howlin' Wolf
Chester Arthur Burnett was originally named after U.S. president Chester A. Arthur, but he soon had many more nicknames. Big Foot Chester and Bull Cow were based on his size: 6’ 6” tall and nearly 300 pounds. Like Muddy Waters, Wolf got his nickname from family: Burnett's grandfather repeatedly warned him that if he misbehaved, the wolves would get him.
4. The Edge [and Bono]
David Evans’ nickname was inspired by his face’s sharp features, and also applied to his sharp mind and the way he tended to observe things from the edge. Bono Vox (now simply Bono) was Paul Hewson until he was nicknamed after a Dublin shop (Bonavox) that sold hearing aids – it means “good voice.”
3. T-Bone Walker
The electric-blues pioneer was born Aaron Thibadeaux Walker. (Thibodaux is a town in Louisiana, but Walker was born in Texas, so no relation.) Speculation suggests his middle name simply got abbreviated into a more usable stage name. Say it quick and Thibadeaux = T-Bone. Sounds tasty.
2. Ace Frehley
The KISS guitarist is really called Paul Frehley. When Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley auditioned Paul for KISS, they told him that the band could not have two Pauls. So Frehley told them to call him Ace. The nickname came from his school days, when Frehley displayed a wily ability to get his friends dates with girls. Another fact: Frehley is the designer of the famous KISS logo.
1. Synyster Gates
The Avenged Sevenfold axeman is not, you may have guessed, the son of a Mr. and Mrs. Gates. No, he is really Brian Elwin Haner Jr. On the Avenged Sevenfold DVD All Excess, Gates claimed that his name was created on a drunken drive with Sevenfold drummer The Reverend Tholomew Plague, who is really called James Owen Sullivan. Gates’ father is a professional comedian. Ah, now it all makes sense.
No time to explain Lightnin’ Hopkins, John 5, Black Francis, Flea and numerous others. Add your favorites below.
Tired of the same old Christmas music? Even cool stuff, like the classic instrumental holiday albums by The Ventures and Booker T. & the MG’s? Try these severely twisted alternatives – 10 tunes that take merry and bright to a whole ’nother planet.
“Bebop Santa,” Babs Gonzales
Dig this crazy opening: “Twas the blight before Christmas/And all through the dawn/The scene was quiet except pops and mom/They sat hung in their big easy chair/Goofed on egg nog, sherry and beer.” Thus begins the bebop era jazz vocalist’s jive talking take on the Clement Clarke Moore holiday classic. It’s a hip trip and you gotta fly it.
“I’m a Christmas Tree,” Wildman Fischer
As far as unconventional odes to the Jolly Fat Man go, this tune by Frank Zappa protégée and certifiably insane Los Angeles performer Fischer, in collaboration with famed curator of the musically bent Dr. Demento, is a precursor to the outsider songwriters’ craft as practiced more recently by Wesley Willis and Daniel Johnston. But he knows the score: “Oh Santa Claus/He breaks all the laws/He trespasses/He breaks and enters/He travels all around the world without a valid passport.”
“Santa’s Messin’ With the Kid,” Eddie C. Campbell
Chicago harmonica giant Junior Wells recorded his classic Afro-Cuban influenced shuffle “Messin’ With the Kid” at the United Records studio in 1960. Seventeen years later, hard-core Windy City bluesman Eddie C. Campbell flipped the tune into a Christmas ditty, but with a twist: Santa’s not sneaking into the house for cookies; he’s slippin’ in for nookie. And it’s up to Campbell to run him off.
“Is Zat You Santa Claus,” Louis Armstrong
This king of protean swing cut two Christmas classics: “Is Zat You Santa Claus” and “Christmastime in Harlem.” “Zat You” translates to all ages thanks to Armstrong’s zesty vocal, the band’s straight-up chug and the tune’s clever, playful lyrics: “Sure is dark out/Ain’t the slightest spark out/’Pon my slackened jaw/Who’s there, who is it/Stopping for a visit/’Zat you Santa Claus?”
“Jingle Bells,” Singing Dogs
This song is a marvel of early ’50s recording technology and the first tune to make extensive use of tape splicing to create an entirely new piece of music. Carl Weismann, the Danish musique concrete composer who created the piece, made field recordings of his own dog and varied their pitch to achieve the effect of multiple hounds. Nearly 60 years later it’s still a staple of the holiday – a truly weird staple of the holiday.
“Santa Claus & His Old Lady,” Cheech and Chong
Christmas collides with San Francisco doper street life and Chicano culture in this 1971 radio hit by one of America’s greatest comedy teams. “On, Donner! On, Blitzen! On, Tavo! C’mon, Bento!”
“Christmas Dragnet,” Stan Freberg
Better known to generations of children as Spike the Bulldog, Beaky Buzzard, Cage E. Coyote (Wile E.’s dad) and a host of other supporting characters in classic Warner Brothers cartoons, this Los Angeles voice artist tackled nearly all the roles in his holiday record lampooning the famed TV detective drama in a story about the un-Scrooging of a curmudgeon named Grudge.
“Green Christmas,” Stan Freberg
Here satirist Freberg took on the rampant consumer culture of the prosperous late 1950s, which pales compared to the rampant consumer culture of today’s recessionary times. Freberg’s monolog ends on a sober note, with a version of “Jingle Bells” accompanied by the sound of ringing cash registers.
“Christmas at Ground Zero,” “Weird Al” Yankovic
This is a surprisingly dark entry from the modern king of the parody song. A Cold War satire from 1986, the tune uses an impending nuclear holocaust as a backdrop to the holiday. But it’s not as hopeless as it sounds. Yankovic ends on a potential upbeat: “Oh, it’s Christmas at Ground Zero/And if the radiation level’s okay/I’ll go out with you and see the all new/Mutations on New Year’s Day.”
“Jingle Bells,” Etta James
Somehow 1930s comedienne Fanny Brice, a backside tumble in the snow, a bay horse clocking in at “240” and a few other oddities appear in this somewhat extemporaneous version of the Christmas classic as performed by the great blues singer on her 12 Songs of Christmas album. Hey, as long as James sings “jingle” and “Christmas” in her timeless, soul-soaked way, it’s all good.
Johnny Depp famously used Keith Richards as an inspiration for his Jack Sparrow character in Pirates of The Caribbean. Then Richards appeared in a sequel as “Sparrow”s father. Now, Depp has recruited Richards – plus Tom Waits, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith and others – for a new “pirate” album.
Son of Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys is an epic collection of sea chanteys, and will be released on Tom Waits’ Anti Records label in February 2013. Other artists include Sean Lennon, Beth Orton, Michael Stipe and Courtney Love, Todd Rundgren and Macy Gray. Keith Richards performs “Shenandoah” with Tom Waits for the album.
The album is the sequel to 'Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys from 2006. Producer Hal Willner says, “it is a very different record than volume 1. This one seems... happier? Not as much about torture, sodomy and death, which will disappoint some but, we don't need to repeat ourselves do we?”
The two-disc track listing is
1. “Leaving of Liverpool” (Shane MacGowan w/Johnny Depp & Gore Verbinski)
2. “Sam's Gone Away” (Robyn Hitchcock)
3. “River Come Down” (Beth Orton)
4. “Row Bullies Row” (Sean Lennon)
5. “Shenandoah” (Tom Waits w/Keith Richards)
6. “Mr. Stormalong” (Ivan Neville)
7. “Asshole Rules the Navy” (Iggy Pop w/A Hawk and a Hacksaw)
8. “Off to Sea Once More” (Macy Gray)
9. “The Ol' OG” (Ed Harcourt)
10. “Pirate Jenny” (Shilpa Ray w/Nick Cave & Warren Ellis)
11. “The Mermaid” (Patti Smith & Johnny Depp)
12. “Anthem for Old Souls” (Chuck E. Weiss)
13. “Orange Claw Hammer” (Ed Pastorini)
14. “Sweet and Low” (The Americans)
15. “Ye Mariners All” (Robin Holcomb & Jessica Kenny)
16. “Tom's Gone to Hilo” (Gavin Friday and Shannon McNally)
17. “Bear Away” (Kenny Wollesen & The Himalayas Marching Band)
1. “Handsome Cabin Boy” (Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention)
2. “Rio Grande” (Michael Stipe & Courtney Love)
3. “Ship in Distress” (Marc Almond)
4. “In Lure of the Tropics” (Dr John)
5. “Rolling Down to Old Maui” (Todd Rundgren)
6. “Jack Tar on Shore” (Dan Zanes w/Broken Social Scene)
7. “Sally Racket” (Sissy Bounce (Katey Red & Big Freedia) with Akron/Family)
8. “Wild Goose” (Broken Social Scene)
9. “Flandyke Shore” (Marianne Faithfull w/Kate & Anna McGarrigle)
10. “The Chantey of Noah and his Ark” (Old School Song) (Ricky Jay)
11. “Whiskey Johnny” (Michael Gira)
12. “Sunshine Life for Me” (Petra Haden w/Lenny Pickett)
13. “Row the Boat Child” (Jenni Muldaur)
14. “General Taylor” (Richard Thompson w/Jack Shit)
15. “Marianne” (Tim Robbins w/Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs)
16. “Barnacle Bill the Sailor” (Kembra Phaler w/Antony/Joseph Arthur/Foetus)
17. “Missus McGraw” (Angelica Huston w/The Weisberg Strings)
18. “The Dreadnought” (Iggy Pop & Elegant Too)
19. “Then Said the Captain to Me” (Two Poems of the Sea) (Mary Margaret O'Hara)
Of his four-decade playing relationship with Joe Perry, Whitford says: "We're very intuitive. We have a natural ability to complement each other's playing. It's kind of come full circle, actually. Joe is playing as well as I've ever heard him.
“It makes my life a lot easier when we can both work together the way we do. Certain guitar players I've worked with, either you blend very well or you clash."
Of recording the new album, Whitford says, "We were kind of replicating personality-wise some of the stuff we did in the '70s. I used to have a '68 Les Paul Gold Top P-90 guitar that ended up going by the wayside. I've looked all over to try to find a substitute, and I managed to find another one up in Boston. That guitar was a real go-to for the album. There were a few historic Les Pauls that I use quite a bit.”
Music From Another Dimension currently sits at #14 on Billboard’s Rock Album chart.
Johnny Depp laid down guitar lines for Aerosmith’s new album, Music From Another Dimension, earlier this year, and he also jammed with the bad boys during a gig at the Hollywood Bowl in August. Now, it seems Depp is becoming a regular part of Aerosmith’s arsenal, as the famed actor took the stage with Steven Tyler and company during their Los Angeles show earlier this week, according to E!
Depp joined Aerosmith for “Stop Messin’ Around” and a cover of The Beatle’s “Come Together.”
Aerosmith aren’t Depp’s only musical comrades. He has also jammed on stage with Alice Cooper and Tom Petty.
What do you think of Johnny Depp’s guitar skills? Let us know in the comments section below!
Fleetwood Mac has announced dates for their 2013 tour. Kicking off April 4 in Columbus, Ohio, the tour will cover 34 cities before wrapping up in Detroit on June 12. The tour coincides with the 35th anniversary of the release of the band’s classic Rumours album. A new “deluxe edition” of the album, fleshed out with previously-unreleased studio and live tracks, will be issued by Rhino Records in early 2012. In an interview with Reuters, Stevie Nicks said the band is working on a 22-song set for the tour, which will include such hits as “Dreams,” “Don’t Stop” and “Hold Me.” She also said the trek is not a farewell tour. “It's never going to be a final tour until we drop dead," she explained. "There's no reason for this to end as long as everyone is in good shape and takes care of themselves."
Fleetwood Mac 2013 Tour Dates;
4/04 – Columbus, OH – Nationwide Arena
4/06 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
4/08 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
4/09 – Washington, DC – Verizon Center
4/11 – Louisville, KY. – KFC Yum! Center
4/13 – Chicago, IL – United Center
4/16 – Toronto, ONT – The Air Canada Centre
4/18 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
4/20 – Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena
4/23 – Ottawa, ONT – Scotiabank Place
4/24 – Newark, NJ – Prudential Center
4/26 – Pittsburgh, PA – Consol Energy Center
4/28 – St. Paul, MN – Xcel Center
4/30 – Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center
5/1 – Tulsa, OK – BOK Center
5/3 – Little Rock, AR – Verizon Arena
5/12 – Winnepeg, MB – MTS Centre
5/14 – Saskatoon, SK – Credit Union Centre
5/15 – Edmonton, AB – Rexall Place
5/17 – Calgary, AB – Scotiabank Saddledome
5/19 – Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
5/20 – Tacoma, WA – Tacoma Dome 5/22 – San Jose, CA – HP Pavilion at San Jose
5/25 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl
5/26 – Las Vegas, NV – MGM Grand Arena
5/28 – Anaheim, CA – Honda Center
5/30 – Phoenix, AZ – US Airways Center
6/1 – Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
6/4 – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
6/5 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center
6/7 – Tampa, FL – Tampa Bay Times Forum
6/8 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – BB&T Center
6/10 – Atlanta, GA – Phillips Arena
6/12 – Detroit, MI – Joe Louis Arena
Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl is getting ready to unveil his directorial debut – Sound City. The film is a documentary about Sound City Studios in Los Angeles. The legendary studio closed in May last year, and Grohl got the idea to make the documentary after he bought a recording console from the studio.
Sound City Studios is most known for being the recording studio for Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, and Nirvana's Nevermind. First to record at the studio when it opened in 1970 was Neil Young, who recorded After The Gold Rush within its walls.
The project has brought Grohl back together with Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic. The pair, along with Nevermind producer Butch Vig, have been recording tracks for the documentary. Vig told NME back in April: “We're not really sure how it's all gonna end up at this point but its been fun. There's still quite a bit more work to do and we hope to finish up in the next three or four months, and try get it all mixed and completed some time in the fall.“
Sound City will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival next year.
Producer Ridley Scott has asked for Bruce Springsteen fans to contribute their own video footage expressing what The Boss’s music means to them, as part of his documentary project Springsteen & I.
The film will be directed by Baille Walsh with producer Svana Gisla, who says “We are searching for a wide variety of creative interpretations, captured in the most visually exciting way you can think of, whether you’ve been a hardcore Tramp since ’73 or have heard one of his songs for the first time today! If you can’t use a camera or are not sure how to capture your story then get in touch and we will link you up with someone who can!”
The film is due for release in cinemas in 2013, but if you want to be involved you’d better act quickly: the deadline for footage submissions is 11am on Thursday December 6. You can upload your footage at the film’s website, www.springsteenandi.com - and obviously the higher the quality the better, but anything will be accepted for consideration, as long as it’s under 5 minutes in length. And if your footage is longer than that, you can contact the production team to arrange on an alternative delivery method. But it’s probably best to either keep it brief or make your own documentary...
Peter Frampton’s FCA!35 album and DVD/Blu-ray is in stores now. In Part 1 of Peter Frampton’s exclusive interview with Gibson.com he talked of recording the live discs. In Part 2, we delve deeper into his life as a guitar player and the story of his special Gibson Les Paul.
FCA!35 – 1976’s Frampton Comes Alive! revisited, reworked and replayed with extras – shows English guitar legend Peter Frampton to still be on top of his game. His golden locks may be gone, but his guitar chops remain. And his playing is arguably better than ever…
On FCA!35, “Lines On My Face” is one of your big ballads, but it swings a little more now, in a good way. Is that a song that you wanted to re-work?
It’s just developed. I think I’ve brought a more lyrical side, guitar-wise, to that song over the years. I’m not claiming to be a jazz player. I listen to all sorts of guitar playing, everything is incorporated into what is my style. And somewhere I’ll go what some people think is “wrong” note.
Listen to Miles Davis. Some people think notes are not “right” there. I don’t know! But I enjoy the experimentation, and the masters who take liberties over chord sequences. But sometimes what everyone thinks is “incorrect”… Well, to me, it’s on the edge.
Have you always tried to push yourself, in terms of guitar playing?
Over the years, I’ve experimented a lot with bluesy things and some jazz stuff. It’s just a progression, to try and go somewhere you’ve never been before. It’s not about dexterity, to me. I’ve never been someone who finds merit in a million notes a second. It’s always the choice of note, for me. Over the bass and the chord. Find your way.
There’s a few Humble Pie songs on the FCA!35 album, a pretty heavy version of “I Don’t Need No Doctor” for starters…
My son Julian sings that. On this album we’re doing “Shine On” and “Four Day Creep” too. We’re doing more of the Humble Pie era, and I’m sure I will dig out more along the way. I enjoy doing it.
But something like “Stone Cold Fever” might be hard to do – few can sing that high with that force except Steve Marriott. I can do Steve’s verse my way on “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” but “Stone Cold Fever” is hard! I’d love to do it, it’s a great riff. Maybe someone else can sing that for me. They’re going to need very tight trousers!
The Rise of the Phoenix!
FCA!35 also boasts the live return of Frampton’s 1954 Les Paul Custom “Black Beauty” that was presumed lost in a plane crash in 1980. Frampton had his Les Paul Custom returned late in 2011. Read the whole story of Peter Frampton’s 1954 Gibson Les Paul Custom here.
The guitar is now repaired, and does appear on FCA!35. “The first time it comes into play is “Doobie Wah.” It’s on 50% at least,” says Frampton.
It’s an amazing tale of a lost guitar – now it’s back with you, is it holding up well?
Oh, yeah. I made a rule that we’d only change it if necessary. The electronics weren’t working, so I took a liberty there to replace it with New Old Stock (NOS). Volume pots, pickups, capacitors, wiring… it took some doing. But there was very little on the body that needed doing. I could have refinished it, but that would be sacrilegious I think?
It’s been cleaned up, but it still has its battle scars. The back of the neck was a little dented – I’ve had some cosmetic work done there.
And it’s singed around the headstock – the guitar with the singe on top! There’s no edging around the top of the headstock, it was melted in the heat of the plane fire. But it’s an interesting-looking piece now. I’ll never refinish it now – it needs to show its battle scars.
As the guitar you used for most of the 1970s, and the one pictured on the original Frampton Comes Alive! album, it must have a lot of sentimental value?
“Oh, yes. From 1970 to 1980, it was there. And the most that ever happened to me was during those 10 years. It’s a legendary guitar because it’s on that LP cover. But there’s also something about that that guitar, when I play it on those original songs…
The first day I brought it to rehearsals, I changed guitars a bit. Mostly, it was the Gibson Custom Peter Frampton Les Paul made for me by Gibson. But when I played the original, everybody would just smile! It just has the sound! I think it’s unique. It’s not necessarily the best Les Paul in the world, I’ve never said that. It just has something.
It doesn’t have a maple top, like most Les Pauls do. It’s a 1954 ‘Black Beauty’, but is solid mahogany. But it was very light mahogany… unusual. When I got it back after 32 years, I just felt the weight and thought: this is my guitar.
And does it sound different to you?
It doesn’t have the very deep sound of a normal Les Paul with a maple top. It has a mid-to-high register sound that cuts through. I have another Les Paul that I call the Buzz Saw – it’s got that ZZ Top-is full range and can bite your head off. This one is more lyrical sounding. And when I pick it up, you hear the difference – it’s amazing.
So does your original have a nickname too?
It’s the Phoenix! Suggested by the gentleman who gave it to me, in 1970, when I was in Humble Pie. I spoke with Mark Mariana (who gave Frampton the guitar) when I got it back and he said: you should call that the Phoenix. It rose from the ashes!
FCA!35 has obviously been a big undertaking: what’s your next project?
Right now, I am writing music for a ballet. Yes, really! I’ve lived for the last 10 years in Cincinnati, Ohio, and they have one of the best ballet companies in the country. They asked me about six years ago if they could use some of my recorded music to accompany a small part of a performance. Four songs, two instrumentals – I said yes, I was honored.
Then they sent me a DVD of an in-house performance. It was a pas-de-duex – one male, one female performer. But I was just blown away. So I contacted the head of the Cincinnati ballet, Victoria Morgan. And she said they’d done this once before with another live artist, but would I like to do another show with me playing behind the ballet? The idea is to choreograph the dance to the music I choose to use.
There are three 20-minute sections in a ballet performance. So we agreed to have beginning and end sections with music of mine that people might know. But then I suggested I write some brand new music for the center section. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m working on Number 3 at the moment… there will be five pieces, I think. I just can’t wait to do it.
This will be quite a surprise to some fans?
It’s certainly different. It’s scary! But this is what I should be doing. But it will be with a band. Or whatever I choose to have. But the center section – I haven’t quite worked it out yet.
And are you working on new rock guitar material as well?
Yes, I’m working on songs now. They will come out on an EP or something before we tour again in 2013. I’m sure we’ll play some of the Comes Alive! songs. But only some, it’ll be a smattering.
This is the beauty of playing now, for me. Old stuff, new stuff. It will be a different show for me.
The quintessential heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne turns 64 on Monday, December 3. Starting in 1969 he’s cut seven albums with Black Sabbath that helped define the genre and 15 more solo discs that did the same for a second generation of fans. It’s safe to say he’s toured the world’s stages more often than he can remember. And Ozzy’s been the central figure in a rolling heavy metal festival named after him as well as a reality TV star.
Sharon Osbourne isn’t the only person he couldn’t have done it without. A crucial part of Ozzy’s career has been his collaborations with a series of great guitar players, starting with Sabbath’s iconic black-leather-clad Tony Iommi and including, most notably, Randy Rhoads and Zaak Wylde. Since Osbourne doesn’t play an instrument, these musicians have helped define his sound on stage and in the studio.
Here’s a quick look at Osbourne’s history of fret-burning foils:
• Tony Iommi: This Gibson SG wielding wizard of evil tone isn’t just another of Ozzy’s guitar partners. The Black Sabbath kingpin is responsible for laying the musical foundation for Osbourne’s career. Iommi’s style is built around a devotion to flat-fifth chords, jazz phrasing, meaty hammer-ons and pull-offs, triple-tracked leads and other slick moves pushed out of a wall of growling low-voiced Marshalls. “War Pigs,” “Iron Man,” “Paranoid,” “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” — all songs that made Ozzy’s career, and every one driven into history by Iommi’s massive wall of guitar.
• Randy Rhoads: Speed, extended technique, brilliant chord voicings, a flair for making pentatonic lines sound fresh and a unique, rich creamy tone were all part of Rhoads’ trick bag. It’s an open question if Osbourne could have climbed to the top of metal’s Mt. Olympus again without the late, diminutive Les Paul Custom giant’s genius shredding on Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman. As it is, Rhoads and Osbourne are destined to remain one of rock history’s greatest guitar-and-vocal tag teams.
• Zakk Wylde: For speed, power and tone, Wylde is an unbeatable force in modern metal. For 19 years, from No Rest For the Wicked in 1988 to Black Rain in 2007, Wylde and an array of hot-rod Gibsons – mostly his bullseye painted signature model Les Pauls and Flying Vs — prowled the world’s stages at Osbourne’s side, defining his sound and laying the groundwork for his own band Black Label Society, over which he reigns today. That makes Wylde Ozzy’s longest running six-string partner.
• Bernie Tormé: In contrast to Wylde, Dublin-born Tormé holds the record for the shortest stint as Ozzy’s guitarist — a mere three weeks on the road fulfilling Osbourne’s contractual touring obligations after the tragic death of Rhoads. He joined Osbourne after leaving Ian Gillian’s group. Post Ozzy he formed his own band and put together Desperado with former Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snyder.
• Brad Gillis: High-technique shredder Gillis was juggling dates and sessions with Ozzy while Night Ranger was starting to build its career. His touring with Osbourne began immediately after Tormé left the group, supporting Diary of a Madman. Gillis’ sole recording with Ozzy is the live Speak of the Devil, a cut-on-the-road collection of Black Sabbath songs that, in retrospect, seems like a mere speed bump in Osbourne’s career. Ultimately Gillis opted to stick with Night Ranger, writing his own chapter in hair-metal history.
• Jake E. Lee: Lee’s debut with Ozzy was a blazing performance at the historic US Festival in 1983, beginning an era that included five years of touring and two albums, 1983’s Bark At the Moon and 1986’s The Ultimate Sin. With Lee, Osbourne added two classic songs to his cannon: “Bark At the Moon” and the hit melodic gemstone “Shot in the Dark.” After leaving Osbourne he co-founded the group Badlands and joined Enuff Z’Nuff, but for the past decade he’s kept a relatively low profile as a session player and instructor.
• Gus G.: Grecian guitar hotshot Kostas Karamitroudis, a/k/a Gus G., first came to Osbourne’s attention playing with the band Arch Enemy on Ozzfest dates. When Wylde left Ozzy’s band, Gus G. became the first draft choice. He made his studio debut with Osbourne on 2010’s Scream, another slight entry in the Ozzy’s historic discography.
After receiving Kennedy Center honors on the weekend, Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones will appear together on tonight’s episode of The Late Show With David Letterman - although there’s no word on whether they’ll perform together, and given Plant’s reluctance to continue with Zeppelin, it’s probably unlikely.
Letterman was also an honoree, as were blues legend Buddy Guy, actor Dustin Hoffman and ballerina Natalia Makarova. Guy was celebrated with an all-star tribute featuring Jeff Beck, Bonnie Raitt and Tracy Chapman, while Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson performed Led Zep’s “Stairway To Heaven” to cap off the show - which will be aired on CBS on December 26.
Meanwhile Plant has announced a series of arena headline shows in Australia and New Zealand with his band the Sensational Space Shifters. The tour kicks off at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Tuesday 26 March, then Sydney Entertainment Centre on Thursday 28 March, Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday 3 April before finishing up the Australian leg at Launceston's Silverdome on Friday 5 April. It then heads to New Zealand to play shows at the TSB Arena in Wellington on Tuesday 9 April and Auckland's Vector Arena on Thursday 11 April. Plant will be in Australia for the five-day Bluesfest 2013, alongside Santana, Yes’ Jon Anderson, Iggy & The Stooges, Steve Miller Band, Bonnie Raitt, Wilco, Robert Cray, Mavis Staples, Chris Isaak and many more.
Engineer Eddie Kramer has revealed audio from one of the songs appearing on the forthcoming Jimi Hendrix album, People, Hell and Angels. In a new video, the veteran Hendrix soundman discusses the making of “Somewhere,” a track Hendrix recorded with Stephen Stills on bass and Buddy Miles on drums. “He hadn’t worked with them before, but here he is establishing his independence by doing this track without Chas [Chandler], and it yields this track called ‘Somewhere’,” Kramer says. “It’s an amazing example of Jimi’s control of the wah wah, the tone of the wah wah, how that affects the whole song. It projects itself through the track.”
Kramer goes on to praise Hendrix’s vocals on the track. “Jimi’s vocal encapsulates this lovely softness in his voice,” he says. “It’s wonderful.” People, Hell & Angels gathers never-before-released tracks recorded in New York in 1968 and 1969. The album is scheduled for release on March 5.
Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne has talked to the New Zealand Herald about the band’s work-in-progress new album. The legendary rock band return to the stage in Australia and New Zealand in 2013.
But don’t call Sabbath “heavy metal.” Ozzy dislikes the term. “Not everything Black Sabbath did was about the devil, or about heavy metal because “Changes” was a beautiful song,” he says. “But all they ever remember is that I sing about the devil and “Iron Man,” you know."
And Sabbath are now working better, he says. “What's different now is that none of us get drunk or stoned or any of that stuff. We're all clean, and all in control of ourselves, we're not intimidated by each other, there are no arguments, and it's the way it should be.
“What it boils down to now is the music - and that's what got us where we are in the first place. We have come through the other side, we're still able to work together, and that's where the enjoyment comes from. It's been a lot of fun making this record.”
Recording has been interrupted by guitarist Tony Iommi's diagnosis with lymphoma at the beginning of 2012. But Osbourne says the guitarist is back on track after treatment, “which has been a bit rough on him, but he still manages to come up with those great riffs.
“It's been more than 30 years since I really seriously worked with the guys. We had a try a few years back but nothing came of it. But for some reason the timing is right and we've done about 15 songs.
Ozzy adds, “Black Sabbath is very unique in the respect that nothing is formulated. It's very unpredictable. I just hope the people who have waited all these years aren't disappointed.”
The Rolling Stones played the second of two shows at London's O2 Arena (29 November) in celebration of the band's 50th anniversary. Eric Clapton joined in, playing on “Champagne and Reefer.”
Other guests included Florence Welch (of Florence And The Machine) on “Gimme Shelter.” Ex-Stones Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman also appeared.
The show began with an introductory video featuring Johnny Depp, Pete Townshend and more talking about the Stones. Iggy Pop said: "We'd never seen people with teeth like that. And skin like that. Ugh!" He added "The sound of Keith's guitar - it was like being hit with a dead mackerel.” We’re not sure what that means, but thanks Iggy.
Mick Jagger played guitar on “Miss You,” and the Stones played both of their new 2012 tracks, “One More Shot” and “Doom And Gloom.”