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Thursday, June 22, 2017
 
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Paul McCartney has announced his first shows Down Under in nearly 25 years, with five December shows set for Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney, Australia -- with a single show set for Auckland, New Zealand. McCartney's last show Down Under was on March 27th, 1993 at Auckland, New Zealand's Western Springs Stadium. The former-Beatle scrapped his 2002 Australian shows following the Bali bombings, and despite being steadily on the road and hitting Japan and South America numerous times in the past decade, he hasn't performed Down Under since his 10-date string of '93 shows. Back in 1975, Wings played a seven-show Australian run, and prior to that, in 1964, the Beatles undertook an historic eight-date tour of Oz and New Zealand.

McCartney posted in the tour announcement: "We’ve been waiting to get back to Australia and New Zealand for years and now it’s finally happening. It is very exciting. I’m really looking forward to the concerts as we’ve always had such a brilliant time whenever we’ve been before so we know we are in for a treat. Can’t wait to see you and all rock out together."

  • The past dozen years have seen McCartney perform more concerts than his first 20 years as a solo performer combined. He told us that there's no great method behind devising his nightly setlists, explaining that it really comes down to common sense: "We just do, first of all what we think the audience might like; secondly, what we like -- which is very important because we can't throw in stuff that they like, but we don't. And then we throw in a bit of things they may not know, but that we think would be interesting because they don't know 'em. And then we look and see what we did last time and we try not to do too many of the same numbers. We try to open with something different, so a few little things like that." :
    July 7 - Miami, FL - AmericanAirlines Arena
    July 10 - Tampa, FL - Amalie Arena
    July 13 - Duluth, GA - Infinite Energy Center
    July 15 - Bossier City, LA - CenturyLink Center
    July 19 - Wichita, KS - Intrust Bank Arena
    July 21 - Des Moines, IA - Wells Fargo Arena
    July 23 - Omaha, NE - CenturyLink Center Omaha
    July 25, 27 - Tinley Park, IL - Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
    September 11, 12 - Newark, NJ - Prudential Center
    September 15, 17 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden Arena
    September 19, 21 - Brooklyn, NY - Barclays Center
    September 23 - Syracuse, NY - Carrier Dome
    September 26, 27 - Uniondale, NY - Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
    October 1, 2 - Detroit, MI - Little Caesars Arena
    October 13 - Porto Alegre, Brazil - Estadio Beira-Rio
    October 15 - Sao Paulo, Brazil - Allianz Parque
    October 17 - Belo Horizonte, Brazil - Mineirao Stadium
    October 20 - Salvador, Brazil - Itaipava Arena - Fonte Nova
    December 2 - Perth, Australia - nib Stadium
    December 5 - Melbourne, Australia - AAMI Park
    December 9 - Brisbane, Australia - Suncorp Stadium
    December 11 - Sydney, Australia - Qudos Bank Arena
    December 16 - Auckland, New Zealand - Mt Smart Stadium
AUDIO: PAUL MCCARTNEY ON THE BEATLES BEING HISTORICAL
AUDIO: PAUL MCCARTNEY ON CONCERT SETLISTS

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Bono appeared on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday (June 21st). While there, he signed a "get well" card for wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot in Virginia last week during a practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game. Billboard reported, "Bono also met members of Scalise's staff in the Louisiana Republican's office, along with House GOP leaders including Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy."

Patch.com posted a statement from Ian Koski of The ONE Campaign detailing the reason for Bono's visit: "Bono is highlighting the lives saved by America's investments in foreign assistance and underscoring testimony given by 16 retired generals and admirals last week about the critical importance of development to America's national Security. Bono also met briefly with staff to U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise."

  • Bono has worked tirelessly to reduce poverty, hunger, and AIDS in Africa and other parts of the globe, and was even nominated for a Nobel Prize in 2005 for his efforts. U2 guitarist The Edge told us at the time that the band has never worried about Bono's activist efforts alienating its audience: "There are, I'm sure, people who'd rather that there were less direct references to politics in the show, or that Bono wouldn't end up on TV talking about his work for Africa, but we're fine with that, y'know? We think that it's really important, and the small downside that comes with it is far outweighed in every respect by the positives." at Toronto's Rogers Centre.
AUDIO: BONO SAYS NO ONE IS IMMUNE TO THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS
AUDIO: U2'S THE EDGE ON BONO'S POLITICAL ACTIVITIES

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Foo Fighters main man Dave Grohl revealed in an interview with BBC One that the band's just-announced new album, Concrete And Gold, will feature a "bunch of guests," including some "that will really surprise you." Pressed further, Grohl added, "There’s one who is probably the biggest pop star in the world and -- I’m not kidding -- sings backup on one of the heaviest songs on the record and we’re not telling anybody who it is."

Fans have been speculating online who the "biggest pop star" could be, with most agreeing on Adele. The British superstar has close ties with producer Greg Kurstin, who has not only produced her music but was behind the board for Concrete And Gold.

  • Grohl also spoke about the recording sessions in the interview, saying, "Without telling anybody, we’ve been in the studio for the last six months and we made the biggest sounding Foo Fighters record we’ve ever made."
  • The Foos frontman continued, "Honestly, I think it’s going to take a lot of people by surprise. Every band says it’s the best record they’ve ever made, but wait til you hear it. It’s definitely the hugest thing we’ve ever done."
  • Grohl told us in the past that his approach to songwriting is basic: "It's pretty simple with this band. If there's a melody and there's a good lyric, then we've got ourselves a song in a couple of minutes. If we could throw it together, and get an arrangement together, and put it down on tape, that's kind of what we do best, you know: that simple, melodic rock that gets stuck in your head."
  • Concrete And Gold will arrive on September 15th. The first single and video, called "Run," is out now.
  • Foo Fighters will celebrate the release of the album with a fall North American tour. They kick it off on October 7th with Cal Jam 17, a full day's worth of music headlined by the Foos and also including Queens Of The Stone Age, Cage The Elephant, Liam Gallagher, Royal Blood, The Struts, The Kills and a dozen more acts.
  • The rest of the tour begins on October 12th in Washington D.C. and will last through December. Tickets will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. local time on June 26th.
AUDIO: FOO FIGHTERS' DAVE GROHL ON SONGWRITING

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On Tuesday in Washington, D.C. (June 20th), Jon Bon Jovi was awarded the 2017 Service to America Leadership Award from the NAB Education Foundation (NABEF) for "his ongoing efforts to combat hunger and homelessness." Among those saluting Bon Jovi on video were President Barack Obama -- with Gayle King narrating a tribute video highlighting Bon Jovi's work in the community and featured Sen. Cory Booker, Mario Batali, Tom Colicchio, Sister Mary Scullion (Project HOME), and Kevin Ryan (Covenant House), among others. Previous honorees include: Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Bill Clinton, Muhammad Ali, Quincy Jones, Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush, and Sharon Stone.

The New Jersey rocker's Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering positive change and helping the lives of those in need "one soul at a time." Back in 2011, Bon Jovi founded the Red Bank, New Jersey restaurant JBJ Soul Kitchen, with a "pay or pitch in" method in return for a good hot meal. In 2015, Bon Jovi once again lent his name and support to a community restaurant in his native New Jersey. The Spoon Full Of Hope eatery began in January 2014 serving meals in the Union Beach firehouse -- but lost its funding that summer. Bon Jovi picked up the slack through his charitable organization, the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation.

  • In his acceptance speech on Tuesday, Bon Jovi said, in part, "There is a misconception that homelessness is a choice. I have yet to meet a homeless person who strived to achieve that. We must all work together to remove the labels 'Us and Them.' Inspiration and hope mixed with a little perspiration can change a life forever."
  • Bon Jovi went on to say: "This is a conversation about a hand up. It is not about politics -- it’s about building communities one brick at a time. We aren’t relying on our government, because they can’t do it alone, and it’s not reality to expect philanthropy to solve this issue either. At the Soul Kitchens, we are simply bringing people together to share a meal, but his simple act has taught us that breaking bread leads to conversation and conversation can lead to a meaningful dialogue and perhaps a greater sense of pride in one’s self and in community. This is what moves me."
  • Bon Jovi explained that the JBJ Soul Kitchen in Toms River, New Jersey is a win-win situation, no matter how you look at it: "You are teaching the man to fish instead of giving him a fish. When you come into this restaurant, there are no prices on our menu. So, if you are in need, you participate -- and that means bussing the table, washing a dish, working in our gardens. If you are here to just enjoy a meal and affect change directly by buying a 'Pay It Forward' card, you are paying for your meal and for someone else's that are here in the restaurant or are going to come tomorrow, and you don't know the difference between who are in need and who are not in need."
  • Bon Jovi will next perform on August 18th in Endicott, New York at Enjoie Golf Club
AUDIO: JON BON JOVI ON SOUL KITCHEN

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Boy George has re-recorded a dramatically slowed down version of the Village People's 1978 Top Two smash, "Y.M.C.A." The Guardian Australia reported that George teamed up with YMCA Australia and re-imagined the song for the Why Not? campaign, "which aims to shine a light on issues that are important to Australian young people: marriage equality, mental health and youth unemployment."

The Culture Club frontman, who's in Australia serving as one of the hosts on their version of The Voice, shed light on his 2017 remake of "Y.M.C.A.", saying, "It’s the opposite of the original version. It needs to be, in order to work as a cover. Who’d want to be reinventing the Eiffel Tower in exactly the same way? I thought I would give it a give a jazzy tone -- but not too much Ethel Merman." He revealed that he went to his first dance club at the age of 11 and explained his connection to the "Y.M.C.A." and the era: "My coming of age was in the '70s. A lot of people look back on it as a grim decade but I look back on it as a liberating time. Ziggy Stardust, the Village People and punk rock really shaped who I am as a person and as a gay man."

  • Melinda Crole, CEO of YMCA in Australia explained: "We had a big conversation about how we can be a social movement for young people. One of the assets we had was the recognizable YMCA song. When you are introduced as working for the YMCA, you always got the arm movements."
  • She touched upon the camp and subversive gay connotations the song has had over the years and explained that a new meaning came to light in open discussions with youth groups: "It was a challenging conversation for us as leaders -- the baby boomers and Gen X. We have to let go -- it wasn’t about what we thought. It was about the young people."
  • Culture Club -- especially Boy George -- were among the original MTV acts that redefined fashion in the early-'80s. George told us that fame has a way of forcing some people to tweak their individuality: "When you get successful sometimes you lose the essence of what you are in a bid to kind of be like everybody else or follow what's happening. The best bands are the bands that kind of stick to what they do. The best bands are the ones that have their own identity and don't kind of get overly influenced by what's trendy.
AUDIO: BOY GEORGE BEST BANDS DONT GET INFLUENCE BY WHATS TRENDY

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Coming on September 22nd is the first joint album by Stephen Stills and former girlfriend, folk legend Judy Collins, titled Stills & Collins. Nearly 50 years after splitting, the pair remains close and have just announced the full 44-date itinerary for their first joint tour together. Pollstar reported the new album features duets of Bob Dylan’s "Girl From The North Country," Leonard Cohen’s "Everybody Knows," the Traveling Wilburys' "Handle With Care," along with newly recorded gems from each of their back catalogues -- including Collins' "Who Knows Where The Time Goes," and Stills' Manassas classic, "So Begins the Task." Collins has also wrote a new song for the album, titled "River Of Gold."

According to the press release for the tour: "The shows will feature songs from the new album and selections from their back catalogs, while Stephen and Judy also will share stories about their eventful lives and careers and recollections of their time together." The trek kicks off on July 26th at Highland Park, Illinois' Ravinia Pavilion and wraps on November 4th in Brooks, California at Cacher Creek Casino.

  • Among the legendary Stills songs wrote for Collins include Crosby, Stills, & Nash's "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," "Helplessly Hoping," and "49-Bye-Byes," among others. Back in 2007, Stills released Just Roll Tape: April 26th, 1968, which was recorded during the down time during sessions for Collins' Who Knows Where The Tome Goes album, which featured Stills on guitar and bass.
  • Apart from all of her amazing accomplishments, Judy Collins will never not be known and beloved as the muse for Stephen Stills' masterpiece, "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes." Collins revealed to us that the song remains truly a snapshot of her and Stills' relationship at that exact moment: "There are a lot of lines with what was going on in my life and his. And, y'know, in that sense, it's pretty (laughs). . . it has some reality in it that's unmistakable. I mean, he was on the West Coast -- I was on the East Coast. He hated New York and therapy and I was in both -- and you can hear it in the song. I was with a bunch of therapists that didn't believe in dating one person, so you hear -- 'Tuesdays and Saturdays.' That's, that's from real life. That's not made up. But, I heard the song originally when he came to sing it to me to try to get me back (laughs)."
    July 26 - Highland Park, IL - Ravinia Pavilion
    July 28 - Cleveland Heights, OH - Cain Park
    July 30 - Overland Park, KS - JCCC Carlsen Center
    August 1 - Denver, CO - Denver Botanic Gardens at York Street
    August 2 - Arvada, CO - Arvada Center For The Arts & Humanities
    August 3 - Steamboat Springs, CO - Strings Music Festival
    August 5 - Salina, KS - Stiefel Theatre
    August 7 - Meridian, MS - Riley Center for the Performing Arts
    August 9 - Atlanta, GA - Atlanta Symphony Hall
    August 11, 12 - Alexandria, VA - Birchmere
    August 14 - Ridgefield, CT - Ridgefield Playhouse
    August 16 - Red Bank, NJ - Count Baise Theatre
    August 17 - New Haven, CT - College Street Music Hall
    August 18 - Greensburg, PA - Palace Theatre
    August 20 - Lowell, MA - Boarding House Park
    August 21 - Great Barrington, MA - Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
    August 23 - Morristown, NJ - Mayo Performing Arts Center
    August 25 - Glenside, PA - Keswick Theatre
    August 26 - Westbury, NY - NYCB Theatre
    August 28 - Vestal, NY - Anderson Center for the Performing Arts
    September 1 - Beverly Hills, CA - Saban Theatre
    September 3 - Indio, CA - Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino
    September 6 - San Diego, CA - Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay
    September 8 - Jacksonville, OR - Britt Pavilion
    September 9 - Stateline, NV - MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa
    September 30 - Torrington, CT - Warner Theater
    October 1 - Newport News, VA - Ferguson Performing Arts Center
    October 2 - Huntington, WV - Keith Albee Performing Arts Center
    October 4 - Morgantown, WV - West Virginia University
    October 5 - Charlottesville, VA - Sprint Pavilion
    October 7 - Cranston, RI - Rhode Island Center for the Performing Arts
    October 8 - Albany, NY - The Egg Center
    October 11 - Lancaster, PA - American Music Theater
    October 12 - Tarrytown, NY - Tarrytown Music Hall
    October 13 - Englewood, NJ - Bergen Performing Arts Center
    October 17 - Godfrey, IL - Olin Theater
    October 21 - Las Vegas, NV - Smith Center
    October 22 - Tucson, AZ - Fox Theater
    October 25, 26 - San Juan Capistrano, CA - The Coach House
    October 28 - Santa Barbara, CA - Arlington Theater
    November 2 - Visalia, CA - Fox Theater
    November 4 - Brooks, CA - Cacher Creek Casino
AUDIO: JUDY COLLINS ON 'SUITE JUDY BLUE EYES'

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Late Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell will appear on a new album that features poems written by Johnny Cash set to music. According to Rolling Stone, the project is titled Johnny Cash Forever Words: The Music and is the creation of Cash’s son John Carter Cash, who is also producing the set. The younger Cash published a book of his father's previously unavailable poems last year, titled Forever Words: The Unknown Poems.

News that Cornell had contributed to the project surfaced last week via country artist Jamey Johnson, who told the Kentucky Country Music blog last week, "John Carter has a good number of poems that Johnny wrote. I say poems because they don’t have music to them. He’s working on an album where he’s pairing up these songs with songwriters from our day to finish up these Johnny Cash songs. One of them that I know he’s most proud of and you can’t get it anymore -- he’s got Chris Cornell having finished one of these songs and then recorded it. I’m excited for it to come out. I got to do a couple of them."

  • Along with Cornell and Johnson, other artists set to appear include Brad Paisley, Jewel, T-Bone Burnett, Dailey & Vincent, Kacey Musgraves and more.
  • Cash himself covered Soundgarden's "Rusty Cage" on his 1996 album Unchained, and Cornell began performing Cash's arrangement of it on his 2015 solo tour.
  • A release date for Johnny Cash Forever Words: The Music has yet to be announced.

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