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Punk pioneers to tour with Poison, Motley Crue
Sylvain Sylvain and David Johansen. Photo by Anna Victoria.
The new disc from the New York Dolls is called “Dancing Backward in High Heels,” a take-off on the old line about Ginger Rogers – she had to do everything that Fred Astaire did in their intricate dance numbers, but backward and in high heels.
So what did that title mean to the Dolls? A comment on their days as ‘70s pioneers of punk rock, making it look effortless in retrospect? Pointing out to fans that their gifts are something far more complex than what you see on the surface?
David Johansen just shrugs. “When I sang that lyric, everybody just said ‘That’d be a great title for the record.’ So someone write it at the top of the blackboard and it just stayed there.”
With partner Sylvain Sylvain, Johansen and the latest line-up of the New York Dolls recorded “Dancing Backward” in three weeks, much of it in Newcastle, England. On board was producer/bassist Jason Hill, lead singer of Louis XIV, one of just countless bands influenced by the Dolls’ sound and style over the years. The new disc consists of a dozen catchy, irresistible songs, many tongue-in-cheek such as “I’m So Fabulous.” Before touring this summer with Poison and Motley Crue – more bands influenced by the Dolls – Johansen took a few minutes to talk about new music and the band’s legacy.
MSN: Every time the Dolls record a new album, you sound like you dread it, but once you get in the studio it sounds like you’re having a good time.
Johansen: “Yeah. The reason I say that is because when you’re on the road it’s kind of like the life we’re accustomed to. It’s a cliché, but it’s that Willie Nelson thing – on the road again. When we’re in the midst of that it seems to be like we’re retrievers with a really good Frisbee and everything is fine…. when we have to make a record, it’s like ‘Oh no, we have to stop doing this?’ Then when we get in the studio, like you say, we really enjoy it. It’s all about being in the moment.”
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From Neil Diamond to Alice Cooper and everything in between
NEW YORK — The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's annual induc
tion ceremony is the only place you'd find Bruce Springsteen as just one member of a 21-piece backup band.
The rock hall's latest class brought together Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, Darlene Love, Dr. John and Leon Russell, and after all the speeches were done the musicians kept playing until the wee hours.
Springsteen brought his guitar to back Love, who created a modern-day "Wall of Sound" and dueted with Bette Midler on "He's a Rebel" after her induction Monday night. Guitarist John Mayer supported Russell in his ballad "A Song for You." Diamond had the crowd in the glittery ballroom of The Waldorf-Astoria hotel dancing to the 1960s era "Cherry Cherry."
Diamond had seemed a bit loopy in his acceptance speech, after traveling 25 hours from Australia for the ceremony and looking ahead to another trip Down Under to resume a concert tour. He criticized Paul Simon, who inducted him, for giving Simon's upcoming album a difficult-to-remember title ("So Beautiful or So What"), then tried to recover by saying "I dare anybody in this room to make a better album."
Diamond got a cheer from the New York crowd for recognizing his city roots while performing "I Am I Said."
Simon noted that Diamond, who was born in Brooklyn, had first been eligible for the rock hall in 1991 and wondered, "What took so long?"
His theory: Diamond's duet with Barbra Streisand, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers."
"It's Barbra Streisand," he said. "It's not rock 'n' roll. I don't even think they let that DNA near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."
Alice Cooper is the stage name for singer Vincent Furnier and his band, known for 1970s era hard rock songs "Eighteen," "No More Mr. Nice Guy" and "School's Out." Their concerts were steeped in horror movie theatrics, and Cooper wrapped a snake around
his neck during his speech accepting induction. He performed a trio of the band's hits in a shirt spattered with fake blood."We've always been a hard-rock band," Cooper said. "We just wanted to decorate it a little differently."
Cooper said he'd like to promise the rock hall that his band wouldn't embarrass it.
"But I can't make that promise," he said. "After all, we are Alice Cooper."
He was inducted by singer Rob Zombie, who recalled how he painted a portrait of Cooper dripping in blood when he was in fourth grade and was asked to make a picture of someone he admired – drawing attention from school authorities.
Songwriter Waits is well-versed in blues, poetry and ballads, with songs rough and romantic. Several of his Hall of Fame predecessors have recorded his work, including Springsteen ("Jersey Girl"), the Ramones ("I Don't Want to Grow Up"), Rod Stewart ("Downtown Train") and Johnny Cash ("Down There By the Train"). Neil Young said Waits is indescribable and "I'm here to describe him." The two later performed together; taped highlights of the rock hall ceremony will be shown on Fuse on March 20.
Waits noted that his rock hall trophy was heavy and wondered if he could have a keychain version "that I can keep with me in case I hear somebody say, `Pete, take the cuffs off him. He's a Hall of Famer.'"
"They say that I have no hits and that I'm difficult to work with," he said, "and they say that like it's a bad thing."
Russell composed "A Song for You" and "Delta Lady," but he said he was in "a ditch
beside the highway of life" when Elton John called a year ago and suggested they record an album together. The result was nominated for a Grammy.
"After that album," John said, "Leon came alive, and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life."
Russell, with a shock of long white hair and beard, walked haltingly onstage with the help of a cane and met John for a warm embrace.
Love, whose voice cut through Phil Spector's heavy production, called her induction into the hall her best 70th birthday present. She praised Spector's work but also tweaked him: "Phil Spector said God made two musical geniuses: Beethoven and Phil Spector," she recalled.
Love lent her powerful voice to several of Spector's hits, in acts such as the Crystals and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans. Her "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" is a holiday standard: She sang on U2's cover and performs it every December on David Letterman's show.
She was inducted with a comic ramble by Midler, who said she was a goner when she first heard Love's voice on a transistor radio.
"Listening to her songs, you had to dance, you had to move, you had to keep looking for that rebel boy," Midler said. "Suddenly nobody wanted the buttoned-down guy who was a good provider."
New Orleans piano maestro Dr. John, born Malcolm John "Mac" Rebennack Jr., was inducted by singer John Legend, who recalled meeting him at a benefit for Hurricane Katrina relief. Legend said the new Hall of Fame member has been a leading global ambassador for New Orleans and its special musical gumbo.
"He has never stopped flying the flag of funk," Legend said. "Tonight, he is definitely in the right place at the right time."
That was a reference to one of Dr. John's best-known songs, "Right Place, Wrong Time," with Allen Toussaint and the Meters, which he performed as the ceremony slipped past midnight.
Dr. John wore a bright purple suit for his big night and was asked backstage where he had bought his shoes.
"The pimp store," he replied.
Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman and Specialty Records founder Art Rupe also were inducted, in the non-performer category.
The inductees' work will be celebrated in perpetuity at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.
Short film trailer online
Also, rockers who have gone broke and other music news
Charlie Sheen may be the best living example of the de-evolution of society, which makes the notion of him joining up with the band Devo a proposition too temping for the band to resist. No word from Sheen, however, whether he'll bring his winning brand of tiger-blood assassin to the new-wave group.
What do Toni Braxton, Meat Loaf, George Clinton, Issac Hayes and more have in common? They've all gone broke at some point in their career, be it Ted Nugent's unwise investment in mink farms or Mick Fleetwood putting $8 million up his nose.
We've often commented on the sheer genius that is Annie Lennox, but her new essay on the role of women in the world makes us love her even more. Also, former Eurythmics partner Dave Stewart finds some competition - his kids have formed a band.
John Lennon's Thanksgiving Day 1974 appearance onstage with Elton John at Madison Square Garden has become one of the most cherished memories in rock 'n' roll, in part because it was Lennon's last-ever stage appearance, though no one knew it at the time. Though the three songs they did together have long been issued on CD, no footage of the historic union has surfaced - until now.
There was a time when George Michael's song "Careless Whisper" was everywhere, and apparently someone has decided to bring that era back. This guy goes everywhere from restaurants to shopping malls with his sax, playing the signature line from the song until someone mercifully stops him.
Finally, here’s a shocker: More trouble on U2’s Broadway production of “Spiderman.” I know, I know, it’s a cliché, but “deck chairs on the Titanic” keeps springing to mind… both are disasters, nonetheless.
Concert to help the victims of political violence
It’s hard to find any silver lining in January’s horrible political shootings in Tucson, Arizona. There’s the good news of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ continued improvement day to day.
And there’s the hope, said Graham Nash, that perhaps we can start treating each other better.
Nash, along with David Crosby, Jackson Browne, Nils Lofgren, Alice Cooper and more take the stage in Tucson in a few hours in a concert for the victims of the shootings.
“We’ve all got to try and start healing this place,” Nash said via phone from Tucson, awaiting Browne’s arrival for a quick rehearsal. “We all came together and realized this was something we needed to do – form a solidarity with the people here in Tucson and let them know that people care about them and want to help this healing process.”
Cooper, who is about to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has famously kept his career away from political causes, but said in an earlier interview he had to be part of this.
“It’s home state for us. I don’t’ look at it as being political at all. It’s humanitarian,” Cooper said, noting the he, Nash, Lofgren and others have been pals for decades. “This is to help out the families that were affected by the violence.”
Civility has been lost in American political discourse, both Nash and Cooper agreed, and it simply can’t go on.
“It has to stop. The insanity has to stop and we have to start to treat each other with more respect,” Nash said. “It’s OK to disagree. Obviously! That’s a part of normal life, disagreement. But because you disagree doesn’t mean you have to victimize, you don’t have to make them your enemy, you don’t have to throw rocks at them from the other side of the street just because you disagree with them. It’s OK to disagree. But with civility and with respect.”
“The gun thing has got to go, something’s got to be done, some kind of control,” Cooper said. “That goes beyond political, that just goes to common sense. Either give everybody a gun or take all the guns away. It really does boil down to that. Put everyone on equal levels or take them all away so nobody can have an advantage.”
Nash, coming from a country with strict gun control, agrees.
“Being an Englishman and coming form an English society – the policemen didn’t have guns when I was growing up. It was only the last few years (that they got them) because of the chaos being created by this policy of terrorism,” Nash said. “It looks very strange to somebody like me to have a pistol that has 31 bullets in it. For what? Personally, I think the National Rifle Association very much has to shoulder a certain part of the responsibility for what is going on here. Keeping America in this sheriff/cowboy kind of tradition does not sit well in the 21st Century. That quote by Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC – ‘I blame Jared Loughner for the first 10 shots, but I blame the law for the next 21 shots.’ His point is very well taken.”
To Cooper, it comes down to decency and compassion.
“My daughter comes home from school and says ‘There was a fight in school and this one boy beat up this other boy and everybody knew he was gonna beat him up.’ And I say ‘Then why didn’t you do anything about it? Why didn’t anybody say anything to somebody if they knew it was going to happen?’ That’s basically what happens with these guys who shoot people," Cooper said. "Everybody knows this guy’s insane, and yet nobody check him out. Every time somebody gets shot, somebody says ‘You know, the FBI was watching this guy.’ Well, apparently not that close! When something like this is looming or somebody at school or work is talking murder or suicide or something, you can’t just ignore that. You’ve got to make the right people aware. That’s not snitching on anybody. That’s just logical.”
Both artists, however, said tonight’s focus is on the music and healing.
“Crosby and I are going to sing this very beautiful song with Nils called ‘Believe’ which is one of Nils’ songs,” Nash said. “We’re also going to sing a song with Joel Rafael, a great folk singer from California, called ‘America Come Home.’ The lyrics were so beautiful we want to sing it with him. I’m sure we’ll end up singing something with Jackson, then me and Crosby are going to do two or three songs with Jackson’s band.”
And everyone will join in the hope that concerts like this aren’t needed in the future.
“We must start to treat ourselves better than we’re doing, because the other end of that is insanity. We have to bring some civility back to life. We really do,” Nash said.
Bobby Brown announces New Edition reunion...
Bobby Brown has announced that New Edition are planning a reunion album and tour.
The singer made the announcement during an interview on The View on Tuesday.
"We will be doing an album some time in the near future and a big tour," the singer said.
Brown joined RNB group New Edition in the late 1970s. Other members included Ronnie DeVoe, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivens, Jonny Gill and Ralph Tresvant.
The group's 1980s hits include 'Candy Girl', 'Cool it Now' and 'Mr Telephone Man.'
New Edition regrouped for a short time to record an album in 1996 and again in 2004.
Phil Collins retires
The 60-year-old star says he feels it is "a good time to stop" makingmusic, adding: "I don't think anyone's going to miss me."
He has hearing problems, a dislocated vertebra and nerve damage in his hands, all brought on by a lifetime spent hunched behind a drum kit.
The songwriter also claims that listeners have grown "sick" of him and that there is no longer a place for him in the current music scene.
"I look at the MTV Music Awards and I think: 'I can't be in the same business as this'," Collins says in an interview with FHM magazine.
"I don't really belong to that world and I don't think anyone's going to miss me. I'm much happier just to write myself out of the script entirely.
"I'll go on a mysterious biking holiday and never return. That would be a great way to end the story, wouldn't it?" Collins, who lives alone in Switzerland after divorcing his third wife in 2007, has enjoyed huge popularity over 40 years as both a drummer and singer with the rock band Genesis and then as one of the biggest-earning solo artists of all time.
He claims that it was this success and the overplaying of his music which made people "want to strangle" him. "It's hardly surprising that people grew to hate me. I'm sorry that it was all so successful. I honestly didn't mean it to happen like that," he says.
The star, who has sold more than 150 million records, says his main focus now is his two sons, Nicholas and Matthew, by his third wife Orianne Cevey. "I'm not worried about not being able to play the drums again, I'm more worried about being able to cut a loaf of bread safely or building things for my kids," he says.
"My doctors tell me it's a work in progress, that it will take about a year for me to recover."
He said he has been told his hands are not strong enough to play the drums. "I don't think I'll ever be able to do that again," he said.
Collins once disclosed that the only way he could play was by taping his drumsticks to his hands.
The star, who has two children by previous marriages, joined Genesis in 1970 as drummer and later replaced Peter Gabriel as lead singer. In the 1980s he had hits such as In The Air Tonight, Against All Odds and Two Hearts, while continuing with Genesis.
He won an Oscar for his song You'll Be in My Heart from the 1999 Disney animated film Tarzan, and seven Grammy Awards. His last album, Going Back, released last year, was a collection of Motown and soul classics and topped the British charts in September
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