Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International  |  April 15, 2003 at 3:00 AM
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MTV celebrates the 21st anniversary of its launch as a national cable system and with it music videos have come of age. Music videos, however, had been made and used as promotional tools dating back to the 1960s, particularly by British groups to promote a product where they were unlikely to make personal appearances. The Museum of Modern Art is presenting an exhibition titled "Golden Oldies of Music Video" on April 17 and May 1 at the Gramercy Theater in Manhattan. This Thursday's host will be Laurie Anderson. More than 40 videos will be screened, dating back as far as the Beatles 1967 videos for "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever."


Former New Kid on the Block Danny Wood hit New York running Monday to promote his solo tour and upcoming album "Second Face." Wood appeared on the WB-11 "Morning Show" on WPIX-TV, then did a session for Sirius Satellite Radio, played the WDRE RADIO "Party 105" show and finished up on WLIR Radio's "Tri State Sound" show 92.7. The release date for "Second Face" has been pushed back to May 20 to allow Wood to complete a promotional video and include some extra music. The album originally was designed to include 14 cuts but Wood has written four additional tunes that have been added to the CD as unlisted, special bonus "hidden tracks." The package also contains an extensive 16-page booklet complete with song lyrics, photos and bio. The first single off the album, "When The Lights Go Out," is getting plenty of action on radio. On Tampa/Orlando station Citrus 95.3 WXCV the tune has been the most-requested song for 15 consecutive nights.


David Kunian, a radio documentarian working out of New Orleans, is well known for his documentaries about New Orleans legends James Booker, Earl King, and the Dew Drop Inn. Kunian has a new documentary on the great Guitar Slim. The hour-long program premieres on WWOZ 90.7 FM in New Orleans Thursday, May 15 and Friday, May 16. The documentary features interviews with Jerry Wexler, Earl King, Robert Parker, Gerri Hall, Carol Fran, Kidd Jordan, Lawrence Cotton, Porgy Jones, boyhood friends of Slim's from Hollandale, Miss., and others.


Circus Clone Records, the Brooklyn, N.Y., company that released the groundbreaking Vic Thrill album "CE-5" earlier this year, has announced a national distribution deal with Mayhem Records and Alternative Distribution Alliance. One of the leading distributors of independent music in the United States (Nirvana, Liz Phair, Pavement), ADA falls under the Warner Music Group umbrella. Circus Clone Records was founded in 2003 by Billy Campion, also known as Vic Thrill, former lead singer of The Bogmen, who had several albums released through Arista Records in the late 1990s. Campion formed Circus Clone to release records by an eclectic range of artists in the creative enclave of Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

A national release for Vic Thrill through ADA is due in June. Other Circus Clone releases include The Bogmen "Live" CD and DVD recorded at two sold-out benefit concerts last year at New York's Irving Plaza in memoriam to the wife of Bogmen keyboardist Brendan Ryan, who perished in the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Circus Clone also will be releasing "Killed By The Lights," by New York's favorite rockers The Knockout Drops. Circus Clone also has slated releases by Brooklyn's Reverend Vince Anderson, BigBooté, The What, Havana 13, and Vic Thrill's NYC Subway Orchestra, which Campion has been assembling since the summer of 2002.


Vocalist Gary Floyd is best known at the front man for SST/Sub Pop/Warners boogie blues rockers Sister Double Happiness and for fronting the Austin, Texas, provocative punk rockers, The Dicks. Floyd's 1980's SST recordings are often cited by Seattle grunge bands as a seminal influence on that early 90s' style. Floyd's latest work, "Mad Dogs and San Franciscans," is a collaboration with instrumental psychedelic jazz rock groovers Mushroom. Mushroom has collaborated in the past with Bundy K. Brown, Faust, Kevin Ayers and Daevid Allen of Gong as well as individual members' work with Beck, Beth Orton and Don Was. "Mad Dogs and San Franciscans" reworks 1960s and '70s songs from Curtis Mayfield, Spirit, Steppenwolf, Leon Russell, Spencer Davis Group, Clarence Carter, Joe Cocker, and The Who.

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