Newsbites: Pink Floyd’s Mason finally gets degree
Drum doctor: Nick Mason
Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason is to be given an honorary degree by the educational establishment where the band formed. He met Roger Waters and Richard Wright after joining the Regent Street Polytechnic in London in 1962. Now the polytechnic’s successor, the University of Westminster, will present him with an honorary doctorate of letters in recognition of his contribution to the music industry. Mason says: “We were formed under the roof of the polytechnic. We rehearsed in the common room in the basement and made some of our first performances there. Not only did studying architecture teach us some useful stuff – it also put us in touch with some fantastic mentors and industry contacts that have helped us along the way.” [Prog Magazine]
The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund is holding an auction of over 80 signed guitars on Saturday. Instruments have been autographed by big names including Metallica, Iron Maiden, Brian May, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Slash, Slayer, Tom Morello, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi and many others. Eddie Van Halen has contributed a prototype guitar while manufacturer DBZ has offered a hand-carved Dio memorial axe. Find out more.
Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe says his biggest memory of the Czech Republic concert that led to his arrest for manslaughter is being told that Slipknot bassist Paul Gray had died. Blythe spent five weeks in jail over the summer in connection with the death of fan Daniel Nosek, and insists he’ll return to a Czech court if required to answer charges. He says: “The show itself – I just remember a ton of people being on stage who should not have been on stage. We had no knowledge anyone was hurt. As soon as I got off stage my publicist called and told me Paul was dead. It’s not like we ran away after the show – we were there until late in the morning. The crew was unloading and I was calling people because people were blowing up my phone, like, ‘Is Paul Gray dead?’” [Metal Hammer]
Photographer Ken Regan has died after a cancer battle. He’s best remembered for his images of Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and Jimi Hendrix in a career that ran from the early 1960s until the beginning of this year.
Kiss drummer Eric Singer can’t understand what his predecessor Peter Criss has against current guitarist Tommy Thayer. When Criss and Ace Frehley returned to the band Thayer was their tour manager, before being given the role of replacing Frehley. Singer says: “For some reason Peter really hates Tommy. Why? I don’t know – all Tommy ever did was try to help the guy. When Peter came back for the reunion, Tommy’s the one who sat in a room with him and Ace, teaching them the songs, working them through the routines, before they got together with Gene and Paul. He put time into helping the guy. Now, for some reason, he’s got some real venom towards Tommy. I don’t know what that’s about.” [Rock Music Star]
Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell says the reason he’s written 60 songs for the band’s 2013 album is that he had nothing else to do while recovering from knee surgery. “I haven’t written like this since I was in my 20s,” he reports. “I was kind of forced to write. I’m having a great time and it’s coming out so well. Good things are going to happen.” [Billboard]
Alice Cooper is to be the subject of a specialist round on UK quiz show Mastermind, broadcast on Friday at 8pm on BBC2.
Foo Fighters mainman and returning QOTSA drummer Dave Grohl will host an exclusive radio series on Sirius XM starting on Thursday. Dave Grohl Presents Sound City will be based on his upcoming documentary about the iconic LA studio. He says: “I’m so proud of the film and I’m grateful to Sirius XM for giving me the opportunity to share all this great music and let people know what got me excited about Sound City in the first place.”
Graham Parker says his motto in getting back together with the Rumour for current album Three Chords Good was: “Stop thinking!” He reports: “I didn’t really think – if I had I wouldn’t have done it. I found myself with all these songs, and I had enlisted the band, and it started to dawn on me what a hassle this was going to be. I started to listen to the songs again and started to think, ‘What does this have to do with the Rumour?’ But then somebody pointed out that when I wrote the songs that became the album Howlin’ Wind, the Rumour didn’t exist at all. So I’ve never written for the Rumour. The first four albums I did with them weren’t written for the Rumour – they were just songs. Everything became clear then. They can play these songs, so why not?” [AV Club]