Quick Takes: Def Leppard, Van Halen, The Pretenders, Elvis, Emitt Rhodes, Ronstadt, Jagger, Talking Heads, The Stray Cats

  • Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliot says he prefers Marc Bolan's songwriting for T. Rex than Bob Dylan's work. Ultimate Classic Rock quoted the singer as saying, "We were huge fans of T. Rex and we often used to say in interviews back in the '80s, when people would be questioning our lyrical ability, 'I'd much rather write 'Hubcap diamond star halo' (from 1971's 'Get It On') than 'The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.'"
    • Elliot went on to explain, "A 'hubcap diamond star halo' — God knows what one of them is, but Marc Bolan did. It just had this image of (spaciness) and otherworldliness, (rather) than preachy, Dylan-type stuff. We were in that mold at the time, so we were writing lyrics that were just phonetically friendly. They didn't necessarily have to mean anything." (Ultimate Classic Rock)


  • Wofgang Van Halen posted in the comments section to The New York Times' recent interview with David Lee Roth, in which he revealed that Van Halen was over as a touring entity. Roth explained he sat out the last five years while Eddie Van Halen dealt with health issues, and intimated he was carrying on the band's legacy on his own. Wolfgang posted: “Yeah I don’t really think that’s up for him to decide." (MetalWani.com)


  • Chrissie Hynde spoke to the fact that the Pretenders has always had a fluid lineup over the past 40 years — telling Rolling Stone, that it really shouldn't be surprising to fans. Hynde, who was promoting the band's just-released Hate For Sale album said, "I don’t know of any band that has lasted for 40 years with the same lineup and consistently made interesting, good records. We’d already thrown Pete (Farndon) out and that was after two albums. You’ve got to change it up. It’s just a fact of life. . . And I can’t explain some of the decisions I’ve made. Like that shirt you had on in a photo taken in the Seventies, you can look back and think, 'What was I thinking?' and I could look back on my whole career and think that. And I do; I do look back and think, 'What was I thinking?'" (Rolling Stone)


  • Elvis Presley's granddaughter, actress Riley Keough, posted a photo of herself and her late-brother Benjamin on Instagram in the wake of his suicide on July 13th in Calabasas, California. Keough, who is the daughter of Lisa Marie Presley, wrote: "Mornings are the hardest. I forget you’re gone. I can’t cry because of the fear that I will never stop. A pain that’s new to me. You. There are no words for you. Angel is the closest I could think of. Pure light. Baby brother. Best friend. Wild man. Intellectual. Witness to my life. Twin soul. Protector. Too sensitive for this harsh world. I hope you give me strength to endure the giant hole you’ve left in my heart. I hope you give me the strength to eat. I hope you’re cradled in love. I hope you feel my love. I hope you feel god. You are god. I can’t believe you’ve left me. Not you sweet Ben Ben. Anyone but you. I guess this is true heartbreak. I hope we meet again."


  • Beloved singer-songwriter Emitt Rhodes, whose early-1970's one-man-band work was closely compared to Paul McCartney, died in his sleep on July 19th at age 70. Rhodes, who had made his mark with the Southern California pop band the Merry-Go-Round had quit the business in the mid-'70s due to an ultra-demanding record contract, only to become a cult hero for the 1990's indie pop movement. After a 43-year-hiatus, Rhodes resurfaced in 2016 for the critically acclaimed Rainbow Ends album. (Pitchfork)


  • Linda Ronstadt will, be selling some of her personal and professional belongings on August 8th and 9th during a Heritage Auctions sale. Among the one-of-a-kind offerings going under the hammer, is Ronstadt's piano, which was once housed in the office of her manager and producer, Peter Asher. Among the legends that have played the Yamaha piano at various times are Elton John, Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, and Carole King, among many more. Other items set for the sale include, "the original photo by Ethan Russell that graced the cover of her 1976 release, Hasten Down The Wind, a medallion presented to her at the 1985 Grammy Awards," among other items from Ronstadt's personal collection. (The San Francisco Chronicle)


  • Mick Jagger's ex-girlfriend, Luciana Morad — the mother to Jagger's 21-year-old son, Lucas — spoke to The Daily Mail about his family life and health today. Morad said of their son Lucas, "Being a child of Mick Jagger is such a lucky start for any child because he is such a great dad. He is always strong, he is very much a family man."
  • She touched upon Jagger's health in the age of Covid, explaining, "He is very well but I am worried about him. We all worry about him during this pandemic. He is very vulnerable. At 76 he is right in the danger zone. I mean, he looks like he is about 20 years old, but biologically, he is a little bit older. And we all tend to forget that because he is like an eternal youth. So we have to take special care of him." (The Daily Mail)


  • Talking Heads drummer, Chris Franz maintains that the legendary alternative band was much more a democracy that anyone knew. During a chat to promote his new memoir, Remain In Love: Talking Heads. Tom Tom Club. Tina., he explained, "Mostly, what I wanted to convey was that Talking Heads was a shared experience. Talking Heads really was a team of geniuses (laughs). People think there was one genius in Talking Heads. But, no, there was an entire team of geniuses, and not just the members of the band but our management, our producers, our agents. We were very fortunate to be surrounded by very high quality people. (David Byrne) never told us what to play. It was always a more collaborative effort than people seemed to realize. (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


  • The Stray Cats will release a new live album culled from their 2019 40th anniversary reunion tour. Coming on September 11th is the 23-track collection, Rocked This Town: From LA To London. Highlights include such Stray Cats classics as "Rock This Town," "Built For Speed, " "Stray Cat Strut," "Rumble In Brighton, "Runaway Boys," and "(She's) Sexy + 17," among others. (Press release)