Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rock News

--27 year old soul singer Amy Winehouse has died. The singer's body was found at her London apartment on Saturday. No official cause of death has been released, though Winehouse has struggled publicly with drugs and alcohol. She will be laid to rest in a private ceremony on Tuesday. Winehouse is survived by her parents, Mitch and Janis, her older brother, Alex, and her boyfriend, director Reg Traviss.

--Academy Award winning director Martin Scorsese has finished work on his documentary George Harrison: Living In The Material World. The film, chronicling the life of the former Beatles guitaris,t includes interviews with Harrison's widow Olivia, as well as Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Yoko Ono, Terry Gilliam and others. The documentary, which will feature never-before-seen home movies and photographs, is scheduled to air on HBO in two parts this October.

--Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy will release his first book, a children's book entitled Wildwood, on August 30th. The fantasy tale, set in "a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions" and features illustration by Carson Ellis. The first four chapters of the book are currently available for free on the book’s Facebook page here!

--A poll conducted by a New Jersey polling company found that if Bruce Springsteen were to enter the state's gubernatorial race, he would be tied with sitting republican governor Chris Christie. The poll, which posed the hypothetical scenario, is in response to Springsteen's harsh criticism of Christie in recent months, which included a letter to his home town paper The Asbury Press, taking Christie to task over recent state budget cuts.

--Hip Hop quintet Bone Thugs-n-Harmony have called in quits after reuniting for one final show last Saturday. The performance was part of the group’s hometown, Cleveland, Ohio's 215 birthday celebration. The members remain on good terms, but have split to pesue solo careers.

--Coming on the heels of news that his Chicago mansion is in foreclosure, R. Kelly's representatives have announced that the singer is "laid up indefinitely" following emergency throat surgery last Tuesday. Kelly was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery Tuesday after complaining of throat pain.

-- Fans have been given the chance to win a trip to NYC to see Wilco live on September 22, compliments of the band and the fine folks who have brought us Record Store Day! ( Wilco have always been vocal about their love for record stores, and they want hear why you love YOUR favorite record store. Tell them why, in their I LOVE MY RECORD STORE contest!

This Week in Rock History

1955--Chuck Berry has his first hit, Maybellene, which will climb to

1956--Songwriter Mike Stoller (Hound Dog, Stand by Me) survives the
sinking of the cruise ship The Andrea Doria which collided
with another ship, The Stockholm, in heavy fog. Fifty-one
passengers lost their lives in the sinking.

1965--Bob Dylan shocked the audience at the Newport Folk Festival when he
premiered 3 songs from his forthcoming album Bringing It All Back
using electric instruments and a backing band. Folk singer
Pete Seeger, who was back stage at the time, proclaimed to the
sound engineer "If I had an axe, I'd chop the microphone cable
right now!"

1968--Cass Elliot, of the Mamas & the Papas, releases her first
solo single, a cover of the song Dream A Little Dream of Me,
which will go to #12 on the Billboard Charts. Though billed as a solo
effort, the song is actually backed by the rest of the Mamas &
the Papas.

1972--Bobby Ramirez, drummer with Edgar Winter, is involved in a
barroom fight after a patron at the Chicago bar makes derogatory
comments about the length of Ramirez's hair. Ramirez would
be kicked in the head repeatedly with a steel toe boot, dying from
his injuries the following day.

1973--Led Zeppelin, who are in the middle of their US tour, are robbed of
two nights box office receipts. In all nearly $180,000 in cash is
taken from the band's safety deposit box.

1974--"Mama" Cass Elliot dies of a massive heart attack in her hotel room
following a solo performance at the London Palladium. An unfinished
ham sandwich found near the body leads to the urban legend that
Elliot had choked to death.

1976--John Lennon receives his US greencard, three years after being ordered to leave by immigration officials.

2006--A man who bugged a private jet chartered by Michael Jackson, with
the intent of selling the recordings to the press, is sentenced to 8 months in jail.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This Week In Rock History

1958—Julia Lennon, the mother of John Lennon, is struck and killed by an intoxicated off-duty police officer. John was only 17 at the time of his mother's death.

1962—The Rolling Stones played their first concert ever at the Marquee club in London.

1966—Cat Stevens records his first hit, "I Love My Dog" at Decca Studios in London. The melody of the song was taken from the song "Plum Blossom" by jazz saxophonist Yusef Lateef. Though Lateef sued for copyright infringement, the case was eventually decided in Stevens favor. After converting to Islam, Stevens would voluntarily pay restitution to Lateef out of his own pocket, and even change his name you Yusef in honor of Lateef.

1968—Black Sabbath play their first gig ever at a blues club in Birmingham, England.

1969—Brian Jones is laid to rest in Prestbury, England. All members of the Rolling Stones are in attendance, with the exception of Mick Jagger.

1970—Aretha Franklin
is arrested for disorderly conduct in Detroit. After posting $50 bail, Franklin mowed down a traffic sign out her way out of the police station parking lot.

1972—Harry Nilsson's
Son of Schmilsson is released. It features Geroge Harrios on guitar (billed as George Harrysong) and Ringo Starr (billed as Richie Snare) on drums.

1974—The Grateful Dead receive two gold records, for Workingman's Dead and American Beauty. The records were released within six month of each other and both would go on to make Rolling Stone Magazines top 500 albums (at #258 and #261 respectively)

would petition Greg Allman for divorce just ten days after their wedding. Though she would change her mind, the marriage would end in divorce in 1979.

1981—Singer/songwriter Harry Chapin is killed when his VW Rabbit is struck from behind by a tractor-trailer. Chapin is best remembered for the top 20 hits "Taxi" and "Cats in the Cradle," which went to #1 in 1974.

2000—The Supremes reunion tour is canceled due to poor ticket sales. The group only featured one original member, Diana Ross. Neither of the other surviving members, Mary Wilson or Cindy Birdsong, would take place in the "reunion" due to the small amount of money they were offered.

Rock News

Michael Todd, bassist for the band Coheed & Cambria, was arrested on July 10th for allegedly robbing a Walgreen's pharmacy in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Just hours before the band was set to open for Soundgarden at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, Todd is said to have walked into the pharmacy and showed the pharmacist a note taped to his cell
phone saying that he would detonate a bomb if he was not given the painkiller Oxycontin. When told they did not have Oxycontin Todd allegedly replied "“I’ll take your Perc 30s’’ After being given the painkillers Todd took a cab to to the stadium, where he was easily traced through the taxi's dispatcher and arrested without incident. Todd was arraigned the next day.

Foreclosure papers have been issued against singer R. Kelly's multi-million dollar estate in the Chicago suburbs. Kelly has failed to pay on his mortgage for over a year, leading the bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, to foreclose on the property. The house, which Kelly purchased right after the release of his platinum selling album R in 1999, also has a number of liens against it, including nearly $2 million from the department of the treasury. Kelly's most recent album, Love Letters, released in December, has sold less than expected, thus far having only been certified gold.

Former Motorhead guitarist Michael "Wurzel" Burston died on Sunday, July 10th, following a battle with heart disease. Wurzel played with the British heavy metal band for twelve years from 1984-1996, as well as recording two solo albums Bess and Chill Out or Die. He was 61.

Former Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss bassist Nick Oliveri was arrested early last Wednesday after a domestic dispute led to a standoff with a Los Angeles Police Department SWAT team. Oliveri's girlfriend reports going to their shared home early Wednesday to gather her belongings following a fight, when Oliveri struck her and locked both of them inside the home. Police responded after a neighbor called 911, leading to a tense standoff in which the SWAT team were called. Oliveri negotiated to let his girlfriend go after a couple of hours, and Oliveri surrendered two hours after that. A search of Oliveri's home after the standoff revealed a fully loaded high-powered rifle.

Indie country-rock band Rilo Kiley have announced that they are splitting up after 13 years, after having been on a hiatus since the release of 2007’s Under the Black Light. Blake Sennett, guitarist for the band, said the band would not be getting back together. Sennett said about the split "I just felt like there was a lot of deception, disloyalty, greed and things I don't really want to submit myself to. I had related that frustration to music but I just thought, 'I'm not going to put myself in that position again,' so I said, 'F*&k that, I can't do this anymore." Most of the members have gone on to other projects, with Sennett recording as part of the band The Elected and lead singer Jenny Lewis forming the band Jenny & Johnny with current boyfriend Jonathan

Rapper DMX has been released from an Arizona prison after seven months. DMX was serving a sentence for parole violation after he was spotted drinking alcohol at a concert in Scottsdale last year. DMX plans to resume work on his new album.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rock News

In a shocking revelation by John Lennon's personal assistant, Fred Seaman, near the end of his life Lennon had become a secret conservative who supported the campaign of Ronald Regan. In the new documentary, Beatles
Seaman states that Lennon was embarrassed by his former militant left-wing beliefs, and "enjoyed arguing with left-wing radicals who reminded him of his former self." Seaman went on to say that "He was a very different 1979 and 80, than he'd been [in 1971] when he wrote Imagine. By 1979 he looked back on that guy and was embarrassed by that [his] naivety."

Alt-rock icons, The Pixies, have extended their Doolittle tour to include, what the band is calling, the "lost cities." This extended leg of the tour will include only cities the band have never played in previously. Scheduled so far are Montclair, New Jersey, Waterbury, CT, Portland, ME, Huntington, NY, Wilmington, DE, Knoxville, TN, Santa Fe, NM and Bakersfield, CA before wrapping up in Santa Cruz, CA.
On Friday, July 1st, Kills guitarist Jamie Hince wed supermodel Kate Moss in a lavish ceremony. The wedding, which took place in Cotswold in the UK, was attended by fellow rockers Jack White and Paul McCartney, as well as celebrities, actors, fellow models and fashiondesigners (including Sir Paul's daughter, designer Stella McCartney.) Hince's bandmate Allison Mosshart acted as "best woman."
A Texas judge has rejected Willie Nelson's recent plea agreement, claiming the country music star had gotten off too easily. The plea agreement, which would allow Nelson to pay a $500 fine and $280 in court costs, stems from
a 2010 drug possession charge. The judge in the case feels Nelson was given a reduced sentence due to his fame, “At no point do I have to let him off,” the judge said. “If Willie Nelson gets off with nothing, I’m not going to be part of it.”

This Week In Rock History

1955—Bill Haley's ”RockAround The Clock” reaches #1 on the charts, the first rock and roll record to do so, ushering in the rock music era.

1956—American Bandstand debuts on ABC, hosted by Dick Clark. Clark would remain the host until 1989, a record thirty-three years.

1957—Paul McCartney met John Lennon for the first time when Lennon's band, The Quarrymen, were playing at a church social. In the church
basement between sets, 15 year-old McCartney teaches a 16 year-old Lennon to play and sing Eddie Cochran's "Twenty Flight Rock" and Gene Vincent's "Be-Bop-A-Lula". Lennon would later say that he was impressed with McCartney's ability to tune a guitar.

1967—The Monkees begin their first tour. The opening act, Jimi Hendrix, is dismissed after eight shows, his music not finding an audience with the teeny-bopper audience. Most of his performances are drowned out by crowds
screaming “We want Davy!”
1968—The Yardbirds finish up their final tour. Guitarist Jimmy Page decides to try to keep the band going by recruiting a whole new backing band. Page attempts to christen the new band The New Yardbirds, but
is rebuked by the new drummer, John Bonham, who says the name will “...go over like a lead zeppelin.”

1969—Rolling Stones guitarist, Brian Jones. who was kicked out of the band just three weeks previously, is found dead in his swimming pool. The official cause of
death is listed as “death by misadventure.”

1971—Doors singer Jim Morison passes away from drug-related heart failure while on sabbatical in Paris, France. His death would not be made public until after his burial on July 9th

1995—The Grateful Dead give their final performance at Chicago's Soldier Field.