Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day to Feature No Doubt, Usher, Mary J. Blige and More

No Doubt, shown here at the 2014 Global Citizen Festival, will perform again at the Earth Day concert.

 By Billy Restivo

In an effort to spread climate change awareness and take action to end extreme poverty, Global Citizen has confirmed No Doubt, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Fall Out Boy, Train and My Morning Jacket as headliners at the 2015 Global Citizen Earth Day Event.

The event will take place on April 18 at the Washington Monument Grounds and will coincide with expected announcements from World Bank president Jim Yong Kim and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on their financial commitments to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals to end global poverty by 2030.

The faces behind Global Citizen are no strangers to rocking  for a good cause. For the past three years they’ve brought artists including Foo Fighters, Stevie Wonder, Jay Z, Alicia Keys, Kings of Leon, The Black Keys and The Roots to New York’s Central Park at the Global Citizen Festival. This year’s expansion into D.C. is surely a step in the right direction for the organization, as co-founder and CEO Hugh Evans explains on the site. “Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day will see thousands of citizens calling on world leaders [to] continue to recognize that the effects of climate change are felt the hardest by the world’s poor,” he says. “The fact that this event is taking place on the National Mall—the epicenter for civil action—ensures that these citizens will be heard.”

Veteran journalist Soledad O’Brien and Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am are set to host the event, with special appearances from Common, D’Banj, and others to be announced within the next few weeks. Coldplay’s Chris Martin is also playing a supporting role in this year’s Earth Day celebration, and what’s more, the singer-songwriter will be taking the lead come September as the Global Citizen Festival curator for a tremendous 15-year gig.

Global Citizen is encouraging anyone and everyone to join in on the (free) fun April 18 from 11 am to 7 pm in support of the environmental movement and the development movement. If you’d like to learn more about the event or help Global Citizen take action, head over here.

Snoop Dogg Leads Anti-Gun Violence Campaign

Snoop Dogg

By Laura Ferreiro

Whether or not you’re aware, you may be investing in gun companies. “How can this be?” you ask. If you have a 401k retirement plan, it’s quite possible that funds from it are being invested in gun companies without your knowledge or consent.

Snoop Dogg wants to help bring this shocking fact to light. Despite rapping lyrics about gunning people down in tunes such as his 1993 hit “Serial Killa,” he has turned over a new leaf and has teamed up with an anti-gun violence campaign called Unload Your 401k to encourage people to make sure their mutual funds are not invested in gun companies.

Jhene Aiko

“How I’ve been affected by gun violence over the years is through deaths of friends and family members and associates,” Snoop Dogg says in a video promoting the campaign.

Pop singer Jhené Aiko and singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc are also lending their voices to the initiative. Aiko says her motivation comes from a life-threatening home invasion where she was held at gunpoint when she was just five years old.

NBA player Matt Barnes and NFL star Bobby Wagner also support the campaign and shared personal stories of how gun violence has affected their lives. “Directly I’ve lost a few friends but I think why this touches my heart is having children of my own,” says Barnes.

The campaign encourages people to look up whether their 401k plans are supporting the gun industry via UnloadYour401k.com, and if so, to “unload” these investments.

Whether or not you have a 401k, you can help spread the word about the campaign by using the hashtag #ImUnloading on social media.

In other news, Snoop Dogg will serve as the keynote speaker at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, Texas on March 20. He follows in the footsteps of music-industry heavyhitters including Bruce Springsteen and Lady Gaga.

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, The Zombies, The Heartless Bathtubs to Play MyMusicRx Kids Rock Show at SXSW

Primus' Les Claypool performs at MyMusicRX event during SXSW

By Billy Restivo

If MyMusicRx has taught us anything with its annual YOU WHO Rock Show For Kids, it’s that music really can be the best medicine – and that Les Claypool really can shred alongside a pair of dancing owl mascots.

Pioneered nearly two decades ago by the Children’s Cancer Association, MyMusicRx is a program geared towards helping kids facing cancer and other serious illnesses explore musical outlets. With in-hospital bedside sing-alongs and instrument lessons, as well as an online music medicine platform, the program is dedicated to helping its members “feel the music and feel better.”

This year, MyMusicRx is heading down to Austin’s South by Southwest Festival for the third time to put on a rock show for kids with 100% of proceeds benefitting the program’s bedside and online programs for those facing cancer and other serious illnesses. The concert, going down at the Converse Fader Fort on March 19, will feature some big names like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The Zombies (acoustic), Best Coast, The Heartless “Bathtubs,” Wild Ones, Koo Koo Kangaroo, and many more. And if last year’s YOU WHO Rock Show For Kids at SXSW – which brought in more than 600 rockin’ moms, dads, and kids, not to mention $10,000 for MyMusicRx – is any indication, it looks like the Fader Fort will be a family hot-spot at SXSW 2015.

Behind YOU WHO is Chris Funk of The Decemberists and his wife Seann McKeel. Thanks to their philanthropic work, the concert series has been able to give bands like The Shins, My Morning Jacket, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, The Head and the Heart, and a whole bunch of others a chance to try their hand at kid-friendly sets, all the while providing young listeners with unforgettable experiences.

All kids 10 and under get into this year’s YOU WHO Rock Show For Kids for free, as well as access to the pre-show crafts zone. Advance tickets for all you older folks are available here for just $20.

To learn more about MyMusicRx and all the cool things the program up to, head over here.

Check out Primus’ Les Claypool shredding alongside dancing owls at the 2014 MyMusicRx SXSW event:

No Doubt, The Killers, Spoon, Rodrigo y Gabriela to Headline Inaugural Kaaboo Festival Benefiting Local Charities

The Killers

Imagine spending a lazy day at the beach in sunny Southern California. Now imagine that No Doubt, The Killers and Snoop Dogg are there to serenade you, comedians will entertain you and there’s food and beer from local restaurants. What’s more, it all supports several good causes.

This is more than a dream – it’s what will go down at the inaugural Kaaboo Festival September 18-20 at the Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Spoon, The Roots, Foster the People, Zac Brown Band, AWOLNATION, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Girl Talk also top the bill, as well as comedic giants Joel McHale, Lewis Black and Chris D’elia.

No Doubt

In addition, visitors will be able to take part in an assortment of fun activities including simulated golfing and surfing, getting haircuts, massages, henna tattoos and more.

Kaaboo – which hopes to fill the void of Street Scene, a San Diego festival that met its demise in 2009 – promises several food and beverage options that go beyond your typical festival fare, including pairings by celebrity chefs from local restaurants, wine selections from vineyards throughout California, craft beer from local breweries and more.

One dollar from each festival pass purchased will be divided equally among several local charities, including Feeding America San Diego, San Diego Music Foundation, Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter and Operation Amped. Concert-goers can donate more if they wish and KAABOO has promised match their donations. So what are you waiting for?

David Lynch Foundation Celebrates Anniversary with Concert Featuring Duran Duran, Sky Ferreira and more

David Lynch & Duran Duran

By Billy Restivo

Los Angeles’ Theatre at Ace Hotel will be bursting with the tunes of iconic director David Lynch come the 1st of April, as a fleet of top-notch artists gear up to perform selected works from Lynch’s films, albums, and hit television series Twin Peaks. The one-night only event, appropriately titled “The Music of David Lynch,” will guide audience members through a catalog of ambient stylings, showcasing first-time collaborations and interpretations along the way.

Under the direction of Emmy-winning and Grammy-nominated composer Rob Mathes, the show will feature accomplished composer and longtime colleague of Lynch, Angelo Badalamenti, as well as new wave legends Duran Duran (who collaborated with Lynch on a spectacular concert film released in 2014), Chicago garage rockers (and namesakes of Lynch’s serial drama) Twin Peaks, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Sky Ferreira, Moby, Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips, Zola Jesus and many more. Take a look at the full lineup here.

Performing artists and concert-goers alike will be contributing to the David Lynch Foundation’s mission to bring the art of meditation to at-risk populations suffering from post-traumatic stress. Over the past 10 years, Lynch’s organization, alongside the performance-based initiative, DLF Live, has provided scholarships to teach Transcendental Meditation to more than 500,000 underprivileged youth, veterans, survivors of domestic violence, and homeless and incarcerated individuals. In celebration of these efforts, all proceeds from the show will help the David Lynch Foundation continue spreading the stress-reducing, creativity-promoting, and even life-changing technique.

If you want to learn more about the David Lynch Foundation and Transcendental Meditation, head over here. Click here to grab tickets to The Music of David Lynch.

Check out the trailer for the David Lynch-directed Duran Duran concert film:

ALO’s Zach Gill on Touring for a Great Cause and Partying With Pal Jack Johnson

By Billy Restivo

From Santa Barbara driveways to arenas and festivals all around the world, the guys in Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) have been infecting audiences with a vibrant, groovy rock that seems almost indigenous to their native Golden State. Now, after more than two decades and four studio albums together, they’re heading out on their Tour d’Amour, celebrating love, breezy tunes, old friends, and new faces.

In typical ALO fashion, the band will donate a portion of the proceeds from the tour – which will hit 11 cities throughout their home state of California – to non-profit organizations that work to bring music to children.

Music for Good caught up with vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Zach Gill to discuss just how far the group’s good vibes are spreading. Although the band has typically supported national organizations, those doing good work closer to home are never out of the question. “I think picking an actual school from our local zone just felt like a good fit,” says Gill, who helped name San Francisco’s Creative Arts Charter School the associated organization of Tour d’Amour IX.

As products of high school music programs themselves, Gill, along with bassist, Steve Adams, drummer, Dave Brogan, and guitarist, Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz now get the chance to help the Creative Arts Charter School provide hands-on, arts-integrated public education to Bay Area students.

“I was so happy when I found music because I wasn’t really too good at anything else,” Gill explains with a chuckle. “I don’t know what I would’ve done if I didn’t find music… and so I just feel like it’s good to give kids with a mind for that sort of thing the option and the outlet.”

Among the other organizations ALO have contributed to in the past are Notes for Notes, which designs and equips after-school recording studios inside Boys & Girls Clubs, as well as Little Kids Rock, a group that provides free music classes and instruments to students across the country.

Jack Johnson on stage with ALO

Gill and his bandmates have also worked closely in their philanthropic endeavors with longtime friend (and fellow UCSB graduate) Jack Johnson, whose organization, the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, has made significant contributions to environmental, art, and music education worldwide. “I think there was always that [philanthropic] component to our music and Jack’s music,” says Gill. “If you’re going to get a bunch of people together, it’d be cool if it wasn’t just partying for partying sake.”

Johnson’s label, Brushfire Records, has also been pivotal to the band’s growth, according to Gill. Since the 2006 re-release of Fly Between Falls, Brushfire has put out three ALO albums and exposed international audiences to hits like “Girl, I Wanna Lay You Down” and “Blew Out The Walls.”

And so ALO continue to party for one good cause after another, leaving behind a rather contagious happy-go-lucky attitude every step of the way. One might ask what’s next for the California-born jam band vets; Gill’s thinking a new record (this autumn, possibly), more touring, and even a little benefit concert for a handful of lucky Santa Barbara grade-schoolers.

To grab tickets to Tour d’Amour IX, head over here. Click here to learn more about the Creative Arts Charter School.

Duran Duran Crank Out the Hits at Intimate Performance Supporting War Child

Duran Duran perform to support War Child

By Kristina Rideout

Duran Duran gave an intimate, hit-filled performance at Wilton’s Music Hall in London as part of War Child and O2’s Passport Back to the Bars event on February 19. The group was one of six bands performing in small venues throughout the month of February to support War Child’s efforts to bring safety to children in war zones all over the world.

Tickets for the shows were available by lottery to fans who donated to War Child with each entry. This year marks 10 years since the original Passport event, which was held for victims of the Iraq war.

Duran Duran played to a packed house of 300 at Wilton’s Music Hall, London’s oldest remaining Grand Music Hall. Fans were treated to a set list of favorites including “Hungry Like The Wolf,” “The Reflex,” “Notorious,” “Wild Boys” and “Girls on Film.” The band closed the show with their mega-hit “Rio.”

Duran Duran looked and sounded in top form, and did not disappoint their loyal fans who flooded Twitter and Instagram with photos and accounts of this rare experience. Singer Simon Le Bon was chatty with the crowd, and took the opportunity to speak about children affected by war before performing the band’s classic ballad “Ordinary World.”

Passport Back to the Bars has also featured shows by The Vaccines and RIDE, and will continue with shows by You Me At Six, Bastille and Elbow throughout February. All money raised will support War Child’s work in Syria, Iraq and Gaza. These small, stripped-down shows for hundreds of fans will have a great impact on many thousands of children.

#duranduran

A video posted by Vanessa Bakewell (@vanessasbakewell) on

Leona Lewis, Colbie Caillat and Kelly Clarkson Join Forces to Save Animal Sanctuary

Leona Lewis poses with a pony at the Hopefield Animal Sanctuary

By Kristina Rideout

Pop star Leona Lewis has taken to the internet in an effort to help save an organization close to her heart: the Hopefield Animal Sanctuary in Brentwood, UK. Lewis, along with other stars including Kelly Clarkson, Mel B and Colbie Caillat, are encouraging fans and supporters to sign a Care2 petition in an effort to prevent Hopefield from losing its land to supermarket company Tesco, from whom they have been renting since 1992.

Hopefield is home to hundreds of aging and ill animals who are at risk of losing their lives should the sanctuary no longer exist. “At Hopefield, these animals get to live out their lives peacefully and free from abuse,” Lewis said. “Losing the land to building development could mean that almost 400 animals currently in the care of Hopefield will lose their home — we simply can’t let this happen.”

The Care2 petition was started by Lianne Angliss, who runs the organization with her partner David Schlaich. Angliss describes Hopefield as “an amazing place to work with friendly staff and volunteers [who all have] one goal, and that is to save animals from abuse and neglect, and educate to try [to] improve animal welfare.”

Lewis is utilizing her social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter to tell Hopefield’s story and raise awareness about the petition, which will ask the Brentwood Council to reclassify the land as a leisure and recreation area, which would reduce the value of the land. This would give Hopefield Animal Sanctuary the opportunity to buy it, in order to save the animals.

“Hopefield has been saving animals for almost 30 years,” Lewis told the Brentwood Gazette. “I believe it is one of the pinnacles of the community. To even think that it may not be there in the future, is utterly heart-breaking for me, as so many of the animals there would not survive moving to other land because they are too sick.”

The petition currently has just over 202,000 signatures and can be signed here.

Sting and Feist Team Up for Cherrytree Records Bash Supporting Music Education

Cherrytree Records artists Sting and Ivy Levan will perform at the label's 10th anniversary bash

By Jack Riewe

Since 2005, Cherrytree Records has been championing promising rising artists like LMFAO, Ellie Goulding and Far East Movement. Now as part of the groundbreaking record label’s 10th anniversary celebration, Cherrytree has partnered with VH1 Save the Music for a no-holds-barred birthday bash.

The celebration, which takes place on March 9 at Webster Hall in New York City, will include never-before-seen collaborations from Sting and Feist, as well as performances from Far East Movement, Matthew Koma, Ivy Levan and The Last Bandoleros. The Great Dave Aude will serve as the house DJ.

Cherrytree Records has a history of nurturing innovative artists who go on to become chart-topping acts. The label was founded by Martin Kierzenbaum and has had a hand in developing many notable artists such as Lady Gaga and Keane, as well as writers including Michael Eizinger, and Grammy-winning mixer Robert Orton along the way.

“In April of 2005, we were releasing our very first album on Cherrytree – Feist’s Let It Die,” recalls Kierszenbaum. “We dreamed of creating a music company where musicians, songwriters and recording artists could experiment, innovate, collaborate and, most of all, have fun. Thanks to our fearless artists, loyal audience and tireless staff, we’ve been able to achieve and sustain exactly that kind of environment for a decade already.”

Ticket sales proceeds will benefit VH1 Save The Music, a nonprofit that works to restore music education programs in public schools and helps promote its numerous benefits such as improved classroom performance and self-esteem.

More Than a Trade Show: NAMM Has Music Causes Running Through Its Veins

NAMM 2015 kicks off in Anaheim, Calif. Photo: Laura Ferreiro

By Laura Ferreiro
When most people hear the word NAMM, they think of the popular trade shows that feature an abundance of music gear and instruments, and the musicians who love them jamming out in busy convention center halls. But what most people don’t realize is that NAMM (the National Association of Music Merchants) has a strong charitable component with a mission to strengthen the music industry.

The NAMM Foundation works to advance participation in music and promotes the benefits and pleasures of making music by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. It does this in various ways with the support of 10,000 members in 99 countries who help fund and promote its efforts.

For example, the NAMM Foundation recently supported a study of students participating in the Turnaround Arts, designed to help turn around low-performing schools, narrow the achievement gap, and increase student engagement through the arts. Eight participating schools in the Washington, D.C. area were observed for the study. Incredibly, of the eight schools, seven improved their reading proficiency rates and six improved their math proficiency rates. All eight schools improved in at least math or reading. Half of the schools improved their attendance rates significantly, and more than half of the schools dramatically reduced suspensions.

The NAMM Foundation also provides free musical instruments and donations to music education programs across the country, and recently visited John Marshall Elementary School in Anaheim, Calif. to deliver guitars, drums, ukuleles and more. Several NAMM members and brands who were in town for the January trade show including Kala Brand Music Co., Remo, Daisy Rock Girl Guitar, Alfred Music, Music and Arts, Rhythm Band Instruments and GAMA, came out to show their support of the Anaheim City School District’s reintroduction of music education programs into the curriculum.

What’s more, NAMM invited several notable music-centric charities to their winter trade show and get the word out about their valuable work.

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus gives demos at NAMM. Photo: Laura Ferreiro

As in previous years, the John Lennon Education Tour Bus parked outside the Anaheim Convention Center to offer tours to kids and musicians and give people a glimpse of their state-of-the art, mobile recording studio. The non-profit offers students the chance to write and record music with high-quality equipment and music professionals at no charge. The Bus celebrated its 18th year with a party featuring a raucous performance by George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. Clinton also mentored students who were on hand from Berklee College of Music.

CeeLo Green shows support for MusiCares. Photo: Laura Ferreiro

MusiCares set up shop at NAMM to help spread the word about their valuable work providing assistance to musicians in times of need. Renowned musicians such as CeeLo Green stopped by the booth to show their support. MusiCares also set up a Safe Harbor Room at NAMM where conference attendees could go to get support, attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, or just relax.

Steel Panther rock like a hurricane at the NAMMJAM 2015

The House of Blues Music Forward Foundation not only told NAMM-goers about their work educating youth on the role of music and culture in social change and creating performance opportunities for young and emerging musicians, but they also offered one of NAMM’s hottest tickets. The NAMMJAM at the Grove of Anaheim featured a performance by glam metal rockers Steel Panther joined by KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer and former Megadeath guitarist Marty Friedman. A silent auction with plenty of music paraphernalia donated by musicians benefitted the charity.