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Bob Rafelson, co-creator of ‘The Monkees’, dies aged 89

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Writer, director and producer Bob Rafelson has died at the age of 89.

Rafelson passed away of natural causes last night (July 23) at his home in Aspen, Colorado, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Along with his late partner Bert Schneider, Rafelson co-created the classic NBC sitcom The Monkees, which premiered in 1966. The pair had been inspired by The Beatles‘ 1964 film A Hard Day’s Night, and they decided to develop a TV series about a fictional band.

Rafelson served as a producer and later executive producer on the show, and also directed several episodes. The Monkees ran for two seasons (58 episodes in total) until 1968. In 1967, the show won the Emmy for Oustanding Comedy Series.

After the series wrapped, Rafelson brought The Monkees to the big screen with 1968’s Head, which he wrote and produced alongside Jack Nicholson. Rafelson also directed the movie.

Born in New York City in 1933, Rafelson worked with Jack Nicholson on seven titles overall, including Easy Rider (1969), Five Easy Pieces (1970) and The King Of Marvin Gardens (1972).

He earned Oscar nominations for co-writing and producing Five Easy Pieces, which established Nicholson as a star.

Rafelson continued making films until 2002. In 1976, he directed the Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring Stay Hungry. His final feature-length project was the 2002 thriller No Good Deed, which stars Samuel L. Jackson and Milla Jovovich.

In 1986, Rafelson directed the official video for Lionel Richie‘s single ‘All Night Long’.

The original Monkees line-up consisted of Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Davy Jones. Dolenz, 77, is the only surviving member of the group.

Nesmith died last December aged 78, with Tork passing away in 2019 at the age of 77. Jones died back in 2012 aged 66.

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Madonna announces Nashville show benefiting trans rights

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Madonna has added a Nashville date to her upcoming 2023 ‘Celebration’ world tour, with proceeds benefiting trans rights organisations.

  • READ MORE: The Big Read – Madonna: ”People pick on me. That’s just the way it is”

The concert is due to take place on Friday, December 22 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, with Madonna adding a further seven dates to the US leg of the tour.

Tickets for the newly announced dates go on sale at 10am local time this Friday, March 31. You can see full dates below and find tickets here.

In a statement addressing recent anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, Madonna said: “The oppression of the LGBTQ+ is not only unacceptable and inhumane; it’s creating an unsafe environment; it makes America a dangerous place for our most vulnerable citizens, especially trans women of color.

“Also, these so-called laws to protect our children are unfounded and pathetic. Anyone with half a brain knows not to fuck with a drag queen. Bob [the Drag Queen] and I will see you from the stage in Nashville where we will celebrate the beauty that is the queer community.”

Other acts to respond to the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation include Paramore‘s Hayley Williams, who criticised the two bills proposed for her home state of Tennessee.

Williams took to Instagram to decry the legislation. “Once again our state has passed two regressive and unfathomably harmful bills,” she wrote on her Instagram story.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Williams, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell and Brittany Howard were set to perform at an LGBTQ+ benefit concert in Tennessee.

The show entitled Love Rising, which has been organised by Isbell and Alison Russell, will take place at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on March 20. Tickets for the show are on sale now and can be purchased here.

Meanwhile, this summer, Madonna is set to embark on her lengthy 40th anniversary ‘Celebration Tour’. The stint includes six concerts at The O2 in London, with the final date scheduled for December 6.

Per a press release, ‘The Celebration Tour’ will take fans on Madonna’s artistic journey through four decades and pay homage to the city of New York where her career in music began.

Bob The Drag Queen (aka Caldwell Tidicue) is billed as a special guest opening act across all dates.

Madonna’s additional tour dates are as follows:

DECEMBER 2023
18 – Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
20 – Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
22 – Bridgestone Arena, Nashville

JANUARY 2024
11 – Acrisure Arena, Palm Springs
13 – Golden 1 Center, Sacramento
15 – Chase Center, San Francisco
18 – MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
20 – Footprint Center, Phoenix

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Steel Panther on the impact of cancel culture

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Steel Panther vocalist Michael Starr has spoken about cancel culture in relation to the band’s music and shows in a new interview.

Sitting down with Canada’s the Metal Voice, the vocalist explained that they haven’t had much pushback, adding that people who attend Steel Panther shows know what they’re getting into.

“I think everyone is there for the same party,” he said. “So we really, really haven’t experienced any of that [cancel culture]. Our shows have been selling out on this tour and I would like to attribute it to how great my hair looks but it’s not that it is more like people are sick of not being heard. People are sick of getting bullshitted and they want something they can count on.”

Starr continued that the only pushback they had received in recent times was due to a plug-in that guitarist Satchel designed called the ‘Pussy Melter’.

“It was on the TC Electronic website and a girl guitar player saw it and she got extremely offended by it. And she wrote the company and they took the plug-in off because one person was upset with it.”

Steel Panther released their most recent album ‘On The Prowl’ last month. The band are currently on tour in the US, with their next show taking place tomorrow (March 28) at The Eagles Club Stage in Milwaukee. The tour continues in cities like Denver, Portland and San Diego – you can find tickets here.

Following their tour in the US, the band will head to the UK and Ireland, starting in Glasgow on May 14. They also play Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Bristol, Leeds, Belfast, Cork and Dublin. Find tickets here.

In other news, Steel Panther guitarist Russ ‘Satchel’ Parrish hit out at K-pop icons BTS, saying they make the “worst fucking music I’ve heard in my life”.

The guitarist was talking to Classic Rock Magazine for a new Q&A this month, when he discussed how he found out about BTS. “Recently we went to Japan and I had a day to kill. I was trapped in my hotel room and somebody told me BTS had sold out the Raiders stadium where I live in Vegas,” he began.

“I was like: ‘No fucking way can this be happening – and why?’” Satchel added, going on to reveal his first impressions upon hearing the band’s music.

“I had to figure it out,” he said. “So I listened to two songs. It was the worst fucking shit I’ve ever heard in my life.”

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V V Brown explores what it means to be ‘Black British’ on new single

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V V Brown has released her new single ‘Black British’ and revealed details of a new album. Check it out below.

The singer-songwriter conceived, created, and produced the single and music video’s concept. The essay – due to be published along with the upcoming album by the “artist, mother, activist, journalist and teacher” – will explore Brown’s idea of being Black British and provide social commentary on her ethnicity and subculture.

This is Brown’s first release since she released her third studio album ‘Glitch’ in September 2015. ‘Black British’ also broke her six-year musical hiatus as she took time off to focus on her mental health and motherhood.

“The last six years have been a difficult mental health journey for me,” she said. “But I came to the realisation that I need music to feel alive.”

 

She credited living in the countryside to be “liberating” and allowing her “to create without that industry pressure.”

She continued: “Everything about this album, whether it be the artwork, the lyrics, the production or the visuals, is about starting sociological conversations.”

“Art should make you feel, whether that’s feeling uncomfortable, empowered, happy, sad, scared, inspired. There is a radical power in the role of the provocateur and this was one of the motives for this record.”

‘Black British’ is out now (March 27) via YOY Records, V V Brown’s own record label.

Brown has also announced her first live performance, V V Brown: An Intimate Musical Experience, in over 10 years at The Lower Third on May 23. Tickets are currently on sale and you can check them out here.

The ‘Black British’ project will “combine the medium of essay writing and journalism”, with Brown having written numerous articles for The Guardian.

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