The Game has been arraigned and charged with a misdemeanor count of assault and battery and one felony count of making criminal threats following a March 29th incident where the rapper allegedly got into an altercation with an off-duty police officer during a basketball game. The Game will make his first court appearance in the case Monday at Los Angeles’ Foltz Criminal Justice Center. The rapper faces up to three years in prison, if convicted.
Prosecutors claim that during the game at Hollywood High School, the rapper born Jayceon Taylor committed a hard foul on the unnamed police officer. Soon after, the Game approached the officer, “struck him and later threatened to kill him,” the Los Angeles Country District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. The Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollywood Division is investigating the case.
Earlier this month, an arrest warrant was issued for the Game stemming from the March 29th incident. During the altercation, the Game reportedly told the officer, “I’m going to kill you” before punching the officer in the face. The Game later claimed that he was under the impression that the police officer had a firearm in his bag and that he only punched the officer after that person first squared up to fight, MTV reports.
According to TMZ, the police officer injured in the fight later sued the rapper, claiming he suffered from brain damage. When a process server and photographer delivered the lawsuit to the Game in April, the rapper then allegedly attacked the photographer, resulting in another police report that claimed battery.
Earlier this year, Thomas Rhett talked to Rolling StoneCountry about how his affection for soul music was shaping his new album. On September 25th, fans will hear just how funky Rhett has become when he releases Tangled Up. The follow-up to 2013′s It Goes Like This, his second LP features the current hit single “Crash and Burn.”
During an impromptu March listening session with reporters, Rhett played a number of tracks in contention for Tangled Up, including the song he’s been using to open his shows, “South Side.”
“I’ve definitely been delving into that kind of music,” he said then of RB and, especially, Bruno Mars. “Bruno has always been one of my idols, if you will. I’ve caught myself watching a bunch of YouTube videos late at night, just watching his stage presence and how he handles a crowd and moves around and works it. . . Yeah, you can call it Country Bruno, or whatever you want to call it.”
Set for release on the Valory Music Co. label, under the Big Machine Label Group umbrella, Tangled Up has been two years in the making, Rhett said in a statement, and draws on all genres, not just RB.
“The title Tangled Up comes from a lyric in one of the new songs, and I think it’s a cool way to point to all the different influences that I have as an artist and a songwriter — from soul and RB to old school country to rock and everything in between,” he said.
Rhett is currently on the road with Florida Georgia Line, and is also opening select stadium dates for Luke Bryan. In the fall, he’ll join Brett Eldredge in co-headlining the CMT on Tour trek, dubbed the Suits Boots Tour.
The singer is also enlisting fans in launching Tangled Up, giving them the opportunity to vote on the album’s cover art in a poll on his website.
After premiering “Finna Get Loose” onstage during Sunday’s BET Awards, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs has released an official version of the hypnotic single. “Loose” finds the Bad Boy Entertainment mogul trading rhymes with Pharrell over throbbing synth-bass, skittering programmed drums and chanted backing vocals layered into a choir.
Combs also tweeted an in-studio clip of the duo working on “Loose,” promising that the track will “debut” Tuesday via Apple Music. “I wanna snatch them out they fuckin’ sleep with some shit, with some tones they ain’t never hear!” an impassioned Combs says in the clip.
The BET performance was special for the performer, who reunited with a dozen of his label’s most popular artists – including Mase, Lil Kim and Jadakiss – for a 10-minute medley of iconic tracks like “Mo Money, Mo Problems,” “All About the Benjamins” and “Hypnotize.” The night of celebration, which featured a tribute to the late, great Notorious B.I.G., took a momentarily awkward turn when Combs fell into a hole on a platform leading to the stage.
Combs’ most recent album, 2010′s Last Train to Paris, was issued under the name Diddy. But the rapper-entrepreneur switched back to his original moniker, Puff Daddy, last year for “Big Homie” (featuring Rick Ross and French Montana) and “I Want the Love” (featuring Meek Mill), both singles from his upcoming LP, reportedly titled MMM. Last month on his Instagram, Combs posted a picture of Michael Jordan and announced the album’s release date as June 29th, though he has yet issue a statement about the album or its track list.
Chris Squire, the co-founder and longtime bassist of prog rock icons Yes and the only member of the group to feature on every studio album, has passed away just over a month after revealing that he was suffering from a rare form of leukemia. Squire was 67. Current Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes first tweeted the news, “Utterly devastated beyond words to have to report the sad news of the passing of my dear friend, bandmate and inspiration Chris Squire.”
Yes confirmed Squire’s death on their official Facebook page. “It’s with the heaviest of hearts and unbearable sadness that we must inform you of the passing of our dear friend and Yes co-founder, Chris Squire. Chris peacefully passed away last night in Phoenix Arizona, in the arms of his loving wife Scotty,” the band wrote in a statement.
“For the entirety of Yes’ existence, Chris was the band’s linchpin and, in so many ways, the glue that held it together over all these years. Because of his phenomenal bass-playing prowess, Chris influenced countless bassists around the world, including many of today’s well-known artists. Chris was also a fantastic songwriter, having written and co-written much of Yes’ most endearing music, as well as his solo album, Fish Out of Water.”
Yes formed in 1968 after singer Jon Anderson met self-taught bassist Squire at a London music-industry bar; the pair were soon joined by guitarist Peter Banks, keyboardist Tony Kaye, and drummer Bill Bruford. Yes released their self-titled debut in 1969. However, it wasn’t until Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman replaced Banks and Kaye, respectively, that the prog rock group really hit it big with 1971′s The Yes Album and Fragile.
Over the ensuing decades, Yes would see a parade of band members depart, enter and reenter, but Squire was the lone constant in the shape-shifting band, serving as their bassist for nearly 50 years. Squire is also credited as a co-writer on many of Yes’ greatest cuts, including “I’ve Seen All Good People,” “Starship Trooper,” “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” “Yours Is No Disgrace” and “Heart of the Sunrise.”
In addition to his work with Yes, Squire was involved in other side and solo projects. His 1975 solo LP Fish Out of Water is revered among prog fans. Squire also teamed with Yes part-time guitarist Billy Sherwood for their Conspiracy project in 2000 and, more recently, formed Squackett with Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. Yes’ current incarnation featured singer Jon Davison, and as Squire told Rolling Stone, the vocalist was hired based on a recommendation from Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins.
In May, Squire revealed that he was recently diagnosed with acute erythroid leukemia, which would force him to miss the band’s summer co-headlining tour with Toto. The absence marked the first time in the band’s history that Yes performed without their longtime bassist.
“This will be the first time since the band formed in 1968 that Yes will have performed live without me,” Squire said in a statement. “But the other guys and myself have agreed that Billy Sherwood will do an excellent job of covering my parts and the show as a whole will deliver the same Yes experience that our fans have come to expect over the years.”
In February 2013, Rolling Stone spoke to Squire about Yes’ legacy and the fact that Rush, but not Yes, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Logistically, it’s probably difficult for whoever the committee is to bring in Yes,” Squire said. “Rush is fairly simple. It’s the same three guys and always has been. They deserve to be there, no doubt about that. But there still seems to be a certain bias towards early-Seventies prog rock bands like Yes and King Crimson… In our case, we’re on our 18th member. If we ever do get inducted, it would be only fair to have all the members, old and new. So that may be a problem for the committee. I don’t know.”
As promised, N.W.A staged a semi-reunion at Los Angeles’ BET Experience Saturday night as Ice Cube performed alongside MC Ren and DJ Yella for the first time in over 25 years.
Sandwiched between a mini-set of Ice Cube solo cuts (“Check Yo Self,” “You Can Do It” and “It Was a Good Day”), the N.W.A trio performed four of their tracks, including “8 Ball,” “Straight Outta Compton,” the 1999 reunion cut ”Chin Check” and “Fuck tha Police.” The trio also paid homage to the late Eazy E by referencing “Boyz-N-The-Hood” and “Foe Tha Love of $,” Billboard reports.
The BET Experience concert at the Staples Center also featured performances by Snoop Dogg (who made a cameo during “Chin Check”), Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock. Despite the presence of many of Dr. Dre’s former band mates and protégés, The Chronic rapper himself did not partake in the N.W.A reunion.
As Ice Cube told Rolling Stone recently, the Predator rapper hadn’t appeared onstage with DJ Yella since 1989 and last performed with MC Ren during their Up in Smoke Tour in 2000. “It was real cool to be onstage with him again, but that’s still been 15 years ago,” Ice Cube said. “So it’s real cool to get up there and with the excitement around Straight Outta Compton, the movie. I think people are going to just be extra excited to get a glimpse of us.”
Ice Cube also expressed doubts that Dr. Dre would show up for the reunion. “You never know. It’s like, I hope he blesses us with his presence,” Ice Cube said. “But if not, I’ve been rockin’ for a long time without anybody. So whoever shows up, I’m still gonna rock. Whoever don’t show up, we still gonna rock.”
Ice Cube reunited N.W.A to celebrate the upcoming release of the group’s big screen biopic Straight Outta Compton. That film, which features Ice Cube’s son O’Shea Jackson, Jr. portraying his father, arrives in theatres on August 14th.
Ashley Campbell, the daughter of pop-country icon Glen Campbell, will release her debut single to radio and iTunes on Monday, June 29th. The poignant “Remembering,” which she co-wrote, will be released on Dot Records, the revitalized imprint that’s part of the Big Machine Label Group.
A longtime member of her famous father’s touring band, which also included her brothers Shannon and Cal, the multi-instrumentalist accompanied her dad both on and offstage during the entertainer’s Goodbye Tour after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011.
“I wrote it with my good friend, Kai Welch,” Campbell tells Rolling Stone Country of the heartbreakingly honest tune. “I came up with the idea and the melody when I was living with my mom and dad in Malibu a couple of years ago. I wanted to write something that expressed to my dad how much I wanted him to feel safe. . . that he didn’t have to worry; I’ll take care of him when he can’t take care of himself. When you’re little, your parents take care of you and make the world not such a scary place. As you get older, those relationships change and kind of swap places. The kids are the ones taking care of the parents and making sure the world’s not a scary place for them.”
The new single is a slightly more uptempo version of the song that was first introduced in Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me, the Oscar-nominated documentary about the Country Music Hall of Fame member’s pioneering career and his personal battle with Alzheimer’s.
The release of “Remembering” follows the television debut of I’ll Be Me via CNN Films, in partnership with Eli Lilly and Co.. The film will be presented with limited commercial interruptions this Sunday, June 28th, at at 9:00 p.m. ET on CNN.
Ashley is currently in the studio recording more new music with Grammy-winning producer Julian Raymond, the co-writer (with Glen Campbell) of the Academy Award-nominated (and Grammy-winning) “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” the superstar performer’s final recording, which was featured in Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me.
Beyoncé and the Weeknd will headline the lineup for Jay Z’s fourth annual Budweiser Made in America festival, which will return to Philadelphia the Labor Day weekend of September 5th. Also on board to perform at the fest are J. Cole, De La Soul, Axwell Ingrosso, Nick Jonas, Bassnectar, Big Sean, Earl Sweatshirt, Meek Mill, Banks, Vic Mensa, Santigold and more. A ticket pre-sale for the festival starts June 25th at 10 a.m. EST at the Made in America site.
As Philly.com notes, this is the first year that the Made in America fest doesn’t have a rock act in a headlining slot. While all genres of music are represented, the 2015 lineup leans heavily on hip-hop and RB. However, plenty of rockers will still take the stage at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, including Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, Metric, Waxahatchee and Strands of Oak.
The Made in America performance marks Beyoncé’s second time headlining her husband’s festival; she previously appeared at the 2013 fest. Other acts performing at the 2015 fest are A-Trak, Action Bronson, Fabolous, DJ Mustard, G-Eazy, Flatbush Zombies, Duke Dumont, Halsey and Ryan Hemsworth. Check out the Made in America site for the complete lineup.
After two years in Philadelphia, the Made in America festival went bi-coastal in 2014, adding a Los Angeles event for the same weekend as the annual Philly get-together. However, the fest failed to have a similar impact on the West Coast as it does in the East and plans for a follow-up MIA LA fest were scrapped earlier this month.
When Darius Rucker is onstage, his mind sometimes wanders back to those heady Nineties days when bands like Hootie the Blowfish and the Black Crowes ruled the earth. The Crowes, in fact, were Rucker’s inspiration when writing some of Hootie’s biggest hits and remain a motivator even today.
“Everything that I do on stage comes from seeing the Black Crowes in ’95 in Charlotte. For ‘Let Her Cry,’ I was just trying to write ‘She Talks to Angels,’” he tells Rolling Stone Country. Seated on the front bench of his bus in late May, while a Clint Eastwood Western plays on the flatscreen TV, Rucker is in Camden, New Jersey, headlining Philadelphia radio station WXTU’s annual anniversary concert. Yet he can’t stop talking about the Robinson brothers’ rootsy and unfortunately now defunct group.
“That band was very important to me,” he continues. “I’m a big Black Crowes guy. I think they are one of America’s greatest rock roll bands ever.”
So much so that when it came time to record the title track to his fourth solo country album, Southern Style, Rucker and producer Frank Rogers reached out to the Crowes’ Rich Robinson to play guitar. Robinson obliged, and, in the album’s liner notes, Rucker thanks the guitarist for “hearing something different.”
“Southern Style” is now the LP’s second single, and despite its regionally specific title, has been warmly received on the northeast dates of Rucker’s tour, including this stop in Philly.
“It’s not just a Southern sound. I’m sure there’s a lot of people that live in Pennsylvania and listen to country music and consider that they live in kind of a Southern style. People are taking it that way instead of as a song about living in the South,” he says.
Which Rucker himself does. A Charleston, South Carolina, native, the singer was rocked by the June 17th shootings at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. While he hasn’t made any official statement, he has tweeted words of support for his fellow citizens — “Incredibly proud of my city for handling this tragedy with love. Thankful to be part of a community that can come together in a time of need,” he wrote on June 19th — and performed an a cappella version of “Amazing Grace” in honor of the victims at a recent tour stop in Texas. For Rucker, his hometown has always informed his music — he titled his second album Charleston, SC 1966.
Southern Style then, and tracks like “Low Country” and the title song, is a love letter to home. It’s also his most hardcore country album to date. The irony that a former rock singer is making some of the more traditional music in the genre isn’t lost on the 49-year-old, who became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2012.
“I just feel like that’s what I should do. That’s what I need to be doing, going country more than anything else. I’m happiest when I’m doing that,” he says, acknowledging that his promise to make such an album gave his label Capitol Records Nashville pause. “They were worried about it, because I told them I’d be country, but everybody’s happy.”
To prepare for the album, Rucker returned to some of his favorite country releases, from Radney Foster’s Del Rio, TX 1959 and Nanci Griffith’s Little Love Affairs to Dwight Yoakam’s guitars Cadillacs Etc., Etc. and Lyle Lovett’s Joshua Judges Ruth.
“I started listening to the records that made me want to make country music again,” he says. “We went into the studio with the mentality of ‘let’s just make a country record,’ and if we have hits, great.”
So far, Team Darius has scored. Debut single “Homegrown Honey,” co-written with Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley, went Number One on the Mediabase country chart, and “Southern Style” is inching toward Billboard‘s country Top 40. Yet Rucker is seemingly more thrilled talking about the successes of his peers, especially female artists. He’s been a longtime champion of Mallary Hope, with whom he duets on Southern Style‘s “Baby I’m Right,” and predicts greatness for vocalist Mickey Guyton. “She’s just so talented and I think she could be getting more recognition than she is,” he says.
Still, he’s baffled by all the discord surrounding the definition of country. As he sees it, all of the artists on his tour — Brett Eldredge, Brothers Osborne and A Thousand Horses — each represent different flavors of the genre.
“I think the people who are sitting in their living room doing those, ‘Let’s take country music back’ blogs and all that stuff, that’s crazy to me,” Rucker says bluntly. “No one’s saying that about rock roll, and no one sounded like the Beatles since 1960. No one says that about RB, and no one sounded like the Commodores since 1970. All of those genres of music are supposed to evolve, but to those people country music is supposed to be Hank Williams Sr. — and that stuff is great and you can have that. But I think the great thing about listening to country radio is you have all different kinds of country music. It’s the pop country music for some guys, it’s the really country [sound], and even that bro country stuff that’s out. It’s just a little bit of everything, and obviously the fans are loving it.”
Later that night, Rucker connects with the crowd of northeast country fans, singing his own solo hits “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” and “Alright,” Hootie gems “Let Her Cry” and “Hold My Hand” (the latter a sing-along with his opening acts), and classic country covers like Jerry Reed’s “East Bound and Down.” It’s that rollicking Smokey and the Bandit theme that brings a smile to his face and, as he notes, the audience loves it.
“That’s what it all comes down to: singing songs that people want to hear,” he sums up, revealing the secret to engaging fans that he learned all those years ago when witnessing the Black Crowes’ magic. “That’s really all it is.”
More than four decades since their formation in 1969, Lynyrd Skynyrd — despite numerous personnel changes and tragedies, including a 1977 plane crash that killed three of its members — still look like a band you don’t want to mess with.
Bassist Johnny Colt, a onetime member of the Black Crowes who joined Skynyrd in 2012, wears a foot-long hunting knife and performs in animal pelts. guitarist Rickey Medlocke, who played with the band for a spell in its formative years before joining full-time in the Nineties, shoots looks onstage that suggest he’d just as soon clobber you as play “What’s Your Name.” (“Who are you?” he growls upon taking a seat for our interview.) And even singer Johnny Van Zant, for all his big smiles and belly laughs, carries a glint of menace in his eye.
Which, on the surface, is perhaps what Brantley Gilbert — with his brass-knuckled microphone, rosary necklace with tiny handguns for beads, and perpetual onstage scowl — most has in common with Skynyrd 2015.
The two acts pair up for the latest episode of CMT Crossroads (airing Saturday night, June 27th, at 10:00 p.m. on CMT), attempting to blend Gilbert’s brand of hard-rock/hip-hop country with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s timeless Southern rock. The results are unexpectedly natural, but that doesn’t shock Van Zant, who helped resurrect the band in 1987 and leads its seemingly unstoppable march today.
“I love seeing artists like him,” he says, seated backstage next to Gilbert, Medlocke and founding guitarist Gary Rossington, prior to the taping at an event space south of Nashville. “He has attitude. He’s like us at 30.”
“He’s for real too,” adds Medlocke, “and you get that vibe from him. We didn’t know what to expect when we got here, but he’s a for-real guy.”
Gilbert shrugs, a little embarrassed by the praise. Despite his genre-bending hits like “Bottoms Up” — which he and Skynyrd tackle for Crossroads — he says he was strongly influenced by the lyrical approach and triple-guitar attack of the Jacksonville, Florida, band.
“I’m a songwriter, so I put a lot of weight and value on words, but this is one of the first bands that showed me a different side of music,” says Gilbert. “I see they’ve got three jamming-ass guitars on stage and we followed suit.”
“Ronnie was real special in his songwriting lyrics. He set the bar high,” says Rossington of Skynyrd’s late lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, Johnny’s older brother. He gestures at Gilbert. “Guys like this, listening to [what Ronnie did], you gotta be good.”
Gilbert, whose current single “One Hell of an Amen” resonated with Skynyrd because of its pro-troops message (“That really hits home,” says Van Zant), received his first taste of “Gimme Three Steps” and “Free Bird” from a childhood mentor who kept his CD changer loaded only with Skynyrd albums. Gilbert says he returned to those records to prepare for the onstage mash-up.
“I got to reeducate myself and got a chance to listen to these songs that I’ve known for so long and hear the small things that you miss on a record. . . [like] a finger sliding on a string,” he says, impressed by the all-in-one-room way Skynyrd recorded during its heyday. “That happened in that room, it wasn’t computer-generated.”
Along with “Bottoms Up,” “Country Must Be Country Wide” and “Kick It in the Sticks,” the Crossroads episode features Gilbert trading verses with Van Zant on Skynyrd staples “Simple Man,” “Sweet Home Alabama” and “What’s Your Name.” (Watch the performance of “What’s Your Name” below.)
Echoing Van Zant, Medlocke says the musical connection between Gilbert and Skynyrd — who welcome Gregg Allman, Randy Houser, Jason Isbell and more for the two-disc CD/DVD set One More for the Fans out next month — is stronger than many might think. In fact, each represents a flavor of today’s country music.
“[Lynyrd Skynyrd] wrote these great songs that have carried over into today and guys like [Brantley] have heard them and been influenced by them. It turns it into the new generation,” he says. “Country has just crossed so many lines now, that Skynyrd falls right into that category.”
“If Lynyrd Skynyrd came out today,” sums up Van Zant, “we’d be in country.”
“You’re a long way away,” declared Pete Townshend as he walked on stage and surveyed the vast crowd stretching into the distance in London’s Hyde Park. “But we will fucking reach you. . .”
Indeed, the fact that last night’s Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time festival sold out 65,000 tickets in advance showed that The Who are still reaching as many people as ever. But, as things currently stand, this gig was the last scheduled hometown show on what has been billed as the Who‘s final major tour. And, while the band is no stranger to “farewell” tours, the show was so steeped in the Who’s storied past that, at times, the feeling of something passing into history was almost inescapable.
After a big screen video showcasing the band’s 50-plus year career, however, the Who started like a band in a hurry. Townshend was already windmilling his arm over his guitar by the time the second chorus of “I Can’t Explain” arrived, singer Roger Daltrey brought an urgent, bluesy feel to “The Seeker” while “Who Are You” sounded as breathless and full of verve as ever.
And if, later on, the band occasionally showed its age – Daltrey starting to dedicate “The Kids Are Alright” to support act Paul Weller, before Townshend stepped in to point out Weller had actually requested “Pictures of Lily” – it was able to laugh it off, safe in the knowledge that plenty of the audience could probably relate to such senior moments. “You’re not the bloody Mods,” quipped Daltrey at one point, as a chant of “We are the Mods!” went up from the crowd, “You’re too old!”
But there was also a large, more youthful contingent watching, keen to experience one of rock roll’s most legendary bands while they still can. Townshend thanked Weller’s work with the Jam for re-igniting interest in the original Mods during the Eighties, but many fans were of an even more recent vintage. “I can sense a lot of people don’t know this music,” said Townshend before an intense version of 1971′s “Bargain.” “But it’s a pleasure to play it to those of you that haven’t heard it before.”
The band still visited a few of the less familiar corners of its catalog, Townshend happily giving potted histories of several songs as he announced them, although he pointedly described “My Generation” as a song “for people of any age, anytime, anywhere.” But it was, inevitably, the band’s best-known anthems that inspired the most rapturous reception; “Pinball Wizard” and a dramatic “Baba O’Riley,” complete with Daltrey harmonica solo, uniting the generations in a huge singalong.
Before a final, earth-shaking “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” Townshend paid tribute to his fallen bandmates, bassist Jon Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon, saying he still missed them “terribly” and reminiscing about the latter giving current Who sticksman Zak Starkey a drum kit when Starkey was just 10 years old. “So, in a way, Zak studied at the feet of… well, I won’t call him the master,” quipped Townshend, in good-natured form all evening. “He studied at the feet of the wanker.”
And, as the last powerchord faded, Daltrey and Townshend thanked the crowd for standing by them. “We didn’t think we’d last until the end of the week,” said Daltrey, saluting the audience, “And here we are, all this time on.”
For how much longer, remains to be seen. For now, the Who headline Glastonbury Festival on Sunday, then begin a run of U.S. dates, starting at San Diego Valley View Casino Center September 14.
“I Can’t Explain” “The Seeker” “Who Are You” “The Kids Are Alright” “Pictures of Lily” “I Can See for Miles” “My Generation” “Behind Blue Eyes” “Bargain” “Join Together” “You Better You Bet” “I’m One” “Love Reign O’er Me” “Eminence Front” “Amazing Journey”/”Sparks” “Pinball Wizard” “See Me, Feel Me”/”Listening to You” “Baba O’Riley” “Won’t Get Fooled Again”