Friday, May 25, 2018

Rick Wakeman Launches Official YouTube Channel

Keyboardist, Yes member and prolific recording artist and occasional funny man Rick Wakeman is launching his official YouTube channel in June. The channel will feature many rare and unreleased videos, as well as the exclusive premiere of Wakeman's forthcoming film Live Portraits.

“Would you believe I now have an official YouTube channel. If you fancy subscribing to it you're going to see lots of different things. Some things perhaps you've seen before...certainly a lot you've never seen before," Wakeman said. "There will be some exclusive stuff - exclusive purely to this channel. So please subscribe and see some of the silly things I get up to, and the musical stuff as well.”

Check out Rick Wakeman's new YouTube channel:
To subscribe to Rick Wakeman's new YouTube channel:

To celebrate the launch of Wakeman's official YouTube channel in style, subscribers are asked to vote for the top track they want to see from the film Live Portraits (track listing below). Voting can be made here on PledgeMusic.

Once the votes have been counted, the ten most voted tracks will be posted exclusively on Rick's YouTube Channel for 48 hours. Fans should subscribe to Wakeman's official YouTube Channel to be notified when this event will take place. Click here to subscribe.


Following the hugely successful “Piano Portraits” tour last year, in support of the album of the same name, Rick Wakeman will return in Autumn 2018 with a new show based on the follow up release, entitled “Piano Odyssey.” The 14-date tour will feature even more classic tracks featuring Wakeman's unique piano treatment, and will travel to towns and cities not previously visited in 2017.

A live version of the critically acclaimed album Piano Portraits was filmed and recorded at the Lincoln Cathedral in London on March 7, 2018.

Live Portraits will be released on CD/DVD soon. It can be ordered exclusively from Pledge Music by going to

For more information:

Gonzo Multimedia:

Thursday, May 24, 2018

John Fogerty Joined By ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons On New Single

On the eve of their Blues & Bayous tour launch, John Fogerty and Billy F Gibbons of ZZ Top, have joined together on a new song. “Holy Grail” was written by Fogerty and features the distinctive guitar licks and additional vocals from the Reverend himself. Listen to a snippet of the song below.

"I am so happy to be playin' and singin' with the Reverend BFG," Fogerty said. "That Sharp Dressed Man, himself. This is the Holy Grail!"

Billy F Gibbons added: “It’s not an overstatement to say that writing a song with John Fogerty is a genuine bonus! It’s fair to say that John and I are both pumped about our collaboration and we think this new one called 'Holy Grail' holds true with some great storytelling and some solid guitarists movin’ the number right along.  It begs a shout of, 'Turn it up!’”  

For a sneak peak of what’s in store on this summer tour, take a sneak peek as Billy F Gibbons joined up with John for an impromptu session at Lost Canyon Studio, last month:

For tour dates, go to

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Solo Albums From Creedence Clearwater Revival Members To Be Reissued

Craft Recordings has announced two reissues from Creedence Clearwater Revival's Doug Clifford and Tom Fogerty. The two helped make up CCR's distinctive "chooglin'" rhythm section, roles that, along with John Fogerty and Stu Cook, earned them a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

Tom Fogerty's Excalibur and Doug Clifford's Doug "Cosmo" Clifford were both originally released in 1972 and have been long out-of-print. These reissues, pressed on 180-gram vinyl from lacquers cut at Fantasy Studios by George Horn and Anne-Marie Suenram, are essential additions to the record collection of any Creedence aficionado.

Both LPs will be reissued on June 22 and are available now for pre-order:

A special bundle is also available via the Craft Recordings store, including a very limited number of LPs signed by Doug Clifford.

In 1972, Clifford recorded Doug "Cosmo" Clifford, his first and only solo outing and a fascinating artifact from the end of the Creedence era. This 11-track outing includes eight originals that range from country-infused R&B ("Take a Train") to Latin rock (the aptly titled "Latin Music") to CCR-style rockers ("Get Your Raise"). It also features rollicking covers of the Lovin' Spoonful ("Daydream"), Doug Sahm ("She's About a Mover") and the Spencer Davis Group ("I'm a Man").

The record features Stu Cook on rhythm guitar, legendary sideman and Stax musician Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass, John McFee on lead guitar, background vocals from the Walter Hawkins Singers, and the Tower of Power horn section.

"Making this record was a blast, because it was a superstar line-up," recalls Clifford. "It was a collaboration to a large degree, I told everyone that I was open to any ideas they might have. That got everybody involved in the process. The camaraderie was great, there was no pressure and that got the best performances from everyone. We cut everything live so when the horns were playing we were a 10-piece band!"

Doug Clifford's rockabilly-style vocals imbue the songs with a nostalgic flair. Available for the first time in over 40 years, this album is newly remastered by Clifford himself, pressed on 180-gram vinyl and housed in an old-school, tip-on jacket. It will also be available for the first time on streaming platforms, as well as Hi-Res 96/24 and 192/24 audio download.

Chiefly remembered as the rhythm guitarist and background vocalist for Creedence Clearwater Revival, Tom Fogerty (1941 - 1990) was born and raised in the Bay Area of California. He signed his first record deal at age 18 as frontman for a short-lived rock group called Spider Webb and the Insects (featuring Jeremy Levine of the Seeds). By the early 60s, Fogerty had formed a group with his younger brother, John, plus bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford; first performing as the Blue Velvets and later the Golliwogs before solidifying as CCR in 1968. He left Creedence in early 1971, about a year before the group disbanded, and set out on a solo career.

Tom Fogerty spent the rest of the 70s and early 80s focused on his solo work, releasing five albums under his own name (one of which, Zephyr National, includes appearances by all three of his former CCR bandmates) and three with his band, Ruby. Fogerty would record nine albums before his untimely passing at age 48.

Excalibur was his second solo effort, a melodic bluegrass and country affair that evidences many of the same influences heard in CCR's signature "swamp rock" sound. Fogerty recruited his Fantasy Records peers Jerry Garcia (The Grateful Dead) and Merl Saunders to play guitar and keys, respectively, and their bluesy style well complements his bright vocals. Out of print for over 40 years, the album is cut from the original analog master, pressed on 180-gram vinyl, and housed in an old-school, tip-on jacket.

This reissue marks the first time Excalibur has been released on streaming platforms, as well as the first time it's been available for Hi-Res 96/24 and 192/24 audio download. Also newly available on digital platforms, available June 22, are Tom Fogerty's other solo titles -- Tom Fogerty (originally released in 1972), Zephyr National (1974), Myopia (1974), and Deal It Out (1981).

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Yes Founding Member Tony Kaye Talks 50th Summer Tour

Photo: Suzanne Reardon-Mulhall

Yes recently revealed initial plans to celebrate their landmark Golden Anniversary this year, including the exciting announcement that founding member/Grammy winner/Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Tony Kaye (keyboards; 1968-1971 and 1983-1995) will be joining Steve Howe (guitar since 1970), Alan White (drums since 1972), Geoff Downes (keyboards; first joined in 1980), Jon Davison (vocals since 2011) and Billy Sherwood (guitar/keyboards in the 1990s and the late Chris Squire's choice to take over bass/vocals in 2015) as a special guest for this summer's entire #YES50: Celebrating 50 Years of Yes tour.

As the prog rock pioneers prepare to kick off their 35-date cross-country outing June 5 in St. Charles, IL, Kaye sat down to reflect on 50 years of Yes and more. Read the Q&A below.


Let's start with a big congrats to you on your Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction last year and on this year's 50th Anniversary of YES. Can you talk a little about what these career milestones mean to you?

Thank you...I'm very happy the band was honored at last with the RRHOF award. To me, it meant a well-deserved recognition of the band's music and long history and a thank-you to all the fans who have supported YES all these years.  It was also a thrill to be asked by the band to participate in the 50th Anniversary tour this summer.  It will be an honor to join Steve and the band to play those early iconic songs that were the beginning of Yes.

Did you ever think 50 years ago when you co-founded the band that it would still have such an impact on fans and musicians this many decades later?

We had no idea the impact of what we were creating back in the 60s would be so long lasting...never mind 50 years. The fans of Yes have been so dedicated in their support, and of course the music would not have meant so much without them.

What are some of your greatest memories from the early days of Yes?

Greatest memories are too many...but playing the Marquee Club on Wardour St. in London at the very beginning and getting to see so many great bands and meeting so many amazing musicians, especially Keith Emerson who was such an inspiration to me, has a very special place in my memories.

You joined Yes earlier this year for Cruise to the Edge, what was that like for you? Prior to CTTE, when was the last time you performed with YES?

My last performance with Yes was on the Talk tour in the 90s and very happily retired and even more happily married the love of my life. I didn't miss playing or being on the road and it was only a chance meeting with Billy Sherwood that resulted in a change of plan.  He persuaded me to dust off the B3 and get it out of storage which resulted in some really great music with Circa. Of course, Billy went on to play bass with Yes when Chris Squire tragically died and it was great to reunite with Billy and Yes on CTTE.

This summer, you will be sitting in on the entire 50th Anniversary Tour, #YES50. What are you most looking forward to about being back on the road performing this music?

The 50th Anniversary Tour is obviously a milestone and although I was not anticipating going on the road again, the opportunity to play Yes music again with such great guys was something I couldn't turn down. I am most looking forward to reconnecting with Steve after so many years, and playing again with Alan, Jon, Billy, Jay and especially with Geoff, who was so generous to me on the CTTE cruise.

It will be great and somewhat nostalgic for me to see all the Yes fans at the shows around the USA this summer...I can't wait.

#YES50 Summer Tour Schedule 

06/05 - Arcada Theatre - St. Charles, IL
06/06 - Arcada Theatre - St. Charles, IL
06/08 - Four Winds Casino Ballroom - New Buffalo, MI
06/10 - Midland Theatre - Kansas City, MO
06/11 - Paramount Theatre - Denver, CO
06/13 - Century Link Arena - Boise, ID
06/14 - Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery - Woodinville, WA
06/16 - Spectrum Amphitheater - Bakersfield, CA
06/17 - City National Grove of Anaheim - Anaheim, CA
06/19 - Ford Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
06/20 - City National Civic - San Jose, CA
06/22 - Peppermill Casino Hall - Wendover, NV
06/23 - Edgewater Hotel & Casino - Laughlin, NV
06/24 - Pechanga Resort & Casino - Temecula, CA
06/28 - Kresge Auditorium - Interlochen, MI
06/29 - 20 Monroe Live - Grand Rapids, MI
06/30 - Fox Theatre - Detroit, MI
07/02 - PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center - Cincinnati, OH
07/05 - Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall - Pittsburgh, PA
07/06 - Penn's Peak - Jim Thorpe, PA
07/07 - The Wellmont Theater - Montclair, NJ
07/10 - The Wilbur Theatre - Boston, MA
07/11 - Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom - Hampton Beach, NH
07/13 - Foxwoods Casino - Mashantucket, CT
07/14 - Tropicana Casino - Atlantic City, NJ
07/15 - St. George Theatre - Staten Island, NY
07/17 - Paramount Hudson Valley - Peekskill, NY
07/18 - Theatre at Westbury - Westbury, NY
07/20 - The Fillmore - Philadelphia, PA
07/21 - The Fillmore - Philadelphia, PA
07/23 - Warner Theatre - Washington, DC
07/24 - Classic Amphitheatre - Richmond, VA
07/26 - Capitol Theatre - Clearwater, FL
07/27 - The Plaza Live - Orlando, FL
07/28 - Atlanta Symphony Hall - Atlanta, GA

Go to for ticketing information, including VIP and meet & greet package options.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Ronnie, Donnie & Johnny Van Zant's House Gets Florida Historical Marker

Todd Smith’s Toyota Prius pulled onto the front yard of the modest house on the Westside, back hatch slightly ajar to make room for the big piece of Jacksonville history inside. Smith and Charles Harding lifted it out and propped it against the car: a cast aluminum historical marker noting that this is the location of the “Van Zant House,” an otherwise rather ordinary-looking home that’s now a Florida heritage site.

And what a heritage it has: “Musicians Ronnie, Donnie and Johnny Van Zant spent their formative years growing up in this house with their sisters and parents between the 1950s and 1980s,” the plaque says, before noting Ronnie’s role in forming Lynyrd Skynyrd, Johnny’s role as singer in the reborn Skynyrd, and Donnie’s role as a founding member and singer for .38 Special — all told, a legacy that’s a “prodigious contribution to the world of rock music.”

Smith, 48, a Jacksonville Beach entrepreneur, bought the property and worked with the state to get the marker, which was officially unveiled to the public May 12. Lynyrd Skynyrd came storming out of Jacksonville to became one of biggest-selling bands in rock history, and Smith knows that someone somewhere will decide the plaque would be just the thing for a rec-room or garage. So he’s going to put an iron fence around the property — for now it has chain link — and will invest heavily, he said, in concrete and security cameras.

He found the house while looking for property in the area, learned about its history and decided something needed to be done to officially acknowledge it.

So, along with the marker (for which the state is paying half) he’s restoring the house to look like a time capsule from the 70s, complete with an avocado-green rotary-dial phone and a wooden console stereo with an eight-track player and several Skynyrd eight-tracks that still sound just fine. Those touches fit in with the acoustical tile ceilings and the wood paneling on the walls, where Smith will place Skynyrd memorabilia where once the Van Zant parents hung gold records.

The house is at 5419 Woodcrest Road, one block off Lake Shore Boulevard, in a blue-collar neighborhood the Van Zant boys called Shantytown. It’s a mix of small, older houses, mobile homes and some new construction, including a few Habitat for Humanity homes going up catty-corner from the property. Deep drainage ditches line the streets in front of heavily wooded lots, and there’s talk of sidewalks someday.

“The neighborhood doesn’t exactly scream vacation,” Smith observed. “But ... ”

He wants to turn the house into a short-term rental for Lynyrd Skynyrd fans who might want to live, briefly, in the place where the music began. After all, some the band’s fans — a devoted, far-flung group — already stop by almost daily to check out the old house, says Harding, 37, who’s working on the renovation while living in a trailer at the back of the place where early incarnations of Skynyrd occasionally practiced.

“You’ll see them pull up real slow and look at the house, they’ll drive around the block a couple times, pull back up at the driveway. I say, ‘Come on in.’ ” The rough streets of Shantytown, an easy bike ride from the Cedar River, where they fished, and not far from the old Speedway Park, a dirt oval auto racing track where they hung out, helped make the Van Zant boys who they were.

“That house was our life, that neighborhood was our neighborhood,” Johnny Van Zant said this week. “We all learned how to play drums in that house, we all learned how to swing on the swing-set out there — that’s where we learned to sing. We didn’t have 700 channels like today. We didn’t have nothing but four channels. We weren’t super rich.”

The Van Zant parents chose to stay in the house where they raised their kids, even as their sons — who shared a bedroom growing up — became rock stars. Both died in that house: mother Marion in 2000, father Lacy in 2004. Lacy, a truck driver, added on to the small home as he could over years, doing the work himself, with perhaps more enthusiasm than skill. Eventually it grew to have three apartments attached to the main house, one of which Smith is thinking of turning into a music studio, possibly as a nonprofit where local kids could learn music.

Gene Odom, a childhood friend of Ronnie Van Zant, later worked security for the band and survived the 1977 plane crash that killed Ronnie, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick and the pilot and co-pilot. He grew up a block away from the Van Zant house and, like other kids in the neighborhood, spent hours there.

A big reason for that was Marion Van Zant, whom he called by her nickname, Sister. “She never let no one in the neighborhood go hungry. She’d always fix big dinners for everybody. You could always get a sandwich, butter beans, pork chops, collard greens. Sister was a fantastic cook.” Odom, 69, sometimes leads Skynyrd fans on tours of Skynyrd sites, and always makes sure to take them by 5419 Woodcrest Road. He says it’s a shame city leaders in Jacksonville haven’t done more to acknowledge the homegrown band, but thinks Ronnie Van Zant would get a kick out of the historical plaque that’s going up.

“Certainly. That’s what he came from,” he said. “He was proud of that neighborhood. He would be mighty proud.