Thursday, August 29, 2013

What's 'New' With Paul McCartney?

Today, Paul McCartney has made some "New" music available.

Speaking about the "New" track, McCartney said: "We can do what we want, we can live as we choose."

This new track hints at things to come from the forthcoming New album, set for release on October 14th in the UK and October 15th in the US.

This will be his first album of brand New Paul McCartney solo material in six years.

The New album will include 12 new songs, which the singer worked on with new collaborators.

The "New" song is produced by Mark Ronson.

More new details to follow in the coming weeks.

Purchase "New" at http://smarturl.it/PMnewiTunes

Listen to "New" at https://soundcloud.com/paulmccartney/paulmccartney_new

Our at http://youtu.be/pE_1V0phMW8

www.paulmccartney.com

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Gary Moore's Back On The Streets With Phil Lynott To Be Reissued

This autumn sees the release of an extended edition of the hugely successful debut solo album, Back On The Streets, from Gary Moore.

Released in 1978 this was the first authentic solo record by the British blues-rock guitarist legend featuring Thin Lizzy bassist/vocalist Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey.

This classic album features the tracks “Fanatical Fascists”, acoustic ballad "Spanish Guitar” and the exquisite UK top 10 single “Parisienne Walkways.”.

This special edition comprises the full original album plus bonus B-sides and alternate versions, fully endorsed by his estate.

Remastered by Andy Pearce and featuring an updated booklet with liner notes by writer and journalist Malcolm Dome.

1. Back On The Streets
2. Don't Believe A Word (with Phil Lynott vocal)
3. Fanatical Fascists
4. Flight Of The Snow Moose
5. Hurricane
6. Song For Donna
7. What Would You Rather Bee Or A Wasp
8. Parisienne Walkways (with Phil Lynott vocal)

Bonus Tracks:

9. Track Nine (taken from ')Back On The Streets'  7" Single B-Side
10.   Spanish Guitar - Phil Lynott vocal  7" Single
11.   Spanish Guitar - Gary Moore vocal 7" Single
12.   Spanish Guitar - Instrumental  7" Single B-Side

Monday, August 26, 2013

Yes, Marillion On Board For 2014 Cruise To The Edge


Yes and Marillion will lead an all-star lineup aboard the second annual Cruise To The Edge, a full-ship charter departing from Miami, Florida, on April 7, 2014 for five days and nights of live music, interaction between musicians and fans and plenty of fun in the sun.  General on-sale tickets will be available beginning Thursday, August 29.

Billed as one of the greatest progressive rock festivals of all time, Cruise To The Edge will visit beautiful Caribbean ports including Isla de Roatan, Honduras and Cozumel, Mexico, providing a rare opportunity for fans to get up-close-and-personal with over 25 bands and artists.  Featuring non-stop entertainment, activities and events, information regarding the unique fan opportunity is available now at www.CruiseToTheEdge.com.

Passengers will be treated to multiple concert sets from Yes, who helmed the first Cruise To The Edge in March 2013, along with Marillion, Steve Hackett and Genesis Revisited, UK with Eddie Jobson, Queensrÿche, Tangerine Dream, Renaissance and many more.

The MSC Divina will transform into a Progressive Rock Paradise, featuring multiple unique stages, showcasing music and ocean panoramas in every direction.  Other artists joining the lineup include Saga, Three Friends (Former members of Gentle Giant), Patrick Moraz, PFM, Lifesigns, Stickmen  featuring Tony Levin, IO Earth, Strawbs, The Pineapple Thief, Soft Machine (Legacy), Sound Of Contact featuring Simon Collins, Electric Asturias, Presto Ballet, Moon Safari, Pamela Moore, Scale The Summit, The Prog Rock Orchestra, Heavy Mellow and Cheap Thrill.

In addition, famous yes album design artist Roger Dean will be aboard to talk about the back story of his unique designs with a special art gallery where one-of-a-kind creations may be view and purchased.

Highlights include special performances by every band, plus unique “Storytellers” style concerts by many bands featuring behind-the-scenes stories of the writing and recording of the music, band history and more.  Fans will also be able to witness unforgettable nighttime concerts on the dramatic open-air stage with sights, lights and sounds with an ever-changing view. 

The Acoustic Lounge and the Prog Jam Stage will keep the action going into the wee hours with a surprise or two along the way.

Along with great musical performances, prog-rock music fans aboard the luxurious MSC Divina (one of the world’s newest and amazing floating festival ships which can accommodate over 3,000 passengers plus crew) will enjoy The Prog Panels Q&A sessions, Behind The Music Presentations, Meet & Greet sessions (with select artists), a Bon Voyage Sail-Away Party, plus other special events and activities, interacting with some of greatest progressive rock musicians in the world. 

For this special event, the MSC Divina is building the biggest-ever deck-side stage built specifically for rock concerts aboard a cruise ship. the show has been carefully designed to meet the discriminating requirements of the most avid music fan/cruise vacationer, producing a true fan and artist experience in a surreal and relaxing setting.

"Yes will once again host Cruise to the Edge this coming April 2014,” says Yes bassist Chris Squire.  “Our first cruise turned out to be a lot of fun and I thoroughly recommend the experience.  If you're a prog rock fan, even better as we have amassed a spectacular array of support talent for the cruise…see you there!"

Cruise spokesperson Larry Morand says, “This is the premiere world event for progressive rock music.  Our goal is to bring fans from at least 40 countries for the 2014 Cruise to the Edge”

For North American Marillion fans, this is an exciting opportunity to see the band perform live, as they very rarely tour outside of Europe.  The band says, "We are looking forward to being a part of Cruise To The Edge in 2014.  We are sure it will be a unique experience for all involved and we look forward to sailing the seas somewhere warm!"

There’s also an added incentive for international prog-rock fans who want to Cruise To The Edge:  there is up to a $500 per cabin rebate for travelers flying in from overseas.

Tickets are on sale now for Cruise To The Edge and practically everything is included for one low price, starting at $799 per person, double occupancy. 

Passengers will enjoy the refined elegance of the MSC Divina, sumptuous meals, two wonderful Caribbean ports, luxury stateroom, pools, fitness center and much more.  This is the “Can’t Miss” event for true aficionados of progressive rock.

Cruise To The Edge is a playground for the serious fan where music and a luxury cruise hook up for the vacation of a lifetime. 

Tickets for this voyage-of-a-lifetime will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis and will only be available at www.CruiseToTheEdge.com.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Phish Invites Peter Gabriel To Perform Genesis Album On Halloween

Two years ago, Peter Gabriel said Phish had contacted him about joining them onstage for a complete performance of a classic Genesis album. "They do these projects where they take an old record and do it," said Gabriel. "I had a conversation about The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway with them at one point. They were thinking about it. That didn't go anywhere."

Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, who inducted Genesis into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, says he was the one who contacted the former Genesis frontman. "I'm such a big fan of Peter Gabriel, I can't even begin to tell you," he says. "I've been one my whole lifetime, so just hearing his voice on the phone was kind of exciting. If he wanted to [perform The Lamb] with us, I would do it. . . That album had a huge effect on me, and [Phish drummer] Jon Fishman as well. I spent most of my high school years in a dark closet with headphones on listening to The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway."

Phish are playing a classic album at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall this Halloween, and Anastasio says they are open to playing The Lamb at that show. "That would be great," he says. "I can play that album in my sleep, but we'll only do it if [Gabriel] does it with us. Peter Gabriel, if you want to do The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway with us this Halloween, we're your band. You heard it here first."

Peter Gabriel hasn't performed a single Genesis song onstage in 30 years. He did meet with the band in 2005 to discuss the possibility of a reunion tour where they'd play The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, but he bailed when it seemed like too big a commitment. The Phil Collins-led lineup of the band toured instead, and since then, Collins has suffered nerve damage that makes it virtually impossible for him to play drums. Any sort of complete reunion seems extremely unlikely.

Genesis and Phish fans shouldn't get their hopes up for a performance of The Lamb this Halloween. Gabriel is spending the month of October on tour in Europe playing his 1986 LP So straight through. The tour does end on October 25th, but Gabriel is a notorious perfectionist and he'd almost certainly demand more than few days' rehearsal.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mötley Crüe Has Farewell Tour Mapped Out

Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil says all farewell talk surrounding the band these days "is definitely for real" -- and the group even has its exit strategy (i.e., a farewell tour) in place.

"I think we'll start the tour around May -- I'm just kind of guessing on that, but in the spring of '14, and we'll do one more time around the world and kinda call it quits," the Crüe frontman says. "It's just that time. We're going out on top. We don't want to be some band that people are like, 'Oh, they're playing a club now,' that kind of band. We still sell out arenas, have stadium stuff and things like that, so let's go out when it's a big deal."

Neil adds that guitarist Mick Mars' continuing health issues -- he suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis, and has also had hip replacement surgery -- are also a factor. "Touring is tough on him, so this'll give him some time to relax."

Neil doesn't think it will be the last we see of the Crüe, though.

"I'm sure in five, 10 years from now we'll probably do something again together, if other people's careers don't get in the way," he says. "But it's not gonna be like a Kiss farewell to the farewell to the farewell to the farewell tour. It won't be like that. We're not going to say farewell and then try to get people to come back again in a little while."

Neil expects there will be some new Crue music in the future, too -- most likely to accompany the film adaptation of the group's autobiography The Dirt, which is still in development.

"It's going to come out at some point before our tour starts," Neil reports. "We're hoping an early spring kind of thing."

Neil is currently touring with his solo band, while the Crue is gearing up for September shows in Oklahoma and Miami before starting a 12-date return to The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas. Neil promises the shows will be "over the top, even by Mötley standards" and even bigger than the group's first run in Sin City last year.

"The thing about playing in Vegas is you can do so much more because you don't have to tear it down and build it back up the next day. You can do effects that stay there. So we're really looking forward to it. You can call it our most dangerous show ever -- not danger for us but danger for the crowd. I thought the last residency was cool, but we learned we could do way more than we actually did, so this will be really, really over the top." 

Or, he adds, deeper into the bottom. "Just think of hell, what would happen in hell," Neil teases.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Beatles Promoter Sid Bernstein Dies

Sid Bernstein, the promoter who brought the Beatles to Carnegie Hall in New York City just as their fame exploded in the U.S., has died. He was 95.

Bernstein's daughter, Casey Deutsch, said her father died in his sleep Wednesday morning of natural causes.

Bernstein made the Beatles the first rock group to play at the classical Carnegie Hall and arranged their historic 1965 show at Shea Stadium, rock's first major stadium concert, which set box office records.

He also booked such top acts as Jimi Hendrix, Judy Garland and the Rolling Stones. He worked with Judy Garland, Duke Ellington and Ray Charles and promoted Dion, Bobby Darin and Chubby Checker.

Bernstein was an early backer of ABBA, setting up the Swedish group's first U.S. appearances.

He also was behind one of the first rock benefit shows, the 1970 Winter Festival for Peace, and helped revive Tony Bennett's career with a 1962 show at Carnegie Hall.

Bernstein had a studious side that led to his biggest break. He took a course on Western civilization that required students to read a British newspaper once a week. It was 1963, and the Beatles were just catching on in their native country.

"So here I am reading little stories about this group from Liverpool that is causing a lot of 'hysteria.' By the end of the course, I was so Beatle-ized by what I read, even though I did not hear a note, I said, 'gotta get 'em.'" he explained in a 2001 interview with the music publication NY Rock Confidential.

As Bernstein recalled, he couldn't get his agency interested in the group, so he handled the job himself.

The Beatles were still unknown in the U.S. and the price was cheap — $6,500 for two shows.

The timing was perfect. By February 1964, Beatlemania had crossed over to the U.S., and the band was set to play on The Ed Sullivan Show just three days before the Carnegie concerts.

In 1965, he landed the group at Shea Stadium. Some 55,000 fans lost their voices and their minds. The New York Times described the scene as meeting the "classic Greek meaning of the word pandemonium — the region of all demons."

Like so many in the music business, Bernstein was the hustling son of Jewish immigrants. He sneaked into the Apollo Theater as a boy and, while studying journalism at Columbia University, ran a ballroom that featured such Latino stars as Morales, Tito Puente and Marcelino Guera.

Over the past 20 years, Bernstein's best client became himself. He wrote two memoirs, It's Sid Bernstein Calling and Not Just the Beatles, and even recorded an album of duets.

At age 90, he started a Twitter account.

"Twitterland!" he called out in one post. "Let's all have a productive week. I have a few very interesting projects in the works and I'll reveal them very soon."

Bernstein and his wife, Geraldine, were married for more than 40 years. They had six children.

Carl Palmer Turned Down Black Sabbath

Drummer Carl Palmer, who has earned his reputations playing with Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Asia, says he turned down an opportunity to play with Black Sabbath when the band was looking for a drummer to replace Bill Ward for the 13 album sessions.

Palmer says that Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi approached him about laying down tracks on the CD  when it became clear that Ward was not going to be participating in the band's reunion.

"Tony and I did talk when they were looking for drummers to make the album and he put me forward," explained Palmer. "I couldn't do it because I was off with Asia, we were touring and then something else came up. I couldn't have done it but I would have loved to. It just wasn't on the cards."

He added: "I was classically trained but, basically, I'm a rock drummer and I've never been in a true out-and-out guitar band like Black Sabbath, where it's just big riffs — very simple but very dynamic. It would be extremely invigorating. The older I get, the more I appreciate that music. I was late to come to heavy metal. Asia had a bit of that, but we were a little bit more corporate rock and melodic."

Ward claimed that he sat out the current Black Sabbath reunion because of unfair contractual terms, although the members of the band have hinted in other interviews that he wasn't physically up to the task.

Ward was on board for the reunion when it was first announced in November 2011, but backed out soon after.

Sabbath has used Ozzy's regular touring drummer Tommy Clufetos since then for live work. Rage Against the Machine's Brad Wilk laid down the drum tracks on 13, which came out June 11.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Czech Firm Hits Right Tune With Vinyl Records In Fashion

When vinyl record sales hit bottom in the late 1980s, managers at Czech record producer GZ Media in a small town near Prague were wondering what to do with their idle record pressing machines.

They decided not to get rid of them and put them in garages at the company's backyard. That was a lucky move.
As vinyl retro-mania started spreading around the world a decade later, the firm dusted off the presses and is now spinning profits on records for the likes of the Rolling Stones, U2, Bob Dylan and David Bowie.

With 7 million records made in 2012 and an expected 10 million this year, GZ Media says it is the world's biggest vinyl record producer, making records for Universal Music Group, Sony Music and now beginning to cooperate with Warner Music.

"Vinyl is an inscrutable animal," Jiri Hasek, the company's commercial director said. "Everybody is waiting for when the growth will slow, but instead it keeps accelerating."

Vinyl record production accounts for about 30 percent of GZ Media's sales, which reached 1.8 billion crowns ($93 million) last year.

The company also makes sophisticated packaging for expensive consumer goods such as mobile phones, electronics and whisky.

Founded in 1948 as Gramofonove Zavody Lodenice, the central record producer in the then-communist bloc, GZ Media pressed its first record in 1951.

During the 1980s demand for vinyl records began to ebb as CDs and DVDs emerged. Production bottomed out in the early 1990s when GZ Media was producing just some 200,000 pieces a year.

In 1989, the communist regime collapsed and GZ Media was up for grabs as part of a nation-wide privatization program. It ended up in the hands of U.S. fund Winslow Partners, which later sold it to the firm's own management.

Last Christmas, it made a special Beatles recording gift box approved by Paul McCartney and is now working on a special gift packaging of the Who discography.

According to the Official Charts Company, vinyl record sales in the UK, one of GZ Media's main markets, reached 375,000 in 2013 year-to-date, which compares with 393,000 for the whole of 2012 and 227,000 in 2009.

"For uber fans of a particular band, getting the vinyl edition is a really important souvenir and mark of their commitment to the artist," Steve Redmond, a spokesman for the Entertainment Retailers Association in the UK said.

He said vinyl was "an inevitable reaction" to the rise of digital music which offers little room for art and the
kind of tangibility that people were used to.

"It's never going to return to where it was, when it was the lead format for the industry," Redmond said. "But I think it is a far bigger niche than people anticipated that it was going to be and, at the moment, further continuing to grow at a fairly dramatic pace."

($1 = 19.3547 Czech crowns)

Friday, August 16, 2013

KISS Brings Arena Football To Los Angeles

KISS has bought a stake in an L.A. arena football team. The Arena Football League announced it was awarding an expansion team to a group of individuals that includes KISS band members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. The team, called the LA KISS, will begin playing in March 2014 at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

"As a fast-paced, high-action band, this partnership with the AFL was an obvious fit for us," Simmons said in a statement. "Attending an LA KISS game in 2014 will be similar to a live KISS show, with thrilling, heart-pounding action."

Season tickets, which went on sale Thursday starting at $99, will include a free KISS concert.

While the team will use the band's logo, it is not known whether the team's uniforms will be silver and black, colors KISS uses in their costumes.

Next season will mark the 27th season for the Arena Football League, which begins its games in March and culminates with the ArenaBowl in August.

The league and the music world have joined forces before. The Philadelphia Soul, who will be playing in the championship game Saturday, were partly owned by Jon Bon Jovi until 2010.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Progressive Nation At Sea 2014 To Feature Prog Legends


Progressive Nation is hitting the high seas in 2014!  The inaugural festival takes place February 18 -  22 on the luxurious Norwegian Pearl heading from Miami to Great Stirrup Cay and Freeport, Bahamas.

This music festival at sea gives you an experience that a land festival just can’t match. In addition to four days in the beautiful Caribbean and all the amenities of a cruise ship, you will enjoy music from morning ‘til night with over 40 shows on multiple stages, along with activities, Q&A’s, panels and workshops from your favorite artists. 

Progressive Nation founder Mike Portnoy elaborates: "In 2008 and 2009, I created a touring package called Progressive Nation and with Dream Theater headlining, we did three full tours (two in North America and one in Europe) that showcased a variety of bands that embraced the spirit and musicality of progressive music.

"After a five year hiatus, I have decided to resurrect Progressive Nation and this time we are taking it to the seas! But rather than a four-band bill like previous Progressive Nation tours, we have expanded the bill to over a dozen of today's greatest progressive bands, musicians and artists!

"Myself and my former DT bandmate Derek Sherinian have teamed up with Sixthman (who have done incredibly successful cruises with Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the annual Kiss Cruise to name a few), as well as our friends at Inside Out Music, and look forward to a very successful inaugural launch of Progressive Nation At Sea. We are so excited to take part in this historic maiden voyage and look forward to sharing this one of a kind event with fans from all around the world!"

With 15 decks of fun, Norwegian Pearl offers guests access to 13 bars and lounges, 19 dining experiences, one outdoor pool, four hot tubs, and spa treatments to help forget about the world left behind.

Onboard concerts aren’t the only things that rock on Norwegian Pearl. Passengers looking for more activities can visit the outdoor climbing wall, bowl a few frames at the onboard lanes, or tempt lady luck at The Pearl Club Casino.

Progressive Nation cruisers will also have the opportunity to explore the sandy beaches of Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, their very own private island getaway. A host of beachside activities and games, the gigantic “Hippo” water slide, and access to food and beverage services will make the stay on Great Stirrup Cay an unforgettable experience.

Progressive Nation at Sea begins at $700 per person plus taxes and fees. Prices include entertainment, meals, and access to Norwegian Pearl’s outstanding amenities, including outdoor pool, hot tubs, rock climbing wall, and fitness center. Fans can read more and sign up for the Progressive Nation pre-sale at www.progressivenationatsea.com.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Richie Havens Memorial Celebration At Original Woodstock Festival Site This Sunday, August 18

On Sunday, August 18th the ashes of music legend Richie Havens will be scattered across the field where the historic Woodstock Festival took place in 1969, now the site of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. This Day of Song and Remembrance Honoring Richie Havens is free and open to the public.

The Bethel Woods grounds, including the Museum at Bethel Woods and the featured temporary exhibits (Shohola Bells: The Sound of Peace, Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit, and On Assignment: Woodstock / Photographs by Rolling Stone Photographer Baron Wolman), will open at 10am. The Memorial Celebration will begin at 3 PM in the Bethel Woods Market Shed (seating begins at 2 PM).

Guest speakers include Richie’s longtime friends and fellow activists Danny Glover and Louis Gossett Jr. (who co-wrote “Handsome Johnny” with Havens) and original 1969 Woodstock Festival organizers Michael Lang and Joel Rosenman, with very special musical appearances by Jose Feliciano, John Hammond, John Sebastian, Steve Gorn with Sanjoy Bandopadhyay and Samir Chatterjee, Guy Davis, Stephanie Winters and Walter Parks, Dayna Kurtz, and others to be announced. Stage performances will be hosted by noted radio voice Dennis Elsas (WFUV/SiriusXM). Following the performances, Richie’s ashes will be scattered with flower petals from the air across the field of Max Yasgur’s Farm where Richie Havens played his legendary performance 44 years ago.

Tickets to the seated performance area are no longer available, but anyone who wishes to attend is welcome. Bethel Woods will run supplemental sound to the concert field so that everyone in attendance will be able to hear, and the aerial scattering of Richie’s ashes will be visible from the field. Look for various goings-on throughout the grounds during the day, including a drum circle hosted by Jimi Hendrix’s percussionist Juma Sultan at 12:30 PM on the original festival field.

It was Richie's wish that his ashes be scattered over the festival site, and he made it very well-known for many years. Richie was recognized globally for embodying the spirit of Woodstock, and he carried that message of peace and love everywhere he went. Though he traveled throughout the world for decades visiting and returning to countless locations, Max Yasgur's field in the Town of Bethel, Sullivan County New York always remained the location where Richie felt his deepest connection.

A spokesperson for Richie’s family explains, “Richie used to say a day never went by that he wasn't asked about Woodstock, and he certainly understood its profound and indelible cultural impact. As he said on the festival’s 40th anniversary, ‘Woodstock was both a peaceful protest and a global celebration. We came together communally to be heard and to be acknowledged.’ Regarding the decision to invite the public on August 18th, there is really no question it's what Richie would've wanted. His family understands and respects that he is very much beloved and missed by many.“

“Richie was one of the world’s greatest gifts, a consummate songwriter and performer. He was very supportive of Bethel Woods, our museum and our mission to educate and inspire expression,” says Darlene Fedun, Chief Executive Officer of Bethel Woods. “We are proud to have known him personally and to be able to honor his wishes. He will be greatly missed.”

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Leslie West To Release Still Climbing October 29


Leslie West will release Still Climbing on October 29 via Provogue Records / Mascot Label Group.  Originality, excitement, honesty and survival are all part of what makes a legend, and those qualities ripple through every song on West’s upcoming release.  The disc is also a testimonial to the strength and durability of West’s artistry. 

Born October 22, 1945, as he approaches the age of 68, West has packed some of the most soulful and searing vocal performances of his half-century career into these eleven tracks, and his guitar has never sounded more massive or riff-propelled.              

West, who ascended rock’s Mt. Olympus with his band Mountain in a historic performance at 1969’s Woodstock festival, accomplished all of that despite a life threatening battle with diabetes that cost him most of his right leg in 2011, just after his previous Mascot Label Group release Unusual Suspects was recorded. 

"I’m lucky it wasn’t one of my hands or I’d be screwed,” West says with his customary candor.  “It was a difficult struggle, and after the amputation I didn’t know whether I’d ever want to or be able to perform again.  But a month later I played at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp in New York City, and I heard my guitar on stage and that was it. I knew I had to keep going.”

Following the success of Unusual Suspects, West approached the new release with vision of tying the albums together. 

“This record is a sequel to Unusual Suspects, where I had friends of mine that include Slash, Zakk Wylde, Steve Lukather, Joe Bonamassa and Billy Gibbons come to the studio and play,” West explains. 

This time Jonny Lang, Johnny Winter, Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider and Alter Bridge / Creed’s Mark Tremonti do the honors.

“What’s different on Still Climbing is that I wanted my guitars to sound as big as I look. So I used four of my Dean signature model guitars with my Mountain of Tone humbucking pickups. I plugged them into my Blackstar amps — no pedals — and turned them up loud and raw, and what you hear is exactly what I did in the studio.  These Blackstar amps deliver everything I need without 'confidence' pedals.  I played one of the early tracks we recorded for Slash, and he said, ‘That is as heavy as it gets.’"

Still Climbing  is co-produced by West and Mike “Metal” Goldberg, who engineered all of the sessions.  Songs like “Dyin' Since The Day I Was Born,” “Hatfield or McCoy,” and “Busted, Disgusted or Dead” establish a new litmus test for “heavy.” The latter features West and Winter on dueling slide guitars.

West also gave up smoking cigarettes and pot after a bout with bladder cancer, so it’s no wonder many of Still Climbing’s numbers explore the theme of survival and, ultimately, triumph.   To that end, West avows, “Not only am I lucky to be here, but because I stopped smoking my voice is now stronger than it’s ever been — as strong as my guitar playing." 

His inclusion of “Feeling Good,” a song by British actor-musician Anthony Newley that was made famous by Steve Winwood’s group Traffic, is a testimonial to all of that.  Its lyrics celebrate a “new dawn for me” as West and his longtime buddy Dee Snider of Twisted Sister trade vocal lines.

The truth is, West has always been an outstanding vocalist, earning comparisons to soul legends like Otis Redding since his 1969 debut Mountain, which gave his historic band its name.  On Still Climbing, West revisits the catalog of another classic soul man, Percy Sledge, with the enduring “When a Man Loves a Woman.”  He’s joined by now 32 year-old soul man Jonny Lang, who he met 15 years ago when Lang was a rising guitar prodigy.  West says they cut the tune side-by-side in the studio, their soaring guitars and voices twining to bring fresh blood and a blues-soaked arrangement to the song.

The tracks “When a Man Loves a Woman,” “Never Let Me Go” and “Fade Into You” explore the theme of romance.  In 2009, West married his wife Jenni, who co-wrote many of Still Climbing’s songs with the guitar giant.  They exchanged vows on stage at the Woodstock 40th anniversary concert.  West credits her with saving his life — first with her love, and then by making the difficult decision to permit his doctors to amputate while he was in a coma. 

West offers candidly, "Being in the band Mountain was one of the most satisfying things I have ever done in my professional life.  I became a musician, not just a guitar player.  Being in the group with Felix Pappalardi was an honor, who was so talented as a producer, arranger, bass player, guitar player, and all the things I aspired to be.  We had some great years together, and some rocky roads. His wife Gail, who by the way shot and killed Felix, could suck the fun out of a clown. It left a terrible taste in my mouth about working with my wife, Jenni. I did not want to risk going down that path where your wife was involved in every aspect of your musical life. Jenni has become so good at expressing thoughts to paper, she has become my primary collaborator on the lyrical side of my new recordings."

West has been performing since 1965, when he fronted the soul-fired Vagrants in his native New York City.  Rolling Stone placed him at #66 on their list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists.” His repertoire continues to be relevant with enduring appeal to this day as top selling rap recordings are built around samples from “Long Red,” which appeared on the Mountain album. Jay-Z tapped the tune for his 2004 mega-smash “99 Problems.” So did Kanye West for  "Barry Bonds" and “The Glory," and Common’s “The People,” along with others.  Recently, Lana Del Rey sampled West's voice and features it in the beginning, middle and end of the worldwide smash "Born To Die." For Still Climbing, West re-recorded "Long Red" with his brother and former Vagrants-mate Larry West on bass.  He offers, “It was time for me to let people hear that song the way I do it now.  I used a B-3 organ on it again, but this time it has a lot more balls."

Balls, guts, heart — more words that are part of West’s legend and describe the roaring crescendos and deep emotional roots of Still Climbing — and West himself. 

“You know, when it comes to talent, we don’t all move at the same rate of speed,” West muses. “Some people start at the top of their game and after 10 or 20 years you wonder what the hell happened to them. I like to joke that the older I get the better I used to be, but after giving up drugs and smoking, my voice can hit notes that I never could reach before.   I’m thankful for that.”

Monday, August 12, 2013

Are Neil Young & Crazy Horse Winding Down?

Neil Young and Crazy Horse have been forced to cancel the remainder of their current UK and European tour after guitarist Poncho Sampedro broke his hand.

And it could mean fans on this side of the Atlantic have seen the last of them – because Sampedro has already said he believes they’re currently on their final journey.

The band, who previously appeared in the UK in June, were due to play in Liverpool on August 18 and London the following night, with additional shows in Belgium, Norway, Denmark and Germany.

They say in a statement: “Due to an accident involving Crazy Horse, the remaining dates on the Neil Young and Crazy Horse tour of Europe and the British Isles have been cancelled.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes to our fans or the festivals where we were scheduled to appear. As you must be, we too are disappointed at this unfortunate turn of events.”

Sampedro is reported to have suffered a mild fracture, and he’s predicted to make a full recover in time for their North American shows at the end of the month.

But he recently told Rolling Stone: “My gut tells me this is really the last tour. I hate saying their ages, but I’m 64 and I’m the baby of the band.

“Our shows are physical; it takes a lot of energy. You can’t fool time – you can’t count on this happening again in five years.”

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mark Knopfler Signs Universal Worldwide Deal With New Album Due September

Universal Music Group announces a worldwide deal with legendary musician and songwriter Mark Knopfler. Knopfler’s new record Privateering will debut on UMG’s Verve Records on September 10 (globally) after a 35 year relationship with Warner Brother Records.

Max Hole, Chairman and CEO UMG International comments, “Mark has long been one of the most innovative and successful artists in music and we’re thrilled he’s decided to sign to Verve so that we are now working with him everywhere across the world.”

The new music is Knopfler’s first double album of new music in his entire recording career.

“The older I get, the more I want to write,” Knopfler notes. “I’m enjoying the process more than ever, writing, recording and playing live, I enjoy all of it. I’m almost tripping over songs.”

Recorded at Knopfler’s award-winning British Grove Studios in West London, Privateering is a collection of tough tales of real people, living hard lives in difficult times.

The record features musicians Knopfler has been working with for years - Guy Fletcher (keyboards), Richard Bennett (guitar), Jim Cox (piano), Glenn Worf (bass), Mike McGoldrick (whistle and flute), John McCusker (fiddle) and the recent addition of Ian Thomas (drums). Special guests include Paul Franklin (pedal steel), Kim Wilson, (harmonica), Tim O’Brien (mandolin), and rising singing star Ruth Moody, who is also a member of the leading roots group The Wailin’ Jennys.

Of the new release, Knopfler explains, “I chose to make a double album this time just because of the sheer volume of material. I didn’t want to separate songs into genres and I didn't want to leave too many songs on the shelf. I just wanted it to be a reflection of the fantastic sessions we had. With a great bunch of players, it’s the same as a great group of actors reading a script from the page, the thing can come alive in ways it just never has before. This is the band I have been working towards my whole life.”

A multiple Grammy award winner as the lead singer/songwriter for Dire Straits, Knopfler combined his wry lyrics with his guitar prowess to create such major hits as “Money For Nothing,” “Sultans Of Swing,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Walk of Life.”

He has collaborated with artists such as Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Emmylou Harris and Van Morrison, as well as scoring several films including Cal, Local Hero, Princess Bride and A Shot at Glory.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Black Sabbath Rocks Universal Studios Hollywood’s ‘Halloween Horror Nights’

Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath will be immortalized in an all-original 3D maze, “Black Sabbath: 13 3D” at Universal Studios Hollywood’s premier Halloween Horror Nights event, beginning September 20, 2013.

The new maze, based on the darkest lyrics from Black Sabbath’s biggest hit songs and the only attraction at the horror event to incorporate 3D video, will also include scenes inspired by the legendary band’s recently released Billboard #1 album, 13.  A nightmarish landscape of doom will engulf guests as they enter “Black Sabbath: 13 3D” and traverse through horrifying graveyards, disturbing madhouses and bone-chilling battlefields.

“We were all really excited when Universal Studios Hollywood approached us about doing a 3D ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ maze based on our music,” said Osbourne.  “I’ve seen the drawings of what it will look like when it’s finished and it looks amazing.  I can’t wait to walk through it on opening night in September.”

Guests will come face to face with a heart-stopping Lucifer and his bride, blood-soaked dead bodies and bubbling pools of “radioactive water” while song’s inspired by “Luke’s Wall,” “Iron Man,” “Paranoid,” “War Pigs,” “Electric Funeral” and “Black Sabbath” violently penetrate the confines of the maze at high volume.

“Very few bands can claim to have defined a genre of music but Black Sabbaths’ remarkable influence in the evolution of Heavy Metal will go down in history,” said John Murdy, Creative Director for Universal Studios Hollywood.  “Tony Iommi’s dark, iconic riffs, Ozzy Osbourne’s haunting vocals and Geezer Butler’s foreboding lyrics provide the perfect soundtrack for ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ and endless inspiration for our new haunted attraction ‘Black Sabbath 13 3D’.”

Watch for announcement videos on Universal Studios Hollywood’s YouTube Channel.  Additional mazes to be announced shortly. Updates on “Halloween Horror Nights” are available online at Halloween Horror Nights, on Facebook at: “Halloween Horror Nights – Hollywood,” on Instagram at @HorrorNights and Twitter at @HorrorNights as Creative Director John Murdy reveals a running chronicle of exclusive information. Join the conversation using #UniversalHHN.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Babys Are Back!

The Babys are back together after a successful comeback show July 18 before a capacity crowd at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, Calif. There are plans for a new CD and extensive tour through America and Europe.

The British group made a massive impact back in the 1970s with hits such as “Isn’t it Time,” “Head First,” “Midnight Rendez-Vous,” “Every Time I Think of You” and “Back on My Feet Again.”

Original guitarist Wally Stocker and original drummer Tony Brock are leading the reunion with new singer John Bisaha. The group's original vocalist John Waite is not participating, but has given his blessing.

The reunited Babys also have a new song, the aptly named “Not Ready to Say Goodbye,” which has all the classic Babys elements – amazing vocals, thoughtful lyrics and a chorus that lodges itself on your brain and refuses to leave for days. You can check out the song at The Babys web site.

“It’s very exciting. I’m really pleased with the new lineup,” Stocker said. “These songs bring back a lot of good memories.”

Since the initial break-up of the Babys, Brock and Stocker went on to play with such acts as Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck and Air Supply, and both are thrilled with the reformation and particularly the addition of Bisaha, a renowned studio singer who first has made his mark in theater and is now ready to make a worldwide impact.

“I’m telling you, it sounds like the original band. It’s fantastic,” Brock said. “The magic is still there. John Bisaha is going to get some pressure, but we hired him because he’s fantastic. It’s going to be really good. I love his attitude, and he’s incredible. He’s a winner.”

Former Babys keyboardist Jonathan Cain cannot be a full-time member because he is in Journey, of course, but the man who would go on to write “Don’t Stop Believing” has vowed to sit in when he can, and Cain, still a great friend to Brock and Stocker, even helped choose Bisaha over other finalists for the lead singer spot.

“I think the possibility of catching on is endless,” Bisaha said. “We’re just getting ripe but it’s great from a nostalgia point of view just to see and hear the Babys again.”

The Babys released five studios albums including Broken Heart, Head First and Union Jacks, plus a greatest hits package called Anthology.

“I would love to think we have one more album in us. A lot of people still hold us in high regard,” Brock said. “It’s not like we’re starting a new band, not from scratch. We have a cult following, and every one of us are great players, and we’re still alive after all these years.”

The Babys feature a second guitarist named J.P. Cervoni, a renowned studio player with an extensive touring history with Buddy Miles and others, in addition to two female backup singers and a keyboardist.

Check out the Babys at thebabysofficial.com.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Yestival Details & Set Times Announced For This Saturday, August 3

The iconic and Grammy-winning rock band Yes have announced the set times for their first-ever Yestival, taking place this Saturday, August 3 at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ.

A day-into-night musical adventure in full quadraphonic sound, Yestival will feature a full Yes set as well as performances by The Musical Box, Renaissance featuring Anne Haslam, Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy, up-and-coming progressive rock band Scale The Summit, and Volto!, a new band featuring Tool drummer Danny Carey plus a second stage of all-day entertainment with performances and a special appearance by The School Of Rock.

Starting at $35, tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com, Susquehanna Bank Center Box Office, Live Nation Box Office, Ticketmaster outlets or by-phone at 800-745-3000.

Set times:
Volto! - 3:45 - 4:35
Carl Palmer - 5:00 - 5:50
Renaissance - 6:15 - 7:15
The Musical Box - 7:45 - 8:45
Yes - 9:15 - 11:00

Also, iconic cover album artist Roger Dean has revealed new artwork created just for the festival.  The British artist who has created many of the memorable YES album covers since 1971, as well as his work with other like-minded artists will be at Yestival where there will be a showing of his art. It’s a rare opportunity to view and purchase original paintings, sketches, limited edition prints and collective memorabilia. There will also be a vendor village featuring the artwork of both Carl Palmer and Annie Haslam.

In addition, there will be the Classic Rock Society of America multimedia booth, where concertgoers can take photos in front of the official Yestival backdrop, watch rare interviews and performance on video screens, view Prog Rock album art and signed lithographs, live tweet their friends, receive a collectible Yestival guitar pick and much more.

Yes will perform their classic albums 1971’s The Yes Album and 1972’s Close To the Edge in their entirety and more.

For more on Yes, go to:
yesworld.com
facebook.com/yestheband
twitter.com/yesofficial
youtube.com/yesofficial
instagram.com/yesofficial
soundcloud.com/yesofficial