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Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International   |   May 30, 2003 at 3:00 AM   |   Comments

PETER FRAMPTON NOW

Peter Frampton's first studio album in nine years will be released Aug. 26 on Framptone Records/33rd Street Records. The CD contains Frampton's first new studio recordings since his contributions to the soundtrack and Oscar-winning film "Almost Famous." The first single, "Verge Of A Thing," ships to rock radio Aug. 1. Recorded and mixed entirely at his home studio in Cincinnati, "Now" includes 11 tracks, all produced by Frampton. Except for "My Guitar Gently Weeps," a passionate tribute to his friend and colleague George Harrison, Frampton wrote or co-wrote all music and lyrics.

"Now" also features "Hour Of Need," written and recorded for "Almost Famous" -- and used on "The Banger Sisters" soundtrack -- and nine new compositions. Working alone or with Gordon Kennedy, Wayne Kirkpatrick, his longtime keyboardist Bob Mayo and other collaborators, Frampton assembled a long list of material.

"In the past it was always, 'OK, I've got 11 songs. Let's cut them all and use 10'," he said. "That wasn't the case with 'Now' -- I was much more careful about what I decided to use. It took two albums worth of songs to get to where we are."

Frampton recorded "Now" with his touring band. "Yes, I'm a solo artist, but I don't go anywhere without my band," Frampton declared. "If one of them is unavailable, we don't play, it's that simple. It's all of us or none of us."


GUY'S BUDDIES

Blues legend Buddy Guy has a new album, "Blues Singer," due out June 3 on Silvertone Records. A couple of notable friends, B.B. King and Eric Clapton, sat in on the acoustic session. Clapton plays on the Frankie Lee Sims song "Lucy Mae Blues," then King and Clapton trade guitar solos on John Lee Hooker's "Crawlin' Kingsnake." The song can be previewed on Guy's Silvertone Web site. The album includes two other outstanding Hooker covers, "Black Cat Blues" and "Sally Mae," along with Muddy Waters' "I Live the Life I Love," and Skip James' "Hard Times Killing Floor." Drummer Jim Keltner (Bob Dylan, John Lennon), bassist Tony Garnier (Asleep At The Wheel, Dylan), and guitarist Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers) all are in Guy's band on the record. "Blues Singer" was produced by Dennis Herring (Cracker, Counting Crows) at his Sweet Tea Studios in Oxford, Miss., the same studio where Guy's 2001 release "Sweet Tea" was made.


MARS VOLTA KEYBOARDIST DIES

Jeremy Michael Ward, keyboardist in Mars Volta and also a member of Defacto, died last weekend, according to Defacto's record company Gold Standard Labs.

"The members, family, and friends of the Mars Volta were shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of band member Jeremy Ward," read a statement from the band on GSL's official Web site. "Ward was found dead in his Los Angeles home by his roommate on Sunday evening. The cause of death has yet to be determined pending autopsy."

Ward, 27, and Mars Volta were on break in Los Angeles between legs of a tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The group was scheduled to start the next leg of the tour June 2 at the Coral Sky Amphitheater in West Palm Beach, Fla. The band had been touring to preview its Universal debut, "De-Loused in the Comatorium," due out June 24.

"We have collaborated with Jeremy for the past 10 years," the band said of Ward. "He was the driving force of Defacto, and an integral part of the Mars Volta, who often went unnoticed because he chose to perform offstage. In addition to music, Jeremy was an incredibly talented writer and painter. We are devastated by the loss, but know that Jeremy will continue to be with us in spirit at every show and during the making of every record."


50 CENT'S INCREASED VALUATION

50 Cent's single "21 Questions," featuring Nate Dogg, topped three Billboard sales charts this week to continue the rapper's torrid run. "21 Questions" is No. 1 on the Hot 100 for a second-straight week, and tops the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart and the Hot Rap Tracks tally for a sixth week in a row. The rapper has four tracks in the top 100, three in the Top Ten -- Lil' Kim's "Magic Stick" featuring 50 Cent is No.8 on the Hot 100, and 50 Cent's former No. 1 "In Da Club" is No. 9. 50 Cent also has "P.I.M.P." at No. 60. On the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, 50 Cent appears on a whopping eight entries.


HATE MAIL

"The View" co-host Star Jones has been receiving hate mail over the Internet because of her support of "American Idol 2" winner Ruben Studdard. Jones went public about the vicious e-mail on the show.

"I have never received such vicious e-mails," Jones told the audience.

"I am shocked at the level of acrimony, at the viciousness," Jones later told New York Post reporter Michael Starr (no relation). "I'm used to people coming after me. I'm on TV and it's my job to express my opinion."

© 2003 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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