Happy Birthday, George! A look at today’s Facebook postings will quickly reveal that it’s George Harrison’s birthday. Fest For Beatles Fans points to a site that’s offering a 24-hour streaming event of Concert For George, the various artists tribute that was held in his honor shortly after his death. Here’s a link to the Manchester Gallery episode I did for Sunday Morning Coffee With Jeff featuring my George Harrison and Graham Nash soft sculptures.
Surprise Attack Of The Smithereens. Don’t know if this took anyone else completely by surprise, but a new Smithereens CD is upon us. Pat Dinizio broke the good news via a Facebook post with a link on to a preview of Smithereens 2011. The first CD of new original material from the band in over ten years has 13 songs that definitely sound like vintage Smithereens material. No word yet on a release date.
IPO Info. The schedule for the 10th Annual International Pop Overthrow - Chicago hasn’t been officially announced yet, but word is getting around about some of the performances. Singer-guitarist Mike Cohen, who has been a participant in all of David Bash’s traveling power pop extravaganza's visits to the Windy City, will be performing in two bands again this year. The Abbeys will have an afternoon gig at The Abbey on Saturday, April 16th, and The Pop Dollys will be playing the Red Line Tap on Sunday, April 17th.
The April 23rd IPO Chicago showcase at The Abbey will feature a performance by Material re-Issue, which includes original band members drummer Mike Zelenko and bassist Ted Ansani, along with singer-guitarist Phil Angotti. Angotti has effectively covered bands like The Beatles and Squeeze in the past, so there’s no doubt he’ll do fine filling in for the late Jim Ellison. I haven’t seen the entire IPO - Chicago schedule, but this will definitely be one of the highlights. Makes you wonder what else Bash has up his sleeve. The Valley Downs, led by vocalist Marianne Shimkus and bassist Mike Galassini (another longtime IPO veteran) are also on the April 23rd bill, along with Waiflike, Johnny Monaco, The Velvet Cadillacs and Van Go. International Pop Overthrow - Chicago takes place from April 14th to the 23rd.
Cover Girl Turns Into A Pumpkin. Rolling Stone, Lost at E Minor, and Jason Kottke at the liberal arts weblog kottke.org have reported that Nicole Fiorentino, the new bassist for Smashing Pumpkins was one of the two little girls who posed on the cover of the Siamese Dream CD. Reportedly, founding member Billy Corgan had no idea of the connection prior to giving her the job.
Tears From The Tardis. Earlier this week, The Nerdist blog site brought the sad news that Nicholas Courtney, the actor who played Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart on Doctor Who has passed away. Courtney was a talented and funny actor who was a perfect foil for a few incarnations of The Doctor.
Neux Teune. Matt Dodge & The Lobsters have a new single available on iTunes, called “Wood Jeux Merry Mi?” The title suggests a Christmas song, but this is more high-speed pop in the style of the tunes on the band’s debut CD, Lobsters!
Ask Grandpa If You Can Borrow His Victrola. The Second Disc, a blog site that offers expanded and remastered music news, revealed this week that Capitol Records plans to release a 78 RPM two-sided Beach Boys single featuring “Good Vibrations” and “Heroes & Villains” for Record Store Day in April.
Howell's Hitch. Singer-guitarist Eric Howell, the guy who has been behind some of the funnier song parodies heard on WXRT, will be joined by an assortment of musical guests as he performs songs from his Greatest Hitch! CD at Quenchers Saloon tomorrow night. Power pop veteran Kevin Lee, the opening act, is slated to kick things off at 9:30PM. Quenchers is located at 2410 N. Western Avenue.
Cafe Competition. Little Steven’s Underground Garage is spreading the word about Hard Rock Cafe’s Battle Of The Bands 2011 competition. Four groups from around the globe will be chosen to appear at the Hard Rock Calling festival in London on June 24-26, and the prize includes round-trip airfare, three nights in a posh hotel, and some spending cash. Non-musicians can play a role in the selection by choosing a band from events held in their hometown.
The Hard Rock Cafe in Chicago has a Semi-Finals Battle Of The Bands showcase coming up on March 3rd, with four bands competing; and a Finals competition on March 10th with the last two local bands going head to head. There will be additional entertainment after each battle, with Band Called Catch slated for March 3rd, and Hollus for March 10th. Doors open at 8:00PM and the shows are open to all ages. A suggested donation of $5 will help benefit Starlight Children’s Foundation Midwest, and there will be a silent auction, as well as food and beverages. See the Hard Rock Cafe site for band rules and registration.