Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Eddie Van Halen Gets Hitched For A Second Time

Eddie Van Halen married longtime girlfriend Janie Liszewski over the weekend. The wedding took place on the grounds of his seven-acre mansion Saturday, June 27.

Wearing flip-flops, the iconic guitarist wed his bride in the estate's garden after she came down the aisle to a performance of Van Halen's "When It's Love" by the Sonus Quartet. Van Halen's 18-year-old son, Wolfgang, served as best man for his dad's second marriage.

The 54-year-old guitarist's drummer/brother Alex Van Halen, an ordained minister, officiated at the 20-minute, non-denominational service. Van Halen's ex-wife, Valerie Bertinelli -- who he divorced in 2006 after 25 years of marriage -- was among the 100 or so guests who sipped non-alcoholic beverages from the lemonade bar in honor of Eddie's year-and-a-half of sobriety.

For their first dance, Van Halen chose 'You Are So Beautiful' by Joe Cocker, followed by his wife's selection, Cyndi Lauper's 'Time After Time.' The couple intends on honeymooning in New York, Germany and Eddie's birthplace, the Netherlands.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dead Headlining Fourth Of July Festival

The Dead, who recently wrapped their 2009 Spring tour, are scheduled to headline the second annual Rothbury Festival at the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury, Michigan, July 2- 5. Billed as their only summer performance, the Dead will be joined by Bob Dylan, String Cheese Incident (in their only appearance this year), the Black Crowes, Willie Nelson and over 50 jam bands.

Surviving Grateful Dead members — guitarist-singer Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann — along with Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, comprise this year’s Dead lineup. Although each man continues to pursue other dalliances (Lesh has his Friends, Weir’s got Ratdog, Kreutzmann gets funky with his trio BK3, and Hart’s all over the place), the word in the parking lot is that this combination has definitely kicked things up a notch to to a new musical plateau. At press time, it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen to the Dead after Rothbury.

In addition to music and arts, the Rothbury festival promotes sustainability and overall improvements to the environment by implementing an array of ever-changing green technologies. The 2009 Rothbury Think Tank, an event within the event, explores the “New Green Economy” with various buzz sessions and roundtables between leading scientists, scholars, writers, progressive political and corporate leaders, youth leaders, artists and audience members. Multiple initiatives will be introduced to reinforce this effort, such as replacing disposables with 100% compostables, recycling and composting, choosing clean energy, carbon-offsetting, and Green Ticket options. For tickets and additional information, visit the Rothbury Festival web site.

Young, Springsteen Give Hyde Park Rock Master Class

If Mount Rushmore featured rock 'n' rollers instead of U.S. presidents, the faces of Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen would surely be carved there.

The two elder statesmen showed just why they are venerated by fans of all ages at the Hard Rock Calling festival in central London's Hyde Park this past weekend in performances brimming with passion, energy and timeless songs.

To cap it all, Sir Paul McCartney joined Young on stage for his encore, literally bowing at his feet as the Canadian played a feedback-drenched version of the Beatles "A Day in the Life."

Now aged 63 and 59, neither Young nor Springsteen has let up the pace in recent years. Both have released new albums in the past several months which had their moments even if they did not reach the heights of past classics.

They each took prominent positions against former U.S. President George W. Bush and the Iraq War. Springsteen campaigned hard for Barack Obama and played at his presidential inauguration.

Politics was largely absent from the Hyde Park shows though as they focused on entertaining the summer crowds in London, after headlining the Glastonbury Festival earlier in the week.

Young took to the stage Saturday night looking like an old mountain man seeking shelter from a storm, with his bedraggled, thinning hair, craggy features and muttonchop sideburns. Not known for indulging his audiences, he played a crowd-pleasing set which drew heavily on "Harvest," his best-known album, and the guitar-heavy "Everybody Knows this is Nowhere."

He kicked off in his "Godfather of Grunge" persona with a crunching version of "Hey, Hey, My, My" and its refrain "it's better to burn out than to fade away." He then stormed though a number of hard rockers, delighting rapturous fans, before switching to a mellow mood with a run of country-flavored numbers including "Heart of Gold" and "Old Man," as night fell on the park.
Young finished with a blazing version of "Rockin' in the Free World," uncharacteristically leading the crowd in a bout of arm-waving and leaving his black guitar wailing feedback, its strings shredded.

McCartney, an old friend, bounded on stage to join Young for the encore of "A Day in the Life," hugging Young and dancing around him. The two were clearly having fun.

Among the crowd was Beth Harley, a 26-year-old archaeologist, who had just arrived from Turkey on Saturday morning to see Young. She said she had grown up listening to his music as her parents played it all the time.

"It's got a lot of edge. The songs don't seem to age. It still seems relevant to what's going on now," she said.

If Young is a willful eccentric, Springsteen is the great showman who delivers every time. Taking the stage with the mighty, black-clad E. Street band, he launched into The Clash song "London Calling," bellowing its refrain "we live by the river" loud enough to be heard just down the road at Buckingham Palace. He then moved into more familiar territory with "Badlands" and the pace didn't let up for the next three hours.

Springsteen ran around the stage, danced, and strutted along a special platform to get close to the fans and collect signs with song requests. He sang plenty of old favorites, switching from songs on the dreams and struggles of the working man to joyful sing-alongs.

You'll probably never see a concert crowd where the fans look so deliriously happy as a Springsteen show. And no one looks like they are having more fun than the Boss himself.

"He's got so much energy, so much life. He just gets better with age. It doesn't stop him," said Karen Colsen, a 47-year-old graphic designer who had bought her partner tickets as a Valentine's Day gift.

Highlights of the show were two songs which he doesn't often play live -- an elegiac "Racing in the Street," featuring a stately piano coda, and an exuberant "Rosalita." But he also performed Stephen Foster's 1854 song "Hard Times Come Again No More," reminding the audience of the millions of unemployed in the United States and Britain.

"He's the good side of America, the bits we all like," said Nic Saunders, a 36-year-old college lecturer from Reading who has seen Springsteen 16 times previously. "His themes are universal - girls, boys, cars, getting married, fucking up.' It doesn't matter how old you are if you write good songs."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Producers Gamble & Huff Saddened By Jackson's Death

Legendary producers and recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, who brought Philadelphia soul music ("The Sound of Philadelphia") to "people all over the world” and recorded two albums with the Jacksons, said they are “extremely saddened by the sudden death of our dear friend Michael Jackson.”

“Michael was a great and wonderful artist and performer,” said Gamble and Huff in a joint statement. “ We were privileged and honored to record him and his brothers here at Philadelphia International Records.”

The Jacksons recorded their first two albums after leaving Motown in Philadelphia with Gamble and Huff songs and the Philadelphia International production crew. When the Jacksons came to PIR, they were transitioning away from the brand name of the Jackson Five. In 1976 and 1977, Gamble and Huff produced and co-wrote songs for the albums The Jacksons and Going Places, as part of a double imprint deal with CBS/Epic Records, the Jacksons’ new label. Several hit songs came out of that production effort, including "Enjoy Yourself" and "Let Me Show You the Way to Go."

During those recording sessions, Michael Jackson paid close attention to the production and songwriting techniques of Gamble and Huff, and learned from those observations to create his own mega-platinum recording career. Jackson also had the opportunity to work at that time with legendary Philadelphia International producers McFadden and Whitehead, Dexter Wansel and Bunny Sigler.

Several songs that Michael and his brothers particularly enjoyed recording with Gamble and Huff were "Man of War," which has much significance today, as well as the soulful "Blues Away" and romantic "Find Me a Girl":

Michael Jackson was recently quoted paying tribute to Gamble and Huff in a magazine article. "There was a message in their music that raised a social consciousness and political awareness without offending," Jackson said. "Theirs is a gift of genius and I love them."

“We are very honored to have been a part of Michael Jackson’s music and creative career in helping to write and produce his own music with his brothers,” Gamble and Huff continued this morning. “We know his music and legacy will live on for a very long time."

Gamble & Huff wrote over 3,000 songs with in 35 years, including R&B #1 hits, pop #1 hits, gold and platinum records, Grammy winners and BMI songwriters' awards honorees. Featured prominently in television programs (The Apprentice), films (The Nutty Professor) and advertising spots (Verizon, Old Navy, The Gap) for more than 30 years, Gamble and Huff's songs have entered the musical DNA of contemporary culture. In fact, one of their songs is played on the radio somewhere in the world every 13.5 minutes.

With a stable core of artists led by the O'Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Billy Paul, MFSB and the Three Degrees, Gamble and Huff co-founded Philadelphia International Records and created monster hits almost from the first day of its inception. Songs they have written and produced together, like "Back Stabbers," "Love Train," "For The Love Of Money," "If You Don't Know Me By Now," "Cowboys to Girls," "Don't Leave Me This Way," "Enjoy Yourself," "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," "Only the Strong Survive" and "TSOP," have received songwriters' awards from Broadcast Music International (BMI). All told, the Gamble-Huff/PIR music machine" has generated over 100 Gold and Platinum records and over 70 #1 hits.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Santana/Journey Founding Member Gregg Rolie Releases Limited Edition Live CD

Legendary Santana/Journey founding member and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Gregg Rolie has released a limited edition CD of his band in concert in 2007. On this 12-track CD, the Gregg Rolie Band whip up a blistering performance featuring all the beloved Santana hits, as well as tracks from his 2001 critically acclaimed solo CD Roots and a few new songs. Songs include "No One To Depend On," "Evil Ways," "Black Magic Woman" and many others.

The final track on the CD, "Bailamos El Son", was taken from Gregg Rolie's performance on the PBS special Trini Lopez Presents The Legends of Latin Music. Filmed at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles last October, the program airs this month.

Gregg Rolie is responsible for co-founding two phenomenally popular, multi-platinum super groups - Santana and Journey. In 1998, the world class keyboardist/vocalist/producer was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as part of the original Santana band.

The Gregg Rolie Band consists of founding Santana member Michael Carabello on Congas, Adrian Areas (son of original Santana percussionist Jose Chepito Areas) on Timbales, drummer Ron Wikso, Kurt Griffey on guitars, internationally acclaimed bassist, Chapman Stick artist and Santana alumni Alphonso Johnson, and former Jean Luc Ponty keyboardist Wally Minko.

"If you are having a good time at anything you do, you are going to do a good job at what you do," Gregg recently told music critic Jim Harrington. "That's really where the key to this band is. We really just enjoy each other a tremendous amount and have a lot of fun with this. We will get up to playing about 50 dates a year, and really that's about all I want to do."

The Gregg Rolie Band will be performing throughout 2009 with tour dates listed on his official website. For more information: www.GreggRolie.com.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Paul McCartney Makes Statement On Death Of Michael Jackson

Paul McCartney has released a statement on the death of his former collaborator Michael Jackson, who passed away June 25.

"I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever and my memories of our time together will be happy ones," the message reads.

In the 1980s, the pair worked together on the single "Say Say Say" and "The Man," which appeared on McCartney's Pipes Of Peace solo record, and later collaborated for Jackson's Thriller album, with McCartney guesting on "The Girl Is Mine."

Their friendship ended in 1985 after Jackson outbid a joint effort by McCartney and Yoko Ono to buy the rights to over 200 Beatles songs - 10 years later, Jackson sold half his stake to Sony.

He earned millions of dollars a year through owning the rights to the remaining tracks, the catalogue being his main source of income after recent financial troubles. Reports earlier this year suggested that Jackson had planned to leave the rights to McCartney in his will.

Jackson was taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles after suffering what is believed to be a cardiac arrest at his home. A team of doctors tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him for more than an hour before he was declared dead.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Seeds Frontman Sky Saxon Dies In Austin

Sky Saxon, lead singer and bassist of '60s garage rockers the Seeds, died Thursday, June 25, in an Austin, Texas hospital. He had been in the ICU suffering from an undisclosed illness -- doctors suspected an internal organ infection -- until his wife, Sabrina, announced his passing via Facebook.

Influenced heavily by the Rolling Stones, Saxon — born Richard Marsh — founded the Seeds in 1965 in California. The next year, the psychedelic rockers released two albums — The Seeds and A Web Of Sound — and had hits with "Can't Seem To Make You Mine" and "Pushin' Too Hard," their most successful song. In 1967, the band released two more albums: Future, a psychedelic rock album, and A Full Spoon Of Seedy Blues, which was credited to the Sky Saxon Blues Band and featured liner notes by the legendary Muddy Waters.

After some lineup changes and a few more commercially unsuccessful albums, Saxon dissolved the band in the early '70s. He joined a California commune, the Source Family, adopted the name Sunlight and occasionally performed with their trippy house band, the Ya Ho Wa 13.

In 1989, Saxon reformed the Seeds to tour with other 60s acts like Big Brother and the Holding Company and Arthur Lee and Love. They toured again in 2003, and Saxon kept busy musically, releasing an album last year, and recording with the Smashing Pumpkins. Though he fell ill the previous week, Saxon still managed to play a short gig on Saturday, June 20, at the Austin rock club Antone's.

Sabrina Sherry Smith Saxon wrote on her Facebook page, "Sky has passed over and YaHoWha is waiting for him at the gate. He will soon be home with his Father. I'm so sorry I couldn't keep him here with us. More later. I'm sorry." No other announcements have been made.

Rock Hall To Present Woodstock Anniversary Exhibit

Peace and love will last a lot longer than three days at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, which is celebrating Woodstock's 40th anniversary with a new exhibit.

From July 3 to November 29, the Cleveland-based center will feature items from the legendary three-day weekend in upstate New York. The exhibit will also include the original written plan for the event from its producer, Michael Lang.

There are an array of events that are being planned to commemorate the anniversary of Woodstock, which took place from August 15 to August 17 in 1969 and featured Janis Joplin, the Who, Jimi Hendrix and dozens other rock acts.

On June 30, Legacy Recordings is releasing five double-CD packages celebrating the legends of Woodstock. Santana, Janis Joplin, Sly & The Family Stone, Johnny Winter and Jefferson Airplane will each be represented with their complete Woodstock performance, as well as each of their classic 1969 studio albums.

Each 2-CD Deluxe Edition comes in a collectible, individually numbered slipcase, with two LP-replica mini-jackets and inner sleeves. A 16"x20" artist-specific poster is included and ready for framing. For more on these releases, go to http://www.woodstock.com.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ray Davies Says Kinks Film In The Works, Reunion Unlikely

The Kinks will be the subject of an upcoming feature-length film directed by music video vet Julien Temple, who also helmed the 2007 doc Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten, frontman Ray Davies says. While Davies didn’t say whether the film will be a documentary or a biopic, Temple said in 2007 that his next project would be a doc on the “You Really Got Me” band called Kinkdom Come. Temple previously directed music videos for the Kinks’ “Come Dancing” and “Don’t Forget To Dance.”

In November 2008, after a series of rumors about the Kinks finally reuniting, it was reported that the band — Davies, his brother Dave Davies and drummer Mick Avory — had gotten back together to perform music. While that’s still the case, Ray Davies said it’s unlikely the band will officially reunite.

“I will continue to play with ex-band members like Mick Avory from time to time. With Dave, a lot of it is psychological. I’ll guide him in, and coerce and nurture him, and when the time is right I suppose. I’ll even shout at him again.”

Dave Davies, who famously fought with his brother during the band’s run, suffered a stroke in 2004. Ray Davies said his brother is improving enough that he’s able to drive an automobile again. “I’ll work with Dave, and whatever he can play, we’ll create something around it together. We’ll function just fine like that,” the singer said, adding that “I gotta tell you — I miss the Kinks.”

Sunny Weather, The Boss To Shine On Glastonbury

Bruce Springsteen will play an extra-long set and the sun will shine at the world's biggest green field arts and music festival this year, Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis says.

Old favorites will dominate Glastonbury this year as Neil Young, Tom Jones, Status Quo and Blur join Springsteen on the main stage, marking a return to the festival's guitar-based roots after rap superstar Jay-Z headlined last year.

This year, hip-hop artists like Q-Tip, Roots Manuva and Black Eyed Peas are mostly relegated to smaller areas on the southern English farmland that Eavis has been opening up for Glastonbury since 1970, when the one pound entry fee included free milk from the farm.

Springsteen is so keen to perform this year he has asked for more than his allotted time on the main 'Pyramid' stage.

"He wants to play for three hours actually, so we can give him two and a half by the sound of it or maybe two (hours) forty-five," Eavis told Reuters as his cows were herded indoors and he prepared for the invasion of some 200,000 revelers.

Other artists likely to appeal to a younger crowd include indie pop group The Wombats, Australia's Gabriella Cilmi, electro-pop musician Little Boots, and pop artist Lady Gaga.

Pete Doherty will play on Glastonbury's second-largest stage and The Prodigy, best-known for their violent lyrics and hard beats, will be performing "Invaders Must Die," their first album since 2004.

Eavis, who this year made it into Time magazine's annual list of "the world's 100 most influential people," is confident that the weather will be good this year, but says there are enough marquees to cover everyone if the rain pours and the entire farm becomes a sludgy mud bath as in previous years.

The official weather forecast showed it could be a scorcher.

"It looks like actually getting quite warm and sunny," George Goodfellow, a forecaster at the Met Office, said on Friday, adding temperatures would be around 25-30 degrees Celsius.

Not just about music, the June 24-28 festival, which has 3,225 toilets and consumes over one million gallons of water, also has performing arts, theater, dance, spiritual-healing and circus events.

Highlights will include the silent disco, where clubbers dance to music on headphones while watching a 3D show through special glasses, "Cult Bingo," "frilly-knickered knife throwers," and "the world's strongest lady."

Those wishing something calmer can enroll in The Free University of Glastonbury and discuss nature, music, non-conformism and even math. Eternal hippies can head to Stone Circle, where people have been known to dance naked and play drums.

Always trying to find the right balance between security and freedom, an enormous fence surrounds the 1,100 acres of the festival to stop thefts from tents and control numbers.

Undercover surveillance personnel, some ex-military, patrol the site and hand over any dealers of hard drugs they find to police. Marijuana smokers are unofficially left to their own devices.

Eavis said there were only about 130 drug arrests last year and that it was not a big issue.

"Drugs were a problem through the 80s at Glastonbury, but I mean, we're 25 years on from that now so we've all moved on away from that culture really," he said.

Michael Eavis was clear that he was still the boss but said he was gradually giving more control of the festival organization to his 29-year-old daughter Emily.

"We'll see how she gets on with it and see if she enjoys it and if she wants all the responsibility that it involves, because it is quite considerable," adding that he has a special bond with Emily that began early on.

"The only way I could get her to sleep as a baby was by laying her on my belly," he said.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Heart Readies New Album, Children's Book

A new album and a children's book based on an old album are on Heart's docket for the balance of the year.

Guitarist Nancy Wilson says she and sister Ann have been in and out of the studio during the past few months with producer Ben Mink working on Heart's first set of new material since 2004's Jupiter's Darling.

"We've done a lot of writing and we've been in the studio a couple times so far between some of the touring stuff we're doing," Wilson says. "We've got about eight songs that we really like, and we've recorded three basic (tracks) that work so far. I know it will be out this coming year, but I can't give you any more specific time frame than that."

Wilson adds that recording has been done so far in Los Angeles and in various hotel rooms during the group's tours. She also expects to log some studio time in Seattle. Song titles so far include "Hey You" and "Closer," and Wilson says the recording process has been organic.

"We're recording with just a real woodshed, small acoustic element, people playing together at the same time and (in) the same room -- like what they used to call a hootenanny," explains Wilson, who hopes to debut some of the new songs live this summer. "There's no ProTools feel to it at all. We're just sitting around playing guitars together and going for a performance that is on the spot."

Heart is also planning for a fourth quarter release of a storybook inspired by its 1978 album Dog and Butterfly, which will come with a CD that includes new versions of the title song, as well as a new version of "Dreamboat Annie" Heart will record with Mink.

"We always wanted to do a children's book of some form or another," Wilson says. "Ann pretty much did the writing, and I kind of was her editor. She made the initial drawings of the dog and I did the butterfly. She drew the characters, mostly, and I painted them. And then we had an artist come in and kind of fill in some of the other designs 'cause we're kind of busy right now. It looks really good. It's really simple."

Heart has tour dates booked into September, including nine dates opening for Journey.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Springsteen/Ticketmaster War Escalates

The war of words between Ticketmaster and the Bruce Springsteen camp continues to heat up. In a letter posted on Springsteen's website, Springsteen manager Jon Landau calls to task the Newark Star Ledger and Ticketmaster Chairman Barry Diller, without calling the latter by name.

The Ledger reported last week that about 2,300 total tickets for a May 21 Springsteen performance at the Izod Center in E. Rutherford were held back for "friends of the band, the record label and the New Jersey Sports and Exhibition Authority, which operates the venue." Diller was quoted in the New York Post as saying Springsteen "has been one of our most vocal critics on our ticketing policies and while he's more than entitled to his opinion, it seems minimally fair-minded to point out that in the concert that created the battle, where Ticketmaster apologized for making a technical mistake, it seems that Mr. Springsteen held back from his fans all but 108 of the 1,126 tickets closest to the stage," Diller said.

The entire fracas dates back to Feb. 6 Springsteen on-sale chaos for the Izod show, where the Springsteen camp claimed Ticketmaster directed fans to its in-house secondary site TicketsNow in a "bait-and-switch" maneuver.

In the letter, Landau says Springsteen's holds "had nothing to do at all with the breakdown of Ticketmaster's system. When fans were redirected to TicketsNow, "an undetermined but large amount of money flowed into TicketsNow (and eventually Ticketmaster) even though there were still tickets at normal prices yet to be made available on Ticketmaster. We perceived this to have been a major abuse of our fans, complained about it mightily, and added that because of behavior like this, the pending merger of the number one ticketing company and number one management company (both owned by Ticketmaster) with the number one venue owner and operator (Live Nation) might not be such a hot idea."

Landau says a public apology from Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff "which apology we promptly and graciously posted on our site" substantiates the Springsteen camp's position when coupled with the volume of complaints received by New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram, whom "ultimately secured a consent degree from Ticketmaster, in which they promised that some of their practices ("glitches") with regard to its sister company TicketsNow will never be repeated."

Landau calls the Ledger piece "the same article that the Star Ledger runs whenever we do a few indoor shows in New Jersey" and Diller's spin as "flatly untrue. He is merely using the time honored tradition of blowing smoke to distract attention away from Ticketmaster's already acknowledged responsibility for their "glitches" on February 6, the on-sale date of the two Izod Center shows."

Regarding holds by Thrill Hill, Springsteen's touring division, "Perhaps the first thing to be said is that when we play New Jersey, our fans know that we are usually going to do more than two indoor shows in order to ensure, among other things, that during the course of a tour, Springsteen tickets will be plentiful so as many fans as possible will have a chance to get great seats (hence the five upcoming shows at Giants Stadium.) As our fans also know, we have kept all of our tickets under $100 and do all that we can to ensure that as many as possible are sold at face value."

Landau admits to "significant holds" in New Jersey, as well as New York and Los Angeles" (which indeed is a common industry practice for major tours), saying the holds are for band members and their families, the Springsteen organization, the label, reviewers, radio stations, and charities.

Then he offers the following charge: "Unlike some Ticketmaster managed artists, no tickets are held for high dollar resale on TicketsNow, or through any other means."

Springsteen's ticketing practices have "evolved over more than 30 years of experience. Does anyone seriously imagine that any element of these practices caused Ticketmaster to redirect ticket requests to TicketsNow for the Izod Center shows? What would our incentive have been? It's not we who earned vastly larger sums when fans paid way over the face value of the tickets. It was Ticketmaster/TicketsNow."

Landau admits such public airing of Springsteen's business is uncharacteristic of the organization. "But we do get upset when we see fans being taken advantage of, as they were on February 6," he says. "So, when that stuff stops happening (and the Ticketmaster/TicketsNow problems surrounding our recent show in Washington D.C. shows that these issues are far from resolved) we will stop complaining. And when the facts cease to be misrepresented, we will stop explaining."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Jimmy Page, Jack White Discuss New Documentary

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and The White Stripes frontman Jack White discussed their involvement in the forthcoming documentary, It Might Get Loud, at a press conference in Los Angeles on Friday, June 19.

The legendary axe men, whose personal musical evolutions are chronicled in the film along with that of U2 guitarist The Edge, talked about what it was like to work with each other for the first time, and why they decided to become involved in the film.

"These days people are getting famous for being famous," White said when asked why he chose to take part in the documentary. "You have to battle against the media to create something soulful. This film lets people dig deeper into the music."

The film, which was directed by Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim ('An Inconvenient Truth'), chronicles the master guitarists' evolution as musicians and illustrates how each one became enamoured of the instrument at a very young age.

"What we all have in common is that we are all self-taught guitarists," said Page. "That's what so fascinating about it. All guitarists have a very different character so there was a lot to learn from each other."

"We were all coming from similar spots where music is generated," added White.

The White Stripes man, who is pictured in the film creating his own stringed instruments and teaching a fictionalised 9-year-old version of himself to play guitar, advised young aspiring musicians to grab whatever instruments they can get their hands on. "Start with whatever you can afford and struggle to find your own relationship with the instrument," he said. "Take (children) to see live music. Put them in a position where they physically can't get away," he laughed.

White, who is currently involved in three bands -- The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather -- is also rumoured to be working on a solo album. When asked if Page might make a guest appearance on the album, White quipped, "Jimmy needs to practice a little more first."

It Might Get Loud made its US debut at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 19. It will be widely released on August 14.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Paul McCartney To Score Film

Paul McCartney is to write new songs for the soundtrack to an animated film adaptation of one of his children's books. The film, High On The Clouds, is an adaptation of the ex-Beatle's 2005 book of the same name. The book tells the story of Wirral The Squirrel's search for an animal sanctuary. The film is still in development, reports Variety.

The movie is being directed by Rob Minkoff, who directed Disney's The Lion King. McCartney has a long history of contributing songs to films, penning the hit "Live and Let Die" for the 1973 James Bond film and the title track of 2001's Vanilla Sky soundtrack. The songwriter's 1984 hit "We All Stand Together" was taken from an animated feature, Rupert And The Frog Song. In both cases, McCartney was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Original Song category.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Elvis Costello Doing One Day 'Amoeba Music Tour'‏

On Monday, June 22, Elvis Costello will celebrate the release of his new album Secret, Profane & Sugarcane (Hear Music) by performing free in-store shows at Amoeba’s San Francisco and Hollywood locations. Costello will kick off his one day 'Amoeba Music Tour' at noon PST with a performance at Amoeba San Francisco, and then fly south for a performance at 8:00 PM PST at Amoeba Hollywood. At each stop Costello will not only perform, but also sign copies of the new CD for fans. Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Jim Lauderdale will accompany Costello for each of these acoustic sets.

Amoeba will stream the Hollywood in-store on amoeba.comlive at 8 PM PST as Amoeba Music's A.V. team will be hitting the road with Costello to document his one-day performance marathon, with both performances posted on the mega record store's web site for viewing after the in-stores. A special commemorative silkscreened poster will be made for the event and given away with purchase of the Secret, Profane & Sugarcane CD on the day of the performances, while they last.

Secret, Profane & Sugarcane was released June 2nd.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

George Harrison Reborn Through Unfinished Songs

A treasure trove of never-before-heard songs by George Harrison could soon see the light of day. The late former Beatle left a large batch of unfinished tracks at the time of his death in 2001 and musician Jeff Lynne, a member of 80s super-group The Traveling Wilburys along with George and the late Roy Orbison, is ready finish and produce them.

“George half-finished loads of songs and often just forgot about them. There is probably an album’s worth of material. Jeff and George were very close and worked together a lot in the later period of George’s life. He’s the right man to work on the material,” said a source close to the project.

Separately, Capitol/EMI has just released Harrison's first-ever career-spanning solo hits collection, Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison, in CD and digital formats. iTunes is exclusively offering the digital album with a previously unreleased bonus track, Harrison's earliest demo version of "Isn't It A Pity."

This collection is the first to span Harrison's entire solo recording career, including the No. 1 pop singles "My Sweet Lord," "Isn't It A Pity," "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)," and "Got My Mind Set On You."

Let It Roll also features live recordings of three timeless Harrison-penned Beatles songs: "Something," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," and "Here Comes the Sun," from his 1971 all-star Concert For Bangladesh benefit at Madison Square Garden.

Only recently, Harrison’s widow Olivia revealed she wanted to do something with her husband’s incomplete songs. “There are lots of tracks. Some are closer to completion than others and with those I’d ask for help,” she said.

Lynne, who is best known as the frontman of Electric Light Orchestra, produced The Beatles’ 1995 single ‘Free as a Bird,’ which featured the late John Lennon on vocals taken from a demo he had written and recorded in 1977.

Harrison’s son Dhani will work with Lynne on the material. The pair finished off Harrison’s final studio album Brainwashed in 2002, after his father died of a brain tumor at the age of 58.

The Capital/EMI CD release includes a 28-page booklet featuring previously unseen and rare photos, and newly-written liner notes by Warren Zanes.

The collection's 19 tracks have been digitally re-mastered by Giles Martin at EMI's Abbey Road Studios.

Harrison was twice-inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist and as a member of The Beatles.

He also won 11 Grammy Awards for his recordings with The Beatles, Traveling Wilburys, and as a solo artist. In April, Harrison was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles.

Another Incredible Year For Bonnaroo

The 2009 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, held June 11 through 14 in Manchester, Tennesee, completed another fantastic weekend just shy of a sellout. With Bonnaroo as the traditional rite of passage to the rest of their summer, nearly 80,000 fans experienced an incident-free weekend with over 140 bands performing more than 200 shows, 21 comedians, exclusive film premieres and so much more. Media from TV to print to blog were on hand to report on what has become the elite summer festival of every year.

The Wall Street Journal called Bonnaroo "one of rock's best festivals," continuing to hail that the 2009 lineup "fairly bursts with some of the most gifted acts in rock and pop." Entertainment Weekly called it "the best of all sonic worlds," while the New York Times said, "Bonnaroo's very loose mandate - and a wise one for any festival - is to choose performers who deliver in a live performance, with current hits and studio expertise as lower priorities. One of the pleasures of the festival is that it defies narrowcasting: It's not an Americana festival, an indie-rock festival, a gathering of 2008-9 hitmakers or anything but what its producers and, presumably, ticket-buyers are happy to hear."

With ticket sales up from last year, festival producers are also very pleased. "Considering the current economic situation, we feel incredibly fortunate to be in this position," said Superfly's Rick Farman. "We don't take anything for granted."

The weekend was full of so many incredible highlights. Notable ones included epic performances by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for his one-and-only North American festival performance, as well as two by Phish, for their only 2009 North American festival performances. As Bonnaroo is the pioneer and leader in terms of stretching the notion of diverse festival programming, great performances this year came from all over the world and from various musical genres. From Femi Kuti to Girl Talk to Public Enemy to TV on the Radio to David Byrne and the stage he curated to Merle Haggard to Wilco to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Snoop Dogg to St. Vincent, Dirty Projectors, Coheed and Cambria, Bon Iver, Lucinda Williams and more.

Year in and year out Bonnaroo has a grand tradition of inspiring new and unique collaborations as well as bringing together old friends who don't get to see each other too often. This year was no different. Among the many wonderful moments the fans were treated to were: Bruce Springsteen performed three songs with Phish, Nas did a song with the Beastie Boys, Erikah Badu sang with Snoop Dogg, Allen Toussaint and Jenny Lewis played with Elvis Costello, David Byrne sat in with the Dirty Projectors, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog joined Neko Case during her set and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver sang with Elvis Perkins.

The largest and most revered music and camping event in the country, Bonnaroo has elevated the American rock festival to an unprecedented level. As the only round-the-clock major U.S. music festival, Bonnaroo packs an unparalleled amount of entertainment options into its four days. The event has offered its attendees the amenities and community spirit of a small city, with 24 hours of activities including a comedy theater, cinema festival, silent disco, arcade, internet caf├ęs, restaurants, yoga classes and hundreds of high quality craft vendors. Since its inception, Bonnaroo swiftly earned its status as the country's premier music and arts event.