Beatles’ Engineer Alan Parsons Project Tour Set
by Steve Smith, 01/17/2013
Alan Parsons was 18 in 1967 when he got a job at Abbey Road as an assistant engineer. His first credit on a record was on the last album The Beatles recorded as a group, “Abbey Road.” He got his first Grammy nomination for engineering Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” which was also recorded at Abbey Road.
By 1975, he was in a position to say no to Floyd when they asked him to engineer “Wish You Were Here.” Instead he formed The Alan Parsons Project.
The group, that included singer-songwriter Eric Woolfson, involved an ever-changing group of British progressive rock musicians, mostly session players. The group, powered by such hits as “Eye in the Sky” and “Time,” went on to sell more than 50 million records. The group called it quits in 1990, although Parsons has toured a couple of times under the group’s name.
The Alan Parsons Live Project will launch The Greatest Hits Tour, a rare American jaunt consisting of eight shows on Feb. 14 at the Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce, Fla. Among the stops is the Boulder Station Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Feb. 23 before wrapping it up the next day at the Uptown Theatre in Napa. After that, The Alan Parsons Live Project will tour Europe March 15-30.
MORE ON BOWIE’S COMEBACK
Tony Visconti, the man who produced most of David Bowie’s albums since “Space Oddity” in 1969, told Britain’s Telegraph that he and the 66-year-old Thin White Duke recorded 29 songs for what became Bowie’s first album in a decade, “The Next Day,” that will be released March 12. Fourteen of those 29 songs made the album, with three more to be included on the deluxe edition.
Talking about his friend who pretty much retired after suffering a heart attack in 2004 and who underwent subsequent heart surgery, he added, “Bowie has found what he wants to do. He wants to make records. Nothing else.”
Visconti talked further to Rolling Stone, saying, “All these rumors started going around about his health. Every time I had lunch with him, or coffee with him. my dear old friend was looking really good. But music didn’t interest him (anymore), until two years ago. That’s when he made the call.
He said, ‘How would you like to make some demos?’ I was a little shocked, quite honestly. It was just so casual.”
Visconti continued, “He just said, ‘I feel like writing again. In April of 2011 we went into a downtown New York studio. We only worked for two week periods. We would take as long as two months off after each period, and he would go off and write more stuff.”
BEYONCE & DESTINY’S CHILD TO REUNITE
Beyonce (Knowles) and the group that blasted her to superstardom, Destiny’s Child, will reunite onstage when Beyonce headlines the halftime show at Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, according to Us Weekly.
The trio, which includes Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams formed in 1990 in Houston (Williams joined in 2000), will release its first new music in eight years, Beyonce confirmed.
Sources say that Beyonce will kick off her halftime stint by herself before bringing out the other two gals to perform a short medley of Destiny’s Child’s hits, as well as their new single, “Nuclear,” which will be included on a new compilation album, “Love Songs,” that will be released on Jan. 29. Then, Beyonce will finish the remainder of the set by herself for a big splashy finale that will see her premiere another new song, this one from her next upcoming thus-untitled solo CD.
NEW BOB SEGER TOUR
Detroit rocker Bob Seger and his Silver Bullet Band will launch the first leg of their 2013 Rock and Roll Never Forgets Tour on Feb. 27 at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio. The 11-date jaunt consists of six U.S. dates and five in Canada and wraps on April 2 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
No information about the other upcoming legs of the tour has been announced.
Seger, who formed The Silver Bullet Band in 1974, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and The Songwriters Hall last year. His 1975 LP, “Beautiful Loser” went 2 x platinum, while “Night Moves” from 1976 and 1978’s “Stranger in Town” sold 6 x platinum.
His 1980 CD, “Against the Wind” was certified 5 x platinum and four of his five studio albums since, except 1995’s “It’s a Mystery,” also went platinum and “Mystery” went gold.
MOTOWN LEGENDS SET FOR OBAMA INAUGURATION
Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder are but two of the stars set to perform at the balls celebrating President Obama’s inauguration, the White House announced. Other performers at various balls include Alicia Keys, Usher, Brad Paisley, Marc Anthony, John Legend and Katy Perry. James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce will perform at Obama’s actual swearing in on the steps of the capitol on Jan. 19.
STEVE HOWE QUITS ASIA
Guitarist Steve Howe of prog-rock legends Yes, who formed the side project supergroup Asia in 1981 with ELP drummer Carl Palmer, Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes and singer-bassist John Wetton of King Crimson and Uriah Heep, has left that group.
In a statement on his website, the 65-year-old Londoner said he left the group in order to concentrate on his other projects that include an upcoming American tour of Yes. That ambitious 25-date jaunt (not including MSC Cruise Lines’ “Cruise to the Edge” sea voyage from Ft. Lauderdale March 25-30) will see the band performing three albums in their entirety, 1971’s “The Yes Album,” 1972’s “Close to the Edge” and 1977’s “Going for the One.”
That tour stops at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown L.A. on March 6 and at Pechanga Resort in Temecula, California, on March 8.
Asia, meanwhile, announced that young unknown British guitarist Sam Coulson will take Howe’s place, although no shows have been scheduled since the group’s U.K. tour in December was cancelled due to a severe case of E. coli food poisoning that hit Palmer, marking the first time in 47 years that he was forced to cancel a performance.
NEW CROSBY, STILLS & NASH TOUR
Those iconic folk-rock warhorses, Crosby, Stills and Nash, who formed in late 1968 in the Hollywood Hills (its seeds can be traced to a party at Mama Cass Elliot’s house), are once again hitting the road, the band announced.
The trio that emerged from The Byrds (Crosby), Stills (The Buffalo Springfield) and The Hollies (Nash) are undertaking a 13-date run mostly across Florida and the South from May 5-25, before touring Germany June 20 through July 2 with a couple of tour-ending shows in Paris at the Olympia on July 4-5.
THE MAVERICKS’ CD POSTPONED AGAIN
Country pop band The Mavericks, that formed in Miami in 1989, have again bumped back the release date for “In Time,” its first album in a decade since the group broke up in 2003 and reunited last year. The five-some, fronted by velvet-voiced Raul Malo, initially scheduled the album to come out last September. Then it was bumped to Jan. 29, but it is now set to be released Feb. 26.
The group has an interesting month this month. They’ve got a couple of dates in Nashville this weekend, including at the Grand Ole Opry. Then, they’re off to Glasgow, Scotland for a gig at the Royal Concert Hall before returning to New York City for a show at the Bowery Ballroom on the 29th.
FINALLY, OZZY AND SABBATH HAVE ALBUM TITLE
Black Sabbath still doesn’t have an exact release date for their first album with Ozzy Osbourne in 35 years, but they do have the month and its title.
The guys settled on “13” as the title and June as the month. They also have some live dates set. Sabbath will be touring Australia and New Zealand in April, followed by an appearance at Ozzfest Japan in May.
KEITH URBAN JOINED BY JOHN TRAVOLTA
Country music star Keith Urban, an Australian, was performing at the star-packed G’Day USA charity event at the Marriott at L.A. Live in downtown L.A. when he was joined by non-Aussie John Travolta, who was honored as a Goodwill Ambassador for Australia (his pal, former honoree Olivia Newton-John was in attendance). The two then performed a duet on The Beatles’ “Yesterday.” Australian pop hit-makers Air Supply were also among the performers.
SOCAL PUNK FEST SET
The lineup for the Musink Tattoo Convention and Music Festival at the O.C. Fairgrounds, March 8-10, includes such veteran punk, rockabilly and psychobilly acts as Bad Religion, The Vandals, The Reverend Horton Heat, T.S.O.L., Guttermouth, Pennywise and Lucero.
SHINDIG! HOST/FAMED ’60 s L.A. DJ JIMMY O’NEILL DIES
Jimmy O’Neill, the first DJ on the air after KRLA switched from country western to rock and roll in 1959 when he was still a teenager, and later the co-creator with Chuck Barris and host of the ABC prime time music show, “Shindig!,” died at his West Hollywood home at 73, according to a post on his Facebook page from his daughter Katy. His son, James, said his father had diabetes and heart problems.
KRLA, joined by KHJ and KFWB, all AM stations in Los Angeles, and their stable of DJs, attained mammoth popularity and influence in the rock music scene of the ’60 s. O’Neill, Wink Martindale, Bob Eubanks, Dave “The Hullaballooer” Hull, the “Real” Don Steele, “Emperor” Bob Hudson, Sam Riddle, Robert W. Morgan, “Reb” Foster, B. Mitch Reed, Roger Christian (who wrote hit songs at the time with Brian Wilson), Casey Kasem, Dick Biondi, Art Laboe (still on the air with a syndicated show at age 87), Johnny Hayes and others became big stars, many going into television, including O’Neill.
“Shindig!” ran weekly on ABC from September 1964 through January 1966 and featured virtually every major pop, rock and soul act in the business, including The Rolling Stones, Herman’s Hermits, The Beach Boys, James Brown, The Byrds, Leslie Gore, Sonny and Cher, Leslie Gore, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Supremes, The Turtles and the show’s first guests, The Righteous Brothers.
Such was O’Neill’s celebrity that he voiced an animated caricature of himself called Jimmy O’Neillstone on a December 1965 episode of the prime time cartoon series, “The Flintstones,” titled “Shinrock A-Go-Go” that saw him introduce guests The Beau Brummels (as The Beau Brummelstones) and Fred Flintstone doing the latest dance craze, the Flintstone Frantic.
Billy Hinsche of Dino, Desi and Billy thanked O’Neill on his Facebook page, for “giving us the opportunity to do his groundbreaking show on May 12, 1965.”
Donna Loren, who starred in five of the Frankie and Annette beach musical comedies, including “Beach Blanket Bingo” and was a regular on “Shindig!,” appearing in at least 27 episodes, said in an email when she saw him at an event a couple of years ago at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood celebrating “Shindig!, “I was happy for him to be recognized and honored for his contribution to our pop culture; furthermore, delighted to hear his voice resonate as richly as it had in those golden days.”
“It should also be noted that Jimmy O’Neill began booking ’50 s beatnik hangout Pandora’s Box (Sunset Strip) in 1962 and with that, pretty much started the teenage nightclub trend during the ’60 s that would follow in ’63 when Bob Eubanks opened Cinnamon Cinder and in ’64 when the Whisky A Go Go opened. Jimmy’s club was first, and he did it by booking local acts just breaking then, such as Jackie DeShannon, Dobie Gray and The Beach Boys, who did a residency there for about a month,” emailed Dominick Priore, author of “Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock ‘n Roll’s Last Stand in Hollywood.”
Among the recently released albums, digital reissues and deluxe box sets are “Fade,” the 13th studio album in 27 years from New Jersey indie outfit Yo La Tengo; “Beautiful” is the album that soul singer Teena Marie was recording at the time of her death the day after Christmas, 2010, that her daughter worked on to its completion; “Far Away Places: Live at 54 BELOW” from Broadway star Patti LuPone; “Ziggy Marley in Concert” from the reggae scion’s 2012 world tour and Johnny Mathis’ remastered 1984 album, “A Special Part of Me – Expanded Edition” with two bonus tracks.
“Live from Stern Grove Festival” captures 75-year-old Latin jazz percussionist Pete Escovedo in concert last year; “Greatest Hits Live 1” from Hank Williams Sr.; an import, “Vol. 1-2 Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music” from Ray Charles; “It’s The Talk Of The Town” from Stan Kenton and his orchestra in 1953; a CD/DVD from 1979, “In Session at Paradise Studio” from J.J. Cale that includes live takes on his compositions “Cocaine,” “After Midnight” and “Crazy Mama” with his pal Leon Russell sitting in; a 2-CD 24-track import, “Andy Williams Swings the Great American Songbook;” and “Round About Midnight” from Miles Davis.
Among the new vinyl issues are “Clear Spot” from Captain Beefheart; “Young, Loud & Snotty” by punkers The Dead Boys, led by Stiv Bators, who was hit by a taxi in Paris in 1990 and killed; “Dilate” from indie rock-folkie Ani DeFranco; and “Le Vie En Rose” from French cabaret singer Edith Piaf, who died of liver cancer at her villa on the French Riviera at 47.
Box sets just out include “Schenker, Michael – Temple of Rock: Live in Europe Limited Deluxe Edition” from the former lead guitarist for The Scorpions and UFO; and a 4-CD pack, “Special Edition,” from jazz drummer-pianist-composer Jack DeJohnette.
Recent DVDs and Blu-rays include “The Carpenters – Live Rarities,” recorded in 1971-1972; “The Ronnie Lane Band: Live at Rockpalast,” from The Small Faces bassist-singer recorded on the German TV show in 1980 and featuring original Rolling Stones pianist Ian Stewart (also available on CD); “Live: Skeletons & Majesties” from German speed metal vets Gamma Ray; “Al Green – Let’s Stay Together – The Broadcast Archives;” “Willie Nelson Live in Concert;” Brit prog jazz-rockers “Colosseum – In Concert” and “10 cc – In Concert.”
NOW PLAYING Classic acts from ’50 s, ’60 s and ’70 s continue to perform. Here’s what one of them is doing.
Blues and rock band Hot Tuna is a spinoff group from legendary San Francisco psychedelic rockers The Jefferson Airplane that lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, whose solos defined the Bay Area’s trademark acid rock sound, and distinctive bassist Jack Cassidy formed in 1969 while still flying in The Airplane.
The Airplane broke up in 1972, mostly because Kaukonen and Cassidy quit to pursue a career as Hot Tuna.
While The Airplane, led by singer-rhythm guitarist and prime composer Paul Kantner, singer-songwriter Marty Balin and singer-songwriter Grace Slick, morphed into The Jefferson Starship and had such major hits as “Ride the Tiger,” “Miracles,” “Count on Me,” and “Jane,” while registering nine gold and platinum albums through 1984, when Kantner left.
However, the rest of the band continued on simply as Starship and continued to score hits like “We Built This City,” “Sara,” and the 1987 soft pop smash “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” by Albert Hammond and Diane Warren that topped Billboard’s Hot 100 pop chart, as well as its adult contemporary chart and also went No. 1 in Canada, the U.K., and Ireland. Slick left in 1988 and retired from music the following year to become a full-time artist after The Jefferson Airplane reunited for an album and one final tour.
Kantner fired up The Jefferson Starship again in 1992 with guitarist Slick Aguilar and has been leading that ever since. Former Quicksilver Messenger Service co-founding singer-guitarist David Freiberg joined in 2005.
Meanwhile, Hot Tuna has carried with a couple of breaks here and there for the past 40 years. The band has never had a hit album or single but they have a very loyal and devoted fan base. The group, still led by Kaukonen, 72, and Cassidy, 68, has been content to perform in intimate clubs for years and perform either as The Acoustic Hot Tuna or The Electric Hot Tuna.
Hot Tuna have a few dozen concert dates scheduled this year as does Kaukonen as a solo artist. Kaukonen is performing on Jan. 27 at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, north of San Diego; at the SoHo in Santa Barbara on Jan. 29; and has shows at 8 and 10 p.m. on Feb. 1-2 at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica.
The Acoustic Hot Tuna will be on the road throughout February and into early March and also throughout June. The Electric Hot Tuna will play five shows back east during the last week in July.
Interestingly, the group has an acoustic gig at the Fur Peace Station in Pomeroy, Ohio on Sept. 21 and an electric show there coming up on Nov. 9. Both of these shows are already sold out.
Steve Smith writes a new Classic Pop, Rock and Country Music News column every week. It can be read in its entirety on www.presstelegram.com. Like, recommend or share the column on Facebook. Contact him by email at Classicpopmusicnews@gmail.com