Allen Lanier, founding keyboardist/guitarist of Blue Oyster Cult, died last Wednesday, August 14, of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diesase (COPD). He was 67 and is survived by his wife, Dory. “DTFR [don’t fear the reaper], sweet man,” said the band’s Facebook page. “We love you and miss you.”
Added BOC frontman Eric Bloom, “My great friend Allen Lanier has passed. I’ll miss the guy even though we hadn’t spoken in awhile. He was so talented as a musician and a thinker. He read voraciously, all kinds of things, especially comparative religion. We drove for years together, shared rooms in the early days. We partied, laughed, played. All Blue Oyster Cult fans and band members will mourn his death. Ultimately, smoking finally got to him. He had been hospitalized with C.O.P.D. It was Allen who heard some old college band tapes of mine and suggested I get a shot as the singer [of Blue Oyster Cult] in 1968. A lot of great memories, over 40 years’ worth. Maybe he’s playing a tune with [poet/songwriter] Jim Carroll right now.” Allen retired from touring in 2006, but returned to the stage with the band for its 40th-anniversary show in New York this past November.
Touring is taking its toll on Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler. In a recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Geezer talked about the grind of being on the road in support of his band’s new studio album, 13. “I’ve always said as long as I can play, as long as I can do it to a good level, then I’ll keep doing it because I still really enjoy playing,” he said. “I’ll know when the day comes I can’t do this anymore, can’t play to my usual standards. That’s when I won’t go out anymore. I won’t do that to myself. But at the moment, I just love playing with the band. It probably will be the last time, will probably be the last tour. But I want to go out on a high. The band is playing really well at the moment.”
When asked about his “last time” reference, he responded, “I don’t know. I just got a feeling. It’s getting tough, it really is. I can’t lie about that. I’m old now. It really is tough going on every night. You wake up next day, all the pains you never had before. I don’t want to go onstage for the sake of the money. You have to have a lot pride in yourself, and I honestly think I’m coming to the end of the top of my job.”
Sammy Hagar has fond memories of his days at the mic with Van Halen…but he’s okay with it remaining in the past. The Red Rocker, who has a solo album coming out on September 24th called Sammy Hagar & Friends, was recently asked by Rolling Stone if he’d ever duet with current VH frontman [and Sammy’s former touring partner], David Lee Roth.
“It’s so hard!” exclaimed Sammy, “Because, probably, if he came to me, f**k yeah. I’ll do anything. But to go to him and put myself in that vulnerable position, I would get probably the wisest f**king crack that ever came out of his mouth. I don’t think Dave wants to sing with me. I don’t think Dave wants to be in the same room with me, to be honest with you. I don’t know if I intimidate him or if I piss him off or if he just flat don’t like me, or if he’s afraid of me. I don’t know what it is, but he and I do not get together. We tried. I gave it every shot I had on that tour. And I could care less. I mean, I’m totally over the guy.”
Sammy went on: “As a matter of fact, the whole idea of Van Halen — people ask me all the time, ‘What if Eddie [Van Halen] called you up and asked you to be back in that?’ I just hope he doesn’t do that. I’m so past it, and I’m so happy and proud of what we did, I wouldn’t want to tarnish it again like that ’04 tour. And now what they’re doing, acting like I was never in that band, just playing all that early material. . . How can they do that? But Dave can’t sing it, so what the f**k? It is what it is, and I’d just as soon let it be. Let them finish it off in their own way, and whatever happens, it’s all good. I would love to be friends with those guys. Michael Anthony is one of my dearest friends, and I don’t see why Ed and Al [Van Halen] shouldn’t be that, someday, in our lives. But until then, it’s all fine.”
A degree in Heavy Metal…for real?! Yes. England’s New College Nottingham is offering a two-year degree for studying Metallica, Megadeth, Maiden and more. Students will learn the history of heavy metal as well as heavy-metal genealogy, the relationship of metal to religion and philosophy; they’ll also head out into the field (ha!) to study bands in concert (is it April Fool’s? No!) as well as perform live themselves, and write their own metal tunes, prepping themselves for a future career in the music industry.
“In the past, heavy metal has not been taken seriously and is seen as lacking academic credibility when compared with genres such as jazz and classical music,” says the course leader, Liam Maloy. “But that’s just a cultural construction.” He added, “You can study music at Oxford, Cambridge and in cities all over the UK, but here in Nottingham we wanted to offer something special. Nottingham’s music industry is becoming stronger each year. Our students aspire to work in metal music marketing, at festivals and as promoters – this course will make that happen for them.” Check out all the info at NCN’s website.
Did too much Aqua Net and hair clog the engines? A chartered jet carrying Ratt and Dokken between gigs was forced to make an emergency landing last Saturday after smoke was detected in the cockpit of the plane.
The jet had left Moline, Illinois, but turned back when smoke detectors alerted the crew at 7,000 feet. The plane landed without incident and the bands were shuttled to the Chicago suburb of Wauconda for an outdoor show that same day. Tweeted Ratt, “Just made an emergency landing after a fire in the cockpit. We are OK!”
Arena Football is returning to Los Angeles with the formation of the new expansion team named after one of rock’s most notorious bands. The LA Kiss will kick off its inaugural season next year in in its home arena, the Honda Center in Anaheim. Said KISS bassist Gene Simmons of his band’s deal with the Arena Football League, “As a fast-paced, high-action band this partnership with the AFL was an obvious fit for us. With Arena Football, you are much closer to the action — sitting in the front row is like putting a folding chair on the hash mark of an NFL game — and it’s one of the only sports where you can experience this level of intensity.
Attending an LA KISS game in 2014 will be similar to a live Kiss show, with thrilling, heart-pounding action.” Added KISS manager Doc McGhee, “This is a great business venture for KISS. They are lending their name to a sport which is destined for big things this year. It’s fantastic to have a team named after the band and it is a privilege to be able to support LA and bring the experience home.” You can find all the info on season tickets and more at www.lakissfootball.com.
Nope, it’s not a swastika. The Commack, NY-based Patch.com reported that graffiti of a Slayer logo that was recently painted on a park in Long Island was initially confused for the symbol most often linked to Nazis and hate crimes. Police investigated after a local resident reported the graffiti.