Notes from the Edge has posted an interview with Benoit David, the Yes tribute band singer who is taking Jon Anderson's place on the upcoming 40th Anniversary tour. It's an interesting read, and the main impression I get is that he is not a big Yes fan but rather looks at this opportunity as a job and is going to do his best to sing the songs for as long as they need him, after which time he'll return to his normal life.
A coupla quotes:
NFTE: Let's go into how you got this offer to sing with Yes. How did that come about?
BD: Oh well, that's an amazing story. Here's the whole story. It all started when Richard, our bass player for the tribute band Close to the Edge, he's our manager and bass player in the band, and he had ordered a re-release of an album that Chris [Squire] made. I don't have the details from that, but you probably know about that.
NFTE: Fish out of Water?
BD: Yeah, I guess; I don't even know the name. Though he had ordered that, and the thing said well, be patient, because Scottie and me are taking care of this in our own kitchen, and it might take a while before we get back at you, but it doesn't mean that we're not taking care of you. And I think it was like in June of this year, Richard got a call from Scottie at his place here in the Laurentians, and as he was talking with Scottie on the phone, going over the order and so forth, well, Richard mentioned, "By the way, maybe you guys would like to know that we have a tribute band, a pretty good one too, and we're having a ball playing that music." So Scottie put Chris on the phone, and they had a bit of conversation together, and a couple of days after, we got an email from Chris on our website saying I watched this, and you guys are great, and this is really good, and I'm telling the other guys about it. It happened that a couple of weeks later the news came out that Jon had health problems, so another week later Chris called Richard, saying, "Would it be ok if we borrowed your singer," (laughs). Richard gave Chris my phone number, and Chris called me as I was working, and there you go. That's how it happened.
NFTE: What would you like to say to Yes fans out there through this conversation?
BD: What I would like to say to them is I'm not Jon Anderson. I can't take Jon's place and do that. I'm fortunate enough that the members of the band thought that I could do a good job singing those songs, but I won't be replacing Jon Anderson. I'm just going to do my best to sing those pieces in the best way that I can so the public can have a good time listening to them. That's what I want to say. I go there very simply, because I was asked, and that's it. I don't want to take too much space in that process.
So, sounds like a level headed dude, but I still don't agree with the band's decision on this one. Even if they are going to do Machine Messiah!
I have seen most of the classic photos of KISS with the same old staged poses etc, so this one really caught my eye. Seems kind of raw and 'behind the scenes.' Make sure to click on it to see the full, large version. Must be from the Love Gun tour in 1977, based on the outfit.
And speaking of Love Gun, dig this hilarious clip from the movie "Role Models." Be warned, it's R rated and not great for listening in a cube environment!
I kind of ignored these rumblings, as Paul Stanley tends to change his mind and therefore his soundbites, frequently. But Classic Rock Magazine called him out on the carpet so to speak, to see if he is serious about recording a new KISS album. Here is what they got, from the January issue on sale Dec 10:
What does the future hold for Kiss? It looks like we’ll be touring Europe as well as the States next year. You’ll be getting more of what you saw at the Download festival this past summer – the Kiss Alive! vibe amped up to the max. There might even be a new Kiss album at some point. I have been ambivalent to the idea in the past but I’m much more open to it now.
Why is that? Well, I thought that I'd be content for Kiss to remain a heritage act, just playing our greatest hits – Detroit Rock City and all that. But the new Kiss line-up with Tommy Thayer (guitar) and Eric Singer (drums) is proving to be so good, so strong in spirit, it would interesting to see how we perform in the studio. I must stress that no recording time has been booked at this point. But it if we were to go into the studio, the intention would be to make a Kiss album in the style of our 1970s recordings. A classic Kiss album, unmistakably.
While I still firmly disagree with Stanley and Simmons’ decision to put different musicians in the classic Ace and Peter makeup, I have to say that the current lineup does indeed rock pretty hard and is certainly the tightest KISS lineup, musically.
The bummer would be that I always bought KISS albums back in the day primarily for the one or two Ace songs, and obviously that would be absent from any new KISS release...
This is so sad and pathetic. The almighty rhythm section of Yes with an impostor singer and two totally out of tune guitar players hack through Owner of A Lonely Heart on Mike Huckabee’s FOX show. I mean, the audience shots alone speak volumes. What in the hell are these guys thinking to sink the Yes legacy down to such a low status. Please guys, just retire the brand gracefully before it’s too late.
The buzz today in Beatles-land is that an unreleased 1967 song called "Carnival of Light" may be finally released, if McCartney can get Ringo and the Lennon/Harrison widows to buy off on the idea.
But don't expect Penny Lane part two. According to the Associated Press, this is a 14-minute experimental song containing distorted guitar and gargling sounds -- and even includes McCartney and Lennon shouting "Barcelona!" and "Are you all right?"
McCartney says that while recording, he told his bandmates to "just wander round all of the stuff and bang it, shout, play it. It doesn't need to make any sense."
So, fans of What's the New Mary Jane and Revolution 9, you may just get your companion piece!
Two weeks ago, my Pink Floyd tribute band The Floydian Slips played a Halloween gig at the Roseland Theater in Portland. The turnout was pretty good for all the competition we had downtown.
We made a lot of little mistakes first set, although no one really noticed except for the band. But second set ranked up there with one of my all time favorites. We played great and did the 1978 album Animals all the way through.
But I have to say, the real stars of that show were the lighting guys who really did a great job with the stage, lights and lasers. I got my paws on the video this week and here are some of the highlights of that second set:
And a bit closer to home, as Neil Young celebrates his 63rd birthday, there is some sadness as drummer Mitch Mitchell died today in a hotel in Portland of natural causes, at age 61. Details here. Mitchell played on Hendrix's classic albums Are You Experienced?, Axis: Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland.
Those who believe in an afterlife can only imagine the jam going on right now between Hendrix, Mitchell and bass player Noel Redding who died in 2003:
Neil turns 63 today but the mo-fo can still rock! Here is one of my all time favorites of Neil, at a Bob Dylan tribute concert in 1992. Outside of Hendrix's version, this is my favorite version of All Along the Watchtower. See how Neil is large and in charge here. Not much has changed since then. Happy birthday, dude!
After the ceremony, Classic Rock magazine's Dave Ling grabbed Bruce for a quickfire interview — and was stunned when the legendary bassist launched into an extraordinary anti-Led Zeppelin tirade.
An excerpt from the chat follows below.
Classic Rock: The million dollar question: Are Cream going to do anything again?
Jack Bruce: Oh yeah, I'm sure we will. But we'll have Todd Rundgren [who's just walked by] in the band by then.
Classic Rock: It's good news that there might be more from Cream.
Jack Bruce: Well, the trouble is that I'm doing so many amazing things on my own. Cream is just a band from many, many years ago, and we did do something [referring to the reunion shows in 2005]… Everybody talks about Led Zeppelin, and they played one fucking gig — one fucking lame gig — while Cream did weeks of gigs; proper gigs, not just a lame gig like Zeppelin did, with all the [vocal] keys lowered and everything. We played everything in the original keys. [Becoming animated]: Fuck off, Zeppelin, you're crap. You've always been crap and you'll never be anything else. The worst thing is that people believe the crap that they're sold. Cream is 10 times the band that Led Zeppelin is.
Classic Rock: That's a bold opinion.
Jack Bruce: What? You're gonna compare Eric Clapton with that fucking Jimmy Page? Would you really compare that?
Classic Rock: To be fair, they're different kinds of player, aren't they?
Jack Bruce: No! Eric 's good and Jimmy 's crap. And with that I rest my case.
I'm sorry but I can't make it through ONE full Cream album. There are certainly some great tunes and they had the hard rock thing going pretty much before anyone else in the 60s, but come on dude!
In other Zeppelin news, the Plant replacement singer rumors keep flying. Chris Cornell, Jack White (from the White Stripes) and of course Myles Kennedy have all countered rumors that they are Zep's new vocalist.
But here is the really weird one. Seems that Aerosmith's Steven Tyler actually jammed with the band a couple of weeks ago.
From various stories, here is some more on this:
Aerosmith guitarist Whitford has confirmed Tyler has been singing with the rockers, but is convinced it is part of a plan to win Plant back. He says, "First of all, they did it for fun. I actually think Jimmy (Page, Led Zeppelin guitarist) wanted Steven to come over and play a little bit because, I think, he was trying to light a fire under Robert (Plant)." And Whitford thinks Page wanted to send Plant a message to persuade him to tour with the band: "Come on! Come on, Robert, let's go!"
Whatever. Just don't call it Led Zeppelin!
UPDATE: Wednesday morning the JJ & Lynne Morning Show at 94.7 WCSX (a Detroit radio station) called Jack at his home in London, where he clarified his comments:
"I was just having some fun with the press gallery really… being fairly tongue in cheek.
"The thing about Zeppelin is obviously it's a little bit of jealousy on my part, or more than a little bit because the audience was created by Cream and Jimi Hendrix… this sort of very large audience… then Zeppelin came along and had a very easy ride in that way.
"We were the pioneers and pioneers don’t always get the recognition they deserve. On the other hand, let’s face it: Jimmy Page ain’t no Eric Clapton… no matter what anybody thinks.”
Bruce also had this to say (jokingly) about Zeppelin:
“The only decent guy… the one good guy in that band is dead… so what are you gonna do? The trouble is if you say anything about the establishment… In Britain you mustn’t criticise the Queen or Led Zeppelin.”
The Beatles will put out a video game that allows players to play along with the band's music a la Rock Band, but it won't be a part of that game or Guitar Hero, according to many stories in the press over the weekend.
Apple Corps chief executive Jeff Jones would say that the game will encompass the band's entire career and that the tracks used in the game will be based on the British releases of their albums. Separately, Jones said Apple Corps is still in negotiations to release The Beatles' catalog for digital download, but no date has been set.
Giles Martin, who handled music production of The Beatles' "Love" project with his father George Martin, said that idea will be central to the game. "We are trying to keep to, as much as possible, people playing the songs as though they're playing the originals," Martin said. "It's more of a way for them to interact with what they know very well as opposed to us remixing."
Developers weren't releasing details of the game, which is still in development and won't be available until the holiday season next year. So it's still unclear whether players get to become virtual John Lennon and perform their favorite songs next to virtual Paul McCartney, backed by virtual George Harrison and virtual Ringo Starr.