CMU Daily - on the inside 9 Sep 2003
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
• Libertine Pete faces prison
• Darkness Mercury favourites
• RIAA go to court (again)
• Simon and Garfunkel best of planned
• Robbie performs intimate set for staffs’ wedding
• Album Review: Frank Black and the Catholics - Show Me Your Tears (Cooking Vinyl)
• Warren Zevon dies
• Manson defeats on-stage assault charge
• Branson plans i-Tunes-esque download service
• Universal CD price slash only on core labels
• Granada make financial offer to Jacko - but no apology
• Spears debuts track but is tight-lipped on single
• Single Review: The French - Porn Shoes/Gabriel In The Airport (Too Pure)
• Major merger at crunch stage
• Westlife amongst Fergie’s guests

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LIBERTINE PETE FACES PRISON
In something of a dramatic move in a continuing saga, former Libertine Pete Doherty was yesterday jailed for six months after he admitted to breaking in to fellow band mate Carl Barat's home and stealing technical and musical equipment. Insiders reckon Doherty committed the burglary to get back at his former bandmate after being kicked out of the band - reportedly because Barat became fed up of Doherty's drug addiction. With that in mind it was something of a surprise when Doherty's solicitor's appeal for a community penalty and drug rehab programme were turned down. Said solicitor is planning to appeal.

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DARKNESS MERCURY FAVOURITES
Although in theory the final decision with regards the Mercury Music Prize isn't taken before tonight's award event, some bookmakers reckon it's a forgone conclusion that the Darkness will take the prize after a sudden rise in the number of people trying to place bets on the album to win in their Camden and West London stores - ie near the record labels. Unfortunately for said insiders bets on the Award closed before the weekend. However the sudden interest has caused William Hill to put The Darkness as favourites to win over former faves Coldplay.

Commenting on the sudden interest in The Darkness a Ladbrokes spokesman told reporters: "We are inclined to believe there are dark forces at work. We've had a lot of people coming in, mainly in west London and Camden trying to back The Darkness - music industry places are based there."

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RIAA GO TO COURT (AGAIN)
The US recording industry's campaign against downloading entered a new phase yesterday as the Recording Industry Association of America issued a string of civil lawsuits against individual downloaders.

As previously reported, the trade organisation issued 1500 subpoenas earlier this summer forcing internet service providers and universities to release the identities of individuals they suspect have been sharing 'substantial' numbers of illegal tracks online. Despite some ISP's and colleges procrastinating on technical grounds, some of that information has now reached the RIAA, so yesterday they began legal action against 260 of them. Those people, if found guilty, could face fines of up to $150,000.

Keen not to appear the bad guys in the equation, RIAA President Cary Sherman was in PR spin mode yesterday telling journalists: "We simply cannot allow online piracy to continue to destroy the livelihoods, not only of songwriters and recording artists, but also of tens of thousands of less celebrated people in the music industry."

He continued: "If a 14-year-old brought home a CD that they've shoplifted from Tower Records, the parent is unlikely to say, 'Oh, how cute that he loves music!' There's no reason why they should be accepting illegal downloading any more than they would accept shoplifting. You would expect them to take some action. We expect to hear people say, 'It wasn't me, it was my kids'. Well, if they would prefer that the lawsuit be amended to include the name of the kid, we can certainly do that. But somebody has to assume responsibility for illegal activity."

Sherman also confirmed that the RIAA was offering an amnesty for downloaders who were willing to delete illegally obtained files and pledge not to download any more tracks in the future. This offer, however, does not apply to the 1500 consumers the organisation is already targeting.

It will now be interesting to see who wins the PR war as those lawsuits slowly work their way through the courts - and whether the scare tactics will genuinely tackle the download problem.

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SIMON & GARFUNKEL BEST OF PLANNED
Although that reunion tour won't be confirmed until tonight, Sony label Columbia yesterday announced its attention to release a 'The Essential Simon & Garfunkel' two CD best of to coincide with those expected reunion dates in October/November. The CDs will feature 32 tracks including four live tracks and the pair's 1975 reunion single 'My Little Town'. Latest word on the reunion tour is that it will feature 40 dates in 35 major cities in the US.

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ROBBIE PERFORMS INTIMATE SET FOR STAFF'S WEDDING
The Sun reports that Robbie Williams has performed a set for 60 people at the Malibu wedding between his PA Josie Cliff and one of his tour managers Lee Lodge. Which is nice.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Frank Black and the Catholics - Show Me Your Tears (Cooking Vinyl)
Frank Black's fifth album with the Cathlolics sees a return to basics. It's an earthy collection full of blues, country and folk influences. There's some strong tunes too, 'Nadine' is a great thundering psycho-billy swamp stomp while 'Goodbye Lorraine' is a country number with lovely twangy guitar. 'Coastline' a folky acoustic song with mouth organ and 'My Favourite Kiss' with its bluesy Nick Cave-esque flavour add to the variety. Black's deep gravely vocals are arguably an acquired taste and dominate proceedings. Although written and recorded in LA the often unusual and imaginative lyrics romanticise Europe on 'Massif Centrale' and 'This Old Heartache': "So lets go to Barcalona, we will be noted for our absence, deep in ocean blues of absinthe". Frank's been going to therapy apparently and describes the album as "Thirteen big salty tears. There isn't a happy song in this bunch." Well yes blues/country songs do tend to be tear stained ('When Will Happiness Find Me Again', 'This Old Heartache') but can be soothing too and anyways there's some thumping great rock on here too. JW
Release date: Sep 8
Press contact: Cooking Vinyl IH [all]

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WARREN ZEVON DIES
US record label Artemis Records have confirmed that singer / songwriter Warren Zevon died this weekend more than a year after being diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. The musician was 56.

Zevon came to mainstream attention in 1978 with the album 'Excitable Boy', which included his most famous track 'Werewolves of London'. That album - mixing, as much as his work did, elements of his cynicism, literary knowledge and dark, satirical humour - won him a dedicated fan base and a large following within the songwriting community.

That popularity within the industry was shown on Zevon's last project. After being diagnosed with mesothelioma, an inoperable form of lung cancer, he set about recording his final album working with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty, Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, the Eagles’ Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit. Ironically that album was released only two weeks ago entering the Billboard chart at 16 - his highest chart position in 25 years.

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MANSON DEFEATS ON-STAGE ASSAULT CHARGE
Marilyn Manson has left court victorious this week after that long-winded lawsuit relating to a groin rubbing incident at a gig in 2000 finally reached its conclusion. As previously reported, Manson was being sued by security guard David Diaz who claimed he was ridiculed and assaulted when Manson pushed his groin into his face during a raunchy routine at a Minneapolis concert. Claiming the incident caused him "ridicule and shame" Diaz was suing for $75,000 in damages

Testifying in court Manson didn't deny the 'rubbing' took place, but claimed it was intended to be fun and that he did not intend to attack or humiliate Diaz in the process. He told the court: "I thought it would be entertaining. In no way did I think it was humiliating...but rather that he would be in the spotlight for a moment. It was a gesture, horse-play. There certainly wasn't anything sexual about it to me."

Manson's case was aided by a video of the show showing Diaz smiling, pumping his fist in the air and high-fiving the rocker during the routine. Diaz claimed he was smiling because he was embarrassed and that he pumped his fist because he was: " going with the flow of the crowd."

After two days of deliberating the jury rejecting Diaz's claim.

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BRANSON PLANS I-TUNES-ESQUE DOWNLOAD SERVICE
Virgin - the Branson owned conglom rather than the record label - is launching an iTunes-esque music download service that will make tracks available for download for a mere 60p weeks before they hit record shops. The service - a co-venture with digital download specialists OD2 - will offer music from every major label.

Never one to exaggerate, Branson told reporters, on announcing the new service, that his venture would be "instrumental in putting the British single firmly on the road to recovery." He continued:

"Virgin has been a pioneer in the music industry since our earliest days, and low cost digital music is in the same tradition. We want to make it simple - and cheap - for music fans to sample and buy music digitally."

Although in theory a pay-as-you-go service, customers to the Virgin site will be encouraged to buy credits in lumps - the more you buy the cheaper the unit cost. These credits can then be exchanged for tracks.

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UNIVERSAL CD PRICE SLASH ONLY ON CORE LABELS
More on Universal's price slash. The major has clarified that the price move will only affect labels wholly owned by the conglom in the US - and will not include those labels distributed by Universal - which include Disney, DreamWorks, Hollywood, RoadRunner, Abkco, Ark 21, Disa, Fonovisa, Lideres, Lyric Street, Rounder, Thump, Univision, Varese and VI. Universal's classics and Latin labels - Universal Classics and Universal Latino - are also not included.

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GRANADA MAKE FINANCIAL OFFER TO JACKO - BUT NO APOLOGY
Granada is reportedly close to agreeing an out of court settlement with Michael Jackson over that Martin Bashir documentary. Word is the ITV company will pay an agreed sum to a charity of Jackson's choosing if he drops his planned lawsuit against the film.

As previously reported Jackson is angry that Bashir duped him into recording the show - an insight into Jacko's life. Jackson feels certain agreements between the reporter and the star were broken in the way the show was edited.

But Granada are keen to stress that in making the charity payment they are not accepting Jackon's claims. "We stand by Martin, the programme and the producers," a source told the Media Guardian yesterday. "We won't be making any apology or paying any damages or costs."

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SPEARS DEBUTS TRACK, BUT IS TIGHT-LIPPED ON SINGLE
Britney Spears debuted the first full song off her upcoming record on American TV last week but the track performed - 'Me Against the Music' - isn't necessarily the debut single release. Prior to the performance on ABC's 'NFL Kickoff Live' Spears told MTV: "I can't tell you what the first single is going to be but there are some surprises that are going to come up in the song that I'm really excited about." The single is expected to get its first radio airing on 6 Oct.

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SINGLE REVIEW: The French - Porn Shoes/Gabriel In The Airport (Too Pure)
The French are comprised of two ex-members of Hefner, an indie guitar combo who had a nice way with wry intelligent lyrics, but not much else. This double A-side (if such things can still exist in the digital age) ditches Hefner’s drab mediocrity, in favour of a kaleidoscopic playground of gurgling synths and electronics. The laptop minimalism of ‘Porn Shoes’ would have settled perfectly at home on Björk’s ‘Vespertine’ and, despite its inherent coldness, imbues the track with a curious kind of warmth and humanity, particularly when allied to Darren Hayman’s touching and clever lyrics. ‘Gabriel In The Airport’, meanwhile, is simply as good as its title suggests. It’s reassuring when something comes along and, against the odds, totally surprises you. This is an altogether quite charming single, really. MS
Release date: 15 Sep
Press contact: Beggars IH [all]

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MAJOR MERGER AT CRUNCH STAGE
According to the Financial Times the Warners / BMG mereger talks are getting down to nitty gritty this week. Word is an upcoming meeting between Warner and BMG big wigs in London will be the make or break - either a way forward will be agreed or both sides will part company.

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WESTLIFE AMONG FERGIE'S GEUSTS
Radio 2 have confirmed that Westlife are among the guests due to appear on a new interview slot being fronted by Fergie on the Steve Wright show. In what sounds like dreadful radio the interview is being billed as "one of the band's first interviews since Nicky Byrne married Georgina Ahern in France last month". Exciting stuff.

Cilla Black, Elvis Costello and Lord Attenborough are also expected to be interviewed by Fergie in her short stint as a co-presenter on the Radio 2 show.

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