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News from the world of music, entertainment, communications, and technology.

NEWS

Notes

Prince’s family have set October 13 as the date for an official tribute concert in Minneapolis.

A Memphis-themed Melissa Etheridge album will be out October 7. Advance orders for MEmphis Rock and Soul are being taken at PledgeMusic. The capital E in the title isn’t a typo; the first two letters are also the recording artist’s initials.

2016-08-01

Alan White Has Back Surgery; Jay Schellen to Join Yes Tour; Rock Vault Closes

Yes drummer Alan White had urgent surgery to repair a damaged disc in his back. The procedure had “a very positive result,” White announced, but with the need for rest and rehab, he will miss most or possibly all of the summer Yes tour.

White joined Yes in 1972, three years after the band was formed, and had never missed a Yes performance since. The summer tour may give White the rare chance to view a Yes concert from an angle other than the drum stool.

Yes’s drummer to start the summer tour next week will be Jay Schellen. No stranger to Yes, Schellen previously played in Asia with Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes. He has appeared on at least eight records over the years with Yes bassist Billy Sherwood, including a tribute album on which, as members of World Trade, they played the Yes song “Wonderous Stories.”

Until this week Schellen was anchoring the Las Vegas music retrospective show Raiding the Rock Vault, which also features Heart guitarist Howard Leese and other musicians borrowed from well-known rock bands of the past three decades.

Schellen had been the show’s drummer since it launched, and though Slaughter drummer Blas Elias stepped in on drums, the show may have decided it couldn’t maintain its momentum without Schellen. While he was packing to go on tour, Rock Vault announced it is closing at the end of the month.

The show had an impressive run, but toward the end showed signs of wear and tear. Nearly all the original cast members were gone and recent months have seen core band members Schellen, Leese, and singer Paul Shortino supported by a revolving cast of musicians.

2016-07-19

Notes

A jury cleared the Led Zeppelin song “Stairway to Heaven” of plagiarism, finding that its opening arpeggios are not the same as a passage from the earlier Randy California instrumental “Tarkus” and not finding evidence of copying during the process of writing “Stairway to Heaven.”

The Fire Aid for Fort McMurray concert met its $2 millon fundraising goal for those affected by a fire that led to the evacuation of Fort McMurray, Alberta last month.

A lawsuit seeks to vacate the copyright of the Woody Guthrie song “This Land Is Your Land.” Researchers found that the song had been published in sheet music 11 years earlier than previously claimed and that its melody is taken from a much older Baptist hymn.

2016-07-01

Notes

Nickelback headlines the Fire Aid for Fort McMurray concert on June 29 in Edmonton. The benefit concert is the largest music fundraiser to date for Fort McMurray after the northern Canadian city was badly damaged by a wildfire last month.

Bon Jovi have confirmed a new album titled This House Is Not For Sale. The album was recorded in New York with producer John Shanks.

New U.S. postage stamps today celebrate Pluto and the NASA planetary exploration program.

Toto keyboard player Steve Porcaro releases his first solo album Someday/Somehow on June 10. Porcaro is the lead singer for most of the album, which also features guest appearances by Michael McDonald and Michael Sherwood.

2016-06-01

AC/DC Tour Begins With Axl Rose

AC/DC begins their tour of Europe tonight in Lisbon with Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose filling in on vocals. The band will play 12 shows over the next five weeks.

AC/DC singer Brian Johnson is unable to tour because of an illness causing partial hearing loss, with the risk of total hearing loss if he were to be on a rock stage night after night.

In a BBC interview, Axl explained that AC/DC’s material is more difficult than it sounds, saying he was “just trying to do it justice for the fans.”

Axl will tour with Guns N’ Roses this summer.

AC/DC has had to replace three longtime members since 2014. Before Johnson’s ear problems, there were two other changes, with founding rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young retiring for health issues and drummer Phil Rudd facing legal uncertainties. Both were replaced by musicians who had previously worked with the band.

2016-05-07

Notes

Finnish operatic metal singer Tarja Turunen is preparing not one but two new albums. The first album, The Brightest Void, is described as “the prequel” to the second, The Shadow Self. The two albums will be released two months apart.

Trevor Horn will be appearing with his former band Yes for two U.K. concerts this month. Yes will surely take the opportunity to try to persuade Horn, who has had a hand in producing five Yes studio albums, to produce a new album with them.

Heart has confirmed a new album, with final mixes underway early in April and a possible release in June.

Bruce Springsteen was quick to cancel an upcoming concert in North Carolina in response to a new discrimination law enacted by the state. Dozens of other performing acts and conference organizers have followed suit and European countries have issued travel advisories cautioning travelers who might visit the state. State tourism officials say the damage to North Carolina’s reputation will last for a generation even if the discrimination law were to be quickly repealed.

Core Entertainment filed for bankruptcy reorganization just weeks after its hit TV series American Idol concluded its last season.

Death: Prince, one of the most versatile and prolific recording artists of recent decades. He was said to have been suffering from the flu.

2016-05-01

Notes

Music hosting site SoundCloud is hoping to alleviate some of its financial troubles with a new subscription service. The service generally resembles the subscription service on YouTube but is geared toward music listeners instead of viewers.

The Go-Go’s are planning their farewell tour with 21 dates scheduled across North America in August.

Apple has a new patent on technology that removes swear words during music playback.

Heart recorded strings with arranger Paul Buckmaster, apparently for a new album.

Deaths: Keith Emerson, keyboardist of Emerson Lake & Palmer and the most visible rock organist of the 1970s. George Martin, prolific record producer best remembered for his work with the Beatles.

2016-04-01

Notes

Anderson Rabin Wakeman, three former Yes members, are looking for a top-notch second keyboardist for the tour that will follow their upcoming album. They were unable to recruit Rick Wakeman’s son Adam Wakeman, however; Adam will be touring with Black Sabbath this year.

The FBI persuaded a court to order Apple to create a jailbreak OS for its iPhone 5, which the FBI would use to extract data from phones of suspected criminals. The proposed project would cost Apple an estimated $50 million in labor, and Apple fears that its credibility and the security of its iOS operating system would be compromised. In court papers, Apple has objected on Second and Fifth Amendment grounds.

Television model Kylie Jenner’s attempt to register her first name as a trademark has run into a problem, a formal objection filed by the more famous Kylie, singer Kylie Minogue. Minogue is the owner of the kylie.com Internet domain and the recording artist of the Kylie album, so she has some serious credibility behind her claim on the Kylie name. Attempts to register trademarks of personal names are usually turned down in any case.

Drummer Ginger Baker announced an abrupt retirement after receiving medical advice about “serious heart problems.” A planned spring tour with Ginger Baker’s Air Force is canceled and the “Gigs” page has been removed from the web site. Baker wrote in his blog that he may never work again. He is 76 years old.

Fresh off their Hall of Fame selection, Cheap Trick is preparing to release a new album Bang, Zoom, Crazy . . . Hello on April 1. The band is using preorders on a crowdfunding site to finance the release.

Rick Aster says his new book Routine SAS Low-Level I/O Programming is not meant for a broad audience, but only for a small subset of SAS developers. “This is the most specialized book I’ve ever published,” Aster says. The book is set for release on the Breakfast imprint on March 22.

Rick Aster’s March of Trash challenge is going ahead for a second year. An estimated 100 to 200 people will participate, pledging to get rid of unwanted stuff every day for the month of March.

2016-03-01

Notes

Trevor Rabin says he has put his half-finished solo album on hold to focus on a collaboration with two other former Yes members, Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman. The Anderson Rabin Wakeman album is hoped to be finished this year. A tour is on the drawing board for later in the year.

Musical performers set to appear at this year’s Super Bowl are said to include Bruno Mars, Coldplay, and Lady Gaga.

David Bowie had begun recording a new album at the time of his death, with at least five songs recorded.

The new album Ride the Tiger by Greg Lake and Geoff Downes collects the demos for the six songs the two wrote together, including an early version of the ELP hit “Street War.”

Deaths: Paul Kantner, founder and guitarist of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship. Glenn Frey, guitarist of The Eagles and singer of many of the band’s hits such as “Take It Easy.”

2016-02-01

For David Bowie, a Birthday, a New Album, Then Death

David Bowie kept his new album a secret until it was ready for release, a release that coincided with his 69th birthday. He also kept his cancer a secret from the public, and it killed him, mere days after the album’s release.

The new album, ★ (“black star”), is a musical adventure. Bowie and producer Tony Visconti worked with a jazz band over an extended period to record the tracks, but the result is not a jazz album. It has the stark tones of a Bowie album, though the musicianship of the players lends a presence and credibility to the music and helped propel the album to the upper reaches of the charts in multiple countries on its release.

The album was released on January 8 along with a video for the song “Lazarus” that shows the singer lying in a hospital bed, his eyes covered in bandages, though singing and gesturing with his usual energy. Two days later came the news that Bowie had passed away from cancer that he had lived with for eighteen months. The hospital bed and bandages were not merely stage props, but symbols of where Bowie was in his life.

2016-01-12

Notes

The new Star Wars movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens has had the biggest opening weekend of any movie ever and is likely to be listed as the all-time top-grossing movie by the end of January. The movie picks up the story perhaps thirty years after Episode VI and features many of the same characters.

Mozilla has stopped development of Firefox OS, its low-cost entry in the phone operating system wars. The Firefox team will return its attention to the web browser, which is now also available worldwide on iOS devices.

With guitar hero Slash back on board, Guns ’n’ Roses is planning a two-month summer tour and is slated for a headlining appearance at Coachella.

A new Led Zeppelin album is in the works. Singer Robert Plant hinted months ago that he would be able to commit the time that a new album would require.

Bah & the Humbugs released several new songs and featured two of them, “Plain Red Cup” and “Sleigh Boy,” in their first-ever lyric videos.

Deaths: Lemmy, founder and bassist of Motörhead. Scott Weiland, original lead singer for Stone Temple Pilots. Natalie Cole, singer of pop hits such as “This Will Be.”

2016-01-01
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2002–2015

Rick Aster’s World

What’s coming . . . and what does it take to be ready for the future?

EVENTS

Friday, June 3

Record releases: Roxette, Good Karma; Tarja Turunen, The Brightest Void

Friday, June 10

Shamanic journeying circle with Amy Guskin and Paul Nordquist. Main Line Pilates & Yoga, Paoli, PA. 7:20 p.m.

Friday, August 5

Record release: Tarja Turunen, The Shadow Self

ON TOUR

June

Yes: Europe.
Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, Tesla: northeastern U.S.
Boston: U.S.
Paul McCartney: Germany.
Jeff Lynne’s ELO: Europe.

July

Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, Tesla: northern U.S.
Kiss: western U.S.

August

Yes: U.S. (TBA)
Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, Tesla: eastern U.S.
Boston: U.S.
Kiss: U.S., northwest to northeast

September

Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, Tesla: western U.S.
Jeff Lynne’s ELO: U.S.
Kiss: northeast U.S.

October

Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, Tesla: northern U.S.