Rock News Two: The week in pop

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International   |   Dec. 7, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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Shania Twain has enjoyed a remarkable comeback, rocketing to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Top 200 with her new album "Up," but the Canadian songbird may not return to the stage, reports Time magazine. In an interview with Time the 37-year-old Twain, whose 1997 album "Come on Over" sold more than 19 million copies, said "I never burned to perform, and I don't care if I ever perform again." Twain has been living in Switzerland with her producer and husband Mutt Lange for the past two years. The couple had a baby boy last year. "I don't feel free," Twain told Time. "I don't feel free to do what I want. I could never just do anything for fun. It's such a waste of time to do something for fun. I can't live the rest of my life this way."


Ozzy Osbourne may be everybody's favorite soap opera dad, but the ghoulish rocker has won a dubious distinction from his British fans. A survey in the United Kingdom revealed Ozzy tops the list of British celebrities with notoriously bad teeth. The poll, conducted by a British toothbrush manufacturer, revealed Ozzy had the worst teeth in England. His female counterpart in the dental hygiene dilemma poll was Spice Girl Melanie C.


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."


Embattled diva Whitney Houston told her side of the story to Diane Sawyer Wednesday on "Primetime: Special Edition." Houston offered an olive branch to fans in the interview. "Yeah, there are things I apologize for," Houston admits. "Like (canceled) concert dates. There was (sic) things I apologized for, because the people really mattered to me. And I know they came out to see me. And I apologize for that. I'll make it up to you. But that's the only people in the world, the public, the fans, are the people that I apologize to."


Liam Gallagher of the British pop group Oasis got his teeth punched out in a wild hotel bar fracas that left the star facing an assault charge, reports England's Mirror online. The band was forced to cancel a scheduled Munich performance. Police were called to the city's Bayerischer Hof hotel early Sunday by witnesses who claimed Gallagher and Oasis drummer Alan White attacked five Italian tourists. Gallagher and White were arrested and spent 12 hours in a Munich lockup. DJ Phil Smith, who was opening for Oasis during the band's ongoing tour, was knocked unconscious in the fight, reports Mirror online. One injured security guard was hospitalized. Gallagher and White, both 30, face a fine if the judge determines they are guilty.


Jennifer Lopez has been trashed in Star magazine by her first husband, Ojani Noa. Lopez had hired Noa, who divorced her in 1997 after 15 months of marriage, to run her Cuban restaurant, Madre, in Pasadena, Calif. When Noa was fired from his position recently he responded by selling his story to the tabloid. The story includes a warning to J.Lo's fiance Ben Affleck. "Ben better enjoy his time with her while he can," Noa told Star. "She will dump him as soon as her wandering eye fixes on someone new. Ben should ask himself, 'If she climbed into bed with you so easily, don't you think she'd do the same with someone else?'" Noa told Star Lopez is "a sex-crazed, selfish and cruel man-eater," and predicted "Jennifer will end up in her old age all alone with seven or eight wrecked marriages in her wake." Yes, but what does he really think about her?


Madonna is at war with Britain's avid hiking community, reports England's Sunday Express. The Material Girl is challenging the country's ancient "Right to Roam" laws, which provide hikers walking access along specified routes through privately owned land that runs along old walking trails. Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie sent a letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair last week saying hikers on their 1,200-acre estate posed a "potentially dangerous situation," the Sunday Express reported.


Clash co-founder Joe Strummer is back in the studio to record the third album with his Mescaleros group, the follow-up to 2001's "Global a Go-Go." During the band's recently completed tour, several songs slated for the album were given run-throughs, including "Dakar Meantime" and "Coma Girl." The band also performed well-known Clash tunes like "Rudie Can't Fail" and "(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais." Strummer was joined at London's Acton Town Hall show by Clash crony Mick Jones for a reunion after nearly 20 years. The two joined forces to perform the Clash classics "Bankrobber," "White Riot" and "London's Burning."


Matthew Shipp, the brilliant pianist and mastermind of the avant-garde "Blue Series" on Thirsty Ear Records, is working on a project with the New York-based hip-hop trio Anti-Pop Consortium. The group, which broke up last August, has reconvened to make this its final project. Thirsty Ear is planning a Feb. 18, 2003, release for "Anti-Pop Consortium vs. Matthew Shipp." Shipp is curator of Thirsty Ear's Blue Series, recordings that have featured the work of William Parker, Roy Campbell and Spring Heel Jack in addition to Shipp himself. Shipp has been experimenting with the possibilities of merging hip hop and the avant garde for several years now. "Anti-Pop Consortium vs. Matthew Shipp" features Anti-Pop's Beans, High Priest, and M. Sayyid playing with Shipp, saxophonist Rob Brown, Parker, vibraphone player Khan Jamal, and trumpeter Daniel Carter.


Seattle's The Blood Brothers are hitting the road Jan. 3, 2003, for at least 15 dates with The Used. The band's ARTISTdirect Records' debut, "Burn Piano Island, Burn," produced by Ross Robinson (Limp Bizkit, At The Drive-in) is scheduled for release in March. "Burn Piano Island, Burn" captures the band in full force on tracks like "Guitarmy," 37 seconds of sonic mayhem. The record also features acoustic guitars, vintage electric pianos, and even a xylophone. Since putting The Blood Brothers together in 1997, singers Jordan Blilie and Johnny Whitney, guitarist Cody Votolato, bassist Morgan Henderson, and drummer Mark Gajadhar have released two albums, including the celebrated "March On Electric Children."


After grossing more than $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."


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."

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