Rock News: Music's high and low notes

JOHN SWENSON, United Press International


Editors at Spin magazine will name the Strokes, Eminem and the Detroit duo the White Stripes as the best of 2002 in the January "Year in Music" issue, on newsstands Dec. 10. During the past 18 months, on the strength of a debut, "Is This It," which has sold around 750,000 copies in the United States -- more than 1.4 million worldwide -- the Strokes have become rock's newest look.


"From the beginning our goal was to make something less popular that would be appreciated later," Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas tells Spin senior writer Marc Spitz. After years of studying and relentlessly pushing himself, Casablancas is becoming one of his generation's best songwriters.

"The responsibility has definitely changed," Casablancas tells Spin. "It's gone from, like, 'You don't have to worry about rent and stuff' to 'Now my job is to worry about music.'"

And everyone else's job is to worry about Julian, a heavy drinker since his teens who admits to Spin, "Nothing I do productive, I do sober."

Eminem, Spin's 2002 Artist of the Year, spent the past 12 months soothing lawsuits, unleashing The Eminem Show, the year's best selling album, and "8 Mile," his celluloid debut and one of the biggest movies of the year.


Eminem's "Cleanin' Out My Closet" is Spin's 2002 Single of the Year. The White Stripe's "White Blood Cells," Spin's 2002 Album of the Year, also is included in Spin's 2002 Trend of the Year: "The Little Band Revolution."


After grossing just over $24 million and playing to more than 1.8 million fans with his "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems" tour, triple-platinum star Kenny Chesney kicks off his "Margaritas'n'Senoritas" tour Jan. 16, 2003, in Tupelo, Miss.

"There's going to be a lot more music -- and more fun, even more of a have-a-good-time and a party-with-us kinda night," said Chesney, recently hailed as one of the "Sexiest Men Alive" by People Magazine. "There's more lights, more video ... and the stage is going to be very clean, almost a bit empty -- that way everybody's got plenty of room to move."

Chesney had to enlist the company providing production support to the Rolling Stones on their 40 Licks Tour to create what he'd envisioned. It all comes together for production rehearsals the last part of December, to gear up for what easily will be the emergent superstar's biggest tour.

"We're going to do all the hits, but we're going to add in a bunch more songs from 'No Shoes'," he promised. "The fans have let us know which songs they love and want to hear, so we're adding them in. And we've gone out and shot some special footage for the video screens this year, as well, making this show even more personal and closer to home."



Wanda Jackson is recording a live album in New York City next weekend and has hired local hero Robert Burke Warren as bandleader. He's enlisted fellow Jackson fans Mark Spencer, Doug Wygal and Jim Duffy to comprise the New York Party Timers. The Friday show at Arlene Grocery is invitation only but the Saturday show at The Village Underground is open to the public. Robert Burke Warren is doing a short set to open the show.


The inaugural celebration of Delmark Records' 50th anniversary will take place Thursday, Jan. 23, 2003, at the Chicago Cultural Center. Scheduled to perform are blues guitarists /vocalists Jimmy Burns and Johnny B. Moore in a solo acoustic setting; Chicago jazz stalwarts, pianist Jodie Christian and tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson; and bandleader, arranger, composer and educator Ernest Dawkins' New Horizons Ensemble, featuring guitarist Jeff Parker.

Burns won the Blues Record of the Year award from the Association For Independent Music in 1996 for his "Leaving Here Walking" album. He has just completed his third Delmark CD, "Back to the Delta," due out in 2003.

Leading representative of the west-side guitar style, guitarist Johnny B. Moore received a Grammy for his compelling arrangements and vigorous guitar playing on Koko Taylor's 1975 album, "Earthshaker."


The 73-year-old tenor-sax powerhouse Fred Anderson, owner of Chicago's avant-garde musical hub the Velvet Lounge and co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, will explore and channel extraterrestrial sonics beside long-time ally, pianist Jodie Christian. Christian has been a mainstay of Chicago's jazz scene for decades.


Cowgirl rocker Terri Clark stunned the crowd at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge when she dropped in for an unannounced jam session. Clark, whose new album, "Pain To Kill," comes out Jan. 14, 2003, returned to her roots to play the tiny club in downtown Music City.

"They were pretty shocked when we walked through the door," reports the dark-eyed guitar slinger. "Though I don't know why ... because I drop in a few times every winter."

Jumping onstage, Clark worked out on some of the songs her friends and family remember her singing back home -- "Mama He's Crazy," "Leaving On Your Mind," Loretta Lynn's vintage anthem "Coal Miners Daughter" and James Taylor's mournful, George Jones-inspired "Bartenders Blues" -- before swinging into a few of her own hits. In addition to her breakthrough "Better Things To Do" and her rousing take on Warren Zevon's "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," she tackled her breakout "I Just Wanna Be Mad," which is hovering outside the Top 19 and almost brought the house down.


"For a new song, there sure were a lot of people yelping," Clark said. "It was more packed than I've ever seen it inside -- and all the people who couldn't get in were huddled up on the sidewalk out front. I was worried they were gonna call the cops, and I'd never want to do that at Tootsies, so we took off. But all in all, what a night! Those are the times you and the people in your life look at each other, laugh, and are glad you made the choice you did."

Latest Headlines