Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International  |  Oct. 18, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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Joni Mitchell, calling the music industry a "cesspool," said in an interview with Rolling Stone she'll never make another major label deal again. The 58-year-old singer songwriter said she is "ashamed" to be part of the music business and may retire from recording.

"I hope it all goes down the crapper," Mitchell told Rolling Stone. "I would never take another deal in the record business, which means I may not record again, or I have to figure out a way to sell over the Net or do something else. But I'll be damned if I'll line their pockets."

Mitchell's "Travelogue," just out on Nonesuch records, could be her last album. She laid much of the blame for the industry's woes on the way MTV has promoted the sexual exploitation of children, noting she saw her 3-year-old granddaughter imitating MTV divas with a crotch-grabbing dance. "It's tragic what MTV has done to the world," said Mitchell.


Blues and roots singer Maria Muldaur celebrated her 60th birthday with a music party featuring appearances by several former band members and special guests. Amos Garrett played a memorable guitar solo on Muldaur's biggest hit, "Midnite At The Oasis." David Nichtern, Taj Mahal's drummer Tony Braunagel, Dan Hicks, Roy Rogers, Norton Buffalo, Angela Strehli, and harmonica whiz Rockin' Jake all joined in. "There was some great jamming going on," said Jake, "and Maria pulled out many of her classic old tunes that I'd never heard her perform before." Rockin' Jake also noted Muldaur's keyboardist, Chris Burns, is joining his band for its upcoming tour. Burns co-wrote four of the songs on Rockin' Jake's "Badmouth" album.


The Riverbabys won the 2002 Louisiana Blues Challenge Wednesday night at Grant Street Dancehall in Lafayette. The club hosted the challenge for the third year in a row. The Riverbabys competed against Shotgun House, Sonny Bourg and The Bayou Blues Band, DZ and Shades of Blue, The Reverend Ronnie Dixon, Mike Saucier and The Wine Alley Blues Band. The Riverbabys will represent Louisiana at the 19th International Blues Challenge in Memphis during BluesFirst Weekend in February 2003.


"Steal This Album," a collection of never-before-released original tracks from the vaults of multi-platinum recording artist System of a Down, is in the final stages of preparation. The album was produced by Rick Rubin and System's guitarist Daron Malakian, and is currently being mixed in Los Angeles by Andy Wallace (who mixed the "Toxicity" album).

"We don't consider any of these songs B-sides or outtakes," said System vocalist Serj Tankian. "The songs that didn't make it onto 'Toxicity' are as good as, if not better than, the songs that did -- they weren't originally included because they didn't fit the overall continuity of the album -- and we're happy that our fans will be able to hear them in their completed form."

The final track listing for "Steal This Album" won't be determined until mixing has been completed. At least one acoustic song, "Roulette," which Malakian began writing seven or eight years ago, is planned and features only Tankian (vocals) and Malakian (vocals, guitar). In addition, various "interludes," intros that have been used on the band's tours, and other musical tidbits will be woven throughout the CD.

"This record is like a bridge between 'Toxicity' and our next studio record," explained Malakian. "It may give our fans a clue at the direction we're headed in musically. "


World music virtuoso Kali Z. Fasteau makes a rare appearance Nov. 18 at the Triad Theater in New York. Fasteau honed her craft on a variety of instruments while traveling for 14 years, living and performing in 16 countries on four continents, including two years in India, a year in Turkey and various trips to Africa. Her performing and recording associates include Donald Rafael Garrett, Archie Shepp, William Parker, Beaver Harris, Rashied Ali, Joe McPhee, Joseph Jarman, Hamid Drake, Andrew Cyrille, Bobby Few, Noah Howard, Sabir Mateen, Oscar Brown III, and many other great musicians. Kali Z. has recorded 14 albums as a leader, nine of them on the label she founded in 1986 in New York, Flying Note Records.

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