Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rock News

--Michal Davis, bassist for proto-punk rock band The MC5, has died. Davis was an art student at Wayne State University when MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer decided to recruit Davis to replace original bassist Pat Burrows because Kramer "liked [Davis'] style." Davis played on the band's three original albums, including their debut Kick Out the Jams, and remained in the the group until 1972, and rejoined the band for their 2003 reunion tour. Davis' death has been attributed to liver failure. He was 68.

--The well-publicized Black Sabbath reunion tour has been rechristened Ozzy & Friends Tour. Due to guitarist Tony Iommi's battle with lymphoma, and the departure of drummer Bill Ward following a contract dispute, Black Sabbath will only play only one date on their current tour schedule, U.K.'s Dowload Festival in June (and that without Ward.) The Ozzy & Friends tour will feature Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler, Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society,) and special guest Slash (Guns n Roses, Velvet Revolver.) There is no word yet on the fate of the upcoming new Black Sabbath album, slated to be produced by Rick Rubin and released late in 2012.

--The recent Grammy reunion of the remaining original members of The Beach Boys has now been expanded into a 37-date U.S. tour, including a headlining spot at Bonnaroo, and a performance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Founding members Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and Mike Love, will join fellow longtime band members David Marks and Bruce Johnson (both of whom have been with the band since the 1960s) on the tour, and a subsequent album of new material set to be produced by Brain Wilson "later this year." 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of The Beach Boys first album Surfin' Safari.

--Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo) and Jim James (My Morning Jacket) have teamed up to produce an album of songs built around the lyrics of Woody Guthrie. The album, New Multitudes, focuses on Guthrie's time in California, and is culled from over 3,000 sets of lyrics collected at the Woody Guthrie Museum in upstate New York. Farrar's former Uncle Tupelo bandmate Jeff Tweedy, along with his band Wilco, and folk musician Billy Bragg, recorded a similar series of albums based on Guthrie lyrics, starting with 1998's Mermaid Avenue, and followed by volume two in 2000. Volume three is set to be released later this year. 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie's birth.

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