CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 2nd November
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Jay-Z / R Kelly tour is cancelled
- Hawkins fine to play despite hand injury
- Tiesto tops DJ poll - again
- Ben Folds returns
- Concerts at home a success for Radio 3
- Sting's quarter of a million gig
- Brandy looking for new label
- ITV3 to appear on Sky after all
- Pre-Beatles recording the most valuable
- Band Aid release date set
- Album Review: N. Lannon - Chemical Friends
- Brit Awards replace dance award with live category
- Kylie's ex likely to appear in the jungle
- Bedingfield apologises to sis through new song
- Boyzone reunion not likely
- MTV and CNN partner on AIDS programme

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SAME SIX QUESTIONS: David Sheppard from State River Widening

How did you start out making music for a living?
'Subsisting' would be a more accurate description. For me it started ten years ago or more, when RCA records foolishly advanced me and my erstwhile compadres a lorry load of money as an advance. Latterly, we make ends meet by whatever means necessary, so we can keep the, er, flame alive, or whatever...

What inspired your latest album?
The British weather, a certain kind of pleasant light-headeness, Rioja, the real English folk tradition, Guild and Lowden guitars, the sky at night, growing older, feeling younger...

What process do you go through in creating an album?
Various. We are always writing things - a very Calvinist kind of 'stockpiling', then we get to the studio and just let it all unfurl. In truth, SRW records rely on our ability to edit as much anything. Also the ability to get enthused about particular musical ideas and sustain them long enough to roll tape and move microphones around. It is often, to paraphrase Tom Waits, like trying to carry water in your hands...

Which artists influence your work?
Visual artists? There are some. But you mean musicians, right? Influence is a fluid kind of thing. I'm probably just as influenced by the records my parents played in our home as I am some new thing... I guess Robert Wyatt, Morricone, Eno etc had some sort of pull on what we've done. Personally, I was heavily influenced by writings by a Swedish poet, Tomas Transtromer who I recommend unreservedly to you all.

What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Hello. How nice of you to listen to our record. Please buy copies for all your friends.

What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Ambitions for the album? Well, we did everything we could for it while it was growing up, now it has to fend for itself. Of course we want it to be a success - but only as long its happy and fulfilled in its daily life. I want our records to be good citizens. Now and forever more. Oh and it'd be good if it somehow helped to dislodge that Mr Bush and his mob from their citadel. Unlikely I know...

State River Widening's new album Cottonhead is released this week on Vertical Form - more at http://www.verticalform.com and press info from No 9 Publicity.

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JAY-Z / R KELLY TOUR IS CANCELLED
With Jay-Z and R Kelly's joint album 'Unfinished Business' due to top the US chart today, a spokesman for the former yesterday confirmed that last night's New York date on the duo's Best Of Both Worlds tour would be the last, and that it would go ahead without Kelly's involvement. The cancelled tour had a further 17 dates to run.

Tensions seem to have been high between the Jay-Z and R Kelly camps throughout the tour so far, although things came to a head this weekend when Kelly claimed one of Jay-Z's entourage attacked him with pepper spray.

In a statement yesterday Jay-Z lay the blame for the cancellation of the tour at Kelly's door, telling reporters that it was his co-star's "lack of professionalism and unpredictable behaviour that has prevented the tour from continuing."

Jay-Z continued: "In Chicago and Baltimore, R Kelly was not 'ready'. In Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Hartford, R Kelly was not 'willing'. In St. Louis and New York, R. Kelly was not 'able'. I will not allow my fans and touring personnel to be subjected to an unsafe environment created by my co-headliner... only the professionalism of the other entertainers, including Usher and Mary J. Blige, on Friday prevented a disaster and saved the evening."

Kelly's publicist denied his client was to blame for the cancellation of the tour, saying Kelly was "ready, willing and able" to continue at anytime.

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HAWKINS FINE TO PLAY DESPITE HAND INJURY
A spokesman for The Darkness has denied that a hand injury will stop front-man Justin Hawkins from playing guitar. Early reports indicated that the injury, allegedly caused when he smashed his hand through a window during a fight, might hinder Hawkins' forthcoming live and recording commitments.
However, a spokesman for the band yesterday told reporters: "We confirm reports this weekend that Darkness front-man and guitarist, Justin Hawkins, has sustained a slight injury to his right hand. However this injury poses no threat to their arena tour or his participation in the Band Aid 3 single."

The statement added: "There was no altercation as was alleged in certain sections of the press."

Meanwhile, in an interview with her local newspaper, the Eastern Daily Press, Hawkins' mother Sandy also played down the injury, saying: "I saw him on Sunday and he was fine, he was even playing the piano so his injury can't be that bad. It just looked like a cut like anyone might have. He did need stitches but it really wasn't that bad. I'm not sure exactly how he did it, I think he was just messing about like he always does and cut himself."

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TIESTO TOPS DJ POLL - AGAIN
This year's DJ Mag DJ Poll is now online - you can check out the full top 100 online at http://www.djmag.com/top100chart.asp - and they will be adding the next 150 DJs that appeared in the survey on 12 Nov. The latest edition of DJ Mag includes interviews with all the finalists and lots of statistical type analysis.

In the end, after some 91,481 people from 149 different countries voted, it was Dutch master Tiesto who once again came out top - for the third year running! Tiesto is the only DJ to have topped the poll three times - Paul Oakenfold and Carl Cox have both appeared at number one twice.

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BEN FOLDS RETURNS
Given that his genius collaboration with William Shatner has pushed back the release of his own solo album into 2005, some good news from Sony towers yesterday - Ben Folds has released a new EP called Super D and you can buy it from Recordstore.co.uk. The EP, the third of a trilogy of EPs Folds has released online in the last year, features three new tracks plus a cover of The Darkness track 'Get Your Hands Off My Woman' and a version of a wonderful early Ray Charles song called 'Them That Got' recorded live in Boston.

More details at http://www.recordstore.co.uk/sonymusic/home.jsp?search=superd

And as if that wasn't good enough news in itself, but Mr Folds is touring the UK later this month. Dates as follows:
12 Nov: Leicester de Montfort Hall
14 Nov: Manchester Lowry
16 Nov: Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
18 Nov: Sheffield Octagon
19 Nov: Brighton Dome
20 Nov: Warwick Arts Centre
21 Nov: Southampton Guildhall
23 Nov: Cambridge Corn Exchange
25 Nov: London Barbican

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CONCERTS AT HOME A SUCCESS FOR RADIO 3
BBC Radio 3 have been reporting on their Musicians On Call scheme which, as previously reported, sees professional classical musicians playing free concerts in people's homes as part of the BBC's Listen Up scheme. The aim of the programme is to take the music to the homes of people who are unable to make it to concert halls.

Describing the scheme as a "huge success", a Radio 3 spokesman told reporters this week: "People asked for home concerts for a wide gamut of reasons. We had requests for youngsters born with birth defects, children with cerebral palsy or physical deformities and middle-aged people with sight problems or terminal cancer who could not leave their house."

A spokesman for the musicians involved in the scheme, who together will participate in over 100 home concerts, continued: "The musicians told us it has been an incredibly emotional experience for them, to witness people's reactions to the music. Children with cerebral palsy may not be able to communicate easily, but the happy response on their faces said it all."

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STING'S QUARTER OF A MILLION GIG
Talking of playing in intimate surroundings, Sting has played at a party for Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates at New York's Supper Club. However, his intimate gig wasn't for free - according to the New York Daily News he received a cheque for £273,000 for performing just eight songs. Good work if you can get it.

Meanwhile Sting, who had to cancel some UK shows earlier this year due to laryngitis, will be undertaking a rescheduled tour later this month taking in the following:

16 Nov: Dublin, The Point
17 Nov: Belfast Odyssey
19 Nov: Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
20 Nov: Glasgow SECC
22 Nov: Manchester Evening News Arena
23 Nov: Birmingham NEC Arena

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BRANDY LOOKING FOR NEW LABEL
Rumour has it that Grammy award-winning Brandy has requested and been granted an unconditional release from her record contract with Warner's Atlantic Records. Quite why the singer - who has sold nearly 30 million records worldwide - would want to leave her label, and why they would let her go without a fight, is unclear. The singer is now reportedly in talks with other labels regarding a partnership on future releases.

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ITV3 TO APPEAR ON SKY AFTER ALL
A last minute deal between ITV and Sky means that the former's new digital channel will be carried by the latter's digital network.

As previously reported, Sky had objected to ITV3 because it conflicted in remit with Granada Plus - a channel jointly owned by ITV (via its Granada division) and Sky. Sky initially hoped it could get a share in ITV3 instead, but ITV boss Charles Allen was known to be resistant to this proposal. After that, it looked likely both ITV3 and Granada Plus would have to co-exist, reducing the amount of ITV archive programming available to ITV3 and denying the new channel of a slot on Sky's electronic programme guide.

However, in a last minute deal, ITV bought out Sky's 49.5% stake in Granada Sky Broadcasting (which owned Granada Plus) in a deal said to be worth over £10 million. As a result Granada Plus will switch over to ITV3 as the new channel launches on Freeview later today.

Announcing the deal, Allen said yesterday: "Incorporating recent popular drama from ITV1 with the best of Plus into ITV3 will create the strongest possible proposition for viewers and advertisers. This deal delivers on our strategic objective to build the ITV family of digital channels and will enable ITV3 to maximise its potential."

No word yet on what the deal means for the future of the only other Granada Sky Broadcasting channel still active - good old Granada Men and Motors.

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PRE-BEATLES RECORDING THE MOST VALUABLE
Record Collector magazine reckons that an original first pressing of a track by the band that preceded the Beatles - The Quarry - is he most valuable record of all time. Even though it cost about 90 pence to make, the first pressing of 'That'll Be The Day' featuring John Lennon and George Harrison and other bandmates Colin Hanton and John Duff Lowe, which is owned by Mr McCartney, is now said to be worth £100,000.

Magazine Record Collector's editor Jack Kane told reporters: "The main factor in the price is not, as you might think, scarcity, it is actually desirability. We base the prices on information from dealers, collectors and experts who have their ears to the ground. That said, eBay has confused things - you can sell exactly the same thing a few days apart and there can be a variation of price of up to 500 per cent."

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BAND AID RELEASE DATE SET
Universal Records say they will release the new version of Band Aid's 'Do They Know It's Christmas' on 29 Nov, just two weeks after the scheduled recording date of 14 Nov. Presumably the hope is that an early release will maximise the sales period before Christmas - ensuring as many records are sold as possible (and therefore as much money is raised for the charities). That said, with the fickle modern music market, an early release may mean the Band Aid track gets to number one in the first week of Dec, but has slipped down the chart by the time the Christmas top ten is compiled.

Stars signed up for the project now include Sugababes, Robbie Williams, Justin Hawkins, Chris Martin, Dido, Fran Healey, Beverley Knight, Jamelia, Supergrass' Danny Goffey and Morcheeba's Skye Edwards.

Geoffrey Wonfor, who filmed The Beatles' Anthology, is being lined up to shoot the video on the day, while artist Damien Hirst is set to design the CD sleeve

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ALBUM REVIEW: N. Lannon - Chemical Friends (Badman)
Along with Gravenhurst (aka Nick Talbot - purveyor of excellent recent albums on Warp), N. Lannon seems to be at the forefront of a movement best described as 'new ambient folk', or something. Both artists essentially eschew anything other than simple plucked or strummed acoustic guitars, delicate vocals and a liberal smattering of electronic sounds. Whilst 'Chemical Friends' is not as eerie as Gravenhurst at their most foreboding, at its best it's equally captivating. The spectre of Nick Drake hovers above proceedings, as do apparitions of Pink Floyd, Simon and Garfunkel and, occasionally (on the grounded 'Space Oddity' of 'Turn Time Around'), even David Bowie. Nyles Lannon's heartfelt yet hushed vocals also recall another Drake disciple, Neil Halstead of Mojave 3; there's certainly much to enjoy here if you appreciated Halstead's solo album 'Sleeping On Roads'. Abetted by ghostly glitchtronica noises, it's the kind of album you could imagine Björk singing if she chilled out a bit and suddenly developed an obsession with US alt country and Brit-folk. Although at times it proves pedestrian and uneventful listening, for the most part this is an unexpectedly welcome release. MS
Release date: 11 Oct
Press contact: No 9 [all]

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BRIT AWARDS REPLACE DANCE AWARD WITH LIVE CATEGORY
Organisers of the Brits have dropped the dance music category in favour of a live music award. In recognition of the ever increasing popularity of live music in the UK, and implying that some in the industry feel the dance sector has been in decline ever since its late nineties peak, the switch will be made before next February's awards event.

The new award will be organised in association with the Live Music Forum, a government funded body which is working to develop the UK's live music scene. Confirming their involvement, Feargal Sharkey, chairman of the Live Music Forum, told reporters yesterday: "I am very excited that The Brits will, for the first time, be celebrating live performances, and I look forward to long and heated discussions with my fellow judges. Tickets for live shows have been hot property this year - Glastonbury, Reading and T in the Park are among the hundreds of music events that sold out in record time, proving how important live music is to each and every one of us."

British acts who have performed at UK venues in the last year will be eligible for the award. Nominations will be announced on 10 Jan, a month ahead of the 10 Feb London awards ceremony.

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KYLIE'S EX LIKELY TO APPEAR IN THE JUNGLE
Kylie's ex, James Gooding, has signed up for the next series of 'I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!', presumably because they hope he will spill the beans about his famous relationship, in much the same way Alex Best dished the dirt on George in the last series of the reality show.

The Daily Star quotes a source on the show as saying: "It's a real coup for us to get James and it's no secret he had a rocky time with Kylie. We hope that, just like Alex Best in the last series, he will start telling all about what went on behind closed doors. And I can imagine that's Kylie's worst nightmare. The other good thing about having James is that he's eye candy for the girls and a real flirt."

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BEDINGFIELD APOLOGISES TO SIS THROUGH NEW SONG
Daniel Bedingfield has revealed that a new song he has penned, called 'Sorry', is an open apology to his chart topping sister Natasha. Apparently he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when he was eight-years-old which caused him to suffer severe tantrums, hyperactivity and extreme anxiety. Natasha, he now admits, used to bear the brunt of it - and that's what the song will apologise for. Given the tendency for response songs of late, presumably Natasha will now record a song called 'You're Lovely Too'.

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BOYZONE REUNION NOT LIKELY
Given that Ronan Keating isn't that keen on a Boyzone reunion, it seems unlikely that any kind of reunion is likely after Keith Duffy said it would have to be all or nothing.

Speaking at the Irish Film and Television Awards, Duffy said: "If I was going to get back with Boyzone I'd like to do it with Boyzone. And that means the four guys I toured with for eight years. It wouldn't be the same without each individual member".

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MTV AND CNN PARTNER ON AIDS PROGRAMME
In an unusual media partnership, Viacom owned MTV will team up with Time Warner owned CNN to make a special programme for World AIDS Day next month. The programme will be called 'Staying Alive: An MTV & CNN News Special' and will premiere on CNN on 27 Nov before being shown on the MTV network and CNN's sister stations around the world on World AIDS Day - 1 Dec. Fronted by both MTV and CNN presenters, the show will focus on how HIV/Aids affects young people.

Announcing the project, MTV Networks International boss Bill Roedy told reporters: "This Staying Alive news special will have unprecedented distribution. I challenge other broadcasters to air this rights-free special at no cost to get crucial HIV/AIDS prevention messages out to the largest audience ever this year on World AIDS Day and beyond."

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MUSICPAY CORRECTION
Quick one - the new pre-pay service for digital music platforms is called, of course, MusicPay, and not MusicPlay as someone round here insisted on writing yesterday (was that me?)

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