Friday, May 23, 2003
- A Family Album L.A. Times registration required)
The L.A. Times looks at Neil Young's forthcoming Greendale, a rock opera of sorts about a Northern California family-- wait, they describe it better than I ever could: "t tells the fictional story of the Green family and its small town on the Northern California coast -- picket fences, drug dealing, cop killing, media invasions, corporate destruction of the environment and infringement of basic freedoms via the Patriot Act (not to mention the devil, who happens to be a local resident, doing his worst on all fronts)."
Greendale is due to be released in August. Starting on June 15, Neil Young's website will strea, a track per week with background on the whole world of Greendale, including character biographies and family trees.
- Last Stop Before the Media Monopoly
Salon summarizes the landscape in the days before the F.C.C. issues its new meida regualtion rules.
- Judge to Rule on Music Settlement Case
If you signed up to get your settlement money from the R.I.A.A. and friends (and if you didn't, it's too late now), you're one step closer to getting it. About $12.60 will be coming to you within weeks of the settlement's approval. The industry will also be donating 5.6 million music CDs to libraries and schools throughout the nation-- giving the recording industry an easy way to unload things like the Glitter Soundtrack and Shaq-Fu: Da Return
- Dr. Dre's Mother Arrested in Gun Assault
As Jeff Foxworthy might say: "If your 54-year-old mother settles disputes by busting caps, you may be a gangsta."
- New Tell-All Book On Elvis' Manager Due In July
July 15, to be percise. I think this is the first book to really dig deep into Col. Tom Parker's life. In the book, author Alanna Nash alleges that killed a woman in Holland and illegally entered the U.S. the next day. Then he joined the army but was discharged for psychosis, psychogenic depression and emotional instability. All that before he met The King. Pre-order The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley by clicking here. It sounds like a real page turner.
- Onyx Group Member Succumbs To Cancer
Original Onyx member Big DSsuccumbed to cancer on May 22. He appeared on their first single "Ah, and We Do It Like This" and on Bacdafucup. R.I.P from all of us here at Rocktober.com
This blog won't be updated until Tuesday, May 27. After that, I'll be posting for two days before heading off on a vacation starting on Thursday, May 29. I will return to full time blogging-- tanned, rested and ready-- on June 16.
posted by Randy on 11:32 AM |
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Thursday, May 22, 2003
posted by Randy on 1:37 PM |
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- Ruben Studdard Crowned New 'American Idol'
And is it just me or did last year's winner Kelly Clarkston stink up the joint last night? Anyway-- hooray for Ruben! Look for Clay on Broadway in the next few years in an attempt to get the kids back to the theatre.
- Dixie Chicks Booed, Snubbed at Country Music Show
I wondered if that was gonna happen. Although it is notable that crossover Stepford Country artists Shania Twain and Faith Hill also walked away from the Country Music Awards empty handed.
- Dylan to give Scorsese interview
It won't be an interview about his whole life-- just Bob Dylan's mid-1960s transition from folk hero to fully fledged rock star. Still, getting him to talk about it on the record in a major coup. The doc will also feature lots of previously unseen concert footage.
- Bronfman Eyes Vivendi's Assets in U.S.
Edgar Bronfman Jr., the man who sold Universal to Vivendi in the first place, now wants to buy it back. Partners in his bid will likely include New York-based cable operator Cablevision Systems. Bronfman faces competition from U.S. billionaire Marvin Davis, Liberty Media Corp., MGM, General Electric Co, and Viacom Inc..
- He's No. 1, 2, 3 and Fancy-Free (L.A. Times registration required)
Speaking of VivendiUniversal's woes.. Jimmy Iovine, head of Vivendi Universal's Interscope Group, is nearing the end of his contract. Negotiations are difficult because the future of the company is up in the air. Same goes for IslandDefJam chief Lyor Cohen. If either of those two guys left, it would cause quite a shake up for the company. Yet with the company possibly on the sales block, it is hard for VU to reassure these guys as to what will happen in the future.
- More On The Media Consolidation Beat
-Watchdog Group Says FCC Too Cozy with Industry: In a report, The Center for Public Integrity says that Federal Communications Commission officials have taken more than 2,500 trips since 1995 that were mostly paid for by the industries the agency regulates. For it's part, the FCC says they have a small budget and need the trips to get an "outside-the-beltway" perspective. The report also points out just how concentrated the media is and offers a link to Well Connected, a database showing who owns what in the industries the FCC regulates.
-The Great Media Gulp (NY Times registration required): Very nice William Safire piece pointing out just what is at stake if the FCC relaxes media ownership rules.
-Could the FCC Play a Different Tune?: Steven Pearlstein of The Washington Post sees some good and some bad about the forthcoming FCC rule changes, but he nails it near the end-- "At the same time, I think the ownership debate misses the real issue, which is that the FCC has abdicated its statutory responsibility to ensure that television and radio stations operate in the public interest."
-Time May Be Right for Music Mergers > (L.A. Times registration required): Some in the record industry seems to think that between their collapsing profits and the pro-consolidation Bush administration, the time may now be right for a mega merger between the music wings of by AOL Time Warner Inc. and Bertelsmann.
-Can the Web beat Big Media?
Good Salon piece about FCC chairman Michael Powell's misguided belief that the web offers the diversity needed to justify the loosening of the media ownership regualtions. The short version of why he's wrong: 1) Not enough people get their news from the Internet and 2) The most popular news sites are owned by the same companies that wold benefit from media deregulation.
-The Big Blackout
Salon offers a very sobering look at exactly how little the broadcast media has covered the forthcoming changes to the media ownership rules. Saddest part-- many of the players say they are planning coverage around the June 2 release of the rules-- which is no good to anyone who wants to know what their government is planning to do and wants to comment on it.
-The Faint, Fading Voice of the Left: Thane Peterson points out in Business Week that the media consolidation we already have has led to a loss of diverse voices and choices on the national stage.
- P.O.D. To Tour With Metallica Next Winter?
The headline somehow gives hope, but the actual article just features specualtion. However, the article does note that P.O.D. were offered a slot on the forthcoming Summer Sanatarium tour. Loyal readers of this blog will note that they stand along side Sum 41 and Godsmack as artists who turned 'em down
- Joe Budden Facing Throat Surgery
Interestingly enough, there are no plans to push back his self titled debut, which is due in stores on June 10. How's he gonna promote it with no voice? Click here to pre-order Joe Budden.
- 'SMILE' - IT'S BRIAN!
Brian Wilson is set to perform The Beach Boys' legendary unreleased (well, until recently) masterpiece Smile in its entirety on a Feb./Mar. UK tour next year. The legend of the album is that Wilson was working on it with The Beach Boys but then abandoned the project after he heard The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonley Hearts Club Band and retreated into a world of drugs and psychological breakdowns.
- Sean Paul, Dre Join Blu
Guests on Bittersweet, the second album from Blu Cantrell due in stores on June 24th: Sean Paul on the Dr. Dre produced "Breathe," Lil' Kim and Fat Joe on "Impatient," Missy Elliott, Lady May, and Ian Lewis of Inner Circle. Pre-order Bittersweet by clicking here.
- So What Do You Do, Sia Michel?
Interesting interview with Sia Michel, the Editor-In-Chief of SPIN. The good news is that they're gonna cut down on the covers of non-SPIN-like artists like Creed and Matchbox 20, but the bad news is that they're probably still gonna run "list" issues on the somewhat regular tip. The other interesting part of the interview finds Michel saying that Internet file trading as allowed SPIN to cover a lot more bands since it is easier for readers to get their hands on the music.
- Afro Man pulls a Mason Betha!
Afroman-- following the lead of Ma$e, Mia-X, and Gangsta Boo (among others)-- has found The Lord. Any rapping he does in the future will be in an effort to spread The Word. "Seriously," he says, I'"m a new person. In Christianity, we have to glorify God. Afro Man was glorifying myself."
- 1984 BBC Documentary About the History of Hip-Hop.
Holy moses, what a document. Excellent vintage footage. Set aside some time for yourself to watch it. It[s in QuickTime format, by the way, and is divided up into easy to digest sections. (via Sharpeworld)
- Scour (Finally) Officially Bites The Dust
One time Napster competitor Scour is no more-- unless someone buys the technology in bankruptcy proceedings for Centerspan Communications Corp. The grim details are here and here
Way back in the day, the original Scour team flew me down to L.A. from San Francisco to interview me about an editorial position. This was in their pre-file sharing phase, when they made software that searched the web and FTP sites for MP3s. They went with another candidate. In fact, that year I interviewed with three companies in L.A. for similar positions and sisn't get one of 'em. And you know where those companies are now? Out of business. Suckers.
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
You know sometimes you'll come across a page on a test or a voter's education book or something that reads "THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK"? That's how you should ready my blog entry today. Work calls, and then I'm gonna update all those links on the right hand navagation bar. So, this update is not an update. In other words: THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK
Oh wait, I have to share this. It comes from yesterday's White House press briefing
. This is blog usually a war on terorism free zone, but when I saw it on the news last night I had to share it:
Now, the Democrats recently have been attacking the President on this issue of the focus on the war in Iraq, took his focus off, or took his eye off the ball when it came to al Qaeda, and that in pursuing the war in Iraq, it allowed al Qaeda to reconstitute itself while the U.S. focus was turned elsewhere. Was that a fair statement?
Well, I think the President understands that there are a group of officials who are vying to become the Commander-in-Chief, who will say things that bear no bearing on reality on the international situation, on the security situation. He's focused more on his ongoing mission of providing national security to this country, in a very dangerous world, a world that he clearly understands.
And I don't think you have to be a student of international affairs to know prior to the war in Iraq, we had an enemy who hit us. We have an enemy who hit -- tried to hit us during the war; we have an enemy that wants to hit us after the war. That's what the President is focused on. That's why the meetings are underway. And that's why the President will continue to remind the American people that this is, indeed, a long war against terror, a war that carries risks not only to Americans abroad, but to Americans at home.
But when he said on board the USS Lincoln that the tide was turning in the war on terror --
-- was that premature?
No, I think there's no question that the tide is turning, and as the President said, al Qaeda is diminished, but is not destroyed. Tides that turn also have a way of trying to return so they can continue to spread whatever waves they can. And that is why there is an ebb and flow to wars. There is a battle rhythm to wars. And in this long battle against terrorism, the United States has been very successful in rounding up and arresting such prominent leaders of the al Qaeda organization as Khalid Sheik Mohammed, many of the other top operators around the world. The fact of the matter is, the situation has been made much more dire, much more difficult for the terrorists, but it is not impossible for the terrorists.
"Tides that turn also have a way of trying to return so they can continue to spread whatever waves they can." Amazing. So, what exactly then was the big reason GWB had to make a big deal about landing on an aircraft carrier to say the tide had turned? To tell terrorists that if they paddle out a little further, they might catch The Big Kahuna?
Sorry. Back to the music tomorrow. Remember : THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK
posted by Randy on 10:04 AM |
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Tuesday, May 20, 2003
posted by Randy on 12:50 PM |
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- Shaping Cultural Tastes at Big Retail Chains (NY Times registration required)
When folks who read (and, hell, write for) The New York Times are baffled at charges that they are cultural elietists, they should remember the above linked article as a prime example of what they are being accused of. In this age of the internet and so many entertainment distribution options, I find it a little bit hard to get worked up about the fact that Wal-Mart stocks its shelves with stuff that sells to conservitive Christians and the familes that love them. Basic economics at work, here-- 1) give the people what they want, 2) It's easier and more profitable to sell 3 brands of wigets that 10 brands of wigets and 3) Stock it deep, sell it cheap. If someone wants a copy of Michael Savage's latest book, they go to Wal-Mart. If you need Too $hort's latest collection of songs about blow jobs, go to Amazon. Vote with your feet.
- EMI Returns to Profit in Latest Year
How did they do it? Basic economics-- cut overhead, cut your product line and pump up the products that are doing well. They're still in a sales slump, but now they're making money at it. But then again: EMI Bent on Making Robbie Williams a Star in U.S.. *Sigh*
- Plan Could Signal End Of MCA Brand
Check out this history:
"MCA (Music Corporation of America) was founded in 1924 by Jules Stein as a Chicago talent agency (Lew Wasserman joined the company in 1936). In 1949, MCA began producing TV shows under its Revue Prods. banner. By the late '50s, MCA had acquired Universal Studiosand gone public as MCA Inc.
In 1962, MCA Inc. acquired Decca Records, which turned into MCA Records in 1973. During the next few decades, MCA Inc. acquired ABC Records, Chess Records, and Geffen Records to form MCA Music Entertainment Group. After Seagram acquired MCA Inc. in 1995, MCA Inc. was renamed Universal Studios and the MCA Music Entertainment Group was renamed Universal Music Group. In 1999, MCA Music Publishing was renamed Universal Music Publishing. MCA Records is the last company to bear the MCA name."
The current plan is to eliminate the MCA Records brand and move the majority of the label's staff and some of the roster under the banner of fellow Universal Music Group label Geffen Records. What killed MCA (aside from all those mergers and acquisitions)? Lackluster sales for Shaggy's Lucky Day.
- Magazine Flap Rocks Jazz Circles (LA Timesregistration required)
Stanley Crouch's column in Jazz Times has been terminated following the publication of the magazine's April issue, in which Crouch wrote that white critics have elevated white jazz musicians "far beyond their abilities in order to allow white writers to make themselves feel more comfortable about evaluating an art from which they feel substantially alienated." "We discontinued the column because it had become tedious.," says publisher Lee Mergner.
- Fountains of Wayne deliver new album, tour
Welcome Interstate Managers is due on June 10, 2003-- which you can pre-order by clicking here. The tour starts July 3 in Milwaukee, WI and criss-crosses North America until it winds up July 28 in Anaheim, CA.
- Rollins Band tour to benefit West Memphis Three investigation
You know The West Memphis Three-- the three teen-aged Metallica fans who were convicted for murdering three kids on May 5th, 1993 (basically) because they were heavy metal fans who wore balck. Peep Paradise Lost I and Paradise Lost II if you don't know about this case. Anyway-- this summer's Rollins Band tour will benefit the WM3 Defense Fund, and will help to pay for DNA testing on evidence collected at the time of the murders. Also along for the ride-- original Black Flagsinger Keith Morris. The tour starts June 1 in Tempe, Ariz. and travels the U.S. until the last show on June 26 in denver, Colo.
Monday, May 19, 2003
posted by Randy on 12:44 PM |
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- Roxio Acquires PressPlay as the Foundation for the Re-Launch of Napster®
The success of the Apple Music Store has apparently moved former PressPlay owners Sony and Universal to sell to someone who has an idea as to what they're doing. It will now be a race between Napster and Apple to be the first to get a legal music-via-the-internet distribution system to the PC market.
- Psyop: The Love’s Not Mutual
U.S. military units in Iraq have been breaking Saddam supporters with long sessions in which they’re forced to listen to heavy-metal and children’s songs. The hit parade:
"Bodies"- Drowning Pool (the article specifically mentions the re-mix of it on the XXX Soundtrack)
"Enter Sandman"- Metallica
Sesame Street Theme"
Best quote: "These people haven't heard heavy metal before. Thet can't take it."
Remember when the U.S. Military blasted rock music at General Manuel Noriega when he took refuge in the Papal Nuncio's residence in Panama City? Here's the document outling what they played. (start at page 4 for the list of songs). A lot of the selections are jungle themed or have titles abour war or vengence, but considering he was in a Papal residence, "Crying In The Chapel" by Brenda Lee is a pretty good choice.
- Scott Weiland Arrested For Drugs
As the new lead singer for what used to be Guns N' Roses, he really was only doing his civic duty. Considering Weiland's previous work in this field, however, the news of this arrest is pretty sad. Everyone here at Rocktober.com hopes he gets better soon.
- Barry White's Family Confirms Stroke
The R&B legend has been battling kidney failure since last fall, but he a new health setback on May 1 with a speech-impairing stroke which also affected the right side of his body. Everyone here at Rocktober.com sends our best wishes and most positive thoughts to White and his family. Show your love (and we mean love) and pick up some Barry White today!
- Chemical Bros. Turn 10 On CD/DVD
In September, "big beat" electronica group The Chemical Brothers will release a double-disc retrospective album which will consist of a singles disc with two brand new songs and another disc of rare cuts and remixes. You can enter your suggestions for the discs at their official site. They will release a DVD at the same time, which will feature their videos and some live performances.
- Macy Gets Animated
Macy Gray will executive produce, provide vocals for the lead character and compose original music for "A Pretty Good Life," a new cartoon series based upon her childhood experiences. It will revolve around a multiracial group of children growing up in Los Angeles-- which means lots of musical interludes a la "Fat Albert," I'm assuming. Probably not a lot of dope smoking, pill popping and huffing, though. Macy Gray's The Trouble With Being Myself comes out on July 15, 2003. Click here to pre-order!
- Rap, Hip-Hop Acts AWOL in Iraq
The USO is busy organizing a celebrity tour that's expected to hit the Middle East in late June but has thus far neglected to sign up a single hip-hop artist. Between the bulk of popular artists not being exactly family friendly, the hip-hop community's views on the war and the posse most rappers travel with, this shouldn't come as much of a surprise. It is a disapointment, but not a surprise.
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