Keith Emerson of Emerson Lake and Palmer Dead at 71
Keith Emerson, 71, the co-founding keyboardist in Emerson Lake and Palmer committed suicide on March 10. Santa Monica Police confirmed to Billboard that Keith Emerson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head; he was found in his California home by his girlfriend Mari Kawaguchi. In addition to confirming the death as a suicide, the Los Angeles County coroner noted Emerson had heart disease and “chronic depression.”
Kawaguchi said, “His right hand and arm had given him problems for years. He had an operation a few years ago to take out a bad muscle but the pain and nerve issues in his right hand were getting worse. He had concerts coming up in Japan and even though they hired a back-up keyboard player to support him, Keith was worried.”
“He was tormented with worry that he wouldn’t be good enough. He was planning to retire after Japan. He didn’t want to let down his fans. He was a perfectionist and the thought he wouldn’t play perfectly made him depressed, nervous and anxious.”
Long-time bandmate Carl Palmer said of Emerson,
“Keith was a gentle soul whose love for music and passion for his performance as a keyboard player will remain unmatched for many years to come,” Palmer said. “He was a pioneer and an innovator whose musical genius touched all of us in the worlds of rock, classical and jazz.”
Greg Lake told U.K.’s Express that he wasn’t shocked by the tragic death of his bandmate. Lake says that Emerson had been struggling with depression since at least 1977 and describes his friend as “increasingly confused, desperate and depressed” in his final years.
“I have to be honest and say his death didn’t come as a shock to me,” Lake said. “The situation with Keith didn’t happen suddenly — it has been developed from as far back as ‘The Works Vol. 1’ album. At that point I began to see things happening with Keith which didn’t look or feel right.
He continued: “It’s very difficult to describe what depression is. We all know what it looks like. People’s moods become very black. But it’s more complicated. It changes someone’s personality.
“He lived, in the end, this very lonely existence of someone who was deeply troubled. I saw someone who became increasingly confused, desperate and depressed.”
Emerson Lake and Palmer hadn’t performed together since 2010, when they staged a 40th anniversary reunion at the High Voltage Festival in London. Their most recent studio effort was 1994’s In the Hot Seat. Since, Emerson had regularly collaborated with Marc Bonilla. They released 2008’s Keith Emerson Band featuring Marc Bonilla, 2009’s Boys Club: Live From California (which also featured Glenn Hughes) and 2012’s The Three Fates Project.
Has Brian Johnson Been “Kicked To The Curb” By AC/DC?
During an episode of his “The Metal In Me” podcast, which you can hear here, Comedian Jim Breuer, a friend of AC/DC singer Brian Johnson, claimed the vocalist has been “kicked to the curb” by the band’s guitarist Angus Young after fronting AC/DC for 36 years.
According to Breuer, Johnson’s doctor informed the singer that he had lost some of his hearing during the first leg of AC/DC’s “Rock Or Bust” tour, which consisted of outdoor performances, and advised the 67-year-old against continuing with the trek. “[The doctor said], ‘Now you’re gonna go out and do indoor [shows]? I do not put my name on this. You’re a grown man. You make a decision, but I would not mess around with this at all.’”
Breuer went on to say that Johnson spoke to AC/DC management and Young to explain the situation. “[Brian] said that he called and let [AC/DC and Young] know, ‘Hey, this is what the doctor said, but let’s try to figure this out. I don’t think it’s as bad as he said it is,’” Breuer said. “Literally the next day in the press, it was ‘Brian Johnson, tour canceled, he’s losing his hearing.’
“He said he just called and gave that information,” Breuer said. “He didn’t say he wanted to quit. He didn’t say he was done. He called with that information, and two days later, he read in the papers and heard on Twitter and everywhere else, ‘Brian Johnson going deaf canceling tour.’ A day later, and it was, ‘Oh, we’re gonna have guest singers.’”
According to Breuer, Johnson suspects that he has already been replaced in AC/DC. “There’s been no answer [from the band],” Breuer said. “He feels like he heard from someone that they already hired somebody, it just hasn’t been announced yet.”
Breuer added that despite Johnson being in the band for 36 years, he still felt like a hired gun. Johnson also believes that Young, who is seven years his junior, wants to keep AC/DC going for another decade. “[Brian] explained how Angus is the youngest guy in the band,” Breuer said. “He’s convinced Angus wants to continue the next ten years whether it’s him or not. [Angus] wants to write another album and do one more tour. Who’s filling those shoes? How do you do that after forty years? It’s just really weird.”
The next day, Jim Breuer posted the following statement on his Facebook page: “I have seen some stories circulating about my podcast. As a friend, I saw Brian withdrawn for the first time in my life. He’s not a quitter, he seemed hurt by the situation of being between a rock and a hard place. I spoke as a true fan and friend, simply venting as if he was a brother of mine. I hope to see him rock out one more time. You have to remember I’m a comedian & a storyteller. I definitely exaggerate and sometimes I get a little carried away!! And this was one of those times!”
Hives Singer Applies To Step In For Brian Johnson of AC/DC
Yet another singer has thrown his hat into the ring for the AC/DC frontman gig. Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist of The Hives has offered a public application to AC/DC to stand-in for Brian Johnson on a series of postponed US dates.
Almqvist writes on Facebook: “Very sad to hear Brian Johnson can´t do a bunch of AC/DC shows due to health problems. That man is a legend. I would like offer my sincerest well wishes and get wells, and if any help is needed, I put my foot forward and say: Here I am. I have many many years of experience rocking the world’s biggest stages and, according to others, I am the greatest frontman in rock, plus judging from the reaction in Australia your crowd already seems to really like me. Plus, I have already been singing those songs since I was six-years-old. So AC/DC, please consider my application. Feel free to spread the word, fans.” Humble, ever so humble.
The Swedish outfit The Hives supported AC/DC on an Australian tour late last year.
Iron Maiden’s Ed Force One 747 Jet Badly Damaged; Leaves Two Hospitalized in Chile
Just a few shows into The Book Of Souls world tour, Iron Maiden’s 747 Ed Force One’s engines were badly damaged in a ground runway accident in Santiago, Chile. The two injured were local Chilean ground tug operators, who are now reported to be making a full recovery; no band members or Maiden crew were involved.
EF1’s damages will not stop the Maiden tour juggernaut, being the British troopers and consummate showmen that they are. All The Book Of Souls tour dates remain on schedule as Maiden use replacement aircraft while their 747 is being repaired.
Iron Maiden posted photos and the news on their Facebook page on Saturday:
Later Saturday evening, the band’s longtime manager, Rod Smallwood, posted in the comments,
We are happy to tell our fans in Cordoba that our Killer Krew has sorted out all logistics for us to be there with our full show for you all tomorrow. We expect no disruption to the tour in any way and are looking for a replacement 747 Ed Force One while our current beauty is healed. More news on that later. Until then, believe me, we will get to you all on this tour one way or another wherever you are.
We are also delighted to say that we have been officially informed that the two Chilean airport staff who were injured following the malfunction of the tow truck connecting bolt will make a complete recovery. Best wishes to them and their families.
Up the Irons! See you soon. And thanks Chile, what an amazing reaction and show!!
Petition Launched To Have Ronnie James Dio Statue Erected In Portsmouth, NH
Brian Kelly, left, director of marketing and development at Seacoast Repertory Theatre, has launched a petition for a statue of late heavy metal great Ronnie James Dio at Prescott Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where Dio was born.
Dio was born July 10, 1942, in Portsmouth and named Ronald James Padavona. According to Wikipedia, Dio’s family lived in Portsmouth for a short time, before returning to their native New York.
Kelly’s petition is a vehicle for collecting signatures in support of a monument to Dio, who he described as “one of the most influential musicians of our time.” As of this week, 494 people had signed the petition in support, which is not surprising since Kelly’s “Keep Portsmouth Loud” effort was “liked” 5,000 times in “a matter of days,” before launching sticker and T-shirt sales.
Heavy metal “is not something that white bread Portsmouth is particularly fond of,” he said. “But (Dio) made significant contributions to that genre. He was the father of heavy metal.”
Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold + Volbeat To Play First Rock Show at New Minneapolis Stadium
Metallica will be headlining the first rock show at the U.S. Bank Stadium, the brand new home of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis. Before the team has a chance to play a regular season game on the new field, Metallica will be taking the stage on Aug. 20 with melodic rockers Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat as part of the stadium’s opening weekend festivities.
“We had such an amazing time playing in our hometown stadium the night before the Super Bowl that when asked we couldn’t say ‘no’ to another chance to be part of a very special weekend,” drummer Lars Ulrich states. Metallica headlined the ‘Night Before‘ pre-Super Bowl 50 show in San Francisco.
Europe Announces The Final Countdown 30th Anniversary Tour 2016 & 11th Studio Album In 2017
To celebrate 1986’s The Final Countdown album’s 30th anniversary, Europe will be staging a series of very special concerts. For the first time ever, these shows will feature The Final Countdown album played in its entirety. Before the Final Countdown shows, the band will head back into the studio to record a follow up to War Of Kings with a targeted release date of April 2017.
Joey Tempest explains, “With a catalog of songs as big as ours, it is hard to devote so much of the set list to one album. But this anniversary is special and we want to give the fans what they have asked for. The whole band is proud and excited to play the whole album from start to finish, especially as this, our third album, made it possible for us to fulfil our dream to become an international touring band. To make it extra special we will try and play songs from War Of Kings and other albums we haven’t played before and at the same time we want to design a show that will be majestic and memorable for all of us. Hope to see you all at these special dates!”
In addition to the Final Countdown Anniversary tour dates, the band will release a special limited edition 12” 3-track sparkle blue colored vinyl EP featuring a new 2016 recording of “The Final Countdown”. The record is exclusive to stores that participate in Record Store Day (April 16) and available only in the UK, Europe and Australia.
Warrant’s Joey Allen Calls Cover Of Jani Lane’s Posthumous Album “Tasteless”
Warrant guitarist Joey Allen said in a new interview that he found the cover artwork of a recently released posthumous album from the band’s lead singer Jani Lane “a little tasteless.”
“Catch A Falling Star” was released on February 26, and includes Lane’s cover versions of songs by the likes of Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and UFO. It features a glammed-out Lane on the cover with his finger to his temple. While Lane died of alcohol poisoning, not suicide, Allen still finds the image to be inappropriate.
“I don’t know if any got that out of the picture,” Allen told BlastEcho, “but, to me, it was a little tasteless.” He then added: “I hope that that’s benefiting his two children. If his legacy goes on that way, it isn’t any different than playing the songs he penned live every night.”
Eric Brittingham Says He Doesn’t Think Tom Keifer Is Coming Back To Cinderella
Cinderella bassist Eric Brittingham was asked about the current status of the band in a recent interview and said,
“That is the big question. It’s, like, what are we doing? It’s been four years now that Tom’s [Keifer, Cinderella frontman] been on his own. I don’t think he’s coming back. So that’s probably the big question. I guess that’s the big question that I have: what are we doing? ‘Cause we’re not making any new music [and] he is, so I guess that’s probably the answer right there.”
“It went from just doing, like, whatever just to fill the time. [I thought] ‘[Tom’s] solo record’s coming out, so I guess we’re not touring this year. I guess we’ll do it next year.’ And here’s four years later, and it’s, like, okay, I’m still kind of playing… I’m playing in four different freakin’ projects at the moment — I’ve got a residency, I’ve got a southern rock thing, I’ve got an original thing, a power-trio thing I’m doing… It’s, like, I’m just making my ends meet.”
Eric added: “If [Tom] wants to do a tour [with Cinderella], I’m in. I’m glad that I didn’t hold my breath. I’d be blue now. [Laughs] Like I said, Tom’s having fun doing what he’s doing, so I guess, all in all, I’m looking to do something more permanent, I guess, too. I don’t know what that would be, but… We’ll see. If any bands are out there that are looking for a permanent bass player, apparently I am free. [Laughs]”
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MetalHeads Say The Damnedest Things
REMEMBERING A.J. PERO – October 14, 1959 – March 20, 2015
A.J.’s the one that I continued to have a connection to the entire time the band was broken up. Jay Jay French said we lost the nice one [laughs]. He was the nice one. He was the nicest guy in the band. People loved him. I miss that, I miss his stupid smile. He was also called ‘The Oracle.’ He was so knowledgeable in music, specifically our music. He knew all music but our music — any time there was, especially when we were reunited, and we were trying to remember how we did something or an arrangement. A.J.? Ask The Oracle, and he would remember.
~ Dee Snider, talking about his Twisted Sister bandmate A.J. Pero