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Rock News Two: The week in pop music

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International   |   April 6, 2002 at 4:45 AM   |   Comments

R.E.M.'s PETER BUCK

R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck has been acquitted on air rage charges.

On Friday, a London jury found the rocker innocent of the charges that led to his spending two days in a British jail last spring after he allegedly got drunk on a Seattle-to-London flight, attacked the flight crew and damaged British Airways property, E! Online reports.

The ruckus allegedly took place April 21, 2001, as Buck was en route to London to join his bandmates for a South Africa benefit concert in Trafalgar Square in front of Nelson Mandela. Prosecutors said the musician had behaved like a "drunken lout."

But Buck claimed that he "blacked out" after taking a sleeping pill along with a glass of wine and had little memory of what happened.

During the three-week trial, a number of Buck's fellow rockers -- including R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and Mike Mills and U2 frontman Bono -- testified on his behalf, characterizing him as a family man who didn't abuse alcohol or drugs.


MARILYN MANSON

Marilyn Manson has been slapped with a wrongful death lawsuit by the mother of a woman killed in a car accident after attending a party at the shock rocker's house last April.

Jennifer Syme -- the former girlfriend of Keanu Reeves -- died after she reportedly lost control of her SUV and crashed into three parked cars, throwing her from the vehicle.

Syme's mother, Maria St. John, claims Manson gave her daughter "various quantities of an illegal controlled substance" during a party at his home on the night of April 1, 2001, E! Online reports.

Her lawsuit -- filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court -- charges that someone drove an "incapacitated" Syme back to her house early the next morning to pick up her car, planning to return to Manson's home. She never made it. Syme, 29, died at the scene of the crash, and cocaine was later found in her blood.

St. John claims Manson was negligent in giving her the drugs and then "instructing her to operate a motor vehicle in her incapacitated condition." Her lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Manson denied any wrongdoing in a statement released Wednesday. "Words cannot express the pain that I feel over the loss of Jennifer Syme's life," he said. "After Jennifer was sent home safely with a designated driver, she later got behind the wheel of her own car for reasons known only to her. Her death is sad and tragic."

Manson, meanwhile, is due in a Michigan courtroom April 25 to face fourth-degree felony sexual misconduct and assault and battery charges. A security guard has accused the rocker of rubbing his crotch against him during a July 2001 concert.


EMINEM

A French jazz pianist is suing Eminem for $10 million.

Allstar News reports the copyright infringement lawsuit, filed last Thursday in New York by Jacques Loussier, contents that the backing track on the rapper's tune "Kill You" was lifted from his jazz fusion work titled "Pulsion."

Loussier names Eminem, Interscope Records, and the label's parent company, Vivendi Universal, in the suit, which also seeks a broadcast ban on the song. "Kill You" is from Eminem's 2000 album "The Marshall Mathers LP."

Loussier founded the Play Bach Trio in 1959, which sold some 6 million albums in its 15 years of existence.


KEKE WYATT

R&B singer Keke Wyatt faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of stabbing her husband on Christmas Day.

A grand jury in Shelby Count, Ky., indicted Wyatt last week on one count of second-degree assault, MTV News reports. The charges stem from Wyatt's arrest, which took place after police responded to a domestic violence call on Dec. 25 and found Rahmat Morton with stab wounds to the chest, arms and hands. He underwent surgery at the University of Louisville Hospital, where doctors removed part of a steak knife from his back.

Morton is also Wyatt's manager.

Wyatt's second single, "Nothing in This World," from her CD "Soul Sista," is currently getting radio airplay.


MEGADETH

Megadeth is disbanding after almost 20 years together.

The impetus for the break-up was the serious nerve damage singer and lead guitarist Dave Mustaine suffered to his left arm and hand last January while the heavy metal band was on hiatus from two years of touring and promotional appearances. In a statement released Wednesday, Mustaine said his doctors have told him it'll take about a year to recover from the injury and that they're not sure how complete a recovery it'll be. He added that he hopes he'll be able to play guitar again someday.

Mustaine said he plans to explore other areas of the music business where he might make a contribution, and also hopes to spend more time with his wife and two children.

Megadeth was founded by Mustaine in 1983 after he was fired from Metallica.

Megadeth's first-ever live album -- the double CD "Rude Awakening" -- hit stores March 19, and the accompanying DVD and VHS home video is due out next Tuesday. Both the "Rude Awakening" CD and DVD include 24 songs spanning Megadeth's entire career -- including such tracks as "Hangar 18," "Symphony of Destruction," "Dread and the Fugitive Mind" and "Burning Bridges."

(Web site: megadeth.com)


AMERICAN HEAD CHARGE

American Head Charge guitarist Wayne Kile has left the band. In a statement quoted by NME.com, the group describes the parting as "completely amicable."

"Over the past year, it became obvious that Wayne was moving in a different direction than the rest of the band, and in the past few months it became extremely apparent that it was time for him to move on," the statement added.

Kile's replacement is guitarist Brian Ottoson, who used to play with the Minneapolis band Black Flood Diesel.

American Head Charge will provide support on the upcoming Rammstein tour as well as perform at Ozzfest's U.K. appearance on May 25.


EMI

Jane's Addiction lead singer Perry Farrell reportedly could be one of the first big names dropped by EMI.

NME.com reports Ben Harper also might be on his way out as the record label follows its announcement of 1,800 staff cuts with measures designed to skin the fat from its roster.

The New York Post reports that both Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger, as a solo artist, just missed the axe because the label makes so much money selling their old Beatles and Rolling Stones album.

McCartney's most recently CD, "Driving Rain," failed to make much of a splash and last year's Wings retrospective tanked.


ELTON JOHN

There was a mutual admiration society going on in Studio A at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville Tuesday night as pop star Elton John and alt-country singer Ryan Adams taped an episode of "CMT Crossroads." John referred to Adams as "fabulous one," and Adams at one point called John a "hell of a guy."

During a question-and-answer segment of the show, John told the invited audience how Adams' 2000 solo debut "Heartbreaker" prompted him to reassess his own approach to recording, CMT.com reports.

"If I hadn't heard 'Heartbreaker,' I'd probably be lost in overproduction somewhere," John, 55, said. "I was completely and utterly floored by the simplicity and beauty of the songs." On his latest album, "Songs From The West Coast," John returns to the basic band sound of his early albums such as "Honky Chateau" and "Tumbleweed Connection."

In the "Crossroads" format, the two artists collaborated on all performances. Before he performed "La Cienega Just Smiled," John called it "my favorite song from (Adams' newest CD) 'Gold," and that's saying a lot." Adams, 27 -- finishing a slightly bent reading of John's "Daniel" -- exclaimed, "Hell of a song! Hell of a guy!"

"Crossroads" explores the common country music roots of artists from diverse backgrounds. An edited, one-hour version of the concert, with additional interview and behind-the-scenes footage, is scheduled to debut May 26 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT) on CMT.


OZZFEST 2002

It seems rocker Rob Zombie and not headbanger Andrew W.K. will fill the main-stage slot vacated by the untitled Chris Cornell-Rage Against The Machine collaboration at Ozzfest 2002, MTV News reports.

Zombie is moving up from the second stage, where his headlining slot will be filled by Down, a group composed of Pantera's Philip Anselmo and members of Eyehategod, Corrosion of Conformity and Crowbar.

Although he claimed to have been invited to replace the Rage-Cornell band, Andrew W.K. instead will jump between the second and third stages for the first half of the tour (July 6 to Aug. 7), and Switched will take over for the second half (Aug. 10 to Sept. 8).

Portions of the Ozzfest itinerary have also changed. Instead of visiting New York's Jones Beach on July 10, the tour will stop in Scranton, Pa., instead. And the dates for the Indianapolis and Cleveland shows -- previously Aug. 4 and Aug. 13, respectively -- have flip-flopped.


MORE ROAD TRIPS

-- R&B singer Joe will kick off his first American tour April 13 in Rahway, N.J. A live band will back him on the 23-date road trip, which comes in support of his latest Jive release, "Better Days," Billboard.com reports.

-- Former Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg is planning a series of in-store performances beginning later this month. The solo acoustic shows -- his first in five years -- come in support of his upcoming solo album, "Stereo," which hits stores April 23, Billboard.com reports. The album will include a disc from Westerberg's side project Grandpaboy, titled "Mono."

-- Usher is hitting the road. His "8701 Evolution Tour" kicks off May 8 in Seattle, with Faith Evans, Nas and Mr. Cheeks as opening acts. In February, Usher won a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and last month he got a Soul Train Award for Best Male Soul Album. He's currently rehearsing for the tour.


KORN

Sony Music Entertainment is upset with a New York-based radio show for prematurely airing four songs from Korn's fifth album, "Untouchable," which doesn't hit stores until June 11.

MTV News reports that radio personalities Opie and Anthony -- whose four-hour afternoon show is syndicated in 18 cities nationwide from WNEW -- played three tracks from the CD Tuesday. After premiering the third, "Tear Me Down," the show received a cease-and-desist letter from Sony, parent company of Korn's label, Epic, threatening legal action.

In response, the DJs tore up the letter (or at least said they did) and proceeded to spin "Falling Through Time," another song from the album.

This isn't the first time Opie and Anthony have jumped the gun with a new album. They pulled a similar stunt with the Stone Temple Pilots latest CD "Shangri-La Dee Da."


MORE ALBUM NEWS

-- U2 will release a new album by this fall -- but it won't be a studio album. Sources tell Jam! Music that the Irish rockers are planning a "best of" set covering the years 1991 to 2000. They say the album is tentatively due out in October. The CD would be a follow-up to 1998's "Best of U2: 1980-90." U2 fan Web sites have been buzzing about the retrospective for weeks. Last month, U2 announced that a planned European summer tour had been scrubbed in favor of returning to the studio to work on new material.

-- The fifth Epic studio album from Oasis, "Heathen Chemistry," is due out in July, according to Billboard.com. The first single "The Hindu Times" will be released commercially April 15 in the band's native Britain. The track can be sampled on Oasis' official Web site, which is also giving away copies of the single to 20 randomly selected members of the group's mailing list. "Heathen Chemistry" features the first songwriting contributions from Oasis' newest members -- bassist Andy Bell and guitarist Gem Archer. The album is the follow-up to "Standing On The Shoulder of Giants."

-- Weezer's fourth album, "Maladroit," will be released May 14 -- not April 30, as first reported. Allstar News reports the release date was pushed back to give the band more time to finish the album. The video for the first single, "Dope Nose," will be shot in Los Angeles on Monday. Also, it looks like the band's fifth album -- already in production -- will reach stores in February 2003. Meanwhile, Weezer is hitting the road April 23 in Edmonton, Canada, on its Dusty West '02 Tour.

-- Depeche Mode's "One Night In Paris, The Exciter Tour" Pay Per View event is being released on DVD May 28. It was directed by the band's long-time artistic collaborator Anton Corbijn at the sold-out Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy in front of 16,000 fans as part of their 2001 world tour. The DVD features bonus footage such as one-on-one interviews with Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at how they prepared for the concert.

-- The full range of the pop spectrum is covered on "The Best of TRL Pop," featuring the most popular artists and their original studio versions of songs from MTV's "Total Request Live." The album is now in stores. It includes 15 tracks from such artists as 'N Sync, Backstreet Boys, Smashmouth, Mandy Moore and Enrique Inglesias. "Total Request Live," MTV's daily music video countdown show, is programmed exclusively by viewers via phone and e-mail. It's hosted by Carson Daly.

-- Nine years after its release, Meat Loaf's "Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell" has been expanded into a 2-CD edition featuring three versions of "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)." The double album -- now in stores -- also includes radio edits of "Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are," "Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through" and "Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back." There's also a 1998 remix of "Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back," an acoustic "Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are" and its Wild Car Mix, and three live tracks recorded in July 1993 -- including flashbacks to the original "Bat Out of Hell" ("Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad" plus the previously unreleased "All Revved Up With No Place To Go" and "Heaven Can Wait").

-- The first U.S. DVD of one of the biggest pop music acts of the 1970s hits stores April 30. "The Carpenters' Gold: Greatest Hits" (A&M/UME) collects the brother-sister duo's best performance/promotional videos from 1969 through 1981. Fifteen clips are featured, including eight of Karen and Richard's dozen Top 10 hits. "Gold: Greatest Hits" was originally released on VHS in 1985 under the title "Yesterday Once More" in conjunction with a double-album retrospective that paid tribute to Karen Carpenter, who died in Feb. 1983.


LIMP BIZKIT

NME.com reports the members of Limp Bizkit have set up shop in a house in Beverly Hills, Calif., to rehearse their new material.

Writing in his diary on the band's official Web site (limpbizkit.com), singer Fred Durst described the house as "sooooo tacky. ... I think it was owned by the man who produced 'Gone With Ther Wind.' Wild! It's a pink house that hasn't been touched since the '70s. We'll see what vibe comes of it."

The band is still without a full-time guitarist following the departure of Wes Borland last year.


GRAMMYS

Four years after moving to Los Angeles over a falling out with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the Recording Academy is taking the Grammy Awards back to the city that never sleeps.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, academy president Michael Greene and CBS president-CEO Les Moonves announced Wednesday that the 45th Annual Grammy Awards will be telecast from Madison Square Garden next Feb. 23 on CBS.

"We look forward to working with Mayor Bloomberg and his staff and our great friends at Madison Square Garden," said Greene. "The Academy itself never left New York, and now we are thrilled to bring our main event -- the Grammy Awards -- back to the city."

After the announcement, pop star Marc Anthony presented Mayor Bloomberg with a guitar donated and autographed by legendary musician Les Paul -- painted with a Sept. 11 scene by Peter Ortel, a retired New York City fireman from Rescue 3. The academy said the guitar would be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to the Uniformed Firefighters Association Widows and Children Fund.

(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


KIDS' CHOICE AWARDS

Pink will perform in the opening slot at Nickelodeon's 15th Annual Kids' Choice Awards on April 20. The singer is also up for Favorite Song and Favorite Female Singer, according to Allstar News.

Smash Mouth, who is up for two awards, and Usher, who's up for one, will also perform at the awards, which take place at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. Other music acts scheduled to appear include Lil' Bow Wow, Mandy Moore, Lil' Romeo, Mick carter and Beyonce Knowles of Destiny's Child.


SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME

Stevie Wonder and country's Garth Brooks will be honored at this year's Songwriters Hall of Fame event. Allstar News reports Wonder will be presented with the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award while Brooks will be presented with the Hitmaker Award.

The event -- June 13 at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers -- is also honoring Barry Manilow, Michael Jackson, Nicolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, recent Oscar winner Randy Newman and Sting.


JAMES TAYLOR

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) will honor singer/songwriter James Taylor with its Founders Award. The presentation will take place during the 19th annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards on May 20 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

The ASCAP Founders Award is given to pioneering songwriters who have made exceptional contributions to music. Previous recipients include Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Stephen Sondheim, Billy Joel, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Andre Previn, Steely Dan and Tom Waits.

The Pop Awards is an annual, star-studded gala at which ASCAP honors the writers and publishers of the most-performed ASCAP songs of the prior calendar year.


DAVE MATTHEWS BAND

The Dave Matthews Band, SaveOurEnvironment.org and ice cream makers Ben & Jerry's have launched the One Sweet Whirled campaign to fight global warming.

It urges people to pledge to reduce their personal carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2,000 pounds (emissions are measured in pounds). Shedding 2,000 pounds represents about a five-percent reduction in the average American's annual emissions. People can take the "Fight Global Warming: Lose 2,000 Pounds!" pledge by promising to make small, very do-able changes in their lives -- such as driving 15 fewer miles a week -- and by voicing their concern with political messages to Congress about efficiency legislation and the need for increased renewables (such as wind and solar power).

Dave Matthews Band One Sweet Whirled is also the name of a new Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor. A portion of sales will go to support global warming initiatives.

The inspiration for the flavor name came from the Dave Matthews Band's environmental hit single "One Sweet World," from the band's debut album "Remember Two Things."

"We are honored that Ben & Jerry's offered us this flavor, 'One Sweet Whirled,' and asked us to partner with them and the nation's most influential environmental advocacy groups to help stop global warming," said DMB in a statement. "The campaign sounded great and when the first pint of 'One Sweet Whirled' didn't last long on the bus, it all came together for us."

(Web site: OneSweetWhirled.org)

© 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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