Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Black Crowes "Jealous" of Gretchen Wilson?

Shades of the "My Sweet Lord" / "He's So Fine" debacle... country singer Gretchen Wilson stands accused of lifting the Black Crowes' 1991 hit "Jealous Again" for the basic melody of her new single "Work Hard, Play Harder," currently being used in advertising for the TNT series Saving Grace. E! Online invites you to compare the two songs' videos, and I'd have to say the evidence is pretty damning. The choruses are different, but the verses are dead on other than Wilson's version being countried up a bit.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bob Dylan offers Tell Tale Signs, plus tour news from The Who

This just in from a pair of musical giants...

Bob Dylan's Tell Tale Signs -- the eighth installment in the best-selling Bootleg Series launched in 1991 - will be released by Columbia Records on Tuesday, October 7. Available in multiple formats, Tell Tale Signs will feature previously unreleased recordings and alternate versions of tracks from sessions which generated some of Bob Dylan’s most acclaimed and commercially successful albums from the last two decades, including Time Out Of Mind, Love And Theft, Modern Times and Oh Mercy. (Full track listing is here.) For a limited time, bobdylan.com will feature a free download of “Dreamin’ Of You,” a fully-produced recording from Dylan’s 1997 sessions with producer Daniel Lanois, which spawned Time Out Of Mind. Today (July 29) also marks the launch of a completely redesigned bobdylan.com.

Meanwhile over at TheWho.com, the boys are gearing up for their upcoming U.S. dates with exclusive weekly pre-sales and VIP packages to fan club members. Set to kick off on October 21st at The Palace Of Auburn Hills in Detroit, the tour is currently booked with ten dates, including stops in Boston, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Washington DC and ending with two gigs at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on November 8 & 9. Ticket pre-sales are exclusively offered to ‘Official Wholigans’ fan club members; anyone can sign up now on TheWho.com to get access to pre-sales and other fan club benefits.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Rolling Stones get what they want from Universal

Big news in the world of corporate labeldom today as erstwhile world's biggest band The Rolling Stones announced they have left EMI and moved over to Universal. This is an unwelcome development for both EMI -- which recently lost both Radiohead and Paul McCartney -- and Live Nation, which had been lobbying hard to sign the Stones. In an industry in the midst of a wrenching transition in both business model and product delivery systems, it's a sign that there is still money to be made making and selling music.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Scorpions: World Wide Live redux

Those seemingly immortal melodic metallers the Scorpions -- Klaus Meine (vocals), Rudolf Schenker (rhythm guitars), Matthias Jabs (lead guitars), James Kottak (drums) and Pawel Maciwoda (bass) -- bring their "Humanity Tour" back to the U.S. for one more swing next month. The tour, supporting their 21st studio album, Humanity - Hour 1, also promises a bevy of familiar hits from the archetypal power ballad "Wind Of Change" to the headbanging fun of "Rock You Like A Hurricane." The brief second U.S. leg launches in Northern California on Friday, August 1 and runs through August 10 in Chicago, with Sammy Hagar sharing the bill at the first three dates in California. After that the Scorps are off to hit Brazil, Mexico, Trinidad (!) and another swing through Europe that starts in the UK on October 12.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Kid Rock does Dr. Seuss

Does anybody else carry around fond memories of the old Dr. Seuss book Fox In Socks, featuring the famous "tweetle beetle battle"? Maybe it's just me, but my mind goes straight there the minute I see a headline about Kid Rock getting in a "waffle scuffle." But even without going there, in a story with Kid, cops, a 5 a.m. munchie stop and a fight in a parking lot, what's not to like?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Opening acts: opportunity or thankless task?

USA Today offers a typically decent but rather superficial writeup today on the subject of opening acts, focusing on Brett Dennen, Liars and Sharon Little. One of the hardest jobs in the business has to be trying to warm up a crowd that for the most part, can't wait for you to be off the stage. And yet, as the saying goes, there's no such thing as bad publicity...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lou Pearlman: the bigger they are, the harder they fall

This just in: former boy-band mastermind Lou Pearlman (Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, O-Town), already serving a 25-year jail sentence for fraud, has been ordered to repay $300 million in investor funds which he so far seems to be, um, having trouble locating. Anybody check the hot tub?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

For sale: one Jimi Hendrix guitar, slightly crispy

When Jimi Hendrix lit his guitar on fire at the end of his legendary live set at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, he changed the meaning of the term "incendiary performance" forever. What fans not steeped in rock history may not realize is that Monterey was actually the second time Hendrix "lit up" on stage. The first time he tried it, at a gig in London earlier the same year, he ended up being rushed to the hospital with burns on his hands.

The guitar Hendrix used in that first nearly disastrous on-stage fire show will be auctioned later this year after recently being rediscovered in the garage of Hendrix' former press spokesman Tony Garland. Considering that the Strat Hendrix used at Woodstock was sold for $1.8 million, it will take some serious coin to pick up this slightly crispy piece of rock history.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Where The Hell Is Matt?

You've probably either seen or heard about this video already, but if not, by all means, give it a click below, or watch the original in higher-def here. It's amazing, as only the simplest and therefore most powerful ideas can be.



Finally, you can learn more about the project this video originated from here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rush to appear on The Colbert Report

This just in, courtesy of the Associated Press:

Rush will be appearing on "The Colbert Report," and it's not Limbaugh.

The Canadian band Rush, which hasn't performed on U.S. television in more than three decades, will play their classic "Tom Sawyer" on the Comedy Central show Wednesday (11:30 p.m. EST).

The Geddy Lee-led trio, which is currently on tour, hasn't played on U.S. television since 1975.

Rush is only the latest act to perform on "The Report," which has steadily edged closer to "Ed Sullivan Show" territory. With increasingly frequent musical performances, "The Report" has grown a variety-show impulse, evident in other upcoming bookings.

The rapper Nas will perform on July 23, Toby Keith will return for a second performance on July 28 and Crosby, Stills and Nash will play on July 30.

The Stephen Colbert-hosted comedy show was originally launched as a parody of conservative political punditry — and shows like "The O'Reilly Factor" do not make a habit of hosting music performances.

But "The Report" circus has expanded into musical realms, often with its sonorous host joining in. John Legend, Neil Young, R.E.M., Tony Bennett, Peter Frampton, Willie Nelson, Barry Manilow, John Mellencamp, the Roots and Carole King have all performed on the show.

The Who tour dates announced

Old guys rock. At least, that's this old guy's take on the newly announced tour dates by the remaining 50 percent of The Who.

Old guys, it must also be said, charge ridiculous ticket prices. Still, one can never hear "Won't Get Fooled Again" too many times. Never.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Return of attack of hair bands

Just had to share this item from this morning's USA Today: a then-and-now photo gallery of 80s hair bands. It seems that black is the new hair. Well, you've got to have some kind of strategy when your trademark begins to desert you...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Richard Thompson covers Britney Spears

No, seriously. And it sounds, well, pretty damned good.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The music business: the death of retail

Anyone who persists in believing the fiction that downloading music for free only hurts big corporations and is therefore morally justifiable should really read this piece from last week's Newsweek. There's a Sal -- an independent music retailer / small businessperson -- in every town. I don't want mine to go away. What about you?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Live Nation signs Nickelback (and Madonna and Jay-Z and Shakira...)

Those familiar with the cartoon classic Pinky & The Brain will also recall its trademark catch-phrase, wherein dumb-as-toast Pinky asks Brain what they're going to do tonight and he responds, in full megalomaniacal flower, "The same thing we do every night, Pinky -- try and take over the world! Bwa-ha-ha!"

This naturally comes to mind when reading about the latest move by Live Nation, the already-pseudo-monopoly national concert promoters who have now signed so-called "360" deals -- albums, concert tours, merchandising, the works -- with four majors acts, as well as a less comprehensive deal with U2.

Joining Madonna, Jay-Z and Shakira in the Live Nation ranks is Nickelback, the band that updated 80s corporate rock for the 00s -- like anyone was begging for that to happen. In any case, you couldn't find a more emblematic band for a company that seems to be bent on world domination.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New music from Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen has done charity benefit work throughout his career, but this time it's personal.

On July 15 Columbia will release a new digital EP of highlights from the still-underway world tour of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Magic Tour Highlights will be released via all digital download stores and will consist of four audio tracks with four accompanying videos, all recorded live in concert during the current Magic tour.

As fans all over the world know, the E Street Band lost one of its founding members earlier this year when organ and accordion player Danny Federici succumbed to melanoma (skin cancer).

The artists, songwriters, and music publishers are donating all of their royalties, and Columbia Records is donating all of its net profits, from sales of Magic Tour Highlights to the Danny Federici Melanoma Fund. The iTunes Store is donating their first year's net profits as well.

Magic Tour Highlights Track Listing:

1. "Always A Friend" (performed with Alejandro Escovedo)
Recording Date: 04/14/2008 (Houston, Texas)

2. "The Ghost of Tom Joad" (performed with Tom Morello)
Recording Date: 04/07/2008 (Anaheim, California)

3. "Turn Turn Turn" (performed with Roger McGuinn)
Recording Date: 04/23/2008 (Orlando, Florida)

4. "4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" (Danny Federici's final performance with the E Street Band)
Recording Date: 03/20/2008 (Indianapolis, Indiana)

Visit www.brucespringsteen.net on July 15 for download information. And again, R.I.P. Danny.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

George Michael Live at the Forum

Lest we forget, pop-aholic readers may wish to check out Assistant Editor Melanie Love's report from George Michael recent concert stop in LA for his first show there in 25 years. Did the crowd forgive this decidedly un"Faith"ful behavior? Find you for yourself.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Prince vs. Springsteen vs. Neil Young: Who's got the best backing band?

Nice job by Marc Hirsh of MSNBC today rating the best backing bands in the business. The J.B.'s (James Brown), The Attractions (Elvis Costello), the E Street Band (Bruce Springsteen), Crazy Horse (Neil Young) and The Revolution (Prince) are all worthy of consideration for the title. What's truly bizarre is how Hirsh managed to exclude two others who definitely belong in this category. No Heartbreakers (Tom Petty)? And sacrilege of sacrileges, he left out the only backing unit ever to have the nerve to call themselves simply The Band (Bob Dylan, and they lived up to the name)? Can't give this column more than a B with those two glaring exclusions...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tuesday Roundup

Because we can (and because there's news worth noting):
  • David Gilmour Live In GdaƄsk is a double live album plus concert DVD to be released on September 16th on Columbia Records. The first solo live album from the Pink Floyd guitarist/vocalist captures the final performance of his critically acclaimed 2006 On An Island tour, held in front of 50,000 in the Gdansk shipyards. The double live album, produced by Gilmour and Phil Manzanera, features Gilmour's six-piece touring band accompanied for the one performance only by the 40-strong string section of the Polish Baltic Philharmonic, conducted by Zbigniew Preisner, orchestral arranger on the On An Island album. It is the first ever live recording with an orchestra of Pink Floyd’s "High Hopes" and "A Great Day For Freedom," the latter performed here as a one-off for this special Solidarity anniversary. The DVD features 113 minutes of concert footage plus a 36-minute documentary which includes Gilmour’s private meeting with former President Lech Walesa, chats with the band and crew, concert rehearsals and other extras.

  • The Subways -- whose dynamic debut Young For Eternity was reviewed on the Vault two years ago -- are back with a new album. Their second disc for Sire Records is called All Of Nothing -- a fair representation of the trio's all-out approach -- and is scheduled for release on September 9. The 12-song album was recorded in Los Angeles with producer Butch Vig (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth) and promises a fresh blast of youthful energy.

  • R&b icons Labelle -- Patti Labelle, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash -- will perform at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans on Saturday, July 5th at the Louisiana Superdome, leading up to the release of their first full-length studio album in more than 33 years on September 23. The Essence Music Festival show will be the first public concert by Labelle since January 1977 and will showcase a short set including the immortal "Lady Marmalade." The upcoming album will include tracks produced by Lenny Kravitz and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame production team Gamble & Huff. Kitchy-kitchy-kitchy-ya-ya!