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Music Journalist Nick Tosches Dead At 69

Nick Tosches in 1997

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Music Journalist Nick Tosches Dead At 69

The bold writer was known as one of the trio of "Noise Boys," writing for publications including the Rolling Stone, Creem and Vanity Fair during his illustrious career

GRAMMYs/Oct 22, 2019 - 12:33 am

Music journalist and biographer Nick Tosches passed away yesterday, Oct. 20, at age 69, The New York Times reports. He profiled the likes of Debbie Harry, Dean Martin and Jerry Lee Lewiswrote for publications including Rolling Stone, Creem and Vanity Fair and published several biographies and novels over the course of his career.

Known as one of the three "Noise Boys," along with fellow unorthodox music writers Richard Meltzer and Lester Bangs, Tosches was fascinated with celebrity and the shadows it creates. As The Times notes, his 1992 book on Martin, "Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams," was "one of his most attention-getting biographies."

"Recordings, movies, radio, television: He would cast his presence over them all, a mob-culture Renaissance man," he wrote of Martin in "Dino." "And he would come to know, as few ever would, how dirty the business of dreams could be."

"I would describe Dean as a noble character in an ignoble racket in an ignoble age," Tosches told The New York Times back in 1992. "Life is a racket. Writing is a racket. Sincerity is a racket. Everything's a racket."

He had fun while he was at it—at times, he would write reviews for non-existent albums, or without listening to them. His infamous review of Black Sabbath's 1970 album Paranoid didn't really talk about the music, but instead Satanism and Charles Manson. It was rumored that he didn't listen to the album before writing the review. According to Variety, he hacked his online biography to mark his death at 2021, because it was the anniversary of Dante's death in 1321.

His books also include 1982's "Hellfire: The Jerry Lee Lewis Story," 2000's "Nick Tosches Reader," which collects the first three decades of his work and 2002's "In The Hand Of Dante," a novel about author Dante and a protagonist named Nick Tosches.

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The Making Of Black Sabbath's "God Is Dead?"
Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler

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The Making Of Black Sabbath's "God Is Dead?"

Bassist Geezer Butler reveals the genesis behind the band's GRAMMY-winning song

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

(The Making Of GRAMMY-Winning Recordings … series presents firsthand accounts of the creative process behind some of music's biggest recordings. The series' current installments present in-depth insight and details about recordings that won 56th GRAMMY Awards.)

(As told to Bryan Reesman)

It's really weird with this band. Time just seems to fly and you don't really notice the parts in between. We're always keeping in touch with each other, so when we got together to [record 13] it felt like a natural thing to do. We tried to do it in 2001, but it felt forced and we abandoned it back then. This time it was a now or never kind of thing, and we just got on with it.

Tony [Iommi] came up with most of the music, and then we all worked together to arrange it. Ozzy [Osbourne] always jams along to us, and he came up with the title "God Is Dead?" He remembered the [1966] Time magazine [cover story titled] "Is God Dead?" — but he remembered it as "God Is Dead." I had a mini-argument with him about it. I looked it up online and showed him that it was "Is God Dead?" Then I read the Nietzsche philosophy about it. [Editor's note: "God is dead" is a widely quoted statement by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.]

I wrote it about a person who thought it was completely revolting to think that somebody would say that, and it sticks in his head and he keeps hearing it in his mind. So he turns violent in the end and sets out to murder everybody. It was also inspired by the shootings that were going on at the time in the States. People were saying that "God told them to do it," and stuff like that.

That was one of the first songs we started writing together, so that probably took the longest to [finish]. There was a lot of work before we got to the studio, and we knew that was a good song. The lyrics were written the night before recording them. The only lyrics that I had written [prior to recording] were "Dear Father" like a year before we went into the studio, and that was because of all the priests being exposed, no pun intended, on the news.

The trouble with me is if you give me a year to do something, I'll do it on the 364th day. That's the way I work. The more pressure, the more I come out with. If you give me loads of time to do something, I can't do it. If it wasn't for [producer] Rick Rubin insisting that I do the lyrics, I probably wouldn't have done them anyway.

Rick Rubin brought [Rage Against The Machine/The Last Internationale drummer] Brad Wilk in to do the album. I thought he was great. He auditioned for like a week, and at first we thought he wasn't going to work. We did a couple of old [Black] Sabbath [songs] like "War Pigs" and "Iron Man," and he just gradually fell into it. He was really nervous at first, and we really didn't communicate that much with him. We said, "Rick, you picked him so you bloody get him up to speed." So he did. He went in and guided him on what direction to do the drumming.

It was really unexpected [to win a GRAMMY] because when you're doing an album you don't think about awards, especially our band. It was a good surprise.

(At the 56th GRAMMY Awards, Black Sabbath won Best Metal Performance for "God Is Dead?" — marking the second win for the band in that category. Co-written by Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne, the song also earned a nomination for Best Rock Song. It's featured on the band's 2013 album 13, which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and earned a nomination for Best Rock Album.)

(Lifelong metal fan Bryan Reesman wrote the liner notes for the 2008 reissue of Black Sabbath's 1981 album Mob Rules. He contributes to GRAMMY.com, Playboy, Inked, American Way, and The Costco Connection, among other outlets.)

Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

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Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

Lady Gaga

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Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

GRAMMY winner pledges support for those impacted by hurricanes this year through Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program

GRAMMYs/Oct 12, 2017 - 11:03 pm

On Oct. 10 Lady Gaga announced she is devoting her $1 million donation in support of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico, to a specific cause — the mental and emotional well being of children and youth.

Gaga announced on her Born This Way Foundation website she will support Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program, which uses a variety of tools to help young people deal with trauma in the wake of natural disasters.

"Through a curriculum that includes cooperative play, discussion, art, meditation, and mindfulness practices, young people learn to recognize and understand their emotions and develop healthy coping skills," Gaga wrote. "Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from the program since it’s development in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Save the Children is working to bring it to hundreds of thousands more in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico."

The announcement came on World Mental Health Day, and the Fame Monster has invited all of us to step up and consider making a contribution to the Journey of Hope program to support to mental and emotional needs of children.

"Mental health is just as vital to our wellbeing as physical health. That’s true for each of us, everyday, but it’s especially important for those coping with disaster and recovering from trauma," wrote Lady Gaga. "We must do everything within our power to support the full, vibrant recovery of these communities, from meeting their immediate needs to helping them to rebuild sustainably."

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