AC/DC FRONTMAN BRIAN JOHNSON EXPLAINS HIS SIGNATURE CAP

In a recent interview with the U.K. digital rock, Planet Rock, AC/DC singer Brian Johnson was asked when he was last seen or photographed without a hat on?

He responded (via blabbermouth.net), “”Oh, well, I wear them for things like this,” referring to the press junket for the band’s latest album, Power Up. “When I’m home in Florida, I’m just one of the boys, swimming and plunging about and having a good time.”

He went on to say explain that he began wearing hats onstage after his brother lent him his during a performance, telling the singer they would help him keep the sweat out of his eyes.

“The hat thing started — I’ll never forget, I used to play the working men’s clubs in and around the northeast of England, and we would really rock,” he said. “It was a grand little rock band called Geordie, and I used to sweat because they didn’t have any air conditioning. And in the winter especially, the clubs were full and they’d have the heating full up, ’cause it was freezing outside. And I always used to sweat, and my hair, all the sweat used to go in the eyes and sting. And my brother Maurice was there one night; he was there and he’s sitting. And he had just got himself a sports car, and he bought — God bless him — he bought one of them sports-car caps. You know, they’re little caps. And we were halfway through the set, and I was sitting having a beer with him, and he said, ‘Your eyes are red.’ I said, ‘I know, it’s all the sweat.’ He said, ‘Yeah, put this on.’ And I said, ‘Oh, I’ll try.’ And I put it on, because in the north of England, everybody wore caps — you know, after the war and all that, it was a kind of uniform for the Geordies and Yorkshiremen and people like that. And I wore it for the second half [of the set] and I went, ‘That’s marvelous. It’s brilliant.’ I said, ‘I’m gonna buy one of them.’ And he says, ‘You can keep that. I’m not putting that on.’ So I did. And then people started remembering, ‘Oh, it’s a good band. The singer that wears the cap. Him.’ And then straight away, we got instant recognition with things like that. And we got gigs, we got shows. ‘We want that group. What are they called? You know, the singer wears the cap.’ ‘Oh, right. Geordie.’ And it stuck. And I guess it’s just part of us now.”

The singer said that he still takes the hat off in public “when I don’t want anybody to know who I am.”

Power Up features AC/DC’s 2020 lineup of Brian Johnson (vocals), Phil Rudd (drums), Cliff Williams (bass), Angus Young (guitar) and Stevie Young (guitar). It was recorded over a six-week period in August and September 2018 at Warehouse Studios in Vancouver with producer Brendan O’Brien, who also worked 2008’s Black Ice and 2014’s Rock Or Bust.

Power Up hit the number one spot in 18 countries, including in the U.S., where it sold over 117,000 copies in the first week. It is the fastest-selling album of 2020 in at least three of its biggest markets — U.S., Australia and the U.K.

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DOKKEN BANDMATES GEORGE LYNCH AND JEFF PILSON TEAM UP FOR “HEAVY HITTERS” ALBUM

Guitar-shredding virtuoso George Lynch has reteamed with his former Dokken  bandmate Jeff Pilson for a set of new studio recordings that turn pop music classics into powerful metal anthems. Due December 18th through Deadline Music, a division of Cleopatra Records, Inc., Heavy Hitters features jaw-dropping renditions of Duran Duran’s Ordinary World, Prince’s Kiss” Onerepublic’s Apologize Carole King’s I Feel The Earth, Oasis’s Champagne Supernova and more.

Heavy Hitters track listing

1. One Of Us 
2. You Got The Love 
3. I Feel The Earth 
4. Ordinary World 
5. Music
6. Apologize
7. Nowhere To Run
8. Kiss
9. It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
10. Champagne Supernova

Bonus track

11. Lucille

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GUITAR CENTER FILES FOR CHAPTER 11, BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION

Guitar Center, the nation’s largest retailer of musical instruments, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the company announced November 21st.

The bankruptcy filing came just one week after the Guitar Center, which had been struggling to compete with online retailers even before the pandemic, announced it had reached a debt-reduction deal with its key stakeholders.

The approved restructuring support agreement (RSA) intends to reduce Guitar Center’s reported $1.3 billion debt by nearly $800 million, including $375 million in Debtor-In-Possession financing from some existing note holders and lenders. It also intends to raise $335 million in new senior secured notes…

…The company says its business operations will continue uninterrupted during the debt restructuring process and that it will continue to pay its vendors, suppliers and employees; operate its stores, websites, call centers and social media pages; and receive goods and ship orders. It will additionally honor all merchandise credits, prepaid lessons, rentals, gift cards, deposits, orders, financing and warranties.

“This is an important and positive step in our process to significantly reduce our debt and enhance our ability to reinvest in our business to support long-term growth,” said Guitar Center CEO Ron Japinga in a release. “Throughout this process, we will continue to serve our customers and deliver on our mission of putting more music in the world.”

Japinga added that the company expects to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of this year.

Guitar Center currently has 300 stores as well as 200 Music & Arts stores, which sell band and orchestral instruments, in the U.S. A majority of those locations were forced to close temporarily early in the pandemic, only adding to the company’s woes.

Saturday’s bankruptcy filing ironically comes as guitar sales surge in the U.S., driven by consumers wanting to pick up new hobbies during the pandemic shutdown…

…The rise of online competitors such as e-tail giant Sweetwater, along with an overall decline in sales of its namesake product, coincided with Guitar Center’s 2007 leveraged buyout by private equity firm Bain Capital, which left the company with over $1 billion in debt that it has since struggled to pay off.

Read more at Billboard.

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AC/DC’S NEW ALBUM “POWER UP” TOPS ALBUM CHARTS IN 18 COUNTRIES

Following a high-octane release just over a week ago, AC/DC has taken over the Number.one spot in 18 countries and counting with its brand-new album. Power Up. The list of topped charts includes the Number One spot on the Billboard 200, selling over 117,000 copies in the first week.

Power Up is AC/DC’s sixth number one album in Australia where the band is the only Australian group in history to have had a Number One album across five decades: Back In Black (1980s), Ballbreaker Live (1990s), Black Ice (2000s), Rock Or Bust (2010s) and Power Up (2020s). The album also holds Germany’s biggest first week of 2020 and the biggest first week for an international act in four years, as well as being the U.K.’s fastest-selling album of 2020 and the biggest first week of the year.

Power Up is the fastest-selling album of 2020 in at least three of its biggest markets — U.S., Australia and the U.K. — where it debuted at Number One. In the U.K., it opened with first-week sales of 62,000. 52,955 units of these were on a physical format (CD, vinyl, cassette).

The latest record features AC/DC’s 2020 lineup of Brian Johnson (vocals), Phil Rudd (drums), Cliff Williams (bass), Angus Young (guitar) and Stevie Young (guitar).

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WOLFGANG VAN HALEN’S SOLO BAND MAMMOTH WVH ADDED TO “AFTERSHOCK” FESTIVAL

Wolfgang Van Halen has announced the first concert of his solo band, Mammoth WVH. The quartet, which features Wolfgang on guitar and lead vocals, Frank Sidoris (Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators) on guitar, Garrett Whitlock (Tremonti) on drums, and Ronnie Ficarro on bass, will perform at next year’s edition of the Aftershock festival. Mammoth WVH. will play the final night of the event, which is scheduled to take place October 7th-10th, 2021 in Sacramento, California.

Wolfgang tweeted the news of his band’s participation: writing, “See you at @AFTERSHOCKSAC with @MammothWVH in 2021!”

Also scheduled to appear at Aftershock are Metallica, Anthrax, Steel Panther, and many more, get more information here.

Wolfgang played every instrument and sang each and every note on the debut album from Mammoth WVH, which is scheduled for release in the spring of 2021 through Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records. The first single, Distance, was released on November 16th and can be heard here. He wrote the song while his late father, legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen, battled cancer.

Last week, he confirmed that he asked his father for permission to use the moniker Mammoth with his own initials for his solo project. which is a homage to Eddie and Alex Van Halen, whose band was called Mammoth when singer David Lee Roth first joined it in 1974.

“Yeah, I was a little nervous to ask him, but I wanted his permission,” Wolfgang admitted in a new interview with Elliot In The Morning. “Not that I needed it, but I wanted it. And I kind of asked him. I was, like, ‘Hey, pop, is that cool if I use Mammoth?’ He was, like, ‘Absolutely. That’s awesome.’ He was super stoked about it. ‘Why would you be worried about asking me?’ [But] I’m a naturally anxious person, so I don’t know why [I just felt like I wanted to ask him]. That’s just kind of how I felt.”

When asked if the rest of Mammoth WVH’s CD will be musically similar to DistanceWolfgang told Elliot In The Morning, “Well, Distance, within itself, is kind of a standalone single; it’s not actually gonna be on the album. I wanted this to kind of be a separate release just for dad. But next year, when the album comes out, I think a lot of people will see that while Distance might be an outlier in terms of the core sound, that flavor can definitely be heard. But I think what’s fun about about the album is there’s kind of something for everybody on it; there’s all different kinds of sounds. But it’s not haphazard in its diverseness of different songs; it’s kind of all collective and it feels right. I guess everyone will just have to see when the album is out.”

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KISS SCHEDULE VIRTUAL SHOW “KISS 2020 GOODBYE” ON NEW YEAR’S EVE

KISS will perform a virtual KISS 2020 Goodbye concert on New Year’s Eve.

To send off 2020 in their larger-than-life style on New Year’s Eve, KISS, the iconic Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, multi-platinum-selling band is reigniting the fire and roaring back to life. In true KISS fashion, they are bringing the biggest and baddest concert event and pyrotechnics show of the year, proving once again, that KISS never does anything small. The massive stage production and free pre-show will be brought directly into your living room at 9 p.m. live from Atlantis Dubai on December 31st.

Filmed with more than 50 cameras and 360-degree views, this show produced by Landmarks can be seen globally with ticketing technology and livestream powered by TIXR and experienced like no other virtual concert before. You’re invited to spend New Year’s Eve with the band as they rock out of 2020 and roll into 2021…all night.

Frankly, I wasn’t interested in doing a stream on the level of Live at the Troubadour in L.A.,” frontman Paul Stanley tells Rolling Stone. “Not that those aren’t good, but they aren’t KISS. Either we do this right, or we don’t do it. For us, size matters. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel; we invented it and it runs real well. We’re just making sure it’s on a scale and a size that does justice not only to the situation we’re in, but that it makes the people watching at home feel like they’re a part of it.”

Gene Simmons states, “We play big. There’s not a lot of subtlety in what we do. It’s like the Fourth of July. You don’t want chaos. You can have the biggest, but it won’t be the baddest because just random explosions everywhere and 300-foot fireballs going off, you can’t tap your foot to that or sing along. You want to have something that has coordination. So everything that we’re naturally doing onstage is going to be amplified — 10-to-100-fold bigger, oh my God.”

“The best way to shut everybody up and get everybody to enjoy life right now is to make a big resounding noise and shake the heavens with some pyro,” he adds.

Tickets to the event can be purchased at Kiss2020Goodbye.com, with prices starting at $49.99 and gong all the way up to $999 for a bundle that includes 14 “exclusive and limited edition items,” including a Blu-ray of the concert.

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