Tuesday, February 28, 2006

CBS sues Howard Stern: vindication or desperation?

With its listener share dwindling, CBS Radio took what might seemt to some as a desperate action by filing suit against Howard Stern, his agent Don Buchwald and Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc.

The lawsuit seeks money and punitive damages for alleged multiple breaches of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment, and misappropriation of CBS Radio's broadcast time. It further seeks damages from Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc. for unfair competition and tortious interference with Stern's CBS contract.

CBS reports that the 43-page complaint charges:

Howard Stern repeatedly and willfully breached his written contract with CBS Radio over the last 22 months of that contract, misappropriated millions of dollars worth of CBS Radio airtime for his own financial benefit, and fraudulently concealed his interest in hundreds of millions of dollars of Sirius stock while promoting it on the air.

That on or about January 9, 2006, Sirius paid over 34 million shares of stock, valued at approximately $220 million, to Stern and his agent because Sirius exceeded by the end of 2005 certain subscriber targets that were set in the Sirius-Stern contract. The complaint alleges that the Sirius-Stern contract provided that Stern was to receive this stock payment in 2010, but it had an acceleration provision that allowed Stern to receive the compensation as early as January 2006 if these subscriber targets were met. All of Stern's actions for which he received this expedited compensation occurred during the time that Stern was under exclusive contract with CBS Radio, when the Sirius payment terms to Stern were kept secret.

This contract thus provided a compelling incentive for Stern to do all that he could to help Sirius reach the subscriber targets by the end of 2005 so that he could receive his Sirius stock payment as soon as possible while Sirius's stock was extremely valuable. Without the accelerated payment, Stern would risk the decline of the Sirius stock value. By taking action on CBS Radio's airtime in 2004 and 2005, Stern assured himself of immediate access to $200 million in assets that could be readily converted to cash.

By engaging in continuous promotion of Sirius on CBS Radio airtime without any payment by Sirius to CBS for these advertisements and by pocketing over $200 million dollars for his personal benefit, Stern misappropriated millions of dollars worth of CBS Radio airtime for his own financial benefit and the financial benefit of Don Buchwald, his agent, and Sirius in contravention of repeated directives by CBS Radio.

That Stern also breached his contractual obligation to inform CBS Radio of plans that might have a bearing on his future. Under the Agreement, Stern had the obligation to give CBS Radio the first opportunity to discuss participation in radio projects that are conceived during the term of the Agreement, even if the concept or project was launched or implemented after the term. Stern ignored that responsibility, and negotiated and concluded his agreement with Sirius in secret.

To this day, Stern continues to breach his contract by refusing to return property that belongs to CBS Radio -- the recordings of his CBS radio program that, under his Agreement with CBS Radio, belong to the company.

The suit further charges that Sirius intentionally interfered with and procured Stern's breach of the Agreement. CBS claims that Sirius knew that Stern had a contractual obligation to maximize the prospects for the success of the CBS Radio program and to comply with his duty of good faith. Sirius intentionally induced and caused Stern to breach these contractual provisions by offering to accelerate Stern's payment of millions of dollars in stock options to promote Sirius on CBS airwaves and by concealing Stern's stock interest from CBS Radio.

The complaint in this lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

Overall this suit makes CBS look silly and vindictive. I hadn't yet bought a Sirius subscription, but this just may be incentive to go get one.

Stern: 1/3 More Vulgarity With No Extra Charge To The Consumer

The Family Media Guide has concluded that Howard Stern was 34% more vulgar in February than January.

What's scarier? The fact that Stern uses vulgar language on satellite radio or that someone tallies the naughty words and compiles statistics of their usage.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Related News: CBS may sue Stern?

Pete Doherty Arrested . . . Again

Picking up the slack this week for Scott Stapp, former Libertines singer Pete Doherty was arrested Monday night on suspicion of stealing a car and for possession of Class A drugs. The 26-year-old singer and the two teenagers he was arrested with were released on bail.

Doherty's arrest comes while he was supposed to be going through a period of court-ordered drug rehabilitation counseling after pleading guilty to seven separate charges of cocaine/heroin possession. What effect this current arrest will have on Doherty's probationary status - or his chances of getting back together with Kate Moss - remains to be seen.

Red Light District to Contest Kid Rock Video Case

California adult films distributor Red Light District announced today that it intends to vigorously defend the lawsuit brought in Detroit federal court regarding distribution of the 1999 Kid Rock "sex video" that it purchased from the filmmaker.

According to Red Light's attorney, Peter M. Falkenstein, "Red Light District has not yet presented its case. We intend to fully contest this matter at the next hearing, and for as long as it takes to vindicate my client's First Amendment rights."

"This tape was not stolen, as has been wrongly suggested," Falkenstein continued. "My client was informed that from the moment it was filmed the tape was always in the possession of the videographer, a non-participant who owns the rights to the video. Nor was it a private event. It was filmed with Kid Rock's knowledge and with the knowledge of all involved; in the presence of several non-participants; and with no restrictions as to how it might be used," Falkenstein concluded.

Further proceedings in the case are scheduled for late March.

The Frauds

The Frauds are a Baltimore-based power rock foursome that would probably be indie darlings by now if they were from England or Scotland. These Maryland lads put on a high energy show that mixes pop subtlety with in-your-face garage rock.

The single Church of Seduction from their first record banged its way into regular airplay on 98 Rock in Balitmore and several college stations. The boys have put together a new record that is digitally available now on iTunes and will be in stores in April. The song "Home" is a likely single from the new record.

The Frauds have opened for notables like Jet and are set to tour the south and midwest kicking things off in March at the SXSW festival.

David Lee Roth's ratings just a shadow of Stern's

Yesterday the Drudge Report previewed a developing story on how paltry David Lee Roth's ratings were in January compared to Stern's December numbers on the stations where Roth took over his slot.

In what seems like a marketing tie in, today Drudge links to the confirming story on Radio and Records that notes: " In the 18-34 demographic, Roth's show attracted a 1.3 share in January, off from double-digit results seen in October, November and December by Stern's show.

Ouch - that's quite a drop. Well, we told you.

Roth is on vacation this week and rumors are swirling that he may not return. His bosses insist, however, that is not the case.

Monday, February 27, 2006

U-Melt Honored As The New Groove: Will Play snoe.down

U-Melt has been tapped by jambands.com with the much-coveted honor of New Groove of the Month. The New York based quartet just finished up their first swing through Florida and will return to their home grounds for a pair of shows with Tea Leaf Green on March 9-10 at the Knitting Factory.

Those attending moe.'s 2006 snoe.down Winter Music Festival in Lake Placid, New York over St. Patrick's Day weekend can look forward to an additional treat. U-Melt will be offering their specialty - the late-night, after-hours gig on Saturday, March 18. Proving the adage that the night time is the right time, U-Melt always brings something special to those who are willing to stay up late with them. Their set at Strangefolk's 2004 Garden of Eden Festival lasted nearly 6 hours, rightfully earning a spot in the storied lore of jamband legend.

Eric Clapton To Tour Europe: 7 Nights At Royal Albert Hall

Eric Clapton has always felt at home at London's Royal Albert Hall, often taking residence at the venue for weeks at a time. In 2005, Clapton's stay at Royal Albert lasted only 4 days, but since he was joined by Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, the historic significance of the Cream reunion made up for the relatively short stint. Shortly after the first anniversary of the power trio's reunion, Clapton will return for a seven night run spanning May 16 through May 26. The London shows will come at the beginning of a three month tour that will take "Slow Hand" to practically every European country.

Guitar enthusiasts can rejoice as Derek Trucks (Allman Brothers Band, Derek Trucks Band) and Doyle Bramhall II (Arc Angels) will back Clapton, challenging the legendary bluesman with their own guitar wizardry. The touring band will also include keyboardists Chris Stainton and Tim Carmon, bassist Willie Weeks, drummer Steve Jordan (Blues Brothers, Late Night Band) and the Kick Horns: Simon Clarke, Roddy Lorimer and Tim Sanders.

More dates, including shows in the U.S., should be announced in the future.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Still Punk: Sex Pistols Snub Hall Of Fame Induction

In the seventies, the Sex Pistols tweaked their noses, as well as other body parts, at all things conventional. They lasted for just a couple years, releasing only one studio album, Never Mind The Bollocks, yet, the Sex Pistols epitomized all that was punk. Their inclusion amongst the 2006 inductees to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame was not only well deserved, it was long overdue.

However, there will be no warm and fuzzy induction at this year's ceremony as the passage of time hasn't softened the "punk" in the seminal punk rock band. In a handwritten note posted on their web site, the Pistols announced, in their own inimitable way, that they will not be attending the festivities at the Waldorf Astoria honoring their accomplishments. Replete with misspellings and bad grammar, the Pistols express their contempt for "music industry people" and heap scorn upon the extravagance of the event. In their terse missive, the make it clear where they stand on the March 13 ceremony, "Were not coming. Were not your monkeys and so what?"

Arctic Monkeys Big Winners At 2006 NME Awards

England's latest "it" band, the Arctic Monkeys, walked away with 3 NME Awards, taking honors as Best British Band, Best New Band and Best Track for "I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor." In the other band categories, New York hipsters The Strokes won for Best International Band and Franz Ferdinand was awarded Best Live Band. Kanye West was honored as Best Solo Artist and the Kaiser Chiefs added the NME Award for Best Album (Employment) to its 3 recent BRIT awards.

While honoring the best, NME also acknowledged the worst, handing out the dubious awards for Worst Album to James Blunt (Back To Bedlam), Worst Band to Son of Dork and Villain of the Year to George W. Bush.

Scofflaw and parolee Pete Doherty was named Sexiest Man while Madonna snagged the award for Sexiest Female.

Next month, the Arctic Monkeys will venture to America for a month long tour that will hit San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Seattle. The band will kick off the U.S. leg of its worldwide tour with a March 11 appearance as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live (Matt Dillon will host).

Sheryl Crow Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Sheryl Crow underwent surgery this past Wednesday after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Crow was set to begin touring in March and has postponed those dates. Crow's surgery came just weeks after breaking off an engagement with cancer survivor Lance Armstrong.

In a statement posted on her website Crow said:

"Approximately 1 in 7 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and more than 2 million American are living with breast cancer today. I am joining the more than 200,000 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

We are a testament to the importance of early detection and new treatments. I encourage all women everywhere to advocate for themselves and for their future – see your doctor and be proactive about your health.

More than 10 million Americans are living with cancer, and they demonstrate the ever-increasing possibility of living beyond cancer. I am inspired by the brave women who have faced this battle before me and grateful for the support of family and friends."

Crow's doctors say her prognosis is excellent and she will receive radiation treatment as a precaution. Being in her early 40s and in excellent physical shape should aid in her recovery. Sheryl's website also says she intends to reschedule as much of the tour as reasonably possible.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Go! Team Interview

by Emily Tartanella

The Go! Team is one of Britian's hotest exports and they're here to rock the microphone. With a genre-bending mashup of sounds, the Go! Team are set to be one of the "it" bands of 2006. If the "goddamn music industry" doesn't get to them first.

I conducted an interview with lead songwriter Ian Parton, who enlightened me as to their girl group roots, morbid sense of humor, and disapproval of Duran Duran.

Earvolution: Okay, let's start with some basic information. Who are the group members? How did the name "The Go! Team" develop?

Ian (The Go! Team):

Me – Ian – I write the music
Ninja – live vox
Sam Dook – guitar, banjo, drums
Kaori Tsuchida – guitar, recorder, piano
Chi Fukami Taylor – drums
Jamie Bell – bass

The name came from an article I read about plane crashes. The go team are the people who clear up the wreckage – so it's fucking morbid really.

Earvolution: Your group is really one of the most diverse and unique on the British scene. How did you all come together into one band?

Ian: Well the real answer is that I wrote the songs and then thought how the fuck am I gonna do this live? So I pulled in 5 other people – a mix of friends and adverts got us together within a few weeks.

Earvolution: Your music, especially in songs like "Ladyflash," comes from a variety of sources. You can hear theme songs, funk, even classic girl-group sounds in there. Where did that range come from?

Ian: Yeah "Ladyflash" is like a tour of girl groups thru the decades-- taking in Phil Spector-y type stuff and electro. Just stuff I've always loved. I started off with guitar stuff like Sonic Youth and wanted to weld that with sounds like car chase horns, Jackson-Five stuff, Bollywood, Public Enemy. All I knew was that didn't want to just be another guitar band.

Earvolution: It seems like the music of The Go! Team can appeal to many different kinds of people. Is there an "average fan" of your band?

Ian: I really don't know - it changes all the time. Sometimes we have school kids, sometimes middle aged women, sometimes hipsters -

Earvolution: How did it feel to have someone like Kevin Shields [My Bloody Valentine] working on a Go! Team remix?

Ian: Brill – if somebody told me when I was a kid that Kevin Shields would be a fan I wouldn't have believed them. He totally nailed a sound and was obsessive about production and not selling out.

Earvolution: Do your songs, which often seem quite positive and energetic, reflect your personalities?

Ian: Well I wrote the music so it has more to do with me than anyone – particularly on record. I am naturally attracted to action packed things but I'm not exactly super happy all the time. I'm a realist and have strong opinions about stuff particularly the goddamn music industry. But, we're all quite laid back and ego-less really.

Earvolution: Was it a surprise to be nominated for the Mercury Music Prize?

Ian: Yeah – I'd always thought it was cool when people didn't show up and always thought that's what I'd do but I bottled it. It felt like a victory cause the record was made for hardly any money and was released without any fuss and marketing budget.

Earvolution: The Go! Team are also renowned for being great live performers. Did you look to any other performers to emulate on stage, or try to establish your own style?

Ian: Well not everyone agrees we've nailed it live. No, I can honestly say that there was no other band we were trying to copy but the excitement of Sonic Youth, maybe Le Tigre and even the Rock Steady Crew.

Earvolution: How would you sum up this past year?

Ian: It's just gone further than I thought it would.

Earvolution: What are your plans for the future?

Ian: Desperately trying not to sell out despite label pressure is my main worry. We're playing the Big Day Out in oz, got a big UK tour in Feb, back to the US in march and then hopefully a new fucking album.

Earvolution: Lastly, what would you like all our readers to know about your band?

Ian: We recently turned down a support slot for Duran Duran.

Earvolution: Sweet! We can respect that.

[Ed. Note: Photographs are linked to owner's Flickr account. Some Rights Reserved.]

"Live From London" Showcase to Come to the States

With the Arctic Monkeys poised to take a run at conquering the American music scene, other British bands are lining up for their shot. The Rakes, Towers Of London, Boy Kill Boy and Plan B will headline the "Live From London" showcase event at New York City's Bowery Ballroom on March 21.

In addition to appearing at the Bowery Ballroom showcase, The Brakes will play an in-store set at the Unoin Square Virgin Megastore.

Nominees Announced For 6th Annual Jammy Awards

Relix Magazine and jambands.com announced the nominees for the 6th Annual Jammy Awards which will be handed out on April 20 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Jammys honor artists who thrive in the live music environment and will kick off the inaugural Green Apple Music & Arts Festival which will spread to numerous concert venues throughout the weekend. The Benevento Russo Duo, My Morning Jacket and moe. led the nominees with 3 each. Warren Haynes received an interesting trifecta, receiving an individual nomination in Live Performance of the Year as well as two nominations in Tour of the Year for his travels with Gov't Mule and the Allman Brothers Band.

While ostensibly an awards show, the excitement of the Jammys comes from the live performances which feature unusual and sometimes bizarre collaborations. At least year's show, The Disco Biscuits shared the stage with Travis Tritt and Umphrey's McGee graciously backed Huey Lewis, Mavis Staples and Sinead O'Connor. In past years, Particle teamed up with the B-52s, Solomon Burke, on an oversized throne, joined the Derek Trucks Band and Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell hooked up with the String Cheese Incident.

Already slated to appear at this year's show, Blues Traveler, moe., Steve Kimock, Little Feat, Peter Frampton, Guster, Richie Havens, Savion Glover, Joe Satriani, Stephen Perkins, Martin Sexton and Bela Fleck and The Flecktones. More artists will be announced as the show nears and unexpected and unannounced appearances are the norm.

Frank Zappa will receive this year's Lifetime Achievement Award. Past recipients include the Grateful Dead, Steve Winwood and Buddy Guy. All of the other Jammy Award winners will be determined by the fans who vote for them online.

The nominees for the 6th Annual Jammy Awards:

Tour of the Year:
Allman Brothers Band/moe.
Big Summer Classic
Benevento Russo Duo with Mike Gordon
Trio! (Bela Fleck, Stanley Clarke, Jean-Luc Ponty)
Voodoo Caravan
Widespread Panic

Live Album of the Year:
Gomez - Out West
Mars Volta - Scab Dates
Matisyahu: Live at Stubbs
New Monsoon: Live at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival
Widespread Panic - Live At Myrtle Beach
Wilco - Kicking Television

Studio Album of the Year:
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Cold Roses
Benevento Russo Duo - Best Reason To Buy The Sun
Brothers Past - This Feeling
Leo Kottke and Mike Gordon - Sixty Six Steps
My Morning Jacket - Z
North Mississippi Allstars - Electric Blue Watermelon

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - "Magnolia Mountain"
Benevento Russo Duo - "Becky"
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - "Toothbrush And My Table"
My Morning Jacket - "Off The Record"
North Mississippi Allstars - "Hurry Up Sunrise"
Tea Leaf Green - "Taught To Be Proud"

Live Performance of the Year
Comes A Time: A Celebration of the Music and Spirit of Jerry Garcia, Berkeley, CA 9/24/05
Warren Haynes, Matt Abts, Jon Medeski, Dave Schools & Skerik, New York, NY 2/2/05
moe.: Tsunami Relief Benefit, New York, NY 2/10/05
Phil Lesh & Friends, Las Vegas, NV 10/29/05
My Morning Jacket, San Francisco, CA 11/11/05
The Word, Bonnaroo Music Festival 6/12/05

Archival Album of the Year:
Allman Brothers Band - 5/1/73
Grateful Dead - Fillmore West 1969: The Complete Recordings
Legion Of Mary The Jerry Garcia Collection - Vol. 1 Legion Of Mary
moe. - Warts And All 4
Thelonious Monk Quartet - Thelonious Monk Quarter with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall
Phish - Live at Madison Square Garden New Year's Eve 1995

DVD of the Year:
Les Claypool - 5 Gallons of Diesel
Bob Dylan - No Direction Home
Traffic - The Last Great Traffic Jam
Umphrey's McGee - Wrapped Around Chicago
Keller Williams - Sight
Frank Zappa - Dub Room Special

New Groove:
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Green Lemon
Pnuma Trio
Rose Hill Drive
Ten Mile Tide
Xavier Rudd

Thursday, February 23, 2006

iTunes sells billionth download

Apple announced that one billion songs have been legally downloaded from iTunes since its launch just under three years ago.

The billionth song "Speed of Sound" was purchased as part of Coldplay's X&Y album by Alex Ostrovsky from West Bloomfield, Michigan. As the grand prize winner for buying the billionth song he will receive a 20-inch iMac(R), 10 fifth generation iPods and a $10,000 gift card good for any item on the iTunes Music Store.

"I hope that every customer, artist and music company executive takes a moment today to reflect on what we've achieved together during the past three years," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Over one billion songs have now been legally purchased and downloaded around the globe, representing a major force against music piracy and the future of music distribution as we move from CDs to the Internet."

The iTunes Music Store now features a selection of over 3,500 music videos, Pixar and Disney short films, a variety of hit TV shows, 35,000 podcasts, 16,000 audiobooks and more than two million songs from the major music companies and independent record labels.

American Idol hottie in Maxim

American Idol finalist Becky O'Donohue - who Simon Cowell constantly fawns over - and her twin sister Jessie are featured in a risque spread in Maxim Magazine.

American Idol has a history of cutting finalists for "moral" issues. We'll see if the powers that be give Becky the boot for this scantily clad appearance. If they do, or if she stays on and doesn't win there's no question that Playboy will come calling and she'll find a way to use that sex appeal to sell some records.

Ang Lee does Dusty Springfield

Brokeback Mountain's Ang Lee is set to film a Dusty Springfield biopic where lovely lasses Kate Moss and Charlize Theron are set to lip-lock and perform other lesbian tricks.

Charlize is set to play the title role and Moss will portray one of Springfield's lovers from her younger years. Hopefully Charlize won't be made to look as fugly as she did the last time she played a lesbian.

For those just being introduced, Dusty Springfield was an acclaimed British pop singer whose primary success came in the 1960s. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. Kids from the 80s generation may recall her return to the limelight when she did a duo with the Pet Shop Boys on "What Have I Done to Deserve This?"

Are the Killers...manager killers?

The former manager of the Killers has filed a lawsuit saying the band dumped him and stopped paying him after he led them from the garage to the Grammys. Braden Merrick says he had a contract with the band that was to run until 2007.

You often hear about artists getting ripped off by record labels and managers, but if these allegations are true it will not be the first time a rising star has cut off a manager who was instrumental in their development and success.

Roger Waters To Return To The Dark Side

A Pink Floyd reunion tour may not be in the cards for the near future, but it looks like Floyd fans in France can look forward to a Dark Side Of The Moon fix as Roger Waters seems set to return to the stage and perform the defining Pink Floyd album in its entirety. Currently billed as "The Musical Event of The Year," the only details available so far are that it will take place this summer, somewhere in France and will feature former Pink Floyd bandmate Nick Mason on drums.

With Waters and Mason playing Dark Side on one stage, Richard Wright will joining David Gilmour on his spring tour where Gilmour will likely dip into his Floyd catalog. While separate shows featuring Floyd members playing their classics may dredge up awkward memories, the 2006 shows will lack the acrimonious undercurrent of the "Which One's Pink" era.

A press conference is scheduled for 11:00 am, February 27, at which time Waters is expected to reveal more information about the upcoming show.

Michael Stipe & Bright Eyes Headline Anti-War Benefit Concert

In the spirit of the sixties, Michael Stipe, Bright Eyes, Rufus Wainwright, Fischerspooner, Devendra Banhart, Peaches and Public Enemy's Chuck D, will appear at a "Bring 'Em Home Now" benefit concert at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom on March 20. The protest concert will coincide with the 3rd anniversary of the Iraqi War. The benefit will also feature a speech from Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son in the war.

While the star power of the initial slate may pale in comparison to the storied protest concerts of prior generations, a cause cannot be measured by the celebrity of those involved alone. The proceeds from the concert will benefit Iraq Veterans Against The War and Veterans For Peace.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Yeah Yeah Yeahs tour dates

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are set to tour in support of their upcoming release "Show Your Bones." Newly released dates include stops in DC, Philadelphia and Boston in early April.

The band also has made the first single from the new record - "Gold Lion" - available on iTunes and you can listen to it here with Windows Media or Real Audio.

Related Post: Interview with Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer Brian Chase.

Guns N' Roses to play Rio

Every new rumor that Axl Rose is ready to release Chinese Democracy, the mythical "new" Guns N' Roses album, must be taken with a grain of salt. Every GNR fan has surely uttered that they "won't get fooled again" when hearing that this year will be the year. However, the chatter amongst the white noise seems to be growing with respect to 2006 being the year for the long-awaited release.

On the heels of the Internet leak of two songs from the forthcoming album, "The Blues" and "There Was A Time," comes "confirmation" that Axl Rose will bring Guns N' Roses to headline the second day of Rock in Rio, May 27, in Lisbon, Portugal. The post break-up version of Guns N' Roses headlined the 2001 Festival, playing to over 200,000 fans.

Prudence dictates that chickens should not be counted until they hatch, but it seems that this egg is starting to shake.

[Ed. note - $50 says Axl shows up late or not at all]

Red Hot Chili Peppers To Play Lollapalooza

Chili Pepper bassist Flea informed MTV that the Red Hots have agreed in principle to play this summer's Lollapalooza Festival taking place August 4-6 along Chicago's waterfront. The Chili Peppers return to the Lollapalooza stage for the first time since headlining the 1992 tour.

In discussing their summer tour in support of their upcoming double album Stadium Arcadium, which will be released May 9, Flea reiterated frontman Anthony Kiedis' desire to tour the U.S. on a double bill with Kanye West. Keidis has stated that the lines of communication with West's camp were open but, to date, nothing has been confirmed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

People in Planes

Wind-up Records seems to be expanding from formulaic arena rock acts like Creed into a more modern sound. One of the label's latest signings is Welsh alt rock band People In Planes.

Starting with a show at the SXSW festival, PIP will launch their first major U.S. tour in support of their debut album - As Far As The Eye Can See - which hits stores in late March. The band will kick off the excursion across the States headlining Billboard Magazine's SXSW Showcase in Austin, TX at the infamous Dirty Dog Bar.

Lead guitarist Pete Roberts shared his thoughts on the upcoming dates: "A lot of the amazing word of mouth we've been receiving so far has been from music fans coming to see us live. We can't wait to get back to the States, travel across the whole country and physically be around when the album is released."

The band's first single "If You Talk Too Much (My Head Will Explode)," has gotten off to a fast start at modern rock radio by hitting No. 1 on the R&R New & Active chart. Billboard says, "People In Planes carries a cargo of atmospheric post-Radiohead riff-rock, rubbing shoulders with fellow U.K. acts Snow Patrol and Muse. It is a burst of brilliance, beautifully balanced, that will strike a sensitive nerve with rock radio."

That sound is on full display on the first single and tracks like "For Miles Around" - although "Falling by the Wayside" is more reminiscent of other Wind Up acts. The band will get a big push coming out of SXSW and will likely gain additional buzz with Joaquin Phoenix directing their debut video. I fully expect People in Planes to be a breakout act in 2006.

Bee Gees Play For Charity In Miami

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Barry and Robin Gibb, the surviving members of the Bee Gees, performed last weekend for the first time since their brother Maurice's death in January of 2003. The reunion took place at the Diabetes Research Institute's Love and Hope charity event at the Diplomat Hotel in Miami, FL.

The brothers, who have been at odds with respect to a planned Maurice Gibb tribute, played some of their greatest disco-era hits, including Saturday Night Fever classics, "Stayin' Alive," "How Deep Is You Love," and "You Should Be Dancing." Their set also included "Don't Forget To Remember," sung in honor of their departed brother.

Metallica teams with Rick Rubin

Superproducer Rick Rubin has signed on for Metallica's next record. Rubin, who founded both Def Jam and Def American records, has a long history of hitmaking working with everyone from the Beastie Boys and Run DMC to System of a Down and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The collaboration comes as no suprise to this blogger. Rubin and Lars Ulrich have been friends for many years. The duo surfaced together at an after hours party in my hotel suite in LA back in 1990 when I was hanging on Sunset Strip as the unofficial "shot roadie" for the band Backtalk. The only surprise is that they haven't done this sooner.

Pink Floyd and Genesis Will Not Jump On The Reunion Bandwagon

While each week seems to bring word of a different reunion tour, there are some rumored reunions over which expectations should be drastically diminished.

After last summer's Live 8 performance with Roger Waters, Pink Floyd fans had reason to hope that a reunion tour would be in the offing. Although David Gilmour will be going on tour, the rest of Pink Floyd, including Roger Waters won't be joining him.

In a joint statement: "Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright are joined by Roger Waters in categorically stating that there is no truth in the recent news reports about a Pink Floyd tour planned for this Autumn. David Gilmour: 'Since Live 8 there are certain sections of the media that have deliberately misled fans and public by inventing stories and quotes about Pink Floyd touring: Nick, Richard, Roger and I are telling fans directly that this is not happening. We are also asking the various parties who are fabricating these stories to desist, if only for the sake of the fans.'"

Another arthouse rock reunion that seems increasingly unlikely is the Genesis reunion with original frontman Peter Gabriel. In spite of a Rolling Stone report that Gabriel thought a reunion would be imminent, it appears the band isn't as optimistic.

Although not denying the reunion rumor, Genesis did issue the following statement in the light of such speculation, "There are no decisions by Genesis to perform anywhere whatsoever at this time. This situation will not alter in the next twelve months."

Monday, February 20, 2006

FMC calls for payola investigation

In a February 15 letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, the Future of Music Coalition (FMC) expressed enthusiasm over recent reports that the Commission was investigating allegations that some radio station conglomerates have been engaging in payola. FMC urged the agency to complete this investigation before moving ahead with any rulemakings that would allow for further radio deregulation, or the granting of additional resources to commercial radio broadcasters during the transition to HD radio.

"The payola laws are clear," said FMC's executive director, Jenny Toomey. "Stations that engage in this practice are putting their licenses at risk. What is unclear for musicians and citizens, however, is whether the laws will be enforced. We hope that the FCC will take the evidence gathered in numerous proceedings and by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to fully investigate these practices and hold bad actors accountable."

Tom Petty Featured At ASCAP EXPO

Tom Petty will be the featured attraction at ASCAP's inaugural "I Create Music" EXPO to take place April 22 at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. In its first conference devoted to the art of songwriting and composing, Petty will answer questions in a traditional interview format and address questions from those in attendance.

Marilyn Bergman, ASCAP President and Chairman commented: "Tom Petty is one of rock's consummate craftsmen, and his music is beloved by fans around the world. As a master songwriter with a long and distinguished career, he has achieved commercial success and maintained artistic integrity in the music business like few others. His conversation with fellow writers at the ASCAP 'I Create Music' EXPO will be an inspiration and a highlight of the event."

Taking place April 20-22, the EXPO will bring together composers and music industry professionals with the generic goal of "working together to achieve greater success." In addition to Petty, fellow musicians Desmond Child, Jimmy Jam and Jimmy Webb will attend the conference.

Royalty Dispute Over "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" Finally Ended

One of the longest running disputes over song royalties in the annals of music history recently concluded with the Estate of Solomon Linda coming to terms with Abeline Music, the United States administrators of the copyright for "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." The terms of the settlement will remain confidential but lawyers claim that the amount satisfies the amount owed to Linda's heirs for back royalties and accounts for future payments.

In 1939, while singing an otherwise forgettable song, "Mbube," at an otherwise uneventful recording session, Solomon Linda, the lead singer of a South African group of musicians known as the Evening Birds, let loose a melody at the close of the song that would endure for decades. The falsetto melody would become associated with the English lyrics, "In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight."

From South Africa, the song found its way to folk singer Pete Seeger, who transformed it into the 1950s hit "Wimoweh." In 1961, the Tokens, a group of Brooklyn born musicians reworked the song into its most well-known iteration, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." Since then, the song has been modified, adapted and re-recorded numerous times, most famously appearing in Disney's movie and stage musical The Lion King.

However, despite the worldwide success of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," a song that has earned an estimated 15 million dollars in royalties, Linda died penniless and his heirs live in poverty in the Johannesburg township of Soweto. Although Pete Seeger consistently acknowledged Linda's authorship of the famous melody, legal complications and dubious copyright claims kept Linda and his heirs from rightfully reaping the fruits of one of the world's most recognized songs. Linda died in 1962, proud of the success of his song but entirely unaware that he was entitled to financially benefit from his creation.

The recent settlement finally resolves the decades long dispute regarding Linda's entitlement to royalties from his melody and unequivocally establishes that "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" was derived from Linda's "Mbube."

How Sweet The Sound: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals at the Canal Room

By: David Schultz

Consider this a Rock N' Roll Christmas Carol, except it takes place in mid February. On a chilly New York City Friday evening, Phil Lesh & Friends played the Hammerstein Ballroom while, a few blocks east, Umphrey's McGee entertained their faithful fans at Times Square's Nokia Theater. While hardly ghosts, rock's past and present shared the crowded concert slate with rock's future: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. With the heavier hitters playing further uptown, the Vermont based quartet came to TriBeCa's Canal Room, a modestly sized, swanky east village room, and confidently showed their entitlement to be the last band in any musical Dickensian triumvirate.

As the name would suggest, organist, guitarist and singer Grace Potter fronts the Nocturnals, consisting of lead guitarist Scott Tournet, bassist Bryan Dondero and drummer Matt Burr. The group uses a minimalist stage setup, which gives Potter room to move around the stage. Whether she's banging out an organ solo, fronting the band with an acoustic guitar or just shaking her butt while playing tambourine, Potter demands an audience's attention. A winsome singer backed by a trio of male musicians easily invites comparison to Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians. Once function triumphs form, the similarities are few and far between as Potter possesses more depth and a profounder understanding of blues, gospel and roots rock than Paul Simon's present bride. Don't let the girl next door looks fool you: Potter's undeniably sexy shimmying fails to overshadow her considerable skills on the organ or mask her considerable prowess behind the mike. Potter's bluesy, melodious voice has just a hint of playful funkiness and packs a wallop, expressing a soul aged beyond her years. Although images of Janis Joplin come to mind, a more accurate comparison would be to liken her to Joan Osborne.

While easy, as well as fun, to gush about the lovely Miss Potter, the Nocturnals are not simply a supporting band along for the ride. Playing an extraordinarily spare drum set, Burr energetically lays down backing beats to the point of losing a stick during his drum solo. Dondero moved between standard and upright bass throughout the evening, joining Burr in unobtrusively supplying the gospel and blues rhythms beneath Potter's songs. On lead guitar, Scott Tournet's laid-back demeanor provides a nice foil for the group's bouncy, amiable leader.

Potter & The Nocturnals stayed away from their slower material and ballads this Friday night at The Canal Room, opting instead to play their more upbeat, southern-gospel tinged pieces. Without turning the tunes into jam odysseys, the band concisely and powerfully fleshed out the riffs of the songs from their recent offering Nothing But The Water, an album recorded in a barn at Vermont's Goddard College, and introduced some new songs to their growing audience. Potter nimbly and joyfully bounced through the One Trick Pony-ish lyrics of "Left Behind" and brought the audience into a near frenzy with the Sly Stone/southern Baptist "take-me-higher" exhortations at the climax of "Gumbo Moon." The Nocturnals were in step with Potter during "Gumbo Moon," showing they can bring the power of the gospel as well as kick into a southern psychedelic guitar barrage worthy of Lenny Kravitz.

Amidst newer tunes "Meantime" and the oddly titled love song "Piss On Your Hand," the band looked backwards, offering a couple eclectic covers. The full band offered a rolling cover of the classic "Mystery Train" before abdicating the stage to Potter for a version of R.L. Burnside's "Skinny Woman" that would surely receive approval from Burnside disciples, the North Mississippi Allstars. Covers also featured prominently in opening act Will Dailey's set. Without a backing band, Dailey captured the crowd’s attention with skillful guitar and a haunting voice, playing a stripped down version of the Rolling Stones "No Expectations" and a flamenco version of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean."

"Nothing But The Water," with its southern-blues organ-fueled riffs sandwiched between Potter's naked gospel verses, has become the centerpiece of any Potter & The Nocturnals show. Potter traditionally belts out the opening stanzas accompanied by her tambourine, but on this night she received help from the entire audience stomping their feet in unison to provide Potter with the beat. After working the song out, Potter returned to the a capella chorus and, tambourine overhead, began to lead the band off stage in their customary recessional. With the Nocturnals following, Potter exited the stage and proceeded to walk through the first door available, the fire exit leading to the sidewalk. With grins on their faces, the Nocturnals opted not to follow Potter, getting a small chuckle as Potter wandered out onto the street. Fortunately, the security guard located next to the door let Potter back in the building in time for the band to play their encore.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Phil Brings Impressive Friends To New York City

Phil Lesh's return to New York saw the appearance of Friends old and new and an apparent homage to a Friend who never showed. At the Beacon Theater leg of his New York stint, Warren Haynes and Trey Anastasio replaced Barry Sless on separate nights, joining Lesh, Rob Baracco, Larry Campbell, Jeff Sipe and Joan Osbourne to jam on Grateful Dead classics and assorted classic rock staples. Though rumored to sit in with Lesh, Ryan Adams only appeared in spirt with Lesh playing numerous Adams songs on his opening night.

After a night off, Lesh and Friends move down the road for a weekend run at the Hammerstein Ballroom.

Why the Grammys Matter

We all saw the press headlines on how American Idol outdrew the Grammys in the ratings last week. But, USA Today reports that Grammy Winners like U2 and John Legend scored big time where it counts after the show: record sales. USA Today says:

After performing and snagging all five trophies it was up for, U2 saw its 2004 album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, return to the Billboard top 200 at No. 49 with 27,000 copies, a 512% jump.


Best new artist John Legend's Get Lifted rose 779%, the highest of any Grammy nominee, selling 52,000 copies to surge to No. 18 from No. 187.

The article also says that Alison Krauss, Gorillaz and Green Day were also among the winners seeing increased sales. Perhaps smaller label artists like Delbert McClinton will get a boost as well.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Kid Rock and Scott Stapp Sex Tape

A new celebrity sex tape is set to hit the market featuring Kid Rock and the recently incarcerated/married Scott Stapp. The boys are shown in a clip - found on kidrocksextape.com and scottstappsextape.com - demonstrating why most guys learn to play guitar and join bands. The young ladies who made their way onto the tour bus do some things that cause Stapp to say: "Its good to be the king." Indeed.

The tape is set to be distributed by Red Light District, which is the same company that distributed the "One Night in Paris" tape featuring the infamous Paris Hilton.

Jazz Fest To Return To New Orleans

Rebounding from the devastation wrecked by Hurricane Katrina, the City of New Orleans can rejoice as the 2006 Jazz & Heritage Festival will take place April 28-30 and May 5-7 at its customary location, the Fair Grounds Race Course. Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffett and the Dave Matthews Band are slated to assume the headlining spots but local musicians Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, the Rebirth Brass Band and the Meters will likely provide the most excitement. Rumors that U2 will perform have not been verified.

The sentimental favorite of this year's Jazz Fest will surely be Fats Domino. Believed lost in the aftermath of Katrina, the singer remained missing for three days and was feared dead before being rescued by helicopter.

Other acts scheduled to perform include: Robert Randolph &; The Family Band, Little Feat, Lionel Richie, Elvis Costello, Keith Urban, Keb Mo, Galactic, Terrence Blanchard and a recovering Ani DiFranco.

After being battered by nature and mishandled by FEMA, without question, the return of Jazz Fest to New Orleans shows that the spirit of the Big Easy, despite months of heartbreak and sorrow, cannot be broken.

Kaiser Chiefs Win 3 BRIT Awards

After opening the show with their catchy "I Predict A Riot," Leeds' Kaiser Chiefs walked off with 2006 BRIT Awards for British Group, British Live Act and British Rock Act. Coldplay and James Blunt each took home 2 BRITs in the "local" categories with Chris Martin and Co. winning for British Album (X & Y) and British Song ("Speed Of Sound") and Blunt snagging Pop Act and British Solo Artist.

In the International categories, Green Day was the only act to win multiple BRITs. scoring the honors for International Group and adding International Album to the litany of awards given to American Idiot.

In the British Breakthrough Act category, an award voted upon by Radio 1 listeners, the differing tastes of the voting blocs were reflected as British radio darlings The Arctic Monkeys won the award over James Blunt and the Kaiser Chiefs. Jack Johnson won the International equivalent.

In the only uncontested award of the evening, Paul Weller of The Jam was honored with an award recognizing his Outstanding Contribution To Music, the equivalent of a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Other winners announced last evening:

British Female Artist - KT Tunstall

International Female Artist - Madonna

International Male Artist - Kanye West

British Urban Act - Lemar

Guster Goes Green With Spring College Tour

Guster's spring tour will be a joint effort with environmental action group Reverb, bringing interactive fare like "Pimp My Clean Ride Car Show" to college campuses nationwide. With their Campus Consciousness Tour, Guster and Reverb have the heady goal of spreading environmental awareness to their fan base. The rock band/green group pairing should not be surprising as Reverb's founders are Guster guitarist Adam Gardner and his wife Lauren Sullivan.

In addition to "Pimp My Eco-Ride," each show will feature a Consciousness Pavilion with booths and exhibits designed to educate folks about renewable energy sources and other environmentally sound products. To encourage attendance, raffle tickets will be sold with winners receiving autographed guitars or a meet-and-greet with the band.

In announcing their spring tour, Guster let slip that they will appear at the 6th Annual Jammy Awards at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on April 20 and play the Hiro Ballroom the next night as part of the Green Apple Music Festival.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Upcoming CD releases

Feb. 21 – Willie Nile - Streets of New York (00:02:59 Records) first CD in six years, w/ Jakob Dylan...Lou Reed calls it "a great album." The Village Voice notes, "all-energy performer who plays each of his power-pop-rock songs like it’s for the first and last time."

Feb. 21 - Jac Holzman presents the Elektra Rarities Series (Collectors Choice) 14 CDs, various vintage Elektra artists, including What's Shakin' (Lovin' Spoonful, Clapton's Powerhouse, Butterfield, Tom Rush) plus Great Lost Elektra Singles, Vol. 1 (very early Byrds, Blue Oyster Cult), plus Roxy, The Wackers, David Frye, Erik Darling, Travelers 3 and more.

Feb. 21 - Gamble Brothers Band - Continuator (Archer/Emergent/RED) young Memphis alt-soul band, disciples of Stax, Hi and Booker T., but not at all what you’d expect. Please check this out and give it a shot. "A nice take on a great American style of music," writes The Wall Street Journal.

Feb. 21 - Marley's Ghost - Spooked (Sage Arts/Ryko Dist.) - from NoCal and the Northwest...produced and played on by Van Dyke Parks. West Coast tour in March.

Feb. 28 – Jessi Colter – Out of the Ashes (Shout! Factory) produced By Don Was; her first new album in 20 years features duets with Waylon, Shooter and Tony Joe White.

Feb. 28 – Hank III – Straight to Hell (BRUC Records) - third from Hank Williams' hardcore grandson, a 2-CD set. Disc two is a free-form audio adventure featuring a Hank Sr. cover and more.

EFF Sues Clear Channel for "Crimes Against the Public Domain"

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a challenge Tuesday to a patent from Clear Channel Communications. EFF alleges the patent -- for a system and method of creating digital recordings of live performances -- locks musical acts into using Clear Channel technology and blocks innovations by others.

According to EFF, Clear Channel claims that its patent creates a monopoly on all-in-one technologies that produce post-concert live recordings on digital media and has threatened to sue anyone who makes such recordings with a different system. EFF says this has forced bands like the Pixies into using Clear Channel's proprietary technology, and it hurts investment and innovation in new systems developed by other companies.

"Clear Channel shouldn't be able to intimidate artists with bogus intellectual property," said EFF Staff Attorney Jason Schultz. "We hope the Patent Office will take a hard look at Clear Channel's patent and agree that it should be revoked."

The request for reexamination filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office shows that a company named Telex had in fact developed similar technology more than a year before Clear Channel filed its patent request. EFF, in conjunction with top patent attorney Theodore C. McCullough of the Lemaire Patent Law Firm and with the help of students at the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic at American University's Washington College of Law, wants the patent office to revoke the patent based on this and other extensive evidence.

"The patent system serves an important public purpose in our economy," said Schultz. "Keeping illegitimate patents out of that system helps up-and-coming artists and entrepreneurs succeed for all of us."

McCullough believes the patent challenge is on firm ground and points to larger problems in the patent system that Clear Channel may be taking advantage of:

"This case underscores the problem of patent quality endemic to the present U.S. patent system. This patent was issued on what is called a first action allowance, which means that the examiner issued no rejection of the application as filed. Typically, a patent examiner will issue two or more rejections based upon prior art before allowing a patent application to issue as a patent. Here two law students, who did not have technical degrees, spent approximately 2-4 hour researching the technology on the Internet, and found some art that I and EFF believe invalidates this patent. Is there a problem with patent quality in the present U.S. patent system? You tell me. Absent, our efforts Clear Channel via Instant Live, LLC would be seeking royalties from anyone trying to make CD/DVD's of their own concerts."

The Clear Channel patent challenge is part of EFF's Patent Busting Project, which the group says is aimed at combating the chilling effects bad patents have on public and consumer interests.

"Brothers Of A Feather": Black Crowes' Chris & Rich Robinson To Play Acoustic Shows

Chris and Rich Robinson, the battling brothers at the core of The Black Crowes, will hit the road as an acoustic duo with shows already scheduled in New York, Texas and California. Entitling the show "Brothers Of A Feather," the Robinsons' setlists will include Crowes favorites, influential covers and some new material. Taking advantage of the cozy, intimate arenas they'll be playing, the concerts will be recorded for a possible CD release some time in the future.

Already confirmed dates:

April 13: Brooklyn, NY - Warsaw
April 14: New York, NY - Rose Theater at Lincoln Center
April 15: New York, NY - Town Hall
April 17: Austin, TX - Cactus Cafe
April 18: Austin, TX - Cactus Cafe
April 20: San Francisco, CA - Swedish American Hall at Cafe Du Nord
April 21: San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
April 22: San Francisco, CA - Bimbo's 365 Club
April 24: Los Angeles, CA - The Roxy
April 25: Los Angeles, CA - The Roxy

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Gwyneth digs Madonna's boobs

Nearly everyone was impressed with Madonna's physical display at the Grammies the other night, but one hollywood starlet was parcticularly impressed. Gwyenth Paltrow, Lady England Herself, reportedly gushed over Madonna's boobs.

In commenting on the Queen of Pop's breasts, Gwyeneth is said to have bubbled "They are fantastic, by the way."

I was into Madonna's boobs too...back in 1985. But seriously, she is in impressive shape at age 47. I mean anyone who can get the normally demur Gwyeneth all hot and bothered has got something going on!

Rock Star Van Halen?

We all remember Rock Star INXS. Ok, I do, but maybe a lot of you don't given the dismal ratings despite the record budget put into making and marketing the show. Undeterred from low ratings, the Rock Star franchise pushes on and the rumor mill is heating up with reports that Van Halen will be the next band to lift an unknown singer out of obscurity and into the limelight.

One person isn't happy at all about the news. Former Van Halen frontman extraordinaire David Lee Roth all but begged the VH brothers to forgo the reality show and give him his old job back. My drive to work this morning was less than 10 minutes, but in that short time span Diamond Dave made no less than a half dozen pleas to be taken back by the group - and he still had around another hour or so left on the air.

Dave was right when he said this morning that neither VH or himself would achieve any more significant music success than they could if they reunited.

New York Takes On A Billy Joel State Of Mind

By David Schultz

Without an album of new material to promote, Billy Joel's adopts the theme of his recently released box set My Lives for his 2006 tour, turning the entire show into a comprehensive career retrospective. Taking to the road as a solo act for the first time in seven years, Joel's tour commenced with an auspicious start, selling out New York City's Madison Square Garden for twelve shows scattered throughout the winter and spring. Joel's MSG run will make history as his string of twelve selllouts shatters Bruce Springsteen's record of ten. If 50 million Elvis fans can't be wrong, what about a quarter million Billy Joel fans?

Joel always brings something special to his New York City performances which, in the absence of any Long Island appearances, comprise his homecoming. At the very least, "New York State Of Mind" resonates differently in the Big Apple than anywhere else. By embracing his entire career in a 2½ hour concert, Joel displays the numerous songwriting personas he’s adopted over his 35 year career. The straightforward, if not always factually accurate, storyteller ("The Ballad Of Billy The Kid"), the evocative memoirist ("Goodnight Saigon"), socio-political commentator ("Allentown"), the eloquent rouge ("You May Be Right,""Big Shot") and, his least enjoyable guise, the didactic blowhard ("We Didn’t Start The Fire").

When Joel touched upon his seventies material, especially during 52nd Street's "Stiletto" and "Zanzibar," Joel flashed the brilliance that earned him his status in the classic rock pantheon. In contrast, once Joel focused on his post Glass Houses material from the eighties, his descent into poppier, more commercial music took center stage. The bombastic "Movin’ Out" seemed startlingly at odds with the Lion King-esque tribal romp through "River Of Dreams." Where Joel's older material possessed a cocksure, chip on the shoulder attitude, his later material lost the edge as if he no longer had anything to prove to the world. Perhaps being married to Christie Brinkley did wonders for his self esteem?

From his piano bench, Joel spoke to the audience in a relaxed conversational style, giving some insight into his material. With subtlety, he noted the irony present in Cold Spring Harbor's "Everybody Loves You" pointing out that nobody bought the album when it came out in 1971 and, thirty-five years later, the song seems prophetic. During one story, he realized he sounded like he was rehashing his appearance on In The Actor’s Studio before imitating James Lipton's obsequious affectations.

Having played these songs for decades, the more spontaneous moments of the show came when Joel bantered with the audience or played a riff or two from "Boy From New York City" or "Goldfinger." Over the course of the tour, Joel has interspersed obscurer tunes into the set. On this night, Joel included The Nylon Curtain's "She’s Right On Time" and "A Room Of Our Own." The most spontaneous moment came when Joel surprisingly turned over the stage to Chainsaw, a member of the road crew, walking to the side to play rhythm guitar while the roadie blasted through a rollicking version of AC/DC's "Highway To Hell."

Recognizing that he may be more dangerous behind the wheel of a car these days than behind a piano, Joel's self-effacing sense of humor emerged in the encore. After romping through "Only The Good Die Young," Joel offered a slightly re-edited version of "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" that poked fun at his recent rehabilitation stint. After joking that instead of a bottle of red, "perhaps a bottle of ginger ale instead," he further quipped that between red and white, "I won't be having either one tonight." When Joel strapped on the harmonica to the wild delight of the crowd for the finale of "Piano Man," he expressed faux surprise at the hysteria and claimed that the apparatus was required after his latest car accident.

Joel's stage setup, complete with a rotating piano that receded into the stage when not needed, permitted Joel to play to all areas of the arena. While Joel seemed out of synch with his band during the opening renditions of his Long Island rebel anthems "Angry Young Man" and "My Life," they quickly got onto the same page. Joel's piano playing remains crisp and even though he no longer has the same vocal range, he credibly hit the high notes on "An Innocent Man."

Joel's older material formed the basis for the strongest portions of the show. Joel's musical, Movin' Out, presents New Yorkers with alternative versions of his classic songs on an almost daily basis. However, Joel refuses to relinquish his mastery of his catalogue to the Broadway stage. Although Joel no longer has the rebellious, restless demeanor that fueled his seventies classics, he doesn’t let the softening of the years force the evening into maudlin, sentimental nostalgia. Joel doesn’t go through the fa├žade of acting like he’s singing his older songs as if he’s still in his mid-twenties. Rather, instead of feeling a sense of simpatico, he seems to relish singing songs about the old times. As he does with every performance, Joel closed the show by offering the audience his traditional advice, "don't take shit from anyone." Where once that maxim evoked Joel's sense of rebellion, it now seems like a bit of fatherly advice from someone who knows it worked for them.

Lollapalooza back again...

Lollapalooza 2005 was a shadow of the former traveling roadshow and due to inability to sustain ticket sales for a mobile tour elected to morph into a "destination" festival, ala Jazz Fest or Bonnaroo.

The decision was successful enough for Lollapalooza to do it one more time and this year they've added a third day.

MTV reports that no one has been booked to play this year's show, but organizers are looking to increase the show to eight stages with around 130 artists. Don't be surprised if Perry Farrell and Janes Addiction play the show.

Last year's festival included the Pixies, Killers, Dashboard Confessional, Death Cab for Cutie, the Arcade Fire, Weezer and Dinosaur Jr.

LaBelle Reunion for 2007

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, February seems to be the month for trios to announce their reunion. LaBelle, one of the original girl groups of the sixties who evolved into seventies funk divas, will reenter the studio, eyeing next year as the release date for their first album since they split in 1976. Comprised of Nona Hendryx, Patti LaBelle and Sarah Dash, LaBelle were the forebears for the likes of girl groups like En Vogue, TLC and Destiny's Child.

Originally a quartet, formed in 1961 as Patti LaBelle & The Bluebirds, LaBelle was formed when Cindy Birdsong left the group to replace Florence Ballard in the Supremes. The trendsetting girl group, known for the famous lame space cadet suits, were the first black act ever to play New York's Metropolitan Opera House. The 1974 Opera House show was also notable as the venue where they debuted their greatest hit, "Lady Marmalade," which was infamously remade 17 years later by Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack.

R.O.C.K. at the NCAA: John Mellencamp To Play Free Show At The Final Four

John Mellencamp will play a free show in his home state of Indiana in conjunction with the 2006 NCAA Championships taking place at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, IN. Expected to attract over 100,000 people, the show will take place on Sunday April 2, the night before the Monday night final, at Monument Circle. Mellencamp's appearance at the tournament aligns nicely with CBS Sports' use of "R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.," as part of its college basketball coverage.

The Final Four show will come at the beginning of Mellencamp's extension of his Words And Music tour that ran in two legs in 2005. In continued support of his greatest hits release, Mellencamp will resume the tour for a three week stretch through the east coast and midwest.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Scott Stapp arrested

Former-Creed frontman Scott Stapp was reportedly arrested for public drunkenness on the way to spend his honeymoon with new bride Jaclyn Nesheiwat (former Miss New York).

With lukewarm reception to his post-Creed solo work, Stapp gained some press time last fall when he got into a spat with the guys from 311 after reportedly making some comments about or to one of their wives. Of course, people may also remember Stapp infamously appearing so wasted on stage in Chicago during a 2003 show that fans claimed he was unable to sing.

Remember when folks thought Creed was a Christian band?

Jack White's New Project: The Raconteurs

Fresh from a summer tour with his significant other, Jack White has quickly moved onto his next project, as one fourth of the all-star combo The Raconteurs. Joining White in this new venture will be guitarist Brendan Benson, Greenhornes' drummer Patrick Keeler and bassist Jack Lawrence.

The Raconteurs' first album, Broken Boy Soldiers, will be released this May. For those who can't wait, two songs, "Steady, As She Goes" and "Store Bought Bones," can be streamed at their wonderfully retro-style web site.

The seeds for The Raconteurs were sown when Benson and White got together over the summer and wrote "Steady, As She Goes." Inspired by their new song, the two were motivated the put a band together with old friends and recruited Keeler and Lawrence for the effort. Benson and The Greenhornes opened various dates for the White Stripes on their recent tour.

France and Ireland differ on music downloaders

French authorities released an accused illegal music downloader while the Irish High Court ordered a number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to release the names of several individuals engaged in file uploading.

In France, an Internet user defended by the Association of Audionautes (ADA) was released free of charges by the District Court of Paris after downloading and uploading music and movies on the Internet.

The ADA states that several Internet users they defended have been released free of charges for having downloaded copyrighted content on Internet on the basis of the "private copying" doctrine.

According to Jean-Baptiste Soufron, Legal Counsel of the ADA, "This most recent decision is consistent with the definitive decision of the French Appellate Court of Montpellier. It is an important stepping stone in our fight to legalize P2P." The ADA reports that France was the first country in the world to propose the legalization of P2P downloading.

Meanwhile in Ireland, the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA), lauded the decision of the High Court in Dublin to oblige a number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to release the names of a further 49 individuals engaged in serial file uploading of music on the internet.

IRMA reports that Judge Peter Kelly described the actions of the individuals as "tantamount to stealing - not on a minor scale but on a grand scale". He also informed IRMA that a court order allowed IRMA, at their discretion, not only to pursue these 49 cases for civil damages but also to pass the names on to the Authorities for criminal prosecutions.

Speaking after the decision, Dick Doyle, Director General of IRMA commented: "We will contact the 49 individuals or firms and offer them the opportunity to settle the action. If they refuse, we will be forced to pursue the matter through the Courts. We hope that, along with our consistent information drives, these litigations will lead to parents of teenagers and others discussing illegal file-sharing and ensuring that it does not affect their household or office".

Back in the US, the RIAA continues to bring legal actions against downloaders and the original music bandit "Napster" is embracing legalized digital music and recently reported that it has grown its subscriber service 110% in the past year while boasting a 500,000+ subscriber bse.

Oysterhead To Reform at Bonnaroo

On the heels of the announcment that the blues power trio Cream will reunite for a series of shows later this year comes the news that another trio, Oysterhead, will regroup for this year's Bonnaroo Festival. The supergroup, comprised of Phish's Trey Anastasio, Primus' Les Claypool and The Police's Stewart Copeland, will perform together for the first time since 2001.

Originally formed to play a one-off performance at the 2000 N.O. Jazz Fest, the trio rode that momentum into the studio for 2001s The Grand Pecking Order. Oysterhead's inclusion in the 2006 Manchester, TN Festival bolsters an already stellar lineup, featuring headliners Radiohead and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers as well as numerous groups from the jamband scene.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Willa Ford in Playboy

Sexy pop songstress Willa Ford, who's hit song "I Wanna Be Bad," was a radio mainstay, bares all in a six-page nude pictorial in Playboy's annual March "Sex and Music" issue, which hits newsstands today.

Not long after her debut album Willa Was Here became a hit, the then 20-year-old singer decided to put her music career on hold. "Music became this corporate world where you have to compromise everything, and I'm uncontrollable," she says. "I was recording in New York, and I got in a cab, called home and said, 'I'm finished. I’m not doing this anymore.' I mean, I had so much more fun taking my clothes off for Playboy than I ever had sitting in a studio writing a song."

Recently Willa focused on her television career and hosted the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. Additional television credits include featured spots on HBO's The Mind of the Married Man, MTV's I Bet You Will, and WB's Raising Dad.

Willa, now 25, has decided to go back to her musical roots and is currently in the studio completing her latest album.

Bill Graham's Legacy: Vault Radio

Legendary promoter Bill Graham kept a remarkable library of the live performances he touted in the heyday of rock and roll. As you might expect, amongst the tapes lie a treasure trove of classic performances from the rock icons of that generation. With Internet radio becoming an intriguing entertainment commodity, Vault Radio, which came on the air (or more appropriately, on the net) this past Wednesday, adds to the medium's allure, presenting live classic rock from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and an extraordinarily young Bruce Springsteen.

Culled from tapes that have been stored in the basement of Bill Graham Presents headquarters until purchased by Wolfgang's Vault in 2003, Vault Radio plays the performances in their original form, without enhancements or remixing. Given that Graham worked with practically every major act in the sixties and seventies, the 5 million dollars reportedly paid for the library, which consists of thousands of live shows, may be a bargain. Wolfgang's Vault presents Vault Radio in a simple fashion, providing the song title, artist, venue and year, leaving the historic context of the performances to the listener. Although the promoter in Graham might have appreciated a more comprehensive presentation, Vault Radio is worthy monument to his considerable legacy.

Prince's Purple Tickets: Violet Beauregarde Rejoice

Utilizing a marketing strategy lifted directly from literature and cinema, Prince will roll out a "Purple Ticket Promotion" in conjunction with the March 21 release of his new album 3121. Akin to famed fictional chocolatier Willy Wonka, the reclusive and enigmatic singer will place seven "purple tickets" inside the packaging of the CD. Fans lucky enough to find a ticket will gain admission to "An Evening With Prince," a private performance to be given at Prince's home.

Listeners downloading the album through iTunes will also eligible for the contest as plans are in the works for digital "purple tickets."

To date, no news is available as to whether Veruca Salt will open the exclusive performance or whether Prince will give one deserving winner ownership of Paisley Park at the conclusion of the show.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

American Idol out draws Grammys

"Real musicians" - many of whome write their own songs and tour endlessly to try to breakthrough to mass audiences - often look down upon "American Idol" winnners and finalists who gain fame without having to write their own music and "pay their dues" with endless touring.

Well, it seems America feels differently. Internet tabloid site, the Drudge Report is "reporting" that more people watched last night's American Idol show than tuned in to the Grammy's. According to Drudge, in direct competition at 8 pm ET, Idol garnered a 27 share to the Grammy's 16 share.

Britney won't be charged with child endangerment

The web has been buzzing the last few days with photos of Britney Spears driving around with her baby on her lap without using a car seat or other safety restraints.

The coverage of the "controversy" even prompted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to send deputies to Britney's house to investigate. But, after speaking with the pop starlet, who blamed her misdeeds on the paparazzi, authorities have declined to press charges.

However, Spears is still under investgation by the fashion police for a series of offenses in the past few years.

New Payola Scandal

New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer has his eye on major radio conglomerates in the latest phase of his payola investigation.

Spitzer says evidence gathered in the case name artists such as Jessica Simpson, Celine Dion, Maroon 5, Good Charlotte, Franz Ferdinand, Switchfoot, Michelle Branch and R.E.M. Some of these make perfect sense as to why a record company would need to pay someone to play these songs but, Franz Ferdinand? Are you telling me their "hype" wasn't on merit and that marketing slicksters manipulated us into thinking these guys are a great band?

The lesson here kids is that next time you hear a "popular" song on the radio and you pause thinking its really not that good - there's a reason for your thought - its not.

U2 Dominates the Grammys: Wins Best Album, Best Song

U2, a little-known band from Dublin, Ireland, were the big winners at The Recording Academy's 48th Annual Grammy Awards presented last night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. Statesman and humanitarian Bono humbly accepted the awards throughout the evening, taking the time to acknowledge and compliment fellow Album of the Year nominees Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefani and Sir Paul McCartney instead of singing U2's praises.

As if Bono and his mates needed more affirmation that they rule the musical landscape, U2's "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own," a song Bono wrote after his father passed away, won the Grammy for Song Of The Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo/Group. Although released in 2004, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb qualified for this year's awards and not only won Best Album of the Year but also took home the the Best Rock Album Grammy. For the second straight year U2 won Best Rock Song, with "City of Blinding Lights" winning the award given last year to "Vertigo." The Irish band's success even spread to other categories with Steve Lillywhite, taking Producer of the Year for his work on Atomic Bomb.

Possibly owing to the fact that U2 didn't have a song nominated in the category, Green Day took home a Grammy for the second straight year, winning Record of the Year for Idiot's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." Before awarding John Legend the Grammy for Best New Artist, also a category in which U2 wasn't nominated, a litany of prior winners were listed. However, the list notably left off prior recipients Milli Vanilli.

The expected Mariah Carey landslide never materialized. Poised to win 8 Grammys, which would have been the most ever won in one year by a female artist, Carey's three Grammys, all in the R&B categories, seemed less significant, given the astronomical expectations. However, her failure to win in any of the major categories makes the Academy's decision to slot Madonna as the opening act a less egregious choice.

On a show where U2 rocked the house and Bruce Springsteen captivated the crowd with a poignant rendition of "Devils With Dust," concluding by simply saying "bring'em home," Kanye West and Jamie Foxx nearly stole the show. Bringing full SWAC Drumline flair, complete with marching band and the "Broke Phi Broke" fraternity, West and Foxx surely had the censors sweating with their energetic version of "Gold Digger." West was the big winner in the rap categories, taking awards for Best Rap Album (Late Registration), Best Rap Solo Performance ("Gold Digger") and Best Rap Song, a songwriter's award ("Diamonds From Sierra Leone").

While awards ceremonies can be a dry affair, this year's Grammys provided its share of surreal moments. Paul McCartney's appearance at the end of Linkin Park & Jay-Z's performance of "Numb/Encore" (which won the Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration) to mash-up "Yesterday" would rank highest on the list of "did I just see that" moments were it not for Sly Stone appearing at the end of a star-studded tribute to his music with a ridiculous brilliant-blond mohawk.

The televised broadcast concluded with a tribute to the music of New Orleans, featuring Dr. John and Allen Toussaint, but quickly became a eulogy to the recently departed Wilson Pickett. With Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and The Edge on guitar, the time-pressed finale of "In The Midnight Hour" ended promptly at 11:30 EST.

American Idol Kelly Clarkson walked off with two awards: winning Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Since U Been Gone" and Best Pop Vocal Album for Breakaway. In the country categories, Allison Krauss & Union Station took home three Grammys.

Winners From the 48th Annual Grammys Include:

Record of the Year: "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" - Green Day

Album of the Year: How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb - U2

Song of the Year: "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" - U2

Best New Artist: John Legend

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance: "Since U Been Gone" - Kelly Clarkson

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance: "From The Bottom Of My Heart" - Stevie Wonder

Best Pop Performance by Duo/Group with Vocals: "This Love" - Maroon 5

Best Pop Vocal Album: Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson

Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance: "Devils and Dust" - Bruce Springsteen

Best Rock Performance by Duo/Group: "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" - U2

Best Rock Song: "City of Blinding Light" - U2

Best Rock Album: How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb - U2

Best Hard Rock Performance: "B.Y.O.B." - System Of A Down

Best Metal Performance: "Before I Forget" - Slipknot

Best Alternative Music Album: Get Behind Me Satan - The White Stripes

Best Female R & B Vocal Performance: "We Belong Together" - Mariah Carey

Best Male R & B Vocal Performance: "Ordinary People" - John Legend

Best R&B Song: "We Belong Together" - Mariah Carey

Best Contemporary R & B Album: "The Emancipation of Mimi" - Mariah Carey

Best Rap Solo Performance: "Gold Digger" - Kanye West

Best Rap Performance by Duo/Group: "Don't Phunk With My Heart" - Black Eyed Peas

Best Rap Song: "Diamonds From Sierra Leone" - Kanye West

Best Rap Album: Late Registration - Kanye West

Best Traditional Blues Album: 80 - B.B. King & Friends

Best Soundtrack: Ray

Best Soundtrack/Score: Ray

Metallica Plans A Great Escape

Metallica announced this week that they will be putting together an impromptu tour this summer that should include appearances at the Download Festivals in Donnington Park, England and Dublin, Ireland. Originally planning to spend 2006 writing and recording new music, Metallica has decided to hit the European Festival circuit as part of their "Escape From The Studio 06." Appearances in Germany and Holland were also announced.

In addition to the five dates already confirmed, the band implies that more shows will be added. "We're making this up as we go along," they confess. "We wanna keep you as in the loop as possible, but this shit is literally happening as we are typing."

The mini-tour comes on the heels of Metallica's Sundance Film Festival performance at a private party celebrating the screening of the new Winona Ryder film, The Darwin Awards. The movie features an appearance by the band, having played "Sad But True" three times at a 2004 Salt Lake City performance so that the film crew could have enough footage.

Cream Receives Lifetime Achievement Award: Announces More Concerts

Last night in Los Angeles, the groundbreaking blues power trio Cream received the Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards. With Eric Clapton otherwise unavailable and Ginger Baker unable to make the trip from South Africa, bassist Jack Bruce accepted the honor on behalf of the legendary sixties group.

Cream commandeered headlines in 2005 with two sets of reunion shows at London's Royal Albert Hall and New York City's Madison Square Garden. Bruce announced yesterday that Cream will reunite again for a series of shows in select cities. "We will play more, but where and when I'm not at liberty to say," announced Bruce. When pressed, Bruce jokingly avoided providing further details, claiming he would "get chopped" if he said more.

Great White Manager Pleads Guilty

Daniel Biechele, Great White's former manager, plead guilty on Tuesday to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter for his role in the February 20, 2003 fire at The Station in West Warwick, RI. In his allocution to the Court, Biechele admitted he ignited the fireworks that started the fatal fire without the requisite permits. Sparks from the explosions ignited flammable soundproofing foam that coated the walls causing flames to spread throughout the entire building.

Biechele further claimed he received permission for the pyrotechnic display from the club's owners, Jeffrey and Michael Derderian. The Derderians, who have plead not guilty to criminal charges, deny being aware that Great White would use any pyrotechnics much less consenting to their use. Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch has not ruled out calling Biechele to testify against the Derderians at their trial.

Under the terms of the plea bargain, Biechele will serve no more than ten years in prison. Families of the deceased have expressed disapproval for the terms of Biechele's deal, feeling that a maximum of 10 years for 100 deaths to be an insufficient penalty. Biechele will be sentenced on May 8.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cat Power Cancels Tour

Citing health concerns, Matador Records announced the cancellation of Cat Power's winter tour. "Out of respect for [Cat's] privacy, we can't give more detailed information, but we hope and assume that you'll respect her privacy during this time as well."

Power, a notoriously stage-shy performer, was hitting the road in support of The Greatest, her well received recently released album. The 11 city tour with the Memphis Rhythm Band would have criss-crossed the United States before concluding in Austin, TX at the SXSW Music Festival and a solo performance at Stubbs BBQ.

Dylan Readies New Music In Poughkeepsie

Poughkeepsie, New York, one of the most unlikely cities to attract the rock and roll set, may be turning into a hot spot for classic rockers. Over the past week, mercurial singer Bob Dylan has taken residence at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House, writing and rehearsing music in preparation for recording his latest album. Executive Director Chris Silva found Dylan and his band to be undemanding guests and hopes to get them to return to Poughkeepsie and grace the Opera House with a concert.

Built in 1869 as the Collingwood Opera House, the venue has acted as a gathering place, performance hall and movie house. Saved from demolition in 1976, luminaries such as Mark Twain, Frank Sinatra, Martha Graham and John Philip Sousa have taken to the Bardavon Stage. In the present day, the Bardavon screens films, hosts recitals and welcomes various musicians to add to the arena's prestige.

While a possible "Dylan plays Poughkeepsie" concert has yet to be written in stone, Lou Reed will grace the town with his presence on February 11. Reed's sold-out performance will be the first of two American warm-up shows the cantankerous rocker will play before heading to Italy on his winter tour.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Michael Stipe records song for Katrina Relief

REM frontman Michael Stipe has put together a six song EP to benefit Mercy Corps and their work along the Gulf Coast helping Hurricane Katrina victims.

Stipe enlisted Coldplay's Chris Martin to appear on the song "In the Sun" and the rest of the EP consists of 5 different versions and mixes of the song, including a live recording of Stipe and the entire Coldplay band at Austin City Limits.

Former Smashing Pumpkin James Iha recorded the primary track and Fountain of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger plays piano.

Aberdeen City

Aberdeen City is a Boston based band to watch in 2006. Alternative Press describes their sound by asking you to "imagine what it would sound like if the Strokes and Interpol had a lovechild" - certainly an interesting pedidgree.

According to their bio, after the band randomly met they:

rented a small house with a basement in Boston's Russian neighborhood. Creativity ran high as they explored their newfound focus on the group; a pleasant change from the lofty expectations on the individual that characterized their childhoods. The band's songwriting was informed by their propensity for experimenting as well as their love of pop music. They found that swirling guitars, driving beats and moody vocals could be quite memorable if used in just the right combination. Comparisons were made from U2 and Echo and the Bunnymen to Sonic Youth and Radiohead. Bradley's vocals took cues equally from crooners like Scott Walker and Neil Hannon and rock legends like David Bowie and Bono.

That's pretty high praise - even if it comes from their own site!

The band's debut LP, The Freezing Atlantic, was recorded at the beginning of 2005 in a converted ranch house in the Catskills. The album was released in the fall of 2005 on Dovecote Records.

Aberdeen City is currently on tour and will play this year's SXSW festival.

Green Apple Music Festival Comes To New York

In conjunction with the celebration of Earth Day, Relix Magazine and Peter Shapiro will produce the Green Apple Music Festival, a four day event to take place April 20-23 in New York City. The festival will commence April 20 with the 6th annual Jammy Awards at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. While the nominees and performers have yet to be revealed, Relix has announced that Frank Zappa will posthumously receive the annual Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Green Apple Music Festival will ambitiously spread throughout Manhattan, with plans to put on 50 shows at 20 different venues ranging in size from midtown's exalted Carnegie Hall to TriBeCa's cozy Knitting Factory. To date, Little Feat's April 22 show at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill is the only show confirmed as part of the April festival.

Smashing Pumpkins Reunite (Well, Sort Of)

All winter, rumors of a Smashing Pumpkins reunion filling the headlining spots of one or more of this summer's music festivals refused to disappear from the musical gossip wire. With the lineups announced, the only place to catch the Pumpkins this summer will be on a rerun of the "Hullabalooza" episode of The Simpsons.

All is not for naught though, as Billy Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin are reportedly set to enter the studio to record a new Smashing Pumpkins album. With James Iha and D'Arcy Wretzky not scheduled to participate in the sessions, let the debate begin as to whether the result will truly be a "Smashing Pumpkins" album.

The Who To Tour in 2006

In addressing rumors related to The Who's 2006 activities, Pete Townshend confirmed on his blog that not only will The Who tour in 2006 but they will also release an album of newly recorded material. In quashing rumors that the album and tour had been scrapped, Townshend announced The Who's June and July participation in unnamed "European Festivals" and an American tour to take place in the fall. The new album will be the first since 1982's It's Hard and the tour will be their first since 2004.

The announcement of the Festival performances marks The Who's first non-benefit, general admission performances since the 1979 tragedy in Cincinnati, Ohio, where eleven fans were trampled to death in the onrush to enter the arena. Out of respect, The Who have made an effort to avoid "festival" seating at their shows.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Rolling Stones Superbowl lyric malfunction

After all these years the Stones are still rock and roll enough to get censored. No, there wasn't a true "malfunction" in the Janet Jackson sense, but these buzzwords have a way of catching on and when buzzwords catch on "google hits" usually follow.

Unlike the Stones infamous Ed Sullivan appearance when they changed their lyrics to suit the suits, Mick stuck to his guns and sang the lyrics as writte for "Rough Justice" and "Satisfaction" which included what some deemed to be sexually explicit references. Rather than face the wrath of America's morality watchdogs and the FCC, the NFL and ABC had their own censors "silence" certain lyrics.

For example in the opening lines of Rough Justice, Mick bellows:

One time you were my baby chicken
Now you've grown into a fox
Once upon a time I was your little rooster
But am I just one of your cocks

It's Mick's second reference to rooster that got the axe. Interestingly though, Mick's allusion to oral sex nearly immediately following that line was heard loud and clear.

So put your lips to my hips, baby
And tell me what's on your mind

In the post-Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction era, I won't be surprised if someone fires up the old complaint letter duplicator machine and let's some good old fashioned "outrage" rip toward the FCC.

Big Head Todd & The Monsters at Irving Plaza

By: David Schultz

Over the course of his career, "Big Head" Todd Park Mohr has assumed the role of a freedom fighter, resigned superman, blues conquistador and, most endearingly, a broken hearted savior. On their 2006 winter tour, Big Head Todd & The Monsters are taking the opportunity to revel in the enduring quality of their music, reviving treasured but infrequently played songs from their catalogue while unfailingly offering reenergized versions of songs that have been live staples for close to two decades.

While ably backed by long-time Monsters, bassist Rob Squires and drummer Brian Nevin, Todd Park Mohr remains the attraction. Whether offering naked emotion on "Tomorrow Never Comes" and "Please Don’t Tell Her," bruised soul on "Julianna" and "Resignation Superman," swampy blues takes on "Dirty Juice" and "Love Transmission" or just stepping back to let the guitar solos fly during "Conquistador" and "Circle," Mohr's versatility shows why his name deserves top billing on the marquee. This past Friday, an expanded version of the Monsters accompanied Mohr at their annual appearance at New York City's Irving Plaza. In addition to the usual Monsters, keyboardist Jeremy Lawton and singer Hazel Miller joined the Colorado trio, flushing out the group's soulful, bluesy sound. A long-time collaborator with BHT, Miller's stage presence rivals Mohr's, especially when she emerges from her back-up role to take over BHT chestnuts "It’s Alright" and "Tower" with a voice and musical acumen American Idol contestants would kill for. A strong counterpoint to Mohr's soulful, gravelly voice, Miller punctuated the more contemplative songs and brought a Koko Taylor bombast to funkier, bluesy numbers like "Sister Sweetly." Lawton's efforts on the Hammond organ added a different layer, bringing depth to some of BHT's well-traveled songs like "Broken Hearted Savior."

Despite the absence of a new album to promote, BHT didn't confine the show to greatest hits and deep album cuts. Utilizing their web site as more than just an informational tool, the band has been releasing new music through "Toddcasts" since the end of 2005. Subverting the traditional CD release formula, BHT has considerably shortened the process between recording new songs and getting them to their fans. Consequently, Friday night's performances of "Under A Silvery Moon" and "Cashbox" were not met with the relative unfamiliarity greeting most unreleased tracks.

Mohr and the Monsters covered material from all phases of their career, going back as far as Another Mayberry's "Flander's Field" which Mohr proudly informed the crowd was "the first song on our first album." With the exception of "Dinner With Ivan" and the requisite version of "Bittersweet," the 2 hour set contained little from the underrated Midnight Radio. Otherwise, the show touched evenly on BHT's seven studio albums, offering familiar renditions of their concert standards with the exception of a revelatory Allman Brothers "Midnight Rider"-esque arrangement of "Turn The Light Out." The only misstep of the evening disappointingly came during the most anticipated moment of any BHT show, the guitar solo that caps off their biggest hit "Bittersweet." Instead of taking a moment before launching in to the signature guitar solo, the band essentially brings the song to a halt. While it would be cruel to demand the Monsters slavishly reproduce "Bittersweet" in an identical fashion for years on end, the interminable pause, leading you to believe the song has concluded, doesn't build anticipation as much as it kills momentum.

Big Head Todd's winter tour will continue through the middle of March, concluding at Atlanta's Fox Theater on March 11. The band will not rest though. Picking up on one of the newer trends in music, the Big Head Todd & The Monsters Big Caribbean Cruise will leave St. Maarten on March 18th, taking a small group of devoted fans for a weeklong tour of music and sun.

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Grace Potter Rocking The Gear circa 2006!