CMU Daily - on the inside 18 Aug 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Redundancies begin at Sony BMG
- Gay rights groups call on EMI to drop Beenie Man
- Promoters add up cost of Phish refunds
- Kirsty MacColl's mother hopes for news on new inquiry
- Celine Dion may extend mega Vegas season
- Doherty could face jail over knife arrest
- Courtney faces trial
- Lil' Kim speaks out about perjury case
- Shyne has jail phone privileges revoked
- Romeo given curfew
- Roses and Oasis for Reading 2005?
- Muse reveal replacement bassist
- Destiny's Child reveal four year plan
- Live Review: Lara Viers at T on the Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival
- Manics love Nixon
- Famous director makes new Fatboy video
- It's Britney's prerogative
- Embrace play secret gig in scout hut
- Libertines listening parties
- Louise hopes to duet with Rachel
- J-Lo to make second Will and Grace appearance


The first tangible internal effect of the Sony BMG merger was seen yesterday as a memo was circulated around some of the new company's combined workforce inviting employees to take up early retirement or redundancy packages.

In a note from the merged company's COO, Michael Smellie, employees were told a number of "favourable" severance packages were on the table, but that these packages were a temporary offer.

The note read: "We have designed these programs to offer you an opportunity to separate from Sony BMG with a favorable exit package that would not otherwise be available to you. Please note that the new Company is continuing to evaluate its workforce needs, and that the benefits provided to employees in connection with any possible future reductions in our workforce may not be as favorable to employees as the benefits provided under these programs."

The merged major is looking to shed a reported 2000 off their combined workforce.


Gay rights groups stepped up their campaign against dance hall artists who include homophobic lyrics in their songs yesterday by calling on London based major EMI to cancel its contract with Beenie Man.

Beenie Man is one of the highest profile dance hall performers who, campaigners say, has incited violence against the gay community in past tracks. Gay rights group OutRage were dismissive of Beenie's recent statement in which he tried to satisfy critics by saying he did not approve of violence against any people.

Campaigners say the statement was a cynical attempt to put to an end their protests, and that he failed to actually address his homophobia.

OutRage have now written to EMI chief executive Tony Wadsworth demanding they end their relationship with the performer, who is signed to their Virgin division. In the letter OutRage's Peter Tatchell and Brett Lock write: "Beenie Man does more than express his disapproval of homosexuality. He calls for all homosexuals to be killed and incites his listeners to go out and murder gays and lesbians. This goes way beyond an acceptable expression of opinion. Lesbian and gay people have a right to live their lives free from threats to 'execute' them."

EMI is yet to respond to the letter.


Promoters of the last ever Phish concert last weekend, which was hindered by torrential rain fall, are calculating how many ticket refunds they will have to make. As thousands of fans made their way to the water logged site local police eventually blocked off key access routes in a bid to prevent any major incident happening on site. While many fans left their cars on the highway and walked to the concert, many ticket holders were probably unable to gain access to the event at all. Great Northeast Productions have pledged to refund any ticket holders unable to reach the concert, although it is not yet know the implications of that pledge.

Great Northeast boss Dave Werlin said yesterday: "We're still sorting it out, but we estimate about 65,000 people were here on the grounds. We're trying to understand how many people we'll have to offer refunds to."

Word is organisers may have to trust the integrity of Phish fans because, amid the chaos, many tickets belonging to fans who did gain access to the site were possibly not torn, meaning those fans could, in theory, still apply for a refund. Werlin continues: "We believe in the basic decency of Phish fans and think that will be a non-issue. But we're still trying to get our hands around how many refunds there will be. Several thousand, anyway."

While officially supporting local police in their bid to ensure public safety, Werlin was keen to stress that neither the band, their management nor the show's producers were involved in the decision to close access roads. Werlin: "To us this was a frustrating decision because it was not our call. It was not our desire to do things this way, but it became a public safety issue."

Insiders say even if the upper estimates of 5000 refunds have to be made the concert should still make a profit, having grossed in excess of $10 million.


The mother of the late great Kirsty MacColl has said she expects details to be announced soon regarding a new inquiry into her daughter's death. As previously reported, MacColl's family were not happy with the previous investigation into how a speed boat crashed into the singer while she dived off the Cozumel island in 2000, nor with the penalty handed to the man who was allegedly in control of the boat (a small fine and compensation payment). MacColl's mother Jean Newlove, who has been running the Justice For Kirsty campaign, says new evidence suggests the man said to be driving the boat was covering up for the real driver. On those ground Newlove has been calling for a new inquiry.

She told the BBC yesterday: "There are developments coming through now. News is trickling through, but certainly within about 10 days we will make an announcement."


Word is Celine Dion is in talks to extend her mega three year residency in Las Vegas by another year. Her current multi-million dollar contract will run out on Mar 2006 - but she is reportedly considering extending that into at least 2007. The only thing likely to interfere with those plans, according to insiders, is if Dion and husband Rene Angelil decide to have another child.


And so we go into the pop courts. Libertine Pete Doherty has been warned he could go back to jail after pleading guilt to possessing an offensive weapon. Having missed one court hearing, Doherty yesterday made it to court to plead guilty to carrying a four inch flick knife last Jun. Doherty's legal people say the singer had bought the knife legally for a friend while on holiday but had not given it to him when he was stopped by police in Jun - they stress the singer had no intention of ever using the knife as a weapon. Doherty will now return to court early next month for sentencing.


Well, yet another Doherty story has to be followed by yet another Courtney story.

Courtney Love's next trial date has been set for 30 Sep - this time she is facing two drugs charges which could carry a maximum sentence of three and a half years.

The drugs charges are in addition to the two assault charges Love is currently facing - a court date for at least one of those is expected to be set this week.


Elsewhere in legal news, and Lil' Kim has spoken out about her upcoming perjury case, telling reporters she believes hip hop stars are being scape-goated by the the government. As previously reported, Kim is accused of lying to a grand jury investigating a shootout involving members of her entourage. She's facing charges of perjury, conspiracy, obstruction and making false statements and could face a lengthy prison term if found guilty. Stressing her innocence, and her confidence that she can win this case, Kim told reporters this week: "This case is part of the government's continued indictment against hip hop and the hip hop industry. I feel very confident that my co-defendants and I will win this case and I very much look forward to my day in the courtroom." The case is due to be heard in Feb next year.


We're rather liberal here at CMU, but even we were starting to wonder just how much time jailed rapper Shyne was able to spend on the phone. As previously reported, Shyne, having recently signed a record deal with Island Def Jam, has been supplying new raps over the phone, and word is he has been using the jail phone for business meetings and press interviews too. Prisoners are only meant to make personal calls, but insiders reckon he has now made over 100 business calls. With that in mind the rapper has reportedly had his phone privileges revoked. And, it being America, some lawyers say the victims of the 1999 club shooting which Shyne was jailed over could now sue the rapper for conducting business from jail.


Last bit of legal news, promise. Romeo from the So Solid Crew has been put on a curfew until he goes to court over allegations he was involved in a knife attack on a man. According to the BBC, Romeo is accused, along with two of this brothers and another man, over an attack that happened a week ago in a west London car park. He appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Monday and he's due in court again on 27 Sep - until then he will have to make sure he's at home between 7pm and 7am every night.


Mean Fiddler's Vince Power has said his dream line up for the Carling Weekend (ie the Leeds and Reading Festivals) would include the Stone Roses and Oasis. Talking to Xfm he said: "You'd have to have the Clash, and I'd love to have Oasis again, they were great at Reading. It'd be nice to get the Stone Roses back together...That's almost like saying 'How much?' Hopefully he [Ian Brown]'s listening; it might put the idea in his head."

Now also involved in organising the Glastonbury Festival, Power went on to say he hoped to be able to increase the number of tickets available for Glasto: "I'd have to check, but I think we're going for a capacity increase. Probably by about 15,000 which would take it up to 130,000... if we get it.

Glastonbury's a great event and this year was very successful. Apart from the weather and even that wasn't that bad. It [the relationship between Mean Fiddler and Glastonbury man Michael Eavis] has been a marriage of convenience more than love, but we're getting there and it gets better every year. We're working on it, and it's a festival to be proud of. It's an institution Glastonbury, it's such a big festival and a big thing in people's minds."


Muse fans (you know who you are) can give a sigh of relief, because the band have found a replacement musician to fill in for injured bassist Chris Wolstenholme at this weekend's V festival. As previously reported, Wolstenholme injured himself while on the road in the US, forcing the group to cancel the last three dates. But according to the NME, the band have been in rehearsals this week with a new bassist, suggesting that Chris has been told by doctors he won't be able to perform this weekend.

The man expected to fill in is Morgan Nicholls, who has collaborated with The Streets, including an appearance on the chart topping album 'A Grand Don't Come For Free'. He has also played in Skinner's live band recently. A source said: "He's the only guy they're thinking about working with at the moment. Everyone is still hopeful that Chris can be involved in some capacity during the show though."


Destiny's Child have revealed their plans for the next four years which include a world tour in 2005. According to the Daily Star, Beyonce's dad and the group's manager Matthew Knowles has lined up work for the girls until 2008 - the schedule reportedly included time for both Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland to release solo records in 2005, and for Beyonce to make more films in 2005 and 2006. A new album will be released in Nov, with the next one planned for 2008.


LIVE REVIEW: Lara Viers at T on the Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival
There's an ancient link between man, music and nature. Laura Viers' world is one of glaciers, lakes, icebound streams, shadows, riptides and desert walking. I imagine her writing these beautiful songs on mountains through the night, returning to the city (Seattle) only to record. But this does not quite describe the real experimentation of her music. Her onstage collaborator Karl Blau weaved dark and original soundscapes through every song. His solo section was a real treat of looped vocal mayhem giving us a privileged view into his private, special world. Support came from Amy Allison who hit her stride on her saddest countrified ballads. Tonight was Laura Viers night though and I can't wait till she's back on these shores again. [scr]


Manic Street Preachers are expected to release a new single, 'The Love of Richard Nixon' in Sep followed by a new album 'Life Blood' in Oct. Talking about the album Nicky Wire told NME: "It really is the poppiest album we've ever done. The mixer of Goldfrapp has been working with us, and he's given it a really lovely sheen and a modern edge. We've been listening to The Associates, early New Order, Joy Division. It's 'The Holy Bible' for 35-year-olds!"


The video for Fatboy Slim's new single 'Slash Dot Dash' has been made by veteran promo maker Tim Pope, famous for his work with The Cure, Talk Talk and Soft Cell. It will be Pope's first music video in almost a decade.

The director has told reporters: "Norman said, 'Just make the video and I'll see it at the end'. That's very refreshing, although a little scary because it means he trusts you!' He even gave me the freedom to edit the song itself. 'Slash Dot Dash' is just so unapologetic, and I love its anarchy. My mission was to make the video equally as unapologetic, for which I must apologise. To make it feel as if the visuals were conceived at the same moment in time as the track. Fatboy's videos, by reputation, are mostly groundbreaking, and you feel like you are entering quite a dynasty. I guess it's the competitive streak in me that made me want to do something good, if not better than that heritage! We will have to wait and see."


Britney Spears' next single - to be featured on her greatest hits album - will be a version of Bobby Brown's 1988 hit 'My Prerogative'. Wonderers wonder if the choice of track is a swipe at the media scrutiny into her personal life of late, and especially her decision to marry dancer Kevin Federline. The song's llyrics include the lines: "Everybody's talking all this stuff about me, Why don't they just let me live, I don't need commission, Make my own decisions, That's my prerogative."


Embrace celebrated the band's tenth anniversary and their new album with a special gig at the Bradley Woods Scout Hut in Brighouse, Yorkshire last weekend. The band have a reputation for playing gigs for their fans in obscure venues - prior to the release of their last album Embrace played 400 feet below ground in the Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe, and in a candlelit country house. On this occasion the band played songs from their forthcoming album 'Out Of Nothing', as well as their greatest hits. 'Gravity', the band's new single written by Chris Martin, is released on 30 Aug, followed by the album on 13 Sep.


The Libertines have announced exclusive listening parties for fans wanting to listen to the new self titled album before it is released on Aug 30. Playbacks are as follows:

Sat 21 Aug - Middlesborough - 8pm @ a secret location. Follow the links for your invite;

Sat 21 Aug - Sheffield - 9.30pm @ The Washington Pub , 79 Fitzwilliam Street, Sheffield, free entry

Tues 24 Aug - London - 7pm @ Rhythm Factory, 16-18 Whitechapel Road, London E1 Featuring Soldiergirl DJs - entry £2

Wed 25 Aug - Brighton - 8pm @ Polar Central, 11 Queens Road, Brighton. entry £1

Thurs 26 Aug - Southend - 9pm @ Royal Hotel 1 High Street, Southend-on-Sea entry £2

Thurs 26 Aug - Manchester - 7pm @ Star & Garter 18-20 Fairfield Street Piccadilly, Manchester. entry £1

Thurs 26 Aug - London - 8.30pm @ Lock Tavern, 35 Chalk Farm Road, Camden free entry

Fri 27 Aug - Glasgow - 9pm @ O'Henry's, 14 Drury Street, Glasgow

Fri 27 Aug - Edinburgh - 10.30pm @ EVOL @ The Liquid Room, Victoria Street, Edinburgh. entry £5

Fri 27 Aug - Cambridge - 10pm @ Kambar, Wheeler Street, Cambridge. entry £3

Sat 28 Aug - London - 6pm @ Kill All Hippies @ Cross Central Festival, Kings Cross, London

Sat 28 Aug - Liverpool - 7pm @ The Swan, 86 Wood St, Liverpool.

Sun 29 Aug - Belfast - 9pm @ Katy Dalys, 17 Ormeau Avenue Belfast. free entry


Louise Redknapp is planning a return to the pop arena and wants to do a duet with Rachel Stevens. According to the ever reliable Daily Star, Louise wants to finish her fifth album and would like it to include a collaboration with Rachel. A source revealed: "Louise delayed the release of her new album until her son Charlie was born a few weeks ago. She can't wait to get back to work and is shooting the video for her new single 'Bounce Back' in five weeks. After that she will return to the studio to finish the album and is thinking about teaming up with another girl on one of the tracks. Louise's people have suggested a song called 'You Thought Wrong', which featured on American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson's album 'Thankful'. They think it would be perfect for Louise and hope Rachel will agree to the project."


Jennifer Lopez, who appeared at the end of series finale of 'Will and Grace', is to star in the popular comedy show again. Her next appearance will coincide with the US release of her next film, 'Shall We Dance?' in Oct.

Word is J Lo sees a sitcom appearance as a favourable alternative to doing the chat show rounds for the new film. A source said: "She can't do Diane Sawyer or Barbara Walters because they will ask questions. This is a woman who won't even acknowledge her marriage. But her movie needs help and so does her public image."

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