Music news

Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson displays the agility of his guitar-picking fingers. Photo courtesy of

Well I hope you all had a productive and exciting spring break. As for myself, I accomplished absolutely nothing except catching up on sleep and reading.

It’s been a while since the last music news column, so I’ll try to stick to the most “important” items from the past few weeks.


Willie may get off with a song and $100

Yes, according to Texas prosecutor and Hudspeth County Attorney C.R. “Kit” Bramblett, Willie Nelson’s latest pot bust could be settled for a plea deal amounting to a courtroom performance of “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” and $100 covering a fine and court costs.

“You can bet your ass I’m not going to be mean to Willie Nelson,” Bramblett told CNN.

However, Nelson may not be so lucky. Judge Dean-Walker said, “My court is not a jester court… I understand that people are star-struck; I’m not one of them.”

The bust happened last November when Nelson’s bus was searched by U.S. Border Patrol agents at a checkpoint close to the Mexico border. The search yielded less than two ounces of pot.


J Mascis releases new album

J Mascis, the frontman for Dinosaur Jr., released “Several Shades of Why” on March 15.

The album is full of gentle acoustic songs, a departure from the usual ear-splitting rock produced by Dinosaur Jr.

Mascis has showcased his softer side occasionally on Dinosaur Jr. albums, always with beautiful results, and this album is full of touching songs.


Neil Young to tour this Spring

Young has announced a 10-city American tour that will kick off in Durham, North Carolina on April 15.

The closest he will come to us with his solo tour is Chicago, but he will also be touring with Buffalo Springfield, who will be playing shows in Oakland June 1 and 2.


The Monkees announce a 45th Anniversary tour

After a meltdown between band members 10 years ago, the Monkees have resolved their differences to attempt another tour.

The closest date is July 16 in Los Angeles, if anyone really cares…


Aerosmith will record new album this year

If Steven Tyler can take a break from coming up with lame quips for “American Idol” contestents, Aerosmith will hit the studio this summer.

The band has had a tumultuous last few years. Tyler entered rehab (again) in 2010 for an addiction to painkillers, while threatening to sue the rest of the band if they toured without him.

After his release, they resumed touring and Tyler subsequently ended up getting into on-stage spat with guitarist Joe Perry.


Alice in Chains Bassist Mike Starr
Photo courtesy of

Alice in Chains bassist dies

Mike Starr, who played bass for Alice in Chains from 1987-1993, died on March 8 in Salt Lake City.

Starr, who had recently appeared on “Celebrity Rehab,” apparently died of a drug overdose resulting from a mixture of anti-anxiety drugs and methadone.


Bob Dylan finally allowed to tour in China

China’s Ministry of Culture has approved Dylan’s request to play his first-ever concerts in the country.

His previous attempts to play dates in China have been denied as a result of complications with the Ministry and financial disputes.


The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys in 1965. Photo courtesy of

Beach Boys release “Smile”

The long-anticipated follow-up to 1966’s “Pet Sounds” will be officially released as a double CD and box set.

No release date has yet been set.

The material for “Smile” was originally abandoned due to Brian Wilson’s “sensitive” mental state at the time.

Mike Love has also claimed that his cousin, Brian Wilson, may rejoin his bandmates this year for their 50th anniversary.


Rapper Nate Dogg Dead at 41

Nathanial D. Hale, aka Nate Dogg, died on March 15 from multiple strokes.

He had strokes in the past and suffered from other health issues.

The rapper was best known for working with Warren G. and Snoop Dogg.


Pearl Jam will enter studio for 10th album

Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament has stated that the band has written 25 songs for an upcoming album, and will enter the studio this month.

Twelve to 15 songs will be chosen for the final album.

The band are also working on a 20th anniversary documentary directed by Cameron Crowe.


Death Cab for Cutie experiment in new video

DCFC will attempt the first-ever live, scripted, single-take music video. It will be broadcast live while being filmed at 4 p.m., this Tuesday, April 5.

Check it out at

The band will begin touring in May, and will be playing in Bend May 27 and at the Sasquatch Festival in Washington May 28.


“Spider-Man” musical caught in a web of problems

The problem-plagued Broadway version of “Spider-Man” is giving its director, Julie Taymor, the boot before the show officially opens in early May.

The departure of Taymor comes on the heels of musical re-working by U2’s Bono and the Edge, as well as stunt-related injuries during rehearsals.


Nirvana and Sonic Youth reissue tour EPs

Nirvana will release “Hormoaning” and Sonic Youth will release “Whore’s Moaning,” both from the same tour in 1992.

The EPs will come out for Record Store Day on April 16.


Radiohead release newspaper and new songs

Along with the release of their new album, “The King of Limbs,” Radiohead have published “The Universal Sigh,” a newspaper featuring lyrics, stories, artwork and poems from the band.

Unfortunately, no locations near Oregon were picked for the distribution of the paper.

Radiohead will also celebrate Record Store Day by releasing a 12-inch vinyl single featuring two unreleased songs, “The Butcher” and “Supercollider.”


“American Idiot” musical ticket sales plunge

Without Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, ticket sales for the Broadway production of “American Idiot” have reached such low levels that the show is closing in April.

Who cares, right?


And, the final piece of “Who Cares?” news…

Phil Collins is now, officially, NOT retiring.

After reports surfaced last month that the former Genesis-drummer was retiring, his rep has said that “he is not, has no intention of, retiring.”

Thank God. I mean, he’s released so much amazing music recently, right?

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