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Noteworthy Now Archives for 2010-11

Gregg Allman Returns To Form

Low Country Blues, the first solo studio album from Gregg Allman in 14 years (story), is a couple of months away, but the Allman Brothers Band mainstay says fans should not have to wait long for the one after that.  Allman, speaking with Billboard, says four songs he and T Bone Burnett worked on for the January 18 release did not make it on Low Country Blues and he '...can't wait to get back in there and cut another one.'  In addition to his own health issues - Allman underwent a liver transplant earlier this year (story), the death of his friend and producer Tom Dowd almost a decade ago made him reluctant to record.  Gregg met with Burnett in Memphis, where he learned that the producer and a pair of architects he knows were creating a sonic replica that city's Sun Records studio building next door to Burnett's house.  The prospect of doing a future recording there was enough to get Gregg into an LA studio during the closing weeks of 2009 with Burnett on the other side of the glass to for the sessions that produced Low Country Blues
Allman opens a 13 date solo tour on Dec. 28. The Allman Brothers Band returns to the Beacon Theatre for its annual series of New York concerts in March, and will tour during the summer months.


Steven Tyler In The Holiday Spirit

Local officials in Marshfield, MA got an unexpected holiday treat when area resident Steven Tyler took part in annual Humarock Holiday Stroll activities in the community south of Boston over the weekend.  The AerosmiTh front man joined Christmas carolers Saturday at the tree lighting in front of an area gift shop.  Tyler, on break from his side gig as a judge on the upcoming season of American Idol, flew home to spend Thanksgiving with his father.  He calls the chance to escape his high-profile rolls his 'solace', saying, '...this is real to me. It can get unreal... this is my grounding, I love it here'Tyler revealed that he plans to sing songs from Abbey Road at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, DC at the request of Paul McCartney.


Fallon Books Robert Plant Again

The Late Show With Jimmy Fallon is establishing itself a show musicians want to accept booking requests from.  The late night host dedicated an entire show to Bruce Springsteen on the eve of the release of the Darkness On The Edge Of Town expanded reissue (story).  December 9, Fallon welcomes Robert Plant back to the show for the second time in a couple of months.  Plant's last visit was just an interview segment, during which Fallon said he would like to have the former  Zeppelin front man back with his new group, so presumably Band Of Joy will be performing Dec. 9 on the program.


Willie Nelson Busted

Willie Nelson was released on bond a short time after being charged when 6 ounces of marijuana was allegedly found on his tour bus at a border checkpoint west of El Paso, Texas in the early hours of Friday (11/26).  A Hudspeth County Sheriff involved in the case said that Nelson acknowledged the pot was his after the stop and search.  Willie posted $2,500 bond and was free to resume the trip back to his ranch outside of Austin by early afternoon. Nelson faces a possible 80 days behind bars if convicted.  The Sheriff, Arvin West, said the Sierra Blanca checkpoint averages between 10 and 15 drug arrests daily and defended his arrest of Nelson by saying, 'It's kind of surprising, but, I mean, we treat him like anybody else.'

The Wall Hits The Big Screen

Roger Waters has been recruiting local students to sing background parts in stops on his Wall tour.  Now comes word that a film is planned around the story of how the children featured on the 1979 recording ended up on one of the most successful Rock albums in history.  Andy Harries (The Queen and The Damned United) is producing the movie about the North London music teacher who saw the opportunity to have his students appear on the album as a way to get them excited about music classes.  Harries tells Back Seat Cuddler that the film is 'Dead Poets Society meets School Of Rock.'


Floyd Reunion Nixed By Mason

Recent news that surviving Pink Floyd members are all agreeable to a reunion if the right cause and venue could be found (story) led to at least one invitation that has been declined.  The Independent reports that Roger Waters, Nick Mason and David Gilmour were approached about playing together at a charity event but turned down the proposal after finding out that the concert would be staged at the home of a former wife of wealthy Pakistani cricket player Imran Khan. Mason was quoted by the source as saying the event, '...wasn't right for a reformation of Floyd.'  Although the cause that would benefit from proceeds from the concert was not named, the drummer made clear that the band prefers to play for a larger and less exclusive audience than for a few donors willing to pay huge sums to attend what in essence would be a house concert.  The three last played together in 2005 with the late keyboard player, Richard Wright, for Live 8 in 2005.  Gilmour and Waters performed together this past summer at a club event (story).


Macabre Lennon Artifact Selling

Unusual artifacts go to auction routinely, so hearing that odd items coveted only because fate brought them into contact with someone famous is commonplace.  Things owned or touched by John Lennon are no exception. Earlier this year, a toilet from a residence Lennon lived in during the waning days of the Beatles sold for $15,000, around 10X the expected high bid.  Moments In Time puts one of the most unique and macabre Rock auction items ever on the block in mid December when it puts a copy of Double Fantasy that Lennon is purported to have autographed for Mark David Chapman a few hours before the deranged Chapman shot and killed Lennon on the sidewalk outside the Dakota Apartments up for bids. The LP is said to have been discovered in a planter outside of the building where Lennon and Yoko Ono lived in Manhattan.  The finder contracted with Moments In Time to sell the album to a private buyer in 1999 who is now using the firm to put it on the open market.  In addition to the Lennon autograph, the album comes with numerous documents including a letter thanking the original owner for use of the album in the Chapman trial and forensically enhanced fingerprints.  Odds are good that the high bidder will remain anonymous - would you want people to know you're creepy enough to own up to wanting it enough to pay what is likely to be a small fortune for it?


UK Festival Taps Kinks Leader

The same week doctors advised Ray Davies to pull out of US tour dates (story), the former Kinks front man got good news on another front.  Organizers of the Meltdown festival have tapped Davies to serve as the curator for the week-long annual music and arts event at Southbank Centre in June.  Davies, saying he is 'thrilled' by the invite, looks forward to making it 'A bridge between the past, present and future.'  David Bowie and Patti Smith are among the past curators of the festival.


Clapton Tops Influential List

A survey of musicians conducted in association with the Guitar Nation Live conference has named Eric Clapton the most musically influential figure.  EC edged out Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Chuck Berry in the poll.  The survey of attendees also compiled a list of the most desirable instruments.  Clapton's signature black Fender Stratocaster topped that list, followed by the double-neck Gibson Jimmy Page used to crank out some of Zed Zeppelin's greatest riffs, Stevie Ray Vaughn's battle axe Strat and the one-of-a-kind Red Special made famous by Brian May of QueenGuitar Nation Live is the biggest annual guitar show in England.


Sir Paul Takes A Fall

Paul McCartney did a face plant when his feet became ensnared in some equipment cables as the former Beatle left the stage at Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil earlier this week.  McCartney quickly recovered, bouncing to his feet and appearing to have suffered nothing more than  embarrassment in the incident.  Fans responded to his rapid rebound, cheering loudly as he told the crowd how much he loves South American audiences. 


Axl Rose Sues Guitar Hero Maker

It doesn't take much to get Axl Rose bent out of shape, and Activision, the company behind Guitar Hero, has apparently managed to enrage Rose enough to get the Guns N' Roses singer to file a $20 million suit aganst the company.  What's the beef?  According to the Rose legal camp, Activision was given clearance to use Welcome To The Jungle in Guitar Hero III because the company agreed not to depict or make reference to the band's former guitarist, Slash, or refer to his post GNR band Velvet Revolver.  The suit contends Rose revoked approval for Activision to use the song after he learned that Guitar Hero II included a figure the suit claims was clearly engineered to look like Slash.  The real thorn in Rose's side was the unmistakable likeness of Slash on the box of GH III.

Billy Joel Gets New Hips

Saying he had to do both at the same time because he knew he'd never go back for the second one if he only got one hip replaced, Billy Joel went through a double hip replacement recently at New York City's Mount Sinai Hospital. Christie Brinkley says her former husband made it 'look easy', according to RadarOnlineJoel, forced to use a cane in recent months, emerged optimistic that the new joints will allow him to resume performing pain free soon, saying, 'This is the longest time I've had off in I don't know how long and I had fun, but I'm ready to start playing again.' Don't rule out riding either - Joel opened 20th Century Cycles, a new dealership in Oyster Bay, Long Island with an emphasis on modified and custom built motorcycles, a few weeks before getting his hips upgraded.


Ray Davies Grounded

On orders from doctors for an unspecified condition, Ray Davies cannot travel, so highly anticipated upcoming US concert appearances by the former Kinks leader have been scuttled. Without specifying what ails Davies, a statement on his web site reads that he was "...ordered by his doctors not to fly or embark on the accompanying ground travel for the forthcoming four US dates until his medical condition has stabilized".  You don't have to be a doctor (or even play one on TV) to know that physicians often advise against air travel and prolonged periods in a seated position for patients known to have or to be at risk for blood clots.  Just sayin'.  Whatever the cause, Rock Insights joins Kinks & Davies fans in wishing him a rapid rebound to better health.
Davies recently released See My Friends, an excellent collection pairing him with guest musicians including Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne and Metallica on Kinks classics (story).


More Lennon Lyrics Going To Auction

There is sweet irony in the fact that a notice demanding payment of an overdue phone bill sent to John Lennon is now worth a small fortune.  John used the back side of the 1966 letter threatening legal action against him for failure to cough up what these days would amount to about $12 to jot down the words for I'm Only Sleeping just before the song was recorded for the  Revolver album. A nasty letter to a member of the Beatles over a pittance owed would be novel enough for it to sell at a significant multiple of the amount due.  With the lyrics on the back, the letter is now expected to bring close to a half a million dollars when it goes to auction Dec. 15. The hand written lyrics to A Day In The Life brought $1.2 million at an auction last June (story).


Willie Nelson Nobel Prize Campaign

John Mellencamp's remark that his Farm Aid partner Willie Nelson deserves the Nobel Peace Prize led to a Facebook campaign to propose that he actually get it.  Several thousand fans of the idea have registered their approval of Willie being honored with the prestigious prize on a number of sites that have joined forces in an electronic grass roots effort to get the committee to consider honoring Nelson.  Throughout his long career, the Red Headed Stranger has been a familiar figure to those supporting various humanitarian, ecological and environmental causes. He has served as one of the guiding figures in Farm Aid, the organization started 25 years ago to promote and support family farming.  He also founded a Peace Research Institute that bears his name.

Trucks Keeps Up Impressive Pace

Even though the Allman Brothers Band has reduced its tour load and the Derek Trucks Band is on indefinite hiatus, master musical multi-tasker Derek Trucks is having no trouble keeping as busy as ever.  In addition to building a new home studio, the guitarist has been writing material for the debut album from the band he and wife Susan Tedeschi front.  Trucks tells he has penned more songs for this new project than for anything he has been involved with.  The Trucks Tedeschi Band will embark on a US tour in 2011 and is weighing doing some foreign festival appearances.
Asked about his Allman Brothers Band connection, Trucks calls it an amazingly positive thing, with one notable exception - '...people who just want to hear you play Statesboro Blues.' Even that he turns into a positive by making him determined to impress even those fans with the quality of the new material the band is playing, saying, ''s good for you to carry a little bit of a chip on your shoulder to keep slugging away.'
Just to be sure the work load stays non-stop, Trucks is also in the early stages of planning his own record label with the goal of creating the kind of signature sound associated with great studios and labels like Muscle Shoals and the Memphis based Stax Records.


Daltrey Takes Aim At TV Talent Shows

You can't blame American Idol entirely for the mind numbing onslaught of the musical equivalent of junk food pumped out during the American Music Awards Sunday (11/21), but Roger Daltrey thinks that TV talent shows like Idol and X Factor have made real musical talent much less important than a lot of other factors in the minds of the show judges and viewers.  He goes so far as to dismiss the vast majority of music performed during the programs as '...absolute tripe.'  The Who front man considers the shows an affront to any artist or fan with real taste in good music, contending that the Who, The Rolling Stones and Beatles would not have even made it to the televised rounds.  He singles out Simon Cowell for having created a format that has '...belittled the power of music', and says Cowell, '...wouldn\'t know what the X Factor was if it bit him on the bollocks.'


Allmans Back In Familiar Digs

A multi-year tradition of annual Allman Brothers Band residencies at the Beacon Theater in New York came to a rude end last year when the venue informed the legendary band it had been preempted by a Cirque du Soleil run - a decision that backfired when the Cirque troupe delayed its original opening by nearly two months and then folded after getting panned by critics and audiences. Monday (11/22) Beacon officials announced the Beacon will welcome the band back to mid-town in 2011 after a one year exile uptown last March to the United Palace Theater (story).  In an industry in which few individuals or companies are up-front enough to admit a mistake, it is refreshing and worth credit to note that MSG Entertainment president Jay Marciano issued a very public apology for MSG having Done Somebody Wrong.  Marciano, did it in a press conference, telling the assembled media, ' our friends in the Allman Brothers, we were wrong.  We apologize and we're thrilled that you'll be back again with us'.  The Brothers will hold court at the Beacon for 8 concerts between March 10 and 19, 2011, with tickets on sale Dec. 4.


Acoustic Hendrix Guitar To Auction

Before Jimi Hendrix recorded some of the most electifying electric guitar songs ever laid down he would work them out on an acoustic guitar.  An Epiphone acoustic he bought for less than $25 dollars that Hendrix  used when he did pre-session prep for recording what would become one of the best cover songs in Rock history, his take on Bob Dylan's All Along the Watchtower, is scheduled to go up for bids Dec. 15 in London, and is expected to draw a top bid in the neighborhood of $200,000.


Metallica Drummer A U2 Groupie

Motorhead, Sabbath, Iron Maiden... plenty of bands strike us as ones a Metallica member would consider their favorite before U2 got mentioned.  Not Lars Ulrich.  The drummer recently told Faster Louder that he is such a huge fan of the Irish band that he would ' myself a groupie'.   Okay, he did qualify it by saying 'borderline'.  Still, it's the second funniest revelation about U2 we heard this week, finishing just behind George W. Bush admitting that he confused Bono of U2 with Sonny Bono of Sonny & Cher.
Ulrich says one reason he admires the band is their ability to persevere, calling them one of the only bands besides his own '...still functioning after 30 years', and one that is willing to reinvent themselves and think big.  Ulrich says the chance to sit where Larry Mullen does is something he'd get such a charge out of he would, '...fucking play on a parking lot' if the chance to sit in with U2 came up.  How can it not happen after he went on record with that?!


Santana Goes Symphonic

Carlos Santana has displayed versatility throughout his career in collaborations with a range of artists. Friday and Saturday (11/19&20), the guitar great takes the stage with the Oakland, California East Bay Symphony for a program that will blend his firey guitar riffs with the power of a full orchestra.  Conductor Michael Morgan looks forward to the opportunity to combine forces with the Bay Area guitar legend, telling, 'His ideas are so big, the trick [was] us fitting into his concept.  He fits in anywhere and everywhere.' The Paramount Theatre concerts will include a program of material commissioned by longtime Santana friend and collaborator Narada Michael Walton as well as a version of the George Harrison Beatles composition While My Guitar Gently Weeps.


Van Halen Shoots Down Album News

Add Van Halen to the 'is too, is not' ranks.  As with persistent reports that the Rolling Stones are planning to record and tour, VH is now denying reports that the band has been in the studio and is also throwing cold water on the idea of a 2011 tour. Larry Solters, labeled an official source for the group, shot down reports in no uncertain terms, telling, '...none of it was true', and going on to say, 'no new album is on the books... no new tour on the books.'  Since tour reports were attributed to band manager Irving Azoff (who issued no denial), and even Solters acknowledges that band members have spent time together '...working on stuff', both a tour and album still seem like good bets to us in 2011.  The amount major promoters would throw down to make a tour happen has to be astronomical. Plus, denying reports often ends up being a useful tactic to get the media to start playing closer attention to a band that's coming out of hibernation.


Morrison Pardon Plan Confirmed

Charlie Crist has confirmed that he plans to issue a posthumous pardon to Doors front man Jim Morrison before leaving office.  Speaking to the St. Petersburg Times, Crist said, 'The more I looked into it, the more I felt the right thing to do would be to try to bring about a pardon. And I've reached that conclusion now, that's what I'm going to do.'  All four members of the clemency board that meets for the final time on Dec. 9 are leaving their state positions at the end of this term, reducing the relevance of political fallout over the move from conservative voters in the largely red state. Doors members Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek expressed support for the pardon, telling the San Jose Mercury News Wednesday (11/17) that Morrison did not expose himself during the raucous Miami concert in 1969.  He was found guilty on the charge but died before his appeal of the conviction was heard.


Prince's Trust Draws Strong Lineup

London's Royal Albert Hall drew Rock royalty along with members of the British Royal Family for the Prince's Trust concert Wednesday (11/17)Eric Clapton, backed by a band that included his regular keyboard player, Chris Stainton, delivered a four song set that featured Rockin' Chair, Same Old Blues, Little Queen of Spades and Crossroads.  Also on hand for the gala that raises funds to support children's charities in the UK were Genesis veterans Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford, Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen, Jools Holland and several other musicians and comedians. The night drew to a close with a thundering version of Queen's We Will Rock You The event was filmed in 3D for a future telecast and possible wider release.


Stones In Stone

A British sculptor is seeking funding so he can recreate a meeting of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards at the site it took place - the Dartford train station in 1961.  The future Rolling Stones members had attended the same grammar school but did not stay in touch after moving on to their next school levels. On October 17, 1961, Mick was on the railway platform to catch a London bound train to get back to the London School of Economics when Richards arrived carrying a guitar.  The two rode together, talking music the whole way to London, a conversation that ultimately led to Richards joining Jagger in a band known as Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys.  10 foot statues of the two will go up on the platform if the money can be raised to pay for the project.


Springsteen Delivers For Fallon

The 11 o'clock hour scrum for late night viewers intensified with the recent return to television of Conan O'Brien, so you gotta figure Leno, Letterman and Conan would all love to have landed Bruce Springsteen as a guest the week his long anticipated expanded reissue of Darkness On The Edge Of Town hit. With E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg out as the house band leader on the O'Brien show Conan probably had no shot at booking Bruce even if he tried. Reluctance by the other hosts to devote their entire time slots to Springsteen might have cost them the chance to land The Boss.  Whatever the case, upstart Jimmy Fallon got him, and Bruce seemed more than willing to go along with whatever Fallon wanted, even joining the host during his Neil Young impersonation of Neil Young doing the Willow Smith hit Whip My HairBruce, backed by the Roots, did versions of Because The Night and Save My LoveSpringsteen seldom seems comfortable in interview segments, but pairing him with Fallon, who often seems more intimidated by the process than his interview subjects, made Bruce more comfortable and not needing to condense everything into the typical 12 minute guest slot also allowed them to invite Steve Van Zandt to join them.


Beatles Catalog Hits iTunes

The frustrating wait for legal download access to Beatles music came to an instant halt Tuesday (11/16) with the Apple Computers announcement that the entire catalog of recorded works from the band was being made available immediately through iTunes.  The long and winding road to digital availability was rocky from the start. The Beatles Apple Corp. filed notice against the computer company several years ago over the use of the word Apple when the Steve Jobs headed company moved into the digital delivery of music.  Jobs, a self-professed Beatles junkie, set out to mend things by providing the means for distributing the band's music through iTunes.  Seven years of long and contentious negotiations came to a harmonious end with a 10 a.m. announcement that the enrite catalog would be available through iTunes.  Given that the most avid fans already owned the vinyl and / or CDs they could rip from, it will be interesting to see how many will fork over the dollars to buy the official downloads.  The group sold more than 177 million albums in the US alone.


Linc Volt Among Fire Casualties

A fire that ravaged a California warehouse (story) Neil Young stores musical artifacts as well as cars he loves in last week inflicted serious damage on one of the most unique automobiles in the world - the 1959 Lincoln Continental Mark IV Young helped convert into a flex-fuel turbine driven electric hybrid (story). Fire investigators are looking into the possibility that the fire may have been triggered by a problem with the charging system in the trunk of the car.  While damage to the Linc Volt and other cars in Young's collection was described as severe, fast action by fire fighters appears to have spared a lot of his musical equipment and memorabilia. That could prove little consolation, even to a man who knows it's better to burn out than fade away.


Perry Wants To Reassume Journey Role

After a 12 year absence, former Journey lead vocalist Steve Perry wants to rejoin the group, at least  according to a report from Classic Rock magazine.  The group, which has gone through four lead vocalists since Perry parted ways with the band in 1998, has managed to maintain a high profile thanks mostly to the rampant use of Don't Stop Believin' as a rally song by sports franchises.  The song got prime time exposure this fall when the San Francisco Giants featured the anthem by the Bay Area based band in the team's World Series win over the Texas Rangers.
The magazine's web site attributes a Perry request to reassume his role in the band to guitarist Neal Schon, who was quoted in an article in The Daily Star.


Sammy Hagar Birthday Bash Mash-up

Bay Area Sammy Hagar fans that have not ventured south to his original Cabo Wabo Cantina in  Cabo San Lucas for one of the Red Rocker's annual birthday bashes can attend parts of all of them virtually.  Go There Once Be There Twice, a film documenting the fabled parties, gets its premier December 11 at the Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, California.  The screening comes complete with Hagar's signature margaritas and tacos, and possibly a brief performance by Sammy and the Wabos.  Proceeds from the event and toys collected with a toy drive will go to Homeward Bound and the Throckmorton Theatre Scholarship fund.


Unusual Tribute To Garcia

A 75lb bronze replica of the right hand of Jerry Garcia protruding from a boulder now occupies a space at the Santa Barbara Bowl in California.  Annabelle Garcia-McLean, one of the late Grateful Dead guitarist's daughters, represented the family at a private dedication, make that Deadication, Wednesday (11/10)Scott Brittingham, a Dead Head who chairs a campaign to raise funds to improve the facility, donated $1 million through his family foundation and arranged to have artist Tom White create the 18" high bronze work.  Garcia lost a portion of a middle finger on his right hand following a mishap while messing around with a blade and piece of wood as a young child.  Brittingham notes that, 'Other than his smile and his beard and his long hair, the hand is one of the most distinctive things about him.'  Beneath the hand a plaque lists fond descriptions of the man known as Captain Trips, including his daughter's favorite - Cosmic Explorer.


Bruce Joins Jersey Bar Band

Thursday night (11/11), Woody's Roadside Tavern in Farmingdale, NJ got to treat customers to a special guest when a cat toting a guitar, bundled in a beige coat  and wearing a star emblazoned baseball cap climbed up on stage to join the group Timepiece.  The band, which includes Michael Scialfa, brother of Bruce Springsteen's life and band mate Patti, got the thrill of having Bruce join them on Mustang Sally.  Springsteen, content to stick to background harmonies, contributed some scorching guitar riffs to the loose version of the song he and the E Street Band have busted out on occasion live.


Gilmour's Wife Parties On

Polly Samson, author and wife of former Pink Floyd member David Gilmour, not only comes clean on past indulgences, the novelist says she looks forward to drug parties with friends in her old age.  48 year-old Samson admits to being the 'stoner' of the family, saying she even turned her 76 year-old mother on to hash a couple of years ago.  She tells Lady magazine that her mother claimed it had no effect on her, but erupted in giggles throughout the night.  Samson looks forward to doing the same, saying, 'Drugs are not just for the young, I'm going to have drug parties for all my pensioner friends when I'm in my 70's.  It'll be the best fun.'


2010 Classic Rock Awards

Alice Cooper served as MC at the 6th annual Classic Rock Awards program in London Wednesday (11/10).  The event produced honors for AC/DC (Band Of The Year), the Rolling StonesExile On Main Street), Slash (Album Of The Year for his self-titled solo debut), and (Re-issue Of The Year for Rush (Living Legend Award). Individual awards went to Geezer Butler (Metal Guru), Yes veteran Rick Wakeman (Spirit of Prog), and Led Zeppelin and Them Crooked Vultures bass player John Paul Jones (outstanding Contribution).  A posthumous honor was presented to Ronnie James Dio, who won the Tommy Vance Inspiration award.


Richards Unloads On Critic

At least one critic wishes Keith Richards memory was as sketchy as some contend it is.  Markus Larsson, a Swedish journalist, sat down with the Rolling Stones guitarist in Paris to interview him about his recently published autobiography, Life.  According to reports, Richards, holding a grudge relating to a negative review Larsson gave the Stones three years ago, demanded an apology from him.  Larsson, thinking he was kidding around, found out otherwise when Richards allegedly smacked him in the head.  Larsson fled the interview as Richards snarled, 'You're lucky to get out of here alive.'


Lennon Jacket Goes Under Gavel

The Sgt. Pepper style jacket John Lennon appeared in on the cover of a 1966 issue of Life magazine heads an impressive line-up of auction items being offered Dec. 3 & 4 at a Beverly Hill auction being conducted by Julien's Auctions.  The Icons & Idols auction purports to be the most extensive collection of rare John Lennon and Beatles memorabilia open to bids from the general public.  Scheduled for sale during the two day event are handwritten lyrics, clothing and artwork created by Lennon, including a collage he made for Elton John's 28th birthday party and original drawings for his book A Spaniard In The Works. The jacket, which is expected to fetch up to $200,000 could once almost have been had for next to nothing.  The military band style jacket was recognized by a Salvation Army driver in a batch of clothing destined for a New York City distribution center.
Among the other rare and unique items in the December sale is a Sears Silvertone electric guitar Jimi Hendrix borrowed from a friend to use when the young six-string sensation was playing in a Seattle area band known as the Velvetones, and a guitar custom painted and signed by Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones. Close to 100 artifacts associated with Michael Jackson are included in the sale - along with an item that is weird enough that MJ would probably have someone there to bid on it for him if he was around to do it - front and side brain x-ray plates of Albert Einstein.


Condition Critical For Gerry Rafferty

Gerry Rafferty, who came up with one of the biggest FM radio hits of 1978 when his song Baker Street, a song featuring soaring saxophone parts from Raphael Ravenscroft took off, was reportedly on life support with dim prospects for survival after suffering from kidney failure about a week ago.  The singer, hospitalized in Bournemouth, England, was expected to be transported to London if his condition is stable enough to permit the move.  Rafferty, who has battled alcoholism, got his first break in the band Stealer's Wheel when Stuck In The Middle With You became a big hit.
His most recent recording, released through his web site last year, is titled Life Goes On.  We hope it does for the Rafferty, who has had a rough go of it in recent years. 


Glastonbury Goes Solar

A cow shed on Worthy Farm, the site of the Glastonbury music festival, is sprouting solar panels on a scale that will make it the largest private solar facility in the UK.  With 1,116 solar panels on the building known as the Mootel, the power output will be equal to the annual average needed to juice 40 homes, reducing the site's carbon footprint by around 100 tons per year.  While Here Comes The Sun played in the background, festival organizer Michael Eavis told those assembled for the unveiling, 'We had to make a big statement - and this is what we've done', and called the project, '...the best fun I've had here for ages.'  Eavis, a pretty good energy source himself, is also upbeat from the expectation he will soon be able to confirm U2 will play Glasto in 2011 to make-up for the band's inability to do it last year.  It's a safe bet that prospects the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and Van Halen will tour have major festival organizers scrambling to open new lines of credit.


Springsteen Booked For Fallon

Between a string of special screening appearances in London, Rome and Ottawa, the Stand Up for Heroes benefit in New York and club concerts with Joe Grushecky on consecutive nights in Pittsburgh last week, Bruce Springsteen is nearly as busy as when he's on tour.  Just added to his November schedule is a Tuesday (11/16) appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.  The show airs just as the massive Darkness On The Edge Of Town reissue goes on sale.  Springsteen is expected to perform on the program, but whether he'll play on his own, backed by members of the E Street Band, The Roots (the Fallon house band) or some combination remains a mystery.  At the Stand Up For Heroes event he had the Max Weinberg Big Band augmented by E Street pianist Roy Bittan backing him.


Fire Strikes Neil Young Warehouse

An early morning three alarm fire at a warehouse in San Carlo, California Tuesday (11/9) has reportedly damaged items stored in it belonging to Neil Young.  A San Francisco Chronicle account of the blaze indicates that instruments, artwork, vintage cars and many more artifacts belonging to Young were likely at risk, despite that fact that fire fighters arriving on the scene quickly managed to knock the fire down.  Security guards called-in the alarm on the structure just west of California's Rt. 101 at around 3am.  A preliminary estimate pegs the loss at $1million or more.


Pardon For Jim Morrison Possible

A posthumous pardon to Doors lead singer Jim Morrison could be one of the final acts Florida Governor Charlie Crist will sign before leaving office. Morrison, who grew up in Melbourne, Florida and attended Crist's alma mater Florida State, was rung-up on indecent exposure charges after a Miami Doors concert in March of 1969.  The singer died in 1971 before serving any sentence on the conviction.  Noting there were doubts about how the case against Morrison was presented, Crist said a pardon is '...something I'm willing to look into in the time I have left', adding, 'Anything is possible.'  Footage from the incident leading to the charges against Morrison is included in When You're Strange, the excellent Doors documentary released on DVD earlier this year (story).  Despite being obviously out of his mind drunk during the performance, he was cleared on the public intoxication charge during the trial.


Lou Reed Changes His Tune

After the request by UK talent show sensation Susan Boyle to perform a cover of his 1972 song Perfect Day on America's Got Talent was nixed a couple of months ago, Lou Reed made amends by asking her to let him direct the video of her version of the song.  The decision to turn down her original request reportedly caused the dowdy Scottish singer to cancel her appearance on the US show.  Reed insists the refusal was due a publishing rights error and had nothing to do with him or his opinion of Boyle, who more than readily accepted Reed's olive branch, telling the Sunday Mail, 'I loved that Lou understood how much it meant to me to film in Scotland. I didn't mind how much it rained or blew a gale - I enjoyed every minute of it.


Hendrix Woodstock Strat Plugs In

Kenny Wayne Shepherd gets the honor of playing The white Fender Stratocaster that Jimi Hendrix used during his appearance at Woodstock and the Newport festivals in 1969 - yes, the one he used during the Star Spangled Banner, in what became an iconic live instrumental performance for the ages.  The guitar, on loan from the Experience Music Project museum in Seattle, will be played by Shepherd Wednesday (11/10) during the taping of a special on Hendrix being presented by Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.  Following that session, the guitar and Shepherd will make their way to the Beacon Theatre for the Experience Hendrix concert, where it will be used in front of a concert audience for the first time in more than 4 decades.


Pearl Jam Mines Live Archives

Pearl Jam has compiled a live release celebrating the Seattle band's 20th anniversary.  The collection, titled Live On Ten Legs, will be available to the band's Ten Club members and through what the band web site describes as 'select digital and independent music retailers' on January 18, 2011.  The release will showcase 18 tracks remixed by engineer Brett Eliason.  A deluxe edition will couple the CD with a double album, four reduced scale versions of tour posters, photos of the band in concert and a backstage pass.  Given the band's authorized release of plenty of live material from recent tours, we would expect and hope that most versions of early songs come from concerts that were only previously available in marginal quality bootleg form.  Origins have not been cited, but here is the track list:

Arms Aloft
World Wide Suicide
Got Some
State Of Love & Trust
I Am Mine
Unthought Known
Rearview Mirror
The Fixer
Nothing As It Seems
In Hiding
Just Breathe
Public Image
Spin The Black Circle
Yellow Ledbetter



Derek & Dominos Expanded Editions

Layla And Assorted Other Love Songs, the only studio album released by Derek & The Dominos, has a couple of reissues in the works that will include bonus material.  A double disc Deluxe Edition will be supplemented by a super-size package that reportedly will include 4 CDs, a DVD and two vinyl albums.  Material from sessions at Criteria Studios in Miami that produced the original double album featuring Eric Clapton, Carl Radle and Jim Gordon with Bobby Whitlock and Duane Allman will reportedly be remastered by Clapton for the special editions, which are expected to drop in March, 2011.  In addition to a recent self-titled studio album (story), Clapton also released a deluxe version of his 1974 album 461 Ocean Boulevard.


Another Hang-Up U2's Spider Man

It's reportedly lights out again on Turn Off The Dark, the over budget, overdue Spider Man Broadway musical featuring the music of U2.  New York Post coverage of the troubled production indicates that complex stunts and special effects will require more rehearsals to perfect, resulting in a delay of at least an additional week.  Previews had been scheduled to begin Nov. 14.  The paper reports that there is some speculation that the opening could be pushed all the way into 2011.


Byrds Alum Bashes Eagles

Chris Hillman says he admired the early line-up of the Eagles, but lost interest in the band after Bernie Leadon left.  The former Byrds member told the Calgary Herald that Leadon's departure marked the start of what he calls the '...almost paint by numbers' version of the Eagles, which he describes as becoming a band with ' improvisation',  in which, '... everything was perfect, but there was no soul.'  Hillman, now touring with Herb Pederson, contends that the Byrds deserve credit for starting Country Rock, saying, 'Gram Parsons and I defined it in the Flying Burrito Brothers and handed it off to the Eagles.'  He claims Glenn Frey would come out and 'study' the Burrito Brothers when they played in LA for the ideas the Eagles '...took to the bank.'

Billboard Doles Out Tour Awards

To nobody's surprise, U2 copped the two biggest awards at the annual Billboard Touring Awards event at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers Thursday (11/4) in New York City.  The U2 3600 tour nabbed Top Tour honors as the top grossing tour and Top Draw for the most tickets sold, two awards that must be decided by the Department of Redundancy Department at Billboard.  Metallica was voted the Eventful Fan's Choice award, while AC/DC locked up the Top Boxscore honor for its run of dates in Sydney on the Black Ice tour.  Canadian power trio Rush collected the Legend Of Live award at the event.


Bruce Stands Up & Plays For Heroes

The Beacon Theater hosted the Stand Up For Heroes benefit Wednesday (11/3) in New York.  The annual benefit to raise dollars for the Bob Woodruff Foundation hosted by the Daily Show's Jon Stewart also drew performances from Tony Bennett and Jerry Seinfeld.  Backed by the Max Weinberg Big Band with E Street Band pianist Roy Bittan, Bruce delivered versions of Open All Night and Kitty's Back before being joined on stage by Patti Scialfa on If I Should Fall BehindSpringsteen, just back from screenings of The Promise in London (story) and Rome, heads to Pittsburgh for Thursday and Friday performances with Joe Grushecky celebrating the anniversary of the release of American Babylon, the 1995 album by the Steel Town Rocker that Bruce produced.


Richards Tells BBC Stones Will Tour

It's generally assumed that Mick Jagger always gets the final say in what the Rolling Stones will or won't do, and to this point we only have Keith's word to go on, but he contends that Jagger is good-to-go on a 2011 tour.  Talking to BBC 6 Music, the Stones guitarist claimed 'Everybody's ready to go out there again', adding, 'Only we will know when it comes to an end, with a crashing halt.'  At various times in recent months reports have circulated that the group is making plans to stage another world tour that could have a run as long as two years. Richards also said that he and Mick still have unfinished material left off the last Stones album to finish up work on, and that both have ideas for more songs he expects the two will '...put together in December or January.'


Aerosmith Back To Basics

Joey Kramer has news that will be music to the ears of any Aerosmith fan that lost interest in the band after it veered in a more pop direction several albums ago.  Kramer tells Spinner that the band is on the same page about making what he calls an 'old-school' Aerosmith album within the next year.  Group members seem optimistic that Steven Tyler's recent assurances that he can fulfill commitments to Aerosmith while he is on the judging panel of American Idol are genuine.  Even Joe Perry, the most outspoken critic of his band mate's decision to take the AI gig, seems willing to cut Tyler some slack.  Kramer thinks that after weathering the conflicts that the band went through during the last year that, ' this point in time, the only thing that's going to stop us is if someone out-and-out dies.'



Yes Inks Label Deal

Jon Anderson, already jacked about Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White enlisting the services of Benoit David to replace him as Yes vocalist on the road (story), cannot be pleased with the news the band has signed a new recording contract and plans to have an album of new material ready for a summer 2011 release. The deal puts the prog-Rock band on Frontier Records, a label based in Italy. A release from the company quotes Squire as saying the addition of David and Oliver Wakeman, the song of former Yes keyboard member Rick Wakeman, '...inspired the impetus behind the need for Yes to return to the studio.' Howe added that the forthcoming album, the group's first in a decade, will ' a new leaf in Yes music's continuing development.'


Early Hendrix Guitar Draws Big Bid

One of the first instruments Jimi Hendrix owned brought a top bid of more than a quarter of a million dollars Tuesday (11/2) in a UK auction.  The Fender Duo-Sonic model that Hendrix  used while performing with the Isley Brothers during much of 1964 under the name Jimmy James was sold for just over $265,000 during the Cameo Auctioneer sale in Berkshire that also featured a pair of Hendrix original paintings that went for $28,000.


Modern Acts Bore David Gilmour

David Gilmour says he finds very little to like about contemporary musicians.  Speaking to the Daily Express, the former Pink Floyd guitarist says new music leaves him not nearly as impressed as he is with the music from artists of his own era. 'I keep waiting for someone who is as good as the old favorites I love, like Neil Young and Leonard Cohen, but I wait in vain - I can only live in hope.Gilmour's comments suggest he thinks the decline of the record industry during the download era has played a role in the lack of younger acts he feels will ever become as significant as the musicians of the 60's, 70's and 80's.  He expects the advent of online music will come to a '...point at which one will look back at it and think of this period as a blip'.


Gregg Allman Recruits Dr. John


A January 18 release date has been set for Low Country Blues, the first solo studio album from Gregg Allman in 14 years.  The project, being produced by T-Bone Burnett, will include Allman regulars Dennis Crouch (bass) and Jay Bellerose (drums), augmented by guitarist Doyle Bramhall II, who co-produced the recent release by Eric Clapton (story), and New Orleans legend Dr. JohnGregg, who recently resumed doing concerts following a liver transplant (story), is slated to appear with the Allman Brothers Band in a tribute to the late ABB bass player Allen Woody in New York City November 22 (story).


Dead Net Unleashes Free Live Tracks

Grateful Dead fans have 30 reasons to love November. is offering a free download of a mixing board quality song from the band's massive archives every day of the month.  The site will also award the first person that correctly identifies the concert each day's song was taken from their choice of a Grateful Dead Road Trips series CD.  All Dead Heads submitting a correct ID of a song's date and venue will qualify for a random weekly drawing for a vinyl box set of the Grateful Dead Warner Brothers albums or a Formerly The Warlocks collection.


John Lennon On New Coin

A resounding majority of Brits responding to a poll to decide who the Royal Mint should put on a new coin voted for John Lennon. Each coin in the limited run of 5,000 released Monday (11/1) carried a value of 5 pounds and was offered for $72.  David Knight of the Royal Mint said the sentiment to go with the Beatle was overwhelming, with 92% of participants naming Lennon as their first choice.


Kinks Reunion Chances Dim

If Ray Davies ever gets hit by a bus there's a good chance his brother will be at the wheel.  While the two have seldom had anything civil to say about each other, Dave seems to never miss an opportunity to prove he can be the nastiest.  In an interview in the Daily Mail printed just before his brother's new album comes out (story), Dave is quoted as equating his brother to a vampire, saying he ' me dry of my ideas, emotions and creativity', and calling Ray a 'control freak'.  Both brothers admit it's been some time since the two were together.  Dave claims that one of the last times he and Ray were in the same place was at Dave's 50th birthday party, where he says that moments before he could cut his birthday cake Ray '...jumped on the the table and made a speech about how wonderful he was. He then stamped on the cake.' As for a Kinks reunion, Dave dismisses the idea as something that would 'taint' the music, saying, 'It would be a shame.  You don't need to see silly old men in wheelchairs singing You Really Got Me.'


Rundgren Issues Marching Orders

Indiana University professor Todd Rundgren (story) put in some OT during the weekend.  The Rocker led the IU Marching Band during a 4th quarter performance of Bang The Drum All Day at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington to rev up Hoosier fans on hand for the gridiron showdown against Northwestern.  The home team rallied to within a field goal with a 39 yard TD pass with less than a minute left, but came up empty on the ensuing on-side kick, losing to the Wildcats 20-17.



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