WHAT HAS COUNTRY DONE TO DESERVE THIS?: Cliff Richard's next album is set to be a country album, co-written with Barry Gibb. That's not actually half as interesting as the fact that Richard has quit EMI after 46 years. Universal - somewhat ominously - believes that Cliff's brand of "soft rock" is about to get a revival...
Saturday, September 04, 2004
THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR: Are we alone in being surprised it's taken this long for Dionne Warwick to release that standard banker, a Christmas album? We're sure it's exactly what the gas stations and small boxes of CDs on newsagent's counters have been waiting for. You know the drill: the usual Xmas tunes, some old, some new; there's also a guest appearance by Gladys Knight - we're hoping for them doing Silent Night in a kind of skit, but we know it won't be.
JACKON'S TIT FINE NEARS: The Washington Post is reporting the FCC is about to confirm its fines over the farrago at half-nudity at Superbowl half-time: enormous fines for CBS-owned channels; nothing for CBS affiliates with different owners. We're not entirely sure this stacks up as a fair judgement - why should a person running the feed for a CBS station in one town be judged at fault simply because he shares an employer with the network, whereas a person running a non-CBS owned station be judged not to have been able to do anything about it? Is the FCC happy to be seen as being vindictive rather than just?
AH... THAT MAKES SENSE, THEN: So, Michael Jackson admits making payments to young boy's families but wouldn't want us to think there was anything odd about it...:
"I have spent my entire life helping millions of children across the world. I would never harm a child. It is unfortunate that some individuals have seen fit to come forward and make a complaint that is completely false [...] Years ago, I settled with certain individuals because I was concerned about my family and the media scrutiny that would have ensued if I fought the matter in court [...] These people wanted to exploit my concern for children by threatening to destroy what I believe in and what I do. I have been a vulnerable target for those who want money."
So, Michael is the victim here, just because he loves children he's been the victim of some sort of terrible blackmail - a shrewd businessman has given away what seems like million upon million because he didn't feel he'd be able to prove his innocence in an open courtroom. His hanging out with the kids has always been about enjoying children's company, not sex.
Odd, though, there are never any young girls making these "false" claims.
MONK AID: Pete Doherty's currently in the "I want to put things right" phase of junkiedom, and is trying to raise money for the Monastery he gave all of five minute's chance to help him cure his smack-cravings. The UK branch of the charity who works with Thamkrabok Monastery is arranging some benefit gigs, and Pete says he'll turn up and play at one. Which means there's a 50-50 chance he might turn up and play at one.
The organisers are looking for new bands who might want to join the headliners at the three benefits (Sep 23, Oct 28 and Nov 24) - emails to firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested.
IT'S A SHIT BUSINESS: Prince has made a simple suggestion to anyone interested in making music as part of the current industry: don't. The Music Industry, says Prince, is no place for an artist:
Stay out of the music industry, stay out of the system. Be revolutionary. Some of these young kids say they want to follow me. Well, if you do, then get your spiritual life together if you want your relationships to go right, and it will happen."
He also advises musicians to strive for the musical independence that he has now achieved so they can own their own songs.
He adds, "I'm a writer. Stephen King is a writer. Can I take a page out of his book and call it Prince's Shining? Can I take a scene out of a movie and call it my own? They say the law helps the writers. I don't need help; I don't need your money. Let us steward our own music."
Friday, September 03, 2004
EXPENSIVE BUSINESS MISTAKES?: Up alongside the guy at Decca who turned down the Beatles could be Nobuyuki Idei. Apparently, Steve Jobs offered Idei's Sony a cut in to iTunes; Idei chose to rebuff Jobs and bet the company on the poorly-recieved Connect service instead. That "unamed Sony sources" are leaking details of this offer to the press suggests that maybe Mr. Idei might be losing the confidence of his colleagues.
YOU'RE NEVER ALONE, MICHAEL: If Mr. Jackson ever gets a break from balancing his chequebook ("Can you remember what this two million bucks was for in June? Was it a pay-off? Or did I need a nose-shoring?") he might like to take comfort in stop_filthy_press, a group dedicated to fighting for his honour, attacked as it is by nasty media types with nothing to hold against him more than a few photos of him dangling a baby over the edge of a balcony, rapidy disproved claims of police harrassment, photos of a face that bears no relation to the one he was born with and yet never having been touched by a plastic surgeon, and the cheerful admission by a man in his forties that he often has preteens over to sleep in his bed. Stop_filthy_press make all its members sign a pledge to uphold the Jacko's honour, before they're able to join the group and join in with its mission statement:
The Knights of Neverland is a Non-Profit Organization whose quest is the respect of human rights, focusing on our beloved Michael Jackson the world's most vulnerable and gentle entertainment icon; largest selling artist; and perhaps most extravagant solo philanthropist who is also, ironically, the most violated and media-taunted celebrity known to the modern world.
As members of The MJIADC you will be updated through this e-group regarding specific media and encouraged to send in any media you may find (TV, radio shows, magazines, tabloids, and so forth) who have made slanderous comments against Michael. Our members then write intelligent letters to that media letting them know you disapprove. We ask that you refrain from using vulgarity and from name calling so that the focus of your letter isn't lost in their opinion of you. The egroup will then serve the purpose of sharing slanderous information with the group and sharing the letters you have written. We also share good and uplifting articles! Through this egroup, you will also be notified of changes to the website.
Our biggest voice is in what we buy, so we discourage you from purchasing tabloids, particularly when they make slanderous comments against Michael. The 'entertainment' media, which tabloids, TV and radio shows are (and which all news media is fast becoming), have very little responsibility to report fairly and accurately. But the type of bashing we see upon Michael, his glorious voice stiffled, isn't what we want to see within humanity and for our children. So, we have to take the responsibility to use the voice they have given us: our wallets. Don't Buy Tabloids.
He may well be the most extravagant solo philanthropist in the world, what with those large cash payouts he makes to kids for no reason whatsoever and the always-open door at the Neverland ranch...
CAN WE BE CANDID?: A whole heap of Hidden Cameras gigs coming up, in America and Europe... pick your nearest one:
SAT 28/8 TORONTO, ON Harbourfront Centre
WED 15/9 HAMILTON, ON The Casbah
THURS 16/9 OTTAWA, ON Barrymores
SAT 18/9 GUELPH, ON Peter Clark Hall
FRI 24/9 FRANKFURT Mousonturm
SUN 26/9 STOCKHOLM Mondo
MON 279 MALMÖ KB
TUE 289 GOTHEBORG Pusterviksbaren or Sticky Fingers
WED 29/9 BERLIN Palais @ Kulturbrauerei
THU 30/9 BRUXELLES Botanique
FRI 1/10 UTRECHT Ekko
SAT 2/10 ROTTERDAM Rotown
MON 4/10 NORWICH ARTS CENTRE
TUE 5/10 LONDON Venue tbc - more details soon
WED 6/10 BIRMINGHAM ACADEMY 3
THU 7/10 GLASGOW NICE N' SLEAZYS
FRI 8/10 NOTTINGHAM SOCIAL
WED 13/10 NEW YORK, NY Bowery Ballroom
WED 27/10 ATLANTA, GA Echo Lounge
THU 28/10 CARRBORO, NC Room Four
FRI 29/10 BALTIMORE, MD Ottobar
SAT 30/10 PHILADELPHIA, PA TBA
SUN 31/10 HOBOKEN, NJ Maxwell's
THU 4/11 HALIFAX, NS St. Matthew's United Church
THU 11/11 NEW YORK, NY Bowery Ballroom
FRI 12/11 BOSTON, MA TT The Bear's
THU 02/12 RENNE, FRANCE
Any oddities in the formatting? That's down to Rough Trade, that is.
More from No Rock on rough trade
A SMALL REMEMBRANCE: The family of Matthew Jay have put together a compilation of Matthew's rare and early stuff called Too Soon, as a thank you for the letters of support following his death, and, of course, to save fans being raped on Ebay:
A little under a year ago and hugely talented singer/songwriter Matthew Jay died tragically. On August 23rd this year Matthew’s album, ‘. . . too soon’ was released by his family as a memorial to this amazing person, and offered in response to the tributes on www.crookedsmile.com. People from all over the world have been deeply touched by Matthew’s music rooted in Wales. As the first anniversary approaches of his tragic loss, the wish of Matthew’s family to keep his music alive has seen this project become reality. Emails to Matthew’s website indicated that many fans were unable to obtain copies of Matthews EPs and Singles. His family wish to celebrate Matthew’s life in the best way possible by making his music available to all who want it. The album features 10 original tracks, early recordings and rarities, plus remixes by Bent and Fug.
A SMALL EXPLOSION: Some further details on the John Spencer Blues Explosion album. Its US release is pencilled for September 28th, it's called Damage, and this is the track listing:
02 Burn It Off
05 Hot Gossip
06 Mars, Arizona
07 You Been My Baby
09 Help These Blues
10 Fed Up And Low Down
12 Blowing My Mind
In addition to the usual types, DJ Shadow, Martine Topley Bird and Dan the Automator pop up within its shiny surface,
ANYONE WANT TO HELP HER OUT?: Anastacia apparently doesn't "get" lapdancers, which is a little bit like not understanding a Garfield cartoon - if you're only pretending you don't follow it, it doesn't make you seem any smarter; if you really don't follow it, you shouldn't be allowed out alone.
HERE YOU GO, FOX NEWS: We're sure the plans to get Lee Ryan to sing a song at a fundraiser for John Kerry is well-meaning, but it doesn't take a genius to spot the potential for disaster as soon as a right-wing American makes the connection between Ryan and the "Who gives a fuck about New York when elephants are being killed?" remark after the September 11th attacks. 'Kerry Supporter placed 3000 dead beneath pachyderms' really isn't going to help swing those states back your way, John.
YOU CAN NEVER GO HOME AGAIN. NO, BEST NOT TO: Avril Lavigne has upset folks in her home town by telling Blender that Napanee is a bit rubbish:
"There is fuc*k all to do. It's just a little town where everybody knows everybody and their business. There's nothing to do except get drunk."
It must be hard, that, Avril - sometimes people across the street knowing that you're dating Fred Durst or whoever when you do your darndest to only release the information to the gossip columns.
Anyway, the mayor of Napanee has responded, claiming Avril doesn't know what she's talking about - something we can quite believe:
Gord Schermerhorn is disappointed with Lavigne's comments about Napanee, which boasts a 15,000 population and has just opened a multi-million dollar community centre and Arena. Schermerhorn says, "I have grown up here and there is more to do in Napanee than to get drunk."
We're sure he's right - if small British towns are anything to go by, the drunkeness will be only the start of it: there'll be cleaning up vomit, organising emergency contraception, trying to fix the smashed bus-shelters... it can keep you busy the whole day. We're also not sure about any "arena" which takes second billing to a "community centre" - we're guessing a baseball pitch and some bleachers, right?
APPARENTLY SOME TROUBLE COUNTING: So, obviously, everyone's delighted at the news that Victoria Beckham really is pregnant with a third child - proving again that you can rely on Popbitch. Judging by the first report on the bitch about Beckham being knocked up, she's now in her thirteenth month of pregnancy, suggesting that Posh is part Camargue Horse. Anyway, to celebrate adding a third child to the brood, the Beckhams have put in a planning permission bid for two extra bedrooms in Beckingham Palace - although why this is required isn't clear, since there were seven bedrooms to begin with, and even if, post-Loos, David sleeps alone, we make it there's room for a couple more even so.
Interestingly, the Beckham house is a former orphanage. We bet its haunted.
We wonder why they need to extend to accomodate the new kid - couldn't they just convert an unused part of the house? The kitchen would seem to be the most obvious starting point.
NO! I AM THE TRUE HOLDER OF BRITNEY SPEAR'S GUM: You can't move on Ebay right now for people trying to flog you gum they swear has come out of Britney's gob. Either there are a lot of people fibbing, or the dirty little minx doesn't dispose of her gum properly. Wrap it and bin it, Britney, wrap it and bin it.
HEY YA FOR DUBBYA? HELL NO: So it turns out that Andre 3000 isn't hanging round the Republican National Convention in order to lend some support to George Bush - Andre says he's just there making a film, same as Michael Moore was:
"The reason why I'm here [is because] I'm doing a documentary on youth and voting. I guess people got wind that I was coming here for the Republican convention, [but] they really didn't know the complete story. I wanted to clear it up. You had a lot of people around town, people in the streets, that heard I was supposed to be performing at the convention. A lot of people [are] riled up and upset, and that was never the case. It almost [leads] me to think, 'Who put it out there that I was performing?' I don't know if it was to bring heat to a certain party. I just want to let people know that this is a nonpartisan documentary I'm doing."
So, that's alright then. Mind you, he hasn't come out and condemned the Swift Boat adverts yet, has he?
BUSTED BROKEN: Not quite on the rock sick list, but James from Busted has collapsed and died. Apart from the died bit, which we just threw in for effect. Apparently, he got dehydrated in Colorado after the air conditioning broke down on the band's tour bus. We can't really blame him that much - No Rock went a woo-ing in the heat of a Colarado summer once, and at that altitude, it's quite a lot for a wan English boy to take. Mind you, we never collapsed. On the other hand, we've never had a top ten single.
YOU CAN BURN THROUGH A LOT OF CASH THAT WAY: Now, unless we're getting muddled here, this kid supposedly give USD2 million to go away by Michael Jackson isn't the first kid, or the one at the heart of the court case now, but a new, whole different kid, yes? Mind you, this could only be the start of the confusion - Dateline report a retired Sheriff saying they reckon there could be another eight to ten kids floating around with a huge story and a large cheque.
We're always a little puzzled by the "no discussion of the claims" bit in these deals - if one of the kids did decide to go public, what is Jackson going to do? Sue the kid in open court? "He broke the promise not to tell anyone I fiddled with him and I want my money back"?
THAT'D BE WHY: Jadakiss has got some questions 'why'. The Morning News offers some answers.
START BUYING THE CART OUT: Remember a few years back when Alan McGee gave Noel Gallagher a Rolls Royce? Of course you do, it was the point in rock history where it became clear that Creation Records was totally fucked, morally and spiritually. Now you can own that very Rolls Royce, up for sale on Ebay and at the moment going for GBP11,300. We're not sure we'd pay that for a Rolls Royce anyway, and this one is Brown, and used to be owned by Noel Gallagher, which doesn't make it any more attractive.
More from No Rock on alan mcgee
DO WE SNIFF SOMETHING ODD HERE?: Suddenly, the odds on The Zutons picking up the Mercury Prize have shortened unexpectedly.
Do we sense the shady presence of those Far Eastern betting syndicates we hear so much about?
Whatever did happen to The Coral, by the way?
More from No Rock on the coral
HELP SUDAN: Sure, we'd love to download an album of exclusive songs to help the people caught in Sudan, but unfortuantely, the DRM means that we can't. But of course, helping out a charity at a time of desperate need pales into insignificiance compared with ensuring the record companies can control their copyright, right? Rather than trying to spend eight quid on the album, we'd recommend giving the five quid which Oxfam would get anyway straight to oxfam. (Where does the other three pounds go?)
IT'S LIKE A TEN MINUTE FREEVIEW, ONLY ITS TEN SECONDS: The French version of Placebo's Protect Me comes with an erotic video, and they've got a teaser online. Protege Moi, it is in French, of course. It's not clear if you get to judge the claims about Brian's foot for yourself. Not from the preview, anyway.
ONE MORE NIGHT... AND THAT'S IT: So, it turns out the current Phil Collins tour is probably going to be his last - Phil says he's going deaf and so he'll continue to make music (can't have everything) but probably not on stage.
THE PEOPLE BEING CRUSHED IN THE NAME OF THE SONGWRITERS: The RIAA dab their little eyes whenever they think of all those poor artists being denied their crusts by filesharers, so it's an interesting counterpoint to get to hear from someone who has had their life ruined by the RIAA. Charil Johnson, a student at Kansas University, has been talking about getting caught filesharing by the music industry cartell.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Again, the Royal Mail has let us down... no NME yet. WTPPS doesn't really work without the magazine...
HELPING AVRIL OUT: You'll recall, of course, Avril Lavigne's insistence that she won't be selling herself on her body - "I won't wear skanky clothes that show off my booty, my belly or boobs" were her exact words. Clearly, she must have some sort of double going round pretending to be her in photoshoots, and we're happy to bring these to her attention. The doppelganger has appeared in the current US edition of Elle Girl:
... and also turned up elsewhere:
Who would be so complicated as to do such a thing?
THE GATESKEEPER'S OFFERING: Honk, honk, here comes Mr. Toad, as Bill Gates Online Music store opens, albeit in Beta form at the moment. The editorial suggests that they've just got some guys from coding to write about music - like this, where they explain what they think is "alternative":
The label "alternative" has come to be the trash compactor of sorts for music that's hard to pigeonhole into a specific genre. It melds an exhaustive list of styles: rock, country, pop, punk, metal, electronica, R&B, rap, hip-hop and even spoken word. Lyrics go from introspective and emotional (Aimee Mann) to immature and catty (blink-182); artists range from pin-up worthy (John Mayer) to, well, alternative (Good Charlotte); the music ranges from soft and lilting (Death Cab for Cutie) to hard and loud (The Deftones). Perhaps this is the draw of alternative music -- a little bit of everything, usually underscored by guitars and steady drums and basslines. Whether you want to drown in melodic pop or pound out your sorrows to some '80s metal, there's a band or artist ready to help.
Basically, in other words, they've just wedged everything they couldn't think of a home for into alternative, but mostly it seems to be "whiney teen music" - the front page teaser for the "genre" suggests it's "blink-182, Hoobastank, Linkin Park"; a hole down which nobody would willingly put a face, surely?
The site is slathered in low-rent advertising, too - Atkins Diet banners keep leaping out at me - and the whole experience suggests that MSN Music is akin to the CD section of your local Asda, while iTunes would be more like HMV back in the 80s when they were a record shop. There's a sense that music is just stuff to be shifted - of course, Apple don't really care about the music, either, but at least the acknowledge that their customers do. We're surprised that Microsoft haven't tried to compete on price - presumably expecting their monopoly position to do the work for them.
In a nicely-timed spoiler move, Apple has launched an iTunes affiliate scheme at the same time.
More from No Rock on linkin park
SONGWRITEROBIT: Johnny Bragg, who co-wrote Just Walkin' In The Rain, has died in Nashville. He was 79. The song, a hit for Johnnie Ray, was co-written during one of Bragg's various spells in prison with another convict, Robert Riley. Bragg made the original version of the song with The Prisonaires, a group formed - as the name suggestes - behind bars. The band underwent various changes, changing its name to the Sunbreams and The Marigolds as members got released. Out of jail, Bragg forged a brief solo career before being incarcerated again. After his final release in 1977, Bragg never troubled the authorities again; nor did he trouble the charts.
WE'RE NOT ONES TO GOSSIP, BUT: What glorious bounty on offer on yesterday's San Francisco Examiner gossip page - Sharon Osbourne "confusing" Robbie Williams and Ozzy's phone numbers (oh, yeah, it was a "mix-up") and "accidently" coming onto Robbie; Madonna pledging never to buy Manolo Blahniks again after Manolo said she was a shit actress and Shirley Manson thanking God, or rather not, that P Diddy used his MTV acceptance speech to tell kids to get out and vote:
"At least it made one less person thanking God Almighty for exhalting them above all others," she wrote. "Do you honestly think GOD is busy selecting one person above all others to catapault into celebrity status? ... Give me a fucking BREAK people."
But best of all was the story that Alicia "so down to Earth" Keys and her mother flounced out of a photoshoot for Suede because "everything was unacceptable." Key's people deny it all, insisting she is "absolutely not a diva" - but, oddly, Suede did have to use a stock picture on its front page...
More from No Rock on shirley manson
ZEVON SON TAKES UP FIGHT: His dad died of mesothelioma, and now Jordan "son of Warren" Zevon has been adopted as official spokesperson of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organisation:
"As national spokesperson for ADAO, I am thrilled to support their commitment to asbestos awareness," said Jordan Zevon. "My father died from mesothelioma, a cancer only caused from asbestos, not as so often reported to be from a rock-n-roll lifestyle he abandoned more than a decade prior to his diagnosis. I want to dispel the myths and reveal the truth about the asbestos epidemic. The deadly mineral has a name, asbestos, but it also has a face in the patients, family and friends that it claims as victims."
THE POOR MAN'S MICHAEL JACKSON: Having said which, we doubt very much if Jackson is likely to quote Galton and Simpson as he next goes into court. (Although, Pete Doherty, the Hancock line "what about Magna Carta, did she die in vain" only works if you don't put the definite article before 'Magna'). Curiously, on his way into court Pete claimed that he felt "innocent", but then he failed to change his plea from guilty inside - another example of musicians apparently unable to grasp what court proceedings actually mean, or rather, trying to claim innocence even when they've been convicted. As it is, Pete's accepting he did have a knife got him away with a four month suspended sentence. Apparently it was a gift for a friend he'd forgotten about - and, knowing the sort of circles Doherty moves in, we're delighted at the thought of them being given flick knives. Mind you, it's curious that he was going to give this knife as a present, yet had broken the end of it off. Presumably he also scratches CDs before he gives them as gifts, too?
DOWNLOAD CHART "EVERY BIT AS SHIT" AS REAL CHART: When the shift started from counting sheet music sales to counting single sales, Al Martino nabbed the all-important number one slot. Happily, fate has granted us an equally dull first download number one, and it could equally be a song from the 1950s, too. The words to write on your sleeve for when it comes up in quizzes are 'Westlife - Flying Without Wings'. That chart in dull, sorry, full:
1 (new) 'Flying Without Wings' - Westlife BMG
2 (new) 'Blazin Day' Blazin Squad Warner
3 (new) 'She Will Be Loved' Maroon 5 BMG
4 (new) 'Lola's Theme' Shapeshifters EMI
5 (new) 'American Idiot' Green Day Warner
6 (new) 'This Love' Maroon 5 BMG
7 (new) 'Dry Your Eyes' Streets Warner
8 (new) 'Bedshaped' Keane Universal
9 (new) 'Laura' Scissor Sisters Universal
10 (new) 'Apocalypse Please' Muse Warner
11 (new) 'Sick and Tired' Anastacia Sony
12 (new) 'Dumb' 411 Sony
13 (new) 'Everybody's Changing' Keane Universal
14 (new) 'Left Outside Alone' Anastacia Sony
15 (new) 'My Happy Ending' Avril Lavigne BMG
16 (new) 'Guns Don't Kill People Rappers Do' Goldie Lookin' Chain Warner
17 (new) 'Single' Natasha Bedingfield BMG
18 (new) 'Harder To Breathe' Maroon 5 BMG
19 (new) 'Hey Ya' Outkast BMG
20 (new) 'Sunshine' Twista Warner
So, the lesson is: offer people half a million tracks, all the jewels of the musical world, and you wind up seeing them fill their pockets with the same old rubbish. Really, people... these are the sorts of songs you should be kazaaing.
More from No Rock on avril lavigne
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
ITV GOES TO THE FESTIVALS: After the BBC's great job at Glasto and T, and Channel 4's decent-if-doomed attempt to turn V into TV, ITV had their chance to show what they could do with the Reading Festival. Eschewing live or on-the-day coverage, they made the odd choice to put the highlights package out for an hour at eight o'clock in the middle of the week - Charles Allen is apparently saying that ITV need more channels, and if we believed that this was the only slot they could find for the programme (on ITV2, mind), we'd agree - although, to be honest, that they couldn't make time for this before amidst the Hells Kitchen re-workings and other junk of the last couple of days beggars belief. Admittedly, the presenters (Matt Brown and Sarah Cawood) weren't as bad as they could have been - this is ITV2, so Kate Thornton and Michael Greco would have been a real possibility; or Jonathan Wilkes and Kerry McFadden. But Matt Brown has got no screen presence at all, and it must be disheartening for him to be passed from project to project like an especially inept work experience boy nobody wants to find themselves lumbered with. And lovely though Cawood is, she doesn't actually seem to have a day job of any sort.
The programme did itself no favours by mixing its order up - so we get matt and sare doing an intro in broad daylight, before cutting to The Darkness in, well, the darkness - yes, we're starting with the headliners. There's a clip of the Jurassic Five, proving that the rubbish about 50 Cent's bottling off being down to an intolerance for "urban" music was baseless - he was bottled off as a judgement on his performance, not his genre. Brian Molko is interviewed for a short while by Cawood (who is unable to talk at this point due to a wonky throat); the interview lasts so long they could have had another track from the band. Incidently, what's with Molko's hair? Two long bits hang down at the side, so that when the wind blows he has an evil uncle's moustache, and at the top there's a strangely thick patch cut in what would be a short back and sides peeking out from longer hair. It looks like a cultivated lawn in the middle of a meadow.
A couple of weeks ago, we might have snorted at the NME getting Razorlight to take their clothes off. Having watched Johnny clearly getting excited at getting half naked in front of a large crowd, we realise we were wrong on that one. More naked Razorlight writhing, please.
But in an hour - or, really, forty minutes by the time you cut out the pointless interviews, the ads, and the thirty seconds of the Dropkick Murphys (why?) - how are you going to throw a girdle round a three day festival? It's just not possible. Maybe ITV has plans to use more of this material in the middle of the night sometime (ooh, and there's another forty-odd minutes tomorrow night, too) but even so: you wonder why they bothered to buy the rights if this is all they can think to do with the footage. Thank god they stay away from the Olympics nowadays.
POPOBIT: As we mentioned earlier, Carl Wayne of The Move has died. The 61 year old, latterly a Radio WM presenter, and also a member of The Hollies, had been fighting cancer for some time.
One of the great (wrong) pub quiz answers of all time, The Move were actually the second act played on Radio One (pole position went to Johnny Dankworth, whose Beefeaters, Tony Blackburn's theme, preceded them). Carl, born in 1943 in Birmingham, fronted up the band and built a reputation for being borderline dangerous on stage, demolishing electrical items and, on one occasion, setting fire to the Marquee stage. The band were playing 'Fire Brigade' at the time. Further publicity (of the "no such thing as" kind) came when a promotional stunt turned into a political incident - the inclusion of a naked picture of Harold Wilson with the Flowers in the Rain single still being enough to outrage public decency in a United Kingdom still coming to terms with the twentieth century. The Move eventually morphed slowly into the Electric Light Orchestra, with Carl leaving to concentrate on solo and collaborative work, picking up acting credits in Crossroads and on stage - most notably in Blood Brothers - along the way.
WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: As if to prove the pisspoor levels of service Royal Mail offer, the NME hasn't yet turned up here so we're left with nothing but a post-it note saying "POSH - KID3" for WTPPS so far. Hopefully, it'll be around tomorrow evening.
POPOBIT: Just heard that Carl Wayne of The Move has died.
LIVERPOOL POLICE NOT USED TO SEEING BLOKE WITH GUITAR HOLD A CROWD: You've got to feel a real pang of symapthy for Hal Bruce, who'd travelled from Canada to take part in the Beatles Festival in Liverpool and got ordered to stop halfway through his Beatles marathon by the police - because there were no stewards or some other nonesense. Apparently not noticing that on Beatles Weekend everywhere in the city centre is about thirty-deep in heaving tourist flesh, the cops panicked at the site of a small crowd enjoying Bruce's romp through the Beatle catalogue, and told him to stop.
CARRIE OUT!: The Von Bondies have parted with the services of Carrie Smith:
“I have spent countless hours and many emotions thinking about this decision, but ultimately, it is the right decision for me.
"There are so many reasons why I am leaving – some are personal, some are professional, some emotional, some logical – but in the end, I know this is the right thing to do. I am going to miss you all very much and thank you from the depths of my heart for all of your support and encouragement. I will forever be proud that in some small way, we were able to reach out to so many people. Without you, we would be nothing.
“I wish the other VBs much success in the future and I know that they will continue to write and perform to the utmost of their abilities. I hope this change will not bring any of you too much sadness; rest assured, the Von Bondies will carry on with a new bass player. Please embrace her with all the kindness you have shown me!
”In closing, I would like to thank you all once again for everything you have given us. I will look back at my time with the Von Bondies with pride and satisfaction because we have had the most amazing fans on the planet. This has been an incredible experience for me and I have you to attribute that to. Thank you.”
Carrie is being replaced by another Smith, Yasmeen.
The Way They Were.
IT MAKES YOU WONDER: WHAT ON EARTH ARE THEY SPENDING ALL THAT MONEY ON?: As they bring more court cases and arrange more mergers amongst themselves, the RIAA like to suggest it's all for the good of the talent. Although that's something that doesn't seem to be born out by the experience of the talented. Take, for example, Kevin Shirley, one of the most talented producer/engineers working in metal. According to Shriley's Diary, the labels are just taking the piss these days:
Well, this a wacky ole world. Beware - was a tequila night last night, and I'm in a fine mood! FLAME ON! I'm definitely commiting professional suicide on a huge scale these days. I just get so pissed at these record companies and band managers that treat us engineers and producers like shit, and we are supposed to take it, because there is apparently a dearth of work out there and we should be scraping and groveling. Because the labels spend so much on A&R "expense" accounts, and bitch so publicly about downloading, budgets are cut so much that the quality of product up for offer is often short of nothing but peurile. The music is not the problem, so why spend less on the music than they did thirty years ago. I was listening to old Sabbath the other day, and the care that has been taken to make a quality record then, far exceeds what we have now, by and large! Obviously I'm not stupid enough to name these people (well I am, actually), but certainly by my work schedule, it's not hard to guess who I'm talking about. Everything needs to be done for near-free now, and then it takes forever to get paid! Put it this way, since I got back from London in early June, I've not seen a penny, but plenty of fucking attitude from CEO's, A&R people and managers who have very tight deadlines and want us to fix these cheaply and badly recorded records. One label asked me to mix an entire album for $5k - studio, me, materials included. At best, it could take a week, and studio rates are $2k/day - not to mention all the equipment I own and have loans on! What do they expect me to tell the phone/mortgage/etc companies? Sorry, surround sound doesn't pay thirty days?
... Kevin, get yourself a gig as a merger consultant. That's where the money is in the music industry these days.
THIS IS NOT THE PLACE TO ASK HIM OUT ON A DATE: Gorgeous, pouting sexbucket Matt Phillips of the BPI is doing a chat about downloads on BBC News today, so this is the chance for you to ask him anything you've ever wanted to know about the BPI's attitude to music fans. And if he's single.
WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED?: Charlotte Church's debut as a pop singer has been put on hold due the stuff she's recorded being very low quality. Church has spent six months working on an album's worth of stuff, knocked back by those who've heard it as "complete crap."
More from No Rock on charlotte church
THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS FAT DANCER: Of course, if Robbie Williams really wanted to create a new persona to "get rid of the baggage that goes with being Robbie Williams", wouldn't it have made sense not to tell everyone that you're adopting this new persona? Anyway, Williams has created this "character" called Pure Francis who is going to make "moody experimental music." Pure Francis? Stu Francis, more like.
"I've got him as an alcoholic and an American. I think he's from Orange County, moved to West Hollywood and has not had a lot of luck. He's been a session singer for all manner of people. I don't know how he's got from America to England and on the radio and on the telly but that will come. I know he's been in a lot of pain. It's sort of 'my last go' kind of territory. None of the album's comedy. You want the audience to be emotionally affected by the songs. I'm thinking about doing it with a false nose, a wig and everything and do the best album I've ever done."
So, even Rob has noticed there's a bit of a flaw in the backstory right there, what with this guy simultaneously being down on his luck and, presumably, somehow getting an album out. Robbie, if you need a bit of help, how about he was a contestant on Pop Idol who didn't make the final cut but caught a producer's eye? (See, not difficult, is it?).
If all this sounds familiar, you're probably having visions of Garth Brook's bizarre episode when he pretended to be a musician called Chris Gaines.
The project does have one saving grace, though: Williams is working with Stephen Duffy, so it's just possible the music might be alright.
CLEAN BOOTS: Quick, quick, put down your drinky+ and get over to 3hive, who are linking to a Sonic Youth download.
COOPER: "I WAS BEING A KNOB, NOT A NEOCON KNOB": Alice Cooper has "clarified" his remarks last week when he said that rock stars campaigning for Kerry were engaged in acts of "treason." Cooper now insists that he meant treason against rock and roll, not against the US:
"To me, that's treason," Cooper said. "I call it treason against rock 'n' roll because rock is the antithesis of politics. Rock should never be in bed with politics. When I was a kid and my parents started talking about politics, I'd run to my room and put on the Rolling Stones as loud as I could. So when I see all these rock stars up there talking politics, it makes me sick."
We have to agree with Alice here - maybe it's time those politic-meddling popstars took a leaf out of Alice's book and kept the flame of rock and roll alive by, erm, appearing in TV adverts wearing a pinafore and cooking tea for Ronnie Corbett. That's what Jerry Lee Lewis would have wanted.
We're sure there's no link, by the way, between that commercial, for one of Mr. Rupert Murdoch's money making products and Cooper's attack on rock stars taking the opposing political view to Mr. Murdoch.
HE MONEY WAS NOT TO BE SNIFFED AT: Even so, we're not sure we'd have been quite as quick as Shania Twain to sign up for the new Febreze campaign in the US. What is she trying to tell us? That her house is full of strange smells that need a chemical masking? There's something bad at the back of her fridge that she can't reach? Of course, previous Febreze adverts have featured a talented dog... which sets us up for a cruel punchline even we'd think was going a little too far.
WHO CARES ABOUT THE TRUTH WHEN THERE'S A RICH MAN TO PROTECT?: Despite all the apparent inconsistencies in the claims that a deckhand was driving the boat which killed her, Mexican prosecutors have decided not to bother looking any more deeply into the death of Kirsty MacColl. Nothing to do, of course, with it meaning they'd have to ask Supermarket millionaire Guillermo Gonzalez Nova about the witnesses who say his son was actually in charge of the yacht.
Nova is chairman of Controladora Comercial Mexicana SA de CV, which besides its supermarket chain also runs family restaurants and is in a fifty-fifty partnership running the Mexican branch of Costco.
BAN THE GOTHS: It turns out there's an acceptable number of Goths allowed at a school before black clothing just has to be banned. Head of Wilbur Middle School, Wicita, Cherie Crain is happy until they start flocking:
Crain says students dressing in the so-called Goth style have become a distraction, and some younger students were intimidated. In the past, only two or three among Wilbur's 1,000 students dressed Goth. Crain said she let that slide. But when school in the state's largest city started last week, about a dozen kids had adopted the Goth look.
Intimidated? By Goths? "Mummy, mummy, the girl that smells of fields looked at me..."
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
A LITTLE BIT OF WHAT YOU FANCY...: Talking of unexpected returns: Having realised that Cinerama are starting to sound more and more like his old band, David Gedge has revived the Wedding Present. This is the sort of news which brings a throbbing and tear and a smile all at once. Of course, he lives in Seattle now so it's going to be a little less Granadaland, a little more KACL, but even so... a new Weddoes album in a couple of months. Who'd have given odds?
RESURFACING: Amongst the people joining Carl Cox on his new album Give Me Your Love is - blimey - Saffron from Republica. Blimey.
DID TIPPER GORE RELOCATE TO BRISBANE?: Slightly alarming news from Australia, where the antipodean Whitehouses of the Australian family Association are trying to force censorship on the music videos on TV. We've seen how this works before, of course: disguised behind tutting at the Dirrty video and a couple of rude words in a 50 Cent song is an attempt to close off whole acres of youth culture from the Kids. Let's hope they're rebuffed firmly and swiftly.
More from No Rock on 50 cent
REEKING WITH ATTITUDE: We do love Toby keith's plans for a bar in Las Vegas: it'll be "all Toby, all the time." Except, of course, he won't ever play there.
AS USUAL, MICROSOFT TURN UP LATE TO THE PARTY: Bill Gates and his evil henchmen never bother to turn up early to a party; why bother, when you can arrive later and pinch all the punch simply by flexing your monopoly power? So it is that Microsoft's entry into the online music market has finally got a luanch date. After the work of the RIAA and Metallica to make downloading seem square and a waste of time, we're sure Gates might just manage that.
Your Baby Bird track was not closed down properly. Press any key to re-install.
More from No Rock on metallica
ROCK SICK LIST: One of the few things that had made us wish we'd gone to Reading had been knowing that Deus were due to play there. As it turned out, Deus didn't turn up, either - guitarist Craig Ward came down with something and so they pulled out. He's expected to be well enough for the November tour, mind.
AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF EX-MEMBERS: Having last month received perhaps the ultimate honour - an ITV documentary named after them - And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead look to be having a slightly less stellar time of it right now. First, Neil Busch has had to quit due to "severe health problems" - he's been replaced by Danny Wood, sometime bassist for The Rise for the time being at least. Second, to avoid a clash with Eminem, No Doubt and U2's new albums, the release date for Worlds Apart, the new album, has been shunted down to January 2005. Yeah, that makes sense, because people who would want a ...AYWKUBTDOD album would find, stood in front of the record rack, that they'd much rather have a Bono song. Or Gwen Stefani doing that one about people who claim to know her mother.
WEEZER BLOWOUT ALBUM: Seems that the work done between Weezer and Rick Rubin hasn't really gelled and Weezer have scrapped the Rubin sessions. Rick retains an 'advisoral" role on the new recordings - in other words, they've got to pay him so he might as well make himself useful. The start-again-from-scratch is going to cause problems for the band: Rivers Cuomo is going back to university next month, so they've got to get going to hit their deadline.
THE POWER OF FREE PHONE CALLS: So, following on from yesterday's report on the Middle East Pop Idol, the work of Gaddafi did seem to have paid off: Libya's Ayman al-Aathar beat Palestinian Ammar Hassan, although only by a slim eight per cent margin. But then making it look like an accident comes easy sometimes, doesn't it?
STUFF WE'VE GOT: We'd like to take the time to bring these fine products to your attention:
Various: Extended Play EP:
Regularbeat recordings has brought together four bands into one nifty 7" featuring Leicester's Amrbose Tompkins (the only band ever to use mangos and a metronome on the same song), Liverpool's Yellow Kid, somewhere down amongst the West Midland's Mitch and Murray and Mattew Wood. It's a pretty nifty piece of work; a rare sampler which leaves you wnating to hear more of everyone involved. A couple of years back this would have been tagged and bagged as New Acoustic Movement, which was always a stupid name as one of the joys of stripped down bands is that they don't sound modish and seem to offer an easy connection with all of musical history; it's like trying to suggest that forests and copses is a new scene.
Extended Play is available on Regular Beat recordings and via Rough Trade, norman records and fine indie stores everywhere.
Quiet Loner: Secret Ruler of the World:
You have to have a certain amount of chutzpah to carry off a name like Quiet Loner - you picture people gathering and asking "What are you, some sort of Sarah Records type?," jostling unkindly. But then there are some people who hold the values of the Sarah label as being desirable - being free to express emotions; proud to feel; knowing that fear and hurt are easier to meet head-on than trying to bluster them out of existence. And you know that the name's no accident - someone who can write lines like "I'd like to take your pearls of wisdom and wrap them around your throat" wouldn't have picked a name by accident. It's inhumane to wish misery and upset on someone, but Matt: if your broken heart creates like this, we almost hope you're never happy.
Secret Ruler Of The World is oncircus65 records.
Brave Captain - All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace:
Martin Carr, of course, once a Boo Radley, now following his try-everything once musical philosophy unencumbered by the perils of band democracy. Popular opinion isn't a thing we tend to hold much truck with, but we do find ourselves nodding quietly with people who think it's his greatest work since Giant Steps.
All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace is on Wichita.
The Barbs - Lupine Peroxide
If you kind of like what the Scissor Sisters do, but find yourself unsettled that the Daily Mail and your gran are also enjoying them, you might want to try something that makes nu-glam a little dirtier, heavier, rockier. For that, we'd suggest giving a The Barbs a try. You might want to count the spoons after they leave, mind.
Lupine Peroxide is out next Monday on Mother Tongue.
More from No Rock on rough trade
MORE AGAIN SOON: Now he's had some time mucking about with D12 and got all that out of his system, Eminem has got to work on his proper next album. It's going to be called Encore, and it's supposed to be out before the end of the year; but beyond that nobody knows not nothing. We're guessing there'll be a lot about how fame sucks and everyone wants a piece of his ass, though.
Monday, August 30, 2004
WONDER IF HE BROUGHT JEB BUSH IN AS A CONSULTANT?: You've got to admire Colonel Gaddafi - not only did he manage to get Tony Blair to sit down and have a chat with him in the middle of a war on terrorism, but now he's decided to undermine the Middle Eastern Super Star 2 Pop Idol competition by helping out the Libyian contestant. He pulled a few strings (i.e. told people 'do it or be shot') to ensure that Libyians could vote for free in the contest. The Libyian contestant is up against a Palestinian; the Palestinians are bemused why Gaddafi, who usually be counted on to support them in any battle has suddenly turned against simply because it's in his own self-interest. No, really, apparently the Palestinians really, really are surprised by that.
LOOK OUT, RIAA - NOW THEY'RE SUCKING SONGS OFF SATELLITE RADIO: To you or I, a device which allows someone to make a recording of a thing on satellite radio would seem to be nothing more than a handy gizmo. To the RIAA, of course, it's a threat that will wipe out all the music in the world:
A spokesman for the Recording Industry Association of America said his organization had not reviewed the software, but said that in principle it was disturbed by the idea. "We remain concerned about any devices or software that permit listeners to transform a broadcast into a music library," RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy said.
Let's hope nobody ever tells them about the compact cassette - they'd have kittens. Meanwhile, if you're paying a subscription to XM in the US, and want to time shift programmes in the same way you do with your VCR, you can get the TimeTrax software for your PC.
MORE HOMOPHOBIC HOT WATER: The latest silly old homophobe to come a cropper is Sizzla. He's gone to Canada, but, because of worries about his previous statements on homsexuality, before he was allowed in, he signed an agreement with Canadian High Commission that he wouldn't incite hatred while on Canadian soil. Then he went and told a Montreal magazine that everyone should "Burn the sodomite...We won't tolerate homosexuals.'' Now there are calls for Sizzla to face the full wrath of Canada's anti-hate propaganda laws. We're quite taken with the idea that you grant a visa to someone providing they make a special undertaking not to do something that would be against the law anyway - it's like Sizzla's a particuarly dim child: "Now, you do realise that in Canada it's against the law to call for people to be murdered, don't you?"
EVERYONE WANTS TO BE BUSH'S FRIEND: Following on from Britney and Andre 3000 snuggling up to the President, even P Diddy, it seems, wants to get close to the President and his family - and that's a problem. It seems that Laura Bush didn't want to share a stage with Daddy Diddy, and when she told organisers that she wouldn't appear in a photo-op with him at the opening of the National Underground Railroad Centre, Diddy pulled out in disgust. Frankly, mate, not appearing in the same photo as that social X-Ray should have been something that you were having written into your contract, you dimwit.
HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY: There's a few people without whom our life would have been very different; nearly all of them, though, I've met. One bloke, though, I've never spoken too (although I did stand watching Marine Research over his shoulder once), and today, he reaches his sixty-fifth birthday. A man without whom the face of British music would be very, very different and without whom, I think it's fair to say, the cultural life of this nation would be a much greyer and less interesting place.
Happy birthday, John Peel.
AND NOBODY SHOWED OFF THEIR ASS: Ah, that spearmint-peppermint mixture of thrill and disgust which makes up the MTV VMAs. Franz Ferdinand win the breakthrough video prize, but equally, Jet win best rock video. Virtually everything else goes to JayZ or Outkast:
Video of the year: OutKast, "Hey Ya!"
Best pop video: No Doubt, "It's My Life"
Best rap video: Jay-Z, "99 Problems"
Best female video: Beyonce, "Naughty Girl"
Best male video: Usher featuring Lil' Jon & Ludacris, "Yeah!"
Best R&B video: Alicia Keys, "If I Ain't Got You"
Best rock video: Jet, "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"
Breakthrough video: Franz Ferdinand, "Take Me Out"
Best director: Mark Romanek, "99 Problems"
Best special Effects: OutKast, "Hey Ya!"
Best art direction: OutKast, Hey Ya!"
Best editing: Jay-Z, "99 Problems"
Best cinematography: Jay-Z, "99 Problems"
Best choreography: Black Eyed Peas, "Hey Mama"
Best dance video: Usher, featuring Lil' Jon & Ludacris, "Yeah!"
Best hip-hop video: OutKast, "Hey Ya!"
Best group video: No Doubt, "It's My Life"
Best new artist in a video: Maroon 5, "This Love"
MTV2 award: Yellowcard, "Ocean Avenue"
Viewer's Choice: Linkin Park, "Breaking the Habit"
FESTIVAL FALL-OUT CONTINUES: We don't think there's ever been an instance of an act so far up the Reading bill as second headline getting bottled off; but that's what happened to 50 Cent. Obviously the crowd had got a taste for blood earlier in the day, having dispatched Rasmus, but the supposed gangsta rapper was a much mightier scalp - he lasted about fifteen minutes before leaving. Of course, it's very impolite to throw stuff at people, but it does suggest that the paying public disagreed strongly with Melvin benn's claims that the bill at Reading was really strong. Elsewhere at the Tesco Value Lager Weekend, Morgan Nicholls managed to leave his bass behind in Leeds, which would have screwed up the Streets set in Reading, were it not for Amplifier's Neil Mahony lending him a replacement.
Despite the attrition directed at the artists (or perhaps because of), police are reporting that the crowd was a lot more "mellow" than in previous years, which goes to prove if you need to calm people down, throwing them knee-deep into mud is a bloody good plan. Even so, there were 430 crimes reported, which makes one in every 125 festival goers a victim of crime, which is quite remarkable in a three-day period. The same crime rate in London would mean nearly twenty thousand reported crimes a day. Thank god the crowd were mellow.
More from No Rock on 50 cent
Sunday, August 29, 2004
FROM GOTHROCK GODS TO THE NEW DAPHNE AND CELESTE: Despite their supposed role as dark and sinister goth warriors, The Rasmus have backed down in the face of some kids with mud. The audience at Reading had put up with a lot - people charging a fiver for a shower, the railways closing down, rain pouring on them like they'd pissed God off - but asking them to listen to The Rasmus just proved too much. In a hail of mud and bottles, the Goth Warriors ran away back to Finland after a couple of songs. Bless.
"PLEASE, BE INTERESTED IN MY NEW SHOW": Simon Cowell not exactly "threatened by a reject from his latest reality show" - one person sending an email to someone else doesn't really count as threatening a third person just because they were mentioned in it.
READING-LEEDS FESTIVAL LATEST: Well, we thought the one piece of soothing balm about the not-very-comic acts turning up at the first day's events was that at least Goldie Lookin' Chain's set couldn't be crashed by anyone less amusing than the presence on stage. Proves what we know, as dead man's Jackass team Dirty Sanchez joined GLC. In Leeds, The Darkness had one of the toughest gigs of their careers - technical screw-ups left them struggling with poor sound at the start, making it an uphill task to win over the northern audience. Apparently the big hit and the fireworks eventually did the trick. Back in Reading, no such trickiness for Morrissey, who came on and did How Soon Is Now. How Soon Is Fucking Now. This is the festival which hasn't got endless live telly coverage, dammit. Although it's true that Jack White did say the band might never play Reading again, he wasn't really hinting that they're about to split, but just once the White Stripes had headlined, what point was there in returning?
Melvin Benn appeared on the ITV News Channel last night - via Meridian Tonight - claiming that while "other festivals" have their attractions, Reading is the best for music - nothing to do, of course, with "other festivals" only calling on his company to marshall bouncers and build walls rather than programme the entertainments. It's a nonesense, too, of course - Glastonbury also had Morrissey, and it didn't have the White Stripes, but it managed the farewell from Orbital; Paul McCartney; the ludicruous Oasis set... it's not even really possible to compare the two; it's like someone who runs a big wheel pretending that his rides are better than Alton Towers. Which isn't to say we don't respect Reading: we do like a festival that's in walking distance of a mainline railway station (when the trains are actually running), and it's a great number two.
Still, good policy booking Razorlight - they gave an airing to a new song, Keep The Right Profile and looked pretty cool. Despite all the rumours, Pete Doherty didn't join the Libertines down at Reading - and many of the songs he appears in were left out, so his ghostly presence in Music When the Lights Go Out didn't even make it.
Maybe Mean Fiddler are actually smarter than we thought: the Australian Herald-Sun reports that they seem to have either cracked cloning or time-travel:
Among the dozens of acts on the bill were retro rockers the Darkness, the White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand and Green Day.
An identical festival was held in Leeds at the same time. (Our emphasis).
HOW MADONNA'S CASH IS SPENT: It's heartening to see the Kabbalah cult being downgraded from a religion into "Madonna's Mystics" - perhaps something good might come out of her endorsement after all - but equally distubring to see that they're now planning to target children. Good investment of all the money Madonna has been pouring into the fifteen-quid-for-some-string cash guzzling business.
CASH AND THE REPUBLICANS: We can understand hardcore Johnny Cash fans getting upset at the idea of the Republicans paying tribute to Cash at their convention, and there does seem to be something slightly incongruous about either of the US political parties trying to cosy up to the Man in Black. But as Roseanne Cash points out, the thinking behind the tribute is tied to the friendship between Cash and republican Senator Lamar Alexander, and it is explicity not a show of support for Bush or the party itself. It's hard to see how Cash would have objected to a celebration of ties with a man he cheerfully broke bread with; it might be nice for a party so keen on executing people to be given a chance to think about some of Cash's lyrics, too.
More from No Rock on johnny cash
POPOBIT: Singer Laura Branigan died last Thursday from a brain aneurysm. Probably best remembered in the UK for her hit Gloria, Laura never really achieved quite the same dizzy heights again here, but was incredibly popular across Europe and at home in the US. There, Gloria spent 36 weeks hanging around the top end of the Billboard chance.
Branigan had cut her teeth as a backing artist with Leonard Cohen before landing a solo deal with Atlantic at the start of the 80s. Her sales started to decline as the decade ran on - even working with David hasselhoff on the soundtrack for Baywatch didn't help - and she withdrew from music enitrely following the death of her husband, Lawrence Kruteck, in 1996. A comeback had started in 2002 when she took the title role in the Joplin musical Love Janis. She had a wide-ranging CV: amongst her other work, she appeared in a bit part in 80s buddy cop show CHiPs.