Kiss is working on a new studio album, their first since the disappointing “Psycho Circus.” Despite the fact that this future effort will not include original members Ace Frehley (guitar) and Peter Criss (drums), it is supposed to be a return to Kiss’ ‘70s sound, which was their most creative and commercially successful period. Classic rock fans welcome this news and hope reality star Gene Simmons (“Gene Simmons Family Jewels”) and Paul Stanley keep their promise of producing a CD that measures up to the band’s past standards. The Kiss Army is anxiously awaiting this future release.
Ron Wood has been in the news a lot lately. The Rolling Stones guitarist is going through a divorce from his wife of 23 years, Jo, and is in a relationship with a 20-year-old Russian beauty, Ekaterina Ivanova . Wood, 61, has also entered a rehab center to battle a long-time on again off again alcohol problem. The classic rock world wishes him well and hopes the Rolling Stones threat to kick him out of the band is merely a much-needed wake up call. His gritty guitar sound complements Keith Richards’ sound perfectly and if the rumor of a new Rolling Stones tour is correct, it would not be the same without him. He will also need the money for his divorce settlement.
There also is the rumored Faces reunion (Wood’s former band) that went up in smoke. My sources tell me that Wood, vocalist Rod Stewart, keyboardist Ian Mclagen and drummer Kenney Jones could not get along during rehearsals long enough to plan a tour and/or studio album. What a shame. A reunion of Faces, an influential band that never received its just due critically, would have been the concert or CD of the year.
Eddie Van Halen, fresh off a highly successful tour with original vocalist David Lee Roth and his son Wolfgang on bass (replacing Michael Anthony), is planning a studio album and new tour with this edition of the band. After his planned wedding (June 27) to publicist Janie Liszewski, Van Halen and the boys will get back into the studio. Diamond Dave’s return to the fold might inspire the band to produce a new classic. Roth’s original tenure with the band was its musical high point. I am glad to see that Van Halen and the eccentric and flamboyant Roth are getting along. The band’s chemistry with Roth in the mix is pure magic.
We all know that the three members of Led Zeppelin: Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones plus Jason Bonham (son of deceased drummer John Bonham) played a highly successful and critically acclaimed reunion show at the O2 arena in London on December 10, 2007. After the buzz about this show would not subside, Page tried to convince the rest of the participants to embark on an extended tour and possibly release new material. Zeppelin fans were chomping at the bit until they heard that Plant was reluctant to join forces again, partially because of his successful collaboration with Allison Krauss. Plant also expressed doubts that the band could maintain consistency at their age on a nightly basis over a long tour.
A rumor that just will not die is that Page and Jeff Beck, who played together in The Yardbirds for eight months in the ‘60s, are planning to launch a new version of the band. The pair only played on three Yardbirds tracks together: “Psycho Daisies,” Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” and “Stroll On.” Page and Beck teaming up for any project is a guitar match made in heaven. Led Zeppelin was billed as the New Yardbirds in its embryonic days, as Page owned the contractual rights of his former band and had to fulfill tour obligations. If the Beck-Page dream project comes to fruition, guitar fans will be treated to a once in a lifetime rock and roll experience.
This summer is a goldmine for classic rock concertgoers. The mega show is of course Paul McCartney at Citifield, the Mets’ new home on Friday, July 17 and Saturday, July 18. It shows you how some things come full circle in life. The Beatles, McCartney’s former group (Remember them?), were the first band to play Shea Stadium in 1965. Now “Macca” is starting a new era with his shows at the new home of the Amazing Mets.
The Jones Beach Concert series is chock full of great shows like Def Leppard, Poison and Cheap Trick on July 8, Judas Priest and Whitesnake on July 12, Lynyrd Skynyrd on August 2, Crosby, Stills and Nash on August 8, Loggins and Messina/ Poco on August 23 and the Allman Brothers on August 27. At the time of this writing, Aerosmith/ZZ Top and Bad Company/the Doobie Brothers, two fantastic pairings, already took place. There are many other shows in the area in all types of venues. Keep your eyes and ears open for more news as it develops.
“American Idol” finalist Adam Lambert is in the running to be the new Queen lead vocalist in light of Paul Rodgers departing and singing with Bad Company. Brian May(guitar) and Roger Taylor (drums) were blown away by Lambert’s Freddie Mercury-like vocals on the “Idol” finale and despite denials all around, this might really happen.
Bad Company- Rodgers (vocals), Mick Ralphs (guitar) and Simon Kirke (drums) are currently touring. It has been well worth the wait. They had reunited in 1998 with the late Boz Burell (bass) and recorded four new songs that were included on a retrospective double CD set.
Ralphs, who has been out of the limelight for a while, is supposed to reteam with Ian Hunter to reform Mott the Hoople. There are a series of shows scheduled for the fall in England. If the shows are a hit, the band might take their tour to the U.S. For someone who was out of the rock scene for so long, this is surely a nice way to test the waters.
There is tremendous positive buzz for Deep Purple – History, Hits and Highlights 1968-1976, a new double DVD. It traces the band through all its incarnations. (A review will be forthcoming.)
Sky “Sunlight” Saxon, lead singer of the Seeds, one of the 1960s prominent garage bands, died on June 25 at the age of 71 in Austin, Texas. The Seeds are best known for “Pushin’ Too Hard,” (1966) a garage rock anthem and a favorite of the Doors, the Byrds and Love.
In closing, the classic rock world mourns Michael Jackson – a performer who defied musical categorization. He sang, “Say Say Say” and “The Girl is mine” with McCartney. He also rocked along with guitar greats Van Halen on “Beat It” and Slash on “Black or White,” “Give in to me,” “D.S.” and the prophetic “Morphine.” Slash also played guitar on stage with the “King of Pop” on numerous occasions including the “Dangerous” world tour and the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special. Rest in peace Michael, you will be sorely missed.