Saturday, May 07, 2005


There's generous, there's generosity, and then there are free Go-Betweens gigs. They play Avalanche Records, Edinburgh next Wednesday [12th May]. There's also a proper, paid-for tour as well:

Brighton Concorde 2 (May 9)
Liverpool Carling Academy (10)
Glasgow Renfrew Ferry (11)
Birmingham Carling Academy (13)
London Shepherds Bush Empire (14)

And, apparently, there's going to be small tribute to the band in a forthcoming episode of 24, where a knowing hat is tipped through a company called McLennan-Forster. Mind you, since all the staff are certain to end up dead/burned/working for turrists, it's probably a back-handed tipping.

The new album:

Oceans Apart, in glorious double CD version


Les McKeown has admitted smashing his car while twice the legal limit for driving - thirty years after being convicted of reckless driving in an incident which caused a woman's death.

When stopped by police he claimed he had not been driving the car and had just returned from a meeting with Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.

So he was so pissed he seems to have not realised that the person who'd seen him crash his car and try to flag down a cab to escape had, erm, seen him crash his car rather than be meeting with Ronnie Wood. His defence claimed McKeown had "effectively panicked" - although it wasn't very effective, judging by his shit alibi. Sentencing takes place on May 12th.

In other 'musicians driving like fuckwits' news, Mindy McCready has been pulled over:

According to the police incident report, Nashville's finest pulled McCready over around 3 a.m. for a standard speeding violation after clocking her at 58 in a 40 mph zone. Corporal Candace Mowry said the arresting officer initiated a field sobriety test after smelling alcohol in the car; McCready performed poorly on the test and refused a Breathalyzer.

It's not known if she refused the brethalyzer with the words "no thanks, officer, I've got a Bacardi and coke here already." McCready admits she was speeding, but denies that she was pissed and also says that charges that she was driving on a suspended licence are also wide of the mark. She's been released on bail, but she must be worried that a guilty verdict here will lead to her sentence for possession of oxycontin being toughened up.


The reunion kind of runs forever - clearly delighted with the million or so quid they made last year, The Pixies are doing a twenty-one date tour, although original plans were to do as many fifteen two-shows a night have been scaled back, so just four US cities get the double deal. But this isn't the end of Nu-Pixies: their tour agent says there are "a lot of markets left to play in the future." It sounds like the intention is to visit every single US city at some point. The good people of Wichita Falls, Texas, have already promised they'll leave the waterfall switched on overnight when they get their Pixies date.


It's lucky the RIAA doesn't have a soul or anything, otherwise it'd have to spend some time searching it to try and work out exactly why people hate it and most of the artists it's members represent. Even Jaguar - who are owned by Ford, so not entirely afraid of the faceless monolith - are so convinced the majors couldn't generate a good time given a bag of coke, Kate Moss and a bucket of goosefat - when they came to pull together a CD to reward testdrivers of their 2005 model, they had only one instruction for Jason Bentley, a Santa Monica DJ who compiled the set: "They didn't want me to use music from major labels." So instead, Jaguar 2005 features Lemon Jelly, Cut Copy, Zoot Woman and the like.

Of course, there's a certain amount of "making the brand cool" bollocks in sticking just to the indie labels, and you can probably gather flipcharts from the Jaguar dustbins to prove the point, but even so: a major corporation telling four other corporations that, by definition, their music doesn't cut it, even for people who drive pointlessly expensive cars - that's really got to hurt.


Police in the US are asking fans of Ratdog to help out with a search for Patrick M Welsh; he's not been seen since April 15th, and there's some suggestion he could be following the band. They played New York the last night he was seen. It is slightly curious, though, as to why the cops are issuing an appeal to Ratdog fans rather than just popping down to their next gig with a couple of photos.


Foxy Brown has refused to cut a deal with the prosecution in the case which claims she beat up on a load of nail technicians. The details in their banal glory are:

Brown had stopped by Bloomie's, a salon she frequents in the city's Chelsea district, on Aug. 29 to get her nails in shape for the MTV Video Music Awards.

She says two salon employees locked her in the salon after she refused to pay for a manicure she claims she never received.

Bloomie employees Myoung Yi and Sun Ji Song, meanwhile, say Brown's claws came out after seeing her bill. They claim the artist whacked them with her cell phone and fist, causing "bruising and swelling to the face, as well as substantial pain."

The workers called the police, who let Brown go after she showed them her receipt. But Brown was later slapped with assault, attempted assault and harassment charges.

You;d have thought Brown would have been keen to cut a deal and stop the pain of the courtcase, if only because they keep referring to her by her slightly less bling real name of Inga Marchand.


Sunderland is having a glorious week of it. They won the race to declare election results first (okay, that does just make them look slightly needy for publicity come to think of it: "The place where people can count quickly. Once Every Four Years" does sound like the advertising slogan for a city that doesn't have very much in the way of attractions.) And tomorrow, before their local team kicks off the last match of the season, they're getting some Futureheads action to celebrate their promoition to the next league up. (We're lost now as to what any of the leagues mean, as it seems that the Fourth Division is now pretending to be the second division).


Good news for people who feel that copyright protection has got too tight: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed a Federal Communications Commission order that would have required people making digital TV equipment to make their machines recognise a "broadcast flag" in signals that would limit what people could do with copyrighted material. The flag, in effect, would prevent viewers from making up the 21st century equivalent of tapes of their favourite bits of programmes, or lending last night's 24 to a mate who missed it, unless the copyright holder gave them explicit permission to do so. The appeals court, though, pointed out that the FCC had no powers to insist manufacturers do so, because the flag device was activated only after a signal had been communicated - in other words, after the FCC's jurisdiction had been left.

Of course, they'll just find some senator or congressman and pump cash into his pocketbook until they change the law. Apparently, it's important, to protect the American way:

On Friday, broadcasters vowed to take their fight to Congress and push for broadcast-flag legislation that "preserves the uniquely American system of free, local television," said Edward Fritts, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters.

We know that ITV's regional news programmes aren't what they were, but in what way is local free to air TV "uniquely American"? And how exactly does breaking people's TV sets defend that anyway?


We know that we should be pleased that someone is making Sonic Youth tshirts for babies, but we can't help but feeling that it's wrong: surely it's just as cruel to inflict your artrock passions on a child as it would be make them parade your love of Celine Dion?

Friday, May 06, 2005


We know Ozzy Osbourne isn't totally connected to the world the rest of us live in, but even so: what is the international fame that he believes Sharon has achieved?. A couple of Asda adverts, a guest slot judging some sort of fifth-generation opportunity knocks and a daytime chat show so godawful the network who made it not only axed it, but spent a fortune gathering up back issues of TV Guide to destroy them so they could pretend it never happened?

Besides, why would Ozzy have trouble coming to terms with his wife being so busy? It must be sweet getting her out the house so often. It's the rest of us that have to cope with her inability to find somethins she's good at.


Sick of being called everywhere they go, Brian McFadden and Delta Goodrem are planning to start over by relocating to New York. Friends explain it all:

Brian felt it was time for a new start where no one knows them - or their past.

It's not clear why they've chosen New York, as virtually everywhere outside of Delta Goodrem's hometown would struggle to put a name to her face, and McFadden is slipping so quickly from people's minds he has to show ID to get into his own living room. Apparently, Delta believes that her career lies ahead of her in the US. Maybe if Jessica Simpson gets her own sitcom, and the standards are low, and there's a part for an aunt that doesn't require too much talking, and every actress in America is too busy with proper work, and the producers decide not to use a glove puppet.

We're sure the Australian Tourist Board will be delighted that Delta's very publicly chosen some place else.

[Updated 23/08/08 to reflect current site style; content unchanged]


Poor Puff Combs Sean Diddy Daddy - there he was, flying off to some pointless business meeting when his plane was struck by lightning. Although there was an emergency landing, nobody was hurt.

Now God has raised the stakes by taking a pop-shot at Combs, it's expected that the Catholic Church will have to take a side in the East Coast-West Coast rap wars. "It's only a matter of time before Pope Benedict does a drive-by in the Popemobile" suggested an expert.


In the comments section earlier this week, Robin Carmody pointed out that the BBC News had slightly over-estimated what the Number 8 entry for Coldplay meant in terms of history: the original article has now been revised a little:

Coldplay have become the first male British band to have a new entry in the US Top 10 singles chart since The Beatles.

Someone reminded them the Spice Girls entered at number five with Say You'll Be There in 1997. Which actually means that Coldplay aren't even the first UK band to score a top ten entry in the last ten years. Although 'Coldplay - not as good as the Spice Girls' is a headline which appeals.

We'll let you know if their acievement gets any further write-down.


With their role as tastemakers for a nation getting ever more serious, it;s disturbing that Starbucks in the US is moving into providing censorship with your frappucinos. The chain has decided to withdraw its support for the new Bruce Spingsteen album because it mentions anal sex and using prostitutes. Starbucks' Ken Lombard tries to play down the censorship angle:

"There were a number of factors involved. It (the lyrics) was one of the factors, but not the only reason," Lombard told Reuters.

He said Starbucks' two Hear Music stores in Santa Monica and Berkeley, California were selling "Devils & Dust," even though the CD would not be stocked in coffee shops.

"While we agreed the lyrics to 'Reno' did warrant an advisory, our decision to choose another title to showcase was ultimately an issue of scheduling."

Yes, apparently the coffee shop decided that it couldn't let down, um, Antigone Rising (nope, us neither) and so there simply wasn't room for Bruce - it wasn't the buttfucking, oh no. Starbucks have nothing against that. They weren't censoring. Is that clear? They simply went to all the trouble of cutting a deal with Sony to push the CD, and then suddenly remember - whoops - that they'd already made this deal with Antigone Rising. Who don't sing about anal sex, but that's not the point.


Having managed to fight back from his brain haemorrhages - two of 'em - Edwyn Collins then managed to contract MRSA while supposedly recovering, says his wife:

"Edwyn does have MRSA and has had it for a few weeks, but he has turned the corner and is now doing absolutely fine.

"He contracted it in the wound site as a result of the operation but he received treatment and has come along brilliantly. He has had further surgery to remove the infected tissue and is fighting back, just as he has done all along."


Although, apparently, the US authorities have approved Audioslave's plans to play a gig in Havana, we're a little confused: isn't it illegal for American citizens to visit Cuba at all? Is this all some kind of trap? Anyway, it's the first time that an American band have played a gig on Cuba - so far, the influence of US rock on the island has been restricted to the stuff being blared into metal boxes over in Guantanamo.

We're sure that Audioslave won't be thrown in prison when they try to get back into the US.


Continuing the frankly bizarre dual policy of trying to close down peer-to-peer networks and developing a business plan that relies on the same networks, EMI has signed a deal with Shaun Fanning's Snocap to use the 'fingerprint' technology to track potential legal, charged downloads through the networks.

"This sends a signal to music industry critics who claim we are technophobic," said EMI Music North America chairman and chief executive David Munns. "If anything, we are embracing technologies like Snocap, which allow the peer-to-peer community to share music legally."

But Mr. Munns, nobody thinks the record labels are technophobic - we simply believe that you're bloated, slow-moving and greedy and obsessed with discovering expensive solutions to try and keep prices of music artificially high rather than growing the market by junking DRM and reducing prices to a realistic level. Something the Snocap deal signals once again, if you think about it.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: The problem with giants are they cast enormous shadows special

Two weeks ago, it was Coldplay - Part One. "The only things I read about us are terribly abusive and the only people I meet hate us" sobbed Chris. Have you ever wondered why, Mr. Martin? Perhaps its because you say things like "it's about turning up at the NME awards and feeling you can look Paul McCartney in the eye because you work as hard as him." What - three albums in how many years? How about looking, say, a builder in the eyes? Or a nurse?

He does have a great promotional idea, though: "commercially, it would be a great idea to blow my head off with a shotgun." No, no, Chris. That would be an awful business decision. Shotguns are expensive; swimming after a heavy meal might be a better idea.

Last week, it was Coldplay - Part two. And, frankly, this was the more honest and interesting part:

"Because we step back, Chris' point of view is, therefore, our point of view. We've been happy to let it be the Chris Martin Band," says Will. About the most diplomatic, face-saving way of admitting you're back-up boys to the Hollywood Husband there is.

But the big thing last week was Oasis' world exclusive interview. They've not changed a bit, you'll be delighted to hear - still stupid, boorish and utterly irrelevant. Here's Liam, muttering proudly that "there wasn't a cut on my fucking' face" after his fight in Munich. Then here's Noel, denying Zak Starkey was drafted in because his Dad was in the Beatles: "that'd be like getting Stella McCartney to do backing vocals." Or hiring someone because they were in Heavy Stereo, presumably?

Noel then suggests that "£32.50 is nowhere near enough to come and see me play my guitar..." (ah, remember the days when Matt Johnstone would insist that "five pounds for a year of my life is a bargain"? He was wrong, too), before they start to consider their competition. "Scissor sisters? It's just music for hairdressers, isn't it?" Don't be down on the hairdressers, Noel; they might be able to help you with the looking ten years younger business. Liam has a Scissor Sisters opinion, too: "I'm more entertaining than that cunt, and I'll rip his fucking vocal chords out anyday because he's fucking rubbish." Erm... except, the only time you've ever gone head to head, at last year's Glastonbury, you were so unentertaining even Michael Eavis couldn't find anything positive in your performance.

Why, the NME asks Noel, would a 16 year old care about the return of Oasis? "Because your big brother would have fucked drummed it into your head that we meant more than any other band." Well, apart from any 16 year old with any sense saying "if you're so important, why does nobody give a fuck about you now?" and the chances that only an older brother who still lives at home in their early 20s would be in a position to have this conversation, when i was 16 I immediately distanced myself from any band my brother might have endorsed on the grounds that it was likely to be late-period Gary Numan or Iron Maiden. But Noel seems convinced that the kids love him: "All these 15, 16 year olds were saying 'Definitely Maybe changed our lives, we'd jump around with tennis rackets to rock and roll star.'" Even Noel spots the flaw in this claim: "You were fucking nine when it came out." Exactly.

And how does Liam feel about Pete Doherty? "So what does the word Libertine mean? Freedom! He's fucking in the corner with a helmet on his head... there's nothing free about that." Er, right, Liam - except Libertine doesn't mean freedom, it's a term used for someone who is dissoloute or living outside of social norms, which would seem to be absolutely spot-on for a drug-addled burglar who shags Kate Moss.

How Liam doesn't understand anything about rock and roll: "They [The Kaiser Chiefs] wear fucking make-up and their kecks are skintight. What's that about?" You start to realise exactly what it is about Oasis that is so life-crushing: the hate the scissor sister's colours, they hate the Kaiser Chiefs' attempts to put on a show; it says it all that when pressed for a band they like, Liam offers Kasabian. They have the same one note, grey, sights-no-higher than last orders and a kebab attitude; a swagger about an empty life. Like those scrapyards you see with nothing worth stealing but nevertheless with four guard dogs parading about, Oasis have always been stuck with a worldview that can't see beyond the end of the street. They haven't changed.

This week, the bands went head to head with talking about their new albums. Chris Martin talked us, track by track, through X&Y. The secret track - a move so pointless in the age of CDs and downloads (how do you do a secret download anyway?) - was originally written for Johnny Cash, who had the good sense to die before recording it. Martin says he had trouble writing from the perspective of a seventy year old man, presumably because he can't imagine having a soaraway life like that.

Oasis, meanwhile, explain the inspiration behind some of their tracks. One new song is about buying a bottle of milk; but we finally get to the bottom of why they say each album is better than Definitely Maybe - Liam thinks DM "was just alright."Something, at last, we can agree on.

Also in this week's nme: Serge Pizzorno from Kasabian talks about getting hit with a bottle in Glasgow - six stitches, but he'll have to go bald before anyone sees his scar. So, about 2009, then.

E from Eels takes on the might of Peter Robinson: apparently, they did the interview before but the tape machine had no batteries in. Who knows what we, as a world, missed out on?

Brett Anderson wants us all to go out and vote (there's still time, polls don't close until 10). If you don't vote, he warns, extremist parties like the BNP could creep into power.

Not being apathetic are Thom Yorke and Mark Thomas - they've put together a contest to try and promote awareness of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Come up with a nifty new name for it, and you could win £100 and a signed CD. Plus, the vague possibility that you won't spend a nuclear winter as a bitch to a giant cockroach.

The Killers face down the Fannish Inquisition (a long running and bad name for a feature); they're a bit sniffy when someone hints they sound like Shed Seven: "if we sounded like them, they would have sold three million records and we probably would have heard of them." But you sound like you, and we bet that the drummer from Shed Seven doesn't know who you are.

gorillaz - demon days - "a few IQ points away from being as clever as they think it is", 8
electrelane - axes - "fine and dandy", 8

totw - ambershades - my darling - "file next to Wake Up Boo"
juliette & the licks - got love to kill - "averagely mundane"
warren suicide - i know you - "exfoliate"


We're disappointed that Jessica Simpson is denying that she's having a thing with Fred Durst; if only because it would be nice for her to be in a relationship where she was the intellectual powerhouse for a change.


There's not many people who'll be upset by the latest bunch of Rajar figures. Talk Sport have overtaken Virgin to become the nation's second-most listened to commercial station, but Virgin have managed to add some listeners to their audience so they're not too upset. The inexorable rise of Terry Wogan continues; he's increased the biggest audience in UK radio a little further; Radio One nudged up slightly to 9.96 million listeners overall, and 7, 6Music and 1Xtra have all shown increases - 7 has become the first digital-only network to break through the half-million listeners mark.

In the overcrowded London market, Heart, Capital and Magic continue their dainty dance, this time round with Heart edging to the top of a largely undifferentiated pile. They might be less delighted at Heart to discover that Jono Coleman, the breakfast host they canned in favour of Jamie Theakston, had delivered a 28% rise in listeners during his last period in charge of the shift.


Who on Earth would be so deluded as to suggest that Melanie Blatt actually preferred Jay Kay to his bassist Stuart Zender, but got pregnant by Zender anyway as he moved in too quickly for Jamiroquai? Nobody at all. Except Jay Kay.

Coming tomorrow: "I so was in with that Britney Spears, but I stopped to tie my shoelaces and... woosh, in went Federline..."

It's not clear if Mel Blatt has ever considered the thought of having Jay Kay pumping up and down on top of her like a Jack Russell in a bouncy castle, but we think this might be her reaction:

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Just a few short months after the last attempt collapsed like a souffle in an oven on the R101, Victoria Beckham is threatening to try and relaunch her singing career. Actually, we're not sure "relaunch" is right - surely "launch", unless you count standing in the background of Spice Girls videos as "a singing career".

The Daily Mail reckons "she wants to be famous for something other than being David Beckham's wife." As, indeed, you will be, Victoria. David Beckham's ex-wife is a very real possibility; and the way David's going being famous as his wife won't be much of an option for that much longer.


We're not surprised that Madonna has appparently told Britney she's "too busy" to be a godmother: after all, that's the reason Maddy gave for not answering when she was asked how she felt about the chap at the Kabbalah Centre she helps fund making his holocaust remarks. How can somebody without the time to make a simple statement ever hope to find the space in their schedule to help take care of a kid's spiritual wellbeing?

Of course, the kid will doubtless be delighted in a few years to discover that it almost had a cult fundraiser acting as a conduit between it and God. Presumably it would be the only such relationship where the godkid was expected to contribute to the godparent, and not vice-versa.


We know that Sharon Osbourne has so little to offer she's got little choice but to keep telling the same anecdote about the time she supposedly phoned Robbie Williams by mistake, thinking it was Ozzy and coming on to him. Now Kelly is using the same story to try and cover up her own lack of anything to add to the gaiety of nations. Quite why The Sun thought it was worth running the anecdote so old hairy it first appeared when people still liked The Osbournes, we don't know.


In the running for the Mojo Awards this year are David Bowie, Siouxse Sioux, The Ramones, Johnny Rotten and Marc Bolan, up for the "icon" award; Paul Weller, Kate Bush and Brian Wilson are struggling with each other for the songwriter award - someone called Damien Rice is also nominated, but surely he's not been born yet?

Next year's awards are expected to show some signs of the influence of the so-called New Wave scene that some Mojo staffers claim could be the next big thing.


Another one bites the dust: Uncle Joes in Jersey City closes. Nothing to do, we suspect, with the Wigan-based Mint Ball company of the same name.


Making its appearance: Tuning Fork, a blog dedicated to reviewing Pitchfork reviews.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Wasn't "I was so busy, I thought someone else was taking care of it" the excuse Bobby Brown used last time he was up in court for not paying child maintainence? Only he's used exactly the same reason to explain why he's been dragged back to court for not setting up a college fund for his kids. He was preoccupied with making his fly-on-the-wall series, he reckons (although, surely, a fly on the wall show requires him to just go about his everyday life?) and thought that a person from his entourage would be dealing with looking after his kid's future. And they say that Dads today don't care. Brown made a promise to sort out the missed payments. Let's hope he remembers to ask someone to do it.


Good news for Pheena - they can get back to their life of relative obscurity after Ceri Bostock was cleared today of causing actual bodily harm Ceri said she was delighted to reach the end of "six months of hell." Someone should get her and Cheryl Tweedy to do a duet pretty sharpish.

[Updated 23/08/08 to reflect current site style; content unchanged]


He's left it to the very last minute, but at last


We might have mentioned that before. You can now download what used to be their 7" only single, Gonna Rip Up Your Photograph; and catch them supporting the Damned over the next week:

May 5th - Bilston Robin2
6th - Bradford Rios
8th - Islington Academy

And then, on the 10th, they're headlining at the Dublin Castle's Club Fandango. So neat, it could join the army.


Of course the reformed New Edition would take troubled Bobby Brown back, despite all the "troubles" in his life. Because he might be a confused screw-up, but he's got a reality show and a profile.


Nobody seems to know how its happened, but Don't Believe The Truth, the new Oasis album has appeared online. Legally. It's turned up on the German iTunes site, nearly four weeks ahead of its supposed release date. And, should you wish to spend 99 cents (and have an account which will let you buy from Germany - which should mean any EU country, but they've not actually had their ass kicked on that yet) you can go to the site and buy it. In other words: you can be disappointed and bored by the album nearly a month ahead of your friends.

We don't know why the Germans are being used as a testing bed for this album - perhaps its revenge for the time Liam got the crap beaten out of him in Munich.


Tucked away amongst all the sobbing and crying over HMV's sales is an interesting little nugget: same-store sales at HMV are down year-on-year by 3.8%, but their music and DVD sales increased. In other words, selling CDs is a better business to be in than the other rubbish that HMV has tried to bulk its stores out with over the past few years. Yes, that's despite the supposed buggering of the physical CD market the BPI claims can only be arrested by dragging downloaders into court.

Time and again, the figures prove that there's no crisis in music industry: why does the BPI continue to thrash about like an organisation in its death throes? Why does the BPI persistently denigrate the performance of an industry it's meant to be talking up?


Westlife have been told they cannot register their name as a trademark because Imperial Tobacco's West brand is too similar. The European court of First Instance agreed with the tobacco company that "the average German consumer" would find it hard not to get confused by the Irish boyband and a packet of fags. Westlife are to be allowed to carry on using the name, but cannot claim it as exclusive.

For those of you having trouble telling the difference: West come in packets of 20 and prolonged use can cause lung cancer; Westlife come in a bunch of four and even low-level exposure can lead to total cancer of the soul.


Justin Timberlake does so little singing these days he didn't even notice at first that he was suffering from throat nodules; now he's discovered them, though, it's time for an operation to remove them.

Asked if, following the operation, Justin will still be able to do what he's famous for, a doctor confirmed that the procedure won't affect his ability to have sex with Cameron Diaz.


Charlotte Church has given herself a payrise, bringing her weekly spends up to £300. That's fifty quid more than before, or a whopping 20% increase.

£300 a week doesn't sound like much, but luckily she knows a bar where you can get two Bacardi Breezers for the price of one so she's able to make it stretch.


Over in Caernarfon, the trial of Ceri Bostock, singer with the Atomic Cymru band Pheena, has started with Bostock denying assault causing actual bodily harm.

The prosecution claim that Ms Bostock told police that she intended to pour a drink over Mr Jones after he made a comment about her mother, but Mrs Parry Williams had pulled her hair and she dropped the glass. "She says it was an accident. The Crown says it was an attack."

The attempts to work out exactly what happen continue in court.


The detail of the American Idol allegations has been fleshed out by ABC's Primetime Live, who've spoken to Corey Clark and heard his claims that Paula Abdul coached him. Mind you, we're not sure what she's meant to have coached him in:

In an interview airing on Wednesday on ABC's "Primetime Live," former "Idol" finalist Corey Clark said Abdul coached him privately and gave him money for expensive clothes before he was kicked off the show during its second season for concealing a prior arrest record.

The 24-year-old Kansas native told ABC News that Abdul even "got my haircut for me." "So she was like, 'You got to have better song choices, and I want to help you do that. I want to look after you like -- like I'm your mom,'" Clark quoted Abdul, 42, as telling him in excerpts of his interview released by ABC on Tuesday. "And then she was like, 'Well, more like your sister.' And I was like, 'OK, cool, cool, cool," Clark said. "And then she was like, 'Well, maybe more like your special friend.'"

According to ABC, Clark claimed Abdul initiated a relationship that began as platonic but turned sexual.

Thank God she revised herself down from being his sister. Of course, Clark was kicked off the show because he'd lied about his past to the producers, so might have a bit of an axe to grind.

The 2002 winner, a cartoon cat, is believed to be untouched by the rumours.


We're surprised, but strangely delighted, to discover that besides writing a concept album about a boxer, Aimee Mann enjoys boxing herself. Splendidly, she often makes her bass player spar with her during tours. Presumably she just uses the drummer for target practice.


As if Lil'Kim didn't have enough troubles to contend with, now she's facing legal action from two blokes who claim she never paid them for the work they did on La Bella Mafia. Anthony Jeffries and Vincent Hart tell a tale that's slightly complicated:

Jeffries and Hart say in papers filed in Manhattan's state Supreme Court that on Christmas Day 2002, about a month after work on the album was completed, the rap diva gave each man a piece of jewelry she said was worth $10,000.

However, court papers say, Lil' Kim demanded the jewelry back in July 2003 and threatened physical violence if the men refused. The men's lawyer, Kenneth Sussmane, said "a very large person came around to collect the pieces, and they gave them back."

We love this - it's like the start of Top Cat when he tips the doorman with a coin on a string. Kim's people claim the men did get paid, and that all this is little more than an attempt to cash-in on her being notorious due to her other court case.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


We're delighted to welcome a new musicblog, Sweeping The Nation, by Simon T the one-man team behind football blog It's Up For Grabs Now. We're especially delighted by Simon's revisiting of the NME's BritPack 18 months on.


Always a delight to hear from Matt T:
The word "Curate" now seems to have been redefined as "take over every bloody thing."

Haven't seen this on your site yet - apparently, Patti Smith is curating Meltdown this year, but whats astonishing is quite how many times she has seen fit to put herself on the bill. See below...

* Yoko Ono (Queen Elizabeth Hall, June 17)
* Rachid Taha with special guest Patti Smith (Royal Festival Hall, 17)
* Songs Of Innocence, Protest Songs and Lullabies, Feat. Patti Smith, Beth Orton, Sinead O’Connor, Kristin Hersh plus more (Royal Festival Hall, 18)
* Billy Bragg (Queen Elizabeth Hall, 18)
* Steve Earle and Patti Smith (Royal Festival Hall, 19)
* The Coral Sea 0 Text: Patti Smith Music: Patti Smith, Kevin Shields, Cat Power (Queen Elizabeth Hall, 22)
* A homage to Bertolt Brecht. Feat. Patti Smith, Antony, Dresdon Dolls, Marc Almond, Neil Finn, Tim Finn, London Sinfonietta and more (Royal Festival Hall, 23)
* Antony And The Johnsons (Queen Elizabeth Hall, 24)
* Patti Smith performs Horses with Special Guest John Cale (Royal Festival Hall, 25.)
* SONGS OF EXPERIENCE The work of Jimi Hendrix and the music that inspired him Feat. Patti Smith, Jeff Beck, Flea, John Frusciante and more (26)

Apart from anything else, I don't think I've ever seen so many teeth grindingly awful bands in one place. (Apart from the ever wonderful Dresden Dolls.)

Well, to be fair, it is her Meltdown. But it does have an air of a local radio station with only one star spreading them as thinly as they possibly can. Surely Patti must have some phone numbers of other people?


Dimwitted scion of a glam rock god, Otis Ferry has reappeared. You'll recall Bryan's son twatted about in the House of Commons last year, because he really, really believed that everything the countryside means was about to be ruined by the ban on fox hunting. Despite having been proved resoundingly wrong - hunts are still taking place, under less cruel rules; village life hasn't fallen to pieces; horses haven't had to be eaten - Ferry is still determined that the hunting ban be treated as a major election issue. We're sure, actually, that Blair would agree with him, as it'd probably make a nice change for him to have some dimwitted posho heckling instead of having to churn through the Iraq war all over again. And today, Otis finally caught up with Tony:

When Mr Blair emerged, he shouted: "Tony Blair, go back to the city. That's the only place you're welcome. Stop smiling, you greasy..."

At that point, Mr Ferry's rant was obediently reined in while in mid-flow, by a timely word of warning from a policeman, who uttered "careful".

Oddly, Ferry was silenced by a single word, which seems a bit of a comedown from a man happy to parade onto the floor of the house.


Thanks to Maximus at Voltage for rattling our peaceful sleep by flagging up the glam-rock past of Liam Fox. Yes, that Liam Fox.

There is nothing effeminate about the stocky, strait-laced Fox. But the music that he likes, from Roxy Music to Soft Cell to Prince to Kate Bush, is not exactly what one would call rugged. "The first music that I got into was glam rock," says Fox. "And I think Ultravox and Visage are great.

There's something unnerving about the idea of Liam Fox sitting in his bedroom listening to Steve Strange; and, ultimately, it's disappointing: we've always thought you can rely on a person's taste in music to predict with a degree of accuracy if you'd be able to get on with them. But if someone who grew up with Babooshka and Say Hello, Wave Goodbye on their Boots tape player can wind up seriously believing that Michael Howard is the man with the right stuff, we can't have faith in that theory any more.


The death has been announced of Johnnie Stewart, the man who created Top of the Pops. It was Stewart who created the basic rules of the chart show - you get on if you're number one, or if you're going up the charts, and weren't on last week. (TOTP watchers still suggest that it was the first bending, and then breaking, of these rules in the late 80s that started the programme on its march towards death-by-three-million-lost-viewers).

He conceived the programme with Bill Cotton in 1963, approaching Jimmy Saville to be the first presenter when the show aired for the first time in January 1964. Savile, of course, is convinced it was all his idea:

We did a programme called the 'Teen and Twenty Record Club' with all sorts of people on it as a pilot. When the BBC said they liked it, it was at the behest of the children of the BBC moguls who were being forced to acknowledge pop music. The BBC, being the BBC, rejigged it and said they liked it and they want to do it but they are going to call it 'Top of the Pops'.

I got a call from Johnnie Stewart. He said: "My name's Johnnie Stewart, I’m working on Top of the Pops based on your thingy, can you work with me on it?"

So for the first six weeks before TOTP, John and I had the enormously difficult task of trying to decide what was going to be in the top ten six weeks hence. And out of the eight records we played on the first show six of them were in the charts and that was as big a miracle as you could get in the pop world!

At first, the programme was tucked into a 25 minute slot, although Stewart once said in an interview that he'd have been pleased with just ten minutes, as it was better to leave people wanting more. Stewart co-wrote the original theme music, versions of which survived unti a year after Stewart left the show. He had taken an extended break before he quit permanently in 1973; during this time set designer Stan Dorfman had been promoted to producer, and made the sort of tinkerings with the format subsequent producers were to try with - innovations dumped the moment Stewart returned to the helm. (Much more about Ver Pops can be found in Steve Williams' piece on Off The Telly)

Stewart - whose greatest moment prior to inventing modern music television was producing Terry-Thomas' TV show - retired to Ibiza. He was 87.


As we're sure you will have seen on the news over the weekend, Limp Bizkit have redesigned their website and their logo - it's the sort of hackneyed soviet-style and burning buildings thing that 13 year olds who've bought (but not read) the Communist Manifesto might doodle. But let's let Fred tell all, from his blog:

the new site is finished and being posted soon. i am happy to say i had fun with this release of the unquestionable truth part one. as you can see we don't give a shit about what anyone has to say about the new album and very much enjoy watching it get a rise out of a lot of you idiots and insects who can't comprehend it. miles of amusement for the soul.

Ah! We thought it was just an over-designed attempt to try and produce something that might look like one of the smaller adverts in Maximum Rock & Roll, in a bid to try and pretend that although Fred Durst lives in a massive, modern house paid for by various endorsements and selling records, he's actually still hardcore. But now we realise we just don't understand it. Although... if Fred doesn't care at all what people think about the new album, how does he manage to get any pleasure of any sort out of people who get it wrong? Either you don't care, or you do, surely?

also, we love love love the people begging for "screaming", etc. because it reassures us how many in the world are truly stuck in the dark and haven't learned to just shut the fuck up and listen for once in their lives. that means there is hope for evolution in a sick sick way.

To be honest, we really don't understand this. Anyone?

do what you have to do and say what you have to say to let everyone know you are you and your intentions, thoughts, concerns, worries, hopes, dreams, and opinions are all that matter to you and only you because you will, or maybe already do, realize that the only one who really cares is you.

Which would have been the most self-aware thing Fred has ever said on his blog, were it not for the way the message boards are going "Yeah! Right on, Fred! We agree totally with what you say, Fred."

you have no idea what is coming

You mean it's not a pisspoor rock album written by someone whose lifestyle and temprament is probably more suited to producing a country album?

... and we think that is sincere and genuine. TUTP1 is your first little dabble in the tangled web you are about to be stuck in. your life as you know it will reinvent itself now and we have nothing to do with it.

Yes, I can feel that my life is reinventing itself - I'm now called Eithnee, a lapdancer from a club in Nantes.

There's a later post, from April 26th:

as you know or have heard TUTP1 is a fugitive. some insults are blessings and as hard as it is to misinterpret "too anxious" for "true support", we hope may third will still be a day to remember for those who are in for the long haul. as confusing as it seems from our perspective we embrace your decisions as a whole.

as for the experience, seven songs on repeat will get inside the soul and cleanse the mirk that lines the inactive chambers of your lost desires. for those about to rock, we salute you.

Yes, truly this will be a day that we all remember forever more. And, before anyone wonders why we didn't go for a cheap shot at "mirk", it is a perfectly acceptable alternative for "murk". Assuming you're writing in the 17th Century, which, having heard the album, we would suggest would be about right for Fred.

We're a little puzzled by the "fugitive" business - we assume he means that the tracks have "leaked" onto the internet, but since he actually put up the tracks and said "here you go", we'd say that made the tracks less fugitive, more a marketing gesture. A free sample, like some shampoo in a packet inside a magazine.


The most astonishing thing about the story of Paris Hilton finding nobody wants to work with her on buying her a musical career is that Le Tigre have turned her down.

What on earth was she thinking of calling Le Tigre in the first place? Is she just working her way through bands that appeared on the coverlines of the last Rolling Stone she bought?

She also asked The Black Eyed Peas and JC Chasez. No wonder the Peas decided to split up.


We were contacted a little while back by somebody who liked Toyah Wilcox, a little testy that we'd drawn attention to her campaign against an asylum seeker centre being cited close to her village. "It wasn't, explained our correspondent, that she had any problems with people from overseas, or even minded overmuch that there were going to be a lot of them near her house; no, she was just worried that the Immigration Centre wasn't the right way to greet people fleeing troublespots. Which might very well be the case, although it does puzzle us why - if her concern was defacto concentration style camps for immigrants - she had campaigned to stop a centre being cited near her house, rather than, say, to allow immigrants to be allowed to live in the community while their claims were being processed. Our correspondent didn't have anything to say on Toyah telling people that their loved ones who committed suicide wouldn't get into heaven. Anyway, Toyah and reality TV whore Andy Scott-Lee have signed on for the next series of Channel Five's The Farm. That's the one where Rebecca Loos wanked a pig.


There's probably some sort of moral line been crossed by the selling of what's claimed to be Britney Spears' positive pregnancy test. The test, apparently, was found in a waste bin in Britney's hotel roomj and, the more-money-than-sense internet gambling hole, has added it to their collection of tat they've bought on Ebay.

Personally, if we wanted to buy something that Britney had pissed all over, we'd go for The last Christina Aguilera album. But we're prepared to admit that there is some historical value in the artefact: it's probably the first and last test that Kevin Federline's ever managed to help anyone pass.


"I was really touched. It's the last thing I expected to come through my letterbox."

That's Jamelia talking, but what was "the last thing" she expected to appear on her doormat? The gnarled hand of a trawler captain? A signed Beethoven score? A photo of Christina Aguilera naked? Nope, actually, it was a slice of Prince Charles' wedding cake. That's the recent wedding, not the one at the start of the tragic and loveless heirdom pact between him and the other woman. Apparently, the cake was to say "thank you" for all Jameila's tireless good works for the Princes Trust. Mind you, if he was that keen to say thank you he could have invited her - bloody Richard E Grant got a seat in the Chapel, which hardly seems fair.

Maybe it'll turn up on Ebay.


Actually, we quite like the basis of today's story - that one of the other members of Babyshambles seems to have noticed that nobody is much interested in them. New drummer Adam Ficek apparently was overheard bemoaning his status as crack-era Sleeperbloke:

"Maybe if I get myself a supermodel girlfriend, take some drugs and spend a bit of time in prison I'll get noticed," he joked. Coming to his senses he added: "Nah, maybe not!"

... it's just we're not sure we can endorse the 3am Girls conclusion:

We agree about the jail and drugs, but is shagging Kate Moss really that bad?

Prison or shagging Kate Moss? With one, you'd be forced to share a really small place with other men of dubious character; with the other, there's at least a possibility that you might get to work on the prison farm.


Interesting new approach at getting out of a contract from the Linkin Park boys: they're seeking to cut free from their label on the grounds that Warners forthcoming floatation will 'enrich investors at the expense of their artists. Which, yes, is true - but Linkin Park signed to the label when it was part of Time Warner, so it's not like they joined a co-operative only to see it being sold out to capitalism. Presumably when the Park joined the Time Warner organisation, they weren't expecting to see all profits going off to help sick dolphins and refloat broken donkeys, did they?

Of course, with a new album about to be delivered, this has little to do with Linkin Park worrying about artist's rights, and is more down to old-fashioned greed, as even their own statement makes clear:

"The new owners of the Warner Music Group will be reaping a windfall of $1.4 billion from their $2.6 billion purchase a mere 18 months ago if their planned IPO moves forward. Linkin Park, their biggest act, will get nothing."

Erm... actually, you'll get the royalties and other payments you've already agreed in your contract, surely? And while we're no fans of Edgar Bronfman, since he and his mates did put two and a half billion into buying the basketcase major label (a label so short of talent Linkin Park accounted for between three and ten per cent of its total sales) and Linkin Park, erm, didn't, we're not quite sure why the band think they have a moral right to any of the returns from that investment.

If they were suggesting turning Warners into a Co-Op, so all the bands on the label got an equal share of that billion-odd profit, we'd be stood behind them, cheering them on. But complaining that something is unfair and should be made equally unfair, but in a different way? That's Tory talk, surely?

Monday, May 02, 2005


There's nothing that unusual about the phrase "there's something fishy going on over at Fox", although normally it's the News Channel where the rum goings-on go on; this time, though, there's doubts about the integrity of American Idol. And, yes, while those words do little more than invoke a sense of "goodness, whatever next - WWF turning out to be all fixed in advance?", because AI does persuade large numbers of people to spend cash on premium rate phonelines in the popular vote, claims made by ABC that Paula Abdul coached a contestant should at least be looked into. Fox Executives ("the spineless Murdochian nod-tossers") had been going to answer ABC's Primetime Live claims, but then decided not to bother. It's fine if the TV companies want a certain person to win, but charging people to vote in a contest that is being fixed would be a serious breach of faith; fraudulent, even. You'd have thought Fox would have loved a chance to put the record straight.


We don't much like Robbie Williams round here - you might have spotted that, although we do try to keep it hidden. Wouldn't do to be a suspect, would it? Anyway, much as we do love the idea that EMI Records (again, not likely to be invited to any rebirthing ceremony we're organising) is getting panicky over what the new Robbie album will be like, we're not entirely sure why the Mirror's declining-era 3AM girls think this is news. Of course the label is going to be worried that the album won't be a major seller - frankly, the people running EMI have such a vague grip on what might be popular or what might sell they might as well just be poking albums onto the market at random. But surely every time a label releases an album by one of their major acts they have a little niggling fear that the masses might be unmoved? It's not like the 3AM team have got anything that suggests the label management are actively seeking out the pearl-handled revolvers - there's no "the head of A&R is uncertain that Williams' new style - something Robbie calls GabbaGospel - is going to alienate fans"; it's all vague 'where will the baby's dimple be?' nervousness.


It's finally all over: Cher has played her last ever gig on the four-year long Never Can Say Goodbye tour. She played what she swears will be the last ever Cher date at the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday night, ending with a medley of hits and wearing a Snow White style gown. Overcome by emotion, her face crumbled into a pile of tears. Luckily, her plastic surgeon was backstage and was able to shore up most of the features as an emergency measure until he's able to start rebuilding next week.


With the news that Rick Rubin is now adding Dixie Chicks to his production credits for Neil Diamond and Johnny Cash, surely it's time to stop suggesting that Rubin working with mainstream artists is that surprising?


Plans to hold a major music festival at the Walkers Yummy Crisps Stadium, home of advertising for Walkers Crisps (oh, and Leicester City play there, too) have fallen through. The organisers of the Foxes Festival couldn't attract enough top-level talent to the city to make the event, scheduled for June 1st, worthwhile. They had booked Status Quo, Lemar, and Darius, which gives you some idea of just how far down the league table they were getting in desperation to fill the bill. The official line is that the event has been postponed - although they've yet to announce a new date; presumably they're going to work around whenever Pete Wylie, Richard Drummie from Go West and Limahl have a free weekend at the same time. If you've already bought a ticket you can ask for your money back, but to be honest, you probably don't deserve it.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


Over on Boing Boing, there's some kicking up and digging in over a music download service which is offering details on its customers for sale to the highest bidder. Circumstantial evidence points to the pimps being eMusic, although eMusic claim that they've never sold their membership list to anybody - although that could be a politician's truth, strictly true but not actually engaging with what the problem is. It's possible to flog the data without actually selling the names; and since eMusic include a right to do this in the membership terms of service, there's not any real reason for them to be upset if people assume they do so. But don't worry, kids, your name and email addresses are stored on a "secure server". So, that's alright then.

Meanwhile, the digging has thrown up a list offered for sale claiming to offer details on 2.1 million iPod owners, but it's not clear where this data originates from. Apple might seem to be the most likely candidate, but we're guessing this is more data gathered from other sources, perhaps by collating factoids from those "Already have purchased/would consider purchasing" type surveys.


We're a little surprised that the good people at Grundy television knocked back the chance to have Kylie on the 20th Anniversary of Neighbours - she was keen to take part, but because she's over here fannying about in a corset, she wanted to film her bit in the UK. Television people said "No". It's a pity, she could have recreated the famous and pointless scene where Danny Ramsay phoned up a couple of weeks after he'd left the show for a chat.

Still, at least Craig McLachlan had no touring commitments.


We can understand that with this last couple of weeks, any famous person with kids and a rumoured-to-be-rocky relationship might think twice about getting a nanny in; but even so is Britney doing the right thing throwing in her career in order to look after her kid? Surely it'd make more sense for Kevin Federline to be the main care-giver; we're sure the 7-11 can find staff anywhere but we really don't relish watching Jessica Simpson covering for Britney on extended maternity leave.


Oh, god. We knew she'd be worse than ever if anyone bought the new record, and, indeed, Mariah Carey has started to be more absurd than ever before. Seeing the success of the Queen musical and, well, we guess someone who's been out in the cold wilderness so long, even that Rod Stewart one must have seemed like an enormous shining example, Mariah has decided to write a "musical" based around one of her albums. Not, sadly, Glitter. She's planning on converting her 1994 Christmas album into a Broadway musical. She's not actually yet found any backer interested in pumping the enormous levels of cash needed to stage a musical into a show that would only be capable of, at best, a two month run at anytime, but we're sure if she promises to stand around in a push-up bra, they'll at least hear her out.


The Foo Fighters have brought forward the release of their single Best Of You, flinging it gaily up onto iTunes; presumably this is to allow the music TV stations to start showing the amusing video over and over again. We haven't seen the video yet, but we're guessing at some point Dave Grohl will dress up as a lady, and there will be a mild joke about drugs contained somewhere within.

We enjoyed that these two headlines appeared side-by-side in our RSS feed:
Dinosaur show to open early


After a couple of heavy days shifting our entire world from one house to the house next door (a very long story), we were delighted as we slumped on the sofa, flicking through Sky TV to discover that Fashion TV is back. It had disappeared in a bid to become a subscriber-only station, but seems to have realised that it's not got much of a future. So it's come back on free to air, and wonderfully, it still features the most mind-boggling selection of music soundtracking the trumping of frocks up and down the catwalk - punk, classic pop, rap, obscure ethereal indie. Yes, there are women in their bras rather a lot but if you can live with that, it's worth giving it an hour to sample what it does. Sky Digital Channel 220.