Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pearl Jam Guitarist Sees Business Key To Climate

While many people dream of becoming a rock star, Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard says he is trying to be more of a businessman to help slow climate change.

The U.S. band, which has sold 60 million albums since 1991, said it was investing $210,000 to plant trees in Washington state to soak up an estimated 7,000 tons of carbon dioxide linked to a 32-date 2009 tour.

"Pearl Jam is a band but we are also a business," guitarist and co-founder Gossard said during a telephone interview.

"We're seeing ourselves as a Washington business, a regional business that is acknowledging its carbon footprint and hoping to inspire other businesses."

Many leading musicians have sought to raise awareness about the risks of climate change, often by planting trees, and culminating in "Live Earth" concerts in July 2007 across seven continents.

But Gossard, 43, said celebrity-driven inspiration was often short-lived. "The idea of a celebrity is fantastic in terms of raising awareness for a day or a week, but it needs consistent business policy in the long term," he said.

He said there were good business arguments for investing in climate measures -- even though opinion polls in the United States show dwindling belief that mankind causes global warming. Carbon-capping legislation is stalled in the U.S. Senate.

"It's doable. It's not going to kill your company and if anything it will enhance your company's ability to sell whatever it is selling by being good stewards of the land," he said.

Gossard said that Pearl Jam's investments aimed to offset carbon from the band's use of fossil fuels linked to ships, trucks, planes, hotels as well as estimated emissions by 480,000 fans traveling to and from concerts in 2009.

Pearl Jam, whose awards include a Grammy for "Spin the Black Circle," would plant thousands of trees and restore 33 acres of urban forests in Seattle, Kent, Kirkland and Redmond.

The scheme will also clear invasive plants such as English ivy choking native trees. Trees soak up carbon as they grow and release it when they rot or burn.

"It will store Pearl Jam's carbon, make cities more livable and show citizens how to be good stewards," said Gene Duvernoy, head of the Cascade Land Conservancy managing the project.

Pearl Jam has previously invested $150,000 since 2003 in climate measures. It was looking into widening carbon offsets to cover its album manufacturing and distribution.

Among other bands, the Rolling Stones added about 27 cents to ticket prices on a 2003 tour to help plant trees and show that "rock and roll is not a gas."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Phish Returns To TV During 'Late Night' Stones Week

Phish will give its first television performance since reforming in 2009 on May 13, as part of a Rolling Stones tribute week on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

A host of superstar acts to be announced will be covering songs from the Stones' Exile on Main Street that week, in celebration of the upcoming deluxe reissue of that landmark 1972 album.

Although it was not announced which Exile song the band will be playing on "Late Night," in concert, Phish has long covered "Loving Cup" from that set and of late has begun playing "Shine a Light." Last Halloween, the group performed the classic Rolling Stones album in its entirety as part of its Festival 8 event in Indio, California.

Festival 8 is the subject of Phish 3D, a new film set to premiere April 30 for a one-week run in select U.S. theaters. Preview screenings are set for nine U.S. cities on April 20; details can be found on

Phish begins a summer North American tour on June 11 outside Chicago. The trek concludes with an August 17-18 stand at Jones Beach in Wantagh, N.Y.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Robert Plant’s New Band Of Joy Plot Album, Summer Tour

Led Zeppelin have been turning down festival reunion offers left and right, and now we know why: Robert Plant will hit the road with his resurrected Band of Joy project this summer — and he’s currently recording a new album slated for release in early summer or late fall.

The first leg of the 12-date tour kicks off July 13th in Memphis before wrapping up July 31st in Miami; a second leg is scheduled for the fall. As Zep fans probably know, Plant and drummer John Bonham were members of Band of Joy prior to joining Led Zeppelin.

For his new record and tour, Plant has rounded up an ace group of roots musicians and session players: Patty Griffin on vocals, multi-instrumentalist Darrell Scott, guitarist and co-producer Buddy Miller, drummer Marco Giovino and bassist Byron House.

“It’s been a blast working on these new songs… and I’m enjoying such creativity and vitality,” Plant said in a statement. “It’s been a remarkable change of direction for all of us and as a group we all seem to have developed a new groove.”

The upcoming release will be Plant’s first LP since 2007’s Raising Sand, his multiplatinum, Grammy-winning collaboration with Alison Krauss.

With Krauss busy working on recording and touring with her own band Union Station, Plant doesn’t plan to tour or record with her this year, although he does promise there will be an eventual follow-up to Raising Sand. “Alison and I get together quite often. And sometimes we dance,” Plant added.

Ticket info and on-sale dates for the trek can be found at Ticketmaster. Check out the dates tour below:

July 13 – Memphis, TN @ The Orpheum Theater
July 15 – Little Rock, AR @ Robinson Center Music Hall
July 16 – Tulsa, OK @ Brady Theater
July 18 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sandia Casino Amphitheater
July 20 – Phoenix, AZ @ Dodge Theater
July 21 – Tucson, AZ @ Anselmo Valencia Amphitheater
July 23 – Dallas, TX @ Meyerson Symphony Hall
July 24 – Houston, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
July 26 – Austin, TX @ Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater
July 28 – Mobile, AL @ The Saenger Theatre
July 30 – Clearwater, FL @ Ruth Eckerd Hall
July 31 – Miami, FL @ Bayfront Park Amphitheater

Sunday, March 28, 2010

ABBA Opens Door To Reunion Performance

Swedish supergroup Abba may perform again nearly 30 years after they split, the former male members of the band hinted on Friday.

The group, one of the most successful in history, has enjoyed continued fame since breaking up in 1982, thanks to tribute bands mimicking their satin outfits and easy-listening music and lyrics.

They attracted new fans recently with the musical "Mamma Mia!" which was turned into a film.

But they have persistently shunned the chance to regroup, turning down as much as 1 billion dollars to tour again in 2000.

However Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus told The Times newspaper that an intimate one-off performance that could be screened around the world could be a possibility.

"Yeah, why not?" said Andersson, who now owns a farm where he breeds horses.

"I don't know if the girls sing anything any more," he added. "I know Frida was in the studio."

He added later: "It's not a bad idea, actually."

Ulvaeus said: "We could sing 'The Way Old Folks Do,'" in a reference to one of their "Super Trouper" album songs.

Observers have always thought too many barriers existed to the band reforming, including the reclusive lifestyle of the blonde female member Agnetha Faltskog.

Andersson and Ulvaeus have responded negatively in the past too. Two years ago Ulvaeus said: "We will never appear on stage again. There is no motivation to regroup. Money is not a factor and we would like people to remember us as we were -- young, exuberant, full of energy and ambition."

Lyngstad married a German prince and lives in the Swiss Alps. She is thought to be relatively amenable to a reunion, the newspaper said.

Ulvaeus and Andersson are currently promoting their musical "Kristina" which opens in London on April 14.

Friday, March 26, 2010

AC/DC's 'Let There Be Rock' Concert Movie To Receive DVD Release

Let There Be Rock, the AC/DC concert documentary filmed in December 1979 at the Pavillion De Paris, will receive its long-awaited DVD release in January 2011.

Eddie Trunk, the co-host of the VH1 Classic television program That Metal Show, was interviewed about the band's impact for one of the DVD's bonus features. He wrote on his blog, "[The company which is releasing the DVD is] doing some cleanups to the audio and video and making it as high-def as the source will allow." He adds, "I can tell you I have an advance and it looks and sounds great, but they are making it even better!"

According to the All Music Guide, Let There Be Rock was released in France a year after it was filmed, though American release was delayed until well after the band had established themselves in the States with new vocalist Brian Johnson and the multi-platinum success of the "Back In Black" album.

In his review of the original Let There Be Rock film, Fred Beldin of the All Music Guide writes, "Director Eric Dionysis captures the excitement of the live show with an energetic style and effective close-up shots, though the staged interviews and sub-'The Song Remains The Same' fantasy sequences show the band to be bemused but not convinced by these attempts to add some arty depth to the proceedings. The highlight of the extracurricular segments is Bon Scott, radiating warmth and humility in these last interviews before his untimely death at age 33 from alcohol poisoning."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Neil Young Sets Southern Dates For Twisted Road Tour

Want to see Neil Young perform solo? Of course you do. Fans in the Birmingham area will have to travel, however, and the tickets won’t be cheap.

Promoter AC Entertainment has announced a handful of dates for Young’s Twisted Road tour, with opener Bert Jansch, a Scottish folkie.

Here’s the schedule so far:

May 26, 8 p.m., Louisville Palace Theatre, Louisville, Ky. Tickets are $85-$245, according to Ticketmaster.

May 29, Fox Theatre, Atlanta. Tickets are $75-$225, according to the Fox Web site.

May 30, Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium, Spartanburg, S.C. Tickets are $80-$231, according to the auditorium’s Web site.

June 1, 7:30 p.m., Ryman Auditorium, Nashville. Tickets are $92-$127, according to the Ryman’s Web site.

Tickets for all four dates will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday.

According to Rolling Stone, Young’s last solo tour came in 1999, although he apparently did some Chrome Dreams II shows in 2007 that were half acoustic (one guy with guitar), half electric (with a full band).

More dates are to be announced.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fans Flock To SXSW Festival In Record Numbers

For fans that crowded into Austin's streets, clubs and even churches last week, the South by Southwest Festival was about drinking a lot of beer, eating barbecue and hearing some of the world's hottest bands.

But for music executives that flocked to the event on Sunday, the 10-day music, film, and interactive industry networking marathon was an chance to live on the razor's edge of technology and glimpse of the industry's changing face.

By nearly all measures, the festival, now in its 24th year, was bigger than ever with a record 13,022 music industry professionals registered. Acts like Courtney Love's band Hole and the Stone Temple Pilots used the festival as a springboard to end a multi-year hiatus from performing live.

Though some attendance figures dipped in 2009, the ongoing recession has not dimmed interest in live music, said Brent Grulke, the festival's creative director.

"Although the music industry has changed, music itself and those who pursue it remains as healthy as ever," Grulke said.

Nearly 2,000 artists from over 40 countries played in the music portion of South by Southwest, also dubbed as SXSW, that ran through Sunday, up about 100 from last year. The festival has grown from humble roots in 1987 to become a must-attend event for global music business rainmakers and taste-makers.

At the related film festival, attendees got a sneak preview of the movie "Predators" and other films like "Kick-Ass."

About 100,000 people were expected to visit Austin last week for the festival that attracts about $100 million to the economy of Austin -- capital of the Lone Star state. Official figures are still being totaled.

The festival is as much about savvy marketing and technology as it is about music, after the popular social media outlet Twitter launched its service there in 2008.

This year's hot technology is locater services like Gowalla and Foursquare that use global positioning software in "smart phones" and other portable devices to point users toward businesses, friends and social events, Grulke said.

While big record companies like RCA were once the industry's gate-keepers, today's bands must negotiate a tangled web of cultural paths, from digital distribution of songs to utilizing songs in movies and television to video games.

"If you can get tracks into these shows and movies it just opens up a whole new audience," said Phil Patterson, an industry veteran who promotes new bands for UK Trade and Investment, the music promotion arm of the British government.

For example, the song "Friends" by Band of Skulls was featured on "New Moon," the latest in the "Twilight" trilogy about teenage vampires.

About one quarter of the bands showcased at this year's SXSW were from the United Kingdom, the number two exporter of music behind the United States. British music exports are worth about $2 billion a year, Patterson said.

"While everything has changed, ultimately the bottom line is you need a good artist, great music and an audience that wants to buy it," said Patterson, who formerly worked for record labels like EMI and RCA and represented musicians like David Bowie and Billy Idol. "That hasn't changed since the day."

For Internet company AOL Inc, the festival was a chance to tout its brand after Time Warner Inc spun it off last year. AOL recently launched a music blog called Spinner, which attempted to profile each of the nearly 2,000 bands at the festival.

AOL sponsored "pop-up" shows in Austin by bands like Broken Bells, which performed in a parking garage. The festival is important because "you're not just getting music industry folks," said company spokesman Kurt Patat. "You're getting a wide array of taste-makers."

The Library of Congress in Washington sent a group of librarians to tout a digital preservation project. The library holds the nation's largest public collection of sound recordings -- nearly 3 million in all.

But though old-fashioned formats like records can preserve recordings nearly indefinitely, about 44 percent of sites available on the Internet in 1998 had vanished a year later.

"We're here to make sure that the music that is happening now is preserved for the future," said Matthew Barton, curator of the library's recorded sound section.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Led Zeppelin Turn Down Offer To Headline Download Festival

Ever since Led Zeppelin reunited for one night in December 2007, it’s been every festival promoter’s dream to somehow coax Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones back out of their hiatus and into a headlining slot.

Many have tried, all have failed, including Andy Copping of the U.K.’s Download Festival, who admitted to XFM that he approached the band about playing the fest, which takes place June 11-13th in Donington Park.

“Every single festival in the world approaches Led Zeppelin or their management to get them to pay at their festival,” Copping told XFM. “Loads of money gets thrown out. It’s not what they want to do at the moment and that’s fine. They probably never will, but everyone has a stab at it.”

While Jimmy Page is anxious to return to the live stage, Plant is reportedly working on a new solo album as well as the follow-up to Raising Sand, his Grammy-winning team-up with Alison Krauss.

“Next year I have every intention of playing music live and manifesting it,” Page said last year. “I’ve got the music waiting, and that’s what I’ll be doing.” That statement piqued the interest of Roger Daltrey, who offered to sing the blues with the legendary guitarist.

Led Zeppelin were also rumored to perform at Bonnaroo in 2008, but organizers briefly fooled journalists everywhere by instead recruiting Lez Zeppelin to play the Tennessee fest (as consolation, Plant & Krauss also performed). Even without Zeppelin, the Download Festival has pulled together a great lineup, with AC/DC, Rage Against the Machine and Aerosmith headlining the fest’s three nights, being supported by Stone Temple Pilots, Motörhead and Wolfmother. Plus, with John Paul Jones and Them Crooked Vultures also on the bill, Copping’s dream of having Led Zeppelin on the Download stage at least came a quarter of the way true.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Alex Chilton's Life, Music Honored At SXSW

The late Alex Chilton was memorialized by colleagues, friends and admirers over the weekend at South By Southwest -- with words and, most importantly, with music.

Following a warmly reverent and nostalgic Saturday afternoon panel at the Austin Convention Center -- with Big Star co-founders Jody Stephens and Andy Hummel, latter-day members Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow, original producer John Frye and others -- Big Star's scheduled showcase that night at Antone's was turned into a kind of musical wake for Chilton, with numerous guests taking turns during the 80-minute show. But the performance was also preceded by more words.

Stephens told the packed house he was still "stunned and shocked" by Chilton's sudden death on March 17 in New Orleans, but thanked the fans for their support and noted that, in Austin, "it feels like the whole, broad music community has wrapped its arms around us."

Publicist Heather West then read the letter sent from Chilton's wife Laura back in New Orleans, describing him as "an individual who did what he pleased...(but) was also the most considerate and sincere person I've ever known." The letter noted Chilton's always broad musical interests and pride in his production work and said that "he valued spontaneity. This would seem to contradict his insistence on analysis and accuracy but somehow he managed to be both at the same time...(which) is probably why he has been described as a genius and a musician's musician."

With Auer adding that "this is a horrible circumstance, but (playing) felt like the best option," the surviving Big Star trio kicked off the show with "Back of a Car" before welcoming the first guest, the Meat Puppets' Curt Kirkwood, to play guitar on "Don't Lie to Me" and to also sing on "In the Street."

Chris Stamey played on the late Big Star co-founder Chris Bell's "I Am the Cosmos" and sang "When My Baby's Beside Me."

M. Ward offered a hushed take of "Big Black Car," and Hummel, who now resides in Lithuania, joined the group for the Stephens-sung "Way Out West."

R.E.M.'s Mike Mills sang "Jesus Christ," while John Doe and Sondre Lerche performed particularly moving versions of "I'm in Love with a Girl" and "Ballad of El Goodo," respectively.

Chuck Prophet fronted Big Star for a powerful "Thank You Friends," while Evan Dando performed a solo acoustic "Night Time" and joined Amy Speace, Doe, Auer and Stringfellow on "Try Again."

The night ended, appropriately, with a spirited "September Gurls" featuring Susan Cowsill, the Watson Twins, Hummel, Doe and Mills.

Though the remaining trio has made no determination of Big Star's future, Auer certainly hinted at an impending end by telling the crowd that "it's been the pleasure of a life time playing with this man."

Stephens, meanwhile, returned to the stage to once again thank the crowd "for helping us celebrate the life and music of Alex. I owe him a lot. I learned a lot from him. You've wrapped your arms around him, and we appreciate it."

Chilton was on the mind of other bands on Saturday's bill at Antone's, too. Ben Thornewill, singer and pianist for Philadelphia's Jukebox the Ghost noted that "it's such a strange tone for the evening. I'm not sure what tone to strike," while New Yorkers the Postelles spoke about being "honored" to be part of the bill.

But rock veteran Dwight Twilley did find the tone. Telling the crowd shortly into his set that "normally at this time I say, 'Are y'all feeling good?' but this time there are probably some mixed feelings. So why don't we all just rock like hell!"

That's a sentiment Chilton probably would have appreciated.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Stones Ink DVD Deal With Eagle

Eagle Rock Entertainment have signed a deal with the Rolling Stones to release two DVDs this year. The Rolling Stones have long been viewed by many as Britain’s most important rock ‘n’ roll band and these releases, concentrating on some of their finest work laid down in the ’70s, will certainly cement that reputation.

The first of the releases Stones In Exile is the story of the making of the classic album Exile On Main Street, which was released in 1972 as a double LP and is considered by many to be their masterpiece. This title is due to be released in June with substantial bonus material and follows the broadcast of the main show by the BBC in late May, and the reissue of the album at the same time.

The second of the releases is Ladies And Gentlemen...The Rolling Stones, the legendary Rolling Stones concert film from 1972. Fully restored from the original film, it will be released nationally in cinemas and then receive its first ever authorized DVD release. The title will also be released in high definition on Blu-ray in the Autumn of 2010.

Geoff Kempin of Eagle Rock commented, “We are delighted to add a band of such unparalleled caliber as the Rolling Stones to our catalog and are delighted to be bring to consumers a pair of such important and high quality titles.”

Friday, March 19, 2010

Just Another Suit Outta Boston

Question: Is there a better FM-radio song than Boston’s “More than a Feelin’?”

Answer: There are some as good, like Rush’s “Limelight,” The Doors’ “LA Woman,” and Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale,” but none better, we would argue. The 1976 song is a five-minute pleasure cruise of bliss on a river of liquid endorphines.

In recent years, however, the band and its members have fallen on some tough times. In 2007, the lead singer, Brad Delp, committed suicide. Attempts to forge a new album without Delp have reportedly gone slowly. And now the band’s founder, Tommy Scholz, has become embroiled in a lawsuit. A rather strange lawsuit.

The news comes courtesy of the Boston Globe. Scholz sued another Boston paper
(the Herald), alleging that two reporters for the paper defamed him by writing that Delp’s ex-wife, Micki, blamed Scholz for the singer’s death.

Libel cases in the U.S. aren’t all that easy to win. When brought against public figures, courts typically require a plaintiff to show that the defendant uttered or published the false statement with “actual malice,” which isn’t easy to prove.

That said, Scholz seems to have a little history on his side — he’s being represented by Todd & Weld’s Howard Cooper, who successfully sued the Herald for libel in 2005.

Said Cooper, on the latest suit: “We have filed this complaint in an effort to correct the very substantial defamation by the Boston Herald and its reporters of Tom Scholz at the time when his former Boston bandmate took his own life.”

A Boston Herald spokeswoman told the Globe: “We’re aware of the complaint and we will review it,’’ she said. “Beyond that, we have no further comment.’’

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Patti Smith To Be Honored At 27th Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards

ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) will honor rock icon Patti Smith at its 27th annual Pop Music Awards, taking place April 21, 2010, at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, CA.

Smith will be presented with the prestigious ASCAP Founders Award and will perform with her band at the event. The invitation-only gala will also honor the top songwriters and publishers of ASCAP’s most performed pop songs of 2009.

Past recipients of the ASCAP Founders Award include Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, Heart's Ann & Nancy Wilson, Billy Joel, Annie Lennox, Sir Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Smokey Robinson, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Tom Waits, Stevie Wonder and Neil Young.

Commenting on the award to Smith, ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams said: "Patti fused raw rock energy with the heart of a poet and ignited the 1970s New York punk scene. She expanded the boundaries of artistic expression, musically and otherwise, inspiring generations of rockers worldwide. She continues to be a vibrant, prolific artist, working in a wide variety of media. We are very proud to honor Patti Smith with ASCAP's Founders Award.”

Patti Smith emerged in the 1970s, galvanizing the music scene with her revolutionary mergence of poetry and rock and roll. In 1975, the album Horses established Smith as one of the most original and influential artists of her generation. It was followed by 11 more releases, featuring songs such as "Gloria," “Free Money,” "Ask the Angels," "Ghost Dance,” “Because the Night," "Dancing Barefoot," "People Have the Power," and "1959."

Smith was awarded the title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres by the French Republic in 2005; in 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2008 Dream of Life, Steven Sebring's documentary film examining her life and work, was honored at Sundance.

Recently, Smith has released Just Kids, a memoir of her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, who captured her trademark swagger for the cover of Horses. She is currently recording an album for Columbia Records with longtime collaborators Lenny Kaye, Jay Dee Daugherty and Tony Shanahan.

The 27th annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards will kick-off the ASCAP "I Create Music" EXPO, a three-day conference dedicated to songwriting and composing. This year's EXPO features Quincy Jones being interviewed by Ludacris, a conversation with Bill Withers, an interview with John Mayer, and numerous panels, workshops, master classes, One-on-One sessions, song critiquing, networking events, product displays, state-of-the-art technology demonstrations, performances, and more. The EXPO will take place April 22-24, 2010 at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, in Los Angeles, CA. For more details, please visit

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Alex Chilton, Singer For Box Tops and Big Star, Dies

Alex Chilton, the mercurial influential rock musician whose work spanned an eclectic gamut from the soul songs of the Box Tops to the multiple incarnations of his pop band Big Star, has died. He was 59. The cause of death is believed to have been a heart attack.

According to one report, Chilton, who lived in New Orleans, had recently been complaining of health problems, and was taken by Wednesday (March 17) paramedics to an emergency room in New Orleans where he was pronounced dead.

His death was confirmed by Jody Stephens, his longtime band mate in Big Star. The group was scheduled to perform on Saturday at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin.

Chilton, who grew up in Memphis, was just 16 years old when the Box Tops, in which he sang and played guitar, had a Number 1 hit with “The Letter” in 1967. When that group broke up in 1970, Mr. Chilton formed Big Star with Stephens, a drummer, and the musicians Chris Bell and Andy Hummel.

The band’s first album, 1972's #1 Record, did not come close to fulfilling the commercial promise of its title, nor did the followup releases Radio City and Third/Sister Lovers.

But their music – gentle and introspective songs like “The Ballad of El Goodo” and “September Gurls,” and exuberant anthems like “In the Street” – had a profound impact on generations of pop and indie acts that followed.

Perhaps the surest measure of the tug that Chilton exerted on subsequent artists can be found in the lyrics of the Replacements – another malleable rock act that moved more hearts than retail units – who sang in their song “Alex Chilton”: “Children by the million / Sing for Alex Chilton / When he comes ’round / They sing, ‘I’m in love / What’s that song? / I’m in love with that song.’”

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rock & Roll Hall Inducts New Members

Slouched against the lectern at the 25th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, a shirtless Iggy Pop snarled, “I am the world’s forgotten boy.”

No more. After years of being named finalists to enter the hall of fame, then getting outvoted, the Stooges were finally inducted this year, in an event held at the Waldorf-Astoria on Monday night and telecast on the Fuse cable channel. “After the seventh time” the Stooges were nominated, said the band’s guitarist James Williamson in his acceptance speech, “we were beginning to think we would have to take pride in not getting in.”

Behind him, Pop, 62, was already unbuttoning his white dress shirt, getting ready to jump, drop to his knees, strut and twist across the stage and down into the black-tie audience. Introducing him, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day had described him as “the most confrontational singer we will ever see.” In his acceptance speech, Pop declared: “Roll over, Woodstock. We won.”

For the Hall of Fame, this was a year of belated admissions. Along with the Stooges, the hall’s latest performing members are the Swedish pop group ABBA, the reggae songwriter Jimmy Cliff and two English bands, Genesis and the Hollies. All but ABBA, which coalesced in the early 1970s, have careers dating back to the 1960s.

Songwriters who supplied girl groups, R&B groups and Elvis Presley in the 1950s and 1960s, working in cubicles in the Brill Building and nearby 1650 Broadway, were also inducted: Jesse Stone, Mort Shuman, Otis Blackwell and the teams of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry.

“From the bottom of my heart and with the greatest humility,” Weil said, “I thought you guys would never ask.” Eric Burdon and Ronnie Spector, who had hits with their songs, were on hand to perform them.

Younger performers who were nominated this year, like the influential rapper LL Cool J, will have to wait.

This was a gathering baby-boomers could recognize. “We started out in the ’60s — now we’re in our 60s,” said Terry Sylvester of the Hollies.

Genesis brought progressive-rock — a style that still divides rock purists even as its complexities filter into indie-rock — into the Hall of Fame. After Phish played Genesis’s “Watcher of the Skies,” Trey Anastasio, the guitarist and leader of Phish, praised Genesis for being “rebellious, restless and constantly striving for something more than the obvious.”

“Every musical rule and boundary was questioned and broken,” he said.

Genesis had a two-phase career: first with Peter Gabriel as lead singer, and then with Phil Collins, who started as its drummer. “This band has been in so many different guises,” Mr. Collins said. Mr. Gabriel did not attend the ceremony; he is rehearsing with an orchestra for his coming tour. “He has a very genuine, legitimate excuse,” said Genesis’ bassist, Mike Rutherford.

Phish performed Genesis’ songs, while the Hollies’ vocal harmonies in their British Invasion hits “Bus Stop” and “Carrie Anne” were filled out by two members of Maroon 5, Adam Levine and Jesse Carmichael. Mr. Levine hit the high notes for “Carrie Anne,” while Pat Monahan, from the band Train, took over lead vocals for “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress.”

Graham Nash, who is already a Hall of Fame member with Crosby, Stills and Nash, chided the Hollies for having big hits after he left.

Only half of ABBA was on hand for its award, the first for a Scandinavian band: Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson, who named Swedish folk music, German schmaltz and John Philip Sousa among the group’s influences. Faith Hill belted out ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All,” with Mr. Andersson leading the backup band on piano.

Mr. Cliff, whose songs and acting in the movie The Harder They Come helped spread reggae far beyond Jamaica, is only the second reggae musician to join the hall, following Bob Marley. “This was a new music form,” Cliff said, “with a new culture.” He was inducted by Wyclef Jean, the Haitian rapper, singer and songwriter from the Fugees. “When we saw Jimmy Cliff we saw ourselves,” Mr. Jean said.

Cliff listed rockers as his inspirations, and said joining the hall was “another stepping stone to higher heights.” His voice was clear and buoyant as he sang “You Can Get It If You Really Want,” “Many Rivers to Cross” and, with Jean, “The Harder They Come.”

Anxieties about the shrinking music business were a persistent undercurrent in the speeches. Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band, digressing on his way to introducing the Hollies, half-joked that the business was “artistically, financially and spiritually bankrupt.”

Pop warned: “It’s a big industry. If they make the right decisions it will stay a big industry.”

David Geffen, who founded Asylum, Geffen and Dreamworks Records, joined the hall’s roster of music business executives, claiming he had never dreamed of being honored. “I have no talent,” he said with a smile.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Runaways Movie Brings Cherie Currie Back To Music

The impending release of "The Runaways" film is bringing singer Cherie Currie back to music, as well as book stores.

Currie -- whose autobiography, Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway (It Books, March 16) is the basis for the movie -- says that working with actress Dakota Fanning, who depicts her, and getting back into the studio with Joan Jett to work on the soundtrack has rekindled her appetite to be a queen of noise once more.

"Oh, absolutely, yeah," says Currie, who went on to acting, drug counseling and personal training, while in recent years has become an accomplished chainsaw sculptor. "I know I'm going to be doing shows over the summer. I've written a few songs. We'll see what happens. Am I banking on it? No. I've got my chainsaw and my wood and I'm very happy. But I know I'm going to be doing some (musical) things here and there, and we'll see what comes of it."

Currie says seeing the Runaways' story turned into a movie -- which opens March 19 and also stars Kristen Stewart as Jett and Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon as band svengali Kim Fowley -- is "just unreal. I still have to pinch myself. This is something I did for a little over two years, and it was a big deal at the time but now it seems to have taken on a whole other life of its own."

Currie and Jett, who was a co-producer on the film, both spent considerable time on the set working with their counterparts. But Currie says the soundtrack sessions, marking the first time since 1977 that she and Jett were in a studio together, were particularly special.

"It was as if time had stood still, as if these last 35 years never happened," she recalls. "We were on the mark. It was incredible. We had a fantastic time."

The two Runaways coached Fanning and Stewart through new recordings of "Cherry Bomb," "California Paradise," "Queens of Noise" and "Dead End Justice."

"I sat in the vocal booth with (Fanning)," Currie says, "and Joan sat with Kristen. They did a great job. Dakota is quite a singer, and so is Kristen. It was just a blast."

Currie says she can also see working with Jett on some new music. "We plan to do it again, one day soon," she notes. "We're definitely going to work together in music."

Meanwhile, Currie is also looking forward to giving "Neon Angel" its second life. The memoir, co-written with Tony O'Neill, was first published in 1989 as a young adult book, while the new version, with a foreword by Jett, adds the sex, drugs and darkness that was missing from that initial volume.

"I had grown up," explains Currie. "I wrote that first book when I was 27, and all of a sudden being in my early '40s, having a teenage son, I wanted to do it again, from a different perspective. It was really, really tough; I had to put myself back in those places again. I couldn't believe how much I'd locked away, and it all came back out in vivid detail, scary detail.

"I realized by doing this and writing down all the stories, it was a way to purge myself of everything...And now the world can know all about (the Runaways), which I'm very excited about."

Friday, March 12, 2010

Former Mothers Of Invention Members Don Preston and Bunk Gardner To Tour East Coast

Don Preston and Bunk Gardner, both original members of the the legendary Mothers of Invention with Frank Zappa, are gearing up for an exciting east coast tour called The Don & Bunk Show.

The duo will be playing a full range of Zappa's music from Freak Out to Zoot Allures.

The evening will be full of the zany antics, wild improvisations and strange electronic music the early Mothers were famous for, along with the expert mastery of their instruments.

"We're doing this tour because I think Zappa fans need to come and hear how Zappa's music was performed by the originals," says Don Preston. "Hey people! We're still doing it!"

Bunk Gardner and Don Preston are featured on several albums with the original Mothers of Invention (along with various later compilations of unreleased material by Frank Zappa) which include Absolutely Free, We're Only In It For The Money, Cruising With Ruben & the Jets, Uncle Meat, Burnt Weeny Sandwich and Weasels Ripped My Flesh.

Gardner also appeared on Zappa's first solo venture Lumpy Gravy, while Preston went on to appear on several albums after the break-up of the original Mothers, which include Fillmore East, June 1971, Just Another Band From L.A., Roxy & Elsewhere as well as the feature film 200 Motels.

The Don & Bunk Show started in 2001 with the duo wanting to show audiences their unique abilities that were revealed in Zappa's first band. Gardner and Preston have both been long known for their amazing improvising abilities and interpretation of Zappa's music.

The Don & Bunk show will be appearing on the following dates:

Mar. 17 Hollywood Studio Bar &Grill - Hollywood, CA
Mar. 21 The Garage - Wilmington, DE
Mar. 24 Bearsville Theater - Woodstock, NY
Mar. 25 Rongovian Embassy - Trumansburg, NY
Mar. 26 The Magic Room - Boston, MA
Mar. 27 The Lilly Pad - New Haven, CT
Mar. 28 TBA
Mar. 31 The Hi Hat - Provincetown, RI
Apr. 1 Sullivan Hall - New York, NY
Apr. 2 The Black Lodge - Philadelphia, PA
Apr. 3 Orion - Baltimore, MD

For more information:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pink Floyd Wins Court Battle With EMI Label

This week, Pink Floyd won a court battle with EMI in a ruling that prevents the record company from selling single downloads on the Internet from the group's concept albums.

The outcome of the other element of the legal tussle in London's High Court -- concerning the level of royalties paid to the band by the label -- was unclear, as that part of the judgement was held in secret, the Press Association reported.

The ruling is the latest blow to EMI, the smallest of the four major record companies seeking new funds to avoid breaching debt covenants.

Pink Floyd signed with the label over 40 years ago and its back catalog has been outsold only by that of the Beatles.

The band, whose albums include The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall, was challenging EMI's ability to "unbundle" their albums and sell individual tracks online.

Judge Andrew Morritt accepted arguments by the group that EMI was bound by a contract forbidding it to sell its records other than as complete albums without written consent.

The judge said the purpose of a clause in the contract was to "preserve the artistic integrity of the albums."

Pink Floyd alleged that EMI had allowed online downloads from the albums and parts of tracks to be used as ringtones.

The record company had argued that the contract related only to physical records and not to online distribution.

EMI successfully applied to the court for the royalties aspect of the case to be kept secret for reasons of "commercial confidentiality."

Lawyers said it was the first time a royalties dispute between artists and their record companies had been held in private, excluding the media and public.

The judge ordered EMI to pay Pink Floyd's costs in the case, estimated at 60,000 pounds, and refused the company permission to appeal.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Phil Collins To Receive Johnny Mercer Award at 2010 Songwriters Hall Of Fame Event

Hal David, Chairman/CEO of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, has announced that Phil Collins will be the 2010 recipient of the esteemed Johnny Mercer Award at the Annual Awards dinner, slated for Thursday, June 17, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

Best known for his work as drummer and vocalist for Genesis and as a solo artist, Collins has been behind big hits like “In the Air Tonight,” “Against All Odds,” “Another Day In Paradise” and “Sussudio.”

He's also written songs for the Disney films Tarzan and Brother Bear. “You’ll Be In My Heart” from Tarzan won a Golden Globe Award for “Best Song Written For A Film.” The song went on to win both an Oscar and a Grammy.

“Phil has churned out a massive stream of classic songs that have resonated with audiences around the globe in a career that has won him admiration beyond cultural and linguistic boundaries,” commented Chairman/CEO Hal David. “In our professional community, he is among the most respected musical creators of our generation.”

The Johnny Mercer Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Songwriters Hall of Fame, is exclusively reserved for a songwriter who has already been inducted in a prior year, and whose body of work is of such high quality and impact, that it upholds the gold standard set by the legendary Johnny Mercer.

Also a studio producer, Collins has worked with Adam Ant, Earth, Wind & Fire’s Phil Bailey, John Martyn and Eric Clapton, to name a few. He was Robert Plant’s drummer of choice for his first two solo albums, and played with the Led Zeppelin front man on his first solo tour.

In March 2010, Genesis will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Collins is currently adding the finishing touches to a new album for release in September 2010.

During his early career, Collins co-founded the jazz-fusion band “Brand X,” inspired by his love of jazz. In recent years, he formed his own “Big Band,” with the first tour featuring Tony Bennett and Quincy Jones and the second with Oleta Adams and Gerald Albright as guests.

Collins also took on acting, starting with the roll of Artful Dodger in Oliver, as well as made cameos in the Beatles' A Hard Days Night and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Since then, he has made several appearances in various films ranging from Hook to The Who’s rock opera Tommy.

Inductees at this year’s Songwriters Hall of Fame include Leonard Cohen, Jackie DeShannon, David Foster, Johnny Mandel and Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Larry Dunn and Al McKay.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Guns N' Roses Plan 'Secret' Shows In South America

Guns N' Roses will play three private shows in Brazil and Argentina during the band's current tour of South America, an organizer said.

The shows are set for undisclosed locations in Sao Paulo on Thursday (March 11) and Buenos Aires on March 20. Plans are also in the works for a show in Rio De Janeiro.

Organizer Jamison Ernest said each venue will hold about 150 people. He declined to reveal too much information for fear of riots by uninvited guests. He will co-host the Sao Paulo show with Brazilian model Ana Beatriz Barros.

The 11-date tour, the band's first trek around the continent since its heyday in 1992, began on Sunday (March 7) in Brasilia. Dates are on tap through April 1 in Quito, Ecuador. The band will also play Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Venezuela and Colombia.

Ernest, a friend of Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose, also runs a clothing company and has a band, both named Yellow Fever. Guns N' Roses previously played three secret shows, two in New York City and one in London.

Rose and his new crop of bandmates were last in Brazil to play the Rock in Rio festival in January 2001.

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Music Museum In Jamaica To Show Bob Marley, Peter Tosh

Jamaica plans to open a music museum next year that officials say will feature rare pieces from the island's music history, such as the sole album that the late reggae star Bob Marley produced before he gained international fame.

Artifacts will include a cassette tape in which another reggae great, Peter Tosh, jams a blues song with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, museum curator Herbie Miller said.

The tape was recorded in June 1977 in New York City, said Miller, who was Tosh's former manager.

It will be placed alongside the album Escape from Babylon by American singer Martha Velez that Marley produced in 1976.

The museum is requesting donations to help preserve Jamaica's vibrant music history. The island's music preservation took a major hit two years ago when officials discovered that a massive collection of 1970s music, including original recordings by Marley and Tosh, disappeared from the archives of the former Jamaica Broadcasting Corp.

The collection has not been found.

Miller said a date has not been set for the opening of the Jamaica Music Museum in Kingston. It will be operated by the government through the Institute of Jamaica, which oversees cultural affairs.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Foreigner, Styx & Kansas To Join Forces For 'United We Rock'

Foreigner, Styx and Kansas have plans to hit the road together this summer for a tour dubbed "United We Rock."

The three bands will begin their U.S. trek on June 3 in Kansas City, MO, before heading west for three more concerts through the end of that month. Dates and venues in additional cities will be announced in the coming weeks, according to a press release.

"These three bands represent the more rocking side of the classic rock genre," Styx guitarist James "JY" Young says. "With the countless great rock songs each band will be performing, this is going to be a guitars-a-blazin' good time had by all."

Tickets for dates in Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago and Boston are now on sale. A limited number of $10 tickets are available at participating venues.

Along with classic hits, Foreigner will perform material from last year's Can't Slow Down, the band's first studio set with lead singer Kelly Hansen, who joined the group in 2005.

Styx's most recent release is 2006's One With Everything, a live CD/DVD set showcasing the band's hit songs with accompaniment from The Contemporary Youth Orchestra of Cleveland.

Kansas also released a live CD/DVD set, There's Know Place Like Home, last October.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Elton John Recording Album With Leon Russell

In an unexpected pairing, Elton John and Leon Russell are recording an album together in Los Angeles with producer T-Bone Burnett. Both artists have written songs for the project, which has no title or release date as of yet.

Neil Young, Booker T. Jones, Marc Ribot and Jim Keltner are among the guests who have contributed to the album.

According to a post on the Web site of longtime Elton collaborator Bernie Taupin, 15 songs have already been put to tape, "from Stones-like rockers, country-tinged ballads, gospel and even a Sinatra-like weepy similar to something torn from the grooves of 'In the Wee Small Hours.'"

"It's varied in scope and drenched in a rich tapestry of atmospherics," Taupin says. "Don't expect to hear the old EJ/BT sound; this is organic recording unlike anything you've heard from our duo before."

John's last studio album was 2006's The Captain and the Kid. He is winding down a spring tour with Billy Joel and has solo tour dates on tap all the way into September.

Russell, 67, has been largely out of the spotlight in recent years, releasing albums on his own Leon Russell Records label. He underwent brain surgery in January but Taupin says "his playing is masterful as ever and his contribution to the project grows more exciting with the passing of everyday."

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bonnaroo Announces Additional Artists For 2010 Lineup

The annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival has added several artists to their lineup for 2010, including Ween, Galactic and Umphrey's McGee as as well as gifted singer/songwriter Brandi Carlisle and the genre- bending, post-punk trio The Gossip.

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." Rolling Stone called Bonnaroo "one of the 50 moments to change the history of rock and roll."

Below is the full roster of artists scheduled to appear at Bonnaroo 2010:

Dave Matthews Band
Kings of Leon
Stevie Wonder
Tenacious D
The Flaming Lips performing Dark Side of the Moon featuring Stardeath and White Dwarfs
The Dead Weather
Damian Marley & Nas
Norah Jones
Michael Franti & Spearhead
John Fogerty
Regina Spektor
Jimmy Cliff
LCD Soundsystem
The Avett Brothers
Thievery Corporation
Rise Against
Tori Amos
The National
Zac Brown Band
Les Claypool
John Prine
Umphrey's McGee
The Black Keys
Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers
Jeff Beck
Dropkick Murphys
She & Him
Against Me!
Daryl Hall & Chromeo
Jamey Johnson
Kid Cudi
The Disco Biscuits
Kris Kristofferson
Medeski Martin & Wood
Brandi Carlile
The xx
John Butler Trio
Dan Deacon Ensemble
Baaba Maal
The Melvins
The Gaslight Anthem
Miike Snow
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
The Gossip
Dr. Dog
They Might Be Giants
Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile
Blitzen Trapper
Blues Traveler
Miranda Lambert
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Martin Sexton
Dave Rawlings Machine
Mayer Hawthorne and the County
Jay Electronica
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Ingrid Michaelson
The Dodos
Manchester Orchestra
The Temper Trap
Cross Canadian Ragweed
Big Sam's Funky Nation
Carolina Chocolate Drops
Tokyo Police Club
The Entrance Band
Local Natives
Mumford & Sons
Diane Birch
Monte Montgomery
Julia Nunes
The Postelles
Here We Go Magic
Hot Rize
Neon Indian

Tickets and complete festival information available at

Thursday, March 4, 2010

David Bowie's New Makeover: Rock 'n' Roll Recluse

David Bowie is spending his Golden Years in anonymity.

The 63-year-old rock icon last released a new album in 2003, and stopped touring in 2004 after suffering a heart attack during a European trek. The early Internet enthusiast has not even updated his official blog since October 2006, when he proudly revealed he would voice a character on the kids cartoon show SpongeBob SquarePants.

Last year, he attended a few red-carpet events to help promote his son Duncan Jones' movie Moon. But otherwise the musical chameleon seems to be savoring his latest metamorphosis into married father of a 9-year-old daughter in New York.

"He's just being Dad, I think, laying low," said bass player Gail Ann Dorsey, who started working with Bowie almost 15 years ago. "I can't imagine he's not writing or doing something, but we'll just have to wait and see."

Dorsey said she e-mailed him a birthday greeting in January, but resisted the temptation to ask if he was working on any projects.

"I never pry into an artist's life, or process either," Dorsey said. "I don't write to him and go, 'What are you doing?' Or call and go, 'Why aren't you playing?' You let people be and you see where it falls."

Bowie biographer Marc Spitz is slowly losing hope that the singer will make a comeback, even as peers such as Lou Reed and Iggy Pop keep recording and touring.

His absence is all the more striking given that Bowie had released an album or single almost every year since 1964. It would be akin to the equally prolific Woody Allen stepping back from filmmaking, Spitz said.

He also noted that people are used to celebrities such as David Letterman and Robin Williams bouncing back after heart ailments, not to mention former Vice President Dick Cheney.

But given that Bowie often performed songs about death and the mysteries of life, Spitz said he might have lost his appetite after getting "that close to the abyss."

He also interviewed people for his book, Bowie: A Biography, who told him: "Maybe he's just done, maybe he's said his piece," Spitz recounted. "Some people don't go forever and ever and ever, like the Rolling Stones."

Bowie's managers declined to comment on his current pursuits. The singer has long dabbled in film, painting and photography. Bowie and his second wife, Somali model Iman, are the parents of 9-year-old Lexi.

His 38-year-old son Duncan, formerly known as Zowie Bowie, kept the family in the news this past year with his sci-fi movie Moon, which recently won a British Academy Film Award.

While it's entirely possible that Bowie is occupied with parent-teacher meetings and playing the house-husband role that John Lennon assumed for the last five years of his life, he has kept his representatives busy with archival projects.

EMI last year released a CD and DVD derived from his 1999 appearance on VH1's Storytellers, as well as a bonus-packed 40th anniversary reissue of his Space Oddity album.

Universal is about to reissue his self-titled 1967 debut album, also with bonus tracks, and Columbia has just issued a live CD from a 2003 tour.

The latter release, A Reality Tour, is a double-disc set culled from a pair of shows in Dublin. A DVD version was released in 2004.

Still, Spitz is more interested in what Bowie has to say now. His last studio album, Reality, came out in July 2003, spending just four weeks on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.

"His real value was how he synthesized the times and ran it through his psyche and then offered it back to us," he said. "I'm not as interested in what he had to say in 1976 as what he thinks of the state of the now, because he is so sharp and his insight is so valuable.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Asia Album Coming This Spring

Asia, featuring members from Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer, King Crimson and the Buggles, will release Omega, a new album of original material on Frontiers Records.
It will arrive on store shelves in Europe on April 23rd and May 4th in America.

Geoffrey Downes, Steve Howe, Carl Palmer and John Wetton, the four original Asia members, reunited in 2006, two decades years after all four had last played together.

The reunion resulted in world tours, a double-live LP and DVD (Fantasia: Live In Tokyo) and the 2008 studio album Phoenix.

Formed at the dawn of the MTV era, Asia’s self-titled debut was the best-selling album in the world in 1982 and sat at the Number One spot on the Billboard charts for nine weeks, powered by “Heat Of The Moment,” and four other radio hits.

Alpha, the group’s 1983 sophomore album, also went multiplatinum and enjoyed several hit singles, including “Don’t Cry”. During the recording of its third disc, the band splintered, and by the 1990s, only Geoff Downes remained from the original line-up.

The reunion came to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the band, but morphed itself into an ongoing endeavor. Begun during the summer 2009, the writing and recording sessions of Omega, immediately showed inspiration and good feelings.

“We were looking to create something different with Omega,” says Downes. “Of course, the sound of the four band members of Asia will always have a certain hallmark when we play together. That's a given. But we approached the song writing with a mind to getting a degree of variety into these compositions. Hence, you will hear areas of textures where arguably we have never gone before.”

Wetton adds: “Asia is an English prog-rock band with a pop edge, always has been, and hopefully always will be. Accessible, melodic, anthemic songs with great playing, luxuriating in a bed of lush orchestration, with lyrics that strike a sympathetic chord in even the most cynical heart. There you have it. Omega is a themed album in Asia's fine tradition, without the millstone of a concept.”

For the first time since the debut album, the band worked with an outside producer, Mike Paxman (Uriah Heep, Status Quo) who managed to create a truly special sounding album with the highs, lows and lots of dynamics. He helped the band to put together a tapestry of sound, which demonstrates the rich strata of Asia's music.

As with the most of Asia's releases, the cover art was specifically designed for the project by artist Roger Dean. The concept of the title and the 'Year of the Tiger' referencing of the cover art underline the fact that this is real Asia.

“We are embarking on our European tour around the middle of April, then straight in to Japan for the middle of May” says Downes. “It's going to be fun working out the new set list because obviously we have another album under our belt now with Omega.”

After touring Europe and Japan, Asia will embark on a US tour late in the summer of 2010.

See the full tour schedule of Europe below.

April 21 - Helsinki, Finland - House of Culture
April 22 - Moscow, Russia - B1 Club
April 24 - Rome, Italy - Auditorium
April 26 - Prague, Czech Republic - Lidovy dum Kbely
April 27 - Winterthur, Switzerland - Salzhaus
April 28 - Graz, Austria - Orpheum
April 30 - Paris, France - Casino De Paris
May 1 - Uden, Netherlands - de Pul
May 2 - Asschaffenburg, Germany
May 3 - Nuremburg, Germany - Hirsch
May 4 - Pratteln, Switzerland - Z7
May 6 - Reichenbach, Germany - Die Halle
May 7 - Bochum, Germany - Zeche Prinz-Regent-Strasse 50-60
May 8 - Osnabruck, Germany - Rosenhof Rosenplatz 23
May 9 - Bonn, Germany - Bruckenforum

For additional information, go

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Furthur Announces Summer Tour

Furthur have announced their Summer 2010 tour with 11 dates, beginning Friday, June 25th at the Highland Bowl Amphitheater in Rochester, New York.

GDTSToo MailOrder Presale is currently underway. Tickets are already on sale for the July 4th show at the Nateva Music & Arts Festival, a three-day event taking place in Oxford, Maine, and the July 9th show at the Allgood Music Festival, a four-day event in Masontown, West Virginia.

Front Gate Online Presale for other scheduled shows begins at 12:00 PM ET today (March 2nd) and runs through Thursday, March 4th up until 6:00 PM ET.
To get yours, go to

Tickets at all the usual outlets will be available after Friday, March 5th at 10:00 AM ET.

Furthur features the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, along with Jeff Chimenti (Ratdog) on keyboards and vocals, Joe Russo (Benevento/Russo Duo) on drums, John Kadlecik (Dark Star Orchestra) on guitar, and Jay Lane (Ratdog) on drums.

Meanwhile, Furthur's current Winter 2010 tour finishes up on March 8th in Portland, Oregon. The band plays a special birthday bash for Phil Lesh, who turns 70 on March 15, at the Bill Graham Auditorium in San Francisco on March 12.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Neil Young Closes Winter Olympics With 'Long May You Run'

At the closing ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics on Sunday, February 28, Canadian-born singer/songwriter Neil Young took center stage -- or, rather, center snow at BC Place Stadium -- for a games-ending performance of "Long May You Run."

Standing beneath the flickering lights of the Olympic torch with his guitar and harmonica, Young's mournful song capped 17 days of world-class competition and might have sounded familiar to TV viewers because he performed the same song a month earlier during the final episode of Conan O'Brien's run on The Tonight Show.