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The Big Led Zeppelin Question…

Author of Led Zeppelin Day by Day, Marc Roberty, asked the big question on every Led Zeppelin fans mind…”Will Led Zeppelin ever reunite?” Visit our performing arts community, backwing.com to get the low down on whether they will ever get back together. Read a preview of the article below!


 00125658Will the founding fathers of modern rock ever give their fans the farewell tour now almost four decades overdue? A Led Zep historian considers the prospect.

The mighty Led Zeppelin existed for twelve years between 1968 and 1980. The sudden death of drummer John Bonham effectively signalled the end of the band in their eyes. How could they possibly have carried on without their powerhouse drummer and dear friend?

Of course, this did not stop fans from hoping the band would reform with a new drummer. There has been the odd get–together for charitable appearances, such as Live Aid in 1985 and Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary in 1988. Although these shows were met with mass delirium from eager fans, in reality, both inevitably fell short on the performance side. (Then again, to be fair, this is not the band’s fault: multi-act events with short three- or four-song sets are never hugely successful from a creative perspective.)

By 1994, Robert Plant had distanced himself from the whole “rock singer” tag. After being approached to perform an MTV Unplugged show, he felt uncomfortable flying the Led Zeppelin flag under his own name. A meeting took place between Robert and Jimmy Page where they talked about doing the show together. Much to his surprise, the Led Zeppelin baggage Robert had been carrying around for years had completely dissipated. The men found common ground and decided to do Unplugged together and see if anything came of it (much to the vexation of a miffed John Paul Jones, who was not invited—or even told—of the event!). They did not go out as Led Zeppelin, but rather as Page & Plant. Also, the MTV show was retitled Unledded due to the electric nature of some numbers. A live record and video from the show, which consisted of rearranged Led Zeppelin classics, were hugely successful. A new studio album and a few tours later, it was all over. When all the bad memories of Led Zeppelin playing huge arenas returned, Plant had enough. He told Page he was leaving, as he much preferred playing small clubs and reconnecting with his audience.


Read the article in its entirety HERE

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The life of Arthur Laurents

Arthur Laurents, a writer, director, and also an author of Original Story By, Mainly On Directing, and The Rest Of The Story, was featured in The Wow Report on WorldofWonder.net. He is best known for directing  three revivals of Gypsy, but in his trio of memoirs we learn much more about the Tony Award winning director. Read about Arthur Laurents and his works in the article below!


00129232July 14, 1917Arthur Laurents, as the story goes: late for his place on a panel discussion, Laurents burst onto the stage draped in mink and announced: “Behold, a living legend!” Stephen Sondheim, also on the panel, looked up and said: “Wrong on both counts”.

I just ate up his trio of memoirs Original Story By (2000), Mainly On Directing (2009), and The Rest Of The Story (2012), each chock full of yummy, dishy theatre and Hollywood stories. Laurents is important to me in many ways. I admire the way he boldly lived his life. I love his work, most especially because he wrote the book for my favorite musical Gypsy (1959), which I find to be a perfect piece of theatre. Musical Theatre fanatics will go on forever discussing the subject of who was the greatest Mama Rose in this landmark musical. This casting quandary can be a playful parlor game or a bitter argument for Musical Theatre types. Jerome Robbins directed the original production, but Laurents directed three revivals of Gypsy including my favorite version starring my good close personal friend Angela Lansbury in 1974, but there was also Tyne Daly in 1989 and Patti Lupone’s 2007 Tony Award winning turn.

In 2010, at 92 years old, Laurents directed a revival of West Side Story, a theatre classic for which he wrote the original lean, strong book. In this production, it was Laurents’s conceit to have the Sharks and their girls, who are from Puerto Rico, speak and sing in Spanish. The cast would all be young and if not Puerto Rican, at least Hispanic. Laurents explained that the idea came from his partner of 52 years, Tom Hatcher (Laurents and actor Farley Granger had been lovers in the late 1940s), who admired a production of the musical in South America. It was also Hatcher who urged Laurents to revive Gypsy with Patti LuPone, so that the controversial Sam Mendes directed 2003 production starring Bernadette Peters would not be the last Gypsy in Laurents’s lifetime.

Laurents won four Tony Awards and was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning for his screenplay for The Turning Point (1977).

His life encompassed great swaths of 20th century cultural history and the famous figures 00314474within it. His theatre career had barely started when Laurents was drafted into the Army in 1941. He spent the war years writing training films and radio propaganda shows under the command of Private George Cukor. He had also come to terms with his gayness and soon lost count of the sexual experiences he experienced while in the Army. In Original Story By he writes openly of his lifetime of gay encounters, referring to his partners as “those unremembered hundreds.”

As a gay man living as openly as possible during some of this country’s most dangerous times, Laurents was a role model of discretion, but he was living the way he wanted, despite public opinion and cruelty against gay people everywhere.


Read the article in its entirety here.

Getting the most from your entertainment attorney

Bobby Borg, author of Business Basics for Musicians, is back again with 10 tips that will help you get the most from your entertainment attorney! Having written Business Basics for Musicians, Bobby Borg is definitely no stranger to the ins and outs of interacting with an entertainment attorney. Take a look at his tips below and let us know what you think!


00139915Attorneys are necessary to the business of music – and your music career. A good entertainment attorney reviews contracts you receive with your best interests in mind, translates contract clauses and complicated writing into terms you can understand, and knows what issues are most important to negotiate for in recording, publishing, and merchandising agreements.

Once you’ve hired an attorney, you want to make sure that the relationship runs as smoothly as possible. Attorneys are not inexpensive; nor do they have a lot of free time. Keeping this in mind, when you interact your attorney, make sure to get the most out of him/her. The following 10 Tips will help.

1. Be prepared and have a clear agenda

Before speaking or meeting with your attorney, be clear about what you want to accomplish. For instance, you might wish to discuss and better understand specific clauses that you’ve underlined in a music licensing agreement, and then want him or her to negotiate better terms if necessary and practical. Whatever the issue, just remember that an attorney will only advise you about what to do and never tell you what to do. Thus, looking at the bigger picture, be sure to have your values and goals clearly defined.

2. Take notes and/or record the meeting

Be sure to take great notes and ask if you can record your meetings. This way, if something isn’t immediately clear, you can review your notes or replay the conversation later. This is also helpful if you’re in a band and one of the members cannot be present. But just remember that not all attorneys will allow recordings during a meeting. Simply put: a recording provides clear evidence of a misstatement by the attorney, and it may be permitted in a court of law should you ever need to sue him or her. (Believe me, I know from experience).

3. Be on time and carpool

It may be easy for one band member to arrive at a meeting on time, but when all members of a group will be attending, you might consider driving together in one car to ensure that everyone is on time. Your attorney won’t be thrilled to have to repeat what has already been said for a member who walks in the door fifteen minutes late. And you won’t be happy with the bill either.

4. Appoint a band representative

It is a good practice to appoint one band member to serve as the liaison between the attorney and the rest of the band to avoid having every member of the group call whenever they have a question or want an update on a particular matter.

Appointing one member to make calls will also make life easier for your attorney, who won’t have to re-explain issues to each band member, and will also prevent the awkward possibility of each member getting his/her own take on a matter. By having a liaison, your group can put together a list of questions, and then one individual can make the call or attend the meeting. As long as your liaison is reliable and effective in relaying information to the other members of the band, this system usually works adequately.

Should the other members begin to feel they’re relinquishing too much control and are at the mercy of the appointed liaison, a band can always request group meetings via speakerphone or Skype so that everyone can listen in on the conversation. A second solution is to have everyone attend meetings in person but to appoint one representative to do all the talking.

5. Keep your attorney informed

It’s important to keep your attorney up-to-date regarding all business matters and developments. For instance, if your attorney is one of a rare breed who shops your band for deals, and you’re unexpectedly approached by an A&R representative from another label after one of your shows at a big convention like SXSW, your attorney should be the first person to hear about it. It makes sense to keep your attorney informed. You hired him for a reason, right?


Read the entire article over at blog.discmakers.com

Dead reckoning at Merriweather Post

Tony Sclafani, the author of The Grateful Dead FAQ, wrote this article for the Baltimore Sun in advance of this week’s Dead concert in Baltimore!

00333698Will Columbia be ready for another Deadhead invasion when four of the surviving members of the Grateful Dead come to town May 14 to play a sold-out show at Merriweather Post Pavilion?

Longtime Columbia residents are unlikely to forget when the Grateful Dead performed in town for three summers in a row back in the 1980s. Throngs of the band’s followers trucked into town clad in headbands and colorful tie-dye shirts and skirts. They then proceeded to camp out in Symphony Woods and bathe in the fountains at the Mall in Columbia.

To use a Deadhead expression, this “freaked out” a lot of locals. After one too many weird Deadhead sightings, disgruntled residents held meetings with local police, reporters wrote news stories, and opposing opinions flew back and forth in the pages of the Columbia Flier.

Talk of all this controversy still goes on in places like the Facebook page “You know you grew up in Columbia Md when…” where it’s rumored the Dead were eventually banned from Merriweather.

All of which begs the question — Is the band back because the ban was lifted?

No, because “there was never a ban,” says Jean Parker, Merriweather’s longtime general manager. “That is not accurate.”

Part of the reason the rumor has been kept alive all these years is because when people Google the topic, what comes up is a Los Angeles Times article from June 6, 1990, titled “Pavilion bans Grateful Dead.” But that article was factually incorrect, says Times’ historian, Ralph Drew, by email. “On Friday, June 8, 1990, the Los Angeles Times printed a correction,” he notes.

A Pavilion official first dispelled this rumor in a letter after being queried by Columbia resident John Sybert in 1994. “Merriweather has never banned any acts from performing at its venue and, to my knowledge, neither has the community,” wrote customer relations manager Julie M. Kershner.

The reason the band didn’t return to Merriweather after 1985 (save for a 1989 solo Garcia appearance) was because they had outgrown the venue.

Click here to read the rest of the article!