Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International   |   Sept. 13, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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One of the most interesting Sept. 11 benefit concerts takes place Friday night at New York's CBGB's, the club where punk rock was born. Some of the biggest names in the punk movement will play a benefit for the Suffolk County American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which supplied veterinary care to the search and rescue dogs used at the World Trade Center site. Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group), Robert Gordon with Tuff Darts, Annie Golden (Shirts), Handsome Dick Manitoba (Dictators), Jayne County, The Brain Surgeons and The X Brothers are among the dozens of scheduled performers. In addition a silent auction of celebrity designed and autographed dog collars and punk memorabilia from the likes of Cindy Adams, Alice Cooper, Deborah Harry, Joan Jett and Cyndi Lauper will be held, with proceeds also going to the Suffolk County A.S.P.C.A.


Bert Berns was one of the most influential songwriters of the rock era, penning such classics as "Twist And Shout," "Under The Boardwalk," "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Piece of My Heart." His songs will be collected together for the first time on "The Heart and Soul of Bert Berns," due out Oct. 1 on Universal Music.

Universal Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Morris spearheaded the project, even writing the liner notes.

"There was only one reason why I decided to put this album together," said Morris, "and that was to celebrate the music and life that was Bert Berns. He was one of the few people in the music business who did in fact change the world through his talent; he made a virtue of being different, and everyone from the Rolling Stones to the Beatles recognized this and wanted to be part of it. What this record really is then is a monument to the extraordinary vision and impact of one man, Bert Berns."

Berns died nearly 35 years ago at the age of 38, and his legacy has been obscured since then.

"Bert wanted his kids to know him through his music," said his sister Cassandra. "So we were delighted when Doug approached us about putting this album together."


AFI has begun work on its Dreamworks debut, the follow-up to 2000's "The Art of Drowning." The Berkeley, Calif.,-based quartet is in a Hollywood studio with producers Butch Vig (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage) and Jerry Finn (Blink 182, Rancid, Green Day).

"I haven't seen a band since Nirvana with this sort of intense chemistry among its members and with their fans," said Vig.

"Jerry produced 'And Out Come The Wolves' by Rancid, and he mixed 'Dear You' by Jawbreaker," said AFI drummer Adam Carson. "Those are two of our favorite records, and Butch did Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins."

AFI, which stands for "A Fire Inside," sold 130,000 copies of the indie release "The Art of Drowning" on the strength of the band's live shows, particularly on the 2001 Warped Tour.

"Touring has always been the most important thing for us," said Carson. "We basically created our fan base by touring non-stop."

The as yet untitled album is due in 2003. "When you're playing a style of music that doesn't really fit anywhere, you have the risk of appealing to no one," added singer Davey Havok. "Luckily, we have a lot of people who just focus on the music and appreciate us for what we are. Because of that, we get people from all different genres of music; we get the jocks, we get the spooky kids, the skaters, college kids, punk rockers, hardcore kids, metal kids, all that."


Currently in pre-production in their home of Baltimore, Md., hard rockers Nothingface have selected Bill Kennedy (Nine Inch Nails, Monster Magnet) to produce their as-yet-untitled fourth album. Band and producer are set to hit Armoury Studios in Vancouver in late-September and work from over 20 songs that already have been written and recorded as demos. Describing the direction of the band's sound, frontman Matt Holt recently told Alternative Press Magazine: "If you're a Linkin Park fan, there's stuff you might like, but we've been able to find this natural groove we never had before." The band has begun making demos available at with the song "Machination."


Nickel Creek, Nappy Roots, Angie Martinez, Keith Sweat, Mario, Trick Daddy, and Trina are some of the artists featured on a new line of Zingy Voicecards. Zingy, the largest mobile entertainment provider in North America, launched the new service with Voicecards of custom-recorded messages and snippets of new singles from these and other artists.

"Mobile entertainment began as an underground movement to hack in musical ringtones on old cell phones. Wireless phones have evolved so fast that ringtones, graphics, messaging, greetings, and now voicecards are a cultural phenomenon for self-expression and communication," said Fabrice Grinda, founder of Zingy. "It's exciting to be at the beginning of something new."

The custom messages include Nickel Creek telling your loved one "I think we're a perfect match" and Mario sending out the word "Girl, You Have A Secret Admirer." Zingy already features mobile entertainment products from popular artists such as Eminem, Ludacris, Ashanti, Nelly, No Doubt, Wu Tang Clan, Craig David and Brandy.

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