Dirt - Friday, Dec 15, 2017

Well, end of an era, I keep hearing.  Yes, I guess it will be for me.  After Dec 31, you won’t see this column written by yours truly.  I will be somewhere far far away in retirement mode.   I guess it’s time.  I’ve worked over 40 years in this radio and records business I love dearly.  The announcement was made late yesterday and I’ve been overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and affection made by folks from all parts of my career and life.   So let’s carry on and keep on rockin’, shall we?

Two albums out today.  First, Linkin Park‘s One More Light Live.

Linkin Park posted a video clip of late singer Chester Bennington and guitarist Brad Delson performing a stripped-down rendition of the song “Sharp Edges.” Bennington handles the vocals and plays electric guitar, while Delson strums an acoustic for the haunting performance.

Vocalist Mike Shinoda told  a while back that Linkin Park has always sought the best way to perform its songs live: “We try to approach how we perform our songs with integrity, and the stuff we write in the studio can be really layered. There can be a lot of stuff in there — lots of tracks of cool sounds and samples and keyboards and multiple guitars and all this. And sometimes it’s a big challenge to bring that to the stage, but we end up just finding a way to make it all work.”

One More Light Live collects 16 performances from Linkin Park’s summer 2017 shows in support of their most recent album, One More Light. The tour also marked the band’s last with Bennington, who died on Jul 20th.

In a statement announcing the record, Linkin Park said, “The shows we played together during the early summer of 2017 were extraordinary. Chester shared with us that he felt this was the best tour we had ever done. The camaraderie and joy we experienced on stage reflected our deep connection with each other, with our fans, and with the music.

The other anticipated release is the self-titled Asking Alexandria album, which marks the return of singer Danny Worsnop.  According to Alternative Press,  the release is  their first in five years.   They spoke to the returning frontman about each of the tracks on the new release and the stories behind them as well as his path to redemption, letting go of his past and starting anew with the band. Worsnop says writing his solo country album, The Long Road Home, helped him confront the demons of his past and set him up for a renewed relationship with his bandmates in Asking Alexandria. “I had to face things,” he shares. “I had to accept things that’d I’d done and things that’d been done to me and find ways to move forward.” It took hitting rock bottom multiple times for Worsnop to come out of these experiences a completely different person. “I was harbouring such resentment and hatred because I wouldn’t take blame, and I’d put it on other people,” he says. “Writing that record helped me to turn that around and all of the sudden, I’m not full of anger anymore.”

Danny has been on a self-improvement course (clean, sober and working out)  and recently moved out of Nashville, where he had been living for a bit.   I know the band and he are extremely excited about this new music, and so am I! Check it out!

Blabbermouth and The Pulse Of Radio say Avenged Sevenfold‘s M. Shadows may be thrilled with his band’s first-ever Grammy nomination, for Best Rock Song, but he’s not happy about the way that heavy metal is represented on the Grammy broadcast: the category is one of 70 that is not televised during the evening. Speaking with Detroit radio station/hardDrive affiliate, WRIF, Shadows said, “If you’re getting the ‘metal’ award, they don’t actually televise it, so no one sees it — it doesn’t move the needle at all. And I think that’s what the Grammys have to get right.”

Shadows continued, “When you look at metal, it’s probably one of the healthiest genres when you look at it in a worldwide perspective — every single country listens to metal. And whether it’s mainstream or not, it’s irrelevant. People will watch your program if you’re giving awards to bands that deserve it and it’s actually on TV, and it helps those bands push the needle forward.

Shadows added that Avenged Sevenfold was “fortunate this year to be in the ‘rock’ category” because Best Rock Song is among the categories that are telecast. He explained, “You wanna get nominated for a Grammy and you wanna get noticed by people and seen on TV . . . So the ‘metal’ award still is a problem because literally no one’s gonna see those bands or know that they’re nominated, and that’s an issue.”

Avenged Sevenfold is nominated for the title track from its seventh studio album, The Stage, which came out in October 2016. The band is up against Foo FightersMetallicaNothing More and K. Flay. (yes, it’s like the Jethro Tull debacle all over again, eh?)

The winners of the 60th Grammy Awards will be revealed on Jan 28th, with the majority of the 84 awards handed out in a non-televised event that afternoon while a dozen or so are doled out on the CBS broadcast that evening.

Avenged Sevenfold has just released a digital-only acoustic album, titled Live At The Grammy Museum, and will issue a deluxe edition of The Stage on Dec 22nd.

In the ongoing fallout from actions over the weekend,  Queens Of The Stone Age‘s appearance on yesterday’s (Dec 14th) edition of The Ellen Show was canceled abruptly, part of the ongoing fallout following an incident last weekend in which frontman Josh Homme kicked a female photographer in the face at a radio festival in Los Angeles. This is the second time this week that Homme or his band have been dropped from a TV spot: the BBC announced earlier that it was not going to air two pre-recorded segments Homme did for a children’s show called Bedtime Stories.

The Queens had been scheduled to appear on The Ellen Show alongside Will Smith, but Smith was the only guest and the band was not mentioned.

As previously reported, Homme has already issued two apologies for the incident, which took place last Saturday night (Dec 9th). In video footage, Homme can be seen walking across the stage past photographer Chelsea Lauren in the photo pit. He stops briefly, then issues a direct kick to her camera which sends it into her face.

While he said in his first response that he was “lost in performance” and hadn’t noticed Lauren had been hurt when he kicked her camera, he posted a more extensive apology on video the next day, saying in part, “I don’t have any excuse or reason to justify what I did. I was a total d**k, and I’m truly sorry, and I hope you’re okay.”  Lauren was treated at a local ER after the concert and said she planned to file a police report.

Queens Of The Stone Age is off the road now but will begin the next leg of its North American tour in late January.

The Pulse Of Radio also reporting with European and South American tours confirmed, it’s rumored Pearl Jam may hit the road in North America next summer as well. According to Alternative Nation, a user posted in a forum at the official website for Pearl Jam’s Ten Club that a “friend” on the ground crew for the Boston Red Sox passed along that Pearl Jam had asked Fenway Park for a hold on three nights next summer.

Pearl Jam last played at Fenway Park on Aug 5th and 7th in 2016. The group took most of 2017 off, getting together only to perform at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last April. A documentary chronicling their two-night August 2016 stand at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, titled Let’s Play Two, came out in September.

Pearl Jam changes its set list for each show, which works especially well for multiple night stands. Bassist Jeff Ament told us a while back that it also keeps things fresh for the band: Probably 30 of the songs, or 20 of the songs that we end up playing, like, maybe we got to rehearse them once or, maybe we were, like, backstage right before the show, like, ‘OK, what’s the bridge to that song?’ Like, that just makes it more exciting, you know? You’re out there going, like, ‘OK (chuckles), that song we haven’t played in three years is coming up,’ you know, and everybody’s kind of excited and on the edge a little bit.

There has also been speculation that Pearl Jam will record a new studio LP in early 2018, the band’s first since 2013′s Lightning Bolt.  Last month, a new Pearl Jam song called “Obey The Law Of The Heart” appeared on the soundtrack of an upcoming film called Basmati Blues, starring Brie Larson.

Oh and this is happening today:

Celebrating life this weekend:  Friday, Paul Simonon of The Clash is 62.  Saturday, my long time friend (we knew each other as children)  Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top is 68 and Sunday, Neil Sanderson of Three Days Grace turns 39.

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