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Peter Frampton has climbed the mountaintop a few times in his storied career. First, with Steve Marriott, as the young, charismatic guitar hero of their band Humble Pie; then as the multi-platinum selling solo artist when his album Frampton Comes Alive! was seemingly everywhere in the late 1970s; later as David Bowie’s foil on the icon’s 1987 Never Let Me Down (recently re-imagined) album and Glass Spider tour; and finally as the Grammy-winning elder statesman of rock. Frampton is out on a farewell tour right now – resulting from a diagnosis of IBM (inclusion body myositis), a progressive muscle disease…

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Looking like they stepped out of time machine with the dial switched to 1956, The Stray Cats emerged on the music scene in the early ‘80s with a stroking image, incendiary live performance and a trunk of catchy, radio friendly rockabilly flavored powerhouses that set the record charts on fire. “Stray Cat Strut,” “Rock This Town,” “Runaway Boys,” and (She’s) “Sexy & 17” were among the fusillade of hip swiveling, hell cat boppin’ signature tracks delivered by the trio. Returning to the music scene with a new album, 40, their first in 26 years, and bookmarked by an extensive European…

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At age 73, founding Moby Grape guitarist Peter Lewis will release a new album, The Road To Zion, on July 16. Moby Grape were one of the most groundbreaking and creatively fertile rock outfits to spring from the San Francisco music scene in the late ‘60s. While the band never enjoyed the major success afforded their fellow Bay Area contemporaries like Jefferson Airplane, CCR, the Grateful Dead and Santana, their brand of trippy guitar driven transcendence earned them a place among critics and music fans as a seminal music force. The Road to Zion stands as a fitting testament, demonstrating…

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Some artists seem set on an inexorable quest for new musical idioms and fusions.  That’s certainly the case with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, who continues to expand his musical palette with new forays into world music and exotic instruments on his recent album At the Edge of Light. The album is suffused with key socio-political references.  Perhaps one of the best illustrations of this element can be found on the moving cut “Underground Railroad,” which mixes gospel and blues. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEqCKaFFCXM Hackett was partly inspired to write the song by information gleaned on trips to Wilmington, North Carolina, (where he…

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In the late ‘90s, Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela Quintero (of acclaimed guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela) were playing in the streets of Dublin, Ireland, busking for passersby and slowly honing their sound. It’s a sound they describe as fusion music; “It’s mainly got Latin harmonies and rhythms but the structure is rock. It’s not jazz because it’s structured, and we don’t improvise; our solos are exactly what’s on the record.” Six albums later, today Rodrigo y Gabriela are headlining all over the world and bringing their unique synthesis of musical styles to historic venues like The Hollywood Bowl. Mettavolution, the duo’s newest album, represents their latest…

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“What’s the Joker doing in the Met?” guitarist Steve Miller, who was instrumental in helping put the show together, joked after seeing the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new exhibition “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll,” which showcases some of the most iconic instruments in the history of rock and roll. “Well, the first time I saw the exhibit assembled together, and I walked through, I was stunned by the power and the elegance and the intelligence of this assembled collection of musicians and instruments. It’s really why we all love the Metropolitan Museum so much, and why they’re…

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Slash is probably the last of the guitar heroes of the Golden Age of rock and roll. Following in the footsteps of the rock god’s who inspired him — Joe Perry, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton — he almost singlehandedly made the Gibson Les Paul cool again, after Guns N’ Roses broke through via MTV in the late-1980s. After the break-up of his band, and the death of Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland, which Slash co-founded after Guns N’ Roses imploded, Slash set out on a long and fruitful solo career. “It’s been a little bit crazy, but, you know, it’s…

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Larry “Ratso” Sloman has been a fixture on the New York City music scene since the 1970s. Along the way he was befriended by Bob Dylan, The Byrds’ Roger McGuinn, Nick Cave and many others. He was given his moniker “Ratso” by Joan Baez herself, chronicled Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour — which has been immortalized in a Martin Scorsese-directed film and 14-disc box set (and vinyl reissue package) — in his must-read, instant classic book On The Road with Bob Dylan. And, of course, he collaborated with the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis on his amazing memoir, and…

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Back in the early ‘80s, Men At Work owned the radio airwaves with a flurry of insidiously infectious hits, “Who Can It Be Now?,” “Down Under, “Overkill” and “It’s A Mistake.” The deadly combination of consummately crafted hook laden songs built for radio and their emergence as video stars on a new burgeoning network known as MTV set the stage for a remarkable run on the charts. Since Men At Work called it quits in 1986, the group’s chief songwriter, Colin Hay, has carved out a respectable career as solo artist, his considerable gifts as a songwriter undiminished. A current…

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Stewart Copeland is always game for an intellectually-stimulating conversation. He’s proved it time and time again over the years, and roughly a year after he was featured on these pages as a Rock Cellar TV interview subject (conducted at his beautiful home studio in Southern California), Jeff Slate caught up with him about some exciting new releases in his world …  Stewart Copeland, the drummer for The Police, is one of those larger than life rock and roll personalities who lives up to his reputation. Known as whip smart, opinionated, and, of course, one of the most distinctive drummers to…

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