Good Monday, yo! Sorry to all the Badgers’ fans out there. Tough loss. But congrats to the team for getting to the Final Four! Tonight’s game oughtta ROCK!….On Friday, I was at a listening session hosted by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park at MSR Studios over on West 48th Street in NYC. He played 5 of the 12 songs that will be on The Hunting Party album, now with a TBA release date later this summer. The band is still in the mixing stages on all and final recording stages on the rest. (“Guilty All The Same” is the first single, and dare I say, tamer than what these tunes are like!) The 5 songs, “Keys To The Kingdom,” “The Wastelands,” “Until It’s Gone,” “All For Nothing” (featuring Paige Hamilton of Helmet!) and “Rebellion” (featuring Daron Malakian of System Of A Down) were all still unmixed, but every one sounded great! The band self-produced except for one of the tunes (I think it was “The Wastelands,” which was co-produced by Warner Bros Records president and A&R chief Rob Cavallo.) I have to say, each song was better than the next, they are all extremely heavy, and as Mike said, some may even sound like prequels to their first album, Hybrid Theory. As I said to Mike, after all the “Rock Is Dead” critics and naysayers out there trying to forecast the death of active rock radio and its music, this album will totally pour cold water all over those notions and prove to the industry is it CLEARLY NOT DEAD! This record has BALLS! And now one of the world’s biggest & most popular bands is making a statement to support the music they love. The guitars are smoking, it was all recorded live to tape. (Well, there still are some electronic elements, but they are certainly only a condiment rather than a meal here.) I can not say enough about how the reaction is going to turn heads and I can not WAIT to hear them do some of these songs live in concert this summer! Mark my words, it will be one of your favorite albums of the year!….. A couple of fan filmed videos of two new Halestorm tunes have surfaced. One is called “Heartbreaker,” which the band did last weekend in Nashville. And then there’s “Mayhem,” which the band did during their show in Sheffield, England. Lzzy is so amazing. And the band is more pumped than ever! Very excited to hear their new stuff, which I believe they may have started to record out in LA…..Pulse of Radio says Tool will apparently get back to work on their long-delayed new album now they’ve finished their short spring tour. A message at the group’s official website explained, “Contrary to those who thought that the tour would only further delay the writing process — with all four band members together during sound checks, catering, etc., I’m fairly certain that they spent a considerable portion of that time experimenting with new tunes. In which case, the tour might have actually sped things up a bit.“ But, the webmaster added, “This snifter of cognac is half full.” Bassist Justin Chancellor told us a while back sometimes new material emerges during an actual gig: “We do a lot of kind of segues, you know. When the shows start to really flow, you know, you start to come up with little segues that take one song into another, whether it’s like an old song into a new one or whatever, you know. It starts to help the entire set really flow. And those pieces, those little links, if you like, they tend to become song ideas for the future, definitely.” So in summary, still no news on a new Tool record. Come on, boys, get it in high gear! We deserve some new Tool music already! It’s been 8 L O N G years since 10,000 Days!!…. Metallica played its cover of the traditional Irish folk song “Whiskey In The Jar” for the first time in five years on March 22nd in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the band’s official YouTube channel has uploaded footage of the performance. Also included is a “very wet” performance of “Battery.” Metallica recorded a studio version of “Whiskey In The Jar” for its 1999 covers collection Garage Inc. but last aired the song live in 2009. “Whiskey In The Jar” was first made popular to modern audiences by Thin Lizzy‘s version in the mid-’70s. Metallica just completed its South American tour on March 30th, with the band playing “all-request” shows and a new song called “The Lords Of Summer” at every stop. I love how they always use Ennio Morricone’s music as their intro! The Metallica By Request tour will hit Europe this summer, with a single North American date confirmed in Montreal. Metallica has supposedly been working on music for its 10th studio album, although drummer Lars Ulrich said in a recent interview that the band might not get into the studio until 2015. (Perhaps he means might not “officially” get into the studio with a Producer til then. Sure would like to see them mix it up on this one. How about Raskulinecz?)….Pulse of Radio also reporting on this. A man who believes the conspiracy theory Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was murdered has filed a lawsuit against the Seattle police over previously undeveloped photos taken at the scene of Cobain’s suicide 20 years ago. According to Seattle Pi, self-described investigative journalist RIchard Lee claims the department should have long ago released the photos, which were taken by a police photographer following Cobain’s death on April 5th, 1994, at his Seattle home. Seattle police officials found the four rolls of undeveloped film, processed and released them late last month as the 20th anniversary of Cobain’s death approached. Lee now contends police should have released the photos when he requested all records related to Cobain’s death shortly after the rocker’s body was found. The 50-year-old Lee, who has run for mayor of Seattle several times and hosted a public access TV show called Kurt Cobain Was Murdered, has made groundless assertions for years that Cobain’s death was not a suicide. We asked Cobain biographer Charles R. Cross why he thinks the conspiracy theories linger on: “I think the main reason people embrace the conspiracy theory is simply that it’s very painful to imagine that Kurt, someone they loved or maybe identified with, that he betrayed them in some degree by taking his own life. You know, the bottom line is there’s absolutely no evidence to suggest that Kurt’s death was anything other than suicide, and it’s almost absurd that the topic continues to come up.” The city and police department have yet to respond to Lee’s lawsuit. State law does in fact require that government agencies which fail to disclose releasable records pay $5 to $100 per day, per document, for the delay. Lee has not yet asked that a judge impose any fines on the police for non-disclosure. Cobain’s body was discovered on April 8th, three days after he killed himself with a shotgun blast. If he only had a friend with him. Things might be very different on the musical landscape….There was another press conference on Friday I didn’t get to attend, but I guessed what would be revealed correctly! Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd will star in a new touring version of the classic rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar this summer. Boyd will sing the role of Judas Iscariot, first portrayed on the Broadway stage 43 years ago by Ben Vereen. Also appearing in the new production is British actor Ben Forster as Jesus, ex-Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams as Mary Magdalene, NSYNC‘s JC Chavez as Pontius Pilate and, in a bit of either inspired or demented casting, John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon of the Sex Pistols as King Herod. The show’s 51-city arena tour will begin on June 9th in New Orleans, ending on August 16th in Philadelphia. Jesus Christ Superstar, which chronicles the last week of Jesus’ life, began as a double album in 1969, before being adapted for Broadway in 1971 and then filmed in 1973. Boyd told Rolling Stone about his involvement, “I was actually confounded by the offer at first. I started watching the most recent shows they did in the UK and Australia and I was blown away with what they had done with the story, because they had brought it into a contemporary setting and modernized it.“ Boyd added, “I’m not a religious person, but I think that you don’t need to be religious to appreciate the impact that this story has had on the world. People have been killing each other over it for a couple thousand years now.“ Tickets for the first 22 dates go on sale Friday, April 11th, and range from $29.50 to $125. More information can be found on the show’s website….Mastodon have revealed the title to their new album is Once More Round The Sun. A summer release is expected (I’m guessing July or August.)….Celebrating birthdays, actors Russell Crowe is 50 and Jackie Chan is 60!