Rock News Two: The week in pop

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International
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Digital recordings of all 12 dates of Phish's upcoming Winter 2003 tour will be available via All 12 shows should be available for download no later than two days after each event. All download files are compatible with Windows, Mac and Unix operating systems and can be burned to disc, transferred to portable players or played through a computer. Phish's Winter tour is now available for pre-order, either a la carte or as a tour package for a discounted price. Several shows from the archives also have been made available for purchase via the Web site: Oct. 31, 1990, at Armstrong Hall, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Dec. 7, 1997, at Nutter Center, Dayton, Ohio, and, Oct. 7, 2000, Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, Calif. In addition, Phish's New Year's Eve concert at Madison Square Garden and the three subsequent shows at Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va., remain available for purchase and download.



England's Massive Attack will release a fourth album, "100th Window," Feb. 11. Written and produced by Robert Del Naja and Neil Davidge, it's a giant leap into warm, glitchy electronica, psychedelic landscapes, Arabic strings and the depth-charged dub reggae. Robert Del Naja explains: "We wanted to make this a lot warmer than 'Mezzanine,' but without making it softer. We wanted to keep the edge and the intrigue, but without making it bleak." Massive Attack's other member Grant "Daddy Gee" Marshall took time out from the studio. "Grant has taken a bit of a sabbatical because he's had a child and he's been starting a new life," Del Naja said. "He'll get back into the swing of the music again when he comes on tour with us. He'll be back." Massive Attack's longtime collaborator, Horace Andy, appears on the edgy, echo chamber lament "Everywhen" and the unsettling, melancholy "Name Taken."


While most 16-year-olds are thinking about drivers' licenses and junior proms, powerful singer and songwriter Stacie Orrico is getting a formal induction into the world of pop stardom. From the start of her career and throughout the process of writing and recording of her March 25 Virgin Records self-titled debut, Orrico worked with some of the music industry's top names, including hit-making producer Dallas Austin (TLC, Pink, Madonna), video producer Diane Martel (Justin Timberlake, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige) and Grammy-winner Destiny's Child. Famed producer Dallas Austin co-produced the first single, "Stuck," along with Virgin Chief Executive Officer Matt Serletic (Carlos Santana, matchbox twenty, Aerosmith). "Going to Dallas' studio was everything I could imagine," Orrico said. "I'm in the booth and in walks Macy Gray." Video producer Martel came on board to work with Orrico on the video for "Stuck," which will be loosely based on the movie "Grease." "Diane is so creative and has incredible ideas," Orrico said. "She even worked it out for us to film at the running track where the original 'Grease' was filmed. It was a lot of fun."



Sarai, a new female MC on Epic Records, is getting strong response from radio across the country. Dennis Martinez, program director for KDON in Monterey, Calif., dubbed her "Feminem" for her quick witted, dexterous flow that many are comparing to Hip-Hop superstar counterpart, Eminem. The 20 year-old strawberry-blonde is garnering a major response from stations all over the country as her first single, "Pack Ya Bags" continues to build at radio. Inspired by hip-hop legends such as N.W.A, Public Enemy, Salt-N-Pepa and MC Lyte, the upstate New York native is candid when explaining her music is for her listeners, not her critics. "Those who aren't ready for what I have to say should do what the song says and 'Pack Ya Bags!'," said the would-be sensation.


The Ultimate Rhythm and Blues Cruise didn't exactly leave port rocking but when several bands coming in from the Midwest were held up by inclement weather Tuesday the party started while the cruise ship Melody was still tethered to the dock at Port Lauderdale. Local boaters in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., were treated to an impromptu session of hard core boogie as Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials fiercely rocked the aft deck with their hard-edged brand of Chicago blues. Lil' Ed boogied hard as he played "Do the Alligator" to the ecstatic shouts of the definitely not-your-usual cruise crowd. "Look over yonder" shouted Ed as the heavy back beat slammed into the peaceful waters, treating the Coast Guard security boats in the harbor to an unscheduled performance. "We thank you," Ed told the dancing fans, but they really were thanking him because no one seemed to care the ship hadn't even left port as they partied under the crescent moon.



Murder, Inc./Def Jam Records' Ashanti and Columbia Records' Amerie led nominees for the 17th Annual Soul Train Music Awards with three nominations each. Derrty/Universal Records' hip-hop star Nelly, Jive/Zomba Records' heartthrob Justin Timberlake, Epic Records' B2K, Def Soul recording act Musiq, and Dreamworks newcomers Floetry all picked up two nominations. The show will be broadcast live in first-run national syndication March 1 from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif. The show will be co-hosted by Hip-Hop icon Queen Latifah and perennial host Arsenio Hall.


Boris Grebenshikov, the "Russian Bob Dylan," and his group Akvarium (Aquarium) blasted onto the Leningrad rock scene in 1973 when there were very few "official" groups in the Soviet Union. The Russian rock legend refused to submit his contemplative songs to the government's censorship committees. When Akvarium could not get sanctioned gigs, they played in underground venues, basements, back alley bars, building one of the most loyal fan bases of any Russian act. Grebenshikov, whose first global release, "Russian Songwriter," will be issued on Naxos World Feb. 18, became one of the principal totems of Glasnost when Russian rock bands finally were allowed to visit the United States without defecting. Now he is the country's rock poet laureate, and this album, which is closer to Leonard Cohen than Dylan in sensibility, shows why.



Smithsonian Folkways Recordings will release "If I Had My Way: Early Home Recordings of Reverend Gary Davis" Feb. 25. The album assembles recordings made by noted folklorist John Cohen in Davis's home in early 1954, just before Davis's albums and unique guitar style began to leave an indelible mark on the budding folk revival movement. Ten of the album's 18 songs never were recorded by Davis again and are available only on this collection. This is an extremely significant piece of American culture history that is probably more aesthetically valuable than the entire history of "MTV Unplugged."


Former President Bill Clinton joined the Rolling Stones Thursday for the Natural Resources Defense Council free concert to fight global warming at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The show began with an address from Clinton from the stage. Some 12,000 fans won tickets to the show in a drawing last month. Additional winners came through national radio station giveaways. The night also featured a "green carpet" celebrity arrival event with some of Hollywood's top artists raising funds for the environmental group. Celebrity and VIP guests included Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Pierce and Keeley Brosnan, Larry and Laurie David and many others. Instead of limousines, many celebrity guests arrived at the show in clean, advanced technology "hybrid" cars provided by Honda and Toyota. The show put a worldwide spotlight on global warming and the opportunities that exist right now to start fixing the problem. The show kicked off a new NRDC campaign turning up the heat on political and business leaders. The Rolling Stones are completing the North American stretch of the 40 Licks World Tour and will launch the international leg starting in Australia Feb. 18, with shows to follow in Asia and Europe.



For the past few years, Dashboard Confessional has been a relentless cult phenomenon, with fans who fill large arenas, band online and memorize painfully intimate songs as if they were smash hits. But who is the man behind Dashboard? Where did he come from? And why do kids break down in tears at his concerts? A new album will try to make the cult go pop and Spin has put the band on its March cover in anticipation of the breakthrough. With his good looks, aw-shucks demeanor and unsubtle acoustic songs, Chris Carrabba, the former director of a special education after school program and Dashboard Confessional mastermind, has become a wary poster boy for a musical movement. Labeled "emo" in an attempt to link it to a particularly heartfelt strain of '80s hardcore punk, the Dashboard phenomenon is a 21st century moment on its own. It brings hardcore's extreme emotional purges into suburban bedrooms and major concert venues. In the process, Carrabba, 27, has created a personal cult of Tori Amos-like proportions, but with a decidedly folkie bent. For a generation of music fans weaned on videos extolling Cristal-spilling excess, Carrabba is an accessible star. Through tireless touring and the promotion of California indie label Vagrant, Carrabba soon will earn a gold record for 2001's "The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most," and he's the first artist without a platinum record to tape an episode of MTV2 Unplugged 2.0. His new album, tentatively titled "A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar," is due for a spring release, with help from major label Interscope, which reportedly has invested in Vagrant. Interscope Chairman Jimmy Iovine, who has boosted the careers of Tupac Shakur, Limp Bizkit, Eminem and others, is a mentor to Carrabba, taking his calls at all hours and flying on his private jet to see Dashboard shows.



Grammy nominees Gov't Mule and the North Mississippi Allstars add their music to a high-caliber list of acts confirmed to appear at the 7th annual All Good Festival, Walther Productions announced. Galactic, Dark Star Orchestra, Keller Williams, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe and Leftover Salmon are among the performers joining the 2003 Grammy nominees May 15-18 at Marvin's Mountaintop in Masontown, W.V., for the latest edition of one of the East Coast's premier music festivals. A limited number of early bird tickets, priced at $65, go on sale this week through, and (800) 594-TIXX. Fees for three days of parking and camping are included in the ticket price. Gov't Mule, 2003 Grammy-nominee for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for its song "Sco-Mule," off "The Deep End Volume 1" album, is scheduled to close out the three-day All Good Music Festival on Saturday, May 17, while Galactic is set to conclude Friday night's lineup with two hours of future funk. Dark Star Orchestra kicks off the festivities as the stand-alone attraction on Thursday, May 15, with a four-hour evening set recreating the Grateful Dead live concert experience. Other acts confirmed for All Good are the North Mississippi Allstars, Grammy nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album, Jazz Mandolin Project, The Recipe, All Mighty Senators, Acoustic Syndicate, Umphrey's McGee, Mofro and the Seth Yacovone Band. The remaining bands will be announced in the coming weeks. Marvin's Mountaintop was introduced last year by Walther Productions through two other major summer festivals -- the moe. or les festival and the Summer of Love... 35 Years Later. The scenic 643-acre site attracted thousands of festival-goers last year. Masontown, located in the wooded rolling hills of West Virginia, is just 15 miles southeast of Morgantown.



Kiss mastermind bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons is back in the music business after reviving Simmons Records and is looking for new talent in a variety of genres. "I'm proud to say I have a new joint venture partner," said Simmons on his official Web site. "If you know of local talent in your area and want me to hear it, send me." Simmons Records was active in the late 1980s, when it was distributed through RCA/BMG. The company released records by hard rock acts House Of Lords, Silent Rage and Gypsy Rose. Now Simmons is looking for the next big thing. "I'm looking for talent in their teens or early 20s," he demanded. "You don't have to write songs, but you better have the talent. It can be almost anything." When it comes to rock bands, Simmons is looking for original material. "You should be able to write songs," he explains. "If you're the coolest local band in your area, but you think you've got something different, send me your stuff." Simmons also is interested in hip hop artists, but only with a twist. "Don't send me the 'MC Criminal' routine," he said. Demos can be sent to Simmons Records, P.O. Box 15097, Beverly Hills, CA, 90210, but "Do not call and ask what I thought of your stuff," Simmons said. "Do not call and ask when you can get your stuff back -- you won't. Do not call and ask for my opinions and advice. Just look at it the way a farmer plants his seed. If the fruit grows and ripens, you'll win. If I want you, you can be sure we will be all over you."



Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood's solo act is featured on the live concert DVD "Far East Man," which comes out this week on SPV Records. Filmed in November 2001 at Shepherds Bush Empire in London, the concert shows Wood leading his band, which includes his children Jessie and Leah Wood, through solo material, his own group history -- the Rolling Stones' "Hey Negrita" and the Faces' "Ooh La La," "Flying" and "Stay With Me" -- and an interesting selection of covers -- John Lennon's "Jealous Guy," Parliament's "Testify," the Foundations' "Am I Groovin' You" and Guns N' Roses' "Paradise City". Special guests on the 112-minute "Far East Man" include former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash and the Corrs' Andrea Corr. The DVD is presented in full-screen format. Among the extras are interviews, backstage footage and a gallery of Wood's paintings.


The Recording Academy has teamed up with Warner Music Group to release the "2003 Grammy Nominees CD," the ninth edition in the best-selling series that honors many of the year's Grammy-nominated artists and songs. This year's compilation -- due in stores nationwide Feb. 11 -- encompasses some of the year's biggest hits and features nominated songs and artists from several major categories. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this CD will benefit music-related charities, including the Academy's MusiCares Foundation and the Grammy Foundation. The disc contains many of the most widely recognized Grammy categories. The 19 tracks from the CD represent nominees from the Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Best New Artist, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, and Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal categories.



Rhino Entertainment is set to release a decade's worth of favorites from America's premier Cajun band, BeauSoleil, with "Encore, Encore!! The Best of Beausoleil (1991-2001)." For more than 25 years, Grammy Award-winning BeauSoleil have blended fiddles, accordions, and traditional rock 'n' roll instruments into a spicy mix sure to set feet stomping. Due out Feb. 11, this definitive single-disc set features 75 minutes of music including three songs from the Grammy-winning album "L'Amour Ou La Folie" as well as tracks from "Cajun Conja," "L'Echo," "Cajunization," "La Danse De La Vie," and "Looking Back Tomorrow: BeauSoleil Live!" BeauSoleil -- Michael Doucet (fiddle, mandolin, mando-cello, guitar), along with his brother David (vocals/guitar), Jimmy Breaux (accordions), Al Tharp (bass, fiddle, banjo, vocals), Tommy Alesi (drums), and Billy Ware (percussion, vibraphone) -- have released six albums on Rhino, garnered eight Grammy nominations over the course of their career.


"Apron Strings," an album financed by bake sales, is the DIY Album of the Year as determined by judges for the 2003 DIY Music Festival. After releasing a CD in 1999, Breech was strapped for cash to record another album. So the band turned to the baking talents of lead singer Missy Gibson. Through sales of cookies, cakes and breads outside various music venues, the band raised $7,000, enough to record "Apron Strings," which was released last year. Select DIY Music Festival category winners will perform Thursday at the Derby nightclub in Hollywood. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the event, which spotlights "Independents in Film and TV Music." In addition to the DIY Music Festival acts, the night will be highlighted by performances from Brooke Ramel and Hypnogaja, two unsigned artists who have placed music in "Sex In The City," "Party of Five" and "White Oleander," among other projects. The night will be capped by a performance from The Paper Dolls, a band that stars in the upcoming feature film "Down and Out With The Dolls," which rolls out nationwide in March. The DIY Music Festival serves as the kickoff for the third annual DIY Convention: Do It Yourself in Film, Music and Books, which will be held on Saturday at the American Film Institute in Hollywood.



Jon Bon Jovi is set to play Tiger Jam, the annual charity bash thrown by golf superstar Tiger Woods. This year's sixth renewal of the event will take place April 19 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The concert, sponsored by the Tiger Woods Foundation, is designed to help youth-based charities in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. "Tiger Jam has outstanding talent each year, and we've continued that tradition with Bon Jovi," Woods said. "I grew up listening to Bon Jovi, and I'm really looking forward to seeing them live. It means a lot to me that Jon and the guys have joined in my efforts to support today's youth through Tiger Jam."


Jam band Soulive will celebrate the upcoming release of their self-titled third album (Blue Note) with a series of Wednesday concerts in February in New York City. Entitled "Stretch -- Featuring Soulive and Friends" the series finds the acclaimed group at a different club each week, accompanied by a remarkable lineup of special guests from the worlds of funk, hip-hop, jazz, and R and B. Soulive is Alan Evans (drums), Neal Evans (organ, keyboards), and Eric Krasno (guitar). Wednesday at The Knitting Factory, "Soulive with The Soulive Horns" will feature special guests Fred Wesley, Russell Gunn, Ryan Zoidis, Sam Kininger and DJ Spinna. On Feb. 12 at S.O.B.'s Soulive will perform with with DJ Logic and J-Live. Feb. 19 at the Mercury Lounge the lineup will be Soulive with Joshua Redman's Elastic Band. Finally, on Feb. 26 Soulive will be at Joe's Pub with Reggie Watts, Ivan Neville and additional guests to be named.


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