Ex-Rolling Stones Bassist on Releasing New Solo Album at Age 78: "I Thought, 'What the Hell'"

    Proper RecordsFounding Rolling Stone bassist Bill Wyman will turn 79 this October, but despite his advancing age, he's still making new music.  Next month, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer will release his first solo album in 33 years, Back to Basics.

    Wyman admits that he initially wondered if he might be "too old" to put out a new album, but quickly thought the better of it.

    "I thought, 'Every creative artist goes until they drop,'" he tells Rolling Stone.  "Whether they're sculptors, writers, poets or musicians, they just carry on as long as they can.  So then I thought, 'What the hell.'"

    Wyman was inspired to make the record after rediscovering some forgotten demos of songs he felt never got their due.  He decided to revisit those tunes, as well as some other old songs that hadn't made it onto his earlier solo albums, and record updated versions of them.

    Bill explains to Rolling Stone that he used the stripped-down sounds of a number of acclaimed songwriters as inspiration for the album.

    "I wanted it to be inspired a bit like After the Gold Rush by Neil Young, to capture the simplicity of those couple of albums he did around that time," he points out.  "I was also inspired by J.J. Cale, who I had done stuff with in The Rhythm Kings, and Tom Waits and the way he sings."

    Wyman adds that another influence on the new album was 80-yar-old Canadian singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, describing his 1984 tune "Dance Me to the End of Love" as "wonderful."

    Back to Basics also features a number of brand-new compositions that Wyman says he wrote "in my house on a little acoustic guitar."  He notes that since he's not a guitar player, "I usually just mess about on the bottom strings for little guitar licks and riffs."

    Meanwhile, Bill says he has no interest in ever reuniting with The Rolling Stones again.

    "You can't go back and relive something and have it be the same," he insists, while pointing out that he's "still great mates" with his former band mates.

    "We still send each other Christmas and birthday presents as we always did," Wyman reveals, "and sometimes I do gigs with Charlie [Watts] and his band or with Ronnie Wood if he's doing a special."

    Bill says he "loved every minute" of his 31 years in the band, and is "proud of everything we did," but was very ready to retire from The Stones after the three major tours they mounted in 1989 and '90.

    "I thought, 'That's enough for me, there's nowhere else to go,'" he recalls.  "I was happy to move on because there were so many other things that I wanted to do in my life that I had planned to years and years and years before, never expecting as anyone did that the band would last that long."

    Back to Basics will hit stores in the U.K. on June 22.  No U.S. release has been announced yet.

    Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

    Report: Paul McCartney Buys $15.5 Million Apartment in New York City

    Mary McCartney/MPL CommunicationsPaul McCartney is the world's wealthiest rocker so he can afford to buy nice things, like a beautiful new penthouse apartment overlooking New York City's Central Park.  The New York Post reports that the ex-Beatles star and his wife, Nancy Shevell, shelled out $15.5 million for a duplex apartment at 1045 Fifth Ave., not far from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    According to the Street Easy real estate website, the co-op residence boasts wraparound balconies, a living room, library, master bedroom, and master sitting room that all face Central Park above the Jacqueline Onassis Reservoir, plus a formal dining room and "a double height gallery."  The duplex also boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that are 40 feet high.

    The Post reports the building was built in 1967 by late developer Manny Duell, who created the duplex for his wife.  She lived there until her death in 2014.

    McCartney launches a series of European tour dates this weekend with a May 23-24 stand at London's O2 Arena.

    Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

    Billy Joel Accepts Honorary Degree, Tells Students, "If You’re Not Doing What You Love, You’re Just Wasting Your Time”

    Stony Brook UniversityEven people who aren't Billy Joel fans probably know that he's from Long Island, New York, and on Friday, one of that area's top universities presented the Piano Man with an honorary degree at its 55th commencement ceremony.

    Billy received a Doctor of Music degree from Stony Brook University, which has been the recipient of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's generosity over the years: he's donated two pianos to the school, which are worth more than 200 thousand dollars.

    Speaking to the students, Billy said he'd keep his remarks short because "it's Memorial Day weekend and I don't want anyone getting melanoma from sitting out here for too long."  He then told the students, “I hope that by now you have found what it is you love and I hope that you have learned the skills you need to make what you love your life’s work."

    He added, "I wish for you the stamina to continue that work when you encounter resistance and tough times…'cause if you’re not doing what you love, you’re just wasting your time.”

    This degree is far from the first that Billy Joel has received.  He's got a wall full of diplomas from, among others, Syracuse University, the Berklee College of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, Fairfield University and Hofstra University.  Not bad for a guy who never even graduated from high school.  He did eventually receive his diploma, though, 25 years after he ditched school for a life in music.

    Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

    The Who's Roger Daltrey Threatens to Stop Concert if Fan Doesn't Stop Smoking Pot

    Image Courtesy of The WhoA pot-smoking Who fan almost brought the band's concert this week at New York's Nassau Coliseum to a halt when Roger Daltrey complained that the smoke was affecting his voice.  Newsday reports that several songs into the show, Daltrey threatened to walk off the stage if the offending audience member didn't stop smoking.

    In fan-filmed video of the event posted online, the frontman is heard saying, "If you don't put it down, then I'm telling you now, the show will be over.  It's your choice.  I'm doing my best."

    The crowd then begins chanting, "Eat it, eat it," prompting guitarist Pete Townshend to join in.  An animated Townshend then suggests makes an alternate suggestion.  "Stick it up your f**king a**," he declares.  "It's the quickest way. I think it's better than eating it."

    Daltrey gets in on the off-color fun by adding, "And by far the most pleasurable," to which Townshend responds, "That depends."

    Roger has been struggling with voice problems in recent years, and The Who had to postpone three concerts on its current tour earlier this month when he was diagnosed with swollen vocal cords.  According to Newsday, Daltrey suffers from an allergy to marijuana smoke.

    The Who's next concert takes place tonight in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  The band winds down the current North American leg of it's The Who Hits 50! Tour on Saturday, May 30, in Forest Hills, New York.  The British rock legends then will launch a European in June, but will return for another series of North American shows that will kick off September 14 in San Diego.  Check out the band's full tour schedule at TheWho.com.

    Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

    Isley Brothers Box Set Featuring More than 20 of the Band's Albums Due Out in August

    PRNewsFoto/Legacy RecordingsA massive 23-CD box set chronicling The Isley Brothers' evolution from a doo-wop/gospel act to an influential rock 'n' soul band will be released on August 21

    The Isley Brothers: The RCA Victor and T-Neck Album Masters (1959-1983) boasts remastered editions of the 21 albums the group issued on those two labels, as well as a previously unreleased, unabridged version of the 1980 live-in-the-studio album they made at the Bearsville Studios outside of Woodstock, New York.Most of the albums included in the collection are expanded with bonus tracks that have never before been available on CD or digitally. 

    The box set spans from 1959's Shout! through 1983's Between the Sheets.  Among the many memorable songs featured on the retrospective is their early classic "Shout," as well as their hits "It's Your Thing," "That Lady" and "Fight the Power," the last of which comes from the group's chart-topping 1975 album The Heat Is On.  The box set also includes the 1971 compilation In the Beginning, which features tracks The Isleys made in the mid-1960s when Jimi Hendrix was a member of their backing band.

    The Isley Brothers have had an immense influence on modern soul and hip-hop.  Among the artists who have sampled the band's tunes or have cited them as an inspiration are The Notorious B.I.G., R. Kelly, Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean.

    While several of the Isley siblings have passed away, the group remains active today, led by surviving brothers Ronald and Ernie.

    Here is the list of albums featured in The Isley Brothers: The RCA Victor and T-Neck Album Masters (1959-1983) box set:

    Shout! (1959)*
    It's Our Thing (1969)*
    The Brothers: Isley (1969)*
    The Isley Brothers Live at Yankee Stadium (1969)
    Get into Something (1970)*
    In the Beginning...The Isley Brothers & Jimi Hendrix (recorded 1964-1965; remixed/released 1971)*
    Givin' It Back (1971)*
    Brother, Brother, Brother (1972)*
    The Isleys Live (1973)
    3+3 (1973)*
    Live It Up (1974)*
    The Heat Is On (1975)*
    Harvest for the World (1976)*
    Go for Your Guns (1977)*
    Showdown (1978)*
    Winner Takes All (1979) (two CDs)*
    Go All the Way (1980)*
    Wild in Woodstock: The Isley Brothers Live at Bearsville Studios 1980 (previously unreleased)*
    Grand Slam (1981)*
    Inside You (1981)*
    The Real Deal (1982)*
    Between the Sheets (1983)*

    * = includes bonus tracks.

    Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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