Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Book Details Scorpions Rise In The 1970s

By the mid 1980s, the Scorpions were headlining arenas and stadiums worldwide. The German hard rock band scored two mega-selling albums (the platinum-certified Blackout and the triple-platinum certified Love at First Sting) and charted two hit singles, "No One Like You" and "Rock You Like a Hurricane." 

What many newcomers to the band may not know is the Scorpions had been regularly recording music since 1972, and that throughout the remainder of the decade, featured two guitarists (Michael Schenker and Uli Jon Roth) at separate points.

Albums like Lonesome Crow, Fly to the Rainbow, In Trance, Virgin Killer, Taken by Force, Tokyo Tapes, and Lovedrive didn't come close to the commercial success the band enjoyed in the 80s, but they inspired and influenced countless renowned musicians.

German Metal Machine: Scorpions in the '70s is the first-ever book to focus solely on this period of the band. The book features interviews with former members Michael Schenker, Uli Jon Roth, Francis Buchholz, and Herman Rarebell, along with longtime Scorpions producer Dieter Dierks, plus members of other bands that are major admirers, including KK Downing (Judas Priest), Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins), Joe Satriani, Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith), David Ellefson (Megadeth), Alex Skolnick (Testament), and Eddie Trunk ('That Metal Show'), among many others. Metallica's Kirk Hammett provides a foreword.

Author Greg Prato is a New York-based journalist who has written for Rolling Stone, Songfacts, and Vintage Guitar. His other books include Survival of the Fittest: Heavy Metal in the 1990's, Iron Maiden: '80 '81, The Eric Carr Story, and Touched by Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story.

German Metal Machine: Scorpions in the '70s is available as a paperback version [222 pages, $16.99], a Kindle download [$9.99], a Nook download [$9.99], and an iBook download [$9.99].

An excerpt can be read here.

Ordering info:

Paperback and Kindle:

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Allman Brothers Band Members & Friends Announce Tour Dates

Les Brers, featuring key Allman Brothers Band members and friends, has announced a new string of concerts for August and September.  They have only performed a handful of dates in 2016 so far, including two benefit shows in their adopted hometown of Macon, GA and at the ABB's Wanee Festival.

The pedigreed group (the name is inspired by the ABB instrumental jam "Les Brers in A-Minor" from the Eat A Peach album) consists of founding ABB drummers Butch Trucks  and Jaimoe, plus longtime members Oteil Burbridge (bass) and Marc Quinones (percussion), former ABB guitarist Jack Pearson, frequent ABB guest Bruce Katz on keyboards, and singer Lamar Williams, Jr. (son of the former ABB bassist). Guitarist Pat Bergeson (Chet Atkins, Lyle Lovett, Suzy Bogguss) completes the lineup.

The new dates begin at the Allman Brothers Band-curated Peach Festival on August 11 in Scranton, PA and run through mid-September (full itinerary below).

In an April interview with Billboard Magazine's Gary Graff, Butch Trucks said, "Nobody is playing music like this, like the Allman Brothers, and there's still a lot of fans out there, so that's what we're doing with Les Brers.  We're taking this stuff and getting loose with it and improvising and really having a good time. And I think once the word gets around there's still a lot of people out there that want to hear this kind of music -- and whether there is or not, we're having a ball playing it, so if we can draw a big crowd that's great, but if we don't we're still gonna play it."

The band will perform an eclectic selection of music familiar to fans of the Allman Brothers Band, whose unique improvisational style, great songwriting and heavy touring made them one of the most acclaimed bands in American rock history.  They are members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, earned a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Of the Macon shows, which benefitted the Allman Brothers Band's Big House Museum, Trucks said, "I knew that Les Brers was going to be good but DAMN!!!! We did stuff I wouldn't have believed. So great to really jam and jam with people who have the guts to leap off the cliff and soar with the eagles or, as happened once last night, hit the ground, pick ourselves up and go somewhere we've never been before."

Here are the confirmed Les Brers tour dates, with more northeast U.S. dates to follow in October:

8/11 - Peach Festival - Scranton, PA
9/7 - Playhouse - Ridgefield, CT
9/8 - Casino Ballroom - Hampton Beach, NH
9/9 - House of Blues - Boston, MA
9/10 - Paramount Theatre - Rutland, VT

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Aerosmith Drummer To Open New Massachusetts Coffee Shop

A rock 'n' roll-themed coffee shop owned by Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer is set to open in Massachusetts this week. 

Joey Kramer's Rockin' & Roastin' Cafe will open its doors on Friday in North Attleborough, about 40 miles outside of Boston. The public is invited to attend a special ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for 9:00 AM.

Kramer says the cafe will serve up organic coffee with a rock 'n' roll ambiance. The drummer's set and other Aerosmith memorabilia will be displayed.

For more information on Rockin' & Roastin', visit

Monday, June 27, 2016

Ultimate Jam Night To Welcome Black Sabbath's Bill Ward & His New Band

Ultimate Jam Night, the weekly free music show held at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood, will be featuring original Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward with his new band Day of Errors on Tuesday, June 28.

On June 6, Ward announced the formation of Days of Errors on his website: "In the desire to have my drumming spirit continue to live, I’m pleased to say that I’ve helped to create a new three-piece band called 'Day of Errors,' accompanied by two guest musicians playing keyboards and percussion."

"We play loud, hard, with overtures of gut-kicking heavy, heavy parts," the drummer added to his statement.

Day of Errors features Ward on drums and vocals, along with Joe Amodea on guitar and vocals and Nick Diltz on bass and vocals, plus Walter Earl on percussion and Aron Ward on kybd.

Ward was supposed to be part of Black Sabbath's 2013 reunion with Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, but after the drummer was offered what he termed as an "unsignable contract," the reunion of the original lineup was derailed.

Ward was released from recording the band's 2013 comeback album, 13, and the subsequent concerts that followed, including the current "farewell" tour billed as 'The End'.

In 2015, the drummer released Accountable Beasts, his first solo album in over 20 years. He also held an exhibition of art based on his drumming in Los Angeles.

Friday, June 24, 2016

You Can Buy Frank Zappa's Laurel Canyon House For $5.4 Million

The 8,000-sqaure-foot compound in Los Angeles' Laurel Canyon neighborhood where Frank Zappa lived with his family from 1968 until his death in 1993 was put up for sale Thursday by his children for $5,495,000.

The historic property at 7885 Woodrow Wilson Drive includes seven bedrooms, six baths, two guest cottages, a swimming pool, rooftop tennis court and the fabled Utility Muffin Research Kitchen where Zappa recorded his jazz-rock albums and composed his symphonies, as well as The Vault, a chamber beneath the house where Zappa stored thousands of hours of unreleased recordings, video and family artifacts. Whimsical touches typical of Zappa, including a door salvaged from a submarine, are found throughout the property.

Prior to residing at the Woodrow Wilson house, Zappa, his late wife Gail, and their then-infant daughter Moon Unit rented a log cabin at 2401 Laurel Canyon Blvd., a former road house with a working bowling alley in the basement. Although the Zappas only lived there for six months in the spring and summer of 1968, the house was quickly established as Laurel Canyon's rock and roll clubhouse, where transient tenants, guests and hangers-on included the GTOs groupie clique, blues legend John Mayall (who wrote the song "2401" about the place), Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithful, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Rod Stewart, plus members of Zappa's band the Mothers of Invention and the original Alice Cooper group.

The sale of Zappa's Woodrow Wilson compound has been caught up in a dispute among Zappa's children--Dweezil, Moon, Ahmet and Diva, particularly Ahmet and Dweezil, who recorded two albums together--who have been battling each other since Gail Zappa died last year.

Following their father's death from prostate cancer in 1993, the Zappa Family Trust was formed to administer the rights to Frank Zappa's vast catalog of songs and to protect copyrights and trademarks. After Gail's death last October, control of the trust passed to the younger Zappa siblings, Ahmet and Diva, who serve as the estate's trustees. Dweezil and Moon remain beneficiaries of the estate.

In April, the Zappa Family Trust informed Dweezil that he did not have permission to perform any of his father's songs on his annual Zappa Plays Zappa tour and could no longer use the Zappa Plays Zappa name, which the trust owns and for which Dweezil said his mother had charged him an exorbitant licensing fee.

The Zappa siblings have also clashed over a yet-unfilmed, Kickstarter-funded documentary, directed by Alex Winter about their father, which Ahmet and Diva endorse but Dweezil and Moon do not. In an open letter to Dweezil published on Facebook, Ahmet claimed that maintaining the business side to their father's legacy was "pretty damn expensive…That's why Gail told us we have to sell the house: because she knew how much it would cost to maintain the catalog."

In March, the house was offered for sale for $9 million as part of the Kickstarter campaign to fund the documentary and catalog Zappa’s Vault. The crowd-funding campaign for the movie successfully met its goal of $1 million, and Winter is supervising the archiving and preservation of the Vault’s contents.

The Zappa compound was one of several rock and roll landmarks in Laurel Canyon during the neighborhood's heyday in the 1960s and 1970s. Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash shared a cottage next door to the Zappa log cabin where Mitchell wrote her 1970 album Ladies of the Canyon and Nash composed the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young classic "Our House," about his and Mitchell's life together there "with two cats in the yard." Not far from the Zappa compound on Woodrow Wilson, Cass Eliott of the Mamas and the Papas lived in a gated Cape Cod that was the de facto salon for the canyon's musicians.