Quick Hits: Bruno Mars, Kanye West & Iggy Azalea, Busta Rhymes, The Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Johnny Winter
July 17, 2014

Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars has announced some new openers for select dates of his Moonshine Jungle World Tour, including Aloe Blacc, Bebe Rexha, and Afro/Norwegian pop duo Nico & Vinz. Pharrell Williams will no longer appear as special guest on the Canadian dates due to a personal conflict. In other news, Mars recently received his first Emmy nomination for his performance at the Super Bowl Halftime Show. The show was named in the category of Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program, and it also received an additional nomination for Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction For A Variety Special.

Kanye West and Iggy Azalea have been added to the lineup for the Los Angeles edition of the Budweiser Made In America Festival, taking place at the Los Angeles Grand Park on August 30 and 31. Kanye will now headline both the Philadelphia and Los Angeles editions, which occur over the same weekend.

Busta Rhymes will release the sequel to his hit third album, E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front, sometime in the fall. For Extinction Level Event 2, the rapper brings back E.L.E. producers Swizz Beatz, DJ Scratch, Rockwilder and Nottz alongside new beats by Dr. Dre, DJ Premier and longtime collaborator J Dilla, who passed away in 2006 but left a wealth of unreleased music. "E.L.E. 2 is very familiar and similar to the embodiment of what E.L.E. 1 sounded and felt like because it was important to me that if you play the first one today and then took it out and immediately put the second one in, I wanted the beginning of the second one to start with the same feeling that E.L.E. 1 ended with," Busta told Rolling Stone. "I wanted it to be a natural progression and the most seamless sequel concept project that has ever been put together, but then it evolves as it goes on and you feel the nostalgia but you hear and you witness everything that's current and new about the feeling of E.L.E. 2."

The Smashing Pumpkins' 1998 album Adore will be reissued in a massive seven disc box set later this year. Due out September 23, the CD-DVD set is full of rarities, outtakes, remixes, instrumentals, demos and an entire show recorded in the summer of 1998. Unfortunately, the details of the box set leaked online early by Amazon, prompting Billy Corgan to write multiple posts online complaining of the info leak.

Eddie Vedder made headlines this week when he launched into an angry, anti-war speech onstage in England during Pearl Jam's show at Milton Keynes. Vedder's profanity-laced comments made headlines, and while he didn't name any specific countries, the speech was interpreted by some outlets as anti-Israel. Now Vedder has written an essay on Pearl Jam's website titled "Imagine That - I'm Still Anti-War." Using John Lennon's "Imagine" as his starting point, Vedder also wrote, "When attempting to make a plea for more peace in the world at a rock concert, we are reflecting the feelings of all those we have come in contact with so we may all have a better understanding of each other. That’s not something I’m going to stop anytime soon. Call me naïve. I’d rather be naïve, heartfelt and hopeful than resigned to say nothing for fear of misinterpretation and retribution." The entire post can be read here.

Blues guitarist Johnny Winter passed away on Wednesday (7/16) in a Zurich hotel room, according to his publicist, while on tour in Europe. Winter was 70. "His wife, family and bandmates are all saddened by the loss of one of the world's finest guitarists," his rep said in a statement. "An official statement with more details shall be issued at the appropriate time." Winter rose to prominence in the 1960s and '70s and issued nearly 20 albums throughout his career. A four-disc box set, True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story, was released in February 2014, and his final album is soon to come out. Titled Step Back, it features appearances by Eric Clapton, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and Aerosmith's Joe Perry, among others, and has a release date of September 2. Outside of his own music, Winter also co-produced the 1970 hit "Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo" for Rick Derringer and produced three albums for Muddy Waters, earning three Grammys for his work with the Blues legend.

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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