Saturday, December 31, 2011

Chili Peppers To Earn Millions For New Year’s Eve Gig

The Red Hot Chili Peppers will earn a reported £5 million for playing on New Year’s Eve.

The band have been by Russian billionaire, and Chelsea FC owner, Roman Abramovich to do a set at his private party.

This happens on his estate at the Caribbean island of St. Barts.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Etta James Placed On Breathing Machine In California Hospital

Grammy-winning singer Etta James, who has been deemed terminally ill with leukemia, has been hospitalized in California and placed on a breathing machine, her long-time manager and friend said.

James, 73, best known for the blues ballad "At Last," was taken to the hospital near her home in Riverside, east of Los Angeles, because she was struggling to breathe.

"They took her to the hospital. She is on a breathing machine and is resting," Lupe De-Leon, the singer's manager for 30 years, said.

The singer has been in failing health for a number of years and suffers from leukemia, kidney disease and dementia but had previously been cared for at her Southern California home.

Her live-in doctor said last week that James was considered terminally ill, and that she communicates mostly with nods and simple words.

The three-time Grammy Award singer earlier battled obesity and was addicted to heroin for many years.

"It is really sad. She is like my sister," De-Leon said.

James was a key figure in the early days of R&B music with hit songs like "The Wallflower" and "Good Rockin' Daddy". But it was her 1961 recording of "At Last" that put her on the map.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Frank Zappa Show From 1971 Issued As Four-Disc Set

Just in time for the holidays! Frank Zappa fans can now pre-order a special four-disc set Carnegie Hall, featuring two full-length shows performed on one 1971 night at New York’s famous venue by Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Billed as a “musical marathon,” the recordings are the first ever released of that night’s shows.

The show featured Zappa on lead guitars and vocals, Mark Volman on vocals and percussion, Howard Kaylan on vocals, Ian Underwood on keyboards and alto sax, Don Preston on keyboards and gong — yes, really, remember, it was the ’70s — Jim Pons on bass and vocals, and Aynsley Dunbar on drums.

“We tweaked and we tweezed and did everything possible to be certain this does not sound like a breakfast cereal gone mad somewhere in the Van Allen Belt,” Gail Zappa, Frank’s widow, said of the set. “I am happy to say The Mud Shark Legend Continues.”

Gail Zappa also contributed extensive liner notes offering details of the shows, which are “recorded live in glorious MONO.” She also noted they “represent the ONLY time Frank Zappa, with or without the Mothers of Invention, appeared at Carnegie Hall.

Promoter Ron Delsener, who had to convince the venue’s booker that Frank Zappa was “a very accomplished classical musician of several wind instruments like the cello, viola and harp” in order to book the show, added that fans that order the set should “enjoy genius and smile, Frank is smilin’ at you.”

Track Listing:

Disc 1

1. ‘I Just Can’t Work No Longer’
2. ‘Working All The Live Long Day/Chain Gang’
3. ‘Medley #1′
4. ‘Pieces Of A Man’
5. ‘Buffalo Soldier’
6. ‘Medley #2′
7. ‘Medley #3′

8. ‘Hello (To Foh)/Ready?!’
9. ‘Call Any Vegetable’
10. ‘Anyway The Wind Blows’
11. ‘Magdalena’
12. ‘Dog Breath’

Disc 2

1. ‘Peaches En Regalia’
2. ‘Tears Began To Fall’
3. ‘Shove It Right In’
4. ‘King Kong’
5. ’200 Motels Finale’
6. ‘Who Are The Brain Police?’

Disc 3

1. ‘Auspicious Occasion’
2. ‘Divan Persist Of: Once Upon A Time’
3. ‘Sofa #1′
4. ‘Magic Pig’
5. ‘Stick It Out’
6. ‘Divan Ends Here’
7. ‘Pound For A Brown’
8. ‘Sleeping In A Jar’
9. ‘Wonderful Wino’
10. ‘Sharleena 1979′
11. ‘Cruising For Burgers’

Disc 4

1. ‘Billy The Mountain’
2. ‘Billy The Mountain’
3. ‘Billy The Mountain’
4. ‘The $600 Mud Shark Prelude’
5. ‘The Mud Shark’

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

U2 Top Earning Touring Act Of 2011

U2's 360° show was the highest earning tour of 2011, according to Billboard Boxscore.

The series of shows grossed $293 million across 44 sold-out gigs with a total of 2,887,972 people attending.

U2's 360° tour started in Barcelona in June 2009, it concluded with shows in the US in July this year.

2010's highest-earning act Bon Jovi landed the number two spot this year - 1,851,385 fans saw the "Living On A Prayer" rockers earn $192 miliion from 68 shows in 2011.

Roger Waters and Taylor Swift completed the top five highest grossing touring artists of the year.

Also in the top ten are Kenny Chesney (6), Usher (7), Lady Gaga (8), Andre Rieu (9) and Sade (10).

Other artists featuring in the top 20 include Michael Buble, Katy Perry, Lil Wayne, Justin Bieber, Glee, Britney Spears and Iron Maiden.

Billboard's rankings were based on tours which took place between November 1, 2010 and November 8, 2011.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Michael Schenker Announces 2012 Tour With Robin McAuley

In support of his Temple Of Rock album, guitarist Michael Schenker will be hitting the road in 2012 with old bandmate Robin McAuley handling the vocals. This will mark the first full tour with Schenker and McAuley together in almost 20 years.

The full band lineup for the trek is as follows:

Michael Schenker - Guitar
Robin McAuley - Lead Vocals
Elliot Rubinson - Bass
Wayne Findlay - Keyboards, Guitar
Pete Holmes - Drums

The dates are as follows:

Feb. 15 - San Francisco, CA @ Mezzanine
Feb. 16 - Santa Rosa, CA @ The Last Day Saloon
Feb. 17 - Portland, OR @ Dantes (w/ Anvil)
Feb. 18 - Tacoma, WA @ Backstage Live
Feb. 19 - Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven
Feb. 20 - Victoria, BC @ 9 One 9 Nightclub
Feb. 21 - Vancouver, BC @ Venue Nightclub
Feb. 23 - Orangevale, CA @ The Boardwalk
Feb. 24 - Corona, CA @ Marquee 15
Feb. 25 - West Hollywood, CA @ House Of Blues
Feb. 26 - San Diego, CA @ 4 Th And B Concert Theatre
Mar. 01 - Libertyville, IL @ Austins
Mar. 03 - Detroit, MI @ Harpos
Mar. 04 - Etobicoke, ON @ The Rock Pile
Mar. 05 - Cleveland, OH @ Peabody’s
Mar. 07 - Springfield, VA @ Jaxx
Mar. 08 - Foxborough, MA @ Showcase Live
Mar. 09 - Asbury Park, NJ @ The Stone Pony
Mar. 10 - New York, NY @ The Gramercy Theatre
Mar. 11 - Allentown, PA @ Crocodile Rock
Mar. 16 - San Antonio, TX @ Backstage Live
Mar. 17 - Dallas, TX @ Trees
Mar. 21 - Tempe, AZ @ Club Red
Mar. 22 - Las Vegas, NV @ Vamp'd
Mar. 23 - Agoura Hills, CA @ The Canyon Club
Mar. 24 - San Juan Capistrano, CA @ The Coach House

Meanwhile, Schenker's old band UFO will release Seven Deadly, their first new album since 2009′s The Visitor, on February 28.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Paul McCartney Plots New Album For 2012

Paul McCartney has revealed that he will release a new album in 2012.

The Beatles legend has announced that the as-yet-untitled LP will be released on February 6 next year and will feature guest appearances from Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder.

Although a track listing for the album is yet to be revealed, McCartney said it would feature covers of songs he was inspired by during his childhood as well as two new compositions.

McCartney said that the tracks chosen for the LP were "the songs which inspired the songs" he would later go on to write and also described them as "the songs me and John [Lennon] based quite a few of our things on."

Speaking about songs chosen, he said: "When I kind of got into songwriting, I realised how well structured these songs were and I think I took a lot of my lessons from them.

"I always thought artists like Fred Astaire were very cool. Writers like Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, all of those guys - I just thought the songs were magical," he added. "And then, as I got to be a songwriter I thought it's beautiful, the way they made those song'."

He also gave an insight into the studio sessions, revealing: "It was very spontaneous, kind of organic, which then reminded me of the way we'd work with The Beatles.

"We'd bring a song in, kick it around, when we found a way to do it we'd say 'Okay, let's do a take now' and by the time everyone kind of had an idea of what they were doing, we'd learnt the song. So that's what we did, we did the take live in the studio."

McCartney went on to add: "It was important for me to keep away from the more obvious song choices so, many of the classic standards will be unfamiliar to some people. I hope they are in for a pleasant surprise."

Paul McCartney released his last solo studio album, Memory Almost Full, in 2007.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Surviving Beach Boys Announce Album, Tour Plans

Earlier this week, we reported on the strong possibility of a Beach Boys reunion. Now it has been confirmed as the band and Capital Records have announced that Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, along with early member David Marks, are reuniting in 2012 for an album of new music and an ambitious 50-date tour. The occasion: the 50th anniversary of the group's landmark recording career.

The Beach Boys have recorded several songs for the as-yet-untitled album, which is being produced by Wilson, and will be released on Capital/EMI in 2012. There will also be a new hits collection and a career-spanning box set.

The tour will kick off on April 27 with a headlining performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. More dates and special appearances will be announced later.

"This anniversary is special to me because I miss the boys and it will be a thrill for me to make a new record and be on stage with them again," said Wilson, who started the band in 1961 with his brothers Dennis and Carl, cousin Love and Jardine, who was briefly replaced by Marks.

Wilson has not been directly involved with the band's albums or countless tours since their 1985 effort, "The Beach Boys." Jardine is also back in the fold 13 years after leaving the band.

Love, who has carried on in a touring version of the Beach Boys that includes Johnston, called it "a thrill to be around a piano again with Brian, Alan and Bruce and experience firsthand the brilliance of Cousin Brian's gift for vocal arrangements."

The Beach Boys were formed in 1961 in Hawthorne, Calif. and released their first single, "Surfin'" that year on local label Candix Records. They began a fruitful relationship with Capital in 1962 and released a slew of albums, "Surfin' Safari," "Surfin' USA," "Surfer Girl" and "Little Deuce Coupe" over the next few years.

By 1964-1965 their sound evolved from surf music and Brian Wilson began adding more sophisticated time signatures and studio musicians to their albums, culminating with the legendary Pet Sounds in 1966. After leaving Capital, the band signed to Reprise and released critically acclaimed albums in the 1970s, namely Sunflower, Surf's Up and Holland.

This year the band and Capital released The SMiLE Sessions.

The group has had its share of tragedy through the years, including the loss of Dennis Wilson, who died in 1983 in a diving accident, and Carl Wilson, who succumbed to cancer in 1998. Lawsuits between the Boys, ranging in issues from the use of the band's name to songwriting royalties, have long been a regular occurrence.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Announce 2012 Tour

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers have announced a series of North American concerts in 2012 prior to embarking on their first tour of Europe in 20 years.

The North American tour includes the band's first ever show at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival where they will headline the first weekend of the annual event on Saturday, April 28.

The band will also perform in the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia for the first time. They will play in St. John's, NL on June 3, and in Halifax, NS on a date to be announced shortly.

Following the Canadian dates, Petty and The Heartbreakers will head to Europe for a tour which includes their already announced headlining performance at the Isle of Wight Festival on June 22. Shows in Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, England, Switzerland, France, and Italy are currently included on the itinerary.

Petty will be live on Twitter @TomPetty Thursday, December 15, at 2:30pm PT to chat with the fans and answer questions for one hour. More details can be found at

Special guest information will be announced soon.

2012 Tour dates:

April 19 - 1st Bank Center, Broomfield, CO
April 21 - Verizon Arena, Little Rock, AR
April 24 - Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, NM
April 26 - INTRUST Bank Arena, Wichita, KS
April 28 - New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans, LA
April 29 - Verizon Wireless Amphitheater at Encore Park, Alpharetta, GA
May 1 - Germain Arena, Estero, FL
May 3 - Amway Center, Orlando, FL
May 5 - Frank Irwin Center, Austin, TX
June 3 - Mile One Centre, St. John's, NL
June 7 - 02 Arena, Dublin, IR
June 8 - The Marquee, Cork, IR
June 10 - 02 World, Hamburg, GER
June 12 - Open Air, Horsens, DK
June 14 - The Globe, Stockholm, SWE
June 15 - Norwegian Wood Festival, Oslo, NO
June 22 - Isle of Wight Festival, UK
June 24 - Hallenstadion, Zurich, SWI
June 25 - Lanxess Arena, Cologne, GER
June 27 - Grand Rex, Paris, FR
June 29 - Piazza Napoleone, Lucca, IT
June 30 - SAP Arena, Mannheim, GER

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Beach Boys Open Las Vegas Restaurant Amidst Grammy Reunion Talk

The Beach Boys are the latest rock icons to venture into the restaurant business. The Boys have confirmed that they will soon open an eatery called the Beach Boys Good Vibration Restaurant at Bally's in Las Vegas.

The "Surfin' USA" legends join southern rock giants Lynyrd Skynyrd as newbies on the Sin City culinary scene. The "Sweet Home Alabama" stars also recently opened their Lynyrd Skynyrd BBQ & Beer at the Excalibur while shock rockers KISS are opening a themed coffee house.

In an official statement about the facility, the band said it will reflect the essence of their beach culture: "We're bringing in a new cutting edge. It's more like surf fusion . . . It's going to be about what's happening in Huntington Beach, Hawaii, Australia, South Africa. It's about cars, surf, women, the lifestyle."

Meanwhile, Beach Boys Al Jardine says the band was supposed to be the subject of the Grammy Awards' big reunion announcement last month, adding that he has no idea why the major news wasn't part of the nominations party.

Grammy bosses hinted they'd be breaking a big scoop during the Grammy Nominations Concert Live event in Los Angeles and many experts predicted the announcement would revolve around a Van Halen performance at the awards show in February but there was no bombshell.

Even bosses apologized, stating, "In the world of creativity, everything is fluid. In the process of discussions that we had been having with an expectation that perhaps we would be at a point tonight where the artist involved and we, moving forward, would be ready to announce (a reunion), they weren't quite at that point."

Jardine reveals that the big announcement was supposed to revolve around a full Beach Boys reunion at the Grammy Awards.

He told Rolling Stone, "I thought the Grammys might make the announcement. I don't know what happened... There will be a surprise at the Grammys. We'll do something really exciting... It's going to be a very big operation."

Jardine says the Beach Boys have booked recording studio time this month, and he and his old band mates appear to have put their past differences behind them.

"That stuff doesn't permeate the atmosphere," he says. "When you're in the presence of greatness, you don't wallow in that crap."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Rare Kiss Record Case Sells For $4000 ‎

A 1979 Kiss record case sold for $4,000 during an eBay auction that ended on Dec. 4. This black wood case is a coveted piece of memorabilia and features the cover art from each of the original band members’ 1978 solo albums.

Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss all get their own side of the box, and the copyright of ‘Aucoin Management, Inc. 1979 by agreement with Kiss, a partnership’ is printed in small text on the outside.

The most intriguing thing about this item is the chance in a million factor that it included the original J.C. Penny Catalog shipping box that it came in. Most kids would’ve ripped that carton to shreds upon its arrival but like the band, even the box had star-power, with the iconic Kiss logo printed on the cardboard casing.

The seller, a longtime Kiss fan and the original owner of this record case, admitted to not wanting to part with this item but due to the financial crisis, made the decision to let it go. More of this seller‘s items are expected to go up for auction in the coming weeks.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rod Stewart Preps New Album, Begins Autobiography

According to Rolling Stone, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Rod Stewart has finished work on his first album of new material in more than a decade.

"It's ready to go," Stewart says. "It's seven new songs by R.D. Stewart, that's me."

The album will also feature four covers, one of a Tom Waits song.

"I don't think I've ever written seven songs for one album, which I have here," says Stewart. "People are saying that it sounds like Gasoline Alley revisited, though I don't see that. It's a hats off to the past, and also a hats off to the future."

Stewart hopes to release the LP in May.

Rod surprised even himself when he began to write songs for the project. "During the American Songbook period I thought that the art of writing songs had left," he says. "Suddenly, it all came flooding back to me. It was so much more enjoyable than when I used to write songs. I've got a bit more to write about now. They're grown-up songs. There's no 'Hot Legs' or 'Do You Think I'm Sexy?'"

The new project marks the end of his highly successful American Songbook series of covers albums. "That's all dead and gone," Stewart says. "I did five of those. We milked it dry. They all sold tremendously well. I think 7 million all together."

Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart have been planning their first collaborative album since the original Jeff Beck Group split in 1969, but the project has been delayed.

"We've run into contractual problems," Stewart says. "Hopefully we can start on it next year, if Jeff still wants to do it. I signed a deal with Universal, and they just wanted me to do an album by myself. Hopefully we can do it next, or sometime next year."

Stewart is also beginning to work on his autobiography.

"As you speak to me now, I was just in my first hour," he says. "I'm doing the period from 1945, when I was born, through 1962. I was just explaining to the guy who is writing the book what a powerful influence Bob Dylan was on me when his first album came out, which was 1962, when I was 17. So, I'm right in the middle of the book. It's going to be an epic story."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Remembering John Lennon 31 Years Later

From the Hollywood Reporter

Today marks the 31-year anniversary of the death of John Lennon.

The legendary Beatle was shot and killed December 8, 1980, at age 40 in New York by Mark David Chapman at the entrance to the building where he lived.

His death came just three weeks after the release of his album Double Fantasy, which marked the first album for Lennon since the birth of his son in 1975.

Lennon was born October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England. His first band, the Quarrymen, evolved into what became the Beatles in 1960.

He and Paul McCartney would go on to form one of the most successful songwriting partnerships of the 20th century, writing most of the group's hits.

Lennon's marriage to Yoko Ono in 1969 played a part in the disintegration of the Beatles a decade after the band's formation.

He went on to have a successful solo career, with hits including "Mother," "Give Peace a Chance" and "Imagine."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Guns N' Roses, Chili Peppers Among Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Inductees

Guns N' Roses, the seminal rock band of the late 1980s and early '90s, best known for hits like "Welcome to the Jungle," "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "November Rain," leads the 2012 class of inductees announced on Wednesday.

Also making the cut is the hip-hop trio Beastie Boys; rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers; the late singer/songwriter Laura Nyro; Donovan; and influential British rock group The Small Faces/The Faces, which included Rod Stewart and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.

Nyro, who wrote such hits as the 5th Dimension's "Wedding Bell Blues" and Blood Sweat & Tears' "When I Die," is the only female act to make it this time around. The hall passed on Donna Summer, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Heart and Rufus with Chaka Khan, who were on the ballot for 2012.

But it wasn't just women who were denied entry into the rock hall for next year. Voters also passed on hip-hop pioneers Eric B. & Rakim, War, The Cure and The Spinners.

Guns N' Roses blazed on the rock scene in 1987 with their official debut, "Appetite for Destruction." Fronted by siren-voiced singer Axl Rose, with Slash and Izzy Stradlin on guitars, Duff McKagan on bass and Steven Adler on drums, the group dominated music with its aggressive rock grooves.

The band sold millions and millions of albums, providing a sharp contrast to a pop world defined by the likes of Madonna and Michael Jackson. But the group's turmoil, often on display before the whole world, would cause the core to fall apart by 1996. Their induction should lead to talk once again of a possible reunion, at least for the induction ceremony.

Their trajectory was the opposite of the Chili Peppers. Despite troubles that included the drug-related death of guitarist Hillel Slovak and the departure of guitarist John Frusciante, the band, fronted by Anthony Kiedis, with Flea on bass, drummer Chad Smith and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, released its 10th album, I'm With You, this year.

The Beastie Boys (Adam Yauch, Mike Diamond and Adam Horowitz) are among the pioneers of rap. The first white act to make real inroads in the emerging genre, they were known initially for boorish party music, but would develop into a group critically acclaimed for its musicality, experimenting with different soundscapes, even producing an instrumental album.

Both Stewart and Wood will become second-time members of the Rock Hall (Stewart was inducted as a solo artist in 1994 and Wood as part of the Rolling Stones in 1989) for the Small Faces/The Faces, a key rock group that developed as British invasion was peaking. Among their hits was the song "Stay With Me."

"Well it's quite a thrill and honor to make it in the Hall of Fame a second time," Stewart said in a statement. "We (The Faces) were always synonymous with a good party and with this list of fellow artists being inducted I'm looking forward to (it) ... and it's a hell of a good reason to reunite and celebrate with my old mates."

Donovan is best known for trippy hits like "Mellow Yellow."

Guns N' Roses and the Faces were inducted their first time on the ballot. The Chili Peppers had to wait until their second try, and the Beastie Boys and Nyro were denied twice before making it this time around.

Other inductees include: Freddie King for early influence; the Ahmet Ertegun award for rock promoter Don Kirshner, who died earlier this year; and Tom Dowd, Glyn Johns and Cosimo Matassa, honored for musical excellence.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held in Cleveland, where the rock hall is based, on April 14.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jeff Beck Finds New Drummer On YouTube

Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame inductee, multi Grammy® award winner and Classic Rock Awards 2011 “Living Legend” winner, guitar legend Jeff Beck has chosen a new drummer for his band while searching YouTube.

“The drums have to kick me in the ass and make me want to play," Beck says, "Or I’ll just sit there all day.”

The talented drummer with “something different” that Beck found is none other than Veronica Bellino, whose diverse resume includes work with Carmine Appice’s SLAMM, Rob Balducci, and LL Cool J’s 13 as well as having co-writer credits with Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Run-DMC.

Bellino is in good company considering Beck's previous drummers include Vinnie Colaiuta, Narada Michael Walden, Keith Moon, Cozy Powell and many others.

To see Bellino in action, check out her YouTube video.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Queen Abandon New Freddie Mercury Album Plan

Queen have shelved plans to make a new album featuring recordings of Freddie Mercury's voice before he died.

Guitarist Brian May last month said he and bandmate Roger Taylor were aiming to go through their archives in order to build a record based on tracks laid down by their iconic singer before his death in 1991.

But now Roger Taylor says it's not going to happen. "I've got to tell you: there won't be an album," The drummer told Ultimate Classic Rock. "There's just not enough. And the last thing I want to do is have a sort of barrel-scraping exercise."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Howlin’ Wolf Guitarist Hubert Sumlin Paases At 80

From the Chicago Sun-Times

Hubert Sumlin put the bite behind Howlin’ Wolf.

And he then influenced a new pack of electric blues and rock guitarists.

Mr. Sumlin died Sunday in a hospital in Wayne, N.J., reportedly of heart failure. He had turned 80 on Nov. 16. Mr. Sumlin was best known as lead guitarist for Howlin’ Wolf (Chester Burnett) from 1953 until Wolf’s death in 1976.

This was no small feat. The combustible guitar parts in Wolf’s big-voiced tracks — “Smokestack Lightning,” “Spoonful,” “Ain’t Superstitious” — set Wolf on fire at Sun Records in Memphis and later at Chess Records in Chicago.

The 1953 summit of Mr. Sumlin and Wolf was to blues what the meeting of Scotty Moore and Elvis Presley was to rock just a year later.

In the current issue of Rolling Stone, Mr. Sumlin is ranked 43rd on the magazine’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page told the magazine, “I love Hubert Sumlin. He always played the right thing at the right time.”

Mr. Sumlin’s menacing lead on Wolf’s “Killing Floor” inspired Jimi Hendrix to sit in with Eric Clapton during a 1967 London gig. It would be the only time Clapton and Hendrix would play together.

Stevie Ray Vaughan was a fan. In the early 1980s Vaughan gave Mr. Sumlin a vintage Rickenbacker guitar, one that Mr. Sumlin loved so much he was afraid to take out of his house.

Born in Greenwood, Miss., Mr. Sumlin was part of the great blues migration to Chicago. He and Burnett arrived in Chicago in 1953. Mr. Sumlin had been playing with James Cotton in West Memphis, and Burnett hired him in Chicago.

“We were playing Silvio’s [at Lake and Oakley], and he said, ‘You go home when you find out you’ve got my courage, then you can come back and play my songs,’ ” Mr. Sumlin told me in a 1988 interview from his South Side home. “Man, I got home and cried all night. I slept with my guitar by my head. Then about 4 o’clock in the morning something said, ‘Hey man, why don’t you put the [guitar] picks down. You ain’t got no business using picks!’ ”

At that moment, Mr. Sumliln said, he discovered his own style, which evolved into an individualistic mix of African syncopation and itemized structure that forced the notes to stand alone. Clapton once called Mr. Sumlin’s style “just the weirdest.”

Chicago blues guitarist Dave Specter began playing with Mr. Sumlin in 1985. Wolf and Paul Butterfield drummer Sam Lay had hired Specter to join him and Mr. Sumlin on a three-week tour of Canada. Specter was 22 years old.

“Hubert was just the sweetest guy and very encouraging and supportive of younger players,” Specter said on Sunday. “I wouldn’t use ‘tough’ as an adjective for his playing. He had a totally unique sound. When you listen to his famous solos on [Wolf’s] ‘Hidden Charms’ or ‘300 Pounds of Heavenly Joy’ [later a hit for Chicago’s Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows], there is so much style to it. A lot of it had to do with his touch and playing with his fingers. There are lot of guitar players who played with their fingers and had a more aggressive approach, like Albert Collins. Your sound and your tone is a reflection of your personality.

“And Hubert had larger-than-life charm and devilishness.”

In recent years Mr. Sumlin relocated from Chicago and then Milwaukee to Totowa, N.J. Specter last saw Mr. Sumlin in 2009, when he was touring with the Nighthawks and they appeared at S.P.A.C.E., the popular Evanston music room that Specter co-owns. .

In 2010 young guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Mr. Sumlin received a best contemporary blues album Grammy nomination for “Live! in Chicago.” Mr. Sumlin was also nominated for Grammys in 1998, 1999 and 2005 in best traditional blues album categories. He never won.

Mr. Sumlin’s patience likely came from his years of traveling with Burnett.

“Once we were on the road for three months and I had to drive because Eddie Shaw [the saxophonist who became Wolf’s bandleader] wasn’t with us,” Mr. Sumlin said in 1988. “I had to set up the instruments, load the instruments. And nobody would help with nothin’. We were at Silvio’s and we were beat. I was sitting up at a table and the folks hadn’t even walked in yet. Wolf was tired and just hauled off and hit me. I hit him back. We both knocked each other’s teeth out. And the whiskey went upside the wall. I figure we tore down about $1,800 or $1,900 worth of whiskey displays.

“Yes sir.”

Mr. Sumlin had been scheduled to appear at last summer’s Chicago Blues Festival with David “Honeyboy” Edwards in a tribute to Robert Johnson. They canceled their appearances because of health issues. Edwards died at age 95 on Aug. 29.

Mr. Sumlin had a lung removed in 2004 and last year appeared at the Crossroads Guitar Festival with his oxygen tank. Earlier this year the New York Times reported that Keith Richards was assisting Mr. Sumlin with his medical bills. Richards was a guest on Mr. Sumlin’s 2005 Grammy-nominated “About Them Shoes.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mötley Crüe Launches Hard Rock Residency In Las Vegas

L.A. hard rock band Mötley Crüe has announced plans for an extended residency at the Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Called ‘Mötley Crüe In Sin City,’ the band will perform a select number of shows between February 3 and 19.

Vocalist Vince Neil, guitarist Mick Mars, bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee apparently have big plans for ‘Mötley Crüe In Sin City,’ to create a never-done- before and incredibly interactive Vegas experience.

Exact details are being kept under wraps for now to keep an element of surprise for fans.

The engagement falls during a holiday-packed time in the calendar year: Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine’s Day and President’s Day.

Mötley Crüe officially announced the news on CNN’s "Piers Morgan Tonight,” which airs tonight at 9pm ET/PT.

“It is a dream come true for me especially living in and loving Las Vegas,” says Neil. “I am thrilled that a guy like Piers Morgan would help kick it off!"

Lee adds, “I don't know about you, but when I think of Mötley Crüe I think of filthy sex, drugs, a really big show and way too much fun... sounds like Las Vegas doesn't it? A match made in heaven!!!”

Tickets, starting at $45, go on sale tomorrow, Saturday, December 3 at,, and the venue box office.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is also offering ticket and room bundles via

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Van Halen No-Show At Grammy Nomination Concert

For months now, the Grammy people have been hinting -- in a non-subtle fashion -- about Van Halen making an appearance at the Grammy Nomination concert, which took place last night. Well, the concert came and went, and no Van Halen.

Early in November, we were promised "a special live announcement from a truly iconic group regarding their historic reunion set to take place on the Grammy stage on February 12, 2012" by the organizers of the Grammy Awards. Of course, that could have still meant any number of people, but they later posted on their Twitter feed: "Does this hint make u wanna 'Jump' and 'Dance the Night Away'?" Yep, that's gotta be Van Halen.

When questioned about Van Halen's absence from the concert, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow told Reuters: "In the world of creativity, everything is fluid ... there was the expectation that the artist involved and we would be ready to announce, but the artist was not quite ready. We were genuine about the intention and discussion (but) the time frame has moved."

When asked again if the announcement was meant to be about a Van Halen reunion, Portnow said simply that the band "would have to address that themselves."

Van Halen have been anything but forthright about their impending reunion and new album. The band, for instance, never officially made a statement about a new album and a tour, but merely posted a picture with the band's current lineup -- David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen and Wolfgang Van Halen -- with big wigs from Interscope Records and Live Nation. At this point, the boys in Van Halen seem content to quietly work on their new album and let the rumor mill fill in the gaps between their occasional hints. And why not? They've earned it.