Catch-up Music-News Monday

BillboardHello out there,

We had an upsurge of news late last week and there was the usual Billboard review, which has meant a news pile-up.  To catch up lets’s dive right in!

*  Too many female artistes are scripted in their statements and actions, either by themselves (think Mad-onna), or by handlers who want to maximize the gain from their cash cow (think Britney).  Or, they say and do bizarre, flaky things (think Gaga) or act vulgar and sleazy (think Rihanna).  Nicki Minaj is a refreshing change.  This Friday Nicki was irritated beyond measure at Twitter’s failure to stop unauthorized leaks of her songs.  As a sign of protest and while throwing a tantrum, Nicki deleted her Twitter account!  Though some may call this an over-reaction, it bespeaks a singer who is not scripted and is frank and authentic.

*  During a shoot for his ‘Boyfriend’ video Justin Bieber was spotted kissing a girl’s hand and getting cuddly with her.  As it happened, Selena happened to stop by.  Not a bad idea to be keeping tabs if your boyfriend’s Justin Bieber, eh?

*  Bee Gee Robin Gibb is out of his coma and able to communicate but now we are told that, after everything he has suffered, he has colorectal cancer.  Gibb surprised his doctors by emerging from his coma and I hope he surprises them by walking out from the hospital as well.

*  The Bob Marley ‘docu-drama’ ‘Marley’ is playing at about 50 theatres in the U.S.  But if you’re a reggae-lover in a small-town in the heartland, you can watch it as a VoD (Video-on-Demand) on your computer screen.

*  Deadheads should be just as happy as Marley-fans: They can now play an interactive game, ‘The Grateful Dead Game: The Epic Tour’.  Who wants the Jerry Garcia avatar?

*  In closing, Congratulations to Neil Diamond!  At three-score-and-ten he has become a husband for the third time.  Best Wishes to his wife, his manager Katie McNeil.

Till tomorrow,

Shane

It’s a Bad News ‘Blue Monday’

LionelHiya Music-Lovers,

What a way to start the week – bad news, bad news and bad news!  Reminds me of the Fats Domino hit, ‘Blue Monday’.

Lionel Richie has made welcome and unwelcome news in one and the same month.  You know the welcome news if you’ve been reading this blog – it’s a hit album, ‘Tuskegee’.  The unwelcome news is that the country’s official Mob – er, I mean the IRS – say he owes them a cool million bucks and that they’ll start seizing his possessions if doesn’t cough up the extorted ransom – er, I mean the ‘owed taxes’.  Lucky for Richie he just scored a hit with ‘Tuskegee’; it should clear up his ‘misunderstanding’ with the extortionists and gangsters – er, I mean ‘the Feds’.

This past Saturday The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame held a ceremony to induct this year’s honorees. What made the news were two notable absentees: Rod Stewart and Axl Rose.  They stayed away for extremely different reasons.

Stewart was, in his words, “devastated” to be unable to attend the induction as a member of the band ‘Faces’.  Not too big a deal since he has already been inducted as a solo artist a long time back.  Rod ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’ Stewart could not attend because he is down with flu and if you’ve got a dripping nose, nobody thinks you’re ‘sexy’ . . .

Though all the other Guns ‘n’ Roses band members were present at the ceremony, erstwhile leader Axl Rose was absent.  He made good on his promise to give it a miss.  As with everything about that volatile, edgy band, Rose’s exact reasons are unknown – his confused statement did not shed much light on the ‘whys’.  Let’s just say he was put-out about something.

The worst news is about Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees.  I had mentioned that he was in a London hospital, suffering from pneumonia.  Now, he has taken a turn for the worse and is comatose with his wife and immediate family members keeping vigil by his bedside.  Gibb’s health has taken quite a battering, what with his cancer and tumour-removal operation, and now his current illness.  All one can do is what his son Robin-John is doing: “pray for him . . .” as the prognosis appears increasingly bleak.

It’s a ‘Blue Monday’ – Fats, take it away.

Till tomorrow,

Shane

News Encores: Illnesses, Festivals, Memoirs

Robin GibbHello out there,

Several days back I had made mention of Bee Gee Robin Gibb’s hospitalization for cancer.  Well, he’s again in hospital, this time with pneumonia.  Sadly, this means he was not present when his maiden classical composition, ‘The Titanic Requiem’, was performed in London yesterday.

The Requiem is a radical departure for one of the pioneers of the strobe-lighted Disco Era, brought to a climax with Saturday Night Fever (featuring some music written and sung by Robin Gibb and his brothers).  Gibb and his son Robin-John composed the classical work as a hundredth anniversary memorial to the Titanic’s disastrous voyage.  Robin-John revealed that “a lot of this requiem was written in the hospital bedrooms with my father because, of course, he was diagnosed when we were in the middle of composing.”

Once again, Lyrster wishes Robin Gibb a speedy recovery.

Also several days back I had blogged about the SXSW music festival in Texas.  Now, the news is about the Lollapalooza festival. Though we have four months to go before the Lollapalooza paloozes Chicago, it makes the news for two reasons.  First, it has snared The Red Hot Chili Peppers as one of its banner names, to go along with Black Sabbath plus indy bands from as far away as Malaysia and Chile.  Second, all early bird tickets and discounted souvenir passes have already been snapped up!  Only regular-price tickets remain.  Better get ’em before they too are gone!

Only yesterday I had written about Cyndi Lauper’s forthcoming memoir.  In today’s news the memoir-writer is renowned jazz pianist Herbie Hancock.  Though his book is not due until 2014, Hancock’s status as a fusion jazz crossover hitmaker who is now a UNESCO ambassador ensures that the mere announcement of his memoir is news.  The publisher, Viking Press, announced that it “will reveal intimate details.”  Somehow I don’t think it will be quite so ‘revealing’ and quite as ‘intimate’ as Cyndi’s memoir!

BTW, Hancock’s famous tune ‘Watermelon Man’ was made into a hit by Mongo Santamaria, whose version is the most famous.  But perhaps the finest band rendition is by Xavier Cugat!  An exciting, thrilling version, replete with sexy screams and moans, it’s on a 1960s Mercury-Wing LP.  Not to be missed.

Ta ta,

Shane