Last week, Paul Simon announced a “Farewell Performance” scheduled for July 15 in London. He just revealed that the show will be the last date of his Homeward Bound – The Farewell Tour, which will hit North America and Europe in the spring and summer.“I’ve often wondered what it would feel like to reach the point where I’d consider bringing my performing career to a natural end,” he said in a statement. “Now I know: It feels a little unsettling, a touch exhilarating and something of a relief. I love making music, my voice is still strong and my band is a tight, extraordinary group of gifted musicians. I think about music constantly. Sadly, we lost our lead guitarist and my friend of 30 years, Vincent N’guini, who died last December. His loss is not the only reason I’ve decided to stop touring, but it is a contributing factor. Mostly, though, I feel the travel and time away from my wife and family takes a toll that detracts from the joy of playing. I’d like to leave with a big Thank You to the many folks around the world who’ve come out to watch me play over the last 50 years.”This doesn’t mean Simon will retire from performing entirely. “After this coming tour, I anticipate doing the occasional performance in a (hopefully) acoustically pristine hall, and to donate those earnings to various philanthropic organizations, particularly those whose objective is to save the planet, ecologically,” he continued. “Once again, I am very grateful for a fulfilling career and, of course, most of all to the audiences who heard something in my music that touched their hearts.”The tour will begin May 16 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C., with the North American leg concluding in Nashville on June 20. After that, Simon will begin two weeks’ worth of European shows, beginning in Stockholm on June 30 and ending with the London show on July 15.Even though the tour is called Homeward Bound — named after Simon’s 1966 hit with Simon & Garfunkel — there’s surprisingly no date scheduled for his hometown of New York. But with 10 days between legs, it’s possible something special could be revealed sometime soon.Tickets for most of the North American dates go on sale Feb. 9 at 10AM local time. You can see all the dates below and get full details at Simon’s website.Paul Simon, ‘Homeward Bound – The Farewell Tour’ North American Dates May 16 — Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena May 18 — Seattle, WA @ Key Arena May 19 — Portland, OR @ MODA Center May 22 & 23 — Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl May 25 — Oakland, CA @ Oracle Arena May 27 — Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Grand Garden Arena May 30 — Denver, CO @ Fiddler’s Green June 1 — Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Arena June 2 — Houston, TX @ Toyota Center June 4 — Austin, TX @ Frank Erwin Center June 6 — Chicago, IL @ United Center June 8 — St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center June 10 — Detroit, MI @ DTE Energy Center June 12 — Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre June 13 — Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre June 15 — Boston, MA @ TD Garden June 16 — Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center June 19 — Greensboro, NC @ Greensboro Coliseum June 20 — Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
The Beatles’ 1968 pilgrimage to India is being revisited through a new documentary, fittingly titled The Beatles in India, scheduled for release later this year.As Screen Daily reports, the movie is actually the realization of a lifelong journey by Emmy-winning filmmaker Paul Saltzman, who was seeking his own path to enlightenment in India when he met up with the Beatles on their trip. Saltzman ended up taking personal photos of the band — and as part of the process behind The Beatles in India, he decided to return to the country where it all started.Promising “rarely seen footage, including in-depth interviews with the band,” the movie will reportedly pay particularly close attention to the ways in which the Beatles’ India trip affected their creative process during the period leading up to the White Album. The Beatles in India doesn’t yet have a specific release date announced, although Screen’s sources say the production is targeting an autumn arrival — and it has an enthusiastic supporter in producer Reynold D’Silva, who shared his own longstanding connection with the material in a press release.”The idea of a Beatles in India documentary has been with me since the mid-’90s. By pure coincidence, or perhaps it was fate, three separate people put me in touch with Paul early last year,” D’Silva pointed out. “It turned out he had been harboring the idea for even longer than I had. After our first phone call, we were set on a path to produce the film together.”
Former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing said that working on his upcoming memoir brought him “close to tears,” and noted that some of its revelations will surprise fans who think they know everything about the band’s history.The book, Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest, is set for publication on Sept. 20. Downing followed up the official announcement with a Facebook post. “It was with great surprise to me that I saw articles recently relating to my book, as work is still in progress finalizing everything,” he wrote. “The internet-led world we live in doesn’t make it easy to keep secrets! However, I was secretly desperate to tell you all about this book, as my life story is something that I am very proud of – even though I suspect that some of the details will surprise you, just as they did me as I lived through them.”Downing said that looking back at his life while preparing the book “often brought me close to tears, but has also made me laugh with the fondest memories,” he added. “It is true that I have made many friends along the way, but it is also true that I have made some enemies. But one thing is for sure: The music that has been everything to me has not only been my salvation, but has also brought me closer to the people of so many nations – and I can honestly say that I consider all of you to be my very dear friends.”The 320-page book will reportedly cover “complex personality conflicts, the business screw-ups, the acrimonious relationship with fellow heavy metal band Iron Maiden, as well as how Judas Priest found itself at the epicenter of a storm of parental outrage that targeted heavy metal in the ’80s.”Downing announced his departure from Judas Priest in 2011; he was replaced by Richie Faulkner. The band has a new album, Firepower, scheduled for release on March 9.
Ghost leader Tobias Forge rejected the suggestion that his band would present a more straightforward version of itself onstage now that his identity had been revealed, saying he was planning “the exact opposite” result.His name, and those of his former colleagues, were revealed during the process of a legal dispute last year. Since then, Forge has been working on the band’s fourth album, which is nearing completion.“The original idea of being anonymous – it was a great, naive idea on paper in 2008, not knowing to what degree we’d be touring or to what extent this was going to be a professional operation,” Forge told Revolver in a new interview. “That regimen is very hard to live by. What I hadn’t foreseen was the fans and their willingness to embrace that and play along. I guess that’s the whole thing with showbiz and magic tricks: It’s like you have a silent agreement with your audience.”Forge admitted he’d doubted the concept of anonymity since they started touring, noting, “It ha[d] been in my mind that this doesn’t really hold water.” Asked if the identity revelations meant a paring-down of the band’s performances, he replied, “No, no, no. The exact opposite, actually. The plan is for it to be even more theatrical and even more dressed up.”He argued that Ghost had “already become more of an entity on its own.” “As long as I don’t go onstage completely normal and then jump into character onstage, I assume that most fans would be able to accept me as the creator,” he said. “I can comment on the work the same way a director would on his movie.” He also confronted the suggestion that the change would affect the band’s popularity, asking, “Why would this be so strange that any knowledge about its true identity would tarnish it to the point where you cannot like it anymore?”Forge revealed that the upcoming Ghost album includes songs titled “Rats,” “Faith,” “Life Eternal” and “Danse Macabre.” “It is loosely themed around the concept of death and doom,” he noted. “It’s a themed album around medieval times, but it’s definitely clinging onto a lot of very current things. … There’s a lot that you would recognize today in online mannerisms. In many ways, we’ve gone back a few steps because now it’s closer to how it was back in the old days when people were standing at the square and all of a sudden, it’s like in Monty Python’s Life of Brian: ‘Stone him! Ra! Ra! Ra!’ Public trials are very unsupervised and extremely swift and speak to the most primordial parts of us.”When Ghost return for a series of summer festival dates, headed up with a Las Vegas show on April 20, Forge will appear as Papa Emeritus Zero, the latest reincarnation of his character.
Joe Perry admitted he sometimes wonders if there’s any point in Aerosmith making another album, but he talked up the chances of some new songs being recorded before the band end its career.The veteran rockers’ last LP, Music From Another Dimension!, arrived in 2012. Last year, they reported they had started tracking a new song. Band members had been discussing the value of a new album for some time.“I don’t know if we have time to do a whole record, but Steven [Tyler] and I have talked about getting together and at least throwing some stuff out before we start up again,” Perry said in a recent interview with SiriusXM (via Blabbermouth). He reported that he and singer Tyler had both put in some studio time. “It’s really about the tempo and the schedule,” he said. “Obviously, we’ve slowed down somewhat from how we used to tour, but anything’s possible. I don’t know yet.”The guitarist noted that no band discussions had taken place, though he felt “everybody’s vibe is we’d like to have some new material. But we’ve got so many songs that we haven’t played in so long, and other songs that we’ve never played, so there are a lot of things to come into consideration when you talk about a new record. Sometimes I think about, ‘What’s the point?’ We’ve got all these songs that we’ve already written that have been on these albums that we’d love to play that no one’s ever heard before. And I certainly love recording, and I could see it happening.”Asked whether there was any truth to the rumor that Aerosmith could play a Las Vegas residency, Perry said the idea had been talked about, but nothing had been decided. “I imagine we’ll do it at some point,” he said.
There was no hologram. But Prince was seen and heard during the Super Bowl halftime show. Midway through his set, Justin Timberlake performed “I Would Die 4 U” along with audio and video of the Purple’s One’s original performance of the song, which was projected onto a giant billowing screen above the stage.(skip to 8:55 on the video above if you want to see just that song)As you can see in the below video, Timberlake performed a similar version of the song during a 2016 concert in San Francisco. During tonight’s performance, U.S. Bank Stadium and the surrounding Minneapolis city streets were bathed in purple light.When word spread yesterday that Timberlake’s show would include an homage to Minnesota’s hometown, Prince’s longtime collaborator and protege Sheila E. assured fans ahead of the game it wouldn’t be in the form of a hologram.Prior to his death, Prince was on record opposing the concept of a hologram, calling it “the most demonic thing imaginable” in a 1998 Guitar World interview. “Everything is as it is, and it should be. If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age. That whole virtual reality thing … it really is demonic. And I am not a demon. To prevent that kind of thing from happening is another reason why I want artistic control.”When word first broke of the idea of a Prince hologram at the Super Bowl, Sheila E. tweeted, “Prince told me don’t ever let anyone do a hologram of me. Not cool if this happens!” But she eventually shared a relieved update: “Family, I spoke w/Justin 2nite and he shared heartfelt words of respect for Prince & the Purple fans. I look 4wrd 2 seeing what I’m sure is going 2 be a spectacular halftime show. There is no hologram.”
Whether you’re following along at home or missed the game entirely, we’ve got your back. Check out the Super Bowl 52 commercial premieres that feature your favorite rock artists.Queen “We Will Rock You (Fast)” – Dodge RamThe fast version of Queen’s inspirational anthem provides the soundtrack for a group of actual vikings who travel by sea and land expecting to see their namesake team in the Super Bowl — only to turn back when they realize they’re not in the game. You can hear the whole song on Queen On Air – The Complete BBC Radio Sessions. Foreigner, “I Want To Know What Love Is” – ToyotaToyota’s “One Team” ad follows a trio of holy men on the way to a big game — and the driver quickly establishes who’s in charge of the stereo by playing Foreigner’s beloved ballad over his friend’s (wrongheaded) objections. Black Sabbath, “Iron Man” – Winter OlympicsNothing like a bit of Black Sabbath to get you motivated. A 60-second spot highlights Olympic snowboarder Shaun White’s comeback, after he failed to medal in 2014. His “Best of the U.S.” ad, featuring the metal band’s “Iron Man,” from 1971’s Paranoid, shows the two-time gold medalist’s determination to return as a serious contender. Aerosmith, “Dream On” – KiaAerosmith frontman Steven Tyler appears in a new Kia commercial, titled “Fueled by Youth.” In it, the modern-day singer jumps into a Kia Singer, throws it in reverse and runs a track that way to the tune of his band’s first big hit, the 1973 track, “Dream On.” When he finally emerges from the car, it’s as a young man. An alternate version of the ad, “Feeling Something Again,” is essentially the same spot, run backward. Nirvana, “All Apologies” – T-MobileA lullaby version of Nirvana’s “All Apologies” serves as the background music while a parade of adorable toddlers is given marching orders about love and acceptance. Ed Sheeran, “All Along the Watchtower” – Tom Clancy’s Jack RyanAmazon Prime will air the series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, about a CIA analyst-turned-action-hero. Following big-screen portrayals of the character by Alec Baldwin (The Hunt for Red October), Harrison Ford (Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger) and Ben Affleck (The Sum of All Fears), The Office’s John Krasinski is in the spotlight now, along with pop star Ed Sheeran’s take on the classic and often covered Bob Dylan tune “All Along the Watchtower.” David Bowie, “Let’s Dance” – Winter Olympics Figure SkatingNBC is going heavy on the classic rock for their Olympic commercials, but it’s hard to argue with their use of this David Bowie gem.Prince, “Let’s Go Crazy” – NBCAll the stars from your favorite NBC shows team up to lessen Prince. Yay?
Longtime Prince collaborator Sheila E. has assured fans that he will not appear in hologram form as part of Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl halftime show performance in Minneapolis tonight.”Family, I spoke w/Justin 2nite and he shared heartfelt words of respect for Prince & the Purple fans,” she wrote on Twitter. “I look 4wrd 2 seeing what I’m sure is going 2 be a spectacular halftime show. There is no hologram.”The original TMZ eyewitness reports from Timberlake’s rehearsals for the show only mentioned that there would be “a hologram to honor” Prince, the host city’s recently departed hometown hero – which could mean anything from doves to purple rain to who knows what. But speculation and negative reaction about the image of Prince himself turning up in hologram form immediately ran rampant on the internet.That included a pointed tweet from Sheila E. herself. “Prince told me don’t ever let anyone do a hologram of me,” she tweeted when the rumors first broke. “Not cool if this happens!”There is still no confirmation that an actual Prince hologram was ever planned as part of Timberlake’s show. “There is no hologram” is not the same as “the hologram has been cancelled.”Prince himself spoke out vehemently against such technology in a 1998 interview with Guitar World, calling it, “the most demonic thing imaginable. Everything is as it is, and it should be. If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age. That whole virtual reality thing… it really is demonic. And I am not a demon. To prevent that kind of thing from happening is another reason why I want artistic control.”However, Prince reportedly died without leaving behind a will, leaving his estate in the control of his surviving relatives. “A hologram could be done as long as it is of excellent quality,” his sister Tyka Nelson said last year. “It would have to allow the fans to experience Prince in the way he allowed us to experience his music.”
In the years after Pearl Jam became a blockbuster band, the group became embroiled in high-minded and self-protective battles. They stopped playing venues associated with Ticketmaster, whom they sued. They stopped making music videos. They stopped giving interviews. And they nearly stopped being a band.But with maturity often comes some measure of wisdom and acceptance. In the back half of the ’90s, Pearl Jam began to soften some of their hardline stances, not as a betrayal of their ethics but as a method to focus on the music. They ceased putting up stop signs and learned to yield – which became the name of the rockers’ fifth album.“I think the title Yield has to do with maybe being more comfortable within ourselves, with this band,” guitarist Mike McCready said in 1998. “Whereas the earlier records were like Vs. – we were kind of reacting to the storm of press and craziness that was happening. Now, we’re all a little bit older and a little more relaxed and maybe just kind of yielding to those anxieties and not trying to fight it so much.”Some of that comfort came in the form of increasing collaboration within Pearl Jam. Near the end of the recording process for 1996’s No Code, frontman Eddie Vedder spoke frankly to his bandmates (McCready, guitarist Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament and drummer Jack Irons) about wanting the band to be more democratic, in terms of the lyrical and conceptual burden, on the next record. Vedder would remain the primary lyricist, but yearned for some of that weight to be alleviated.The guys responded to the request, with Irons contributing the music and lyrics for one track (“Untitled”), Gossard writing two (“No Way,” “All Those Yesterdays”) and Ament also penning two (“Pilate,” “Low Light”) – which were the bassist’s first lyrics written for a Pearl Jam record. Unlike the band’s previous four albums, Yield would find Vedder singing words which did not originate with him.“I think the fact that everybody had so much input into the record, like everybody really got a little bit of their say on the record,” Ament told MTV, “and I think because of that, everybody feels like they’re an integral part of the band.”That shift meant that the members of Pearl Jam came to their 1997 sessions at Seattle’s Studio Litho and Studio X with more concrete musical ideas and more complete songs. Producer Brendan O’Brien noticed the change between the rough-hewn “we’ll figure it out as it goes” aesthetic of No Code and the bolder, hookier material that would fill Yield.“I remember there was a concerted effort to really put together the best, more accessible songs they possibly could,” O’Brien told Spin in 2001.Many of the tracks were Pearl Jam’s most aggressive in a while, from the chugging kickoff of “Brain of J.” to the glimmering distortion of “MFC” to Vedder’s maniacal howl on “Do the Evolution.” The album’s lead single, “Given to Fly,” would earn comparisons to Led Zeppelin – albeit the gentler, folksy “Going to California” and not something Hammer of the Gods-like.“Given to Fly,” with its steady rise of melody and power, became the band’s biggest hit in a couple of years, going to No. 21 on the Bilboard chart. It also encapsulated the balance discovered by a more mature Pearl Jam on Yield. This album contained a synthesis of arena and punk rock influences, melodies and experiments, blazing guitar and strummed whispers. And it all seemed so comfortable.The lyrics reinforced that comfort and maturity. With all members now in their 30s, they took a more contemplative but positive look at life’s struggles. Vedder and pals drew from literature (Charles Bukowski, Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael) as well as more personal feelings about the future (“Low Light”), interaction (“In Hiding”) and the power of love in the face of struggle (“Given to Fly”).Pearl Jam put out Yield on Epic Records on Feb. 3, 1998, selling hundreds of thousands of copies in the first week of release, although the album was kept at No. 2 on the U.S. charts by the Titanic soundtrack. The band’s fifth album was the first to not top the Billboard chart, although it gradually went platinum and eventually outsold No Code.Yield was greeted with enthusiastic reviews, many of which hailed the record as something of a return to form. The record’s commercial success was also aided by Pearl Jam’s willingness to actually promote this album (which had been lacking on past releases) with press interviews, a music video (co-directed by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane and Batman: The Animated Series director Kevin Altieri) and an enormous tour that took the band to Australia and all over North America.However, between the Oceanic portion of the trek and the Stateside dates, drummer Irons decided that the big tour was too much for him and he departed the band after about four years behind the kit. Pearl Jam recruited Matt Cameron (of the recently disbanded Soundgarden) to play the North American shows and he’s been part of the group ever since.Cameron’s first run with Pearl Jam was recorded for the band’s first-ever concert album, Live on Two Legs, which was released in the fall of 1998 and featured hits, fan favorites and tunes from Yield. The new stuff fit comfortably amongst the steadily growing Pearl Jam oeuvre.“Yield was a superfun record to make,” Ament reflected. “And so much of it was Ed kind of sitting back; we worked on all of our songs before we worked on any of his stuff. That was a huge thing.”
Former Temptations lead singer Dennis Edwards died at the age of 74 in a Chicago hospital, his family has confirmed. The cause of death was complications from meningitis, with which he’d been diagnosed last May. Today (Feb. 3) would have been his 75th birthday.His friend Ronald Isley of the Isley Brothers told the St Louis Post-Dispatch, “We prayed for him and hoped he would get himself together and be able to come back. But he’s with the Lord now.” He added, “He had a gift, a talent and he really sang. There aren’t many people left with voices like his.”Edwards was a member of the iconic soul band from 1968 until 1977 — a time when their sound shifted to a grittier, more psychedelic direction — and appeared on hit singles including “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” “Ball of Confusion” and “I Can’t Get Next to You.”He began singing in gospel choirs before studying music at college and then joined the Contours in the early ‘60s. The Temptations hired him after dismissing David Ruffin, and his rougher voice helped inspire a move towards the sound that pushed them to the top of the charts. They won Grammys for “Cloud Nine” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. Edwards was given a Lifetime Achievement Grammy for his work with the Temptations in 2013. After leaving the band he returned three times, with his final stint taking place from 1987 to 1989.Otis Williams, the last remaining original member of The Temptations, tweeted via the band’s official account, “Very sad to learn of the passing of our brother, Dennis Edwards. He is now at peace, and our love and prayers go out to his family. We acknowledge his extraordinary contribution to the Temptations’ legacy, which lives on in the music.”Others who paid tribute included Smokey Robinson, who told Rolling Stone: “It really saddens me to know that another Motown soldier is gone.” Whitesnake leader David Coverdale tweeted: “RIP an amazing singer… thoughts & prayers to his family, friends and fans.” Vernon Reid of Living Colour described Edwards as an “indelibly identifiable stylist, too often overlooked in the pantheon of R&B’s very greatest artists.”As much as the Ruffin-era Temptations hits — “My Girl,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “I Wish It Would Rain” defined Motown’s first wave of soul classics, the tracks on which Edwards sang helped ushered in a new period for the label, one in which they branched out into social commentary, including “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” “Ball of Confusion.” As much as those hits are associated with the headlines of the late ’60s and early ’70s, they’ve remained relevant through covers by a wide variety of artists, which you can hear below.