Newsbites: Big Three aim to save HMV
The Big Three music labels are in talks about offering HMV unique trading terms in an attempt to keep the high-street retailer in business. HMV went into administration last week, but it’s thought Universal, Warner and Sony want to help keep it afloat because it’s the only alternative to entering price-war territory with supermarkets and online stores. The deal is set to include reduced CD and DVD prices and extended credit terms. A source says: “They don’t want their only choice to be Tesco or Amazon.” HMV staff staged sit-ins in several stores last week after discovering they wouldn’t be paid. The firm also refused to honour the value of bought-and-paid-for gift certificates. It’s believed over 50 businesses have expressed an interest in buying part or all of HMV. [Sunday Times]
Late Metallica man Cliff Burton is to be commemorated with a bass made by Aria. His father Ray says of the instrument: “Early in 1984, Cliff was treated to an Aria Pro II. He really liked it and therefore did not seek any other bass to play. He told me it was strong and ideal to play. I never heard a discouraging word about his Aria bass guitars. To give testament to his preference, he had several of them at the time of his death.” The Cliff Burton Signature Bass will be unveiled at the NAMM conference in California later this week.
The Rolling Stones will not be headlining California’s Coachella Festival in March, says Rolling Stone magazine. Rumours had circulated since the band briefly listed the event in their upcoming schedule, and organisers posted a picture of a spherical stone in the field where Coachella takes place. It’s believed a financial deal couldn’t be reached – but the Stones are still set to tour later this year.
Former Iron Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton is backing a Monday night rock school in Saffron Walden, England. The Livewire Rock Academy, says Stratton, represents “a great opportunity for people to learn and play with professional musicians.” [LivewireRockAcademy.co.uk]
The Sword frontman JD Cronise says latest album Apocryphon contains material that’s far more personal than he realised. He explains: “I’ve been saying it in interviews since we started doing them for this record. But after a month of playing the songs live it’s even more so. I realise now how much more of a personal record this one is. In a weird way it’s a lot easier to play – when you’re performing music that’s from the heart, it’s definitely a different experience.” [Loudmag.com]
LA Guns guitarist Frankie Wilsey has left the band a month after replacing Stacy Blades. The latest incumbent in Michael Grant of Endeverafter. Bassist Scotty Griffin says: “Michael will be our guitarist starting this weekend. Is he our permanent guitarist? What happened to the last guitarist? Whose solo album is better, Paul’s or Ace’s? I can’t say – I’m just the bass player.”
Jack White will release the complete works of three early blues icons in a tie-in deal with Scottish label Document Records. The catalogues of Charley Patton, Blind Willie McTell and the Mississippi Sheiks will go on sale on January 29. White’s firm Third Man Records say: “The recordings we’ll be presenting are the building blocks and DNA of American culture. Blues, R&B, Elvis, teenagerism, punk rock – it all goes back to these vital, breathtaking recordings. Every record collection should have ample room for these highly important and endlessly listenable albums.”
Stone Sour drummer Roy Mayorga is grateful to his bandmates for giving him time to recover from his 2011 stroke rather than replacing him. He reports: “I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t move my left side – it was horrible. I was not playing for a good seven, eight months. Then I got better. Two years later I’m pretty much back to normal, and it’s a miracle. Most bands would have gotten somebody else to play drums, but they didn’t. That’s incredible – those guys are truly my brothers.” [Mcall.com]
Volbeat, the Danish metal band, are in the studio recording a new album for release in the spring. Frontman Michael Poulsen reveals: “We are breaking new sonic ground and it’s exciting! Together with our longtime collaborator Jacob Hansen we also have the honour of having Rob Caggiano on board in the producer’s seat. Expect lots of surprises and some of our most rocking heavy songs to date. We feel more than ever that we are taking the Volbeat sound to another level without changing what we’re all about.” Caggiano’s producer credits include the Damned Things, Bleeding Through and Anthrax amongst others. Volbeat’s new album, titled Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies, will be available via Spinefarm Records/Universal Music.