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Noteworthy Now Archives for 2011-01

Ozzy Ailing

The Ozzy Osbourne concert scheduled for the Reno, Nevada Event Center Sunday (1/30) was a late scratch due to what was described by a Live Nation spokesperson only as a 'sudden illness'. The fact it was also announced that the performance was being rescheduled for April suggests that the Ozz Man was sidelined by something along the lines of a flu bug or food poisoning rather than something with longer term implications.  Osbourne's tour schedule calls for him to do a sold out concert at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles Tuesday (2/1).


First Beatles Masters Grad

Other than teaching a course in the program that offered the degree, we can't come up with a career opportunity that would consider a Masters in Beatles history a degree qualification, but Mary-Lu Zahalan has one.  The Miss Canada finalist earned the first Masters in the Fab Four awarded by Liverpool's Hope University.  The Beatles - Popular Music and Society course was introduced in 2009 and covers, appropriately, four areas of study: Texts and Contexts: Understanding Popular Music, Topics in History: Liverpool, Musicology and the Beatles and Historical and Critical Approaches.


Dead Symphonic Concert Revived

A performance of Grateful Dead music The Marin County California symphony orchestra canceled last fall (story) is back on the schedule as a single concert this spring.  The May 11 event at the Marin Civic Center will feature Bob Weir playing with the symphony.  The former Grateful Dead guitarist, who collaborated with a Stanford University professor on the arrangements for the one time only performance, looks forward to the event, saying, 'Part of what makes this interesting is that it's not just going to be an orchestra playing Grateful Dead songs.  I'm going to be playing too - and some other guys, and there's going to be real interaction between the symphony and us.'  Weir decided to leave fans guessing about who besides him will join the orchestra that night.


Tough Going For Two U2 Projects

The well publicized complications that have plagued the Broadway production of the Spider-Man musical that Bono and The Edge wrote the score for are not the only things complicating the life of the U2 guitarist.  An equally frustrating process has again delayed ground breaking on a building project The Edge has been trying to get approval for near Malibu, California (story).  The California Coastal Commission issued a ruling Friday (1/28) that contends that the guitarist's plans for a 156 acre tract on a hillside overlooking the Pacific runs afoul of several state environmental requirements.  The ruling leaves prospects for his Leaves In The Wind project, one the U2 member has tried to pitch as being green, looking pretty dim.  A strategy to break the proposal to build five luxury home into five separate applications seems to have back fired.


Floyd Drummer's High Octane Investment

Nick Mason's passion for high performance cars has been documented in a number of Rock Insights stories.  The former Pink Floyd drummer now appears to be seeking to turn what is otherwise an expensive hobby into a profitable enterprise.  Bloomberg News reports that Mason is involved with an investment group that aims to acquire up to $150 million worth of classic high performance cars that it can sell with a goal of delivering a 15% premium to its backers.  Mason has a collection of world-class cars that includes name plates from Ferrari, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Bugatti and Porsche, and enjoys putting them through their paces on race tracks in the UK.


Queen Reissues Drop In March

The 40th anniversary of Queen will be marked with the re-release of the group's first five albums.  Remastered editions of Queen, Queen II, Sheer Heart Attack, A Night At The Opera and A Day At The Races will be issued March 14, as will expanded double disc versions of each featuring bonus material.  The deluxe versions of the debut album features just concert tracks, while the others offer-up live tracks and some alternate takes or remixes of songs on the original discs they accompany.  Our friends at have done a fine job of detailing each release.


Charges Leveled Against Gilmour Son

The protest incident that landed Charlie Gilmour in hot water near the end of 2010 now finds the son of Polly Samson and the former Pink Floyd guitarist facing criminal charges.  The young man was photographed scaling a British war memorial during protests over tuition hikes by the British House of Commons in December (story).  His profuse apologies following the episode were apparently not enough to satisfy authorities who, on Thursday (1/27),  filed formal charges against him for violent disorder, and threw in an additional one for allegedly stealing a mannequin leg!  The 17 year-old Gilmour is due to appear in court to answer to the charges on Feb 10 in Westminster.


Aerosmith, Down Two, Presses On

The reason Steven Tyler is unavailable for Aerosmith recording sessions is no secret. But there is a lot of conjecture about why Joe Perry has not joined the other members of the group as they develop material for the next album in a California studio.  Using the previous commitment excuse without further elaboration has made many wonder if the guitarist's failure to join Joey Kramer, Tom Hamilton and Brad Whitford is just a case of him holding out for the sake of getting some extra attention and not coming off as any less critical to the group's future as most seem to consider Tyler.  The three in on the sessions say they miss them both, but neither absence from the sessions has gotten in the way of coming up with some songs the three are confident fans will think are solid Aerosmith songs.


2011: Bob Seger Back In Gear

After sitting for months as neglected as a junker up on blocks in a rundown yard, the Bob Seger web site News page sprang to life Thursday (1/27) with the appearance of a :40 second video clip strongly hinting that Seger will hit the road for live dates in the early spring.  That was confirmed later in the day when the Motor City Rocker's management issued the statement that a Bob Seger & Silver Bullet Band tour will open in March. Aside from a couple of on-off appearances, Seger has been off the road since 2007 He last appeared live during a Kid Rock set in his home state in the summer of last year.  Billboard reports that a new studio album could get rolled out to coincide with the opening of the tour, which a road map embedded in the video suggests has an opening leg that travels east from Michigan.


Neil Young Gets Canadian Honor

Neil Young's work to raise money and awareness to support family farming has won the Canadian born Rocker the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award.  The honor for the Farm Aid founding member will be presented during the Juno Awards on March 27 in Toronto. Bryan Adams, Bruce Cockburn and Sarah McLachlan have been honored with the humanitarian award in past years.
Young also stands to pick-up hardware during the presentation for Le Noise.  The 2010 Daniel Lanois produced album earned Juno nominations in three categories.


Jimmy Buffett Falls Down Under

A great time went bad in an instant during the finale of the Jimmy Buffett concert at Sydney Austrailia's Hordern Pavallion Wednesday (1/26) when the singer disappeared into the pit between the front of the stage and the audience.  Intense lighting effects may have prevented Buffett from being able to see the front edge of the stage as he walked toward it.  Fans told TMZ it appeared Buffett had hit his head on a metal object during the fall of several feet, and may have lost consciousness for several minutes.  Buffett was evacuated to St. Vincents Hospital, where he was admitted for observation, but was later released after receiving stitches for a head injury. The singer and his Coral Reefer Band have canceled the sole remaining concert on the Down Under schedule, an Auckland NZ show Saturday.  Jimmy knows a lot of shrimpers... maybe some giant nets slung like hammocks over the pit are in order for future tours. 


High Voltage Plugs-In Tull, Black Country

Victoria Park in London goes from tranquil to ear-splitting July 23 & 24 with the return of the High Voltage festival.  The Classic/Mainstream event has announced a 2011 lineup that includes Jethro Tull, Judas Priest, Dream Theater, the Michael Schenker Group and Black Country Communion, the band featuring guitarist Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham, Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple & Black Sabbath fame and Dream Theater veteran Derek SherinianDust Bowl, Bonamassa's 9th studio album, is due for release on March 22.  Recorded in settings as diverse as Greece and Nashville, the album is electric Blues-Rock driven, but includes a taste of country tinged tunes and guest appearances by Vince Gill and John Hiatt.


New Life For VH Album Rumors

Speculation last fall that Van Halen had imminent recording plans were met with denials from the band.  A new round of rumors got legs with a greater degree of credibility if a recent post on a Twitter account most sources believe belongs to producer John Shanks means what they hope it does.  A cryptic and non specific reference to VH was all it took to get several outlets to start buzzing about a new Van Halen album project.  Last year's rumors got doused by band representatives almost as fast as they surfaced, so the fact no denials have been issued by anyone in the inner circle to these reports could mean it's true this time around.


Eric Clapton & Wynton Marsalis Live

A seven piece band drawing members from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will be joined by Eric Clapton and Wynton Marsalis for a series of three Blues concerts during April at the legendary New York City arts venue.  The concerts coincide with the institution's gala spring fund raiser, and will take place on three consecutive nights - April 7, 8 & 9.  Clapton and Marsalis put in brief appearances together during the annual fund raiser eight years ago, but the 2011 concerts will mark the first time the two have collaborated on full length concert sets.  They will be joined by special guest Taj Mahal.


Expanded Layla Collection Details

Derek & The Dominos. the short-lived group comprised of Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock (keyboards), Carl Radle (bass) and Jim Gordon (drums) may well be the only band to have put out just two double albums before disbanding.  The first, the studio album Layla and Assorted Other Love Songs, went into production shortly after the group formed in 1970.  Recorded over a six week span in Miami under the production guidance of Tom Dowd and with Duane Allman sitting in, the album continues to deserve recognition as one of the most compelling debut albums in Rock history.  Unfortunately, the band was history within a matter of months.  The double live album culled from the group's only tour had some high points, but overall came nowhere close to measuring up to expectations. 
The March, 2011 expanded 40th anniversary release of the studio album and live album (both remastered and with the studio album done in 5.1 Surround Sound) will include six takes of songs that were considered likely tracks for a second studio album, including Got To Get Better In A Little While.  Also included in the collection are four songs from the band's only televised performance, a November, 1970 appearance on The Johnny Cash Show that included a version of Matchbox Blues featuring Clapton and Carl Perkins.
A hard-bound book including photos and interviews with Clapton, Allman, Whitlock and Dowd as well as Allman Brothers Band memebers Butch and Derek Trucks and engineer Andy Johns is also part of the package.


Mellencamp Divorce Seeks Name Back

Divorce papers filed on behalf of John Mellencamp in Brown County, Indiana last week reference a pre-nup, details of which are not likely to see the light of day, a statement for the record that the soon-to-be exes plan to both continue their parenting roles for their children in Indiana, and a stipulation that John wants his wife of nearly 18 years to revert to using just Irwin as her last name and no longer use Irwin-Mellencamp.  Maybe she'll push John's buttons by switching to Elaine Cougar-Irwin.


Lennon Letters Going Public

Yoko Ono has reportedly sold the publishing rights to personal letters written by John Lennon.  Her decision to make the letters available for a book was arrived at with encouragement from biographer Hunter Davies, according to a report in the Guardian.  The collection is slated to go to print in the fall of 2012.  The Orion Publishing Group secured the international publishing rights after a bidding battle that took place in the north London home of Davies.  A representative of Orion declined to reveal the amount paid.  Alan Samson did proclaim that Lennon's status as one of '...the half a dozen icons of the 20th century' makes the collection extraordinary.  Most of the 150 pieces of correspondence have never been available for public viewing. The collection includes everything from very personal notes to letters Lennon wrote to record companies, newspapers and fans.


Rod Stewart's Train Craze

It turns out that Penny Lancaster is not the only model that Rod Stewart is crazy about.  Stewart apparently is such a model railroad fanatic that he insists on a backstage platform large enough for him to lay parts out on so he can assemble train cars and engines.  Rod tells Model Railroader magazine that drinking before small-scale building is no more advisable than drinking before engineering the real thing down the tracks would be, saying, 'I can't build after a couple of glasses of wine - the results are never good.'  A nearly 1,500 square foot model railroad layout occupies the third floor of the Beverly Hills home he, Lancaster and their soon-to-be born child live in.  Trains are a passion Neil Young also has.  Young once owned a significant chunk of the Lionel Train company.


Springsteen On Dropkick Murphys Album

A song titled Peg O My Heart featured on the next album by the Boston area Celtic-Punk band the Dropkick Murphys will include Bruce Springsteen.  The song was used in the musical Ziegfield Follies in 1913.  Bruce shares lead vocals on the track with the Murphy's Ken Casey, who says the opportunity to include Bruce on the album '...links two generations', and notes, 'We're spanning a lot of years of music here, yet our songs share similar themes, stories and values.'  Going Out In Style drops on Feb 28.


Bring Out Your Dead

A two year project to remaster and remix every concert the Grateful Dead played during their first European tour should be complete in time for a fall release that qualifies as one of the biggest box sets ever assembled.  The 22 concerts will be packaged in a 60 CD set that is expected to retail for close to $450. Tour highlights went into the triple album Europe '72. Calling the series of shows the group did across the pond ' of the top three tours the Dead ever did', project producer David Lemieux said, '...there's a pristine 16 track recording of every show. It's a perfect storm.'  Bob Weir noted that the tour represented a challenge to the band, one the group met because, '...we were ready for fresh ears.  We were hot.'


Tyler Idol Debut, New Aerosmith Fallout

If you figured the addition of Steven Tyler to the judging panel on American Idol would result in producers making sure at least one aspiring Rock vocalist would be found for the season 10 premier of the talent show a sure thing, you were as wrong as we were.  Tyler, enduring the usual early round parade of marginally talented and truly talentless (some so bad they have to be plants, right?) , used his charm and spunk to add some entertainment value to a show that was otherwise as enjoyable as a root canal.
The PR run-up to the Wednesday (1/19) premier of the show included the Aerosmith lead singer doing a number of interviews that raise new doubts about the status of his band.  While saying that the stint on Idol is temporary and he is in Aerosmith 'forever' (story), Tyler  repeated earlier claims that guitarist Joe Perry is 'missing in action' and refusing to communicate with him. He also confirmed reports from last year that he had been approached by Led Zeppelin about taking on Robert Plant's vacated position, but refuted Perry's account of an audition he did.  Speaking with Howard Stern, Tyler said he was contacted by Peter Mench, Jimmy Page's manager, who, he says, invited him to '...come over and jam with the guys.'  While Perry described the audition as 'shambolic', Tyler described it as so good that Page invited him on board on the spot, but his account of what Page said to him ('You want to write and record with me?') makes it possible the offer was for Tyler to work with him on a Jimmy Page album.  We look forward to responses from both guitarists about Tyler's comments. 
In the meantime, someone in Hollywood should be talking with Tyler about doing a pilot for a soap opera or sitcom in case this Idol gig and Aerosmith both go south.  Unlike Idol, that  we'd watch.


Man Behind A Lot Of Music Silenced

Don Kirshner, a man most music fans knew only as the host of Rock Concert, the popular televised Rock performance show that started in 1973 and ran for nearly a decade, has died in Florida.  But Kirshner was a very influential figure behind the scenes and had a substantial impact on the careers of dozens of artists - which explains how such a patently un-hip guy ended up hosting what, at the time, was a comparatively hip show.
In the late 50's, Kirshner partnered with Bobby Darin when the soon-to-be star was still Robert Cassotto in a song and commercial jingle writing venture that ended when his partner hit it big with the song Splish Splash.  He then opened Aldon, a song writing shop in New York that got its name when Kirshner merged his first name with the one of his new partner, Al Nevins.  One of their early hires was Neal Sedaka.  The Aldon writing staff would eventually include several other important song crafters, including Neil Diamond, Barry Mann, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. A
Kirshner was introduced to television when he was hired to develop songs for the made for TV band the Monkees, after which he did the same for the animated adaptation of the popular comic strip Archie.  The fictitious band known as the Archies get credit (or blame) for Sugar Sugar, one of the biggest pop songs of 1969.
Don Kirshner's Rock Concert started big.  The Rolling Stones appeared on the debut episode in September of 1973.  The long-form exposure the show was able to offer acts made the show an instant hit with bands, managers and record labels at a time when other TV shows were offering only a couple of song slots and often pressuring acts to lip-synch their performances.  During its 9 year run Rock Concert would feature dozens of the biggest names in music, including some that the host seemed only vaguely familiar with. Interviewed by the Washington Post in 2004, Kirshner confessed to having had no idea who Alice Cooper was, asking the person who advised him to have Cooper on the show ' she any good?'.


Black Crowes Not Done Yet

Earlier indications that the Black Crowes were done touring for an unspecified period led some people who caught farewell tour dates in the US feeling duped when the band announced more concerts this week on its web site.  The group contends that the 6 tour closing performances at the Fillmore in San Francisco were never intended to be the last concerts - just the last US concerts before going on hiatus.  The real final dates on the Say Goodbye to the Bad Guys tour will be on the other side of the Atlantic, where the Crowes have lined-up festival appearances in Vigevano, Italy (7/7), Bilboa, Sapin (7/9), Manchester, UK (7/11), London (7/12 & 13), Lichtenvoorde, Netherlands (7/15) and Amsterdam (7/18 & 19).


Beatles Bonanza For iTunes

The long overdue migration of Beatles music into the digital download realm finally happened on November 16 (story).  The Apple iTunes store sold more than 5 million individual tracks and 2 million albums in the first 8 weeks of the arrangement.  As impressive as those numbers are, the totals would be dwarfed by the number of songs and albums the band and Apple could have blown out if they had reached an agreement before millions of frustrated fans ripped their own digital copies of hundreds of millions of Beatles songs from CDs to load on their iPods.  Granted, a lotta of fans that resorted to the DIY method would have chosen the pirate option over re-purchasing music they already owned on disc.  But it's not too much of a stretch to project that the band could be closing in on or even beyond the 500 million mark in sales had they gotten off the mark sooner.  So, was it worth holding out for so long?  The deal the group reportedly struck with Apple provides a direct payment to Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison.  Details of the payment amounts and how their recent windfall and future earnings compare with what the band could have realized over a much longer period of sales under a traditional iTunes sales licensing structure is only a guess outside the inner circle of people familiar with the particulars.  It is tough to imagine that the the dollars from the deal the band eventually got from Apple will make-up for the dollars lost for more years than either surviving member or currently living heirs of theirs and the other Beatles have left.


U2 Funding Future Irish Musicians

U2 has been maligned for shifting some business dealings to other countries as a means of avoiding taxes in Ireland - a maneuver some claim is based on simple greed and others defend as a matter of principle. The truth to which of those is true may be the same as the answer to whether Bono is a megalomaniac or just a cool guy: 'Both'.  Either way or both, this is pretty cool... U2 is donating nearly $8 million to help foster musical development in Irish school children.  One goal of the investment is to try and discover and encourage musically gifted kids. The Music Generation program is helping thousands of young people in Dublin and Donegal already, and will be able to expand into several other parts of the Emerald Isle thanks in part to the support of the band.


Crosby & Nash Map Tour

With the long time coming covers project by Crosby, Stills & Nash on hold again (story) 2/3 of the trio plans to put in some road time doing dates on the west coast.  David Crosby and Graham Nash will open a short western tour in Long Beach, California March 25 with an appearance at the Terrace Theatre.  Dates follow in Santa Barbara (3/27), San Francisco (3/28), Seattle (3/30), Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA (4/1) Chico State University (4/2) and San Luis Obispo (4/4), and wraps with a lone date in Denver, Colorado's Paramount Theater during that city's Swallow Hill Rootsfest (4/9).


Bruce Back At It In Asbury Park

The annual Light Of Day benefit concert in Asbury Park, NJ Saturday night (1/15) was nearly two hours into a Sunday morning by the time Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nile, Joe Grushecky, Garland Jeffreys and others brought down the house with a version of Twist & Shout that left the musicians and the audience nearly too shell-shocked to do either.  The 10+ minute apparent closer had put the wraps on a nearly 2 hour set by Springsteen with Grushecky and his band.  But Bruce wasn't ready to pack it in.  Grabbing an acoustic guitar, Springsteen serenaded the exhausted audience with an unplugged version of Thunder Road.  The unannounced but widely expected appearance at the Paramount Theater by The Boss for the Parkinsons benefit began on an acoustic note when he joined Jesse Malin  for a version of Broken Radio.  He reappeared to do Heaven Help The Lonely with Willie Nile and Always A Friend with Alejandro EscovedoBruce did Your Own Worst Enemy on his own before being joined by Grushecky and his band for a set that drew from both of their catalogs.  Videos 
Asbury Park Press


Tyler A Lifer In Aerosmith

In a recent Q&A with Billboard, Steven Tyler said that he is so accustomed to living his life under the microscope that negative speculation about him in the media, from other musicians and the public doesn't bother him in the least.  Having 'so many irons in the fire' invites second guessing, according to Tyler, that ''...people don't know what to think.  I don't need to be validated by someone's opinions.'  As for those wondering whether his stint with American Idol will lead to the lead singer exiting Aerosmith, Tyler says, 'This (Idol judging) will last for three years if I stay with it, or four months if I just do it this year. But I'm in Aerosmith Forever.'


Who, Jeff Beck Crank It Up For Charity

A cancer treatment benefit event in London Thursday (1/13) brought together an impressive and unlikely combination group of musicians.  Members of the Who, guitarist Jeff Beck, Blondie leader Debbie Harry, Brian Adams and Richard Ashcroft performed during the event at the Hammersmith Apollo to raise funds to support Photodynamic Therapy, a cutting edge treatment with the potential to knock-out cancer cells in a single session.  Roger Daltrey delivered an unexpected acoustic take on two songs The Hooters included on Largo, a recording inspired by the New World Symphony by DvorakJeff Beck, backed by Who members sans Daltrey and Townshend, did blistering versions of Hammerhead and Beck's Bolero, followed by A Day In The Life.  He then accompanied Harry on Blondie's Heart Of Glass and Call Me.  The Who set featured Baba O'Riley, Who Are You and Won't Get Fooled Again, after which Pete Townshend yielded to Beck, who joined Daltry and the others on I'm A Man.  The night closed with Harry, Adams and Townshend returning to the stage to wrap things up with Join Together. Video.


Nicks & Rod Stewart Team On Road

Stevie Nicks and Rod Stewart used the Ellen DeGeneres Show to announce plans for a 2011 co-headlining tour.  Nicks, who is preparing her first studio album in a number of years (story), and Stewart, who is on the verge of becoming a father again (story), entered the set together and traded compliments while making the announcement.  Stewart cited Leather & Lace, a song Nicks recorded with Don Henley as one of his favorites of hers.  When it was her turn to name which of Rod's songs she like the most Nicks paused so long before answering that Stewart jumped in, saying, 'Stevie's trying to think of some of mine now.  I'll give you a clue, Maggie May!'


Queen Front Man Biopic Underway

Brian May has confirmed that the movie about the late Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury has finally gone into production.  The long planned for biopic has cast Sacha Baron Cohen in the lead role.  The Brit actor best known for his Golden Globe winning portrayal of fictional character Borat in the surprise hit film of that name also has Emmy, and Oscar nominations to his credit. May is convinced that Mercury would find 'delight' in the idea of Cohen playing him on the big screen, but projects that the movie will probably not be ready for release until the fall of 2012.  As for the status of Mercury's former band, May says, 'Roger Taylor and I keep an ever-open door for ideas for Queen, a band that somehow refuses to lie down.Queen's most recent incarnation featured Bad Company veteran Paul Rogers as lead vocalist.


Dead Video Game

A North Carolina video game company has gotten the green light to develop a game based on the Grateful Dead. Curious Sense received clearance to dig into the decades deep archive of Dead audio and video to put together a total immersion gaming experience revolving around the music of the band.  The game is expected to have a Facebook launch before migration to, with game platforms and mobile apps to follow.  Early indications are that everything is on the table, which could result in multiple layers that include features that allow players to remix tracks as they collect game credits.  The graphics are bound to be great, but any recreational drug inspired enhancements will have to be supplied by players.  Approval to access the archive and get the licensing deal done with the band apparently hinged on the game not including any drug references. Bummer.


Jam Packed Year For Pearl Jam

Anniversary plans for Pearl Jam start off with the Jan. 18 release of Live On Ten Legs, an 18 track concert disc culled from shows the Seattle group staged between 2003 and 2010 (more info).  Deluxe editions of the studio albums Vs and Vitalogy will follow in the spring.  Also coming in 2011 is Pearl Jam Twenty, a Rockumentary made by Cameron Crowe that will be accompanied by both a soundtrack album and a book.  The group also has a destination fan party and concert weekend in the works for later in the year.


Baby, You Can Drive His Car

In 1965, John Lennon celebrated passing his driver's test is style.  The Beatle got himself a sky blue Ferrari 2+2 coupe.  John later that year decided to get something more substantial, upgrading to a Rolls Royce Phantom, a car he had refinished in a custom, psychedelic paint job.
The Ferrari goes on the auction block Feb. 5 in a Paris sale being conducted by Bonhams.  Count on it bringing a tad more than the last car Lennon owned, a beater station wagon he and Yoko used to tool around New York in without drawing attention to themselves.  That car sold recently for just a bit over 5k (story).  Bidding on the Ferrari is expected to top out somewhere between $180 and $250 thousand.


Mountain Jam Unveils 2011 Lineup

The Verizon event finally confirming an alliance with Apple was not the only announcement Tuesday (1/11) that most people interested knew was coming The folks that put together Mountain Jam had one that proved to be as little of a surprise as Big Red getting the iPhone:  Warren Haynes will be headlining the 2011 edition of the annual festival in New York's Hudson Valley. The Allman Brothers Band member has been a fixture at the event for years, and has even taken a leading role as a co-presenter.  What did come as a pleasant surprise is that Haynes will play both with his new group, The Warren Haynes Band, and with Gov't Mule, the group he put on hiatus while he put in work on the new group.  The rest of the lineup will include co-headliner My Morning Jacket, Electric Hot Tuna, Grateful Dead veteran drummer Bill Kreutzmann and his group 7 Walkers, the North Mississippi Allstars, Mavis Staples, The Avett Brothers, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Tim Reynolds and others.  The only real surprise was news that the festival has added an additional day to its run.  Mountain Jam VII will be staged June 2-5.


Jack Bruce Blasts Cowell

Jack Bruce let loose a barrage of abuse directed at Simon Cowell recently.  The founding bass player in Cream called the reality TV talent kingpin a 'vile individual' that he maintains is so ill-equipped to recognize real talent that he would have tried to undermine Bob Dylan and other artists that went on to re-define musical landscape if he'd been around in the early 60's.  Bruce, who has often demonstrated that he has no limits for who he is willing to attack and what he is willing to say about them, reportedly went so far as to suggest that the X Factor figure should be "exterminated".


Not So High Seas For Jam Cruise

A music themed cruise setting sail out of Florida was a sitting duck for agents that staged a pier side raid that turned up LSD, pot, hash, and mushrooms.  Drug enforcement agents from the Immigration, Customs, the Marshals Service the Broward County Sheriff's Department and the DEA descended on the MSC Poesia Tuesday (1/4) in a raid that included drug sniffing canine units.  Apparently no musicians of the 44 acts booked to entertain the 2,500 passengers on the cruise were detained, and the excursion featuring Grateful Dead, Ratdog and Furthur veteran Bob Weir 'got off' as scheduled on a trip that included ports of call in totally drug-free places like Honduras and Mexico.


Steven Tyler Makes Talk Show Rounds

While other members of Aerosmith are left to ponder how to keep the band a viable entity, Steven Tyler is making the rounds to stoke the hype machine for American Idol.  The Aerosmith front man appears on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno Tuesday (1/11) and a week later will occupy the guest seat next to David Letterman.  Other band members have sucked it up and done the best they can to refrain from continuing to say what they really think about Tyler's decision to leave Aerosmith in the lurch while he cashed in on the personal PR and monetary benefits of a judging role with Idol. All involved are doing their best to put a positive spin on a situation that is anything but from everyone other than Tyler's perspective.


Clapton Auction Guides Available

Even if plucking down several grand to own an amp or axe from Eric Clapton's personal collection would blow any 2011 budget resolutions you made straight to hell, the Bonhams auction guide to all of the equipment up for bids March 9 to benefit the Crossroads Foundation (story) might be an item to consider picking up instead.  The publication detailing the 70 guitars and amplifiers will set you back a mere $30 if ordered by the end of January (20% higher after). To sweeten the deal, buying one also entitles you and a guest to get a look at the hardware at special previews in London, New York and LA before the auction.  The catalog can be ordered by e-mail at or by phone at 212-644-9001 and 415-861-7500. This will be the third auction EC has fronted personal instruments and other items for to benefit the addictions rehab center he founded in Antigua in 1998.


Plant Buries Zeppelin

Calling the 2007 Led Zeppelin reunion a pain in the ass, Robert Plant tells Rolling Stone magazine that he is personally and musically so far removed from where he was during the Zeppelin era that he can no longer relate to it on any level.   He goes on to say, 'I know people care, but think about it from any angle - soon, I'm going to need help crossing the street', and without limiting his criticism to his former band mates says, 'There's nothing worse than a bunch of jaded old farts', concluding, 'I don't deal in that, and I don't deal with anybody that deals in that.'  He then screamed, 'You damn kids, get off'a my lawn!'  Actually, no.  But he might as well have. Total senility may be the last best hope for anyone that wants Zeppelin to ever fly again.


CSN Split With Producer & Label

Crosby, Stills & Nash surprised a lot of people when they announced nearly two years ago that they had enlisted producer Rick Rubin for a covers album.  Several months later the project was still reportedly only about 1/2 done.  At the time, Graham Nash said the slow progress had more to do with CSN having a hard time being told how to record than anything else (story). Whether he still feels the blame for continued delays was due to the band is unclear, but things apparently got no better for the project under Rubin. How bad were they? Bad enough that CSN  has ended its association with the producer and its label, Columbia Records.  What is bad news for Crosby, Stills and Nash could be good news for another trio.  With one less project on Rubin's plate, ZZ Top may be able to put the pedal to the metal on its long-planned project with the producer. Craig Hlavaty of the Houston Press caught up to Billy Gibbons at a Houston launch party for Pura Vita Tequila (Hey Craig, tough assignment!), where Billy told him that he and Dusty and Frank plan to be in the studio working-up some new songs in the coming weeks.  As for when recording with Rubin will get underway Gibbons said the producer is '...hard to pin down'.


ZZ Top Tribute Album In Works

Country artists put out a tribute album to ZZ Top about a decade ago.  2011 will finally see one involving fellow Rockers of the Texas trio.  Mick Fleetwood recently told the Maui News that he and John McVie joined Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and guitarist Jonny Lang in the studio to work up a track, but left which song they did a mystery.  He did give drumming kudos to Tyler, who the stick man for Fleetwood Mac said busted out a version of Wipeout and '...kicked the hell out of it.Fleetwood recently contributed some percussion to a new Stevie Nicks album which he rates ' the best top two things' she has ever done.  According to Mick, there will be no Fleetwood Mac tour in 2011, but the band is 'contemplating' a new album.


Allmans Bulk Up On Big Apple

After a shortened residency in exile uptown last year (story), the Allman Brothers Band's return to it's accustomed stomping grounds, the Beacon Theatre, this March has been met with such strong ticket demand that 5 additional shows have been added to the 8 previously announced dates.  This year's series will now round the total number of concerts the legendary Southern Rockers have done at the 2,000 seat venue to an even 200.  The 2011 residency will celebrate the 40th anniversary of At The Fillmore East.  The landmark double live album was recorded a few dozen blocks south of the Beacon in mid-March of 1971. The hottest ticket should be for March 12, one of the two actual anniversary nights of the 1971 Fillmore shows, making it a night likely to draw some very special guests.  The full lineup of dates is March 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26.  The March 21-26 dates go on sale Saturday (1/8).


Truce Between Pink Floyd & EMI

2011 has opened on a much more positive note between Pink Floyd and EMI after a year in which the band and label went at each other in court, with Floyd emerging victorious in both bouts (story). Ironically, the new 5 year distribution deal apparently allows the label to resume selling individual digital tracks.  The sale of the songs apart from their respective album tracks had been a primary point of contention between EMI and the band in the original law suit.


Gerry Rafferty Passes

The former manager of Gerry Raffery has confirmed the death of the Scottish artist that had success in the early-mid 1970 while a member of Steelers Wheel and scored a huge radio hit with the song Baker Street off his 1978 solo album City To City, a song that generated upwards of $125,000 dollars in annual royalty payments.  Despite the monetary rewards, the singer had little good to say about the music industry.  In an interview with the Sunday Express two years before his death he called the business '...something I loathe and detest.' His self-imposed exile from performing and recording was accompanied by a rapid decline in health reportedly due to alcohol abuse. We learned last fall that the 63 year-old singer had taken a serious turn for the worse (story). 

Todd Returns To Utopia

The original Utopia line-up will perform in New York City at the end of January.  Todd Rundgren (guitar), Moogy Klingman and Ralph Shuckett (keyboards), John Siegler (bass), Kevin Elfman (drums) will take to the stage of the Highline Ballroom Jan. 29.  For Klingman the concert is therapeutic.  The keyboard player, who has cancer, calls the opportunity to play with the musicians that recorded the debut Utopia album '...the best medicine I can take to deal with illness', and writes on his web site that playing music is '...the most healing thing that I can do. So I plan to be performing at my benefit and healing the audience while the audience heals me.'


Robbie Robertson Casts Wide Net

Former Band member Robbie Robertson makes music on his own terms.  His reputation as an uncompromising musician is well deserved, earning him equal measures of admiration and loathing.  His next studio album brings together a diverse group of contributors that includes Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Nine Inch Nails veteran Trent Reznor and Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave.  The 12 track disc titled How To Become A Clairvoyant is Robertson's first solo studio outing in more than a decade.  It drops April 5.

Ian Stewart Tribute Album

Ever feel like it's taking forever to see your doctor? It did quite literally for a one time Rolling Stones member.  Ian Stewart suffered a heart attack and died in his doctor's waiting room on December 12, 1985.  The former keyboard player for the Stones had been relegated to a quasi member of the band by manager Andrew Loog Oldham years earlier.  Another keyboard player's interest in paying tribute to Stewart has apparently earned a song from the Rolling Stones.  The  release being prepared by Ben Waters will reportedly reunite current members of the Stones with another former member, Bill Wyman, on the Bob Dylan song Watching The River FlowBoogie For Stu should be out in March.


Lennon Abbey Road Garb Sold

The white woolen knit suit John Lennon wore as he and other Beatles members strode across Abbey Road in August of 1969 for the cover photo of the album bearing the street and recording studio's name was bought by an unidentified collector for $46,000 during a New Year's Day auction.  The same internet bidder paid $18,000 for the jacket Lennon had on when a video of Imagine was filmed as he played the song on his white grand piano.  The auction gallery in Norwalk, Connecticut was packed with a combination of the just curious and serious collectors.  The bargain of the sale was something far less recognizable - a 1972 Chrysler Town & Country station wagon Lennon and Yoko Ono bought so they could cruise the streets of New York on occasion without drawing attention to themselves.  The auctioneer described the olive green vehicle as the couple's "incognito van".  The beater and its 1980 registration sticker got picked-up for just %5,500.


All Star Jam Rocks In 2011

2011 got off to a Rockin' start on the Pacific perimeter of the US when Metallica's James Hetfield, Mick Fleetwood, Patrick Simmons of the Doobie Brothers and Alice Cooper shared the stage on New Year's Eve in Hawaii to help out the Maui Food Bank.  The all-star jam on the Cooper anthem School's Out came together during a set by the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band.


Reprieve For Ringo's Birthplace

Fans attempting to block demolition of the house that Ringo Starr was born in found an ally who could have the clout to at least put demo plans on hold.  Liverpool Housing minister Grant Shapps is calling on the City Council to declare a halt to the development plan that would level 9 Madryn Street and hundreds of other structures to make way for a large commercial enterprise.  While the proposal calls for nothing more than a delay, it could provide enough time for preservationists to find the means to save the historic home.  Starr himself has stayed on the sidelines during the battle to spare the structure.  A nearby home the drummer lived in for two decades is out of harm's way.


Axl Rose Tops All In One Poll

Hate to call out Music Radar, but a poll that results in Axl Rose being declared the greatest frontman of all time hardly reflects well on the site.  In our book, Rose has a tough time cracking the top 10.  Maybe in his prime you could have made a case for him to deserve a spot with the elite, but the wheels fell off for Axl ages ago. Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin turned in sub-par performances late in their sadly shortened careers, but recent performances by Rose have been so bad that he was lucky to have escaped some of the halls intact after outraged fans pelted him and the band with obscenities and debris.  Several others that made the list do little to bolster the credibility of the poll either.  Nothing against the late Ronnie James Dio (4) or Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson (6), but do they deserve a spot ahead of Ozzy? And what about Paul McCartney making the list (10), but Mick Jagger getting shut out of the top 10?

Hornsby Musical Set To Debut

Unlike the delayed, budget bloated, injury plagued musical based on Spider Man that Bono and The Edge of U2 scored for Broadway (story), a musical Bruce Hornsby has wrote has enjoyed smooth sailing to its January 18 premier in Norfolk, VA.  Granted, SCKBSTD (you fill in the vowels and  consonant) has nothing approaching the technical challenges that are mostly to blame for the problems of the Broadway production, but it isn't giving anything up when it comes to talent. The Virginia cast includes plenty of Broadway credentials packing actors, including Eugene Barry-Hill (The Lion King), Riley Costello (Everyday Rapture), Robert Cuccioli (Jeckyll and Hyde), Rosa Curry (Rocky Horror Picture Show), Garrett Long (South Pacific), Jayne Patterson (Les Miz), and  Tony winning director John Rando (Urinetown).  The Hornsby musical revolves around the reaction of a small, Southern town to the arrival of a stranger who gets tongues wagging and residents of the tight community on edge by roaming the town's streets in his Dodge.  SCKBSTD will run through Feb. 6 at the Wells Theatre in Norfolk.


Ron Wood Lends Support To Son

Jesse Wood has learned a thing or two about guitar playing from his father, Faces and Rolling Stones veteran Ron Wood.  Unfortunately, guitar playing is not the only activity the two Woods have in common.  According to a report in the Daily Mail, Ron Wood is giving his son some guidance on dealing with a substance abuse problem.  The elder Wood did multiple rehab stints before getting himself straight several months ago following a relapse that coincided with a period of off-the-wall conduct involving the Stones member with women younger than his son.  Jesse is the son of Krissy Findlay, Ron's first wife, who died six years ago, reportedly of an overdose of Valium.



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