Joe Bonamassa has announced four dates in London in March 2013, which will be filmed for a DVD charting his rise from club player to international guitar hero.
The four gigs, taking place at venues ranging from the 200 capacity London Borderline through to the Royal Albert Hall, will see Bonamassa play a different set each night with a changing band set up. In total, Bonamassa will play up to eighty new and old songs cherry picked from his ten studio albums, with some being performed live for the first time.
“London is like my second home,” says Bonamassa. “I want to give the fans attending the London concerts a real treat – a thank you for their unwavering support. Over the years I’ve received requests for tracks we’ve never performed live. Now, it feels right that we delve into the back catalogue and dedicate London fans with unique versions of tracks they’ve never experienced live.”
The gigs will be taking place next year at the London Borderline on Tuesday 26 March, HMV Hammersmith Apollo on Wednesday 27 March and Thursday 28 March, and the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 30 March.
For tickets and further information, including how to bag VIP seats, visit The Gig Cartel, and for a free download of the song When The Fire Hits The Sea, check out the official Joe Bonamassa website.
Rock and blues fans who missed out on hearing Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan in their heyday could have done worse than listen to a 21st century incarnation in London this week.
Thumping chords and wailing guitar runs enraptured an audience at the Leicester Square Theatre in much the same way that those late "rock gods" used to.
Only this performance came from a goddess - Joanne Shaw Taylor - a 27-year old Detroit-based Englishwoman whose musical style and audacious guitar skills can easily cause a double-take on the part of those who stumble upon her unprepared.
A gravelly blues voice and long, flailing blonde hair add to the feeling that something here does not quite fit the "axe-man" mould carved out by Hendrix, Vaughan, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page or Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones.
Female blues-rock guitarists, after all, are few and far between - particularly if they were born in the mid-1980s and can mesmerise their listeners with a version of Hendrix's "Manic Depression", giving the original a run for its money.
"There are not so many women playing the guitar," Shaw Taylor told Reuters before going on stage. "Along with the drums, it is an aggressive, masculine instrument."
Asked to name women guitar virtuosi, she came up with a short list that included Susan Tedeschi, Joan Jett and Bonnie Raitt. Respectively, they are in their 40s, 50s and 60s.
Shaw Taylor says this may be changing. She has noted that fathers are bringing their young daughters to see her concerts.
She picked up her first guitar when she was aged 6, attracted by the playing of her brother and own father, who favoured the likes of heavy rockers Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy.
When she later heard Vaughan, the Texan cult guitarist who died in a 1990 helicopter crash and was known for his frenetic electric riffs and runs, she was smitten.
Her first two albums were almost pure blues-rock. The latest - "Almost Always Never" - veers more to straight rock.
"I didn't see any sense in making the same album twice," she said.
She is featuring it on a British tour in which she is backed up by a tight trio of drums, keyboards and bass.
Shaw Taylor, who has tours planned next year in New Zealand and Canada, already has a solid following among blues-rock fans and a growing reputation beyond that.
She has now moved on from blues clubs to theatre-sized venues and in June she got a wider, global airing at the star-studded concert held outside Buckingham Palace for Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee.
Scottish singer Annie Lennox, whom she had not seen for about a decade when Shaw Taylor worked with Lennox's ex-Eurythmics partner Dave Stewart, rang her on short notice to back her up.
"That was chaos," Shaw Taylor said, of the rapid change of plans and performance preparation.
Lennox sang "There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)" wearing a large pair of angel wings. So too did Shaw Taylor when she stepped forward for a solo to probably the biggest audience she has ever had.
Her mother insisted that she bring the wings home on the train for her niece - sweet, but not very rock and roll even if you can play like Hendrix.
This is something I just came across and wanted to share as I know we have a ton of Metallica fans out there. There isn’t much of a major story here other than the fact that you can download some free Metallica music from back in the day! This isn’t the first offering from the band however it is the most recent and is really a classic Metallica show including many of their high energy, hi octane hits.
1. Master Of Puppets
2. Wherever I May Roam
3. Harvester Of Sorrow
4. Kirk Solo #1
5. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
6. The God That Failed
7. Kill/Ride Medley
8. For Whom The Bell Tolls
9. Disposable Heroes
10. Seek & Destroy
11. Kirk Solo #2
12. Nothing Else Matters
13. Creeping Death
14. Jason Solo
15. Fade to Black
17. Sad But True
19. Enter Sandman
Its a full 2 hour show with a non-stop 19 song set list including a few solo’s from Kirk and Jason. Check out the set-list from the June 17, 1994 show from the County Fairgrounds in Middleton, NY. Ahh…those were good times for Metallica fans. You can grab the download for free here.
Former Guns N’ Roses guitar madman Slash is preparing to embark on a short tour of England. If you weren’t aware, Slash grew up in Stoke-on-Trent in Britain until the age of 6. Slash released a live album in 2011, which was called Made In Stoke 24/7/11.
The former GNR member has a wild and long history of living the rock star lifestyle to its fullest. He was known for pushing the limits to the edge, including more than enough sex, drugs and rock n’ roll to make one wonder how he pulled through that time in his life. But all of that is in the past. Now 47 years old Slash has been sober for 7 years.
In the run up to the tour of England Slash sat down with The Independent to discuss a few of his thoughts on what it is like when he goes back to the UK. One surprising quote that came out of the interview was his love of the music of Adele. That’s not exactly what you would imagine Slash is listening to so I’ll let Slash tell you how he feels about her music in his own words.
She’s great. She’s a shot in the arm for this industry. She writes her own music that’s not at all contrived. And she’s managed to sell loads of records which makes her a great example to the younger artists. Like Amy Winehouse, she’s organic and real. It’s great to have that happen at this moment when everybody else is so synthetic.
Slash starts his tour next week and if you happen to be in the UK you should check out the show if you can make it.
Corn Exchange, Edinburgh: October 7
Manchester: October 8
Birmingham: October 9
02 Academy Brixton: October 11-12
Newcastle: October 15
Hopefully Slash has plans to come back and rock the US!
Source: The Independent
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In the late '80s, Level 42 were one of the biggest British bands around, with a string of hits, arena tours and a sound that was driven by bassist and vocalist Mark King's distinctive slap bass technique. Back on the road and releasing a four-disc 25th Anniversary Edition of double platinum 1987 album Running in the Family, we caught up with King to talk synths, song writing and strings...
It's the 25th Anniversary of Running in the Family – does it feel like a quarter of a century ago?
Man and boy, I tell you it does, it feels like about 50 years. I think I've been dragging this album round forever, and I love doing it too, I have to say. It's an album that's been really good to us. When we laid it down in 1987, I don't think we realised that is was going to be as successful as it was. We were trying hard to make it as successful, because we were looking to pick up a new contract with Polydor Records. Plus, World Machine had done really well for us in '85, and that really kicked the door open for us in the States.
Level 42 in 1986. Credit: Lynn Goldsmith / Corbis
So there was a lot riding on the whole Running in the Family project, beginning of course with the single Lessons In Love. It was almost orphaned, because we were working very hard out in America, and Polydor needed something to be running with, because they couldn't take anything else from the world Machine album. We had this very small window just after Christmas in '87 to come up with something.
We convened round at my loft in Streatham, where I had an old 8-track studio, a reel-to-reel thing. It was lovely. Great days they were, in terms of gear, because of the limitations. It's not like today where you call Logic up and you've got limitless tracks on a terabyte drive that costs about thruppence. Back then, you had to try and jam stuff in, and I think in a lot of ways that was pretty good, because it did kind of polarise your thoughts and what you had to do to try and get an idea across in as few tracks as possible.
I'm sure the likes of The Beatles, who never had the luxury of 8 track, had the same feeling about it. Because when you've got loads of tracks, the temptation to stick peripheral musical nonsense on is really irresistible. Particularly if you're a musician, and a creative type, part of your remit when you're trying to come up with stuff is to be inventive, and of course it just goes nuts sometimes.
So it was Lessons In Love that led into the rest of the recording for Running In The Family?
It was. We had this very small window to get stuff done in, because we were going straight back out to the States again. We came up with Lessons In Love, which was really an idea taken from a live version of A Physical Presence, which was the track we were touring at the time, and the way we were trying to end that.
We used to just fade songs, which gives you that conundrum when you take it out live, how do you end it? We'd always had a bit of a habit of making these big pompous endings, and this one was no different!
The idea was kind of taken from We'll Meet Again, that vibe. I dragged out the riff, which in essence was the whole melody, and said, "Look guys, I've got this, but with much more of a sixteenths feel with the machine gun bass going on behind it," which was kind of our trade mark.
Mike Lindup came up with that great middle eight, and Boon [Rowland Gould] had this killer lyric on it, the imagery was cracking. We did that and Children Say, which was also a single off the album, and a third track, Freedom Some Day. When you listen to those three in isolation, which was how we recorded them, they're three totally different tracks to each other, vibe wise, tempo wise.
We thought the best thing to do was to give the record company three alternatives different from each other, and see what they ran with. Having said that, history has proven that they're not always right about what they choose anyway. Very often as the artist it's much better delivering the fait accompli, because if you give them a choice they'll probably choose the wrong thing!
Mark giving his slapping thumb some abuse. Credit: Corbis
Was the writing process always as collaborative as that?
Yeah, largely it's been that way. The whole writing thing for me, apart from a couple of instrumental ideas I'd had as a teen, always began as Level 42. My first tuned instruments were played in Level 42, so I was either picking up the bass or a guitar, and strumming around on that. My keyboard playing leaves a lot to be desired, but it didn't matter when you had guys like Mike Lindup or Wally Badarou to be able to call up, because they're such masters of it anyway.
The whole collaborative thing was just how we always did it. It never used to be quite so full on, I think Lesson In Love is myself, Wally Badarou, Boon Gould and Mike Lindup, I think Phil [Gould] wasn't in on that one. It wasn't always that. More often than not, we'd pair up and I'd do something with Boon, or with Phil, or with Mike. Because that way, it kind of clears the decks of too much input.
I think by the very dint of being a musician, you have this slightly competitive edge, you want to get your ideas out. It's kind of a blessing and a curse all at the same time. You get loads of ideas come flying in, but you feel yourself having to try and make room for them, even if perhaps it's not the best thing in hindsight. But you don't know that until you go looking back further down the line.
I've been looking at the Running In The Family project, which is now 25 years old, under a microscope. I've just recently done an acoustic version of the whole thing, and that was very interesting with the hindsight of 25 years.
What made you want to revisit them acoustically? Did you find yourself making a lot of changes?
On the last tour we did in 2010, a lot of the radio stations we visited for promo asked us to drop in with a guitar and sing one of the songs, which wasn't ideal as a slap bass player! So I got myself a nice Taylor guitar, and starting boning up on some of these things, and I really loved it. It's such a departure.
Of course, a lot of the Level 42 stuff, particularly the bigger hits, were so synth and sequence based that trying to approach these songs with an acoustic guitar pulls the lid right off of it. I had to forget the way it went, and concentrate on the really strong chorus melody or verse melody.
I'm really chuffed at the moment with a version of To Be With You Again that I did a couple of months back. It was released as a single and it did well for us, but it was very dance oriented. We were still keeping up the momentum of competing as a band that would be played in the clubs, which we were. The DJ's would remix it and stuff, and it was a very dance oriented thing. But when I looked at the lyrics Boon had come up with – and bearing in mind this was about three or four months before he left the band – I saw that they're really heartfelt.
I didn't realise that the guy was in such turmoil and such conflict with the career he'd had for the last seven years, and the fact that we were always working and his personal relationships were bombing because we were always on the road. That had never occurred to me at the time.
So to actually sit down with an acoustic guitar and re-work the thing was great, a real pleasure, and a treat to do. I sent it to Boon to have a listen, and he said "I absolutely love it, and that's what I meant!" So it's great, 25 years later, to put the record straight on it.
How was the recording process with Running In The Family? Did it all go smoothly?
It was done in two stages; we laid down three of the tracks just after Christmas '87 at Maison Rouge studios. These were SSL based studios – our engineer Julian Mendelsohn knew his way around the SSL stuff really well, and we liked the sound that was coming out of the desk itself. We were working 48 track analogue machines of course. Digital was on the horizon, and there were whispers about this Sony machine that had 32 tracks but it was very notchy, so we didn't want to go there. I think that Running In The Family was the first album we had that went straight to CD. Everything else before that was vinyl, so digital technology was in its infancy.
Did the knowledge that the album would be released on to CD play into decisions you were making in the studio, or were you approaching things the same way you had previously?
We were doing it the same way, we were looking at coming up with 40, 45 minutes of music top whack really. It used to be the physical limitations of vinyl – 22 minutes a side max, otherwise you had to go down to a much smaller groove which made the album much quieter and more prone to jumping – that shaped why we listened to the length of music we did. I'm still pretty much convinced that 40 minutes for a project is enough. When people start filling CDs up just to fill the space, I find that negative as opposed to positive creatively.
When Running In The Family came out, it was a huge commercial success – were you expecting it?
The World Machine album really did a great deal for us because it gave us our first top ten in America, so that was a bit of a result. The fact that it was giving us number ones in 17 countries, that was a bit of a surprise. It was a quantum leap between selling 60,000 albums and then suddenly shifting 600,000. Polydor then had this great whiz of an idea of three months into the album being out, re-releasing it and calling it a Platinum Edition. Bearing in mind it had already done really well and been up in the top 5, the Platinum Edition sold 600,000 copies in the first week in the UK. The record companies were already beginning to flex their remarketing muscles, which they've now gone absolutely nuts on.
Mark with one of his Status Graphite KingBasses - note the 'bend well'. Credit: Supri/X00477/Reuters/Corbis
When you went to tour the album, you were obviously playing to pretty significant crowds. How did that affect the band and your live performances?
Because of the World Machine thing, we were already starting to play Wembley Arena, so we just carried on. We were booked into more arena shows, and we were doing the NEC and the GMEX.
What's been nice about doing this 25th anniversary box set that Universal is putting out is that part of it is the Fait Accompli video, which was this documentary that was made. They spent a hell of a long time out on the road with us, when we were shooting promo videos in New Orleans, and then following us around Europe on the Arena tour, and it really is quite something to show the kids. My sixteen year old daughter didn't have a clue any of this was going on, so she just kind of sits there with her jaw open!
How about on the technical side of things – your rig must have exploded when you started playing arenas?
Bass-wise when we went to the States I had the huge compliment of Alembic coming up and saying they'd like to do a signature model. They thought I was using Alembic, it just so happened I was using Jaydee, it was just a very Alembic shape. This dude showed up one day with this little suitcase of matched book hardwoods, and asked me to choose some so they could make a couple of basses, which was absolutely brilliant. They the likes of Boogie and every amp manufacturer under the sun wanted to get involved, but I was pretty much stuck with using the Trace gear because I really liked it.
I first started using Trace Elliot from 1981. Back then it was about as high end and high fidelity as you could get. It started with the GP11, I've still got one of those, and then it went on to the GP12. It started to get a little bit overcomplicated, and they were putting compressors in. I can't stand compression on the bass when I'm playing live, I just find it's way too polite. I do like the whole transient thing of slapping the bass and popping, and it just being the strings and me doing it, and not some box reacting and clipping it.
Now I use TC Electronic stuff. It's great gear - I use the Blacksmith head which is a 1500 watt power unit, and it's got so much thump with a couple of 4x10s plus a couple of 2x10s. It's great, 'cos you can split the rig up and take it smaller if you want to go and do a TV show, and it all has the TC Electronic clarity.
This of course is all being front-ended by my Status Graphite basses, the KingBasses, they've just this year come out with the parametric one, it's called the KingBass Paramatrix. This thing does anything, it's got four pickups for a start, and you can select any combination. As a bit of knob twiddler anyway, I just like having all these things – invariably I'll end up turning everything up on full anyway!
What are the key requirements you look for in a bass?
I like really fast action, and I use very light strings – 30, 50, 70 and 90, all Rotosound. They're great for me, they're nice and bright and they're double ball end of course, because the Status is still a headless bass. At the zero nut, we've added about three inches of graphite and given it what we call the 'bend well'. The thing I missed about the headed bass was that you could bend harmonics, and you couldn't do that on the headless basses, so we sorted that out. Plus, the consistency of it – I use two basses on stage of a night as the strings start going off, because they take a hell of a pounding. So I'll swap basses half way through, and it's great to pick up a second bass and it be so like the bass you've just been playing, and feel so comfortable and consistent.
What about your pedalboard?
I'm TC'd up with pedals! I use quite a small board, I like to take it with me when I go abroad. I use a TC Electronic Flashback pedal, and I love it for the looping. I use the Hall Of Fame pedal, the reverbs on them are fantastic. I use a Vortex flanger, I've got a tone print on that called the Sweet Minger! And then there's the Corona pedal, which is pretty much a chorus, and the Dark Matter as well, because it's such a great overdrive pedal. The only non-TC stuff I've got is an MXR Autocue, which is an autowah pedal, and an MXR Bass Octave Deluxe unit. And that's my whole pedalboard, which is pretty full on really!
You were using Ashdown amps for a while weren't you?
I was, and they very kindly did a signature head for me, we worked together on that. About '97, '98, I did a solo project called One Man, and I wanted it to be different from Level 42 so I made a radical departure. Fender got in touch and knocked up a few Jazz Deluxe basses for me, and I really liked the sound. Mark Gooday called me up, he was just about to start Ashdown, and he had lovely gear that was really nice and warm.
I started touring with that, but the more touring I started doing and the more Level 42 material I started putting back in the set, the original Ashdown rig wasn't really cutting in with what was required for the slap side of things. They had big speakers, and really 10 inches is as big as you want to get when you're thumping very fast.
I've worked with Mark for such a long time from the Trace days, so I asked him to come up with something like the very first Trace rig I had. Then I asked him to make me something like a Trace GP12 but without all the compressors and things, and that's when they came up with the MK500 head which was absolutely great.
Then time passed again, and I was in Scandinavia and the TC Electronic guys came along because I'd had this love affair with their pedals. I thought it'd be a good move to make. Ashdown are off and running, but it was very nice to be there right at the beginning, as indeed I was with the Trace Elliot stuff.
Level 42's Running in the Family 25th Anniversary Edition is out on October 8. For more information, visit the official Level 42 website.
If you follow music or the music industry you no doubt are familiar with the long and storied history of Fender. If you scan through history you will find Fender guitars and amps dating as far back as you can imagine.
The Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 Twin Reverb amp will transport you back to the mid ’60′s and let you create that classic Fender sound that has permeated music history for decades. The ’65 Twin Reverb amp reproduces the original all tube amp from the 1960′s. Fender says that its one of the cleanest amps ever. You get a cool crunch if you crank it up.
The Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 Twin Reverb amp packs 85 watts delivered through 2 Jensen 12s. The amp is 2 channel with tube vibrato, tube spring reverb and other bells and whistles that make this a must have for serious enthusiasts seeking that special Fender sound.
The Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 Twin Reverb amp specs look like this:
Original all-tube circuitry
2 Jensen 12″ speakers
Tube spring reverb
26-1/2″W x 20″H x 10-1/2″D
The Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 Twin Reverb amp lists for $1,999.99 but with a little searching you can find some decent discounts.
Yes you read that correctly. Billie Joe Armstrong had a few things to get off his chest during the Green Day set at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas. One of those things was that they are NOT Justin Bieber! Do you hear that? Billie Joe said “NOT JUSTIN BIEBER!!!!!”
Associated Press Entertainment Writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody reports that Billie Joe basically lost his shit, mid-song on stage for everyone with a phone to see and share with their friends. The freakout resulted in a profanity laced tirade from Armstrong which was triggered by the mid-song notification that Green Day only had one minute left to play. If you didn’t see it coming, Billie Joe will be taking a little time off to get some treatment for substance abuse.
If you’re a Green Day fan you’ve probably already seen the viral video sensation of Armstrong going off that has hit the interwebs. If you haven’t seen this yet then here ‘ya go. Be advised. As you would expect from the power pop, punk icon there is some strong language in the clip. So if the kids are in earshot of the computer you may want to have them leave the room…
Green Day released a statement to the Associated Press apologizing and making it clear that media giant Clear Channel, who produced the iHeart Radio Music festival, was not responsible for cutting the set short. (Editorial: probably a good move on Green Day’s part since Clear Channel host’s the festival and they want to be invited back someday).
In related Green Day news, the power pop punk rockers have had to cancel some of their promo appearances in support of the album Uno. That sucks for Green Day fans but is probably the right move to make. After all, we’d like to have Green Day pumping out rock anthems for years to come.
Side note: If you ever find yourself alone (or in a group if you happen to run in the same circles) with Billie Joe Armstrong don’t rush him or tell him he’s only got one minute to go.
The star-studded story of the life of one of the most revered and respected guitarists, well, ever, BB King: The Life Of Riley, is about to have a UK wide theatrical release.
The film, directed and produced by Jon Brewer, will arrive on the big screen on October 15, with a DVD release planned for later on in the year.
Brewer worked with the legendary bluesman over a period of two years to produce the documentary, which charts the rise of BB King from cotton picker in rural Mississippi to multi-million selling bluesman.
The film, which is narrated by Morgan Freeman, features contributions from a suitably stellar line up of BB King admirers, including Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Slash, Ringo Starr, Carlos Santana, John Mayer and many more.
Preceding the film's release is a 10 CD, 194 track box set collection chronicling King's entire career, entitled Ladies And Gentlemen… Mr. BB King, which will be available from September 24.
Universal Music will also be releasing a soundtrack album, also called BB King: The Life Of Riley, on October 22.
Check out the trailer for BB King: The Life Of Riley at the film's official website, and pre-book tickets for the theatrical release via Odeon. Details of the Ladies And Gentlemen… boxset can be found via Amazon.
One of the more fascinating music documentaries we've seen in recent years, Produced By George Martin, a career-spanning look at the legendary producer of The Beatles, which originally aired on the BBC in 2011, is now available on DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats.
Directed by Francis Hanly, the 90-minute film tells the story of the record producer whose influence on modern culture is without equal. Starting out in the early '50s, Martin joined EMI/Parlophone and distinguished himself as a jack-of-all-trades, working on everything from orchestral music to children's records until he pioneered a range of hugely successful comedy releases featuring Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan.
In 1962, sensing a demand for a new kind of music to satisfy Britain's growing teen market, he agreed to sign a rock 'n' roll band from Liverpool, and of course, music would never be the same.
The film eschews a narrator, allowing Martin to largely tell his own story. Both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr turn up to reminisce with the one man who can genuinely claim ownership to the title of the "Fifth Beatle." Other notables interviewed include Michael Palin, Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin, Rolf Harris, Cilla Black, Millicent Martin and Bernard Cribbins. Produced By George Martin also makes extensive use of classic and rarely-seen film clips featuring many of the artists Martin worked with during his storied career.
The DVD, Blu-ray and digital edition contains over 50 minutes of additional interviews not included in the original TV broadcast version. These extras include contributions from Rick Rubin, T-Bone Burnett, Howard Goodall, Jimmy Webb and Ken Scott.