“What If…”, the new album from the reunited MR. BIG, has registered the following chart positions:

Switzerland: #36
Germany: #50
Austria: #71
Italy: #71
Sweden: #75

“What If…” will be released in North America on February 15. The first single from the album, “Undertow”, will impact at radio this week. The effort will be made available in a special edition CD + DVD in digipak, regular CD, vinyl and digital download and in a limited edition luxury box including the CD, DVD, LP and exclusive memorabilia. The DVD includes videos of “Undertow” and “All The Way Up” plus a documentary “making of” the album, including interviews and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the four band members.

In other news, MR. BIG will play its first U.S. show in more than 14 years on April 2 at the House Of Blues in West Hollywood, California. More U.S. tour dates will be announced later this year.

“What If…” is MR. BIG‘s first “all-original” album since the reunion of the four original members, Eric Martin, Paul Gilbert, Billy Sheehan and Pat Torpey, back in early 2009. Sixteen years after the release of “Hey Man”, the new recording is set to bring back MR. BIG on the height of the current hard rock scene.

Guitarist Paul Gilbert said: “This is the first MR. BIG album I have been a part of, since fourteen years and it was done in a snap. It was fun and we had really a good time in making this one.” Adds Billy Sheehan: “It’s so great to be back with Paul, Eric and Pat, too. We wrote this record like we did in the old days for the first two records. Jamming together in the same room to write songs.” Pat Torpey states: “Some of the recording process is different now from what we were used to in the old times. But I think this record really managed to capture the performances of the band, not of the individual musicians.” Eric Martin concludes: “I like to compare this to the first album, when we just got to know each other in a reharsal studio and cut it in eight or nine days. This is like chapter two. We had so many years, so many records and so many things behind us. Now this feels like a beautiful brand new chapter starting for all of us.”

“What If…” was produced by Kevin Shirley (AEROSMITH, RUSH, IRON MAIDEN) and the release will be followed by a world tour which will kick off in South America in March and will hit Europe in early summer.

Formed in 1988, MR. BIG forged its place in hard rock history by combining trademark “shredding” musicianship with awesome vocal harmonies. The original lineup produced numerous hit songs that ranged across a wide array of rock genres, be it ballads, heavy metal, or blues rock. Their hits included “To Be With You” (Billboard Hot 100 number one single in 15 countries for weeks, in 1991, propelling the band the band to huge international success and record sales in the multi-millions), “Wild World”, “Green-Tinted Sixties Mind”, “Just Take My Heart”, and a host of heavy metal songs that were played mostly during their live performances: “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy”, “Addicted to that Rush”, “Colorado Bulldog”, and “Take Cover”.

“What If…” will be released in a special edition CD + DVD in digipak, regular CD, vinyl and digital download and in a limited-edition luxury box including the CD, DVD, LP and exclusive memorabilia.

The DVD will include the video clips of “Undertow” and “All the Way Up” plus a documentary “making-of” the album including interviews and exclusive behind-the-scenes features of the four members.Days after the news came down that legendary guitarist Gary Moore died, METALLICA‘s Kirk Hammett called RollingStone.com from his home in Hawaii to talk about his guitar idol. An excerpt from his remembrance follows below.

Gary Moore is definitely in my list of top five guitar influences, right up with Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Michael Schenker. His influence is strong to the point that the opening lick of the guitar solo of ‘Master of Puppets’ is a variation of a lick that Gary Moore played a lot. I remember the first time hearing his blues album and just getting totally blown away — not only by the playing but by the sound of it too, his tone. And I remember being so inspired that I wrote a couple riffs just based on his sound and his feel. And those riffs ended up in ‘The Unforgiven’ on ‘The Black Album’.

“I first heard of him in the late 1970s. I was a big THIN LIZZY fan then. I had seen them on the ‘Dangerous’ tour and not long afterwards I heard there was a new album out called ‘Black Rose’. I heard ‘Waiting For An Alibi’ on a college radio station and I was amazed because I instantly knew that they had a different guitar player. That was not Brian Robertson playing or Scott Gorham playing that guitar solo. It was…something else. I went to the record store and picking up ‘Black Rose’, looked at the cover, turned it over and saw a guitar player named Gary Moore.”

Read the entire tribute at RollingStone.com.

British heavy metal legends SAXON are currently in the studio in Brighton, England putting the finishing touches on their new album.

If any SAXON fans live nearby or if they can get to the studio tomorrow night (Thursday, February 10) at 8 p.m. U.K. time, the band needs a choir for one of the songs, called “Back In ’79”.

The studio location is:

Brighton Electric Recording Co Ltd. – Tramway House
43-45 Coombe Terrace
Brighton
BN2 4AD

SAXON is seeking a suitable record label to release the follow-up to 2009’s “Into The Labyrinth” (SPV/Steamhammer), which will feature at least one special guest.

SAXON had a busy year in 2010, which included performing a blinding set at Download in June, where to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first Monsters of Rock show, they played their legendary “Wheels of Steel” album in its entirety for the first time ever.

As is becoming an almost yearly custom for SAXON, they will perform at the 02 Shepherds Bush Empire in London on St. Georges Day, April 23, which promises to be a loud, rocking celebration of England’s patron saint’s day.

SAXON‘s last album, “Into The Labyrinth”, sold around 1,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The CD debuted at No. 29 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200. The CD was recorded at the Twilight Hall in Krefeld, Germany, under the direction of Charlie Bauerfeind.

“Better Man”, the new video from the metal juggernaut known as HELLYEAH — featuring Vinnie Paul Abbott (PANTERA, DAMAGEPLAN), Chad Gray and Greg Tribbett (MUDVAYNE), Tom Maxwell (NOTHINGFACE) and Bob “Zilla” Kakaha (DAMAGEPLAN) — can be viewed below. The song comes off the band’s sophomore album, “Stampede”, which sold 28,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 8 on The Billboard 200 chart.

HELLYEAH‘s self-titled debut CD opened with 45,000 units back in April 2007 to land at No. 9.

The “super deluxe” edition of “Stampede” features the album itself, a bonus DVD, a limited-edition lenticular 3D cover with an expanded booklet, a HELLYEAH bull skull, instant downloads of the album tracks “Cowboy Way” and “Hell Of A Time” and an MP3 download of the full album. The standard “deluxe edition” contains the album, a bonus DVD, instant downloads of the album tracks “Cowboy Way” and “Hell Of A Time” and an MP3 download of the full album.

The band last year shot music videos for “Hell Of A Time” and “Cowboy Way” at the Longhorn Saloon in Fort Worth, Texas.

Starline Media Entertainment has set a February 22 release date for Bon Scott‘s “Round And Round”, featuring rare recordings made prior to the singer joining Australian hard rock legends AC/DC. The album is based around the three-track “Round And Round” single that Scott recorded with Peter Cross of the MOUNT LOFTY RANGERS in 1973.

Producer Ted Yanni has devoted two years to bringing Scott back to life, assisted by many like-minded friends, musicians and technicians.

“Round And Round” also features material from Scott‘s pre-AC/DC band FRATERNITY.

“Round And Round” track listing:

01. Carey Gully
02. Round And Round
03. To Know You Is To Love You
04. She Said
05. Every Day You Have To Cry
06. I Can’t Dance With You
07. Peculiar Hole In The Sky
08. Love Makes Sweet Music
09. Can Hear The Raindrops
10. Why Me
11. Sooky Sooky

Check out audio samples from JPC.de.

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