Friday, February 27, 2009

Looks like Bono's not so Bono

Two organizations concerned with reducing national debt and poverty accused U2 of moving its money into tax shelters in other countries in order to avoid paying higher taxes in its home country of Ireland, according to Yahoo News U.K.. The band's official company, U2 Ltd., moved to a finance house in Holland in 2006 after the Irish government scrapped an income tax exemption plan for artists. Nessa Ni Chasaide of the Debt and Development Coalition of Ireland said, "We wanted to raise our concern that while (U2 singer) Bono has championed the cause of fighting poverty and injustice in the impoverished world, the fact is that his band has moved part of its business to a tax shelter in the Netherlands."

Chasaide added, "Tax avoidance and tax evasion costs the impoverished world at least $160 million every year. This is money urgently required to bring people out of poverty." Spokesperson Andy Storey from the justice group Afri also spoke out, saying, "There are trillions of dollars stashed in tax havens. If that money was taxed in the countries where it was earned, governments would have their own resources to improve the lives of their people."

U2 manager Paul McGuinness responded in the Belfast Telegraph, saying, "At least 95 percent of U2's business -- including record and ticket sales -- takes place outside of Ireland and as a result the band pays many different kinds of taxes all over the world." He added, "They continue to remain Ireland-based and are personal investors and employers in the country."

The accusations of financial hypocrisy come just days before the March 3rd release of the quartet's twelfth studio album, No Line On The Horizon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tonight Show messing with the Boss

Steve Van Zandt has hinted that Max Weinberg may be sitting out some of the upcoming Bruce Springsteen shows. Weinberg has yet to announce whether he'll be on hand during Springsteen's European shows which kick off two nights before Conan O'Brien starts his new stint as the host of The Tonight Show in L.A. Van Zandt told Rolling Stone, "We're still figuring that out. We'll see. I think Max will be there for most of it. I just got home from Europe, so I haven't even talked to Max to see what the latest news is. I know he was very much trying to figure it out."

He went on to explain, "Max will be fine until the beginning of the show on June 2nd. After that, we'll see. I'm sure Max will be there for most, if not all of the tour. He's as dedicated as it gets. I used to have to fly home every day off and film The Sopranos. He may have to do something like that. Conan, it must be said, has been tremendous. Once that second banana (former sidekick Andy Richter) split, I started to get concerned. I was like 'Uh-oh. Now Max is not only the music director, he's also the second banana.' That's a huge role to play."

When pressed as to whether Springsteen and Weinberg have considered who would fill in for Weinberg should he sit out various shows -- or even legs of the tour -- Van Zandt said, "No names have come up yet. I don't know if it's quite at that stage."
One of the most eagerly awaited tracks of unreleased Beatles music has leaked online. The nearly 11-minute outtake of 1968's "Revolution 1" as featured on the band's "White Album" -- which served as the bridge between the "slow" album version of the song and John Lennon and Yoko Ono's experimental aural sound collage "Revolution 9" -- has been leaked online and on YouTube.

The song, subtitled "Remix 1 of Take 20" was recorded on June 4th, 1968, and begins with Lennon saying, "Take your knickers off and let's go."

Although most of the YouTube links have been ordered to be taken down featuring the full 11-minute version, you can find a two-part version of the song posted by user KatMak21 or by searching under the words "Beatles Revolution 20."

Why didn't I just post it up here? Because Anthony's in enough trouble and I don't want to be sued. Happy Hunting...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We're in trouble folks

Ticketmaster Entertainment has reached a national settlement with the New Jersey Attorney General over its ticketing practices following the outcry over a controversial Bruce Springsteen ticket sale earlier this month, according to The ticketing giant has agreed to change some of the ways in which it does business, most notably by saying it will stop directing customers to its ticket resale site, TicketsNow, for at least one year, with any linking following that to be approved by the office of Attorney General Anne Milgram.

In addition, all tickets that Ticketmaster receives for general sales to the public will not be sold or offered on TicketsNow before the official sale begins. The company will also refrain from using Internet advertising that directs customers doing a search for Ticketmaster to TicketsNow.

Springsteen and his manager Jon Landau issued a withering statement on February 4th expressing outrage over Ticketmaster's problem-plagued sale of tickets to his upcoming tour two days earlier (February 2nd). Many fans were instantly shut out of buying tickets and redirected to TicketsNow, where prices are often jacked up by hundreds of dollars.
Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff issued an open letter of apology to Springsteen, but the incident prompted an investigation in New Jersey.

Milgram also announced that Ticketmaster will make 2,000 tickets for Springsteen's upcoming May concerts in New Jersey available for face value through a lottery, with all the usual Ticketmaster fees and service charges to be waived.

Ticketmaster has also agreed to refund customers who were redirected to buy tickets through TicketsNow at a higher price in the first five hours of the Springsteen sale, and will complete transactions for those customers whose credit cards were charged but never received their tickets due to technical problems at the Ticketmaster website.
Milgram said in a statement, "Everyone deserves an equal chance to buy tickets on a primary ticket selling website and shouldn't be steered to a re-selling website where the prices can be substantially higher."

Meanwhile, Ticketmaster's proposed merger with Live Nation, which would create a virtual monopoly over ticket sales, merchandising, corporate sponsorships and recorded music, will face scrutiny on Tuesday (February 24th) from the Senate Judiciary Committee's "Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights." The hearing is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. ET and is expected to address antitrust concerns regarding the proposed consolidation of the two behemoths.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fleetwood Mac, 3/13 at Nassau Coliseum

Stevie Nicks says that Fleetwood Mac is a fully-functioning ensemble minus longtime member Christie McVie, who quit the band long before their last album and tour.

Nicks was asked how she feels fronting what she's often called a "boys club" without McVie sharing the stage with her: "Being the only girl in Fleetwood Mac? You have to understand, I've been the only girl in Fleetwood Mac now since 1998 and it's 2009. I'm used to it now. I miss Christine every day because she was my best buddy. She was my best friend. And I probably spent more time on the road with Fleetwood Mac than anywhere. I've spent more time with these people than I have with my own family. So the loss of Christine as one of my best girlfriends was horrific for me. But she's been gone a long, long, time now. There's not a day that I don't wish that she'd call up and say 'I'm back!' -- but she's not going to. So we've all kind've accepted that now."

Nicks says that on their upcoming tour the band will be incorporating more of McVie's Mac classics into the setlist. On Fleetwood Mac's 2003-2004 Say You Will tour they only performed "Don't Stop," ignoring such McVie standards as "You Make Loving Fun," "Hold Me," "Say You Love Me," "Everywhere," among others.

Fleetwood Mac kicks off its 40-date Unleashed tour on March 1st in Pittsburgh.

In conjunction with the tour, the band's 1977 album Rumours will be re-released as part of a special CD/DVD boxed set including previously unreleased tracks recorded during the making of the album, along with a DVD component with never-before-seen footage of the band. There's been no release date announced for the Rumours box set.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Simon & Garfunkel and Vodka??

Art Garfunkel says that he and Paul Simon are planning their first tour in five years -- but isn't revealing too much else about it. Garfunkel cryptically told BBC News, "Our plan to work together, is coming together but it doesn't go through England this time." Garfunkel, who joined Simon onstage last week for a three-song set of Simon & Garfunkel classics during Simon's reopening of New York City's Beacon Theatre, called the ecstatic crowd response "extraordinary." He went on to say, "I said to the audience, 'You don't have a right to expect -- and we didn't expect -- that the interest in us would last and you would still care right to today and I'm touched.'"

Simon's manager Jeff Kramer shed light on the duo's plans, telling, Rolling Stone, "Yes there have been conversations taking place, but nothing has been confirmed."


Experience Hendrix, the company that controls the estate of the late Jimi Hendrix, was awarded $3.2 million after a federal judge deemed that the company promoting "Hendrix Electric" vodka infringed on the legend's name and likeness. The company producing the liquor is headed up by Seattle businessman Craig Dieffenbach whose partner is Jimi's younger half-brother Leon Hendrix, who was written out of the $80 million estate by his late father Al Hendrix.

The Associated Press reported that both parties decided to settle out of court before the case headed to trial. U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly entered a judgment for that amount last week and ordered Dieffenbach, his business partners and his companies "to stop selling and marketing the vodka or any other products branded with the Hendrix name."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Little Steven needs Little Rehearsal

Steve Van Zandt says that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band need less than a week's worth of rehearsals to gear up for their North American tour, which kicks off on April 1st in San Jose. Van Zandt explained to Billboard, "This will take, I'm going to guess, five or six rehearsals, only because we have a new album. We need to relearn or rearrange the new songs for the live versions. We'll fool around with that stuff for maybe a week, and out we go."

He went on to joke, "I have fun learning on the road. Every tour you spend the first month or two relearning the songs as you play them. I'm still learning the chords for 'Born To Run!'"

He shed light on Springsteen's recent Super Bowl appearance by saying, "(We rehearsed) more than the last two tours combined. The technical stuff was absolutely fascinating, to see how they did that staging. It was just amazing to me. They had the thing up in four minutes!"

Van Zandt remained noncommittal on whether Springsteen and the band would start tackling full albums in the concert setlists the way they did last May. At a Red Bank, New Jersey benefit, the group performed both the Born To Run and Darkness On The Edge Of Town albums in their entirety. Van Zandt said: "That was so much fun. It might be a fun way to do something different. Maybe we'll be able to fit that in somewhere, but we have a whole new album to do as well."

At a pre-Super Bowl press conference earlier this month, Van Zandt said that the members of the E Street Band continue to perform for the exact same reasons as they did when they were teenagers: "I think one of the things we're kind of proud of is that I think there is a certain inspirational quality to what we do. And that's because when we grew up, we had very high standards in the '60s, y'know? We're trying to attain that kind of greatness that we grew up with lookin' at the Beatles and the Rolling Stones -- people like that, Bob Dylan. So, we'll always be 16 as Bruce said, and we're always trying to attain that greatness that we grew up with, which also gives us that extra motivation. We get on stage and I think that helps communicate a little bit of inspiration."

The long-delayed 30th anniversary box set celebrating the 1978 Darkness On The Edge Of Town album is nearing completion. No release date has been announced yet.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Townshend answers questions

Pete Townshend took time out to answer fans' questions and post his responses on Townshend, as usual, was honest and blunt when talking about his work and career, yet didn't hold back in telling fans when he thought they had crossed the line into his personal life.

He was asked about his "perspective on the current economic meltdown" to which he said, "The people I am most concerned about are the blue-collar guys and families who depend on the house market being buoyant. Many of these hard-working decent people are our fans, and I hate to see them struggling. I have no idea how it happened."

Townshend was called to task about saying back in the mid-'80s that "hope and optimism" were two "filthy and disgusting words." He was asked if he's changed his opinion now that President Barack Obama has inspired millions with those same words. Townshend responded: "I was probably being ironic. Hope and optimism had been thrashed out of we British by (former Prime Minister) Margaret Thatcher. The words had been devalued I suppose. As for (President) Obama, I'm in music not politics and I think he's a pretty good dancer."

When asked about his musical relationship with Track Records labelmate Jimi Hendrix -- as well as Hendrix's spiritual beliefs, Townshend explained, "I knew Jimi only slightly. I helped him with his amplifiers when he first came to London. I jammed with him backstage a few times. Back then I wasn't keen on jamming and I'm not mad about it today. I have no idea what he believed in. I think reincarnation is a possibility, but it isn't useful to worry about it because it can't be proved."

A fan asked him if maybe composing someplace away from home might spur him on to recording and releasing more music, Townshend snapped: "I am doing fine. I don't need advice or help, but thanks. I have a feeling that retreating to a warm island would not help me compose another 'WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN.'"

He shed light on the meaning behind the title to the Who By Numbers classic "Blue Red & Grey," explaining, "This song is about the difference between me and most other musicians of my era. They tended to stay up all night. I had children pretty early in my life, and I wanted to be their father not an absent rock 'n' roll ghost, and didn't live that way. The colors mentioned are those of the sunset, sunrise and grey gloom of the early hours in this country."

When asked about his "kind decision" to perform the Who's 1975 classic "Slip Kid" during their Christmas London shows ending a 32-year moratorium on the tune, Townshend joked, "I don't know about fans, but Roger (Daltrey) has asked to play 'Slip Kid' in every rehearsal for the last thirty years. I just gave in, but you're right, I made a very kind decision."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A pair of reunions and Dylans new record expected...

The David Lynch Foundation website has listed Ringo Starr as one of the stars who will join Paul McCartney onstage on April 4th at New York City's Radio City Music Hall. The performance is a fundraiser for the Foundation's initiative for Transcendental Meditation -- or TM -- education. Other acts already on the bill are Donovan, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, Moby, and renowned jazz flutist Paul Horn.

Longtime TM practitioner Beach Boy Mike Love is heavily rumored to appear. Love, along with the Beatles, Donovan and Paul Horn, all studied TM under the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh, India in 1968.

The usually reliable Beatles news site reported the first concrete and exclusive ticket information for the event, saying, "The premium ticket packages will be offered first, then the general admission. The highest premium package will be $100,000 and include 14 seats, plus soundcheck, rehearsal and backstage access, though there's no confirmation those paying this money will have access to either Ringo or Paul."

Neither Ringo nor McCartney have announced the Radio City date on their official websites.
Although Ringo has performed numerous times at Radio City with his All Starr Band, the April gig marks McCartney's first appearance at the venue.

The Radio City show will be the first time Ringo and McCartney have shared a stage since the George Harrison tribute show The Concert For George on November 29th, 2002 at London's Royal Albert Hall.
Simon And Garfunkel reunited for a brief three-song set on Friday night (February 13th) in New York City, according to Billboard. Art Garfunkel took the stage toward the end of Paul Simon's concert that reopened the Beacon Theatre after a seven-month break for renovations.

The duo, who have only played together three times since their 2004 reunion tour, performed acoustic versions of their classics "The Sound of Silence," "The Boxer" and "Old Friends" during the encore portion of the show. Among the heavyweights in the audience were Paul McCartney, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Jon Bon Jovi and Jimmy Fallon.


Bob Dylan's followup to 2006's Grammy Award-winning album Modern Times may be released as soon as April, according to the usually reliable Dylan fan magazine Isis. The majority of the upcoming set was recorded in California last October with Dylan squaring off the album's post production and sequencing last month. The still-unnamed album will have ten new tracks and may feature both his touring band as well as additional musicians .

Friday, February 13, 2009

U2 and Letterman, Top Moneymakers, Who uses Shure?

U2 will perform for five nights in a row on CBS-TV's Late Show With David Letterman, beginning on Monday, March 2nd and ending on Friday, March 6th, according to The unprecedented stand will coincide with the release of the Irish band's new album, No Line On The Horizon, which arrives on Tuesday, March 3rd. This will also mark U2's first performance on the show in seven years. They last played in 2001, while singer Bono and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. were interviewed in 1997.

U2 has already made one television appearance in support of the record, playing the first single "Get On Your Boots" at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards last Sunday (February 8th). A video for "Get On Your Boots" was officially released late last week, after briefly leaking online.

U2 has yet to announce tour plans in support of the album.
Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and the Police all trailed behind Madonna as the top concert earners on Billboard's list of Top 20 Moneymakers. The list compiles each act's touring revenue plus current and catalog album sales, along with the sale of other promotions and merchandise.
  • The Top 20 earners on Billboard's 2008 Moneymakers List are:
    1. Madonna: $242,176,466
    2. Bon Jovi: $157,177,766
    3. Bruce Springsteen: $156,327,964
    4. The Police: $109,976,894
    5. Celine Dion: $99,171,237
    6. Kenny Chesney: $90,823,990
    7. Neil Diamond: $82,174,000
    8. Rascall Flatts: $63,522,160
    9. Jonas Brothers: $62,638,814
    10. Coldplay: $62,175,555
    11. The Eagles: $61,132,213
    12. Lil Wayne: $57,441,334
    13. AC/DC: $56,505,296
    14. Michael Buble: $50,257,364
    15. Miley Cyrus: $48,920,806
    16. Taylor Swift: $45,588,730
    17. Journey: $44,787,328
    18. Billy Joel: $44,581,010
    19. Mary J. Blige: $43,472,850
    20. Kanye West: $42,552,402
In a rare move, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey have joined the group of artists publicly endorsing Shure microphones. Over the years, the Who's members have often done separate endorsements for their instruments and road gear, but this marks the first time that the band has done an endorsement under the band's moniker. Shure mics have been the Who's primary microphones for the past four decades.

Other artists appearing in the print ads include the Black Crowes, Maroon 5, Brad Paisley, G. Love, and Martina McBride.

Terri Hartman, Shure's director of global brand communications, told, "Performers all over the world start with Shure and then stay with Shure throughout their careers. Many of them say that they won't walk onstage unless there's a Shure microphone waiting for them. We're thrilled to be able to share their stories with aspiring performers worldwide."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

DMB Grammy Snub, Bruce Blog

The Recording Academy has addressed the many Dave Matthews Band fans who were upset that late saxophonist LeRoi Moore was left out of the Grammy Awards' Encore segment, paying tribute to musicians who died in the past year. Moore -- a founding member of Dave Matthews Band -- died last August from health complications following an ATV accident. But he wasn't on the long list of artists and industry veterans.

The Recording Academy released a statement trying to clear things up, noting, "Nearly 250 members of our music community have passed in the last year, and all of them have been listed in the program book for the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, including LeRoi Moore. For the Encore segment of our annual Grammy Awards telecast, unfortunately we are unable to include all of the talented and wonderful people within the allotted timeframe. The Academy recognizes Moore's contributions to music and music education, and we are deeply saddened by his premature passing."

Moore and the rest of the Dave Matthews Band took home a Grammy in 1997 for the song "So Much to Say." The Grammys also didn't mention the recent deaths of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Billy Powell and Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton.

Meanwhile, Dave Matthews Band has been working on material for its new album, due out this year.
Bruce Springsteen
blogged about his recent Super Bowl half time appearance with the E Street Band on his official website

The post, which was written in the early morning hours after the game, chronicles the pre-game soundchecks, the moments leading up to the show and the half time appearance itself. The blog reads in part: "I'm somewhat nervous. It's not the usual pre-show jitters, not 'butterflies,' it's not wardrobe malfunction anticipation anxiety, I'm talking about five minutes to beach landing... (facing) one of the biggest television audiences since dinosaurs first screwed on Earth kind of semi-terror. It only lasts for a minute... I check my hair, spray it with something that turns it into concrete and I'm out the door."

Springsteen describes the lead up to his and the band's performance: "Suddenly an army of ants come from all sides of what seems like nowhere. Each rolling a piece of our lifeline, our earth onto the field. The cavalry has arrived. What takes us on a concert day eight hours to do is done in five minutes. Unbelievable. Everything in our world is there... we hope."

For the first time in his career, he describes his mindset as to what he's feeling while fronting the band, explaining, "I'm on top of the piano...I'm down. One... two... three, knee drop in front of the microphone and I'm bending back almost flat on the stage. I close my eyes for a moment and when I open them, I see nothing but blue night sky. No band, no crowd, no stadium. I hear and feel all of it in the form of a great siren like din surrounding me but with my back nearly flat against the stage I see nothing but beautiful night sky with a halo of a thousand stadium suns at its edges. I take several deep breaths and a calm comes over me."

He goes on to defend his choice to play such a vastly commercial gig as the Super Bowl after turning always the offers on a nearly annual basis: "The Super Bowl is going to help me sell a few new records, that's what I wanted because I want people to hear where we are today. It'll probably put a few extra fannies in the seats and that's fine. We live high around here and I like to do good business for my record company and concert promoters. But what it's really about is my band remains one of the mightiest in the land and I want you to know it, we want to show you... because we can."

Springsteen closed by writing, "By 3 am, I am back home, everyone in the house fast asleep and tucked in bed. I am sitting in the yard over an open fire, staring up again into that black night sky, my ears still ringing... 'Oh yeah, it's alright.'"

To read Springsteen's Super Bowl blog in its entirety, log on to

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Buy the Big Apple!

The former headquarters of the Beatles' company Apple Corps. is once again on the market, for a cool $36 million. The London townhouse at 3 Saville Row, which the group bought in 1968 for $725,000, housed the band's personal offices, Apple's basement studios where Let It Be was recorded, along with portions of George Harrison's Living In The Material World and Ringo Starr's Ringo albums, among others.

The Beatles' final performance on January 30th, 1969 took place on the roof of 3 Saville Row.

Apple moved from the Saville Row location in the mid-'70s, although Paul McCartney and brother Mike recorded in the Apple basement studio as late as 1977.

Leigh Thomas, a representative for Kier Property which owns the five-story building which was built in 1735, told "It's being marketed internationally. If someone wants a bit of heritage with a bit of history of the band, then this is the place. I still get goose bumps in here. It's the world's biggest piece of memorabilia."
Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl has earned high marks from former Beatle Paul McCartney for his work behind the drums during McCartney's performance at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night (February 8th). Asked backstage how the collaboration came out, McCartney told reporters that it was based on past experience: "Dave originally played with us in Liverpool, where I did a concert last year, and he played alongside my drummer Abe (Laboriel), but Abe wasn't available for this -- he's in Japan with Mr. (Eric) Clapton. So we rang Dave up and said, 'Can you do it?' He said, 'Yeaaah!' So it was great."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ooooooh, someone's in trouble!!!

The shutout of Bruce Springsteen fans being diverted to an official ticket scalping agency may lead to a federal probe of Ticketmaster, according to Last Monday (February 2nd), many fans attempting to purchase tickets for the upcoming E Street Band tour were diverted online to TicketsNow -- a Ticketmaster-owned ticket agency which sells the same seats at an extremely marked up price. The problem was, primary tickets were still on sale when fans were being sent to the site which was selling seats for in some cases a 100 percent markup.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer is joining New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell in asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the ticketing mess, referencing several Springsteen's 1975 classics at a press conference, by saying, "We can't let the screen doors slam on die-hard Boss fans. Fans who thought they were going to the promised land of regular-priced tickets found themselves in the badlands of ticket scalpers." Why are politicians so corny... Why must they attempt to be funny? You don't see me trying to pass legislation on my show... So I don't want to see a politician attempting to be clever!

Schumer went on to add that the controversy reeked of being a classic "bait-and-switch" and said, "We don't have the tickets at $75, but maybe this site has them at $200' Guess what? The same people owned both sites."

Music mogul and Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff posted an open apology to Springsteen and his management for the fans' trouble.

Going as far back as his 1978 dates, Springsteen has always priced his tickets far below the top price of other A-list rockers.

Although "The Boss" is riding high following his recent Super Bowl appearance and new album Working On A Dream -- which tops the Billboard album charts this week -- he's still reaping the rewards of his last album. At Sunday night's Grammys (February 8th) Springsteen snagged the award for Best Rock Song for his Magic album standout "Girls In Their Summer Clothes."

Springsteen was asked how he accounts for the steady stream of new converts with every new album and tour: "We sort of skipped a generation somewhere in there, and then the last tour, we noticed a large influx of young people. I think for probably the same reasons that I went to check out, y'know, not just the (Rolling) Stones, but Chuck Berry, or the guys that came a generation or two before my age group. But I also think today. . . there was a time when music was intensely factionalized, it was very hard along generational lines, I think -- it might have something to do with the Internet or some other things -- that people are just taking their music where they can find it."

Monday, February 9, 2009

Here's something I wish I was at....

A slew of stars came out on Friday (February 6th) to honor Neil Diamond at this year's MusicCares tribute event in Los Angeles, which recognized the singer's musical achievements and philanthropic efforts. According to, Jennifer Hudson's version of Diamond's 1969 hit "Holly Holy" moved the crowd of more than 2,000 people. Kid Rock followed her up with "Thank the Lord for the Night Time." He joked, "I'm gonna kill whoever made me follow Jennifer Hudson. Thanks!"

Also making appearances were Josh Groban, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, as well as the Jonas Brothers, who sang "Forever in Blue Jeans." Adele performed "Cracklin' Rosie," Urge Overkill played "Girl, You'll be a Woman Soon," Coldplay performed "I'm a Believer," Chris Cornell sang "Kentucky Woman," and the Foo Fighters did "Delirious Love." Upon accepting the MusicCares Person of the Year award, Diamond said, "I want to thank my mom, who is here. I started taking guitar lessons when the Brooklyn Dodgers left Brooklyn. I decided to take some music lessons because I was really down [about it]." The 68-year-old singer said that his first guitar cost $10, and his parents paid it off at a dollar a week. He said, "It was a good investment, Mom. And you made a life for me. I thank you for that, Mom." Diamond performed several songs including, "Cherry, Cherry," "Love on the Rocks," "America" and "Sweet Caroline."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Remembering Dewey Martin, Ticketmaster Sucks, and Sir McCartney on Video Games

Buffalo Springfield drummer Dewey Martin has died at age 68. According to, he passed away January 31st of unknown causes. Martin, who was born Walter Milton Dwayne Midkiff, started out in Nashville performing with Patsy Kline, Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers. He became part of Buffalo Springfield in 1966, along with Neil Young, Jim Messina, Stephen Stills, Bruce Palmer and Richie Furay. Young recalled Martin's band audition in his biography, noting, "He was a sensitive drummer. You get harder, he hits harder. You pull back, he hits back. He can feel the music -- you don't have to tell him." During the group's short-lived career, Martin sang "Good Time Boy" and provided backing vocals on the group's hit "For What It's Worth."

After Buffalo Springfield broke up in 1968, Martin tried to continue on as the "New Buffalo Springfield." But he faced a legal battle with his former bandmates. During the 1980s, he briefly worked with a few bands and also played with Buffalo Springfield Revisited, the act formed by original bass player, Palmer. During the early 1990s, Martin revived the "Buffalo Springfield" name again to do some live gigs, but retired soon afterward. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.


Bruce Springsteen received an apology from Ticketmaster shortly after posting an open letter blasting the company for the way it handled sales earlier this week. The Boss and his manager were upset after Ticketmaster started directing fans to its secondary site, TicketsNow, which resells concert tickets at higher prices, even though there were still tickets at the regular price available. According to, Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff says fans were only redirected when their specific ticket request could not be met. He admits that the situation could have been handled better, explaining, "While we were genuinely trying to do the right thing for fans in providing more choices when the tickets they requested from the primary on-sale were not available, we clearly missed the mark." He added, "Fans are confused and angry, which is the opposite of what we hoped to accomplish. We sincerely apologize to Bruce, his organization and, above all, his fans."

Ticketmaster has taken down all the links redirecting fans from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow. Azoff says, "We recognize that we need to change our course." The company is refunding ticket buyers the difference between the face value and resale value for any fan that "inadvertently purchased tickets in the resale marketplace believing in error they were purchasing from the initial on-sale."


Paul McCartney says he gets a kick out of watching people playing the game Rock Band and is excited about the upcoming Beatles video game from the same company. Sir Paul tells EW, "Well, I see people playing it and they look . . . completely funny. But I like the idea that it introduces kids to music. It's a great thing to be immersed in." McCartney added that he was sold on the concept for the Beatles video game because it's a journey through the band's different musical periods, saying "you get early days, Liverpool, then psychedelic, and on from there."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

So Amazing...

Closure on the Zep Tour, Bruce Tops, Allmans Webcast

Bruce Springsteen has snagged the week's Number One album with his new release, Working on a Dream. reports that the set sold 224,000 copies in the United States during its first week out. The Boss is now tied with the Rolling Stones for the third most chart-topping albums.

Only the Beatles with 19, Elvis Presley with 10 and Jay-Z with 10 have more Number One albums than Springsteen and the Rolling Stones.
The Allman Brothers Band will go live on the Internet this March. According to, the group's entire New York City run at the Beacon Theater will stream live on, a website founded by the Allmans' Butch Trucks. But viewing the shows will cost you, with a subscription for the site costing $100. Trucks says, "At 15 nights, three hours per show, Moogis promises to play host to the longest continuous concert stream in the history of the Internet."
Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant told London's Absolute Radio that he decided against a full reunion tour with the group out of fear that it could disappoint and disillusion fans. Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist John Paul Jones, and drummer Jason Bonham played a massively publicized benefit show in December 2007 in London, fueling speculation that a full-blown reunion was on the way. Although the other three wanted to go forward, however, Plant abstained.

According to, he said on Absolute Radio, "The disappointment that could be there once you commit to that and the comparisons to something that was basically fired by youth and a different kind of exuberance to now, it's very hard to go back and meet that head on and do it justice."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Remembering Holly, Vallens, and The Big Bopper

It was 50 years ago today (February 3rd, 1959) that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson died in a plane crash after a performance in Clear Lake, Iowa. The three had been performing along with Dion & The Belmonts as part of the Winter Dance Party Tour, which would cover 24 cities in a short three-week period from January 23rd to February 15th. Holly, who had parted ways with longtime backing group the Crickets the previous year, was backed up by a then-unknown Waylon Jennings on bass and Tommy Allsup on lead guitar.

Dion DiMucci says that although the shows were always hot, his favorite moments from the tour were jamming on the near freezing bus on the way to the next town: "Well, we used to play in the back of the bus -- Ritchie Valens, myself and Buddy Holly. The Big Bopper didn't join in, he sat in the front with his beer. But we would rock in the back of the bus. You talk about tapes -- I wish there was a tape going on."

Throughout the tour, the musicians' bus was either breaking down or often without heat. At one point, it was so cold that the tour's drummer developed frostbite, resulting in the Belmonts' Angelo D'Aleo -- as well as Valens -- serving double-duty by filling in on drums. When the tour finally arrived at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa on February 2nd, 1959, Holly had made plans to fly out to the next city directly after the show, rather than brave the unheated 430-mile bus trip to Moorhead, Minnesota. He had hoped to get to their next stop with time to rest and do his laundry.

Dion says that the time he spent with Holly has left a deep and lasting impression on him, and he remembers him as a man wise beyond his years: "I spent two weeks with him. And he was very mature for his age. I mean, I was 19 -- he was 22. He was a very decisive guy. I don't know if it was his upbringing, but I couldn't make decisions that fast. I mean... Well, he rented a plane! At 22 years old, 'O.K. listen' -- you know, he was recruiting people -- 'Let's fly out and we'll just split it.' But you think of a 22-year-old chartering a plane, that was his kind of personality."

Holly chartered a plane to fly him and his band to Fargo, North Dakota, near Moorhead. Jennings and Allsup gave up their seats to Richardson and Valens. Dion was supposed to be on the plane rather than Valens, but balked when he heard that his share would be a whopping $36 -- the exact amount of his parents' monthly rent back home in the Bronx. When Holly learned that Jennings wasn't going to fly, he said, "Well, I hope your old bus freezes up!" Jennings responded, "Well, I hope your plane crashes!" This friendly banter would haunt Jennings for years. Valens, who was sick, told Allsup, "I'll flip you for the remaining seat." On the toss of a coin, Allsup lost the seat -- but won the rest of his life.

The red Beechcraft Bonanza took off from Mason City, Iowa, ten miles east of Clear Lake, at around 1:50 a.m. on February 3rd, 1959. A cold wind immediately gave way to a snow which drastically reduced visibility. The ground was already blanketed in white. The pilot may have been inexperienced with the instrumentation.

The plane never made it to Minnesota.

Minutes after takeoff, one wing hit the ground and the small plane corkscrewed over and over. The three young stars and pilot Roger Peterson died immediately on impact. Over the years there has been speculation as to whether a gun was accidentally fired inside the plane, disabling or killing the pilot. The most logical explanation suggests that encased in a sea of white snow, with only white below, Peterson simply flew the plane into the ground.

At the time of the crash, Buddy Holly was 22 years old. Ritchie Valens was 17, and the Big Bopper was 28.

Check out photos from the legendary 1959 Winter Dance Party tour here

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bruce slides into the camera guy... priceless

After years of turning the NFL down flat, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed an electrifying four-song medley during the half-time show at last night's (February 1st) Super Bowl in Tampa. Springsteen and the band -- who unlike nearly all the half-time acts in recent memory actually looked as though they were enjoying themselves -- were augmented by the Miami Horns on loan from their roadwork with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.

Bruce and the band tore through abbreviated versions of "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out," which in one of the many comical moments in the short set, saw Springsteen's signature knee slide across the stage land him straight into the cameraman who caught it all on tape -- including Springsteen cracking up at the bang-up; "Born To Run" which dropped the "Wendy let me in..." verse; the new "Working On A Dream" backed by the Inaugural Celebration Chorus, who first backed "The Boss" last month in Washington, D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial; and finally "Glory Days" with the baseball lyrics replaced with football terms including the no-brainer switch from "speedball" to "Hail Mary." Springsteen and right-hand man Steve Van Zandt had fun vamping as they brought the song to a close.

The highpoint for diehard fans was seeing Springsteen play his retired Fender hybrid Telecaster-Esquire guitar which has been completely absent from his live shows over the past few years. The guitar -- which has a Telecaster body and an Esquire neck -- was Springsteen's primary instrument from 1972 to 2000 and is pictured on the album covers of Born To Run, Live 1975-1985, Human Touch, Plugged, and Greatest Hits.

Nils Lofgren prior to the game explained the pros and cons of the band signing on for the half-time gig: "It goes way beyond a gig. First of all, TV is always never your favorite thing to do in a great band -- because it removes the three hour sweat fast, the day of prep, the whole ease into this incredible environment. But that being said -- it's... after 40 years on the road, it's without a doubt gonna be the best and greatest TV show opportunity any of us will ever have."

Springsteen spoke to The New York Times about his decision to finally play the Super Bowl, explaining, "It was sort of, well, if we don't do it now, what are we waiting for? I want to do it while I'm alive. At my age, it is tough to get word of your music out. If we weren't doing these big things, there's no middle things."

He added: "It was very challenging to try and get (the set to fit into) that exact 12 minutes. I found that in a funny way it was very freeing. OK, these are your boundaries, so put everything that you have into just this box. If you do it right, you should feel the tension of it wanting to spread beyond that time frame. But it can't."