Rock News Two: The week in pop

JOHN SWENSON, United Press International


Lollapalooza returns with a 2003 North American tour featuring a lineup of some of music's most vital artists and a fully interactive extravaganza with a wealth of new sights, sounds and experiences. The 2003 tour kicks off July 3 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Founded in 1991 by Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell, Lollapalooza has exposed millions of people to scores of new musical artists, cultural trends, lifestyle alternatives and political points of view over its seven outings. "Lollapalooza's mission is to be great and wonderful, to speak to people and speak for the Earth, and to embody music's power to bring people together," Farrell said. "It was created to share the bountiful gifts that our culture holds, and now it's returning to enjoy its permanent place in that culture." Jane's Addiction returns to claim its original headlining slot, with Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins joined by new bassist Chris Chaney, previewing new material live and with a new album, "Hypersonic," to be released on Capitol Records July 22.



Friday and Saturday, May 30 and 31, the Rebirth Brass Band will celebrate its 20-year anniversary at the original Tipitina's in New Orleans. The historic event will be filmed and recorded for future release. Born and bred in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans, Philip and Keith Frazier formed the Rebirth Brass Band in 1983 as teenagers,


affirming their place as innovators of the brass band revival movement. Many notable New Orleans musicians have joined the ranks of the Rebirth over its history, including Kermit Ruffins and Roderick Paulin. The Rebirth has cut 10 albums for labels such as Arhoolie, Rounder and Shanachie, including the classics "Feel Like Funkin' It Up," "Take it to the Streets," "Kickin' it Live," and "We Come to Party." Tracks like "Do Watcha Wanna," "Feel Like Funkin' It Up," and "Same Thing On" are staples in the New Orleans song book reaching outside the scope of brass music.


Nielsen//NetRatings, the global standard for Internet audience measurement and analysis, reports rap music is the most popular genre purchased by Internet users downloading music. According to the latest data from the Nielsen//NetRatings Plan service, online music enthusiasts were 111 percent more likely to purchase rap music

than the average Internet user over the past three months. Dance and club music held the second spot, with downloaders 106 percent more likely to have purchased dance and club music than the average Internet surfer and 77 percent more likely to purchase alternative rock. R&B/soul music and rock rounded out the top five. Nielsen//NetRatings reports that nearly 31 million active Internet users, or 22 percent of the active Internet population ages 18 years old and up, downloaded music in the past 30 days and 71 percent of this audience purchased music in the past three months.



UPI's Pat Nason reports rock star Pete Townshend has been placed on a sex offender registry but cleared of possessing child pornography, according to Scotland Yard. Townshend was arrested in January on suspicion of making and possessing indecent images of children and of incitement to distribute indecent images of children. In a prepared statement, London's Metropolitan Police said the co-founder of The Who has received a formal caution for accessing a Web site that featured child abuse images.


Blind Pig Recording artists Magic Slim and the Teardrops will perform at the 24th annual W.C. Handy Award Show in Memphis May 22. Slim, perhaps the greatest living proponent of the intense, electrified Mississippi-to-Chicago blues style that spawned so much of the modern rock sound, was honored with five Handy nominations, as many as any other nominee. He was nominated for "Blues Entertainer of the Year," "Traditional Blues-Male Artist of the Year," and "Blues Instrumentalist-Guitar." He and the Teardrops were nominated as "Blues Band of the Year" and the group's latest Blind Pig release, "Blue Magic," produced by cutting-edge artist and label-mate Popa Chubby, was named to the "Traditional Blues Album of the Year" list. Slim also will be seen on national television in a much anticipated Martin Scorcese-produced film series set to air this fall on PBS stations. Entitled "The Blues," the series is the cornerstone of an array of activities and projects throughout the year celebrating 2003 as the "Year Of The Blues," as declared by Congress. Slim will be featured in the movie called "Godfathers and Sons," directed by Marc Levin, and will be shown performing three songs at the Chicago Blues Festival last summer.



"Weird Al" Yankovic, the undisputed champion of musical satire, loses himself in 12 new pop culture send-ups that are as hot as the artists he spoofs on his new CD, "Poodle Hat" (Way Moby/Volcano). The disc features parodies of Eminem, Avril Lavigne, Nelly and others. Al's knack for finding absurdity in the mundane is evident on the CD's lead track, "Couch Potato." Performed to the tune of Eminem's smash hit, "Lose Yourself," "Couch Potato" showcases Al's winning MC style as he delivers intense, rapid-fire rhymes in this sharp social commentary on America's obsession with television, the media and celebrity. For the first time in a career that has spanned more than 20 years, Weird Al will not be doing a music video for the lead track. Eminem gave his blessings for the parody of "Lose Yourself," but he felt uncomfortable with Al making a video for "Couch Potato."


Superpatroit Ted Nugent has gone too far, Colorado DJs and music fans are complaining, with his latest diatribe, according to an article in the Rocky Mountain News. The outspoken hunter and National Rifle Association advocate used racial slurs to describe Asians and blacks Monday on a Colorado radio talk show. Nugent made his remarks on the "Lewis & Floorwax" morning show on 103.5-FM. Rick Lewis and Michael Floorwax immediately challenged his statements on the air. "I don't think he's a racist, but he'll come on the show occasionally and drop a bomb like that and then step back to see the reaction it gets," Lewis told the Rocky Mountain News. "He loves that reputation of a shoot-from-the-hip kind of guy."



The Third Annual Joey Ramone Birthday Bash has been scheduled for Friday, May 16, and will feature headline performances by The Misfits, Rocket From The Crypt, and a collection of some of the best up and coming rock bands. MTV's Matt Pinfield will serve as the evening's host. Continuing the tradition of celebrating the life of the late, great rock icon Joey Ramone, his mother Charlotte Lesher and brother Mickey Leigh are once again presenting "Life's A Gas -- Joey Ramone's Birthday Bash." Two years after his untimely death from lymphoma and in recognition of what would have been his 52nd birthday, friends, fans and family of Ramone will honor his memory with a special birthday tribute at Webster Hall, transformed for the occasion into "The Ritz" in recollection of the venue's original name when Ramone performed on its stage throughout his years with The Ramones and as a solo artist hosting his regular concert presentations.


Jazzfest is over but Radiators bassist Reggie Scanlan's photography show, "Response, Release, Reaction" will continue to be displayed at the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans through May 15. As a founding member of the Radiators, Reggie Scanlan has traveled for more than 20 years with his fellow bandmates, sharing his musical talents throughout the world. Besides his history with one of New Orleans' most famous rock bands of the last quarter century, Scanlan has played with such musical legends as Professor Longhair, Earl King, James Booker and Eddie Bo. As a photographer, Scanlan has been actively recording his travels here and abroad since 1984. His exhibition concentrates on the poignancy and poetry of lives present and past. Photographs of graveyards, religious statuary and iconography dominate.



Two new titles in Bluebird's "When The Sun Goes Down" reissue series will be released May 6. "Poor Man's Heaven: Blues and Tales of The Great Depression" is an eye-opening multi-artist collection of country, blues, jazz and pop songs from and about the decade-long economic slump that began with the stock market crash of Oct. 29, 1929. "Take This Hammer" compiles the complete RCA Victor recordings of the legendary folk-blues singer and guitarist Leadbelly (Huddie Ledbetter). "Poor Man's Heaven: Blues and Tales of The Great Depression" compiles 24 songs recorded by as many different artists in the period from 1929 to 1940. The themes of hard times and fervent hope bind together remarkably diverse performances by artists as famous as Eddie Cantor ("Eddie Cantor's Tips On The Stock Market") and Sonny Boy Williamson ("Welfare Store Blues"), as obscure as Julia Gerity ("Sittin' On A Rubbish Can") and Wilmoth Houdini ("Poor But Ambitious"). "Poor Man's Heaven" includes the original versions of two songs later recorded by Ry Cooder: Blind Alfred Reed's "How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?" (1929) and Fiddlin' John Carson's "Taxes on the Farmer Feeds Us All" (1934). The E.Y. Harburg/Jay Gorney classic "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?", heard here in a 1932 recording by Leo Reisman & His Orchestra, vocal by Milton Douglas, later was covered by Dave Brubeck, Judy Collins, Tom Jones, Abbey Lincoln and Luciano Pavarotti, among other singers. "Take This Hammer" collects 26 tracks recorded by Leadbelly in July 1940, divided between solo performances and collaborations with the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet.



Songwriter Joe Henry has a new album, "Tiny Voices," due out Sept. 9 through Anti-Records. The self-produced album features a dozen new self-penned tracks taking the listener through sonically captivating tales hinting of love, loss, arson, molestation, death and surrender. Sample song titles include: "Animal Skin," "Sold," "Dirty Magazine," "Loves You Madly" and "Flesh & Blood," which also is found on Solomon Burke's Grammy Award-winning album "Don't Give Up On Me," which also was produced by Henry. "I find it incredibly liberating at this point in my career to clean the slate and rethink how I work," he said. "And Anti- is the biggest piece of the equation. I was signed based on a body of work, not my most recent demos. And you have to admit, I'm in very flattering company." Henry joins a roster that includes Nick Cave, Grammy winners Tom Waits and Daniel Lanois, Merle Haggard and Emmy Award winning comedian/actor Eddie Izzard.


Celebrity has canceled its remaining dates on the Hopesfall/Every Time I Die tour as a result of injuries sustained during an altercation last week at a Salt Lake City show. During headliner Hopesfall's set, members of Celebrity tried to calm a group of 30 to 40 audience members who were beating up kids in the crowd. After having words with the group, bassist Jesse Fine was ambushed by several people as he turned around to walk away. Guitarist Ryan Parrish and front man Lance Black also were assaulted as they tried to break up the fight. The band members were admitted to an area hospital following the attack and released later the next day. "We're very disappointed that we won't be able to finish the tour with our friends in Hopesfall, Every Time I Die and The Beautiful Mistake," Fine said. "We'd been having a great time on the tour up until last night. As for the kids in Salt Lake, we're sorry that a few idiots in the crowd ruined the show for the rest of you. The bands had no idea that the venue and promoter weren't planning to provide adequate security so that everyone could enjoy the show safely. We're heading back to Nashville now to rest up for a little while, but will be back out on tour soon." Celebrity's new album, "Lovesick," will be in-stores May 20 on Doghouse Records.



"Mad Love," the new album from Latino heart throb Robi Draco Rosa, is scheduled to hit stores Aug. 26. A collection of rock tracks and wildly romantic songs, "Mad Love" (Columbia) finds Rosa's vocal performances echoing the level of passion in the album's lyrical explorations of unrestrained sensuality, seduction, despair and other aspects of "mad love." Mainly recorded in Rosa's Los Angeles Phantom Vox Studios, with additional sounds laid down in Brazil, Puerto Rico and Spain, the album was produced by Rosa and George Noriega with Rosa and Walter Afanasieff producing two additional tracks. Strings on several tracks were arranged by the legendary Van Dyke Parks. On one particular night during the recording, a group of Spanish gypsies -- fueled by cigarettes and wine -- stayed until the early hours in the morning contributing guitars, vocals and percussive sounds to the mix.


Deacon John's performance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was one of the highlights of the final weekend's program. The show was a preview of "Deacon John's Jump Blues," a CD and DVD concert homage to the New Orleans-based musical pioneers of the 1950s and early 1960s who practiced the fine art of jump blues. The album is set for release June 10. Jump blues is the hybrid of big band and rhythm and blues music that formed the bridge between World War II-era big band swing and early rock and roll. Starring Moore, and featuring New Orleans legends Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Wardell Quezergue and The Zion Harmonizers backed by a 20-piece orchestra, "Deacon John's Jump Blues" is jam packed with the high energy, spirit and sound of that seminal period in American music. John has been working as a professional musician in New Orleans for over 40 years, and he played guitar on many of the pioneering recordings featured in the program.


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