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Concert Biz ’07: Veterans Triumph, Sales Down Overall

Jerry McCulley
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12.26.2007

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The Police reunion tour was the year’s biggest concert draw—selling a robust 1.8 million tickets to gross $212 million and climbing, according to Billboard’s BoxScore. Other big winners on the live circuit were Genesis, whose own Turn It On Again reunion gigs netted $129 million in just 46 dates, and Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex LoveShow tour, which sold 1.6 million tickets to gross $126.8 million. Yet North American concert grosses were reportedly down 10.2 percent for the year, while the number of concert attendees fell by 19.2 percent, prompting promoter/AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips to ponder that “consumers are not really supporting breaking and mid-level talent. If this trend continues, who will be the headliners of tomorrow?” 2007’s top ten live draws were rounded out by:
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Stars, Admirers Give Ike Turner Three Hour Musical Farewell

Jerry McCulley
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12.26.2007

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Ten days after Ike Turner passed away in his San Diego County home at 76, the pioneering rock and R&B legend was given a loving musical send-off during a three-hour funeral service at the Greater Bethany Community Church of Refuge in the South Los Angeles community of Gardena. Turner’s daughter Mia told the assembled mourners that “Daddy wouldn’t want any of us crying. He would want us to throw a party.” Ike’s eight-piece Kings of Rhythm dutifully obliged, rocking the sanctuary with renditions of some of Turner’s greatest hits, including lively versions of “Proud Mary” and “Nutbush City Limits.” Eulogies were delivered by Phil Spector, who produced Ike and Tina Turner’s epochal “River Deep, Mountain High,” and fellow rock pioneer Little Richard, who confirmed the deep influence Turner’s “Rocket ‘88”?often cited as the first true rock and roll record?had on his own career: “I took that same introduction and made ‘Good Golly, Miss Molly,’” Richard said. “I took that same thing and made a huge hit.” Turner’s ex-wife Tina, with whom he shared a notoriously stormy relationship, did not attend. ?Jerry McCulley
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Jason Bonham on Zep’s Future: “Time will tell”

Jerry McCulley
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12.26.2007

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In his first extensive comments since Led Zeppelin’s much ballyhooed reunion concert in London, drummer Jason Bonham assured Billboard magazine that he remains uncertain about the band’s future. "I'm still the new guy, and I wouldn't know," Bonham said. "There's been no talks except to Jimmy [Page] and Robert [Plant] and John Paul [Jones], just to say thanks for the best Christmas present I could ask for. It really meant a lot to me." Jason Bonham, son of original Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, continued, "Is it gonna be again? Don't be greedy. Just take it for what you've done and be proud to be part of that. If they do it again, of course I would love to. But that's up to them. Only time will tell. If you'd have asked me a year ago, 'Are they gonna do a date next year?,' I'd have gone, 'No way!' So I was proved wrong once before."
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Grammy-Winning Record Producer Joel Dorn Dies at 65

Aidin Vaziri
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12.20.2007

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Joel Dorn, a famed producer and former Atlantic Records staffer, passed away in New York on Monday from a heart attack. He was 65. Dorn’s most famous recordings were Roberta Flack’s Grammy-winning “Killing Me Softly With His Song” and “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face,” but he had also worked with jazz greats Herbie Mann, Max Roach, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Mose Allison, and Les McCann; as well as the Allman Brothers Band’s “Idlewild South” and Don McClean’s “Homeless Brother.” Dorn also helped Bette Midler rise to stardom by producing her debut album. In more recent years, he oversaw jazz reissues at Columbia and Rhino, and formed an independent label, Hyena Records.
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Alanis Morissette’s New Flavors

Aidin Vaziri
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12.19.2007

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Alanis Morissette has recruited former Frou Frou programmer Guy Sigsworth to produce her forthcoming album, Flavors of Entanglement, due next spring. According to Billboard, Sigsworth will help the Canadian singer-songwriter match everything from “organic instruments to hip-hop beats.” Morissette told the magazine the album deals with personal and political upheaval and includes new tracks such as “Not As We” and “Moratorium.” Sigsworth has previously worked with Madonna, Björk, and Seal. In the meantime, Alanis will appear in the science fiction movie, Radio Free Albemuth, and hit the road starting in January with Matchbox Twenty. ?Aidin Vaziri
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Magnetic Fields, Mountain Goats, Blitzen Trapper Among Headliners for Noise Pop 2008

Aidin Vaziri
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12.19.2007

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Noise Pop, the annual San Francisco indie-rock festival that helped make household names out of Modest Mouse, the White Stripes, and Death Cab for Cutie, has announced the initial round of headliners for next year’s event, to be held February 26 through March 2 in various nightclubs. The Magnetic Fields, the Mountain Goats, Cursive, Fleet Foxes, Fu Manchu, Tilly & the Wall, Blitzen Trapper, Kelly Stoltz, Capgun Coup, and Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan’s Gutter Twins are the first ones confirmed, with more names to be added to the lineup in the weeks leading up to the festival. “One of the most rewarding things about the festival is watching the bands grow,” says Kevin Arnold, who started the whole thing in 1993 with just five bands. Badges are on sale now. Visit http://www.noisepop.com/2008/ for more info. ?Aidin Vaziri
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U.K. Festival Promoters Jump The Pond to Vineland

12.17.2007

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An ice storm is currently pummeling the Midwest United States and Christmas preparations are still being made, but already the schedule for summer 2008 is brimming with music festivals, with still more squeezing their way into the game. The latest to emerge is Vineland, scheduled for August 8-10 in Vineland, New Jersey. While many new, large-scale festivals have unsuccessfully tried to gain a solid footing in the U.S. market—Virgin Fest in Baltimore or the recent Echo Fest in Atlanta are prime examples, as it’s unclear whether either will return—industry insiders are giving Vineland a much more serious examination given its promoters: C3 Presents and Festival Republic.
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Photo of the Day: Johnny Shameless & His Minions

12.17.2007

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Johnny Shameless & His Minions are a four-piece death punk band from Singapore who've played together since 1976. This is Johnny, and this photo is delightful.
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Gibson Scoops Hot Water Music Reunion Plans

12.17.2007

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Not all music fans took notice when Gainesville, Florida, punk act Hot Water Music announced they were breaking up in 2006, but the ones who did took the news hard. Well, those fans can now take solace. Next month, Hot Water Music will be playing three reunion shows in Orlando, Chicago, and Sayreville, New Jersey—and the band couldn’t be more excited. “At least for me, it's been a while since I've played anything this aggressive,” explained bassist Jason Black. “It's also a ton of fun to go back and listen to records and fix all of my garbage-ass bass parts from when I was but a wee lad.”
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Keith Richards’ Christmas Classic Re-Released as iTunes Download

12.14.2007

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Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards’ 1978 version of Chuck Berry’s rollicking holiday staple “Run Run Rudolph” has been reissued as a digital download only available on iTunes, a week before Richards’ 64th birthday. The song has been newly paired with Richards’ 2003 cover of Toots and the Maytals’ “Pressure Drop” as a “two-for-one” release.
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