Quick Hits: Metallica, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus & Flaming Lips, KISS & Def Leppard, R.E.M., The Stooges / Scott Asheton
March 17, 2014

Metallica debuted an epic new song called "The Lords of Summer" at their concert in Bogotá, Colombia Sunday night. Drummer Lars Ulrich told Rolling Stone that the song "is fairly representative of where our creative headspace is at right now." However, he also acknowledged that things may change by the time Metallica's next album comes out. "We did the same thing when we went out and played a bunch of dates in 2006," he explained. "We were writing and played two different new songs over the course of that summer, and none of them made the record [Death Magnetic]. One was called 'New Song 1' – going out on a creative limb, here – and the other was called 'New Song 2.' There was a couple of pieces in 'New Song 1,' some of the middle bit ended up in 'All Nightmare Long,' and the intro bit ended up in 'The End of the Line.' That's how we work; stuff just gets changed around, moved over and this goes over there and the rest of that gets sacked and that ends up in the intro in song five... So who knows what's going to happen with this stuff? But we are off and running and have been creating away in the studio and now we're going to go out and play and sweat and share. We've got some new music that we want to throw everybody's way."

Over the weekend, Justin Bieber posted a 15-second clip of a new song, titled "Life Is Worth Living," on Instagram. The track is a hopeful, positive ballad, which represents a change of pace from Bieber's previous track, "Broken." That song surfaced in February and saw the singer taking aim at the media and other haters in light of his recent legal troubles.

Miley Cyrus and the Flaming Lips have hit the studio together to record a Beatles cover. Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne spread the news via Instagram on Sunday, when he posted a photo of Cyrus that was embellished with animated sparkles and diamonds. "Miley in the studio vomiting diamonds while singing 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds!'" he wrote. "If you're a Beatles and John Lennon freak you gonna love love love this track!! Got Andrew from MGMT too!"

KISS and Def Leppard have decided to join forces for a summer of hit-fueled Rock & Roll. Their joint tour will roll through 40-plus North American cities, beginning on June 23 in West Valley City, UT and running through August 31 in  
Woodlands, TX. Tickets go on sale starting Friday, March 21. The bands also will support their dedicated fans in the armed services by partnering with numerous military organizations for the tour, including the USO, Hiring Our Heroes, Project Resiliency/The Raven Drum Foundation, August Warrior Project and the Wounded Warrior Project. All military personnel will be given access to discounted tickets for the tour, and military charities will receive a portion of the ticket sales as well.

R.E.M. will honor Record Store Day on April 19 by releasing a limited edition, four-LP set of recordings from both of their appearances on MTV Unplugged. The collection includes every performance from the original broadcasts (which took place in 1991 and 2001), as well as 11 songs that never aired. The set will be packaged in a four-pocket gatefold and will be available exclusively at select independent music retailers on April 19. Following the vinyl release, both Unplugged performances will be released on CD and digitally on May 20.

The reunited Iggy & The Stooges suffered another loss as founding drummer Scott Asheton passed away Saturday due to an unspecified illness. He was 64-years-old. Asheton had been having medical problems for a few years and was only able to play with The Stooges periodically. After performing at France's Hellfest in June of 2011, he suffered a severe medical injury on a plane. After that the band continued touring with replacement drummer Toby Dammit, though Asheton did get back behind the kit at the 2012 Austin City Limits festival, and he played on the band's most recent album, 2013's Ready To Die. As recently as two weeks ago, the group held out hope he would return. "Scott was a great artist," Iggy Pop said in a statement. "I have never heard anyone play the drums with more meaning than Scott Asheton. He was like my brother. He and Ron have left a huge legacy to the world. The Ashetons have always been and continue to be a second family to me. My thoughts are with his sister Kathy, his wife Liz and his daughter Leanna, who was the light of his life." Scott's brother and band co-founder Ron also passed away in 2009 from a heart attack.

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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