CMU Daily - on the inside 11 Feb 2003
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
• More doom and gloom on sales figures,
• Blur confirm live guitarist,
• The new Doors respond to Densmore accusations,
• Review: The Polyphonic Spree – Light And Day,
• Madonna joins anti-war mission,
• The new G ‘n’ R audition on VH1,
• Daltrey hits out at Townsend allegations,
• Universal sell off assets to generate cash,
• Radiohead add another festival date,
• Pepsi boycott is off,
• Saturday Show now ahead,
• P Diddy deal could be worth $75 million,
• McGee takes death disco to Notting Hill,
• Granada hit back at Jacko’s claims,
• Appleton on being the bird in the song,
• Review: Eminem - -Sing For The Moment,
• BBC 3 launch considered a success,
• Gibb brother hits out at Norton,
• Eminem adds extra UK date,
• ADF showcase new music talent,
• Pop actors among the nominees in the spoof oscars

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ANTI-WAR MARCH THIS WEEKEND
If you too are concerned about the US and UK government’s march towards war in Iraq join the CMU team at the anti-war march this Saturday. We’ll be meeting at the Masque Haunt pub on Old Street for breakfast at 10am, joining the march at Warren Street at 11.30am. Everyone welcome.

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Claims to fame: What did Eminem achieve when ‘Stan’ got to number one in 2000?

Answer tomorrow

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MORE DOOM AND GLOOM ON SALES FIGURES
No surprise that figures due out later this week will show the British music industry experienced a big sales slump last year – with sales down 4%, the biggest downturn in a single year since the early eighties. That said in many ways the news could have been much worse. At the half way point last year the slump was nearer 7% - that figure came down thanks to key releases from the likes of Robbie Williams and Craig David, and that plethora of greatest hits albums, all released in the last quarter of last year. And while the UK has joined the global trend of declining music sales (we managed to buck the global downturn for a while), the slump here is somewhat less severe than in many other music markets around the world.

Needless to say major labels are blaming the slump on the growth in piracy, though to be fair they save the strongest accusations for the growing bootleg CD market rather than the MP3 downloaders. As reported in previous Dailys the production and sales of bootleg CDs have been helped hugely by recent technical developments in CD duplication. So much so the BPI reckon the bootleg music industry is now nearly half as big as the legitimate music biz.

While the figures should come as no surprise to anyone they will further major labels resolve to downsize where possible, and may perhaps prepare the way for another major label merger – more on that at www.cmuonline.co.uk

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BLUR CONFIRM LIVE GUITARIST
Blur have confirmed former Verve guitarist Simon Tong will be joining them as a regular band member for their live shows. Tong played with the band at a gig on Friday night and yesterday a source close to the band (whatever that means) told the NME that he would be playing with Albarn et al at a string of live shows later this year. However: "He's not replacing Graham, because he can't be replaced. He will be playing live with them at shows later this year, and they have been rehearsing for the last few weeks together."

Tong was in many ways the Verves ‘second’ guitarist, joining the band alongside guitarist Nick McCabe during the band’s more successful years following the release of 'Urban Hymns'. However he was an old friend of Richard Ashcroft – in fact, he apparently taught Ashcroft and Verve bassist Simon Jones how to play guitar in the first place.

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THE NEW DOORS RESPOND TO DENSMORE ACCUSATIONS
More on the fall out between former Doors drummer John Densmore and his fellow former band mates Ray Manzerek and Robbie Krieger. As reported in the Daily, when the Doors reunion was originally announced it was indicated Densmore was involved, until an announcement last Autumn that he was too ill to perform and would be replaced by former Police drummer Stewart Copeland. Then last week Densmore took legal action against the new band saying neither he nor Jim Morrison’s widow had given their blessing to any reformation of the band.

In a response to the legal action the new Doors band yesterday told reporters: "Since December 2001 John Densmore has repeatedly been asked to participate in the band. He has declined. We will not discuss the merit of John Densmore's lawsuit - that is better left to the courts. We trust and love our fans and know that they will draw their own conclusion after all of the facts have been presented."

The Doors reunion tour, which feature Cult singer Ian Astbury on vocals, will continue though there are indications they will bill themselves as The Doors 21st Century, presumably pre-empting any court decision against their use of the name.

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REVIEW: The Polyphonic Spree – Light and Day (679)
In the film version of High Fidelity there’s a scene where Jack Black’s character turns up for work on a dreary Monday morning and sticks ‘Walking on Sunshine’ on the stereo, leading to a discussion regarding what the best Monday morning record of all time is. Well, the discussion ends here: this is the best Monday morning record ever made. In fact, this is the best morning record ever made full stop. A joyous symphony of such a lush timbre, only the pathologically miserable could fail to fall under the soaring spell this casts. Believe in their exhortation to “Follow the day/And reach for the Sun” and have the best day of your life every single day. TO
Release date: 10 Mar
Press contact: Hall or Nothing [CP, RP, NP] Warners IH [CR, RR, NR]

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MADONNA JOINS ANTI-WAR MISSION
Madonna is the latest pop star to join the anti-war campaign (is anyone other than Blair and Bush in favour of dropping bombs on Baghdad?). Utilising her undeniable skill for creating controversial videos her forthcoming CD 'American Life' will be accompanied by a video that depicts the "catastrophic repercussions and horror of war".

Reports suggest the video features Madonna wearing military fatigues and throwing grenades to an electronic beat, interspersed with shots of fashion models, soldiers and the victims of war, including bloodied babies. "It expresses a panoramic view of our culture and the looming war through the view of a female superhero, portrayed by Madonna," her spokeswoman told the New York Post. yesterday.

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THE NEW G ‘N’ R AUDITION ON VH1
Now here is a reality show with a prize that might be worth winning. As previously reported three members of the original Guns ‘n’ Roses line up - Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum – are forming a new band (which will have three times more original Guns 'n' Roses members than Guns 'n' Roses!). They have been searching for a lead singer for months, and, after advertising the role in various music publications last year, are now about to hold auditions in LA where they will meet the singers behind the best of the 500 demo tapes they received. What’s more VH1 are filming the whole audition process as part of a real 'making of a band' documentary. Slash explains: "I was on my way to rehearsal and thinking about all these reality shows. I thought, 'You know what would be fucking cool? To show a band as it goes through all this bullshit.'"

Talking about the new band Sorum has told Rolling Stone magazine: "This thing started when we did a tribute performance for [late Ozzy Osbourne drummer] Randy Castillo last spring. It was awesome. We sort of looked at each other after that and said let's try and make something work. And when we saw what Axl was doing with his band, we decided there was nothing standing in our way. We had to take some years to heal from what happened. It was crazy. We're a little older, a little wiser, but we've still got the rock & roll in us. We're ready. We're going to make a rock & roll album."

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DALTREY HITS OUT AT TOWNSEND ALLEGATIONS
Roger Daltrey has spoken about the child pornography claims made against Pete Townshend for the first time in an interview with Virgin Radio, claiming his bandmate is the victim of a "witch-hunt" over an investigation into accessing child porn. He told the station: "What I find so unfair is that it has become a witch-hunt and, because it is subjudice, he is not allowed to defend himself.”

Talking about Townsend’s claim that he subscribed to a child porn site as part of research for a book, Daltrey continued: "From what I can gather, 98% to 99% of people do believe him and I don't think he is going to let them down. I think he is telling the truth. I think the morality of the whole thing is very questionable as far as our society goes because he has been exposed and accused of doing something, something he has admitted to doing for certain reasons. Now if he can substantiate those reasons, then the least the police and our society owes him is to make this a priority and to get his case dealt with as quickly as possible. He is fine. He's just frustrated that they've taken his computers with all his music on it and because he is such a low priority on this thing."

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UNIVERSAL SELL OFF ASSETS TO GENERATE CASH
The struggling parent company of the Universal Music Group, the French based Vivendi Universal, has revealed a number of the cost cutting measures it is putting in place as bosses attempt to stabilise a company that came close to the brink last summer. Among the measures are a planned sale of the company's large art collection, which includes work from the likes of Mark Rothko and Picasso. Christie's will auction off the art on behalf of the group in what is being dubbed a "high art car boot sale". Other assets up for sale are the company’s £11 million Manhatten penthouse previously used by former CEO Jean-Marie Messier and three corporate planes the company acquired when it bought Seagrams in 2000.

But all the cost cutting measures are simply to back up the serious business of selling off some of the companies within the group. Vivendi have already sold their publishing house Houghton Mifflin, their Italian based pay TV company Telepiu and the technology division of Canal Plus. As previously reported all eyes are now on the group's American based entertainment businesses, including the record company, where sale or flotation routes are being considered.

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RADIOHEAD ADD ANOTHER FESTIVAL DATE
Radiohead are lining up something of a festival tour this summer. As reported last week they are already lined up to play the Hultsfred Festival in Sweden (13 Jun) and the Southside and Hurricane Festivals in Germany (20 and 22 Jun). Yesterday they added the Les Eurockennes de Belfort Festival in France on 4 Jul to that line up. With an expected Glastonbury set on 27 – 29 Jun that new album, provisional release date 16 Jun, will be well promoted.

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PEPSI BOYCOTT IS OFF
The Hip Hop community’s boycott of Pepsi, called for after they dumped rapper Ludacris from an advertising campaign, was not only a long time coming (the ban being called for some four months after the rapper was dropped) but also short lived. The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network yesterday came to an agreement with the drinks brand when Pepsi offered to enter a multi-million pound partnership with the Ludacris Foundation and Rush Arts which together support the arts in communities at risk. "We hope Pepsi's investment inspires other companies to invest more in grassroots programmes as opposed to some bureaucracies who aren't always effective," the Action Network told reporters.

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SATURDAY SHOW NOW AHEAD
Latest audience figures suggest the BBC's Saturday Show, which equalled its main competitor SM:TV for the first time last month, actually beat the ITV show on Saturday – the BBC getting 1.1 million, ITV 1 million. "We are thrilled with the news and will definitely be popping the champagne to celebrate!" Saturday Show Executive Producer Annette Williams told reporters. "New presenters Fearne Cotton and Simon Grant are obviously proving to be very popular. We've worked hard to get the content right, offering a fresh mix of fun, entertainment and music plus great guests each week. We look forward to building on this success." No mention of how much Ant & Dec’s depature from SM:TV helped!

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P DIDDY DEAL COULD BE WORTH $75 MILLION
Word is that P Diddy's distribution deal with Vivendi Universal, signed last week, could have been worth as much as $75 million – much closer to the original $100 million asking price than the $10 million it was rumoured the majors were offering. That said it's not clear exactly what the deal involves – some insiders reckon that some of the payment may be in the form of promotion / distribution services in kind, rather than as a cash advance. All Combs would say about the deal is: "What we are doing is black history right here. I retain 100% ownership [of the label]. I just pay a distribution fee and get promotion."

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MCGEE TAKES DEATH DISCO TO NOTTING HILL
Creation Records boss Alan McGee is moving his Death Disco nights, previously held at the Metro Club on Oxford Street, across town to the Notting Hill Arts Club, where McGee originally held his cool Radio 4 nights a few years back. The newly housed Death Disco will be a weekly night from this Wednesday.

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GRANADA HIT BACK AT JACKO’S CLAIMS
Granada TV have responded to the fall out over that Michael Jackson documentary and in particular to Jacko’s claims over the weekend that he had filmed Bashir filming him, and that he would release the film to prove Martin Bashir's portrayal was hypocritical. Describing Jacko’s response as "clumsy" and "desperate" they denied Bashir would be embarrassed by any video footage Jackson owned, claiming attempts to sell the footage to the tabloids for £60,000 last week had been unsuccessful.

In a statement Granada said: "Martin Bashir has nothing to hide - he knew he was being filmed by Michael Jackson's aides at various times. The resulting footage has been edited by Michael Jackson's aides, and as yet we've seen nothing of it. All we know of it is that it was being peddled to Sunday newspapers with an asking price of £60,000 and found no takers. This is becoming the most expensive, clumsy and desperate attempt at shooting the messenger we've ever seen. Bashir's film is candid, revealing and honest. There is nothing misleading about it, and no lies. Reaction to it stems from what Michael Jackson says and does in the film, not Martin Bashir's actions or words."

However that footage will now be aired on a Jacko special on CBS in the US tomorrow night, so I guess whether Granada’s is right to be confident that Bashir’s reputation will not be harmed, especially in the US, remains to be seen. Either way, no comment on accusations the Bashir documentary was a bit rubbish and a terrible waste of the access he was given to one of the world’s biggest most eccentric performers.

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APPLETON ON BEING THE BIRD IN THE SONG
Nicole Appleton told The Sun yesterday that she burst into tears when she first heard Oasis's Liam Gallagher penned ‘Songbird’ because it is apparently about her. "Normally I only cry while slicing onions but the first time he played it to me I burst into tears. I'm very chuffed. I feel very special. It's amazing to have something like that written for you by the person you love. I close my eyes and can still remember exactly when he played it to me the first time. It was amazing.”

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REVIEW: Eminem - Sing For The Moment (Universal/Interscope)
Basically there are two kinds of Eminem records – there’s the “God my childhood was fucked up” Eminem songs, and the “God the media gives me a hard time” Eminem songs. There’s yet to be a “Everyone loves me, I’m a millionaire don’t you know” Eminem song – perhaps that will come with the next album. ‘Sing For The Moment’ falls into the second category, another release from last year’s ‘The Eminem Show’. On first listen I wasn’t so keen – the Aerosmith sample not delivering any catchy hooks a la ‘Without Me’, nor the haunting sounds of something like ‘Stan’. But with repeat listens I must admit its growing on me, and as I start to suffer from ‘Lose Yourself’ overload (fantastic song, but how many times can you hear it on the radio before you go insane?) I’m increasingly pleased when this new track gets played. That said it’s just waiting for rock remix akin to Jacknife Lee’s take on ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet’. Where’s Eddy’s phone number? Let’s get a Remix up and running, it could just about compensate for this songs short comings. CC
Release date: 3 Mar [all]: Polydor IH

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BBC 3 LAUNCH CONSIDERED A SUCCESS
BBC bosses will be happy with the first night’s figures for youth channel BBC 3 after the new network won an audience nearing 270,000, considerably more than its predecessor BBC Choice had achieved the previous Sunday (around 44,000). However some might argue that a peak of 270,000, which fell down to 19,000 by midnight, was only a moderate success given the major media advertising campaign the channel undertook, and the huge cross promotion on the BBC’s other channels. And the station’s high profile launch, also screened on BBC 2, only won 1.5 million viewers, half the number who tuned into the snooker that followed it.

With media commentators and some politicians always on the look out for reasons to criticise the BBC’s expensive digital TV projects the channel will need to ensure those figures are sustained and built on in the next few months, and that the channel doesn’t end up relying on advance showings of programmes like Eastenders and 24 to get decent audience share.
However the station performed considerably better than the BBC 4 launch last year and if the network becomes known as the place where the big TV shows of the future originally appear it could quickly build a dedicated cult following – something Channel 4’s youth channel E4 has failed to find - audiences more loyal to the American shows it premieres than the channel itself.

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GIBB BROTHER HITS OUT AT NORTON
Bee Gee Robin Gibb yesterday used an interview on ITV's This Morning to launch a furious attack on Graham Norton after the Channel 4 host's comments on the day of the death of brother Maurice that his life support machine was probably beeping to the tune of 'Staying Alive'. Robin told presenter Philip Schofield that he would "rip his head off" if he ever bumped in to Norton on the media circuit.

"Some very nasty things were said and I want to get them off my chest," he said, "in particular Graham Norton, who I used to respect and who I now detest and I think he's scum. I want an apology from Channel 4, the producers of Graham Norton and Graham Norton himself, because he chose to say it. He went on his TV show while my brother was dying in hospital and he said really repugnant and repulsive things about my brother's death process, which even today I still find it hard to recover from. This man I will never forgive. It's a small industry and he should hope that he never crosses paths with me because I will rip his head off if I see him."

Responding Channel 4 said: "Graham Norton's monologue in V Graham Norton satirises the day's news in his own inimitable way. At the start of the monologue Graham did refer to Maurice Gibb's death as sad news. Graham fully intended this item to be an affectionate reference to the Bee Gees unique and distinctive style of music, and not in any way mocking of his death. There was no intention to cause any offence to the Gibb family and we're genuinely sorry that the comments have caused them upset."

Norton himself said in a statment: "I did apologise to the family when the issue first arose and I'm very sorry that this apology did not reach the family at the time."

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EMINEM ADDS EXTRA UK DATE
Good news for those Scottish Eminem fans who didn’t get tickets for his UK shows when the Ticketmaster computer system crashed at their local Virgin Megastore – Slim Shady has added two more dates to the UK and Ireland leg of his world tour – though you're going to have to travel because the extra dates are at the Milton Keynes National Bowl (on 23 Jun) and at Ireland's Punchestown Racecourse (27 Jun). Tickets go on sale on Saturday at 9am, expect another very quick sell out.

And take heart with six dates in the UK and Ireland – US fans will have to make do with one live show from Mr Mathers this year. Promoters have confirmed a stadium date in his home town of Detroit on 12 Jun will be his only North American date in 2003. Missy Elliot and 50 Cent will also appear at the gig.

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ADF SHOWCASE NEW MUSIC TALENT
Asian Dub Foundation's 'Community Music' education programme is hosting a night at The Spitz tonight. The scheme aims to give young people exciting musical opportunities and experiences and the Spitz night gives participants a chance to showcase their work. Lined up tonight are underground hip hop act Urban Soul-Jah, electronica act GPUG (short for Gay Porn and the Underage Drinkers!), garage / hip hop act Loud Motivated Mic Control and rapper Orion. Admission is free so check out www.spitz.co.uk and get down there.

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POP ACTORS AMONG THE NOMINEES IN THE SPOOF OSCARS
With the Academy Award nominations released later today the spoof Oscars – the Razzie Awards – announced their nominees yesterday. Among those up for awards for a host of movie worsts are Britney Spears for her big screen debut ’Crossroads’, and Madonna for the universally panned ’Swept Away’.

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Answer to Monday's pop quiz:
Claims to fame: What did Craig David achieve when 'Fill Me In' got to number one in 2000?
He was the youngest ever male solo artist to top the charts.

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