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NOLA Crawfish Festival Braves The Rain And Closes Out In Funky Style [Review/Photos]

first_imgThe second annual NOLA Crawfish Festival closed out its action-packed “Daze Between” schedule with a mix of incredible music, savory food, and a can-do spirit in the face of adversity that was truly amazing to behold. With an exciting first day in the books the second and third stanzas of this wonderful gathering were anything but the same as the first.To be certain, the overall theme of the NOLA Crawfish Festival was as established: Throw the best ingredients possible together with an artful eye towards the optimal balance and share the results with friends and family. Chef Shaggy, The NOLA Crawfish King does this as well as anyone when it comes to his legendary crawfish boils. After the success of last year’s event, Shaggy showed that he and his partners were more than capable of delivering just as impressive results in their artful curation musicians as they do with their shellfish, okra, potatoes and corn. The trick, as always, is in the spices–and knowing what to add and when to add it.Great masters make things look easy. Making a great funk festival is more than adding a dash of George Porter Jr. and Jon Cleary here, a few chunks of fresh bands like Organ Freeman there, and ringing the dinner bell. The second day of musical choices is a perfect example of the planning and thought behind the NOLA Crawfish Festival.Rather than simply bring out Alvin Youngblood Hart’s Muscle Theory and turning them loose, organizers realized that Hart’s brother-in-arms Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi All-Stars was in town. When approached, Dickinson was more than happy to accept the opportunity to share the stage with his compadre.Dickinson hung back for the first part of the set, allowing Hart and his band to shower the audience with massive blues based rock riffs that shook the walls of Central City BBQ. After leaving the audience sufficiently shell-shocked, Hart welcomed his fellow six string-slinger to the stage for some furious duels that were somehow friendly and still slightly competitive. By the end of the set both were smiling as broadly as everyone in the crowd, and their hug at the end of the set was a heart warming sign of both appreciation and affection that spoke as loudly as the music they had spun together moments before.From there, the music took to the outside air, where the scent of the boiling crawfish had music hungry fans feeling pangs of a different sort in their bellies. Luckily, each ticket included a heaping portion of the boil and a free NOLA Brewing Company beer to help wash the deliciousness down. Tables groaned at the weight dropped on them, only to quickly lighten as the food was devoured and the first notes of the outdoor portion of the program began.First up on the outside stage was the provocative keyboard pairing of Jon Cleary and Nigel Hall. The Grammy-winning Cleary has close to forty years’ experience behind his trademark blend of voice and keys. Over the course of his storied career, he has worked with some of the finest talents the Crescent City has to offer. His NOLA Crawfish Festival set was no exception.Dumpstaphunk‘s Tony Hall, Derwin “Big D” Perkins, Raymond Weber provided plenty of firepower and a rock-solid pocket for the showmen on keys to do their thing. Showing an impressive lack of ego for such a well-known and established players, the ad hoc band delivered a welcome set of rollicking piano-centric tunes that had everyone in a dancing mood from the first note.After quickly clearing the tables and the stage itself, it was time for the main event of the second day of the NOLA Crawfish Festival, the aptly named NCF Funk Squad. George Porter Jr. is at or near the top of any list of the funkiest cats of all time. Plenty has been written about the beloved man from the seminal refiners of funk known as The Meters, and all of the praise has been well-earned.Flanking Porter were two men of equal musical measure, Eric Krasno (of Soulive, Lettuce and The Eric Krasno Band) and John Medeski, AKA the first “M” in the impenetrably versatile jazz/funk trio MMW. Krasno’s signature slinky style of play surprises and delights, with his keen sense of exactly how far a note can and should be bent, and exactly when to do it. On the other side of the stage sat Medeski, whose fanning style of organ play seems almost unconscious, though that belies the insane skill he displays when launching his soaring fills and runs.Thanks to a near-clockwork precision shown by Terrence Higgins on percussion, these extremely expressive players were free to explore the far reaches of funk in ways that left even the most jaded fans in the audience slack-jawed. The respect they showed each other as they reeled off rolling jams was as impressive as any music made in the city that day, a bold statement that is, admittedly, nigh impossible to verify. Though jam sessions of this sort are often attempted, it is the rare occasion, such as this, where they truly succeed beyond the wildest of expectations.Heading into Day 3, it looked like nothing could rain on this funky parade before, as always, Mother Nature came along to remind us that the best laid plans of mice and men would do well to include an umbrella.New Orleans is no stranger to rainy days. The citizenry shrugs off storms with the easy sensibility for which the Big Easy is named. Even the sound and stage crews that work the hundreds of venues across the country have honed their skills in improvisation in the face of inclement weather, so when the darkened skies burst wide and the thunder boomed, they moved like lightning to cover outdoor gear and reassess the issues.Once the electrical components of the storm became apparent, the decision was made to move the remainder of the days’ events indoors to the safer stage. Showing efficiency born of necessity and repetition, the crew had the gear protected and the interior stage beefed up with added lights and speakers in record time. The event was listed as rain or shine, and everyone involved was dead set on keeping that promise, including opening act Organ Freeman.Hailing from Los Angelas Organ Freeman has been making a name for themselves on the jam circuit with their heady mix of groove and rock. While their chops are still coalescing their stage manner and professionalism is already right where it belongs. The delay in beginning and their regrettably shortened set time due to the elements not only failed to dampen their spirits, it provided the trio with a rallying motivation to pack as much energy into each moment onstage.They even found time to squeeze in a delightful sit-in from Turkuaz sax player Greg Sanderson. Fans rushing in from the storm were delighted to find Organ Freeman already in crush mode, and by the end of their abbreviated set they received one of the most deserved ovations they have likely received in their nascent career. Such willingness to be both determined and flexible in the face of adversity will doubtlessly go far in winning them fans for life, as it surely did on this day.One of the more unique features of the NOLA Crawfish Fest is the cook-off it hosts among local boilers for prizes and bragging rights. As the preparations began, weather be damned, another type of vittles was being served on stage in the form of Raw Oyster Cult. The cheekily named band is the current home of Dave Malone, guitarist of New Orleans’ own legendary rockers The Radiators fame.Malone and his current project took the stage to share a mix of classic tunes and Radiators staples with impressive vocals from a variety of guests, including Malone’s own kids. While Malone was all business, despite his known love crawfish and the bevy of vittles being boiled around him as he playedAs soon as his set was over and his axe stowed, Malone made his way outside for the judging. While that was going on, the brassy sounds of trombone player extraordinaire Corey Henry and The Treme Funktet gave the proceedings a decidedly New Orleans flavor. Joined by the brass section of a local music school, the air was thick with the distilled spirit of the city itself.All things must come to an end, but luckily the NOLA Crawfish Festival had one last ace up it’s sleeve, The Crawfish Fest All-Stars. One of the few repeat acts, this ensemble of George Porter Jr., John “Papa” Gros, June Yamagishi and Terence Higgins was an almost mandatory lineup reprisal after their stellar job the previous year. Another repeat from last year was the unannounced, much-welcomed addition New Orleans favorite rocker Anders Osborne.Osborne and Chef Shaggy spare a bond as deep as brother from both their long friendship and their struggles with sobriety. In fact, a portion of every ticket sold to the festival went to the Can’d Aid Foundation‘s Send Me A Friend initiative, established by Osborne to help touring musicians in recovery safely navigate the many temptations of the road.Quickly hopping in for just one song, Osborne wailed on a hastily borrowed guitar that didn’t even have a strap. Fortunately, Anders was more than capable of rocking out without it, as he traded licks with guitarist June Yamagishi with his notorious emotive style before quickly ducking out for more of his many Jazz Fest duties.The camaraderie of a boil is the most attractive part of this party, and was well represented in the smiling faces and new friendships born as tails were pulled and squeezed time and again. Music legends mixed and matched onstage to create jam sessions as fine as anywhere in the city, and by the last note the storms had finally dissipated long enough for the stuffed fans to make their way on to the next stop in the endless parade of music that is Jazz Fest. One thing is for certain, though: they won’t be finding a better example of the culture of New Orleans than the one they just experienced at the NOLA Crawfish Festival![Photos by Jeremy Scott]last_img read more

Trey Anastasio Band Jibboos Through Salt Lake City [Videos]

first_imgFollowing their return to Red Rocks Amphitheatre after nearly twelve years, Trey Anastasio Band powered through to Salt Lake City in Utah for another stand-out performance at the Red Butte Gardens. The Phish frontman and his eight-piece band —consisting of Russ Lawton (drums), Tony Markellis (bass), Cyro Baptista (percussion), Ray Paczkowski (keys), Jennifer Hartswick (trumpet, vocals), Natalie Cressman (trombone, vocals), and James Casey (saxophones, vocals) — soared through their first set, with TAB originals “Mozambique” and “Cayman Review” to open the show. Phish numbers “Heavy Things,” “Magilla,” and “Sand” also appeared in the first set, with covers of George Harrison‘s “What Is Life” and a special “Ooh Child” by Five Stairsteps. The first set closed with a monstrous “Gotta Jibboo,” another favorited Phish tune.The second set opened with Trey Anastasio Band’s “Money, Love And Change” and “Sometime After Sunset,” before heading into Phish’s “Last Tube” and “Ocelot.” Big Boat‘s “Tide Turns” also appeared in the second set, alongside a great selection of Paper Wheels songs. Toward the end, TAB’s latest heavy-hitter “Everything’s Right” laid it down before closing with “Tuesday” and “Push On ‘Till The Day.”The band once again returned for a “The Parting Glass” and “Dazed and Confused” closer, featuring the incredible Jennifer Hartswick on vocals.The band goes on to play the Big Sky Brewery tonight in Missoula, Montana.Thanks to troop1024, you can watch the videos below:Magilla, SandGotta Jibboo Setlist: Trey Anastasio Band | Red Butte Gardens | Salt Lake City, Utah | 6/2/17I: Mozambique, Cayman Review, Heavy Things, Curlews Call, Ooo Child, Magilla, Sand, What is Life, Alive Again, Dark and Down, Gotta JibbooII: Money, Love and Change, Sometime After Sunset, Last Tube, Ocelot, Valentine, Liquid Time, Tide Turns, Bounce, Simple Twist Up Dave, Everything’s Right, Tuesday, Push on ’till the DayE: The Parting Glass, Dazed and Confusedlast_img read more

Watch Jamiroquai Perform Live In Switzerland Right Now

first_imgJamiroquai is currently performing at Moon&Stars Festival in Locarno, Switzerland. Fresh off the heels of their Automaton release, Jamiroquai is currently in the midst of a huge tour. While some medical issues kept frontman Jay Kay from performing a few shows, the future funk band is officially back and soaring.Moon&Stars is currently sharing a live stream from their set, which you can view below.last_img

Donald Fagen Suing Walter Becker Estate For Steely Dan Name Rights

first_imgDonald Fagen has just filed a lawsuit against the estate of his late Steely Dan bandmate Walter Becker, who died earlier this year in September. Fagen is suing the Becker estate over the rights to continue to use the name Steely Dan for performances. Fagen has also filed a suit against Steely Dan’s management firm, alleging that the firm has been withholding records from him.As outlined by The Hollywood Reporter:At the center of the lawsuit is a 1972 Buy/Sell Agreement signed by the original bandmembers when Steely Dan was incorporated. According to the complaint, which was filed Tuesday in L.A. County Superior Court, the contract provides that whenever a member of the group quits or dies Steely Dan purchases all of that members shares in the group.“By the 2010s, Fagen and Becker were the only remaining shareholders and signatories to the Buy/Sell Agreement,” writes attorney Louis “Skip” Miller in the complaint. “Four days after Becker’s death, on September 7, 2017, the Becker Defendants sent Fagen a letter stating that ‘We wanted to put you on notice that the Buy/Sell Agreement dated as of October 31, 1972 is of no force or effect.’”The letter sent to Fagen by Becker’s estate also asked that Becker’s widow receive 50% ownership of and become an officer of Steely Dan. Fagen has claimed that the Becker estate currently has control of Steely Dan’s official website, with the estate of the late Steely Dan guitarist refusing to give him access or any control of the site. Fagen is seeking a million dollars in damages and hoping that the court will arrive at the decision that Fagen, following Becker’s passing, is the sole owner of the Steely Dan name.[H/T Brooklyn Vegan]last_img read more

Celebrate Cinco De Mayo With Dead & Co’s Free ‘Playing In The Sand’ Webcast On nugs.tv

first_imgIn honor of Cinco De Mayo today, nugs.tv will stream the first show of Dead & Company’s inaugural Playing In The Sand, the band’s new destination event at Barceló Maya Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The stream begins tonight at 8 p.m. (EST) and will feature a rebroadcast of Dead & Company’s show on February 15th, 2018. Notably, the show featured a heartfelt tribute to John Perry Barlow, the Grateful Dead lyricist and political activist who died earlier this year. You can read more about this first Playing In The Sand performance here before it’s replayed later today for free.You can head over to nugs.tv here at 8 p.m. (EST) tonight to catch the free Cinco De Mayo webcast of Dead & Company’s show on February 15th, 2018. You can also watch the webcast in the embedded video, and check out the show’s setlist, below. During nugs.tv’s announcement of the rebroadcast, the streaming service also noted that fans should “stay tuned in for more announcements about Summer Tour 2018 webcasts,” so keep an eye out as Dead & Company gears up to start their summer tour on May 30th at Manfield, Massachusetts’ Xfinity Center.Setlist: Dead & Company | Playing In The Sand | Barceló Maya Resort | Riviera Maya, Mexico | 2/15/2018 Set One: Playing In The Band, Me & My Uncle, He’s Gone > Cassidy, Brown-Eyed Women, Bertha > Good Lovin’ > La Bamba > Good LovinSet Two: Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain > Althea > Estimated Prophet > Eyes Of The World > Drums > Space > Jam > Looks Like Rain > I Need A Miracle > Casey JonesEncore: The Weightlast_img read more

Statue Honoring Chris Cornell To Be Erected In Seattle In August

first_imgFriday, July 20th, marked what would have been Chris Cornell‘s 54th birthday. The late Soundgarden and Audioslave singer passed away in May of last year, sending shockwaves through the music community. However, today, Chris Cornell’s wife, Vicky Cornell, announced that Cornell’s home city of Seattle will raise a statue honoring the late Grammy Award-winning singer in August outside Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture.The statue will be raised during a public ceremony on Wednesday, August 29th. Per a press release, “Ms. Cornell commissioned sculptor Nick Marras to create a life size bronze statue showcasing the rock legend in one of his iconic poses with his signature boots, dog tag, layers and long locks. She has donated the commemorative figure to Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture. …The statue will be placed on display in front of the Museum of Pop Culture’s gold south entrance, facing 5th Avenue, the ideal location for fans and visitors around the world.”As Vicky Cornell explained,Even though Chris’ music touched the lives of millions around the world, there is no better place than Seattle to honor and celebrate both his contribution to music history, as well as Seattle’s unique place in popular music, with an enduring symbol of a beloved artist, father, and husband. … Our children and I are deeply moved by the continued outpouring of love, compassion, and support, and this is our gift to the Museum of Pop Culture and to Seattle – our gift back to the tight-knit community that gave him his start.As the Museum of Pop’s artistic director, Jasen Emmons, noted, “MoPOP is honored to receive this gift from the Cornell family and pay tribute to one of the most powerful and important voices in popular music. … MoPOP serves to celebrate the Seattle music scene and the luminaries who have emerged from the Northwest and Chris was a key figure who has made a lasting impact on generations worldwide.”last_img read more

Ringo Starr Announces 2019 World Tour With His All Starr Band

first_imgToday, Ringo Starr has announced a 2019 world tour in celebration of the 30th anniversary of his All Starr Band. The announcement comes as Starr and his current All Starr Band lineup wrap up their ongoing 2018 tour this month.After beginning with a date at Harrah’s Southern California Resort and Casino on March 21st, Ringo and company will head to Japan for a stretch of 9 performances across the country throughout the month of April. The tour will continue in August, when Starr and the All Starr Band head back to North America, for a show in Ontario, Canada (8/1) followed by two-night runs in Chicago, IL (8/3, 8/4) and Nashville, TN (8/7, 8/8). Finally, the tour will wrap with a concert at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles, CA on September 1st.The 2019 iteration of the former The Beatles drummer’s All Starr Band will feature vocalist/guitarist Colin Hay (Men at Work), guitarist Steve Lukather (Toto), vocalist/keyboardist Gregg Rolie (Santana, Journey), saxophonist Warren Ham (Toto, Bloodrock), drummer Gregg Bissonette (Toto, Santana), and Hamish Stuart (Average White Band). Stuart is the only member of the new lineup that was not a part of the band’s 2018 U.S. tour this year, though he previously toured with the All Starr Band in 2006 and 2008. He replaces bassist/vocalist Graham Gouldman (10cc), who was the newest addition to the band this past tour.See below for a full list of upcoming dates.Ringo Starr And His All Starr Band Tour DatesMarch 21st – Funner, CA @ Harrah’s Resort Southern CaliforniaMarch 27th – Fukuoka, Japan @ Sun Palace HallMar 29th – Hiroshima, Japan @ UenogakuenApril 1st – Miyagi Sendai Japan @ Tokyo Electron HallApril 2nd – Koriyama, Japan @ Shimin CenterApril 3rd – Tokyo, Japan @ Hitomi Kinen KodoApril 5th – Tokyo, Japan @ Dome City HallApril 9th – Nagoya, Japan @ Zepp,April 10th – Osaka, Japan @ Archaic Hall,Apr 11th – Osaka, Japan @ Orix TheatreAugust 1st – Windsor, Ontario @ Caesar’s in WindsorAugust 3rd – Chicago, IL @ RaviniaAugust 4th – Chicago, IL @ RaviniaAugust 7th – Nashville, TN @ The RymanAugust 8th – Nashville, TN @ The RymanSeptember 1st – Los Angeles, CA @ The Greek TheaterView All Tour Dates[H/T Rolling Stone]last_img read more

Virgin Wines Introduces New Wine Club Featuring Rolling Stones, Prince, KISS-Branded Bottles

first_imgSir Richard Branson‘s Virgin empire has expanded into a plethora of different lifestyle industries and entrepreneurial ventures over the years. The global organization’s latest venture hopes to connect winos and music fans with a new subscription-based club branded under their “Virgin Wines” division. The new initiative sees the Virgin brand partnering up with Direct Wines, one of the industry leaders in direct-to-consumer wine partnerships to allow fans to receive the products without leaving the comfort of home.Virgin Wines membership club features an impressive selection of both reds and whites, with bottle designs inspired by some of rock and roll’s most recognizable names, including a trio of “Gods of Rock Reds” with the Rolling Stones (50th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon), The Police (red blend), and KISS (Malbec). For just $79.99 (no shipping fees!) fans can start their membership with the “Greatest Hits” collection, which includes the three above mentioned artist-branded wines, as well as nine more bottles to keep folks warm in these chilly winter months. It’s worth noting that the price of a new wine shipment every three months goes up to $149.99 (plus $19.99 shipping & tax) after the introductory member offer of $79.99.Of course, it wouldn’t be a real rock and roll wine club without some tunes, which the club provides just as conveniently as their adult beverages. The Virgin Wines club even provides both members and non-members with customized Spotify playlists based on each unique bottle of wine. The different playlists can be referenced here.Other band-branded wines featured in the collection include Metallica (La Roccaccia Verdicchio di Matelica) and Prince (Prince de Courthezon Cotes du Rhone Blanc). Different rock eras and genres are also referenced by some of the customized bottles, including 90s grunge/alt rock (Black Crown Cabernet Sauvignon), the Rat Pack (Affogato Red Blend), 80s new wave (Lobo e Falcão White Blend), and jazz (Bees Knees Chenin Viognier).Fans an interested wine connoisseur can head over to virginwines.com to learn more about joining this wonderfully scented and tannin-friendly club.[H/T Broadway World]last_img read more

Everyone Orchestra Opens Up Charleston Pour House Run With Special “Everyone’s Dead” Performance [Photos]

first_imgCharleston, SC’s Charleston Pour House is hosting its third annual Everyone Orchestra gathering this weekend. On Thursday, the ensemble played a special gig billed as “Everyone’s Dead”, which featured Matt Butler on drums, in addition to an all-star cast of nationally recognized musicians.The first night of the band’s three-night weekend run featured two sets of Grateful Dead favorites. Butler rounded up Jeff Mosier (Aquarium Rescue Unit), John Kadlecik (Furthur), George Gekas (The Revivalists), Jeremy Schon (Pigeons Playing Ping Pong), and Aron Magner (The Disco Biscuits).In the first set, Pour House patrons saw songs reminiscent of an early 80s Grateful Dead set, as the band kicked things off with “Alabama Getaway”. Kadlecik then led the group through a soulful rendition of “They Love Each Other”, while the not so newcomer from PPPP, Jeremy Schon, took the first big solo of the night. While trading off with Magner, the duo locked into a melodic theme, backed by their seasoned bandmates.Kadlecik continued handling the lead role as the band moved forward with “Althea.” Through the first verses, Schon put together Bob Weir-like inversions underneath Kadlecik’s guitar, while Magner took his Prophet-6 synth for a ride. This gave way for Kadlecik to pass on a solo back to Schon once again. “Bertha” came next, with Magner taking the lead on vocals. Magner wove a tapestry portraying the Brent Mydland Dead years, while showing off his vocal grit throughout the piece. An incredible breakdown by Butler tested Schon, who followed through with a scorching guitar showdown. Kadlecik stepped back to center stage with a dark and dreary “West L.A. Fadeaway”, which eventually landed in an uptempo “New Minglewood Blues.” Mosier began to show his colors on the electric banjo, before the band smoothly-segued into “Dear Mr. Fantasy.” Gekas rocked the bass with references to The Revivalists‘ rendition of “Hey Jude,” before diving into a set-closing take on “I Know You Rider”.Everyone Orchestra kicked off their second set with “Deal”, led by an excited and high-energy Kadlecik. Throughout the night, Butler used gestures and cues to guide the six-piece through the show, in true Everyone Orchestra fashion. Mosier led the next tune with “Black Muddy River”, which allowed Magner to flex his traditional style on piano. A quick transition initiated by Matt Butler into “Samson and Delilah” switched the crowd’s sentimental feelings to those of joy and explosive energy, as the group weaved from biblical to electric. Reverend Mosier took lead on the next sequence with a fast-paced “Friend of the Devil”, which was followed up by “Me and My Uncle”. As Mosier and Kadlecik harmonized through the standard folk numbers, Matt Butler worked his tom-tom drums until the crowd caught a tease of “The Other One.” This ultimately led to a second set jam that was both eery and joyous. The band moved forward with “He’s Gone”, allowing Kadlecik to flex his chops one last time on vocals.The show ended with a traditional rendition of “Brown Eyed Woman” led by Mosier, along with an introduction of the band from Matt Butler. Instead of an encore, the group played a roughly nine-minute version of “Franklin’s Tower”, which kickstarted what is sure to be one hell of a weekend. The prequel to the third annual Everyone Orchestra Gathering was nothing but impressive. From a single set of Everyone’s Dead featuring Oteil Burbridge on the deck stage back in 2017, to an entire headlining night, Everyone’s Dead at Charleston Pour House has become an occasion.Matt Butler and company will continue the action Friday, March 1st with a traditional Everyone Orchestra set, with support from Cris Jacobs Band. Saturday will be an all-day affair with members of Everyone Orchestra and local mandolinist Aaron Firetag reviving Jerry Garcia & David Grisman’s iconic album, The Pizza Tapes. Local rockers Easy Honey will keep the party going on the deck following The Pizza Tapes performance. On Saturday, rising progressive rock quartet Schema will handle the evening’s opening duties.Check out a beautiful gallery of photos from Thursday night courtesy of photographer Ellison White below.Head here for tickets and more information.Setlist: Everyone Orchestra | Charleston Pour House | Charleston, SC | 2/28/2019Set One: Alabama Getaway > They Love Each Other > Althea > Bertha > West L.A. Fadeaway > NewMinglewood > Dear Mr. Fantasy > I Know You RiderSet Two: Deal > Black Muddy River > Samson and Delilah >Friend of the Devil > Me and My Uncle* >He’s Gone > Brown Eyed Woman > Franklin’s Tower*The Other One teasesEveryone Orchestra | Charleston Pour House | Charleston, SC | 2/28/2019 | Photos: Ellison White Load remaining imageslast_img read more

Elton John Explains Why ‘Rocketman’ Got An “R” Rating In Detailed Letter On Upcoming Biopic

first_imgAn Elton John biopic, Rocketman, is on the way, chronicling the life of the iconic singer/songwriter from his days as a young boy in England, through his illustrious career the height of his fame in the 1970s. Welsh actor Taron Egerton portrays Sir Elton John in the upcoming film, which is slated for release in theaters worldwide on May 31st, 2019. The film also stars Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, and Bryce Dallas Howard, was directed by Dexter Fletcher, and written by Lee Hall.Watch Elton John, Taron Egerton Perform “Rocket Man” At Cannes Premiere [Video]On Sunday, John penned a lengthy letter for The Guardian detailing the biopic’s long journey to its final stages of production and the big screen. He explained,Even if I hadn’t been, the whole experience of watching someone else pretend to be you on screen, of seeing things you remember happening again in front of your eyes, is a very weird, disconcerting one, like having an incredibly vivid dream. And the story of how I ended up in a cinema, crying my eyes out at the sight of my family 60 years ago, is a long and convoluted one. And it begins, naturally enough, with a naked transgender woman with sparks flying out of her vagina.Elton John moved forward with acknowledging Amanda Lepore, a model, singer and performance artist, who starred in a series of films by David LaChapelle John commissioned for his Las Vegas residency, The Red Piano, in 2004.An actor was dressed as me in full 70s stage outfit sticking his head in a gas oven, homoerotic angels figure-skating with giant teddy bears and Amanda Lepore, naked, in an electric chair, with sparks flying out of her vagina. I loved it: I’d said all along I didn’t want a standard Vegas show, and no one was ever going to be able to call The Red Piano that.Next, John touched on the notion of looking back on his career. He continued,I’ve never been very interested in looking back at my career. It happened, I’m incredibly grateful, but I’m more interested in what I’m doing next rather than what I did 40 years ago. But that began to change a little the older I got, and I really started to approach things in a different way when I had children. I was 63 when our first son, Zachary, was born, 65 when Elijah came along – and I did start thinking about them in 40 years’ time, being able to see or read my version of my life. I became less conscious about keeping it all to myself. I liked the idea of them having a film and an autobiography, where I was honest.John then dove into the lengthy process behind bringing Rocketman to the big screen. He explained,Some studios wanted to tone down the sex and drugs so the film would get a PG-13 rating. But I just haven’t led a PG-13 rated life. I didn’t want a film packed with drugs and sex, but equally, everyone knows I had quite a lot of both during the 70s and 80s, so there didn’t seem to be much point in making a movie that implied that after every gig, I’d quietly gone back to my hotel room with only a glass of warm milk and the Gideon’s Bible for company.Earlier in 2018, the prolific musician announced that he will retire from touring with an extensive 300-date tour dubbed “Farewell Yellow Brick Road.” The massive global farewell tour will likely span through to 2021, John reported on Anderson Cooper. At 70 years old, John explained his reasoning behind his farewell, noting, “My priorities have changed in my life. … My priorities now are my children, my husband, my family. I thought the time is right to say thank you to my fans and say goodbye.”Though the tour is likely to continue for years, John noted that once the tour is over, he’ll be done for good. As John explained, “I’m not going to say I’m retiring and then do a world tour. I’m not Cher.”For ticketing information and a full list of upcoming tour dates, head to Elton John’s website.[H/T The Guardian]last_img read more