Sunday, July 31, 2005


I'm going to Jamaica for a week, so I won't be posting anything. However, I've asked someone from the Advancement Foundation to guest post, so hopefully he will be able to make it. In any case, I'll be back in full force after the sorely needed vacation. (Not from the blog, of course.)

Until next week!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Tom Verlaine

Someone sent this to me:

"Having recently signed with Thrill Jockey, Television principal Tom Verlaine is at work on two new albums. One set is instrumental, while the other is being referred to as a 'vocal' album. Verlaine has yet to choose which one will be issued first, but the winning candidate is being eyed for a March release."

I think the info came from In any event, it's something to look forward to.

Slow Morning in the Country

Not much happening out there. All the Siouxsie and the Banshees records have been digitally remastered and will be re-released. I can't get too excited abou that. John Lennon stuff got auctioned off. Snore. A bunch of indy labels have gotten together to try to get more airplay, and they are excited about Eliot Spitzer's payola crusade. Ho-hum. In more personal news, every time I see something about Bow Wow, I think it's about Bow Wow Wow. It's a terrible disappointment every time. I think I'm going to go wild in the country but I get stuck in Shad Moss.

Let's hope for some juicy Advanced news later in the day.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Korn, Korn Baby

Here's something ridiculous from

In a bizarre announcement this week, Korn frontman Jonathan Davis has revealed Otep guitarist Rob Patterson will fill in for departed bandmember Brian 'Head' Welch, but not be joining the band on stage. Welch quit the metal act in February to dedicate his life to Christianity.

In a statement on his official site, Davis said the band were not ready to share the stage with an unfamiliar musician, despite Welch departing over six months ago, but did not want to use tape samples: "So yes we hired Rob Patterson to play guitar for the European dates but he will not be on stage we dont want to use samples or tape cause that would suck we are not ready to have a new guy on stage with us.

"This is for the first Europe run only we have some new exciting ideas on how we are gonna play live in the future and I am sure it will blow your mind," he added. "Mixing is going great 13 songs done and they sound f*cking amazing."

Patterson has previously toured with Vanilla Ice.
How much indignity can one guy suffer? By the way, Britt, the cofounder of the Advanced Theory, thinks Vanilla Ice's music was unfairly criticized and that people like Eminem should be thanking him for helping to break the color barrier. I think he has a point.

Roger Waters: I Just Want to Play the Blues

There's a pretty funny interview with Rogers Waters at He talks about how much he loves playing the blues and how much fun he had playing at Live 8, but he says there won't be a reunion tour, even though there may be a $150 million in it for the band. Just to make sure there won't be a reunion, he badmouths David Gilmour and calls Pink Floyd a "brand," and a mucked up one at that. Those dogs of war just want capitulate, will they?

Paul McCartney and Nigel Godrich

Paul McCartney talked to about his new album. Here's some of the article:

PAUL McCARTNEY found working with RADIOHEAD producer NIGEL GODRICH reminded him of his glory years in THE BEATLES. Godrich, who, as well as working on the classic 'OK Computer', is famous for producing the likes of Beck and Travis, has produced McCartney's first studio album in four years, 'Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard', due out on September 12.

McCartney told NME.COM how during the album sessions that followed last year's triumphant Glastonbury headline slot, Godrich forced him to work harder and challenged him in a way similar to when he was working with his old bandmates John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

He said: "It was more like working with a band than a producer…It's pretty hard to live up to John and George. Working in a band like The Beatles we had four votes, so if Ringo didn't like something John and I brought in he got to vote it out. Which I suppose is very democratic. And in the same way Nigel had that same vote."

He continued: "I've produced a lot of records, been on a lot of Beatles records, Wings records, on my own, I've had a lot of hits. He said 'I just want to make a great album, and for the album to be you', Once we got in the studio, and we're playing head to head on a couple of songs that I thought as good and he didn't, I thought of immediately firing him. I just thought, 'I don't have to take this'. But the point is, 'This is why you're working with him'."
Sounds promising. I've got my fingers crossed.


Here's the latest on the CBGBs story from

Punk acts young, old and reunited have pledged their support for embattled New York club CBGB, which is fighting to renew a soon-to-expire lease and may be forced to close up shop entirely. Artists such as the Misfits, Thursday, Against Me, Liars, Dead Boys, Gorilla Biscuits and the Vandals will perform at a series of benefit concerts at the club in the coming weeks to raise funds for the effort.

The Save CBGB fund is earmarked for the club's legal fees as it lobbies its landlord, the Bowery Residents Committee (BRC), a not-for-profit organization that provides services and shelter to homeless and disabled New Yorkers. Additional artists set to appear include Living Colour, Flipper, Kid Dynamite, Bush Tetras, Chevelle, the Exit and World Inferno Friendship Society.

Beyond the shows, acts such as the Bangles, Elvis Costello and Sting have donated memorabilia for a fundraising auction, and the E Street Band's Steven Van Zandt has made efforts to personally negotiate with the BRC. Former Talking Heads vocalist David Byrne has also offered to assist in mediation.

"CBGBs supports the BRC's fight to help the homeless -- we just want our lease renewed to keep this historic venue in its original place," says CBGB owner Hilly Kristal.

The conflict stems from a series of rent hikes. According to CBGB spokesperson Scott Goodstein, on several occasions the BRC raised the rent on CBGB's home at 313 Bowery without properly informing the club, later bringing the issue to court in order to collect interest. The most recent dispute involves about $80,000 in back rent the BRC claims it is owed.

...[Kristal] adds that if the lease were renewed, "We'd be more than happy to turn all the money over from the 'Save CBGBs' account to [the BRC]." The homeless organization serves the community, he says, and artists would be happy to be given a chance to help those in need. "Musicians love doing that type of stuff," he says.
I don't see any real villains in this dispute, so I'll blame Nixon.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Payola: Victimless Crime?

Daniel Gross of Slate isn't all that excited about Eliot Spitzer's payola crusade:

Clearly, people working in regulated industries—especially radio, where broadcasters operate under federal licenses—should get nailed when they break the rules. And in radio, pay for product placement without full disclosure is clearly against the rules. But is it wrong? In the half-century since the original payola scandals, the music industry, the broader commercial culture, and consumer expectations have evolved to the point where the payola laws seem outmoded and backward-looking.

It's a truth universally acknowledged that manufacturers of everything from soap to computers pay the folks who control crucial distribution channels to display their wares prominently. It's legal, and no one minds. Viewers have accepted with equanimity the rise of (disclosureless) product placement in television shows and movies. In June, Randy Kennedy wrote an excellent brief dissertation in the New York Times on "co-op advertising," the process by which book publishers effectively pay Barnes & Noble for guaranteed placement at the front of stores. (No disclosure, no hint of illegality.) Why are Doritos bags stacked so nicely at the end of your supermarket aisle? Because Frito-Lay pays for them to be there. And the Web is one gigantic payola machine, from to the exploding realm of paid search.

... Payola is banned in radio because the airwaves are publicly licensed, which makes them subject to government regulation in a way supermarket shelves are not. After the 1950s payola scandals, government decided that radio stations should be as independent as possible from their suppliers (the music industry). The public should be able to count on radio stations to exercise independent critical judgment and to know that the music industry and the stations aren't conspiring to jam lousy bands down their throats while preventing artistically worthy groups from being heard.

...But what exactly do the laws that Spitzer is enforcing accomplish? ...With declining record sales, the rise of Internet and satellite radio, and the advent of iTunes, iPods, and podcasting, radio stations and record companies have become an object of pity more than fear. Indeed, read the correspondence, and you'll find people who aren't particularly good at business (or spelling) exchanging penny-ante favors with equally pathetic DJs in order to get them to play the lame songs they know the market doesn't really want to hear.

... Today, music groups can control distribution and reach global audiences instantly. It's possible—though certainly more difficult—to build a career in music without radio stations or Sony.

Entertainment payola is harmless because this is a consumer market that functions reasonably well. Books and movies backed by huge, ubiquitous promotional budgets won't gain market share and displace competitors if they suck. The Island may have launched in 3,000 theaters, but it won't be filling them for long. We don't need laws to prevent the excessive marketing of The Island. Similarly, we don't need laws to stop labels from paying to put bands on the radio. If no one likes the music, it won't last, and the stations themselves will suffer. As Mel Karmazin, the former head of Infinity Broadcasting and CBS used to note, every radio comes equipped with an on/off switch.
His whole argument strikes me as off-base. It's irrelevant that the rules that Spitzer is enforcing don't affect the listening public's outside of radio because they deal only with radio. And even though radio is in decline, it is still extremely powerful, and the airwaves are still owned by the public. If the record companies didn't think it was worth paying for pay, why would they do it? And if even payola doesn't help all that much, he concedes that the companies should be punished if they break the law, so why should he care that they way they break the law isn't very successful? There is only so much space on the airwaves, so every time a payola song is played, a non-payola song is crowded out. Finally, why does he think radios are falling out of favor? Because the public has been forced to listen to music it doesn't want. Sure they can listen to iPods and satellite radio, but should you have to pay $400 to listen to music you should be able to hear for free?

XM and Napster

I haven't had any satellite-radio updates in a while, and since there's not much happening anywhere else, here's something from Yahoo!:

XM Satellite Radio and digital music provider Napster Inc. on Wednesday said they would launch a service that lets XM subscribers buy music they hear on XM radio, sending Napster shares up 7 percent. The agreement comes one day after XM, which leads the nascent pay-radio market over rival Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., said Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. would later this year sell two miniature music players that also receive satellite radio stations.

The plan calls for the joint launch of "XM + Napster" in the fourth quarter of 2005 in conjunction with the availability of new XM/MP3 digital music players that let users bookmark songs they hear on the radio for future purchases online. After the MP3 player is connected to a personal computer, the new service will match the marked XM titles with songs in Napster's catalog so that they can be purchased.

"We believe this partnership provides Napster with a new avenue for both increased a la carte (digital music) track purchase and subscriber growth," Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said in a note to clients.
This may be true, but does someone who talks about "a la carte track purchases" really know his customer? I don't know what Mr. Munster has to do with either company, but someone needs to work on their terminology. One of the reasons Apple is so successful is that their products get cool names, or at least ones that don't call to mind the school cafeteria. Apple also does a good job of appearing to love music, whereas the people who run Napster give the impression that they would be just as happy selling ping-pong paddles if they could make money. Of course, both companies care about profits, but Apple at least makes an effort to pretend that they have a little bit of soul. And Napster has the added burden of having changed from an awesome free service to a suckier one you have to pay for.

The Floppy Project: Making Flippy Floppy

There's a story at slashdot about, well, here's what they say:

"This must be the ultimate in retro-cool hardware hacking. The floppy drive is obsolete, but the turntable is not, and that got one guy to thinking. He provides a full tutorial on how to turn that worthless old floppy drive into a most desirable piece of audio gear."

Sadly, the site it links to is overloaded, but they're working on it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Rolling Stones Fascinated With Origins of Universe, Double Entendres

According to Yahoo!, the Rolling Stones have an Advanced reason for giving their new album an Advanced name: "Mick Jagger is celebrating his 62nd birthday Tuesday with "A Bigger Bang." The Rolling Stones announced that their upcoming tour and album will bear the alliterative title, which they came up with last year, 'reflecting their fascination with the scientific theory about the origin of the universe,' according to a statement." Intelligent design, indeed.

Big Star, Aisle 9

Big Star news from

Having thrown its hat into the ring as a reunited touring band in recent years, Big Star has set a Sept. 27 release for its first new studio album since 1978's "Third/Sister Lovers." The Rykodisc set "In Space" was recorded at Memphis' Ardent Studios, the site of the original Big Star recordings, with the latter-day lineup of Alex Chilton and founding drummer Jody Stephens alongside Posies principals Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer.

"We had no expectations," Auer tells of the recording sessions, "and I think we came up with a pretty credible record. It's impossible, of course, to compete with the original Big Star, but it's pretty crazy that a band that broke up 30 years ago made a new record."

Highlights include the ballad "Lady Sweet," replete with Big Star's signature harmony vocals and expert sense of melody, plus prototypical loose rockers like "February's Quiet" and "Best Chance We've Ever Had."

The original Big Star released three albums -- 1972's "No. 1 Record," 1974's "Radio City" and "Third/Sister Lovers," which was released after the band's breakup and founding member Chris Bell's tragic death in a car accident.

But the group's influence stretched far, inspiring, among others, a young Auer & Stringfellow, who would later prove catalysts in the band's rejuvenation when called upon to join Stephens and Chilton for a 1993 reunion concert. Since then, the group has been an on-and-off proposition, touring sporadically.

..."If there's anything strange about it, it's that we've been in the band longer than the original lineup was together," he notes. "Ken and I consider ourselves hired guns, but Alex and Jody clearly think of us as equal members at this point."

Still, Auer cautions fans to approach this new album on its own terms and not stacking it up against the Big Star legend. "You can't compete with a myth," he says. "I hope people don't expect it to be like it was, but there's enough of what made Big Star 'Big Star' on this record."
Big Star is a band I should know more about, but I never got into them in high school and college when I was supposed to. The major reason for that is that I always got them mixed up with a grocery store. Anyway, they are much to humble to be Advanced, but I hope they made a good record.

Danzig: Back in the Blackest of the Black

According to, Danzing is gearing up for the second "Blackest of the Black" tour:

Glen Danzig (tickets | bio), frontman of dark-metal outfit Danzig, has tapped Chimair, Behemoth, Himsa, Mortiis and The Agony Scene to join him on the sophomore edition of his "Blacket on Black" traveling festival.

..."'The Blackest of the Black' tour is for extreme bands that sell out venues across the country, that sell records, but don't get radio play or get on MTV," Danzig said in a statement. "It's anti the corporate crap nu-rap-metal that gets shoved down fans' throats at other concerts."

...During the upcoming tour, Danzig's performances will feature former Misfits guitarist Doyle Von Frankenstein [that's "Fronk-en-steen!" -jh] for a special 30-minute set of Misfits classics, according to a press release.

"Black Aria II," Danzig's 10th album, is expected to surface later this year. The set is the follow-up to 1993's "Black Aria," which reached the No. 1 position on Billboard's Classical chart. In addition to his musical pursuits, Glenn Danzig is in the process of shooting a film adaptation of "Gerouge," one of the comic book titles distributed by his Veritok publishing company. Danzig wrote the screenplay and is directing the flick, for which no release date has been set.
I wonder when he had time to go to film school? Pretty impressive.

Megadeth Megasues Ex-Megabassist

Another fun lawsuit, from Yahoo!:

The lead singer of Megadeth sued the band's former bass player for allegedly using the name of the group without permission in an advertisement for musical equipment. The suit filed Monday in Superior Court by David Mustaine claims he and David Ellefson entered into a settlement agreement in February that restricts the guitarist's use of the band name.

"Ellefson shall not use, or authorize anyone else to use, the work or mark 'Megadeth" to advertise, market or promote any person, band, company, organization, product or services without Megadeth's prior express written permission," according to the lawsuit. Mustaine said an ad in this month's issue of "Bass Player" features Ellefson holding a pedal tuner for bass guitars and includes the names of several bands he is involved with — including Megadeth. Mustaine is seeking unspecified compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages.
For some reason, the accompanying photo is of "an Indonesian agricultural ministry official giv[ing] a lethal injection to a chicken before burning it." Seems appropriate somehow.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Eliot Spitzer's Payola Settlement

Here's a payola update from Yahoo!:

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is expected to announce today an international "payola" settlement with a major record company to limit the industry's ability to influence what recordings are played on the radio. The settlement was expected to be announced before noon EDT, according to a scheduling announcement. Media reports worldwide began reporting since Saturday that SONY BMG Music is expected to settle with Spitzer, while three other companies remain under investigation.

In October, Spitzer had questioned the London-based EMI Group PLC record label and other companies in the music and broadcast industries about the promotion of their recordings on radio stations. EMI had confirmed the inquiry. The Los Angeles Times on Saturday quoted unidentified sources saying SONY BMG could pay as much as $10 million to settle the case.

...The industry uses independent promoters or "indies." They are paid by record companies to persuade radio stations to play the companies' recordings. The record companies can't offer financial incentives under a 1960 federal law that made it a crime punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to a year in prison to offer money or other inducements to give records airplay. The practice was called "payola," a contraction of "pay" and "Victrola" record players.
Go get 'em Eliot.

Huey Lewis on Broadway

According to Yahoo!, Huey Lewis is going to be playing the "rapscallion lawyer" Billy Finn in "Chicago." It is my duty to tell you this.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

John Densmore: Doors Stopper

Here's a little something about the Doors of the 21st Century from Yahoo!:

The former drummer for The Doors won a permanent injunction on Friday preventing his bandmates from using the rock group's name while touring with a revamped version of the legendary 1960s act. The Los Angeles Superior Court order also requires keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger, who have been touring as The Doors of the 21st Century, to turn over all the profits earned by the new combo to the original Doors partnership.

The decision represents a major victory for Doors drummer John Densmore, who told Reuters he was concerned that the band's legacy was being tarnished by its reincarnation as an oldies act. Manzarek and Krieger, along with British singer Ian Astbury subbing for the late Jim Morrison, are touring Canada as headliners of the "Strange Days" festival, which also features such bands as Steppenwolf, the Yardbirds and Vanilla Fudge.

"They're playing Doors songs and calling themselves the Doors of the 21st Century. I kinda think it's the 19th century, it's looking back," said Densmore, who plays original music with his own band Tribal Jazz. He teamed up with Morrison's estate -- represented by the parents of both Morrison and Morrison's late wife, Pamela Courson -- to sue Krieger and Manzarek in early 2003. Under an agreement struck in 1971, the year Morrison died in Paris, all three surviving members as well as the Morrison estate must sign off on any use of the Doors name and logo.

"I'm very pleased that, in my opinion, the legacy is preserved," added Densmore. "I never intended for Ray and Robby to stop playing -- they're great musicians. I hope Doors fans keep going to see them -- it's just the name is owned by me and them and the estate of Jim Morrison, and they kinda ran off with stolen property."

Densmore estimated that Manzarek and Krieger have earned "millions and millions of dollars" on the road in recent years, more than the original band ever made.
I may be crazy, but I think Densmore actually cares more about the legacy than the money. I wonder what name Manzarek and Krieger will start using. My vote is the Snake Riders or the Best Westerns.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Robert Pollard: Suitcase Full of Blues

Here's the latest on Robert Pollard, the anti-My Bloody Valentine, from

Former Guided By Voices frontman Robert Pollard has revealed details of several upcoming projects, including a highly anticipated second volume of the "Suitcase" archival series and an accompanying vinyl "Briefcase" release with extra tracks.

First up on Sept. 27 will be the EP "Music for 'Bubble'" via Pollard's Fading Captain label. According to the artist's official Web site, Pollard was approached by director Steven Soderbergh to record music for his upcoming film "Bubble," which arrives this fall in U.S. theaters. The EP sports four full-band tracks and two instrumentals.

Due Oct. 31, the material on the four-disc, 100-track "Guided By Voices: Suitcase II -- American Superdream Wow" ranges from the late '70s through this spring, and, as on the first volume, credits each song to a different band depending on the musicians involved.

...The vinyl-only "Briefcase 2 -- The Return of Milko Waif" includes 16 tracks from "Suitcase 2" such as "I Am Decided," "Mannequin's Complaint," "Perch Warble," "You're Not the Queen Anymore" and "Lonely Town." The collection also boasts two tracks not found on the box set: "Lion W/Thorn in Paw" and "Superwhore," the latter recorded with Steve Albini.
Thank goodness, because these last couple of hours without a new GBV release were terribly traumatic.

Paul McCartney: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Broadband

According to this crazy PR site, Paul McCartney's new single will debut online:

Marking the end of a nearly four-year hiatus since his last studio recording, Paul McCartney is preparing for the September 13 release of Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard - and only AOL(R) Music has the first single, "Fine Line." The song will debut as part of AOL Music's First Listen program on Tuesday, July 26. Fans can listen to "Fine Line" on the Web at beginning Tuesday at 12:01 AM EST. It will be available exclusively at AOL Music for 24 hours before anywhere else.

Following 2001's platinum-selling Driving Rain, Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard, which was produced by Nigel Godrich (who has produced for Radiohead and Beck), is McCartney's 20th studio recording since parting with The Beatles. The album is a return to basics for the renowned musician, successfully fusing his incomparable song writing talents with his unparalleled musicianship. Featuring sonically robust songs, Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard is a melange of up-tempo piano driven classics and introspective darker tracks resulting in a strikingly intricate and meaningful album. The album's release will coincide with the September 16 launch of McCartney's new 37-city US tour.
Wow, they really had the Roget's out for this one. And good for them, I say. It's a thankless job writing press releases, but at least whoever wrote this had Paul McCartney as his subject rather than Antigone Rising, for instance. The writer would still be using the same adjectives, but he or she would be throwing up while writing them.

In other online McCartney news, his performance with U2 is the fastest-selling online song ever. And it's in the Guiness Book of World Record for being the fastest-ever available single because it was on iTunes 45 minutes after it was performed. Thank goodness he has finally achieved something meaningful.

Neil Young: No Vault Insurance

Here's some interesting Neil Young news from

Neil Young has christened his new studio album "Prairie Wind," which will be released as a CD/DVD package Sept. 20 via Reprise. "The DVD shows us recording the whole record," the artist writes on his Web site. "Every note you hear, you see!" The set is expected to feature contributions from keyboardist Spooner Oldham, pedal steel guitarist Ben Keith and drummer Carl Himmel.

As first reported here, Young will also be the subject of a concert film to be shot during several performances next month at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. The project will be directed by Jonathan Demme ("Stop Making Sense," "The Silence of the Lambs").

...Finally, the artist's site says his next major project will be the release of "Archives Vol. 1" on a yet-to-be-announced date. Young has been conceptualizing the release of material from his extensive vaults for decades, and the project has frequently come and gone from release schedules over the years.
I wonder if he has physical vaults. I'll bet he does.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Don Letts' "Punk: Attitude" and Variations of Irritants

Here's more punk film stuff, this from The Age:

Want to talk about punk? Filmmaker Don Letts is your man. He was there in London in the 1970s, not just watching the counter-culture unfold, but living it, feeding it. Back then, the dreadlocked Letts was an influential DJ at London's famous Roxy club, spinning hardcore dub reggae for the punks because it was all he had.

"Turns out that the punks loved it," laughs Letts. "It was very anti-establishment, they loved the emphasis of the bass lines. They didn't mind the weed, either." A close friend of the Clash (he made the celebrated documentary on them, Westway to the World, and a member of post-Clash band Big Audio Dynamite with guitarist Mick Jones), Letts is also widely credited with the dubby reggae that infiltrated the Clash's material. [Bastard! -JH]

...Letts has dedicated his latest film, Punk: Attitude, to Strummer. "I felt like he was looking over my shoulder the whole time," he says.

..."It came to me that this over-emphasis of the late '70s incarnation of punk sort of trivialises the bigger idea, and that is that punk didn't begin and end in the '70s," he says. "It's part of an ongoing dynamic that is counter-culture."

..."It wasn't a nostalgic look back," he says. "As far as I'm concerned, punk isn't something to look back on, it's something to look forward to." So Letts' film also features artists active in the post-'70s punk boom that he saw as championing counter-culture: Nirvana, Sonic Youth, even the emergence of hip-hop - that was a "punk-rock moment", he says.

There were people Letts wanted to interview who were unavailable, such as Patti Smith, who was on the road, and Iggy Pop, who was shooting a BBC documentary. "And Lou Reed was just Lou Reed - I'll leave it at that," he says crisply.
As I've written before, part of being Advanced is being an irritant. Lou Reed (surprise) is probably the best at this. But to my knowledge, he never crosses the line to being offensive or petulant, and I think that staying on the right side of that line is the difference between the Overt Irritant (Oasis, for example) and the Advanced Irritant. (I should add that Britt Bergman, the other founder of the Advanced Theory coined the phrase "Advanced Irritant.")

"A Great Day in L.A."

Here's something from Yahoo!:

Punk rock photographer Gary Leonard plans to shoot a musical class picture -- of a class that was assigned to detention.

Leonard, who vigorously documented the Los Angeles punk scene of the late '70s and early '80s, wants to assemble "a gathering of the tribes" -- vets of the original punk crew -- at Barnsdall Art Park in Hollywood for a group photo during the inaugural ArthurFest music gathering on Sept. 4.

He's calling the shoot "A Great Day in L.A.," in homage to lensman Art Kane's "A Great Day in Harlem," a celebrated 1958 photo that captured nearly 60 jazz greats en masse on a Harlem street. (Jean Bach's 1995 film about the picture received a best documentary Oscar nomination.) Leonard says he also was inspired by a group shot of Liverpool's rock musicians in a mid-'60s Merseyside pose. He finds the L.A. punks no less important.

"This is an L.A. scene that went by relatively unknown by the mainstream," Leonard says. "There was something important that happened, and it should be recognized."
Sounds like a good idea. Of course, old jazz guys usually look just a tad better than old punk guys, even though they lived just as hard. That's why hats are better than tats.

Zip and Zilch

Not much happening this morning. Judas Priest is hitting the road, though. I saw them playing an acoustic set on VH1 classic I think. It wasn't bad, but I prefer them screaming for vengeance. And that's all there is to say this morning. I'll keep my eye out for more Advancement news.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Lola Cashman: No Shirts, No Shoes, No Dice

According to the BBC, Lola Cashman will have to pay U2's legal costs:

Former U2 stylist Lola Cashman has been ordered to pay the costs of the band's successful legal battle against her over their memorabilia. The Irish band took Ms Cashman to court to win back items including Bono's Stetson hat, which they said she stole. She contested the case in Dublin Circuit Court, saying they were given as gifts, but a judge ordered her to return them to the band.

It is believed the legal bill could run into tens of thousands of euros. Ms Cashman was given seven days to return the items, which included earrings and a pair of trousers, within seven days of losing the case on 5 July. During the trial Bono, real name Paul Hewson, told the court he would not have given away the items, and that they had been taken without permission. The band brought the case after discovering Ms Cashman was attempting to sell them at auction.
So let this be a lesson to you: Don't mess with U2. Or, at least, don't steal their stuff and try to sell it in a public auction after writing an unauthorized book about working with them.

Oh! Roy Orbison Stamp

According to, there is a petition floating around to give Roy Orbison a stamp. Bono, of course, was one of the early signers. You can sign the petition here. Mercy.

Tao Jones? Try Willie Nelson

USA Today has a story about an upcoming Willie Nelson book but I can't find it. Someone sent me a clip though: "Willie Nelson will share his wisdom to a broader audience next May with The Tao of Willie from Gotham Books. Written with Turk Pipken, the book promises to reveal the spiritual and practical lessons Nelson has gleaned from decades of hard knocks and right living." Sounds good to me.

"Let It Be" DVD

According to, "Let It Be" (the documentary) will finally be realeased in September. Well, it's about time. I've been waiting to see Paul belittle George in crystal-clear sound for ages.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Orson Welles Quote (Updated)

I just read something that Orson Welles said that I think belongs here somehow or another:

"It's only in your twenties and in your seventies and eighties that you do the greatest work. The enemy of society is the middle class, and the enemy of life is middle age. Youth and old age are great times—and we must treasure old age and give genius the capacity to function in old age—and not send them away…."

Update: I should add that I don't believe what he says about the middle class. I think it is almost always wrong to make sweeping generalizations about huge numbers of people that you've never met. It's also Overt to look down on the middle class.

HitClick or MissClick?

Here's something new:

HitClick.Net officially opened its doors to the general listening public today, signaling the beginning of what its owners believe will be a brand new way to find new independent music on the Internet. The HitClick Independent Music Network is one of the first of its kind, not only offering independent MP3 reviews, featured unknown artist coverage, an independent music community and news, but also unveiling its new "band finder"; a special tool designed to help everyday lovers of independent music quickly find new and unknown bands and artists worldwide.

"The difference is you can actually search from scratch, from nothing," says HitClick owner and content editor Avallon Julian DeBrill. "There are tons of places to search for all kinds of stuff, but the difference is they all assume you know what you’re looking for to begin with. When you’re looking for a new band, or a new artist, you’re thinking in abstract terms — you’re looking for something that feels like this, sounds like that, sung by a him or her, mixed with that, and so on. What we created is something that works just like that. You can actually get as specific as you want not even knowing what you want in the first place. And that’s what I think it is we all want."

..."The idea is that a fan can sort of string together all sorts of terms with virtually no limit to how specific they can get," says Courtney O., one of HitClick’s staff music reviewers, "you can find yourself in a mood for a ‘Romantic moody tribal electronic female driven post rock solo artist from queens new york that sounds like Fru Fru and nine inch nails’ and use the tool to pin it down. The funny thing is, with all the new bands we’ve been getting in the Finder, you’ll probably find it."

A simple search at HitClick using the finder confirms Courtney’s theory — nearly 213 bands match these terms, including New York’s Ailanthus, described as "Dark industrial infused rock with femme fetale vocals". "Bands and artists with more matches come up first. Less specific ‘single term’ matches show up near the end of the list, just in case you feel like paging through them all."
Is it wonderful new tool that will revolutionize the industry? Or will it be yet another fly-by-night site that will be yanked after the rich guy who thought it was a good idea realizes it won't make him any money? See for yourself here.

Intonation Music Festival

There is a review of the Intonation Music Festival in the New York Times. Here's some of it:

Intonation was curated by the editors of Pitchfork Media, a site (online at, and updated daily) run by and for indie-rock obsessives. It remains a shoestring operation, with a full-time staff of four, and the festival reflected that; a two-day pass cost $22, which is $2 more than Pitchfork pays some freelancers for album reviews. And yet those reviews - which include a grade between 0.0 and 10.0 - can be surprisingly influential.

...But let's not get too carried away with the idea of Pitchfork as a launching pad. The two stages at Union Park weren't filled with bands that seemed destined to blast into the stratosphere, or even the troposphere. Instead, the stages were filled with bands that are already about as popular as they will ever be. The weekend - full of people wandering around clutching vinyl records and silk-screened tote bags - felt a bit like a throwback to the mid-1990's, when fans and fanzines supported a community of musicians too weird for the mainstream.

...In the park as online, Pitchfork seemed to have trouble figuring out how to incorporate genres beyond indie-rock. Dance music and hip-hop still seem tangential to the Pitchfork mission, and you could see some of that awkwardness in the D.J. tent on Saturday, when the rapper Jean Grae (7.9) and the iconoclastic indie-country singer Will Oldham (8.4 for his "Superwolf" project) collaborated on a D.J. set; the crowd thinned noticeably around the time Mr. Oldham played "Whiskey Lullaby." Sunday's dance party was more successful: Diplo (7.5) spun a furious, thrilling mix of Brazilian hip-hop and dancefloor remixes, and he kept going until the speakers gave out.

By weekend's end, it was clear that Intonation had succeeded on its own terms. But it was hard not to think about what was missing, namely the swagger and ambition and hunger of musicians ready to take over the world, or at least the country. Many of these acts seemed happy to stay right where they were, making music for fans who accept them as they are. Any park where Deerhoof is a crowd favorite can't possibly be a bad place. Still, two days is a long time to spend there, let alone a whole career.

Or to make a long review short: 7.3.
The writer seems to have a slightly condescending attitude toward Pitchfork, but it's nice they got the write-up in the Times. I haven't paid much attention to the website because it deals mostly without Overt music, but I'm always pulling for the little guy.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Billy Gibbons: Advanced Blues Man

Here's something amazing from

In "Billy F Gibbons: Rock and Roll Gearhead," the ZZ Top guitarist lays out his love of music and cars. Along with revealing a collection of more than 600 guitars, book exposes the artist's garage full of custom hot rods, including the famed red Eliminator Coupe that has become forever linked with ZZ Top, thanks to photographer David Perry. Due in October from MBI Publishing's Motorbooks imprint, "Rock and Roll Gearhead" also finds Gibbons reflecting on more than four decades in music. Written with Tom Vickers, the guitarist tells tales of the road and his storied guitar collection.
I love that he feels the need to include his middle initial. Also, please click the link to see the Advanced picture of ZZ Top (scroll down).

Joey Santiago Scores "Weeds"

According to, Joey Santiago is doing the music for a new Showtime comedy called "Weeds." Here's the story:

Weeds is about a typical suburban family from Agrestic, California. The show stars Mary-Louise Parker as recently widowed Nancy Botwin, Elizabeth Perkins and Kevin Nealon. "This is a lot of fun and something I can continue to do when I'll embarrass my kids by being on stage," joked Santiago. "Scoring a TV series is a lot different than playing in a band, the pace and deadlines are completely different, but once you get into the groove, it's really great."
Santiago is rarely mentioned in the "greatest guitarists ever" conversation, but I think he belongs there. Now if only that conversation weren't so idiotic.

Rolling Stones Get Political

According to, the Rolling Stones' new album is coming out soon, and it might have a message for the folks in the White House:

"Expected to be released on September 5, it’s believed the band have recorded 18 tracks from which the final album will be selected. The album was recorded in France during late 2004 and spring 2005 with producer Don Was. Mixing took place in Los Angeles earlier this summer. Among the tracks being considered for the album is ’Neo-Con’, which is believed to be an attack on the politics of George Bush and the Republican administration."

I wonder what gives them that idea?

Smiths Musical: "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others"

The New York Times has the story:

Rock's conquest of the West End here, and of Broadway, has arrived largely in the form of unchallenging oldies: familiar songs that mimic the recorded hits and are attached to revue vignettes or a cobbled-together storyline. Queen, Abba and Billy Joel are among those whose songs have found that kind of afterlife, and a John Lennon musical on Broadway is now in previews.

The Smiths - a band from Manchester, England, whose singer and lyricist, Morrissey, taught a generation-wide cult how to mope with melodramatic self-consciousness - are getting an entirely different treatment in "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others," a music-theater piece based on Smiths songs; the band lasted from 1982 to 1987.

..."Some Girls" seeks the spirit of the Smiths' songs by transforming them. The arrangements are not for rock band, but for string quartet with electronics. Morrissey's heartsick legato croon is reassigned to four women and two men, who deliver anything from keening, primal unaccompanied wails to swing-era harmonies. The Smiths' lyrics were proudly defenseless and unguarded: "I know I'm unlovable/ You don't have to tell me." Yet the staging doesn't wrap them in obvious scenarios. The show is an allusive, surreal, ever-mutating fantasia on love and sex, family and control, violence and death.

..."What I wanted to make was a world that was recognizable but somehow changed, very 'Alice Through the Looking Glass,' " said Andrew Wale, the director. "You go through this mirror, and it's somehow different, although you recognize all the elements. What I also wanted to do was to try and get a group of performers who would treat this very strange, dislocated and adjusted world as their normality, so that we could sit there and then go, 'Well, maybe we'll look at our own world and realize the abnormalities in that a little bit more strongly.' "

....The team hopes to take the production to New York. Many English reviews for "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" have been mixed or hostile. The Independent praised the music but called the staging "bewildering and frequently toe-curling." But the production has one thing in common with more conventional pop musicals: it can draw on the band's fans. More than 90 percent of the ticket sales have been online, rather than the usual 50 percent, suggesting a rock audience, said the show's producer, Glynis Henderson. Obvious Smiths fans began showing up during previews at the end of June. "I had put all that to the back of my mind," Mr. Wale said. "But when I saw them, I realized: 'This is scary. What on earth will they think?' "
I don't have much to say about this. It seems pointless, but a lot of pointless things turn out great. I don't know how the Smiths feel about all this, but I hope they enthusiastically endorse the project.

Friday, July 15, 2005

LL Cool J: One for the Ladies

According to, LL Cool J is going to make lots of movies:

In a bid to attract black female moviegoers, Lions Gate Films has signed a multi-picture deal with LL Cool J, whose first project will be an urban version of "Fatal Attraction." The rapper/actor will play an everyman who gets into serious trouble when he engages in an extramarital affair.

"What we are looking to do with LL is to get high-quality material that will attract talent," says Michael Paseornek, president of production at Lions Gate. "We are not looking to develop gimmicks but make real movies. LL has a huge following and is very credible with women."
I think this is true about LL Cool J's credibilities with ladies. In fact, I've heard that they love him.

Tour de Devo

According to, Devo is hitting the road:

The fantastic plastic five, who haven't released a full album of new material since 1990's "Smooth Noodle Maps," is touring again, following up on their eccentric but successful 2004 tour, when they played venues ranging from the Los Angeles Coliseum (as part of a Nike running promotion) to Central Park in New York City.

...2005 will see Devo preaching their odd brand of mutant synth-pop at wide-ranging stops across the country, with several shows at various House of Blues clubs, including an upcoming date at Anaheim, CA's HOB location near Disneyland on Aug. 4.

The band currently has no plans to record or release new material in the near future, owing to frontman Mark Mothersbaugh's successful second career as a movie and television soundtrack composer (his credits include "Rushmore," "Rugrats" and "Dawson's Creek," among others.) "It's basically up to him to get the taste for collaboration again," said co-Devoid Gerald Casale in a recent interview.
I like that they played a show as part of a Nike running promotion. Also, it's pretty funny for them to be playing at House of Blues. I wonder if they'll play the Swiffer version of "Whip It" in concert. I hope so.

Pixies Headed for the Studio

According to the Pixies have a future together:

Reformed alt-rock legends PIXIES are planning to record their first album in 14 years. The band’s frontman Black Francis has confirmed the band, who got back together last year to huge acclaim, are preparing to make their first studio album since 1991’s ’Trompe Le Monde’. He told The Sun: “It's all hugs and kisses, I'm pleased to report.

"We have been discussing recording a new album lately. As happy as we are with the success of the reunion tour, we really want to make a record for the right reasons, whether it is successful commercially or not." He added: "We would be satisfied if it played like our other records, never chart-topping but always in print."
It's amazing what a well-received, highly lucrative reunion tour will do for a guy's attitude. Even though I know it's next to impossible, I'm praying for an Advanced record from them. By definition I can't predict what form of Advancement they would take (Advanced artists never do what is expected of them or the opposite of what is expected of them), but I'd be glad for anything.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

New York Dolls and Me

According to, the New York Dolls have a new record deal with Roadrunner. They are currently in the studio working on their first record since 1974. The lineup consists of original members David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain along with guitarist Steve Conte, bassist Sami Yaffa, drummer Brian Delaney and keyboardist Brian Koonin. In related news, I just paid my RoadRunner bill the other day. It was expensive.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Ska?

According to, Madness would have performed at Live 8, but they were already booked at a corporate gig:

The band entertained staff at software giant Microsoft on 2 July (05) - but frontman SUGGS defends their decision, insisting their actions helped keep philanthropic Microsoft boss BILL GATES rich so he could carry on helping those less fortunate.

But the singer is annoyed Gates snubbed their gig - to attend Live 8 himself. He says, "That f**ker went to f**king Live 8 and left us to it, he didn't even show up! He left us playing to 4,000 Microsoft androids! All shaking their head in time to the rocking beat!

"But by keeping his staff happy [how do you make an android happy? -JH] we're making him more money so he can give more money to charity, so that's our excuse for doing it."
I'm convinced.

Whole Lot of Nothing

It continues to be slow in the Advanced world. I always get a lot of Lou Reed updates from various sources, but most of them have to do with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He's not playing for them (though it might be an improvement), but Lou Pinella is the manager, and they've got a guy named Reed. Also in my updates, though, I often read about some singer I've never heard of who "sings like Lou Reed." I have never heard anyone capable of singing like Lou Reed in my life. And what does that mean exactly? He's had so many different singing styles over the years. If you listen to his voice in, say, "Stupid Man" and, oh, anything from "Berlin," it's like he's a totally different person. As I have written before, it's Advanced to completely alter your singing voice. The best example of this is Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" voice.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Boy is there ever nothing going on in the Advanced world today. There was more of the same news about Roger Waters opera, only with an extra sentence about how much Waters enjoyed playing with Pink Floyd again. No reuion, though. We shall see. It's not Advanced, but Rolling Stone decided it was worth their while to right about the upcoming covers project by Rick Springfield. He covers Mr. Mister (or is it Mister Mr.?), the Dream Academy, and John Lennon. Amazingly, the article saves the snark for bloggers. Hey, I just had an idea. There should be a "Jumped the Snark" website. I'm not sure what it would be about, but it would have to be about magazines. If anybody uses that, make sure I get credit and half the profits.

Marianne Faithfull: My Heart Will Go On

According to, Marianne Faithful's heart is just fine:

British rocker MARIANNE FAITHFULL is shocked by reports she recently suffered a heart attack - she insists she is in good health. American gossip website reported the 58-year-old singer pulled out of new movie THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY after being rushed to hospital with severe chest pains.

"These horrible rumours are completely untrue. I haven't had a heart attack, not even a slight one. It's upsetting that so many of my friends and family have been forced to worry unnecessarily about my health. I'm currently on tour in Europe and I want to reassure everyone coming to the shows that I'm OK."
So rest easy: The only croaking she'll be doing will be on stage.

Wal-Mart Hates Weed

One more thing about Willie Nelson's new reggae record, "Countryman," from eonline:

...the cover of Willie Nelson's new reggae album comes in two separate versions: regular and Wal-Mart. The cover art of Countryman, released Tuesday, features green marijuana leaves over a red and yellow background and looks similar to a large pack of rolling papers.

However, for those looking to snap up the CD at Wal-Mart's famously rolled back prices, the cover features a palm tree in place of the offending leaves, a change made by Universal Music Group Nashville out of deference to the retailing giant's strict guidelines with regards to lyrics and packaging.
And civilization lives to see another day.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Ric Ocasek: Nexterday and Beyond

According to (check out the Advanced picture of him), Ric Ocasek has more than just a new solo album, the Advancedly titled "Nexteday," in the works:

Self-produced and recorded in his own basement studio, "Nexterday" is quite possibly the most stripped-down and straight-ahead release of Ocasek's entire recording career. The 11 tracks did not differ much from their demo versions, despite appearances by such guests as Bad Brains bassist Darryl Jenifer and former Cars keyboardist Greg Hawkes.

...When asked about specific favorite tracks, Ocasek has difficulty picking just one. "I put them all on there because I liked them," he says. "I wrote about 30 songs and I picked those, so I like all the ones I put there. At least I did when I did them. It's funny -- I don't have favorite tracks on any record."

...The artist is also participating in an anticipated Cars DVD/documentary, tentatively titled "The Cars Unlocked." The project will feature career-spanning live footage and candid, behind-the-scenes clips. "The backstage stuff is stuff in hotel rooms and dressing rooms," Ocasek says. "I think it will be a nice insight into what the Cars were really like. There's interviews, video outtakes, kind of just hamming it up, and some nice club things that probably people wouldn't have gotten to see, from way back. I think it's pretty telling. I think it's the most comprehensive thing that's ever been put out on the Cars."
I would like to know what the Cars were really like because, really, I haven't the slightest clue. That was part of their charm. of course, but I think they've been charming long enough.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

There is an interesting article in the New York Times about musical hallucinations. Here's a bit of it:

Seven years ago Reginald King was lying in a hospital bed recovering from bypass surgery when he first heard the music. It began with a pop tune, and others followed. Mr. King heard everything from cabaret songs to Christmas carols. "I asked the nurses if they could hear the music, and they said no," said Mr. King, a retired sales manager in Cardiff, Wales.

...Each day, the music returns. "They're all songs I've heard during my lifetime," said Mr. King, 83. "One would come on, and then it would run into another one, and that's how it goes on in my head. It's driving me bonkers, to be quite honest."

Last year, Mr. King was referred to Dr. Victor Aziz, a psychiatrist at St. Cadoc's Hospital in Wales. Dr. Aziz explained to him that there was a name for his experience: musical hallucinations. Dr. Aziz belongs to a small circle of psychiatrists and neurologists who are investigating this condition. They suspect that the hallucinations experienced by Mr. King and others are a result of malfunctioning brain networks that normally allow us to perceive music.

...Musical hallucinations were invading people's minds long before they were recognized as a medical condition. "Plenty of musical composers have had musical hallucinations," Dr. Aziz said. Toward the end of his life, for instance, Robert Schumann wrote down the music he hallucinated; legend has it that he said he was taking dictation from Schubert's ghost.

...Mr. King's experience was typical for people experiencing musical hallucinations. Patients reported hearing a wide variety of songs, among them "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and "Three Blind Mice."
Pretty weird. I remember hearing music in my head as a kid when I spent the night at my grandparents' house. It sounded just like a radio to me, but I haven't experienced that since. The article says that people who have these hallucinations are typically understimulated, and that was certainly the case for me when I was spending the night at my grandparents. Not that I didn't enjoy watching the Carter Family and going to bed at 7:30, but still. Also, I was amused to see that the Times slipped in yet another reference to the iPod, this time in the title of the article. Those guys just can't give Apple too much free publicity.

PYT: Prescient Young Thing

According to Yahoo!, we might be seeing Michael Jackson in court again soon:

A financial company specializing in asset acquisition sued Michael Jackson on Monday, saying it is owed $48 million in fees for rescuing the singer's stake in the publishing rights to songs by the Beatles. Prescient Acquisition Group Inc. said in its lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan that the pop music celebrity enlisted it in November 2004 to provide financial advice and to secure refinancing of a $272 million debt to Bank of America.

On behalf of Jackson and his company MJ Publishing Trust, Prescient secured $537 million in financing from Fortress Investment Group LLC, enough for Jackson to pay off the debt and exercise an option to buy the remaining 50 percent of the Beatles library he didn't already own, the lawsuit said.
You would think a company called Prescient would be wary of a guy like Michael Jackson, especially when it comes to financial dealings.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Alice Cooper and Cheap Trick: Like Father, Like Son

According to liveDaily, Alice Cooper and Cheap Trick are hitting the road together as co-headliners. I have a special connection with both of these acts: My dad gave Alice Cooper directions to the Carolina Coliseum in Columbia when I was a kid. Later, when I was in middle school, I saw Cheap Trick behind the Carolina Coliseum, throwing their golfclubs into an Aerostar. Spooky!

Air Supply at the Karl Marx Theater

According to the USA Today, Air Supply is going to be playing Cuba:

Air Supply are performing for two nights in Cuba, adding the communist country to a list of exotic venues including North Vietnam, Lebanon and mainland China. Vocalist Russell Hitchcock said the rock group, which rose to popularity in the 1980s with the song All Out of Love, produces music that is able to transcend language.

...Cuba invited Air Supply to the island, indicating a new pattern of encouraging rock and pop music in a country where rockers were once chastised for having long hair. A large crowd attended the Thursday night show in an open-air venue next to the Malecon, the city's famed seawall. A second performance was scheduled Friday at the Karl Marx theater.

Ahead of Air Supply's arrival, Cuba's Juventud Rebelde newspaper said group members "became idols for thousands of Cubans in the '80s, who 'sang' their songs despite barely speaking English." "But we would have never imagined that one day they would come here," the newspaper said. "And here they are!"
I wonder if this will lead to an Air Revolution? Will "Even the Nights Are Better" succeed where JFK and every American president since failed?

"Countryman" Releases Tomorrow

A few more words about Willie Nelson's reggae album from Yahoo!:

Produced by Don Was, who's worked with the Rolling Stones and Bonnie Raitt among others, the album includes reggae versions of Nelson songs such as "Darkness On the Face of the Earth" and "One in a Row." There also are covers of Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come" and "Sitting in Limbo," and a song called "I'm a Worried Man" by Johnny and June Carter Cash that Nelson recorded as a duet with Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals. "When he (Cash) found out I was doing a reggae album, he said, 'Hey, I've got a reggae song that I wrote when I lived there,'" Nelson recalled. "Toots heard it and liked it."

While the music on "Countryman" might raise the eyebrows of country purists, so will the cover. With green marijuana leaves on a red and yellow background, the cover art makes the CD look like an oversized pack of rolling papers. The marijuana imagery reflects Jamaican culture, where the herb is a leading cash crop and part of religious rites, but it also reflects Nelson's fondness for pot smoking.
I love all of this, of course. As you know, it's very Advanced of Willie Nelson to do a reggae album, but it's off-the-charts Advanced for him to do a reggae song written by Johnny Cash.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Bee Gees: Staying Alive

Brilliant title, no? Anyway, here's some fun Bee Gees news from

In the wake of the sudden death of the Bee Gees' Maurice Gibb in 2003, his brothers Robin and Barry decided to cease performing under the group's name. But Robin has taken it upon himself to turn grief into rejoicing with an extensive plan to keep Maurice's memory and the Bee Gees' music alive.

The artist's co-manager John Campbell tells Billboard a slate of Bee Gees events will begin rolling out next year. In the works are a Maurice Gibb tribute album, a free summer concert in Central Park, a prime-time special, a Broadway musical, a film and a book. The timing could not be better, as the rights to the Bee Gees' entire catalog will revert back to them from Universal in 2006. [What a coincidence!]

...The tribute album, which is being produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, is especially close to Robin's heart. "We've asked artists of every generation to express our songs in their own way," Gibb says. So far, Paul McCartney, Wyclef Jean, Jagged Edge, Rascal Flatts, Snoop Dogg and, as previously reported, Sheryl Crow are working on tracks. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the album will go to charity.

"I'm a major Bee Gees fan," Edmonds says. "They are great songs; we just re-did them and flipped them a little bit."

...The Bee Gees stage musical, named after their song "You Win Again," is being modeled on hit shows like ABBA's "Mama Mia!" and Queen's "We Will Rock You." It goes into preproduction in the fall, and will debut on Broadway and London's West End toward the end of next year. Campbell says the story, written by Maurice and Sidney Greenberg, centers on a fashion designer and the model he falls in love with, and is, of course, all set to Bee Gees hits. Numerous labels are said to be interested in releasing the soundtrack.

A brand new generation may also get to discover "Saturday Night Fever." Industry sources say advanced talks are continuing with a major film studio to invest $30 million into a remake. A Bee Gees book is also being discussed. Campbell declined to comment on the film and book deals. Barry Gibb has given his blessing on all these projects, but is on the sidelines for now. "We've worked together all our lives," Robin says. "We need some emotional space."
Sounds like Jimmy Fallon will be dusting off his chest wig sometime next year. I love it when people talk about a whole new generation getting to discover something as ubiquitous as "Saturday Night Fever." I think it might be more accurate to say that the Bee Gees are discovering a brand-new generation of customers. I have no problem with that, of course.

Crazy J, the Guitar-Playing Robot

Some Georgia Tech grad students made a robot (it's really more like a machine, but it's more fun to call it a robot) that can play guitar. Go here to see it. They've named it Crazy J, but I think they should have called it Eric Clapton. This would be a perfect instrument for an Advanced musician to use.

You must check out the sound clips. "Layla" is particularly awesome.

Paul McCartney's New Record

Here's some news about Paul McCartney's upcoming record, from

Paul McCartney returns to the one-man-band approach that marked his 1970 self-titled solo debut on "Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard," his 20th solo album since the dissolution of the Beatles. Due Sept. 13 via Capitol, the 13-track set was co-produced by McCartney with Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck) and is the artist's first new studio album since 2001's "Driving Rain."

"I did not want to rush this album," says McCartney, who played everything from guitar, bass and drums to flugelhorn and harmonium on the project. "I think it was worth the wait though. The music became more interesting over time and I'm really proud of what we did."
It will interesting to see what Godrich gets out of him, though I'm guessing it won't sound much like "Kid A." Not that McCartney is capable of that, of course.

All Dave, All Morning

Here's something I like from

Infinity Broadcasting isn't commenting on an online report penned by a former Howard Stern Show regular that suggests David Lee Roth will be one of the personalities that ultimately replaces Stern on the airwaves. Chaunce Hayden, a gossip and celebrity writer for New York/New Jersey entertainment guide, writes that "an Infinity source has confirmed the signing."

...What is certain is that Roth is among many entertainers that Infinity has auditioned on-air since Stern's bombshell announcement last year. Infinity execs have repeatedly made it clear that they are not looking for a singular personality to succeed Stern.

In April, Infinity president of programming Rob Barnett told Billboard Radio Monitor he was working with Roth in Boston at classic rock station WZLX. "The station has kind of turned the town on its ear with cab drivers, waiters and waitresses and employees of Barnes & Noble talking about this amazing guy on the radio," Barnett said. "It's an example of just being able to surprise and entertain your listeners without necessarily giving them the exact same menu every day." In Boston, Stern is heard on Infinity modern rock station WBCN.

The Diamond Dave-as-morning-man idea actually sprung from an Infinity station 3,000 miles away. VP of FM talk Jack Silver put Roth on the air for three hours earlier this year at KLSX Los Angeles, which Silver programs. "We were so taken by that performance that we created a stunt here in Boston to give classic rock listeners the opportunity to hear him all week long," Barnett said in April.
This is the best idea I've ever heard.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Been Caught Appropriating

There is an interesting article in wired about the evolution of cutting and pasting in art. Here's a sample (pun intended?):

[William S.] Burroughs was then as radical a literary man as the world had to offer, and in my opinion, he still holds the title. Nothing, in all my experience of literature since, has ever been quite as remarkable for me, and nothing has ever had as strong an effect on my sense of the sheer possibilities of writing. Later, attempting to understand this impact, I discovered that Burroughs had incorporated snippets of other writers' texts into his work, an action I knew my teachers would have called plagiarism. Some of these borrowings had been lifted from American science fiction of the '40s and '50s, adding a secondary shock of recognition for me.

By then I knew that this "cut-up method," as Burroughs called it, was central to whatever it was he thought he was doing, and that he quite literally believed it to be akin to magic. When he wrote about his process, the hairs on my neck stood up, so palpable was the excitement. Experiments with audiotape inspired him in a similar vein: "God's little toy," his friend Brion Gysin called their reel-to-reel machine. Sampling. Burroughs was interrogating the universe with scissors and a paste pot, and the least imitative of authors was no plagiarist at all.

...Meanwhile, in the early '70s in Jamaica, King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry, great visionaries, were deconstructing recorded music. Using astonishingly primitive predigital hardware, they created what they called versions. The recombinant nature of their means of production quickly spread to DJs in New York and London.

Our culture no longer bothers to use words like appropriation or borrowing to describe those very activities. Today's audience isn't listening at all - it's participating. Indeed, audience is as antique a term as record, the one archaically passive, the other archaically physical. The record, not the remix, is the anomaly today. The remix is the very nature of the digital.

..."Who owns the words?" asked a disembodied but very persistent voice throughout much of Burroughs' work. Who does own them now? Who owns the music and the rest of our culture? We do. All of us.
I don't think that the audience is participating quite as much as the writer believes (or writes that he believes). Most people just listen like they always have, but now they have the ability to mix up what they are listening to with greater ease, which is great. But people have always owned the music, it's just that they've had to pay for it. And as far as culture goes, no one can really own that, we can only contribute to it. It will be interesting to see how our culture evolves over the next ten years or so with regard to file sharing, sampling, etc. By then, the people in charge of the entertainment business will have lived most of their lives in the era of sampling, and maybe they will look back at the lawsuits and wonder what all the fuss is about. But I suspect that this will only be true if the artists themselves accept a system where their work is public property and have to support themselves through other means besides the sale of their art. That could be liberating. Who knows?

More Comets

It's a big day for Bill Haley and his Comets. At CNN, there is an article that tells the story of "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock." Did I mention how much I love that guitar solo?

Billy Bragg Reissues and Box Set

According to, you'll be seeing some new old Billy Bragg in your local gigantic record chain soon:

Five releases by English singer/songwriter Billy Bragg will be expanded in deluxe two-disc editions later this year by indie Yep Roc Records. Due Sept. 20, the new versions of three EPs and two albums will comprise four two-disc sets, with bonus material making up the second disc of each. One set features a DVD. In addition to being made available individually, the discs will also be packaged in a box with a separate DVD of unreleased live performance footage and a booklet featuring lyrics and photographs.

Much of the bonus material that will fill the additional discs is previously unreleased and stems from a variety of sources. All of it was handpicked by Bragg with the help of producer Grant Showbiz (the Smiths, the Fall) and Wiggy, a longtime cohort and guitarist on many Bragg releases.

The revamp begins with Bragg's debut 1983 EP "Life's a Riot With Spy vs Spy," the content of which appeared in the U.S. on the 1987 compilation "Back to Basics." That was a get-up-to-speed collection Elektra issued of Bragg's early Go! Discs output, which established him as a fervently left-wing political artist unafraid of dealing with themes of love and sexuality.

Yep Roc's version boasts the seven original tracks on the first disc, including the classic "A New England." The second disc collects 11 cuts, five of which ("The Cloth (1)," "Love Lives Here," "Speedway Hero," "Loving You Too Long" and "The Cloth (2)") are previously unreleased Bragg originals. Also included is a cover of John Cale's "Fear is a Man's Best Friend."

The 11-track "Brewing Up With Billy Bragg," a 1984 album that also ended up on "Back to Basics," grows by as many cuts on its second disc, with five previously unissued tracks, including covers of the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time" and the Smiths' "Back to the Old House."

"Talking With the Taxman About Poetry" found Bragg fleshing out his sound and working with such notable compatriots as Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, vocalist Kirsty MacColl and horn player Dave Woodhead. The original 12-track set includes Bragg's memorable character study "Levi Stubbs Tears" and the love ode "Greetings to the New Brunette." The bonus disc adds 10 tracks (five previously unreleased) including covers of Gram Parsons' "Sin City" and Smokey Robinson's "Tracks of My Tears."

The final title is a compilation of the EPs "Live & Dubious" (1988) and "The Internationale" (1990), both of which found Bragg at his politically angriest, lashing out at world leaders and carrying the cross for the unsung working hero. The set adds six tracks to the first disc, notably covers of Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" and Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come." In this instance, the second disc, subtitled "Here and There," is a DVD culling brief clips of Bragg performing in East Berlin in 1986 and Nicaragua in 1987, and a 45-minute show in Lithuania in 1988.

The box set's bonus DVD -- "From the West Down to the East" -- features a 1985 performance on the U.K. TV series "The South Bank Show" and another 1986 East Berlin performance.
Let's all by the box set, shall we?

NASA Rocks Comet, Comets Rock NASA

Here's something from Yahoo!:

A day after NASA scientists blasted a hole in a comet, The Comets struck back. Five surviving members of the rock 'n' roll band Bill Haley & The Comets paid tribute to the space agency's Deep Impact team by hosting an outdoor concert Tuesday at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Comets — Johnny Grande, Marshall Lytle, Dick Richards, Joey Ambrose and Franny Beecher — performed several of their greatest hits including "Shake, Rattle and Roll," "See You Later Alligator" and "Rock Around The Clock" during an hourlong concert. About 400 scientists and engineers — including dozens of Deep Impact members who spent a sleepless Fourth of July weekend on the project — danced along to the music.

...The goal of the Deep Impact mission was to smash a crater in comet Tempel 1 to study the pristine material in its core. Comets are considered remnants of the early solar system and studying them could provide insight into how the sun and planets formed 4.5 billion years ago.
The solo for "Rock Around the Clock" is just about the best ever in a rock song.

"Wild Side" Review

From Reuters:

At the beginning of the provocative drama "Wild Side," currently playing in New York and Los Angeles, androgynous singer Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons) sings a song titled "Fell in Love With a Dead Boy" to an audience of transsexuals. Director Sebastien Lifshitz's choice of performer is appropriate since his film claims to be inspired by "Walk on the Wild Side," the classic rock song written Lou Reed, with whom Antony has frequently collaborated.

Anyone who knows the lyrics to that song might guess the film's subject matter, which has to do with the triangular relationship among three disparate types living together in Paris: Stephanie (Stephanie Michelini), a beautiful, 32-year-old, pre-operative transsexual prostitute; her bisexual lover Jamel (Yasmine Belmadi), a French Arab who also works the streets; and Mikhail (Edouard Nikitine), an illegal Russian immigrant and former soldier.

..."Wild Side," which has several fairly explicit sex scenes, is stronger on mood and character study than narrative, with the story line often languishing for long stretches in a stylish but tedious haze. Well compensating for this are the highly authentic performances by the lead performers and the impressive technical aspects. Cinematographer Agnes Godard's beautiful widescreen cinematography rivals the acclaimed work she did in films like "Beau Travail," and Jocelyn Pook ("Eyes Wide Shut") provides a haunting musical score.
Do, de do, de do, do do do do, de do, de do, do do do do

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

UB40 Musical

According to the BBC, there is a musical in the works based on UB40s music:

A musical based around the songs of pop group UB40 will open in their home city of Birmingham next year. Twelve of the band's hits will feature in Promises And Lies, alongside new tracks written for the production. "We wanted to do more than simply string together our hits into a throwaway plot," UB40 said.

...The band collaborated with playwright Jess Walters on the musical, which is due to open at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in March 2006.

..."It had to have a story that reflected our view of the world," they said.
I cannot imagine what that might be, but I'm guessing it has something to do with reggae.

Madge and Macca

I've heard a rumor that Madonna talked to Paul McCartney at the Live 8 concert about doing something together on her upcoming album. I'm all for it, but remember when there was talk about how her next record would be influenced by Franz Ferdninand?

Jimi Hendrix: Excuse Me While My Art and Entertainment Project Is Promoted by TransMedia

Here's something from

Jimi Hendrix was not only a recording artist. He was also an artist. 48 original watercolours painted by Hendrix were recently discovered and are about to go on public display. "We're proud to be represented by TransMedia Group, which has done a great job over the years promoting art and entertainment projects," said noted fine art dealer and appraiser Anthony Capodilupo in a statement. "We believe TransMedia is the right firm to draw media attention to these unique works by Jimi Hendrix."
I'm sure Jimi would have wanted it that way, too.

The Elvis Legacy: Tea for the Sillerman

Here's some news about Graceland from Yahoo!:

Elvis Presley Enterprises is taking over the last two independent souvenir shops at Graceland but says it has no immediate plans to expand. However, Graceland spokesman Todd Morgan said that closing the independently owned shops gives EPE freedom to move quickly on new ideas for more company-owned stores, museums or the like.

The independent shops, Memories of Elvis and Loose Ends, are in a strip mall owned by EPE next door to Graceland Plaza, the company's main shopping complex. Their leases will not be renewed when they expire in November, said Carol Light, owner of Memories of Elvis. "It's a tragedy with the big people squeezing out the little man," Light said. But the company is just going about its business, Morgan said. "It doesn't make a lot of sense to lease space to a competing business," he said.

...Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, sold majority ownership of Elvis Presley Enterprises in February to CKX Inc., a company run by Robert F.X. Sillerman, the founder of music and sports promoter SFX Entertainment.
This bums me out.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Music Genome Project v. the Global Jukebox

There's an article about it at Slate. Here's a sample:

...bringing the rigor of science to the study of the pop song is precisely what a California technology company called Savage Beast has done. The name of their project, The Music Genome Project, speaks to its outsized ambitions: The company touts it as "the most sophisticated taxonomy of musical information ever collected on this scale." Sounds great, but does it actually work?

Employing an army of rigorously trained music analysts, most with degrees in music theory, Savage Beast has dissected "the vast majority" of music that has appeared on the Billboard Music Charts since the mid-1950s, as well as large swaths of jazz and indie rock. Each song has been coded according to a proprietary list of 400 music attributes. Some, like "rhythm" and "tempo," are obvious to the lay listener; others, like "degree of chromatic harmony," are more complex, and, well, pretty much require a degree in music theory to explain. The point of all this fuss is to produce the ultimate music recommendation system, a system that's not based on the flimsy criteria that people normally use—popularity, genre, hipness, how the lead singer looks in tight jeans—but on precisely defined musical characteristics.

As novel (and quixotic) as all this sounds, it isn't even the first time a codification of music has been attempted. The Music Genome bears a striking resemblance to another, much older project begun by the famed musicologist Alan Lomax in the 1960s. Lomax, best known for recording and popularizing the likes of Leadbelly, Muddy Waters, Woody Guthrie, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Jelly Roll Morton, dedicated the last 30 years of his career (he died in 2002) to an elaborate, lofty, and ultimately unfinished project called the Global Jukebox.

Like the Music Genome, the Global Jukebox is based on a music notation system. Lomax called his "cantometrics," a made-up word he defined as meaning "song as a measure of society." It consisted of 36 parameters that could be used to compare musical performance styles across cultures. And, just as the Music Genome would, Lomax employed an army of rigorously trained research assistants to code and input thousands of songs into a central database. There are 4,400 in all, spanning 400 cultures, everything from Pygmy recordings to American pop tunes. This is only a portion of what Lomax intended. A series of strokes in the 1990s prevented him from getting the Jukebox past the prototype stage.
The whole article is worth a read. I think a new recommendation system sounds great, especially if it means my not having to skip Depeche Mode every fourth song on "my" internet radio station at Yahoo!.

Greg Whiteley's New York Dolls Doc

There is an article about a New York Dolls documentary at Here's some of it:

First-time filmmaker Greg Whiteley came to the subject of his documentary feature not as a fan but as a friend of Arthur "Killer" Kane, bassist for the short-lived but influential '70s rock band the New York Dolls.

Their unlikely collaboration began at the Mormon temple in West Los Angeles, where the one-time hard-drinking musician worked part-time until his death last year. This loving portrait centers on a June 2004 band reunion that quite startlingly turned out to be a valedictory for Kane. Screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival and slated for October release, "New York Doll" is a tender take on life after stardom.

...Whiteley's access is most rewarding in footage of rehearsals for the show. Playing together for the first time in almost 30 years as part of the Morrissey-curated Meltdown Festival in London, the three surviving members -- Johansen, Sylvain Sylvain and Kane -- have an easy chemistry. Whatever jealousies and adversarial tensions Kane felt toward Johansen dissolve in the evident creative connection and deep affection between them. As "New York Doll" powerfully captures, that reconnection turned out to be a blessing when Kane died unexpectedly just weeks after the show.
You know, not many people bought New York Dolls records, but everyone who did bought a feather boa.

Sgt. Pepper's Tunic Going Once...

More clothes-related news from the BBC:

The tunic which inspired the cover for the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album is set to go under the hammer later this month. The military band tunic worn by John Lennon in a Life magazine photoshoot in 1966 is predicted to sell for £30,000. The garment is part of a sale of Lennon memorabilia being auctioned in London on 28 July. Other items include the song writer's hand-written manuscript of All You Need Is Love.

...Ted Owen, director of Cooper Owen, said: "Together, the items in this sale combine all the best elements of the man himself. "It is iconic [what's up with all this iconic clothing business? -jh], idealistic and irreverent. We are honoured to be passing them on - and the sale itself will celebrate Lennon and his legacy the way it was meant to be celebrated."
I can't think of a better way to celebrate his legacy than having an auction of his personal belongings.

U2 Keeps Their Pants

According to the BBC, a judge has agreed with U2 that a former stylist depanted them without permission:

Rock band U2 have won their court fight for the return of memorabilia - including a Stetson hat - which they accused a former stylist of stealing. The judge at Dublin's Circuit Court said he preferred the evidence frontman Bono gave over Lola Cashman's testimony that the items had been given as gifts. Judge Matthew Deery ordered Ms Cashman to return the items, which also include earrings, within seven days.

...Judge Deery said he found Ms Cashman's version of how she had been given the items doubtful, particularly her description of Bono running around in his underpants backstage. "It seems to me that Ms Cashman's version of events, the giving of the hat, is unlikely to have occurred," he said. Ms Cashman had testified that Bono had given her the items, which also included a sweatshirt and black trousers, as gifts. But Bono said he would not have given away the items, which he considered had iconic status, particularly the hat.
Yes, particularly the hat.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Jewish Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Suit Update

According to CNN, the trademark-infringement suit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame brought against the Jewish Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been settled:

The suit was dismissed earlier this week when the founders of agreed to refrain from using the phrase "Jewish Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" in connection with their site, a lawyer for the site told Reuters on Friday.

That didn't stop sponsors of the site from establishing a "Challah Fame" -- using the Yiddish word for a braided egg bread -- to label their alphabetical listing of Hebraic-born pop stars, among them Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Lou Reed, Carole King and David Lee Roth.

Visitors to the site also can link to various essays on Semitic rockers under the heading "Shul of Rock" (borrowing from the Yiddish word for a synagogue). One article chronicles the origins of the all-Jewish L.A. band the Knack and its 1979 hit single "My Sharona." Another charts the rise of celebrity tailor "Nudie" Cohen, who designed suits for Elvis Presley and Hank Williams.

Readers can also take the "Jew or Not?" quiz. For the record, Bruce Springsteen is not Jewish. But according to, his drummer, Max Weinberg, is and has been "proving that Jews do have rhythm since 1974, when he auditioned for the E Street Band."
This was all very silly of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but I guess that's just the way it goes. Here's my favorite quote from the article: "These guys are an enormous establishment and institution, and we're just three Jewish guys with a computer."

Friday, July 01, 2005

A Proud Day

I finally can air-drum along with the verse of "Black Dog" without thinking about it. That includes using an air kick pedal.

U2 and Paul McCartney

According to, Paul McCartney will be performing with U2 at Live 8:

"The historic Live 8 event will open with a first time pairing of U2 and Paul McCartney together performing The Beatles 'Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band'. U2 will appear wearing the multicoloured military-style suits worn by the Beatles on the 1967 album cover."

And you just know they'll pull it off somehow. But I hope they'll be more careful with the suits than they were with their Joshua Tree clothes.

Rod Hot About Hot Hot Rod

According to Yahoo!, Rod Stewart's car was stolen, and the guy who did it has been caught:

In a statement to police after the theft of his powerful Viper performance car in 2004, [Rod Stewart] wrote: "(Someone) stole my Viper. I'm not amused." On Wednesday, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jack Cook sentenced Donald Michael Smith, 23, to 11 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to several charges, including stealing Stewart's car and driving it into a canal.
Eleven years in prison for stealing Rod Stewart's car and driving it into a canal? Totally worth it.