Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2012

Coachella line-up announced

The lineup for the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has been announced. For the first time the same lineups will perform over two consecutive weekends, April 13-15 and again April 20-22 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, southeast of Palm Springs. The number of veteran acts performing is slight when compared with the dozens of contemporary artists announced. Tickets are on sale.

The lineup on both Friday nights sees venerable ska outfit Madness, who began their career in London in 1976; alt rockers Mazzy Star, who formed in Santa Monica in 1989; and reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, who will be joined by Rancid’s leader Tim Armstrong, join contemporary rockers The Black Keys, a reunion of Pulp, and The Arctic Monkeys.

On both Saturdays, Brit critical darlings Radiohead, who Thom Yorke created in Oxfordshire in 1985; iconic Manchester, English pop-rockers Squeeze (playing their only scheduled dates), England punkers The Buzzcocks, led by Pete Shelley since 1976; alt-rockers firehose — formed by longtime San Pedro resident, singer-bassist Mike Watt in 1986 — will reunite for the first time since breaking up in 1994 (the trio will play a warm-up gig in Sacramento on April 5); and former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher’s new band, High Flying Birds, will share the stages with The Shins, Feist, The Manchester Orchestra, The Kaiser Chiefs and young hotshot guitarist Gary Clarke, Jr.

The lineup on Sundays will feature the boundless energy of singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist and his Swedish garage rock band The Hives, whose buzz-saw “Hate to Say I Told You So” was listed at No. 54 on Q magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks; and singer-guitarist Greg Ginn, who formed the legendary hardcore Los Angeles punk band, Black Flag, in Hermosa Beach in 1976, are on the bill with Florence and The Machine, Santigold and headliners Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog.

Stagecoach Fest sold out

The 6th annual Stagecoach Fest, “California’s Country Music Festival,” held each year the weekend after the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, is sold out. This year’s fest, April 27-29, with a daily capacity of 55,000, includes such veteran acts as the reunions of The Mavericks, Alabama and `80s roots rock band The Unforgiven, as well as Kenny Rogers, Martina McBride, Chris Isaac, Minneapolis alt-country rockers The Jayhawks, former Blasters guitarist-singer Dave Alvin and The Guilty Ones, and singer-songwriter JD Souther, who was one of the pioneers of the “California Sound” in the early `70s, and one-third of country-rock supergroup The Souther-Hillman-Furay Band that also featured former Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers and Manassas bassist Chris Hillman and Richie Furay of Poco and The Buffalo Springfield.

Bluegrass is well represented with stalwarts The Del McCoury Band, 84-year-old bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley & His Clinch Mountain Boys, 74-year-old bluegrass banjo player JD Crowe & The New South, fiddler Sara Watkins of progressive bluegrassers Nickel Creek, comic actor-banjo player Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers, and Uncle Monk, a duo led by Tommy Ramone, the last surviving original member of punk legends The Ramones.

The fest’s headliners are Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert and her husband Blake Shelton.

Sabbath’s Iommi has cancer

Only weeks after Black Sabbath announced its reunion with singer Ozzy Osbourne, 63-year-old Tony Iommi, the founding guitarist for the heavy metal icons that formed in Birmingham, England in 1968, has been diagnosed with lymphoma, according to the Associated Press. His bandmates have asked that fan send “positive vibes” his way. The band released a statement saying that the disease was caught “in early stages” and that the musician is “currently working with his doctors to establish the best treatment plan.

All four members of Black Sabbath had been recording their first album together in 34 years in Los Angeles with producer Rick Rubin. However, they will all return home to England with Iommi and finish recording there while the left-handed guitarist receives his treatment. The album will be released this fall, as planned. They were set to kick off a world tour with Osbourne in Moscow on May 8 with dates throughout Europe to follow through June and at press time this schedule has not changed.

Metallica’s 30th

Heavy metal giants Metallica celebrated its 30th anniversary with four marathon shows at the Fillmore in San Francisco during which they performed 77 songs without repeating any of them.

The band reunited onstage with former bassist Jason Newsted and original singer-guitarist Dave Mustaine, who has led Megadeth since being fired from Metallica in 1983, and paid a nightly tribute to bassist Cliff Burton, who was killed in 1986 at age 24 when the band’s tour bus overturned in Sweden.

Also joining the quartet onstage was its recent collaborator, former Velvet Underground founder Lou Reed, and singer Glenn Danzig, who formed punk outfit The Misfits in Lodi in 1977 and then formed the heavy metal band that bears his name, Danzig, also in Lodi, a decade later, in 1987.

Even though the band’s new CD with Reed, “Lulu,” was only released on Halloween, the guys are hard at work on their next album, and a 3-D movie starring the group is in the works with a planned release in the summer of 2013. The only current Metallica shows scheduled are seven concerts, including five festival shows, in the U.K. and Britain, at the end of May and into early June.

Elton’s book about AIDS

Elton John is writing his first book, a personal account of his experiences with AIDS, including his friendship with Freddie Mercury, the late singer with Queen, who died of the disease in 1991 when he was 45, reports Reuters. John also delves into his friendship with young Ryan White, the American schoolboy who became a figurehead for the HIV/AIDS cause after he was banned from attending his school because of his illness.

The book, “Love Is The Cure: Ending The Global AIDS Epidemic,” will be published in July to coincide with an international AIDS conference in Washington, D.C. The 64-year-old is donating all is profits to the non-profit organization he founded 20 years ago, The Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Publishers Hodder & Stoughton called the book, “a very personal story of Elton’s life during the AIDS epidemic, including his agony at seeing friend after friend perish needlessly.” The statement said that AIDS has claimed 60 million lives.

In other John news, he tells a local paper that his first choice to play him in a planned biopic, “Rocketman,” is Justin Timberlake. The former N’ Sync singer played John twice before, in a music video for a 2001 John song, “This Train Doesn’t Stop There Anymore” and in a David LaChappelle video of “Rocket Man.” The Washington Post says the 30-year-old Timberlake is “seriously considering” taking the role.

New releases

Among the new CD releases, re-releases, box sets et al, are a series called, “Icon” from, separately, hard rockers and heavy metalers Anthrax, Cinderella, and Uriah Heep. Also out is “Greatest Hits” from Andy Gibb; “Free Again: The 1970 Session,” from former the late Box Tops and then Big Star frontman Alex Chilton, who drown when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans; “Come Sunday” from jazz guys, bassist Charlie Haden and pianist Hank Jones; a 2-Cd set from South African choral group “Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Friends”; and “Live On Air” from Van Morrison.

Van Halen tour update

Van Halen bumped back the sale date for tickets for its first tour since 2007 from Jan. 10 to Jan. 14. Dates and venues were also announced, including June 1 at the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles and June 12 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, according to Pollstar.

The band has released its first single with reunited original singer David Lee Roth, who left the band in 1984, since a brief reunion in 1996 produced two songs. Both of the songs recorded then were released as singles, “Me Wise Magic” and “Can’t Get This Stuff no More,” that were hits on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart. Claims are that the new single, “Tattoo,” is actually a reworked take on a song the band performed in 1977 called “Down in Flames.”

Roxy’s Ferry weds

Congratulations are in order for Roxy Music’s 66-year-old singer, the still-suave Bryan Ferry. Ferry, who was made a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in November, married Amanda Sheppard, 29, in what’s been described in Britain’s Mirror as a “simple, private ceremony,” on the beach at the exclusive luxury resort, Amanyara, on the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean. It was the singer’s second marriage. His first marriage ended in 2003 after 20 years.

N’Sync singer, lifesaver

On the beach in Miami, former N’ Sync singer JC Chasez stopped a large sun umbrella that had been blown directly toward a 1-year-old baby from hitting the infant at the last moment, reports the Miami Herald. A low-flying helicopter blew the umbrella off the beach and directly toward the baby.

Boyz II Men get star

Boyz II Men, the R&B vocal group that formed in Philadelphia in 1988, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, reports the group’s hometown Philadelphia Enquirer. With sales of more than 60 million records, Boyz II Men are considered the top-selling R&B outfit of all time. In addition, the singers have won four Grammys, three Billboard awards, nine American Music Awards and nine Soul Train Awards. Among those present to honor them were Michael Bivens of New Edition, Kenneth “Babyface” Edwards and the production team of Jimmy Jan and Terry Lewis.

McCartney named Artist of the Year

In an online fan vote, Ultimate Classic Rock has named 69-year-old Paul McCartney its Artist of the Year, beating out musician entrepreneurs Motley Crue bassist Nikki Six, Chickenfoot singer Sammy Hagar and Alice Cooper.

The results were posted on the publication’s website. More than a quarter-million fans voted.

Sixx won Book of the Year for his autobiography, “This is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography and Life Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx,” beating out the life stories of and by Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne, Sabbath’s guitarist Tony Iommi, and former Montrose and Van Halen, former Kiss lead guitarist Ace Frehley and current Chickenfoot singer Hagar.

Osbourne’s “Blizzard of Ozz/Diary of a Madman 30th Anniversary package won Box Set of the Year, edging out CD and CD/DVD sets from Jimi Hendrix, The Beach Boys, Rush, The Who and Pink Floyd. Tour of the Year went to Axl Rose and Guns N’ Roses, who finished ahead of Rush, Motley Crue, Journey, Kiss and Cooper.

Frampton’s long-lost axe found

A guitar that Peter Frampton considered beloved, but that was lost following a plane crash in 1980 in Caracas, Venezuela, has been found and after 31 years, it’s been given back to the 61-year-old former member of hard-rocking British band Humble Pie, according to the New York Times.

Frampton played the black 1954 Gibson Les Paul electric guitar that he received as a gift after a Humble Pie show in San Francisco in 1970, on his 1976 live solo double-album “Frampton Comes Alive.” That concert record became of the best-selling live albums of all time, with sales of more than 15 million copies.

A musician in Curacao, a Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela ended up owning the guitar. Two years of negotiations followed and a die-hard Frampton fan who heads the island’s tourist board eventually acquired it and presented it to Frampton at his home in Nashville.

Frampton said in a statement, “I’m still in a state of shock, first off, that the guitar even exists, let alone that it’s been returned to me.” He told the Times, “It’s the best guitar I have ever played.”

Frampton begins an extensive American tour next month that includes concerts on March 9 at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, March 10 at the Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino in Indio, March 12 at the Majestic Fox Theatre in Bakersfield, and March 14 at the Long Beach Terrace Theatre.

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