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Eddie Van Halen surprised music students last Thursday at the Foshay Learning Center in Los Angeles.
He told the 27 kids, "Music helps lift your self-esteem, it gave me an identity, kept me out of trouble, gave me goals and the desire to improve. It gave me a life. I am an example of what music can do for someone. What it did for me, it can do for you all. Anything is possible."
In addition to performing with them, he also, with the help of Fender, donated one of his signature amplifiers to the class and gave each student a gift bag filled with EVH brand picks, guitar straps, cables, electric guitar strings and a Frankenstein key chain. Eddie's visit came about after he attended a fundraising event a few weeks ago for the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, where he was introduced to the school's musical director.
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ZZ Top singer and guitarist Billy Gibbons will make a rare solo appearance when he takes the stage at the B.B. King Blues Club in New York next Tuesday. While the now sold-out show was billed as Billy Gibbons, we are told that it was supposed to be The BFG with 2Bs, which, roughly translated, means Billy F. Gibbons plus the band with two Hammond B3 organs. Joining Gibbons are drummer Anton Fig and bassist Will Lee from the David Letterman show band, and organ players Martin Guigui and Mike Flanagan.
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Not sure what kind of mileage he's going to get out of it, but U2's Bono shares the cover of BMW Magazine 's Autumn/Winter 2013 issue with two Beemers and a surfer.
The "rock star and international activist" is also interviewed in what the upscale German auto company's North American president and CEO calls in his forward -- "our ongoing showcase of today's fascinating personalities."
The chat took place in the lobby of a German hotel the day after Bono and 50 newly sworn-in German "ambassadors" for the ONE campaign posed for a photo op with that country's Prime Minister, Angela Merkel. In it we learn that Bono "no longer describes himself as an activist, but as a 'factivist,'" because facts "show what works [and] are what prove that the exhausting struggle, this long human journey towards equality and justice, is gaining momentum." Bono then optimistically lays out the current facts and figures on African poverty, leading to his conclusion that, "We all want to see the day when life-threatening poverty is banished for good, right across the world."
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Mick Jagger makes an appearance on the new album by his brother Chris Jagger. He sings on the title track to Concertina Jack, the ninth album from the younger Jagger, as well as "Diamonds and Pearls."
Chris says, "I'm not a big one for anniversaries, but in the brewhaha revolving around The Rolling Stones and 50 years, I realized it's 40 years since my first record came out."
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Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" has once again been reworked, this time by the students and faculty of the Digital Video Program at the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Arizona. They've created a Star Wars edition, complete with lyrics pertaining to the movie franchise and video featuring the students and faculty dressed as Star Wars characters.
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Carlos Santana and Billy Joel rubbed elbows with politicians and fellow celebrities this weekend in Washington, D.C. as they were recognized for their impact on American culture at the annual Kennedy Center Honors.
On Saturday, they attended a dinner hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was also on hand and recalled how she "used to dance to Carlos Santana when I was in high school and college."
Country superstar Garth Brooks was there for his friend Billy Joel, who he toasted by saying, "There’s a simple rule in music: Everyone before you is a god, and everyone after you is a punk." Joel called the Kennedy Center recognition different from his six Grammys. "It's our nation's capital. This is coming more from my country than just people who come to see me. It's a little overwhelming."
On Sunday, Santana, Joel and the other honorees -- Herbie Hancock, Shirley MacLaine and opera singer Martina Arroyo -- attended a reception at The White House with President Obama before heading to the Kennedy Center for Sunday's award ceremony. Obama joked that he was disappointed the guitar icon "wore one of his more conservative shirts this evening, Back in the day, you could see those things from space."
Carlos called the honor "really supreme, because the award is being given to me by a black man. If it wasn't like that, I would say just send it to me. But since it's Mr. Barack Obama, I definitely had to make myself present and say from the center of my heart, 'You are the embodiment of our dreams and aspirations.'"
Tony Bennett spoke on behalf of Joel, saying, "Billy Joel is no less than the poet, performer, philosopher of today's American songbook." Don Henley serenaded him with "She's Got a Way" and Garth Brooks, who covered Joel's "Shameless" in 1989, did a medley of "Only the Good Die Young," ''Allentown," and "Goodnight Saigon," which featured a choir of Vietnam veterans. Brendon Urie of Panic! At the Disco did "Big Shot," and Rufus Wainright chipped in with "New York State of Mind" before leading the audience in a sing-along of "Piano Man."
Harry Belafonte spoke for Santana, saying, "Now Carlos is a citizen of the world. He belongs to all of us. Carlos, you haven't transcended race and origin. Really, who of us has? You continue to be informed by the immigrant experience on the journey to the great American dream." Santana's musical tribute came from Sheila E., Steve Winwood, Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello and Fher Olvera, the lead singer of the Mexican rock band Mana.
Highlights from last night's Kennedy Center Honors will be shown on CBS on December 29th at 9p.m. ET.
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Nelson Mandela's death has been felt across the musical landscape with so many artists across all genres expressing their sadness. In particular he worked closely with quite a few members of the rock community in spreading his message of peace and his fight against HIV/AIDS, and some of them have commented on his passing:
Bono, who along with U2, just released "Ordinary Love" from the new movie Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: "It was as if he was born to teach the age a lesson in humility, in humor and above all else in patience. In the end, Nelson Mandela showed us how to love rather than hate, not because he had never surrendered to rage or violence, but because he learnt that love would do a better job. Mandela played with the highest stakes. He put his family, his country, his time, his life on the line, and he won most of these contests. Stubborn til the end for all the right reasons, it felt like he very nearly outstarred his maker. Today, finally, he blinked. And some of us cry, knowing our eyes were opened to so much because of him." Bono also wrote an essay about Mandela that was just published in Time magazine.
Brian May, who along with Queen, did several fundraisers for Mandela's 46664 AIDS charity, says, "Very sad to hear of Madiba's passing. We (Queen, along with Dave Stewart and the Corrs) were privileged to spend some days and nights with him at his game park retreat, while we were organizing the first 46664 concert for AIDS at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. They were life-changing days, with quiet time and talks around a camp fire at night, which we will remember til we die. Mandela was the most inspiring man of his generation. His message, by example, was the power of forgiveness. He showed us that it's possible to act after great injustice with no thought of revenge. He was light, funny, enormously generous, and, quietly, the greatest example to the world that a man can be. RIP dear Madiba."
Paul Simon: "Mandela was one of the great leaders and teachers of the twentieth century. He conceived a model for mortal enemies to overcome their hatred and find a way through compassion to rebuild a nation based on truth, justice and the power of forgiveness. His passing should reignite a worldwide effort for peace."
Graham Nash: "I had so much respect for Mandela... He stood up for what he believed in and was fearless... One of my possessions is his autobiography signed to me as 'A fellow warrior.'"
Carlos Santana: "The Lion King has gone home to be with our Lord Supreme. May he rest in peace.”
Tommy Shaw: "Mandela didn't come to my attention until sometime in the early 1980's when I began to spend more time in London. His face became a symbol of apartheid and oppression, but also of hope and then that hope realized when he arose from his cell to become the cherished president. I joined legions who wore t-shirts adorned with "Free Mandela" and celebrated his freedom. In time he suffered the fate of most elected officials who find it much more difficult to govern than to be an independent activist. I applaud him, his journey and all he tried to achieve. He is truly free at last."
Paul Rodgers: "He radiated peace, harmony and was a joy to be around. My wife Cynthia and I were honored to meet him when Queen and I performed to support his 46664 AIDS Charity. As Mandiba would say, 'It is now in our hands.' He will remain an icon of peace forever more."
Today at 1 p.m. ET the 1964 Fender Stratocaster Bob Dylan played at his very first electric show -- July 25th, 1965 at the Newport Folk Festival -- goes under the hammer Christie's auction house in New York.
Dawn Peterson of New Jersey says the guitar has been in her family's possession for nearly 50 years -- after Dylan left it in her dad's plane. Dylan claimed he still owned the guitar after Dawn went public with the news last year on the PBS show History Detectives. But the dispute was settled, paving the way for her to sell it, along with handwritten lyrics that were in the guitar case.
The buyer will receive a bill of sale signed by the Petersons and Dylan (or his representatives). The guitar is expected to fetch between $300,000 and $500,000.
The lyrics include an early draft of "Absolutely Sweet Marie" (from Blonde on Blonde) and the Blonde on Blonde outtakes "Medicine Sunday," "Jet Pilot" and "I Wanna Be Your Lover." They are estimated to bring as much as $30,000.
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Surviving Doors Robby Krieger and John Densmore performed on stage together for the first time in 13 years Thursday night in L.A.
The surprise get-together took place at the close of An Evening With The Doors, put on as part of the Film Independent at LACMA (L.A. County Museum of Art) series. The two were there for a question-and-answer session with film critic Elvis Mitchell, following a screening of the documentary Mr. Mojo Risin': The Story of L.A. Woman.
Less than a half hour into the interview, Densmore announced, "To break up all this blah-blah, we're going to play a little music." After a brief break they returned to the stage. With Densmore using a hand drum and various percussion, including bells that he tied around his ankles, and Krieger playing amplified acoustic guitar for the first three numbers before picking up the electric, they played four Doors songs:
"People Are Strange" (after which the two reminisced about the night Jim Morrison wrote the song's lyrics) "Love Me Two Times" "Spanish Caravan" - Krieger's flamenco-inspired number from Waiting for the Sun "Riders on the Storm," including an instrumental version of "Ghost Riders in the Sky," the country-and-western song that initially inspired The Doors composition, as well as a recitation by Densmore of "The Ghost Song" from An American Prayer.
Before they began, Densmore told the crowd, "We're known for our guitar playing and drumming, so tonight you're gonna help us sing -- you know the choruses." And the crowd did. Krieger then remarked that "this is the first time John and I have played together for 100 years." He was 87 years off -- they last performed on stage together in 2000 when Densmore joined Krieger and their late keyboardist, Ray Manzarek, for VH1 Storytellers.