Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Alice Cooper Hosting All-Star NYE Bash

Attention, residents of Maui: If you’re spending a relaxing New Year’s Eve at home tonight and you find the soothing strains of your favorite Don Ho CD suddenly overpowered by high-voltage rock ‘n’ roll, don’t worry. That’s just Alice Cooper and friends ringing in 2014 the only way they know how.

Cooper tells ABC News Radio that it’s all part of a charity event he hosts every year in order to raise money for a local food bank. “We just kind of like put all the guys on the island together and make up a band,” he explained during a recent interview. “We never know who’s going to be on the island, so the band changes every year.”

“The guys on the island” for this year’s event will reportedly include Steven Tyler, Sammy Hagar and “Weird Al” Yankovic, all of whom will be part of a classics-heavy set that Cooper says will lean on covers everyone knows by heart, like the Beatles‘ ‘Back in the U.S.S.R.’ and the Rolling Stones‘ ‘Brown Sugar.’

And speaking of the new year, Cooper was asked to name some of his resolutions for 2014, to which he responded that his first one is “to be more tolerant of wimpy rock” — a reference to an interview he gave several months ago in which he mocked the softer sounds of bands like the Lumineers and Mumford & Sons as “not rock ‘n’ roll.”

“There’s just so many young bands out there that are so introspective that they’re boring as hell,” he explained. “I want to hear bands that play from their groin, not from their brain. I come from a different era where every band was exciting. You’d go to see Deep Purple or you’d go to see Thin Lizzy or Jimi Hendrix or Cream …Those bands were just great rock monsters, and you just can’t find those guys anymore.”

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Iron Maiden Using Music Piracy To Drive Concert Ticket Sales

Many artists might try to quash piracy of their music to the best of their ability. Iron Maiden is using it to potentially get ahead.

The British metal outfit has teamed up with an analytic company to determine where its music is being pirated from -- and then plotting tour dates in the most lucrative areas.

Iron Maiden and U.K.-based Musicmetric are working together to figure out hotbeds of piracy of the band's music; though Musicmetric specializes in multiple aspects of the analytics business, one of its services is monitoring the traffic on the BitTorrent network.

Partnering with the company showed the band that, in addition to its usual major markets in the U.K. and U.S., there was a noted spike of traffic in South America, while also determining that a large chunk of the band's Twitter followers were from the continent as well.

"If you know what drives engagement, you can maximize the value of your fan base," Gregory Mead, CEO and co-founder of Musicmetric, said. "Artists could say ‘we're getting pirated here, let's do something about it’, or ‘we're popular here, let's play a show.’"

In response, Iron Maiden has focused much of its touring efforts in the continent over the past few years, seeing great gains in tickets sold, as well as social media interactions.

As actual music sales continue to dwindle, Musicmetric could be a formidable partner for bands in determining its strengths -- and weaknesses -- across the globe, potentially driving more and more ticket sales.

"If you engage with fans, there is a chance to turn a percentage into paying customers," Mead said. "You can see that through various bands using the BitTorrent network in a legal way to share content."

Friday, December 20, 2013

Ian McLagan Uninterested In Reuniting Faces In 2014

Ian McLagan, keyboard player for both the Small Faces and the Faces, has said he is not interested in a reunion with Rod Stewart. At least for a couple years.

McLagan talked with Britain's Uncut Magazine, telling them that he and drummer Kenney Jones will be spending 2015 working on 50th anniversary activities for the Small Faces.  Stewart had recently announced he had talked to Ronnie Wood and a reunion of the latter group was a real possibility for the same year.

Along with already having plans, McLagan is upset with Stewart not showing up at two previous possible reunions with the group, including their induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In Stewart's defense, he said he was sick and couldn't travel to the U.S. for the event.

Instead, the Faces brought in Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall to fill in for Stewart during a number of festivals and shows. 

McLagan said "It’s interesting that Rod announces these things without talking to me or Kenney. Why would we fuck around with the Faces when we’ve got bigger fish to fry? We’ve done the Faces and he didn’t turn up.

"Rod says he’s keen to do it now, and I believe him, But he’ll have to wait until 2016 because 2015 is The Small Faces’ year."

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cat Stevens 'Taken Aback' By Rock Hall Induction

Whether he's called Cat Stevens or Yusuf (Islam), as he's been known since 1977, the iconic singer-songwriter is happy to be headed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

"There's no problem. It's me," Yusuf says, adding with a chuckle that, "I don't think anybody should begrudge me the small satisfaction of this honor by giving it to someone else. I'm feeling very good about it, and it kind of affirms one of my lyrics (from 1971's 'The Wind'), which says 'Where I end up, what I think, only God really knows."

Yusuf, who was previously nominated for the Rock Hall in 2006, says the news that he'll be part of the class of 2014 -- being inducted April 10 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn -- came as "a big surprise. I was taken aback because I was kind of used to a, if you like, kind of status of self-detachment from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I see that the acceptance of me in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is kind of a rapproachment thing, which is very welcome. It's good because a lot of people may have, I don't know, taken different views about my life choices (his surprising and controversial conversion to Islam during 1977), but it's come back down to the music, which is good. When you start out in music you certainly don't see anything like this; you just do it because you love what you do. I'm not sure I feel very comfortable being in a museum, but you can't stop life doing things to you."

Yusuf says he plans to attend the induction ceremony but hasn't yet been asked to play.

"I'm hoping they'll go straight to Kiss," he says with a laugh. He is, however, working on a new album, his first since 2009's Roadsinger, which he says has "a kind of bluesy" tone at the moment.

"That's an area of my musical background and influence which has never really revealed itself to people," he notes. "It's something I've always wanted to do. Going back to the 60s, all of Britain was enamored with what was happening in the blues world, and I was one of those who was an avid fan of blues and R&B. And in the end my voice seems to be quite interestingly suited to that kind of genre, too, and I'm having a great time doing it."

Yusuf says he hopes to have the album out before the end of 2014. Having completed a recent tour of South America, he also plans to perform live during 2014, though no dates are currently on the books.

"I'm getting bombarded with lots of offers, and they're all very lovely, too," Yusuf says. "One of the things I find very enjoyable right now is to go to certain countries that I've never been to before and places that would never have dreamt of seeing me, perhaps, perform. I'm sort of ticking them off one by one, and there's so many great places to play. I'm picking and choosing where I like to go, and I make it quite a holiday for myself as well. I take the family along, and we have a great time."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Keith Richards' 12 Most Kick Ass Riffs

From NME.com

If rock’n’roll could be turned into flesh and made to walk the earth, it would look and sound a lot like Keith Richards. It’s not the skull ring, the elegantly wasted appearance or the chemically-enhanced bloodstream that does it – although that all helps – but the fact that he has an unerring knack of hoovering up pretty much all of the greatest guitar riffs ever written. In last year's Christmas issue of NME, the man himself told us exclusively about The Rolling Stones’ triumphant 50th anniversary shows, his plans for the New Year and reveals which of his many, many riffs is his favorite. On the day he turns 70, cheating death improbably for another year, here’s a dozen of my own personal selections. Believe me, it’s only the beginning: 

Start Me Up - One of Keith’s most world-famous riffs, it’s sort of surprising to learn that this track was originally conceived as a reggae number and took the band six years to get right after originally trying it out in 1975. It’s now so instantly recognizable that it’s the riff that Keith uses to announce himself and Mick at the Rock’n’Roll Fantasy Camp in The Simpsons.

Street Fighting Man - Beggars Banquet is the first in a flawless four-album run that lasted from 1968 to 1972, and this is its center point. An exhilarating kicking-against-the-pricks moment, it also proves beyond question that great guitar riffs don’t have to be electric.

Honky Tonk Women - In his cracking autobiography Life, Richards talks lovingly about how much the open G guitar tuning changed his playing forever – and this is a great example of how it sounds at its best: deep-fried and filthy.

Beast Of Burden - Part of Keith’s genius is his ability to make a great riff work for a slower ballad just as well as a foot-stomping rocker. He’s not concerned with being the center of attention: Ronnie Wood plays the solo, and throughout the song their guitars weave interchangeably, but the woozy riff is pure Richards.

Brown Sugar - Now that’s how you announce a song: those opening staccato notes sound the alarm before the definitive hip-wiggling riff, the perfect companion for Jagger’s taboo-crushing tale sadomasochistic slave rape with a taste of heroin.

Tumbling Dice - Written late at night in the elegant front room of Keith’s French chateau, Villa NellcĂ´te, this is a Richards riff at his laidback, rolling best. The rest of the song just hangs on as best it can and lets it glide.

All Down The Line - Another cut from Exile On Main Street, Mick Taylor’s slide guitar is great but again it’s all about Richards’ driving riff that makes this track a classic.

Bitch - Back at the dawn of time, before MP3s had even been dreamt of and all records had to be turned over halfway through, this was the opener to side two of Sticky Fingers. Given that the opener of side one was "Brown Sugar," this had to be special – and it might even be a better riff. As unstoppable as a freight train with burnt-out brakes.

Rocks Off - Exile’s opener turns around on itself a couple of times, then kicks into maybe the druggiest, most strung-out riff of all time – and that’s a category with a fair bit of competition. As Keith himself sings, it’s “zipping through the days at lightning speed.”

Can’t You Hear Me Knocking - Is there any sound more exciting that the opening lick of ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’? No, frankly. Ted Demme knew this when he set the opening cocaine-production montage of the Johnny Depp-starring Blow to this tune. As Keith himself wrote in ‘Life’: "'Can't You Hear Me Knocking' came out flying - I just found the tuning and the riff and started to swing it and Charlie picked up on it just like that, and we're thinking, hey, this is some groove. So it was smiles all around. For a guitar player it's no big deal to play, the chopping, staccato bursts of chords, very direct and spare."

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction - The legend goes that he wrote this one in his sleep. Or at least, he woke up just long enough to play it into a tape recorder before falling asleep – the recorder capturing him dropping the pick and then “snoring for the next forty minutes." Keith wanted his riff sketch to be replaced by horns – as Otis Redding would eventually do on his cover – but manager Andrew Loog Oldham convinced him to release it as it was and his signature sound – and a legend – was born.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash - After mucking around with psychedelia – with dubious amounts of success – on Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Stones announced their return to rock’n’roll with Richards’ greatest ever riff. Mind-blowingly cool, it went on to soundtrack everything from Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets to Johnny Depp’s Hunter Thompson driving off into the desert at the end of Terry Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. As for the riff itself? Well, as Keith himself puts it: “It just floats there, baby.”

Monday, December 16, 2013

KISS Wins Fan Vote For Rock And Roll Hall OF Fame Induction

KISS have won the fan vote for induction into the 2014 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

The poll ended with KISS at 17.22 percent, followed by Nirvana at 15.69 percent, Deep Purple at 11.93 percent, and Yes at 10.88 percent.

The Rock Hall's official poll will be used to create a single online fan vote. That will be matched against about 600 voters consisting of artists, historians and members of the music business.

The artists who get the most votes will be announced later this month December and will be inducted at a New York City ceremony next April. Highlights from the event will be shown on HBO in May.

During an interview with The Huffington Post, KISS frontman Paul Stanley took time to salute the band's fans while taking a swipe at chairman of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Foundation, Jann Wenner, when asked if he ever sees a day when KISS will be inducted into the Rock Hall. "Well, it depends on who lives longer, us or Jann Wenner," Stanley said.

"Look, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is marketing," he continued. "You've got a bunch of faceless people in a back room who trademark a name that sounds very official. Well, if you had thought of it first, you would have been the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. I am one of the biggest Laura Nyro fans. I still listen to that stuff incessantly. Laura Nyro does not belong in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Songwriter Hall Of Fame? Absolutely."

He went on to plead his case, saying: "It's absurd for anybody to look around and hear the acts and artists who cite us as an inspiration, and then tell me that we're not in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. I would certainly accept on their (the fans) behalf because it seems to be a major sore spot for them, but I don't need the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame."

KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons told Rolling Stone last year about being shut out of the Rock Hall: "It's become a joke. We've been thinking about it and the answer is simply, 'We'll just buy it and fire everybody.' In all seriousness for the fans, for something to be called Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is such an insult to Madonna, Blonide...Who the fuck knows what other disco act is in there? It's an insult to them because they don't get to be in the 'Dance Hall Of Fame', because that's what they do. They're legitimate dance, disco artists. They don't belong in rock and roll."

Stanley added: "The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has reached a point where they're really scrounging and scratching to find someone left that they consider viable. With all due respect, when you get to Patti Smith, you're about two steps away from Pete Seeger."

Gene Simmons told The Pulse Of Radio that awards hold little allure for him, since it's the fans that ultimately decide who stays around and who doesn't: "Our awards are under the 'K' section in record stores. Every time somebody goes out and plunks down their hard-earned money — either for a KISS ticket or for an album — that's the award, and reward."

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rhino Spotlights Otis Redding And Aretha Franklin With New Boxed Sets

Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin's powerful voices continue to be the standard by which all other soul singers are measured. But they also share another bond through "Respect." Redding originally wrote and recorded the song in 1965 and two years later Franklin's cover version transformed it into a female-empowerment anthem known around the world.

Rhino will pay some respect of its own to these legendary artists during Black History Month when it releases new four-disc sets that showcase their individual careers. Due out on February 4, The King Of Soul and The Queen Of Soul, both feature over 85 tracks and will be available for a suggested list price of $44.98 each.

The King Of Soul's arrival coincides with the 50th anniversary of Redding's debut album, Pain In My Heart, which helped define the sound of Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee. This new set features 92 songs and retraces the singer's career from his meteoric rise to his untimely death in a 1967 plane crash.

The songs reveal the breadth of Redding's talent, starting with his gift for songwriting: "I Can't Turn You Loose," "Ole Man Trouble" and "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," his posthumous #1 hit. His reputation as a magnetic and dynamic performer is well served by a selection of live performances recorded in 1966 at the Whisky a Go Go in L.A. ("These Arms of Mine" and "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag") and in 1967 during the legendary Stax/Volt Revue tour of Europe ("Shake" and "Try a Little Tenderness.")

Redding was also an expert interpreter of other artist's work, putting his distinct twist on everything from Solomon Burke's "Down in the Valley" and William Bell's "You Don't Miss Your Water," to the Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and Smokey Robinson's "My Girl." THE KING OF SOUL also spotlights his unforgettable collaborations with singer Carla Thomas like "Lovey Dovey" and "Tramp."

The Queen Of Soul creates a rich musical portrait of Franklin's incomparable run at Atlantic Records between 1967 and 1976. Packed with 87 songs arranged chronologically, the set opens with generous selections from the first five studio albums she recorded for the label - I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Aretha Arrives, Lady Soul, Aretha Now, and Soul '69. Recorded between 1967 and 1968, all five of the albums topped the R&B charts and gave the world classics like "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Chain of Fools," "Think," and the #1 smash "Respect."  The set also mixes in several rare outtakes of songs like "It Was You" from Aretha Arrives and "Talk to Me, Talk to Me" from Soul '69.

The collection also spotlights the great music Franklin recorded in the 1970s, including the two albums she released to open the decade - This Girl's in Love with You and Spirit in the Dark. The former boasted an electrifying version of the Band's "The Weight" with Duane Allman on slide guitar, while the latter featured the hit "Don't Play That Song."

Along with several singles from this era ("Spanish Harlem" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water"), The Queen Of Soul also gathers up several live performances with "Spirit in the Dark" (Reprise with Ray Charles) from Aretha Live at the Fillmore West (1971), plus several songs from her live album Amazing Grace (1972). The latter recording won the Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance in 1973 and remains Franklin's best-selling album to date.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Rare Beatles Songs To be Released

Rare recordings of 59 songs by the Beatles will go on sale for the first time on Tuesday (December 17) when Apple Records makes them available for download.

Apple, the label founded by the Beatles in 1968, said it would release a series of tracks from the early 1960s that were previously only available as bootleg recordings.

Among the songs to be released on iTunes are versions of "She Loves You", "A Taste of Honey" and "There's a Place", as well as outtakes, demos and live performances recorded for BBC radio.

A spokeswoman for Apple Records declined to explain the timing of the release or comment on speculation that it was aimed at extending copyright over the material.

In 2011, the European Union ruled that copyright over sound recordings should be extended from 50 to 70 years from next year, but only for recordings released before the 50-year term had expired.

The bulk of the Beatles tracks available for download from Tuesday were recorded for the BBC in 1963 but not released.

Others have already capitalized on the changes to EU legislation to maintain control over their back catalogs.

The legislation has been dubbed "Cliff's law" in Britain for the additional royalties it would provide for veteran rocker Cliff Richard, whose songs had been starting to fall out of copyright.

In late December last year, Sony Music released a compilation of Bob Dylan recordings from 1962 and 1963, giving away the reason for the move with a frank subtitle: The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. 1.

Sony only released 100 copies of the Bob Dylan recordings. It was not immediately clear whether Apple Records would limit downloads of the Beatles songs.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Redemption Day CD Featuring Heart and Others To Benefit Food Banks

Heart, Yoko Ono, Jackson Browne, Melissa Etheridge, Nils Lofgren, Little Steven and Indigo Girls are just a few of the many artists who have come together to lend a helping hand to Tunes4Food - Redemption Day, a newly released CD on Popadelic Records that will benefit three Feeding America Food Banks: Food Bank of Western New York in Buffalo, Cleveland Food Bank and Long Island Cares/The Harry Chapin Food Bank in Hauppauge, New York.

Available now on iTunes for $9.99 and eBay (in packs of 2, 3 or 10 ranging from $25 - $100 that all include free shipping and promo stickers), Tunes4Food - Redemption Day features 19 tracks in all.

Trying to answer the question, "What would John Lennon do to help feed the needy?," Bob James and a group of music students in Buffalo, New York, came up with the idea for Tunes4Food and quickly organized a continuous 25-hour benefit concert on the steps of City Hall (June 2009).

"Distinct from crisis-driven benefits, this is a proactive campaign to address the growing need for help not only in these particular communities, but across our country," says campaign manager and project producer James. "Unfortunately, hunger is a growing epidemic but, with this drive, I think we can make a measurable difference."

It's been determined that for every Tunes4Food - Redemption Day CD sold, the Feeding America Food Banks can purchase approximately 40 meals.

Links to purchase the CD can be found on the Tunes4Food website at www.tunes4food.org.

To further advance the cause, winter events and local musical performances have been scheduled in the three cities of the benefiting food banks, with a spring benefit being planned for Los Angeles.

"It's amazing that a small grassroots community service music club in a Buffalo classroom has drawn together some of the biggest names in music," comments Bob James, who was recognized by Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1999 for a music campaign relating to school safety in the Buffalo area.

"We have deep appreciation for the artists and their staff that helped build this album. We hope that the meals generated to feed those in need will be received in that spirit and we challenge musicians in other communities to adopt this idea."

As stated by Feeding America, "Hunger exists everywhere in America. It does not matter if you live in a urban, suburban or rural setting - hunger has no boundaries."

Help the cause and spread the word.

This CD is dedicated to the songs, lives and courage of Pete Seeger and Joan Baez.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Led Zeppelin Gets Spotified

Led Zeppelin and Spotify today announced that the band's legendary Swan Song/Atlantic catalog is now available for streaming on Spotify.

Nearly 45 years after the band's groundbreaking debut album catapulted them to rock superstardom, Led Zeppelin's full album catalog is now available to stream on-demand for the first time, exclusively on Spotify.

Starting today, fans across the world can stream songs from the band's first two albums (Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II) with additional albums being released at midnight local time each day for the next four days, making the full Led Zeppelin catalog of studio and live albums available on Spotify by Sunday, December 15.

Full release schedule listed below.

Wednesday, December 11 - Led Zeppelin (1969) and Led Zeppelin II (1969)
Thursday, December 12 - Led Zeppelin III (1970) and  Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
Friday, December 13 - Houses Of The Holy (1973) and Physical Graffiti (1975)
Saturday, December 14 - Presence (1976) and In Through The Out Door (1979)
Sunday, December 15 - The Song Remains The Same (1976), Coda (1982), BBC Sessions (1997), How The West Was Won (2003), Mothership (2007), and Celebration Day (2012)

The announcement was made today by Spotify CEO/Founder Daniel Ek in New York City.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Crosby, Stills & Nash Announce 2014 U.S. Spring Concert Dates

Crosby, Stills & Nash have announced a series of U.S. concerts for spring 2014, beginning March 4 at the Carpenter Center in Richmond, VA.  The dates follow their critically acclaimed tour of the U.S., Europe and the U.K. throughout 2013. The group will perform songs from their extensive catalogue, as well as new material from each member. 

Advance tickets go on sale directly on the official CSN website at 10 AM PST Wednesday morning. For tickets and information click here: http://bit.ly/csn2014.

The itinerary runs through March 24, closing with a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center in Durham, NC.  Tour highlights also include the Palace Theatre in Louisville, KY (3/8), Murat Theatre in Indianapolis IN (3/14), Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN (3/21), and the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA (3/22).  Once again, CSN will be accompanied by its backing band featuring: Shane Fontayne (guitar), Steve DiStanislao (drums), Kevin McCormick (bass), James Raymond (keyboards), and Todd Caldwell (organ).

David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash unite as “three together” for the March 2014 dates amid a full slate of side and solo projects:
  • David Crosby undertakes a solo tour in the U.S. in January and February in support of CROZ, his first solo release in 20 years. The album will be released January 28 on Blue Castle Records, the label Crosby and Nash founded in 2011.
  • Stephen Stills recently toured with The Rides, his blues-rock trio with Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg; their album Can’t Get Enough was released last summer. Carry On, a 4-CD box chronicling Stills’ career—produced by Nash and Joel Bernstein—also came out in 2013.
  • Graham Nash recently wrapped a solo tour—followed by an ongoing book tour for his long-awaited autobiography Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life, published in September by Crown Publishing Group. Nash also exhibited his artwork and photography throughout 2013.
This March, CSN will be donating $1 per ticket sold to charity. And, excluding VIP and special benefit seat packages thru their official website, all spring tour tickets sold to the general public are priced under $100.

Details and complete tour schedule are available at www.crosbystillsnash.com.

More than four decades since CSN first harmonized in Laurel Canyon, and played its first-ever concert as a trio at the legendary Woodstock festival, its members continue a creative partnership that is one of the most influential and enduring in music.  David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash have each been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two times — with Crosby, Stills & Nash, and a second time with The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and The Hollies, respectively. They are also in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, honored both for CSN as a group, and as individual solo artists.

March 4 -  Richmond, VA Carpenter Center
March 5 -  Newport News, VA Christopher Newport Univ. - Ferguson Center
March 7 -  Charleston, WV Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences
March 8 -  Louisville, KY Palace Theatre
March 11 - Des Moines, IA Civic Center of Greater Des Moines
March 12 - Peoria, IL Peoria Civic Center
March 14 - Indianapolis, IN Murat Theatre
March 15 - Battle Creek, MI Firekeepers Casino Event Center
March 18 - Columbus, OH Palace Theatre
March 19 - Ft. Wayne, IN Embassy Theater
March 21 - Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
March 22 - Atlanta, GA Fox Theatre
March 24 - Durham, NC Durham Performing Arts Center

Monday, December 9, 2013

Heart Cancels SeaWorld Show Amid 'Blackfish' Controversy

Add Heart to the list of bands that are bowing out of a show at SeaWorld because of the CNN documentary "Blackfish."

"Heart has chosen to decline their forthcoming performance at SeaWorld on 2/9/14 due to the controversial documentary film 'Black Fish,'" the band said Sunday on its verified Twitter account.
Sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson did not elaborate.

But the duo isn't the first to cancel a concert at the Florida theme park because of the film.
Country singer Willie Nelson and Canadian rock act Barenaked Ladies also pulled the plug on their shows.
"While we're disappointed a small group of misinformed individuals was able to deny fans what would have been great concerts at SeaWorld by Heart, Barenaked Ladies and Willie Nelson, we respect the bands' decisions," SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattscheck said on Sunday.

The documentary -- which first aired on CNN in October -- tells the story of the killing in 2010 of experienced SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau by a 12,000-pound orca.

The film raises questions about the safety and humaneness of keeping killer whales in captivity over the past 39 years.

Moved by the documentary, fans started online petitions asking musicians to stay away.

When the Barenaked Ladies nixed their plans last week to play at SeaWorld, they explained that it was a decision made after viewing "Blackfish."

"This is a complicated issue, and we don't claim to understand all of it, but we don't feel comfortable proceeding with the gig at this time," the band said in a Facebook post.

When SeaWorld's Gollattscheck confirmed Nelson's decision not to sing at SeaWorld, he cited "scheduling conflicts," but Nelson said it was because of the documentary and petition.

"I don't agree with the way they treat their animals," Nelson said. "It wasn't that hard a deal for me."

SeaWorld said it would like the musical artists to learn for themselves about SeaWorld.

"The bands and artists have a standing invitation to visit any of our parks to see firsthand or to speak to any of our animal experts to learn for themselves how we care for animals and how little truth there is to the allegations made by animal extremist groups opposed to the zoological display of marine mammals," Gollattscheck said.

SeaWorld says the documentary ignores the park's conservation efforts and research.

"'Blackfish' focuses on a handful of incidents over our long history at the exclusion of everything else," wrote Michael Scarpuzzi, vice president for zoological operations at San Diego SeaWorld, in an op-ed on CNN.com. "Not a single interview with a guest who was inspired and enriched by their experience with killer whales at SeaWorld. Not one visitor who left SeaWorld more aware of the need to preserve the world around them. Not one word about the thousands of ill, orphaned and injured animals rescued by SeaWorld or the millions of dollars we dedicate to supporting conservation and research."

Friday, December 6, 2013

Bruce Springsteen's 'Born to Run' Lyrics Auctioned For $197,000

A handwritten, early draft of the lyrics to Bruce Springsteen's 1975 hit "Born to Run" fetched $197,000 at auction today at Sotheby's, according to the Associated Press. The auction house claimed the copy once belonged to the Boss' former manager, Mike Appel, but would reveal neither the seller nor the buyer, who bid by telephone. It was originally estimated to sell for between $70,000 and $100,000.

The draft, which Springsteen wrote in 1974 in Long Branch, New Jersey, contains many unpublished and unrecorded lyrics, though Sotheby's said it had a "nearly perfected chorus." AP reports that Springsteen scrawled the text haphazardly, in blue ink on ruled notepaper, with words like "wild" and "angels" written in the margins.

"Although Springsteen is known to have an intensive drafting process, few manuscripts of 'Born to Run' are available, with the present example being one of only two identified that include the most famous lines in the song," Sotheby's auction notes said. "This iteration expresses the darkness that the early versions are known for, but has the distinction of a nearly perfected chorus."

Springsteen had an acrimonious fallout with Appel after the release of "Born to Run." The manager sued the singer-songwriter and prevented him from releasing music until they reached an out-of-court settlement. The Boss' next album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, came out in 1978.

Appel and Springsteen have since made amends; AP reports that the singer invited his former manager and son to fly with the band in 2009 to witness a gig where he played the entirety of his debut, Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ, which Appel had coproduced.

Springsteen's next album, High Hopes, is due out January 14th. It will contain a mix of covers, studio outtakes and re-recorded originals.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Neil Young & Robert Plant Pay Tribute To Bert Jansch

A host of musicians headed by Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant on Tuesday (December 3) night celebrated the life and work of Bert Jansch, the late Scottish guitarist who influenced generations of players from Neil Young to Johnny Marr with his stew of blues, folk and jazz.

On a London stage decorated to look like Les Cousins, the Soho folk club where Jansch held court in the 1960s, they played his songs and others that had inspired him, and reminisced about "a magical man, an occasionally shambolic man," in the words of Martin Simpson.

Jansch died in October 2011 of lung cancer at the age of 67 and Tuesday would have been his 70th birthday.

If he never achieved huge popular fame to match his talent, his standing amongst his peers was evident in a Royal Festival Hall line-up that was a virtual Who's Who of British folk, among them Ralph McTell, Donovan and members of Pentangle, the folk-jazz group with whom he found his greatest commercial success.

Neil Young, who once described Jansch as the Jimi Hendrix of acoustic guitar, was not present in body but appeared on a large screen in a specially-recorded video in which he played "Needle of Death", Jansch's tale of heroin addiction that Young has acknowledged as the inspiration for his own classic "Needle and the Damage Done".

The Canadian told how in his early days as a folksinger in Toronto, he played Jansch's albums endlessly.

The Glasgow-born Jansch cut his teeth in Edinburgh before hitchhiking down to London in the early 1960s and quickly made a name for himself in clubs such as the Troubadour and Les Cousins.
His playing brought together folk, blues and jazz with a muscular, finger-picking style, and also drew in some Middle Eastern and Asian flavors picked up on his travels. He brought out a string of albums such as "Jack Orion" and "Rosemary Lane", that were to be a huge influence on the likes of guitarist Jimmy Page, later to form Led Zeppelin.

He was still recording and touring till shortly before his death - his last performance being with a reformed Pentangle at the Royal Festival Hall in August 2011, three months before he passed away.
"He was what we had - the Americans had Dylan, who picked up Woody Guthrie, we had Bert, who found the hidden music of these islands," McTell told Reuters after the show.

"He was sexy, he was cool. Women found him alluring, men admired him for that. I treasure the friendship I had with him for 40 years."

McTell kicked off the concert with "Angie", an intricate instrumental that was one his best known songs. Donovan recalled hanging out with Jansch in his kitchen. "He taught me his licks, not a great looker but he got all the chicks," he said in short poem written for the occasion.

Another highlight came from bassist Danny Thompson, a former Pentangle member and stalwart of the British folk scene, who played Charlie Mingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", a song he said Jansch loved.

Pentangle, featuring original members Jacqui McShee, Thompson and drummer Terry Cox, closed off the first half with "Poison", a song that alludes to Jansch's battle with booze. They were accompanied by former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, who worked with Jansch in his later years as a new generation switched on to him.

Martin Carthy, the godfather of British folk, played "Blackwaterside," a traditional Ulster song that Jansch made his own. The song would later became the basis of Led Zeppelin's "Black Mountain Side".

Plant, dressed in black, was a far cry from the rock god who had fronted Zeppelin. He cast a spell with a moving version of "Go Your Way My Love.". Speaking to Reuters later, he acknowledged that Jansch had helped to open a treasure trove of blues for the band as well as inspiring their folkier side.
"We all came to a similar place, but we concentrated on different levels. Bert was digging up stuff, blues from Mississippi, for example. He was a digger for us all," he said.

The show wrapped up with the massed ranks of musicians singing a rollicking "Strolling Down the Highway," which blew away any sense of melancholy.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

John Densmore & Robbie Krieger Of The Doors To Hold Joint Q&A

Drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger of the Doors take the stage for a special joint Q+A on Thursday, December 5 at the Bing Theater in Los Angeles following a screening of Mr. Mojo Risin': The Story of L.A. Woman, the 2012 documentary about the creation of the legendary band's sixth album.

Densmore and Krieger will be on hand after the film to answer questions and also remember fellow band members Ray Manzarek, who passed away in May, and Jim Morrison, whose birthday is just a few days after the screening on December 8.

"Jim's words spoke to me in rhythms. His soul always came shining through." said Densmore.

"It makes me sick to think about all the cool stuff we might have come up with in all this time, had Jim lived longer," says Krieger. "I often wonder why so many great people pass on at such an early age. Could it be that when you're gone, you stay at that age for eternity? If so, the jokes on us!"

The screening is part of Film Independent at LACMA, a film series produced by Film Independent and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and presented by The New York Times.

An Evening with The Doors
Thursday, December 5
7:30 p.m.
LACMA, Bing Theater, 5905 Wilshire Blvd.

The Doors emerged in the 1960s as one of rock music's most influential bands thanks to the creative chemistry between drummer John Densmore, guitarist Robby Krieger, keyboardist Ray Manzarek and singer Jim Morrison. The band formed in 1965 after Manzarek and Morrison met while both were attending UCLA's film school. The group went on to release six landmark albums between 1967 and 1971 - all of which have been certified platinum or better. The band also earned a reputation for its intense live performances, including its unforgettable concert at the Hollywood Bowl in 1968. The Doors lost its frontman in 1971 when Morrison died while living in Paris.

The documentary Mr. Mojo Risin' focuses on L.A. Woman, which the band recorded in December 1970 at The Doors' Workshop in West Hollywood, not far from the Bing Theater. Recorded mostly live in the studio, the 10-song album was produced by the band and longtime engineer Bruce Botnick. Released in April 1971, the album became an instant classic, earning double-platinum status on the strength of two Top 20 hits - "Riders on the Storm" and "Love Her Madly" - and the powerful and sprawling title track.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Badfinger's Joey Molland Releases New Solo Album

Joey Molland, best known for his work with Badfinger, has released his fourth solo album, Return To Memphis on UK's Gonzo Multimedia. The new CD features 10 new Molland compositions recorded at the world famous Royal Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.

“I was raised on a diet of Memphis music, and it was a thrill for me to record there," Molland said. "I also made a lot of friends.”

Signed to the Beatles' Apple label in the late '60s, Badfinger would go on to score four consecutive worldwide hits from 1970 to 1972: “Come And Get It” (written and produced by Paul McCartney), “No Matter What,” “Day After Day” and “Baby Blue.”

In 1971, a cover of the Badfinger song “Without You” by Harry Nilsson became a number one hit on the Billboard charts. Surviving member Joey Molland has continued to keep the Badfinger flame alight through concerts and recordings over the past 30 years. And now he's returned with an album of his own, Return To Memphis, produced by Carl 'Blue' Wise.

Molland explained the process. “The album is quite a departure for me and the sound is very different, the treatment of the songs, the song content, and Carl's production and Memphis roots all make for a much simpler approach," he said. "I wrote all the songs and they have a lot of meaning to me...I know everybody gets their own feelings out of songs, but you know, I think the songs talk about relevant things and I look forward to peoples' reaction to them. There are no real Badfinger power chords or anything like that. No real jamming guitars...well...maybe a little bit, and I do play some slide on it... Carl had four girls come in to sing 'oohs' and 'aahs' and harmonies which was great, and I played with a three-piece Memphis rhythm section. So it's a really simple sounding record and I'm just hoping that people will like it.”

Originally from Liverpool, Molland now resides in the US, where he continues to perform with Joey Molland's Badfinger. Along with Joey on guitar and vocals, the current lineup features Mark Healey (bass/vocals), Steve Wozny (keyboards/vocals), Mike Ricciardi (drums).

For updated tour information check Joey Molland's official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OriginalBadfinger.

To purchase Joey Molland's Return To Memphis CD, go to http://www.gonzomultimedia.co.uk/product_details/15625/Joey_Molland-Return_To_Memphis.html.

Additional information can be found at http://www.badfingersite.com/ and https://twitter.com/BadfingerJoey.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Yoko Ono Compares Being Blamed For Beatles Split To Being Accused Of Murder

She's a musician, songwriter and outspoken peace activist, but for many, Yoko Ono is best known as the woman who marked the beginning of the end of the Beatles. That may not be fair, but John Lennon's widow has had to live with that reputation all the same, and in a new interview, she compares it to a far worse allegation.

"It feels like I was accused of something that I didn’t do, which was breaking up The Beatles,” she told Interview magazine. “That was like being somebody who is in prison without having done anything wrong. It’s like you’re accused of murder and you’re in prison and you can’t get out."

Ono, 80, believes the idea that she was behind the Fab Four's rift led to the public's lack of appreciation of her own music for "40 years or something." But she's turned the "big energy of hatred" around now.

"I wasn't valued by people, or if they did value me, it was in a particular way," she said. "So I started to feel that if no one else loved me, then I had to love myself. I thought, 'Darling, you know you work so hard. You are always trying to do good. But somehow it's not being appreciated. I feel sorry for you.' That's what I was thinking at the time — and I kind of like myself for being that one who survived regardless."

In addition to surviving the reputation she had with some Beatles fans, Ono has even survived the strained and bitter relationship once that existed between her and one Beatle in particular — Paul McCartney.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, McCartney admitted that they've moved on from their feuding days.

"She's a badass," he said of Ono, crediting time as "the great healer" between them. "I thought, 'If John loved her, there's got to be something. He's not stupid.'"