DEEP PURPLE'S 21st studio album "Whoosh!", produced by Bob Ezrin, is out NOW
THE NEW ALBUM BY ROCK LEGENDS DEEP PURPLE
~August 7, 2020~
New York, NY (March 17, 2020)- Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame icons Deep Purple will release their 21st studio album Whoosh!, produced by the legendary Bob Ezrin, on August 7 -- available as a Standard CD, a Digital Album, a Limited Edition CD+DVD Mediabook (including the 1 hour feature “Roger Glover and Bob Ezrin in conversation” and, for the first time, the full live performance at Hellfest 2017” video), and a Vinyl 2LP+DVD edition (earMUSIC).
Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Steve Morse, and Don Airey were invited by Bob Ezrin to Nashville to write and record, during which the band were inspired to push their creative boundaries. Letting go of any artistic limitations, they adopted the motto “Deep Purple is putting the Deep back in Purple”. Whoosh! embodies that freedom, with lyrics that reflect their sentiments on the current situation of the world. “We’ve included everything that made the whole band smile, including Bob Ezrin,” exclaims Morse. “We’ve always enjoyed making music and having the incredible luxury of a loyal audience.”
Whoosh! marks Deep Purple’s third album produced by Ezrin (Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd). The first -- 2013’s Now What?! -- charted at #1 in five European countries, as well as Top 10 in over 15 countries worldwide. Cementing itself as one of their most successful albums, inFinite, released in 2017, broke chart records the band accumulated over their 50+year history. With chemistry this electric, it only made sense for Deep Purple and Ezrin to collaborate a third time.
“Another album?! Whoosh?!! Gordon Bennett!!!”
One of the most important rock bands of all time, Deep Purple has built a legacy that is nothing short of immeasurable. The band continues to evolve and elevate the possibilities within hard rock, which is fully displayed on Whoosh!
“When the Deep Purple falls
Over sleepy garden walls
And the stars begin to twinkle
In the night…”
1.)Throw My Bones
2.) Drop The Weapon
3.) We’re All The Same In The Dark
4.) Nothing At All
5.) No Need To Shout
6.) Step By Step
7.) What The What
8.) The Long Way Around
9.) The Power Of The Moon
10.) Remission Possible
11.) Man Alive
12.) And The Address
13.) Dancing In My Sleep
Vinyl Side Split:
Side A: Throw My Bones / Drop The Weapon / We’re All The Same In The Dark / Nothing At All
Side B: No Need To Shout / Step By Step / What The What
Side C: The Long Way Round / The Power Of The Moon / Remission Possible / Man Alive
Side D: And The Address / Dancing In My Sleep
NEW music video for DEEP PURPLE'S "Throw My Bones" - WATCH HERE!
ABC News Radio Highlights RICKY BYRD'S New Track "Together"
March 25, 2020
Ex-Joan Jett & the Blackhearts guitarist Ricky Byrd debuts new song, Together," from forthcoming solo album
Credit: Jeff Smith
Former Joan Jett & the Blackhearts guitarist Ricky Byrd recently finished recording a new solo album -- the follow-up to 2017's Clean Getaway -- although the veteran rocker says he won't be ready to release it for a while.
To tide fans over, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer has debuted one of the new tracks, "Together," on his official SoundCloud page.
In a Facebook message, Byrd says the song features "a message of solidarity in these uncertain times," while noting that "the message is dressed up in a big a** R'n'R Glam tune."
The other musicians featured on "Together" are ex-Blackhearts drummer Thommy Price, longtime Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes keyboardist Jeff Kazee and veteran bassist Bob Stander.
Regarding when the new album might see the light of day, Byrd says, "[T]here is much to be done before an official release, and in my opinion this is not the time to go there. I want to do it right so hurry up and wait is where we are."
Having said that, Ricky is offering fans who pre-order the CD at his online store a streaming copy of all the tracks he's recorded for the project, "in no particular order."
As he explains, "Chances are they won't all wind up in the final cut, so you're basically getting bonus tracks to hold you until I can get the CD out."
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Thank you so much to TheBoot.com for premiering this performance of "Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down" from "WAYLON JENNINGS: The Outlaw Performance." The full concert will be out on DVD and Digital Formats this Friday!
May 13, 2020
A new concert film gives Waylon Jennings fans a chance to see the outlaw country icon's sold-out performance at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville in 1978. Waylon Jennings: The Outlaw Performance is due out Friday (May 15).
Jennings' 16-song set at the Opry House includes now-classics such as "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way," "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Go Up to Be Cowboys," "Amanda" and others. Fans can get a sneak peek at Jennings' performance of "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down" exclusively on The Boot; press play above to watch.
Via The Outlaw Performance, fans can watch Jennings' 1978 show in its entirety or with excerpts of interviews with Jennings, in which he offers context for and stories about his songs. Viewers will also be able to see interviews, recorded in 1990, with George Jones, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Richie Albright, Jennings' longtime drummer, in the "Friends Remember the Outlaw" bonus segment.
Waylon Jennings: The Outlaw Performance is available for pre-order now. It will be available on DVD and digitally.
Waylon Jennings, The Outlaw Performance Setlist
"Are You Ready for the Country?"
"Lonesome, On’ry and Mean"
"A Long Time Ago"
"Jack a Diamonds"
"Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down"
"You Asked Me To"
"I’ve Always Been Crazy"
"Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bit’s Done Got Out of Hand"
"Good Hearted Woman"
"Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys"
"Honky Tonk Heroes"
"Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way"
American Songwriter's review of WAYLON JENNINGS: The Outlaw Performance
May 14, 2020
New Waylon Jennings Offering a Posthumous Return for the Tattered Troubadour
Waylon Jennings | The Outlaw Performance (PRE-ORDER
HERE) | Eagle Vision
4 out of 5 stars
The outlaw ethic, at least as far as country music is concerned, originated with a select group of artists who defied Nashville’s traditional template and chose to rebel in the same determination that drove those who turned rock into rebellion. Waylon Jennings was at the forefront of the insurrection, and his album, Wanted! The Outlaws, a collection of individual offerings by Waylon, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser helped kickstart the movement in 1976. The timing was appropriate; America was celebrating the bicentennial of its own revolt from Great Britain and the punk movement was just beginning to take hold in the U.K. Still, it was a bold move considering the conservative stance traditionally taken by the country establishment and the rightward tilt of its most devoted followers.
Happily, Jennings remained a rebel, and despite encounters with the authorities, mostly due to drug possession, he stayed committed to the cause until his passing in 2002. Yours truly once had the opportunity to visit him on his bus — I was working for Capitol Records, which represented his wife, the aforementioned Ms. Colter, at the time, giving us reason for the rendezvous — and it was apparent he was nervous and paranoid in the wake of a recent bust.
That uncertainty is nowhere to be seen on The Outlaw Performance, a 16 song set taken from a 1978 private performance in Nashville at the height of his prowess. Not surprisingly, it comprises a good percentage of his signature songs — “Are You Ready for the Country?,” Lonesome On’ry and Mean,” Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” Luckenbach Texas,” Good Hearted Woman,” and “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” — each relayed with energy, enthusiasm and a crack band that keeps the arrangements solidly in sync with the recorded versions. Two versions of the concert are included here — one of which is focused solely on the songs and the other with Waylon’s own commentary synched over each offering. The latter comes across like a documentary of sorts, with the singer reminiscing about his origins, meeting his wife, the stories behind the songs, breaking through the barriers established by the music industry, and the time spent in the company of Buddy Holly, who gave Jennings his first steady gig as a member of his backing band. Fortunately, his narrative doesn’t detract from the music, but for those who prefer to watch it sans the voice-over, it’s available as a straight performance as well. Either way, there’s little in terms of flash or frenzy, save the flashing lights of his familiar winged Waylon logo.
Bowing to his lingering legacy, The Outlaw Performance also includes a bonus feature in the form of filmed reflections and recollections revolving around Waylon from friends and associates such as George Jones, Johnny Cash and a very youthful-looking Willie Nelson. In essence, no more embellishment is needed. Waylon’s gruff determination speaks for itself.
THANK YOU to Saving Country Music for this fantastic review of "WAYLON JENNINGS: The Outlaw Performance"
June 4, 2020
Waylon Jennings “Outlaw Performance” Now Available Digitally
The legendary performance of Waylon Jennings at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville on August 12th, 1978 was finally reissued to the public on May 15th in DVD form. Now it has also finally been made available On Demand on Amazon via Eagle Rock Entertainment.
Featuring one the most legendary lineups of Waylon’s backing band including Ralph Mooney on steel guitar, Richie Albright on drums, and a big flashing Waylon Flying “W” as a backdrop, it’s arguably one of the best performances Waylon ever gave, with multiple cameras and high-quality audio equipment there to record it all. Comprised of 16 songs, including many of Waylon’s signature hits, it captures the country music Outlaw at the height of his powers.
The release includes the entire hour-long concert as opposed to some previous releases that only included excerpts of certain moments. Snippets from the concert have lived on YouTube and such, and it was released previously in 1994 on VHS, with copies going for $80.00+ on the resale market.
Many enterprising Waylon fans have also turned the concert into an audio bootleg over the years, which for what it’s worth, is probably the best live record from Waylon you can find. A version of the concert was released on CD in Europe in 2015, and was taken from the WSM live broadcast that accompanied the performance.
The DVD version also includes a “Friends Remember The Outlaw” segment featuring 1990 interviews with George Jones, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and drummer Richie Albright, all taking about the importance and legacy of Waylon. In the segment, George Jones talks about how Waylon once paid off some of his outstanding debts when he was at a low point, and Johnny Cash talked about the time in 1985 when he called Waylon up in a panic needing a guitar player in Toronto when his left on an emergency. Instead of procuring one for Cash, Waylon decided to travel to Toronto and fill in on guitar himself.
– – – – – – – – – –
Purchase “The Outlaw Performance” on DVD
Rent or Purchase “The Outlaw Performance” Digitally
– – – – – – – – – – –
1. Are You Ready For The Country?
2. Lonesome, On’ry and Mean
3. Waymore’s Blues
5. A Long Time Ago
6. Jack A Diamonds
7. Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down
8. This Time
9. You Asked Me To
10. I’ve Always Been Crazy
11. Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bit’s Done Got Out Of Hand
12. Good Hearted Woman
13. Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys
14. Luckenbach, Texas
15. Honky Tonk Heroes
16. Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way
Thank you, CNN, for supporting this amazing film we are so proud to be involved with -- "ELLA FITZGERALD: Just One Of Those Things"
THANK YOU, Hollywood Reporter for this amazing review of "ELLA FITZGERALD: Just One Of Those Things"!
June 24, 2020
'Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things': Film Review
William Gottlieb/Redferns/Getty Images
'Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things'
Leslie Woodhead's doc traces the life and half-century career of the jazz luminary.
When a nervous 17-year-old Ella Fitzgerald won Amateur Night at the Apollo in 1934, the legendary Harlem theater's talent contest was new, and the orphaned teen hadn't planned to sing. She was going to dance, as she had been doing on street corners in the neighborhood. But the Edwards Sisters, hoofers par excellence, preceded her in the lineup, and their showstopping act was one that she didn't dare follow. So she sang.
With that spur-of-the-moment decision, the girl who would become one of the all-time greats set her life on its singular trajectory, unleashing a voice of staggering range, power, suppleness and unparalleled improvisatory genius. In one of the many excellent new interviews in Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things, dancer Norma Miller recalls being a rowdy teen in the balcony of that historic Apollo show, and joining in the jeers and boos when the scraggly girl in dirty clothes took the stage. Then Fitzgerald's voice filled the room. "She shut us up so quick," Miller says, "you could hear a rat piss on cotton."
Gathering new interviews and a fine selection of archival material, British documentarian Leslie Woodhead tells Fitzgerald's story with a sure feel for the joyous swing and sultry depths of that voice, and a sensitive eye on the complexities of life as a self-made Black woman in 20th century America. The doc's virtual cinema release includes a June 28 conversation and Q&A led by producer Reggie Nadelson, who conducted the film's interviews.
Among those he spoke with are singers representing several generations, from relative youngsters Laura Mvula and Jamie Cullum to showbiz veterans including Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Cleo Laine and an especially memorable Patti Austin. Fitzgerald's son, Ray Brown Jr., himself a musician, offers incisive commentary, but his feelings for his mother perhaps come through most powerfully when he croons a few lines of his favorite Ella recording, the Gershwins' "How Long Has This Been Going On?"
With evocative footage of the streets and stage venues of New York, Woodhead follows the story through the Harlem Renaissance, the Swing era, the Depression, World War II and the postwar years. Jazz impresario George Wein (now 94) recalls some of Fitzgerald's career moves and management issues, conductor Itzhak Perlman extols the magic of her phrasing, and writers Will Friedwald, Margo Jefferson and Judith Tick lend historical context to the biography.
As a child Fitzgerald was part of the Great Migration, the wave of Black Americans leaving the South for industrialized northern cities. In her case the move, with her mother and stepfather, was from Newport News, Virginia, to Yonkers, New York. After her mother's death when Fitzgerald was 13, it's suspected that she endured abuse at home, and it's documented that she was mistreated in a state-run reformatory, from which she escaped. Stepping onto the Apollo stage was one of a series of acts of self-liberation.
Her Apollo triumph notwithstanding, Fitzgerald's story is defined not so much by serendipity as it is by hard work and perseverance to match her prodigious talent. Drummer Chick Webb, a popular Harlem bandleader, was resistant at first but became a mentor and made her the featured singer for his big band, and in the process a nationally known star. She recorded her first hit single at 19, and took over as bandleader after Webb's untimely death. (Photographs of the mourners who filled the streets for the funeral in his native Baltimore attest to his popularity and suggest a life story that should be more widely known.)
Though she would eventually be known as the First Lady of Song, Fitzgerald also had to withstand being called "the plump chanteuse." That she didn't fit the glamour mold might have haunted her in appearance-obsessed showbiz, but what comes across in candid behind-the-scenes footage of her with Duke Ellington and Count Basie — not to mention a home movie of the elderly Fitzgerald at a kids' backyard birthday party — is a spirited humility, geniality and ease. Mvula describes how thrilling it was for her to discover a monumental singer who looked like she could have been her grandmother: "a Black woman that was really Black."
"Everything was race," Miller says of the jazz heyday. "You couldn't go outside your zone." Black people could work at the Cotton Club, onstage and off, but not go there as customers. Even years later, in Los Angeles, the color barrier persisted even for performers at the city's hotspots, and it took the threats and clout of Fitzgerald superfan Marilyn Monroe to secure the singer a crucial booking at the Mocambo.
Woodhead excerpts an extraordinary 1963 radio interview in which an atypically unguarded Fitzgerald speaks about the exhausting reality of racial inequality. It was never broadcast. The First Lady of Song's Beverly Hills home had to be purchased in the name of her white manager, Norman Granz. The man who founded the Verve label for Fitzgerald and took her career to a new level, Granz could also be controlling; a backstage scene in which he leans in for a kiss from his client carries a heavy undertow.
The film acknowledges, through Fitzgerald's own words as well as in a wrenching rendition of "A House Is Not a Home," a sense of romantic disappointment in the long years after her brief marriage to bebop bass player Ray Brown. They kept working together after their divorce, a testament to the primacy of the work for Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald's fans will probably be this film's chief audience. (I'm one of them, lucky enough to have seen her in concert, at Carnegie Hall, and to feel her joyful sound firsthand.) Ideally it will open new eyes and ears to the work of an immortal artist, an incomparable interpreter of the Great American Songbook and a scat singer nonpareil.
The latter talent reached an apex with her 1960 scat version of "How High the Moon" during a Berlin show. Within five minutes she quoted the melodies of more than 40 songs in a wide range of genres, many of their titles reeled off here by a well-versed and still astounded Friedwald. Speaking of the transcendent way his mother turned her sublime voice into an instrumental soloist, Brown Jr. likens the feat to "skipping through puddles that could be six feet deep, and never sinking." Just One of Those Things suggests that this was her approach not just to wordless musical improvisation but to life itself.
Available in virtual and in-house cinemas
Production company: Eagle Rock Films
Distributor: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Narrator: Sharon D. Clarke
Director: Leslie Woodhead
Producer: Reggie Nadelson
Executive producers: Terry Shand, Geoff Kempin, Jonathan Clyde
Cinematography: Roger Chapman, Andrew Muggleton, Tim Sutton, Peter Nelson, Allan Palmer, David Waterston
Editor: Ian Meller
RICKY BYRD, and BOBBY WHITLOCK & COCO CARMEL, are proud to be a part of this Benefit "Concert" for Feeding America, which was LIVE ON FRIDAY, JULY 3. Login into WWW.ROCKFORRELIEF.NET and donate, or get more info!
DONATE AND VIEW HERE
Excellent WAYLON JENNINGS review from the Austin Chronicle!
July 3, 2020
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
Our favorite albums, videos, and performances
The Outlaw Performance (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
"Don't ask me about the years I spent out in the rain/ About the ones I spent in love or the ones I spent insane/ Don't ask me who I gave my seat to on that plane." On that last line – remember Waylon Jennings famously ceded a spot on the flight that killed his pal Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens – the camera's dead on the country music immortal's face as he looks into the sold-out Nashville auditorium. The flicker in his eyes is obvious enough, but the expression remains unreadable. Palpable emotion, casual music history, and larger-than-life songs relegate The Outlaw Performance to a 52-minute exercise in holding one's breath.
Scrubbed and sober for a presumed TV taping in 1978, the stentorian Texan plays it straight throughout, despite his titular repute still circling its peak. Hair styled under a trademark Lash Stetson, beard trimmed, starched white long sleeve shirt under his leather vest, clear-eyed and unsmiling, Jennings and seven or eight others open with Neil Young's Harvest yield "Are You Ready for the Country?" That'll curl your toes, but "Lonesome, On'ry & Mean" next makes the hair on your neck stand tall as the Littlefield native sings, "I'm going to Shreveport and down to New Orleans" with a throaty growl he modulates innately at the mic, rearing back for the more guttural phrases and leaning in for the low notes.
To witness that voice emanating from any man cannot be underestimated.
Waylon also takes plenty of leads and solos on his iconically embroidered Fender Telecaster. Finally cracking a smile on "You Asked Me To," he then breaks a sweat on "I've Always Been Crazy." Actually, the whole backend of this DVD elicits grins from the big man: "Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out of Hand," "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys." Meanwhile, "Luckenbach, Texas" drips with misty poignancy, silver-lined by pedal steelist Ralph Mooney and Billy Joe Shaver's "Honky Tonk Heroes" kicks and whips with head-back throatiness. That only leaves room for closer "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way," on which Waylon saves his best solo for last – lonesome, on'ry, mean. –
"Ella Fitzgerald made a powerful statement on racism in 1963 – but no one heard it"...USA TODAY delves more into this story with their review of "ELLA FITZGERALD: JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS" - read here.
June 26, 2020
Ella Fitzgerald made a powerful statement on racism in 1963 – but no one heard it
In 1963, at the height of the civil rights movement, Ella Fitzgerald sat down for an interview with her friend Fred Robbins, a popular New York radio host.
Fitzgerald, a legendary Black jazz singer, was coming off a series of international concert tours and the success of her 1960 live album "Ella in Berlin: Mack the Knife," which went on to sell more than 1 million copies and win two Grammy Awards, including best female vocal performance.
After being embraced by overseas audiences, Fitzgerald returned home to the U.S. and was reminded of the prevalent racism she and other Black musicians encountered in the South. In 1955, for instance, she was arrested in her dressing room at an integrated show in Houston. When she arrived at the police station, an officer asked for her autograph, Fitzgerald recalls.
She candidly voiced her frustrations to Robbins in an interview that he promised would air "all over the world."
For reasons unknown, the interview was never broadcast. But snippets of their conversation can be heard for the first time in the new documentary "Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things" (available to rent in virtual cinemas).
Fitzgerald begins by telling Robbins that she can't play shows in Southern states, which would be legally desegregated in 1964 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.
"Maybe I'm stepping out (of line), but I have to say it, because it's in my heart," Fitzgerald says. "It makes you feel so bad to think we can't go down through certain parts of the South and give a concert like we do overseas, and have everybody just come to hear the music and enjoy the music because of the prejudice thing that's going on.
"I used to always clam up because you (hear people) say, 'Oh, gee, show people should stay out of politics.' But we have traveled so much and been embarrassed so much. (Fans) can't understand why you don't play in Alabama, or (ask), 'Why can't you have a concert? Music is music.' "
She concludes that while it's difficult to change the hearts and minds of "die-hard" racists, she has hope that future generations will be more tolerant.
"The die-hards, they're just going to die hard. They're not going to give in," Fitzgerald says. "You've got to try and convince the younger ones, they're the ones who've got to make the future and those are the ones we've got to worry about. Not those die-hards."
t was a rare political statement from Fitzgerald, who asks whether the interview will be broadcast in the South.
"I really ran my mouth," Fitzgerald says. "Is it going down South? You think they're going to break my records up when they hear it? This is unusual for me but I'm so happy that you had me, because instead of singing for a change, I got a chance to get a few things off my chest. I'm just a human being."
"Just One of Those Things" is a comprehensive look at Fitzgerald's life and career, from being discovered as a homeless teen in New York at 16, to her death from a stroke in 1996 at 79.
The documentary features interviews with some of her close friends and famous fans, including Tony Bennett, Smokey Robinson and Patti Austin, who recalls how Marilyn Monroe helped Fitzgerald book shows at white-owned venues in the 1950s.
"Marilyn Monroe loved Ella Fitzgerald, and said, 'Whatever you need and however I can help you, I am going to do that,'" Austin says. "And she went to the owner of a club and said, 'If you don't open these doors to everybody, I'll make sure nobody shows up.' And she showed up every night, and half the reason everybody showed up was because Marilyn was sitting in the front row going, 'Yo, Ella!'"
"I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt," Fitzgerald later said. "After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again."
Joe Elliott Talks Favorite Live Albums, 30 Plus Years Of Hysteria And DEF LEPPARDS’s New London To Vegas Live Set with FORBES! Read here.
June 23, 2020
Joe Elliott On Favorite Live Albums, 30 Plus Years Of Hysteria And Def Leppard’s New London To Vegas Live Set
To a certain generation of rock and roll fans, live albums are sacred ground, conjuring up images of both time and place in an era when the internet didn’t place that info a quick click away.
For artists like Cheap Trick, KISS and Peter Frampton, live cuts double as the most radio friendly and recognizable renditions of some of their biggest hits.
Growing up as a rock fan, Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott is well-versed in the lore that often surrounds the famous albums that chronicle the live concert experience.
“The first live album I ever owned was Mott the Hoople Live ‘74. And then it was Frampton Comes Alive,” said Elliott over the phone on a rainy June day in Dublin. “As a kid, I think everybody at my age, my generation, the first live album that really blew out our universe was Frampton Comes Alive. I wasn’t aware it impacted America until a long time after. But to actually become a big record in the U.K. was a monster surprise. ‘Show Me the Way’ was a big hit single in the U.K. These kinds of things just didn’t happen in England. A live song going into the charts was just unheard of. But for some reason it just worked,” said the singer.
“There seemed to be this plethora of fantastic double albums. In no particular order, we’d be looking at Live and Dangerous by Thin Lizzy - absolutely one of the best ever. Strangers in the Night by UFO. And, just because it’s a great record, Cheap Trick at Budokan,” Elliott explained. “But, yeah - I’m a huge fan. My current favorite live recording is The Who. Quadrophenia Live in London in 2013 recorded at Wembley Arena. It is so good. It’s so brilliantly produced. Great performances by the band. But the sound of it is just beyond reproach. It’s just stunning. Absolutely stunning. And it’s The Who - so, you know, what’s not to like?”
Def Leppard’s fourth live album, the new collection London to Vegas (Eagle Rock Entertainment), is now available in a variety of digital, blu-ray, DVD, CD, vinyl and t-shirt bundles.
The new live set features two concert performances. The first, recorded in December of 2018, showcases Def Leppard live on stage at the O2 Arena in London, a full performance of the group’s seminal 1987 album Hysteria.
Whether it’s Cheap Trick at Budokan or The Who Live at Leeds, the right venue can have a profound impact on a live album. London to Vegas captures Def Leppard’s first ever performance at the O2.
“We’d always played Wembley Arena. But it was amazing. I’ve seen a bunch of bands there. I saw Mott the Hoople there. Queen. I think I saw AC/DC there as well,” said Elliott of O2 Arena. “It’s home country - home town for [guitarist] Phil [Collen]. Birth town at least. But it is a big deal, London. Whenever we did the British tour, no matter how successful it was, we always got to London and felt this enormous pressure to not screw up. But over the years we just kind of let it go. And we went out and did that gig like a rehearsal. I don’t mean we didn’t try - but there were absolutely no butterflies, no raging heart palpitations or nerves. We just went out there totally confident that we have this.”
Def Leppard's new London to Vegas live set chronicles the group's full performance of the Hysteria album at O2 Arena in London as well as the "Hits Vegas" residency at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas
PHOTO COURTESY OF EAGLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT
Following 1983’s Pyromania, Hysteria marked Def Leppard’s second diamond release, signifying American sales of over ten million copies, putting the group alongside The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Van Halen as one of the only five rock groups in history to achieve diamond status on more than one original studio album.
Worldwide, Hysteria has sold in excess of 25 million copies, crossing over into the pop zeitgeist.
The album carried forth the hugely successful partnership with producer Mutt Lange that began with 1981’s High ‘n’ Dry and continued with Pyromania, marking Def Leppard’s most commercially successful period.
The group spent nearly three years in the studio, intricately crafting a dozen songs while exploring new electronic sounds on the group’s first music since the infamous 1984 auto accident which led to the amputation of drummer Rick Allen’s left arm.
Pyromania was kept from the #1 spot by the breakout success of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and its seven singles, giving Lange a mission heading into the Hysteria sessions.
“Mutt Lange was such a ringleader. He was like, ‘This is going to be huge!’ The whole thing about Hysteria was when we sat down to piece it together and write it, we hadn’t seen Mutt for the whole of 1983. Because we made Pyromania with him, finished it in January, went on tour and we were on tour until February of 1984. And that’s the next time we saw Mutt,” said Elliott. “So there was a lot of catching up over coffee. And he’s like, ‘Well, why can’t we have seven hit singles?’ And we just looked at him like a three-headed monster. ‘What’s wrong with you?’ And half an hour later, he’s convinced you that you can absolutely do it,” said the singer.
“So we sat down to write songs that were going to be at least given the opportunity to be hits. Because they were those kind of songs. We weren’t going to be writing twelve ‘Kashmirs,’” said Elliott, noting the artistic bombast of the Led Zeppelin hit. “We were going to be writing twelve songs that were rock songs that infiltrated the pop chart. And then mixed in was a lot of the stuff that influenced us: Slade, Sweet, Roy Wood’s Wizzard, ELO, David Bowie, Marc Bolan - anything that was like guitar rock. Suzi Quatro. That kind of stuff that really was three minutes long with big guitars and huge choruses. Not necessarily metal but certainly hard and heavy rock - but pop rock. We set out to write those kind of songs.”
Def Leppard grew alongside the then fledgling idea of music television. MTV launched in August of 1981 and the group’s “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak,” a video which featured the band performing live, became one of the first hard rock videos to be aired in heavy rotation on the new cable television channel just three months later.
Music videos helped fuel the stratospheric rise of Hysteria as well, an album which fulfilled Lange’s goal of charting seven hit singles.
Clips showcasing Def Leppard’s famed concert performances in the round supported tracks like “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Armageddon It,” further driving the album’s success and cementing the group’s reputation as a great live act.
“The live thing was something we grew up watching and were aware of. Me and my mates, we bought records every weekend. Midweek as well if we could. But the major thing was when a band came to town,” said Elliott. “You had to have a ticket to the show. And when we became a band, we were just pre-tuned to know that we were going to be one of those bands that toured. So it was incredibly important to hone our performance skills. Because that’s what made a great band,” said Elliott.
“With hindsight, it was a bit like being in the eye of the hurricane. It was nuts at the venues. Especially because we were playing in the round,” said Elliott, looking back on the Hysteria tour. “We had to go through the crowd to get onto the stage. And we were pushed through in laundry baskets. And that’s when you could tell how weird it was. Not dangerous - but on edge if you like. Because they were frenzied. It was nuts,” he continued. “The show was in the round and we were playing for two hours. You have to be like a professional athlete to do that show. I quit drinking. I stopped and it gave me a lot more energy to do it. I used to have to just rest up after gigs. I wouldn’t be able to sing the next night if I didn’t go straight back to my room and shut up. There was no bar hopping for me. But that didn’t bother me. I wasn’t really into it for that. I wanted us to be the biggest band in the world.”
In addition to the Hysteria set, London to Vegas also chronicles the final two shows of the group’s 2019 residency at the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, performances recorded shortly after Def Leppard’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The “Hits Vegas” residency saw the group dig deep into it’s catalog, unearthing songs not performed in decades.
“What we did do - and a couple of the guys were like, ‘Are you kidding?’ - But I said, ‘We have to play every song the last two nights and get them on the film. To get the ultimate set.’ So every single song that was rehearsed for that residency got played at least once so that we could build this enormously huge set for the DVD,” said Elliott. “We were bringing out songs that we hadn’t played live for so long that I don’t think [guitarist] Vivian [Campbell] had ever played them - and he’s been in the band for 27 years. It was really cool opening with ‘Die Hard the Hunter.’ That was great fun. It was brilliant to be bringing back ‘Billy’s Got a Gun’ and ‘Mirror Mirror’ or ‘Paper Sun.’ And then doing the acoustic set in the middle gave us all a breather. We did songs that we’d never played ever, like ‘We Belong.’ And then ‘Let Me Be the One’ we had never played live either. So we were really wanting to mix it up.”
With a Zappos Theater capacity of just 6,000, London to Vegas captures rare intimate moments for the stadium sized band without losing any of the technological bells and whistles thanks to massive arena ready staging.
“I’m just happy that we were able to capture all of this stuff. To put London and Vegas both out together as a package, it feels like it’s current. Like it’s a current thing. We were just living the dream - that we had been living for 40 years but with all of the experience of 40 years. We walked on stage knowing that it was being filmed, knowing that it was like, ‘Well, don’t mess up.’ But it was fine,” Elliott said. “I will put my hand on the bible in front of my mother’s life: this is 100% live. Not a note replaced. Everything’s real. Obviously, it’s being mixed to enhance everybody. But it is what it is. It’s warts and all. I’ve sung better, I’ve sung worse. But it’s a great representation of what this band sounds like live,” said the singer.
“Our sound guy Ronan [McHugh], he’s just getting better and better at doing them. Each time he mixes one of our records, he just peels off another layer of shine and sheen that makes it just sound so big and polished - but, at the same time, raw when it needs to be. Because we’re not Supertramp. And we’re not Deicide. We’re somewhere in the middle. Which is good. It’s rock and roll. And that’s what we’ve dreamed of doing since the first time we took a breath.”
VARIETY'S "ELLA FITZGERALD: JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS" Film Review
June 26, 2020
‘Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things’: Film Review
Ella Fitzgerald mostly kept her sadnesses to herself, which allows a new documentary to spend a lot of time focused on her music.
Early on in “Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things,” singer Patti Austin tells the story of how Fitzgerald — traveling with a big band in the 1930s and apparently the only one on the bus with no interest in getting high — would sit in the back with her coat over her head to act as her “own personal filtration system.” That’s good for a laugh, and it’s also good for a sense of relief, in being reminded that this will be the rare film about a 20th century jazz giant that doesn’t have to worry about when to start in on the tragic foreshadowing. Living to a ripe old age, in this genre of documentary, is not just one of those things.
It’s suggested in director Leslie Woodhead’s film that Fitzgerald lived a fairly lonely life when she was off the road — but it’s also emphasized that she was rarely ever off the road, and kept whatever sorrows she might have felt largely to herself. That lack of obvious downfall or overt trauma doesn’t make for the greatest sense of narrative momentum in “Just One of Those Things.” But it does mean that Woodhead, either by design or process of elimination, is compelled to shift focus to something that might get less attention in, say, a Billie Holiday documentary: music. There’s a lot of it in the movie, albeit in such short bursts that it’s never as much as you’d like, which could be good for a long tail for her Verve Records catalog after the film hits VOD on June 26.
Woodhead’s movie is at its best in how neatly it delineates the different musical phases of Fitzgerald’s career. First, she was a Harlem-based big band singer who broke into the national spotlight in the ’30s and ’40s while still under the baton of an under-remembered mentor, band leader Chick Webb. Then, she was an enthusiastic and brilliantly gifted participant in the bop movement, heading out with smaller and wilder combos, improvising every bit as much as the sax or trumpet players did, to the point that her name is still nearly synonymous with scat singing. In a third musical act, all that accomplished vocal craziness got smoothed out (but not fatally so) when another benevolent mentor, Norman Granz, talked her into shifting to ballads and covering the Great American Songbook, at a time when its pages were still fresh. Race relations were hardly at a progressive state, as the film reminds, but her collections of songs by Berlin, the Gershwins, Harold Arlen, et al. were practically de rigueur companion pieces for every suburbanite’s first new hi-fi.
It’s hard not to start wishing this film had been made 20 or 30 years ago, when more of Fitzgerald’s contemporaries would have been around to throw first-hand light on her impact. Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis and a handful of other old-timers fleetingly turn up as talking heads, but Woodhead wisely gives more weight than these things usually do to writers who are eloquently able to give verbiage to Fitzgerald’s vocal greatness, notably Margo Jefferson and Will Friedwald. The latter narrates a typical, offhandedly thrilling moment in the singer’s mid-period career when she scat-sang excerpts from 40 songs over the course of five completely spontaneous minutes during a show in Berlin. If you have any doubts that Fitzgerald belongs in the company of Parker and Monk as an improvising jazz great on top of the due she’s given as an Irving Berlin-loving balladeer, this sequence will pretty much settle that.
It’s naturally a bit tougher for the filmmaker to bring Fitzgerald into focus as a personality — and “Just One of Those Things” is not very promising a subtitle for a movie you’re hoping will set her out as anything but average. Laine says she “never seemed to have a strong love life in her life” after an early marriage and divorce, and her adopted son, Ray Brown Jr., who has the most emotional on-camera moments, seems to confirm that connection was a tough thing for his mother. A rare bit of Fitzgerald voiceover suggesting an innate loneliness without a man in her life is laid against her recording of “A House is Not a Home.” The movie plants the idea that, in touring for up to 42 weeks a year late into her life, she mated herself with her adoring audiences, the way Bob Dylan and so many road dogs before and after her have. There’s some melancholia in that, but not enough to turn the story of one of the most brilliant singers of anyone’s lifetime into a last-minute tragedy. A jazz movie whose dominant mode — amid valiant efforts to mine some personal sorrow — is actual musical joy? We’ll take it.
VIEW "Hysteria" from DEF LEPPARD'S "London To Vegas" HERE
ABC NEWS RADIO highlights "INXS: Live Baby Live" DVD / Digital Release!
June 26, 2020
Restored version of 1991 INXS concert film 'Live Baby Live' released on home video today
Eagle Rock Entertainment
The newly restored version of INXS' 1991 concert film Live Baby Live, which was screened in select North American theaters this past December, gets its home-video release in multiple formats today.
The movie, which documents a sold-out headlining show that the Australian rockers played at London's Wembley Stadium, is available as a digital download, 4K Ultra High Definition Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD. In addition, special bundles packaging the Blu-ray and DVD versions with a two-CD soundtrack album can be purchased. A three-LP vinyl set also is available.
INXS was at the height of its popularity when it played the Wembley Stadium gig, dubbed the "Summer XS" concert, in July 1991.
INXS multi-instrumentalist Kirk Pengilly tells ABC Audio that watching the band's late frontman Michael Hutchence, who died by suicide in 1997, captivating the huge audience in the restored film was an emotional experience.
"[S]eeing any performance of us with Michael, it strikes emotions that...are always there," he explains, "because we'll always miss him."
Adds guitarist Tim Farriss, "Also, seeing the audience and their reaction to us playing is pretty striking."
Pengilly also says it was "pretty special" performing for a sold-out crowd at Wembley Stadium, noting that playing the venue is "probably one of the most iconic gigs, next to perhaps Madison Square Garden in New York."
The restored Live Baby Live film features new high-def audio mixes created at London's Abbey Road Studios. The updated flick also includes a performance of the song "Lately," which had been cut from the original Live Baby Live video.
A series of video features celebrating the release and boasting archival interviews with INXS members has been posted at the Eagle Rock YouTube channel.
Here's the full Live Baby Live track list:
"Guns in the Sky"
"I Send a Message"
"Know the Difference"
"By My Side"
"Hear That Sound"
"The Loved One"
"What You Need"
"Need You Tonight"
"Never Tear Us Apart"
"Who Pays the Price"
* = previously unseen/unheard performance.
By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Producer REGGIE NADELSON talks with Fox 17 Morning News "Rock & Review" in Nashville about ELLA FITZGERALD: JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS - watch here!
THE ROLLING STONES previously unreleased 1989 concert film "Steel Wheels Live" out on multiple formats on September 25!
EAGLE VISION PROUDLY PRESENTS
THE ROLLING STONES – STEEL WHEELS LIVE
PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED CONCERT FILM OUT SEPTEMBER 25th 2020 ON MULTIPLE FORMATS
RESTORED, REMIXED AND REMASTERED SHOW LIVE FROM THE USA
FEATURING SPECIAL GUESTS AXL ROSE, IZZY STRADLIN, ERIC CLAPTON & JOHN LEE HOOKER
WATCH THE TRAILER
New York, NY (July 30, 2020)- Today, The Rolling Stones announced details of their previously unreleased 1989 concert film Steel Wheels Live – Atlantic City, New Jersey. This latest release from the band’s archives via Eagle Rock Entertainment has been restored, remixed and remastered and will be available on multiple formats from September 25. Pre-order
Additionally, a double A-sided 10” picture disc of “Rock and a Hard Place” (Live from Atlantic City) and “Almost Hear You Sigh” (Live from Tokyo Dome) will be released for Record Store Day’s second drop date of the year, on September 26. This format will be exclusive to independent record stores all over the world.
Their first tour hitting the US since 1981, Steel Wheels was famously one of their longest, and most ambitious, setlists. 2 ½ hours deep, The Rolling Stones not only played their hits, but dared to roll out several new songs from the then-newly released Steel Wheels album. Power-packed renditions of “Terrifying”, “Sad Sad Sad”, “Mixed Emotions”, “Rock and a Hard Place”, and “Can’t Be Seen” sizzle between “Jumping Jack Flash”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, and “Gimme Shelter”. This was a statement - The Rolling Stones revisiting their vast body of work while confidently showcasing where they were going and the broad spectrums of music they’ve explored over their career.
“I would hate to come out with something that’s not startling” Mick Jagger stated about the launch of the 1989/90 Steel Wheels Tour. The Rolling Stones delivered on that promise in this Atlantic City Convention Center tour stop in December ‘89.
A highlight of this particular tour stop was the band being joined by special guests: Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin accompany the Stones for the first-ever live performance of “Salt Of The Earth”, from their 1968 Beggars Banquet album. Eric Clapton brings his slow blues burn to “Little Red Rooster”, and joins the Stones in backing up one of their idols, blues legend John Lee Hooker, on “Boogie Chillen”.
All in all, Steel Wheels Live is a living testament to The Rolling Stones’ incomparable live shows.
Steel Wheels Live will be released as a limited 180gm 4LP coloured vinyl, DVD + 2CD, SD Blu-ray + 2CD and digital formats. Additionally, the set will be released as a special limited 6-disc version, which includes the Atlantic City performance on DVD, SD-Blu-ray, 2CD, a DVD of their Steel Wheels tour performance at the famed Tokyo Dome, as well as Steel Wheels Rare Reels, a CD featuring tracks which didn’t feature on the core tour setlist.
Official Rolling Stones website
About Eagle Vision
Eagle Vision is an imprint of Eagle Rock Entertainment, the world-leading producer and distributor of music-related audiovisual content. Founded in 1997, the multi-award-winning company completes over 50 productions a year including concerts, documentaries, scripted formats and specials representing over 2,000 hours of programming. The vast catalogue includes work by award-winning filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Brett Morgan, Paul Dugdale, Stanley Nelson and Bob Smeaton. Eagle Rock has worked alongside a variety of artists including the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Jay Z, Paul McCartney, Katy Perry, Frank Sinatra, Black Sabbath and Imagine Dragons.
THE ROLLING STONES "Steel Wheels Live" trailer
Forbes.com highlights THE ROLLING STONES "Steel Wheels Live"
July 30, 2020
Rolling Stones Promise Satisfaction Via ‘Steel Wheels Live’ Concert Film
British musician Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones performs on stage during the band's 'Steel Wheels' tour, late 1989. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
Just when you thought you’d never get to go to a concert again, rock and roll’s longest-running and arguably greatest band, The Rolling Stones, is reaching back into their archival film vault to release a long-awaited documentary presentation of their legendary, 1989 Steel Wheels world tour.
According to Rolling Stone Magazine, fans should mark September 25th on their calendars, to seek out the concert film via Eagle Rock Entertainment.
The Stones’ 1989 Steel Wheels series of dates was viewed by many as a comeback of sorts, as the British rockers hadn’t toured since 1982, allowing other mega-acts like Michael Jackson, Prince, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Van Halen, The Police and Guns ‘n Roses to dominate pop and rock arenas around the world, while also providing the soundtrack of the 1980’s.
Stones’ classics like ‘Satisfaction’, ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, ‘Paint It Black’, ‘Emotional Rescue’ and ‘Wild Horses’ had helped brand the rock and blues sound of the 1960’s and 70’s, but the band had largely given the 1980’s up to other acts and other music genres, including the emerging hip-hop and rap scene.
While The Rolling Stones had a major hit with the album ‘Tattoo You’ in 1981, featuring the timeless track, ‘Start Me Up’ - - they sat out touring for the rest of the ‘80s until their release of ‘Steel Wheels’ in 1989.
Those seven years between staged shows represented their longest break in touring since the band was formed in the early 1960’s.
Featuring songs that have now become modern-day classics, like ‘Sad Sad Sad’, ‘Mixed Emotions’ and ‘Rock and a Hard Place’, ‘Steel Wheels’ was an energetic, lively and worthy addition to the canon of Stones’ anthems and ballads, and fans were eager to reward them with handsome album sales and packed concert arenas.
One night in October of 1989, I was one of the lucky 100,000 who attended the Steel Wheels tour in Los Angeles, with Guns ‘n Roses opening for the Stones at the L.A. Coliseum. To be candid, at the time I was more excited about seeing Axl Rose and his band play, than I was for the title act.
But everyone in attendance was rewarded with a fantastic Stones show, sealing in my memory one of my favorite concert experiences of all time.
It will be an exciting and much-needed relief to get to once more experience that thrilling concert (which also features Axl Rose, Eric Clapton and John Lee Hooker), especially as all of us are staring down the real possibility of a new national order to shelter-in-place.
As some concerts are already happening elsewhere around the world, the U.S. remains too dangerous a place for audiences to gather or for bands to perform.
Virtual performances, like The Steel Wheels concert film, must suffice as the U.S. waits out the pandemic.
Some may find it bitterly ironic that even though The Stones are offering up this trip down memory lane as a welcome respite, we should note that they taped the concert in Atlantic City - - at The Trump Casino Convention Hall.
Sad, sad, sad.
In this new interview with CNN.com, Ian Paice discusses working with Bob Ezrin on DEEP PURPLE's new album Whoosh! - View the interview here!
FORBES.COM spreads the word about THE WHO'S 6-week "Join Together @ Home" Virtual Concert Series
August 6, 2020
See Me, Feel Me: The Who Launches 6-Week Vintage Concert Series On YouTube
In the latest pivot by a music act sidelined by the pandemic, The Who this weekend is launching a concert series on YouTube featuring rare and never-seen clips from archival tours.
Join Together @Home kicks off Saturday, August 8 at 1pm ET. The first act spotlights five songs from the rockers’ 1982 gig at N.Y.’s Shea Stadium during their then-dubbed “farewell tour,” which featured the Clash as opening act.
Footage includes a “red carpet premiere clip” from front man Roger Daltrey, according to a press release, which notes the six-week series will reveal “live and rarely seen footage, mini videos and special screen footage.” The series will culminate with a “performance from a previously unreleased show.”
Viewers can watch the videos for free, but will be encouraged via prompts to donate to the Teenage Cancer Trust and Teen Cancer America.
The band is the latest to take to YouTube to offer fans a nostalgic touch point during the continued pause in live touring. Among other acts to launch new series this summer, Elton John in early July debuted a six-week collection of vintage concert footage via his channel on the platform. Also free to view, the John sought to raise funds toward the Elton John AIDS Foundation in support of COVID-19 relief efforts.
While YouTube isn’t sharing specific data on the uptick in new artist series at this time, since March watch time for YouTube and YouTube TV viewed on TV screens has risen 80% year over year. Additionally, watch time of live content on TV screens increased by more than 250% YoY during the March 11-April 10 time period.
“YouTube has always been a place where fans and artists around the world can come to connect and build community. Recently, fans and artists have turned to YouTube as their virtual venue and stage in order to stay connected and engaged with one another,” says Darin Soler, YouTube head of catalog.
“We’ve worked with artists and bands like Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Radiohead, The National, The Who and so many more to create special archival content series for their fans to enjoy on a weekly basis using YouTube as their virtual venue. We will continue to identify and create unique opportunities to bring both archival and new content to fans from their favorite artists.”
The Who in March postponed the remainder of their 2020 tour as Covid restrictions set in. The band in November released “Who,” their first original album in 13 years, since 2006’s “Endless Wire” and only the second original collection since 1982’s “It’s Hard.”
Thank you, Goldmine Magazine for this COVER FEATURE INTERVIEW with Deep Purple! On stands now - September 2020 issue.
RollingStone.com shares announcement of THE WHO'S "Join Together @ Home" virtual series
August 6, 2020
The Who Announce Vintage Concert Series on YouTube
Series launches this weekend with unseen clips from their 1982 “farewell tour” concert at New York’s Shea Stadium
The Who will begin showcasing unseen clips from vintage concerts this weekend, kicking off with clips from their 1982 gig at Shea Stadium.
The Who may have been forced to delay their 2020 tour plans due to the pandemic, but they’re trying to make it up to fans by launching Join Together @ Home on YouTube this weekend. It’s a six-week series that will showcase “live and rarely seen footage, mini videos and special screen footage, culminating with a performance from a previously unreleased show,” according to a press release.
The series kicks off on Saturday August 8th at 1:00 pm EST with five songs from the Who’s 1982 show at Shea Stadium, a legendary gig from their “farewell” tour that featured the Clash as their opening act. It will begin with a “red carpet premiere clip from Roger Daltrey.” The videos will be free of charge, but viewers will be encouraged to donate to the Teenage Cancer Trust and Teen Cancer America.
Late last year, the Who released Who, their first collection of original material since 2006’s Endless Wire and only their second since 1982’s It’s Hard. They supported it with a tour where they were backed by local symphonies and a set that was heavy on tunes from Tommy and Quadrophenia.
The Who kicked off 2020 by celebrating the 50th anniversary of their historic show at Leeds University, playing a series of intimate, acoustic concerts at PRYZM in London. It was meant to be the kickoff event for a big year, but everything else was delayed due to the pandemic. Their plan now is to resume touring in March 2021 with a run of European arena dates, but that is obviously contingent on the live music business resuming by that point.
The band has yet to announce any of the subsequent videos for the Join Together Youtube series, but they have been filming select concerts going back to the Sixties and have an extensive vault.
DEEP PURPLE’s Ian Gillan talks ‘Smoke on the Water,’ 'Whoosh!' with Fox News - read here!
August 11, 2020
Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan talks ‘Smoke on the Water,’ 'Whoosh!' and strangest fan encounter
Deep Purple has zero plans to slow down.
The rock band is releasing their 21st studio album, “Whoosh!,” on Aug. 7, making it their third release produced by Bob Ezrin, of Alice Cooper and Pink Floyd fame.
Singer/songwriter Ian Gillan, along with Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Steve Morse and Don Airey, were invited by Ezrin to Nashville to write and record the album. It was there where the group adopted the motto “Deep Purple is putting the Deep back in Purple.” And Gillan, 74, has plenty to say about the Deep Purple’s lasting success.
Gillan spoke to Fox News about Deep Purple’s determination to make music for fans, how he really feels about “Smoke on the Water,” the one artist that surprised him and the most unique encounter he’s ever had with a fan.
Fox News: Looking back, what do you believe has been the secret behind Deep Purple’s lasting success?
Ian Gillian: I think it’s simple, really. You have to get along with each other pretty well. And the band has evolved as human beings, as individuals and as teams. We’ve had our ups and downs. But you take strength from every disappointment, every failure, every dark period. The band really is a group go people who have experienced changed but together, we’re stable.
Ian Gillan performing live onstage circa '70s. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns/Getty)
And that’s a good thing. We are professional musicians. We have no illusions about fame. Sometimes things happen that you have no control over. Technology happens. But we have remained constant. And I think you can certainly see and hear that in our music. And we have to adapt. There’s really no other way to survive the business. But the secret to our success? I think it’s just being a family.
Fox News: Everyone is familiar with “Smoke On the Water.” When did you realize that song had become larger than life?
Gillan: It was a delayed process. The song had very humble beginnings. It wasn’t even supposed to be on the album. We were short seven minutes when we were recording in Switzerland and after the fire of the casino [in Montreaux]. We only had a few days left to record the album. And I remember on the last day, the engineer says, “You’re short seven minutes.” So we just quickly wrote a song based on what had happened and forgot about it.
We just thought it would be a good song to finish the album. We went on the road as if nothing had happened. And initially, the song wasn’t played on the radio because it was too long. But after it was edited for radio, that’s when it became a commercial success. Who would have thought that to this day, we would still be talking about this song? And it became so influential to many other artists over the years. We still play that song today.
Fox News: What’s the strangest or most unusual encounter you’ve ever had with a fan?
Gillan: One time we were in Brazil and there was a fan named Yvonne the Tigress who was a lunchtime stripper. We all went along to see her. She sang “Smoke On the Water” to the accompaniment of a conga drum. And it’s the only time I’ve been to a strip club - and I’ve been to many of them - where I’ve seen that happened… Wonderful experience. That’s the oddest one.
Fox News: As an artist, how do you feel about audiences making cellphones part of their concert experience?
Gillan: Well, at first it was weird. It just connected with me. Why would someone film you at a show when they’re at the show and missing out on the experience? But generations change. It became pointless to try and resist that tidal wave. We kind of got used to it. In fact, it became amusing to see everyone holding up their phones in the air when back in the day, it was lighters. Initially, I didn’t understand why everyone had to share everything and be in constant communication. But [with this pandemic], thank goodness for it. Because my phone hasn’t stopped ringing thanks to friends and well-wishers from around the world. I may not always understand it, but I’m too old *laughs*.
Fox News: What does it take for an artist to make it in 2020?
Gillan: Holy moly, I have no idea. I can only tell you from my own experience. Performing is key. You’ve got to get people watching you somehow. You can be celebrated as the greatest musician on the planet by the press. But that means nothing if you can’t even play an instrument or write a lyric. Find one thing in music that you’re passionate about and master the craft of it, whether it be playing one instrument, singing or even songwriting.
Vocalist Ian Gillan of Deep Purple performs on stage at Pechanga Casino on September 06, 2019, in Temecula, California. (Photo by Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)
Success doesn’t mean getting recognition from the press, although that is always nice. Being commercially successful shouldn’t be the only reason to pursue music. It’s about creating music, enjoying it for yourself and making it enjoyable for others. That’s what’s truly fantastic. Trends change and everything moves so quickly now. My advice is to learn your music, love it and enjoy it as a friend for life.
Fox News: Who’s one artist that perhaps early on in your career you weren’t necessarily a fan of, but you went on to have a deep appreciation for and why?
Gillan: The big band jazz era was just before my time… And I think every generation tries to sweep away the past to have space for your own life and teenage culture. So consequently, there’s a gap between generations.
[But] I remember working with Sammy Davis Jr. at the London Hilton back in the ‘60s. I was in awe. I thought, “Wow, this is way above and beyond anything I’ve ever seen.” He was extremely talented, but he also knew how to perform on stage. I learned lots of lessons just from watching him… It goes to show that musical history is very important. Now I can relate… We may want to rebel from the past, go against it, but there are still many lessons to be learned.
Fox News: How does it feel to release a new album at this point in your career?
Gillian: It’s nice, to be honest. I feel like we’re back in the ‘70s. There’s this energy that’s quite fascinating to me. How does it feel? It feels good because we had a lot of fun making this record. We spent five or six days in Germany earlier this year.
Then we went to Nashville for two and a half weeks where we did the writing and arrangements. It was remarkably quick. Then I rented a cottage on the banks of the Cumberland River, overlooking the Grand Ole Opry. So I can hear the music floating from across the river until the early hours of the morning. And then I would sit up all through the night and write in this magical atmosphere. How do I feel? Pretty good. It’s nice when you finish a project and you’re happy with the result.
Fox News: What was it about Nashville that became a place of inspiration for you?
Gillan: I have to be quite honest with you, but I just think the circumstances were good. Our producer, who’s Canadian, lives in Nashville. And he has a place in Nashville where you have everything you need. It was a fantastic, relaxing environment to make a record. It was more from a practical point of view than an inspirational one.
Roger Glover, Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Jon Lord (standing at back) and Ritchie Blackmore. (Jorgen Angel/Redferns/Getty)
But with certain places, you’re always drawn back to something that’s familiar and a creative environment. Nashville became that for me. Plus, if you want to go out and have a good night, you can’t go wrong with Nashville *laughs*. You can hear all kinds of bands and musicians here to get inspired. The country aspect may be part of its heritage, but it’s got a lot more going on here.
USA Today touts DEEP PURPLE'S "Whoosh!" as one of their 10 Albums To Listen To This Month!
August 7, 2020
10 albums you need to hear this month, including Katy Perry, Deep Purple and Glass Animals
Are you still crying to "Folklore?"
If you're anything like us, you've had Taylor Swift's alternative-pop masterpiece on repeat ever since she surprise released it two weeks ago, successfully destroying what little was left of us emotionally. The album made a historic bow on the charts this past week, debuting at No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 and Hot 100 (with heart-tugging lead single "Cardigan").
But if turtlenecks are more your style – or you simply want some fresh tunes – there's plenty of new music coming down the pike this month. From snarling rock anthems to dance-floor-ready bops, here are the 10 albums across genres that should be on your radar this month.
Deep Purple, 'Whoosh!' (released Friday)
For 21st studio album "Whoosh!", the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers teamed up once again with producer Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd), with the half-joking goal of "putting the Deep back in Purple," the band said in a statement. Written and recorded in Nashville, the album tackles timely subjects of an uncertain future ("Throw My Bones") and "demented" politicians ("No Need to Shout").
Associated Press says DEEP PURPLE "evokes best years on mighty ‘Whoosh!’" - Read the full review HERE!
August 6, 2020
Review: Deep Purple evokes best years on mighty ‘Whoosh!’
Deep Purple, “Whoosh!” (earMUSIC)
“Whoosh!” makes it three-for-three for the pairing of Deep Purple and producer Bob Ezrin, an album that at its numerous heights evokes the band’s most successful era of the early ’70s.
With a stable lineup for nearly 20 years, the hard rock pioneers’ new album is built on its best assets: Ian Gillan’s robust vocals, the sturdy foundation set by the rhythm section of Ian Paice and Roger Glover, Steve Morse’s inventive inventory of six-string tones and phrasings, and Don Airey’s Hammond A-100.
An album’s first song is not necessarily its first single, but “Throw My Bones,” which is both, is aural candy of the first order and a magnificent reintroduction after the three-year break since the previous studio effort, “Infinite.”
“Drop the Weapon,” a call for de-escalation and wise choices; “We’re All the Same In the Dark,” a tongue-in-cheek, slightly desperate pick-up line; the decibel-denouncing “No Need to Shout”; and the haunting “Step By Step” all keep the needles in or near the red.
Even among top-notch individual performances and the ensemble’s cohesion, Airey’s keyboard excellence stands out and his and Morse’s Bach-like runs on power ballad “Nothing at All” -- with plenty more potency than balladry -- are magnificent.
As for instrumental “And the Address,” is Deep Purple really saying goodbye or is its place in the running order, and the mere fact that it was re-recorded, only a tease in the way the Beatles fed the “Paul is dead” rumors with clues in songs supposedly confirming his premature demise? After all, the group’s 2017-2019 tour was called “The Long Goodbye” but concerts are planned, post-pandemic, behind this album, as well.
Written by the two members of Deep Purple’s towering “Mark II” lineup missing from the current roster, Ritchie Blackmore and the late Jon Lord, “And the Address” is the last song on the album, but for a bonus track. It was also the first tune on the band’s 1968 debut, “Shades of Deep Purple,” so is it just a coincidence or are they completing the circle and really drawing the shades on their career?
Any ensemble still willing and able to emulate its best years shouldn’t call it quits after an album as good as “Whoosh!” -- unless Deep Purple wants to go out on a peak.
THE WHO launch "Join Together @ Home" Virtual Series
THE WHO LAUNCH “JOIN TOGETHER @ HOME”
A SERIES OF SPECIAL PERFORMANCES
STREAMING WORLDWIDE EXCLUSIVELY ON YOUTUBE
Available digitally for the first time, this six-part weekly series will feature
some of the band’s most memorable performances,
**including previously unseen footage!**
a tune-in reminder for the series Premiere on Saturday August 8th
at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm UK
New York, NY (August 6, 2020)--Commencing this weekend, The Who, in collaboration with YouTube will launch a six-week celebration of their incredible live performances.
The weekly series entitled “Join Together @ Home” on the band’s
official YouTube channel starts this Saturday at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm UK. Each featurette—available digitally for the first time—will appear as a YouTube Premiere, streaming live and rarely seen footage, mini videos and special screen footage, culminating with a performance from a previously unreleased show.
The series launches this weekend with 5 live tracks from The Who’s 1982 Shea Stadium, New York show. This will be introduced with an exclusive “red carpet” premiere clip from Roger Daltrey.
“Join Together @ Home” is in partnership with The Who and Eagle Rock Entertainment and will stream exclusively on YouTube. “Join Together @ Home” is free to view, but fans are encouraged to donate to co-beneficiaries Teenage Cancer Trust and Teen Cancer America – directly via the link provided on the YouTube page www.join-together.org
As Patron of both charities, Roger Daltrey, along with his partner Pete Townshend, has raised much needed awareness and funds to help support young people with cancer, both in the UK and the US. He has been the driving force behind Teenage Cancer Trust’s iconic comedy and music shows, held at the Royal Albert Hall for the last 20 years.
Teenage Cancer Trust has always had incredible support from the music industry and relies on donations but due to Coronavirus, saw essential income generating activity, like the Royal Albert Halls shows, cancelled. With income estimated to drop by as much as half this year; the charity needs to raise £5m to maintain frontline services so events like “Join Together @ Home” are more important than ever.
With Teen Cancer America fundraising events also cancelled, they face a shortfall and need your help more than ever. Your donation can help to continue improving the lives and outcomes of teens and young adults with cancer. Nearly 90,000 adolescents and young adults face a cancer diagnosis every year in America, and every hour another young life is lost. The Coronavirus is not just impacting fundraising, but increasing the risks for immunocompromised cancer patients, and adding to the growing burden of hospitals and caregivers.
As you have faced the inconvenience of isolation these past months, please think of the many teenage cancer patients who are in the fight of their lives. Follow your local guidelines, stay safe, relax and watch The Who, and do one of the most important things you can do today, donate to help teens facing cancer.
What: The Who “Join Together @ Home” special footage #THEWHO #WITHME
When: Series kicks off Saturday 8th August, 2020 at 10am PT/1pm ET/6pm UK
Where: Streaming exclusively on The Who’s Official
About YouTube Premieres
YouTube Premieres is a feature that lets artists and their teams build anticipation and create a unique moment around a music video release on YouTube. The feature transforms the way fans view and engage with content by creating an event where fans and artists directly engage and enjoy the experience together in an interactive way. Premieres radically change how music video content is released, turning the watching experience into a communal moment.
About Teenage Cancer Trust
Cancer isn’t stopping for Coronavirus and neither is Teenage Cancer Trust. The charity has launched an urgent fundraising appeal to raise £5 million to maintain its frontline services. Donate today: www.teenagecancertrust.org/donate . Every day, seven young people in the UK aged 13 to 24 hear the words "you have cancer". Teenage Cancer Trust puts young people in the best possible place, physically, mentally and emotionally, for their cancer treatment and beyond. We do it through our expert nurses, support teams, and hospital units. And we're the only UK charity dedicated to providing this specialised nursing care and support. Teenage Cancer Trust is a registered charity: 1062559 (England & Wales), SC039757
About Teen Cancer America
Teen Cancer America seeks to bridge the gap between paediatric and adult oncology care by helping the health providers and health systems develop specialized programs and facilities for this age group. TCA brings together physicians and allied healthcare professionals in both paediatric and adult oncology. Age-targeted care for this population is necessary for medical and appropriate psychosocial development. Outcomes associated with some cancers that target this age group have not improved in over 30 years. Teens and young adults with cancer are long overdue for an upgrade and TCA can hopefully light the fire in America’s health systems. For more information, contact Michelle Aland firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.teencanceramerica.org.
About Eagle Rock Entertainment
Eagle Rock Entertainment is the world-leading producer and distributor of music documentary and concert films. Founded in 1997, the multi-award-winning company releases over 50 productions a year and controls the distribution of over 2,000 hours of music programming. The catalogue includes work by award-winning filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Brett Morgan, Stanley Nelson, Paul Dugdale, Bob Smeaton, Jeremy Marre, Mike Figgis, Leslie Woodhead and Michael Epstein. Eagle Rock works with a wide spectrum of artists including the Rolling Stones, Eminem, Madonna, Eric Clapton, Muse, Steven Wilson, Slash, Iggy Pop, Jeff Beck, Paul McCartney, Shania Twain and Van Morrison. Eagle Rock is headquartered in London.
RICKY BYRD Continues His Journey As A Recovery Troubadour With The September 25 Release Of New Album "Sobering Times"
Continues His Journey As A Recovery Troubadour With The September 25 Release Of New Album
New York, NY (August 24, 2020)--On September 25, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer (2015 inductee with Joan Jett and The Blackhearts) and guitarist/singer-songwriter Ricky Byrd presents
Sobering Times (Kayos Records). Pre-orders are currently available at
Sobering Times is an honest and intimate reflection of recovery delivered through his signature brand of Rock ‘N’ Roll. As
Goldmine Magazine states “...The Faces and The Rolling Stones with a dash of Otis...It rocks like a b*tch. His vocals are the best of his career...early indications make it seem likely that this will be his career statement.”
Following the path he carved with his 2017 album Clean Getaway,
Sobering Times (produced by Ricky Byrd and Bob Stander) continues his mission to deliver the message of hope to those recovering from addiction. He expresses the roller coaster of emotions and every day trials of recovery, from hitting rock bottom, to the gratitude of surviving and thriving in a sober life.
Sobering Times, Byrd is joined by an all-star cast of musicians: Bob Stander (bass guitar, percussion), Jeff Kazee of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes (keyboards/ accordion/background vocals), Steve Holley (of Wings / Ian Hunter / Joe Cocker, contributed drums to most of the album), Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel, drums), Rich Pagano (The Fab Faux, session drummer), Thommy Price (Joan Jett, Billy Idol, Mink DeVille, drums) and Christine “The Beehive Queen” Ohlman (vocalist, Saturday Night Live band).
Additionally, he collaborated with Richie Supa (“I Come Back Stronger”) and Willie Nile, who duets with Byrd on “Recover Me”, in addition to Emily Duff, who co-wrote “Ain’t Gonna Live Like That.” Fittingly, he also recorded a cover of Merle Haggard’s “The Bottle Let Me Down”.
Byrd chose the
Sobering Times release date of September 25 as it’s also the 33rd anniversary of the day he started his sober journey. Having lived through the disease of addiction himself, Byrd has made it his mission to help others as a recovery coach and drug/alcohol counselor, who visits schools, rehab facilities, and detention and detox centers to perform, talk, and lead recovery music groups. In fact, he gave away almost 2500 copies of
Clean Getaway at these facilities, so clients could take the message of recovery home with them.
Sobering Times to all of those who struggle with addiction, as well as the recovery warriors who help those who are struggling, those that support a clean and sober lifestyle, and of course, those that still love loud and proud Rock ‘N’ Roll.
“As far as third acts go, I couldn't be more grateful for mine,” says Byrd. “I get to use the undeniable power of R'n'R to spread the recovery message to those that are struggling....pretty... pretty... pretty good.”
“I Wanna Sing About How Lucky I Am
You’re Looking At One Grateful Man
I Should Be Long Gone
Yet Here I Stand
Hear My Song”
1.) Quittin’ Time (Again)
3.) Hear My Song
5.) I Come Back Stronger
6.) Starlit Night
7.) Recover Me (feat. Willie Nile)
8.) Ain’t Gonna Live Like That
9.) Pour Me
10.) The Bottle Let Me Down
11.) Life Is Good
12.) Just Like You
Although best known for his time with The Blackhearts, Byrd has also recorded and played with Roger Daltrey, and toured with Ian Hunter and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, respectively. He is also proud to have shared stages with such music royalty as Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Alice Cooper, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, Smokey Robinson, and Mavis Staples, among others.
# # #
Get to know one of the most likable, successful and complex guitar players in music history. "RONNIE WOOD: Somebody Up There Likes Me" receives a North American virtual cinema release on September 18!
EAGLE VISION PROUDLY PRESENTS
SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME
A FILM TRACING HIS 50-YEAR JOURNEY
TO BE RELEASED IN NORTH AMERICA AS A VIRTUAL CINEMA EVENT STARTING SEPTEMBER 18
DVD, BLU-RAY RELEASE TO FOLLOW LATER THIS YEAR
“The perfect rock and roll treat” – The London Film Festival
“Never less than honest” – The Times
New York, NY (August 27, 2020)--Eagle Rock Entertainment proudly presents the first in-depth film biography of iconic musician Ronnie Wood with the release of
Somebody Up There Likes Me. An official selection at both the Tribeca Film Festival 2020 and the BFI London Film Festival 2019, the film (by acclaimed director Mike Figgis) will be available in North America as a Virtual Cinema release starting September 18 at
www.ronniewoodmovie.com, running through October. This will be followed by a DVD, Blu-ray and deluxe hardback book release on October 9.
Pre-orders are available now. Those who purchase a ticket ($11) will also be treated to a Q&A with Wood and Figgis.
As an artist, musician, producer and author, Ronnie Wood has made countless contributions to the cultural zeitgeist. Yet, there is so much more to know about the man himself. This intimate portrait traces the many lives and careers of one of the most important guitarists in music, capturing what it means to be a rock ‘n’ roll icon.
Somebody Up There Likes Me traces Wood’s 50-year musical history, from The Birds, The Jeff Beck Group, The Faces (with Rod Stewart), and The New Barbarians, to becoming a permanent member of The Rolling Stones. Additionally, Mike Figgis captures Wood’s charismatic warmth, energy and honesty as he speaks openly about his battles with drink and drugs. The film takes its title from a conversation with Wood about surviving his chronic smoking habit:
“When they operated on my cancer, they took away my emphysema. They said my lungs were as if I’d never smoked. I thought: ‘How’s that for a Get Out Of Jail Free card?’ Somebody up there likes me, and somebody down here likes me too.”
The documentary features brand new interviews with Wood’s Rolling Stones bandmates Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts, as well as his Faces bandmate, Rod Stewart. Other interviewees include Wood’s wife Sally Wood, singer Imelda May and artist Damien Hirst, alongside both present-day performances and archive footage from Wood's stellar multi-band career.
These interviews and performance segments blend with footage of Wood playing guitar and harmonica (a reminder of his talents as a versatile instrumentalist), as well as quiet, personal moments while he paints in his studio. It climaxes with Wood giving a beautiful, intimate performance of “Breathe On Me” from his 1975 solo album
Somebody Up There Likes Me is a fresh look at Ronnie Wood – a rewarding and compelling insight into one of music’s most likable, successful and complex key players.
Ronnie describes the film as summing up
“the essence of survival” in a life he continues to live to the fullest, without regrets,
“I wouldn’t change anything except I’d do it with my eyes open a bit more,” he says,
“I was in the hands of destiny all my life…and being in the right place at the right time”.
Virtual cinema tickets
Official Ronnie Wood website
About Eagle Vision
Eagle Vision is an imprint of Eagle Rock Entertainment, the world-leading producer and distributor of music-related audiovisual content. Founded in 1997, the multi-award-winning company completes over 50 productions a year including concerts, documentaries, scripted formats and specials representing over 2,000 hours of programming. The vast catalogue includes work by award-winning filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Brett Morgan, Paul Dugdale, Stanley Nelson and Bob Smeaton. Eagle Rock has worked alongside a variety of artists including the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Jay Z, Paul McCartney, Katy Perry, Frank Sinatra, Black Sabbath and Imagine Dragons.
Eagle Vision To Release Two Documentaries Celebrating American Jazz Icons: "ELLA FITZGERALD: JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS" and "COUNT BASIE: THROUGH HIS OWN EYES" on Digital Formats on September 11
EAGLE VISION TO RELEASE TWO DOCUMENTARIES CELEBRATING AMERICAN JAZZ ICONS
ELLA FITZGERALD: JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS
COUNT BASIE: THROUGH HIS OWN EYES
~ON DIGITAL FORMATS SEPTEMBER 11, 2020~
New York, NY (August 26, 2020)--This fall, Eagle Rock Entertainment will celebrate the legacy of two jazz music icons, with the release of
Ella Fitzgerald: Just One Of Those Things and
Count Basie: Through His Own Eyes. These documentary films will be available exclusively on digital formats on September 11.
Recently enjoying a hugely successful Virtual Cinema release,
Ella Fitzgerald: Just One Of Those Things presents a deep, insightful look into the life of The “First Lady Of Song”. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Leslie Woodhead and produced by novelist Reggie Nadelson, the film combines never-before-seen footage with conversations with Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Itzhak Perlman, Norma Miller, the late Andre Previn, and a rare conversation with Ella Fitzgerald’s son, Ray Brown Jr. Ella Fitzgerald’s journey is thoroughly explored, from her youth as a kid on the streets of Harlem during the Great Depression, to her meteoric rise to renowned jazz singer, innovator, and international superstar against the odds of severe racism and sexism. Blackbook called it “completely absorbing…”, while Hollywood Reporter stated the film captures “Fitzgerald's story with a sure feel for the joyous swing and sultry depths of that voice, and a sensitive eye on the complexities of life as a self-made Black woman in 20th century America.”
Known as the “King Of the Swing Kings,” legendary bandleader / pianist / composer Count Basie is revered for his musical achievements. The first African-American to win a Grammy, he helped elevate jazz to a serious, respected artform in his 60+ year career, bringing it from clubs to concert halls.
Count Basie: Through His Own Eyes unveils the man behind the music, as Basie tells his story in his own words. A revealing biography of this jazz pioneer, the film uncovers his inspirations and passions, as well as his private and family life. Director Jeremy Marre layers the film with a wealth of home movies and photo albums, underscoring Basie’s conversations of his relationship with wife Catherine (whose work in African-American causes placed her at the side of Martin Luther King) and his protective, undying love for his daughter Diane, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Featuring rare performances with Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis Jr., and more, the film is a well-rounded lens, encapsulating both Count Basie’s legacy and his personal life.
Ella Fitzgerald: Just One Of Those Things and
Count Basie: Through His Own Eyes are both incredible documents about these pivotal figures of American music.
ABOUT EAGLE ROCK
Eagle Vision is an imprint of Eagle Rock Entertainment, the world-leading producer and distributor of music-related audiovisual content. Founded in 1997, the multi-award-winning company completes over 50 productions a year including concerts, documentaries, scripted formats and specials representing over 2,000 hours of programming. The vast catalogue includes work by award-winning filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Brett Morgen, Paul Dugdale, Stanley Nelson and Bob Smeaton. Eagle Rock has worked alongside a variety of artists including the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Jay Z, Paul McCartney, Katy Perry, Frank Sinatra, Black Sabbath and Imagine Dragons. For more information visit www.eagle-rock.com.
VIEW the trailer for COUNT BASIE: THROUGH HIS OWN EYES here!
Thank you so much to Newsweek for spreading the word on Ricky Byrd's "Sobering Times" album!
August 30, 2020
We Love Rock 'n Roll: Ricky Byrd
On the Street Jukebox: On September 25, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist/singer/songwriter Ricky Byrd (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts) will release his latest album, Sobering Times. You can, and should, pre-order—right here. Great stuff—and a hell of a supporting cast with musicians who have worked with Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Billy Idol and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Mr. Byrd, by the way, was my band coach at the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, which I wrote about for Fortune magazine many years ago. He's a pretty patient guy and was nice enough not to make fun of me...Back next week. Be safe.
Thank you, Variety, for highlighting the release of "ELLA FITZGERALD: JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS" and "COUNT BASIE: THROUGH HIS OWN EYES!"
August 26, 2020
Film News in Brief: Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie Documentaries Scheduled for September
Ella Fitzgerald, County Basic Documentaries Scheduled
Eagle Rock Entertainment will celebrate two jazz icons with the Sept. 11 digital release of “Ella Fitzgerald: Just One Of Those Things” and “Count Basie: Through His Own Eyes.”
The Fitzgerald documentary is directed by Leslie Woodhead and produced by novelist Reggie Nadelson. It combines never-before-seen footage with conversations featuring Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Itzhak Perlman, Norma Miller, the late Andre Previn, and a rare conversation with Ella Fitzgerald’s son, Ray Brown Jr.“
Count Basie: Through His Own Eyes” is directed by Jeremy Marre and contains home movies and photo albums, underscoring Basie’s conversations of his relationship with wife Catherine and his protective, undying love for his daughter Diane, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. It features rare performances with Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, and Sammy Davis Jr.
Director Mike Figgis discusses "RONNIE WOOD: Somebody Up There Likes Me" with Den of Geek -- Virtual Cinema release starts this Friday!
September 15, 2020
Director Mike Figgis Talks Trading Licks with Ronnie Wood
Somebody Up There Likes Me director Mike Figgis’s new documentary follows Ronnie Wood from music studios to art studios.
Photo: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Before becoming a filmmaker, Leaving Las Vegas director Mike Figgis was a musician and performer in the experimental group called The People Show. Before that, he played trumpet and guitar in the experimental jazz ensemble The People Band, whose first record was produced by Rolling Stone drummer Charlie Watts. He is also the founding patron of an online community of independent filmmakers called Shooting People. You can say Figgis is a People person, which makes him the perfect director to capture Ronnie Wood in the documentary Somebody Up There Likes Me.
One of rock and roll’s most iconic guitarists, Wood is good with people. He plays well with others. He is the Stone who’s never alone. Before he began weaving guitar licks with Keith Richards in the Rolling Stones, Wood helped shape the British rock sound in bands like The Birds and the Creation. He was the bass player to the guitar maestro in The Jeff Beck Group, which featured the distinctive voice of Rod Stewart at the front. They put out two albums, 1968’s Truth and 1969’s Beck-Ola, before splintering just as they were to appear at Woodstock. Wood and Stewart inherited the Small Faces from Steve Marriott and dropped the album First Step in 1970. They realized they were too tall for the diminutive moniker and renamed the band The Faces. They released the albums Long Player and A Nod Is as Good as a Wink…to a Blind Horse in 1971, and Ooh La La (1973), before splitting up in 1975.
Wood guested on albums by David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, the Band, Donovan, B.B. King, and on Stewart’s solo albums. He spent so much time flavoring other performers’ works, he didn’t put out a solo album of his own until 1974 which he aptly titled I’ve Got My Own Album to Do. Wood also went solo for 1981’s 1234 and collaborated with Bo Diddley on Live at the Ritz in 1988, Wood’s seventh solo album, I Feel Like Playing (2010), featured guest spots from ex-Faces bandmate Ian McLagan, as well as The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, Guns N’ Roses’ Slash, Billy Gibbons, Bobby Womack, and Jim Keltner.
Somebody Up There Likes Me isn’t structured like most music documentaries. It is primarily a conversation, and it veers from much of Wood’s vast output. The hard-partying musician beat lung cancer and candidly blames his excessive indulgences. He saw bandmates, contemporaries and friends, like Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and John Bonham push past the lethal limits of chemical reactions. Wood himself remembers telling Keith Moon to take pills, not bottles of them. Richards remarks in the documentary how the two Rolling Stones guitarists share strong constitutions. Wood began recording with the Rolling Stones when they were halfway through their 1976 album, Black and Blue, and has been steady even up to their recent pandemic live stream.
The documentary also captures Wood’s visual artistry. He was an artist before he was a musician. His drawings were featured on BBC TV’s Sketch Club when he was a child, and he studied at the Ealing Art College. Wood did the cover artwork to Eric Clapton’s 1988 box set Crossroads. The two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee continues to capture visions like Mick Jagger’s dancing in a Picasso style, as well as the shots in Somebody Up There Likes Me of him capturing the grace of a ballerina on canvas.
Born in northern England, director Mike Figgis was raised on jazz and Jean-Luc Godard movies. The inventor of the “fig rig” knows when to experiment, such as he did in Timecode (2000) and Hotel (2001), how to get drama out of romance, as he did with One Night Stand, starring Wesley Snipes and Nastassja Kinski, and The Loss of Sexual Innocence. He is adept at crime dramas, directing the “Cold Cuts” episode of The Sopranos in 2004 and Internal Affairs, which starred Richard Gere. He also mines deep emotional schisms in films like Mr. North and Leaving Las Vegas (1995) for which he was nominated for Best Directing and Best Screenplay Oscars. Figgis spoke with Den of Geek about cinematic jams and studio sessions with Ronnie Wood.
Den of Geek: Over the course of the film, you produced a song using nothing but your backings and an orchestra of Ronnie Woods. How was he to produce?
Mike Figgis: He was a delight, actually. We did most of the interviews and everything where he was painting, he was in his own space for that. Then the dialog, he’s very very witty and so on. But at the end of the day, the man’s a musician. Quite later on in the process I said, “Let’s go into a studio and do something.” I think the minute we got into a studio it was different. For both of us because I’m a musician too. It’s just a different kind of reality and the language becomes much simpler between musicians and understanding the equipment, the whole vibe.
Originally Mark Ronson was going to do a soundtrack for us which would have been fantastic and then he just got very, very busy because we got late. I presented him with a kind of template of how maybe could make a nice soundtrack, which is basically what we did anyway. So we did it without Mark and Ronnie was very comfortable with that.
He very much left it to me. He added a lot, obviously. He said, “I’d like to do this as well,” and so on. So, we had a pretty full couple of days in studio time. But he was great to produce.
There are a lot of musicians working on this besides you and Ronnie. Rosey Chan did the score for a painting scene.
Rosey’s my wife by the way. She’s a phenomenal concert pianist and composer and musician in her own right. She’s releasing an album now. She’s an amazing pianist, I just needed something to take us into a different zone, so I asked her to compose some piano pieces for that. Then I did some score myself. Just when he’s talking about drugs. I put a little bit of a weird score on that one.
So is this film more of a cinematic jam that you just edited in the mixing room?
Yeah, I think so. I think that’s a good way of putting it, actually.
Ronnie also worked with Bob Dylan, Prince, David Bowie, Aretha Franklin. Did you allow the interviews to determine what parts of his career you were going to include?
I actually wanted to avoid anybody else. I said, “Let’s just make it about him painting and us talking.” I wanted to make it as simple as possible. That didn’t happen because as soon as you sort of uncover one little stone, you kind of say “Oh, well obviously we should interview the Rolling Stones.” Then he started thinking, “Well, Rod’s around, we can use Rod.” When I discovered about Damien Hirst, “Actually that would be an interesting, unexpected one. That would be good, yeah.” So yeah.
It was kind of organic, really. It was all sort of scheduled based in a sense that, “When are you available?” And, “When am I available? When are these people available?” So, getting the Stones was actually the trickiest thing. You had to go to Berlin and get them between gigs when they were watching the World Cup. In between World Cups actually. Very specific.
I know you’re in the People Band which had an album produced by Charlie Watts. So, were you in the same periphery of the Stones as Ronnie Wood back then?
No, the connection with Charlie was very interesting because the People Band was a free music ensemble. I mean really experimental. Really way out. The drummer was this phenomenal percussionist, still is, called Terry Day. Terry Day went to art college with Charlie’s wife and he knew Charlie because they were both drummers, so they got on really, really well. Charlie Watts has always been a huge jazz fan. Through Terry, it was one of those moments where Charlie says, “You know, we can record you. We got a mobile studio. We can either send the mobile to you wherever you’re playing.” I’m talking about in those days, in ’68 or whenever it was, the idea of a mobile multi-track was pretty amazing. “Or you can come to Olympic Studios,” which was where they recorded Beggars Banquet and everything. It was an amazing studio. And, “We’ll just give you the studio and the engineer, and you guys do what you want.” That’s how that came about and it was really lovely.
Over the years, once in a while I would see Charlie and just catch up, talk about drumming, really. And jazz. So it was really nice interviewing for this one again.
When you were asking Rod Stewart about Peter Grant, he sort of cut back and he became the young man that was bullied.
He did, didn’t he? When he said, “I’m protecting my hands and my face.”
The gangster aspect of that mid ’60’s period, especially with Peter Grant, how did that affect the musicians and the working? Do you think it actually in some ways was good for it?
Well, you know that comes about from a very strange coincidence which was sort of touched on in the film. But, quite a few years back, Malcolm McLaren was wanting to produce a film. A feature film about Led Zeppelin and as a result of that, he and I went and interviewed Peter Grant which is where that footage comes from. I did a huge amount of research into Led Zeppelin and Peter Grant at the time, and spoke to and interviewed a lot of the people who were involved with their success. I didn’t interview Johnny Bindon, but he was a key figure. Johnny Bindon was a kind of very violent criminal. In London. Very good looking. He became an actor for a while. Had amazing sexual legends built around him involving royalty and all kinds of things, and was part of a kind of fashionable gangster scene. The craze and all the rest of it. The London gangster scene.
Sort of became fashionable because people went to all their clubs, and hung out with them, and David Bailey photographed them and all that. So there was a kind of a zeitgeist about gangsterism. There’s an incredibly good book written about it called Jumping Jack Flash which came out two years ago. Bindon became one of the agents for Led Zeppelin and famously beat up somebody so badly on one of their tours that was hospitalized. He was a very mean individual.
The whole association with Led Zeppelin was very much gangsterish because of Peter Grant and his associates who had those stories and so on. So that was a kind of one aspect, and also a lot of the management were fairly crooked in London at that time. There’s a bit of a gay mafia and all the rest of it, so part of the folklore of that period of British rock and roll is very gangsterish, and very much part of the story.
Whenever I think about gangsters and British rock I think of the movie Performance. When you’re filming conversations in the moment, are you saying in your head “this is filmic?”
Not consciously, no. I accept it as being part of the fabric, actually. I try to make everything filmic anyway, so I’m always trying to get as far away from any kind of documentary feel. I like things to have a live element to it.
I loved Peter Grant’s Gene Vincent story. In the Beatles Anthology, George Harrison tells a similar one. What did Gene Vincent mean to young British rock and roller’s that everyone’s got a story about them?
Oh, because he was there, he was around. A little bit like the stories about everyone remembers Big Bill Broonzy and everyone remembers Sister Rosetta Thorpe. Main reason for that is they were a part of a very small group of musicians who were allowed to visit the UK during the Musician’s Union ban on touring. We were basically deprived of a lot of American musicians after the war, and the only reason Broonzy got in and Sister Rosetta Thorpe, was folk musicians were allowed in as opposed to, say, Louis Armstrong.
They all came in as folk singers even though they weren’t. I mean Broonzy was a fully-fledged Chicago blues musician and so was Sister Rosetta Thorpe. But everybody knows that. Anybody that was anybody around at that time would know those names. And Gene Vincent has become a kind of UK legend.
Do you see Ronnie as a very varied painter?
I wanted to capture a certain aspect of his art which was the line drawing. When we first started talking, I looked at all his art books. He does huge canvases with a lot of color, featuring the Rolling Stones, et cetera, et cetera. I was less interested in those. Those sell for a lot of money apparently and people really like them.
But when I saw his line drawing, his very quick drawings. Line drawing is very, very important. Sketching is very important in the same way that when you hear a very basic demo from a musician, there’s a certain truth about that. Then you can produce it and over produce it, and you can make it super sophisticated. I was interested in the bit that leads up to the way that he started producing. I wanted to set up situations where I would just see his line drawing. His ability to control lines, that was amazing.
Then physically watching him do that is fascinating. I love filming people playing their musical instruments. There’s a certain truth about that, they get into their thing. And watching him draw I thought was fascinating. His concentration, absolute. Even in the interview with Damian Hirst. He’s so focused on what he’s doing that he doesn’t really pay much attention to Damian Hirst. Sort of answers the question. He doesn’t pick up on any of the jokes. Because he’s really focused on what he’s doing.
Watching his live stuff, Wood is a different person. While he’s playing guitar, you see him and Keith joking around.
I think that has something to do with the eye. Because I think it’s about blues guitar. You can see the finger memory is really, really strong so I mean in that early footage he’s smoking at the same time, right? He’s smoking, joking around, getting to the microphone, late usually, for the backup vocals. And moving around and having a great time. He doesn’t have to look at the guitar to do that. However, if you are drawing something, either you make that contact with your eye, so creating the triangle between the subject, the canvas, and your eye. And you’re quite right. Radically different body language, and that’s interesting. There are two physical sides of him demonstrated on film, which you don’t really have to explain. There it is.
Is Somebody Up There Like Me a flip side to Leaving Las Vegas?
Maybe. You know, people have had a life, have had experience and come through darkness and coming to light and so on. For me, it just becomes 10 times more interesting than people who’ve just had a nice life and behaved well. Look a little puzzled that they’re not sort of 70 or something because it’s all been quite peaceful, you know? So there’s a kind of turbulence there which I think he says quite well when he says, “I see a fork in a road I take it.”
Like he says, “I would do it with my eyes more open now if I did it again.” I kind of admired that. It’s not like me. I’m much more protective. But I also loved the way he talked about the drugs. He talked about, “I would never get to the point of losing control because I always knew.” Because he’s very ambitious. “I always knew where I had to be next and I never wanted to be at the place where I couldn’t control where I wanted to be.” I’m sure there were a few exceptions to that, but in general, that was quite truthful.
You’re known as a very experimental filmmaker and I was wondering how you keep coming up with different ways to look through the camera?
I got sort of bored with 35mm and started going back to 16mm and then when video got more interesting, looking at video. Then as video got smaller and XLR happened, that radically changed the possibilities. Then as the world changes, like with at the beginning of this conversation we talked about the coronavirus effect. And how the Timecode principle, how that then ties in with what is possible in terms of filmmaking, really.
When you were making Timecode, did you know that you were predicting pandemic filmmaking?
No, although looking back I can think where it’d be really useful now.
The Rolling Stones streamed their performance early in the pandemic, is this the future of entertainment and is it an imposition?
I think in a way it is. Obviously at some point we will get coronavirus under some kind of control. But there are dire predictions about what’s coming next in terms of the unleashing of the demons that come through global warming, et cetera, et cetera.
On the one hand, maybe these variations of these conditions will continue well into the future. But I think even if it was just coronavirus, I’m talking about making films with various people right now, it’s almost like unless you actually acknowledge the world as it is today and has been for the last six months, any film that you make is going to have an air of unreality about it because this is quite definitely a global reality now. The way we’re communicating now and so forth.
I’m doing a masterclass in London at the film school next week and I’m going to be talking just about that to young filmmakers. The best ways to go about making films now.
As a jazz musician, what did you make of Jagger’s classification of jazz from back then?
It was pretty accurate, actually. I’d done the blues documentary with Martin Scorsese, the history of the British Blues, Red, White, and Blues. So, I covered that period and I was fascinated by that unique British period anyway, which is why in a way Marty and I got on so well too was because unlike America, the post war British music scene was heavily into traditional jazz and then bebop. Then folk music, and skiffle, and all those things. They all combined. If you talk to anybody, Eric Clapton, anybody, they’ll all make the same references. Big Bill Broonzy and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and then Woody Guthrie, and so kind of everybody was listening to all those influences and people were coming out of traditional jazz and then making quite dynamic decisions about this, that, and the other.
But the Trad boom was, the commercial aspect of the British jazz movement was very commercial, and immediately commercialized. There are some great musicians, but not the hippest genre in the world, so Jagger’s commented quite rightly if you want to be a young, sexy, happening musician, you’re not going to base your style on your grandfather’s taste and the rest of it. It was a kind of nice point of view. I loved it when he said, “I like the MJQ because of the way they looked and the way they played. I’m not sure I was crazy about the music or something like that.”
And I loved that he said, “We can be like that or we can be something different.” I love that moment in the film where you actually suddenly see the Stones kind of go, “Yep.” That’s pretty different from those two choices. That was, you’re creating a new genre there. And I have to say, my respect for the Rolling Stones went very, very high in making this documentary. I always like the Stones. I preferred more basically a blues band and I was listening to a lot more complicated pop musicians and jazz musicians.
I read that you’re doing a K-drama about the #MeToo movement. Would that be in the K-pop industry?
Yeah, I became interested in Korean film of course like most filmmakers. And then on an impulse, two and a half years ago, I bought a ticket to Seoul and I went and stayed there for three or four weeks, and just went around meeting people and just trying to get a handle on their film scene, initially. Then, I kind of got hooked on K-dramas as well and started to meet the actors. That’s turned into a project that’s been in development for about a year now. It’s going really, really well, but coming up with this series of scenarios. Sort of loosely around the #MeToo movement, really but just to do with the Korean social pop entertainment scene. And that’s what that was there.
I didn’t know that the Stones had originally thought about asking Ron Wood to replace Brian Jones. As a musician, you said they stuck to their guns. Do you think that would have been more true had they skipped over Mick Taylor and gone straight to Ronnie Wood?
It was interesting because that period, because obviously Jagger comes from a very much blues background. But by that time he was a megastar and the Stones were very much “Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones.” He was making movies, he was hanging out at the clubs, he was the hip guy. So obviously his horizons were expanding and he said that having Mick Taylor in the band really expanded his horizons as a songwriter because the voicings that Mick Taylor used. Mick did incredibly lyrical runs as the guitarist. Not a straight down the line blues player by any stretch of the imagination. A great blues player, but that’s not all he did.
So, I can imagine at that period, it would have been totally understandable if they’d continued to go in a different direction. I think what happened when Mick Taylor walked out, there was a kind of obvious cause of action to go to Ronnie. That probably then put Keith in a more comfortable zone in terms of the two-guitar thing because I would imagine that with Mick Taylor in the band, Keith’s role must have been definitely not so much the two-guitar thing because they are functioning at different levels. Probably in a way, back to a kind of grassroots level by bringing Ronnie back in.
Also, he looks like them. They were like brothers at that point. There’s a kind of a, suddenly a cohesiveness to the band as a band in a different way. Mick had a wider range in terms of songwriting and performance. A different way to go, but I think he was more than happy to go back into the kind of grassroots journey that they’d been on.
It’s very interesting how one musician can radically alter the destiny of the band, the longest lasting band in rock and roll history basically now.
Ronnie Wood: Somebody Up There Likes Me will be available as a Virtual Cinema release at www.ronniewoodmovie.com starting Sept. 18 running through October. It will be released on DVD, Blu-ray and deluxe hardback book release on October 9.