CMU Daily - on the inside 15 Jan 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Damon Dash denies rape allegations
- Jack White pleads innocent
- Grand Royal up for grabs
- Elliott smith's family non-committal on support for girlfriend
- JBs to play 93 feet east
- Jackson takes over ITV America
- Sneak comes to the end
- Mtv plan Jacko special
- Doctor's wife not going to hand over Harrison-signed guitar
- Boy George musical closes on Broadway
- Warner music gossip
- Radiohead and Pixies will headline Coachella
- NFL not up for Bono's AIDS awareness performance
- Minnelli / Gest divorce fall out
- South by South West line up latest
- Span tour
- Geffen end Rawkus relationship
- Apple launch iPod battery replacement service
- Lemar adds extra London date
- The Darkness knock oasis
- Cowell gets a soaking

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DAMON DASH DENIES RAPE ALLEGATIONS
Rocafella man Damon Dash has denied allegations made by a former model that he raped her in a drink-and-drugs fuelled haze on New Year's Eve 2002/3. 

The allegations have been made by Kirstie Thompson who is suing the producer for $8.2million for the "mental damages" caused by an alleged incident at a New Years party thrown by New York millionaire Mario Ganero in Brazil. Thompson claims that Dash repeatedly asked her to have sex with him during the party. When she turned him down he told her "everybody has sex with me". Having drunk eight glasses of champagne and taken half a tablet of ecstasy she retired to her hotel room to sleep. Later that night she was woken abruptly and discovered Dash was raping her. She claims that she then passed out. 

The lawsuit claims that Dash's actions were "outrageous and intentional and done with malice" because Dash "was aware she would not consent to sexual intercourse".

Although Thompson apparently reported the attack to police at the time, no action seems to be have taken. On this basis a spokeswoman for Dash yesterday called the lawsuit baseless. "These are ludicrous allegations. Damon hasn't been charged with anything." 

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JACK WHITE PLEADS INNOCENT
Talking of denying charges, Jack White yesterday pleaded not guilty of assault over that incident in a Detroit club last year when the White Stripes singer got into an altercation with Von Bondies lead singer Jason Stollsteimer. As previously reported Stollsteimer was left badly bruised after the run in with White, but White claims he was acting in self defense and that Stollsteimer struck out first. White will now stand trial in Detroit on 9 Mar.

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GRAND ROYAL UP FOR GRABS
The defunct record label formerly owned by the Beastie Boys is up for sale on an internet auction site. The Beastie Boys closed down Grand Royal Records back in 2001 citing "mounting debts, decreasing assets and exceedingly harsh industry conditions". They shifted their own recording contract to EMI imprint Capitol, who had had a long term partnership with the rappers' own label.

Now Grand Royal and its entire product inventory is up for sale. Potential purchasers can bid at Bid4Assets.com - the minimum bid is $10,000. Successful bidders will get themselves thousands of unsold copies of releases by acts such as Josephine Wiggs, Luscious Jackson, Buffalo Daughter and Money Mark, master tapes and a wealth of merchandise (though presumably not any of the lucrative royalty rights). 

The Beastie Boys, meanwhile, are currently working on a new album which should be released by EMI later this year.

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ELLIOTT SMITH'S FAMILY NON-COMMITTAL ON SUPPORT FOR GIRLFRIEND
The family of the late Elliott Smith has issued a statement that implies they are not as supportive of the singer's girlfriend as she suggested in her interview with MTV last week. As previously reported, the coroner's report into Smith's death said that there was not enough evidence to prove he committed suicide. If that statement implies Smith was murdered then girlfriend Jennifer Chiba, who was in the house at the time of the incident, would become a prime suspect. With that in mind Chiba last week hit out at implied accusations in the media, pointing out she had not been charged with any crime, and claiming to have the support of Elliott's family.

However the attorney representing the family, Conrad Rippy, yesterday issued a statement that was non-committal with regards where their loyalties lie: "Elliott's family has every confidence that the ongoing investigation will determine the actual circumstances of Elliott's death. Until such time as their investigation has concluded, however, and especially in light of the recently published coroner's report, neither Elliott's family nor anyone else can claim to know 'the truth' about Elliott's death, and any statement to the contrary mischaracterizes the family's position."

Police have reopened their investigations into Elliott's death since the coroner's report was published at the start of the month. 

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JBS TO PLAY 93 FEET EAST
Here's one for the diary. The Jungle Brothers will play London's 93 Feet East on 22 Jan in the run up to the release of the JB's collaboration with London producer Mr On - 'Breathe, Don't Stop' - which is released by Positiva on 26 Jan. Go see.

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JACKSON TAKES OVER ITV AMERICA
The former producer of programmes like 'The Young Ones', 'Red Dwarf' and 'Three of a Kind' will head up the American operations of the newly merged ITV. Former head of BBC Entertainment, Paul Jackson, will take up a permanent post at the LA offices of Granada Productions when his six month attachment there ends. The appointment contradicts initial comments by Jackson late last year that he wished to return to a job in the UK after spending time working in both Australia and America. Jackson will work alongside Stephen David who currently runs Carlton's American division.

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SNEAK COMES TO THE END
DJ Sneak's popular US club night Sneak Beats is coming to London for six dates starting 23 Jan. The legendary Chicago DJ has been booked for a bi-monthly residency at The End starting next week.

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MTV PLAN JACKO SPECIAL
MTV in the US are planning a special programme looking into the current child abuse allegations against Michael Jackson. The programme will air tomorrow on MTV2 - and will follow up live coverage throughout the day on both MTV and MTV2 as Jacko arrives at court for his hearing into the current claims against him.

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DOCTOR'S WIFE NOT GOING TO HAND OVER HARRISON-SIGNED GUITAR
The wife of the doctor accused by George Harrison's estate of abusing his position to gain access to the singer in the last days of his life has told reporters she will not return the guitar at the centre of the dispute. As previously reported Harrison's estate claim Dr Gilbert Lederman made unfair demands of the singer as he was dieing of cancer - forcing him to sign various pieces of merchandise. The doctor denies the allegations - his lawyer says Harrison signed the goods as a "gesture of appreciation" and not because he was coerced while on his death bed

There had been suggestions Lederman should return all the signed items back to the Harrison estate - and that includes his son's guitar which Harrison signed just days before he died. But Lederman's wife Josiane yesterday told CNN: "That is my son's guitar, he has been playing that guitar for years. That is his little guitar. We are very upset, the children are really devastated. My husband is the most loving and caring father."

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BOY GEORGE MUSICAL CLOSES ON BROADWAY
The Broadway production of Boy George's musical Taboo will close on 8 Feb, less than three months after it opened. Despite running for over a year in London, the New York press panned the Broadway production, and ever since it has struggled to reach break even point in terms of ticket sales. 

The show will cost its producer, TV host Rosie O'Donnell, $10 million. But she told reporters yesterday she had no regrets, saying the show was "the most fulfilling experience of my career". She added: "Many lessons were learned, and so it goes. For this experience, I am profoundly grateful."

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WARNER MUSIC GOSSIP
More gossip mongering regards the future of Warner Music once the sale to Edgar Bronfman Jr is complete. Following those reports earlier this week that current boss Roger Ames may quit, rumours were circulating yesterday that Ames may in fact return to the UK to head up Warner Music's British operations. If that was to happen insiders are speculating whether Bronfman would take over Ames role himself or bring someone else in to do the job - probably a former colleague from Bronfman's days running Universal Music.

Talking of Universal Music, word is the man who some press reports have suggested could be a successor to Ames - Lyor Cohen - is reportedly renegotiating his contract with the Universal Music Group who are keen to keep him in the top job at Island Def Jam. Presumably the aforementioned 'Cohen to head Warners' rumours have given the exec a good hand in improving his deal with the major. 

Whatever happens to Ames, changes are definitely afoot lower down the hierarchy at Warner Music - and for changes read redundancies. Ames yesterday sent out a staff email telling employees that there would be "significant restructuring initiatives in an effort to enable [it] not only to remain competitive in the new industry landscape, but also to flourish and grow." Word is a redundancy package is being offered including three weeks' salary for every year of service, a pro-rated bonus and a pension commitment until the day the sale is confirmed

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RADIOHEAD AND PIXIES WILL HEADLINE COACHELLA
Following the news that Air, Prefuse 73, the Thrills and Electric Six will all play at the Californian eclectic music festival Coachella in May, organisers yesterday confirmed rumours that Radiohead and the Pixies will headline. The latter is likely to cause the most excitement - it will be the Pixies first show since they split in 1993. It is unclear just yet if all four original members will appear, and if any other touring or recording projects are planned for after the festival appearance.

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NFL NOT UP FOR BONO'S AIDS AWARENESS PERFORMANCE
According to Rolling Stone, the NFL in the US have turned down an offer by Bono to perform during the Super Bowl half-time show because he wanted to use it to promote his campaign to tackle the AIDS crisis in Africa. Bono proposed to perform the track 'An American Prayer' with Jennifer Lopez to draw attention to the campaign - and MTV, who produce the programme, were close to signing a contract. But NFL objected to the plan and pulled the plug. A spokesman for the sports organisation told reporters: "We simply decided that we were going to deliver, as we do annually, an extremely entertaining half-time show. We don't believe it's appropriate to focus on a single issue." Janet Jackson is the only performer confirmed for the show as yet - Beyonce Knowles will sing the American national anthem prior to the game.

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MINNELLI / GEST DIVORCE FALL OUT
More nonsense from the fall out of the marriage of Liza Minnelli and David Gest. An auction dealer yesterday said Minnelli was not being truthful in her claims during the divorce hearing last week that Gest had sold off a number of her personal possessions on eBay without her permission, and had pocketed the profits. Edward Kosinski has told reporters he organised the sale of various items, including Minnelli's piano, and that he dealt with Liza direct on the sale, not Gest. 

Kosinski: "Both me and my staff worked for at least 20 days with Minnelli on this sale. We worked directly with Liza - she did this without David. Liza had control of everything we decided to sell".

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SOUTH BY SOUTH WEST LINE UP LATEST
The first line up info for this year's South By Southwest has been announced. Among the artists set to perform in Austin, Texas between 17 and 21 Mar are Liz Phair, Junior Senior, N*E*R*D, Papa Roach, Ozomatli, Pretty Girls Make Graves, The Thrills, Athlete, British Sea Power, Cooper Temple Clause, Preston School Of Industry, the Delgados and Radio 4. Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne and independent icon Ani DiFranco are among those booked to speak at the conference. 

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SPAN TOUR
Norwegian rock 'n' roll commandos Span are heading off on a major UK tour this month with support from Bloc Party and Kill Kenada. The tour will promote Span's new single 'Don't Think The Way They Do' which is out on 9 Feb. The tour is sponsored by music website Drowned In Sound. 

Dates as follows: 
24 Jan: Exeter Cavern 
25 Jan: Sheffield Casbah 
26 Jan: Birmingham Bar Academy 
27 Jan: Liverpool Academy 
28 Jan: Leeds Cockpit 
29 Jan: Glasgow King Tuts 
30 Jan: Aberdeen 
31 Jan: Perth Twa Tams 
1 Feb: Edinburgh Venue 
3 Feb: Leicester Charlotte 
4 Feb: Derby Victoria Inn 
5 Feb: Wolverhampton Little Civic 
6 Feb: Stoke Sugarmill 
7 Feb: Aldershot West End Centre 
8 Feb: Oxford Zodiac 
10 Feb: Stratford -upon Avon Coxs Yard 
12 Feb: Chelmsford The Cave 
13 Feb: Bristol Loiusiana 
14 Feb: Tunbridge Wells Forum 
15 Feb: Southampton Joiners Arms 
16 Feb: Cardiff Barfly 
17 Feb: Manchester Roadhouse 
19 Feb: London Islington Carling Academy 

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GEFFEN END RAWKUS RELATIONSHIP
Universal imprint Geffen has reportedly ended its joint venture deal with hip hop label Rawkus, home to, among others, Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Rawkus was a partner label of MCA Records - that partnership was transferred to Geffen when it absorbed the roster and operations of its sister label last year. No word yet on whether the Rawkus roster will be merged into Geffen, who whether the hip hop label will look to continue as an independent or in alliance with a different major. 

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APPLE LAUNCH IPOD BATTERY REPLACEMENT SERVICE
Apple have launched a new service through which iPod users can buy new rechargeable batteries for their players. Until now if the battery stopped working, after the standard one year warranty, users were obliged to buy a completely new iPod. That caused some resentment among consumers given that the batteries - akin to those used in laptops - are notoriously unreliable and can rapidly slip from their expected 8 hour lifespan to a fraction of that - normally when about 18 months old, ie out of their standard warranty period. With the new service iPod users can buy replacement batteries for $99 - alternatively they can extend their warranty for $59.

Apple will be hoping the new offer satisfies unhappy customers like Casey Neistat. According to an MTV news report, when his iPod battery died just out of warranty and he was told by Apple he would have to buy a new iPod he set up a website called ipodsdirtysecret.com which which included a film of him graffiting the line "iPod's unreplaceable battery lasts only 18 months" all over lower Manhattan. Neistat explains: "My brother and I made the movie in response to Apple not offering any alternative when your iPod battery dies other than buying a new iPod. Their policy seemed to me to be an audacious, exploitative thing." However he said he thought the new battery service was fair.

Whether the new policy will satisfy San Francisco law firm Girard Gibbs & De Bartolomeo LLP remains to be seen. They are suing Apple because they claim their advertising implied the iPod's battery lasts the lifetime of the player - which it clearly doesn't. A judge is yet to rule on that lawsuit - needless to say Apple didn't wish to comment.

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LEMAR ADDS EXTRA LONDON DATE
Fame Academy's Lemar is having a good week. Following his Brit nominations on Monday, now his debut London show has sold out and another one has had to be added. He will now play Shepherds Bush Empire on both 3 and 4 Mar.

Lemar: "This has been an amazing week for me. Supporting Justin Timberlake, receiving 2 nominations for the Brits, selling out my first London show and now adding another date, it's just fantastic. I can't wait to thank all the fans in March"

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THE DARKNESS KNOCK OASIS
The Darkness reckon they have a better chance of breaking America than Oasis thanks to a better attitude. The band told David Letterman on Friday: "I don't know how hard Oasis tried. I'm not really sure how good they are either. They must have strutted in, four and a half foot tall or whatever they are, thinking, 'Oh God, this country's ours for the taking!' and then as soon as it doesn't go their way they go, 'Ooh, that's not quite working is it? Shall we go back to the UK where we're really popular and successful? Knock it on the head, can't be bothered with this.' To me it's laziness and arrogance."

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COWELL GETS A SOAKING
Simon Cowell got a soaking at an American Idol audition when a less-than-tuneful hopeful threw a glass of water over him. Cowell hadn't even spoken. After the contestant had finished his turn Cowell stood up and put his head in his hands (presumably not out of awe). The contestant walked towards Cowell, seemingly to shake his hand, but them grabbed a glass of water. After a short scuffle in which Cowell tried to get the glass off the singer the contents of the glass were thrown over the judge. The incident will air on the third series of the show, which begins next week.

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