Rockers Styx have partnered with designer Diana Warner to create a line of jewellery for charity. The collection will benefit the Rock To The Rescue charity, which the bandmates set up with REO Speedwagon to help victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Warner has created four signature pieces for the R2R Collection: a ring, pendant, earrings, and a charm that "perfectly capture the Diana Warner aesthetic while paying homage to an edgy, rock and roll fashion sensibility".
Singer/songwriter James Taylor is set to hit the high seas for a gig in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in August (14). The You've Got a Friend star will perform two shows onboard the Queen Mary 2 during a Cunard Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing from New York to Southampton, England.
The five-time Grammy Award winner will also participate in an autograph signing session for fans.
Taylor becomes the latest of many stars set for ocean gigs this year (14) - Jennifer Hudson, Olivia Newton-John and LeAnn Rimes have already signed up for the new concert cruise initiative launched by Carnival Cruise Lines bosses.
The new music series will offer fans floating gigs from Florida to Mexico and the Bahamas.
Joining the women at sea are Lady Antebellum, Daughtry, Martina McBride, Chicago, Jewel, Trace Adkins, Foreigner, Gavin DeGraw, Kansas, REO Speedwagon and STYX.
Rock legends Styx, Foreigner and former Eagles star Don Felder are teaming up for a U.S. tour. The trio of acts will hit the road for The Soundtrack of Summer trek, which kicks off in Oklahoma in May (14).
Styx guitarist James Young tells Billboard.com, "I look at it like we're a bunch of old heavyweight fighters getting together. It's very exciting to be out there together, 30 years after we all had number one albums and everything. And having (Felder), who was an obvious contributor to the writing side of the Eagles and does lots of Eagles songs in his show, that will make a nice complement.
"It has the potential to be the most successful of anything we've ever done with us in a co-headline position like this."
Styx previously toured with REO Speedwagon and Ted Nugent in 2012.
Kid Rock and country star Alan Jackson have stepped in to headline shows at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida after artists including Willie Nelson, Cheap Trick and Heart pulled out in the wake of the controversial Blackfish documentary. Trace Adkins, Martina McBride and REO Speedwagon also recently scrapped gigs at the embattled themepark after watching the CNN movie, which exposed the bleak conditions faced by captured killer whales housed at the location.
SeaWorld bosses, who denied the allegations about whale mistreatment made in the film, were left scrambling to find new acts for the line-up for the Bands, Brews & BBQ event series, but Kid Rock and Jackson have since agreed to fill the gaps for shows which kick off on Saturday (01Feb14).
A total of nine acts withdrew from the Bands, Brews & BBQ bash at SeaWorld, while another three, including Pat Benatar and the Beach Boys, axed shows at another affiliated venue, Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida.
Of the original six-week series line-up at SeaWorld, only former American Idol champ Scotty McCreery and country singer Justin Moore remain.
Other replacement performers are expected to be announced soon.
Heart stars Ann and Nancy Wilson have opened up about their decision to scrap an upcoming SeaWorld concert in the wake of the controversial Blackfish documentary. The rockers joined the likes of Willie Nelson, Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon and Martina McBride by pulling the plug on a scheduled gig at the Orlando, Florida themepark after watching the CNN movie, which exposed the bleak conditions for the captured killer whales housed at SeaWorld.
Ann Wilson admits she and her sister were horrified by what they saw in the documentary, telling RollingStone.com, "It (Blackfish) really broke my heart and I just couldn't see signing my name to that... Before seeing the movie, I always imagined the orcas got to live in a big extended oceanic area when they weren't performing, but they live in a steel swimming pool and it basically drives them insane.
"As the documentary pointed out, orcas' brains have a whole emotional section that ours don't even have. It's a whole social/emotional section and it tends to give them a real unified feeling among themselves. When mothers are separated from their young, they go insane. The genders stay apart in the wild and they have a matriarchal society, but SeaWorld just throws the two genders together.
"Nancy and I didn't even originally realise the concert was at SeaWorld. We thought it was just somewhere in Orlando. I'm not making an excuse, but we just weren't paying attention to details. I've never been to SeaWorld. I've seen the photos of people getting splashed and it looks fun, but when you look underneath you see the dark side. What they do is slavery, plain and simple. It's like people saying, 'OK, let's go to Africa and bring a bunch of people back here'. There's never any way to make that OK."
And she feels that those still performing shows at SeaWorld are acting like the stars who appeared in South Africa during apartheid when the world's top musicians had agreed to boycott the country.
She explains, "We'd get these incredible, stupid money offers to come to South Africa and play Sun City. The people that did that - like Rod Stewart - slid in there, kept their eyes shut, played their songs and took the money. Our decision here was a little easier since all the facts were in the open."
Sister Nancy adds, "I watched the documentary and could barely get through it. It was so upsetting and heartbreaking. I was also freaked out because I had made music for a nature documentary about orcas in the Northwest, called Baby Wild. It was railing against whales in captivity in general.
"When this first came up, I thought, 'Should I feel guilty about making things hard for SeaWorld?' I've decided I don't have to feel guilty about this. We do hate to rain on anybody's parade, especially if it's someone's livelihood, but if it's at the expense of these animals that deserve so much better... then it it's worth a little scuffle."
Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, Olivia Newton-John and Leann Rimes are set to hit the high notes on the high seas as part of a new concert cruise initiative. Carnival Cruise Lines bosses have announced plans for a new music series, which will offer fans floating gigs from Florida to Mexico and the Bahamas.
Hudson, who performed at the launch party on Wednesday (22Jan14), Lady Antebellum, Daughtry, Martina McBride, Chicago and Jewel are among the acts confirmed for 2014 performances at sea.
In total, Carnival bosses have booked 49 performance dates for the 2014 concert series.
The Dreamgirls star, who was performing on a cruise ship when she learned she had won a spot on American Idol, says, "I'm excited to be part of this unique concert series that will allow me to interact with my fans in such an intimate and memorable setting."
And it appears Trace Adkins hasn't worn out his welcome with the cruise line executives, despite a recent drunken altercation with an impersonator onboard a Country Cruising ship earlier this month (Jan14). The country star, who is currently in rehab following the alleged fight, is also onboard for the Carnival LIVE Concert Series.
Other acts of the bill include Foreigner, Gavin DeGraw, Kansas, REO Speedwagon and STYX.
Reo Speedwagon rocker Bryan Hitt has opened up about the band's decision to pull out of a show at SeaWorld, Florida over the themepark's killer whale treatment scandal, insisting there are "two sides to every story". The group joined the likes of Trisha Yearwood, Barenaked Ladies and Willie Nelson in cancelling 2014 performances at the venue after 2013 documentary Blackfish exposed questionable behind-the-scenes actions at the tourist attraction.
On Thursday (16Jan14), the Beach Boys and Pat Benatar became the latest celebrities to withdraw from shows at Florida's Busch Gardens - another venue owned by SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment bosses - and now Hitt has spoken in detail about his stance on the controversy.
The drummer reveals the arguments laid out in Blackfish played a big part in the band's decision to pull out of their February (14) gig, but he insists the case against the park bosses isn't clear cut, and admits REO Speedwagon simply didn't want to get caught up in the politics of the situation.
He tells TMZ.com, "It was a great film. There's always two sides to every story. Nobody is a hundred per cent correct on either side, we just felt like that's SeaWorld's fight, not our fight.
"We politely bowed out. I think they do a lot of good in some instances. I don't, personally, like having big animals captive in small places."
Classic rock bands Reo Speedwagon and Chicago are set to embark on a co-headlining North American tour this summer (14). The groups will play 15 dates in major cities in the U.S. including New York City, Boston, Massachusetts and Dallas, Texas.
Chicago's Robert Lamm, says, "It's ironic, that these two legendary bands, who both have roots in Illinois, were labelmates... in the (1970s), and experienced waves of immense success in the (1980s) and (1990s), and have somehow continued to consistently make compelling music, both in-studio and on tour.... have never before performed together!
"This situation is about to change, as Chicago and REO will perform together during the concert's encore and present a finale that will thrill their audiences. As a musician who has always respected REO's skills, I look forward to our first rehearsals early this summer. This will be fun!"
REO Speedwagon's Kevin Cronin, adds, "With so many personal connections between various members of REO and Chicago, it is amazing that we have never actually toured together. I love it that the Chicago guys feel the way we do about truly playing together when you tour together...
"This tour promises to deliver some unique music from two bands who have made a ton of hit records, share that Midwest work ethic, and still refuse to sit back on their past accomplishments. We both keep raising the bar, challenging ourselves, and rocking hard... and the audience is the ultimate winner. We are psyched... I can't wait for this tour."
The tour will kick-off in August (14).
Country singer Martina Mcbride has become the latest artist to cancel a concert at SeaWorld in Florida following a backlash against the alleged poor treatment of animals at the theme park. There has been mounting pressure on performers to boycott the Bands, Brews & BBQs concert series at the Orlando attraction after documentary Blackfish exposed issues surrounding the captive killer whales there and prompted fans to launched online petitions.
In November (13), Canadian band Barenaked Ladies became the first act to cancel after watching the film and they were followed by Willie Nelson, Heart, Cheap Trick, Trisha Yearwood and REO Speedwagon.
McBride has now also decided to scrap her appearance, writing in a Facebook post, "I've decided that given all the issues that have been aired recently, the time isn't right for me to play at SeaWorld. I have cancelled my scheduled performance at the Bands, Blues & BBQ event in March 2014."
Rockers Reo Speedwagon have become the latest act to scrap a show at SeaWorld in Florida over the theme park's killer whale treatment scandal. New movie Blackfish exposed what goes on behind the scenes at the tourist attraction, and the band has raised some concerns over being part of the show, which had been scheduled for next year (14).
A message on the group's Facebook.com page reads, "Due to concerns regarding our February 16 appearance at SeaWorld, we have chosen to cancel the performance."
REO Speedwagon join celebrities including Trisha Yearwood, Barenaked Ladies and Willie Nelson, who have all cancelled performances which were due to be part of the park's Bands, BBQ and Brew concert series.