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Wednesday
May292013

Alicia Keys Takes Fans to Rehearsal in New Reebok Video

AliciaKeys.comAlicia Keys is busy on her Set the World on Fire tour, but she's still finding time to promote the latest sneaker from her collection for Reebok.  In a new video, Alicia takes fans behind the scenes of a rehearsal where she practices her moves for the stage in a pair of her signature A.K. Wedges, also known as AKWs.

Growing up in New York City, Alicia says she remembers running around the park in colorful kicks.  If she wasn't wearing Reebok's classic Freestyle hi-tops, then she was wearing "boy-looking" sneakers.  Even now Alicia appreciates a "tougher" shoe.  "And now that I have become 100-percent just into my womanhood, I really love merging the two worlds a lot," she says.

The end product is Alicia's new wedge sneaker, which is styled like a gym shoe but features an invisible heel.  "So if you're a dancer, or you're just a fly mom, or if you're just a cool girl going to school... whatever you need to do, you can still pound pavement and be cute at the same time," Alicia says.

To promote her Reebok release, Alicia is inviting fans to tweet their six word stories of "living with fire," using the hashtag #livewithfire.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Thompson Square Cancels Concert Appearances This Weekend; Keifer Thompson on Vocal Rest

Stoney Creek RecordsThompson Square canceled their concert appearances on Luke Bryan's Dirt Road Diaries tour this weekend due to duo member Keifer Thompson's ongoing vocal condition.  Keifer's doctor has ordered him to cancel all dates through June 2 in an effort to speed up the healing process.  Keifer and his wife and duo partner Shawna Thompson didn't take the decision to cancels those appearances lightly.

He says in a written statement, "Our fans are on our minds every moment of every day -- you are the reason we're here and the reason we get to live our dream of making music for a living.  We hope that you will understand what a difficult decision this has been and know that we can't wait to get back out on the road and make it up to you as soon as possible.”

Luke Bryan's concerts will still go on without Thompson Square this weekend.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Jennifer Lopez Too Hot for "Britain's Got Talent?"

Frank Micelotta / FOXIs Jennifer Lopez too hot for British TV?  A Tuesday night appearance on Britain's Got Talent has drawn some viewer complaints.

E! Online reports that Jennifer sang her new single "Live It Up" on the show, whose judging panel includes Simon Cowell.  As usual, she wore a sexy costume -- a tight, high-cut bodysuit and thigh-high boots -- but it turns out some felt her getup was too sexy and her moves too provocative for the family-oriented show. 

The British media watchdog group Ofcom told E! News that it had "received complaints" about the performance, which they are "currently assessing."  At stake is the possibility that J-Lo's performance has violated the British broadcasting code.

The performance itself doesn't seem that different from the one Jennifer did on American Idol earlier this month.  At one point, though, as she slides on her knees towards the edge of the stage, her groin area is essentially presented right in the center of the screen.

Jennifer herself apparently didn't see anything wrong with her performance: she posted an Instagram photo of herself and her dancers afterward, along with the message, "Thanks @GotTalent for a great night #liveitup."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Bassist Jared Followill Says New Kings of Leon Album Will Be “Musically Complicated”

RCA RecordsKing of Leon fans can expect the group to head for familiar territory on their upcoming sixth album. During a recent Q&A session with fans on Twitter, bassist Jared Followill revealed that the group’s new material will sound like their earlier work.

Jared tweeted, "Vibe/feeling [of the new album] could be compared to the first couple. It's much more musically complicated though, so I'd have to say the last 2." When asked if he had a favorite amongst the new cuts they’ve been creating, the bassist replied, “The ones I'm most proud of are the hardest to play. So it's hard to say.”

While a release date for the new album has yet to be announced, Followill has previously stated that he expects it to be released sometime in September.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Love and Theft's Stephen Barker Engaged to Longtime Girlfriend Jenna Michelle Kennedy

Justin Ross WardLove and Theft's Stephen Barker Liles is off the market.  According to People, Stephen got engaged to fiancée Jenna Michelle Kennedy Tuesday night on the beach in Fort Myers, FL.  He had a friend set up cameras on the beach outside the city's Fresh Catch Bistro, where the couple planned to eat that night.

Stephen says, "I called ahead and told them…to say that the table wouldn't be ready for 30 minutes so that we had to kill some time and walk on the beach."

That's when Stephen says he begged Jenna to marry him, and she said yes.  They both cried as he slipped the 2.34 carat yellow center cut diamond ring on her finger.

The couple plans to get married in May 2014.  Stephen says of Jenna, "She is my best friend and I am so grateful for the Lord bringing her into my life."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Daft Punk Scores Big #1 Debut with "Random Access Memories"

Columbia RecordsDaft Punk's hit single "Get Lucky" has helped propel their new album to the top of the charts. 

The French duo's fourth studio album, Random Access Memories, has debuted at #1 on the Billboard album chart with first-week sales of 339,000 copies, according to Nielsen Soundscan.  That's the second-biggest opening week for an album this year, second only to Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience, which moved 968,000 copies back in March.

According to Yahoo! Chart Watch, Random Access Memories is the first dance/electronic album to reach #1 since Madonna’s MDNA debuted at #1 in April 2012.  It's also the first album by a French act to hit #1 on the Billboard album chart since 1968.

Prior to "Get Lucky," Daft Punk's biggest hits were "One More Time" and "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger," which was later sampled by Kanye West for his hit, "Stronger."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

John Mayer's Back in the Studio Recording Sixth Album, and You Can Watch

Facebook.com/JohnMayerEarlier this month, John Mayer unexpectedly told fans that he'd be putting out a brand-new album this summer, a little more than a year after the release of his 2012 disc, Born and Raised.  Now, John's announced that he's in the studio working on the project.

John's Facebook page features a photo of him "tracking a new song," along with the message, "John is recording his 6th studio album. Check back every Tuesday for more Studio Session videos to see what's going on behind the scenes."  The hashtag #MAYERISBACK and a link to the first installment in the video series round out the posting.

The video shows John turning on an amplifier, pulling out a drawer full of guitar pedals, playing guitar, twiddling some control room knobs, and saying, "I like it."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Wednesday
May292013

Diddy Slashes Prices on Two Swanky Properties

Facebook.com/DiddyDiddy is putting a pair of swanky pads on the market, and he's listing them at deeply discounted prices.  A source tells the New York Post, "Diddy’s spending more time at his $30 million mansion in Miami, on Star Island.  It makes sense for tax reasons."

The Post reports that Diddy is ready to part ways with his Manhattan apartment on the 66th floor of a building on 56th Street.  The Bad Boy entertainment mogul is seeking $7.99 million for the property -- quite a drop from last year's $8.5 million asking price.  The player pad features a piano room, wet bar and marble foyer, according to the Post.

The second property that Diddy is looking to unload is his Alpine, NJ, estate, which he tried to sell for $13.5 million in 2006, according to the Post.  Diddy has reduced the asking price to $9.99 million for the home on a hill, which overlooks three acres.  The New York Post reports that the crib features a putting green, tennis court and swimming pool, among other amenities.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Emeli Sande Adds Dates to Upcoming U.S. Tour

EmeliSande.comEmeli Sande has added two new dates to her upcoming U.S. tour. 

She'll now be making stops at Rumsey Playfield in New York City's Central Park on August 28 and the House of Blues in Boston on August 30.  Tickets go on sale this Friday.

Emeli's jam-packed summer schedule already includes appearances at a handful of festivals, including Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, Essence Fest and Budweiser's Made in America showcase.  Her tour kicks off July 2 at the House of Blues in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  Additional dates may be announced.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Ringo Starr Tells His Life Story in New Digital Photo Book Due Out in June

Genesis PublicationsA new ebook featuring rare photos and personal recollections from Ringo Starr will be released June 12, exclusively via Apple's iBookstore.  In the interactive publication, titled Photograph, the ex-Beatles drummer tells his life story through previously unseen images from his archives along with accompanying text, video and audio.  The eBook can be viewed using an iPad with an iBooks program, or on any computer utilizing iTunes.

Among the many pics included in the eBook are photos from Starr's childhood, as well as candid shots he took of his Beatles band mates in a variety of scenarios and locations.  There also are images of various pieces of memorabilia from throughout the rock legend's long career.  In addition, Ringo has created audio and video segments especially for the eBook in which he shares details about the many photos.  "These are shots no one else could have," says Starr.

On the same day that the Photograph eBook is released, a new exhibition focusing on Starr, called "Ringo: Peace & Love," will open at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.  The exhibit will feature the drum sets Ringo played at The Beatles' legendary Shea Stadium concert and on The Ed Sullivan Show, as well as his Sgt. Pepper's costume, the cape he wore in the Help! movie, the red jacket worn during The Beatles' famed London rooftop concert, and an assortment of photos, documents and mementos from Starr's days with and before the Fab Four.

If you'd rather not go the ebook route, a limited-edition physical version of Photograph is scheduled to be published in December.  Starr will personally sign 2,500 copies of the hard-bound volume, which will feature even more images than the ebook edition does.

The Photograph ebook is priced at $9.99.  You can pre-order it now at iTunes, while the bound version can be pre-ordered at RingoPhotograph.com.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

'Photograph' ebook by Ringo Starr HD from Genesis Publications on Vimeo.

 

Wednesday
May292013

The National’s "Trouble Will Find Me" Debuts at #3 on "Billboard" 200; 30 Seconds to Mars in at #6

4ADWhile Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories scored the top spot on the Billboard 200 chart this week, new albums from The National and 30 Seconds to Mars also secured positions in the top 10 on the list.

The National’s Trouble Will Find Me scored the #3 spot on the tally, selling 75,000 copies, according to Nielsen Soundscan. The album’s first-week chart position mirrors the group’s previous release, 2010’s High Violet, which debuted and peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200, racking up 51,000 copies its first week out.

Meanwhile, 30 Seconds to Mars’ fourth studio album, Love Lust Faith + Dreams, clocked in at #6 on the list with 53,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen Soundscan.  The successful sales week makes Love Lust Faith + Dreams the group’s first album to debut in the top 10. The band’s previous release, 2009’s This Is War, debuted and peaked at #19 on the Billboard 200, selling 69,000 copies in its first week.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Dustin Lynch, Randy Houser Among New Artists Performing on 2013 CMT Music Awards

Broken Bow RecordsSome of country's hottest new stars have been added to the lineup for the 2013 CMT Music Awards, airing live Wednesday, June 5. Dustin Lynch, Ashley Monroe, Cassadee Pope, Kree Harrison, Love and Theft and Randy Houser will give abbreviated performances on the Nationwide Insurance stage during the show, airing that night at 8:00 p.m. ET on CMT and CMT.com.

Nationwide is also sponsoring the Nationwide Insurance On Your Side Award for country's best new live acts. Florida Georgia Line, Hunter Hayes, Kip Moore and Lee Brice are up for that trophy. Fans can vote at CMT.com through June 2 to determine the winner.

Jason Aldean, George Strait, Taylor Swift, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood and Little Big Town are also slated to perform on the 2013 CMT Music Awards. Jason Aldean will host the show with actress Kristen Bell.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Adam Levine Issues Statement Clarifying "I Hate This Country" Comment

Mark Seliger/NBCWhile he's already stated on Twitter that he was joking, Adam Levine has now issued an official statement clarifying an offhand remark he made Tuesday night on The Voice after two of his team members were voted off the show.

Adam was overheard muttering "I hate this country" after contestants Judith Hill and Sarah Simmons didn't receive enough of America's votes to continue with the competition.  His comment outraged some fans, who attacked him as unpatriotic and insensitive.  Adam responded by posting the definitions for the words "joke," "humorless," "lighthearted" and "misunderstand" on his Twitter feed, but now he's gone on record as explaining why he uttered the inflammatory comment.

In a statement provided to ABC News Radio, Adam says, "I obviously love my country very much and my comments last night were made purely out of frustration."

He adds, "Being a part of The Voice, I am passionately invested in my team and want to see my artists succeed. Last night’s elimination of Judith and Sarah was confusing and downright emotional for me and my comments were made based on my personal dissatisfaction with the results."

"I am very connected to my artists and know they have long careers ahead, regardless of their outcome on the show," the statement concludes.

Following Tuesday's elimination, Adam, Shakira and Usher only have one contestant each left on their teams.  Blake Shelton, on the other hand, has three contestants left.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Garth Brooks Taping TV Special at Wynn Las Vegas Independence Day Weekend

Pearl RecordsGarth Brooks has announced three shows at the Wynn Las Vegas over the 4th of July weekend. The series of dates will be filmed for an upcoming TV special and DVD/Blu-Ray release commemorating Garth's long-term engagement at the Wynn Las Vegas's Encore Theater.

Tickets for the shows on July 4, 5 and 6 go on sale Monday, June 3 through Ticketmaster and WynnLasVegas.com.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Report: Andre 3000's Mother Found Dead

Business Wire

The mother of Andre 3000 has passed away.  The news of Sharon Benjamin-Hodo's death comes just days after Andre celebrated his 38th birthday Monday.  The cause of his mother's death is unknown.

Benjamin-Hodo was the founder of The Starlight Camp for underprivileged children, a program she ran at New Morning Light Missionary Baptist Church in Conley, GA. The church is led by her husband, Pastor Robert Hodo.  A note on the church's website confirms her death, and thanks well-wishers for their support and prayers. 

"Respectfully, the family asks for privacy during this time. In leiu of flowers the family is requesting that donations be made to Camp Starlight at New Morning Light Community Development Project in Conley, GA," reads a note on the New Morning Light website. 

Members of the church sent their condolences via Facebook, and Andre's peers, including Jermaine Dupri and 9th Wonder, shared kind words.  "My condolences go out to Dre, and the entire Benjamin-Hodo family," Jermaine tweeted, while 9th wonder wrote, "Pray for the good brother Andre 3000 and his family..."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Taylor Swift Draws on Her Personal Style for New Fragrance, Taylor by Taylor Swift

Taylor by Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift will unveil her third fragrance, Taylor by Taylor Swift, next month. The new scent signals a break from her first two perfumes, Wonderstruck and Wonderstruck Enchanted. Instead of focusing on the fairytale aspect of Taylor's music, the new fragrance is a nod to Taylor's personal style, according to People.

Taylor describes the new fragrance as "a mix of a lot of things: it's sweet, it's sophisticated, it draws you in. It's really my way of translating classic, yet modern, into a perfume."

The perfume bottle mixes Taylor's classic-meets-modern style featuring Taylor's favorite jewelry: pearls.  “Pearls are the one fashion accessory that never seems to go out of style,” she says. "I keep a strand in my purse, and throw them on whenever I need to dress up my outfit.”

Look for Taylor by Taylor Swift to go on sale in late June.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Joey Jordison Says New Side Project Features Tracks Originally Written for Slipknot

Bobby TongsLast month, Slipknot’s Joey Jordison announced on his Facebook page that he’s “working on a new music project,” and posted a series of black-and-white photos of himself and a number of musicians recording in a studio. Now, the drummer says that the upcoming album was culled from a batch of songs he had originally written for Slipknot.

“I’d been working on new Slipknot material since the end of the All Hope Is Gone tour cycle but I ended up with so much stuff I had to take a step back and stop working on it,” he tells the U.K.'s Metal Hammer.  “I started focusing on a lot of the post-punk and industrial stuff that I’ve always loved and started putting super heavy and brutal guitars over the top of it. It’s taken me a couple of years to get to this point, but I can honestly say this is the most satisfied I’ve ever been in the studio.”

Jordison also revealed the lineup for his side project, which features a number of veterans of the heavy metal scene. “I’ve got [Strapping Young Lad multi-instrumentalist] Jed [Simon] and [former Darkest Hour guitarist] Kris [Norris] to play lead guitar on everything,” he says. “[Former Marilyn Manson keyboardist/drummer] Chris [Vrenna] is doing the keyboards and synths and all that stuff and I have an unknown guy on vocals.”

A release date for the upcoming side project has yet to be announced.

While Slipknot is currently on a break from touring, the band is scheduled to perform at several European festivals this summer, including the U.K.’s Download Festival in June and Sweden’s Metal Town Festival in July.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Atoms for Peace, Beck to Headline Treasure Island Festival in October

TreasureIslandFestival.comThe lineup for this year's Treasure Island Music Festival has been announced, and it’s an impressive one. Atoms for Peace and Beck will perform headlining sets at the event, which will take place October 19-20 in San Francisco, CA. Other rock acts set to take the stage at the event include Animal Collective, Sleigh Bells, Haim and Palma Violets.

Two-day ticket packages will be available on the festival’s official website starting on Friday at 10 a.m. PT.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Hot Tuna Launching US Summer Tour Next Week

Photo: Scotty HallHot Tuna, the psychedelic blues group led by founding Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady, has lined up a long series of U.S. concerts that will kick off next week and run well into the summer.  The tour begins June 6 in Durham, North Carolina, and is scheduled through a July 28 concert in Floyd, Virginia.

For most of the dates, the band will perform in its acoustic configuration, which also includes mandolin player Barry Mitterhoff.  At several late-July shows, the "Electric Hot Tuna" lineup featuring Mitterhoff and drummer Skoota Warner will play.  Pop-folk singer/songwriter Jill Sobule will serve as opening act for all of the Hot Tuna shows in June with the exception of their appearance at New York's Clearwater Festival.

Prior to the start of Hot Tuna's tour, Kaukonen will play several solo concerts, and he also has a few more solo gigs in early July.

Here are all of Hot Tuna's and Kaukonen's confirmed U.S. tour dates through the end of the summer; all shows Acoustic Hot Tuna unless otherwise noted:

5/30 -- Montclair, NJ, The Outpost in the Burbs (JK)
5/31 -- New York, NY, City Winery (JK)
6/1 -- New York, NY, City Winery (JK)
6/2 -- Amagansett, NY, The Stephen Talkhouse (JK)
6/6 -- Durham, NC, The Carolina Theatre
6/7 -- Atlanta, GA, Variety Playhouse
6/8 -- Black Mountain, NC, Pisgah Brewing Company
6/9 -- Charlottesville, VA, Jefferson Theater
6/11 -- Annapolis, MD, Rams Head Tavern
6/13 -- Alexandria VA, The Birchmere
6/14 -- Glenside, PA, Keswick Theatre
6/15 -- Croton on Hudson, NY, Clearwater Festival
6/16 -- Croton on Hudson, NY, Clearwater Festival (JK with Steve Kimock)
6/18 -- Somerville, MA, Somerville Theatre
6/20 -- Bethel, NY, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
6/21 -- Albany, NY, The Egg
6/22 -- Norwalk, CT, Norwalk Concert Hall
7/7 -- North Truro, MA, Payomet Performing Arts Center (JK)
7/10 -- Ogunquit, ME, Jonathan's Restaurant (JK)
7/13 -- Santa Cruz, CA, Rio Theatre (JK)
7/14 -- Mendocino, CA, Mendocino Music Festival (JK)
7/20 -- New Brunswick, NJ, State Theatre (E)
7/21 -- Patchogue, NY, Great South Bay Music Festival (E)
7/22 -- Ocean City, NJ, Ocean City Music Pier Boardwalk (E)
7/25 -- Stroudsburg, PA, Sherman Theater (E)
7/26 -- Harrisburg, PA, Whitaker Center (E)
7/27 -- Pomeroy, OH, Fur Peace Station
7/28 -- Floyd, VA, Floyd Fest (E)

(E) Electric Hot Tuna
(JK) Jorma Kaukonen solo. 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Talking '80s Music with the Original MTV VJs 

Atria BooksIf you were an MTV baby, a new book written by all four living original MTV VJs is a must-read for you. 

VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave, tells the inside story of how Martha Quinn, Alan Hunter, Mark Goodman, Nina Blackwood and JJ Jackson became superstars while introducing the world to the strange new concept of "music videos," and changing the music industry forever.

There's plenty of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll in the book, as well as many naughty celebrity stories --  you can just imagine the big names who were constantly hitting on Martha and Nina throughout the years, some of whom they actually dated.  But ultimately, MTV came down to the music, so we asked Martha and Alan to sum up which acts truly captured the essence of those exciting early days.

"I would go for Duran Duran," Martha says when asked to name the band who best captured the essence of the early MTV era.  "I would.  For, as far as, you know, the band that epitomizes the early days of MTV the most. [It's] between Duran Duran and I'm gonna go for a one-hit wonder: A Flock of Seagulls...because though they may not have had the longevity, somehow they sum up to me that early era."

As for Alan, he's sticking with the group that's still dominating the music scene today.  "I think because they've had such longevity in the business I'd have to say that U2 is the ultimate '80s band that has still had a life," he says. "And they got their start in 1981 on MTV."

And what about the VJ's favorite videos of all time?  "It sorta changes depending on my mood but the one that, that's steadfast for me is 'Once in a Lifetime,' Talking Heads," says Alan "Simple video, great song, good combination."  Martha, meanwhile, chooses Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf."

Speaking of videos, perhaps the most surprising thing revealed in the book is that for a long time, the VJs didn't actually watch the videos they were supposed to be talking about.  They didn't get them in advance, and they also didn't have time, according to Alan.

"We had a lot of homework to do," he explains. "Outside of our little breaks, we had a lot of research to do and back then we didn't have the dang Internet.  I don't know how we did it.  We went through books!"  "And magazines," adds Martha.

"We watched the videos, you know, as much as we could," Alan continues. "Sometimes we'd have to talk about videos that premiered quickly and we didn't have the video, so, we'd come out of it and go, 'Wow, that was fantastic, loved it!' and it was a video with exploding atom bombs and death! And I was like, 'Oh, great!'"

What's equally amazing about the book is that it describes how all the VJs are all still friends, 30 years down the road.  Explaining why, Martha says, "We're kinda like Vietnam vets who were like in the same foxhole, you know.  We shared the same pup tent."

She adds, "I think there's something about being in a situation that bands you together for life. And in the early days of MTV everyone said MTV wouldn't last.  We were rebels with a cause.  We were like, 'No, this is rock and roll and these are videos and it's gonna work!'  And that's a Crazy Glue of a bond."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio