Sweet vindication! Last year in this column, AC/DC singer Brian Johnson promised that they’d tour in 2008. Well, he wasn’t kidding. Soon they’ll begin rehearsals in a secret location, before hitting U.S. arenas in late fall. We heard this news at the Sony HQ on New York’s Madison Avenue, before hearing all 15 tracks of the band’s earthshaking new Black Ice, recorded in Vancouver in just eight weeks with Brendan O’Brien. On it, Brian wails about skies on fire, blood in his eyes, storms raging, lightning flashes, hard rain and pretty women. Angus Young shreds throughout (we dig his slide work on “Decibel”), and the rhythm cats — Malcom Young, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd — are solid as a rock. The first single is “Rock ‘N Roll Train”; “She Likes Rock ‘N Roll” will be a stripper anthem; and “War Machine” (our favorite) will tear you to pieces.
In Chronicles Vol. 1, Bob Dylan tells about a trip to Princeton, New Jersey, where, accompanied by his “obstreperous” buddy David Crosby, he received an honorary degree. The ceremony was a bummer — the speaker pissed off Bob by introducing him as “the authentic expression of the disturbed and concerned conscience of young America.” Dylan ended up writing “Day of the Locusts” about the trip. The S.S. recently had the pleasure of meeting Crosby and asked him for his side of the story. “I did something that I do to people: I got him really high,” said Crosby. “When we got there, there was an altercation between Bob and the Princeton people, who insisted that he wear a robe. I had to convince Bob to stay and do it.” In return, Crosby made it into “Day of the Locusts.” “There’s a line that goes, ‘The man standing next to me, his head was exploding,’ ” said Crosby proudly. “That’s me!” Crosby also told us that CSN are working on a new album with Rick Rubin, featuring covers of their favorite songs. “James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, the Beatles, people that we love,” says Crosby. “And Dylan, of course.”
We loved the Stills‘ 2003 debut, Logic Will Break Your Heart. We also enjoyed frequent libations with their drummer and chief songwriter, David Hamelin, in Brooklyn. Since then, the band has returned to Montreal and is back with a new disc of tight, melodic indie rock, Oceans Will Rise. “The record is about all kinds of guilt,” he says. “Like when you’re in a band and you end up leaving people by the wayside and become an egotistical maniac.” In July, Paul McCartney hand-picked the Stills to open a massive outdoor gig celebrating Quebec City’s 400th b-day, where they warmed up a crowd of more than 250,000. They got to meet their hero, too. “It came full circle,” says Hamelin. “All the years of rehearsing in basements, paying to play, getting signed and screwed . . . all those things added up to a Beatle saying, ‘Thanks for playing.’ It was all worth it.”
[Photo by Webber/Getty Images]
[From Issue 1059 — August 21, 2008]
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