Newsbites: Did Richie Sambora jump or was he pushed?
The status of Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora remains unconfirmed after he dropped off the band’s world tour at short notice last week. TMZ suggests it’s the result of a long-running contractual dispute between Sambora and mainman Jon Bon Jovi, while the New York Post claims the singer’s wife forced the move because the guitarist refused to clean up his act, saying he didn’t believe in rehab. Both reports cite “sources close to the band.” Meanwhile, Sambora himself has simply stated via Twitter: “Thank you everyone for your concern. I’m well, but had to stay in LA to take care of a personal matter. Love you all and see you very soon.” He’s been replaced by Phil X, who also stood in during Bon Jovi’s 2011 tour.
Former AC/DC and Rose Tattoo bassist Neil Smith has died after a battle with cancer. He was 60. His family say in a statement: “Neil is now in peace. There is not a person out there who has met him and not felt like their lives were better for the experience. He was a loving and devoted father, a loyal friend and all round generous person. He was larger than life, and his passing will be felt. Thanks to all his friends for their support and love, especially during the final stages of his life.”
The title of Eric Clapton‘s new album, Old Sock, came from David Bowie after a chance phone call following the release of Bowie’s comeback single Where Are We Now? Slowhand explains: “I called the office and said ‘Send a message to David’s office, and just say ‘Thank you for writing such a beautiful song.’ Every now and then I feel compelled to do this when something gets me. And he came back, ‘Thanks for the shout out, old sock…really appreciate it.’ And then I thought, ‘there it is.’” [BBC]
Nikki Sixx‘s Broadway musical based on his Heroin Diaries book is close to casting. But the Motley Crue bassist warns: “It’s not going to be Mamma Mia!” [NYPost]
Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell is furious that the lineup for his 2013 Lollapalooza festival leaked last week. He says: “It’s a pain in the butt. It’s like you want to ask someone to marry you and your friend jumps in and says, ‘Hey, hey’s going to ask you.’ You don’t want to hear it from that person.” The bill includes New Order, the Cure and Mumford & Sons. [Radio.com]
Gene Simmons believes playing in a band is good for anyone’s personal confidence. He recently explained at a benefit concert for kids in Sioux Falls: “It doesn’t matter if you become a star. If you don’t believe in yourself and get up on stage, everybody is watching. You can feel the power … and it helps you get through life, especially when you’re impressionable.” [Billboard]
Magnum are working on a new album, bassist Al Barrow has confirmed. “Over the past week Bob Catley and Tony Clarkin have been putting some guides down to get us underway,” he says. “Bob will be off on a world tour with Avantasia for a short while. Tony and myself will be in the studio carrying on with the album ready for Bob’s return. Before we know it we will be getting the rest of the boys down to come in to add drums and keys.” The record is currently untitled, with a release date pencilled in for January 2014, and a European tour to follow.
Judas Priest will release their Epitaph live DVD on May 28. It was recorded almost exactly a year ago at London’s Hammersmith Odeon and features tracks from 1974 to 2005. Their band said their Epitaph tour – the first after guitarist KK Downing retired – would be their final global-scale trek.
US record producer Phil Ramone has died at the age of 79. He won his first Grammy for Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years and worked with Bob Dylan on Blood On The Tracks. He produced Billy Joel’s 42nd Street – the first album released on CD.
Deep Purple have explained why they cancelled their concert in Nepal last month. They say promoter Richard Coram of Talent Brokers failed to pay the agreed fee at the agreed time. Frontman Ian Gillan says: “I want to assure everyone that our management and agency bent over backwards to make this work. But every promise from the promoter was broken. We are truly miserable that we couldn’t get there and would love to come over at the first opportunity.” Classic Rock has announced a limited-edition hardback version of the magazine featuring Deep Purple.
Another album of rock classics rendered as kids’ lullabies is due for release. Little Headbangers: Hair Metal Goes Lullaby Vol 2 includes covers of Ozzy Osbourne, Cinderella, Def Leppard, Motley Crue and more.
Mark Knopfler has cancelled two planned shows in Russia as a political protest. He says: “Given the crackdown by Russian authorities on groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, I have regretfully decided to cancel. I have always loved playing in Russia and have great affection for the country and the people. I hope the current climate will change soon.”
Dream Theater will release a 360 Interactive app alongside their upcoming Live At Luna Park DVD. It promises a “unique immersive experience” and offers users the chance to scroll round the stage while the band play their track Six O’Clock – meaning an almost limitless number of ways to see the performance. It will be available to those who purchase the deluxe edition of the DVD.