Quick Takes On Elton John, Paul McCartney And Art Garfunkel
Elton John has officially been named Matt Bissonette as his new bassist. Bissonette, who joined the band through Elton's longtime guitarist and bandleader Davey Johnstone, replaces Elton's bassist of 20 years, Bob Birch, who died on August 15th at age 56 of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Bissonette spoke of replacing his friend in the Elton band, saying, "You can never take a guy like Bob Birch's place in a band. I would love to honor Bob on this Elton tour and while playing all these great songs remember how great he was, as a bass player and all-round musician. But it's ten times more important to remember what a fantastic human he was, and is. Here's to you Bob."
Over the years, Bissonette -- who's brother Gregg has drummed with Ringo Starr for the better part of the decade -- has also performed with Ringo, Don Henley, Rick Springfield, Gino Vanelli, Sheena Easton, A-ha, Christopher Cross, Brian Wilson, the Captain & Tenille, David Lee Roth, Joe Satriani, Julian Lennon, Steve Perry, and Peter Frampton. As a studio player, Bissonette was featured on the themes to such TV shows as Friends, Just Shoot Me!, and The Tracey Ullman Show, among others. (Vintage Vinyl News)
Paul McCartney will receive France's highest public honor on Saturday (September 8th) when he'll be presented with the Legion of Honour by French President Francois Hollande. The special ceremony will take place at Paris' Elysee Palace in Paris. The former Beatle will be named an officer of the Legion of Honour, joining a long list including such creative heavyweights as Ravi Shankar, Quincy Jones, Shirley Bassey, Liza Minnelli, and Clint Eastwood. McCartney's representatives have not yet announced whether he will attend the ceremony. (BBC News)
Art Garfunkel is back in touring mode after being sidelined by vocal paralysis for two years. His latest compilation -- The Singer -- features a career spanning collection of tracks from his Simon & Garfunkel days up through the present. He spoke about getting the credit he deserves for his vocals, telling NPR, "Sometimes I look at Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison -- artists that win their respect after years and decades of hanging in, and then you finally say, 'Well, this is a devoted guy. Joe Cocker is a musician through the ages.' I wondered if I was being seen that way. I know I'm half of Simon & Garfunkel. . . but I wanted to be a virtuoso singer. I wanted to be a singer in the same way that Bill Evans is a piano player, (where) the instrument that you play has a chance to stretch out and be very good. My instrument is the vocal, and it's tough to name many singers who are treating their vocals as a virtuoso instrument. But I want people to go from song to song and listen. . . and end up going, 'The singer can sing.'"
Art Garfunkel admitted to us that after years of being humble about his talents and accomplishments, he's finally reached the point of being comfortable being up front about them: "I am that sound that we know of the last 40 years. Y'know how I look at it? I'm proud of being a really good singer. I want to get that fact up front more than ever. I'm overdue for my straight-out praise. Who does these songs better? I don't want to wait to die before they go, 'Y'know, he wasn't a good singer, he was a very good singer.'"
Art Garfunkel tour dates (subject to change):
September 6 - Hartford, CT - Belding Theater at The Bushnell
September 7 - Ridgefield, CT - Ridgefield Playhouse
September 14 - Atlantic City, NJ - Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa / Music Box
September 20 - Boston, MA - Wilbur Theatre
September 21 - Portsmouth, NH - The Music Hall
October 5 - Morristown, NJ - Mayo Performing Arts Center
October 6 - Hazleton, PA - Alice Wiltsie Center For the Arts
October 26 - Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theater
October 27 - Minneapolis, MN - Pantages Theatre
November 3 - Wichita, KS - Orpheum Theatre
December 1 - Skokie, IL - North Shore Center For The Performing Arts