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Ringo Starr Says Beatles Could Have Reunited "If We Had Just Relaxed Behind It Long Enough"

Mark Seliger/Courtesy of Rolling StoneThis week, Ringo Starr will be featured on the cover of Rolling Stone by himself for the first time since 1981.  Among the topics the former Beatles drummer chatted with the magazine about are his sobriety, and why the Fab Four never reunited prior to John Lennon's death in 1980.

On the latter subject, the 74-year-old rock legend says he believes a reunion might have happened if he and his ex-band mates had been better at communicating with each other.

"With the [technology] you have now, I think we could have got it together," he maintains.  "I think the stumbling block was just sitting around and saying, 'OK, let's do it.'  And we never got to that.  You know, we did in twos, we talked about it.  But I think if we had just relaxed behind it long enough, we still had the songs, and we still could play.  We could have put it together."

Ringo also points out that had The Beatles reunited, they "could have done 'A Day in the Life,'" a song they never performed live.  He adds, "Of course, it's ended now.  John and George [Harrison] are gone."

For many years following the band's breakup, Starr was known for being a heavy partier, abusing both alcohol and drugs, but that changed in 1988 when he got clean and sober.  He tells Rolling Stone about his decision to give up his bad habits, "It gets really lonely, you know…It's a miserable disease, in the end.  There's a crowd of you, and it's lonely.  Because that's all you're doing is getting f**ked, you know.  But I haven't been that lonely since."

The article also focuses on Ringo's forthcoming induction as a solo artist into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame April 18, and how the honor came about thanks to his old band mate, Paul McCartney.  McCartney explains he decided to pull some strings after The Band's Robbie Robertson pointed out to him that late Beatles manager Brian Epstein had been inducted into the Rock Hall, but Starr hadn't.   Sir Paul explains that he then spoke with Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl, who both agreed Starr deserved to be in the Rock Hall as a solo artist.  McCartney adds, "And I said I'd do the induction.  That took care of it."

You can check out a video of Starr taking part in a photo shoot for the magazine at RollingStone.com.  The issue will be available Friday.

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KISS' Gene Simmons Accuses The Rolling Stones and U2 of Using Backing Tracks at Their Shows

Credit: Brian LoweEveryone knows that KISS offers up a lot of bells and whistles during its concerts, from pyrotechnics to lasers to fake blood, but Gene Simmons insists that there's one thing the band's shows won't feature -- backing tracks to augment the music.  In a new interview with Australia's news.com.au, Simmons maintains that his group is among the only rock acts who don't use pre-taped recordings to help fill out their live sound.

"There's nobody with a synthesizer on our stage, there's no samples on the drums, there's nothing," he declares.  "There's very few bands who do that now -- AC/DC, Metallica, us.  I can't even say that about U2 or The [Rolling] Stones."

Talking further about his aversion to the practice he claims is so common, Simmons says, "I have a problem when you charge $100 to see a live show and the artist uses backing tracks…It should be on every ticket -- you're paying $100, 30 to 50 percent of the show is [on] backing tracks and they'll sing sometimes, sometimes they'll lip synch.  At least be honest."

Simmons, of course, isn't known for holding his long tongue when it comes to sharing his opinions.  Last year, he upset quite a few rock fans when he declared during an interview published in Esquire that rock music was "finally dead."

KISS recently announced plans to tour Australia this October.  Prior to that, the band is scheduled to embark on a South American trek in April, and also has a European outing lined up from late May to late June.

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Jefferson Starship Leader Paul Kantner Hospitalized with Suspected Heart Attack

Image Courtesy of Jefferson StarshipSome disconcerting news has emerged about founding Jefferson Starship singer/guitarist Paul Kantner.  A message on the band's official Facebook page reports that the 74-year-old musician has been hospitalized and is "undergoing tests to find out exactly what's going on," adding that doctors suspect he suffered a heart attack.

The message says Kantner is in stable condition and is "in the best possible care."   The band adds that "we are sending him all of our best wishes, good thoughts and healing vibes."

The Jefferson Starship also reveals that it plans to continue touring without Kantner.  As the note explains, "[W]e have to honor our contracts and our fans who bought tickets and put on the best show possible.  We will dedicate every show to Paul until he is well enough to rejoin us onstage."

During its 2015 tour dates, The Jefferson Starship has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of its predecessor group, The Jefferson Airplane.  Kantner, of course, also is a founding member of that band, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the group in 1996.

The Jefferson Starship's next concert is scheduled for tonight in Londonderry, New Hampshire.  Here are all of the band's upcoming dates, according to JeffersonStarshipSF.com:

3/26 -- Londonderry, NH, Tupelo Music Hall
3/27 -- Uncasville, CT, Mohegan Sun Casino
3/28 -- Norfolk, CT, Infinity Music Hall
3/29 -- St. Charles, IL, Arcada Theater
4/10 -- Florence, OR, Three Rivers Casino
4/11 -- Florence, OR, Three Rivers Casino
4/24 -- Melbourne, FL, King Center
4/25 -- Ponte Vedra, FL, Ponte Vedra Music Hall
4/27 -- Little Torch Key, FL, Little Palm Island
4/29 -- The Villages, FL, The Savannah Center
5/23 -- Seneca, SC, Norton Thompson Park
6/6 -- San Mateo, CA, San Mateo County Fair
6/20 -- Craig, CO, Loudy Simpson Park
6/27 -- Gulfport, MS, Island View Casino
7/17 -- Walker, MN, Moondance Jam
7/18 -- Springfield, OH, Turner Pavilion
7/21 -- Springfield, IL, Convention Center Plaza
7/23 -- Truro, MA, Truro PAC
7/24 -- Hartford, CT, Convention Center
7/25 -- Stockton, NJ, Stockton Rocks Hamilton Township
7/31 -- Costa Mesa, CA, Orange County Fair
8/27 -- Santa Monica, CA, Santa Monica Pier

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Ozzy Osbourne to Have Surgery; Ozzfiesta Canceled

Image Courtesy of MSO PROzzy Osbourne's Ozzfiesta has been canceled, due to scheduled surgery for the Prince of Darkness this May.

"Like you, we were very excited about the event. However, Ozzy is having surgery, scheduled for May, following his South American tour," say organizers Cool Breeze Concerts in a statement. "He requires at least four weeks of recovery time. We are very disappointed that we need to cancel."

Ozzfiesta was scheduled to be held May 27-31 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The festival was to feature an Ozzy headlining set, plus a performance by Black Label Society and an acoustic set by Zakk Wylde.

As of now, Ozzy's appearances at the Monsters of Rock festival in Brazil and Argentina are still happening as scheduled. He is also set to return to Mexico for a pair of shows in August.

Meanwhile, Ozzy's original band, Black Sabbath, just announced a "farewell" concert at Ozzfest Japan, set to take place this November.

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Listen to New Ringo Starr Song, "Confirmation," Online Now

Universal Music EnterprisesRingo Starr fans wanting to get a little preview of what the ex-Beatles drummer's upcoming solo album, Postcards from Paradise, sounds like can head over to Billboard.com now.  The website is hosting an exclusive stream of the song "Confirmation," one of the new record's 11 tracks.

The tune is a funky, soulful and upbeat love song that features Starr accompanied by female backing singers and a bright horn section.  Ringo tells Billboard that he began working on the song at his home studio with his engineer Bruce Sugar, and that the tune originally was going to be called "Memphis," "because it had that Memphis feel."

He explains that he then called hit-making songwriter Glen Ballard "to come on over and make a record, and I gave him a choice of two of my basic tracks I cut at home with Bruce…Glen chose this one and we turned it into 'Confirmation.'"  The original name for this track was 'Memphis' because it had that Memphis feel."

Postcards from Paradise, Starr's 18th solo studio album, will be released this Tuesday, March 31.  As previously reported, it features contributions from his current All Starr Band members -- Steve Lukather, Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie, Richard Page, Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette -- as well as from Joe Walsh, Peter Frampton, Benmont Tench, Dave Stewart, Richard Marx and Nathan East, among others.

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Michael Schenker Says New Temple of Rock Album "Entertains from the Beginning to the End"

Image Courtesy of Chipster PRMichael Schenker was on a mission when he made his latest album with his current group Temple of Rock. The veteran rock guitarist tells ABC Radio that the newly released record, Spirit on a Mission, is "a really well-balanced album that entertains from the beginning to the end…with really good vocals and melodies."

Schenker, who is best known for his work with The Scorpions, UFO and his own Michael Schenker Group, says he went into the new project with high expectations thanks to the chemistry he's developed with the current lineup of Temple of Rock.  This incarnation of the band -- which includes ex-Scorpions drummer Herman Rarebell and bassist Francis Buchholz, former Rainbow singer Doogie White and longtime Schenker collaborator Wayne Findlay -- previously recorded the 2012 album Bridge the Gap, and Michael felt like the group could "bring it to the next level" on the new project.

"The idea was to really make this album very, very energetic and hard and fast and very melodic and sounding adventurous," he explains. "And to make the whole album read like a book…that keeps it exciting and you don't want to finish reading until [the end]."

Schenker tells ABC Radio that part of his plan for Spirit on a Mission was to use more seven-string guitar to help achieve "a bigger spectrum of sounds on one album and combine the older with the new and…to express as many experiences and emotions that have been accumulated over the years as possible."

To help achieve that balance he mentioned, Michael points out, "I wrote like five really fast songs with a lot of energy, and…I wrote a couple of songs like I used to do with UFO, like mid-tempo type [tunes]."

While Schenker says he has a hard time picking a favorite song from the album, he does shower praise on the lead track, "Live and Let Live."

"It's like a train that never stops, [with] great vocals on it, and really good melodies," he tells ABC Radio.  "It's just entertaining and it's energetic."

Michael also likes "Savior Machine," a song driven by seven-string guitar that he says "turned out to be an epic."

As for where the title Spirit on a Mission came from, Schenker reveals that he took it from a comment he once made to an interviewer who asked him what he'd liked to be remembered as.

"The whole sentence goes, 'I'm a spirit on a mission, spreading the joy of music from a place of pure self-expression,'" he notes.  "And that's basically who I am."

Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock had been scheduled to kick off a U.S. tour on Wednesday, but the first three shows of the trek have been postponed.  The tour now is slated to get under way on April 1 in Orangevale, California.  Visit MichaelSchenkerHimself.com to check out the band's full itinerary.

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Recent Brian Wilson Concert Celebrating His New Album to Air on PBS' "Soundstage"

Image Courtesy of Capitol RecordsA special episode of the long-running PBS performance series Soundstage celebrating Brian Wilson's latest solo album, No Pier Pressure, will premiere shortly after the record's April 7 release.

The program, which according to Wilson's official Facebook page will begin airing on April 9, will features performances from a concert held his past December at the Venetian Theatre in Las Vegas.  At the show, the Beach Boys mastermind was joined by many of the artists who lent their talents to No Pier Pressure, including Brian's longtime band mate Al Jardine, former Beach Boys sidemen Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar, fun. singer Nate Ruess, jazz trumpet player Mark Isham and Sebu Simonian of the indie-pop act Capital Cities.

Several videos showing highlights from the concert have been posted on Soundstage's YouTube channel, including a trailer for the special.  The clip shows snippets of a variety of songs being performed, including a few tunes from No Pier Pressure, the Beach Boys classics "Sloop John B" and "Good Vibrations," and a couple of lesser-known tunes by the band such as "Wild Honey" and "Our Prayer."  The preview also includes a snippet of a pre-taped segment capturing Wilson and actress/She & Him singer Zooey Deschanel in a studio performing their No Pier Pressure duet "On the Island."

A few full-length live performances from the special also are viewable at the Soundstage YouTube page, including renditions of the No Pier Pressure tunes "The Right Time" and "Sail Away," and The Beach Boys' "Wild Honey."

No official announcement has been made about Wilson's Soundstage episode, but you can check PBS.org closer to the show's April 9 premiere to find out the air times and dates in your area.

In other news, Wilson is taking part in a new fan Q&A on Thursday, March 26, that will be hosted by his Facebook page starting at 4 p.m. ET.  Visit Brian's Facebook site now to submit your questions.

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Rob Halford Signs Deal to Reissue Solo Catalog, "Essential" Compilation Due Out Next Week

Legacy RecordingsJudas Priest frontman Rob Halford has signed a new record deal that will see the reissue of nearly all of the albums and videos he released with his side projects Halford, Two and Fight.  The reissue campaign will begin with a two-CD, 30-track compilation titled The Essential Rob Halford that will hit stores on March 30.

In addition to the individual albums and video releases that will be made available, other retrospectives are also planned, including a Playlist collection and Complete Albums Box set.

After Halford left Judas Priest in 1992, he formed the band Fight, which released two albums and an EP during the years 1993 through 1995.  The rock legend followed that group with the industrial metal duo Two, whose only studio effort came out in 1998.  Then, in 2000, the powerhouse singer founded the straight metal band Halford, which has released a variety of studio albums, live record and videos.  Rob rejoined Judas Priest in 2003, but has continued to sporadically record with Halford.

Here is a list of Rob Halford's various non-Judas Priest releases that will be reissued:

Fight:
War of Words (1993)
Mutations (1994)
A Small Deadly Space (1995)
K5 -- The "War of Words" Demos (1997)
War of Words: The Film (video) (2007)
Live in Phoenix (video) (2008)

Two:
Voyeurs (1998)

Halford:
Resurrection (2000)
Live Insurrection (2001)
Crucible (2002)
Metal God Essentials: Volume 1 (2007)
Live at Rock in Rio 3 (album and video) (2008)
Winter Songs (2009)
Made of Metal (2010)
Live in Anaheim (album and video) (2010)
Live at Saitama Super Arena (album and video) (2011)
Live in London (2012)
Live 2010 North & South America Tour (album and video)
Metal God Essentials: Volume 2

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Listen to Boz Scaggs' Upcoming Album, "A Fool to Care," Online Now

429 RecordsBoz Scaggs' upcoming studio album, A Fool to Care, will be released next Tuesday, March 31, but the soulful singer is treating fans to a full preview of the record online now.  The entire standard version of the album is streaming through Monday, March 30, at Amazon.com.

A Fool to Care was recorded over four days at Nashville's Blackbird Studio, and includes guest appearances by Bonnie Raitt and lauded alt-country artist Lucinda Williams.  Raitt lends her slide-guitar and vocal talents to an original tune titled "Hell to Pay," while Williams duets with Scaggs on a version of The Band's "Whispering Pines."  Accompanying Scaggs on A Fool to Care are such respected session musicians as bassist Willie Weeks, guitarist Ray Parker Jr. and drummer Steve Jordan. Jordan also produced the album.

The 12-track record finds Scaggs tastefully blending rock, soul, blues, R&B and jazz influences on the record, which is made up mostly of cover tunes, along with a couple of a his own new compositions.  A deluxe version of A Fool to Care boasting three extra tunes can be purchased exclusively at Best Buy stores and BestBuy.com.

Scaggs has lined up a spring U.S. tour in support of the album that runs from an April 8 concert in Gainesville, Florida, through a May 24 gig in Modesto, California.  Boz also is one of the many stars who will perform at the recently announced Brian Wilson tribute show, Brian Fest, this Monday at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles.

Here is Scaggs' full forthcoming itinerary:

3/30 -- Los Angeles CA, Brian Fest - Fonda Theatre
4/8 -- Gainesville, FL, Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
4/9 -- Sarasota, FL, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
4/11 -- St. Petersburg, FL, Tampa Bay Blues Festival
4/13 -- Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Broward Center - Au Rene Theater
4/15 -- West Palm Beach, FL, Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
4/16 -- Orlando, FL, Universal Orlando's CityWalk - Hard Rock Live
5/1 -- Biloxi, MS, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - Hard Rock Live
5/2 -- Peachtree City, GA, Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater
5/4 -- San Antonio, TX, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
5/6 -- Baton Rouge, LA, River Center Theater
5/7 -- Stafford, TX, Stafford Centre Performing Arts Theatre
5/9 -- Grand Prairie, TX, Verizon Theatre
5/10 -- Austin, TX, Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater
5/13 -- Las Vegas, NV, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts - Reynolds Hall
5/15 -- Temecula, CA, Pechanga Resort & Casino - Indoor Theater
5/16 -- San Francisco, CA, The Masonic
5/17 -- Dana Point, CA, Doheny Blues Fest
5/19 -- San Luis Obispo, CA, Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center - Harmon Hall
5/20 -- Santa Rosa, CA, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
5/22 -- Carmel, CA, Sunset Center
5/23 -- Stateline, NV, MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa - MontBleu Theatre
5/24 -- Modesto, CA, Gallo Center for the Arts

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Sixx:AM Releases Lyric Video for Cover of The Cars' "Drive"

Credit: Paul BrownSixx:AM, Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx's other band, has added a visual component to their cover of The Cars' "Drive" in the form of a lyric video.  The clip features the lyrics from the track popping up in pink lettering over shots of -- what else? -- cars driving.  You can watch the automobile-focused video now on YouTube.

Sixx:AM's cover of "Drive" appears on the band's latest album, Modern Vintage.  The album gave the group its fourth top 10 hit on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Songs chart in "Stars."

Meanwhile, Sixx:AM has announced that Dustin Steinke of the rock band Bleeker Ridge will man the drums on its forthcoming tour.  While Sixx:AM has played live shows in the past, the group will embark on its first ever full-scale headlining tour beginning April 8 in San Francisco.  Cello rockers Apocalyptica will open the trek.

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The Doors' Debut Album Added to National Recording Registry

Elektra/RhinoThe Doors' 1967 self-titled album is among the latest recordings to be added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's memorable debut effort is one of 25 recordings from various genres chosen for the registry this year, each selected for being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."

In a statement, the Library of Congress notes that although The Doors were not "as overtly political as some of their contemporaries, [they] still pushed artistic, sexual and psychological boundaries."  Among the songs from the album singled out as significant are "Light My Fire," "Break on Through (to the Other Side)" and the ominous epic "The End."

Other recordings that also selected for the National Recording Registry this year include Joan Baez's 1960 self-titled album, Ben E. King's 1961 hit "Stand by Me," The Righteous Brothers' classic 1964 tune "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," Sly and the Family Stone's 1969 album Stand! and Radiohead's acclaimed 1997 record OK Computer.

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Watch Slash Go Behind the Scenes of "World on Fire" in New Documentary

Scott Uchida/MSO PRWorld on Fire, Slash's latest album with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, is the subject of newest edition of Real to Reel,  a documentary series created by guitar string and accessory manufacturer Ernie Ball.  The hour-long episode gives fans an in-depth look into the recording process of World on Fire.  You can watch the entire documentary now at Billboard.com.

"Recording an album is a uniquely inspiring experience, and this one was particularly exciting as we were recording on two-inch analog tape," Slash tells Billboard.  "It was a fun process to have Ernie Ball capture the experience and I'm excited to be able to share it with the world."

Meanwhile, the ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist and his current collaborators will be demonstrating their live prowess on their U.S. tour, which begins in April.  The trek will wrap up May 24 in Dallas, and will be followed by a stint in Europe that will last into July.

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Honored by USO, Stevie Nicks Says Giving Music to Wounded Troops Is "Most Important"

Credit: Kristin Burns In recognition of her ongoing support of U.S. troops over the years, Stevie Nicks was honored Tuesday night with the Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2015 USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore 33rd Annual Awards Dinner.  Not only does the Fleetwood Mac singer hold the record for the most hours spent over a five-year period visiting wounded soldiers, but she also has given those soldiers hundreds of iPods filled with music to help speed their recovery.

"I think they love it, and I love doing it," Nicks told ABC Radio a few years ago.  "We take a lot of stuff with us there [when we visit].  We take journals sometimes, and sometimes blankets.  But always iPods, because most important is the music, and for them to have some music until they ...get it together to get other music."

Stevie pre-loads all the iPods with her own personal music mixes, which she says she's been making "for a gazillion years," because, as she explains, the troops she visits are "way too injured to be downloading music.  So I wanted to be able to give them a complete package, so that from the day they get there they have something that's gonna help in their rehabilitation and that's gonna help when they're just laying in there, trying to get through that first couple of months that's so difficult for them."

Of course, Nicks has no problem with the soldiers swapping out her music with their own choices, once they're feeling better.

"There's a lot of room left on them so they can add their own stuff," she says of the iPods.  "And I tell them, 'If you wanna erase everything on here, go ahead and start over, it's fine, I don't mind.'"

The singer is particularly proud of the content of music mixes that she's created and shared with the soldiers over the years.

"When they push play and it starts on that sequence, I want them to listen to the whole thing," she explains.  "I want it to build.  I want it to start in one place and take them to another place, and I think that's what it does."

Nicks' work with the soldiers inspired her 2011 song "Soldier's Angel."  Her tour with Fleetwood Mac continues Wednesday in Atlanta.

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Paul McCartney, Metallica Among Lollapalooza 2015 Headliners

Fresh and Clean Media/C3 Presents/WMEThe lineup for this year's Lollapalooza festival has been announced, and it's a typically eclectic bill: Paul McCartney will make his first appearance at the long-running festival, while Metallica will return for the first time since 1996.  Other headliners include Florence the Machine, Sam Smith, alt-J, Alabama Shakes, Of Monsters and Men, TV on the Radio, MisterWives, George Ezra, and many more.

Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell said in a statement, "The heart of Lollapalooza has always been the music. The brotherhood and sisterhood of musicians is getting stronger and the unexpected surprises and collaborations are cementing magical moments that will live on in music history. Having young talented artists performing alongside legends is all I could ever ask for and I'll be grinning from ear to ear the entire weekend."

The festival will take place in Chicago's Grant Park July 31 through August 2.  If you can't make it, a livestream will be available on a variety of devices.

Three-day passes to the festival are already sold out, but single-day passes are available today at the festival's website starting at 10 a.m. CST, as are VIP and Platinum Passes, and travel packages.

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Thin Lizzy's First Eight Albums Being Reissued on High-Quality Vinyl This Week

Keenan Neighbors/Universal MusicIf your beloved Thin Lizzy vinyl albums are too warped and scratched to enjoy anymore, take heart: this week, you'll be treated to newly-remastered, high-quality vinyl versions of the beloved Irish rock band's first eight studio albums.  The discs, which will be pressed on 180-gram vinyl, will be released this Friday in conjunction with Universal Music's ongoing Back to Black reissue campaign.

The LPs, which will come in sleeves replicating the original artwork, span from Thin Lizzy's 1971 self-titled effort through 1977's Bad Reputation, and include the band's best-known album, 1976's Jailbreak.  That record yielded two of the group's best-known songs: the title track and "The Boys Are Back in Town," the latter of which reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Thin Lizzy was led by charismatic singer, bassist and songwriter Phil Lynott, whose writing was influenced by such rock poets as Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Bruce Springsteen and also sought musical inspiration from such harder rocking artists as Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck.  The band broke up in 1983, and Lynott passed away three years later at the age of 36 from complications of drug abuse.

Thin Lizzy re-formed in 1996 and has continued to tour on and off with various lineups featuring one or more members of the group's Lynott-fronted incarnations.

Here's the full list of Thin Lizzy albums that'll be reissued on vinyl this Friday:

Thin Lizzy (1971)
Shades of a Blue Orphanage (1972)
Vagabonds of the Western World (1973)
Nightlife (1974)
Fighting (1975)
Jailbreak (1976)
Johnny the Fox (1976)
Bad Reputation (1977)

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Doobie Brothers, Kansas, Foghat Among Headliners for Milwaukee's 2015 Summerfest

Image Courtesy of Milwaukee World Festival Inc.Milwaukee's Summerfest has announced its lineup of headliners for 2015, and it includes plenty of well-known classic-rock artists.  Among the veteran music stars who will entertain the crowds this year at the festival grounds are The Doobie Brothers, Kansas, Foghat, Sammy Hagar and the Circle, Pat Benatar, Whitesnake, The Romantics, Buddy Guy and Jane's Addiction.

Summerfest is billed as "the World's Largest Music Festival," and for good reason.  More than 800 acts will perform on the 11-day event's 11 stages.  This year's festival will take place June 24 to June 28 and June 30 to July 5 at Henry Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee.

Tickets to Summerfest will grant you access to performances at the various grounds stages, while a number of separately ticketed events will be held at the Marcus Amphitheater.

Other artists on this year's bill include The Isley Brothers, Kings of Leon, Linkin Park, The Flaming Lips, Mavis Staples, Sheryl Crow, Zac Brown Band, Ed Sheeran, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Keith Urban, Martina McBride, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Third Eye Blind and many more.

For the full lineup and ticket information, visit Summerfest.com.

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Van Halen Announces Summer/Fall North American Tour, Band to Play Special L.A. Show This Monday

Live Nation EntertainmentJump for joy, Van Halen fans!  The rock legends have announced plans for a major North American tour that will kick off on July 5 in Auburn, Washington, and run all the way through an October 2 concert in Los Angeles.

Van Halen will celebrate the trek with a special show this Monday, March 30, on L.A.'s Hollywood Boulevard.  Performances from the event will be shown that night and the following evening on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which airs at 11:35 p.m. ET/10:35 p.m. CT.  The band members also will be interviewed by host Jimmy Kimmel on Monday's episode.

Tickets for the tour go on sale staring April 4 at Ticketmaster.com and LiveNation.com.  Blues-rock guitar whiz Kenny Wayne Shepherd will open all dates.

Van Halen's Kimmel appearance will take place in conjunction with the March 31 release of the group's new live album, Tokyo Dome: Live in Concert, which was recorded in the Japanese capital in June 2013.  As previously reported, the rockers also will promote the arrival of the album with an April 2 performance on The Ellen Degeneres Show.

Here are the full list of Van Halen's confirmed North American tour dates:

7/5 -- Auburn, WA, White River Amphitheatre
7/7 -- Portland, OR, Amphitheater Northwest
7/9 -- Concord, CA, Concord Pavilion
7/11 -- San Bernardino, CA, San Manuel Amphitheater
7/14 -- Irvine, CA, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
7/16 -- Mountain View, CA, Shoreline Amphitheatre
7/18 -- Salt Lake City, UT, USANA Amphitheatre
7/20 -- Morrison, CO, Red Rocks Amphitheatre
7/22 -- Bonner Springs, MO, Cricket Wireless Amphitheater
7/24 -- Chicago, IL, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
7/26 -- St. Louis, MO, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
7/28 -- Burgettstown, PA, First Niagara Pavilion
7/30 -- Bangor, ME, Darling's Waterfront Pavilion
8/1 -- Mansfield, MA, Xfinity Center
8/3 -- Cuyahoga Falls, OH, Blossom Music Center
8/5 -- London, ON, Canada, Western Fair District
8/7 -- Toronto, ON, Canada, Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
8/9 -- Holmdel, NJ, PNC Bank Arts Center
8/11 -- Hartford, CT, Xfinity Center
8/13 -- Wantagh, NY, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
8/23 -- Hershey, PA, Hershey Park
8/25 -- Darien Center, NY, Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
8/27 -- Camden, NJ, Susquehanna Bank Center
8/29 -- Bristow, VA, Jiffy Lube Live
8/31 -- Cincinnati, OH, Riverbend Music Center
9/2 -- Noblesville, IN, Klipsch Music Center
9/4 -- Clarkston, MI, DTE Energy Music Theatre
9/6 -- Bethel, NY, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
9/9 -- Raleigh, NC, Walnut Creek Amphitheater
9/11 -- Charlotte, NC, PNC Music Pavilion
9/13 -- Tampa, FL, MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
9/15 -- West Palm Beach, FL, Coral Sky Amphitheatre
9/17 -- Birmingham, AL, Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
9/21 -- Austin, TX, Austin360 Amphitheater
9/23 -- Dallas, TX, Gexa Energy Pavilion
9/25 -- The Woodlands, TX, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
9/28 -- Phoenix, AZ, Ak-Chin Pavilion
9/30 -- Chula Vista, CA, Sleep Train Amphitheatre
10/2 -- Los Angeles, CA, Hollywood Bowl

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Elton John, Billy Idol to Perform at 2015 Outside Lands Festival in August

ABC/Randy Holmes; Michael MullerElton John is among the performers set to headline the 2015 Outside Lands festival, which will take place August 7-9 at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.  The lineup for eighth annual edition of the music extravaganza also includes Billy Idol, Mumford & Sons, The Black Keys, Sam Smith and rapper Kendrick Lamar, among many others.

A limited number of advance three-day general-admission tickets and VIP tickets for the Outside Lands festival will go on sale Thursday, March 26, at 10 a.m. PT.  You can check out the complete artist roster for the event at SFOutsideLands.com.  A portion of the money brought in by ticket sales will benefit San Francisco's Recreation and Park Department.

Outside Lands isn't the only major U.S. festival Elton will headline this year.  The Rocket Man's itinerary also includes a May 2 performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

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ZZ Top and George Thorogood Among Artists Whose Stagecoach Festival Performances Will Air on AXS TV

Credit: Ross HalfinFor the third straight year, AXS TV will air select performances from the Stagecoach Festival, which this year is scheduled to take place April 24-26 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.  While the festival's main focus is country music, the event's bill also includes a number of well-known rock artists, some of whose sets will be viewable on the high-def network.

Among the acts whose Stagecoach performances will be shown are ZZ Top, George Thorogood and the Destroyers and veteran Southern rockers The Outlaws.  ZZ Top is scheduled to play on Saturday, April 25, while Thorogood and the Destroyers and The Outlaws will perform the following day.  AXS TV will broadcast a total of 21 hours of the festival, with coverage airing each night at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Country stars slated to appear during the channel Stagecoach broadcasts include Jake Owen, Vince Gill, Dierks Bentley, The Band Perry and Sara Evans.  Other artists will be added to the AXS TV lineup in the coming days.

In conjunction with the network's Stagecoach festival coverage, special content will be accessible on a new AXS.tv microsite focusing on the event.

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Toto's Steve Lukather Says Band Is "Coming to Grips" with Mike Porcaro's Death as New Album Hits Stores

Frontiers Music SrlIt's been a bittersweet month for Toto.  On March 15, the veteran rock band's longtime bass player Mike Porcaro lost his battle with Lou Gehrig's disease and was laid to rest just a few days before the release this past Monday of the group's new studio album, Toto XIV.

In a new interview with ABC Radio, Toto guitarist Steve Lukather says he and his band mates are understandably going through an emotional roller coaster at the moment.

"It was inevitable but it was still very, very difficult for us," Lukather explains of Porcaro's passing at age 59.  I mean, he's at peace now but we're still in a period of, you know, 'What do we do now?'…We're just kind of coming to grips with it all, in the midst of something very positive like a new record release…It's a very emotionally confusing time for us, but we're going to stay in the light with this one."

Toto's founding drummer Jeff Porcaro, Mike's older brother, died in 1992 of a heart attack at the age of 38.

Toto XIV is the band's first new album since 2006's Falling In Between, and its first studio effort since reforming in 2010, with keyboardist Steve Porcaro and lead singer Joseph Williams rejoining the group's official lineup for the first time since the 1980s.

Lukather tells ABC Radio that in putting together the album, the band made it a priority to include significant contributions from all of its core members -- himself, Steve Porcaro, Williams and singer/keyboardist David Paich.

"I think it's a really great representation of everybody's songwriting, production and playing," says Lukather.  "And we all get a chance to shine, really."

As for the sound of the album, the guitar whiz maintains, "There's a lot of going back, but still with a modern twist to it in the sense of how we play now in 2014, 2015, as opposed to 1986."

Toto XIV finds the band tackling a variety of topics, from prospects for the planet's future, to  religion-fueled military conflicts, to aging, to  relationships.  Musically, the record is packed with the impressive technical performances, inventive arrangements and soaring melodies Toto became known for during its early 1980s heyday, with a bit more aggressive rock influences thrown into the mix.

Toto will begin a tour in support of Toto XIV with a European leg that gets under way May 21 in Glasgow, U.K.  Lukather reveals that the band will be bringing the trek to North America in August and September, and says they will be teaming up "with one of our favorite bands" for the outing.  Paich recently announced during a video interview with VintageRock.com that the group will be hitting the road with Yes.

Visit TotoOfficial.com to keep up with the latest on Toto's upcoming tour plans.

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