Legendary hard rockers DEEP PURPLE have tapped Bob Ezrin (KISS, PINK FLOYD, PETER GABRIEL, ALICE COOPER, KANSAS) to produce their next album, tentatively due in early 2013. PURPLE guitarist Steve Morse tells GlideMagazine.com, “[This next CD is] probably going to be more of an extravaganza. Everybody realizes we’re not going to do this forever, so to me it feels like this is a really important album to do well.”

DEEP PURPLE‘s 18th studio album, “Rapture of the Deep”, was released in November 2005. It was the fourth studio CD from DEEP PURPLE since Steve Morse joined the band in 1994. It was also the second album to feature veteran keyboardist Don Airey.

“Rapture of the Deep” was produced by Mike Bradford, who also worked on the band’s previous release, 2003’s “Bananas”.

Before their headlining performance at this year’s Download festival, British heavy heavy metal legends BLACK SABBATH will perform in their hometown of Birmingham for the first time in thirteen years in an intimate homecoming show at the O2 Academy on Saturday, May 19. A donation to Help for Heroes will be made from the proceeds of the show.

Tickets are priced at £45 and go on sale at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 4.

As previously reported, BLACK SABBATH has been confirmed for this year’s edition of the Lollapalooza festival, which takes place on August 3-5 at Grant Park in downtown Chicago.

BLACK SABBATH was supposed to tour the U.S. this year as part of a worldwide trek in support of a new album, but guitarist Tony Iommi‘s cancer diagnosis put those plans on hold.

Ozzy Osbourne‘s wife and manager, Sharon, said recently that SABBATH would now play just one date each in North America and the U.K.

It was the decision by Lollapalooza organizers 15 years ago to deny Ozzy a spot on the bill that led him and Sharon to launch Ozzfest.

When asked if original SABBATH drummer Bill Ward will participate in the band’s U.S. show, Sharon told VH1 Radio Network, “We don’t know yet, we really don’t know. It’s up to Bill. The door is open for him to join us, so it’s up to him.”

Meanwhile, Ozzy, Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler are in London continuing to record their first album together in 33 years, although without Ward it is not the original SABBATH reunion announced last November.

Sharon said about the recording sessions, “It’s going good. They’re doing really well in the studio. Gosh, they must’ve written 15 new songs already and it’s going great.”

She also denied that she was responsible for Ward‘s current absence from the project, saying, “Everybody’s got their own manager, so we have an independent group of people that have come in to manage the project, and I don’t, and I get the blame because Bill doesn’t want to play with the band; he doesn’t like his deal and I get the blame. It’s like, ‘All right, I’m a big girl, I can take it.'”

Ward has been sitting out the sessions due to being offered what he called “an unsignable contract” in an open letter to SABBATH fans.

Ward posted an update on February 17 in which he said he “remains hopeful” for a positive outcome to the situation.

The rest of SABBATH‘s scheduled European summer gigs will be replaced by “Ozzy And Friends”, at which the singer will be joined by Butler, former Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde and other special guests, including Slash on selected dates.

MOTÖRHEAD is boldly going where no other band has gone before! The legendary, Grammy-winning rock’n’roll outlaws announced the most fan-friendly VIP experience ever, meaning that for the first time, an exclusive number of fans can experience the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival like never before. These lucky few will enjoy the Mayhem Festival like royalty. Throughout the day they can kick back in their very own VIP tent, watch the entire main stage show in premium seats, meet members of MOTÖRHEAD in a private VIP area, stand on the stage when MOTÖRHEAD performs and much more!

The band is offering these very limited packages for select shows via their web site. Only 20 packages per show will be offered on a first-come-first-served basis.

The MOTÖRHEAD “We Are The VIP Crew Experience” package includes:

* Premium ticket to the show (within the first 15 rows)
* Meet-and-greet with members of the band
* Get invited to watch MOTÖRHEAD‘s performance on the stage
* A VIP tent to relax in throughout the day. Light snacks and soft drinks provided
* Early entry into the venue
* Exclusive MOTÖRHEAD merchandise and souvenirs, including:
– Commemorative MOTÖRHEAD shirt
MOTÖRHEAD autographed photo
– Collectible laminated MOTÖRHEAD tour pass
Mayhem Festival guitar picks, mini-statue, tour poster and more!
* On-site VIP host

All this for only $599 (plus applicable taxes)

Keep in mind that the “We Are The VIP Crew Experience” packages will only be available in select markets.

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