Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International  |  Dec. 25, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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The Los Angeles Times reports hip hop impresario Marion "Suge" Knight was taken into custody Monday by California parole officials and could face a year in jail. The Times quotes sources who indicate the 37-year-old Death Row records boss may have violated parole via his "alleged association with reputed gang members who authorities say are connected with a series of shootings." Knight was convicted in 1992 on assault and weapons charges, then in 1996 he was jailed for five years for violating terms of his probation when he was captured on videotape along with platinum rapper Tupac Shakur assaulting a member of a rival gang in Las Vegas. Shakur was killed later that day in a drive by shooting in which Knight also was wounded.


Acclaimed songwriter Gretchen Peters, winner of the Country Music Association Song of the Year for her harrowing response to domestic violence, "Independence Day," has been nominated for a Golden Globe award for "Here I Am" from "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron." Written with her friend and frequent collaborator, rocker Bryan Adams, and Hans Zimmer, the inspirational theme joins songs by Madonna ("Die Another Day" from "Die Another Day"), Eminen ("Lose Yourself" from "8 Mile"), Paul Simon ("Father and Daughter" from "The Wild Thornberrys Movie") and U2 ("The Hands That Built America" from "The Gangs of New York").

"When you're writing a song, you're not thinking about being nominated for anything or the company you might be keeping," Peters says. "You're trying to reflect some emotional undercurrent or moment of realization -- and that's hard enough. If you'd put Madonna or Eminen or U2 or Paul Simon into the mix, I'd never get anything written!"


New York's Knitting Factory is celebrating the Christmas holiday with its annual Hasidic New Wave festival, Jewsapalooza. This year's fete, subtitled "What I Like About Jew," features Dave Attell, Sean Altman, Rob Tannenbaum, Tammy Faye Starlite, Cindy Kaplan, and Deni Bonet. Altman and Tannenbaum, series creators and co-hosts whose work was likened to Tom Lehrer in the Village Voice, scored a national radio hit with 1999's "Hanukah With Monica." This season they unveil original holiday hits including "Reuben The Hook-Nosed Reindeer," "Jews For Jesus," "It's Good To Be a Jew At Christmas," "Hot Jewish Chicks," and an ode to circumcision entitled "Just A Little Off The Top." For more info visit


The most successful progressive rock band in history rechristens its first four albums with newly added rare bonus tracks next month, as Rhino Records releases remastered and expanded versions of Yes' self-titled debut album, "Time and a Word," "The Yes Album," and "Fragile." This marks the first in a series of Yes reissues Rhino has planned, with seven more titles being released over the course of 2003. Yes, formed in 1968, has been a dominant force in progressive rock music for more than three decades. To date, the band has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, and recently was honored with Rhino/Elektra's career-spanning five-CD boxed set, "In A Word: Yes (1969 - )." Founded by singer Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, and drummer Bill Bruford, Yes played a mix of original material and totally reworked covers in their early live sets. The self-titled first Yes record, released in 1969, reveled in their musical influences, as Yes re-envisioned The Byrds' "I See You" and The Beatles' "Every Little Thing." But the band's own work was strong too -- "Sweetness" and "Survival" are examples of Yes at their most peaceful, and exhibit some of Anderson's most beautiful singing. Rhino also has added six bonus tracks to this reissue, four of which are previously unreleased -- "Dear Father" (Early Version #1), "Everydays" (Early Version), "Dear Father" (Early Version #2), and "Something's Coming" (Early Version). Guitarist Steve Howe joined the lineup for "The Yes Album," and keyboardist Rick Wakeman came aboard for "Fragile."


Bay Area jam-band supergroup Garage Mahal has become the sixth act signed to Harmonized Records, the offshoot label from Home Grown Music Network, in its first year of operation. The band consists of bassist Kai Eckhardt, guitarist Fareed Haque, drummer Alan Hertz and keyboardist Eric Levy. The individual members of the group have played with Sting, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Clarke, Al DiMeola, Steve Smith's Vital Information, Bela Fleck, Bill Evans, John McLaughlin Trio, Steve Kimock, KVHW, Edgar Meyer and dozens more. The label is so high on the band that it's planning to simultaneously release a series of live CDs in early 2003.

"Each member of this band is such an accomplished player," says Lee Crumpton, co-founder with Brian Asplin of Harmonized Records. "I consider these guys musicians' musicians who are capable of creating all sorts of opportunities for us -- and so, apparently, do more and more people out there on the scene."

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