Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Pollstar Announces Top 50 Concert Tours Of 2009

Pollstar has compiled its Top 50 Tours of North America for 2009 and, although there is no surprise as to who came in at No. 1, there were plenty of surprises just the same.

U2 surpassed all other tours by a wide margin, grossing $123 million in North America and selling more than 1.3 million tickets overall. It beat its closest competitor, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, by about $30 million.

With U2 and Springsteen charting at 1 and 2, the top five were rounded out by Elton John / Billy Joel, Britney Spears and AC/DC. The Top 10 included the inexhaustible Kenny Chesney, headlining newcomers Jonas Brothers, Dave Matthews Band, Fleetwood Mac and Metallica.

For all of the financial troubles of 2009, the concert business had an up year. The numbers for the Top 50 tours were better, across the board, than for 2008, be it total gross revenue or tickets sold. Last year, Chesney was the only artist to sell more than 1 million tickets. This year, U2, Springsteen, Chesney, Jonas Brothers, DMB and "Walking With Dinosaurs" all topped the million mark.

Newcomers to the list include Lil' Wayne at No. 26 and Kings of Leon at No. 42. Taylor Swift, who essentially began the year as a support act, wrapped 2009 at No. 35 as country's newest headline draw.

No Doubt, Blink-182 and Leonard Cohen, which each made splashy announcements that they were returning to the stage, made good on their returns, coming in at 24, 31 and 43, respectively.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rock Hall Votes In Genesis, Is Yes or Procol Harum next?

Is the impending induction of Genesis the beginning of progressive rock getting its long-denied due from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Or is this just tokenism, a one-time exception made because of all the pop hits Genesis scored long after it had forsaken the arty, theatrical-rock strangeness and literary-mythic inspirations of the early 1970s, when Peter Gabriel was fronting the band? After soldiering on proggishly but not that successfully for a couple of albums after Gabriel’s departure in 1975, the remaining members cannily transmogrified (uncanny transmogrification having been a core theme of the band’s earlier music) into a cuddlesome, MTV-ready trio led by that endearing, nonthreatening chap Phil Collins.

From where I stand, Genesis earned the Hall with the last three albums of the Gabriel era -- “Foxtrot,” “Selling England by the Pound” and “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway,” with Collins providing expert drumming and backing vocals, and taking a frontman turn or two. But it’s hardly idle speculation to wonder whether that version of Genesis would have passed muster with Hall voters, without the massively popular, pleasantly disposable hits the band cranked out during the 1980s, including “Follow You Follow Me,” “Misunderstanding” and “Invisible Touch.”

If the Rock Hall’s voters want to put their ears to work in their future deliberations, rather than accepting on faith the commonplace critical disparagement of prog rock as a pompous, pseudo-intellectual perversion of the earthy rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic, here are some names and recordings for them to consider.

Mahavishnu Orchestra. While this all-instrumental, Anglo-Irish-Euro-American band is more identified with the jazz-rock fusion movement of the 1970s, I don’t draw much of a distinction between progressive rock and Mahavishnu’s now-hurtling, now-lyrical sound, its master-musician chops and its serious themes. The albums “The Inner Mounting Flame” and “Birds of Fire” are the band’s chief claims on the Hall of Fame. Listen, and you’ll hear white-robed leader “Mahavishnu” John McLaughlin’s fiery, speed-demon guitar, Jan Hammer’s keyboards, Jerry Goodman’s electric violin, Rick Laird’s bass and Billy Cobham’s drums swirling together, as closely attuned and interconnected as birds in a flock.

Yes. If you want persuasive evidence why critics lampoon prog rock, listen to “Tales From Topographic Oceans” for as long as you’re able, before it puts you to sleep. But the three early '70s albums before that all-time deal breaker are masterpieces, the defining single-band ouevre of the prog rock genre: “The Yes Album,” “Fragile” and “Close to the Edge.” As many have complained, the lyrics are kind of loopy and pointless, albeit well-intended insofar as they seem to be an early manifestation of rock aligning itself with environmentalism. But Jon Anderson’s piping-choirboy vocals are there more to set a mood and carry the main melody line than to occupy the mind, while guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Bill Bruford, bassist Chris Squire and either Rick Wakeman or Tony Kaye on keyboards foment disciplined wildness all around him. Yes in full flight rocks as hard as any band ever.

Procol Harum. Graceful, smart, stylistically wide-ranging, and at their best, on the epic album “A Salty Dog,” deeply moving. The elegantly somber “A Salty Dog” has moments of sweeping, stately, symphonic grandeur alongside elemental blues and even calypso. “Shine on Brightly” and “Home” are other strong releases from the band’s peak period in the late 1960s; then there’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” the one Procol Harum song everybody knows, which predated those albums while ripping off J.S. Bach in a prototypically prog-ish move from 1967. Gary Brooker is the most soulful of prog-rock singers, and the keyboards blend that his piano created with organist-vocalist-producer Matthew Fisher wasn’t far behind the Band’s great combination of Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel. The prime Procol albums also feature ace drummer B.J. Wilson and the work of guitarist Robin Trower, playing to support the songs rather than exhibiting the unfettered guitar heroism of his Hendrix-inspired solo career.

King Crimson. The donnish guitarist Robert Fripp kept Crimson evolving and interesting far longer than any of its prog classmates. But the main reason for the Hall to let them in would be their magnificent 1969 debut, “In the Court of the Crimson King,” which is widely considered the first -- and arguably the best -- prog-rock album. I’ve been surprised that a whole decade of the 21st century has gone by without a prominent cover of the kickoff track, “21st Century Schizoid Man,” a song so frantically, manically charged with fear and loathing that it’s practically punk -- which is probably why Bad Religion referenced it on its pre-millennial hit, ”21st Century (Digital Boy).”

Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Virtuosity and sonic and theatrical flash and excess were their trademarks, which made for lots of fun in live performance (Carl Palmer’s spinning drum platform decked in pulsing lights; Keith Emerson pulling out knives to one-up Jimi Hendrix with a ritual disemboweling of his Hammond organ). What band in its right mind would do a marvelous, if utterly ridiculous, sci-fi concept album -- “Tarkus” -- about a post-apocalyptic, metal-plated, bionic armadillo outfitted with enough weaponry to wage perpetual solo warfare (it’s a wonder Hollywood hasn’t swiped the idea)? Along with “Emerson, Lake & Palmer,” “Brain Salad Surgery” and a live, album-length rock adaptation of Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” ELP provided ample reason for induction during the early 1970s, after which the band followed Yes and Procol Harum down the path of hanging on far too long, with far too little inspiration.

Other prog bands well worth delving into -- although they haven’t a prayer of making the Hall because they didn’t make enough of a commercial dent -- are the folk-rooted Strawbs (who in their early days collaborated fruitfully with Led Zep’s John Paul Jones and Fairport Convention’s Sandy Denny, and with whom Rick Wakeman served a superb two-album hitch before joining Yes), Gentle Giant (probably the brainiest, most adventurous and versatile prog band) and Atomic Rooster (whose best albums, “Death Walks Behind You” and “In Hearing of Atomic Rooster,” might especially appeal to fans of metal and hard rock).

To answer anticipated complaints: No, I don’t consider Hall inductee Pink Floyd and the unfairly excluded Jethro Tull to be prog-rock bands; I’d like to say that Roxy Music and Brian Eno were prog-rock acts, but that would be stretching it a little; and, yes, I do enjoy the Moody Blues, but despite their many memorable tunes and splendid vocal blend, I think they’re a little too commercially eager and intellectually soft for Hall inclusion. Kansas? That’s where the Devil came from in a great Procol Harum song. In theory, Americans should have been able to play good prog rock, but in practice -- unless you want to really stretch definitions and include Spirit’s “Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus” -- they never proved it, leaving the field to the Brits.

With all of that said, if I had just one thought to submit for Rock Hall voters’ consideration, it would be: Pick the Monkees, already, for crying out loud.

And, going for the whole nine yards, considering a few of the lightweights and short-distance runners you’ve let in (The Dave Clark Five??? Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five???) how in the name of Jann S. Wenner can you defend not having admitted Randy Newman, Love, Fairport Convention/Richard Thompson, the Turtles, the Zombies, Peter Gabriel (solo), Los Lobos, Roky Erickson/13th Floor Elevators, Dick Dale, Doug Sahm, Big Star and Nick Drake?

And if you say ABBA, I say the 5th Dimension.

Now, that would be progress.

-- Mike Boehm (L.A. Times)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Status Quo Named 'Hardest-Working Band Of 2009' In British Music Industry

Status Quo have been recognized as the hardest-working band in the British music industry.

The Performing Rights Society (PRS) list also included Cliff Richard And The Shadows, Take That, Coldplay and Kings Of Leon, who took the second, third, fourth and fifth spots respectively, according to BBC News.

The list was compiled based on the number of fans bands performed to in the UK during 2009. Status Quo played to 250,000 people at 27 arenas, putting them at the top of the list.

Frontman Francis Rossi said: "Performing in front of thousands of fans is the ultimate experience for any band."

PRS is the body that collects royalties for songwriters.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Academy Of Music Welcomes Sting With The Philadelphia Orchestra

Academy of Music officials will welcome world-renowned singer/composer Sting in an extraordinary classical setting, as his diverse audience embraces the classical influences of his youth with his newly certified gold album, If On A Winter’s Night…

As the headline attraction of the spectacular Academy of Music 153rd Anniversary Concert on Saturday, January 30, 2010, in performance with The Philadelphia Orchestra and his own quartet of musicians conducted by David Hartley, Sting will perform in Philadelphia with an abundance of fresh critical and popular acclaim.

Watching his album become a classical crossover sensation since debuting at #1 on Billboard's Classical and Seasonal charts at the start of the holiday season, the Academy is especially proud to welcome Sting with such comfortable surroundings unique to the intermingling genres that have defined his remarkable career for nearly four decades.

“We are especially thrilled to be hosting Sting for the annual Concert and Ball,” said Academy of Music President Joanna McNeil Lewis. “The Academy has a history filled with performers representing an impressive and diverse array of music. Sting is the epitome of that representation as his talent spans across many genres, and he continues to explore new possibilities. Now the public will have an opportunity to see him perform with our Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the premier orchestras in the world.”

Sting and his band, accompanied by the Orchestra, includes Dominic Miller on guitar, David Sancious on piano, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, and Christian McBride on bass, performing notable songs from the Police repertoire and the singer's solo career.

Sting says he first became interested in classical music while it permeated his home as a child and has always carried that music with him throughout his enduring career.

“I grew up listening to classical music, and remember being under the piano while my mother played Beethoven sonatas in our house,” he said. “I always strive to challenge myself, and music allows me to constantly learn new things.”

For more information, call the Academy of Music Restoration Fund Office at (215) 893-1940.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ringo Starr Talks About Collaborating With Paul McCartney On 'Y Not'

With his new album Y Not due January 12th, Ringo Starr recently talked about one of the more anticipated tracks on the LP, a collaboration with his former Beatles band mate Paul McCartney called “Walk With Me.”

McCartney is featured on a couple tracks on Y Not, but “Walk With Me” finds Starr and McCartney sharing vocal duties on a Ringo album for the first time since 1998’s Vertical Man.

“He came over to play bass on another track called ‘Peace Dream,’ and the he heard ‘Walk With Me’ and said ‘I think I have something for this, gimme a pair of cans and I’ll be on the mic,’” Starr says. “And then he just did what he did and enhanced it 100 percent.”

“Walk With Me” was written by Starr and Van Dyke Parks. According to the drummer, the track wasn’t originally conceived as a potential duet with his former Beatles' mate.

Other artists that appear on Y Not include Ben Harper, Joss Stone, Richard Marx and Starr’s improbable brother-in-law, Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh.

Y Not also finds Starr serving as his own George Martin, as he also takes a seat in the producer’s chair for the new album.

The autobiographical “The Other Side of Liverpool” and opening track “Fill in the Blanks,” which features Walsh, will also appear on the album, Starr’s first since 2008’s Liverpool 8.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Couple Sues Gene Simmons Over Alleged Attack

A couple who said they were assaulted by Gene Simmons sued the KISS bassist for unspecified damages Thursday, December 24, court records show.

Nathan Marlowe and his wife Cynthia Manzo said Simmons attacked them, threatened them and took their video camera at the upscale The Grove mall after they started filming the rocker.

The couple's attorney, Matthew Nezhad, says a police report was filed. The couple sought a restraining order against Simmons on Wednesday, December 23, but that petition was denied.

Simmons has not been arrested and no charges have been filed.

According to the complaint and restraining order application, Marlowe asked Simmons for his view on monogamy, and Simmons responded by telling Marlowe to get his shot and leave. The filings state Simmons then lunged and attacked Marlowe, taking the video camera, then turned on Manzo when she tried to get the camera back.

A phone message seeking comment from Simmons' entertainment attorney was not immediately returned.

The couple are seeking damages of more than $25,000 for civil claims of assault, battery and infliction of emotional distress. The lawsuit was filed as a verified complaint, meaning Marlowe and Manzo signed it under penalty of perjury.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler Enters Rehab, Vows To Stay In Band

Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has entered a rehab facility to treat an addiction to prescription painkillers. “With the help of my family and team of medical professionals I am taking responsibility for the management of my pain and am eager to be back on the stage and in the recording studio with my bandmates Joe Perry, Joey Kramer, Tom Hamilton and Brad Whitford,” the singer said in a statement.

Tyler also addressed his bandmates’ recent allegations that he demanded a two-year break from the group: “I wish to set the record straight and say that I have read reports of a rumored two-year hiatus and want to be clear that this is completely false and I will enthusiastically be writing, recording and performing with Aerosmith as soon as things are handled.”

Tyler, 61, last entered rehab in May 2008 to deal with pain from foot surgery. Dr. Brian McKeon, a physician from the New England Baptist Hospital who has treated the frontman, said in a statement that Tyler’s addiction stems from difficulties with pain management.

“Over the past 10 years, Steven Tyler has suffered orthopedic injuries and has been in severe chronic pain which will require further surgeries on his knees and feet.

“Managing and controlling his pain has been challenging and despite our use of alternative therapies and the creation of custom shoes built by a team of engineers from Timberland, Steven’s pain has progressed.

"The balance between managing his pain and avoiding addiction is tenuous and difficult and his bravery in persevering through rigorous touring is admirable. As with many athletes, Steven put his performance first as he struggled with acute pain for years.”

Tyler’s daughter Liv also issued a statement expressing her support for her father. “He is a courageous man,” she said. “We love him and are so proud that he is getting help to balance his pain management, not just for himself but for his family, friends and fans.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Big Brother And The Holding Company Guitarist James Gurley Dies

On news of his former bandmate's passing, co-founder Sam Andrew wrote on Big Brother's official website, "For me and many people, James was the real 1960s, the real exemplar of that counterculture, the forerunner. Peter Albin, Chet Helms and I founded Big Brother and the Holding Company, but James was the spirit and the essence of the band in its early days. He showed us the way as a Zen master would show us the way, without sermons, without lectures, with as little talk but as much humor as possible."

Born in Detroit, Gurley picked up the guitar when he was 19. Inspired by the blues, he cited Lightnin' Hopkins as one of his early influences. At the age of 23, he moved to San Francisco to become a part of the city's folk scene and by the summer of 1965, he joined forces with Albin and Andrew.

In June of 1966, Joplin joined the group, which emerged from the same Bay Area scene that launched the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane and the Quicksilver Messenger Service. BBHC released its eponymous debut album to acclaim in the summer of 1967 and after its landmark performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, the disc had modest chart success.

A year later, the group -- by now signed to Columbia Records -- released the psychedelic rock classic 'Cheap Thrills,' which topped the album chart in October 1968. Despite the enormous hit, 'Piece of My Heart,' the band's days were numbered, with Joplin quitting the group for a solo career. While Big Brother reconvened in 1969, Janis proved irreplaceable and after two additional albums they gave up on the band in 1972.

In 1987, the group returned to the touring circuit, with Gurley retiring from the group in 1996. In 2000, he released a solo album 'Pipe Dreams.'

Monday, December 21, 2009

'Midnight Souvenirs,' New Album From Peter Wolf Set For April 2010

Midnight Souvenirs, Peter Wolf's seventh solo album, is a continuation of the singer-songwriter's distinctive and eclectic tales that brighten and interpret a world gone noir.

Following in the tracks of Wolf's Sleepless, which was honored by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the '500 greatest albums of all-time,' the new collection gives hope to the love-wounded and promises 'there's still time for the midnight wine," even if "sometimes you heal, sometimes you're scarred."

Featuring duets with country legend and national treasure Merle Haggard, the soulfully transcending and dynamic Grammy award winner Shelby Lynne and the haunting and majestic voice of Neko Case, Midnight Souvenirs integrates and embraces rock, R & B, blues, folk and country in a way that has distinguished Wolf's storied career.

Measurable are his decades as the leader and frenzied focal figure of the J. Geils Band, with whom he showcased his talents on such hits as "Centerfold," "Freeze Frame," "Love Stinks" and "Musta Got Lost."

Wolf's musical roots precede rock and roll, and are personally entwined with friendships and performers such as the late Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin and Van Morrison. His talents have continued into the music of tomorrow with tours and on-stage antics with the Rolling Stones, U2, Kid Rock, and Bruce Springsteen.

Midnight Souvenirs was packed fair and square in the studio by Wolf and Kenny White, who also co-produced Sleepless and 1998's Fools Parade.The 14 songs on the album range from the country blues of "Tragedy" with Shelby Lynne and the hard-rockin' "The Night Comes Down," dedicated to the late Willy DeVille, to the bittersweet texture of "It's Too Late For Me" with Merle Haggard, and the punchline impact of vintage Philly roots R & B on "Overnight Lows." Wolf and Neko Case deliver an eternal bouquet on "The Greenfields Of Summer."


The timelessness of Midnight Souvenirs spans decades and musical genres and travels into the after hours of silhouetted smoky clubs, as well as to the deep delta of America's South with its sounds of shake, rattle and roll.

"I never obsess about the commercial aspect of my music, just like with my artwork," says Wolf, also an accomplished painter whose art world connections have included Norman Rockwell, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol and Director David Lynch.

"What matters is if the painting is interesting to keep or show to somebody." It's the same with the songs; you hope people will make an emotional connection. I absorb the influences and reshape them," he says. "The act of creation is what gives meaning to my life and keeps me going--in music and in art."

That passion was evident, as Wolf pursued the project in studios from Boston to New York to Los Angeles. Night after night of midnight wine and of setting the scenes for the melodies of lost love, backroom laments and new expectations.

Paul McCartney Hints At London Residency

Paul McCartney has admitted he wants to play a residency in London.

The former Beatle is due to perform at London's 02 Arena on Tuesday, December 22, and has hinted at the idea of doing an extended run of shows at the venue.

"I quite fancy that," he said. "Last time I ever did that was when The Beatles used to do Christmas shows, and it was brilliant because you would be there for a week or two. It was fantastic, just dossing in your overcoat and everything."

McCartney also revealed he wanted to play more shows in the UK this year. "I came back from America and a lot of people said, 'Oh I hear you’ve been to America, are you doing any British dates?' I said, 'No', and they said, 'Oh why not?'.

"So I rung my promoter and said, 'Hey, can we do some English dates and can we play maybe Scotland?'

"He had a brilliant idea of the Union Jack Tour, it was going to be Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, but he couldn't get the availability at such short notice. The only thing he could really get firm was The O2, so he built a little European tour around it, and he got Dublin as well."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Eagles, Fleetwood Mac To Tour Together In 2010

Next summer will be a dream come true for soft rock fans, as the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac will hit the road together. Plans are under way for the two groups to do one-off shows in football and baseball stadiums, and multiple nights in arenas. If this happens, it will be the first time since July 1976 in Foxboro, Massachusetts, that the two bands shared a stage.

Stevie Nicks and Don Henley played a few shows together in 2005, the same year a tour between the two groups was first proposed. If this tour comes together, Stevie Nicks will be sharing the stage with four ex-boyfriends -- Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Don Henley and Joe Walsh.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Jimmy Page To Play 'Show Of Peace' Concert In China

An array of artists, including Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, will take part in the first annual Show Of Peace Concert, a globally televised event that will take place April 17 before an expected crowd of 100,000 at the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing, China.

More performers and other details will be announced at a January 13 press conference in Beijing. The concert's official web site lists nearly five dozen target artists to be invited, including Prince, Green Day, Beyonce, Coldplay, Black Eyed Peas, Kenny Chesney, Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake and many others.

The concert, which marks the 30th anniversary of the cultural exchange agreement between the United States and China, is billed in a statement as "a 'peace is green' awareness campaign designed to not only promote peace with each other but to promote peace with our planet." It's the brainchild of television and music producer Rick Garson, whose Las Vegas-based ZZYX Entertainment company is producing the show. Garson's co-producers include Live 8 and Live Earth principal Greg Sills and artists manager Trudy Green (Michael and Janet Jackson, Mick Jagger, Aerosmith).

Other organizations involved in the concert include the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy, the United Nations' Pathways of Peace and the Captain Planet Foundation."

Garson is establishing the A Show Of Peace Foundation, whose board of directors will include environmental and peace-building experts. The foundation will distribute funds raised from the concert and other activities to organizations and initiatives. In a statement Garson said that "the passion and attitude of the Chinese people and the potential of this country made me realize that this was the right place to stage an event, as we watch the transformation of Red China to 'Green' China right before our eyes."

The concert's web site, showofpeace.com, will carry regular updates about the event.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

John Frusciante Quits Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante has confirmed that he has “quit” the band, writing in a MySpace blog post, “To put it simply, my musical interests have led me in a different direction.”

The Peppers are reportedly working on their follow-up to 2006’s Stadium Arcadium, and rumors began circulating recently that Frusciante had permanently left RHCP and was replaced by guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who along with Frusciante, toured with the band in 2007 and also appeared on Frusciante’s 2009 solo album The Empyrean.

Until now, representatives for the RHCPs would not confirm the news of Frusciante’s departure. Frusciante clarifies in his MySpace post that he actually left the band over a year ago when they were on indefinite hiatus.

“I really love the band and what we did,” Frusciante writes, adding that there was no drama or anger involved in his decision to leave. “Over the last 12 years, I have changed, as a person and artist, to such a degree that to do further work along the lines I did with the band would be to go against my own nature. There was no choice involved in this decision. I simply have to be what I am, and have to do what I must do.”

Frusciante’s statement ends his second stint with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. After appearing on 1989’s Mother’s Milk and 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Frusciante left the Peppers in 1992.

Following RHCP’s brief Dave Navarro era, Frusciante rejoined the band for their three most recent albums: Californication, By The Way and Stadium Arcadium.

In September, the band was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but as it has already been revealed, the group will not be a part of the Hall’s class of 2010.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Second Installment Of Todd Rundgren Biography Published

After a seven year gap, much to the anticipation of Todd Rundgren fans worldwide, A Dream Goes On Forever - The Continuing Story of Todd Rundgren Vol. 2 has been published by Golden Treasures Publishing.

There is no more consummate musician than Todd Rundgren. There is no more complete collected account of his sonic accomplishments than on A Dream Goes on Forever. This second volume of the biographic series tracks Rundgren's history, from the triumphant mid 70s atop the golden pyramid to the challenging mid 80s when he faced the demise of Utopia.

Follow the album-by-album coverage from Rundgren's landmark 1977 production of Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell through to the persistence of vision that allowed him to continue creating music after the end of his video studio, record label and band. From Utopia to Oblivion and beyond.

No account of Todd Rundgren's second decade of creativity would be complete without extensive coverage of his pioneering efforts in music video -- from his initial forays into live TV to the founding of his state-of-the-art, $2 million studio. Rundgren poured as much energy, money and talent into the advancement of music video as he did for his audio adventures. Relish the highs such as when "Time Heals" becomes the second video ever played on MTV, or Utopia presides over the channel's first birthday celebration with Nina Blackwood. Be there as Martha Quinn and Rundgren announce results of a Basement Tapes session, or when the band produces the award-winning videography for "Feets Don't Fail Me Now."

Despite it all, Rundgren continued to forge ahead, producing his own landmark solo albums along with pop gems like Skylarking by XTC and Forever Now by the Psychedelic Furs.

A Dream Goes On Forever - The Continuing Story of Todd Rundgren Vol. 2, featuring a foreword by Utopia member Kasim Sulton, is available through Amazon as well as directly through Golden Treasures Publishing.

For more information:
www.goldtrespub.gemm.com

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stooges, Genesis, ABBA Get Rock Hall Of Fame Nods

The Stooges, Genesis, ABBA, the Hollies and Jimmy Cliff will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the shrine's 25th annual ceremony on March 15 at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. They'll be joined by David Geffen and a cadre of songwriters -- Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry, Jesse Stone, Mort Shuman and Otis Blackwell -- who will receive the Ahmet Ertegun Award for non-performers.

The ceremony will be broadcast live on Fuse TV.

Surprisingly not making the cut were KISS and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who were thought to be frontrunners when the short list of nominees was announced in September.

Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks says that the induction is "nice to happen" and that it's an honor to be the second British progressive rock band, after Pink Floyd, to join the Hall. "I suppose it being American-based and all that it just concentrates slightly more on that type of music," he says.

Which members of Genesis might perform at the ceremony is somewhat up in the air due to Phil Collins' recent surgery to repair dislocated vertebrae. "Phil's got a few physical problems at the moment which means I don't think he'd be able to play, so...I don't really know what that means," Banks says. "We'll face that particular hurdle when we get to it."

Hollies veteran Graham Nash calls the group's induction "well-deserved," noting that "they were a very large part of the British Invasion. They were a very large part of early, you know, English rock. They had a couple of dozen Top 10 hits (in the U.K.), and hits over here (in the U.S.), and why not?"

His longtime colleague Stephen Stills was "so happy" for Nash and cracked that "now he can quit feeling inferior" because Stills and David Crosby have each been inducted into the Hall more than once. But, Stills adds, "I thought (the Hollies) was a great band, and we all wanted to sing like that. The fact I ended up with one of their singers is one of the luckiest things in my life."

ABBA is unlikely to regroup for a performance at the March ceremony, but the Stooges, in the wake of founding guitarist Ron Asheton's death in early January, have already been planning a 2010 tour with Raw Power era guitarist James Williamson. The group has been nominated for the Hall seven previous times.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Allman Brothers Museum Opens

When Kirk and Kirsten West decided to move out of their Vineville Avenue home in Macon, Georgia, the notion of turning it into a museum certainly wasn't on their radar.

Sure, thousands of visitors from places as far away as Germany, Italy, Japan and Australia had knocked on their door during the decade they had lived there, trying to get a glimpse of what was known as The Big House, where members of the Allman Brothers Band lived in the early 1970s.

It was only after Kirk West, the band's road manager, was meeting with an interested buyer for the property one night when the man suggested that West start a nonprofit foundation and turn The Big House into a museum.

That seed of an idea finally has become a reality, four decades after the band's founding.

After five years of fundraising and two years of renovations, the museum will open its doors on a limited basis for the rest of the year before a formal grand opening in early 2010.

"At times, I've tried to be practical about it, but seeing it come to fruition ..." said Kirsten West, her voice trailing off as she broke into a wide grin. "It's a tribute to the band, but equally it's a tribute to the fans who believed that we could do it."

Kirsten West, the foundation's managing director, said that to date, The Big House Foundation has taken in about $2.5 million in donations from all over the United States.

In addition, the museum also has received donated materials to refurbish the house and many hours of volunteer labor to renovate it.

"Probably 60 percent (of the renovation) has been donated labor and materials," said Greg Potter, president of the Georgia Allman Brothers Band Association, who also has donated his own time to help get the house in shape. "We had a roofer come in from New York, donated all the materials and put the roof in, and all it cost us was a weeks worth of hotel rooms."

In the early 1970s, when the band was getting its start in Macon, bassist Berry Oakley's wife Linda, whom everyone called "Big Linda," was searching for a more permanent home and happened upon the Tudor-styled house by way of a newspaper ad.

Though the house was more expensive than the Oakleys would have liked, Big Linda fell in love with the place, and they moved in with Duane Allman and his family.

The house became the band's unofficial headquarters, a place to hang out, to party and to play music.

During a recent visit, E.J. Devokaitis, the museum's co-curator, pointed to a window in what used to be the living room.

"That's where (former guitarist) Dickey Betts wrote 'Blue Sky'," he said. "The line in the song, 'Good old Sunday morning, bells are ringing everywhere.' That was from that church across the street. It's still there."

There are dozens of little nuggets like that as a visitor moves through each room of the house.

That living room now serves as home for various posters, gold records and a huge Steve Penley portrait of Duane. The other side of the front of the house the rooms where the band often practiced is home to various photos and awards the band won.

An interior room contains a wide range of memorabilia, including instruments from several band members Oakley's Hummingbird acoustic guitar, Gregg Allman's Hammond B-3 electric organ, a prototype for Duane's signature Gibson guitar, a drum kit from Butch Trucks as well as cases full of handwritten song lyrics, concert tickets, contracts, checks and more. In one corner, there's a life-size portrait of the band during a rehearsal for 1971's famed "Fillmore East" concert.

In an interior hallway, there's an exhibit for the band Govt. Mule, which also had its origins at The Big House and whose members Warren Haynes and the late Allen Woody were later guitarist and bassist, respectively, for the Allman Brothers Band.

On the second floor, where the bedrooms were located, the bedroom of Candace Oakley Berry's sister is a display room for more artwork. Big Linda is redecorating what was Duane's bedroom to show what it looked like when the band lived in the house.

One of the most interesting rooms on that floor is a tiny room that Duane used as a nursery for his daughter, Galadrielle. The room has been soundproofed and will serve a place where fans can listen to Allman Brothers Band music. In addition, the room will eventually be equipped with a video camera so that fans can share their own memories of the band, Kirk West said. Those recollections will be compiled and become part of the museum's permanent collection.

The top floor, which served as a recreation room for the band, will be used for educational purposes and meetings, Kirsten West said. Some of the band members want to volunteer their time in the future to teach music to young children, she said. The room also can be rented out for corporate meetings.

To the casual observer, it seems like a lot of memorabilia is being packed into the house. Devokaitis said that what's being displayed, however, represents perhaps 10 percent of the museums entire collection. And that doesn't even include other memorabilia that fans and relatives of band members have loaned to the museum to display each with its own story.

One of the most interesting items is an amplifier owned by Ron Blair, the bassist for the band Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Blair's sister Jan used to be married to Gregg Allman, who gave Blair an amp that belonged to Duane.

"It's a piece of equipment that's been used by two bands that are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," Devokaitis said.

The house also contains original stained-glass windows donated by Forsyth artist Celia Henigman, which go with the house's original stained-glass windows.

On the outside there's a koi pond, a catering kitchen and a small pavilion that can be used for live music.

Kirk West said the museum will be open weekends for the rest of 2009. Kirsten West said the museum also is available for rent and said two weddings and a rehearsal dinner have already been booked there.

The Wests say they are expecting a good opening crowd, including an invitation-only party for major donors.

Opening weekend also coincides with the Fly South music festival Saturday, which is headlined by Allman Brothers Band guitarist Derek Trucks and his band.

But for die-hard fans such as Potter, the highlight of the weekend will be the finished museum itself.

"It's going to be great," said Potter, who has been a fan of the band since 1971. "The band has helped so many people through their problems. Their music uplifts you. (With the museum), you can see what it means to you. It's amazing."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Eric Clapton, Roger Daltrey Team Up For Early 2010 Tour

On the heels of two major U.S. Grammy nominations for his CD release with Steve Winwood last year, Eric Clapton has announced a series of North American solo shows for 2010.

The tour will begin on February 25 in Pittsburgh, PA and will travel to 11 U.S. cities and feature a very special guest, Roger Daltrey, to kick off the show.

In recent years, Clapton has done some of his most innovative and collaborative work, pairing with iconic artists such as Steve Winwood, Jeff Beck and JJ Cale for concert and CD projects.

Recent concert set lists have seen a variety of Clapton music featuring some of his biggest solo hits alongside classic Derek and The Dominos and Blind Faith songs. The band will consist of Steve Gadd on drums, Willie Weeks on bass, Chris Stainton and Walt Richmond on keyboards, and Michelle John and Sharon White as backing vocalists.

02/25 - Pittsburgh, PA (Mellon Arena)
02/27 - Nashville, TN (Sommett Center)
02/28 - Birmingham, AL (Birmingham Jefferson)
03/02 - Tulsa, OK (BOK)
03/03 - Kansas City, MO (Sprint Center)
03/05 - Memphis, TN (FedEx Forum)
03/06 - New Orleans, LA (New Orleans Arena)
03/08 - Raleigh, NC (RBC Center)
03/09 - Atlanta, GA (Gwinnett Cente0r)
03/11 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL (Bank Atlantic Center)
03/13 - Orlando, FL (Amway Arena)

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Show, Exhibits To Mark Elvis Presley's 75th birthday

Elvis Presley's legacy will be marked in force next year in a 75th anniversary birthday celebration featuring a new Cirque du Soleil production, movie marathons, a Facebook application and a cruise.

Elvis Presley Enterprises on Thursday (December 10) rolled out a year of events to mark what would have been the singer's 75th birthday on January 8, including a cake-cutting ceremony at his Graceland home in Memphis with wife Priscilla and daughter Lisa Marie.

Celebrations during the year include a special exhibit at Graceland of Elvis costumes, an all-day marathon on TV channel TCM of Elvis movies on January 8, an exhibit of Presley's impact on pop culture at the Newseum in Washington D.C., and a new Jailhouse Rock doll from the Barbie collection.

Canadian circus group Cirque du Soleil will unveil its own tribute to the life and music of the King of Rock and Roll with its new show Viva ELVIS in Las Vegas, which premieres at the end of January.

Presley died on August 16, 1977, at the age of 42 of heart problems and a cocktail of prescription drugs. He is still one of the top earning dead celebrities, bringing in $55 million in 2009, according to Forbes.com.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Elvis Costello's Live Series Continues With 'Hollywood High'

Elvis Costello's second release in his "The Costello Show" live performance series will be Live At Hollywood High, a complete 20-song concert recording from June 1978. The album, which includes 11 previously unreleased tracks performed by Costello and his band the Attractions, is due out January 12, 2010 on Hip-O/Universal.

The concert was produced by Nick Lowe, and features songs from three Costello classics: My Aim is True, This Year's Model and Armed Forces, an album Costello would enter the studio and record three months after this show. Previously unreleased tracks on "Hollywood High" include live versions of "Lip Service," "The Beat," "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes," "(I Don't Wanna Go To) Chelsea," "This Year's Girl," "No Action," "Radio, Radio" and "Pump It Up."

The first release in "The Costello Show" series was Live At The El Mocambo, a heavily bootlegged concert from March 1978 in Toronto, came out in September. Future releases in the series ill include, among others, concerts performed at the Royal Albert Hall and Royalty Theater in London.

Costello's acclaimed television series, Spectacle: Elvis Costello with... blends music and interviews with superstars and up-and-comers. A DVD of the first season was released November 17, and the second season premiered December 9 on the Sundance Channel with an episode featuring U2's Bono and The Edge.

Other confirmed guests for the season include Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, John Prine, Ron Sexsmith, Neko Case, Jesse Winchester, Ray LaMontagne, Nick Lowe, Levon Helm, Richard Thompson and Allen Toussaint.

"I didn't really have a model for the show in my head," Costello said earlier this month about how he envisioned the show. "I just wanted to pull together all the things that interested me. I see myself as being like a carnival barker or the MC of a big package show."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

John Lennon's Death Still Resonates 29 Years Later

Today (December 9) is the 29th anniversary of the murder of rock legend John Lennon, who was killed outside his apartment building just before 11 p.m. via five gun shots. The killer, Mark David Chapman, had been stalking Lennon for months and even had contact with him earlier in the day (Lennon signed a copy of Double Fantasy for the guy who would take his life only hours later).

Chapman's motives remain unclear to this day (the film Chapter 27, starring 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto as Chapman, didn't offer many suggestions), but he remains incarcerated in a state prison in New York and has been denied parole five times, often because of campaigns lead by Lennon's widow Yoko Ono.

Lennon's legacy is, of course, iron-clad. Often thought of as the brain of the Beatles (with Paul McCartney as the heart, George Harrison as the soul and Ringo Starr as the timekeeper), Lennon created some of the most timeless rock songs in the history of the genre, and his influence gets renewed with every generation of future musicians.

It's been a big year for Lennon's songs, as they were featured on the extremely well-received video game The Beatles: Rock Band and the complete Beatles catalog was remastered, both in stereo and mono, and released to high acclaim and massive sales. Lennon's solo albums like Imagine and Mind Games have also been reissued.

As usual, the "what if he had lived" scenarios come to mind, but the most important thing to consider about John Lennon is not so much that on this day, 29 years ago, his life came to a tragic, abrupt end -- but that when he was here, he gave his all, he conquered what he set out conquer, leaving an indelible legacy that will live on in our hearts and minds forever. God bless John Lennon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

ZZ Top And ELP Set For High Voltage Festival 2010

Rock legends ZZ Top and Emerson, Lake and Palmer have been confirmed to top the bill at a new London festival, High Voltage, in July 2010.

The festival, which promises to combine the very best in classic rock, progressive rock and metal as chosen by Classic Rock magazine, will see ZZ Top head Saturday night’s bill, while Emerson, Lake and Palmer are set to perform on Sunday.

Celebrating their 40th year as rock’s bearded trio, 2010 will be the first time ZZ Top has headlined an English festival for 25 years.

High Voltage Festival will be Emerson, Lake and Palmer's only live performance of 2010 and possibly their final performance ever for the trio who have sold over 30 million albums worldwide.

Classic Rock Editor-in-Chief Scott Rowley claimed: “High Voltage is the festival all true rock fans have been waiting for – custom built by rock fans. The High Voltage team has been to every rock festival imaginable – we’re taking what we’ve learnt to build a festival unlike any other.

“The facilities will be second to none: great food, proper beer, clean toilets, deluxe hospitality packages, designated hotels, free shuttle transport. This is somewhere you take the whole family.”

Early Bird tickets for High Voltage festival are on sale now here priced at £120 for weekend tickets and £65 for day tickets and includes a free festival laminate as well as the ability to fast track queues on the day. Prices are set to increase on January 1.

High Voltage Festival will take place July 24-25 in London’s Victoria Park.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pearl Jam Unveils 2010 European Tour Plans

Pearl Jam will return to Europe next summer for a series of headlining and festival appearances, beginning June 22 in Dublin. The group has announced seven dates so far, with four more shows to be revealed at a later date.

In addition to Dublin, Pearl Jam will visit Belfast, Ireland; London; Berlin; Arras, France; Werchter, Belgium; and Oeiras, Portugal. Support acts have yet to be announced.

Pearl Jam will be touring in support of its new self-released album, Backspacer, which debuted at November 1 on the Billboard 200. The second single from the project, "Just Breathe," jumped 20-18 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart.

Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder made a surprise appearance Sunday (December 6) night at the Kennedy Center Honors, paying tribute to Bruce Springsteen.

Pearl Jam's 2010 European tour dates:

June 22: Dublin (02 Arena)
June 23: Belfast, Ireland (Odyssey Arena)
June 25: London (Hard Rock Calling Hyde Park)
June 27: TBD
June 30: Berlin (Wuhlheide)
July 1: TBD
July 3: Arras, France (Main Square Festival)
July 4: Werchter, Belgium (Rock Werchter Festival)
July 6: TBD
July 9: TBD
July 10: Oeiras, Portugal (Optimus Alive Festival)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bruce Springsteen Among Kennedy Honorees

Bruce Springsteen, Robert De Niro and comic genius Mel Brooks are in Washington to receive the Kennedy Center Honors, along with jazz composer Dave Brubeck and opera singer Grace Bumbry.

A surprise list of top performers will honor the group Sunday (December 6) night in a show attended by President Barack Obama.

The honors recognize individuals who helped define American culture through the arts, part of a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy.

Some big names are in D.C. for the event. They gathered Saturday night for a dinner hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Guests included Matthew Morrison from the hit TV show “Glee,” Meryl Streep, Martin Scorsese and Jon Stewart.

Journalist Barbara Walters turned heads, arriving as actor Frank Langella’s date.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Alan Parsons Project's Eric Woolfson Dies

An agent says Eric Woolfson, co-founder of the 1970s British progressive rock group Alan Parsons Project, known for the hits "Eye in the Sky" and "Don't Answer Me," has died of cancer. He was 64.

Gallissas Theaterverlag, a company that represented Woolfson in Germany, said the musician died this week in London. Woolfson's Web site said he died early Wednesday (December 2).

Woolfson was born March 18, 1945, in Glasgow, Scotland. Together with Alan Parsons he founded the group, whose music was popular in the U.S. and Germany.

Woolfson's accomplishments went well beyond his work with APP. He was a prolific composer, talented pianist, and accomplished producer. After his partnership with Parsons (1975-1990) ended, Woolfson became heavily involved in composing musical theater. Earlier this year, he released The Alan Parsons Project That Never Was, on which he sang songs he had written for APP which were never released.

Vintage Rock interviewed with Woolfson earlier this year. The interview can be viewed here.

NYC Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Annex To Close

Just one year after opening, the New York City annex to Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will close its doors on January 3, according to one of the corporate partners in the venture. S2BN Entertainment announced the closure in a statement.

"There is no doubt the economy factored into our leaving, but overall we had a good year," said Caren Bell, spokeswoman for the 25,000 square foot annex in Manhattan's Soho district.

The offshoot to the main museum in Ohio opened to fanfare in November 2008 with Mayor Michael Bloomberg hailing it as another cultural destination for the roughly 46 million visitors to New York City every year.

The annex housed hundreds of artifacts, from Bruce Springsteen's 1957 Chevrolet to the wooden phone box from CBGB, the popular music venue that launched New York's punk scene in the 1970s and established the careers of bands such as The Ramones, Talking Heads and Blondie.

The annex is reviewing opportunities to take some of the artifacts on tour, according to Bell.

The Cleveland Hall of Fame opened in September 1995 with an initial project cost of $92 million for land acquisition, construction costs, fees and equipment.

The nonprofit museum was built through a public-private partnership with the state of Ohio, the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and Cleveland area and music industry corporations and foundations.

The Cleveland museum generates more than $5 million in revenue annually for the state and local government and employs 936 people. Every year, it adds $100 million to Cleveland's economy, a museum spokeswoman said by email.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Here, There and Everywhere: Chapter One Is Live At TheBeatles.com

Chapter One of the The Beatles: Here, There and Everywhere radio series features exclusive new interviews with Brian Wilson, Tom Petty, director Cameron Crowe, Ann and Nancy Wilson (Heart), Dave Grohl, Mark Ronson and Slash, as they reveal the influence of The Beatles on their careers. The program is being streamed at thebeatles.com.

Written and produced by Kevin Howlett and presented by Paul Gambaccini, each of the three 48-minute installments of The Beatles: Here, There And Everywhere take a different thematic approach. The next two chapters of the series wuill be uploaded to the Beatles web site over the next two weeks. Here's the break-down:

Part One: Meet The Beatles!

The interviewees recorded exclusively for this series reveal the impact made upon them by The Beatles’ records from throughout their career. We hear Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, Tom Petty, film director Cameron Crowe and Ann & Nancy Wilson (of Heart) talking about their first-hand experience of The Beatles’ phenomenal 1964 breakthrough in the United States. Dave Grohl, Mark Ronson and Slash discuss the enduring influence of albums such as Rubber Soul, Revolver and Abbey Road.

Part Two: Ask Me Why

The interviewees focus on the various elements within the group that combined to make The Beatles so musically powerful: their strengths as performers - both instrumentally and vocally - plus the brilliance of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison as songwriters.

Part Three: The Beatles On The Record

We hear how The Beatles’ music was captured on record with the help of innovative arrangements and adventurous production by George Martin. Some of today’s leading record producers - Peter Asher, Joe Boyd, T-Bone Burnett, Jeff Lynne, Mark Ronson and Rick Rubin - marvel at the dazzling creativity evident in recordings made more than 40 years ago.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rolling Stone Ron Wood Arrested In England

Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones was released on bail Thursday (December 3) after being arrested for possible domestic assault.

Wood, known for his stinging guitar riffs and raucous private life, was picked up by police Wednesday (December 2) evening near his home in Esher in southern England.

"I can confirm that there was an incident last night and that Ronnie Wood was arrested," said David Rigg, Wood's spokesman.

The arrest comes on the heels of Wood's highly publicized divorce last month. His marriage collapsed after he started dating a young Russian woman.

Police in Surrey, England, released few details about the incident, which is still under investigation. Police would not say who made the assault complaint against Wood.

Asked about Wood, police said only that a 62-year-old man from the town of Esher had been taken into custody Wednesday night on suspicion of assault in connection with a domestic incident on Claygate High Street.

Claygate High Street is a popular commercial street near Esher, an affluent town 17 miles southwest of London that was also the home of George Harrison of the Beatles.

Locals were trying to find out what happened with Wood, one of several famous rockers from the 1960s who live in the area. Teresa Asoli, owner of the Il Corallo restaurant, said few of the facts have come out.

"Some people came around and wanted to know what we saw," she said. "But I wasn't here when it happened so I didn't see anything."

Wood spent Wednesday night in police custody before being released on bail to face further inquiries in January.

Wood's private life has been in turmoil for more than an a year since he started a high profile relationship with Russian Ekaterina Ivanova, a 20-year-old cocktail waitress.

That relationship led to his divorce last month by Jo Wood, his wife of 24 years, on the grounds of adultery. Wood and his ex-wife have two children together.

Wood has long been a guitar stalwart of the Rolling Stones, one of the world's longest-running and most popular rock bands. He joined the band in 1975 and has spent more than three decades touring the world with the band, one of the most successful live acts in history.

According to Forbes, the band recently earned about $88 million in one 12-month stretch.

In recent years he has also found some success as an artist, selling his paintings in numerous galleries.

His romantic troubles have provided ample fodder for Britain's tabloids, who have shown repeated photographs of the craggy, aging rocker cavorting with his young Russian paramour.

He also was treated for alcoholism in 2008.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Neil Young Tribute Set For Winter Olympics

Members of Broken Social Scene, Iron & Wine, Sun Kil Moon, Ron Sexsmith and Joan As Police Woman are among the artists confirmed to appear at a concert celebrating the music of Neil Young as part of the upcoming Vancouver Winter Olympics.

The event will be held February 18 at the city's Queen Elizabeth Theatre and will be produced by Hal Willner, a veteran organizer of multi-artist of tribute shows. The concert will dig "deep into Young's massive catalog to illuminate hits and obscurities alike with magical pairings of song and singer," according to planners.

A host of other notable concerts are on tap in conjunction with the Olympics, including Phoenix on January 22, Steve Earle on January 23, Stars on February 19 and Martha Wainwright on March 18.

For a complete list of Winter Olympics cultural events, visit vancouver2010.com.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

BBC Unearths Vintage Footage Of Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd’s 'Top Of The Pops' performance of their hit 'See Emily Play' on the BBC1 show – something of a holy grail for music fans – has been unearthed after more than 40 years.

The damaged, almost unwatchable, footage has now been partially restored and is to be screened publicly for the first time since its 1967 broadcast at an event next year.

Storage issues meant that BBC bosses routinely dumped tapes of the broadcasts because they were cumbersome and costly, if they were recorded at all.

It means little remains of the 1960s 'TOTP' performances of many of the greatest names in rock, despite regular amnesties for tapes removed from the vaults and pleas for copies from private collections.

But now the Floyd performance has turned up on a one-inch, reel-to-reel tape which has been handed in to the British Film Institute. It will be shown at the BFI’s annual screening of rare footage, Missing Believed Wiped.

The vintage, primitive recording – said to come from an unidentified musician's collection – features two editions of the show from July 6 and 27, 1967.

Hosted by the late DJ Alan Freeman, they feature Floyd’s performance with then frontman Syd Barrett, who left the band the following year and died in 2006.

But the poor vintage recording made it impossible for it to be screened on today’s more technologically advanced TV screens because of the picture resolution.

Experts at the BFI have now enhanced the quality for the screening at London’s Southbank on January 9.

Dick Fiddy of the BFI was quoted as saying: “We gave the tape to the archive boffins. It was in a dreadful condition, with the oxide falling off. The best possible picture quality was recovered.”

Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck Reveal Tour Plans

Reprising their live collaboration in Tokyo earlier this year, guitar legends Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck have revealed three additional concert dates for February 2010 in North America.

The artists will perform together February 18 at New York's Madison Square Garden, Febraury 21 at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, and February 22 at Montreal's Bell Centre. The new shows join a previously announced February 13-14 engagement at London's 02 Arena.

Tickets for the Toronto show go on sale Friday (December 4), with Montreal tickets on sale the following day. New York tickets will be available December 12.

Clapton and Beck have known each other since the early 60s, and both went on to play guitar in the Yardbirds before embarking on successful solo careers. But they had rarely played together on stage until the Tokyo concert. "We had such a fun time in Japan that it seemed natural to play together again," Clapton says.

Specific details about the upcoming shows have not been announced, but each artist is expected to play a set with his own band before teaming up for a collaborative finale set. In Tokyo earlier this year, that portion of the show featured songs such as "Outside Woman Blues," "Brown Bird," "Wee Baby" and "Want To Take You Higher."

Beck recently filled in for an ill Clapton at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary concerts in New York, jamming with everyone from Stevie Wonder and Sting to Buddy Guy and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. Beck is also in the studio working on his next album, a release date for which has yet to be revealed.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Springsteen and E Street Band Wrap Tour In Buffalo

Early on in Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s final gig at the HSBC Arena
in Buffalo, New York, just before the Thanksgiving break, the Boss began telling a familiar story: a night in Asbury Park, New Jersey, circa 1971, when a gigantic saxophone player walked into a club and asked to sit in with the band.

“We got into a Cadillac at the end of the night and drove out to the outskirts of town,” Springsteen said as he called Clarence Clemons to the center of the stage to thunderous applause. “We got very sleepy and we fell into this long, long, long, long, long dream. And when we woke up, we were in fuckin’ Buffalo, New York!”

Coming into the show, many hardcore fans — who traveled to Buffalo from across the world like it was a pilgrimage to Mecca — worried that after this show the 38-year dream of the E Street Band might be over. During a marathon, three-and-a-half-hour, thirty-four-song concert Springsteen seemed determined to quell those fears by playing a ferocious set that proved the remarkable strength and vitality of the band as they approach their fourth decade.

“The E Street Band has come thousands of miles tonight to be here one last time — for a little while,” Springsteen told the crowd, emphasizing the world little. “It’s been just about the best time in our band’s work life. We want to thank you for supporting our old music, our new music, our tour.”

It was the old music that formed the core of the show, particularly the first-ever live performance of Springsteen’s 1973 debut album Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ. He dedicated it to John Hammond, the Columbia executive and producer who signed them to the label.

“This was the miracle,” he said, “This was the record that took everything from way below zero to… one.”

He was being modest. While the LP lacks the cohesiveness and raw emotion of The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle and the epic grandeur of Born To Run , it remains a tremendously solid, fun debut that fully warranted all the hype it received at the time of its release.

Shortly afterwards Springsteen dipped into deeper into the archives by busting out The River outtake “Restless Night.” Steve Van Zandt has long hailed it as a lost masterpiece that deserved a spot on the double album.

“For years he’s been asking to play this one song,” said Springsteen. “This is Stevie’s very favorite song of all time, it’s very obscure, it’s on the Tracks record. We’re gonna do this for his birthday tonight.”

Though bits of it seemed out of his range, it still sounded great and Steve grinned the entire time. Said Springsteen at the end: “Dammit, he might have been right all these years!”

The request portion of the show brought out a back-to-back Christmas shot of “Merry Christmas Baby” and the inevitable “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.” Afterward, he challenged the band with a fun and highly appropriate cover of Chuck Willis’ “(I Don’t Wanna) Hang Up my Rock and Roll Shoes.”

After some brief discussion about what key it was on, the band plowed forward even though it was clear not all of them knew it — though with a band that big it usually doesn’t matter. The main set wrapped up with “Born To Run” and “10th Avenue Freezeout.”

The encore began with the rarely played Magic track “I’ll Work For Your Love,” which was clearly aimed at Springsteen’s fans.

The previous two E Street Band tours ended with solemn performances of “Blood Brothers,” with tears running down the faces of many in the band. Many expected a repeat performance, but Springsteen wisely decided to not go out on a bummer and opted for John Fogerty’s “Rockin’ All Over the World.”

As the entire band locked hands at the end, Springsteen addressed the crowd: “We appreciate you coming out to see the E Street Band. So we’re gonna say goodbye, but just for a little while… a very little while.”

Saturday, November 28, 2009

HBO To Air Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Concert

About 100 songs were performed at the two Madison Square Garden concerts celebrating the 25th anniversary of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in October. But there was room for only about half of them on the four-hour HBO special set to debut Sunday, November 29, at 8 p.m. The special will be rebroadcast throughout December.

Highlights will include:

  • Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s renditions of “Fortunate Son”/“Oh, Pretty Woman” (with John Fogerty) and “New York State of Mind”/“Born to Run” (with Billy Joel)

  • U2’s performance of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (with Springsteen) and “Gimme Shelter” (with Mick Jagger and Fergie)

  • Stevie Wonder’s take on “For Once in My Life” and “The Tracks of My Tears” (with Smokey Robinson)

  • Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Woodstock,” “Almost Cut My Hair,” and “Love Has No Pride” (with Bonnie Raitt)

  • Paul Simon’s version of “Here Comes the Sun” (with David Crosby and Graham Nash)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dylan Brings Christmas Cheer To The Homeless

Singer Bob Dylan recently reminisced about Christmas past, turkey dinners and his favorite holiday songs in a rare interview in a magazine for homeless people.

The 68-year-old singer has baffled fans and critics with his new album Christmas In The Heart, a collection of carols and traditional yuletide songs delivered in his croaking voice.

All proceeds will go to charities for the homeless and hungry in the United States, Britain and 80 poor countries.

Asked why he picked those organizations, Dylan told the interviewer: "They get food straight to the people. No military organization, no bureaucracy, no governments to deal with."

The exclusive interview appeared in The Big Issue magazine in Britain and similar street papers in North America.

Dylan said that although he's Jewish, he never felt left out of Christmas as a boy growing up in Minnesota. He recalled that there was "plenty of snow, jingle bells, Christmas carolers going from house to house, sleighs in the streets, town bells ringing, nativity plays."

His idea of a good Christmas dinner was roast turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy, collard greens and all the trimmings.

The songs on the Christmas album were "part of my life, just like folk songs," he said.

Why does Christmas have the best songs? "Maybe because it's so worldwide and everybody can relate to it in their own way."

The release of the Christmas album has only added to the enigma of Dylan and caps an eventful year for him.

He played more than 100 shows in Europe and North America as part of his Never Ending Tour and topped the charts in Britain and the United States with his album Together Through Life.

He was also detained by police in New Jersey in July when homeowners spotted a hooded man wandering around their street in the rain. The young police officer failed to recognize the Oscar- and Grammy-winning songwriter.

The Christmas album has also renewed speculation among Bob-watchers about his current faith, if any. He was a Born Again Christian from 1979-81 and released three religious-themed albums.

He cryptically told the interviewer: "I am a true believer" but did not elaborate further.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Batch of 25 Recordings Added To Grammy Hall Of Fame

The Recording Academy on Tuesday added songs by James Brown, Bob Marley, the Beach Boys, Louis Armstrong and others to its Grammy Hall of Fame, bringing the total number of titles in the collection to 851.

The latest batch of 25 recordings added to the list includes Brown's 1966 "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" and Marley's 1973 album Catch A Fire, which the Jamaican reggae great recorded with his band The Wailers, the academy said.

Also on the list was the Beach Boys' 1965 song "California Girls," jazz master Louis Armstrong's 1931 "Lazy River" and the 1972 comedy album Class Clown from George Carlin, who died last year.

The 25 recordings added to the Grammy Hall of Fame will be displayed along with the rest of the collection at the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles. A full list of the recordings can be viewed at >http://www.grammy.com/Recording_Academy/Awards/Hall_Of_Fame.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ABBA Tops UK Poll Of Band People Want To Reform

The British public would like to see Swedish band ABBA reform more than any other act, according to a survey.

PRS for Music, the organization that collects royalties on behalf of composers and songwriters, said that one quarter of the 1,500 people surveyed favored an ABBA reunion.

In second place was home act Police followed by Pink Floyd and The Smiths in equal third.

ABBA, made up of Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Agnetha Faltskog, performed in public for the last time in 1982.

Following is a list of the top 10 bands the British public would most like to see back in action (based on percentage):

ABBA (25)
The Police (13)
Pink Floyd (11)
The Smiths (11)
Oasis (10)
The Jam (9)
Dire Straits (8)
The Clash (6)
Spice Girls (4)
Sex Pistols (3)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bob Dylan Interview To be Syndicated Worldwide

Bob Dylan’s only interview in conjunction with the release of his Christmas In The Heart album will be syndicated worldwide through the International Network Of Street Papers (INSP) beginning today, November 22.

Completed earlier this month with noted journalist Bill Flanagan, the wide-ranging interview includes Dylan’s thoughts on all things Christmas, including his favorite holiday songs, special presents, the making of his new album, Pretty Boy Floyd and Babe Ruth.

As announced earlier, all of Bob Dylan’s royalties from sales Christmas In The Heart will be donated to Feeding America in the United States, Crisis in the United Kingdom, and the World Food Programme in 80 developing nations around the world.

Dylan’s initial contributions will provide more than four million meals to more than 1.4 million people in the United States, 15,000 meals to homeless people in the United Kingdom during the eight days of Christmas (December 23 - January 1) and 500,000 meals to school children in the developing world during the holiday season.

Christmas In The Heart is the 47th album from Bob Dylan, and follows Together Through Life, released earlier this year.

The first video from Christmas In The Heart, for “Must Be Santa,” has just been released and is available for viewing on http://bobdylan.com.

U2 To Headline Glastonbury Fest

U2 has been confirmed as a headline act for the U.K.'s Glastonbury Festival in 2010.
The Irish band will make their first appearance at the festival in Somerset next year, which also marks 40 years since the first Glastonbury Festival.

U2 headlines the first day of the event on June 25, 2010. The band will break from its North American tour to play the U.K. festival, which has a total capacity of 177,500.

"I promised the best possible line-up for the show next year and the confirmation that U2 will play their first ever Glastonbury - and their first major festival gig since the early 1980s - is fantastic news," said festival organizer Michael Eavis in a statement. "We've been trying for years... And now we've finally made it happen. I'm sure they will pull out all the stops to make next year's Glastonbury the most memorable ever."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sting's 'Winter's Night' Inspired By Magical Tales

Sting's If On A Winter's Night... may feature holiday-inspired songs, but don't call it a Christmas album. "The whole season is much broader than that," he says. "Winter is about inspiration and imagination."

While culling source material for "Winter's Night" -- which debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and has sold 139,000 copies since its October 26 release, according to Nielsen SoundScan -- Sting found inspiration in everything from a 14th-century carol ("Gabriel's Message") to traditional lullabies and poems.

He also collaborated with a host of musicians from the British Isles and performed with the ensemble at England's Durham Cathedral in a concert that will be broadcast Thanksgiving night on PBS' "Great Performances" and released November 23 on DVD.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Aerosmith Members Concerned Singer Back On Drugs

Steven, we love you. But you need to get sober, and we need to find a new singer.
That appears to be the consensus among Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler's bandmates, who are dropping loud hints that he is back on drugs.

The allegations, most recently from rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford and drummer Joey Kramer, ratchet up the unusually public feud crippling one of America's most successful rock 'n' roll bands.

Tensions have been simmering for some time, exacerbated by a troubled summer tour that was canceled in August when the 61-year-old Tyler fell off the stage and broke his shoulder.

The final straw came earlier this month, when Tyler's personal managers informed the rest of the band that he wants to take two years off to pursue various solo endeavors.

That did not sit well with the band mates, who want to keep on touring and recording.

Perry, 59, has been especially vocal, both in interviews and on Twitter, about his differences with Tyler. He and his cohorts say Tyler has stopped communicating with them and they have decided to find a new frontman and continue without him.

They also worry about Tyler's state of mind.

"I suspect there's a lot more going on than we know about," Whitford, 57, said. "He has a well-documented history of drug abuse, and I find myself very suspicious. I haven't seen him do this or ... have any personal knowledge, but the isolation is very typical of addictive behavior, and his -- what I call -- irrational behavior."

Kramer, 59, in a separate interview, declined to get specific about any drug abuse, but said: "Steven has made some poor choices as of late, and he's got some bad influences around him, and I think that for the most part he's his own worst enemy...I just really hope that Steven puts the focus on Steven and gets healthy."

Tyler's publicist said the singer is not commenting, because he is busy writing his memoirs.

The members of Aerosmith are no strangers to drugs, debauchery and divisions. The so-called "bad boys of Boston" first achieved fame in the early 1970s with such rock perennials as "Dream On" and "Walk this Way."

But the success was accompanied by their prodigious abuse of drugs and alcohol. The band careened toward oblivion by decade's end as sales dried up and both guitarists left.

They enjoyed a comeback in the 80s after getting sober. But, as with any workplace environment, tensions exist.

Whitford said he has had a "contentious relationship" with Tyler for many years.

"I just find him...very difficult to talk to," he said. "Most people say, 'How's it going? Nice day.' And (with Tyler) it won't be, 'Yeah, it is a nice day.' All of a sudden, it's drama."

Kramer said he loves Tyler like a brother, but was hurt when the singer failed to respond to his recent voicemail and text messages. Perry has said that the last time he called Tyler, the singer hung up on him.

The band's lineup is rounded out by 57-year-old bassist Tom Hamilton who, the others say, is on the same page as them.

As for finding a new singer, the musicians are very careful to say that no one can fill Tyler's shoes. Nor has the recruitment process begun yet.

"None of us feels like we're in a position to just retire and go off and do something else," Whitford said. "It would be nice if we could find somebody so we can go out and continue to earn a living as some sort of derivative of Aerosmith."

He said it was possible that the band might hit the road under a different name, and acknowledged that there could be legal problems if Tyler sued to stop them from using the "Aerosmith" name. (Roger Waters unsuccessfully sued his Pink Floyd band mates in the 1980s after they reunited without him.)

Kramer hopes to tour next year to mark the band's 40th anniversary, even if it could be a hollow celebration without the energetic Tyler belting out the hits from his scarf-draped microphone stand.

"What are we gonna do? Sit around for two years and do nothing?"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Starr, McCartney Duet On Drummer's Latest Solo Album

Ringo Starr is joined by his former Beatles band mate Paul McCartney for a duet on "Y Not," the drummer's forthcoming solo album due out January 12, 2010 on Hip-O Records/UMe.

The album also includes vocal turns by Joss Stone, Ben Harper and Richard Marx as well as musical and songwriting contributions from the Eagles' Joe Walsh, Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Dave Stewart, Glen Ballard and Van Dyke Parks, among others.

Despite the star-studded guest list, Starr is handling the production duties himself for the first time in his storied career.

"I was the least involved in the production of the Beatle records," Starr said in a statement. "And then with my solo records, I worked with some other great producers like Richard Perry, Arif Mardin, and Don Was. So it just seemed like that's the way that it goes. Then suddenly, it's another point in your life, and you say, 'I'm going do this now.' So I'll be producing anything I make from now on."

McCartney's contributions to the album include playing bass on the song "Peace Dream," as well as lead vocal duties on "Walk With You," a song composed by Starr and Van Dyke Parks.

Other songs on "Y Not" include the album's opening track, "Fill In The Blanks," a rocker written, played and sung only by Starr and Walsh; and "The Other Side Of Liverpool," an autobiographical song exploring Starr's pre-Beatle days encountering poverty and violence in his hometown.

"So I'll be producing anything I make from now on," Starr said. "That's the good news. It's a confidence thing, I suppose. And 'Y Not' is really another way of me saying, 'Yes, I can.'"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Faces May Replace Rod Stewart With Simply Red Singer For Tour

The surviving members of the Faces are planning to embark on a reunion tour in 2010, with or without singer Rod Stewart. Like Aerosmith, who are openly discussing replacing Steven Tyler should he depart to pursue solo opportunities, the Faces are facing facts: With Stewart planning to tour behind his new disc Soulbook into the new year, the remaining three members of the band — guitarist Ron Wood, drummer Kenney Jones and keyboardist Ian McLagan — hope go on their own road trip in 2010 with another singer in Stewart’s place.

“If we don’t do it very soon, one of us is gonna check out,” McLagan said. “We’ve been waiting and waiting for Rod to say yes; now he’s finally said no. He’s busy doing other shit. So we’re gonna do it.”

Faces briefly reunited in late 2008 and warmed up for a reunion tour.

“We had a few fantastic rehearsals last week and we’re ready to go,” Wood said in December 2008. “It’s like no time has passed by.”

Despite rumors that Stewart and Wood had written an album’s worth of new Faces songs, Stewart’s spokesperson quickly denied the claim, adding that Faces would definitely not be reuniting for a tour in 2009 due to Stewart’s prior commitments.

As Wood is still a member of the Rolling Stones, he’d also have to tour around his commitments, so the window for a Faces reunion grows smaller by the day.

McLagan said that the band was inspired by working with several vocalists during a London benefit show on October 25, where the Faces performed with Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall and Squeeze’s Paul Carrack.

“I think it’s more exciting, actually, with different singers, different bass players, maybe some other guests, another guitarist or whatever,” McLagan said, adding that Hucknall would definitely be asked if he’d like to join the group in some capacity for the tour.

Another issue at hand is who would replace Faces bassist Ronnie Lane, who passed away in 1997. Wood says that he heard Flea was interested in joining the reunited band in December 2008, but a year has passed and Flea has obligations to both the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Thom Yorke’s new live band in 2010.

Former Stones bassist Bill Wyman sat in with the Faces at the London benefit, but it’s unlikely he would tour with the group. Instead, McLagan hopes to recruit former Sex Pistols/Rich Kids bassist Glenn Matlock.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cheech & Chong To Light Up America Again

Comedy visionaries Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong announce their 2010 North American Tour, Cheech & Chong: Get It Legal, partnering with the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) to promote policy change through laughter.

The Live Nation-produced tour will kick off on January 16, 2010, in Boulder, Colorado at the Macky Auditorium. Tickets for this must-see comedy tour of the year go on sale in select markets beginning at 4:20 p.m. on November 20, 2009 at LiveNation.com.

Cheech & Chong: Get It Legal is the follow-up to their hugely successful reunion tour, Cheech & Chong: Light Up America, where they performed together for the first time in over 25 years.

The pop culture duo performed for more than 100 audiences and quickly became one of the most sought after shows of 2008-2009. Additionally, their performance in San Antonio, Texas, was filmed by the Weinstein Company and will be released as Cheech and Chong's: Hey Watch This on 4/20 of next year.

"We had an amazing time last year reconnecting with each other and our fans in a way that felt like it was part of our DNA, we were meant to be together," said Cheech Marin.

"In 2010 we are looking forward to doing more classic material that people haven't seen for years and years, performing more of our songs and introducing some new bits. We've had material brewing separately for the past 25 years," said Tommy Chong.

The Cheech & Chong: Get It Legal tour is scheduled to make 17 stops across North America including Boulder, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Bellingham, Portland, Santa Barbara, Tampa, Minneapolis, Rockford, Detroit, Louisville, DC, Bakersfield, Phoenix, and Fort Worth with Canadian stops in Regina, and Saskatoon.

Additional dates to be announced soon. Chong's wife and comedy partner, Shelby Chong, will open all dates on the tour as well as DJ Joey Mojo. Fan club members will have access to presale tickets beginning November 17th at CheechandChongTour.com.

Because of the recent attention surrounding the laws in respect to marijuana, Cheech and Chong decided to name their upcoming tour "Get It Legal" in order to raise awareness for this important topic.

By teaming up with a marijuana policy reform group such as MPP, Cheech and Chong are fusing comedy and activism as a means of bringing attention to the harm caused by marijuana prohibition and the urgent need for different, more sensible marijuana laws.

"Want to make a change? Come to a Cheech and Chong show," says Tommy Chong. "It's time to get it legal, before it's too late."

Jan-16 Boulder, CO Macky Auditorium Concert Hall
Jan-22 Indianapolis, IN Murat Theatre
Jan-23 Baltimore, MD Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Jan-30 Saskatoon, SK TCU Place
Jan-31 Regina, SK Conexus Arts Centre
Feb-11 Bellingham, WA Mount Baker Theatre
Feb-12 Portland, OR Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Mar-5 Santa Barbara, CA Arlington Theatre
Mar-12 Tampa, FL Tampa Performing Arts Center
Mar-26 Minneapolis, MN State Theatre
Mar-27 Rockford, IL Coronado Performing Arts Center
Apr-03 Ann Arbor, MI Michigan Theater
Apr-09 Louisville, KY Palace Theatre
Apr-10 Washington, DC Warner Theatre
Apr-23 Bakersfield, CA Fox Theatre
Apr-24 Phoenix, AZ Dodge Theatre
Apr-30 Ft. Worth, TX Bass Performance Hall

Monday, November 16, 2009

U.S. Library Of Congress To Honor Paul McCartney

The U.S. Library of Congress is awarding Paul McCartney its third Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

Librarian of Congress James Billington announced the prize Monday (November 16). An all-star tribute concert is planned for early 2010, though the library has not announced who will perform.

The 67-year-old former Beatle recently completed a five-week summer tour of the United States, including a stop in the Washington area.

Billington says it is hard to think of another performer and composer who has had a more transformative effect than McCartney.

Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon previously won the Gershwin prize. The library houses the manuscripts of the songwriting duo George and Ira Gershwin.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bob Seger Opens Vault For Disc Of 70s Rarities

It's about time Bob Seger started rustling around in those archives. When even the most frivolous of pop careers have been chronicled with historical compilations by this point, the Detroit rocker's slim retrospective pickings -- just a pair of greatest-hits discs -- has stood out.

Early Seger Vol. 1 is a first spoonful of remedy. With a lineup of hard-to-find album cuts and a handful of previously unreleased, newly spruced up tunes, the 10-track set is, if nothing else, a welcome fix for hard-core fans.

Songs from three early 70s albums (including the long unavailable Smokin' O.P.'s and Back in '72) provide a fun reminder of Seger's stylistic diversity before he locked into his winning career rhythm. Vintage rock 'n' roll, barroom balladry and soulful Southern rock are delivered with equal aplomb, and a frisky update of "Long Song Comin' " breathes new life into that 1974 track.

But it's the deep archival stuff that will most entice the diehards. "Gets Ya Pumpin' " is a grinding, Seven-era number with Seger's electric young voice at its peak. The melodic midtempo songs "Wildfire" and "Days When the Rain Would Come" hail from the "Like a Rock" period, and they hold their own against the best of Seger's majestic Midwest rock. The recent refurb work -- mostly new horns, guitars and backing vocals -- is tidy and unobtrusive.

The name Volume 1 drops a tantalizing hint about the project's future. The 64-year-old Seger could take real advantage of a series like this, because few artists are blessed with a stock of fully developed, little-heard material from their creative heydays.

Seger apparently has a treasure chest. The rocker often recorded 15 or more tracks during an album's sessions, forcing him to make hard choices in the days when a vinyl record accommodated just eight or 10 songs. Seger and his staff remain convinced that many of those leftovers had -- and have -- hit potential, originally cast aside only to suit a given album's theme or flow. (A prime illustration is "We've Got Tonite": The ballad was shelved for several albums before getting tacked onto 1978's "Stranger in Town" and soaring to pop success.)

Early Seger will be released exclusively in Meijer stories November 24, with Web-order sales starting November 30 at BobSeger.com.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Who To Perform At Super Bowl

According to a report, the Who will perform at Super Bowl XLIV, marking their first performance in North America since 2008.

SI.com reports that the veteran U.K. band will take the stage during the halftime show of the 2010 National Football League championship game, scheduled for Feb. 7 in Miami, Fla.

The NFL has yet to officially confirm the report, saying, "When we have something to announce, we'll announce it."

During a recent stop on his "Use It or Lose It" solo tour, frontman Roger Daltrey said that he and bandmate/composer Pete Townshend were working on new material for the Who's follow-up to 2006's Endless Wire.

"Hopefully if this tour has done it's job, I'll be in really good form as a vocalist," said Daltrey. "And who knows, we might make our best work."

Townshend has also acknowledged working on two projects -- a new musical called Floss and the Who's next album, which he has said will include some pieces from the Floss project.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Steven Tyler Not Leaving Aerosmith, Joins Joe Perry Onstage

Steven Tyler said that he is "not leaving Aerosmith" as he made what appeared to be a conciliatory guest appearance with guitarist Joe Perry and his band Tuesday (November 10) night at Irving Plaza in New York City.

Tyler joined Perry and his Project for an encore version of "Walk This Way." Before the song he told the crowd that "I am not leaving Aerosmith" and told Perry "you are a man of many colors, but I am the motherfucking king rainbow!"

The appearance followed several days of online sniping and fan speculation about the future of Aerosmith in the wake of a Tyler interview with Britain's Classic Rock magazine, in which he said that his next project was "definitely going to be something Steven Tyler: working on the brand of myself -- Brand Tyler." Perry interpreted that to mean Tyler was leaving Aerosmith; he told the Las Vegas Sun that "Steven quit as far as I can tell" and subsequently tweeted that Tyler "is doing his own thing and said so in the press. That's all I know."

Perry tweeted that "Aerosmith is definitely NOT breaking up" and that the group is "positively looking for a new singer to work with. You just can't take 40 years of experience and throw it in the bin!" He followed up with a declaration that "Aerosmith is not splitting up. Promise that's the last you'll hear from me on the subject till we gear up again." His only subsequent messages have been about the Joe Perry Project tour in support of his new solo album Have Guitar, Will Travel.

No one is yet saying, however, whether Tyler's announcement that he's "not leaving" Aerosmith changes the group's intention to look for another singer.

Aerosmith last performed during October in Abu Dhabi after canceling a North American tour with ZZ Top following Tyler's fall from the stage on August 5 in Sturgis, S.D.

The singer, who has separate management from the rest of Aerosmith, is expected to publish an autobiography in 2010 (pushed back from a planned release this year) but has not announced plans for any musical endeavors outside of Aerosmith.

The group began recording a new album -- its first since 2004's Honkin' on Bobo -- in 2008 but had to abandon it after Tyler fell ill.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Perry Says Aerosmith Looking For New Singer

Aerosmith lead guitarist Joe Perry said on Twitter late Monday (November 9) that Aerosmith is "not splitting up" but "looking for a new singer to work with" amid speculation about the band's future and the role of frontman Steven Tyler. Tyler has been quoted as saying he is considering a solo career.

Perry tweeted one of the band's members "is doing his own thing and said so in the press. That's all I know."

Tyler could not immediately be reached for comment.

The 61-year-old Tyler was injured when he fell off a stage during an August 5 performance in South Dakota, and the band canceled the remainder of its summer tour.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Queen Still Considering Work With Singer Adam Lambert

Coming just prior to the release of his new album, Amercian Idol runner-up Adam Lambert is still being considered by remaining Queen veterans Roger Taylor and Brian May as someone they would like to work with.

Lambert performed with Queen on the finale of American Idol along with season 8 winner Kris Allen. At the time, there was a lot of talk about Lambert joining Queen as their new frontman. With Lambert’s new album, For Your Entertainment, set for release, there has not been as much buzz about the possibility of him joining Queen, but a recent BBC interview with Roger Taylor confirms that working with Lambert is not something that he and Brian May have forgotten about.

Referring to him as “the most phenomenal singer,” and mistakenly calling him “Adam Bolton,” Taylor said that he and May might do something with Lambert in the future. Taylor, obviously quite impressed with Lambert’s abilities, further praised him by saying, “He’s got one of the greatest voices I have ever heard.”

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Elton John On Mend, Resuming Tour Dates

Elton John has been released from a London hospital after being treated for flu and an E. coli bacterial infection.

The singer's spokesman Gary Farrow says John was at home Friday (November 7) and was feeling fine. He left the hospital the day before.

He says John planned to resume his suspended tour and would play scheduled U.S. dates with Billy Joel starting in Oakland, California, on November 14.

Illness has forced the 62-year-old musician to cancel several gigs in Britain, Ireland and the U.S. over the last few weeks.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Perry Says Tyler Likely Leaving Aerosmith

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry says Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler apparently left the band after a recent United Arab Emirates show.

"Steven quit, as far as I can tell," Perry said. "I don't know anymore than you do about it. I got off the plane two nights ago. I saw online that Steven said that he was going to leave the band. I don't know for how long, indefinitely or whatever."

Perry say he will attempt to keep Aerosmith moving forward, even if Tyler part ways with his band mates.

"Right now I'm adjusting to how we're going to go on," Perry said from his home in Boston.

Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton confirmed Tyler, 61, announced after the band's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix show that he was planning on going solo. But he downplayed Tyler's comment, saying Aerosmith members are no strangers to conflict from their nearly 40 years together.

"Steven's always mad at us," Hamilton said.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Will The Real Wishbone Ash Please Stand Up

Andy Powell, founding member of the legendary Wishbone Ash,is setting the record straight about the recent controversy surrounding the ownership and usage of the group's name. A band fronted by another founding member, Martin Turner, is also being promoted as Wishbone Ash, creating confusion among fans and press.

“It’s local promoters taking advantage of the good work this band has been doing,” said Powell.

Most recently, Turner’s German shows have been promoted under the Wishbone Ash moniker, prompting Powell to seek legal recourse.

“Myself and the band’s business partners—people who have worked for years to keep the band treading the boards and keeping the recorded catalog current—see it as a raiding party,” said Powell. “I am now taking legal action in respect of this infringement of my trade mark. It’s time to stop this nonsense.”

Powell, the only remaining founding member, has recorded and toured exclusively under the Wishbone Ash banner since 1969. In the last 20 years, Wishbone Ash has released 15 CDs and five DVDs.

None of these featured Martin Turner.

The Power of Eternity, the band’s most recent release, has garnered rave reviews from the music press internationally.

During the band’s early history, the lineup changed several times, with founding members leaving and rejoining. When, in 1993, Powell became the sole remaining original member, there was no thought of calling it a day. Powell later registered the trademark "Wishbone Ash" in 1998. He has maintained the mark since then, producing numerous DVDs and CDs of new material. In addition to being co-writer on the majority of the recorded works, he’s performed around 4,000 Ash shows worldwide.

"My mandate was to simply carry forward with the band," Powell said, "as has always been the case since 1974 when the first member to leave, Ted Turner, tendered his resignation. This continuity has overwhelmingly always been what the fans have wanted, and they proved that in the early 1990s by backing our recording and promotion of the album Illuminations. At no time did I consider the band dead; we'd been through worse.”

In recent years, Martin Turner registered www.wishboneash.co.uk. He then tentatively resurfaced using the name 'Wishbone featuring Martin Turner' performing Wishbone Ash songs from the very early part of the band's career. All was fine for a year or so until the name of Martin Turner’s band was changed to Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash. His ".co.uk" website started pushing the Wishbone Ash aspect of the name firmly to the fore.

Then, to make matters worse, some Turner gigs were actually being promoted as ‘Wishbone Ash’ concerts. Fans who turned up expecting the long-running Powell-fronted band were disappointed and confused. Journalists who were unaware of the band’s history sometimes wrote about Turner’s band as if it actually were Wishbone Ash. Inevitably, this sparked claims of ‘passing off’ from Wishbone Ash and its business partners.

"Over the years, band members had left in a piecemeal fashion to pursue solo careers and other ventures," said Powell. "Anyone who has followed the band knows that Martin Turner, for example, quit in 1980 and again in 1991 after a brief three-year reunion.”

After leaving in 91, Martin produced a solo album.

“His own website says that he'd 'moved on' from Wishbone Ash, using the name Martin Turner and calling the CD Walking The Reeperbahn,” said Powell. “This had nothing to do with Wishbone Ash and seemed to be a move on Martin Turner's part to distance himself from the band and take his career in another direction. His website actually at one point admitted that I was a continuous member of the one true band and that he was not."

Wishbone Ash has embarked on an intensive tour plan, taking the band around to next July in celebration of its 40th anniversary. For a complete list of tour dates and venues, visit www.wishboneash.com/tourdates.