Local Current Blog

Music News: Prince surprises Ray Charles tribute in Chanhassen with guest guitar solo

Several Twitter users shared blurry but exciting photos of Prince's surprise appearance

Saturday night, social media lit up when Prince unexpectedly joined a Ray Charles tribute concert led by local rocker Mick Sterling at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Even some members of the band, apparently, didn’t see it coming when Prince stepped onstage to play a guitar solo. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Scottie Miller, a pianist who was playing in the tribute band, wrote on Facebook. “Nobody knew. Totally impromptu…so blown away I almost fell off my piano bench.”

Goodbye to two music greats

Keyboardist Keith Emerson of prog-rock giants Emerson, Lake & Palmer has died of an apparent suicide at age 71. “He was a pioneer and an innovator whose musical genius touched all of us in the worlds of rock, classical and jazz,” wrote bandmate Carl Palmer. (Billboard)

As SXSW kicked off its 30th annual festival on Friday, news broke that one of the festival’s co-founders has died. Louis Meyers helped create the first South by Southwest festival in 1987 and remained with the festival until he sold his share of the event in 1994 and stepped away, saying it had become too stressful. Meyers remained active in the music industry after leaving SXSW, heading up an Austin-based music television channel among other projects. (Billboard)

Jesse Hughes apologizes for Bataclan comments

Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes has apologized for comments that seemed to suggest he believed Bataclan security had foreknowledge of last fall’s terrorist attacks. “I humbly beg forgiveness from the people of France, the staff and security of the Bataclan, my fans, family, friends and anyone else hurt or offended by the absurd accusations I made in my Fox Business Channel interview,” said Hughes in a statement. “I’ve been dealing with non-stop nightmares and struggling through therapy to make sense of this tragedy and insanity. I haven’t been myself since November 13.” (Billboard)

Congrats to Lizzo

It’s official: Lizzo has a major label deal. The local rapper’s first Atlantic Records release is the single “Good as Hell,” from the soundtrack of Barbershop: The Next Cut. (Local Current)

Is it real, or is it Fender?

Fender has announced plans to sell a limited edition of 100 guitars built to precisely replicate the instrument George Harrison played in the sessions for the Beatles‘ album Let It Be. The company had to start by restoring the Telecaster to its original state; it had been extensively modified by a friend Harrison gave it to. The original Telecaster was custom-made in an edition of only two guitars; Fender sent one to Harrison and one to Jimi Hendrix, who died before he was able to play it. (Rolling Stone)

Kendrick tops the charts

Kendrick Lamar has his second number one album in less than a year, as his surprise release Untitled Unmastered debuts atop the Billboard 200. To Pimp a Butterfly, released last March, also went to number one. (Billboard)

Surly to debut outdoor music venue

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros will share a bill with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on May 20 as Surly Brewing debuts a new outdoor music venue at its Minneapolis “destination brewery.” Festival Field has a capacity of about 4,000, making it comparable in size to the Cabooze Outdoor Plaza. (City Pages)

Today’s Minnesota music history fact

On Saturday, R.E.M.’s Out of Time celebrated the 25th anniversary of its release. To commemorate the occasion, Pitchfork published an oral history that included a reminder that part of the album was recorded at Paisley Park. Bassist Mike Mills remembers meeting Prince in a hallway — once — and going to the Graffiti Bridge premiere. “I wish I had taken more pictures,” says guest vocalist Kate Pierson about recording in Chanhassen. (Pitchfork)

Iron Maiden’s plane takes a hit

Iron Maiden are continuing with their world tour despite the fact that their signature 747 has been damaged in a runway accident in Chile. Frontman Bruce Dickinson often flies the plane, but none of the band members were onboard when the accident occurred. The plane was being pulled by a ground tug when part of the tug mechanism failed and the plane ran into the tug, causing two of the tug’s operators to be taken to the hospital with injuries. Fortunately both workers are expected to fully recover, but Ed Force One will require “an extended period of maintenance,” say the band. (Rolling Stone)