Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Brian Wilson "Not Really Interested" In Reuniting The Beach Boys

In a recent interview with the Village Voice, The Beach Boys founding member and primary songwriter Brian Wilson denied the rumor that the group will reunite next year in celebration of their 50th anniversary, as reported in Rolling Stone and by the BBC.

"I don't know anything about that," he said. "I don't really have a relationship with the other members right now, and I'm not really interested in them."

The June 8 issue of the Village Voice will contain the full interview with Wilson, which covers his likely retirement from touring, the painful memories that mar this year's long-awaited release of Smile, and the songwriting lessons he learned from George Gershwin.

Monday, May 30, 2011

No Let-Up For Perpetual Music Maker Quincy Jones

After a frenetic career as producer to Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson and many other music legends, 78-year-old Quincy Jones refuses to slow down and has just signed up for a new project in the Arab world.

"I'm 78 and I've still got a lot of energy and I want to do what my dreams are, which is to see people come together across the barriers," Jones said in the Moroccan capital Rabat where he appeared in the Mawazine music festival.

He scoffs at a question as to whether age and past medical woes, such as a serious cerebral aneurysm he suffered in 1974, might encourage him to ease up.

"Not at all. I'll slow down when I die," he said.

As a performer, Jones was already touring North Africa and other parts of the world in the 1950s with some of the biggest names of jazz including Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie.

He arranged Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon" and produced Michael Jackson's album Thriller and the 1985 "We are the World" recording for African famine relief.

Watching the star-studded 1990 documentary Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones today, one is struck by how many of the music legends linked to Jones have since died.

"Sinatra, Ray Charles, Billy Eckstine, Ella Fitzgerald -- all gone," Jones said before adding the name of film director Sidney Lumet and others. "How do you think I feel? I've lost 188 friends, man, in less than 15 years."

"It hurts," the veteran producer, musician and arranger continued. "It just doesn't stop."

Doctors have long told Jones to reduce his workload. "I know, I don't care. I like what I am doing," he said.

Like a master jazz improviser able to draw on thousands of musical phrases, Jones, with the slightest association, is well prepared to roll out a remarkable array of genial anecdotes about a lifetime of adventures with music legends.

A mention of Italy prompts him to show off his much cherished ring from Frank Sinatra. India sparks him to tell of meeting sitarist Ravi Shankar in 1956, after which he recalls that Shankar is father to singer Norah Jones.

A reference to Serbia inspires him to show off a few words in Serbian, including one off-color one that causes him much amusement.

In one of his latest projects, Jones, who has won 27 Grammy Awards, has launched a joint venture to promote music in North Africa and the Middle East in which musicians from different cultures will work together.

They are also recording a new song to raise funds for regional scholarships.

A musician from the besieged Libyan town of Misrata made a visit to Rabat this week for the project. On Sunday, Jones was also set to appear at a memorial concert in Marrakesh after an attack there killed 17 people a month ago.

"More and more when you get older you do exactly what you believe in with the people that you love and trust and admire," he told Reuters. "That's where I am now, which allows me to do what I feel and give back what I feel, whatever I want to do."

Jones says he feels an affinity for Arabs as they have often suffered from prejudice like American blacks.

"People have preconceived concepts of you just on your appearance. That's sad," he said. "My two least favorite words are 'you people." I hate that word."

"All the things I did, they said you were the first. That means only," he said. "Like first black (vice) president of a record company or the first one to produce the Oscars."

As a musician, Jones has frequently changed with the times, from bebop and big band jazz earlier in his career to pop and hip-hop later on. He is hoping evolving medical technology will enable him to stay involved for many more years.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Bob Segar Mulls Fall Tour, Retiring From The Road

As his tour enters its final weekend, Bob Seger is talking about returning in the fall -- and also about retiring for good.

Because "there are so many places we didn't play" on the current 27-date run that began March 26 in Toledo, Seger tells Billboard.com that another tour later this year is a serious consideration.

"I must admit we are kind of glancing at the fall," the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer acknowledges. "We didn't play anywhere in Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, Kentucky ... I could go on and on. There were states we never even got to ... And it's going so well and everybody is so positive on it, we are considering maybe two months, like late October to late December, just before Christmas." Seger says he hopes to make a decision by mid-June.

Summer dates, Seger adds, were never a consideration. "I just don't like sheds," he explains. "They just don't sound good ... and I try to avoid them. People are kind of far away. So I'd rather avoid them, if I can."

As for the prospect of leaving the road entirely, Seger, who turned 66 earlier this month, says he's not kidding. "I've been doing this a long time," he notes. "I don't know if I want to do this when I'm 67, you know?"

The Seger tour had a triumphant homecoming at the Palace of Auburn Hills in suburban Detroit, where Seger and his Silver Bullet Band played three shows for a total of 49,100 fans. On the final night (May 21), he was surprised when his teenage children -- son Cole and daughter Samantha -- played saxophone and sang, respectively, with the band on its version of Otis Clay's "Tryin' to Live My Life Without You." Seger was also honored that night with a banner commemorating a combined 38 career sell-outs at the Palace and its sister amphitheater, the DTE Energy Music Theater (previously known as Pine Knob).

Seger and company play two more shows, wrapping up Saturday in Grand Rapids, Mich. The group also plays a private show for Wal-Mart the following week before disbanding.

Seger plans to take "about a month" off before returning to work on a new album -- his first since 2006's Face The Promise -- that he previously said will feature "different feels, different speeds, different approaches to the stuff I do." The album will include his latest single, a cover of Tom Waits' "Downtown Train," as well as a "father-daughter" song called "Hannah" that features guest appearances by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow -- the same trio that recorded "Collide," the latest single from Rock's "Born Free" album -- a "very Led Zeppelin" track called "The Sea Inside;" and "Hey Gypsy," a Texas swing-styled "homage to Stevie Ray Vaughan."

No title or release date have been decided on for the album, and Seger says that, like touring, it might also bring an end to an era of his life.

"I'll still be writing songs, but I don't know about recording," Seger says. "I'd write for other people, because recording takes a lot more time than the writing, and I think I could better use my time just writing and then turn (the songs) over to someone else and hoping they do them well. And there are so many writers in Nashville to work with ... I've been writing alone for years and years and years, and maybe to write with other people would not only speed up the process but expand it, expand the horizons, and it might be fun. But that's down the road."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Judas Priest Take Hollywood

As previously reported, Judas Priest came to Hollywood on May 24 to announce their world tour and introduce their new guitarist. What was unknown to the press at the time was that Judas Priest were set to appear on the final episode of American Idol.

Indeed, the one and only Judas Priest debuted their new guitarist, Richie Faulkner, tonight on the show, ripping through a medley that included kick ass renditions of two British Steel classics ("Living After Midnight" and "Breakin' the Law") with major Priest fan and American Idol hopeful James Durbin joining in on vocals.

This is the second time that Durbin has professed his admiration for Priest on the show, as he wowed judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler a while back with a rendition of "You've Got Another Thing Comin'." Although Durbin was recently voted off the show, he undoubtedly has a bright rocking future ahead, as evidenced by his multi-octave vocal range.

The band's appearance on the highly rated show came a day after they announced plans to launch their farewell Epitaph tour, which will take them around the world, including a just-announced U.S. tour of arenas from October through December, which will also feature opening acts Black Label Society and Thin Lizzy.

Priest singer Rob Halford had the following to say about what fans can expect on the group's forthcoming trek. "We're pulling out all the stops. We've built a brand new stage set, we've got all the effects that people love us for - the lasers, the fire, the bombs, the smoke, new costumes, and the bike. It's just a full-on metal extravaganza."

Check out Vintage Rock's video of the Judas Priest press conference in Hollywood.

Confirmed Judas Priest U.S. Tour Dates (more dates to be announced shortly):

October:

12 - San Antonio, TX: AT&T Center
14 - Corpus Christi, TX: Concrete Street Amphitheater
15 - Houston, TX: The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
16 - Dallas, TX: Allen Event Center
18 - Tucson, AZ: Ava Amphitheater
19 - San Diego, CA: Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre
21 - Phoenix, AZ: AZ State Fair
22 - San Bernardino, CA: San Manuel Amphitheater
23 - Las Vegas, NV: Hard Rock
25 - Los Angeles, CA: Gibson Amphitheatre
26 - Oakland, CA: Oracle Arena
29 - Seattle, WA: WaMu Theater
30 - Vancouver, BC: Rogers Arena

November:

1 - Edmonton, AB: Shaw Conference Center
2 - Calgary, AB: Scotiabank Saddledome
4 - Salt Lake City, UT: Maverik Center
5 - Denver, CO: 1STBANK Center
12 - Chicago, IL: The Venue at Horseshoe Casino
13 - Detroit, MI: Joe Louis Arena
18 - East Rutherford, NJ: Izod Center

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Judas Priest Announce Tour, Introduce New Guitarist

All five members of Judas Priest — Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, Ian Hill, Scott Travis, and the band's latest addition, 31-year-old guitarist Richie Faulkner (LAUREN HARRIS, DIRTY DEEDS) — took part in a press conference Tuesday, May 24 at the Renaissance Hotel in Los Angeles to answer questions about the upcoming "Epitaph" U.S. tour and to formally introduce Faulkner.

When asked if the band has had a chance to collaborate on any new material with Faulkner, Tipton said, "We haven't yet, no. It's really early days. We're still in the process of rehearsing [for the upcoming tour], and that's taken a whole lot of time, and then we had to come over here… for something. I can't say [what]."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bob Dylan Turns 70

Excerpted from the Australian

Bob Dylan is 70. The Minnesotan troubadour, who rolled into New York the year Kennedy became president, could care less. As he wrote in one of his better songs, "Me, I'm still on the road, heading for another joint."

It would not be unkind to say he has been crooning like a 70-year-old for some while. His voice, which was never an instrument of beauty, lost whatever shape it may have had at least a decade ago.

Yet still the followers linger, waiting for a sign. And what followers they are. Across ocean and desert they pursue their quarry, hoping to hear him get it right one more time. No popular singer has attracted such devoted admirers, or so many batty ones.

One of the most persistent, Michael Gray, who wrote a biography called Song & Dance Man, once confessed he was spellbound by the way his hero shakes his leg, so we are not obliged to accept every claim made on his behalf. Dylanophiles do not make hard-nosed reviewers.

The more enthusiastic followers, like that (usually) superb critic Christopher Ricks, would have us believe that he is not a popular entertainer at all, but a poet, a true artist. They make much of his literary pretensions; yet pretensions they are. Reading Balzac may be the pastime of a civilized man (Dylan was very keen to sprinkle names throughout his overrated autobiography, Chronicles), but furnishing a room with books doesn't make a man an artist. Nor does quoting famous writers in his songs, and Dylan has never been shy of telling listeners what he has been reading. Eliot and Pound turn up in "Desolation Row," an early rambling song that shows the songwriter at his most turgid. Shakespeare appears in "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again." Most ludicrously he squeezes Verlaine (pronounced incorrectly) and Rimbaud into "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go."

Dylan is not in the same league as those giants, who knew that songs were not just words flung down to accompany melodic phrases. Listening at a distance of nearly 50 years to some of his early songs, such as "Mr. Tambourine Man," is plain embarrassing. Not for him the playfulness of Cole Porter: "Do do that voodoo that you do so well." And ina half-century of putting words together he has never approached the wounding simplicity of perhaps the greatest of the great, Johnny Mercer: "With each beam, the same old dream." A world of yearning in seven syllables.

Yet, despite everything, there is a case to be made. Ignore the flattery of his adolescent admirers, the dreadful songwriters who emerged from beneath his cloak, and his own silly remarks, which have too often been presented as evidence of homespun wisdom. Good work will always survive the nonsense that surrounds it, and Dylan made one record so fine that it puts him in the pantheon.

When he entered the CBS studios in Manhattan in September 1974, it was a troubled time for his country. Richard Nixon had stood down as president the previous month and American troops were still in Vietnam, preparing for the humiliation of withdrawal.

It was also a difficult time for Dylan, whose marriage to Sara Lowndes had broken up. Earlier in the year he had toured the US with The Band, concerts which produced a storming double album, Before the Flood. But he was struggling to come up with strong new material, and the landscape of pop and rock was changing.

Against this background of darkness and doubt Dylan recorded an acoustic set of exceptional quality. Unhappy with the mix, he rerecorded five of the 10 songs in December back in Minnesota. In January 1975 the songs were unveiled on Blood on the Tracks, a record that is commonly held to be his masterpiece.

A cut of the New York sessions, released years later and known as Blood on the Tapes, is, some would argue, even better.

There are, thank goodness, no protest songs here. There are none of those cringe-making jokers and clowns that infect Dylan's 1960s material. There are no conventional love songs. Saturated by a sense of loss, Blood on the Tracks can make painful listening. It is a work inspired by two fractures, one personal, one public. But it works. At times it even glows.

At its heart are three songs which, taken together, represent Dylan's finest achievement: "A Simple Twist of Fate," "You're a Big Girl Now" and "Shelter from the Storm." Here there is a sense of movement so important to Dylan (and many other American songwriters) and, tellingly, a sense of restraint: "I'm out in the rain, and you are on dry land. You made it there somehow. You're a big girl now."

"Shelter from the Storm," with its memorable opening lines - "Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood" - takes the garland. Here, beset by a misery that only his songs can assuage, Dylan supplies the words that crown the record, and his career: "I'm living in a foreign country, but I'm bound to cross the line. Beauty walks a razor's edge, some day I'll make it mine." It is as if, through the mists of despair, he spies a clear moon, and the possibility of hope.

So Happy Birthday, Bobby. If you are a great songwriter and not just a singer of quirky songs, bumped up by an army of lickspittles, the strongest evidence is found on Blood on the Tracks. But as you rightly said: "Don't follow leaders. Watch your parking meters."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Dream Weaver On Tour With Ringo Starr's All Starr Band

Gary Wright, known by millions for his singles "Dream Weaver" and "Love Is Alive," will perform with Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band on an extensive 27-date European tour from June 4 through 17th. This will mark the third time Wright has toured with Ringo Starr.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of Wright’s multi-million selling album The Dream Weaver. When the album was originally released in 1976, and the single "Dream Weaver" became a huge success, Wright toured extensively with Yes, Fleetwood Mac and was special guest on Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive tour.

Now, with the release of his first album in 20 years, Connected, Wright showcases a new collection of songs that capture the joyous magical transcendence of his all-time classic hits. The single "Satisfied" includes performances from Ringo Starr (drums), Joe Walsh (lead guitar), and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (rhythm guitar).

Former lead singer of the British progressive blues rock band Spooky Tooth (1967-1974), American-born Wright embarked on a solo career in 1975. He was one of the first classic rock musicians to combine synthesizers with rock and funk. Gary’s music has inspired generations of musicians including Jay-Z, Eminem and many others.

The UK leg of Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band’s UK tour includes Hampton Court (June 17), Liverpool Empire (June 18), Birmingham Symphony Hall (June 20), Manchester Opera House (June 22), Glasgow Clyde Auditorium (June 23) and Bournemouth BIC (June 24). The All Starr Band features Rick Derringer (guitar), Richard Page (bass), Wally Palmar (guitar, harmonica), Edgar Winter (sax, keyboards), Gary Wright (keyboards) and Gregg Bissonette (drums).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Roger Daltrey Brings Tommy To North America For Fall Tour

With the blessing of bandmate Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey will revisit The Who’s 1969 rock opera Tommy on a extensive world tour. The 67-year-old rock legend has already announced dates for the U.K., and now he shares his North American itinerary. The leg is set to launch September 13th in Hollywood, FL, and then sees Daltrey make his way up the U.S. East coast and into Canada. After hitting the Midwest in early October, the singer will make his way west, playing shows in Los Angeles, Vegas, and Portland before ending with five dates in western Canada.

For the trek, Daltrey will be joined by Townsend’s brother, Simon, and a full band. Along with a performance of Tommy and “other Who classics,” the shows will also feature “striking visuals,” according to an issued press release. Below, you can find a complete list of Daltrey’s upcoming dates.

Tickets for many of the upcoming dates go on sale Friday, May 20th, via Ticketmaster.

Roger Daltrey 2011 Tour Dates:

07/03 – Alchester, UK @ Ragley Hall
07/04 – Gateshead, UK @ Sage
07/06 – Glasgow, UK @ Clyde Auditorium
07/07 – Manchester, UK @ Bridgewater Hall
07/09 – Nottingham, UK @ Royal Centre
07/10 – Newport, UK @ Centre
07/12 – Bristol, UK @ Colston Hall
07/13 – Southend, UK @ Cliffs Pavillion
07/15 – Guildford, UK @ Guilfest
07/16 – Hampshire, UK @ Broadlands
07/17 – Harrogate, UK @ Ripley House
07/19 – Hull City, UK @ Hall
07/21 – London, UK @ Indigo
07/22 – Norwich, UK @ Blicking Hall
07/24 – Exeter, UK @ Powderham Castl
09/13 – Hollywood, FL @ Seminole Hard Rock
09/15 – Alpharetta, GA @ Verizon Wireless Pavilion
09/17 – Boston, MA @ Agganis Arena
09/18 – Newark, NJ @ Prudential Center
09/21 – Philadelphia, PA @ MANN Center
09/23 – Uniondale, NY @ Nassau Coliseum
09/24 – Hartford, CT @ XL Center
09/27 – Montreal, QC @ Place Des Arts
09/28 – Ottawa, ON @ Scotiabank Place
09/30 – Toronto, ON @ Sony Centre For The Performing Arts
10/01 – Windsor, ON @ The Coliseum at Caesars Windsor
10/05 – Minneapolis, MN @ U.S. Bank Theater at Target Center
10/07 – Hammond, IN @ Venue at Horseshoe Casino
10/08 – St. Louis, MO @ Peabody Opera House
10/11 – Cedar Park, TX @ Cedar Park Center
10/12 – Grand Prairie, TX @ Verizon Theatre
10/14 – Kansas City, MO @ The Midland by AMC
10/16 – Broomfield, CO @ 1STBANK Center
10/19 – Los Angeles, CA @ Nokia Theatre
10/21 – San Jose, CA @ San Jose Civic
10/22 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint
10/24 – Portland, OR @ Rose Quarter-Theatre of the Clouds
10/25 – Seattle, WA @ Key Arena
10/27 – Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena
10/29 – Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Place
10/30 – Calgary, AB @ Scotiabank Saddledome
11/01 – Saskatoon, SK @ Credit Union Centre
11/02 – Winnipeg, MB @ MTS Centre