Derek Moore's Blog

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Include Lou Reed, Joan Jett, Stevie Ray Vau

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has revealed their inductees for 2015, and they include Green Day, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Lou Reed, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Bill Withers and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band will all join the class of 2015. Ringo Starr will be given a special Award For Musical Excellence. So that means not only are The Beatles in as a band, but now every member in the Fab Four is in as a solo act.

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Big Name Classic Rockers land on Forbes "Highest Paid Musicians List"

How sexy is it to talk about how rich your favorite music acts are? Well, Forbes has came up with their new list of the Highest Paid Musicians and may that we play on the Eagle have made the list.

Numbers 3-5 are covered by Classic Rockers. The Eagles, who earned $100 million thanks to their History Of The Eagles tour. Bon Jovi ranks fourth with $82 million and Bruce Springsteen with $81 million.

Jon Bon Jovi says the reason they do well? Cost cutting.
“I know big bands where each of them has personal assistants on the road, each of them has a security guard. We don’t have a security guard. Take your own friggin’ bags!”

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Ann Wilson Fronting Led Zeppelin? She Wouldn't Mind

Well, she's certainly covered enough Led Zeppelin songs to be a perfect fit. In an interview with Classic Rock Revisited the subject came up while talking about Heart's cover of "Stairway to Heaven" at the Kennedy Center Honors. Would Ann Wilson be willing to front Led Zeppelin if asked? Robert Plant isn't going to do it by the looks of things.

She says- "I don’t know. Hypothetically, if they ever needed a lead singer and Heart was not active at the moment, then, sure, I would. I would go and play with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones any day of the week.”

More here.
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AC/DC Hits The Top 5 on Album Charts

AC/DC's critically acclaimed "Rock or Bust" makes a nice debut on the Billboard Album Chart. In the Top 5 with respectable sales of 172,000 copies. It's not Taylor Swift 1 million in a week sales, nor does it come close to their last record, Black Ice's first week, which was 784,000. Still solid with a new guitarist filling in.

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Forty-Plus Years of YES: Steve Howe Talks Guitar-Playing


Ask any guitar aficionado to cite the most important players of the past 50 years, and it’s a near-certainty that Steve Howe’s name will come up before they take their second breath. During his amazing career, Howe has recorded 19 solo albums as well as records with Asia, GTR and others, but his most indelible mark has been made as a primary force in the legendary prog-rock band, YES. A key composer and player on such classic alums as Fragile, Close to the Edge and Going for the One, Howe is to “prog” what B.B. King is to the blues.

YES’s latest album, Heaven & Earth, finds the group furthering art-rock traditions with beautiful arrangements and the vintage “YES” sound. With new singer Jon Davison handling lead vocals, Howe, bassist Chris Squire, drummer Alan White and keyboardist Geoff Downes offer up sweeping melodies and shimmering aural landscapes that rank with the band’s best work. In addition, the group is currently on tour performing Fragile and Close to the Edge in their entirety—along with songs from the new disc and an encore of greatest hits. Recently we spoke with Howe about the new album, the tour and his legendary ES-175—a guitar he’s owned and played for half a century.

How did you approach recording the new album?

We had already done a lot of writing—demos, and so forth. To stimulate the process, Jon visited everybody, spent a week with me and time with everybody else as well. He got a feel for what each of us thought about what was circulated, bits and pieces of music. It wasn’t all about sitting in a room, saying, “Well, shouldn’t we write a song together?” It was more like, “Let’s listen to this bit from this person. What do you think? Do you like that bit? Should we take that out?” There was that sort of fine-tuning, ahead of time. We did a week’s rehearsal—played in a room together—but that was almost pointless. It’s the sort of “old” thing you feel you have to do, and then you tighten it up in the studio. The album is a mixture of collaborations and solo ideas. It’s a fine balance of various things we do.

Did you sense Jon was feeling any pressure, as the new guy?

I suppose he was under some strain, but he didn’t show it. We were quite sure he could handle it. He isn’t one to shy away from things—he’s a very consistent and strong person. It’s true he was tested, not so much by us but by the recording process--the hours you have to put in, and the repetition. He put in an awful lot of time to achieve what’s on the album. But that’s what production is all about. You go in, you sing, and someone might say, “Well, how about singing it more like this?” Everyone has an opinion about vocals, and everyone has an opinion about drums.

Have your thoughts about the role of the guitar in YES—it’s place in the arrangements—remained consistent through the years?

Well, there has to be some consistency with YES, in general. We couldn’t go out and make a hip-hop record, for instance. (laughs) We make albums in a certain style, and they require, generally, five people with different ideas to kind of agree on something. Sometimes that’s difficult, and other times you pleasurably discover that someone else in the band shares your preference for something. A lot of my guitar work is built around the vocals, but I do take the opportunity to do a lot of single line stuff that’s almost built around everybody. There comes a time when you get clarity and you get the payback of the guitar being strong enough to push the music onwards. I like being able to use various dynamics to accomplish that. I use various textures and I have a landscape to move around on. With some of the songs on the new album, I tried different approaches. On one track I did a whole New Age sort of guitar piece, but then I thought, “Well, I could do that, but maybe I should do this other thing.” So I went off and did something entirely different. There wasn’t enough time to do that on every track, but here and there I might have tried out an idea and thought, “Well, that’s fun, but it seems not quite right.”


Can you talk a bit about your history with the ES-175?

I bought the original in ’64. Prior to that I had played various guitars--mostly small solid-bodies—but all along I had the idea I was going to get a 175. Once I did get it, everyone said, “Oh, you’re going to play that guitar?” Everyone thought I was weird because I wasn’t playing a ‘regular’ guitar.” But I liked that sense of identity that it immediately brought me. I thought, “Wow, everyone’s looking at me.” I played the 175 all through the ‘60s, and then on The Yes Album it was all the 175. Then I went forward to the ES-5, the stereo guitar, and eventually back to the Les Paul and other things. I rambled through the ‘70s, trying out various guitars, but the ES-175 never went away. It was always the fundamental Steve Howe guitar sound and approach, and I loved that. Eventually I thought, “What am I buying new guitars for? This one is better than them all.” (laughs) The 175—all the Gibsons I play, for that matter—are just perfect for what I use them for. I’m still mainly a Gibson player.

You’ve talked elsewhere about how you play the ES-175 for about 20 minutes to “warm it up.” Can you elaborate?

That’s from an article I read in Science Today, or New Scientist or something. Apparently some tests were done on guitars in Japan, where they found that until it’s been played for about 20 minutes, it’s not fully resonant and fully responsive. That’s especially true if it’s been sitting in a case, where it hasn’t been played for months. But in a larger sense, if you haven’t played a guitar a lot, then you’re not going to get a lot out of it. You have to put something in to get something out. That’s what I discovered with the 175. After putting five or six years into it I had a fantastic guitar. Whenever I let someone play it--and there were only about three people who were allowed (laughs)--they went, “This is an amazing guitar to play!” Partly it was because of the strings I use, the gauges, but also it was because I had played it so much. I only had it re-fretted after having played it for about 45 years. That’s another amazing aspect.

Chuck Berry was one of those people you allowed to play it. What’s that story?

That was at the Albert Hall in London in the late ‘60s, before I joined YES. I was in a group called Bodast. We had been booked as Berry’s backing band. It was an amazing thing that happened. We went on-stage to rehearse, and Berry walks in, points at me and says, “We don’t need you.” I said, “Okay, alright, I’ll step out then.” So I did, and he went on to play—just him on guitar. Often he had a rhythm guitarist, but he didn’t that night. Either during the interval, or just before the show, I bravely tapped on his dressing room door. He shouts “Yeah!” and I walk in. I said, “It’s Steve, from the band. I just want to show you my guitar.” I played it for a few minutes, and he got this look in his eyes. He says, “That’s amazing, an amazing guitar!” It truly is a great guitar.

Do you take it on the road with you?

I used to take it on the road all the time. Now I don’t, except for when I’m touring the U.K. No matter what the airline rules are, they’ll tell you there’s some other rule that prevents you from keeping it with you. I used to buy a ticket for it. I remember showing up for an Air Canada flight, in London, and I had my guitar with me. They went, “Oh, this isn’t a person.” I said, “So what?” They said, “Well, you can’t have a seat without a person in it. We can’t give it a boarding pass.” I told them to just give it a pass and call it “Mr. Gibson.” (laughs)

On current tour you’re playing Fragile and Close to the Edge in their entirety. Which of those albums presents the bigger challenge?

The one we haven’t played, which is Fragile. Actually it shouldn’t be that difficult. We already know two of the songs—“Heart of the Sunrise” and “Roundabout”--very well, although we’ve generally played them in a slightly different way from the album. For this tour we’ll adapt to playing them closer to the record. It’s going to be all about the album, and our appreciation for the talent we had then, and the talent [producer] Eddy Offord had to pull that sound together. Nobody else really knew how to do that, except Eddy.

How much thought do you give to your legacy? Do you ever reflect on your impact, and all you’ve accomplished?

It would be egotistical to say I do that, but there is a scale there that I’m proud of. I do feel a sense of achievement, but it’s not a question of sitting and thinking, “Wow, look at what I’ve done.” I’m not a critic. I’m a performer and a writer and a guitarist. It’s also true there’s some music of mine that I like more than the music most people associate me with. It’s not as if I always like everything I’ve ever done, but I do have the pleasure of having that repertoire. It’s all very rewarding.

Photos: Rob Shanahan

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Changes to The Eagle Club

As one of our elite loyal club point participants, we wanted to make sure you were FIRST to know that the Eagle Club will be changing soon. We are bringing you a new and improved club, which is going to be even easier to use.  

Why are we making these changes?  

* Feedback we've received shows that our members are most interested in winning great prizes, as well as getting exclusive rewards and access to information before the general public - without having to earn, track and spend points.
Redeeming Your Points:

* Because we appreciate all the time and effort you have spent in earning points with our current club, we wanted to give you plenty of time to spend them on all the prizes we are offering now.  

* Points can be spent on a various range of rewards, prizes, Eagle Club swag, and much more at   Be sure to act NOW and get your best choice of prizes!

* After September 2, 2014, your rewards points are no longer valid, but don't worry - we'll be announcing new contests and promotions for members only in the near future.

Key Dates to be aware of:

* If you enter a sweepstakes that expires after September 4, 2014, you will still be eligible to win that prize and will receive a winning notice as usual.

*Please note that effective 7/17/14, the ability to earn points via the The Eagle's streaming player will also end.

Thank you for your loyalty and participation in the The Eagle Club program.

If you have questions, you can visit our customer care page for the most commonly asked questions.  If you still have questions after reviewing that page you can contact our promotions director, and we will be happy to help.

Thank you!
Bryan Fox, promotions director,
or (916) 334-7777.
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Get Ready For Another Great Budweiser Commercial During the Big Game

Budweiser and Clydesdales go hand in hand during the Super Bowl, and this year won't disappointment. These ads have became some of the highest rated every year by audiences, and now we get another great commercial early. This time it involves a puppy and a Clydesdale. Good luck not getting emotional over this one. Another home run by Budweiser for sure. Watch it below.

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The Day in Rock 11/14

James “J.Y.” Young-guitarist for Styx born in 1949
Alec John Such-bassist for Bon Jovi born in 1956

2000: Rush singer & bassist Geddy Lee released his first solo album called My Favorite Headache. It basically flopped.

1992: Judas Priest singer Rob Halford performed the first of two concerts fronting Black Sabbath opening for Ozzy Osbourne. The reason? Ronnie James Dio refused to perform because Ozzy was re-forming the original Sabbath lineup, as these concerts were advertised as Osbourne’s farewell concerts.

1991: Aerosmith were inducted into the Boston Garden Hall of Fame.

1990: Pete Townshend revealed he was bisexual in an interview with Newsweek, but changed his tune in a 2002 interview with Rolling Stone. Townshend said he experimented in the 1960’s, and that he's heterosexual.

1989: Aerosmith kicked off their first European tour in 12 years at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. David Coverdale of Whitesnake joined them for a cover of The Beatles’ “I’m Down”.

1987: Billy Idol peaked at number ten on the Billboard 200 Album Chart with his first compilation album Vital Idol which went on to go Platinum in the U.S. "Mony Mony" was a big hit from the album.

1977: Kiss kicked off their tour in support of Alive II in Oklahoma City.

1967: The Jimi Hendrix Experience & Pink Floyd kicked off a U.K. tour at Royal Albert Hall in London.


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Hear the New Eric Clapton "Gotta Get Over"

Eric Clapton is back with one of two new songs off the forthcoming album Old Sock. It's called "Gotta Get Over" and it's catchy as hell. Funky, bouncy and fun, scooted along by a nice keyboard riff. Also, some decent fills by Mr. Slowhand himself.
See what you think of it. Hear it here.
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My Appearance on Walt Gray Show-Least Favorite Songs

It's always fun to jump in on other people's shows and do a break. It's just a different element then we are used to. We had fun this morning with Walt Gray's topic, "Top 3 Most Hated Songs." We all have them, and they invited me in to share mine. Here's how it went.
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