27 MAR 2013

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Let's take a moment once more, shall we, to look back through recent CMU Approved columns, to pick out a selection of tracks that have since been properly released. This time we're looking at artists who have featured in the column since late last year. Though, with these tracks now attached to an album or EP release, you can delve further into the artists' work if you wish. Or just take in the one track as it slips past on this playlist more>>
Dan Le Sac's 'Space Between The Words' album was one of my favourites of last year, a record of varied influences and sounds with perfectly selected guest vocalists lifting Dan's instrumentals yet further. Almost nine months since the album's release, last week 6music's Tom Robinson and Xfm's Eddy Temple-Morris debuted a brand new instrumental from the Le Sac cannon, entitled 'Four Thousand Thumbnails' more>>

- New copyright rules in Spain will target advertisers on piracy sites
- Motown hit writer Deke Richards dies
- Bieber returns to US to secure battery charge
- Dionne Warwick files for bankruptcy
- Mercury Prize 2013 dates announced
- Baroness bassist and drummer quit
- Queens Of The Stone Age name new LP; Elton John, Alex Turner to feature
- Artists give tracks to Jason Molina charity LP
- M83 shares new track from Oblivion OST
- Beyonce, Florence, Timbaland playing Gucci charity gala
- Pissed Jeans add rare Leeds, London-based live dates
- Alexandra Burke to sing Holiday's blues at Royal Albert Hall
- Festival line-up update: Pitchfork Music Festival, Secret Garden Party, Roskilde and more
- Bertelsmann confirms it is acquisition hungry
- Universal denies liability for K-pop cut off
- Sun and Telegraph planning paywalls
- Absolute to launch new evening show to include live sessions
- Dave Grohl thinks Lee Ryan is "a really cool guy", says Lee Ryan
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Perhaps noting that, of late, the music community's second favourite piracy gripe (behind the high scoring of piracy sites in Google) has been the presence of adverts for sizable companies on websites that host or link to unlicensed content, the Spanish government is proposing new laws that would include sanctions against advertisers who are providing pirates with ad revenue.

Spanish politicians have been trying to crack down on rampant online piracy in the country for a while now, mainly under pressure from the American government.

Opting for a web-blocking approach rather than three-strikes with their Sinde Law in 2011, in theory Spanish law now makes it easier for rights owners to force net providers to block access to piracy websites, though no one has been especially pleased with the results. Opponents say the law gives too much control over the net to shady copyright bodes, while rights owners say the web-blocking provisions have been ineffective.

New anti-piracy measures proposed by Spanish political types last week include increased fines for websites that fail to remove unlicensed content from their sites after receiving takedown notices similar to those used in the US under America's Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and, possibly more interestingly, sanctions against advertisers who place ads on sites widely believed to be piracy operations.

Quite how the ad crackdown would work isn't clear, ie who decides that a site is a dodgy piracy set-up that advertisers should avoid, and what happens when advertisers claim - as they routinely do - that if their ads are showing up on copyright infringing websites, it's because that site has quietly signed up with an otherwise legitimate ad network, meaning a brand's ads are appearing without its knowledge.

According to Reuters, Spain's Education & Culture Minister Jose Ignacio Wert said the bill, revealed last week, constitutes a new effort to "increase copyright protection" in the country by "going after large-scale distributors of illicit material".

The proposals will now be subject to a consultation before legislation is put to the Spanish parliament later in the year.

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American songwriter and producer Deke Richards has died, Universal Music has confirmed, he was 68.

Born Dennis Lussier, Richards was best known as part of the hit making team The Corporation, the in-house song-writing and production team at Motown Records in the 1960s and 1970s, who together wrote and produced many of the label's biggest hits, perhaps not notably the Jackson 5's first three number ones: 'I Want You Back', 'ABC' and "The Love You Save".

Richards died at the Whatcom Hospice House in Bellingham, Washington after losing a battle with esophageal cancer.

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So, Justin Bieber nips back to America for a couple of days off from his controversy-ridden European tour and is immediately saddled with accusations of battery from a neighbour.

According to TMZ, just hours after returning to his Californian home, Bieber found himself in a noisy argument with a neighbour. It seems said neighbour was complaining about the parties the pop teen's mates have been staging at the singer's house while he's been away.

The Biebster wasn't in any mood to apologise, it seems, with the popstar's security eventually escorting the angry local resident off their boss's property. Said neighbour promptly filed a battery report with local police, alleging that Bieber had threatened him and "made physical contact".

So that's all fun for the pop teen, whose various antics while touring Europe in recent weeks have generated plenty of column inches in the newspapers.

And quite a word count on Bieber's social networks too, where the singer has hit out at all the tabloid gossip, insisted that his behaviour is no different to that of any other nineteen year old guy (because male teens everywhere routinely opt to stroll through Polish airports topless in sub-zero temperatures), and assured his fans that he loves them and will continue to try harder to be a better person. I think God got a namecheck too.

Bieber will return to Europe imminently to resume his tour in Munich.

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Singer Dionne Warwick has filed for bankruptcy to escape debts of $10.7 million - mostly relating to claims by the US Internal Revenue Service in relations to her tax affairs. Announcing the move, Warwick's publicist Kevin Sasaki said the debts were mainly due to "negligent and gross financial mismanagement" by the singer's reps from the late 80s to the mid 90s.

Sasaki also added that Warwick had actually paid off all of her unpaid taxes for the period in question, but that penalty fees and interest had continued to grow as she struggled to do so, and those charges now account for the outstanding debt.

He added: "In light of the magnitude of her tax liabilities, Warwick has repeatedly attempted to offer re-payment plans and proposals to the IRS and the California Franchise Tax Board for taxes owed. These plans were not accepted, resulting in escalating interest and penalties".

According to her filing with the US bankruptcy court, Warwick owes $10.2 million to the Internal Revenue Service. It also lists her gross monthly income as $20,950 with monthly expenses of $20,940.

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Having moved back from September to November last year, Mercury Prize organisers have announced that this year the ceremony will move forward to October.

Though it's only a very slight shift from 1 Nov to 31 Oct, so let's not get all worked up about it, eh? That's right, the Mercury Prize is moving forward by one day this year. I'm sure there must be a quicker way to say all of this. Oh well, too late now.

Anyway, with the trophy-and-cheque-for-20-grand due to be handed over to 2013's Mercury winner (Foals, if you were wondering) at the end of October, the shortlist announcement will take place on 11 Sep.

Any British or Irish artist who has an album release date which sits between 11 Sep 2012 and 9 Sep 2013 is eligible to enter. Submissions will be accepted between 3 Jun and 10 Jul this year. Further information available here.

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Baroness bassist Matt Maggioni and drummer Allen Bickle have quit the band, frontman John Baizley has announced this week. This follows, of course, the US metal outfit's near-fatal bus crash last year. As previously reported, the band's tour bus fell 30 feet from a viaduct near Bath during a UK tour in August. The driver, one of the nine people injured in the incident, is due to appear in court on dangerous driving charges next month.

Writing on the band's website, Baizley said: "For some of us, the accident necessitated a change that would prevent them from performing music or touring. It is with sadness that we must announce that Matt Maggioni and Allen Blickle will not continue touring with Baroness. The details of their departure are not sensational; they do not come with hard feelings. Nor are the details going to be public; suffice it to say we'd like to keep to ourselves the finer points of this situation, to respect the privacy of all involved".

He continued: "While the nine of us must respect the significance of the bus accident in Bath, we must also move away from it and get back to our lives. Simply put, some of the effects and injuries were severe enough to prohibit further activity in Baroness. While we would never have asked them to leave; we have the utmost sympathy for this situation, and in earnest, we wish Matt and Allen the best in the future. In their stead, we have found two musicians who can approach our music with passion and vitality and help get us back out on tour to finish what was seemingly cut short last August".

Read Baizley's full update on Maggioni and Blickle's departure and his own recovery, having had surgery to reconstruct his left arm after the accident, here.

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So, it's been all-change at Queens Of The Stone Age HQ of late - what with the hiring and firing that's gone on, and the band's moving to Matador Records from past label Interscope - and now, like clockwork, arrives a pay-off in the shape of info on Josh Homme and co's new LP... erm, '...Like Clockwork'.

Fated for a TBC June release, this "audio documentary of a manic year" (says Homme) - and the band's first long player since 2007's 'Era Vulgaris' - features guest appearances by Trent Reznor, Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner, Mark Lanegan and ex-QOTSA bassist Nick Oliveri. And Elton John and Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears. Oh, and ex-Mars Volta man Joey Castillo, who will, it looks like, play drums in place of Dave Grohl if/when the Queens go on tour.

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Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Damien Jurado and Scout Niblett are amongst the artists donating tracks to a new LP commemorating late singer-songwriter Jason Molina, who died earlier this month.

The covers compilation, titled 'Weary Engine Blues', will be released via Graveface Records on 23 Apr, with all profits going towards paying off Molina's outstanding medical bills.

Each of its 525 pressings will carry screen-printed art by William Shaff, who designed the sleeve to Molina's eponymous LP as Magnolia Electric Co.

It's available to order in advance via this link.

In the meantime this is Mark Kozelek's take on Molina's 'It's Easier Now'.

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His involvement in the project having been confirmed last July, the title track off M83's OST to 'Oblivion', a new sci fi film starring Tom Cruise, has appeared online.

With vocals by Norwegian alt-pop artist (and CMU interviewee) Susanne Sundfør, 'Oblivion' will be released as part of the soundtrack LP on 19 Apr. The film itself, meanwhile, hits cinemas on 10 Apr.

M83's Anthony Gonzalez, who collaborated on the score with film/theatre composer Joseph Trapanese, says this of the soundtrack project: "It involved lots of stress, lots of sweat, and lots of hard work, but in the end, the soundtrack serves the movie very well. It really is a great Hollywood soundtrack. 'Oblivion' is a big film with a big sound and a big orchestra, and while the soundtrack is different from my original idea, in the end I am very proud of it. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of this journey".

Listen to 'Oblivion' here.

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Beyonce is to headline (and artistically direct) a special charity gala at West London's Twickenham Stadium in June.

Arranged by fashion label Gucci as part of its Chime For Change initiative, the Sound Of Change show (as Bey et al are calling it) is meant to raise both cash for CFC-supported projects and awareness of global 'girl power' and, as Beyonce phrases it: "To call for change for girls and women in the loudest voice possible".

She adds: "I am excited for us to come together on 1 Jun to bring the issues of education, health and justice for girls and women to the world stage".

Yeah... so bow down, bitches. Oh wait... no, don't. Anyway. Beyonce will be joined on the night by Florence And The Machine, Ellie Goulding, Iggy Azalea, John Legend, Rita Ora, Laura Pausini and Timbaland, with extra artists still TBA.

'The night', by the way, is 1 Jun, and tickets are on sale via

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Hey, so devil-may-care Pennsylvanian band Pissed Jeans have added their first British shows in five years or so, primarily as a way of playing (and promoting) their new LP, 'Honeys'.

And the dates of the shows are:

4 Jul: Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
5 Jul: London, Dingwalls

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'X-Factor' chanteuse (circa 2008) Alexandra Burke is going to pose as Billy Holiday in a live homage to the late jazz singer's 1972 film, 'Lady Sings The Blues'.

Burke, who will cover various of Holiday's jazz and blues classics over five nights (4-8 Jun) at the Royal Albert Hall's Elgar Room, says: "It is an honour to be able to sing Billie Holiday's songs".

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So, as Lou Reed takes his name off the Coachella listings citing "unavoidable complications", what of contrasting scenarios at festivals who are adding, rather than losing, artists? Well, as we were talking about Lou Reed, it seems we appropriate to start in Berlin, with the Berlin Festival, which now has a third headliner (the others being Blur and Pet Shop Boys) in Björk, who'll notably be making her first and last German live appearance of the year. DJ Shadow, AlunaGeorge, Tomahawk and Villagers are also new to the MBV and MIA-featuring event.

Secret Garden Party is at the artist additions game, too, and has signed off a new conscript of acts, not least rarely-seen Regina Spektor, Youth Lagoon, Lissie, Shout Out Louds and Willy Mason. They and a lengthy list of DJs - Zane Lowe, John Kennedy and SGP regular and Temple Of Boom sultan Eddy Temple-Morris to name several - align with existing Garden Party guests Soulwax, Django Django, and Bastille.

A pair of pretty large Euro fests, Serbia's Exit and Denmark's Roskilde, have increased their billings by but one new artist. Fatboy Slim joins Atoms For Peace, Snoop Lion, Bloc Party and DJ Fresh at Exit, and The National are new to Roskilde's live programme, whose star attractions are QOTSA, Kendrick Lamar, Sigur Ros and pre-festival player Rihanna.

So, that's all new in FLUUs. All, that is, apart from an obligatory look at extra add-ons to Deer Shed, Indietracks, Spot, Stop Making Sense, Waveform and the Tate Modern's contemporary music/arts fest Hyperlink:

BERLIN FESTIVAL, Tempelhof Airport, Berlin, Germany, 6-7 Sep: Björk, Tomahawk, DJ Shadow, AlunaGeorge, Villagers, Die Orsons, Tale Of Us, Ben Pearce, John Talabot.

DEER SHED, Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, North Yorkshire, 19-21 Jul: Eugene McGuinness, Peggy Sue, Deep Sea Arcade, Death At Sea, Luke Sital-Singh, Park Bench Society, Dancing Years.

EXIT FESTIVAL, Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, Serbia, 10-14 Jul: Fatboy Slim.

HYPERLINK, Tate Modern, London, 26-28 Apr: Akala, George The Poet, Lady Leshurr, Angel, Sway, Stooki Sound.

INDIETRACKS, Midland Railway, Ripley, Derbyshire, 26-28 Jul: The Pastels, Still Corners, The Tuts, The Magic Theatre, Big Wave, David Leach, Frozy, Good Grief, Milky Wimpshake, The Beautiful Word, The Fireworks, The French Defence, Fear Of Men, When Nalda Became Punk.

PITCHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL, Union Park, Chicago, USA, 19-21 Jul: MIA., Lil B, Solange, Wire, Yo La Tengo, Toro Y Moi, Savages, Phosphorescent, Autre Ne Veut, Mikal Cronin, Woods, Glass Candy, Pissed Jeans, Blood Orange, Andy Stott, Merchandise, Ryan Hemsworth, Metz, Parquet Courts, Julia Holter, Evian Christ, Waxahatchee, Daughn Gibson, White Lung, KEN Mode, DJ Rashad.

ROSKILDE, Denmark, 29 Jun - 7 Jul: The National.

SECRET GARDEN PARTY, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, 25-28 Jul:
Regina Spektor, Shout Out Louds, Lissie, Youth Lagoon, London Grammar Temples, The Bombay Royale, Willy Mason, Jamie N Commons, Phildel, Parlour Flames, Farao, Z-Star, He's My Brother She's My Sister, Keston Cobblers Club, Rumba Do Bodas, Jardares Por Fuera, Backbeat Soundsystem, Mama Nollora, They Say Jump, Babilondon, Solko, More Like Trees, Victoria And Jacob, Magnus Puto, Audio Razor, Modestep, Hadouken!, Goldie, Mistajam, Zane Lowe, Phil Kieran, Bobby Tank, Eddy Temple-Morris, Ayah Marar, Monarchy, Dodge & Fuski, Maribou State And Friends, Dismantle, Subsource, Das Kapital, Le Carousel, Elite Force, Illaman, Sirkus Sirkus, The Good Natured , The Prototypes, Rory Lyons, Pixel Fist, Aloosh, Animal, The Caulfield Beats, John Kennedy, Toni Jarvis, Jo Good, Losers, Phil Clifton, Jacksun Fear, Dpplgngrs, Gaika, Nick Mulvey, Little Axe, Tristan Mckay, Ethan Ash, Mamas Gun, The Willows, Liz Lawrence, John Blood & The Highlys, Joe Innes & The Cavalcade, Jimmy The Brute, JP Cooper, Jamie Lawson, Natalie Ross, Lunatrix, Sam Bradley, Joel Baker, Kit Rice, Emily Burns, Leo Stannard, Dan Clews, Tim Hassall, Robyn Sherwell, Jessica Moncrieffe, Eureka Stockade, Clark & Carter.

SPOT, various venues, Aarhus, Denmark, 3-4 May: Marie Key, Turboweekend, NORDLYD, Naked.

STOP MAKING SENSE, The Garden, Tisco, Croatia, 1-4 Aug: Sebo K, Session Victim.

WAVEFORM FESTIVAL, South Somerset, 6-8 Sep: Barry Ashworth, Eddy Temple-Morris, Mechanimal, Neuroplasm The Orb Sound System, Zetan Spore, System 7, Dr Alex Paterson, Mirror System, Re:creation, Crystal Monkey, Peak, Occular, Astralasia, Flutatious, OOOD, Daft Monk, Suns of Arqa, Nova, Colin Dale, CJ Mackintosh, PTE, Paul Von Goulding, Chad Jackson, Sephira, Lunarsonic, Graeme Park, DJ Ruby (Malta), Rodney P, Undercover Hippy, Freshold & Retrix, ill Audio, Captain Flatcap, Sally J, PTE, Disruptive Influence, Choonmaster, Autolump, Ill Audio, Axis Mundi, Infinite Collective, Orangafruup, Orchid Star, Markie B (Erb & Remedy), Lebrosk, Wiggzaro, Pete Ardron, Globular, Cosmosophy, Chillion, Flooting Grooves, Dymons, Toulliche, Bez23, Red Earth, B-Sub-Lime, Buck Fillington vs. Melc, Subajah Family.

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BMG owner Bertelsmann plans to make a number of sizable acquisitions in the near future, the media firm's CEO Thomas Rabe has confirmed. That acquisition spree will likely be funded, in part at least, by a planned flotation of 17% of the group's television company RTL, which would reduce Bertelsmann's stake in the business to 75%, and would likely raise in excess of two billion euros. The exact timing of that flotation will be influenced by RTL's share price.

In a financial briefing, Rabe said that he was particularly interested in growing his company's interests in digital, education and music rights, the latter via the v2 BMG business, which Bertelsmann took complete control of at the start of the month, bringing to an end its JV with equity group KKR. Rabe added that he would be primarily looking to acquire existing businesses in these areas that were valued between 500 and 750 million euros.

Despite being acquisition hungry, it seems unlikely the Bertelsmann board would advocate a flotation of the media group itself to raise new funds. The Bertelsmann company is owned by the Mohn family and their Foundation, and when asked about any possible IPO of the group Rabe said that would not happen for the "foreseeable future".

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As if the South Koreans haven't got enough to be concerning themselves with at the moment, what with increasingly tense relations with the North, YouTube only went and cut off non-domestic access to a chunk of popular K-pop videos last weekend.

The videos that were suddenly unavailable on the video site came from artists signed to South Korean label Cube Entertainment, and included the likes of 4Minute, HyunA, B2ST, and G.Na. While it was K-pop fans outside South Korea that were most hit by move, various conspiracy theories soon emerged that this was a racist attempt to stop the country's pop stars reaching their international fans.

Universal Music quickly became the enemy of the story, because Cube has a distribution deal with the mega-major's South Korean division, and it is responsible for distributing the label's music beyond the country's borders.

Once Universal had been officially accused of being behind the YouTube cut off of Cube Entertainment content, the major was officially labelled racist by some fans for trying to "keep K-pop restricted to Koreans like it originally was".

Though later, as some conspiracy theorists questioned why exactly Universal would have any desire to stop music in which it has a commercial interest from being monetised around the world, the allegation switched to a more realistic scenario - Universal had taken Cube content off YouTube to force people onto, the music video platform in which the majors has a stake.

But, insists Universal Music, Cube content stopped being available on YouTube because of a glitch, and as soon as it was aware of the problem it put pressure on Google to fix the problem on its video platform. So keen was Universal to convince K-pop fans it wasn't responsible for the content cut-off, it too adopted the hashtag being used by those angry at the development, #GiveUsKPop.

The good news is, we hear the "glitch' has been, erm, unglitched, and the flow of Cube-made K-pop to YouTube users around the world has resumed. Phew. If only that other Korean stand-off could be so easily solved.

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And so it's begun. Both the Telegraph and Sun newspapers have revealed that they will introduce paywalls this year, for the first time charging people to access their online content.

Like most consumer media in the UK, the Telegraph and Sun currently offer online access to all their content for free. And, like most of their competitors, they are now enjoying online audiences way in excess of the number of readers their print titles ever reached, even in the heyday of print newspapers.

The problem is that the ad revenues to be made from such operations are nowhere near what most newspaper owners hoped when they opted for the free-content-mass-audience approach ten years ago, mainly because of the dominance of Google, Facebook et al in the online advertising space, all of which have much lower overheads, so can sell ads much cheaper.

The Telegraph, which already has a subscription system in place for non-UK readers, will operate a paywall similar to that already employed by, and many US newspapers, whereby users can access a certain amount of content for free, but must subscribe for unlimited access. £1.99 a month will get users that full access, while a £9.99 premium option will offer other benefits.

The approach differs from The Times, the first consumer-facing newspaper in the UK to introduce a paywall. It blocks access to pretty much all of its site unless users pay to subscribe, though non-subscribers can now see the opening paragraphs of most features, in a bid to entice them in.

Such a severe paywall has an immediate negative impact on online userbase, meaning the title loses the tens of millions of unique users they likely enjoyed as a free title, though some newspaper owners would say a smaller community of paying readers is more attractive then 70 million freeloaders.

Confirming his paper's paywall plans, Telegraph Editor Tony Gallagher said this week: "We want to develop a closer rapport with our digital audience in the UK, and we intend to unveil a number of compelling digital products for our loyal subscribers in the months ahead".

Elsewhere, the CEO of Sun and Times publisher News International, Mike Darcey, confirmed his company's tabloid would be following its broadsheet sister title down the paywall route, though it's not clear what form the Sun's subscription system will take. According to The Guardian, he said that he expected the Sun's paywall to go up in the second half of 2013, adding that the current freemium model was "untenable".

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Absolute Radio is revamping its evening output with a new show to be fronted by Pete Donaldson, replacing Mark Crossley who moves to a weekend slot. The new show will include live sessions and artist interviews plus listener requests and an album of the week.

It's the first shift in the Absolute schedules since the station's Content Director Tony Moorey increased his responsibilities on the programming front following the departure of Chief Operating Officer Clive Dickens.

Commenting on the new show, Moorey said: "Musically 2013 is proving to be a very exciting year, with a stronger guitar-driven music scene than we have seen for a number of years. With the space to combine Pete's passion for upcoming artists and his razor sharp humour, evenings is set to be a great addition to the schedule".

Donaldson himself added: "I love new music, I love live music and I love being on the wireless. I'll be reporting live at the Isle Of Wight Festival again this year and I can't wait to spend time watching and chatting to some of the music acts I admire the most. I can't believe they pay me to do this stuff".

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Lee Ryan has denied reports that Dave Grohl took something of a dislike to him at a party following a performance by the Foo Fighters frontman's Sound City Players band in London earlier this month. In fact, says the Blue boy, quite the opposite is true.

The Sun reported last week that Grohl had said in an interview: "There was this English singer who was with us [at the after-show party] who was completely wasted. We almost had to throw him out. Have you heard of this band, Blue? The guy kept telling us how many million records he's sold. I was like, 'Really? You?'"

But speaking to Digital Spy at the Chortle Awards on Monday night, Ryan said that Grohl had been horrified that their burgeoning friendship might be scuppered by this misrepresentation of the truth. For sure. Explained Ryan: "He messaged me... and he's like, 'No, I never said that'. He messaged me through our PA and said, 'Tell Lee I'm sorry about that, I don't know where that came from, but Lee's a really cool guy, I really love him'".

Elaborating about the night where Grohl fell in love with him, Ryan continued: "Me and him were doing shots with each other at the bar, it was wicked. For me he's such a rock legend... I didn't ruin his party, I was just pissed like the rest of them. I think what he said was, 'Lee was wrecked out of his head', and I was".

So, there you go. Are you happy to know the truth now? More to the point, is Lee annoyed that people were spreading scurrilous gossip about him not being able to hold his drink? No, he isn't. Asked about this, he said: "I was really happy with it, if I'm honest. I've been kicked out of a few parties, but it's fun when you get kicked out. Being told to leave is great. 'Get out you're too pissed', 'Wicked'".


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