Odds & Ends – Van Halen, Peter Frampton and Muskegon

Van Halen will play a very small club in NYC this week, Peter Frampton has been reunited with his lost guitar and it looks as if Muskegon, Mich., will have a new music festival this summer.

Van Halen To Offer Preview

While an anxious world awaits word on the upcoming Van Halen tour, the band is reportedly doing a gig this week at a New York City venue that’s a far cry from the arenas the group usually plays.

The band has invited music writers and critics to attend a performance at 250-seater Club Wha? in Greenwich Village Thursday night. While nothing official was mentioned in the invite, The New York Times reports journalists “have been told the group will play a short set.”

Why Club Wha? Apparently the band has a connection to the venue via Diamond Dave. Rolling Stone reports Roth’s Uncle Manny used to manage the room decades ago and booked Jimi Hendrix, Bill Cosby and Richie Pryor back in the day.

Meanwhile, we’re only seven days away from Van Halen ticket madness. The band posted a video on its website last week proclaiming the first round of ticket sales for the upcoming tour would launch Jan. 10. Dates have yet to be released.

Frampton Gets His Ax Back

Peter Frampton has been reunited with a lost love – the 1954 custom Gibson Les Paul that he played on Humble Pie’s Rock On and Rocking The Fillmore albums as well as his own mega-selling album, Frampton Comes Alive!

Like all reunions, there’s a story behind the headline. In Frampton’s case, the tale begins in 1980 when a cargo plane carrying his equipment to a gig in Panama crashed. At the time it was thought that everything onboard the plane was lost.

How was the guitar recovered? Evidently, the Curacao Tourist Board along with two dedicated fans – one on the Dutch Caribbean island and one in the Netherlands – were responsible. The reunion between man and his instrument recently took place at the Gibson Custom shop in Nashville.

“I am still in a state of shock, first off, that the guitar even exists let alone, that it has been returned to me,” Frampton said. “I know I have my guitar back, but I will never forget the lives that were lost in this crash. I am so thankful for the efforts of those who made this possible … And, now that it is back I am going to insure it for $2 million and it’s never going out of my sight again!”

Peter Frampton with his long-lost Gibson Les Paul (click on image for complete photo).

Muskegon Cooking Up New Festival

Concert fans in western Michigan may have a new festival this summer.

The area sure could use one. Word came down in the fall that Muskegon’s annual Summer Celebration was canceled due to soft ticket sales.

However, a 16-member task force assigned to look into staging a new festival says a multi-day event featuring multiple venues will be held June 29-July 8.

The task force’s chairman, Tom Lipan, told the Muskegon Chronicle that the new festival will focus more on music and art then previous Summer Celebrations which, at times, included air shows as well as musical performances.

“We’re confident that there will be a summer festival in Muskegon at Heritage Landing and other venues,” Lipan, who with Tom Schaub used to co-host Summer Celebrations, said. “A lot of details have to be worked out.”

Expect a formal announcement later this month.