Anthrax was never creative for me – Caggiano

Rob Caggiano says one of the main reasons he left Anthrax was the band had never been a creative outlet for him.

He admits his heart just wasn’t in it any more – and he feels good about the decision he made, despite former bandmate Scott Ian’s belief that it was a mistake.

Caggiano announced his departure earlier this month after 12 years with the thrash giants. Now he reports he’d been increasingly unhappy in recent months.

He tells ProSound Network: “My heart simply wasn’t in it anymore. I had a blast playing with those guys, and they will always be family to me. But outside of my guitar solos and production work, Anthrax was never a creative outlet for me.

“That wasn’t by any choice of my own, by the way; it’s just the way it is. But at the same time I was committed 100percent to the band. It’s been a blast playing with those guys. I love them dearly and I wouldn’t change a thing about the last 12 years.

“I guess it just got to the point where I started asking myself: ‘What the hell am I doing? I’m a musician – this is who I am. Being creative is simply food for my soul. Why am I devoting all of my time and energy into a band where being creative is impossible for me?’

“It simply stopped making sense a while ago. I ended up feeling very unhappy and unfulfilled. I knew I needed to make a major change.”

Caggiano intend to concentrate on production work in the coming months, describing it as his “other passion,” although he vows he’ll tour again in the future. He explains: “I’m producing the new Volbeat album and I’m extremely amped up about this one. It’s the best thing that could have happened to me at the best possible time, and so far, I think it’s my best work to date.”

Asked if he’s going to miss playing in Anthrax, the guitarist admits: “I already do – but at the same time I’m very excited to see what the future has in store for me. Leaving Anthrax was an emotional decision, but it was also extremely liberating at the same time. I definitely feel like I made the right choice.”

Anthrax have hired Shadows Fall axeman Jon Donais as a stand-in after Caggiano lined him up for the role. The band recently thanked fans for inquiring about filling the position but added they wouldn’t be holding any auditions.


40 or Older? You Can Still Whip Your Finances Into Shape

If you’ve recently celebrated the big 4-0, congratulations! For the next several decades, you’re going to get happier, and experience less stress. (At least that’s what the studies say!)

Of course, this does not exactly give you license to just sit back and take it easy. You’re about halfway through your working life, which means that you have half the time left to pull in the money that will sustain you for the rest of your life.

And, not to be pessimistic (although pessimism can be good for your finances), but that’s only true if you work until your intended retirement age. Unfortunately, a lot of people face early retirement—or can’t get hired at all in their later years, as one manager revealed to us.

But we’re here to talk about solutions, so we’ve rounded up the seven most common financial challenges facing people in the 40+ set. Our goal: ensure that your 80-year-old self can sit in a rocker and watch the clouds drift by.

1. If You’ve Been Avoiding Your Finances Entirely …

Think your financial situation is bad? Well, whatever you fear now is better than the situation you’ll face if you put this off for another year. So here’s how you can take action today:
  • Review how much you have saved for retirement.
  • Check your savings to determine just how many months you could fund basic expenses if you lost your job (we recommend at least six).
  • Figure out if you’re in debt, and if so, how much you’ve accrued.
  • Get your credit score via the steps in this checklist.
And the key to healthy asset growth is simple: You need to stick to a budget, which will ensure that you spend less than you make, and save for the future. But how much, exactly, should you spend on dining out versus contributing to savings? The 50/20/30 Rule will tell you–and Money Center users will automatically be guided in how to set up their budget according to this rule.

2. If You’re Living Beyond Your Means …

Keeping up with the Joneses is a human tendency—not a personal failing. We’ve got an entire article on how to cure comparisonitis, but, in short:
  • Forgive yourself.
  • Pinpoint what you envy. It may not be your friend’s six-figure salary, but it could be her intrepid travels.
  • Be grateful for what you already have.

If you’re in debt, use this checklist to get out—and make sure that you know the top debt mistakes. For some added inspiration, check out how these people got out of debt, whether it was $20,000 or $60,000.

Then look into making more money. You can start by reading our Negotiating 101 guide, as well as get tips from real people who’ve gotten raises.

Finally, cut your costs. If your mortgage is too high, refinance. If your utilities bill is too steep, rethink your energy efficiency.

3. If You Aren’t on Track to Save Enough for Retirement …

The amount you need to squirrel away for retirement is the largest stash of money that you’ll ever need to save. To find out if you’re on track, do you know how much …
  • you need to save in order to support yourself for 25 years or more?
  • you need to put away every month in order to reach this goal?
  • you’ll need to live on every month in retirement, taking inflation into account?
If you don’t know the answer to each of these questions, you must start contributing–or increase your contribution–to your retirement account(s) today.

If you have a full-time job, start contributing at least 5%—or more, if you can swing it—into your 401(k) or other employer-based account. And those with and without full-time jobs should also boost their IRA contributions—up to the limit. If you’re unsure of the kind of accounts you need, use these 401(k) vs. IRA flow charts to find out, based on your tax filing status:

If you haven’t opened an IRA, use this checklist to learn how to open an investment account.

4. If You Have Young Children or Plan to Have Kids …

Your biggest challenge is college tuition fees, which will hit you around the same time that you’re in the home stretch of saving for retirement. Your top takeaways:
  • Between saving for retirement and saving for college, retirement takes priority. Why? While there are loans for college, there are no loans for retirement.
  • You can, however, save for retirement and college at the same time. Create a budget by calculating how much you need to contribute to retirement each month, compared to college contributions.
If you’re expecting, consider taking the Baby on Board Bootcamp to find out how to accommodate your little one financially.

Finally, do this incredibly important thing: get life insurance. Need convincing? Read how life insurance saved this family, and then check out our Life Insurance 101 guide and this checklist.

5. If You’re About to Pay for College …

If your little ones are, well, big, then you need to know how to take out student loans smartly, and how to apply for financial aid. (Review these top student loan mistakes, so your kid gets the right education for the right price. And be aware that private student loans are a bigger financial burden than federal aid.)
Don’t let your child become another statistic in the student loan crisis–or one of the 20-somethings out there with high debt and few employment prospects.

The top things to consider:
  • The amount of the loans vs. the earning potential of the student post graduation: Does it make sense to take on $150,000 in debt for a job that maxes out at $35,000 a year
  • Should your child start out at a junior college or a community college and then transfer to a four-year university? (Many community colleges also now offer four-year degrees through reciprocal programs with state universities.)
  • Can your child work part-time while in school or do a work-study program? Both of these opportunities will teach your kid the value of time management—and offer practical work experience.
Finally, if you’re a little late to the 529 game and wondering if opening one now still makes sense, check out Saving for College 101.

6. If You’re Getting Back Into the Workplace …

After taking a few years off, your top financial priority should be to save for retirement, since you may have some catching up to do. Here are some tips for your re-entry to the workforce:
  • Don’t discount experience from outside the workforce. You were likely exercising some skills that would be of interest to a potential employer—whether you coached a team or organized an event for your child’s class. Explain in your résumé or cover letter how these skills could translate to the job opening.
  • Evaluate all job offers carefully—even those with low salaries. Generous benefits could make up the difference.
  • Negotiate. Brush up on your negotiating skills, learn this interviewing tip and pick up these secrets from hiring managers.
  • Excel on the job. Check out these tips from bosses, and learn what steps you should take to get set up at your new job.
7. If You’re Starting to Take Care of Your Parents …

Make sure that you have all of the financial, medical and legal information you need, such as:
  • their bank accounts and passwords
  • the names and contact info for financial professionals, such as attorneys and brokers, along with permission granted for you to speak with these advisors
  • insurance policies
  • tax returns
  • medical records and contact information for primary and specialty physicians
  • estate planning documents, including wills, trust documents and powers of attorney
  • regular bills that need to be paid, like utilities and newspaper subscriptions
Start accompanying your parents on visits to financial advisors, doctors or attorneys. And be wary of anyone who refuses to let you join—unscrupulous people may try to take advantage of your parents if they think that no one is watching.

If you’re researching long-term care options for your parents to cover medical and non-medical needs for long periods of time, be aware that, in most cases, Medicare won’t pay for long-term care—so evaluate other resources, such as veterans’ benefits. If you’ve heard that you need to encourage your parents to “give away” or “hide” resources in order to qualify for Medicaid coverage of long-term care expenses, consult an attorney who specializes in elder care for proper guidance.

Retirement and Beyond
Now that you’re 40, you may also be thinking about your own needs down the road. While you’re still young and in good health, it may make sense to purchase long-term care insurance. In addition, now is a great time to make sure that your own legal documents are updated, especially if you’ve had kids or if you’ve gotten divorced since you drafted your will. Also, double-check those IRA accounts or you may end up disinheriting your current spouse in favor of your ex!

Remember that your top financial goal as you head into the last half of your working years is to save for retirement, followed by prioritizing for your child’s college education, your parents’ long-term care options and any student loan debt that you still owe.

And remember that every money challenge is temporary and can be handled–the way countless other people have managed it before you.


Richie Blackmore Tribute Stratocaster

Fender creates guitar in honour of former Deep Purple member.

Fans of 'Smoke On The water' can now unleash their inner rock star with a Fender guitar designed in honour of Richie Blackmore and the black 1968 Stratocaster on which he played the now-iconic G-minor riff, imitated by generations of guitarists since.

The new Fender model comes with an exclusive tribute decal on the back of the headstock, certificate of authenticity and an orange-lined, black textured vinyl case with the Fender "amp" logo.

You can view a trailer for the instrument below.

Will you guys be buying it? Has Blackmore's 'Smoke On the Water' riff inspired any guitarists out there?


Sting Announces 2013 ‘Back To Bass’ Tour

There’s no orchestra this time, and nary a lute to be found. For the third consecutive year — possibly a record for him — Sting has realized that he’s at his best when fronting a rock band. The singer announced dates for the 2013 version of the Back to Bass tour he’s been on since 2011.

Beginning in Kelowna, British Columbia on May 30, Sting will play a month of dates across North America. After that he will play a handful of shows in Europe, culminating with the Stavern Festival in Stavern, Norway on July 12. However, more dates are expected to be announced soon.

In what is being billed as a greatest hits tour, Sting will be joined by his longtime five-piece band, which consists of keyboardist David Sancious, Dominic Miller on guitar, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, Peter Tickell on electric fiddle and Jo Lawry on background vocals.

For more information on the tour, including presales and VIP packages, visit Sting‘s website.

Sting 2013 Back to Bass North American Tour Dates:

5/30 — Kelowna, British Columbia
5/31 — Victoria, British Columbia
6/2 — San Francisco, Calif.
6/3 — Santa Barbara, Calif.
6/5 — Denver, Colo.
6/7 — Chicago, Ill.
6/8 — Chicago, Ill.
6/12 — Baltimore, Md.
6/14 — Atlantic City, N.J.
6/15 — Atlantic City, N.J.
6/17 — Kitchener, Ontario
6/18 — Kingston, Ontario
6/20 — Bangor, Maine
6/21 — Boston, Mass.
6/22 — Uncasville, Ct.
6/24 — Summerside, Prince Edward Island
6/26 — St. John’s, Newfoundland
6/29 — Oswiecim, Poland
7/1 — Cork, Ireland
7/6 — Arras, France
7/10 — Mainz, Germany
7/12 – -Stavern, Norway


Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty + More Join Dave Grohl Onstage at Sundance ‘Sound City’ Party

In what may have been the greatest night of live band karaoke the world has ever seen, Dave Grohl premiered his ‘Sound City‘ documentary at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday (Jan. 18) in style.

Rolling Stone is reporting that a concert lasting three hours and featuring 17 guest musicians rang out at Park City Live in Park City, Utah. With his Foo Fighters serving as house band, Grohl called up such legends as Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty and Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick to jam with him. In addition to Landslide’ and ‘Dreams,’ Nicks sang a new song she wrote with Grohl, ‘You Can’t Fix This,’ which was inspired by her godson’s overdose.

Fogerty, with his “I won’t play Creedence Clearwater Revival songs anymore” era long behind him, cranked out four classics, ‘Bad Moon Rising,’ ‘Fortunate Son,’ ‘Proud Mary’ and ‘Born on the Bayou.’ Some of the other stars to join in the fun were Grohl’s former Nirvana bandmate Krist Novaselic and Corey Taylor of Slipknot. Even Rick Springfield got in on the fun, singing two of his biggest hits, ‘Jessie’s Girl,’ ‘I’ve Done Everything for You’ and another Grohl collaboration, ‘The Man That Never Was.’

‘Sound City’ is a documentary about the legendary Van Nuys, Calif. recording studio where many classic albums were recorded, and features interviews with such names as Tom Petty and Mick Fleetwood talking about their time there. Grohl, who recorded ‘Nevermind’ with Nirvana inside its walls, was so enamored with the studio that, upon its closing in 2011, he bought its Neve 8028 console for his home studio.

“I consider this to be the most important thing I’ve ever done, artistically, of all the albums I’ve made, of all the bands I’ve had the pleasure of being in,” Grohl said at the premiere. “I really feel like the ‘Sound City’ movie, its intention is to inspire the next generation of kids to fall in love with music as much as I did.”


Win the Janis Joplin Classic LP Collection Box Set

Janis Joplin would have turned 70 this month, and to pay tribute to the iconic electric blues singer, this ultimate Classic LP Collection box set includes four of her celebrated albums. One lucky reader will win the 4-disc set, which includes albums from Big Brother and the Holding Company and her solo career.

Read official rules before entering.


How to Do Your Own Debt Consolidation and Get Out of Debt

Debt consolidation companies often give you a fantastic pitch that promises to help you lower your monthly payments and eliminate debt.  All you have to do is work with them, combine all your debt obligations into one low monthly payment, and save tons of money.  Is it really that fantastic, or just a fantasy?

Personally, I have heard both sides.  On one hand, I have heard of good stories where individuals successfully worked with one of these companies and got their debt problem under control.  On the other hand, I have heard of horror stories where individuals placed their trust in these companies, made a couple of payments, and later got late notices from their creditors. The debt consolidation company was a fraud and they got into more trouble because of it. So the question is not only: should you pay a debt consolidation company?, but also how can you find the right company?

 In this article, I am going to outline some steps where you can consolidate debt and get this problem under control on your own.

Change Your Attitude About Money

Before you even try to figure out how to get rid of your debt, you have to get rid of the habits and lifestyle that got you into this mess in the first place.  If you habitually spend more than you can afford, you need to fix this first.  Learn to manage your expenses and live within your financial means.  Otherwise, all your effort will be for naught and you’ll end up even worse.

How To Consolidate Your Debt

Now that you have your spending habits under control, it’s time to start working on your debt.
1. Make a list

Make a list of your debt obligtions with the creditor’s name, amount owes, interest rate, and type (i.e., secured loan versus unsecured loan).

Since your secured loans are collateralized, you could lose your home, car, or other valuables if you default on these loans. Therefore, these are the most important loans to keep your eyes on.  Whatever you ended up doing, your plan must be able to support the monthly payment of these loans.

Next, focus on debt obligations with the highest interest rates.  These are usually your credit card balances.  You want to get rid of your high interest loans as quickly as possible to save money on interest expenses.

In short, you should have a list grouped by secured versus unsecured status, and sorted by the interest rate.

2. Negotiate with your lenders

Many people often overlooked the option of negotiating with credit card companies and other lenders as a way to lower your interest rates and payments. Now call each of your lenders and ask them for a lower interest rate or a different payment term.  Some will work with you and some will not.  The important thing is to ask and see if you can lower your interest rates and minimize expenses.

3. Find Alternative Funds

You may think it’s crazy to borrow more money at this point, but the important thing to do is to lower your monthly expenses and interest rates as much as possible.  Therefore, IF you can borrow money at a much lower interest rate, you should do it and use that money to pay down your higher interest loans.  The primary goal is to reduce the number of loans and the overall interest rate.

Here are some alternative funding sources that you can investigate:

  • Cash out refinancing — If you own a home, you could look at refinancing your home and cash out a portion of your equity.  Use this cash out amount to pay down your high interest loans.  The caution here is that your mortgage is a secured loan, so make sure you can afford to make the new monthly mortgage payment, or you could lose your home.
  • Home equity loan — This is similar to cash out refinancing, but you are taking out a second mortgage instead of refinancing your mortgage.  The caveat is the same, a home equity loan is a secured loan.  If you do this, make sure you can make the monthly payments for both your mortgage and the home equity loan, or you could lose your home.
  • Personal loan – Check with your local banks and credit unions for a personal loan.  Often, they can offer you a loan at a lower interest rate than what credit card companies normally charge.  If you can handle the fees and the payment term, consider taking out a personal loan to pay down your high interest debt obligations.
  • Credit card transfers — The next option is to search for credit cards that offer 0% APR on balance transfer with minimal or no fee.  Use this as an opportunity to get rid of your higher interest loans.  However, note that the 0% APR offer usually last only 6 to 12 months and the interest rates could increase dramatically.  Be sure you know what the resulting interest rates will be, and be ready to go through another balance transfer cycle in 6 to 12 months.
  • Borrow from social lending networks — A relatively new source of funds are peer-to-peer lending networks, such as Lending Club and Prosper.  With both of these networks, you can borrow up to $25,000 per loan with a fixed interest rate and a 36-month repayment term.  Interest rates depend on a variety of factors including your credit score, credit history, debt-to-income ratio, and the loan amount.  Be sure to study these networks carefully before asking for a loan.  If the loan works to your advantage, take out a loan to pay off your high interest loans.
  • Whole Life Insurance – If you have a whole life insurance policy, it may be worthwhile to borrow against the cash value of the policy and use the money to pay down your highest interest loans.  However, this option will lower you death benefit and significantly stunt your insurance policy value.
  • 401(k) Loan — This is an option, but considers it very carefully since there are many risks involved.  If you can execute it properly, this option could be very helpful.  Read Should I Borrow From My 401k Plan? for more information.

4.  Debt Snowball


With the first three steps, you should be able to eliminate a few higher interest loans and consolidated them into other lower interest loans.  Now, it’s time to pay them off in a methodical way.  Of course, you have to make the minimum payments on all of your outstanding debt.  But what should you do with the extra money?  The answer is to use any remaining money to pay down your highest interest debt.  If you prefer the original method proposed by Dave Ramsey, you can pay down your lowest balance debt first.
As you eliminate a loan, redirect the amount you normally pay to that loan to the next highest interest loan.  This is why the method is called a Debt Snowball.  As each debt is eliminated, you can pay the next debt down with more money and keep the momentum going.


If you want to get out of debt, these steps can help you accomplish your goal more quickly and efficiently.  Remember the key is to change your spending habits and not go further into debt, otherwise, you debt repayment plan will fail.  Once you have your spending under control, the key steps are to (1) list your debt according to the interest rates (2) negotiate better terms, (3) find alternative funding sources to lower your interest rates, and (4) to use Debt Snowball to pay down your debt quickly.

Lastly, you can build on your effort by making more money so that you can put even more money toward debt reduction.


5 Tips for Buying Your Own Private Health Insurance

In the United States, health care insurance is necessary to help offset the medical expenses that continues to climb each year.  The seemingly endless rise in the cost of doctor’s visits, medications and medical procedures makes it impossible for even those with a decent income to afford a major accident or illness.  If you are struggling to make ends meet, a relatively minor illness or injury could devastate your finances and make it impossible to stay out of debt.  For this reason it is important for each person to make every effort possible to find and maintain a health insurance coverage.

Some people are fortunate enough to have group coverage through their employment, but many people (e.g., unemployed and self-employed individuals) do not have the same access and have to use  individual health insurance instead.

The following tips will help you in finding the best private (aka, individual) health insurance coverage at an affordable price.

5 Individual Health Insurance Buying Tips

Compare Policies Carefully

All health insurance polices are not created equally.  While most have the same basic outline, there are variations in coverage and price.  Do not assume that the most expensive policy has the best coverage or vice versa.  It is true that the better the coverage, the higher the premium, however you must closely examine each policy to ensure you are getting the protection for which you are paying.

When you do your comparison shopping, make a grid with critical factors down on the left side, e.g., price, deductible, copay/coninsurance, basic care coverage, urgent care coverage, emergency care coverage, maternity, prescription, and any factor that is critical to you. Across the top, write the plan name and contact information. As you go through each plan, note down the critical information so you can compare everything on one page.

Consider your Individual Needs

This point is worth emphasizing — as mentioned above, we are not all the same and no single plan is the best for everyone. The best plan is not the cheapest plan (e.g., lowest monthly premium), but the plan that will save you the most money for your current and near future needs.

Do you plan on having children in the near future?  Do you have pre-existing conditions?  It is important to pick a plan that meets your individual needs.  Childbirth, ongoing treatment of existing conditions and a host of other issues may require special attention from your insurance provider.  Find out if these situations are covered or if you can purchase additional coverage to ensure your insurance offers the protection you need at the time you need it.

Research the Company

It is not enough to find the best policy if the company backing the policy is not in a position to pay out on claims — or if they
  • have a high tendency to reject your claim
  • have a slow or troublesome claim process, or
  • have a horrible customer service, etc.
You must do your reasearch to see if there are any red flags. It’s very easy to do by doing a few quick searches on the Internet, e.g., “{company} complaint”, “{company} customer service”, “{company} claim”, etc. If there are too many complaints and not enough compliments to balance out the complaints, it is best to cross it off your list.

Group Rates for Individuals

For many self-employed individuals the cost of individual health care insurance is simply too high to fit into a limited budget.  Fortunately in many states, a sole proprietor may qualify for lower group rates as an individual.  Where this is allowed, a single person can be considered as a “group of one” and benefit by having lower rates than other individual health care policies.

It is worth spending a few minutes typing in “{your state} health insurance support” and “{your state} health insurance assistance”, and see what might be available for you.

Some Insurance is Better than No Insurance

Regardless of the research you put into finding affordable individual health insurance, you may find you cannot afford the type of policy that best meets your needs.  If this is the case, remember that some insurance is better than not having any coverage at all.  Consider increasing deductibles or dropping some of the coverage if it helps bring basic coverage within your budget.  Health insurance regardless of where or how you purchase it is costly.  Unfortunately if you become sick or injured and are in need of medical care or hospitalization, the cost of being uninsured becomes much more difficult to manage.

Where to Find Affordable Individual Health Insurance

A friend of mine asked the same question not to long ago. After asking around a bit, the majority of people recommended that he looks at eHealthInsurance first. In addition, you can also check these best places to get insurance price quotes to find more options. Last but not least, ask around amongst your friends and see what they recommend.


David Draiman Talks Device and Reasons Behind Disturbed’s Hiatus

In this exclusive Revolver video, Disturbed vocalist David Draiman discusses the reasons behind Disturbed’s hiatus and why his new industrial band, Device, is free of the confines of “what Disturbed had to be.”

The hiatus was a matter of “stepping away from something that basically took up our entire lives for 16 years, and letting it breath for a while, and letting it sleep,” Draiman says in the clip.


New Sabbath Album Gets A Name

The new Black Sabbath album will be called ’13’.

It will be the first Sabbath album since 1978 to feature Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler and is due out in June.

Recording sessions are taking place in Los Angeles, with Rick Rubin on production duties.

Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk is filling in for original drummer Bill Ward.



Jack White Talks Music, Upholstery With Conan O'Brien

Jack White recently sat down with Conan O'Brien for more than an hour to discuss diverse topics such as the intersection of music and comedy and White's past as an upholsterer. The interview, the latest installment in O'Brien's "Serious Jibber-Jabber" series, wasn't strictly speaking part of Conan, but a more extensive conversation that allowed the two to cover topics they haven't touched on during White's 12 appearances on O'Brien's shows.

White lights up a cigarillo within the first 10 minutes as the conversation goes ever deeper. At one point, White talks about how his background in upholstery influenced his music; he describes three staples as the minimum needed to upholster something, and White says this image has impacted his focus on musical simplicity. "I think about that probably once a week, that image of those three staples, and it's affected everything," White says.

The interview is the fourth in O'Brien's "Serious Jibber-Jabber" series, which has previously featured the talk-show host's conversations with director Judd Apatow and statistician Nate Silver. 

Top Senate Dems urge Obama to take unilateral action on debt ceiling

WASHINGTON –  If President Obama were to break the impasse with Republicans over raising the debt limit by taking unilateral action, such a move would have the potential to set off a firestorm of controversy and spark a protracted legal battle.

Top Senate Democrats say, go for it.

The White House has dismissed talk that Obama would rely on unusual measures to raise the nation's debt limit without Congress' approval, but administration officials also have warned that the country could default on its debt and trigger a new economic crisis if lawmakers don't increase the limit on borrowing.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is among those urging Obama to consider options like invoking the 14th Amendment to the Constitution to find ways around the $16.4 trillion legal cap on government borrowing. The amendment states that the "validity of the public debt of the United States ... shall not be questioned," which some lawmakers believe permits a way out of the debt limit jam.

The government hit the debt limit last month and is juggling the books to buy additional time for Congress to act. But those moves only buy a few weeks of wiggle room, which requires Congress to act -- likely by mid- to late-February -- to avoid a market-quaking default on U.S. obligations.

The White House has said emphatically that it does not believe that the 14th Amendment permits Obama to ignore the debt cap on U.S. borrowing, though it considered the question during the 2011 debt crisis.

"There is no Plan B. There is no backup plan," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday. "There is no alternative to Congress raising the debt ceiling."

A letter to Obama on Friday from Reid and Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., doesn't mention the 14th Amendment, but aides to the senators said that's what they have in mind in urging the president to consider unilateral action.

"We believe you must be willing to take any lawful steps to ensure that America does not break its promises and trigger a global economic crisis -- without congressional approval, if necessary," the letter said.

Battling House and Senate leaders have made virtually no progress on a strategy for legislation to lift the debt cap. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, insists that any debt increase be matched by equivalent spending cuts. Obama, buoyed by his re-election victory, says he won't negotiate as he did in 2011, when he traded a $2.1 trillion debt increase for tight spending limits on agency budgets and automatic, across-the-board spending cuts if a congressional "supercommittee" failed to reach a budget agreement.

"Senate Democrats cannot ignore their responsibilities for political convenience -- and the American people will not tolerate an increase in the debt limit without spending cuts and reforms," said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

The impasse has people on both sides scratching their heads over how it will be resolved. The anxiety is such that some on the left are urging Obama to mint a coin worth perhaps $1 trillion to be deposited at the Federal Reserve and drawn upon to meet government obligations.


ZZ Top To Play London

And Billy Gibbons turns down $1,000,000 to shave his beard.

ZZ Top have announced plans to play two UK tour dates later this year, in celebration of their 42nd anniversary.

The band will play at the London Hammersmith Apollo on June 24, and the Manchester O2 Apollo on June 25.

The veteran rockers will be playing tracks from their 2012 album 'La Futura'. Mainman Billy Gibbons recently revealed that he and bandmate Dusty Hill once turned down an offer of $1 million (£638,000) to shave off their beards.

Recently Billy Gibbons, also revelaed that he and bandmate Dusty Hill down down a $1 million offer to shave their beards.

"No dice. Even adjusted for inflation, this isn't going to fly. The prospect of seeing oneself in the mirror clean-shaven is too close to a Vincent Price film ... a prospect not to be contemplated, no matter the compensation" said Gibbons on the offer.



Jack White Stomps Through 'Austin City Limits' Set

Jack White's Austin City Limits performance aired on PBS last night, and the rocker took on old and new material for his hour long set, visiting tracks from the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, the Dead Weather his solo debut Blunderbuss and covers of Blind Willie Johnson and Hank Williams. White brought out both his all-male and all-female backing bands, the Buzzards and the Peacocks, who took turns helping him out. The rocker capped his intense set with a soothing rendition of the White Stripes' "We're Going to be Friends," but White stomps and rips through the rest of the set.

Rare Color Photos of the Beatles Going Up for Auction

A collection of unpublished early color photographs of the Beatles are going up for auction in the U.K., the BBC reports.

The photos were taken in 1964 during the Beatles' first U.S. tour. They include stage shots of George Harrison with his red Rickenbacker guitar, close-up portraits of the group at a press conference at the Las Vegas Sahara Hotel and photos from a private party at the Beverly Hills mansion of Capitol Records president Alan Livingston. Since color film was expensive at the time, most images of the Beatles before 1965 were in black and white.

The photos were snapped by Dr. Robert Beck, a physicist and inventor who left the collection of 65 slides in an archive at his Hollywood home after his death in 2002. They will be sold by Omega Auctions on March 22nd to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles' first album, Please Please Me.


Deep Purple to Reissue ‘Slaves and Masters’

Last month, we told you that Deep Purple will be reissuing 10 albums from their catalog throughout 2013. The first of which, ‘Live in Paris 1975,’ is due to hit stores on Jan. 29. The second, ‘Slaves and Masters,’ will be released a week later, on Feb. 5.

Released in 1990, ‘Slaves and Masters’ features the Mark V lineup, where guitarist Ritchie Blackmore rejoined the band and brought in Joe Lynn Turner, who had sang with Blackmore in Rainbow from 1980-84, to replace Ian Gillan. ‘Slaves and Masters’ was Turner’s only album with Deep Purple. Gillan would return in late-1992, making it the second reunion of their most famous lineup, the Mark II.

The reissue of ‘Slaves and Masters’ includes two bonus tracks, the radio edit of the single, ‘Love Conquers All’ and its B-side, ‘Slow Down Sister.’ The album only reached No. 87, the lowest chart position in the U.S. for a Deep Purple album since 1970, but hit No. 5 in Switzerland, where it went gold.

Meanwhile, you can now hear samples of ‘Live in Paris 1975′ over at Amazon U.K. The concert was the final show of the Mark III lineup. Blackmore had already formed Rainbow and would be replaced by Tommy Bolin.

Deep Purple will release a new album on April 30, 2013.


Green Day to Resume Tour in March

Green Day have rescheduled their canceled 2012 tour dates and postponed 2013 shows and will be kicking off a tour on March 28th at Chicago's Allstate Arena. "We want to thank everyone for hanging in with us for the last few months," the band said in a release. "We are very excited to hit the road and see all of you again, though we regret having to cancel more shows."

 Best Albums of 2012: Green Day, '¡Uno!'

Green Day were forced to cancel and push back tour dates after frontman Billie Joe Armstrong threw a tantrum at the iHeartRadio festival in September and subsequently entered rehab. "Dear friends . . . I just want to thank you all for the love and support you've shown for the past few months. Believe me, it hasn't gone unnoticed and I'm eternally grateful to have such an amazing set of friends and family. I'm getting better everyday," Armstrong said in a release. "So now, without further ado, the show must go on." Full tour dates are listed below.

3/28 Chicago, IL – Allstate Arena
3/29 Moline, IL – I Wireless Center
3/31 Pittsburgh, PA – Consol Energy Center
4/1 Rochester, NY – Blue Cross Arena
4/3 Philadelphia, PA – Liacourias Center
4/4 Fairfax, VA – Patriot Center
4/6 Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena
4/7 Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center
4/9 Providence, RI – Dunkin Donuts Center
4/11 Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
4/12 Quebec City, QC – Quebec Colisee