CMU Daily - on the inside 18 Mar 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- R Kelly Florida charges officially dropped
- Kazaa face new kind of copyright challenge
- SI Begg added to Remix bill
- Walsh not convinced by McFadden solo amibitions
- Mel C blocks spice girls reunion
- Velvet Revolver release date set
- Nyman vents his spleen
- Beyonce sings Usher's praises
- George Michael set for top spot
- Keane announce tour
- Live Review: Rock Against Racism
- Ozzy wants to retire in UK
- PJ Harvey festival sets
- Vivendi - losses down
- Mike Skinner on new Streets
- More BMG rejigging
- GLC celebrate must destroy deal
- Fatboy on the next album and beach party
- Last Duran Duran tickets on sale
- C4's swearing ad online

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R KELLY FLORIDA CHARGES OFFICIALLY DROPPED
If Michael Jackson ever falls out with his legal team he could do worse than to engage the services of R Kelly's lawyers. They have successfully forced authorities in Florida to drop twelve child pornography charges against the singer on a technicality - meaning that in his long running battle against a plethora of child sex allegations he now faces just fourteen charges in Chicago.

As previously reported, Kelly's legal team have already managed to force prosecutors in Chicago to drop seven of their 21 charges because of ambiguities with regards to when a video showing the singer having sex with a minor was recorded. The exact wording of those charges depended on a relatively new law, and R Kelly's defence successfully argued there was no way of proving that the video had not been made before that law came into effect.

Then last week Kelly's lawyers persuaded a judge in Florida that authorities there acted illegally in granting police a warrant to search his home there, and as such the incriminating photos they seized should not be used as evidence in court. Prosecutors in Florida yesterday confirmed they would not appeal against that decision, meaning that they will have to drop the 12 child pornography charges they had thrown at the singer.

That means Kelly now faces just the remaining 14 child sex charges in Chicago. The singer maintains his innocence, but it remains to be seen if he is forced to defend himself in court, or whether those charges will also be overruled on legal technicalities.

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KAZAA FACE NEW KIND OF COPYRIGHT CHALLENGE
Kazaa owners Sharman Networks are used to dealing with copyright lawsuits, though those suits normally relate to files being shared on their P2P network, not the P2P network itself.

Sharman is being sued by a Romanian national who claims he wrote the source code to the basic file sharing software system on which Kazaa is based. Fabian Toader, who now lives in the US, worked for the company in his home country in 2000 and it was then that he claims he did the work on which Sharman have subsequently built their business - and he reckons he is due a share of the profits. To that end he has set in motion legal action against Sharman that seeks $25 million in compensation.

The latest lawsuit is part of a long running dispute between Toader and Sharman which centres primarily on whether the programmer signed a contract with the P2P company. They claim he did and therefore any code he wrote while working for the company belongs to them. He claims he didn't and therefore, according to American copyright law, he owns the code. This isn't the first time the dispute has gone legal - last summer Sharman sued Toader claiming he was trying to blackmail them.

Commenting on the latest legal action Toader told reporters this week: "Sharman has made millions using my software. I just want to be fairly compensated for my contribution."

In a statement the P2P company responded: "Sharman regards this recently filed Los Angeles law suit as nothing more than Mr Toader's more recent shakedown effort."

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SI BEGG ADDED TO REMIX BILL
A last minute update on tonight's Remix night at Cargo. As reported yesterday, the legendary Kurtis Blow is flying in for one night only to appear alongside Finger Lickin's Krafty Kuts and A Skillz at the regular Xfm night. That live set was due to be followed by a tag-team head-to-head DJ battle between Remix man Eddy Temple Morris and one Garret 'Jacknife' Lee. However Dublin airport staff are due to go on strike today, which leaves Mr Lee stranded in the Irish capital where he is working with producer Steve Lillywhite on producing the new U2 album. But never fear - Eddy has recruited SI Begg (aka Buckfunk 3000, SI Futures, Cabbageboy) to fill in Garret's shoes and take on Mr TM in the aforementioned tag team battle (given that Eddy is still in agony post-snow boarding holiday it shouldn't be too big a challenge!). All in all - still the hottest night out in town - doors open 8pm, more at http://www.xfm.co.uk/theremix

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WALSH NOT CONVINCED BY MCFADDEN SOLO AMIBITIONS
Westlife manager and Popstars judge Louis Walsh reckons Bryan McFadden will regret leaving the boy band. Despite saying he could never replace McFadden in the group because he was so damn good, Walsh yesterday told the Daily Record that he doubts Bryan has what it takes to make it as a solo artist (presumably that means what McFadden was damn good at was standing at the back looking pretty).

Walsh also reckons Bryan's jungle winning wife Kerry wanted her husband to stay in the boy band: "Kerry was devastated he left. She didn't want him to do it. It's a great band and he could make a lot more money."

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MEL C BLOCKS SPICE GIRLS REUNION
Reason why Mel C was the best Spice Girl number 497. Mel C has blocked a Spice Girls reunion tour despite being without a record deal. With a Spice Girls greatest hits album in the pipeline, rumour has it promoters were offering each of the former girl band members multi-million pound deals to take part in a reunion tour. Mel B, Emma Bunton and Victoria Beckham were all apparently up for the gig, and even Geri Halliwell had expressed an interest. But Mel C - who parted company with Virgin earlier this year and now plans to release her own music - said no. According to the Mirror Mel C told promoters: "No amount of money is more important than my integrity." Meanwhile Fame Academy voice coach Carrie Grant, a friend of the former Spice Girl, told the paper: "Even though she hasn't got a record deal at the moment, she told me there was absolutely no way she'd want anything to do with it." And good for her.

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VELVET REVOLVER RELEASE DATE SET
With Guns 'n' Roses fans not too impressed with the new greatest hits album offer, and increasingly frustrated with the never-ending delays in Axl Rose completing the next G 'n' R album, surely confirmation that Velvet Revolver are due to officially arrive in recorded form in May has to be good news.

As previously reported, Velvet Revolver is made up of former Guns 'n' Roses members guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum, alongside ex Stone Temple Pilots vocalist Scott Weiland and ex Electric Love Hogs / Infectious Grooves guitarist Dave Kushner. Signed to BMG label RCA, Velvet Revolver are due to release their debut single 'Slither' in May.

To that end Slash and Duff are in town next week doing some pre-release promotion, and on their schedule is a special student media press conference next Wednesday. Any student media interested in attending and throwing some questions at these rock legends should email or call Jim Fletcher in BMG's Alternative and Student Promotions department asap.

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NYMAN VENTS HIS SPLEEN
Musician Michael Nyman has been venting his spleen to Radio 4's Today programme.

Firstly he accused British music promoters of favouring modern US composers over home-grown musical talent. Claiming there was a "huge disparity" between the treatment received by US and UK composers, he argues "any opera by a contemporary US composer - no matter how bad it is - is likely to be performed in London. An opera by an English composer, no matter how above average it might be, doesn't get a look in."
Then he turned his attention to Hollywood, which, he says, is so obsessed with lavish orchestral scores that they insist on musical scores that are "so big that you don't notice them" - "personally I would welcome a reduction in music budgets which would force composers to write for smaller ensembles. Then you would get music which is actually on the scale of the drama that is unfolding in front of you."

And finally, on the decision by the Academy not to nominate Nyman for an Oscar for his soundtrack to the film 'The Piano' - "scandalous".

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BEYONCE SINGS USHER'S PRAISES
Beyonce reckons Usher is the "Fred Astaire of our times". Confirming Usher guest stars in the video to Ms Knowles new single 'Naughty Girl', she told MTV: "I'm giving away my secret to you! I feel like Usher's the Fred Astaire of our times. I feel like it was a perfect match, me and him. Not only is he a great dancer and a great personality, he's a great artist."

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GEORGE MICHAEL SET FOR TOP SPOT
Good news for George Michael. Sales are so good for new album 'Patience' he is not only more or less guaranteed the top spot on this week's albums chart, but some reckon the album may well have gone platinum within the week. Way ahead of sales of the Guns 'n' Roses best of and current chart topper Katie Melua, Michael shifted a reported 60,000 units on Monday alone.

Gennaro Castaldo, of HMV, told reporters: "This is a great return to form by one of the world's greatest recording artists and sets George up to be an early contender for the year's biggest-selling album. 'Patience' has clearly been worth the wait. At this rate George is on target to sell well over 250,000 copies by the end of the week, and maybe even 300,000 which would earn him a platinum disc. That would not only assure him his first UK No1 since his covers album Songs From The Last Century in 1999 - but also give him the biggest first week sales of any album this year, including Norah Jones's Feels Like Home."

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KEANE ANNOUNCE TOUR
If you want to see what all the fuss is about new band Keane, then get your diaries out. The band have confirmed a string of UK dates in April/May to precede the 12 May release of debut album 'Hopes And Fears'. Dates as follows:
22 Apr: Portsmouth Pyramid Centre
23 Apr: Liverpool University
24 Apr: Leeds Metropolitan University
27 Apr: Glasgow QMU
28 Apr: Newcastle University
29 Apr: Manchester Academy 2
1 May: Bristol, Anson Rooms
2 May: Cardiff University
3 May: Exeter, Lemon Grove
5 May: Birmingham Academy
6 May: Norwich Waterfront
7 May: London Astoria

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LIVE REVIEW: Rock Against Racism - Miss Black America, 80's Matchbox B-Line Disaster, The BuzzCocks, The Libertines @ The London Astoria, 16 Mar
Following in the footsteps of seventies punk-led Rock Against Racism movement, the Anti-Nazi League's Love Music Hate Racism programme has managed to recreate a feeling of camaraderie between the vast publics represented in the capital and around the country through the tried and proven formula of good music and fist raising speeches. And both were delivered at the organisation's sell out London gig on Tuesday.

Walking into the auditorium mid-way through their set, it was clear to see that Miss Black America, despite playing to a 3/4 filled space, have that certain, as the French say "I don't know what". They jumped around the stage as they belted out their last few tracks to a growing and increasingly amorous crowd. As they reached the peak of their penultimate song, you could see Seymour Glass (vocals/guitar) strain to piece together his thoughts in a bid to deliver the first of those aforementioned speeches. "I wanted to make a short speech now," he told us, "seeing as I know that you will hear a lot more later on in the night" There is growing racism in this country he reminded us, and these 'nazis' have to be stopped dead in their tracks now, he added. And so into his band's final track of the night - a gut-wrenching rocker during which Seymour dropped his guitar so to tackle Mat Anthony (Guitar/voice) to the floor, before taking their applause and leaving the stage to a standing ovation (not difficult when there are no seats admittedly, but the crowd, many of whom had only seen the latter part of the set, seemed genuinely enthusiastic).

80's Matchbox B-Line Disaster have a really kewl name and know how to dress - but that's about it in my book. A lot of noise mixed in with a lot of blinding flashing lights (where was the sign warning anyone with photosensitive epilepsy to leave the room?) and skewed singing drowned out by the guitars and drums. Let's be fair - some of the crowd really seemed to dig it and frontman Guy McKnight does have a good voice (what I could hear of it). But with all that noise and no obvious rhythm, from where I stood the B-Line seemed uncannily like a parody of heavy-rock music, a joke band along the lines of the faux rolling stones without as much musical aptitude. Maybe that's the attraction? Who knows? Either way, I was more than pleased when they took their applause and left the stage, and not just because they made way for what was, for me, the highlight of the night. Though, I should add, they did...

"Ladies and Germs, The Buzzcocks!" The crowd went ballistic. Trotting on stage sporting laddish grins that made them seem 20 years younger than they obviously were, track one was a well performed slow song - so slow, in fact, you could quite clearly see boredom etched across Shelley's (Pete) face. You could see that he wanted to rock. And so to track two regaining his composure Shelley was able to prove that the oldies can still teach the new playas a thing or two about how rock should be rolled. Diggle (Steve) was on top form, strumming his guitar with his usual flamboyance, throwing his arms in the air in-between notes, a mischievous glint in his still madly youthful eyes. They hit their high note when Diggle strutted to his mike and dedicated the next song - 'Autonomy' - "to their good friend" Joe Strummer (R.I.P), they played brilliantly and throughout the song you could feel a genuine warmth emanate from the stage. Playing the best part of 45 minutes without so much as a breath, the audience was built up into an adrenaline-fuelled frenzy... almost out of control by the time Diggles began his energetic finale routine thrashing out mesmerising chords, playing his guitar like a violin with his mike stand as the bow, then throwing his instrument the floor and lapping strums with both hands - combining perfect harmony with a true rock 'n' roll spectacle. It was all so much, it wasn't until Shelley told us "The Libertines are up next, remember, those are who you came to see!" that I remembered these guys weren't the headliners.

This meant that, given my existing pessimism re the Libertines set, Doherty, Barrat and co had a very hard act to follow. But, with the help of an incredibly enthusiastic crowd who sang the songs louder than Doherty himself, they just about pulled it off. Despite rumours of a new Doherty / Barrat rift, their on-stage unity was impressive. Doherty performed with finesse while Barrat strummed and sang away to an awe struck audience. During the breaks in the lyrics the two former feuders had a private conversation that suggested they had either reached some kind of conclusion to their reported tiff or they had come to some sort of truce for the good of the cause. Or perhaps they were just mutually excited about what was to follow...

"Ladies and gentleman, you are in for a special treat tonight, I give you Mick Jones and the Libertines!" The crowd roared their approval as they stormed back on with Jonesey in tow. A revised version of 'Up In The Bracket' (that managed to comment on the horrors of racism and the brilliance of Mick Jones in one sentence) followed and then a Jonesey-led Libertined rendition of 'Should I Stay or Should I Go'. Phew - what a night - a fantastic show in itself, and all the better for the sentiment behind it - a sentiment best expressed by Doherty himself - "The BNP are cunts! BS

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OZZY WANTS TO RETIRE IN UK
Ozzy Osbourne has told a US reporter that he and wife Sharon intend to move back to the UK eventually. According to KFTY Santa Rosa Ozzy said: "Sharon and I have been debating about where we want to live at the end of the day. When I've done all my bits and pieces in America, I want to finish my days back in England. "I was born there and I don't want to die in another country. Or if I do I want to be buried in England."

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PJ HARVEY FESTIVAL SETS
A quick snippet of festival news for you - PJ Harvey has confirmed she will play Glastonbury, T in the Park and Oxegen this summer. So now you know.

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VIVENDI - LOSSES DOWN
You might think a net loss of 642 million euros in quarter 4 of 2004 isn't anything to get excited about, but for Universal Music's parent company Vivendi Universal that's quite an achievement - the loss made during the same quarter in 2002 was 9.76 billion euros! So group boss Jean-Rene Fourtou seemed quite pleased with his company's overall performance - telling reporters: "We have eliminated loss-making parts of the group." Alas not so good news for the group's music division. While they did make an operating profit of 108 million euros, that was down a massive 71% - "morose market conditions" (whatever than means) were blamed.

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MIKE SKINNER ON NEW STREETS
Mikey Streets has been talking to Radio 1 about his up-coming second album 'A Grand Don't Come For Free', which has a provisional release date of 3 May. Mr Skinner told the radio station: "The whole album plays out like a story. If I look back on the first album I'd say part of the reason why people responded to it is because I was very honest about stuff. You know, showing my faults really. I think if I look back on it, that was what made it strong. So I just tried to do that again."

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MORE BMG REJIGGING
Some official statements and lots of gossip as BMG completes the merger of its US divisions Arista and RCA. As previously reported, the major is consolidating its operations into two divisions - J/RCA and Jive.

To that end, former VP Sales at Arista, Jordan Katz, yesterday confirmed he will move within the company to head up BMG Distribution. Meanwhile Jermain Dupri, head of Arista imprint So So Def, is expected to confirm any time now that he has signed a deal which will see him and his label absorbed into Jive. Elsewhere, speculation is rife regarding the future of Arista promotions chief Steve Bartels and Arista general manager Larry Mestel - the safe money being on the latter announcing a move to EMI division Virgin.

Those lower down the Arista hierarchy can expect to find out about their future at the major later this week. Artist wise the vast majority of Arista's roster will move over to RCA, with the notable exception of OutKast, Pink and Usher who are expected to move over to Jive.

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GLC CELEBRATE MUST DESTROY DEAL
I don't know if CMU's Gill is moonlighting as A&R for Warners imprint Must Destroy - but they seem to keep on signing the bands he raves about. First the Darkness, now Newport's finest - Goldie Looking Chain.

The GLC boys chose to celebrate their record deal with a party outside the Houses of Parliament. Carrying placards reading 'Free Terry Waite', 'Weed Has Rights Too' and 'Golf Sale' they were joined by the Labour MP for Newport, Paul Flynn, whose own placard read 'I'm Paul Flynn MP - You Knows It'.

Speaking to the NME, GLC leader Dwain Xain explained: "What it was, we had to come down to London and hang out with these record types and lawyer types, so we thought we'd better kill both stones at the same time, so here we are. There's a budget, people are getting ripped off for cigarettes, and we saw someone on Oxford Street starting a religious cult called Golf Sale, and I just want Terry Waite to be freed. We don't wanna get too political, not in the current economic climate."

After a celebratory meal of sausage rolls and pineapple chunks washed down with cherryade and fizzy wine Xain added: "It feels like electricity floating through my veins, running through my body, making me feel alive sexually for the first time! We're probably gonna get really high now."

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FATBOY ON THE NEXT ALBUM AND BEACH PARTY
Norman Cook has told the Sun about the up-coming Fatboy Slim album, which has a provisional release date of Sep. He explained: "My album was put on the back burner due to what happened - in my personal life. It's less clubby, more of a record you'd listen to at home. I feel I'm ready to step back into it all."

Questioned about his legendary Brighton Beach Party, and plans to stage another seaside gig, he continued: "I never dreamed it would be so big and we got certain criticism because a girl died. But when I sent flowers to her funeral her parents wrote back, saying that I shouldn't let it haunt me. She'd rung them to say she was having a great time and they thanked me for making her last day so happy and told me not to torture myself.

That meant a lot. It was a tragic accident and they were extremely dignified about it. I'm hopeful we can stage another show this year. The council want it to happen but I want to be sure of the safety aspect before we go ahead. We need to restrict numbers."

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LAST DURAN DURAN TICKETS ON SALE
Promoters of the up-coming sell out Duran Duran tour, which has shifted 170,000 tickets to date, yesterday put on sale the last few tickets, which were held back until the production set up of the show (and its impact on capacity) was finalised. That means a few more tickets are available for the Nottingham, Birmingham, Manchester and London dates - though by the time you read this they'll probably be all gone! The tour kicks of in Belfast on 7 Apr. Press info from Gerard Franklin on 0121 224 7452 or Margaret Murray on 0121 224 7453, radio info from Charlie Lycett on 020 7724 4472.

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C4'S SWEARING AD ONLINE
And finally, if you fancy seeing that expletive filled Channel 4 ad we reported on last week - which has been relegated to late night FilmFour because it's too damn offensive - then you can check it out on the web at http://www.channel4.com/ads/index1.html. It shouldn't be funny but it is. The FCC would love it.

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