Gene Simmons, Sting, Panic! At The Disco, Frank Russell and more…
By Gary Graff
March 23, 2018
* Despite his staunchly anti-drug views, Gene Simmons has been named Chief Evangelist Officer for the Canadian cannabis and fertilizer company Invictus. Simmons will “lead marketing initiatives that will help spread the positive messages that dwell at the heart of the company,” including “providing marketing counsel, serving as a spokesperson in the media, public appearances and participation in the company’s annual general meeting and investor meetings.”
* Panic! At The Disco has named Nicole Row as its new bassist, replacing Dallon Weekes. Row’s credits include the Cyrus family (Miley, Billy Ray and Noah), Troye Sivan, Daya, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Ty Dolla $ign, Lonnie Jordan, Dallas Austin and more. Panic! will release a new album, Pray For The Wicked, on June 22.
* Sting wound up subbing for an ailing Joe Caffrey, the star of his musical The Last Ship, on March 19 in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Sting said in a statement: “I didn’t wake up in the morning expecting I would be performing on the stage in the evening but when one of the cast goes down, it’s all hands on deck.”
* Chicago’s Frank Russell, who’s worked with Freddie Hubbard, Ramsey Lewis, the Spaniels, Alphonse Mouzon and many more, has released a new album, Influences, paying tribute to his heroes. Rolling Stones bassist Darryl Jones — who gets a nod via the opening track, “Decoy” — wrote liner notes for the project.
* Peter “Mars” Cowling, who played in the Pat Travers Band from 1976-82 and 1989-93 and recorded on 10 of the guitarist’s albums, has died at the age of 72.
* D’Arcy Wretzky has burned her bridges “forever” with Smashing Pumpkins, according to frontman Billy Corgan. He tells the New York Times that financial issues and personal reasons are to blame for the schism.
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