Rock News Two: The week in pop music

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International


New Orleans rockers The Radiators partied with a group of fans at the Atlantis Resort complex in the Bahamas. The "Aztec Vacation" theme party was arranged by graphic artist Kingsley Stoken, whose colorful poster designs are the calling card of his Radiators appreciation society, S.N.A.F.U., which uses a yellow submarine sticker as its logo. The band played (opening one set with the party's anthem, "Snafu You," custom-written by keyboardist Ed Volker) in a gazebo close to the Atlantis casino on Paradise Island in the resort's labyrinthine garden complex. Volker also referenced the event by playing an old Radiators favorite, "Little Paradise." The fans got a special treat when the Rads started off the final set of the last night by switching around the instruments -- Volker and bassist Reggie Scanlan played guitars, guitarists Camile Baudoin and Dave Malone played keyboards and bass -- to play a raucous garage rock rendition of "Gloria." "We played 'Out On the Rolling Sea'," said Volker "and one of the guys who works here came up to me and said, 'That song you all did, that's "Out on the Rolling Sea" right?' I said, 'Yeah, that's a Joseph Spence song.' He said, 'I was telling one of the women who work here that's Bahamian history you're listening to.' The sweetest gospel music came out of this island. It's amazing to be here but I don't think I'm in any of the realms that Joseph Spence, Freddy McQueen or the Pindar family were in when they were making all of that wonderful music. "I don't have to go eat the food and go to the church ... the music itself is the church. The song is the food, that's the stream wherein I find my nourishment. It's what sustains me. It's good to help nourish and sustain what nourishes and sustains you because maybe then it will sustain other people too," Volker said.



Warren Haynes of Gov't Mule and the Allman Brothers has finalized the list for his annual Christmas benefit show. The guitarist's 14th annual Christmas Jam, Dec. 21 in Asheville, N.C., will feature performances by Gov't Mule, John Hiatt & the Goners, moe., Robert Randolph & the Family Band, and Bob Weir. Proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity. Haynes also will be joined by special guests, including Edwin McCain, Kevin Kinney, former Black Crowes guitarist Audley Freed, DJ Logic, Rob Barraco, Jerry Joseph, John Molo, Dave Schools, and more. Gov't Mule recently released "The Deep End Volume 2" (ATO), the second CD of a two-part tribute to former Mule bassist Allen Woody, who died of a heart attack in 2000. It features a who's who of the world's greatest bassists. Phish bassist Mike Gordon, one contributor to "The Deep End," also directed a documentary, "Rising Low," about the recording of the two albums.


This year's Soul Train Christmas StarFest will be a montage of the best of past StarFest performances and new holiday greetings from a variety of celebrities. The Soul Train Christmas StarFest will air in syndication via Tribune Entertainment during the window of Saturday thru Sunday, Dec. 22. Arsenio Hall hosts the star studded celebration. Performances include Babyface doing "The Little Drummer Boy," Kenny Loggins singing "Angels In The Snow," Luther Vandross and Chaka Khan performing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," Mary J. Blige doing "Someday At Christmas" and Patti LaBelle with "Born In A Manger." Special personal holiday greetings from celebrities will include cameos from Aretha Franklin, Shaquille O'Neil, the Cast of Boomtown, Beyonce Knowles, the Cast of The George Lopez Show, Kobe Bryant, and Shemar Moore.



Tipitina's, the venerable New Orleans nightclub, has announced a special New Year's Eve bash with Robert Randolph and the Family Band plus John Mooney and Bluesiana. Pedal steel guitar whiz Randolph exploded on the modern music scene in 2000 playing his first club dates in New York City after being discovered at the first Sacred Steel Convention in Florida that year. Sacred Steel is a church music tradition that began in the '30s, with the pedal steel being introduced during the '70s. Randolph started playing the pedal steel as a teenager at The House of God Church in Orange, N.J., outside of Newark. After opening for the North Mississippi Allstars at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City, Randolph became a favorite performer of musicians and music fans. A unique relationship was forged with John Medeski (of Medeski, Martin and Wood), prompting the groundbreaking album "The Word" (Ropeadope), a collaboration with keyboardist Medeski, Luther and Cody Dickinson, and bassist Chris Chew of the Allstars. Randolph's group, The Family Band, is comprised of cousins Danyell Morgan and Marcus Randolph (bass and drums), and John Ginty on Hammond B3 organ.



The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival said Wednesday its schedule for the 2003 event will include an extra day. The world-famous music festival, held annually at the New Orleans Fairgrounds, will kick off Thursday, April 24, 2003. Long speculated by Jazzfest fans, the extension gives the festival two four-day weekends to stage the event; previously Jazzfest began the last Friday in April. The dates for the 2003 music festival are April 24-May 4, with music performances, local crafts and food vendors at the Fairgrounds each Thursday-Sunday during that period.


Premier jam band Widespread Panic will release "Live From The Backyard in Austin, TX," Feb. 4, 2003, on Sanctuary Records/Widespread Records. In preparation for this new DVD, DirecTV "FREEVIEW" will air a version of "Live From The Backyard in Austin, TX" on digital cable nationally every weekend during the month of January, beginning on New Year's Day. This double-disc concert was recorded July 20, 2002, during a three-day run at The Backyard in Austin, Texas. Disc One is more than two hours of Widespread Panic performing live and offers tunes such as "Blue Indian," "Old Joe," "Little Lily" and "Imitation Leather Shoes." As a special bonus, Disc Two features a 90-minute smorgasbord of band interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. Panic headlined two of the three nights of the Bonnaroo Music Festival, which featured acts such as Gov't Mule, Trey Anastasio, North Mississippi Allstars, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Ween. The Bonnaroo live CD, "Bonnaroo Music Festival 2002," with Widespread Panic performing "Tall Boy" with Dottie Peoples, immediately went gold.



The New York Post reports Justin Timberlake is using the new video to "Cry Me a River" to get back at ex-girlfriend Britney Spears. The Post reports Timberlake wants vengeance because he believes Spears cheated on him with her choreographer, Wade Robson. "The whole video is about a guy who is cheated on by his girlfriend," the Post quotes a source as saying. "The girl is a Britney look-alike. Justin gets back at Britney by taping himself with another woman in her bedroom and leaving it for her." The Post reports the video, due out Friday, is being withheld by Timberlake's company, Jive Records, because the label wants him to change it.


England's Channel 4 TV is doing an investigative story for its "The Real" series on the life of Heather Mills, who married Paul McCartney earlier this year. "We are looking to speak to a wide range of people from across her whole life," said a Channel 4 spokesperson in an interview with London's Media Guardian. "We have approached Heather but she said no. It will be a compelling look at her life, going back further than when she first met Sir Paul and tracing how she ended up where she is today."



To celebrate the release of the box-office hit "Spider-man" on DVD and VHS, Gibson Guitars and Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, in conjunction with Tower Records, are giving away Limited-Edition Spider-man Les Paul guitars. Fifteen lucky fans of the webbed wonder will win the guitars in random drawings across the country. Gibson's Custom, Art and Historic division created the Spider-man Les Paul with a dramatic rendering of the Superhero on the guitar's face, trademark red spider insignia on the headstock, mother of pearl parallelogram inlays on the fingerboard, and gold hardware. A Spider-man Certificate of Authenticity accompanies each guitar. Enthusiasts can win the guitars by signing up at all Tower Records locations or entering the contest online at The guitars are on display nationally at select Tower Records locations. The contest ends Dec. 31.


Latin pop stars Soluna will star in their own TV comedy on UPN based on their lives, with the pilot to be shot early next year. "We love to entertain, and we love to make people laugh," said Soluna's Aurora Rodriguez. "We've had so many amazing, funny experiences since we began performing together. We're so excited to share them on TV!" America Olivo, T Lopez and Jessica Castellanos are the other group member. The series will feature musical performances and borrow liberally from the bilingual pop group's actual adventures in show business. Its development will be overseen by executive producers, and band's managers, Suzanne de Passe and Irene Dreayer, part of the team behind the WB network's "Sister, Sister" -- WB's first series to break 100 episodes -- and "Smart Guy." Since releasing their debut album, "For All Time" (DreamWorks Records) in May, Soluna has hit the Top 20 with the album's title track -- the Spanish version is called "Por La Eternidad" -- and hit the road with such luminaries as Enrique Iglesias and Marc Anthony. "We're thrilled to have this opportunity," Olivo said. "For us, acting is just another medium for reaching out to people, and being onstage in that sense keeps us creative in everything we do. At our first UPN meeting, we told the executives one story after another about our lives. We had a lot of fun, and they said in that one meeting we'd gone over enough stories for four seasons!"



Grande Diva Nancy Wilson celebrated her 50th year in show business this year but she's not stopping for breath. On Monday, Jan. 13, 2003, Wilson will be honored with a tribute concert featuring the Grammy-winning vocalist accompanied by a 12-piece string ensemble and a swinging 16-piece orchestra, "Nancy Wilson with Strings: Celebrating Four Decades of Music." Wilson intends to perform a variety of popular songs and jazz tunes, including her classic interpretations of standards like George and Ira Gershwin's "Embraceable You" and "Someone To Watch Over Me." Wilson has recorded more than 80 albums, appearing most recently on a compilation with Ramsey Lewis called "Meant to Be" (Narada) and her re-issued "A Nancy Wilson Christmas" (Telarc).


BMG Heritage will be reissuing "Quah," the first solo album from Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna guitarist Jorma Kaukonen Jan. 7, 2003. The lost classic 1974 release has been long unavailable, and now comes with four additional bonus tracks selected by and remastered in collaboration with Kaukonen himself. Kaukonen's diverse career began as a guitarist for Janis Joplin and founder of pioneering groups Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna to a solo career that spans three decades. In 1973 Kaukonen was in the midst of the acrimonious breakup of both his marriage and Jefferson Airplane. From this tension came "Quah," an album of exquisite beauty. Originally conceived as an equal collaboration with fellow Bay-Area guitarist and singer-songwriter Tom Hobson, upon completion the label had judged most of Hobson's contributions too esoteric for release. Several of these rare tracks are released here for the first time, including "No Mail Today" and "Barrier." The album's lead track, "Genesis," is one of several semi-autobiographical songs about Kaukonen's dissolving marriage. "It's about a guy who cheated on his wife and got caught," he said. "The good news is I got a good song out of it."



Grammy winning guitarist Jimmie Vaughan recently joined Blind Pig artist Nick Curran in the studio to record two tracks for Curran's national debut album, "Doctor Velvet." Vaughan contributed to a Freddie King song, "Lonesome Whistle Blues" and traded guitar licks with Curran on Gatemouth Brown's "Midnight Hour." The album was recorded at Fort Horton Studios in Austin, Texas. Produced by Billy Horton, it is scheduled for a Feb. 4, 2003, release. Vaughan has been a fan of Curran's for a while, inviting him to sit in at a show at Antone's and citing him as one of his favorite up-and-coming artists. Upon completing his guest role duties and hearing the final mixes of the complete album, Vaughan said, "OK, all you blues guitar slingers, watch out! Nick Curran is comin' to get ya and there's nothing you can do about it."


The Rutland Isles are a chain of extinct masonic islands in Melanoma, created millions of years ago when Norway rammed into Costa Rica. There are more than 498,000 of them. These virgin islands, so far untouched by television, are so remote they have not yet been visited by British men in shorts. Nigel Spasm has changed all that. In his classic 168-part documentary, Nigel visits these weird islands and presents an aural portrait of the people, the flora, the fauna and the sheep of The Rutland Isles. iMUSIC and BMG are releasing a CD sampler of two of Nigel Spasm's classic radio documentaries. In Part One, Nigel visits Paranoia, the country that hides from other people, where he is in time to celebrate Muggers Day. He looks for The Paranoid Canal, the only underwater canal in the world, and visits The Royal Camouflage Regiment. In Part Two he visits The Over Friendly Isles and watches the muff divers going about their dangerous business. He sees the local men fishing for compliments, and searches for The Randi, a legendary lost tribe so horny they scared the pants off Columbus. This documentary is lavishly illustrated with the rich music of The Rutland Isles, including such songs as the legendary single-entendre "Banana Song," "Whoops Look Out Behind You," "Killing for God," "Muff Diving," "Fishing for Compliments" and the famous anthem, "Oo give me some of that Oomalungalunga." Written and directed by Eric Idle, with music and lyrics by Eric Idle and John Du Prez, the package is scheduled for a March release.



Legendary guitarist and innovator Les Paul has donated one of his personal custom Gibson Les Paul model guitars to raise funds for the Uniformed Firefighters Association Widows and Children Fund. Peter Ortel, a retired New York City fireman, painted a poignant Sept. 11, 2001, scene on the guitar. Last April 5, musician Marc Anthony, Sony Music Chief and Gibson Guitar board member Tommy Mottola and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced the guitar at a news conference that announced the return in 2003 of the 45th Annual Grammy Awards to New York's Madison Square Garden. The guitar was displayed in the rotunda of the Garden until last week when it was shipped to Gibson's national offices in Nashville for the charity auction. The guitar is up for bid on eBay until Dec. 21. All proceeds will be donated to the FDNY fund.

Latest Headlines


Follow Us