75% of the Monkees Reunite Again
Their fans may have thought reunions were only true in fairytales, meant for someone else, but not for them. But those who have kept the faith will be delighted to hear that 1960s pop group the Monkees, spawned from the television programme of the same name, are back.
The band, originally created for the hit show the Monkees, which charted the experiences of four young men in their quest to become rock'n'roll stars, are reforming to celebrate their 45th anniversary.
For the first time in 12 years the TV band – whose hits include Daydream Believer, I'm a Believer and Last Train to Clarksville – will perform 10 gigs in Britain, kicking off on 12 May at the Liverpool Echo Arena and including a performance at the Royal Albert Hall, in London.
Three of the original Monkees, Americans Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork and Briton Davy Jones, will brave aching knees and dodgy backs for the performances, but Michael Nesmith – who went on to create his own business and became a producer and novelist – will not take part in the tour.
After originally being created in 1966 by writer and producer Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider for the television series, which aired from 1966 to 1968 before re-running extensively in the 1980s, the Monkees gained credibility by taking supervisory control over all their collective musical work.
The show won two Emmy awards in 1967 and propelled its four stars to pop stardom. John Lennon called them "the Marx brothers of rock", but in 1967, The Monkees outsold both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined, and went on to sell 50m records.
New Radiohead album and video, a day ahead of schedule
Jackson Browne, Alice Cooper, Nils Lofgren and more team up to fight the hate
With the crass, “I’ve got mine” mentality in the music industry today it’s easy to think everyone’s just in it for their own glory, be it Kanye West’s megalomania or Miley Cyrus’ latest pole-dance.
And then there are those who still give back – Bruce Springsteen’s constant support of community food banks, Dave Matthews instantly deciding to do a benefit show as Hurricane Katrina was happening and more.
In the wake of the horrendous political shootings in Tucson, Jackson Browne, Alice Cooper, Nils Lofgren, David Crosby & Graham Nash, Keb’ Mo’ and more have stepped up for a March 10 benefit to tone down the violence and rhetoric.
The press release on Browne’s website notes that “the event is a fundraiser for the non-profit Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, benefiting the newly established Fund for Civility, Respect, and Understanding.” It’ll be held at the Tucson Convention Center (also known as the Tucson Arena) and the city is donating the use of the building for free, much like Denver allowed Matthews to use Red Rocks for free for his Katrina benefit.
Also on the bill are Sam Moore, Ozomatli, Calexico and other guests. It’s particularly fitting that two of the headliners, Cooper and Lofgren, call Arizona their home, and Browne co-wrote a particularly famous song about a road trip with a stop in Winslow, Arizona.
The Jan. 8 shooting of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others at a community forum has rocked the state, which has been the subject of national controversy over immigration and violence in politics. Ironically, some of the most politically non-violent acts in music, including Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, come from Arizona as well. Guest speakers will include Mark Kelly, Giffords husband.
Reached by phone today, Cooper - who has kept his career separate from politics - said the benefit was not a political statement but a chance to reach out and help. He was happy to help organize it with Browne and his other musical friends.
"It's home state for us. I don't look at it as political at all. It's humanitarian," Cooper said. "It goes beyond political. It goes to just common sense."
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Arizona time on Saturday, Feb. 19, through Ticketmaster and the convention center’s box office, ranging from $25 to $250.
UPDATE: Tickets are on sale now, and they've adjusted the price so that top tickets are under $100. The link above still works. Get them while they last.
Full transcript of exclusive interview
A night of surprises. Well, one surprise.
Legendary guitarist returns with new album, tour
It’s hard to believe that at just 56 (and looking 10 years younger), jazz guitarist Al Di Meola has been making records for closing in on 40 years. That’s what happens when you’re a teen virtuoso and are asked to join supergroup Return to Forever with Chick Corea, Lenny White and Stanley Clarke at just 19 years old.
“I guess they heard something I didn’t hear. I was this insecure teenager who joined his favorite band. It was a dream come true. Somebody passed me the ball. … I was thrown in deep water and I had to sink or swim. I knew I had to swim,” Di Meola said recently.
And he has swum for decades, finding new musical directions to explore, new collaborators, new sounds. The New Jersey native’s latest album, “Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody,” features bassist Charlie Haden, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, drummer Peter Erskine and more. It’s available for preview here, and Di Meola has started to take it on tour. Besides his own compositions, the album includes ambitious covers of “Over the Rainbow” and the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever.”
MSN: From the “making of” video you posted for “Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody” it shows you and Charlie Haden and Peter Erskine in a traditional L.A. studio. Is that still the way you prefer to record?
Di Meola “I like breaking it up. Most of us nowadays have some sort of home studio. The availability of home systems and Pro-Tools makes it easy to have it right there in your living room or basement. The bulk of the tunes and a lot of overdubbing, mixing, can be done in your own facility. But basic tracks, the solid foundation of the tracks, are better suited for a bigger studio, where you have a full band, separation, little booths, tall ceilings to get the better ambient sound. We tend to go for the better studio, bigger boards, for the basic tracks. Or as in the case of Haden and Erskine, they live on the West Coast. We went out there.”
How do you tackle covering an iconic song like “Strawberry Fields Forever?” You really deconstructed it. Parts of it that used to be heavy now sound almost lilting.
“It’s one of those great, great melodies. It was something that I’ve always wanted to do. I wanted to do a whole record, a three-record set (of Beatles songs), just so many great tunes from that repertoire that to this day bring back phenomenal memories of the past. It still holds up. It’s till one of the best records of all time. That era of the Beatles made a big impact on me and still does today in terms of production values. There are certain things I heard in that era production-wise that inspire me to do things with my own music when it comes to mixing. Separating instruments, drums on one side instead of center like everyone does. Just completely separate so when you have a syncopated part of percussion playing a separate part from the drums, the clarity is far more attainable to the listener. It’s something I learned from the Beatles. They used to put Ringo on one side, which I thought was so cool.”
Good or bad, past appearances have always been entertaining
Of course, it always is when Dylan and the Grammys collide. Two words: Soy Bomb.
Fans know that was the Grammy performance that was crashed by a shirtless performance artist with those two words written across his chest, writhing wildly next to a surprisingly calm Dylan as he worked his way through "Love Sick," one of his best latter-day songs.
The Soy Bomb incident has been oddly scrubbed from the official videos, but you can still find video of Michael Portnoy's stage-crashing from the 1998 Grammys. Interestingly, the live version of "Love Sick" that Portnoy tried to interrupt turned out so intense that Dylan actually issued this performance as a CD-single bonus track shortly thereafter. Let's hope this year's performance is every bit as thrilling.
The people have spoken, and trash, thy name is Durst
While the Internet has been atwitter about the possible naming of a building after a man with a controversial sounding name, a similar story has slipped right by the mainstream media.
In Austin, Texas, the Solid Waste Services Department has been searching for a new name that aptly describes the foul, moldering, filthy, rotting, utterly useless stomach-turning waste and goop it hauls away on a daily basis. By a huge margin, citizens have responded that there’s only one name that could possibly do the job: The Fred Durst Society of the Humanities and the Arts.
Now there are some parts of the world where Durst’s mewling with Limp Bizkit are considered sacrosanct, but Austin is a town with a mind of its own – and a pretty creative one at that. With the latest tally, Durst has more than 28,000 votes, 26,000 more than the first runner up. It's still not too late for your vote to be counted.
Durst, for his part, is being a good sport, and putting his support behind it.
Meanwhile, the band's first new studio album in eight years, "Gold Cobra," remains stalled and unreleased. Maybe fans can find it somewhere below.
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