Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Former Monkees Singer Davy Jones Dies At 66

Davy Jones, former lead singer of the 1960s made-for-television pop band The Monkees, has died after suffering a heart attack in Florida, according to his longtime publicist. He was 66.

Jones' death was confirmed by Christine Weekes, administrative manager for the medical examiner's office in Fort Pierce, Florida, near the Martin Memorial Hospital South where the performer had been taken.

His publicist, Helen Kensick, said Jones died of a heart attack in Indiantown, Florida, but she had no further details.

Jones, born in Manchester, England, became the principal teen idol of the rock quartet featured on the NBC comedy series The Monkees, which was inspired in part by the Beatles film "A Hard Day's Night" and ran for two seasons from the fall of 1966 to August of 1968.

Although not allowed to play their own instruments on their early records, Jones and his three cohorts -- Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork -- had several hits that sold millions of copies, including "Last Train to Clarksville" and "I'm a Believer."

Jones got his start as a young actor, at the age of 11, on the British soap opera "Coronation Street" before landing a role as the Artful Dodger in a West End production of "Oliver!" He went on to originate that role for the Broadway production and earned a Tony nomination.

But Jones gained stardom after answering a casting call for a new TV series being created about the zany misadventures of four Beatles-like rock musicians called the Monkees. Two members of the group, Nesmith and Tork, were actual musicians with performing and recording experience, while Jones and Dolenz were primarily actors who more or less dabbled in music.

Although disparaged by critics as the "Pre-Fab Four" for the manufactured way in which the band came together, the group proved to be adept performers who were eventually given control over their own recordings.

The TV series, introduced by its catchy theme, "Hey, Hey, We're the Monkees," debuted as an immediate ratings hit weeks after the group's first single, "Last Train to Clarksville," had topped the pop charts.

The group collaborated early on with some of the major songwriters and session musicians of the day, including Neil Diamond, Carole King, Glen Campbell and Hal Blaine.

The self-titled first LP topped the album charts that October, and the popularity of the group generated a wave of merchandising, including toys, games and lunchboxes. But their first and only feature film, Head, was a box-office flop.

After their fifth album, the group began to splinter, releasing two more albums as a trio without Tork and one last LP as a duo following Nesmith's exit in 1969.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sex Pistols Sign With Universal

British punk rockers the Sex Pistols have signed with Universal Music Catalog UK, part of the world's largest record label Universal, which will re-release their seminal album Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols.

The repackaged album will go on sale later in 2012, 35 years after its original release, and Universal plans a series of events to mark the anniversary.

"Music can be great. The Sex Pistols are the greatest," said lead singer Johnny Rotten in a statement. He asked listeners to "give generously."

Karen Simmonds, managing director of Universal Music Catalog UK, said re-evaluating the Sex Pistols' songs was "every music lover's dream." The catalog acquisition applies to the world excluding North America.

Never Mind the Bollocks was the only studio album released by the band, famous for its image as the scourge of the British establishment.

The record was controversial both for the strong language in the title and content of some of the songs, which included influential hits "God Save the Queen," "Anarchy in the UK" and "Pretty Vacant."

The album, released in 1977, topped the British charts.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Santana Books 2 Years At Las Vegas' House Of Blues

Guitar legend Carlos Santana plans a two-year headlining gig at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, switching venues from his previous home at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Representatives for the House of Blues say Santana will have a run of shows in May and June, then return in September with the residency running through 2013. Tickets go on sale March 3.

Santana says he's happy to call the venue home, and plans to honor the diversity and culture that the House of Blues promotes as a company.

Part of each ticket sale will go to Santana's foundation, which supports children's art, education and health.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

George Harrison iPad App Released

Bandwidth Publishing, in conjunction with the George Harrison Estate, has released a special iPad app celebrating the guitarist and his historical guitar collection. The Guitar Collection: George Harrison iPad app is available through iTunes beginning today (February 23).

The app brings George Harrison's private guitar collection to life through photographs, detailed descriptions, audio, and video footage. For the first time, with the help of unique 360° imaging by photographer Steven Sebring, fans can see the scratches, dings, and worn threads on the guitars as if they were themselves holding the instruments. The app features a number of Harrison's best known guitars, including the Gretsch G6128 Duo Jet, the Gibson J-160E, the Rickenbacker 360/12, the Fender Stratocaster named 'Rocky', the Ramirez Classical, the Fender Rosewood Telecaster, and the Zemaitis Lotus 12-String, Additional guitars will be added to the app in the future.

Fans can examine Harrison's private guitar collection, through personal audio recordings from Harrison himself as he introduces many of the guitars and plays sections of songs.

The history of each guitar is laid out in great detail, including the origin of the guitar, when and how it became part of Harrison's collection, modifications he made to it and why each was so important in creating his distinctive sound. Songs from his catalog are organized by the guitars used on each track, which allows the user to appreciate the personalities of each instrument.

The video section of the app contains footage of Ben Harper, Josh Homme, Mike Campbell, and Dhani Harrison each playing and showcasing the guitars and exploring their feel and tone. In addition, Conan O'Brien and Dhani discuss what make these guitars so exceptional. Also in this section, guitar great Gary Moore shares his views on what made George Harrison such a distinctive and influential guitar player.

The app is selling for $9.99 at the Apple App Store, at www.itunes.com/apps/TheGuitarCollectionGeorgeHarrison

And check this video previewing the app's features.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mick Jagger, B.B. King Rock The White House

President Barack Obama joined Mick Jagger on stage to sing "Sweet Home Chicago" at the White House blues concert Tuesday (February 21) night as a part of the In Performance at the White House series that airs on PBS.

The surprise performance by the president came at the end of the playlist when the ensemble was singing the blues anthem of Obama's home town.

Buddy Guy prodded the president, saying he'd heard that the president sang part of an Al Green tune recently, and adding, "You gotta keep it up."

Then Jagger handed over the mic, and Obama seemed compelled to comply.

"Come on, baby, don't you want to go," the president sang out twice, handing off the mic to B.B. King momentarily, and then taking it back to tack on "Sweet Home Chicago" at the end.

Obama started the night out explaining that sometimes there are downsides to being the president. You can't just go for a walk, for example.

And then there are the times that more than make up for all those frustrations, he said, like Tuesday night, when Jagger, King, Jeff Beck and other musical giants came by the house to sing the blues.

"I guess things even out a little bit," Obama joked at the start of a rollicking East Room concert that was electrified by Jagger and the rest.

"This music speaks to something universal," Obama declared. "No one goes through life without both joy and pain, triumph and sorrow. The blues gets all of that, sometimes with just one lyric or one note. "

King, 86, arrived in a wheelchair but rose tall to kick off the night with a raucous "Let the Good Times Roll," quickly joined by other members of the ensemble. He continued on with his all-hits playlist causing the president and his wife, Michelle, to sway in their seats.

Beck slowed things down with an instrumental "Brush With the Blues," as anticipation built for the arrival of Jagger, who did not disappoint.

The longtime Rolling Stones frontman delivered on "I Can't Turn You Loose" and then teamed up with Beck on "Commit a Crime." Jagger got the president and his wife up out of their seats, swaying and clapping to the music, and picked up the pace with "Miss You," performed with Shemekia Copeland and Susan Tedeschi.

The lineup for Tuesday's concert spanned multiple generations, from legends like King and Guy to young faces such as 26-year-old Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews and Gary Clark Jr., whose style blends hip hop, contemporary soul and indie rock. Also performing were Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, with actress Taraji P. Henson as the program host and Booker T. Jones as music director and band leader.

The blues concert will be part of the In Performance at the White House series that airs on PBS. This one, designed to recognize Black History Month, will be broadcast on Monday on PBS stations and aired later on American Forces Network. Other White House programs have focused on country music and show tunes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Emerson, Lake & Palmer Announce New Catalog Partnership For North America

Razor & Tie has signed Emerson, Lake & Palmer to an exclusive new multi-year, multi-rights licensing deal for North America. Razor & Tie will re-issue ELP's prestigious back catalog with the first release, The Best Of Emerson Lake & Palmer: Come & See The Show available now for purchase on iTunes and in traditional retail outlets.

The 14-track compilation includes some of the band's most beloved compositions including "Lucky Man," "From The Beginning," "I Believe In Father Christmas," and the full 9-minute version of the classic, "Fanfare For The Common Man."

A full catalog re-issue campaign will kick off later this year with the release of newly expanded, re-mastered, editions of the band's first six albums: Emerson, Lake and Palmer (1970- Studio Album), Tarkus (1971- Studio Album), Pictures At An Art Exhibition (1971- Live Album), Trilogy (1972- Studio Album), Brain Salad Surgery (1973- Studio Album), and Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends - Ladies & Gentlemen (1974- Live Album).

Razor & Tie will actively seek licensing opportunities for the catalog and set up a new direct to consumer store which will feature an array of newly created limited-edition items.

"As Emerson, Lake & Palmer remain unique in their categories, it's only fitting that they are now with a record company with a unique name like 'Razor & Tie'," explains Keith Emerson. "Don't question anything as the music speaks for itself and 'Razor & Tie' yells volumes on ELP's behalf."

Carl Palmer offers, "The time was right to make this move. It's a great, enthusiastic music company."

Greg Lake also enthuses, "We are looking forward to a long and productive relationship together."

Razor & Tie co-owner Cliff Chenfeld adds, "We are very excited and honored to distribute and represent the Emerson, Lake & Palmer catalog. ELP helped create prog rock and we will use this opportunity to bring ELP's amazing body of work to an even broader audience and to finally understand what the Tarkus album cover means."

Considered by many to be one of rock's original first super-groups, Emerson, Lake & Palmer formed in England in 1970 consisting of Keith Emerson (keyboards), Greg Lake (bass guitar, vocals, guitar) and Carl Palmer (drums, percussion). The band created a brand new world of music, combining classical and symphonic rock fused with beautiful vocals. Their penchant for appropriating themes from classical music and the group's more nuanced, textured approach to symphonic arrangements set ELP apart from their more bombastic guitar-based contemporaries of the time.

Monday, February 20, 2012

MC5 Bassist Michael Davis Passes At 68

Michael Davis, bass player with seminal garage rockers MC5, has died at the age of 68.

Davis died on Friday (February 17) at the Enloe Medical Center in Chico, California, after a month-long battle with liver disease, reports The Associated Press.

Born in 1943, Davis joined MC5 in 1964, replacing the band's original bass player Pat Burrows and he remained with the group until 1972. He played on each of the band's three classic albums, including the extremely influential 'Kick Out The Jams'. He also took part in two short-lived reunions with MC5, first in 2003 and then again in 2005.

The bassist also worked as a producer and was behind the controls for records by the likes of Lords of Altamont, Dollhouse, Tokyo Sex Destruction, and OJM.

In his later years, Davis co-founded the Music Is Revolution Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting music education in schools.

Davis is survived by his wife, their three sons, and a daughter from a previous marriage.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tony Iommi's Illness Forces Black Sabbath Tour Changes

Black Sabbath have been forced to scale back plans to tour this year as guitarist Tony Iommi continues treatment for lymphoma, the band said on its website.

In November, the original four man line-up announced it would record its first new album in 33 years and stage a 2012 world tour, joining the long list of aging acts hitting the road for lucrative live performances.

But Iommi was diagnosed with cancer in January, forcing the group to move from Los Angeles to Britain in order to continue recording while he underwent treatment.

Since then, drummer Bill Ward has said he would not participate in the reunion recordings and tour unless he was offered a "signable" contract.

The setbacks mean Black Sabbath will now only perform one of their planned European dates -- Britain's Download Festival -- on June 10.

Lead singer Ozzy Osbourne will perform the remaining scheduled dates as "Ozzy & Friends," featuring himself, original Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler and Zakk Wylde.

Guitarist Slash will join the performers at select shows.

"Tony Iommi continues to make excellent progress and is looking forward to getting back out on the road," a statement on the band's website said. "Meanwhile, Black Sabbath continue to write and record music in the UK for their upcoming album."

There was no fresh word on Ward's involvement or otherwise.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Model Of Elvis Presley's Teeth Up For Auction

A model of Elvis Presley's teeth made by his former dentist will be auctioned off this month.

ABC News reports that both the model and a crown made for him by Henry J. Weiss will go under the hammer courtesy of Omega Auctions on February 25.

It is thought that Weiss made the porcelain crown for the legendary singer in 1971, when Presley cracked his tooth on a microphone during a gig at the Las Vegas International Hotel.

The model, which has been dubbed the "King's Crown," is expected to fetch over $30,000 when it goes on the auction block.

In 2010, a collection of medical implements which were allegedly used during Presley's autopsy were put up for auction.

Forceps, aneurysm hooks and even a toe tag for identifying Presley's corpse in the morgue were all set to go under the hammer, but were removed when the legitimacy of the collection was brought into question after another employee at the home suggested the equipment was sterilized and used again in other autopsies.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bob Marley Film Debuts At Berlin Film Festival

Oscar-winning documentary maker Kevin Macdonald has made what critics are calling the definitive biography of reggae legend Bob Marley, aided by the singer's family and record label who have given the project their blessing.

The first authorized film of his life had its premiere at the Berlin film festival, and while questions about Marley remain, it goes some way to revealing the man behind the myth.

"I just felt like there weren't any good films about him and a lot of misinformation," Macdonald said this week. "I wanted to make a very simple film. It's the most conventional film I think I ever made, very straight forward, just trying to be a detective and uncover the truth about his life and the truth about his character."

Marley, too long for some reviewers at 144 minutes, features interviews with Marley's children, his wife Rita, friends and a former band mate, as well as concert footage.

And with his record label Island also on board, the soundtrack speaks for itself.

The film traces Marley's well-documented journey from a boy born in a small village in Jamaica to a music superstar who brought reggae and the Rastafari movement to a global audience.

He died of cancer in 1981 aged 36.

It explores how Marley was troubled by his mixed-race heritage, the source of bullying when he was a child, and how his many affairs and children out of wedlock took its toll on wife Rita and their daughter Cedella.

Marley had 11 children by seven mothers, according to several accounts of his life.

"Discussion of such insecurities, in addition to tart descriptions of his domestic life from his wife, mistresses and children, does much to dispel the widely held notion of Marley as a kind of blissed-out naif," wrote Guy Lodge in his review of the film for Hollywood publication Variety.

He added, however, that "Macdonald can't resist one too many shots of the vital, verdant Jamaican landscape to re-romanticize things a little."

LEGACY

Key interviewees include Bunny Wailer, a surviving founding member of Marley's band the Wailers. Afterwards the narrative is taken up by Neville Garrick, the Wailers' artistic director.

Garrick recalled Marley's frustration at the toll his illness took towards the end.

"He had a stroke on one side so he couldn't play his guitar anymore and I think that kind of frustrated him," he said.

"Besides, he lost his locks, that all came with the chemotherapy. But being not able to function 100 percent, I think that really hurt him.

"I don't know, maybe he said, like, you know, Jah Rastafari God, what did I do, why are you making me suffer like this? All I did was serve you."

For Marley's son Rohan, the film was a way of keeping his father's legacy alive. At a press conference, he described how having a superstar father was not always easy.

When he and his brother were playing in their home as children, he recalled, two boys approached the gates.

The Marley brothers told them to leave, saying that day they had their father to themselves. The singer overheard the conversation, gave his sons money and told them to buy ice creams for the boys but none for themselves.

"We may call him Daddy, but we're just one of the many," Rohan said.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bonnaroo 2012 To Feature Beach Boys, Alice Cooper, Phish, Radiohead

The lineup for the 11th annual Bonnaroo Festival features a powerhouse lineup for headliners including Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Phish, along with the reunited Beach Boys, Alice Cooper, and many others.

As always, the roster of acts who will descend on the 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee, for the four-day festival held June 7 to June 10 is a wildly eclectic mix of jam, rock, hip-hop, bluegrass and just about everything in between.

The full roster includes more than 125 bands and 20 comedians performing on 13 stages, with tickets going on sale at noon on Saturday, February 18, on Bonnaroo.com.

In addition to the dozens of on-the-ground distractions and amenities, the festival has also partnered with YouTube this year to create Bonnaroo365, a channel with original programming, daily content and some legendary live performances. For a preview of this year's lineup, check out the Bonnaroo playlist on Spotify.

The full list of confirmed acts so far (with more to be added later): Foster the People, Aziz Ansari, Dispatch, SuperJam, the Word featuring John Medeski, Robert Randolph and North Mississippi Allstars, Ludacris, Ben Folds Five, Flogging Molly, Spectrum Road featuring Cindy Blackman Santana, Jack Bruce, John Medeski, and Vernon Reid, Mac Miller, Major Lazer, tUnE-yArDs, Afrocubism, Flying Lotus, Umphrey's McGee, Little Dragon, St. Vincent, City and Colour, the Civil Wars, Young the Giant, Two Door Cinema Club, Punch Brothers, NEEDTOBREATHE, Fitz & the Tantrums, Yelawolf, Dawes, Battles, Danny Brown, the Black Lips, SBTRKT, Phantogram, Kendrick Lamar, Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires, the Kooks, the Joy Formidable, the Antlers, Kathleen Edwards, Mimosa, Kurt Vile & the Violators, Alabama Shakes, Das Racist, Delta Spirit, Gary Clark Jr., Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Laura Marling, Trampled by Turtles, Mogwai, the War On Drugs, Ben Howard, Grouplove, Blind Pilot, ALO, the Devil Makes Three, White Denim, EMA, Here We Go Magic, K-Flay, the Lonely Forest, Mariachi El Bronx, Big Freedia, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., the Soul Rebels, Kvelertak, SOJA, Steven Bernstein's MTO Allstars Plays Sly, Big Gigantic, Sarah Jarosz, Orgone, Darondo, Fruit Bats and Moon Taxi.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Vintage Rockers Take The Stage At The Grammys

British singer Adele may have been the queen of the ball with six Grammy wins, but it was Vintage Rockers like Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Walsh and the Beach Boys who dominated the performance segments of the 54th Grammy Awards telecast on Sunday.

The Beach Boys, with Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks, reunited for the first time in more than two decades — will reunite on the GRAMMY stage.

McCartney, who took shared a Grammy for Best Historical Album as compilation producer on the deluxe Paul McCartney Archive Collection edition of his former band Wings’ classic 1973 album, Band On The Run, performed twice.

He sang "My Valentine," the first single off his latest album, Kisses On The Bottom. Then, at the end of night, the singer and his band were joined by Springsteen (who also picked up a Grammy), Walsh and multiple-Grammmy winner Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl for a three-song medley from the Beatles' Abbey Road album of "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight" and "The End."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Foo Fighters Win Multiple Grammys In Pre-Show Ceremony

According to Spinner.com, the Foo Fighters are cleaning up at the Grammys. In the pre-telecast ceremony, Dave Grohl and company walked away with four statues: Best Rock Album for Wasting Light, Best Rock Song for "Walk," Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for "White Limo" and Best Long Form Music Video for Back and Forth.

The band is no stranger to the awards show. Each of the their seven albums has been nominated for Best Rock Album and three others have won: 2001's There Is Nothing Left to Lose, 2004's One By One and 2008's Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace.

The band is set to perform tonight as part of a special EDM celebration that will take place outside of the Staples Center. They will be undoubtedly stick around for the televised ceremony, as they are also nominated for Best Rock Performance and Album of the Year.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Paul McCartney Receives Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Sir Paul McCartney already has a few honors to his name (if the "Sir" wasn't indication enough), but he claimed one more when he became the final Beatle to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The rock icon, 69, met with fans and Hollywood Chamber of Commerce CEO Leron Gubler outside the Capitol Records building to receive the star, for which he was first nominated in 1993. His plaque joins those of band mates John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr – as well as one for the Beatles as a whole – on the legendary sidewalk.

This week is a historic one for McCartney in other ways: it marks the anniversary of the Beatles' famous 1964 performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, which kicked off Beatlemania and the British Invasion, as well as the release of his album of standards, Kisses on the Bottom.

To top it off, he is scheduled to perform during the Grammy Awards on Sunday.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gram Parsons Foundation Launch Events, VIP Fundraiser

The Gram Parsons Foundation (GPF) is proud to announce two very special events to commemorate the foundation's official launching. The two events will both take place on March 14, 2012, at the Hotel San Jose in Austin, TX.

The mission of the GPF is to support musicians and artists worldwide with addiction and recovery services. Motivated by the desire to assist the musical and artistic community, the Gram Parsons Foundation will providing solutions to drug and alcohol addiction, and focus on imparting a message of prevention and awareness to school aged children, the musicians and artists of tomorrow.

The first event is the official launch event, taking place at the Hotel San Jose parking lot from 12 noon to 8 pm. Numerous artists will be performing in celebration, including Blitzen Trapper, Brendan Benson (w/Eric Burdon), Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons, Great Lake Swimmers, Alberta Cross, Poor Moon (Christian and Casey from Fleet Foxes), Jenny O., Shurman, Henry Wagons and Amy Cook, with the possibility of the addition of even more artists.

The event will be streamed live through VenueOne, which is a fusion of entertainment and socializing functionality that enable viewers to connect, engage and watch gigs together online.

The second event is the official VIP Fundraiser, which will take place the evening of March 14 from 9 pm to midnight at the Hotel San Jose Courtyard. This event will be a ticketed, private, VIP fundraiser with a live auction, food and cocktails.

Polly Parsons, Gram's daughter, will speak about the Foundation and there will be a step and repeat available for photos. There will also be evening entertainment in the form of a musical performance by an artist to be determined.

GPF was first formed in 2004 to facilitate the transmittal of funds raised from the Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons shows in LA and Santa Barbara, to the Musicians Assistance Program (MAP) and SIMS Foundation.

These concerts raised a substantial amount of funds with the support of the stellar musical talent, which included Keith Richards, Norah Jones, Dwight Yoakum, Lucinda Williams, John Doe, Jim James and more.

After lying dormant, it was apparent after numerous passionate email's from Gram Parsons' fans, it was time to re-launch and begin giving back to the creative community.

The Gram Parsons Foundation continues to build on this exciting launch and there will be more announcements as they build for their March 14 event. You can donate to the foundation via their website and also request your own donate button for your online presence and to join our efforts.

For more information, please visit the Gram Parsons Foundation website.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Jon Anderson Not Rejoining Yes

In response to recent rumors circulating about original Yes vocalist Jon Anderson being asked to re-join Yes, these rumors, according to Anderson's publicist are unfounded and false.

Anderson is busy with his solo career, with a current tour performing solo (tour dates and venues listed below), as well as recording new music.

The singer also responded to recent quotes in the news from Chris Squire that he is in regular communication with Jon: "I haven't spoken with Chris in four years, and the only e-mail I have received from him in the last three years was him asking for free tickets to my show in Mesa, AZ last week - very sad, but true."

Jon Anderson US 2012 Tour Dates:

2/17/2012 - American Music Theater - Lancaster, PA
2/19/2012 - Newton Theatre - Newton, NJ
2/22/2012 - Anthology - San Diego, CA
2/24/2012 - Ovation Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa - Henderson, NV
2/26/2012 - One World Theatre - Austin, TX
2/28/2012 - Kessler Theater - Dallas, TX
3/01/2012 - Carolina Theatre - Durham, NC
3/03/2012 - Parrish Auditorium Miami University Hamilton - Hamilton, OH
3/05/2012 - World Cafe Live - Wilmington - Wilmington, DE
3/07/2012 - Theatre of Living Arts - Philadelphia, PA
3/08/2012 - Baltimore Sound Stage - Baltimore, MD
3/10/2012 - B.B. King Blues Club & Grill - New York, NY
3/14/2012 - Infinity Hall - Norfolk, CT
3/15/2012 - Wilbur Theatre - Boston, MA
3/17/2012 - Narrows Center For The Arts - Fall River, MA
3/19/2012 - Bergen Performing Arts Center - Englewood, NJ

Anderson recently released an epic musical piece called "Open." A return to the long-form composition that Jon Anderson is best known for (“Close To The Edge,” “Gates of Delirium,” "Revealing" and “Awaken”), the song is a 21-minute exhilarating musical journey, a pioneering effort that weaves intricate melodic and harmonic themes within a classical music framework whilst showcasing Anderson's iconic vocals and timeless melodies throughout.

In many ways "Open" is a return to the singer's musical roots, as Yes music continually flows through his veins, making it only natural to revisit now and again. Coupled with wonderful orchestration by his neighbor and good friend Stefan Podell, messages of peace, love, light and freedom are further explored within "Open," making listening an uplifting and joyous experience!

"Open" is available as a digital download at:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/open-single/id474552662?ls=1

In other news, Jon Anderson and fellow former Yes member Rick Wakeman have released The Living Tree In Concert Part One CD on Gonzo MultiMedia. The legendary duo performed a series of successful concerts in the UK in 2010 in support of their critically acclaimed CD release The Living Tree, and recorded several of the performances. The CD can be obtained at www.gonzomultimedia.co.uk

Monday, February 6, 2012

Paul McCartney Can't Believe He Was In The Beatles

Paul McCartney has said that he still finds it hard to believe that he was in The Beatles.

In an interview with the Metro, McCartney – who releases his new studio album Kisses On The Bottom this week – said he was pleased the novelty of being in the Fab Four still hadn't faded for him.

"I'm lucky that I've always retained a sense of wonder," he said. "I was looking at the George Harrison book accompanying Martin Scorsese's Living In The Material World recently and opened it at a picture George had taken of me and the other guys on an aeroplane."

He went on to add: "I took me right back; I was like: 'Was I really there, in The Beatles? Bloody hell!' It's obviously a stupid thought but I'm glad I haven't got used to it yet."

Kisses On The Bottom is made up of songs McCartney listened to as a child as well as two new songs, "My Valentine" and "Only Our Hearts." It was recorded with producer Tommy LiPuma, Diana Krall and her band, and also features appearances from Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder.

McCartney revealed that his love of mischief led him to call the album Kisses On The Bottom and that he believed a little controversy is "good for the soul."

He said: "I like mischief. It's good for the soul, it's always a good idea - if only because people think it's a bad idea."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Black Sabbath Drummer Bill Ward May Pull Out Of Reunion

The Black Sabbath reunion hasn't faced enough obstacles already, what with guitarist Tony Iommi's recent lymphoma diagnosis moving the band's recording sessions to London and reportedly forcing them to pull out of a headlining slot at Coachella. Now drummer Bill Ward has threatened to back out of the reunion in a lengthy public statement to fans on his website, saying that he requires a "signable contract that reflects some dignity and respect toward me as an original member of the band.

"Several days ago, after nearly a year of trying to negotiate, another 'unsignable' contract was handed to me," he notes in the letter.

Ward says that he feels as if he's "getting the cold shoulder," noting that this is not the first time. Indeed, Ward has weathered contractual disagreements with management in the past: In 2004, Sharon Osbourne announced that Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin would replace Ward on an Ozzfest tour (due to disagreements over a contract). In that case, an agreement was eventually reached and Ward took his place on the tour.

That said, Ward says that he still wants the reunion to happen: "Let me say that although this has put me in some kind of holding pattern, I am packed and ready to leave the U.S. for England. More importantly, I definitely want to play on the album, and I definitely want to tour with Black Sabbath."

The reunion of Black Sabbath's original lineup had been long-rumored, though denied by Iommi at one point. In November, the group -- Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward -- announced plans for a tour and their first album in over three decades, originally set for release in fall 2012 and produced by Rick Rubin. In October, Ozzy told us regarding the reunion, "If it works out, it'll work out. If it doesn't, I'll keep doing my thing."

Ward's full letter is below:

Dear Sabbath Fans, Fellow Musicians and Interested Parties,

At this time, I would love nothing more than to be able to proceed with the Black Sabbath album and tour. However, I am unable to continue unless a "signable" contract is drawn up; a contract that reflects some dignity and respect toward me as an original member of the band. Last year, I worked diligently in good faith with Tony, Ozzy and Geezer. And on 11/11/11, again in good faith, I participated in the L.A. press conference. Several days ago, after nearly a year of trying to negotiate, another "unsignable" contract was handed to me.

Let me say that although this has put me in some kind of holding pattern, I am packed and ready to leave the U.S. for England. More importantly, I definitely want to play on the album, and I definitely want to tour with Black Sabbath.

Since the news of Tony's illness, and the understanding that the band would move production to the U.K., I've spent every day getting to or living in a place of readiness to leave. That involves something of a task, and as I've tried to find out what's going on with the U.K. sessions, I've realized that I've been getting "the cold shoulder" (and, I might add, not for the first time). Feeling somewhat ostracized, my guess is as of today, I will know nothing of what's happening unless I sign "the unsignable contract."

The place I'm in feels lousy and lonely because as much as I want to play and participate, I also have to stand for something and not sign on. If I sign as-is, I stand to lose my rights, dignity and respectability as a rock musician. I believe in freedom and freedom of speech. I grew up in a hard rock/metal band. We stood for something then, and we played from the heart with honesty and sincerity. I am in the spirit of integrity, far from the corporate malady, I am real and honest, fair and compassionate.

If I'm replaced, I have to face you, the beloved Sabbath fans. I hope you will not hold me responsible for the failure of an original Black Sabbath lineup as promoted. Without fault finding, I want to assure everyone that my loyalty to Sabbath is intact.

So here I am. I lay my truth down before you. I'm good to go IF I get a "signable" contract. I don't want to let anyone down, especially Black Sabbath and all the Sabbath fans. You know I love you. It would be a sad day in Rock if this current situation fell to the desires of a few.

My position is not greed-driven. I'm not holding out for a "big piece" of the action (money) like some kind of blackmail deal. I'd like something that recognizes and is reflective of my contributions to the band, including the reunions that started fourteen years ago. After the last tour I vowed to never again sign on to an unreasonable contract. I want a contract that shows some respect to me and my family, a contract that will honor all that I've brought to Black Sabbath since its beginning.

That's the story so far.

Stay safe and stay strong.

I love every single one of you.

- Bill Ward

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ian Anderson To Release Thick As A Brick 2

Following the recent announcement of a 19-date tour to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Thick As A Brick, on April 2nd (April 3rd in North America) Ian Anderson will release a sequel to the original album.

In 1972, Ian Anderson wrote and recorded the Jethro Tull Progressive Rock classic album Thick As A Brick. The lyrics were credited at the time to the fictitious child character, Gerald Bostock, whose parents supposedly lied about his age. The record instantly became a number one Billboard Chart album and enjoyed considerable success in many countries of the world.

So, 40 years on, what would Gerald Bostock - now 50 in 2012 - be doing today? What might have befallen him? The anniversary “part two” album will examine the possible different paths that the precocious young schoolboy, Gerald Bostock, might have taken later in life through alter-ego characters with song-section identities illustrating the hugely varied potential twists and turns of fate and opportunity. Not just for Gerald but to echo how our own lives develop, change direction and ultimately conclude through chance encounters and interventions, however tiny and insignificant they might seem at the time.

Ian Anderson says of the album: “As we baby-boomers look back on our own lives, we must often feel an occasional 'what-if' moment. Might we, like Gerald, have become instead preacher, soldier, down-and-out, shopkeeper or finance tycoon?” Adding, “And those of more tender years - the social media and internet generation - may choose to ponder well the myriad of chance possibilities ahead of them at every turn....”

To coincide with this groundbreaking release, for the first time since 1972, Anderson and fellow musicians John O'Hara (keyboards), David Goodier (bass), Florian Opahle (guitar) and Scott Hammond (drums) - as well as some guest performers - will take to the road to perform the album in its entirety and, it can now exclusively be revealed that, in addition, there will be a second part to the show where Anderson and the band will also perform the sequel.

Thick As A Brick 2 tracklist [CD, digital]
1. From A Pebble Thrown
2. Pebbles Instrumental
3. Might-have-beens
4. Upper Sixth Loan Shark
5. Banker Bets, Banker Wins
6. Swing It Far
7. Adrift And Dumfounded
8. Old School Song
9. Wootton Bassett Town
10. Power And Spirit
11. Give Till It Hurts
12. Cosy Corner
13. Shunt And Shuffle
14. A Change Of Horses
15. Confessional
16. Kismet In Suburbia
17. What-ifs, Maybes And Might-have-beens

Thick As A Brick 2 will be released as a standard jewel case CD and digital download, and in a Special Edition 2-disc package with DVD featuring 5.1 stereo mixes, 24-bit stereo mix, video of the making of the album, interviews with the musicians and Ian Anderson reading the lyrics in various locations.

After 44 years of leading Tull to 54 countries worldwide and over 60 million albums sold, Ian Anderson celebrates a true progressive rock classic with old and new fans across the UK for a whole three weeks.

Anderson is known as the flute and voice of the legendary Jethro Tull, formed in the North of England in 1968 from the amalgamation of blues-based John Evan Band and McGregor's Engine. Since their first performance at London's famous Marquee Club in 1968, the band has released 30 studio and live albums and earned a prominent place in rock history.