Elton John was forced to scrap his spring run of Las Vegas shows due to a "harmful and unusual bacterial infection." Rolling Stone reported that all of the "Rocket Man's" April and May "Million Dollar Piano" performances at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace -- along with a Bakersfield, California concert -- were canceled after Elton fell violently ill upon returning from Santiago, Chile and spent two nights in an intensive care unit at a UK hospital. Refunds will be given to ticket holders of all the canceled shows. A spokesperson for Elton said: "Thankfully, Elton's medical team identified this quickly and treated it successfully. He is expected to make a full and complete recovery."
Elton John said in his own statement: "I am so fortunate to have the most incredible and loyal fans and apologize for disappointing them. I am extremely grateful to the medical team for their excellence in looking after me so well."
- This year, Elton John and collaborator Bernie Taupin celebrate their 50 anniversary as one of rock's most important songwriting partnerships, with a new album being hinted at for the end of 2017. Guitarist Davey Johnstone, who joined Elton John's band in 1971 and currently serves as his musical director, was witness to some of rock's most beloved songs being written in front of him: "Elton’d have a stack of lyrics and he’d just look through them. He wouldn’t do any pre-work (on the songs) in those days, y’know, he wouldn’t ever sneak ‘em at home with them, he’d wait till he get to the studio, and then literally sit down after breakfast and write a song. I mean, I’ve seen him write songs in the time that it’s taken me to make a chicken sandwich, or something."
- Elton John will next perform on June 3rd in Twickenham, England.
Despite rumors of him entering hospice care, Gregg Allman took to Facebook to put his fans at ease, posting, "Hey everyone. I just wanted y’all to know that I’m currently home in Savannah resting on my doctor’s orders. I want to thank you for all the love that you are sending. Looking forward to seeing everyone again. Keep Rockin.'"
The rumor started yesterday (April 24th) when a radio station in Davenport, Iowa posted that Allman was in hospice, which was then run by Relix magazine’s website -- and was soon after pulled down after a bashing by fans on its Facebook page for running an unsubstantiated report. Country star Travis Tritt went public sending well wishes to Allman via Twitter.
- Last month, Allman's health issues once again forced him off the road. A message was posted in the tour section of the GreggAllman.com website stating: "Gregg Cancels Tour Dates -- It has been determined that Gregg will not be touring in 2017. For those of you who purchased tickets for shows in June, contact the ticket outlet from where you purchased the tickets for a refund."
- Last February, it was announced Allman was wrapping up work on his new album, Southern Blood, the long-awaited followup to his 2011 Grammy-nominated set, Low Country Blues. Allman posted a note announcing the news and a teaser video showing clips from a session at Muscle Shoals, Alabama's legendary FAME Recording Studio. The info on the site read: "Gregg Allman is working on the finishing touches for his new album, Southern Blood, produced by Don Was and to be released by Rounder Records." No release date has been announced.
- The legendary keyboardist has long been at the mercy of his health issues, especially after receiving a liver transplant in 2010. Gregg Allman told us that from the moment you're discharged from the hospital, things are never quite the same: "Listen, you have a whole rule book when you leave the hospital of what you can't eat anymore. You take these anti-rejection pills every day -- twice. And that's not the easiest thing to do. I mean, every single day. And they have to be, like, 12 hours apart. So if you wake up in the morning and you take your pills at nine, then you're going to wanna take 'em that night at nine. But you have to stay in about a three-hour parameter -- make it two, actually."
Filming has begun on the Lynyrd Skynyrd biopic, Street Survivors: The True Story Of The Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash. Variety reported the script is based on former Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle’s recollection of band's infamous plane crash on October 20th, 1977 in a swamp near Gillsburg, Mississippi, that took the lives of lead singer Ronnie Van Zant; guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister, backup singer Cassie Gaines; Lynyrd Skynyrd manager Dean Kilpatrick, as well as the plane's two pilots.
In addition to the Skynyrd roles having been cast -- actors will also be featured playing Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. According to the report, "One week before Lynyrd Skynyrd boarded the doomed flight, members of Aerosmith were scheduled to board the same Convair CV-300. The band deemed the plane unsafe and decided not to lease the Convair." Neil Byrnes, who portrays Tyler, fronts the Aerosmith tribute band Draw The Line.
- Last summer, when the biopic was announced, Artimus Pyle told Deadline.com: "When that plane crashed, we were at the top of the world man. I mean, we could play with any band -- any band, whether it was the Rolling Stones, anyone, and we would hold our own or better. I think of that accident every day and what we might have accomplished if we’d have ten more years. But I’m very proud of the band; I love the music and I love playing it still. I love hearing the stories, every time I play a gig now and meet people. And I know the only reason people know my name is because of Ronnie Van Zant. We want this to be a good movie that tells a very passionate, intimate story about the music and the band and a rise and fall that happened so suddenly."
- Lynyrd's Skynyrd's head of security Gene Odom, who was on the plane and one of the 20 survivors, spoke to filmmaker Tony Beazley and recalled the state of Ronnie Van Zant's body after the fatal crash: "Ronnie Van Zant had an eight-inch little nick and a fractured bone in his leg. His own father, when he went to identify the body the next day -- October 21st -- said also, that when they pulled Ronnie out, Ronnie looked like he was asleep. No injuries. He said that he just had a little bump right here behind his ear -- a little cut. And Lacy (Van Zant) didn't know his leg was broke. He says, 'He just looked like he was laying there asleep.'"
Pete Townshend has finally spoken out about Roger Daltrey's 2015 bout with meningitis, which forced the Who off the road while Daltrey bravely fought back from the disease. Townshend, who's now 72, spoke to The Daily Express and touched up his fear of losing Daltrey and his own health, revealing, "One of the things I am grateful for is that I am fit. Roger was very ill and we had to cancel the tour and that was quite hard for me to do. I’ve lost two other members of the band and I just thought, ‘Christ, he’s going to be unable to work.'"
Townshend was particularly impressed with Daltrey's recovery, adding, "But he’s come back fighting, singing great so I am just grateful that I’m in good shape. It’s not a question of whether I’m going to give up or not, it’s whether life will give up on me. . . When I was drinking and using drugs, I was pretty fit but in another sense. I haven’t used drink or drugs in 30 or 35 years almost so that may have helped me stay fit."
- Although the Who’s life on the road is legendary -- and by all accounts a blast no matter which way you cut it -- Roger Daltrey maintains that he wasn’t able to truly let his hair down in fear of the whole operation collapsing without someone keeping on the straight and narrow: "I was the only straight one. Someone had to be straight in the band, ‘cause I was dealing with one alcoholic -- probably drug addict -- in Keith, (laughs) Pete was an alcoholic, (laughs) John was an alcoholic. So, I mean someone has to be straight. The only drug I could do was pot, and I didn’t do that every often ‘cause I couldn’t sing on it ‘cause it dries your throat up. So, it kept me away from it. I was very, very lucky."
July 18 - Oxon Hill, MD - Theater At MGM National Harbor
July 20 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena
July 22 - Atlantic City, NJ - Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall
July 25 - Grand Rapids, MI - Van Andel Arena
July 29 - Las Vegas, NV - The Colosseum At Caesars Palace
August 1, 4, 7, 9, 11 - Las Vegas, NV - The Colosseum At Caesars Palace
August 16 - Stateline, NV - Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena At Harveys
September 23 - Rio De Janeiro, Brazil - Rock In Rio - Rio De Janeiro at Rock City
Steely Dan's Donald Fagen will hit the road this summer for a 24-date North American tour with his new, young side band, called the Nightflyers. Jamebase.com reported the Nightflyers consists of guitarist Connor Kennedy, drummer Lee Falco, bassist Brandon Morrison, and keyboardist Will Bryant. Fagen kicks off the trek on August 3rd and 4th with a double shot at Port Chester, New York's Capitol Theatre and will be on the road with the band through September 16th when they hit The Masonic in San Francisco.Back in 2012, Donald Fagen released a solo project titled, Sunken Condos, and in the past he explained how his solo material is different from the group's material: "It's, y'know, mainly just the idea that, you know, I don't have a collaborator when I'm writing, so, y'know, I do them by myself. And generally speaking, so I think the songs are more subjective and personal." :
April 25 - Santa Barbara, CA - Santa Barbara Bowl
April 26, 28, 29 - Las Vegas, NV - The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
May 27 - Greenwich, CT - Greenwich Town Party at Baldwin Park Pavilion
July 15 - Los Angeles, CA - Classic West at Dodger Stadium
July 29 - New York, NY - Classic East Citi Field - less
Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and his mother Virginia Hanlon Grohl sat for an interview at the Los Angeles Festival of Books over the weekend, where Grohl recalled his mother forcing him to play onstage in front of people for the first time. According to Alternative Press, the incident took place at a jazz club in Washington D.C. that Grohl and his mom visited often. Guests were always encouraged to jump up and join the house band onstage, so on Virginia's birthday she decided she wanted her son to do just that.
Dave recalled his mother saying, "You know what I want for my birthday? I want you to get up there and play the drums." But Dave had only been playing drums for a year, and only had been practicing by hitting his bed and pillows along to punk rock records. Nevertheless, he entered his name and was called up to the stage despite having no idea how to drum with a professional jazz combo.
- Dave recalled going up onstage but just hitting a cymbal for two minutes or so before his short stint as a jazz drummer was over.
- Dave's mother is the author of a new book titled From Cradle To Stage: Stories From The Mothers Who Rocked And Raised Rock Stars, which features interviews with moms of musicians like Rush's Geddy Lee, Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello, Mike D of Beastie Boys, Adam Levine, Michael Stipe and others.
- Dave has penned the foreword for his mom's book, which arrived on April 18th.
- Foo Fighters have announced a string of summer European dates, along with one U.S. festival gig in California, but have yet to announce a new album.
Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell performed three songs on Saturday's (April 22nd) edition of CBS This Morning, including Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun," his solo track "Higher Truth" and his recently released theme to the new movie The Promise. Cornell was also interviewed by host Anthony Mason, discussing his and Soundgarden's many contributions to movies like Casino Royale, The Avengers, 12 Years A Slave and Great Expectations.
Cornell told us why writing the theme to The Promise was more challenging than usual: "It had to be out of time a little bit, 'cause this was 1915. And so most of my musical influences didn't exist. In just constructing the melodies and the arrangements, I needed to kind of use instruments that would've existed. I needed the melody to sort of be overarching and not be nailed down or be able to nail it down to any specific pop period, you know. So that was a little tough."
- The Promise opened over the weekend and stars Oscar Isaac, Christian Bale and Charlotte Le Bon in a love triangle drama set against the Armenian genocide.
- Cornell will donate his proceeds from the song to the International Rescue Committee, which responds to the world's worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic well-being, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster.
- Soundgarden last month announced a North American tour that will kick off on May 3rd in Atlanta, winding down on May 27th at the Rocklahoma festival in Pryor, Oklahoma.
- The band has been working on material for its seventh studio album, which will follow up 2012's King Animal.
A rock documentary called Hired Gun: Out Of The Shadows, Into The Spotlight will receive a one-night showing on June 29th at several hundred North American locations through Fathom Events. The film chronicles the story of world-renowned musicians who are not household names, but are instead the session and backup musicians who have performed at concerts and on countless recordings with huge stars yet remain largely unknown to the public.
The film goes behind the scenes and explores the personalities and creativity of the best session players and backup musicians in the world. Among the artists interviewed are Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Jason Hook, John Mellencamp drummer Kenny Aronoff, former Ozzy Osbourne bassist Rudy Sarzo, ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, Kiss drummer Eric Singer, guitarist John 5 from Rob Zombie's band, Toto axeman Steve Lukather and many more.
- Hook himself came out of that world before joining Five Finger Death Punch, doing stints with Mandy Moore, Hilary Duff, Motley Crue singer Vince Neil and Alice Cooper.
- He told us a while back that he understands what it takes to catch a break with a big act: "I went through years of trying to get gigs myself, and so I really understand what it's like to be the guy reaching out. And I always admired people that gave me a shot, recognizing that it's an unknown, you don't know if it's -- the referrals are easy, when somebody says, 'I've got the perfect guy,' that door has been opened. But for you to open your own doors is very difficult."
- Hook teamed with filmmaker Fran Strine and music manager Jamie Talbot to raise funds for the film through launching an IndieGogo campaign back in 2014.
- Tickets for the screenings go on sale via Fathom Events on May 24th.