Yardbirds disband after half century

The Yardbirds are calling it quits, band leader Jim McCarty said. The news comes as the group finished celebratory tours marking a half century of making music. McCarty, a founding member of the groundbreaking British rockers, said the current lineup of the Yardbirds "will be parting ways at the end of the year." The drummer and songwriter said he would be "working on solo ventures and other Yardbirds projects in 2015." Guitarist Chris Dreja, the other original Yardbird working with recent editions, left the touring version in 2013 after he suffered a series of strokes. He was replaced by Top Topham, who was the first guitar player in the band, even ahead of Eric Clapton. Other musicians in the latest Yardbirds were Andy Mitchell (vocals, guitar, harp), Ben King (guitar) and … [Read more...]

Dead docu film to mark half century

One of the highlights of the Grateful Dead's 50th anniversary will be an official film documentary, directed by Amir Bar-Lev and overseen by Martin Scorsese. Bar-Lev made the acclaimed 2007 documentary "My Kids Could Paint That" as well as 2010's "Tillman." He was attached to an ill-fated Jerry Garcia biopic with the working title "Dark Star" back in 2010. "Millions of stories have been told about the Grateful Dead over the years," the surviving members of the Dead said in a statement. "With our 50th anniversary coming up, we thought it might just be time to tell one ourselves and Amir is the perfect guy to help us do it. Needless to say, we are humbled to be collaborating with Martin Scorsese." Scorsese, of course, has long made films displaying his love of rock music. His film … [Read more...]

Ramases: Collected and celebrated

"Ramases: Complete Discography" is truth in advertising, unfortunately. A house fire claimed demo tapes for what was to be the third album by the eccentric British singer-songwriter. Otherwise, it's all here. The release of this six-CD box set is found treasure for the cult of Ramases, such as it is. Only a thousand physical copies are being produced of "Ramases: Complete Discography," reflecting the artist's deep obscurity. Yet this is no rote kitchen-sink project. The record label owner, actor Peter Stormare, whose fandom goes back to Ramases' 1971 debut album, has crafted two outstanding and unique discs from the limited catalog: One, a significant sonic restoration of Ramases' troubled second album; the other an unusually viable tribute album from contemporary artists. Both … [Read more...]

Lips’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’ salute out Oct. 28

The Flaming Lips' retelling of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" will be out Oct. 28, the band confirmed. The track-by-track reimagining is dubbed, of course, "With a Little Help From My Fwends." The label is Warner Bros. The heady "fwends" include pop siren Miley Cyrus and Moby, with MGMT, Sean Lennon and My Morning Jacket possibly linked to the project. The Lips performed "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" with Sean Lennon on late-night TV recently, and just this week joined Cyrus on a U.K. tour stop for a run-through of the same number. Preorders for "With a Little Help From My Fwends" begin in late May and include a preview download of the Cyrus-sung "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds." The Lips included a cover of the Fabs' "All You Need Is Love" as a bonus track on … [Read more...]

Cream refreshed in SHM-SACD format

Cream's "Disraeli Gears" and "Fresh Cream" are in line for superstar treatment in the SACD audiophile format. The British trio's first two albums are being released in Japan on SHM-SACD, which is billed as the ultimate expression of the Super Audio CD format. Limited editions, in stereo and mono, with bonus tracks. The mono mix of "Fresh Cream" appears to be the first on CD. "Wheels of Fire," the third album, returns on "platinum" SHM-CD and (regular) SHM-CD. A Japanese SHM-SACD version of the live/studio album was released in 2010 and appears to be out of print. There also are new SHM-CD versions of "Disraeli Gears" and "Fresh Cream" -- regular and in the platinum (it's used to replace the usual aluminum reflective coating). All of these discs will be available for import. … [Read more...]

Rock Hall noms to Yes, Zombies, Deep Purple

Yes, Deep Purple and the Zombies bring a healthy dose of U.K. psychedelia to the 2014 nominees list for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Also nominated are the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, whose sonic explorations of the 1960s include the raga-rock mindblower "East-West," and genre-spanning art rocker Peter Gabriel. Other acts identified with the 1960s are Linda Ronstadt, the Meters, Link Wray and Cat Stevens. Yes, Gabriel and the Zombies are first-time nominees. Yes has been a notable and puzzling omission to the Rock Hall, perceived, perhaps, as a genre snub of progressive rock. Last year's induction ceremony saw Rush make the cut, though, bringing the first taste of prog to the institution. Other nominees are Hall and Oates, Nirvana, the Replacements, Chic, KISS, N.W.A. and … [Read more...]

No Furthur? Band on indefinite ‘hiatus’

After four years of music making, Furthur is going on "hiatus," at least for most of 2014. "Furthur's not breaking up; they're simply taking a much-needed break," said a press release on the Furthur web site and Facebook page. Furthur, led by Grateful Dead veterans Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, has been engaged in "four years of heavy, year-round touring." The break begins after the four-day Furthur stand in Riviera Maya, Mexico, in mid-January. Weir and Lesh both have suites of side projects, including Weir's Ratdog band and Phil Lesh & Friends. Lesh's band already has scheduled a dozen shows on the East Coast, beginning on Halloween for four nights at Grateful Dead stronghold the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y. Weir does regular web broadcasts ("Weir Here") from his TRI … [Read more...]

Furthur’s Weir plays on in Atlantic City

Bob Weir was back in action Saturday as Furthur played Atlantic City, two nights after the singer/guitarist collapsed onstage after struggling through most of the band's show. Update: Furthur canceled its BottleRock Napa Valley music festival appearance of May 9. The Further web site said, "Grateful Dead & Furthur co-founder Bob Weir is unable to perform in any capacity for the next several weeks." Weir and the band will return July 11 in Brooklyn to kick off the summer tour, the post indicated. /update After Weir's fall in Port Chester, N.Y., a bandmate said on social media that Weir mistakenly had taken the sedative Ambien instead of a painkiller for a recent shoulder injury. "Sometimes the rock n roll life is not all rainbows & fairy dust," guitarist John Kadlecik posted on his … [Read more...]

Sportsman’s Dead: Band, NBA team

The studio-tanned Grateful Dead weren't known for their athleticism -- unless hourlong workouts on "Dark Star" count -- but the band's sports connection keeps getting stronger. Sports stars and the Dead aren't quite the strange bedfellows they would seem. Perhaps you caught the recent documentary about the band coming to the financial rescue of the 1992 Lithuanian national basketball team. Various sports celebrities professed their Dead fanhood over the years, including official mascot Bill Walton. The former pro basketball star says the band's influence on him was up there with that of UCLA's John Wooden, high praise indeed. Walton is enshrined in the Dead organization's hall of fame and serves on the board of the Rex Foundation, the band's charitable unit. Deadheads dubbed him … [Read more...]

Tales of ‘Terror’ from the Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips explore their dark side with the release of "The Terror" on April 16. Frontman Wayne Coyne tells fans to brace themselves for "a bleak, disturbing record." The Lips -- the highest-profile band creating psychedelic music these days -- have released at least a dozen other albums over their 30-year history. The latest project under the Lips banner was a mostly faithful re-creation of King Crimson's 1969 stunner "In the Court of the Crimson King." The Flaming Lips and the new music are set for a big-time promo push with their appearance in a Super Bowl commercial for Hyundai. The ad features the propulsive track "Sun Blows Up Today," which is not officially on the new album. Beginning Tuesday, however, fans who preorder "The Terror" on the iTunes Store get the track as … [Read more...]

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