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Alleged Zapata Murderer Arrested

On January 10, police in Marathon, Florida arrested 48-year-old Jesus C. Mezquia for the decade-old murder of Seattle punk icon, Mia Zapata, singer for local band The Gits. Zapata, 27 at the time, and her band were well known and well loved within the local music community. Having already released one full-length, (1992's Frenching the Bully), and having mostly completed its follow-up, the band seemed well on their way to garnering widespread attention.

Zapata was last seen on the night of July 6, 1993, when she left local pub The Comet, stopping off briefly at a friend's apartment, where she left at around 2:00am on July 7, saying she would catch a taxi home. At 3:20am her body was discovered on a dead-end street in an are of Seattle's Central District known for drugs and prostitution. She had been savagely beaten, raped (something the police wouldn't release for years), then finally killed with the drawstring of her hoodie, which happened to be a Gits sweatshirt.

Her body had been left in a crucifixion-style position, with her arms outstretched and legs crossed, leading many to speculate as to the meaning behind the religious pose. As /sept99/central/central.htm reported previously here, clinical psychologist and former Catholic seminary student Ed Schau believed Zapata had been murdered by the infamous Green River Killer -- Gary Leon Ridgway, now in custody and awaiting trial but then still unknown and uncaught -- who he believed was deeply versed in bible lore and left calling cards of his religious fanaticism at the sites of his murder victims. This would ultimately prove to be unfounded.

In the years following Zapata's death friends and members of the local music community invested time and money into everything from hiring a private investigator to consulting a psychic in the hopes her murderer would be captured. On a positive note, Home Alive was formed -- a Seattle-based organization focusing on providing affordable self-defense classes. Home Alive continues to this day to educate the public on issues of violence prevention.

Investigators had routinely run DNA evidence taken from Zapata's body through a national database, but it wasn't until last December when members from the Seattle Police "Cold Case Squad" would find the long sought after lead when Mezquia was forced to submit DNA to the database because of a previous conviction. When the match came up, police verified that Mezquia had been in Seattle at the time, staked out his residence in the Florida Keys and finally made an arrest late on Friday, January 10. It is not believed that Mezquia, a native of Cuba with a long and detailed criminal history, knew Zapata personally. Investigators are calling it a "crime of opportunity." Mezquia is currently fighting extradition from Florida to Washington state.

While the capture of Jesus Mezquia is not reason for celebrating -- Mia Zapata is still dead -- it is cause for great relief as there's now finally some closure for her family and friends. Birthed from this tragedy, Home Alive continues to be a strong and vocal presence in the Seattle community. Not having a great deal of funds at their disposal at any given time, they are always in need of support. If you're looking to support a local charitable organization, Home Alive is one that certainly deserves some time and attention.

Rest in peace, Mia.

Settlement Entitles Music Buyers to $20

Did you happen to buy any music between January 1995 and December 2000? Of course you did. Do you want to make $20 for free? Of course you do. Well, because of a settlement stemming from a lawsuit between the Attorneys General of 43 states and some music biggies that centered around said music biggie defendants illegally raising the prices of music by implementing "Minimum Advertised Price" policies you, yes you the music buying public who purchased tunes between 1995 and 2000, are entitled to a settlement. No joke.

What qualifies you? "You are a member of the Settlement Group if you are a person (or entity) in the United States or its Territories and Possessions who purchased prerecorded Music Products, consisting of compact discs, cassettes and vinyl albums, from one or more retailers during the period January 1, 1995, through December 22, 2000."

Maximum payout: a measly $20, and you are only entitled to one settlement per person or business.

How do you do it? You can fill out an online claim form here: http://www.musiccdsettlement.com/english/default.htm.

But hurry! Online claim forms must be submitted by March 3, 2003.

Strummer Died from Rare Heart Disease

According to England's Mirror Joe Strummer died from a rare heart condition known as an intra-mural coronary artery. With only 50 recorded cases in the past four decades, the disease occurs when the heart's main blood vessels grow inside the muscle wall. Leave it to Joe to find an obtuse disease.

In other Strummer news, Mescaleros' guitarist Martin Slattery announced that the band will go back into the studio to finish up work on tracks that Strummer and his bandmates had been working on before his untimely death. Says Slattery, "There are definitely songs waiting to be finished, just in terms of production -- not in terms of lyrics, vocals and melody. I want it to be as close to what Joe wanted as possible. I think I know what that is." Slattery hopes the album can be finished and released by the end of this year.

And if you're looking for more goodwill to donate, Future Forests is a U.K.-based organization dedicated to planting trees to help absorb carbon dioxide emissions (the main cause of global warming) that Strummer strongly supported. In his memory, Future Forests is planting a Joe Strummer Memorial Forest in the Isle of Skye in Scotland, and are inviting you to donate and plant your own tree there in his memory. More info here.

Gary Glitter Kicked out of Cambodia

Former '70s pop star Gary Glitter (real name Paul Gadd) spent four days over Christmas in a Phnom Penh jail for suspected pedophilia. You might remember that Glitter spent several months in a British jail back in 1999 after having been found guilty of having several thousand pornographic photos of children on his computer. The photos were discovered when he brought the machine in for repair. Rather than charge Glitter with sex offences against young boys, Cambodia instead worked out negotiations with British government officials to have him deported, permanently banning the low-life schmuck from the South Asian country for the rest of time. His current whereabouts are unknown.

Pete Townhsend, "I Am Not a Pedophile"

In similar subject-related news that completely eclipsed Glitter's arrest, British rock legend Pete Townshend was himself arrested for questioning then released on bail back on January 13 on the suspicion that he also had downloaded child pornography off the Internet. According to a Scotland Yard official, Townshend was "arrested under the Protection of Children Act 1978 on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children, suspicion of making indecent images of children and on suspicion of incitement to distribute indecent images of children."

At the time British police were in the middle of a child pornography investigation called Operation Ore, their largest ever. 1,300 hundred people had already been arrested, including a judge, magistrates, a deputy headmaster, and 50 police officers. When Townshend heard his name and credit card information had shown up on a list of suspected pedophiles passed on to Scotland Yard by the U.S. Postal Service he came forward urging the police to question him and check his computer, also giving a lengthy interview with the Sun and releasing a statement on his website stating that he had indeed given credit card information to go into Internet porn sites on a couple of occasions, but only under the auspices of doing research to combat child pornography.

Townshend states that he has been a long time advocate against child pornography, and has for years been quietly involved with several organizations to fight against it. "I am not a pedophile. I have never entered chat rooms on the internet to converse with children. I have, to the contrary, been shocked, angry and vocal (especially on my website) about the explosion of advertised pedophilic images on the internet." The Who frontman also said, "To fight against pedophilia, you have to know what's out there. I have done a lot of work on pedophilia and my website has highlighted it. I have looked into the abuse that children have suffered in Chechnya and Kosovo and the portrayal of these children on the internet and it appalls me. I was worried this might happen and I think this could be the most damaging thing to my career."

Townshend also stated that he has long believed to have been abused himself as a child by his maternal grandmother, and was using his experience as research for a childhood autobiography he has been working on for several years. After executing a search warrant on the rocker's home and confiscating his computer, among other items, Townshend was taken in for questioning and released on bail a little under two hours later, promising to return later in January for more questioning.

Whether or not Townshend looked at child pornography for personal or professional reasons remains to be seen -- he has not yet been charged. However, in the subsequent weeks following his arrest a Detective Chief Inspector that Townshend allegedly spoke with last October about child pornography was purported to be willing to speak to Townshend's lawyer and the police. Numerous rock stars, including David Bowie, Bob Geldolf, and the everywhere/every cause man Bono have come forward offering their support and denying that Townshend could ever be a pedophile. As well, the Internet Watch Foundation -- a British Internet pornography watchdog group -- has come forward to say that they had been in communication with Townshend numerous times regarding child pornography on the Internet, something they initially denied when Townshend was first arrested, but which they recanted after they were supplied copies of e-mails Townshend had originally sent them.

Commenting on Operation Ore, Townshend said, "I agree with what the police are doing. No, I did not expect to be targeted in their swoops. On his actions, he furthered, "Foolish of me, but not arrogant. I sincerely believed that the police would know my history as someone who works tirelessly to help the abused, and that since 1978 I have run a charity which has contributed millions to organizations working to prevent violence and abuse."

Saul Williams, "Not in My Name"

Poet, rapper, activist, and eP fave Saul Williams will be releasing an anti-war single "Not in My Name - Pledge of Resistance" on the Ninja Tune label, with mixes by Coldcut and DJ Spooky. All profits with go to the Not in Our Name anti-war organization, a group you should all educate yourself about and get involved with.

Those who are too stingy to fork over the money to buy the single when it comes out in March can download it for free off of Ninja Tune's website. Why free? "Because we think the message is much more important than Ninja [Tune] or making dollars." Amen.

Voice of America, "Shhh"

According to a news release in late December, the U.S. radio propaganda machine known as Voice of America ordered its Middle East broadcast operations to immediately start distancing itself from mentioning VOA's name during its programming, which includes Radio Sawa and Radio Farda. Farda's programming is aimed specifically at Iran.

The announcement comes at a time with VOA and its affiliates have been increasingly shifting their broadcast format away from political discussions and more towards a Top 40 music format, spending approximately three-quarters of its broadcast time playing the likes of Britney Spears and Limp Bizkit (and, no, we will not be discussing the alleged tongue mashing rumors between Britney and Red Hat), with the remaining time spent broadcasting only headline news bulletins.

And as we all know, playing the Britneys and the Wet Noodles will certainly bring about change in the Middle East, make their citizens hunger for U.S. Sponsored Democracy (patent pending), and bring us all closer to our fellow human. Smart thinking. Your tax dollars hard at work, folks.

Can You Hum a Few Bars for Me?

German software company Fraunhofer Institute, who is responsible for creating the MP3 digital audio format (and who I'm sure because of that little invention is on Hilary Rosen's death wishlist) has created a melody recognition program called "Query by Humming" that identifies songs by simply having a person hum a few bars into a microphone.

Debuted at the recent Midem conference in Cannes, France, the product was a hit among those who tried it, displaying the correct song and artist in a list of ten choices. The program works by displaying the "humming" structure, identifying high and low notes by pitch, and comparing the results against a built-in database. Said a Fraunhofer spokesman at the conference, "It's good for musicians who have a song in their head. They can just hum it into a mike and get the note structure."

Personally, I'm waiting to see it tested out on Name That Tune in a speed trial competition.

Rest in Peace

Rest in Peace Maurice Gibbs, founding member of the Bee Gees along with his twin Robin and older brother Barry, who died at the age of 53 after an emergency operation to help relieve intestinal blockage. Gibb had collapsed at his Miami home in early January from intense stomach pains, and while awaiting surgery at Miami's Mount Sinai Medical Centre suffered cardiac arrest. Best known for the disco hits on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, including "Stayin' Alive," the Australian trio had won seven Grammy Awards. Their last album was 2001's This Is Where I Came In.

Rest in Peace Armand Zildjian, patriarch of the famous cymbal makers. Originally started in 1623 in Constantinople by founder Avedis-- who would later change his name to Zildjian, which was Turkish for "cymbalsmith" -- the process of creating cymbals was a closely guarded secret alloy that combined copper, tin, and a dash of silver. The company moved to the U.S. in 1929, and Armand Zildjian oversaw the operation of the world-renown company for more than two decades. Zildjian died of cancer at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is survived by his wife, three daughters, two step-daughters and two-stepsons, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Zildjian was 81.

Rest in Peace Seattle's Fallout Records, which will be shuttering its business on February 8 after almost 19 years of "providing the public with truly independent, original music, art, and literature." Blamed partly on the lagging economy, much of the decision to close had to do with neighbor complaints about Fallout's in-store shows, and a lack of support by local police. Says owner Tim Hayes, "We're truly thankful for your support and patronage over the years. I can't express how much we (sob) care about everyone who has given us amazing music, writing, and art, and the people who have spent their hard-earned dollars on independently-produced products. Hopefully that spirit will live on in some other form." Originally selling skateboards as well as records, Fallout was started back in 1984 by Russ Battaglia and Bruce Pavitt. When Pavitt left to focus on Sub Pop, Battaglia's wife Janet joined and the focus shifted away from skateboards to include books and comics, as well as music. The Battaglias sold Fallout in 1999 to long time employee Tim Hayes, who had worked for the couple since 1996. Earpollution is quite saddened to see the passing of yet another Seattle institution. You will be sorely missed.

Pitchshifter to Go on "Indefinite Hiatus"

In a press release titled "Phoenixology" (in reference to the song by the same name) eP's fave techno noiseniks Pitchshifter announced that following a final tour of the U.K. in March, they would be going on "indefinite hiatus." Said co-founder Mark Clayden, "Pitchshifter has always been a beautiful, crazy experiment. We knew that some day it would naturally run its course and we always said we would call it a day at the right time. We never expected to have such a long run at this. So many people don't even get the chance to do half the things we've done. We've been lucky to be able to make our own music, our own way for 13 years."

"There is no falling out or clash of egos," continued Clayden, "that would be ridiculous. Pitchshifter isn't one of those kind of bands. We've all been friends for years and will surely continue to be. We've simply all grown as musicians and also in our personal lives and it's just time for us all collectively to move onto our new projects."

Formed in 1989 by Mark Clayden and brother J.S., the band's sound evolved from the grindcore and sample experimentation of their first three releases (Industrial, Submit and Desensitized) to include heavy doses of breakbeats and samples with 1996's Infotainment?, shifting to the snotty breakneck drum 'n' bass beats of 98's www.pitchshifter.com, to the decidedly guitar heavy, techno proto-punk leanings of the band's last two albums (Deviant and P.S.I.).

Throughout, Pitchshifter has been well ahead of the curve on the music they were making. While many of today's waning nu-metal bands attempt to imitate some of the heavy hitting guitar work of Pitchshifter's earlier days, none have come close to replicating what the band were really creating. More importantly, those bands were and still are chasing a dead past. Pitchshifter has always been decidedly not interested in repeating past accomplishments, which is what's kept them ahead of the game and sadly, but realistically, outside of the game as no major label the band has been on during its career has ever been able to accurately capture and market the intellectual and emotional intensity of the music the band has both recorded and played.

As a parting gift to their fans, for the upcoming tour Pitchshifter will be releasing a live album, titled Bootlegged, Distorted, Remixed & Uploaded. Recorded during last October's U.K. tour and scheduled to be released on their own label, P.S.I. Records, the album will be available at shows (and hopefully online through the band's website).

Sadly, guitarist Jim Davies will not be joining 'Shifter for their last outing, citing scheduling difficulties. "We all have new projects now, but sadly mine is the only schedule that clashes with the upcoming 'Shifter dates. The guys have been totally supportive and understanding about me not being able to make it and we're all still very close friends." It is rumored that Davies is currently in the studio working with Prodigy vocalist Keith Flint on Flint's debut solo release. Shifting over from rhythm to lead guitar duties will be Dan Rayner, who has been touring with the band for the past year. Dan's brother Tim Rayner will replace Dan on rhythm guitar.

After the tour, bassist Mark Clayden will continue to work on his new project The Blueprint, which includes former 'Shifter guitarist Matt Grundy. [Click here for an interview with The Blueprint.] The Brothers Rayner have long had their own gig going, known as The Drawbacks. Drummer Jason Bowld continues to offer drum workshops and lessons, and will be focusing on his recent drumming tutorial release, the excellent Drum-ROM. [Click here for an interview with Jase.] And Pitchshifter frontman J.S. Clayden will continue work on his new project, Doheny, a collaboration with Billy Morrison that is based in Los Angeles.

Earpollution has spilled gallons of righteous ink explaining exactly why we love this band so and why they deserve your attention. Rather than highlighting what's been already said, we simply would like to say "thank you" to Pitchshifter. Thank you...thankyouverymuch! Collectively, you'll be sorely missed. Individually, we're looking forward to seeing where your muses take you and are excited by what will come of it.

Says J.S. on the recent news: "We booked a 16 date tour and recorded a live album. I can't think of any better way to celebrate the music of Pitchshifter. We've always been happiest on stage and a final record that captures that energy, along with one last tour, is a perfect goodbye salute to an amazing set of fans. Pitchshifter has been my life for 13 years. I have traveled the world and had my brother at my side for that whole time. I feel very lucky to have made that journey. It has been a incredible ride."

Quote of the Month

"I once spent a whole afternoon writing Joe Strummer a reference so he could join a posh drinking club. The next time I picked up the NME there he was annihilating Blur with some carefully considered invective. Then the fucker died. We all cried." Blur's Alex James on Joe Strummer.

Photo of the Month

[ r.i.p. jam master jay - photo by mark teppo ]
photo by mark teppo

-Craig Young
Editor-in-Chief (or so they keep insisting)

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