Saturday, December 26, 2009

eMusic doesn't want to look desperate or anything

Everything's great at eMusic. Oh, yes. Everything is top-hole, A1, no clouds in the sky.

I mean, obviously, , they'd sell given the chance. But, hey, that doesn't mean there's anything wrong:

EMusic CEO Daniel Stein didn't deny that the company would consider a sale.

"We're opportunistic stewards of capital," Stein said in an interview with The Post. "If an offer was made that created value for our shareholders, we'd listen to it."

He then continued "how about you? Would you like to buy us? We'd knock something off for cash. We could do a deal. I'll throw in new tyres... come back... please..."

Actually, eMusic is doing alright, but it seems to have reached a point where it won't grow much more without something extra to offer. It's thinking that extra might be a streaming service for its members, although why you'd go from not wanting eMusic stuff to own to wanting it to stream, and not going somewhere else isn't clear.

RIP: Vic Chesnutt

Although the reports of his death yesterday were premature, sadly it was only by a few hours: Kristin Hersh has confirmed Vic Chesnutt's death through Twitter.


Stuck On Repeat 2009: July

Brian May was vexed at the tracks Michael Jackson recorded with Freddie Mercury circulating on the internet. Nancy Pelosi told the Senate not to waste its time making an empty genuflection in Jacko's direction. It turned out that Jackson's total sales were routinely quadrupled in reports.

The always tiresome Taxpayers Alliance counted the number of people producing the BBC's coverage of Glastonbury, which the deemed an outrage. Charles Moore was even more outraged because Jonathan Ross was still working for the BBC. Now, if he'd complained about Fearne Cotton being given a daily slot on Radio 1, he might have found some supporters. Liz Kershaw wasn't happy at being moved from breakfasts on BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire. Over at the NME, Krissi Murison was given the job of managing the steadying decline as new editor.

Death Cab For Cutie had a go at Jared Leto - "he's not a real pop star, he's just a pretty boy pretending to be rock and all his fans are girls" they cried, before noticing everyone was staring at them and saying "what? What?" Panic At The Disco split, just a few days after Fall Out Boy denied they were splitting. (They were, of course.) Away from the eyeliner counter, Little Man Tate gave up the battle.

There was a panicky remodelling of Leona Lewis in a bid to get her to a second album. John McCain and his team finally apologised to Jackson Browne for using his music without asking while Phil Spector started getting letters from Charles Manson.

Gary Jarman had an emergency op to save his voice. The Smashing Pumpkins consisted of whatever Billy Corgan said they did, said Billy Corgan.

Hull ISP Karoo started disconnecting filesharers. Radio City's all-talk City Talk station got permission to erm, play music. Guy Hands was begging the banks to accept they'd never see half a billion quid they'd lent Terra Firma to buy EMI ever again - if you're a record label, taking money and giving nothing in return is known as "write off"; perhaps file sharers could say they're seeking a write-off of label investment?

One-man punchline Marilyn Manson threatened to visit journalists who gave him bad reviews. God, he's going to be so busy.

[Part of the month-by-month review from Stuck On Repeat 2009]

Zapsmart: Music on TV and Radio today

10.00am Radio 2 - David Tennant & Catherine Tate
They're off Doctor Who, you know.

11.25am ITV - I Dreamed A Dream
Who can forget that moment when the lost figure, looking a little odd and very sweaty, first appeared on Britain's Got Talent? It seemed like it was all a cruel joke, putting someone so ill-equipped in such a febrile atmosphere, leaving them to sink or swim. Still, Piers coped, and now he's going to interview Susan Boyle.

1.30 BBC1 - Bridge To Terabithia
You know, seeing films like this makes me think maybe it's better for all of us if Zooey Deschanel concentrates on the singing.

3.00 Radio 3 - World Roots
Ladysmith Black Mambazo still trying to make amends for helping out Paul Simon; this week's penance is playing the Dome, Brighton.

3.00 6Music - Curtis Mayfield
Seven hours of Mayfield. Seven hours.

4.05 Channel 4 - Come Dine With Me
The race to the saucepan bottom sees "Little" Jimmy Osmond feeding Caprice, Nancy Sorrell and some bloke who washes hair for a living.

6.15 Radio 4 - Loose Ends
Amongst the guests is Edwyn Collins

7.00 Sky One - Johnny Cash Christmas Special
From 1978. Which I think means Angela Rippon doing the high-kicking, doesn't it?

9.30 The All-Star Impressions Show
What the world needs now, it turns out, is Joe Pasquale pretending to be Lady GaGa. Make a programme that reverses that, ITV, and then we'll talk.

10.55 BBC2 - The Young Ones
Showing as part of BBC2's Slapstick night (oh, how low the ideas for theme nights have got), this is one of the ones with Madness as musical guest.

11.00 Biog - Donny & Marie Osmond
Some siblings gets their own Biography; some make soup for Nicky Clarke.

12.15 Radio 4 - Street Circus
Midge Ure goes to circus school. No, it's not a painfully self-aware surreal comedy.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Westcoastobit: James Gurley

Big Brother And The Holding Company bassist James Gurley died Monday.

Although legendary as part of the late 60s San Francisco scene in its own right, Big Brother's main appearance in rock history comes as the band which gave Janis Joplin her big break. The band shared a single house at one point, Monkees style.

The band crumbled after Joplin quit to go solo; Gurley spent two years caught in a legal nightmare after he injected his wife, Nancy, with heroin. She died of an overdose; murder charges were laid which resulted in Gurley eventually receiving probation.

He remarried in 1972, and spent the next two decades working with various acts, most notably the new wave outfit Red Robin and The Worms. Big Brother And The Holding Company were reactivated in 1987; Gurley remained with the band for a decade, before stepping down to concentrate on his solo projects.

James Gurley was 69; he died from a heart attack.

Folkobit: Vic Chesnutt

UPDATE 26th December: Sadly, Kristin Hersh has confirmed that Vic died during Christmas Day. There's a memorial donations page been opened.

UPDATE Christmas Day night: The report which orginally reported Chesnutt's death has been updated during the course of the day; Vic is now said to be in a coma, but still alive. Don Wilkie of Constellation Records has confirmed that he is in "the middle of a serious medical situation".

This was the original post from earlier today when The Examiner and Spinner were reporting his death:

Sorry to report the death of Vic Chesnutt, who has died after what is believed to have been a suicide attempt.

Following a car accident in 1983, when he was 18, Vic Chesnutt had been left a paraplegic. Two years later, he relocated from Zebulon to Athens, Georgia, first joining The La-Di-Das and then moving on to solo work. It was this folk-rock work which caught the eye of the local scene, leading to Michael Stipe producing Chesnutt's debut work. The respect in which Chesnutt was held amongst the alt-rock royalty was demonstrated by the 1996 tribute album Sweet Relief II, which attracted contributions of covers of his work from REM, Madonna, Garbage, The Smashing Pumpkins and others.

Beset by much tragedy in his life - the car accident, death of loved ones, drug problems and massive medical debts - Chesnutt told an NPR interview that he had attempted suicide four times in the past.

A tweet from Kirstin Hersh on Christmas Eve suggested that he had made another attempt; he appears to have overdosed on muscle relaxants, slipping into a coma from which he would not recover.

Vic Chesnutt was 45.

Gene Simmons gets lawsuit for Christmas

What do you give the man who has everything (or, rather, has everything covered with his band's logo and sold at a massive mark-up?).

If it's Gene Simmons, it's got to be a writ. A couple claim that he attacked them in a mall:

According to the complaint and restraining order application, Marlowe asked Simmons for his view on monogamy, and Simmons responded by telling Marlowe to get his shot and leave. The filings state Simmons then lunged and attacked Marlowe, taking the video camera, then turned on Manzo when she tried to get the camera back.

Apparently this was twenty-five grands' worth of distress. It's all up to courts now.

Stuck On Repeat 2009: June

The Grammys axed Polka from the awards. Kevin Bacon played a gig on the top of Pikes Peak. Still a little too close to other people for our liking.

After what seemed like forever, Conor McNicholas announced he was releasing NME from his editorial embrace. Vibe closed down altogether. There were rumours that The Face might come back, but luckily nothing so far; Hole was coming back, though, announced Courtney Love. No it's bloody not, said the rest of Hole.

In a comeback video, Iggy Pop lambasted all those who sold a watered-down version of The Stooges. Including, by implication, himself. Beth Ditto was cross with Katy Perry for insulting gay culture, while Katy Perry declared war on people who had the same name as her. American radio was accused of not playing Bono after he'd demanded they pay royalties. Any excuse, eh?

Malawi gave in and let Madonna take another child and, reverting to type, Pete Doherty was arrested after doing drucks on a plane. Nobody was surprised to discover that the rehearsed appearance of Sacha Baron-Cohen's amusing Bruno character (Danny LaRue) during Eminem's MTV movie awards was rehearsed. Lupe Fiasco was very upset with file sharing but Fleet Foxes took a more grown-up attitude.

Paul McCartney has lost his faith in politics - luckily, not yet in Rupert Bear or tofu. Noel Gallagher got all grumpy with the NME because it was trying to stir up animosity between Oasis and The Enemy - although, luckily, nobody read the offending piece to The Enemy. More trouble for Noel when he offered fans a refund after a powercut - and they took him at his word. Perez Hilton and Will I Am got into some sort of squawking fight.

The people who make the charts up decided to mess about with what constitutes 'indie'. After complaints she was in a diet coke ad, on a bicycle, with no safety gear, the Advertising Standard Authority were laid back with Duffy. Almost as if they didn't care if she hurted herself. Having thought about it a bit, the BPI admitted they might have messed up their response to Napster.

Marilyn Manson went onstage wearing a big hat. You know what upsets Larry Mullen, a rich man from Ireland? It's people in Ireland attacking rich men. It upsets him almost as much as The Kooks get upset by people who dislike pisspoor retreads of Toploader.

Oh, and Michael Jackson died.

[Part of the month-by-month review from Stuck On Repeat 2009]

Stuck On Repeat 2009: Album patchwork

This year didn't feel like a golden one for music. But even so, all this lot came out: