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Noteworthy Now Archives for 2014-12

Mick Jones reflects on his dark period

Sitting down with CBS Sunday Morning, Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones expressed regrets over his split with Lou Gramm and revealed that he went through a dark period a few years ago after a combination of medications he was prescribed caused him to have a '...virtual nervous breakdown'.  He describes the state he was in as so bleak that he lost his ability to play and became convinced he would never take the stage again.  He credits his brother for snapping him out of it by appearing with a guitar, handing it to him and saying, 'You play guitar. Play it. You're a guitarist.'  He says the tensions that developed between him and the group's lead vocalist related to Gramm considering himself more of a Rock singer but confesses, '...I can't have been easy to work with in those days.  I knew what I wanted. I was pretty domineering.'


Fleetwood Mac makes Wight choice

Expectations that Fleetwood Mac would opt to play the Glastonbury Festival went by the boards with the reunited group announcing plans to appear at the Isle of Wight.  We now also know that recording sessions for the group's first album with Christine McVie back in the fold won't take place until after that concert.  Lindsey Buckingham says the band has logged some studio time and settled on the tracks that will most likely be included on the album, which he thinks will ' a beautiful way to kind of wrap up this last act.'



Ringo Starr releasing 18th studio album (video)

Never one to rest on his laurels (whatever they are), Ringo Starr has posted a video confirming that he will have a new album out in the new year.  The former Beatle also appears to confirm in his year-end message to fans that he will spend a portion of 2015 on the road with another edition of his All Starr Band.  The as-yet untitled release will be the drummer's first album since 2012.




North America awaits AC/DC dates

European AC/DC tour dates bolted from the gate with sales figures that leave little doubt that the band will draw very well despite the loss of Malcolm Young and the uncertain status of drummer Phil Rudd.  It took just 20 minutes for the Aviva Stadium in Dublin to sell the 52,000 tickets available for the group's July 1 date in Dublin, Ireland.  Nearly twice that number took under an an hour to sell for London's Wembley Stadium date three nights later.  The 2015 Rock Or Bust world tour opens May 5th in the Netherlands and wraps-up July 25th in Warsaw, Poland.  One unconfirmed North American date has surfaced. indicated AC/DC will play Quebec City on September 2.



Legendary Springsteen concert gets released

People trying to find that last second gift for a big Springsteen fan got a big break on Christmas Eve when it was announced that the 1978 concert at the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland has been released for download.  CDs of the August 9th 1978 concert won't be available until January 23rd but the download is available now through the Bruce Springsteen Archive Project. The concert, simulcast live by a number of FM Rock stations, is widely considered to be one of the best Springsteen concerts of that era.

Scorpions announce new album

February 20 of 2015 will bring a new album from Scorpions.  Return To Forever packs 16 tracks, leading off with a title that sums up what the German Hard Rock band plans on doing; Going Out With A Bang.  Recorded under the guidance of Sting In The Tail (2010) production team Mikael Nord Andersson and Martin Hansen, the new album developed slowly. The group's Matthias Jabs said the band only intended to record and release a few songs they had considered for previous albums.  As that got underway, they started coming up with ideas for new songs.  Matthais told LoudWire, 'We had so much fun working and suddenly we found ourselves in the middle of the songwriting process again. And in the end, it turned out to be a brand new Scorpions album after all.'  The group recently announced a series of 50th anniversary tour dates in Europe.

Joe Cocker dies at 70 of lung cancer

Lung cancer has silenced one of the most unique and recognizable voices in Rock history.  Joe Cocker, the husky, gravel voiced vocalist that worked his way from the pubs of Sheffield to the stage of Woodstock and a career that included one of the wildest tours ever staged and an appearance that ranks as one of the best moments ever on Saturday Night Live, passed away Sunday night (12/21) after a long battle with lung cancer.  The singer's agent released the news today, saying that with '...the heaviest hearts we heard that our beloved Joe Cocker passed away last night.'  Accolades for Cocker emerged immediately from many of his contemporaries.  Paul McCartney credited Cocker as a lovely guy that '...brought so much to the world.'  Aerosmith's Steven Tyler tweeted of Cocker 'We loved you forever, we will miss you always.'  Cocker's 1970 Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour produced one of the best live albums of the decade, and was well documented in a Rockumentary that captured much of the spontaneous wildness of the trek.  His SNL appearance, which featured John Belushi in a parody duet with Cocker, ranks as one of the all time classics from the show.  Cocker wrote very little, but was perhaps the greatest interpreter of other writer's songs the world will ever hear. Cocker's rendition of the Beatles With A Little Help From My Friends was a highlight of the Woodstock festival. McCartney marveled that Cocker managed to turn the track from the Sgt. Pepper album into a 'soul anthem'.



Phil Rudd wants job & reputation back

Phil Rudd wants to pull out of the downward spiral his life has been on for the last few months.  Talking with New Zealand One News, the drummer proclaimed, 'I'm going back to work with AC/DC and I don't care who likes it or who doesn't.  I want my job back and I want my reputation back.'  Rudd was being investigated for allegations he threatened to kill a man and his daughter in a phone call on September 26th.  Authorities say a search of his Tauranga, NZ home on the 6th of November turned up methamphetamine and marijuana.  An early charge that Rudd attempted to hire someone to do his Dirty Deed was dropped, but drug charges are still in place. As to whether he still has a place in the band, AC/DC's other members have remained non-committal up to this point.




Stones ham it up for the holidays (video)

The Rolling Stones passed along this brief video thanking fans that turned out to see them at 2014 tour dates and hinting that they will be back on the road in the coming year.


U2 raises the ire of Irish

2014 has been a tough year for U2.  The group made foes of fans for the way it released its album, critics largely dismissed the music on it as unworthy, Bono was seriously injured while bicycling in Central Park, the group's company lost lots of money and now, as the year winds down, U2 has managed to squeeze in another problem for itself.  The latest fallout is the result of the decision to reenact the sectarian violence of years past on the streets of Belfast for a music video.  Staging the car bomb blast and related scenes of violence has brought a barrage of criticism against U2 from residents that resent the disruption and take issue with the band exploiting a painful period in the country's history. The production company doing the shoot issued a statement saying the criticism was '...all out of proportion.  We will have no further comment to make,' Actor/Director Dan Gordon did, though.  He told the Belfast Telegram, 'People rush to look at the negative.  U2 aren't setting out to paint us or themselves in a poor light.  They are there to expose stuff and talk about it.'



Skynyrd staging album concerts for live DVD

Gary Rossington 1959 Les Paul (Rock Hall of Fame)


Lynyrd Skynyrd will perform their debut and second albums along with other tracks on consecutive nights at Jacksonville's Florida Theatre.  The February 12 & 13 concerts are being filmed for a television special and DVD release.  Johnny Van Zant says the band has wantedd to do complete performances of Pronounced 'Leh-nerd Skin-erd' and Second Helping for ages and he and the band 'Can't wait to Rock it'.  The 1973 & '74 albums propelled the band to the top tier of Southern Rock and on the path to the Rock Hall Of Fame, which they were inducted into in 2006.



Surgeons prefer Floyd cut when cutting

It's not just the anesthesiologist that thinks being comfortably numb is important during surgery.  It turns out a lot of surgeons operate while listening to the track from The Wall.  The title from the Pink Floyd double album is among the ones on the recommended list following a survey conducted by the Cardiff University Hospital in the UK.  The study found that 4 of every 5 operations are done to a soundtrack and a large percentage of surgeons have Comfortably Numb in the mix. Others getting a thumbs-up for OR play include the Bee Gees Stayin' Alive, Smooth Operator by Sade and Coldplay's Fix You. Ones to avoid?:  Another One Bites The Dust by Queen, Dylan's Knockin' On Heaven's Door and Everybody Hurts from REM.



Jimmy Page close to next project (video)

After spending a good deal of time in recent years revisiting the past while remastering original tracks and selecting bonus material for the reissued, expanded editions of Led Zeppelin's first five albums, Jimmy Page is close to starting his next musical venture.  While he's not revealing any details about his direction and sound, the guitarist tells our friends at Classic Rock Magazine that it will be 'surprising'.



The Boss becomes The Undertaker

Bruce Springsteen calls the shots when the E Street Band is on stage and in the studio, but guitarist Steve Van Zandt is directing The Boss on the set of Lilyhammer, the crime series based on a city in Norway.   How did Bruce do in his first filming session? Just fine, according to the producer.  Van Zandt said of the performance, 'It's not some cameo. He's not playing himself. It's a real thing.'  Bruce plays the character of Guiseppe Tagliano, whose mob handle is The Undertaker, and will appear in the final three episodes of the new season of Lilyhammer.  Van Zandt admits that reversing the roles he's accustomed to as a member of Springsteen's band was a little unnerving, saying directing Springsteen produced, '...a little bit of anxiety', but added, ' meant a lot to me that he chose me and trusted me enough to direct him when literally everybody on earth's been wanting to do it.  Was it fun? Yeah, but it's more fun when it's over.'




Neil Young, Joe Bonamassa join Randy Bachman on new album

Randy Bachman has enlisted Neil Young and guitar great Joe Bonamassa for his new album.  Heavy Blues, due out on April 15 of next year, will also include material featuring the late Canadian guitarist Jeff Healy and pedal steel player Robert Randolph.  Production of the album is being handled by Rush, Journey, Iron Maiden veteran producer Kevin Shirley.  The Bachman-Turner Overdrive veteran says the new album was inspired by his ' of classic 60's Blues-Rock' and credits Young for challenging him to '...get out of the box, do something fearless, be fierce, be ferocious, reinvent yourself.'

Original Grateful Dead manager passes

Rock Skully, the man who signed the Grateful Dead to their first management contract, passed away Tuesday (12/16) after a lengthy battle with lung cancer.  The raspy voiced, free speaking Skully was well known among the group's fan base.  He managed the group during its first 20 years, signing them after seeing them for the first time at a Ken Kesey Acid Test. His unorthodox approach to managing the band rankled some in the industry some believe it factored into the group's performance at Woodstock being left out of the film about the 1969 festival.  Skully and David Dalton collaborated on the book Living With The Dead.



Rock Hall inductees announced

Stevie Ray Vaughan,  Lou Reed, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Green Day, Bill Withers and The Five Royales will join the ranks of just over 300 musicians in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame n the spring. Ringo Starr will be given the 2015 Award For Musical Excellence. John Lennon, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney have been inducted into the Hall with the Beatles and as solo artists.  This year's ceremony will take place in Cleveland on April 18th.  Starr called notification he would be honored '...recognition to me'. Jett called the experience '...surreal and humbling', adding that becoming a member is '...something you always dreamed about doing as a musician.'



One-of-a-kind guitar stolen

A thief in Vancouver made off with one of the rarest guitars in existance when he broke into a music store and grabbed a framed Peavy guitar autographed by a dozen major stars.  The break-in at Uniquely Yours, a memorabilia stor in the British Columbia city known for carrying exceptional collectibles, took place in the early morning hours on December 4. The instrument features the signatures of Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Ron Wood, Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck, Brian Johnson, John Densmore, Lars Ulrich, Duff McKagan, Joe Cocker and Vince Neil. The guitar was apparently the sole reason for the burglary as the thief could easily have taken a number of other valuable items, including a sheet of mathematical equations valued at $23,000 that was next to the guitar.

Haynes Christmas Jam features Neil Young tribute (video)

The annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam benefit concert in Asheville, NC Saturday (12/13) featured a Gov't Mule set loaded with cover tunes and heavy on Neil Young material.  Opening with Cinnamon Girl, the Mule followed with renditions of Tonight's The Night, an acapella version of For The Turnstiles, Old Man and Helpless were next, followed by After The Gold Rush, Cowgirl In The Sand and Down By The River.  The group also worked in a tribute to Ian McLagan by doing the Faces Stay With Me and closed with a thunderous version of Led Zeppelin's Trampled Underfoot.





Guitarist stakes claim on Ozzy song

Guitarist Jake E. Lee says he played a significant role in writing Bark At The Moon.  Talking with Eddie Trunk, Lee claimed he was told  that he would receive a writing credit on the song.  When that proved wrong, Lee says Ozzy's wife and manager informed him that his guitar parts would be replaced in the recording if he made an issue of being left out of the credits and royyalties.  When presented a contract to sign that included his acknowledgement that Osbourne had written all of the songs he claimes he was was told by Sharon Osbourne that if he failed to sign it, '...we'll give you a plane ticket' you go back home and you stand in line and you sue us. In the meantime, we have all your tracks.'

Dylan announces 2015 release

Bob Dylan has his 36th studio album cued-up for release early in the new year. The 10 track disc titled Something In The Night will drop February  3rd.

Dead resurrect holographic Garcia

A few weeks back, we speculated that plans were in the works for something special involving former Grateful Dead members. That something has now come to light, and it doesn't involve just the living members of the group.  Plans have been confirmed to stage a concert on each coast that will reunite the seminal San Francisco group with its departed guitarist. A hologram version of Jerry Garcia will virtually take the stage with the group for concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York and the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. HoJams is rthe company in charge of making the computer generated Garcia a convincing presence for the two shows. CEO Sam Watts says successful shows on the coasts could lead to more being scheduled. The New York and San Francisco shows will draw on Garcia appearances and performances during the late 60's and early 70's.



Sting earns Kennedy Center honor

Sting visited the White House Sunday (12/7) before attending the ceremony honoring him, Al Green, Tom Hanks, Lilly Tomlin and Patricia McBride.  The honorees attended a State Department dinner Saturday night, highlighted by Bruce Springsteen singing a song and speaking of his admiration for the former Police front man, saying, 'Sting makes me feel like a Neanderthal.  When we get together, we always have the same argument.  He insists there are more than three chords. While I insist there are not', adding, 'In an age of musical homogenization, no one has ever sounded or sang like my friend.' The line of the night went to host Steven Colbert, who quipped, 'Tonight, Washington puts the arts above politics, because no matter what party you belong to, everybody wants a selfie with Tom Hanks'.  CBS will broadcast highlights of the ceremony on December 30.



Ringo Starr selling Colorado ranch

A $3.85 million price tag for a very well appointed home in Colorado ski country is not unusual.  While the Shoot N'Starr Ranch might lack some of the over-the-top amenities found in similarly priced homes on the market near Snowmass, the buyers of those other places will not be getting a house owned by a member of the Beatles and a James Bond movie actress.  Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach bought the 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath 3.200 square foot log home in 1991 for $1.164 million.  The Colorado property was listed last year but was taken off the market in the spring.  With slopes sporting Colorado's legendary powder beckoning, the drummer decided the time was right for an encore listing.  The couple has also listed a 200 acre estate in Cranleigh, UK.   Starr and Bach will retain their residence in Beverly Hills to use while in the states.
  Photo: Joshua & Company / Christie's International



Def Leppard gets back to basics

The 10th album by Def Leppard should please early fans of the band.  Shedding some of the slick, heavily produced style of recent releases, DL plans to record a 'basic & raw' sounding album, according to front man Joe Elliott.  The singer told the Belfast Telegram the project's recording sessions should wrap-up in time to get the recording release-ready by the Spring.  Vivian Campbell, who has undergone stem-cell treatment to counter Hodgkin's lymphoma, is out of the hospital and engaged in a side project with Dio veterans Vinny Appice, Jimmy Bain and Claude Schnell under the group name Last In Line.



Brian May sounds asteroid alarm

Brian May may not be as qualified to evaluate astronomical probability factors as the scientists that make careers of doing it but he knows a lot more about them than any other musician we know of, so when the Queen guitarist sounds an alarm about asteroids, it could well prove well founded.  May, who earned a doctorate in astronomy, recently told the Financial Times that humans are ' on borrowed time' and is convinced a catastrophic asteroid impacting the planet is inevitable.  May considers the threat demands action and backs a plan to call on governments to organize and fund more asteroid tracking programs.



Joe Perry dangles phone call opportunity

Count on Joe Perry to cook-up a cleaver marketing ploy.  The Aerosmith guitar great will grant a fan a personal phone call with him.  The hitch? To be in the running, Perry wants fans to post a photo that includes his book ROCKS: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith in the frame to either his Instagram (@Joe Perry Official) or Twitter (@Joe Perry) account.  Do it between Nov. 25 and midnight Dec. 5 and Joe could select you to make a call to.  Some other swag is up for grabs, too.  Up for it?  Don't forget the all important hash tag: #JoePerryROCKS. Any scene or setting that's not deemed obscene is cool.



AC/DC's Rudd back in police custody


Already facing charges related to drug posession and making threats and just two days after his latest court appearance on those counts, Phil Rudd was detained by police again after AC/DC drummer got in an altercation with another man and then attacked his own body guard while he attempted to restrain Rudd from continuing the fight.  Tauranga, NZ police arrived on the scene and handcuffed Rudd while they tried to sort things out.  Rudd was reportedly later seen back at the cafe the incident started in picking-up things he'd dropped during the tussles.  A witness to his return said he yelled 'never get involved with the mafia' to other patrons before leaving the scene.



Faces keyboard great Ian McLagan dies

Ian McLagan died Wednesday (12/3) following a stroke in his adopted home town of Austin, Texas. McLagan broke in as a member of the Faces in the mid 60's and remained an active  role in a number of bands through the decades, most recently as a member of fellow Austin based musician James McMurtry's band and his own Bump Band. McLagan was 69.

Nick Mason accepts David Gilmour invitation

The enthusiastic reception Pink Floyd's final album has gotten is not likely to lead to future band projects, but drummer Nick Mason and David Gilmour will collaborate on the guitarist's new solo album.  Mason confirmed that he accepted Gilmour's invitation when speaking with Q Magazine.  Mason also says he holds out hope that additional archive Floyd material could qualify for release.  He says his determination to not let The Endless River be the last that fans hear from the group will probably lead to his head stone being engraved with the words, 'Surely there could be just one more.'



Stones pay tribute to Bobby Keys (video)

Bobby Keys played saxophone for lots of artists but he was best known for the sax parts he played on Rolling Stones songs.  His death on Tuesday (12/2) brought tributes from Stones members including Keith Richards, who shared birth dates with Keys and posted a photo of a hand written note calling Keys '...the greatest pal in the world.'  The band's Facebook page noted that Keys '...made a lasting contribution to the American music scene', adding, 'Bobby's horn may be silenced here on Earth, but the music he graciously shared will eternally live on.'



U2 Announce world tour



Nine North American cities will get the 22 concerts U2 has planned on the continent for its iNNOCENCE & eXPERIENCE Tour.  The group will also take a multi-night approach in Europe, where 10 cities will host the band's 22 shows.


Vancouver, BC  5/14, 15, 18 Rogers Arena

San Jose, CA     5/18, 19 SAP Center, San Jose

Phoenix, AZ       5/22, 23 US Airways Center

Los Angeles, CA 5/26, 27, 30, 31 The Forum

Montreal, QC      6/12, 13 Bell Centre

Chicago, IL         6/24, 25 United Center

Toronto, ON        7/6, 7 Air Canada Centre

Boston, MA         7/10, 11 TD Garden

New York, NY      7/18, 19, 22, 23 Madison Square Garden




Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Cheap Trick, GNR super group (video)

Current and former members of several Classic Rock mainstays are combining forces in Kings of Chaos, a super-group cooked-up by Guns N' Roses veteran Matt Sorum.  Sorum is joined by fellow Guns members Duff McKagan and Gilby Clarke, Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler, Robin Zander of Cheap Trick, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and Extreme's Nuno Bettencourt.  Eager to see them live?  You'll have to travel to South Africa, according to Sorum. Speaking at a pre-tour media event Sorum said, 'You will never see this concert in the UK or the US. This is a unique experience, just for South Africa'.  Tyler and Bettencourt did offer-up an impromptu version of the Extreme hit More Than Words during the media session.



Springsteen fronts U2 (video)

A dreary, wet December night in Times Square Monday (12/1) became the unlikely setting for a surprise one-off when Bruce Springsteen joined U2 on versions of Where The Streets Have No Name and I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.  Filling in for Bono, who a few weeks and 30 some blocks north of where the World AIDS day appearance by his band was taking place, fell and sustained fairly serious injuries while bicycling in Central Park, Bruce was up for the challenge. Coldplay's Chris Martin joined the group on Beautiful Day and With Or Without You.





Vinyl lp sales surge

A strong selection of limited edition releases for Record Store Day on Friday (11/28) helped drive the sale of vinyl albums past the 1 million mark for the first time in 18 years. 7,500 pressings of the recording of the Velvet Underground's 1993 reunion was a big draw to collectors.  Other offerings drawing crowds to independent music stores included a blue vinyl version of Blue Xmas by Miles Davis, a 7" single from David Bowie featuring two recently recorded tracks, colored vinyl pressings of Phil Spector's landmark holiday album A Christmas Gift For You, a 180g four album box from Neil Young that includes Time Fades Away, On The Beach, Zuma and Tonight's The Night.  Sales also spiked thanks to Pink Floyd's decision to issue the long archived material now packaged as The Endless River in lp form.


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