Sunday, January 31, 2010

Steven Tyler Eyes Suit To Stop Aerosmith Replacement

Amidst continuing reports of other singers being approached to front Aerosmith, Steven Tyler and his handlers are taking steps to reassert his position in the band.

Tyler's Los Angeles-based attorney, Skip Miller, fired off a letter to Aerosmith manager Howard Kaufman, requesting that Aerosmith's management "immediately cease and desist from engaging in acts and conduct to the harm and detriment of your own client, Aerosmith, and our client who is one of its members."

Miller subsequently said that on behalf of Tyler he has called a meeting of Aerosmith's "shareholders" on February 9 to discuss the band's future, including such matters as the recording of a new album and tours this year of Europe and South America. The four-page letter also states that "we reserve all of our legal rights and remedies in this matter, including, without limitation, pursuing legal action for damages and other appropriate relief."

"Steven Tyler does not want lawsuits," said Miller. "We do not want to go in that direction. The direction we want is Aerosmith, with Steven Tyler, touring in Europe, touring Latin America, releasing a new album ... This is the direction it's all intended to go. It's just amazing to me current management would be taking any other position."

Aerosmith's management declined comment. Miller says he has not yet received a response from Kaufman or any of Aerosmith's other representatives. As for what the next step will be if Aerosmith continues with its search for a new singer, Miller said, "We'll cross that bridge if and when we come to it. I hope we don't. I don't think we will."

Tyler is undergoing therapy for a painkiller addiction brought on by orthopedic problems. The location of his treatment is unknown, but recent public appearances -- singing karaoke at a bar in Palm Springs, CA, and signing autographs and singing over the public address system at a Home Depot in Rancho Mirage -- led to speculation that he's at the nearby Betty Ford Center.

Miller says the January 27 letter was prompted by Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry's recent comments in the Canadian press about replacing Tyler and by a meeting earlier in January attended by Kaufman; Tyler's music attorney, John Branca; and Tyler's new manager, Allen Kovac of 10th Street Entertainment. Kaufman, according to Miller, "said point blank he didn't think Steven should be part of Aerosmith, flat-out said the band would be better off without Steven -- which, in my opinion, is a very questionable management decision by a fiduciary."

Miller's letter argues that "the animus and negativity you have expressed toward Mr. Tyler has created an inability to protect both Steven as an individual and the band as a whole. This behavior directed toward a person committing to rehabilitation and recovery is detrimental and hurtful on both a personal and professional level. This is a time Steven has dedicated to transform his life."

Miller pointed to Tyler's December 22 statement, in which the singer "confirms his desire to be a part of Aerosmith" and accuses Kaufman of "playing band members off against one another instead of seeking to solidify their relationships and unify them for the overall good of the band ... Contrary to all common sense, you are seeking to bring about the replacement of Steven Tyler. Aerosmith without Steven Tyler is like the Rolling Stones without Mick Jagger, or U2 without Bono. While this management strategy may get the band on the road a few months sooner, it ultimately could destroy Aerosmith."

Miller added, "Can you imagine the manager of the Rolling Stones calling for the replacement of Mick Jagger? It's just absurd ... Tyler is very unique, distinctive. Steven is Aerosmith, along with the others. He's the guy the public knows. He's the singer. I'm blown away that the current manager would even suggest something like (replacing him)."

Both the letter and Miller said that Tyler has been writing songs for a new Aerosmith album and will be ready to perform at the proposed European and South American dates later in the year. Aerosmith had started to record a new album -- its first since 2004's "Honkin' on Bobo" and first of all-original material since 2001's "Just Push Play" -- with producer Brendan O'Brien in late 2008 but put it on hold due to health concerns, including Tyler's bout with pneumonia, and to prepare for a tour last summer with ZZ Top that was aborted after Tyler fell from the stage on August 5 in Sturgis, S.D.

Perry, meanwhile, is touring to promote his latest solo album, "Have Guitar, Will Travel," while Brad Whitford is gearing up for an Experience Hendrix tour in March, and drummer Joey Kramer is promoting his autobiography, "Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top."

The Tyler camp's actions come at a time when rumors are plentiful about who might step in for Tyler. A weekend report by blogger Perez Hilton claimed that Billy Idol, who has been widely reported as under consideration, had to skip a scheduled meeting with Perry because of a cold, while other published reports maintain that Chris Cornell and Paul Rodgers have both been approached. Lenny Kravitz, another rumored candidate, has publicly stated he's not interested.

Friday, January 29, 2010

All Together Now Is Nominated For A Grammy Award

All Together Now, the documentary about the making of The Beatles and Cirque du Soleil's The Beatles: LOVE, is nominated for a Grammy Award in the Long Form Music Video category (Adrian Wills, video director; Martin Bolduc & Jonathan Clyde, video producers).

All Together Now details the story behind the unique partnership between The Beatles and Cirque du Soleil that resulted in the creation and 2006 launch of LOVE, the stage production still playing to packed houses at The Mirage in Las Vegas.

The film also documents the creation of the show's music, the experimental Beatles soundscape album of the same name which garnered two Grammy Awards for producers Sir George Martin and Giles Martin in the categories of Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or other Visual Medium and Surround Sound Album.

The 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards will be presented Sunday, January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rocker Joe Walsh Takes On Namesake Politician

Another musician is claiming that a political candidate is tone deaf to the nation's intellectual property laws. And this one has an amusing twist.

Joe Walsh of the Eagles isn't happy that a Republican congressional candidate in Illinois has co-opted his song "Walk Away" and added new lyrics. The candidate's name? Also Joe Walsh.

Now Peter Paterno, the musician's LA-based lawyer, has sent a laugh-out-loud letter to the politician, demanding he cease using the song.

The letter begins by schooling politician Joe Walsh that it "might be beneficial" for him to learn a thing or two about the United States Copyright Act: "It says a lot of things, but one of the things it says is that you can't use someone else's song for your political campaign promotion unless you get permission from the owner of the copyright in the song. As far as we can tell you didn't do that. Maybe you got so busy with the campaign that you just forgot. But that's not OK.

"Second, under that same United States Copyright Act, you're not allowed to take someone's song and change the lyrics. This is not to say you're not allowed to write silly lyrics, you just have to write them to your own music. Now, I know why you used Joe's music -- it's undoubtedly because it's a lot better than any music you or your staff could have written. But that's the point. Since Joe writes better songs than you do, the Copyright Act rewards him by letting him decide who gets to use the songs he writes."

Then the letter gets pretty interesting in its discussion of trademark issues. Because the two guys share the same name, Paterno mentions the public could be confused as to the source of material or whether there's an endorsement being made. The letter continues:

"Given that your name is Joe Walsh, I'd think you'd want to be extra careful about using Joe's music in case the public might think that Joe is endorsing your campaign, or, God forbid, is you."

Candidate Walsh's campaign manager is defending the song, telling the Lake County News-Sun: "Obviously, it's not using the original Joe Walsh lyrics or anything."

Joe Walsh v. Joe Walsh follows a litany of legal disputes between musicians and Republican politicians over the past year. John McCain last year apologized to Jackson Browne as part of a settlement over the presidential candidate's use of "Running on Empty" in his campaign. Joe Walsh's Eagles band mate Don Henley is also battling with Congressional candidate Charles DeVore over the use of songs in a campaign.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

AC/DC To Headline U.K. Festival, Release Soundtrack

AC/DC will headline this year's edition of U.K. metal/rock festival Download, taking place June 11-13 at the Donington Park motor racing circuit.

Other performers include Them Crooked Vultures, Stone Temple Pilots, Deftones, Wolfmother, Megadeth, Bullet For My Valentine and Motorhead.

Download was launched in 2003 as a replacement for the Monsters of Rock festival, which ran at Donington until 1996.

The appearance will mark the fourth time AC/DC has played the historic site, although the first time in its current Download guise.

In other AC/DC news, the band's music will be featured in Marvel Studios’ upcoming film, Iron Man 2, the sequel to the 2008 blockbuster.

Columbia Records will release AC/DC: Iron Man 2 on Monday, April 19, 2010. The soundtrack/greatest hits album features 15 AC/DC songs from ten of the band’s studio albums, ranging from 1976 to 2008.

The debut video, "Shoot to Thrill" was filmed December 2009 in Buenos Aires during the band's Black Ice World Tour.

The video, which incorporates footage from Iron Man 2, can be seen here.

“Shoot To Thrill” was originally recorded for the band’s album Back In Black, one of the best selling albums of all time.

Iron Man 2 debuts internationally on April 18, and in North America on May 7.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Keith Richards Is Off The Sauce

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has gone on the wagon, despite claiming at one time he would never give up booze.

The 66-year-old rocker finally quit after getting strict orders from his doctor - and watching band mate Ronnie Wood's life unravel through alcoholism.

Richards has reportedly not touched a drop for in four months. A friend said: "There's no guarantees that he'll stay off it - but he's doing really well so far."

Doctors had been telling the guitarist for years he needed to cut back on his boozing. He once famously boasted he would never stop because he had outlived several medics who chided him about his constant partying.

But four years ago, he suffered a brain hemorrhage after falling out of a palm tree during a booze-fueled trip to Fiji with pal Wood, who later left his wife Jo for teenager Katia Ivanova.

Now doctors say Keith's hedonistic lifestyle is finally starting to take its toll.

A source close to Richards, who has been married to former model Patti Hanson for 26 years, said: "He has always quite enjoyed the fact that he seemed to be able to carry on drinking as much as he liked with no real negative impact on his health.

"But he has watched Ronnie fall well and truly off the wagon last year and he doesn't like what he sees.

"Plus he has started to feel for the first time like it might do him some good to give up the booze for a while."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Radiohead Rock For Haiti At Small Los Angeles Benefit Show

Even Radiohead can be surprised by the difference a rock band can make. On Sunday, the forward-looking Oxford quintet took a break from recording sessions for its next album to perform at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Hollywood and raise desperately needed funds for Haiti earthquake relief.

“This is how much money we made,” singer-guitarist Thom Yorke announced late in the two-hour concert, as he was handed a card with a final tally. “Gross: Fuck me! $572,774!”

Tickets for the night’s “Radiohead for Haiti” concert were sold over the weekend via online auction, with a top price paid by one fan at $4,000 for a single pair.

“What did you do to get a ticket?” Yorke joked with the crowd. “Get money from your dad? Or blackmail your boss?” The all-star audience included Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, Flea, Drew Barrymore, Paul Thomas Anderson and Anna Paquin.

For hardcore fans crowding the old theater, it was a bargain, with an epic, emotional set that stretched from career-defining work from the mid-’90s to the full band’s debut of a new song, the brooding “Lotus Flower.”

The night began quietly with Yorke and guitarist Jonny Greenwood alone onstage, each plucking the spectral acoustic melody from 2007’s “Faust Arp,” as Yorke sang in the hushed tones of Elliott Smith: “I’m tingling tingling tingling/It’s what you feel, not what you ought to.”

The band was at their stripped down essence, with none of the bright lights and visual effects of Radiohead’s 2008 performance at the nearby Hollywood Bowl. The 1,300-capacity room’s much smaller setting revealed the subtleties within band’s layered sound, though Yorke kept insisting they were in recording mode (and still working on a new album in Los Angeles) and a little rough onstage.

“Feel free, man, to sing along,” he said. “Chances are, we’ll forget the words.”

Radiohead performed without attempting to say anything profound about the ongoing tragedy in the Caribbean nation, allowing the emotion and power of their songs to speak for them. Ticket proceeds were to be directed to Oxfam International, and more was raised from the sale of a limited edition show poster at $25 each, plus spare cash dropped into green buckets wielded by volunteers.

The band’s depth of feeling was heard within the sad, hopeful “Fake Plastic Trees” (from 1995), which soon erupted with the slashing guitars of Greenwood and Ed O’Brien before Yorke’s closing pleas of heartbreak: “If I could be who you wanted/All the time, all the time,” as fans swayed and sang softly along.

From there, Radiohead moved to material Yorke called “more up to date,” as the singer bounced anxiously behind the microphone to the grooves, his falsetto colliding with explosive beats and guitars and electronics, unshaven and casual in a blue-and-white plaid shirt.

During “National Anthem,” Greenwood plugged into some random local radio signals, while his brother Colin rolled into a heavy bass groove of static and beauty. As the mournful “Dollars & Cents” came to a close with some aggressive, chiming guitar blasts from O’Brien, he and Yorke shared a laugh.

For “Lotus Flower,” Yorke stood alone onstage with an acoustic guitar, finding a bluesy, melancholy pattern as he sang a mournful, “I will slip myself into your pocket … Now I set you free, I set you free.”

The first of two encores began with Yorke alone at an upright piano, his back to the crowd, singing “Everything In Its Right Place” (from 2000’s Kid A — RS’ best album of the decade), pounding the stirring chord riff. He was soon joined again by the full band for “You and Whose Army?” as he cupped his hands around the microphone to sing, glancing and glaring playfully at fans over his shoulder between lyrics.

The crowd kept shouting more song titles. “Yes, we’ll get to that,” Yorke told the front rows. “You’re not in a hurry are you?”

Set List:

“Faust Arp”
“Fake Plastic Trees”
“Weird Fishes/Arpeggi”
“The National Anthem”
“Nude”
“Karma Police”
“Kid A”
“Morning Bell”
“How To Disappear Completely”
“A Wolf at the Door”
“The Bends”
“Reckoner”
“Lucky”
“Bodysnatchers”
“Dollars & Cents”
“Airbag”
“Exit Music”
“Everything In Its Right Place”
“You And Whose Army?”
“Pyramid Song”
“All I Need”
“Lotus Flower”
“Paranoid Android”
“Street Spirit (Fade Out)”

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Scorpions Call It Quits

The Scorpions, the German metal band rocked you like a hurricane? Well, they're hanging up their axes after the release of their next album, Sting in the Tail, in order to end their "extraordinary career on a high note."

The band announced on its website that "we agree we have reached the end of the road."

The band was founded in Hannover in 1965 by guitarist Rudolf Schenker and drummer Wolfgang Dziony, who left in 1973. Singer Klaus Meine joined a few years later.

With more than 100 million records sold worldwide, the Scorpions have gone through a merry-go-round of four bassists, six drummers and two guitarists.

Current members include Schenker, Meine, Matthias Jabs on guitar, Pawel Maciwoda on bass and James Kottak on drums.

The band thanked their fans and said Sting in the Tail, to be released in March release, will be their final studio album.

"While we were working on our album these past few months, we could literally feel how powerful and creative our work was. We finish our career with an album we consider to be one of the best we have ever recorded," said the statement.

In May, the Scorpions will embark on a three-year concert odyssey around the world, spanning five continents and starting with a concert in Leipzig. So far, other dates planned include Switzerland, France and Russia with more to be announced.

"We'd rather go out with a killer album and follow our hearts. We achieved everything you can achieve with a rock band," Meine told German paper Bild am Sonntag.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Peter Gabriel Says He Won’t Reunite With Genesis At Rock Hall Induction

In two months Genesis will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but fans hoping to see Peter Gabriel sing with his former band for the first time in nearly 30 years are probably in for a disappointment.

“As far as I know, I’m definitely not going to sing,” Gabriel says. “I learned at our last reunion [in 1982] that you can’t just get up there. You have to rehearse.”

Gabriel is actually not even positive he’ll be able to attend the March 15th induction ceremony in New York, since he’ll be in the midst of rehearsing for a European solo tour.

“I’m trying to find a way to do it,” he says. “It’s not easy. If I can work it out, I’ll go.”

Five years ago Gabriel held a meeting with the classic Genesis lineup of Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett to discuss a possible staging of their 1974 prog-rock epic The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.

“Initially I was open to it,” Gabriel says. “But then it seemed to be growing. I know what it’s like once you’re in it — these things tend to expand. I always describe it as going back to school, since this was a school group for me. It’s a fun place to visit and see your old friends, but its not a place you want to live.”

Might he be open to a reunion show at some point in the future? “Phil has had trouble with his wrists and his back, so it’s pretty unlikely,” he says.

The group is actually more likely to collaborate on a possible movie project, Gabriel says. “The only thing that might happen is that some people talk about a film of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. If it is to happen, we might work together on that. We’ll see.”

Thursday, January 21, 2010

2010 NAMM Show: Music Products Industry Gathers For Comeback

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) has announced the final registration and exhibitor numbers for the 2010 NAMM Show, the longest-running trade show in the United States. At show close, NAMM reported 87,569 registrants, a 2 percent increase from last year. International registration experienced a 2 percent decrease from last year.

Even in economically challenging times, the association reported 1,373 exhibitors at this year’s show, including nearly 250 new exhibitors—a new record number in the event’s 108-year history, showing a surge in market enthusiasm.

The annual trade show is the place where music products retailers meet face-to-face with manufacturers to make their biggest purchases or gain product knowledge for their stores in the year ahead.

“This year’s NAMM Show marks a critical turning point for the international music products industry,” said NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond. “A strong NAMM Show signals the beginning of a comeback with buyers returning to their hometowns with renewed energy, passion and hope for a strong 2010, and exhibitors enjoying strong floor traffic and sales as they introduced hundreds of new and innovative products to the market.”

The high-energy event featured Quincy Jones and Yoko Ono, who spoke on behalf of the importance of music education for children. Ono also celebrated the 70th anniversary of John Lennon’s birth at a press conference.

Other events included highly attended mentoring sessions for music products retailers; performances by Jason Mraz and Ted Nugent; and celebrity appearances by Julianne Hough of Dancing with the Stars, Slash of Guns and Roses and Velvet Revolver, Eddie Van Halen, Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Wonder, Orianthi and Gene Simmons of KISS and hundreds of touring artists and band members. Yamaha Corporation of America celebrated its 50th anniversary in the United States with a star-filled dealer concert featuring Vince Gill, Michael McDonald, Natalie Cole, John Ondrasik, Jon McLaughlin and Jason Mraz.

Themed “Get Ready,” the trade show offered attendees the opportunity to reunite with industry peers, learn the latest business and marketing tactics and trends at daily NAMM University sessions, and ultimately make their biggest business deals for the year ahead.

Exhibiting product manufacturers had good feedback about their business at the show.

"We are extremely pleased with our retailers’ response to this year's show in general, and our product offering in particular,” said Paul Jernigan, vice president of global channel marketing at Fender Musical Instruments Corp. “The overall feeling we have received from our customers and business partners is overwhelmingly positive. Additionally, we are impressed, as always, with the entire NAMM organization. This has to rank as one of the best shows we've attended, and we're proud to be a part of it."

“Our booth was packed from day one, and our dealers had a level of energy and enthusiasm here at the NAMM show that I found very exciting, said Rick Young, senior vice president of Yamaha Corporation of America. “Given what we’ve all experienced this past year, Yamaha is very grateful for the warm reception we received for our new products, programs and services. Now this very positive feeling has to be transferred to the sales floor.”

"The show has been great. We have been packed like crazy since the show opened or even actually a little beforehand,” said Kristina Hodgson of Shure Inc. in Niles, Illinois. “Lots of great questions, lots of people being interested in our product, trying things out. It’s been a great show. We have a lot of old friends stopping by and filling out orders, so it’s been a really great sales show for us, and then a lot of new connections as well, so hopefully towards the future we’ll get some more good business. We’ve got a lot of artist signings and they’ve been amazingly popular. Very good show for us and definitely NAMM is busier than many of us remember in lots of years.”

"Roland was very pleased with the results of the NAMM Show,” said Dennis Houilhan, president of Roland Corp. US. “There was a definite positive attitude from retailers and a genuine optimism for a better 2010 ahead. The response to all our new products and technologies was strong. NAMM's theme was "Get Ready!" Dealers were ready to buy and get 2010 off to a strong start."

“The show’s been going good,” said Jason Lee of Everly Music in North Hollywood, California.

“We have a lot of meetings with everybody. This show seems to be a lot more exciting than last year. I think it’s on the up-and-up with the economy, and we have a lot of new products out so it's going good. It’s where we’re going to introduce a lot of the new strings, a lot of the new designs. We go to a lot of meetings at night, but we were out at a show last night, it was fun to see old friends."

“It’s going fantastic,” said Don Harrington of Rhythm Ring in San Diego, California. “We’ve got great feedback, great response, made some good relationships. It’s our first year here, so we’re doing pretty well. We did a little social media marketing to pump it up a little bit, but it’s just first-time attendees and we’re doing really great.”

“It’s going very well,” said Andrew Naumann of Schilke Music Products in Melrose Park, Illinois. “I think this year’s very positive. It’s fantastic for us. Everyone seemed very upbeat and that was nice to see.”

Retailers at the NAMM Show were also quite enthusiastic about what they were seeing.

“Business has been very good,” said Brian Marsh with idjnow, a pro audio, lighting and video company. “It’s been a very progressive show so far. A lot of manufacturers are coming out with a lot of innovative new products. For us Numark happens to be one of the ones that is standing out.”


“My business has been good so far at the show,” said Kevin Kuptz of Ingnited Light and Sound. “We’ve been able to pick up a couple of new lines of pro audio equipment and we’ve had more business and less extra people around.”

The next NAMM trade is Summer NAMM, which will be held June 18-20, 2010 in Nashville, TN. for more information, visit namm.org.

Emerson And Lake Team For Shows

Forget the pianos floating in midair and don’t even think about bombastic presentations amidst dry-ice fog, laser-light shows and gargantuan stage props. Keith Emerson and Greg Lake are touring in April, but this isn’t your typical prog-rock outing.

As two-thirds of the pioneer progressive rock trio Emerson, Lake And Palmer, keyboardist Emerson and guitarist/singer Lake have seen all the special effects the genre was known for. Heck, they even came up with a few of their own, as demonstrated when the group played the first Cal Jam in 1974. Airing on ABC, Emerson seated at his piano while floating above the stage was one of the highlights of the event.

Emerson and Lake are going on tour in April, but don’t expect all the flash and sizzle of past ELP shows. Instead, the musicians will present an intimate “unplugged” show, where they will talk about their music, reveal the stories behind the songs and even present new arrangements of their classic tunes.

Now, don’t get us wrong. We love all the flash, sizzle and pomp prog rock was known for and we’re looking forward to Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s reunion gig at the High Voltage Festival this summer in the United Kingdom. But it’s not every day you get to see two ELP members up close and personal.

The tour, called “An Intimate Evening With Keith Emerson and Greg Lake featuring the music of Emerson Lake And Palmer, King Crimson and The Nice,” begins April 1 in Cleveland at the Lakewood Civic Auditorium. The duo also plays Glenside, Pa., at the Keswick Theatre April 2; Ridgefield, Conn., at the Ridefield Play House April 3; Alexandria, Va., at The Birchmere April 6; New York City at the Nokia Theatre Times Square April 8 and Westbury, N.Y., at the Capital One Bank Theatre at Westbury April 9.

More dates are expected to be announced shortly.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jeff Beck Blends Classical With Rock On New Album

Two months after Jeff Beck performs at Madison Square Garden along with Eric Clapton, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist will release his solo album Emotion & Commotion, his first studio LP in seven years.

The record will boast both originals and covers, including renditions of Jeff Buckley’s “Corpus Christi Carol,” The Wizard of Oz’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell On You,” featuring Joss Stone on vocals.

Emotion & Commotion also finds Beck teaming with a 64-piece orchestra for a handful of tracks, like Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 5,” the Atonement score’s “Elegy for Dunkirk” and Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma.”

“It turned out amazingly well, but I didn’t want to commit to an entire album of classical music,” Beck said. “What appealed to me instead was the idea of bringing together these seemingly contradictory sounds on different kinds of non-classical music.”

Joss Stone will also appear on the track “There’s No Other Me.” The original rock compositions on Emotion & Commotion include the wah wah pedal-heavy opener “Hammerhead” and the airy “Never Alone.”

Drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Tal Wilkenfield and keyboardist Jason Rebello join Beck on the disc, which was produced by Steve Lipson and Trevor Horn.

Beck and Clapton will team up for a trio of North American shows — in Toronto, Montreal and New York — before Beck embarks on his own solo tour, which will feature a stop at the New Orleans Jazz Fest on May 1st.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

James Taylor To Host Haiti Benefit Concert

James Taylor is planning a benefit concert in Massachusetts to aid earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

Proceeds from the concert scheduled for Friday, Janaury 22, at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington will go to Partners in Health. The Boston-based group brings modern medical care to poor nations and has been working in Haiti for more than 20 years.

Singer-songwriter Taylor said in a statement that he and his wife, Kim, will match proceeds from sales of tickets. Prices range from $100 to $1,000.

Taylor lives in nearby Lenox. He will be joined onstage by his wife, singers Kate Markowitz and Arnold McCuller, and Boston Symphony Orchestra cellist Owen Young.

Eagle To Release Gary Moore 'Definitive Montreux' Set

Eagle Rock is the hub for capturing spectacular sets at the Montreux Jazz Festival and bringing them to the home entertainment market. On February 23, they will deliver another helping of Gary Moore when the Definitive Montreux DVD/CD set hits stores.

Not long after the release of Essential Montreux, the five-CD set released in July 2009, Eagle is ensuring that Gary Moore fans get the ultimate live Montreux experience.

Jam-packing four hours of music into this package, this double DVD/CD set extracts highlights from five concerts, ranging from 1990 to 2001. Prominently displaying his unmatched guitar style, mastery in both rock and blues, and his straight-from-the-soul stage prowess, Definitive Montreux features classic hits such as “Parisienne Walkways,” “Still Got The Blues,” “Out In The Fields,” and “The Stumble.”

Arguably one of the best rock and blues guitarists to come out of Ireland, Gary Moore, mentored by Peter Green, studied the likes of John Mayall, Jimi Hendrix, and Elvis to develop his versatile sound.

He did time with Colosseum II, Skid Row, and the legendary Thin Lizzy before establishing his successful solo career in the 80s with his wailin’ brand of rockin’ blues. He eventually developed a solid relationship with the celebrated jazz festival.

As evidenced by Definitive Montreux, Gary Moore and Montreux are truly a perfect pair, and the Swiss festival is the perfect stage to showcase Moore’s unparalleled talent.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bono, Sting To Perform On Haiti Telethon

George Clooney says the "Hope for Haiti" benefit for victims of the earthquake in Haiti will include performances from Bono, Sting, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys.

Speaking to The Associated Press at the Golden Globes ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Clooney said that more than 40 celebrities are expected to attend the January 22 event. The actor said the aim of the benefit is "to show the people of Haiti that the whole world is paying attention."

The benefit, which Clooney and Haitian-born singer Wyclef Jean will host, will be broadcast on more than a dozen broadcast and cable networks. It will be held in New York, with CNN's Anderson Cooper chiming in from Haiti.

The show will benefit the Red Cross, UNICEF, Oxfam America, Partners in Health and Jean's Yele Haiti Foundation.

Clooney said that songs from participating artists will also be available on iTunes, with proceeds going to the relief effort.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

2010 Could Be Busy Year For Digital Music Mergers

Think last year's acquisitions of iLike, imeem and Lala marked the end of consolidation for digital music services? Think again.

Gradually thawing credit markets and an increasingly competitive digital music landscape could make 2010 a banner year for mergers and acquisitions.

Apple's purchase of Lala in December lends a greater degree of legitimacy to the "cloud-based" access model for music distribution. And that deal, along with MySpace's purchase of iLike and imeem, will consolidate innovative features into a single, well-financed service -- which is surely better for the recording industry than watching them die on the vine individually.

"I see it as a positive sign," says David Ring, executive vice president of business development and business affairs for Universal Music Group's eLabs. "If they cannot or choose not to go it alone, that's OK. Maybe they need more economic backing in order to make something into an enterprise of great worth. I'm encouraged by the interest in the acquisition of various music services."

Expect to see Apple and MySpace continue their respective buying sprees. MySpace Music wants to expand quickly into areas like merchandise sales and concert ticketing and has more cash than it has developers. And Apple, for all its dominance in the a la carte download space, is playing catch-up in areas like social media, discovery and recommendations.

Meanwhile, Google is said to be eyeing a stronger digital music presence not only to beef up its music search results features but potentially to expand into additional music services for devices based on its smart-phone operating system, Android. In fact, Google reportedly considered buying Lala before Apple snatched it away.

Microsoft is not only relaunching elements of its MSN portal to improve its search and social networking features, but may also be seeking ways to jump-start its struggling Zune service with an acquisition in perhaps the mobile or Internet radio space.

Amazon's MP3 store is emerging as a strong, if still distant, second to iTunes in the digital download market, but it doesn't have streaming or social networking capabilities. And Facebook remains curiously absent from digital music outside of a partnership with Lala for virtual gifting.

Other potential buyers include device makers like Nokia, which may want to replace its Comes With Music subscription service with an on-demand streaming option, and Sony, which may want a music access solution to add to the range of media services it plans to launch on the PlayStation Network this year.

Even big-box retailer Best Buy may aim to add to the stable of entertainment services it's seeking to bundle into devices sold at its stores beyond Napster -- which it acquired in 2008 -- with an Internet radio or music recommendation technology.

Likely acquisition targets include technologies and services that address specific areas of the digital music business that a would-be contender would otherwise have to build on its own to be successful.

At the top of this list? Search and recommendation features.

"In the world of on-demand, all-you-can-eat streaming services, what to listen to is even more meaningful than getting access to the music," says Tim Chang, a principal at Norwest Venture Partners in Palo Alto, Calif.

A particularly tempting takeover target for companies seeking this kind of functionality is Pandora, the customizable Internet radio service that built its own music recommendation engine called the Music Genome. Having finally sorted out a years-long royalty dispute with SoundExchange, the company has clarity on music expenses through 2014 and expects to turn a profit this year through audio ads and premium subscription options.

Other companies mentioned in the search-and-discovery space include the Echo Next and Blip.fm. Kleiner Perkins' iFund, meanwhile, invested an undisclosed amount in music ID service Shazam in hopes of building it into a mobile music powerhouse, which makes it both a potential acquirer and acquiree.

Portability is another area of great interest, mostly driven by accessing music through mobile phones. MySpace Music, for example, cited imeem's mobile app as one of the reasons it wanted to acquire the company.

But today's collection of iPhone app developers aren't seen as likely acquisition targets. Not many make more than a few million dollars per year in revenue, and their technology isn't seen as particularly compelling, providing little incentive to buy them out except to acquire personnel and executive expertise.

However, such mobile streaming music services as Slacker -- which last year shifted from offering its own portable device to focusing fully on mobile phones as its core strategy -- and the highly praised Spotify are another story. As smart phones become more advanced and wireless networks more reliable, the concept of streaming music to a phone rather than downloading and transferring it is becoming an area of great interest and likely one that will result in several acquisitions this year, although Spotify's estimated $250 million valuation may be too pricey for potential buyers.

Another company to watch is Melodeo, which offers the nuTsie service that lets users stream their PC-based music library to their cell phones. Currently, users can access only a random stream of their library, in order to comply with webcaster licensing rules, but an on-demand version is in the works. Sources say Melodeo is in negotiations with at least two companies that lost the bidding war over Lala, along with other potential suitors.

As for social music services, there's no shortage of speculation about MOG, a relatively newer entrant that launched a $5-per-month streaming service in December. MOG would give a potential buyer not only a well-received on-demand streaming music service but also an established music-focused social network and advertising network integrated into more than 300 other music-related blogs.

Aside from these big-bucket needs, there's a host of additional functionality that digital music services are looking for that they could easily get through buying existing companies. There's lyrics information and interactivity through Tunewiki, ticketing and event services from the likes of Eventful or Jambase, playlisting technology from Project Playlist, guitar tabs, karaoke, music videos and more.

"They are more likely to be ingredients rather than stand-alone businesses," says Mike McGuire, research vice president with technology research/advisory company Gartner in San Jose, Calif. "The things that add to the experience are where we are going to see more roll-ups and acquisitions."

Friday, January 15, 2010

New "Supergroup" With Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham, Joe Bonamassa And Derek Sherinian

"I'm like the one up there representing the Bonham family. that's kind of how I should look at it," Jason Bonham told Spinner backstage at L.A.'s Wiltern, where he would later honor his iconic father, John Bonham, as part of Guitar Center's Drum-Off last weekend. The event is a competition for aspiring stickmen and showcases some of the world's greatest drummers, including Tommy Lee, Tool's Danny Carey and Billy Cobham, among others.

There's no question, Led Zeppelin is part of his family and legacy, an inheritance he proved worthy of when he so successfully filled in for his father at the band's O2 reunion show in December of 2007. But he says, breaking the hearts of millions of fans, that part of his life is indeed over. "As far as the big question, the big one, I think that one's come and gone now. But it was a lot of fun while it lasted," he says, echoing Jimmy Page's sentiments in recent interviews that the Zep reunion is not going to happen.

And like his band mates that night, Bonham is moving on to new music. "I just literally went into the studio last week for two days with one person I'd done an album with before, very quickly, and then the other was a friend of my father's I got to meet later on, Joe Bonamassa and Glenn Hughes, and we're working on a new project with a working title of Black Country," Bonham says. "We just went in with [producer] Kevin Shirley and played riffs and just jammed for two days. And that's really exciting."

Bonham says the new group, which takes its name from the industrial area in England that he and Hughes -- best known for his work with both Deep Purple and Black Sabbath) come from -- is in fact a band. "We're actually recording an album, literally in that process of jamming it out and editing and putting together and going, 'Yeah, that's really cool,'" he says. " Joe just wanted to play guitar so with Glenn on bass and vocals, it's a power trio."

Producer Kevin Shirley has posted this on his Facebook page : "The cat is out the bag! This is Black Country. Jason Bonham on drums, Derek Sherinian on keyboards, Glenn Hughes on bass and vocals and Joe Bonamassa on guitar and vocals. The songs are all original and they are all the very best players in the world!

"Jason (Led Zeppelin, Foreigner) - a totally unique drummer and what a powerhouse, yet oh-so-tasty. Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Billy Idol, Alice Cooper) - super versatile, playing mostly overdriven Hammond in this ensemble. Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Trapeze) - bass and vocals and Joe Bonamassa is the best Blues guitarist around, adds his signature vocals. We're planning to get this out late summer! Perhaps if you're around San Bernadino about March 17........."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Johnny Cash Releasing Another Posthumous Album

More than six years after his death, Johnny Cash will return to record stores next month with a new album featuring one of the last songs the country legend ever wrote.

American VI: Ain't No Grave, billed as the final installment in a series of comeback recordings overseen by producer Rick Rubin, will be released on February 26, the 78th anniversary of Cash's birth, said a spokeswoman for Rubin.

As with its predecessors, "Ain't No Grave" is heavy on acoustic covers, including tunes written by Sheryl Crow and Kris Kristofferson as well as a gospel number previously covered by Bob Dylan.

Cash himself contributed "I Corinthians: 15:55," a song he wrote during his last three years. He died on September 12, 2003 after years of poor health, and just four months after his wife, June Carter Cash. In 2006, he topped the U.S. pop album chart with American V: A Hundred Highways.

The American Recordings series kicked off in 1994 after Rubin rescued Cash from a creative and commercial lull. Their critically acclaimed collaborations garnered six Grammys and delivered a whole new generation of fans enticed by mournful covers of tunes by the likes of Beck, Nick Cave, Neil Diamond and Depeche Mode. His biggest success was with Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt," whose heartbreaking video served as a final farewell.

The track listing for "Ain't No Grave" includes Crow's "Redemption Day" and Kristofferson's "For The Good Times," as well as Joe "Red" Hayes and Jack Rhodes' "A Satisfied Mind," the opening track on Dylan's unloved 1980 album "Saved."

Cash also covered Tom Paxton's "Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound," Bob Nolan's "Cool Water," and Queen Lili'uokalani's "Aloha Oe." He dusted off Ed McCurdy's anti-war "Last Night I had the Strangest Dream," which also appears on his 1969 concert recording At Madison Square Garden.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

U2-Scored 'Spider-Man' Musical Giving Refunds After Delayed Opening

The delay in bringing Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark to Broadway has prompted its producers to offer refunds to theatergoers who had purchased tickets for performances that at one time had been expected to start February 25.

The producers said that "the production is moving forward" and a new schedule for preview performances at the Hilton Theatre as well as an opening date later this year would be announced shortly.

Meanwhile, ticket holders can immediately request a refund from Ticketmaster or wait to exchange them for another date when the new performance schedule is announced.

The lavish musical has had a troubled history, with work on the musical stopped last summer because of financial difficulties. It now reportedly has a budget that could hit the $50 million mark.

Spider-Man will be directed by Julie Taymor and features a score by U2's Bono and The Edge.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Beatles Actors Lined Up For 'Yellow Submarine'

It's "all together now" for the cast of director Robert Zemeckis' upcoming Beatles feature.

British actors Cary Elwes, Dean Lennox Kelly, Peter Serafinowicz and Adam Campbell are in negotiations to portray the members of the Fab Four in Yellow Submarine, a remake set up at Disney.

The original 1968 animated movie was based on the music by the Beatles and featured a storyline wherein a soldier called Old Fred meets up with the Beatles and travels in a yellow submersible to Pepperland. Among the group's encounters are the music-hating Blue Meanies.

As with his recently released A Christmas Carol, Zemeckis is making the movie using 3D performance-capture technology. He also wrote the screenplay.

The Beatles tribute band Fab 4 will be motion-captured as the ensemble for the musical performance sequences though -- since actual Beatles music will be utilized (licensed from Sony/ATV and EMI-Capitol Records) -- they won't actually be performing the 16 songs used in the movie.

Kelly, who is currently on the BBC's Robin Hood series, is portraying John Lennon. Liverpool-born Serafinowicz (Shaun of the Dead, Couples Retreat) plays Paul McCartney.

Elwes, who worked with Zemeckis on A Christmas Carol and is in the upcoming The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, will play George Harrison. Campbell will be Ringo Starr. His credits include Epic Movie and Date Movie, and he will be seen on NBC's miniseries Day One.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jimi Hendrix Explores New 'Valleys'

An album of previously unreleased Jimi Hendrix studio recordings is set for release in March, kicking off a brand new exploration of the legendary guitar virtuoso's life and works in the lead-up to the 40th anniversary of his death in 1970.

Valleys of Neptune, a 12-song collection that includes the final studio sessions of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience lineup and Hendrix's first recordings with bassist Billy Cox, is set for release on March 9 on Sony's Legacy Recordings.

The album marks the launch of the 2010 Jimi Hendrix Catalog Project, a partnership between the label and Experience Hendrix LLC, the company charged with overseeing the guitarist's music and image.

Taken mostly from several 1969 sessions, Valleys of Neptune was originally recorded and newly mixed by Eddie Kramer, the Electric Ladyland studio engineer who worked closely with Hendrix. Kramer used both cutting-edge digital and analog equipment to restore the master tapes to the original, pristine quality.

The title track, much craved by Hendrix devotees, delivers on the promise of the musician's legendary trove of unreleased material: a fully realized song written and recorded by Hendrix at his creative peak in 1970 that had remained unrecovered for nearly four decades. The song will be released as a single globally on February 2.

Other highlights of the album include the only JHE studio recording of "Hear My Train A Comin'," a Hendrix blues original that he often performed live; a searing instrumental take on Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love;" the extended stage arrangements of JHE classics "Fire" and "Red House," recorded in preparation for the band's 1969 Royal Albert Hall concert recordings; and "Mr. Bad Luck," one of the only original tunes the then-unknown guitarist performed in tiny Greenwich Village nightclubs in 1966.

"It is important that everyone understand that this is not the 'lost' album," explains John McDermott, Experience Hendrix archivist, who wrote extensive liner notes for the release. "It is the documentation of an important point in his career when the original JHE was making a follow up to Electric Ladyland in 1969. Once Jimi started working with Billy Cox, he started making his creative transition and left this material on the shelf."

Hendrix died on September 18, 1970 at the age of 27, having released only four albums and a few singles in his lifetime.

In addition to Valleys of Neptune, Legacy Recordings is also planning deluxe CD/DVD editions of key Hendrix albums Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love, Electric Ladyland and First Rays of the New Rising Sun for March 9 release.

Each DVD will include a brand new documentary about the making of its respective album, directed Beatles Anthology creator Bob Smeaton and feature interviews with Jimi Hendrix Experience players Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding and Cox, as well as Kramer and original producer Chas Chandler.

Other planned 2010 Hendrix releases include a reissue of Smash Hits, the 1968 compilation of singles, b-sides and several standout JHE album tracks; a DVD and Blu-ray release of Live at Woodstock; and a multi-disc box set. A new documentary film is also in the works.

Additionally, the 17-date Experience Hendrix Tour 2010 kicks off March 4 in Santa Barbara, Calif. The fourth outing of the biennial tour features many top rock and blues musicians performing music written and inspired by Hendrix.

This year's tour features Joe Satriani, Aerosmith's Brad Whitford, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepard, Ernie Isley, Los Lobos and Living Colour, among others. Cox, Hendrix's army buddy who played bass in both the JHE and Band of Gypsies and at the Woodstock and Isle of Wight festivals, will perform at all of the dates.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Elvis Presley Turns 75

Had he lived, Elvis Presley would have been 75 on Friday, January 8. Some 3,000 people purchased tickets to visit Graceland on Presley's birthday.

His former wife, Priscilla Presley, told NBC's Today that they would be treated to the opening of a year long birthday celebration and a number of exhibits created especially for the milestone.

"I think Elvis would always be a part of music, no matter what," Presley told Matt Lauer from Graceland. "It was in his blood. I don't know if he'd be doing rock `n' roll right now; I think that maybe he'd be going into gospel. Maybe even preaching a little bit. He loved to teach and loved the Bible. He always would have been dedicated to his music, that's for sure."

The NBA's Memphis Grizzlies also paid tribute to the King. The players plan to wear blue suede sneakers for one of their games. In addition, Turner Classic Movies will play an Elvis movie marathon.

Presley died in his bathroom in 1977 at the age of 42, the victim of addiction to prescription drugs.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Royal Mail Unveils Classic Album Cover Stamps

In collaboration with London-based Studio Dempsey, The Royal Mail unveiled its first set of ten 1st class stamps that celebrate classic British album covers on January 7.

Uniquely designed like a vinyl disc sliding out of a record sleeve, the stamps feature legendary British album covers from The Rolling Stones, The Clash and more.

Great music aside, the focus of The Royal Mail's stamps project is on the designers, those responsible for some of the finest examples of album design; as iconic as the music itself.

The Royal Mail actually enlisted the help of editors from UK music magazines, plus graphic designers and design writers, to offer opinions on the most significant album sleeve artwork used on records by British artists.

To see the stamps, go here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Rolling Stones Will NOT Tour This Year

The Rolling Stones have announced they have no plans to tour this year.

The superstars took the extremely rare step of issuing an official statement after intense speculation in the music business they were planning another global jaunt, which had been penciled in to be announced in April.

The statement read: ‘Following recent UK media speculation, The Rolling Stones would like to make it clear, there are no plans at the moment for the band to tour in 2010.’

The decision will be seen as a blow to troubled Ronnie Wood, who is notoriously poor at looking after his money.

Indeed, following his divorce from ex-wife Jo - which will see him selling both their former marital home in Kingston Hill, Surrey, and their estate in Ireland as part of her £6.5 million pay-out - a money-spinning tour would have been the ideal way for Mr Wood to replenish his funds.

The last Stones tour, A Bigger Bang, netted more than £300 million.

"Ronnie's always been terrible at holding on to cash - so the Stones' tours are invaluable. And at the moment he's got the cost of the divorce as well," a source insisted.

Rumours had been rife for months that the legendary rock group were planning a series of huge concerts across the globe.

It had also been suggested that frontman Mick Jagger was preparing to replace guitarist Wood, 62, following his recent troubles - unless he went into rehab to seek help for his drinking.

He received a formal police caution for common assault after attacking erstwhile partner Ekatarina Ivanova in a road close to their home in Claygate, Surrey, at the beginning of December.

Since then, Ivanova has been interviewed talking of the attack and Wood’s alcohol and drugs problems. In total, she is believed to have received more than £100,000 for the series of interviews.

She is also one of the contestants on this year’s Celebrity Big Brother series, which began on Sunday on Channel 4, and for which her fee is £75,000.

But despite the humiliation that Ivanova’s growing public presence is causing Wood and the band, sources indicated there was some good news for Mr Wood because there are no plans for them to sack him.

A source revealed: ‘There haven't been any serious discussions between Ronnie and Mick during the Christmas holiday. They wished each other Merry Christmas and that was about it. There was certainly no ultimatum for Ronnie.'

However, the band’s statement this evening is at odds with comments Wood gave to reporters at the beginning of November.

When asked then if the band were planning to tour this year, he said: ‘Let’s hope so, yeah... I’m ready to rock.’

The Bigger Bang tour went on for almost two years before ending in August 2007.

Wood joined the Rolling Stones in 1976 after the departure of Mick Taylor.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Live Paul McCartney Tracks Coming To Rock Band

Paul McCartney became a video game avatar in 2009 with his Fab Four bandmates in The Beatles: Rock Band, but until now the series has been devoid of any solo Macca material.

That will change on Tuesday, January 5th, when three tracks from McCartney’s live Good Evening, New York City will be added to the Rock Band and LEGO Rock Band marketplace as downloadable content.

The New York Pack 01 will feature “Band on the Run,” “Jet” and “Sing the Changes,” all taken from McCartney’s epic shows at New York’s new home of the Mets, Citi Field.

The tracks will become available for XBox 360 and Wii on January 5th, while Playstation 3 users can get their hands on the content on January 7th.

McCartney becomes the first of the Fab Four to have their solo material feature on the Rock Band series, and continues a partnership with Harmonix and MTV Games that saw the release of The Beatles: Rock Band on September 9th, 2009.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Peter Gabriel Goes Orchestral For Covers Album

Peter Gabriel eschews traditional rock'n'roll instrumentation on his upcoming album, Scratch My Back, which sports orchestral covers of material originally recorded by David Bowie, Paul Simon, Neil Young, Radiohead and Arcade Fire, among others.

All of the artists whose songs Gabriel covers on Scratch My Back will return the favor by reworking his songs on a future album, dubbed "I'll Scratch Yours."

"Scratch My Back," due February 15 on Virgin Records, is Gabriel's first studio album since 2002's Up, which peaked at No. 9 on The Billboard 200.

Gabriel will perform selections from Scratch My Back with an orchestra at four March shows: March 22 in Paris (Palais Omnisports), March 25 in Berlin (O2 World) and March 27-28 in London (The O2).

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Van Morrison Denies Baby Report

Singer Van Morrison has denied that he had fathered a child with his manager, saying a widely reported statement that appeared on his website was the result of a hacking attack.

Irish state broadcaster RTE published a statement signed by the publicity-shy blues and R&B singer-songwriter that says a birth announcement on his website was "completely and utterly without foundation."

A statement saying that "Gigi and Van Morrison are very proud to announce the birth of their first born son, George Ivan Morrison III," was also distributed to the media by the Belfast-born singer's Los Angeles-based publicist, Phil Lobel.

Lobel described Gigi Lee as Morrison's manager and "mother of his child." Morrison, 64, was reported as telling a friend he did not even know the name.

Lobel said in a statement that his office had "passed along information from the official website of Van Morrison, which we are now told had been hacked. All those with Van Morrison regret any confusion this may have caused."

Morrison said he had asked his management to investigate the hacking attack, adding that it was the second in three months.

John Saunders, a friend and Dublin-based executive at public relations agency Fleishman-Hillard, said Van Morrison had told him that he did not know Gigi.

"He has said to me on the phone today, he has said it's not true," Saunders told Reuters in Dublin. "He has never heard of this person Gigi, the name means nothing to him."

Gigi Lee is listed as the executive producer of Morrison's 2009 'Astral Weeks' Live at the Hollywood Bowl concert DVD. The LA Weekly described Lee as being backstage during its May 2009 interview with Morrison, and the British Sunday Times quoted her in a September 2009 story about a forthcoming documentary on Morrison.

Morrison said in his statement that he was "very happily married to Michelle Morrison with whom I have two wonderful children."

Asked why Morrison had waited several days to deny the baby story, Saunders said that the singer was not good at handling his public relations.

"Van is a mystery man in many ways, his fans will testify to that," Saunders told RTE.

Morrison, whose 45-year career spans soul, blues, jazz, R&B and country, also has an adult daughter, singer-songwriter Shana Morrison, from his first marriage.

Famed for such tunes as "Gloria" and "Brown Eyed Girl," he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 but declined to attend the ceremony.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Group Wants The Who Booted From Super Bowl

A South Florida child abuse prevention group wants the NFL to reconsider booking The Who for the Super Bowl halftime show.

Child AbuseWatch.net objects to Pete Townshend performing because of his 2003 arrest by British police on suspicion of possessing child pornography. He was eventually cleared but placed on a sex offenders registry for five years as part of a formal police caution for accessing a Web site containing images of child abuse.

The Pompano Beach group's founder and CEO Evin Daly told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that their concerns are focused on Townshend.

"I'm a fan of the band, I grew up with The Who. Pete Townshend is the only issue, and the issue is that he's a former registered sex offender," Daly said. "The issue is, it sends the wrong message to American families."

In a Dec. 17 letter to Daly, Joe Browne, the NFL's executive vice president of communications and public affairs, said the league was aware of Townshend's arrest. He also noted Townshend's charity work.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told The Associated Press that Townshend and The Who will perform in the Feb. 7 halftime show at LandShark Stadium in Miami.

"U.K. police cleared him since he was doing research for a project on child abuse," McCarthy said.

Messages left for The Who's U.S. record label, Universal, and the band's publicist were not immediately returned.

Soundgarden Reforming In 2010

Soundgarden are reforming for 2010!

Chris Cornell confirmed it on his Twitter page last night (December 31) with the following message: "The 12 year break is over & school is back in session. Sign up now. Knights of the Soundtable ride again!"

Cornell posted a link to >www.soundgardenworld.com, an empty website that has no further information on the reunion or associated tours.

The reunion is exciting news for rock fans everywhere but in many ways unexpected as drummer Matt Cameron and former Nirvana man Krist Novoselic both recently shot down talk of the rumoured reformation.

The big question is when and where will we see Soundgarden in 2010? That, for now, is the $64,000 question.