Rock News: Music's highs and lows

By United Press International  |  May 9, 2002 at 3:54 AM
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Homer Simpson is about to do something else that regular human beings rarely if ever get to do -- sing a Chumbawamba song.

As a rule, the band turns down requests for other artists to performe their tunes -- including pitches from South African rugby teams and people who dress up as Vikings and fight mock battles in Norway. These guys even say no to the Smurfs.

A publicist for Chumbawamba said the band couldn't say no, however, when producers of "The Simpsons" asked that the big dope be allowed to take a crack at the band's fluke hit song, "Tubthumping." Homer will perform his rendition on Sunday.

"Someone once described Chumbawamba, who have been together for 20 years, as 'a dysfunctional family that functions,'" said band member Danbert Nobacon. "This is true, but it is more true of 'The Simpsons' and that is why we love them. Making this thing work on any level at all, this human condition of scrabbling around in the dirt of the daily grind, trying to hold our relationships together and failing and trying again, that is the Homer in all of us."

Nobacon said "Tubthumping" could actually have been written specifically for Homer Simpson.

Of the band's eight members, six are parents -- four Homers and two Marges.

By the way, Chumbawamba's new album, "Readymades," is due in stores on June 18.


Plans are under way for the second annual Joey Ramone Birthday Bash at the Bowery Ballroom in New York on May 19.

The first Joey Ramone Birthday Bash was held on May 19 last year, as the late rocker's mom and brother -- Charlotte Lesher and Mickey Leigh -- stuck with plans for a celebration for the godfather of Punk, even though he had died.

Lesher and Leigh are charging $20 per ticket for the upcoming bash. They say all proceeds will benefit the Lymphoma Research Foundation, in memory of Ramone.

The party will feature a performance by Ramone's longtime friend and collaborator Ronnie Spector. More acts will be announced soon.

Sanctuary Records, which released Ramone's "Don't Worry About Me" posthumously earlier this year, plans to release "Life's a Gas -- Joey Ramone's Birthday Bash" on DVD this August. The package will include this year's party along with rare footage of Ramone and taped tributes from Joan Jett, Metallica, Green Day and CNBC's Maria Bartiromo.

It will also feature musical performances by Cheap Trick and Blondie.

Producers said proceeds from the DVD will also go to the Lymphoma Research Foundation.


Jon Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea, have a new baby.

Jacob, who was born Tuesday in New Jersey, is the couple's third child. They have a 9-year-old daughter, Stephanie Rose, and a 7-year-old son, Jesse James Louis.


After announcing that she was canceling dates in Europe because of a broken collarbone and rib -- resulting from a horse riding accident in April -- Jewel has gone to Plan B, turning over her usual guitar duties to a member of the band.

"It's a little weird," she said. "I guess I'll have to polish up my dance routine."

Jewel canceled a May 10 date in Milan and a May 11 show in Zurich. She'll be back in the saddle in time for a May 13 gig in Stuttgart.

There is a chance Jewel might be able to play the guitar again in time for the kickoff of her American tour on June 14 in Tampa, Fla.


According to, the upcoming Rolling Stones tour will support a forthcoming two-CD collection of the band's best stuff.

"We just last night finished the negotiations with all the different parties to put out a best-of Rolling Stones CD, which is two CDs going from 1963 to the present day," said Stones frontman Mick Jagger. "And there will be ... all the well-known songs, and there will also be some new songs on that."

Jagger said the new signs are written, but not yet recorded. Plans call for the CD to be ready for release as close as possible to the Sept. 5 tour opener.

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