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Norman Greenbaum of “Spirit in the Sky” Fame Critically Injured in Car Accident

Photo by GAB Archive/RedfernsNorman Greenbaum, the 72-year-old singer-songwriter best known for the 1969 hit “Spirit in the Sky” was hospitalized Saturday after being critically injured in a Northern California car accident that killed a motorcyclist, the Press-Democrat reports.

Greenbaum was still in critical condition as of Sunday afternoon, a nursing supervisor told the newspaper.

Greenbaum was a passenger in a Subaru Outback that failed to yield to a motorcycle at an intersection in Santa Rosa, California Highway Patrol officials told the newspaper.

CHiP officials said the motorcyclist, 20-year-old Usama Halaweh, crashed into the Subaru and died at the scene.  A passenger on the motorcycle was critically injured.

The driver of the Subaru, identified as Bonita Perea, 63, was not injured, CHiP officials said.

“Spirit in the Sky” has been featured in dozens of TV shows and movies over the years. It was part of the soundtrack of last year’s box office hit Guardians of the Galaxy.

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Led Zeppelin Concert Film Screenings Taking Place Tonight Across the US

Credit: Ian DicksonJust a reminder that tonight's the night that special screenings of a newly created Led Zeppelin concert film will be held at more than 300 theaters across the U.S.  The movie, titled simply Led Zeppelin, includes footage from select performances spanning the group's entire 1970s heyday.

The film includes footage from concerts the band played at London's Royal Albert Hall in January 1970, Australia's Sydney Showground in February 1972, New York City's Madison Square Garden in July 1973, London's Earl's Court in May 1975, and the U.K.'s Knebworth Festival in August 1979.  The performances featured in the flick also appear on the Led Zeppelin DVD collection that was released in 2003.

Among the classic songs featured in the film are "Communication Breakdown," "Immigrant Song," "Black Dog," "Misty Mountain Hop," "Going to California," "Stairway to Heaven," "Rock and Roll," "Kashmir" and "Whole Lotta Love."

The movie, which has a running time of an hour and 45 minutes, will begin at 7:30 p.m. local time at all theaters.  Led Zeppelin is the latest installment Fathom Events' "Classic Music Series," a monthly series of one-night-only concert-film screenings that began in February with Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014.  Visit FathomEvents.com for more information and to buy tickets.

Here is the full list of performances features in the film, as well as the venue and the date that the footage was shot:

"Communication Breakdown" (from Royal Albert Hall -- 1/9/1970)
"Bring It On Home/Bring It On Back" (from Royal Albert Hall -- 1/9/1970)
"Immigrant Song" (from Sydney Showground -- 2/27/1972)
"Black Dog" (from Madison Square Garden -- 7/28/1973)
"Misty Mountain Hop" (from Madison Square Garden -- 7/27/1973 & 7/28/1973)
"The Ocean" (from Madison Square Garden -- 7/27/1973 & 7/29/1973)
"Going to California" (from Earls Court -- 5/25/1975)
"In My Time of Dying" (from Earls Court -- 5/24/1975)
"Stairway to Heaven" (from Earls Court -- 5/25/1975)
"Rock and Roll" (from Knebworth 8/4/1979)
"Nobody's Fault but Mine" (from Knebworth -- 8/4/1979)
"Kashmir" (from Knebworth -- 8/4/1979)
"Whole Lotta Love" (from Knebworth -- 8/4/1979)

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Queen's Brian May Says Sacha Baron Cohen/Freddie Mercury Announcement Was a "Small Joke"

Photo: Neal PrestonSacha Baron Cohen has NOT been confirmed to play Freddie Mercury in a biopic about the flamboyant Queen frontman.

Queen guitarist Brian May posted on his website that the band’s manager, Jim Beach, was just making “a small joke” last Thursday at the Artist and Manager Awards when he said Cohen had officially signed on to the long-delayed project.

Entertainment Weekly.com reported the story on Saturday, quoting Beach as saying, “You have probably followed the saga of the famous Queen-Freddie Mercury biopic which has been developing in Hollywood for the last seven years. An important breakthrough is that we have now managed to persuade Sacha Baron Cohen to write, produce, and direct this movie, and he has also agreed to star.”

May said Beach was just joking. "I'm afraid some folks might have taken it seriously," wrote May.

The biopic about Mercury, who died in 1991 at the age of 45 due to complications from AIDS, has been in the works since about 2010. However, sources told EW the project has been stalled due to Cohen “not seeing eye to eye with the remaining members of Queen who have script and director approval."

According to EW, Cohen desired a “gritty R-rated tell-all," while the band apparently preferred a PG-version of Mercury's life.

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Eric Clapton Turns 70 Today

Credit: George ChinHappy Birthday to Eric Clapton, who celebrates his 70th birthday today.  The blues-rock guitar legend has been one of the most influential and successful musicians to emerge from the 1960s British music scene, and is the only person ever to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times -- in 1992 as a member of The Yardbirds, in 1993 with Cream and in 2000 as a solo artist.

Clapton's music career began more than 50 years ago with The Yardbirds, and he quickly earned a reputation as one of the best guitarists in the U.K.  Unhappy with the group's pop direction, he left in 1965 to join John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers.  The following year, he teamed up with one of his fellow Bluesbreakers, singer/bassist Jack Bruce, and jazz-influenced drum virtuoso Ginger Baker to form Cream.

Cream combined improvisational blues-rock and psychedelia for a sound that influenced countless hard rock bands.  During his time with the short-lived supergroup, Clapton began to develop as a singer and songwriter, and was responsible for co-writing such classic songs as "Sunshine of Your Love," "Strange Brew" and "Badge."

After Cream broke up in 1968, Clapton joined forces with Steve Winwood to form another supergroup, Blind Faith, which only released one self-titled album in 1969.  He then took part in a brief collaboration with the American rock/soul duo Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett before beginning an extremely successful solo career.  In 1970, the year Clapton released his self-titled solo debut, he also put out Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, the landmark album he recorded as Derek and the Dominos, a group that also featured Duane Allman.

Clapton scored his only #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974 with a cover of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff," which helped introduce the music of the reggae legend to many music fans around the world.  Eric's many other enduring solo tunes include "Lay Down Sally," "Tears in Heaven," "Wonderful Tonight," "I Can't Stand It," "Change the World" and his classic covers of the J.J. Cale songs "After Midnight" and "Cocaine."

To mark his 70th birthday, Clapton has scheduled a pair of concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City on May 1 and 2, as well as a seven-date engagement later that month at the Royal Albert Hall in London.  He also is releasing a two-CD compilation titled Forever Man on April 28 that focuses on his solo work.

Meanwhile, in honor of the milestone, the Where's Eric! website has gathered input from fans around the world to help put together a list of the "70 Reasons Why Eric Clapton Is an Icon."

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Bruce Springsteen Releases Recording of 1980 New Year's Eve Concert as Part of Archival Series

Credit: Frank StefankoThe latest installment of Bruce Springsteen's series of archival concert recordings is now available for purchase at Live.BruceSpringsteen.net.  The new release documents an epic show the Boss and his E Street Band played on New Year's Eve 1980 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.

The concert, which took place during Springsteen's tour in support of The River, was nearly four hours long and included 38 songs.  All of the performances from the show are previously unreleased except for two, a rendition of "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" that appeared on the Live 1975-1985 box set, and a version of "Rendezvous" that was featured on the 1996 Tracks compilation.

Interesting songs that Springsteen and the E Street played at the show include covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Who'll Stop the Rain?," Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour" and such seasonal tunes as "Auld Lang Syne" and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town."

The concert was recorded on 24-track tape using the Record Plant Remote truck, and the original recordings were newly mixed this month after being transferred to digital and restored.  The album can be purchased now online in multiple digital formats, including MP3, high-resolution 24-bit and CD-quality FLAC.  In addition, a three-CD set of the recording is available for pre-order, and will be shipped in late April.

The previous concerts released as part of the Bruce Springsteen Archives series include a March 2012 performance at New York City's Apollo Theater, an August 1978 show at The Agora in Cleveland and a December 1975 concert at the Tower Theater near Philadelphia.

Here is the full track list of Bruce and the E Street Band's December 31, 1980, concert at the Nassau Coliseum:

Set One:
"Night"
"Prove It All Night"
"Spirit in the Night"
"Darkness on the Edge of Town"
"Independence Day"
"Who'll Stop the Rain?"
"This Land Is Your Land"
"Promised Land"
"Out in the Street"
"Racing in the Street"
"The River"
"Badlands"
"Thunder Road"

Set Two:
"Cadillac Ranch"
"Sherry Darling"
"Hungry Heart"
"Merry Christmas, Baby"
"Fire"
"Candy's Room"
"Because the Night"
"4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)"
"Rendezvous"
"Fade Away"
"The Price You Pay"
"Wreck on the Highway"
"Two Hearts"
"Ramrod"
"You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)"
"Held Up Without a Gun"
"In the Midnight Hour"
"Auld Lang Syne"
"Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)"

Encore:
"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
"Jungleland"
"Born to Run"
"Detroit Medley"
"Twist and Shout"
"Raise Your Hand"

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Boz Scaggs Adds Summer Dates to 2015 North American Tour

Credit: Danny ClinchBoz Scaggs' busy 2015 schedule just got a lot busier.  The soulful pop-rock singer, whose new album, A Fool to Care, will be released this Tuesday, has just announced a series of North American summer concerts that will follow the spring U.S. trek he'll embark on starting next month.

The newly added run of dates kicks off on July 3 in Marysville, Washington, and is mapped out through an August 9 show in Ridgefield, Connecticut.  Other major cities the trek will visit include San Diego; Minneapolis; Milwaukee; Atlantic City, New Jersey; and Charlotte, North Carolina.  Scaggs' spring tour gets under way April 8 in Gainesville, Florida, and runs through a May 24 gig in Modesto, California.

Meanwhile, Boz is scheduled to appear on NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Friday, April 3.  He'll sit in with the show's house band, The Roots.

As previously reported, A Fool to Know currently is streaming online at Amazon.com through this Monday.

Here are all of Scaggs' confirmed North American tour dates:

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
5/12 -- Tucson, AZ, Fox Tucson Theatre
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
7/3 -- Marysville, WA, Tulalip Casino
7/4 -- Coquitlam, BC, Canada, Hard Rock Casino - Vancouver
7/7 -- Saratoga, CA, The Mountain Winery
7/9 -- San Diego, CA, Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay
7/10 -- Newport Beach, CA, Hyatt Regency – Back Bay Amphitheatre
7/11 -- Chandler, AZ, Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino
7/13 -- Boulder, CO, Chautauqua Auditorium
7/18 -- Minneapolis, MN, State Theatre
7/19 -- Milwaukee, WI, Potawatomi Bingo Casino
7/21 -- Huber Heights, OH, Music Center at The Heights
7/22 -- Interlochen, MI, Kresge Auditorium
7/24 -- Niagara Falls, ON, Fallsview Casino Resort
7/25 -- Cohasset, MA, South Shore Music Circus
7/26 -- York, PA, Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center
7/28 -- Verona, NY, Turning Stone Resort Casino – Showroom
7/29 -- Morristown, NJ, Mayo Performing Arts Center
7/31 -- Atlantic City, NJ, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa – Music Box
8/1 -- Lincoln, RI, Twin River Casino – Event Center
8/2 -- Portsmouth, NH, The Music Hall
8/4 -- North Bethesda, MD, The Music Center at Strathmore
8/5 -- Charlotte, NC, NC Knight Theater
8/6 -- Durham, NC, The Carolina Theatre
8/8 -- Westhampton Beach, NY, Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center
8/9 -- Ridgefield, CT, The Ridgefield Playhouse

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Scott Weiland, Molly Hatchet Join Lineup for Swamp Fox Biker Bash

Credit: Jamie WeilandEx-Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland and veteran Southern rockers Molly Hatchet have been added to the entertainment lineup for the Swamp Fox Biker Bash in Marion, South Carolina, a motorcycle rally that runs May 8 to May 17.  Weiland and his new band, The Wildabouts, will play a special May 13 concert to raise awareness about motorcycle safety and the dangers of drunk driving.  Molly Hatchet will perform during the Biker Bash's May 16 festivities.

Other artists playing the Swamp Fox Biker Bash include The Marshall Tucker Band on May 14, Bret Michaels May 15, and Buckcherry on May 16.  Tickets are available via Pledge Music.  Weiland also teamed up with Pledge Music to release his debut album with The Wildabouts, Blaster, which will hit stores this Tuesday, March 31.

In other Scott Weiland news, the singer recently took to Facebook to apologize after he was rude to fans at a recent meet-and-greet following a concert in Boston.

"I would like to make a sincere apology to the fans that were at the meet and greet in Boston," he writes.  "I'm embarrassed by my behavior and some of the things that I said."

As first reported by AlternativeNation.net, several fans took to the STP forum BelowEmpty.com to vent about their unpleasant experience at the meet-and-greet, saying that Weiland was disrespectful and seemed drunk.

"I put my all into the show that night and honestly was just beyond exhausted," Weiland continues in his apology.  "Either way, I acted like a total a**hole and for that I'm truly sorry."

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Update: Jefferson Starship's Paul Kantner Recovering After Suffering a Heart Attack

Credit: Mike ThutSome new information about Jefferson Starship singer/guitarist Paul Kantner's health scare has been revealed on the band's official Facebook page.  A message posted Thursday reports, "Paul did indeed have a heart attack," adding that "he had a procedure [Thursday] afternoon and he'll be recovering in the hospital the next few days before heading back to San Francisco to recuperate."

The group also thanks fans "for all of your incredible support."

News of 74-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's illness was first reported on Wednesday, when it was revealed that Kantner had been hospitalized and was undergoing tests to find out what was wrong.  The Jefferson Starship has decided to continue its current tour while Kantner recuperates.  The band's show takes place tonight in Uncasville, Connecticut.

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Report: Rolling Stones Now Planning to Announce North American Tour Next Week

Credit: Brian RasicAs Rolling Stones fans know, the band intended to announce details of a 2015 North American tour on Thursday, March 19.  Those plans were delayed, reportedly because of ticketing issues involving the trek's promoters.  Now, Hits Daily Double is reporting that, according to insiders, The Stones will make the tour announcement sometime next week.

The same sources tell Hits Daily Double that the trek will visit stadiums and other large venues in 16 cities and, as previously reported, will kick off over the Memorial Day weekend at San Diego's Petco Park.  The insiders also claim the tour will feature shows May 30 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio; June 6 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas; June 10 at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville; June 13 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida; June 30 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California; July 4 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway; and July 1 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, New York.

Sources say tickets for these concerts will go on sale to the general public on April 13, with pre-sale tickets being made available starting April 8.

Meanwhile, The Rolling Stones recently launched a contest offering a trip for two to an undisclosed location, where the winner apparently will get the chance to introduce the band prior to a concert.  The contest winner also will receive and a commemorative video of the event shot by the band's official videographer.  Fifty runners-up will receive a collection of Stones vinyl.  You can enter the contest now until April 2 at JustAKissAway.rocks.

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Slash Among Stars Set to Appear at Kirk Hammett's Fear FestEvil

Image Courtesy of Warner Bros. RecordsKirk Hammett's Fear FestEvil just got a little heavier.  Slash is among several hard-rock stars who have signed on to make guest appearances at the Metallica guitarist's second annual horror-inspired music festival.

Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor, Rob Zombie guitarist John 5 and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante also will be on hand for the scare-filled event, while performance lineup includes Meshuggah, High On Fire, Agnostic Front and others.

In addition to the music, the Fear FestEvil will feature selections from Hammett's Crypt Collection of horror collectibles and memorabilia.

The FestEvil also will include the newly announced Carnival of Chaos, which will take place outside the RockBar Theatre in San Jose, California, where the music will be played.  The free, outdoor Carnival of Chaos will feature carnival games, Hammett's famous '36 Ford and an "authentic freakshow."

Also new to this year's Fear FestEvil is a murder mystery dinner hosted by Hammett at San Jose's Winchester Mystery House on April 10.  Guests will dine alongside Hammett, tour the infamous mansion and try to figure out the culprit of the night's "murder."

Kirk Hammett's Fear FestEvil will be held April 11 and 12 at the Rockbar Theatre in San Jose.  For all information, you can visit FearFestEvil.com.

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The Who's Roger Daltrey Talks Farewell Tour, Possibility of a New Album

Rick Diamond/Getty Images for The WhoAs The Who gear up for the first of its two scheduled North American tour legs this year celebrating the band's 50 anniversary, frontman Roger Daltrey is insisting that this will indeed be the British rock legends' final major trek.

"I do know this is the last big tour we'll ever do," he tells Rolling Stone.  "We have to be realistic.  I want us to stop at the top of our game when we are still really good at what we do."

The 71-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has struggled with voice problems over the years, but he says he's currently in fine shape thanks to "the genius Dr. Steven Zeitels up in Boston," who also has treated Aerosmith's Steve Tyler, KISS' Paul Stanley, Lionel Richie and other stars.

"My vocal cords are better now than they've ever been!" Roger maintains.

Meanwhile, Daltrey says that as the end of The Who's touring years near, he finds that he's savoring performing all the more.

"I've always tried to sing as though I'm singing a song for the first time," he explains, "now I sing it as though I'm singing the song for what might be the last time."

For The Who Hits 50! Tour, the band's sets are made up mostly of classic songs, but the group also is adding in a number of rarities it hadn't performed in many years, "to please our hardcore fans," as Daltrey points out.  Among these are "So Sad About Us," "I Can See for Miles," "Pictures of Lily," "Slip Kid" and the mini rock opera "A Quick One, While He's Away."

The Who has more than 50 dates on its 2015 tour itinerary, which currently is scheduled through a November 4 concert in Philadelphia.  Daltrey does not rule out extending the trek being, but he says it won't go on indefinitely.

"If people want to add shows and we still feel great, then it will go for a while longer, but not that much longer," he notes. "It might last two years."

Roger also says a new Who album could be in the offing.

"Pete [Townshend] wants to make another record," he tells Rolling Stone.  As for the status of the project, Daltrey says Townshend is "just talking about it.  He adds, "I've heard a couple of tracks, which are great."

Daltrey notes that once The Who stops touring, he can envision working with his longtime band mate on a variety of projects.

"This bit of our career is closed, but maybe two more doors open up," he explains.  "Pete is an incredibly vibrant musician.  I could see us playing acoustically in some ways."

The Who's U.S. tour gets under way on April 15 in Tampa, Florida.  Check out the band's full schedule at TheWho.com.

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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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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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