Credit: Rob FortunatoJames Taylor fans, rejoice: This summer, the singer/songwriter is releasing his first album of all-new, original material in 13 years. It's called Before This World, and it hits stores on June 16.
Taylor, whose last album of new songs was 2002's October Road,tells Rolling Stone, "I got out of the habit of writing songs for about 10 years. I just never prioritized it."
He adds, "I hadn't been able to convince my manager, my wife and my kids that this had to be a priority. But I said to them, 'If I don't get this record written, I don't know what's going to happen.' And then they let me go.'"
Where did he go? To an apartment in Newport, Rhode Island, where, he says, "I didn't know anybody and I didn't see anybody." Armed with only a guitar and a notebook, he turned out a batch of songs that he finished recording in a barn on his property in Massachusetts. Rolling Stone says the album is -- big surprise -- "mellow" and "folky," with songs about the Red Sox, the singer's recovery from addiction and the road.
Since 2002, the record business has changed quite a bit, with album sales at an all-time low, but Taylor says he's not stressing about going platinum with Before This World.
"I have no idea what releasing an album even means anymore," he tells Rolling Stone. "Friends of mine say, 'James, you have to adjust your expectations. People don't buy these things.' Not to be presumptuous, but Vincent Van Gogh sold just two paintings while he was alive. If that's what your medium is, you simply must do it."
Taylor will support the new album with summer dates, including a show at Fenway Park in Boston. Asked about possible retirement from touring, the 67-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer says, "B.B. King and Tony Bennett are models for continuing. You find a way forward if your audience keeps showing up."
Credit: Ross HalfinAerosmith has now expanded its Blue Army Tour 2015 to include 15 dates after adding a pair of new U.S. shows to its itinerary. The latest concerts to join the band's list of summer performances are a June 30 gig in Hidalgo, Texas, and an August 4 show in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Tickets for both dates can be purchased now via Ticketmaster.com. Aerosmith's Blue Army Tour gets under way with a June 24 date in Evansville, Indiana, and is plotted out through a special August 7 gig in Canton, Ohio, called the Concert for Legends, which is part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2015 enshrinement festivities.
Here are all of Aerosmith's confirmed 2015 North American tour dates:
6/24 -- Evansville, IN, The Ford Center 6/27 -- Durant, OK, Choctaw Casino 6/30 -- Hidalgo, Texas, State Farm Arena 7/3 -- Lake Tahoe, NV, Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys 7/7 -- Santa Barbara, CA, Santa Barbara Bowl 7/10 -- Salinas, CA, Salinas Sports Complex 7/13 -- Kelowna, BC, Canada, Prospera Place 7/16 -- Victoria, BC, Canada, Save on Foods Memorial Centre 7/19 -- Fort McMurray, AB, Canada, Shell Place at MacDonald Park 7/22 -- Cheyenne, WY, Cheyenne Frontier Days 7/25 -- Minot, ND, North Dakota State Fair 7/28 -- Ridgefield, WA, Washington Amphitheater Northwest 8/1 -- Las Vegas, NV, MGM Grand Garden Arena 8/4 -- Grand Rapids, MI, Van Andel Arena 8/7 -- Canton, OH, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium
Photo: Neal PrestonSacha Baron Cohen has NOT been confirmed to play Freddie Mercury in a biopic about the flamboyant Queen frontman.
Queen guitarist Brian Mayposted 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.
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."
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.
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)
Warner Bros. RecordsPrince has been sued for working with former Voice contestant Judith Hill in alleged violation of a recording contract she has.
Entertainment Weekly reports producer Jolene Cherry filed the suit, claiming Hill -- a backup singer who competed on The Voice in 2013 and was featured in the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom -- has a deal with her and Sony, but she worked with Prince in what amounted to a breach of her contract. Hill recently released an album, Back in Time, as a free download.
The lawsuit argues, "[T]he people who paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop her career and album and worked to position Hill for her first release (as well as those who co-wrote many of the songs) are sitting dumb-founded on the sidelines while Prince gives away their investment for free."
Hill's lawyer told Entertainment Weekly that the lawsuit is "nothing but a publicity stunt." He said, “Judith Hill was and is absolutely free to perform her music as she has done. She sued in New York on March 25 to confirm that she was free and to stop Cherry from continuing to bother her. Now in response Cherry counter-sues, in Los Angeles — improperly — even though a case is already pending against Cherry in New York. The Los Angeles suit is nothing but a publicity stunt.”
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"
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
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.
Image Courtesy of Louisville SluggerStevie Wonder will be presented with a unique gift tonight to commemorate his concert at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. The Louisville Slugger company has created a special baseball bat featuring a message engraved in Braille in honor of the Motown legend's show.
The message, which appears both in Braille and regular lettering, reads: "STEVIE WONDER, SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE TOUR, MARCH 27, 2015, LOUISVILLE, KY." The bat boasts a maple finish and features orange and white accents to represent the prominent colors on the singer's classic 1976 album, Songs in the Key of Life, which he's performing in its entirety on his current tour.
To make the Braille inscription, a laser engraver was employed that used a special computer file made by Louisville's American Printing House for the Blind.
"This is the first time we've made a Braille bat in our 131 years," says Louisville Slugger executive Rick Redman. "We aren't aware of any other company making a Braille bat. It's great that laser technology allowed us to do it, and we're honored to be able to provide this special bat to the one and only Stevie Wonder."
Replicas of the Braille bat currently are being displayed at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. The company previously has created special bats to celebrate other famous music stars' shows at the KFC Yum! Center, including Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, and Beyonce.
Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life Tour is scheduled through an April 14 concert in Newark, New Jersey.
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.
Blue Note RecordsAnnie Lennox's new concert film, An Evening of Nostalgia with Annie Lennox, is set to be released on DVD, Blu-ray and digitally on May 4.
The film features Lennox, backed by a 19-piece band, performing a series of classics songs from her album Nostalgia, including "Summertime," "Georgia on My Mind" and "Strange Fruit." Also included is her powerful rendition of "I Put a Spell on You," which she sang at the Grammys this year and which was featured on the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack.
The concert concludes with a four-song selection of Lennox's own solo and Eurythmics hits: "Here Comes the Rain Again," "No More I Love You's," "Why" and "Sweet Dreams."
An Evening of Nostalgia with Annie Lennox was filmed on January 28 at Los Angeles' Orpheum Theatre. In addition to standard DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats, the film will be available for purchase as part of a deluxe package that includes the Nostalgia album.
Fans will get a first look at Lennox's concert film when it premieres April 3 as an episode of the PBS series Great Performances.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 NoPier 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.