September 7, 2012

ALL IN THE NAME

What with Roger Chapman’s claim to retire but, fortunately, still rocking, nothing could be as unexpected as a news of FAMILY reunion. Perhaps, inspired by the MOTT THE HOOPLE hoopla, Roger Chapman, Poli Palmer, Rob Townsend and Jim Cregan get together for one night only, and that will be on February 2nd, 2013 at “O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire”, 39.5 years since they disbanded.

In Chappo’s own words, “This is something that I’ve considered, and been constantly asked about, over the years. It’s always been a question of timing. 2013 marks the 40th year since we did our last show – and we ain’t getting any younger!”. About time, indeed.

IN THE WAKE OF GOD

Having played Thor in Ken Russell’s “Lisztomania”, Rick Wakeman was rightly bestowed a “Prog God” status at yesterday’s Prog Awards. Congratulations for beating such luminaries as his bandmate Jim Cregan and the latter’s namesake Ian Anderson, as well as Roger Waters, Peter Gabriel, the criminally underestimated Steve Hillage and… Kate Bush whose progressive credentials are arguable! But, far from resting on cloud nine, Rick’s done good business at the ceremony: having spotted Nick Beggs, who lost in the “Virtuoso” category to the more gong-heavy Carl Palmer, Wakeman invited the bassist to join his ENGLISH ROCK ENSEMBLE and tour South America with “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” and “Journey To The Centre Of The Earth”. In a funny twist of events, Beggs, who played with Steve Hackettnot so long ago, is take the place of Lee Pomeroy, Hackett’s current bottom-filler. As for Steve, he snatched not one but two awards: as part of GENESIS, he took home the “Lifetime Achievement” gong, and as part of SQUACKETT, got the “Anthem” one for "A Life Within A Day".

OBJECT IN THE AIR

This summer, the fans were reminded who the hell X-UFO are. For those who can’t remember, it’s former UFO co-pilots Danny Peyronel, also of the HEAVY METAL KIDS pedigree, Clive Edwards, whose CV includes, among others, WILD HORSES, and Laurence Archer, also a part of Phil Lynott’s GRAND SLAM, plus Rocky Newton, a Michael Schenker sidekick. They debuted on plastic with “Vol. 1-The Live Files!!” to follow it up now with “Vol. 2 -The Studio Files”, scheduled for early 2013. To taste it now, one can go to the quartet’s site for an exclusive download of their first self-penned track, “Busted”. Bet, you’ll be.

September 5th, 2012

SPREAD YOUR WINGS

Today, Freddie Mercury would have turned 66. He’s no longer with us, sadly, yet the QUEEN peacock spirit lives on, and now the “Freddie For A Day” charity – which means fundraising for the Mercury Phoenix Trust, the AIDS-fighting body, dressed as the late singer – is supported by the“Angry Birds” franchise creators. Two days ago, they followed their GREEN DAY action with a new short video for the perennial “Bicycle Race”. More so, there’s a limited-edition “Freddie Mercury Angry Bird” T-shirt out, with part of the proceeds to be donated to the aforementioned trust.

 

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

Sadly, of late, not a single month passes without another master crossing the Styx to the other side. It’s even sadder when it’s not someone who’s lived a long life but a musician in his prime. In the former category was Hal David whose lyrics so nicely complement many a Burt Bacharach song including such classics as “What’s New Pussycat?” and “I Say A Little Prayer”, while to the latter belonged STARSHIP guitarist Mark Abrahamian and Elton John’s bassist Bob Birch who previously worked with the likes of Billy Joel and George Martin. The rumors of Birch’s suicide seem to be ungrounded: those who saw Elton opening for QUEEN in Kiev must have noticed that Bob was seated for most of the show – a clear sign of something going wrong. His replacement in the band is Matt Bissonette, yet in the hearts of fans Bob, as well as Mark and Hal are irreplaceable.

EXPECT NO MERCY

As former NAZARETH guitarist Manny Charlton reports, he’s starting a project with a fellow Scot Mark Crocker. But, warns the veteran, it’ll be “something special and a million miles away” from his former band.

DANCA DO OURO

Brazil holds a special place in the heart of former YES frontman  Jon Anderson who recorded there one of his most beautiful albums, 1994’s “Deseo”. So, after last month’s Olympic single “Race To The End”, the singer came up with another sports-minded cut, “Brazilian Music Sound” dedicated to the football World Cup to be held in Brazil in 2014. Looks like a new concept record’s looming large.

WAVES FROM THE ‘RIDGE

For all their delicious weirdness, STACKRIDGE have a faithful following, so their fanbase would be delighted with a forthcoming release from Angel Air who crown the band’s reissue programme with “Radio Sessions 1971-1973” that brings together two of the ensemble’s visits to the Beeb and includes the 15-minute run through “Slark” as well as “The Lyder Loo” which didn’t make it to the studio and didn’t end up, as it was slated, on "The Man In The Bowler Hat". A real treat.

1. Three Legged Table
2. Slark
3. The Lyder Loo
4. God Speed The Plough
5. Road To Venezuela
6. The Galloping Gaucho

SIX STRINGS AND MO

When THE SHADOWS’ Hank B. Marvin says there’s “the definitive, if not the only, book on early British rock guitar – a great read”, it speaks volumes, and Mo Foster is an expert in volumes, both as a renowned bassist and a published author. His latest work is “British Rock Guitar: the first 50 years, the musicians and their stories”, in which the veteran goes down his own memory lane and tracks back alleys of other legendary musicians such as Eric Clapton and Brian May. That’s why missing out on the book means missing a point: a recommended read.

Meanwhile, Mo, whose most recent release was a recording of his old band THE BASKERVILLES’ reunion, has embarked on a new project with usual suspects Ray Russell and Gary Husband for a company. Things get jazzy again.

NO DETHRONING FOR THE KING

When it comes to KING CRIMSON, predictability is not an option. But even Robert Fripp himself couldn’t forecast that Universal who’s striving to get clearance from EC competition authorities for its recent purchase of EMI and, in order to attain it, has to get rid of some catalogue assets, would consider the CRIMSO tapes a part of thereof. Yet UMG, that is Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest record company, neither owns or controls these masters. Which is why the demand to immediately withdraw such claims has been sent on behalf of the band and Fripp’s DGM label.

Against this backdrop, the group’s reissue programme reached 1973’s “Larks Tongues In Aspic”. Recorded by a short-lived quintet of Fripp, John Wetton, Bill Bruford, David Cross and Jamie Muir, it signaled a start of a very prolific phase in the CRIMSO’s first lifespan. So this new edition comes, as its predecessors, in regular and expanded forms, the former topping everything that went before with a hopping 15CD-box which corrals not only studio tapes but also every known live performance of that incarnation of the band, some previously available, some never released. Also present are new mixes, including the DVD-A and Blu-Ray ones, by Steven Wilson and a 38-minute concert film, plus booklet and other paper paraphernalia.

SWEET TEMPORA


Prog rock bands aren’t known for sharing that recent craze of covers extravaganza. Yet NEKTAR, who are currently working on their new record with Billy Sherwood on bass, got that Sherwood bug, and have exactly such thing up their collective sleeve – with a star posse in tow. That’s what it’s all about – on CD and a double LP:

1. Sirius (ALAN PARSONS PROJECT) – with Michael Pinnella (SYMPHONY X)
2. Spirit Of The Radio (RUSH) – with Mark Kelly (MARILLION)
3. Fly Like An Eagle (STEVE MILLER BAND) – with Geoff Downes (ASIA) and Joel Vandroogenbroek (BRAINTICKET)
4. Wish You Were Here (PINK FLOYD) – with Edgar Froese (TANGERINE DREAM)
5. For The Love Of Money (THE O’JAYS) – with Ian Paice (DEEP PURPLE) and Nik Turner (HAWKWIND)
6. Can’t Find My Way Home (BLIND FAITH) – with Steve Howe (YES), Derek Sherinian (BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION) and Mel Collins
7. 2000 Light Years From Home (THE ROLLING STONES) – with Simon House (HAWKWIND)
8. Riders On The Storm (THE DOORS) – with Billy Sheehan (MR. BIG) and Rod Argent (ARGENT)
9. Blinded By The Light (Bruce Springsteen) – with Joakim Svalberg (OPETH) and Ginger Baker (CREAM)
10. Out Of The Blue (ROXY MUSIC) – with Simon House (HAWKWIND)
11. Old Man (Neil Young) – with David Cross (KING CRIMSON)
12. Dream Weaver (Gary Wright) – with Jerry Goodman (MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA)
13. I’m Not In Love (10 CC) – with Rick Wakeman and Joel Vandroogenbroek
14. Africa (TOTO) – with Bobby Kimball and Patrick Moraz (YES)

September 7, 2012

Category(s): News

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