Driver remembered as great teammate, friend WATCH: Jason Leffler remembered READ MORE: Related: Complete coverage | News story | Timeline | Video tribute | Passion for dirt racing | Career statsTony Stewart knew Jason Leffler as a racer, but he also knew him as something else — a friend.“We raced together a lot, and our career paths were very similar,” the three-time champion said Thursday in a statement released by Stewart-Haas Racing. “He loved racing, especially open-wheel racing, and that’s a passion we both share. To not have him around to talk about whatever race one of us had just run, or were going to run, will be hard. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, especially his son, Charlie, who Jason loved more than anything.”Leffler was killed Wednesday night in a racing accident at a sprint-car race at Bridgeport Speedway, a dirt track in Swedesboro, N.J. A fixture at NASCAR’s national level since 1999, the 37-year-old native of Long Beach, Calif., raced for a number of teams over the course of his stock-car career. One of them was the organization that Stewart now co-owns, although it operated under a different name at the time.It was Haas CNC Racing for whom Leffler competed during the 2003 and 2004 seasons in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and scored the first Nationwide Series victory of his career at Nashville Superspeedway. Stewart became part owner of the organization prior to the 2009 season, by which time the Nationwide program had been dropped. He hired as a teammate Ryan Newman, another driver who like Leffler had his roots in the dirt tracks of the U.S. Auto Club.“Jason and I raced hard together,” Newman said in a statement. “We never crashed, or even rubbed wheels. We weren’t enemies, but we were never really friends, either. We were competitors. I respected him as much as he respected me. My prayers are for his family. He died doing what he loved. He was a real racer, and he will be missed.”Leffler won one other Nationwide race, in 2007 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis for Braun Racing, which gave Toyota its first national-series victory in NASCAR. “We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Jason Leffler,” the manufacturer wrote on Twitter. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”Although Leffler’s career at NASCAR’s premier level was often a struggle, the teams he worked with remember him fondly. Leffler was the first driver chosen for Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 11 team when that program debuted on a full-time basis in 2005. Although Leffler was released after just 19 races, much of that team remained together, laying the groundwork for the championship-contending program that would surface under current driver Denny Hamlin.“Everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing is saddened to learn of the passing of Jason Leffler last night,” Joe Gibbs said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and especially to his son Charlie. We feel fortunate to have had him as part of both our Nationwide Series program and of course in the Cup Series where he helped us launch the No. 11 team with FedEx. NASCAR is unique in that it really is one large family and Jason was well liked by all that knew him. His loss will be felt across the entire sport.”Added Laurie Tucker, senior vice president of marketing at FedEx: “Everyone associated with our Joe Gibbs Racing sponsorship team is deeply saddened about the loss of Jason Leffler. He was an integral part of the formation of the No. 11 team at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2005 and our hearts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.”Leffler’s first break at NASCAR’s top level came in 2001, when he was hired to drive the No. 01 car for what is now Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. Much like his car owner Chip Ganassi, Leffler was a former open-wheeler who had competed in the Indianapolis 500. Their partnership on the race track didn’t last beyond that season, but their relationship endured.“Jason was one of the first drivers that I employed when I came over to NASCAR in 2001,” Ganassi said in a statement. “He was a tremendous guy, a great teammate, and absolutely loved racing. Our hearts go out to Jason’s family. The racing community has lost a great ambassador.” READ: Leffler killed in sprint car accident PHOTOS: Jason Leffler career timeline REACT: Twitter reaction to Leffler’s passing __________________________________________________________________________________________
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The Main Squeeze To Play With Members Of Lettuce And Rebelution At Tulane Crawfest Afterparty
With Crawfest at Tulane University coming next month, you can be sure there’s some funky music on the horizon. Leave it to the Howlin’ Wolf to keep the party going, as the New Orleans venue will host the 2nd annual KRAW?! after party. On April 16th, this year the venue will host some great performances, with Sexual Thunder! opening up for The Main Squeeze who will be joined by Crescent City Brass (Khris Royal of Dark Matter and Rebelution + Eric “Benny Bloom” of Lettuce). Funk yeah!The night starts with Sexual Thunder!, one of the fastest rising stars in the New Orleans scene. The band puts out some of the most energetic, dirty funk around, never failing to incite a dance party wherever they go.After that, it’s up to The Main Squeeze to properly rock out. Squeeze has blown up in recent years, as the band brings their rockin’ show on the road through a rigorous touring schedule. The band is powered by a dynamic sound that brings a little funk, a little rock and a whole lotta soul. It’s never a dull moment with The Main Squeeze! They’ll be joined by Crescent City Brass, a new New Orleans duo featuring Khris Royal on saxophone and Eric “Benny” Bloom on trumpet. Respected for their work with Dark Matter, Rebelution and Lettuce, respectively, the duo is sure to keep you shaking it!These two bands hit the Howlin’ Wolf on April 16th, for an exciting Tulane Crawfish afterparty. KRAW?! You know it. Tickets are available here.
D’Angelo, The Roots, And More To Perform Prince Tribute At BET Awards
The 2016 BET Awards are going down this Sunday, June 26 at 8PM EST, and will include a very special tribute to Prince. Early this morning, on the Purple One’s birthday, the network revealed the specific performers with a video announcement that included an initial lineup of The Roots, D’Angelo, Sheila E., Janelle Monae, and others.While musicians have been paying tribute to the legend worldwide, this certainly isn’t the first televised performance. Madonna honored Prince at last month’s Billboard Awards, performing “Nothing Compares 2 U” and “Purple Rain” with help from Questlove and a surprise special guest appearance from Stevie Wonder, which you can watch here. Happy Birthday, Prince!Learn more about the BET tribute here.
Third Eye Blind Played The RNC Just So They Could Troll Republicans [Watch]
Last night, the Third Eye Blind summer tour hit Cleveland, OH, performing at a benefit concert during a time when the city was overrun by the Republican National Convention. While the concert was technically affiliated with the RNC, the hosting organization – the RIAA – had previously shown their support for the Republican party.With many GOP supporters in the building, lead singer Stephan Jenkins reportedly took a number of shots at the Republican party’s values, saying things like “Raise your hand if you believe in science” and launching into a speech about LGBTQ rights. The band also refused to play most of their hit songs, only adding to the crowd’s distaste for the performance. Of course, the one hit song they did perform is “Jumper”, which is partially about their manager’s gay high school friend who killed himself while at Military school, so the song was included in the set as part of the protest.Watch the band’s speech below. The band even snarkily struck back at disappointed fans on social media…
Bob Weir To Reunite Campfire Tour Band At Newly Announced Festival Appearance
After releasing his first solo album in decades, Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir put together an acoustically-oriented band for a Campfire Tour throughout the month of October. The brief run saw Weir and his bandmates travel coast to coast, playing a mixture of tunes from the new album Blue Mountain as well as Grateful Dead classics. Now, it seems that fans will have another opportunity to catch Bob Weir and the Campfire Boys, as the band has been announced as a headliner of the MusicNOW Festival in Cincinnati, OH on January 12th.The booking makes sense, considering that MusicNOW was founded by Bryce Dessner of The National. Dessner, along with Aaron Dessner, Bryan Devendorf, Scott Devendorf and Josh Kaufman, comprise the Campfire Boys backing band for Weir. Aaron Dessner was an original member of the Campfire Boys band, but a family emergency forced him to miss the tour; Steve Kimock and Jon Shaw were brought in as replacements. The original lineup should be included in this upcoming January show.Tickets for this performance will go on sale next Monday, November 21st. More information about MusicNOW can be found on their website. You can watch the band performing “Morning Dew” with John Mayer at a recent Los Angeles performance, below.Fingers crossed that this means more tour dates are coming, but we’re happy to see Weir back on the road in any capacity. He’ll also be performing with Tom Hamilton’s American Babies tonight, and will be at Los Muertos Con Queso in January as well. Details here.[H/T JamBase // Photo by Steve Rose]
Neil Young Considers Ditching Facebook Over Company’s Political Bias’
Neil Young is taking a stand against Facebook. He feels that social media is increasingly detrimental to the advancement of society.According to Sereogum, Facebook has recently made it clear that it won’t take down political ads, whether or not they’re false. Last month, there was leaked audio of Facebook chief executive talking in a meeting about how an Elizabeth Warren presidency would “suck for us.” NBC News reported that MarK Zuckerberg and Facebook board member Peter Thiel had a previously undisclosed dinner with Donald Trump at the White House last month.Related: Outspoken Audiophile Neil Young Endorses Arrival Of Amazon Music HDLast month, rock icon Neil Young talked about the possibility of leaving Facebook entirely. On the website of his Neil Young Archives reissue project, Young wrote:We keep looking at Facebook and wondering if we should be using that platform at all, given the latest news. It’s a problem we face together. FB gives you more than you want and it’s not all good. A lot of it is very bad misinformation about political campaigns and ads that are outright falsehoods. These are fine with Facebook, but not with NYA. If we were to leave Facebook with our social outreach we would lose communications with millions. If we continue to be on Facebook, we are conflicted about who we are.A statement shared via press release reads, “Amazon Music HD provides customers with the best quality recording available for streaming [CD-quality at 16-bit/44.1kHz], with more than 50 million songs in High Definition, and millions of songs in Ultra HD, the highest quality streaming audio available.”Amazon Music users can upgrade their existing subscription plan to the HD service for an additional $5 per month. The monthly cost for those who already have an Amazon Prime subscription can also upgrade to the HD service for $12.99 per month.While some artists have been very clear about their opposition to the business practices of streaming platforms, Neil Young seems to be all-in on the arrival of Amazon Music’s new high-fidelity upgrade.“Earth will be changed forever when Amazon introduces high-quality streaming to the masses,” Young said in a quote included in Amazon’s press release. “This will be the biggest thing to happen in music since the introduction of digital audio 40 years ago.”Artists like The Raconteurs are already teaming up with Amazon Music HD to share exclusive new releases. The rock band exclusively shared two new recordings to the streaming platform on Tuesday.Learn more about Amazon Music HD and signing up for a free 90-day trial for the new service here.
Dead & Co Surprises Fans With Free Webcast Of Beautiful Blossom Show [Full Show Pro-Shot]
Last night, following a few days off after their Camden performance on Sunday, Dead & Company rolled into Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio for the penultimate stop on their 2017 summer tour. As with every show on the band’s summer run, a video stream of the show was made available via nugs.tv. However, as a special surprise, the band offered up the entire show’s webcast free of charge, letting everyone into the gorgeous wood-paneled shed to experience the Blossom performance along with the Cuyahoga crowd. And as is becoming a trend with Dead & Company, the band did not disappoint.The show’s first frame set the pace for what would be an great performance, featuring particularly well-played renditions of blues favorites, beautiful sing-alongs, and impeccable musicianship. The second half’s setlist reads like it came straight out of a Deadhead’s letter to Santa Claus. After an excellent set-opening “China Cat Sunflower” > “I Know You Rider,” Bobby and John traded vocals on a beautifully bouncing “He’s Gone,” which gave way to a swinging “Truckin,’” which got deep and bluesy before morphing into “Drums” > “Space.” Next up was a celebratory “I Need A Miracle” that saw Weir leading the way with his patented rockstar charisma (despite having a bit of trouble keeping the lyrics straight). Bobby remained at the helm for the rest of the set, steering the band through a dreamy “Wharf Rat” and a set-closing “Good Lovin’” for good measure, before Mayer led the band’s lullaby-like “Black Muddy River” encore.With a larger-than-usual virtual crowd tuning in–and a packed house at the scenic amphitheater–Bob Weir, John Mayer, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti played with supreme confidence and a well-earned swagger throughout the night. And with only a pair of Wrigley Field shows this weekend remaining on the schedule for this summer, Dead & Co continued to affirm to everyone watching that they are a band worth following. Not just in the classic “get on the bus” sense, either. This collective group has passed the point of being simply a novelty tribute to the days of old. They’ve become a band that people want to pay attention to–to check their setlists, to listen back to last night’s show, to cancel evening plans when you see that they’re doing a surprise free couch tour…to talk about like a living, breathing organism. Sometimes that talk will center on negatives rather than positives, and that’s OK too. It’s all part of it. They’re not the Grateful Dead. They’re something different–something for right now–and it’s been thrilling to watch them hit that stride over the course of this tour. The anti-Mayer fan skepticism has all but silenced, the pop star having made his way into the good graces of even the most jaded Deadheads (a feat we once thought to be virtually impossible). The Internet buzz about roster shake-ups and sit-ins and returns to earlier post-Jerry “Dead” incarnations has, for the most part, petered out.Now, there’s really only one question about Dead & Co that seems to matter to fans: “So, uh, after Wrigley, how long until they head back out on tour?”You can watch full pro-shot footage of Dead & Company’s entire Blossom performance below, thanks to a surprise free webcast from the band and nugs.tv:SET ONE:SET TWO:SETLIST: Dead & Company | Blossom Music Center | Cuyahoga Falls, OH | 6/28/17Set One: Hell In A Bucket, Mississippi Half-Step, Black Throated Wind, Row Jimmy, Big River, Cassidy, Big Railroad BluesSet Two: China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, He’s Gone > Truckin’ > Drums/Space > I Need A Miracle > Wharf Rat, Good LovinEncore: Black Muddy River
Twiddle Announces 2017 Fall Tour Dates & Halloween Show
After a successful Tumble Down last weekend, which saw Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh sit in with the Vermont quartet, Twiddle has announced their 2017 fall tour dates. In addition to their previously scheduled performances to close out the summer, which includes two nights at the Boulder Theater with Kitchen Dwellers and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, two nights with Railroad Earth to replace moe. in their co-headlining tour, and more throughout the midwest, Twiddle has just announced a complete 22-date Fall tour.Bernie Sanders Pens Letter Of Appreciation To TwiddleTwiddle’s Fall tour will begin with a three-night run at The Warehouse FTC in Fairfield, CT on 8/31-9/2 and extend through Salt Lake City, UT at The State Room on 10/31 for a special Halloween performance. Joining Twiddle on their Fall tour are the Hip Abduction and Gene Evaro Jr. Check out their Fall dates below, and head to the band’s website for a complete tour schedule.[photo by Daniel Ojeda]
Queens Of The Stone Age Share New Track From Upcoming “Villains” Record
Queens of the Stone Age are on track to release their seventh studio album, Villains, on August 25. The record marks the California rockers’ first release since 2013’s …Like Clockwork. Following the lead single, “The Way You Used To Do,” QotSA has shared a second track “The Evil Has Landed.” In perfect time for summer, the rock ballad brings us two weeks closer to the highly-anticipated record, which was produced by Mark Ronson.Listen to “The Evil Has Landed” below, and catch Queens of the Stone Age on tour in a city near you.