Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International  |  Sept. 10, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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The solo album George Harrison was working on at the time of his death last December has been completed by Harrison's son, Dhani, and Jeff Lynne, who were co-producers. "Brainwashed," is due Nov. 19 on Harrison's Dark Horse records and EMI. The set will be his first studio album since 1987's "Cloud Nine," which produced the No. 1 hit "Got My Mind Set on You."

"Before we started working on the album, George and Dhani had collaborated extensively on pre-production," said Lynne, who worked with Harrison in the Traveling Wilburys. "George would come 'round my house and he'd always have a new song with him. He would strum them on a guitar or ukulele. The songs just knocked me out. George constantly talked about how he wanted the album to sound, and there was always that spiritual energy that went into the lyrics as well as the music."


While many were agape at the spectacle of Axl Rose performing at MTV's Video Music Awards, sharp-eyed fans were tuned into his new lineup of Guns'n'Roses -- featuring two former Primus alums, Brain and Buckethead. These two will rejoin their longtime collaborator Les Claypool and original Parliament/Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worell this week for two exclusive San Francisco Shows, Friday at Slim's and Saturday at the Great American Music Hall. These special club dates come in advance of the Sept. 24 release of "Purple Onion," Claypool's highly anticipated first solo studio album, to be followed by an extensive fall tour of The Les Claypool Frog Brigade.


The Wallflowers, led by Bob Dylan's son Jakob, are set to release "Red Letter Days," the band's third album for Interscope Records, on Nov. 5. The album's 12 original songs were recorded over five months in Los Angeles and produced by Tobi Miller, a founding member of the original Wallflowers line-up, and Bill Appleberry. Recording in such comfortable surroundings gave the band "the freedom to make the kind of record you always thought you were going to make as a kid," Dylan said. Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready played on several tracks.


Folk music icon Richie Havens recently joined Blind Pig recording artist Bill Perry in the studio to guest on Perry's new disc, "Crazy Kind Of Life." Havens and Perry collaborated on a rendition of the Rolling Stones' "No Expectations."

"I really enjoyed working on this song with Bill," Havens said. "It's a song I've always wanted to record."

Co-producer Jimmy Vivino added, "Richie and Bill in the studio together was magic, like an intimate conversation amongst musicians."

More than 20 years ago, Havens was in a nightclub in New Jersey and overheard Perry playing a set of Jimi Hendrix songs. He approached and asked for Perry's phone number. Perry continues the story: "One day he called me up out of the blue and asked if I wanted to do a gig with him that weekend. I asked, 'Where's the gig' and he says, 'Japan.' I'd never flown before on a jet, but next thing you know I'm on a plane to Japan, and I don't even know his songs! Richie said, 'Don't worry, you'll do fine.' And just as we're ready to go on stage, he whispers to me, 'Just play like B.B. King behind me.' That was it."

After that tour, Perry played guitar on the road for four years with Havens. Today Perry, whom Havens calls "my favorite blues guitar player," continues to play with Havens on occasion when he is not touring with his own band.


Scottish rockers Big Country bring their bagpipes-and-guitars sound back on the two-DVD live set "Final Fling" on a Sept. 24 release from Classic Pictures. The set, which covers two concerts over 200 minutes of footage, includes a tribute to the band's late vocalist/guitarist Stuart Adamson. Also included are band biographies, band member profiles, a photo gallery, discography, memorabilia and a Web link to Big Country's official site. Bonus videos include "Live at the Peppermint Lounge," "Live at Das Fest" and "The Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge Tour."

The first DVD was recorded live in East Berlin, Germany, on June 18, 1988, at The Peace Concert before 120,000 people and includes a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women." Big Country's last-ever concert is captured on the second DVD. It was recorded at the end of the "Driving to Damascus" Tour in 2000 in front of a sell-out crowd at the Glasgow Barrowlands in Scotland.

"Final Fling" serves as a tribute to Adamson, who, at age 43, tragically took his own life in 2001 after battling personal problems, including alcoholism.

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