Classic Rock News

New augmented-reality presentation of Jimi Hendrix's "Star Spangled Banner" performance available now

Experience Hendrix L.L.C./Strax Networks Inc.A special augmented-reality presentation of Jimi Hendrix's classic performance of "The Star Spangled Banner" was released to coincide with the July 4th holiday and in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

The content can be viewed now using the StraxAR app, and is part of a partnership between Experience Hendrix L.L.C., the family-run company that manages the late guitar legend's music and image, and Strax Networks Inc., a company that helps create augmented-reality-enhanced experiences. The application can be purchased at Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

The clip of Hendrix performing "The Star Spangled Banner" initially will be presented on several images, including a Black Lives Matter sign; the Hendrix album covers Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, Electric Ladyland, Band of Gypsys, Both Sides of the Sky and Freedom: The Atlanta Pop Festival; and the $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills.

"Independence is about freedom," says Experience Hendrix CEO and president Janie Hendrix. "I think it's fitting that this specific release of Jimi's most spectacular musical statement about freedom and bravery would coincide with Independence Day and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Recognizing the value of life is the ultimate form of freedom…freedom to live."

Adds Strax Networks executive Alan Mariotti, "Jimi Hendrix was an icon, guiding light, and touchpoint for a generation -- he was and is the very essence of freedom and independence. We are very proud to be a part of this event."

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Motörhead & Scorpions drummer Mikkey Dee reveals he had COVID-19

David Wolff - Patrick/RedfernsLongtime Motörhead and current Scorpions drummer Mikkey Dee has revealed that he was diagnosed with, and has since recovered from, COVID-19.

"I did get Corona and was sick for about 1 month," Dee writes in an Instagram post. "I am now fully recovered since mid April."

Dee shared the news after Dokken frontman Don Dokken said in an interview with Songfacts.com that the drummer contracted COVID-19 in Australia, and lost 35 pounds amid his battle with the virus.

"Unfortunately my good friend Don got some info wrong," Dee writes. "I did not get Corona in Australia, the virus was contracted in Sweden. I did not [lose] 35 pounds, I lost 15 pounds."

"But as I just mentioned, I am now fully recovered and have [registered] antibodies so that feels great," he adds. "I can't wait for things to go back to normal so we can hit the road again. Thank you guys for caring and my heart goes out to each and everyone affected by the current situation our world is in."

Dee played in Motörhead from 1992 until frontman Lemmy died in 2015. He then joined Scorpions in 2016.

By Josh Johnson
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ringo Starr reveals that a possible 1970s Beatles reunion was spoiled by shark

Credit: Rob ShanahanIn advance of his 80th birthday tomorrow, July 7, Ringo Starr has revealed that during the mid-1970s, The Beatles turned down an extremely lucrative offer to reunite because they weren't happy that the event's opening act was to involve a Great White shark.

Starr tells The Sunday Mirror that in 1975, pay-television impresario Bill Sargent had offered the Fab Four 50 million pounds -- equivalent to about $250 million today -- to reunite, but the rock legends decided not to do it after considering that the opening act was going to feature a man fighting an 18-foot shark.

"We did talk one time. There was a crazy offer out there," Ringo tells the newspaper. "We called each other to see what we think. We decided not to do it because the opening act was a guy biting a shark. So we thought no."

Having said that, Starr reveals that he thinks the Beatles likely would have eventually reunited had the late John Lennon and George Harrison lived longer than they did.

"If John and George had not died [in 1980 and 2002, respectively,] there was surely a possibility of that," Ringo maintains. "Paul [McCartney] and I are still on the road. John would have still been on the road. I don't know about George."

He adds, "We'd still be doing what we love to do. Maybe separately, maybe together. Nobody knows."

Ringo also points out that after The Beatles finished what became the final album they recorded, Abbey Road, "I did not walk away thinking that's the last album. I thought, 'We'll be back in how many months and we'll do another.'"

In addition, Starr says that after The Beatles finished their final tour, "I didn't think it would be the last time we'd ever tour together either."

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Metallica pays tribute to late composer Ennio Morricone: "Your career was legendary"

Pier Marco Tacca/Getty ImagesMetallica has shared a tribute to the late composer Ennio Morricone, who died Monday at age 91.

The metal legends have long used Morricone's song "The Ecstasy of Gold," which he wrote for the 1966 film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, as the music they walk out to during their shows.

"R.I.P. Ennio Morricone," Metallica writes. "Your career was legendary, your compositions were timeless."

"Thank you for setting the mood for so many of our shows since 1983," the band adds.

Metallica debuted their own version of "The Ecstasy of Gold" in 2009.

Morricone had composed music for hundreds of films, and he won an Oscar for his score to the Quentin Tarantino film The Hateful Eight.

By Josh Johnson
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Southern rock legend Charlie Daniels dies suddenly at the age of 83

Erick AndersonCountry Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels died unexpectedly Monday morning, according to his publicist. The 83-year-old suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, according to doctors at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee.

Born in 1936 in Wilmington, North Carolina, the multi-instrumentalist was best known for his monster crossover hit from 1979, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." It made it to number three on the Billboard Hot 100, and won Daniels the Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance. The next year, it was included in the iconic John Travolta film, Urban Cowboy, with Charlie making an appearance onscreen as well.

The legend found his first success in 1964, writing the song "It Hurts Me," which was recorded by Elvis Presley, and was soon in demand as a session musician, working on projects by the likes of Bob Dylan and the Marshall Tucker Band.

Charlie released his first solo album in 1971, and by 1973, had taken the track "Uneasy Rider" to number 9 on Billboard's pop chart. In 1974, Charlie launched the first of what would become his legendary Volunteer Jam, a star-studded tradition that was still set to continue in February of next year.

Charlie's chart run continued into the '80s, as hits like "In America," "Drinkin' My Baby Goodbye," "Boogie Woogie Fiddle Country Blues" and "Simple Man" found a home on the country chart. "In America" also reached number 11 reached on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980, while "Still in Saigon" peaked at #22 in 1982.

Outspoken about his conservative political views, Daniels was also a passionate supporter of America's military. In 2014, he founded The Journey Home Project, and worked tirelessly to raise money for the nonprofit which helps veterans transition back into life at home.

Two of Charlie's biggest accolades came later in life. In 2008, he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and in 2016, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Daniels continued to tour and raise money for his charitable causes even into his eighties. He's survived by his wife, Hazel, and their son, Charlie Daniels Jr. Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced in the coming days.

By Stephen Hubbard
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


UK's Royal Mint introduces Elton John commemorative coin

ABC/CRAIG SJODINElton John has already been honored by his home country of the U.K. with a postage stamp; now, he's getting a commemorative coin to boot.

The coin, now available online, features an image of Elton's '80s-era straw boater hat, glasses and a bow tie, set against a Union Jack background.  It's available in a number of denominations, starting at a five-pound coin for about $16, with your choice of Elton photo holders.

For hardcore collectors, there were coins minted in silver and gold, priced from $75 to $5700, but they're nearly all sold out.  There is a gold one that weighs a full kilo, but if you want it, you have to call in person, because it's worth somewhere around $86,000.  Only four are available.

In a statement, Elton says of the coin, "It really is a fabulous honor to be recognized in this way. The last few years have contained some of the most memorable moments of my career, and this is another truly humbling milestone on my journey."

The Royal Mint and Elton are also working to create a one-off collector's item, which will be auctioned off later this year to raise money for the Elton John Charitable Trust.

Elton's career is being celebrated on a UK commemorative coin by @RoyalMintUK!https://t.co/jhrffengoi pic.twitter.com/9YpFpWIviz

— Elton John (@eltonofficial) July 6, 2020

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Axl Rose calls for US Surgeon General to resign in between "jamming" with Slash & Duff

Mark Horton/Getty ImagesA lot is apparently happening in the world of Axl Rose at the moment.

Over the holiday weekend, the Guns N' Roses frontman tweeted that United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams should resign.

"Jerome Adams is a: A coward b: A POS c: Both," Rose wrote. "Resign. U don't deserve the job or title. America deserves better."

Rose's tweet seemed to be in response to Adams' comments during an interview with NBC's Today, in which he said that "every single person has to make up their own mind" when asked whether it was advisable that people attend large gatherings for July 4, such as the events that President Donald Trump hosted at Mount Rushmore and in Washington, D.C.

Adams did also say that if you go to such a gathering, you should "wear a face covering." Neither of Trump's events required face masks.

In response to Rose's comments, Adams replied, "Hey Axl -- appreciate your passion (and your music). How about helping me save some lives by sharing the message about staying safe, and using face coverings?!"

While Rose didn't respond directly to Adams, he did issue a longer statement explaining why he feels it's important to speak out on political and social issues, and to not do so would make him "complicit" in what he sees as wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, in between all that, Rose is also jamming with his Guns N' Roses band mates. That's according to Slash, who revealed the news during an interview with instrument retailer Sweetwater.

"I've been jamming with [bassist] Duff [McKagan] and I've been jamming with Axl, and I've been doing stuff like that," the guitarist said. "So we've been getting some work done that way."

By Josh Johnson
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Archival shows by Carlos Santana, Deep Purple featured as part of virtual Montreux Jazz Festival series

Courtesy of Montreux Jazz FestivalThe 2020 edition of Switzerland's famous Montreux Jazz Festival was to have kicked off this past Friday, but the event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In its place, the organizers have launched a 16-day virtual festival dubbed "Summer of Music," featuring archival performances by different artists each day streaming at the event's official YouTube channel.

Among the performances by famous veteran artists that will featured during the series are a 1979 show by late blues-rocker Rory Gallagher on Tuesday, July 7; a 2004 concert by Carlos Santana on Thursday, July 9; a 2011 performance by Deep Purple, accompanied by an orchestra, on Monday, July 13; and a 1993 set by blues icon B.B. King on Tuesday, July 14.

The series wraps up on Thursday, July 16, with a 1980 show by Motown legend Marvin Gaye.

Other artists whose archival performances will be a part of the "Summer of Music" series include singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega, jazz greats Nina Simone and Charles Mingus, blues legend Etta James and blues-rocker Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

"Since its beginnings in 1967, the Montreux Jazz Festival has been immensely fortunate to have built up, thanks to the visionary spirit of [its late founder] Claude Nobs, a rich and unique audiovisual archive," notes festival CEO Mathieu Jaton.

"This heritage has made the Festival famous and continues to make it shine through initiatives such as the 54th Summer of Music…This summer, this heritage is more essential than ever."

Here's a full list of the upcoming "Summer of Music" streaming concerts:

7/6 -- Suzanne Vega (2004)
7/7 -- Rory Gallagher (1979)
7/8 -- Charles Mingus (1975)
7/9 -- Carlos Santana (2004)
7/10 -- Bang Bang Romeo (2019)*
7/11 -- Angelique Kidjo and Friends (2016)*
7/12 -- Nina Simone (1976)
7/13 -- Deep Purple Live with Orchestra (2011)
7/14 -- Etta James (1993)
7/15 -- B.B. King (1993)
7/16 -- Kenny Wayne Shepherd (2019)*
7/17 -- Tom Misch (2019)*
7/18 -- Rag'n'Bone Man (2019)*; Marvin Gaye (1980)

* = world premiere.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ringo Starr's 80th birthday special, other Ringo-related shows to air on AXS TV on Tuesday

Photo: Scott Robert Ritchie; Design: UMeLast week, Ringo Starr announced plans for a special star-studded concert event celebrating his 80th birthday this Tuesday, July 7, that will be streamed on his YouTube channel, and now news about another way you can watch the show has been revealed.

The program, dubbed Ringo's Big Birthday Show, will be broadcast exclusively on the AXS TV network at 8 p.m. ET, the same time as the YouTube stream.

As previously reported, the event will feature unique at-home performances and/or previously unseen concert footage from the former Beatles drummer and his All Starr Band, Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Sheryl Crow, Sheila E., Ben Harper and Gary Clark Jr. According to a new trailer for the program, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl will be playing with Harper.

Proceeds raised by the special, which will be co-hosted by Starr and Walsh, will benefit four charities: Black Lives Matter Global Network, the David Lynch Foundation, MusiCares, and WaterAid.

The show also will include the premiere of a special prerecorded video performance of Ringo's 2017 song "Give More Love" that was made to benefit MusiCares and that features Peter Frampton, Jackson Browne, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, Jeff Bridges, T Bone Burnett and others.

In addition, AXS TV will be airing various other Ringo-related programming on Tuesday. At 10 a.m. ET, the network will show the 2001 documentary George Martin: Produced by George Martin, focusing on The Beatles' longtime producer. At 12 p.m. ET, an archival episode of the PBS performance series Soundstage featuring Starr will air. And at 7 p.m., a 2018 episode of the AXS TV series The Big Interview with Dan Rather featuring a conversation with Ringo will be screened.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Neil Young "not OK" with his songs being played at President Trump's Mount Rushmore rally

Credit: dhlovelifeNeil Young has regularly expressed his dislike for President Donald Trump, and he's among the several artists who have asked the President to stop play their music at his rallies. That didn't stop the Trump campaign from blasting at least two of his songs over loudspeakers at a gathering at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota on Friday.

Video segments posted on Young's Twitter feed show that his songs "Like a Hurricane" and "Rockin' in the Free World" were played at the July 4 weekend rally, and Neil responded by writing, "This is NOT ok with me."

In response to one clip that shows "Like a Hurricane" being played at the site before the event began, Young wrote, "I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux & this is NOT ok with me."

This partly refers to the fact that members of the Sioux tribe opposed Trump's rally being held at Mount Rushmore for multiple reasons, including many Native Americans' long-held opinion that the monument was a desecration of their sacred land.

In a post on his official website last month in which he expressed his support for the Black Lives Matter protests, Young described the president as "a poor leader who is building walls around our house.  He added, "I believe he will be powerless soon…That sorry man will not destroy the American Dream."

In addition, during the latest in his series of "Fireside Sessions" acoustic performance videos, Neil introduced an updated version of his 2006 song "Lookin' for a Leader" that featured new lyrics criticizing Trump.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Alice Cooper, Peter Frampton among artists participating in Rock for Relief streaming event tonight

Courtesy of Storic MediaAlice Cooper, Peter Frampton, ex-Eagles guitarist Don Felder and Joe Satriani are among the many artists slated to take part in Rock for Relief, a star-studded streaming event airing tonight at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT that will raise money for the Feeding America charity.

Cooper, Frampton and Satriani will appear on the show, although its not clear whether they will perform. Felder, meanwhile, is part of a long list of confirmed performers that also includes George Thorogood, former Derek & the Dominos keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, ex-Joan Jett & the Blackhearts guitarist Ricky Byrd, The Dead Daisies, Slash collaborator Miles Kennedy, Bush's Gavin Rossdale, Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour, Joe Grushecky and many others.

The Feeding America organization provides food to food banks across the U.S. and has been focusing lately on those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rock for Relief for be streaming at Storic Media's official YouTube channel. An encore presentation of the event will air at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT this evening.

To check out the full lineup and find out more details about the show, visit RockforRelief.net.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


David Gilmour releases new song, "Yes, I Have Ghosts," and companion video

David Gilmour Music Ltd./Columbia RecordsLongtime Pink Floyd singer/guitarist David Gilmour has released his new solo song "Yes, I Have Ghosts" as a digital single and via streaming services. The track previously was only available as part of the audiobook version of A Theatre for Dreamers -- the new novel by his wife, Polly Samson -- which was released on June 25.

"Yes, I Have Ghosts," which is Gilmour's first new song in five years, features lyrics by Samson and was inspired by a character from her novel.

The track features David on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, and his daughter Romany on backing vocals and harp. The tune also features John McCusker on fiddle, while Damon Iddins contributed string quartet sampling.

"I was working on this song just as we went into lockdown and had to cancel a session with backing singers," Gilmour explains. "[B]ut, as it turned out, the solution was right here and I couldn't be happier with the way Romany's voice blends with mine and her beautiful harp playing has been another revelation."

A companion video for "Yes, I Have Ghosts," which premiered Friday on Gilmour's official YouTube channel, features footage of David and Polly on the Greek island of Hydra (pr: EE-drah), where A Theatre for Dreamers is set.

As previously reported, the novel, which takes place in 1960, focuses on a circle of artists and writers who lived on Hydra, including the real-life Canadian singer-songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen. Cohen's music is a clear influence on "Yes, I Have Ghosts."

The A Theatre for Dreamers audiobook was produced by Gilmour and, in addition to "Yes, I Have Ghosts," features additional original music composed by David to accompany his wife's narration.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Allman Brothers Band 50th anniversary tribute concert being rebroadcast this weekend on nugs.tv

Courtesy of nugs.tvOn March 10, the surviving members of The Allman Brothers Band's final lineup got together under the moniker The Brothers to celebrate the group's 50th anniversary with a reunion concert at New York's Madison Square Garden. Now nugs.tv is offer a streaming rebroadcast of the show for purchase over the July 4 weekend.

The webcast will be available starting Friday, July 3, at 8 p.m. ET in either HD or 4K, and viewers also have the option purchase the video as a bundle with an MP3 audio recording of the performance. Those who buy the stream will be able to watch the show on demand for 48 hours after they first start watching.

The concert featured founding Allman Brothers drummer Jaimoe, as well as longtime guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, bassist Oteil Burbridge and percussionist Marc Quinones.  They were joined by Derek's younger brother, Widespread Panic drummer Duane Trucks; former Allmans pianist Chuck Leavell; and ex-Double Trouble organist Reese Wynans.

The show was the final major concert held in New York City before the start of the COVID-19 lockdown.

In a post-concert interview with The Wall Street Journal, Jaimoe said, "It just felt like no BS, and all about music and love...I wanted to play music with my brothers. Everyone else is paying homage to the Allman Brothers music -- and some of us are still here."

Speaking about the event with American Songwriter, Haynes noted, "In a lot of ways, it was a show that we had talked about doing as the Allman Brothers Band but it never came to fruition. From the first moment of rehearsal it felt wonderful, and it just got better and better. I was very proud of everyone."

Here's the concert's set list:

Set One
"Don't Want You No More"/"It's Not My Cross to Bear"
"Statesboro Blues"
"Revival"
"Trouble No More"
"Don't Keep Me Wonderin'"
"Black Hearted Woman"
"Dreams"
"Hot'Lanta"
"Come and Go Blues"
"Soulshine"
"Stand Back"
"Jessica"

Set Two
"Mountain Jam"
"Blue Sky"
"Desdemona"
"Ain't Wasting Time No More"
"Every Hungry Woman"
"Melissa"
"In Memory of Elizabeth Reed"
"No One to Run With"
"One Way Out"

Encore
"Midnight Rider"
"Whipping Post"

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Listen to Zakk Sabbath cover "Black Sabbath" by Black Sabbath

Magnetic Eye RecordsZakk Sabbath, the Black Sabbath cover band fronted by Black Label Society frontman and Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde, has released a cover of the legendary metal group's song "Black Sabbath," from their self-titled 1970 debut.

The track, which is streaming now via RollingStone.com, was recorded as part of Zakk Sabbath's Vertigo project, a full recreation of the Black Sabbath album.

"It was a blast recording this," Wylde tells Rolling Stone. "How could we have a bad time? You're playing music by your favorite band."

Vertigo will be released in full on September 4.

By Josh Johnson
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Reborn on the Fourth of July: YouTube ranks Top 25 songs that spike over Independence Day

Columbia RecordsLike millions of others, COVID-19 has likely put a damper on your July 4 plans, but at least there's still music. To that end, YouTube has ranked the Top 25 songs that saw new life last Independence Day, and which will likely bounce back up their play charts over the weekend.

Not surprisingly, songs on the list mainly include tunes that mention America or the U.S.A., have patriotic themes or focus on having fun in the sun. The top rock song on the the tally is Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A.," which landed in second place after enjoying a 2,400% increase in views last year.

Other songs by classic-rock artists appearing in the top 10 of the list are Lenny Kravitz's cover of The Guess Who's "American Woman" at #8 and Simon & Garfunkel's "America" at #10.

Further down the tally, you'll find Chicago's "Saturday in the Park" at #11, John Mellencamp's "Pink Houses" at #14, Rick Derringer's "Real American" at #15, The Beach Boys' "Surfin' U.S.A." at #16 and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' "American Girl" at #18.

The #1 song on the list is Ray Charles' classic rendition of "America the Beautiful," which had a spike of 6,000% last Independence Day.

Here's the full list of YouTube's Top 25 songs from July 4, 2019, complete with how high the songs spiked over the holiday compared to every other day of the year: 

1. Ray Charles, "America the Beautiful" -- 6,000%
2. Bruce Springsteen, "Born in the U.S.A." -- 2,400%
3. Demi Lovato, "Made in the USA" -- 1,800%
4. Toby Keith, "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" -- 1,600%
5. James Brown, "Living in America" -- 890%
6. Fall Out Boy, "Fourth of July" -- 880%
7. Darryl Worley, "Have You Forgotten?" -- 670%
8. Lenny Kravitz, "American Woman" -- 650%
9. Granger Smith, "Merica" -- 585%
10. Simon & Garfunkel, "America" -- 505%
11. Chicago, "Saturday in the Park" -- 430%
12. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, "Summertime" -- 320%
13. Katy Perry, "Firework" -- 305%
14. John Mellencamp, "Pink Houses" -- 260%
15. Rick Derringer, "Real American" -- 250%
16. The Beach Boys, "Surfin' U.S.A." -- 245%
17. Miley Cyrus, "Party in the U.S.A." -- 240%
18. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, "American Girl" -- 235%
19. Carrie Underwood, "All-American Girl" -- 215%
20. Toby Keith, "Red Solo Cup" -- 180%
21. Kid Rock, "American Bad A**" -- 160%
22. Lil Wayne, "God Bless Amerika" -- 145%
23. Little Big Town, "Day Drinking" -- 120%
24. Jimmy Buffett, "Margaritaville" -- 120%
25. Lana Del Rey, "National Anthem" -- 120%

By Steve Iervolino and Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ex-Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman to present special magic trick on his YouTube channel Friday

Courtesy of Gonzo MultimediaFormer Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman is asking fans to visit his YouTube channel on Friday, July 3, to watch him do a special magic trick. The presentation happens to coincides with the official wide U.K. release of his latest studio album, The Red Planet.

The record, which initially was made available exclusively via MusicGlue.com, features eight new instrumental pieces that boast a heavy, prog-rock sound. The 70-year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Famer recorded the album with a collective of musicians dubbed The English Rock Ensemble that includes guitarist Dave Colquhoun, bassist Lee Pomeroy and drummer Ash Soan.

The Red Planet is available on CD, as a two-LP red-vinyl set, as a CD/DVD collection and digitally.

Over the last few months, Wakeman has been posting a series of video updates and features on The Red Planet at his YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, Wakeman reports in a message on his official website that he is hoping to be able to return to the road in time for his planned Christmas tour this year.

He also reports that for 2021, "Lots of dates [are] being provisionally booked for prog concerts in the UK and hopefully around Europe plus a US piano tour and some South American keyboard shows, plus orchestral shows in Europe." These plans, of course, depend on what happens with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In other news, Wakeman is featured in a virtual video performance of the late Ian Dury's classic 1977 tune "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll" that was put together by his friend, U.K. TV presenter and veteran drummer Fuzz Townshend. The clip is part of a campaign to raise funds for the U.K. charity Help Musicians.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ex-RCHP guitarist Josh Klinghoffer recruits Flea & Jack Irons for new song

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Bonnaroo Arts and Music FestivalFormer Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer has released a new song featuring one half of the band's original lineup.

The track, which Klinghoffer recorded under his solo moniker Pluralone, is called "Nowhere I Am," and it features Flea on bass and Jack Irons on drums. You can listen to it now streaming via Spin.com.

Both Flea and Irons were among the co-founders of RHCP, along with frontman Anthony Kiedis and guitarist Hillel Slovak.

Flea and Kiedis, of course, are still in the band; current-day drummer Chad Smith joined in 1988, while longtime on-again-off-again guitarist John Frusciante returned to the group late last year, replacing Klinghoffer, who'd been a member since 2009.

Klinghoffer, meanwhile, popped up during Pearl Jam's performance of their single "Dance of the Clairvoyants" during the All in WA virtual benefit show last week.

By Josh Johnson
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Nikki Sixx marks 19 years of sobriety: "I look up every day and say thank you"

Slaven Vlasic/Getty ImagesNikki Sixx is officially 19 years sober.

The Mötley Crüe bassist marked the milestone with a screen shot from his 12 Steps app, which also breaks down his time sober into 228 months, or 6,941 days, or 166,565 hours.

"19 years of gratitude one day at a time," Sixx writes in an Instagram post. "It is the road worth traveling if you are struggling."

"Old timers are here to guide us but new comers to sobriety are the greatest gift to this simple program," he continues. "Of course it's not always easy. First thing I did and continue to do is cut toxic people outta my life, then comes the first step and then freedom (if you work it)."

Sixx adds that he believes the 12 Steps program can also help non-addicts.

"To me it's a life program," Sixx writes. "I am a better man, father, husband, friend, band mate and creative spirit because of this program."

"I LOOK UP EVERYDAY AND SAY THANK YOU," he concludes.

Sixx's struggle with drugs is detailed in his 2007 book The Heroin Diaries, which was accompanied by the Sixx:A.M. album The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack.

By Josh Johnson
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Midas Man,' a new biopic about late Beatles manager Brian Epstein, due out in 2021

Bettman/Getty ImagesPlans have been unveiled for a new biopic about late Beatles manager Brian Epstein called Midas Man that will be directed by Grammy-winning film and video director Jonas Akerlund.

Variety reports the movie is expected to be released in 2021, and will be shot in The Beatles' and Epstein's hometown of Liverpool, U.K., as well as in London and the U.S.

Epstein discovered The Beatles in 1961 and officially became their manager the following year, helping to guide the group to superstardom. He also managed such Liverpool acts as Gerry and the Pacemakers and Cilla Black, and later helped promote stars like Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Cream and Pink Floyd. Brian died in 1967 of an apparent accidental sleeping-pill overdose. He was 32.

A statement from the project's producers describes the movie as "an emotional, witty, heartfelt story of the joy of success and the terrifying pressures of unspeakable risk and unfulfilled desire." That "risk" refers to the fact that Epstein was gay at a time when male homosexuality was illegal in the U.K.

Akerland said in a statement, "Brian Epstein's story has everything I'm looking for…it's all about Brian's singularity for me. I love that Brian seemed to know every step of the way what no one else knew, he saw things that no one else saw. His vision was astonishing, he created a culture that didn't exist."

Jonas' credits include directing videos for Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, U2, Madonna, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Duran Duran and many others. He won Grammys for McCartney's Live Kisses film, and for Madonna's The Confessions Tour concert video and "Ray of Light" music video.

Midas Man co-producer Trevor Beattie says of Akerlund, "[He has a] rock and roll heart" and "understands music and the music industry."

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Billie Joe Armstrong's covers series returns with take on John Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth"

ABC/Heidi GutmanAfter over a month off, Billie Joe Armstrong has brought back his "No Fun Mondays" covers series with a performance of the 1971 John Lennon protest song "Gimme Some Truth."

As the Green Day frontman explains, he first heard "Gimme Some Truth" performed by the '70s punk band Generation X, which featured a young Billy Idol. Armstrong reckons that his version "lands somewhere in between" Lennon's original and Gen X's cover.

You can listen to Armstrong's performance streaming now via his Instagram page.

Armstrong launched "No Fun Mondays" back in March, and promised to release a new cover each week "until we're let back out into the world," though he hadn't uploaded anything since May before dropping "Gimme Some Truth" late Wednesday night.

Some of Armstrong's covers include" I Think We're Alone Now" by Tommy James & the Shondells, "Manic Monday" by The Bangles with Susanna Hoffs, the Adam Schlesinger-penned song "That Thing You Do!" and "Kids in America" by Kim Wilde.

Additionally, Green Day released a cover of the Blondie classic "Dreaming."

By Josh Johnson
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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