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ABC - Alternative Rock News

Watch Les Claypool teach Geddy Lee to excavate in clip from 'Are Bass Players Human Too?'


In the upcoming docuseries Are Bass Players Human Too?, Rush's Geddy Lee interviews fellow bassists about their lives outside playing the four-string. That apparently includes learning how to operate heavy machinery from Primus' Les Claypool. has premiered a clip from the show, in which Claypool introduces Lee to his own personal excavator.

"I come from a long line of auto mechanics," Claypool shares. "My dad was a mechanic, my grandpa was a mechanic, my uncles were mechanics. I just like cool machinery."

"I'm trying to show the world that a bass player can do many things," Lee remarks. "This, I didn't expect, I have to admit."

Are Bass Players Human Too? premieres Tuesday, December 5, on Paramount+. Other guests include Nirvana's Krist Novoselic, Metallica's Robert Trujillo and Hole's Melissa Auf der Maur.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Interpol, Blondie, Dreamcar playing 2024 Cruel World festival

Burak Cingi/Redferns

Interpol, Blondie and the AFI/No Doubt collaborative band Dreamcar are playing the 2024 Cruel World festival, taking place May 11 in Pasadena, California.

As with past years, the lineup is mostly focused on bands from or influenced by the '80s alternative and new wave scene. Others on the 2024 bill include Simple Minds, Placebo, Soft Cell, Adam Ant, Ministry, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Gary Numan and The Alarm, as well as headliner Duran Duran.

For Dreamcar, which includes AFI frontman Davey Havok and No Doubt members Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont and Adrian Young, Cruel World will mark their first announced show since 2017.

Registration is open now for access to tickets, which go on sale Friday, December 8, at noon PT. For the full lineup and all ticket info, visit

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Releases by Linkin Park, Noah Kahan among bestsellers for Record Store Day Black Friday

Warner Records

Releases by Linkin Park and Noah Kahan were among the bestselling pieces during the 2023 Record Store Day Black Friday event, which took place November 24.

The "Dial Drunk" artist's Cape Elizabeth EP is #2 on the ranking, while the "Numb" outfit's Lost Demos compilation followed at #3.

Other releases that made the top 10 include U2's Under A Blood Red Sky reissue at #6. Olivia Rodrigo's GUTS: the secret tracks was #1.

Additionally, Kahan, LP and U2 were all among the top-10 selling artists reported by independent record stores during Record Store Day Black Friday.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

U2 announces final four 'U2: UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere' dates

Courtesy of Live Nation

U2 is giving fans yet another chance to see them live in Las Vegas.

The Irish rockers just announced the final four dates for their Vegas residency, U2: UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere, at The Venetian. 

The dates are scheduled for February 23 and 24, and March 1 and 2, with a fan club ticket presale open from now until Tuesday, December 5, at 10 p.m. PT. The general onsale kicks off Friday, December 8, at 11 a.m. PT. 

U2 launched U2: UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere back in September, becoming the first artists to play the state of the art venue. Their next show is happening Wednesday, December 6. A complete list of dates can be found at

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Michael Stipe opens up about his long-in-the-works solo album

Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

R.E.M. fans have been anxiously awaiting a solo album from the band’s frontman, Michael Stipe, and it sounds like it may be on its way…eventually.

In a new interview with The New York Times, conducted over the course of a year, Stipe gives an update on the  project, which appears to still be a work-in-progress.

The article mentions several songs that Stipe had been working on, with names like “I’m the Charge" and “Time Keeps Changing,” as well as a duet with Courtney Love for an upcoming project. 

It also describes a recording session at Electric Lady Studios in New York, where he met Taylor Swift and chatted with her producer Jack Antonoff and The 1975's Matty Healy.

As for what's taking the record so long, the article notes that Stipe's life simply got in the way. He also dealt with what he describes as “terrible writer’s block” but said he “completely flourished as a writer after that.”

And while Stipe hasn’t narrowed down when fans may hear the music, he did at least offer some sort of update on the project.

“We can say for the piece that I finished the songs, and by God, I will finish them before the piece comes out,” he says, referring to the article. “How about that? Let’s leave the piece closing with: I finished the songs.”

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

boygenius honored by Joan Baez, St. Vincent pays tribute to Olivia Rodrigo at 'Variety' Hitmakers event

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Variety held its 2023 Hitmakers event on Saturday, December 2, during which boygenius was honored with the Group of the Year award. The "Not Strong Enough" trio was introduced at the ceremony by folk legend Joan Baez.

"I believe that the songs of these three women speak to the delicacy of the human condition," Baez said of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus. "And they are in a sense trailblazers, not just with their music and its uniqueness, but in their willingness to speak out for people who are marginalized, and in fact ostracized and persecuted in this society."

"I was brought up listening to and singing harmonies, and I've heard a lot of them in my day," Baez added. "I have seldom heard harmonies as true and as f****** angelic as yours. It's just a glory to listen to."

During boygenius' speech, Baker apologized for getting "a little emotional" due to Baez's remarks.

"Joan Baez is telling us that we mean something to her personally," Baker said. "You're a living legend and to hear you speak so highly of us is derailing my mind completely."

Meanwhile, St. Vincent also took the stage in honor of Olivia Rodrigo, who was named Storyteller of the Year.

In her speech, St. Vincent referred to Rodrigo as a "precious baby angel muffin, but if a precious baby angel muffin were also tough as nails and cool as hell."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Funeral arrangements announced for Shane MacGowan as U2 pays tribute at Las Vegas residency

Andrew Benge/Redferns via Getty Images

Music fans will be able to say their final goodbyes to the late Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan later this week.

RTE reports that a funeral for MacGowan will be held Friday, December 8, in Tipperary, Ireland, with the mass at St. Mary's of the Rosary Church in Nenagh, which will be open to the public.  

There had been plans for a procession from Dublin, but that is reportedly no longer happening.

MacGowan passed away November 30 at the age of 65. His wife, Victoria Mary Clarke, told The New York Times that he died from pneumonia, although he had also been battling viral encephalitis at the time of his death.

“He wasn’t ready to give up,” Clarke told RTE. “He wasn’t ready to stop fighting – but his body did it for him.”

Meanwhile, U2 paid tribute to MacGowan during the Friday, December 1, show of their Las Vegas residency, U2: UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere.

Fan-shot footage posted to YouTube shows the Irish rockers performing the Pogues classic “A Rainy Night in Soho” for the Vegas crowd. 

The band had previously paid tribute to MacGowan on social media, writing, “Shane MacGowan’s songs were perfect so he or we his fans didn't have to be."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Red Hot Chili Peppers announce 2024 Unlimited Love tour dates


Red Hot Chili Peppers are keeping the love going into 2024.

The "Under the Bridge" outfit has announced another U.S. leg of their Unlimited Love tour, running from May 28 in Ridgefield, Washington, to July 30 in St. Louis. Kid Cudi and Ice Cube are among the openers on select dates.

Tickets go on sale Friday, December 8, at 10 a.m. local time, with various presales throughout the week. For the full list of dates and all ticket info, visit

The Unlimited Love tour supports RHCP's two 2022 albums, Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen, which marked their first records with guitarist John Frusciante since 2006's Stadium Arcadium.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Billie Eilish addresses coming out: "Why can't we just exist?"

Frazer Harrison/Variety via Getty Images

At Variety’s Hitmakers event on Saturday, Billie Eilish was asked about coming out in Variety’s recent Power of Women cover story.

The singer, who previously told the publication she was “attracted to” women, said she didn’t intend for the cover story to be any kind of big reveal.

“No, I didn’t,” she told Variety. “But I kind of thought, ‘Wasn’t it obvious?’ I didn’t realize people didn’t know. I just don’t really believe in [officially coming out]. I’m just like, ‘Why can’t we just exist?' I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I just didn’t talk about it. Whoops.”

She continued, “But I saw the article, and I was like, ‘Oh I guess I came out today.’ O.K., cool. It’s exciting to me because I guess people didn’t know, but it’s cool that they know.”

Billie admitted she’s still nervous to talk about it, but added, “I am for the girls.”

On Sunday night, however, Billie took to Instagram to express displeasure at Variety's line of questioning, writing, "thanks variety for my award and for also outing me on a red carpet at 11 am instead of talking about anything else that matters i like boys and girls leave me alone about it please literally who cares stream 'what was i made for.'"

In the November Variety story, Billie said she's always felt that other women don't like her, despite the fact that she likes them. "I’ve never really felt like I could relate to girls very well,” she said. “I love them so much. I love them as people. I’m attracted to them as people. I’m attracted to them for real.”

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

This "Symptom" lyric reminds Shinedown's Brent Smith of "when I fell in love for the first time"

Atlantic Records

Shinedown's current single, "A Symptom of Being Human," begins with the lyric "I can still remember me and Miss November Rain," a reference to the Guns N' Roses song. Speaking with ABC Audio, frontman Brent Smith shares that the line came about during a writing session he had with bassist Eric Bass.

"We were kind of trading lines back and forth," Smith recalls. "I don't remember which one of us came up with the 'November Rain' line, but it just, I don't know, it kinda put me back into that era when I was a kid and when I was growing up."

Smith makes a similar kind of reference in the 2018 Shinedown hit "GET UP," in which he sings, "Everybody wants to sing their song/ So, Marvin Gaye, 'What's Going On?'" Perhaps not coincidentally, both "Symptom" and "GET UP" deal with mental health.

"It was just something for me which was very real," Smith says of the "November Rain" lyric. "It took me back to a place in time with my own symptoms of being human, and it was just something very naturally that was said."

"It reminded me of, like, my youth, and, like, when I fell in love for the first time," he continues. "That song was on the radio that summer. I think it was more nostalgia than anything."

Shinedown recently performed an acoustic rendition of "Symptom" as part of a performance special called The Library Sessions. The video is raising money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

If you are in crisis or know someone in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. 

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Bruce Springsteen pays tribute to late Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan

Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Bruce Springsteen has paid tribute to the late Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan, who passed away November 30 at the age of 65.

“Over here on E Street, we are heartbroken over the death of Shane MacGowan,” reads Springsteen's Instagram post. “Shane was one of my all-time favorite writers. The passion and deep intensity of his music and lyrics is unmatched by all but the very best in the rock and roll canon.”

Springsteen then recalled visiting Shane and his wife, Victoria, when he was playing shows in Dublin last May. 

“He was very ill, but still beautifully present in his heart and spirit,” Springsteen writes. “His music is timeless and eternal. I don’t know about the rest of us, but they’ll be singing Shane’s songs 100 years from now.”

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Palaye Royale shares new song "Dead to Me" off upcoming 'Sextape' EP

Sumerian Records

Palaye Royale has shared a new song called "Dead to Me."

The track is one of five fresh tunes included on an upcoming EP called Sextape, which is due out December 8. You can listen to "Dead to Me" now via digital outlets.

Sextape follows Palaye Royale's 2022 album, Fever Dream. They also just put out a cover of The Smashing Pumpkins' "Bullet with Butterfly Wings."

Here's the Sextape track list:

"Dead to Me"
"Season of the Witch"

(Video contains uncensored profanity.) 

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Morrissey announces 20th anniversary 'You Are the Quarry' shows


Morrissey has announced a pair of 2024 concerts celebrating the 20th anniversary of his 2004 solo album, You Are the Quarry.

The shows will be held January 26 in Anaheim, California, and January 27 in Los Angeles. She Wants Revenge will also be on the bill.

Tickets go on sale Friday, December 8, at 10 a.m. PT via Ticketmaster.

You Are the Quarry is Morrissey's seventh solo record and remains tied for his highest-charting album on the Billboard 200. It spawned the single "Irish Blood, English Heart."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

The Killers announce Rebel Diamonds UK & Ireland tour

Island Records

The Killers have announced the first dates of the Rebel Diamonds tour, named after the band's upcoming greatest hits compilation.

So far, the 2024 outing only includes dates in the U.K. and Ireland, making stops in Dublin, Glasgow, Manchester and London in June and July.

"It's only right that we give first dibs to the land that gave us our first big shot at doing what we do!" the "Mr. Brightside" outfit says.

Tickets go on sale Friday, December 8. You can get access to a presale by preordering Rebel Diamonds through The Killers' web store.

Rebel Diamonds will be released December 8. It includes 20 songs from throughout the band's career.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Keane releases new song "Love Actually," originally written for rom-com

Island Records

Keane has unearthed a previously unreleased song called "Love Actually."

As you might've guessed, the track was originally written for the hit 2003 romantic comedy of the same name. A then-unsigned Keane had recorded the song at the suggestion of their friend and manager, who was working for a Love Actually producer. At the time, they felt that getting the song into the movie would be their "big break."

"Needless to say it didn't turn out that way, but [writer/director] Richard [Curtis] always very graciously said he loved the song and wished he'd put it in the film," says keyboardist Tim Rice-Oxley. "We all loved the song too, but having called it 'Love Actually,' it was very hard to do anything with it!"

"In fact, for 20 years whenever I've played a new demo to my mum, her response has usually been 'Hmm…when are you going to record "Love Actually"?'" he continues. "Well, the film Love Actually is 20 years old now, which at last gives us a perfect reason to record our song properly."

You can listen to Keane's "Love Actually" now via digital outlets.

Keane will be celebrating their own 20th anniversary on tour in 2024, which will mark two decades since the release of their 2004 debut album, Hopes and Fears. The U.S. leg will launch in September.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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