Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Rock Music Legend John Wetton Dies (12th June 1949 – 31st January 2017)

ASIA in concert in November 2012. Guitarist Steve Howe, singer-bassist John Wetton and drummer Carl Palmer.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

I am very saddened to hear of the death of John Wetton earlier today. Below is the official media release that arrived in my inbox this morning. I first caught John Wetton live at one of my first concerts, when I saw ASIA touring in support of their first album at the Long Beach Arena in July 1982. Then in August 2010, I got to see the ASIA two nights in a row and Wetton was fantastic. A link to my review of those two nights can be read here; more recently, in November 2012, I caught the band in a memorable performance at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, CA. You can read that review here.

John Wetton. Photo by Mike Inns
Rock music legend John Wetton sadly passed away in the early hours of this morning, Tuesday 31st January 2017, after a long and courageous battle against colon cancer.

John rose to fame with King Crimson in the early 70s during the iconic Red era and later formed the band UK. In the early 1980s he was a founder member of supergroup ASIA which was his biggest commercial success. The band’s 1982 self-titled debut album was the biggest selling album in the world that year and gave fans and mainstream radio the mega-hit Heat of the Moment.

John also enjoyed a successful solo career, including the seminal album Battle Lines, and formed iCon with ASIA bandmate Geoff Downes. In 2006 the original line-up of ASIA reformed and toured the world several times to promote four new studio albums.

John had been planning to tour with ASIA for the band’s forthcoming US arena tour with Journey and following the success of his solo Studio Recordings Anthology, to continue working on the ongoing re-issue programme of his solo albums, via his own Primary Purpose label.

John valued his over 11 years of sobriety and volunteered time in fellowship with other alcoholics to share his experience, strength and hope with them. John is survived by his recently wed wife Lisa and 18 year old son Dylan, brother Robert and mother Peggy.

The very last studio song of John Wetton’s career was the closing track on the most recent and indeed final ASIA album “Gravitas” and included the profound lyrics “Think the best of me, till we meet again.”

A statement by Geoff Downes:

John Wetton performing at The Coach
House in San Juan Capistrano in 2012.
Photo: Bob Steshetz
It is with great sadness and a heavy heart, that I have to report we have lost my dearest friend, brother, bandmate and long term musical collaborator, John Wetton, who has passed away after a long and tenacious battle with cancer. He will be remembered as one of the world’s finest musical talents, and I for one of many was wholly blessed by his influence. It was a massive privilege for me to have worked with this genius so closely on our numerous projects together over the years. His bass playing was revolutionary. His voice was from the gods. His compositions - out of this world. His sense of melody and harmony - unreal. He was literally a 'special one'.
But John was much more than a gigantic and unique musical talent. He was a supremely intelligent man, marked with his great observations and wisdom about life; all couched within his wicked sense of humour. The wit was dark and deep, only fully perceptible to those on his same wavelength. I was fortunate enough to be able to be on that wavelength, and discover that we had much in common. Many of his personal life experiences were reflected in his lyrical contributions to the songs. His heart was always in the music. That was John, through and through. It was always about - the music.
As a person, he was fiercely loyal, loving and generous, particularly to those he cared about. But he could be as stubborn as a mule or as gracious as a nobleman, depending on the mood that grabbed him on any particular day. There were some who couldn't read his brilliant mind and complex personality. Some found him charming, others infuriating. But however you found John, there was no denying his rare talent as a musician and songwriter was second to none. 
Both of us having been brought up with similar backgrounds in provincial England, we shared a love of many things - sport, and in particular - football, English church music, current affairs, comedy, literature, you name it....pretty much everything that 2 kids from the sticks were exposed to in our youth. 
Our planets seemed to be immediately in alignment when we first met in early 1981. There was a laddish camaraderie that grew between us as we became as close as two non-related brothers could be. He was an avid reader and film enthusiast, something he pursued with great interest. This helped inspire him to some wonderful lyrics to the literally hundreds of songs we composed together. Back then, we immediately hit the ground running as we composed much of the debut ASIA album together and forged a formidable partnership which lasted right up until now. It was a wholly natural process for us, whereby we could knock out 2 or 3 songs in an afternoon. They were always greeted with our gentlemanly handshake and smiles once we had wrapped up another one in the bag. 
Above all else though, his passion for life was to the fore. The battles he endured throughout were immense and well documented. Firstly with alcohol, which he so resolutely overcame, then open heart surgery and finally cancer, which sadly was to take his life in the end. He once observed to me that this disease is a "merciless assassin". Just another example of his perception and the descriptive language that he was so richly blessed with. He took all of these battles on board with great bravery and almost a 'laissez-faire' attitude, tinged with his inimitable wry wit. 
To say I will miss my him greatly is beyond understatement. He was such an inspiration to me. We were planning another album, but sadly he was not well enough to complete it. I feel heartbroken about this, as I knew John thought it was to be one of our finest albums to date. I remain as proud as ever of our Wetton/Downes writing partnership. I am hoping one day that I will be able to finish it, and that it will be appreciated by all those who loved his and our music, and most importantly, a legacy he would have been proud of.
Life will not be the same without him. And words are not really enough to describe the loss I feel right now, and the many friends and fans all over the World will also be feeling. It is the end of an era for all of us. But we will soldier on - the music of John Wetton needs to be heard loud and clear from the rooftops.
Dearest John, may you rest in peace brother. 
Please join me in sending our sincerest thoughts and prayers to Lisa, Dylan and the entire Wetton family at this difficult time.

A statement by Carl Palmer:

With the passing of my good friend and musical collaborator, John Wetton, the world loses yet another musical giant. John was a gentle person who created some of the most lasting melodies and lyrics in modern popular music. As a musician, he was both brave and innovative, with a voice that took the music of ASIA to the top of the charts around the world. His ability to triumph over alcohol abuse made him an inspiration to many who have also fought that battle.  For those of us who knew him and worked with him, his valiant struggle against cancer was a further inspiration. I will miss his talent, his sense of humor and his infectious smile. May you ride easy, my old friend.
Carl Palmer.

Official Websitewww.johnwetton.com

Monday, January 30, 2017

Revolver 50: Grammy Anniversary Edition, Available from Genesis Publications on March 2, 2017

Beatles fans can be thrilled with this news...


January 30, 2017 _ Signed limited edition book and original drawing boxed set by Klaus Voormann available on March 2, 2017

Deluxe box set – solander box, commemorative booklet & original drawing in 18.5” x 18.5” frame

In 1966, The Beatles released Revolver: innovative and seminal, it marked a departure from their earlier records and pushed the boundaries of rock and pop music.  Capturing The Beatles’ new direction, and visually representing their sound, Klaus Voormann’s Revolver cover artwork became instantly iconic.  It went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Cover - Graphic Arts on 2nd March 1967 – the first time for a rock and pop album.

Klaus Voormann with his Grammy Award presented
on March 2, 1967.
Fifty years on, Klaus Voormann has collaborated with Genesis Publications to produce a signed, enhanced edition of his recent book, Revolver 50, to celebrate the anniversary of his landmark award.  REVOLVER 50: GRAMMY ANNIVERSARY EDITION is limited to just 500 copies.  The 156-page book tells the story of the making of the celebrated collage, and each copy will come with a signed original drawing by the artist; a one-of-a-kind artwork, from a selection Voormann has curated exclusively for this anniversary edition.

In Revolver 50, the story of the album cover is recounted in the style of a graphic novel, starting with Voormann meeting The Beatles in the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, visiting them at Abbey Road to listen to Revolver during the album’s production, and the ultimate reaction of the band to his finished design.  The book offers a fascinating insight into the making of the legendary cover with new artwork and photos, a foreword by Paul McCartney, an introductory letter from Ringo Starr and contributions from Mike D’Abo of Manfred Mann and Professor Lawrence Zeegen, Dean of the School of Design at Ravensbourne.

‘In the end, the REVOLVER cover was a classic and this book is another’

Paul McCartney

REVOLVER 50: GRAMMY ANNIVERSARY EDITION will be released as 67 Deluxe copies and 433 Collector copies. Deluxe copies (£845) will come with an original artwork in an 18.5 x 18.5” frame, while the Collector copies (£325) will contain drawings of varying sizes, placed within a 12 x 12” record-sized mount, suitable for framing.  All 500 copies will include a signed, limited edition version of the Revolver 50 book, with gold foil blocking, gilt page edges and encased in presentation boxes – along with a special Grammy Anniversary 12-page commemorative booklet.

REVOLVER 50: GRAMMY ANNIVERSARY EDITION is a classic for every Beatles fan or collector, and a unique chance to acquire a piece of artwork celebrating the timeless Revolver album, 50 years after Voormann originally drew the award-winning image.

‘I opened my graphical ‘treasure box’ and made 500 original drawings available for the Grammy Anniversary edition of my book. Each Collector and Deluxe copy is unique and makes you the owner of an original Klaus Voormann artwork’

Klaus Voormann

Exclusively available to buy from: revolver-book.com

About Klaus Voorman
Klaus Voormann has designed album sleeves for many artists, including the Bee Gees, Ringo Starr and Sonny Rollins, and has played on many of The Beatles solo projects. He took part in the Concert for Bangladesh, was a member of the Manfred Mann Band and was a founding member of Yoko and John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band, as well as contributing to numerous recordings, including Randy Newman, Lou Reed, Ravi Shankar and Carly Simon. In 2009, Voormann celebrated his 70th birthday by releasing his own album, A Sideman’s Journey, featuring various musicians he has collaborated with over the years - such as Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Dr. John and Joe Walsh.

Citi To Launch New Live Music Platform, Citi Sound Vault, To Provide Epic Cardmember Experiences ---- Sting, Beck, The Chainsmokers And Metallica


New York, January 30, 2017 - Citi, working with Live Nation, will unveil "Citi Sound Vault," a new live music platform curated exclusively for cardmembers to access unprecedented music experiences across the U.S. From performances by major artists in intimate venues, to meet and greets and backstage access, Citi Sound Vault goes beyond ticket access to deliver extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Kicking off in Los Angeles from February 8 - 12, 2017 during one of the biggest weeks in music - traditionally only open to industry insiders - Citi and Live Nation have hand-selected Sting, Beck, The Chainsmokers, and Metallica to perform for cardmembers at the iconic Hollywood Palladium.

A full schedule of events at the Hollywood Palladium can be found below.
  • February 8 & 9: Sting16-time GRAMMY Award winner
  • February 10: BeckGRAMMY Album of the Year winner, 5-time GRAMMY Award winner
  • February 11: The Chainsmokers3-time, 2017 GRAMMY Award nominee
  • February 12: Metallica8-time GRAMMY Award winner and 2017 GRAMMY Award nominee
Beck in concert at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas in March 2016.
Photo: Kim Kinsler
Tickets go on sale January 31, 2017 at 10 a.m. PT for Beck, The Chainsmokers, and Metallica exclusively for cardmembers using their Citi credit or debit card, at www.livenation.com. In addition, Citi cardmembers have the opportunity to purchase a limited number of preferred GA balcony tickets to the Sting show on February 8.
"For nearly a decade, Citi has been providing our cardmembers with incredible access to entertainment. Now, we're excited to take it to the next level to bring cardmembers true once-in-a-lifetime experiences with some of the world's biggest artists," said
Jennifer Breithaupt, Managing Director, Media, Advertising and Global Entertainment for Citi. "Citi Sound Vault brings our cardmembers access they will never forget."
"Citi Sound Vault epitomizes the work we strive to create for our partners by providing them with custom music experiences," said Darin Wolf, EVP Live Nation Media & Sponsorship. "The driving force behind developing the concept was to put Citi cardmembers at the epicenter of the most electrifying week in music and continue to build on that unparalleled fan access throughout the year and beyond." 
Citi and Live Nation - the world's leading live entertainment and ticketing company - have a longstanding relationship that is focused on providing fans with more access to their favorite artists and providing next-gen experiences.

About Citi
Citi [NYSE:C], the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: www.youtube.com/citi | Blog: http://blog.citigroup.com | Facebook:www.facebook.com/citi | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/citi

About Live Nation
Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: LYV), or Live Nation, is the world's leading live entertainment and ticketing company comprised of global market leaders: Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, Live Nation Media & Sponsorship and Artist Nation Management. For additional information, visit www.investors.livenationentertainment.com.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Stayin' Alive: A GRAMMY® Salute To The Music Of The Bee Gees coming February 14, 2017


Andra Day, Celine Dion, DNCE, Nick Jonas, Tori Kelly, John Legend,
Little Big Town, Demi Lovato, Pentatonix, And Keith Urban Will Pay Tribute To The Five-Time GRAMMY®-Winning Group

Bee Gees Legendary Co-Founder Barry Gibb Also To Take The Stage

Tickets now on sale

Keith Urban performing at Staples
Center in 2007.
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Jan. 27, 2017) — Just two days after the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards®The Recording Academy®, AEG Ehrlich Ventures, and CBS will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the landmark soundtrack to the film Saturday Night Fever by presenting "Stayin' Alive: A GRAMMY® Salute To The Music Of The Bee Gees." Previous GRAMMY® nominee Andra Day, five-time GRAMMY winner Celine Dionmulti-platinum pop-funk band DNCE, previous GRAMMY nominee Nick Jonas, previous GRAMMY nominee Tori Kelly, 10-time GRAMMY winner John Legend, current GRAMMY nominee Demi Lovato, two-time GRAMMY winners Little Big Towntwo-time GRAMMY winners and current nominees Pentatonix, and four-time GRAMMY winner Keith Urban, will pay tribute to five-time GRAMMY winners and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipients the Bee Gees. Seven-time GRAMMY winner and Bee Gees co-founder Barry Gibb, who released a solo album late last year, will also be on hand to perform a selection of hits from Saturday Night Fever—Soundtrack, which won Album Of The Year at the 21st Annual GRAMMY Awards and was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame® in 2004. Additional performers will be announced soon. The live concert taping will be held Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. To purchase tickets, starting at $25, visit www.axs.com or contact ticketing@grammy.com.VIP packages and group sales are also available at 877.234.8425 or tickets@aegworldwide.com.The special will broadcast on the CBS Television Network later this year. 

"The Bee Gees—Barry, Robin, and Maurice—were international musical icons who helped make Saturday Night Fever an emblem of 1970s pop culture," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "With expert harmonies, undeniable groove, and a personal charisma matching their on-stage persona, the iconic band of brothers defined not just a genre, but a generation. I'm looking forward to celebrating one of the most famous soundtracks ever produced and reliving Saturday Night Fever, once again."

"The Bee Gees created many of pop music's most memorable anthems and to be able to gather some of music's brightest lights together to salute this great legacy is very exciting to me," said Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of AEG Ehrlich Ventures. "Presenting new versions of these great songs promises an evening of true highlights, both for the artists themselves and millions of music fans. I'm proud to share a 42-year connection with Barry and his brothers and look forward to helping to create an amazing night of music and memories."

"Stayin' Alive: A GRAMMY Salute To The Music Of The Bee Gees" continues the tradition of previous Emmy®-winning TV specials presented by The Recording Academy, AEG Ehrlich Ventures, and CBS: "Stevie Wonder: Songs In The Key Of Life—An All-Star GRAMMY Salute," "The Beatles: The Night That Changed America—A GRAMMY Salute," and "Sinatra 100—An All-Star GRAMMY Concert."

"Stayin' Alive: A GRAMMY Salute To The Music Of The Bee Gees" is produced by AEG Ehrlich Ventures, LLC. Ehrlich and Rac Clark are the executive producers, Ron Basile is the producer, and David Wild is the writer.

Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers, and recording professionals dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards—the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music—The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Recording Academy, please visit www.grammy.com. For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @RecordingAcad on Twitter, "like" Recording Academy/GRAMMYs on Facebook, and join The Recording Academy’s social communities on Google+,InstagramTumblr, and YouTube.