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Friday, October 15, 2010

Rock News for Friday 15th October, 2010


2010 will go down as the year that we lost one of hard rock/heavy metal's all-time great vocalists, Ronnie James Dio (after a valiant battle with cancer). Throughout a career that saw Ronnie pen or co-pen classics with such legendary acts as Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell, and with his solo group, Dio, there are simply not enough words to describe the singer's contribution to rock music worldwide.
Niji Entertainment Group Inc. has announced the opening of Dio fans around the world will now be able to purchase official tour shirts, jackets, hats, CD's, DVD's, blu-rays, vinyl and box sets from Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Dio on the web store. There will be many cool new Dio items recently designed that will be MUST HAVES for your collections! The web store also offers all the official Heaven & Hell items including shirts, CD's, DVD's and vinyl.

Dean Schachtel, General Manager for Niji Entertainment Group, commented 'Fans were having a hard time finding product in stores. They can now have a one stop shop at our web store and purchase their favorite Dio collectables and memorabilia at fair prices.' The web store also offers worldwide shipping which is certain to please Dio's large and loyal fan base. Selected official Dio t-shirts will be available for purchase as well. This week features an official 1985 Sacred Heart t-shirt. Each week thereafter, a different one will be available, eventually including classic tour t-shirts.

To celebrate the life of the man that has become synonymous with metal, the double disc set, 'Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987' will be released on November 9th, 2010. This item is available for pre-order for only $15.98, and as an added bonus until November 5th, 2010, includes an original stick on backstage pass. The first disc was recorded at the first-ever UK performance by Dio's solo group, while on tour supporting their classic debut, 'Holy Diver.' And the set-list does a superb job reflecting Dio's debut (featuring such classics as "Rainbow in the Dark," "Stand Up And Shout," etc.), as well as classics from both Rainbow and Black Sabbath ("Man on the Silver Mountain," "Heaven and Hell," etc.) - resulting in a thorough retrospective of Dio's career, from Rainbow to Black Sabbath to solo hits. The second disc of 'Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987' features guitarist Craig Goldy's debut - recorded in 1987, in support of the 'Dream Evil' album, and contains highlights from Dio's career. 'Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987' will be the very first release from the Niji Entertainment Group (which was formed by Ronnie James Dio and his wife/manager, Wendy Dio, in early 2010). The set will be released as a deluxe digipak including a booklet filled with rare photographs and liner notes, and original replica all access laminates from both shows. Ronnie was the executive producer on the Donington project, and was very much looking forward to the release.

One of the brand new exclusive collectable pieces available on the Dio web store is an autographed limited edition baseball, presented in a display case (only two thousand were produced). Each piece is numbered, and features Ronnie's DIO logo and autograph. It was well-known to many Dio fans that Ronnie loved baseball, and it was his dream to play in the major leagues. He was once quoted saying he would trade in his rockstar career for one playing with the Yankees!

The Niji Entertainment Group is a full service record label, and will be releasing rare and unreleased recordings from Dio and other artists. November 23rd will see two additional releases from the Niji Entertainment Group - a deluxe limited edition picture disc of Dio's classic solo debut, 'Holy Diver,' and 'Bitten By The Beast' from David "Rock" Feinstein. "Rock" is Ronnie's cousin, and was a member of Elf, and the leader of the legendary NY band The Rods. 'Bitten By The Beast,' features the single "Metal Will Never Die," with lead vocals by Ronnie James Dio. This single will be heavily worked to active rock and metal radio this fall.

Between Facebook, Myspace and Twitter, the Dio social media followers now numbers over one million.

While Ronnie was alive, he always wanted to have his own action figure/statue. And now, this has become a reality - KnuckleBonz has created the Ronnie James Dio rock iconz statue, which will be available in late fall 2010. These statues are only produced in limited edition runs of 3000, which make them highly collectible and sought after from fans. A portion from the sales of the Dio statue will go to the Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund, in honor of Ronnie James Dio. Preorders available by visiting

For more information, please go to:


Here's a little update on where Toto and much travelled session guitarist Steve Lukather is at today, with his new album entitled, 'appropriately' - You understand why, in due course! - 'All's Well That Ends Well' released in Europe and due for full blown release in North America in the New Year. The album will get a US digital release in November.

Steve Lukather is having a bad year. “The worst of my life,” the rock guitar legend amplifies. “My personal life is in shambles. I’m getting a divorce from the mother of my youngest child. My mother died. I’m seeing a shrink twice a week and I’m trying to figure out just exactly what my place is supposed to be in this world — which, I might add, is a mess in its own right.” And yet, his new album with the tongue-in-cheek title All’s Well That Ends Well boasts some of the most beautiful and powerful music he’s made in his illustrious career — a career that began at age 17 when he started doing recording sessions in LA, and at 19 went on the road with Boz Scaggs after his landmark Silk Degrees record, then co-founded the group Toto and entered the exclusive inner circle of first-call Los Angeles session musicians.

Since then Lukather has consistently remained on the honor roll of the world’s top guitarists — a peer and pal to the likes of Jeff Beck, Eddie Van Halen, David Gilmour, Zakk Wylde, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Larry Carlton and other fabled players. He’s also co-led Toto with fellow founder David Paich through every twist of the band’s platinum lined history while playing on albums by Michael Jackson, Warren Zevon, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Nicks, Don Henley, Miles Davis, Roger Waters, Cheap Trick and other rock and pop royalty. He recalls a moment from his past wherein Jimmy Page took him aside and shared, “Be proud of being a session, I was one.” He has also written hits for the Tubes, George Benson and others, while maintaining a parallel career of his own that began with 1988’s Lukather.

Six solo albums later, he’s arrived at what he calls “his best work,” with the artful, funny and sometimes harrowing All’s Well That Ends Well. “I know I’ve led an amazing life and have a colorful career,” he understates. “But I’m not resting on my laurels. I push myself to write better songs and smarter chord changes all the time. I practice every day." And you can hear the results on this album. “Sometimes I joke that I’m searching for ‘the LOST note,’ ” he continues, “but in a way, I really am. I want to find that one gorgeous thing that’s going to touch everybody. That’s what making music is all about — communicating on that level.”

All’s Well That Ends Well assays the state of that search and other more personal odysseys. The disc begins with a cloudscape of guitar and keyboard that yields to the fall of rain and a literal “S.O.S” signal, setting up the existential cry “Darkness in My World.” Similar themes of pain, uncertainty and regret reverberate in “Can’t Look Back” and “Don’t Say It’s Over.” “I’m nearly 53, and I need to be honest and write about the things that are most real to me,” Lukather says. “I just can’t bring myself to write songs about parties, cars or girls anymore.” But the aural irony of the album’s nine tunes is that even the songs with the darkest lyrics have a shimmering exterior of gorgeous melodies, lush textures and, of course, this virtuoso’s always zestful, uplifting and melodic solos. “Can’t Look Back” offers a stunning composite of several studio takes – a soaring, acrobatic display of what a world-class guitarist can do with a whammy bar, arching melodies, sweep arpeggios, cool chord changes and imagination — that Lukather himself had to study after the sessions to reproduce live. But as usual most of his lead playing is holistic: just his signature “Luke” model Music Man guitar plugged into a Bogner amplifier with maybe a stompbox or two, all aiming for that “perfect note.” “That’s just who I am,” he says. “No matter what the theme of a song might be, I need to hear something magical. I believe in the power of melody.”

Lukather’s been wired that way since age seven, when he was inspired to play after seeing rock’s finest melodists, the Beatles, on TV. His next major influence was his first teacher, the western swing guitarist Jimmy Wyble, who helped pioneer a genre where bands lived or died by melody. In his late teens Lukather met Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro and his brothers. They took him under wing and introduced him to the session world, and together they shared a love of Steely Dan, and Jeff was the drummer for Steely at that time. That classic studio ensemble group’s subtle complexity still drives Lukather.

Like Steely Dan leaders Donald Fagan and Walter Becker, Lukather has always surrounded himself with superb musicians. His core band for All’s Well That End’s Well was his longtime collaborator and fellow session veteran C.J. Vanston, a highly regarded keyboardist, songwriter and sound manipulator, also co-writer, co-Producer and mixing engineer, joined by keys man Steve Weingart, bassist Carlitos Del Puerta, drummer Eric Valentine and percussionist Lenny Castro. Their stunning performance of the closing instrumental “Tumescent” sounds like an outtake from a great lost Jeff Beck album (like the unreleased one that Lukather produced in 1997).

“In Toto, people accused us of being slick, but all of the early discs were recorded live with all of us playing in the studio,” Lukather regales. “We just happened to play extremely well together. And I made this album the same way, with the band playing live in a room. That’s how you get real dynamics and interplay — which is why so many albums today, that are typically recorded one track at a time, sound so stale.” Lukather’s guests on the album include his son Trevor, who adds crunch guitar to the wrenching “Don’t Say It’s Over,” and his daughter Tina, who sings on “Darkness in My World.” Although Lukather is the disc’s lead vocalist — a role he’s played on and off since the very first Toto record, and some of his backup singers include Def Leppard’s Phil Collen and the Tubes’ Fee Waybill.

Waybill also co-wrote “Flash In the Pan,” a song that signals a shift in the album’s perspective. It’s a cutting, hilarious commentary on the cult of celebrity and its vapid populace. The Hendrix influenced “Brody’s” takes that a step further by commentating on the world’s commentators, skewering the skewed views of everyone from Glen Beck to foaming indie bloggers to barstool pundits, while Lukather uncannily mimics slide guitar with his whammy bar and blues-perfect tone. “Well, nobody really wants to hear about my problems for a whole album,” he offers, laughing. “So I thought I’d write about everybody else’s, too. But truly,” he adds, ”the world is so divided today, and we spend so much time obsessed about unimportant things like the size of some actresses’ ass or something stupid someone in Hollywood did instead of solving our problems. I don’t understand why things got so far off the mark.”

Lukather’s own aim is for All’s Well That Ends Well to provide some kind of balance for himself and for others. “I’m not writing songs just to play solos to impress my guitar player friends,” he says. “My days of trying to be the fastest gun in the West — which, at one point, I took to a level of near buffoonery — are in the past. I want the music that I’m making now to connect with people. If they can relate to a lyric or a sound or a melody and it makes them happier for three or four minutes of their day, then I’ve done my job — and that’s a job I’ll be happy doing the rest of my life.”

My thanks to Steve Karas at SKH Music and Provogue for sharing this info.
Keep up with Luke right here:

UK rockers Magnum prepare for 'The Visitation' and 2011 tour

It's been around 16 months since UK Birmingham rockers Magnum released 'Into the Valley of the Moonking' upon us all, which was received with kind of a mixed welcome, but in January 2011, the band will released it's 15th official studio album, 'The Visitation.'
The band had a good if relatively quiet year on the touring front in 2010, but were received well at the UK High Voltage festival in London's Victoria Park, this past summer.
In March 2011 the band will hit the road again starting in Sweden.
Date Venue City Country Tickets
March 2011
9/3/11 Debaser Medis Stockholm Sweden Tickets
10/3/11 Brew House Gothenburg Sweden Tickets
11/3/11 Postbahnhof Berlin Germany Tickets
12/3/11 Hellraiser Leipzig Germany Tickets
13/3/11 Exit Chmelnice Prague Czech Republic Tickets
15/3/11 Ampere Munich Germany Tickets
16/3/11 Hirsch Nurnberg Germany Tickets
18/3/11 Capitol Mannheim Germany Tickets
19/3/11 Kaminwerk Memmingen Germany Tickets
21/3/11 Z7 Pratteln Switzerland Tickets
22/3/11 Jazzhaus Freiberg Germany Tickets
23/3/11 Matrix Bochum Germany Tickets
25/3/11 Colos-Saal Aschaffenburg Germany Tickets
26/3/11 Rock E.V. Winterbach Germany Tickets
27/3/11 Kantine Koln Germany Tickets
29/3/11 Posthalle Wurzburg Germany Tickets
31/3/11 Fabrik Hamburg Germany Tickets
April 2011
1/4/11 Rosengarten Osnabruck Germany Tickets
2/4/11 Music Hall Worpswede Germany Tickets
4/4/11 Garage Saarbrucken Germany Tickets
13/4/11 The Garage Glasgow UK Tickets
14/4/11 Academy 1 Newcastle UK Tickets
16/4/11 Stanley Theatre Liverpool UK Tickets
17/4/11 Assembly Leamington UK Tickets
18/4/11 Academy Oxford UK Tickets
19/4/11 The Waterfront Norwich UK Tickets
20/4/11 The Corporation Sheffield UK Tickets
22/4/11 Picturedrome Holmfirth UK Tickets
23/4/11 Wulfrun Hall Wolverhampton UK Tickets
24/4/11 The Brook Southampton UK Tickets
27/4/11 Rock City Nottingham UK Tickets
28/4/11 Academy 2 Manchester UK Tickets
29/4/11 The Park & Dare Theatre Treorci UK Tickets
30/4/11 Shepherd's Bush Empire London UK Tickets
May 2011
1/5/11 Academy Bristol UK
Official band website:

Duff McKagan joins Guns 'n' Roses onstage in London

It seems that last night, former G 'N' R and Velvet Revolver guitarist Duff McKagen, last night (Thursday), decided to hook up with the current Guns 'n' Roses line up, to join them onstage at London's O2 Arena.
He joined the current band on three songs during their main set, even playing bass on one track (You Could Be Mine) and then for one of the band six encore tracks.
The other 3 songs he played on were 'Nice Boys,' 'Knockin' OIn Heaven's Door' and 'Patience'
Could something be on the cards? Who knows with Axl Rose right?
Anyway, for the whole scoop go to:

Gunnar and Matthew Nelson present the new album
" Lightning Strikes Twice"

" Lightning Strikes Twice"
to be released in Europe on November 5th 2010

Planet Rock announces Radio Series for Europe's Joey Tempest

Joey Tempest, best known as the lead singer of Sweden’s biggest selling hard rock band Europe, will host his own radio show on Planet Rock. The new hour-long series will transmit on Planet Rock on Sunday evenings from 6pm-7pm from November 7th.

For more info about Joey's radio show:

“Rock music has been a major part of my life,” says Joey Tempest. “Whether I am recording, touring or just listening to it. This time I’m heading into a different kind of studio and get to play the music that I love and that has influenced me over the years.”

For the official Joey Tempest / Planet Rock page:

Planet Rock broadcasts on digital radio, Sky 0110, Virgin Media 924, Freesat 730, online and on iPhone.

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