October 1, 2010
During Broadway's autumn doldrums, celebrity stunt casting is often seen as a surefire way of drumming up sagging sales. This week, Billie Joe Armstrong of the band Green Day joined the cast of "American Idiot" for a brief run. Now the organizers of "Rock of Ages" have announced their own celebrity cast addition. The hit Broadway jukebox musical, which draws on '80s hair-metal rock favorites, will be getting an injection of the real thing starting Oct. 11, when Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider joins the cast for an 11-week run. "Rock of Ages" is scheduled to play Hollywood's Pantages Theatre in February as part of a national tour starring Constantine Maroulis, who headed the original Broadway cast.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 7, 2010 |
Built for $12,000 as a do-it-yourself community project in 1957, rustic Libbey Bowl has always been the little concert stage that could. Russian composer Igor Stravinsky premiered a number of his works at the half-shell amphitheater. His American colleague, composer Aaron Copland, chose the sycamore-tangled setting to debut his conducting career. More recently, surf rocker Jack Johnson packed the bowl with fans of his popular tunes. But time and termites have taken a toll.
April 23, 2010 |
Rock's beginning was all about youth and rebellion and risk, a bit of history that tends to get lost in an "American Idol" world. So "No One Knows About Persian Cats," a heart-pounding descent into the illegal underground music scene of Tehran comes at you like the scream of an electric guitar. Director Bahman Ghobadi shot it on the run in just 17 days and without a government permit, a choice that landed the crew in jail twice during the production. The camera, also not allowed unless it's rented from the state, could have been confiscated at any time.
April 11, 2010 |
The plan was to rock the mike, not cause an identity crisis. In 2008, when Jay-Z was named as a headlining act for Britain's fiercely rock-centric Glastonbury Festival -- a first for any hip-hop performer, let alone one of rap's epochal superstars -- the island nation erupted in furious debate. They're giving a rapper domain over one of rock's elite events? Critics derided the decision as "a disaster" and "tragic," assailing Glastonbury itself as "contaminated." No less an eminence than Noel Gallagher of the Brit-pop quintet Oasis provided an antagonistic voice of dissent.
March 10, 2010 |
Ask any musician what's wrong with video games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band and you'll get some variation of this response: If gamers spent half as much time with a real instrument as they did pushing plastic buttons on a toy version, they could become musicians instead of just mimicking them. That argument has been heard loud and clear at Seven45 Studios in Boston, where game designers have come up with Power Gig: Rise of the SixString, which puts a genuine electric guitar into players' hands, allowing them to unplug from the game, hook up to an amplifier and rock for real.
January 21, 2010 |
The makers of the game system that brought the Beatles to a younger generation of fans and has popularized any number of other veteran acts now hopes to do the same thing for up and coming artists. Rock Band Network, which went public on Wednesday, introduces a platform that allows bands to format and upload their own recordings into the network's music store, where users can -- if they like what they sample -- download them onto their own consoles and get fully interactive with them.
November 24, 2009 |
It's easy to understand musician Dhani Harrison's antipathy toward the general concept of being in a rock band. After all, he got loads of priceless firsthand information from his father about the ups and downsides of making it to the absolute peak of pop music success during his tenure with the Beatles. FOR THE RECORD: Dhani Harrison: An article on musician Dhani Harrison in Tuesday's Calendar identified Activision as developer of The Beatles: Rock Band. The game was created by Harmonix, MTV Games and Apple Corps Ltd. — It was George Harrison who famously said, "The biggest break in my career was getting into the Beatles in 1962.
November 14, 2009
Book signing: Rock music photographer Neil Zlozower will sign his new book, "Six-String Heroes," on Dec. 5 at Mr. Musichead Gallery in Hollywood.
October 29, 2009 |
Tonight and Friday, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Simon & Garfunkel, Metallica and other acts that started their careers in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s will perform at Madison Square Garden here to celebrate the silver anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The landmark events, which are expected to run 4 1/2 hours each and will air on HBO on Nov. 29, come at a tricky time for rock and for the rock hall itself. These days, Guitar Hero is a video game, Rockstar is an energy drink and ring tones routinely outsell albums.
October 22, 2009 |
Indie rock has become the old guard. Forged in the early '80s, at a time when musicians looked to small labels to release music that would otherwise never find a home, its network of small labels, innovative artists, hand-made fanzines and passionate fans unleashed a creative counterrevolution. But what is the role of an independent label in 2009, a time when every bedroom musician can record tunes on a laptop and distribute them on the Web for far less money than it costs to record and press a few dozen 7-inch singles?