May 17, 2010


Ronnie James Dio
My heart is crying: on May 16th,  Ronnie James Dio  passed away, aged 67. Many words can be said about his inimitable vocals, his contribition to hard rock and heavy metal, his role in RAINBOW and BLACK SABBATH, yet this scribe knew him, although pitifully briefly, from another, personal side. A little caring man with a heart bigger than his voice, Ron never lost a word sent his way and noticed every single move on your face to ask a bit later what was happening and how could he be of help. I’ll never forget how, having steered his band to the venue from the hotel, I found out I don’t have a backstage pass and, thus, wouldn’t be able to return to the dressing room if I leave it, and Ron – who we had a lot of fun together in Jerusalem the day before – solved this problem by giving me his own pass, which I’ll value even more now, and how warm his goodbyes were. We hoped to meet again. Not in this world now… Let the dragons’ wings carry you, Ron, to where you’ve been before only in the fantasies you shared with us so generously.


While embarking on the PAVLOV’S DOG special, DME’s happy to report that this summer will see the band’s first new studio album in 20 year, titled “Echo & Boo”. Artwork and track list are to be posted later, once the DOG’s label, Rockville, will have it all. Those who worries about David Surkamp’s voice should look up his videos on the web: it’s as marvellous as it was back in the ’70s. And now it’s quite a time to have those classic albums in remastered form, as the previous news had it.


For the purists, there can’t be THIN LIZZY without Phil Lynott, but John Sykes revived the band for better or for worse – and left it not so long ago. The LIZZY corpse didn’t lie on the ground for a significant period of time, though, and now the original drummer Brian Downey joined forces with the classic era guitarist Scott Gorham and Darren Wharton who played keyboards in the band’s last years with Philo. The line-up is completed with DEF LEPPARD’s Vivian Campbell, a former Sykes foil in WHITESNAKE, the latter group’s bassist Marco Mendoza and singer Ricky Warwick from THE ALMIGHTY. A UK tour is on the cards, but as usual, no word of new work. And who needs it if soon there will be the deluxe and special releases of original albums?


Ozzy Osbourne is so significant an artist that he’s able to re-write history – or so it seemed when in 2002 he decided to erase Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake’s parts from 1980’s “Blizzard Of Ozz” and 1981’s “Diary Of A Madman” albums and replace the bass and drums with the ones played by Robert Trujillo and Mike Bordin after his confict with the original rhythm section over royalties had reached the peak. Many balked at the decision, but now these two classic records are written in for the re-issue as the 30th anniversary editions – in their original form. Justice for all, uh?

May 12th, 2010


One of the evegreens, CHRISTIE’s “Yellow River” topped the UK charts for the weeks in 1970 having replaced “Back Home”, the official World Cup song for the then-champions, the English team, from the peak. This year, though, for the first time ever in English football there’s no official song – and there’s only two months left until the next cup. Knowin that, the avid soccer – we should use the word for the American readers, shouldn’t we? – Jeff Christie volunteered with an adaptation of his classic and re-cut the “River” as “Hat Trick Of Lions (Come On England)”, the track you can listen to here to spur on the players. It’s a ska, rather than country-influenced song now which boasts the who’s who of the UK’s finest reggae musicians, including Mafia and Fluxy, a drum and bass duo that worked with none other than THE SKATALITES, and Henry “Buttons” Tenyue whose CV mentions ASWAD and UB40, plus the rising star Aggi Dukes rapping in the middle section. Why ska? It was the first ethnic music to influence the British charts and become affiliated with football, it’s that simple. Is it a new hit, then, or what?


It was the American genius of Gary Wright combined with the British power of his band mates that made SPOOKY TOOTH such a force four decades ago, but when the group split the keyboard player launched a remarkable solo career which resulted in a string of fine albums and a couple of big hits, 1976’s “Dream Weaver” being most famous. Not that he ever yet Wright’s path took him in other directions rather than pop and rock that made Gary a star. Still, now, having toured as part of ALL-STARR BAND in 2008 and written in in the line-up again for 2010, the veteran has released the record his fans have been waiting for more than 20 years. More so,“Connected” – that’s the title – features such major league luminaries as Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter. And that’s what’s under the cover…

1. Satisfied
2. Get Your Hands Up
3. Under Your Spell
4. No One Does It Better
5. Can’t Find No Mercy
6. Life’S Not a Battlefield
7. Gimme Some Time
8. Connected
9. Kirra Layne
10. You Make Me Feel Better


After the glorious staging of “Six Wives Of Henry VIII” at Hampton Court not so long ago, Rick Wakeman is ready to delve deeper in the classic part of his solo discography and now the keyboard magus is recording guide parts of additional material that will augment the original score of “Journey To The Centre Of The Earth”which he starts performing again in August in South America to take later on to Australia and the U.K. So much for the Grumpy Rock Star who doesn’t want to be touring properly but plays a concert per month and will play some shows with his former YES colleague Jon Anderson this autumn.

And that’s not all, though, as Wakeman, having done a Q&A session at the Keyboard Tech department of Thames Valley University together with Jon Lord, plans some joint concerts with the similarly retired DEEP PURPLE organ rider in the future. This future will also hold – yes! – a “King Arthur” spectacular in 2012. Not on ice, of course, not anymore, yet the prospect feels great. No reason for grumping it seems, and there’s surely no time for that.


Once heard, the PAVLOV’S DOG records can’t be forgotten even by those who don’t stand David Surkamp’s vocals. But there’s no denying, the band’s two albums –“Third”, or “Has Anyone Here Seen Siegfried?” has been officially released only in 2007 – are American prog rock masterpieces, and their proper remastering was long overdue. And here, at last, they are: both records in pristine quality, digi-packed and supplied with some bonus cuts each. That’s the additonal material:

Pampered Menial
* Subway Sue (live)
* Preludin (live)
* I Wish It Would Rain (live)
* Rainbow
At The Sound Of The Bell
* Gold Nuggets (live)
* Standing Here With You (live)
* Try To Hang On (live)

May 9th, 2010


Since THE BEATLES they signed their first proper contract, Paul McCartney has been linked – via Parlophone label – to EMI, but in the last few years the corporation treated him the way the veteran didn’t like (what about lesser artists, then?). And now Sir Paul struck a deal with Concord Music Group aiming to re-release, on both physical and digital media, all his solo and WINGS material, from 1970’s “McCartney” through to 2009’s “Good Evening New York City”… as if anyone needed his latest albums, available everywhere. But that’s not the case with the old ones which were re-issued at one point marked as “Paul McCartney Collection” but didn’t satisfy the fans with the sound; still, there were bonus tracks, and the “Band On The Run” CD of the series had more of those than the record’s collectors’ edition that hit the shelves in 1999. So it’s this 1974’s classic that will start the new re-issue program in August: it’s going to be in several formats including a specialmulti-disc edition with remastered audio, enhanced packaging and rare additional content. There’s also talk of a rarities box set, yet such rumors have been heard for a long time now.

Meanwhile, the date is set for the THE BEATLES‘ remasters release on vinyl, although there’s no word on whether it’ll be mono or stereo records – presumably, both. What will appear in the shops on October 4th, 2010 is a 16-LP box with a 100-page hard back book but all the albums will also be available individually. So those who worn out their original copies and still prefer the 12-inch plastic should be happy now.

And as if the BEATLES’ fans don’t have their fix every now and again, Liam Gallagher is said to working on a feature film about the Fabs which’ll span the hectic time of Apple based on the quarter’s label so called house hippie Richard DiLello’s book “The Longest Cocktail Party: An Insider’s Diary Of The Beatles, Their Million Dollar Apple Empire And Its Wild Rise And Fall”, out in 1972. The project’s official launch is scheduled for the Cannes Film Festival next week but there’s still no either screenwriter or director decided on, so it’s quite a long and winding road ahead of it all.


On the verge of launching his new digital music delivery system from his indie label Mctrax International and putting out his new album, Andy Fraser  is getting clearer in the spotlight. Recently, the bass hero revealed theat the virtuoso slide guitar on his ecology-themed new single “This Is The Big One” comes courtesy of Kat Dyson well known from her groovy work in Prince’s NPG band and backing many more stars, so there’s a nice fizz to the FREE legend’s forthcoming platter.

Adding buzz to that fizz, Andy is appearing in a five-part BBC2 documentary series “I’m in a Rock ‘n’ Roll Band” which went on air on May 1st. It focuses on some of the greatest groups and features such luminaries as Roger Daltrey, Jeff Beck, Sting, Jon Bon Jovi, Phil Collins, Chad Smith and Slash, so Fraser’s in the good company there. Says the veteran, “It was a real kick to be able to participate in this show. It is great to get the thoughts and humor of so many mutually respected musicians all talking about a rock band from the perspective of its individual members”.


It was a big surprise when HEAVEN AND HELL announced a series of appearances at the summer festivals, as the band’s voice,  Ronnie James Dio has been undergoing treatment for stomach cancer in the last months. But, always a hero, he seemed determined to soldier on with the current BLACK SABBATH incarnation. Yet now all the gigs have been cancelled. On the one hand, it’s sad – it means Ronnie’s still now well. On the other hand, the cancellation should give the 68-year-old singer more chances to recuperate. That’s what’s more important right now.


There’s a new management company, 2 Plus Music & Entertainment, ruled by the MoonJune Records main man Leonardo Pavkovic and GENTLE GIANT singer Derek Shulman, and there’s a new band on their experienced hands: YOSO. The name gives some indication of who’s in there – now, when supergroups are fat on the ground, this one features former TOTO warbler Bobby Kimball, ex-YES keyboard maestro Tony Kaye, another YES alumnus and famous producer Billy Sherwood and his guitarist friend Jimmy Haun who also played with a few YES-related projects. That means two words: muscular prog. Still, all this has been mentioned before, yet now the ensemble’s first album is ready. Sample the new music live here and keep your finger on the veterans’ pulse at the YOSO official site.


There’s not many rockers adept in classical music – forget those pretentious works by the likes of Macca and Sting – but Morris Pert was of the rare species. Famous for his percussion rattling with rock royalty, from Mike Oldfield to THE WALKER BROTHERS, from Kate Bush to CARAVAN, from Stomu Yamashta to the aforementioned Paul McCartney, the Scot delivered at the same time great orchestral works, including symphonies, often commissioned by the BBC, but managed to come up with only a few solo albums which must be cherished ever more now that the veteran musician passed away on April 27th, aged 62. Hopefully, he’s jamming now with his fellow traveler John Martyn up there.


Praised as the best bassist in the world by Carlos Santana and the best bassist on the planet by none other than Geddy Lee, kept in high regard by one Jaco Pastorius and, as recently revealed having turned down the offer to join VAN HALEN, Jeff Berlin definitely is player extraordinaire who worked with creme de la creme of rock and jazz. Now, the fusion meister is releasing a new jazz trio album: titled “High Standards”, it features such heavyweights as pianist Richard Drexler drummer Danny Gottlieb, a little band depicted by Berlin as “a standard jazz piano trio led by a former rock bass player playing jazz tunes, and soloing nothing like bass players usually solo”. A review is due here.

May 17, 2010

Category(s): News

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