Rock News: Music's high and low notes

JOHN SWENSON, United Press International


Madonna, a music industry beacon for the past 20 years, is pointing the way toward a new cooperation between retail and online marketers. Copies of her latest single, "American Life," already notorious for its provocative anti-war message, are being distributed on the Internet for $1.49 per download, roughly half the price of the CD single in stores. Madonna and her record company, Warner Music, collaborated on the "Madonna Project," which rewards any Web site including a link to the MP3 of "American Life" with credit toward purchasing Madonna merchandise. This strategy has turned thousands of Madonna fans into online distributors of the single, an electronic version of that tried and true music industry promotional tool, word of mouth.



Guitarist Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick sat in with Les Paul Monday night at Iridium in New York following a party celebrating the re-launch of the Rheingold beer brand at the club. The staff of Rheingold Brewing Co., including Terry Leibmann of the Rheingold founding family and Miss Rheingold 2003 Kate Duyn, were be on hand with Les Paul for the celebration. In the 1950s Paul composed numerous radio jingles that dominated the airwaves for Rheingold. These jingles became immensely popular and helped to make Rheingold a New York institution. Rheingold Brewing was founded in Brooklyn in 1883 by Samuel Leibmann, a German Jewish immigrant.


Paul is a living legend and an icon of the music world. He was inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, received multiple Grammy Awards, pioneered the modern electric guitar and invented numerous recording techniques. He has influenced countless musicians and guitarists and is hailed as "The Father Of The Electric Guitar." Paul's regular Monday night appearances at Iridium since April 1995 attract devoted fans from all over the world. World-class musicians like Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Tony Bennett, Steve Miller, George Benson, Pat Metheny, Jeff Beck, Slash and countless others come to pay homage.


The Boston-based NEMO showcase will take place on Sept. 4-7, taking advantage of Boston's warm fall weather by adding outdoor events to the schedule. Music industry professionals and enthusiasts will converge on Boston for three days and nights, taking in panels, clinics, workshops, mentor sessions, a trade show exhibition area, industry

parties and 250 artist showcases. NEMO also includes the prestigious Boston Music Awards show on the first night of festivities.

NEMO showcases 250 of the hottest major label, indie label, and unsigned new bands and solo artists from all over the world in a wide variety of genres. Creating a unique platform for new talent to perform in front of some of the most influential decision-makers in the music industry -- as well as almost 15,000 music-loving fans -- NEMO is a celebration of today's best new music and continues to be the place for people to discover new and emerging talent. Previous NEMO showcasing artists include: Aerosmith, Godsmack, Linkin Park, Staind, Kristin Hersh, De La Soul, Guster, Dope, Splender, Fishbone, Catie Curtis, Howie Day, The Union Underground, The Waifs, Rubyhorse, Kittie, 5440, De La Soul, Melissa Ferrick, Joey McIntyre, Martin Sexton, Tracy Bonham, Emm Gryner, Reveille, Kevin Salem, The Exies, Ellis Paul, Must, Bill Morrissey, Ra and many more.



Rhino Records and Fender Musical Instruments Corp. have collaborated on a collection of 16 current rock hits played on Fender instruments. Artists include Sheryl Crow, Eric Clapton, Aerosmith, Alanis Morissette, blink-182, Green Day, 3 Doors Down, Filter, Remy Zero, The Goo Goo Dolls, Smash Mouth, Third Eye Blind, Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray, Collective Soul and the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band.

"It just makes sense that Fender would make the jump from making the 'hardware' of music to being involved with the music itself," said Ritchie Fliegler, Fender's senior vice president of market development. "We are very excited about this next step in Fender's evolution and our relationships with the artist community."


Danny Wood will kick off a series of live appearances with a concert in Fort Lauderdale Friday, April 11, in support of his debut solo CD "Second Face" (Empire Music Werks/Damage/BMG Records). Wood will unveil his stage act and new rock band when he performs at Fort Lauderdale's latest rock venue, Club 84. The former New Kid On The Block star has spent the past 10 years developing his own Damage Records label and producing other artists -- Joey McIntyre, Mark Wahlberg.


"I can't wait to get out there and perform again," said Wood during a break from rehearsals with his new band. "In New Kids, I toured all over the world and played at sold out arenas filled with screaming fans. Now I want to move on and show people who I am today through my music."

Wood said he is not concerned about any backlash from being a teen idol in New Kids.

"I understand that New Kids were shoved down America's throats and the image that goes with that is frustrating. But I think I have proven on this record that I can do something else and do it well, and it's been long enough since that craziness ended for people to give this album a chance, and give it a listen," he said.


Stacie Orrico's self-titled Virgin Records debut, "Stuck," is climbing the charts at MTV and pop radio, and marking the singer as a budding superstar. Co-written by Orrico and "Dumb Girls" songwriter Kevin Kadish, "Stuck" is an anthem for any girl who's been unhappy in a relationship but inexplicably "stuck" on her significant other. The track's fusing of a funk groove with rock explosiveness has it planted on the MTV "Total Request Live" countdown, where it debuted on March 15, and rotating on New York's influential Z100 radio station. Some of music's biggest names, including Virgin Chief Executive Officer Matt Serletic (Carlos Santana, Matchbox 20, Aerosmith), producer Dallas Austin (TLC, Pink, Madonna), The Underdogs (Babyface, Tyrese) and hit songwriter Diane Warren, played a part in the making of the album.


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