According to Pollstar—the music industry’s biggest touring and concert info resource—mid-year data has concluded that, if things continue, this is going to be another record-breaking year in concert and tour profits. Apparently, increased ticket prices haven’t stopped folks from pouring out en masse to check out Billy Joel with Elton John or the Rolling Stones. Consumers may not be willing to shell out $20 for the new Rolling Stones CD, yet they appear to have no problem with the average $158 per ticket to see them in person. I guess there’s nothing like the real thing. Thus, with that sector of the music industry clearly uninjured by the Internet, lots of buzz is going on in tour news.
• Poised to help concert revenues in 2004 is the recent announcement that Rob Halford has rejoined Judas Priest for a world tour, and, most likely an album, next year. Though rumors of a reunion have been around for years, 2004 marks the 30th anniversary of the band, and it’s a logical time to give it another go. Relations between the lead singer and the band have been on-again/off-again in the music press, with Halford telling MTV back in 1998 that he felt uncomfortable being open about his homosexuality before splitting with the group in 1992. Guitarist K.K. Downing responded to Halford’s statement with, “It must have been the worst kept secret in rock and roll.” No worries these days, though, as even the Supreme Court would agree that times have changed. Clearly, it’s possible to be both gay and a heavy-metal god. Things are still in the early planning stages, but details and updates can be found at judaspriest.com.
• Poised to help thousands of AIDS sufferers in South Africa is Carlos Santana. He has donated all proceeds from his summer tour in support of Shaman to the non-profit Artists for a New South Africa (ANSA). In July, at the end of his month-long tour, Santana had played 24 dates and raised two million dollars for the group. Originally started in 1989, ANSA was created as a response against apartheid. After the oppressive government was dismantled, ANSA began raising money to combat the AIDS epidemic. For more info, click over to ansafrica.org.
• Meanwhile, James Iha—the low-profile former guitarist of Smashing Pumpkins—has hit the road with A Perfect Circle. There’s some serious heavy-rock-guitarist swapping going on, here, as Iha has been enlisted to replace Troy Van Leeuwen, who appears on APC’s upcoming September release, but couldn’t make the tour due to his new Lollapalooza responsibilities with Queens of the Stone Age. Iha has primarily stayed out of the public eye since the break up of the Pumpkins, opting to put his efforts into the recording studio he co-owns in New York City.
• The White Stripes were forced to postpone tour dates through July and part of August due to a Jack White finger injury. Apparently White was cruising around Detroit on July 9 with movie-star-girlfriend Renee Zellweger when some sort of car accident occurred. Details were not forthcoming, but it seems the ultra-hip duo emerged unscathed—well, except for White’s fractured left index finger. Shows all over the east coast and midwest were being rescheduled as this went to press.
• And, finally, here’s a possible-tour-at-some-point alert. Frank Black recently told a London radio station that legendary alternative band the Pixies are discussing a reunion, and that the original members—bassist Kim Deal, guitarist Joey Santiago, and drummer David Lovering—have been playing covert rehearsals. This is huge news for Pixies fans who may remember the irreconcilable creative differences between Black (then named Black Francis) and Deal, who later went on to form the Breeders. No definite plans have been made, but the mere fact they’re playing together is a step in the right direction for those of us who feel modern alt-rock would sound completely different without the influence of this seminal Massachusetts band.