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Noteworthy Now Archives for 2010-12

Lead Actress Bails On Spider Man

Making a Broadway musical based on the super hero Spider Man is proving to be as good an idea as making a Superman action figure out of Kryptonite.  Lead actress Natalie Mendoza has reportedly left the production with music scored by Bono and The Edge of U2 a couple of weeks after she sustained a concussion during one of the preview performances (story).  Several other cast members have suffered an array of injuries during rehearsals and preview performances of the technically challenging production.  Dec. 20 a stunt double for Spider Man was sent to the hospital after a fall of around 20 feet.  The musical, already nearly a year behind schedule, could face further delays unless an understudy is able to step into the role being vacated by Mendoza.


Mellencamp & Wife Reportedly Split

2011 will begin with the end of 20 years as husband and wife for John and Elaine MellencampTMZ is reporting that the couple has decided to split-up in an account that says both of them are '...proud of their 20 years together and are very happy with their accomplishments both as parents and as a family.'  Reports the singer has been keeping close company with actress Meg Ryan have been put in play by some celebrity tracker sites that keep tabs on Hollywood types.
The Mellencamps met when the then Elaine Irwin was hired to appear on the cover shot of the Indiana Rocker's 1991 album Whenever We Wanted.  The couple has two children.


Empty Seats Finally Having Impact

The fact that tickets to many concert tickets are sold many months ahead of the date of the show made artists, managers, agents and promoters think the live music business would weather the recession better than it ultimately did.  Theaters, arenas and amphitheaters continued doing good business long after other sectors of the economy had begun to tank.  Once solid attendance was no longer being sustained by tickets sold well before the severity of the recession was generally known, 1/2 empty venues became an increasingly alarming norm.  That triggered desperation discounting in the hope that some of the slack could be made up by increasing the volume of concession and merchandise being hawked at concerts.  Whatever cushioning effect it had was far too little to offset the fact that, on average, 40% of the seats have been empty during a good stretch of months during the last two seasons.
Artists and agents continued to demand fees that showed complete disregard for the economic pummeling that promoters, venue operators and their fans were taking.  A drop of 12% in box office business between 2009 and the close of 2010 seems to finally have made those on the talent side of the equation realize that they had to be more responsive to the new economic realities of the concert business.  2011 should see a reversal in the gravity and reality defying uptick in the average ticket price for concerts.  Too bad it took so long for big artists to get a grip on the fact that the booming economy that allowed them to demand guarantees that are the single biggest determining factor in ticket prices ended for their fans a long time ago. When your real world economic hardship means a charter instead of a private jet, understanding it's unreasonable to expect average fans to spend more on a concert ticket than they do on their car payment comes slow to some.

Hot Tuna Cooks Up New Album

Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady have been playing together in Hot Tuna for decades.  But the two Jefferson Airplane veterans had not recorded a new studio album as Hot Tuna for 20 years before entering the Levon Helm Studio in Woodstock this fall.  The album sessions included contributions from Levon Helm Band and Bob Dylan mainstay Larry Campbell.  No album title or release date has been announced yet, but Kaukonen says it was '...exciting to start going places we haven't been before', calling it like, '...driving a new road in the old car.'

Demolition Risk Rises For Ringo's Birthplace

The battle to prevent the demolition of the brick home that Beatles drummer Ringo Starr was born in suffered a big setback when the English Heritage Society reportedly decided against designating the residence at 9 Madryn Street in Liverpool as an official English Heritage site. Coming just days after the same body announced that status for the Abbey Road album cover street crossing (story) and months after it declared similar protection of an apartment John Lennon and Yoko Ono had lived in for only a matter of months (story), the decision was denounced as ludicrous by fans of the drummer.  While opting not to apply English Heritage status to the site may not doom the building, it does appear to make demolition a much more likely prospect - and bolster the argument that drummers don't get enough respect.



Walsh To Fly Solo Again

Joe Walsh and Jeff Lynne have been working together on separate solo projects due out in 2011 under each artist's name.  As is the case with the Lynne album (story), the Joe Walsh project involves material he has been working up for quite some time.  The new Walsh release, the first solo album from the James Gang and Eagles veteran since 1992, may be ready for release as early as April or May.  The guitarist tells that both his busy schedule with the Eagles and having to rediscover how to write and perform after becoming clean and sober in 1994 accounted for some of the delay in his return to the studio as a solo artist.


Keith & Mick Talk 2011

Ron Wood has pestered Mick Jagger and Keith Richards about getting the Stones back into the studio and on the road over the last several months.  Richards now says that he and the Stones front man did get together recently in New York and that Jagger brought up the subject of things the Rolling Stones should consider taking on in 2011.  During a recent Radio 2 interview  Richards said he '...kinda got a hint of an itch from Mick so we started to talk about the possibilities for next year'.  The guitarist went on to say one challenge is ' to make the Stones grow up'Richards also said he is pretty sure that senior member Charlie Watts is willing to participate in whatever comes up.  Previous reports had indicated that the now 69 year-old drummer would record but no longer tour with the band.


Graham Nash Honored For Photography

Eastman House in Rochester, New York will honor Graham Nash as the latest George Eastman Honorary Scholar for his contributions to photography in a ceremony on Jan. 22.  The Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young veteran has earned other awards and recognition for his photos, but says this distinction means a great deal to him.  Calling the Eastman House the Woodstock of photography, Nash credited the museum as being a  '...truly a fascinating place that I've used as a resource for many years.' In addition to remaining musically active, the Rock Hall of Fame member manages Nash Editions, a highly respected printmaking studio that produces high caliber digital prints for some of the world's best photographers. Photos included in his book Taking Aim: Unforgettable Rock n' Roll Photographs will be on exhibit at the museum through the end of January.


U2 Members Find Refuge

Severe winter weather that stranded holiday travelers in Europe caught Bono and The Edge of U2 without a place to stay.  That was solved when Dromoland Castle arranged to staff the luxury hotel so the U2 singer and guitarist would have a place to stay.  The band's flight from Australia was diverted to Shannon due to the extreme weather that gripped much of western Europe.  While the hotel was closed so staff members could enjoy the holiday with family members, the manager found no shortage of employees willing to come in to provide services for the U2 entourage.  The hotel head's wife even saw to it that Bono & company were well fed during the unscheduled stop over.   Irish Independent


Steven Tyler In Giving Mood

Some kids in the Quincy MA area are having a healthier, happier Christmas thanks to the daughter of Steven TylerMia Tyler went shopping with her father at a Whole Foods store near their Marshfield home south of Boston Christmas week. At the check-out counter, the younger Tyler suggested that her dad should make a generous donation to the store's campaign to fill food bags with healthy foods that would be distributed to children through the Quincy Crisis Center.  The Aerosmith lead singer did - to the tune of $500.


Morrison Pardon Falls Short

The pardon Governor Charlie Crist of Florida secured that clears a conviction from the late Jim Morrison's record (story)  falls short of what other band members contend the state of Florida owes their former band mate.  Claiming  '...grandstanding by ambitious politicians' was behind bogus charges of lewd behavior brought against the lead singer in 1969, band and family members issued a statement saying an apology was in order in addition to the pardon.  The unanimous decision of the clemency board to vacate the conviction has angered both supporters of the band's lead singer and those who feel the verdict should stand.  


Kinks Fanatic Aims to Reunite Band

A Kinks fan determined to do everything possible to bring the surviving band members back together has produced a movie about the group partly in the hope it will do just that.  Even if Do It Again: One Man's Quest to Reunite the Kinks fails to get the famously feuding Davies brothers to make peace and make music together again, other fans of the band will at least have an a movie tribute to the band to enjoy, provided Geoff Edgers can get approval from Ray Davies to release the film.  The Boston Globe arts reporter attempted to recruit dozens of high profile musicians to participate in the project.  All but a handful shot him down.  One that came through was Sting, who both speaks of his admiration for the band and sings in the film, which has earned praise from fans and critics during the limited screenings it has had to this point.


Abbey Road Crossing Protected

One of the most popular tourist trod pieces of pavement in the world has finally been granted English Heritage status.  The famed zebra crosswalk near Abbey Road Studios in London the Beatles strode across on an August day to be photographed for the cover of the 1969 album bearing the studio name is an English Heritage Grade II site.  The designation, which provides official recognition of a location, building or monument as a site of important national interest (ya think!), is now protected from alteration.  Never in much of a hurry to get around to these things, UK officials gave similar status to the studio only earlier this year.
Watch people risk life and limb to have friends snap their picture on the Abbey Road web cam.


Robinson Vows Crowes Will Return

Saying the indefinite break the Black Crowes began after wrapping up a farewell tour in San Francisco is quite different from the way the band parted company 8 years ago, singer Chris Robinson fully expects the band will regroup in the future.  Speaking with Artisan News Service, Robinson said the 2002 split came at a time that '...the band wasn't fun and things didn't feel good.'  Attitudes and reasons for going into this hiatus are all positive, according to Robinson. 'Me, my brother Rich and Luther Dickinson all have babies now.  I want to take a little break with my wife and son.' Chris Robinson Video


Young Not Discouraged By Fire

The November fire attributed to a malfunction in the charging unit for his prototype near zero emission car that destroyed a warehouse and damaged a treasure trove of archived materials has not deterred Neil Young from his mission to change the automotive industry.  Putting a positive spin on the calamity, Young quipped, 'Barn's burnt down. Now I can see the moon.' On a more serious note Neil observed, 'On a project like this, setbacks happen for a reason', and went on to proclaim that his Lincvolt will be '...ready for the next chapter and the next ride' after replacement of the diesel-electric hybrid power plant that drives his massive 1959 Lincoln Continental down the road at a conventional logic defying 80 miles per gallon.


Budget Hawk Picks On The Dead

Wastebook 2010, a compilation of Congressional spending that Senator Tom Coburn complains is unwarranted, is targeting $615k in government support that was earmarked for the Grateful Dead archive housed on the University of California Santa Cruz campus. The money, which reportedly was procured so the University could digitize items in the extensive collection, was lumped-in with other expenditures he characterizes as ' and extravagant ways to waste tax dollars.'  Another funding decision The report railed against was the approval for $200,000 to examine 'ambiguous' comments made by politicians.  You can bet the farm and the ranch (along with the House and the Senate) that the organization that landed that chunk of change will spend some extra time checking the Oklahoma Republican's statements in the Congressional Record and his voting record.

Injuries & Delays Mount For Spider Man

How bad have things been for the Broadway musical Bono and The Edge of U2 composed music for? So bad that a NPR program host recently joked that anyone interested in touring Chernobyl, the the nuclear plant in the Ukrainian region of the Soviet Union that had a catastrophic failure in 1986, but unwilling to spring for the airfare could consider seeing a disaster of similar proportions by getting tickets to Spider Man.  What has already been an expensive and problem riddled production suffered another setback Monday (12/20) when a cast member landed in a New York hospital after reportedly falling more than 20' during a Foxwoods Theatre preview performance.  Already nearly a year past its anticipated opening, the official opening of Spider Man: Turn Off The Dark was recently pushed back again - from January to February.
While the actor that fell was not identified, an account someone attending the preview gave to CNN suggests it was one of the stunt doubles for the title role. Late last month, leading role actress Natalie Mendoza was injured when she was struck in the head by a large rope backstage.


Wood Urging Stones to Play Festival

Ron Wood continues to try to convince Mick and Keith that the Rolling Stones should stop gathering moss in 2011.  His latest public lobbying came up during an interview in the Metro, when he told the publication the 2011 Glastonbury festival is something he'd love for the band to do.  As for the prospects that will happen, the guitarist said, '...we haven't had a get-together for three years but it's high time.' With the exception of a limited lot of tickets being held back until early spring, the June event is already sold-out.  Organizers have yet to confirm any of the acts for the festival's 2011 run.  U2 is widely expected to appear (story) after Bono's back surgery bounced them out of contention last year.


Plumped-Up Thin Lizzy Reissues

Expanded reissues of three Thin Lizzy albums are in the pipeline. Jailbreak, Johnny The Fox and Live and Dangerous deluxe editions getting turned loose Feb. 8 will be packages that include remixes, live studio performances from the BBC archives and alternate versions of some of the tracks on the original albums.  Joe Elliott of Def Leppard and TL guitarist Scott Gorham oversaw the remastering and remixing of the original albums for the deluxe editions.


Hendrix Movie Up In Smoke

A movie about the life of James Marshall Hendrix has met the fate of some of his guitars.  Who is to blame for the collapse of the film seems to be all that's left of the project.  The head of Legendary Pictures says that the movie has '...gone up in flames' as a result of directives from the late guitarist's estate that original Hendrix recordings not be used in the movie.  Janie Hendrix countered that claim by telling Deadline New York that the decision of the film company to '...proceed without our permission, direction or involvement' was to blame, adding, 'It didn't fall apart, it never was.'


Ringo Starr Homes In News

Two Ringo Starr residences, one recent and one long ago, are in the news.  The Liverpool brick home the Beatles drummer was born in remains at the center of a controversy over a development that would demolish it along with more than 400 other structures (story). The city's Communities Secretary is now considering a requirement that the homes targeted for demolition  during the project be offered for sale before final approval is given for any to be torn down.
The other Starr home is not in any peril.  The single story, 3 bed room home with frontage on the Roaring Fork River near the winter playground of Aspen, Colorado is on the market for $4.5 million.  The 3,200 square foot house and 16 acres near the compound formerly owned by writer Hunter Thompson has been owned by the drummer and wife Barbara Bach for almost 20 years.


Captain Beefheart Dies

Few would submit that many musical artists are less uncompromising than Don Vliet was during his life, which ended Friday (12/17) at the age of 69 due to complications from MS.  The man known as Captain Beefheart during his eclectic career in music largely abandoned music in favor of art during the last 25 years of his life.  His live and recorded musical output was challenging enough to make other risk takers seem tame in comparison. Infused with Blues and charged with an energy and attitude that what would later become essential elements of punk rock, the music Captain and his Magic Band made was constantly in-your-face.  As was the case with his friend Frank Zappa, commercial success or widespread recognition were never considerations worth including in the music making process.  The admiration both men earned and the lasting impact both will have are a better measure of success than the record and ticket sales most musicians measure theirs by. 

First Townshend Guitar Auctioned

A guitar Pete Townshend played as a youngster will help bring care to young people suffering from cancer.  The instrument, a 1936 Radiotone cello guitar, which belonged to one of the future Who member's uncles, brought a top bid of close to $11,000 during an auction Wednesday (12/15).  Proceeds from the sale of the guitar have been donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust.  The sale for a good cause is not the first for the instrument.  Townshend sold the guitar to raise money for a charity three years ago.


Pink Floyd Bests EMI Again

An earlier court's decision that EMI had violated contract provisions with Pink Floyd by allowing the digital sale of individual tracks apart from the albums they appeared on was upheld by a UK Court of Appeals Tuesday (12/14).  The decision also added legal weight to the group's claim it is owed more than $15 million in royalties for sales that took place between 2002 and 2007.  EMI, it's value reeling from the loss of some key acts and the declining sales of music, could face a takeover by Citigroup if Terra Firma, the firm currently holding a controlling interest, is not able to come up with a financially viable way to sustain the storied label.


Le Noise Gets DVD Treatment

Procrastination pays-off if you have yet to buy a holiday gift for a Neil Young fan on your list.  Le Noise, a 38 minute film of Neil doing 8 in studio songs from his recent album is coming out on DVD and Blu-Ray just days ahead of Christmas.  The film, shot by CK Vollick, captures Young in the Silverlake, California home of the album's producer, Daniel Lanois.  The no-frills movie features Neil playing both acoustic and electric guitar in a no-frills performance Lanois describes as, 'No band, no overdubs, just a man on a stool and me doing a nice job on the recording.'
The discs are Amazon exclusives until Dec. 21, when they will be available through other retailers as well.

1. Walk With Me
2. Sign Of Love
3. Someone's Gonna Rescue You
4. Love And War
5. Angry World
6. Hitchhiker
7. Peaceful Valley Boulevard
8. Rumblin'


Bonham Brings Zep Trib to NFL Game

The Led Zeppelin Experience tribute Jason Bonham put together does a 4 song mini-concert at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Sunday (12/19) before the Dolphins tangle with the Buffalo Bills.  The band featuring the son of the late drummer of the mighty Zep is winding down a North American tour. The concert is slated to start at noon, an hour before game time. Whether CBS will cut to the music during its hour long NFL Today pre-game program remains to be seen.


15th REM Studio Album Release Set

A new REM studio effort featuring guest contributions from Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Patti Smith drops in the US on March 8, one day after it's international release date.  The recording will be the Georgia band's 15th studio album. Joint production credits band members and Irish producer Garret Jacknife Lee, who was also credited on the group's 2008 album Accelerate.

The 12 track song list for Collapse Into Now is:

1. Discoverer
2. All The Best
3. Überlin
4. Oh My Heart
5. It Happened Today
6. Every Day Is Yours To Win
7. Mine Smell Like Honey
8. Walk It Back
9. Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter
10. That Someone Is You
11. Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I
12. Blue

New Year's Eve TV Worth Watching

One New Year's resolution that's been easy for Rock fans to keep is not to bother tuning in Dick Clark's so called Rockin New Year's Eve telecast from Times Square.  This NYE at least, there will be a hipper alternative on the tube as Live From Daryl's House, the web streamed music show Daryl Hall hosts, migrates from the internet to TV.  The two hour program (11p-1a Eastern) will air on WGN, which is included in most basic cable packages.  A compilation of the best segments from the 36 episodes the former Hall & Oates member's show has had during its 3 year online run.  It will include appearances by Todd Rundgren, Rob Thomas, Train, Toots Hibbert of Toots & The Maytals, Smokey Robinson and Jose Feliciano.


2011 Rock Hall Inductees

2011 is alias year for the Rock Hall of Fame. The Cleveland musical institution announced Wednesday (12/15) that Vincent Furnier and Mac Rebennack have finally passed muster. The veteran rockers known as Alice Cooper and Dr. John join Darlene Love (born Darlene Wright), Tom Waits and Neil Diamond as 2011 inductees. The 26th annual induction ceremony takes place Monday, March 14 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.  Also being honored that night with a Musical Excellence award is Leon Russell (born Claude Russell Bridges). Maybe Shirley Ellis (born Shirley Ellis) is available to sing her 1965 hit The Name Game.


Live Springsteen Set Streaming

We have the answer to how soon fans would be able to see the invitation only set that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band did at an historic site on the boardwalk in Asbury Park last week (story). How does RIGHT NOW sound? Vevo, the music video site, is streaming songs  Bruce and the band laid down for fewer than 100 people at the Carousel House.  The five songs will reportedly be available theough the web site and on Vevo apps through 12/31.  Included are live versions of Racing In The Street, Gotta Get That Feeling, Ain't Good Enough For You, The Promise and Blue Christmas.  The filming was done under the direction of Thom Zimny, who directed the DVD The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town.


Sammy Hagar Reunites Dead Members

Bob Weir and Mickey Hart shared a stage for the first time in over a year when the two Grateful Dead veterans joined Sammy Hagar on a Mill Valley, California stage Saturday night (12/11) during a holiday benefit show Hagar organizes.  The benefit gig at the Throckmorton Theatre in the community just north of San Francisco has featured Weir in past years.  This time around, the guitarist and his former drummer joined Sammy and the Wabos on five songs, including The Weight and Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35 (video).


McCartney Plays The Apollo

The amphitheaters, stadiums and large arenas Paul McCartney usually finds himself playing leave the former Beatle missing the more direct connection with an audience smaller venues make possible.  The urge to get back to where he once belonged has led him to book some smaller shows, starting with the Apollo, the legendary Harlem venue that played host to many of the R&B acts the Beatles, Stones and other UK acts worshiped in their early days.  During MCCA's performance at his musical Mecca Monday (12/13) he told the audience packed into the 1,475 seat theater, 'To us British boys it's, like, really special. It's a magical place' before he and his band did the Marvin Gaye song Hitch Hike.
In addition to intimate holiday concerts planned in London and Liverpool (story), McCartney has also announced that he will make an appearance Friday (12/17) at the 100 Club,  the endangered 350 seat London venue Ron Wood and former members of the Rolling Stones performed in earlier this month (story).


Warren Haynes Debuts New Band

Fans attending Christmas Jam, the annual Warren Haynes organized benefit for Habitat for Humanity in Asheville, NC Saturday (12/11), were treated to the official debut of the host's new band.  The group being fronted by the Allman Brothers Band and Gov't Mule veteran includes Ivan Neville on keyboards, vocalist Ruth Foster, Ron Johnson on bass, sax man Ron Holloway and Terrence Higgins on drums.  The Steve Miller Band made it's first appearance at the 22d annual Jam, and was joined by Haynes on Fly Like An Eagle.  Later in the evening, Gregg Allman took the stage for a seven song set with a cast of players that included Haynes, Black Crowes alum Audley Freed on guitar and Wallflowers drummer Fred Eltringham for a set that included Midnight Rider, Dreams, Melissa, Dylan's Just Like A Woman and the Dr. John song Walk On Guilded Splinters. Steve Miller then joined them on Lost Highway to end the set.


Santana Restaurant Chain Loses Link

The Maria Maria Restaurant in the Phoenix metro community of Tempe, AZ has apparently ceased operations.  The upscale dining spot was the flagship restaurant of a chain of establishments associated with Carlos Santana that were named for a Grammy winning song on the guitarist's 1999 album SupernaturalMaria Maria locations remain in operation in Danville, Walnut Creek and San Diego, California as well as Austin, Texas.


Joe Perry & Paul Rogers Combine Forces

Joe Perry seems to have made peace with Steven Tyler over his Aerosmtih band mate's decision to devote a good chunk of the next 18 months to being a judge on American Idol. While that truce has laid to rest consideration of a stand-in for Tyler in Aerosmith, it will apparently not keep Perry from doing gigs with other acts.  The guitarist recently confirmed plans to do a date with Bad Company front man Paul Rogers at Royal Albert Hall in London on April 27.  Rogers, who spent several months filling the lead vocal role in Queen, was one of the vocalists supposedly on Perry's short list of possible replacements for Tyler in Aerosmith before Perry and Tyler reconciled their differences.


Giant Sax Player Doing Jets Anthem

He's big enough to suit-up and take the field as an NFL interior lineman if his back was up to it.   Back surgery last January and a few too many decades mean no member of the Dolphins need fear lining up against the Big Man of the E Street Band Sunday (12/12) when Miami plays the Jets in New Jersey.  But Clarence Clemons will play the National Anthem before the 1pm game. The solo sax appearance in front of tens of thousands comes just days after Clemons and the rest of the band backed Bruce Springsteen during a filming session in front of a handful of lucky fans at a club built in the 1920's on the boardwalk in Asbury Park (story).


Dylan Lyrics Sale Shatters Estimate

Our prediction that the estimate of how much the hand written lyrics to The Times They Are A Changin' would sell for was too low proved correct Friday (12/10) when a private collector paid out $422,500 at a Sotheby's auction in New York for the paper Bob Dylan wrote the words down on in 1963.  Dylan turned the sheets over to a friend as soon as he had memorized the lyrics to what went on to become one of the most popular protest songs ever recorded.


Floyd Guitarist's Son Climbs Into Trouble

Charlie Gilmour, the son of former Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour's wife Polly Samson, has apologized after being photographed scaling the side of one of Britain's most prominent war memorials. Photos document the young man's grandstanding during protests over a House Of Commons vote that would raise student tuitions. A post attributed to his mother that appeared on Twitter read, 'Son in a mess after a day at protests. Battered and bleeding with a smashed phone. Not making much sense. Am fearful.'  Her son issued a statement about the incident that should satisfy most that he intended no disrespect. It read in part, 'I did not realize that it was the Cenotaph and if I had, I certainly would not have done what I did', and goes on to say he feels, '...nothing but shame' for what he described as ' moment of idiocy'.  Charlie Gilmour was adopted by David Gilmour after the guitarist and Samson married in 1994.


Reggae legend's Last Concert Release

The last live performance Bob Marley did before dying of brain cancer will get released Feb. 1. The concert, recorded at the Stanley Theatre in Pittsburgh on September 23, 1980, features 21 songs, including reggae anthems Positive Vibrations, No Woman, No Cry, Jamming, Redemption Song, and Get Up, Stand Up. Marley died on May 11 of 1981.

Jim Morrison Off The Hook

Jim Morrison got a birthday present one day and a few decades late Thursday (12/9) when Florida's outgoing Governor secured enough supporting votes on a pardon review board to grant the former Doors leader a posthumous pass on an indecent exposure conviction.  The charge was leveled against Morrison after a wild Doors concert that took place in Miami in March of 1969. A drunk and surly Morrison baited the audience repeatedly during the concert, and at one point acted-out whipping it out.  No credible evidence to support the claim he had actually exposed himself was presented at the trial, and other members of the band insist Morrison's member never left his pants.  Outgoing Governor Charlie Crist had suggested a Morrison pardon could be in the offing several weeks ago (story), and confirmed his intention to get it done in comments made to a journalist  in November (story).
Ironically, news of the pardon going forward arrives on the anniversary of another famous Morrison incident.  On Dec. 9, 1967 the singer got unruly and was maced by police who found him in the shower with a young female fan backstage before a New Haven, CT Doors concert. Morrison was later arrested after taunting police from the stage.


Unlikely Direction For Styx Veteran

News that Styx member Tommy Shaw is working on a bluegrass album is like hearing that Willie Nelson is recording a cover of Renegade, or that Alison Krauss is a Styx fan.  Turns out, she is!  A post on Shaw's Facebook page says his next-door neighbor introduced him to the music of Krauss and Union Station.  That led to Shaw catching Krauss in concert at the Wiltern Theater in LA - a concert he said rose to the musical level of an acoustic Mahavishnu Orchestra - and meeting her back stage. After Krauss fessed-up to being a fan of Styx music, Shaw asked her to sing on his 7 Deadly Sins solo album. Her vocal, which Shaw describes as spellbinding, is on the song Half A Mind.
Robert Plant's decision to form Band Of Joy rather than record a follow-up to Raising Sand, his highly acclaimed collaboration with Krauss, gave her the time to take Shaw up on his proposal that the two of them work together to complete an album he had started years earlier.  The sessions for The Great Divide were done in Nashville and resulted in music Shaw seems confident is strong enough that fans of both Styx and Union Station will find a lot to like about it.  The album is slated for a March release, and a February session of Austin City Limits is in the works.


January Twofer For Allman Brothers Fans

Fans of the Allman Brothers already looking forward to the new Gregg Allman solo album Jan. 18 (story) now have something else to look forward to on that date - the archival re-release of a show credited as being a prime example of the group at it's live peak during the Duane Allman era.  The recording, made just over a month before Duane lost his life during an ill-fated motorcycle ride in Macon, GA, captures the Allmans live at the State University of New York in Stonybrook on Sept. 19 of 1971.  The concert set featured inspired versions of several Allmans classics, including a One Way Out>Blue Sky combo and extended takes on Dreams and In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed that each log in at close to 20 minutes.


Springsteen Faithful Huddle On Boardwalk

Other than the wind whippin', there's not a lot happenin' down along the boardwalk in Asbury Park most December weekdays. Tuesday (12/7) was an exception.  Arriving outside of the Carousel House in the early afternoon, Bruce Springsteen took a few minutes to greet and chat with around 60 fans, including ones that had won invites from to attend the filming of Bruce and the E Street Band performing some of the songs on The Promise.  The session, expected to be made available as a web cast, included takes on Outside Looking In, Save My Love, One Way Street and Ain't good Enough For You.
Asbury Park Press


Spider Man Woes Continue

The Spider Man production on Broadway, already overdue, over budget and drawing lackluster reviews, was dealt another blow during a recent performance when Natalie Mendoza, the actress cast as the female lead in the musical scored by Bono and The Edge of U2, suffered a concussion when she reportedly got whacked up side the head by a rope backstage.  Producer Michael Cohl issued a statement saying doctors had ordered the actress stay off the stage for what he said would be a 'brief time'.  The painful encounter with the flying rope was not the only miscue in the technically demanding special effects heavy show.  Mendoza was stranded while suspended above the audience when things went wrong during a Nov. 28 preview performance.


James Taylor's Brush With Lennon's Killer

His year as an Apple Records artist gave James Taylor quite an interesting perspective on both the public and private sides of the John LennonTom Brook of the BBC recently conducted an interview with JT that includes a number of fascinating observations about Lennon as seen through the eyes of a man who was a fan, a friend and a fellow artist.
At the 18:30 mark of the session, Taylor hesitates momentarily before relating the story of having heard the shots that felled Lennon on a New York street 30 years ago Wednesday (12/8). Taylor, it turns out, lived practically next door to the Dakota, the building John and Yoko's apartment was in.  He was on the telephone with his manager's wife when he heard the gun shots and remarked to her that he'd just '...heard the cops shoot somebody on the street'.  Eerie as that is, what follows is even more bizarre.  Taylor talks about having been accosted by Lennon's killer in a subway station near the Dakota the day before John was killed.  Taylor says he was pinned to the wall by Mark David Chapman, who he describes as '...glistening with maniacal sweat', and '...talking some freak spew' about his plan to make contact with John Lennon.  Whether Chapman recognized Taylor is not clear and, oddly, is not asked.  


Judas Priest Bows Out

Four decades of high decibel Rock comes to a close with a Judas Priest global farewell tour in 2011.  The Epitath tour will include a number of European festivals, starting with the Sweden Rock Festival June 9.  The band has also confirmed plans to play the High Voltage Festival in London on July 23.  Additional dates on the world tour will be announced in the coming weeks.

June 9 Sweden Rock Festival
June 11 Sauna Festival, Finland
June 17 Copenhell Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark
June 19 Hellfest, Nantes, France
June 22 Gods of Metal Festival, Milan, Italy
June 25 Graspop Festival, Belgium
July 23 HIgh Voltage Festival, London, UK
August 5: Wacken Festival, Germany

UK Christmas Concerts For McCartney

Some Paul McCartney fans in London and Liverpool are in for a rare holiday treat.  Those lucky enough to get tickets will get to see Paul McCartney in a couple of the smaller venues he has performed in for quite some time.  The December 18 London concert puts McCartney on the stage of the Hammersmith Apollo, a venue he played with the Beatles 46 years ago this month.
Two days later, Paul and his band will perform at the Liverpool Academy.  Of playing the smaller halls, McCartney says, 'We've had great fun with the stadium shows this year and we're looking forward to the more intimate vibe of these ones.'


Rare Pink Floyd Recording Discovered

A concert recording of Pink Floyd that dates back to within a month of the release of the band's first album has reportedly been discovered in Sweden.  The nearly one hour concert set could well turn out to be one of the only live recordings of the Syd Barrett era of Floyd in existence.  The recording, made at the Gyllene Circle restaurant, will be presented at that very venue the night before  and after Roger Waters performs the Wall live in Stockholm May 4 and 5.   Dagens Nyheter


Late Night TV Rocks

Jay Leno and David Letterman amp up their guest lists Monday (12/6)Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford will channel Jimi Hendrix for the NBC talk host, while John Mellencamp brings his own retro oriented sounds to the Letterman show.
Whitford, a participant in the very successful Experience Hendrix tours, will do Fire from the late, great Seattle guitarist's debut album with Jonny Lang and Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton.
Mellencamp will chat with Letterman and perform Save Some Time To Dream from his recent No Better Than This album.


Ron Wood Lights Up The Town

Ronnie Wood has sworn off the spirits - but the now clean and sober guitarist indulged in the holiday spirit Saturday in Claygate, UK, where the Rolling Stones member had the honor of turning on the town's holiday lights at a gathering of more than 3,000 of his neighbors.  Wood also joined actress Francoise Pascal to sing Christmas carols and autograph a Rugby jersey for charity. Speaking with the Elmbridge Guardian, Wood said the occasion was a nice way to get acquainted with people in the town he adopted as his home a couple of years ago, noting, '...there's quite a lot more of them than I thought there were.'  He says the vibe of the place suits him - ''s nice and quiet.  I'm up at Ruxley Towers and I can get peace and quiet up there and I can paint and just relax.' Now that he's made his address public, peace and quiet could get a little harder to come by.


Tyler Honors McCartney In DC

In his intro for the Kennedy Center Honors tribute to Paul McCartney Sunday (12/5), actor Alec Baldwin proclaimed that the world will never recover from Beatlemania.  A happily afflicted Steven Tyler described the opportunity to honor McCartney at the event as one of his proudest moments as an artist.  The Aerosmith front man, who Sir Paul contacted just recently to ask him to sing a medley of Abbey Road songs during the Kennedy Center Honors segment for the former Beatle (story), said, 'I've done a lot of things and I've been a lot of places.  But I've never been prouder than I am standing here at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Abbey Road.'   Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow sang Today I Started Loving You Again for fellow honoree Merle Haggard, and the program closed with James Taylor and Mavis Staples delivering versions of Let it Be and Hey Jude.  Highlights of the program will air on CBS-TV Dec. 28.



Rush Plans Live DVD

Border proximity, a great FM Rock station in WMMS and a solid Rock tradition put Cleveland in the forefront of US cities showing strong support of Canadian power trio Rush in the early 70's. The band's first full length US concert performance recording will take place in the city April 15 when Rush plays the Quicken Loans Arena on its Time Machine tour.  The concert should be out in DVD form before the close of 2011.


Jorma Draws Birthday Guests

Jorma Kaukonen celebrated his 70th birthday in style during a two night stand at the Beacon Theatre Friday & Saturday nights (12/4&5).  Guests night one with electric Hot Tuna included Bruce Hornsby, Warren Haynes, John Hammond, Happy Traum, Larry Campbell, Bill Kirchen and Chris SmitherHammond lent his guitar to I Can Tell before Campbell, Haynes and Kirchen came out for Come back Baby to end the first set.  Allman Brothers Band and Gov't Mule guitarist Haynes was back in set two for Bowlegged Woman before Hornsby appeared for Children Of Zion and I Know You Rider.  Saturday night brough more special guests, including fellow Bay Area guitarist Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead and Furthur, bass player Oteil Burbridge of the Allman Brothers Band and Steve EarleWeir and Burbridge joined in on Bowlegged Woman and Walking Blues, with Earle doing a couple of tunes before Weir and Burbridge reappeared for When I Paint My Masterpiece.

Major Clapton Auction Announced

Eric Clapton will put more than 70 amps and guitars up for auction March 9 in New York City in what is beling billed as the largest collection of instruments and equipment from a major artist in a single sale.  Proceeds from the massive auction will go to the Crossroads addictions treatment facility Clapton helped establish on the island of Antigua in 1998.  Items in the auction will be available for advance viewing Feb. 11-13 in Los Angeles and March 5-9 in New York City.


Dead Drummer No Furthur Fan

Bill Kreutzmann, who with Mickey Hart provided the back beat for decades and thousands of Grateful Dead concerts, has a new band called 7 Walkers.  The New Orleans infused group recently released an album and is on the road doing dates in smaller venues than the veteran drummer is accustomed to playing, but Kreutzmann says he's having fun.  Asked by the Plattsburg (NY) Press Republican about Furthur, the band his former GD mates Bob Weir and Phil Lesh formed, Kreutzmann said, 'I haven't really got much interest in them. They sound just like the other bands out there doing it. What do you call those bands that copy other bands?'  Whoa, equating Furthur with Dark Star Orchestra and lesser Dead cover bands is a pretty harsh assessment of what Furthur is doing.  And he did not stop there.  He also came down hard on Furthur guitarist John Kadlecik, saying, 'The saddest thing is that they hired a guitar player that's not Warren Haynes.  It's too bad.  They should have hired a great solo guitar player.'  Bill, we love you and what you're doing with the Walkers, but really!  There's no doubt John was enlisted because he knew the material inside-out from his time in DSO and evokes the style of Garcia, but his own brilliance comes through in the songs he does with Furthur


Musicians Turn Out For 100 Club

A campaign to save the 100 Club, an Oxford Street venue that was instrumental in the UK success of artists ranging from Glenn Miller and Billie Holiday to the Kinks and the Sex Pistols, is gaining momentum. Wednesday night (12/1) some legends turned up the fabled London music spot that has been in operation since 1942.  A highlight of the evening was a set that included Ron Wood of the Stones with former members Mick and Dick Taylor.  Rent hikes have put the future of the 100 Club in doubt.


2010 Grammy Nods

Aside from stroking music industry egos, the only purpose the Grammy Awards has ever served is to alert people who don't bother keeping up with music the rest of the year to things they might want to take the time to check out.  And even that limited virtue retains little value any more.  With 109 categories, including several created by the Grammy Department Of Redundancy Department (Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year), you would like to think a balance could be struck between awards for creative/artistic merit and ones awarded purely on the basis of commercial clout. The 2010 nominations show there remains little risk of that happening.  For what it's worth - and a Grammy has become worth less to Rock artists every year for the last two decades, here are the artists Rock Insights follows nominated for awards Wednesday (12/1):

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Mojo - Best Rock Album
Neil Young - Le Noise - Best Rock Album
Jeff Beck - Emotion & Commotion - Best Rock Album
Pearl Jam - Backspacer - Best Rock Album

Robert Plant & Band Of Joy - Best Americana Album

Leon Russell & Elton John - If It Wasn't For Bad - Best Pop Collaboration
Jeff Beck & Joss Stone - I Put A Spell On You - Best Song Rock Duo Or Group With Vocal
Ozzy Osbourne - Let me Hear You Scream - Best Song Rock Duo Or Group With Vocal
Neil Young - Angry World - Best Rock Song
Eric Clapton - Run Back To Your Side - Best Solo Rock Vocal
Paul McCartney - Helter Skelter (CitiField live) - Best Solo Rock Vocal
Robert Plant & Band Of Joy - Silver Rider - Best Solo Rock Vocal
Neil Young - Angry World - Best Solo Rock Vocal
Jeff Beck - Hammerhead - Best Rock instrumental

Iconic Dylan Lyrics To Be Sold

The hand written lyrics to The Times They Are A Changin', the1963 Bob Dylan song that helped both chronicle and spur the social upheaval of that decade, are the showcase item in an auction Sotheby's conducts in New York City Dec. 10.  The words, scrawled on tattered, unlined three ring notebook pad paper, were given by Dylan to a friend as soon as he committed the words to memory.  The significance of the song to the generation that came of age between the start of the Civil Rights Movement and the end of the Vietnam War could well push the final sale figure higher than the $200 - $300k the auction house estimates the lyrics will fetch.


NZ Court Convicts AC/DC Drummer

A New Zealand court convicted AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd Tuesday (11/30) on charges of having marijuana onboard his boat.  The Oct. 7 incident involving Rudd took place at a marina in the North Island's Tauranga District and involved just 25 grams of cannabis.  The penalty was equally paltry - just $132 in court costs and a fine of $250. Rudd's attorney fought for the case to be dismissed out of concern that a conviction could hinder his client's ability to enter certain countries on future AC/DC tours.  The justice wasn't impressed, reportedly telling Rudd, 'It was not just an accident - you were blindly ignoring the law. You have been playing Russian routlette.'
Herald Sun


Rockers Rally For Old Dogs

Collectors eager to get their paws on a one-of-a-kind guitar autographed for a good cause will soon have their chance. An Epiphone guitar bearing the signatures of Brian May of Queen, Eric Clapton, Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, Pink Floyd veteran David Gilmour, Keith Richards of the Stones, Who front man Roger Daltrey, Mick Jones of Foreigner and Gary Moore is being put up for bids to benefit the Dog's Trust Oldies Club, a charity that seeks placement of abandoned older canines.
Dubbed the PUP AID Epiphone, the unique six-sting will be offered in a London auction Dec. 15 that will also feature a Jimi Hendrix acoustic guitar (story).


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