• For 2012, the annual Rock the Bells festival is touring a lineup heavy on Bay Area artists. We're excited to see Deltron 3030 (Del, Kid Koala, and Dan the Automator), E-40 and Too $hort (who we hope will preview some music off their long-in-the-works joint album), and Zion I and the Grouch when they come to Shoreline with headliners Kid Cudi, Nas, and Wiz Khalifa on Aug. 25-26.
• Willie Nelson says pot saved his life. The resident hippie of country music and longtime stoner told the UK Guardian he used to be a hard-drinkin' fighter, and credits pot with helping him quit the sauce. “Had I stayed with alcohol, I would have been dead or in prison somewhere today,” he said.
• The Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre — two bands famously profiled in the documentary Dig! — both played the Fillmore within a week. While BJM was difficult and testy, Dandy Warhols stuck to playing hits like “Bohemian Like You.” And with this band, that's a recipe for a great night.
• Donna Summer, the so-called Queen of Disco who left an indelible mark on genres like pop and rock as well, died after a long battle with cancer at age 63. Without her pioneering forays into making disco songs like “I Feel Love” with all-electronic instruments, it's hard to imagine what kind of music we'd be dancing to today.
• Robin Gibb, a key member the Bee Gees — who helped bring the delights of disco to Middle America with songs like “Stayin' Alive” — passed away at age 62. Never mind the backlash: With their contribution to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, the Bee Gees arguably captured a historical mood the way the Beatles did with Sgt. Pepper's.
• We were disappointed by UnderCover Presents' take on Black Sabbath's Paranoid. The group assembled more than 50 local musicians to recreate the classic onstage, but the long delays between songs sapped much of the album's energy. Most of the cover versions, while adventurous, lacked the darkness and edge essential to early metal.