- Neil Young has just rolled out the first five stops on his 2019 acoustic tour. As it stands now, the trek kicks off with a double shot of Wisconsin gigs, hitting Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater on January 23rd and Madison’s Overture Center For The Arts on January 24th. Young has also added three Minneapolis dates, performing at three different local venues. Young has announced a January 26th show at the Pantages Theatre; a January 28th gig at the Orpheum Theatre; and a final show on January 29th at Minneapolis' State Theatre. Also, in addition to his July 12th joint concert at London' s Hyde Park with Bob Dylan, the pair will play a second double bill on July 14th at Kilkenny, Ireland's Nowlan Park. (Live For Live Music)
- John Mellencamp is the latest rocker to bring his music to the "Great White Way." During a chat on NBC's The Today show, Mellencamp revealed that the musical would not be the standard jukebox musical -- meaning an artist's biggest hits are strung together by a loose new storyline: "We're getting ready to mount 'Jack And Diane' as a Broadway musical. Every problem that this country's going through today is in that musical. This is not a jukebox musical My ambitions are set very high. As close to (John) Steinbeck as we can get it -- in today's world, with these two kids." No opening date has been set for the musical. (Billboard)
- "Jack And Diane" remains John Mellencamp's only Number One hit, topping the Billboard Hot 100 as "John Cougar" for a solid month starting on October 2nd, 1982.
- Ace Frehley feels that no matter what, presumably regardless of scandal and/or alleged crimes, Americans need to get behind Donald Trump. The former-Kiss guitarist, who'll release his latest solo set, Spaceman, on October 19th, appeared on the Juliet: Unexpected podcast and said, "Let me say this about Trump. Whether you love him or hate him, if you're an American and you're a patriot, you should get behind your president. He was elected. We live under the Constitution of the United States, and you're supposed to support your president. Love him or hate him, you're supposed to support him, or go move to another country. . . Being American, we have the right to free speech, and I'm all for everybody putting their two cents in on everything. But when musicians or actors get really verbal and jump on a bandwagon against our government, I don't agree with that." (Blabbermouth)
- Believed to be long lost, Elton John's 1973 performance of his holiday favorite "Step Into Christmas" from England's The Gilbert O'Sullivan Show has been discovered and digitally restored. Featuring Elton alongside his classic band line up of guitarist Davey Johnstone, bassist Dee Murray, and drummer Nigel Olsson -- along with a rare cameo from songwriting partner Bernie Taupin on percussion -- the clip it has not been seen since it was first aired 45 years ago. "Step Into Christmas" has been re-issued as a three-track digital EP featuring the original single audio, B-side of "Ho! Ho! Ho! (Who'd Be A Turkey At Christmas)" and the audio version from The Gilbert O'Sullivan Show. (Press release)
- Legendary "Wrecking Crew" L.A. session bassist Joe Osborn died on December 14th at age 81 of undisclosed causes, although he had battled cancer over the last decade. As Best Classic Bands reported: "Osborn’s work can be heard on hundreds of recordings beginning in the early 1960's, including hits by Ricky Nelson ('Travelin’ Man,' 'Hello Mary Lou"'), Johnny Rivers ('Seventh Son,' 'Memphis'), the Fifth Dimension ('Up, Up And Away,' 'Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In'), Simon & Garfunkel ('Bridge Over Troubled Water'), the Mamas & The Papas ('California Dreamin',' 'I Saw Her Again'), the Association ('Windy'), Richard Harris ('MacArthur Park'), the Carpenters ('Close To You,' 'For All We Know'), the Grass Roots ('Midnight Confessions'), Neil Diamond ('Holly Holy'), Scott McKenzie ('San Francisco'), Gary Lewis & The Playboys ('This Diamond Ring,' 'Count Me In'), the Monkees ('Valleri'), Nancy Sinatra, Kenny Rogers, Helen Reddy, Barbra Streisand, Tommy Roe, America, Bobby Sherman, the Partridge Family, Spanky & Our Gang, the Turtles, and others." Osborn relocated to Nashville in 1974 and went on to perform on a reported 53 chart-topping country hits, before moving home to his native Louisiana. (Best Classic Bands)
Stevie Nicks was amazed at the reaction her Fleetwood Mac bandmates gave her onstage in response to her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Nicks, who had previously stated that her massive solo success was essentially never acknowledged by her bandmates over the years, revealed that times have changed.
Nicks told Rolling Stone, "When we went onstage. . . I never would have expected anybody in the band to have said anything about it. But I was standing right in front of Mick (Fleetwood) and all of a sudden he did say something about it, but I had one of my ear monitors out. I thought he said something about the Hall of Fame, but I wasn’t really quite sure. I turned around and looked at him and I could hear he was saying, 'Congratulations. We’re really proud of you.' It was something like that. I couldn’t really tell what he said. And then I turned towards Christine (McVie) and she was like, 'Congratulations sweetheart' or something and I’m just standing there and thinking that this was not anything that would have been mentioned onstage before. (Nicks seems to mean before Lindsey Buckingham left the group, but she was unwilling to field questions about that situation.)"
She went on to say, "I was a little bit verklempt and I didn’t know what to do. And then we were getting ready to go into the song that Neil (Finn) and I do ('Don’t Dream It’s Over') and then during the 'Landslide' dedication I said, 'I wouldn’t have said anything about this, but because Mick and Christine said something about it, you’ve opened the doors.' Then I made a dedication to Jimmy Iovine for making this Gemini able to have two careers, which for somebody like me was so wonderful because I like bouncing from one thing to the other back to the other back to the other. I’m never bored, ever, and if I want to take a vacation, I told the audience, I don’t want to go to Hawaii for a year. I really just want to go to Hawaii for like two weeks and then come back and start on another project. That’s how I’ve always been. I would be bored stiff."
Nicks went on to say: "The fact that I’ve been able to have these two careers my whole life. . . I joined Fleetwood Mac at the beginning of 1975. We started talking about the solo album at the end of 1979, so my solo work was just a little over four years behind Fleetwood Mac. It has made my life amazing because I’ve been able to have these two amazing careers and live in two completely different worlds. I did dedicate it to Jimmy Iovine, him and several others. But it was Jimmy that said, 'I will produce your record and we’ll make you a Tom Petty record, expect it’ll be a girl Tom Petty record.' I found that very exciting and I was jumping off the walls."
She was clear from the onset that she didn't want to damage her relationship -- or overshadow her membership -- in Fleetwood Mac: "That’s how it all started. The people around me in my solo career were all very much like, 'This is not going to mess with Fleetwood Mac. You’re going to be able to do both. It’s what you do. You’re a Gemini. You want two lives.' And then it just took off, both things. So I’m very grateful to all the spirits that it was made easy for me to do this and nobody was angry with me and saying, 'You shouldn’t do this.' Everybody backed up the whole thing. That was really wonderful because it could have gone the other way, but it didn’t go the other way."
Nicks spoke frankly about her feelings about the induction night itself: "My sadness is there are a few people that won’t be there. Had Prince not passed away, Prince would have come and played on a song with me because I get to do one or two or three songs. He would have come and played on his and my song for the first time in history since we never got to play ('Stand Back') together on stage. If Tom Petty had lived, he could have come and played 'Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around' with me. And that breaks my heart that those two people aren’t alive for this. But you know what? They are in my heart. They walk with me onstage every night. That’s the sadness that there are a few people that I would really loved to have shared this with, but life goes on and they are in my heart, so it’s okay. I have to let that part go."
Stevie Nicks has been a solo superstar for over four decades now. We asked her what the best aspect of juggling two very high profile careers over the years is: "A solo career and Fleetwood Mac are a really great thing to go back and forth to. Because, y'know, you can do your solo work and then you could do Fleetwood Mac, and then you can go back to your solo work and then you could do Fleetwood Mac. It really is kind of a blessing in many ways. You never get bored, so you can do your thing until you start to get bored and then you can go to the other thing. (Laughs) And then you can do that until you start to get bored and go back to the other thing. And it really makes for staying in a much more excited and uplifted humor for everything that you do when you're not just doing one thing."
AUDIO: STEVIE NICKS ON JUGGLING FLEETWOOD MAC AND SOLO CAREER
- Paul McCartney was joined on stage last night (December 16th) in London by fellow surviving Beatle Ringo Starr and the Rolling Stones' Ron Wood. The show at London's O2 Arena was "Macca's" final gig of 2018, and Ringo and Wood hopped onstage during the encores for a blast through the "Fab Four" classic "Get Back."
- Ringo explained that although he and McCartney remain close, these days, their musical team-ups are far more casual than fans -- or concert promoters -- would like them to be: "Well, there won't be any half-reunion (of the Beatles). I mean, in 2010 he surprised me -- I was playing Radio City Music Hall and he played 'Birthday' which I played with him, because I wanted the opportunity to play with him again. And he's on the last record -- he's not on this one. So, we sort of, we do hang out a bit, y'know, what I mean, but we're not in each other's pockets. And if the opportunity's real, we play together -- I've played on a couple of his records, he's played on mine. But, no, we never sit there saying, 'Oh, yeah, we'll put it together and I'll do 'Yesterday' (laughs)." , exclusively through Apple Music.
AUDIO: THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY JOHN LENNON ON THE BEATLES' SPLIT
AUDIO: RINGO STARR ON WORKING WITH PAUL MCCARTNEY
Hard to believe, but the very first official Linda Ronstadt live album is set for release on February 1st on both CD and vinyl. Live In Hollywood features a dozen classic tracks recorded on April 24th, 1980 during Ronstadt's performance at L.A.'s Television Center Studios for her famed HBO special. Highlights on the set include such favorites as "Blue Bayou," "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," "It's So Easy" "You're No Good" -- along with a sampling of Ronstadt then-recent new wave-tinged Mad Love album, featuring "I Can't Let Go," "How Do I Make You" and "Hurt So Bad."
Backing Ronstadt on the show are guitarists Kenny Edwards and Danny Kortchmar, drummer Russ Kunkel, bassist Bob Glaub, keyboardist Billy Payne of Little Feat, pedal steel guitarist Dan Dugmore, and backing vocalist Wendy Waldman. Also appearing is Peter Asher -- Ronstadt's longtime manager and producer -- who supplied percussion and backing vocals.
Linda Ronstadt recently told us that while writing her recent memoir, Simple Dreams, she was able to talk frankly about her contributions to the pop and rock world: "I got to give myself a little bit of a break. I always thought I didn't sing very well and I was always very frustrated by it and I was always sort of disappointed by it, y'know? And everything I did always fell short of my expectations and then I see when looking back, that it takes 10 years to learn to do anything pretty well. It really takes 10 years, y'know? If you talk to a sushi chef, they'll tell you it's 10 years of working before they allow you to become a sushi chef. So, in singing, it's probably even harder than that. The good news; I wasn't very good when I started, but the good news is I got better. Y'know, I didn't become the greatest singer in all of pop music, but I became, at least for my time, the most (laughs) diverse, y'know?"
AUDIO: LINDA RONSTADT ON HER SINGING
Guitar legend Slash spoke in a new interview with Billboard Radio China about the state of rock music right now, following the recent news that urban music has passed rock as the world's favorite genre of music for the first time.
Slash stated, "The commercial approach to rock and roll that the industry forces on bands, or forces people to think that this is how they have to go about it to succeed . . . (just turns it into) this generic mishmosh that manages to get on the radio but doesn't really turn anybody on, and it's just dull and boring and people start looking elsewhere. And I think that was, really, what happened to the industry, as far as rock and roll is concerned, after 2006 up until just recently."
The Guns N' Roses axeman added, "But it seems to be turning over a new leaf right now. So I'm really interested to see where it goes over the next few years, 'cause there's a lot of really hungry young rock and roll bands getting together right now that I'm aware of. And, obviously, Greta Van Fleet have done amazingly well and made everybody perk up and go, 'Oh, wow!' Now there's people out there looking for young, teenage rock and roll bands to sign. So it's interesting."
Slash did admit to us a while back that musicians now have it harder in some ways than his generation: "Right now, for kids starting a band and all that, it's like the Wild West out there. There's no set path. There's a lot of great opportunities, there's a lot of different avenues that are available to you now that weren't available back in the day, but they're all hit or miss. You know, you've just got to take your chances."
Slash's latest album with his solo band, Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators, Living The Dream, was released in September and is Slash's fourth solo effort.
AUDIO: SLASH ON WHAT IT'S LIKE NOW FOR YOUNG BANDS