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Day in Rock Report for 08/28/2017

Today's Day in Rock Stories

Van Halen Star Teases Upcoming Solo Album

(hennemusic) Van Halen bassist and Eddie VH's son Wolfgang recently streamed a brief audio preview of a track from his forthcoming debut solo album on Instagram.

"Here's a sneak peak of the music I've been working on (that's longer than half a second)", posted the Van Halen bassist, who has been sharing images from his work-in-progress project since 2015.

The rocker's father, Eddie Van Halen, first broke the news about his son's solo record during a 2015 interview at The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC during an event to help launch the institution's three-year initiative entitled "What It Means To Be American."

While gushing about being able to make music with his son, Eddie told host Denise Quan, "Wait til you hear his record. This is not 'pop' (Dad) talking, this is real talk; it blew my mind."

Wolfgang is reportedly playing everything on his debut himself - from guitars, drums and bass to keyboards and vocals; no timetable for the set's release has been revealed to date.

"Progress," he tweeted on August 24. "Shouldn't be too much longer until everything I've been working on is done." Check out the clip here.

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Brian Johnson Does Surprise AC/DC Jam With Muse At Reading

(hennemusic) AC/DC singer Brian Johnson performed the band's 1980 classic, "Back In Black", with Muse at the UK's Reading Festival on August 27 and video from the event has surfaced online.

Muse frontman Matt Bellamy welcomed Johnson to the stage, saying, "he's back!", before the band delivered the iconic track as the first encore tune of their closing night headline set.

"That means a lot to me, thank you so much, thank you boys!", said Johnson as he gave a big, bear hug to the singer. "Muse promised us special guests and boy did they deliver!," tweeted host broadcast BBC following the show, which also saw headline performances by Kasabian and Eminem, with all acts also appearing at the companion Leeds Festival over the weekend.

The Reading appearance marked the second surprise live performance by Johnson this year, following a guest spot alongside Robert Plant at a Paul Rodgers show in Oxford, UK in May. Read more and watch video footage of the jam here.

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Tom Petty Forced To Postpone More Shows

Rock legend Tom Petty reported to fans on Sunday via social media that he is feeling much better but a battle with laryngitis and bronchitis forced him to postpone several shows this past week until this week.

His camp shared the good news via Facebook "We've received confirmation that Tom is indeed feeling better - and we want to reassure those of you planning to go the shows in Northern California this week that all systems are go!".

The rescheduled Tom Perry & The Heartbreakers shows including the Greek Theatre in Berkeley tonight (originally Wednesday, August 23rd); same venue this Wednesday Aug 30th (originally Sunday, August 27th); Golden 1 Center in Sacramento on September 1st (originally Friday, August 25th).

The band advised fans "Hold on to your tickets. All tickets will be honored at the rescheduled dates" and added, "Tom & The Heartbreakers sincerely apologize for any and all inconvenience and disappointment this has

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Metallica's WorldWired Tour Dominating Concert Market

(Radio.com) Metallica are crushing every other summer tour. Ten concerts between May 10 and June 18 raked in a whopping $49,571,719. By comparison, second place Tim McGraw and Faith Hill brought in $8,953,066 from seven shows during the same timeframe, according to Billboard.

Metallica kicked off their WorldWired Tour last October to support Hardwired'To Self-Destruct, the band's tenth studio album. Warmup dates began in early 2016 with a handful of U.S. shows. Then, the tour conquered Latin America, Europe and Asia, with the occasional stateside promotional concert,

The North American leg began in May 2017 and ticket sales at stadiums went through the roof. U.S. performances after June 18 weren't tabulated in the latest Hot Tours tally (based on reports from their promoter Live Nation) but suffice it to say, WorldWired is a cash cow. Read more here.

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Gibson Names Top 5 Metal Songs Of All Time

(Gibson) Defining metal music is never easy, but for this all-time list, Gibson.com opted to leave bands like Led Zeppelin and Queen in the hard rock camp and concentrate on the heavier metal sounds - Iron Maiden, Sabbath, Metallica and the like. But did reveal their top 10 metal songs of all time picks. Here are the top 5:

5. "The Number of the Beast," Iron Maiden: Evil is an intrinsic part of metal and, like "Black Sabbath," Iron Maiden's "The Number of the Beast" takes the listener as close to that evil as they can bear. The song's legendary scream of anguish after the intro is as real as it gets - legend has it that the moment is a recording of singer Bruce Dickinson's real reaction to being asked to record yet another take. Meanwhile bassist and lyricist Steve Harris' narrative was inspired in part by a nightmare he had after seeing the film The Omen and partly by the 1790 poem Tam o'Shanter by Robert Burns, in which the protagonist similarly witnesses all kinds of ghoulish goings-on. Musically the song is uptempo and hypnotic, with the requisite shout-along chorus and a tension-building bridge which is relieved by a classic Dave Murray/Adrian Smith shred vs. blues solo duel.

4. "Iron Man," Black Sabbath: Tony Iommi grinds out some riffs, Ozzy Osbourne starts humming and says it sounds like an iron bloke walking about. Geezer Butler runs with the line, turns it into a song and a Sabbath classic is born. With the pounding power of Iommi's riff, the strident vocals and the imagination-teasing storytelling, this was a new kind of rock. It was darker, gloomier, nastier and bolder than Zeppelin and Purple. Black Sabbath weren't hard rock, Sabbath were metal.

3. "Crazy Train," Ozzy Osbourne: The pressure was on Ozzy Osbourne in 1980. His crazy antics had led to his departure from Black Sabbath and the launch of, hopefully, a new solo career. Randy Rhoads' outrageous guitar work, as well as Rhoads' songwriting collaborations, ensured that so long as Ozzy could come up with decent lyrics and still force fire from his belly, the career would be in good shape. "Crazy Train" was near perfect in concept and execution. All Aboard!

2. "Ace of Spades," Motörhead: Maybe "Ace of Spades" is technically more hard rock than metal - but it certainly rocks harder and faster than any song known to man (metal or otherwise). From the moment Lemmy hits the gas pedal on the opening bass riff, the song never relents. "Philthy Animal" Taylor nobly powers the drums forward at a frenetic pace and "Fast" Eddie Clarke is more than up to the task of ripping a blazing solo directly after the breakdown. And oh, that breakdown. "You know I'm born to lose/And gambling is for fools/But that's the way I like it, baby/I don't want to live forever! - And don't forget the Joker!" If that doesn't set your blood boiling, then you simply don't have a pulse.

1. "Master of Puppets," Metallica: Metallica were already high on the heavy metal watch list with Kill 'em All and Ride the Lightning, but 1986's Master of Puppets was the ultimate statement of intent, as much a call to arms for metalheads everywhere as it was a dire warning of the enslaving power of drug abuse. The song's razor-sharp intro riff sets up the perfect headbanging tempo in the chugging verses, while it's every teenage metal fan's sacred rite of passage to scream out "Master! Master!" at the top of their lungs to this song (preferably at a Metallica concert, but at the very least from a car window). The breakdown and harmony line are balanced by a rare James Hetfield solo (with Hetfield revealing a surprisingly bluesy, haunting and emotional lead style), a return to the harmony, then a blazing Kirk Hammett solo. By the end of the song, it's obvious that metal would never be the same. See the other songs that made the top 10 here.

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Mastodon Release 'Steambreather' Music Video

(hennemusic) Mastodon have released a new music video for their track "Steambreather". The song is the latest track from their seventh album, "Emperor Of Sand."

The project debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 in April with opening week sales of 43,000 copies. Mastodon recorded the set last year with producer Brendan O'Brien at the Quarry in Kennesaw, GA.

The Atlanta rockers will launch a series of fall dates across North America next month with Eagles Of Death Metal and Russian Circles. The trek will include a benefit concert at The Metro in Chicago, IL on September 9 in honor of suicide prevention month. 100% of the proceeds from the event will support suicide prevention and mental health education.
"Please join us in breaking the silence around suicide and mental health," says the band, "it would mean the world to us." Watch the video

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Queens of the Stone Age Unplug For 'The Way You Used to Do'

(Radio.com) Queens of the Stone Age new album Villains, came out on Friday (Aug. 25). In honor of the release, the band has shared a stripped down version of their new single "The Way You Used to Do."

The performance was recorded during an acoustic performance for German radio station WDR 1LIVE and stands in stark contrast to the original track and the wild dance moves of its official music video.

Check out an online stream of Queens of the Stone Age's powerful stripped down performance that shows the band's latest single release in an entirely new light here.

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Avenged Sevenfold Cover the Beach Boys' 'God Only Knows'

(Radio.com) Avenged Sevenfold have taken on the Beach Boys' 1966 classic, "God Only Knows." The cover version is the latest new track recorded for the band's ever-expanding 2016 release, The Stage.

"Of all these new songs we've recorded, this one was the most difficult in terms of figuring out an arrangement," vocalist M. Shadows said in a press release. "Figuring out the middle vocal melodies was also challenging. We wanted to make the song a little darker by adding a flanger and some haunting vocal nuances. The Beach Boys have always been an influence, so it was fun to tackle this one from arguably the best album of all time, Pet Sounds."

Avenged Sevenfold's version of "God Only Knows" follows recent covers of Mr. Bungle ("Retrovertigo") and Del Shannon ("Runaway"). Stream the unique take on the Beach Boys classic here.

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Jimmy Page Producing New 'Yardbirds '68' Compilation

(Radio.com) Legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page is producing a new double-album Yardbirds compilation featuring "studio sketches" and live recordings, Yardbirds '68.

According to Rolling Stone, the collection will feature 18 tracks: eight studio recordings and 10 songs recorded live at New York City's Anderson Theater in March 1968. The album will be available on CD, vinyl and a deluxe box set signed by former Yardbirds members Page, Jim McCarty and Chris Dreja.

"We thought this might be lost forever, but we've rediscovered it, re-mixed it," the three said in a statement. "It's of great historical importance. We're delighted to see the release."

Among the tracks included on Yardbirds '68 are a cover of Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man," and an early version of "Dazed and Confused," which Page would go on to re-record with Led Zeppelin on the band's storied debut album. Read more here.

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Rockabilly Legend Sonny Burgess Dead At 88

(Gibson) Sonny Burgess, Sun Records veteran and legendary rockabilly guitarist, has passed away at the age of 88. While not one of Sun's most famous mid-'50s six-stringers, Burgess was integral to early rockabilly, sharing bills with Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Burgess' 1956 debut single for Sun - "Red Headed Woman"/ "We Wanna Boogie" - was one of Sun's most raw, unpolished rockabilly tunes.

Rockabilly historian Colin Escott described Burgess'1956 debut as "punk before punk, thrash before thrash." Although their music was classified as rockabilly, Burgess' band, the Pacers, owed more to the horn-driven jump R&B of the 1950s: Burgess delivered an explosive over-amped guitar solo on "We Wanna Boogie" that became famous in its own right.

The Pacers' shows were just as wild as their records - they formed a human pyramid onstage, and often dragged each other across the stage by their instruments. When Burgess attempted to dye his hair blond with peroxide, it turned bright red, enticing him to purchase a new, all-red wardrobe. "We had one of the greatest stage shows there was," he once said. "It was like a three-ring circus. People couldn't watch just one of us." Read more here.

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Tom Morello Named Son After Randy Rhoads

(Gibson) Rockstars naming their offspring after their own heroes is no new thing. Just ask Nile Marr (after dad Johnny's hero Nile Rodgers) or Lennon Gallagher (after dad Liam's favorite member of the Rolling Stones... or something.)

But wait. Tom Morello has told WRIF's Meltdown podcast his first son is named after one of Ozzy Osbourne's guitarists. And it's not Jake E Lee. As reported by Ultimate-Guitar, Morello told Meltdown over the phone, "My first-born son is named Rhoads Morello, after Randy Rhoads. My second born son Roman is here right now, doing his best to distract me from this interview.

"So, yeah, Randy Rhoads, it was a poster I had in my dorm room. When I was practicing eight hours a day, that was my principal inspiration." Morello continued, "I had a chance to play with Ozzy! I've rocked 'Mr Crowley' with Ozzy! Let me tell ya... Randy Rhoads is my favorite of all time, that was quite a moment. Whenever a great musician passes it's such a shame. It's just a shame to lose anyone."

Rhoads has been cited by Morello as a true inspiration many times before. He has previous told MusicRadar, "By the time Randy had passed, I don't think that I had the ability to play his songs. That came later. But I did spend about nine months learning the song Diary of a Madman. For any guitar player, it's challenging. But for a beginning player, that's a massive, Herculean undertaking." here.

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Oasis Cover Results In Police Action In Demark

(Gibson) Police in Denmark have made headlines after reportedly sending a busker home for performing a substandard cover of the 1995 Oasis hit single 'Wonderwall'. In Europe, at least, the song is a staple for buskers and street performers.

But Nordjyllands Police seem to have lost patience with one guitarist's attempts. In Bispensgade, Aalborg, Denmark, on August 17 they decided a busker needed to be sent home to practice to spare the ears of local passers-by.

"Just because you can play 'Wonderwall' does not mean you should," said police on their website. "The guitarist played loud, bad and noisy. He did not sound like Liam Gallagher. A patrol talked to the singer and sent him home to practice."

The Danish police have been clearly enjoying the notoriety the incident has brought. They titled their explanation: "Today is gonna be the day that they're gonna throw it back to you," quoting the song's lyrics. Songwriter Noel Gallagher has famously said he gave brother Liam the choice of singing either "Wonderwall" or "Don't Look Back In Anger" when he wrote them, but that Liam "wasn't having both." here.

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The Killers' Brandon Flowers Says New Rock Bands Not Good Enough

(Radio.com) As one of the biggest rock bands of the 21st century so far, the Killers have achieved the kind of success new groups dream of attaining. According to the Killers' frontman, Brandon Flowers, the reason there are so few new rock bands hitting those same heights is simply because they're just not ready.

"It could happen--but there hasn't been anybody good enough. If there was a band like the Strokes, or Interpol, people would talk," Flowers told Noisey during a recent interview. "If there were some kids out there right now playing 'Obstacle 1' tonight, I would hear about it, you would hear about it. But there isn't," he added, gesturing towards Brooklyn while referencing a song from Interpol's debut album, Turn on the Bright Lights.

"A lot of us in that scene were fully realized on our first record," he continued. "In the 80s and 90s, people had time to grow, and that is definitely not going to be allowed anymore. Look at us, the Strokes, White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand--even Razorlight, Kaiser Chiefs, all that stuff. Kings of Leon. The songs were strong on those first albums. Usually it takes people three or four records to get there."

"People are very quick to blame a changing of the times for a lot of things, when it's really that they're just not good enough yet," added drummer Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. Read more here.

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Singled Out: Graham The Empire's The Best Of Me

Indianapolis alt-rockers trio Graham The Empire are gearing up to release their debut EP on September 29th. To celebrate we asked frontman Graham Zebrasky to tell us about their single "The Best Of Me." Here is the story:

The song "The Best Of Me" really got its footing some time ago while I was in high school. I had this guitar riff - the main part - and really wanted to write a song over it. The basic idea came together pretty quickly and I was finding that, surprisingly, a girl that I had a crush on was a great inspiration that helped drive the song forward. I had barely any experience writing lyrics and finding a melody that fit the music and arrangement so the chorus went "Ste - phan - ie, Ste - phan - ie, you're my Ste - phan -ie". Yeah, no idea who I was writing about…

Sadly, the song was put on the shelf as I could never seem to find the right inspiration and feel for the rest of the arrangement and not surprisingly, the high school crush didn't last forever. It wasn't until years later where I was going through the polar opposite of a high school crush - ending a long relationship in the worse way possible, where the song became an anthem.

Short backstory: it was one of those relationship endings where I felt like I was consistently trying to take the high road, only to be met with being taken advantage of. To a fault, I really do believe the best in people. Only on this day, it had been taken to an extreme and put some things that were very important to me in jeopardy - I had enough. Immediately in my head, I heard the words "She got the best of me".

I ran down to my small studio - (which was really a ton of music gear crammed into a small room) and immediately brought out the riff that had sat on the shelf for so long. In about 15 minutes, the song was complete and in roughly the same form that you hear today. It just all made too much sense together. Right after the first guitar pass and drum loops were put down, I wrote the lyrics and sang with all the anger, confusion, and intensity that brought me to that place. While the words "She got the best of me" are an angry statement of the reality that she put me through, both in the sense that she got the best of me in that moment but also got some of the best years of my life; it also longs for an answer that had me running back continually asking questions of "why". It will likely be a perpetually unanswered question that I'll ask each time I sing the song onstage.

THAT particular demo vocal take became the one that we kept coming back to when the song was brought into the studio. I tried singing it again during multiple takes but none of them quite had that intensity and yearning that the demo had. So with a couple of engineering tricks, we made it work as a final version (thank you Mark Needham, you're the man)!

The studio cut of this song was just amazing to perform. We ended up getting Dane Clark, the drummer from John Mellancamp, to play drums on the song. He took to it immediately and came up with these awesome parts that just worked seamlessly in the song. It only took us a couple of hours to get the drums nailed down in their final form, where most of the time we spent on the crazy drum fills during the bridge. Those are my favorite drums on the record and it felt like the soul of Keith Moon himself was in the studio that day! The other interesting bit is that we had a much longer interlude at the bridge with piano, an acoustic fingerpicking part, and some neat bass work; sadly, we had to cut it out of the final version due to length. Maybe we'll get to release it as a bonus track someday.

And there you have it - that's the story of the song and it's one that is quite personal for me to share. Thanks for reading and we really hope that you enjoy listening to the song!

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself here and learn more about the band and EP right here!

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