CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 9th February

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Doherty out of jail - hurrah!
- Brits tonight - hurrah!
- Final preparations made for Grammys show
- US congress get serious over TV obscenities
- Hives get five awards at Swedish Grammys
- Reggae labels reach deal with gay rights groups
- Doobie Brother drummer dies
- Single Review: Ed Harcourt - Loneliness
- Kylie add extra Showgirl date
- RZA on his Wu Tang projects
- Download line up looking fab
- Mylo on Elton
- Limp Bizkit in Prague working on new album
- INXS idol reaches London
- Album Review: Addiction Crew - Break In Life
- Impala lobby UN culture body to safeguard independent sector
- OfCom release report on public service broadcasting
- Flaming Lips doc to be screened at SXSW
- Celeb Fame Academy line up
- Tom says: "remove the price tags before you throw your pants"


Well, ladies and gentleman, he's out, and after four days behind bars he has told the Sun: "I'm determined to kick the habit for good for the sake of my relationship with Kate". So that's everything sorted then.

Yep, Pete Doherty's management yesterday managed to get together the somewhat hefty £150,000 bail demanded by the courts allowing the former Libertine to leave Pentonville Prison after a four day stay. On his short stay there Doherty told the Sun: "It was hell on earth. At night noise was horrible and there is nothing more terrifying than the sound of a prison waking up. I'm determined to stay clean. Six days without heroin wasn't as bad as I expected. I've been through the worst of the detox and I want to prove to my mum above anybody else that I can do this. I also need to say clean for the sake of my band mates and all my fans."

To help him kick the drugs the Sun has pledged to cover the costs of the singer's rehab in return for his interview. If only the Sun's sister company Sky had thought of that - now there's a reality TV show I'd like to see.

As previously reported, Doherty's pricey bail comes with a number of conditions - not least a 10pm to 7am curfew. This has led to speculation as to whether the Babyshambles man will attend tonight's Brit Awards, which kick off a 7.30pm. He's still on the invite list though he'd have to leave before the serious partying begins in order to stick to those bail conditions.

The presence, or not, of Mr Doherty at the awards event seems to be of particular interest to one Robbie Williams, or at least that's so if the Sun is to be believed. They quote an insider as saying that if Doherty is allowed to attend Robbie has said he will boycott the event, where he is due to perform 'Angels' as part of the Brits 25th anniversary celebrations, seemingly because he feels Pete's mere presence will capture all the headlines (he's possibly right). The insider says: "Robbie has said in no uncertain terms, 'It's me or him'. Robbie believes that he is the star and Pete should not be invited. He was hoping to grab all the headlines with a show-stopping performance of Angels."

Of course, if the Brits organisers want Doherty to not show up all they have to do is book him to play a gig. But surely a night out at the Brits would be a good test for Pete - if he can get through the whole awards event without any drugs he is surely a reformed character. Even if his curfew protects him from any temptation at the post-award parties, getting through the tedium of the awards themselves without shooting up will be an achievement in itself.


Which is probably very unfair of us - assuming Chris Evans has kept some of his indisputable presenting talents tonight's Brits might well prove to be more than a rather dull, slightly long episode of CD:UK, as in recent years. As previously reported, Scissor Sisters, The Streets and Franz Ferdinand will all perform which should just about make up for horrific concept that is a duet from the Bedingfield siblings - they're going to perform a version of the Chaka Khan hit 'Ain't Nobody'.

Tonight will also see Robbie's 'Angels', Joy Division's 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', Kate Bush's 'Wuthering Heights', Queen's 'We Are The Champions' and Will Young's 'Leave Right Now' all compete for the title of 'Best British Song Released Since The Brits Began' (even though we all know the best song ever made is The Primitive's 'Crash').

Meanwhile Bob Geldof will receive his award for an Outstanding Contribution To Music - just make sure you don't even hint that it's really an award for his political and charitable efforts rather than his tunes.

If you're going, enjoy. If you're not - the rock 'n' roll excuse for non-attendance is "I love to go, but I'm washing my hair tonight - and anyway, I'm subject to a 10pm curfew because of those burglary and blackmail charges, and the quality of the heroin at last year's awards was shocking".


Staying with awards, and more information has been revealed about this weekend's Grammys. The US awards show will open with what is being described as a 'multi-artist performance' stretched over three stages and featuring the talents of multiple nominees Black Eyed Peas, Gwen Stefani, Eve, Los Lonely Boys, Maroon5 and Franz Ferdinand.

Other collaborative segments planned include a tribute to the late great Ray Charles featuring Bonnie Raitt and Billy Preston, and a section dedicated to Southern rock featuring Gretchen Wilson, Tim McGraw, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dickey Betts and Elvin Bishop. Meanwhile Bono, Stevie Wonder, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Slash, Velvet Revolver, Tim McGraw and Brian Wilson will all take part in all-star performance of Beatles track 'Across The Universe' which will be recorded and sold via iTunes after the event in aid of the post-tsunami relief effort.

Meanwhile Billboard has revealed that Usher has now been added to a bill which already includes Green Day, Alicia Keys, Tim McGraw, U2, Jennifer Lopez with Marc Anthony and Kanye West with John Legend, Mavis Staples and the Blind Boys Of Alabama. The event will be hosted by Queen Latifah, who is also likely to perform.


Last year's Grammys took place during the fall out of Nipplegate, of course, and CBS added a time delay on the live broadcast just in case anything needed editing out. Although Nipplegate is something of a distant memory now, CBS are likely to be just as anxious as the rock 'n' roll rabble arrive for their big night out this year, given that the US Congress is on the offensive against TV obscenity and is later today expected to pass new measures that will drastically increase the fines for "on-air indecency" to a new maximum of $500,000 per fuck up.

With cross-party support in Congress, and the backing of media regulator the FCC, the new measures are likely to get passed. Given that broadcasters who syndicate shows on a number of networks can get fined for each output that could mean fines of several million, meaning already cautious TV networks are going to get increasingly nervous about anything slightly edgy.

All of which means even blander mainstream telly in the States. Though, on the up side, that could also mean a growing audience for the better pay-per-view channels, and possibly web channels, which are less regulated than mainstream TV and radio and tend to be more adventurous in their programming.


Back to awards, and the criminally ignored Swedish Grammys took place on Monday night. We're going to pretty much ignore them too (sorry Sweden), except to say well done to the Hives who swept the board winning five awards - for Album Of The Year, Artist Of The Year, Rock Group Of The Year, Video Of The Year and Producer Of The Year (for Pelle Gunnerfeldt).


Time now for news on those historic peaces talks that reached a conclusion yesterday. Yep, a coalition of gay rights groups yesterday reached an agreement with key reggae and dancehall record labels and gig promoters regarding their increasingly vocal campaign against those artists in the genre who have a history of writing homophobic lyrics, some which seem to incite violence against gay people.

Those labels have promised to not release any music that incites violence against gay (or any) people in the future, nor to re-release the tracks that have caused most opposition in the gay community. The promoters will likewise insist artists they promote do not perform those songs on stage. In return gay rights groups like OutRage will drop their proactive campaign against artists like Beenie Man and Sizzla which has led to the cancellation of numerous tour dates by venues frightened of getting bad press.

Speaking for key players in the reggae industry, including record companies VP and Greensleeves, distributor Jet Star and concert promoters Jammins and Apollo Entertainment, Glen Yearwood told reporters yesterday: "The reggae industry will work with the artists - while still maintaining their freedom of speech and artistic freedom - we'll advise them this is not the way forward in a civilised society". Yearwood also admitted that the proactive nature of campaigning by the likes of OutRage had hit the reggae industry hard: "If you can't have major stars touring, then you don't sell many albums".

Speaking for gay rights group OutRage, Brett Lock told reporters: "The main players in the dancehall reggae industry will attempt to regulate the industry themselves to ensure that there aren't any violently homophobic or gay-bashing lyrics in the future. As a gesture of good faith, we have agreed to suspend our aggressive campaigning against murder music. So we shall not be picketing concerts or calling for prosecutions to give the industry the space to regulate and reform itself."

The deal does not require artists like Beenie Man, Sizzla, Elephant Man, Buju Banton, Bounty Killer and Vybz Kartel to apologise for past lyrics - which is just as well as it is unlikely any of them would be willing to issue anything more than the vague unqualified apology issued by Beenie Man's record label last year, if that. Whether they support the move made by the commercial end of their industry is not clear and it remains to be seen if they can resist the temptation to perform the tracks that have caused most controversy at future gigs.


Longtime Doobie Brothers drummer Keith Knudsen, who joined the band in 1974, has died of pneumonia in America, aged 56. He had been ill on and off since undergoing treatment for cancer in 1995.

While the band formally split in 1982 they subsequently reformed and have toured extensively. The band's founder Tom Johnston told reporters yesterday: "We're going to miss him on drums. I'm going to miss him as a buddy".


SINGLE REVIEW: Ed Harcourt - Loneliness (EMI/Heavenly)
Having not yet heard his 2004 album 'Strangers', I'd kind of forgotten how great Ed Harcourt is. This has reminded me. Possibly his finest single yet - in fact you'd be hard-pressed to find a more perversely joyous three minutes all year - it's a glorious, tender yet slightly bittersweet anthemic pop song, and certainly not the moping ballad the title might suggest. There's none of the Waitsian vocal growl Ed affected on earlier efforts; on this he simply sings and plays it like it is, whilst aided by female backing vocals that seductively coo "loneliness" in the verses and emphatically belt out the word during the chorus. It's one of those life-affirming total genius pop moments that fires you with adrenaline every single time. This is the only Valentine you'll need on the 14th Feb (did I spot a cunning release date there?); you'll fall hopelessly in love with it but, more importantly, it'll love you back. You'll be singing the joys of Loneliness long into the Spring. "What would I do without you?", indeed. MS
Release date: 14 Feb
Press contact: EMI IH [all]


Kylie has added an extra date to her Showgirl tour - she will now play no less than seven nights at London's Earls Court - in addition to existing dates on 30 Apr, 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 May she will also play on 7 May. Super.


Wu-Tang Clan member RZA has been talking to Billboard about the new book released about the Clan - 'The Wu Tang Manual'. He told the industry magazine that he always viewed music biographies as a "post-career type of thing", but says he was attracted to this project because it was an offer to "detail the guiding philosophies" behind the hip-hop collective. The book, compiled by RZA with journalist Chris Norris, includes sections on the "key themes of the Wu-Tang universe" specifically martial arts, spirituality and how the glorification of organised crime in the Clan's home of Staten Island shaped the persona of the fledgling group. It also features annotated lyrics for classic Wu tracks, including 'Protect Ya Neck' and 'CREAM'.

The release of the book was originally intended to coincide with a reunion tour - what would have been the Clan's first tour since the controversial, aborted run of dates with Rage Against The Machine in 1997. However delays in the publishing of the book, not to mention the premature death of Wu Tang member Ol Dirty Bastard last year, meant that idea never got off the ground. Nevertheless, RZA is still keen to organise a Wu Tang tour at some point in the future.

He told the magazine: "I think it would be a wise thing for all the members to take a summer or winter off and just tour together. We get distracted by so many opportunities, but I've really been suggesting we put everything on hold and forget the money. I know everybody has a lifestyle they have to maintain. Let's just say a Wu-Tang Clan album is worth a couple million dollars. Once 10 guys get on it, it's still worth a couple hundred grand. Some guys' lifestyles require them to make five or six hundred thousand dollars a year regardless. Maybe doing Wu-Tang will make you that much money, but doing it by yourself could you make you a million, because there aren't so many hands involved. But for the legacy, I think we should be willing to make that sacrifice and get it cracking."


Into festival news, and the headliners for this year's Download Festival have been announced - Feeder, Black Sabbath, System Of A Down - with Garbage, Velvet Revolver, HIM, Slipknot and Billy Idol also on the bill.

The whole festival is expanding this year, with a third day added. Each day will have a different theme - day one will be indie, day two will be an Ozzy Osbourne-curated Ozzfest day with day three a more traditional metal event.

Commenting on his involvement, Ozzy told reporters: "Donington is the home of great music and I'm really happy to be playing there again. Download is going to be a fantastic show and we'll be pulling out the stops to make it a special experience for the crowd and everyone at Donington, I'm really looking forward to seeing those fans again."

On their headline set, Feeder singer Grant Nicholas said: "We are really excited about playing Download. This will be our biggest headline show yet and there's a bit of pressure on us to get the weekend off to a rocking start, but we're used to playing on big stages and we'll put on a good show."


Staying with festival news for half a sentence, and Mylo has told Radio 1 that he is penciled in to play at Glastonbury. In the same interview he denied that Sony had signed him up for £2 million as part of their distribution deal with his own label Breastfed, and then spent most of the interview talking about Elton John.

On a recent meeting with Elton, Mylo reported: "He's a very likeable, friendly, down to earth guy. On the one level, the set up was everything you would expect. He was in a room, surrounded by scented flowers, with a lap dog. As soon as he started talking he wasn't being at all flamboyant. He was talking quite approvingly of a Jay-Z track that he had just heard that samples one of his early songs so maybe he wouldn't mind being sampled. I kept dropping hints whenever I could that I want to go and DJ at one of his big garden parties and maybe get off with a D list celebrity. Ha ha, I didn't say that."


Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst and his reunited bandmate Wes Borland are in Prague of all places working with producer Ross Robinson on a new album, due for release later this year.

Writing on the band's website, Durst says the trio have based themselves in "an old apartment right near the Charles Bridge. This is where I am connecting with the darkness. Some days are explosive, others just plain heavy from the gothic aesthetic of this city in general. We have gone to the other side a few times with absinthe to discover the unknown. This album is dark musically already, but when mixed with the tone in the air of Prague it becomes somewhat horrifying".


INXS's reality show search for a replacement for the late Michael Hutchence reached London yesterday. As previously reported, the surviving band memembers are hoping to find a new frontman through a series of open auditions around the world - all of which will be filmed for a new TV series called INXS Rock Star, which will air in the US in Jul. The winner will front the band for a new album and tour. Auditions were held in West London yesterday, and more British hopefuls will be seen at auditions in Liverpool tomorrow.


ALBUM REVIEW: Addiction Crew - Break In Life (Earache)
Concept: Blazin Squad side project. Look: Euro skate punk metalers (there's a girl!). From: Italy. (And most importantly) Sound: As you might expect, this Euro five-piece uses the (token) girl to good effect; singing like Amy Lee (Evanescence) over some chuggy, heavy, yet radio-friendly guitars and the inevitable male screaming. And there's scratching. And more vocal/audio effects than you'd find in an Orbital album from 1998. And even though its roots are irrefutably American, it's still very European with the aforementioned production values in evidence: electronic fills, vocoder etc. Through it all (all the cool-rules) it's great. It's accessible heavy metal. It's radio rock. With rapping. Sort Of. It may not sweep Papa Roach or Linkin Park away in terms of exposure, but it's no doubt getting the Italian Goths into a sweat. Give this to your nephew/niece. JG
Release date: 23 Feb
Press contact: Earache


Representatives from the independent film and music sectors have asked the intergovernmental experts at UNESCO (that's the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) to make sure their new Convention on Cultural Diversity does its bit to protect the independent players in the cultural industries. Pan-European independent music body IMPALA and the European Film Companies Alliance argue that the independent sector is crucial in enabling the cultural diversity the UNESCO convention hopes to support and protect, but that so far the global body has not added anything into their proposals to protect independent players from the increasingly dominant international entertainment conglomerates.

In a statement IMPALA and EFCA say: "Existing market structures simply do not ensure a level playing field, thereby marginalising the independents, endangering the plurality of cultural operators, reducing investment in new and diverse talent and undermining local cultures and creators. Independent players are the innovators and the guarantors of diversity yet they face increasingly complex barriers to trade and severe market access problems. Being 99.9% medium, small and micro operators operating mainly on national scale, they are dwarfed by their major competitors. Seemingly unstoppable globalisation undermines creativity and competitivity and has forced independent music companies in Europe to seek judicial redress against the EU's approval of the merger of Sony/BMG. The independents see the UNESCO Convention as key to ensuring that market structures facilitate a level playing field to the benefit of all the stakeholders that are engaged in the creation, dissemination and distribution of cultural goods and services".

Good luck to them.


Talking of government regulation for the good of our combined cultural future - UK media regulator OfCom has published its final report on the future of public service broadcasting. In it the regulator says that as the multi-channel digital age takes hold expenditure on 'public service' broadcasting will fall by £300-£400 million as TV networks deal with declining budgets and the need to commission crowd pleasers. As a summary OfCom boss Stephen Carter said the growth of multi-channel telly was in danger of undermining "the historic foundations of public service broadcasting" in the UK.

The OfCom report was good news for the Beeb, whose charter is currently being reconsidered by the government. OfCom say the BBC should remain the "cornerstone" of British public service broadcasting, stressing that it should remain strong, independent and properly funded by a licence fee. The report also said OfCom had no wishes to take over the regulatory role currently undertaken by the Corporation's Board Of Governors, though it argues OfCom should oversee competition issues relating to the whole industry, including the BBC.

On other issues the report commended new Channel 4 boss Andy Duncan's bid to revitalize that network's public service commitments, though added that, while the fourth channel faces obvious financial difficulties in the digital age, OfCom didn't see the need for direct government funding just yet, instead urging the channel to pursue "further operational efficiencies and market-based initiatives". However OfCom say they will bring forward a review of Channel 4 finances to 2006/7, and did not rule out the possibility of funding their digital roll our or giving the network exemption from costly 'spectrum charges' in the future.

The report also discussed OfCom's plan to launch a new government funded public service organisation outside the BBC, providing content for digital TV and new media. Word is this organisation would be split into two - one half providing home grown comedy and drama a little like America's HBO network, the other concentrating on local news and information. OfCom suggest a top up on the licence fee could fund this body.

On ITV the report says the main commercial network should be allowed to cut its local programming in England, but should increase it in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It also said the network should ensure at least half its output is produced outside London.


A documentary that follows the Flaming Lips' fifteen year career to date will be screened at this year's SXSW festival, ahead of a DVD release in May. The SXSW screening of 'Fearless Freaks' will be accompanied by a series of deleted scenes and a photo gallery.


Young Ones star Ade Edmonson, EastEnders' Kim Medcalf, Radio 1 DJ Edith Bowman, comedians Jenny …clair and Al Murray, impressionist John Culshaw, DIY SOS host Nick Knowles and TOTP host Reggie Yates are all lined up for the next edition of Celebrity Fame Academy, which I'm assuming has something to do with the up coming Comic Releif shenanigans.


And finally, Tom Jones has asked women who throw knickers on stage during his concert to remove the price tag first! Midway through one of his gigs at Las Vegas' Hollywood Theatre he told one fan in his audience: "Luv, you're supposed to remove the price tag before you throw it, otherwise that takes all the fun out of it."

And he's right you know (not that we're talking for experience here of course, but we can empathise).


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