Saturday, July 31, 2010

Green Day on Fallon last night

Green Day dropped by Jimmy Fallon’s show last night to rock the house with their latest single.

The band kick off the second leg of their US Tour in support of "21st Century Breakdown" this Tuesday in New Jersey.

Last Green Day - Last of the American Girls - 21st Century Breakdown (Deluxe Version)

Green Day – Last Of The American Girls
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon – July 30, 2010

AC/DC rocks The Midnight Special

In the days before MTV and 24-hour music television (not that MTV plays music anymore), seeing live rock on TV was like catching an eclipse or, better yet, a sighting of Bigfoot (another popular 70s pastime) – it was that rare. And let’s be sure to qualify this as “live rock” = NO LIP SYNCHING.

Enter The Midnight Special.

The Midnight Special was the first-ever late night live concert show on TV; from 1973-1981, the U.S. series featured a variety of artists and styles in a concert setting. In addition to major mainstream performers, the show would also feature up-and-coming acts.

Enter AC/DC.

Still working on building their profile Stateside, AC/DC were on the road and played the tv show in the fall of 1978, in support of "Powerage," released that spring.

"Powerage" was notable for a few reasons:
It marked the studio debut of bassist Cliff Williams.

It was the band's last Bon Scott-era studio release to feature production work by Harry Vanda and George Young.

It was the first AC/DC album to be released nearly simultaneously in both Australian and international markets.

It was first AC/DC album to use just one cover image for both the Aussie and worldwide releases.
Check out the introduction by Ted Nugent and Steven Tyler !

AC/DC – Sin City
The Midnight Special – taped September 6, 1978

Friday, July 30, 2010

Van Halen tops Guitar Album list

Van Halen’s 1978 debut has been selected the Top Guitar Album Of All Time by

The guitar-manufacturer has been counting down their Top 50 Guitar Albums this week, as voted on by the Gibson editorial and writing staff, an all-star jury of guitarists and readers of the site.

The list is an impressive collection of guitar records – more than half (27) were released during the 1970s, with the most recent disc being The White Stripes’ "Elephant" (2003), coming in at #43.

In terms of guitarists themselves, Jimmy Page’s work with Led Zeppelin earned the most spots on the list, with 4; Eric Clapton was next at 3 (Derek and the Dominos, Cream and John Mayall And The Bluesbreakers), while many other players held two positions each, including Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chuck Berry, Keith Richards, and players from AC/DC, Pink Floyd, and The Beatles.

Gibson put together a video of Black Label Society’s Zakk Wylde counting down the Top 10 – check it out here.’s Top 50 Guitar Albums of All Time

1. Van Halen - Van Halen (1978)
2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced (1967)
3. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
4. Derek and the Dominos - Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)
5. Guns N’ Roses - Appetite for Destruction (1987)
6. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II (1969)
7. The Allman Brothers Band - At Fillmore East (1971)
8. Cream - Disraeli Gears (1967)
9. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland (1968)
10. AC/DC - Back in Black (1980)
11. Television - Marquee Moon (1977)
12. Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
13. The Who - Live at Leeds (1970)
14. Robert Johnson - King of the Delta Blues Singers (1961)
15. The Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)
16. Jeff Beck - Blow by Blow (1975)
17. Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz (1980)
18. The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main St. (1972)
19. The Who - Who’s Next (1971)
20. Black Sabbath - Paranoid (1970)
21. Ozzy Osbourne - Diary of a Madman (1981)
22. The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers (1971)
23. Van Halen - Van Halen II (1979)
24. Chuck Berry - The Great Twenty-Eight (1982)
25. The Stooges - Fun House (1970)
26. AC/DC - Highway to Hell (1979)
27. The Beatles - Revolver (1966)
28. Aerosmith - Rocks (1976)
29. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin (1969)
30. Oasis - Definitely Maybe (1994)
31. Stevie Ray Vaughan - The Sky is Crying (1991)
32. Lynyrd Skynyrd - One More from the Road (1976)
33. The Beatles - Rubber Soul (1965)
34. The Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Inner Mounting Flame (1971)
35. Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush - Live (1978)
36. John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers - Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (1966)
37. Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak (1976)
38. Def Leppard - High ’n’ Dry (1981)
39. Roy Buchanan - Roy Buchanan (1972)
40. The Shadows - Dance with the Shadows (1964)
41. Deep Purple - Machine Head (1972)
42. Jeff Beck - Truth (1968)
43. The White Stripes - Elephant (2003)
44. Stevie Ray Vaughan - Texas Flood (1983)
45. Chuck Berry - Chuck Berry in London (1965)
46. Danny Gatton - 88 Elmira St. (1991)
47. The Wildhearts - Earth vs. The Wildhearts (1993)
48. Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti (1975)
49. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here (1975)
50. David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)

Van Van Halen - Van Halen

Runnin' Runnin' with the Devil - Van Halen

Van Halen – Runnin' With The Devil
US Festival ‘83
Glen Helen Regional Park - Devore, CA – May 29, 1983

New Robert Plant disc details

Robert Plant’s new Band Of Joy disc is due September 13.

I’ve mentioned this a few times over the past couple of months (see here
and here), so it’s great to see that Plant’s team has finally issued some more background on the disc with the release of their EPK (Electronic Press Kit).

EPK’s are fairly standard-issue things in the music business (well, many businesses, for that matter, but especially the entertainment field); they allow for the controlled distribution of information by an artist to the press. EPK’s also tend to save on an artist’s time, in that they can release details to the media without having to commit to zillions of interviews to get the same message across, as they can reach as wide an audience as possible in one shot.

Robert Plant’s Band Of Joy – EPK (Electronic Press Kit)

Plant and the Band Of Joy wrap up the US portion of their pre-release tour tomorrow night in Miami, before hitting London, UK on September 2, with a series of European dates set for October and November.

A cover of Los Lobos’ “Angel Dance” was released this week as the lead single from the new disc; as mentioned here, a fan report on Robert’s surprise guest appearance with Los Lobos in Chicago on June 29 suggested that the band told the crowd that they had shot a video with Robert earlier in the day, so we’ll look for that soon.

AngelRobert Plant - Angel Dance - Single

Robert Plant’s Band Of Joy – Angel Dance (2010)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Reunion by The Cars?

A buzz is happening about a possible reunion by The Cars, one of the ‘70s best “new wave” acts.

The band recently posted a picture of them in the studio on their Facebook page, with the caption “Anyone in the mood for a reunion by The Cars?”

The photo shows bandmates Ric Ocasek, guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson; bassist Benjamin Orr died of pancreatic cancer in 2000.

It’s not clear what the band was doing in the studio; was it for some Cars work, a Ric Ocasek solo thing, or something else?

The original lineup of The Cars packed it in back in 1988, after a decade of hit-making. The Cars were hugely influential in their time: their polished 1978 debut set the mainstream tone for new wave’s arrival, with songs like “Just What I Needed,” “Good Times Roll” and “My Best Friend’s Girl.” It’s not hard to believe that a debut album can be a masterpiece – many bands have done it – and, even after all these years, The Cars’ first record remains the perfect blend of pop, punk, rock and new wave.

Just Just What I Needed - The Cars

The Cars – Just What I Needed
The Midnight Special – 1978

‘79’s “Candy-O” furthered The Cars’ success – “Let’s Go,” “It’s All I Can Do,” and the title track confirmed the debut was no fluke; four more albums followed, as the band embraced the new MTV generation with a series of successful videos: “You Might Think,” “Magic” and “Drive.”

In 2005, Easton and Hawkes joined with Todd Rundgren, Prairie Prince and Kasim Sulton to form The New Cars; the group performed The Cars’ classics alongside Rundgren’s solo work and some new material, resulting in a 2006 live album, “It’s Alive.” The New Cars played their last show in the fall of 2007.

Rock Trivia: The video for “Drive” (directed by actor Timothy Hutton) features model Paulina Porizkova; Ocasek met her on the set and romance followed, even though she was just 19 at the time and Ocasek was 35. Ocasek and Porizkova married in 1989, five years after their introduction; they celebrated their 20th Anniversary last year.

Drive Drive - The Cars: Complete Greatest Hits

The Cars – Drive (1984)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

McCartney’s White House salute airs tonight

As I mentioned last week, PBS is airing “In Performance At The White House” tonight, featuring a salute to Sir Paul McCartney.

Sir Paul was the recipient of this year’s Gershwin Prize For Popular Song; McCartney is just the third to be honored with the award.

The June 2nd event at The White House included guest performers Jack White, Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder, Emmylou Harris, The Jonas Brothers and Faith Hill, as well as the former Beatle himself.

As for the performances, we’ll see what makes the cut when the 90-minute special airs tonight.

Check out Jack White’s and Dave Grohl’s songs here.

Here’s a taste of one song that we're sure to see…

HeyPaul McCartney - Hey Jude (Live at CitiField, NYC) - Good Evening New York City

Paul McCartney & Guests – Hey Jude
“In Performance At The White House”
The White House – Washington, D.C. – June 2, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Surprise Springsteen club appearance

Bruce Springsteen made a surprise appearance Saturday night at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ, joining Alejandro Escovedo and his band on stage for three songs.

Springsteen joined Escovedo for "Always a Friend," a cover of The Rolling Stones' "Beast of Burden" and "Faith," a track from Escovedo's new studio album “Street Songs of Love” that features a guest spot by Bruce.

Saturday’s appearance marks Springsteen’s first non-charity show performance at the legendary New Jersey club since a May 2008 cameo at a Mike Ness show.

Springsteen and Escovedo share the same manager in Jon Landau. Escovedo previously joined Springsteen and The E Street Band for “Always A Friend” at a show in Houston in 2008.

This is reportedly Springsteen’s first public performance of the Stones’ classic.

Alejandro Escovedo with Bruce Springsteen – Beast Of Burden
The Stone Pony – Asbury Park, NJ – July 24, 2010

FaithAlejandro Escovedo - Faith - Street Songs of Love (guest appearance by Bruce Springsteen)

Alejandro Escovedo with Bruce Springsteen – Faith
The Stone Pony – Asbury Park, NJ – July 24, 2010

Alejandro Escovedo with Bruce Springsteen – Always A Friend
The Stone Pony – Asbury Park, NJ – July 24, 2010

Escovedo’s long and storied career includes two influential roots rock/alternative country bands from the 1980s – Rank And File and True Believers – both I used to play all the time in college radio back in the day (and still love ‘em!); check ‘em out if you get ever get the chance.

Alejandro Escovedo – Faith
Rolling Stone magazine offices – June 2010

The Kinks vs. Van Halen

Van Halen really got to Dave Davies of The Kinks with their version of “You Really Got Me.”

In a new interview with Classic Rock magazine, The Kinks’ original lead guitarist offered his thoughts on the VH version for the first time – more than 30 years after its release.

“Van Halen’s version was very Middle America. It was like, ‘Hey man, look at me with my tight trousers! Here’s our version of You Really Got Me!,” said Davies. “There’s the thing: good art isn’t always about having the comfiest technique. I shouldn’t encourage him, but I’m sure Eddie Van Halen played better when he was drunk. But it must be a good record if people like it.”

VH’s version was like a rock supernova, launching the band’s career while turning heads everywhere with previously unheard guitar sounds courtesy of Eddie.

“You Really Got Me” was The Kinks first hit, reaching #1 in the UK in September of 1964, and top 10 in the US. Although brother Ray is credited as the sole songwriter, Dave was responsible for creating the distorted power chord sound that the song is built around. Musicologists have credited the track – and especially the power chords – as the song that “invented heavy metal,” with the tune becoming a blueprint for hard rock and heavy metal.

Interesting to note that Davies has never commented on the VH version before, and his ‘sour grapes’ approach may come from the fact that Van Halen had overshadowed the British band with its release in 1978.

“We got pissed off though, when we played America,” said Davies. “The Kinks had an album out called Low Budget [1979] and we ended up touring and playing stadiums. Some kid came up to me after one of the gigs and said: ‘I like your cover of Van Halen’s You Really Got Me.’ You have to smile sometimes.”

YouVan Halen - You Really Got Me - You Really Got Me / Atomic Punk [Digital 45]

Van Halen – You Really Got Me (1978)

YouThe Kinks - You Really Got Me - The British Are Coming, Vol. 1

The Kinks – You Really Got Me
The Beat Room – 1964

New Extreme video

A new video from Extreme’s “Take Us Alive” package surfaced recently.

“Run” is the second of four bonus videos created and directed by guitarist Nuno Bettencourt for the set, which came out in early May; the first clip, “King Of The Ladies,” came out just prior to the CD/DVD package’s release.

“Run” is from 2008’s “Saudades De Rock,” the first new music from Extreme following their reunion after a 13-year hiatus.

RunExtreme - Run - Saudades de Rock

Extreme – Run (2008)

In case you missed it – here’s “King Of The Ladies”...

Extreme - Saudades de Rock - King of the Ladies Extreme - Saudades de Rock - King of the Ladies

Extreme – King Of The Ladies (2008)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Songs: “Night Moves” (Bob Seger)

I’ve been listening to some vintage Bob Seger discs lately – I’m talking stuff from “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” (1968) through to “Seven” (1974); the era is full of great Seger tunes, and some pretty rockin’ stuff, at that.

These Seger “sessions” got me thinking about classic summer songs, and even though I haven’t gone as far as 1976, Bob’s “Night Moves” came to mind, as it really is a perfect fit for this time of year - inspired, I was playing it on acoustic guitar just the other day.

“Night Moves” was recorded in Toronto in 1976 with The Guess Who’s producer, Jack Richardson, at his Nimbus 9 Productions; Seger and band were in T.O. for three days to work with Richardson, and recorded two originals plus a Motown cover.

On the third day, Seger wrote a fourth song: legend has it Seger has said that the track was inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland.”

By this time, most of Seger’s band had already left town, so with only his drummer and bassist in hand, Richardson snagged some local musicians for the session. The song came together in the studio as it was recorded.

“Night Moves” became the title track to Bob’s 1976 album; Rolling Stone magazine named it the 'Single Of The Year' in 1977. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame named it one of the "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll" - Seger's only such selection.

A video for “Night Moves” was created in the mid-90s to support Bob’s “Greatest Hits" album, 20 years after the song’s release.

Look for Matt LeBlanc in the starring role, prior to his debut on Friends.

Bob Seger – Night Moves (1976)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Santana Van Halen sneak peek?

I’ve been passing along news about Santana’s classic rock covers album for months (check ‘em out here, here, and here), as we all await the record’s September release.

On “Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics Of All Time,” one of the Santana covers is Van Halen’s “Dance The Night Away,” sung by Train’s Pat Monahan.

While Santana has added the song to his setlist this summer, and we wait for video of that to surface, Train has been playing the song since March.

There’s no Carlos on guitar here, but it may give you an idea of what to expect from Monahan as far as vocals go….

DanceDance the Night Away - The Best of Van Halen, Vol. 1

Train with Butch Walker – Dance The Night Away
Westbury, NY – March 19, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rik Emmett is not for hire

Rik Emmett’s been in the news lately, as he and Triumph have been doing publicity for their "Greatest Hits" package.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned Rik’s comments about a dinner meeting with Live Nation, where Emmett referenced industry rumours that Van Halen want to tour next year but need some sort of “support” to make the event package more “interesting.”

The VH comment was made in part 1 of an interview with Gibson guitars.

More cool details are now out in part 2 of the session, and there’s some interesting history to be learned.

After leaving Triumph in 1988, Emmett wasn’t sure where he was headed, and was actually approached to join a few different “name” acts.

“After I left Triumph, there were some offers that came by from time to time,” said Rik. Tom Scholz was looking for someone to sing for them on a Boston tour. When the Damn Yankees were starting up and I was talking on the phone with Jack Blades, I got a call to become the guitar player and singer on an Asia tour. Those kinds of things I turned down. I’m sure they would have been nice opportunities and they might have led to something, but I didn’t want to just end up in another band.”

With the reportedly nasty way that Triumph split, it’s no wonder Emmett wasn’t interested in joining another band setup.

Things worked out well for Rik as he pursued a musically diverse solo career. And, let’s consider that the folks who were hired for those gigs all did pretty well: Boston replaced original singer Brad Delp with Fran Cosmo (Delp actually returned to the lineup in '95 and Boston toured with both singers); Jack Blades was a great fit for Damn Yankees, and John Payne worked out for Asia.

FollowTriumph - Follow Your Heart - Thunder Seven

Triumph – Follow Your Heart (1984)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Steve Winwood on Letterman last night

Steve Winwood dropped by Letterman last night to rock the house with one of his classics.

Gimme Gimme Some Lovin' (Remastered) - Revolutions: The Very Best of Steve Winwood (Deluxe Version)

Steve Winwood – Gimme Some Lovin’
The Late Show With David Letterman – July 22, 2010

Devo tour starts tonight

Devo kick off their North American tour tonight in Kansas City.

The tour is in support of “Something For Everybody,” Devo's first studio album in 20 years, which came out last month.

In addition to some tv and online appearances earlier this year, Devo also performed at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in February and at the Coachella Festival in April.

“Something For Everybody”
2010 North American Tour

July 23: Kansas City, Mo. (City Market)
July 24: Des Moines, Iowa (Simon Estes Riverfront)
July 26: Indianapolis, Ind. (The Vogue)
July 28: Atlanta, Ga. (Chastain Park)
July 30: Richmond, Va. (The National)
July 31: Clifton Park, N.Y. (Northern Lights)
Aug. 1: Montreal, Quebec, Canada (Osheaga Music & Arts Festival)
Aug. 4: Columbus, Ohio (Ohio State Fair)
Aug. 5: Chicago, Ill. (Congress Theatre)
Aug. 6: Chicago, Ill. (Lollapalooza 2010)
Sept. 4: Squamish, British Columbia (Live at Squamish)
Sept. 18: Phoenix, Ariz. (Arizona Fall Frenzy)

WhipDevo - Whip It - Greatest Hits

Devo – Whip It
Jimmy Kimmel Live – April 20, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Jack White and Dave Grohl salute McCartney

June 2nd was a surreal evening at The White House, as musicians gathered together to salute Sir Paul McCartney, the recipient of this year’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song; McCartney is the third to be honored with the award, following Paul Simon (2007) and Stevie Wonder (2008).

Guest performers included Jack White, Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder, Emmylou Harris, The Jonas Brothers and Faith Hill, as well as the former Beatle himself.

The event was filmed by PBS for a special entitled “In Performance At The White House,” and it’s set to air next Wednesday, July 28.

PBS - “In Performance At The White House” promo

Watch the full episode. See more In Performance at The White House.

Here’s an advance look at a couple of songs, as Jack White and Dave Grohl deliver the goods… Jack White – Mother Nature’s Son “In Performance At The White House” The White House – Washington, D.C. – June 2, 2010

Watch the full episode. See more In Performance at The White House.

Dave Grohl – Band On The Run “In Performance At The White House” The White House – Washington, D.C. – June 2, 2010

Watch the full episode. See more In Performance at The White House.

Onstage with Pearl Jam

Ever wondered what it would look like/feel like/sound like to be onstage with Pearl Jam?

Wonder no more – a cool video surfaced recently of Pearl Jam playing in Berlin on June 30, with all the footage shot right onstage using a laptop camera.

Some interesting background on the video: it was directed by Wes C. Addle (say the name out loud and it makes sense) – Addle is aka Eddie Vedder. The concept was provided by Bernard Shakey – aka Neil Young. The footage was shot by longtime PJ archivist Kevin Shuss.

UnthoughtPearl Jam - Unthought Known - Backspacer

Pearl Jam – Unthought Known
Berlin, Germany – June 30, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Iron Maiden setlist reflects Youtube era

Iron Maiden’s been out on the road this summer, in advance of the release of their latest disc, “The Final Frontier,” due August 16.

I’ve certainly heard the buzz about the tour so far, and it’s not entirely good.

Here’s two reasons why: Maiden are only playing one track from the new record (“El Dorado”), and the setlist focuses on the band’s last three albums.

New material: In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, guitarist Janick Gers explains, “It's really important if you're going to remain a valid band that you play your new stuff. Otherwise you become a parody of what you started out doing. But it's impossible. Back in the early 80s you could probably do it, but now with YouTube and downloading, the songs would all be out before the album was out."

Here’s proof: “El Dorado,” as filmed by a fan on opening night…

Iron Maiden – El Dorado Center - Dallas, TX – June 9, 2010

Last month, Maiden offered a free download of “El Dorado” from the new disc, although singer Bruce Dickinson publicly dissed the sound quality of mp3s after the new track was released.

Gers’ comments reflect the nature of the digital age we live in: since pretty much everything can be filmed with handheld and/or pocket cameras, the impact of Youtube is massive.

In Maiden’s case, the concept of what Youtube represents is so big that it has impacted their setlist decisions.

Does it have to?

There will always be exceptions, but let’s consider the inherent danger in some performers playing too much unknown material live: most people like to hear what they know, and new songs often become excuses/reasons for fans to hit the bar or washroom. Too much new and/or unheard music can really kill the momentum of a concert, and that may be a part of the reason Maiden have designed their setlist this summer with only one new track.

Many artists hit the road before new product is available and let the chips fall where they may when it comes to tapers. Are Maiden being too cautious here? It appears so, as the band probably would have only included 3-4 new tracks in the set, so really wouldn’t have been revealing much of the new disc, while providing fans with a ‘sneek peak’ of the new stuff.

On the other hand, if the band was as concerned about leaks as they seem to be, why didn’t they either move the release date up to coincide with the start of the tour – or simply not tour until the disc is out? If the release date couldn’t have been moved, and Maiden decided to wait until street date to tour, they would have missed the valuable summer season, and that’s not practical, for financial reasons. In fact, I’d suggest that the band will probably make more money this summer on the road than they’ll make from sales of the new record.

The bigger risk on the pre-release tour to the band is in disappointing fans who want to hear some new material alongside the classics, and that's not an easy balancing act when you have a catalogue the size of Maiden's. The typical 16-song set for this trek features only 5 classics, with one early in the show; beyond that, fans have to wait until the end to hear them, as one classic closes the regular set and 3 of them make up the encore.

Iron Maiden finished up the North American leg of “The Final Frontier Tour” (and should they really be calling it that if they’re only playing one song from it?) last night with a show in Washington, D.C.; they kick off the European Tour on July 30 in Dublin.

In the big picture, maybe this all doesn't mean so much: I would bet on Iron Maiden returning to the countries they're playing pre-release because once the new disc is out, it will need ongoing promotional support in the coming year.

Last week, Maiden released the video for the title track from the new disc.

Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier (Director’s Cut) (2010)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kiss live on Leno last night

Kiss – Modern Day Delilah
The Tonight Show With Jay Leno – July 19, 2010

Eye surgery for Slash's bassist

Slash’s bassist Todd Kerns underwent eye surgery last Friday (16) to repair a retinal detachment in his right eye.

Kerns first experienced eye trouble last month while on tour in Europe: his eye had been bothering him for a few weeks before “going blind” en route from a show in Belgium to the Glastonbury Festival in Bristol, England. Todd went straight to the emergency room in Bristol and was told he “had suffered a vitreous hemorrhage in my right eye. It is a tear in the retina. It’s all gross stuff involving the jelly within the eye and blood from a retinal tear mixing to cloud the vision in the eye. You would never notice looking at my eye. It’s all behind the pupil. The good news was that my retina had not detached. The bad news is that a vitreous hemorrhage is often the predecessor to a retinal detachment.”

Ever the rock ‘n roll trooper, Kerns played Glastonbury: “I was told that I wouldn’t be allowed to run around or rock out too hard that night or there was a risk of detaching my retina. Me not rock out? Eesh. I don’t know if that’s possible. I did my best. If you see the footage from Glastonbury it is amongst my most subdued performances. With good reason, I suppose.”

Check out a few songs from Slash’s Glastonbury set here.

Slash’s tour then hit Ireland, where Kerns was checked out again and played a show in Dublin, while waiting for his eye to clear up or his retina to detach - either meant immediate surgery and a way to address the issue. More shows across Europe followed (if you can believe it) with Kerns playing on only one good eye.

Following surgery, Kerns will be laid up for a few weeks while he recovers. “I will see you soon. I have been playing almost every night for God knows how many years now and the idea of not doing so for a while is a bit unnerving. I plan to make the best of it. There’s always a new song to write.”

Kerns’s bass slot for Slash’s Asia and Australian tours will be filled by Tony Montana (ex-Great White).

Kerns hooking up with Slash is no coincidence: Todd was originally in the running for the Velvet Revolver gig before Scott Weiland was given the nod.

NightrainGuns ‘N Roses - Nightrain - Appetite for Destruction

Slash – Nightrain
Rock AM Ring – Germany – June 4, 2010

Kerns is also a member of Sin City Sinners, one of Las Vegas’ hottest rock acts; the band usually plays shows featuring 80’s rock songs and are often joined by celebrity guests passing through town. The band released their debut, “Exile On Fremont Street,” earlier this year and have an acoustic ep, “Broken Record,” coming out later this month.

Goin'Sin City Sinners - Goin' To Vegas - Exile On Fremont Street

Sin City Sinners - Going To Vegas (2010)
From “Exile On Fremont Street”

Historically, Kerns came to be known to rock fans, especially in Canada, as the frontman for The Age Of Electric, who released some cool stuff during the 90s.

Ugly Ugly - The Age of Electric

The Age Of Electric – Ugly (1994)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sammy Hagar update

Told ya last month about Sammy Hagar writing his autobiography for release next year, and that it’ll actually be the second book he’s worked on – he blocked the first one from being published at the last minute, back in 1999.

In more recent “Red” news…

A few weeks back, Sammy announced the dates for his annual birthday bash at the Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Hagar and The Wabos will play October 8, 9, 11 and 13 (Sam’s bday) to mark the Red Rocker’s 63rd birthday.

The birthday bash has been an annual tradition for Sammy and his "Redheads" for years. Fans line up out front of the Cantina all day to get one of the spots inside for these shows, and there’s an interesting twist/buzz about this year’s setup. Sammy has been surveying fans for the past few weeks about the possibility of selling advance tickets to the shows, partly to solve the ‘sleeping in the rain’ issue and partly because some fans have let him know that they haven’t even tried to attend the birthday week bashes for fear of travelling all that way and not getting in.

Here’s a July 16 post to Sammy’s blog:

Thank you for the overwhelming response to the Birthday Bash question. Most of you want us to presell tickets. I'd say 3 or 4 to 1. It was gratifying so many of you talked about how many times you have come down to Cabo but what was equally interesting was the fans that said they have never come to Cabo because they couldn't be sure they would get in. If selling tickets will let someone have the experience for the first time, you know I'm down for that. There were lots of good ideas that you offered, and we are going through them all to find the best way to move forward. If you haven't sent your opinion, it's not too late but the pattern is so obvious that I think I know what we have to do. Next week we will tell you the details of the plan that we are working on now.

So, stay tuned to see what happens with Cabo birthday bash tickets.

Sammy has also posted a new video clip to his site from the upcoming DVD “Go There Once, Be There Twice”; the title is a line from Van Halen’s “Cabo Wabo.” No release date has been announced yet. The clip for the song “Red” compiles four decades of Hagar footage.

RedSammy Hagar - Red - The Essential Red Collection

Sammy Hagar – Red (2010)
From upcoming DVD “Go There Once, Be There Twice.”

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Santana covers album update

I first mentioned this back in April, and now full details regarding the Santana classic rock covers disc have been released.

"Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics Of All Time" will hit stores September 21.

Here’s the full track listing:

“Sunshine Of Your Love” (Cream) – Rob Thomas
“Dance The Night Away” (Van Halen) - Pat Monahan (Train)
“Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” (The Rolling Stones) – Scott Weiland
“Whole Lotta Love” (Led Zeppelin) – Chris Cornell
“Little Wing” (Jimi Hendrix) – Joe Cocker
“Smoke On The Water” (Deep Purple) – Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach)
“Bang A Gong” (Get It On)” (T. Rex) – Gavin Rossdale
“Photograph” (Def Leppard) – Chris Daughtry
“Back In Black” (AC/DC) – Nas
“I Ain’t Superstitious” (Jeff Beck Group) – Jonny Lang
“Fortunate Son” (CCR) – Scott Stapp (Creed)
“Riders On The Storm” (The Doors) – Ray Manzarek and Chester Bennington (Linkin Park)
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (The Beatles) - India.Arie and Yo-Yo Ma

Santana is currently on the road with Steve Winwood, after which he’ll play a series of dates at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas next month before the new music is in stores.

Santana recently proposed to his girlfriend on stage; Cindy Blackman is Carlos’ current drummer, as well; Cindy has also worked with Cassandra Wilson and Lenny Kravitz.

JustCarlos Santana - Just Feel Better (feat. Steven Tyler) - All That I Am

Santana Featuring Steven Tyler – Just Feel Better (2005)
From “All I Am”

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gilmour, Waters to reunite again

Following last week’s pairing at a UK charity show (see here for details), David Gilmour and Roger Waters will team up once again.

Gilmour will make a surprise appearance at one of Waters’ 30th Anniversary Tour shows of “The Wall” this fall. The Waters tour kicks off September 15 in Toronto; it was not announced at which show Gilmour will play.

Apparently, the two Pink Floyd members made a deal surrounding the recent Hoping Foundation benefit show: if Waters would agree to perform "To Know Him Is To Love Him" at the gala, Gilmour would guest on "Comfortably Numb" at a to-be-determined show on Waters' upcoming tour.

"You could have knocked me down with a feather," Waters says. "How f*cking cool! I was blown away. How could I refuse such an offer. I couldn't, there was no way. Generosity trumped fear. And so explaining that I would probably be sh*te, but if he didn't mind I didn't, I agreed and the rest is history. We did it, and it was f*cking great. End of story. Or possibly beginning."

ComfortablyPink Floyd - Comfortably Numb - Oh By the Way (Studio Album Boxset) [Remastered]

Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb
Live 8 – London – July 2, 2005

Friday, July 16, 2010

Robert Plant tour starts

Robert Plant kicked off his Band Of Joy tour this past week with shows in Memphis (13) and Little Rock (15).

Plant’s new album, "Band Of Joy", is set for a September 13 release. It’s Robert’s first album since 2007’s much-celebrated “Raising Sand” effort with Alison Krauss.

This time out, Plant is joined by singer Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller (guitar), Darrell Scott, Byron House (bass) and drummer Marco Giovino.

The tour setlist features a variety of new music alongside reworked versions of Plant solo and Zeppelin tunes.

Here’s a couple of fan-filmed highlights from the Little Rock show last night:

Band Of Joy – Misty Mountain Hop
Robinson Center Music Hall - Little Rock, AR - July 15, 2010

Band Of Joy – Houses Of The Holy
Robinson Center Music Hall - Little Rock, AR - July 15, 2010

Joe Perry in auto accident

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry has been released from hospital following an auto accident yesterday in Middelboro, Massachusetts.

Joe’s 2009 Ducati Monster 696 motorcycle was rear-ended by a 2001 Chevy Malibu at about 2 p.m. Perry reportedly had stopped at a light at the intersection of routes 44 and 105; when the light turned green, Perry accelerated and was hit from behind.

Perry was taken by ambulance to Morton Hospital and Medical Center in Taunton, where he was treated and released about 4:30 p.m.

Linda O’Brien, 62, of Middleboro, has been cited for following a vehicle too closely.

Aerosmith are on a short break before getting back in the saddle on their North American tour next week; no dates are expected to affected by Perry’s accident.

BackAerosmith - Back In the Saddle (Live) - A Little South of Sanity (Live)

Aerosmith – Back in The Saddle
Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan – July 24, 2004

Kiss’ Thayer going into Hall Of Fame

Kiss’ Tommy Thayer is going into the history books…

Along with his original band - Black ‘N Blue – it was announced this week that Thayer and the boys have been selected for the Oregon Music Hall Of Fame this year.

Black ‘N Blue formed from the late ‘70s glam band “Movie Star,” releasing their debut in 1984. BnB had a hit single with “Hold On To 18” from the debut, and went on to record three more albums – two produced by Gene Simmons (small world, huh?). The group called it a day in 1989, reuniting in 1997 and again in 2007.

Thayer, of course, replaced Ace Frehley in Kiss in 2002.

Rock Trivia: After BnB split, Thayer played in a Kiss tribute band called Cold Gin with former BnB singer Jamie St. James; Thayer “played” Ace. Cold Gin played at one of Paul Stanley’s birthday parties, and Simmons then offered Thayer a gig as his assistant, which he took. Thayer was reportedly an all-around ‘go-fer’ for Gene, doing everything from making coffee to booking hotels to painting Stanley’s house and cleaning Gene’s gutters (!).

Black ‘N Blue’s original lineup will reunite for the Hall Of Fame induction: Thayer, St. James, drummer Pete Holmes, bassist Patrick Young and guitarist Jeff Warner.

Other inductees include folk legend Tim Hardin (“Reason To Believe,” “If I Were A Carpenter”), singer Linda Hornbuckle, Irish fiddler Kevin Burke, jazz vocalist Rebecca Kilgore, as well as a couple of side players and industry folk.

The Oregon event happens October 9.

Hold Hold On to 18 - Black 'N Blue

Black ‘N Blue – Hold On To 18 (1984)

Shock Shock Me - Gold: Kiss 1974-1982

Kiss – Shock Me
Rock AM Ring – Germany – June 3, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Steve Morse on the way

Steve Morse is set to release “Angelfire,” an acoustic album with Sarah Spencer, on August 11.

Currently a member of Deep Purple (going on 16 years now), the former Dixie Dregs and Kansas guitarist continues his solo output with this new project.

Spencer, just 22, first met Morse six years ago; upon first listen, Morse knew he wanted to work with her. "When I first heard Sarah sing, I was amazed. I'd never heard a voice so pure," says Morse. "My first thought was to write an album with her so I could hear and share it with other people."

Morse is a 6-time Grammy nominee who’s been a musician’s favorite for years: he was voted “Best Overall Guitarist” by readers of Guitar Player magazine five years in a row. The Dixie Dregs would go on to be one of the leaders in the fusion rock genre before Morse stepped out on his own with The Steve Morse Band in 1984. After a quick stint with Kansas – two albums in the mid-80s – Steve spent two years as a commercial airline co-pilot, before returning to music.

CruiseThe Steve Morse Band - Cruise Missile - The Introduction

Steve Morse Band – Cruise Missile
Ohne Filter - Baden Baden Germany – March, 1990

Highway Highway Star - The Very Best of Deep Purple

Deep Purple – Highway Star
Unknown date/location

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Van Halen tour in 2011?

In the past few months, the Van Halen rumour mill has been heating up, with Dweezil Zappa and John 5 each publicly reporting that they’ve heard new music courtesy of Eddie Van Halen. (Original post here.)

Two weeks ago, Melodicrock issued word that one of their long time VH sources independently confirmed that the band is working on a new album, set for release in the first half of 2011. The source also suggested that a single may be scheduled for release before the end of this year.

The Melodicrock story led to VH spokesperson Janie Van Halen issuing a “no update to report” statement to Rolling Stone.

The breaking VH buzz today comes via a Rik Emmett interview with When asked about Triumph’s plans, Rik said,
"We’re scheduled to go for a dinner tonight with a couple of guys from Live Nation that have flown into town and want to take us to dinner. I’m sure there’s going to be some sort of a pitch. The rumors that have been sort of blowing in the wind are that Van Halen want to go back out yet again next year, but they’re going to need some sort of support to make the packaging a little more interesting. Because Triumph hasn’t really ever toured in any kind of a nostalgia way, I think Live Nation kind of goes, “Oh, yeah, you guys would be perfect for that.” So, we’ll see sort of the size and the shape and the glitter of the golden carrots that they have."
Like the other rumours, let’s put this into perspective: there’s NO word on whether Triumph will actually be on the road in 2011 themselves – read the full Gibson session above for more of Rik’s comments on this.

As for a VH tour in 2011, there’s no word on that happening, either. Would the band even go on the road without a new disc? While they did so in ‘07-08, that purpose was different: to bring David Lee Roth back into the picture while introducing Wolfgang VH as the new bassist.

While the rumours continue, let’s consider the timing issues: although officially unconfirmed by the VH camp and confirmed by Zappa and John 5, VH are working on new music now…which could mean a 2011 release and tour are in the cards. As for the Live Nation comment by Emmett, it’s not out of the question for the promoter to be considering tour packages at any time, and planning for 2011 would certainly be underway now for all kinds of artists and potential packages.

Say tuned….

Romeo Romeo Delight - Women and Children First

Van Halen – Romeo Delight
US Festival ‘83
Glen Helen Regional Park - Devore, CA – May 29, 1983

Magic Magic Power - Allied Forces

Triumph – Magic Power
US Festival ‘83
Glen Helen Regional Park - Devore, CA – May 29, 1983

Pearl Jam hiatus

Buzz this week about the status of Pearl Jam, after Eddie Vedder’s comments at a festival in Portugal on Sunday.

At the Optimus Alive festival in Lisbon, Vedder reportedly told the crowd, "Thank you for coming to our last show. Not our last ever, but our last in a long time."

Now, before anyone gets carried away and suggests the band is breaking up in any way, consider that the festival was the last show of the “Backspacer” tour; Pearl Jam have been on the road for most of the past year, and are due for a break.

In the big picture, this is part of the normal recording/touring cycle: artists need time to regroup to consider their next moves and, in this scenario, PJ are planning some down time.

Although thematically similar, the PJ news should not be confused with The Black Crowes’ recent announcement that their “Say Goodnight To The Bad Guys” tour will be followed by an “indefinite hiatus.”

As for PJ, there are other things going on these days….

A solo Vedder track, “Better Days,” was released last month as part of the soundtrack for “Eat Pray Love,” a Julia Roberts film due in August. My original post on it is here.

Better Better Days (From "Eat Pray Love") - Better Days (From "Eat Pray Love") - Single

After playing a couple of Seattle shows last month, Stone Gossard’s side project, Brad, releases their fourth disc - “Best Friends?” - on August 10.

PJ drummer Matt Cameron joins his original band, Soundgarden, for a reunion show at next month’s Lollapalooza festival in Chicago; more shows may be confirmed.

PJ recently released the third single from “Backspacer”“Amongst The Waves” – and a companion website to help raise awareness about ocean preservation. US proceeds from the iTunes sale of the video will benefit Conservation International’s Ocean Campaign.

AmongstPearl Jam - Amongst the Waves (Live) - null

AmongstPearl Jam - Amongst the Waves - Backspacer

Pearl Jam – Amongst the Waves (2009)

Backspacer Backspacer - Pearl Jam

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pink Floyd mini-reunion

Roger Waters and David Gilmour teamed up for a benefit show this past Saturday evening, in what amounts to a mini-Pink Floyd reunion.

The two played the Hoping Foundation benefit in Oxfordshire, England to a crowd of about 200 people. The event helped raise £350,000 for the charity, which collects funds to assist young Palestinian refugees. ‘Hoping’ stands for ‘Hope and Optimism for Palestinians in the Next Generation’

It’s the first time the duo have played publicly since the Pink Floyd reunion set at Live 8 in London back in 2005.

Backed by drummer Andy Newmark, bassist Guy Pratt, and keyboardists Harry Waters and Jonjo Grisdale, the group played a four song set: “To Know Him Is To Love Him” (a Phil Spector song), “Wish You Were Here,” “Comfortably Numb” and “Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2.”

Other performers at the charity event included Nick Cave (joined on tambourine by Kate Moss) and Tom Jones.

Waters kicks of his 30th Anniversary Tour of The Wall this September in Toronto.

Wish Wish You Were Here - Oh By the Way (Studio Album Boxset) [Remastered]

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
Live 8 – London – July 2, 2005

Here’s one of my favorite acoustic Floyd performances – this was recorded at The Fillmore in San Francisco for public access TV station KQED-TV.

Grantchester Grantchester Meadows - Oh By the Way (Studio Album Boxset) [Remastered]

Pink Floyd – Grantchester Meadows
“An Hour With Pink Floyd”
KQED-TV San Francisco – April 29, 1970

Monday, July 12, 2010

Spain wins World Cup

Fans of Team Spain will continue to celebrate their victory in this year’s World Cup Final for some time to come, as Spain defeated The Netherlands 1-0 in extra time yesterday.

Andres Iniesta scored in the 116th minute to seal the victory for the Spaniards.

>>> Get your Spain 2010 World Champions gear here.

It was a frustratingly close game for both players and fans, with few chances throughout the match. With 14 yellow cards handed out, the game had a real intensity about it and chippy play by both sides.

We’ll await news on the worldwide audience numbers for the game; estimates are that this year’s Final will surpass the 715 million who watched the 2006 closer.

As I mentioned yesterday, it looks like Spain’s Fernando Torres will need to follow through on his promise to present Kasabian with a team autographed jersey as a thanks for the inspiration to their squad. Torres had said that the team pumped itself up for their World Cup matches by blasting Kasabian in the dressing room – especially “Club Foot.” Kasabian were reportedly watching the Final and cheering on Spain, but couldn’t catch the full match, as they headlined Scotland’s T In The Park festival last night.

Spain has earned bragging rights as World Champions for the next 4 years; here’s a song they can sing for some time…

WeQueen - We Are the Champions - News of the World

Queen – We Will Rock You / We Are The Champions
Live Aid – Wembley Stadium, London - July 13, 1985