Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rush Signs With Roadrunner, Preps New Album for 2012

Rush is on the move. The prog rock legends behind "Tom Sawyer," "Fly By Night" and "The Spirit of Radio" have partnered up with Roadrunner Records after being doggedly pursued by the rock-heavy imprint.

"After years of Roadrunner pursuing the band, Tom Lipsky [President, Lipsky Music LLC] presented a deal that worked and the timing was right," Rush manager Ray Danniels said in an announcement. "We wanted to be at a label focused on the rock genre -- and that's Roadrunner."

Since 1989, the Canadian trio -- Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee and Neil Peart -- has released six studio albums through Atlantic, beginning with "Presto" and most recently, 2007's Snakes & Arrows, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. Before that, the band was at Mercury.

The group's next full-length studio album, a long-gestating work titled Clockwork Angels, will be released in 2012 on Roadrunner. The delay -- a lead single, "Caravan," was released in June 2010 -- was due to the success of their Time Machine Tour, which just wrapped.

A first Roadrunner release will actually be a live album culled from the blockbuster tour. According to the label, details will be revealed in the coming weeks. Anthem/Universal Music will continue to release their music in Canada only.

Roadrunner is understandably excited to bag a band that has sold more than 40 million records and -- thanks to their doc "Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage" and the Rush-heavy comedy film I Love You, Man -- is enjoying heightened attention and accolades across generations.

"In another life I worked with Rush and their great management team more than 30 years ago and to have Rush finally on the Roadrunner label is a dream come true," said Cees Wessels, Roadrunner Records Chairman.

Lipsky, who brokered the deal, remarked that Rush has a "tradition of excellence and independence, both in the studio and on the live stage, and they remain as prolific today as at any point in their career. We are excited to be their label partners."

Rush's new labelmates include fellow prog rockers Dream Theater, metal heavies Megadeth and the indie rock band of the moment, Young the Giant, among others.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

'Eric Clapton, Wynton Marsalis Play The Blues' Comes To CD, DVD, Big Screen

New York City’s premier jazz venue got the blues last April when Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton performed together in the Rose Theater at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center for two sold-out shows dedicated to vintage blues.

The extraordinary collaboration, billed as Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play the Blues, paired these musical virtuosos with members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra as they brought to life a repertoire of songs selected by Clapton and arranged by Marsalis.

Reprise Records captured the magic of these unprecedented shows from earlier this year on CD, and as a CD/DVD combo that both feature selections taken from the two public concerts (April 8-9), as well a special performance for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s annual gala (April 7).

Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play the Blues - Live From Jazz At Lincoln Center will be available September 13 at physical and digital retail outlets for suggested list prices of $18.98 (CD), $24.98 (CD/DVD) and $9.99 (digital; audio only). The DVD will also feature a bonus performance of the classic "Stagger Lee" from bluesman Taj Mahal's opening solo set for these special shows.

Marsalis, Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center and nine-time Grammy® Award winner, writes about his collaboration with Clapton, a 19-time Grammy recipient, in the album’s liner notes: “We wanted these concerts to sound like people playing music they know and love, not like a project.”

To help them achieve that level of devotion, Marsalis and Clapton were joined on stage by Dan Nimmer (piano), Carlos Henriquez (bass), Ali Jackson (drums), Marcus Printup (trumpet), Victor Goines (clarinet), Chris Crenshaw (trombone, vocals), Don Vappie (banjo) and Clapton’s longtime keyboardist/sideman Chris Stainton.

Marsalis says the group combined the sound of an early blues jump-band with the sound of New Orleans jazz to accommodate the integration of guitar/trumpet lead, a combination that gave the musicians the latitude to play different grooves, from the Delta to the Caribbean and beyond.

The band nimbly navigated a diverse set list that touched on different styles, from the four-on-the-floor swing of Louis Armstrong’s “Ice Cream” and the southern slow-drag of W.C. Handy’s “Joe Turner’s Blues” to the traveling blues of “Joliet Bound” and the boogie-woogie jump of “Kidman Blues.” After opening the shows with his solo set, Mahal returned to join the band on “Corrine, Corrina” and the New Orleans funeral standard “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.”

The one song not selected by Clapton for the show was his own “Layla,” which was requested by bassist Henriquez and arranged as a Crescent City dirge to tremendous results.

On September 7, Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton Play the Blues will be a one-night, in-theater concert event broadcast to nearly 550 movie theaters nationwide.

Tickets are available at participating theater box offices and online at

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ian Anderson Announces Aqualung Reissue, 2012 Thick As A Brick Tours

Ian Anderson performs Thick As A Brick in its entirety for the first time since 1972, going out for a world tour commencing in Great Britain in Mid-April. Then, it's on to European countries in the late Spring and Summer before landing in the USA for two tours spanning September, October and early November.

This tour will feature a more theatrical production with video, additional musicians and a troupe of dancing elephants (OK, they don't actually dance).

In 1972, Anderson wrote the music (and the lyrics which were credited at the time to the fictitious character, 8 year-old Gerald Bostock, whose parents lied about his age) and recorded Thick As A Brick with Jethro Tull.

The record became a best seller and enjoyed huge commercial success in most countries of the world. It featured only one song, lasting nearly 45 minutes. To accommodate the album on LP vinyl and cassette, the seamless track was split on both sides of the record. Tull took a theatrical show on the road in the Great Britain, USA, and other world markets to support the album's initial release.

Since 1972, the album has never been performed in its entirety although a few minutes of the material have been a regular repertoire staple in both Tull and IA solo shows over the years.

Now, scheduled for performance again in 2012, Anderson will take the original album to a concert stage near you. It will be performed in its entirety in a theatrical setting with band, and additional guests.

Meanwhile, the 40th Anniversary Collector's and Special Editions of Aqualung is being finalized for a Fall 2011 release.

Aqualung is Tull's most recognized album and a definitive rock classic. Now, 40 years after its release, this prized recording gets a collection worthy of its historic status.

This is not a simplistic rehashed remastering aimed at squeezing another few pounds, dollars, euros, etc. out of the recording. Want proof? The limited collector's edition's contents include:
  • 180g heavyweight LP, 2CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray including various unreleased materials, a new stereo mix, the original Quad mix, and 5.1 DTS and Dolby Digital Surround. The "special edition" includes just the two CDs.
  • 12"x12" 48-page hardback book featuring liner notes and an interview with Ian, Q&A with engineer John Burns, Don Lawson (initially written for 'Classic Rock Presents Prog' in March 2011), memoirs from band members (Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond (Bass Guitar), Martin Barre (Guitar), Clive Bunker (Drums), Barrie Barlow (Drummer following Clive Bunker's departure), Glenn Cornick (Original Bassist on early recordings), Terry Ellis (Manager)) and Jennie Franks (Ian's first wife who wrote the lyrics for the title track), rare photos, notes on the new mixes by producer Steven Wilson, and Billie Ritchie (from 60s rock band & label mate 'Clouds'), rare photos, album lyrics, and more.
Anderson has this to say about the final product: "Well - it's finally here! The superb remixes by Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson in both stereo and 5.1 Surround. Plus the re-mastered original mixes, bonus tracks, alternative versions and takes of the classic Aqualung material from 40 years ago.

"When I wrote and recorded these songs and slaved over a hot audio-mixer in Island Records' Basing Street Studios, I never thought we we would be celebrating this 40th Anniversary release, soon to be released in October. But you can't keep a good song down. Many of these are still favorites on stage today in our concerts throughout the world.

"I hope you enjoy this splendid EMI release and, if there's someone out there you really love, then why not treat them to the Collector's Edition in all its glory. Or, come to think of it, if there's someone out there you really dislike, then the same might apply. Each to his own. Me - I kinda like it..."

"For those of you easily confused about such things, a 'remix' is not the same as a 're-master.' Remixing involves going back to the original studio multi-track masters and balancing and perfecting the sound on all the individual instrumental and vocal tracks and creating from them a new stereo or 5.1 surround master.

"'Re-mastering' is just the cleaning up and making a new copy of the original stereo master - which usually results in a clearer and more sparkling listening experience than the original, when CDs were usually just the vinyl master copied straight to the then new CD medium. These days, with digital audio, we can afford to get more dynamic range and frequency response compared to the vinyl album and (God forbid) cassette versions of old.

"Many thanks to Tim Chacksfield and Steve Davis at EMI for all their hard work and initiative in making this happen. And to the enthusiastic and respectful Steven Wilson, who has just sent me the remixes of another album to listen to, which he has been working on. But, another year, another story..."



Side 1
1. Aqualung (New Stereo Mix)
2. Cross-Eyed Mary (New Stereo Mix)
3. Cheap Day Return (New Stereo Mix)
4. Mother Goose (New Stereo Mix)
5. Wond'ring Aloud (New Stereo Mix)
6. Up To Me (New Stereo Mix)

Side 2
1. My God (New Stereo Mix)
2. Hymn 43 (New Stereo Mix)
3. Slipstream (New Stereo Mix)
4. Locomotive Breath (New Stereo Mix)
5. Wind-Up (New Stereo Mix)

CD 1 - New Aqualung Stereo Mix (Previously Unreleased)
1. Aqualung (New Stereo Mix)
2. Cross-Eyed Mary (New Stereo Mix)
3. Cheap Day Return (New Stereo Mix)
4. Mother Goose (New Stereo Mix)
5. Wond'ring Aloud (New Stereo Mix)
6. Up To Me (New Stereo Mix)
7. My God (New Stereo Mix)
8. Hymn 43 (New Stereo Mix)
9. Slipstream (New Stereo Mix)
10. Locomotive Breath (New Stereo Mix)
11. Wind-Up (New Stereo Mix)

CD 2 - Additional 1970 &1971 Recordings include some Previously Unreleased New Stereo Mixes.
1. Lick Your Fingers Clean (New Mix)
2. Just Trying To Be (New Mix)
3. My God (Early Version)
4. Wond'ring Aloud (13th December 1970)
5. Wind-Up (Early Version - New Mix)
6. Slipstream (Take 2)
7. Up The 'Pool (Early Version)
8. Wond'ring Aloud, Again (Full Morgan Version)
9. Life Is A Long Song (New Mix)
10. Up The 'Pool (New Mix)
11. Dr Bogenbroom (2011 - Remaster)
12. From Later (2011 - Remaster)
13. Nursie (2011 - Remaster)
14. US Radio Spot

1. Aqualung (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
2. Cross-Eyed Mary (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
3. Cheap Day Return (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
4. Mother Goose (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
5. Wond'ring Aloud (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
6. Up To Me (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
7. My God (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
8. Hymn 43 (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
9. Slipstream (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
10. Locomotive Breath (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
11. Wind-Up (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
12. Lick Your Fingers Clean (New Mix) (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
13. My God (Early Version) (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
14. Up The 'Pool (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
15. Life Is A Long Song (New Mix) (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
16. Aqualung (New Stereo Mix)
17. Cross Eyed Mary (New Stereo Mix)
18. Cheap Day Return (New Stereo Mix)
19. Mother Goose (New Stereo Mix)
20. Wond'ring Aloud (New Stereo Mix)
21. Up To Me (New Stereo Mix)
22. My God (New Stereo Mix)
23. Hymn 43 (New Stereo Mix)
24. Slipstream (New Stereo Mix)
25. Locomotive Breath (New Stereo Mix)
26. Wind-Up (New Stereo Mix)
27. Lick Your Fingers Clean (New Mix)
28. Just Trying To Be (New Mix)
29. My God (Early Version)
30. Wond'ring Aloud (13th December 1970)
31. Wind-Up (Early Version - New Mix)
32. Slipstream (Take 2)
33. Up The 'Pool (Early Version)
34. Wond'ring Aloud, Again (Full Morgan Version)
35. Life Is A Long Song (New Mix)
36. Up The 'Pool (New Mix)
37. Dr Bogenbroom (2011 - Remaster)
38. From Later (2011 - Remaster)
39. Nursie (2011 - Remaster)
40. Aqualung (Quad Mix)
41. Cross-Eyed Mary (Quad Mix)
42. Cheap Day Return (Quad Mix)
43. Mother Goose (Quad Mix)
44. Wond'ring Aloud (Quad Mix)
45. Up To Me (Quad Mix)
46. My God (Quad Mix)
47. Hymn 43 (Quad Mix)
48. Slipstream (Quad Mix)
49. Locomotive Breath (Quad Mix)
50. Wind-Up (Quad Mix)

1. Aqualung (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
2. Cross-Eyed Mary (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
3. Cheap Day Return (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
4. Mother Goose (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
5. Wond'ring Aloud (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
6. Up To Me (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
7. My God (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
8. Hymn 43 (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
9. Slipstream (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
10. Locomotive Breath (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
11. Wind-Up (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
12. Lick Your Fingers Clean (New Mix) (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
13. My God (Early Version) (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
14. Up The 'Pool (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
15. Life Is A Long Song (New Mix) (5.1 Surround Sound Mix)
16. Aqualung (New Stereo Mix)
17. Cross-Eyed Mary (New Stereo Mix)
18. Cheap Day Return (New Stereo Mix)
19. Mother Goose (New Stereo Mix)
20. Wond'ring Aloud (New Stereo Mix)
21. Up To Me (New Stereo Mix)
22. My God (New Stereo Mix)
23. Hymn 43 (New Stereo Mix)
24. Slipstream (New Stereo Mix)
25. Locomotive Breath (New Stereo Mix)
26. Wind-Up (New Stereo Mix)
27. Lick Your Fingers Clean (New Mix)
28. Just Trying To Be (New Mix)
29. My God (Early Version)
30. Wond'ring Aloud (13th December 1970)
31. Wind-Up (Early Version - New Mix)
32. Slipstream (Take 2)
33. Up The 'Pool (Early Version)
34. Wond'ring Aloud, Again (Full Morgan Version)
35. Life Is A Long Song (New Mix)
36. Up The 'Pool (New Mix)
37. Dr Bogenbroom (2011 - Remaster)
38. From Later (2011 - Remaster)
39. Nursie (2011 - Remaster)
40. Aqualung
41. Cross-Eyed Mary
42. Cheap Day Return
43. Mother Goose
44. Wond'Ring Aloud
45. Up To Me
46. My God
47. Hymn 43
48. Slipstream
49. Locomotive Breath
50. Wind-Up
51. Aqualung (Quad Mix)
52. Cross-Eyed Mary (Quad Mix)
53. Cheap Day Return (Quad Mix)
54. Mother Goose (Quad Mix)
55. Wond'ring Aloud (Quad Mix)
56. Up To Me (Quad Mix)
57. My God (Quad Mix)
58. Hymn 43 (Quad Mix)
59. Slipstream (Quad Mix)
60. Locomotive Breath (Quad Mix)
61. Wind-Up (Quad Mix)
Jethro Tull - "Aqualung" 40th Anniversary Special Edition
Alongside the Collector's Edition, is a 2CD Special Edition, containing CD1 and CD2 plus a 36 page booklet, in a digipack sleeve.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Keith Richards' Memoir Sells Million Copies

Keith Richards has written one of the best-selling rock memoirs of all time. The Rolling Stones guitarist's book, Life, has sold over one million copies since its release last year, equivalent to going platinum in the music world.

Richards earned a huge payday for the book, raking in more than $7 million for his advance. In addition to being a massive commercial success, Life also fared well with critics, earning positive reviews nearly across the board.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sammy Hagar: Chickenfoot Is No Joke (But Van Halen Is)

Sammy Hagar says he didn't exactly plan to record and release the all-star Chickenfoot's second album this year.

"The reason Chickenfoot had to go in was because of Chad," Hagar tells, meaning drummer Chad Smith, who was also busy recording the Red Hot Chili Peppers' new "I'm With You," which comes out Aug. 30 -- two weeks before "Chickenfoot III's" Sept. 13 release. "We had a window where he was available, and I was going, 'F*ck, I don't want to be rushed into it. I was in Cabo (San Lucas, Mexico), summer vacation was coming up, I was just planning my time off. I had my feet deep in the sand, and I was going to vacation this whole summer. Everybody was trying to get me to go in and do this Chickenfoot record, but I just didn't feel like going into Chickenfoot mode."

But other voices -- including bandmates Smith, Joe Satriani and Michael Anthony -- and Hagar's late manager John Carter prevailed to bring the album into being. And the Red Rocker is pleased it did.

"We were so comfortable making the music," Hagar says. "We got to know each other on the first album (in 2009) and then touring for it. Joe and I got to know each other as writers. I struggle my ass off on the lyrics, 'cause the music is so good. I can't just start talking about girls and cars, y'know? So I wrote 'Up Next' five different times. I wrote 'Different Devil' five different times...and once everything was done I could look at it and go, 'F*ck, this is good.'"

As for the "III" title for a second album, Hagar says the group was adamantly opposed to calling the 10-song set "Chickenfoot II," and Smith came up with "Chickenfoot IV" as "a joke," but once the album was finished it realized "this album is not a joke," according to Hagar. " 'Chickenfoot IV' is a joke. 'Chickenfoot III' is kind of a joke, but mostly it's just fun."

Touring is next up for the quartet, which will be without Smith due to the Red Hot Chili Peppers' commitments. Chickenfoot has been working with veteran skin-pounder Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, Melissa Etheridge, John Fogerty), who was Smith's personal choice but hasn't been officially announced as the choice. "I'm trying to act like he's not the guy, but we all know he's the guy now," Hagar says with a laugh. "We tried him. He's fucking great. He's really solid, and he's got fire."

With the lead single, "Big Foot," already out, Hagar says Chickenfoot intends to "road-test" its new material with a five-city promotional run at the beginning of November, and he's already anticipating a full-scale tour to follow.

"Right now we're getting all these offers," he says, "and, y'know, I don't want to tour," he says. "I do not want to pack my bags up for six weeks and go out...I do not want to go on a plane for South America or Japan to work. But when I listen to this music, I go, 'I got to.' I just can't see letting something this good not be played. So we'll probably start accepting shows."

This is also an anniversary year for former Van Halen bandmates Hagar and Anthony -- 25 years since the release of "5150," Hagar's first with the band. Hagar still considers the chart-topping, six-time platinum set "a great album" but, as he made abundantly clear in his autobiography "Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock," there's no love lost with the Van Halen camp.

"I'm so disappointed in those guys," Hagar notes. "I'm not even angry. I'm just disappointed. I really don't like them anymore, and I can't tell you how sad it is to me that what we had as creative guys, and as a friendship, how it just went away. Mike and I had the biggest laugh when they canceled (the Soundwave Festival in) Australia. He was like, 'I thought you told me they had canceled a couple months ago,' and I was, 'No, no, I told you they announced it.' 'Oh, they announced it,' and we just cracked up. They kill me."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Songwriter Jerry Leiber Dead At 78

Jerry Leiber, who with longtime partner Mike Stoller wrote "Hound Dog," "Jailhouse Rock," "Yakity Yak" and other hit songs that came to define early rock `n' roll, has died. He was 78.

His death was confirmed Monday by his longtime publicist, Bobbi Marcus.

With Leiber as lyricist and Stoller as composer, the team channeled their blues and jazz backgrounds into pop songs performed by such artists as Elvis Presley, Dion and the Belmonts, the Coasters, the Drifters and Ben E. King in a way that would help create a joyous new musical style.

From their breakout hit, blues great Big Mama Thornton's 1953 rendition of "Hound Dog," until their songwriting took a more serious turn in 1969 with Peggy Lee's recording of "Is That All There Is?" the pair remained one of the most successful teams in pop music history.

Their writing prowess and influence over the recording industry as pioneering independent producers earned them induction into the non-performer category of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

"The music world lost today one of its greatest poet laureates," said Terry Stewart, president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. "Jerry not only wrote the words that everyone was singing, he led the way in how we verbalized our feelings about the societal changes we were living with in post-World War II life. Appropriately, his vehicles of choice were the emerging populist musical genres of rhythm and blues and then rock and roll."

Leiber, who like Stoller was white, said his musical inspiration came from the close identification he had with black American culture during his boyhood and teen years in Baltimore and Los Angeles.

Thus he was the perfect lyricist for bluesy, jazz-inflected compositions like "Kansas City," "Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots," "Charlie Brown," "Drip Drop," "Stand By Me" and "On Broadway."

The lyrics could be poignant, as in "On Broadway," or full of humor, as in the antics of high school goofball Charlie Brown, who "calls the English teacher Daddy-O" and laments, "Why's everybody always pickin' on me?"

The result was a serious departure from the classically inflected music that had been produced by a previous generation of pop songwriters that included George Gershwin and Irving Berlin.

"Irving Berlin was the greatest songwriter of all time," Leiber told The Los Angeles Times' "West" magazine in 2006. "I was in awe of him. But his music wasn't my music. My music was the blues."

Over their career, they had 15 No. 1 hits in a variety of genres by 10 different artists. They were instrumental in helping launch Presley's career with such songs as "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock."

The two far preferred Thornton's version of "Hound Dog" to Presley's, in part because the latter version changed some of the lyrics.

"Lick for lick, there's no comparison between the Presley version and the Big Mama original," Leiber said in the pair's dual autobiography, "Hound Dog," published in 2009. Stoller said he also was annoyed by the Presley version, but still praised the "edge of danger and mystery" that Presley brought to his covers of R&B records.

In the 1990s their songs became the centerpiece of a long-running Broadway revue, "Smokey Joe's Cafe," which won a Grammy for best musical show album in 1996.

"Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller have written some of the most spirited and enduring rock `n' roll songs," the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said in a statement released at the time of their induction. "As pop auteurs ... Leiber and Stoller advanced rock and roll to new heights of wit and musical sophistication."

Their last song to reach wide acclaim was the 1969 ballad, "Is That All There Is?" Lee's moody rendition of the song, whose lyrics are based on an 1896 short story by German author Thomas Mann, reached the top 20.

Leiber and Stoller continued to collaborate on earnest, eclectic projects, including 1975's "Mirrors."

Leiber was born in Baltimore in 1933; his parents were Jewish immigrants from Poland. He met Stoller after moving to Los Angeles with his mother in 1950. The two immediately began collaborating and formed their own record label, Spark, in 1953.

The pair had grown tired of writing pop hits by the late 1960s, Leiber once said, and decided to concentrate on more serious music. Those later efforts never found the wide audience that their earlier work did, but Leiber said that was fine with him and his partner.

"The earlier market of swing and Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee and Duke Ellington was pretty much gone, but we liked that kind of sound and wanted to imitate it," he told The New York Times in 1995. "In a way we had helped kill it with what we had done. We had helped bring down the cathedral, and now we didn't know where to pray."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fourth Annual Sunset Strip Music Festival Underway

Sunset Boulevard is a-buzz with the arrival of the fourth annual Sunset Strip Music Festival, which started Thursday, August 18, and runs through Saturday, August 20.

The Viper Room, the Roxy, Whisky A Go-Go and the Key Club will all be packed with fans to see bnads like Buckcherry and local legends Semi Precious Weapons and Lady Sinatra. Headlining the festival is the glam metal band that got its start on the Strip: Motley Crue.

“We have been very fortunate to grow this festival organically year by year," said Nic Adler, head organizer and Roxy Theatre owner. "Bigger bands, bigger stages, more food trucks, more activations, and oh, a little 360 roller coaster drum kit played upside down by Tommy Lee himself."

The three-day fest kicks off with an awards ceremony at the House of Blues. Motley Crue, celebrating its 30th anniversary, will receive the annual Elmer Valentine Award (past recipients include Ozzy Osbourne, Slash and Lou Adler) at the invite-only red carpet event. The city designated August 18 "Motley Crue Day."

“So many of us native Angelenos consider Motley Crue to be our ‘home boys,’ ” West Hollywood Mayor John Duran said in a city press release. “It will be an honor to recognize the ‘Saints of Los Angeles’ in our hometown and thank them for the incredible contribution they made to hard rock, glam and Southern California music."

Food trucks will be rolling through town, serving up delicious eats. Restaurants and bars along the iconic 1.6-mile stretch of Sunset will be dishing out specials, and beer gardens will serve ice cold refreshments in a relaxing open-air setting.

Thursday's lineup saw The Veronicas at The Viper Room, Nico Vega at the Roxy Theatre and Uriah Heep at the Key Club. On Friday, Motion City Soundtrack will be at the House of Blues, indie rock band Dredg at the Key Club, and Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of The Doors with vocalist David Brock will be at the Whisky.

The Strip shuts down Saturday to host an all-day street festival of outdoor performances and indoor bar shows, featuring more than 70 bands, including Motley Crue, Bush, Public Enemy and more.

"As in years past, we have a sampling of LA's best new artists like Sabrosa Purr, Voxhaul Broadcast, Jordan Cook and 50 more great bands that make up the local scene here," Adler said. "It's all about experiencing one of the most storied streets in the world in a way you can only do once a year."

Tickets are $250 for the three-day VIP, $55 for Street Fest only, and $120 for VIP Street Fest. Individual bar shows tickets range from $15 to $35 depending on the show.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dio Disciples Announce First-Ever Tour

Some fans figured that with the passing of Ronnie James Dio in 2010, one of metal's greatest voices of all-time had been silenced forever. But Dio's music will live on forever, and many of his friends and/or former band mates are making sure of it, as they have reunited as Dio Disciples – a concert celebration to the former singer of Black Sabbath, Rainbow, and Elf (and successful/respected solo artist). And while Dio Disciples has already performed overseas, US fans have waited patiently for their chance to catch the group. Soon, their wish will be granted.

The band (which is comprised of singers Tim "Ripper" Owens and Toby Jepson, guitarist Craig Goldy, bassist Rudy Sarzo, keyboardist Scott Warren, and drummer Simon Wright) has announced a string of dates (with more to be announced), which as of now, kicks off on September 22nd at the Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY, and wraps up on October 9th at Trees in Dallas, TX. Keep your eyes peeled to Dio Disciples' Facebook page for announcements regarding additional US tour dates.

Touching upon almost every era of Dio's stellar career, you can expect to hear faithful and heavy renditions of such classics as "The Last in Line," "Rainbow in the Dark," "Holy Diver," "Heaven and Hell," "Neon Knights," and "Man on the Silver Mountain," among countless others.

And Dio Disciples have been receiving rave show reviews, including the Planet Mosh website, which gave a recent London performance a 10/10 rating, and proclaimed, "The performance was a fitting tribute to the memory of the great man himself. I’m not sure there is a better way of keeping the legacy alive, than by witnessing this group of men with such outstanding ability pour every ounce of their being into delivering Dio’s music so perfectly."

Get ready US fans, as it will soon be time to "Stand Up and Shout" to an evening of Dio music once again.

Confirmed US Tour Dates [more to be added]:
9/22/2011 - Poughkeepsie, NY The Chance
9/23/2011 - Asbury Park, NJ Stone Pony
9/24/2011 - Springfield, VA Jaxx
9/26/2011 - Buffalo, NY Town Ballroom
9/27/2011 - Pittsburgh, PA Altar Bar
9/28/2011 - Cleveland, OH House of Blues
9/29/2011 - Chicago, IL House of Blues
9/30/2011 - Medina, MN Medina Entertainment Center
10/6/2011 - Baton Rouge, LA Varsity Theatre
10/7/2011 - Houston, TX Scout Bar
10/8/2011 - San Antonio, TX Sunken Gardens
10/9/2011 - Dallas, TX Trees

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Original Black Sabbath In The Studio

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has confirmed to Birmingham Mail that the band's original lineup has reunited and is rehearsing for a tour and new studio album.

Iommi and singer Ozzy Osbourne wrote new material in June for a record that will be released next year.

"We're really looking forward to it and I think the stuff we've been writing is really good," said Iommi. "It's more back to the old original stuff."

He added that the reunion has been kept under wraps for some time.

"It's all been very hush-hush. Ozzy's been the worst at trying to hold it back. He's doing a lot of TV and he's being asked stuff about a reunion and he's going, 'Well, I never say never.' He told me, 'I don't know what to say."

Iommi told the Birmingham Mail that his only apprehension about a reunion of the original lineup was the health of drummer Bill Ward who in 1998 suffered a heart attack.

"He hasn't been 100 percent. He had an operation a few months ago, so we'll see how he is."

Ozzy was asked by QMI Agency in a recent interview why the four members of Sabbath couldn't seem to agree on playing together again. Ozzy replied, "I haven't got a clue. If they want to call me, they can call me. I never say never. If it works, fine. If it don't, I'll move on. It ain't the end of the world. I ain't gonna get a box of Kleenex and cry my eyes out for the rest of my life."

Ozzy added, "I would love to do a great album with Black Sabbth. I would love to get the credit we so roundly deserve. At the same time, the pressure would be really intense. I could go tomorrow and make an album with them, but it wouldn't necessarily be something I would be proud of."

The original SABBATH lineup has not toured together since summer 2005, and last convened for their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in early 2006.

SABBATH did try to record a new album 12 years ago, their first since 1978, but abandoned the attempt after just a couple of songs.

Osbourne and Iommi last year amicably resolved their problems over the ownership of the BLACK SABBATH name and court proceedings in New York were discontinued.

Ozzy filed a lawsuit against Iommi in May 2009, claiming that Iommi illegally took sole ownership of the band's name in a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Osbourne sued Iommi for a 50 percent interest in the "Black Sabbath" trademark, along with a portion of Iommi's profits from use of the name.

The Manhattan federal court suit also charged that Osbourne's "signature lead vocals" are largely responsible for the band's "extraordinary success," noting that its popularity plummeted during his absence from 1980 through 1996.

Lawyer Andrew DeVore argued that Osbourne signed away all his rights to the Black Sabbath trademark after he quit the band in 1979.

Osbourne's lawyer, Howard Shire, called that agreement a "red herring" that was "repudiated" when the singer rejoined in 1997 and took over "quality control" of the band's merchandise, tours and recordings.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Outside Lands Festival 2011: 18 Things Seen & Heard


Now in its fourth year, San Francisco's Outside Lands festival serves the dual purpose of providing vibrant Bay Area city with a response to Indio's white-hot Coachella, and giving the city an annual Golden Gate Park event recalling the bygone Summer of Love days. This weekend's festivities (Aug. 12-14) featured headliners Arcade Fire, Muse and Phish, as well as a variety of local and international acts, and also offered local food, wine and uniquely San Franciscan vistas recalling the city's Haight-Ashbury heyday. Here's a rundown of 18 essential take-aways from San Francisco's boho extravaganza.

1. The Sunday headliner of any weekend festival is usually The Main Event, and Arcade Fire obliged the crowd with a tightly choreographed set in support of "The Suburbs." Opening to clips from, amongst other things, the "Can You Dig It?" scene from cult flick "The Warriors," the band ripped through a set heavily leaning on their most recent, Grammy-winning record. Win Butler, a burly yet nerdy Canadian-by-way-of-Texas-by-way-of-Phillips-Exeter, held the crowd in thrall with a free-flowing set of anthems tracing vague lineage to the Talking Heads and circa 1980s Springsteen.

2. English rockers Muse, Saturday headliners, are nothing if not technically proficient curators. While their original tunes essentially update the mid '90s school of pentatonic crunch with a proggy backbone, the band's best moments come from their kaleidoscopic interstitial jams. Late in the set, Muse suddenly reeled off a perfect rendition of Nirvana's "Negative Creep" to an audience that largely didn't get the reference but still loved the performance. And although it's a huge cliche, politically-minded frontman Matt Bellamy's Hendrix-inspired iteration on "The Star-Spangled Banner" rang with the same pain and cynicism of the past rocker's Woodstock wails.

3. Big Boi was a notable no-show on Friday. He was on the scene (despite a recent drug arrest in Miami), but his management blamed his non-performance on "technical issues." Comedian Dave Chappelle instead took the stage for a time, tempering an angry mob expecting a performance from the Outkast MC. Chappelle's noble effort was met with mixed success.

4. If Phish fanatics looked like they'd been camping out all night, some actually did: out-of-town youths were spotted in the park Thursday, drawn in by the promise of work-for-tickets deals. Some got their prized Phish ticket; others, traveling cross-country for the opportunity, found themselves out of luck.

5. When did Friday main stagers The Shins become a Shins cover band? Frontman James Mercer's blunted tenor rang like he was still celebrating New Years 2002, but the band's run-through of their former hits seemed especially stilted. While everyone still tremulously awaits a new Shins release, I suspect that the band's past water-cooler cachet, when "Oh, Inverted World" raced through P2P networks and college dorms, might lie behind them.

6. While the Decemberists' music doesn't exactly encourage moshing culture, some fans were moved to engage in on-the-shoulders roughhousing during the band's jangly set. The camel fights that ensued were captured by the organizers' cameras and played out on the main stage's Jumbotrons, providing the ad-hoc pugilists each with their own fifteen seconds of fame.

7. Festival organizers smartly utilize terrain at the festival, with obvious sonic benefits: hills, stages situated in gullies, and the park's famous windswept trees dampen any rogue sound that threatens to bleed between competing performances. Linearly arrayed, the four stage locations sometimes force fans to wade upstream against, for example, Phish runoff on their way to check out Best Coast. However, the weekend's foot traffic mostly flowed smoothly throughout the weekend.

8. The best performance of Friday belonged to Mick Jones' Big Audio Dynamite. It's surprising, as the former Clash guitarist's act has never put on a particularly laudatory live show. At this, the last of their reunion dates fourteen years after the band's first break-up, Jones marshaled band through a spirited set of classics, including "E=MC^2" and onetime chart-topper "Rush."

9. Pittsburgh's Girl Talk pretty much caught all the stragglers from Muse's oppressively heavy set. Gregg Gillis' rat-ta-tat-tat set of pop culture audio samples approximates the modern practice of constantly retweeting relevant snippets of broadcasted culture into a tightly wound, rolling Greatest Hits show. You've got to wonder what goes on in his head: "Wanna listen to 'Living on a Prayer'… with a dance beat?! Okay, howsabout Kelly Clarkson's 'Since U Been Gone'?"

10. A variety of local eateries hawked their wares throughout the weekend. The culinary belle of the ball? Definitely Namu's Korean taco, a concoction of short ribs or chicken thighs and special sauce wrapped in a seaweed "tortilla." In a Saturday interview, Namu chef Dennis Lee called the dish a "f*ck you" to the run-of-the-mill taco culture currently dominating American late-night dining.

11. Local acts like Sonny & the Sunsets and the Fresh & Onlys showcased San Francisco's newest batch of throwback garage rock revivalism. The bands' lackadaisical sets produced a welcome respite for fans' tired legs (most sat for the Sunsets' set). The shows also cast main-stagers the Black Keys, with their harder-edged and bluesier performance, as comparatively stilted and put-on.

12. The Barbary tent played host to a variety of sideshow acts during the weekend, and the selected performers perfectly recalled the hole-in-the-wall clubs of the seedy early 20th century San Francisco district for which the tent was named. In addition to stand-up-comedy -- including two outstanding sets by Paul F. Tompkins -- magicians, carnival performers and variety acts also performed, with comedian Gallagher headlining the tent opposite Arcade Fire on Sunday.

13. While orchestrating a sing-along to close their set, OK Go jokingly criticized its audience, remarking, "This went so much better in Portland!" This struck a chord with the crowd, as it's obvious the cool kids in SF compare their cachet to that of the Oregonian city that many believe is currently the coolest in the nation. OK Go frontman Damian Kulash further stoked the fires by comparing SF crowds to Los Angelinos, which even the most geographically apathetic of San Franciscans generally bristle at.

14. Dear world: Please feel sorry for west San Francisco. The twinned Richmond and Sunset districts -- 10-odd square miles of Henry Doelger homes and brilliant, undiscovered ethnic cuisine -- that flank Golden Gate Park annually get their infrastructure rocked by Outside Lands, with buses and Muni trains clogged for hours, parking nonexistent, and clueless festival-goers wandering the avenues post-show every night.

15. Outside Lands treated festival-goers to a survey of sustainable living with the Eco Lands section, offering a farmer's market with fresh produce, the solar-powered Panhandle stage, a "Prius Playground," and compostable food and beverage containers throughout the show. Environmentally conscious fans had a blast generating electricity on the carbon-neutral teeter-totter, while event staff walked around serving up organic treats like yellow watermelon.

16. The Wine Lands section featured a variety of oenological delights this weekend, highlighting local labels from the nearby wine regions like Napa and Sonoma counties. The prices didn't favor the customer -- $1 for a tasting glass, $2 for a sample, $8 for a full pour -- but obliging customers mobbed the tent throughout the weekend.

17. Cognitive dissonance, thy name is "My Sharona" emanating from an Intel-branded DJ tent while Phish covers the Velvet Underground on the neighboring Land's End stage.

18. Although he works on a laptop and MIDI keyboard, beat-head Eskmo (real name: Brendan Angelides) is known to insert analog chaos into his set: the San Franciscan is known to sing over his beats (albeit with a great deal of vocal effects), ands "We Got More" featured Angelides banging on a frying pan in time with his languid beats and squelchy synthesizers. San Francisco's answer to L.A.'s Low End Theory scene (which includes Flying Lotus and the Gaslamp Killer), Angelides played tracks from his self-titled 2010 Ninja Tune debut and treated curious festival-goers to an unexpected delight of a performance.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

God Bless Ozzy Osbourne Coming To The Big Screen

Audiences across the country will get an unrivaled look into the mind of legendary rock icon Ozzy Osbourne in God Bless Ozzy Osbourne, an exclusive in-theater Fathom event that will be broadcast to more than 400 movie theaters nationwide on Wednesday, August 24, and Monday, August 29 at 7:30 p.m. (local time).

Shot over the course of three years, audiences will experience the life story of Ozzy, as seen through the eyes of his youngest child, producer/filmmaker, Jack Osbourne, who worked alongside directors Mike Fleiss and Mike Piscitelli.

During the documentary, Ozzy will recount his troubled youth, his early career with Black Sabbath and the impact of fame and addictions on his first marriage. Viewers will also witness the second chapter of his life as a family man with Sharon, during which his addictions grew to a frightening level, as well as hear Ozzy and his children explain his attempts at staying clean, ultimately resulting in more than five years of sobriety.

Music fans will also see live performances from around the world, including rare behind the scenes clips of Ozzy on and off stage, in his dressing rooms pre-show, to his nights in a series of hotel rooms. Throughout God Bless Ozzy Osbourne, audiences are given an inside look into the life of a rock star, from the good times to the bad.

Tickets for God Bless Ozzy Osbourne are available at participating theater box offices and online at

“This is the most honest portrait of my father. I set out to tell the truth - regardless of how raw it might be - and I think we accomplished just that,” said Jack Osbourne.

Ozzy Osbourne is a multi-platinum Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy®-winning musician. Osbourne's career has spanned four decades (as both a solo artist and as the lead singer of Black Sabbath) and his music is as relevant today as ever.

Beyond his music career, Osbourne is an author (I AM OZZY, 2010), advice columnist (Sunday Times, London and Rolling Stone, America) and the first to have a celebrity-reality television program ("The Osbournes," which won a 2002 Primetime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Reality Program").

God Bless Ozzy Osbourne will relive the highs of his triumphs as well as his voyage to sobriety, which Ozzy regards as his greatest accomplishment.

“During this exclusive Fathom event, Ozzy’s son, Jack, will take the legion of Ozzy fans on an unbelievable journey experiencing a side of the music legend most have never seen,” said Dan Diamond, vice president of Fathom.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Former Deep Purple Keyboardist Jon Lord Diagnosed With Cancer

Jon Lord, former keyboardist and founding member of hard rock legends Deep Purple, has revealed on his website that he has been diagnosed with cancer. Lord said that he would be taking a break from public performance for the next year so that he can undergo treatment, but will continue to write music.

Lord's statement read:

"I would like all my friends, followers, fans and fellow travelers to know that I am fighting cancer and will therefore be taking a break from performing while getting the treatment and cure.

"I shall of course be continuing to write music - in my world it just has to be part of the therapy - and I fully expect to be back in good shape next year.

"God bless and see you soon." added the following:

"May we also, at Jon's request, ask if everyone could please respect his need for privacy so that he can spend time with his family (and his music)."

The 70-year-old Lord also announced the release of a new orchestral album entitled Jon Lord Live.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gregg Allman Cancels Remainder Of Summer Tour

Citing a respiratory condition, Gregg Allman has canceled the rest of his summer tour, according to a statement on his website. The singer, songwriter and co-founder of the Allman Brothers Band had nixed already nixed the last four dates of a European tour in June.

"His doctor hoped that with rest, he'd get better, but unfortunately the issue has persisted," the statement on his website reads. "Treatment is going to involve several days of hospitalization and 4-6 weeks of bed rest at home."

Allman had been touring behind his new solo album, Low Country Blues, produced by T Bone Burnett. It's Allman's first solo album of new material since Searching for Simplicity in 1997. The singer is said to be successfully recovering from a liver transplant he received last year.

Monday, August 8, 2011

U2 Reveal 'Achtung Baby' Reissue Details

U2 have released details of their forthcoming 20th anniversary reissue of Achtung Baby, due out later this year. The set will come in multiple formats, aimed at different types of U2 fans.

"If you pile a lot of extra material and packaging and design work into a super-duper box set, there are people who will pay quite a lot for it, so you can budget it at a very high level and pump up the value," band manager Paul McGuinness told Rolling Stone earlier this year.

The Uber Deluxe Edition will be the most elaborate (and expensive) version of the set, and will include all of the following in a numbered magnetic puzzle-tield box:

• Six CDs including Achtung Baby and its 1993 follow up Zooropa, plus discs featuring B-sides, outtakes and reworked versions of unheard material from the Achtung sessions

• Four DVDs including ZOO TV: Live From Sydney, the new documentary From the Sky Down and all of the music videos from the period

• Five clear 7-inch singles in replicas of their original packaging

• 16 art prints from the original album sleeve

• 84-page hardback book

• One issue of Propaganda fanclub magazine

• Four badges

• One sticker sheet

• One replica of Bono's "The Fly" sunglasses

The super-deluxe version will include all of the CDs, DVDs and art prints from the Uber Deluxe version, plus a 92-page hardback book. (The 8 extra pages are a mystery!)

Achtung Baby
will also be reissued as a vinyl box set featuring the album along with two translucent blue vinyl disc featuring B sides and remixes and a double-disc CD with a bonus disc of B sides and rarities. U2 fans who simply want a remastered edition of the record without extras of any kind can pick up a standard single CD with all the standard album art fans have known for two decades.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Paul McCartney To Contact Police Over Hack Claim

Former Beatle Paul McCartney said on Thursday that he appears to be a victim of the newspaper phone hacking scandal in Britain and will be talking to police when he finishes a U.S. tour.

Speaking to journalists in Los Angeles via satellite from Ohio, McCartney said he did not have the full facts but called phone hacking by British newspaper journalists a "horrendous invasion of privacy."

"When I go back (to Britain) after this (U.S.) tour, I am going to talk to the police because apparently I have been hacked," McCartney said.

"I don't know much about it because they won't tell anyone except the person themselves. So I will be talking to them about that.

"I do think it's horrendous violation of privacy. I do think it has been going on for a long time and I do think more people than we know knew about it. But I think I should just listen and hear what the facts are before I comment," McCartney told reporters gathered in Los Angeles for a bi-annual meeting of television critics.

McCartney's ex-wife British model Heather Mills told the BBC earlier this week that a journalist working for a British newspaper had confronted her with details of a message left by McCartney on her phone in early 2001 following an argument with the singer.

The claim by Mills appeared to widen the hacking scandal from News Corp-owned British newspapers to rival publications in the Daily Mirror group.

It also put pressure on Piers Morgan, who edited the Mirror from 1995-2004 and who is now a talk show host for CNN. Morgan has repeatedly denied any involvement in phone hacking.

British police are conducting a wide-ranging inquiry into claims that journalists and private detectives seeking gossip for stories illegally intercepted voicemail messages on the phone of people ranging from celebrities and politicians to murder victims.

Mills and the famously private McCartney were married from 2002 before their relationship ended in a bitter and messy divorce in 2008.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Alice Cooper Adding To The 'Nightmare' At Universal Studios This Halloween

Shock rock icon Alice Cooper is ready to make this Halloween at Universal Studios even scarier. Alice Cooper: Welcome To My Nightmare is a new "Halloween Horror Nights" maze at Universal Studios Hollywood. The event will start on September 23 and continues on select nights through October 31.

The maze is inspired by Cooper's album Welcome 2 My Nightmare, which will be released Sept. 13 through Universal Music Enterprises. New and classic songs by Cooper will be featured.

"We'll be creating this living horror movie within screaming distance of the sound stages where horror movies first began, so there's no place more appropriate to offer a preview of the new Welcome 2 My Nightmare. This will be a nightmare that will haunt visitors' dreams for a long time to come," said Cooper.

The new attraction will take the guests on a trip through guillotine decapitations, electric chairs, a sadistic insane asylum, predatory snake and of course the giant Black Widow spiders that helped make his imagery timeless and permanent."

There are few people in the entertainment business who can be called a true original. Alice Cooper is in that rare pantheon. As a life-long Alice Cooper fan who's been motivated and inspired by his craft, I am absolutely thrilled by this incredible opportunity to collaborate with him on this new haunted attraction. It's a nightmare come true," said the creative director John Murdy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Paul McCartney To Open 2012 Olympics

With the Olympics less than one year away, plans for the London 2012 opening ceremonies are coming together.

The Telegraph
reports that Sir Paul McCartney will kick off the celebration July 27, 2012. According to the report, the former Beatle told organizers that he's "up for" doing the show, but final details have yet to be arranged.

Unfortunately, the Olympics will not double as a Beatles reunion, as previously hoped. Ringo Starr, the only other living member of the band, is planning to be on tour in the United States at the same time.

Monday, August 1, 2011

MTV Celebrates 30th Anniversary

MTV is celebrating its 30th anniversary today. The music network made its debut back in 1981 with the Buggles' clip for "Video Killed the Radio Star."

Since then, it has become more than just a place to watch music videos with events like the MTV Video Music Awards and MTV Movie Awards as well as reality TV shows like "The Real World" and "Jersey Shore."

Other popular programs that called the channel home include "Total Request Live," "Jackass," "MTV Unplugged" and more.

Today, the network has also spawned a number of sister channels, including MTV2 and mtvU.