Why Don't You Just Send A Barbershop Quartet Over To Hum It For Me?
Epic Records recently sent out review copies of the new Pearl Jam and Tori Amos records. Reviewers were initially delighted to discover that copies of Riot Act and Scarlet's Walk (respectively) included a free CD player and headphones. Their joy was short-lived when they discovered that the review copies of the CD were actually sealed inside the CD player. The headphones were also glued to the output jack to prevent those pesky music thieves from attaching some other type of recording device to the output jack. The intent of this "high-tech" security system is to prevent the availability of pirated copies of the music on Internet file-sharing systems before the actual release date of the records.
This is the best security that the recording industry has to offer. Instead of a black Sharpie, your five-year-old will need a claw hammer to bypass this system. Total cost to circumvent? Less than $5 at your local Home Depot.
They still haven't got a clue, do they?
The Nuge: Keeping It Real
Lance Bass, one of the *NSync lads who isn't troubled with visions of a solo career, has been trying to get into space. He's been at Russia's Star City cosmonaut training center since July, preparing to be the youngest person (at 23) to venture into space. On September 3rd, the Russian Space Agency Rosaviakosmos officially denied Bass' presence on the October flight. Apparently a number of payments against the $20 million fee that his sponsers were being socked with had been missed.
But don't be sad for Lance. Ted Nugent, guitar hero to thousands of hormonally charged lads and candid outdoorsman, has stepped forward with a deal that is almost too sweet to pass up. "Bass needs to quit worrying about going into outer space and embrace and celebrate life by learning how to kill his own food," Nugent said in a release. "A slab of flesh on the back of a deer is the finest source of protein on the planet." Nugent has offered to Bass a crash course in bow-hunting at his Michigan ranch for the modest price of $1 million. The offer includes a week of practical application of said skills "where he'll be taught a greater appreciation for nature and gravity as he hunts, kills, cleans and cooks for himself."
The 53-year-old rocker, anticipating the shrewd bargaining skills of Bass' handlers, has already sweetened the deal by offering a number of free guitar lessons. Nugent, author of God, Guns & Rock 'n' Roll and Kill it and Grill It: A Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish, can probably be convinced to throw in a few signed copies of his books as well.
Jill Fritzo, Lance Bass' publicist, has made no comment about her client's interest in the great outdoors. Both she and David Krieff, the television producer who had planned to document Bass' journey into space, are still hoping to find a way to get Bass in space.
The Last Days of Warren Zevon
Satirical songwriter Warren Zevon has terminal lung cancer. The publicist for the 55-year-old musician says that Zevon was recently informed by his doctor that the cancer has spread to an untreatable level. Naturally, no one has made any morbid predictions as to the amount of time that Zevon has left, but word is that he is spending his remaining time with his family and in the studio, working and recording as long as he is able.
"I'm okay with it, but it'll be a drag if I don't make it till the next James Bond movie comes out," he says.
Seeing as how Die Another Day, the 21st James Bond film, is scheduled to be released in the United Sates before Thanksgiving this year, we here at eP would like to think that he meant to say "the next GOOD James Bond film." Which, if the last one was any indicator, could be many years yet.
Warren Zevon has been releasing records since 1976, and hit cult status in 1978 with Exciteable Boy which contained the enduring hits: "Werewolves of London," "Lawyers, Guns & Money" and the title track. Though his career never quite achieved the same level as success as this record, he continued to release music through the 1980s and 1990s, receiving continual nods from critics and admiration from a number of his peers who have joined him in collaborations on his last few records. He has flirted with darkly comic themes throughout his career, most notably on 1991's Mr. Bad Example, 2000's Life'll Kill Ya, and the recently released, My Ride's Here.
A greatest hits package, Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon, is scheduled for release on Rhino Records on October 15th.
Smash Hammer Here
For those who wish to participate in a little industrial deconstruction, Einstürzende Neubauten are offered unpreceded access to the creative process. They arrived on the web at http://www.neubauten.org last month with a personalized message from front-man Blixa Bargeld. Einstürzende Neubauten is looking to finance their next record without the assistance of (or, as some may read it, the interference from and subservience to) a major record label. They are turning to the fans for assistance and, through the website, you may directly contribute to the process of the next record.
What does cold cash get you? Quite a lot say those who have already signed up. In addition to a special Internet-only version of the finished record, friends of Neubauten will also receive access to audio and video streams of the creative process. Apparently, the noisemakers in Germany have been busy and there is already more than a 100 hours of material available.
Supporters will also receive access to message boards and chat areas where band members will participate (and have done so with regularity) in discussions and forums. You will also receive a personalized email account (email@example.com) as well as the delight of being part of the process. More importantly, the cash coming in to this project will not only fund the recording process, but will allow the band to build up their servers and bandwidth capability. The bigger the pipe and the larger the resevoir behind it only means more good stuff for you.
And, if that wasn't enough to get you to clicky-click over there, the band is preparing four of their records from the Some Bizarre era for digital distribution. Since the band apparently has never been paid for these records, they don't quite see the point of having their fan base pay out cash for records from which they've not seen any monies. These records are: Zeichnungen des Patienten O.T., Halber Mensch, Fuenf auf der nach oben offenen Richterskala, and Haus der Lüge. High quality art will be made available as well.
This is the future, boys and girls. Direct access to your favorite recording artists and every dime that you spend on them going directly to the creative process. If you have any interest in Einstürzende Neubauten, please drop by and look around. Consider funding the art instead of the corporate hierarchy.
Yeah, But What Happens If You Forget Where You Put Your Car Keys?
Beanie Siegel, with the assistance of Roc-A-Fella and designers from Roc-A-Wear, has launched a new clothing line called State Property Wear. The 'too cool for school' aspect of Siegel's contribution to hip-hop fashion is pockets. Lots of 'em. And they are all hidden.
"You know how you put your gun in your waistline and you gotta worry about it slipping? With these clothes, you don't got to worry about that. It's already in there," Siegel told AllHipHop.com. "You ever been on the block and everybody was like hustling and you had your pack stashed in a phone booth or something like that and you got to go get to it? With these clothes you don't have to worry about going to the phone booth and all that," he said. "Then you can stand there and don't worry about having to run from the police neither, because State Property can stand the search."
But it is an everyday kind of wear as well, the kind of thing that Seigel says "you'll see ya pop throw on in the morning before he go to work, but he does construction, move furniture, whatever." State Property Wear will have a number of hidden pockets strewn about, pockets within pockets, pockets behind pockets -- an endless permutation of pockets. Siegel has said that he'll change the location and nature of the pockets on a regular basis in order to confuse police.
All of his clothing however will bear his distinctive logo: a stylized "S" intertwined with a "P." "We made the clothes so hot, we shouldn't even discuss it, because it would be defeating the purpose," Siegel said.
You think? But then how would your market know to distinguish one brand of hidden pocket clothing from cheap imitations?
All's Well That, Well, Ends
Courtney Love recently announced on the Howard Stern Show that all has been resolved in the legal dust-up which has been going on between herself and the surviving members of Nirvana, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic. Love and the rhythm section of Nirvana have been battling it out over the contents of a greatest hits record of the seminal band, which included lyricist and front-man Kurt Cobain who ended his own life in 1994. One of the spots of contention appeared to be the inclusion of a "new" Nirvana song entitled "You Know You're Right." With the legal tug-of-war resolved, plans for the greatest hits record are proceeding and the record should be in stores in time for Christmas. No word yet on whether or not "You Know You're Right" will be included.
Courtney Love's conflict with Universal Music Group has also be resolved. Love, who had been fighting the indentured nature of her contract with the music conglomerate, had invoked a seven-year limitation statute in order to be released from her shackled existence with UMG. Love has another record in the hopper, which could be out by the end of the year as well, but it would be, as she says, "stupid to compete with Kurt."
UMG has made no comment about the details of the settlement nor announced a release date for Love's record.
You know? It's almost not news. Nirvana gets a greatest hits record for those eight people who haven't already bought either Nevermind or In Utero and Courtney Love gets to release another album for, well, those eight people who've been waiting patiently for that opus. We're almost sorry it has been all resolved because, frankly, watching the two sides battle it out has been unintentionally entertaining especially when Courtney Love who, when she argued that Grohl and Novoselic took advantage of her mental state ("addled" as she was by grief and drugs) to force her into a partnership over the Nirvana assets, was asked for a psychological examination to determine if she was, indeed, still out of her head.
The judge, once he finished laughing his ass off in his chambers, rather sternly told both sides to cool it with the shenanigans and stop screwing around. Apparently, they've done so.
Grohl has continued to work as a musician since the dissolution of Nirvana, putting out several well received albums under his Foo Fighters moniker. He recently lent his drum skills to the Queens of the Stone Age rocker, Songs for the Deaf. Novoselic has remained active in struggle against the assinine leadership of Seattle who seem to have a pathological fear of kids getting together and having a good time. Novoselic was recently able to celebrate a victory for the younger generation when Seattle's repressive Teen Dance Ordiance was finally repealed and replaced with the All Ages Dance Ordinance.
Kids can dance again in Seattle. That's the real news.
Art on the Streets Again
In other Seattle news, another repressive ordinance from the Sidran years has been struck from the books. An eight-year-old ordinance against postering on telephone poles within the city limits of Seattle has been categorized as unconstitutional by the Washington State Court of Appeals.
The original poster ban, based on one written in Los Angeles during the 1980s, cited as its "significant interest" -- the detail which the state has to supply in order to limit free speech in public forums -- the concern over worker safety. Apparently the city of Seattle was concerned that its workers might run afoul of the tens of thousands of staples which would cover the telephone poles. The Washington State Court of Appeals found no evidence to support the claims of safety and the language banning the posters was not content neutral nor "narrowly tailored" enough as required by the state constitution.
The City of Seattle will, naturally, appeal the decision, but in the interim it is safe once again for free speech and advertisement to find its way to the street corner again. Independent bands across the Puget Sound area wasted no time in getting the word out.
Final George Harrison Album to be Released
Brainwashed will be released on November 18th. It is the posthumous release of the late George Harrison who died last year from cancer. George, fellow Willbury Jeff Lynne, and son Dhani Harrison had been quietly working on the 12 songs up until about two months before the former Beatles guitarist passed away. Eleven of the tracks are original compositions by George and, talking about the record, Lynne says, "George would come round my house and he always have a new song with him. He would strum them on a guitar or ukulele. The songs just knocked me out. George constantly talked about how he wanted the album to sound and there was always that spiritual energy that went into the lyrics as well as the music."
Brainwashed will be the first new material from George Harrison since 1987's Cloud Nine.
Quote of the month:
"Product consistency is essential in toothpaste and cheese; it's irrelevant in art." -- Colin Newman, head of the Swim label and member of seminal band, Wire.
Lights in the Sky
It was both the Autumnal Equinox and John Coltrane's birthday recently. The leaves are turning on the trees and the warmth of summer is quickly bleeding away. Another year -- a hard year in so many ways -- is drawing to a close and this is a good a time to take a few minutes for contemplation and spiritual consideration. John Coltrane would have been 76 this year. One of his great records, A Love Supreme, is still the perfect way to spent 38 minutes in blissful meditation as to what makes us all divine.