Kiss win Hall Of Fame fan poll

Kiss have won the public poll for induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame next year.

Over 1,390,000 people voted over 16 nominees and Kiss drew 17.22% of those, a total of 239,417 people. Nirvana came second with 15.69% followed by Deep Purple (11.93%), Yes (10.88%), Hall And Oates (8.1%) and Peter Gabriel (7.97%).

But it doesn’t mean Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons will be inducted – the fan choice only counts as one vote, with around 600 others to be placed by musicians, businessmen and commentators.

If they do make the grade, Simmons recently insisted founding members Ace Frehley and Pete Criss wouldn’t be invited to the ceremony in New York in April. He compared them to “cancer” and added: “How many chances in life to do you get? Those guys had three chances to be in the band. Three times they fucked it up.”

But Frehley later said: “There’s no way Gene can put a lid on it. I mean, what’s he gonna do?”

Meanwhile, guitarist Frehley’s New York home was seriously damaged in a fire over the weekend. No one was injured in the accident. Frehley is thought not to live in the building, which is instead inhabited by a caretaker, and was recently the subject of foreclosure action as a result of unpaid mortgage arrears.

Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame public poll
1. Kiss: 17.22% / 239,417
2. Nirvana: 15.69% / 218,155
3. Deep Purple: 11.93% / 165,828
4. Yes: 10.88% / 151,238
5. Hall and Oates: 8.1% / 112,673
6. Peter Gabriel: 7.97% / 110,839
7. Linda Ronstadt: 6.13% / 85,252
8. Cat Stevens: 5.37% / 74,638
9. The Zombies: 3.94% / 54,764
10. NWA: 2.95% / 40,985
11. The Replacements: 2.26% / 31,490
12. LL Cool J: 1.92% / 26,740
13. Paul Butterfield Blues Band: 1.76% / 24,481
14. Chic: 1.32% / 18,395
15. Link Wray: 1.32% / 18,337
16. The Meters: 1.24% / 17,272


Santa sent millions of letters a year

Santa Claus, the Three Wise men and other guardians of Christmas traditions receive 8 million letters per year, even as the internet era has made traditional mail less popular, the UN post agency says.

The number of children's letters to these Christmas figures has risen by a third over the past five years, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) said.

Although the letters are often simply addressed to 'Santa, North Pole' or to 'Father Christmas', postal workers in countries ranging from Brazil to Finland to Lebanon make sure that they are not returned as undeliverable.

In several countries, services have been set up so that children receive actual replies to their letters.


Hobbit tops US box office with $73.7m

Undaunted hobbits trumped princess power at the multiplex.

According to studio estimates on Sunday, Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was No. 1 at the US box office with $US73.7 million ($A82.62 million), beating last weekend's No.1 film, Disney's animated fable Frozen.

Melting down to the No. 2 position, Frozen earned $US22.2 million in its third weekend, bringing its impressive overall domestic ticket total to nearly $US164.4 million.

Despite its first place position, Hobbit fell short of topping its prequel's debut. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which opened this same weekend last year, gained $US84.6 million.

'Hobbit rules this date and Warner Bros has linked this brand to this time of year very effectively,' said box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Rentrak.

The holiday-themed Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas came in third place with $US16.2 million.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, earned $US13.2 million for the fourth place slot. To date Catching Fire has grossed $US739.9 million, surpassing the worldwide box office total for The Hunger Games, which brought in $US691 million.

Disney's super hero sequel, Thor: The Dark World, continues to thrive as it remained in the top five with $US2.7 million, bringing its domestic total to $US198.1 million.

In its second weekend, drama Out of the Furnace, starring Christian Bale and Casey Affleck, dropped to the sixth place position with $US2.3 million after opening in the third place slot.

Comedy Delivery Man, with Vince Vaughn as the lead, dropped in at No.7 in its fourth weekend at the box office with $US1.9 million, bringing its domestic total to $US28 million.

Philomena, starring Judi Dench, who received a best actress Golden Globe Awards nomination for her performance as a nun in search of her son, landed in the No.8 spot with $US1.8 million.

In its sixth weekend at the box office, Fox's Nazi Germany-set The Book Thief, starring Emily Watson, Geoffrey Rush and Sophie Nelisse, held ninth position with $US1.7 million.

Coming in at No.10 was the Jason Statham and James Franco-starring Open Road crime thriller Homefront, which gained $US1.6 million in its third weekend. Its total domestic gross is now $US18.4 million.

Opening in limited release in just six locations, David Russell's con artist tale, American Hustle, scored $US690,000 over the weekend. This aces the success of his Oscar-winning film Silver Linings Playbook, which saw $US27,687 during its opening weekend in December last year.

American Hustle, featuring stellar performances by Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence, has been nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards and two Screen Actors Guild nominations.


Bob Dylan probed for racism

Bob Dylan is being probed in relation to alleged racist comments after a community organisation raised a lawsuit against him.

The CRICCF, which looks after the interests of Croatians living in France, have named Dylan in their legal action alongside the French edition of Rolling Stone.

They say quotes attributed to him, which were published in September 2012, amount to incitement of racial hatred and break national laws – and as a result he’s been placed under judicial investigation.

In the interview Dylan is quoted as making a reference to the war of independence fought between Croatian and Serb forces in the 1990s: “If you got a slave master of [Ku Klux] Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.”

The CRICCF raised the complaint last November, objecting to the comparison between the KKK, Nazis and Croatians. A spokesman said: “We have nothing against Rolling Stone or Bob Dylan – but you cannot equate Croatian [war] criminals with all Croats.”

French authorities have now placed the singer-songwriter under judicial investigation. But the CRICCF say all they want is an apology.

Dylan was awarded the Legion d’Honneur in Paris last month.


Walker crash not part of street race

The neighbourhood where 'Fast Furious' star Paul Walker died in a fiery crash is known to attract street racers, but law enforcement officials do not believe the Porsche in which Paul Walker and a friend were riding had been racing another car.

Accident investigators 'have received eyewitness statements that the car involved was travelling alone at a high rate of speed,' the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement on Monday.

'No eyewitness has contacted the (department) to say there was a second vehicle.'

Walker and his friend and fellow fast-car enthusiast Roger Rodas died on Saturday when Rodas' 2005 Porsche Carrera GT smashed into a light pole and tree, then exploded in flames. The posted limit was 45mph (72km/h).

The two had taken what was expected to be a brief drive away from a charity fundraiser and toy drive at Rodas' custom car shop in Valencia, northwest of Los Angeles. Walker's publicist said the action star was the passenger.

The crash happened on a street that forms a near two-kilometre loop amid industrial office parks. It is rimmed by hills and relatively isolated from traffic, especially on weekends when the businesses are closed.

'It's well-known out here that that's a hot spot for street racers,' California Highway Patrol Sgt Rick Miler said.

Skid marks are a testament to past antics on the loop. The sheriff's department, which polices the neighbourhood, said Saturday's wreck was not the first speed-related crash there, but would not reveal specifics.

Meanwhile, investigators are consulting video from security cameras, talking to witnesses and analysing physical evidence such as on-board computer data from the Porsche.

A steady stream of fans has flocked to the crash site to leave flowers, candles and memorabilia from the action films.


Obama says health care law is working

Seeking to regroup from his health care law's disastrous rollout, US President Barack Obama has insisted that the sweeping overhaul is working and warned Republican critics that he would fight any efforts to strip away its protections.

'We're not repealing it as long as I'm president,' Obama said during a health care event on Tuesday at the White House.

'If I have to fight another three years to make sure this law works, then that's what I'll do.'

Earlier on Tuesday, the administration released a 50-state report saying that nearly 1.5 million people were found eligible for Medicaid during October.

As website problems depressed sign-ups for subsidised private coverage, that safety-net program for low-income people saw a nearly 16 per cent increase in states that have agreed to expand it, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The White House is trying to cast the health care law in a positive light after the first two months of enrolment for the centrepiece insurance exchanges were marred with technical problems.

With the majority of problems with the sign-up website resolved, by the accounting of administration officials, Obama and his team plan to spend much of December trying to remind Americans why the administration fought for the law in the first place.

'We believe that in America, nobody should have to worry about going broke because somebody in their family or they got sick,' Obama said, flanked by people the White House says have benefited from the law.

Despite Obama's sunny presentation, officials are furiously working behind the scenes to rectify an unresolved issue with enrolment data that could become a significant headache after the first of the year.

Insurers say much of the enrolment data they're receiving is practically useless, meaning some consumers might not be able to get access to benefits on January 1, the date their coverage is scheduled to take effect.


Spotify reveals royalty payments

Spotify, the world's most popular music streaming website, has revealed how much an artist makes from each song listened to in an effort to fight criticism it shortchanges musicians.

On a new site aimed at artists,, the company defends its business model against a raft of recent accusations, including from Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, that streaming sites of its ilk leave singers high and dry.

In its first attempt to fight the criticism, Spotify said on Tuesday it paid an average 'per-stream' payout of between $A0.007 and $A0.0092, though it cautioned that royalties depended greatly on where the music was produced or listened to.

Spotify said holders of rights included the artist, but could also bring in producers, managers and a record label.

'The precise division between these types of rights holders varies by territory in accordance with local laws and negotiated agreements,' it said.

In the United States, for example, the artist receives about 21 per cent of the payout.

In other words, if a hit by a US singer is listened to one million times, the artists will receive about $US1500, Spotify said.

But the company insisted the numbers told only part of the story.

'Although much public discussion of Spotify has speculated about such a rate, our payouts for individual artists have grown tremendously over time as a result of our user growth, and they will continue to do so,' the company said.

Created in 2006 by two Swedes, Spotify has yet to make a profit, unlike its US rival Pandora.

In 2012, the company said it lost 58.7 million euros ($A87.95 million), on sales of 434.7 million euros.

In July, Thom Yorke pulled his solo work from Spotify. Radiohead producer and Yorke collaborator Nigel Godrich tweeted at the time that web-streaming was 'an equation that just doesn't work.'


Maiden named leading UK business

Iron Maiden have been cited by financial experts as among of the best UK success stories of recent years.

They’ve been named one of six organisations spearheading the music industry in the 21st century, and listed as one of the 1000 most inspiring companies in Britain.

And the London Stock Exchange has hailed the NWOBHM giants’ business model of working hard and touring regularly, noting that it’s turned the potential losses caused by illegal filesharing into big profits.

Iron Maiden LLP, the band’s holding firm, oversaw an online fanbase increase of five million during their Somewhere Back In Time world tour. Over the same period they scored well in terms of steady profit, strong online communication, creating jobs and securing contracts.

Greg Mead of analysts Musicmetric tells the Guardian: “The report suggests Maiden have been rather successful in turning free filesharing into fee-paying fans. This is clear proof that taking a global approach to live touring can pay off.”

And Tom Gilbert of the London Stock Exchange says relatively small firms like Maiden hold the key to future economic achievement. “Over the last few years the biggest companies have produced very few jobs,” he explains. “Jobs recovery has come from small and medium sizes companies.

“The vast majority of companies in the UK are small or medium and their success is something of an unreported story.”


Peter Green, Buddy Guy, Ian Rankin in latest edition of The Blues Magazine

Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac take pride of place on the cover of The Blues Magazine issue number 10, on sale today. View an interactive preview here.

The latest instalment of Classic Rock‘s bi-monthly sister title looks at the development of Green’s ambition to create the “ultimate British blues album,” using unseen pictures and new interviews.

Elsewhere, Buddy Guy discusses why his latest record Rhythm & Blues is part of a promise he made to Muddy Waters; crime author Ian Rankin talks about his involvement with Rory Gallagher-fuelled project Kickback City; Ian Anderson tells of his pre-Jethro Tull career as a blues guitarist and Simon McBride reflects on his rising-star status.

There’s also interviews with The Cadillac Three, Wille And The Bandits, Chantel McGregor, Guy Davis, Craig Hughes, Don Cavalli, Terry Lee Hale, Brothers Groove, Left Lane Cruiser, Sunday Wilde, Moriarty, The 45s, Greg Coulson, Alex McKown and others.

Your 15-track CD No Trash. No Dogs. Just The Best Of 2013 includes music from JJ Grey & Mofro, Jo Harman, Walter Trout, King King, Rosco Levee And The Southern Slide, The Hoax, Mike Zito, Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart, The Temperance Movement, The Graveltones and more.

Plus there’s a round-up of the best blues Christmas presents and the latest edition of Charles Shaar Murray’s Cuttin’ Heads column.

The Blues Magazine Issue 10 is on sale in shops and via


Black Sabbath celebrate ‘shock year’ at Classic Rock Awards

Black Sabbath won three awards at last night’s Classic Rock Roll Of Honour, sponsored by Orange Amplification in association with

They took home Album Of The Year for comeback title 13, Event Of The Year for reaching number one after 43 years, and the previously announced Living Legends award. Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler were present at London’s Roundhouse venue to celebrate what the frontman called a “shock year.”

The gala event, presented to an invited audience by prog musician Fish, also celebrated the work of Led Zeppelin, John Mayall, Wilko Johnson, Zakk Wylde and others.

Osbourne said: “I never thought I’d be standing here, what, 45 years later? It’s an incredible event for us all. We’re still in shock. It’s been an incredible year, after I spent all those earlier ones trying to kill myself.”

Bandmate Iommi, who’s continued to tour with the band despite receiving cancer treatment, said: “Thanks for everything – it’s great to see all these old and new faces.”

Classic Rock Awards as it happened

Jimmy Page accepted the FIlm Of The Year award for Led Zeppelin concert movie Celebration Day, saying: “It was a great concert and we got the energy into the video – well, the DVD… and the Blu-ray. I’m here on behalf of the band and I thank you on their behalf.”

Page returned to the stage to present Wilko Johnson with the Inspiration award. The former Dr Feelgood guitarist, who’s suffering from terminal cancer, laughed: “They told me I had ten months to live and ten months have gone by. How long can this go on? We don’t know. But it’s particularly gratifying to receive this recognition of my efforts.”

John Mayall was given the Classic Album gong for 1966 release Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton, recalling: “We had a lot of fun with it – we just did what we did on stage and had no designs other than making an honest album. The label never did understand how it sold so well.”

Other awards went to Fleetwood Mac, the Rolling Stones, Rory Gallagher, Mott The Hoople, and rising stars The Temperance Movement and The Virginmarys.

Classic Rock Roll Of Honour 2013

Best New Band, sponsored by Kraken: The Temperance Movement
Reissue Of The Year, sponsored by Alchemy: Fleetwood Mac, Rumours 35th Anniversary Edition
Film Of The Year: Led Zeppelin, Celebration Day
Album Of The Year, sponsored by Live Nation: Black Sabbath, 13
Band Of The Year, sponsored by Investec: The Rolling Stones
Breakthrough, sponsored by Fuji: The Virginmarys
Spirit Of Prog, sponsored by USM/UMC: Alex Lifeson of Rush
Event Of The Year, sponsored by Roadrunner Records: Black Sabbath hits No1 after 43 years
Innovator, sponsored by Rocksmith: Wilko Johnson
Musicians’ Union Maestro: James Dean Bradfield, Manic Street Preachers
Classic Album, sponsored by Eagle Rock: Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton by John Mayall
Showman, sponsored by Butlins: The Darkness
Outstanding Contribution, sponsored by Monitor Audio: Mott The Hoople
Metal Guru, sponsored by Mascot Label Group: Zakk Wylde
VIP, sponsored by Shep Gordon
Tommy Vance Inspiration, sponsored by Spinefarm Records: Rory Gallagher
Living Legends, sponsored by Orange Amplification: Black Sabbath


US carrier leads Typhoon relief effort

A US aircraft carrier has sent mercy flights into the typhoon-smashed Philippines, transporting urgently needed aid for survivors still begging for help in wreckage strewn with bodies a week after the disaster.

The USS George Washington is flying missions to towns worst-hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan as well as 'remote areas that we could not access earlier', Philippine Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Miguel Okol said on Friday.

Thousands are feared to have died in the storm, and the lives of many others were hanging by the thinnest of threads, even as the relief operations moved up a gear.

In Tacloban city's only functioning hospital - without a roof, power or water - a woman frantically pumped air into the lungs of her husband, lying critically ill a day after his leg was amputated.

Valentina Gamba, the head of nursing at the hospital, said they had tried to discharge patients they could not feed.

'But they still stayed for shelter ... because they cannot go home,' Gamba said.

Several kilometres away at the city's airport, hundreds of famished and homeless survivors hoping to escape devastated Leyte island looked on as American soldiers unloaded aid from aircraft on to trucks.

Emergency supplies have been excruciatingly slow to get through to increasingly desperate survivors, with United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos admitting that the delivery of relief goods had not been quick enough.

On Friday, the Philippines government disputed the UN's take on the extent of the death toll. The world body says 4460 have been confirmed dead, but the Philippines' National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council insisted the number remained at 2360.

The USS George Washington Strike Group - with 5000 sailors on the huge carrier alone, and seven other ships - arrived on Thursday with badly needed equipment, manpower and expertise, giving some hope that the delivery of aid would speed up.

'I heard there are now American planes,' 28-year-old Merly Araneta said.

'I will try to make it to the airport. But I have only eaten twice in five days and drank rainwater collected in a plastic cup. I am so tired.'

Tacloban mayor Alfred Romualdez said helicopters were 'delivering support and relief goods to different communities'.

Ships and planes from Asia-Pacific nations and Europe are converging on the Philippines, bearing food, water, medical supplies, tents and other essentials.

British Prime Minister David Cameron dispatched the biggest vessel in Britain's fleet, a helicopter carrier, while heavy transport planes carrying equipment such as forklift trucks have already arrived.

China has upped its aid contribution after its initial offer $US100,000 ($A107,532) was widely criticised, and its state media increased the pressure on Beijing on Friday, urging it to join other countries in deploying warships.

At Tacloban airport, US aircraft were coming in two at a time. American servicemen were driving trucks loaded with aid and appeared to be acting quasi-independently, with a large part of the airfield to themselves.

Romualdez said he was 'very grateful' for all the help. But on the city's streets, the sense of want is gnawing for a population in dire need of the basics of life.

In a heavily damaged school that had been turned into a makeshift shelter for around 1000 people, Alita Nabelga, 81, said water was starting to get through, but that there was no food or medicine.

'It is so hard for us here. There is nothing to eat. There is water that is rationed. But it would be better if there was food,' she said.

'Where are the Americans? Are they bringing us rice?' she added.

A US embassy official told AFP the carrier's strike group was getting supplies on to the ground.

'We're setting up a significant presence, but it is still under the direction of the Philippines,' he said.

Aid agencies welcomed the USS George Washington's arrival.

'It will probably stabilise the situation for people in remote communities who remain isolated,' Red Cross spokesman Patrick Fuller said.

'What is critical is that we humanitarian organisations have good co-operation with the military. It's crucial that good civil-military operations work effectively. We have experience in places like Haiti where there was some communication gap.'

AFP journalists saw dead bodies still lying by the side of the road on Friday, and the smell of rotten flesh still hung in the air, despite many corpses being put in bags ready for mass burial.

While the retrieval of the dead continues, there are growing fears for the health of those who survived.

The World Health Organisation says there are significant injuries that need to be dealt with - open wounds that can easily become infected in the sweltering tropical heat.

Experts warn that a reliable supply of clean drinking water is vital if survivors are to avoid diarrhoea, which can lead to dehydration and death, especially in small children.


Buy a London record shop on eBay

The owner of a landmark London record shop has put it up for sale via eBay at a Buy It Now price of £300,000 – but he’s warned those interested not to expect a financial return.

Tim Derbyshire opened On The Beat Records in 1979, but says the collectable-vinyl business will close if no new owner is found.

In the auction listing he explains: “If you’re at the stage in your life where you don’t have to worry about making money, but can live a bohemian life, meet interesting people every day and the occasional rock star, here’s your chance to take over the oldest record shop in Swinging London.

“I’ve given it my heart and soul for all these years but it’s time for me to step down and let another passionate music lover take over. You can make history.

“If you’re mad about music, love vinyl and want to keep the dream alive, here’s your chance to take on an Aladdin’s cave of musical gems. The Beat must go on – keep my dream alive!”

Four offers have so far been made for On The Beat Records, which is on sale as a going concern with all stock. The auction closes on November 25.


Blues rock pioneer Bobby Parker dies at 76

Blues rock guitarist Bobby Parker, best known for his 1961 track Watch Your Step and credited as “the only musician the Beatles admitted to stealing from” has died at the age of 76, it’s been reported.

Bassist Anthony B Rucker, who often collaborated often with the pioneering artist, confirmed the news, saying: “It is with a heavy heart I thank you, Bobby, for all that you have done for me. I’m so glad I had one last chance to play with you a couple of weeks ago. See ya on the other side.”

Born in Louisiana and raised in Los Angeles, Robert Lee Parker’s first professional gig was with Otis Williams and the Charms in the 1950s, followed by stints with Bo Diddley, Sam Cooke, Chuck Berry and Little Richard.

Watch Your Step inspired the Beatles’ song I Feel Fine, with John Lennon once saying they’d used the riff “in various forms” throughout their career. Led Zeppelin made use of it in Moby Dick. The track was also covered by the Spencer Davis Group, Dr Feelgood and Carlos Santana, who once said: “Bobby inspired me to play guitar – he’s one of the few remaining guitarists who can pierce your heart and soothe your soul.”

In 2008 Parker reflected: “Watch Your Step was a culmination of blues rock guitar that nobody else had ever thought of. Mine was First. The United States was engulfed by Motown, but the whole world knew when I recorded Watch Your Step that I broke the brick wall of the sameness of Motown.

“I sent music in another direction worldwide, especially for guitarists like Jimmy Page, Santana, Eric Clapton and millions of others. Everybody who was anybody knew Bobby Parker alone penned the lick that created what’s known as the British revolution.

“I heard 600 or more blatant copycat recordings – everybody was playing my lick and trying to claim it, the Beatles included. Even now I hear copycat riffs in TV commercials.” He laughed: “I wish they’d come up with a different riff and leave mine alone…”

The track’s success led to international touring and an offer of a record deal from Jimmy Page, which didn’t work out. Parker spent the 1970s and 1980s based in Washington DC and out of international acclaim, but returned to the spotlight with his first solo album Bent Out Of Shape in 1993, followed by Shine Me Up in 1995. He remained active until his death, having played a series of blues festivals during the summer. Recently he said: “I keep doing it for the music and the people – I love the people.”

Parker has songwriting credits for a total of 55 tracks including his two other singles, Blues Get Off My Shoulder from 1958 and It’s Hard To be Fair from 1968.


Fleetwood Mac’s McVie has cancer

Fleetwood Mac have confirmed bassist John McVie is suffering from cancer.

The band have been forced to cancel their upcoming 14-date tour of Australia and New Zealand so the 67-year-old can undergo urgent treatment.

The news comes after they completed the European leg of their first world tour in four years, which saw former member and McVie’s ex-wife Christine rejoin them on stage as a guest.

The band say in a statement: “We are sorry not to be able to play these Australian and New Zealand dates.

“John McVie, one of the co-founding and original members of Fleetwood Mac, is scheduled to be in treatment for cancer during that period of time.

“We hope our Australia and New Zealand fans, as well as fans everywhere, will join is in wishing John and his family all the best.”

The tour leg was to begin in Sydney on November 10 and end in Auckland on December 7. No word has been given on the status of a show planned for Las Vegas on December 30.

During the summer Mac released their first new material in a decade, in the form of an EP entitled Extended Play. Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham recently said a full-length album could only be made if vocalist Stevie Nicks wanted to do it – and he could understand why she might not.

The re-release of classic album Rumours has been nominated at this year’s Classic Rock Roll of Honour awards, which takes place next month.


Metallica: ‘Bands could buy our leftover riffs. We have spares…’

Lars Ulrich says Metallica have discussed making riffs left unused after each album recording session available for other bands to pick via an eBay-style website.

The drummer revealed the idea speaking to The National in Abu Dhabi where he also insists the legendary metallers are not avoiding making another record.

He says: “We have more riffs than we know what to do with. We talked about setting up a special riff thing, where maybe we could share some of these riffs with others, like an eBay kind of thing for leftover riffs. Some of them are actually quite decent, but we won’t be able to use all of them.”

(It’s not the first time a similar idea has been suggested: Classic Rock reported in February this year that Tony Iommi and Brian May had a similar project in the pipeline. May had visited Iommi’s studio and discovered a huge catalogue of unused material. “I thought it would be great to make a compilation out of them,” said the Queen guitarist. “The idea was to put all these riffs out in some form so people could build their own songs of them. You could make your own music with Tony Iommi on guitar.”)

Lars Ulrich, meanwhile, dismissed suggestions that Metallica were leaving too long between new albums.

“We’ll always make another record,” he said. “We’re certainly not avoiding making another record. We’ve been fiddling around a little bit when we have a week here, a week there, but we realized the other day that this (Through The Never) movie will take up realistically the next four or five months. But I hope we will get to another record when this movie is over.”

Ulrich also explains it is a love of the band which has helped fuel their longevity. He adds: “Somewhere along the line we learnt to get along and somewhere along the line we learnt we’d rather be in Metallica than not be in Metallica. I think we have tremendous respect for whatever it is Metallica means.

“I’ve never known anything else. This is the only band I’ve ever been in, since I was 17. So ultimately, you want it to survive, and you figure out what works, what doesn’t work, and what’s best for the band. Somewhere along, you just figure it out and you pray you have more good days than not.”


New museum promises chance to ‘jam with Jimi Hendrix’ with hologram rock stars

Words: Eric MacKinnon

Rock fans can realise their ultimate ambitions – and perform live with their heroes as The Music Hall of Fame confirms plans for a revolutionary new feature.

Set to open next year, the museum located in Camden, North London, will give fans the chance to ‘perform’ with fully interactive holograms of John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Freddy Mercury or Kurt Cobain.

In addition to being able to interact with the holograms, fans will be able to savour and treasure the moment via DVD footage of their performances.

A hologram live ‘appearance’ by rapper Tupac Shakur – during an appearance by Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre at the 2012 Coachella Festival – has acted as the catalyst for the innovative idea.

Project manager Lee Bennett tells the London Evening Standard: “You could be transported back to a specific moment of music or play with artists who are no longer alive, even playing back-to-back with a hologram.

“I was at Coachella watching Tupac and it blew people’s minds.”


Class of 2014 Hall Of Fame nominations for Nirvana and Deep Purple

Nirvana, Kiss, The Replacements, Yes and Deep Purple have each been nominated for next year’s Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.

The other nominations for the class of 2014 include Hall & Oates, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Peter Gabriel, LL Cool J, N.W.A., Link Wray, the Meters, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens and The Zombies. The top voted acts will be inducted in April at a ceremony in New York City.

2014 is the first year in which Nirvana have been eligible for entry with their debut single Love Buzz being released in 1988.

Once again the public will play a key role in deciding who will inducted into the Hall Of Fame as they vote alongside the artists, historians and music industry insiders of the Rock Hall voting body. From now until December 10, fans can vote on for the nominees they’d like to see inducted. The top five acts will comprise a “fan’s ballot” that will count as one of the more than 600 ballots that determine the class of 2014.


Arthur Brown’s head music headset

Arthur Brown has vowed to enter a brand-new world of music with his a unique helmet which, he says, allows him to play instruments with just his thoughts.

He’ll debut his “psychosonic” thought control headgear at Hard Rock Hell in Wales next month, using it to perform material from his upcoming album, Zim Zam Zim.

Brown says: “The headgear will deal with triggering sounds by thought. It won’t just trigger sounds that are preset – it will create sounds in real time just like a theremin does, or as do the voices of a human choir.

“Then it will develop to include body energies; next will come the energy of feeling, then the sexual energies will be accessed. After that, the energies of the spirit and soul will become instigators of sound – and the whole human being will be used.”

The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown are currently running a Pledge Music campaign to fund the release of Zim Zam Zim. Pledge points start at £8 with additional offers including signed lyric sheet, a banquet and show, your name in a song, a day out with Brown and his own fire helmet.

The band tour the UK starting next week:

Oct 17: Swansea Garage
Oct 18: Birmingham Rainbow
Oct 19: Liverpool Kazimer
Oct 24: Kendal Brewery Arts Centre
Oct 25: Saltburn Spa Hotel
Oct 27: Aberdeen Moorings
Nov 28: Hard Rock Hell
May 08, 2014: London Camden Jazz Cafe


Carl Dixon to play UK acoustic shows

Coney Hatch guitarist and co-vocalist Carl Dixon will return to the UK for a brief set of acoustic shows later this month.

The Canadian’s visit includes a return to the scene of his band’s acclaimed 2011 performance at Firefest in Nottingham. This time he’ll perform at the event’s after-party shows at Rock City on October 18 and 19.

After that he’ll appear at the Railway, Bolton on October 20 and London’s 12 Bar Club on October 22.

Dixon says: “I’ll be playing a solid couple of hours’ worth, a mix of old and new Coney stuff, songs from my solo albums and some classic cover songs that I just enjoy singing.”

He’ll be selling copies of Coney Hatch’s most recent album Four, which was recently released via Frontiers Records. Classic Rock called it “a blinding return by the much-missed Canadians”.

The tenth Firefest takes place at Nottingham’s Rock City from October 18 to 20. The headliners are Canada’s Harem Scarem (performing their signature Mood Swings album), Hardline, and a Legends line-up that includes singer Eric Martin of Mr Big.


Walking could prevent 37,000 UK deaths

Almost 37,000 deaths in England could be prevented every year if people walked for just two-and-a-half hours every week, according to a new report.

A further 12,000 cases of people needing emergency hospital treatment for heart disease could be stopped and almost 7000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented.

The study, from the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support, also showed that just 150 minutes a week of moderate activity - such as cycling or fast walking - could prevent almost 5000 cases of bowel cancer and almost 295,000 cases of diabetes.

'People who stay active are less stressed, sleep better, have a 30 per cent lower risk of getting depressed and reduce their risk of developing dementia,' the report - Walking Works - said.

It added: 'Physical inactivity now rivals smoking as one of the nation's biggest health problems. Today it's responsible for 17 per cent of early deaths in the UK.

'Physical inactivity is the principle cause of a huge number of common health conditions including 10 per cent of heart disease cases, 13 per cent of type 2 diabetes cases, 18 per cent of colon (bowel) cancer cases and 17 per cent of breast cancer cases.

'But that's not all. Research reveals that being inactive increases your chances of developing cancer, heart disease or having a stroke by 25-30 per cent and can take three to five years off your life.'

Britain's National Health Service recommendations are for adults aged 19 to 64 to try and be active every day. This includes at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week.

The report comes after a study published last week found that postmenopausal women who walk for an hour a day can cut their chance of breast cancer by 14 per cent. Those who were more active cut the risk by 25 per cent.


Online marketing techniques

In the last article we discussed the importance of building an effective online presence. In this follow-up article I will look at three essential marketing techniques for promoting your business online.

Pay-per-click advertising:

"If you build it, they might not come" is very true for a website. You need to spend as much time on promoting your website as you do building it. This may start with some initial search engine optimisation and signing up to online directories to ensure you are found on Google, but consider also adding a pay-per-click campaign to your strategy.

There are many advantages to a pay-per-click campaign: it brings in immediate results and gives you the ability to see which keywords are performing and tweak the campaign instantly to make it more effective.

Using the Google Keyword Tool, work out what keywords bring you traffic and those to use in your pay-per-click campaign. You can also use Wordstream, which gives you more information and I think is better than Google's keyword tool.

The key tip for getting value for money is to set a very restrictive budget. Don't set the budget that Google tells you to set. Set something you are comfortable with. Then, monitor your campaign closely to see if it brings the results you want.

While Google dominates advertising online with Google AdWords, it is not the only medium. Now you can advertise using pay-per-click campaigns in LinkedIn and Facebook. Both are more affordable than Adwords and might be a more relevant medium depending on your audience.

Email marketing:

Email marketing is an important part of online marketing and often overlooked by small businesses. Customers need to be reminded you are out there, and email marketing is the way to do it. E-newsletters are not considered to bespam if a) they contain valuable information; and b) you always provide an opt-out or unsubscribe function.

To run an email marketing campaign you first need a list of contacts. You can start with your existing customers but often small businesses aren't in the habit of collecting names, emails, mobile numbers and so on. Note to self: it's time to start!

Include a form on the landing page of your website with an attractive offer that encourages people to sign up, and you will kick-start the lead-generation process.

Next, use a safe and secure email program such as Mailchimp to send out email marketing. Mailchimp offers great social sharing tools and analytics but there are many other tools out there, including some fully automated marketing software such as Infusionsoft or Hubspot. The important thing is make sure your email marketing campaign gets results by making the content stand out.

Social media marketing:

Social media marketing is the next level of online marketing for micro business owners. Many have started to play with Facebook, Twitter or blogging but without any real strategy. So how do you know which medium will work for you?

Facebook is more geared towards the consumer environment. Retail businesses can use it to make offers and run contests. Having said that it is a great engagement tool for local businesses to share content and build an online community.

Having a blog can position you as an authority in your industry and can gain you credibility amongst your peers and customers.

For service-based businesses, I find a blog combined with email marketing and a PR strategy very effective; while a Facebook, Twitter and social interaction strategy is more effective for a retail business.

The important thing in social media marketing is to monitor the conversation on every platform. This can be daunting for the micro business owner, so I suggest only engaging those tools you are going to manage and use every day and that are appropriate to your business. If your business is in human resources, for example, it is better to be committed to LinkedIn and leverage that as a forum rather than be on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Choose where your audience is and go there. I also recommend using social network monitoring tools such sproutsocial, which helps to track your brand on social media.

Rather than take on all of these techniques at once, start with one and do it well. The real measure of effective online marketing is whether your leads, contacts, new opportunities and returning customers increase.

-- Danielle MacInnis thinks like a customer and creates insightful, practical marketing strategies for small businesses.


Soundgarden scope out next album

Soundgarden haven’t made any plans to record another studio album – but they’re pretty sure it’s going to happen.

The band received acclaim for 2012 comeback record King Animal, and enjoyed the experience of touring with their first new release since 1996′s Down On The Upside.

They band are currently taking a break, with frontman Chris Cornell about to embark on a solo tour, bassist Ben Shepherd promoting a solo album, and drummer Matt Cameron busy with Pearl Jam’s upcoming Lightning Bolt.

But their thoughts are directed towards what might happen when they regroup for what will be their seventh full-length release.

Asked how their next set of songs might evolve, Cameron tells O2 Academy: “We have a way of writing and playing together – the evolution might have already happened. I think we’d like to make a record that’s more rock, that has more bite and more guitars.”

“We don’t have a plan, but we have a desire and interest in a new album,” guitarist Kim Thayill confirms.

And the Seattle outfit are enjoying touring more than they used to. “Touring nowadays seems a lot less stressful, more professional or something,” Shepherd says. “It’s a different vibe from what we used to do. There was always some outside pressure on the band back then. It was kinda of gnarly.”

Thayill thinks he knows why it’s changed: “Record companies aren’t as demanding – they don’t have the leverage they used to have.”

Meanwhile, Soundgarden are gearing up to re-release their earliest recordings. A collection due in November will include their debut EP Screaming Life, bonus tracks from its follow-up Fopp, and material first included on a Sub Pop compilation album. Thayill has previously said he’s working on a box set of rare tracks and B-sides.


Macca joke taken seriously over firing fear

Paul McCartney made a joke about banning people from using Facebook while they worked on his new video – but producers took it seriously even though they knew it was light-hearted.

The Sun reports that staff working on the promo at Abbey Road Studios were told they’d be fired if they used social networks, ate meat or took drugs – even though Macca’s original instructions were nothing more than a bit of fun.

The paper quotes an insider saying: “It was meant as a joke – but still, you’d be out on your war if you ignored the memo.

“Anyone found on Twitter or Facebook, or nibbling a ham sandwich would be ejected immediately.”

Macca himself will take to Twitter tomorrow for a live Q&A session with fans, ahead of the release of his album New on October 14.

Meanwhile, work has begun on a movie entitled The Fifth Beatle, which will be the first major production based on the life of manager Brian Epstein.

Oscar-winning producer Bruce Cohen has secured the rights to use original Fab Four material for the soundtrack. Scriptwriter Vivek J Tiwary, who’s been working on the project for years, says: “I’m confident that the next stage in telling Brian Epstein’s story is in extremely capable hands with Bruce. I’m elated to see The Fifth Beatle coming to life as a film under his guidance.”

Filming will start next year.


Shutdown could harm US economy

Financial markets are taking the partial shutdown of the US government in their stride in hope of a swift political breakthrough.

Australian shares ended Wednesday's trading session 0.2 per cent higher, while the Australian dollar was modestly lower at around 93.5 US cents.

US Congress failed to reach a compromise on its budget ahead of the US financial year-end on September 30, prompting the shut down that sent about 800,000 public servants home without pay and left only essential government services open.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Saul Eslake said, if the shutdown lasts a few days, there should be only a minor impact on the world's largest economy.

Longer than that and the consequences become more significant. If it extends to a couple of weeks it could reduce US growth in the December quarter by 0.5 per cent.

Any longer could wipe out all growth in the quarter.

The bigger concern will be if the US Congress doesn't agree to lift its debt ceiling by the middle of this month, risking default for the first time.

'If Congress isn't able to resolve this impasse before the US hits the debt ceiling, one of the possible consequences could be a fall in the US dollar and further unwelcome (upward) pressure on the Australian dollar,' Mr Eslake told ABC radio.

'The Reserve Bank clearly wants a lower exchange rate and is quite frustrated about its inability to fulfil that.'

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) left the cash rate unchanged at 2.5 per cent at its monthly board meeting on Tuesday.

But RBA governor Glenn Stevens said a lower currency would assist in rebalancing growth in the economy.

Economists believe that after slashing the cash rate to an all-time low, the central bank will be reluctant to cut much further.

National Australia Bank has pushed back its expectation of a further rate reduction to February 2014, rather than next month.

But NAB still expects economic growth to slow to around two per cent by the end of the year, and well below trend at around three per cent.

This will put pressure on employment and with the new federal government shedding public servants the jobless rate could hit 6.75 per cent in the second half of 2014.

The rate was 5.8 per cent in August.

'With the big picture still unmoved, we continue to see a cut coming but right now there is no rush,' NAB group chief economist Alan Oster said in a note to clients.

The improvement seen in confidence, retail spending, manufacturing and house prices since the August interest rate cut failed to extend into August building approvals, which fell by a larger than expected 4.7 per cent.

Housing Industry Association chief economist Harley Dale said, while approvals are still trending higher, the recovery has been too slow and too narrow geographically.

'This has been the case for some time and the situation simply isn't changing,' Dr Dale said in a statement.


Stop being so stupid, US voters tweet

The roiling debate over the US government shutdown is extending to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as fed-up Americans turn to social media to register their disgust with federal lawmakers for shutting down the government.

Those posting pulled no punches, calling members of congress 'immature', 'stupid' and 'idiots' who need to 'grow up'. There were a few attaboys, too, by self-described red-state conservatives who cheered on the Republican leadership's unwavering stance against President Barack Obama's healthcare plan, even if it meant suddenly pulling the pay cheques of about 800,000 federal workers and threatening popular federal programs.

But mostly, tweeters said they couldn't understand why a compromise between the two sides seemed so elusive.

'(hash)DearCongress, You should not be getting paid. In fact, you all should be fired!' tweeted Bruce Swedal, a 46-year-old Denver real estate agent who says he is worried about what the shutdown might do to home sales if federally backed loans dry up.

The public outcry playing out on social media sites this week is a new twist.

During the last shutdown of government operations, in 1995, angry Americans would have had to look up their congressman's address and sit down and write an old-fashioned letter or email. But with the advent of Twitter, popular hashtags like (hash)governmentshutdown and the Today show's (hash)DearCongress let voters log their complaints to all 532 members of congress at once - provided they stay within the allotted 140 characters or less.

Voters also weighed in on the more humorous side of things, offering pick-up lines that federal workers could use in bars, some of which were advertising cheap drink specials throughout the day to those furloughed.

'The library is closing, mind if I check you out instead?' one person offered with the hashtag (hash)ShutdownPickupLines.

Added another tweeter: 'It's not like we have to go to work tomorrow.'

For their part, legislators used Facebook and Twitter to reiterate long-held talking points, further angering dissenting voters.

Republicans said Obama's healthcare program would be too catastrophic to allow, while Democrats accused Republicans of sending the government into a free fall to appease a small minority.

House Speaker John Boehner's post urging Senate Democrats to back down earned more than 13,000 'likes' on Facebook and an additional 13,000-plus comments from voters, either hailing the Ohio Republican as a hero or calling him everything from a 'crybaby' to a 'terrorist'.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi's Facebook post blaming Republicans for the shutdown earned fewer than 2200 'likes' and 1400 posts.

Meanwhile, federal programs used Twitter to announce that they would no longer be responding to tweets or other social media posts until the shutdown ends. Even the first lady, Michelle Obama, said her own personal tweets would be limited.

One Twitter account, which for two years has been providing detailed updates on NASA's Voyager 2 program, offered this less-than-comforting post before going dark: 'Due to government shutdown, we will not be posting or responding from this account. Farewell, humans. Sort it out yourselves.'

Swedal, the Denver real estate agent, said in a telephone interview that he doesn't think his tweets will make a difference. In the end, he says, politicians are likely to do whatever they want.

'But at least I feel better,' he said.


Kings Of Leon's new album debuts at No.1

Kings of Leon have landed their third consecutive No.1 album on the ARIA chart as their sixth album Mechanical Bull debuts at top.

The Nashville rockers' sixth studio release bumps off Keith Urban's album Fuse, which drops down two spots to No.3.

Another new entry is Drake's Nothing Was the Same at No.2, which becomes his first Top 10 entry and highest charting album all in the same week.

Jason Derulo's third album Tattoos has debuted at No.5, becoming his third Top 10 album.

Jack Johnson is down three places to No.6 with From Here to Now to You, while the fourth Top 10 debut is Jessie J with Alive at No.7.

Pink's The Truth About Love has dropped two spots to No.8 and Rudimental's Home moves up five places to No.9.

Avicii's album True plummets eight places round out the Top 10.

Meanwhile Katy Perry's Roar has spent another week at No.1 on the singles chart.

The top three all hold steady this week, with Miley Cyrus at No.2 with Wrecking Ball and Redfoo at No.3 with Let's Get Ridiculous.

The big mover is John Newman with Love Me Again, which charges up four places, pushing Derulo's Talk Dirty down to No.5.

OneRepublic spends a third straight week at No.6 with Something I Need, Lana Del Rey is down a couple of places to No.7 with her Summertime Sadness and Drake climbs a place to a new peak of No.8 with Hold On, We're Going Home.

Avicii has slipped to No.9 with Wake Me Up, while Lorde is back up two places to No.10 with her EP The Love Club feat Royals.


1(1) Roar - Katy Perry (CAP/EMI)

2(2) Wrecking Ball - Miley Cyrus (RCA/SME)

3(3) Let's Get Ridiculous - Redfoo (INR/UMA)

4(8) Love Me Again - John Newman (ISL/UMA)

5(4) Talk Dirty - Jason Derulo Feat. 2 Chainz (WAR)

6(6) Something I Need - OneRepublic (INR/UMA)

7(5) Summertime Sadness - Lana Del Rey vs Cedric Gervais (INR/UMA)

8(9) Hold on, We're Going Home - Drake Feat. Majid Jordan (UNI/UMA)

9(8) Wake Me Up - Avicii (UNI/UMA)

10(12) The Love Club Feat. Royals - Lorde (UNI/UMA)


1(-) Mechanical Bull - Kings Of Leon (RCA/SME)

2(-) Nothing Was The Same - Drake (UNI/UMA)

3(1) Fuse - Keith Urban (CAP/EMI)

4(3) AM - Arctic Monkeys (DOM/EMI)

5(-) Tattoos - Jason Derulo (WAR)

6(3) From Here to Now to You - Jack Johnson (UNI/UMA)

7(-) Alive - Jessie J (UNI/UMA)

8(6) The Truth About Love - Pink (RCA/SME)

9(14) Home - Rudimental (WAR)

10(2) True - Avicii (UNI/UMA)


1(1) Roar - Katy Perry (EMI)

2(2) Wrecking Ball - Miley Cyrus (SME)

3(3) Wake Me Up - Avicii (UMA)

4(4) The Love Club EP - Lorde (UMA)

5(6) Counting Stars - OneRepublic (UMA)

6(5) Talk Dirty - Jason Derulo Feat. 2 Chainz (WAR)

7(9) You Make Me - Avicii (UMA)

8(7) Burn - Ellie Goulding (UMA)

9(8) La La La - Naughty Boy Feat. Sam Smith (EMI)

10(10) Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke Feat. T.I. Pharrell (UMA)


1(1) Fuse - Keith Urban (CAP/EMI)

2(2) The Very Best Of Slim Dusty - Slim Dusty (EMI)

3(-) The Buegrass Album - Alan Jackson (SME)

4(3) The Great Country Songbook - Troy Cassar-Daley Adam Harvey (SME)

5(-) A.M - Chris Young (RCA/SME)

6(6) Red - Taylor Swift (BIG/UMA)

7(3) 40 Years Of Pride - Charley Pride (RCA/SME)6 (WAR)

8(6) A Hell Of A Career! - John Williamson (WAR)

9(7) Crash My Party - Luke Bryan (CAP/EMI)

10(8) The Story So Far - Keith Urban (CAP/EMI)


Asian shares down as US faces shutdown

Asian markets have slumped as the US government edged towards a shutdown over a budget battle.

The face-off in Washington also sent the US dollar lower, while the euro suffered selling pressure from a crisis in Italy that has left the country's five-month-old government on the brink of collapse.

Tokyo on Monday fell 2.06 per cent, or 304.27 points, to 14,455.80, Sydney shed 1.66 per cent, or 88.2 points, to end at 5,218.9 and Seoul eased 0.74 per cent, or 14.84 points, to 1,996.96. Hong Kong shed 1.50 per cent, or 347.18 points, to close at 22,859.86.

But Shanghai rose 0.68 per cent, or 14.64 points, to close at 2,174.67 after a survey by banking giant HSBC showed Chinese manufacturing expanded further in September.

Traders have been spooked by the latest row on Capitol Hill, with the US government on the brink of shutting down after the House of Representatives approved a Republican bill seeking to delay President Barack Obama's health care law.

Legislators now have until midnight on Monday to reach an agreement to keep the government open, but analysts say the chances of a breakthrough are slim.

Obama has threatened to veto any bill that undercuts his sweeping health overhaul, while Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says his chamber will reject the bill.

Adding to the crisis is a deadline to raise the country's borrowing limit, which comes up in mid-October. With Republicans determined not to raise the debt ceiling unless Obama gives way on the health bill, there are fears that Washington will run out of cash and default on its repayments.

'Things are far from the 'panic stage', but they don't have to be for investors to be spooked by the apparent intractability of the US political deadlock,' said Tachibana Securities market analyst Kenichi Hirano.

The impasse weighed on the US dollar on Monday, with the unit weakening to Y97.87 from Y98.24 in New York on Friday.

The euro fell to $US1.3500 and Y132.16 compared with $US1.3519 and Y132.88.

The single currency suffered selling pressure after Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta called a vote of confidence in his left-right government, as former premier Silvio Berlusconi pulled his party's ministers out of the coalition.

President Giorgio Napolitano will have to mediate to find a way out of the latest political impasse, and has said he would dissolve parliament, triggering new elections, only 'if there are no other solutions'.

On oil markets New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in November, fell $US1.35 to $US101.52 in afternoon trade. Brent North Sea crude for November was down 95 US cents to $US107.68.

Gold cost $US1,340.86 at 1805 AEST, compared with $US1,324.60 on Friday.

In other markets:

- Taipei fell 0.69 per cent, or 56.81 points, to 8,173.87.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co shed 2.43 per cent to $Tw100.5 while Hon Hai Precision was 0.52 per cent lower at $Tw75.9.

- Wellington eased 0.97 per cent, or 46.29 points, to 4,736.39.

Telecom fell 1.9 per cent to $NZ2.33 and Warehouse Group was off 2.92 per cent at $NZ3.66, while Air New Zealand rose 0.33 per cent to $NZ1.52.

- Manila slipped 2.95 per cent, or 188.01 points, to 6,191.80.

Alliance Global Group fell six per cent to 23.50 pesos while SM Investments dropped 4.41 per cent to 7.80 pesos.


Success at right value

Although Melbourne's auction clearance rate is almost 20 per cent higher than it was last year, and the housing market appears to be improving on a weekly basis, a lot of buyers continue to be prudent.

The reason? They are more knowledgeable about real estate values. And their experience of the 2007-09 global financial crisis gave rise to a strong savings ethos and an awareness that house prices can fall as well as go up.

Tighter lending criteria by banks and others mortgage finance providers is also keeping buyer exuberance in check.

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said the Reserve Bank had been easing, or reducing, interest rates for 22 months. ''On average, by this stage in an easing cycle you would be seeing much stronger house price growth and higher levels of credit growth,'' he said.

Lending criteria had tightened considerably. ''The banks became a lot more cautious after seeing the damage the GFC caused in other countries, and the regulators have become tougher as well. The banks have the regulators looking over their shoulder,'' he said.

Estate agents continue to see the market as property-specific.

''Buyers are certainly more educated and have a lot more resources at their fingertips these days,'' said Leo Dardha, of Hocking Stuart Yarraville. ''But on the beat - at the auctions and at open for inspections - there seems to have been a kick since the federal election.''

On Saturday, Hocking Stuart sold a three-bedroom 1970s brick-veneer house in Seddon for $767,000, which was $127,000 above its reserve price. ''That's a huge amount,'' Mr Dardha said.

Saturday's auction clearance rate was 80 per cent for the 553 preliminary results reported to the Fairfax-owned Australian Property Monitors. The Real Estate Institute of Victoria reported an interim clearance rate of 78 per cent from 715 results.

Some property types are in heavy demand. Fletchers sold a three-bedroom townhouse in Kew on Saturday for $1.3 million, against a $900,000 reserve. ''It shows how desperately short we are of good-quality apartments for people who want to scale down their accommodation,'' said executive chairman Tim Fletcher.

There are signs that property listings are on the rise but overall supply is well down on previous years. Jellis Craig director Andrew McCann said the lack of supply, coupled with stronger buying by investors, downsizers and young couples, had contributed to multiple bidding at auctions.

Only 4 per cent of properties sold in Australia sell for more than $2 million, but Melbourne snares a disproportionate share of these high-priced sales. Mr McCann said the $2 million-plus market had strengthened - a view shared by Jonathan Dixon, of bayside specialist JP Dixon. Six months ago, the bayside suburbs were market underperformers, but Mr Dixon said demand had now ''gone up a notch''.

REIV chief executive Enzo Raimondo said Saturday's results were further evidence of a strengthening market: ''With the clearance rate improving and property prices going upward as well, we're set for a fairly strong final selling season for the year,'' he said.

APM senior economist Andrew Wilson said Melbourne was on track to achieve house price growth of 7 per cent in 2013.

There will be only about 60 auctions on grand final day next Saturday.


U2 frontman ran from ‘Make Bono history’ taunts

U2 frontman Bono has recalled running for his life from protestors who shouted “Make Bono history” after him.

The singer and activist has been a supporter of the Make Poverty History series of campaigns since they began in 2005.

But the slogan was turned on him recently in Germany.

He tells The Guardian: “I was chased down the street by a bunch of anarchists wielding placards and shouting ‘Make Bono history!’ – which, even as I was running for my life, I thought was a pretty good line.”

In the same week, he says, he was also booed by young entrepreneurs in Tanzania, who believed he was arguing for Africa to be seen as a place in permanent need of charity.

“They thought I was peddling this idea of a supplicant Africa, which could not be further from the truth,” he says.

“So we’re doing something right: we’re annoying capitalists in Africa and anti-capitalists in Europe.”

Bono admits his political activities have adversely affected U2′s profile over the years. “The band thought this would sink the ship 10 years ago – hanging out with politicians and corporations is very unhip work.

“But I think the U2 audience have turned out to be incredibly subtle in their understanding. We have a relationship now with our audience that exists outside the media.

“When you have been singing into somebody’s ear for 20 years through a set of headphones, people tend to know if you are an asshole or not. Public opinion does not drive U2′s audience.”


Win Maiden, Rammstein memorabilia in Metal Hammer charity auction

Metal Hammer are following up the success of the Heavy Metal Truants charity bike ride with a series of eBay auctions offering limited-edition memorabilia from Iron Maiden, Rammstein, Bullet For My Valentine and others.

The cycle trip in June saw a troop of hardy souls including Maiden manager Rod Smallwood and Hammer editor Alexander Milas travel 171 miles from London to Donington in time for the Download festival.

They’ve raised £80,000 for Childline, the Teenage Cancer Trust and Nordoff Robbins – and now that total is set to increase.

Items in the Monster Rock Charity auction include signed Maiden artwork, a guitar signed by Rammstein, one signed by BFMV and an amp signed by Black Sabbath, Slipknot and others.

Find out more – including a video documenting the Heavy Metal Truants ride – on the Metal Hammer website.


Win a Gibson guitar at free online expo

Music Radar’s free online exhibition is taking place now – bringing you the chance to win a £1200 Gibson guitar.

The Acoustic Expo presents a series of virtual booths to help you choose your next instrument from models by Gibson, Faith, PRS, Lowden, LR Baggs, Marshall, Takamine, Guild and HK Audio.

There’s a mini-tuition series offering lessons in the styles of Ben Howard, Jake Bugg, Chet Atkins, Newton Faulkner, Seasick Steve and others.

And there’s a stack of artist interviews with Corey Taylor, Foy Vance, Scott Matthews, Ben Taylor and more.

MusicRadar’s Acoustic Expo runs until tomorrow. Check it out now – and enter here for your chance to win a £1200 Gibson J35.


Clutch frontman cancels shows for surgery

Clutch have been forced to cancel a series of US shows after frontman Neil Fallon was told a recurring back problem meant he needed surgery.

The band have rescheduled most of their September dates in January, with one in October and one called off altogether.

The band are touring in support of well-received tenth album Earth Rocker, which was released in March and is nominated for Album Of The Year at the 2013 Classic Rock awards. They recently released a video for their track Crucial Velocity, below.

Fallon reports: “I’ve learned that a childhood injury to the neck, a genetic predisposition for spinal disease, and 20-some years of head banging will exact a toll.

“I’ve been diagnosed with an ugly case of cervical spinal stenosis and two herniated discs. In some instances these conditions can be treated non-surgically. This is not the case for me.

“I have been advised by several neurosurgeons that my spinal cord has already been damaged and that I risk further damage were I not to address the situation.

“For this reason, I’ve decided to take care of this ASAP. Rescheduling a tour turns my stomach, but I believe this is the wisest choice given the prognosis.”

Fallon will go under the knife next week, when surgeons will connect three vertebrae together using a titanium plate. He reports: “I have faith that I will be back in the saddle for our October-November tour. On behalf of my spine, deepest apologies to those who had been looking forward to seeing Clutch over the next two weeks. We’ll make it up to you.”


Excitement ahead of GTA V game launch

It cost more to make then many Hollywood blockbusters and, in certain circles, it has generated a similar hype.

Now the gaming world is preparing for what it has dubbed the 'most exciting' event in the entertainment calendar - Grand Theft Auto V will finally go on sale.

The video game reportedly cost around STG170 million ($A292.15 million) to make and market - more than films such as Avatar - and has sparked so much interest that stores will open their doors at midnight on Monday for special launch events.

Experts are tipping the game to smash sales records and estimates suggest it could generate one billion during its first year on sale when gamers are predicted to snap up some 25 million copies.

Tom Butler, social media editor of gaming site, said thousands of workers have taken the day off for the launch or plan on calling in sick.

'Grand Theft Auto V will be the biggest entertainment launch of the year and possibly all-time with levels of consumer anticipation outstripping Harry Potter and Twilight,' he said.

'With gamers queuing at midnight to be among the first to play and the developer boasting thousands of hours of game play, there's no surprise that we're likely to see an outbreak of GTA flu this September.'

The gaming site polled 10,995 readers to ask whether they would take time off work on Tuesday when the GTA V goes on sale.

According to its findings, 5,059 readers said they booked the day off as holiday.

Another 2012 (19 per cent) said they would phone in claiming to be unwell while 3,884 (35 per cent) said they would wait to get their hands on the game.

Fans are expected to start queuing outside stores stocking the game tomorrow when a handful of shops will open their doors for night-time launches.

The Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series - which sees players buy virtual prostitutes - has accumulated sales of 135 million copies since its 1997 debut. GTA IV has reportedly sold more than 25 million copies since its 2008 release.


Colorado floods leave hundreds missing

Emergency workers involved in a massive effort to rescue stranded flood victims in Colorado, where more than 500 people are still unaccounted for, are bracing for a fresh pounding from storms.

Officials said efforts to locate those in need of help were hampered by flood damage to many mobile phone towers.

New flash floods were expected to inundate the area, which thousands were forced to evacuate.

Raging floodwaters in the city of Boulder, already confirmed to have killed at least four people, apparently claimed the life of a fifth on Saturday - a 60-year-old woman swept away in the torrent.

The Larimer County Sheriff's Office said on Twitter that the woman was 'missing presumed dead', after floodwaters destroyed her house, and officials warned the toll will likely climb further.

'There might be further loss of life,' Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle told reporters on Sunday. 'It's certainly a high probability.... With an army of folks and an air show, we're hoping to reach everyone as soon as possible.'

But some additional help was on the way, with President Barack Obama declaring a major disaster in Colorado and ordering federal aid to support state and local efforts.

'Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster,' the White House said.

And the Wyoming National Guard was helping the evacuation effort after Governor Matt Mead activated five UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and 20 crew members, the state's military department said.

In the disaster zone, helicopters circled above submerged houses in a search for survivors in the western US state, with hundreds still missing.

About 350 people were unaccounted for in Larimer County alone, from where about 475 people were evacuated, according to the sheriff's office.

In neighbouring Boulder County, 231 people were unaccounted for, according to CNN, though authorities cautioned that the numbers were fluctuating.

'It is no doubt an epic event,' Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway told The Denver Post. 'It is a once in 500 years or 1000 years situation.'

Search and rescue teams are being deployed to assess the situation and contact stranded residents.

The US National Guard provided seven helicopters to help get people out of danger.

About 1200 residents were pulled out of the Pinewood Springs area by the National Guard and Fort Carson personnel, state authorities said on Twitter.

But many others are still awaiting rescue, which authorities said could take days for some.

Impassable roads forced authorities to use a helicopter to evacuate 200 residents from Jamestown, northwest of Boulder, according to news reports.

Residents' furry friends were also stranded by the torrential rains.

'Our victims' advocates told me tonight there were almost as many pets as people getting off the evacuation helicopters today,' the Larimer County Sheriff's Office tweeted.

Officials said there were widespread power outages as streets became raging rivers after the state received months' worth of rain in just a few days.

Rain began pelting the state earlier this week, in Boulder, which saw 18.3 centimetres of precipitation in about 15 hours beginning from Wednesday night, with more downpours likely over the weekend.

Pictures from helicopter cameras showed heavy rain had reduced the towns of Jamestown, Lyons and Longmont to little more than islands, with ready-to-eat meals being dropped to stranded, anxious residents below.


Spain public debt hits record high

Spain's accumulated public debt soared to a record high at the end of June, the Bank of Spain says, shattering government targets despite a relentless austerity squeeze.

Spain, which boasts the eurozone's fourth largest economy, had racked up an unprecedented public debt of 942.8 billion euros ($A1.36 trillion) by mid year, the bank said on Friday.

The figure was equal to 92.2 per cent of the nation's total annual economic output - up 14.7 percentage points from the same period last year.

With just half of the year gone, Spain had already missed its target of limiting the public debt to 91.4 per cent of gross domestic product in 2013, the figures showed.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government is battling to rein in the soaring public debt by curbing spending.

The ensuing budget cuts have sparked angry street protests as Spaniards endure a two-year recession which pushed the unemployment rate to 26.26 per cent in the second quarter of this year.

High unemployment leads to lower tax income and bigger social security bills for the state, making it even harder to plug the hole in Spain's public accounts.

Rajoy's Popular Party government says it is determined to pursue austerity measures to help the country save 150 billion euros between 2012 and 2014.

It aims to curb the annual public deficit from 7.0 per cent of economic output last year to 6.5 per cent in 2013, on the way to finally bringing it below the European Union-agreed ceiling of 3.0 per cent by 2016.

The Bank of Spain also revised up the first-quarter figures to show the public debt amounted to 90.1 per cent of gross domestic product rather than 88.2 per cent, in line with recent downward revisions of Spain's economic growth.


McVie to sing with Fleetwood Mac

Christine McVie will make a guest appearance with Fleetwood Mac at two of their upcoming UK shows, Stevie Nicks has confirmed.

The news follows speculation that the retired vocalist could sing with her former bandmates once more, after she told BBC Radio 2: “If they ask me, I’d play.”

She’d attended several Mac shows since retiring in 1998, but hadn’t previously taken the stage with Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and ex-husband John McVie.

Now Nicks tells the BBC: “She’s going to come and do a song on the second two shows. I think it will probably be Don’t Stop. I don’t know – but she’s coming to Ireland to rehearse with us.”

A band spokesman was not able to clarify which of Mac’s eight shows she referred to, although it’s likely to be their appearances in London on September 24 and 25.

It’s not likely that McVie will make guest appearances further afield after Nicks explains: “She doesn’t want to fly. She doesn’t want to come back to America.”

And she reflects that she didn’t realise how much her co-singer brought to the band until she’d left. “From the very beginning, we made a pact that we would be a force of nature together – and we were.

“We had a lot of power when there were two of us. That wasn’t really so noticeable to us, because we just had, it until she left.

“Then I realised how much power we had when she was there, and how when she left she took 50% of the power with her. I felt powerless in many ways.”

Fleetwood Mac UK dates

Sep 20: Dublin O2
Sep 21: Dublin O2
Sep 24: London O2 Arena
Sep 25: London O2 Arena
Sep 27: London O2 Arena
Sep 29: Birmingham LG Arena
Oct 01: Manchester Arena
Oct 03: Glasgow Hydro


Dickinson denies drone deal claim

Bruce Dickinson has shouted down an online rumour that he’s involved in a $500m deal to build killer drones for the US military.

The Iron Maiden frontman has been the subject of speculation after stories circulated on the internet that his aviation firm took part in the manufacture or repair of unmanned armed flying machines.

The use of drones in war zones has proved controversial, with some claiming they kill more innocent parties than people defined as legitimate targets.

The story appears to have arisen via the website of South African firm Conference Speakers. In a page now removed they named Dickinson as a client available to give corporate talks, and listed the military contract among his business achievements. That led to stories from bloggers, one of whom labelled the singer a “rock’n'roll warmonger.”

A spokesman for Iron Maiden tells NME: “This is a totally inaccurate and malicious piece of writing that seems to have stemmed from an unfortunate mistake in terminology on a, website that the writer of said blog has used as a starting point to go off on a flight of sheer fantasy.”

The truth, says the spokesman, is that Dickinson an
d Maiden manager Rod Smallwood have invested in the development of hybrid air vehicles (HAV) – which are not drones.

The spokesman adds: “The future implementation of HAVs is a likely global trend which has massive positive implications in many areas of life. Both Bruce and Rod are proud to be involved with a British company at the cutting edge of this technology.

“Rather than being involved in attacks in the Third World, HAVs are designed to offer much-needed assistance to civilians, businesses and governments that would be unavailable otherwise, due to the unique nature of these incredible vehicles.”

The spokesman also offers an explanation for the military link, saying: “As with many far-sighted technological advances, early adopters and financial supporters tend to be military-based, as they have the resources to invest and develop, be that everything from space-travel to medicine.

“Possible military use of HAVs in future could be for heavy-lifting, transportation or high altitude detection of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), or similar, thus saving lives, both military and civilian.”

Dickinson, a keen pilot who flew Maiden round the world during their Somewhere Back In Time world tour, launched his firm Cardiff Aviation Ltd last year. His move followed the demise of charter airline Astreus, which whom he’d worked as a pilot and marketing manager. Cardiff Aviation has since created 70 jobs and is looking to launch its own airline in the coming year.