Get Well Soon, Chuck
Earpollution would like to send our very best wishes for a speedy recovery to Control Denied guitarist Chuck Schuldiner. On January 19, Chuck underwent a lifesaving surgery to remove a brain stem tumor at New York University's Medical Center. The operation almost didn't take place as medical costs for the uninsured musician are expected to top $100,000. However, a deal was reached and both Chuck and his family are reported to be recovering splendidly.
Widely regarded as the father of Death Metal, Chuck still has a long road to recovery, including some very expensive medical bills. Anyone wishing to send donations to the Schuldiner family can send them to:
Chuck's Medical Account: 351-356-4696
On January 17, Whitney Houston was stopped at a security checkpoint at Keahole-Kona International airport in Hawaii and found with a little over 15 grams of marijuana (Jesus, Whitney...that's a half-ounce!). But before Houston could be arrested, she boarded the plane, bound for San Francisco. Apparently the security officers who detained her were employed by a private firm and could not arrest Houston for crimes not involving airport security. By the time local police arrived, Houston was airborne (which is not to say that she wasn't "airborne" before boarding her flight). The issue has been turned over to the Hawaii County Prosecutor's Office, and the general public is warned to be on the lookout for a red-eyed Houston macking out on Ben and Jerry's ice cream in the freezer section of their local 7-11.
In mid-January, New Jersey Governor Todd Whitman signed a bill that would hand over the $80,000 of profit netted from a benefit concert for wrongly accused death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal and turning it over to the families of slain officers via the State's Attorney General office. The concert, held last January at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, was widely denounced by several police groups, and the governor said the bill was designed as a "disincentive" for future such occurrences.
A spokesman for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates the Continental Airlines Arena, said they weren't surprised by the bill and had been expecting it, but that First Amendment rights would prevent the bill from stopping the Authority from holding similar fundraisers. Headlining the bill that night were Rage Against the Machine and The Beastie Boys, both ardent denouncers of the death penalty and passionate supports of Abu-Jamal.
The benefit's profits were to help fund his appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court for a new trial. Denouncing the benefit, and being an all around bitter asshole, Mike Lutz of the Pennsylvania State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police had this to say about Rage Against the Machine: "They're a hate group. They're no different from the Ku Klux Klan and the Neo-Nazi Party." Apparently Lutz was confused by the question, perhaps thinking he had been asked to describe his Fraternal Order of Police; not those whitey skin heads in that pointy hat-wearing Aryan music group, Rage Against the Machine.
Six months after its fiery closing, Timothy Weeden, 27, of Rome, NY has pleaded guilty to one count of sodomy for forcing a 15-year-old girl to perform oral sex on him during Woodstock '99. Weeden, a prison guard at the Midstate Correctional Facility in Marcy, NY (up until the rape), forced himself upon the girl behind a convenience store that was located near one of the entrance gates to Woodstock. Weeden is scheduled to be sentenced on February 25, and faces a maximum penalty of 25 years on the "lovin' side" of the iron bars he once patrolled.
Here's hoping the fucker gets the full meal deal...
State police are still investigating another five reported charges of rape related to Woodstock '99, with no arrests having yet been made in connection to them.
John Lennon murderer Mark Chapman, having served a minimum twenty years of his sentence, is scheduled to appear in front of a parole board this year, with the possibility that he might be released in December. It's been reported that Yoko Ono, who has a right to request an audience with Chapman, will be asked by the parole board to help them decide Chapman's future. Both of Lennon's sons, Julian and Sean, are against releasing Chapman, but it's unknown where Ono stands. It's the general consensus by a number of people that if Chapman were to be released, it would only be, according to a friend of Yoko's, "A matter of time before someone decides to get the man who got the Beatle. I'm sure [John] would say that it would be wrong to subject Mark to a situation in which he would almost certainly be killed, perpetuating the circle of senseless violence."
Wanted: Garth Brooks a.k.a. Chris Gaines, for the crime of musical idiocy as well as the crime of tainting the wonderful sounds of the new Les Thugs album, Tout Doit Disparaître. The first is a no brainer, the second is absolutely inexcusable. While recently listening to the new Les Thugs release at the gym I've been forced to watch that damn Chris Gaines VH1 special on the television. With the T.V. turned down and the music of those French brothers turned up full-on, Tout Doit Disparaître unwittingly became the soundtrack for that supposed documentary. This happened twice. Playing the album at home one night recently I caught myself reliving several parts of the documentary, hideous images of Chris Gaines being played out in the music of Les Thugs. Bad bad bad bad bad! And not the kind of music association game I wanted to play.
Remember, kids: The music being pushed by Garth Brooks/Chris Gaines and the three-headed corporate music serpents is really soylent green. Garth and company take the good parts of music, myth and persona, poison it and grind it up into little Jell-O cubes to serve back to you for your consumer consumption under the lie that it's "just like mom makes!" Break the cycle and recognize bad music for what it is. There's a whole world of delicious, untainted, unprostituted sounds out there waiting for you to find. Don't let the likes of Garth Brooks steal that wonderful taste from you.
In the same week that Time Warner subsidiary Warner Bros. announced it was merging with label EMI in a $20 billion deal, Time Warner itself announced that it would be merging with servant of Satan internet provider AOL in a whopping $350 billion deal. The new machine will be called AOL Time Warner, and the deal was reported to be "the perfect marriage of content and distribution" by music executives hoping it will further push the industry's domination of digital distribution. As Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin putting it, "The music business is the one that will benefit most."
Time Warner owns record labels Warner Bros., Atlantic and Elektra; television stations CNN, HBO, WB and TNT; magazines Time, Sports Illustrated, People and Entertainment Weekly; its own movie studio and pieces of CDNow. AOL owns Netscape, Winamp, ICQ and Spinner.
With AOL Time Warner looking to become the largest music entity in the world, it's likely that this merger will force other biggies to look at similar business mergers in order to keep their own stranglehold on the market. Which means that as they grow bigger, your true freedom of choice will grow smaller and smaller. The music industry biggies have been sorely lacking in gaining an advantageous money-hold on the Internet. Now in the time-honored tradition of companies like Microsoft, they're discovering that if they buy out the competition, they own the market. And if they own the market, they control how the game is played.
The possibility of your local Ma and Pa Internet music retailer becoming a WalMart is becoming scarier and scarier. You do have a choice. You vote with your dollar. Earpollution seriously encourages you to buy independent and buy often!
Support independent music or reap the consequences of having nothing but Chris Gaines and 'N Sync to listen to for the rest of your days.