Saturday, July 01, 2006


Tom Petty agrees that the Chili Peppers' Danni California sounds like his Mary Jane’s Last Dance; however, he doesn't intend to issue financial demands.

Can he really be working in the music industry with that sort of attitude?


“The truth is, I seriously doubt that there is any negative intent there. And a lot of rock & roll songs sound alike.”

“Ask Chuck Berry. The Strokes took ‘American Girl’ (for their song’“Last Nite’), and I saw an interview with them where they actually admitted it. That made me laugh out loud. I was like, ‘OK, good for you.’ It doesn’t bother me.”

Would he ever sue?

“If someone took my song note for note and stole it maliciously, then maybe.”

“But I don’t believe in lawsuits much. I think there are enough frivolous lawsuits in this country without people fighting over pop songs.”

Thank god there's someone with a bit of perspective left. Although he should still have had Stefani in court when she ripped off the Don't Come Around Here vid.


An interesting weekend for Steve Jobs - Apple had been darkly hinting that if France passed laws enforcing more open standards across the digital music market, it would walk from the country.

They've just passed the law.

It's been watered down, making room to allow artists to sign exclusive deals which would limit their music to one format (but it's far from clear yet if, say, Jamie T could sign a deal with Apple to allow his music to be AAC'ed there, and then sign another deal with URGE to allow the same songs to be tied into the plays for sure format as well.) Questions like this will, presumably, be decided by the new body which is being set up to, well, decide questions like this.

Mind you, Jobs is probably less worried about all of this than that whole dodgy stock option problem.


It seemed too good to be true - after biting a bloke and then meekly forking out a small fine, you might have thought Axl Rose was losing his touch.

Not so.

Rose claims he was 'held to ransom' by Swedish police:

[His manager] Merck Mercuriadis said the star was threatened with up to three weeks in prison if he did not "co-operate", jeopardising the band's tour.

He said police were fully aware there were "millions of dollars at stake".

We're not entirely sure we follow this - is Mercuriadis actually complaining that the police had the cheek to arrest Rose for assaulting a man, and then refused to bend justice to fit Guns N Roses tour scheudle?

Yes, yes he is:

"The Swedish authorities were very aware of this, yet continually threatened us over a 12 hour period with between five days and three weeks incarceration without bail if Axl did not 'co-operate'.

"They were fully aware that there were millions of dollars at stake, not to mention the hopes of tens of thousands of fans who had paid for tickets to see Guns N' Roses."

"The point is, the police report should not be taken at face value, and if one were to be explicit, this experience is tantamount to being held for ransom.

"If the context were any different, Axl would probably have preferred to spend the time in jail in order to ensure that all the facts were a matter of public record."

Eh? So, effectively, the manager reckons that Axl deserved a spot of jail time, and yet is angry that the police let him off with a tiny little fine?


As the m'learned friends continue to thrash out exactly how far from any microphones former husband of J-Lo Ojani Noa must remain at all times, he's signed a deal which slaps a temporary ban on him "criticising or denigrating" Lopez in any way.

This means he's the only person in the world legally barred from snorting milk down his nose when he hears the multirich Lopez singing how she's still Jenny From The Block.

Lopez is very, very, very keen that Ojani shouldn't publish a book about their lives together. We wonder what she thinks he's going to say?

[UPDATE: Britain's "hottest" showbiz reporter, Rav Singh in the News of the World, manages to appear in the paper this morning talking about Ojani's plans to publish the book, blissfully unaware that the injunction was taken out on Friday night.]


We've never been able to work out why Chad Kroeger is able to keep getting away with it - "it" being, of course, just so distressingly terrible. We know there has to be room for bad music in the world, but Nickelback just push past the boundaries. If Bon Jovi are sneaking a packet of Post-It notes from the stationery cupboard into your pocket to take home, Nickelback are kicking down your bosses' door and forcing them eat their gradmother's corpse.

Anyway, the cops have finally started taking an interest in Kroeger's behaviour - so far, they've just caught him driving erratically at 2am in the morning, but it's a start.


Good news for Justin Timberlake as he readies his comeback album - not only did tickets for his Hammersmith Apollo show sell out in four minutes, which proves the touts still think he's got what it takes, but The Sun is behind him:

I predict he will again be the world’s top male star this year, says Vicky Newton.

Mind you, she also said that Robbie was 100% certain to turn up at one of the Take That gigs. So Justin might want to put that champagne on a sale-or-return basis.


Having managed to persuade the staff to hold his stuff in lieu of payment, Pete Doherty has had to return to Paris to settle a bill.

He got a friend to drive him there, although how come he couldn't find a friend to lend him the cash while he was there in the first place is curious.


Although, of course, we can barely contain our delight that guests as Elton John's party to raise funds for HIV/AIDS charities have been tattling with what Kylie told them, we're slightly bemused:

"It's a miracle I got better. I feel like I've got a second chance at life."

You know, it's great she got better, but to claim the "second chance" at life, don't you have to have made a bit of a bish at the first one? You know, if it was Dannii we could understand it, but... "thank god, having been rich, successful and almost universally loved, I'm so lucky to have this chance to put all that right..."?


It sounds like a stomach-churning pitch for Channel Five to reinvent Give Us A Clue: twelve people having to watch Michael Jackson talking about gay porn movies he's seen. Actually, it's the latest twist in the court case arising from the alleged non-payment of bills.

Jackson's reasons for canning Marc Schaffel, apparently, lay in his sudden discovery of Schaffel's past as a porn producer. How, asks Jacko's team, could popular child entertainer Michael Jackson employ a porny-man to improve his image?

Schaffel's people counter that jacko likes a bit of man-on-man video himself and, indeed, that they've got him on tape talking about it.

And if he doesn't settle the case, they'll have no choice but to play it to the court.

We know what you're thinking, but there's a world of difference between a shrewd legal gambit and blackmail.


They really can't work out why, over at the Sun, but Mike Skinner has sworn off the beer in a bid to get fit enough to run the New York Marathon. Like, just before the match and everything.

The paper has decided that this has made him a "health nut", so it can only be a period of time before he moves to the country and starts to try out living as a breatharian.

Friday, June 30, 2006


Well, it's not quite a feud, as Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz hasn't really responded very sharply to Brandon Flowers' desire to beat him to death, possibly using faded reviews of Killers albums.

Wentz's 'whatever' response won't please Flowers:

"Honestly, I like Brandon a lot from what I've read in interviews," said Wentz. "He's sharp. I don't think people would take as much notice (of his comments) if he wasn't. I respect that."

"I kinda like how he called Fall Out Boy 'dangerous'. It felt like how Ice called Maverick 'dangerous' in 'Top Gun'."

"I kind of think of it this way - how could you feel like a superhero if you didn't have an arch-nemesis?"

Actually, wasn't Fall Out Boy a sidekick to Radiation Man rather than a superhero? And what sort of superhero would have Brandon Flowers as his arch-nemesis?


Radio One have sort-of announced a shake-up to their evening schedules - or "specialist shows" as they call them nowadays, which is a bit of an awkward term. Surely it's a bit off-putting to suggest that the music played after Scott Mills has gone to bed is "specialist", like you'll need some sort of degree and electronic hand-held device in the field to be able to tune in; it's like when the Open University used to preface their programmes with a large, angry man yelling "go away, thickity people, this is only for mega-brains."

Anyway, the nine o'clock shows are being revamped into something called In New Music We Trust, which means, unfortunately, they've started naming their programmes after their marketing slogans now. Details are sketchy, but it looks like this means Bobby Friction and the Desi show is going to be downsized, as instead we're promised "one stop guides to everything that's happening in a particular genre fronted by the experts in that field." That really does sound like it should end "with graphs and a viva exam at the end of each programme. This counts as seven course credits."

The big surprise is Colin Murray is being given what old people like us think of as "the Peel slot" (Monday to Thursday at 10), although we suspect it might be more accurately considered "the Nicky Campbell slot" under these circumstances. Apart from meaning Edith will be now free of him during the afternoon, this does raise a question of what's going to happen to One Music, supposedly the torch-bearer for "Keeping it Peel" - unless Murray's only going to do an hour a day, and assuming the slot isn't being axed, that means the programme is getting shoved back to the witches and mugging side of midnight. When the network insisted they were determined to keep the spirit of John Peel as a presence on Radio One, who knew they intended to really honour that by giving it worse and worse slots in the schedule every shake-up?

Fergie and Chris Coco haven't been found a new home in the new-look Radio One, and will be looking for other jobs.


They've already lost their contract, and Roddy Woomble has been doing his solo stuff.

Now, bassist Gavin Fox has quit.

His replacement is Gareth Russell, out of indie-makewieghts Astrid.

Fox, meanwhile, is going to concentrate on his own Curse of Cain.

[Plug: Yes, you can still buy Astrid albums]


Managing to get hold of festival tickets is tricky enough - but then you've got to hope the things actually turn up. And that's where the Royal Mail comes in. Or maybe doesn't.

Two postal workers left the service after they were mysteriously found to have six pairs of tickets for One Big Weekend in Dundee; now, T in the Park tickets are going missing.

Brian Ferguson, 21, of Bathgate fears he'll miss out. - despite buying his two-day ticket and camping permit via a Ticketmaster website in February.

The postie brought the ticket to his door on Saturday June 10, but there was nobody in to sign for it.

When Brian went to the sorting office two days later, he was told it had not been returned from his local post office. He was later told the ticket had been lost.

The same sorting office, in Bathgate, has had two other complaints of missing tickets made against it. The Royal Mail have promised to investigate. The botched handling of the One Big Weekend fiasco doesn't give very much confidence, though. The local paper tried to alert mail managers to a problem only to be told that there was no way postmen would be pinching the tickets, because they were in plain, white envelopes and so unidentifiable. You've got to love the Royal Mail, haven't you? Told that some of its staff are pilfering, the response isn't "our staff are honest and would never do that" but "our employees are too dull to work out that the 10,000 identical envelopes suddenly appearing in the system on the day the tickets are being sent out would have the tickets in them." And, although they did eventually discover two men apparently stealing mail, they were allowed to resign quietly rather than be subjected to a proper, legal investigation.

What's especially hateful about this is that the Royal Mail's relaxed attitude to some of its crappier staff reflects on all its employees. Because the company doesn't deal with its few problem workers effectively, it contributes to an unfair sense that anyone carrying a blue and red sack is probably only doing so having first checked for birthday cards and cheques in the contents.

And while they do offer compensation in these cases, that's not entirely generous since they can fund their panaceas by sticking the price of stamps up again. Every letter you send is subsidising bent postal worker's jaunts to the summer festivals.


We don't know why there was a party in Berlin linking, in some way, the Black Eyed Peas and the World Cup, and nobody seems sure how it all broke down into a brawl which saw ten people hospitalised and someone waving an iron bar around. But it looks like it might have been the refereeing which caused it, with the flashpoint a disagreement between the club security and the band's personal protection squad.


You might think the most interesting historical document in the papers this morning is the report which showed Britain was going to get America to nuke China if they so much as sniffed at the border with Hong Kong.

And, indeed, it is.

However, the papers have also uncovered a poem Kate Moss wrote for Pete Doherty (they used to go out, you know) which wails 'you don't love me, you love heroin' for all the world like a late-period Brookside cliffhanger:

For that’s why I could cry all day long/
that’s why I can’t breathe.

It could be the love Pete has for his drug buddies which was causing that, Kate, although heightened emotions and respiratory problems could also be the effect of long-term cocaine abuse.


They reckon you are what you eat.

Mariah Carey eats a pointless, nit-picky, show-off of a diet.

It seems Mariah has three days a week on which she'll only eat purple food.

Because, erm, it's good for you:

A source said: “It sounds off-the-wall but it’s a huge injection of healthy food in one go. Purple products are nature’s best weapons in the battle against ageing. There’s a saying that ‘a plum a day keeps a facelift away’.”

No, we're pretty sure there isn't. The Japanese believe that a plum a day will keep a doctor away, like with apples; three meals of beetroot and plums a day are more likely to keep everyone away, apart from that nice doctor that Mariah met once before.

It's not been confirmed that on her purple days she'll only have sex with Prince, but I'm sure we can all picture her Violet Elizabeth Bott the following morning.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


We had assumed that Dido was still releasing records, but they'd become so slight and flyaway that only dogs listening to Magic FM very, very carefully were aware of their existence.

But it turns out she's spent the last year or so working her passage on a North Sea Ferry, and so hasn't made any records at all.

Now she's coming back: possibly with an album for the Christmas market.

Producer Jon Brion suggests she's going for a change of direction, by adding some sort of substance to the record:

"I think people have disregarded the emotional aspects of her writing, because the way the records have been presented make the music seem a little flat. But in terms of her singing, she's just an absolutely unbelievable, naturally great singer, in truth one of the greatest I've ever worked with. There's a certain kind of restraint in record making that she doesn't want anymore. That's good. That's a recipe for finding new things."

Aaah... it was the way the records had been presented which made them a little flat, and nothing to do with them being a little flat at all. Even though she managed to make a song about being a hunter, say, sound like a tune about nipping up the petrol station for a Picnic bar and a bottle of Panda Pops.

We suspect all this will mean is that she'll have a pair of leather trousers on in one of the videos.


Front Line Assembly's US tour had been going rather well until earlier this week, when without warning, the band announced that the whole thing was being called.

One of the main reasons appears to have been some dubious behaviour on the part of their tour bus company:

The FLA drummer Adrian confirmed the news in a post on the Side-Line forum saying: "Digger international who handled the bus rental has fucked us. We were lied to since we were told we had a bus until july 6th. which was bullshit. They had planned to leave us in Philly without a bus to do the rest of the tour. They, the driver and tour manager filled us in on the scam last night just before our Philly show leaving us with a couple hours to find transportation for 11 people and all of our equipment..."

There may have been other problems, too:

Also Stromkern who supported FLA reported in a similar way about the event adding: "Indeed it's over... the shortcomings of the bus company was just the tip of the iceberg. The root of the problem originated from the booking agency. I'm not going to mention any names here but the booking agency out of Chicago pocketed the deposits and has vanished off the face of the earth."

Should someone be sending Nicky Campbell in to investigate this?


As the continued, expensive campaign of bringing legal action against alleged filesharers has failed to make any sort of dent at all in illegal filesharing, the RIAA has had to come up with another idea.

Local lawsuits seems to be the answer.

Rather than pick a handfull of people spread across the nation, the new strategy seems to be picking a town at random, turning up, and having a pop at two or three people there. It's kind of like the old Radio One roadshow, only with solicitors.

The idea is that, since pouring hundreds of thousands into nationwide legal action was no longer attracting media attention, by doing this neighbourhood-level attack will ensure local press attention.

So, welcome Evansville, Indiana, home of Jason Burgess and Lee Lutz.

We're not sure this approach is going to prove any more effective for the big labels than their more random approach - partly because a lot of small towns won't take kindly to multinational billion dollar corporations turning up and picking on their sons and daughters, and partly because if you don't live in Evansville, you're not going to hear of the cases; if you do live there, you'll figure that for this sort of campaign to work, the RIAA will have to move on to the distribution area of another paper straight away, and so Evansville will be safe from further attention.

The other possibility is that having given up on trying to make America safe for record companies, the RIAA has decided that it'll just make one town clean, and will, actually, sue everybody in Evansville.


Bob Geldof's almost-pointless daughter Peaches announced that she was dating Noel Fielding, out the Mighty Boosh and Nathan Barley.

This came as something of a surprise to Noel:

His spokesperson says, "This is absolutely not true. Noel has a girlfriend and he is not even in the country at the moment."

Although, if we were dating Peaches Geldof, the bare minimum we'd insist on was that we never sat in the same country.

[Buyable: Nathan Barley season 1 - come on, it wasn't that bad]


The long-running legal battle between Georgeann Walsh Ward and Gene Simmons has been settled.

Walsh-Ward had objected to photos of her dating Simmons appearing on screen during a VH-1 documentary about his life; she said the context (the commentary was talking about Simmon's supposed numerous sexual partners) implied she was no better than a common whore.

The amicable settlement of their differences seems to have had no financial angle:

Simmons denied that any inferences suggested by Ward could be reasonably drawn or understood from the documentary.

"I value my early relationship with Ms. Ward and wish her well," Simmons said in the announcement. "My quotes in the documentary that Ms. Ward took issue with were solely about me, not Ms. Ward or anyone else."


Whatever happened to guerilla gigs, eh? You almost couldn't go outside not so long back without stumbling over a bunch of half-fed young people doing the show right there, but now? It's all about the tickets, the fliers, the press listings.

Instead, the onward march to find "surprising" venues has got stronger. Latest to hand out their itinerary with a smirking "bet you wouldn't expect us to play there" are The Strokes, due to help promote a mobile phone company by doing a gig at the Natural History Museum.

Tickets are by invite only; you can register at the T-Mobile site.


The current Pope's dislike of rock music is well-documented, so it's probably not surprising that he's trying to make sure guitars are kept well out of the churches he's responsible for:

The occasion of a concert in the Sistine chapel was chosen by the Pope to speak out. "It is possible to modernise holy music," he conceded, "but it should not happen outside the traditional path of Gregorian chants or sacred polyphonic choral music".

He's got a point - pleasant music might get in the way of the feelings of guilt and impotence.


A New York judge has lost patient with DMX following his third non-appearance to answer a slew of driving-related charges. The court has issued a warrant for his arrest, and when he does turn up, he can expect a frosty reception:

"We have granted him a number of courtesies. It ends now," the judge [Barbara Leek] said.


We noticed a comment yesterday from someone styling themselves Borat which smelled a bit fishy - it was a "has anyone else heard about this Dave Stewart band" type unrelated question. It looked like a spam to us, and the appearance of further posts, all about the mystery of Dave Stewart's "first" band Platinum Weird has confirmed that this is some sort of dull PR push for VH1's "amusing" spoof documentary which focuses on this (made-up) band. We wouldn't mind - well, we would - but we'd already posted our rolling-eyed reaction to this Travelling Wilbury flavoured nonesense last week. If you're going to launch a fake comment advertising campaign, at least read the blog you're spamming first, VH1.

And, no, the involvement of Paris Hilton in the project doesn't make it any more attractive.


Splendid Kirstie Allsopp has little time for the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin flogging their kids for a few bob:

Certain celebrities take full advantage of all the freebies offered.

"Gwyneth was constantly snapped pushing a pram with a specific logo on the front.

"I've bought my own pushchair."

No naked greed from Kirstie, then. She's also less than impressed with Brad and Angelina:

"A photo shoot is no place for a five-day-old baby.

"Then you get these people complaining about press intrusion."

This is doubly impressive, because Kirstie managed to get through an interview with mentioning how much she hates the new Housing Information Packs.


Now that she's quit acting (although we saw acting in a pub nursing a Jamesons the other day, and it insists it asked her to leave), Madonna has decided that her new job will be directing films for our delight and joy:

I'm more interested in directing now. I've so many tales to tell.

"Making movies for me was never about being a big movie star, it was about being a good actress.

"But it's not easy with critics going after you before the movie is even released. It's easier to be a visionary as a director."

This is lovely - there's the claim that she was only ever interested in the quality of her acting - which would explain why she took the titular role in Body of Evidence, then; we bet Maggie Smith was pissed off at missing out on that one.

Then there's the suggestion that what killed the movies was the critics, which ignores that certainly with Swept Away, it wasn't the critics who started kicking the film before it was released, it was the crew who were leaking just how much it stank the place up.

Madonna has also shared some of her insights into what makes a successful marriage - no, not keeping your husband on a choke chain and making him sulk out to the Brits:

"Marriage is a contest of generosity, sometimes I lose, sometimes I win. But I'm still in the game and it has taught me the art of compromise and diplomacy."

Honey, if you're having to do the job of a diplomat, that's not a marriage you've got, it's an unattractive overseas posting in a hostile environment.

[Earlier: Madonna's film career, movie-by-movie]


The people at Playboy have made Ashlee Simpson an offer worth £2.2million for her to appear naked in the magazine.

Ashlee said no.

It's like Deal or No Deal, of course. It's inevitable that sooner or later she's going to open her box in front of the cameras, so to speak, so let's just hope that she's not turned down her best offer.


We're taking this as sign that James Blunt has run out of whatever ideas he had to begin with: he's pulling in the talents of, erm, James Bourne to help write his second album.

James Blunt. James 'Busted' Bourne. Perhaps they just got sick of people muddling them up and have bowed to the inevitable. It's a bit like marrying someone with the same intials so you can get extra use from the monogrammed towels.

They've flown to the Caribbean to honeymoon ("work on songs together").


At least Billie Piper had the good grace to sound awkward about being given thousands to write her autobiography; Charlotte Church has not only banked the cheque but is preparing to lash out in all directions:

“I’m not asking anyone if they mind being in the book.

“I’m not holding back and I’m not asking anyone’s permission to name them.

“Why would I? It’s my experience, my life and my book. I don’t care what people think.”

But if you don't care what people think about you and your life, why bother to write a book about it?


Strange sights at the Black Entertainment Television awards in the US: Eminem turned up and did a song with Busta Rhymes - not really looking like the trembling wreck his spokesperson was suggesting he was the other day; Beyonce and Jay-Z did a duet, to quash rumours about a marriage rift, although since we'd not heard any of these rumours, that might not be a job done that well; and there was a supergroup featuring Chaka Khan, Prince and Stevie Wonder.

Thrillingly, there was even a tie in one of the awards, with Kanye West and Mary J Blige having to share the best video prize - we wonder if they'll do what the Woolpack and the Malt Shovel did when the Butterworth Ball match was tied, and one has the trophy for six months and then passes it to the other.

Thise winners in full, then:

BET J Cool Like That - Anthony Hamilton

Best Female Hip Hop - Missy Elliott

Best New Artist - Chris Brown

Best Male Athlete - LeBron James

Best Male R&B - Prince

Best Male Hip Hop - T.I.

Best Female R&B - Mary J. Blige

Best Duet/Collaboration - Kanye West f/ Jamie Foxx, "Gold Digger"

Best Gospel Artist - Kirk Franklin

Lifetime Achievement Award - Chaka Khan

Humanitarian Award - Harry Belafonte

Viewer's Choice - Chris Brown, "Yo (Excuse Me Miss)"

Video of the Year - *tie* Mary J. Blige, "Be Without You" and Kanye West f. Jamie Foxx, "Gold Digger"


Finally coming into line with what most of the rest of the aid and development world was saying even before Madonna had left the stage at Live 8, Bob Geldof is starting to wonder if maybe those promises at the G8 summit don't ammount to more than a hill of well-means.

The Irish pop star is expected to name individual countries which he feels have not done enough to keep the pledges made 12 months ago.

Hmm. Of course, the time to have told world leaders "we're watching you" would have been back when there was a massive popular movement. Sadly, Live8 hijacked the Make Poverty History campaign and then its leaders Bob n Bono went to play golf with their friends and came back with a metaphorical Mission Accomplished banner hanging behind their heads.

No wonder the G8 felt able to bask in the glow of last June, safe in the knowledge that the mass movement demanding change had just been stood down by Gedlof and Vox.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


How does Courtney Love keep up the big house, you may find yourself wondering in idle moments.

By having Billy Corgan as a lodger:

"Not many people know this, but Billy's been living with me for the last four months.

"Billy has one wing, Frances (Bean - her teenage daughter) has another and I have one."

Scientists have reported that, yes, it is possible for ashes to rotate just like a body in the grave.


We're betting that Sandi Thom's people are already pulling together some press release to counter The Automatic's snorting dismissal of her:

"We hate Sandi Thom. I haven't found anyone who's told me they like that song and bought it."

That was Rob. James had even thought things through:

"If she was a punk rocker with flowers in her hair she'd get the shit kicked out of her by other punk rockers, for having flowers in her hair."

Which is sadly true, and equally dispatches both Thom and most punks, who seemed to have totally missed the original "find your own style" point of punk and bought straight into the uniform. We find the idea of people wearing Siouxsie-endorsed Nazi regalia attacking someone for offensive flower-wearing to be a pretty simple guide to where punk went wrong.

[Earlier: Has Thom spammed her way to success?]


Wayne Coyne isn't a man to pull his punches: and he reckons Richard Ashcroft is a pompous dick.

He can't always have thought this, as he had been going to record something for Top of the Pops (a former TV pop show, young folks) with Mr. Ashcroft. But Richard didn't turn up.

“Richard is a pompous dick from my experience.

“We were supposed to record Top of the Pops with him, but he cancelled last minute. Perhaps he sensed a punch up backstage.”

Or maybe he was afraid there wouldn't be a weasel outfit that would fit him.


The somewhat under-performing Babyshambles debut Down In Albion is being given something of a fattening up to create one of those slightly tawdry "deluxe editions" for the US release of the album. A bunch of b-sides and rarities are going to be added into a second disc, although as it looks as if the thing will be available on iTunes as well, no actual discs may be wasted in the process.


A large sum of money having to be handed over by an unauthorised downloader to a record label isn't new - but there's a twist: the Virginmega music chain has been fined for illegal downloading.

The French chain and online store (owned by Lagardere rather than the British company) ignored an exclusive contract between Warners and France Telecom, downloaded Hung Up by Madonna, stripped out the copy protection and flung the new files up for sale on its own website.

France Telecom's Herve Payan told the International Herald Tribune: "This is an amazing case of simple piracy by a respected company.

"Virgin behaved in a surreal manner by downloading the song, cracking protection measures and then selling it from their own web site."

Virgin, for their part, said they were doing it for the kids:

The judgement "confirmed the need to do everything to help build a balanced market for legal downloads", the firm said.

The group, and fellow French retailer Fnac, have recently attacked record firms for releasing top selling singles to mobile and internet firms under exclusive deals.

Virign have been fined 600,000 euro (about £414,000) for their actions. We wonder if anyone explained to them that what they were doing was like stealing, um, CDs from their own store. Or something.

What's fascinating, though, is that the music industry haven't refused to supply any more music to Virgin for its online or street stores - surely if they're that serious about illegal uploading, the industry should be prepared to make its actions follow its highly strung language. They think nothing of breaking the financial backs of postmen and single-parent families in the projects, but when it'd actually cost them something to take the moral high-ground, they fall strangely silent.

Come on, IFPI - you're constantly telling us that it's criminal to make illegal uploads available; here, a company have done it for financial gain. Why are you still letting a criminal organisation make money from your products at all?

[Thanks to Donald S for the story]


In a "come and get me, coppers" attempt at creating a buzz, Aki from Fun-Da-Mental has recorded an album about suicide bombers and says he'd be happy to go to prison.

All Is War (The Benefits of G-Had) isn't, of course, really glorifying terrorism but jumpy old Ian Blair sent 250 police into a house where chemical vests really weren't being made, so that's not enough to keep him safe. A snatch of the lyrics:

I'm strapped-up 'cross my chest/
bomb belt attached/
deeply satisfied with the pain I hatched/
electrodes connected to a gas cooker lighter.

There is, of course, a difference between understanding the motivation of suicide bombers and agreeing with them - which is why Cherie Booth wasn't glorifying anything that time.

The record company, Nation (part of Beggars Banquet) must be behind them, right?

Not entirely:

Martin Mills and Andrew Heath, two "silent" directors of Fun-Da-Mental's label Nation Records, have threatened to quit their posts if the album comes out.


Wasn't Michael Jackson meant to be moving to Dubai, permanently? Or to London? Now, it turns out, he's going to be relocating to continental Europe:

Spokeswoman Raymone Bain said Jackson has also severed ties with his longtime business managers as part of a "sweeping restructuring" of his affairs.

"He's just decided that with all of the projects he's going to be involved with and all of the people he's beginning to work with in the music industry, it's easier (to live in Europe)," Bain said. "He'll be going back and forth to Bahrain but Europe will be his principal residence."

We guess Europe will be easier as he'll be able to sit down and write some songs without a constant procession of solicitors turning up to serve papers.


Despite opposition from local residents and the neighbouring council, a three-hour meeting of Halton Council has approved Creamfield's application to relocate to Daresbury.

Solicitors for Cream told residents it didn't matter they'd hear the sound of the event after 11pm because it was "a one-off event"; people from the area will also be forced to use ID passes to come and go from their own homes ("However, organisers said this was to prevent festival-goers getting access to residential areas.") It'll be great practice, of course, for if there's ever an outbreak of anthrax in the middle of Runcorn. Although probably the Creamfields guards won't be shooting people trying to escape.


After last night's Stockholm hotel incidents, which saw Axl bite a man, Axl Rose has written a cheque to get out of trouble.

Rose has paid a £3000 fine and £750 damages to the security guard he bit:

Police said the singer, the sole remaining original member of the chart-topping rock outfit, was "too drunk to talk" at the time and was detained until he was deemed sober enough for questioning.

"The matter is now concluded," spokeswoman Towe Hagg told the Reuters news agency.

Axl is heading off to Oslo. Tasty looking Norwegian limbs should be covered up.


As some of you may know, this blog takes its name from a song by the mighty Sleater-Kinney, so we're sorry to hear that they've split ("gone on indefinite hiatus"), according to their website:

After eleven years as a band, Sleater-Kinney have decided to go on indefinite hiatus. The upcoming summer shows will be our last. As of now, there are no plans for future tours or recordings.

We feel lucky to have had the support of many wonderful people over the years. We want to thank everyone who has worked with us, written kind words about us, performed with us, and inspired us.

But mostly we want to extend our gratitude to our amazing fans. You have been a part of our story from the beginning. We could not have made our music without your enthusiasm, passion, and loyalty. It is you who have made the entire journey worthwhile.

With love and thanks,

We want to be alone with our thoughts, thank you, and All Hands on the Bad One

[Thanks to Rae for the news]


The stylish glint of your cheeky little iPod is looking a little tarnished this morning, as Foxconn, one of the Chinese manufacturers, admits it made its workers toil eighty hours a month over the basic week [Edited - see comments] putting the machines together.

Eighty hours - that's longer than the battery life on some of the models.

More disturbingly:

Foxconn's PR then made life worse for Apple by saying that a team from the Cupertino based outfit had investigated its operations and given it the thumbs up.

Which means, at best, Apple are happy to let the wool be pulled over their ie - sorry, eyes - or, at worst, they're happy for workers to toil for hours and hours and hours and...

[Thanks to Karl T for the link]


BBC Radio are reporting that EMI have turned down another takeover bid from Warners. Warners, part of the music industry which is always complaining about how it's so difficult for it to make any money in this internet age, apparently offered two and a half billion pounds for its partner in the RIAA.

You and I might think if they had all that cash slushing about they might want to try investing some of it in artists and making music, but that's why you and I don't spend our days sat in a comfy boardroom.


Although the press has suggested that she'd been bought a huge engagement ring and everything, Kylie says she isn't getting married:

"The marriage proposal and denial rumours. Stopppppppp!"

Hang about... she wants the world to accept there's never been a denial of a marriage proposal? But isn't she denying it there?


There's a pal telling all, so it must be the truth: only Alex Turner's mother stood between him and Kate Moss:

““She asked him if he wanted to meet up and he mumbled something about being busy with the band and he’d have to see.

“Then she followed it up with a few texts and he panicked and told his mum Penny.

“She is a straight-laced teacher and had already warned him about getting mixed up with drugs while in the band.

“There was no way she wanted her son involved with Kate after all her cocaine carry on.

“He was going out with someone else from school at the time so he ignored the texts.

“I think Kate got bored of asking in the end.”

All her cocaine carry-on? Are the Arctic Monkeys mates with the ghost of Sid James?

We're also trying to make sense of this - his mother is a "straight-laced teacher" and yet when her son asked if he should go out with Kate Moss, her response was 'ooh, she's had a cocaine carry-on' rather than 'actually, don't you already have a girlfriend?'


Trilling away to OK, Britney Spears has been revealing how great she feels being a young mother. It's all about the energy, apparently:

"I think by being a young mum I’ll have more energy on being able to bring up more positive kids."

Yes. And clearing up the psychic mess made by mummy posting nasty poems about daddy, and then deciding to give him one more chance - well, that's going to take quite a few windmills' worth of energy.

"I always wanted to be a young mum. My mum was a young mum and I’ve looked up to her. I just feel that it’s so important to instil so many good beliefs in your children."

We're not entirely sure that Britney bothered to explain what the "many good beliefs" she is busy instilling in Sean actually are - something to do with driving about with babies on your lap, and how it's okay to get married to anybody providing you're drunk enough to be able to persuade someone to annull it the next day.


While doing a guest slot to promote her "record", Paris Hilton took part in a Real Radio prank call. She rang one of her Daddy's hotels and asked if she could get a discount on a room.

And, erm, the bloke who didn't know it was her offered her the cheapest rate he was authorised to by her father's company.


Let's just get this straight: person rings hotel, and is offered room at what is the best rate on offer. Where's the joke there?

Although even if he had known it was Paris, why would he have even thought of offering a woman, rich through no fault of her own, some money off a room?

Perhaps she should stick to throwing hot pennies at her staff if she wants a laugh at the little people.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


A great email from Russ C points out that Robbie Williams has been so poorly received by America that a New York Times piece on David Beckham had to explain that:

(Williams is an English pop singer.)

What's even better about this is that the explanation comes at the end of a section talking about the attack on Beckham's family by Bild, the German tabloid. We'd read about this before, but one detail had been left out by the British reports we'd seen:

The article also accused Beckham's mother of being a "Robbie Williams fan" with the smile of a peasant.

In other words: Germans, reaching for insults, will throw "lardy" and "dwarf children" about, and see enjoying the music of Williams as being on a par with that.

We love Germany.


Jane Siberry has changed her name. For reasons we're not entirely sure about, she now answers to Issa.

This reminds us of John Peel's mother, who one day sent a note round her friends and family announcing that "henceforward, I wish to be known as Harriet."


We wondered how Guns N Roses would fill in the time now that one of them has gone back to the US to be with his pregnant partner.

It's not by playing Scrabble, it turns out.

Axl has trashed a hotel room and bitten a security guard on the leg. Stockholm police aren't happy:

Police said Rose was being held in a cell and would be questioned later about the incident that took place at about 0800 local time (0600 GMT) on Tuesday.

He's not been charged; if he does face a violence rap, he could be looking at four years in prison. Which would probably cause another small delay in the Chinese Democracy release schedule.


We're not quite sure why Elton John - a man whose on/off relationship with hair has been the subject of much public debate and comment over the years - felt it was neccesary to try and stop the Daily Mail from running pictures of him wearing a baseball cap, but he went to court anyway.

He lost his case almost as surely as he's lost his crown:

In rejection an application for an injunction stopping publication in Saturday’s Daily Mail, Mr Justice Eady held that the photograph did not convey any private information.

Mr Justice Eady likened the photo to one of Sir Elton “popping to the shops for some milk” and, with reference to the key judgment by the European Court of Human Rights, Von Hannover v. Germany, he found no evidence of harassment.

Elton had suggested that the pictures of his barnet were an invasion of his privacy.


It doesn't come as much of a surprise to discover Noel Gallagher 'fessing up that he, shall we say, borrowed someone else's work.

His latest case to be taken into consideration: Half The World Away, which sounds more than a little like Bacharach and David's This Guy's In Love With You.

"It sounds exactly the same. I'm surprised he hasn't sued me yet."

We're not quite sure why Gallagher thinks the songwriting duo is a he, though. Perhaps he's used to people thinking of Oasis as a duo while he's convinced it's a he.


Tim BurgessThe Charlatans have always been a band who look out for their fans, and in this age of nuclear-war-proof computer communications they're able to find new ways of doing things.

They've created an online rarities club.

It'll do until they get the teledildonics worked out.


Tori AmosFacing up to her own myth: the wobbling-quality, pig-suckling, free-associating entire past of Tori Amos across a five-disc box set. Demos, remixes and alternative versions lather the box up to make it the perfect gift for people who enjoy moist thoughts when they hear the words 'tori amos'.


Having had all their pre-Island back catalogue re-released after their first taste of success, Pulp are about to enjoy seeing their more recent past repackaged to haunt them: His n Hers, Different Class and This is Hardcore are coming around again, with extra stuff you could possibly live without mixed in. We're not sure why We Love Life hasn't been treated to the same facelift.


Chicks on Speed are far from happy with their treatment during the Oxigena festival in Spain.

The band claim the organisers refused to let them play in order to be able to claim on the insurance; making good losses on low ticket sales. The Chicks also say that their cameras, with which they took images of the band being thrown off stage, were smashed and memory cards stolen.

There's footage of their ejection on YouTube and of them attempting to explain to fans why they aren't playing; whatever the reasons the organisers had for the show being terminated, the heavy-handed removal of the band from the stage is an absolute disgrace.


Having been reassured that he won't have to wear an orange boilersuit - after all, that would make him look ridiculous - Boy George has accepted his community service fate. He's going to be cleaning up leaves in New York parks.

We're not sure if the judge was trying some ribald humour, though, when he warned George to stick to the ruling:

"I'm going to make you a promise. If you don't do this community service, you go through the back door."

[Earlier: Culture Club's new life without George


Gwyneth PaltrowIt was only a matter of time: Gwyneth Paltrow is preparing an album. She's working with William Orbit, who seems generally positive about the whole affair. But then someone, somewhere, thought that Kate Winslet record was worth releasing, so we're going to side with the doubt until we see reason to believe otherwise.


Having spent most of the month goading her by running her porn pictures, this morning The Sun reports in a concerned voice that she's behaving a little oddly.

Apparently she's become convinced that as she's got Beatle connections, she's become a target:

“John Lennon was shot and George Harrison was stabbed and loads of kids are kidnapped.”

As a precaution, she's started filming everyone she sees in the street in case they're up to no good - the paper suggests this is bizarre behaviour, although since it relies a great deal on paying photographers to sit in the street filming people in case they're up to no good, it's hardly in a place to talk.

Pals fear Heather is highly stressed.

One said last night: “We are increasingly concerned about her behaviour.

“She had the public break up of her marriage and then there were the pornography claims.

To try and help, The Sun follows this worried friend's words by, erm, providing a big link to watch the video of Mills trying out for page three.


I had sex with James Blunt in the back of my Ford Escort.

No, no, I didn't, someone called Natalie Loddo did, or so the Sun reckons.

This was back six years ago, before Blunt had written any brilliant music or become famous. As opposed to now, when he's famous.

In a scene straight from hit film An Officer And A Gentleman, James swept married Natalie off her feet dressed in his blues — the regiment’s smart evening uniform.

Ah yes, An Officer and A Gentleman, where Gere lifts Winger in his arms, and sweeps her out to the pub car park, giving her a quick one in the back of her car.

His sudden fame brought them back together. Loddo claims that the pair had an equally stylish bunk-up last year, backstage at one of his gigs:

“It was a real quickie. There were people knocking on the door because we had to leave the building.

“The band were banging on the door while we were rushing to finish. I had just my bra on."

If you ask us, if you've got time to remove footwear and shirts, it's not a quickie.

We'd imagine the flogging of the story to The Sun is a sign that Loddo wasn't expecting there to be any more moments on the blunt end of Blunt.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Prolific producer and label boss Arif Mardin has died, it has been announced.

In a half-century in the music business, Mardin worked with everyone from the BeeGees to Norah Jones.

Mardin was born to a distinguished Turkish family in Istanbul; he graduated from his home city's university and then came to London to take up a place at the London School of Economics. Although crazy about jazz (a passion he picked up from his sister), back home he had intended to follow a more traditional career path for a scion of an upper-class family. His mind, though, was changed when Dizzy Gillespie made a visit to southern Europe in the mid-fifties:

"Dizzy came through Turkey in 1956, and it was the biggest event of my life. I had the chance to meet him, and he wound up playing one of my pieces and giving me some pointers."

Quincy Jones was, at this time, pulling together funding for a music scholarship at Boston's Berklee College of Music; Mardin was the first recipient.

After his course, and a year teaching at the college, Mardin was offered a role with Atlantic Records. In 1969, after just six years with the label, Mardin had risen through the roles of studio manager and house producer to be Vice President. (During this time, Atlantic had lost its independence to become part of Warner Brothers' media empire.) Eventually, he would become Atlantic's senior Vice President. Upon his retirement from Atlantic, he revived EMI's Manhattan Records imprint, providing a home for (amongst others) Richard Marx and Norah Jones.

But while his life behind a desk is noteworthy, it is for his work as a producer for which Mardin will be remembered. He picked up twelve Grammys, including producer of the year for 1976 and 2003 and record of the year for 1990 and 2003 - Bette Midler's Wind Beneath My Wings and Norah Jones' Don't Know Why respectively.

Amogst a string of top ten hits he was involved with were the BeeGee's Jive Talkin', Pick Up The Pieces by the Average White Band and Against All Odds. By Phil Collins.

He clocked up over forty gold and platinum albums, was, in 1990, induced into the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame and worked with Scritti Politti. He agreed to help out on Queen Latifah's collection of standards in part because he was tickled at her sharing his wife's name, but even late into his career was still able to be surprised. When Norah Jones started to sell in the States, he sent his young charge an email exclaiming "a million records in a week - this is a first in my career."

Right from the start of his musical life, though, he was known for taking bold leaps, as on one of his albums with Aretha Franklin, which was meant to be a live gospel recording:

She didn't like one part of the song, so she came to the studio and played it and sang and said 'Make your edit there.' I said 'How are we gonna make an edit into the live church sound?' So I assembled a lot of people and they would talk and hum and clap and everything to create that atmosphere. Then I took a room murmur of the church and made a long loop of it. On the splice, I put a cymbal and things like that and it worked out fine."

Mardin had been living with pancreatic cancer; he died at home in New York earlier today. His body will be flown to Istanbul for the funeral.


The trouble with owning guns is they do tend to go off: Jill Sinclair, co-founder of ZTT Records and wife of Trevor Horn, has been accidently shot.

Sinclair was hit by a pellet shot by their son:

The company spokesman said it was too early to tell at this stage whether Ms Sinclair would suffer brain damage from the injury.

Taken to hospital in Reading, the film and TV producer is said to be stable.


The surprise in the news that American record shop Tower is launching a digital download service is that this is 2006, and that they're only just now doing so.

The company insists its got two areas of edge over its competitors - first, it's selling its downloads as .wma files; second, it claims to have a much wider catalogue than some of its competitors.

The breadth, of course, is only any good if it has the track you want - if you're seeking something by Alisha Chinoy, the fact you're looking through a database of thousands of jazz tracks isn't going to impress very much.

The wma files - much lusher quality - are only attractive to broadband users; there are a lot of these in the US, but according to the DTI only about 39% of households have access to the technology, growing at a fairly slow 16% over the course of a year. Lots of people to sell to, but the majority of the market isn't ready yet for trickling CD-quality files through their dial-up modems.


Expecting, and probably a child at that: Elvis Costello and Diana Krall.

It's going to be a December baby. Like Noel Edmonds.


It's a victory of sorts for Choice FM DJ Ian Thompson (professionally known as Masterstepz) and Cheryl Tweedy's husband-to-be Ashley Cole. The Sun and News of the World had sort-of-hinted quite heavily they were lovers; now, they've apologised and paid some money out.

The strange thing, of course, is that only by allowing official news sources to acknowledge that it was Thompson who was being hinted at is he able to clear his name.


Here's something for the next media regulator's party you find yourself at - draw the line between editorial and advertising on the TV schedule.

Of course, there's no reason why Universal records shouldn't form a production company, Globe, to make 'documentaries' about its artists - but we're a little surprised at the BBC commissioning that company to make a programme for the public-service networks. See, we're not expecting Globe to be exactly turning out the sort of balanced consideration of his career that you might hope to see on the BBC.

At the very least, shouldn't there be an advertorial warning put on all this material before it's broadcast?


In memory of Joe Strummer, here comes another entrant to the crowded UK festival scene:

Strummerville Nights.

It's slightly different from those sponsored-countryside-two-headlines-and-an-undercard jobs, as this will be for unsigned bands and in the city. London, of course. July 6th at Strummerville Studios.


It might not be that he's quite worked his way through all his potential fanbase, but there is something unsurprising that Lee Ryan took his mam to James Blunt's gig as his big date.

Actually, it's quite a sweet thing to do, especially since Blunt's music is aimed at the parents of adult children market.


Kim MedcalfWe wonder if at interviews for jobs in soaps they fix the candidate with a steely gaze and ask "are you really interested in this job, or do you see it as a stepping-stone to a pop career?"

Obviously, everybody would lie. Emboldened by her appearance on Celebrity Fame Academy last year, Kim Medcalf, out of EastEnders, has produced her own cd. Apparently she filled the empty hole left by Daniella Westbrook's coke problem. Not the one in Westbrook's nose, though.


According to this morning's Sun, Babyshambles split at the weekend.

The band were waiting for Doherty to turn up at Waterloo - they were heading for a gig in Paris.

And they waited, and waited.

After six hours, they decided enough was enough, and quit.

Apparently, Pete managed to persuade them back when he eventually turned up, though. (We suspect there may have been a chart drawn showing 'babyshambles with PD' compared with 'babyshambles without PD'.)

Sunday, June 25, 2006


You really can't open your mouth without attracting lawyerly action: Jamie Foxx sang a song, Heaven, on Oprah's show; Michael A Johnson reckons it was his song, One of Heaven's Angels Went AWOL under a new name.

A judge will have to decide.


With Top of the Pops waiting for the taxi and checking its suitcases one last time, we look back over its shoulder to an earlier programme for our weekly scamper round the YouTube archives: The Oxford Road Show. Here's some early-80s sacffold-bound Peter Powell-tastic greatness from New Broadcasting House in Manchester:

XTC - Snowman
Marillion - He Knows, You Know
Japan - Visions of China
The Cure - Shake Dog Shake
Siouxsie & The Banshees - Overground


Often, it's the same people saying just as firmly that there's to be no Spice Girls reunion who insist a few days later that there's one in the offing. This time, the "they'll get back together story" has the additional element of winsome teddy bears trying to assist unfortunate young persons, so it might be slightly more plausible.

However, the Spices to record this year's Children In Need single story is only sourced to "a pal", which is lower in the pecking order than "friends." So it might never happen.


The bland lunching the blonde... apparently James Blunt has had some sort of meal out with Paris Hilton.

Oh, don't you hope they'll duet?


The week on No Rock:

The most-read stories this week:

1. Heather Mills porn burst
2. Heather Mills porn burst #2
3. We don't know. Is KT Tunstall a lesbian?
4. Janet Jackson gets her weight under control with five meals a day
5. McFly naked
6. Vince Welnick, RIP
7. Heather Mills did some soft porn, too
8. Theresa May confuses Jack White with Ricky Kaiser
9. Top of the Pops axed
10. JJ72 split

Read all the week's posts on one page
or breeze through the previous week in one post

And we basically pointed you in the direction of these fine new releases:

Smart psych comp, including the Budweiser-suing Standells and Electric Prunes

Episode Two: A New Hope (of the states)

TV's Paul Morley chooses well over three CD's worth of Manc-Scouse post-punk

Brian Molko. Tony Visconti. Kristeen Young.

Get well soon, Rachel Goswell

We've never been entirely convinced about Frank Black's solo stuff, but there's no denying he's made another album

This, apparently, is the "legacy edition" of Sweet's Girlfriend

What's that coming over the hill... is it a novelty band, or is there something more?

Re-born Sandy Devotional... time to upgrade your Triffids

Plot holes, etc, but... Kate Beckinsale. In leather.

The entire Black Books in a single box

Includes some of his Corrie & Bootsie & Snudge work, as well as his single dramas - both Jack Rosenthal and ITV are now, sadly, dead

Long-awaited UK release for The Presets' Beams