Pop culture and all that.






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The Onion
Gray Scale
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In Passing...
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The New York Times
The L.A. Times


    Friday, October 11, 2002

    forgot to mention-- this blog won't be updated until Tuesday, Oct. 15. I've got Colombus Day off-- I think for the first time ever in my life. Anyway, happy Indiginous People's Day, as we used to say at Antioch College

    posted by Randy on 4:34 PM | permanent link to this entry

    • Support the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act!
      The link above will take you to the Electroinc Frontier Foundation's Action Center page, where you can send an e-mail or fax to your representative urging them to support The Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act. Do it now, sukka!

    • Support the Digital Choice and Freedom Act!
      And while you're at it, let your representatives know that you support The Digital Choice and Freedom Act! More info and the auto-mailer is available at the above linked EFF site.

    • Fire Destroys Rap Recording Studio
      The studio where The Sugarhill Gang recorded "Rapper's Delight" went up in smoke. Not unlike their careers. Bada-bing! Thank you very much. Try the beef and tip your waitresses.

    • Napster Negotiating Emergency Loan
      Look-out, it's the UNDEAD DOT COM OF DOOM!!! Napster is in the midst of an emergency hearing to consider approval of the loan Thursday after it said it needed more time to work out the specifics of the proposed $200,000 interim and $350,000 final loans with Napco Lending LLC-- a company formed by the company that wants to buy Napster's assests. Very weird how the late, great Napster just won't die.

    • Jay-Z Album Preview: Hova Ups The Ante With Blueprint 2
      Pretty route album preview from MTV News and they bury the most interesting tid-bit at the end of the story: "You might have heard this sample before," Jay-Z said with a light chuckle as the engineer cued up "I Did It My Way," which samples the classic "My Way." "We used the Paul Anka version — that way it was cheaper," Jay said. On the song, he likens himself to Frank Sinatra, Damon Dash to Sammy Davis Jr. and Kareem "Biggs" Burke to Dean Martin. Who knew tha hustlas in da hood were up on their Rat Pack trivia? The first time I hear Paul Anka bumping from an pimped out Escalade, I'll die laughing.

    • New Edition In Talks To Sign With Bad Boy
      The Bobby Brown-less version of New Edition, but oh well. P. Diddy best peep the sales on that comeback Bell Biv Devoe album, though. The kids, they were not exactly bustin' down the doors of the record store to get their hands on it.

    • Tommy Lee To Rock Military Bases?
      Tommy Lee has proposed settling his punishment for spousal abuse by performing concerts at military bases around the world. If Lee is able to follow through with the idea, proposed yesterday (Oct. 10) during a probation hearing, Judge Lawrence Mira seemed sure that he could be released from his probation before its May 2003 expiration date and also satisfy his remaining 237 hours of community service. Here's my first thought: No *way* does the military let a colorful character like Tommy Lee rock out for the troops. Then again, Kid "Pimp of the Nation" Rock did it, so I suppose anything is possible. My other thought is-- this is punishment? Tommy Lee gets to promote his sagging album to a captive audience and look patriotic at the same time? How does he learn his lesson from this punishment?

    • Lions Gate Puts Kazaa Net to Use
      Lions Gate Entertainment is breaking ranks with with mainstream Hollywood and is using Kazaa to promote its big fall film through the Internet— distributing trailers of "The Rules of Attraction" 10,000 times a day. Ysers are being steered to the "Attraction" trailer by Altnet, a Los Angeles-based service that helps copyright holders deliver files securely over the Kazaa network.

    • Madonna's New Movie Panned
      I'm not surprised. Check out her filmography, her name attatched to a movie is a sure sign of crap. Okay, she was good in "A League of Their Own", but that's about it. Of course, I am only commenting on when she is trying to act. She's pretty good when she's in cocert films or documentaries about herself.

    • Wounded "Wing" Won't Hurt NBC In Renewal Talks
      So, this story is about how ratings are down this year for "The West Wing" and how that might effect its financial arrangements with NBC. Blah, blah, blah. Here is the most interesting part of the story to me: At the same time, while Warner Bros isn't happy about the Nielsen trend for "West Wing," parent AOL Time Warner has reason to smile. Five out of the six series screening Wednesdays at 9 p.m. -- "West Wing," ABC's "The Bachelor," Fox's "Fastlane," WB's "Birds of Prey" and UPN's "Twilight Zone" -- are produced or co-produced by some division of the AOL Time Warner-owned studio. Later in the story: Industry insiders call AOL Time Warner's Wednesday 9 p.m. grudge match "the price you pay for success." "If someone had to compete with you, it might as well be yourself," a rival executive said. No, this is the price consumers and AOLTW's competitiors pay for media consolidation.

    • Activists crash TRL
      A group of anti-war activists stormed the TRL stage yesterday and got some anti-war sentiments out over the air before they were escorted out by security. You go, kids!

    • The Copyright Office To Determine What Use Of Copyright Is Noninfringing.
      The Copyright Office is preparing to conduct proceedings mandated by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which provides that the Librarian of Congress may exempt certain classes of works from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. The purpose of this rulemaking proceeding is to determine whether there are particular classes of works as to which users are, or are likely to be, adversely affected in their ability to make noninfringing uses due to the prohibition on circumvention. You can send your comments to The Copyrifht Office by clicking the above link.

    posted by Randy on 1:46 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Thursday, October 10, 2002

    • Shaking Up and Turning Around EMI
      Q&A with EMI chairman Alain Levy and vice chairman David Munns about their efforts to turn around the record industry's smallest major label. Basically, they plan on expanding their relationship with artists so the label also gets a piece of their endorsments and other outside projects. At least that's what they did with Robbie Williams. I give this article some credit for addressing some tough questions-- as opposed to this puff-piece-softball-interview with Universal Music Group honcho Doug Morris

    • Ex-Grateful Dead Members to Tour
      Stinky hippies rejoice! A reason to leave the house! The Other Ones are headed out on tour. I suppose they could arrange a deal with Phish to tour in alternate years, keeping the tye-dye crowd permanently happy.

    • Ex-3LW Member Makes Sex Accusation
      Of all of Naturi Naughton accusations, this is perhaps the most fucked up. In her lawsuit against her former bandmates and managers in 3LW, she alleges she was encouraged to get intiamte with of of Nelly's St. Lunatics in order to help secure 3LW a spot on Nelly's summer tour. Naughton didn't do it and the group didn't get the slot. This story doesn't say who it is-- but in my wildest dreams I hope the Lunatic she was supposed to seduce was the dude who wears half a bronzed hockey mask.

    • World Music Sales Spin Lower
      The line for grains of salt begins here. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) says global music sales spiraled 9.2 percent lower in the first half of 2002. However, one should note that big releases come in the second half of the year and that this study includes singles and cassettes-- whose sales have dropped a lot becasue the industry doesn't make 'em so much anymore.

    • Jay-Z Camp Refutes Toni Braxton's Tupac-Biting Claims
      The real question for me here is "why didn't the parties clearing the 2pac sample mention that someone else was jacking the smae beat?" 'Cause there was money to be made, of course. But still, it would've been the stand up thing to do.

    • ABC Drops Two New Shows From Its Lineup
      And this season has it's first cancellations: Push, Nevada and That Was Then. The cancellation of Push, Nevada is actually kind of interesting. Since it is tied to a game, ABC has to give away the money so they will insert a clue into the final episode-- due to be broadcast on Oct. 24. More details will be announced shortly and revised rules will be posted on

    • Illegal Art: Freedom of Expression in the Corporate Age
      Awesome looking art show hitting New York and Chicago late this year and early next year. Check the link above for more details and for a bunch of cool MP3s, images and videos that are totally illegal thanks to misguided copyright law but really freakin' awesome. Do it now before they get shut down.

    posted by Randy on 1:19 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Wednesday, October 09, 2002

    Thanks to everyone who came to see me spin at at "3: Art, DJ & Live Music" @ Club Galia last night. A good time was had by all, I trust. I certainly had fun.

    • High Court Debates Copyright Case
      I refuse to even guess how this is gonna end up-- I can only hope that the justices see the need to keep copyrights valid for a reasonable length of time. Speaking Up for Silent Films is a pretty good summary of the issues at hand here.

    • Feds to Decide on Digital Radio
      The Federal Communications Commission is to decide Thursday whether to allow radio stations to broadcast digital signals and how they should do it. Digital radio's rollout could begin in a few months in some major cities, and consumers would start seeing digital receivers in car stereos and high-end audio systems next year. This won't mean more stations, it'll just mean clearer sounding broadcasts of the crap you already get. I really need my "Morning Zoo" broadcast in crystal-clear format, don't you?

    • Lennon's Killer Denied Parole Again
      Given the pasion Lennon has inspired in his fans, Mark David Chapman is really safer behind bars than out on the streets. Which is sort of ironic, given Lennon's peace-nik nature. But you know that if Chapman ever gets out, it won't be long beofre another deranged Lennon fan takes him out.

    • Former Member of Teen Group 3LW Sues
      And not for "intentional infliction of emotional distress via mased potatoes," either. Naturi Naughton, a former member of the platinum-selling teen group 3LW, claims in a lawsuit that she was forced out of the R&B trio because she was not "ghetto enough." Obviously, we come a very long way from the days when Barry Gordy, Jr. sent his ghetto-born-and-raised Motown stars to finishing school. Anyway, Naughton filed a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Newark, NJ, the East Orange resident charging that manager Michelle Williams said Naughton "did not present the appropriate `project girl image,'" and berated her as "Ms. Two Parent Household." Fame watchers will note that Williams is the sister of 3LW member Kiely Williamsand we all know what happends when fame, money and family mix. Basically, lawsuits like this one. The lawsuit seeks an order terminating Naughton's contract with Nine Lives and Sony and compensation for loss of income from the conduct of the defendants.

    • Whitney Houston Sued For $100 Million By Dad's Company
      Money, fame and family do not mix-- part II. Whitney Houston turned to her dad's company to help her get out of her pot bust and get a new recording contract. Now they want to get paid. It might be an awkward Thanksgiving at the Houston home this year.

    • Rhapsody Inks Distribution Deal
      Good news for my former co-workers at The pact makes their Rhapsody product's on-demand streams available to Verizon's 1.5 million DSL customers in the U.S. Service offers music from all five major record labels for a flat fee of $9.95 a month. Verizon is the fourth Internet access provider to sign on with Listen-- who also has similar deals with cable Internet providers Charter Communications and AOL Time Warner's Road Runner, as well as satellite broadcaster DirecTV.

    • Deja Feud: Jay-Z, Toni Braxton Tracks Sample Same Tupac Song
      Whoops. And since the Braxton song was produced by Irv Gotti, closely associated with Jay-Z via DefJam, Braxton is claiming that Jay-Z jacked her jack of 2Pac's "Me & My Girlfriend." People, people, there are more than enough beats to go around! Expand your horizons! Get some new producers!

    • Britney, Bono, No Doubt To Pay Tribute To Elvis On TV Special
      Britney Spears, Bono, No Doubt, Tom Petty, Sheryl Crow and Dave Matthews are slated to appear on the upcoming NBC special "Elvis Lives." The hour-long show, set to air in later this year and will celebrate Presley’s legacy with performances of classic songs and clips of celebrites gushing about how great he was. Is this celebration necessacary? Is the Elvis legacy really in danger of falling by the way side? Has Britney Spears ever sat through one Elvis movie? (Of course not, other wise she would've never made "Crossroads")

    • Cypress Hill DJ, Buckcherry Singer Team Up For Ambient LP
      DJ Muggs's first proper solo album (not counting collabs and the Soul Assassins series) is coming out in April and is lookng to be an experimental mindbender. Other contributors aside from ex-Buckcherry singer Josh Todd are Everlast and former Afghan Whigs singer Greg Dulli. The album, currently titled Dust is due in April.

    • Wonder, DMX To Rock For Artists' Rights
      Stevie Wonder, DMX, Roberta Flack, Faith Evans, Hezekiah Walker, Montell Jordan, Naughty By Nature, Scarface and Najee will perform at an Oct. 28 benefit concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York sponsored by the Artist Empowerment Coalition (AEC). The show will raise money for the AEC's artist-empowerment agenda, which includes educating the public about music-industry issues such as recording contract limitations, pensions and health benefits for artists, and ownership of masters and publishing.

    • Kurupt Responds To Snoop Dogg And Daz
      And not even with a dis song, really. Snoop Dogg and Daz Dillinger have been critical in the press and on wax about Kurupt's decision to work with Suge Knight's Tha Row Records. Kurupt's response song basically says "I can't believe you guys are taking a business decision so personally. I still love you, so chill."

    • Microsoft Nixes TV Copy Protection
      Bill Gateshas come to his senses and has struck a blow against the Big Media empire. Products running the Windows XP Media Center Edition will allow consumers to record TV shows to the computer's hard drive withoiut copy protection. Previously, Microsoft was bending to the will of Big Media and only allowing recorded shows to be displayed on the computer that recorded it. P.S.-- Microsoft still sucks.

    • Sad Media Consolidation News
      Cablevision Nears Agreement To Sell Bravo Channel to NBC means that you'l lbe able to catch all that great network TV programming more than once a week. Less choice on more channels. How is that even possible according to the laws of physics? Weird.

    posted by Randy on 3:09 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Tuesday, October 08, 2002

    DJ MC Hesher News: Tonight!!! I will be spinning at "3: Art, DJ & Live Music" @ Club Galia in San Francisco. I'll be spinning funk, soul & hip-hop from 6 - 8 pm, between bands and then from 11- Midnight. Come on out if you can! Holla at a playa if you come!

    • House Votes for Webcasters' Reprieve
      This is good news for a few reasons. Most importantly, it gives "small webcasters" a way out of paying the huge royalties they would owe, instead allowing them to pay a percentage of their expenses or revenue, whichever is greater. Secondly, it puts off all royalty payments for a few months while the rate is hashed out in the courts. The downside of this bill is that college stations do not count as "small broadcasters," so many college radio stations will have to not broadcast on the web unless they work something out.

    • EU Commission Opens Up Web Music Broadcast Market
      The European Commission has approved plans to break open the market for Web broadcasting rights, allowing broadcasters a "one-stop shop" license to be valid across 18 countries. In the current system, broadcasters need to secure a license from each national copyright administration and collecting societies. The new marketplace will extend to all 15 nations of the European Union. Also covered: the neighboring European Economic Area (EEA), which includes Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein and collecting societies from central and eastern Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and New Zealand.

    • Pigs Might Fly Before Pink Floyd Reunites
      Excellent news. Go out with some dignity! You can do it!

    posted by Randy on 12:01 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Monday, October 07, 2002

    Happy Rocktober Everyone!!!!

    DJ MC Hesher News: My next gig will be at "3: Art, DJ & Live Music" @ Club Galia in San Francisco on Oct. 8, 2002 (tomorrow night!). I'll be spinning funk, soul & hip-hop from 6 - 8 pm, between bands and then from 11- Midnight. Come on out if you can!

    • Judge Brands Song Swap Laws 'Unclear'
      District Judge John D Bates was hearing a test case brought by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) against Verizon, trying to compel the communications giant to reveal the identity of a subscriber who allegedly used its services to trade copyrighted songs. Congress "could have made this statute clearer," he said. "This statute is not organised as being consistent with the argument for either side."

    • How Courtney Love Lost Her Leverage, Settled Suit
      In the shortest of terms: she was out-foxed, out-spent and fell for a deal in whichg she gets a big advance against Nirvana's future royalties. Given the sales of her last album, Universal Music is probably more than happy to give her control of unreleased Hole music-- not such a hot market for them anyway.

    • Music Industry in Global Fight on Web Copies
      It's the age old question (well the Internet-age old question): How effective are United States laws against a company that enters the country only virtually? A group of recording and motion picture companies has asked a federal judge to find the custodians of KaZaA liable for contributing to copyright infringement and financially benefiting from it. If the group wins, it plans to demand an immediate injunction. Sharman Networks would then have to stop distributing KaZaA or alter the program to block copyrighted material, which it says is not possible because of how its technology works. Not to mention he effects this court rueling may have on worldwide users of the system. Peep the rest of the above linked New York Times article for a pretty thorough look at the issues here.

    • Web Royalty Rate Deal Reached
      The deal would allow samll webcasters to pay less than big webcasters-- 8 to 12 percent of revune instead of a per-listener-per-song charge.. Except-- surprise, surprise-- the R.I.A.A. snuk in some onerous language at the last minute. The new deal states that legal fees will be taken out of royalties and it makes no guarantee that musicians will then be paid directly. Artists may object to this new agreement, sez this story.

    • Bon Jovi Album to Be Released
      Bummer. Universal Music Group convinced a U.S. District Court judge in New York not to issues an injunction requested by DownloadCard Inc., a New York company that markets the technology behind online promotional programs, to stop the release of the album becuase it allegedly copies one of their promotional technologies. The judge let the CD come up but did rule that DownloadCard raised serious enough questions for a jury to decide at trial. The controversial technology at hand? Users can enter an excluseve PIN number at a web-site to get Bon Jovi e-mails and stuff like that. Very cutting edge stuff.

    • Posthumous CD Planned For Aaliyah
      Odds and sods-- not a complete new set. The as-yet-untitled new CD, due to be released by Blackground Records and Universal in November, will feature an undetermined number of new Aaliyah songs, as well as old hits such as "Try Again" and remixes of other songs in her catalog.

    • Wallflowers Enlist Former Buckcherry Guitarist
      But don't expect too many changes in The Wallflowers's sound. As frontman Jakob Dylan points out in the above linked story, "There's probably not a guitar solo on the record," and that won't change much during the live shows.

    • Jay-Z Gives The 'Gift' That Keeps On Giving
      The Blueprint II: The Gift and the Curse hits stores on Nov. 5, with appearances by Beyonce Knowles of Destiny's Child, Dr. Dre, Rakim, The Neptunes'/N*E*R*D's Pharrell Williams, Truth Hurts, Lenny Kravitz and M.O.P.. Most interesting to me in this story: this will be DefJam's first 2 CD set (excluding boxed sets, of course).

    • Snoop Says, 'It Is Cool To Say No To Drugs'
      The apocalypse continues! More notable in this story: Paid Tha Cost to Be Da Boss hits stores on November 26 and features appearances by DJ Premier, Hi-Tek, Ludacris, Redman, Lady of Rage (don't call it a comeback!), Jay-Z , Nate Dogg, Soopafly and producer Just Blaze. Snoop: "I'm 30 years old, and as you get older you get wiser, and that's what it's all about," he continued. "No, I don't have lung cancer, and I don't have throat cancer. I wanted to become a better Snoop Dogg, feelin' good, full of water, proteins, cholesterols and all kinds of stuff to keep me alive — lollipops and Big Macs."

    • DJ Quick Quits Hip Hop!
      Well, sort of. Like Snoop, he's older and wiser now and is gonna keep a lower profile. Just producing from now on. Though loyal readers will remember Rocktober's Rule of Rock: Never believe an artist who says they are going to retire. They always come back-- or at least try to.

    • Costello Reissues Roll On
      Due Nov. 19, Rhino's re-issues of 1979's Armed Forces, 1982's Imperial Bedroom and 1991's Mighty Like a Rose will all be released as two-disc sets -- one featuring a remixed and remastered version of the original album, the other filled with bonuses including B-sides, live material, and demo recordings. Each title will also include new detailed liner notes penned by the artist and lyrics for all of the songs.

    • Cold Crush Brother Passes Away At The Young Age of 38
      R.I.P. to Eric Hoskins, a.k.a. Money Ray, one of the legendary Cold Crush Brothers. Originally a dancer with the group (known as one of "The Smurf Twins") he eventually started rhyming along side the hip-hop innovators. He succumbed to cancer on Thursday, October 3.

    posted by Randy on 12:44 PM | permanent link to this entry

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