Saturday, December 20, 2008

Music News & Notes

May Says He Didn't Know Mercury Was Gay

Brian May has told Britain's Daily Express that he didn't realize that Freddie Mercury was gay for years.

"You're talking to someone who shared rooms with Fred on the first couple of tours, so I knew him pretty well. I knew a lot of his girlfriends and he certainly didn't have boyfriends, that's for sure. I think there was a slight suspicion, but it never occurred to me that he was gay."

"I know that all through his life Fred didn't think that whether he was gay or not was important. He loved music, he love his work, and he didn't want anything to get in the way. Anyone who portrays Fred as purely a gay story is missing a lot of the point."


McCartney Says Don't Get Too Excited

Paul McCartney is quoted as saying for everyone not to get too excited about "Carnival of Light," the Beatles' 14-minute unreleased experimental song. "People are thinking there's another "Strawberry Fields" somewhere... this is more plinky-plonky. I mean, I like it, but it's not to everyone's taste."


Sing With Elvis

If you've always wanted to sing with Elvis Presley, now you have the chance. Sony has a new site up ( where you can duet on Blue Christmas. The site launched December 5th and it is free to enjoy.

"Someone in our digital area came up with the concept," explained JJ Rosen, executive vice president of Sony BMG Music Entertainment Commercial Music Group. "It fits the duets concept of the album so well."

Because the campaign leans heavily on technology, Rosen said that it helps to bring Presely and his music to a younger generation, stating that "We're always trying to keep the Elvis brand alive."

So far, the site has drawn over 30,000 people from over nine countries and it is scheduled to end sometime in January. In fact, the promotion has proved to be so successful, that Sony plans a similar one for mariah Carey's upcoming release "The Ballads" for Valentine's Day.


Joe Perry's Christmas Performance

For those who would like a free download of Aerosmith's Joe Perry performing Chuck Berry's "Run, Rudolph, Run," check it out at YouTube:

Thin Lizzy To Release 'Still Dangerous' Live Album In March

March 2009 sees the release of 'Still Dangerous,' the real Live & Dangerous!

Thin Lizzy's seminal 'Live & Dangerous' is consistently featured in polls for the greatest live album of all time, yet, as we all know it's not a true live record.' Still Dangerous' on the other hand is the raw, unadulterated, untouched sound of Thin Lizzy at the absolute height of their power.

Recorded on the band's sell out 1977 'Bad Reputation' tour, 'Still Dangerous' captures the classic quartet of Phil Lynott, Brian Downey, Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson on fire at the celebrated Tower Theatre in Philadelphia.

'Still Dangerous' features three tracks that never made the 'Live & Dangerous' release and all cuts are previously unreleased. Mixed by the legendary Glyn Johns, with contributions from Scott Gorham and Brian Downey, 'Still Dangerous' is the definitive live statement from one of rock's most revered and enduring groups.

Fully endorsed by the band, Still Dangerous is the first release on their Thin Lizzy Productions label, distributed by VH1 Classics in the US and Proper music distribution in the UK & Europe.

Sound Check: In digital era, vinyl makes a comeback

Jesse DeLeon

They were black, shiny and you had to get up and turn them over if you wanted to hear all of the songs on them. They had covers that became an art form, and it was on that long-since-retired format of recorded music known as the record album where generations of fans first heard artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton.

These days, thanks to the iPod, we can carry around thousands of songs in our pockets. The last few years has been a dizzying and relentless journey of musical downsizing that started with the inception of the seemingly now-archaic compact disc.

But a funny thing happened on the way to digitizing all of our music.

The LP (or long-play record, as some of us remember all too well) is staging an unlikely comeback in this digital age. Turntables are slowly coming back into fashion, and record companies realize some ears out there would rather hear the warmer, fuller sound of a vinyl record than the antiseptic, processed and sometimes tinny nuances that plague some MP3s.

"Viva La Vida" (Capitol) by Coldplay, "Magic" (Columbia) from Bruce Springsteen and Metallica's "Death Magnetic" (Electra) are all recent releases from some of rock's biggest acts who have satiated that segment of its LP-loving audience with special limited edition vinyl versions.

Even U2, whose recently remastered "The Joshua Tree" (Island) was originally unveiled when LPs were still part of the industry's official configuration, has re-released that landmark recording on vinyl, complete with a meticulous reproduction of its artwork, lyrics and label.

Beatles fans, who had been hoping for LP reissues in the wake of Capitol's release of the group's much-altered American titles, will have to make do with the issue of Paul McCartney's solo watermark "Band on the Run" (Capitol) and John Lennon's oldies love letter, "Rock and Roll" (Capitol). These solo albums couldn't be more disparate, as McCartney was intent on establishing a strong solo identity with "Band on the Run" and Lennon was reaching back to his pre-Beatles fame as he covered songs by his big influences that included Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry and Little Richard.

The newfound availability of these albums on vinyl is not only a testament to the amazingly durable quality of the music, but for those of us who prefer the comfortable sound of the needle gliding over that shiny black plastic, it remains an unparalleled and amazingly groove-y experience.


Metal Cover Art Revealed

God Forbid Prepare to Shed EARTHSBLOOD

by Gregory S. Burkart

Multi-cultural metal wizards God Forbid, whose mercilessly evil thrash skills and haunting vocals have put them head-to-head with tour-mates like GWAR, Cradle of Filth and Mushroomhead, have just unveiled the wickedly beautiful cover art and track listing for their upcoming fifth album Earthsblood, which is slated for release on February 24th.

Guitarist Doc Coyle was so taken with the concept designs by Brazilian artist Gustavo Sazes that he felt compelled to blog about it. “This is my favorite God Forbid album artwork to date,” he proclaimed. “For Earthsblood, we thought it would be great to go with someone who isn't one of the usual suspects for album design in modern metal... [Sazes] fully captures the dark and organic, yet emotional atmosphere of the album.”

Sazes' art also graces the band's website and MySpace – where you can also listen to the album's first single “The Rain,” which the band has already been performing live on their summer 2008 tour with reunited thrash titans Death Angel.

Here's the track listing for Earthsblood:

“The Discovery”
“The Rain”
“Empire of the Gun”
“War of Attrition”
“The New Clear”
“Walk Alone”
“Bat the Angels”
“Gaia (The Vultures)”


Classic Rock Videos

Tommy James & The Shondells - Crimson & Clover (Live)

Album Cover Art

Drumroll please! We are at the number 3 position of's dirtiest and sexiest album covers! (Gigwise comments in quotes):

3. Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass: ‘Whipped Cream & Other Delights’ – "Released way back in 1965, Herb Alpert’s album has since shifted 6million copies and has garnered a legendary status thanks to its extremely risqué cover of a woman doused in whipped cream and sucking suggestively on her finger. It’s no wonder that it has been parodied a number of times since."

Whipped Cream and Other Delights is a 1965 album by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, called "Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass" for this album, released on A&M Records. It is the band's fourth full album and arguably their most popular release.

This album saw the band nearly abandoning its Mexican-themed music, featuring mostly covers of popular songs, and also generating some major pop hits for the first time since "The Lonely Bull". One "tradition" of the early Brass was to include a number rendered in "strip-tease" fashion, and this album's entry for that style was "Love Potion No. 9"

Whipped Cream sold over 6 million copies in the United States and the album cover alone is considered a classic pop culture icon. It featured model Dolores Erickson wearing chiffon and shaving cream. The picture was taken at a time when Erickson was three months pregnant. The cover was so popular with Alpert fans that, during concerts, when about to play the song "Whipped Cream", Alpert would tell the audience, "Sorry, we can't play the cover for you!"

The art was parodied by several groups including once A&M band Soul Asylum, who made fun of the liner notes along with the back cover on their album Clam Dip & Other Delights, comedian Pat Cooper on his album Spaghetti Sauce and Other Delights, the Frivolous Five on a Herb Alpert tribute album, "Sour Cream and Other Delights" and by Peter Nero on his album, Peter Nero Plays a Salute to Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass.

A classic album cover, who would have known back when it was done that we would still be talking about it 40 years later?