Friday, March 24, 2006


Come on, Matt Willis, we know you might not want to admit you spent five years making cartoon music for a Petit Filous munching child audience, but your attack on Charlie for his honesty is a bit much:

"I refused to say anything bad when we split but then I read lots of interviews by Charlie slagging off the band - it really p****s me off. I thought: "What a bastard"."

"We were in the band for five years, and it's insulting to our fans who spent money following us around, buying our music and voting for us to win awards. It's out of order.

"I haven't got anything against his new band but it wouldn't have happened if it hadn't been for us."

The thing is, Matt, most of your fans who voted for those oh-so-sought-after TV Hits awards will have hit puberty by now and have probably hidden your records behind sofas because they think they're slightly embarrassing, too. You sound like a man who spent six years dressed up in a Mr. Wimpy outfit trying to suggest that you were some sort of actor.


Drummers, eh? Paul Thompson was taking part in a venue launch with the rest of the Franzs in Manhattan when the bottle of whisky they were using shattered. Despite gashing his finger open, Thomson played on for a full set.

The other band members were, of course, concerned if he should be drumming with a bloody finger. Blood's really tricky to get off a drum kit.


Accoridng to someone who heard one of them talking to someone else in a chipshop, Gorillaz could be coming to an end, and only two years too late:

"Gorillaz will split by the end of the year," said Remi, the voice actor for cartoon Russel.

"We'll wind down in September and by Christmas there will be a break.

"The band is made up of a lot of musicians and it needs a lot of work."

It turns out they're not cartoons at all, then: just people pretending. Daylight has rushed in on magic.

Noodles is in talks with Graham Coxon about releasing some solo work on his label.


We're not quite sure how, if they've disappeared, they can be sure that they were there in the first place, but the loss of a chunk of sales data form internet downloads looks likely to cost Embrace the number one slot this Sunday.

Interesting that with all this DRM all over the downloaded tracks, supposedly designed to keep an eye on what we do with music we've bought, they can't even keep track of what they've sold. And if the UK download system is able to lose sales, can we rely on it keeping proper track of the personal details we entrust to it?


Kevin Federline has turned 28 (a claimed age, we suspect, that might not satisfy New Yorker factcheckers) and to celebrate, Britney spent some money on throwing him a party with all of his friends.

There were lobsters there, too, presumably to raise the intellectual tone.


The reports of his hotel eviction in nothing but undercrackers are followed ttoday by the news that Pete Burns is checking into a hospital.

It's far from clear if the meltdown came from being back in the public eye after Celeb Big Brother, or from being back out of it after CBB finished.


There's a slightly contorted "she admitted for the first time to The Sun" - which make it sound like The Sun is the last, rather than the first, to get the not-entirely-surprising admission from Pink that she used to take smack:

“Heroin is a horrible thing. I’ve seen first hand what it can do to people and it’s not pretty. I was never that much in to it to need treatment.

“But if you’re talking about drugs — you name it, I took it.

“I buried three friends from heroin overdoses. But, you know, onwards and upwards.”

Of course, you can't talk about druks without being asked about Doherty:

“It sounds like it’s his way to be rock and roll. That’s sad.

“In my experience people are searching for something else. In relationships, in drugs, with everything.

“Sometimes when your life is full of pain, drugs give you an escape — then you end up dead or sick.

“It’s not a good place to be but I do understand it. I hope he finds what he is looking for.”

Maybe he should get a pole and dance for Kate. I'm sorry, nobody wanted to have that image, did they?

Interestingly, the paper sort of glides over how Pink turned from being on heroin to not being on heroin - she found other things to do, so decided to stop taking it - because it doesn't really fit with the paper's attitude to drugs. (Heroin = unbreakable cycle of addiction)

She also doesn't really help the paper when she talks about fancying girls, either - the Sun likes its bisexuality to be delivered by the actually heterosexual with extra panting, but because Pink's actually bi, it doesn't occur to her to paint it as a masturbation aid for the paper:

“I don’t put labels on myself, I’m just a happy girl.

“Carey didn’t want me because he thought I would sleep with women.

“I try to get him to tell me what girls he thinks are hot but he’s incapable, which I find inhuman because I find a lot of people hot.

“I’m the only one for that boy, which is sweet but it seems unnatural.

“I think Johnny Depp is No1 — always has been since I was little. I think his wife Vanessa is hot too. She’s gorgeous.”

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Cuban singer and Buena Vista Social Club member Pio Leyva has died, it was announced today.

Born in Moron, Cuba, in 1917, his first glimmer of musical promise came when he won a bongo contest at the age of six, but he didn't take up singing professionally until 1932. Known as El Montunero de Cuba, he formed a long-running partnership with Compay Segundo in the 1950s. The pair were recording in Havana on the day of the revoultionary storming of the presidential palace; Keyva claimed that sharp ears could hear the sounds of gunshots.

In a long career, his first record contract with RCA Victor in 1950 would eventually lead to 25 albums; at the age of 74, Leyva embarked on a four month tour of west Africa.

His death from a heart attack, at the age of 88, came following a stroke a few days earlier.

Earlier: Ibriahim Ferrer obituary


We've been sitting on a email from the people behind It's Grim Up North for a couple of weeks meaning to mention their rather fine blog-style music product, but keep forgetting. So we're doing it now. The name of that blog again? It's Grim Up North


Back when he was young and before his face started to look properly run-in, Aaron Carter signed a record deal with TransContinental Records. Now, though, he wants out - and TCR have gone to court to hold him to the promises his seventeen year-old self made.

To be frank, if we'd signed Carter when he was 17, we'd be delighted if he told us he didn't want to work with us any more.


Faced with pretty overwhelming evidence, Pete Doherty has pleaded guilty to possession charges. Sentencing has been adjourned until 20th April, following a plea from Doherty's lawyer Sean Curran:

He told District Judge Jane McIvor that Doherty was responding well to the rehabilitation programme which was imposed at Ealing Magistrates' Court last month.

Mr Curran said that while the star had "got a problem", his last review had been very favourable and suggested he was heading in the right direction in his battle to get off drugs.

He said: "If Mr Doherty shows the inclination he has had on his first review, the court may look more favourably on him.

"It will mean he can continue with the good work he has done under this order. It is still at its initial stages."

He didn't explain why, if Doherty was doing so well under that order, he was found with cannabis, crack and heroin on him while he was under it.

Outside the court, the increasingly unpleasant Doherty hoisted himself onto a wall and kicked a microhpone out the hand of a Newsbeat reporter, leaving her bruised.


Image hosting by TinyPicIt's not, actually, her first gigs in two years - she played a small gig in Wales around Christmas time - but why quibble when Cerys Matthews is about to microtour the UK?

Dates are :
Llangollen Town Hall (July 22)
Cardiff The Point (24)
London The Scala (26)
Cambridge Folk Festival (29)

If you haven't bought Cockahoop yet, you probably should.


Mark Gardner, who may no longer have his Ride-era fringe but has retained everything else from those days, is set to take a tour round the UK:

Image hosting by TinyPic

Norwich Arts Centre (March 25)
Winchester Railway Inn (28)
Liverpool Korova (29)
London Luminaire (30)
Nottingham Social (31)
Dublin Sugar Club (April 1)

Got to be better than carrying the tunes for Mr. Gallagher, surely?


Another big band, another tour announcement, another computer failure: this time, it's Radiohead whose computers went a bit Capita faced by demand for tour tickets.

Thom Yorke says sorry:

"Sorry about the system meltdown. We were caught by surprise by the volume of traffic. Even though we should technically be able to handle it.. The numbers were far beyond what we expected. So sorry about all the confusion."

Doesn't anyone actually test their systems properly any more? Are bands really surprised that - having booked a venue the size of the Hammersmith Apollo - people want to go and see them? Or do they expect to be playing to a half-empty venue, hoping there's going to be enough walk-up during the support slot to keep the bar manager happy?


Coming later - much later - this year: a Basement Jaxx tour:

Plymouth Pavilions (November 28)
Brighton Centre (29)
Bournemouth International Centre (30)
London Wembley Arena (December 2)
Birmingham International Arena (5)
Newcastle Arena (6)
Manchester Evening News Arena (7)
Glasgow SECC (8)

Spring barely started, and already people are plotting autumn tours.


Is it entirely fair that Cheryl Tweedy won a poll for sexiest footballer's wife when she's, erm, not actually married to Ashley Cole yet? Still, it should come in handy for Ashley when he's in court suing Rupert Murdoch's papers for hinting around that he might be gay.

Victoria Beckham was unplaced.


And so you should be sorry, Morrissey - your comments about how quickly the Arctic Monkeys came to the top of the chart left the door open for Noel Gallagher to kiss up to them all over the place. I didn't mean it, wails the Moz:

"I actually quite like the Arctic Monkeys and whatever I said was said with tender, avuncular concern. I hope to God I didn't upset their grannies... I really should shut it."

Good lord, he'll be going to tea with Johnny Rogan next. Do you think he's been watching My Name Is Earl?


Charlotte Church's multi-quid deal to plug Walkers crisps hasn't gone down well in Wales. The Swansea Walkers factory closed last month in a money-saving measure; understandably, families who've lost their income are a little miffed to discover the money thus saved has gone to hire Church for a couple of minutes in front of a camera.

Walkers, of course, did send the 250 staff it had thrown out of work a free packet of crisps (worth 36p), so it's not like they should be surprised at the strange priorities of the company.


With the World Cup just a few short weeks away, the FA is getting into a flap about what the official England song should be. Things have become so desperate, they're rumoured to be choosing between another bloody re-release of Three Lions or a version of Is This The Way To Amarillo rewritten by the bloke who hosts the breakfast show on Milton Keynes' local BBC station.

Yes, Three Lions again. Seriously.

Here's a thought, though: why bother with an official song? And if you really must have one (we suspect it's now seen as a nice little earner for the FA rather than an important totem) why not go back to the old model? Get the squad in, and Sven too if he's got his trousers on, get them to run through Jerusalem, bring in a few ringers to sing it in tune over the top. Job done. It doesn't matter how good the single is, it's not like anyone's going to buy it for the quality, is it?


I suppose when the competition is Kate Moss, Jordan and Kerry Katona, the judging process for celebrity Mum of the year is little more than pulling a name out the hat - hence Sharon Osbourne's victory. Presumably it's given in recognition of how she made sure her kid was safely checked in to rehab for a good couple of hours before going on TV to tell everyone about it.

Of course, you could argue that since her youngest "child" is twenty, Sharon's past the stage of actually mummying, but it's a testament to her parenting skills that her kids are still thought of as children rather than adults.


Readjustment to everyday life doesn't seem to be going well for Pete Burns - he and his fiance were kicked out of the Hempel Hotel yesterday following a row about unpaid bills. Burns apparently summoned the police and insisted they get his room back. The police decided not to, although as Burns was dancing about in his underbunders on a public street, it might have been a kindness for everyone if they'd at least gone to get his trousers.


You might have thought that Peter Andre's life ran along the lines of obscurity, a couple of years spent taking his shirt off and looking in the mirror, even worse obscurity and then fake fame at a terrible price. Peter, on the other hand, seems to think he was Cassanova:

“My manager told me not to sleep with a groupie in every town I played, as I’d never get invited back.

“So I’d collect the girls’ phone numbers and sleep with them all on the return leg!"

Is it just me, or does that make no sense whatsoever? Did Andre used to do a tour, and then go home retracing exactly the same route in reverse? Or is he confusing pop music with playing football matches over two legs?

“The best thing was having two women and just watching them have sex.”

Yes, Peter, they do have some rude TV channels even in small hotels, don't they?

Actually, for two women in a bedroom with you, it probably would be the best thing for them to have sex with each other while you kept out of it. I guess if there was one woman, she'd be better off humping the minibar.

Has he finished? No.

“I’ve done just about all there is to do sexually. I once got a bit fruity with a girl I met on a plane."

You'll notice, if you look closely, he's not claiming he actually had sex on a plane, just that he met a girl on a plane he "got fruity" with. (God alive, man, what's with the coyness? Do you mean you fucked her? If you're such a lothario surely the words shouldn't make you come over like a comfit-maker's wife?)

"I was basically a male slut and a total whore."
Peter Andre and Jordan
Thank God you got over that, eh?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

ROCK SICK LIST: Doug Martsch

Built To Spill have put their US tour dates on hold; Doug Martsch has had eye surgery and so the band have decided to hold back the planned East-coast dates until Autumn; the West coast dates intended for June will still stand.


With the Take That reunion so close you can almost smell Mark Owen's fluffy buttocks, their nearest American equivalent, New Edition, are also pulling back together for a one off. Yes, including Bobby Brown.

It's a one-off as part of the Essence Music Festival in Houston. Presumably that's as much as they can hope Brown to hold it together for.


Bitterly angry that someone (else) would seek to try and make money out the corpse of John Lennon, Yoko Ono has had her people rustle up an outraged statement about the proposed pay per view Lennon seance:

"John Lennon was an amazing communicator of heart, mind and spirit. He still speaks to those who choose to listen to his recordings. That was the medium he chose to speak with us. The proposed show strikes me as being tasteless, tacky and exploitative."

That's a whole different sort of explotativeness to, say, the remaking of an airport with Lennon's scribbles all over it, or the soft toys based on his doodles, of course.

And we're not sure that this is entirely true - didn't Lennon once say that he'd try and communicate from beyond the grave? Certainly he said something about dropping a feather from heaven, rather than re-releasing a box set to send a message to Julian.


It seems the original line-up of Roxy Music isn't back together after all: Brian Eno reckons reports that he had rejoined the band were wishful thinking:

Brian has no involvement with the band's current recording or tour plans. All that happened was that Brian popped in to visit the members of the group when they were in the studio.

And he couldn't have played some bongos or done a little chanting, just for old time's sake?

Curiously, though, the non-involvement of Eno seems to have confused Bryan Ferry, too:

The official Web site for Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry had also reported the Eno news but any mention of his participation has now been removed.

Couldn't be a sudden change of heart, could it?


Carlos Boozer
Poor old Carlos Boozer. He decided to free up some ready cash by letting out his Hollywood home. Unfortunately, he let it out to Prince. Although Prince kept to the "no pets" rule, apparently he didn't keep to any of the other agreements you usually undertake when you rent:

According to a lawsuit filed with the Los Angeles superior court, Prince painted the outside of the house in purple stripes, had his personalised hieroglyph painted on the house, as well as the number 3121. Far from being a helpful guide to the postman, the number is the title of the resurgent singer's latest album.

Inside, the singer installed a black carpet in a guest room and new plumbing for "beauty salon chairs" and the carpet in the master bedroom was replaced with a purple monogrammed carpet.

Prince pointed out in response that Boozer had happily cashed rent cheques after issuing a "cure or quit" notice, which appears to have led Boozer to back down.

When he comes to take the property back, he's going to find it difficult removing the groupies stuck to the ceiling.


As might have been expected, Apple isn't entirely thrilled with the French government and the law currently working its way through the political process. If it becomes law, effectively, DRM will have to go open source to allow tracks to be swapped between formats, stores and players.

Apple clutched its chest and wailed and wailed and wailed:

"If this happens, legal music sales will plummet just when legitimate alternatives to piracy are winning over customers."

On the other hand, they might rise as people might find themselves more keen to pay cash for files they can easily shift between PCs and players without having to worry about arcane and arbitrary licensing rules.

But then Apple had a quiet think to itself - maybe, it thought, this could be an opportunity, trying to make themselves sound threatening:

"iPod sales will likely increase as users freely load their iPods with "interoperable" music which cannot be adequately protected.

Won't somebody think of those poor tracks, all alone and cold and unprotected?

Of course, this is rubbish and Apple knows it. The reason why legal downloads are thriving right now has nothing to do with DRM and eveything to do with the tracks being pitched at a pricepoint which makes pissing about with unlicensed music a waste of time. The proposed French model is akin to suggesting that a giant pile of free CDs be made available in Belguim - most people would still buy from their local store than traipse over to the free ones, because it's easier.

Still, it can hardly say that.

In addition, Apple couldn't really give a stuff about DRM - its business is based on selling music players, not music, and as it admits, this law could help rather than hinder sales of iPods, and strengthen the company's hand in negotiations with major labels for access to their music libraries.

Still, it can hardly say that either.


Thom Yorke has been expressing his disappointment with people flogging on tickets for his date at Koko on Ebay:

"Might I suggest that those selling their KOKO tickets on eBay for stupid money gives a contribution... say 30 percent of their proceeds, back to Friends Of The Earth, for whose benefit we are all doing this show. Seems only fair, unless you're a shallow____, don't you think?"

Shallow underscore seems pretty mild, considering. We'd have gone with cunt, ourselves.

At the same time, Yorke has discretely been making it known he knocked back an invitation to chat with Mr Tony Blair:

"Luckily, in the end the decision was kind of made for me.

"There's this whole thing going on at the moment with Blair and the nuclear thing.

"This all started kicking off about two or three weeks before I was supposed to meet with Blair, which I was not happy about anyway for obvious reasons, ie Iraq.

"It was, 'If we could just have a meeting beforehand where we could go through how it would proceed...'

"It was like talking to Blair's spin doctors. It was all getting weird. It was just obvious there was no point in meeting him anyway, and I didn't want to.

"That was the illest I'd ever got. I got so stressed out and so freaked out about it. Initially when it came up I tried to be pragmatic. But Blair has no environmental credentials as far as I'm concerned.

"I came out of that whole period just thinking, I don't want to get involved directly, it's poison. I'll just shout my mouth off from the sidelines.

"It's a nasty business. It's up to people with pure integrity who know what they're talking about, like Friends of the Earth."

So... interestingly, he had been fairly happy to meet with Blair (which, of course, will always look like an endorsement even if it's never intended as such) and may well have done had nuclear power started not swimming back into vogue. This seems to suggest a potential nuclear power station is more upsetting for Thom than an actual war, which is curious.


It's not often you get sense out of Noel Gallagher, but even he's not so stupid as to believe that the elevation of his increasingly ordinary band into a national heavyweight didn't require more than a hearty share of luck:

"There're lots of tiny little things that have to fall into place, and there's kind of too many to mention, but timing is probably the best one. I think if we'd have put our first album out three or four years either side of when it come out we'd be talking about a completely different story here.

"We just kind of rode the crest of a wave really, I would say its fifty-fifty luck and hard graft."

Well, we can see the luck. We're not sure how much "hard graft" is involved in, say, this sort of thing:

But then thinking is quite tricky work, isn't it, Noel? Here, XFM Manchester asked him if he could see himself moving back to the city:

"I should have done it maybe five or six years ago, but my daughter's all grown up now and all that. But I'd definitely like to go back there to write at some point because I think some of the best stuff I ever wrote was back in town. Whether I could live there or not, I don't know anymore. I probably could actually."

That couldn't be clearer, then.

ROCK SICK LIST: Steven Tyler

As we try to put aside internet rumours that Mark E Smith might be seriously thinking of calling time on The Fall, we hear that Aerosmith have cancelled the rest of their tour and gone on hiatus to allow Steve Tyler to have unspecified surgery.

We're guessing it's something more serious than an impacted wisdom tooth if it's sent the band into closedown. Although his people are keeping quiet on the details, his publicist Marcee Rondan did let slip that "Tyler's doctors advised him not to continue performing to give his voice time to recover," which would seem to suggest something throat related, then.


Let's hope that Christina Aguilera cleared the use of voicemail messages from fans properly and watertight before sticking them on some sort of remix album. Otherwise that could get tricky from a legal point of view.


Blah blah blah blah sexy surprise blah blah blah "keep her man happy" blah blah blah sexy pole dance blah blah blah great way of keeeping fit while having some sexy fun blah blah blah would probably have enjoyed a spot of dildo action instead blah blah blah Pink should know better blah blah.

Tomorrow: Paris Hilton's sexy pole dance fun.


Used to making up stories about what he's been up to - of a "no, officer, we were taking the drugs to bury symbollically next to my departed Grandad" nature - it's perhaps unsurprising that Pete Doherty is working on a play all about himself.

The first half will be really great; after the interval, though, half the cast will have mysteriously disappeared and those that do return won't seem to be working to anything resembling a script.


Of course, of course Edwina Currie will be Edith Piaf when she goes on celeb Stars in their Eyes; she never regretted rien when she was part of Thatcher's cabinet; she never regretted rien when she was shagging John Major behind Norma's back while he was suing newsagents to try and close down rumours about his extra-marital affairs (still not paid that cash back to the New Statesman, have you?); she never regretted rien before so it's like she's got a theme song.

Not sure that John Barnes should be allowed on, though - he's had a couple of top ten hits, which surely disqualifies him? (Although we would like to see him say "Tonight, Kat, I'm going to, erm, be me...")

While we're on Stars in their Eyes, we wonder if ITV were horrified by the live final of the kids spin-off last weekend? The victory for the scary man-child being George Formby pretty much screamed "ITV's audience is mainly over 60." Not the luxurious target audience they'd hope to be selling to advertisers.


January 2006,ContactMusic quotes a Smash Hits interview with Peaches Geldof:

"I hate ridiculous names, my weird name has haunted me all my life.

"I hate being famous; people claim to know me because of my surname."

March 2006, The Sun quotes an interview from its book about celebrity baby names with Peaches Geldof:

“Someone said I hated my name and it’s complete rubbish. I love it. I think it’s hilarious to tell people what your name is and see their reaction.

“I also think my name’s pretty, my full name is Peaches Honeyblossom and it’s kitsch."

But presumably when you tell someone you're Peaches Geldof, nobody is going to do a comedy double-take and make the gesture of a man trying to clear their ears like they've never heard such a thing before; wouldn't they just say "tell your Dad to stop sucking up to power" or something?


Apparently, despite good sense having prevailed and the chances of a reunion tour being sealed in a bag and dumped in a well, that hasn't stopped some companies flogging tickets to the Spice Girls reunion.

Or are they? The Sun insists that there's an evil website doing this:

Internet site are advertising a direct phone number fans can call to buy tickets for now non-existent November and December gigs.

Apparently, has seen the error of its ways, and turned into an Oklahoma burger chain instead. Curious. A non-existent ticket website selling tickets to a non-existent gig? Something must be done.


Potmen in waiting Journey South have decided that a nice role in Coronation Street would be a great thing to tell other people's grandchildren about:

"I’d love to appear on Coronation Street. It would be wicked if we could just be in the corner of The Rovers playing a little gig.

"We could maybe do Ken and Deidre’s wedding if they break up and renew their vows again, or maybe Betty’s leaving do."

Well, at least they've realised their key appeal is to the more mature fan. And in a way, we can support their dream: we don't want to see them on Corrie, but we would like them to go on a tour of places that don't exist.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


We're not sure if we're looking forward to the post-breakdown Vines or not, but it's got to be worth a crack: judge for yourself with a stream of Don't Listen To The Radio.

What do you think?


If the major label cartel had hoped their small cahs settlements following Elliott Spitzer's New York based investigation into the fixing of US radio market was going to draw a line to their illegal and unethical behaviour, their hopes are going to be dashed. The American Association of Independent Music is pushing the FCC for a new, full investigation into what went on, and for the majors to be given larger fines, more in line with "the financial harm caused nationally".

The A2IM point to the disparity between the airtime enjoyed by indie labels in the US (roughly 10%) and their sales (27%).

This sort of pie-throwing really upsets the bosses at Universal, you know.


The latest great idea coming from camp Jacko: a duet with 50 Cent. Apparently, Jacko popped up to 50 Cent's mate DJ Whooo Kid at the Bahrain Grand Prix and "suggested" it. A source was on hand:

"The track would catapult Michael back into the limelight, which he is desperate for, and 50 has always been a fan."

After the bankruptcy, court cases, children sleeping in his bed, jurors muttering they think he's done it, Jermaine's book, the tortuous Katrina benefit single, the five-years overdue 9/11 benefit, the staff trouble, closing Neverland and all the other business, you'd think that Jacko might want to consider avoiding limelight for a while.

Still,we love the idea that he was chatting to Whoo Kid; Woo! Kid! was always one of Jackson's favourite things to say in the evening.


If there's one thing that drives Keisha Sugababes nuts, it's when that new girl and the even newer girl sit in the corner laughing and she doesn't know what they're laughing at and when she asks them what they're laughing at they say they weren't laughing at anything anyway. But she hates almost as much when men try and chat her up using 'witty' reworkings of Sugababes songs:

"When Freak Like Me came out there was a couple saying 'I'll be your freak,' but Push the Button has been the worst.

"'I'd like to push your button', and 'Are you gonna push my button?' and 'Oooh! I wanna push your button'. "That whole pushing the button thing? Fellas, please, stop it. It's embarrassing."

Yeah. Besides, something about in the middle is much more direct.


It's not surprising that even Carlos Santana is standing up to publicly condemn Bush - at the moment, Bush's ratings are so low concerned US citizens have been asking if they could swap Bush for the rotting corpse of Richard Nixon as "at least these was a man who sounded like he'd thought through his lies." Anyway, Santana issued an anti-war statement, which we present for you with the pointless guitar noodling removed:

"I have wisdom. I feel love. I live in the present and I try to present a dimension that brings harmony and healing," the 58-year-old rock icon said. "My concept is the opposite of George W. Bush."

"There is more value in placing a flower in a rifle barrel than making war," he said. "As Jimi Hendrix used to say, musical notes have more importance than bullets."

Jimi Hendrix died after being shot by police. He had been attempting to rob a bank using a C Sharp.


Radiohead have announced a Euro minibreak tour, with a slightly overwritten press release:

We're excited to be touring again, especially to play new songs to an audience. For the first time, we have no contract or release deadline to fulfil - it's both liberating and terrifying.

"To keep things more fun and spontaneous, we will be playing new songs that are work in progress. We will also be releasing music to download when we are excited about it, rather than wait twelve months for a full blown album release.

"Music's not just about all-time greats - it's also a document of its time, and we want to be able to put out a song when it feels right."

You will be able to see them in these positions at times:

Copenhagen KB Hall (May 6-7)
Amsterdam Heineken Hall (9-10)
Blackpool Empress Ballroom (12-13)
Wolverhampton Civic (15-16)
London Hammersmith Apollo (18-19)
V Festival (August 19-20)
Edinburgh Meadowbank Stadium (22)
Dublin Marlay Park (24)


Poor Monkeys - returning from the US with a ringing "is that it?" in their ears, they've now got to contend with Noel Gallagher comparing them to Oasis:

"It happens when it happens, man, and I would say thank God that it does happen," he said. "You'd be a bit of an idiot if you said, 'No, I'm too young for a record deal.'"

"We used to sit and read things about us and think, 'Are they talking about the same band?' Cause we've sold a few records but we've not sold that many records, and we're not that popular.'"

He added: "But I would embrace success when it happens. Any level of it. Just fucking get on with it. If the music didn't stand up... but you've only got to listen to (their) tunes. They're unique to themselves. And they've got their own thing and I think it's great. It doesn't sound like anybody else and I like the way that they don't wear shirts and ties and blazers... These kids seem to be pretty much like us. They kind of look like we do."

The Arctic Monkeys are currently scrubbing themselves with carbolic, and plan to spend the afternoon burning their wardrobes.


Raymone K Bain, Michael Jackson's ambasssador to our world, is attempting to fix the damage done to Jacko's image by news that he's shut down Neverland. Apparently, the property has only been mothballed:

"Reports indicating that Neverland has been closed or 'shut down' for good are inaccurate," she said in her statement. "It is public knowledge that Mr. Jackson currently resides in the Middle Eastern country of Bahrain. He therefore decided to close his house and reduce his work force."

But won't he need a base from which to work on promoting his single for the Katrina disaster? Surely that will be coming out, well, any time now?

Bain's statement concluded: "There will be no further comments regarding this matter [Neverland]."

Of course not. She's a busy woman, and needs to keep her diary clear for whatever the next PR disaster she has to clean up after is.


Kelly OsbourneYesterday, there was talk in the tabloids that Kelly Osbourne had moved on from using her dad's cast-off songs to wearing her mother's cast-off clothes; this picture, though, shows that Kelly has more to worry about than wearing Sharon's old trousers - she's starting to look like her mother.

Because the papers would rather see a woman rattle when she walks than have a normal bodyshape, everyone's very excited by the new "slimline" Kelly. The Mirror reports her secret:

KELLY Osbourne has revealed the secret of her new slimmer figure - cutting out Jammie Dodgers.

Her hair stylist Terry Longden said: "There was never just one packet in her dressing room - they left a case. Nobody was allowed to touch them. We knew better than to come between her and her Jammie Dodgers. I pinched one and she chased me down the tour bus."

So, Kelly "revealed" through the mouth of her barber, did she? Is it just us, or does this image of Osbourne eating packet after packet of Jammy Dodgers sound, well, unlikely?

Now she's living in London, away from the fattening delicacies offered by the family's chef in LA, her diet's healthier.

Eh? The family chef used to bake Jammy Dodgers, did he? But then he must have done, since you can't get them in the US, so if living in London instead of America has weaned her off a product you can only get here, and not there that's the only possible conclusion.


Not that they actually shared a bed, obviously. Pete Doherty found himself in Manchester ("filming an advert", apparently - have DFS finally dropped Linda Barker?) in the same hotel as Mike Tyson, the rapist who now promotes that thing where not very bright men are locked up together while they beat the crap out of each other (cagefighting, rather than privatised prisons). Pete played songs for Tyson in the hotel bar.

Reports says that Tyson "loved every minute" of the seranading; we suspect that - as with most people - the prospect of a slightly sketchy bloke playing slightly sketchy songs unprompted in a public place was a challenge of those anger management skills Tyson has spent so long working on.

Monday, March 20, 2006


As has been observed in the comments section, we find it difficult to mention Digital Rights Management without using the word "hobbled", but it turns out we might have been using precisely the right word. Checking the DRM on Windows Media and AAC files consumes computing power to an extraordinary degree:

"It takes extra processing power to ensure that the licenses making the tracks work are still valid and match up to the device itself. Heavy DRM not only slows down an MP3 player but also sucks the very life out of them."
Here's CNET's breakdown of the battery lives of various MP3 players playing DRM and non-DRM (I'm guessing 128 kbps MP3s, but that's not explicit in the review):
Creative Zen Vistion:M: 16 hours with MP3s, 12 hours with only WMA subscription tracks
Archos Gmini 402 Camcorder: 11 hours with MP3s, 9 hours with DRM tracks

iPods run about 8 per cent light when playing AAC rather than MP3 tracks.

So, to take the example of the Creative Zen, the digital rights fingerprinting takes up 25% of your battery power. Irritating for a long journey; wasteful of power. And remember, of course, that playing these tracks on a PC will have a similar drain on mains power, it'll just be less noticeable. It will, however, all be adding to global warning and using up scarce resources, to no good effect at all; just to keep the RIAA happy.

The polar bears can't get to their winter feeding grounds because the ice isn't freezing properly, but at least Warner Records execs can order more take out sushi than ever before.

[Thanks to Karl T for the tip]


Although he should be paying more attention to trying to find Idlewild a new record deal, Roddy Woomble has been busy working on a solo album. He's not come up with a name yet, and be warned, people:

It's folk.


Some interesting coverage of SXSW in its local paper, the Austin Statesman, and quite a few of their reports come under the "not as good as it used to be" heading.

That's in addition, of course, to the lukewarm reception the Arctic Monkeys got from them, in common with much of the US press:

Starting the show exactly like the debut album with title too long and pretentious to repeat, “The View from the Afternoon” and “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” got things off well. But then it was just one bundle of nothing after another.

But Austinites seemed a bit hacked off in other directions: mainly the lack of cheap entry for the people who live there and that the festival has jumped the shark as too many people chase too many bands through an insufficient infrastructure:

When they have to have overflow rooms with video screens for conference attendees to hear the main attractions at the conference, that’s out of hand. When you can’t drive from point A to point B — not because of the traffic and the 45 minutes it could take to traverse a 2-mile distance … in the afternoon … but because you can’t risk giving up the parking space you have and not finding another — that’s out of hand. It’s time to put a cap on registrations, folks. Last year was bad enough, and supposedly, the badges-sold figure was only around 8,000 then. We get that SXSW is a cool event everyone wants to attend … that’s why some of us are on our 11th Southby, or 13th or 19th or 20th. But when registrants can’t achieve what they came here for — enlightenment and entertainment — without major hassles all around, something needs to be fixed.

Elsewhere, Entertainment Tonight's Popwatch was taken with Vicky Pollard rapper Lady Sovereign, already calling her "sov":

Looking like a spunky hip-hop cartoon with her black and white track suit, cornrows, and sideways ponytail, Sov rolled through an already-impressive canon of U.K. hits.

The indiewire film blog cut out the cinema to go and see Morrissey, catching the Mozster's wry words after he wheeled out Girlfriend In A Coma:

"Just in case anyone was wondering, she never made it."

He knew it was serious.

Greg Kot, for the Chicago Tribune was also less than impressed with the Arctic Monkeys - Alex Turner's moaning about the photographers and set-up earning them a "get over it, kid" - but more interestingly, pulled a slightly icky quote from one of the panels:

"She had a bad complexion and small breasts when she came into my office and warbled a song," said one former record company executive, Michael Caplan, of Britney Spears. "I couldn't wait to get her out of my office."

The exec who eventually signed Spears, Jive Records' Jeff Fenster, said he based the decision not on a song in particular, but on a picture of the then-teenage Spears. She was sitting on a picnic blanket, wearing cutoffs and cuddling a puppy, Fenster said. "She looked like the sweet, All-American girl that you just wanted to defile and do bad things to, and that appealed to me."

Spears, of course, is currently in court arguing that the thought of her being in any way sexual would harm her career.

Oddly, Rolling Stone took to Dirty Pretty Things, but liked Towers of London more:

They have the hair of Motley Crue, the hygiene of Shane McGowan and rock that still leaves something to be desired. But when singer Donny Tourette wants your attention, man does he get it. He got ours by licking our face in the street outside Emo's like a dog. Thank goodness our rabies shots were up to date.

Blimey. To get even that much press in the UK, the band usually have to smash up a university.

Chromewaves attempted to see as much music as possible by avoiding the buzzed over bands:

But that said, I didn’t have as many of the revelatory new band moments at this year’s fest as last year. The artists I was most impressed by were the ones that I’d expected to be - there wasn’t really any backing into anything blind and lucking out into a life-altering experience. From the veteran end of things, Eric Bachmann, Rainer Maria and Centro-Matic provided some truly memorable highlights while Decoder Ring, Headlights, Band Of Horses, Serena Maneesh and Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s were tops in the rookie class.

Neko Case in happy company and daylight? Pitchfork wasn't sure that was going to work:

Everybody there seemed to know each other from the alt-country trenches, and Neko greeted friends and told inside jokes between songs during her laidback set. She looked so happy and relaxed, in corduroys with no makeup, that her pitch-black death ballads lost more than a bit of their bite. But it didn't matter at all; Neko Case was performing "Set Out Runnin" and "Furnace Room Lullaby" in front of me and maybe 50 other people in a cabin on a hill on a beautiful day in Texas. Her voice literally rang out over the peaks and valleys, the fields and streams. Pardon the sappiness, but that's magic.

The old rambling bit that counted as this year's keynote was delivered by Neil Young, which Billboard went to listen to:

"The one constant is not to let yourself get distracted" when a song is trying to find you, he said. Once you have an idea with music, Young continued, nothing else matters but that idea. "Your responsibility to the muse is to follow it ... shitcan your [other] plans ... There's nothing more important ... Commitments are one of the worst things for music making -- they're annoying."

Or else your band winds up working with Ian McNabb.

Hot Chip were a favourite with Dreams of Horses; Rock Insider sat up half the night building a Flickr gallery.

The name you should be mentioning, it seems to us from our perspective on the other side of the Atlantic, is Tapes N Tapes.


The most worrying thing for Pink as she prepares to marry Carey Hart isn't, surprisingly, that she's about to throw her lot in with someone who rides on motorbikes for a living and the lack of long-term prospects, plus dangers of oil-stained rugs, that implies: she's worried that contenment might sap her creativity:

It's much harder to write when you are in love.

"You need to turn that off and go watch the news, or talk to a friend, or have a fight' well there are sides. There is definite passion in our relationship, which always helps. "

If being happy makes her music rubbish, she must have been gurgling like an Eed-up newborn in a clean nappy when she made the last album.


There is life after the Distillers, as a new band, The Drips, emerges from the wreckage of the band.

No, Body Dalle isn't in them.

For the few of you still reading, the band features Tony Belivaqua, Distiller's guitartist, with some people who used to be in the Bronx. Imagine the security from a market town branch of Wetherspoons playing Metallica covers.


We think there's more to it than trying to get hold of a second set of towels and a new juicer, but the already-married Stephen Gately and his partner Andy Cowles have added an English civil partnership to the one they did in Las Vegas a few years back.

Louis Walsh, who used to manage Gately's career when he was in the closet ("in Boyzone") didn't show up at the ceremony because B&Q were having a ten per cent promotion in their lighting department ("I have a touch of flu").

Sunday, March 19, 2006


We're delighted to hear that the town of Barranquilla in Columbia has clubbed together in order to build a statue in honour of their famous daughter. Yes, they're putting up a sixteen foot Shakira in the town centre.


Also in the vehement denial of a split territory, Shirley Manson is insisting that her solo album (and the other guy's film music work) doesn't mean that Garbage is over.

Hmm. The Manics might be a little more credible with their insistence they're still a going concern - at least they made it to the end of their last tour intact.

Still, Shirley Manson solo - i.e. unencumbered by burly blokes. Some people may have been hoping for that for a few years.


So thick and fast are coming the denials that the Manics are still going to be working together once James Dean Bradfield and Nicky Wire have got their solo stuff done, you have to wonder if 2004's Lifeblood will be either the last, or last proper, Manics collection.

Wire taps:

“I've just done a really crappy punky solo album. James has done a solo album and the Manics are writing as well, so lots of stuff going on.

"I'm going to do some gigs and they'll be a mix of baroque comedy and useless guitaring."

So, no change there, then.

Be honest, though, had you noticed they didn't do an album last year?


Chris Corner, out of the Sneaker Pimps, has apparently got enough time on his hands to manage a side project. IAMX, which has been picked up by Major Records; he's taking that out on tour and - at the same time, perhaps using the internet - he's working on a new Sneaker Pimps album as well.

Yes, we checked, they are still going.

Oh... hang about... I am X. We get it.


Soul singer King Floyd III has died, his record label has announced.

The son of King Floyd Senior and Little Pearl Dawkins, King was one of many young singers of his generation who took their first musical steps on the streets of New Orleans. He was in the process of being lifted from the streets to stardom via a paid gig at the Sho-Bar on Bourbon Street when he was drafted into the army.

Discharged in 1963, King relocated to New York where he signed with Shaw Artists' roster of R&B acts. It was during this period that he started to write as well, enabling him to hook up with Jimmy Holiday in LA. Their co-written Walkin and Thinkin wound up as a b-side to a release on Uptown (a fairly obscure Motown imprint) but failed to get anywhere; Floyd got a second chance with the song after signing to the Original Sound label run by Art LeBoe. Even as an aside, though, the song failed to catch.

Fellow New Orleanean Harold Battiste managed to get King a contract with Pulsar. A series of singles, and an album (1967's A Man In Love) were released and disappeared almost as quickly. King wrote for other acts on the label, but, losing heart, decided to return home. A Man In Love's failure seems even more puzzling from a 2006 perspective, as it included collaborations with Dr John.

Back in New Orleans, and working full-time for the US Postal Service, he met up with Wardell Quezergue. This was more a stroke of luck than Wardell's situation might have suggested (thousands of pounds in debt and just having closed his NOLA label); however, he'd pulled a deal which had enabled him to get into studios for free. During
one of these buckshee sessions, King recorded What Our Love Needs in a single take. Originally a b-side, public clamour made it first an a-side, then a national hit. The song wound up at the top of Billboard's year-end R&B chart for 1970.

There would be some smaller hits, but Floyd proved harder to like in success than in obscurity and it seems that the struggle to match the success of What Our Love Needs broke the spirit. However, Floyd continued to work, releasing an album, Old Skool Funk in 2000.

King Floyd III died March 6th from a stroke and diabetes. He was 61.


As if life wasn't tough enough for Notorious BIG, what with the being dead and all, his life - erm, death - is just one long round of meetings with attorneys, DAs and so on. First of all, a judge has banned sales of 1994's Ready To Die album on the grounds that it featured uncleared samples from the Ohio Players. Somneone's going to have to cough up just a snitch over four million dollars in damages, too.

Meanwhile, another set of police have been set to try and work out who actually shot him. Since the LA Police may or may not have been implicated in the death, we imagine they've assembled a crack team of their best men to look into this. In other words: if you're in LA, you might notice some parking meters go unemptied for the next few weeks.


The Department of Computer Science at Princeton University has produced an eye-opening report into the lessons of the Sony-BMG copy protection debacle [pdf document] - it doesn't consider, of course, the financial costs incurred by Sony-BMG settling the claims raising rising from their botched Digital Rights Management system, or the terrible PR disaster, but instead focuses on the technology aspects.

The team spend some time knocking up a simple proof-of-concept model which explains how simple it actually was to switch off the DRM anyway, before moving on to point out that the system Sony-BMG was using relies on the autorun feature which is probably going to be disabled in Windows Vista (in other words, Sony had spent the cash on a system which would be bordering on obsolete in a few months), and concludes that the companies which produce the DRM offer a service which doesn't actually match what the record labels want it do; and which doesn't actually have anything to with the copyright laws they're meant to be protecting:

"[T]he design of DRM systems is only weakly connected to the contours of copyright law. The systems make no pretense of enforcing copyright law as written, but instead seek to enforce rules dictated by the label’s and vendor’s business models. These rules, and the technologies that try to enforce them, implicate other public policy concerns, such as privacy and security.

There's one final sting in the document, with a sly glance at the heavy-handedness of the entertainment industry:

Sadly, research of this type does seem to require support from a team of lawyers.


The new singleA battle of wits for our time: Girls Aloud have got the hump with Vernon Kay after he called them "sulky" on Radio 1. We expect Biased BBC will be covering this one in much more depth.

It's a pity he didn't ask why they're wearing judo outfits on the new single sleeve.


Mindfull, of course, of Bill Hicks' anti-advert injunction, Charlotte Church feels she has to justify pocketing a hundred grand for a Walkers advert:

"Charlotte turns down loads of ads and promotions but she loves crisps and likes the ads.

"So why not?"

Also, of course, the £100,000 must have helped. The Sunday Mirror, though, is quick to attest to her bona fides on this one:

Crazy Chick pop star Charlotte, who dates Welsh rugby star Gavin Henson, has a fondness for crisps which has seen her munching them after a night on the razz.

See? She eats crisps, so it's not like she's selling out or anything. (Of course, if you're in a pub getting slooshed on Bacardi Breezers, the chances are you'll have no choice but to neck down some crisps "to mop up the beer.")

Perhaps she just wants Gary Lineker will teach her golf or something.


Betting without these weekly round-ups, these have been the ten most-read individual things on No Rock this week:

1. Kanye West loves the Arctic Monkeys - they're like Phil Collins
2. Is KT Tunstall gay? No
3. Avril Lavigne and Britney Spears get wrapped up in a verbal hair-pulling. In May 2004.
4. FA try to avoid reopening Second World War wounds by inviting Kaiser Chiefs to record a single
5. Kylie returns - on an elephant
6. Bin Laden's neice removes clothes, surname
7. Courtney and Coogan still at it
8. Ryan Adams thieves looking at 11 years in prison
9. John Lydon still doesn't like Green Day
10. Britney sues to stop people thinking she might flog herself with sex

Or enjoy the whole week in one page;
or enjoy even more the week before boiled into one post

Hoping to make enough to buy a small baronetcy, we pointed you in the direction of some re-released gems:

Part of a small flurry of post-Field Mice re-releases sees Trembling Blue Stars' Lips That Taste re-emerge

A double-disc reworking of The Fall's Middle Class Revolt

Yes, it's another re-issue: Holly Golightly's 1996 sophomore collection

The first season, which means you get the full introduction from Dahl sat in his "study" before a not-entirely-surprising half hour shaggy dog yarn

Includes - we're not making this up - "concert commentary from Niles Rodgers

Martin Roach's 1992 grebo handbook has "been fully updated", although with what we're not sure...