Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Glastonbury 2015: The Who Mock Kanye West: 'Who's The Biggest Rock Star In The World?'

The Who's Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend took a dig at Kanye West during their Sunday night headline set at Glastonbury 2015 after the rapper declared himself to be “the biggest rock star on the planet.”

The five-day festival, which ran June 24 - 28 near Pilton, Somerset in England, drew a crowd of 177,000.

During their set, the Who told the audience: “We’re going to make a big fucking rebellion; yeah, who’s the biggest rock star in the world?,” before Townshend gave an impressive guitar solo.

The Who also rivaled West in kicking up a fuss, repeatedly complaining about the sound and shouting to backstage “it’s fucking crap,” before Daltrey pulled over a plastic screen and knocked over microphones so they could hear the drums better.

In other Glastonbury highlights, singer Lionel Richie pulled in huge crowds with his upbeat show, which had the audience singing and dancing along to his hit songs.

Richie grinned in astonishment, telling the audience: “This is unbelievable. I'm intimidated because you know the words better than I do.”

He took to the stage just as the sun came out and told the audience: “It has been a long time coming but I finally made it to Glastonbury.”

Other Glastonbury performers included Patti Smith, Rivals Sons, Ryan Adams, Donovan, the Buzzcocks and Motorhead. The Foo Fighters were scheduled to play, but had to cancel when Dave Grohl broke his leg last month after falling off the stage during a concert in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Grateful Dead ' Fare Thee Well' Chicago Shows Coming To CD & Video This Fall

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead, the "core four" original members - Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir - will reunite at Chicago's Soldier Field for one of the most anticipated concert events in recent history. Fare Thee Well: Celebrating  50 Years Of Grateful Dead will occur over three nights on July 3, 4, and 5, 2015, marking the original members' last-ever performance together. 

The band will be joined by Trey Anastasio (guitar), Jeff Chimenti (keyboards), and Bruce Hornsby (piano). The group will perform two sets of music each night, nearly 20 years to the day of the last ever Grateful Dead concert with Jerry Garcia, which took place at the same historic venue.

Fare Thee Well: Celebrating  50 Years Of Grateful Dead will be available November 20 from Rhino/Grateful Dead in a variety of audio and video formats, outlined below., the official Grateful Dead website, is the only place fans can get complete audio and video for all three shows.

The two exclusive versions, one 12-CD/7-Blu-ray and the other 12-CD/7-DVD, will each be limited to 20,000 individually numbered copies on their first run. The versions will also feature an exclusive bonus disc featuring a behind-the-scenes look captured by Justin Kreutzmann.

Included on the disc will be footage from the Grateful Dead ticketing office documenting the 350,000 plus tickets requests received for the shows, vignettes from the parking lot scene at Soldier Field and backstage material from the shows themselves.

Fare Thee Well - Exclusive Complete Versions

  • 12-CD/7-Blu-ray Complete Version - Full audio and high-definition video from all three shows on CD and Blu-ray plus exclusive bonus disc of behind-the-scenes footage. Individually numbered, limited edition of 20,000.
  • 12-CD/7-DVD Complete Version - Full audio and video from all three shows on CD and DVD plus exclusive bonus disc of behind-the-scenes footage. Individually numbered, limited edition of 20,000.

Fare Thee Well - Retail Versions

  • 4-CD/2-Blu-ray Version - Full audio and high-definition video from final show (July 5) on CD and Blu-ray.
  • 4-CD/2-DVD Version - Full audio and video from final show (July 5) on CD and DVD.
  • 2-Blu-ray Version - Full high-definition video from final show (July 5) on Blu-ray.
  • 2-DVD Version - Full video from final show (July 5) on DVD.
  • 2-CD "Best Of" Version - Audio highlights from all three shows.
  • Digital Download - Audio and video from the final show (July 5) will be available as well as audio from the "Best Of" version. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lynyrd Skynyrd & The Confederate Flag Controversy

The Confederate flag has become a symbol of racism and disparagement after the murders of nine black parishioners at Charleston, S.C.'s, historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17. 

A website full of racist invective, registered in the name of gunman Dylann Roof, surfaced, containing images of the self-declared white supremacist holding the Confederate banner. The fact that it still flew at the state Capitol building in Columbia prompted a nationwide outcry and protest on the statehouse grounds, and on Monday (June 22) South Carolina governor Nikki Haley called for its removal.

On Wednesday, Alabama governor Robert Bentley ordered the flag removed from the Capitol grounds in Montgomery. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced the same day that the time had come to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee from Lee Circle in New Orleans. Walmart, Sears, eBay and Amazon decided to stop selling merchandise that used its image, CNN reported, noting "the announcements are the latest indication that the flag, a symbol of the slave-holding South, has become toxic."

A tragic tipping point had spurred an avalanche of great proportions, and even many who had long cringed at the display of the symbol were surprised at its size, that government and big business were so ready to repudiate the image. Maybe they shouldn't have been so startled; after all, even Lynyrd Skynyrd wanted to stop flying the Confederate flag.

Confederate iconography runs through the Southern rock and outlaw-country movement of the 1970s, and no single act, perhaps, was more associated with it than Skynyrd. They used the flag image on multiple album covers; their standard stage set long included a massive Confederate battle flag backdrop.

But it's never been clear what Lynyrd Skynyrd wanted it to mean.

According to the 2006 Southern-rock history "Dixie Lullaby," whose subtitle is "A Story of Race, Music and New Beginnings in a New South," the band's Confederate flag-waving rebel-outlaw brand was a creation of producer Al Kooper, who is from Brooklyn.

Guitarist Gary Rossington, the only remaining original member of the band, made big waves in 2012 when he told CNN that Lynyrd Skynyrd would stop using the flag as its stage backdrop.

"Through the years, people like the KKK and skinheads kinda kidnapped the Dixie or Southern flag from its tradition and the heritage of the soldiers, that's what it was about," he said. "We didn't want that to go to our fans or show the image like we agreed with any of the race stuff or any of the bad things."

After a backlash from fans, the band brought back the flag. In what seemed like a peculiar compromise, though – at least during its performance at the 2014 Gretna Heritage Festival – the backdrop was the band logo, with the American flag patterned into the letters.

A medium-sized Confederate flag hung off to the side at stage left, where not everyone in the crowd could see it. During the closing "Freebird," Johnny Van Zant (Ronnie's brother, and the current lead singer) draped an American flag across the microphone stand.

Lynyrd Skynyrd has all but eviscerated the Confederate flag from its identity at this point. Earlier in the week, on the band’s official online store, there were only two items of clothing, a shirt for a man and one for a woman, which has the controversial flag on it — and while it was faded into the background in the colors of yellow and black, it was hardly noticeable upon first glance.

At press time, both items had been removed.

And when it comes to the music Skynyrd is selling, all of the albums prominently displaying the Confederate flag, including the 1988 release celebrating the tribute tour the year prior and the hits compilation Legend, are missing, despite their popularity.

Finally, a cursory search via YouTube of recent shows finds a complete absence of the offending flag from any shows. Instead, it’s been replaced with the standard American flag — even a shredded one that hangs from singer Johnny Van Zant’s microphone.

And while top rock ’n’ roll apparel sites like Rockabilia and Old Glory feature a smattering of Lynyrd Skynyrd products, from T-shirts to coffee mugs that incorporate the Confederate flag, On the official front, however, it would seem the band has completely distanced itself from the imagery.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

David Bowie's 'Five Years 1969 - 1973', First In Career-Spanning Box Set Coming In September

The just announced David Bowie's Five Years 1969 - 1973 will be a 10-album/12-CD box, 10-album/13-LP vinyl set, and digital download, featuring all of the material officially released by Bowie during the nascent stage of his career from 1969 to 1973. All of the formats include tracks that have never before appeared on CD/digitally as well as new remasters.the first in a series of boxed sets spanning his career.

Exclusive to the boxed sets will be Re:Call 1, a new two-disc compilation of non-album singles, single versions & B-sides. It features a previously unreleased single edit of "All The Madmen," which was originally set for a U.S. release but was never actually issued. Also included is the original version of "Holy Holy," which was only ever released on the original 1971 Mercury single and hasn't been available since.

Also exclusive to all versions of Five Years 1969 - 1973 will be a 2003 stereo remix of The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars by the album's original co-producer Ken Scott, previously only available on DVD with the LP/DVD format of the 40th anniversary edition of the album.

The vinyl boxed set has the same content as the CD set pressed on audiophile quality 180-gram vinyl.

The boxed set's accompanying book, 128 pages in the CD box and 84 pages in the vinyl set, will feature rarely seen photos as well as technical notes about each album from producers Tony Visconti and Ken Scott, an original press review for each album, and a short foreword by legendary Kinks front man Ray Davies.

The CD boxed set will include faithfully reproduced mini-vinyl versions of the original albums and the CDs will be gold rather than the usual silver.

An alternate cover has been created for the 2003 mix of Ziggy Stardust by Ken Scott, which features an outtake from the original Heddon Street photo session. There is also newly originated artwork for Re:Call 1 featuring a 1973 in-studio image from renowned photographer Mick Rock.

Five Years 1969 - 1973 includes:

Six Original Studio Albums:
David Bowie AKA Space Oddity*
The Man Who Sold The World*
Hunky Dory*
The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
Aladdin Sane

*New 2015 Remasters

Two Live Albums:
Live Santa Monica '72 
Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture Soundtrack

Exclusive To The Boxed Sets:
The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (2003 Ken Scott mix)

Re:Call 1 
Disc One

  1. "Space Oddity" (Original UK Mono Single Edit)*
  2. "Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud" (Original UK Mono Single Version)*
  3. "Ragazzo Solo, Ragazza Sola"
  4. "The Prettiest Star" (Original Mono Single Version)*
  5. "Conversation Piece"*
  6. "Memory Of A Free Festival (Part 1)"
  7. "Memory Of A Free Festival (Part 2)"
  8. "All The Madmen" (Mono Single Edit)* previously unreleased 
  9. "Janine"*
  10. "Holy Holy" (Original Mono Single Version)* only ever issued on original '71 Mercury single
  11. "Moonage Daydream" (The Arnold Corns Single Version)* 
  12. "Hang On To Yourself" (The Arnold Corns Single Version)*

Disc Two

  1. "Changes" (Mono Single Version)*
  2. "Andy Warhol" (Mono Single Version)*
  3. "Starman" (Original Single Mix)
  4. "John, I'm Only Dancing" (Original Single Version)
  5. "The Jean Genie" (Original Single Mix)
  6. "Drive-In Saturday" (German Single Edit)
  7. "Round And Round"
  8. "John, I'm Only Dancing" (Sax Version)
  9. 'Time" (U.S. Single Edit)
  10. "Amsterdam"
  11. "Holy Holy" (Spiders Version)
  12. "Velvet Goldmine"

All tracks stereo except *mono

The vinyl boxed set has the same content as the CD boxed set pressed on audiophile
180-gram vinyl.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Has Drummer Deen Castronovo Been Fired From Journey?

Photo: Getty

Journey have replaced drummer Deen Castronovo for upcoming live dates with drummer Omar Hakim, who has previously worked with Madonna, Miles Davis and others. Last Saturday, June 20, Hakim made his debut with the band at the Hollywood Bowl, and is expected to stay on for shows in July and August.

Castronovo, a member of Journey since 1998, was arrested in Salem, Oregon on Sunday, June 14, after police were called to his home. Sky News reports that the musician has been charged with misdemeanour assault, coercion and menacing (the legal term for threats of physical harm). Castronovo's lawyer, Jeffrey Jones, has denied any wrong doing on the musician's part. The drummer has not commented on his status with Journey.  

Castronovo was released on bail after his $20,000 bail was met. He is not allowed to contact the woman in question in the meantime. A plea hearing has been scheduled for June 30.

Castronovo was also arrested in 2012 for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend. He described the situation at the time as a "misunderstanding", saying: "It was a misunderstanding that should not have been escalated to such a level in the first place."

No word yet on whether Castronovo will return to the band, although speculation is high that he may be dismissed permanently.