Posted by Administrator on June 24th, 2015
Paul McCartney dedicated the Beatles' song "The Long and Winding Road" to the nine black civilians killed by a young white man at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., on June 17 before performing it at Delaware's Firefly Festival on June 19. "Let's take a moment to pray for peace and harmony amongst people of different colors in the world," McCartney told the crowd. The shooter, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, has reportedly told police he shot the victims with the intention of starting a race war. - New Musical Express, 6/20/15...... In related news, actor-turned politician Ben Jones, who portrayed Cooter Davenport in the 1979-85 TV series The Dukes of Hazzard, is defending the continued use of the U.S. Confederate flag, which has come under attack since the Charleston massacre. Appearing on the CNN show Legal View on June 23, the 73-year-old Jones insisted the flag is widely used to honor those who fought for the Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War and represent Southern family values -- and isn't intended to offend. "Through all of that (in the aftermath of the Civil War), through all of those resentments, through all of that segregation, and white supremacy and all that nonsense, we've come through that," Jones contended. "We're not here to offend anybody." Jones, who marched in the civil rights movement, also claimed the use of the flag on The Dukes of Hazzard's iconic 1969 Dodge Charger, nicknamed the "General Lee", was never meant to offend and was always used in a "positive context." Jones also owns two "Cooter's Place" retail stores in Virginia and Tennesse, and says he refuses to bow to pressure to stop selling items featuring the Confederate flag and associated memorabilia in his shops. Despite Jones' stance, executives at Warner Bros., which owns the rights to the series, announced they would no longer license toy cars featuring the General Lee with the flag on its roof. "Warner Bros. Consumer Products has one licensee producing die-cast replicas and vehicle model kits featuring the General Lee with the confederate flag on its roof - as it was seen in the TV series. We have elected to cease the licensing of these product categories," the studio said in a statement. - WENN.com, 6/24/15...... A rep for Brian Wilson announced on June 24 that Wilson is postponing his planned U.K. tour in September due to the success of his new biopic, Love and Mercy. "Due to the overwhelming success of Brian Wilson's movie Love & Mercy which has opened in the U.S. to critical acclaim, Brian has had to postpone his current UK tour planned for September 2015 due to commitments in the U.S.," the rep said, adding that the Beach Boys mastermind will be back in the U.K. and Europe in 2016 with a string of concerts to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beach Boys' seminal 1966 album, Pet Sounds. In a statement, Wilson said he was "looking forward to seeing all his fans" in the U.K. and Europe next year, and that "this will be my final European tour." "I hope you all enjoy my movie when it opens in the UK on July 10th," he added. - Billboard, 6/24/15...... A new David Bowie deluxe box set called Five Years 1969-1973 featuring 12 CD's or 13 LP's of all the music recorded by the intriguing rocker during this period is due on Sept. 25, 2015. The set will include six remastered albums, including David Bowie (aka Space Oddity in the US), The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Aladdin Sane and Pin Ups. Two live albums, Live Santa Monica '72 and Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture Soundtrack, along with a 2003 stereo mix of Ziggy Stardust will be included, as well as a compilation disc, titled Re:Call 1, with non-album tracks and rarities recorded between 1969-73. It is described as "the first of a series of career-spanning releases from Bowie." - NME, 6/23/15...... In other Bowie-related news, actor Michael C. Hall, best known for his TV roles on Six Feet Under and Dexter, has been tapped to play a role once famously inhabited by the Thin White Duke when he stars as the alien Thomas Newton in the off-Broadway production of "Lazarus" this winter. "Lazarus" is based on author Walter Tevis' classic 1963 British sci-fi novel The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Bowie appeared as Newton in Nicolas Roeg's cult 1976 film of the same name. It remains unclear whether Lazarus will be a full-fledged musical or a play with songs. However, the production will feature songs specially composed by Bowie as well as new arrangements of previously recorded tracks. "Lazarus" will launch preview performances beginning Nov. 18 at New York Theatre Workshop, with official opening night set for Dec. 7. - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/23/15...... Queen has announced they will launch their own brand of beer to mark this year's 40th anniversary of their seminal 1975 hit, "Bohemian Rhapsody." Aptly named Queen Bohemian Lager, the beverage is described as a "golden hoppy" beer and the bottles will carry an image from their A Night at the Opera album, from which their hit "Bohemian Rhapsody" was lifted, and the distinctive Queen crest, which was designed by the late frontman Freddie Mercury while he was a student at Ealing Art College. Brewed in Czech Republic (Bohemia, of course) the beverage will hit shelves in Europe this summer ahead of a planned worldwide rollout. A 12-pack of 330ml bottles are priced at £20 ($31) and a crate will cost £36 ($56). In 2013, Queen released its own vodka brand, Killer Queen, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their hit of the same name. - Billboard, 6/24/15...... Former Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters has long supported the nonprofit organization MusiCorps, which aids injured service members and their families and teaches veterans how to play instruments as an integral part of their rehabilitation. Now Rogers has announced he will serve as host of the 2015 MusiCorps Music Heals benefit concert, set for Oct. 16 at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. "The work I have done over the last few years with these men and women has been some of the most rewarding work I have ever done," Waters said in a statment. Also on the bill are such artists as Billy Corgan, Sheryl Crow and Tom Morello. Meanwhile, Waters is set to headline the Newport Folk Festival, his first-ever appearance at the Rhode Island fest, on July 24. - Billboard, 6/23/15...... Former Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar has responded to a recent Billboard interview with Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen, who claimed that he had to show former VH bassist Michael Anthony how to play all his parts and that this is a big part of why he's no longer in the band. Posting on his Facebook page on June 19, Hagar said, "For Eddie to say he had to show [Michael] what to play and had to teach him all those songs, that is the biggest line of bullshit I've ever heard in my life. I was in that band for eleven years, there was never a video camera involved of Eddie showing him what to play.... I don't know why they go after him like that." Hagar added that Anthony was "the most loyal guy in the band. He was the first guy there at rehearsal, the last guy to leave.... [He was] a hundred percent dedicated; never did anything to hurt those guys. And they try to hurt him again, and again, and again." Hagar currently plays with Anthony in The Circle, which also features drummer Jason Bonham and guitarist Vic Johnson. Meanwhile, Anthony has also responded to Eddie's charges, but in a more diplomatic manner: "I am proud to say that my bass playing and vocals helped create our sound. I've always chosen to take the high road and stay out of the never-ending mudslinging, because I believe that it ultimately ends up hurting the Van Halen fans." - Billboard, 6/19/15...... Who do you think the ultimate '70s singer-songwriter is -- Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell or Paul Simon? After their editors chose James Taylor, using such criteria as "Most '70s Album Title" and "'70s Lyric Best Suited For a Yearbook Quote," Billboard magazine would like your opinion. - Billboard, 6/22/15...... In other James Taylor news, the singer says he's OK with the music streaming business, but he believes artists deserve 50 percent of the profits. "If someone's going to be making money off of my recorded music, I think that I should be getting half of that money that they're making because I'm the one who generated the product," Taylor said in a recent interview. "What I'd like to see about Spotify is how much money is the company making relative to what the artist is making? For every dollar they take in, they should be giving 50 cents to the people who actually recorded the music." Taylor recently released his first studio LP in 13 years, Before This World, which has soared to the top of the charts and become his first No. 1 Billboard album. He'll launch a tour July 2 in Allentown, Penn., then on Aug. 6 he'll perform at Boston's Fenway Park on Aug. 6 with Bonnie Raitt, where he will sing his baseball-themed song "Angels of Fenway." - AP, 6/21/15...... In a recent interview with Planet Rock, Kiss bassist Gene Simmons once again criticized fans for downloading music illegally and said the practice is "killing the next Elvis and the Beatles." Simmons said he feels artists who wish to follow in Kiss's footsteps may never achieve the same notoriety as listeners prefer not to support them financially. "I blame the fans. Because the fans have decided en masse -- in other words, the masses have decided that they should get free music, download, fileshare," said Simmons. "You're killing the next Elvis [Presley] and The Beatles and the next Kiss and the next whoever, because you have to give your music away for free." He added that "the talent is out there... [but] the fans killed the infrastructure." In a 2014 interview, Simmons accused current record labels of failing to adequately support rock artists these days and declared the genre to be "finally dead," but praised the labels of his day because they "gave bands money that they never had to pay back -- ever!" - New Musical Express, 6/21/15...... Yoko Ono delivered a small speech at the Museum of Modern Art in New York during a sunrise concert on June 21. "Yoko Ono Morning Peace 2015" featured performances by Blood Orange, and the museum currently has an acclaimed exhibit of Ono's work on display. - Billboard, 6/22/15...... Country music legend Glen Campbell's battle with Alzheimer's while on a poignant farewell concert tour with his family is the subject of Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me, a heartrending documentary that premieres on CNN on June 28 at 9:00 EDT/8:00 CDT. I'll Be Me also features "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," a song that was nominated for an Oscar earlier this year. - TV Guide, 6/22/15...... The Bellamy Brothers, who topped the charts in the spring of 1976 with "Let Your Love Flow," have a new project out, 40 Years: The Album, that David Bellamy says is the perfect mix of the past and the present. "We were wanting to put something out that wasn't just a rehash of all the hits," Bellamy says. "So we came up with the concept for the 40th anniversary of also doing a completely brand-new album. At the time when we started it, we had about 12 songs. As we went along, we came up with a few more songs, so we thought, 'Why not have 20 hits and 20 new songs?' So that was our concept for the project." Disc one contains many of the duo's classic hits, such as "Old Hippie," "Feelin' the Feelin" and "Redneck Girl," while disc two is full of 20 brand-new performances, including "Living in Oblivion," a song that David says is straight out of his brothers' philosophy. "That's a song Howard wrote. I think that's how he would like to live, but it's hard for him. It's a state of mind he tries to attain, but it's not really attainable. I love the track. It's got a country-reggae groove on it. I think it sounds incredible." The duo has a full slate of concerts to promote the new LP through the remainder of 2015, and they're starting to add more dates for 2016. "I don't know what retirement means," Bellamy says. "I guess they will probably ship me home in a box from a show. We don't really have any plans to stop working anytime soon. Both of us feel like we're still healthy and we want to go out and play, and it's still fun for us. So we're still doing it, and having fun while doing it." - Billboard, 6/19/15...... Alice Cooper has confirmed he'll play two dates in the UK this fall, an October 29 show at Plymouth's Pavillions and an Oct. 30 gig at Swindon's Oasis. Cooper's upcoming Hollywood Vampires album features contributions from Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl and Johnny Depp, among others. - NME, 6/23/15...... Former Deep Purple singer Glenn Hughes has added new shows his autumn 2015 UK solo tour. Kicking off in Norwich on Oct. 19, the tour will visit Newcastle (10/20), Belfast (10/22), Glasgow (10/23), Holmfirth (10/25), Bilston (10/26), York (10/28) and Manchester (10/29) before wrapping at London's Electric Ballroom on Nov. 1. "It's always a great pleasure for me to play in the UK," says Hughes. "I have lived in Los Angeles most of my life, but my career started back in the UK." - Noble PR, 6/23/15...... There are reports that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has dismissed at least 16 of its Early Rock & R&B Influencers from its 42-member subcommittee. "They just got rid of the guys who have all the histories of thousands of artists in their heads," says one longtime music industry participant. "That's like letting go the intent of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame." Some Hall of Fame watchers worry that this latest move by Jon Landau and Jann Wenner -- widely seen as the dominating figures in the Hall -- is meant to reduce the focus on the pioneers so that going forward the Cleveland-based Hall can focus on artists who came to the fore in the 1980s and soon the 1990s, who might still have more cachet with mainstream music fans and HBO, which broadcasts the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's show. "There are still a lot of worthy artists from the 1950s and the 1960s that deserve to be in, but now it looks like their chances are reduced further," says one industry participant. - Billboard, 6/19/15...... Vocalist/guitarist/pianist/songwriter Wendell Holmes of The Holmes Brothers died at his home on June 19 from complications due to pulmonary hypertension. He was 71. The Holmes Brothers released 12 studio albums of soul/blues music between 1990 and 2014. Wendell had retired from touring earlier this year when he was first diagnosed, and the group's drummer, Willie "Popsy" Dixon, died in Jan. 9, 2015 of complications from cancer. Brother and bassist Sherman Holmes continues to carry on The Holmes Brothers legacy with The Sherman Holmes Project. - Billboard, 6/19/15...... Harold Battiste, a prolific New Orleans jazz musician who ontributed to the careers of artists like Sonny and Cher, Sam Cooke and Dr. John, died on June 19 after a lengthy illness. He was 83. In addition to working with Sonny and Cher for 15 years, during which he contributed the soprano sax melody to the pair's 1965 hit "I Got You Babe," Mr. Battiste also produced Dr. John's first two albums in the late '60s. Mr. Battiste, who founded A.F.O. Records, New Orleans' first musicians-owned label, also worked with R&B great Sam Cooke on "You Send Me" and "A Change Is Gonna Come." - Billboard, 6/20/15...... Actor Dick Van Patten, best known as the genial, round-faced father in the 1977-1981 ABC comedy-drama Eight Is Enough, died on June 23 in Santa Monica, Cal., of complications from diabetes. He was 86. Mr. Van Patten was born in New York and began his career as a child actor, making his Broadway debut in 1935 at the age of seven. He would go on to appear in 27 other Broadway plays alongside such giants as Melvyn Douglas and Tallulah Bankhead, then in 1949 he began a seven-year run on one of TV's earliest series, the CBS comedy Mama, playing one of the sons of a Norwegian-American family in early 1900s San Francisco. But his greatest success was as widower and father of eight Tom Bradford in Eight Is Enough, where he and wife Abby (played by Betty Buckley), set up a loving if chaotic household. Mr. Van Patten's many other TV appearances included Sanford and Son, The Streets of San Francisco, Adam-12, Happy Days, The Love Boat, Touched By An Angel, Arrested Development and, most recently, Hot in Cleveland. His film projects included Spaceballs, High Anxiety, the original Freaky Friday (starring Jodie Foster), The Santa Trap and Soylent Green. "He was truly a gem and will be missed," tweeted Willie Aames, who, now 54, played the Bradford son Tommy on Eight Is Enough. He was the brother of actress Joyce Van Patten and is also survived by his three actor sons -- Nels, Jimmy and Vincent -- as well as Patricia Van Patten, his wife of 62 years. - AP, 6/23/15.
Ozzy Osbourne has announced he'll perform with a handpicked all-star "supergroup" at the New Orleans' Voodoo Music Experience at the Crescent City's City Park this Halloween. The event runs from Oct. 30, and Osbourne, joined by fellow Black Sabbath member Geezer Butler, as well as former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash and Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello, will headline the Oct 31 show. Other acts set to perform at the festival include Florence + The Machine, Chance The Rapper, Giorgio Moroder, Santigold, The Joy Formidable and Frank Turner, among others. - New Musical Express, 6/19/15...... Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks dedicated a song to recently injured Foo Fighters member Dave Grohl as Fleetwood Mac headlined the UK's Isle of Wight Festival on June 14. Introducing 1975's "Landslide," Nicks said, "I'd like to dedicate this to Dave Grohl," referring to Grohl's recent fall at a Swedish gig that left him with a broken leg. "Falling off stage, getting up and playing a two-and-a-half-hour set, I think that's awesome," she added. Fleetwood Mac's 20-song set included the opener "The Chain" and encores of "Go Your Own Way" and "Don't Stop." - NME, 6/15/15...... James Taylor is on track to score his first No. 1 album ever on Billboard's Hot 200 chart as his latest studio effort, Before This World, is expected to move around 75,000 units for the week ending June 21. Taylor first debuted on the chart 45 years ago and has previously logged 11 Top 10 album in the chart, including seven Top 5 LPs. His best effort until now was 1971's Mud Slide Slim, which spent four weeks at No. 2 behind his close friend Carole King's Tapestry album (in 2010, the pair collaborated on a Live at the Troubadour LP, which reached No. 4). Before This World is Taylor's first studio set since 2002's October Road. On June 17, Taylor appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and participated in an endearing performance with Fallon as the two sang "Two James Taylors On a Seesaw" while seated opposite one another on a seesaw. Meanwhile, Taylor has a limited-run channel on the SiriusXM radio network (James Taylor Channel: channel 17), and country stars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood played their 10 favorite Taylor songs over the Sirius airwaves on the weekend of June 13. Both artists have long proclaimed Taylor as one of their major influences, with Taylor helping induct Brooks into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012. A Sirius Q&A "Town Hall" session with Taylor will air on the channel on June 20 at 5 p.m. ET. - Billboard, 6/18/15...... In other '70s artists chart action, the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers reissue, which was released in multiple formats including a "super deluxe" version, arrived at No. 65 on the Hot 200 with 9,000 units, nearly all from traditional album sales. The reissue, along with the Stones' 2010 Exile on Main St. and 2011 Some Girls deluxe reissues, equates to 21 percent of the band's overall album sales since the start of 2010. - Billboard, 6/19/15...... Aerosmith kicked off its summer "Blue Army Tour" in Glendale, Ariz., on June 13 to an enthusiastic crowd, which was evident from the opener, "Draw the Line," from the 1977 album of the same name. Though the show was clearly crowd-pleasing, the band avoided some of their biggest hits, including "Jaded," "Janie's Got a Gun," "Crazy," "Come Together" and "Amazing," opting for such equally strong songs as "Cryin'," "Dream On" and "Back in the Saddle" instead. There were plenty of deep cuts, however, including "Monkey on My Back" and "No More No More." Sporting a pirate-esque mustache, frontman Steven Tyler picked up a fan-tossed feather boa onstage and proudly put down the back of his pants to act like a tail. The band ended its 17-song set with an enthusiastic tear through "Sweet Emotion." - Billboard, 6/14/15...... Nile Rodgers of Chic will be honored with the BMI Icon Award at the annual BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards on Aug. 28 at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles. In addition to scoring such indelible Chic classics as "Good Times" and "Le Freak," Rodgers has lent his production, composing and arranging skills to projects by such major acts as David Bowie, Madonna and Diana Ross. Chic's forthcoming studio LP, It's About Time, features its first Dance Club Songs chart-topper in 23 years, "I'll Be There." Rodgers joins such previous BMI Icon Award honorees as James Brown, Isaac Hayes, Mariah Carey, George Clinton and Al Green. - Billboard, 6/17/15...... At a June 18 listening party at Capitol Records Studio A for Cass County, Eagles principal Don Henley's forthcoming first solo album in 15 years, Henley noted that "I love my career in the Eagles, but I need some new material...I do not want to spend the rest of my life being a jukebox." Prior to a Q&A with Henley, I.R.S. Nashville president John Grady introduced eight selections from the upcoming16-song set, including common-man anthem, "The Cost of Living," featuring Merle Haggard, the sobering "Take A Picture of This," about the dissolution of a baby boomer's marriage, and the poignant "Words Can Break Your Heart," featuring Trisha Yearwood, with whom Henley previously paired for Yearwood's 1992 smash, "Walkaway Joe." Henley, who wrote and recorded the bulk of the album in Nashville, balked at calling the set country. "I've been listening to country radio lately and I don't know what that stuff is," he said. "Country music has morphed into something I don't recognize." Also in attendance were such music greats as Dolly Parton, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Vince Gill and Alison Krauss. Though no release date has been set, Cass County, which will also feature a contribution from Mick Jagger, is expected to come out in early fall on Capitol Records. It will be the followup to Henley's 2000 LP Inside Job, which peaked at No. 7 on Billboard's Hot 200. - Billboard, 6/19/15...... As Van Halen prepares to embark on a 40-plus-date North American tour on July 5 in Seattle, leader Eddie Van Halen says he currently "doesn't listen to music" in a new Billboard cover story. Van Halen said that the last album he purchased was Peter Gabriel's So, when it came out in 1986, and he's not familiar with the work of such bands as Radiohead, Metallica or Guns N' Roses. "It's an odd thing, but I've been this way my whole life," he said. "I couldn't make a contemporary record if I wanted to, because I don't know what contemporary music sounds like." The 60-year-old also revealed that he no longer smokes cigarettes, having surgically lost one-third of his tongue to a cancer that eventually drifted into his esophagus. Still, he's not certain if the cigarettes were totally to blame. "I used metal picks -- they're brass and copper -- which I always held in my mouth, in the exact place where I got the tongue cancer," he says. "Plus, I basically live in a recording studio that's filled with electromagnetic energy. So that's one theory. I mean, I was smoking and doing a lot of drugs and a lot of everything. But at the same time, my lungs are totally clear. This is just my own theory, but the doctors say it's possible." Van Halen also maintained that his current lead singer David Lee Roth's perception of himself is different than who he is in reality. "We're not in our 20s anymore. We're in our 60s. Act like you're 60. I stopped coloring my hair, because I know I'm not going to be young again." - Billboard, 6/19/15...... A letter sent from a CBS record label executive to a fan of The Clash explaining why he couldn't sign the band to Epic Records in the US has been unearthed. The letter was reportedly penned by late A&R executive Bruce Harris, who was responding to a previous correspondence from a punk fan named Paul Dougherty. The Clash's self-titled debut was released in the UK in April 1977 through CBS Records, with the imprint passing on issuing the album in the US as it wasn't "radio friendly" enough. The record was eventually released by Epic in a modified form (the tracklist was changed considerably) in July 1979, but the letter shows that the label were hesitant about the record also. In the letter, posted to the Dangerous Minds website, Harris states that "A&R decisions are not based entirely on taste and musical preference," before saying that his job is "not... to release records I like but rather records which I feel will bring profit into this company." The Clash's US debut album on CBS peaked at No. 126 in the US, but the followup, London Calling, rose to No. 27 on the US album chart when it was released five months later and became one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the era. - NME, 6/16/15...... In the latest instance of a politician getting in trouble for using a rock song without the artist's permission, Neil Young is telling New York billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump he's not free to use his song" Rockin' in the Free World." After Trump used the song to announce his Republican presidential candidacy in New York on June 16, the Canadian folk-rock icon issued a statement later that same day saying that he didn't agree to let Trump use it. "Donald Trump was not authorized to use 'Rockin' In The Free World' in his presidential candidacy announcement. Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America," the statement read. The following day, Trump's camp fired back, saying they followed the proper channels to use the song by signing licensing deals through ASCAP and BMI. At a later event, Trump's campaign used Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care of Business" to introduce the outspoken businessman and reality TV star. On June 17, Young further addressed Trump's use of "Rockin' in the Free World," saying a photo of the two circulating that depicts the two together had been taken during a meeting when he was trying to raise funds for his Pono music service. "I am Canadian and I don't vote in the United States, but more importantly I don't like the current political system in the USA and some other countries," he wrote. "Increasingly Democracy has been hijacked by corporate interests. The money needed to run for office, the money spent on lobbying by special interests, the ever increasing economic disparity and the well funded legislative decisions all favor corporate interests over the people's." Young's upcoming studio LP, The Monsanto Years, is due June 29 and features such tracks as "A New Day for Love," "Wolf Moon," "Big Box," "A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop," "Workin' Man," and "Rules of Change." - Billboard, 6/17/15...... Meanwhile, Cher has gotten in on the Young/Trump feud by challenging fans of "The Donald" with a series of witty Tweets by squeezing in digs at his hairstyle, his ego, and more. "Donald Trump Can't come up with a hairstyle that looks human, how can he come up with a plan to defeat ISIS," the diva tweeted on June 16. "If he were to be elected, I'm moving to Jupiter" and "Donald Trump's punishment is being Donald Trump," she also posted. Cher also spoke out in support of Rachel Dolezal, the Spokane, Wash. woman who allegedly pretended to be black. "Who Doesn't Want 2 Have Blk Cool," she said. - Billboard, 6/19/15...... After Journey drummer Deen Castronovo was arrested on domestic violence charges on June 14, the band has announced Omar Hakim will replace him on its upcoming U.S. concerts and Canadian tour. Posting on its Facebook page on June 18, Journey cited Castronovo's "pending issues" and wrote, "We are very grateful to Omar filling in with his musical excellence." On June 20, Journey plays the Hollywood Bowl and the Stadium of Fire in Provo, Utah, on July 4. The band's Canadian tour runs July 6 to Aug. 3. Hakim has worked with such artists as Michael Jackson, Anita Baker, Sting, Dire Straits, Kate Bush, Daft Punk and many more. - Billboard, 6/18/15...... A new stage musical based on the Beatles' recording sessions at London's Abbey Road has been announced with a replica of the building's Studio Two to be constructed at London's Royal Albert Hall for the production. Set to open in April 2016, the musical is expected to dramatize how the Fab Four's albums, including Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, were made at the studio. "It will be a musical documentary giving audiences an honest, respectful and accurate re-creation of how music history was made," said the musical's producer, Stig Edgren, to the London Times. Edgren also insisted that actors will not impersonate the Beatles, adding: "I didn't want it to be another lookalike show... We're not trying to look like The Beatles. We [are] trying to sound like them. The idea is you're watching them in recording session mode." - NME, 6/16/15...... Rolling Stone magazine announced on June 17 that they are laying off more than a dozen staffers, including senior writer David Fricke along with multiple senior level editors at magazines also owned by Wenner Media. Fricke, however, is set to continue to contribute to the magazine in a freelance capacity. He will be a contract writer no longer based at the office. Ironically, the layoffs will not included Sean Woods, who oversaw the discredited Nov. 2014 University of Virginia campus rape story and led to several lawsuits against the company. - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/17/15...... Motown legend Smokey Robinson will be honored with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the 15th annual BET Awards, which will be broadcast live on the network at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles on June 28. Also honored with Robinson will be syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner, who will be presented with the BET Humanitarian Award. Previous BET Lifetime Achievement honorees include Robinson's fellow Motown alum Lionel Richie and Charlie Wilson. - Billboard, 6/17/15...... Tommy Chong of the '70s doper duo Cheech & Chong has revealed he's once again battling cancer in an interview with US Weekly. "I got diagnosed with rectal cancer," Chong said. When the comedian/actor beat prostate cancer in 2013, he cited cannabis as a major asset in his fight, and he's once again turning to the same substance for help. "I'm using cannabis like crazy now, more so than ever before," Chong said. "I'm in treatment now. I've been -- just the case either way, either I get healed or I don't. But either way, I'm going to make sure I get a little edge off or put up." Cheech & Chong epitomized and influenced pot-smoking culture in the '70, and their second and third comedy albums, 1972's Big Bambu and 1973's Los Cochinos, both peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 200. Their "Earache My Eye" song/skit also became a Top 10 chart hit in the mid '70s. - Billboard, 6/17/15...... A diary belonging to Frank Sinatra detailing information about his high-profile associates sold at auction on June 15 for $8,960. Reading like "a who's who" of the jet set of the gilded age of the 1970s to 1990s, it includes mentions of such A-list celebrities as John Wayne, Sidney Poitier, Elvis Presley's promoter Jerry Weintraub, and more. 2015 would mark Sinatra's 100th birthday and many centennial events are being celebrated in his honor, including an exhibition at the New York Public Library, an upcoming HBO documentary and new music collections being issued by Sony, Capitol and Universal. - NME, 6/15/15...... Legendary childrens TV producers Sid and Marty Krofft of H.R. Pufnstuf fame will premiere a new live-action preschool TV series called Mutt & Stuff on the Nickelodeon channel on July 10. Set in a unique school for dogs, the series stars Calvin Millan and his dad, Cesar Millan, star of Cesar 911 and former star of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, interacting with a cast of both real dogs and puppets at a canine school called Mutt & Stuff. The Kroffts made their television debut in 1969 with NBC's H.R. Pufnstuf and introduced the brothers' innovative mix of live-action and puppetry that is fondly remembered today by children of the time. - Variety, 6/15/15...... Businessman Kirk Kerkorian, the longtime owner of Metro Goldwyn Mayer and founder of Las Vegas' MGM Grand Hotel, died on June 15 after a brief illness. He was 98. Mr. Kerkorian, who led United Artists as well as MGM, is widely credited with shaping the Las Vegas strip and, with the construction of the MGM Grand, creating the concept of the "mega-resort." He was also renowned for using his Hollywood pull to bring artists like Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Barbra Streisand to perform at his Las Vegas resorts, establishing Vegas as a musical mecca as well as vacation destination. - Billboard, 6/16/15.