Rockers Toast Metal Legend at L.A.

Lemmy

There were guest books to sign and fistfuls of commemorative guitar picks inscribed with an update of Lemmy’s personal credo: “Born to lose, lived to win.”

It was the beginning of a full Saturday of testimonials and, later, swelling Sunset Strip bar tabs for toasts to the late singer-bassist, who died suddenly on December 28th after a diagnosis of terminal cancer. “This is like no wake I’ve ever been in. People are celebrating his life, not mourning his death,” Gene Simmons of Kiss told Rolling Stone outside the chapel at Forest Lawn Memorial cemetery. “He was extremely comfortable in his own skin. And maybe that’s a lesson for all of us.”

The altar was transformed into a shrine, with two of Lemmy’s bass amplifiers (nicknamed “Hammer” and “VROOM”) standing tall on either side. There were photos of his beloved band from different eras, and a large Iron Cross made of black and white flowers with the words “RIP LEMMY.” At the center was an urn with Lemmy’s ashes shaped like his black cavalry hat and crossed-sword insignia.

In the pews were generations of rockers in tears and high spirits

Adele’s ’25’ Number One Again, But Lead Shrinking

Adele; CHarts

However, after six weeks of runaway sales that put 25 out of reach of the competition, the rest of the field is beginning to encroach on Adele’s turf. Justin Bieber’s Purpose, the immediate runner-up to 25 over the past month, sold 124,000 total albums to close their gap to 70,000 copies.

At stake is Adele’s efforts to become the first artist to place an album at Number One for its first eight weeks of release since Creed’s Weathered in 2002. However, a sign of Adele’s slipping charts stranglehold: Bieber’s “Sorry” finally edged Adele’s “Hello” on the Hot 100, ending the 25 single’s 11-week reign.

Bieber isn’t the only threat to Adele’s throne: Following the death of David Bowie, the rock legend’s Blackstar has seen a boost in sales that could propel the album to Number One; at press time, Blackstar was atop iTunes’ Album Charts, followed by Best of Bowie25, then other albums from the rocker’s catalog. On the U.K. charts, Bowie’s final LP is already expected to claim the top spot, which would end 25‘s Number One streak there.

Only one new release managed to break into this week’s Top 10: Rachel Platten’s Wildfire, which

David Bowie Guitarist Carlos Alomar

David Bowie; Carlos Alomar

Alomar has gone on to play on albums by Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop and Alicia Keys, among many others. He’s also the director and founder of the Sound Synthesis Research Center for the Performing Arts at Stevens Institute of Technology, a post he attributes to working with Bowie on experimental albums like Low and Lodger. “Thank God for Bowie, and all these other rockers that are still out there killing it,” he says. “Why? We really have no choice.” Here, with the news of Bowie’s passing still fresh, the guitarist looks back on the most significant collaboration of his life.

My first impression of David Bowie was that he was slightly odd. He had come from London from the “Spiders From Mars” days, so he still had orange hair, he was pasty white and he weighed 98 pounds. I met him when I was recording a song he’d written for Lulu, “Can You Hear Me?” I was a professional musician, and he was a producer, and you’ve got to respect a man for being the producer.

But then the humanity of David showed up. He said

The 40 Most Intriguing Musicians of 2016

One of my role models as a music critic is Mel Kiper Jr. It’s true: I admire an opinionated motor-mouth football scout who never saw a statistic he didn’t love, or a player too obscure to earn a ranking. Strange to say, Kiper doesn’t have much to say about today’s stars—he’s too busy looking for tomorrow’s new talents. And he does it every day of the year.

I guess that’s why I’ve listened to around 5,000 newly-released albums since the start of this decade. It’s why I’m listening again today, and tomorrow, and pretty much every day for the foreseeable future. And it’s why I pay more attention to lesser-known artists than to the lauded megastars of the global entertainment industry. There isn’t much mystery to a radio hit, but I never lose interest in those great artists who rarely show up on the airwaves or corporate-subsidized playlists.

Yet anyone who susses out talent also encounters another kind of prospect. These may not be the best—maybe they will never be the best—but they are intriguing. They play by their own rules, and they grab your attention. A

For violin maker Howard Needham, a rarefied world

Howard Needham is standing in a room deep in the bowels of Catholic University’s Ward Hall, listening to Samantha Cody play violin.

“The wolf notes are gone,” he says to Emil Chudnovsky, a CU music professor and violin soloist hovering nearby.

Chudnovsky cocks an ear, listening for the undesirable overtones, and looks skeptical. “I think the post is tight,” he says.

“I loosened it already,” responds an irritated Needham, shaking his head. “I loosened it a lot.” Still, he gestures to Cody to hand over the fiddle. Using a worn brass tool that he slides inside one of the curving f-holes cut into the violin’s top plate, Needham makes a small adjustment, then passes the instrument back to Cody.

She raises it to her chin and resumes playing. The two men look at each other and nod simultaneously. The sound is better.

This is a meeting with several motives. Cody, a 16-year-oldChevy Chase resident and one of Chudnovsky’s star students, is about to play in a string competition; to best her rivals, she’s playing Chudnovsky’s own violin, which has a much more powerful sound than her own.

Needham, a Maryland-based violin

The best folk music albums of 2016

The best folk music albums of 2016, regularly updated with picks from culture editor Martin Chilton. The albums are listed purely in the order in which they have been reviewed.
1: SONGS OF SEPARATION COLLECTIVE: SONGS OF SEPARATION (NAVIGATOR RECORDS)

Jenny Hill has brought together 10 female musicians – the nine others being Eliza Carthy, Hannah James, Hannah Read, Hazel Askew, Jenn Butterworth, Karine Polwart, Kate Young, Mary Macmaster and Rowan Rheingans – to build songs around the issues of ‘separation’; emotional, political, social. Literary influences abound, including Robert Frost (and there is a good version of Road Less Travelled) and the lovely It Was A’ For Our Rightfu’ King, which is based on the words of Scottish poet Robert Burns, and arranged with deftness by Read. Andy Bell co-produced the album, which was recorded on the island of Eigg. The harmonies are gorgeous and the lyrics thought-provoking. A good start to the year for folk music2: CIARAN ALGAR: THE FINAL WALTZ (FELLSIDE)

There are some really fine tracks on Ciaran Algar’s debut solo album, especially Popcorn Behaviour and Morrison’s. The fiddle player has the ability to capture a song and makes it whirl. He is ably supported on the album

The Report Study High School Music Classes Improve Language Skills

A tiny study of 40 high school students in Chicago perked up some ears recently. It found that a small amount of musical instrument instruction – only two to three hours of band class a week – improved how the teenage brain processed sound. Neuroscientists from Northwestern University made the case that the kind of brain maturation they documented was not only important for becoming a better musician, but also for developing non-musical verbal skills.

“Although learning to play music does not teach skills that seem directly relevant to most careers, the results suggest that music may engender what educators refer to as ‘learning to learn,'” wrote Nina Kraus, the lead researcher of the July 2015 study, “Music training alters the course of adolescent auditory development,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed publication. “Learning to learn” refers to almost any technique that improves a brain’s ability to learn a new thing.

[OPINION: Music, Art and Language Programs in Schools Have Long-Lasting Benefits]

Of course, these results would need to be replicated on a much larger scale before anyone starts calling for more high school music classes. But they

How Lemmy and Motorhead Gave Metal Its Umlaut

Motörhead were, of course, not the first band to stick dots above one or more letters in their name for no practical phonetic reason. In the late Sixties, German proggers Amon Düül were most likely the first to take the umlaut plunge. In 1971, Blue Öyster Cult gave the mark its first brush with mainstream crossover. As original manager and producer Sandy Pearlman told me years ago, he and rock writer Richard Meltzer were talking about the band one day while standing outside a New York restaurant that served up Blue Point oysters. “I said, ‘Why don’t we call it Blue Oyster Cult?'” Pearlman recalled. “And Richard said, ‘And we’ll add an umlaut over the “O”!’ And I said, ‘Great!”‘

Several years later, when Lemmy parted ways with psychedelic art-rockers Hawkwind, he initially dubbed his new band Bastard — but ultimately settled on Motorhead, after a song he’d written in Hawkwind (it was also slang for bikers on speed). The crowning touch was the addition of the umlaut over that second “o.” “I thought it looked mean,” he said a few years ago. “That’s the thing, innit?”

Mean, if

The Healing Power of Music

“I’ve been a bad girl. Am I in trouble?” asks an obviously distraught Naomi. Tears begin to form in the corners of her eyes. She wrings her hands as she sits in her wheelchair in the lobby of an Alzheimer’s disease care facility.

“No, you’re not in trouble,” says recreational therapist Mindy Smith. But nothing seems to help Naomi’s mood. “I’ve been a bad girl,” she repeats over and over.

Then Mindy says, “Do you want your music?” Naomi’s face brightens as headphones are gently placed over her ears. And as a big band arrangement of George Gershwin’s ” ‘S Wonderful” flows from her iPod, Naomi begins to smile.

Scenes like this are being repeated in nursing facilities and homes across America. New research is confirming and expanding an idea long held by those who work with dementia patients: Music can not only improve the mood of people with neurological diseases, it can boost cognitive skills and reduce the need for antipsychotic drugs.

Music therapists who work with Alzheimer’s patients describe seeing people “wake up” when the sounds of loved and familiar music fills

Cage the Elephant on Escaping Kentucky

“I wonder what it looks like inside,” Matt, 32, says, looking up at his old home on the second floor. Wiry and talkative with light-brown hair framing still-boyish features, Matt laughs as he recalls the green shag carpet where he would find old bits of breakfast cereal, “like the marshmallows in Lucky Charms,” and eat them like secret treasure. He points to a patch of grass where the local kids, mostly from low-income families, played baseball and at a line of woods where Matt and Brad, now 33, created an imaginary clubhouse, nailing pages from old porno magazines to the trees.

The singer also remembers his father’s absences — Brad Sr. was a long-distance truck driver — and the hand-me-down clothes from older cousins that he and Brad wore to school, reminders of their parents’ constant financial struggles. “Kids in Brad’s grade would gather around him and chant, ‘Poor boy,'” Matt says, still seething. The brothers later responded to those taunts with songwriting. “People talkin’ shit, they can kiss the back of my hand,” Matt sang in “In One Ear,” on his band’s 2008 debut, Cage the Elephant. “I felt an extreme conviction on the first rec­ord,”

Dan Auerbach Talks Parenting, Fashion and Why Fighting Is for Pussies

You work a ton, and you’re a lifelong insomniac. Have you ever learned to relax?
I have a hard time turning the brain off sometimes. A quarter of a Xanax helps [laughs]. And I’m a real good cook, man – I make breakfast, lunch and dinner. I got, like, a Zagat-rated lasagna that I make. And I make my own stock, make my own pasta, a great red sauce. One of the hardest things about [being on] the road is you never cook and end up eating a lot of subpar food.

You had a laid-back hippie dad. What did you learn from him that you use in parenting your own two kids?
My parents were always open and honest and real – my dad fucking cursed all the time. They didn’t hide stuff from me and it’s made for a good relationship. You’re going to be best served just being yourself – if you were phony as a parent, they’ll sniff that shit out really quick when they get older. I’ve been over to friends’ houses where the mother will reprimand them for holding the utensils wrong at the dinner table. For me, that kind of thing

Freddie Gibbs on Why He’s Not in the NBA, and the Greatness of MJ

his third album in as many years, and it displays the same kind of gruff, serious-minded swagger Gibbs employs when discussing his pickup basketball game.

“I’m like LeBron, man,” he says. “I’m like a smaller LeBron. That’s why I’m not in the NBA. If I had about five, six more inches, I’d be in the league. I can play from the 1 to the 4.”

Despite his height, basketball is still his favorite sport and he remains a loyal follower of his hometown team (which is definitely not the Pacers). Recently, Rolling Stone spoke with Gibbs about the past – in particular, Michael Jordan – and the present, including the continued dominance of the Golden State Warriors and his predictions for the NBA Finals.

When did you first get into basketball?
I’ve been interested in basketball since I was a little kid, like 3. The Bulls were my team. If you grew up in Gary, the Bulls were everybody’s team. Michael Jordan, that was the era when they were popping. I watched ’em all on TV.

Were there any players other than Jordan you liked back then?
Charles Barkley. I admired how tenacious he was, you know?

So you’re

Adele’s ’25’ hit music streaming gains

Those are the two main findings of year-end figures released Wednesday by Nielsen Music, the company that tracks consumers’ spending and listening habits.

“We were awed by Adele’s record-crushing ’25,’ ” said Erin Crawford, Nielsen’s senior vice president of entertainment and general manager of music, in her overview of the company’s report.

Among the milestones that “25” registered:

— First week sales of 3.34 million copies, almost 40% higher than the longtime record holder, ‘NSync’s “No Strings Attached,” which sold 2.41 million copies during its first week of release in 2000.

— Sales of “25” constituted 41% of all albums sold during that week.

— In just six weeks, “25” has sold 7.44 million copies and is the only album in the Nielsen era dating to 1991 to sell more than a million copies in three separate weeks.

Otherwise, music streaming is where the industry saw its greatest gains, as audio streams increased 83% during the year, from 79.1 billion in 2014 to 144.9 billion last year, and video streams jumped even more, 102% from 85.4 billion two years ago to 172.4 billion in 2015.

Yet current hits were not what

Adele Cries to Her Music

Adele can get caught up in her own songs, and she wouldn’t want to change that. “In order for me to feel confident with one of my songs it has to really move me,” she said. “That’s how I know that I’ve written a good song for myself — it’s when I start crying. It’s when I just break out in [expletive] tears in the vocal booth or in the studio, and I’ll need a moment to myself.”

That heart-on-sleeve emotion, conveyed by a gorgeous voice, has made Adele, now 27, one of the most universally beloved singers and songwriters of the 21st century. Adele, whose last name is Adkins, won the Grammy as Best New Artist with her 2008 debut album, “19.” She multiplied her audience with “21,” her 2011 album full of breakup songs — angry, regretful, lonely, righteous — that used modern production touches around vocals filled with old-fashioned soul. It has sold 30 million albums worldwide, 11 million in the United States. Beyond the power of Adele’s voice and the craftsmanship of the music, “21” communicated a palpable sincerity and urgency, the feeling

Adele Is Music’s Past, Present and Future

Pop’s oldest soul returns to the spotlight

On a chilly November night, Adele takes the stage at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan for her first show in the U.S. in four years. It’s also the first stop on a stateside publicity tour to promote her new album, 25. After singing her No. 1 smash “Hello,” an orchestral ballad that aches with regret, she kicks off her shoes center stage and sighs. “How are you?” Adele asks the audience. “Are you all O.K.?” The crowd cheers. “I’m sorry,” she says. “I’ve got gas because I’m nervous.” Laughter erupts in the hall.

“I don’t think she even realizes how beloved she is,” the woman next to me says to her friend in a loud whisper. “She’s literally a national treasure.”

Judging by Adele’s commercial success, at least, this is less opinion than fact. Prognosticators anticipated that 25 might sell a million copies in its first week, an extraordinary figure in an anemic music industry that has seen physical record sales wither. Selling 2 million units would be miraculous. The last time that happened was in 2000, when ’N Sync’s blockbuster No Strings

Watch Tool Dust Off Brooding Deep Cut ‘Sweat’ Live

Fan-shot footage from the gig, the second date of their January trek, finds the band transitioning from Danny Carey’s furious drum solo into the brooding track, defined by Carey’s beastly ride cymbals and Maynard James Keenan’s dynamic vocals. 

Tool’s recent setlist has featured plenty of classic material, including the Opiate title-track and an old-school cover of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter.” But they’ve also nodded toward the future, incorporating four-minute instrumental “Descending,” which the band first unveiled during their lone 2015 show, a Halloween performance in Arizona that found the quartet dressed up as Led Zeppelin. 

Though the band has been quiet about details on their long-awaited fifth LP, guitarist Adam Jones recently told Rolling Stone that they have “20 potential song ideas.”

“I’ll tell you, it’s wonderful,” he said of the sessions. “Things are really flowing and going really well, and I’m just blown away at the stuff that’s coming together. I’m excited and can’t wait for it to be done. It’s something I’ve been missing for a long time [laughs], that beautiful collaboration that we have because we’re all so different and have different tastes. But again, when you are all meeting in the middle

Power of Positive Drinkin

When I walked into this interview today, I was drinking a Mountain Dew,” Janson told Rolling Stone Country two weeks ago. Although he hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol in years, Janson spent enough nights at the bar during his wetter days to help him sell the song, which he co-wrote with Chris DuBois (who also helped write Janson’s chart-topping title track to Buy Me a Boat) and Mark Irwin. 

“I’ve written enough songs and sang enough songs and lived enough life that I can tell you I’ve lived everything I sing. Anything I do sing, I’ve either lived or I know about it, and it’s been a part of my life in some form or fashion. Drinking was a big part of my life in my earlier years, so I can hang with it,” he says.

Filmed over the course of several tour stops, “Power of Positive Drinkin'” shines a light on a star who’s just now entering the mainstream. At least half of the video was shot during a relatively intimate show at a packed-to-capacity club, showing Janson and his band playing nose-to-nose with the audience. Also tossed into the mix are clips from several

Charles Kelley Enlists Miranda Lambert

While the latter joins the Augusta, Georgia native on “I Wish You Were Here,” penned by Jedd Hughes, Kelley and Nicks take on a cover of the moody “Southern Accents,” the title track of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 1985 album. The lead single from The Driver – and its title track – revisits the territory of the three-part harmony of Kelley’s Lady A roots, as Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay accompany him on that track, which they debuted in the fall during an appearance on the The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. Their recording earned the trio a Grammy nomination.

Kelley is a co-writer of four of the LP’s nine tracks, and other contributors include Chris Stapleton, Daniel Tashian and Nathan Chapman, while Kelley co-penned “Round in Circles” with his brother, singer-songwriter Josh Kelley, marking the first time the siblings had worked together since Josh’s early solo efforts.

Of the title track, Kelley tells Rolling Stone Country, “‘The Driver’ is the last eight years of my life put in a song. That appreciation for the audience, that appreciation for your road family, and doing what you love to do.”

The last song recorded for the

Robert Plant Plans ‘Southern Journey’ U.S. Tour

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters will hit the road this March for an 11-date trek that will focus on the southern half of the United States. Dubbed Blues…Roots and Hollers (A Southern Journey), the tour comes as Plant and company work on the follow-up to 2014’s Lullaby and . . . The Ceaseless Roar. “Having just begun work on our new album, we thought we’d take time out to raise a little sand and welcome springtime with one more adventure, another celebration of life and song,” Plant said in a statement.

The trek kicks off the weekend of March 4th with a performance at the inaugural Okeechobee Festival before climbing its ways through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma and four Texas dates. The tour-ending gig on March 20th at Austin’s Moody Theatre will double as an Austin City Limits taping.

“I’m always eager to return to the hospitality of the Southern states,” Plant added. “Towns and cities that hold fond memories for me personally, places that gave birth to so much of the music I love. Our recent travels have taken this wild whirlwind of a band through many incredible and inspiring places.”

Influential garage

David Bowie Dies at Age 69 After Battling Cancer

“David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief,” read a statement posted on the artist’s official social media accounts. 

The influential singer-songwriter and producer excelled at glam rock, art rock, soul, hard rock, dance pop, punk and electronica during his eclectic 40-plus-year career. He just released his 25th album, Blackstar, Jan. 8, which was his birthday.

Bowie’s artistic breakthrough came with 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, an album that fostered the notion of rock star as space alien. Fusing British mod with Japanese kabuki styles and rock with theater, Bowie created the flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust.

David Bowie’s Death: Musicians and Celebs React on Social Media

Three years later, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the No. 1 single “Fame” off the top 10 album Young Americans, then followed with the 1976 avant-garde art rock LP Station to Station, which made it to No. 3 on the charts and featured top 10 hit “Golden Years.”

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