Phil Ramone, Legendary Producer, Dead at 72

Phil Ramone, one of the music industry’s most famous producers, died today (March 30) at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He was 72. Last month, he was hospitalized for an aortic aneurysm.

In a career that lasted more than 50 years, Ramone was nominated for 33 Grammys, winning 14 times according to Billboard. His discography is a veritable who’s who of the last half-century of popular music, working with such luminaries as Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Tony Bennett, Billy Joel, Ray Charles and Paul McCartney.

His recordings were immaculate and pristine, allowing every musicians’ talents to shine through. But where, in lesser hands, that can sometimes lead to a clinical, sterile sound, Ramone’s productions were perfect, warm aural experiences that sounded equally brilliant on tinny car speakers and the most expensive stereo systems.

Born in South Africa in 1941, Ramone was a childhood violin prodigy who attended New York’s prestigious Julliard School of Music. But he wound up being intrigued by the technical side of the process and, in 1959, opened up A&R Studios in New York.

He made his name as an engineer and producer in the 1960s through albums as diverse as ‘Getz/Gilberto,’ the 1964 sensuous mixing of jazz and bossa nova by Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto, Barbra Streisand’s live ‘A Happening in Central Park’ (1967) and the original Broadway cast recording of ‘Promises, Promises,’ which was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

But it was in the 1970s and 1980s where he became almost as famous as the artists with whom he worked (see our list of the Top 10 Phil Ramone Rock Albums). He is perhaps most famous for his 10-year association with Billy Joel, producing every album from his 1977 breakthrough ‘The Stranger’ to 1986′s ‘The Bridge.’ He also co-produced a trio of Paul Simon albums, ‘There Goes Rhymin’ Simon,’ ‘Still Crazy After All These Years’ and ‘One Trick Pony,’ as well as Simon & Garfunkel‘s ‘The Concert in Central Park’ reunion album.

Coincidentally, Hugh McCracken, who played guitar on ‘Still Crazy After All these Years’ and ‘The Stranger,’ passed away Thursday following a battle with leukemia.

Over the last 20 years, Ramone mostly produced high-profile albums, many of which were filled with guest stars. The template began with Frank Sinatra’s ‘Duets’ in 1993 and repeated with Ray Charles and Tony Bennett. Simon called upon him again in 2011 to co-produce ‘So Beautiful or So What.’

Ramone is survived by his wife Karen and sons BJ, Simon and Matt.


Alt rocker, tattoo artist Sarah Gaugler replaces Empress Schuck in ‘The Diplomat Hotel’

Director Christopher Ad Castillo has announced that Sarah Gaugler, lead singer of the alternative electronic duo Turbo Goth, will replace Empress Shuck in the cast of his

This is the feature film debut for Gaugler, who previously appeared as herself in the Philippines segment of the 2010 experimental documentary, “The Erotic Man” for acclaimed Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth.

According to Castilo, she will play the role of Anna, “the punk rocker make-up artist who brings her own secrets inside the Diplomat Hotel”.

Schuck, who was originally cast in the role is currently in the cast of the ABS-CBN teleserye, “Apoy Sa Dagat” and will soon appear in another soap, “Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala”, with Judy Ann Santos, Sam Milby and KC Concepcion.

“I was really looking forward to working with Empress Schuck but we could not work around the scheduling conflicts,” said the director who is eager to start filming after arriving in the country last March 24. As time is of the essence, the non-availability of Shuck turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

“However, from the beginning, I have always wanted an alternative rock singer to play Anna to get that true authenticity and attitude and not just an actress that we dressed up,” he admitted. “When I had a couple of hours to make a decision on the replacement, my editor Gorio Vicuna showed me the latest Turbo Goth music video that he directed.”

“There I saw Anna embodied in Sarah who really is the punk rock Audrey Hepburn. She has very soulful eyes that are always a great tool in acting. And when I spoke with her, I was sold. Somehow, this film finds a way to stay true to my vision.”

A renaissance girl of sorts who is also a visual artist, graphic illustrator, tattoo artist and part-time commercial model, Gaugler had no prior singing experience when she and Paolo Peralta formed Turbo Goth in 2008.

Now, without any acting experience, she will pit talents with tried and tested mainstream and indie acting veterans Joel Torre, Art Acuña, Mon Confiado, Sue Prado and lead star Gretchen Barretto in the upcoming horror thriller.

“Obviously, this is her biggest role. Wait till you see what she looks like in the film,” Castillo beamed.

“The Diplomat Hotel” is an official entry in the New Breed section of the 9th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, slated for July at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.


Robert Plant Joins Patty Griffin on ‘Ohio,’ First Single From ‘American Kid’ Album

The first single from Patty Griffin’s new album ‘American Kid’ features Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant on harmonies. ‘Ohio,’ is much more than a vocal collaboration between the two however. Griffin credits her longtime partner with bringing the track to its final resting place.

“I had the song in an odd shape and couldn’t really figure out how to use it,” Griffin told USA Today, who is premiering the single. “He came in and arranged it so that it became what it is. He came up with the tempo and the mood on it.”

Previously, Plant and Griffin worked together on the first Band of Joy album. They’re also thought to be in a personal relationship.

‘Ohio’ is about the Underground Railroad, and Griffin says it was inspired by a Toni Morrison novel. The Americana track is a textured blend of strings and percussion, but despite a complex arrangement it never loses a sense of organic.

Meet me in the evening where the river is low / Meet me on the waters of the Ohio,” Griffin and Plant sing to begin the rooty cut.

‘American Kid’ is Griffin’s first album of entirely new music since 2007. Plant is expected to lend his vocals to at least two other songs on the album. A new Band of Joy album is expected for later in 2013.


AC/DC’s Cliff Williams Gives Update on Next Album

AC/DC haven’t exactly been the hardest-working band in show business over the last few decades. The legendary Aussie rockers have only released three albums since 1990, and their last album was ‘Black Ice’ in 2008. But in a new interview, bassist Cliff Williams says guitarists Angus Young and his brother Malcolm have been working on some new material — though he stops short of promising a timetable for a new album.

“[There is] nothing in the works right now [as far as recording],” Williams tells BackstageAxxess (quote via Loudwire). “We’re still getting over the last tour, so we’re just hanging out and doing stuff. The guys are writing material and when they’ve got some stuff together, they’ll give us a holler.”

The bass players adds, “[Angus and Malcolm] get a bunch of ideas together. Some are more together than others — and then we’ll all hit the studio or a little rehearsal room and we’ll kick it around with a producer. And then we get in a studio and record, and that’s kind of how it runs. The guys, I’m sure, are putting their time in [writing material for the new album] — Malcolm and Angus — but they’re not ready for [the rest of the band to get involved] yet.”

Still, it’s a step forward from last June, when Angus Young put the kibosh on rumors of a new album after singer Brian Johnson dropped a hint that one might be in the works.


Fans asked to darken side of moon as Pink Floyd album turns 40

NEW YORK – Pink Floyd’s seminal stoner album “Dark Side of the Moon” is turning 40 on Sunday, and the band’s website has developed an interactive feature whereby fans can help turn a specially designed moon on the site dark.

Starting after midnight Sunday in England (8:01 p.m. EDT on Saturday), fans are invited to play back the classic album on, then tweet their memories, photos or other thoughts and comments using #DarkSide40.

The collective tweets will darken a side of the moon on the website, EMI Music said on Wednesday.

One of the best-selling albums of all time, released in the United Kingdom in 1973, “The Dark Side of The Moon” was Pink Floyd’s first No. 1 album in the United States. It remained on the U.S. chart for 741 weeks between 1973 and 1988, and has spent 30 years on the UK charts.

Nearly as iconic as its ethereal compositions is the album cover artwork of a prism by Storm Thorgerson, who was tasked with turning out a “simple and bold” design.

Thorgerson and his current firm, Storm Designs, have created 14 exclusive new prism designs that will be unveiled over time on in honor of the anniversary, and the designs will gradually form a celebratory poster that can be downloaded.

The most recent version of the album was released in September 2011.


Joe Satriani Reveals Tracklist, Cover Art for ‘Unstoppable Momentum’ Album

Chickenfoot’s Joe Satriani has shared the tracklist and cover for his 14th studio effort. ‘Unstoppable Momentum’ is set for release on May 7 via Epic Records.

Satriani completed writing the album after a series of dates with Chickenfoot and then as part of the G3 tour through South America last fall.

“A very prolific and cathartic two months followed,” he says. “Resulting in a bundle of new music I was very excited to get recorded.” Satriani emerged with 11 new songs, all “heading in different directions and touching on a variety of musical influences.”

‘Unstoppable Momentum,’ co-produced by Satriani and Mike Fraser (AC/DC), includes guest appearances by keyboardist Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa, Dethklok), drummer Vinnie Colauita (Jeff Beck, Sting) and bassist Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction).

“The idea was to crank up the energy level of the sessions, and allow for more individual expression of the material from each player,” Satriani added. “The chemistry with Mike, Chris and Vinnie was fantastic and we blazed through all of the tracks with everyone laying down amazing performances.”


‘Unstoppable Momentum’ Track Listing

1. ‘Unstoppable Momentum’
2. ‘Can’t Go Back’
3. ‘Lies and Truths’
4. ‘Three Sheets to the Wind’
5. ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cairn’
6. ‘A Door into Summer’
7. ‘Shine On American Dream’
8. ‘Jumpin’ In’
9. ‘Jumpin’ Out’
10. ‘The Weight of the World’
11. ‘A Celebration’


Volkswagen recall 384,000 vehicles

German auto giant Volkswagen will recall 384,181 vehicles in China over gearbox defects after state television criticised it over the issue.

In a company statement, Volkswagen said an electronic malfunction could cause cars to lose power while being driven.

'In isolated cases, an electronic malfunction in the control unit or a lack of oil pressure inside the gearbox mechatronics may result in a power interruption,' the statement said.

Steering and braking would not be impacted, it added.

The vehicles affected include both imported models such as the Audi A3 and domestically-made ones, among them the Magotan and Passat, said the Chinese government's quality watchdog, which on Saturday had ordered the recall.

The move followed a year-long investigation, it added, and the cars involved came off the assembly line between December 2008 and early this month.

Volkswagen said it would replace components in the gearbox of affected vehicles for free.

The recall came after China Central Television alleged in an annual corporate malpractice programme that Volkswagen had used substandard gearboxes in some models, causing acceleration problems and accidents.

Volkswagen, which is Europe's biggest carmaker, said last week it planned to open seven more factories in China, the world's largest car market.

It currently has two passenger vehicle production joint ventures with China's SAIC Motor and FAW Group.


Paying off home loans faster

It seems that Australian homebuyers are heeding the advice that has been handed out by banks and financial advisors. That is, to keep paying the same repayment amounts even if interest rates drop.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) still has concerns over the amount of household debt in Australia; there is some surprising data about the rate of home loan repayments.

Peter Mozo, Data Head at Mozo said, “Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found the refinancing slowed during 2009 but, it has been building back towards a peak.

So, even as the value of property is falling or, stagnating, debt remains high for those who bought into the market when housing was more expensive. Yet, recent research from the RBA has found that more and more borrowers are paying more than the minimum repayments required to their home loans.

Whether this is due to economic uncertainty and job insecurities isn’t known. But, it is fair to assume that the old saying ‘make hay while the sun shines’ is making sense for those who do not have job security. These people are continuing to make payments that were established when interest rates were higher, rather the decreasing the minimum repayments and pocketing the rest.

If a bonus is earned, it is deposited into the home loan rather than spending it, using it to fund renovations or, investing in something else. This has meant that up to 30 per cent of those ahead in their repayments have a buffer of two years. This means, that if things were to take a turn for the worse financially, the household would have up to two years to recover before that surplus was eroded and further repayments would need to be made.

“Over the last four years, people who have had their mortgage for 10 or more years tend to have more equity in their home loans than previously,” said Steve Jovcevski, Home Loan Expert at Mozo.
Home ownership remains key of financial success

Further research from Nielsen found that 68 per cent of home borrowers stated their financial goal was to pay off their home.

Some industry experts are concerned that sinking all available ‘extra’ cash into a home loan does not promote a balance financial plan, many Australians view outright home ownership to be a critical measure of their financial success.

In the same Nielsen survey, on 13 per cent of home borrowers said their top goal was to save for retirement. This means, that adding additional cash into superannuation is taking a back seat over paying off the family home.

There is concern that this will create a generation that is asset rich but, cash poor when it comes to retiring age.

This is despite a home not being able to generate any income in retirement apart from when it is sold, meaning future retirees could find themselves debt-free but cash poor.

Overall, this trend to be ahead in home loan repayments is further indication that Australia was developing a culture towards saving, rather than borrowing. The Deputy Governor of the RBA, Philip Lowe said, “The rate of savings in Australia has increased and is back to the level it was in mid 1980s.”
Refinancing to pay off a home loan sooner

There has been a trend in the refinancing of home loans in the wake of the rate deceases. In the mid 2000s, borrowers who had over extended often sought refinancing to lower interest rates in order to meet repayments.

Now, borrowers are refinancing to access the lower interest rates, but are making repayments over and above the minimum. If the household had budgeted for a higher repayment when interest rates are high, they are continuing to make repayments at that rate.


Reef announce 20th anniversary tour

Reef have announced a five-date tour of the UK to mark their 20th anniversary.

They’ll play Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester, Truro and London during November, following two festival appearances in August.

Gary Stringer, Kenwyn House, Jack Bessant and Dominic Greensmith officially drew a line under their career together with fifth album Together in 2003. Last year they released a retrospective box set, 93/03, and played a number of shows to support it.

Now they say in a brief statement: “Reef are absolutely stoked to announce a uk tour this November to help celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary.

“Tickets are up for pre-sale at from Monday 18th March, and are released for general sale nationwide from Friday 22nd.”

Before the November dates they’ll appear at Carfest North in Cheshire on August 4 and Carfest South in Hampshire on August 24.

Reef 20th anniversary UK tour

Nov 15: Glasgow ABC
Nov 16: Birmingham Institute
Nov 18: Manchester Ritz
Nov 19: Truro Hall For Cornwall
Nov 20: London Koko


Dio Disciples ‘barely squeaking by’

Craig Goldy insists the Dio Disciples project isn’t all about money – and says he can prove it.

The guitarist is part of the tribute act to the late Ronnie James Dio after having been a member of the Dio band for three stints starting with 1987′s Dream Evil era.

Dio Disciples, also featuring Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, Scott Warren, Simon Wright, Bjorn Englen and Oni Logan, were formed in 2011 with the blessing of the ex Black Sabbath singer’s widow Wendy.

Asked what he thinks of fans who disapprove of the project, Goldy tells GuitarWorld: “I understand it. Ronnie was so revered that there are going to be people who are apprehensive of what we’re doing.”

He continues: “It’s really not a for-profit thing. If people think it’s a for-profit thing, I have no problem with them checking my bank account balance. We’re barely squeaking by over our expenses. It’s very expensive to do this kind of thing.

“There is money involved, but money is not the priority. The priority is to make sure Ronnie’s memory is kept alive.”

And Goldy believes the positive intentions shine through. “So many people have come backstage to us and said, ‘That was the greatest experience ever,’” he reflects. “That’s what we say about this. It’s not really a concert, it’s an experience.

“Ronnie and his music were so loved that it became such a huge part of people’s lives. The songs we’re playing have been a huge part of people’s lives for decades. It really means something to them.”

The guitarist feels he learned “so many” lessons through working with Dio, but the most important was: “The music has to feel good. The groove has to be great because a lot of guitar players write for the riff first.

“The way he wrote songs was special too, because he really toiled. The law of hit songwriting is melody first, lyrics second. A lot of people don’t do that – a lot of singers sit around with their notebooks filled with lyrics and they try to cram their lyrics into a song. So the two have already been sitting around collecting dust and they try to call it an original song.

“That’s not the way you do it – you’ve got to start from scratch. It’s hard to tell a story and hit people in the heart with the limited amount of syllables you have in a song. But I watched him do that and I learned from him.”

The Disciples are aiming to record new music at some point in the future, including a track Goldy wrote about his former boss. “I have a song about Ronnie’s passing and how the band feels and how the fans might feel,” he says. “It’s coming out really good. When Wendy heard it she said, ‘Ronnie would be really proud of you.’”


Clive Burr, former Iron Maiden drummer, dies at 56

Former Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr has died at the age of 56 after suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Steve Harris, the heavy metal band's founder and bass player, said it was "terribly sad news" in an announcement on the group's website.

"He was a wonderful person and an amazing drummer who made a valuable contribution to Maiden in the early days when we were starting out."

Burr joined Iron Maiden in 1979 and played on their first three albums.

Lead singer Bruce Dickinson also paid tribute, saying: "Even during the darkest days of his MS, Clive never lost his sense of humour or irreverence."

Burr played on the band's debut album Iron Maiden (1980), Killers (1981) and their number one 1982 album The Number of the Beast.

Megadeath bassist David Ellefson, who left his tribute on Facebook, said: "He was one of my all time favourite Metal drummers."

"So sad," said Brian Slagal, CEO of Metal Blade Records, on Twitter. "Clive was a great guy."

"Always remember CLIVE for eternity," said Iron Maiden tribute band Coverslave in their own Twitter tribute.

Born in 1957 in east London, Burr was a member of British metal band Samson before joining Iron Maiden.

"I first met Clive when he was leaving Samson and joining Iron Maiden," said Dickinson. "He was a great guy and a man who really lived his life to the full."

Burr left the band in December 1982, just as they were about to become a global stadium headliner.

When he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001, his former Maiden bandmates formed the Clive Burr MS Trust Fund to help raise money for his living costs.

They performed a number of concerts in his honour when he struggled to keep up payments on his house.


Kidney stones force rocker Vince Neil from stage

(CNN) -- "Severe pain" from kidney stones forced Motley Crue singer Vince Neil to cut short a show in Sydney on Sunday night and check into a hospital, his manager and a bandmate said.

"He was doubled over on his dressing room floor five minutes 'til show time and was told by the promoter to not even play, but Vince said he couldn't do that to the fans," guitarist Nikki Sixx told fans on his Facebook page. "I've seen Vinnie go onstage with broken bones, his voice completely blown out and torn ligaments but he never ever cancels. Just like an athlete you sometimes have to play through the pain, but last night it became to excruciating."

After four songs, Neil gave up and walked off stage and was taken to a hospital, Sixx said.

Neil, 52, underwent surgery for the kidney stones, band manager Allen Kovac said Sunday. "Vince is in the recovery room," he said. "All went well and we will know more soon."

"He has been having problems for the last few days with kidney stones," Kovac said.

The next show on the group's Australian tour, in Brisbane on Tuesday, is still scheduled, he said.

"The doctors said everything went well in the operating room," Sixx said. "I am going to the hospital to see him before I head to Brisbane."

"Vince is a warrior who has played shows through a wide ranging list of injuries. If there is a way to safely perform, he always does," Kovac said. "In nearly 20 years of managing Motley Crue, I can't recall a show the band has canceled."

source: CNN

Marlon Stockinger Unlikely To Enter Showbiz Soon

It looks like TV, movies and modeling contracts for Filipino-Swiss racing sensation Marlon Stockinger will have to wait.

The handsome young man is bent on accomplishing a lifelong dream – to become the first ever Filipino to be a full-fledged Formula 1 (F1) driver.

Asked about plans of entering showbiz, Stockinger said, “Right now I’m devoting all my time and energy to racing. I know that I’ve been given one-of-a-kind opportunities to pursue my dream, and I’m dead-set on making the most of them.”

Stockinger was back in the country for 10 days recently and has created quite a clamor for his presence after being named a Junior Driver for the Lotus F1 team of Eric Boullier.

Already a sports hero in his own right, Stockinger is another excellent Filipino athlete shining through the international sports arena. “It’s a great honor to be part of the Lotus F1 Team, and an even greater honor to bear the Filipino flag as I train and compete,” said he.

The racing sensation is now in Europe to continue testing in France and Spain later this month.

By April onwards, he begins competing in a series of 18 races all over Europe. Two races will be held in a different country each weekend starting in Italy on April 6 and 7, followed by Spain on April 27 and 28, Monaco in time for the F1 Grand Prix on May 25 and 26, in Belgium on June 1 and 2, Russia on June 22 and 23, Austria on July 20 and 21, Hungary on September 14 and 15, France on September 28 and 29, and finally capping off with Races 17 and 18 in Spain on October 19 and 20.

In between, Stockinger will return to Manila for the big Lotus F1 roadshow from May 4-5.


Pinays Rank 3rd In Achieving Economic Parity With Men – Mastercard

Women in the Philippines ranked third in achieving economic parity with men in the Asia-Pacific region, with New Zealand ranked first followed by Australia.

The MasterCard’s latest index of women’s advancement survey showed that much more can be done to achieve gender parity.

MasterCard’s research also revealed that while more women have access to job opportunities and tertiary education in Asia-Pacific, there are still barriers preventing them from taking top positions in the government or private sector.

At 91.2, New Zealand tops the region for workforce participation and regular employment with over 90 women for every 100 men in the regular workforce.

New Zealand women also lead the region for top jobs in the private sector and government withan overall leadership score of 51.6.

In seven Asia/Pacific markets – China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam – women are on par or better represented in secondary and tertiary institutions than their male counterparts.

However, their representation in leadership roles in business and government are still low across the region.

All but one market – New Zealand – had fewer than 50 women business-government leaders for every 100 male business/government leaders, according to the scores of the latest index.

Across the 14 Asia-Pacific markets, only Australia (49.7) and the Philippines (45.6) came close to gender parit.

Markets that scored especially low in this category include India (15.9) Japan (14.8), Korea (17.5) and Thailand (18.6).

Georgette Tan, group head of communications for Asia-Pacific, Middle East & Africa, said: “There is still a lot to be done in our region to enhance the role of women across all aspects of society; there are still too few women leaders in government and business, and not enough women-owned and run businesses.”

“There are standout markets which have repeatedly improved in terms of advancing opportunities and access for women, but more needs to be done,” she added.

When asked what would help improve women’s societal standing, MasterCard’s latest survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities – Education found that women in Asia-Pacific view affirmative action (17.1%) and more seats in parliament (13.7%) as policies that would advance women’s role in society.

Parental childcare entitlement tops the list of key policy areas Australian, Japanese and South Korean women see as crucial for advancing women’s role in society.
In China, Malaysia and Taiwan, however, women see SME opportunities as the most pressing need to achieve gender parity in their societies.


New Hendrix album People, Hell & Angels track-by-track by Eddie Kramer – Part 3

Here’s the third and final part of a track-by-track guide to Jimi’s album by legendary producer Eddie Kramer. Check out the video clip below.

People, Hell & Angels is currently available as a Classic Rock Fanpack. Buy here!

The first part of our Kramer interview is here.

And the second part of our Kramer interview is here.


Pearl Jam, Guns n’Roses, Screaming Trees men form supergroup

Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Duff McKagan ex of Guns n’Roses and Barrett Martin ex of the Screaming Trees have formed a supergroup and are currently working on their debut album.

The band hasn’t been named yet, and won’t feature a permanent singer, relying instead on a series of guest appearances.

Drummer Martin is currently with McKagan in Walking Papers, and asked former Mad Season bandmate McCready to appear on their album. That led to a conversation regarding material from Mad Season’s never-finished second album.

He tells Billboard: “Mike and I were putting together this Mad Season collection. Duff and I were starting the Walking Papers album which we’d asked Mike to play on.

“I had a whole bunch of song ideas; Mike had a whole bunch; and Duff had a whole bunch that were not making it into Walking Papers. We decided we’d go into the studio and record them.”

The list of vocalists has not been completed, but McCready says Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke has been consulted.

No release date has been set but Martin reports: “As the different singers finish their songs and turn them in, that will determine when they get put out.”

 Meanwhile, McCready will be busy with Pearl Jam’s upcoming album, expected before the end of the year. Mad Season’s only album, Above, is set for reissue soon.


Kansas to reunite original lineup

The original lineup of Kansas will reunite for the first time in over 30 years at a 40th anniversary concert later in 2013.

Kerry Livgren, Dave Hope and Robby Steinhardt will make guest appearances with Phil Ehart, Steve Walsh and Rich Williams during the celebratory event on August 17 in the Benedum Centre, Pittsburgh, PA.

Kansas are planning a two-set show. They’ll be accompanied by a 35-piece symphony orchestra for the first part, then after an intermission they’ll deliver a selection of classics.

Drummer Ehart says: “We do a symphony set then we do a regular set. And in the meantime we have Dave, Kerry and Robby playing on different songs with the current band throughout the whole show. We’ve got some great stuff planned for the intermission too – it’s gonna rock.”

He says they chose Pittsburgh because of the long-standing relationship they have with the city.

“Pittsburgh and the whole state of Pennsylvania discovered the band first,” he reflects. “We came here in the early days and it was like our home from home. We’re even using Rich Engler to promote this show at what used to be the Stanley Theater.

“Rich and the incredible Stanley Theater, just like the old days. How cool is that?”


Jaguar Land Rover mulls manufacturing in India: report

MUMBAI, India — Jaguar Land Rover, the British luxury car unit owned by Tata Motors, is considering manufacturing vehicles from scratch in India, a report says.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) currently assembles some cars in India with parts shipped from Britain. Manufacturing the whole car in India would make it cheaper, as it would save on government import taxes and labour costs.

“Like Brazil, India is one of the possibilities for Jaguar Land Rover to fully manufacture cars,” a person close to the development told The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

However, he cautioned the process was at a “very preliminary stage”.

Tata Motors officials were unavailable for comment.

JLR assembles two of its vehicles at its west India plant using kits, engines and gearboxes imported from Britain.

Sales of Jaguar and Land Rover models have been key growth drivers for Tata Motors, part of the sprawling salt-to-steel Tata Group, in recent quarters.

Indian car sales have slowed down in the last year due to high borrowing costs, costly fuel and rises in prices due to increased raw material costs.

Global auto makers such as Ford, General Motors and Nissan have invested millions of dollars in the past few years in India to use the country as a global manufacturing base, where demand for cars is higher than in the West.

Tata Motors bought Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motor Co in 2008 for $2.3 billion as part of plans to expand its reach beyond Asia.

The deal vaulted Tata Motors from a commercial vehicle and small-car maker into a global player with luxury brands in its range of offerings.

JLR reported record global sales of 357,773 vehicles in 2012, a 30 percent year-on-year rise, led by strong demand in China, Britain and the United States.


Cream to Release Live Triple Vinyl Set for Record Store Day

Cream have become the latest classic rock act to announce that they will be celebrating Record Store Day on April 20. The famous supergroup will release a three-LP of ‘Live at the Royal Albert Hall’ in an extremely limited run of only 1,500 copies.

Originally released on CD and home video in October 2005, ‘Live at the Royal Albert Hall’ chronicles the band’s reunion concerts at the historic London venue on May 2, 3, 5, & 6, 2005. The shows were the first time Cream had performed together – with the exception of their 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – since their 1968 farewell concert on Nov. 26, 1968, which also took place at the Royal Albert Hall.

Mastered at half-speed by noted mastered engineer Stan Ricker, the records were pressed, fittingly, onto cream-colored vinyl. The box set includes a book commemorating the historic reunion of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker.

Also of note on the same Warner Bro. press release, the Stooges have contributed ‘No Fun’ to a split single with the Black Keys‘ 2002 version of the same song on the other side. The orange-and-red sunburst vinyl is limited to 7,500 copies.

Record Store Day was created in 2007 to celebrate independent record shops in an era of declining sales. Many artists release limited edition vinyl exclusives for the occasion. David Bowie and Bob Dylan also have products coming out on April 20. Check Record Store Day’s website for more information.


Jimi Hendrix estate rolls out ‘People, Hell and Angels’ studio album

LOS ANGELES – If there were any doubts about the lingering force of fabled rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix more than four decades after his death, his latest single should put them to rest.

The single “Somewhere” went to No.1 on the Billboard Hot Singles sales in February. That bodes well for the latest posthumous album plucked from the Hendrix musical vaults, which producers say has stood up well to the test of time.

“People, Hell and Angels,” to be released on CD this Tuesday, is billed as a collection of twelve previously unreleased studio performances by Hendrix, although some of the songs have emerged in other versions since his death at age 27 in 1970 from an accidental drug overdose.

The album arrives with the simultaneous release of newly struck mono vinyl editions of early Hendrix classic albums “Are You Experienced” and “Axis: Bold As Love.”

The tracks on “People, Hell and Angels,” were planned as a follow-up to the influential guitarist’s chart-topping 1968 album “Electric Ladyland.”

“After the huge success of the (Jimi Hendrix) Experience and those first albums, he wanted to branch out more, and the blues sound on this is just different from the others,” said Janie Hendrix, Jimi’s step-sister and president and CEO of Experience Hendrix, the company founded by the musician’s father to oversee the star’s estate.

“This new album is very important for all his fans as it really showcases his creativity and a different side to him,” she told Reuters.

Feeling constrained by the limitations of the Jimi Hendrix Experience trio (which included drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding), the guitarist had already started working with an eclectic group of musicians.

They included the Buffalo Springfield’s Stephen Stills, drummer Buddy Miles, saxophonist Lonnie Youngblood and bassist Billy Cox, with whom Hendrix had served in the U.S. military.

The resulting sessions, culled from 1968 and 1969, form the basis of “People, Hell and Angels,” co-produced by Janie Hendrix, original engineer and mixer Eddie Kramer and long-time Hendrix historian John McDermott.

“What we wanted to do with this new album is provide what we all felt are really compelling examples of Jimi’s artistry and also his often-overlooked role as a producer,” said McDermott, a long-time collaborator with Experience Hendrix on various Hendrix projects.

“He saw right away that guys like Buddy Miles and Billy Cox, with whom he later formed Band of Gypsys, brought a new approach and sound to his songs and music. And Jimi was always very free creatively. He wasn’t afraid to serve the song,” McDermott told Reuters.

McDermott cites “Electric Ladyland,” which featured such diverse players as Stevie Winwood, Dave Mason and Chris Wood.

“Working in the studio was a totally different palette for him, compared with playing live,” he said. “He could experiment with extra percussion, an additional guitar, organ – whatever he felt the track needed.”

And while those tracks, which include such titles as “Earth Blues,” “Baby Let Me Move You” and “Izabella,” are now 45 years old, the audio quality is superb, because nothing beats analog tape for enduring sound quality.

“Jimi’s masters were recorded before the era of mass-production that caused the archival nightmares of the Seventies, for example, where tapes lose their glue backing, (so) we’ve never faced that problem with the Jimi Hendrix library. His whole tape archive is in very good shape,” McDermott said.

The new album is the latest in a slew of albums, films, tribute tours and books following Hendrix’s death in 1970 in London. These materials far outnumber the three studio albums he released in his four-year career at the top.

“He’s a timeless artist and the technology’s finally caught up to what he was trying to do musically,” Janie Hendrix said.

“People are still hungry for real music and good songs, and Jimi was a great songwriter and one of the greatest guitarists of all time,” she said.

Every new generation regards Hendrix as a touchstone, said McDermott. “If you want to understand the role of rock guitar and listen to real virtuosity, then Jimi’s the man.

“People react to the originals, and that’s what he was, a true visionary whose music doesn’t sound dated at all nearly half a century later,” he said.


Eric Clapton Cites Hassles of Travel as Reason He’ll Stop Touring at 70

There’s just 25 months left to see Eric Clapton on tour. The legendary guitarist says that he’s going to quit the road life when he turns 70 years old because getting from show to show is too much of a pain. “The bit on stage, that’s easy,” he says before insisting he’ll stay active playing around his hometown.

Clapton, who turns 70 on March 30, 2015, says security and immigration officials are two groups of people he’ll be glad to be rid of. “I never get it right. I forget to take off my belt, or I have change in my pocket,” he tells Rolling Stone. “Next thing I know, ‘Can you come over here please?’ I just don’t want to do that anymore.”

This spring Clapton will begin a 17-date tour of the U.S. in Phoenix, Ariz. The trek will end on April 12-13 at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in New York City. On March 12 he’ll release ‘Old Sock,’ his 21st studio album.

Full-on retirement doesn’t seem to be in Clapton’s plans as he said he’ll keep playing one-off shows when he’s up for it. He still loves the live show. “If I could do that around my neighborhood, that would be great. You have guys in Texas that play their circuit,” he adds.

“So the idea is I’m taking a leaf out of JJ [Cale]‘s book: When I’m 70, I’ll stop. I won’t stop playing or doing one-offs, but I’ll stop touring, I think.”


US film, music industries roll out anti-piracy program

WASHINGTON — A new “copyright alert” system has begun rolling out this week in the United States in an effort to curb online piracy.

The system, informally known as “six strikes,” is a voluntary effort of the music and film industries, with the largest Internet service providers participating.

The program will use warnings and could result in slowed or suspended Internet connections, but users will not lose Web access entirely. Still, some civil liberties groups and Internet activists call it too invasive and warn it could unfairly penalize some users.

It is being coordinated by the Center for Copyright Information, created by the music and cinema industries and the five largest broadband Internet firms.

“We hope this cooperative, multi-stakeholder approach will serve as a model for addressing important issues facing all who participate in the digital entertainment ecosystem,” said Jill Lesser, executive director of the center.

Lesser said the program is “meant to educate rather than punish, and direct (consumers) to legal alternatives.”

She added that people who believe they get warnings in error will have “an easy to use process” to appeal, and get an independent review.

Despite the “six strikes” moniker, backers of the system say it is not intended to cut off Internet access for copyright infringers, who will get up to six warnings.

The steps announced by the big Internet firms include pop-ups, which force users to acknowledge warnings, and mechanisms to slow a user’s access to near-dialup speeds.

Some critics say that redirecting users is equivalent to a “browser hijack” while others say innocent users may be snared by the system.

“It’s an elaborate surveillance system,” said Corynne McSherry at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group.

“There will be innocent people caught up in this system, it’s inevitable.”

McSherry said another problem is a “lack of transparency” in the system, which is private and cannot be challenged in the same way as a law.

“We have an elaborate private enforcement system for copyright, because they weren’t happy with what they could get from Congress,” she said.

Internet subscribers “face consequences based on nothing more than an accusation,” McSherry said.

Other activists were even more blunt in their criticism.

“Soon your ISP will be spying on you and messing with your internet at Hollywood’s request,” said a tweet from the online activist group Fight for the Future.

The group said that under new system, “they can slow down or shut off your internet connection without any due process, claiming copyright infringement.”

But the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington think tank, called the program “a model for addressing digital property rights without unduly inhibiting Internet use and innovation.”

Participating in the program are the five largest broadband Internet providers — Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Cablevision and Verizon — covering some 85 percent of US residential customers.

The firms this week began releasing details of their enforcement.

Comcast said on its website its “progressive alerts will start out as informational and then evolve into ‘mitigation alerts’” which require customers to call the company, but that the program will not involve “termination.”

Verizon said it will implement “temporary Internet speed reductions of two or three days for customers who receive at least five alerts.”

Cablevision said it “may temporarily suspend your Internet access for a set period of time” for repeat violators.

AT&T said customers would “be required to take an extra step to review materials on an online portal that will educate them on the distribution of copyrighted content online” but also stressed its privacy protections.

AT&T vice president Ben Olson added that even though its measures are voluntary, “many customers will respond positively when first notified and will not need additional reminders.”