Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International  |  Nov. 15, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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The Rolling Stones will headline one of the hottest shows on their "Forty Licks" tour Saturday, also featuring John Mellencamp and Robin Williams, but you can't get in unless you know Texas billionaire David Bonderman, a founding partner of buyout specialists the Texas Pacific Group. The Midas-touch classic rock fan has decided to part with some small change to the tune of $7 million -- tip money to this guy -- to throw his 60th birthday party with his best friends, a commodity never in short supply to billionaires. Bonderman has booked a block of hotel rooms at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and a dining area for the private dinner, which will be hosted by Williams. After din-din the lucky guests will hit the Hard Rock's concert venue, The Joint, for the show. The Stones are sure to play "Sympathy for the Devil."


The New York Blues and Jazz Society's annual Battle of the Bands is scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. Sunday at Tribeca Blues in lower Manhattan. The "Battle" is a regional preliminary competition for the annual International Blues Challenge, to be held in Memphis, Tenn., in 2003. The Challenge represents an international search by The Blues Foundation and its affiliated organizations for the "Best Unsigned Blues Band" and the "Best Unsigned Solo Blues Artist." The line-up includes the East River Blues Band, Ratso, Tonemasters, The Shades and Peach. Proceeds from the $10 cover, CD sales and raffles go to the winning band to help support their trip to Memphis to compete in the worldwide International Blues Challenge.


Singer/songwriter Susan Tedeschi has just accepted an invitation to perform with The Other Ones -- featuring Grateful Dead alumni Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart -- for a two week stint, kicking off at Boston's Fleet Center Monday, Nov. 18, and including a New York City show at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 26. Tedeschi returns to New York Dec. 11 to celebrate the release of her new album, "Wait For Me," with a headlining show at the Bowery Ballroom.


Vocalist Laverne Butler, recently back from a tour of Asia, will perform at Chicago's DuSable Museum Friday.

"I almost live in Asia," said Butler. "It's wonderful to be so welcomed and embraced by Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. But I'm looking forward to really taking my music to more people in the U.S. and hearing their response."

Butler's latest release, "A Foolish Thing To Do," is a strong followup to 1999's "Blues In The City." With esteemed sidemen Bruce Barth, Darryl Hall, Victor Lewis, David "Fathead" Newman, Steve Wilson and Terell Stafford (not to mention a full complement of strings on several tracks), "A Foolish Thing To Do" features romantic numbers tinged by the blues as well as pop tunes infused with a jazz sensibility. Songwriters include Butler in collaboration with Bruce Barth, along with Cole Porter, Carole King and Burt Bacharach.


Jam-band veterans the Zen Tricksters are set to release a new album, "Shaking Off the Weirdness." Special guests on the record include New Riders legend Buddy Cage, Rob Barraco from the Other Ones and Jason Crosby. The band also announced a New Year's Eve show in Portland, Ore., backed by Barry Sless. Concert details and albums are available at The band also offers local fans free tickets in exchange for putting up posters in their neighborhoods through the Zen Poster Children program, also available through the Web site.

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