Local Current Blog

Music News: Brian Johnson not leaving AC/DC, though he has to stop touring

Brian Johnson performs with AC/DC in February at the Xcel Energy Center (Bridget Bennett/MPR)

Brian Johnson, the lead vocalist of AC/DC, says that it was “the darkest day of my professional life” when his doctors told him that his past and potential hearing loss made it imperative that he stop touring with his band. He’s been replaced by Axl Rose for the remainder of the band’s current tour, but Johnson promises he’s “not retiring. My doctors have told me that I can continue to record in studios and I intend to do that.” (Billboard)

Today’s streaming angst

Spotify takes a lot of heat, but there’s another major player in the free-streaming game — and it’s “the devil,” says Peter Mensch, who manages MetallicaRed Hot Chili Peppers, and Muse. “We don’t get paid at all,” says Mensch in a new BBC documentary about online music. “If someone doesn’t do something about YouTube, we’re screwed. It’s over. Someone turn off the lights.” (Rolling Stone)

Paying tribute to Merle

Merle Haggard biopic is headed to movie screens, with a screenplay already complete. The script, titled Done It All, was written by Cliff Hollingsworth (Cinderella Man). Production “will reportedly be underway soon,” according to Rolling Stone.

Tom Waits has paid tribute to Haggard in a short essay penned for Rolling Stone. “Merle Haggard’s songs and his voice are golden,” writes Waits. “Their particular poetry can only be born out of hard times lived and then remembered.”

Today’s outrageous Billy Corgan statement

In an interview with conspiracy theorist Alex JonesBilly Corgan likened “this hashtag generation” of online social-justice activists to a cult. He remembered growing up in Chicago in the 1970s, “at the time when they let the KKK march down the street, and what was the big issue? It was a free speech issue. We don’t like it. They’re thumbing in our nose but, you know what, it’s better to have an America where these idiots get to walk down the street and spout their hate.” (Pitchfork)

Nina Simone collaborator defends biopic

Nina Simone bandleader Al Schackman has defended Zoe Saldana’s performance in the upcoming biopic Nina. “It’s very unfair,” he said. “Her portrayal is studied and very sensitive. And there are moments when she really captured Nina, especially her anger. Zoe did a very good job and I don’t think there’s anyone who could have done better.” The film has come under fire for the casting of Saldana, who is lighter-skinned than Simone was. (Pitchfork)

Digable Planets to start spinning again

Digable Planets have announced a nine-date reunion tour for this summer. The group originally broke up in 1995, then played together off and on again between 2005 and 2011, then reunited again for a New Year’s show in Seattle. (Rolling Stone)

Ronnie praises Adele

Adele’s earned plenty of praise, but this tribute must feel especially meaningful: kind words from rock legend Ronnie Spector. “I love Adele because she’s like me,” says Spector. “She doesn’t have any dancers; she may have the background singing, but she’s like Ruth Brown. She’s heavyset; she doesn’t care. Yet all of her shows were sold out at Madison Square Garden and the audience wasn’t just teenyboppers. A lot of people don’t want to see a circus. They don’t want to see lip-syncing, they want to see real.” (Rolling Stone)

New Chris Collingwood project

Fountains of Wayne frontman Chris Collingwood has shared a new track from his solo debut under the name Look Park. “Aeroplane” is the lead single from Look Park’s self-titled album, due out July 22. (Stereogum)

Kanye’s raps went down the toilet

In a clip from a forthcoming episode of Khloé Kardashian’s talk show, Kanye West explains that his progress on Life of Pablo was slowed when his daughter North West flushed a phone with his vocal tracks down the toilet. “No Apple Genius was genius enough” to retrieve the data, says Kanye. (Billboard)