During an appearance on The Ex Man With Doc Coyle, Metallica's Robert Trujillo recalled being insulted by James Hetfield. A few years back, the bend was on tour and Hetfield got annoyed with him during rehearsals because he wasn't "jamming through it with full intensity."
He explained, "I've always been in situations in my groups where there were those moments where things get heated and you're bumping heads. It happens in Metallica. There's been a couple of times, even with James."
He continued, "I remember one time a few years ago — about three years ago — in Italy. Poor guy, he got stung by a bee in his face, I think it was. I don't think he's allergic, but there was poison oak going on. So your face is hurtin', your body's itchin'. You're out there on the road. It's raining. And one of the songs — like 'Memory Remains' or something… And we're going on stage very soon and things are running late. And we're playing 'Memory Remains' in the tuning room, and I'm just kind of jamming through it, but I'm not really jamming through it with full intensity; I'm just kind of ghosting it a little bit. And he's, like, 'You know the song?' And this is a song we've played thousands of times. And I was insulted, because this is one of the easiest songs we play, and you're asking me if I know the song. So I'm just kind of, like, 'Yeah, I know the f*cking s…'"
Robert went on, "I blew a fuse for a second. And then I felt horrible, and he felt horrible. And then we realized, I think, that I'm tripping on the load that I have on my shoulders over here; he's tripping on this and this and probably… I mean, I get it, man — I've had poison oak; I've had bee stings before, and it ain't fun. And you're out there and you're trying to be the best you can. So, rather than throwing your instruments down and coming to blows or anything like that, you work it out — you kind of calm yourself and you realize what's going on."Continue Reading
It was 51 years ago Sunday (May 22nd, 1971) that the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers hit Number One in America. The album marked the band's first new music of the 1970's -- as well as the first full collection to feature the late-Brian Jones' replacement, guitarist Mick Taylor.
Sticky Fingers, which featured tracks culled from as far back as 1968, topped the charts for four straight weeks, spending a total of 15 weeks in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 albums chart.
The set opened with the band's first chart-topper of the 1970's -- "Brown Sugar" -- followed by "Sway,' "Wild Horses," "Can't You Hear Me Knocking," "You Gotta Move," "Bitch," "I Got The Blues," "Sister Morphine," "Dead Flowers," and "Moonlight Mile."
Fans that caught the Rolling Stones' 1969 North American trek got a surprise taste of a couple of Sticky Fingers tracks. The band's acoustic take of Mississippi Fred McDowell's "You Gotta Move" got an airing every night of the tour, with "Brown Sugar" receiving its live premiere on December 6th, 1969 at the Stones' infamous free concert at Northern, California's Altamont Freeway, where a concert-goer was murdered by a member of the Hells Angels.
Keith Richards told us that he views the band's recording career as an ongoing mission as opposed to their contemporaries who recorded specific projects every year: "Albums, what you get when you say, 'Oh, that's that album,' a lot of albums they, like, roll over into the next one. Some of the stuff that you do, and say Sticky Fingers, towards the end, you've got more stuff than you can use; 'Well, we'll just save it.' So you kind of roll over material that way, and the album becomes what gets on there. But to us, the process is like, continual. 'Let's use these 12 songs, and what do we call it? I know -- Beggars Banquet. I know -- Let It Bleed. I know -- Exile On Main Street.' So, you kinda take snippets of something that's going on all the time."
Mick Jagger looked back fondly on the Stones' lifestyle at the end of the 1960's: "We had a pretty, I mean, sedate lifestyle -- (laughs) it not really the way. . . It wasn't sedate, but it was pretty centered, and it was pretty grounded in its own way. Geographically it was very grounded and we were all very kind of English in our ways. So we had to come to this crunch period where this kind of lifestyle, that we'd created for ourselves, which was really pleasant, had to come to an end -- including being in these kind of houses, or for me anyway living in them anyway for long periods of time and working."
In 2015 the Stones released a deluxe, expanded version of Sticky Fingers, featuring the remastered original album and a bonus CD including previously unreleased alternate takes and 1971 live performances from Leeds University and London's Roundhouse.
Also out now is the archival release -- From The Vault: Sticky Fingers: Live At The Fonda Theatre 2015. The collection features the band's entire 16-song setlist. The informal performance, which includes all 10 of the Sticky Fingers tracks, albeit in a different running order than the original album, was recorded live on May 20th, 2015 at L.A.'s 1,200 capacity Fonda Theatre just prior to their "Zip Code Tour" kickoff.
Longtime Bob Dylan associate and folk singer Bob Neuwirth died on May 18th in Santa Monica, California at age 82, according to Rolling Stone. Neuwirth, who made his bones in the early-'60s Cambridge, Massachusetts folk scene became a constant companion and foil for Bob Dylan in the years leading up to his 1966 motorcycle crash. He claimed he was uncredited for contributing to Dylan's 1965 "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" having reportedly written the legendary opening line, "When you're lost in the rain in Juarez, and it's Easter time too."
Bob Neuwirth, whose body is featured on the cover of Dylan's 1965 Highway 61 Revisited album, appeared in 1967's Don't Look Back documentary -- and toured with Dylan as part of the 1975/'76 Rolling Thunder Revue. He's also feature prominently in the docu-drama of the tour, 1977's Renaldo & Clara.
He was an early supporter of Patti Smith, co-wrote "Mercedes Benz:" with Janis Joplin, and introduced her to her signature hit, a cover of Kris Kristofferson's "Me And Bobby McGee."
Neuwirth's family issued a statement, which read:
On Wednesday evening in Santa Monica, Bob Neuwirth's big heart gave out. He was 82 years old and would have been 83 in June. Bob was an artist throughout every cell of his body and he loved to encourage others to make art themselves. He was a painter, songwriter, producer and recording artist whose body of work is loved and respected.
For over 60 years, Bob was at the epicenter of cultural moments from Woodstock, to Paris, Don't Look Back to Monterey Pop, Rolling Thunder to Nashville and Havana. He was a generous instigator who often produced and made things happen anonymously. The art is what mattered to him, not the credit. He was an artist, a mentor and a supporter to many.Continue Reading
Flea revealed he still takes music lessons. The legendary Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist spoke to Bass Player magazine and explained how he looks back at the band's past and his individual musicianship: "I'm always discovering things, y'know, and trying to develop. I like to think that the best parts of myself back then, I've kept, and that I've gotten rid of the bits that I don't need. I'll try to add more essential parts and I'll get better."
He went on to say, "Y'know, I really want to be a good jazz bass player -- that's something I really want to do, whenever I get the time. I was studying with someone for a little while, around the time I finished tracking on the last Chili Peppers album. I was studying jazz with this girl whose husband plays saxophone on our record, just working on trying to play through changes on walking bass, because upright bass is the most comforting sound to me. I remember when we were tracking Californication, we were all sitting around the studio lounge, and John (Frusciante) was asking everybody in the room, 'What's the real comfort music that you put on and it's like breathing?' I realized that for me, it's jazz, mostly because I liked it when I was a kid."
Fleas shed light on how he maintains his bass chops: "When we're on tour, I'm playing so much. We're playing gigs all the time, and I play scales for an hour before every show. Something about the Chili Peppers is that never for a second have we ever taken the audience for granted, or thought 'We'll just go out and play the hits.' I always take every show as a sacred moment, as part of a mission of being alive. So I keep my chops up. I'm ready. I'm ready!"
Guitarist John Frusciante told us a while back that Flea literally lives and breathes music: "Flea's been practicing the bass more than I've ever seen him practice it in my life. In his whole life he's never learned songs by people and lately he's been learning Joy Division songs, and David Bowie songs, and Beatles songs on the piano."
Red Hot Chili Peppers next perform on June 4th in Seville, Spain at Estadio La Cartuja De Sevilla.
UPDATED: Red Hot Chili Peppers North American dates tour dates (subject to change):
July 23 - Denver, CO - Empower Field at Mile High (with HAIM and Thundercat)
July 27 - San Diego, CA - Petco Park (with HAIM and Thundercat)
July 29 - Santa Clara, CA - Levi's Stadium (with Beck and Thundercat)
July 31 - Los Angeles, CA - SoFi Stadium (with Beck and Thundercat)
August 3 - Seattle, WA - T-Mobile Park (with The Strokes and Thundercat)
August 6 - Las Vegas, NV - Allegiant Stadium (with The Strokes and King Princess)
August 10 - Atlanta, GA - Truist Park (with The Strokes and Thundercat)
August 12 - Nashville, TN - Nissan Stadium (with The Strokes and Thundercat)
August 14 - Detroit, MI - Comerica Park (with The Strokes and Thundercat)
August 17 - E. Rutherford, NJ - Metlife Stadium (with The Strokes and Thundercat)
August 19 - Chicago, IL - Soldier Field (with The Strokes and Thundercat)
August 21 - Toronto, ON - Rogers Centre (with The Strokes and Thundercat)
August 30 - Miami, FL - Hard Rock Stadium (with The Strokes and Thundercat)
September 1 - Charlotte, NC - Bank of America Stadium (with The Strokes and Thundercat)
September 3 - Philadelphia, PA - Citizens Bank Park (with The Strokes and Thundercat)
September 8 - Washington, DC - Nationals Park (with The Strokes and Thundercat)
September 10 - Boston, MA - Fenway Park (with St. Vincent and Thundercat)
September 15 - Orlando, FL - Camping World Stadium (with The Strokes and Thundercat)
September 18 - Arlington, TX - Globe Life Field (with The Strokes and Thundercat)
September 25 - Louisville, KY - Louder Than Life Festival
October 7, 8, 9 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Music Festival - RHCP performance date TBA
October 14, 15, 16 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Music Festival - RHCP performance date TBA
Out today (May 20th) is The Police: Around The World - Restored & Expanded on DVD/CD, Blu-ray/CD, and DVD/LP -- pressed on silver vinyl. The legendary 1982 live travelogue was originally available on VHS and laserdisc, with the film now seeing release on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time, with restored picture and remastered audio, as well as complete performances of four bonus songs featured in the documentary.
The Police: Around The World - Restored & Expanded includes never-before-released live audio on CD and LP. Boasting songs from their first two albums recorded in Japan, Hong Kong, and England.
As guitarist Andy Summers wrote in the collections' liner notes, "Like Napoleon, we wanted the world. Out of the messy and fervent atmosphere in London at that time we conceived the idea to go all around the world and film the whole adventure. As far as we knew no rock band, at least, had ever done that. We had just about enough popularity to get booked around the globe. Plans were made."
We spoke to drummer Stewart Copeland and he revealed that growing up trotting the globe as the son of a CIA agent, he and his brothers understood there was a bright and rich world beyond Europe and America -- which led directly to the Around The World doc: "I think Miles (Copeland), my brother and the Police's manager and creator of I.R.S. Records, he had that vision, which came from his upbringing -- and all of our upbringing -- in the weird places in the world where we actually realized that there is a world beyond Minneapolis. And it's very colorful and exciting and actually -- darn photogenic. So, let's get the band out in front of all these incredible scenarios around the world. I can say it's a consciousness that it's out there, it's cool lookin', let's put the band in front of it -- or in the middle of it."
When we last caught up with Sting, we asked him about how he rates the influence of the Police on the music that came after them: "Y'know, people say to me, 'That sounds like the Police, or it sounds like you' -- I don't hear that. Y'know, I really don't. Everybody sounds like them, to me."
Guitarist Andy Summers felt that the band's musicality, coupled with a sixth sense when creating new sounds, was the secret weapon of the Police: "Being in that setting, y'know, I come from a lot of different places harmonically -- as had Sting. We were, y'know, we were a bit more than, like, three-chord folk musicians. Y'know, we we're pretty sophisticated with what we knew. But, again, we were in a rock context and so, y'know, whatever we were doing, we were going to make it rock."
Happy Birthday to Elton John's longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin, who turns 72 on Sunday (May 22nd)!!! Taupin, who first teamed up with Elton in 1967, wrote the lyrics to such instant classics as "Bennie And The Jets," "Philadelphia Freedom," "Daniel," "Border Song," "Take Me To The Pilot," "Country Comfort," "Rocket Man," "Mona Lisa And Mad Hatters," "Burn Down The Mission," "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues," "Tiny Dancer," "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me," "Candle In the Wind," "The Bitch Is Back," "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word," "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," "I'm Still Standing," "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting," "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)," "Someone Saved My Life Tonight," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "Your Song," and many others.
In February 2019, Elton John and Bernie Taupin won their first joint their first joint Oscar for "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again" -- the theme to last year's Rocketman biopic, which was sung with Elton's silver screen counterpart, Taron Egerton.
In 2013 Elton and Taupin were presented with the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards in Manhattan. Elton recalled how the pair -- who have often been called the "Lennon & McCartney of the '70s" -- first teamed up: "I went into Liberty Records in London when I was in a band called Bluesology, and I was getting fed up with playing cabaret, and I thought what can I do -- maybe I can write songs. So I went to Liberty Records, saw a guy called Ray Williams, I said, listen, 'I can't write lyrics, but I'm sure I can write melody.' And he said, 'I've got a pile of lyrics on the desk from a guy from Lancashire called Bernie Taupin, take those away.' You can't get more ridiculous than that. And I took them away and I started writing to them. And I've always. . . really, it's always been the lyrics first."
Elton says that although the end results of their collaborations are still of the same quality, the way they go about writing now is much different: "The process has changed, they (the lyrics) used to be hand written, in the late '60s and early '70s, then they were type-written when we got to Honky Chateau, and now, of course, they're faxed. And the way that things have changed is that, Bernie, when he first started out, just wrote a page of lyrics and I would divide them into verse (and) chorus. And now, of course, because he's made albums himself, and he's become much more musical, he tends to write in the form of verse, chorus, bridge, whatever."
Despite all the honors and accolades the songwriting team has racked up over the years, Taupin is amazed that there are so few cover versions of their classic songs: "We haven't had that many covers y'know, to be quite honest, which is rather extraordinary. You would think in our career we would've had more covers. I like George's (Michael) version of 'Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me,' the one he did with Elton was good."
In 1994 when Elton John was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, he called Taupin up to the stage with him, saying that "Without Bernie Taupin, there would be no Elton John." He gave Taupin his Hall Of Fame trophy, and Taupin told us that it is the only award that he has ever kept -- he auctions off most of his awards.
Apart from his success with Elton, Taupin has also written lyrics for other acts -- including Starship's' 1985 chart topper "We Built This City" and Heart's 1986 Number One hit "These Dreams" -- which was originally intended for Stevie Nicks.
Elton John told us that throughout his partnership with Bernie Taupin, one member has never outranked the other: "It's never been major/minor, it's always been 50/50, it's never been. . . we've never even thought of it like that, from my point of view, anyway. It's a relationship that's never, ever been questioned. It's always as a one -- it's never split. It's a complete 'one' relationship."
Elton John and Bernie Taupin's latest batch of songs were featured on Elton's 2016 album, Wonderful Crazy Night. The collection hit Number Eight on the Billboard 200 album charts and reached Number Six in the UK.
It was 44 years ago today (May 20th, 1978) that Paul McCartney & Wings scored their fifth Number One hit with "With A Little Luck." The song, which McCartney and the band began recording the previous year on a yacht docked in the Virgin Islands, was featured as the lead single from Wings' London Town album. "With A Little Luck" was McCartney's only major hit of 1978 and was able to temporarily break Barry Gibb's songwriting and production toe hold on the Number One spot, which he and his brothers and bandmates, Andy Gibb and the Bee Gees, dominated throughout the year.
"With A Little Luck" knocked the Bee Gees-written Yvonne Elliman hit "If I Can't Have You" out from the top spot and held the Number One position for two weeks, breaking Barry Gibb's already 15-week run at the top spot with songs he wrote and co-produced. "With A Little Luck" was knocked from Number One by Johnny Mathis and Deneice Williams' "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late."
Wings, which at that time was pared down to just Paul and Linda McCartney, Denny Laine and new drummer Steve Holly, filmed a promotional video for the song in late March, reuniting McCartney with Michael Lindsey-Hogg, who had directed the Beatles' 1970 movie Let It Be.
Denny Laine told us that no matter how well the musicians of Wings gelled during the decade McCartney kept the band running, it always felt as though they were side musicians backing a former Beatle. He scoffs at the fans who are pressing for Wings to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: "Yeah, but Wings was just too many different lineups to be a real band, I always thought. It was really me, Paul and Linda -- in a sense -- plus musicians for a lot of the time. I never really felt like, y'know, I was a member of a band, to be honest. Never really felt that."
Paul McCartney has slowly realized that his work with Wings from the '70s belongs to a different generation than the Beatles do: "I think in the States, too, um, a lot of younger people remember Wings now. I've met people, I've been talking about Sgt. Pepper, and there were guys saying, 'Nah, that wasn't really my formative album, it was more Band On The Run.' 'Cause just their age. Y'know, so a lot of people now, who are harking back to the '70s, that was their '60s."
The promo clip for "With A Little Luck" is featured on the three DVD video collection The McCartney Years.
McCartney has never performed "With A Little Luck" live in concert, although the song was rehearsed with Wings in the fall of 1979 prior to the band's final tour.
During his 2013 rehearsals for his Out There world tour, it was reported that McCartney and his band had rehearsed "With A Little Luck" -- but the song has yet to appear in any of his pre-show soundchecks or concerts.
It was 54 years ago this week in May 1968 that the Beatles began recording four-track demos for its self-titled double album, which is commonly known as the "White Album." The legendary -- and long-bootlegged -- group demos were finally released in 2018 as part of the "White Album's" super deluxe box set.
The songs, which were primarily recorded as a group at George Harrison's English Bungalow in Esher, featured material written by the group during their infamous stay in the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram in Rishikesh, India. Upon returning to England, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr regrouped at Harrison's house and for the one and only time in the band's career, laid down bare-bones, acoustic, group versions of their latest music.
Filmmaker Paul Saltzman documented his time in Rishikesh studying transcendental meditation with the group in his photo book The Beatles In India, and told us that they were always friendly and approachable: "John looked up at me, and he was two feet away from me, and I said, 'May I join you?' and John said, 'Sure mate, pull up a chair.' And Paul said, 'Come and sit here' -- he pulled next to him and I sat down. At that moment John turns to me, 'cause they had finished their conversation, and he says, 'So, you're American then?,' in his sort of teasing way. And I said, 'No, Canadian,' and he turns to the group and says, 'Ah, he's from one of the colonies!' And everyone breaks up (in laughter)." SOUDCUE
1968's "White Album" material marked a creative rebirth for John Lennon -- and pointed the way towards his more brutal and soul searching solo works in the 1970's: "Looking back at it, whenever I comment about writing, I always (laughs) seem to be suffering, whether it was writing 'A Day In The Life.' or whatever. When I comment on every little thing it's like I'm suffering. I always seem to have an intense time writing, thinking 'this is the end' and 'nothing's coming' and 'this is dumb' and how can. . . and y'know, 'this is no good' and all that business."
Paul McCartney has written several topical and sociopolitical songs over the years. It's only been in the past decade or so, that he's revealed that "Blackbird" was directly inspired by the civil rights movement during the turbulent 1960's: "When you do a show, certain songs, you just find yourself talking about them. I could probably talk about every single song and find a story about it, but when you find a story that seems to mean something, you tend to just keep it in. In England, we call girls 'birds' -- and so it's a double meaning. And it was originally about the struggles going on in Alabama, particularly, in the '60s, and the civil rights disturbances. Which, y'know a lot of us with any morals around the world were very sensitive to and very supportive of the people who were going through the rubbish that they were going through."
The Beatles "Esher" demos include:
"Back In The U.S.S.R."
"The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill"
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
"Happiness Is A Warm Gun"
"I'm So Tired"
"Mother Nature's Son"
"Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey"
"Cry Baby Cry"
"Sour Milk Sea"
"Child Of Nature"
"Mean Mr. Mustard"
"What's The New Mary Jane"
Happy Birthday to Pete Townshend, who turns 77 today (May 19th)!!! Townshend, who is the primary creative force behind the Who, wrote nearly all of the band's music and has been responsible for crafting the stories and themes behind such rock classics as Tommy, Who's Next, and Quadrophenia.
Out now is Pete Townshend's new two-hour Audible Original mini-biography, titled Somebody Saved Me. The Townshend confessional is named after his 1982 solo favorite featured on All The Beat Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes.
Townshend is currently out on the road with the Who and plays on Friday (May 20th) at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center.
The Who's ongoing half-speed master series continues on July 8th with the release on 1967's The Who Sell Out and 1969's Tommy. The half-speed master LP's are both available for pre-order and have been mastered by longtime Who engineer Jon Astley with vinyl cuts by Miles Showell.
Out now is the "Super-Deluxe Edition" of The Who Sell Out in a massive box set, with a total of 112 tracks over five discs. The collection includes never-before-heard outtakes and Townshend demos -- along with a heaping dose of replica memorabilia from the era.
The Who's most recent studio set, titled WHO, was released on December 6th, 2019 and entered the Billboard 200 at Number two behind Roddy Ricch's chart-topping Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial.
WHO hit the UK charts at Number Three -- and still marks the Who's best charting album in the States since 1978's Who Are You -- which also peaked at Number Two. An updated version of the album is now out featuring a remix of the song, "Beads On One String," and a seven-track bonus disc culled from the band's February 14th, 2020 gig at the 2,000-capacity Pryzm in Kingston-Upon-Thames, England. The show marked the smallest venue the band had played in over 40 years.
In 2019, Pete Townshend published his first novel, titled The Age Of Anxiety. TheWho.com posted: "The Age Of Anxiety is a great rock novel, but that is one of the less important things about it. The narrator is a brilliant creation -- cultured, witty and unreliable. The novel captures the craziness of the music business and displays Pete Townshend's sly sense of humour and sharp ear for dialogue. First conceived as an opera, The Age Of Anxiety deals with mythic and operatic themes including a maze, divine madness and long-lost children. Hallucinations and soundscapes haunt this novel, which on one level is an extended meditation on manic genius and the dark art of creativity."
Townshend went on to write, "Ten years ago I decided to create a magnum opus that would combine opera, art installation and novel. Suddenly here I am with a completed novel ready to publish. I am an avid reader and have really enjoyed writing it. I am also happy to say the majority of the music is composed, ready to be polished up for release and performance. It's tremendously exciting."
In April 2018, Townshend reissued his 1972 solo debut, Who Came First, with the new 45th anniversary version featuring a bonus disc including "eight previously unreleased tracks, new edits, alternative versions and live performances." Who Came First has been remastered by Townshend's brother-in-law and the Who's recording engineer Jon Astley using the original master tapes. Included in the eight-panel digi-pak are new sleeve notes provided by Townshend himself, the original poster from the 1972 release and a 24-page booklet which contains rare images of guru Meher Baba and Townshend in his recording studio. The cover photo of Townshend, taken by Roger Daltrey's cousin Graham Hughes -- who also shot the cover of the Who's Quadrophenia -- has been updated for the release.
Who Came First, which was originally released on October 1st, 1972, is made up of multi-track one-man band demos, nearly all of which were intended for the Who. Among the key tracks featured on the set -- which was reissued in 1992 with six bonus tracks -- are "Let's See Action," "The Seeker," "Pure And Easy," "Sheraton Gibson," and "Time Is Passing," among others. The album was first compiled to combat pirated versions of Townshend's tribute albums to Meher Baba, titled, Happy Birthday and I Am.
In 2017 it was revealed that Townshend married his companion of over 20 years, singer-songwriter-musician Rachel Fuller. Fuller appeared on the British radio program, English Harbor Radio, and while talking about many other things, discussed the fact that she and Townshend took the plunge back in December 2016 during a civil ceremony, which "took about eight minutes" in front of only two people. The marriage marks the second for the Who guitarist and the first for Fuller, who was 43 at the time.
2015 saw the release of Townshend's latest project, Classical Quadrophenia. The new "symphonized" version of the legendary rock opera was orchestrated by Rachel Fuller. The album -- which also features Townshend on vocals -- is a showcase for operatic tenor Alfie Boe singing Roger Daltrey's original parts with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Oriana Choir conducted by Robert Ziegler. The revamped Quadrophenia premiered on July 5th, 2015 at London's Royal Albert Hall starring Townshend, Boe, along with the famed orchestra and choir.
In the fall of 2017, Townshend appeared with Boe and Billy Idol for a string of Classic Quadrophenia dates in Lenox, Massachusetts; Rosemont, Illinois; Manhattan, and Los Angeles only.
In 2016, Townshend revealed to Rolling Stone that he was slowly sifting through his database of demos and figuring out what needs to be done with them. Although he has released three separate volumes of Scoop demo collections over the years, nearly every work he's created has a self-made home studio recording of the tune -- and in later instances it was simply used as the backing for the final track. Most recently, the older demos have found homes on the box sets for My Generation, Tommy, and Quadrophenia, but now he's looking at them beyond their role as "bonus material."
In 2012, Townshend published his long awaited autobiography, titled, Who I Am, to critical acclaim. Earlier that year, Townshend signed an exclusive, new publishing deal with Spirit Music Group to administer and promote his past and future songwriting catalogue. The pact also includes a long-term publishing agreement for Townshend's upcoming projects, including new songs composed for potential solo and Who releases.
That same year Townshend and his wife of 43 years, Karen Astley, were granted a preliminary divorce in London's High Court. The couple had been separated since 1994 and has three adult children -- Emma, Aminta, and Joseph. Townshend has been romantically linked with second wife Rachel Fuller since 1996.
In 2006, after a 24-year-wait, Townshend wrote and produced the Who's comeback album Endless Wire. Despite the album hitting Number Seven in the U.S. charts, Townshend has stated that he felt the album fell short of his commercial expectations, and complained that none of the songs garnered the level of airplay he had come to expect with previous Who projects.
A while ago, we asked Townshend why he needs grand concepts such as Tommy, Quadrophenia, and the recent Wire And Glass mini-opera, behind most of his work: "I just write. I'm just a songwriter, y'know, that's what I do. Which is why it's very important for me to have some kind of concept to hold me down, some kind of concept to give my work shape, focus, and direction. Because I don't feel that the Who ever had a clear brief (on what to write for them), ever, ever, ever, ever."
With Tommy becoming such a mainstay of not only the Who's career -- but of all of classic rock radio -- Townshend was asked about the reason for the album's continued relevance: "I think it's only really relevant today, in as much as it was relevant to start with. It's a fairly simple childlike fairytale. And what makes it work today, I think is its naivety. It's not all naive, it's not innocent. It has fantastic simplicity."
Amazingly, 2020 marked the 40th anniversary of Pete Townshend's first fully realized solo album, 1980's Empty Glass. His early-'80s solo work, created while writing, recording, and touring the globe with the Who, admittedly left him physically and emotionally fried. He told us he takes umbrage at all the Who fans that felt as though he hoarded his best material for himself, rather than give to the Who: "This was a mistake that I ever embarked on a solo career. I understand that now. I shouldn't have done it. But, y'know, to be honest, that type of Who fan-ism, it irritates me. Because what it's actually doing is, it's so easy to make these comments after the fact. Everything is easy in hindsight. Y'know, what was actually going on at the time was that I was trying to satisfy my own peculiar creative urge. My unique creative urge, which wasn't classic ‘Rough Boy' Who stuff."
Townshend explained that in addition to making his autobiography, Who I Am, a good read, the truthfulness needed to ring true to his life: "I had to write the truth as I saw it and I remembered it. Now that's a very strange truth, because everybody's memory is different and then I knew that there would be arguments with my friend Barney (Richard Barnes) later on, when he said, 'That didn't happen this way' or 'That didn't happen that way.' I'm getting a bit of that now with old friends who say, 'No, that's not what happened.' And I said, 'Listen, I have to tell my story my way.' But this was an honest. . . for me, it had to be what I believed to be the truth."
He says that he makes no apologies for veering away from rock music to dabble in theater, films and novels: "Y'know, some of those people that still to this day regard me as being pretentious because I aspire to live my life as an artist rather than a 'cash is king' rock n' roll performer. If that's pretentious, so be it."
During Pete Townshend's recent appearance on NPR, he shed light on the meaning behind "All This Music Will Fade" -- the lead track from the Who's new album: "Since the '60s it's become more and more basic, more and more simple. Music is often what's borrowed, what is often stolen, what is often echoed, what is often repeated -- particularly in our business. So, it's kind of absurd for somebody to pop out of the woodwork and accuse, let's say, somebody like Ed Sheeran -- whose music is not exactly (Arnold) Schoenberg -- of ripping off some earlier song. It just happens. We only have this limited language to deal with."
Although he's always made a point of discerning between being a creative artist and a performer, Pete Townshend admitted to the PBS News Hour, that despite the fact that he does his job amazingly well -- it doesn't mean that he actually enjoys it: "I don't feel excited. I feel I'm there to do a job. There's no thrill. Indeed, I would say I don't like it much. I do it as a job, and I find it in credibly easy. So easy -- I don't even have to think about it."
Roger Daltrey recently explained that both on and off the stage, he and Pete Townshend remain brothers in arms to the end: "It's never been low, it's always been very close, but like every good, close relationship, you're gonna have your little spats. And that's what builds your character and your strength. And we're probably closer today and having more fun. . . What's so wonderful about -- we've been together nearly 60 years now -- Pete and I -- in a professional relationship."
It was 43 years ago today (May 19th, 1979) that a select group of party-goers witnessed the closest thing to a live Beatles reunion when Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr reunited to jam at Eric Clapton's wedding reception at his English estate. The impromptu performance marked the first time the three former-Beatles had played in public together since the group's final performance on the Apple Rooftop on January 30th, 1969.
Clapton had married Harrison's ex-wife Pattie Boyd, and set up an outdoor stage for a mammoth jam session which featured the three ex-Beatles, a reformed Cream, the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Bill Wyman, Elton John, David Bowie, and many more. John Lennon was living in the U.S. at the time and was not present.
Although the three former "Fabs" also took part in a makeshift sing-a-long jam at Starr's wedding in 1981, the Clapton wedding reception marks the only time that the former Beatles made music onstage in a somewhat professional manner. Among the many songs reported to have been performed that day were the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "Get Back."
Although no photos of the three ex-Beatles on stage have surfaced -- Ringo Starr's son -- Who drummer Zak Starkey -- blew more than a few minds when he recently posted on his Instagram page a shot of him at 14 onstage playing a Telecaster, Traffic drummer Jim Capaldi, and McCartney playing a flipped over righty Fender precision bass.
Wings co-founder Denny Laine also participated at the jam session at Clapton's wedding reception and says that it didn't feel as historic an event as it has been made out to be: "I never think like that, 'Hey, I'm jamming with (laughs) some of the Beatles.' I never think like that. Y'know, these were all people I knew. Like Eric, I'd known when he was in the Yardbirds."
Both Clapton and Boyd published their memoirs in 2008 and spoke about their decade long marriage. Boyd says that upon looking at her relationship with Clapton decades after their split, she ultimately regrets leaving Harrison for him: "I don't want to totally blame Eric, but I think his behavior was wrong -- was morally wrong to entice me to leave George, because I was married to George and I really shouldn't have done that. But also, I was wrong as well to allow myself to be flattered (by Eric) to that extent. So, y'know we both were wrong morally on that moral issue."
Eric Clapton and Pattie Boyd divorced in 1988. She stayed in close contact with Harrison until his death in 2001 -- but has no ongoing relationship with Clapton.
Elton John's ongoing final tour will be the subject of a new official documentary -- Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: The Final Elton John Performances And The Years That Made His Legend. Rolling Stone reported the doc will be co-directed R.J. Cutler along with Elton's husband David Furnish, "and will be centered around John's farewell tour, while also looking back at 1970 to 1975, the monumental period when John released 10 albums and scored some of his biggest hits. The doc will also include an array of unseen concert footage from the past 50 years, as well as John's handwritten journals and present-day footage of the musician and his family."
No release date has been announced for the new film, but it will hit the festival circuit and fans can expect a limited theatrical release. After that, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: The Final Elton John Performances And The Years That Made His Legend will air exclusively on Disney+.
David Furnish, who's been with Elton since 1993 said in a statement, "Elton and I could not think of a better collaborator than R.J. Cutler for a film that represents more than just Elton's career -- it's his life. From the Troubadour to Dodger Stadium, we knew that R.J. would help guide Elton's story and its many layers in a way that feels authentic and evocative. We're ecstatic to be working together."
Elton John will wrap his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour over three nights -- November 17th, 19th, and 20th -- at L.A.'s Dodger Stadium.
Elton John still prides himself on being on top of the technological changes in the music industry -- even though he's personally remained an admitted consumer of physical product: "Things have changed in the music business, a lot. I mean, God, have they! And we've definitely gone after the streaming, the YouTube's, the people like that, because if you write a song, you want people to hear it, you want them to remember it, and become a part of their lives. And luckily enough, I've always had a younger audience because a thing, like, The Lion King, came along and it's, kind of, like a regurgitating thing. And I'm definitely involved in streaming -- I want my music to be heard. I'm a Luddite. I've never downloaded anything in my life -- not even porn. (laughter)"
Elton John kicks off his next string of tour dates on July 15th at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park.
Pearl Jam was forced to cancel the final two shows of its spring tour after bassist Jeff Ament tested positive for Covid. The band announced via social media that they are issuing refunds for the concerts originally set for May 18th at Sacramento, California's Golden 1 Center and May 20th at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Drummer Matt Cameron missed his first shows with the band in 24 years starting this past May 12th after testing positive for Covid.
The band's message to fans reads:
Important Cancelation Notice for Sacramento and Las Vegas
Dear PJ fans and ticket holders,
While the band battled through Oakland after drummer Matt Cameron tested positive for Covid, and Fresno where Ed and the band got through it with the help of Dave Krusen as special guest drummer, they now have to present the heartbreaking news that this morning bassist Jeff Ament has tested positive for Covid.
This is horrible for everybody involved and we are especially sorry to those out there who have made plans to attend these shows.
Our attention to staying inside the bubble has been constant. We have truly done all that we could have to remain clear of infection.
Regretfully, the Sacramento and Las Vegas shows are canceled. Ticket refunds will be automatically processed to ticket holders' method of purchase. We are so very sorry. Be safe out there.Continue Reading
The new feature documentary chronicling the life and career of the late-Marc Bolan and T. Rex will make its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in June. Among the legendary friends and fans appearing in Angelheaded Hipster: The Songs Of Marc Bolan & T. Rex are Ringo Starr, Elton John, David Bowie, U2, Joan Jett, rock journalist and filmmaker Cameron Crowe, and Nick Cave.
T. Rex was primarily known Stateside for its sole Top 40 hit, the Top 10 -- "Bang A Gong (Get It On)" -- which was renamed from its original title "Get It On," which was deemed too risque for the U.S. audience in 1971. The group, which was led -- on every level -- by Bolan, was tremendous force in the UK in the early-'70s, leading the glam movement along with David Bowie and Slade.
Bolan and T. Rex drew countless comparisons to the "Beatlemania"-like state Bolan drove his fans into, which was dubbed, "T-Rextasy." Bolan died in a car accident in London on September 16th, 1977. He was 30 years old. He was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.
The film was financed and executive produced by BMG, written and directed by Ethan Silverman, and produced by Silverman and longtime Who manager Bill Curbishley.
Ethan Silverman said in the film's announcement: "Bill and I want to move Marc Bolan from footnote to headline. While still a beloved figure in the UK and amongst some musicians and music fans, we feel he never received his due especially considering his enduring influence. Marc Bolan's unique spin on rock n' roll, use of rhythm, poetic wordplay, and fearlessness deserve a fresh look. This film is neither a biopic nor a 'making of' documentary, rather it is a celebration of creativity looking backward and forward at the same time."
At the height of his early-'70s fame, Marc Bolan, whose image, music, and vision encapsulated T. Rex, admitted that settling into superstardom was easier than he could've ever imagined: "I find it exciting and I like to do what I do. I can't walk down the street anymore. I had to move, because I couldn't stay at home with hundreds of kids outside. It's a hangup for the neighbors -- I enjoyed it, but it was, like, the neighbors got worried. I consider myself a craftsman at what I do, be it writing songs -- I do it and give it to people and I like feedback. And if I don't get it, I'm very sad. And If I'm a dustman tomorrow, tough."
With Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron still sidelined after testing positive for Covid, the band tapped original drummer Dave Krusen to sit in during its May 16th show at Fresno, California's Save Mart Arena. Although he joined the band onstage during its 2017 Rock Hall performance, the gig marked Krusen's first concert with the band since May 25th, 1991 when he split the group due to substance abuse issues. While behind the kit on Monday night, Krusen tackled 10 songs with the band -- eight of which he originally drummed on.
Ultimate Classic Rock quoted frontman Eddie Vedder's introduction of Krusen: "When this all went down with Matt the other day, we started thinking about all the other people that we've been through some great drummers. . . some of the best. Y'know, that first record (Ten) seems to be a record that affected so many people but our friend that was playing drums at that time, the amount of shows that he got to play with us was fairly limited. Well, it looks like this week we're going to get to make up for that."
Over 30 years on, Pearl Jam remains one of the most consistent live acts around. Guitarist Mike McCready explained a while back why he thinks that is: "The sure-fire thing is just a confidence in our band, and I know that we've done that before and we'll do it again, because we are a really good, tight live band. And a lot of that is non-spoken because we've played together for so long. It's an interesting thing. I don't know if there's a sure-fire way of doing it, but I think we hit it pretty well most times we do it."
The Who's ongoing half-speed master series continues on July 8th with the release on 1967's The Who Sell Out and 1969's Tommy. The half-speed master LP's are both available for pre-order and have been mastered by longtime Who engineer Jon Astley with vinyl cuts by Miles Showell. The Who Sell Out will be issued as a single album and sells for $31.99. The double-LP Tommy runs for $41.99.
The Who Sell Out, which was originally released on December 15th, 1967, was the pinnacle of the group's pop art period and featured tracks interspersed with original radio spots, commercials and public service announcements in an effort to ape England's then-pirate radio stations.
The album included the band's sole Top 10 hit -- "I Can See For Miles" -- the instant concert staple, "Tattoo," along with such fan favorites as "I Can't Reach You," "Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand," "Sunrise," "Relax," and "Our Love Was."
The Who's Tommy was released in May 1969 and peaked at Number Four on the album charts. The album featured such Who standards as "1921," "Amazing Journey/Sparks," "Pinball Wizard," "Christmas," "The Acid Queen," "I'm Free," "We're Not Gonna Take It," and "See Me, Feel Me."
Despite the Who scoring a solid American Top 10 hit with "I Can See For Miles," its relative chart failure back in England pushed Pete Townshend into thinking well beyond the three-minute pop hit as the Who's primary outlet: "I kept 'I Can See For Miles' back for quite a long time as a kind of ace in the hole, I think for about 18 months, two years. And stuck that out thinking that's the Who's first real Number One record -- and it didn't do very well at all. And I was bitterly disappointed and most disillusioned. And I just decided to go for broke and do something completely mad, and started work at that period on Tommy."
Roger Daltrey explained that Tommy's importance -- both for himself as an artist and the Who as a creative force -- can never be overlooked: "It was impossible for me not to become 'Tommy' to the audience. Absolutely impossible. I mean, in those, days, I used to sing the whole thing. Obviously, when I did the film, people found it very difficult to disassociate me from 'Tommy' -- I still get problems today. I'm still very proud of it and I don't really give a toss if people like it, or not. I mean, I had a good time doing it. (Laughs) Tommy paid the rent, it's true. Before Tommy, we were flat broke. Penniless and in debt to the tune of what would be today, millions and millions of pounds -- and Tommy paid the rent."
The Andy Warhol Diaries Netflix series features previously unseen 1978 footage of John Lennon. Although there have been several photos -- including a contact sheet -- of Lennon at Warhol's Factory on February 17th, 1978 -- the new six-part series features the briefest clip of Lennon, laughing and posing with Liza Minelli.
Kevin Draper, one of New York City's most respected historians and the co-founder of New York Historical Tours, explained to us why the airing of the footage nearly 45 years after the fact remains so important: "So, if you look at New York City in the late-'60s, early-'70s, we were literally at the worst point in our entire 400-year history. But by 1977 going into '78 and the late-'70s, New York City was at the beginnings of the comeback that we're still seeing today, making us the greatest city in the world again. And a lot of that had to do with our art, and culture, and music. And there were no two bigger people living in New York City than John Lennon and Andy Warhol."
Draper explained that although there have been home movie clips of the then-semi-retired Lennon on vacation in Japan and the Cayman Islands in Caribbean -- seeing new footage, however brief, of the former-Beatle socializing in Manhattan is almost beyond belief: "The thing about a year like 1978 -- even though Lennon was very much out and about -- not sitting home in the Dakota all day long -- he was hanging out with people like Andy Warhol. (Until now) there's no footage of it. No film footage of this incredible moment in New York City history. So, the fact that this has been found, it really is incredible, because it documents one of the most important times in the 20th century for New York City."
Kevin Draper has led historical talks and lectures for top universities and Fortune 500 companies and is a respected historical consultant for major media and publications including CBS, ABC, Bloomberg, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. For more info, log on to: https://www.newyorkhistoricaltours.com/
Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry fled from her suburban upbringing in Hawthorne, New Jersey and quickly made her way to the mean streets of late-1960's New York City. Harry, who's currently on the road with Blondie spoke with Esquire, who pressed her about what she would be aiming for if she was a young woman hitting New York City today.
Harry revealed, "I think that probably now I would go into the sex industry. . . I don't know, but that's a clandestine area, and I was always interested in the clandestine. That's what attracted me to the music world. And I don't know where you can find that so much these days."
She was asked how old she was when she decide to make Manhattan her home -- and what exactly she was seeking out: "I don't know. 20? I was just at the end of being a teenager. . . I was trying to find myself. I wanted to be an artist or to be in showbiz; I wanted some excitement, some glam-a. I wanted out of what was expected of me. I wanted to live, live!"
Debbie Harry told us that it doesn't feel like it's been nearly 50 years since Blondie formed in Manhattan's Lower East Side: "Doesn't seem that long to me. The only time that it seemed long ago was after 9/11. All I could think of then was, 'Oh God, I wish it was the '70s again.' But that was 'cause it was such a shocking event and such a horrible thing that sort of rocked my world -- rocked all of our worlds. And I thought, 'Oh, God.' I was just really nostalgic -- and I am not a nostalgic person. I really enjoy moving on, and y'know, living."
It was 53 years ago today -- May 17th, 1969 -- that the Who's double album rock opera Tommy was released. The work, which was conceived and primarily written by Pete Townshend, was based on a boy, Tommy Walker, who although born healthy is traumatized into an autistic state at the sight of his father murdering his mother's lover. Once rendered deaf, dumb, and blind, Tommy is abused by multiple outside forces and eventually becomes treated as a new messiah due to his flawless pinball prowess, which is seen as a sign of his divine spirituality and purity.
Back in 2013, Townshend shed light on his original idea and work process behind the original Tommy album back in 1968 and 1969, telling The Globe And Mail: "Originally in the story, pinball was not a part of the exercise. The boy was not deaf, dumb and blind except in clinical terms. He had been traumatized. . . I spoke to our manager, Kit Lambert, who was the son of Constant Lambert, and who knew about opera, who knew about music outside rock n' roll. And he was very encouraging of me to do something very audacious and grand that was challenging, and challenging in a way that would challenge our audience."
He went on to say, "The only thing that is important is the audience. The only thing. And the message is from the audience to the stage, not the other way round. It's a strange mechanism, the one that underlies rock n' roll. The hero is not on the stage. So the hero is not Tommy. It's everybody in the audience. And I know that sounds like a pat cliche, but it happens to be true."
That same year, Townshend told TheStar.com that due to the sexual abuse he suffered as a child, he needed to hand some of the more disturbing plot twists in the storyline to bassist John Entwistle to compose. Townshend explained, "(Uncle) Ernie isn't about specific sexual abuse, it's about the threat of it, the inference if it, the fear of it. I actually asked John Entwistle to write that one, because I couldn't deal with it. I'd had my own bad time with my grandmother. I had been eroticized at an early age and I'd had to learn to deal with."
Townshend explained that dealing with such topics in his art was cathartic -- but only to a point: "I found that this is something that is not unique to me. It's a worldwide syndrome. And I couldn't write about a purely spiritual journey. I had to deal with hideous social scars that touch all of us."
When asked about what Tommy meant to him decades after writing the piece, Townshend said: "Sadly, not a lot has changed. There's still a sense that the family is in trouble, that the way religion operates is still in trouble, that the celebrity system is still in trouble and that all of these things. . . well, they're all the same. There's a poignancy to that. I think about my generation and think that it's sad that things were as they were."
The Who's original Tommy album peaked at Number Four on the album charts. Ken Russell directed the 1975 film version of Tommy, which included a new score by Pete Townshend and starred Roger Daltrey, Ann-Margret, and Oliver Reed. The film also featured appearances by Jack Nicholson, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton, and Elton John.
The Broadway version of The Who's Tommy ran for over two years on Broadway and won the Tony for director Des McAnuff's direction and Townshend's score, which tied with the score for Kiss Of The Spider Woman.
The Who performed Tommy in full throughout 1969 and 1970.
In response to the hit movie version, in 1975 and 1976, the Who reprised major portions of the album during their shows, and in 1989 performed most of it nightly on their 25th Anniversary reunion tour.
Tommy was re-released in 2013 as a "super deluxe" four-disc box set.
On the Who's current "Who Hits Back" tour, the band, with orchestration, opens the show with a set of Tommy material featuring "Overture," "It's A Boy," "1921," Amazing Journey," "Sparks," "Pinball Wizard," "We're Not Gonna Take It / "See Me, Feel Me."
Roger Daltrey told us that he remains awed at how Who fans have continued to embrace the legendary rock opera over the decades: "It's wonderful to watch people's faces at the beginning of Tommy, because it is truly wonderful. Because it starts with an overture and I'm not singing, I can watch the audience a bit more than I usually do. And it is pure joy on. . . . It's been incredible, the reception this has had."
Daltrey, who toured Tommy in 2018 with his solo band, is quick to stress that piece is actually the work of the Who -- not just composer Pete Townshend: "I've treated it like a classic piece of work written by one composer; and obviously it's not, it's written by a group of people, Every bit of music on there is written by a group of people. Pete might've written the top lines of most of the songs, but all the little bits and intricacies that were all part of the group's character belong to the individuals in that group. But I've treated that as though it was one composer and treated it with that kind of respect. It's a very different animal than when the Who took it on the road."
During a chat with renowned Who historian and author Matt Kent, Pete Townshend shed light on the primary elements that inspired what's considered among his and the Who's most groundbreaking and beloved works: "When I was making Tommy -- about a year before I started to write it, I'd come across an Indian spiritual master, called Meher Baba, and started to read about his message and was very inspired by it. But all around in the time, pop at the time was a lot of acid, a lot of psychedelic drugs, a lot of psychedelic imagery -- a lot of hippie stuff going on. I felt, if we could achieve anything; if I could achieve anything -- if it had a spiritual subtext, it would straddle the world of pop in which we'd come and this new hippie world that seemed to be about new age values. . . And I felt that the pop song, in a way, was designed to deal with spiritual issues with young people. That, that was all it was about. Y'know, when people say, 'No. Pop music is for singing and dancing' -- My response is 'Yes, well, hey, what could be more spiritual than that?'"
Out now on DVD, Blu-ray and CD is the Who's 'Tommy': Live At The Royal Albert Hall. Back on March 30th and April 1st, the band played the first complete performances of its 1969 rock opera in over 25 years, when Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey took to the stage to celebrate the 100th show performed for their patron charity, Teenage Cancer Trust at London's Royal Albert Hall.
Also out now on DVD and Blu-ray is Sensation: The Story Of The Who's Tommy. Townshend and Daltrey -- along with archival interviews with the late-Keith Moon and John Entwistle -- trace the band's progress from being a top UK singles band as their live show begins to gain steam positioning them to finally to break them in the U.S. with their double album opus.
Eric Clapton has announced seven North American shows to play throughout September. Good friend Jimmie Vaughan and his band will serve as the tour's special guests. Clapton kicks off the run on September 8th at Columbus' Schottenstein Center and wraps over two nights -- September 18th and 19th -- at New York City's Madison Square Garden. Clapton is also set to hit Detroit, Chicago, and Pittsburgh this time out.
Clapton will be backed on the upcoming dates by guitarist Doyle Bramhall II, keyboardists Paul Carrack and Chris Stainton, bassist Nathan East, drummers Sonny Emory and Steve Gadd, with Sharon White and Katie Kissoon on backing vocals.
Nathan East has recorded and toured with Clapton off and on since his 1986 August album. He reflected on the qualities that make his old pal such a unique artist: "Eric is just a one-of-a-kind. There's Eric and then there's every other musician (laughs). Everything he touches seems to turn to gold, y'know? He has a beautiful voice and I've never met anyone who plays with such passion. Music is such an expression of passion and all the things that have happened to you and whatever -- and Lord knows he's been through a lot in his life -- but the way it flows through him musically is like something I've never ever seen."
Although still one of the greatest axe-men on the planet, Eric Clapton feels his playing lacks then intensity that it did back in the mid-'90s: "I got a, a piece of footage from the mid-'90s of me when I was just playing a blues song, and I thought, 'Whoa.' There were some things that I was doing that I just don't even think I -- (I) consciously let go of. I don't do 'em anymore -- probably because they're too hard to do."
JUST ANNOUNCED: Eric Clapton North American tour dates (subject to change):
September 8 - Columbus, OH - Schottenstein Center
September 10 - Detroit, MI - Little Caesars Arena
September 12, 13 - Chicago, IL - United Center
September 16 - Pittsburgh, PA - PPG Paints Arena
September 18, 19 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
IN OTHER CLAPTON NEWS
Eric Clapton has been forced to postpone his May 17th show in Zurich, Switzerland and Milan, Italy on the 18th after testing positive for Covid.
According the the Clapton fan webpage, Where's Eric: "He has been told by his medical advisors that if he were to resume traveling and performing too soon, it could substantially delay his full recovery. Eric is also anxious to avoid passing on any infection to any of his band, crew, promoters, their staff and of course, the fans. So, after intensive internal discussion, it has been decided with great regret and apologies to all those concerned to postpone the performances."
The posting went on to say, "The present hope being to be able to resume the tour starting with the concerts in Bologna on 20th and 21st May. The shows are due to be rescheduled within the next six months and tickets purchased will remain valid for the new rescheduled date."
Set for release on November 18th is Michael Jackson's Thriller 40, a double CD set comprised of the original 1982 album along with second disc full of never-before-released tracks -- all mastered from the original analog master tapes. Mobile Fidelity will also make available the original Thriller album as a One-Step 180g 33RPM LP, pressed at RTI and strictly limited to 40,000 numbered copies as well as a hybrid SACD .
Walmart will have an exclusive version of the original Thriller album with an alternate 40th anniversary cover, while Target will have an exclusive version of the original album with a commemorative "Thriller 40" vinyl slip mat.
Michael Jackson's Thriller, which has sold over 100 million units globally, was released on November 30th, 1982 and scored seven Top 10 hits -- "The Girl Is Mine" -- with Paul McCartney (#2); "Billy Jean" (#1); "Beat It" (#1); "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" (#5); "Human Nature" (#7); "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" (#10); and "Thriller" (#4).
In 1983, while Thriller was still riding high during its astounding 37 weeks on top of the Billboard album charts, Michael Jackson spoke about the album's success: "Every time I get a platinum album, uh, it's never taken lightly on my behalf. I'm always honored and it's great thanks (from the fans). I'm very happy that the public enjoy what I do and I'll continue to put my heart into my work."