Steve Smith: Cheech & Chong reunite for new movie; tour updates from The Eagles, Rolling Stones

The 1970s counter-culture comic duo Cheech & Chong are as rock ‘n’ roll as anyone. They even had a hit song in 1973 with “Basketball Jones” that — believe it or not — featured George Harrison on guitar, and Beatle pals such as former Manfred Mann bassist Klaus Voorman, The Traveling Wilbury’s drummer Jim Keltner, pianist Nicky Hopkins, organist Billy Preston, saxman Tom Scott as well as Carole King on keyboards.

Cheech and Chong starred in a bunch of hit comedies from 1978’s “Up in Smoke” through “Cheech & Chong’s The Corsican Brothers” in 1984. Well, 30 years later, they’re back.

Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, now 67 and 75 respectively, will star in a new film, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Chong says the script is still in the works.

“It’s really good. It’s really funny. It’s about us going to a festival called Burning Joint,” Chong said, adding that it’s a play on Burning Man, the annual event in the Nevada desert. “All sorts of shenanigans happen. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Tour news on The Eagles, Mellencamp, Rolling Stones

The Eagles have extended their “History of The Eagles Tour.” The 15 shows run from Aug. 25 at the 23,000-seat Tacoma Dome in Washington through Oct. 4 in San Diego at the 12,200-seat Viejas Arena. Other dates include a stop on Oct. 3 at the 18,325-seat Honda Center in Anaheim.

John Mellencamp is slated to embark on a brief 10-date jaunt starting June 20. The tour, which concludes Aug. 1 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, at the 5,000-seat Colosseum at Caesars Windsor, will include stops in Wyoming on July 18 during Frontier Nights and on July 19 at the North Dakota State Fair in Minot.

The seven “14 ON FIRE” concerts in Australia and New Zealand postponed by The Rolling Stones due to the suicide of Mick Jagger’s longtime girlfriend L’Wren Scott will be rescheduled in October and November, the band’s booking agents, Frontier Touring, confirmed to Britain’s Guardian.

The exact dates have not been set.

The seven gigs were to have kicked off in Perth, Australia on March 19. Because of the size and scope of The Stones’ concerts and tours, Billboard estimates that the postponement could cost the band $10 million. However, it also estimates that the band will take in $40 million from the shows.

After postponing the shows Down Under, The Stones flew out of Perth on their private jet adorned with the group’s trademark lips and tongue logo. After dropping Jagger off in Los Angeles, the other band members flew back to England, landing at Manston Airport in Kent, approximately 60 miles southeast of London.

Scott’s body was flown to Los Angeles and she was laid to rest on Tuesday in a private ceremony for 60 family and friends, including actress Nicole Kidman and her country singing star husband Keith Urban, at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, CNN reported. Jagger, who sources said was visibly nervous and emotional, was among those who spoke. Several of his children and grandchildren also read poems and bible verses.

The ceremony was led by the Rev. Ed Bacon of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, according to a statement from Jagger’s representative. Bernard Fowler, who has sung backup for The Stones for more than a quarter-century, sang “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” accompanied by former Eurythmics guitarist Dave Stewart.

Scott, who was 49, was cremated in accordance with her wishes.

Beatles HELP jackets sell big, other items to be sold

Beatles memorabilia up for auction continues to sell for big money. Cape jackets worn by Ringo Starr and George Harrison in The Beatles’ second film, 1965’s “Help!”, were sold by Omega Auctions in Liverpool went for approximately $91,500 and $81,000 respectively, according to the BBC.

In addition, a 1907 Bechstein grand piano reportedly used by John Lennon when he composed the film’s title song and by Paul McCartney when he was working on “Yesterday” sold for about $86,250. The seller was American Richard Lester, who directed The Beatles’ first two movies, “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!”

Last week, auctioneers Cooper Own began taking bids on “A Matter of Pee,” a letter scribbled in an orange marker to Phil Spector dated 1975 during his so-called “Lost Weekend” in Los Angeles in which a clearly angry Lennon blamed his drinking buddy pals Keith Moon of The Who and Harry Nilsson for urinating on a recording studio’s console after he and then gal-pal May Pang had left. The seller is the estate of guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, a friend of both Lennon and Harrison. It’s anticipated that “A Matter of Pee” will fetch between $6,600 and $9,900.

Bidding has begun on a treasure trove of 89 of John Lennon’s drawings, scribbling, letters and manuscripts to be sold June 4 at Sotheby’s in New York City. The items include the Beatle’s Sherlock Holmes parody Lennon wrote in 1965 titled, “The Singularge Experience of Miss Anne Duffield,” that is expected to go for up to $60,000. A 1964 drawing, “Neville Club,” with the hand-printed caption, “Puffing and globbering they drugged themselves rampling or dancing with wild abdomen, stubbing in wild postumes amongst themselves” is estimated to sell for between $18,000 and $22,000. The seller is Tom Maschler, who worked with Lennon on two books, “In His Own Write” in 1964 (turned into a play in 1968 at the Old Vic by Beatles pal, actor Victor Spinetti), and “A Spaniard in the Works” in 1965.

At an auction at the Hard Rock Café in New York City on May 16-17 by Julien’s Auctions of Beverly Hills, George Harrison’s black and white 1962 Rickenbacker 425 electric guitar that he played in 1963 when The Beatles appeared on the British television shows “Ready Steady Go” and “Thank Your Lucky Stars” and during the recordings of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “This Boy” in October 1963, is predicted to go for somewhere in the $400,000-$600,000 range. Harrison bought the guitar in Illinois, before the first Beatles trip to America when he made a solo trip to visit his sister Louise. The seller is George Peckham, guitarist with fellow Liverpool Merseyside band The Fourmost, who were also managed by Brian Epstein and whose first two 45s were written by Beatles, John’s “Hello Little Girl” that he wrote in 1957, and Lennon-McCartney’s “I’m in Love” that hit No. 17 on the U.K. singles chart in November 1963.

Paul McCartney and his legal team have halted the auction of clothing and a lyric sketch that was set for last week. The family of a now-deceased nanny/housekeeper for McCartney, Rose Martin, hoped to raise nearly $50,000 from the sale of a cape and suit once worn by Sir Paul and also a scrap of paper with three lines of lyrics to the song “Arrow Through Me” written by McCartney in the late ‘70s. The family claimed that Linda McCartney had given the woman the items, but McCartney’s team said that clothing would never have been given to a staffer.

When Martin died last year at 92, McCartney posted a personal note of condolence on his website noting that she was his housekeeper since the ‘60s, saying in part, “She was fiercely loyal to our family.”

Obits: Gwar frontman Dave Brockie, drummer Joe Lala

Alien-costumed Dave Brockie, frontman for the Virginia thrash metalers Gwar since the band’s founding in 1984, was found dead by an unnamed bandmate at his Richmond home, according to CNN. He was 50. An autopsy will be performed to determine the reason for his death.

Gwar is billed as “Earth’s only openly extra-terrestrial rock band” and Brockie performed under the stage name Oderus Urungus. The band’s debut LP, 1988’s “Hell-O,” went gold in the United States, but they were far more popular in Britain and Germany, where six of their albums have gone gold, platinum or multi-platinum.

Joe Lala, who was both a successful drummer/percussionist and actor, died of lung cancer at 66 in Tampa, Fla., the city of his birth, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

In 1966, Lala and guitarist Mike Pinera (who joined Iron Butterfly in 1970) and three other musicians formed Blues Image, best known for the smash, Pinera’s “Ride Captain Ride,” that hit No. 4 in 1970. After Blues Image broke up, he drummed with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and was an original member of Still’s Manassas. He played on 32 gold and 28 platinum records.

As an actor, he guested on dozens of shows, including “Miami Vice,” “Seinfeld” and “Who’s the Boss?” as well as provided voices for animated series, including “Pinky and the Brain,” “Extreme Ghostbusters” and “Johnny Bravo.” He also appeared in such motion pictures as “Havana” with Robert Redford and “Out for Justice” with Steven Seagal.

New Releases

Among the recently released albums, digital reissues, MP3 downloads and deluxe box sets are a 4-CD/1-DVD “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition).” The set includes cover versions of the albums songs by the likes of Ed Sheeran, Emili Sande and The Band Perry, outtakes, unreleased cuts and the full 2-CD “Live at Hammersmith ‘73”; and “Out among the Stars,” the 13-track LP Johnny Cash recorded in the early ‘80s that has gone unreleased until now and features a pair of duets with wife June Carter Cash and one with old Outlaw pal Waylon Jennings.

The 16-song “Night Songs” sees Barry Manilow backed only by his piano and a bass as he covers such lesser-known standards as Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn’s “I Fall in Love Too Easily” that Frank Sinatra sang in the 1945 film, “Anchors Aweigh” and better know tunes like Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s 1944 hit, “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive”; and a 4-CD “Miles at the Fillmore – Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3” was recorded during dates at both Fillmore Auditoriums that the legendary bop and fusion trumpeter shared with The Grateful Dead at the Fillmore West and with Laura Nyro during the Fillmore East shows using a band that included keyboardists Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea as they ran through Davis’ hit “Bitches Brew” and his former sax player Wayne Shorter’s “Paraphernalia and Footprints.”

“Gravitas CD-DVD” is the 14th album since 1982 from prog-rock supergroup Asia that currently includes original bass-playing singer John Wetton, original drummer Carl Palmer (formerly of Emerson, Lake and Palmer), Yes and Buggles keyboardist Geoff Downes and new guitarist Sam Coulson, who replaced Yes guitarist Steve Howe; a deluxe CD/DVD version of Australia superstar Kylie Minogue’s newest, “Kiss Me Once,” her 12th album in 26 years; and a 4-CD set, “Tonight’s the Night: Live 1976-1998” from Rod Stewart includes “You Wear It Well,” The Faces rocker, “Sweet Little Rock and Roller” and a cover of The Beatles’ “Get Back” recorded in England in 1976, and a medley of The Faces’ “(I Know) I’m Losing You,” The Rolling Stones’ direct U.S. hit, “It’s All Over Now,” The Four Tops’ “Standing in the Shadows of Love” and Derek and The Dominos’ “Layla” at the Inglewood Forum in 1981.

The 13-track “Nathan East” from Eric Clapton’s longtime bassist includes tunes penned by Van Morrison (“Moondance”), Stevie Wonder (“Sir Duke”) and Steve Winwood (Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home”) with guests Clapton, Wonder and Michael McDonald; “This Is What I Do” from Boy George features his take on Yoko Ono’s “Death of Samantha”; and an import, “Engelbert Calling,” sees the 77-year-old romantic king teaming on latest with an all-star gang that includes Elton John, Olivia Newton-John, Lulu, Smokey Robinson, Cliff Richard, Johnny Mathis, Kenny Rodgers, Dionne Warwick, Neil Sedaka, Charles Aznavour, Willie Nelson, Andrea Corr and others.

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