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Van Halen Extends Reunion Tour Into 2008

11.21.2007

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Van Halen’s long-anticipated, decade-delayed reunion tour with singer David Lee Roth has gone so well that the band has added more dates, stretching the tour into at least March 2008. In addition to a previously announced March 30 show in St. Louis—a make-up date for a previously postponed show—the band has added several other dates in cities across the Midwest and Southeast. The spacing of those concert dates strongly suggests that additional shows will also be added. The expanded schedule bolsters Roth’s previous contentions that the current reunion “is not like the Police—we’re not going to do one tour. The idea is that this will continue on and on.”
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Color Them Fab: Beatles Help! Retrospective Opens at Cleveland’s Rock Hall of Fame

Jerry McCulley
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11.20.2007

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Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame launched its new Help! Behind the Scenes of the Beatles’ Movie retrospective with a members-only reception on November 16. Timed to coincide with Apple’s long-awaited release of the Beatles 1965 feature film on DVD, the exhibit features a wealth of memorabilia that includes George Harrison’s original script, copies of director Richard Lester’s hand-written notes, film posters from around the world, costumes, recorded interviews, and promotional materials.
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Daughtry Dominate American Music Awards

Jerry McCulley
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11.20.2007

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Chris Daughtry may have only made it to finalist on the American Idol show that eventually made him a star, but he was a big winner outright on ABC’s American Music Awards Sunday night. The North Carolina-raised rocker and his self-named band outpaced established stars like Beyonce and Justin Timberlake to win three of the event’s most prestigious honors: Favorite Breakthrough Artist, Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist and Favorite Pop/Rock Album. Winners were chosen by some 1.2 million fans who cast AMA ballots at the show’s website. "(American Idol) didn't make me who I am,” the triumphant Daughtry told reporters backstage. “It just gave me an opportunity to show everybody else who I was." Previous Idol winner Carrie Underwood also took home a trio of AMA awards. – Jerry McCulley
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Weiland’s Memoirs Coming Soon—Maybe

11.19.2007

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Rock vocalist Scott Weiland, who’s known almost as much for his past run-ins with the law as he is for his brilliant voice, may soon sit down and write his life’s story—that is, if he can get over his initial fears about doing it. The former Stone Temple Pilots singer and current Velvet Revolver frontman, said he has a deal with an unnamed publisher to write a tell-all book; one that would surely touch on the singer’s extensive history of drug arrests, as well as chronicle his life as one of the most important figures of Seattle’s Grunge movement of the 1990s. "It's a weird thing," Weiland told reporters backstage at the American Music Awards. "You make a lot of records, write a lot of songs, but all of a sudden you go into a whole different vein, and it's a little bit scary to dive into."
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Frampton and his Signature Les Paul Custom in new Geico Commercial

11.19.2007

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Insurance giant Geico, purveyors of the well-known “Cavemen” and “Gecko” commercials, have now turned to Grammy-award winner Peter Frampton and his signature Gibson Les Paul Custom. Frampton and his guitar are part of the company’s new advertising campaign that will feature celebrities “translating” insurance stories from actual Geico customers. In the spot, which started airing nationwide this past weekend, the Geico customer tells her story to the camera, while Frampton—playing his Les Paul Custom and using his trademark talkbox effect—“translates” her story, and makes it a little more electrified.
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Police Reunion Tour Named 2007’s Best

11.16.2007

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If the Police had any doubts about whether their reunion tour would be successful, they can now lay them to rest for good—it was named the top grossing and top ticket selling tour of 2007 at the 4th annual Billboard Touring Awards this week. It was their first outing in 20 years, and it celebrated the band’s 30th anniversary. They kicked it off with a dazzling appearance at this year’s Grammys, and officially launched the tour in February at West Hollywood’s famed Whisky A Go Go nightclub with a news conference and mini concert. It’s been nonstop ever since.
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Prior Arrests Prevent Velvet Revolver from Touring in Japan

Ellen Mallernee
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11.16.2007

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Velvet Revolver announced on their website today that their shows in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Yokohama— scheduled for the end of this month—have been cancelled. The band's visas were denied because, a release on their website says, "Japanese immigration officials are taking exception with the backgrounds of various band members, which have included arrests." The press release continues, "We want to apologize to our fans in Japan that we won't be able to perform our scheduled concerts. We don't understand why the authorities won't give us visas when they granted them for us in 2005 for what was a successful tour and a great experience. We love Japan and look forward to our return there." Velvet Revolver will resume touring in Australia at the beginning of December in Brisbane, before returning to the U.S. for a much talked-about gig with Alice in Chains at the Gibson Amphitheatre on December 12. —Ellen Mallernee
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Les Paul Receives 2007 National Medal of Arts

11.15.2007

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Musical pioneer and namesake of Gibson’s most iconic guitar, Les Paul, was honored today as one of ten 2007 National Medal of Arts recipients by President George W. Bush at a presentation ceremony in the East Room of the White House. The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government. The Wizard of Waukesha was among 20 honorees, including 10 who received the National Humanities Medal. President Bush presented the medal to Paul “for his innovation as a musician, his pioneering designs of the electric guitar, and his groundbreaking recording techniques that have influenced the development of American jazz, blues, and pop music, and inspired generations of guitarists.” Paul—who is 92 and still plays every Monday night at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club—and other attendees were invited to celebrate with President Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, and Mrs. Lynne Cheney at a reception to honor all recipients.
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Bits & Pieces: Underwood and Urban to Tour, My Chemical Romance Lose Member, Bon Jovi for Governor?, Foos Add Tour Dates, Oasis in Studio

Ellen Mallernee
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11.15.2007

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Country royalty Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban will soon share more than just the top of the charts, when they take on a 24-city tour together this winter, beginning January 31. • My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero took a leave of absence from the band’s U.K. tour, returning home due to a family illness. In the meantime guitar tech Matt Cortez will fill in. That means two MCR member are down for the count; drummer Bob Bryar is out with a wrist injury. • It’s been rumored that New Jersey native Jon Bon Jovi has plans to run for governor in his home state. No dice, says his rep, adding that his day job’s going too well. • The Foo Fighters have announced the first batch of tour dates in support of their new disc Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. Beginning January 23, shows are slotted for Dallas, Memphis, Nashville, Worcester, Philadelphia, and Detroit. • Oasis is back in the studio to record their first album in three years, but say they won’t pull a Radiohead and let fans name their price for the new CD. Liam Gallagher’s exact words to Reuters were that it would be over his “dead body” before Oasis would pull such a stunt. —Ellen Mallernee
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Robot Guitar Contest Videos Hit YouTube!

Ellen Mallernee
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11.14.2007

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If you haven't already checked out Gibson's official Robot Guitar videos, watch them here or search for them on YouTube. Along with last week's announcement of the Robot Guitar, Gibson called for additional Robot Guitar videos to be submitted to YouTube. The challenge is already yielding some hilarious results, and for good reason: the maker of the best short film wins a First Run Limited Edition Robot Guitar. Example A:
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