Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend and actor Benedict Cumberbatch are among the stars who have signed an open letter urging London's mayor to protect music venues in the city's Soho district following the closure of a famous club. They have all put their names to a note penned by singer/songwriter Tim Arnold to express concern over the destruction of live music culture in the area after the local council revoked the entertainment licence at independent club Madame Jojo's, where Adele, The Who and Spandau Ballet all performed at the start of their careers. The building is now set to be demolished.
The letter, published in Britain's The Times newspaper on Wednesday (03Dec14), reads, "My concern is that the end of Madame Jojo's will lead to the closure of other such establishments, which will limit young artists' chances to showcase their talents, ultimately affecting the British music industry...
"I believe Soho's enduring attraction as a global destination has always depended on building around and adding to what has gone before, not by demolishing it, and I hope readers will support me in this. I also hope (London Mayor) Boris Johnson will become involved in protecting Soho's future."
The letter was co-signed by Daltrey and his The Who bandmate Townshend, as well as actor Cumberbatch, comedian Stephen Fry, Spandau Ballet star Gary Kemp, actress June Brown and actor/comedian Eddie Izzard.
The Who guitarist Pete Townshend missed the band's 50th anniversary celebration concert in London on Tuesday (11Nov14) because he was busy looking after his dogs. Frontman Roger Daltrey organised the tribute to mark the band's milestone and raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, but Townshend was noticeably absent from the gig at the Shepherd's Bush Empire.
During the show, Daltrey told the audience his bandmate was "at home looking after the dogs" before adding, "I think he'd rather do anything than hear his songs played back to him! He doesn't like playing them himself."
The evening featured a star-studded line-up playing the band's hits, including rocker Liam Gallagher, who returned to the spotlight for the first time since disbanding his group Beady Eye, to perform The Who's My Generation - a song he often covered with Oasis.
Other performers included Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson, Def Leppard rocker Joe Elliott and Wilko Johnson.
The gig also featured video tributes from Sir Paul McCartney and Iggy Pop along with performances from comedians Johnny Vegas and Rich Hall.
Veteran musician Gregg Allman was named a living legend at the 2014 Classic Rock Roll Of Honour ceremony on Tuesday (04Nov14). The Allman Brothers star took the top award at the annual event, which was staged in Los Angeles for the first time to mark its 10th anniversary.
The Doors were given the prestigious Inspiration honour, Queen + Adam Lambert were named Band of the Year, and miracle man Wilko Johnson - who was recently given the all-clear after living with a terminal cancer diagnosis for more than 15 months - was awarded Album of the Year for his collaboration with Roger Daltrey, Going Back Home.
After he was announced as the winner of the Living Legend award, Allman said, "I am so very honoured to be receiving this award. The magazine is one of my favourites and they are always so generous to me and the Brothers."
Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich thanked fans via a video message after the band's concert movie Through The Never scooped Film of the Year, and rocker Ozzy Osbourne celebrated when his debut solo record Blizzard of Ozz was named Classic Album and his wife Sharon won the VIP award.
The ceremony, which usually takes place in London, was held at The Avalon in Hollywood.
The full list of winners is:
Living Legend - Gregg Allman
Inspiration - The Doors
Band of the Year - Queen + Adam Lambert
Film of the Year - Metallica, Through The Never
Album of the Year - Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltrey, Going Back Home
Classic Album - Ozzy Osbourne, Blizzard Of Ozz
Outstanding Contribution - Jeff Lynne
Reissue of the Year - Led Zeppelin I, II, III Deluxe Editions
Maestro - Joe Perry
Metal Guru - Dave Mustaine
The Bluesman - Eric Burdon
The VIP - Sharon Osbourne
Best New Band - The Cadillac Three.
Wilko Johnson has a fan to thank for his cancer recovery. The rocker declared himself "cured" of pancreatic cancer at Britain's Q Awards last Wednesday (22Oct14), 21 months after he was given just months to live in January last year (13).
He had a tumour removed during an operation in April (14), as well as his spleen, pancreas and parts of his intestines.
He has now been given the all clear, and it appears his health comeback is all thanks to a fan's hunch.
Surgeon and photographer Charlie Chan went to see Johnson live on what was supposed to be his farewell tour last year (13) and was so convinced doctors' pancreatic cancer diagnosis was wrong, he felt compelled to get in touch with his hero and suggest a new course of action.
Chan tells Britain's Gloucestershire Echo newspaper he met Johnson just months after he announced his health crisis to the world and then attended a gig in October, 2013: "Wilko was playing at the KoKo club in Camden and he was looking much better than he had done in July and he'd released an album with Roger Daltrey and I thought, 'What's going on?' I thought that he couldn't have what he thought he did.
"I spoke to some pancreatic experts I know, including Emmanuel Huguet who works at Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge. I went back to see Wilko at his home and examined him for three hours and read the background and I just couldn't believe that the diagnosis was right. I asked him if he'd go and see Emmanuel."
Dr. Huguet operated successfully on Wilko in April (14).
Chan adds, "Now Wilko is saying he's cancer-free and that's wonderful. He's planning to get back to recording another album and playing with his band again. And I think he's quite likely to be looking at a normal life expectancy.
"It's a great bonus that tens and hundreds of thousands of music fans will be able to enjoy more of his music, but the important thing is that he'll be around for his family, he has two sons and a three-year-old grandson. I'm just pleased I could help him. As a doctor it's important to do the right thing."
Actor Jamie Foxx partied with politicians on Saturday night (16Aug14) by inviting former presidential candidate John Mccain and New Jersey governor Chris Christie to join him onstage for a dance at a star-studded fundraiser. The Ray star was a guest at the annual Apollo in the Hamptons bash and he made an extra special effort to get the party swinging.
He took to the stage and invited Christie to join him for a dance, before Senator McCain got up to join in, swiftly followed by Sir Paul McCartney and director Spike Lee.
After the stunt, Foxx told New York Post gossip column Page Six, "Its always the ones you don't expect. Republicans love to dance - in the Hamptons."
Other guests at the event, organised by business magnate Ron Perelman, included Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Barbra Streisand, Roger Waters, Anjelica Huston, and Don Johnson.
The audience enjoyed performances by Pharrell Williams, Sting, Gladys Knight, and Jon Bon Jovi at the fundraiser, which netted $4 million (£2.4 million) for development projects at New York's famous Apollo Theatre.
At the close of the evening, Nicholson told Page Six, "That was one hell of a night. Christie really held his own. I told him, as he walked back to his seat, 'Governor, you can't let New Jersey down.'"
Police Academy star Bobcat Goldthwait has married his love of directing with his passion for Big Foot by making a new movie about a search for Sasquatch. The funnyman-turned-filmmaker shot Willow Creek in the remote Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California, where Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin shot footage of what appeared to be Big Foot in 1967, and he admits he has become a big part of the community surrounding the myth.
But he confesses the chance he might stumble across the real thing while making Willow Creek turned him into an obsessive.
He says, "I shot the movie where the Patterson and Gimlin footage was originally shot, that footage where Big Foot's walking through and looks back. It's 17 miles down a dirt road; it takes two and a half hours to get there. There's no cell phones, there's no planes going over.
"You're in the middle of nowhere and when we were filming, we actually did see two mountain lions.... I'm out there and the idea of getting mauled to death wasn't lost on me - 'Bobcat killed by bobcat'... I was kind of insane when I made this movie... I was really obsessed."
Goldthwait admits he takes his love of Big Foot seriously, adding, "People bust my chops on this because I'm an atheist who believes in Big Foot, but I've met people who have heard and seen Big Foot... I'm accepted in the community; I've gone out looking for Big Foot with these guys on a number of occasions.
"I've been to Big Foot conventions and it's fascinating because most people in the Big Foot community believe Big Foot has a flat head, not a pointy head... This guy had a cardboard cut-out of a pointy headed Big Foot and the other guy comes over to him and he goes, 'You disgust me, look at his head!' And he goes, 'Really? I've seen Big Foot three times and you're never gonna see him 'cause you smoke!'"
Goldthwait's Willow Creek, in which actors Alexie Gilmore and Bryce Johnson play Big Foot hunters interacting with town locals, is currently available as a video on demand. It will be released as a Blu-Ray/DVD later this year (14).
Terminally-ill rocker Wilko Johnson has been discharged from hospital and is making "excellent progress" in his recovery after undergoing surgery to remove a tumour from his pancreas. The former Dr. Feelgood star, who has been suffering from inoperable pancreatic cancer since January, 2013, was admitted to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, England on 30 April (14) to undergo a nine-hour operation.
The surgery was a success, but Johnson was kept under doctors' care for several weeks to ensure he didn't experience any complications. He has since been allowed to go home and now a representative for the musician has shared an update with fans on his Facebook.com page.
Thanking fans for their ongoing support, the rep writes, "We're sure you will be as delighted as we are that after making excellent progress at Addenbrooke's over the last few weeks, Wilko is now convalescing back at his home.
"Naturally after such an extensive procedure, Wilko is extremely tired, and it will take him some time to recuperate, so he asks that you respect his privacy, but we had to share this incredibly positive news.
"On behalf of Wilko and his family, another huge thank you for your magnificent support over recent months - it really means a great deal to Wilko - and please join us in thanking the staff at Addenbrooke's for everything they have achieved in some extremely difficult circumstances."
Johnson's pal Roger Daltrey previously revealed the ailing rocker had started to use his downtime to write songs for a new joint album with The Who star following the March (14) release of their collaborative project, Going Back Home.
Wilko Johnson is working on tracks for a new album with Roger Daltrey just weeks after undergoing major surgery as part of his cancer battle. The former Dr. Feelgood star, who was diagnosed with the disease in January, 2013, is recovering after doctors removed a tumour from his pancreas last month (Apr14), and his friend Daltrey has revealed the brave musician is already "bored" as he rests up.
The Who rocker, who released a collaborative album with Johnson, Going Back Home, in March (14), has urged his friend to start working on new material for a second record to take his mind off the recovery process.
He tells Absolute Radio's Pete Mitchell, "The way I look at it is that I know that Wilko's recovery process is probably going to be six months. About two months in, he's already bored. I spoke to him yesterday and he's bored. I said to him, 'Come on, write some more songs, let's think of something, sort the songs out for the next record.'"
Daltrey predicts Johnson could be well enough to start recording very soon, adding, "I reckon two months in he'll at least have the strength to play, you know, get that boredom and all that angst out on the guitar. So the studio could be easy for him and it might be a nice stepping stone back to full recovery."
The full interview airs on Britain's Absolute Radio on Saturday night (17May14).
Rock legend Roger Daltrey is hopeful there is a "chance" terminally-ill musician Wilko Johnson will make a full recovery after undergoing pioneering surgery. The former Dr. Feelgood star, who was diagnosed with inoperable cancer in January, 2013, had major surgery last month (Apr14) to cut out a huge tumour on his pancreas.
His pal and collaborator Daltrey has now revealed Johnson is on the mend after undergoing the experimental operation, during which he had the tumour, his spleen, pancreas and parts of his intestines removed.
The Who frontman has even suggested Johnson could make a full recovery despite only being given months to live by doctors during his original diagnosis.
The Pinball Wizard singer tells the BBC, "He's in hospital. He's been in and out for two weeks, he's doing really well... He's lost an awful lot of his body, but he's still here. Which is one up from being dead.
"He's getting out of bed and grunting, which is exhilarating for him I'm sure, and we look forward to him making a full recovery... There is a chance (of a full recovery), but it's an operation that's never been tried before. He's an experiment. His whole life has been an experiment."
Daltrey also insists he is already planning to return to the studio with Johnson for a follow-up to their album Going Back Home, released in March (14).
He adds, "It's going to take a long, long time. But if he does (come back) we're going to make part two of the record that we rushed out."
Terminally ill rocker Wilko Johnson will show fans he is still going strong by holding a record signing session in London next week (beg24Mar14). The former Dr. Feelgood guitarist was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer in January last year (13) but the plucky star refused chemotherapy treatment and instead headed out on a farewell tour.
He has since defied medics who gave him just months to live by continuing to stun fans with live shows, and he has even recorded a final album with The Who frontman Roger Daltrey.
Now Johnson has decided to address his followers in person by staging an album signing at a London branch of record store HMV on Tuesday (25Mar14).
He will autograph copies of the record, Going Back Home, just a day after its release on Monday (24Mar14).