CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 6th October

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Eminem sues unlicensed ring tone sellers
- BPI hits back at consumer group IP law claims
- Universal sign up to Motorola mobile radio plans
- Post-merger job cuts at Capital announced
- Apple ready to launch video iPod?
- Nicoli not convinced by iTunes model either
- P2P down on August, up on last year
- EMI Warners merger not likely in short term, despite upcoming deadline
- Viacom confirm demerger plans
- Dunbar departs V2
- BPI announce more seminars
- MusicTank chew the fat with Conroy and Robinson
- Album review: Millionaire - Paradisiac
- Elton gives £25k for HIV awareness in Nepal
- Morrissey album nearly finished
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs album nearly finished also
- We Are Scientists live dates
- Three Inches Of Blood live dates
- Chimaira live dates
- TEAM tour dates and album
- Album review: Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better
- INXS announce US tour
- Beatles heads to be auctioned off
- Wyclef to appear in TV comedy
- Simpson and Lachey split?
- Pete Doherty attacks Borrell (verbally) shocker

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EMINEM SUES UNLICENSED RING TONE SELLERS
Eminem's publishing companies have begun legal action to stop the rapper's songs being sold as mobile phone ringtones.

The two companies, Eight Mile Style and Martin Affiliated, are seeking a court order against five ring tone firms who, they claim, are selling ringtones that use Slim Shady's music without licence. The companies being sued via the Detroit courts include Colorado-based Cellus USA, Georgia-based FanMobile, New York-based Nextones.com, New Jersey-based MyPhoneFiles and New Jersey-based MatrixM LLC.

The lawyer representing the music companies says his clients also plan to sue karaoke firms who use Eminem's music without proper licence. Lawyer Hward Hertz told reporters this week: "This is big business. We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars a year."

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BPI HITS BACK AT CONSUMER GROUP IP LAW CLAIMS
The BPI are "criminalising" consumers. No really. Well, they are according to the National Consumer Council. As chiefs from the recording, film, IT and pharmaceutical industry announce they are collaborating to tackle intellectual property theft around the world, and with the courts and legislators seemingly ever more supportive of copyright holders protecting their interests, the NCC is calling for caution in any developments in copyright law, arguing the IP industries are in danger of violating consumer rights.

The Council's Director Of Policy, Jill Johnstone, said in a statement yesterday: "Moves are afoot in Brussels to tighten up enforcement of intellectual property laws. It could mean consumers facing criminal sanctions and a criminal record for sharing creative content. The European Commission must think again before bringing in new and tougher IP laws. Criminal sanctions for infringing copyright holders' rights must be applied only to organised crime - not to individual citizens making use of new technologies. Any new laws must be very clear on this point and must strike a balance between right holders' interests in getting a fair return and the public and consumer interests of fair access and use, and the encouragement of innovation."

Responding, the BPI told reporters "you know, she's right, we're going to give everything away from this point on". Not really of course. Rather BPI boss Peter Jamieson issued a rather long statement defending his industry's litigious response to digital piracy.

He said (deep breath now): "The NCC's comments are misleading. First, the BPI has not initiated any criminal actions. Any actions we have initiated have been civil cases. Second, we are not taking action against consumers. We are pursuing people who are taking music without permission and infringing the rights we have under the law. When people cross the line from being paying customers to taking music without permission, they can no longer be regarded as consumers - they are law breakers. Independent research demonstrates that illegal filesharing has cost the record industry £650 million in lost sales in the past two years alone, which means inevitably means there is less money available to invest in new British music. Illegal filesharing is in a very real sense bad for the consumer as well as for the music industry. We make no apologies for enforcing the rights we have been given in law. But we have focused our attentions on some of the worst offenders - those people making available hundreds and often thousands of tracks available for others to download. More than 60 people in the UK have accepted that they were distributing music illegally on the internet and paid fines of up to £6,500 to avoid civil lawsuits. Our campaign of education and awareness has included distributing hundreds of thousands of instant messages and tens of thousands of leaflets in public buildings. The record industry has even developed free software to help consumers stay legal. As a body representing consumers, we hope that the NCC share our view that consumers need to understand how to avoid breaking the law whilst using the internet. Although the NCC have offered no support so far for our two-year consumer campaign, the door is always open and we would welcome any support they can offer."

So that's that settled. I wonder who it is who is sitting on the £650 million the recording industry thinks it has lost because of P2P file sharing? Those file sharing kids must have some pretty full piggy banks.

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UNIVERSAL SIGN UP TO MOTOROLA MOBILE RADIO PLANS
Universal Music Group has signed up to the new iRadio service being planned by Motorola. The service, due to launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in the US in January, will provide radio streams via your mobile which you can either listen to via headphones plugged into the phone or, via the wonders of blue tooth, via a compatible car or home stereo system. Various existing internet radio stations will be available via the service, but Motorola also plan to offer a customized radio station service, which is what Universal have licenced their music for. Lovely.

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POST-MERGER JOB CUTS AT CAPITAL ANNOUNCED
Tip for the future, if you are going to work for a merging company, make sure your boss stays on as boss of the merged organisation, otherwise you'll need to do some work updating your CV. After several senior Capital Group execs were axed within weeks of the departure of former Capital boss David Mansfield at the top of the merged GCap, now 15 jobs are to go at Capital FM, the first of the post-merger job cuts at the radio conglom. According to the Guardian, Annie O'Neill, producer of the old Chris Tarrant breakfast show and more recently Deputy Prodution Controller, is among the fifteen staff to go at the radio group's flagship London station. Marketing, PR, interactive and events staff are also believed to be leaving.

With the brunt of the post-merger cuts so far coming from the Capital side of the GCap partnership, there's a growing consensus that GWR has become very much the senior player in the new company. Writing in his media column in yesterday's Evening Standard, Nick Ferrari went as far as to say GWR had staged a clever takeover of the once mighty Capital Radio, pursuing an acquisition under the guise of a merger.

Former GWR and now GCap boss Ralph Bernard has been keen to stress that is not the case. Asked if former GWR divisions were getting better treatment post merger, he told reporters: "No, absolutely not. We have been GCap since May". Well, that's me convinced.

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APPLE READY TO LAUNCH VIDEO IPOD?
Apple have scheduled a showcase event for 12 Oct, kicking off new speculation as to what new bit of technology the computer firm is now planning to launch. Most in the IT industry reckon it will be the much anticipated video iPod.

Shaw Wu, an analyst with American Technology Research, has confirmed that prediction to the US press: "We left the recent September 8th event thinking Apple has been working on a whole lot more than just an iPod Nano and iTunes ROKR cell phone. After spending the past two years studying this market and negotiating with content partners, it appears Apple is ready to go to market with a first-generation video-capable iPod".

As with the original iPod, what will be interesting is not so much the technology Apple launches next week, but the way it plans to market it. Others have released portable media devices that play video, but consumer response has been lukewarm. Insiders reckon Apple will hope to interest music fans in their video iPod by making it only slightly more expensive than an audio-only device, and by providing a steady stream of music videos via the iTunes music store.

All that said, others question whether Apple will be launching a new music product so close to the Nano and ROKR phone, leading them to speculate that the showcase event will be used to launch a non-music Apple product. Should that be the case, Wu predicts the launch of an Intel-powered Mac.

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NICOLI NOT CONVINCED BY ITUNES MODEL EITHER
Talking of Apple, the boss of EMI has echoed the sentiments of Warner boss Edgar Bronfmann Junior in objecting to the idea that Apple's one-price-fits-all 79 pence per track model is the only way that a legit download platform can work.

As previously reported, the major labels are becoming increasingly impatient with iTunes' inflexible business model so, with Apple's contracts with the US majors up for renewal, Steve Jobs is going round saying that if the "greedy" record industry rejects his way of doing things, and puts up prices or insists on variable pricing, then they will drive music fans back over to illegal P2P networks.

But speaking at that previously reported cross-industry conference on intellectual property theft, EMI chief Eric Nicoli said: "I'm not persuaded by the argument that a single price deters piracy. I'm not persuaded of the fact that a lower price deters piracy. What I am persuaded of is that making music more convenient and better value is a deterrent to piracy." The really strange thing here, is he's right you know.

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P2P DOWN ON AUGUST, UP ON LAST YEAR
Talking of illegal P2P networks, which we were, briefly, the latest stats from that BigChampagne company on P2P usage show that less people were using the file sharing networks in September than in August.

This is perhaps surprising, cos you'd be forgiven for thinking that September would be a month when everyone returns to their PCs and starts downloading music again. Or perhaps, because there's lots of top releases in September, people do more buying than sharing - suggesting people buy the music they really want, and share the stuff they are less excited about. Or perhaps all the file sharers are kids, who have less time on their hands once the schools go back. Or perhaps it's a statistical fluctuation that is covered by the margin of error on BigChampagne's figures.

Whatever - usage in the US was down from 6.87 million users in August to 6.75 million users, while on a global level there was a 3.5% drop from 9.82 million users to 9.62 users. Either way, that's still a dramatic 43.9% increase on September 2004, and a 133.3% increase on September 2003. So, despite the litigation, education and the fact P2P tends to fill your computer with horrible spyware, file sharing is still more popular than ever.

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EMI WARNERS MERGER NOT LIKELY IN SHORT TERM, DESPITE UPCOMING DEADLINE
And talking of EMI, which we definitely were, and mergers, which we kinda were, more idle speculation on whether the much talked about EMI / Warners merger will ever take place.

Those in the know say that November is an important cut off for any possible merger talks, because the big investors who bought into Warner Music, either during the Time Warner sell off or the more recent flotation, can start selling their shares on the open market as of then (it being six months since said flotation). If major equity partners start flogging their shares, that means the ownership of the major becomes spread over an ever bigger group of people, making either a merger or takeover a much bigger project for EMI to enter into.

However, insiders say it is unlikely EMI will make any moves towards a Warners merger in the near future - if only because the EU courts are still considering independent music body IMPALA's opposition to the SonyBMG merger. The outcome of that court hearing will give an indication of how hard it will be to get another major label merger through European competition regulators, which will impact on the cost and timescales of any merger, and therefore whether EMI consider it something they should aim for. So, despite things becoming more complicated for any merger ambitions in a couple of months times, the London major is unlikely to rush into anything at this stage.

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VIACOM CONFIRM DEMERGER PLANS
And from a merger, to a demerger. Media conglom Viacom, who own MTV among other things, made another step this week towards the previously reported intention of splitting itself into two companies - one to own the group's network TV channels and radio group, the other to own the cable TV channels (including the MTV empire) and Paramount Pictures.

This week's announcement confirmed the former company will be called CBS Corp and will be run by Leslie Moonves. The latter will be called Viacom Inc (and not MTV as some had expected) and will be run by Tom Freston. Viacom shareholders will get half a share in each company for each share they have in the existing group. No timescale for the demerger was given.

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DUNBAR DEPARTS V2
V2 have confirmed the departure of their Head Of A&R Malcolm Dunbar. Well, his copy of the CMU Daily bounced back with the reply 'Malcolm Dunbar has left V2 Music' in the subject line, which is kind of a confirmation. Charlie Pindar and Dave Goulding will now oversee A&R for the independent.

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BPI ANNOUNCE MORE SEMINARS
Dates for your diary now. First up, three seminars being run by the BPI - one to give record label types an insight on how the live sector works on 7 Oct, one on the never dull topic of US distribution on 13 Oct and one to help member labels make the most of international opportunities on 20 Oct. More info at http://www.bpi.co.uk.

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MUSICTANK CHEW THE FAT WITH CONROY AND ROBINSON
And secondly, the next MusicTank event, which should be a little bit different. Paul Conroy and Dave Robinson, the two men behind the legendary Stiff Records, who, between them, went on to run Chrysalis, Virgin, Island and Acid Jazz Records, will be looking back over their careers and the changing music business, sharing plenty of anecdotes and insights along the way.

Dave Robinson provides a quick preview: "The people, the stories, the people again, the graft, the 'business', the drugs, the music, the madness, the smart people, the drinking, the money, the stupid people, the litigation, the parties, the artwork, the slogans, the roadies, the charts, the achievements, the campaigns, the bomb scares, the arrests, the cock-ups and a recollection of the complete and utter insanity that comes with 40 years at the sharp end of the greatest music revolution of our time".

All takes place at the lovely 10 Room on Piccadilly on 27 Oct at 6pm. Booking info is at http://www.musictank.co.uk/events_stiff.htm

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ALBUM REVIEW: Millionaire - Paradisiac (PIAS Recordings)
The follow-up to their debut album 'Outside the Simian Flock', 'Paradisiac' offers some unembellished, middle-of-the-road hard rock, dark and raw and begging a little attention, but certainly not breaking any boundaries. The track 'Love Is A Sickness' sums up the mood of much of the record, plodding along with heavy, angry guitars and eventually leaving something of a bitter aftertaste. The album rests lethargically on some meaty power chords, delivered with plenty of distortion, but not much flair. Tracks become fairly indistinguishable from one other, though collectively they do provide some solid, gutsy mosh-pittery. 'Ballad Of Pure Thought' has you sitting up and listening a little more intently than most, with a hint of edgy electronica that makes a tasty accompaniment to the melancholy vocal drone. The manic discords of 'For a Maid' have an unsettling, abrasive quality, which never let you relax into a melody or coherent structure. Actually, that could be said of a lot of the album. At the end of the final track, we have a six minute hiatus before, what? No jolting twist, but just a bit more of the same. Some great satanic-kitsch sleeve art though. WE
Release Date: 28 Sep
Press Contact: Pias IH [all]

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ELTON GIVES £25K FOR HIV AWARENESS IN NEPAL
Elton John has given £25,000 to The Blue Diamond Society, Nepal's leading gay rights group, who are to use the money to raise HIV awareness in the country's gay community. Sunil Babu Panta, the head of the organisation, told the BBC that two clinics would be set up in Nepal, where it's estimated more than 60,000 people are HIV positive, and that the financial assistance would also enable the group to promote a message of healthy living. He added that although homosexuality is legal in Nepal, gay people often face discrimination.

A spokesman for Elton John would not comment on this particular donation, saying all the singer's donations were private, but confirming that he gives millions of pounds to various charities each year. So why this particular and relatively small donation has made it into the news is a mystery. Of course, it might just be because it concerns a gay issue. Hmm.

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MORRISSEY ALBUM NEARLY FINISHED
Morrissey has revealed details of his next album, which is expected to be finished by the end of the month and will be released early next year. The long player, entitled 'Ringleader Of The Tormenters' is being produced by Tony Visconti in Rome. The news appeared on Morrissey fan site true-to-you.net, where a quoted statement read: "Ringleader Of The Tormentors will be released on Attack early in 2006. Morrissey is delighted with the album which he describes as 'the most beautiful-perhaps the most gentle, so far.'"

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YEAH YEAH YEAHS ALBUM NEARLY FINISHED ALSO
So, elsewhere in nearly finished album news, Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner says the band have nearly finished their second album, and that it should see a release early next year. Zinner told music website Pitchfork "We're pretty much done. We're done recording, basically. I went to London with half of the mixes. I'm going to go back in a couple of weeks to finish it up. Then it's just a matter of picking and choosing, and all the other things you have to think about when putting out a record, which I don't really want to think about right now."

Zinner also releases an EP next month with Head Wound City, his other band, in which he works with Justin Pearson and Gabe Serbian of The Locust and Cody Votolato and Jordan Blilie of The Blood Brothers. Their eponymous debut is seven songs but only 9 minutes and 41 seconds long. Blilie describes it thus "It's kind of like if Alien and Predator started a band instead of fighting each other."

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WE ARE SCIENTISTS LIVE DATES
Following their support gigs with Editors, We Are Scientists, whose debut album 'With Love And Squalor' is released on 17 Oct, have announced three headline appearances this month, as follows:

15 Oct: Southampton Joiners
16 Oct: Brighton Ocean Rooms
17 Oct: London 93ft East

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THREE INCHES OF BLOOD LIVE DATES
More live news. Canadian metal band Three Inches Of Blood will be appearing with fellow metallers Himsa on the following dates:

8th Dec: Newport City Live Arena
9th Dec: Norwich The Ferry Boat
10th Dec: Aberdeen Moshulu
11th Dec: Leeds The Cockpit
12th Dec: Manchester Jilly's Rockworld
13th Dec: London Underworld

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CHIMAIRA LIVE DATES
And if metal really is your bag, here are some more metallic live dates for you, courtesy of Chimaira, who start their first UK tour at the end of next month, in support of their current self-titled album.

28th Nov: Cardiff Coal Exchange
29th Nov: Exeter Lemon Grove
1st Dec: London Astoria
2nd Dec: Manchester Academy 2
3rd Dec: Glasgow QMU
4th Dec: Birmingham Academy 2
5th Dec: Sheffield Corporation

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TEAM TOUR DATES AND ALBUM
TEAM release their second album 'The Line From A - B' on 31 Oct via Captains Of Industry, and will be appearing at a whole lot of live dates starting, well, yesterday. Hurrah. Here is the plethora of dates you haven't missed:

With Mercury Tilt Switch:
6 Oct: Stoke The Talbot
7 Oct: Leicester Firefly Bar
8 Oct: Colchester Essex University Level 2 (Drownedinsound Night)
9 Oct: Yeovil Quicksilver
10 Oct: Guilford The Star
11 Oct: Southampton Joiners
12 Oct: Exeter Three Fat Fish
13 Oct: Plymouth Phoenix
14 Oct: Weston-Super-Mare Hobbits
15 Oct: Harlow Square
26 Oct: Leciester Original 4 (With An Emergency And Bullet Union)

Headline shows:
13 Nov: London Silver Rocket
15 Nov: Oxford Tbc
16 Nov: Birmingham Flapper & Firkin
17 Nov: Leicester Bar Firefly
18 Nov: Nottingham, Cabaret

With Statistics and Stapleton:
5 Dec: Northampton Roadmenders
6 Dec: Leicester Charlotte
7 Dec: Sheffield Casbah
8 Dec: Leeds Joseph's Well
9 Dec: Norwich Ferryboat
10 Dec: Kingston Peel
11 Dec: Exeter Cavern
12 Dec: London Underworld

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INXS ANNOUNCE US TOUR
INXS have announced a long series of US live dates for early next year, fronted, of course, by JD Fortune, the winner of the band's televised reality show search for a lead singer to fill the breach left by the death of former frontman Michael Hutchence. Meanwhile, the all new band are busy working on a new album, 'Switch'.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better (Domino)
We have recently seen the phenomenon of shooting stars, bands who shine very brightly for a while and bask in critical acclaim on the release of their debut album, but who then fail to come up with the goods for their second album and subsequently implode. It's a relief to realise that this fate will not befall Franz Ferdinand. The Glasgow quartet have followed their frankly fantastic first album with a worthy successor. This is just as well as right now the band are chart saviours swimming in a sea of mediocrity. Like the first album this is chock full of tunes (check out the frantic 'This Boy' and 'You're The Reason I'm Leaving') and boasts riffs aplenty. But now that every band and his dog are using post-punk for inspiration Franz have broadened their range of influences and now the classic retro pop of Joe Meek is seen as a model, especially on 'Walk Away'. (Alex Kapranos also reckons that Crunk was an influence but that is less easy to discern), while opening track 'The Fall' is a visceral Deep Purple-esque rock out. The record is as fresh and bouncy as its predecessor, although this time there is some pause for reflection with the inclusion of a few ballads - 'Eleanor Put Your Boots On' is an affecting piano led ode to Alex's squeeze, the singer from the Fiery Furnaces. The band have toured the world since their last record and inevitably this is borne out by the lyrics which reference the Coney Island rollercoaster, the Berlin Wall, the Sacre Coeur and Lake Michigan. You have to love them for their attention to detail; everything from their personal style to their record artwork is just right, while their intelligence and sense of humour are also to be applauded. On their first album Franz archly mocked themselves as "the new Scottish Gentry" but the truth is with this album they have become genuine pop royalty and respect is due! JW
Release date: 3 Oct
Press contact: Domino IH [CP. RP. NP] Anglo [CR, RR, NR]

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BEATLES HEADS TO BE AUCTIONED OFF
We know how much you love music celebrity related auction news, so here is some to sate your appetites. Four wax heads of The Beatles, three of which appeared on the cover of the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, are to be auctioned. The heads that appeared on the album artwork, Lennon, Starr and Harrison are expected to raise as much as £80,000. The fourth, of Paul McCartney, did not appear, and although up for sale, is presumably expected to fetch less cash.

The busts were borrowed from Madame Tussauds by artist Peter Blake, who used 62 photographic enlargements to create the now iconic image on the Sgt Pepper's album. A spokesman for auctioneers Cooper Owen said: "The auction provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of definitive cultural history."

The sale will take place at Madame Tussauds on 27 Oct.

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WYCLEF TO APPEAR IN TV COMEDY
Wyclef Jean is reportedly to appear in a comedy TV series, based loosely on his life, for American network HBO. Jean is said to be producing and also writing music for the show, as well as co-writing the series. It's not Wyclef's first foray into this side of the entertainments business, having taken roles in US TV series 'Third Watch' and in Independent films 'One Last Thing' and 'Dirty' in recent years.

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SIMPSON AND LACHEY SPLIT?
Rumours that Newlyweds Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey are on the verge of splitting have been doing the internet rounds for months, but now the pair have released a specific statement denying that they are about to divorce, in response to American magazine Us Weekly, who claim the couple are splitting on the cover of the latest issue.

Their statement read: "Nick and Jessica have not separated. Rumors to the contrary are simply not true." A spokesman for Us Weekly, however, says the mag is standing by its story. Perhaps Simpson is holding off a split until after the release of her new album next year? Go on, call me cynical.

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PETE DOHERTY ATTACKS BORRELL (VERBALLY) SHOCKER
Pete Doherty has told NME that he doesn't regret that previously reported physical fight with Johnny Borrell, calling the Razorlight frontman a "fucking cunt", and explaining that he headbutted Borrell "Because he's a snake and he's poisonous."

Doherty continued, describing a conversation with The Strokes' Albert Hammond Jr in New York "We had a little drink and a little chat and he said, 'Yeah, by the way nice one for headbutting that guy because he called my girlfriend a whore.' Just because she wouldn't go with him. Fucking Cunt. He deserved headbutting."

He added: "I keep him in line... He knows the score. Some things catch up with you. You can't just dish it out. But I went down to see a few of his blokes outside in a van. He paid two blokes to do me in. That's why I did it."

He wasn't entirely uncomplimentary, however. Commenting on his relationship with the Razorlight frontman in the past, Doherty said: "He was alright. He always had good taste in music. He turned us on to a few bands - The Clash and New York Dolls - and he was only a kid."

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