Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Alice Cooper Hosting All-Star NYE Bash

Attention, residents of Maui: If you’re spending a relaxing New Year’s Eve at home tonight and you find the soothing strains of your favorite Don Ho CD suddenly overpowered by high-voltage rock ‘n’ roll, don’t worry. That’s just Alice Cooper and friends ringing in 2014 the only way they know how.

Cooper tells ABC News Radio that it’s all part of a charity event he hosts every year in order to raise money for a local food bank. “We just kind of like put all the guys on the island together and make up a band,” he explained during a recent interview. “We never know who’s going to be on the island, so the band changes every year.”

“The guys on the island” for this year’s event will reportedly include Steven Tyler, Sammy Hagar and “Weird Al” Yankovic, all of whom will be part of a classics-heavy set that Cooper says will lean on covers everyone knows by heart, like the Beatles‘ ‘Back in the U.S.S.R.’ and the Rolling Stones‘ ‘Brown Sugar.’

And speaking of the new year, Cooper was asked to name some of his resolutions for 2014, to which he responded that his first one is “to be more tolerant of wimpy rock” — a reference to an interview he gave several months ago in which he mocked the softer sounds of bands like the Lumineers and Mumford & Sons as “not rock ‘n’ roll.”

“There’s just so many young bands out there that are so introspective that they’re boring as hell,” he explained. “I want to hear bands that play from their groin, not from their brain. I come from a different era where every band was exciting. You’d go to see Deep Purple or you’d go to see Thin Lizzy or Jimi Hendrix or Cream …Those bands were just great rock monsters, and you just can’t find those guys anymore.”

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Iron Maiden Using Music Piracy To Drive Concert Ticket Sales

Many artists might try to quash piracy of their music to the best of their ability. Iron Maiden is using it to potentially get ahead.

The British metal outfit has teamed up with an analytic company to determine where its music is being pirated from -- and then plotting tour dates in the most lucrative areas.

Iron Maiden and U.K.-based Musicmetric are working together to figure out hotbeds of piracy of the band's music; though Musicmetric specializes in multiple aspects of the analytics business, one of its services is monitoring the traffic on the BitTorrent network.

Partnering with the company showed the band that, in addition to its usual major markets in the U.K. and U.S., there was a noted spike of traffic in South America, while also determining that a large chunk of the band's Twitter followers were from the continent as well.

"If you know what drives engagement, you can maximize the value of your fan base," Gregory Mead, CEO and co-founder of Musicmetric, said. "Artists could say ‘we're getting pirated here, let's do something about it’, or ‘we're popular here, let's play a show.’"

In response, Iron Maiden has focused much of its touring efforts in the continent over the past few years, seeing great gains in tickets sold, as well as social media interactions.

As actual music sales continue to dwindle, Musicmetric could be a formidable partner for bands in determining its strengths -- and weaknesses -- across the globe, potentially driving more and more ticket sales.

"If you engage with fans, there is a chance to turn a percentage into paying customers," Mead said. "You can see that through various bands using the BitTorrent network in a legal way to share content."

Friday, December 20, 2013

Ian McLagan Uninterested In Reuniting Faces In 2014

Ian McLagan, keyboard player for both the Small Faces and the Faces, has said he is not interested in a reunion with Rod Stewart. At least for a couple years.

McLagan talked with Britain's Uncut Magazine, telling them that he and drummer Kenney Jones will be spending 2015 working on 50th anniversary activities for the Small Faces.  Stewart had recently announced he had talked to Ronnie Wood and a reunion of the latter group was a real possibility for the same year.

Along with already having plans, McLagan is upset with Stewart not showing up at two previous possible reunions with the group, including their induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In Stewart's defense, he said he was sick and couldn't travel to the U.S. for the event.

Instead, the Faces brought in Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall to fill in for Stewart during a number of festivals and shows. 

McLagan said "It’s interesting that Rod announces these things without talking to me or Kenney. Why would we fuck around with the Faces when we’ve got bigger fish to fry? We’ve done the Faces and he didn’t turn up.

"Rod says he’s keen to do it now, and I believe him, But he’ll have to wait until 2016 because 2015 is The Small Faces’ year."


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cat Stevens 'Taken Aback' By Rock Hall Induction

Whether he's called Cat Stevens or Yusuf (Islam), as he's been known since 1977, the iconic singer-songwriter is happy to be headed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

"There's no problem. It's me," Yusuf says, adding with a chuckle that, "I don't think anybody should begrudge me the small satisfaction of this honor by giving it to someone else. I'm feeling very good about it, and it kind of affirms one of my lyrics (from 1971's 'The Wind'), which says 'Where I end up, what I think, only God really knows."

Yusuf, who was previously nominated for the Rock Hall in 2006, says the news that he'll be part of the class of 2014 -- being inducted April 10 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn -- came as "a big surprise. I was taken aback because I was kind of used to a, if you like, kind of status of self-detachment from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I see that the acceptance of me in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is kind of a rapproachment thing, which is very welcome. It's good because a lot of people may have, I don't know, taken different views about my life choices (his surprising and controversial conversion to Islam during 1977), but it's come back down to the music, which is good. When you start out in music you certainly don't see anything like this; you just do it because you love what you do. I'm not sure I feel very comfortable being in a museum, but you can't stop life doing things to you."

Yusuf says he plans to attend the induction ceremony but hasn't yet been asked to play.

"I'm hoping they'll go straight to Kiss," he says with a laugh. He is, however, working on a new album, his first since 2009's Roadsinger, which he says has "a kind of bluesy" tone at the moment.

"That's an area of my musical background and influence which has never really revealed itself to people," he notes. "It's something I've always wanted to do. Going back to the 60s, all of Britain was enamored with what was happening in the blues world, and I was one of those who was an avid fan of blues and R&B. And in the end my voice seems to be quite interestingly suited to that kind of genre, too, and I'm having a great time doing it."

Yusuf says he hopes to have the album out before the end of 2014. Having completed a recent tour of South America, he also plans to perform live during 2014, though no dates are currently on the books.

"I'm getting bombarded with lots of offers, and they're all very lovely, too," Yusuf says. "One of the things I find very enjoyable right now is to go to certain countries that I've never been to before and places that would never have dreamt of seeing me, perhaps, perform. I'm sort of ticking them off one by one, and there's so many great places to play. I'm picking and choosing where I like to go, and I make it quite a holiday for myself as well. I take the family along, and we have a great time."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Keith Richards' 12 Most Kick Ass Riffs

From NME.com

If rock’n’roll could be turned into flesh and made to walk the earth, it would look and sound a lot like Keith Richards. It’s not the skull ring, the elegantly wasted appearance or the chemically-enhanced bloodstream that does it – although that all helps – but the fact that he has an unerring knack of hoovering up pretty much all of the greatest guitar riffs ever written. In last year's Christmas issue of NME, the man himself told us exclusively about The Rolling Stones’ triumphant 50th anniversary shows, his plans for the New Year and reveals which of his many, many riffs is his favorite. On the day he turns 70, cheating death improbably for another year, here’s a dozen of my own personal selections. Believe me, it’s only the beginning: 

Start Me Up - One of Keith’s most world-famous riffs, it’s sort of surprising to learn that this track was originally conceived as a reggae number and took the band six years to get right after originally trying it out in 1975. It’s now so instantly recognizable that it’s the riff that Keith uses to announce himself and Mick at the Rock’n’Roll Fantasy Camp in The Simpsons.

Street Fighting Man - Beggars Banquet is the first in a flawless four-album run that lasted from 1968 to 1972, and this is its center point. An exhilarating kicking-against-the-pricks moment, it also proves beyond question that great guitar riffs don’t have to be electric.

Honky Tonk Women - In his cracking autobiography Life, Richards talks lovingly about how much the open G guitar tuning changed his playing forever – and this is a great example of how it sounds at its best: deep-fried and filthy.

Beast Of Burden - Part of Keith’s genius is his ability to make a great riff work for a slower ballad just as well as a foot-stomping rocker. He’s not concerned with being the center of attention: Ronnie Wood plays the solo, and throughout the song their guitars weave interchangeably, but the woozy riff is pure Richards.

Brown Sugar - Now that’s how you announce a song: those opening staccato notes sound the alarm before the definitive hip-wiggling riff, the perfect companion for Jagger’s taboo-crushing tale sadomasochistic slave rape with a taste of heroin.

Tumbling Dice - Written late at night in the elegant front room of Keith’s French chateau, Villa NellcĂ´te, this is a Richards riff at his laidback, rolling best. The rest of the song just hangs on as best it can and lets it glide.

All Down The Line - Another cut from Exile On Main Street, Mick Taylor’s slide guitar is great but again it’s all about Richards’ driving riff that makes this track a classic.

Bitch - Back at the dawn of time, before MP3s had even been dreamt of and all records had to be turned over halfway through, this was the opener to side two of Sticky Fingers. Given that the opener of side one was "Brown Sugar," this had to be special – and it might even be a better riff. As unstoppable as a freight train with burnt-out brakes.

Rocks Off - Exile’s opener turns around on itself a couple of times, then kicks into maybe the druggiest, most strung-out riff of all time – and that’s a category with a fair bit of competition. As Keith himself sings, it’s “zipping through the days at lightning speed.”

Can’t You Hear Me Knocking - Is there any sound more exciting that the opening lick of ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’? No, frankly. Ted Demme knew this when he set the opening cocaine-production montage of the Johnny Depp-starring Blow to this tune. As Keith himself wrote in ‘Life’: "'Can't You Hear Me Knocking' came out flying - I just found the tuning and the riff and started to swing it and Charlie picked up on it just like that, and we're thinking, hey, this is some groove. So it was smiles all around. For a guitar player it's no big deal to play, the chopping, staccato bursts of chords, very direct and spare."

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction - The legend goes that he wrote this one in his sleep. Or at least, he woke up just long enough to play it into a tape recorder before falling asleep – the recorder capturing him dropping the pick and then “snoring for the next forty minutes." Keith wanted his riff sketch to be replaced by horns – as Otis Redding would eventually do on his cover – but manager Andrew Loog Oldham convinced him to release it as it was and his signature sound – and a legend – was born.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash - After mucking around with psychedelia – with dubious amounts of success – on Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Stones announced their return to rock’n’roll with Richards’ greatest ever riff. Mind-blowingly cool, it went on to soundtrack everything from Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets to Johnny Depp’s Hunter Thompson driving off into the desert at the end of Terry Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. As for the riff itself? Well, as Keith himself puts it: “It just floats there, baby.”

Monday, December 16, 2013

KISS Wins Fan Vote For Rock And Roll Hall OF Fame Induction

KISS have won the fan vote for induction into the 2014 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

The poll ended with KISS at 17.22 percent, followed by Nirvana at 15.69 percent, Deep Purple at 11.93 percent, and Yes at 10.88 percent.

The Rock Hall's official poll will be used to create a single online fan vote. That will be matched against about 600 voters consisting of artists, historians and members of the music business.

The artists who get the most votes will be announced later this month December and will be inducted at a New York City ceremony next April. Highlights from the event will be shown on HBO in May.

During an interview with The Huffington Post, KISS frontman Paul Stanley took time to salute the band's fans while taking a swipe at chairman of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Foundation, Jann Wenner, when asked if he ever sees a day when KISS will be inducted into the Rock Hall. "Well, it depends on who lives longer, us or Jann Wenner," Stanley said.

"Look, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is marketing," he continued. "You've got a bunch of faceless people in a back room who trademark a name that sounds very official. Well, if you had thought of it first, you would have been the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. I am one of the biggest Laura Nyro fans. I still listen to that stuff incessantly. Laura Nyro does not belong in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Songwriter Hall Of Fame? Absolutely."

He went on to plead his case, saying: "It's absurd for anybody to look around and hear the acts and artists who cite us as an inspiration, and then tell me that we're not in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. I would certainly accept on their (the fans) behalf because it seems to be a major sore spot for them, but I don't need the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame."

KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons told Rolling Stone last year about being shut out of the Rock Hall: "It's become a joke. We've been thinking about it and the answer is simply, 'We'll just buy it and fire everybody.' In all seriousness for the fans, for something to be called Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is such an insult to Madonna, Blonide...Who the fuck knows what other disco act is in there? It's an insult to them because they don't get to be in the 'Dance Hall Of Fame', because that's what they do. They're legitimate dance, disco artists. They don't belong in rock and roll."

Stanley added: "The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has reached a point where they're really scrounging and scratching to find someone left that they consider viable. With all due respect, when you get to Patti Smith, you're about two steps away from Pete Seeger."

Gene Simmons told The Pulse Of Radio that awards hold little allure for him, since it's the fans that ultimately decide who stays around and who doesn't: "Our awards are under the 'K' section in record stores. Every time somebody goes out and plunks down their hard-earned money — either for a KISS ticket or for an album — that's the award, and reward."

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rhino Spotlights Otis Redding And Aretha Franklin With New Boxed Sets

Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin's powerful voices continue to be the standard by which all other soul singers are measured. But they also share another bond through "Respect." Redding originally wrote and recorded the song in 1965 and two years later Franklin's cover version transformed it into a female-empowerment anthem known around the world.

Rhino will pay some respect of its own to these legendary artists during Black History Month when it releases new four-disc sets that showcase their individual careers. Due out on February 4, The King Of Soul and The Queen Of Soul, both feature over 85 tracks and will be available for a suggested list price of $44.98 each.

The King Of Soul's arrival coincides with the 50th anniversary of Redding's debut album, Pain In My Heart, which helped define the sound of Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee. This new set features 92 songs and retraces the singer's career from his meteoric rise to his untimely death in a 1967 plane crash.

The songs reveal the breadth of Redding's talent, starting with his gift for songwriting: "I Can't Turn You Loose," "Ole Man Trouble" and "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," his posthumous #1 hit. His reputation as a magnetic and dynamic performer is well served by a selection of live performances recorded in 1966 at the Whisky a Go Go in L.A. ("These Arms of Mine" and "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag") and in 1967 during the legendary Stax/Volt Revue tour of Europe ("Shake" and "Try a Little Tenderness.")

Redding was also an expert interpreter of other artist's work, putting his distinct twist on everything from Solomon Burke's "Down in the Valley" and William Bell's "You Don't Miss Your Water," to the Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and Smokey Robinson's "My Girl." THE KING OF SOUL also spotlights his unforgettable collaborations with singer Carla Thomas like "Lovey Dovey" and "Tramp."

The Queen Of Soul creates a rich musical portrait of Franklin's incomparable run at Atlantic Records between 1967 and 1976. Packed with 87 songs arranged chronologically, the set opens with generous selections from the first five studio albums she recorded for the label - I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Aretha Arrives, Lady Soul, Aretha Now, and Soul '69. Recorded between 1967 and 1968, all five of the albums topped the R&B charts and gave the world classics like "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Chain of Fools," "Think," and the #1 smash "Respect."  The set also mixes in several rare outtakes of songs like "It Was You" from Aretha Arrives and "Talk to Me, Talk to Me" from Soul '69.

The collection also spotlights the great music Franklin recorded in the 1970s, including the two albums she released to open the decade - This Girl's in Love with You and Spirit in the Dark. The former boasted an electrifying version of the Band's "The Weight" with Duane Allman on slide guitar, while the latter featured the hit "Don't Play That Song."

Along with several singles from this era ("Spanish Harlem" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water"), The Queen Of Soul also gathers up several live performances with "Spirit in the Dark" (Reprise with Ray Charles) from Aretha Live at the Fillmore West (1971), plus several songs from her live album Amazing Grace (1972). The latter recording won the Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance in 1973 and remains Franklin's best-selling album to date.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Rare Beatles Songs To be Released

Rare recordings of 59 songs by the Beatles will go on sale for the first time on Tuesday (December 17) when Apple Records makes them available for download.

Apple, the label founded by the Beatles in 1968, said it would release a series of tracks from the early 1960s that were previously only available as bootleg recordings.

Among the songs to be released on iTunes are versions of "She Loves You", "A Taste of Honey" and "There's a Place", as well as outtakes, demos and live performances recorded for BBC radio.

A spokeswoman for Apple Records declined to explain the timing of the release or comment on speculation that it was aimed at extending copyright over the material.

In 2011, the European Union ruled that copyright over sound recordings should be extended from 50 to 70 years from next year, but only for recordings released before the 50-year term had expired.

The bulk of the Beatles tracks available for download from Tuesday were recorded for the BBC in 1963 but not released.

Others have already capitalized on the changes to EU legislation to maintain control over their back catalogs.

The legislation has been dubbed "Cliff's law" in Britain for the additional royalties it would provide for veteran rocker Cliff Richard, whose songs had been starting to fall out of copyright.

In late December last year, Sony Music released a compilation of Bob Dylan recordings from 1962 and 1963, giving away the reason for the move with a frank subtitle: The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. 1.

Sony only released 100 copies of the Bob Dylan recordings. It was not immediately clear whether Apple Records would limit downloads of the Beatles songs.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Redemption Day CD Featuring Heart and Others To Benefit Food Banks

Heart, Yoko Ono, Jackson Browne, Melissa Etheridge, Nils Lofgren, Little Steven and Indigo Girls are just a few of the many artists who have come together to lend a helping hand to Tunes4Food - Redemption Day, a newly released CD on Popadelic Records that will benefit three Feeding America Food Banks: Food Bank of Western New York in Buffalo, Cleveland Food Bank and Long Island Cares/The Harry Chapin Food Bank in Hauppauge, New York.

Available now on iTunes for $9.99 and eBay (in packs of 2, 3 or 10 ranging from $25 - $100 that all include free shipping and promo stickers), Tunes4Food - Redemption Day features 19 tracks in all.

Trying to answer the question, "What would John Lennon do to help feed the needy?," Bob James and a group of music students in Buffalo, New York, came up with the idea for Tunes4Food and quickly organized a continuous 25-hour benefit concert on the steps of City Hall (June 2009).

"Distinct from crisis-driven benefits, this is a proactive campaign to address the growing need for help not only in these particular communities, but across our country," says campaign manager and project producer James. "Unfortunately, hunger is a growing epidemic but, with this drive, I think we can make a measurable difference."

It's been determined that for every Tunes4Food - Redemption Day CD sold, the Feeding America Food Banks can purchase approximately 40 meals.

Links to purchase the CD can be found on the Tunes4Food website at www.tunes4food.org.

To further advance the cause, winter events and local musical performances have been scheduled in the three cities of the benefiting food banks, with a spring benefit being planned for Los Angeles.

"It's amazing that a small grassroots community service music club in a Buffalo classroom has drawn together some of the biggest names in music," comments Bob James, who was recognized by Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1999 for a music campaign relating to school safety in the Buffalo area.

"We have deep appreciation for the artists and their staff that helped build this album. We hope that the meals generated to feed those in need will be received in that spirit and we challenge musicians in other communities to adopt this idea."

As stated by Feeding America, "Hunger exists everywhere in America. It does not matter if you live in a urban, suburban or rural setting - hunger has no boundaries."

Help the cause and spread the word.

This CD is dedicated to the songs, lives and courage of Pete Seeger and Joan Baez.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Led Zeppelin Gets Spotified

Led Zeppelin and Spotify today announced that the band's legendary Swan Song/Atlantic catalog is now available for streaming on Spotify.

Nearly 45 years after the band's groundbreaking debut album catapulted them to rock superstardom, Led Zeppelin's full album catalog is now available to stream on-demand for the first time, exclusively on Spotify.

Starting today, fans across the world can stream songs from the band's first two albums (Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II) with additional albums being released at midnight local time each day for the next four days, making the full Led Zeppelin catalog of studio and live albums available on Spotify by Sunday, December 15.

Full release schedule listed below.

Wednesday, December 11 - Led Zeppelin (1969) and Led Zeppelin II (1969)
Thursday, December 12 - Led Zeppelin III (1970) and  Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
Friday, December 13 - Houses Of The Holy (1973) and Physical Graffiti (1975)
Saturday, December 14 - Presence (1976) and In Through The Out Door (1979)
Sunday, December 15 - The Song Remains The Same (1976), Coda (1982), BBC Sessions (1997), How The West Was Won (2003), Mothership (2007), and Celebration Day (2012)

The announcement was made today by Spotify CEO/Founder Daniel Ek in New York City.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Crosby, Stills & Nash Announce 2014 U.S. Spring Concert Dates

Crosby, Stills & Nash have announced a series of U.S. concerts for spring 2014, beginning March 4 at the Carpenter Center in Richmond, VA.  The dates follow their critically acclaimed tour of the U.S., Europe and the U.K. throughout 2013. The group will perform songs from their extensive catalogue, as well as new material from each member. 

Advance tickets go on sale directly on the official CSN website at 10 AM PST Wednesday morning. For tickets and information click here: http://bit.ly/csn2014.

The itinerary runs through March 24, closing with a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center in Durham, NC.  Tour highlights also include the Palace Theatre in Louisville, KY (3/8), Murat Theatre in Indianapolis IN (3/14), Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN (3/21), and the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA (3/22).  Once again, CSN will be accompanied by its backing band featuring: Shane Fontayne (guitar), Steve DiStanislao (drums), Kevin McCormick (bass), James Raymond (keyboards), and Todd Caldwell (organ).

David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash unite as “three together” for the March 2014 dates amid a full slate of side and solo projects:
  • David Crosby undertakes a solo tour in the U.S. in January and February in support of CROZ, his first solo release in 20 years. The album will be released January 28 on Blue Castle Records, the label Crosby and Nash founded in 2011.
  • Stephen Stills recently toured with The Rides, his blues-rock trio with Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg; their album Can’t Get Enough was released last summer. Carry On, a 4-CD box chronicling Stills’ career—produced by Nash and Joel Bernstein—also came out in 2013.
  • Graham Nash recently wrapped a solo tour—followed by an ongoing book tour for his long-awaited autobiography Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life, published in September by Crown Publishing Group. Nash also exhibited his artwork and photography throughout 2013.
This March, CSN will be donating $1 per ticket sold to charity. And, excluding VIP and special benefit seat packages thru their official website, all spring tour tickets sold to the general public are priced under $100.

Details and complete tour schedule are available at www.crosbystillsnash.com.

More than four decades since CSN first harmonized in Laurel Canyon, and played its first-ever concert as a trio at the legendary Woodstock festival, its members continue a creative partnership that is one of the most influential and enduring in music.  David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash have each been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two times — with Crosby, Stills & Nash, and a second time with The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and The Hollies, respectively. They are also in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, honored both for CSN as a group, and as individual solo artists.

March 4 -  Richmond, VA Carpenter Center
March 5 -  Newport News, VA Christopher Newport Univ. - Ferguson Center
March 7 -  Charleston, WV Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences
March 8 -  Louisville, KY Palace Theatre
March 11 - Des Moines, IA Civic Center of Greater Des Moines
March 12 - Peoria, IL Peoria Civic Center
March 14 - Indianapolis, IN Murat Theatre
March 15 - Battle Creek, MI Firekeepers Casino Event Center
March 18 - Columbus, OH Palace Theatre
March 19 - Ft. Wayne, IN Embassy Theater
March 21 - Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
March 22 - Atlanta, GA Fox Theatre
March 24 - Durham, NC Durham Performing Arts Center

Monday, December 9, 2013

Heart Cancels SeaWorld Show Amid 'Blackfish' Controversy

Add Heart to the list of bands that are bowing out of a show at SeaWorld because of the CNN documentary "Blackfish."

"Heart has chosen to decline their forthcoming performance at SeaWorld on 2/9/14 due to the controversial documentary film 'Black Fish,'" the band said Sunday on its verified Twitter account.
Sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson did not elaborate.

But the duo isn't the first to cancel a concert at the Florida theme park because of the film.
Country singer Willie Nelson and Canadian rock act Barenaked Ladies also pulled the plug on their shows.
"While we're disappointed a small group of misinformed individuals was able to deny fans what would have been great concerts at SeaWorld by Heart, Barenaked Ladies and Willie Nelson, we respect the bands' decisions," SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattscheck said on Sunday.


The documentary -- which first aired on CNN in October -- tells the story of the killing in 2010 of experienced SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau by a 12,000-pound orca.

The film raises questions about the safety and humaneness of keeping killer whales in captivity over the past 39 years.

Moved by the documentary, fans started online petitions asking musicians to stay away.

When the Barenaked Ladies nixed their plans last week to play at SeaWorld, they explained that it was a decision made after viewing "Blackfish."

"This is a complicated issue, and we don't claim to understand all of it, but we don't feel comfortable proceeding with the gig at this time," the band said in a Facebook post.

When SeaWorld's Gollattscheck confirmed Nelson's decision not to sing at SeaWorld, he cited "scheduling conflicts," but Nelson said it was because of the documentary and petition.

"I don't agree with the way they treat their animals," Nelson said. "It wasn't that hard a deal for me."

SeaWorld said it would like the musical artists to learn for themselves about SeaWorld.

"The bands and artists have a standing invitation to visit any of our parks to see firsthand or to speak to any of our animal experts to learn for themselves how we care for animals and how little truth there is to the allegations made by animal extremist groups opposed to the zoological display of marine mammals," Gollattscheck said.

SeaWorld says the documentary ignores the park's conservation efforts and research.

"'Blackfish' focuses on a handful of incidents over our long history at the exclusion of everything else," wrote Michael Scarpuzzi, vice president for zoological operations at San Diego SeaWorld, in an op-ed on CNN.com. "Not a single interview with a guest who was inspired and enriched by their experience with killer whales at SeaWorld. Not one visitor who left SeaWorld more aware of the need to preserve the world around them. Not one word about the thousands of ill, orphaned and injured animals rescued by SeaWorld or the millions of dollars we dedicate to supporting conservation and research."

Friday, December 6, 2013

Bruce Springsteen's 'Born to Run' Lyrics Auctioned For $197,000

A handwritten, early draft of the lyrics to Bruce Springsteen's 1975 hit "Born to Run" fetched $197,000 at auction today at Sotheby's, according to the Associated Press. The auction house claimed the copy once belonged to the Boss' former manager, Mike Appel, but would reveal neither the seller nor the buyer, who bid by telephone. It was originally estimated to sell for between $70,000 and $100,000.

The draft, which Springsteen wrote in 1974 in Long Branch, New Jersey, contains many unpublished and unrecorded lyrics, though Sotheby's said it had a "nearly perfected chorus." AP reports that Springsteen scrawled the text haphazardly, in blue ink on ruled notepaper, with words like "wild" and "angels" written in the margins.

"Although Springsteen is known to have an intensive drafting process, few manuscripts of 'Born to Run' are available, with the present example being one of only two identified that include the most famous lines in the song," Sotheby's auction notes said. "This iteration expresses the darkness that the early versions are known for, but has the distinction of a nearly perfected chorus."

Springsteen had an acrimonious fallout with Appel after the release of "Born to Run." The manager sued the singer-songwriter and prevented him from releasing music until they reached an out-of-court settlement. The Boss' next album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, came out in 1978.

Appel and Springsteen have since made amends; AP reports that the singer invited his former manager and son to fly with the band in 2009 to witness a gig where he played the entirety of his debut, Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ, which Appel had coproduced.

Springsteen's next album, High Hopes, is due out January 14th. It will contain a mix of covers, studio outtakes and re-recorded originals.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Neil Young & Robert Plant Pay Tribute To Bert Jansch

A host of musicians headed by Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant on Tuesday (December 3) night celebrated the life and work of Bert Jansch, the late Scottish guitarist who influenced generations of players from Neil Young to Johnny Marr with his stew of blues, folk and jazz.

On a London stage decorated to look like Les Cousins, the Soho folk club where Jansch held court in the 1960s, they played his songs and others that had inspired him, and reminisced about "a magical man, an occasionally shambolic man," in the words of Martin Simpson.

Jansch died in October 2011 of lung cancer at the age of 67 and Tuesday would have been his 70th birthday.

If he never achieved huge popular fame to match his talent, his standing amongst his peers was evident in a Royal Festival Hall line-up that was a virtual Who's Who of British folk, among them Ralph McTell, Donovan and members of Pentangle, the folk-jazz group with whom he found his greatest commercial success.

Neil Young, who once described Jansch as the Jimi Hendrix of acoustic guitar, was not present in body but appeared on a large screen in a specially-recorded video in which he played "Needle of Death", Jansch's tale of heroin addiction that Young has acknowledged as the inspiration for his own classic "Needle and the Damage Done".

The Canadian told how in his early days as a folksinger in Toronto, he played Jansch's albums endlessly.

The Glasgow-born Jansch cut his teeth in Edinburgh before hitchhiking down to London in the early 1960s and quickly made a name for himself in clubs such as the Troubadour and Les Cousins.
His playing brought together folk, blues and jazz with a muscular, finger-picking style, and also drew in some Middle Eastern and Asian flavors picked up on his travels. He brought out a string of albums such as "Jack Orion" and "Rosemary Lane", that were to be a huge influence on the likes of guitarist Jimmy Page, later to form Led Zeppelin.

He was still recording and touring till shortly before his death - his last performance being with a reformed Pentangle at the Royal Festival Hall in August 2011, three months before he passed away.
"He was what we had - the Americans had Dylan, who picked up Woody Guthrie, we had Bert, who found the hidden music of these islands," McTell told Reuters after the show.

"He was sexy, he was cool. Women found him alluring, men admired him for that. I treasure the friendship I had with him for 40 years."

McTell kicked off the concert with "Angie", an intricate instrumental that was one his best known songs. Donovan recalled hanging out with Jansch in his kitchen. "He taught me his licks, not a great looker but he got all the chicks," he said in short poem written for the occasion.

Another highlight came from bassist Danny Thompson, a former Pentangle member and stalwart of the British folk scene, who played Charlie Mingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", a song he said Jansch loved.

Pentangle, featuring original members Jacqui McShee, Thompson and drummer Terry Cox, closed off the first half with "Poison", a song that alludes to Jansch's battle with booze. They were accompanied by former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, who worked with Jansch in his later years as a new generation switched on to him.

Martin Carthy, the godfather of British folk, played "Blackwaterside," a traditional Ulster song that Jansch made his own. The song would later became the basis of Led Zeppelin's "Black Mountain Side".

Plant, dressed in black, was a far cry from the rock god who had fronted Zeppelin. He cast a spell with a moving version of "Go Your Way My Love.". Speaking to Reuters later, he acknowledged that Jansch had helped to open a treasure trove of blues for the band as well as inspiring their folkier side.
"We all came to a similar place, but we concentrated on different levels. Bert was digging up stuff, blues from Mississippi, for example. He was a digger for us all," he said.

The show wrapped up with the massed ranks of musicians singing a rollicking "Strolling Down the Highway," which blew away any sense of melancholy.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

John Densmore & Robbie Krieger Of The Doors To Hold Joint Q&A

Drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger of the Doors take the stage for a special joint Q+A on Thursday, December 5 at the Bing Theater in Los Angeles following a screening of Mr. Mojo Risin': The Story of L.A. Woman, the 2012 documentary about the creation of the legendary band's sixth album.

Densmore and Krieger will be on hand after the film to answer questions and also remember fellow band members Ray Manzarek, who passed away in May, and Jim Morrison, whose birthday is just a few days after the screening on December 8.

"Jim's words spoke to me in rhythms. His soul always came shining through." said Densmore.

"It makes me sick to think about all the cool stuff we might have come up with in all this time, had Jim lived longer," says Krieger. "I often wonder why so many great people pass on at such an early age. Could it be that when you're gone, you stay at that age for eternity? If so, the jokes on us!"

The screening is part of Film Independent at LACMA, a film series produced by Film Independent and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and presented by The New York Times.

An Evening with The Doors
Thursday, December 5
7:30 p.m.
LACMA, Bing Theater, 5905 Wilshire Blvd.


The Doors emerged in the 1960s as one of rock music's most influential bands thanks to the creative chemistry between drummer John Densmore, guitarist Robby Krieger, keyboardist Ray Manzarek and singer Jim Morrison. The band formed in 1965 after Manzarek and Morrison met while both were attending UCLA's film school. The group went on to release six landmark albums between 1967 and 1971 - all of which have been certified platinum or better. The band also earned a reputation for its intense live performances, including its unforgettable concert at the Hollywood Bowl in 1968. The Doors lost its frontman in 1971 when Morrison died while living in Paris.

The documentary Mr. Mojo Risin' focuses on L.A. Woman, which the band recorded in December 1970 at The Doors' Workshop in West Hollywood, not far from the Bing Theater. Recorded mostly live in the studio, the 10-song album was produced by the band and longtime engineer Bruce Botnick. Released in April 1971, the album became an instant classic, earning double-platinum status on the strength of two Top 20 hits - "Riders on the Storm" and "Love Her Madly" - and the powerful and sprawling title track.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Badfinger's Joey Molland Releases New Solo Album

Joey Molland, best known for his work with Badfinger, has released his fourth solo album, Return To Memphis on UK's Gonzo Multimedia. The new CD features 10 new Molland compositions recorded at the world famous Royal Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.

“I was raised on a diet of Memphis music, and it was a thrill for me to record there," Molland said. "I also made a lot of friends.”

Signed to the Beatles' Apple label in the late '60s, Badfinger would go on to score four consecutive worldwide hits from 1970 to 1972: “Come And Get It” (written and produced by Paul McCartney), “No Matter What,” “Day After Day” and “Baby Blue.”

In 1971, a cover of the Badfinger song “Without You” by Harry Nilsson became a number one hit on the Billboard charts. Surviving member Joey Molland has continued to keep the Badfinger flame alight through concerts and recordings over the past 30 years. And now he's returned with an album of his own, Return To Memphis, produced by Carl 'Blue' Wise.

Molland explained the process. “The album is quite a departure for me and the sound is very different, the treatment of the songs, the song content, and Carl's production and Memphis roots all make for a much simpler approach," he said. "I wrote all the songs and they have a lot of meaning to me...I know everybody gets their own feelings out of songs, but you know, I think the songs talk about relevant things and I look forward to peoples' reaction to them. There are no real Badfinger power chords or anything like that. No real jamming guitars...well...maybe a little bit, and I do play some slide on it... Carl had four girls come in to sing 'oohs' and 'aahs' and harmonies which was great, and I played with a three-piece Memphis rhythm section. So it's a really simple sounding record and I'm just hoping that people will like it.”

Originally from Liverpool, Molland now resides in the US, where he continues to perform with Joey Molland's Badfinger. Along with Joey on guitar and vocals, the current lineup features Mark Healey (bass/vocals), Steve Wozny (keyboards/vocals), Mike Ricciardi (drums).

For updated tour information check Joey Molland's official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OriginalBadfinger.

To purchase Joey Molland's Return To Memphis CD, go to http://www.gonzomultimedia.co.uk/product_details/15625/Joey_Molland-Return_To_Memphis.html.

Additional information can be found at http://www.badfingersite.com/ and https://twitter.com/BadfingerJoey.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Yoko Ono Compares Being Blamed For Beatles Split To Being Accused Of Murder

She's a musician, songwriter and outspoken peace activist, but for many, Yoko Ono is best known as the woman who marked the beginning of the end of the Beatles. That may not be fair, but John Lennon's widow has had to live with that reputation all the same, and in a new interview, she compares it to a far worse allegation.

"It feels like I was accused of something that I didn’t do, which was breaking up The Beatles,” she told Interview magazine. “That was like being somebody who is in prison without having done anything wrong. It’s like you’re accused of murder and you’re in prison and you can’t get out."

Ono, 80, believes the idea that she was behind the Fab Four's rift led to the public's lack of appreciation of her own music for "40 years or something." But she's turned the "big energy of hatred" around now.

"I wasn't valued by people, or if they did value me, it was in a particular way," she said. "So I started to feel that if no one else loved me, then I had to love myself. I thought, 'Darling, you know you work so hard. You are always trying to do good. But somehow it's not being appreciated. I feel sorry for you.' That's what I was thinking at the time — and I kind of like myself for being that one who survived regardless."

In addition to surviving the reputation she had with some Beatles fans, Ono has even survived the strained and bitter relationship once that existed between her and one Beatle in particular — Paul McCartney.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, McCartney admitted that they've moved on from their feuding days.

"She's a badass," he said of Ono, crediting time as "the great healer" between them. "I thought, 'If John loved her, there's got to be something. He's not stupid.'"

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Velvet Underground's White Light / White Heat Gets 45th Anniversary Makeover

The Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat is one of the most confrontational and inspirational second albums ever made by a rock band. Recorded in a matter of days at the end of the summer of 1967, a season in which everything seemed possible in rock and much of it happened at now-mythic speed, White Light/White Heat is an album that reeks of gritty NY street life and which could only have been made in New York, by one band. And that group is the classic-quartet lineup of The Velvet Underground – singer-guitarist Lou Reed; bassist-organist and viola player John Cale; guitarist-bassist Sterling Morrison; and drummer Maureen Tucker.

On December 2nd, Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) will release White Light/White Heat 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition, a three-disc, 30-track set featuring both the original stereo and mono releases, completely remastered, with bonus tracks including alternate versions, unreleased outtakes, John Cale's last studio sessions with the band, and the official release of their show at The Gymnasium in New York recorded on April 30, 1967, which includes five previously unreleased performances culled from John Cale’s personal copy.  The 45th anniversary set was developed in conjunction with Lou Reed and John Cale, the exclusive material is as follows:
  • New 2013 mixes of “Guess I’m Falling In Love,” “Hey Mr. Rain (version one), “Hey Mr. Rain (version two), “Beginning To See The Light” (also a previously unreleased early version)
  • Unreleased versions of “The Gift” (vocal version) and “The Gift” (instrumental version)
  • Never-before-heard tracks from Live At The Gymnasium, New York City, April 30, 1967– “I’m Not A Young Man Anymore,” “I’m Waiting For The Man,” “Run Run Run,” “Sister Ray,” and “The Gift”
  • New liner notes from David Fricke
Originally released by Verve Records on January 30, 1968, the LP cracked Billboard's Top 200 albums chart on March 16, entering at No. 199. Forty-five years later, The Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat is considered one of the most influential albums of all time, laying down the blue print for punk and experimental rock, critically acclaimed and included on many “Top Lists” including Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time and on Rolling Stone’s Greatest Artists List.

Disc one starts with the original six-song stereo version of White Light/White Heat, with the album’s title track plunging head first into 40 minutes of unprecedented, transgressive rock storytelling, propelled by epic distortion, lacerating guitar drone and severe, rhythmic purism – "the Statue of Liberty of punk," Lou Reed contends, "with the light on top. It's beyond unique and wonderful. No other group can touch what that is. You can't try to be that."

Other tracks include the airy yearning of "Here She Comes Now," one of the Velvets' finest ballads which gives the listener a two-minute breather with its “almost” serene beauty before being launched back in; the upbeat, hard-hitting proto-punk track "I Heard Her Call My Name,” punctuated with Reed’s biting guitar soloing, intertwined with a wall of distortion and feedback; the experimental sung and spoken noir of "Lady Godiva's Operation" and "The Gift”; climaxing with the propulsive, distorted eternity of sexual candour and twilight drug life, rendered dry and real in Reed's lethal monotone, in the 17-minute-plus "Sister Ray."  Bonus tracks include an alternate take of “I Heard Her Call My Name”;  the instrumental version of “Guess I’m Falling In Love,” recorded during the White Light/White Heat sessions but left unfinished; plus the original mixes of tracks “Temptation Inside Your Head” and “Stephanie Says”;  two different recordings of “Hey Mr. Rain”; and a previously unreleased early version of “Beginning To See The Light” recorded during John Cale’s last studio session with the Velvet Underground in May of 1968.

Disc two contains the original mono version of White Light/White Heat plus mono single mixes of “Here She Comes Now” and “White Light/White Heat,” as well as an instrumental and a vocal version of “The Gift,” both of which had been unreleased.

The third disc features the official release of the revelatory Gymnasium tape, recorded live during the Velvets' residency at a short-lived New York club in April 1967, five months before the White Light/White Heat sessions. This show was previously only available on bootlegs and includes the complete version of the instrumental “Booker T.,” plus the tracks “I’m Not A Young Man Anymore,” “I’m Waiting For The Man,” “Run Run Run” and a version of “Sister Ray” that clocks in just under 19 minutes.

Initial pre-orders of the Super Deluxe Box Set on the Boxset Store will received a limited edition white flexi disc featuring “Booker T – Live at the Gymnasium NYC. Limited to availability whilst stocks last.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Styx, REO Speedwagon To Stage Fundraising Concert For Victims Of Midwest Storm

I
n response to the recent wave of storms that brought tornadoes and highly-damaging winds to the Midwest, Styx and REO Speedwagon have announced that they are using their combined might to help raise funds for those affected by this tragedy. 

On December 4, these proud members of the Midwest’s rock elite will appear with special guests (to be announced shortly) at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Illinois in a fundraiser: Rock To The Rescue Extends A Hand To Those In Need. Funds will be earmarked for affected families in central Illinois communities that were left reeling in the wake of devastating tornadoes and winds. In order to maximize charitable proceeds, the artists, along with numerous vendors, crew and local staff, have generously forgone any personal compensation for the evening.

Tickets for this performance are on sale at www.ticketmaster.com for $58, $43 and $28 (tickets are subject to applicable service charges and event time and date are subject to change). Visit www.uscellularcoliseum.com/ for up-to-date information.  Donations to Rock to the Rescue can be made at www.rocktotherescue.net.

Styx guitarist James “JY” Young said, “The good people of Illinois lent support and a helping hand to every artist on this bill at different times in their respective careers, and we owe a tremendous debt.  It’s our turn to ask what we can do for this great State, and the best way we know to help those in need is to get on stage and let the incredible healing power of music play its part in rebuilding Illinois."

REO Speedwagon singer/guitarist Kevin Cronin said, "I am Illinois born and bred. REO Speedwagon is an Illinois band. The word ‘Illinois’ is music to me. The utter devastation and human suffering in Washington, IL and the surrounding areas is heartbreaking. I believe that we need to take care of our own... the people of Illinois are our own, and we are theirs."

"With our company being based in this area for over 40 years and my family living in Pekin which was effected by the storm, we wanted to do something to help all those affected.  Everyone at Jay Goldberg Events have had friends, family members and employees who were directly impacted by the storm," said Jay Goldberg of Jay Goldberg Events and Entertainment.

City of Bloomington Manager David Hales said, "The City of Bloomington has heavy hearts for those affected in the recent tornado outbreaks around Central Illinois.  We know that our city and surrounding cities will pull together to help out and support this cause.  We are glad to be hosting this benefit concert in our city."

"We are honored and excited to be hosting this benefit concert.  We are passionate about our business and know this is the best way that we could help out.  Everyone involved in putting on this concert has dropped everything to make this happen, and we are looking forward to a very successful event to help those that need it," said John Butler, President of Central Illinois Arena Management that operates the US Cellular Coliseum.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Christine McVie Interested In Re-Joining Fleetwood Mac Permanantly

Christine McVie has expressed an interest in permanently re-joining her old band Fleetwood Mac.

McVie, who left the band in 1998, said, "I like being with the band, the whole idea of playing music with them. I miss them all. If they were to ask me I would probably be very delighted… but it hasn't happened so we'll have to wait and see." This September McVie joined Fleetwood Mac onstage at London's O2 Arena, to perform 'Don't Stop' with the band.

On her reasons for quitting the group, McVie said, "I think I was just music'd out. I suffered from some kind of delusion that I wanted to be an English country girl, a Sloane Ranger or something… and it took me 15 years to realise that it's not really what I wanted at all."

Her ex-husband, John McVie, was recently diagnosed with cancer, leading Fleetwood Mac to cancel their Australian and New Zealand tour so he can seek treatment. When asked how he was doing, she responded: "really good. He's having his treatment in LA right now, but they caught it really early so he should be up and running in a couple of months."

Bookmakers recently stopped taking bets on Fleetwood Mac headlining Glastonbury Festival in 2014. Ladbrokes were previously offering odds of 1/4 on seeing the band headline the Pyramid Stage in June next year. However, following an increased period of speculation and Fleetwood Mac's recent UK tour dates, the betting was suspended.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Van Dyke Parks Announces Limited Edition 7-inch Single On November 22nd, The 50th Anniversary of JFK's Assassination

Van Dyke Parks commemorates the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, November 22nd, with the release of a limited edition 7" featuring two new tracks. The two tracks, "I'm History" and B-side "Charm School," are now available digitally, and will be be a limited 7" release available December 2nd.

Parks remembers where he was when Kennedy got shot, Nov. 22nd, 1963. That assassination, more than fascination, became a dominant obsession for him and a nation that plunged into a psychological collapse.

Shakespeare once captured such wicked irony, when he observed "Old Age and treachery will overcome Youth and Ability." To Parks, that's the case with Kennedy. JFK represented a romantic liberal rebellion, and the very idea that "those to whom much is given, much is required" (quoting him). When Kennedy invited the Nobel Prize winners to dine at the White House, he quipped "This is the greatest collection of talent assembled in this house...with the possible exception of when Jefferson sat down alone here to eat."

JFK invented the Peace Corps, inviting educated citizens to serve the world -- long before the "me" generation and the likes of Bill Gates tossing mosquito nets to Africa as a flaccid philanthropic gesture. Parks observes, "Had Kennedy lived to fill his term of office (as with his brother Robert and Dr. MLK), this world would be muted in its greed, search for eroticism of wealth, and the inevitable distancing of rich and poor."

"I'm History" reflects Parks' regret, risking being viewed as a scold, he really aims to celebrate youth, and its potential for a higher bar in social expectations. It's not a tune built for a dance floor. 

"Charm School"is an escapist contrast. Co-written with friend Ira Ingber, it's a tropical fantasy and a sequel to "Discover America", and "Clang of the Yankee Reaper." Set in a post-Colonial, pre-Mac-World Caribbean idyll, set around lovers lounging in tree-limbs,  watching croquet. Trinidadians who were there and can remember, will pick up the reference to Lord Mayor Cipriani, and a scent of frangipani. The single jacket depicts a young woman poised to slam a trolleyed ball to the hedgerow. It is an oil, contributed by artist Kenton Nelson. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Moody Blues Cruise II To Raffle New Custom 2013 Mini Cooper To One Lucky Fan Aboard The Ship

The Moody Blues Cruise II, the second annual fan cruise from the Moody Blues, sailing the Caribbean April 2-7, 2014  aboard the MSC Divina, have collaborated with the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund (DioCancerFund.org), a non-profit charitable fund formed in honor of the legendary rock singer Ronnie James Dio, who lost his life to stomach cancer in 2010.

In support of the charity, the cruise will raffle a 2013 Mini Cooper -- featuring customized cruise graphics with the “Moody Cooper” stylized logo plus a permanent plaque and certificate of authenticity signed by The Moody Blues -- to one lucky fan aboard the ship. Hoisted aboard the MSC Divina with a 20-story crane, the Moody Cooper will be displayed on the pool deck throughout the cruise.

Passengers sailing aboard the MSC Divina will be given the opportunity to obtain raffle tickets in international waters during the cruise, with a donation going to Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund in honor of Ronnie James Dio.

Along with the one-of-a-kind Mini, the winner will be presented the keys to the car by the Moody Blues band members. In addition, the recipient will pose for pictures with the car and the Moody Blues, as well as receiving a souvenir “Making of The Moody Cooper” picture book and merchandise package.

“My husband, Ronnie James Dio passed away on May 16, 2010 from stomach cancer,"says Wendy Dio, who heads up the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. "I then vowed to raise money for cancer research and education in his name. To date, we have raised over $800,000 from fans and wonderful organizations such as the Monsters of Rock Cruise. We have given this money to organizations such as M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Vanderbilt Cancer Research and T.J. Martell. We would like to thank The Moody Blues Cruise for their continued support, and hopefully one day find a cure.”

According to The Moody Blues Cruise spokesperson, Larry Morand, “This will make the cruise even more amazing for Moodies fans as one lucky passenger will drive away with the Moody Cooper and memories that will last forever. Better yet, raising money for cancer research and education for our close friends at the Dio Cancer Fund is the icing on the cake.”

The confirmed line-up for The Moody Blues Cruise II, recently included in USAToday.com’s list of “The Best Music Cruises At Sea,” includes Roger Daltrey performing select material of the Who plus some of his own favorites, Carl Palmer of ELP, Lighthouse and Shawn Phillips in addition to several notable artists from the 60s, 70s and 80s including the Zombies, the Orchestra starring ELO, Starship and Little River Band. Other classic rock performers confirmed include: Strawbs, Joe Williams of TOTO, Glass Hammer, Sound of Contact featuring Simon Collins, Jimi Hendrix Tribute featuring Randy Hansen, Eagles Tribute featuring Danny Vaughn, The Prog Rock Orchestra, Heavy Mellow and Mellow Yellow, who will treat fans to special performances at multiple venues aboard the MSC Divina.

Fans will have access to concerts, Q&A sessions, Karaoke Bar, special events and activities, while interacting with musical guests that influenced the music of the 70s and beyond.  This is not just a “concert cruise.” It is a fan experience celebrating the years of incredible music since The Moody Blues’ legendary set at Isle of Wight Festival. The Moody Blues Cruise II provides a playground for the serious fan where music and luxury cruising hook up for the vacation of a lifetime. Tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis and will only be available at www.MoodiesCruise.com.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Emerson, Lake & Palmer's 'Brain Salad Surgery' Queued For Expansion

On the 40th anniversary of its release, Brain Salad Surgery, arguably the definitive album by  Emerson Lake &Palmer, will be expanded by Razor & Tie into multiple configurations. 

A Super Deluxe Edition will be released on April 8, 2014, featuring the original HR Giger artwork, brand new 5.1 mixes and previously unreleased material.

Brain Salad Surgery is an album that saw Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer displaying more creativity than most bands achieve in their whole lifetime.

“We are amazed that after 40 years, so much of the original recordings, photos and artwork are still usable. Some of it has never been released before, but it’s fascinating to hear how the recording progress. We are delighted that this new version will reveal some of these transitions,” says a statement for Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

1973’s Brain Salad Surgery, was ELP’s first album on their own Manticore imprint. With its fold-out sleeve designed by HR Giger, it was all guns blazing, trophy taking, the karmic, the cosmic, the symphonic, all distilled into two sides of vinyl. From their rendition of the William Blake/Hubert Parry hymn "Jerusalem" to Emerson’s adaptation of Alberto Ginastera’s "Toccata," this was a world-class album. And that is before the side and a half long "Karn Evil 9."

It became their greatest statement, their calling card, the one every self-respecting music fan fell in love with, complete with their catchphrase in song, “Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends . . .”

Full details of the 40th Anniversary expansive edition of Brain Salad Surgery will be revealed early in 2014.

Meanwhile, an 180 gram vinyl edition in original packaging and 40th Anniversary shirts are available now at elp.merchnow.com.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Interactive Video Of Bob Dylan's “Like A Rolling Stone” Released

When Bob Dylan released “Like A Rolling Stone” in 1965 – forever shattering all preconceived notions for what a pop single could be in terms of length, sound and subject matter - no official music video was ever created to accompany his release. But nearly a half-century later, a groundbreaking interactive project has been created for the song, allowing fans to experience the classic recording in unprecedented ways. Today, the Bob Dylan – “Like a Rolling Stone” Interactive Video is unveiled worldwide on BobDylan.com, coinciding with The Complete Album Collection Volume 1, just released on Columbia/Legacy Recordings.

The Bob Dylan – “Like a Rolling Stone” Interactive Video showcases a patented technology platform, created by the digital media company Interlude, which allows viewers to play an active role in the story of the music video. The experience begins when users press play and have the ability to surf 16 different “TV channels” within the video in real-time. These channels are comprised of American TV formats in which, no matter what channel you are on, the hosts and actors are all lip-syncing the lyrics to "Like a Rolling Stone" as the song continues to play seamlessly. No two people will engage with the video in the same way twice. The full interactive video can also be experienced on iPhones and iPads and is easily shared across social media platforms.

A number of recognizable TV shows and talent can be spotted throughout the video, and savvy viewers will no doubt make connections between some of these appearances and the song’s lyrics, as well as to certain moments from throughout Bob Dylan’s 50-plus years as a worldwide cultural figure.

“We're forever looking for compelling, creative ways to distinguish our artists and their music from the din. The Interlude treatment of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ provides us with a unique, playful, highly engaging platform from which we can reach - and ideally attract - Dylan fans from across the spectrum," said Adam Block, President of Sony Music/Legacy Recordings.

As a musician myself, I can’t imagine a more thrilling project to be a part of than helping create the first video for ‘Like a Rolling Stone,’” said Yoni Bloch, founder and CEO of Interlude. “The song has repeatedly been voted the No. 1 Greatest Song of All Time by Rolling Stone, and is generally regarded as revolutionary, influencing both artists and popular music around the world. Like the song, we hope Interlude will inspire creative professionals everywhere to develop new and unique ways to tell stories through video.”

With its cutting-edge interactive video technology, Interlude (repeat winner of Most Innovative Video at the MTV O Music Awards) partnered with award-winning content creator Pulse Films (LCD Soundsystem’s "Shut Up and Play the Hits" and Blur’s "No Distance Left to Run") and Walter Pictures (Best Music Video Award winner by Time Magazine, Pitchfork, and MTV Woodie Awards) to make an extraordinary first official video for Dylan’s seminal song.

The video is being released in conjunction with The Complete Album Collection Volume 1, from Columbia/Legacy Recordings. This 47-CD boxed set contains 35 studio titles (including the first-ever North American release of 1973's Dylan album on CD); 6 live albums; the 2-CD Side Tracks, which compiles in one set previously released non-album singles, tracks from the original Biograph boxed-set and other compilations; a deluxe-bound hardcover book featuring new album-by-album liner notes from famed author Clinton Heylin and a new introduction by noted journalist and television personality Bill Flanagan. This project is also available as a limited-edition harmonica-shaped USB stick containing all the music, in both MP3 and FLAC lossless formats. The Bob Dylan Bootleg Series App was also just released, featuring over 500 pieces of rare and historical content.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dire Straits Bundles Studio Albums For Box Set Release

When they first appeared on the London live circuit in the late 70s, Dire Straits timeless music, faultless musicianship and memorable songs quickly connected with music lovers. From the start, it was clear that the band, led by Mark Knopfler, would set their own path. The then-current zeitgeist of new wave showed there was an appetite for the new, but Dire Straits proved that classic song writing would never go out of fashion.

Touring, writing and recording, they released a series of successful albums, and by 1985 they were the biggest selling band in the world.  The appeal of Dire Straits was almost instantly universal. They traveled the globe, building an enormous and loyal international following.  Songs, such as "Sultans Of Swing," "Romeo And Juliet" and "Money For Nothing" dominated the airwaves and the revolutionary new music TV channels such as MTV. And now, their six studio albums -- Dire Straits (1978), Communique (1979),  Making Movies (1980), Love Over Gold (1982), Brothers In Arms (1985) and On Every Street (1991) -- have been bundled together in a box called The Studio Albums 1978 - 1991.

Bernie Grundman mastered the first four titles from analog masters, with lacquers cut by Grundman and Chris Bellman; while Brothers in Arms and On Every Street were mastered by Bob Ludwig from digital masters, and cut by Chris Bellman. All titles have been pressed on beautiful 180 gram vinyl. 

With all original artwork restored, the six albums are packed in a handsome box set slipcase and  come complete with download cards.Look for The Studio Albums 1978 - 1991 on November 25.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Carmine Appice To Launch New Rocker Records Label

Revered by legions of high-profile musicians, including Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham, as one of the most innovative and powerful drummers that rock and roll has ever seen, the legendary Carmine Appice needs no introduction.

Now, the man whose soulful pounding powered the uniquely heavy psychedelia of Vanilla Fudge’s mesmerizing late-1960s remake of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” up the charts and later co-wrote Rod Stewart’s smash hits “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” and “Young Turks,” is launching an exciting new record label, Rocker Records.

The first four releases are due out November 19 as digital offerings, and they include Bogert/Appice & Friends, TNA (featuring Appice and guitar master Pat Travers) Live in Europe, and two concert recordings from his highly influential post-Vanilla Fudge group Cactus, Live in Japan and Live in the USA. Expect a bonanza of Appice-related material to flow from this new pipeline.

Information regarding these and other upcoming releases can be found at www.rocker-records.com and www.facebook.com/carminerockerrecords.

It was a meeting with Mike Cusanelli, from the record label and management company World Sound, that provided the impetus for the new venture. Wondering out loud, Cusanelli suggested an idea to Appice that sounded very appealing.

“Mike, being a records kind of guy, says, ‘You know, if you have product laying around, you should probably start a record label that would be able to get your product out, and then you could sell other people’s product – from friends of yours who have product that maybe want to release it,” explained Appice. “So I said, ‘Really, that’s interesting.’ So then he had a talk with the head of eOne, which is our distributor, and he was totally into the idea. So I thought, ‘Okay, let’s give it a try.’ And these first releases are things that I’ve had basically in the can, with really nothing to do to them. They’re from my personal collection. So he says, ‘Let’s get it out to the fans!”

That’s just what Appice and Rocker Records plan on doing.

“It’s going to be a lot of digital stuff,” said Appice. “So maybe we’ll have a digital online store, but there are enough of those already. We have a web site now, rocker-records.com, which will keep news of what’s coming out and what’s available and all that, and maybe provide some links to things you can buy from iTunes or something. We may do that, but we’re too new. We’re really taking it as it comes.”

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Black Sabbath Extend World Tour Into 2014

Following successful shows in North and South America, Australia, Asia and now Europe (which kicks off November 20 in Helsinki, Finland), Black Sabbath have announced additional shows in North America and Europe in 2014. 

The 2014 North American dates launch March 31 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY and will hit 10 cities in Canada, including stops in Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton, before wrapping April 26 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA. 

Tickets for the North American dates go on sale beginning Friday, November 22 at www.livenation.com.

Beginning today, fans can visit http://bit.ly/RSVPBlackSabbath to RSVP for early access to presale tickets available Wednesday, November 20.

These dates will be part of the band’s final shows of their 2013-2014 world tour in support of their first studio album in 35 years, 13, which entered the charts at #1 in 13 countries (including their first #1 in the U.S.).

The fall European tour launch coincides with the release of Black Sabbath: Live…Gathered in Their Masses DVD, Blu-Ray, combo pack and deluxe box. 

Filmed April 29 and May 1, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia, it features the first-ever live performances of songs from 13, along with Black Sabbath classics.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Win Performing Slot On Annual Jimi Experience Hendrix Tribute Tour

Experience Hendrix LLC, in partnership with Talenthouse, has announced the Jimi Hendrix Guitar Competition, a celebration of the music and heritage of the greatest guitarist of all time. Together with Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings and IK Multimedia, Talenthouse and Experience Hendrix have launched a competition that offers entrants a chance to win a performing slot on the annual Experience Hendrix tribute tour, set to roll in March 2014.

Contestants are invited to submit a video that shows them performing a Jimi Hendrix track.  One winner will be selected by a team of judges, consisting of Janie Hendrix, Jimi’s sister and Experience Hendrix CEO; and legendary engineer/producer Eddie Kramer who worked with Jimi Hendrix at the very start of his recording career in London, and, later at Woodstock and subsequently worked on the authorized series of posthumous Hendrix album releases.  Judges also include Brad Tolinski, Guitar World Magazine Editor-in-Chief, and Dave Stewart, known for his role in the Eurhythmics and work with Mick Jagger, Orianthi, Bryan Ferry, Ringo Starr, Stevie Nicks and No Doubt, among others.

The winner, as selected by the panel of judges, will be invited to perform a song as part of the Experience Hendrix 2014 Tour.  Travel and accommodations will be provided for the winner and a guest. The Experience Hendrix Tour is an annual event featuring the greatest guitarists of our generation including Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Eric Johnson, and many others. The 2014 tour line up will be announced shortly.

The overall winner as well as five popular winners (runners up) will receive an assortment of exclusive Jimi Hendrix merchandise provided by IK Multimedia, in addition to prizes from Fender, Guitar Center, Dunlop, Hal Leonard, Levy’s Leathers, and Guitar World Magazine.

The ‘Judges Choice’ (overall winner) will have the incredible opportunity to perform a song on the Experience Hendrix 2014 Tour, sharing the stage with several of today’s top guitarists in celebration of Jimi Hendrix.* In addition, the winner will receive an assortment of exclusive product and merchandise, including:
  • IK Multimedia custom prize package including: iLoud portable speaker, iRig Pro, iRig BlueBoard, iKlip for iPad
  • $2,500
  • Fender Classic Series '70s Stratocaster®
  • Dunlop Pedals: JH F1 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face, JH OC1 Jimi Hendrix Octavio, JH 1D Jimi Hendrix Signature Wah
  • Guitar Center Gift Card
  • One year subscription to Guitar World Magazine
  • An assortment of Jimi Hendrix merchandise and music including Hal Leonard Jimi Hendrix Instruction Books
  • Levy’s Leathers collectible album cover guitar strap, featuring many of Jimi's album covers
*Travel and two nights’ accommodation to Experience Hendrix Tour date provided for the winner plus guest

The ‘Five Popular Winners’ (runners up) will each receive:
  • IK Multimedia custom prize package including: iRig Pro, iRig BlueBoard, iKlip for iPad
  • Fender Squier Vintage Modified Stratocaster®
  • Dunlop Pedals JH 1D Jimi Hendrix Signature Wah
  • Guitar Center Gift Card
  • One year subscription to Guitar World Magazine
  • An assortment of Jimi Hendrix merchandise and music including Hal Leonard Jimi Hendrix Instruction Books
  • Levy’s Leathers collectible album cover guitar strap, featuring many of Jimi's album covers
For more information, go to http://tlnt.io/qurKI

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Beatles Named Most Pirated Artist In The World

Research from online anti-piracy company MUSO has discovered that the Beatles are the most-pirated artist in the world by a significant margin.

MUSO compiled its top ten most-pirated artists by monitoring site which respond to its own takedown requests. This list doesn’t include the likes of The Pirate Bay.

The Fab Four's material was found to be uploaded via a whopping 187,687 online files through a mixture of cyberlocker, torrents and illegal streaming websites. Estimating an average of 1000 downloads per file, MUSO said this equates to nearly 190 million downloads per annum.

Other catalogue artists followed the Beatles with Fleetwood Mac (72984 uploaded files), Bob Marley (60024 uploaded files) and Led Zeppelin (59011 uploaded files) all in the Top Five.

Founded in 2008, MUSO now work with hundreds of key companies in the music industry, such as Beggars Group, Demon Music Group and Essential Music & Marketing, in helping them protect their releases and catalogue online.

The company’s dashboard system scans millions of pages across the internet, protecting and defending online content.

Full list below:

1. The Beatles -  187687 uploaded files

2. Fleetwood Mac - 72984 uploaded files

3. Bob Marley - 60024 uploaded files

4. Led Zeppelin - 59011 uploaded files

5. Cliff Richard - 56576 uploaded files

6. Stevie Wonder  - 45496 uploaded files

7. Jimi Hendrix - 44093 uploaded files

8. Elvis Presley - 40794 uploaded files

9. ABBA - 35193 uploaded files

10. The Rolling Stones - 34444 uploaded files

Monday, November 11, 2013

Keith Moon Biopic In Production

A still-untitled biopic of legendary The Who drummer Keith Moon will be the first project to be developed under a new slate development and financing agreement announced today by Exclusive Media and Da Vinci Media Ventures.

The new agreement between Exclusive and the New York based Da Vinci Media Ventures, the management company to the Da Vinci funds led by Wendy Rutland and U.K. tech guru Toby Moores, extends the rolling 4-picture equity deal the two firms inked in Cannes this year.

The Who frontman  Roger Daltrey has been collaborating with Exclusive Media’s Chairman and CEO Nigel Sinclair on the Keith Moon biopic, which would trace Moon's short, wild life. As famous for his crazy hotel-trashing excesses as for his revolutionary rapid-fire drumming skills, Moon was key to The Who's meteoric rise before his sudden death in 1978. Exclusive is currently commissioning a writer to pen the script for the long-in-development project. The group is looking to set up the feature as a European-based co-production.

"The Keith Moon project is one close to my heart so I am excited to reinvigorate it and grateful to Wendy, Toby and Da Vinci for their enthusiastic support,” Daltrey said in a statement.

Added Da Vinci’s Rutland: "I am a massive Who fan and consider Keith Moon to be the greatest rock drummer of all time. I could feel Roger’s passion and detailed perspective for this unique story after our first phone call. We are excited to be topping up our deal with Exclusive, and look forward to growing the relationship.”

The Moon biopic will be set up under Exclusive Media's banner. Da Vinci’s Wendy Rutland will also serve as an executive producer.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Heart To Release Two New Christmas Singles!


Heart fans will have two new reasons to celebrate this year's holidays with the release of "Please Come Home for Christmas" and "All Through the Night," the double A-sided digital single from sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, coming Tuesday, November 12.

Ann and Nancy decided to wrap 2013, a year marked by Heart's induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with a pair of special holiday recordings, each recorded with a singer they'd always admired and wanted to work with.

Nancy, along with producer Emilio Estefan and pianist Shelly Berg, wrote a new arrangement for "All Through the Night," a traditional Welsh folksong and recorded a sublime contemporary version of the song with backing vocals by Richard Marx.

Ann made one of her own dreams come true with her duet with Aaron Neville on "Please Come Home for Christmas," a holiday rhythm & blues standard originally a hit for Charles Brown in 1961.

"I have loved Aaron Neville's amazing, soulful voice since I was a teenager, and it is a great blessing to get this opportunity to sing a duet with him," Ann said.  "He truly has a gift, and is a sweet person. It shows on this track."

The arrival of "All Through the Night" and "Please Come Home for Christmas" caps an amazing year for Heart, who've been enjoying a resurgence of popularity since 2010's Red Velvet Car became the group's first Top 10 album in 20 years.                       

Many successful live shows and tours (including a 2011 co-headliner with Def Leppard) have ensued with 2012 seeing the release of Strange Euphoria, a definitive career-spanning box set; the arrival of Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll, a best-selling autobiography; and the announcement of Ann and Nancy Wilson's Heart star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Released in October 2012, Fanatic, Heart's 14th studio album became the band's 12th to cross into the Top 25.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Scorpions Get 'Unplugged'

Sony International is releasing MTV Unplugged, a live CD and DVD set from the Scorpions on January 21, 2014. The material is taken from the Scorpions' first-ever "MTV Unplugged" show and features new acoustic versions of classic hits, as well as five brand new songs. 

Recorded and filmed on September 11 and 12, 2013, MTV Unplugged was culled from two dynamic acoustic sets at the Lycabettus Theatre in Athens, Greece.  The spectacular open-air theatre, situated 300 meters above the city, was an impressive backdrop for the first-ever open-air show in the history of "MTV Unplugged" (the theatre also shares a birth year with the Scorpions themselves, having been built in 1965, the same year the Scorpions formed). 

Of the choice to film/record MTV Unplugged at the Lycabettus Theatre, Scorpions' singer Klaus Meine commented, "We have fabulous fans all over the world, but the Greeks are absolute die-hards fans."

In other news, the Scorpions are still in the midst of their epic Farewell World Tour; the tour has been going on for more than three years now.  To the delight of their fans there is no end in sight, as to date the band has only played 23 out of the 38 countries planned on the itinerary.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

London Record Store For Sale On eBay

The owner of a London record store has put his entire shop up for sale on eBay.

Listed with a 'Buy It Now' price of £300,000, the listing begins: "Live your dream and enter a rock’n’roll lifestyle – your chance to run a record shop!"

On The Beat Records was opened by Tim Derbyshire in 1979 on Hanway Street, near Tottenham Court Road. Almost 35 years later it sells a range of collectible vinyl from 1960s psychedelia to grunge with funk, soul, jazz, folk, country and library music.

"I've given it my heart and soul for all these years but it’s time for me to step down and let another passionate music lover take over," Derbyshire writes in the listing.

"If you’re at the stage in your life when you don’t have to worry about making money but can live the bohemian life, meet interesting people every day and the occasional pop or rock star, here’s your chance to take over the oldest record shop in the centre of swinging London," the listing says. "A vinyl treasure trove with a pulsing, groovin' history steeped in its very walls. You can make history and take it over!"

The listing also says that without a buyer, the shop will shut down. "Without someone buying it, it will disappear. If you’re mad about music, love vinyl and want to keep the dream alive, here’s your chance to take on an Aladdin's Cave of musical gems," it says.

Bidding ends on November 25.