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Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International   |   March 6, 2002 at 5:45 AM   |   Comments

MICHAEL JACKSON

Michael Jackson reportedly is gearing up for his first North American road trip since 1993's "Dangerous" tour.

The 43-year-old singer has not publicly announced any touring plans. But E! Online quotes both Billboard magazine and the New York Post hinting at an outing, with Billboard saying Jackson will do a "limited run" in May.

Jackson has toured overseas but not in North America since child molestation accusations were leveled against him in 1993. No criminal charges were ever filed, and the singer reached an out-of-court settlement with the family of alleged victim, a 13-year-old boy.

Sales of Jackson's latest CD, "Invincible" -- hyped as his "comeback" album -- have been less than spectacular.


MORE MICHAEL JACKSON

Since the very costly, very publicized return of the King of Pop did not spark Michael Jackson's hoped new revolution in music, Jackson has become an on-again, off-again participant in the music scene. Last week, his publicist noted that his client had decided not to appear on the Grammys. The announcement seemed ludicrous in the wake of the flap over whether he would appear on the Grammys and not the American Music Awards, or vice-versa.

Now comes word from MSNBC that he has opted out of this week's World Music Awards in Monaco. Jackson is up for top honors in the category World's Best-Selling Male Artist. The opposition is Robbie Williams, Enrique Iglesias and Shaggy. Many, according to the news provider, think that Jackson is a sure bet to win.

Meanwhile, Jackson's people continue to ignore calls from the media for clarifications on various issues, including Jackson's new "low profile" status and reports that he wants to change his emphasis from music making to movie making.

(Thanks to UPI's Dennis Daily)


MATCHBOX TWENTY

Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas is getting a little help from his friends on the band's upcoming album.

MTV News reports that Mick Jagger -- who enlisted Thomas to co-write "Visions of Paradise" for his recent solo album, "Goddess in the Doorway" -- has written a track with Thomas for the next Matchbox Twenty record. The song is titled "I Got a Disease" and will be recorded by Thomas and his bandmates when they return to the studio in July to record their third album. Jagger may join them, if he can fit it into his schedule.

Willie Nelson -- whose January release featured three songs written by Thomas -- may also appear on the Matchbox Twenty album. "If he's around [the studio], I'll make him play guitar for sure," Thomas said.

Thomas co-wrote and performed on Carlos Santana's hit single "Smooth."


DEF LEPPARD

A profile of Def Leppard's 1983 album "Pyromania" kicks off "Ultimate Albums," a new series premiering this Sunday (at 9 p.m. ET/PT) on VH1.

The show will examine a single important record in each weekly one-hour episode, recounting in detail why it connected the artist and the audience, and how it forever changed their lives and our culture.

Sunday's premiere will feature interviews with Def Leppard members Joe Elliott, Rick "Sav" Savage, Pete Willis, Phil Collen, Rick Allen and Steve Clark, plus manager Peter Mensch, Lit members Jeremy Popoff and Kevin Blades, and Judas Priest's Rob Halford -- among others.

Future episodes will focus on such albums as Red Hot Chili Peppers' "BloodSugarSexMagic," "Metallica," Bon Jovi's "Slippery When Wet," No Doubt's "Tragic Kingdom," the classic "Led Zeppelin IV" and Motley Crue's "Dr. Feelgood."


SINEAD O'CONNOR

Sinead O'Connor has contributed vocals for several songs on the fourth album by Massive Attack, slated for release this summer. O'Connor is also featured on Moby's next album, "18," which is set to come out in May.


CONCERT SAFETY

At least 52 people died at concerts and festivals worldwide last year, according to an international crowd safety consulting firm.

Crowd Management Strategies annual Rock Concert Safety Survey says more than 11,000 people were injured and more than 400 people were arrested or cited at concerts and festivals in 2001.

The Chicago-based company also urges concert organizers to plan for terrorism, noting that four bombs were discovered when police searched motorists outside an Ozzfest concert in Oregon last year. An outdoor concert in Dhaka, Bangladesh, was bombed -- allegedly by Taliban and Osama bin Laden agents, the company says.

(The above two items thanks to UPI's Mike Cooper in Atlanta)


SLIPKNOT

The lead singer of Slipknot is moving to one of Des Moines, Iowa's ritziest neighborhoods. The Des Moines Register reports Corey Taylor, 28, will close Friday on the purchase of a five-bedroom brick Colonial.

With his tattoos and long reddish-brown hair, the rocker admits he's sure to stick out in a neighborhood of doctors, lawyers and bankers, where the average home price tops $300,000. "I just hope once they get to know me, they'll understand that -- besides the blood worship on Thursdays -- I'm an average guy," he said, laughing.

Slipknot is composed of nine Des Moines-area natives known for their extreme metal music. The band they started in an Urbandale basement in the mid-1990s has captured two Grammy nominations and sold millions of CDs around the world. Eight of the rockers still live in the area.

Taylor said he found the house while browsing online and liked it immediately because it offers privacy and plenty of space. "Stylewise, it's a house you could have great parties or raise a family," he told the newspaper.

The news of Taylor's home purchase -- for more than $350,000 -- came as a surprise to some members of the Linden Heights Neighborhood Association, who learned about it at a business meeting Sunday. When it was announced that the future homeowner was a musician, one woman said she was "hoping it would be a clarinetist."

Taylor said he is a "quiet, keep-to-myself" kind of rock star but acknowledges that his new neighbors might be concerned. How should they react? "Horror first, then desperation and a deep need to buy me out," he said.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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