Rock News Two: The week in pop

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International  |  Nov. 23, 2002 at 2:00 AM
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Eminem's "Lose Yourself" single from the "8 Mile" soundtrack tops the Billboard Hot 100 for the fourth straight week. The album, on Eminem's Shady/Interscope label, is the No. 2 album on The Billboard 200. Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott is next on the chart at No. 2 with "Work It." Elliott's single is also No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart for the second straight week, and has topped Billboard's Hot Rap Tracks for five consecutive weeks. Elliott's latest album, "Under Construction" (The Gold Mind/Elektra), debuted at No. 3 on The Billboard 200. Back on the Hot 100 chart, No Doubt's "Underneath It All" stayed in the No. 3 position and LL Cool J's "Luv U Better" remained at No. 4. Santana's "The Game of Love" featuring Michelle Branch edged up to No. 5. Aaliyah's posthumous single "Miss You" is the top debut on the Hot 100 at No. 55.


Madonna panhandled a little less than two bucks worth of spare change from two girls to buy a slice of cake for her son Rocco, reports Thomas Whitaker of Showbiz Reporter. The Material Girl, whose made a career out of OPM -- other people's money -- told sisters Mimi and Titi Negussie she'd forgotten her purse, Whitaker reported. Madonna, 44, and movie director husband Guy Ritchie, 34 -- together worth $300 million -- were out with Rocco and Madonna's daughter Lourdes at a self-service restaurant in Hyde Park, London, when they discovered themselves short of cash. Mimi, 25, was quoted by the Reporter as saying "A woman came up and said, 'Excuse me, but you look like really nice people. Can I borrow some money. We forgot our wallets.' She asked for £1.25 (about $1.90) and promised to pay it back next time she saw me. She pointed to the counter where Guy was looking embarrassed as he held a tray of food. I couldn't believe it. She's a big star, yet she was asking me for £1.25." Titi, 27, who did not recognize the singer, gave her $3.


Lisa Loeb made an unusual appearance last weekend in New York accompanied by Hello Kitty to perform songs from her new album, "Hello Lisa," out on Artemis Records. "Hello Lisa," features 11 songs (as well as a hidden bonus track) all written or co-written by Loeb, including the single "Underdog." The album's cover art depicts Lisa and the famous Hello Kitty character wearing Lisa's trademark glasses. A longtime Hello Kitty fan, Lisa Loeb teamed up with Sanrio, the company that owns the Hello Kitty franchise, for the creation of the album cover. "We're really excited to be working with Lisa on this project," said Sanrio Marketing Director Bill Hensley. "She's an incredible artist and an incredible Hello Kitty fan. The pairing seems very natural." Loeb currently is on tour in support of "Hello Lisa" with the Goo Goo Dolls and headlining select solo shows.


Justin Timberlake took yet another shot at former girlfriend Britney Spears in the December issue of Details. Timberlake, who's been trashing the pop tart from stem to stern after their much-publicized breakup, ridiculed her screen debut in the dud "Crossroads" and claimed public support he showed at the time was only fealty to his beau. "If she had a clue, she wouldn't have made that movie," Timberlake said. "Everybody knows that what she should have made was 'Pretty In Pink'."


Bonearama, the innovative trombone band led by one of New Orleans' brightest young stars, Mark Mullins, made its New York debut before a packed house at Tobacco Road Saturday. Mullins, a brilliant trombonist and arranger, also is a member of Harry Connick Jr.'s big band, and he's taken some performance cues from his charismatic boss. Mullins was poised and confident as he led his lineup of four trombones, tuba, guitar and drums through a set that lasted well over three hours and kept the dancing, cheering crowd in the room until the very end. Mullins' brass arrangements are the most innovative approach since Chicago and Blood, Sweat and Tears came up with new strategies in the late 1960s. Songs like the Eagles' "The Long Run" open up in this context, thanks to the front line's ability to alternately blast in unison, like a rock band, and play four or five lines in funky counterpoint, like some New Orleans outpost of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Mullins straddles pop and jazz as a conceptualist, and one of his biggest influences is rock guitar innovator Jimi Hendrix. A great open-tone trombone player, Mullins also is the most accomplished electric 'bone player in the business, and when he takes a wah-wah solo it often sounds like a guitar. Versions of the Hendrix classics "Foxy Lady" and "Crosstown Traffic" offered great examples of this technique, as did the set-closing version of Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein." Big Easy jam-funk superstars Galactic, who played to a sold-out audience at Hammerstein Ballroom earlier that night, dropped in to jam. Drummer Stanton Moore sat in on "Foxy Lady," and vocalist Theryl "Houseman" deClouet took over for the New Orleans funk classics "Just Kissed My Baby" and "Big Chief." Other guests also chipped in -- at one point there were six trombonists on stage at once.


Tuesday night at the Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio, Les Claypool and his band the Frog Brigade were joined onstage for the first time by one of Les' heroes and musical inspirations, guitarist and singer Adrian Belew of King Crimson. The Frogs have been performing Crimson's "Thela Hun Ginjeet" (originally on KC's "Discipline" album in 1981) since the band's inception two years ago. Recorded performances are included on their "Live Frogs-Set 1" from last year, and their opening of the recent "Bonnaroo DVD" as well. Belew appeared on stage after the third song of the set, dressed in red footsie pajamas with dinosaurs on it, and a silver pith helmet with frontal rhino horn, as the band launched into "Thela." He hung for four more tunes in the set, including three from Claypool's 1996 release "Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerel-Highball With the Devil," including "Highball," "Holy Mackerel," and "Calling Kyle." He played on "D's Diner" from the new CD "Purple Onion" as well. Belew returned for the encore of the Beatles' "Taxman" to end the show.


Blues guitar master Hubert Sumlin was recovering at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center following the removal of a lung last Thursday for treatment of lung cancer. Sumlin, 70, is breathing without the help of a respirator and is in good spirits. His prognosis is good and his doctors do not think additional surgery will be necessary. Sumlin is legendary for his groundbreaking work with Howling Wolf, which has influenced countless blues and rock players. Last summer Sumlin participated in a Howling Wolf tribute on the New York blues cruise featuring Buster Poindexter, Levon Helm and Jimmy Vivino and Michael Merritt from the Conan O'Brien Show band.


Irish pop stars The Corrs have a new DVD scheduled for release Jan. 7 on Rhino Home Video. Recorded live at London's Wembley Stadium, this DVD contains 23 concert performances featuring such hits as "Breathless," "Runaway," "Radio," and "So Young." Special features include behind-the-scenes footage of the group on tour, a bonus track cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," multiple viewing angles on select songs, Dolby digital 5.0 surround sound, and foreign language subtitles.


New York-based buzz band HotSocky are the winners in the "New York Rocks The Hall Of Fame/M.E.A.N.Y Fest" competition, held at the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The "New York Rocks..." contest saw four band finalists (HotSocky, Stellastarr, The Rosenbergs, Fixer), chosen during the NYC M.E.A.N.YFest, showcase in front of a panel of judges whose identities were kept secret to safeguard their objectivity. The panel included a sound engineer, two local Cleveland musicians and two local music fans. HotSocky was unanimously declared the winner, earmarking the band as having "the most potential to be signed by a label and have success in the industry." HotSocky receives 30 hours of free studio time at Stream Ring Music Network in Ronkonkoma, N.Y. "Wow! Nothing puts the Hot in Socky like a live show," said lead guitarist Jerry Stereo, "especially when it's at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame, surrounded by the legends of rock, and winning a festival competition!"


Hip-hop and rap dominated when nominations were announced Tuesday for the 30th American Music Awards, as Ashanti, Eminem and Nelly led the field with four nominations each. The awards will be presented Jan. 13, 2003 in Los Angeles.


Alfredo De La Fe, considered to be the top violinist in Salsa music, has formed an organization called "Latino Musicians Against Drugs." Its first project brings together some of the most talented Latin American musicians, including José Alberto, "El Canario," Giovanni Hidalgo, Dave Valentín, Jimmy Bosch, Larry Harlow and Alfredo De La Fé with his orchestra for a "2002 Holiday Concert." The concert is set for the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx, N.Y., on Dec. 19. Lifetime Achievement awards will be presented to Celia Cruz, Eddie Palmieri and Johnny Pacheco. This concert is sponsored, in part, by state Sen. Efrain Gonzales, D-N.Y. Cuban-born and New York raised, Alfredo De La Fe, himself a rehabilitated drug addict, stated: "Our community has been infected, our children and families have become victims of this terrible and devastating illness. I myself almost lost my life and family to drugs. While detoxification and treatment programs are important starting points, this is only a small part of the solution. Education and community-based organizations are key to the true rehabilitation of the addict."


Roots music master John Hammond has a new album, "Ready For Love," scheduled for release in February on Back Porch Records. The album features the track "Crown Vic," Hammond's first original recorded composition in a career that spans over 40 years and 29 albums, and covers songs by the Rolling Stones, George Jones, Billie Holiday, Tom Waits, Muddy Waters, and the album's producer, David Hidalgo. Hammond assembled several marquee players to back him on the record, including Texas organ legend Augie Meyers (Bob Dylan, Doug Sahm), fiddle player Soozie Tyrell (currently on tour with Bruce Springsteen), and drummer Stephen Hodges (Fabulous Thunderbirds). Hammond's last release, 2001's "Wicked Grin," examined the songs of his friend and collaborator, Tom Waits.


As The Wallflowers prepare to kick off their first headlining tour in more than two years, their new single, "When You're on Top," is No. 1 at Triple A Radio across the country. The band starts the first leg of the tour Wednesday in support of the new album, "Red Letter Days." The band is scheduled to make several television appearances -- "MTV Live From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" on Dec. 11, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" Dec. 12, "The Late Show with Craig Kilborn" Dec. 16, and "GQ Men of the Year Awards" also on Dec. 16.


Singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver's new record, "Freedom's Child," comes out today on the Houston-based Compadre Records. The album is Shaver's first without his son Eddy since 1987's "Salt of the Earth." Recorded in less than two weeks in early September, the disc marks a reunion with storied roots-rock maverick R.S. Field -- who also produced Shaver's stunning "Tramp On Your Street" in 1993 -- and underpins the songwriter's unmistakable rough-hewn vocals with an eclectic band made up of guitarists Will Kimbrough and Jamie Hartford, bassist Dave Roe, drummer Jimmy Lester, keyboardist Steve Conn, multi-instrumentalist Chris Carmichael and Paco Shipp on harmonica. The 63-year-old Shaver is regarded as one of America's greatest songwriters, a status confirmed when Shaver was named the inaugural recipient of the Americana Music Association's Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting at the AMA's first annual Americana Awards show Sept. 14.


Drowning Pool releases a new DVD, "Sinema," today just as frontman Dave Williams announces his decision to leave the group. The remaining members of the band have recorded a song with Rob Zombie on vocals for release on the "Daredevil" soundtrack. The composition tentatively is titled "The Man Without Fear." The soundtrack will be released on Wind-up records in February. The complete track listing will be forthcoming at a later date. Meanwhile the band will continue the search for a fourth member to replace Williams.


Massive Attack announced details of "100th Window," the band's first new album since 1998's "Mezzanine." Scheduled for release in the United Kingdom this February, the 10-track release features vocal contributions from Damon Albarn, Sinead O'Connor and Horace Andy. The band's Robert "3-D" Del Naja, who recorded most of the album alone, also says he already has begun work on the new record's follow-up, which likely will feature collaborations with Tom Waits and Mos Def.


Paul Weller's "Illumination" album, a huge hit in the United Kingdom, is scheduled for release in the United States Jan. 14 on Yep Roc Records. The album, which debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. top albums chart in September, is the songwriter's first stateside studio album since 1997. Weller is planning a U.S. tour to promote the album in February. The American release will be an expanded version that includes several U.K. b-sides and a bonus DVD with videos for the first two singles in the United Kingdom ("It's Written In The Stars" and "Leafy Mysteries") and five live songs (videos) from a concert in London's 22,000-person capacity Hyde Park in July 2002.

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