Morrissey! String Cheese Incident! Black Rebel Motor-cycle Club! Sonic Youth! This year’s installment of the Lollapalooza festival is shaping up to be quite the extrava-ganza. Perry Farrell and the organizers decided to turn this, the festival’s ninth year, into a two-day event to, as Farrell put it, “embody the spirit of the Gypsy.” The tour will start July 14 in Auburn, Washington, though the full tour dates had yet to be finalized at press time. Modest Mouse, Flaming Lips, the Polyphonic Spree, and Gomez have also been confirmed for the main stage, with more artists to be announced. . . . . PASSING NOTES: Paul Atkinson, founding member and guitarist of the Zombies, died in April following a long fight with kidney and liver disease. He was 58. Following the 1967 breakup of the band, Atkinson went on to become an A& man, signing such acts as ABBA, Bruce Hornsby, Mr. Mister, Michael Penn, and Judas Priest. . . . Niki Sullivan, guitarist with Buddy Holly and the Crickets, died on April 6 at the age of 66. Sullivan played on 27 of the 32 songs that Holly recorded before his untimely death, and he toured with the band in 1957. More recently, Sullivan had been working for Sony Electronics in Sugar Creek, Montana. . . . Steel guitarist, Guitar Player columnist, and accomplished pilot, Jeff Newman, passed away on April 7, while attempting to land an ultralight plane. Newman penned a GP column, “Steel Symposium,” from 1977 to 1981, and was a renowned steel player and teacher. . . . In March, U.S. Music Corporation announced plans to acquire Parker Guitars. This adds Parker—founded by Ken Parker and Larry Fishman in 1993—to U.S. Music’s already impressive list of companies, which includes Washburn Guitars, Randall Amplifiers, Oscar Schmidt Guitars, Eden Bass Amplifiers, Soundtech Pro Audio, and Vinci Strings. —Emily Fasten
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