Mobile Edition
Visit the Rock'n'Roll Zone boards @ Pinterest!
Share RSS Feed
Back Stage
Past reports of news coverage and commentary on events that shape the rock music universe.

This is a reverse chronological archive of past reports
(Page 1 of 3) [page 2] [page 3]...
The most recent reports are located here.

Blue Oyster Cult co-founder Allen Lanier has died at the age of 67. In 1967, Lanier, with acquaintances Albert Bouchard, Les Braunstein, Donald Roser and Andrew Winters formed a band named Soft White Underbelly. After Braunstein's eventual departure, the band changed it's name to Blue Oyster Cult and signed with Columbia Records. The band's stature grew rapidly through the seventies with songs such as Don't Fear The Reaper and Burnin' For You, that did well on the rock charts in addition to attaining revered status as exceptional "album" tracks. By the late seventies, Lanier became creatively and personally involved with punk musician Patti Smith and forged an interest in the era's burgeoning "new wave" scene. Unfortunately, the demands of touring with BOC eventually took a toll on the relationship's personal side. Except for a brief parting of ways in the mid-eighties, Lanier continued recording and touring with BOC until he retired in 2006. The cause of death has been attributed to chronic pulmonary disease, an affliction that commonly sets in after years of cigarette smoking. (August 15, 2013)

In a pop-culture environment where the perceived success of creative individuals is virtually joined at-the-hip with populist image and profile, J.J. Cale, who passed away this past July 26, had to be an obvious exception. The American roots, blues and rockabilly guitarist-songwriter genuinely savored remaining in the background and letting the fruits of his talent show largely through the performances of others. Cale, whose birth name was John Weldon, was born in Oklahoma City on December 5, 1938 and became interested in music while attending school. He initially played in a short-lived band and later used his spare time away from some menial jobs to listen to country and rockabilly records from artists like Chet Atkins, Chuck Berry and Les Paul. After an early 60's move to Nashville out of a desire to find work as a country recording session player failed to pan out, Cale returned to Oklahoma, unsure of his future. A reversal in fortune if not Cale's "big break" may well have happened after meeting a former acquaintance - Leon Russell, who invited Cale to Los Angeles to work with him at recording sessions there. It wasn't long before Cale's reputation solidified, and in 1967 he released his first album. Two years later, he joined a tour of the spouses Delaney and Bonnie Bramlet who were playing with the young but accomplished blues impresario Eric Clapton. After the tour, Cale was back in Nashville doing some of the session work that had previously eluded him. A possibly uncertain future was staved off when Clapton recorded and released a (top-twenty) hit cover of Cale's song After Midnight. Cale was signed to a recording contract which resulted in two solo albums that showed his authentic, naturally understated style - 1972's Naturally and 1974's Okie. Later highlights in Cale's career included playing in concert with Clapton in the U.K. and seeing more successful hit covers of his songs by, yet again, Clapton as well as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Santana. Cale later settled in California and following an unsuccessful album effort, spent most of the 80's outside any professional involvement in music. During the 90's onward, Cale re-found his way and recorded six more albums, the last of which was released in 2009. A 2006 album, The Road To Escondido - recorded with Eric Clapton, won a Grammy Award. Cale is survived by his wife Christine. (July 29, 2013)

The Doors co-founder Ray Manzarek has died at the age of 74 at a medical clinic in Rosenheim Germany. The cause of death was attributed to a bile duct cancer condition he had been reportedly battling for some time. A native of Chicago's south-side, Manzarek was drawn toward music in his youth, taking classical piano lessons. He later moved to California to enroll in an arts-based education at UCLA. After meeting and striking up a friendship with fellow film student and aspiring poetry writer Jim Morrison, the pair grew intrigued at the possibility of forming their own rock band. Manzarek soon called on John Densmore and Robby Kreiger, two music students he had previously met in a transcendental meditation class. A band was formed and was named "The Doors" - inspired by the title of a psychedelically themed book Manzarek had likely encountered during his meditation studies: "The Doors of Perception." The foursome practiced enthusiastically, wrapping their respective musical talents around Morrison's dark, foreboding lyrics with Manzarek's keyboard technique shaping a large part of the band's signature sound. The Doors were soon playing dates at various spots around L.A., achieving resident status at the now legendary Whiskey A Go Go in 1966. A cyclic whirlwind of controversy, opportunity and turmoil that would surround the band until their eventual breakup began when "the Whiskey" evicted the band following Morrison's controversially profane impromptu lyrical rendering of The End. Opportunity, however, had arisen two months prior when Elektra Records had approached and signed the band to a recording contract. A debut album The Doors was released in 1967 and was immediately adopted by the era's "summer of love" culture, with the #1 hit Light My Fire becoming an anthem of sorts. In the years ahead, more albums and chart singles followed, but controversy was never far away. Morrison's natural penchant for provoking and challenging established cultural norms weather performing live in concert or on TV, resulted in sanctions and eventual prosecution. Meanwhile, the band's music took on a sound and style of it's own. In concert, Manzarek skillfully played bass registers simultaneously with his left hand as the four-member band lacked a dedicated bassist. The seven minute dark, but none the less epic Riders on the Storm was strongly characterized by Manzarek's style on the Fender Rhodes electric piano. It wasn't long before a weary, addicted and depressed Morrison became thoroughly disenchanted with the music industry's corporate ways and decided to leave the band, relocating to France to concentrate solely on writing and recording his spoken-word poetry. Not long after Morrison's 1972 death and burial in Paris, The Doors inevitably broke up despite Manzarek's efforts to keep the band united. A reunion of sorts took place in 1977 when Manzarek, Dunsmore and Kreiger worked together on a musical backing mix to accompany Morrison's recorded poetry. The result was released on album as An American Prayer. Manzarek last resided in Napa California and had worked on various post-Doors projects including an ambitious rock adaptation of the classical work Carmina Burana and an album Translucent Blues borne of a 2011 collaboration with blues guitarist Roy Rogers. Ray Manzarek is survived by two younger brothers Rick and Jim, his wife Dorothy, a son and three grandchildren. (May 21, 2013)

Ten Years After guitar frontman Alvin Lee has passed away at age 68 from complications following surgery. An official statement issued by the band credited Lee's guitar virtuosity for establishing Ten Years After as "one of the most respected and loved guitar-based blues bands of the late 1960s-70s." Following a stint at Hamburg Germany's Star Club, where The Beatles had earlier began their own path to fame, Lee, who was born Graham Alvin Barnes in Nottingham England, moved on to form Ten Years After about mid-way through the sixties. Lee's bandmates eventually included Leo Lyons, Chick Churchill and Ric Lee (no relation). In a statement issued through the band's publicist, Ric said "We are all stunned. All of us. I don't think its even sunk in yet as to the reality of his passing. We are all thinking of his family and friends today, and offer our own condolences." (March 6, 2013)

The Rolling Stones have joined an impressive roster of high-profile music stars set to perform at the "12-12-12" Hurricane Sandy Benefit being held in New York this week. The veteran rockers will also perform the final set of their current 50th anniversary Comeback concert series in Newark, NJ. They will be joined on stage by fellow vet and 'Jersey native Bruce Springsteen, along with contemporary artists The Black Keys and Lady Gaga. The Stones' comeback tour launched last month with two shows held in London. A subsequent concert has since taken place in Brooklyn this past Saturday. (December 10, 2012)

Organizers of a forthcoming docu-drama film about the late AC/DC vocalist Bon Scott are hunting for a producer. The starring role has gone to musician, writer and actor Rob Liotti, an American who has been portraying Scott on stage for years. "This is an extremely unique opportunity for a producer to become involved with a project that will have built-in, worldwide appeal," Liotti said. "One thing of integral importance, however, is that it be the right producer for the project. "This is a movie about a music icon. "Therefore, the right producer clearly considers monetary investment and ROI [Return On Investment] , but the passion needs to be there as well." Fans can keep up with the project at www.thebonscottmovie.com , also on Facebook at Bon Scott - The Legend of AC/DC Movie Page, and can follow on Twitter @RobLiotti. (August 18, 2012)

Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord has passed away. According to a message posted on the band's website, the 71 year old had died of a pulmonary embolism following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Lord had co-founded the band and had co-written the legendary 1973 song Smoke On The Water which secured the band's place alongside other early heavy-rock "metal" British bands such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. In spite of several personnel changes over the years, Lord remained with Deep Purple until 2002. After leaving, he played with some other bands, including late 80's chart-topper Whitesnake. (July 17,2012)

At a weekend concert in London, a performance by Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen was abruptly silenced after power to the stage sound system was cut. The three hour Springsteen concert had already ran a half-hour past it's allotted 10:30 PM municipal curfew when Springsteen invited McCartney to join him on stage. They were performing a duet of the early Beatles chart hits I Saw Her Standing There and Twist And Shout. The power was shut off by the promoter's management who had reportedly decided that the concert had run too long past the curfew. Bummer. (July 17,2012)

Original Fleetwood Mac member Bob Welch was found dead of a gunshot wound to the chest at his Nashville home. The 66 year old vocalist and guitar player who had reportedly been undergoing some health problems was found by his wife. A suicide note apparently penned by Welch was also found. Welch was with Fleetwood Mac from 1971 to 1974, ironically leaving just prior to the huge success of their legendary 1975 self-titled album that introduced new members Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to the fold. Welch had played on earlier 'Mac albums such as Future Games and Bare Trees. After leaving, he formed his own harder-edged group, Paris. In the late seventies he enjoyed a moderately successful but brief solo career with the album French Kiss and it's chart hits Sentimental Lady and Ebony Eyes. (June 8, 2012)

The classic rock, folk and roots music universe has lost an iconic performer. Levon Helm, legendary drummer and vocalist for The Band has passed away. For the last several days, the ailing 71 year old's family had been holding a bedside vigil until he finally succumbed to the throat cancer he had began battling as far back as 1998. Helm was born to an Arkansas farming family in 1940 and became interested in music at a young age. He later joined fellow Arkansas native Ronnie Hawkin's band The Hawks as a drummer. In the early sixties, Hawkins relocated his band to Canada, where a change of personnel took place with Canadians Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel taking over the lead guitar, bass and keyboard roles with Helm alone remaining from the previous U.S. lineup. In 1965, after the band and Hawkins had parted ways, Bob Dylan recruited them as back up for his first "electric guitar" tour. Helm was dismayed by the hostile reaction the band received from fans accustomed to Dylan's former acoustic guitar sound and retreated back to Arkansas to rethink his future. In 1968 while Dylan was recuperating from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, Helm rejoined his former band mates to form "The Band." Over the succeeding years, the five musicians amassed a critically acclaimed body of work that although undeniably rock, was highly steeped in folk and Americana. Their most well known songs include Up On Cripple Creek, Stage Fright, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and The Weight. The band had eventually decided to stop touring, and to mark the occasion, in 1976 staged an invitation-only concert dubbed The Last Waltz. Robertson brought in his friend Martin Scorsese to film a documentary of the event. In 1983, after making a few solo albums, Helm rejoined everyone except Robertson who was off trying his hand at motion picture acting. Helm himself was to later do some acting in movies such as The Right Stuff and Coal Miner's Daughter. Two years after the tragic suicidal death of keyboardist Richard Manuel in 1986, The Band, again without Robertson, released what was to be their final album. Helm spent the following years appearing at numerous musical events such as regional folk festivals, but in spite of a 1998 throat cancer diagnosis, wasn't yet finished with recording. He received separate Grammys for two of his later solo albums: 2007's Dirt Farmer and 2009's Electric Dirt. Rolling Stone magazine had earlier accorded him a spot on their "100 greatest singers of all time" list. Helm is survived by his wife Amy and daughter Sandy, who had performed as a backing singer in his last band. (April 19, 2012)

Dick Clark, host of the long running U.S. TV show American Bandstand has died after suffering a heart attack. The 82 year old had been admitted to a Santa Monica CA hospital the previous evening for a reportedly routine outpatient medical procedure. Bandstand's roughly thirty year run, which had began in 1957, made Clark a very ubiquitous TV personality. However, the show was not without it's critics. They denounced it's blatant "cleansing" of rock'n'roll's original rhythm and blues character and saw this as a vain attempt to increase mainstream acceptance and marketability in view of the culturally-conservative parents of the genre's rapidly growing teen-age audience. The result was a blander non-rock "pop" sound which was, none the less, a highly successful catalyst that propelled many bands up to the top of the charts. Controversy arose in 1959 when Clark was investigated for having partial copyright ownership in many of the songs he promoted on his show. Although he was later found to have not acted unlawfully, he chose to divest his outside music business interests and concentrate strictly on Bandstand. More recently, Clark had hosted ABC's "Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve" and had a hand in producing an updated version of his original show which had initially been pitched to several networks in 2004. After some revisions, the show, So You Think You Can Dance was eventually picked up by the FOX network. (April 17, 2012)

Doobie Brothers drummer Mike Hossack has passed away from cancer at the age of 65. According to his friend and fellow Doobie, Pat Simmons, Hossack had been battling the disease over the last few years. The New Jersey native began playing drums at the age of 12. In early adulthood he joined the U.S. navy and served in Vietnam. Upon returning stateside, his plans to enter a career in law enforcement were averted when he joined a band called Mourning Reign. It wasn't long until he was invited to join a new band from northern California which evolved into the Doobie Brothers. In the early seventies, his talent in the studio was a major force in the sound of several now legendary Doobie songs such as China Grove, Listen To The Music and Long Train Running. In 1973 he left the band to form another group, Bonaroo as well as to pursue some private business interests, including a partnership in a recording studio. He rejoined the Doobies in 1987, initially playing on tour and later back in the studio for the albums Cycles, Brotherhood and the more recent World's Gone Crazy. According to his manager, Mike Hossack died peacefully at his Wyoming home. He is survived by a son and daughter. (March 13, 2012)

Made-for-TV band The Monkees member Davy Jones has reportedly died of a heat attack at his Florida home. The 66 year old Manchester England native had embarked on an acting career as a child, appearing in British soap operas as well as the London stage production of Oliver! That role eventually landed him "across the pond" in a New York production of the show. In the course of a 1964 promotional cast appearance on the famed Ed Sullivan variety TV show, Jones was reportedly mesmerized while he watched off-stage as The Beatles made their first U.S. TV appearance. The experience left Jones determined to move into popular music performance, eventually signing a contract with Screen Gems Pictures and being cast to play a member of a fictional Beatles-like band called "The Monkees." He was joined by Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork. The four quickly found fame as stars of the self-named "Monkees" TV show, but rapidly evolved beyond acting into popular musicians of their own right. Between 1965 and 1969, the group had several top-ten pop chart hits including Daydream Believer, I'm Not Your Stepping Stone and Last Train To Clarksville. In later years, Jones had participated in some of the band's reunion engagements - one of which was as recently as this past summer, as well as occasionally reprising his former Monkees character in guest-appearance roles on various TV shows. He is survived by his wife and four daughters. (Feb 29, 2012)

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with lymphoid cancer. A message posted on the band's Facebook page read "With the news that Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma, his band mates would like everyone to send positive vibes to the guitarist at this time. Iommi is currently working with his doctors to establish the best treatment plan — the “IRON MAN” of Rock & Roll remains upbeat and determined to make a full and successful recovery. This comes as Black Sabbath — Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass) and Bill Ward (drums) — are writing and recording their first album in 33 years in Los Angeles (still set for release this fall) with producer Rick Rubin. They will now go to the UK to continue to work with Tony. Further information will be released as it becomes available." The band had announced a reunion, new album and upcoming world tour in November 2011. (January 10, 2012)

The highly regarded alt-rock band REM is about to be no more. An announcement posted on the band's website states: "...as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening." The band, consisting of lead vocalist Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry had formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1980. While performing on a European tour in 1995, Berry had suffered a cerebral aneurysm, the complications from which had led to his departure from the band in 1997. Even though commonly regarded as an eighties band, REM had experienced most of it's musical success in the nineties decade. The band is best known today for songs such as The One I Love, It's the End of the World as We Know It, Stand, Losing My Religion, Shiny Happy People, What's the Frequency, Kenneth? and Man on the Moon. (September 21, 2011)

Former lead singer Jani Lane, of the band Warrant has been found dead in a Los Angeles hotel room. Although the L.A. coroner had not released any determination of a cause of death, Lane's ongoing battle with alcohol addiction was well known to his family, acquaintances and colleagues. His manager had indicated the death was alcohol related. Warrant was front and center in the "hair" metal scene that began evolving in the late eighties. Their early nineties song Cherry Pie, written by Lane and promoted by an provocative accompanying music video, had sold over 2 million copies. The model who had performed in the video was in fact Lane's first wife, Bobbie Brown. In 2003, Lane had released a solo album titled Back Down To One, but still played with Warrant on an irregular basis. With his first two marriages having ended in divorce, Jani Lane is survived by a brother, three sisters, his wife Kimberly, two daughters - one each from the two initial marriages and two stepdaughters. (August 14, 2011)

Dan Peek of the folk-tinged classic rock trio America has died at the age of 60. The band was best known for their early seventies chart hits A Horse With No Name, Sister Golden Hair and Lonely People. America had formed in London England where Peek along with friends Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley had been attending high school. The families of the three American students had earlier relocated to England where their U.S. military personnel parents had been stationed. The trio had nostalgically chosen the name "America" to accentuate the fact they were Americans as opposed to British musicians merely mimicking an American sound. Their self-titled debut album was released in England in 1971 and the following year in North America. For several years the band enjoyed a good measure of fame buoyed by their rapid success. However, by the late seventies, Peek had become distraught with what he saw as rock's cliche-ridden lifestyle and left the band for a new career in Christian music. He's survived by his long time, high-school sweetheart wife Catherine who had found him dead in his sleep, his parents and several siblings. Peek's former band-mates Beckley and Bunnell continue on as a duo, mostly composing but also touring and performing live on occasion. (July 29, 2011)

One of the rock era's most recognizable and renowned musicians has died. Saxophonist Clarence Clemons who although in recent years had often performed solo, was best known for his role as a founding member of Bruce Springsteen's legendary E-Street Band. The towering Clemons, nicknamed "big man" by Springsteen and his band mates, had been hospitalized after suffering a stroke at his Florida home six days earlier. Springsteen had posted a tributary message on his website saying "...His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years..." Clemons had last performed with the E-Street band late last year and had recently collaborated with the chart-topping contemporary artist Lady Ga-Ga. He often told others how as a youngster he originally had his heart set on a career in athletics - preferably football, but that became destined to change due to injuries he had sustained in a car accident many years after his father gave him a saxophone for a gift. In 1972, after a period of playing solo at various gigs around New Jersey, Clemons was eventually invited by an appreciative Springsteen to join a new band he was putting together. The E-Street band was born and became increasingly thrust into the era's rock music limelight with the release of albums such as Greetings From Asbury Park and the chart-dominating, critically acclaimed 1976 classic Born To Run. Far beyond being a typical instrumental backdrop, Clemons' masterful backing and solo passages thoroughly electrified songs such as Badlands, Jungleland and Born To Run. The passing of the 69 year old Clemons had been preceded by E-Street band keyboardist and long-time Springsteen acompaniast Danny Federici who had died of cancer in 2008. (June 19, 2011)

Joan Jett and Cherie Currie of The Runaways are taking joint legal action to stop the release of a forthcoming tribute album. The ironically named Take It or Leave It has 36 tracks featuring renditions of Runaways classics recorded by several contemporary bands. The album is scheduled for release at the end of this month. Jett and Currie claim the album project's imaging goes too far in it's use of their likenesses and names for marketing purposes. As it turns out, Jett is no stranger to being in court. The band's former bassist Jacqueline Fuchs having begun a new career as a lawyer, had objected to being portrayed in the 2010 movie The Runaways and wanted the film's production stopped. A compromise of sorts had eventually been reached with Jett and her producers relegating that particular character's role largely to the story line's background. The movie was doubtlessly responsible for a steep rise in the band's profile and marketability - something that Jett and Currie likely contend the producers of the tribute album are only too keenly aware of. (June 13, 2011)

As classic rockers Judas Priest prepare to embark on what's been labeled their "final" tour, the band's guitarist K.K. Downing has stepped down and reportedly will not be taking part. A statement posted on the band's website read "It is with regret that Judas Priest announce that K.K. Downing has formally retired from the band and will therefore not be joining them on their forthcoming Epitaph Tour. The band respects his decision and naturally all wish him well." Faced with the sudden departure, remaining band members singer Rob Halford, guitarist Glenn Tipton, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis mutually decided to continue with the tour. UK guitarist Richie Faulkner has been recruited to take Downing's place. (April 22, 2011)

Former Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore has reportedly died in his sleep. According to his manager, the fifty-eight year old had suddenly passed away while vacationing in Costa del Sol, Spain this last weekend. Having earlier played with the Irish Band Skid Row, Moore carried the additional reputation of being an accomplished solo performer upon joining Thin Lizzy at the behest of frontman Phil Lynott - himself a Skid Row alumni. Moore had taken over lead guitar following the departure of Eric Bell from the band. He was predeceased by Lynott who had passed away in 1986. Originally hailing from Belfast, Northern Ireland and later relocating to Dublin in 1969 as a teen, Gary Moore is survived by his wife and children. (Feb 7, 2011)

Scottish singer songwriter Gerry Rafferty has passed away at the age of 63. He was best known for his 1978 song Baker Street, and Stuck In The Middle With You which although well received when first released as a Stealers Wheel single in 1972, found far more recognition upon inclusion in the soundtrack of the eighties Quinten Tarantino gangster movie Reservoir Dogs. After dropping out of school in his teens, Rafferty formed what was to be a short-lived band with one of his friends, Joe Egan. Eventually by the early seventies, the pair found themselves reunited in Stealers Wheel which had stayed together long enough to release three albums before dissolving in 1975. After maneuvering his way through a frustrating bout of music-related contractual disputes that legally blocked him from releasing new material, Rafferty eventually signed with United Artists records and went on to record the hugely successful solo effort City To City which was released in mid-1978. On both sides of the Atlantic, the critically acclaimed album's first single Baker Street swiftly ascended to top ten chart status. The song's eerily distinctive Raphael Ravenscroft saxophone solo lent it a sound that stood out well from the soft rock and disco influenced pop that seemingly dominated that era's mainstream radio play. Among his next albums, only 1979's Night Owl met with any recognizable success, going Top Five in Britain and Top Twenty in North America. Rafferty had later contributed a soundtrack vocal to the 1983 film Local Hero which also featured the music of former Dire Straits front man Mark Knofler. Having divorced his wife Carla, Rafferty is survived by a daughter, brother and granddaughter. (January 5, 2011)

It's not so much a case of too little, too late as perhaps too much, much too late. I speak of the sudden availability of the entire Beatles catalog on iTunes following what could only be described as a protracted stand-off. The past legal battles between the Beatles' recording label Apple and the former Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) stemming from sharing a similar name have been documented both here and elsewhere. Until very recently, that battle culminated in a stalemate of sorts, with each side agreeing to grant the other specific rights - yada, yada. However, one area where the late Apple Corps head Neil Aspinall stood firm was his refusal to license the fab four's music to both third-party compilations and digital download services - such as Apple's iTunes. At least part of that mantra began to change last summer when Aspinall's successor Jeff Jones met with EMI Group CEO Roger Faxon. Since then, negotiations have taken place with iTunes representatives to hammer out an agreement that, according to the The Wall Street Journal, makes iTunes an exclusive on-line retailer for Beatles music until at least January. There's just one problem here - it's not 2001 any more. By this stage of the game, any semi-serious Beatles fan already owns all the Beatles music they care about on CD. Those CDs would either be one of the initial 1987 releases or from among last year's newly remastered series. Since it happens to be really easy to transcode or "rip" tracks from CD to digital files playable on virtually all portable music players - including Apple's own iPod lineup, I simply can't see this development as all that culturally or economically sustainable, and least of all the monumental occasion that Apple's Steve Jobs is making it out to be. (November 17, 2010)

The latest incarnation of the classic seventies prog-rock band Yes is set to hit the studio to begin work on their first new CD in a decade under a newly signed recording contract. The band's present-day lineup includes veterans Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White. They're joined by Oliver Wakeman who, if that name rings a bell - and it should, is the son of former member Rick Wakeman. Lead vocals will be the responsibility of another newcomer, Benoit David. In our view, such a mixture of veterans and new talent appears to nobly continue the long-standing Yes tradition of gently wrapping the "core" Yes sound and musical approach within a fresh musical perspective. The band, which has sold over 33 million albums worldwide, has signed with Italy based Frontiers Records. A band publicist has stated the new CD should be finished and released "prior to summer 2011." (October 31, 2010)

Original Yardbirds and later-to-be Led Zeppelin guitar legend Jimmy Page has been accused of plagiarizing the blues drenched 'Zep' staple Dazed and Confused from someone else's work. Jake Holmes has stepped forward claiming the song as his own and that it had been offered to The Yardbirds in 1967 while Page was still a member. They did not record it. However, the song was recorded by 'Zeppelin and released two years later on their self-titled 1969 debut album where it was credited as being composed by Page, but with a curiously sperate copyright. Mr. Holmes is suing for total statutory damages of $150,000 USD - a figure that, in light of the song's impressive sales on original albums, reissues and compilations alike, can doubtlessly stand a great deal higher today than if the claim had been hastily pursued four decades ago. (July 1, 2010)

Original Kinks bassist Pete Quaife has died of kidney failure at the age of 66. As a founding member of the infamous "British Invasion" band, Quaife had initially hooked up with brothers Ray Davies and Dave Davies. With Ray fronting and Dave on lead guitar, the rock'n'roll combo passed through a few name changes before establishing themselves as The Kinks in 1964. At that point, the band had an accomplished drummer, Mick Avory on board. What's now regarded as the "garage-band" sound was likely born when their song You Really Got Me ascended to number one on the British Charts, followed shortly by All Day and All of the Night replete with it's signature distorted bass-guitar "grunge." Quaife's full-time involvement with the band ended in 1966 giving way to his departure by 1969. By then, various creative and personal disputes with the other band members had reportedly descended to a physical altercation level. Quaife's health had began failing in the late nineties, culminating in renal failure which necessitated ongoing rounds of dialysis treatment. Residing in Denmark at the time of his death, Quaife is survived by his fiancée and daughter. (June 26, 2010)

A back injury sustained by U2 vocalist Bono during rehearsal training has resulted in a one-year postponement of the band's 2010 North American tour. According to doctors at the German hospital where the fifty year-old singer underwent emergency surgery just days ago, a period of at least eight weeks will be required to both recuperate and begin a rehabilitation program. The sixteen stop U2360 tour was originally set to begin June 3 in Salt Lake City and would have concluded July 23 in New Jersey. A representative of Live Nation Touring announced that details on the rescheduled dates will be made available shortly and advised admission holders to keep their tickets. (May 25, 2010)

Ronnie James Dio has died at age 67 following a battle with stomach cancer. Dio's earliest bands included The Vegas Kings, Elf and Rainbow. Fame struck in 1979 when he replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath. Dio left Sabbath in 1982 and formed his own band Dio with drummer Vinnie Appice. He was inducted into Hollywood's Rock Walk of Fame in 2007. Over the following years, Dio and Appice teamed up with original Sabbath members Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler to perform on the Heaven And Hell tour. Following a stomach cancer diagnosis last year, Dio pulled out of the tour as his health began to worsen. He is survived by his wife Wendy, a son and two grandchildren. (May 16, 2010)

Singer Doug Fieger who sang vocals and played rhythm guitar in the late-seventies band The Knack has passed away at age 57. His family had announced his death as resulting from complications of lung cancer. He died at his home in Woodland Hills Calif. Over the years, The Knack had come to symbolize rock 'n' roll's dreaded yet respectably iconic one-hit-wonder status. Their wonderfully high-energy single My Sharona from the album Get The Knack shot rapidly up to number one on the charts during the summer of 1979, where it remained for six weeks. Unfortunately, that kind of success eluded the band's follow-up attempts. Their next release, Good Girls Don't taken from the same album, narrowly missed making it into the top ten. Before Fieger's passing, the band had already lost a founding member. Drummer Bruce Gary had died in 2006. (February 16, 2010)

John Mellencamp's son Spek wants his dad to quit smoking - so he made a little deal with his father. It's as simple as this: Spek has started up a dedicated "my dad John Mellencamp will quit smoking" Facebook page and John has agreed that once 1,000,000 have visited the page, he will quit smoking. I might be reading more into this than I should, but considering that "dad" didn't insist on some form of time limit, he just may be content to see this thing drag on as long as possible. (December 6, 2009)

The inventor of the solid body electric guitar and for that matter, the underlaying sound of most rock 'n' roll, has died. Les Paul has passed away at age 94 following a bout of what a representative described as "severe pneumonia." Paul was highly renowned for both his artistic and technical mastery of guitar music. He was an early pioneer of recording studio techniques such as electronically produced echo and multi-tracking, which in the early days used magnetic tape running on reel-to-reel machines. As a musician, Paul had formed a duo with his wife Mary Ford, turning out several hits in the 1950's. After developing a six-string guitar body that allowed for superior tone-control and pickup placement, Paul partnered with the Gibson guitar company where his designs achieved unrivaled success and status over the years that followed. (August 13, 2009)

The recent on-stage fall of Aerosmith front man Stephen Tyler has resulted in the postponement and possible cancellation of the next show on their current tour, with some doubt being cast over succeeding shows proceeding as originally scheduled. Initial reports on the accidental fall during an August 5 show in Sturgis, South Dakota, held that Tyler's injuries were sufficiently minor that the tour's forthcoming schedule would not be affected. Unfortunately, the band's management has since informed promoters that today's August 7 stop in Winnipeg Manitoba would have to be postponed in light of a more thorough medical assessment of Tyler's condition. The 61 year old singer had been performing (rather ironically we think) Love In An Elevator to entertain the crowd during a sound system outage when he lost his footing and tumbled quasi-head-first downwards off a narrow cat-walk appendage to the main stage. The incident brought the show to a halt. Tyler, who has already undergone surgery on his foot and knee, had sustained visible head, neck and shoulder injuries. He was reportedly feeling some pain afterwards but remained in good spirits while being airlifted to hospital. (August 7,2009)
UPDATE: Aerosmith has announced that due to the extent of Tyler's injuries, the remainder of the band's summer tour has been postponed. The latest information is posted on the band's website.

Musician David Byrne, has some harsh words for U2 and it's lead singer Bono. The former Talking Heads vocalist is crying foul over the lavish size and scale of the legendary Irish band's current tour in light of Bono's high-profile urging for leaders of well-off nations to increase their financial stake in the war against third-world poverty. Byrne has posted on his website: "Those stadium shows may possibly be the most extravagant and expensive (production-wise) ever: $40 million to build the stage and, having done the math, we estimate 200 semi trucks crisscrossing Europe for the duration. "It could be professional envy speaking here, but it sure looks like, well, overkill, and just a wee bit out of balance given all the starving people in Africa and all." U2 had previously faced similar criticism over plans to corporately relocate outside of Ireland for the purpose of paying less in taxes. (August 2, 2009)

Procol Harum keybordist Matthew Fisher has been awarded a portion of the royalties the band has been receiving from the classic 1967 song A Whiter Shade of Pale. Although he had both composed and played the song's distinctive organ riff, Fisher's claims for a share of royalty payments have been cast in doubt by arguments from fellow band members Gary Brooker and Keith Reid that Fisher had signed away all his rights to the original recording. The award was part of a ruling handed down by the U.K's highest court which made references to how the riff contributed to the song's success and memorable attributes. (August 2, 2009)

Former Beatles manager and president of ABKCO Records Allen Klein has passed away at the age of 77. Although Klein was best known for his work with the Fab Four, he had also worked with the Rolling Stones and several other "British Invasion" artists. Klein's tenacious business instincts and dogged determination to secure the best deal possible for his clients set him apart from other pop music managers of the 1960's. He was particularly adept at negotiating music royalty deals with record labels. His tenacity often led to disagreement and strife within the bands he represented. Of the four Beatles members, only John Lennon fully supported the direction in which Klein was taking the band with Paul McCartney being starkly opposed - a situation that many to this day feel contributed to the group's eventual breakup. Contrary to his tough reputation, the side-burned Klein proved unsuccessful in securing The Beatles' ownership of their early song catalog. His death followed a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's disease. He is survived by his girlfriend, a former wife and children. (July 5, 2009)

Phil Spector has been sentenced to 19 years in prison for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson. The legendary record producer remained expressionless and stared straight ahead as Los Angeles Superior court Larry Fidler handed down a term of 15 years to life for second degree murder with an additional four years for use of a gun in personal circumstances. Spector was also slapped with an order to pay various fees including $16,811 in expenses for Clarkson's funeral. Spector's attorney Doron Weinberg said there will be an appeal based on prosecution testimony the defense claims was admitted in error at the previous trial. Spector was led away to custody immediately after the court session concluded. (May 31, 2009)

Lynyrd Skynyrd bassist Donald Evans has died of cancer. The 48 year old had been working, mostly on tour, with the band until being diagnosed with a relatively severe form of cancer in 2008. Evans was originally hired in 2001 following the death of former bassist Leon Wilkeson who had died in his sleep in a Florida hotel room. The band had recently suffered the death of it's original keyboardist Billy Powell last January. Evans, who was fondly dubbed "Ean" by the band, had died at his home in Columbus Miss. and is survived by his wife Eva and two daughters. Lynyrd Skynyrd has posted a message of condolence on their web site. (May 9, 2009)

Don Henley is taking legal action against U.S. Republican Senate candidate Charles DeVore. A lawsuit filed by Henley in Federal Court claims the DeVore campaign has used his songs Boys of Summer and All She Wants to do is Dance without authorization. The suit was brought about as a result of Henley's music being used in a pair of campaign videos with the original lyrics of "Dance" having been altered to attack one of Devore's political opponents. A message posted on DeVore's campaign site was starkly defensive regarding the suit, making reference to "Mr. Henley's liberal goon tactics." The suit names producer and renowned Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell who co-wrote Boys of Summer as a plaintiff. (April 18, 2009)

A second trial by jury in Los Angeles Superior court has found music producer Phil Spector guilty of murder in the 2003 shooting death of former actress Lana Clarkson. The shooting had taken place at Spector's large castle-like home and had originally resulted in a deadlocked 2007 murder trial. On the night of the shooting, Spector had earlier visited LA's House Of Blues night club. There he met Clarkson, who worked at the club as a hostess. She accepted Spector's invitation to visit him at his home for a late drink. After the club had closed, Spector's chauffeur drove Clarkson to Spector's home in suburban Alhambra. During the trial the chauffeur, testifying as a key prosecution witness, recalled that roughly three hours after Clarkson had entered the home, he heard a gunshot followed by Spector exiting with a gun in his hand, saying "I think I just killed somebody." The former actress was found dead in the home's foyer with a gunshot wound to her head. Spector's defence challenged the veracity of the chauffeur's recollections, arguing that Clarkson's wounds appeared to be self-inflicted, a contention they claimed was supported by multiple points of forensic police evidence. According to the prosecution, Spector had a well established past history of threatening people with guns during arguments. With five women testifying to that effect with different stories but eerily similar experiences, a common thread may have emerged that was sufficient to convince the jury of the 69 year old Phil Spector's guilt. (April 13, 2009)

Buffalo Springfield's drummer Dewey Martin passed away at the age of 68 on January 31 at his home in Van Nuys California. Martin, whose full birth name was Walter Milton Dwayne Midkiff was a native of Canada and is reported to have died of natural causes. Upon honing his skills after playing drums as a pastime throughout his teens, Martin later moved stateside and played on tour with The Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison and Patsy Cline. He had reportedly supplied Stephen Stills with some LSD, the effects of which were rumored to have had an influential role in penning the legendary 1967 song "For What It's Worth." Dewey had performed backing vocal on the song. When 'Springfield broke up a year later, Martin had attempted to form a new line-up under the name New Buffalo Springfield, but was brought to a halt by cascading legal problems. Other 'Springfield alumni were Neil Young, Richie Furay and Bruce Palmer, all of whom found considerable success and status in the years ahead. (February 13, 2009)

Lynyrd Skynyrd keyboardist Billy Powell has died at his Jacksonville FL home. He had reportedly called 911 complaining of breathing difficulties. At some point after paramedics had arrived and attempted to perform CPR, he passed away. According to the Associated Press, the 56 year old Powell had a heart condition and had recently missed a doctor appointment to undergo cardiac evaluation. Billy Powell had survived the infamous 1977 plane crash that killed bandmates Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and four others. (January 29,2009)

The Plugged-In Archive continues here.
The most recent reports are located on the main Plugged In page.

The reports and commentary on this page are based on reports from a variety of on-line and print media resources. In rare cases where direct quotes are used, the editor will endeavor to name the original source that reported the quote.

Mobile Main
Plugged In
News Radio
On The Rocks
Only The Oldies
Your Support
Radio Notices
The Rock'n'roll Zone   Copyright © 1997-2016 MFAC