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Friday, August 17, 2012

Brief News Update for Friday August 17th, 2012

Hi folks,
Well it seems Stuart Smith's departing The Sweet caused quite a stir and my post on Wednesday has been generating a few more hits at the site ...!
We need more stories like that! Ha ha!

No, seriously, it's a shame it has to come to that, but I do seriously understand Stuart's position.
Good luck Stuart!

I really wanted to add more here today, but put simply ran out of time.
Life right now is simply too busy ...

Anyway, enough on that, on with the news!


New York, NY (August 16, 2012)—Eagle Records is delighted to announce the release of Re-Machined – A Tribute To Deep Purple’s Machine Head album on September 25 .

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of this landmark album and in recognition of the influence of the band, and of Machine Head in particular. Some of rock music’s biggest names have each contributed a version of their favorite track on the album to create Re-Machined – A Tribute To Deep Purple’s Machine Head.

Re-Machined features specially recorded tracks from Jimmy Barnes and Joe Bonamassa, Black Label Society, Chickenfoot, former Deep Purple Mk III member Glenn Hughes with Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iron Maiden, the “supergroup” Kings Of Chaos (featuring Joe Elliott, Steve Stevens, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum), Metallica, Carlos Santana and Jacoby Shaddix and Steve Vai.
There are two wildly differing versions of the album’s most famous track “Smoke On The Water”, one from guitar hero Carlos Santana with vocals by Jacoby Shaddix and one from alternative rockers Flaming Lips, and Metallica have contributed their own special take on “When A Blind Man Cries”, a track recorded at the “Machine Head” sessions but originally released as the B-side to “Never Before”.
Iron Maiden’s “Space Truckin’” cover was actually recorded back in 2006. Lead singer Bruce Dickinson explains, “Initially we didn’t think we’d be able to contribute anything due to our touring commitments. Then we remembered ‘Space Truckin’ which we’d recorded as a single B-side during our A Matter Of Life And Death album session, but never used. However now, thanks to Kevin Shirley’s remixing skills, we’re able to include it on Re-Machined”
Initially released as a limited edition Classic Rock “fanpack” on September 3, this is a truly unique release that will appeal to rock fans everywhere.


1) Smoke On The Water – Carlos Santana & Jacoby Shaddix 
2) Highway Star – Chickenfoot  
3) Maybe I’m A Leo – Glenn Hughes & Chad Smith 
4) Pictures Of Home – Black Label Society 
5) Never Before – Kings Of Chaos (Joe Elliott, Steve Stevens, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum) 
6) Smoke On The Water – The Flaming Lips         
7) Lazy – Jimmy Barnes with Joe Bonamassa 
8) Space Truckin’ – Iron Maiden     
9) When A Blind Man Cries – Metallica
10) Highway Star – Glenn Hughes / Steve Vai / Chad Smith


Rock News Briefs:

Elton John's bassist found dead

Various news outlets have announced that bassist / saxophonist Robert 'Bob' Birch has been found dead, from a single gunshot wound.
The speculation is that it is suicide, but this is not yet confirmed.

He was a part of Elton John's live band during the 90's and has apparently been touring with Elton for over 20 years.

As I say numerous stories are out there, but here's just one:

RIP Bob, sad to lose yet another recognised musician.

Geoff Tate starts making his comeback

Yes, Queensryche's former frontman is wasting no time at all moving forward.
He has just recorded an episode of Eddie Trunk's 'That Metal Show' on VH1 Classic, where he he spoken up of his side of things regarding the recent break up of the band.

Watch for Geoff on VH1's THAT METAL SHOW on August 18th and August 25th and also on AXS TV for the Vegas Rocks magazine awards live on on satellite on Dish Network Channel 13 at 8pm PST on August 26th

He's also due to be the opening act on Alice Cooper's winter tour in November.
 He posted  last night the following message on Facebook:


This fall, Geoff Tate Electric Band will be releasing his new solo metal album on Inside Out Music, which features such label mates as King’s X, Fates Warning, Pain of Salvation and Dream Theater’s frontman James LaBrie, and many others! 

Geoff Tate solo tour dates with Alice Cooper beginning in November.
***Watch for the announcement of the upcoming 2013 Queensryche Anniversary Tour featuring an All-Star lineup, starring Geoff Tate, the longtime creative and driving force behind the band, whose vocals can be heard on every Queensryche song ever released!***


Sweet and Heaven and Earth drummer Richie Onori to release solo album and then another side project to follow

Richie Onori photo courtesy of

Yes, Richie Onori who currently drums with US version of The Sweet for the past four years and has been recording the latest album with the Heaven and Earth project - Not to mention having played on all the previous recordings ... - is about to release his own solo works.

Now here's the thing, do not go expecting the latest solo release featuring drummer Richie Onori (The Sweet, Heaven and Earth) to rock in the same manner as say The Sweet or the band he formed with guitarist Stuart Smith, Heaven and Earth.

'The Days of Innocence,' is an album that sounds to me, to be perhaps inspired by former heroes of old and it is, as he described to me, 'an eclectic album,' which it really is.

It's to be released through his own label, Onori Records.
The album features Dickie Sims (Eric Clapton) on Hammond organ, Joe Retta (Sweet / Heaven and Earth) - vocal on Track 1, Chuck Wright (House of Lords, Heaven and Earth, Quiet Riot) - Bass - Track 8, Teddy Andreadis (Guns and Roses) - Keyboards -  Track 8, Mitch Perry - Guitar - Tracks 8 and 14, Jeff Daniels - Piano - Track 3 and many more guest artists.

I really wouldn't call it a rock album as such, a little Van Morrison like, little 50's / 60's twang too and a little (John) Mellencamp possibly, but not a million miles away from what Jack Blades and Tommy Shaw were doing with Shaw / Blades.

Richie does handle the lead vocals, Guitar, Drums (Of course!), percussion and harmonica and co-production duties.
The whole album was produced by David Jenkins, who co-wrote a few of the album's track with Richie.

Then there's a second album in the works that's perhaps a little more rocky called, 'American Fighters' and you can hear a track from that called 'Hey You' here:

To keep up with Richie's activities and learn more, go to:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rock News Update for Wednesday August 15th, 2012

Hi folks, yes, I know I've been quiet on here lately, it's just there's a lot going on right now outside of 'Chambers ...' that's just kind of burying me.
Anyway, you don't want to hear about it, so on with the news and today I am playing catch up with some stuff from last week and this week so here we go! Enjoy!
Cheers, Al

Stuart Smith quits Sweet to focus on Heaven and Earth

Stuart Smith, live onstage in Detroit August 10th, 2012. Photo: Alun Williams

Stuart Smith the much talented guitarist who for the past four years has been a part of Steve Priest's version of The Sweet here in the States, has decided to call time on that.
They put on a great performance last Friday night here in Detroit, as those who read my last posting on here will know and even spending time with Stuart and the band, I never got the slightest hint that he was about to do this ...

That said, I am fully aware of how frustrated Stuart is feeling about trying to get the latest Heaven and Earth album finished off.

No word from Stuart - No, he won't even spill it to me! - on the album's title, but I understand that all the basic tracks, are recorded, but it does need all the other stuff that goes with it.
Additional guitar parts, percussion, any vocal fixes, level adjustments, etc, etc, so he wants it done right and there's some serious money going on here and as much as Stuart has told me, I don't think he wants it known, exactly how much that is ... It is a bloody lot though!

Artwork alone from Glen Wexler who has worked with so many big names from Van Halen to Gwen Stefani (No Doubt), Black Sabbath to Slaughter, Michael Jackson to Rush, so you know it's serious stuff!
That alone is a five figure amount, on the larger end ...
A first impression of what he's done is this, as a Heaven and Earth band shot:

The email Stuart sent to me on Sunday night, read like this:

"Hi Alun, It was good to see you this weekend. Look forward to seeing you when I come through with Heaven & Earth in the near future. Thought I'd let you be one of the first to hear it but as of today I've officially quit Sweet. 
The new Heaven & Earth album is a huge undertaking and I feel I need to give it 100% of my attention. I wish the guys all the luck in the future. Stuart"

So I had to call him and see what I could find out, if there was more and there's really not.
Heaven and Earth after all is his baby, along with drummer Richie Onori who's played alongside him in Heaven and Earth on the first self titled release, the follow up E.P. that was released and last album 'Windows to the World,' that was produced by Howard Leese (Heart, Bad Company, Paul Rodgers).
This really means so much to him and from all he's told me, I cannot express that on his behalf, enough.

The album new album will feature alongside Stuart, his Sweet bandmates vocalist Joe Retta and Richie Onori, as well as bassist Chuck Wright (House of Lords, Quiet Riot, Mr. Big, Ted Nugent) and keyboard player Arlan Schierbaum, who in fact has also featured on all previous Heaven and Earth releases, same as Richie Onori.

Stuart, you know you have my support mate, can't wait to hear the new Heaven and Earth album. Rock on!


JOURNEY's Neal Schon to release a new solo instrumental album in October on Frontiers Records

 The Calling will be released on October 19 in Europe and October 23 in North America

Taking a detour from his main job as lead guitarist for Journey, the multi-talented Neal Schon has put the finishing touches on his latest solo album, The Calling, which will be released by Frontiers Records on October 19th in Europe and October 23rd in North America. Produced by and featuring, Schon on all guitars and bass, The Calling reunites Schon with former Journey bandmate, Steve Smith, who lends his virtuoso drum talents to all 12 tracks on the new album.

Schon set up shop at Berkeley’s famed Fantasy Studios during a break from Journey’s busy touring schedule, and recorded the album, completely from scratch, in just four days. After overdubbing multiple guitar and bass parts, Schon recruited two keyboard masters to flesh out the music Igor Len, an accomplished classical, jazz and film composer who had previously collaborated with Schon, is featured on acoustic piano throughout The Calling album.

GRAMMY Award-winning special guest Jan Hammer (Jeff Beck, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miami Vice soundtrack) recorded Moog synthesizer solos on two tracks – Fifty Six and Tumbleweeds. Recently, Schon teamed up with Dan Barnett (Journey: Live In Manila) to produce the video for the first single and title track from The Calling.

While celebrating the release of The Calling, Schon will be back on the road with JOURNEY as the band’s 2012 tour kicked off July 21 in Southern California and is scheduled to run through December, with most dates featuring special guests Pat Benatar featuring Neil Giraldo and Loverboy.

Check for updated tour details.

 The Calling tracklisting includes: The Calling; Carnival Jazz; Six String Waltz; Irish Field; Back Smash; Fifty Six (56); True Emotion; Tumbleweeds; Primal Surge; Blue Rainbow Sky; Transonic Funk; Song Of The Wind II.
Song samples from The Calling can be streamed now on Neal Schon’s official website:

Rory Gallagher re-mastered albums (1975-1982) released 1st October

Sony Legacy Recordings in association with Capo Records, is proud to announce the next series of Rory Gallagher’s classic studio albums re-mastered (1975-1982). 
All five albums will be released in the UK on Monday 1st October for a limited period in deluxe digi-packaging.

Each album has been digitally re-mastered to stunning effect from the original ¼ inch tapes and features digitally restored original vinyl release album artwork, new booklet content and extensive sleeve notes, original album reviews, rare photographs and bonus tracks. 

Each of the five albums will be released in three formats including CD, download and vinyl.
Picking up where Rory left off with the phenomenal Irish Tour ‘74 live album, the release of 1975’s  Against The Grain, found Rory at the top of his game and in sparkling form both in the studio and on stage.
The next seven years saw the release of these five outstanding records. 

The five re-mastered Rory Gallagher studio albums include Against The Grain (1975), Calling Card (1976), Photo-Finish (1978), Top Priority (1979) and Jinx (1982).

"Continuing on from last year’s 40th Anniversary of Rory Gallagher's solo career, we’re pleased to present his next five solo albums from 1975-1982," says Daniel Gallagher, Rory’s nephew and producer of the reissues.

"We’re going back to the vinyl artwork and original ¼ inch tapes so that they look and sound exactly as Rory intended. It's also great to see in a digital world that the demand for a physical copy of Rory's music means we can release these albums on vinyl for the first time in almost 40 years."

For the official online press release and downloadable album artwork and archive  photos, click HERE:


Let There Be Music! - the Orleans Band Plays On!

After the recent passing of founding original member of Orleans, Larry Hoppen, his bandmates have decided they will continue playing as Orleans, to fufil the tour dates they previously had booked.
This message was sent out in the bands newsletter:

Just a short note ---

In case anyone somehow missed the news, please see the Home page at

In the wake of this tragedy, Orleans current and past members are banding together in order to finish this year's calendar of gigs. All but 2 are still on.

Please see the listings at  and, if it's at all possible, come out and see us.

Deepest gratitude for the continual stream of condolence emails, texts, voice mails and phone conversations. I am humbled and blessed. So sorry I cannot speak with or write back to everyone, but the sheer volume is overwhelming.

Please know that every single expression of love has been read or listened to and then saved.


Lance Hoppen
For the entire Orleans Ground Crew

Check for upcoming dates and details at:

Keeping in touch by Facebook:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rocking The Riverfront Event featuring The Sweet / The Tubes

Rocking The Riverfront Event featuring The Sweet / The Tubes

Live in Detroit, Michigan – Friday August 10th, 2012

Every summer, here in ‘The D’ local classic rock radio station, WCSX presents the ‘Rocking on the Riverfront’ event on a series of Friday nights, throughout the summer.

This year was no different and in previous weeks there has been John Waite, Starship, Ace Frehley and Lou Gramm, on this past Friday night we had the double treat of two seasoned acts, The Tubes and The Sweet, both acts who have had their fair share of hits, so a good evening looked to be ahead of us …, but thunderstorms and even talk of tornado warning were doing the rounds.


The Tubes

The Tubes opened events, while it was still light and the band still feature original members, Fee Waybill (Vocals), Roger Stein (Guitars), Prairie Prince (Drums), Rick Anderson (Bass) and longtime keyboard player (Since ’96), David Medd.

I’d also learned whilst talking to Fee briefly prior to their performance, that he had broken his wrist the week before, during performing in a stage performance of ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show,’ which he'd been performing here in Michigan, so unfortunately the cast on his arm, prevented him putting on a lot of his stage jackets.
Hope that heals for you soon Fee! 

The Tubes live in Detroit - 10th August, 2012 - Photos: Alun Williams

I missed the opening number, but caught ‘She’s a Beauty’ next which sounded good and afterwards, Fee explained to the crowd, what he had shared with me earlier about his wrist break.

‘Amnesia’ is next and is another goodie for the crowd, although some of the harmony vocals seemed to be a bit of a struggle at times, but then often with outdoor shows, it can cause all sorts of sound problems.

Fee then gets an awkward reminder of his arm’s condition next, as he tries to put on one of those funky and bright coloured jackets for ‘What Do You Want From Life’ and realizes that it’s not going to happen!

Between songs, Fee runs offstage to grab another stage prop here and there and for the next song, I wasn’t sure of, he puts on some roman headgear, which he keeps on for next track, ‘I Was a Punk Before You Were a Punk.’
Pink feathers in the headgear worked well for the statement!

The band then kick right into a yes, punky version of ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and with that the headgear comes off.

 Tubes again, Rockin' the Riverfront in Detroit! - Photos: Alun Williams

‘Tip Of The Tongue’ provides a drum solo for Prairie Prince, nice job before they give us the huge power ballad, ‘I Don’t Want To Wait Anymore,’ which is a great song, but Fee struggles with some of those higher notes.

'Quay Lewd' alias Fee Waybill - Photo: Alun Williams

After disappearing offstage for a little while, Roger Stein introduces ..., '... fresh from the Olympics, ‘Quay Lewd!’
Out comes Fee in this alter ego character get up, that he’s walking very carefully in, on what look like eight inch high stiletto boots, silver spandex and huge blond wig and they throw in a little Iggy and ‘Lust For Life.’

Then it’s the song that is most likely responsible for getting the band on their way in the beginning, with ‘White Punks on Dope’ and off they go.

The crowd wants another and they come back out with ‘Talk To Ya Later.’

Nice show guys.

The Sweet

OK, for the record and yes, I know all Sweet fans out there will know this already, but there are only two surviving members of the classic line up of Sweet that gave the world so many great hits.

Sadly original vocalist Brian Connolly and drummer Mick Tucker have both passed away, some years back leaving just guitarist Andy Scott and bassist / vocalist Steve Priest as survivors from the classic lineup today.

In addition to this, the two of them do not get along, so Andy Scott lives in the UK and has his version of Sweet - Sweet UK - over there and Steve Priest has his version of Sweet here, so you can look at that however you like, but I can tell you that this version of Sweet, do sound good!

This line up, alongside Steve Priest features, Stuart Smith (Guitars / Vocals), Joe Retta (Lead vocals), Richie Onori (Drums) and Stevie Stewart on keyboards.

Ed's note:
As I’m finishing typing this up though unfortunately, it appears that this was the last time this lineup of the past four years, will play together …
More at the end of the review …

The Sweet onstage 'Rockin' the Riverfront' in Detroit! - Photos: Alun Williams

A classic Sweet opener is ‘Action,’ which in fact is a track that a few years back, Def Leppard use as an opener and it kicks in well and continues to rock the crowd, getting the set off to a rousing start, in front a very respectable crowd, especially considering the thunderstorms they were predicting!

‘Hellraiser’ is up next and alongside ‘Action’ it’s a driving rocker and all seems great with the band, although sounds like a few technical problems with the Hammond organ … I hope that it will improve and sure enough it certainly does. Good stuff.

You know, I recall much of the consensus towards the Sweet, from my then classmates in senior school, contempt to disrespect of the band, dissing them as simply bubblegum, glam pop fodder. Suffice to say, in later years, I worked with some other guys who had seen them before as the Sweet in the mid-late 70’s, saying that the pop songs didn’t do them justice and that their album tracks rocked!

I have to say that there are some seriously great old songs, sure some that were certainly of the more poppy direction, but when these guys play them live, they give them new life and yes, they rock!

Joe Retta centre stage with The Sweet - Photo: Alun Williams

Perhaps a prime example of this is next song ‘Teenage Rampage’ it really does come across so well live and just anyone from the crowd that evening and they’ll no doubt tell you the same.

Seriously though, the appeal of the band reaches across so many generations as is clear from the audience tonight, very young and old alike, families where obviously the parents were fans back in the 70’s / 80’s who now have young or teenage kids and the whole family is clearly enjoying it and singing along!

Then there are older fans - I kid you not! - that were waiting around afterwards for autographs or a drumstick and they were clearly in their 60’s, not to mention the cute young ladies on the side of the stage, right next to Stuart Smith the whole time …

Stuart Smith onstage with The Sweet ..., I think the ladies rather like him!
Photos: Alun Williams

I mean what can I say? They still have great appeal, right across the board, to all ages and all comers!

‘Love Is Like Oxygen,’ a killer ‘Set Me Free’ and ‘Fox On The Run’ all follow in quick succession to great applause, although when Joe’s microphone starts cutting out during ‘Fox …,’ a quickly replaced lead gets the band back on track.
Incidentally, Joe has a really great voice that does nothing but complete justice to that of Brian Connolly. Nice going Joe!

Steve Priest introduces ‘Windy City’ from the ’77 released ‘Off The Record’ album as a song they wrote while they were playing in Chicago and saw some serious poverty first hand on the streets.

Joe Retta and Steve Priest (The Sweet), live in Detroit! - Photo: Alun Williams

Have to say though, the riff has always made me think back to Deep Purple’s ‘Woman From Tokyo’ which is no bad thing in my book, love both tracks equally well!
Fine lead work from Stuart Smith here too, but to be honest the whole band seem right on their game.

Joe Retta grabs an acoustic guitar and introduces ‘The Six Teens’ next, another great catchy song in such a massive back catalogue that is quickly followed by the rocking, ‘Sweet F.A.,’ which is killer!

The crowd is now getting absolutely drenched as the heavens have opened, there’s thunder and lightning, but Sweet continue their own thunder onstage with two of their best known hit single songs in ‘Blockbuster’ and ‘Little Willy’ before ‘AC/DC’ gets an airing too.

By now, it’s amazing to see around 80% or more of the crowd, still enduring this rain to not miss the band’s set.

Stuart Smith then tells the crowd that they are fantastic and ‘we love you and normally we would go off around this time, for you guys to cheer and get us back for an encore, but as this weather is so bad, we’ll call this our encore to you. Thank you!’

Somewhere in there, '... the man at the back ...' is Richie Onori on drums!

Photo: Alun Williams

So ‘Ballroom Blitz’ closes the set and there are no boos, as I think we all agree that Stuart’s call was the right one!

A great fun night, enjoyed by many, a good turnout for this event indeed and it seems, as I started to mention earlier, that this will sadly be the last performance by this lineup as Stuart Smith has decided to call it quits with The Sweet.

In between rehearsing and playing live shows with The Sweet, he’s been trying to get his main project Heaven and Earth, to complete their fourth studio release and third album proper and with doing The Sweet gigs, it’s taking him away from that focus.

He told me last night on the phone, that it’s been a fun four years, but The Sweet is not his band and he needs to focus on getting the new Heaven and Earth album finished and out there for the fans!

Nevertheless, thanks guys, really enjoyed the show, fun evening even with the rain!
Stuart, you will be missed in the band, as you often provided great guitar, heroics!

Rating overall – 4 out of 5 for a great fun double bill evening of entertainment!

Official weblinks: