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  CURVED AIR: INTERVIEW WITH SONJA KRISTINA WITH TRACK BY TRACK COMMENTARY OF NEW ALBUM 'NORTH STAR'

Liz Medhurst

liz medhurst



curved air

Pioneering prog-rockers Curved Air are back with a new album – their first new studio material since 1976s 'Air Conditioning', and born from the 2008 reunion. 'North Star' has launched itself into orbit with a confidence and maturity that closes the long gap in a heartbeat.

The 14 tracks contain seven new songs, four re-workings of earlier material and three covers, and the result is a wonderfully vibrant, complex and powerful album which has stunning musicianship and powerful themes.

The current line up is iconic vocalist Sonja Kristina, original drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa, with guitarist Kirby Gregory who first joined for 1973s 'Aircut' album. They are joined by violinist Paul Sax, keyboard player Robert Norton and bassist Chris Harris.

Article continues below...



Original guitarist Kit Morgan was part of this line up at first, but left due to ill health before the album started recording.

I spoke to Sonja about the album before their gig at The Stables, Milton Keynes. She radiates both inner and outer beauty and has been described as a Goddess many times over the years. During our conversation it is clear to see the archetypes she holds - the wisdom of Athena; the artistry and knowledge of Sarasvati; the ability to journey and explore other realms like Abeona.

She was generous with her time and we talked about many subjects including the creative process behind the making of the new album, how this incarnation of the band had evolved, and a track by track commentary giving a personal insight into the album.

Since Curved Air reformed in 2008, there had to be a period of settling in and regaining the momentum and assimilating the new band dynamics before the album could be made. Sonja agreed: "The gestation process was quite tempestuous but in the end, the birthing was in great harmony with all of us."

With the band now being without original composers Daryl Way and Francis Monkman, I wondered about the differences in the writing and recording processes, more than just the obvious technological aspects.

"This material was written by contributions from everyone on the band. One individual might have produced a sketch and then we all worked on what was there and added to it. I wrote all the words as I don't like singing other people's words, particularly in my own projects as that's what I'm communicating, it gives it more of a through line, but the melodies often were there in the pieces and the sketches that were brought in.

"Everybody put in ideas on CD and then we got together in my house on Clapham to develop them.

"Everyone is very committed, we decided that we were going to share all the publishing, ideas have come from all of us so everyone got very involved in creating their own parts. I created my vocal lines based on what I had heard, Paul created his violin parts, some of them were written for him by Chris the bass player as he had that melody in mind, themes, so everybody shares the credit.

curved air

"Back in the beginning when I joined, the songs were pretty much written. Being music students, Daryl and Francis would tell everybody what to play and gave me melodies and more often than not with no words, or just a couple of lines so I enjoyed finishing off the words. Some of the lyrics on 'Air Conditioning' I didn't write, things like 'Situations', as they were already written but 'Young Mother' started off as an idea that Daryl had that I didn't like at all so I messed with that until I got something I could feel, and it still works for me now, it's about standing up for yourself.

"As to how the music was first formed, you will have to ask Florian as he was there when it was being created."

Just then, in a marvellous piece of synchronicity, Florian Pilkington-Miksa chose that moment to wander into the room so we asked him.

"Well, Francis was very good at arranging things. They had an idea of what they wanted, but of course we would modify it as we did it. With me and the drums I was learning as I went along so I had to make up a rhythm for each song, which now when I look back it was quite clever of me, but on the other hand it was an advantage because I didn't think shall I do this or that, or shall I prevaricate, I just had freedom to work out each little bit.

"For about a year before Sonia came along we played it for fun over and over and we got better. They were going from being classical to being electric or whatever you want to call it, they were at the Royal College of Music and I knew the basics, and we worked it out".

Florian also referred to the difficult start made by the current band to create the beautifully crafted new album.

"When considering what we and the other individuals went through, the psychological aspect, you wouldn't think anything creative would come out of it with all sorts of other things going on, trying to get it together, but it just goes to show that despite all the various obstacles you might have, in your head or trying to do it, it did turn out all right in the end."

As Florian went off in search of a Diet Pepsi for Sonja, I reflected that it appeared vital for her to make a deep connection with the material, and the result was an album that covered broad issues yet remained intensely personal at the same time.

"That was one of the obstacles of the writing process, first just getting us together, then fighting over the person's original feel, and what is actually possible for the other individuals to feel.

curved air

"I quite often recreate situations in my head when the song is born, or I make it about something similar so I have a focus, a true story that I'm telling, if you're imagining something clearly in your mind then people will pick up on that, they won't see the same picture necessarily they will feel the truth of it and relate in their own way.

"I'm also a great believer of the microcosm being a reflection of the macrocosm, how can you sort out things between countries if you can't sort it out between yourselves?"

The album contains four re-workings from the large back catalogue, and I was interested how these came to be chosen.

"Well we liked to perform them, we changed them round, and they are still relevant today. I didn't actually write the words for 'Situations', they were done by our original bass player but are actually very forward-thinking, written by a young man, about a mature person looking back on their life, having not lived their dream, so it's relevant.

"We thought that the version on 'Young Mother' that we've been doing on stage was done well by Kit, but now we've Kirby-fied it, inspired by his guitar solo. We hadn't captured that one on the 'Live Atmosphere' album and thought that was worth capturing and also the lyrics fit in well with the other songs.

"'Puppets' too was still highly relevant, being about manipulation and reflection on people thinking that they are free but are controlled.

"For this album we wanted to have the element of free playing, and record the album so it sounded live. We recorded it all playing together and then just tidied it up."

Curved Air were never about the disposable three minute song, but were pioneers and visionaries yet their music remained accessible and aligned with the issues of the day. They were there for the birth of Prog although as Sonja says: "Back in the 60s and 70s there wasn't a thing called Prog music, there were only bands. This is something that people have called it but everyone is so different.

"I mean Pink Floyd are not like Gentle Giant, who are not like King Crimson, who are nothing like Genesis, who are nothing like Curved Air - and Curved Air are not really anything like Jefferson Airplane. People like to try and put things into boxes.

"There was a thread going through all music in the late 60s, early 70s, the introduction of Eastern themes and jazz and the long, long solos, and taking things anywhere, and the Grateful Dead thing and the playing with effects and electronica - it was great, like everyone had released a huge toy room, and also amplification was getting louder, with big stacks, so you can be heard for miles therefore big crowds could come."

"I'm a great believer in synchronicity, and it seems that from taking an overview on social development, that when certain ideas are happening in literature they are also happening in art and science, and the thinking and philosophy it's all one thing, politics, the same ideas pop up all over the word and now it's even faster, but even without the internet there was kind of a critical mass when everyone adopts the idea.

"I witnessed that with punk, a little art school scene, people dressed up, sweet nice kids looking frightening like Halloween, then suddenly the press take up on it and talk about safety pins and the Sex Pistols and all of a sudden the clubs are rammed with identikit kids, pogo-ing. The hippy thing too, literally there was something in the air, that travelled round the globe, there is more to life than we see."

This is true, but you still need to have musicians and artists that are skilled, that know what they are doing, it's not enough to pick up on an idea - you have to have the chops to bring it to life.

"Whenever I've chosen a line up, in solo projects, and in the Aircut band I'll go for people who have the strongest voice. I can't play the guitar and improvise, I love to be surrounded by that sort of freedom, of music that can go anywhere, not someone comes and says I know the chords and the song goes like this - it's no,no,no,no, I want people who can hear and just play, make atmospheres.

"Everyone was so inspired by each other - we love Kit's playing and were very sad that he left, but we were so inspired by what Kirby brought, just loved it. Robert said he's the best musician he's ever worked with and he worked with quite a lot of big soul and funk names. Robert does soundscapes with his own music and we used that treatment.

"There was a lot of development work, but they say you reach a plateau where nothing's going to happen and you break through that, that's what you are waiting for. We are all very pleased with the album. After we made it I played it through three times for my own pleasure so that's a good sign."

Sonja and the band are justifiably pleased with what they have created. 'North Star' is full of textures and emotions, from heavy solos to swirling counterpoints and frenzied interactions, and still contains plenty of space and air, all topped off with Sonja's wonderful, dramatic vocals, whose impact has not diminished at all over the decades. It is a triumphant return.

curved air

North Star Track by Track Commentary By Sonja Kristina

Stay Human

'Stay Human' was the first song on the table and the violin and guitar riffs were all there. I wanted to write something about the state of the world, the unrest, the revolution, the feeling of somebody being very angry and how to keep the perspective and not turn into a monster which so often happens in war. I know you're angry but I still love you - that can be applied to relationships too.

I was obsessed with this internet TV station in Benghazi when Mohammed Nabbous, who got killed by a sniper, he was putting out this footage and it was very very graphic, you saw it, people's bodies torn in half, things that had been going on, and they had a chatroom where they were asking for news from the outside as everything was locked down. One felt from the comfort of one's own living room that you were in the middle of their revolution. His favourite saying was "the candle loses nothing lighting other candles", so I used the "the candle loses nothing lighting other flames, as that fitted.

There was another journalist in Israel, Vittorio Arrigoni, working with Palestinians and then he got kidnapped and killed by a Palestinian group, and when he used to write letters to his friends, he always used to say "Stay Human", and there are videos of him doing what he was doing, and he wrote a book called 'Stay Human', so I took these as a homage to those ideas but then also with my ideas of being the angry one, the loving one, these are both valid emotions.

Time Games

The middle verse of this is the hillside where I had this dream and there was this big icy wind, and then all the hillside was black and charred and people were standing like ghosts around a grave. There is civilisation after civilisation, generation after generation, there was one civilisation through history, with great technology way beyond what we know about and something happened to these people, or it, but they were all there for their time and their time was very important to them.

It's our challenge to make the most of our time, it's like 'It Happened Today', which is also about time, but this is about apocalypses and civilisations, and generations. In the blue underworld, it's amazing how much imagery you can get into an idea, this is about the lifetime of emotions and desires, and evil and good.

Puppets (first appeared on Second album)

The puppets are making do and they're practising a dance and every day they have to do this dance, and so it could be God, could be society, whichever way you want you look at it but they believe they are free and they give so much, such dedicated little puppets.

Images And Signs

I have had friendships and love interests which have been conducted mostly by text and email and one has the real time together as well, but the romance is in what you create with your words, your photographs and things, this is just now but as it evolves in the future, you don't have to be close together in the room, you could be out in space, you could be anywhere. Love is a feeling, there's love, romance, caring - a lot of this is done with a kind of poetry between people which is crafted very carefully in the text and email, it's very personal to those two.

Interplay

That was a melody I picked up from Robert and the lyrics got themselves born from that tune and it's about when you are in a relationship, the communication can be very hard, what's the answer? Try and look at it a different way, the remorse can be very strong, we held our heads up, it isn't over until the feelings gone. Those are truths to me, little truths, as whatever it is it's not over while you still feel passion for it, or sadness or anger, it's not finished, you can't let go until it's really run its course, it's not over.

Spider

This originated with the bass player Chris, but includes themes from other people. It's the live overture, the dramatic start to the set and it is spiderish, like a wild creature.

Magnetism

We were playing with the idea of magnetism and attraction. Magnetism in terms of physics, but also about a kind of charisma, and the attraction of, so I put them together in a dream state, this person in attraction, it applies to relationships, you've got in the dust, on the walls in the stains on your palms, in the stains on your cars, and in the stars, in your hips and in your stride, and in the sparkle in your eyes, attractive, attraction, magnetism. It's everything there. You attract and you repel, orbiting between the poles of sub atomic worlds, radiant and full of grace, attractive, attraction, so it's kind of mixing up physics, as we are all just vibrations anyway so why not.

Colder Than A Rose In Snow (first appeared on the solo 'Sonja Kristina' album)

We wanted to do a Christmas song so we turned this it into one. I had a concept for it, from Steve Reich, Music for Mallet Instruments and all that, but it tends to change chords more frequently than the Steve Reich music, which stays in one place. We referred to that as that's where Robert's keyboard line come from, then Kirby's playing very slow notes, and Paul's just playing little answering phrases, a little pattern over the keyboard and they play this beautiful solo in the middle.

It was written by my friend Norma Tager, who was a very special friend just before I met Stewart (Copeland), when I was between relationships and she took me in to live with her family and we started writing together. This was something that she had written and she had a publishing contract with Rondor who had put her together with this guy called Paul Travers, it's very hymnal, it's beautiful the way it goes and her lyrics are kind of crazy too, so it doesn't quite make sense and yet it has a vulnerability about it.

It's about first meetings feeling vulnerable and lost, meeting somebody and they are also troubled and lost and they get caught up in the storms but then we hit the poles together.

Spirits In A Material World (originally by The Police)

We started off with a very good vibe for it, then Kirby came and changed it into what it is now, away from the original reggae theme but then it and went back that way a little bit. It's about society, about spirituality so it fits in with the overall theme.

Old Time News

This is about community, society, someone who's grown up and lived in the same postcode area, and is now living in a flat alone and old, just watching TV and hearing songs in her head when she goes to sleep. She's thinking that all the people grow older. A lot of the baby boomers are getting older, some of them are staying here, some of them are long gone but to me, I've always moved around, it's a strange idea that some people never move around or leave their village.

I used to live in Buckinghamshire for a while in a village and I was amazed that some of the people there had never been to London, only forty miles away, why wouldn't they want to go there? Just not wanting to go far away, never being abroad, just staying in one place, that's the concept of it. The melody, created by the band, reflects the madness, the small town jig, it drops into the void and can get very spooky.

Situations (first appeared on 'Air Conditioning')

Looking back on a life. For me that's an appropriate theme for the original audience. But young people really like the album too. There's a progressive band called Purson we met them when they came to one of the gigs with Wishbone Ash and The Strawbs and she modelled herself on me in the 70s and they are a very good band, it was like a new Curved Air crossed with a touch of Black Sabbath.

I have met some interesting nouveau hippies, and Rosalie from Purson doesn't listen to any music that's later than the 70s and is totally immersed in it. It's exciting that some people can go back there and see where they can take it.

Chasing Cars (originally by Snow Patrol)

Robert in his element, this was done in one take, along with 'Across The Universe'. I thought it was a really beautiful song, one of the things that really moved me and felt good to sing it. Doing it with the full band didn't get us anywhere, so we ended up with just me singing and Robert doing a bit of piano and that gorgeous bass line.

It gives me the image of a couple in this battle of this falling apart, changing world, a couple that are together in some little attic and they are just losing themselves in each other and letting everything else go. When you are in love with someone it's like you two are the only people in the world, it's the beauty in that bubble.

Young Mother (first appeared on second album)

This shows off the players, we needed a big number on the album. As with Time Games and Spider, with 'Young Mother' the solos are just so kind of explosive and the way that we do it is so different from the original, we were really pleased with this.

Across The Universe (originally by The Beatles)

My concept with that was just to have one being in the middle of space, the universe, this small quiet voice, just on their own like a little atom, a nucleus, singing. Another one that is pure Robert and me - a chance to take the ingredients of a song and make it work between the two of us.

Online:
www.curvedair.com
www.sonjakristina.com
www.facebook.com/CurvedAir
www.facebook.com/SonjaKristina


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delain DELAIN UNVEIL FIRST ALBUM DETAILS: EUROPEAN TOUR WITH EVERGREY AND KOBRA AND THE LOTUS ANNOUNCED
"We have never had so many milestone events in one year and there is still more to come.

buckcherry BUCKCHERRY ANNOUNCE NEW RELEASE AND UK TOUR DATES
2016 is the 10th anniversary of their acclaimed '15' album and the huge rock hit that was 'Crazy Bitch'

dokken DOKKEN CLASSIC LINE-UP ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES
"Being that it is only six shows, we are going to make it as spectacular as possible."

weapon uk WEAPON (UK)'S 'SET THE STAGE ALIGHT' 35th ANNIVERSARY EDITION SET FOR RELEASE
The anniversary edition contains all Weapon UK's 1980/81 recordings and two live bonus tracks.

slayer WAS BREAKING NEWS: SLAYER FUTURE "VERY UNCLEAR" SAYS KERRY KING
"I'm holding off a lot of things I wanna do at home, just 'cause I don't know if I'm gonna be working in two years..."

black sabbath WAS BREAKING NEWS: OZZY OSBOURNE REVEALS SEX ADDICTION
"I am mortified at what my behavior has done to my family..."

black sabbath WAS BREAKING NEWS: BLACK SABBATH DENIAL ISSUED BY BILL WARD
"We have seen it reported in the news that Bill will be playing with Black Sabbath on The End tour..."

scorpion chld WAS BREAKING NEWS: SCORPION CHILD AND JARED JAMES NICHOLS ANNOUNCE UK TOUR
"It is our pleasure to announce a return to the United Kingdom. Now that 'Acid Roulette' is in play, we will have some real fun...."

clutch CLUTCH RELEASE OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR 'A QUICK DEATH IN TEXAS'
"Originally, I was going to be drawn-and-quartered, but we didn’t have the budget for four horses..."

simon townshend THE WHO TOURING GUITARIST SIMON TOWNSHEND'S RE-MASTERED ALBUMS FEATURING EDDIE VEDDER ON THE WAY
"I would place it amongst his best work. Incredible how he just gets better and better..."

skillet SKILLET EXTEND THE UNLEASHED TOUR: LONDON DATE INCLUDED
The tour is in support of Skillet's new album 'Unleashed', their first in three years, which will be released on August 5t...

evyltyde EVYLTYDE TO HEADLINE LEICESTER'S FIREBUG: VEIL OF DELUSIONS TO MAKE THEIR UK DEBUT
Female fronted Metallers bring their take on traditional classic rock, 21st century style, to Leicester's Firebug venue in September...

ac dc AC/DC FUTURE UNCLEAR BUT ANGUS SAYS HE WANTS TO PLAY WITH KEITH RICHARDS
"At this point, I don't know. We were committed to finishing the tour. Who knows what I'll feel after..."

marilyn manson EXCLUSIVE: CBS ATTEMPT TO DISCREDIT SLIPKNOT AND MARILYN MANSON FANS WITH "VIOLENCE" LIES
If you happen to see any reports about what happened on Saturday night at the First Niagara Pavilion, be very careful what you believe....

sex pistols SEX, DRUGS, ROCK N' ROLL, FASHION, CRIME, POLITICS: UK SCREENINGS OF 'ANARCHY! THE McLAREN WESTWOOD GANG' HERE
Much more than the short lived punk phenomenon however and explores the notion of Malcolm McLaren as the great architect of British Punk...

pink floyd PINK FLOYD TO RELEASE MAMMOTH 27-DISC BOX-SET IN NOVEMBER
Pink Floyd delve into their vast music archive to produce a deluxe package that includes seven individual book-style volumes...

devilment DEVILMENT, FEATURING DANI FILTH, TO TOUR THE UK IN DECEMBER
"It's going to be awesome touring this in our home nation just before Xmas. We literally can't wait; the shows are going to be insane!"

a7x AVENGED SEVENFOLD, DISTURBED AND IN FLAMES TO TOUR UK IN JANUARY
The tour hits eight UK cities between 10th and 21st January and tickets are on sale right now...

hellyeah HELLYEAH HONOUR DIMEBAG IN NEW "MUST SEE" VIDEO OF PHIL COLLINS SONG
"...and he's, like, 'Dude, you're gonna be singing this song for the rest of your life."

opeth OPETH UNVEIL FIRST TRACK FROM FORTHCOMING NEW ALBUM: LISTEN HERE
"We're happy with the tune. It's heavy, a bit 'meat and potato' but what the hell... we love it! Hope you do too!"

led zeppelin RANDY CALIFORNIA'S ESTATE APPEAL LED ZEPPELIN 'STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN' VERDICT
The jury agreed with the defence's argument that the chord progression was "commonplace” and dated back centuries

iron maiden WATCH IRON MAIDEN'S NEW ED FORCE ONE SPECIAL VIDEO RIGHT HERE
"In this guise, with Iron Maiden down the side of it, it just blows the doors off ever other plane on the planet..."

joe bonamassa JOE BONAMASSA TO PLAY TWO SHOWS AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL
The Royal Albert Hall concerts will feature a hand-picked group of world-class musicians playing material from his latest album plus classic Bonamassa fan favourites...

winterstorm festival TROON - ARE YOU READY TO ROCK? WINTER STORM FESTIVAL IS ANNOUNCED
A new rock festival is heading to the Scottish seaside town of Troon in South Ayrshire this November...

blues festival FORMER WHITESNAKE MAN ANNOUNCED FOR THE GREAT BRITISH RHYTHM AND BLUES FESTIVAL
"We are really excited about the changes we are making and hope they will attract a wider audience..."

armored saint ARMORED SAINT TO HEADLINE OZZFEST MEETS KNOTFEST KICK-OFF PARTY
The September 23rd pre-festival concert includes a night of performances from Armored Saint, Havok, Exmortus and Thrown Into Exile...

new england EXCLUSIVE: NEW ENGLAND ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER TOUR DATES INCLUDING JAPAN
New England have announced tour dates in support of last year's vinyl release 'I Know There`s Something Here' and upcoming album 'Live At The Regent Theater...

british lion STEVE HARRIS' BRITISH LION TO HEADLINE PLANET ROCKSTOCK
"Fundamentally, it's still rock, and if you see it live, it's really powerful live..."

second relation SECOND RELATION PREMIERE TITLE TRACK OF FORTHCOMING THIRD ALBUM 'ENO'
Austrian prog rockers Second Relation's new single and video is premiering today and it's got Europe in a buzz...

amorettes THE AMORETTES ANNOUNCE SECOND LONDON SHOW ON CO-HEADLINE TOUR
"Our show at Our Black Heart in London has sold out in ten days, which is fantastic! How quickly could this one sell out?"

thunder THUNDER PLAN TO GIVE THE GAME AWAY WITH A NEW BOOK
The band plan to launch the book at an event being held as part of the 'Louder Than Words' literary festival in Manchester on Saturday 12th November.

rudolf schenker SCHENKERS AT WAR: RUDOLF BREAKS HIS SILENCE ON MICHAEL'S ACCUSATIONS
"He's a trick master, and he's a wannabe. And that's it. He can do whatever he wants..."

jon oliva SAVATAGE MAINMAN JON OLIVA RECOVERING FROM STROKE
"I lived the rock n' roll lifestyle since I was 18. It's all I knew and I enjoyed the ride very much..."

ramblin man RAMBLIN' MAN FAIR 2017 DATES ANNOUNCED PLUS WHO WE THINK COULD HEADLINE NEXT YEAR
After what was probably the best rockin' weekend of the year so far, we didn't have to wait long before we could start planning for the 2017 rematch...

airbourne AIRBOURNE ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER HEADLINE UK TOUR
The band will play ten UK date beginning in Portsmouth and Norwich on November 17th and finish off with two nights at The Electric Ballroom in Camden, London...

black stone cherry BLACK STONE CHERRY ANNOUNCE UK TOUR
"We have never done anything like this before and we knew the UK was the only place to do it. That's all we're gonna say about it!"

gary rossington LYNYRD SKYNYRD UPDATE WITH MORE CANCELLATIONS DUE TO GARY ROSSINGTON ILLNESS
"Currently the band hopes to resume touring on Thursday 4th August at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, The Woodlands..."

extreme EXTREME CELEBRATE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF 'PORNOGRAFFITI' ALBUM WITH 'PORNOGRAFFITI LIVE 25/METAL MELTDOWN'
"Some of these songs were never played live before so we had to go back and relearn them for the tour."

ozzy osbourne OZZY OSBOURNE: "I'M NOT HAPPY BEING SOBER"
"It scares me. I hear all the time people say that they have another drink in them but they may not have another sobriety in them..."

paul rodgers IT'S NOT ALL RIGHT NOW! PAUL RODGERS SUES DONALD TRUMP
"We will make America great again. God bless you and good night, I love you."

heavy metal HEAVY METAL HELPS PEOPLE DEAL WITH MORTALITY ACCORDING TO OFFICIAL STUDY
"Metal music can be seen as cultural good for fans and thereby can form part of their social identity."

motorhead MOTÖRHEAD STILL RUNNING DOWN THE HIGHWAY: PHIL, MIKKEY AND EDDIE ALL GEARED UP FOR FORTHCOMING DATES
"Every snare hit I do from now on until the end of my career will be a small tribute to Lemmy..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN'S STEVE HARRIS DROPS THE PRICE OF HIS ESSEX MANSION BY £1MILLION
The eight-bedroom mansion was on the market for £6.75million in 2012 but it's "guide price" is now a mere £3.95million...

hrh aor ALL GUNS BLAZING FOR NEW HRH AOR 5 ANNOUNCEMENT
Phil Lewis & Tracii Guns unite under the L.A. Guns banner once again for next year's HRH AOR 5 being held next March at Camp HRH in North Wales...

deep purple DEEP PURPLE 'LIVE AT THE NEC' DVD ON THE WAY: FAREWELL JON, WELCOME DON
The two share keyboard duties during the night in a very fitting "passing-of-the-torch" moment...

status quo ROCK 'TIL YOU DROP WITH STATUS QUO 1981-1986 VINYL BOX SET
In addition to the studio albums the box set will include an extra disc of b-sides and extended mixes...

zz top ZZ TOP TO RELEASE THEIR VERY FIRST OFFICIAL LIVE ALBUM IN SEPTEMBER
"In an abstract surrealism style, this collection is a definitive chronicle of the band hangin' together for four plus deluxe decades..."

tygers of pan tang TYGERS OF PAN TANG "SPECIAL TIME" HAS COME WITH NEW RELEASE
"The new Tygers album is finished, done and dusted and ready to unleash on our 'Tygertastic' audience. You're gonna love this one, it's a MONSTER..."

andy fraser ANDY FRASER OF FREE'S LAST RECORDING WITH SAIICHI SUGIYAMA ONLINE HERE
"'Melting Away' became one of Andy's last recordings. He still had so much to offer and I was really looking forward to continuing to work with him."

ritchie blackmore RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW TO PLAY AGAIN BUT WITH LESS DEEP PURPLE SONGS
"I would do probably ninety-five percent Rainbow songs; that's what they seem to want to hear. And it didn't occur to me. I just naturally assumed they wanted to hear everything."

saxon EXCLUSIVE: THIS IS WHAT OUR FAVOURITE ROCKERS THINK OF THE CURRENT POLITICAL CLIMATE
Comment from Saxon, Slash, Thunder, Iron Maiden, Uli Jon Roth, Hawkwind, Cher, Johnny Rotten, Machine Head And More...

beyond the black UK EXCLUSIVE: BEYOND THE BLACK SINGER JENNIFER HABEN IS LOST IN FOREVER AS FIVE MEMBERS DEPART THE BAND
"I have enjoyed the time together with the guys very much and am grateful for everything we have achieved together in Germany. I am currently looking for new colleagues..."

cats in space CATS IN SPACE SET TO RELEASE SLADE CLASSIC WITH DANNY BOWES OF THUNDER ON GUEST VOCALS
"It's is one of my favourite Slade songs, so when they asked me to sing on their version it took me a good second and a half to say yes..."

guns n roses WAS BREAKING NEWS: GUNS N' ROSES ADD MORE TOUR DATES FOR OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER
The Gunners' newly announced dates are for South America with ten dates in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Colombia with more to be announced soon...

keith moon YOU WON'T GET FOOLED WITH OFFICIAL KEITH MOON COMMEMORATIVE DRUM HEAD
Manufactured as a special, custom product by Remo, these 14" high-gloss drum heads are a perfect collector's item for true fans of the legendary drummer and The Who...

the answer WAS BREAKING NEWS: THE ANSWER AND THE DEAD DAISIES ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER UK TOUR
"The fact that we get to debut this new material with our mates The Dead Daisies just adds to the rush we're currently experiencing. You really don't want to miss this one!"

ian gillan IAN GILLAN SAYS: "IT'S A WONDERFUL THING, VINYL..." WITH NEW COLLECTION ABOUT TO BE RELEASED
"You just bought something significant, not easily disposable. And look at the sleeves - aren't they cool..."

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY: "THE LYRICS ON THE TITLE TRACK ARE SOME OF SPIKE'S BEST EVER!"
"I approached the songwriting from a different angle and it felt good. There's a lot of passion there."

48 hours 48 HOURS TO ROCK THE UK TO A CITY OF ASHES
"We're hitting the road in September for a co-headline tour with our broseph's City Of Ashes! This will be one of the unsigned tours of the year!"

hammerfall WAS BREAKING NEWS: LIVE LIFE LOUD WITH HAMMERFALL ON 2017 EUROPEAN TOUR: NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY
"We can't wait to get back on stage again to have a gigantic Heavy Metal party every night with all our Templar friends!"

joe perry AEROSMITH GUITARIST JOE PERRY REPORTEDLY SUFFERS HEART ATTACK DURING HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES GIG
"Thanks to everyone asking about our brother Joe Perry," Alice Cooper wrote. "He is stable right now, with family and is under the best care."

onslaught ONSLAUGHT, BEHOLDER AND ANIHILATED TOUR PROMISES TO BE A TOUR DE FORCE
"By the time we hit the road in November it will be well over two-and-a-half years since we did the last run and we feel the time is now right..."

arw ARW (JON ANDERSON, TREVOR RABIN AND RICK WAKEMAN) ANNOUNCE BAND FOR UPCOMING WORLD TOUR
"I have played with arguably the three greatest bass players ever and I can't wait to play with one of them again!"

marillion MARILLION UNVEIL 'THE NEW KINGS' FROM FORTHCOMING STUDIO ALBUM 'FEAR'
'The New Kings' can also be heard on Marillion's current tour which starts on Monday 11th July in Barcelona...

michael des barres AN AMERICAN WRITER ASKS WHY IT TAKES A BRITISH EX-PAT TO ASK, "WHAT'S GOING ON?" MICHAEL DES BARRES HAS THE ANSWER
This incendiary cover of Marvin Gaye's classic confronts America's issues in an incredibly timely and head-on manner...

freedom call FREEDOM CALL RELEASE A NEW METAL HYMN 'HAMMER OF THE GODS', AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD NOW
The trademark bold vocal harmonies remain. The track is taken from forthcoming opus 'Master Of Light'...

guns n roses STEVEN ADLER JOINS GUNS N' ROSES ON STAGE IN OHIO: FOUR FIFTHS OF 'APPETITE' LINE-UP PLAY TOGETHER FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1990
"On the drums, you might know this guy. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Steven Adler..."

ac dc AC/DC BASSIST CLIFF WILLIAMS TO RETIRE AFTER ROCK OR BUST WORLD TOUR: "IT'S BEEN SURREAL"
"AC/DC has been... you know, just... I don't know what else I would wanna do. I love the music and I love playing in the band, and I'm all filled up..."

guns n roses GUNS N' ROSES USE THEIR ILLUSION TO SILENCE THE DOUBTERS WITH US TOUR GOING SO FINE
Axl is clearly in his element on this tour, running across the stage to jump on the monitors mid-song and displaying all the panache of a man completely on top of his game...

stray del bromham STRAY TO ROAM AROUND THE UK ON TOUR INCLUDING A RARE REUNION OF THE ORIGINAL LINE-UP
No need to move a mountain as both Stray and Del Bromham's Blues Devils are on their way to a venue near you...

amorettes THE AMORETTES ANNOY THE NEIGHBOURS WITH RAUCOUS NEW SINGLE
'Let The Neighbours Call The Cops' was co- written by vocalist Gill Montgomery and Black Star Riders front man Ricky Warwick...

eagles of death metal WAS BREAKING NEWS: EAGLES OF DEATH METAL WANT YOU SO BAD ON TWO UK DATES IN AUGUST
This is EODM's first visit to the UK since the band were caught up in the terrible events at The Bataclan Theatre in Paris back in November 2015...

soil SOiL 'SHINE ON' THE UK WITH COMPREHENSIVE TOUR
"We are looking forward to seeing some new places and making some new friends this time around..."

acid reign ACID REIGN GET IN FESTIVE MOOD EARLY WITH SPECIAL GIG ANNOUNCEMENT
'Tis the season to Thrash as Acid Reign team up with Shrapnel with far from obnoxious results...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN: LEGACY OF THE BEAST MOBILE RPG GAME IS OUT NOW
"We've always wanted to make a quality Maiden mobile game as we think the combination of Eddie and the music is so well suited..."

rick parfitt status quo EXCLUSIVE: STATUS QUO'S RICK PARFITT SEEMS TO BE 'FINE FINE FINE' AS HE IS SPOTTED OUT AND ABOUT
Following the recent health scare a picture has emerged online of him taking a walk in Kingston over the weekend...

bullet for my valentine BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE TO PLAY 'THE POISON' IN FULL FOR THE FIRST EVER TIME
"We promised you something special right? See 'The Poison' played in full for the first time in Manchester! Tickets on sale now here..."

alter bridge WAS BREAKING NEWS: ALTER BRIDGE TO HEADLINE ARENAS ACROSS EUROPE THIS WINTER WITH GOJIRA AND VOLBEAT
This will be their biggest headline tour yet with twenty-four dates across fifteen countries, kicking off on November 4th 2016

the mission WAS BREAKING NEWS: BAUHAUS FRONTMAN PETER MURPHY TO GUEST WITH THE MISSION ON THEIR 30th ANNIVERSARY UK TOUR
"Peter's appearance will help make these shows the special events that we always wanted and hoped they'd be..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN ILLUSTRATOR DESIGNS SHIRT FOR ONE DIRECTION'S ZAYN MALIK, MAIDEN LAUNCH THIRD TROOPER BEER AND HI-ON-MAIDEN TO HEADLINE PICCSTOCK
A full-bodied beer using a blend of chocolate and crystal malts to give "a roasted malt and caramel backbone with hints of liquorice and honey"...

bruce dickinson BRUCE DICKINSON TO TAKE PART IN TOP GEAR STYLE CHARITY ROAD TRIP
"The enthusiasm from the group is amazing which will lend itself to making it an unforgettable trip..."

anvil WAS BREAKING NEWS: ANVIL ANNOUNCE UK AND EUROPEAN TOUR FOR OCTOBER/NOVEMBER
Anvil will not only be playing dates in Scotland and Wales but also English towns which rarely see major international artists, such as Huddersfield, Doncaster and Grimsby.

status quo IT'S TIME TO GET 'DOWN DOWN' TO BUTLINS AS SECOND STATUS QUO FAN CLUB CONVENTION IS ANNOUNCED
The weekend will feature live music from ex-Quo drummer John Coghlan and his band with long time friend of the band, Jackie Lynton also scheduled to appear...

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