CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 27th January

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In today's CMU Daily:
- Irv Gotti charged with money laundering
- Jacko prosecution want to show Bashir doc in court
- UK investigation critical of booking fees in live music industry
- Ticketmaster apologise for u2 ticket sale problems
- Album Review: Mondo Maclean - Unspoken Dialect
- Damon Dash launches new business ventures
- Mtv launch Pan-African channel
- Rodney P tour
- Sony plan to turn PlayStation into iPod competitor
- Album Review: Crash Convention - Watch Committee/Thick As Thieves
- Coldplay outraged at possible new tracks being online
- Sirius boss says he's not in merger talks with rival
- Tsunami-aid fundraiser at Hammersmith Palais tonight
- Scottish tsunami-aid gig sells out
- US DJ suspended over offensive tsunami song
- Rowland wedding off?
- Madonna turns down Gervais sitcom



How did you start out making music for a living?
I started as a DJ at 13 years old. Began as a mobile DJ playing high school dances, sweet sixteens, then eventually my own parties. From there it lead to my first club residency at a club called The Devil's Nest in the Bronx. I was then approached to play at Hearthrob which was the Funhouse (famed club where Jellybean, Arthur Baker, and Madonna hung out). By the mid to late eighties I had played in almost every major club in NY. Playing at clubs led to remixing music. Then it all began to snowball into a whirlwind of stuff.

What inspired your latest album?
My son, my wife and my travels around the world inspired my 'Elements Of Life' project.

What process do you go through in creating an album?
When creating an album it always starts with the seed, in this case it was 'Elements Of Life', the title song, I co-wrote with Blaze. It was a mixture of African rhythms, latin jazz and soul.

Which artists influence your work?
Many artists influence different works. Stevie Wonder, Fania Records, Quincy Jones, Tommy Lipuma, Arif Mardin, Franz Ferdinand, Jayz, The Neptunes, Creed Taylor, Patrick Adams, Gamble & Huff, even Henry Mancini. And many more.

What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Listen with an open mind.

What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
My ambitions for my latest album and for the future is to be able to spread it to the world thru live events. Elements of Life LIVE has already been to Montreaux, NorthSea, Roskilde Festivals, the Blue Notes in Japan, the Jazz Cafe this March, MGM Grand in Las Vegas for Cirque De Soleil, The House Of Blues in LA. Bringing out new artists Anane, Luis Quintero with their own albums, and the next album for Masters At Work coming soon.

Louie Vega is DJing at Fabric for the first time this Saturday - 29 Jan, as Soul Heaven celebrates it's fourth birthday. Louie Vega's album 'Elements Of Life' is re-released in the UK in Mar, with the second installment 'Elements Of Life: Extensions' following shortly after.


Well, as the more observant of you spotted, the rumours yesterday that the Feds were moving in on a hip hop mogul related to the long running story regarding the shadier financial dealings over at Irv Gotti's Murder Inc record label, part of the Universal Music Group.

It is alleged Gotti and his associates used the label to launder money for drug dealer Kenneth 'Supreme' McGriff - he'd give them dodgy cash, they'd bank it and give him legitimate cheques. The authorities have been investigating the allegations for sometime, and yesterday formally charged Gotti, his brother and six others with laundering $1m (£530,000) for McGriff and his drugs network.

Reducing the excitement of the whole thing some what, prosecutors confirming Gotti's arrest stressed that none of the artists signed to the label, which includes Ja Rule and Ashanti, were involved in the alleged scam. "This investigation focused on drug dealing, murder and money laundering. It is not an investigation of the rap industry. Ja Rule, Ashanti and none of the other artists affiliated with Murder Inc are implicated in any way in this case."

Needless to say the Gotti brothers' lawyer denied all allegations: "I think it's a perfectly legitimate operation. Ultimately, I expect Irv and Chris to be vindicated."


Staying with the pop courts for a minute, and prosecutors in the Michael Jackson child abuse case have asked for Martin Bashir's controversial Jacko documentary to be shown to jurors in court, presumably because it was pretty damning of the singer and his friendships with young boys.

Jacko's defense are opposing the screening of the programme in court, pointing out it was essentially a piece of tabloid telly which used heavy editing to make the whole thing more sensational. Defence lawyer Robert Sanger told reporters yesterday: "It is heavily edited in the most sensational fashion possible and contains highly inflammatory material regarding matters such as Mr Jackson's care of his own children, plastic surgery, Mr Jackson's financial affairs and other prejudicial matters. Hollywood techniques were used to make the video more dramatic. Scenes are juxtaposed. The pace of the programme is edited to build drama."


An investigation into the way tickets are sold in the live music industry has ruled that the sector needs to be clearer on prices, booking fees and terms and conditions.
Although the Office Of Fair Trading report did not find any evidence of uncompetitive practices in the ticket selling sector, it did criticise the erratic nature of booking fees which, it says, vary hugely from company to company, who might charge anywhere between 10% to 65% of ticket price. The report said that over a third of consumers interviewed complained that booking fees had been higher than expected, especially for tickets sold online, sparking a call for a review of the way gigs and events are advertised, so that the cost of additional booking fees is clearer.

Commenting on the report, OFT chairman Sir John Vickers told reporters yesterday: "Ticket agents can provide a better and fairer service for consumers. Clearer price information and the elimination of unfair contract terms would improve choice and value."

Jonathan Brown, secretary of the UK Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, while denying legitimate ticket agencies were guilty of profiting from hidden charges, generally welcomed the report - which had most criticism for unofficial ticket touts. Brown: "We are increasingly concerned at levels of malpractice, misrepresentation and old-fashioned rip-offs."


Talking of ticket sales, Ticketmaster have apologised to U2 fans across Europe after there were technical problems with the pre-sale booking facility made available to fan club members wanting to get tickets for the forthcoming Vertigo tour. Such was the demand for the pre-sale service, run by Ticketmaster, the system slowed down meaning some fans were 'timed out' half way through their transaction. Then, when they went through the purchase process for a second time they found their unique six digit number, required to access the pre-sale facility, was no longer valid.

A spokesman for Ticketmaster explained: "In order to ensure fans were given priority access to tickets, U2's management instructed Ticketmaster to organise a pre-sale for U2 Fan Club members. Members were given a six-digit code which, for security reasons, was enabled for one-time use only. Tickets went on sale at 10am and immediately Ticketmaster experienced an incredibly high level of demand. This resulted in the website,, offering a slower than normal service. Unfortunately some customers were timed out of the website and found that when they attempted to continue with their transaction, the six-digit code was no longer valid."

The good news is that Ticketmaster reckon there is "still ticket availability at all UK venues" so they're "confident that all those affected by the problem will still be able to purchase tickets".


ALBUM REVIEW: Mondo Maclean - Unspoken Dialect (Mighty Atom)
With track names like 'Keithie's Done Himself A Mischief', you might think you'd be in for some Goldie Lookin comedy. But no. It's classic hard and heavy with all the usual growling and screaming, interspersed with the some melodic emo bits. Though it's mostly screaming. And growling. More song titles: 'Don't Forget To Feed The Fish', 'Yeah Girl, You Said It!' and the unforgettable 'Blinding Lightshows & Bad Clothes Dress Codes'. Mighty Atom records really do have the monopoly on post hardcore emo (or whatever the sub-culturally acceptable phrase is). From Funeral For A Friend, through Hollywood Ending to the Spill Canvas it's frayed nerves and teenage aggression all the way. It's not hard to see why the band have had a growing following, some storming reviews and solid support from rags like Kerrang! Their untamed energy arrives at you at full throttle, though always with enough melody to make it not only worth it - but make you want to hear it again, and sing it on the bus. Onward and upward. JG
Release date: 28 Feb
Press contact: Hero PR [all]


Damon Dash has announced his business plans post-Roc-A-Fella. As previously reported, Dash and business partner Jay-Z both sold their stakes in the Roc-A-Fella record label to the Universal Music Group at the end of last year, the latter taking on the role of president of Universal's Def Jam Records as part of the same deal.

Dash yesterday announced his plans for the future, which centre on a new company called the Damon Dash Music Group. Set up with Kareem 'Biggs' Burke, also a co-founder of Roc-A-Fella, Dash's new company will consist of a number of different record labels, many joint ventures with other key players.

Launch labels will include Militain Musica, to be launched with hip-hop artist N.O.R.E. (aka Noreaga), Dream Factory, a partnership with producer 7 Aurelius, and other joint ventures with the Wu Tang Clan and MOP/The First Family. The Wu Tang label will release the posthumous album from Ol Dirty Bastard.

Commenting on his new business empire, Dash said his new company would: "empower people and music that I believe in...and that will be positive for our culture and community. I want to give them a chance to have vision."

It is not entirely clear what Dash's new company means for his business relationship with the Universal Music Group, who were rumoured to be negotiating a new joint venture project with him. However insiders say, whatever happens, Dash will continue to work as a consultant for Universal imprints Roc-A-Fella and Def Jam.


MTV have confirmed they will launch their 100th channel, an African version of MTV base, on 22 Feb. It will be the company's first pan-African music channel providing young Africans with their own bespoke MTV channel for the first time, and linking African viewers to MTV's global network.

Commenting on the new channel, MTV Europe boss Brent Hansen told CMU: "Following MTV's localisation strategy, MTV base will provide a unique cultural meeting point for young people in Africa, using the common language of music to connect music fans from different backgrounds and cultures. With its focus on the broad spectrum of contemporary African music, MTV base is designed to become part of the fabric of African youth culture, providing African fans with a unique pan-regional music mix that ignores geographical and political boundaries to access the best African and urban music and talent from around the world."

Once live, the channel will do its bit to promote African music. The channel's playlist will include videos from African artists such as Femi Kuti (Nigeria), Magic System (Ivory Coast), SSP (Angola), Nameless (Kenya), VIP (Ghana), Zama Jobe (South Africa) and Angelique Kidjo (Benin), while a regular weekly music documentary series, MTV base Spotlight, will focus on hot and emerging artists from around the sub-continent.


Get your diaries out, Mr Rodney P is going on the road to promote his forthcoming single 'The Nice Up'. Dates as follows:

28 Jan: Fabric, London with DJ Skitz.
29 Jan: Scratch, The Forum, London alongside Pete Rock and with full live band.
1 Feb: Momo's, London with full live band.
3 Feb: Drop The Bomb, The Old Fire Station, Bournemouth Uni.
4 Feb: High Rollerz, The Brunel Rooms, Swindon.
6 Feb: The Jazz CafÈ, London with The Beatnuts and full live band.
10 Feb: The Zap Club, Brighton with full live band.
12 Feb: Friends & Family, Manchester with full live band.
15 Feb: Hi Fi Club, Leeds with full live band
18 Feb: Fabric, London with DJ Skitz
25 Feb: Stealth, Nottingham with full live band
4 Mar: Fabric, London with DJ Skitz
10 Mar: John Moores Uni, Liverpool
12 Mar: Strathclyde Uni, Glasgow
24 Mar: Hobson's Choice, Banbury with DJ Skitz
25 Mar: Ether, Taunton with full live band
26 Mar: Club 2000, Penzance with full live band
1 Apr: The Stage, Gateshead with full live band


There was confirmation yesterday that Sony, whose Connect download platform has struggled to catch the public's imagination, plan to use their PlayStation brand to further tap into the digital music market.

Reports from inside Sony Computer Entertainment Europe say that digital music functionality is being added to the PlayStation Portable, the portable games console that has proved a hit in Japan, and which is due to arrive in America and Europe in Mar. Word is Sony plan to enable users to download music files to their PSP, either from the web or via WiFi hotspots, essentially making the portable gaming kit a competitor to the iPod.

With Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Ken Kutaragi also revealing this week plans to turn the PSP into a mobile phone, it looks like Sony are back on the mission to create that holy grail of the electronics industry - the completely versatile one-stop portable device. If successful in that mission Sony might be able to steal some ground from its competitors, and especially Apple, in the digital music space.


ALBUM REVIEW: Crash Convention - Watch Committee/Thick As Thieves (Irresponsible)
If I was Carl Libertine I wouldn't have used my fame to tip a band that were good for all the reasons the Libertines weren't. Crash Convention are a south London four piece who sound like a Ian Dury/Clash supergroup: very London accent, very post-punk. And as for the songs - it's all there. Hook, harmony and that retro delivery that few seem to be able to master; it's raw and edgy and you'll want to play it again. This feels real. Which is such a treat in today's musical climate. It would be so nice if these guys did great things, they deserve to so much more than... well, than a lot of other shysty shitehawking bands like... well, you know. JG
Release date: 21 Feb
Press contact: Irresponsible IH 07956 211 651


Rumour has it Coldplay were set to call in their lawyers to investigate how tracks from their forthcoming new album, which now has a provisional May release date, surfaced on the internet. Six tracks from the new album appeared to surface on the WinMX website, though the consensus seems to be they are fakes. However, insiders say that if real tracks do ever surface online before the album's release the band may again engage the legal people - one source told the Sun: "Everyone was extremely concerned. Chris would have been furious if it had got out."


Former Viacom boss Mel Karmazin, now chairman of US satellite radio group Sirius, has denied entering into talks with rival satellite radio network XM about a possible merger. According to the Wall Street Journal, Karmazin said of the rumours: "I have not met with their chairman or CEO, so I have no idea where any of this came from".


Back to tsunami-aid fundraisers - and a last minute one. A special benefit concert will be staged tonight at the Hammersmith Palais featuring Blue's Lee Ryan, Busted's Matt, Daniel Bedingfield, POP!, Joslin Brown, Ragaz, 2 Play, Terri Walker, Estelle, Keisha White, Sugar Babes, Omar, Kim Razall, Rhian Benson, Nathan and The Drifters. Called The People To The People Concert, the event is being staged in association with The World Unite Appeal. Tickets from 020 7734 9990, press info from


Elsewhere in tsunami-aid news, and promoters of the previously reported fundraiser due to take place at Glasgow's SECC on 19 Feb have announced the event has sold out within 36 hours of tickets going on sale. That means the event, which will feature the likes of Belle & Sebastian, Deacon Blue, Franz Ferdinand, Idlewild, Kevin McDermott, Colin MacIntyre aka Mull Historical Society, Mogwai, Eddi Reader, Slam, Teenage Fan Club, Texas, Trash Can Sinatras and Travis, has already raised over £300,000 for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Tsunami Earthquake Appeal.

One of the organisers, Mark Mackie from Regular Music, told CMU: "The response from the Scottish public to the event has been phenomenal, and our thanks go out to the fans, the artists and everyone behind the scenes at the venue and in production for working together to make this concert happen. We're also grateful to the Scottish media for pulling out all the stops to support the event. Our sights are now set on Saturday the 19th, and playing our part in what will be a memorable night at the SECC."

Press info on the gig from Burt Greener PR on 0141 248 6007, broadcast media enquiries to Hothouse on 0131 558 3717.


Staying with tsunami related news - though no generous fundraising on this one. An American radio presenter and her production team have been suspended from New York's Hot 97 WQHT-FM hip-hop station after they aired a song that ridiculed victims of the Asian tsunami. Sung to the tune of 'We Are The World' it's rather sick lyrics made fun of the whole tragedy.

Needless to say, everyone involved quickly lined up to apologise for playing the track. The station's owner's said that playing the song was "morally and socially indefensible", while the presenter who played it, Tarsha Nicole Jones, admitted her mistake, apologised profusely and offered to donate a week's pay to the tsunami-aid appeal.

However, such was the deluge of complaints regarding the playing of the track, it looks unlikely the station will accept Jones' initial apology, though it is not clear what measures they will take.


Gossip time, and Kelly Rowland has reportedly called off her engagement to American football star Roy Williams, who she was due to wed in Mar. Word is that would be guests who had already received invitations are now receiving phone calls to say the wedding will not now go ahead.

One source told American magazine Us Weekly: "Kelly said yes when he proposed and, after she thought about it, changed her mind." However Ms Rowland's people insist the wedding has been postponed not cancelled.


And finally, Madonna has turned down an offer from Ricky Gervais to appear in his new TV comedy Extras, which follows a bunch of film extras chasing their big break. Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Ben Stiller and Samuel L Jackson will all play themselves in cameo appearances on the show, but Madonna turned down the offer saying she would only do it if she could play a character rather than herself.

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