Favorite Search String of the Week
Favorite string typed into the Earpollution search engine recently: "Songs for Strippers." We aim to please.
Do I Have a Bid for $12 Million?
And there is, actually. Last time we checked eBay, the high bid for Eminem's childhood home was over the $12 million mark. Located in one of those soon-to-be trendy neighborhoods in Detroit, the house on Timken Avenue was recently put on the market and the listing found its way onto eBay. Boasting all the amenities of modern living (including a recently remodeled kitchen), this "cozy" (to use the real estate vernacular) cottage is a perfect get-away spot for, well, anyone who has more money than sense. The house is barely over 1,300 square feet, people! The real estate company bought it for $45,000 just a few weeks ago. It has four bedrooms the size of postage stamps.
I have only one question for the individual who will be winning the auction: How much gold plate were you planning on using to cover the house? No? You're going to leave it just the way it was, as a tribute to the tortured childhood which spawned such a major rap superstar? Right, right, how silly of us not to see the potential of owning such a site of holy pilgrimage.
When Gorillas Become Pop Stars
While we're on the subject of ways to spend your money, a mere $14 will net you a CD of songs penned by Koko, America's preeminent "talking" gorilla. Koko, who has mastered over 1,000 terms in American sign language, has put those signing skills to paper and has "penned" lyrics to songs for an album. While Koko herself won't be doing any of the actual singing (that is left for the more desperate and out of work musicians in the audience), she was given the opportunity to hear and chose which mix of the music she wanted to have on the album. The record, entitled Fine Animal Gorilla (Koko's name for herself), will be available directly from the foundation's web site (www.koko.org).
In their natural Central African habitat, lowland gorillas are constantly threatened by the destruction caused by logging as well as being terrorized by poachers. Their cousins, the mountain gorillas, are nearly extinct, numbering less than 500 individuals in the wild.
Hey, I have a crazy plan. Instead of spending $12 million on 4,000 square feet of overpriced real estate in Detroit, how about using the money to preserve the existence of an entire species of animal?
The Hard Life of a Devoted Fan
Guns 'n' Roses embarked on their first North American tour since man discovered fire. Of course, no G'n'R tour would be complete without a fine display of bad planning and egocentric behavior. The opening night show in Vancouver, British Columbia, did not take place as singer Axl Rose never even crossed the Canadian border. Details are sketchy, but apparently his plane encountered bad weather when attempting to leave Los Angeles. The rest of the band had been in town since the day before, busily rehearsing and preparing for the show. Management of GM Place, expressing apprehension about the delay as well as sticking to their policy concerning the timeliness of scheduled performances, decided to simply cancel the concert.
Can you guess what happened next? Yep, fans rioted. Vancouver police were asked to stop by with pepper spray and riot gear. Following a brief spurt of property damage, the gathered hooligans turned on the police and, once a roman candle was fired at the assembled officers, the crowd was swiftly dispersed by the tactical application of law enforcement bug spray.
The next performance at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington, went off without a hitch other than a persistent glitch with Axl's microphone and the trauma dealt to several fans when they realized Mr. Rose was sporting a girdle underneath his oversized sports jersey. It's to keep his ego in check, kids. Really, it is.
Guns 'n' Roses is touring in support of their new album, Chinese Democracy, which may or may not be released before democracy actually comes to China.
The Rough Life of Fandom, Part Two
As a counterpoint, we offer the story of a concert which took place in Bellevue, Washington, over the same weekend. La Banda El Recodo, nominated for 2002 artist of the year at the Billboard Latin Awards and known for their La Quebradita style, drew record crowds for their show at the Meydenbauer Center. While only half of the tickets for the 3,900 seat exhibition hall had been sold in advance, several thousand people arrived the evening of the show, hoping to get in. The remaining tickets quickly sold out and the assembled mob of irate concertgoers started to get fussy when it became clear that not everyone was going to be able to get into the venue. Bellevue police responded and, after listening to a number of disgruntled fans regale them with tragic tales of money wasted on clothing and food in preparation for the concert, told the mob to go home.
Which they did. Dry cleaning is expensive these days, and you know getting either blood or vomit out of silk is just impossible.
Apparently the World Isn't Big Enough for Both of Them
Bill Wyman, staff writer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently wrote a sidebar about a number of the Rolling Stones' records in conjunction with an article about the Atlanta show of the latest Rolling Stones tour. It was a succinct piece which shouldn't have ruffled anyone's feathers. Shortly afterward, to Wyman's surprise, he received a letter from attorney Howard Siegel, of Pryor Cashman Sherman & Flynn, New York City, requesting that he, Bill Wyman the writer, cease and desist using the name of Bill Wyman, the former bass player for the Rolling Stones.
Wyman the writer [See? It get confusing already.] has been writing about pop music for over 20 years (his first Rolling Stones concert review goes all the back to 1981) and even covered their '89, '94, and '97 tours. Wyman-the-writer and Wyman-the-bassist have even met on one or two occassions. All of this is apparently too much for Mr. Siegel, who feels the consternation visited upon the public by the existence of two Bill Wymans will endanger Wyman the bassist's ability to properly earn a living.
Bill Wyman the writer points out that "Bill Wyman" isn't even the real name of Bill Wyman the bass player. Born William George Perks, he first used the name "Bill Wyman" onstage in 1963 and legally adopted the name in 1964.
Bill Wyman the writer was born in 1961. Hopefully, his response letter to Pryor Cashman Sherman & Flynn will result in Bill Wyman the bass player changing his name to Bill "I've got new lawyers who are doing something useful for all the money I'm paying them" Wyman.
The Hearing Aid Music Foundation has completed a 15-minute educational film entitled "Listen Smart -- Safely Handling the Power of Sound." Created as a awareness tool about noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), the film encourages young adults (and probably the older, deafer ones as well) to be aware of the power of the decibel and shows them safe techniques for enjoying high decibel sound. A number of rock and roll luminaries such as Moby, Ozzy Osbourne, Brad Delson from Linkin Park, Wyclef Jean, Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Cyndi Lauper, Evan Seinfeld of Biohazard, Darren Hayes from Savage Garden, Deborah Harry of Blondie, producer Matthew Wilder, Tracy Bonham and entertainment impresario Russell Simmons take a few minutes to impress upon us the dangers and hazards of sticking your head in a speaker cone for extended periods of time.
The Better Hearing Institute estimates that over 28 million people in the United States suffer from some sort of hearing loss (that's about one in ten) while a recent article in Prevention Magazine states that one in five Americans suffer from that persistent ringing in the ears known as tinnitus.
Here at eP, I'm guessing the odds are a little higher than one in two. While it may be too late for us, there may still be time for you or someone you love to preserve those fine hairs in the ear canal. Drop the volume knob one click, gang.
Speaking of saying it loud and proud, Lemmy, lead singer of the world's "most outrageous and most excessive" heavy metal band Motörhead, has released his autobiography. Titled (naturally) Lemmy: The Autobiography, the book attempts to chronicle the legendary excesses of drugs and alcohol which have accompanied the band throughout their 22 years of existence. Lemmy, as it turns out, has a bit of a gift for story-telling, and his unpretentious attitude and wry sense of humor make the book a wildly entertaining read.
After you've gone deaf from too many Motörhead concerts, you've got some reading material to keep you occupied in your personalized cone of silence.
A Moment of Silence
The night before Halloween, Jam Master Jay, DJ of the rap group Run-DMC, was working at a recording studio in Queens, New York, when he was shot and killed by an unknown assailant. Jay and another man, Urieco Rincon, were taking a break from production work on a Rusty Waters record when two men, who had been buzzed in, entered the room and drew pistols. Jay was killed instantly and Rincon suffered a bullet in the leg. The two assailants escaped and, at this writing, are still at large.
Run-DMC was one of the first rap groups to become household names during the 1980s. The first rap band to release full albums instead of singles, Run-DMC achieved cross-over success with their cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" on their 1986 album, Raising Hell. Unlike other rap acts, Run-DMC attempted to inject a social consciousness into their work, calling for an end to prejudice, extolling young adults to stay in school and to get real educations, and constantly reminding their audience to respect each other.
In a moving tribute to their DJ, rappers Reverend Run and DMC announced that the band would be dissolved. "Run-DMC is officially retired," Run said at a press conference. "I can't get out onstage with a new DJ. Some rock bands can replace the drummer, but I don't know any other way but [to perform] with the three original members."
eP extends their condolences to the family of Jam Master Jay and hope that the perpetrators of this senseless crime will be sealed alive in a lead box with a sackful of voracious wolverines before being buried in the desert. But we realize that would be cruel and inhumane to the wolverines.
Quote of the Month
Constellation Records has posted a manifesto to their website. It begins: "Constellation began releasing experimental rock music in Montreal in 1997, seeking to enact a mode of cultural production that critiques the worst tendencies of the music industry, artistic commodification, and perhaps in some tiny way, the world at large. We have attempted to evolve one possible model for the recovery of an independent music ethic, hoping to summon some real sense of indie rock in spite of its reduction to a branded slogan through corporate co-optation, its laissez-faire attitude towards the market and the means of production, and all the facile irony that helps pave the path for these content-negating trends.."
This link will take you the rest. Go read, and show them the web traffic love. It is a worthy viewpoint, one that we can all aspire to whether we be musician, producer, distributor, reviewer, or consumer. Independent doesn't mean we have to make the journey alone.