Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bad Company Reuniting For Summer Tour

After gathering for a one-off reunion last August, the surviving members of the original Bad Company -- vocalist Paul Rodgers, guitarist Mick Ralphs and drummer Simon Kirke -- will play a 10-show tour this summer.

The mostly East Coast dates, which kick off June 17 at the Seminole Hard Rock & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., will herald the release of Bad Company's "Hard Rock Live" DVD, which was recorded at the same venue in 2008. The DVD will be sold at this summer's concert, then released to retail on Aug. 8.

Lynn Sorenson, the bassist from Rodgers' solo band, will step in for the late Boz Burrell, who passed away in 2006. The Doobie Brothers will be opening some of the shows.

Announcing the tour, Kirke said that "we had such a ball playing together again (in 2008) that we have decided to do some selective shows this summer." Rodgers explained that the shows "are to thank the fans for keeping the music alive" and that the Doobie Brothers were invited to open "because I've always loved their music and them as people."

Ralphs, who will also be playing reunion dates with his previous band, Mott the Hoople, in October, said that "it's great to be back with Paul and Simon. We made great music together and had the time of our lives doing it. I'm really looking forward to getting back out there this summer."

There's no word on whether more dates will be added to the itinerary or not. Rodgers is expected to be on the road later this year with Queen + Paul Rodgers, continuing to support the group's 2008 release "The Cosmos Rocks."

Bad Company's summer tour dates:

June 17: Hollywood, FL (Hard Rock Live)
June 19: Atlanta, GA (Chastain Park Amphitheatre)
June 20: Charlotte, NC (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre)
June 23: Raleigh, NC (Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek)
June 24: Virginia Beach, FL (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre)
June 27: Bethel, NY (Bethel Woods Center for the Arts)
June 28: Wantagh, NY (Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre)
July 1: Independence Township, MI (DTE Energy Music Theatre)
July 2: Canandaigua, NY (CMAC)
July 4: Atlantic City, NJ (Resorts Atlantic City)

Leonard Cohen's "Live In London" CD & DVD Out

Leonard Cohen’s Live In London, a musical chronicle of the legendary singer-songwriter-musician-painter-poet’s historic 2008 concert is now available as either a DVD or 2 CD set.

Recorded live on July 17, 2008 at London’s 02 Arena, one of Europe’s largest indoor venues during Cohen’s phenomenal 2008 World Tour, Live In London offers definitive performances of classic songs drawn from the artist’s 40-year repertory.

Leonard Cohen’s first newly recorded release since 2004’s gold-certified Dear Heather, the Live In London collection fully captures and recreates the extraordinary show that earned Cohen, who celebrated his 40th year as a Columbia Records artist in 2007, more than 80 five-star reviews for performances during his fall 2008 UK and European tour.

Additionally, Leonard Cohen is playing a run of North American engagements, including dates throughout Canada and a sunset performance at the Coachella Festival in Indio, California.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Happy 7th Birthday Little Steven's Underground Garage!

Little Steven's Underground Garage celebrates its 7th anniversary with two "best of" episode featuring snippets of interviews with Ringo Starr, Brian Wilson, Jack Black, and Ray Davies, the original show intro, and as always the newest and coolest songs in the world for the next two weekends (3/29 and 4/5).

Steven Van Zandt recalls, "I woke up one day and realized there was no rock and roll on the radio and thought 'How did this happen?'" Despite being shot down by numerous syndicators and radio stations, on April 7, 2002 Little Steven's Underground Garage (LSUG) launched with 23 US affiliates. With the help of the hard working staff at his company Renegade Nation, fearless leader Van Zandt has delivered this revolutionary syndicated radio show, the first of its kind, to over 1 million listeners on 140 stations in North America covering 200 markets, 45 countries around the world, and 9 countries via the American Forces Network.

The triumph of LSUG crossed over to other successful ventures including the 24- hour SIRIUS XM channels Underground Garage and Outlaw Country, Little Steven's International Underground Garage Festival in 2004, a national tour, a New Year's Eve Special on ESPN, and most recently Wicked Cool Records. In its first year, Wicked Cool Records has seen success with international album distribution just confirmed and two packed showcases at the 2009 SXSW Music Conference.

Next up Van Zandt's sleeve? Fund raising for his foundation and its first initiative Rock & Roll High School, and pitching a TV show idea however, his main focus for 2009 is developing the artists on Wicked Cool Records. During a panel address at SXSW, a passionate Van Zandt said, "All we ever talk about is the delivery system of the product, the mechanics, the technology, the infrastructure; I want to spend just a minute on a topic that never ever gets discussed in the music business - the music. The reason nobody wants to talk about it is because it mostly sucks!"

Click here to read the full transcript of Van Zandt's SXSW address:

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Jimi Hendrix Material Due

Universal Music Publishing Group has become the exclusive administrator of the Jimi Hendrix catalog throughout the world outside the United States.

The five-year agreement covers all commercial opportunities, including synchronization licensing for motion pictures, TV, advertising and other media.

Universal Music Publishing replaces Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which had administered the Hendrix catalog outside the United States since 1998. The U.S. publishing rights will continue to be handled by Experience Hendrix, the Seattle company formed in 1995 by the guitarist's late father, James "Al" Hendrix, and now headed by Jimi Hendrix's sister Janie Hendrix, who is president/CEO.

Experience Hendrix expects to release two albums later this year, including one on its Dagger "bootleg" imprint, which is sold only through its Web site. Hendrix also expects to release CDs and DVDs this fall that showcase live performances by the Jimi Hendrix Experience at London's Royal Albert Hall, as well as behind-the-scenes footage.

When Hendrix performed February 18 and February 24, 1969, at Royal Albert Hall, a camera crew followed him for a month, yielding candid footage of him at home, about town and hanging out backstage. The result, Hendrix says, will be a "reality TV" glimpse of the legendary guitarist.

"Janie has done an amazing job of keeping the music and Hendrix's legacy alive," said Universal Music Publishing chairman/CEO David Renzer. "They have a great reissue program in place and they are doing a great job of protecting his legacy."

"Overall, it was a wonderful deal they offered us," Hendrix said. "Everything has to come through me for approval." She added that she will ensure that any new opportunities "uphold the standard of the music."

The Hendrix catalog -- which includes such songs as "Purple Haze," "Crosstown Traffic" and "Voodoo Child" -- remains a perennial strong seller. In the United States, the catalog sells about a half-million copies annually, putting worldwide sales at 1.2 million, according to industry estimates. Song downloads of the artist's music grew from 800,000 in the United States in 2007 to 915,000 last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

"Artists gravitate to his songs," Renzer said. "He has been covered by everyone from Eric Clapton to John Mayer."

Meanwhile, the artist's recording catalog appears poised to continue expanding, with Hendrix noting that Experience Hendrix has "10 more years of Hendrix music" in the vaults.

"Currently, I am in the studio transferring tapes of Band of Gypsys performances that have never been released before," she said, referring to Hendrix's last band.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Neil Young Brings His Lincvolt to SXSW

Though his participation at South By Southwest has not been announced, Neil Young was spotted strolling around the Four Seasons hotel and tooling around downtown Austin in his environmentally clean Lincvolt car.

It makes sense: "Neil Young's Trunk Show," a new Young concert documentary by Jonathan Demme -- who also directed the 2006 Young concert film "Heart of Gold" -- is premiering Saturday at SXSW; and a panel discussion on Young's long-awaited "Archives" collection is slated for Saturday afternoon at the Austin Convention Center. "Trunk Show," which is still being edited, was filmed during two performances at Philadelphia's Tower Theater in December 2007 -- where fans were advised it was a film project called "Chrome Dreams." Young has not been confirmed to participate in either event.

Young releases his next album, "Fork in the Road," on April 7. The album's main themes are drawn from Young's involvement with the Lincvolt Project, a joint effort between the singer and biodiesel pioneer Johnathan Goodwin to develop a commercially viable electric power system for automobiles. The prototype Lincvolt vehicle, Young's own 1959 Lincoln Continental, is now completely finished, and a documentary is planned about the car's first cross-country gasoline-free road trip to Washington, DC.

Monday, March 16, 2009

New Dylan Album Drops April 28

Columbia Records has announced that Bob Dylan’s new studio album will be released on April 28. Together Though Life, produced by Jack Frost, was recorded late 2008, prompted by the composition of a new song, “Life Is Hard,” which was written for a forthcoming film by French director Oliver Dahan (La Vie En Rose).

The new album will be the 46th release from Bob Dylan, and follows 2006’s Platinum album Modern Times, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and reached the top of the charts in seven additional countries and the Top 5 in 22 countries around the world.

Bob Dylan’s three previous studio albums have been universally hailed as among the best of his storied career, achieving new levels of commercial success and critical acclaim for the artist. The Platinum-selling Time Out Of Mind from 1997 earned multiple Grammy Awards, including Album Of The Year, while Love and Theft continued Dylan’s Platinum streak and earned several Grammy nominations and a statue for Best Contemporary Folk album. His most recent studio work, Modern Times, became one of his biggest albums worldwide, selling more than 2.5 million copies and earning Dylan two more Grammys.

Those three studio albums fell within a 10-year creative span that also included an Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning tune, “Things Have Changed,” from the film Wonder Boys, in 2001, a worldwide best selling memoir, Chronicles, which spent 19 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List, in 2004, a Martin Scorsese-directed documentary, No Direction Home, in 2005, and several volumes of the best-selling Bootleg Series, which culminated in last year’s highly-acclaimed Tell Tale Signs.

Dylan was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.” He was also the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 1997, the French Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres in 1990, Sweden’s Polar Music Award in 2000 and numerous other awards and accolades.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Allman Brothers Band Peakin' at the Beacon

With an all-ages appeal that plays as deftly to the classic-rock crowd as it does to young jam fans and blues buffs, the Allman Brothers Band is still testing itself artistically, all while making lots of money.

This is accomplished the old-fashioned way: unparalleled musicianship, a new set list every night and palatable pricing.

The band pulled into the Beacon Theater on Monday for a sold-out 15-show run -- its own annual March madness, which it has been doing for the better part of 20 seasons at the storied venue.

With last year's stand canceled because of Gregg Allman's poor health at the time and this year's gigs marking the 40th anniversary of the band's formation (complete with tribute to late founder Duane Allman), these shows appear to be carrying extra energy and poignancy.

The first two nights -- the band's 176th and 177th Beacon shows -- saw the guys all over the musical map, with Levon Helm dropping by Monday with his entire band for "The Weight" and "I Shall Be Released." Bluesman Taj Mahal lent his formidable harmonica and vocals to "Leaving Trunk" and "Statesboro Blues," among others. Members of Los Lobos added some blistering improvisation Tuesday, particularly on the off-the-rails encore "One Way Out." B.B. King and Eric Clapton are rumored to be dropping in as the run progresses.

Not that the Allman Brothers need any help. Purists were distraught when co-founder Dickey Betts was released from his contract nine years ago. But lead guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks continue to elevate each other and reinvent the band in ways that few musical acts have ever accomplished.

While Gregg Allman remains the paternal figure and commercial frontman, Haynes and 29-year-old prodigy Trucks (nephew of Allmans co-founder/drummer Butch Trucks) drive the engine.

There is a graceful interplay among the three leaders that is indeed unique -- as when Allman initially takes charge of classics like "Wasted Words" but then quietly signals Haynes and Trucks to move on and create another of their mind-bending duels. All are meticulous caretakers of the band's legacy, but none is beyond mixing it up with psychedelic flourishes, including feedback on the gospel-rooted classic "Revival."

Allman was at his best on Tuesday's aching opener "Ain't Wastin' Time No More." He stepped out (tentatively) from behind his Hammond B3 organ just once, taking center stage with his acoustic guitar for "Melissa," a charming confection he wrote more than four decades ago that Haynes has for years been resculpting as a free-form electric ride.

All the men appeared to be genuinely moved during the Tuesday set-closer "No One to Run With," a mild 1994 hit penned by Betts that took on added pain as the big screen showed grainy footage of Duane Allman and the late Allmans and Gov't Mule bassist Allen Woody. Haynes could not keep himself from turning around to face the images -- as if to be performing in unison with both.

The shows also included such songs as "Midnight Rider," "Blackhearted Woman," "Mountain Jam," "Stormy Monday," "And It Stoned Me" and "Little Martha." Fans will have to wait for "Whipping Post," "Jessica," "Blue Sky," "Desdemona" and the rest.

All 15 Beacon concerts will be streamed at Moogis.com until September.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Rock Hall of Fame to Open Springsteen Exhibit

Seeking something fresh and exciting to complement its upcoming induction ceremony, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has gotten its fondest wish — the cooperation of 1999 inductee Bruce Springsteen in launching a new exhibit solely dedicated to the Boss.

The hall on Friday announced plans to open the exhibit "From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen" on April 1, three days before the hall holds its induction ceremonies in Cleveland. Featuring various memorabilia from Springsteen, the exhibit is expected to run through the spring of 2010.

"He's someone we've always wanted to do a big exhibit on," said Jim Henke, the Rock Hall's curator. "So it's one of those things that I'd bring up with his manager from time to time. Last summer they said, 'Yes, it makes sense now.'"

It's perfect timing for a year that has been rather Springsteen-packed already. He performed during festivities surrounding the inauguration of President Barack Obama, released his latest album, "Working on a Dream," in January, then was the halftime entertainment at the Super Bowl last month. He's planning a major tour to kick off April 1 in San Jose, California, and will even make an appearance at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in June.

Henke says the Springsteen exhibit may be the most extensive exhibit on a rock star ever done at the hall. Previous exhibits have focused on the lives and careers of John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Ray Charles.

Springsteen has provided various guitars, including the one he holds on the cover of "Born to Run," the album that helped rocket his popularity. The exhibit also will have scrapbooks and notebooks in which Springsteen wrote many song lyrics.

"Once (Bruce) knew this was real, that it would really happen, he wanted it to have as much depth as it could possibly have," said Jon Landau, Springsteen's manager and board member of the hall. "He is fully behind this exhibition and the effort the museum has made to really get things right."

Henke is hopeful that eventually Springsteen will make his first visit to the Rock Hall since it opened nearly 14 years ago. Landau said he's sure that the Boss eventually will visit the exhibit.

"I think we'll have to visit at some other time than the official opening, but Bruce is looking forward to seeing it as soon as it's possible for him," Landau said.

Fans Get Ready for Phish’s Big Return

It’s been nearly five years since the Vermont-based jamband dug into its vast library of songs — “For the last time ... EVER!” guitarist Trey Anastasio taunted then — at a weekend festival that was meant as a grand finale, but turned into a sloppy mess of raw nerves, mixed emotions and churned mud.

May they never say “EVER!” again.

The foursome returns Friday for a reunion long awaited by its fiercely loyal fans. Like the un-retirement of any great act, this one stands to settle its own set of burning questions: Will Anastasio, bassist Mike Gordon, keyboardist Page McConnell and drummer Jon Fishman still have the chops and cohesion to pull off their hairpin, musical high-wire act? Will their obsessive-yet-finicky followers, now five years older, still possess the energy and devotion to sustain it?

And could the stale air of burnout — from the weariness that comes with 20 years on the road and mounting personal struggles that caused them to quit in the first place — have really cleared?

We’re about to find out.

“Sometimes, no matter what the issue is, the only way to address it is time,” said Peter Shapiro, owner of the now-closed Wetlands, a Phish-favorite club in New York, and executive producer of the improvisational Jammy Awards. The Jammys last year brought Phish back together publicly for the first time since 2004, albeit for a lifetime achievement award, no performance.
“These guys took five years,” said Shapiro. “I think it shows that they were serious about the issues that each wanted to address; and I think they’re serious about coming back.”

Like many a hard-core Phish-head, Shapiro planned to attend all three shows this weekend at the Hampton Coliseum, the site of some of their most consistently explosive performances. And if Phish’s sold-out summer tour is any indication, a few mortgages, marriages and offspring picked up along the way haven’t slowed down Phish fans’ rabid, drop-whatever-you’re-doing-and-go ethos.

“The fan base has aged,” Shapiro said. “A lot of the people who did this in their 20s are now in their 30s. It’ll be a little different crowd, but ... for them, this was always more than just a show. It’s a part of their life.”

Will new fans embrace Phish?

It was 26 years ago that Phish formed at the University of Vermont. They are known for their amorphous blend of rock, jazz, bluegrass and other styles, along with intense improvisations. No two shows are ever the same.

Though the band didn’t achieve mainstream success in the pop realm, they released seminal albums and were a hugely popular and lucrative touring act, often likened to the Grateful Dead, and had an incredibly devoted fan base.

Whether Phish retain that kind of influence — and pick up a new generation of fans, as The Grateful Dead did in the mid ’80s — will in part depend on the quality of the music (the group is already working on a new album). While Phish always could conjure moments of sheer greatness that their fans came to expect, the taut, nimble playing demanded by their challenging songbook began to slowly erode following a universally acknowledged peak performance on New Year’s Eve 1999.

At their “farewell” performance, a two-day affair at Newport State Airport in Coventry, Vt., tears flowed onstage, lyrics were forgotten or abandoned and much of the jamming was downright sloppy. Adding to the ecstacy/misery dynamic were the frayed nerves of thousands of fans who, just days after a week of freakish downpours in the area, had to abandon their cars on the highway when the washed-out parking areas closed, hike in with what little camping gear they could carry and survive 48 hours in a knee-buckling mud bog that soiled everything in sight.

As grand encores go, it was a weird one. But when the curtain comes back up on Friday, and the band reclaims their past glory, that will likely be forgotten.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr to Headline NY Concert

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are teaming up to headline a benefit concert in New York City. The former Beatles will headline the Radio City Music Hall concert on April 4 for the David Lynch Foundation. Other performers joining the two superstars include Sheryl Crow, Eddie Vedder, Moby and Bettye LaVette.

Tickets go on sale on Monday, March 9. The David Lynch Foundation provides funds to teach students how to meditate so they can "change their world from within." For more information, see The David Lynch Foundation on the web.

'The Beatles: Rock Band' Release Set for 9/9/9

Apple Corps, Ltd., Harmonix and MTV Games, a part of Viacom's MTV Networks announces the 9/9/09 worldwide release of The Beatles: Rock Band, a music-based video game that provides an unprecedented, experiential progression through and celebration of the music and artistry of The Beatles, will be available simultaneously worldwide in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and other territories for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and Wii home videogame console from Nintendo.

'The Beatles: Rock Band' will allow fans to pick up the guitar, bass, mic or drums and experience The Beatles extraordinary catalogue of music through gameplay that takes players on a journey through the legacy and evolution of the band's legendary career. In addition, 'The Beatles: Rock Band' will offer a limited number of new hardware offerings modeled after instruments used by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr throughout their career.

'The Beatles: Rock Band' will be offered as standalone software and hardware as well as a limited edition bundle. The game will be compatible with all Rock Band instrument controllers and other current music-based video game peripherals.

'The Beatles: Rock Band' marks the first time that Apple Corps, along with EMI Music, Harrisongs Ltd, and Sony/ATV Music Publishing, has agreed to present The Beatles music in an interactive video game format. The Beatles: Rock Band will be published by MTV Games and developed by Harmonix, the world's premier music video game company and creators of the best-selling Rock Band. Electronic Arts will serve as distribution partner for the game. In addition, Giles Martin, co-producer of The Beatles' innovative Love album project, is providing his expertise and serving as music producer for this groundbreaking Beatles project.

Exclusive content created by Apple Corps, MTV Games and Harmonix will be made available to fans over the next few months who participate in a pre-order campaign through major retailers. More details on 'The Beatles: Rock Band' game and pre-order will be revealed in the coming months.

For more information, visit The Beatles: Rock Band on the web.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Grateful Dead Follows the Road to Terrapin

Pinpointing the creative zenith of the Grateful Dead's career would be a challenge fit for even Sisyphus. That said, one could do a lot worse than looking to the fabled spring tour of 1977, long considered by Dead Heads as the very best. During a remarkable 26 shows in 37 days, the Dead played with unparalleled energy, wit, passion and power -- a band at the very top of its game. The tour ended on a euphoric note May 28 at the Hartford Civic Center in Connecticut, where the band previewed several tracks from its soon-to-be-released ninth studio album Terrapin Station.

To Terrapin: Harford '77, scheduled for a an April 7 release, revisits that glorious spring evening in New England, presenting the entire show in HDCD, mastered from the original soundboard tapes. The three-disc set contains 21 unreleased live songs and an extensive 16-page booklet featuring rare photos taken at the actual concert.

This release showcases several live versions of ambitious works from Terrapin Station that would become beloved staples of the Grateful Dead's repertoire. The first of these was "Estimated Prophet," Bob Weir and John Barlow's portrait of a particularly Californian breed of delusional would-be visionary, which managed to be at once uplifting and disturbing, thanks to the incantory lyric and to Weir's ingenious musical setting, a sinuous reggae-flavored groove knocked beautifully off-kilter by a 7/4 time signature.

The second major new piece, which would take up the entire second side of the LP, was utterly unlike anything the Dead had attempted before: the epic, allegorical "Terrapin Station" suite -- as felicitous a marriage of music and storytelling as was ever accomplished by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter in the course of their long and fruitful collaboration.

By the time the tour reached its triumphant finale in Hartford on May 28, it was readily apparent that the new songs -- including the Phil Lesh/Peter Monk rocker "Passenger" and Bob Weir's red-hot reinvention of the Rev. Gary Davis gospel-blues classic "Samson And Delilah" -- could stand proudly alongside such long-standing pillars of the Dead canon as "Bertha," "Sugaree," "Jack Straw," "Candyman," "Playing In The Band," "One More Saturday Night" and the other standbys heard on this recording.

Spring '77 Dead included Jerry Garcia (lead guitar, vocals), Donna Jean Godchaux (vocals), Keith Godchaux (keyboards), Mickey Hart (drums), Bill Kreutzmann (drums), Phil Lesh (bass, vocals), and Bob Weir (rhythm guitar, vocals).

After picking up To Terrapin:Hartford '77, you might want to scrape up enough change for a second release Grateful Dead set: Winterland 1973: The Complete Recordings will debut at traditional retail outlets. Previously available exclusively through Dead.net, this critically acclaimed nine-disc collection captures every note from the band's three-night residency at Winterland (November 9, 10, and 11, 1973), playing in front of its hometown crowd.

Finally, The Dead recently announced their first tour in five years. Original Dead members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart will be joined by keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and Allman Brothers Band/Gov't Mule guitarist Warren Haynes for 22 shows in 17 cities this spring. The tour begins April 12 in Greensboro, NC, and includes a stop on April 26 at the former Hartford Civic Center (now named XL Center) where To Terrapin was recorded. Tickets are on sale now at dead.net/dead09.

Woodstock 2009 Planned for August

Promoter Michael Lang is planning Woodstock ‘09 for August in order to celebrate the original festival’s 40th anniversary. Lang is planning for the anniversary to take place in two different locations, New York and Germany. Both locations will hold a two-day festival for free, according to TheRockRadio.com.

The New York festival is scheduled for August 15-August 16, 2009, which are the anniversary dates of the original Woodstock. The exact location of the New York festival has not been determined yet. The Germany dates are scheduled for August 22-23rd at an abandoned airport. The festival does not have a lineup or any bands signed on to perform.

According to Rollingstone.com, festival organizers are hoping original Woodstock bands would perform at Woodstock 2009. Bands that have been tossed around are the Who, Santana and the Dead. Rolling Stone also reported that the official Woodstock Web site is under construction. Lang is credited as a co-creator of Woodstock and played an integral part in both Woodstock ’94 and Woodstock ’99.

Lang will be quite busy preparing a Woodstock ’09 after the infamous bonfires, rowdy crowds and unruly nature of Woodstock ’99. Many attributed the raucous crowd at Woodstock ’99 to bands egging them on, along with the aggressive nature of the music that was performed.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Faces Reunion Plans Still Awaiting Rod's Nod

A Faces reunion may still be in the offing this year -- but probably not a full-scale tour or recording project. Keyboardist Ian McLagan says that the latest idea, proffered by guitarist Ron Wood at a lunch in London with McLagan and drummer Kenney Jones, is "we do a couple shows and film it. Whether Rod (Stewart) wants to do that...I'm hoping he'll be into that 'cause it'll be such a lot of fun. It's what the three of us would like Rod to agree to."

The Faces, with Stewart's touring bassist, got together during November in London to play for three days in various configurations. McLagan -- who's currently touring to promote his latest solo album, "Never Say Never," which comes out March 3 -- says the sessions were "really, really great."

The following month word leaked that the group would indeed tour, with the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea on bass, and that there would also be a new Faces album -- the first since 1973's "Ooh La La." In January both Flea and Stewart denied there would be a Faces tour. McLagan says that Wood is currently in Los Angeles and plans to talk to Stewart about the latest idea.

"I'll get a call eventually, and maybe we'll do something in June or July," McLagan says, " 'cause I don't want to do anything next year. I'm not gonna wait again. It's either gonna be this year...It's now or never! I've got my fingers crossed, but I'm not going to waste energy trying to make it happen. I've worked for 30 years trying to make it happen. It's now in the lap of the gods -- or the hands of Rod, maybe."

The keyboardist adds that despite other press reports, Wood is "in great shape...and good spirits" and is not currently drinking. "He slips but he stops. He's finding his grace, and it's a struggle," McLagan says. "He's trying really hard." While he waits for word on the Faces' plans, McLagan plans a full year of touring with his Bump Band for "Never Say Never" -- which is dedicated to his late wife, Kim, who died in a 2006 auto accident, and features some songs inspired by the tragedy.

"Music is the healer -- I know it as an absolute, stone cold fact," McLagan says. "I wouldn't be here today without the music and my band members, my musician friends. They kept me going. I'm doing much better. I'm fine now. But the tough times, I couldn't have done it on my own."