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Rancid Begin Work on First Album in Five Years

Russell Hall
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01.17.2008

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Following a lengthy hiatus, California-based punk band Rancid have entered the studio to begin work on the band’s first album since 2003’s Indestructible. Slated for release later this year, the as-yet-untitled album is being produced by the group’s long-time friend Brett Gurewitz. During their five-year downtime, the members of Rancid have hardly been idle. Guitarist Lars Frederiksen recorded his second solo CD, Viking, in 2004, and the following year singer Tim Armstrong’s side-band, the Transplants, released a disc titled Haunted Cities. Additionally, 2007 saw the release of an Armstrong solo disc (A Poet’s Life), while bassist Matt Freeman split his time between work with the Transplants and touring as a guest player with Social Distortion. In a prepared press release, representations of Rancid promised the new CD will feature “all the hard knocks and big wins of lives lived prodigiously.” —Russell Hall
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Widespread Panic Join Efforts to Help Rebuild New Orleans

Russell Hall
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01.17.2008

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Veteran jam rockers Widespread Panic have joined the efforts to rebuild New Orleans in the long-standing wake of Hurricane Katrina. Under the auspices of the Make It Right Foundation’s “The Pink Project,” the Athens, Georgia-based band is sponsoring the construction of a house in the Lower 9th Ward. The Make It Right Foundation’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for the redevelopment of a safe and healthy neighborhood in the 9th Ward area, with an initial goal of building 150 homes. Other sponsors include The Home Depot, Getty Images, and Neighbor Works America. On January 10, Widespread Panic began offering an advance download of a new track titled “Walk on the Flood”—accessible at LiveWidespreadPanic.com—in exchange for a $10 donation to the Make It Right organization. The song will also appear on the band’s new studio album, Free Somehow, which is slated for release on February 12. For more information, click here. —Russell Hall
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The Dead Boys Come to Life on DVD of 1986 Reunion Show

Russell Hall
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01.17.2008

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Late ’70s punk band the Dead Boys are being resurrected, at least on DVD. MVD Entertainment is making available a 1986 reunion show—staged on Halloween night at the Ritz in Manhattan—that features original group members Stiv Bators, Cheetah Chrome, Jeff Magnum, Johnny Blitz, and Jimmy Zero ripping into a host of Dead Boys classics plus a tear-the-roof-off cover of the Stooges’ “Search and Destroy.” A favorite band of the late Joey Ramone (who appears on the DVD introducing the reunion event), the Dead Boys were hailed by Trouser Press as a group that “earned their lasting international reputation by out-punking everyone else on [New York’s] Bowery circuit,” and by “uncovering new levels of violence, nihilism, masochism, and vulgarity.” Bonus material on the DVD includes a vintage interview with Bators—who, sadly, died in 1990 of injuries sustained when he was hit by a taxicab in Paris. —Russell Hall
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Video of the Day: Johnny Rotten on Judge Judy

Ellen Mallernee
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01.15.2008

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In November of 1997, an episode of Judge Judy aired on national television, wherein Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) goes head to head in small claims court with a former drummer. After touring briefly with Lydon to promote Psycho's Path, Robert Williams took Lydon to court with charges of criminal battery and claimed damages of $5,000 in lost wages. What did the cantakerous Judge Judy Sheindlin ultimately rule? See for yourself. And be sure to check out the man clad it black, just to Lydon's right. That's Gibson correspondent Jerry McCulley!
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New Report: Beatles Nearly Recorded Revolver in Memphis

Jerry McCulley
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01.15.2008

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Deanie Parker, former publicist for Mecca Stax, now claims in Mojo magazine that the Beatles had booked two weeks at the Memphis, Tennessee-based studios in April, 1966 to record their seminal Revolver album. The plans were reportedly nixed over well-founded security concerns. Indeed, John Lennon’s infamous “bigger than Christ” comments to British journalist Maureen Cleave would cause a violent backlash in the South when they were reprinted in an American teen magazine a few months later. "I was seeing dollar signs,” Parker said. “I talked to [Stax founder] Jim Stewart and said, 'If the Beatles do come, will you give me permission to take the carpet up, cut it into squares and sell it?'" With the exception of a few isolated sessions late in their career, all of Fab Four’s epochal recordings were made at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios in London. It’s also claimed that the Fabs were offered secure accommodations in Memphis from another famous local musician—none other than Elvis Presley. —Jerry McCulley
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Buddy Holly’s Widow Gets Peggy Sued

Jerry McCulley
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01.15.2008

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Buddy Holly’s widow Maria Elena has initiated civil action against Peggy Sue Gerron, the woman who inspired the singer’s 1957 hit as a 17-year-old Lubbock, Texas high school student. Holly’s widow is demanding that Gerron’s memoirs, Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue?, be withdrawn because they are filled with falsehoods and inaccuracies. Mrs. Holly’s attorneys served Gerron with a cease-and-desist letter that claims “confusion and tarnishment of Buddy Holly’s name and Mrs. Holly’s reputation are likely to result from this unauthorized book.” Holly’s classic tune was originally named after his niece Cindy Lou, but after a troubled recording session was rewritten by Holly and Crickets’ drummer Jerry Allison, who suggested the name change—and married Peggy Sue Gerron not long after. “It's very interesting that this woman makes up all these stories,” Maria Elena Holly said in a phone interview from her Dallas home. “He never, never considered Peggy Sue a friend.” —Jerry McCulley
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Video of the Day: Les Paul in a Coors Commerical from 1997

Ellen Mallernee
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01.10.2008

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Video of the Day: Les Paul in a Coors Commerical from 1997
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Happy Birthday, Jimmy Page!

Ellen Mallernee
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01.09.2008

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Happy 64th Birthday, Jimmy! At the 2007 Classic Rock Roll of Honour awards this past November, Robert Plant best summed up the unbelievable influence and effortless talent of his Led Zeppelin bandmate in this video tribute. Page won the award for Living Legend.
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Tupelo, Graceland Events Mark Elvis Presley’s Birthday

Jerry McCulley
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01.08.2008

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The King would have been 73 today, a milestone that’s being marked by public events in Elvis Presley’s Mississippi birthplace as well as in Memphis, the city that both launched him to fame and became his beloved home. In Tupelo, a Mississippi Blues Trail marker will be unveiled at the Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum, an event sponsored by the organization in conjunction with the Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Heritage Trails Program, the Mississippi Blues Commission, and Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau. “By all accounts, Elvis Presley was the single greatest influence on modern day rock and roll in America, and much of his musical inspiration drew on the Mississippi blues,” Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said on Friday.
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That’s Captain Dickinson to You; Iron Maiden Singer To Pilot Tour Plane

Jerry McCulley
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01.08.2008

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Rock bands have leased large commercial aircraft to stage tours for decades?and not necessarily as ego trips, but rather the most efficient and economic way to transport their entourage from one city to the next. But who could imagine Eddie Vedder or Mick Jagger at the controls, wrestling a heavily-laden jetliner into the sky? Iron Maiden for one?their 2008 world tour will not only be traveled via a chartered Astraeus Airlines Boeing 757 emblazoned with a likeness of their skeletal mascot Eddie, but captained by none other than lead singer Bruce Dickinson. And if the idea of Dickinson himself piloting the band’s 113-ton 757 evokes a tragic-comic Spinal Tap-meets-Airplane! scenario to some, be advised the singer/former world-class fencer was not only fully trained as commercial jet pilot by a British Airways Captain some years ago, but in 2006 piloted another 757 to Cyprus on a volunteer mission to fly home some 200 British refugees of hostilities between Israel and Lebanon. Dickinson claims he came up with the idea of turning the Boeing into a de facto tour bus last year, accomplished by removing the last 10 rows of seats to facilitate transporting the band’s equipment. “We will be packing as much of the show into the plane as we possibly can,” said Dickinson of his double-duties on the tour. “And it allows me to combine two of my greatest passions: music and flying!” —Jerry McCulley
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