Music News

KIRK HAMMETT: NEW METALLICA MUSIC IS 'VERY APPROPRIATE FOR OUR TIMES'

Metallica is back working on its first new album in five years. During a chat with Loudersound.com, Kirk Hammett spoke about the band's followup to 2016's chart-topping, Hardwired. . . To Self-Destruct collection, saying, "Metallica has always been about bringing people together through music. I think the sentiment now is that people need music more than ever to bring everyone together and collectively celebrate that we've got to this point. There's a lot of division in the world, and hopefully this Metallica album will cut through the division and bring people together in ways that are more beneficial for everyone over all."

Hammett went on to say, "We've tried to make the most of the Covid year-and-a-half, and we've been pretty successful. We've got together remotely and worked, and we've got together (properly) and worked. Things are moving really well. I would say that the music we're coming up with is very appropriate for the times."

There's been no title or release date set for the new album.

Kirk Hammett and the other members of Metallica are millionaires many times over thanks to the band's incredible success and sales of more than 125 million albums worldwide. But Hammett told us not long ago that Metallica doesn't take record sales for granted these days: "Just because we're one of the biggest bands in the world doesn't mean we're gonna sell biggest band in the world record numbers. In the past, we have not shifted, y'know, the numbers that we expected to and, y'know, it's left us shaking our heads thinking, 'Why?' But y'know, at the end of the day, you just have to live with your participation in that and knowing that you've done the best that you possibly could. That's good enough."

AUDIO: METALLICA'S KIRK HAMMETT ON NOT TAKING RECORD SALES FOR GRANTED

FLASHBACK: THE CARPENTERS' '(THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU' SITS AT NUMBER ONE

It was 51 years ago Sunday (August 1st, 1970), that the Carpenters' first Number One hit, "(They Long To Be) Close To You," began its second of four weeks on top of the charts. The group, which featured the Southern California brother-sister team of keyboardist Richard Carpenter and his younger sister Karen on drums and vocals, were already signed to A&M records when their cover of the Beatles' "Ticket To Ride" caught songwriter Burt Bacharach's ear. Bacharach eventually asked the group to open for him at a Los Angeles benefit, and asked Richard to arrange a medley of Bacharach and lyricist Hal David's rarer work to be performed at the event.

Legendary musician and A&M records co-founder Herb Alpert recalled that it took the group several tries to work the song into being a hit: "The Carpenters for instance, had 'Close To You,' it's a tune that I gave them that Hal David sent me. And the first recording was of Karen playing drums, and when we heard it, I just felt it was just a little too light. It wasn't competing with what was on the radio at that time. (The) second recording was likewise, it was a little bit of an improvement, I said, 'Man, you need to get some artillery in there.' And that was the breakthrough recording for the Carpenters."

The late-Hal David, the song's lyricist, said that the song wasn't written for the group, but rather for Dionne Warwick back in 1963: "I wrote (the lyrics) to the melody, although many of our songs Burt wrote to the lyric. We wrote that song for, and we recorded it with Dionne (Warwick). Herb Alpert was looking for a song, I think Burt sent it over and he gave it to the Carpenters, and they did a great arrangement on it, and she was fantastic."

The Carpenters' month-long reign topping the charts with "(They Long To Be) Close To You" was ended when Bread's "Make It With You" went on the to snag the top spot.

The Carpenters went on to score two further Number Ones, with 1973's "Top Of The World" and 1975's remake of the Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman."

AUDIO: HAL DAVID ON THE CARPENTERS' 'CLOSE TO YOU'
AUDIO: ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME HERB ALPERT ON THE CARPENTERS' 'CLOSE TO YOU'

DRUMMER DEEN CASTRONOVO RETURNS TO JOURNEY

Ousted Journey drummer Deen Castronovo is back in the band, according to a Facebook post by Neal Schon. Castronovo was canned by the band back in 2015, following a string of very public arrests stemming from charges of alleged domestic abuse against his then-fiancee Deidra, as well as admitted drug problems.

Upon his dismissal, he was replaced on the band's summer tour at the 11th hour by former Sting drummer and studio ace Omar Hakim. Following that, Journey's classic-era drummer, Steve Smith was back on the drum stool. Smith was replaced last year by Narada Michael Walden.

Now, thanks to Neal Schon's post responding to fan comments on his Facebook page, it's been confirmed that the now-sober drummer has returned, with the guitarist writing, "Deen is back. We are double (2) drummers now with Narada." He also posted a shot of the band's stage set up with two drum kits at for band's Thursday night (July 29th) show at Chicago's Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom.

In addition to Castronovo, Journey's latest lineup features co-founder Neal Schon, longtime keyboardist Jonathan Cain, frontman Arnel Pineda -- and rounded out by returning bassist Randy Jackson, and drummer Narada Michael Walden.


DENNIS DeYOUNG NOT RETIRING, HEARTBROKEN OVER STYX

Dennis DeYoung still hasn't gotten over the fact that Styx exists without him fronting the band. DeYoung, who was replaced as the band's lead singer in 1999 by guitarists Tommy Shaw and J.Y. Young, still holds out hope for a final reunion with Styx. DeYoung recently released his latest -- and final -- studio set, 26 East, Vol. 2.

During a chat with Classic Rock, DeYoung spoke candidly about his thoughts on being ousted from his frontman position, explaining, "I've tried, in vain, to be in that band from the moment they replaced me. In the beginning it was my band, my idea, but now it's really Tommy Shaw's band. I've said that we should do one last tour together, for those people who made us rich men. They know I'm ready to do it. And recently it was floated as a possibility. But Tommy Shaw was the only one who spoke, and he said no."

Both Tommy Shaw and J.Y. Young have painted a picture of DeYoung being at times insufferable to work with -- something DeYoung maintains is a false narrative: "Let me tell you, all this stuff they said about me was the biggest exaggerated bunch of lies I've ever seen in my life. We liked each other. We never had a punch-up. We never screamed at each other. We weren't those guys. We made music together. So when you cast aspersions -- not only on my musical contributions, but also on my character -- it's been the greatest heartbreak in my career."

As far as the band besmirching their past by ignoring or mocking some of DeYoung's material, he said, "I can't think of a band that's worked harder than Styx at diminishing its own reputation, and to denigrate the music that we created together. And it serves no purpose. Our fans loved us because what we did musically was very uplifting and positive. That's what we stood for. And to harm that in any way is insane. Not to give the fans one last glimpse of us together on stage, it makes no sense to me. And I know that all Styx fans would want to see that one more time."

Regarding 26 East, Vol. 2 being DeYoung's last album, he said, "I'm not retiring. And if the spirit moves me I might write a song from time to time and put it out through Apple or whoever the local robber baron is. But I'm not going to go through the tortuous effort of making a complete album again, because my audience will go: 'Hey, that's nice, Dennis,' pat me on the head and then say: 'Please play 'Come 'Sail Away.' This is a fact for all classic rockers. The people who still support us are emotionally bound to the music of their youth, which is true of all generations."|

Although his former bandmates, guitarists Tommy Shaw and J.Y. Young forced him out of the band over 20 years ago -- Dennis DeYoung still yearns for a final shot at fronting Styx. We asked him what it would take to see that happen: "Those two guys. I would always have been in Styx, except for their decision -- that's a fact. I don't have a grudge. I have to ax to grind. No hatchet to bury. I should've been in the band, I wanna be in the band -- well, the last coupla years I've been sayin' -- 'Hey! I don't wanna be in the band anymore.' But we should do one last tour -- get Moe, Larry, & Curly on the stage, and show people what it was."

When we last caught up with Dennis DeYoung, he told us that although he and the rest of Styx no longer have contact, he can't help but still love the creative connection they once shared and be thrilled about what they accomplished together: "You can't find anywhere where I've ever said anything denigrating about what we created. It doesn't exist. I just don't believe it. I think, by and large, we did really good work. We stood for something; we stood for something positive in our music -- it's a joy to do it (live). To know I was part of all that stuff and here I stand and I can still duplicate it, so I think: ‘Hey, no complaints from me!'"

AUDIO: DENNIS DEYOUNG ON HIS PRIDE AND LOVE FOR STYX
AUDIO: DENNIS DEYOUNG ON STYX REUNION

GENESIS ANNOUNCES CAREER-SPANNING 'THE LAST DOMINO?' COLLECTION

Coming on November 19th from Genesis is The Last Domino? -- a double disc 27-track "collection of the band's best-loved songs, including their biggest hits and legendary album cuts." The set will also be released digitally and as a 180-gram four-LP version. The album covers the band's entire career -- including six tracks from the Peter Gabriel-era.

Genesis' first North American tour in 14 years, also named The Last Domino?, kicks off at Chicago's United Center on November 15th and wraps with two shows on December 15th and 16th at Boston's TD Garden.

Phil Collins admitted to us he feels that there are plenty of things within his body of work that he would change if he could: "There's loads of things that you would change. Y'know, you don't listen to them. Sometimes with some albums, you do them, and pretty much soon after you released them, you go out on the road. And straight away, they become different songs. And you sometimes never hear them unless you hear them on the radio when you're in the car. So, there's so many that you would change -- more that you'd change than you wouldn't, in fact."

We asked co-founding member Mike Rutherford what he's most proud of from his time in Genesis: "More an appreciation of different things about our career. A) That we had the career (laughs) we had and it lasted as long as it did. And I think because we're all good friends, I know this is the corny old stuff, but it makes the memories -- I think -- more enjoyable. Y'know, so many bands fall out and if so-and-so goes, the other one's not going, y'know? I feel pretty proud of what we've done of what we've done, actually, over the years."

Tony Banks feels that Peter Gabriel's early over-the-top theatrics played a crucial part in gaining the band the attention they otherwise never would've received: "Well I think the Gabriel thing was very important in the early days, 'cause it gave us an identity and y'know, you kind of stand out from the crowd. There were a lot of other groups who were out there doing the circuit that we were doing. But I think when Peter came on with all his costumes and makeup and everything, it made people remember us, and he was a very important part of our thing. And I think we all enjoyed the sort of, the idea of trying to do more than just play music onstage. We were all conscious of the fact that none of us were what you would call typical rock n' roll performers -- we didn't. . . play with your teeth and everything, so it was a way of kind of getting around it."

AUDIO: TONY BANKS ON PETER GABRIEL'S THEATRICS
AUDIO: MIKE RUTHERFORD ON GENESIS' CAREER
AUDIO: PHIL COLLINS SAYS HE WOULD CHANGE SONGS

50 YEARS AGO: GEORGE HARRISON MOUNTS 'THE CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH'

It was 50 years ago Sunday (August 1st, 1971) that George Harrison and friends performed the legendary Concert For Bangladesh at New York City's Madison Square Garden. Harrison organized the shows at the urging of his mentor, sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar, who asked Harrison to help raise and awareness for his native, famine stricken East Pakistan, by then renamed Bangladesh. Harrison sprang into action and rounded up a veritable who's who in the rock community, including fellow Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr, the semi-reclusive Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, Badfinger, and well over a dozen horn players and singers. With the world's eyes on him, Harrison planned rock's first global fundraiser, as well as his debut as a solo performer.

Harrison had actually asked his feuding ex-bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney to perform at the concert as well. According to several sources, McCartney initially agreed, but only if Lennon also performed, with the two playing separate solo sets. McCartney, who was days away from announcing the formation of his solo band Wings, eventually backed out, stating that there were too many legal problems yet to be sorted out between him and former Beatles and their then-manager Allen Klein for them to appear on the same stage.

Lennon was reportedly all for appearing, until Harrison informed Lennon that only he, and not wife Yoko Ono, was invited to participate. After a long argument with Yoko about whether to perform, Lennon flew to Paris alone and in a rage, missing the entire show, and causing a major rift in Lennon and Harrison's relationship. Harrison never formally asked Ringo Starr to play; Starr took it upon himself to tell Harrison he'd be there. Harrison also reportedly turned down offers from Mick Jagger and David Crosby, who asked to appear.

Due to overwhelming ticket demand, in the days before the show, a second afternoon performance was added. Although there was about a week of rehearsals that took place above Carnegie Hall, due to the various musicians' schedules, the benefit's afternoon performance was the first time that the entire ensemble actually played together.

Harrison's first wife Pattie Boyd says that no one expected the event to end up as the historic event it has become: "Well, of course we didn't know it was going to be the biggest concert in history. We knew it was going to be a very big concert, and he clearly hoped to raise a lot of money. And as far as I remember I think I flew in a couple of days before the show."

Harrison wasn't sure until the last minute that Dylan would actually turn up for the show, and can even be seen in the movie of the concert peering into the wings to see if Dylan actually was there before introducing him.

Although Eric Clapton was invited to be the show's lead guitarist, he was in such bad shape while dealing with his heroin addiction that Taj Mahal's Jesse Ed Davis was deputized to play and pick up whatever musical slack Clapton might leave behind.

Boyd, who after her divorce from Harrison went on to marry Clapton, recalled that everyone was worried about his health at the time: "I remember that it was a pretty major, wonderful show, fantastic show. But there was a bit of concern about Eric when he flew in because of the problems that he had at that time, and everyone was really concerned. And I think this sense of concern was everywhere, really."

The show featured Harrison performing selections from his recent Number One album All Things Must Pass, including the chart topper "My Sweet Lord," as well as Beatles classics such as "Here Comes The Sun," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," and "Something." Starr took the lead on his recent Top Five Harrison-produced hit "It Don't Come Easy," and Dylan performed a set of his '60s classics including "Blowin' In The Wind," "Mr. Tambourine Man," and "Just Like A Woman," while backed by Harrison in slide guitar, Starr on tambourine and Leon Russell on bass.

The late-Billy Preston got an early ovation with his rousing performance of "That's The Way God Planned It." In 2005, Preston recalled the atmosphere among the musicians at the Bangladesh concerts: "Everybody was just excited and thrilled that it went so well. Everybody had a good time with each other. There was no egos."

One of the most lighthearted moments of the show was when introducing the band, Harrison nearly forgot to include Preston following his show-stopping performance: "Have we forgotten anybody? I don't know. . . We've forgotten Billy Preston!!! (applause)"

Longtime Beatles confidante and solo session bassist Klaus Voormann says that he was never more proud of Harrison than when he took charge of The Concert For Bangladesh concert at the urging of friend Ravi Shankar: "I really appreciated in later days that he actually went in front of that audience on the Bangladesh concert, because he did it for his friends. That he actually went up there and talked to an audience. I think it must've been about the first time that he's ever done this. Y'see, a few things in English, or a few things in German on a stage where it didn't matter is a big difference than to an audience where he knew it's going to be filmed and it's going to be used to talk to an audience."

Apple Records staffer Chris O'Dell, who recently wrote her memoirs, called Miss O'Dell: My Hard Days And Long Nights With The Beatles, The Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton And The Women They Loved, admits that she and Pattie Boyd actually blew off the matinee performance: "Isn't that weird? Y'know when I went back over that and I was reading it after we wrote it, I thought -- 'that's weird, how come we didn't go?' Y'know? But as I think about it -- I don't know what it was -- I think we just wanted to hang out and get ready and take our time. The emphasis was on the evening show because there was a big party afterwards (laughs)."

The Concert For Bangladesh three-record set peaked at Number Two on the Billboard charts, and went on to win the 1972 Grammy Award for Album Of The Year.

The revenues from the concert tickets, live album, movie, VHS, and now recent DVD sales have topped $15 million. The concerts, which were rock's first major charity benefits, paved the way for every benefit that followed.

In 2006, Harrison's widow, Olivia Harrison, appeared at Madison Square Garden on the anniversary of the concerts, when a plaque commemorating the event was placed on the venue's walk of fame.

When the album became available online via iTunes it included the special bonus track addition of the single, "Bangla-Desh" -- which has only previously been available on vinyl. The single, backed with "Deep Blue," was originally rush-released on July 28th, 1971 -- only four days before the historic concerts -- went on to peak at Number 23 on the singles charts.

AUDIO: CHRIS O'DELL ON BANGLADESH
AUDIO: KLAUS VOORMANN ON GEORGE HARRISON AND BANGLADESH CONCERT
AUDIO: GEORGE HARRISON'S INTRODUCTION OF BILLY PRESTON AT THE CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH
AUDIO: BILLY PRESTON ON PERFORMING AT THE CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH
AUDIO: PATTIE BOYD ON ERIC CLAPTON AT BANGLADESH CONCERT
AUDIO: PATTIE BOYD ON GEORGE HARRISON'S BANGLADESH CONCERT

40 YEARS AGO: MTV PREMIERES

The MTV cable network launched 40 years ago this Sunday, at 12:01 a.m. ET on August 1st, 1981. During its first five months of being on air, MTV was available in only 2.1 million homes in the U.S. -- with New York City one of the major spots that did not receive the signal.

The lack of MTV being carried across the country by various cable providers resulted in one of the '80s most legendary marketing campaigns with top artists of the day appearing on MTV commercials, demanding fans to contact their cable outlets with the soon-to-be iconic catchphrase: "I WANT MY MTV!!!"

When MTV first signed on it billed itself as a music network devoted to following "rock n' roll" from coast to coast. Today, critics blast the network for not showing any music on its airwaves, with the network now primarily comprised of original reality-based, "non-scripted" programming.

In 2012, the surviving original MTV VJ's, Martha Quinn, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Nina Blackwood, published their joint memoir-- VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave. The fifth of the original VJ's, J.J. Jackson, passed away in 2004.

The first 15 music videos aired on MTV were:

  1. The Buggles: "Video Killed The Radio Star"
  2. Pat Benatar: "You Better Run"
  3. Rod Stewart: "She Won't Dance"
  4. The Who: "You Better You Bet"
  5. PhD: "Little Suzi's On The Up"
  6. Cliff Richard: "We Don't Talk Anymore"
  7. The Pretenders: "Brass In Pocket"
  8. Todd Rundgren: "Time Heals"
  9. REO Speedwagon: "Take It On The Run"
  10. Styx: "Rockin' The Paradise"
  11. Robin Lane and the Chartbusters: "When Things Go Wrong"
  12. Split Enz: "History Never Repeats"
  13. .38 Special: "Hold On Loosely"
  14. April Wine: "Just Between You And Me"
  15. Rod Stewart: "Sailing"

MTV debuted with its iconic footage of a spaceship's launch: (Mission control) "T- minus ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, we've gone for main engine start, we have main engine start." (Narrator) "Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll." (music: MTV theme)

During its first hours on hair, original VJ Mark Goodman shared MTV's mission statement with viewers: "Not only am I real excited that my very favorite sneakers could be here with me tonight, but we are all very excited here at MTV to be bringing you the best music all day, every day. But we're also gonna cover the music world from coast-to-coast, and we do mean that, all 50 states. Every day we're gonna have special reports for you from across the nation on almost any subject that relates to music."

VJ Nina Blackwood recalled to us how she first came to hear about MTV: "I was working with people out in Los Angeles that also had the vision that video music was going to be something to be reckoned with in the future. So, I was already kind of doing that in the experimental fashion and then I came across in Billboard magazine an article about MTV looking, y'know, for on-air talent. It was just a hand-in-glove fit, basically."
AUDIO: MTV ANNIVERSARY MARK GOODMAN SHARES MTV MISSION STATEMENT
AUDIO: NINA BLACKWOOD ON LEARNING ABOUT MTV
AUDIO: MTV ANNIVERSARY SPACE SHIP LAUNCHES, MTV SIGNS ON

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