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Noteworthy Now Archives for 2011-06

Off-Beat Doors Tribute

A dozen Doors songs get an acoustic showcase on All Wood And Doors, a tribute album dropping July 12.  Cliff Eberhardt and James Lee Stanley are featured on all songs.  The pair recruited John Densmore and Robby Krieger of the Doors for the project, which also includes contributions from Timothy B Schmit of the Eagles, Wings veteran Laurence Juber, Little Feat's Paul Barrere and Peter Tork of the MonkeesDensmore calls the project '...unique and refreshing', and a real pleasure to participate in.  Songs on the disc include Break On Through, Love Me Two Times, Strange Days, Light My Fire (remember Jose Feliciano's version?), Riders On The Storm and Moonlight Drive.


U2 Claws Up For Grabs

The enormous stages that U2 used during its global 360 Tour are looking for permanent homes.  Tour director Craig Evans told Billboard that the band wants to see the huge structures put to use in some form.  Evans indicated that discussions were already underway with individuals or organizations on four continents interested in installing one of the nearly 30,000 square foot stages on a permanent basis.  He says the fact each stage traveled tens of thousands of miles and withstood the wear and tear of repeated set-up and tear-down without suffer a breakdown proves they were well designed and constructed.


Petty Demands GOP Candidate Drop Song

Republican candidates either don't pay attention or figure that the coverage that results when they are ordered to stop using songs at campaign appearances is worth the hassle and expense, because it just keeps happening.  GOP Presidential candidate Michelle Bachman is the latest to run afoul of a Rocker.  Following the announcement that made her run for the White House official, Bachman exited the stage to a high decibel recording of American Girl by Tom Petty.  It seems unlikely Bachman and her campaign manager would both be oblivious to the fact Petty had presented George W. Bush with a cease and desist order for his campaign's use of I Won't Back Down.  Other candidates have also voluntarily or under court order been forced to stop using songs by Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, the Talking Heads and others.



What Happens Without Clarence?

Adversity can destroy or solidify a band.  Losing a member as central to a band's identity as Clarence Clemons was to the E Street Band raises all sorts of questions as to whether and how the band carries on without him. Bruce Springsteen himself addressed that in a recent online post, writing, 'with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.'  While that stops short of stating that the E Street Band will carry on, it seems evident that plans are for just that to happen. Still, the void Clemons leaves is far more considerable than that of past members that have gone on to other things or passed away.  The significance of his role in some songs makes it seem likely they may be retired from the set list.  Jungleland comes immediately to mind as a song that may never be performed live again by the E Street Band. The again, Bruce just might take that, Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out and Spirit In The Night and make an opus to The Big Man out of them that gets played regularly.


Stewart & Ron Wood Reunite

Fans at the annual Hard Rock Calling concert in London's Hyde Park Sunday (6/26) were treated to a rare reunion of Faces veterans Rod Stewart and Ron Wood.  The Rolling Stones member joined Stewart in the middle of Maggie May when Rod stopped the song to call out his 'old mucker' to lend his guitar to the tune.  They followed that up with a blazing rendition of Stay With Me.  Wood was not the only unexpected guest during Stewart's performance.  Stevie Nicks joined him on Young Turks at the mid-point of his nearly 20 song set.


U2 Protesters Thwarted at Glastonbury

A group intent on drawing attention to its claim that U2 are hypocrites because the Irish band operates some of its business dealings outside of the country in order to avoid taxes caused disorder during the group's set Friday (6/24) at the Glastonbury festival.  Art Uncut smuggled an enormous inflatable sign into the site that read "U pay tax 2?' and displayed a bag of money.  The plan to inflate the sign and then have it travel between the hoisted flags of Ireland and the Netherlands, where the band shifted business operations in 2006, was foiled when the protesters were tackled by a security squad that quickly deflated and confiscated the sign before it could be deployed.


ZZ Top Aims For 2011 Release

It's been as long as Texas is wide since ZZ Top put out a studio album of new material.  The Tejas trio plans to set that right with a new album the guys have been working on with producer Rick RubenBilly Gibbons says the opportunity to work with Ruben has been good, and likes the fact that Ruben isn't trying to change the group's approach.  In an interview on Houston's FOX 26, the guitarist said Ruben has made some good suggestions, but has also told them ' really don't have to get much better; just do what you do', and '...just turn it up and let's go.'
The band hopes to have the as yet untitled album ready for release before 2011 closes out.  It will be the first release of new studio material from the group since 2003.


Hendrix Onslaught Continues

The Hendrix estate and Sony Music plan to re-release expanded editions of previously available live recordings of the guitar great.  A re-issue of a 1987 release of Hendrix from San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom in 1968 adds two dozen tracks to the 11 original songs, plus an interview with Jimi. The 4 CD or 8 LP release will also be packaged with a 36 page booklet.  The re-release of the 1972 album Hendrix in The West includes 5 more tracks than the original.  Two Hendrix DVD packages are also in the works.  Blue Wild Angel, a 2002 film capturing the set Hendrix did at the Isle Of Wight and a DVD of Hendrix appearances on the Dick Cavett Show.  All of the titles drop on September 13.


Springsteen Eulogizes Clemons

A small chapel in South Florida hosted a private memorial gathering for Clarence Clemons Tuesday (6/21)Bruce Springsteen delivered the eulogy and performed a solo rendition of Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out before friends and family members invited to the service for the E Street Band sax player who passed away Saturday about a week after suffering a stroke.  Three of Clemons' four ex wives joined the fifth, Victoria, at the memorial.  Her husband had asked her to scatter his ashes in Hawaii in the event of his death and to do it with '...all of the special women in his life.'  Bruce described his friend as '...a man of unconditional love', but added that '...his love came with a lot of conditions', a remark that elicited knowing laughter from many in attendance.  He also said being in the company of Clemons was ' being in a soverign nation.'  Jackson Browne joined members of he E Street Band on a solemn version of You're A Friend Of Mine, the song the two recorded together in 1985.  Amazing Grace was played on the saxophone by a nephew of the late E Street Band member. 
In New Jersey, the governor ordered that flags in the Garden State be flown at half mast Thursday to honor Clemons for the contribution he made through his music to the betterment of the state.


More Bad PR For U2

Already under attack by fans for being tax dodgers in Ireland, U2's guitarist now faces charges that a development project he proposed for a hillside above Malibu included invalid environmental claims in a effort to gain approval.   The California Coastal Commission shot down the plan for several mansions above the Pacific north of Los Angeles - and one official of the commission did so in terms that suggest organizers sought to salvage the project by making misleading claims.  Commissioner Peter Douglas was quoted in the LA Times as saying, 'In 38 years of this commission's existence, this is one of the worst projects that I've seen in terms of environmental devastation.  It's a contradiction in terms - you can't be serious about being an environmentalist and pick this location'.  Ouch.  The latest ruling is the third strike against the proposed development of a 156 acre spread on the hillside owned by The Edge.


No Nukes Musicians Reunite

Several musicians that banded together in opposition to reliance on nuclear plants to address energy needs in 1979 are coming together again for the same cause.  The series of concerts 32 years ago at Madison Square Garden took place as energy shortages gave Nuke proponents a platform for promoting the expansion of nuclear power generation in the US as a clean alternative to continued reliance on foreign oil and energy derived from domestic fossil fuel sources.
Taking a cue from alarms raised by the failure the earthquake and tsunami triggered in major reactors in Japan, a number of the participants in the 1979 concerts have decided the time is right stage another concert to draw attention to the fact that even without the kind of catastrophic failure the double whammy of natural disasters in Japan caused, the un-addressed risks of a highly radioactive energy source add up to good reasons to avoid building more nuke plants as a solution to the nation's energy needs.
Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Orleans and US Congressional veteran John Hall will appear at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountainview, California on August 7.  Bruce Springsteen, who appeared at the '79 concerts but has been dealing with the sudden passing of E Street Band sax player Clarence Clemons (story), and Tom Petty are presumably in the category of previous participants of big names Graham Nash hopes will agree to perform at this year's concert.
Nash, who is no fan of the pollution coal-fired plants introduce to air, water and soil, maintains that the age-old energy source is still better than one than generates waste that remains deadly for more than 100,00 years.


Clarence Clemons Silenced

The case can easily be made that no side man of our time has had a greater presence and more significant role in the success of his band leader than Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band had on Bruce Springsteen.  When Bruce sang '...the change was made uptown when the big man joined the band'  on Born To Run's Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out he sent a clear message about the impact Clemons would have in re-writing the future of Rock & Roll.  The magnificent role Clemons played by infusing the music of the E Street Band with elements of soul, funk and dynamic brilliance will live on in his absence, but the idea that we will never be able to experience the exhilaration of his soaring solos punctuating Springsteen's great songs in concert leaves a void that can never be filled.  Clarence Clemons died Saturday (6/18) of complications after suffering a stroke six days earlier.

Clarence Clemons Fights Back

The role Clarence Clemons plays in the E Street Band is so important it's hard to imagine the band without him, so the outpouring of support as the Big Man tries to hang tough in the aftermath of a stroke Sunday comes as no surprise.  Our friends at Backstreets report that Clemons is stable and responsive in the aftermath of a couple of brain surgeries in a South Florida hospital near his home.  A source close to the 69 year-old sax man says the improvement in his condition over a 24 hour period bordered on miraculous, but that he is still facing an uphill battle.  The stroke reportedly paralyzed the massive musician's left side.  The update says that Clemons is now able to flex his left hand.


Townshend Guitar Lands Big Bid

A Gold Top Gibson Les Paul Pete Townshend of the Who once owned blew way past the high-end estimate of around $30,000 at a London auction when one bidder silenced the others with an offer of $50k. The prized instrument was used by Townshend during Who tours performing Quadrophenia in 1973 and '74.  Other rare items in the Christies auction included a harmonica gifted to Jimi Hendrix by Bob Dylan and the remains of a drum kit Dave Grohl trashed at the end of a 1991 Nirvana concert that brought a top bid of $13,000.


Has Aerosmith Still Got It?

Friction within Aerosmith is hardly news, but the acrimony over Steven Tyler's substance abuse relapse and decision to give a gig judging American Idol wannabes priority over recording a new Aerosmith album and touring once he'd recovered pushed one of the steadiest line-ups in Rock history to the brink of a real permanent vacation.  Next month the group will reconvene in the studio to try and knock-out a new record before heading to South America to resume touring together. 
The album will be the group's first studio album in 7 years. Only one song on the 2004 album, Honkin' With BoBo, was an Aerosmith original.  Fans may not be the only ones wondering whether Boston's Bad Boys still have it.  That may be why the group has brought veteran producer Jack Douglas in to work on what will be the band's 15th studio album.  The Douglas era of Aerosmith albums began with Get Your Wings and included Toys In The Attic and Rocks.


Mellencamp Hangs Around Home Town

John Mellencamp has enough personal and professional obligations to exhaust a guy half his age.  His recent album was recorded on location at a number of historic sites. He also compiled a career spanning retrospective box set, has an August Farm Aid concert in Kansas City and, come this fall, has a musical opening that he collaborated on with author Stephen King.  He is also expected to go through divorce proceedings with Elaine Irwin Mellencamp and may be planning to get married to actress Meg Ryan.  In the middle of it all the Indiana musician has found the time to continue to support an arts center in his hometown about 50 miles south of Indianapolis.  The Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour hosted an exhibit of 18 John Mellencamp original paintings along with some pieces painted by the singer\'s mother. 
The regional arts center is hosted in an 1850's brick mansion that once belonged to the family of a childhood friend of MellencampsJohn bought the home and lived there while filming the movie Falling From Grace. He later assisted in transforming it into an arts center by agreeing to lease it for $1 a year for that purpose to the organization formed to establish and run the facility.

Clarence Clemons A Stroke Victim

Clarence Clemons, the gentle giant of the E Street Band apparently suffered a stroke at his home in Florida.  Rolling Stone magazine confirmed a report by saying that The Big Man of Bruce Springsteen's group was 'seriously ill' after suffering the apparent stroke tonite  (6/12).  Clemons, who has endured a number of debilitating ailments in recent years, had been scheduled to do the national anthem before game 2 of the NBA finals last week but canceled due to a problem with his hand.  He spent much of the last year recovering from surgical procedures to address spinal and knee issues, and recently told Rolling Stone that he had been experiencing hip problems.  The eternal optimist, Clemons proclaimed in February that he would '...keep going 'til I'm not there anymore'.  We hope that time has not come.


AC/DC Shark Bait?

If you have a submersible mp3 player you might want to leave AC/DC off your salt water swimming play list unless you're also packing a spear gun.  A southern Australian tour boat captain says the sleek killers respond to the vibrations generated by AC/DC.  Just as important is knowing what music repels them.  Hopefully it's something more listenable than Barry Manilow or Eminem.



Quadrophenia Box Set Comes Together

An October release is being targeted for an expanded edition of the 1973 Who double album Quadrophenia.  After opting out of a Tommy tour that Roger Daltrey is doing due to his ongoing hearing issues, Townshend has elected to immerse himself in the project of readying a re-issue of the follow-up to the 1969 Rock Opera.  The deluxe reissue of Quadrophenia will include some demos that did not make it onto the original release, including songs that the guitarist described as 'quirky tracks' in a recent interview with Rolling Stone.  Much of the process of pulling the project together involves notes, diary entries and photos that Townshend compiled between 1971 around the time that the actual recording sessions for the album took place.


McCartney Books Yankee Stadium

When the new Yankee Stadium was on the drawing boards the economy was so revved-up it was obvious that high rollers on expense accounts were more than willing to pay any price for seats at the old stadium for the privilege of being 'in the house' for games.  The new stadium may have enough elements of the original House That Ruth built and a lot more  creature comforts than the old ballpark, but it's hard to compete with L.E.D. HDTV, multiple hi-def replay angles and beer from your own fridge to say nothing of not having to deal with traffic and all the other headaches of an honest to goodness live baseball experience in the Bronx.  Even with several thousand fewer seats than the old park and the Red Sox in town there are vacancies among the  prime seats between the dugouts. 
Concert business is in a similar slump.  Many fans reject the idea that acts are worth paying several times over the amount paid just a few years earlier to see the same artist.
But what if it is apt to be a truly historic occasion?  Team officials and Paul McCartney hope that the opportunity to be in attendance when the former Beatle takes the stage July 15 at the new Yankee Stadium will make the show a nearly instantaneous sell-out.
Now 68, McCartney first played a New York Stadium  in 1965 when The Beatles staged a triumphant show at Shea Stadium.  Sir Paul helped open the Mets new park, Citi Field, with a series of SRO performances at the NL team's new home, CitiField.

Rush Drummer Goes Solo On Letterman

The Daily Show and Jimmy Fallon come up with some entertaining ideas for late night or next day YouTube viewing, but Leno and Letterman seldom do something new, so news that Letterman is trying something different got our attention.  The late night fixture will feature drum solos during shows this week, including one by Rush drummer Neal Peart.  The series starts Monday (6/6) with Anton Fig.  The house band skins man kept the beat for KISS after replacing Peter Criss and has drummed for artists as diverse as Ritchie Blackmore, Paul Simon and BB KingPrince percussion queen Sheila E is featured Tuesday, Jazz drummer Roy Haynes Wednesday and Peart on Thursday.


Jimmy Page A R.A.H. Surprise Guest

Fans attending a Donovan concert at London's Royal Albert Hall Friday (6/3) got the bonus of seeing Jimmy Page join the him on two songs.  The Led Zeppelin guitarist showed his fret board skills are still in fine form on Sunshine Superman, the mid 60's track that he did the studio guitar work on during the interval between leaving the Yardbirds and the formation of Led Zeppelin.  He also joined Donovan on Mellow YellowDonovan told Rolling Stone that he paid Page 13 pounds for the three hours of work he put in on the song at Abbey Road Studios.  A Sunshine Superman video from Friday did not surface, but you can scope Mellow Yellow here.

Bono Hitches A Ride In BC

If you saw someone that looked like Bono on the side of the road with his thumb out would you really think it was him?  The U2 lead singer is thankful that Edmonton Oiler forward Gilbert Brule did.  Brule, out for a drive Tuesday (5/30) with his girlfriend at he wheel in Vancouver, spotted Bono and told her to turn around so they could pick him up.  The U2 front man and a member of his entourage had gone for an afternoon stroll in West Vancouver and got caught in a rainstorm.  Bono was so thankful for the lift that he invited Brule and his girlfriend to be his guests at the Edmonton U2 concert the following night - an offer Brule was willing to give-up his tickets to game one of the Stanley Cup final in Vancouver so that he and Kelsey Nichols could fly back to Edmonton for the Wednesday concert.  Bono even gave the couple a shout-out between songs during the band's set at Commonwealth Arena.


Virtual Margaritaville A Reality

Margaritaville has gone from being a state of mind to becoming one of the more lucrative enterprises in entertainment.  Having encompassed restaurants, beach bars, casinos, books, food and beverages, the Jimmy Buffett empire is preparing to expand into virtual territory with the addition of Margaritaville Online, a game being developed for Facebook and Apple mobile devices. The free-play game will be populated with characters from Buffett songs and books and let players interact socially, whether they just want to be a beach bum or become a tropical tycoon by amassing resorts and creating brands just like the head Parrothead.  Of course Buffett has factored in ways for the free game to generate revenue.  In addition to accumulating virtual currency by playing, fans will be able to spend actual dollars to customize their Margaritaville experience.  Gift enough virtual LandShark beers and burgers and you could earn real ones at a Margaritaville Restaurant, Cafe or beach bar.
Jimmy, who has ongoing hands-on involvement with the project, said the original pitch convinced him the concept was right, saying, 'They come up with story boards and lines, and I see the process. Then, I do what I do: Buffettizing.  When I got the first ones and saw the characters drawn, I got to go to Margaritaville.'


Yes Album Out In July

The first new studio album from Yes in a decade is due to land in store and online July 1.  Fly From Here will include veteran members Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White and Geoff Downes. Conspicuously absent is Jon Anderson who had a falling-out with the other group members after they decided to stick with vocalist Benoit David, who they recruited to fill in for the lead vocalist when Anderson was ailing a couple of years ago.  Anderson blasted band members for deciding to leave him sidelined after his recovery (story).  Art work for the new project is being done by Roger Dean, the artist responsible for several of the group's distinctive album covers over the decades.



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