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Jacko Paid for Voodoo Curse

In an interesting twist to all things Michael Jackson (as if he weren't twisted enough), Vanity Fair magazine reported in March that back in 2000 Jackson participated in a voodoo "blood bath" ritual in the hopes of getting revenge on a list of 25 "enemies" that had done him wrong, whose members included Steven Spielberg and David Geffen. Jackson reportedly paid $150,000 to a voodoo chief by the name of Baba via a wire transfer to a Malian Bank. Baba, in return, sacrificed 42 cows, the same number as Jackson's age at the time.

No word yet of Spielberg, Geffen, or any of the other 23 "enemies" on Jackson's list having felt the effects of the voodoo curse. Next time, Mike, we here at eP would like to recommend Pinstruck. It's free, anonymous, and you don't even have to sacrifice cows to make it work. Dig it.

Densmore, Copeland, Others Sue Doors

It seems that Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger's attempt to reincarnate their '60s band The Doors has instead brought a number of lawsuits; two from drummers, and one from the family of deceased lead singer Jim Morrison. Original drummer John Densmore filed a suit in Los Angeles Superior Court back in April, challenging Manzarek and Krieger's legal right to the band's name, further alleging trademark violation and breach of contract. Densmore was rumored to be unhappy with his former bandmates' decision to revive the band (which also includes Cult singer Ian Astbury), although Manzarek told the press that Densmore bowed out due to tinnitus. In an interview, Densmore stated, "I'm sad and hurt that my former bandmates are misusing the logo and the name, confusing people." The Doors' name and logo are equally owned by Manzarek, Krieger, Densmore, and the estates of Jim Morrison and Pamela Courson (Morrison's common-law wife).

Densmore was replaced by ex-Police drummer Stewart Copeland, who himself recently filed a $1M breach of contract suit against Manzarek and Krieger, claiming the two had promised him the drum seat and work on a rumored album only to be tossed to the sideline and replaced with another drummer (Ty Dennis) when Copeland couldn't play after breaking his arm.

Ty Dennis has yet to file his own lawsuit (yet), but the families of Jim Morrison and Pamela Courson have. Filing their own suit in Law Angeles Superior Court, the families allege that the pair "maliciously misappropriated" the band's name in logo in an attempt to market "a new band that they recently organized with two other individuals that have never been associated with the original Doors band" for the purpose of launching "a national and international tour in order to wrongfully enrich themselves." Also named in the families' suit is singer Ian Astbury (nice haircut, by the way, Ian).

Manzarek and Krieger are now referring to their bad karma as The Doors 21st Century, and are playing sporadic dates throughout the summer in an attempt to... to... ah, fuck it.

Peace and love, baby.

Thurston Moore Launches Protest Records

Sonic Youth guitarist/vocalist Thurston Moore, along with SY's webmaster Chris Habib have launched Protest Records, an online-only record label that features free MP3s and free artwork protesting the Bush Administration's pro-war stance, among other divisive issues. With a burning flag as their label's logo, Habib explained his and Moore's intentions: "I think that what Thurston and I are doing is one of the most patriotic gestures anyone could make. We are working to huddle together the voices of those who have something to say about the aimless direction in which this country is tumbling."

File-sharing contributors to Protest Records include the Beastie Boys, Cat Power, Sonic Youth, and Chumbawamaba, as well as numerous others. Check it out.

Rest in Peace

Rest in Peace Nina Simone, an eclectic singer who sang jazz, soul, blues, pop, and gospel with equal grace and aplomb, and who was best known for her 1959 version of George Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy," which earned her a Top 20 hit, as well as her vocal commitment to the civil rights movement. Simone died in Carry-le-Rouet, France, which she had been calling home for a number of years. She was 70.

Rest in Peace Teddy Edwards, tenor saxophonist who helped create bebop and whose style and playing influenced musicians for generations to come. Edwards worked with everyone from Benny Goodman to Tom Waits. Said Waits, "I think music is going to miss him as one of the architects of bebop." Edwards died of prostate cancer at his Los Angeles home. He was 78.

Rest in Peace Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji, whose 1959 album Drums of Passion, combining drums, vocals and brass, helped give birth to an interest in African music in the States. Olatunji's 1997 album, Love Drum Talk, was nominated for a Grammy. Olatunji died of complications from advanced diabetes. He was 75.

Station Nightclub Fined $1 Million

On April 9th, the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training issued a fine of more than $1 million against Jeffrey Derderian and his brother Michael, who are owners of the The Station nightclub in West Warrick where 99 people died and more than 200 were injured when a devastating fire broke out during a Great White concert on the night of February 20th. The fine comes from the negligence of the Derderians to carry workers' compensation insurance, which was required by law. The $1 million figure comes from a fine of a $1,000 per day for the three years the brothers owned the club while not carrying the insurance.

Four of the club's 16 staff who were working the night of the fire died, while the number of employees injured was unknown. State labor officials stated that had their been worker's compensation insurance, the families of the deceased would have been eligible each for $15,000 in burial expenses, as well as a portion of the deceased's lost wages. Injured employees could also have qualified for compensation.

Officials have also referred the case to the state's attorney general for possible criminal prosecution.

In related news, attorneys for both the fire's survivors and families of the victims said that investigators searching the debris found a partially burned document that may be proof that the Derderian brothers overstated the club's official capacity. Great White's contract with The Station showed its capacity as being 550, while West Warrick officials say the club's capacity was 404 with all the furniture removed. Unfortunately, it may never be known how many people were actually in the club the night of the fire as the hand clicker the doorman used to tally the number of patrons melted in the blaze.

P. Diddy to Play Robert Johnson

In another sign of the apocalypse, The New York Times reported recently that Sean "P. Diddy" Combs is slated to play blues icon Robert Johnson in an upcoming HBO film feature. Titled Love in Vain, the biopic is scheduled to start shooting in September on location in Mississippi. It's rumored that Combs has also been taking acting lessons for the role.

Yeah, Puffy. The blues Johnson channeled is all about the bling-bling, at least for you. See you at the crossroads.

Congress Passes Rave Act

In an underhanded move by Democratic Senator Joseph Biden (Delaware), the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act, otherwise known as the Rave Act, was passed recently when it was sneakily tacked on as part of the Amber Alert bill, whose purpose is to help find missing children. The legislation places in legal jeopardy any concert or event organizer or owner during whose event or on whose property drugs are found on third party persons, even if it's an allegation. Its constitutionality has been in question since it was conceived, the bill does not apply exclusively to electronic or DJ-type events or parties, but includes any type of public gathering, from rock concerts, to hip-hop events, to even, ironically, political gatherings. The bill allows for a broad amount of prosecutorial discretion, and its opponents say it impedes freedom of speech at best and, at worst, holds non-responsible parties (owners, organizers, etc.) liable for the acts of individual patrons, even if said parties make a good faith effort at keeping their event safe and drug free. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) were the only members of the Senate to oppose the legislation.

Know your rights. Know your enemy. Speak up or lose what little free speech you have left.

Evel Knievel Rock Opera

64-year-old '70s daredevil motorcyclist Robert "Evel" Knievel recently gave approval to Jef Bek, head of Los Angeles theatre group Zoo District, to write a rock opera based on Knievel's life, to be titled Evel Knievel: the Rock Opera (duh!). Before retiring in 1980, Knievel broke numerous records, and even more bones, by jumping his motorcycle over various obstacles, including the Snake River Canyon (which he failed to do). Said Knievel of the opera," "I think it's a wonderful compliment." Replied Bek, "He was [sic] a living superhero. He knows I get him, and he knows I understand what's really significant about his legacy." No word on who will star as Knievel.

Judge Rules P2P Software Legal

Federal Court Judge Stephen Wilson ruled recently that file swapping services such as Grokster Streamcast Networks (home of Morpheus) were not liable for copyright infringements that took place using their software. Wilson's ruling applies only to current versions of Grokster and Morpheus, which leaves open the possibility of copyright infringement -- and, hence, litigation -- from the use of older versions. In ruling that decentralized peer-to-peer software is legal, Wilson wrote: "Defendants distribute and support software, the users of which can and do choose to employ it for both lawful and unlawful ends. Grokster and Streamcast are not significantly different from companies that sell home video recorders or copy machines, both of which can be and are used to infringe copyrights."

In what appeared to be a tit-for-tat with the judge's ruling, the Recording Industry Association of America -- the lobbying arm of the major label record companies -- followed up the announcement by sending out automatic messages using the chat features on Kazaa and Grokster to inform those using the software to download music files that their actions were illegal. The message read in part: "It appears that you are offering copyrighted music to others from your computer. Distributing or downloading copyrighted music on the Internet without permission from the copyright owner is illegal. When you offer music on these systems, you are not anonymous and you can easily be identified."

Kalashnikov MP3 Player

Earpollution would like to simply say this to the RIAA: Kalishnikov with MP3. Dig it.

What the Fuck Do You Think You're Doing

In one of the more entertaining moves to thwart illegal downloading of music, last month Madonna stuffed the Internet full of bogus files from her new album, American Life. The decoy files contained nothing but Madonna's voice hissing, "What the fuck do you think you're doing?" The plan seemed to backfire, however, when almost immediately after the Material Girl's official website was hacked with the guilty party posting her entire album for public download. And in what's sure to be further retribution, it's almost assured that loop mongers near and far will be using that tasty sample in their music for a long time to come -- something we here at eP are very much look forward to hearing. Keep us posted!

Thieves are Scum (Three Alarm Fire Remix)

Seattle's Ballard Firehouse was robbed at gunpoint after closing on a recent Saturday night. The robbery happened at 2:15am on April 27th when four robbers wearing ski masks and armed with pistols and shotguns burst into the just-closed club and ordered workers to the ground at gunpoint. The robbers then proceeded to tie up employees with plastic straps before looting the club of its cash, slipping out within five minutes of entry and making their escape in cream-colored van with wood paneling and a "loud exhaust." Police reported that the men involved used radios to communicate with each other, spoke Spanish at times, and were organized and efficient. Employees in the club at the time reported that the armed gunmen stated, "Nobody be a hero. Nobody move." Anyone with information is urged to contact the Seattle Police Department.

Diamond Dave Apprehends Intruder

David Lee Roth claimed he was recently the victim of a knife-wielding intruder that cornered with a shotgun until police arrived. Or so he says. In a press release, Diamond Dave said he awakened to the sound of branches breaking, grabbed his shotgun to investigate and encountered a man brandishing a knife, upon whom he kept his sights on until the authorities arrived. The intruder was identified as Roth's night, 47-year-old Charles Cooley. Roth was quoted as saying, "Anyone found bearing arms here at night...will be found here in the morning."

But a spokesperson for the Pasadena Police Department said Dave didn't quite get the facts straight. According to police, neighbors called to complain that Cooley was breaking windows in his own home. When police arrived at Cooley's house but couldn't locate him, they heard voices arguing next door (at Roth's home) and went to investigate. There they found Cooley lying on the ground underneath a second-story balcony where Roth stood pointing at his neighbor. Cooley claimed he was carrying some meth and had tossed his knife several feet away. Police booked him on drug possession but didn't take the knife evidence. And nowhere in the police report did it mention Roth brandishing a shotgun.

It's alright, Dave. We still love you.

Musicians Send Letter to FCC

On April 30th a letter was sent to Federal Communications Chairman Michael Powell (son of Secretary of State Colin Powell). The letter, signed by an impressive list of celebrities that included John Doe, Don Henley, Neil Diamond, Ian MacKay, Michael Stipe, and Tom Petty, among many others, asked for the FCC to give both Congress and the public the opportunity to look at any changes to media ownership rules before signing off on them. The co-signers fear -- rightly placed -- is that deregulation of media ownership rules (which currently prevents large media, radio, television, newspaper, and cable conglomerates from owning other media possessions), specifically radio, will have a "negative impact on access to diverse viewpoints and will impede the functioning of our democracy."

The contents of the letter can be found here.

Earpollution would like to encourage everyone to, again, know your rights, know your enemy, speak up or lose what little free speech you have left. We'd also highly encourage our readers to further explore the Future of Music Coalition's website, where numerous informative articles on a number of topical industry issues can be found.

Quote of the Month

"That tone of his is just unmistakable. He sounded like he was drinking champagne on a train, you know what I mean?" Tom Waits on tenor saxophonist Teddy Edwards.

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

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