Friday, September 28, 2007

And yet they won't let KISS in

Seems Madonna, The Beastie Boys and John Cougar (or is it John Cougar Mellancamp, or John Jacob Jinglehymerschmidt ... "his name is my name, too." Are all soon to be inducted into the Rock 'n' roll hall of fame.

I'm not exactly sure what the requirements are but seriously ... Madonna? Granted, she's changed personas more times than Cher's had plastic surgery, but it's just hard to imagine her next to the likes of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, etc.

The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Most Overexposed Diva of the MTV Era? Where's the ballot.

As for Cougar/Mellancamp and The Beasties (who am I to judge). John's just a poor man's version of Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty.

And I really like The Beasties ... "License to Ill" changed my life.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

LeAnn's a'coming

Just in case you forgot or didn't know in the first place, country singer LeAnn Rimes is coming to Anniston on Tuesday. She's part of the Knox Concert Series, which starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Anniston Performing Arts Center, better known 'round here as Anniston High School Auditorium. One problem, though, is that the concert is priced out of the range of most folks (and especially out of the range of most LeAnn Rimes fans). Tickets are $75 each. For more info, call 237-3897.

Delve into electronic music

Thanks to Web producer Katrina Junkin for helping me with the list of artists. Hope you all enjoy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Is this really necessary?

House panel debates hip-hop lyrics

By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON — Two rappers, sitting side-by-side in an ornate House hearing room, went in different directions Monday on the need for hip hop artists to expunge their work of sexist and violent language.

One, Master P, apologized to women for past songs that demeaned them, while another was defiant.

Former gangsta rapper Master P, whose real name is Percy Miller, told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing that he is now committed to producing clean lyrics. The angry music of his past, he said, came from seeing relatives and friends shot and killed.

But he said now that he doesn't want his own children to listen to his music, "so if I can do anything to change this, I'm going to take a stand and do that."

"I want to apologize to all the women out there," he said. "I was honestly wrong."

But rapper and record producer Levell Crump, known as David Banner, was defiant as lawmakers pressed him on his use of offensive language. "I'm like Stephen King: horror music is what I do," he said in testimony laced with swear words. "Change the situation in my neighborhood and maybe I'll get better," he told one member of Congress.

The two rappers were joined by music industry executives and scholars. They disagreed over who was to blame for sexist and degrading language in hip-hop music but were united in opposing government censorship as a solution.

More >>

Dylan's overlooked masterpieces

Few artists are a polarizing as Bob Dylan. Those who love him are obsessed, while those who hate his nasally voice and garbled lyrics have more than enough ammunition for annoyance.

Dylan's got to be the worst harmonica player in history ... and he's been practicing for 40-plus years.

Still, it's impossible to deny his impact on rock and music in general. Though far from obsessed, I'm a huge Dylan fan and thought it'd be fun to talk about "Overlooked Dylan Songs."

For all his monumental success - Blonde on Blonde, Time Out of Mind, Bringin' it all Back Home - Dylan's also made some horrible records - Self Portrait, Saved, Shot of Love, Empire Burlesque.

So in honor of his upcoming, three-disc "best of" compilation, Here are some of my favorite overlooked Dylan songs. Some ya might no, others you might not ... feel free to add some of your own.

"Most of the Time," from Oh, Mercy
"Every Grain of Sand," Shot of Love
"Hollis Brown," Times they are a Changin'
"One Too Many Mornings" Times ...
"John Brown" Dylan Unplugged
"The man in the long black coat," Oh, Mercy
"Never say goodbye," Planet Waves
"One more cup of coffee" Desire
"The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest" John Wesley Harding

Monday, September 24, 2007

The worst band names in music

According to Pollstar, there's a Glaswegian turbo-raving quartet named .. get this ... Sh*tdisco. Really. Look it up here.

Wouldn't that rank right up there with the worst names for bands? I think so.

Nominations, please. Send 'em in.

How much money would you pay for this show?

In the spirit of musical diversity, we're giving you news about the Hannah Montana tour -- yes, Miley Cyrus is Billy Ray Cyrus' daughter, but everyone knows that.

Apparently tickets for this tour are hot. Whole tour is sold out. Read it here.

Too lazy for Drivin' 'n' Cryin'

I left work Friday with the best intentions. It had been a while since I'd been to a rock show. I missed the blinding smoke, the stink of stale beer, the cigarette burn holes in my favorite T-shirt, drinks spilled on my shoes, and most of all the days of deafness that were sure to follow.

And that's the good stuff. Plus the music.

But something happened to me after dinner ... I fell asleep. With a beer in one hand and the TV remote in the other, I planned to "crash" for a couple hours before heading out for the Drivin' 'n' Cryin' concert up at Brothers.

I was really excited. Like I said, I'd been missing out on the Wild Side, since falling into the morass of domestic bliss. But when I woke up from my comfortable coma, all that motivation seemed to have drained from my body. I like like six miles from the bar where a band that I'd practically grown up listening to was playing. What were the odds?

Actually, pretty good considering D 'n' C hadn't had a hit since grunge came and went.

But still ... I'm only 33 years old. I like my music loud. I'm not too old. I'm just not.

Course, it's hard to rock 'n' roll all night when you can't stay up past 10:30 ... on the weekends. So Drivin' 'n' Cryin' took that familiar road "Straight to Hell" without me singin' along. Just the thought of pushing my way through a throng of rowdy college kids made me itch.

So instead, I enjoyed another frosty adult beverage, listened to "Honeysuckle Blue" at a volume certain not to disturb the neighbors and reflected on a life's worth of concerts past.

Wedded bliss might make me boring, but at least now I can afford good beer.

And just think, we could have gone through life without the Foo Fighters

Guess what? Dave Grohl nearly became, like, a normal guy with a normal job after the end of Nirvana. Read about it here.

Master P goes to Washington

How's this for an odd headline -- Master P is going to testify before Congress tomorrow. Really. Read about it here.

Here's a snippet, courtesy of the New York Daily News:

Master P has cleaned up his rap and now he wants the rest of the hip-hop world to do the same.

The reformed gangsta rapper who is pioneering clean lyrics will testify tomorrow at a congressional hearing on stereotypes and degradation in rap and hip hop.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Albums or MP3s?

Interesting story today in the Los Angeles Times about how albums -- yes, albums -- still are the king of the music biz. Read it here.

It's a question to ask yourself? Do you still buy albums/CDs, or do you buy or download more MP3s? How do you get your music? It's a cool story. Ought to read it.

He'll continue shoutin' at the devil

We can all rest easy ... Tommy Lee is not quitting Motley Crue. Ladies, keep your shirts on ... No, seriously, keep 'em on.

In honor of Sue the T. rex

Songs compiled by the Star newsroom and Online Department.

Who ... again

Though they arguably lead the pack in "Greatest Hits" and various other unsundry collections, it seems The Who are about to release a rarietes package that worth the investment (and a repeat of the same songs .... seriously how many performances of My Generation does any one person need?)

But it sure beats the new stuff.

Anyway ... read more here.

You sure Hank done it this way?

Keeping "real" country alive, Shooter Jennings, son of country icon Waylon Jennings, is prepared to make his debut at the Grand Ole Opry (is this place still relevant).

For those too young to remember, Shooter, along with Hank III are the closest thing this generation has to "true" country, not that pop-crap that's just as comfortable on Vh-1 as CMT (paging Kenny Chesney or Chestnut or Who can even tell 'cause they all look alike).

I'd be tough to say whether or not Waylon would be proud (mainly because he's dead) but the star and voice-over for The Dukes of Hazzard hate a hate/hate relationship with most of the Nashville machine.

But here's to mending bridges.

Read it all here -

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thank God for rock star

Though they're one of the most incredibly overexposed band since Three Doors Down and lead singer Chad Kroger could be in the running for Ugliest Rock Star. Still, Nickelback has given us one thing.

An actual rock video ... remember those. It's an acutal video that MTV plays without a single flash of "bling," save perhaps for the Playboy Bunnies. And the song ain't half bad either ('cause the band's not in it.)

Check it out ...

Music to skate to

In honor of "Driving Songs," I offer this for debate - to some of you, this might be foreign concept ... to others a stroll down memory lane (backwards).

Top Five All Time Skate Rock Classics

5) I Love Rock 'n' Roll, Joan Jett

4) Your Kiss is on My List, Hall & Oates

3) Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Queen

2) Back in Black, AC/DC

1) Jessie's Girl, Rick Springfield

Honorable Mention: Magic, Olivia-Newton John, Hit Me with Your Best Shot, Pat Benetar, Too Much Time on My Hands, Styx, Freeze Frame, J. Giles Band,

Best Couple Skate - Endless Love, Diana Ross and Lionel Ritche, Can't Fight This Feeling, Reo Speedwagon, Christopher Cross, Sailing and that song from Ice Castles.

More Drivin', for those of us who just can't get enough of these guys

Click here for "Honeysuckle Blue" -- live DnC!

(There's lots more where this came from on YouTube..easy to find.)

While we're on this drivin' theme....

If you haven't read Shawn Ryan's story on Drivin' and Cryin' -- they play at Brothers on Friday -- then you should. Here is a portion:

Drivin’ and cryin’ through the lives of Southern folks
By Shawn Ryan
Star Entertainment Editor
If you’re looking for chance to see Kevn Kinney play live, forget Mondays or Tuesdays.

“People don’t wanna see me play those nights and I don’t wanna play ’em. It works out for everyone,” Kinney says with a laugh. “It’s my weekend.”

Kinney knows about the dregs of the week when it comes to playing; he spent years doing it. As lead singer/guitarist and songwriter for drivin’n’cryin’, he spent most of the years between 1989 and 1993 on the road, playing almost every night of the week. On the “off” days, he’d be doing radio interviews or in-store acoustic shows, so there weren’t really any days off.

“From 1989 to 1993, we lived in that tour bus,” he says from a golf course in Atlanta. “We worked every day … Every summer we made a record, every February it came out.”

Which is why the current incarnation of drivin’n’cryin’ is so much fun, he says. They only play on weekends and they only play when they want to, maybe 20 gigs a year. And the original band is back together — Kinney, bassist Tim Nielsen, drummer Jim Sullivan. Second guitar is held down by Matt Carter, who has been playing with d’n’c for years.

“The shows are more fun than they’ve ever been because I don’t have to do ’em,” Kinney says. “We’re not on tour. We don’t get burned out.”

Hot lists, if you care

From our wire services, the hot stuff ...

(Number in parentheses is a record’s position on previous chart; D denotes a debut; B indicates album or song breaking into the charts.)

1 (1) TIMBALAND f/ KERI HILSON The Way I Are (Mosley/Blackground/Interscope)
2 (3) PINK Who Knew (LaFace/Zomba)
3 (2) FERGIE Big Girls Don’t Cry (
4 (6) JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE Lovestoned (Jive/Zomba)
5 (5) ELLIOTT YAMIN Wait For You (Hickory)
6 (7) NICKELBACK Rockstar (Roadrunner/Atlantic/Lava)
7 (5) PLAIN WHITE T’S Hey There Delilah (Hollywood)
8 (8) BOYS LIKE GIRLS The Great Escape (Columbia
9 (10) KANYE WEST Stronger (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/IDJMG)
10 (11) AVRIL LAVIGNE When You’re Gone (RCA/RMG)
1 (3) J. HOLIDAY Bed (Music Line/Capitol)
2 (1) SOULJA BOY Crank That (Soulja Boy) (Collipark/Interscope)
3 (2) KEYSHIA COLE f/ MISSY ELLIOTT & LIL’ KIM Let It Go (Imani/Geffen)
4 (4) PLIES f/ T-PAIN Shawty (Slip-N-Slide/Atlantic)
5 (5) JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE Until The End Of Time (Jive/Zomba)
6 (7) 50 CENT I Get Money (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope)
7 (8) T.I. f/WYCLEF JEAN You Know What It Is (Grand Hustle/Atlantic)
8 (6) FABOLOUS f/ NE-YO Make Me Better (Desert Storm/Def Jam/IDJMG)
9 (11) UGK f/OUTKAST Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You) (UGK/Jive/Zomba)
10 (9) CIARA f/50 CENT Can’t Leave `Em Alone (LaFace/Zomba)
1 (1) RASCAL FLATTS Take Me There (Lyric Street)
2 (3) TOBY KEITH Love Me If You Can (Show Dog Nashville)
3 (6) BRAD PAISLEY Online (Arista Nashville)
4 (4) BROOKS & DUNN Proud of the House We Built (Arista Nashville)
5 (7) LUKE BRYAN All My Friends Say (Capitol Nashville)
6 (10) KENNY CHESNEY Don’t Blink (BNA)
7 (8) GARTH BROOKS More Than A Memory (Pearl/Big Machine)
8 (9) TIM MCGRAW If You’re Reading This (Curb)
9 (5) REBA MCENTIRE w/ KELLY CLARKSON Because of You (MCA Nashville)
10 (14) DIERKS BENTLEY Free And Easy (Down The Road I Go) (Capitol Nashville)
2 (2) FERGIE Big Girls Don’t Cry (Will.I.Am/A&M/Interscope)
3 (4) GWEN STEFANI f/ AKON The Sweet Escape (Interscope)
4 (3) MICHAEL BUBLE Everything (143/Reprise)
5 (5) JOHN MAYER Waiting On The World To Change (Aware/Columbia)
6 (6) CARRIE UNDERWOOD Before He Cheats (Arista/Arista Nashville/RMG)
7 (8) BON JOVI (You Want To) Make A Memory (Mercury/Island/IDJMG)
8 (9) PLAIN WHITE T’S Hey There Delilah (Fearless/Hollywood)
9 (7) FRAY How To Save A Life (Epic)
10 (10) SNOW PATROL Chasing Cars (Polydor/A&M/Interscope)
1 (2) FINGER ELEVEN Paralyzer (Wind-up)
2 (1) OZZY OSBOURNE I Don’t Wanna Stop (Epic)
3 (8) FOO FIGHTERS The Pretender (Roswell/RCA/RMG)
4 (3) VELVET REVOLVER She Builds Quick Machines (RCA/RMG)
5 (7) PUDDLE OF MUDD Famous (Flawless/Geffen)
6 (5) KID ROCK So Hott (Top Dog/Atlantic)
7 (6) THREE DAYS GRACE Never Too Late (Jive/Zomba)
8 (4) LINKIN PARK What I’ve Done (Machine Shop/Warner Bros)
9 (9) DAUGHTRY What I Want (RCA/RMG)
10 (11) SIXX A.M. Life Is Beautiful (Eleven Seven)
1 (1) FOO FIGHTERS The Pretender (Roswell/RCA/RMG)
2 (2) LINKIN PARK Bleed It Out (Warner Bros.)
3 (3) THREE DAYS GRACE Never Too Late (Jive/Zomba)
4 (4) FINGER ELEVEN Paralyzer (Wind-up)
5 (6) PARAMORE Misery Business (Fueled By Ramen/Atlantic/Lava)
6 (7) MUSE Supermassive Black Hole (Warner Bros.)
7 (5) WHITE STRIPES Icky Thump (Warner Bros.)
8 (10) FLYLEAF All Around Me (A&M/Octone/Interscope)
9 (8) INCUBUS Oil And Water (Immortal/Epic)
10 (98) LINKIN PARK What I’ve Done (Machine Shop/Warner Bros)

Music to drive by

Maybe it's a holdover from the days when I learned to drive, but there's a line of '80s favorites -- more specifically that artists - that just scream, "Roll the windows down and hit the gas."

Among them: Anything by Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen, a few offerings from Prince and, tragically, there's a Terrence Trent D'arby song that I came across the other day that I can't get out of my head.

"Wishing well...."

You Really Got Me on YouTube

Wanna watch the new-old-new Van Halen practice?

Who doesn't?

Go here.

Or here.

Or here.

Or here.

Or here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Alabama's theme song

Gov. Bob Riley the other day announced that the phrase "Sweet Home Alabama" frm the Lynyrd Skynyrd song would be used to sell Alabama tourism. So we must ask:

Do you agree?

If not, what should it be?

Here are suggestions from some other Alabama or Southern songs. Flame 'em if you like. (Some of these songs have been recorded by multiple acts, so you could choose different versions.)

"My Home's in Alabama" by Alabama

"Dixie Highway" by Journey

"Alabama Rain" by Jim Croce

"Alabama Sundown" by Dolly Parton

"Alabama Bound" by Leadbelly

"Alabama Song" by the Doors

Kanye vs. 50 Cent

It's official! We have a winner.

But you've gotta click to find out.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's the end of the debate as we know it

Best music geek site I've found .... today. All kinds of cool debate stuff from Worst Lyric ever to best sad songs -

'Scuze me while I kiss this guy

It's the most obnoxious habit in the history of rock ... dude's who don't know the words.

Course we've all done it. I thought Bette Midler was singing about "from a deer stand," and AC/DC was saying they were "caught in the middle of a ring of time." (From a Distance and Thunderstruck respectively).

But here's a hilarious column with Web sites attached all about those famously distorted lines - "Scuze me, while I kiss this guy," and "Rolled up like a douche."

Check it out and turn red with embarrassment after learning you've been humming the wrong words for decades.

But in case you're wondering ... Yep, Steve Miller really does call himself the "pompatus of love" and no 'pompatus" is not a word

Janet Reno the music producer?

Former Attorney General Janet Reno releases today Song of America, a three-CD, 50-song "history book" compilation she began work on while still serving in the Clinton administration, the Miami Herald reports.

The set "presents an unblinking look at the nation's history, one that doesn't shy away from troubled chapters. Dixie's Land, with all the emotionally charged baggage it has picked up through the years, and Streets of Philadelphia, the modern-day lament on the AIDS epidemic, play alongside Battle Hymn of the Republic and Stars and Stripes Forever."

Reno, an executive producer of the compilation, attended the 2005 Grammy Awards to recruit artists to cover and reinterpret the songs on the CD. Said Reno: "It was fascinating. It was a festival. They would ask me, 'What are you doing here?' and they'd look at me in stunned amazement when I told them."

Click here for track listing and audio samples.

Sex Pistols announce 30th anniversary gig

Tue Sep 18, 8:08 AM ET

LONDON (AFP) — Punk legends the Sex Pistols announced Tuesday that they will stage a one-off gig in November to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their controversial album "Never Mind the B*llocks".

The band, who spearheaded the 1970s punk movement in England with singles like "Anarchy in the UK" and "Pretty Vacant", will play London's Brixton Academy on November 8, they said on a music paper's website.

"Maybe it's because we're all Londoners, but there would be no Sex Pistol without dear old London town," colourful frontman John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, said on

More >>

50 years of the Monterey Jazz Festival

Click here to watch an AP audio slideshow about the festival.

Manilow's mad

Sees that ol' Barry, "can't laugh, can't sing" and can't be interviewed by Elisabeth Hasselback.

The man who made Mandy famous has since boycotted the ladies on "The View." Seems Manilow, who's a huge (had to be done) friend of Rosie O'Donnell and tried to demand he be interviewed by everyone save for Hasselback, who had a very loud, useless and annoying beef with the boistrous O'Donnell that led to being canned and replaced by the ever-timid Whoopi.

But that's not the funny part. Seems that Barry has recorded a track for his upcoming record (that hopefully no one by my mother will buy) Greatest Hits of the Seventies ... a cover of Elton's Johns "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart."

But that's a duet you say ... oh yes ... It'll be Mr. Manilow and his good friend Rosie. I'm already in line at Best Buy to get my hands on that one.

for the whole thing, check out -

Man in Black

If you're a Johnny Cash fan -- admit it, you are -- then you've likely already bought into the hype about the Man in Black's new DVD, "The Best of the Johnny Cash TV Show."

Apparently it's no hype. It's that good. Check it out here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

'Ignorant moron'

Since I'm still smarting from being called out about Kip Winger -- Hey, I'm sorry, please forgive me, Winger's great -- I've included a very nice, appropriate post about Kip Winger.

By the way, I'd forgotten that Stewart from Beavis & Butthead wore a Winger shirt.

Oh, well. These sites -- here and here -- are worth a visit if you're into Kip and the boys.

Waiting till Friday night

With Drivin' and Cryin' scheduled to play Brother's on Friday night, it's worth a visit to their MySpace page for a little preview.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Austin City Limits festival Webcast

Watch it live all weekend long. The lineup is not bad at all.

Click to watch

Bad news coming out of ACL:

1 Injured After Propane Tank Explosion At Zilker Park

Sep 14, 2007 - 3:01 p.m.

One person was critically injured after a propane tank explosion at Zilker Park Friday afternoon.

Two propane tanks exploded, according to the KXAN Austin News crews on the scene. Also, a trailer there has caught fire, and portable bathrooms have been melted down.

Bocephus live on CMT

From CMT's site: In the music industry, there are very few artists who surpass superstar status to become true American icons. Hank Williams Jr. is one of those deserving few, and his work and his legacy will be honored in this new two-hour live concert special.

The concert will be aired on CMT on Oct. 25. Show time is not available at this time.

Click here for more info

Fire and rain and Phil Collins

Sitting around the dinner table, conversations turned - as they so often do - toward music. Or rather the mythology of music, where do songs come from ... and not meaning the eather of inspiration, but rather the story "Behind the Music."

This conversation was of course sparked by "Fire and Rain" the depression-and-drugs tale by James Taylor and quickly turned to "In the Air Tonight," and "American Pie."

but I just typed in the greatest site in the world Song Fact - - ending any and all debate. It's got all the stories, legends and truths about every favorite song.

Who knew "Every Rose has it's Thorns" was written about a stripper. And I finally figure out what the Van Morrison line ..."stoned me just like Jelly Roll" means in "It stoned me."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Farm Aid Webcast

Click here

Watch all 21 sets or just your favorites. The video will be available for free (with a suggested donation) until Thursday, Sept. 19. After that it will only be accessible to FarmYard members.

Women in music

This week's Project Playlist player will focus on some of the most popular female musicians on the scene today, as well as a clip from local musician Lindsey Hinkle.

Forgotten rock

All those favorite bands you forgot (or wouldn't admit) you loved, together on one stage.

Kelly Keagy from Night Ranger ("Sister Christian"),
Gunnar and Matthew Nelson of Nelson ("Love And Affection"),
Mark Slaughter of Slaughter ("Up All Night")
Eric Martin from Mr. Big ("To Be With You").
Jim Peterik and Jimi Jamison, both formerly of Survivor ("Eye Of The Tiger"),
Jack Blades, Night Ranger and Damn Yankees
Joe Lynn Turner of Rainbow and Deep Purple

Together for one night only - Must be Melodic Rock. Bring your lighters ladies.

For the full story, check out.


The purpose behind the punch

Ahh... Now it all makes sense.

Seems it was all a nice little misunderstanding between the aging rockers Tommy Lee and Kid Rock. And our buddies at spells it all out - or at least Tommy's side.

Britney gets hot

More Britney weirdness. Click here to read ....Something about a temper tantrum right before she went on stage.

If only I had 10 grand

I would really love to do this.

Vince Neil. Slash. Nicko McBrain -- yes, Up The Irons! Roger Daltry. Joe Walsh. Jack Bruce. And Kip Winger! ... Uh, well, he can stay home.

Just need a sugar daddy to write me a check.

Any takers?

No! Really?

Since we updated you a day or two ago about Foxy's problems -- don't throw cell phones at your friends, people -- now we get this news from the trusty ol' AP:

Foxy Brown’s manager says rapper, sentenced to jail for probation violation, isn’t pregnant
NEW YORK — Jail officials will not need to make maternity accommodations for Foxy Brown — her manager says the rapper isn’t pregnant, despite her lawyer’s courtroom contention that she was.
The revelation came Wednesday as her manager and Koch Records announced that Brown would release a new album while serving a one-year jail sentence.
Brown, who hasn’t released an album since 2001’s “Broken Silence,” was sentenced Friday to one year in jail for violating probation that stemmed from a fight with two manicurists in a New York City nail salon three years ago.
In August, defense lawyers told the court that Brown was three months pregnant. But in a statement released Wednesday, her manager, Chaz Williams, said: “And to the pregnancy rumors, this is the official statement: She is not pregnant.”

Does she have a future?

Today's New York Times story on Britney Spears' musical future is darn interesting, even if you don't give a flip about her music, her rapper ex-husband, her two kids or her bulging waistline.

A sample:

Long before Britney Spears’ dazed performance on the MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday, her comeback effort looked out of sync.
It started in May, when the erstwhile pop queen marked her tentative return to public performance after a long hiatus with a string of haphazard club gigs that lasted for as little as 15 minutes, during which she lip-synched old hits like “Baby One More Time.” But no one was prepared for Sunday night’s fiasco, in which a listless Spears teetered through her dance steps and mouthed only occasional words in a wan attempt to lip-synch her new single, “Gimme More.”
Endlessly mocked in the mainstream news media and the blogosphere, it has left her fans and her handlers bewildered. The show also left raw nerves: Spears’ label, Jive Records, sent a note to MTV chastising the network over the comments of the comedian Sarah Silverman, who took the stage immediately after Spears and referred to her children as “mistakes.”
With her first studio album in four years scheduled for release on Nov. 13, the music industry is debating whether Spears’ career can recover.
“Is she going to be the next Michael Jackson?” wondered Jay Marose, a former publicist for teen-pop acts like the Backstreet Boys who is a past acquaintance of Spears. “She’s been on her own for so long, calling the shots in this bubble.”

Sending out an S.O.S.

Here's my message in the bottle for this a.m.

The Top 20 Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows in North America. The previous week’s ranking is in parentheses. The list is based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers.


1. (1) The Police; $3,705,599; $113.17.
2. (2) Kenny Chesney; $1,676,325; $62.87.
3. (3) Tim McGraw / Faith Hill; $1,414,262; $90.51.
4. (4) Roger Waters; $1,342,178; $97.01.
5. (5) Rascal Flatts; $842,393; $60.79.
6. (6) Nickelback; $759,813; $43.94.
7. (7) Gwen Stefani; $653,400; $51.12.
8. (8) Michael Bubl De; $615,147; $80.89.
9. (9) Rush; $579,786; $54.96.
10. (10) Keith Urban; $531,328; $53.60.
11. (12) Projekt Revolution / Linkin Park; $526,595; $39.40.
12. (13) John Mayer; $511,828; $43.59.
13. (11) Tool; $506,036; $51.85.
14. (14) Def Leppard; $474,608; $37.29.
15. (16) Brad Paisley; $423,815; $35.27.
16. (15) Vans Warped Tour; $403,482; $26.89.
17. (17) American Idols Live; $399,237; $60.10.
18. (New) Dancing With The Stars; $313,076; $65.95.
19. (New) Incubus; $297,683; $32.40.
20. (19) The Fray; $293,553; $29.08.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

And the winner is ...

Early results project Kanye will beat 50 in the battle of the albums

NEW YORK — 50 Cent may be getting hip-hop’s equivalent of a gold watch next week.
Early reports have Kanye West beating 50 in their much-hyped battle of album sales: West’s “Graduation” is on pace to sell about 575,000 to 700,000 its first week out, while 50 Cent’s “Curtis” is on track to do 550,000, according to Billboard magazine. As of day one, Kanye had sold 437,000 copies to 50’s 310,000, according to Nielsen Soundscan.
Both albums came out Tuesday, and a confident 50 Cent famously announced that he would retire if West outsold him in first-week sales.
“I just don’t view him as competition based on our previous sales histories,” 50 Cent told The Associated Press last month.

Curious: Which sold better in Alabama? Who's more popular in the South?

White Stripes cancel tour

The White Stripes announced today that they are canceling their forthcoming tour due to health issues. Meg White is suffering from acute anxiety and is unable to travel at this time.

This isn't a big deal for our area since the closest they would be to Alabama is Dallas, Texas.

What happened to the days of rockers self-medicating for this kinda thing?

Final note comes early

A story out of Los Angeles today kind of states the obvious, really. However, it brings up some interesting conversation points:

By Shari Roan (c) 2007, Los Angeles Times

“And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite,
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died.”— Don McLean, “American Pie”

A new study has found that rock and pop stars are more than twice as likely to die at a young age than the rest of the population — and more than three times as likely to die within five years of becoming famous.
The unhealthful behavior that leads to such untimely deaths harms more than musicians, the researchers said. It also sets a bad example for the millions of people who emulate them.

“Like any industry, the music industry should see the health of its participants as a priority as well as the wide effect it may have on consumers of its products,” said Mark A. Bellis, the study’s lead author and director of the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, in an interview conducted by e-mail.

“It is, after all, a music industry, not a promotional tour for alcohol and drugs.”

Bellis says his research team undertook the study, which claims to be the first to quantify the effect of pop music stars’ live-fast-die-young culture, because the death rates in the pop industry have not been well studied and because pop stars have tremendous influence on others.

Although the researchers expected to find that musicians die younger — after all, that is the common perception — they were surprised to see how many of those deaths occurred near the peak of fame and that the death rate remained double that of the normal population even 25 years after the musicians became famous.

It is a rare example of a group of mostly wealthy people who do not have better health outcomes than people of lower socioeconomic status, he said.

Zeppelin's gonna fly - for 1 night

It's really official now.

Anyone want to buy me a ticket to London?

Led Zeppelin to perform 1-time comeback gig in London in memory of Ahmet Ertegun

LONDON — Led Zeppelin will perform a one-time comeback concert in memory of Ahmet Ertegun, the founder of Atlantic Records.
The band will perform together for the first time in 19 years on Nov. 26, at London’s The O2 venue, on the banks of the River Thames.
Promoters said the concert would pay tribute to Ertegun — the label boss who popularized Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Led Zeppelin — who died in December at age 83.
“During the Zeppelin years, Ahmet Ertegun was a major foundation of solidarity and accord,” Led Zeppelin singer Roger Plant said Wednesday. “For us he was Atlantic Records and remained a close friend and conspirator.”
Ertegun, who founded the Atlantic Records label, signed Plant’s band in 1968 and later snapped up the Rolling Stones.
Organizers said Led Zeppelin’s remaining original members Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones will headline the concert with late drummer John Bonham’s son, Jason, on drums.
The Who’s Pete Townshend, Bill Wyman, Foreigner and young Scottish singer Paolo Nutini — the last British act Ertegun signed — will also play at the tribute concert.
AP-CS-09-12-07 1249EDT

Congressional Nirvana

I never was a huge fan of the Nirvana/grunge thing that swept across the U.S. from Seattle in the 1990s. I just didn't get it. Who wants to wear dirty plaid, anyway?

Well, here's a bit of interesting news out of Washington -- not that Washington -- about Krist Novoselic, the tall, odd-looking former Nirvana bassist. (Thanks, McClatchy News.)

(By the way, he's the guy on the right in the photo above.)

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Critics of U.S. Rep. Brian Baird shouldn’t look to Krist Novoselic, former Nirvana bassist and active Democrat, to run for Congress in 2008.
“Let me put it this way: No way. Brian Baird has made good decisions for the 3rd district. I was proud of his vote against the war” in 2002, Novoselic said Tuesday in a telephone interview from his home in Southwest Washington.
Novoselic, who wrote a book about returning to grassroots politics and considered a run for lieutenant governor a few years ago, said a Vancouver, Wash., activist approached him about running against Baird. Word of that solicitation has circulated in Olympia, where antiwar activists are looking for someone to take on Baird after the five-term congressman expressed support for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq for a longer period.
“I haven’t supported the war,” Novoselic said, adding: “Brian makes good decision for the 3rd district. He’s very accessible. He travels the whole district — I don’t think we should throw him overboard now.”

Britney in the charts

Since I've been reassigned to the Britney Spears beat -- What did I do? -- here's today's news, which I'm stealing directly from USA Today as I gurgle my fourth cup of a.m. coffee:

Britney's "Gimme More" has debuted at No. 69 on the national radio airplay charts. (No. 1 is some song by Fergie, which apparently is so good it's been No. 1 for six weeks. Go Peas, go!)

There are jokes galore here, but it's too early to be that crude.

More later.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

When a sore throat is a good thing

I'm going home now to drown my sorrow ...
Justin Timberlake postpones 2 tour dates in California because of vocal strain

NEW YORK — Justin Timberlake has been ordered to rest his voice.

Timberlake’s strained voice is the result of his performance Sunday at MTV’s Video Music Awards in Las Vegas and months of touring, Jive Records said in a statement Tuesday.
A doctor ordered several days of vocal rest for Timberlake, forcing the 26-year-old singer to miss shows in Sacramento, Calif., on Monday and San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday.
Tour promoter AEG Live has rescheduled the shows for Sept. 23 in San Jose and Sept. 25 in Sacramento.
Timberlake wraps up his FutureSex/LoveShow tour this month.

Hip-hop news, hot off the press

Hey, we've got breaking news on the rap/hip-hop front, so here it is. Kudos to our wire folks for gettin' it here quick:
Rapper Trick Daddy arrested at Miami strip club

MIAMI — Rapper Trick Daddy was arrested after a fight at a strip club early Tuesday.
The rapper (real name: Maurice Young) was charged with disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest, according to police.
Authorities responded to a fight at Tootsie’s Cabaret just after 1 a.m. and found Young, who smelled of alcohol, cursing and “threatening staff at the club,” the police report said. Police repeatedly asked Young to leave the club, but he refused.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles:
50 Cent’s Boast May Buy Early Retirement

The Los Angeles Times says it looks like 50 Cent might be retiring at the ripe old age of 32.
The Queens, N.Y., rapper announced a few weeks ago that if his new album, “Curtis,” did not outsell Kanye West’s new collection, “Graduation,” during their first week in stores that he would call it quits as a solo recording artist.
Well, both albums hit the shelves Tuesday, and the early results suggest 50’s sales aren’t as big and bold as his words.
“Let’s put it this way, if 50 is true to his word, we won’t have any more 50 Cent albums,” Carl Mello, a director of buying at the East Coast music retail chain Newbury Comics said Tuesday. Mello noted that “Graduation” was outselling “Curtis” by about 200 hundred units at the 27 -store chain, which has its headquarters in Brighton, Mass.
It was still early in the afternoon at Amoeba Records in Hollywood, but music buyer Kristen Frederick had a similar assessment. “For every 50 Cent CD we sell,” she said, “we sell two Kanyes.”

War Pigs ... for kids

I had a break through the other day.

My 10-year old step-daughter, for whom great music is defined by Fergie and TI, caught me listening to Black Sabbath's "War Pigs."

Here initial reaction was horror and fear - just what I'd hope for. But then I told her about how Tommy Iommi lost the tip of his finger in an industrial accident just before Sabbath (then known as Earth) was about to leave Birmingham behind for rock 'n' roll immortality. After fashioning a leather prostheis, Iommi was forced to tune down, thus creating Sabbath's signature creepy sound.

Then I blasted "War Pigs," "Iron Man" and "Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath." Nearly deaf and grinning ear to ear, she could muster only one word ... "Cool."

My work here is done.

Cool stuff on 'King of Country Casual'

How's this for odd: A pretty good story on country music -- yes, country music -- in the New York Times?

So good that we're passing it along. Good timing too, since Chesney's new album's out this week, we're told.

New York Times
Kenny Chesney is one of the biggest pop stars in the United States, and he works hard to appear laid-back. Like Jimmy Buffett before him (and, occasionally, with Buffett alongside him), he sings about vacations and weekends, beaches and bars. And for the last few months he has been filling up arenas on his Flip-Flop Summer tour, after the song of the same title, which describes a typical day in Chesneyland: “Mix us up some strong libations/No worries, just good vibrations.”
All right, so maybe the song’s other lyrics don’t quite add up; surely summer isn’t the ideal time to “cruise down to Montego.” But then, Chesney’s version of paradise is always out of reach: too perfect or long gone or just around the corner. That’s what gives many of his songs the wistful undercurrent that makes them memorable.
With his last studio album, “The Road and the Radio,” from 2005, Chesney hinted at the restlessness beneath all this wishful thinking. In “Living in Fast Forward,” one of three No.1 country hits from that album, he sang, “I’ve been living in fast forward/Now I need to rewind real slow.” He sounded a little bit like a man who needed a vacation from his permanent vacation.
And in the second verse he sounded envious when he sang about his bourgeois friends: “They work in their office and drive SUVs/They pray for their babies and they worry ’bout me.” While his fans were dreaming of living his life, he was dreaming of living theirs.
That notion — improbable but somehow sweet — animates Chesney’s new album, which is being released today and has one of the worst titles he has ever come up with, along with some of the best music. It’s called “Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates” (BNA/Sony BMG Nashville), but it might as well have been called “Just Who They Are.” Instead of chronicling a swashbuckling life, Chesney pays affectionate tribute to the landlubbers who buy his CDs.
The first single is “Never Wanted Nothing More,” a cheerful blast of small-c conservatism that has already topped Billboard’s country chart. With a banjo peeking out from amid the electric guitars, Chesney unspools a down-home highlight reel, reminiscing about moments that changed him. Two — a wedding and a religious rebirth — take place in church; suffice it to say that the third takes place “down by the river, with a $6 bottle of wine.” In the chorus he professes total contentment, singing, “I never wanted nothing more.”
It’s probably impossible not to hear that song against the backdrop of Chesney’s own ambition. He tours nonstop, and this is his fifth CD (including a live album) in four years; if there’s any country singer who always seems hungry for more, it’s this one.
It’s probably impossible, too, not to hear the song against the backdrop of Chesney’s recent romantic history. In 2005 he married the actress Renee Zellweger; the marriage was annulled ( Zellweger famously cited “fraud” as the reason) later that year. Far from undermining the message, these complications strengthen it, letting listeners draw their own conclusions from the gap between the life in the lyrics and the life of the guy delivering them.
Chesney isn’t a very prolific songwriter, and he doesn’t get any writing credits at all on the new album, but he certainly has a knack for finding songs that fit both his voice and his persona. The second single from this album is already making its way up the country chart, and it’s a ballad with the same message: Life is pretty good. The portentousness of the first verse — an old man is asked for “the secret to life” — is neatly deflated by the chorus, which revolves around the affable credo that’s also the title: “Don’t Blink.”
Fans and Cruzan Rum executives (the company sponsors his tour) needn’t worry: There are drinking songs here, including “Wild Ride,” which evokes big-budget 1980s rock ’n’ roll at its most tiresome. Most of the time, though, Chesney avoids the spirit of forced revelry that often infects his albums and — more acutely — his live show.
“Just Not Today” is a song about settling down (he’ll do it “one of these days — just not today”), and “Scare Me” deftly updates a recent hit. On the last album he sang, “Baby, you save me.” Now it’s, “Youuu scare me,” and he extends that first word as if he’s trying to avoid the last two.
One of the most jolly-sounding songs is also the most perverse. “Shiftwork” uses a faux-calypso beat as the basis for an ode to menial labor. The refrain goes, “Workin’ 7 to 3, 3 to 11, 11 to 7.” Past the complaints about the boss and the customers, you can hear a glimmer of reflected pride. You can also hear George Strait, a master of vocal understatement, appearing as a guest. Compared with this wry veteran, Chesney sounds the way he looks: like a kid, earnest and eager.
Too eager, sometimes. Somehow no one prevented him from recording “Dancin’ for the Groceries,” a singularly maudlin song about someone who earns her salary one sweaty dollar at a time. As a portrait of a young woman making hard decisions, this is both condescending and disingenuous. (You imagine that if Chesney were visiting this woman in her workplace, he’d be in a markedly less pensive mood.)
But maybe the lyrics are more revealing than they first seem. Imagine that this hard-working mother isn’t a mother at all. Imagine that those are tight jeans, instead of panties, and replace the pasties with a sleeveless shirt. Make her a him, add a cowboy hat and you’ve got a much more interesting character: an aging party boy, singing for his supper while dreaming about the workaday lives of the fans who pay his bills.

Appetite turns 20

Wanna feel old?

Saul Hudson -- Slash -- is 42.

Appetite for Destruction came out 20 years ago. Twenty *&%^% years ago.

Anyway, here's what ol' Slash, now the guitar guy in Velvet Revolver, said about all this:

(By the way, thanks to the folks at McClatchy News Services for sending this in.)
On the 20-year anniversary of “Appetite for Destruction,” which was in July: “Everybody made a bigger deal about it than, obviously, I would have. It’s cool. You can’t complain about being recognized. It’s an accomplishment, having done something 20 years ago that’s still significant now. That’s really great. All the fanfare that went along with it — I was actually surprised at the amount of it.
“But as far as celebrating, the actual physical date that it happened, the anniversary, I wasn’t that cognizant of it. I think everybody else was and that me made aware of it.”
On how he looks back at the Guns N’ Roses era: “The Guns thing was awesome. I was 19 when that band started, and I owe everything in my career to that band.
“It was one of the coolest things going and still, looking back on it, it was one of the coolest things there has been.
“I’ve moved on, concentrating on what there is in the now, but at the same time, I’m very proud for having been part of that.”

Monday, September 10, 2007

Forget MTV Awards ,,, We have Farm Aid

Nothing like a Saturday night at Farm Aid.

Britney's bod -- and lots of it, apparently

Everyone's making fun of Britney Spears, so there's no use in piling on here...OK, bad pun.

But the Associated Press story for today about Spears' MTV Awards Show performance brings up an interesting issue -- that of women's bodies and the messages we send when we criticize the mother of two for not being a size 2.

Here's a portion of the AP story:

Amid MTV debacle, harshest words are saved for Britney’s bod

NEW YORK — The consensus is clear: Britney Spears performed like she was sloshing blindfolded through mud at MTV’s Video Music Awards. No one disputes that the troubled pop princess royally mangled her much-heralded comeback.
But what about the nastiest comments of all — those about her body? “Lard and Clear,” read Monday’s headline in the New York Post. “The bulging belly she was flaunting was SO not hot,” wrote E! Online. And so on.
Was it fair? Did Spears, lest we forget a mother of two, deserve to be held up against the standard of her once fantastically toned abs, sculpted by sessions of 1,000 tummy crunches? Or was she asking for it by choosing that unforgiving black-sequined bikini?
More profoundly, in an age where skinny models and skeletal actresses are under scrutiny for the message they’re sending young girls, what does it say that we’re excoriating a young woman for a little thickness in her middle?
On the morning after what the VH1 channel called Spears’ “already historic” performance, the blogosphere was buzzing with opinions. For every “fat” comment there was an impassioned retort. “Give her a break,” wrote one blogger on “The girl’s had two kids — I hope I’m a size 10 after having kids!”
“OK, she isn’t fat,” wrote another. “But she isn’t fit enough to be wearing (or not wearing) what she is.”
For many observers, the issue was not so much the body, but the body in THAT outfit.
“In that ensemble, you just can’t have an ounce of anything extra,” said Janice Min, editor of the celebrity magazine US Weekly. “Many women wouldn’t eat for days if they were wearing that.”
“Did she look better than 99 percent of women? Yes,” added Min. “But compared to her earlier form, she probably didn’t look as good.”
Besides, said Min, “Britney Spears has always been about the whole package. It’s never been 100 percent about the talent. Is it sexist? Probably, but she’s built a career on an image of sexiness.”

Music on radio -- what's hot, what's not

No one listens to the radio anymore -- or that's what we're led to believe since iPods and downloads are all the rage. But the industry does still compile radio charts, and they're just as interesting as those that tell what songs are downloaded most often from iTunes.

Here are this week's lists, thanks to McClatchy News Service:

(Number in parentheses is a record’s position on previous chart; D denotes a debut; B indicates album or song breaking into the charts.)
Radio & Records’ “National Airplay Overview” charts for week ending Sept. 7, 2007:

1 (2) TIMBALAND f/ KERI HILSON The Way I Are (Mosley/Blackground/Interscope)
2 (1) FERGIE Big Girls Don’t Cry (
3 (3) PLAIN WHITE T’S Hey There Delilah (Hollywood)
4 (5) PINK Who Knew (LaFace/Zomba)
5 (4) ELLIOTT YAMIN Wait For You (Hickory)
6 (6) JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE Lovestoned (Jive/Zomba)
7 (8) NICKELBACK Rockstar (Roadrunner/Atlantic/Lava)
8 (11) BOYS LIKE GIRLS The Great Escape (Columbia
9 (10) T-PAIN f/ AKON Bartender (Konvict/Nappy Boy/Jive/Zomba)
10 (13) AVRIL LAVIGNE When You’re Gone (RCA/RMG)
1 (3) SOULJA BOY Crank That (Soulja Boy) (Collipark/Interscope)
2 (1) KEYSHIA COLE f/ MISSY ELLIOTT & LIL’ KIM Let It Go (Imani/Geffen)
3 (2) PLIES f/ T-PAIN Shawty (Slip-N-Slide/Atlantic)
4 (4) J. HOLIDAY Bed (Music Line/Capitol)
5 (5) FABOLOUS f/ NE-YO Make Me Better (Desert Storm/Def Jam/IDJMG)
6 (7) JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE Until The End Of Time (Jive/Zomba)
7 (6) NE-YO Do You (Def Jam/IDJMG)
8 (14) 50 CENT I Get Money (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope)
9 (8) T-PAIN f/ AKON Bartender (Konvict/Nappy Boy/Jive/Zomba)
10 (12) T.I. f/WYCLEF JEAN You Know What It Is (Grand Hustle/Atlantic)
1 (-) GARTH BROOKS More Than A Memory (Pearl/Big Machine)
2 (1) RODNEY ATKINS These Are My People (Curb)
3 (4) RASCAL FLATTS Take Me There (Lyric Street)
4 (2) REBA MCENTIRE w/ KELLY CLARKSON Because of You (MCA Nashville)
5 (5) BROOKS & DUNN Proud of the House We Built (Arista Nashville)
6 (6) TOBY KEITH Love Me If You Can (Show Dog Nashville)
7 (7) LUKE BRYAN All My Friends Say (Capitol Nashville)
8 (3) KENNY CHESNEY Never Wanted Nothing More (BNA)
9 (8) BRAD PAISLEY Online (Arista Nashville)
10 (9) SUGARLAND Everyday America (Mercury)
2 (4) FERGIE Big Girls Don’t Cry (Will.I.Am/A&M/Interscope)
3 (2) MICHAEL BUBLE Everything (143/Reprise)
4 (3) GWEN STEFANI f/ AKON The Sweet Escape (Interscope)
5 (6) JOHN MAYER Waiting On The World To Change (Aware/Columbia)
6 (7) CARRIE UNDERWOOD Before He Cheats (Arista/Arista Nashville/RMG)
7 (5) FRAY How To Save A Life (Epic)
8 (8) SNOW PATROL Chasing Cars (Polydor/A&M/Interscope)
9 (10) BON JOVI (You Want To) Make A Memory (Mercury/Island/IDJMG)
10 (12) PLAIN WHITE T’S Hey There Delilah (Fearless/Hollywood)
1 (1) OZZY OSBOURNE I Don’t Wanna Stop (Epic)
2 (4) FINGER ELEVEN Paralyzer (Wind-up)
3 (5) LINKIN PARK What I’ve Done (Machine Shop/Warner Bros)
4 (3) VELVET REVOLVER She Builds Quick Machines (RCA/RMG)
5 (2) DAUGHTRY What I Want (RCA/RMG)
6 (10) KID ROCK So Hott (Top Dog/Atlantic)
7 (8) PUDDLE OF MUDD Famous (Flawless/Geffen)
8 (9) THREE DAYS GRACE Never Too Late (Jive/Zomba)
9 (7) FOO FIGHTERS The Pretender (Roswell/RCA/RMG)
10 (6) PAPA ROACH Forever (El Tonal/Geffen)
1 (1) FOO FIGHTERS The Pretender (Roswell/RCA/RMG)
2 (2) LINKIN PARK Bleed It Out (Warner Bros.)
3 (3) FINGER ELEVEN Paralyzer (Wind-up)
4 (5) THREE DAYS GRACE Never Too Late (Jive/Zomba)
5 (4) WHITE STRIPES Icky Thump (Warner Bros.)
6 (7) MUSE Supermassive Black Hole (Warner Bros.)
7 (10) PARAMORE Misery Business (Fueled By Ramen/Atlantic/Lava)
8 (6) LINKIN PARK What I’ve Done (Machine Shop/Warner Bros)
9 (8) INCUBUS Oil And Water (Immortal/Epic)
10 (9) SICK PUPPIES All The Same (RMR/Virgin)

Anniston bands on the 'net

I'm not a huge YouTuber, mainly because my PC is old and slow and I'm too cheap to upgrade to a new one. Got kids to feed.

Anyway, I've still been able to notice that if you type in "Anniston" you get all kinds of hits on Anniston bands. Some are OK. Some are dreck. But it's worth a few minutes tooling around on the 'net to see what Anniston bands are up to.

Think I'll try Oxford and Jacksonville next time my slow computer will cooperate.

1 day, 2 big hip-hop CD releases

Tuesday's a big day in hip-hop world, with the release of long-awaited CDs on the same dat from Kanye West and 50 Cent. From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:


Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Today marks a rarity in the music industry: Kanye West and 50 Cent go head to head to win the title of Rapper Supreme; and it’s also the first time since Sept. 11, 2001, that artists are dropping their goods on a date synonymous with tragedy.
Of course, this doesn’t mean these two high-profile rap artists are being low-key about their new discs — West has stopped just short of telling the world his album will end all wars, while “Fiddy“ infamously declared he will stop releasing solo albums if West outsells him.

It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas

.... at every church you go.

For church choirs, the holiday season doesn't begin in November after Thanksgiving. It started for some groups on Sunday night when the annual decision on which cantata took place in the chancel areas.

There's always some debate among choirs and congreations on what type of music best connotes the Savior's birth. There's always intense debate (at least in our church) among whether to go easy or light on the cantaa's difficulty. I'm in the alto section, and the only reason to sing in the alto section is to perform harmony. I fall asleep singing in unison, so I'm all about the four-part harmony for choir. I believe beautiful, skillfully presented harmony gives the Lord a bit more to pay attention to. He's got a lot on his hands -- the whole world, as the song goes -- so some fine-tuned, four-part musical worship will provide some sonic relief.

That kind of music takes a running start to get geared up. But, like everything important, it takes a work and a lot of commitment to do beautiful music justice.

Washed up at 25?

Following up on the previous MTV awards comment:

Kelefa Sanneh ripped into Brit's performance in today's New York Times:

MTV has always tried to pump up its annual Video Music Awards with momentous live performances. But in an era when fans can watch concerts on their cell phones and spy on hours-old gigs by way of YouTube, it’s harder than ever to arrange a performance that feels like a big deal.
That’s where Britney Spears comes in. Thanks to her annus horribilis — or, more accurately, anni horribiles — she was one of the most anticipated VMA performers in years. Voyeurs around the world were ready to see a fallen star back onstage.
She didn’t disappoint: she was awful. Visibly nervous, she tottered around the stage, dancing tentatively and doing nothing that sounded or looked like real live singing. It’s too bad, because the song itself, "Gimme More," is a pleasant surprise: brash, sleek and unapologetic. But Spears’ performance didn’t seem likely to stem the tide of mean-spirited jokes about her.
Sure enough, when it was over, Sarah Silverman, the host, smiled cruelly and said, “She is amazing! I mean, she is 25 years old and she’s already accomplished everything she’s going to accomplish in life.”

(Emphasis added.)

Oh, no! People are dissin' Britney at the MTV Awards...Britney 'visably out of shape'

OK, a few things:

- I didn't know the MTV Awards were last night. Went to bed early, slept right through them.

- I didn't know Britney Spears was performing. (If I had, I still would have gone to bed early.)

- And it amazes me that people think she still has a music career -- as if she ever did have one.

Oh, well. The awards used to be interesting, or at least worth watching a decade or more ago. Now this thing's an afterthought, especially with me.

Here's something about the shindig from our trusty wire services:

Rihanna, Timberlake strike gold at MTV Video Music Awards
LAS VEGAS — Teenage R&B star Rihanna and pop sensation Justin Timberlake were the big winners at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday, in a star-studded evening that saw Britney Spears make her stage comeback.
Rihanna picked up the most-sought-after Video of the Year award and Monster Single of the Year for her "Umbrella," notably beating R&B starlet Beyonce, Timberlake, rapper Kanye West, British soul singer Amy Winehouse.
"Wow. Video of the Year. This was definitely the most important one for me of the night ... the most unexpected for me," Rihanna said, accepting the top Moonman, as the astronaut-themed statuettes are known.
Timberlake, whose "What Goes Around ... Comes Around" reached number one in the US charts earlier this year, picked up the Male Artist of the Year award.
"It's just exciting to see a new generation of artists really doing it and doing it well," he said. "I think music is in a great place right now because we're all doing what we want to do. So thank you for this award MTV."
Despite not even being nominated for an award, all eyes had been on Britney Spears ahead of the 24th annual MTV Video Music Awards, being held this year at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
The pop princess looked visibly out of shape as she opened the evening, appearing on stage at a major event for the first time in three years, since when she has had two children and gone through a string of personal problems.
The pop diva marked her comeback with "Gimme More" from her upcoming fifth album, set for release in November.
Spears performed in a dark sequined bikini and below the knee black boots and ended her performance perhaps appropriately with the lyric: "I just want more."
Other notable appearances of the evening were a risque introduction by comedian Sarah Silverman and performances by Alicia Keys, Chris Brown, Foo Fighters, Timberlake and Kanye West.
Underground Chicago foursome Fall Out Boy picked up the Best Group Award, as expected, beating alternative metal fivesome Linkin Park, modern rockers Maroon 5, indie/hip-hop band Gym Class Heroes and Detroit rock duo The White Stripes.
"We know that a lot of people tune into these awards to see who's wearing underwear, who's not, who's going to be a train wreck, but we want to thank all the people who are real fans of music out there," the band's Pete Wentz said.
British newcomer Amy Winehouse had been tipped for the Best New Artist Award, but lost out to New York crossover band Gym Class Heroes.
It was also a disappointing night for Beyonce, who was nominated for seven awards but had to settle with Most Earthshattering Collaboration, which she shared with Colombian-born pop singer Shakira.
Black Eyed Peas vocalist Fergie picked up the Female Artist of the Year but failed to show up to accept the award.
The organizers had shaken up this year's ceremony with a number of new awards, hoping to win back viewers after seeing numbers slump in recent years.
Perhaps the most unusual new award was the Quadruple Threat of the Year Award, in recognition of artists' work off stage. The award went to Timberlake, who has a number of restaurants and a clothing line.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The bottom line: Don't slug someone with a cell phone when you're arguing in the car

From the sometimes reliable muckraking files of the Associated Press:

Foxy Brown Sentenced to a Year in Jail

NEW YORK — Foxy Brown was sentenced Friday to one year in jail for violating probation that stemmed from a fight with two manicurists in a New York City nail salon three years ago. "I'm not going to give you any more chances," Criminal Court Judge Melissa Jackson told the 28-year-old rapper. "I hope you turn your life around and never again have to stand in a court of law."

Probation Department officials asked for the hearing after Brown, whose real name is Inga Marchand, was arrested Aug. 14 in Brooklyn on charges of assaulting Arlene Raymond, 25.

Brown was accused of hitting the woman with a cell phone on July 30 when the pair fought over the music volume from Brown's car stereo.

Pygmies are comin'

Have I mentioned that the Velcro Pygmies are playing at Brothers on Tuesday?

More on Zeppelin reunion

This from, one of my favorite sites, about the possible Zeppelin reunion. Don't know whether to get excited or not ... of course, how old are these guys now? May not be anything to get excited about.

LED ZEP RUMORS RETURN:Lots of Led Zeppelin reunion rumors as usual. I have avoided printing most of them (all false), but the latest one seems to be gaining momentum in the wake of planned new releases from the band (new compilation and DVD remaster).

The main rumor has the band penciled in to play O2 Arena in London on November 26.On comment from an industry message board reads: "It's all over the radio today in London, but it's due to be "officially" confirmed in the next week. There was advertisements in today's UK newspapers with hotel and ticket deals - on Planet Rock radio this evening they said that they called the record company who told them that the advertisements were released early in error, but things will be confirmed in the next week."

The band will be Page, Plant, Jones and drummer Jason Bonham (John Bonham's son). This also from the UKs BBC news service:"Led Zeppelin fans have been warned against buying tickets for a supposed comeback gig in London this autumn. Tickets are being advertised by one ticket agency, which claims a concert is "on the brink" of being announced for the O2 arena later this year. But the band, who broke up in 1980, have not confirmed any dates and promoter Harvey Goldsmith says he is concerned people are being "fleeced".

However, he did not specifically deny that the gig was going ahead.In a statement, the rock promoter said: "There have been at least four events advertised which I suspect either don't exist or where no tickets are on sale or indeed dates finalised."

Goldsmith added that he had reported the ticket agency, Premier Entertainments, to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The agency is also selling tickets for shows by Bruce Springsteen, the Spice Girls and Cream. Hotel and concert packages for the Led Zeppelin gig are priced at a minimum of £269. Goldmith says he is concerned that fans are being "fleeced" Goldsmith urged fans not to buy from "unauthorised sources".

"The bottom line is that unless official adverts have appeared for concerts, tickets are not on sale." Premier Entertainments said they were not accepting bookings for the concert until details were announced, but would take details of interested customers. They added that they only sell ticket and hotel packages for all events.

Led Zeppelin were one of the biggest-selling rock groups of the 1970s, best known for songs like Whole Lotta Love and Stairway To Heaven. They disbanded after the death of drummer John Bonham. The three surviving members - John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page - briefly reunited at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia in 1985 and at Atlantic Records' 40th birthday celebrations in 1988. Rumours of a comeback tour have circulated since the band announced they would release a 24-track "best of" album, Mothership, in November.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Missing the maestro

It was heartening to go into a few businesses today and yesterday and hear some Pavarotti music piped in over the place of the regular stuff. He was a legend, his voice was a treasure, and he'll be missed.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Remembering the King of the High C's

Pavarotti stream
Video: Italian Tenor Luciano Pavarotti
Video: Italy Mourns 'King of High C's'
Enhanced Gallery: Luciano Pavarotti, 1935-2007
Enhanced Gallery: Pavarotti, In His Own Words
Associated Press Coverage

Mr. Roboto ... in the Hall of Fame

Beware, the end is nigh ... the Apocalypse is upon us.
The latest sign? Styx guitarist, Tommy Shaw, has been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Nope, not the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, but the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

That's right, dear readers ... the man who helped unleash Mr. Roboto upon the world is from Alabama. The might and majesty of Styx is debatable ... but what is not is the fact that Shaw's axe skills are the only thing that helped make this group even kinda cool.

"Babe." "Lady." those sappy abominations are the evil doings of Dennis DeYoung.
"Blue Collar Man," "Come Sail Away" and (the skate-rock classic) "Too Much Time on My Hands" are all the workings of Shaw ... along with fellow fret man, J.Y. Young.

Project Playlist

This nifty online-generated player allows you to build a playlist. I'll be posting a player every week from some bands I like as well as bands that are coming to the area. Hope you all enjoy!

*Beautifully Broken by Gov't Mule has When Doves Cry intro and outro.

A legend passes away

This is all we've got for of The Star's musical experts will blog eloquently about this later this morning.

Opera Superstar Luciano Pavarotti Dies


ROME - Luciano Pavarotti, whose vibrant high C's and ebullient showmanship made him the most beloved and celebrated tenor since Caruso and one of the few opera singers to win crossover fame as a popular superstar, died Thursday. He was 71.

His manager, Terri Robson, told the AP in an e-mail statement that Pavarotti died at his home in Modena, Italy, at 5 a.m. (0300 GMT). Pavarotti had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year and underwent further treatment in August.

"The Maestro fought a long, tough battle against the pancreatic cancer which eventually took his life. In fitting with the approach that characterized his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness," the statement said.

The funeral will be held Saturday inside Modena's cathedral, Mayor Giorgio Pighi told SkyTG24 as he left Pavarotti's home.

Speaking from inside Pavarotti's home, which was guarded by police, Pavarotti's assistant Edwin Tinoco told Sky that Pavarotti's final days had been calm and spent at home.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

AAAHHHG! A Taylor Hicks sighting

This just in from our musical informants down at Auburn U:

AUBURN-Arista recording artist and former Auburn University
student Taylor Hicks will be featured during the Auburn University
Marching Band's show during the Mississippi State at Auburn football
game on Sept. 15.

The Auburn University Marching Band, under the direction of Dr.
Corey Spurlin, will perform a medley of songs with Hicks during halftime
of the game set to kick-off at 11:30 a.m.

Taylor’s artistry was reaffirmed and validated, as he won the
fifth season of FOX’s American Idol after a lifetime steeped in the
blues and soul and R&B of his native Southern heroes — Ray Charles, Otis
Redding, James Brown and Sam Cooke. Hicks' win on American Idol in 2006
was viewed by 36.4 million households with some 63.4 million votes cast
for the eventual champion.

Hicks enrolled at Auburn in 1995 where he studied business and
journalism for three years. His life as a working musician was
established while at Auburn.

A native of Birmingham, Hicks is currently touring the country
performing tracks from his latest CD entitled, Taylor Hicks.

Ridin' with the Cars

The Cars. Back together. And touring?

Yes, says a Detroit newspaper.

A giant starts to fall

News from northern Italy isn't good on one of the greatests artists of all time. Luciano Pavarotti, the 71-year-old tenor who became the ordinary gal's image of what an opera singer should/would/could be, is failing fast.

Pavarotti, who has been treated off and on for pancreatic cancer in recent months, is more than a name on a marquee, more than an obscure footnote in musical history. He was operatic pop culture, referenced in everything from sitcoms to newspaper columns as an example of someone who did something so well, so unique, he stood alone in recognition of his craft. For so many people who never imagined they'd like opera, Pavarotti was a way to appreciate beautiful music and identify with it. Before there were The Three Tenors -- of which he was one -- he was simply Pavarotti, and you'd have to be an idiot not to know who he was.

His later concerts, of which I was lucky enough to attend in 2001, didn't have the range of his earlier recordings. The drama wasn't there, and the supporting musicians and cast brought more technically to the performance than he did. What Pavarotti brought, however, was the sense of fun and realism that eludes so many High Culture performers. We had fun that night in November, five rows back at the BJCC. He led a sing-along to end the night, and it was great to listen, sing and soak in a moment that felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Worst concerts ever

I was thinking about the worst concerts I've ever seen. As a music writer for 15 years, I saw plenty of stinkers. But I also saw a bunch of wretched ones as a teenager and young adult. Here's my list, what's yours?

Tesla. Oak Mtn. Amphitheatre. Birmingham. Must've been about 1990 because they had a hit with their virtual note-for-note remake of "Signs" by the Five Man Electrical Band. Tesla was so drunk they couldn't play. I mean at all. One of the few concerts I've ever given Zero stars to as a reviewer.

Harry Connick Jr. BJCC Concert Hall, Bham. 1994. Another Zero stars show. This was during the period when Connick moved out of Frank Sinatra-style jazz and into New Orleans funk. Well, this white boy has had a rhythm bypass. It sounded like guys who'd never played together tuning up in a concrete garage. About 45 minutes into the show, I leaned over to my date and said, "This sucks." She said, "OH thank god! I thought I just wasn't getting it."

Deep Purple. 1976. Omni, Atlanta. On the "Come Taste the Band" tour, guitarist Tommy Bolin was so smacked out, he couldn't play. He kept whacking the back of his guitar with the palm of his hand, making it thrum through the speakers. It sounded better than his soloing. When Deep Purple hit the stage, there were 18,000 in the Omni. When they came out for their encore, there was maybe 300.

2 Live Crew. Boutwell Auditorium, Bham. Don't remember the year. Sometime in the 1990s. I've tried to block it out of my head. I'm damned near impossible to offend, but this show was so disgusting and crude, it even offended me. And besides, 2 Live Crew has Zero ability at rapping.

Spin Doctors. Alabama Theatre, Bham. 1991. These guys fancy themselves a jam band, I guess because, when they were coming up, they often played for NY frat parties and were forced to play and play and play. Well, drunk frat boys aren't the best critical audience; if you can play the riff from "Louie Louie" for 45 minutes, you're a god. Spin Doctors jammed and jammed and jammed. Endless noodling by musicians not capable of turning endless noodling into anything interesting.

Kiss. 1975. Omni, Atlanta. No one expects Kiss to be consummate musicians. But hell, at least they don't have to be virtual lip-sync artists. "Kiss Alive" was big stuff at this time and the band started with the first song on Side One (we're talking LPs now, for all you young folks) and played songs in the exact same sequence right through to the end of Side Four. Paul Stanley even said THE EXACT SAME THINGS between songs. What a rip.

Chuck Berry. City STages 1989. First City STages. Berry was the headliner. Didn't even bother to tune his guitar. Wanging all over the place, sounded horrible. A pick-up-the-check performance.

Bob Dylan. Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa. Not sure of the year, probably about 1988 or 89. Bob had picked up a new band a couple of days before this show and every song was a train wreck. I didn't even recognize "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" until the third verse. The guy sitting next to me was a Dylan fanatic and he said, "Ooooh, tonight he's not interested in the music, he's being a poet, trying to find the inner meaning of the words." I said, "Well, whatever he's doing, it sucks big time."

Lyrics anyone?

The other day a song came on the radio. My boy, age 8 with ears like a bat, was trying to figure out some of the lyrics to "Black Dog" by Led Zeppelin. It brought to mind a slew of other songs that, to me, are incomprehensible. I don't mean I can't make out the words; I mean that I can make out the words, but they simply make no sense.

Some of the more non-sequitured songs: Long Cool Woman, Mony Mony, and of course anything by Bob Dylan.

Galactic Web cast tonight

Watch as one of New Orleans' hottest funk bands lays it down at home on your computer. The site says 6 p.m. and is based in California so I assume it will be 8 p.m. Central Time.

Link to Web cast

These guys put on a great show.

Led Zeppelin are definitely reforming says Robert Plant


Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant has confirmed that the legendary rock band will be reuniting later this year.

A reunion has been strongly rumored for the last week or so and today (September 5) the singer confirmed it's definitely on.

A fan who met Plant in London today contacted NME.COM explaining that the singer said he was on his way to meet bandmates Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones.

"How did you find out about this?" asked Plant when asked about the prospects of a reunion show by the autograph hunter. "Well we've got a band meeting about it this afternoon about it. There's not a lot to work out as it's only going to be one-off gig."

NME.COM has also learned from a music industry source that the show, possibly to take place in November at the 02 in London, will be a charity gig organized by promoter Harvey Goldsmith.

What do you think about the band getting back together? Have your say on MyNME below and the best comments will appear throughout the day, so keep checking.

Note: This could be rumors or speculation but it's exciting nonetheless.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bohemian is dead

From The AP, sad news from the 90s musical front:

DALLAS — Jeffrey Carter Albrecht, a keyboard player for the band Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, was shot to death early Monday while trying to kick in the door of his girlfriend’s neighbor, police said.

Kelly Clarkson (yawn) touring again

She canceled a portion of her earlier tour this summer, but Kelly (I'm an Idol!) Clarkson is giving it a go again this fall, she announced today. Her tour dates list an Atlanta stop, but I'll hold out for one of the other idols. Or not.

Ted loves what?

The Denver Post -- that bastion of all things musical -- is reporting that Ted Nugent, star of the VH1 classic show "Superband," is releasing a new album.

Its title?

"Love Grenade."

Here's what the Post is saying about this, um, sure-to-be-classic. "The Nuge has a reputation for unapologetic music and politics, and the title of his latest nods toward his raging, Motor City ego and guitar-stroking ways."

OK. We'll have to trust them.

Sound Tribe Sector 9 Web cast

STS9 on the rocks, on the Net

Web site: We are pleased to announce both shows at Red Rocks Amphitheatre this coming weekend (9/7 & 9/8) will be streamed live online with a little help from the good folks at

STS9 hits the stage at approximately 8:30 p.m. MTN time each night.
STS9 Myspace Page

If you've never heard of this band and are a fan of experimental live music or electronic music check it out. Word is that Chris Kuroda, former lighting tech for Phish, is assisting in the lights for this run.

Brothers' September schedule

Yeah, you know which two of these have me going, right?



7 — ROUND 21 $5/8




15 — GA CADILLACS $5/8



22WILX $5/8



Brother's Web site is worth the visit, by the way.

Shocking, shocking news

Rockers really are more likely to die early
wow ... in other "breaking news" - here's a shocker. Rock Stars don't live very long. Strange given the healthy living, vitamins, lots of sleep and healthy diet.

Study points to drug, alcohol abuse as factors in stars’ premature deaths

LONDON - Rock stars —notorious for their “crash and burn” lifestyles — really are more likely than other people to die before reaching old age.
A study of more than 1,000 mainly British and North American artists, spanning the era from Elvis Presley to rapper Eminem, found they were two to three times more likely to suffer a premature death than the general population.
Between 1956 and 2005 there were 100 deaths among the 1,064 musicians examined by researchers at the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University.
As well as Presley, the toll of those dying before their time included Doors singer Jim Morrison, guitar hero Jimi Hendrix, T Rex star Marc Bolan and Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain.
More than a quarter of all the deaths were related to drugs or alcohol abuse, said the study in the Journal of Epidemial Community Health.
“The paper clearly describes a population of rock and pop stars who are at a disproportionate risk of alcohol and drug related deaths,” said Mark Bellis, lead author of the study.
He said the study raised questions about the suitability of using rock stars for public health messages such as anti-drug campaigns when their own lifestyle was so dangerous.
“In the music industry, factors such as stress, changes from popularity to obscurity, and exposure to environments where alcohol and drugs are easily available, can all contribute to substance use as well as other self-destructive behaviors,” the report said.
Highest riskIt found that musicians were most at risk in the first five years after achieving fame, with death rates more than three times higher than normal.
Hendrix, Bon Scott of AC/DC and punk rocker Sid Vicious all died within five years of hitting the big time, said Bellis.
Among British artists the risk of dying remains high until around 25 years after their first success, when they return to near normal life expectancy.
That bodes well for rock survivors like The Who’s 63-year-old Roger Daltrey, who famously first sang “I hope I die before I get old” in the song “My Generation” back in 1965.
But this trend was not found in North America, where aging rockers remain almost twice as likely to suffer a premature demise, particularly from heart attack or stroke.
American stars Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys and Johnny Ramone of the Ramones all died in their 50s.
Bellis suggested that the high death rate among older American musicians could be related to the continent’s greater appetite for reunion tours, exposing the artists for more years to an unhealthy “rock’n’roll” lifestyle.
It could also be due to the poor medical outlook for impoverished American ex-pop stars who have no health insurance, he said.