Music News Digest, Feb. 24, 2022
Osheaga turns 15 with a high-octane lineup, Sum 41 (pictured) and Simple Plan team up for a major US tour, and the SiriusXM Top of the Country competition returns. Also in the news are Jr. Gone Wild, Mundial Montreal, Long Range Hustle, MusicOntario & Bandcamp, Juno Week, Music Managers Forums, and farewell Gary Brooker and Mark Lanegan.
By Kerry Doole
One of Canada’s biggest summer music fests, Montreal’s Osheaga Music and Arts Festival has announced its dates and lineup. The 15th anniversary of the event, presented by Bell in collaboration with Coors Light, takes place at Parc Jean-Drapeau, July 29 to 31, 2022. In addition to headlining sets from Foo Fighters, A$AP Rocky and Dua Lipa, the star-studded list of performers includes Machine Gun Kelly, Mitski, Burna Boy, The Kid Laroi, Kygo, and many more. Notable Canadian acts booked include Arkells, Les Louanges, Caribou, JP Saxe, and Pierre Kwenders. Weekend passes on sale now here, with single-day passes available Feb. 25.
– Earlier this week, we reported on a new Simple Plan single that features Sum 41 singer Derryck Whibley. Now we have word that the two platinum-selling pop-punk outfits are joining forces for an upcoming two-part, full US co-headline run they’re dubbing Blame Canada. Both bands will commemorate their debut records, with Sum 41 performing All Killer No Filler in full and Simple Plan performing No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls.. The first leg kicks off on April 29, with guest Set It Off. A full list of dates is here. $1 of each tour ticket sold will help raise funds for the Simple Plan Foundation and Sweet Relief.
– SiriusXM Canada has launched its fourth annual SiriusXM Top of the Country competition, in partnership with the Canadian Country Music Association. The national search for emerging country talent provides participants with a national platform, a SOCAN songwriting camp, industry mentorships and a chance to win a $25K grand prize. Canadian country solo artists and groups can now register for SiriusXM Top of the Country until March 4 here.
– Veteran Edmonton roots rockers Jr. Gone Wild have announced their spring-summer touring itinerary for 2022, which will take them across Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and BC. Check the tour dates here.
– The Mundial Montreal conference and festival has announced its 2022 dates as Nov. 15-18. It is now accepting applications from artists wanting to perform there. The deadline to apply here is March 15.
– Toronto indie rock band Long Range Hustle releases its third album, I am alive, but only if you say I am, tomorrow (Feb. 25), launching it with a hometown show at Lee’s Palace that evening. Produced by acclaimed Scottish producer, Tony Doogan (Wintersleep), it was recorded in the tumultuous summer of 2020 at the Bathouse studio in Kingston, ON.
– MusicOntario & Bandcamp are joining forces on a new webinar, Communities Connect: Bandcamp 101 for Hip-Hop Artists, held today (Feb. 24, 1-2 pm ET). The platform's Hip-Hop Ambassador, Amit Nerurkar, will explain how artists can make the best use of Bandcamp. Register here.
– Volunteers (19 years of age or older) are now being recruited for Juno Week, to be held in Toronto, from May 9-15, culminating in the big Awards show. More details here.
– On March 8 (3-5 pm EST), the three Music Managers Forums from across North America are getting together to celebrate International Women’s Day. The networking event features attendees from across Canada, the US and Mexico, and includes a Fireside Chat between two of the industry’s best music-tech minds, Cherie Hu (Water & Music) and Kristin Grant (Westcott Multimedia). Registration is free here, with non-members welcome.
Gary Brooker, the frontman of 1960s UK rock band Procol Harum, died on Feb. 19, at the age of 76, from cancer.
The London-born singer led the band throughout their 55-year history, co-writing and singing their most famous song, 1967's A Whiter Shade of Pale.
He was appointed an OBE in 2003, and A Whiter Shade of Pale was honoured by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
Brooker also toured with Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr and played with Sir Paul McCartney, Bill Wyman, George Harrison, the Alan Parsons Project and many others. In 1996, he appeared alongside Madonna in Alan Parker's film adaptation of Evita, playing Argentine foreign minister Juan Atilio Bramuglia.
Brooker was just 14 when he formed his first band, The Paramounts, at school. They signed to EMI Records, scored a minor hit with their debut single, Poison Ivy, in 1964, and opened some shows for the Rolling Stones.
Brooker went on to form Procol Harum in 1966 and released their best-known song, A Whiter Shade of Pale, the following year. It became one of the most commercially successful singles of all time, selling more than 10 million copies worldwide. At the first-ever Brit Awards in 1977, it was named the joint winner (alongside Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody) of the "best British pop single 1952-1977." In 2009, it was named the most-played song of the last 75 years by UK radio stations.
The group followed it up with a top 10 single, Homburg, and their third album, 1969's A Salty Dog, is regarded as a prog-rock masterpiece, ushering in an era of lush, orchestrated progressive rock. The group split in 1977 after a series of line-up changes. Brooker launched a solo career and toured with Eric Clapton's live band in the 1980s, but reformed Procol Harum for a new album, The Prodigal Stranger, in 1991.
Meanwhile, the modern line-up of Procol Harum continued to record and tour until the Covid pandemic put their plans on hold. They played their final gig with Brooker in Switzerland in 2019 and used the time away from touring to record a three-track EP, Missing Persons (Alive Forever), which was released in May 2021.
– Mark Lanegan, a rock singer/songwriter and author considered a grunge pioneer via his work with Screaming Trees, died on Feb. 22, age 57.
A cause of death has not been reported. He survived a battle with Covid-19 that left him in and out of a coma for months-long stretches of 2021, and inspired a memoir, Devil in a Coma, published last December,
Lanegan's troubled youth included a lengthy criminal record for a range of offences. In 1985, at age 21, Lanegan was working for a video store in his hometown of Ellensburg, Washington, when he formed a band with his boss’s sons, guitarist Gary Lee Conner and bassist Van Conner.
The Screaming Trees would go on to record seven studio albums before their breakup in 2000 and rose to fame as part of the grunge movement of the early 1990s centred around Seattle. The group’s biggest commercial success was the track Nearly Lost You.
Lanegan started a solo career during the peak of the band’s fame and continued after its demise. His 1990 solo debut The Winding Sheet included appearances from Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, and such subsequent albums as Whiskey for the Holy Ghost, Scraps at Midnight, the collection of covers I’ll Take Care of You, and work with Isobel Campbell earned critical acclaim. He also had a stint in Queens of the Stone Age.
Serious drug addiction plagued his career at times, but, as detailed in his 2020 memoir, Sing Backwards and Weeps, Lanegan had been clean for more than a decade at the time of his death. Sources: The Guardian, Rolling Stone, Seattle Times