Saturday, June 09, 2007

Bookmarks: Some other things to read on the web

The top ten most ridiculous music couples, as chosen by Stylus magazine:

07. Goldie and Bjork (mid-90s)
Maybe the bomber was trying to tell her something. In ’95 it might’ve seemed like Goldie would go down in the history books as the man that brought jungle to the masses, and not the ‘90s punchline he is today, but while the internet froths over the release of Bjork’s Volta, you could probably count the people on one hand who can even name an album Goldie’s released this decade. Assuming he’s even released one, anyway.

Ryan Gilbey remembers his first gig:
While I would love to continue claiming that I lost my live-music cherry seeing Prince on his Lovesexy tour, that was in fact my third gig. My first - oh, the shame - was Erasure at the Hammersmith Odeon. In case you're wondering why I didn't simply promote my second gig - Sinead O'Connor at the Dominion - to first place, I think there's something a bit drab about saying that Sinead O'Connor, wonderful though she is, was the first person you saw play live. It's like saying that your first car was a Mini Metro.

The Eagles are the best band in the world, reckons New York magazine. It does show its working:
The fact that in 1978, they attempted to cash in on the disco craze by writing “The Disco Strangler,” a song about a murderer who loves the nightlife.

An interesting, though fundamentally flawed piece on Indymedia casts Paris Hilton as a victim of celebrity, without stopping to wonder if maybe she sought that status in the first place:
There are many unhealthy aspects to this whole business. In the first place, the Paris Hilton celebrity phenomenon was a product of the foul media-entertainment apparatus in the US and a generally diseased social climate. Under healthier circumstances, Hilton’s “bad girl” antics would have been of concern only to her family and close friends.

Two Jaggers

Chris Jagger was playing a small gig at the Bull's Head Pub in South London when his brother joined him on stage. Not very impressive, perhaps, but his brother is called Mick and plays music on stage for a living. It's turned up now on YouTube.

Anthrax tighten Slipknot

It's a marriage made in Hades: Corey Taylor is seriously considering an offer to join Anthrax:

It's kind of a dream come true, Anthrax is one of my favorite bands.

"We're just kind of taking baby steps right now. I know that we worked on about eight or nine songs together that I've written lyrics for.

"But there's nothing definite right now. It's one of those things where it's like we're just gonna kind of play it by ear and just see what happens. I'm in two huge bands right now. So it's like I barely get enough time to sleep, let alone do another band."

You must make more time to sleep, Corey. Lots and lots of time to sleep.

Gareth Gates claims his dues

At first, you think that Gareth Gates is having a little joke...

"Paul owes me. It's not just Unchained Melody that made him money. Will [Young] and I recorded the Beatles' The Long And Winding Road, so I think I deserve my after-show party ticket"

... but the mention of the second song really does suggest that Gareth was actually being straight faced.

He presumably realises that, set against McCartney's annual earnings, the royalties from a Gareth Gates song would probably barely make a tinkle in a pewter mug, doesn't he? And, also, since he was paying McCartney for the rights to a song that McCartney owned, in what way would that put McCartney into Gates' debt? Does Gates think that when he buys a pasty from Greggs, somehow this means he has a moral right to go to the bakers' Christmas staff do?
"It was an amazing gig. Seeing the crowd respond to Hey Jude really made me want to cover it. All those voices singing along is something I'd love to experience."

Gareth, Gareth... it might take a little more than merely copying someone else's song for that to happen, you understand.

Please, not on our account

Fergie has - we're not sure "reassured" is the word, more threatened - that there will be another Black Eyed Peas album:

"We don't have an album yet, a Black Eyed Peas album," Fergie told WENN. "We haven't had time; everybody's been constantly working, as we always do. But we will have an album. We're not going away."

We know what she's been doing... but what about the other ones? Are they really all so busy?

Rage against the clock

There's been some sucking of teeth over behind the scenes at the Wikipedia Rage Against The Machine page; one contributor had suggested that, if you went to the RATM website and set your PCs internal clock to match the zero hour on the two countdown clocks, you would see details of some sort of secret gig:

Can anyone else verify this as well?

no i did this and cleared my cookies and cache and restarted the browser and it still counts down the same way (i.e. still says that theres XX days/hours/mins left). i'm removing the info from the article until someone can back up the claim (and even then it would be considered "Original Research" so... yeah). 16:56, 7 June 2007 (UTC)


I can verify that it does indeed change the site. It says "August 24th, Alpine Valley" and that tickets will be on sale at 10am 6/16. I'd be happy to take a screenshot of it and upload it if you'd like. FireC 07:30, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

What's perhaps more interesting is the website at the heart of the excitement - had its domain registered by LiveNation. Is it possible to Rage effectively against the Machine when a substantial part of that machine is handling your PR work for you?

Box set or buy Ryan

Ryan Adams is preparing a box set full of stuff that has previously been unleaked to the internet, including two albums which haven't had a release before, and a lot of rarities. Of course, by the time it emerges in the autumn, he'll have gone and recorded more stuff, so there's still going to be a load of unreleased stuff laying about.

Wasn't this supposed to be our year off?

According to listings on Amazon, there's going to be a new album from Coldplay on September 3rd.

It has no details beyond a "TBC", so we're guessing this is going to be some tatty live, repackaged, best of filler designed to help EMI pay the wages of the people working on the company's glittering strategy for the future rather than a proper album.

Beasties: There are no words

So, not only have The Beastie Boys dumped the rapping, and the sampling, from the forthcoming album, it's going to be all instrumental. All live instrumental. Mike D admits this might not be the most-chart friendly move:

"The more we kept working on these songs, the happier with them we became, and the more confused in terms of where there was room to put vocals on them.

"If we were trying to maximize our demographic or whatever, I'm not sure we'd come with an instrumental record right now, but I think we have to give people who've been listening to us some credit.

"They've gone to different places with us already, in terms of the influences we bring to the music we make, so hopefully they'll be able to hang with this curveball as well."

Well, their fanbase has managed to overlook the early sexism and faux-shockery, so a jazzy noodling album they should take in their stride.

Robbie Williams is not an old lady who only used it for going to church

Who knew that a Smart car briefly owned, and never driven, by Robbie Williams might have difficulty finding a market? Sam Judah bought the car off Williams last August, and has been trying to flog it ever since. It was left unloved on eBay; now it's turned up in AutoTrader:

“The first time bidding went mad but people just wanted to take pictures, no one wanted to buy it. I’m hoping now it’s coming into summer I’ll have a few serious buyers.”

Because, of course, you can't sell a car in Autumn. That's why car lots are closed in mid-September until Easter at the earliest. Oh, hang on, that's holiday camps, isn't it?

Bono: the master politician

Seasoned Bono watchers won't be surprised to note that he's turning his ire on Blair for the failure of the G8 to deliver on its promises from two years back. Not Bush - Bush, whose even weaker response Bono lavished with praise last week. Bono's modus operandi has always been to pop up to criticise leaders who are about to be voted out or step down, giving the impression that he's prepared to lecture, without the danger of losing the chance to hang out at state banquets.

(It's notable that this time round, Bono met only with Merkel and Bush, both of whom will still be in their jobs this time next year.)

Interestingly, Bob Geldof - whose business interests are primarily centred on the UK, unlike Bono's US-centric affairs - was happy to call all the G8 leaders "creeps". Except one:

"I'm really sorry for Tony Blair. He pushed this to the point of exhaustion so well done him, he had nothing to lose so he went out all guns blazing," he said.

The sad heart of the story, though, is that this is partly Bob and Bono's fault: they were the ones who took the mass demand for action behind the wire in Gleneagles, and, over some games of golf, exchanged it for some vague promises. They dispersed the crowds for their friends. And now they're surprised the promises were broken.

Perhaps it would help journalists cover these stories if they stopped referring to Bob and Bono as "rock stars" - the outcomes are a lot less surprising if you tag them as "millionaire businessmen".

Just fancy that

A trade secret: this critical tic is known by some people as the "lazy four", awarded by people who don't buy records, and can therefore affect to enthuse, before putting the CD away and never listening to it again.

- John Harris, writing in response to Paul McCartney's new album, Guardian Film & Music, June 7th

Paul McCartney
Four stars

- Ian Gittins, reviewing Paul McCartney at the Electric Ballroom, Guardian main section, June 7th

Back you go, Paris

Since it turned out that the Sheriff who reassigned her to house arrest was a law enforcement officer and not a member of the judiciary, Paris Hilton has been ordered back to prison.

The deliciousness of this is that what she had already - the money - could have got her out; but what she has so assiduously sought - the fame - has sent her back inside.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Fly swatters

Every so often, councils dream up a plan to deal with illegal flyposting - Leeds, for a while, would slap black paint over gig posters in unapproved places, creating a scene which looked like the CIA was attempting to keep the street secret. The ever-popular waterjet solution is sometimes used; Camden went for the prosecution route for a while until it realised the deterrence effect wasn't worth the cost. Some years back, Liverpool tried offering a posterboard of tolerance, although putting it under the control of one of the local promoters created its own problems - not to mention that one single flyposting site was never going to replace the allure of all those streets.

Glasgow is currently adopting the tried-and-failed approach of slapping 'cancelled' stickers over gig posters. It doesn't work, of course, because to be a success the council needs to tell promoters what it's doing, and once its public knowledge, people know to ignore the cancelled signs as they've been put there by the council to try and discourage flyposting.

Still, the council is pleased with itself:

A council source said: "We can be a complete pain in the neck to the people doing this because the money and time they spend is completely wasted.

"And there's no point getting in a designer to produce a fancy poster when it will soon be a mess that doesn't tell anyone anything."

But since flyposting teams have long lived with the competitiveness which often sees one team posting over the top of another's work, this might not be quite as smart a move as the council hopes. And, unless they want to pay teams overtime to go round out of hours, they might find they're fighting posters which have already been up twelve hours, talking to the night-time crowds they're aimed at. It's only a half-thought out idea, isn't it?

Bravery wish they hadn't beefed with the Killers

The interesting-enough-when-theres-no-Springwatch battle between The Bravery and My Little U2 ("the Killers") seems to be drawing to an end, with the Bravery wishing the thing had never started. Sam Endicott calls a halt:

It all started when [Brandon Flowers] started talking shit about us, and we responded. Now, I just regret the whole thing even happened."

Although having got a few good column inches out the battle, we note that Endicott was happy to call a halt while he had something to promote.

Rehabitat: Sambora checks in

Perhaps driven by no force stronger than a desire to distance himself from the clunking interview his boss did yesterday, Richie Sambora has signed up for rehab. Puzzlingly:

The guitarist's spokesman furthered, "He asks that you respect his and his family's privacy at this time."

Although, surely, if you want to be left alone, having your publicist announce your trip to the health club isn't the best way to go about it?


Siobahn Donaghy has revealed in an interview with Gigwise that she nearly quit music after the Sugababes:

"When I left the Sugababes, I just thought music wasn't for me so that's why I left. It was just like, this industry isn't for me, I'm not strong enough for it. You know it was really beating me down."

To be honest, it was more that the music industry left her - and, indeed, some might argue that her subsequent career has hardly been right at the heart of the business.

She seems to resent being a former Sugababe a surprising amount:
"They have to put me in an ex-Sugababes bracket, which is just so difficult... if they just saw me as a new artist it would be so much easier. Maybe I'll change my name."

"In my opinion I've never sold out. I left the Sugababes just before they did some campaign with McDonalds, I was like fuck that!"

Which is all admirable, although you do wonder how many interviews she'd be doing now if she didn't have the 'ex-Sugababes bracket' upon which they can be hung.

Modern life is junk

Kele Okereke out of Bloc Party has told Total Spec magazine that he thinks living and drugs are two sides of the same wrap:

"I think in the 21st Century drug-taking is something that is synonymous with life, really. All I intended to do with the songs is to capture what modern life feels like."

We would have had something to say about that, but we were swigging down coffee as we were thinking about it so, hey, maybe he's right. Because it's all drugs, yeah, kids?

Glasto: Predicted pouring

We're not sure that we'd set very great store by weather forecasts claiming to predict what the weather will be doing the weekend after this one, but early predictions are that it's going to tip down on Glastonbury this year.

Having said that, the forecast might have been based on little more than someone spotting it's Glastonbury weekend and it usually pisses down on the site, so chances are it will rain, but if you are going: pack for trench foot.

Dosen does Griffith

We've just heard that Stephanie Dosen - nu-folk dream-queen - is going to be opening the forthcoming Nanci Griffith UK tour. Which, as pairings go, is right up there with chips and even more chips:

Thursday 12 July - GLASGOW - Old Fruit Market
Friday 13 - MANCHESTER – Apollo
Sunday 15 - BIRMINGHAM – Alexandra Theatre
Monday 16 - LIVERPOOL – Philharmonic
Tuesday 17 - LONDON – Hammersmith Apollo
Friday 27 - GATESHEAD – Sage

George Michael blows out of court

Luckily for everyone involved in this weekend's George Michael gigs, the man has been spared prison for driving while drucked up to the eyeballs.

George has moaned that the papers were interested only in the prosecution case - which, seeing as he pleaded guilty, and his ridiculous claims that somehow, despite having pleaded guilty to breaking the law he hadn't broken the law, seems a little unfair:

Reading from a prepared statement, he called the media coverage of the case "farcical" and said reporters had concentrated on the prosecution's case.

"I'm glad to put this behind me," he added. "Now I'm off to do the biggest show of my life."

It's not entirely clear how Michael expects to play Live Aid this weekend, but we wish him luck.

He's got 100 hours of community service and a two year driving ban.

Take a hike, Ike: Calls for Turner to be dropped from fest

Campaigners against domestic violence are calling for organisers of the Edinburgh Jazz festival to withdraw an invitation to Ike Turner. Because of the wife-beating, not because he's not a jazz musician:

A spokeswoman for the charity [Shakti Women's Aid] said: “It’s well known that he abused Tina Turner when they were married, so I really don’t think he should be allowed to come and play here.

“Having someone who has admitted that he is a domestic abuser sends out completely the wrong message.”

Ike, of course, has been very precise in his admission of violence, insisting he never beat Tina:
“Sure, I've slapped Tina . . . there have been times when I punched her to the ground without thinking. But I never beat her.”

We're sure that as she lay on the floor, having been punched to the ground, Tina was thankful for the semantic nicety.

Brian Fallon, chair of the festival, is minded to keep Turner on the bill:
“Some will have their reservations about us featuring a man of his reputation in the festival and I can understand that.

“But Ike has paid his dues. He remains a formidable artist – he recently won a Grammy award – and we are confident that he will sell out the Queen’s Hall,” he said.

We're sure that when the Women's Aid centre has it explained to them that, yes, he might have beaten women up, but that won't affect his ability to sell out quite a large venue, they'll withdraw their objections in a moment.

Sinead spits on Prince

How did Sinead O'Connor thank Prince for writing the song upon which she relies for her pension and her fame?

With fighting and spitting, that's how:

"At the time he had a lot of female protégées and I had covered his song without having anything to do with him. He invited me to his house in Los Angeles and started to give out to me for swearing in interviews.

"When I told him to go fuck himself he got very upset and became quite threatening, physically. I ended up having to escape. He can pack a punch. A few blows were exchanged. All I could do was spit. I spat on him quite a bit."

We're not sure we can picture Sinead really being bested in a fight by Prince. Did this really happen, or is Sinead confusing her life with something she might have seen on that MTV celebrity death match thingy?

Allen washed back to Britain on a sea of booze

The not-surprising confession from Lily Allen is that she got too pissed to continue with her US tour:

"When you walk into your dressing room every night and there are 40 beers, it's difficult not to drink them all, you know?"

Well, if the other option would be going on stage and plodding through the song about the woman with Tesco bags for the umpteenth time, probably not, no.

Free the Ponys

Tonight, there's a free Ponys gig. In London, of course, where most people don't live. It's part of Vice Records People Are Germs night; The Damn Shames are also on the bill. 8pm at Old Blue Last, Great Eastern Street. If you turn up in a leotard, you'll get in for nothing. Because it's a free gig anyway. But go on, go in a leotard. You know you want to.

Here you come again...

The odd thing about Dolly Parton's breasts is that, really, they're not especially remarkable. Perhaps that's just a result of the twenty-first century being full of women who've had their bustline increased through a mixture of bicycle pumps, plastics and that foamy stuff they use to fill in gaps in walls, but even back in the 1970s, when you couldn't move for Saturday night comedians making jokes about Parton's cup size, we could never quite see what all the fuss was about.

They have, however, obscured her actual talents, which is why it's a bit of a shame that even as she was accepting her induction into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, she fell back on tit jokes:

"I can just see two big mountains growing up out of my grave, and people going around on mule rides to look at them.

"Throughout my whole career, I've been known for two things," joked the singer, famous for cutting a memorable figure in cleavage-revealing, glittery outfits.

"I'm talking about my music and my lyrics," she said.

Still, she also had a good songwriting joke, too:
"It is my favorite thing to do. It is my private time with God. That's when I feel closest to God even when the songs I'm writing are just God-awful."

Morrissey: Ready to be close-up to Mr. DeMille

Morrissey has chosen his last resting place - he wants a plot in Hollywood Forever, alongside Cecil B DeMille, Johnny Ramone and, erm, Iron Eyes Cody:

"I like Hollywood Forever. I've sat there for a very long time and felt quite good about it.

"I always felt I wanted nothing more than my name, birth date, death date and all three names, Steven Patrick Morrissey. And I've even considered putting money down for reserving a spot."

Trouble is, of course, you feel that Morrissey's funeral should be handled by the Co-op; surely they don't have an LA branch?

Spice Girls reunion: No new single being recorded

The drawn out process to bring back the Spice Girls meanders again. Now that Mel C seems to have been beaten down, has anyone actually told her what she's in for? She tells The Sun:

"I was always the one that was against getting back together, but now I'm up for it.

"Nothing has been agreed for definite, but a reunion will happen when the time is right.

"It would be completely nostalgic, playing all the old hits - there will be no new songs like TAKE THAT have done.

"And there certainly won't be a Spice World II movie."

So, no new songs, then.

Which makes you wonder what it is that Victoria Beckham has been telling Mirror about:
"The new songs are a progression of the old Spice stuff - nothing radical and still poppy but a bit different. We are all impressed with them."

Perhaps Mel C just means that there aren't going to be any songs which sound like the ones Take That have done.

Come on, Melanie. You don't have to do this. Say no. Walk away.

Victoria Newton goes to Essex

This morning, in a piece on the grumbling Holloways, Victoria Newton appears to claim she spent Wednesday night in Southend watching the band:

The band are touring seaside towns and Bizarre caught up with them in Southend, Essex, on Wednesday. Generator got the place jigging and the encore was a cracking version of WHIGFIELD’s Saturday Night.

Alfie Jackson, meanwhile, seems to be feeling shortchanged with being in a band which might have its first top ten record at the weekend:
“I’ve hardly made a penny. I was better off on the dole.”

Paul McCartney says the same thing, you know. Once he's taken into account the housing benefit and the free school meals for Bea, he'd be quids in.

The final curtain

There's good news and there's bad news: Simon Cowell has pledged to make no more 'musical casting' shows after Grease Is The Word (has that finished yet?)

The bad news, though, that he's stopping doing them because they're too similar to his cash cow X Factor. And, although insert name of country here's Got Talent would seem to also be the X Factor, just with a couple of jugglers, he's still pushing that one for all its worth.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Heck of a job, Bono

What could show that Bono's role in geopolitics is to calm the masses rather than speak for them than the jolly reception George W gives him? Bush - who never knowingly encounters someone with a different opinion - has been enjoying himself at the G8 summit in Germany:

Bush met with Irish rocker and anti-poverty activist Bono, music producer Bob Geldof and Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour before the start of the G-8 summit of major industrialized nations.

"Hanging out with good company, aren't I?" Bush said before retiring inside the Kempinski Grand Hotel Heiligendamm.

Bush apparently had Bono on his mind. Earlier, he shouted to aide: "Where's Bono? Bono for president."

At the time, Bush praised him as a "doer." "You're an amazing guy, Bono. God bless you," Bush said.

Bush has every reason to praise Bono - at a time when it's hard for him to find anyone to give him an even break, Bono continues to work like he's the President's personal cheerleader.

Akon: There must have been a phantom fan-flinger

Despite having been caught on numerous mobilephones tossing a boy off into the crowd, Akon's people say it never happened:

"Given the information that we have reviewed to date, it does not appear to us that Akon was involved in any criminal conduct whatsoever," read a statement from Akon's attorney, Benjamin Brafman. "We are prepared to fully cooperate with any law enforcement agency that may be investigating this incident. We are confident that after a thorough investigation it will be apparent that no criminal prosecution of Akon is warranted."

The boy was dragged out of the audience by security because Akon believed he'd thrown something at the stage - a small piece of pretzel, apparently. It might not sound much, but remember it was a small piece of pretzel which left George W Bush look like he'd got pissed and fallen over, hard, into a table that time.

According to MTV:
As the fan was brought to the stage, Akon removed his shirt and chain and then grabbed the boy, tossed him over his shoulder and threw him into the crowd, saying, "Now we can start the show, ya'll ready." A moment later, Akon looked down at the crowd and said, "He's OK, he's all right," then shortly later chastised the audience for a perceived lack of support. "See, now you got me feeling by myself," he said in the cell phone video footage. "I thought I had fans and support."

Still, the fifteen year old kid might have got off lightly. If he'd been a girl, Akon would probably have dry-humped him.

Spiritualized peek out from the gloom

There are a handful of festival dates announced for Spiritualized this summer, which are promising to be a little bit special - acoustic, strings and Spacemen 3 bits and pieces. Beyond that, though, Jason Pierce is hinting that there's going to be an album "this winter". Although we wouldn't expect anyone to hold him to that.


A curious little footnote to the drunken-driver Paris Hilton's justice-avoiding jailswerve. The doctor who provided her with an Ernest Saunders style "ailment" to get out of jail free is, reports TMZ, one Charles Sophy. He had a small job with Department of Family and Child Services at the time of the Jackson trial. He requested a copy of an document - a transcript in which the boy at the centre of the case denied Jackson ever touched him. Shortly, and in a way that has never been explained, the transcript appeared in the press. Sophy has never convincingly offered a reason for why he wanted the document in the first place, but it was probably just a crazy coincidence.

We wonder if he's given a business card to Phil Spector?

Justice in action

That's one in the eye for people who believe there's one law for the rich, and one for the rest of us. As Paris Hilton is freed from jail after a few minutes, it turns out there's also a third law, for the hyper-rich.

We believe this is internet grooming

Don't do it, cellists: Courtney Love is using her MySpace to try and recruit a cello player for her own devious purposes:

Travel with Courtney and her band to Paris, Los Angeles (where you can stay at her guest house) New York and back to Europe for a show in London and perhaps Manchester.

"Looking for a Gothic Lolita-ish Japanese Cellist, experienced with mp3s all ready to be sent to us to listen to. This is of urgency and if you're sending to us you can drop everything in a second and come on tour. We might need you this week.

"Videos of you as well are fabulous. Courtney needs you yesterday.

We suppose that advertising on MySpace may have been a way to circumvent the awkward questions about "Japanese? Videos? Lolita-ish?" that a more traditional entertainment agency placing might have raised, but it's still bloody disturbing. What with saying "I want a barely legal Japanese girl to send me videos with a view to taking her on trips and having her stay at my house", and all. Knowing it's Courntey's ad hardly makes it better, does it?

Back in Knives

The Young Knives are heading back into the studio to make a follow-up to the last record. Although, obviously, that goes without saying as you can't make a follow-up to anything other than the last record, can you? Tony Doogan is going to be producing; a first single is pegged for September.

Death, be not proud

News of a Suicide date in London is always to be welcomed, so try not to let the fact it's a support slot for Nick Cave's Tin Machine sideshow Grinderman disappoint too much. 20th June at the Forum, although it's already sold out, apparently. Which is quite disappointing.

Oooh, ooh, he's halfway there

Jim McCabe, rather generously, suggests that Jon Bon Jovi's curiously aggressive interview in today's Guardian might have been a bad homage to Spinal Tap. To us, though, it just looks like a humourless old bore who feels he's above it all:

Your music is often defined as soft rock or rock light. How do you feel about that?

You can call it whatever you want - it's Bon Jovi.

Is that people being snobby?

It's not for me to decide what someone's perception is, darlin', it's theirs.

Do you care what reviewers think?

Is that what this interview is about?

I have a whole load of questions.

Move on.


Don't get like that.

OK. I didn't mean to upset you.

You're not upsetting me. Don't belittle yourself. If you want to talk about music, let's talk.

Later on, it becomes clear that Jon doesn't think he gets enough respect from the media in Britain:
Is the rock industry sexist?

I don't give it much thought. I can't comment.

You must have female friends who are musicians?

I can't comment on that.

Is rock as a genre in decline?


Did you have too much success too young?

No, we didn't actually. It took us three albums to get any notoriety.

But when you got it, it was pretty massive?

Yes, it was. Slippery When Wet is a phenomenon. The trick was not getting it; it was staying there.

Is it true that you hit a depression and didn't know what to do next?

Sure. There is a reason why it is called the music business. It was a drag to find out it wasn't just about music, it was about running a business, but you either get over that hump or you fall back into a lesser state of success or eventual breaking-up or obscurity or whatever.

How did you stick with it? Was it therapy?

No, no, no, crap, the English media, you guys just love this shit, that's why I'm not a bigger "celebrity". I can't sit here and ...

What do we love? What "shit"? What do you mean?

Forget it - I'm not even going to jab with you. So, it's just what it is.

Do you find British press tricky compared with Americans?

Cheeky. Isn't that the word for it?

You mean asking deliberately annoying questions?

[Laughs] Yeah.

Of course he prefers the American media, with its 'here's a question your PR people asked me to ask'/'when's the album out' agenda; but if Jovi wanted to talk about the music, why was his reaction to the (fair) 'soft rock' question so bristly?

Nothing is wasted

In this ecologically aware age, we suppose someone finding a use for discarded, broken guitar strings is to be applauded. Even if the big idea is to turn them into bracelets, and the "authenticity seal" probably consumes more resources than did the guitar string originally. And 'bracelet made from guitar string' sounds right up there with 'piano wire necklace' in terms of 'terrible accident waiting to happen, with lots and lots of blood'.

Still, the Relix Band (yes, we're afraid that's what they're called) do give their profits to charity, and you can choose from a range of artists including Keith Richards, Jon Bon Jovi, and Death Cab For Cutie.

Coming tomorrow: Pencils made from broken drumsticks.

Shirley Manson as Leanne Battersby

With a best of collection due from Garbage in July (Absolute Garbage, in fact), there's the now-requisite new tracks to top the album off. The single is going to be Tell Me Where It Hurts which, musically, sees Shirley Manson return to her Chrissie Hynde tribute routine. The video, though, is a homage to Belle De Jour. The movie, not the blog:

Bono's Vanity Fair

Never has the title of the magazine been so apt. Bono is guest-editing Vanity Fair, and to show how incredibly well connected he is ("to make a serious point about poverty") he got twenty famous faces to create twenty different covers:

The covers depict stars receiving and passing on a message about the continent's plight.

George Bush, politician Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, George Clooney and tycoons Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were among those who posed for photographer Annie Leibovitz.

Bono said he wanted to show Africa as "an opportunity" and added: "If I wasn't a singer I probably would have been a journalist."

Or a property developer. Or a Wall Street financier. If he wasn't those things, he probably would have been a journalist.

Leaving aside the concept of the cover, which manages to unite twee and overblown, isn't there something a little unsettling about trying to raise awareness of the plight of people with very, very little by decadently lavishing resources on producing twenty slightly different versions of the same magazine? And putting the same sort of people who usually turn up on Vanity Fair covers is hardly going to make much of an impact. Is this the best idea Bono could think of? Why not really create an impact by, say, having a cover printed on plain paper, rather than glossy? Something which would stand out from the other magazines and other editions of the title? And seem a little less like a greedy civilisation consuming enormous resources while half the world starves.

The lamb will lay down with the Beckham

Now that Victoria Beckham is back in the UK, more life has been sparked into the sorry tale of Gordon Ramsay's sheep. For those of you who have managed to miss the story thus far, Gordon Ramsay asked the Beckhams to look after two lambs; we're supposed to believe that sharp-minded businesswoman Ms Beckham didn't make the connection between chef and lamb, and thought she was giving a home to pets (although when she asked "how long will you need me to look after them?" and was told "just until I've peeled the spuds" might have been a clue). Then, one of the lambs was savaged to death overnight.

Beckham has pronounced herself "shocked":

“I’m not aware of any lamb being killed in our grounds.

“I’m a vegetarian so I’d be horrified about an animal being killed.

“It has certainly got nothing to do with me!"

We're glad that she's cleared up that one - we had had visions of Beckham stalking down animals over night before ripping their heads off in a feeding frenzy - although "feeding frenzy" never quite seemed that likely.

Diversion: George Clooney on his knees

We don't normally bother with non-music-related people who get caught in Victoria Newton's net, but we're going to make an exception for the George Clooney's hands and knees story. This is running under Newton's Bizarre branding, but is credited to Gary O'Shea.

The nub of the story is that, while doing the Chinese Theatre wet-cement ceremony with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Jerry Weintraub, George essayed a rather weak joke:

“If I had to be on my hands and knees with three other guys, I can’t think of three better guys to do it with, and I mean that in the best possible way.”

Mr O'Shea seizes on this throwaway line:
BACHELOR GEORGE CLOONEY had fans bent double with laughter — with a joke about sexuality.

"Bent", do you see? Bachelor, do you see?

Because he made a vaguely gay gag, Mr O'Shea feels he has to ask, like an appalled bruiser in a bar: Does this mean he's gay or what?

No, he really does ask:
He divorced actress TALIA BALSAM in 1993 and wooed beauties including LISA SNOWDON and RENEE ZELLWEGER.

But he admitted recently he had “failed miserably” with women. So does he prefer men? Here we look at some jokey Cloos . . .

Yes, there's a sidebar of "Cloos". Seriously:
For ...

GEORGE wore TIGHTS as the Caped Crusader in Batman and Robin.

He provided the voice of a GAY dog in cult cartoon South Park and played a TRANSVESTITE in 1993 movie The Harvest.

He owned a 300lb MALE Vietnamese black bristled, potbellied pig named Max.

and against

WHEN asked if he would consider moving into politics, he confessed: “Run for office? No. I’ve slept with too many women, I’ve done too many drugs, and I’ve been to too many parties.”

He was married (though just once!) and dated movie beauties and models.

Let's leave aside for now Mr. O'Shea's apparent inability to tell the difference between transvestism and homosexuality, and the even more surprising inability to tell the difference between acting and real life. Let's not even wonder if Mr. O'Shea has ever heard of bisexuality, and just focus on the suggestion - "jokey" or otherwise - that owning a male pet somehow might mean you're gay. The Sun and other tabloids have spent decades subtly trying to suggest that homosexuality was in some way connected with paedophilia; this is the first time I can remember a British newspaper trying to suggest that 'gay' and 'bestial' are pretty much the same thing.

Meet the Glastonbury piss police

170 volunteers are going to be patrolling the Glastonbury site this year, with the intention of trying to stop people pissing in the streams and polluting the rivers.

They can be good cops:

"We're comic cops and we aim to embarrass people... and educate them in a humorous way," said Ms Vallely.

"People are approached and we tell them they've been arrested and that they are causing an environmental hazard.

"We don't let them go until we hear the magic words: 'I won't do it again'."

And they can be bad cops:
"But we can get people chucked out [of the event], or make sure they never get a ticket again, or take them to the police."

That 'never get a ticket again' bit - how, precisely? Is the photo ticket and name and address record going to function not just as an entry mechanism, but as some form of site-wide ID scheme? Are there any other occasions on which the giant Eavis database will be flagged up with your details?

It's a lovely idea to try and stop the inappropriate weeing, but let's hope the main role of the Piss Squad is to be symbolic rather than quite so repressive.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Kill Rock Stars crush private bits

The good people at Kill Rock Stars are trying to offload too-small pants:

So, I know you've been waiting for it. Here's the Tiny Underwear Part of the Sale. We actually didn't mean to make the underwear be this tiny, but since they are, we thought we'd draw attention to it since there are no returns on underwear, for obvious reasons.

Kill Rock Stars - Star Logo Girl Hot Pants $13
t White Kill Rock Stars Star Logo on Black Hot Pants/Underwear. Sizes are tiny and there are no returns on underwear, so don't say I didn't warn you. For a size chart, go to (size chart) And click on N73, women's hotpants. I'm generally a women's medium or large (size 8 or 9 in women's pants) and I would probably wear a 2XL in these sizes. They are similar to the American Apparel sizing, which is to say, they are for small/slender adults or children. We are sorry about this and hope to get some bigger underwear soon. Please send us suggestions for sweatshop free ethical companies to order them from! In the meantime we hope you can find ways to enjoy these tiny underwear. If they fit you, great, we just want to make it clear that we know not all adults are this tiny! Body image freak out=it's not you, these are too small for most adult women.

Now we know where all Janice Battersby's dodgy work ends up...

SXSW comes to you

Here's a new spin-off from the festival scene: The take-away fest. Or, at least, a series of packaged back-and-on-stage bits from SXSW. There's a trailer for the first installment, featuring Peter Bjorn & John, Polyphonic Spree and The Bravery; at first, the idea is for theatre release, but we imagine DVD rights are being battled over even as we speak.

Formerly modish band hope "unexpected" producer will make them modish again

The Hives, who, to be frank, we have trouble calling to mind when we hear their name nowadays - oh, yeah, suits, right? - are attempting to reignite interest by choosing an "unexpected" producer.

We know what you're thinking: Is this really an unexpected choice of producer, or have they merely done something like hook up with Pharrell Williams?

The latter, I'm afraid:

In a statement singer Howlin Pelle wrote: "This new album has been recorded all over the world because we thought it was time to have other people involved besides ourselves and our closest friends. The lion's share of this new album was recorded in Mississippi with producer Dennis Herring. We also met producer Pharrell Williams in Japan a while ago. He told us: 'We should record together,' and 'something bass guitar-based.' We ended up spending some time in Miami making music with him. Some of his music will end up on the Hives' new record."

So, "the lions share" was done in Mississippi, and "some time" was spent in Miami - and this constitutes "all over the world"?

Something to listen to: Ladybug Transistor

Just arrived on the Daytrotter sessions: The Ladybug Transistor doing new versions of four of their songs.

Ash: Yes, we kicked Charlotte out

A couple of months after Charlotte revealed the mutually agreed split wasn't quite so mutual, Tim Wheeler has admitted she was pushed out of Ash:

"It was our decision for her to go. She wanted the best of both worlds - to be a solo artist and to be in a band. I could tell her heart wasn't in it and it made things awkward between us."

Or, at least, your assumption that her heart wasn't in it must have been causing difficulties, at the very least.

Ssssh... Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins, or what's passing for them these days, played a secret gig last night in Berlin. It was so secret, of course, to stop James Iha from turning up and spoiling things.

Billy Corgan then held a question and answer session - which, on one hand, is a lovely way of interacting with your fans, but on the other, does have an air of pompousness doing it after the gig - "I expect some of my songs have left you wanting to ask questions. After all, what better way to round off the night than me telling you how I suffer for my art?"

Corgan told the audience that making Zeitgeist, the new album, was "a long, laborious process to perfection", and we fully believe him. Except the bit about perfection, of course. Somebody asked him about the band sort-of-coming back together:

"When the band broke up in 2000 a lot of people were saying it was a bad idea. But I felt we had to do it. Now we had to come back. We believe in the power of intention and prophecy."

We prophesise the new album will be overblown and have a couple of good ideas stretched to breaking point.

Nothing happens anywhere in the world without someone capturing it for YouTube, of course:

Good lord, I hope this is a misquote

Because if it isn't, Amy Winehouse really believes women are little more than wombs with shoes:

"I know I'm talented but I wasn't put here to sing. I was put here to be a wife and a mum and to look after my family.

"I love what I do but it's not where it begins and ends."

So it's not just her hairdo that comes from the 1950s, then?

Nothing Compares 2 Me

Ah, sweet, shy, retiring Sinead O'Connor - tortured by her beauty:

"Fame and beauty together have proved a curse for me. Fame, especially. It's the reason I keep leaving the game. I find it painful, I really do.

"To be a good artist you need to be terribly sensitive. If you are sensitive then you're not well-suited to the vileness of the music industry."

Luckily, the buckets of cash she earns do offset some of the more negative effects of the curse.

Bonde Do Role pull teeth, US tour

Bonde Do Role's support slots with CSS in the US have been pulled, as Rodrigo Gorky needed emergency dental treatment requiring a return to Brazil. Because, of course, there aren't any dentists at all in New York.

The UK dates are expected to go ahead as planned, unless somebody needs a podiatrist in a hurry.

Got wood?

The Victorian English Gentlemen's Club have got a new single, Stupid As Wood/La Mer, due on 16th July. The 7" version is going to come in a wooden box, to fit in with the title of the first track; it's not known if all the CD versions are going to be thrown into the sea to match up the other.

There are also some tour dates designed to promote both feelings of slightly-aroused sensuality in your loins, and to tempt you to buy the single:

12th June, Durham Uni summer ball
30th, Bath Westgate
7th July, Cardiff IforBach
11th, Brighton Pressure Point
13th, Leicester Sumo
14th, Southampton Unit 22
15th, Manchester Roadhouse
19th, London Metro

Cheryl Baker's hair problem

Those ads for some sort of hair-regrowth moonshine that ran a while back featuring Cheryl Baker have been slapped by the Advertising Standards Authority. Why, they even claim that Baker's hair would have returned even if she hadn't lathered it with Nourkrin:

Our expert explained that the type of hair loss described in the Cheryl Baker story in the press ad would be described clinically as telogen effluvium; he said it was common in women after childbirth and largely reversible without intervention.

The advert might appear again, though; the ASA has merely told the company to "ammend" it. Perhaps by putting in a photo of David Van Day.

Moyles and the "model"

Apparently, Jordan was dropped from the running order of the Chris Moyles show yesterday morning because she turned up late and Moyles decided that he wasn't going to have her on. Because, somehow, Jordan is only a pointless disturbance at 8.15, but at 7.45 she is an adornment to any radio show:

A spokesman for Radio 1 said: “Katie was due to arrive at 7.45am and wasn’t here at 8.15am.

“We understand there can be problems with traffic and family but a full half an hour late is a long time for a live radio show.”

When it's Chris Moyles having to fill for half an hour, it is a bloody long time.
Victoria Newton has been rallying Jordan's fanbase - generally, people who would have too much time on their hands if they'd ever learned to read a clock - to Katie Price's defence:
Hundreds of you emailed in after I posted the story on my website yesterday.

MarkiSverige said: “As much as I enjoy listening to Chris every morning, I think he was a tad harsh.

“She is having a tough time with her son Harvey.”

Keepitreal58 agreed. “Chris Moyles has arrived late for his own show before and just dismissed it in his usual, arrogant way.

“I have so much respect for Katie Price.”

Tessi added: “I think Chris Moyles is acting like a complete idiot.

“He is treating people badly to up his ratings. I really do hope it backfires and people boycott him!”

"I have so much respect for Katie Price" - it's even more bemusing when the person calls themselves KeepItReal, isn't it?

It's not clear exactly what Moyles and Price were going to discuss, although the Putin government's belligerence over the missile defence shield was understood have been leading the agenda for the interview. Jordan's people have promised to leave early tomorrow to make sure she arrives on time for Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time.

Glamour Awards: Perhaps it's irony?

When we heard that Victoria Beckham had picked up two awards from Glamour, we wondered. Especially since she turned up to get them, so they couldn't have been anything she actually deserved.

It turns out she's the magazine's Woman of the Year, presumably given to reward her for a successful twelve months in which her husband got a new job and she had dinner with the public faces of a cult.

Even more surprisingly, she won Entrepreneur of the Year. In a way, that she manages to spin gold from nothing, does means she is at least packagable as a brand, but could Glamour not find a woman who was an actual entrepreneur, rather than having a team of people finding projects making overpriced jeans for her to sign off on?

Victoria also had something to say to those who suggest that it's the fault of her upbringing that David Beckham won't get a knighthood in Blair's resignation honours:

“Who cares if I’m not posh enough. All I care about is that Karl Lagerfeld said I’m cool — and he’s the man.”

The really sad thing is that probably is all she cares about. She's thirty-three and feels the need to tell people that a man who makes trousers thinks she's "cool".

The winners, in weary-making full:

Woman Of The Year:

Entrepreneur Of The Year:

Nokia Newcomer Of The Year:

Accessory Designer Of The Year: ANYA HINDMARCH

Band Of The Year:

Writer Of The Year:

TV Personality Of The Year:

Film Actress Of The Year:

Film-makers Of The Year:

International Solo Artist Of The Year: BEYONCE

Fashion Designer Of The Year:

UK Solo Artist Of The Year:

Sportswoman Of The Year:

Presenter Of The Year:

Radio Personality Of The Year:

Funny Woman Of The Year:

Outstanding Contribution:

Inspiration Award:

Man Of The Year:

Prince and the peepshow

We're filing the big splash in The Sun today that "Prince is going to play a surprise gig in the Big Brother house in our big box of "oh, really, and why would he want to do that?

A source said: “Prince is a huge fan of Big Brother. He has tuned in to every series of the show so far and loves the concept.

“His management are in discussions with producers Endemol to arrange a gig.

“Prince is hoping it will be an unforgettable moment that goes down in BB history.”

Oh, really? Prince has "tuned in to every series so far", has he? I know we live in an age of wonders and instant global communications, but who actually believes that Prince has spent the last seven summers trying to get a signal for Channel 4 in Minneapolis, making transatlantic phone calls to Get Grace Out?

If these negotiations are even happening, it's probably got less to do with Prince "loving the concept" of Big Brother and more to do with there not being a Top of the Pops or Wogan to promote new albums on to a mainstream audience any more. And that's a big if in the first place.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Two bald men arguing over a backcomb: Manson v Way

Marilyn Manson is apparently now so desperate for attention, he's been giving interviews to The London Paper, the only newspaper in the country which approaches news with the concept that it's today's newswrappings. And he's decided to pick on My Chemical Romance:

"I'm embarrassed to be me because these people are doing a really sad, pitiful, shallow version of what I've done.

"If they want to identify with me then here's a razor blade. Call me when you're done and we'll talk."

But have My Chemical Romance really stolen Manson' schtick? They are a very weak, mainstream-friendly third-generation copy of Eurogoth, which does sound like what Manson is doing.

How tiresome, though, that, Manson feels that, in order to make emotional music, you have to be a a faux-fuck-up. Is he really suggesting that Gerard Way needs to cut his arms to ribbons to make himself a little more "genuine" in some way? Does he reall confuse suffering with talent?

Burning Up: Madonna nearly catches fire

Madonna was nearly caught in a nasty incident yesterday when fire broke out in the building where she was doing pilates. Apparently she didn't even notice that anything was amiss. Mind you, she's so self-involved, she could have been doing her pilates in that chemical fire in Crewe and she wouldn't have spotted it.

Returned with venom

It's been three years since we last heard from My Vitriol. We thought they'd been tempted off to careers in the photocopying industry, but, no, because there's a new ep coming out on the 25th June. It's a Pyrrhic Victory. That's the title, not an observation.

Dead man does Hammersmith Palais

Thank you, Kit Brash, for the link to Sony BMG Australia's page flogging the Clash singles compilation they released last week. They've apparently arranged the comeback tour to end all comeback tours to promote it:

La-la lands Warners deal

It's interesting that the bravest (in RIAA terms) experiments with DRM-free music are coming from the smaller of the majors, the ones without extra layers of cross-corporate synergy to worry about. So, as EMI starts to sell files with only the merest scraps of identifying data on them through iTunes, Warner Music has launched a service which allows users to listen to whole albums. For free. Online. If the listener likes, they can buy the song. - which hitherto has been an interesting CD swap site - will pay a small royalty (perhaps a penny a listen) everytime someone streams a track, and hopes to make its money back when people decide they like the songs so much they'll have them as a takeaway.

Stand by for someone in a major label talking sense, and only seven or eight years too late:

For Warner, the deal with has limited risk, because the label will make money from streaming royalties. But its priority is increasing sales of music, which have declined further this year. “The evidence we’ve seen is that a lot of people want to own music,” said Alex Zubillaga, Warner’s executive vice president for digital strategy and business development. “And their mandate is to sell music.”

Mr. Zubillaga added that was giving Warner Music a good deal of flexibility in determining how to price and bundle music. Apple, the dominant player in the market with its iTunes music store, does not give music labels those options, much to their chagrin. Unlike iTunes, will concentrate on selling albums, which it will offer for a variety of prices based on the behavior of individual consumers.

There had to be a catch, didn't there - a confusing price structure. And what does "behavior" mean? Will you get charged more if you skip tracks halfway through the listen? If you visit on Tuesdays? If you download only songs with "sexy" in the title? At the risk of sounding like someone in an insurance advert, I want to know in advance what I'm supposed to be paying; there is no compelling reason why Slim Dusty's A Pub With No Beer should cost a different download price from Fatboy Slim's Praise You, and the suggestion that different people may pay different prices for the same track sounds suspiciously like some consumers are being fleeced.

We suspect that Warner's choice of partnering with Lala has, though, less to do with flexible pricing structures, and more to do with this being a nervous first dip into un DRMed waters. Nobody wants to lose their virginity at an all-you-can-eat orgy, do they?

Apparently, Australia still crushes butterflies on wheels

Allison Durbin, one of the biggest Australian chart acts of the early seventies, has been jailed for twelve months after being convicted of "growing and trafficking" cannabis.

Some of Antipodean pop's elder statesmen have condemned such a strict sentence for a woman who has managed to fight back from a life ruined by heroin addiction. John Farnham, who recorded an album of duets with Durbin, said:

"I think we need to show Allison a bit of compassion. It's not condoning what she's done, just to remind people that she's a human being ... and at heart a top person."

Rick Springfield, who got an early break as Durbin's touring guitarist, agreed:
"I am very concerned for Ali with the sentence she got. She is a fragile soul and this could kill her spirit."

The judge, Ian Robertson, appears to have taken a hard line with Durbin because she had beaten heroin - and thus, in his view, should know that drugs are bad things, although the logic of that would mean she'd have got a lighter sentence if she was still an addict.

Her solicitor says Durbin - now known as Allison Giles - intends to appeal.

Mooney in London

As part of their promotional work for the Have Mercy album, The Mooney Suzuki are plotting a series of UK dates. Thus far, the only one in the book is 13th June in London, at the Metro, but we'll keep you informed.

Nuclear War set for July 2nd

Assuming, of course, Bush and Putin don't wipe us out before then in their 'who can piss the highest' contest, Future Pilot AKA is releasing the doubley a sided Tery Bina/ Nuclear War single on July 2nd.

The Sun-Ra Nuclear War cover features Alisdair Gray, Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Davy Henderson and Mike Watt. (That's Watt, as in Stooges, not Batt, as in Wombles.)

At least it wasn't I Can See For Miles

How charming of Rod Stewart to dedicate a song to Penny Lancaster during a charity event, just two weeks before she becomes the latest Mrs. Stewart.

Of course, doing a cover of The Way You Look Tonight at a fundraiser for the Royal National Institute For The Blind might be just a little insensitive.

[Thanks to Franco for the link]

Sluts stalk Franz Ferdinand

The Columbos of the music blog world, MusicSlut, reckon they've unpicked the secret of Franz Ferdinand's secret gig in New York - Bowery on Wednesday 13th June, they suggest. They show their working, too.

Charity music doesn't have to be poor

The good people at History Major Records are donating all their income from online sales this month to help Victory At Sea's Mona Elliott (undergoing treatment for cancer) and Callum Robins, son of J Robbins from Jawbox, who has spinal muscular atrophy.

Anneka Rice was not involved in this endeavour.

Hedgehoppers anonymous

Apparently, Amy Winehouse took her frustrations at the reaction she got from the MTV Movie Awards audience by pushing Blake Fielder-Civil into a hedge, yelling:

"You always fucking do this! Don't fucking touch me! Fuck you!"

It's unknown if this row was sold to a glossy magazine for quarter of a million quid.

The poor reaction was perhaps down to what Grown And Sassie calls "the best part" - viz. "you can tell that she don't give a shit about the crowd". Oh, yes. That always guarantees great interaction between artist and audience.

Blur: Back together by November?

Blur, complete with Graham Coxon, are going back into the studio in November.

Or, possibly, they're not, as this is from Victoria Newton, whose source sounds, well, oddly like a tabloid journalist:

A source said: “They’ve all had lots on, with solo projects, cartoon bands, political campaigns and farming.

“But by the end of summer, their plates will be clear. They’ll go into the studio together in November.”

Eh? Alex James is selling his farm, then, is he? And if their "plates will be clear" (earning them a Little Chef lollipop) at the end of summer, why would they go in to the studio in November?

More importantly, this source fails to engage with the part of this story which would be interesting had it been true - how Graham Coxon has returned to the fold. Because, what with the bitter split and everything, surely it's going to take a little more than Coxon discovering that he's got a couple of free weeks around Guy Fawkes' night.

Newton does make a stab at suggesting a motivation:
Graham has released some excellent albums but without much chart success.

Oh, that'd be it, then: Coxon's desperate to be on the cover of TV Hits.

Perhaps slightly over-sensitive

As if the nation hasn't gone insane enough, hastily rewriting soap storylines because they have the word "child" in them and that could be so upsetting what with Madeline McCann still missing, now it turns out that a sequence of the Josephs-in-waiting singing Close Every Door To Me in The Clink (an ancient prison museum near London Bridge) was dropped from Any Dream Will Do because of Alan Johnston. Who would even make the connection, never mind being upset?

Come to that, we're still lost as to why Hanif Kureishi's short story about executions in Iraq was 'inappropriate' in the sixth week of Johnston's captivity but fine in the eleventh. The trouble with this sort of decision is that while it attempts to show sensitivity and that a serious matter is being treated seriously, over-reacting about soap opera plots and musical theatre ultimately trivialises the subject.

Set a course for adventure, your mind on a new romance

Who knew there was something lower down the gig pecking order than a summer season at a Haven Holiday Camp? Chico and Steve Brookstein have signed up to play gigs on a car ferry. From the X Factor to Triangle in no time at all.

Spot-on soundtrack

Well done to whoever picks Coronation Street's background music. Last night, Paul locked Leanne in his boot and rang Liam. While Liam took the call, the radio in the factory was playing Dido's Thank You. A song not unconnected with tales of angry men locking women in trunks.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Torn off a Stripe

Chciago's Q101 treated its listeners to The White Stripes' Icky Thump, all the way through.

Jack White found out and was, apparently, livid. He took time out to place a call to the station from the Spanish leg of the Stripes tour to make his displeasure with the DJ, Electra, known.

It sounds like he might have gone a little far, to judge by Electra's blog:

At 4pm today, Jack White called Q101's main offices from Spain, where they're touring, looking specifically for me, to yell at me for leaking the album and, in part, being "messed up for the entire (music) business." (Edit - I listened to the call again today, and I apologize for initially misquoting Jack.) I felt like I was going to throw up. Weirdest, most surreal conversation of my life.

So Sherman and Tingle were on the air when Jack called. They took the call with me in the studio, off the air. Jack asked me to take responsibility for leaking the record, and asked if I was sorry for what I'd done. S&T both jumped into the call - I was clearly flustered - and backed me 100%. We tried to explain where we were coming from - someone gave us a copy of a record that we were really excited to play, and the whole experience was an hour-long lovefest for him and his band - but he wasn't having it. He hung up, very, very angry, and I thought I was going to cry.

It's hard to see exactly why White is so angry - it's not like the station stole the album, and it's not exactly embargoed; being played on a small, enthusiasts station in Chicago isn't going to harm the sales of the record and with the Stripes' quality variable at best, might actually help a little.

But even if he is upset, screeching at people so much they feel physically sick is hardly the best way to make your case.

From Pink to Green

If Courtney Love can be believed...

Hold on, we just realised what we said.

She has announced that Linda Perry is going to produce the next Green Day album, something which she puts down to Perry having appeared on Love's next record. Rather than, say, Perry's track record of working on successful, mainstream-idea-of-edge albums in her own right, then.

We are not Scientists, oh no

From the thickening folder of "not quite getting the idea about secret gigs": We Are Scientists are doing three secret support slots in New York under the name Beat Up Old Men. The idea is to stick to all-new material and not feel obliged to do old stuff:

"It's a good way to see The Long Blondes for free" Keith Murray told NME.COM. "And we don't want people to come and ask for 'Nobody Move'".

Still, it's still fairly secret, isn't it? Nobody knows exactly where...
Beat Up Old Fellas will play:

Brooklyn, NY Luna Lounge (June 6) (w/ The Long Blondes)
Hoboken, NJ Maxwell's (8) (w/ Snowden)
New York, NY Mercury Lounge (9) (w/ The Spinto Band)


Kiley: New album in August

That's Rilo Kiley, of course, who are releasing Under The Backlight, their fourth album, on August 21st. It's their first thing since Jenny Lewis went off to be solo as well as part of the band.

Lily Ale-in

In the latest installment of Lily Allen falling apart in public, she's decided she's an alcoholic:

"I'm an alcoholic now. It's not good and that's why I want to get back into the studio. I've actually pulled myself aside and said it will kill me if I keep it up. I've got to stop abusing myself because as far as I'm concerned every loon hates me now."

Every loon hates me so I've got to stop drinking by making another record - presumably that makes sense after a pint and a half of gin.

Darling, leave a light on for me

The National Grid has told Al Gore and the Live Earth organisers that they can't request people go and switch off their lights for a symbolic moment during the concert because, erm, they don't know what would happen:

A National Grid spokesman said they were "keen" for another symbolic idea.

"The organisers had this idea and behaved responsibly by discussing it with us," he said.

"We are used to dealing with surges in demand, as it happens every day around certain TV programmes.

"But it's very difficult to forecast exactly what would happen in terms of demand. We would have had no idea how small or large it would be."

We're sure that's what they're worried about, and not the thought that people switching off their electrical items for five minutes would cost them and other electricity companies hundreds of thousands of pounds of lost revenue if multiplied by hundreds of thousands people.

We'd like to suggest a symbolic idea for Al, though: How about we all turn our televisions off when Madonna comes on stage?

Bawdy Brand's Brits bits borderline but balanced

Ofcom have given their judgement on Russell Brand's stewardship of this year's Brit awards [pdf]. They dismissed most of the complaints about his jokes without batting an eye, but did give closer examination to two specific jokes:

“Let’s send actual love to Robbie Williams…get well England’s Rose. One day at a time old bean…Oh them bloody drugs. Curse them drugs they’re everywhere. What about the rumours David Cameron smoked drugs as a schoolboy? What worries me most is that he dressed up as a schoolboy to do it, the pervert. Though perhaps, let’s not condemn him regardless. Who among us didn’t smoke just a little bit of weed at school, just to take the edge off those irksome crack come-downs? Actually, as it turns out, it’s about as good an anti-drugs campaign as you’re going to get, don’t take drugs you might end up leader of the Tories with a face like a little painted egg”.

“…time to find out who has pierced
the hymen of awareness to ejaculate success into the uterus of popular culture”.

Ofcom decided, on balance, the two jokes just about scraped past the demands of a pre-watershed audience.
As regards older children and under-eighteens, our view is that, again although on the edge of acceptability, the comments were justified in the context of a humorous ‘tongue-in-cheek’ style expected at a music awards ceremony transmitted after 20:00.
Importantly, the overall context of the comments made by the presenter was not that
drugs were acceptable.

Yes, the threat of turning into David Cameron is hardly an advertisement for taking drugs, although we understand that until it was explained to Menzies Campbell that it was a joke, he was trying to cut a hole in a plastic water bottle.

We do love the precision of "well, that's what you'd expect at a music awards ceremony after eight o'clock at night" - of course, had it been a literary awards programme at 9.15, licences would have been revoked and the dogs of war loosened.

More surprisingly, EMAP's television channel The Hits has been caught flashing cunts, tits and wanks onscreen. The words, which flashed up on one of the on-screen premium rate text services with which they splatter their programming, have brought a stiff rebuke from Ofcom. EMAP explained that it had basically little to do with the service besides taking a share of the cash; the company to whom it had ceded all responsibility had managed to catch the attempts by bored viewers to see if they could get the words on the programme, but, for reasons unclear, the moderator had decided that cunt was a word that had a place during the afternoon and allowed the entries to go forward.

Gennaro Castaldo watch: The Zimmers

We've avoided writing about The Zimmers because the whole project has had the horrible air of one designed to patronise and marginalise older people under the guise of pretending to champion them - ha, ha, they're old and singing about dying, and they're called the Zimmers because old people can't even walk properly. But we do have to break this self-imposed censorship because Gennaro Castaldo has weighed in on the subject.

Castaldo was called in late last week to read the runes on the band's likely chart performance:

The Zimmers, who feature a singer over 90 years old, recorded the cover to show that senior citizens can still rock and Gennaro Castaldo from HMV believes it should be enough to earn them a chart hit.

"The Zimmers' cover of the Who's iconic My Generation is showing signs of a top 20 debut," Mr Castaldo said, adding that Rihanna featuring Jay-Z looked likely to hold on to the number one spot.

The Zimmers went in at 26. He knows his eggs.

Gala Bingo has won awards

How unusual. We've heard back from the the good people at Gala Bingo about Sharon Osbourne... we're just not sure we understand what they mean. We sent them this:

With regard to your current commercials for Gala Bingo featuring Sharon Osbourne.

In this morning's Sun newspaper, Sharon suggests that her reaction to someone she disagrees with is "I'll f**king tear his head off and stick it up her!".

Would this method of dispute resolution be one that you would welcome in Gala Bingo halls?

Sarah Mercer, the Groups Communications Manager at Gala Coral, has replied:
Thank you for your email in answer to your question, we pride ourselves on customer care and have won awards in this area.

Now, I've read and re-read this, and I can't understand what the reply has to do with the question. Unless Mercer is suggesting that Gala have won awards for ripping heads off people - sorry, fucking ripping heads off people?

Mail pride

James P emails us to ensure we don't miss the staggering exclusive in today's Daily Mail, which he summarises as Popstar with fiance doesn't have sex with other women.

It's true: Jay-Z didn't have sex with wannabe groupies, which does raise the question why was the Mail running the story? Are they suggesting that even by being in a room with women he's doing something wrong? Or do they really think that Beyonce tends to flick through the Mail to reassure herself of her boyfriend's fidelity? ("Hmm... nothing in the Peterborough column... nope, he must be fine...")

R&Bobit: Tony Thompson

Lead singer with US R&B act Hi Five, Tony Thompson, has been found dead at a Waco apartment block. It's believed he died from an OD. [UPDATE: The autopsy suggested the death was due to poisoning following inhalation of air-conditioning refrigerants rather than illegal drugs.]

Thompson grew up in Oklahoma City, where, like many of his generation, his first public muscial engagements were church-based

Although largely unknown outside the US, in the 1990s Hi-Five sold records by the shedload, peaking with the 1991 number one hit I Like The Way (The Kissing Game). This was also their biggest UK hit, stalling at number 43 in the chart. Nevertheless, the band ran out of steam very quickly, and although they managed three albums, by 1994 it was all over, and the band went to pieces.

Tony went on to release a solo album - Sexsational - to a muted response; aware that his best hope was to reactivate the Hi Five brand, but unable to persuade his other members to commit, he simply 'reformed' the band by recruiting four new members to back him up, including his brother Jordan. This new Hi Five released an album in 2006, the Return, which failed to achieve the heights of the first version of the band.

Tony Thompson was 31.

Indieobit: John Pike

As reported earlier, the body of John Pike, drummer with Ra Ra Riot, has been found dead.

Ra Ra Riot had been working together for eighteen months, self described as "an amorphous blob that consists of six highly dedicated individuals, each bringing her/his own experiences as both people and musicians to the metaphorical table". Based in Syracuse, New York, much of the band's distinctiveness was down to the classical background of two of the six members. They had toured extensively on the East Coast, and earlier this year had played four warmly-received dates in London; the reaction to these dates had led to bookings for some festival dates this summer, including Latitude, Guilfest and London Lovebox.

The debut ep from the band - also called Ra Ra Riot - had been due for release through their own label.

The band had played a gig in Providence on Friday night, after which they had crossed the State line for a party in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. John disappeared during this party; his body was found in deep water in Buzzard's Bay, less than a mile from the party location.

John's drumming, at the heart of the band, was singled out for special attention by a review on SV Online in April:

John Pike (drums) may be hidden behind most of the musical commotion on stage, but he manages to provide solid background vocals and incredibly tight rhythm. The band simply wouldn’t be able to move a crowd without him.

This is the band in action at KoKo earlier this year:

Ra Ra Riot: Bad news

We've just heard that John Pike, the drummer from Ra Ra Riot who had been reported missing, has been found. Sadly, he was dead. His body was discovered in seven feet of water.

Unlinkin park

Chester "Cheato" Bennington is desperate that nobody believes he was shagging a Playboy model behind his wife's back. Everything was above board, he insists:

"It sounds shady," said Chester, "but I wasn't having an affair. I literally met Talinda at a party, thought, 'Oh my God, I could actually be happy', and went home and separated from my wife."

It's not clear if he told Talinda to nip into the bedroom and warm herself up while he went off to dump his wife and kid, but let's believe Chester if that's what he wants, shall we? After all, if he thinks that "I took care to let my wife know i was dumping her for a glamour model" makes him look better, let him have that comfort.

Security... SECURITY

Lee Ryan is so desperate to try and find some sort of limelight, he's now taken to hiding in the crowd at Simon Webbe gigs and jumping on stage for a singalong.

Simon Webbe is looking at doubling stagefront security.

We never thought we'd say this, but: Keith Allen's right

It doesn't make Goblin In The Office any more attractive, but Keith Allen does have a point:

I remember meeting Robbie Williams and thinking him the saddest person I had ever met.

"I thought, 'Why doesn't he just give it up?'

"I haven't said that to Lily, yet, but I will."

We don't know if he's planning to start a petition of some sort, but we're uncapping our pen in readiness. Hell, we'll even staff a trestle table in the High Street if it helps.

Victoria Newton's comeback comeback

Victoria Newton has somehow managed to discern the shape of a Spice Girls comeback by looking at the various Spice-ettes accounts and then slapping it on top of a standard, unsourced story:

My source said: “Obviously the girls aren’t doing too badly as things stand, but the money won’t last for ever and some of them need to cash in while they still can.

“All of them have agreed to do it — they are just waiting for the deals to be sorted around the world.

“SIMON FULLER is masterminding the comeback and they have even hired a top publicist to help them.

“They want it to be massive — bigger than Take That.

“The Spice Girls were huge worldwide and they want the reunion to reflect that.

“But it is fair to say some of them need it rather more than others.”

But what of Victoria's definitive assertion last year:
AT last some good news on the SPICE GIRLS reunion tour — it’s not going to happen.

I can reveal that MEL C and VICTORIA BECKHAM have seen sense and realised it is a bad idea.

Indeed, Victoria N seems very excited this morning about something last year she described as a "cringeworthy" idea.

One thing remains perfectly clear/ it's the buzz buzz buzz in the drum of the ear

Music engineers are starting a campaign against peak limiting, the practice where music is mastered so that the quiet bits are effectively pumped out, resulting in tracks sounding either "punchy" or "flat, loud, distorted and rubbish", depending on your point of view.

I say "launching a campaign", it seems to be more grumbling about it to The Times, but every campaign starts somewhere.

Peter Mew, senior mastering engineer at Abbey Road studios, said: “Record companies are competing in an arms race to make their album sound the ‘loudest’. The quieter parts are becoming louder and the loudest parts are just becoming a buzz.”
“The brain is not geared to accept buzzing. The CDs induce a sense of fatigue in the listeners. It becomes psychologically tiring and almost impossible to listen to. This could be the reason why CD sales are in a slump.”

The record companies? Surprisingly, they don't see a problem, some cheerfully admitting they release records with sound mangled so that it that it can be heard above background chatter in pubs or above car engines:
Domino, Arctic Monkeys’ record company, defended its band’s use of compression on their chart-topping albums, as a way of making their music sound “impactful”.

Because Alex's word play and the band's skills as musicians, presumably, fall short?

Bob Dylan has also said something about this - or "joined the campaign", apparently:
Bob Dylan has joined the campaign for a return to musical dynamics. He told Rolling Stone magazine: “You listen to these modern records, they’re atrocious, they have sound all over them. There’s no definition of nothing, no vocal, no nothing, just like – static.”

Although with the way his voice sounds these days, you'd think he'd welcome this development.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Bono praises Bush. Again.

Bono has lavished praise on George Bush for the promised $30 billion spend supposedly to fight AIDS in Africa. Bono acknowledges that this won't be to everyone's taste:

"Some of my activist friends will be jumping on one leg rather than jumping on two because it's never enough.

"But I'm standing up and I'm applauding the president and congress."

However, even Bono admits that one third of this money has got to be spent on abstinence campaigns - which, effectively, means ten million dollars wasted; indeed, pushing abstinence is worse than not doing anything.

In America, the studies done into kids who pledge themselves to abstinence suggests that their sexual activity doesn't differ noticeably from kids who don't; it's just as they're unprepared, they tend to get pregnant more frequently. Somehow, spending ten million dollars replicating that failed experiment in nations with frightening rates of HIV infection doesn't seem to be too great an idea.

Oh, and this is thirty billion not a one-off payment, it's to be spread over five years. And it looks a little paltry next to the European Commission's pledge of an extra $537 million to the Global Fund over the same period.

The money will be going through the President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief coffers. Part of their demand before releasing funds is that organisations who draw down funding "have a policy "explicitly opposing" prostitution and sex trafficking". This, of course, causes problems for organsiations who are working with sex workers to spread safer sex messages, provide tests for sex workers and support those who are HIV+ to provide an alternative means of support.

As an example, in 2005, Brazil had no choice but to refuse $40m US grant because of the clause; the highly respected DKT International group lost its funding. [Source: Planned Parenthood.

Oddly, though, while health workers were being told to have nothing to do with sex workers by PEFAR, Randall L Tobias [Bush's ambassador for PEFAR, before becoming deputy Secretary of State] was busily having lots and lots to do with them. Tobias resigned at the end of April after it emerged that he didn't have a personal policy opposing prostitution:
Tobias told ABC News he had several times called the "Pamela Martin and Associates" escort service "to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage."

Tobias, who is married, said there had been "no sex," and that recently he had been using another service "with Central Americans" to provide massages.

Presumably Tobias was merely teaching the women the joys of abstinence. Or maybe he's a liar. We don't know. We do know, though, that the man is a hypocrite.

So Bush is offering a smidge of money, designed less to help solve a problem as embark on an act of social engineering - all the while, entrusting the funds into the hands of men who can't keep them off sex workers. And Bono wonders why people who actually work in AIDS HIV prevention (rather than, say, the music industry, or the construction industry, or as a venture capitalist on Wall Street) find it hard to get to their feet to cheer.

By the way, the war in Iraq is currently costing $4.5 billion dollars a month. (That, by the way, is if you don't count the cost of weapons and equipment.) Oddly, there's been no attempt to insist the Iraqi people sign a pledge of abstinence before they receive this, uh, assistance.

Le-no sayer

Leo Sayer isn't getting married now after all. His former girlfriend, Donatella Piccinetti, has revealed that he's been dumped by current - sorry, now former, fiancee Risa Takaya, has pulled out of plans to marry him. We're sure Donatella is as upset as the rest of us:

"Leo is absolutely devastated. It has been a roller-coaster year. I think the distance between them was no good. I am trying to look after him.

"These things happen and life goes on but I feel very sorry for Leo."

Yes, Leo has had a rollercoaster year. As in the disaster movie Rollercoaster, we presume.

Ra Ra Riot drummer missing

According to The Music Slut, Ra Ra Riot's drummer has gone missing in Massachusetts:

Via the band's management:


Our beloved friend and drummer John Pike went missing last night (Saturday morning) at 3am in Fairhaven, MA. if you are in that area or know anyone in Fairhaven and surrounding areas please check everywhere. This is not a joke. It has been a full 24 hours since anyone has seen him. Please call the MA police [...]. Please pass this info on to anyone you know. Thanks!

Ra Ra Riot.*

Let's hope he turns up.

Outdoor Fires

Arcade Fire played an open-air gig in San Francisco last night; the magic of YouTube means it can be enjoyed without the need for an air fare or a leg blanket.

Today is the greatest... well, sort of

As part of the ongoing Smashing Pumpkins tribute, Ben Kweller is streaming his cover of Today off his MySpace into your ears.

We thought the idea of a tribute to the Pumpkins sounded really interesting at first, but then when we looked more closely at it, it turned out to be a lot of ill-considered bluster signifying nothing. Which made it a very, very apposite tribute to the Pumpkins.

[Thanks to You Aint No Picasso]

Strokes Pulp

Albert Hammond Junior is using the Strokes hiatus to add another string to his bow (or, perhaps, to just restring entirely): He's got an almost go-ahead from Linda Bukowski to adapt her husband Charles' Pulp into a movie - providing, of course, he can interest a studio.

Johnny Borrell considering demanding own country

Obviously, after a hard day having to work in near proximity to the common folk who make up the "Johnny Borrell's backing band" out of Johnny Borrell and The Johnny Borrell Experience, the last thing Johnny Borrell wants to do is spend his time off standing about with ordinary people. You know the type - people who wear jeans which aren't white, or wear shirts at all; the type who have never written a song sung by everyone in the country.

So when Borrell and Kirsten Dunst turned up at Electrowerkz in Islington, they were distraught to discover other people were there. They demanded their own VIP area to keep them separate from the general oikery. Apparently, such a fuss was made the management eventually agreed, but it sounds like what they did was empty out a cupboard, stuck up a hastily-scrawled "Johnny Borrell's special super secret area - keep out!!!" with a skull and crossbones in the corner, and let them sit in there all night on an upturned box of lever arch files.

We're not quite sure what the point of going out to a nightclub and then spending the whole evening sat in a room by yourself would be, but at least it gets you out the house.

Transport For London has announced it is currently considering proposals for special "Borrell-only lanes" to be added to the capital's streets.

Manc fights god: Timberlake grazed

Actually, it probably wasn't a Mancuian at all, because it was another guest at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester who threw a bottle of coke at Justin Timberlake.

Someone who told the Mail on Sunday about it reports that Timbo went upstairs to fetch something from his bedroom, when the bloke started shouting abuse at him - we don't know what, so let's assume it was "you self-important muppet, the Grammys would have probably had a fifty per cent increase if it hadn't been for you" or maybe "you're less sexyback, more hairyback" - so Timberlake shoved him.

The response was the flying bottle of cola, which left Justin's perpetually puzzled face with a little cut on it, and the man himself in a grumpy foul mood for the rest of the evening.

Of course, nobody should throw bottles of cola at people, but, equally, nobody should shove other people about. Then again, nobody should shout abuse at McDonald's spokespeople. There really are no winners here, are there?