Friday, September 28, 2012

Neil Young's Pono Challenges iTunes

Neil Young is set to take on iTunes with a new high-resolution music service designed to combat the compressed audio offered by MP3s.

Launching next year, Young's service Pono will offer a music download service, portable music players, and digital-to-analogue conversion technology. The aim is to present songs as they first sounded when they were recorded, it has been reported.

In his book Waging Heavy Peace, out this week, Young explains how Pono will help to "save the sound of music". The title reportedly refers to the response Young gave to a friend when asked if he was waging a war on Apple with his new service.

Young claims in the book that had emailed Steve Jobs about Pono before his death last October: "I have consistently reached out to try to assist Apple with true audio quality, and I have even shared my high-resolution masters with them," he writes, before stating that his service will "force iTunes to be better and to improve quality at a faster pace."

Apple launched it's Mastered For iTunes program last year, which requires engineers to change audio quality based on the listener's location – such as on a flight, on a bus, or a club. However, its critics argue that it still doesn't offer the sound quality options that Pono will.

Young has teamed up with Craig Kallman – chairman of Atlantic Records, to create the project. Atlantic's parent company Warner Music Group home to Muse and Black Keys – has already converted its catalog of 8,000 albums to high-resolution sound. The two other big labels Universal and Sony have reportedly been approached with the idea too.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience Hits The Road

The popular and critically acclaimed concert Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience (JBLZE), which celebrates the life and music of Jason’s father, the legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, will return to the west coast starting October 5 in Napa Valley, CA and concluding October 16 in Sacramento, CA.

In November, JBLZE will head to the east coast and select dates in Canada. Tickets for the JBLZE shows are now on sale; see www.jblze.com for ticket links and more information.

"This is a personal trip through my life with the music of Led Zeppelin,” explains Jason, "and how the music influenced me." 

Jason played with Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones at Led Zeppelin's "final" show at London's O2 Arena in 2007. The O2 Arena show was heralded as the most powerful Led Zeppelin performance since the group’s original disbandment.

The band received uniformly rave reviews the epic night will finally see a worldwide theatrical release titled Celebration Day in 1,500 screens in 40 territories beginning October 17. Tickets will be available starting September 13 via www.ledzeppelin.com.

“Performing my father’s songs at the Led Zeppelin 02 reunion concert in 2007 was an honor that I will forever remember as one of the most bittersweet, yet greatest nights of my life,” says Jason. “I’m over the moon that the 02 concert will finally be available for all Zeppelin fans to enjoy. That special night was the original spark that ignited JBLZE.”

Bonham partnered with Annerin Productions, the critically acclaimed theatrical producers of "PFX-The Pink Floyd Experience" and "Rain, A Tribute to the Beatlesm" to create a once-in-a-lifetime concert experience.

Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience is a spectacular rock concert with the iconic blues-infused rock ‘n’ roll of Led Zeppelin, stunning atmospheric video and lighting effects, which highlight the unique history that Jason Bonham shares – in commemoration of his father John Bonham – with the legendary rock n’ roll group Led Zeppelin.

Bonham and his band’s powerful live performance of over 20 iconic Led Zeppelin classics takes concert-goers through a mesmerizing visual and aural journey as giant backdrops display iconic art, and Bonham’s own historical footage, photos and stories are set to stunning atmospheric effects.

The JBLZE line-up -- Jason Bonham (drums), Tony Catania (guitar/theremin), Stephen LeBlanc (keyboards/lapsteel guitar) Dorian Heartsong (bass) and James Dylan (vocals) -- will make stops at such venues as San Francisco’s The Warfield (October 14), Sacramento’s Crest Theatre (October 16) and Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre (October 11), among others. For the new line-up, see dates listed below with more coming soon.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sir Elton John Headlines London Concert Marking World Peace Day

Sir Elton John headlined a London concert marking the United Nations World Peace Day.
The event called for a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.

Actor Jude Law jointly organized the concert with the Peace One Day foundation. It came as anti-U.S. and anti-Western protests continued to spread around the world, sparked by a film lampooning the Prophet Mohammad.

Law said this made the concert especially poignant. "I suppose in the end, you know, the unrest will always continue just as bullying will always continue and that's all the more reason for me and everyone else to support this extraordinary organisation."

Organizers said they had hoped for "the largest global reduction of violence ever recorded on one day".

Other performers included popular British pop star James Morrison. But it was Elton John's hit-laden set that was the highlight of the night - with the iconic singer performing such favorites as "Tiny Dancer" and "Bennie and the Jets."

Friday, September 21, 2012

Led Zeppelin Regroups To Launch Concert DVD, Not Tour

The three surviving members of Led Zeppelin regrouped in London today for a press conference to mark the launch of Celebration Day, the upcoming film of the band's 2007 one-off reunion concert at the 02 Arena here.

Celebration Day will premiere in London, New York, Los Angeles and other major cities ahead of a worldwide theatrical release by Omniverse Vision on 1,500 screens in more than 40 territories October 17. Swan Song/Atlantic will then release the concert on DVD, CD, Blu-ray, vinyl and digitally November 19.

Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones were in jovial form at the event, which followed a media screening of the two-hour concert movie, directed by Dick Carruthers. But they sidestepped any and all questions from the floor that made reference to future reunions, apart from one moment near the end of the conference, when Plant answered the shouted question "Will you do it again?" by simply saying: "With you?"

"We don't see each other too often," Plant said earlier, "but we've just spent about an hour together...and no sooner we start talking, than some little innuendo creeps in. It's just what happens when you've spent a lot of time together."

Responding to a question about why it has taken five years for the concert film to be released, Jones got one of the biggest laughs of the occasion by saying drily: "Five years is like five minutes in Zeppelin time. I'm surprised we got it out so quickly."

Page described the contribution of drummer Jason Bonham, who took the place of his late father John at the concert, as "monumental, from the very first rehearsal right through to the 02." "We'd played with him before, at his wedding," added Plant. "Sadly, he decided to go to bed during the reception, and because I was a friend of the family from way back, I was the one that had to go up to his room and get him to get out of bed. Then he played with us."

The film is a faithful, sequential record of the show, which took place in memory of Zeppelin's mentor and Atlantic Records supremo Ahmet Ertegin. It has few special effects beyond effective use of multiple camera angles, and no speech except for what was said on stage on the night. Carruthers placed some Super 8 cameras in the crowd to add an occasional "bootleg" feel, as he put it, "and no cranes."

November's release of Celebration Day will be as a 1 DVD/2 CD set, also available in Blu-Ray; deluxe 2 DVD/2 CD and 1 Blu-ray/1 DVD/2-CD editions, which add film of the band's rehearsals for the gig at Shepperton and BBC news footage; a music-only 2 CD set; a music-only Blu-ray in two high-resolution formats; a 3-LP vinyl version; and in digital from all digital retailers.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Beach Boys Wrap 50 Years As Questions Arise About Their 51st

The Beach Boys gathered at the Grammy Museum Sept. 18 to celebrate their 50th anniversary with a platinum award presentation, a museum fund-raising meet-and-greet with donors and an acoustic performance that followed a half-hour Q&A.

But the undercurrent in the area where the museum has housed the exhibit Good Vibrations: 50 Years of the Beach Boys concerned the future of the band in the wake of lead singer Mike Love announcing a day earlier he was jettisoning Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks to resume touring as the Beach Boys with bandmate Bruce Johnston and his regular band. Two shows in London - Sept. 27 at Royal Albert Hall and Sept. 28 at Wembley Arena - will apparently wrap up the reunion.

The band members kept the focus on the tour, their history and the exhibit, but members of the musicians' camps found the timing of Love's announcement, at the very least, curious. Several people close to the Beach Boys said they could have easily added another dozen dates in the U.K. In addition, Wilson has continued writing for a follow-up album to That's Why God Made The Radio and has four songs in the vein of the album's suite of "Strange World"/"From There to Back Again"/"Pacific Coast Highway."

The only thing certain about future releases from the reunited Beach Boys is a live album that Capitol will release in 2013.

In his press release issued on September 17, Love said the 50th anniversary tour "was designed to be a set tour with a beginning and an end to mark a special 50-year milestone for the band." The tour did a lot to restore the band's image, which has been pockmarked by decades of legal squabbles and infighting over the band's direction.

Wilson made known his desire for the band's future in no uncertain terms: "I wouldn't mind getting together and recording an exciting rock 'n' roll album. By early next year, we'll be ready to rock." Jardine added: "Why stop now?," a question that apparently only Love can answer.

The Beach Boys were all smiles during the presentation of a triple-platinum plaque for Sounds of Summer: Very Best of the Beach Boys. Donors to the museum were given an opportunity to take their pictures with the band in front of an exhibit that included one of Dennis Wilson's surfboards - a Hermosa model similar the one used on the covers of "Surfin' Safari" and "Surfer Girl" - concert posters from and clothing from tours of the '60s plus an essay Wilson wrote while in high school titled My Philosophy. "I don't want to settle with a mediocre life, but make a name for myself in my life's work, which I hope will be music," Wilson wrote in October 1959.

Grammy Museum executive director Bob Santelli curated the exhibit "to tell the story as a fan and a museum director," noting he first saw the band as a 10-year-old at the Convention Hall in Asbury Park, N.J.

In their acoustic set after the Q&A in front of an SRO crowd that included Monkee Mickey Dolenz, fabled L.A. disk jockey Rodney Bingenheimer, lyricist Joe Thomas and Beach Boys' family members, they performed five songs that will appear on both of the next Beach Boys compilations - 50th Anniversary Greatest Hits and the two-CD Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones. The two collections will be released October 9.

Also on October 9, 12 remastered studio albums will be released with mono and stereo mixes. "It's really for the collectors market," EMI Music North America senior VP, catalog, Jane Ventom said.

Beach Boys titles had previously been released as two-fer "that were driven by physical retail," Gagnon said "We had them out digitally but it didn't make sense so we're reissuing each album at $7.99."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Led Zeppelin, Queen & Iron Maiden Members Rock Sunflower Jam

Classic rock stars were out in full force at London’s Royal Albert Hall Sunday night for Sunflower Jam 2012.

The 6th annual event raised funds for a UK cancer charity of the same name, founded by Jacky Paice, wife of Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice.

The evening, hosted by actor Jeremy Irons, consisted of many very special performances and collaborations from artists such as Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Brian May of Queen, Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson, Alice Cooper, Ian Paice, Mark King, Alfie Boe, Kerry Ellis, Jerry Brown, Margo Buchanan, Micky Moody, Murray Gould, Nick Fyffe, Sandi Thom, Steve Balsamo, Temperance Movement, Uli Jon Roth and Wix Wickins.

This year's Sunflower Jam will be committed to improving the treatment and care of patients with pancreatic cancer.

The Sunflower Jam will use the proceeds of this year's Jam to do original research on integrated approaches to pancreatic cancer and also produce an easily readable summary of promising treatments for patients with pancreatic cancer, which will include conventional medicine, lifestyle approaches including nutrition, complementary treatments such as immune Modulation Therapy and hyperthermia, treatments are beginning to look promising such as photodynamic therapy and the ways in which the mind can be harnessed to help fight this disease.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thin Lizzy To Record First Album Without Phil Lynott

Members comprising the current lineup of Thin Lizzy are set to record their first album in nearly 30 years. It will be the first Thin Lizzy album without original frontman Phil Lynott.

Guitarist Scott Gorham said the group will work with producer Kevin Shirley on the new album, and that recording will likely start next month.

"I'll be going out to Los Angeles at the end of the month to work on some songs with [guitarist] Damon [Johnson] and then I think we will start recording in October in our producer Kevin Shirley's studio," Gorham said.

"We are all excited about the new record but especially [vocalist] Ricky [Warwick] and Damon, they just can’t wait to start recording!" said Gorham. "You have got six guys there that are chomping at the bit that can't wait to get this thing going."

The current Thin Lizzy lineup includes Gorham, Warwick and Johnson along with founding member Brian Downey, longtime keyboardist Darren Wharton and bassist Marco Mendoza.

Lynott died in 1986 at age 36.

Thin Lizzy's last studio album, Thunder and Lightning, was released in 1983.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Peter Gabriel Launches 'So'-centric Tour, Plots Hiatus


Peter Gabriel's Back To Front Tour, which begins Sunday, may be the last we see of him for awhile. Gabriel says that "there is new music" he's working on, but it will have to wait for a hiatus he's planning after the tour ends in mid-October.

"I'm going to take a sabbatical after the tour with my family and travel around the world," Gabriel says, "visiting some of the people we know on the music world, the human rights world, the science community, as well as a bit of straightforward tourism. It's something I've been intending to do for the last 12 years, so I'm really looking forward to that."

But Gabriel does hope to leave fans with some memories by uncharacteristically delving into his past and celebrating his multi-platinum 1986 album So. He'll be performing the chart-topping set in its entirety on the tour, with the original band from the original tour -- bassist Tony Levin, guitarist David Rhodes, drummer Manu Kache and keyboardist David Sancious -- while a 25th anniversary edition of the album comes out in three configurations on October 23, including demos and a Martin Scorsese-produced film of a 1987 performance in Athens, Greece. Of course, it's actually the album's 26th anniversary this year, but Gabriel says he sacrificed timeliness for quality.

"The box set...involved a fair bit of organizing and pulling things together," he says. "That was much harder work than I anticipated, but fun. We bit off a bit more than we could chew within the correct time frame, so we now are running a little behind our 25th anniversary. But nonetheless I think we have a good box there."

Gabriel -- whose most recent projects were the 2010 covers set "Scratch My Back" and the "New Blood" orchestral revisions of his songs -- says he's particularly excited about letting fans hear the "So DNA" disc, which includes the demos in the same sequence as the finished album.

"I'd forgotten quite a lot of that, and how the songs evolved," Gabriel notes. "On 'That Voice Again,' for instance, there was a whole other lyric I'd sort of pushed into the back of my mind. There's a lot of things like that...which really give people some insight into how these songs developed and sometimes changed quite a bit as we went along."

The concerts during the tour -- which kicks off September 16 in Quebec City -- will also recreate the staging and visuals used during the original "So" trek, but Gabriel also expects to tweak and modernize things a bit.

"Nothing ever stays the same, so even when you try to recapture a moment you put today's time print on it," he explains. "I'm trying not to use pre-recorded video material this time, just as a starting point -- though I may retreat from that position. But we're trying to see if we can generate all the video content from what we're doing live. That's the aim, at least."

Gabriel acknowledges that he initially resisted celebrating "So" in this way; "I never really considered a retro tour like this before," he says. But after seeing Brian Wilson perform the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds in its entirety, he reconsidered.

"There were always a couple of songs which for one reason or another I decided not to be playing," Gabriel says. "And we were getting some good offers, so I thought it could be quite fun to do this and try to get the band together again. It's been quite an undertaking, but I think it's going to be very enjoyable."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart Involved In Alleged Assault

Police in Kentucky have a warrant for the arrest of former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart stemming from an alleged assault after a recent show.

Harrodsburg Police Lt. Chad Powell told The Associated Press on Thursday that the warrant stems from an incident Saturday after a performance by the Mickey Hart Band at Terrapin Hill Farm in Harrodsburg. Hart denies the accusation.

Powell says that the investigation is ongoing and that the paperwork could not be released. Mercer County Attorney Ted Dean was in court Thursday morning and did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

In a statement, Hart said he had no idea where the charge came from. "I am totally baffled by a bizarre claim of assault by me coming out of Kentucky - the home of Bluegrass and a state I love dearly," he wrote. "Any accusation or claim of assault against me is completely false and without any basis whatsoever. I played drums on "Shakedown Street," but I never expected to be

"The Victim or the Crime."

Details of the incident remain unclear. Hart played with the Grateful Dead from 1967 until 1995.
TMZ first reported the incident. Hart's rep told the site the drummer's camp is looking into the incident.

Hart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the Grateful Dead in 1994.

In recent years, Hart has played with other surviving members of the group and has headed up the Mickey Hart Band, which has scheduled concert dates this fall.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Led Zeppelin To Receive Kennedy Center Honors, Release 02 Show


If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now. It's just a spring clean for the May queen. Or something.

Led Zeppelin's lyrics may mystify occasionally. But there's no doubting that the British heavy-metal gods knew how to wring pure dramatic power out of Jimmy Page's intricate guitar fingerings, Robert Plant's tenor shrieks, John Paul Jones' ferocious basslines and the late John Bonham's brilliant baroque drumming.

So there's a certain poetic justice in the fact that Led Zeppelin is being honored this December by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts alongside another musician known for his primal urgency, Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy. Whether loudly bemoaning his woman troubles or bringing his guitar down to a hushed confessional, Guy has been praised by Page himself (among many others) as "an absolute monster" and master of the genre.

Led Zeppelin and Guy are among the class of 2012 that will receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors, joining Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman and Natalia Makarova, a former Kirov Ballet dancer during the Soviet era who later joined the American Ballet Theatre.

The honorees will receive their medals December 1 at a State Department-sponsored dinner, followed by a next-day White House reception and Kennedy Center performance.

In other Led Zeppelin news, the band is finally releasing the long awaited 02 reunion show from 2007. According to Britain’s Sun newspaper, the powerhouse English blues rockers will release the concert on DVD, Blu-ray and CD this Nov. 22.

The project was recorded and filmed at Led Zeppelin’s reunion gig on December 10, 2007, which featured Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham, son of the late Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. In a show staged to raise money for the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund, the legendary musicians ripped through a set that included classics like ‘Good Times, Bad Times,’ ‘Dazed and Confused,’ ‘Black Dog’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ finishing up with ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘Rock and Roll.’

It appears the long-rumored official release of that concert is actually set to see the light of day. ‘That Metal Show’ co-hosts Eddie Trunk and Jim Florentine have been hinting at big Zeppelin news, and while the band have made no announcement, they  have been teasing fans with a countdown on their Facebook page. There is speculation that the band will have a big announcement on Thursday, which is perhaps not coincidentally the fifth anniversary of the day they announced the 02 Arena show. The group updated the countdown by posting a II this morning, and have also posted a teaser clip to YouTube that appears to be the lead-in to ‘Good Times, Bad Times,’ the opening song from the 02 gig.

A source allegedly told the Sun the project is a done deal, saying, “Jimmy has been in the studio making sure everything is perfect. The band want it to remain true to their exceptionally high standards. It’s coming out on November 22 as part of a simultaneous global release.”

Monday, September 10, 2012

Jethro Tull's Thick As A Brick To Be Reissued

EMI has announced that a 40th anniversary edition of Jethro Tull's 1972 album, Thick as A Brick, is to be issued on November 5. The album, which went to Number 1 on the Billboard charts, features lyrics credited to the fictitious child character Gerald Bostock, whose parents supposedly lied about his age.

Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson released Thick As A Brick 2 earlier this year. Anderson and his band are on the road, playing Thick As A Brick and Thick As A Brick 2 in their entirety. 

The 40th Anniversary edition of Thick As A Brick features a new 5.1 stereo mix, mixed by Steven Wilson, plus a DVD containing DTS & Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix, high quality stereos 96/24 (new mix and 1972 flat transfer), the original newspaper over 40 pages, an article by Classic Rock’s Dom Lawson, rare photos from photographers Didi Zill and Robert Ellis, recording and touring mementos and much more, all contained in 104 page 7 ½”x 5 ½” hardback book.

It will also be available as a 2 LP set with the original Thick As A Brick remix, and the new Thick As A Brick 2, both as 180gm audiophile pressings and available for the first time in vinyl .

The package also has a 72-page 12x12 book all held in a hard card slipcase.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Paul McCartney Bestowed With France's Highest Award

From Reuters.com

Former Beatle Paul McCartney received France's highest public distinction for his contribution to music on Saturday when President Francois Hollande made him an officer of the Legion of Honour in a short ceremony at the presidential palace.

Shortly after the private ceremony during which Hollande joked with McCartney he had preferred the Rolling Stones to the Beatles, the British rock star gave a thumbs up and tweeted his thanks to France.

Created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the Legion of Honour has three grades - chevalier, officer and commander. It carries social status but no money, and recipients have to buy their own medal from a licensed jeweler, with prices ranging from 169 to 700 euros ($210 to $880) for the highest rank.

McCartney, 70, one of the most influential songwriters in the history of popular music, follows in the footsteps of U.S. actors Clint Eastwood and Robert De Niro, and singers Liza Minnelli and Lenny Kravtiz, who have also been decorated with the Legion of Honour.

The musician has already been awarded a knighthood by Britain's Queen Elizabeth. He recently performed in front of the queen and tens of thousands of spectators at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

He first rose to international fame with The Beatles, co-authoring songs such as "Yesterday", "A Hard Day's Night", "Hey Jude", "Let it be" alongside bandmate John Lennon.

He then went on to forge a solo career and formed the band Wings with his first wife Linda. He and Ringo Starr are the only surviving members of the Beatles following the deaths of Lennon and George Harrison.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

26th Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert Lineup Announced

In his typically inscrutable way, Neil Young decided to release the lineup for the 26th Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert early Friday evening, long after everyone had already checked out for the weekend.

Oh, well. We’ll still take it: Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Jack White, Guns N’ Roses, The Flaming Lips, Sarah McLachlan, Foster the People, Lucinda Williams, Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers, k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang and Gary Clark Jr.

With the exception of a couple acts, there’s a definite early ’90s bent to this year’s lineup. There are veterans from Lollapalooza, Lilith Fair and even Monster of Rock.

Which brings us to the most random inclusion: Guns N’ Roses. Seeing the bloated Chinese Democracy lineup of Axl Rose’s band in a reverent, all-acoustic setting is easily going to be the concert’s can’t-miss moment — no matter how great/terrible “Mr. Brownstone” sounds.

The 26th Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert takes place Oct. 20 and 21, 2012 at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View. Tickets go on sale Sept.14.

As always, the proceeds benefit the Bridge School, the facility Neil and Pegi Young founded for children with severe physical disabilities.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Progressive Music Awards Honors Genesis, Rick Wakeman & Rush

Genesis was honored with a Lifetime Achievement award at the inaugural Progressive Music Awards in London. The band was recognized for their innovation and huge sales, shifting more than 150 million albums during their lengthy career, with releases such as The Lamb Dies Down On Broadway and Selling England By The Pound.

The event, held at Kew Gardens in London, was hosted by Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler.

Prog Rock magazine and Orange Amplification were the sponsors.

Other winners included keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman, named "Prog God" for his decades of recordings.

Wakeman, who found fame with Yes and as a solo musician, said of his award: "I'm very proud indeed. I've always believed that these days there is hardly a band or musician anywhere who haven't used some element of prog in their music.

"It's all about freedom of expression, which in my case is often in seven different time signatures. I am genuinely very, very proud to get this award."

Canadian act Rush took the best album prize for Clockwork Angels.

Other winners included Emerson, Lake and Palmer / Asia drummer Carl Palmer, awarded the Virtuoso prize while Van Der Graaf Generator star Peter Hammill took the Visionary award.

Steven Wilson, one of the founders of Porcupine Tree, was named Guiding Light for consistently pushing the boundaries of music.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ziggy Stardust Struts Anew In David Bowie Exhibit

Ziggy Stardust's multi-colored jumpsuit, a Union Jack coat, more than 50 other outlandish stage costumes, handwritten lyrics and album artwork from British singer David Bowie will go on show in London next year.

The "David Bowie Is" exhibition will run from March 23 to July 28 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in central London and aims to explore the singer's creative process across five decades, featuring more than 300 objects.

"It's about a person who through their art, design and performance, I think, has affected the way we live now," co-curator Victoria Broackes says.

"It's not designed as a retrospective. It's designed in the present tense. So, we do look at themes within his career that come back and forth, but what we want, is when you leave the exhibition, you have a sense of how Bowie has changed your world and the fact that there are elements of what he has done all around you."

Alongside Ziggy Stardust's jumpsuit, will be more than 60 stage costumes such as a Union Jack coat designed by Bowie and Alexander McQueen for his Earthling album cover and Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto's decadent creations for his Aladdin Sane tour in 1973.

Visitors will also be able to see Bowie's handwritten lyrics, photography, films, music videos as well as his set designs, instruments and album artwork.

"What we find at the V&A which is really great, is that despite living in a digital world, where so many things are possible at arms length, actually seeing objects up close is still absolutely thrilling" Broackes added.

"I think that's an interesting process, to be able to actually look at the designs and how they created the finished object.

Much of the collection that will feature in the exhibition will come from the David Bowie Archive, the first time a museum has been granted access to the musician's private collection.

"We are thrilled to be hosting this exhibition of the world's most creative artist," said V&A Director Martin Roth, who defended recent criticism that the show was not in keeping with the museum's art and design agenda.

"The V&A is uniquely placed to put on this exhibition. We are the world's number one museum on art and design. We're also very, very strong on performance and theatre. Theatre and performance came back to the museum in 2007, so David Bowie fits perfectly within that genre."

Roth also dismissed rumors that Bowie was involved in the curation of the show, which were shot down by the artist himself on his Facebook page last week, which stated:

"Contrary to recent reports, I am not a co-curator and did not participate in any decisions relating to the exhibition."

The exhibition has been in the making for two and half years and will form one of the museum's major shows next year.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Rolling Stones Plan First Shows Since 2007

Rolling Stone

It's shaping up to be a major fall for the Rolling Stones. In addition to recording new music in Paris last week, the band will play its first shows since 2007 later this year to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Rolling Stone has learned the band is planning two shows at Brooklyn's Barclays Center to happen before the end of the year. "This was accomplished in a Navy SEAL-like operation," a source familiar with the deal said. "No one I knew whispered a word of this before yesterday."

Billboard reported about the Brooklyn shows and added the band will also play two shows at London's O2 Arena in November with Virgin founder Richard Branson and Australian promoter Paul Dainty promoting the gigs. A spokesperson for the Stones declined to say the London and New York shows were confirmed.

The band gathered to record two new songs for an upcoming box set last week at Guillaume Tell Studios near Paris, where they also recorded new tracks for 2002's 40 Licks set a decade ago. "Had fun in the Paris studio this week!" Mick Jagger tweeted with a photo surrounded by Telecasters, Stratocasters and harmonicas.

 "I'd love to get some tracks down and see what songs we've got," Keith Richards told Rolling Stone before the recording sessions. "And that goes along with part of getting the band back together and getting things moving. So I'd love to cut some tracks, yeah." Asked if he saw himself writing one-on-one with Jagger again, Richards said, "I have no doubt."

The Stones also rehearsed songs from their entire catalog in the New York area in April. "That was a great time," Richards said. "I thought I'd be quite rusty, after all we hadn't done it for a while, in five years or something. And amazing to hear it sounded as fresh as you could hope for. It was a great week."

The final day of those rehearsals were filmed for Crossfire Hurricane, a film spanning the band's entire career to premiere November 15th, directed by Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture). "Nobody has put the story together as a narrative,"

Morgen told Rolling Stone earlier this year. "We've been looking under every rock going through their archives. It will be music never heard before, and I've conducted 50-plus hours of interviews so far. By the time we're done, they will be the most extensive group interviews they've ever done."

At the time, Richards said, "He told me 80 percent of the footage has never been seen before, which amazes me. I didn't know there was that much around."

Saturday, September 1, 2012

US Festival Still Earns Favorable Reviews

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin - John Weeks

It's true, money can't buy happiness, but it sure can lift your spirits for a weekend.

The US Festival took place on Labor Day weekend of 1982 - exactly 30 years ago - and for three incredible days, Sept. 3-5, the Inland Empire became the center of the pop music universe.

All it took was $13 million of Steve Wozniak's money.

The co-founder of Apple Computer had been feeling blue since Woodstock, in 1969, because he had missed out on it. So, when he got rich, he decided to put on his own West Coast version.

"This is my Woodstock," he told me in the first of several interviews I would do with him over the years.
He chose as his location San Bernardino County's Glen Helen Regional Park in Devore, just north of San Bernardino. He wanted a spot, he told me, that was out in the country, as Woodstock had been, but also accessible to major population centers, as Woodstock had been. Glen Helen was perfect.

The choice certainly was a lucky one for Inland Empire music fans, because we had been feeling a little down ourselves, ever since the day one year previously - Sept. 11, 1981 - when a private plane crashed into San Bernardino's Swing Auditorium, destroying the landmark concert venue and temporarily removing the I.E. from the pop music map.

Only for one year, though. Wozniak put it back, and he did it in a big way.

Whereas the groundbreaking but chaotic Woodstock festival had been thrown together on the cheap, the US Festival was top-drawer all the way, and it became the template for the modern rock festival as we know it today.

The Woz showered money everywhere. He paid top dollar to book acts such as Fleetwood Mac, the Police, Tom Petty, Santana, the Ramones, the Kinks, the Cars, Talking Heads and Jimmy Buffett. He shelled out major bucks to San Bernardino County to secure the permits and rights to bring in heavy equipment and grade and shape a natural amphitheater in the Glen Helen hills. The location would serve again as the site of a second US Festival the following Memorial Day weekend, and eventually would be developed into what today is the San Manuel Amphitheater, one of the largest outdoor entertainment venues in the world.

For that first US Festival, Wozniak also paid the tab for a big announcement party that took place at The Sun. He filled the newsroom with balloons and passed out media kits, goodie bags and special T-shirts for reporters and photographers who would be working the event.

The shirts had the word PRESS on the front and the full entertainment lineup, along with the US Festival logo, on the back. I was there, and I grabbed more than one. I was going to be on the festival site all weekend, and I needed a fresh shirt each day.

I happened to be The Sun's long-haired hippie reporter at the time, and the closest thing the paper had to a pop music expert, so I was assigned to be the official music reviewer.

To this day it remains the craziest assignment of my career. (Well, there was the time I had to judge a chili cookoff at a nudist resort, also in Devore, but that's a different story.)

During the early hours of each day at the US Festival, including the memorable, early morning "Breakfast in Bed With the Grateful Dead" concert on Sunday, I was able to mingle with the happy, hot, sweaty multitude (weekend attendance totaled more than 400,000) and enjoy the show. I even had a chance to duck into Wozniak's private tent a time or two and speak with him. He was humbly elated at what he had wrought.

"It's just a little party for me and a few hundred thousand of my closest friends!" he told me.
Each evening, though, as press deadline approached, I temporarily had to leave the action and write my reviews for the following day's newspaper.

The Sun had put together a mobile command center in a trailer on the perimeter of the festival property, out of sight of the stage. It was a makeshift newsroom on wheels where copy could be generated at the festival site and transmitted via phone lines to the newspaper's offices in downtown San Bernardino.
It was an awkward setup, and it meant that I couldn't see some of each night's major acts, because I was sitting in that trailer, typing. I could hear the music, in the distance, but I couldn't see a thing.

Not the greatest situation for writing sharp, insightful music reviews.

After deadline each night, of course, the concert still was going on, so I was able to leave the trailer and rejoin the action. I was able to catch most of the final sets each night, which means I got to see the top headliners - The Police on Friday, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on Saturday, and Fleetwood Mac on Sunday.

On Saturday night, I not only got to see all of Petty's set, but most of Pat Benatar's act, too. She came on before Petty.

I distinctly remember that it was during her performance that I realized the true magnitude of what was taking place that weekend. I was sitting with my girlfriend on a hillside, under the stars, taking it all in, and she turned to me and said, "I can't believe this is happening here." I grinned. I nodded my head.
Life was good. We were young. We were at the center of the universe. The future seemed boundless.