Music News 6.21.17


Music News 6.21.17

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017

Prodigy, One-Half of Mobb Deep Duo, Dies at 42

Albert Johnson, better known by his rap alias Prodigy and one half of the East coast gangster rap duo Mobb Deep has passed away. Prodigy was hospitalized several days ago in Las Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance and meet and greet for complications related to sickle cell anemia, a disease the rapper battled his entire life. It’s unclear at this time whether his death is directly due to the disease or an alleged choking incident at the hospital.

Johnson was bred from musical greatness. His grandfather and great-uncle Bud and Keg Johnson respectively made significant contributions to the bebop era of jazz music, his father, Budd Johnson, Jr., was a member of Doo wop group The Chanters, and his mother Fatima Johnson was a member of the pop, R&B group the Crystals. She was also Mobb Deep’s first manager and, as Johnson eulogized last year on Instagram after her death, she was the duo’s first support team.


Johnson met Kejuan Muchita AKA Havoc in high school, and the two formed the Poetical Prophets before changing their name to The Infamous Mobb Deep at the suggestion of a mutual friend. Mobb Deep soon became synonymous with the East Coast gangster rap sound that permeated the city and spilled over in to the rest of the country throughout the ‘90s. Their debut album Juvenile Hell dropped in 1993, but it was their sophomore album The Infamous, that cemented their place as an East Coast legacy, expertly weaving poetic lyrics and dark music to dutifully represent the socioeconomic conditions in which the two were born and bred.

Prodigy was sentenced to a three-year prison sentence in October 2007 for illegal possession of a firearm. After having six months shaved off his sentence for good behavior, the rapper was released in March of 2011, and in the years since, Prodigy embarked on a solo career, wrote the autobiography My Infamous Life, and even published a cookbook last year called Commissary Kitchen: My Infamous Prison Cookbook, which highlighted Johnson’s mission to eat healthfully while serving time. Prodigy was 42.


Music News 6.20.17


Music News 6.20.17

Posted by on Jun 20, 2017

The Rock and Roll of Fame Goes East

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is expanding eastward…way eastward. The Cleveland museum announced yesterday that they will be setting up a second location in Japan, with its earliest incarnation opening this September with an end goal of opening a permanent museum somewhere in central Tokyo.

But why Japan? Two reasons. Japan is the second-largest music market in the world according to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame President and CEO Greg Harris, and apparently Japanese is the Cleveland museums most popular language for its printed brochures.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Japan will function via licensing agreement between the Cleveland Rock Hall and an anonymous group of Japanese collaborators. The Rock Hall in Cleveland will maintain all creative control of the Japan incarnation, including the lending of exhibits as well as the creation of original permanent ones for the new museum. The anonymous Japanese group will pay for the construction of the museum

While this is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s first attempt to open a second location outside of the US, it isn’t the first time it’s tried to expand. In 2009 the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex opened in New York City in 2009, but closed just a year later.



Phish Drummer Fishman Officially Wins Local Election

A quick follow-up on a story we covered back in April. Phish drummer John Fishman has been elected to the Board of Selectmen in his resident Lincolnville, Maine in a nonpartisan election last week. Fishman, his wife Briar, and their five children have called the seaside town home for the past decade.

BEND, OR - JULY 21: Jon Fishman of Phish performs at Les Schwab Amphitheater on July 21, 2015 in Bend, Oregon. (Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images)

Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images


Music News 6.19.17


Music News 6.19.17

Posted by on Jun 19, 2017

Sir Paul McCartney Receives Companion of Honour Award

Sir Paul McCartney turned 75 yesterday, and not only was the day extra special with the addition of Father’s Day, but the day was made, in his words “colossal,” by the honor of having his knighthood title elevated to Companion of Honour.

McCartney controversially received his original MBE or Member of the British Empire medal in 1965 along with John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison, much to the chagrin of much of the British Empire. McCartney was officially knighted and given the title of “Sir” on March 11, 1997 at the age of 54 by Queen Elizabeth II.

Paul McCartney is only a handful of musicians to ever be bestowed with the Companion of Honor award, and is joined in receiving the title this year by Stephen Hawking, Ian McKellan, Judi Dench, and J.K. Rowling, who were all named as part of this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honors list.

Mat Hayward/Getty


Willie And Merle Final Filmed Set to Air This Sunday

The long-anticipated special performance by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard at Austin’s Arlyn Studios from November 2014 has officially been picked up by music performance network AXS TV.

The episode was originally slated to be the pilot for the more-intimate-than-Austin City Limits “Inside Arlyn” series, and was taped back in 2014 to coincide with Nelson and Haggard’s Django and Jimmie album that was released a year later. The episode has only continued to earn a special place in history considering Merle Haggard’s death last year.

“It’s the last thing they did together, so it’s kind of timeless,” said Freddy Fletcher, nephew of Willie Nelson and founder of Arlyn Studios. The duo’s performance includes classics and new originals, as well as interview footage with the two outlaw country singers and Dan Rather.

AXS TV is carried locally by AT&T U-Verse, DirecTV, Dish Network, Grande, and others, and will air at 7 PM this Sunday, June 25th.

for 12/29: Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson teamed up on the 2015 album “Django & Jimmie,” which topped the country charts in June. Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson play the pilot show for 'Inside Arlyn' at Arlyn Studios. Gary Miller/Courtesy of Arlyn Studios.

Gary Miller/Courtesy of Arlyn Studios.


-Taylor Wallace

Music News 6.15.17


Music News 6.15.17

Posted by on Jun 15, 2017

Neil Young Announces the End of an Era (?) for the Bridge School Benefit

Neil Young announced yesterday that after 30 years, he will no longer host the annual Bridge School Benefit. It was also announced that there will be no benefit concert at all in 2017.

The Bridge School was founded in 1987 after getting its initial funding via its inaugural benefit concert the year before hosted by Neil and then-wife Pegi Young, with a bill featuring their friends Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Tom Petty, Robin Williams, and Nils Lofgren. The Bridge School was founded when Pegi Young and others saw the lack of support and adequate education for special needs children, specifically those with severe physical and speech impairments.

The concert has been held every year since 1986, traditionally at the Shoreline Amphiteatre in Mountain View, California, and all proceeds have gone straight to funding the Bridge School. Past guests include David Bowie, Ryan Adams, Jack White, and Metallica.

At this time, it is unknown whether the concert series will return or if the tradition has permanently come to an end.


Lennon-Ono Track “Imagine” Named ‘Song of the Century’

The National Music Publishers Association has officially awarded the title of Song of the Century to John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

The ceremony took place last night in New York, and while Yoko Ono and son Sean Lennon had were honored to attend and receive the award in John’s honor, NMPA president and CEO David Israelite had a surprise up his sleeve. Audio was played from a vintage BBC interview with John Lennon where he admitted that “Imagine” should have actually been credited as a Lennon-Ono song, but at the time, “I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution.”

Following the audio clip, Yoko Ono was officially given a well-overdue credit as “Imagine”’s cowriter. Sean Lennon gushed on the moment afterwards to Billboard, saying, “When they officially acknowledged—through my father’s account—that my mother co-wrote ‘Imagine’, the Song of the Century, it may have been the happiest day of mine and mother’s life.”


-Taylor Wallace

Music News 6.14.17


Music News 6.14.17

Posted by on Jun 14, 2017

Canada Announces Longlist for This Year’s Polaris Music Prize

Canada has announced the longlist for this year’s Polaris Music Prize, the country’s annual award given for the best full-length Canadian album, regardless of artistic merit, genre, sales, or record label, modeled after the UK and Ireland’s Mercury Prize.

This year’s longlist includes Mac Demarco, the New Pornographers, The Weeknd, BADBADNOTGOOD, Leonard Cohen, Japandroids, Drake, and Feist, though that’s barely one fifth of the list.

The prize for the award has gone through several makeovers since its inaugural year in 2006. As of 2015, the first prize is $50,000 and an additional $20,000 given by major sponsor Slaight Music, an organization founded upon the mandate to support and develop Canadian talent. Polaris also rewards nine second prize winners with a $3,000 prize.

Also in 2015, Slaight and Polaris announced the Slaight Polaris Heritage Prize, which annually honors five albums from the five decades of Canadian music created before the Polaris Prize’s conception.

The 10 album shortlist will be announced on July 13th, and the winner will be determined at the Polaris Gala on September 18th in Toronto.



Rolling Stones Muse Anita Pallenberg Dies at 73

Anita Pallenberg, model, actress, and former Rolling Stones muse has passed away at the age of 73. The cause of death, as of 9:30 this morning, is unknown.

Pallenberg was born in German-occupied Rome in January 1944. After being expelled from her German boarding school at 16, Pallenberg began her career in modeling, first in Italy, then in New York spending time in Andy Warhol’s Factory.

Pallenberg first met the Rolling Stones backstage at one of their shows in 1965, soon staring a relationship with Guitarist Brian Jones that quickly turned violent, spurring her leaving Jones for Keith Richards. The couple settled in London, where they lived together, had three children together, and struggled through drug abuse together until their separation in 1980.

But it’s all that happened in the time in between that makes Anita Pallenberg a paragon of a rock and roll muse. She provided backing vocals on “Sympathy for the Devil,” gave Mick Jagger the feedback that led to the remixed tracks on 1968’s Beggars Banquet and starred alongside Jagger in the Nicholas Roeg’s 1970 crime drama Performance. It’s also worth noting her portrayal of the Black Queen in 1968’s Barbarella.

When approached by several publishing houses in the aughts about writing a memoir, Pallenberg shut down the idea for two reasons: she didn’t want to write the salacious expose the publishing houses were hounding for, and “…everybody is writing autobiographies and that’s one reason why I’m not going to do it. If young Posh Spice can write her autobiography, then I don’t want to write one!”


-Taylor Wallace