East Coast Rocker

Putting You in the Front Row

Get Ready for The Orwells: Chicago Band Brings Its Own Style of Punk – And Entourage – on The Road


When The Orwells hit the road they go in style.

More than a few people at The Regent Theater in Los Angeles last night made a mention that there seemed to be an unusually large number of young women in attendance at The Orwells show.  Maybe that’s because there were a lot of young guys on the stage, with The Orwells, The Walters and No Parents performing.

The Orwells play The Governors Ball 2017 - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Orwells will play The Governors Ball 2017 – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

And while he may be attractive, it’s apparent The Orwells’ frontman Mario Cuomo’s strength is his vulnerable if not compelling performance, and he has the crowd in the palm of his hand from start to finish.

The Orwells will play the East Coast in late April, May and June.  They’re set for the Governor’s Ball 2017 in NYC. Their new album, Terrible Human Beings is dynamic and you can check it out here.


The Orwells Tour The East Coast

After seeing the three bands, comprised of all young hipster guys, it was no surprise there were so many girls hanging on the rail. But these bands didn’t fool around and got straight to work.

The Orwells may bring an entire entourage of pals and fans, but they clearly take no prisoners.


Frontman Mario Cuomo of The Orwells - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Frontman Mario Cuomo of The Orwells – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

No Parents impressed with their balls-to-the-wall punk, the frontman rocked a long skirt almost as well as George Lynch, and he was a whirling dervish, making the stage his own. It was an impressive show by No Parents.  No Parents takes punk and puts a modern twist on a solid genre.

Next up, The Walters, have something going on that is really their own. It was apparent that The Walters were a house favorite as the girls cried out for M.J., who did pushups, ran the stage, leaped into the audience a few times, and ripped off his shirt, swinging it around over his head.

The Orwells take no prisoners on tour - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Orwells take no prisoners on tour – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The music by The Walters seems to take on a new life when performed live.  Hats and shirts off to them, as this is no easy feat considering their recordings are tightly mastered and mixed.  The Regent Theater has a solid sound system, but frankly it’s hard to keep your eyes off the dynamic frontman and if the music doesn’t sound the same as the album, it’s hard to notice.

The Walters put on a passionate performance - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Walters put on a passionate performance – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

As for headliner The Orwells, Mario Cuomo is the master of the understated as he goes from song to song, lamenting his way through each of the favorites. The crowd sings along with most of the tunes and it’s no wonder Cuomo guests on projects of veteran rockers as well as handily keeps his young fans equally entertained.

There weren’t too many variations on the set list from the last few performances, from what faithful followers said and there doesn’t need to be.

The Walters - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Walters – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Orwells’ performance is something that stays with you long afterwards, it’s good to know there’s a band out there that can keep the house rocking, entertain the faithful and take familiar sounds into the future.

The fans - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The fans – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia



The Classic East and The Classic West Music Festivals Set the Dates, Tickets Go On Sale April 7


The Classic East and Classic West music festivals finally have a presence on the world wide web and tickets for the July concerts go on sale April 7.

The hotly anticipated classic music festivals feature Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Journey and Earth Wind and Fire.  On the East Coast, the event will be held at Citi Field in NYC on July 29-30, and on the West Coast the event will be held at Dodger Stadium on July 15-16.



For more information go to CaliforniaRocker.com and  The Classic.

Bob Dylan Gives Rare Interview for his own Website on the Eve of Release of ‘Triplicate’ Albums


Bob Dylan says he never met Hubert Humphrey, he likes Iggy Pop’s album, Apres, and watches I Love Lucy non-stop when he’s on the road.

Those are some of the insights the grandfather of American Folk and Nobel Prize winner said in a rare interview published on his website.

Dylan’s previous albums of classics, Fallen Angels released last year and Shadows in the Night, from 2015 were hits that earned GRAMMY Award nominations for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.

On the eve of the release of his 3-album collection called Triplicate, (March 31) Dylan reflects at length with interviewer Bill Flanagan. For the full interview go to Bob Dylan’s website.

Has performing these songs taught you anything you didn’t know from listening to them?

I had some idea of where they stood, but I hadn’t realized how much of the essence of life is in them – the human condition, how perfectly the lyrics and melodies are intertwined, how relevant to everyday life they are, how non-materialistic.

Up to the sixties, these songs were everywhere – now they have almost faded away. Do they mean more to you when you hear them now? 

They do mean a lot more. These songs are some of the most heartbreaking stuff ever put on record and I wanted to do them justice. Now that I have lived them and lived through them I understand them better. They take you out of that mainstream grind where you’re trapped between differences which might seem different but are essentially the same. Modern music and songs are so institutionalized that you don’t realize it. These songs are cold and clear-sighted, there is a direct realism in them, faith in ordinary life just like in early rock and roll.

It’s hard not to think of World War II when we hear some of these. You were born during the war – do you remember anything about it?

Not much. I was born in Duluth – industrial town, ship yards, ore docks, grain elevators, mainline train yards, switching yards. It’s on the banks of Lake Superior, built on granite rock. Lot of fog horns, sailors, loggers, storms, blizzards. My mom says there were food shortages, food rationing, hardly any gas, electricity cutting off – everything metal in your house you gave to the war effort. It was a dark place, even in the light of day – curfews, gloomy, lonely, all that sort of stuff – we lived there till I was about five, till the end of the war.

Between the Depression and the war, people had to swallow so much pain that songs that might sound overly sentimental to us had tremendous resonance. A line like “as a man who has never paused at wishing wells” – it might sound corny to people who haven’t lived too much. Can you get inside these songs in your 70s in a way you might not have been able to in your 20s and 30s?

Sure, I can get way inside. In my 20s and 30s I hadn’t been anywhere. Since then I’ve been all over the world, I’ve seen oracles and wishing wells. When I was young there were a lot of signs along the way that I couldn’t interpret, they were there and I saw them, but they were mystifying. Now when I look back I can see them for what they were, what they meant. I didn’t understand that then, but I do now. There is no way I could have known it at the time.

When you see footage of yourself performing 40 or 50 years ago, does it seem like a different person? What do you see?

I see Nat King Cole, Nature Boy – a very strange enchanted boy, a terribly sophisticated performer, got a cross section of music in him, already postmodern. That’s a different person than who I am now.

For more on Bob Dylan’s remarkable insights see his website, BobDylan.com


MusiCares Tom Petty Tribute Raises More than $8 Million in Night of Heavenly Music Stars

Musical Pals of Tom Petty Come Out to Honor Him as MusiCares Person of the Year


Tom Petty and pals helped raise more than $8 million as the he was celebrated as the MusiCares Person of the Year.

Each year, the MusiCares tribute a highlight of GRAMMY week, as it raises money for health needs of musicians and honors a major artist.

Gary Clark Jr. performed with the Foo Fighters - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Gary Clark Jr. performed with the Foo Fighters – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Red Carpet was packed with music stars ranging from Gary Clark Jr., to Jeff Lynne.

The night was dedicated to Petty with his songs performed  by veterans Don Henley Foo Fighters, Taj Mahal and George Strait as well as young bands The Head and The Heart, Cage The Elephant and The Lumineers.

The ladies did their part in honoring Petty as well with Lucinda Williams and Regina Spektor bringing some flash to the show.

Jackson Browne brought some emotions to the songs “The Waiting” and “Learning to Fly.”

Stevie Nicks sang a duet with Petty, their famous 1981 hit “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” as Petty said she was practically family.

Stevie Nicks called Tom Petty her BFFFF - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Stevie Nicks called Tom Petty her BFFFF – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Nicks told East Coast Rocker that Petty was her “BFFFFFFF” and how he penned at least one or two famous songs for her.

In accepting the honor, Petty recalled that Johnny Cash helped him, Mo Ostin rescued Petty’s song after MCA turned it down and he was the one to put out “Free Falling”

Petty said he was on his best behavior as his family was in the audience.

In a speech he made to the elegantly dressed audience of rock and roll fans, Petty recalled some stories of his mentors including Leon Russell and Johnny Cash.

He said Russell told him he had to “earn” the right to wear dark glasses at night.

“He said ‘s what the hell you doin with the dark glasses,'” Petty recalled.  “I don’t know it feels cool like Jimmy Keltner. He said, ‘Wearing sunglasses at night is an honor you earn. Lou adler had Johnny Rivers and the Mamas and Papas before he put them glasses on. Jack Nicholson made really shitty Boris Karloff movies before he put them glasses on. Well,” Petty said as he lifted his sunglasses to his face, “I’m putting my glasses on.”

Petty proudly wears sunglasses at night - Photo courtesy Libby Kaufman

Petty proudly wears sunglasses at night – Photo courtesy Libby Kaufman

Petty said he was fortunate enough to know the great Johnny Cash and loved his song “Big River.” He said young songwriters should listen to “Big River” about 60 times and “You’ll write something.”

Petty and the Heartbreakers made an album with Johnny Cash that won a GRAMMY for the best country record of the year “without being played once on a country station.”

“This morning I was looking through a box and a letter fell out, it was from John on my 50th birthday and it said Happy Birthday, you’re a good man to ride the river with.” That’s all I want to be is a good man to ride the river with and I’m gonna keep riding the river.”


Joe Perry to Receive Les Paul Award at 32nd annual TEC Awards at NAMM Show in Anaheim, Calif.


Aerosmith co-founder Joe Perry will receive the Les Paul Award at the 32nd annual  Technical Excellence and Creativity Awards at this year’s NAMM Show in Anaheim.

The annual award is given on behalf of the Les Paul Foundation and honors individuals that have set the highest standards of excellence in the creative application of recording. Perry will receive the award on Saturday night during the TEC Awards gala at the Hilton.

Perry is set to perform live before an audience of pro audio and sound production inventors, musicians and industry friends.

“Anytime my name is mentioned in the same sentence as Les Paul, it’s a huge honor,” says Perry. “Getting an award bearing his name is the icing on the cake.”

A co-founding member of a Aerosmith, whose music repertoire spans four decades, Perry’s versatile musicianship and influence has helped pave the way for a long list of accolades that reach beyond the band’s more than 150 million albums sold.

Joe Perry, recently wrapped a worldwide tour with The Hollywood Vampires - Photo © Suzanne Allison Witkin

Joe Perry, recently wrapped a worldwide tour with The Hollywood Vampires – Photo © Suzanne Allison Witkin

In the role of principal songwriter, lead guitarist, and as producer for multiple tracks featured on several notable Aerosmith albums, Perry’s talent has helped contribute to the super group’s four GRAMMY Awards,  — one of which includes Perry’s guitar-based instrumental “Boogie Man” —  among many others.  In 2001, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of Aerosmith, and in 2013, Perry with his songwriting partner Steven Tyler were recipients of the ASCAP Founders Award and were also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“Joe Perry was a friend of Les Paul and is undoubtedly one of the most innovative and talented musicians of our time,” said Michael Braunstein, executive director of the Les Paul Foundation. “His ability to push boundaries of the electric guitar with his signature sound and deft playing ability embodies the true spirit of what Les Paul and the award given in his name stands for.

The Les Paul Award has been presented at the NAMM TEC Awards to remarkably-distinguished and accomplished individuals from the music industry, including such luminaries as Sir Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townsend, Slash and last year’s recipient, Don Was.

For more information go to the TEC Awards Page of the NAMM Foundation.

Bob Weir Takes a Traditional Turn as Tour for New Album, ‘Blue Mountain’ Heads East

Weir Joined On Stage by John Mayer and Matt Berninger

Bob Weir packed in the Deadheads young and old at The Wiltern - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Bob Weir packed in the Deadheads young and old at The Wiltern – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia


Bob Weir mixed ranch stories and fireside songs with Grateful Dead favorites during a 3-hour show at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles.  It’s a stop along his tour to promote his solo album, Blue Mountain.

Bobby, as he is known to his loving fans, takes center stage with his band, and the Grateful Dead co-founder has only gotten better over the years.  He has a full beard and head of white hair but his voice is strong and so is his passion for performing.

Bob Weir Rocks The Wiltern

The Wiltern was sold out — a line of rainbow-sporting Deadheads young and old wrapped around the corner — a testament to Weir’s huge impact on music and his lingering appeal.  At 68, the folksy Weir is a welcome touchstone for Rock ‘N’ Rollers in a world that has largely ditched tradition for digital everything.

The Fans - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Fans – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Blue Mountain is a traditional record in a sense that it brings out a side of Bobby that he has longed to release — the record has stories of being out on the range, enveloped in deep musings about life.  As only Bobby can tell them.

The fans welcomed the new music which Bobby played throughout the first set.  OK, he did throw in Dead favorites “Loose Lucy” and “El Paso,” the latter written by Marty Robbins.

The second set was pure Grateful Dead including “Me And My Uncle,” and “West LA Fadeaway.”

Leader of the Band

Weir is casual and comfortable in the spotlight.  After years of being known as “the cute guy” in the Grateful Dead, he has proven that all along he was the understated anchor of the outfit — preppy golf shirt and all.

The Bob Weir tour heads East - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Bob Weir tour heads East – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

His preppy, pretty look is long gone as Weir has opted for the white hair and white-bearded mustachio look and he sticks to T-shirts and Birkenstock-style sandals with white socks.

Special additions to the band in the second set were John Mayer and Matt Berninger of The National.

Mayer earned new respect as he has apparently honed his Grateful Dead-style guitar abilities to the crowd’s delight.  Mayer plays with Weir in Dead and Company, and he came to the stage halfway through the second set to thunderous applause, rocking familiar tunes including “Jack Straw.”  Berninger sang on “Morning Dew,” and “I Know You Rider.”

The Band Plays On

Weir’s spectacular tour continues with engagements at The Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, Penn. tomorrow; two nights at The Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Oct. 14 and Oct. 15; The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y. on Oct. 16; Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Oct. 19; and The Chicago Theatre in Chicago on Oct. 20.


Jackson Browne, Karen O and Blake Mills Shine at D’Addario Benefit Concert at Bric House in Brooklyn

Jackson Browne joins D'Addario Foundation benefit

Jackson Browne joins D’Addario Foundation benefit – Photo courtesy Sham Hinchey

By JOHN DALY – Jackson Browne, Karen O and Blake Mills led an all-star cast of musicians for a special night of music that raised thousands of dollars in support of music education.

Music Makes You, a benefit concert put on by the D’Addario Foundation, had many highlights, including an impromptu performance by Jackson Browne, who joined Mills and Brooklyn’s own Lucius for a special rendition of “Willin.’” Jackson also joined Mills, Lucius, Smokey Hormel, Marc Ribot and Julian Lage for “Take It Easy.”

Lucius brought down the house with “Dusty Trails” and Karen O and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs performed beautiful acoustic versions of “Gold Lions” and “Hideaway.”

An All-Star band of musicians entertained at D'Addario Foundation

An All-Star band of musicians entertained at D’Addario Foundation – Photo courtesy Sham Hinchey

Other high points included an all-star performance by Hormel, Ribot, Lage and Mills, who performed innovative renditions of Lonnie Johnson’s “Tomorrow Night” and Duke Ellington’s “Blues In Blueprint” and wowed audiences with their skillful harmonization and synchronized guitar work.

GRAMMY winner Janis Ian performed her top hit single “At Seventeen” and also treated the audience with an exceptional performance.  Kaki King performed  “Tiny Pan.”

Through the D’Addario Foundation, they’ve touched the lives of thousands of kids by giving 10 percent of its  net profits each year to over 200 of the best grassroots programs in the world.

Lady Gaga to Release Tribute Album to Her Aunt With ‘Joanne’ Third Week of October


Lady Gaga to release ‘Joanne’ on Oct. 21 – Photo courtesy Beats 1


Gaga broke the news about her new album, Joanne which will be released Oct. 21 in a phone call to Zane Lowe on Beats 1.

She said she was finishing up the album and it would be completed in the next 48 hourse. Joanne was recorded in tribute to her aunt, who died from lupus, she said.

About the title track?

“For me it’s like the real true heart and soul of the record,” she told the Apple Music broadcaster.  “I remember when Mark (Ronson) and I wrote it, we wrote that song and the decision ultimately to name the album Joanne, is tribute to my father’s sister who died when she was 19.

Lady Gaga with father Joe Germanotta - East Coast Rocker

Lady Gaga with father Joe Germanotta – Photo courtesy CapitolFM

Lady Gaga Built ‘Tough’

“He was younger than her and she was very sick with Lupus. The death of her in his family and in his life left a scar and a wound that never healed.

“As I returned to my home life and spending time with my friends and hanging out with my family and getting out the mainstream limelight for a minute what I realized it’s the experiences of our family and our challenges and our toughness who make us who we are,” Lady Gaga said.

“It’s everything about Joanne, which also happens to be my middle name, I was named after her. It’s the toughness of the pain that happened as a result of losing her that made us strong and made us who we are. She is the woman of my past who is helping me bring my honest woman self into the future.”

Lady Gaga - Photo by Marc E. for East Coast Rocker

Lady Gaga – Photo by Marc E.

Joanne’s Hand

Lady Gaga’s aunt’s handwriting is on the back of the album on on the inside there are notes written back and forth from Joanne to Gaga’s father, Joe Germanotta.  Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, grew up in an Italian-American family in Yonkers, N.Y.

Songs on the new album include “John Wayne” which Lady Gaga said is about her “Incessant need to run after wild men. Josh Homme’s guitar is out of control.”

There is also a cheeky tune, “Sinner’s Prayer” with Father John Misty.

Gaga told Lowe that the “Perfect Illusion” video is set to be released “very soon.”

Traveling Wilburys Albums to Be Released on Vinyl and Compact Disc in Time for ‘Vinyl Tuesday’ Oct. 4

By JOHN DALY – The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1 and The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 3 will be released on Oct. 14 in compact disc and 180-gram vinyl formats, it was announced by Concord Bicycle Music.

The Traveling Wilburys AKA George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan had a relatively short but legendary run and is considered one of the first supergroups.

Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 achieved great success. After hitting No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, the certified double Platinum album earned a GRAMMY for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.

Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3, the group’s second album, was released in 1990 and dedicated to Lefty (Roy Orbison) Wilbury, who passed away in late 1988 before recording could be completed.  “She’s My Baby” and “Wilbury Twist” became radio hits as the album reached No. 11 in the U.S. and was certified Platinum.

The individual vinyl releases will make their reissue debut October 4th as part of Record Store Day’s Vinyl Tuesday initiative. The release is supported by a very special giveaway opportunity at recordstoreday.com with a rare and uniquely numbered Traveling Wilburys Portfolio. The limited-edition portfolio includes seven prints of the band suitable for framing.

The Traveling Wilburys made their long anticipated streaming debut in June and are now available on all streaming services.

Track Listing

The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1

1.              Handle With Care
2.              Dirty World
3.              Rattled
4.              Last Night
5.              Not Alone Any More
6.              Congratulations
7.              Heading For The Light
8.              Margarita
9.              Tweeter And The Monkey Man
10.           End Of The Line
11.           Maxine (CD Bonus Track)
12.           Like A Ship (CD Bonus Track)


The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 3

1.             She’s My Baby
2.             Inside Out
3.             If You Belonged To Me
4 .            The Devil’s Been Busy
5.             7 Deadly Sins
6.             Poor House
7.             Where Were You Last Night?
8.             Cool Dry Place
9.             New Blue Moon
10.            You Took By Breath Away
11.            Wilbury Twist
12.            Nobody’s Child (CD Bonus Track)
13.            Runaway (CD Bonus Track)

The Traveling Wilburys

Website:               travelingwilburys.com

Facebook:            facebook.com/travelingwilburys

Instagram:           instagram.com/officialwilbury

Twitter:                twitter.com/officialwilbury

YouTube:             youtube.com/user/TravelingWilburys

Vevo:                   youtube.com/user/OfficialWilburyVEVO

Life of Lemmy Kilmister Celebrated with Statue at Rainbow and Concert at Whisky on Sunset Strip

Would Lemmy Have Loved The Honors on Sunset Strip?

Lemmy Statue

Lemmy Statue takes its permanent home at Rainbow Bar and Grill – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia


SUNSET STRIP – If Lemmy Kilmister were alive, would he have been overwhelmed by events held in his honor on the most famous road in Rock N Roll?

— On Wednesday night hundreds gathered to see the unveiling of a statue created in Lemmy’s image that has a permanent residence at The Rainbow Bar and Grill.

— The night before, Ultimate Jam Night at Whisky A Go Go had a Lemmy Tribute, complete with the regular jam musicians and a few special guests including Tracii Guns and Dug Pinnick of King’s X.

Fan Love for Lemmy

All the festivities were probably more for the fans than for the outrageous Motorhead frontman, but in any event, Lemmy is immortalized now on his beloved Sunset Strip.

“I’m here because I loved Lemmy’s music,” said Debby Cincianella who came from New York City for the unveiling. “Lemmy meant a lot to a lot of people and we want to honor him.”

John Hammer drove all the way from Bakersfield to get the event in time for the presentation.

“I drove like crazy to get here,” he said. “I had to see this.”

READ MORE and SEE MORE PHOTOS at CALIFORNIAROCKER.COM[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”12″ gal_title=”Lemmy”]

‘New York Is Music’ Group Applauds the Empire State Music Production Tax Credit

New York is Music, a coalition of more than 200 music-related organizations, applauds the passage of the Empire State Music Production Tax Credit.

In recent weeks, the group rallied in support of the tax credit, dubbed  A10083A/S7485A, by holding several events.  Among event locations were GCR Audio in Buffalo; Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Rochester; Big Blue North Recording Studio in Utica, and at the Capitol in Albany.

The Albany event brought together musicians, sound engineers, recording studios, and other New York music industry employees.

“New York has always been a global center for music and with this tax credit in place, our state’s music industry will only grow stronger,” said Justin Kalifowitz, co-founder of New York is Music and CEO of Downtown Music Publishing. “Whether it’s a local recording studio in Buffalo or an upstart entrepreneur in Utica, more than 100,000 New Yorkers who work in music will benefit from this important credit.”

New York Music

The Pretty Reckless are among the hot New York bands - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Pretty Reckless are among the hot New York bands – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

“Today is a day for celebration, not just for those of us who have recorded music in New York for decades, but also for the next generation of musicians and engineers. The creative force behind our great music industry – who now have a brighter future ahead,” said Ben Allison, President of The Recording Academy New York Chapter, bassist, producer, and recording artist.

“This tax credit is a win for local economies all across the state that won’t be handicapped anymore in competing for music jobs.”

The credit, sponsored by Senator Martin Golden and Assembly Member Joseph Lentol breaks credits down regionally.

The break provides a 25 percent tax credit for eligible production-related costs for downstate music businesses and a 35 percent tax credit for production-related costs for upstate music businesses, similar to the state’s film tax credit.

To be eligible, costs must be related to job creation, including studio rental fees; instrument and equipment rental fees; production session fees for musicians, programmers, engineers, and technicians; mixing and mastering services; local transportation; expenditures directly related to music production and provided at or to the site for the production of music videos. The program is capped at $25 million per year.


The Who Hits 50! Tour Continues Going Strong Throughout East Coast

The Who Hits 50! Tour East Coast Rocker

The Who Hits 50! Tour makes 20 stops in the East – logo provided by AEG Live

By DONNA BALANCIA – The Who celebrate “The Big Five O” with a North American Tour that kicked off April 15 in Tampa and hits 20 locations in the East. 

The Who’s West Coast swing of The Who Hits 50! tour will return to the U.S. on May 15 in Seattle when the band returns from Canada dates.

Tickets are available at www.thewho.com.  The tour is presented by AEG Live.

Special VIP packages are available. As the show is sponsored by Citi, Citicard members can buy tickets. For more information on Citicard, go to www.citiprivatepass.com.

The Who released a greatest hits album collection, The Who Hits 50!,  through Geffen-Universal Music Enterprises.  The recording includes tunes from The Who’s early days, when the band was called The High Numbers, through today.

The Who has sold more than 100 million records since the band was formed in 1964.  Two of the original band members, Keith Moon and John Entwistle passed away.

The Who Hits 50! Tour:

The Who

Review: Blachley Records Life With Nevada Sky

Peter Blachley has released the album Nevada Sky East Coast Rocker

Peter Blachley has released the album Nevada Sky

Morrison Hotel Gallery owner adds ‘Recording Artist’ to his vast resume


Peter Blachley would be considered a success in anyone’s book, but with the release of his album Nevada Sky, he may finally give himself a pat on the back.

Blachley has climbed the rungs from carpenter and mailroom clerk to record executive and photo gallerist.  And all the while, he had been recording his life experiences in song.

Blachley has finally recorded those songs and has released the collection, called Nevada Sky. With his melodic voice and worldly stories, the upbeat album is a joyful look into the creative mind of a 60s-era Renaissance man.

“I’m a Northern California boy who grew up in the days of the singer-songwriter,” said Blachley. “I’ve had these songs with me a long time.”

Blachley’s inspiration has come from experiences in different parts of the world over many years. His songs reflect his highs and lows, and they do so in a fun and emotion-evoking manner.

He likes musicians such as Bryan Ferry, Gordon Lightfoot and especially former Kingston Trio member John Stewart, whose album California Bloodlines left an indellible imprint.

“I’ve always been a seeker of anything I can find that fulfills a passion in me,” Blachley said. “I have to do something I love to do. It’s about chasing the experience of living. Thank God I have a carpentry skill that helped me survive between jobs.”

Blachley discusses the video creative process today - interview by Donna Balancia

Blachley discusses the video creative process today – interview by Donna Balancia

Blachley was at the forefront of the music video industry of the late 1970s-early 80s, and was the driving force behind some of MTV’s most successful videos. But how he got his start was a little different.

“I was living in Hollywood and I wanted to be a musician,” Blachley said. “I called Capitol Records and asked if I could have a job. They asked ‘What do you do?’ I wasn’t expecting that, and had to think of something quick so I said ‘shipping.’”

He was put in the Capitol Records mailroom, then was promoted to marketing. But because he was bored, he quit. Before he actually left, he met up with a representative of EMI, who put him to work on a new music video project and it was hugely successful and he was asked to come back to Capitol.

Peter Blachley with Alison Mosshart, Jamie Hince and Henry Diltz

Blachley looks ahead while keeping impressive company. L-R: Blachley, Alison Mosshart, Jamie Hince and Henry Diltz – © Photo by Donna Balancia

His new job gave him creativity — he was in charge of the production of videos, including “Bad To the Bone,” by George Thorogood and a host of other videos including those created for Duran Duran.

By 2001, mainly because of his appreciation for the visual aspect that music inspires, together with photographer Henry Diltz, Blachley opened Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York City’s Soho district. Today, Morrison Hotel Gallery has locations around the country.

Blachley said he enjoyed recording all the songs on Nevada Sky, and one or two of them come from the days of living in New York City.

“Salvation Songs,” written in the 1970s, is one of them.

“At the time, I was starting to play piano,” Blachley recalled. “New York, for some reason, inspired me more than anywhere else I ever lived. There was a gas crisis, Disco was coming, and the era of the ’60s songwriter was closing. I wrote salvation songs about where we were all going. In those days I wrote about what was going on around me, including the war in Vietnam.”

Peter Blachley talks Nevada Sky - Interview by Donna Balancia

Peter Blachley talks Nevada Sky – interview by Donna Balancia

All the songs on Nevada Sky are appropriate still. Blachley has worked on the songs, and has rewritten and edited them — much like a photographer — from a different angle and perspective.

And, like everyone else, Blachley has learned over the years that life isn’t filled only with happy moments.

The song “Love Is Eternal,” is a song about loss, but instead of being down and depressing, Blachley wanted to be uplifting.

“It’s like I say, ‘Love is Eternal, and so are you,’” he said. “I have to write what’s in my head.”

He said he wrote our personal favorite, “Angelina,” when his brother met and married his girlfriend.

Nevada Sky is a great listen.

Nevada Sky is a great listen.

Listening to music and writing music are ingrained in people who grew up in the 1960s, Blachley said.

“We didn’t have video games and Facebook that everybody has now,” Blachley said. “We had music. That’s what we had.”

And while he may have wanted to put out a collection of songs for some time, the album Nevada Sky came about in its own time, Blachley said.

“I would bring my guitar to the Soho gallery and people would encourage me to record some of the songs,” he said. “So I decided to put out Nevada Sky.”

And knowing the music business so well, Blachley has no delusions of selling his music to the teeny boppers.

“I write for my generation because I feel like we’ve forgotten who we are,” Blachley said. “And I write my songs for my generation because that’s what I know. And if someone picks something up on in one of my songs, then I’ll believe I really achieved something great.”

For more information on Blachley go to his website.



Johnny Depp Plays Guitar with The New Basement Tapes in Only Show

Elvis Costello is one of the members of The New Basement Tapes - Photo by Donna Balancia

Elvis Costello is one of the members of The New Basement Tapes – All Photos © by Donna Balancia

HOLLYWOOD — Johnny Depp and Haim joined The New Basement Tapes for a one night only show that gave new meaning to the term Superband.


The cameraderie among TNBT members Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, Taylor Goldsmith, Jim James and Marcus Mumford with their special guests made an unforgettable evening for a lucky full house crowd at Montalban Theater in Hollywood.


TNBT played the songs each had co-written to Bob Dylan lyrics discovered in Dylan’s upstate New York home and some tunes got multiple renditions, proving the diversity of the talented musicians assembled for the evening.


The new album by TNBT was produced by T Bone Burnett, and is called Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes.

California Rocker gets ‘Best Blog’ Nom by LA Press

California Rocker wins nomination by LA Press Club

California Rocker, the sister publication of East Coast Rocker tabs LA Press Club nom. Logo © by Donna Balancia

LOS ANGELES — California Rocker, the West Coast-based sister publication of East Coast Rocker, has been nominated for Best Entertainment Blog by the Los Angeles Press Club, it was announced Friday night.

Produced by Donna Balancia, California Rocker covers emerging musicians and established rockers in the Golden State.

“It’s a challenging era in which to be a journalist, as it is to be a musician,” said Donna, who also produces East Coast Rocker.  “The nomination to Best Entertainment Blog in our first year of operation means a lot, especially coming from such an illustrious panel of editors.”

California Rocker serves the need of underserved musicians, who today more than ever, need the support of publications and music publicity.

“Musicians give their all to their audiences and receive nothing in return, especially in the early years,” said Donna.  “Some musicians don’t receive recognition until late in the game.  If you have music we should hear, please contact California Rocker.”

The Los Angeles Press Club holds its annual awards ceremony on Nov. 23 at The Biltmore in downtown Los Angeles.  For more information go to the Los Angeles Press Club website.

Macy’s ‘Rudderless’ In Theaters

Rudderless, the Bill Macy-directed picture gets distribution

Rudderless, the Bill Macy-directed picture gets distribution

STAFF REPORT — Rudderless, directed by William Macy, will receive a theatrical release through Paramount Home Media Distribution and Samuel Goldwyn Films, it was announced.

The feature directorial debut of Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Macy, Rudderless was produced by Keith Kjarval of Unified Pictures and Brad Greiner in association with Aaron L. Gilbert’s Bron Studios and had its world premiere as the Closing Night Film at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

The film stars Billy Crudup (Almost Famous), Anton Yelchin (Star Trek Into Darkness), Felicity Huffman (“Desperate Housewives”), Jamie Chung (“Believe”), Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers) and Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix).

Samuel Goldwyn Films will handle U.S. theatrical distribution day-and-date with Paramount Home Media Distribution’s VOD release. Paramount will also handle other U.S. ancillary platforms and all distribution in Canada, the UK, Russia and certain territories in Asia.

After a man has his life torn apart when he loses his son, he is content wasting the rest of his days until he discovers a box of unpublished music. Coming from such an unexpected source, the music is a revelation. He begins obsessively learning the songs, until one day he decides to play one of them at a local bar. The song captivates a young musician in the audience and the two unlikely friends decide to form a local band that gains sudden popularity and changes both of their lives.

“After seeing such a fabulous response at Sundance, we are thrilled to be partnering with two of the most prestigious distributors in our business on my directing debut,” said director William Macy. “When I first moved to LA, many years ago, I lived just off of Melrose, and I passed those beautiful gates to Paramount almost every day. Seeing them become our partner on Rudderless and adding the storied Goldwyn Company into the mix excites me to no end.”

#WilliamMacy END #Rudderless #Theatrical Release #uploaded by Donna Balancia

CBGB Music and Film Festival set for October

NEW YORK CITY — The third annual CBGB Music and Film Festival will take place from Oct. 8 through Oct. 12.

The CBGB Music and Film Festival presents new music, films, industry talks and special events all across New York City.

 The five-day annual event will take place in theaters, clubs, galleries, private spaces, rooftops and hotels throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn and in venues from Williamsburg to Times Square.

Center 548, the 35,000 sq. ft. converted warehouse, located on East 22nd street, will serve as the central hub for the festival,  which will include the CBGB Icon Awards, music themed art exhibitions, concerts and comedy performances.

“We continue to support emerging and established talent who represent music and film in all their forms,” said Tim Hayes, CBGB Co-owner. “For us, music transcends space and sharing it with fans in a unique form is something we are very passionate about.”

The CBGB Film Festival, one of the largest in the country and the only to feature music-focused films, will showcase scripted narratives, documentaries, concert films, shorts and other cutting edge stories.  Last year, CBGB premiered over 50 music-based movies, including the New York premiere of the Academy Award-Winning Film, 20 Feet from Stardom.

Tickets will be available to at CBGB.com.  Each event will be individually priced from $10 to $50.

The CBGB Festival schedule including performers, speakers and films will be announced in the weeks leading up to the event.

For more information and live updates please visit www.cbgb.com and follow CBGB OMFUG Facebook Page or Twitter @cbgbandomfug

In 2014, the CBGB Festival produced a concert for Amnesty International at Barclays Center that featured Madonna, Imagine Dragons, Blondie and the first ever U.S. appearance of Pussy Riot.

Learn more at www.cbgb.com

Benefit for Starship Guitarist Slick Aguilar a ‘Miracle’

Music Lovers and Artists, Enjoy Great Jersey Musicians Night


About four years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Steve and Lori Silverman at their beach party on the Navesink River in Monmouth Beach, N.J.

Silverman, a successful North Jersey real estate developer, hosts the most amazing summer party with a variety of world class artists like America; Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes; Don Felder from the Eagles; Lou Gramm from Foreigner; Max Weinberg; and Jefferson Starship.  On a side note, Silverman is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and has been trying to encourage Bruce to drop in to his summer party for several years.

Slick Aguilar

Photos by Rich Hoynes

I was invited to the party by Anthony Cioffi and Rennie Pinkus.   Anthony is the owner of Boulevard Pro, a top shelf sound, stage and lighting company based in Northern New Jersey that handles big name artists across the US.

Rennie is an accomplished music promoter.  I was speaking with Anthony and Rennie about helping  with BEDSTOCK, a music festival fundraiser I was producing to help five schools for children with autism in Bedminster, N.J., and they asked Silverman if he wouldn’t mind me dropping by his party to see them in action.

Well I learned that Silverman and I have a similar passion for healing the planet so Silverman and I became fast friends, an easy thing to do if you know him.  Every year, Silverman picks a different charity and beach party guests are invited to make a donation.

Slick Aguilar, guitarist for Jefferson Starship, met Silverman while playing his beach party several years ago.  They became fast friends.  Little did Slick know how this meeting would change his life.

Slick had a liver transplant last year and incurred over $1 million in medical bills, and his medication costs more than $1,000 a day.   Silverman wanted to help.

So from the invite of Anthony and Rennie, to Steve and Lori’s party, destiny happened.  I had the pleasure of working with Steve to help him with a fundraiser at New Jersey Performing Arts Center with long time friends of Slick, Lou Gramm of Foreigner, and Marty Balin of Jefferson Starship.

Lou Gramm by Rich Hoynes

Lou Gramm
Photo by Rich Hoynes

As the event arrived, we were worried that we might not sell enough tickets to make a profit.  I suggested that with what is was costing him to produce the show and to pay the artists, he might be better off writing Slick a check.

Silverman responded without a second thought:  “I made a commitment to do the show and I need to meet my word. If we don’t make enough, I’ll write him a check anyway.”   Honor and integrity are alive and well in Monmouth, N.J.  This is why Steve and I are friends.

It was an awesome night of music for a great cause. I invited some of my friends to play with Lou and Marty, talented local Jersey artists.  Tommy Labella and Michael Ghegan, two of my favorite Jersey sax players lit up the stage, and singers Jillian Rhys McCoy and Pam McCoy backed up Lou on vocals with scintillating harmonies. When I asked Slick about inviting Pam McCoy to sing, Slick said he had performed with Pam many years ago and was delighted to reconnect with her.

Rehearsal was set for 3:30 P.M..  The show went on at 8 P.M.   Lou Gramm’s flight from Rochester was cancelled so he had to drive five hours and just made the show with 30 minutes to spare, so no rehearsal.  He came in, sat down for a quick well-deserved meal and the show went on without a hitch.  Silverman got to play on stage with the band.  This Renaissance man is a good guitar player himself.

Gramm stayed, signing autographs for his fans, until the last person left.  I’ve now got a guitar signed by Lou Gramm, Marty Balin, and Slick Aguilar, a treasure.

We almost sold out NJPAC and made a profit.  The music was awesome.  Silverman was pleased, though I’m not sure he has the stomach for producing another concert.  It looks easier than it is.  Lou and Marty gave world-class performances.  Ghegan rocked the house on sax playing “Urgent” with Gramm.  Pam and Slick got to perform together once more.  Slick was emotional when Silverman gave him the proceeds.

Slick Aguilar Lou Gramm Rich Hoynes

Performers join together for Slick Aguilar
Photos by Rich Hoynes

All in all, a great night.

With so many fundraisers, you don’t know how much of the money actually goes to the people that need the help.  But this one was a true winner.

“I had doctors who saved my life, friends who help me. There is a God, and he has blessed me. I’ve been very, very lucky.” – Slick Aguilar 

Rich Hoynes is an editor at East Coast Rocker.  His book, Great Jersey Music, is a top-seller on Amazon.com.

Hartley Peavey to Retailers: Get Passionate

‘Know your product, service the customer, improve the sales experience’

Hartley Peavey, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Peavey Electronic Corp. said sales expertise, customer service and product knowledge are critical to survival of the music retailer today.

How should retailers proceed going into the future? Should the music retailers lobby congress?

“If you’re waiting for the government to come to the rescue forget it,” Peavey advised.  “It’s insane to expect that you’re going to get help from on high. We’ve been spectacularly unsuccessful.”

Hartley Peavey, East Coast Rocker Donna Balancia

Hartley Peavey has an educated opinion. You can ask for it. – photos courtesy of Peavey

Peavey’s stern comments came during a panel discussion at the 2014 NAMM Show.  East Coast Rocker editor Donna Balancia was in the front row.

“I talk to dealers every day, but I want to spend a minute talking about survival for the retail music dealer.

“I went to my first NAMM show in 1954.  I like to ask questions. ‘Mr. Dealer in this value chain what is it that you do? What do you add to the formula? What is your reason for being?’ (He’ll respond) ‘I have trained people,’ which is a lie 98 percent of the time.

“They ignore retailing 101. We’re all consumers. Every day we make decisions where to spend money. When you distill it down, what (the music retailers are) telling you is they’re delivery boys.  The best damn delivery boys are the guys driving those big brown trucks if you compete with them, you will lose.

“So the answers are within you but only if you ask questions. By the way that’s the way you learn stuff, you ask questions. Every one of you retailers . What do you add to the value chain?

“I’m a big believer in education, we started our education program 30 years ago. You go in most retail music dealers they don’t know what the hell they’re selling. How are you going to sell things the customer knows more about than you?

“Your salvation is not with some congressional body, the answer to your future is within you. You’ve got to be willing to rise to the occasion. Music is one of the few things people will fight you over. If you happen to be a country music fan, and the guy sitting next to you is saying bad things about country music you want to give him a knuckle sandwich.

“You’ve got to make the experience of coming into your store a pleasant one.

“One of the things that’s wrong is we want to be everything to everybody. There is no way in hell you can know the features advantages and benefits of more than three or four products.  Are you demo-ing your products that way?

“The internet is not going to go away. It’s here and it’s going to get more pervasive.  Decide now what you’re going to do.

“Selling is not a noun. Retail is not a noun, it’s a verb. The government is not going to save your butt, they’ll kick it if you give them half a chance.

“Education on the retail music sales floor today, it’s at the lowest point ever. If we don’t do something to change that, I don’t know what’s going to happen.

“You’ve got to ask questions.  As a music industry we have done a lousy ass job of promoting ourselves. We’ve gotta ask the important questions to allow us to survive.  You better get back involved in selling with passion. We help people realize their dreams.

“A good salesman helps people realize their goals, objectives and their dreams. We’re in the dream business whether we realize it or not.

“Do things you can’t do by mail. Do installations. Do service. But here he is, in your store. He’s in your store.”

Donna Balancia is editor of East Coast Rocker and California Rocker.  Email her at editor@eastcoastrocker.com

‘Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano’ film plays nationwide

Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano will play on movie screens nationwide on Tuesday, March 18 and Wednesday, March 26 at 7 p.m. local time, it was announced.

The film, presented by Fathom Events, CinemaLive and Rocket Music Entertainment Group, took four years to make and gives theatre-goers an opportunity to see an Sir Elton performance in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas VIP experience was recorded at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

John’s playlist includes “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” “Rocket Man,” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” among other hits.

In addition, viewers will see the making of the album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and ranks at No. 91 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

East Coast Rocker Elton John Piano film

Elton John’s film in selected theatres nationwide

Tickets for Elton John: The Million Dollar Piano are available at theater box offices and online at www.FathomEvents.com.

The film will be shown in 700 selected movie theaters around the U.S. through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network.

To find a theatre location where the film will be shown, go to Fathom Events.com.

“It’s unlike anything I have done before, a complete mix, a showcase of all my music, accompanied by spectacular scenery and beautiful video images,” said Elton John.


Slash, Vince Neil, Alice Cooper Rock and Raise $525 G for MSA Research

Slash, Vince Neil, Alice Cooper, East Coast Rocker, Photo with permission by Truscello

Slash, Vince Neil and Alice Cooper were among rockers at the Kerry Simon benefit in Vegas – Truscello/Wire Image

By DONNA BALANCIA — LAS VEGAS — Slash, Vince Neil and Alice Cooper were among top names from the music world who gathered this past week in Las Vegas to help raise money for MSA Research.

The Keep Memory Alive benefit was held on behalf of chef Kerry Simon, who has been battling the effects of the debilitating affliction Multiple System Atrophy since his diagnosis last year.

About 450 guests attended, raising nearly $525,000 towards MSA clinical care and research.

Others on hand were Sammy Hagar, Bill Murray, Todd Rundgren, Matt Sorum, J.D. Fortune, Lisa Loeb and Billy Duffy, all backed by the Las Vegas band, Sin City Sinners.


Busby Review: No Weak Moment in Beck’s Triumphant Moon Phase

Beck's Moon Phase released today

Beck’s Moon Phase out today

By BOB BUSBY, ECR Reviewer — It’s rare for a new album to immediately captivate, compelling to be listened to.  Moon Phase, the exquisite latest from the eclectic musician Beck does just that and quickly.

Reassembling the same personnel responsible for 2002’s critically acclaimed Sea Change, Moon Phase is a companion effort yet by no means a sequel.

Whereas Sea Change, recorded in the aftermath of a breakup was somber albeit beautiful, the songs on Moon Phase borne over a number of years, are very much downtempo but offer a lighter affair.

Introspective sans despair.

What really makes Moon Phase shine, however, is how it sounds.

Sonically it’s an audio feast for the ears.  A forty-seven minute eargasm.

The lush, opening stringed track, Cycle, is only 39 seconds long, yet sets the tone for the entire record, evoking a sense of discovery, of things anew.

The songs are stylistically different from each other and there’s an ever-present almost ethereal feel.

From keyboards, to slide guitar, to string arrangements, to layered vocals – Beck brilliantly utilizes a bevy of effects producing quietly strong music that shimmers via sweeping vistas of sound used to stunning effect as on the relatively upbeat third track Heart is A Drum.

If it were possible to bestow a “Best Audiocinematography” award, Moon Phase would win it. This is one where listening via earphones is a wonderful experience.

I’ve had the album for exactly one week and listened to it end to end at least 10 times.

Like a warm new flannel shirt it gets better each time you put it on.

There’s not a weak moment and should be a shoo-in for an Album of The Year Grammy nod.

Bob Busby is a music reviewer and historian from the East Coast.  

‘One Way Out’ Allman Brothers book Hits Shelves Next Week


'One Way Out' a fun read

‘One Way Out’ a fun read


— NEW YORK CITY — One Way Out The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band by Alan Paul, hits the retail shelves next week and the 438-page work is already in high demand, at least according to Facebook posts on the Allman Brothers Facebook page.

“Pretty please, with sugar on it” wrote fan page member Rick Book.  “Need a copy badly!” adds Beau Barnes.  Fan Bill Hammer calls the band members “Great Rock Legends.”

Published by St. Martin’s Press of New York City, the book is set for release next week.  Author Alan Paul is a senior writer for Guitar World magazine. He has covered the Allman Brothers Band for 25 years.

The Allman Brothers Facebook page recently hit the 1 million “Likes” benchmark.

“Given the rancor and turmoil that has often surrounded the group, it’s easy to scoff at the notion of a musical brotherhood,” writes Allen in his author’s note. “But I believe that in its earliest years, the members and crew shared a bond that sustained them through perilous times.

“Since the early,  devastating deaths of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, the band has also managed to find brilliant new musical voices to keep them moving forward, including Chuck Leavell, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks. The Allman Brothers; long history is equally tragic and uplifting, heroic and sad…”

Editor’s Note: East Coast Rocker Review to follow as soon as we can put the book down for a minute.




Beatles Tribute Show Brings Back Sunday Night Success to CBS

The Beatles on Ed Sullivan - photo courtesy of CBS

The Beatles on Ed Sullivan

NEW YORK CITY — To commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will perform together on a CBS Special “The Beatles: The Night That Changed America,” Sunday night 8 – 10:30 p.m.

The broadcast is presented by The Recording Academy, AEG Ehrlich Ventures and CBS.

The show, taped on Jan. 27, features performances by a range of artists including Imagine Dragons, Maroon 5, Brad Paisley & Pharrell Williams and Stevie Wonder.

The house band for the night features Peter Frampton on guitar, Kenny Aronoff on drums, Chris Caswell on keyboard, Lenny Castro on percussion, Steve Lukather on guitar, Greg Phillinganes on keyboard and Don Was, who also served as musical director, on bass.

TV Monitor introduces John Lennon to America

TV Screen during Ed Sullivan Show introduces John Lennon to America

The Beatles’ performance on The Ed Sullivan Show revolutionized the music industry and changed music forever.  The Feb. 9 airing commemorates exactly 50 years since the Liverpool group’s historic appearance in NYC.

In addition to a reunion of the Eurythmics, who will perform, artists scheduled include: Maroon 5, “All My Lovin’,” “Ticket To Ride;” Imagine Dragons, “Revolution;” Stevie Wonder, “We Can Work it Out;” Ringo Starr, “Matchbox;” Paul McCartney, “I Saw Her Standing There;” and an all-star finale including “Hey Jude.”


Bob Ezrin: ‘The Future of Music Depends on the Quality of Music’

Ezrin has worked with the heavy hitters of the music world including Alice Cooper, Lou Reed and Peter Gabriel.

Ezrin has worked with the heavy hitters of the music world including Alice Cooper, Lou Reed and Peter Gabriel.

Industry must call music ‘art.’  After all, Ezrin says, ‘A rose by any other name would NOT smell as sweet’ — 

By DONNA BALANCIA – ANAHEIM – Legendary producer Bob Ezrin told music retailers Thursday that the industry must continue to build its talent pool in order to thrive.

Prior to his keynote address to kick off the 2014 National Association of Music Merchants Show in Anaheim, Ezrin told East Coast Rocker that the more time the industry wastes worrying about ancillary issues, the less time it will spend on its most critical function:  To inspire and educate.

“If we spend time worrying about things like how to get the music out, the less time we will have to make insanely good music,” Ezrin told East Coast Rocker prior to delivering his speech at the annual event that draws thousands of industry members from around the world.

His morning keynote speech drew an audience of several hundred music retailers, many of whom forged through rough winter weather to attend the conference in sunny Southern California.

Using cool-sounding words doesn’t cut it for Canadian-born Ezrin, whose experience with “cool” is vast, having worked with hundreds of top musicians since the 1970s.

“When we talk about the future of making music, we have to watch the language we use,” Ezrin said.  “Someone said to me, ‘It’s about the ‘content.‘  No it’s not. ‘Content’ is for cereal boxes, not the art. If it’s called ‘content,’ you diminish the value down to breakfast cereal…When you talk about it with mist in your eyes …Now you’re talking about music.”

Ezrin spends much of his time in philanthropy.  He is co-founder with Garth Richardson and Kevin Williams of Nimbus School of Recording Arts in Vancouver.

Ezrin implores the music industry to use terminology carefully.

Ezrin implores the music industry to use terminology carefully.

Another word Ezrin can’t stand: “Monetization.”

“I don’t want to talk about business models, or the ‘monetization’ of anything, that’s a dirty word.  Unless what we make is great, nobody’s going to pay for it. ”

How will the industry make money?

“The best thing we can be doing is insure a march to excellence, to empower, inspire, to promote people who are straining to do something unique,” Ezrin said. “And to encourage them. Music is the very special creation of very special people whose entire lives and everything they’ve ever done, seen, felt or touched goes into what they do. That process is magical.”

Ezrin said: “There is a certain amount of technique involved. So how do we become insanely great? One of the things to do, whenever you set out on a journey, you need to make a list of things Not to Do, and a list of things To Do.  One of the things to do is to make a ‘Not to do’ list.”

Ezrin warned not to “Get caught up in toys, tricks, technology, packaging, positioning or any of those things before you have something to market,” he said.

Our society is perhaps too caught up in “chasing cool,” or “the latest” in tech and that viral or other song phenomena will happen without that tech factor most of the time, he said. Using the success of the catchy “Who Let The Dogs Out,” as an example, Ezrin said, “I’m sure that person was not sitting at a computer screen or at a conference like this.”

Ezrin, a prolific producer, devotes much of his time now to music philanthropy.

Ezrin devotes much of his time now to music philanthropy. Photo courtesy of Canadian Music Hall of Fame

Ezrin said: “At the end of the day when somebody like Psy comes around, it travels around the world.” He said, the market is “extremely rational. The stuff of real value does get supported and earns something for somebody. And the stuff that’s not so good, typically doesn’t.”

He said formulas don’t count, unless you’re making a widget and what happened before won’t predict the future.

“Art is only something artists can manage,” said Ezrin. “A craftsman is someone who can create and build code .. And an artist is someone who creates something that is different.

He said: “A rose by any other name would not  smell as sweet. If you called roses ‘kumquats’ it would not be the same.”

The music, and not the “content” or the calling it of such, is the key.

“It’s not technology or modality of delivery, it is the special creation of special people that especially touches the hearts of others,” that should be the concern of the industry.

The first line of offense in inspiring youths of today to take up an instrument is to put down the smart phone, Ezrin said.

“Kids, they hear things and kids are incredibly curious, thoughtful about what they see, even with their heads down things get in,” he said. “You need to inspire and educate.  Take them to a concert.  They may be on (the smart phone) but they internalize and maybe they’ll say, ‘I want to do that.”

Music Industry Experts: Network, Network and Network Some More

East Coast Rocker photo

Industry experts tell aspiring musicians to collaborate, know the audience. BALANCIA PHOTO

ANAHEIM — If “It’s not what you know but who you know,” then aspiring songwriters and musicians are in good company, a panel of music industry experts said at NAMM over the weekend.

During a panel discussion entitled 360 Degrees of a Hit Music Track, a room of 250 songwriters and musicians were told to work the event circuit and talk up their work — to each other — and help each other make it to the top.

“Network with everyone,” attorney Neville Johnson of Johnson and Johnson LLP of Beverly Hills said. “Look around you.  The people in this room are your colleagues. Go to the events, industry meetings, groups for writers. It’s a team effort.”

Panelists included singer songwriter Barry Keenan, A and R executive Don Grierson, producer Matt Forger, publisher Robert Case, attorney Johnson and was moderated by Alex Del Zoppo of the renowned band Sweetwater.

Aspiring musicians must know their audience, take stock in their catalogues and pay close attention to the emotional communication they intend, said panelist Grierson, who has worked with many of the most notable artists in music. It all comes down to the message and the appeal of the message, Grierson said.

Musicians told to collaborate with each other, seek out music partners.

Musicians told to collaborate with each other, seek out music partners.

“I guarantee you this: They will never ask if you recorded on one track or two tracks or if it was analogue or digital,” said Grierson. “They only care about ‘Did it resonate here,” he said, pointing to his heart.

Keenan said competition may be tough, but “Never give up on your dream.”  He added that when the time is right to get your CD into the hands of a producer, make sure the product is good.

Johnson added that with continued efforts, it is possible for a new artist to break through.

“Look at Lorde, she came out of nowhere,” he said, referring to the 16-year-old New Zealand-born phenom, nominated in four categories at Sunday’s Grammy Awards. “And Adele, she’s broken all records…”

The Internet has done a lot to help aspiring and established artists get exposure. Keep networking and posting song, it was advised.

“Find a great song,” Johnson said. “I know a guy who had a one-off song that became a hit, then he bought a nice house, got a nice car, nice wife, nice life.”

AEG’s digital ticketing division acquires Examiner.com



AEG’s digital ticketing platform AXS, has acquired Examiner.com, a well-known information and content distribution website, it was announced.

The acquisition gives AEG a more fully rounded platform that can attract readers, who can be converted to buy tickets to events.

Examiner.com is a content creation network, and gets 45.5 million unique visitors globally every month, according to Quantcast, the advertising tracker.

The acquisition gives AEG ammunition against rival Live Nation, which uses a range of ticket distribution, including the powerful mobile app BandsInTown, that reaches millions of ticket buyers.


Katy Perry ‘Prismatic’ Tour Dates Announced

Katy Perry launches her Prismatic world tour in Raleigh, N.C.

Katy Perry launches her Prismatic world tour in Raleigh, N.C.

Miami, New York and New Jersey in July

Katy Perry will kick off the North American leg of her Prismatic world tour on June 22 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The 46-city tour is presented by Goldenvoice, a division of AEG Live.   She will be touring in support of PRISM, which debuted at number one on The Billboard 200 and remains in the Top Ten three months after release.  The platinum album has given Perry her biggest ever single with “Roar,” while “Dark Horse” just became her lucky 13th Top Ten hit on The Billboard Hot 100.

Capital Cities, Kacey Musgraves and Tegan and Sara will open for Katy in different markets during the 4-month North American tour.

Katy Perry's Prismatic East Coast tour dates

Katy Perry’s Prismatic East Coast tour dates

“The Prismatic world tour is coming to light up some of my favorite North American cities this summer, as well as some new cities that you introduced me to through your video requests” Perry said in a statement. “This colorful show will bring you all the songs you know as well as ones from my new album, PRISM. I’m so excited that I got to hand-select some of my favorite artists to join me on this journey – I know you’ll

love Capital Cities, Kacey Musgraves and Tegan and Sara as much as I do.”

The stage for the Prismatic world tour allows Perry to get closer to her fans than ever before.   The stage design will provide concert-goers with good access from different angles in the arena. Ticket offerings include a limited number of general admission tickets in the intimate “Reflection Section.”

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Quincy Mumford CD Release Party July 6

Quincy Mumford and The Reason Why will debut tunes off their new album on July 6 at Urban Nest in Asbury Park. -- Photo by DOTTIE PARIS

Quincy Mumford and The Reason Why will debut tunes off their new album on July 6 at Urban Nest in Asbury Park. — Photo by DOTTIE PARIS

By DONNA BALANCIA — ASBURY PARK, N.J. — Quincy Mumford and The Reason Why will be playing at Urban Nest in Asbury Park to celebrate the release of the group’s new album It’s Only Change. 

Quincy recalls: “Thinking back to where it all started…A couple of songs that all had a similar theme, and connection to each other,” he wrote on his website www.quincymumford.com .

“Then Ken Coomer came along and found me through a song writing contest. He asked me to make a record with him in Nashville, Tenn. It really forced me to get my stuff together, and write more songs to complete this album.”

The group is on tour and will be hitting venues in Ohio before the July 6 gig in New Jersey.

Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.  Urban Nest is located at 631 Lake Avenue.