Johnny Cash, LeAnn Rimes and Tony Joe White front new Country Music Magazine

Johnny Cash, LeAnn Rimes, Tony Joe White and many more big names are featured in the debut edition of Classic Rock Presents Country Music Magazinenow available for pre-order.

The latest in our Classic Rock Presents series offers country fans the magazine they’ve been waiting for, celebrating 100 years of musical history across 132 pages, packaged with a free 15-track CD.

Our cover feature marks the tenth anniversary of Cash’s death by looking at how the Man In Black fought back from depression, drug addiction and suicidal thoughts to record his two greatest albums At Folsom Prison and At San Quentin, which made him an icon and even outsold the Beatles at the time.

Rimes discusses the lurid tabloid headlines surrounding her life under the media spotlight, her honesty in songwriting and her new album, Spitfire.

We interview Tony Joe White about his career and how he felt when Elvis Presley sang his songs; Buddy Emmons breaks his silence over his life and times; we list the 69 must-have modern country tracks; and we feature Guy Clark, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Wanda Jackson, Sturgill Simpson, Kacey Musgraves, Austin Lucas, My Darling Clementine, Case Hardin, Carrie Rodriguez, Fifth On The Floor and more.

Classic Rock Presents Country Music Magazine is published on September 11 – pre-order now.


Sabbath worried over Baker ‘problems’

Tony Iommi has offered a little more insight into how the band went about replacing Bill Ward for the making of 13 – their first album with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978.

They chose Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk to take the stool for recording sessions after Iommi’s concerns over time, dictated by his cancer treatment, prevented him from continuing talks with Ward over his contract.

Before Wilk was chosen, producer Rick Rubin put Cream icon Ginger Baker forward for the role.

But Iommi tells “We put a stop on. We didn’t think Ginger would have been… we didn’t want to go into the studio and have, um, problems.

“We did try some big name drummers – some very big name drummers. They were great, but Rick particularly suggested Brad. He did work hard; he was thrown into the deep end and he was very nervous. He got used to us, our jokes, the way we prank around.”

ELP and Asia sticksman Carl Palmer recently revealed he was consulted about playing with Sabbath, but had to turn it down.

And while bassist Geezer Butler believes the band could be playing their final tour, Iommi hasn’t given up hope on another record. “It all depends on my health – but I don’t think it would be hard to do,” he says. “I’ve got plenty of ideas and stuff, but we’ll have to see what happens after the tour.”

Meanwhile, big-name drummer Mike Portnoy has claimed Sabbath’s current incarnation shouldn’t be regarded as a reunion.

He tells Energize With Lonn Friend: “I have no issue if Bill Ward is not fit to plat, as they’re saying. I have no issue if they’re having problems and couldn’t agree on something that was fair.

“My issue is that they’re calling it a Black Sabbath reunion. It’s not without the four of them – it’s now just the latest Black Sabbath lineup.

“Why is this Black Sabbath, but Heaven And Hell wasn’t Black Sabbath? If they need to do it without Bill, don’t call it a reunion.”


Daltrey fronts Queen AIDS benefit

The Who singer Roger Daltrey heads a lineup of rock and comedy big names for Queen’s annual AIDS benefit show at London’s One Mayfair on September 5.

The date would have been Freddie Mercury’s 67th birthday – and to mark it, fans are asked to dress as the late frontman to raise funds for the Mercury Phoenix Trust, set up in his honour after his memorial concert in 1992.

Organisers say: “From a simple moustache to a full head-to-toe ensemble, a fancy dress party to a Freddie flash mob, anything goes… as long as each person dressing up asks family and friends to sponsor them to do so to help raise funds for the cause.”

Hard Rock Cafes across the world will be involved in the initiative on the day. View comedian Matt Lucas’ Freddie For A Day message below – and find out more.


Maiden, Queen, Led Zep men guest on Sunflower Superjam DVD

Two years of Sunflower Jam shows will be released on DVD next month, featuring members of Iron Maiden, Queen and Led Zeppelin – plus late Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord’s final live performance.

Main feature is the 2012 Sunflower Jam, held at London’s Royal Albert Hall, which saw the the stage shared by Bruce Dickinson, Brian May, John Paul Jones, Alice Cooper, Ian Paice, Mark King, Alfie Boe and others.

A bonus disc carries the previous year’s show in the same location, at which Lord made his last public musical appearance ahead of his passing from cancer. Performances also came from Deep Purple, Rick Wakeman, Joe Bonamassa and others.

Both events raised funds for the Sunflower Jam charity, which provides complementary treatment to young victims of cancer. The Sunflower Superjam DVD goes on sale on September 16. Find out more.

Next year’s event will be a tribute to Lord, who co-founded the charity in 2005. Dickinson, Wakeman and members of Purple are set to perform on April 4, with full details to be announced in due course.


Ain’t No Telling: The Temperance Movement
Behind Blue Eyes: Bruce Dickinson
Black Night: Bruce Dickinson
Elected: Alice Cooper
Emerald: Bruce Dickinson
I Want To Know What Love Is: Alfie Boe
Lessons In Love: Mark King
Pictured Within: Steve Balsamo
Rock’n'Roll: Alfie Boe
Sails of Charon: Uli Jon Roth
School’s Out: Alice Cooper
Since You’ve Been Gone: Brian May & Kerry Ellis
Smoke On The Water: Ensemble
Something About You: Mark King
This Wheel’s On Fire: Sandi Thom

2011 footage
Bohemian Rhapsody: Newton Faulkner
Born To Run: Danny Bowes
Bourée: Jon Lord
Eleanor Rigby: Rick Wakeman
Good Golly Miss Molly: Gary Brooker
I Just Want To Make Love To You: Margo Buchanan
It’s Not As Big As It Was: Jon Lord & Rick Wakeman
Life on Mars: Newton Faulkner
Midnight Blues: Joe Bonamassa
Pictured Within: Steve Balsamo
Smoke on the Water: Deep Purple feat. Bill Bailey
The Ballad of John Henry: Joe Bonamassa
The Thrill Is Gone: Joe Bonamassa
Whiter Shade of Pale: Gary Brooker

2012 footage
Freedom Jazz Dance: Brian Auger
Born Free: Brian May & Kerry Ellis
I Loved A Butterfly: Brian May & Kerry Ellis
Substitute: Margo Buchanan
Help Me: Sandi Thom
November Rain: Sandi Thom
Only Friend: The Temperance Movement


Frusciante’s excitement over quitting Chilis

Former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante says the idea of quitting the band came to him when they first discussed the possibility of taking a break.

They had two years off before reforming in 2009, at which point he confirmed he wouldn’t be returning. They replaced him with Josh Klinghoffer a few weeks later, and later released tenth studio album I’m With You.

Now Frusciante reveals he’d made up his mind to leave soon after bassist Flea suggested a hiatus following their Stadium Arcadium tour in 2007.

He tells Billboard: “When he said it I was kind of shocked. I thought we were on a roll – let’s just keep moving with this, you know?

“But once he said it to me, my mind started thinking, ‘What would I do with that two years if I had two years to just do whatever I wanted?’

“By about four months later I was so excited about quitting the band I didn’t even want it to be a two-year thing any more.”

He didn’t attend the Chilis’ induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame last year and says he has no interest in rejoining the band for a third stint. In fact, he’s lost interest in appearing on stage at all.

“I really don’t think of myself as a performer any more,” he reflects. “It was never something that came naturally to me; it was something I adapted to. But it was never really an expression of who I was.”

Frusciante is set to release an EP called Outsides on August 27. He says of his “progressive synth pop” work: “I needed to specifically make music that I know wouldn’t sell in order to learn things. I’m going to keep doing that for the rest of my life.”


Pineda’s terror at giant Journey show

Arnel Pineda nearly collapsed in terror as he geared up to perform to 25 million people soon after being confirmed as Journey’s frontman.

The previously-unknown vocalist was hired in 2006 after guitarist Neal Schon saw him covering Journey tracks in a YouTube video.

But nothing could have prepared him for one of his first appearances with the band, in Vina del Mar, a sold-out show which was being televised live across South America.

Schon tells Rolling Stone: “We there him in the fire, no doubt about it. Two seconds before we go, Arnel is like: ‘Can I go home? I don’t want to go out.’

“It was fear and loathing to the max – but then he went out, and he went for it, and the audience went nuts.”
Pineda recalls: “I was terrified to death. It took years, but I survived it.”

He knows his position is a dream come true, but he admits: “I get really homesick inside. I would miss my life without my wife.”

His story is celebrated in documentary movie Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey. Schon says: “He brings it – he sings his heart out every night and it’s not an easy menu.”

But it’s involved more changes to Pineda’s life than fans might expect: “I had to give up dairy products, beer, wine, spicy food,” says the singer. “And no talking. I like talking, but it’s become a luxury to last even through a ten-minute talk.

“I have to go back to my room and silence… until the next gig happens.”

Schon – whose band may never make another album – recently said he’d love to reconnect with classic-era singer Steve Perry, commenting: “We had amazing chemistry together. I love him with all the love and admiration you could have.”


Metal On Ice book to become EP and show

Canadian guitarist and author Sean Kelly is gearing up to release an EP inspired by his book Metal On Ice.

The title documents the glories and struggles of Canada’s hard rock and heavy metal heroes in the 80s and early 90s, drawing on interviews with members of the bands that made that chapter of Canada’s music history so memorable for its fans.

Metal On Ice includes interviews with members of Anvil, Voivod, Brighton Rock, Helix, Coney Hatch, Kick Axe, Sven Gali, Slik Toxik and many others.

Kelly, who’s currently playing guitar with pop star Nelly Furtado, has booked studio time to record his own version of some of the songs of bands that inspired them – with the original vocalists appearing on each track.

The Metal On Ice EP will feature Carl Dixon of Coney Hatch, Brian Vollmer of Helix, Lee Aaron, Darby Mills of Headpins, Nick Walsh of Slik Toxik and Russ Dwarf of Killer Dwarfs.

A Pledge campaign is underway to support the recording, and a live tour featuring the guest vocalists alongside a house band is being prepared.

Kelly says: “Great songs are born from great stories, and these classic anthems and tales will take on a whole new life when the Metal On Ice Show brings the Canadian arena rock experience across the country.

“Set in an ‘electric storyteller’ context, the Metal On Ice Show will bring audiences back to a time when the amps were cranked, the beer was cold, and the plan was to have a good time, all the time!”


Nirvana’s Forgotten Tune to be released

A previously unheard Nirvana track will take pride of place in the 20th anniversary edition of the band’s last album In Utero.

It’s to be one of more than 70 numbers which will appear alongside unheard alternative mixes, demos and more.

High points include a brand-new mix of the original album, Curt Cobain’s handwritten lyrics, a four-page letter from producer Steve Albini to the band, discussing his plans for the project, and a newly-mastered recording of the band’s Live And Loud concert in Seattle in 1993.

Universal Music Group say: “In Utero was the sound of the most incredible yet conflicted band of the era at the peak of its powers, coming to terms with a generational spokesband mantle they’d never seen coming – and ultimately surmounting these struggles to make the record they needed to make.

“As Rolling Stone’s David Fricke said in his review at the time, ‘In Utero is a lot of things-brilliant, corrosive, enraged and thoughtful, most of them all at once. But more than anything, it’s a triumph of the will.’”

The 20th anniversary In Utero will appear in a number of formats on September 23.

Super Deluxe

More than 70 remastered, remixed, rare and unreleased recordings, including B-sides, compilation tracks, never-before-heard demos and live material featuring the final touring lineup of Cobain, Novoselic, Grohl, and Pat Smear. This box set also includes a DVD of the complete “Live and Loud” show from Seattle’s Pier 48 on December 13, 1993 plus over 35 minutes never-before-released bonus material.

CD One
01. Serve The Servants (Albini mix/original release) – 3:39
02. Scentless Apprentice (Albini mix/original release) – 3:47
03. Heart-Shaped Box (Litt mix/original release) – 4:41
04. Rape Me (Albini mix/original release) – 2:51
05. Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle (Albini mix/original release) – 4:09
06. Dumb (Albini mix/original release) – 2:32
07. Very Ape (Albini mix/original release) – 1:55
08. Milk It (Albini mix/original release) – 3:54
09. Pennyroyal Tea (Albini mix/original release) – 3:37
10. Radio Friendly Unit Shifter (Albini mix/original release) – 4:51
11. Tourette’s (Albini mix/original release) – 1:35
12. All Apologies (Litt mix/original release) – 3:55
13. Gallons Of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through The Strip (ex-U.S. bonus track) – 7:35
14. Marigold (B-side; “Heart Shaped Box) – 2:34
15. Moist Vagina (B-side; “All Apologies”) – 3:33
16. Sappy (from “No Alternative” compilation) – 3:28
17. I Hate Myself And Want To Die (from “The Beavis And Butthead Experience” compilation) – 2:59
18. Pennyroyal Tea (Litt mix) – 3:36
19. Heart-Shaped Box (Albini mix/unreleased) – 4:42
20. All Apologies (Albini mix/unreleased) – 3:58

CD Two
01. Serve The Servants (2013 mix) – 3:36
02. Scentless Apprentice (2013 mix) – 3:49
03. Heart-Shaped Box (2013 mix) – 4:41
04. Rape Me (2013 mix) – 2:49
05. Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle (2013 mix) – 4:12
06. Dumb (2013 mix) – 2:32
07. Very Ape (2013 mix) – 1:57
08. Milk It (2013 mix) – 3:56
09. Pennyroyal Tea (2013 mix) – 3:32
10. Radio Friendly Unit Shifter (2013 mix) – 4:51
11. Tourette’s (2013 mix) – 1:35
12. All Apologies (2013 mix) – 3:55
13. Scentless Apprentice (Rio demo) – 3:54
14. Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle (Laundry Room demo) – 4:33
15. Dumb (Word Of Mouth demo) – 2:39
16. Very Ape (Rio demo) — 2:21
17. Pennyroyal Tea (Word Of Mouth demo) – 3:31
18. Radio Friendly Unit Shifter (Word Of Mouth demo) – 2:40
19. Tourettes (Word Of Mouth demo) – 2:14
20. Marigold (Upland Studios demo)- 3:25
21. All Apologies (Music Source demo) – 4:25
22. Forgotten Tune (Rehearsal) – 2:04
23. Jam (Word Of Mouth demo) – 5:44

CD Three – Live & Loud: Live At Pier 48, Seattle
01. Radio Friendly Unit Shifter
02. Drain You
03. Breed
04. Serve The Servants
05. Rape Me
06. Sliver
07. Pennyroyal Tea
08. Scentless Apprentice
09. All Apologies
10. Heart-Shaped Box
11. Blew
12. The Man Who Sold The World
13. School
14. Come As You Are
15. Lithium
16. About a Girl
17. Endless, Nameless

DVD – Live & Loud: Live At Pier 48, Seattle
01. Radio Friendly Unit Shifter*
02. Drain You*
03. Breed*
04. Serve The Servants*
05. Rape Me*
06. Sliver
07. Pennyroyal Tea*
08. Scentless Apprentice*
09. All Apologies
10. Heart-Shaped Box*
11. Blew
12. The Man Who Sold The World
13. School
14. Come As You Are
15. Lithium*
16. About a Girl
17. Endless, Nameless*

18. Very Ape (Live & Loud Rehearsal)
19. Radio Friendly Unit Shifter (Live & Loud Rehearsal)
20. Rape Me (Live & Loud Rehearsal)
21. Pennyroyal Tea (Live & Loud Rehearsal)
22. Heart-Shaped Box (Original Music Video + Director’s Cut)
23. Rape Me (Live on “Nulle Part Ailleurs” – Paris, France)
24. Pennyroyal Tea (Live on “Nulle Part Ailleurs” – Paris, France)
25. Drain You (Live on “Nulle Part Ailleurs” – Paris, France)
26. Serve The Servants (Live on “Tunnel” – Rome, Italy)
27. Radio Friendly Unit Shifter (Live in Munich, Germany)
28. My Best Friend’s Girl (Live in Munich, Germany)
29. Drain You (Live in Munich, Germany)

Deluxe 2CD Edition

The original album remastered at Abbey Road Studios plus never-before-heard demos, mixes, B-sides and bonus tracks from the original album release.
CD One: Original album and bonus tracks remastered
CD Two: 2013 album mix plus pre-album demos

Deluxe 3LP Vinyl Edition

The original album remastered at Abbey Road Studios on 2LPs and for the first time available at high-fidelity 45 RPM, plus a 33 1/3 RPM LP of all the remastered B-sides, never-before-heard original mixes and bonus tracks from the original album release. All 3LPS are on 180 gram vinyl.

Original Album Remastered CD

20th Anniversary Edition of the original album remastered at Abbey Road studios in 2013.

DVD: Live & Loud

The complete Live and Loud show from Seattle’s Pier 48 on December 13, 1993 plus over 35 minutes of never-before-released bonus material.

Digital Formats:

Super Deluxe Audio
Deluxe Audio
Original Album Remastered
Live & Loud: Longform Digital Video and Streaming/Rental Outlets


Music: Nine Inch Nails – Copy Of A

Nine Inch Nails have released a new track, Copy Of A, from upcoming album Hesitation Marks. Hear it below.

Trent Reznor announced in February he was reactivating the band he split in 2009, then later admitted he’d been working on Hesitation Marks for much longer than that.

He’s said the new material is inspired by taking a new look at NIN’s 1994 classic The Downward Spiral. He recently recalled how David Bowie offered him “shamanish advice” when the art-rock icon had resolved his addiction issues while Reznor was stroll struggling with his own.

Hesitation Marks is released on September 2 while NIN play Reading and Leeds on the weekend of August 23-25.


Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell Announces Fall Dates for Songbook Solo Acoustic Tour

Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell has announced a solo tour of North America this fall.

He’ll be playing a series of intimate shows highlighting songs he’s written throughout his career. This is the first time US fans will hear acoustic arrangements of songs from 2012′s King Animal, Soundgarden’s first new studio album in more than 16 years.

American/Sri Lankan folk artist Bhi Bhiman will support Cornell on tour.

This year also marks the launch of the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation, which helps the most vulnerable children. One dollar of every ticket sold on the tour will be donated to the Foundation, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit ChildHaven’s Creative Music Therapy Program Expansion. Visit for more information on ChildHaven and the program.

An exclusive pre-sale for American Express cardholder members will open for all dates August 14; venue pre-sales will open August 15; the public sale will begin August 16 at 10 a.m. local time. PRESS HERE to pre-order tickets.

Visit for more information on the Songbook tour and Chris Cornell.

Chris Cornell Acoustic Tour Dates in Full:

10/15 San Diego, CA @ Balboa Theatre
10/16 Napa, CA @ The Uptown Theatre
10/18 San Francisco, CA @ Nob Hill Masonic Center
10/19 Eugene, OR @ Jaqua Concert Hall
10/20 Seattle WA @ Benaroya Hall
10/22 Victoria, BC @ University of Victoria – Farquhar Auditorium
10/23 Vancouver, BC @ Orpheum Theatre (check local listings for on-sale date)
10/25 Medicine Hat, AB @ Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre
10/26 Calgary, AB @ Jubilee Auditorium (check local listings for on-sale date)
10/27 Saskatoon, SK @ TCU Place (check local listings for on-sale date)
10/29 Winnipeg, MB @ Pantages Playhouse Theatre (check local listings for on-sale date)
10/30 Saint Paul, MN @ O’Shaughnessy Auditorium
11/1 Chicago, IL @ Cadillac Palace Theatre
11/2 Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theater
11/3 Lakewood, OH @ Lakewood Civic Auditorium
11/5 Buffalo, NY @ Center for the Arts
11/6 Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall
11/13 Kingston, NY @ Ulster PAC
11/15 Boston, MA @ Shubert Theatre
11/16 New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
11/17 Northampton, MA @ Calvin Theatre & PAC
11/19 Providence, RI @ Veterans Memorial Auditorium
11/20 New Haven, CT @ Shubert Theater
11/22 Reading, PA @ Sovereign Performing Arts Center
11/23 Washington, DC @ Lincoln Theatre
11/24 Collingswood, NJ @ Scottish Rite Auditorium
11/26 Red Bank, NJ @ Count Basie Theatre
11/27 Wilmington, DE @ Grand Opera House
11/29 Atlantic City, NJ @ Borgata Casino & Spa – Music Box
11/30 Atlantic City, NJ @ Borgata Casino & Spa – Music Box


Win tickets to Dream Theater playback

Dream Theater’s self-titled new album will be debuted to an invited audience in a North London studio next Thursday, ahead of its release on September 23.

Guitarist John Petrucci and singer James LaBrie will be in attendance as their latest masterpiece is played back in 5.1 surround sound – and you could be there too!

We have 20 pairs of tickets to give away. To qualify you must be able to attend on Thursday, and you must be in the Islington area of London by no later than 6.15pm in order to gain entry. The event should last approximately two hours.

Enter the competition here – but be quick, because it closes on Sunday at midnight. Winners will be notified and given full event details by 6pm on Monday.


Steve Vai returns to UK

Steve Vai will return to the UK at the end of August for seven more shows, as a result of the success of his Story Of Light world tour.

Released last year, it’s was first studio outing since 2005′s Real Illusions: Reflections, and he’s delighted with the response it’s achieved.

The storyline follows the journey of a man “driven mad by grief, intertwining tragedy, revelation, enlightenment and redemption.”

Although largely instrumental, the album does feature guest vocalists. Aimee Mann duets with Vai on No More Amsterdam, which she also cowrote. Beverly McClellan, a season one finalist on The Voice (USA) appears on on John the Revelator, a track inspired by a vintage recording of blues singer Blind Willie Johnson. Other highlights include the title track which opens the album, Gravity!Storm plus The Moon and I and Velorum.

Vai last year told how he’d dreamed his entire career before it even kicked off.

Steve Vai UK tour

Aug 29: Belfast Mandela Hall
Aug 30: Leeds O2 Academy
Aug 31: Glasgow O2 Academy
Sep 01: Cardiff St David’s Hall
Sep 03: Bristol O2 Academy
Sep 04: Bournemouth O2 Academy
Sep 05: Brighton Concorde 2

Tickets are on sale now, with a premium EVO Experience package, including meet-and-greet, Q&A, soundcheck access and more, available exclusively via Vai’s website.


TNT to lose Tony Mills…

Norwegian veteran rockers TNT are to lose singer Tony Mills after a seven-year stint including three studio album appearances.

And it’s raised the possibility of a return for Tony Harnell, who fronted them for 22 years before bowing out in 2006.

Mills doesn’t think his decision will come as a surprise, following the death of keyboardist Dag Stokke in 2011 and Victor Borge’s decision to move on last year.

He says in a statement: “After the passing of our beloved Dag and the parting with Victor, my departing may not be altogether unexpected.

“There are other contracts I need to fulfil and a different focus I need to maintain in the coming years. I wish Ronni Le Tekro and his team all the best for their future, however it may shape itself.

“We’ve had some remarkable experiences together and we’ve worked with some incredible characters.”

Mills has vowed to remain until the band’s current commitments have been fulfilled, including two shows in Norway this weekend.

Meanwhile, Harnell has refused to go into detail about rumours suggesting he’ll return to TNT. “The ‘press leak’ in Norway was a bit premature,” he says. “Meaning: if anything were to happen it’s not happening this soon – and I’m not saying anything is going to happen.

“The beginning and the end are sometimes a little too close to each other. But the door of possibility always remains open.”

Guitarist Le Tekro is the only founding member remaining, and the only person to have appeared in all lineups of TNT.


Ward too overweight for Sabbath, says Ozzy

Ozzy Osbourne has stated that Bill Ward was too overweight to take part in Black Sabbath’s reunion.

But he admits it’s “not the same” without the original drummer’s presence.

The band announced Osbourne’s return for latest album 13 in 2011. Months later, Ward confirmed he wouldn’t be taking part, saying he hadn’t been offered a contract he regarded as “signable.”

Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Osbourne recorded 13 with Rage Against The Machine sticksman Brad Wilk, and they’re currently touring with Tommy Clufetos behind the kit.

Osbourne tells the New York Daily News of Ward: “I don’t think he could have done the gig, to be honest. He’s incredibly overweight.

“A drummer has to be in shape. He’s already had two heart attacks – I don’t want to be responsible for his life.”

But he repeats his assertion that Ward could still return, saying: “The door is always open” – and adding: “It’s not the same.”

Sabbath have enjoyed their first worldwide number-one album with 13. Osbourne reflects: “We were four local kids that played in a jazz-blues band. Someone went to a movie theatre and said, ‘Isn’t it strange that people pay money to have the shit scared out of them?’

“We thought, ‘Why don’t we scare people with music?’ Then Tony came up with those demonic riffs. We didn’t know what we’d created.”


Alan G Parker to direct Kiss documentary

Alan G. Parker has been named director of the forthcoming official Kiss movie You Wanted The Best… You Got The Best.

The film promises to offer the most in-depth look yet at the band who formed in New York in the early 70s as Wicked Lester and went on to sell over 75 million albums.

Kiss singer/rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley says: “We are thrilled to have Alan on board to help tell the definitive KIss story. Alan’s knowledge of the band amazed even us.”

Band manager Doc McGhee added: “It’s an epic undertaking and everyone’s committed 100 per cent to bring this story to the big screen. We knew Alan was the only man for the job and we can’t wait to get started.”

Parker is currently in New York where work on the movie has just started. He comments: “I’m incredibly proud to be on board for this film, telling the story of a band I love so much and that has such a rich history.”

Parker’s past credits include Never Mind The Sex Pistols, Who Killed Nancy, Rebel Truce: The Story of The Clash and Monty Python: Almost The Truth. His most recent release was the acclaimed Hello Quo! documentary.


Getting the best care for your parents

If your parents are getting older, it’s important you understand as much as possible about their options, especially with new government age-care reforms just around the corner.

Your parents may have reached the stage where they need more help, and are counting on you to step in to help them make major life decisions, including financial ones. Even if this hasn’t happened yet, it’s important to be prepared. And this starts with being informed.

It’s no secret that Australians are living longer, and that our population is getting older as time goes on*. While in 2007, 14.5 million Australians were aged under 50 years — in just 50 years, 8.7 million of these people are likely to be aged between 50 to 99**.

Over the years, the Australian government has introduced measures to help meet the needs of our aging population, including compulsory superannuation for employees, and relaxing the laws on the retirement age. More recently, the Gillard government introduced a string of reforms that will affect the way we pay for aged care, most of which will come into force in 2014.

So here’s a rundown on some of the new government aged care reforms, and what to think about if your parents are considering moving into a retirement home.

Bonds and daily care fees

If your parents decide to move into an aged care facility, they’ll usually need to pay an accommodation bond. These can be quite substantial, with many people selling the family home to fund this expense.

In addition, your parents will need to pay a daily care fee, set by the aged care facility.

Currently, they may have the option to pay a larger bond upfront, often the full value they receive from the sale of their home, in return for lower daily care fees. By doing this, they can effectively reduce their means-tested assets, and may become eligible for a higher age pension.

What’s changing?

From 2014, this is set to change, with new laws capping accommodation bonds at $500,000.

This will push the cost of daily care fees higher. However, the new laws also set an annual cap of $25,000 and a lifetime cap of $60,000 for those living in residential care and nursing homes.

For people being cared for at home, there will be a cap of $5,000 each year for pensioners, and up to $10,000 for seniors with an income over $43,000.

How these changes may affect your parents

Under the new laws, if your parents decide to keep the family house, it will be exempt from means testing for the age pension.

However, if they choose to sell it to cover the cost of their accommodation bond and to pay for their daily care, they will no longer be able to protect some of the money from means-testing by paying a larger bond, as they can under the current laws.

Instead, any money remaining from the sales of the house will be assessed. This could have an impact when working out their aged-care contribution, daily fees and age pension entitlement.

How to help your parents

None of us looks forward to the day when our parents are no longer able to take care of themselves. But the time may come sooner than you think. That’s why it makes sense to talk to your parents now and find out what they want to do if they need more care in the future.

It’s also a good idea to find out more about what options they have. A good place to start is at The Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT, known as ACAS in Victoria) can also explain what help is available to your parents, and what they need to do to access it.

You should also make sure they understand about the aged care law reforms and what it could mean for them. In some cases, your parents may decide it’s better for them act now before the laws change.

But if they don’t, it’s essential that they know how it could affect their retirement savings and their entitlement to the age pension. And as everyone’s situation is different, from the level of assets they have to the retirement home they choose — it’s important to seek professional financial advice.

This article is proudly brought to you by Colonial First State. Wherever you stand on investments and super, Colonial First State has options for you. To find out how Colonial First State can help you visit, read this article or via the icons below.


How to get debt free

If you’re like a lot of people, the goal for the coming years is to be debt-free, or at least, on top of debt. I’m with you, if there’s one thing in life that hangs over me, it’s debt.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a mortgage or a couple of thousand in consumer debt, if it’s causing you to lose sleep, now is the time to start conquering it. A fresh start, a fresh approach. Onwards and upwards to a debt-free existence.

Here are some tips to get you on the way.

Know What You Owe

Want a good credit report? What better way than to pay off your debts more quickly than minimum, eliminate high interest credit cards and pay your bills on-time or early?

Sit down and start working out dates. This is the first step. When are your bills due? Write it down in your diary and put a coloured Post-It next to it so you don’t forget.

When are your repayments due, and what’s the minimum you can pay? Write down how much you owe in total, and keep a progress report.

Get Organised

Pay your bills on the same day every month. That way, you’ll never be incurring late fees or being threatened with any utility being turned off. Pay your bills with cash, not credit.

The last thing you need to be doing is paying off debt on one hand, and increasing it on the other. Then organise to pay off your debt on the same day of every month (or with a credit card, paying off a little every week). The routine makes it easier, and makes it unlikely you’ll forget and get yourself a nasty late fee.

Know What You Can Change

How can you start to pay back your debt faster? Is there an expense you can eliminate, or some extra income you can channel towards repayments? Start thinking about how you can get rid of chunks of your debt. Maybe start with eliminating credit card debt, or paying off your higher interest cards. Choose one debt you are going to aggressively attack. Once you’ve gotten control of that debt, move onto the next one.

The Bare Minimum

Paying the minimum on your credit card isn’t going to cut it. If you want to get on top of your debt, you need to be repaying over the minimum repayments. It doesn’t have to be an astronomical amount, just enough to get a handle on your debt within a sensible timeframe.

Once you start getting somewhere, you’ll start feeling in control and finding it easier to control your debt.


You need a budget if you are going to get on top of the beast. Work out expenses, and some savings. There will always be a couple of variables, so ensure that you’ve left some space for them. Then budget everything else into your debt repayments.

Rewrite your budget once a month to make sure it’s completely realistic and has taken account of all the changes in your income or expenditure. This is your decade. Make it a debt-free one, or at least, a decade that’ll make the decades after that much more pleasant.


Medicare levy increase to fund disability plan

The average worker will pay an extra $1 a day in Medicare levies to support the federal government's national disability care scheme.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday announced details of the levy increase, which starts on July 1, 2014, saying the money raised will go into a special national fund.

'The choice that I and my colleagues have made is that DisabilityCare Australia should be supported by a 0.5 per cent increase in the Medicare levy,' she told reporters in Melbourne.

This would take the total annual Medicare levy on wage earners to two per cent.

Under the change, an average worker on $70,000 a year would pay the equivalent of $1 a day, Ms Gillard said.

The government then intends to use some of the money going into the special fund to make grants to the states and territories under 10 year arrangements.

A quarter of the total would be given to those governments to help them build up to running the full disability care scheme across the nation.

 After 10 years, there'll be a review of the funding share between federal, state and territory governments.

Ms Gillard says she'll take the levy increase plan to the next election due on September 14, after last year ruling out such a change.

She says the amount of tax money coming to the government isn't what they expected, adding that it's also clear the states need extra help to afford their share of the scheme.

The prime minister's acknowledged it's not an easy choice to make for Australian taxpayers, but it is the right one for people with disabilities and their families.

Ms Gillard stressed the money raised from the Medicare levy increase would not cover the complete cost of the disability care scheme when it was fully operational.

'The government will need to make savings for that full cost and there will be no free ride for states and territories - they'll need to step up too,' she said.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said money would accumulate in the fund during the early years from mid-2014, ready to 'kick-start' the scheme when it came into full operation in 2018/19.

The accumulated money would total about $20 billion.

The scheme will cost $8 billion a year, while the levy measure will raise about $3 billion.

Disability reform minister Jenny Macklin also tried to allay the fears of families worried about reports the government was planning changes to the disability support pension in the May budget.

'There will not be further changes to the disability support pension in the coming budget,' she said.

She noted changes to the pension in recent years had led to a drop in the number of new pension recipients.

'Major changes have been delivered but I do want to reassure those people who need the disability support pension ... that this very important part of the social security safety net will remain.'

Mr Swan said he expected some 'political pain' to come from the plan to raise the Medicare levy.

'There's a greater public good here,' Mr Swan said.

Ms Gillard said it was the right decision for Australia's future.

'I know I'm asking Australians in their millions to step up and pay an increase in the Medicare levy,' she said.

'Australians will be able to ask of themselves that question when they vote in September - whether or not they think it's worthwhile, just like Medicare is, when we all contribute and we all benefit to have DisabilityCare.'

'We are prepared to fight for this,' she said.

Legislation to support the levy rise would likely be considered by the next parliament.

'Obviously, we will see what the responses are in the parliament as to what people's dispositions are on the legislation but I anticipate the legislation will need to be dealt with in the next parliament,' Ms Gillard said.

The plan is expected to fund about 60 per cent of the commonwealth's additional expenditure for the scheme, Mr Swan says.

It will raise $3.2 billion for NSW, $2.3 billion for Victoria, $1.9 billion for Queensland, $976 million for WA, $727 million for South Australia, $216 million for Tasmania, $192 million for the ACT and $92 million for the Northern Territory.

'It's the same proposition that Labor fought for election after election ... on Medicare, which is that we all contribute and we all share,' Ms Gillard said.

Ms Gillard said federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott also needed to step up.

'Mr Abbott needs to shoulder that burden too and if he's got a different way of doing this, spell out every dollar and every cent,' she said.


The 2013 Forbes Billionaire List

Good news. Even though there are more people on the Forbes Billionaire's List than ever before (1426 in 2013), with more accumulated wealth ($5.4 trillion), there is still room for you. The Forbes Billionaire List is no closed shop. Far from it. All you need is a modest one billion dollars to your name, and you're welcomed with open arms.

Of course, when you scan the names at the very top of the list, one billion dollars does indeed seem modest. But don't be discouraged. Every billionaire has to start somewhere.

Let's start at the top. number one on this year's list is, yet again, Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican telecommunications king, with a net worth of US$73 billion. The durable Bill Gates is at number two with US$67 billion, with the top three being rounded out by Amancio Ortega, the reclusive Spaniard behind clothing chain Zara, who has a net worth of US$57 billion.

For the first time since 2000, investment guru Warren Buffett is not in the top three, even though his fortune increased by nearly US$10 billion.

In recent years, there has been speculation that Australian mining magnate Gina Reinhart would one day find herself on top of the Forbes Billionaires List, but she is at number 36 with a relatively modest US$17 billion. At least 'Our Gina' can console herself in her Perth mansion with the knowledge that she is just one of 138 women on the list, and the fact that she is Australia's wealthiest person, almost by the length of the railway line that traverses the Nullabor.

Commodities boss, Ivan Glasenberg, is a long way behind with US$6.7 billion, which earns him a position of number 175 on the list.

Other high profile Australians on the list include James Packer (US$6 billion, number 198), Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest (US$5.7 billion, number 211) and Frank Lowy (US$5.3 billion, number 229). The lowest ranked Australian on the list is John Van Lieshout, who has done alright out of real estate – (US$1 billion, number 1342)

The Forbes Billionaires List is still a place for the more mature moneybags. Only 29 of the list's 1426 inhabitants are under the age of 40, with 28 year-old Mark Zuckerberg having plenty to Facebrag about with a net worth of US$13.3 billion.

Other 'youngsters' of note include 37 year-old Nicholas Woodman, the man behind the GoPro camera phenomenon. His net worth is $US1.3 billion while Google co-founder Larry Page is worth $US23 billion – not bad for a man who is still one year away from hitting the big Four-O.

If reading about the world's 1426 billionaires leaves you feeling more envious than inspired, you might want to indulge in a touch of schadenfreude.

Let's spare a thought for Eike Batista. The Brazilian business magnate is the list's biggest loser in 2013, losing US$19.4 billion in the last year and going from number 7 to number 100. He now has to struggle along on a net worth of US$10.6 billion. And you thought you were doing it tough.


Ward hated making Sabbath choice

Bill Ward has admitted his decision not to take part in Black Sabbath’s reunion was one of the most difficult he’s ever had to make.

He’s refuted the suggestion that he wouldn’t have been physically able to deliver the goods – and he remains open to the idea of returning, although he’s determined not to fall victim to “nicety and placations.”

Sabbath hired Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk for 13, their first album with singer Ozzy Osbourne since 1978. It followed Ward’s announcement in 2012 that he wouldn’t take part because he hadn’t been offered a “signable” contract.

The drummer tells Guitar International: “It was one of the toughest decisions that I ever had to make, Because I absolutely and without question wanted to play. I hated the fact that I’m not on the tour and I couldn’t play Birmingham. That was absolutely punishing to go through.

Tony was sick and I wanted to be with Tony. It was a very hardcore decision to make.”

Despite making that call, he regards himself as a member of the band. “I’m the drummer in Black Sabbath,” he emphasises. “I didn’t walk out; it wasn’t like that at all – I just didn’t sign the contact and life took its own course.”

Asked why he didn’t take the band up on their offer of appearing for parts of shows amid the suggestion he couldn’t deliver an entire set, Ward says: “I want to do the entire show. I play all or nothing. Playing partially would kind of be aligning to my demise in Sabbath and minimise me.

“I would never, ever show up for a commitment that I could not do physically.”

He says he’ll pay attention if he’s invited back, but adds: “All the nicety and placations in the world will mean nothing unless I get the right contract.”

He reflects: “You have to stay true to your heart and make a stand, and sometimes you have to make a very painful stand.” Asked what he’d like to be remembered for he replies: “That I really tried hard to have integrity.”

Sabbath will tour the UK without Ward in December:

Dec 10: 02 Arena, London, UK
Dec 12: Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Ireland
Dec 14: Arena, Sheffield, UK
Dec 16: Hydro, Glasgow, UK
Dec 18: Arena, Manchester, UK
Dec 20: LG Arena, Birmingham, UK