Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International


Sting will perform a free concert in New York this Thursday to celebrate the launching of Microsoft Windows XP.


The mid-day show --- which will be cybercast worldwide on MSN ( --- is being dedicated to the people of New York City.

The hour-long concert will take place in midtown Manhattan's Bryant Park (at 1 p.m. ET), capping the festivities of the Microsoft Windows XP launch being held three blocks away in Times Square's Marriott Marquis Theatre.

Tickets are required for the free concert, and are available at various Manhattan retailers.

Sting's participation in the launch concert allows him to complete a project cut short by the events of Sept. 11. On that day, Sting was preparing for a global Webcast of a concert from Italy that was to be recorded for his upcoming live album, "All This Time."

With news of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, plans for the concert were aborted. Instead, Sting and his band performed and webcast one song, "Fragile," as a mark of respect for all those who lost their lives. They then shut the Webcast down.

"Thursday's concert and worldwide Webcast will allow me to complete the project we chose to abandon due to the horrific events on Sept. 11," Sting said. "I am especially pleased to do this in the city most affected, and in solidarity with all New Yorkers. I am grateful to Microsoft for giving me the opportunity."


At Sting's request, Microsoft will be making a donation of software to two schools affected by the Sept. 11 attacks.


System of a Down is putting its money where its heart is. The band -- which will co-headline the "Pledge of Allegiance" concert at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J., next Tuesday, Halloween, will donate all of its proceeds from that show to the American Red Cross Liberty Fund, which aids the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

According to System of a Down's lead vocalist, Serj Tankian: "All of us in the band were very shaken by the events of Sept. 11. We know that there are so many victims of this tragedy who need help, and we felt that since we were going to be performing in the New York area, it was a perfect opportunity for us to do something that would make a difference. The donation is from our hearts."


Following her well-publicized nervous breakdown this summer, Mariah Carey continues to rehabilitate her career with a deal to guest star on "Ally McBeal."

Plans call for Carey to appear as a woman involved in a lawsuit filed by a dissatisfied matchmaking service customer. The episode -- in which Carey will sing "Lead the Way" from her "Glitter" soundtrack CD -- is scheduled to air on Jan. 7.


The same episode will also feature Jon Bon Jovi in the first of several planned appearances on the Emmy-winning series.


Just as the proliferation of awards shows continues unabated, the expansion of categories also goes on.

Organizers of the American Music Awards announced Monday that the Jan. 9 ceremonies on ABC will feature the new category of Contemporary Inspirational. An award will be given to the Favorite Artist in the genre, covering both gospel and contemporary Christian music.

"In the late '80s we recognized the growth and impact of Rap/Hip Hop by adding that category," said American Music Awards executive producer Dick Clark. "Likewise for Latin Music in the '90s. The time has now come to include Contemporary Inspirational artists and recognize just how strong a force they have become in the world of music."

The addition brings to 21 the number of awards that will be given at the next American Music Awards. Nominees will be announced on Nov. 13.

(The above two items thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


The winners of the 2001 "VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards" were announced last Friday night at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom. The event will air Tuesday (at 9 p.m. ET/PT) on VH1.


Highlights of the show included performances by Mariah Carey, Macy Gray, Sugar Ray, Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz, and John Mellencamp with India.Arie.

Mick Jagger, Marc Anthony, Gwen Stefani, Lil' Kim, Sean "Puffy" Combs, Nelly Furtado, Moby, Elton John and Destiny's Child were among the celebrities who made appearances.

The winners of the 2001 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards included:

VISIONARY VIDEO -- Moby/Gwen Stefani, "Southside"

OUTRAGEOUS GROUP -- Destiny's Child

SHARP DRESSED MAN -- Sean "Puffy" Combs

ROCK STYLE -- Gwen Stefani


"What's Going On" -- the "All Star Tribute" version of the Marvin Gaye classic -- hits stores next Tuesday.

"What's Going On" features nine original mixes of the song by Jermaine Dupri (Original Mix and R&B Mix), Brian Eno, Moby, Fred Durst, The Neptunes, Junior Vasquez, Mike Mangini, and Mick Guzauski.

On Sept. 5 and 7, an ensemble of artists -- including Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Destiny's Child, Jermaine Dupri, Fred Durst, Eve, Nelly Furtado, Nona Gaye (Marvin's daughter), Darren Hayes (of Savage Garden), Ja Rule, Wyclef Jean, Alicia Keys, Aaron Lewis (of Staind), Jennifer Lopez, Nas, Nelly, *NSYNC, P Diddy, ?uestlove (of the Roots), Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani and R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe -- gathered together in New York City to record an "all-star" version of "What's Going On" to raise awareness and funds to fight against the scourge of AIDS in Africa.


In the wake of Sept. 11, Artists Against AIDS Worldwide decided to extend the recording's powerful healing message beyond the project's original aim. A portion of the proceeds received by Sony Music from the sales of the CD will also go to the September 11th Fund of the United Way.

(Web sites:,,


Fans of Billy Corgan and Co. don't have much longer to wait. On Nov. 20, Virgin Records will release "Smashing Pumpkins Greatest Hits Video Collection 1991-2000," the video companion to the upcoming Smashing Pumpkins' greatest hits album "Rotten Apples."

The videotape/DVD will feature more than 18 music videos chronicling the Pumpkins' musical career. Among the highlights are the band's very first video, a clip for the song "Siva"; the MTV Awards-winning videos "Tonight, Tonight" and "1979"; and the Billy Corgan/Yelena Yemchuk-directed "Thirty-Three." There are also two live performance clips -- "Geek USA" (live from 1994) and "An Ode to No One" (live from the last show at the Metro in Chicago in December 2000); the short Jonas Akerlund-directed film "Try"; and the "Lost Tapes" documentary, which takes a look at the mystery behind the missing tapes from the "1979" video shoot.


The DVD version includes an array of extras, such as commentary about the production of the clips by the band themselves, narration by the directors who lenses the videos, never-before-seen outtakes from the shoots, and bonus behind-the-scenes documentaries.


Pink has a new album coming out Nov. 20. "M!ssundaztood" (on Arista Records) is the follow-up to her debut CD, "Can't Take Me Home."

Pink, 22, co-wrote nearly a dozen of the new album's 15 tracks with its three main producers, who include Linda Perry, former lead-singer/songwriter of the San Francisco band 4 Non Blondes, whose style and sound Pink emulated as a teen back in the 1990s. Her collaboration with Perry was described by Pink as "amazing, liberating, inspiring, what making music should be like."

The song "Misery" features Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi.

"I hope this album shocks people who think they know who I am or what I'm about," said Pink. "I love unpredictability. I do what I'm told I can't do; it's a challenge. I'm a big dreamer. I'm not abandoning anyone. I just want those who came with me to experience a whole lot more."

(Web site:



The Texas-based band Flickerstick is going on the road in support of its newly remastered album "Welcoming Home the Astronauts" (on Epic Records) which hits stores Nov. 6.

Tour dates:


10/26 Old Plaza Theatre Lafayette, LA

10/27 East Sixth Street Festival Austin, TX

10/30 Dave's On Dickson Fayetteville, AR

10/31 Riverfront Amphitheatre Little Rock, AR (opening for Live)

11/1 Jubilation Club Jonesboro, AR

11/3 Kansas State Univ. Football Stadium Manhattan, KS

11/6 Sunset Station San Antonio, TX

11/8 Numbers Houston, TX

11/9 Deep Ellum Live Dallas, TX

11/10 Ridgelea Theatre Ft. Worth, TX

11/12 Sunshine Theatre Albuquerque, NM

11/13 Nita's Hideaway Phoenix, AZ

11/14 House Of Blues Los Angeles, CA

11/19 Canes San Diego, CA

11/21 Slim's San Francisco, CA

11/23 Roseland Portland, OR

11/24 Showbox Seattle, WA

(Web sites:,


Quincy Jones is the Experience Music Project's featured artist of its 2001 Innovators Series.

The world-renowned musician, composer, and producer will be the focus of a four-day celebration of his musical accomplishments Nov. 9-13. Highlighting the festivities at the EMP complex in Seattle will be a star-studded tribute concert on Monday, Nov. 12, featuring performances by Jones (conducting the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra), jazz bassist Stanley Clarke, and Seattle-based jazz vocalist Ernestine Anderson.


The EMP Innovators Series is an annual program designed to explore the music and legacy of an artist who has significantly changed the course or direction of popular music. Last year's featured artist was Jimi Hendrix.

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