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Looks like more drama in the Aerosmith camp. After a few good years within the Boston bad boy's club -- trouble has reared its head in the apparent ousting of drummer Joey Kramer. TMZ broke the report that Kramer was filing suit against the band for forcing him to audition to re-join the band following what he describes as "minor" shoulder surgery last spring. In his absence of the end run of the band's Las Vegas shows, his drum tech, John Douglas, sat in for the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

The report stated that Kramer's bandmates forced to him to perform along with a click track to see if he was "able to play at an appropriate level" -- something the drummer maintains none of the other members were forced to do upon returning from medical leave.

Upon listening to Kramer's performance, the band claimed he, quote, "did not have enough 'energy' in the recordings." Kramer claims he has been forced out of the band -- including appearing at such high-profile upcoming gigs as the group's MusiCares honor and a Grammy performance.

Joey Kramer has issued a statement on the matter, which reads:

Ever since I was 14 years old, I had a set of drumsticks in my hand and a passion to create music. Being prohibited from playing with a band that I have given 50 years of my life to supporting, is beyond devastating.

This is not about money. I am being deprived of the opportunity to be recognized along with my peers, for our collective, lifetime contributions to the music industry. Neither the MusiCares' Person of the Year Award nor the Grammys' Lifetime Achievement honors can ever be repeated.

The fact that I would be asked to audition for my own job, demonstrate that I can play at ‘an appropriate level' and play better than my temporary fill-in with a moving target of made-up standards is both insulting and upsetting. Other band members and their lawyers will likely attempt to disparage my playing and claim that I am unable to play the drums right now. Nothing could be further from the truth. I did everything they asked -- jumped through hoops and made both a recording of playing along solo to a recent live recording of the band – one I had never heard before, and that process was videotaped. But I did it, and I did it well. In Aerosmith's 50-year history, no other band member has ever been subjected to this scrutiny, let alone be asked to audition for his own job!

I hope our fans can understand that all I'm trying to do is get back to playing with the band that they love -- and that's Aerosmith with all five original members. The greatest magic and success of Aerosmith happens when all the band's founding members are together in the house. To be removed from my rightful place on stage to celebrate our success – a success that acknowledges my own life's work, is just plain wrong.

Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, and Tom Hamilton responded to Kramer's suit, posting a statement to People, which read:

Joey Kramer is our brother; his wellbeing is of paramount importance to us. However he has not been emotionally and physically able to perform with the band, by his own admission, for the last 6 months. We have missed him and have encouraged him to rejoin us to play many times but apparently he has not felt ready to do so.

Joey has now waited until the last moment to accept our invitation, when we unfortunately have no time for necessary rehearsals during Grammys week. We would be doing a disservice to him, to ourselves and to our fans to have him play without adequate time to prepare and rehearse. Compounding this, he chose to file a lawsuit on the Friday night of the holiday weekend preceding the Grammys with total disregard for what is our limited window to prepare to perform these important events.

Given his decisions he is unfortunately unable to perform but of course we have invited him to be with us for both the Grammys and our MusiCares honor. We are bonded together by much more than our time on stage.

An inside source told People: "They had been inviting him to come back for the last six months since he's been away for whatever medical situation he's been dealing with. He said ‘Yes, I'll come and rehearse' and kept not showing up. On the eve of the Grammys and MusiCares, he wanted to be back. They all got on the phone with him after they heard the demo and talked it through with him. They voted as a band, which they do with every decision, and it was four to one. They said ‘Please come to MusiCares and Grammys. We'll take photos and celebrate. You're our brother.' They just don't want to risk a performance because he hasn't been with them in six months."

Not too long ago, during better days with the band, Joey Kramer told us that playing live with Aerosmith still means everything to him: "Absolutely, positively, without a doubt. More than anything else that I do in life itself. 'Cause what it's about for me is being behind my drums, seeing those four guys in front of me, and playing for two hours. That's it -- that's what I live for."



Happy 71st birthday today (January 22nd) to former-Journey frontman, the great Steve Perry. 2020 finds Perry riding high on the success of his fall 2018 comeback album, Traces, which is his first Top 10 solo debut. The album entered the Billboard 200 Albums Chart at Number Six and the magazine's Current Rock Album Chart at Number Two.

Traces marked a long awaited return from Perry, who is best remembered for his tenure in Journey in which he wrote or co-wrote such standards as "Don't Stop Believin'," "Any Way You Want It," "Who's Crying Now?" "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)," "When You Love A Woman," "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin,'" "Open Arms," "Be Good To Yourself," "Stone In Love," "Still They Ride," "Feeling That Way," and "Lights." Perry scored a solo Top 10 hit with 1984's "Oh, Sherrie," which peaked at Number Two.

Journey's last album with Steve Perry was 1996's Trial By Fire, which reunited the classic Escape/Frontiers lineup of Neal Schon on guitar, Ross Valory on bass, Jonathan Cain on keyboards, and Steve Smith on drums. The album peaked at Number Three on the Billboard 200 charts -- with its single, "When You Love A Woman" hitting Number One on the magazine's Adult Contemporary chart. Perry left Journey in 1998 rather than be forced into hip-surgery so that the band could tour behind Trial By Fire. He briefly reunited with the band onstage in 2017 to make an acceptance speech during their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

Steve Perry made headlines back in 2014 by performing encore cameos at concerts by alternative band Eels in Los Angeles, California; Washington, D.C.; and St. Paul, Minnesota. The rock world began buzzing over a Perry comeback -- or a possible return to fronting Journey -- after his show stealing renditions of such favorites as "Open Arms" and "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'."

Last year, former-Journey bandmate Neal Schon offered an invitation for Perry to join his side band Journey Through Time onstage during their then-upcoming Northern California gigs. In October 2018, during a chat with Rolling Stone, Perry made it clear that despite Schon's frequent offers, he's choosing to pass on working with him, explaining, "I'm not sure that's possible without stirring up hopes of a (band) reunion. Please listen to me. I left the band 31 f***ing years ago, my friend. You can still love someone, but not want to work with them. And if they only love you because they want to work with you, that doesn't feel good to me."

Steve Perry recalled joining Journey in 1977 during the recording of the following year's Infinity album and partnering with Neal Schon: "I certainly was the new kid on the block when I joined them, but I was okay with that -- bring it on! And wasn't afraid of reachin' and I think we pushed each other. The more I would reach, the more I was demanding on him to do something and the more he would come up with things, the more I'd be demanding him to come up with something that would work with him. It was a very important driving force."

Steve Perry told us that the passage of time only further solidifies his opinion of how incredible Journey was during its heyday: "What a great band we once were. What a great band. I think the older get the more I'm able to look back at the forest now, 'cause I certainly walked out of the trees. I think everybody was just following their heart and their nose and following that lead. Just doing what we do. We're a band. We record, we rock, we instinctually reach for what we believe's a good idea -- and argue about stuff, agree, disagree and move forward. And we were just crankin'."

When we last caught up with Steve Perry, he told us it was a long road-- both personally and creatively -- to get from the end of Journey to where he is today: "When I left the group, 31 years ago -- in about February of '87, I think -- when I first said, 'I'm walkin' away,' I lost my passion for it and that was frightening to me because I discovered a passion for music and singing when I was, like, six, seven years old; and it had never left me, and it had gone away and that scared the hell outta me. So, I knew the only thing I could do was stop. After an incredible, amazing ride -- being in a band like Journey, it was like being in a satellite circling the Earth for a while. It was time to come down and land in my hometown again and reconnect."

We asked Steve Perry if it seems like he's coming back to an entire new world -- or does the music business feel like home sweet home to him: "I don't know if its coming back into anything familiar because it seems like everything's changed. I've changed, the world is different, the whole process is different -- but somewhat the same, y'know, as far as trying to let people know that I have new music. But, it seems so different, y'know? It really does; we have an Internet now, we have downloading, we have streaming, we have not a lot of retail out there, and so now, more importantly that ever -- and I feel personally good about this -- it's more about the music now, because of the change of the world than ever before."

The ongoing massive success of "Don't Stop Believin'" doesn't surprise Steve Perry, who told us he was aware of the sing's potential by the reaction it received in the concert halls: "It's a funny thing, because though those other songs were hits -- bonafide radio hits -- whenever we played 'Don't Stop Believin'; if you see the Journey DVD live, it's 1981 Houston, it's called. If you see that DVD that was filmed in Houston back then, that song gets a response like it's getting now to the live audience. So my, point is, during the live shows that song always got a great response -- it just wasn't a radio hit."



Ozzy Osbourne revealed on Tuesday (January 21st) in an interview on Good Morning America that he is battling Parkinson's disease. The singer received the diagnosis last February after several health issues, including a near-deadly staph infection and a fall that damaged his nervous system. He's treating the disease with medication.

The Black Sabbath frontman's wife Sharon explained that Ozzy has "PRKN 2, which is a form of Parkinson's. There's so many different types of Parkinson's. It's not a death sentence by any stretch of the imagination, but it does affect certain nerves in your body. It's like you have a good day, a good day and then a really bad day."

Osbourne added he has been experiencing other symptoms that may or may not stem from Parkinson's, saying, "I got a numbness down this arm for the surgery; my legs keep going cold. I don't know if that's the Parkinson's or what, you know, but that's -- see, that's the problem. Because they cut nerves when they did the surgery. I'd never heard of nerve pain, and it's a weird feeling."

Sharon said that Ozzy will head to Switzerland in April to see a professor who specializes in helping people with their immune systems, in order to distinguish between her husband's symptoms. Sharon remarked, "We're going to go wherever we can go to seek answers," to which Ozzy added, "We're lucky enough to be able to afford to do that."

Ozzy said that he feels "better now" that he's come clean about his illness, and expressed hope that his fans are "there for me because I need them."

The metal legend told us that staying in touch with his fans has always been important to him: "I don't like to be that far separated from my fans. I like to go out and see what they're about, you know. If you read your e-mail or your website or your fan letters, it's like a piece of paper or numbers on a board. I like somewhat of human contact. I'm just a simple man. I have to touch you and hear you say you like my music. It does more for me than receiving letters."

Ozzy is scheduled to return to North American arenas for another leg of his No More Tours 2 tour this spring, while his first new solo album in 10 years, Ordinary Man, is due for release on February 21st.



Ringo Starr is going back to playing studio session sideman on the new solo set from 10cc leader, Graham Gouldman. Gouldman connected with the former-Beatle when he was tapped to play bass in 2018 for Ringo's All Starr Band touring revue.

In addition to co-writing the 10cc evergreens "I'm Not in Love" and "The Things We Do For Love," Gouldman also wrote such legendary '60s hits as the Yardbirds' "For Your Love" and "Heart Full Of Soul," the Hollies' "Bus Stop" and "Look Through Any Window," and Herman's Hermits' "No Milk Today." Gouldman, who still tours as 10cc, will release the new set, Modesty Forbids, in March.

Gouldman talked about the Ringo teamup to "I toured with him in 2018. I did two tours with him. When I was writing songs for the album I was writing about that experience and I was thinking 'who could I get to play drums' and thought 'oh well, its pretty obvious really.' He very kindly did it. He played great. . . I had never met him before the time I did the tours with him. I met him at the beginning of 2018. Our paths never crossed (before that)."

Ringo Starr says that it's his drum fills that set him apart from all the other rock drummers of his generation: "Well, I can never do it twice. I really can't. Y'know, every fill I do, that's it. Y'know, we used to get crazy trying to double track the fills -- it's just impossible. 'Cause, y'know, that's the magic of being a drummer is the fills. Y'know, you can all play the rhythm. I can play rock n' roll, or a shuffle, or a waltz, y'know, a tango -- whatever. But the fills are what make it yours."



Daryl Hall & John Oates will team up with Squeeze for a major spring and summer tour with special guest KT Tunstall. Although the tour begins in earnest in May, with the trek playing through early-September, the trio of acts will play a major dry run on February 28th when the show premieres at New York's Madison Square Garden. Hall & Oates have a handful of standalone dates on the books before the primarily shed tour begins.

John Oates spoke about hitting the road with Squeeze, telling Rolling Stone, "Squeeze are unique, have great songs and don't sound like anybody else. I've been a fan of theirs from the very beginning and our audience is going to love them."

Daryl Hall went on to add: "They are great songwriters. Their songs are eclectic, yet they have soul. They're just a great addition to the show."

Squeeze's Glenn Tilbrook said in a statement, "I am so excited and jumping for joy with the prospect of this tour with Daryl Hall and John Oates. They are the bees knees! I had the pleasure of seeing an awesome show of theirs in Kentucky last year, and feel that we are a match made in heaven, to be consummated at every show!"

Hall & Oates as always promise they'll be playing the songs you know and love, with John Oates explaining, "I feel a professional responsibility to play the songs that people want to hear. They are the songs that have made us who we are. We have a lot of them. The only problem is we have too many of them, but that's a problem that many artists would love to have."

Daryl Hall remembered, "A few years back we had a big show where we didn't play 'Private Eyes' for some reason. People got pissed off. They got angry at us. You can't do that. You have to play these songs."

Daryl Hall explained to us that although a new album isn't in the pipeline for the pair, Hall & Oates exists today to celebrate their huge catalogue: "Hall & Oates is this body of work that people really care about. That's really what it's all about -- that's why we do it. We, creatively, are individuals at this point, but we have all these songs -- I call them my 'children' -- and people wanna hear 'em, so we play 'em -- (laughs) I mean, it's pretty much as simple as that. People pay us money to (laughs) go out and do that; they enjoy it, we enjoy it, and then we also do other things."

Although Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook had been hesitant in the past over using the Squeeze moniker without a majority of its classic members, Glenn Tilbrook told us that, basically anything the he and Chris Difford write and record together can only be labeled "Squeeze": "Rather foolishly, from my point of view, anyway, I was very into the idea that a band is a certain set of people, and then if that set would be blown around, it's not that band anymore. Now, I see it differently, although there are similarities, because, I think this version of Squeeze that we have now is a proper band. It's not me and Chris and anonymous people; it's people who have character and personality, and play, brilliantly -- very differently to the old Squeeze. But, I think that's. . . that's a blessing. You don't wanna go on doing what you've already done. You wanna break out somewhere else and do something that's interesting to everyone."

UPDATED: Hall & Oates / Squeeze tour dates (subject to change):

February 26 - Hershey, PA - Giant Center (Hall & Oates only)
February 28 - New York City - Madison Square Garden (Hall & Oates only)
March 21 - Indio, CA - Fantasy Springs Resort (Hall & Oates only)
March 27 - Honolulu, HI - Neal S. Blaisdell Center (Hall & Oates only)
March 29 - Kahului, HI - Maui Arts & Cultural Center (Hall & Oates only)
May 15, 16 - Mashantucket, CT - Foxwoods (Hall & Oates only)
May 16 - Mashantucket, CT - Foxwoods (Hall & Oates only)
May 23 - Philadelphia, PA - HoagieNation at the Mann at Fairmount Park (Hall & Oates and Squeeze only)
May 29 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
May 31 - Chula Vista, CA - North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
June 3 - Portland, OR - Theater of the Clouds at Moda Center
June 5 - Auburn, WA - White River Amphitheatre
June 7 - Wheatland, CA - Toyota Amphitheatre
June 10 - Mountain View, CA - Shoreline Amphitheatre
June 12 - Phoenix, AZ - Ak-Chin Pavilion
June 14 - Denver, CO - Pepsi Center
June 17 - Fort Worth, TX - Dickies Arena
June 19 - Austin, TX - Germania Insurance Amphitheater
June 21 - Houston, TX - The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
July 10 - Toronto, ON - Budweiser Stage
July 12 - Cincinnati, OH - Riverbend Music Center
July 14 - Cuyahoga Falls, OH - Blossom Music Center
July 16 - St. Paul, MN - Xcel Energy Center
July 18 - Chicago, IL - Hollywood Casino Amphitheater
July 20 - Detroit, MI - DTE Energy Music Theatre
July 22 - Noblesville, IN - Ruoff Music Center
July 24 - St. Louis, MO - Hollywood Casino Amphitheater
July 26 - Milwaukee, WI - American Family Insurance Amphitheater
July 28 - Pittsburgh, PA - S&T Bank Music Park
July 30 - Syracuse, NY - St. Joseph's Health Amphitheater at Lakeview
August 13 - Atlanta, GA - Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
August 15 - Tampa, FL - MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
August 18 - Charlotte, NC - PNC Music Pavilion
August 20 - Virginia Beach, VA - Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
August 22 - Columbia, MD - Merriweather Post Pavilion
August 25 - Wantagh, NY - Northwell Health at Jones Beach
August 27 - Holmdel, NJ - PNC Bank Arts Center
August 29 - Mansfield, MA - Xfinity Center
August 31 - Saratoga Springs, NY - Saratoga Performing Arts Center
September 2 - Gilford, NH - Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion



Today (January 22nd) marks what would have been legendary soul singer Sam Cooke's 89th birthday.

Born in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1931, he was one of seven children raised by parents Annie Mae Cook and Charles Cook, Sr., a Baptist minister. Cook -- he added the "e" later on for show business reasons -- began his career singing gospel music in his father's church when his family moved to Chicago. At the age of 19 he was asked to join the Soul Stirrers, with whom he wrote, sang, and recorded gospel songs for Specialty Records, including "Nearer To Thee" and "Be With Me Jesus."

In 1957, Cooke left Specialty to write and record secular music, signing with Keen Records. His first Keen sessions produced such classics as "You Send Me," "Win Your Love For Me," "Only Sixteen," and "Wonderful World." Initially Cooke recorded under the pseudonym Dale Cooke, so as not to alienate his gospel fans, but his voice was unmistakable. When "You Send Me" went to Number One in 1957, his destiny in pop music was assured. In his short career, Cooke racked up 29 Top 40 singles, including such timeless classics as "Cupid," "Chain Gang," "Another Saturday Night," and "Twistin' The Night Away."

The late-Lou Rawls was a lifelong friend of Cooke's, and he can be heard singing on several of Cooke's recordings, including "Chain Gang," "Bring It On Home To Me," and "Having A Party." Several years prior to his death, Rawls recalled how many of Cooke's songs got their start: "A lot of the songs that Sam wrote, he wrote in my mom's house because he would come over with his guitar and he would just say, 'I got an idea for a tune, Lou.' And he would start playing on his guitar, and we would sit there and harmonize like that."

Rawls often accompanied Cooke in the studio, and he told us about the unique friendship he and Cooke shared: "Sam and I grew up together in Chicago. Whenever he would record, he'd call me and say, 'I'm going in the studio.' And I would go, y'know, and just stand there and harmonize with him, not knowing that they were turning the machines on. And then maybe two or three weeks later, I'd be riding down the street and turn my radio on in the car, and they'd say, 'Sam Cooke's newest release. . . BANG,' and there I was."

Musician and producer Herb Alpert, who co-wrote Cooke's "Wonderful World" with him, recalled learning the fundamentals of record making from him: "I learned a great deal from Sam. Sam was an entrepreneur, he had his own record label, he had SAR Records, and he was like a teacher. He taught me about how to listen to music. Before that I was very technical, 'cause I came up playing classical music and I was thinking of intonation, I was thinking of law and order and writing it out and making sure all the 'i's' were dotted and the 't's' were crossed. But he said. 'Man, people are just listening to a cold piece of wax.' He said, 'It either makes it or it don't.'"

Sam Cooke was shot and killed on December 11th, 1964, by the manager of a motel in Los Angeles. The circumstances of his death are still unclear, but the manager claimed she shot Cooke in self-defense.

55 years after his death, Sam Cooke's music continues to influence generations of artists, including Smokey Robinson, Rod Stewart, and Mick Jagger, and others. His songs have been recorded by scores of artists as diverse as Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, Jackie Wilson, Jim Croce, the Pointer Sisters, Solomon Burke, Tina Turner, Steve Perry, Wilson Pickett, the Supremes, Ray Charles, the Everly Brothers, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Johnny Rivers, the Spinners, Herman's Hermits, Art Garfunkel, the Rolling Stones, Cat Stevens, Rod Stewart, the Band, Johnny Nash, the Animals, Michael Bolton, the Box Tops and more.

Sam Cooke was a member of the first group of inductees into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame when it was created in 1986. The following year, he was inducted into the Songwriters' Hall Of Fame.

In 2009, upon entering the Rock Hall himself, the late-Bobby Womack -- who was mentored by Cooke, and later married his widow -- dedicated his induction to Sam Cooke: "With the last song he wrote, he made a statement and that statement was a song called 'A Change Gon' Come.' And he used to always tell me that it was so crazy back in those days, I mean we couldn't even check into motels, when I think about it that subject has come up again, a change has come. And the biggest thrill for me, more than anything that I ever could do or ever done was to see the world change and Father Time has changed the song from 'gon' come' to 'has come.' And I'm a living witness to be able to say as I stand here today, I can look up at Sam and say 'Sam, we have our first black President, his name is Barack Obama. And do me a big favor Sam, let all of the soul singers know and give them the news.'"

In 2005, noted author Peter Guralnick published a definitive biography on Cooke's life and career, titled Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke.

In 2009, Cooke was honored in Cleveland with the tenth Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and Museum American Music Masters Series, titled Sam Cooke: A Change Is Gonna Come.

An updated version of Our Uncle Sam, written by Cooke's great-nephew Erik Greene, was recently published with extensive contributions from the Cooke family.


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